Why Fly a Bad Ship?

What would drive an otherwise ruggedly handsome and incredibly intelligent rogue pirate to purposefully undock in a ship that he knows isn't fitted properly?

Is he crazy? Has he lost his grasp on reality?

Maybe. That part might be debatable. But most likely he has a reason that might not be immediately apparent to you. Sitting as you do outside of his brain and unaware of his thoughts.

So let's examine for a moment some legitimate reasons for un-docking in a bad ship... on purpose.

As Bait
This might be the most popular reason of them all. A bait ship is often a sheep in wolves clothing, or a wolf in sheep's clothing, or some combination of animals wearing clothing. Whatever the analogy, it is intended to look like something it isn't. And more often than not, it has great potential to die a horrible meatshield death.

Down in Syndicate I used to use a ECM Drake as bait against these nasty Falcon supported gate campers. I once fitted all points on a Badger to try and catch someone. Fitting ships against type is a legitimate way to encourage combat. If you die in it, it might be hard to explain, but hopefully it worked well enough to counter that.

Sometimes it is important to have a truly great bait ship loaded with faction mods and expensive things. But other times, cheap and stupid win the day.

Trial
You can say what you want about fitting programs and they are extremely useful, informative and often essential - but they are not the same as beating your tank against a real enemy. More importantly however, learning to USE those mods in actual combat often requires actual combat. Sorry to break it to you, but this is known. Sometimes it helps to try something new out on an actual enemy ship. If you win, so much the better, but if you lose... well at least you know now.

Reading about combat is great and you should do that. But actually combatting out in space is even better. Real people are so unpredictable. They do crazy things like not fitting their ships properly too!!

( And yes, test server is a great tool for this if you have access to it.)

Purpose
My Sac fit got some attention this past week and many people pointed out that it was fitted improperly. Yes, yes it was. That's because it only had one very limited purpose - to explode ships undocking from a station. That was all it was ever used for. I have other ships in my hanger that are fitted for specific reasons and tasks. We all do, that's why we have ship classes! I have an Atron that has two warp scramblers on it! Why? To catch and kill Ventures, of course. That is all that fit is good for. Should it ever be killed by a Noob Merlin someone will say, "wtf?!"

Fitting ships for a single purpose is ok, don't let anyone ever tell you different.


Practice
Y'know the best way to learn to avoid enemy gate camps? Try to avoid enemy gate camps. This can result in the loss of a few ships before you get the hang of it. I got very good at avoiding bubbles in my stealth bomber back in the day, but I had to break a few eggs to make that omelet. That gets expensive if everyone of those test ships is fully fitted and carrying all the ammo types.


lolz
And finally we have the best reason of all - no damn good reason. I have a Venture fitted with guns that I am determined to someday kill someone with. That will probably end badly, but it will be fun. Fitting and flying ships for the lolz alone is a valid, distinguished and perfectly legit method of flying in Eve. As long as it is done in moderation, there is nothing wrong with it. We all get bored from time to time. Or just want to stop being so freakishly serious for a moment and lighten up.


I don't recommend flying a bad ship on purpose. Don't misunderstand this post. But there are legit reasons why doing so, even against your own better judgement, can be rewarding. Like anything you do badly, it only really matters when you get caught. Otherwise, who will ever know?



Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Let's review the storied and messy history of our friendly neighborhood pirate.

Rixx is born in Todaki. Immediately some people convo him and accuse him of being overly dramatic. He decides that he'll just go solo and stay out of politics and Corporate shenanigans. LOL.

Two weeks that lasted. He joins a mixed Corp of vets and young players that quickly move to Providence. This PvP thing is pretty fun, so he joins a Corp better known for PvP just as all the good PvP'ers in that Corp decide to leave. This becomes a rather predictable recurring theme.

Bad decision. With less than 10m sp under his belt he and Angor Mau decide to start their own Merc Corp and take on War Decs for cash. You can probably imagine how well that went.

So they return to the previous PvP Corporation just as things start to get interesting. Rixx starts to get involved in the LFA Alliance. Rumors begin in Corp and our dynamic duo decide to start their own Corp. It is a real mess and lasts about two weeks.

So this time they pick a highly rated PvP Corp up in hi-sec to join. This is a really bad idea and lasts for only a single day.

Rixx returns to a quiet Corp in Providence to mind his own business. The Corp decides to move to the ass-end of the universe. Rixx decides to stay in Provi and joins another Corporation called Dissonance. This is probably the first good decision of his career so far. Great guys, still are.

This is where things get confusing in hindsight. Lots of wars, moving across the galaxy, starting new Alliances, trying to find a home and boom we are suddenly at the start of this blog. This involved two wars in Providence, betrayal from CVA ( twice! ), an invasion as part of Circle of Two, time in NPC space, the founding of another Alliance in Syndicate and then the bright idea to, yet again, start a new Corporation.

Whew. And we're just up to when I started writing this blog.

Since then? Well you should know the rest faithful readers. Lucifer's Hammer grew and flew all over the universe raising Hell. First joining Rote and then Muppet Ninjas for a day, then founding our own Alliance. Just as things were going pretty well for once, I had to essentially take a Summer off and things went down the toilet. This involved a strange decision to join Morsus Mihi for a couple of weeks. It was a confusing time. I freely admit that.

In the midst of that chaos, I decided to join the Tuskers. I was in that Corp for over a year and a half, the longest I have ever been anywhere.


I've been rather busy the last five years.

Right now I'm just going to chill for a few weeks in Hevrice and the surrounding area. I honestly don't have any plans for once. I will be considering my options, but I am not going to rush into anything this time.

Part of that is logistical. I sold my Archon to a Tusker simply because I honestly thought I'd never need it again. I can get another one, but with 120+ ships, most of them fitted, the problem goes a tad deeper. So maybe I'll be thinning the hanger a bit over the next fews weeks. Which is always fun.

As the great George Harrison said, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da".  Life moves on.



Quotes of the Week

There have been some really great ones this past week, so I thought I'd share some of the better ones that didn't appear on the blog.

I've taken the liberty of making some of these Anon according to my personal sense of right and wrong. Others I have left the source. This is my blog and I get to do things like that.

So let's start things off on the right foot with this gem via evemail:

"Just so you are aware... my only purpose in life is to make you pay. maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. but someday and for the rest of your life. hugs"  - h1pp0

> Believe it or not, I am a Pirate. And a Pirate is no good without enemies. I admit there is a part of me that finds this a tad worrisome, since he didn't specify this being an "in-game" threat. Just a friendly reminder then, Real Life and Eve are different things. I'm hopeful the hugs part means we can still be friends.

UPDATE: The above quote came from a poor guy who I killed and podded the other day in a short period of time. He came back to loot his first wreck. So it has nothing at all to do with recent events. Whew.

"MAKE SURE TO BLOG ABOUT IT" - SmarncaV2

> I chose this one out of the half-dozen or so others I received from my friends in SC because he was being sarcastic. This wasn't a suggestion in other words. So you get your ten minutes. Enjoy.

"Thread is locked" - Sully

> This one comes from so many sources on the Tusker forum. Any form of open ( and I might add "private") debate is usually closed off with this sentence from the Boss.

"The reason for my mail, is, I was particularly drawn to your comments regarding your children. As a teacher of special educational needs, specifically teenagers with Autism. I have a tiny understanding of how difficult life can be for parents who have children with Autism, also how special and magical it can be be too." - Anon

> I got a tremendous amount of feedback, all of it positive, on my recent public revelation that two of my four boys are on the Autism Spectrum. I'd like to personally thank all of you, you've once again proven just how strong this community is and why I keep playing and writing.

"I would like to extend an invitation to..." - Everyone

> Good grief. I think I have an invitation from all corners of Eve at this point. Null sec, Wormholes, Pirates, FW, you name it and someone wants to have me flying with them. THANK YOU. Forgive me if I don't manage to get back to all of you, although I will try. Right now my only plans are to chill for a few weeks and let this thing settle a bit. I've made rash decisions in the past that I've lived to regret ( I once joined a terrible hi-sec gank corp for a day! ) that I want to take my time with this one. Nothing is off the table at this point.

And one last one to end on. I hope he doesn't get mad at me for posting this. It perfectly summed up this past week in ways that I've been challenged to do. Plus it comes from an ex-Tusker which makes it even more sweet.

"So yeah, I completely get it. Suborning your play style to someone else's perfectionism isn't worth it. Suborning your play style to anyone else for any reason isn't worth it - but I'm pretty well preaching to the choir here, aren't I? I've never known you to be the type that changes what you do because someone doesn't like it. I'm sure you'll find a place in EVE where you can keep being Rixx. You always do." - Anon

Thank you for those words and for the rest of the email I didn't post. I don't think you have any idea just how much they meant to me. But now you do.


Onward and Upward. Next week I'll start talking about building towards my new life in Eve and some of the lessons I've learned. The adventure continues.

PS: I forgot one of the best ones.

"Tawa has been dealt with, privately." - Sully

Shame not all Tuskers get that chance.



Its a Damn Shame

I've been playing Eve for five years now. I've been involved with Null Sec Alliances, FC'ed 200+ ship fleets, started and killed a couple of Alliances and Corporations, fought in some of the largest battles New Eden has ever seen, been a Soldier, a Pirate, a can-flipper, a defender of Carebears and a destroyer of ships. I've been to every region on the map. In and out of Wormholes, bubbles, gate camps and just about everything else you can name.

In all that time I haven't been as sick to my stomach as I am right now.

It doesn't have anything to do with being right or wrong. On this side of the fence or the other. It has everything to do with futility. And common decency.

I struggle openly on this blog. I write what I feel. And I've fought my own personal demons over the choices I've made in this game we play. Those of you that have followed along know of what I speak.

Those challenges are often mirrored by real life, as I suspect many of your challenges are. We all have lives, families, friends and responsibilities. As a man, I take these extremely serious. I tend to not take Eve serious at all. It is after all, only a game.

I watched my friends leave Tuskers. I took the verbal accusations and sucked them up and didn't say anything back. I blamed bad FC'ing on video card bugs, all to save the face of someone who didn't give two shits about me personally. I ranted and raved about how great his corporation was and how you should respect it, play in its games and support it with your donations. I spent hours and hours of real time giving it special treatment, graphics and cool-ass posters. I poured my heart into it.

And then the bubble burst and I reacted badly. I knew I did. I swallowed my pride, owned up to my responsibilities to my fellow pilots and apologized. And I was stabbed in the face for doing so. Spit on once more and ground down into the mud.

I honestly don't know why. And frankly, I don't really care.

But I admit this openly. The whole thing just makes me sick.

Despite accusations to the contrary, "Drama" is not my thing. For the past year I've been trying very hard to keep a low profile and focus on playing the game and becoming a better solo pilot. It is hard to do when you have a blog you write in every day. I explained that when I joined, everyone went into this thing with their eyes open. And I make no apologies for what I do here.

I can't log in right now and see my friends as red dots on my overview.

I can't make any decisions about what might be next, because I am still a Tusker.

I appreciate the dozens and dozens of invitations, ideas, and letters, emails and comments. Thank you all. This community is amazing and you make me smile.

But this whole thing is just a damn shame.

I'm not interested in playing Eve according to anyone elses idea of what that means. I have always played for my own reasons and my own joys. I am however incredibly loyal to those I choose to fly with. There really is no one better to have on your side.

The converse is also true. I can't help it. I enjoy helping to fight against Incarna, I enjoy getting Frills back on Vagabonds, fighting for an in-game Memorial to Fallen Capsuleers and all the other righteous causes I get attached to. I've worked hard for that right by never giving up and sticking to my guns. And pouring my heart out here on these pages each and every day.

I can make life hard for you. I can mock and create horrible pictures and drag your actions in the mud. I also happen to be very good at that.

But that doesn't mean I want to. But when you are pushed into a corner, you either roll over or fight back. I've never rolled over to anyone.

I'm a hard-headed Irish blooded American who reacted poorly to zero-tolerance dictatorial mandates.

I should still be a Tusker. I should be promoting FFA#3. I should be killing people in style. I should be having fun with my friends.

Instead I'm not.

And that is a damn shame.



After I was Kicked

Please read the post below this one first.

So after I found myself in an NPC I promptly re-applied thru the forum. My application was rejected but not before I managed to get this on the record.

Shortly after this post I was denied forum access obviously.

Click to embiggen
And since I am often accused of creating "drama" let me fairly point out that I managed to not say a word about this here on my own blog for a week!

Can you just imagine how difficult that was? But this was private, internal Corp workings that should have stayed private. You say what you need to say, on the forums, everyone airs their opinion and moves on.

Moves on.

Not everyone does that. In fact, odd since I received nine emails from pilots OUTSIDE of Tuskers before I was kicked. Funny that.

But that isn't against the Code I guess.



Tusker Code Has Been Sullied

I recently posted the Tusker Code for a reason. My post yesterday entitled "Learning in Eve" was also posted for a reason.

I've been kicked from the Tuskers.

Which is a goddamn shame to be honest. I would have been perfectly happy to be a Tusker for the remainder of my Eve career. As any reader of this blog knows, I have enjoyed my year and a half in the Tuskers a lot. I've supported the Corporation in numerous ways. Created and ran the Tusker DeathRace and helped promote each of the FFA events. I'm proud of the attention those garnered, I hear the events were even mentioned during one of the presentations at Fanfest.

So how did this happen? What horrible thing did I do to deserve being kicked without warning? ( And before I go any further, it is totally the CEO's decision to kick someone or not kick someone. I totally respect that.)

So here is what happened.

As I've written about, Rixx has been having an issue with his video card and his computer lately. This is not an excuse and I think I've fixed it. However it did cause me to lose several ships that I probably shouldn't have lost. Two of those were Sacs. One fitted normally and according to the CEO's own suggested fit. And one fitted terribly according to Rixx's own derping on station fit. (The two vary only slightly tbh )

So I get a convo the other day from the Boss. Rixx your ammo choices suck and you are doing it wrong, please stop that. Ok, fair enough. I've been playing as long as he has, but he is the Boss. So he sends me some examples from my killboard and links a guide he wrote on the forums, which I've read before. Thing is, the guide is wrong in some key areas. So I point those out on the forum. Nicely I might add. This causes a bit of a row.

Nothing serious however. So, after some time, I convo the Boss to apologize. I haven't done anything wrong, but I'm man enough to take one for the team. During the course of my apology I am informed that this incident is my "last chance". I can't believe my ears, my last chance? At what? Turns out there is this list of terrible things I've done.

Here it is:

1. 2 Weeks without a Mic
After my business closed last year and I was without income I broke my mic. It's difficult moving 40 computers and servers around and it got broke. I explained this, but no one cared. Cause you gotta be on comms y'know. So, I went out and bought a new one. Even though I still didn't have any income at the time. Since then I've been on comms every time I log on. For over a year straight.

2. Broken 1v1
I've written about this one before. But certain elements in Shadow don't like me very much and accused me of breaking a 1v1. In point of fact it was they who broke the 1v1, but our illustrious CEO decided to believe reds and not one of his own members.
I will mention that since this incident I don't go into Lisb anymore or engage anyone in Shadow directly.

3. Ammo choices
Apparently my Sac fit causes so much consternation in my CEO that he just can't stand it. We've bumped heads over the fit before and it surfaced again recently. This is why I posted the "my terms" portion of the Tusker Code yesterday. It is my choice what to fly and given that the horribly fitted Sac is 313-5... I think I have a good reason to continue using it.

So those are my crimes.

I've broken the Tusker Code for my failure to "learn" and take advice. Uh huh. I bought a mic. I stopped banging heads with Shadow. I fixed my video card. I'm having great success with my horrible Sac fit, and often fly properly fitted ones. Where exactly am I not learning or taking advice here? ( To be honest, the Sac was only intended to anger Shadow in Lisb, so it served its purpose. I don't fly it very much anymore.)

No answer.

My initial reaction was to avoid confrontation and drama. I'm not interested in Last Chances and I posted on the forums that I would be leaving the Tuskers on my own terms. Done.

Or so I thought. Turns out that wasn't good enough and the forum thread became a series of finger pointing and name calling. To which I had to respond. I tried to keep the high road, I respect my fellow pilots.

But there is a core group of L33T pilots in the Tuskers that can do whatever they want. They can talk about your special needs children (I have 4 boys, two of which have Autism), they can leave Tuskers and join other corps ( and still have forum access, etc.) and the list goes on and on. None of this is against the Code apparently.

So I decided to stay. I sent an email declaring that I'd stay on. Heck, I still had that Last Chance remember? Not so fast buddy. Without a word of warning I lost forum access then found my self in an NPC corp. I was kicked.

So much for Last Chances.


This has been coming. I knew it would happen. Ever since Suli took over as CEO the Tuskers have been bleeding members left and right. We've never seen eye to eye and despite me trying hard to keep a low profile, this was bound to happen eventually.

And when it did I was determined to stand up for what was right. No matter what.

Mission accomplished.

I'm sure I'll be writing more about this in the coming days and weeks. But that is the story of how I got kicked from a Corp I didn't want to get kicked from for no good reason.

Keep the courage. 'Nuff said.





Learning in Eve

The Tusker Code is an amazing piece of work. When KaJolo and the other original founders set out to establish the Corporation they wisely put down in writing what they wanted from pilots. And while some of it is expected and necessary, this part, "I am a lifelong learner" is rather unexpected.

When I joined the Tuskers I had just broken into my first 1,000 kills ( I'm now at 2,298 ) and was hovering around 15,000 on BC's ranking system ( I'm now at 2,500 ). As anyone who has played this game longer than ten minutes can tell you, that doesn't happen unless you are dedicated to learning, adapting, and changing on a daily basis. Eve is constantly changing, but so are you. Your skills continue to improve both from a character stand-point and as a player.

I've been dealing with some of those changes during the last few weeks. I decided to take some time and learn more about the things I've been putting in my head. I didn't change much, but I re-ordered a few things here and there and made some general improvements... I think ( I hope! ). For the last two years I've been pretty much just doing the same old template when it came to implants. It was time for me to re-learn and adapt. The fall-out however, is that many of my fits have to change slightly. Nothing drastic, but again balancing effectiveness against current ( and ever-changing ) ability, functionality of chosen mods and on-going changes in the game itself ( loss of slots, power grid changes, etc.) is an on-going and time intensive challenge.

If you don't continue the process of learning, adapting and growing along with the timeline of Eve - you risk becoming subsumed by the game's own momentum. This is a fact of life and something that cannot be ignored.

I take that on-going process very seriously. I have to, not only for the sake of my in-game performance, and adherence to the Tusker Code, but also because of this blog. My readers are always the first to point out my mistakes! ( And thanks for that, it really does help. I freely admit to not knowing everything. )

On the other hand.


Sometimes it is good ( and fun ) to ignore the "right" way and do something that flies in the face of your knowledge. And that is where the second part of this brilliant Code comes in, "Knowing that the fight may be over before it has begun, I seek to engage others only on my terms."

Only on my terms. That is an amazingly brilliant piece of writing there and the sub-text for my own particular approach to Eve. I can choose my own terms. If I want to try something, even though I know it is probably bone-headed to do so, I can. This is the basis of many, many crazy fits and trials in our Corporate history. It would be easy for someone not familiar with this type of play-style to brush this off as only for the "LOLS" but that is too easy. It isn't about that really, it is actually about freedom.

Freedom is what being a Pirate is really all about. Freedom from the laws and regulations of Empire space certainly. But also personal freedom, within the confines of the Code, to pursue your individual right to fight the way you want to fight. You want to only fly Frigates? You want to ignore the idea that everyone must have a boosting alt? However you choose to engage the enemy, on your own terms, is part of what being a Pirate... of what being a Tusker Pirate, is all about.

Good stuff Jolo. Thanks.



The Tusker Code


I am a pirate, daring and cunning. Though I may rat or mine or run missions, they take second place in my life.

I am a lifelong learner. I seek the respect of other space-farers through mastery of the martial skills, including use of the onboard scanner, probing complexes and spaceships, ship modules, and known procedures of CONCORD, faction police, and sentries. Knowing that the fight may be over before it has begun, I seek to engage others only on my terms.

I earn my own ISK and buy my own ships and supplies. I may share from my abundance with less fortunate Tuskers, and I may accept their largesse in turn. I split loot equitably with my gangmates, being especially gracious with those who have suffered material loss.

I appreciate the opportunity of flying with my Tusker comrades, thereby multiplying target opportunities. Tuskers learn from one another and Tuskers learn by doing. However, I do not need a gang to practice my nefarious profession, and hunt solo with ease.

I respect all my opponents, win, lose, or draw. I always volunteer a "gf." I am free with my praise and advice with a receptive foe. I invite those with promise to consider becoming a Tusker.

I relish opportunities to win a ransom, as prudence allows. If I am given the ransom I demand, or if I accept a ransom offer, I will honor that ransom. I will clearly communicate the terms and time limit of any ransom, and honor those terms before re-engaging a target. If I accidentally kill a target after receiving a ransom, or if I receive a ransom after having destroyed my target, I will return the ransom immediately.

I don't talk smack. My actions speak for themselves.

I post my kills and losses promptly, whenever another player shows up on my killmail.

I don't engage in consensual PVP (1-vs-1's or duels), for I wish to engage others only on my terms, and other pilots may be dishonorable. But as for me, should I ever accept a 1-vs.-1 or a duel, I shall honor it.

If I verbally invite someone into my fleet, or if I accept someone's verbal request to join my fleet, they are safe in fleet with me. I will let them know to watch out later, though, unless the Tusker diplomats grant them official standings.

Although it may be convenient for me to let my target falsely assume he's safe from me, he may hold me to anything I actually do say; I keep my word.




On My Way to Fanfest!!! (Sorta)


Here I am in my seat on the airplane, on my way to Iceland. Nice to see I am buckled in safely! Flying Blogger Class in style.

My fellow blogger and good friend Seismic Stan over at Freebooted felt sorry that I wasn't able to attend Fanfest this year and so he decided that Rixx should go in my place. So he has made several versions of me that he will be travelling with and photo-bombing me into as many Fanfest activities as he can.


Travel Rixx, Holy Rixx and mousepad Rixx are ready to go!


Here I am attached to EON's Richie Shoemaker gate camping at Heathrow!! I sure hope I don't have that bug problem way out over the ocean. Don't worry if everything freezes for a few minutes guys, it does go away eventually.

I admit this has the potential to be a tad creepy, as in this shot earlier at Stan's place.


Stan/Matt, this has made me laugh and feel much better, so thank you very much. I know you have a lot on your plate and please don't go out of your way, but these are awesome.

I had an extremely tough year last year and my plans for going to Iceland for the 10th anniversary had to be put on the shelf. But it is people like Matt in this community that keep me going. Thank you.

I can't wait to see what other trouble I get into.



1v1 EVE COMIC #58

Click to embiggen!
My love letter to all those gathering in Iceland for Fanfest! Watch the skies.

Wish I was there.



Month Old Rixx

Click to embiggen
Also click to embiggen!
From October 13th, 2008. Me in my Cormorant mining in Bagodan. And to my eternal shame, you will notice that I have a WCS fitted to my ship. I was only a month old at this point, but there it is.

At least I'm man enough to admit it I suppose. Such shame.



Stuck in Go

Two weeks ago one of my computers started acting a tad freaky. This particular computer is the one I use at work, yes I use my own computer at work. That's just the way I roll. This computer is somewhat odd. It is only a year old, but it has had multiple users over that time. Its a long story that involves a business that went out of business and the ruination of my dreams, but let's skip over that part for now.

So it started acting weird. Being the geek that I am I did the usual usual things, but none of them worked. Finally I had someone else help me and its been operating decently since then.

So on to Eve. About a week before the above "freak out" I started experiencing a rather odd thing during my game play. During grid load if I activated a module, such as a prop mod or guns or the like, they would stay "on" and I would be unable to click, or hotkey anything for a period of time. This period of time would vary from several seconds to several minutes. At first I thought it was lag due to the grid load, but that wasn't exactly right. It was hard to narrow down because it didn't happen all that often, or in a predictable manner.

This wasn't helped by the fact that I mostly fly solo and huge grid loads aren't usually an issue. So I did the usual usual. Cleaned out everything, emptied cache files, re-installed Eve, etc.

Up to this point I had lost two ships because of this issue. One was a rather expensive Prophecy. You may remember reading about that loss a few weeks ago.

But the computer was fixed and the above changes had been made. So I decided to go out on a roam with the boys. During the roam it started happening again when we would load grid in a new system. Little things at first. And then I burned away from the Gate in a straight line down in Syndicate. I should've pulled out at that point but I did manage to get control of the ship and I was determined to finish the roam. And then we hit big grid load back in Low Sec. I turned on my prop mod to burn towards the anchor... well, let's just say that didn't end well.

Since then I've been de-bugging everything I can think of. I'm convinced at this point that it isn't an Eve issue. Something on my end is not working correctly.

The grand tally right now is 5 ships lost to this thing.

And then yesterday talking about this in Tuskers public channel it hit me. And while I can't tell you exactly what it is, I have a process running that... well it protects certain things about my computer. This process happens at random times and during regularly scheduled times depending on certain activities or processes. I was able to re-create the issue twice by scheduling the process and then jumping back and forth between gates. Out of about 12 jumps or so the "bug" happened twice.

Again, I'm no expert, just someone who has been working with computers for... well, a long time. But it appears that when that process coincides with grid load, when those two events happen together, that my client 'freezes' for a moment. And not just the client, but the keyboard as well. So I've re-scheduled that other process and made a few other changes to allow Eve more room to breath.

Hopefully this will stop this from happening again and stop making me feel like an idiot for derping myself. Or at least, from derping myself without myself derping myself without myself's permission.

More testing today. I won't be flying in any gangs until this gets sorted.



REP/MINE/YOURS

( There is no reason for the appearance of Dr. Emilio Lizardo in this post. Other than I needed more Buckaroo Banzai on the blog! And really, doesn't everyone? )

As I was being killed yesterday by SUDDENLY FALCON! I was thinking about the razor's edge of reputation in Eve. For us low sec dwellers, reputation is rather important. Other people's reputation that is, and not necessarily our own.

We make judgements every time we encounter another ship in space, judgements often not based on what ship they may or may not be in, but on the reputation of the pilot or Corp/Alliance they happen to be a part of. Are they known for SUDDENLY FALCON or for dropping a Cyno at the first sign of trouble? Are they blobbers? Or runners? Do they embrace a good fight or run from the possibility of one?

And no self-respecting Low Sec dweller will admit that their own reputation matters to them, "Who cares what other people think?" is the usual refrain. And for the most part, they are right. Heck, I know I don't really care either.

Which is the double edged razor thing I mentioned earlier. It's all about perspective isn't it? It isn't a blob if its your gang killing the poor Retriever in the top belt. It isn't a Station Camp if you just happen to undock on some poor, ill-fitted Ferox sitting outside the station. You aren't a Noob Killer if you've been roaming for an hour and find an Ibis lighting a Cyno on a station ( I'm guilty of this one myself! ).

It does matter of course. But only in so far as it encourages more good fights. If other pilots think you'll pull a Falcon out of your ass every time you get into trouble... well, they may choose to move on. Or, even worse, they may escalate the opportunity and bring a Cyno along. And then you'll have no one to blame but yourself.

Reputation is extremely important. It is one of the main reasons why the Tusker Code is strictly enforced. It is also the reason why we spend so much time and effort talking about fittings and tactics in our Corporation. The last thing we need is a bunch of horrible ship losses or idiots... Well, except for me of course. They let me stay because Sulei loves me so much. It is kind of embarrassing.

Oh yes, I am terrible at Eve. Please tell your friends. Nothing to fear here.

I know, nothing terribly revelatory today. Forgive me, I wrote two frikkin' awesome posts yesterday and I'm a little tired this morning. Stayed up late last night.

Onward and upward.



BB46: MY GOD WHAT IS THAT THING!!??!



EVE Online is heading into its Second Decade with renewed vigour and a new development strategy. At the CSM Summit in December, Executive Producer CCP Unifex and Development Director CCP Seagull explained how future development and expansions will be broader in scope than recent "collections of features" stating that CCP "want to create something more inspirational, that players aspire to play." 

With the return of Live Events such as the Battle for Caldari Prime, clearly the prime fiction of EVE is back in favour as part of this new thematic approach to expansions. However, EVE's story is very much a tale of two playstyles, with an entirely player-driven narrative unfolding daily in parallel to the reinvigorated backstory. Often, they do not mix well. How can these two disparate elements be united or at least comfortably co-exist in a single sandbox universe?


You may be shocked to find out that I'm probably going to take a completely different stance on this than many of my fellow Banterers may be taking. I don't happen to agree with the basic premise of the statement above, that this is a dual play-style issue and that they are "disparate" at all. Hogwash.

You can't have a sandbox unless someone builds a sandbox. And every once in awhile little Timmy, Jimmy, and Gloria are boring little brats that only sit in their own corners building the same crap every day. Sometimes it is funny to introduce some Fire Ants into the sand. Gets the kids moving again, y'know?

You should take a moment to read this amazing post called "The Unexpected Journey" that perfectly highlights the exact type and style of Live Events we need more of in Eve.
Go on, I'll wait.


"More inspirational, that players aspire to play"

I'll take a wild guess here and say that people that play Eve are most likely Science Fiction fans of one sort or another. Call me crazy, but I bettcha I'm right. We need more science fiction in Eve. More wonder. More mystery. More unexplained, "Holy God we actually do live in a real universe!!" moments. ( That moment when the Bear wanders into your suburban utopia and reminds you that you actually used to be in the Food chain!)

These, along with events like the Battle for Caldari Prime, will continue to inspire the player base and leak out into the real world. Spreading love of Eve to all peoples.

I don't have a lot to say on this Blog Banter because I already feel like I wrote the perfect response to it with the Unexpected Journey way back in August of last year. ( yikes!! )

The great thing about these types of "mystery" events is they don't take a lot of effort, time or commitment to implement. Also, and I think this is important, they give the employees of CCP something fun to do every so often. That is also good for morale by the way.

Here are some free idears:

• The Visitor
One day in Jita an enormous vessel appears outside of the trading station, it is ginormous and easily dwarfs the station and everything else around it. It just sits there and slowly spins for several ( TZ crossing!! ) hours. Every so often it emits a deep bass howl ( encourages people to have sound turned on!! ) but that's about it. It eventually disappears as mysteriously as it appeared. Social media explodes! Did you see that?! WTF!? Whoa.

• INFECTED
For a short period of time all ships coming to Empire space from Null have 'something' attached to their ships! This could be so awesome, a large red bulbous thing that pulsates and emits a faint blue light lol. Think HP Lovecraft. They eventually die and fall off but wtf?!

• Space Octopus!!
Pick a station somewhere, there are plenty of systems with to many stations!! And eat it with a Giant Space Octopus!! ( Or Space Goat, turtle, whatever) Let the eating take some time with lots of debris and useless shooting of guns and whatnots. Just think about how much fun that could be!

Has anyone else read any science fiction around here? There are literally a gazillion ideas  that would rock New Eden, be fun, create mystery and inspiration, drive interest in the public and make Eve something even more special than it is right now. And isn't that what we all want?

I know I do. Go Eve. Go Space Octopus!


For more banters on this subject visit this link.


Bad Weapons

With the recent news that Cruise Missiles will be getting some much, much needed loving, I started to wonder what other weapon systems needed some attention.

I'm finding it difficult wrapping my head around the idea that Cruise Missiles might, I repeat might, be a valid weapon choice. I was born Caldari and the fact that they suck for PvP is ingrained in my DNA. Same with the Raven, the two things being linked. Will I ever actually buy a Raven and undock it, without shame, for PvP purposes? Only time will tell.

Which leads me to the following:

• Defender and FoF Missiles
I did once successfully use these for the purpose they were intended. Once, in five years. Scared off a Falcon even though he had my Drake jammed. This event was in no way a shining example of how awesome Defender Missiles are, but rather an accidental collision of pure luck and timing that can't easily be replicated.

I suspect that someone once had a clear understanding of what these things were for, and then they were eaten by a Polar Bear in Iceland and now we'll never know.

Frankly the best idea for these Missiles would be if someone just deleted them during downtime one day and didn't even mention it to anyone. We can all agree to just pretend they never existed in the first place. Ok?

• Medium Railguns
Small rail guns and large rail guns are just fine. But those guys in the middle need some tender loving. I honestly can't think of a single ship that I would fit medium rails to. And since I fly everything BS and below, that is saying something. They shouldn't be on this list, but they are. So let's get busy and fix 'em.

• Beam Lasers
You probably guessed they would be next when you were up there reading about Medium Rails, didn't you? Beam lasers seem like a no-brainer, but I suspect CCP is having the same fundamental problem we all have... what is the difference between a "Pulse" laser and a "Beam" laser? Uh. Once they get that sorted I'm sure they'll figure out how to make Beams worthy of actually training and using. Right?

It would be remiss of me not to mention that fixes are desperately needed when it comes to Citadel Torps, EC Drones, Warp Core Stabs ( I threw that one in just in case someone from CCP is reading this!! ), and the fact that certain weapon systems are named things they are not. (800mm Repeating Artillery are not actually artillery are they?)

I'm certain I'm missing a bunch. Why not bring up your own pet peeve weapon system in the comments?



Choose Your Own Adventure

What I want is the perfect way to introduce a new player to the world of Eve Online. A way to explain to them the wonders of the sandbox, the hidden joys of the skill train, the intricacies of buying things you haven't earned, alts, mains, corp thieves and all the other amazing things that await them.

I don't want them to get frustrated and quit. I want them to love it, to subscribe when the 14 day trial is over and come join the rest of us in space.

That is what I want. What we have is a reality far, far away from that. What we have is an overly complex and overwhelming experience that probably scares the living crap out of most people. It is dark, complex and nothing ever really happens. ( My wife said to me the other day, having watched me explode a Frigate, "That is the first time I've ever seen anything happen!!" She wasn't that far off.)

I've written about the New Player Experience before. I've even made a few proposals here and there. What I've learned since then is nothing is easy when it comes to explaining Eve. And developing a system, that works, that is fair, equal and compelling, for New Players is almost impossible.

No wonder CCP has spent so little effort on it over the years. Sure, it IS better than it was when I started playing in 2008. But that isn't an example of how good it is now, rather on how bad it was to begin with.

So what can be done? Do we limit rookie systems to just rookies? Do we create Sanctuary Systems to give the young player a sense of the game before they head out into space? More tutorials? Mini-games? What exactly can be done without ruining the sandbox that is the backbone of the Eve experience?

Eve has existed for over a decade now. The new player experience has always been historically worse than it is now. But Eve has managed to live despite this inherent flaw in the system. So what we have now is working after a fashion. Could it be better?  Of course, there is always room for improvements.

Here are some suggestions for improving the overall quality of the new player experience:

• The Basics
After you create your Avatar and enter the ships hanger for the very first time I'd like to see a clean screen, darkened hanger and only your pod hanging in space. "This is your Pod. The Avatar you've created is safely secure inside this Pod." As the narrator continues additional sections of the screen, such as local chat, channels, the overview, ship, and slot fitting windows are revealed. One at a time, with a brief description of the function and purpose of each. I've actually given some thought to creating a video like this. But I think such a brief (five minutes) introduction would help tremendously at the very beginning.

• Choose Your Own Adventure
I think more moral choices in the early tutorials would also be helpful. For example, imagine a mission in which the new player is presented with a choice, he warps to a belt only to find two others already engaged in combat. One is a negative sec status npc pirate and the other a positive sec status ratter or miner. Which does he assist? The choice is his, but whatever he chooses leads him down a slightly different path in the chain of tutorials. And like the book above, each choice leads in a different direction. This isn't intended to force anyone along a specific learning direction, but simply to illuminate the possibilities of such choices in the sandbox.

• New Player Advocates
Imagine a channel that doesn't exist within the normal channels of the game. An invitation only channel managed by CCP, in which new players are given access for the first two weeks only. Also given access is a new type of Eve player, an Eve player who has applied for and been given access, an Eve player who is called a New Player Advocate. I think I know a bunch of people that would be interested in helping with such a channel, heck I'd probably do it myself. Miners, Industrials, Soldiers, Pirates, NPA from all over New Eden in channel to answer questions and assist the new player. And encourage them.

• Testimonials
I also think interviews with the NPA's Avatars would be incredible. Little slices of Eve life from the perspective of those that live it and available in-game and out. Imagine Rixx sitting on his couch in the CQ, "Hello. My name is Rixx Javix and CONCORD has labeled me a Pirate."  Or, "Hi, my name is Thor Buildalot and every ship in New Eden comes from these hands." You get the idea. Bring the career path to life. It is a common tactic for educational institutions, why not use it for Eve?

• OP Success
Nothing is more frustrating for New Players than frustration. Eve is a long haul, immediate satisfaction is hard to come by for the very young. I would imagine this issue results in more quitters than any other. And while there is nothing we can do to change that, nor would we want to, we can engineer earlier success into the game. We can actually control that. This is an extension of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" aspect of the tutorials, but an important one. I strongly believe that all tutorials should be written with this in mind, to give the new player a sense of actual accomplishment and achievement. Of OP Success. Nothing beyond their abilities, but built on their own level.


The important thing is that all of these efforts spring from an overall strategy, supported by marketing and development, that is aimed squarely at retaining trials. DUST is going to be bringing more and more players to Eve. It would be great to keep more of them playing. New blood is good for everyone, especially now that we've entered our second decade.

What are your thoughts?



WCS Plexer Theme Song

These lyrics need some minor tweaks, but this is the official theme song of every WCS FW plexer in Eve.





By the way, it's me knocking and I will be coming in.



Who can it be knocking at my plex?
Go 'way, move on to the next
Can't you see that it's late at night?
I'm very tired and I'm not feeling right

All I wish is to be alone
Stay away, don't you invade my home
Best off if you hang outside
Don't come in, I'll only cloak and hide

Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?

Who can it be knocking at my gate?
Make no sound, I won't accept my fate
If he hears, he'll knock all day
I'll be trapped and here I'll have to stay

I've done no harm, I keep to myself
There's nothing wrong with my state of mental health
I like it here with my faction alt
Here they come, those pirates again!

Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?

Is it the pirate come to take me away?
Why do they follow me?
It's not his points that I can see
It's just my warp core stabs

Oh, who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?
Who can it be now?

Oh, who can it be now?
Oh, yeah, who can it, who can it
Oh, who can it be now?
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah



Point on Target!


This week I've spent some time examining the issue of supposed safety within the confines of the Eve sandbox. My intention was to build up over several posts to some conclusions regarding issues that I believe are important for the long-term success of this game we all love.

I am pro-Eve. Always have been. Which means I am pro all play styles. I strongly believe in the power of the sandbox, the right of all players to choose whatever style of play they want to pursue. From elite solo fighter to perma-docked market trader, we all have a part to play in the grand scheme. I do also happen to be an advocate for a much more aggressive style of play called Piracy. I believe it is the most fun that Eve has to offer, the most challenging and rewarding existence in all of New Eden. Those two things can and do exist at the same time.

I haven't always been a Pirate. And this week I also spent some time promoting my own bonafides in that regard. There isn't much in this game I haven't tried. And I pursued them all with the same vigor and enthusiasm that I now do Piracy. And some day, I may move on into yet another play style.

The safest you can be within Eve is never undocking. The most dangerous you can be is flying solo thru enemy territory. In-between exists an entire spectrum of play and engagement. That is, after all, the heart of the sandbox. The "choose your own adventure" style of story.

The truth is, there is no "right" answer. One choice is not inherently better or worse than another. What they are, in the final analysis, are choices. And choice brings with it elements of the unknown. The unknown, as in real life, lurks around every corner. It might be a black cat, or it could be three hoodlums with a baseball bat.

In the end we are all afforded the opportunity to exist together, to struggle, to find our own path, together in this playground that CCP has kindly built for us. What we choose to do within the confines of that playground is our choice. There will be bullies in our playground, those that run and skip, those that organize into teams, those that spin in circles on the merry-go-round, and those that lurk on the edges. That is the nature of human nature. And Eve is no different.

That doesn't mean that those of us who have seen the playground at work can't offer advice and guidance to those that are new, the vistors, or the kid that just moved here from Jersey. We know how the playground works, who the bullies are, how the system works, and how "we think" you'd be best served to function. That is the nature of advice. But we also know, because we've been there ourselves, that the best lessons are the ones you learn yourself.

I also believe that CCP could be doing much more to empower the new player experience and expose the young to the perils and rewards of the playground. I've spent a lot of time over the last four years on this blog promoting that ideal, from proposing solutions to discussing it over and over again. I think it is the singular issue to launch the next decade from. CCP has done a tremendous job since Incarna in building a universe that makes more sense to us existing players than it ever has before. Much remains to be done certainly, this is a journey and not a destination. But I believe the focus should be on getting more of our new players to stay the course.

Especially in light of DUST, we may be experiencing a boom in those willing to give Eve a try.

Next I will spend some time - once again - on how we can improve the new player experience without hiding the realities of Eve.




Teeth or Dentures?


For you younger players I will spin you a yarn about a place that once existed in New Eden, a place that is long gone and whose like we may never see again. This place wasn't special, it was just a place that was unique. Especially to a two-week old Rookie. It was called Providence. It is still called that, but the Providence I'm talking about hasn't existed for almost three years now.

It was a Null-Sec Carebear kingdom, ruled over by a strict NRDS role-playing Alliance called CVA and managed by their little group of holder Alliances, LFA, Paxton and the others that seemed to come and go. Providence is among the worst pieces of Null-Sec real estate you could ever want to own, so mostly others left us alone. They may have not wanted our Sov but they surely wanted to hunt and kill us. The great thing about Provi in those days was the fights.

Surrounded by -A- on one side and Goons on the other, Providence was the choice destination for anyone that wanted a fight. Constant border fights, incursions ( back when that word meant real players entering your space to kill you! ), and roaming gangs from the four corners of New Eden.

The Provi Holders were an incredibly mixed bag of young players ( like me! ) and seasoned vets, and everything in-between - but for the most part we were all carebears. Provi loved to carebear. Which was yet another thing that drew the fighters to our shores. Easy kills. You wouldn't believe some of the dumb stuff my fellow Alliance pilots did back in those days. One of my first corporation CEO's used to lose so many Hulks, at one point it was almost one per day!! I kid you not.

We deserved the reputation we had back in those days. Looking back on it.

But at the time, it was an entirely different story. For one thing, Provi allowed a very young player to get a tremendous amount of experience in fighting the enemy. We never had to go far to find a fight, since the fights were usually coming to us. Especially between us and -A-, in those early days we both had a "gentlemen's agreement" regarding good fights.

But, even as Carebears, we all took a tremendous amount of pride in docking up and bringing the fight to the enemy. We often sucked at it, no doubt about that. But that didn't stop us from trying, learning and working on getting better. We were defending our space.

Defending your own space. That is a feeling that has stuck with me even now as a Pirate. I still consider the system I live in to be mine. And anyone that comes to attack it is an invader that needs to be dealt with.

I've never understood the fundamental distinction between Carebear and PvP pilot. Maybe it is this weird upbringing of mine that is at fault. Sure I mined some back in those days, but mostly I made ISK off ratting and trading. For a brief period of time I was the sole supplier of rigs in Provi, I must have made several hundred trips to Empire and back in my Badger Mark II with a cargo hold full of large rigs ( that was the only size back then!! ). Believe it or not, I only ever lost one Badger!! Gosh, I made a ton of ISK off a 7% margin. lol.

In my mind Carebears defend themselves. In Empire when our Corp was War Decc'd, we'd fight back. We didn't just take it. We'd often War Dec 'em right back and sit off their station and wait for them to undock. I've sat off the Jita station waiting for some poor schmuck to undock in his freighter. And I had 4m skillpoints at the time.

Oh yes, all of this happened between two weeks old and about 20m or so skillpoints.

I hear a lot of whining these days about safety. About hi-sec and how it should be safer to coddle the carebears so they don't leave the game. I disagree. I strongly disagree.

I do believe the new player experience needs to be better. Over the years I've advocated for several great ideas on how to do that. From Sanctuary Rookie Systems to two-weeks tutorial simulators, to allowing Rookies to experience more than their share of combat, mining, and everything Eve has to offer. And more.

But Eve itself? People do not keep playing a boring game!

I have three young boys. They love Minecraft. They've built some amazing structures and have been playing it for almost three years now. You know what they do almost 90% of the time? They PvP. In Minecraft! You know why they do that? Because Minecraft is frikkin' boring as crap!!

Hell the best moments in Sim City are when you unleash Godzilla or the Giant Robot on your City!

Carebear and Wimp are not always the same thing.

And I just went off on a mini-rant there. But I've been, over the past three days, trying to make a point. Eve is dangerous. That's why Eve is great. Eve won't be great when the danger is gone. It'll be boring. Yes, we need to work harder to keep and train new players so they don't get frustrated and quit. But we also don't need to coddle anyone.

Carebears without teeth are simply victims. Carebears with teeth? They are survivors.



NEW SHIPS!!!

Click to embiggen!!
New Navy Ships!

A bunch of changes to existing Navy ships and a handful of new BC versions for the Drake, Cane, Brutix and Binger!! Read all about it at that link.

Based solely on the provided image my only concern at the moment is the skins. I think they still need some work to be worthy of this great news.

Can't wait to get my hands on these.



First Days

I didn't know a damn thing about Eve when I started playing back in September 2008. Nothing except that I wanted to play this new spaceship game I'd seen. I downloaded it, chose my race on a total whim, jumped into a shiny new Ibis and sat there in the station. I could spin the 3d model.

It took several minutes to realize the whole right-click thing. As most people know by now, I am a rather dedicated Mac user, so right-clicking on things wasn't yet a habit. Luckily I always used a multi-function mouse, so it wasn't as big a deal for me as I suppose it would be for other single button Mac users.

I am now going to admit several things I've never admitted before.

1. I never used any of the tutorials.
I tried. So I guess that statement is technically wrong, but I never finished one, or I found them horrible and quickly turned them off. Whichever thing is closest to the truth is the one I did, this was almost five years ago now. I may have run a few of them, but either way I found the entire process horrible. They didn't help.

2. I felt an overwhelming sense of overwhelming sense.
Eve is big and complicated and noisy, even with the sound turned off! Local is nuts, the chat channels that open on you are non-stop and full of random banter, the "help"channel isn't a help at all. Things spin, turn and blink a lot. It is sensory overload on a massive scale.

3. I was scared to death
Remember this is in Todaki. ( Which makes me laugh now of course. ) But space is big and empty and full of things!! I only knew one person in Eve at this point and he was going thru the same things as I was, although two weeks ahead of me, so the sheer amount of false information was staggering.

4. It took me three days before I made my first jump thru a Gate.
I don't think I will ever again feel the way I did when I realized you didn't have to burn to a gate, but could do something called "Warp" and that Gate loomed above my ship and I first hit that Jump button. I can't describe the sense of... well, whatever the heck that was.

I started hearing about Alliances, corporations and war decs and ganks and mining and industry. For a few days I was convinced that in Eve you had to build your own ships! ( I still have Frigate Construction as a skill! ) I didn't want anything to do with those things. I just wanted to be left alone to learn and figure things out on my own.

It was hard. But believe it or not, the difficulty is what made me want to do it. I'd never experienced anything like it before in a "video game". I died a lot in those days. I had no idea what I was doing and Eve continued to be frustrating, unfair and downright horrible. I came close to quitting on many, many days. I was scared to death of "reds" and didn't really understand the different between "rats" and "pirates".

I loved every minute of it. I eventually found a corporation and was convinced to join by my friend. We spent our time between Providence and Caldari space. Yes, two weeks into the game and I flew the pipe thru Null Sec into Providence. I ratted in null and in high/low. I was killed by roving gangs of -A- and by hi-sec gankers and war decs. Can flippers too.

The rest is history.

The post yesterday and this one are part of a series. My own reflection on what it means in the grand scheme of things. Violence, young players and the safety some suppose we should have more of. As usual, I am pondering the bigger questions before formulating some thoughts on possible solutions.

The point of this post? I still remember what those first days are like. I grew up being a victim, a helpless noob in the grips of talented and experienced gate campers, blobbers, bubbles and more. I know what that feels like. I haven't forgotten.

I always wondered, back then, what it would be like to have 80m skillpoints and have played Eve for five years. Now I know. It has been a long and amazing journey, but it is a journey and not a finish. And we still have a long way to go.



Assault with a Deadly Weapon

It was about 2:30 am. I hadn't planned on returning late. My girlfriend and I had a falling out and I ended up leaving the party early. I hadn't planned on leaving at all.

The walk back took me thru a section of deserted industrial darkness. In particular underneath a rather foreboding railroad bridge. It was winter and it was cold.

In moments like this your mind conjures all sorts of terrible scenarios, flicking around your options like a menu of less and less desirable food. You know you are screwed. Only the odds play in your favor.

Except when they don't.

The two stepped out of the shadows in front of me. The other one I didn't know was behind me until his baseball bat glanced off my shoulder and head. The hood of my winter coat absorbed most of the impact, but I saw stars. The details of what happened next are confusing to me now, lost in the fog of time and of the many re-tellings. But I spun around immediately and grabbed the bat on his back swing. The other two yelling, the look of surprise on "Willie May's" face as he lost his grip. He didn't have a hood. But I spared him his face. The other two didn't spare me their fists. Nor I mine.

I was lucky. Lucky they didn't have anything more than a bat and some other blunt instrument that might have been brass knuckles or a pipe. I was lucky that I was bigger and not the easy target they thought I'd be. I'd been a fighter all my life, both on purpose and in defense. In the end they ran and I made it back to my apartment. I was black and blue, and my head was bleeding. But otherwise no worse than I deserved.

In Eve parlance, I had been the victim of a gank.

The typical thing at this point in the post would be to tell you how horrible the experience was, how I learned to have sympathy with the poor victims and how this event changed my life. That would be the expected, easy thing to tell you. But it would also be a lie.

I survived because I was bigger, smarter and meaner than my attackers. I was also incredibly lucky. But I "won" ( for lack of a better word ) the encounter. That is an euphoric feeling. That is a powerful rush. The event didn't make me seek out such adventures or put on a cape and fight crime. No, I went about my life the same as before. I've always refused to be a victim. That has been in my character since I was born. This event was just another in a long string of such events, some bigger and many more smaller. It is just one marker on the path of my life.

And so it is with Eve. We choose to be the victim or we don't. I didn't have to walk back from that party, I could have easily have gotten a ride from a friend or called a Taxi. I knew, somewhere deep down, what I was doing. No, I didn't ask for it. But I wasn't doing a lot to avoid it, was I?

When your finger hovers over the jump button and the gate leads to Null or Low Sec, you are actively engaging the option of suppressed violence. Only the odds play in your favor... except when they don't.

Life is a violent engagement. You may or may not be aware of it. Every once in awhile, the forces that lie beneath the surface arise to bring you down. They are always there. Around the corner, in the other lane, above you in the sky, smoking in the wiring, squirming on the unclean faucets in the bar, wafting in the air, expelled from the nearby factory, or simply festering on the artery near your heart.

And Eve reflects that. Albiet in a safe, virtual landscape that is removed from reality. But the enduring quality of New Eden is how well it reflects that reality. Eve is harsh because life itself is. And that quality, that violent engagement, should never change.

Those that seek eternal safety are fooling themselves. Such a thing is only determined by how big the blinders you've attached to your eyes happen to be.

Stop being the victim and fight back. You might just surprise yourself.

And me.


[PS: I feel a sudden urge to say something. This is a post about Eve, not about real life. I have used this true story to illustrate a point about Eve, not real life. I am not advocating that victims fight back, or that their actions lead to criminal victimization. That would be ludicrous in my opinion. Just so the record is straight here, I reported the crime to the Police. Eventually those three men were caught and convicted. I also had to go to the hospital and have 22 stitches in my head. It was not my intention to down play the serious nature of the event. But since this is an Eve blog, I tried to frame it in an entertaining and Eve focused context. Real world violence is a serious issue with serious consequences for all of those involved. Eve is a game. I am well aware of the difference.]


Rixx Javix: The Movie

Sometimes I just do things to see if I can. And to have some fun. This is one of those.


Javix The Movie
Click to embiggen!!

I wanted to see if I could capture my Avatar's head and transform it into a realistic ( somewhat, at least ) version similar to the beautiful shot on the recent movie poster for Lincoln. This worked pretty well considering. It helps that both Rixx and the former President share some basic features, like hair style, beard and whatnots.

I've been an extremely busy camper this last week and I apologize for the lack of substantial postings lately. But I just finished a huge freelance project that was taking up a nice chunk of my time, so things should be getting back to normal again.

In the meantime enjoy the movie poster. And imagine the film that could be made...



Tusker Frigate Free For All #3 Announced

Tusker Frigate Free For All 3 Wallpaper
Click to embiggen

More details can be found here on our public forum.

Lots of surprises and prizes in the works for this one. And while it is still a little over a month away, it is never too early to start planning on being there!

More to come.


[On the poster: I wanted to do something different this time out. The last two posters were inspired by pin-up girls and WW2 art, and they both took a lot of work. This time I wanted to get away from that and I started thinking about third films in series, which made me think of Jaws and the horrible sequels that it inspired. Sharks sounded like a great theme for a FFA and so I started going down that path. At first I thought of Austin Powers and "Sharks with Frikkin Laser Beams!" but that turned out to be a bit of a dead-end for me for some reason. I can't explain the way this works. But then everything clicked and I found this great image of some shark fins that I could put together to make three sharks, three rifters and the whole thing came together. The tagline for Jaws: The Revenge ( the third sequel ) was "This time it's personal" which seemed to fit rather well given the nature of an FFA. The tagline for Jaws 3 was a close second, "The third dimension is terror", but that didn't fit as well. And now you know way more than you wanted to know about it. ]




Instead of HOPE, we have...

HOLE
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I really enjoy doing these campaign posters! But I also won't deny I'll be happy when the campaign is over. Vote Nathan Jameson as your WH candidate. Go on, do eeet!!



Hilmar Loves Me

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No one was more shocked than me.

But incredibly honored. I'll try my best to keep up the great work here on the blog.

(And no, dat ain't shopped!)



VOTE CSM8

The vote is now up and running for CSM8.

I did my duty and voted for those I felt best deserved my support. Unlike many people apparently, I found the voting system easy to use and understand. But then again, I am smarter than the average bear.

I do have a small village of accounts ( don't you never mind! ) and each of them voted the exact same way. I already gave you my top 5 and I'm going to leave it at that. The rest went to other non-aligned candidates... except for one.

Yes, I voted for Progodlegend. Progod and I flew together years ago in Providence and I learned a lot from him on how to FC large scale fleets. Often on large roams Progod would turn the reins over to me, or count on me to run smaller support fleets. I have no idea why he did that, but it was a huge deal back in the day and I learned a tremendous amount. I even became Covert Operations Director for the LFA under his direction for a time.

So I felt I owed him my support.

Your vote is totally and completely meaningless by the way, as is mine. The large, unified power-blocs will make the decisions on who gets to be on the CSM. Which is ironic, since the CSM itself is also relatively meaningless. It's all such a huge circle of lack of meaning that it makes me chuckle. But you should vote anyway!

I did. I want to see my friends get what they want. It is the only reason I care.  And maybe, just maybe, we'll be lucky enough to get another Hans on the council this year. Because as meaningless as they often have been, there have been a few good ones over the years.

And that gives the whole thing some potential meaning after all.

Talk about circles.



Learn to Fly: Fed Navy Comet

"Learn to Fly" is a series in which we examine the specific skills required to properly fly a ship in Eve Online.

Previous Chapters: Condor / Sac


In this installment we shall take a look at another denizen of the space lanes, the Federation Navy Comet. I wil mention up-front the usual disclaimer, my fits are constantly evolving and changing things based on actual in-space combat. I do not use EFT or other fitting tools, I fly my ships into danger until they explode.

The Comet is an exciting and dangerous little ship. Despite having lost its distinctive "police" light recently it remains a demanding and potentially lethal addition to your arsenal. There are many schools of thought on fitting a Comet, from Null sec dual prop versions, to blaster brawlers, but in my experience there is only one major theme for successfully fitting the ship for low sec combat.

Let's take a look at some recent Comet kills:
Comet vs Jaguar
Comet vs Corax
Comet vs Hookbill
Comet vs Merlin
Comet vs Drake
Comet vs Kestrel

Even those few examples give you an idea of the variety of targets the Comet is more than capable of dealing with in today's New Eden environment.

Example Fitting

RJ's Railgun 'O Death Comet

High Slots
2x 150mm Railgun II

Medium Slots
AB - Fit to flavor, I often use a Faction AB, but anything is fine here tbh.
Scram - Use a T2 or high Meta
Web - X5 works fine, unless you want to spring for the Faction Web

Low Slots
200mm Tungsten Plate - I sometimes fly without the plate, but tbh I die more in those ships
Magnetic Field Stab II
Damage Control - One of the meta ones because of the tight fit
Small Ancillary Armor Rep - Oh yeah, this is the magic
(Regular Rep works as well, but not as well)

Rigs - This varies, but here is a standard version
Small Aux Nano Pump
Small Hybrid Burst Aerator
Small Trimark Armor Pump

Drones - Usually 3 Warriors

The important thing to remember is that nothing is set in stone. These are tight fits and you'll need to test them out with T2 and Meta versions of the mods listed to find the fit that works for you and your skills.

Know Your Ship

This fit is what's known as a Scram Kiting Fit. With Caldari Navy Antimater loaded in your guns you can expect to hit targets right at Disrupter range, with the optimal slightly under that. You should also carry the various other versions of Rail ammo, for both short and longer range targets. But tbh, I almost always end up using CNA in the guns.

On most targets you will be attacking slightly within overheated Scram range. You will be using your own Scram and Web to hold the target down and kill it with overheated damage from your guns and drones. You will be overheating ALOT in this ship and I must warn you ahead of time, almost all good fights come down to you in structure! So do not panic when this happens! It is normal. So make sure your Thermodynamic skills are up to par before undocking in this thing.

The blaster fit Comet is dead. In today's Eve, with the wide variety of Rocket/Light Missile and drone based kitting targets, the blaster Comet is too easily murdered from a distance. The rail fit however is a rather nasty surprise for any little frigate that wants to try and kite it. With Iron loaded you can hit way past your own lock range! So, for all intents and purposes, the Comet is impossible to kite.

( And yes, the blaster Comet still has a place. I have one fitted in my hanger and it pretty much just sits there. I am, as always, talking generalities.)

If you run into a target that you are not sure of, start high and use the spiral engagement process I told you about in the Condor post linked above. You won't have point, but it is amazing how often your target won't even realize it.

Targets

I tend to stay away from targets with heavier than normal tanks and lots and lots of drones. I have killed drone boats in it, just be relatively certain they are alone as they can take time to destroy. In the case of drones, keep your speed high and web/shoot until the drones are dead. Make sure to keep scram on the target.

Most Destroyers are fair game, except for the Dragoon. I learned that one the hard way, with its rocket/neut/drone combination it is a formidable target to bring down. As always the situation and age of the target should also be considered. My Dragoon was an experienced pilot.

Reality

The Comet is perfectly constructed for today's Low Sec environment. Plunging into Plex, bushwacking unsuspecting belt ratters, it is a great little small gang, tackle or solo ship. It is also not cheap. It is also a white knuckle death machine for you and your enemy. People will blob you, ECM you and generally try to kill you anyway they can.

I love it.



The Young Javix Adventure Club

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I had just removed an enemy Proteus from outside the V Station in Hevrice when I docked back up for repairs. It had been a long day and my family was away in Dodixie for supplies. So I made my way up to the Observation Deck to grab a quick bite before heading out on a sweep of nearby systems.

God's Apples and Cable were already there so I grabbed a seat next to them and started swapping stories. Cable pointed over to one of the big bay of windows circling the deck and said, "Rixx? See those lads over there?"  It was hard to miss them, about fifty boys of various ages hanging around, some of them seemed to be fighting. "I see 'em."

"Well they watched the entire time you fought that Proteus... and, well, they was cheerin' for you!" My eyes narrowed, "You don't suspect they are red spies do you?" They laughed and Cable punched me on the shoulder, "Nah mate, you have yourself a fan club."

A fan club? As much as even being near a window in Station makes me nervous, I got up and wandered over to the group. They saw me coming and quickly encircled me. "It's him!" "Wow!" "He's more handsome than I thought he'd be! ( Yes, a few girls were also among them.) I raised my hands and told them to be quiet. I looked around them all for a moment, young, enthusiastic, low-class and high, a representative mix of Station personnel children. "What's going on here?" I tried not to sound menacing.

One of the very young boys came forward, he was carrying something in both his hands. He raised them to me and I saw what he had. In his left hand he was holding a model of the Fed Navy Comet, in the other... as I came to learn later it was a rather popular Rixx Javix Action Figure.  "We were just playing that time you took on five baddies in yer Comet!" That sparked another wave of questions and the rest of the afternoon quickly became a blur.

That was last week. Since then I've been introduced to the clubhouse, a makeshift room at the top of the sentry mast where you can see several parsecs into surrounding space - they even have a running DotlanX4000 on a monitor so they can watch me as I travel to other systems.  I haven't met them all yet, I understand there are several hundred in this station alone. ( Yes, there seem to be other chapters as well. )

I've taken it upon myself to keep an eye on them. My wife seems to be eternally amused at the entire affair, but she's embraced them as well. These are sons and daughters of the station dwellers, workers, traders and builders mostly. There are a few orphans, none that I made so thankfully. I suspect those may not be excited about the YJAC.

I was a young boy once. My heroes were soldiers of the Caldari, those brave men and women who protected us from the Gal. Until they let us down and my home was burned, my parents murdered and I was sold into slavery. And while my path has led to a different course, it still means something that my efforts to protect ( even in my own way ) the citizens of Hevrice, have not gone unnoticed. And who knows, maybe among these young children, burns one or two of the next generation?

Until then I keep a Rixx Javix Action Figure in my CQ. Y'know, for sentimental reasons.