A Look Back at 2014

Rixx Javix Time Cover

Time for another retrospective. Here is the one from last year.

If 2013 was the year of Stay Frosty, then 2014 has to be the year of A Band Apart. The Alliance was born on March 23rd and has grown, expanded and thrived ever since then. Often in ways that I couldn't have predicted. But that it was specifically designed to do. ABA is an amazing group of crazy, dedicated, and intelligent players that appreciate the freedom and flexibility that our unique Alliance provides.

At nearly 500 members strong we must be doing something right. Our Wormhole Corps are doing extremely well, Supreme Mathematics and Voodoo Children are both strong and focused on slightly different goals. Lucifer's Hammer is picking up steam and we will be doing even more this year to build a powerful foundation there. New Eden Renegades recently joined the Alliance and their Corp is growing fast again, they are a great compliment to Stay Frosty. Two completely different approaches to piracy and pvp, that work well together.

I would like to add a vibrant new player training Corporation to the mix in 2015, but only one that is worthy to be a part of our family. Still looking.

2014 was my sixth year of playing Eve and the 5th year of writing EVEOGANDA! Another 295 posts in the archives, countless pieces of art, comics, weird things, and several in-game Events. Around 1.5 million visitors took time to visit the blog this year and I thank each of them for doing so. I hope to continue to provide a great place to visit in the coming year for all fans of Eve Online.

There are many exciting and potentially incredible things on the horizon for 2015. I will be attending my very first FanFest this coming March. And there are already a few surprises in the works I can't talk about yet.

I hope you stick around for the journey.

To each of you I wish only the very best of wishes for you and yours this coming year.

Hang on.

Vibrant Space

Yesterday A Band Apart took control of six systems around Ishomilken and pushed out the Caldari Militia that had been holding them. Honestly we'd been getting pretty darn tired of paying for repairs, extra industry taxes, and other stuff I find not important enough to remember. Mostly we did it to piss off the other Pirate Alliances in the area and to hopefully generate more conflict and interest from the local militia groups.

We've heard that Gal Militia recently converted four more systems to Faction War zones last week, so that might explain where everyone has been lately. At this rate it won't be long before all of low sec is in one of the faction's hands. Which is probably good timing before things get really nutty and you can join your Corp/Alliance to Pirate Factions after the next release!

Seriously, low sec has never been more vibrant.

I was chasing stabbed plex farmers out of their holes yesterday and thinking about my low sec experience and why no one will stand and fight for what they "own" when it occurred to me, "If they don't care, then why shouldn't I just take it from them!" I mean, I am a Pirate! And believe me, I have no interest in owning space. But on the other hand, I might do it to piss someone else off and cause trouble. Also, if it meant some benefit (like zero repair bills) then it might just be worth it.

Imagine Pirate Alliances and Militia fighting for the same space. Could be interesting.

And what about the rest of Low Sec? The empty non-FW bits? Maybe it is time to allow the Militias the chance to convert that space to their faction? To transition non-FW space into FW space? Expansion. More plex, more iskies, more conflict, more pirates, more fun.

Back in 2013 I wrote a post about allowing players to align themselves with one of the Pirate Factions. Not actually join one, but align themselves with one or the other.

The point of all of this? We are on the right path when it comes to Low Sec. It is so much better than it was even four years ago. But, what happens next? I don't know the answer because I don't know where High Sec or Null Sec is headed either. You can't make suggestions for Low Sec without knowing where the others are headed, or without any idea of what the overall plan is. This is the problem with making suggestions these days. It used to be that CCP didn't seem to have a plan, and so we could just make up ones for them. But now that they seem to have a plan, and we don't know what it is, sorta leaves us out in the cold.

So here is what it all boils down to - More Player Engagement.

Give us the tools and the content to provide more reasons for our players to care, to get involved, and to engage with Eve. In all regions. And we'll make sure they do.

That's it. If Null gets to build their own gates then Low Sec Pirate Alliances should be able to "own" their own systems. At least temporarily. For fun.

The Signature Wallpaper Series

Enyo Signature Wallpaper
Click to download various sizes

Lately I've been producing a new series of Signature Wallpapers as a way of taking a break from the insanity of drawing the Art Print Series, which now represents well over 130 Posters! 

I have no intention of stopping the Art Print series, but even I need a break. Between work, life and my responsibilities to the Alliance and to Stay Frosty - I am a very busy Rixx.

The ships in the Signature Series come directly as a result of what ships I am flying that day in-game. Not ten minutes after I took the images of that Enyo up there it had already exploded into a million bits. As usual my little ships don't last long. Heck, even my bigger ships don't usually last long.

The Enyo got into a good fight with former Stay Frosty pilot Sniper Bros15 in his Comet. But just as we were finishing that fight a Stratios and a Stabber jumped us and ended my Enyo. 

Of the ten ships in the series so far, only the Stratios, Astero, Cynabal, and Confessor remain intact in the hangar. Yesterday I managed to lose my very first Gnosis to a bunch of neuts on a gate. I've had that ship since the first day they were introduced into the game and it has served me extremely well since then, it was a shame to see it go - but it was an awesome ship that exploded many ships for me. It was just recently involved in an epic fight against another Gnosis which was a lot of fun.

Ships are born to die. That's what they do.

So I spent some time yesterday fitting up some new ships and organizing my hangar a bit, trying to get ready for the new year. I'd like to try some new things this year, but I don't know what they would be yet.

More on that later.

How to Talk to Your Kids about WCS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eventually people will start asking questions. They always do.

4,436 Kills Later (or 4,357 Kills Later)

Don't ask. Long story.

On this day last year, I was writing about my 3,000th kill.

So this year I've managed to explode 1,436 more ships (or 1,357 more, depending on which messed-up killboard you want to believe, or 1,359 if you go with yet another kb). Which is a lot of explosions.

Let's take Eve-kill's monthly stats, which show us this as far as the monthly totals go:
December: 46-16 (65.94%)
November: 92-37 (65.83%)
October: 78-37 (52.19%)
September: 92-39 (61.51%)
August: 88-26 (71.36%)
July: 92-28 (66.24%)
June: 93-30 (65.70%)
May: 164-56 (62.73%)
April: 137-32 (66.68%)
March: 178-47 (61.57%)
February: 156-47 (61.80%)
January: 217-53  (56.88%)

TOTAL: 1,433-418 (63.2%)

As usual the killboard numbers do not add up, which is fine. As we all know by now, I do not play Eve for kb numbers, or rankings, or anything like that. On the other hand of course, they do provide a benchmark. And there is nothing wrong with keeping track along the way. That's why we have them after all.

My personal choice is to play Eve on Hard Mode. Mostly Solo or with a Wingman (PLH reports my average engagement is with 2.25 ships, which is pretty awesome!) and without links or drugs for the majority of my play-time. This is NOT a judgement on how other people choose to play Eve, simply a statement on how I choose to play. (Man, someday I'd like to be able to write without all the qualifications added.)

As far as numbers go these are better than a lot of people and much, much less than many others. I know this. I'm not even trying to rack up numbers, all I do is undock and fly around trying to explode things when I play. Which is something that only gets more and more difficult to do. Me entering local is sure to make things happen one way or the other.

Rixx enters local:

1 - Everyone leaves local.
2 - Everyone docks up.
3 - Links go up.
4 - Some poor schmuck doesn't know me.
5 - They haz back-up.
6 - They haz a whole fleet!

Fun times. Which just makes my job even more difficult and the numbers even more better. Which makes me a happy Pirate.

And that is yet another year in Eve on the books. What will my seventh year bring? Or is that eight years? I'm losing track...

Happy Holidays

Comet Signature Wallpaper
Click to download various sizes

Garmur Signature Wallpaper
Click to embiggen and download

Stratios Signature Wallpaper
Also click to download various sizes

From my family to you and yours, our sincere and heartfelt wishes for Peace, Joy and Happiness this Holiday Season and for the New Year. 

2015 holds a lot of promise both in real life and in-game. This will be the year I finally get to FanFest and have the opportunity to meet actual people that play Eve. (Other than my oldest Son, I still haven't met any Eve players!) This will be my sixth full year of writing Eveoganda and my ninth year of playing Eve Online. And, I suspect, a year full of other surprises, challenges, and new and exciting content for my favorite worlds - both real and imagined.

As always thank you for sharing the past year with me here on these pages, in Tweetfleet and in space. I appreciate each and every one of you, the readers, the haters, the commenters, the trolls, the pirates and the prey. Our Community is an amazing, talented, and always surprising place and I am honored to be a part of it. Thank you.

And special thanks to all the players that have chosen to play with me in Stay Frosty and in A Band Apart. You are the greatest and the reason I continue to log on every day and look forward to sharing, hearing and creating new challenges with you inside of New Eden. Our best years are ahead of us as we continue to grow, expand, and influence the space we fly in. And I can't imagine a better group of people to do it with than you.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

Another Symmetrical Hull

Click to embiggen

Ok it might not be 100% perfectly symmetrical, but it is very, very close. I know the Exequror's old off-center engine might not have been the most beautiful thing in the world - but gosh darn it - it was the Exequror's ENGINE!! And while this might not be on Vagabond Frill level, it is still sad to see such an instantly recognizable feature go poof and disappear.

This is a beautiful design that seriously needed one large well-designed and PBR'd engine sticking off the side of it. Seriously. Can we keep some of what makes our Eve ships so... Eve shippy? Please.

I would like to see this design re-considered. Keep everything as it is, just grab that top engine and hit the scale button about 45% and then click the move button about 20 times and then connect those things. Done.

Now it is an Exequror again.

Like this:

TL;DR: Love the new design, just make that back engine bigger and a tad further away from the hull like in the original. k?

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays Eve 2014
Click to download various sizes

Happy Holidays from all of us in A Band Apart Alliance. We wish you and yours the very best this Holiday Season. Once more we extend our sincere wishes for peace, harmony and joy to everyone around the world. Seriously, try to get along people. We're all on this little blue world together.

I most likely will not be posting much during the next few weeks. I have an Xbox One to hook up and lots of new games to play. Titanfall, Alien Isolation, Madden, Forza, Unity, and a few others. And I'll be trying to steal as much Eve time as possible when I can.

While we are away give some thought to joining us in A Band Apart. We are a rather unique group of misfits unlike anything else in Eve. A single group of over 400 individual players united by a core belief in playing Eve for fun, adventure, and little or no rules. We are made up of Corporations that span multiple play-styles and provide something for everyone. Whatever you are looking for we've got you covered. Our pilots are currently everywhere in New Eden, from Wormholes, to Black Rise, to Etherium Reach, Stain, and points elsewhere - we fly wherever we want.

Stay Frosty is our main pirate corporation and we continue to have an open door policy when it comes to new members. Come yarr with us.

New Eden Renegades is the newest member of our Alliance, but we share a long history of insanity, derp, gank and trolling. NER is for the crazy ones.

Supreme Mathematics is our Wormhole Corporation and a great bunch of players without local. Bob is on their side.

Voodoo Children also lives in and out of Wormholes and focuses on Mission Running, Industry, and providing great content to their members.

Lucifer's Hammer is the High-Sec Industry arm of the Alliance, the backbone and heart of building, moving, making, and generally providing things that people need.

We operate the Alliance like one giant Corporation and members are free to move between groups, fly together, and operate as one. Sound like something you'd be interested in? Then look us up in-game and get your lazy butt into one of our Corporations. Do something nice for yourself this Holiday!

Keep the courage.

Cynabal Signature Wallpaper

Cynabal Signature Wallpaper
Click to download additional sizes

Major, is that you?

It is fun having alts. (Names changed to protect the innocent)

WT  > Major JSilva sup duder
Major JSilva > yo
WT > why'd you leave the goonies
Major JSilva > The Mittani kicked my dog
Major JSilva > b*stard
WT > wow
WT > rood
PL > we miss you in PL
PL > you were good men
Major JSilva > thanx m8
PL > when you coming back?
Major JSilva > Dont know, enjoying knitting and gardening right now
PL > during the winter???
PL > meight
Major JSilva > working on a sweater atm
PL > noice
Major JSilva > life changing
Major JSilva > Plus PL gave me a rash
WT > i feel

I have never had a true alt character before. My only alt is Anastasia Javix and she runs the Industry side, freighters and Archon when needed. She was never intended to be a stand-alone character, hence sharing the last name. It is weird to have one that isn't immediately recognizable as me.

Although I would never use that to the detriment of others of course. But it does make for some funny conversations in local. The one above just being the most recent.

Heck, Major is now Executor of A Band Apart. Which sorta, kinda means a former Goon/PL person is now the head of my own Alliance. lolz.

The Confessor

Confessor Signature Wallpaper
Click to download various sizes

I was fortunate enough to receive a Confessor earlier this week and I've been tinkering with a fit for it during those precious few times I've been able to get on-line this week. I usually don't talk about fits until I've had a chance to try them out in combat first, but due to my limited play-time (and the fact that if I undock in this thing right now everyone will blob me to death) I thought I would share my initial thoughts.

Right off the top I really love the concept behind this new Ship Class. I'm anxiously awaiting the rest of the line-up. From a design standpoint the ship is remarkable, unique, and yet well within the design standards of Eve. New yet familiar, which is a great accomplishment considering how many ships Eve has. So well done art team! But beyond design, the rather dubious concept of transformation is something brand new in space. The Confessor not only has three distinct modes of operation, those modes can be selected ON THE FLY! Three new buttons appear next to your module cluster and selecting one immediately transforms the ship - Defensive, Sniper and Propulsion Modes. Each making the Confessor into a slightly different ship with slightly different bonuses.

Not only that, but each transformation can be heard. (Eve has sound?) Turn up the world sound and listen as plates and whatnots move into place. It is subtle, but an awesome addition to an already awesome ship. Awesome from a design standpoint.

The Confessor is certainly intended as a Sniper. There can be no doubt about that. And so initially I tried fitting it with Beam Lasers! (I can't believe I just wrote that.) And while it does extremely well in that role... beams? With Aurora loaded it can hit targets well beyond its range (pointless) and deliver decent damage in the mid-100s. (I had to actually look up the long range ammo for Beams!) When the Naga was first released I had four of them the first week, I still have one of those! Snipers in low sec are not all that useful frankly. Oh sure, I could easily see a fleet of these things being nasty, especially in Null. All linked to the max with targeting range and whatnots. Sniping people in bubbles maybe. But this is low sec baby.

So back to pulse lazors. Now we are talking. Better dps, decent range, better tracking and decent tank. Still fully capable of kiting from outside scram range, the Confessor gets about 2,400m/s cold in prop mode with a 1mn Limited MWD fitted. Like all Amarr ships cap is an issue so I've popped a Cap Booster in one of the mid-slots. Long range point, cap and mwd in the three mids. DC, resist mods, and dual armor reps (one Ancillary) in the lows. With the rigs fitted it gets about 150hp/s armor rep tank. Which is not shabby. Everything turned on in defensive mode the ehp hovers around the 10k mark cold. In defensive mode the speed drops to 1,400 or so.

For now this remains un-tested. With the Holidays coming up my play-time is rather limited, but as soon as possible I will be undocking the darn thing and testing it out against other players. The fit may need to be tweaked and re-worked a bit based on how that goes. As you know, I'm a big believer in combat tested fits.

I don't believe the Confessor is positioned to become an extremely popular ship. I suspect there will be fleet and small gang comps seen with them in a core role, surrounded by support and tackle. In that role they could be extremely useful. Again, much of the success of the ship remains in where the price settles. Which remains to be seen. Personally I think high 100's is probably where it will be in a few weeks.

I love the Confessor and look forward to the next three. Just not sure how often I'll be flying it. Other than to watch it transform. Which is very cool, I must confess.

Apologies, had to do it.


Astero Signature Wallpaper
Click to download various sizes

I've been taking a slight break from the insane pace of the past month or two. Both from this blog, in-game and from illustrating spaceships. As you probably already know, I set myself a crazy goal a few months back and decided I'd illustrate every major ship hull in Eve. That Album of 130+ images can be seen here.

Needless to say, I needed a break.

After Christmas I'm going to get back to finishing what I started. The series isn't dead, it was just time to call time-out and catch my breath. Not to mention the fact that CCP keeps adding more and more new ships and new designs to the game. Which doesn't even begin to mention the new PBR of those ships. A normal person might go insane.

Ok I am insane. But in a good way. And part of that insanity is the honest fact that I just can't stop. So I had another idea. The Astero print above is the first example of what I am calling the Signature Series. Don't get me wrong, I love the "Art Print" style of the Poster Series, but there are other styles I'd also like to explore. This is just one of those.

In my opinion, the spaceships of Eve are simply amazing works of art on their own merits. Not to mention the fact that they represent so much of us, what we do, how we do it, and the thousands of hours we spend inside of them writing the histories of our own unique characters. I am endlessly fascinated by them.

This blog will get back to normal here shortly. And I'll keep plugging away at things the best I can. This month has been challenging with new opportunities almost daily in real life, the Holidays, travel, and the normal insanity of day-to-day life.

Keep the courage my friends.

Movie Ideas

Stay Frosty Video

Wanted to put something together for upcoming o7 shows and whatnots.

Next, need to do one for A Band Apart.

RIP Jovians, We Barely Knew Ya

It is pretty gosh darn clear at this point that the race known as the Jove (or Jovian) has vanished from New Eden. They are not technically aliens, but are a branch of humanity that eagerly embraced genetic manipulation and become "alien" to the rest of New Eden. You can read more about them here.

The recent appearance of the MOSN (Massive On-Line Super Nova) referred to as "Caroline's Star" has heralded the formal end of this strange chapter in New Eden history. It seems as if this event, which is strangely visible across all of known space, has either caused this extinction or is a direct result of this extinction. It also appears that all StarGates within Jovian space have ceased to exist. I'm no lore expert, but I do enjoy Eve history, and this is a significant event. (My friend Mark, who is a lore expert, points out that not all Jove StarGates are gone. Two constellations at the far end of UUA remain active.)

From a gaming standpoint this has been building for some time. CCP removed Jovian in-game assets earlier this year and the mass removal of StarGates, merged with the knowledge that players will soon™ be able to build their own, seems to lead many to speculate about the opening of the long-closed former Jovian space to players.

It has always been a blank spot on an otherwise open sandbox, Jovian space was often reserved for CCP for some reason and players could not (except for brief Tournament transport) visit. It would only make sense then to open this space to the players at some point. Jovian space represents a rather significantly large plot of real estate on the map.

So, deep breath.

I have to admit that I am sorta sad to see the Jove kilt off. While it never seemed that CCP had a clear line of reasoning for them to exist, they were the one "mystery box" left to us. I've made this clear before in these pages, but I believe we need some things that cannot be explained. Space is big and mystery is important. Why should we know everything? We can't possibly know everything. And mystery adds an element of the unknown to a universe that is under constant and relentless understanding. Heck, it is the whole reason why blogs such as this one even exist.

On the other hand, if they aren't doing anything, why should they stay? Perhaps they will become more mysterious in the future by their absence? It is possible that Jovian space is littered with the remnants of their advanced technology and we may have the opportunity to harness this new found technology to do new things - y'know, like build our own StarGates.

Seems logical. And maybe, just maybe, they left a few of those awesome Jovian ships around the neighborhood. And someday, we can open up a whole new wing of ships built around Jovian technology?

While we may never get the chance to play as a Jovian, maybe we can pick up the pieces of their super-advanced leftovers and do something really awesome with it? Let's face it, the Jove were weird, short, yellow in-bred a-holes anyway! Creeping around, always judging us, maybe they got what they deserved in the end? Blown up real good. Or maybe they found a new home and Caroline's Star is the result of a mass-exodus?

I have a feeling we may find the answers soon.

Peanut Butter Rendering (PBR)

The Gnosis Before PBR (left) and After PBR (Right)

Let me be clear right off the bat, I am a huge fan of the new Peanut Butter Rendering Engine or Unreal Engine: Eve that was released yesterday in the the Rhea Lunar-Cycle Expansion. Huge Fan! Despite the fact that I recently completed nearly 130 time-consuming and insanely complicated illustrations of Eve ships, many of which now look completely friggin' different. Much like the before and after illustration of the Gnosis header image.

And no, I am not bitter. Like I said, huge fan.

CCP Mankiller said it best: (Bold bits are mine)

"Having adjusted our math to emulate better the behavior of light and materials in the real world, we plug those equations into EVE and everything is suddenly perfect, right?

Well, no.

PBR shows the state of our assets far more accurately than the simple model we have been using up to now. We used to rely on the physically inaccurate numbers to avoid certain display problems, but now we have to tackle those issues directly. Accordingly, many assets will only be perfected through additional attention.

We are working to identify areas for improvement and determine the best courses of action to address them. In some cases we will rebake the normal maps. In some cases we will adjust the factional data.  And in some cases, we will execute complete redesigns. With the implementation of PBR in EVE, we hope capsuleers across New Eden can contribute to these ongoing graphic developments while enjoying increased pixel accuracy.

Additionally, the new system allows for further improvement of our shaders. We could introduce a new material, apply dynamic dirt levels (older ships showing their age?), or generate ambient occlusion maps for sub-capital ships. And of course, there is always ship customization. By adopting a better system for determining the colors of our pixels, we have increased the options available for future feature work that realistically conveys the vision of EVE.

That is the true benefit of PBR, and the reason that we have worked to provide it in Rhea."

Well said. There can be no doubt that switching to PBR was the right decision. It is important for the long-term direction of spaceships in Eve. It sets the stage for future customization (Corp Logos!!) and whatnots. And eventually it will be the engine for all the other rendering in Eve as well.

Having said all of that, whoa! The clarity is amazing. But it certainly does reveal more flaws with the materials, textures, and color choices doesn't it? Things are very very shiny now, chromed, mirrored, reflecty, and in some cases very plastic looking. It takes some getting used to. But even with the flaws in the system it is clearly the right choice and things can only get better and better as time passes.

The spaceships in Eve have never looked better. And they can only get better if CCP continues to allocate the resources needed to adjust everything based on this new rendering scheme thingie. Lots of maths involved.

But from an art standpoint it potentially kicks ass.

It just needs more Jelly.

Beer Spaceships

Today is Rhea patch day, so I'll be doing what everyone else is doing and patching, logging, and generally spending some time getting up to speed on all the new things. Until then, here are some silly new "Beer Skins" that I've been doing lately because I haven't had time to finish any new ship illustrations.

The Badgweiser

Click to embiggen

The Iteron SilverBullet

Click to embiggen

The PBR Panther Express


Fun times. Go Rhea!!

BB61: Your First Month in Eve

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 61st edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.


TurAmarth asks this question: "What would we encourage ALL new players to do in their first month to get them to subscribe long term, if we had to give out one set of advice for everyone (which we do if we're giving general advice)?" 

I have written a metric ton of words over the years about how to become engaged in Eve, how to make the New Player Experience better, and how to get out there and explore the universe of New Eden. It has been over six years now since my first month in Eve, but it is an experience that I will never forget. And, even today, it remains an important part of my own Eve career. I often use it as a benchmark, to remember how I started, and how the choices I made then have echoed throughout the years since.

The most important thing to know is this: NOTHING you do in the first month is going to be a bad decision. So relax. No matter what happens, no matter what you do, it will simply be a step along the path that will open up in front of you. When I first started playing Eve I was strangely determined to go 100% solo. I wasn't going to join a Corp, or depend on anyone else, and go it on my own. The last thing I wanted was to be "social". Which is pretty hysterical considering how that all turned out. (I blame it on my video game background and lack of MMO experience.)

Having said that, I will make some general suggestions based on not only my experience but the experiences of the thousands of players I've interacted with over the years.

•Tutorials - Run them until you don't want to anymore. Some people will tell you to skip them and some people will tell you to run them all, both of those pieces of advice are wrong-headed. Run the Tutorials until you don't want to anymore. It is an individual decision and one that only you can make. They are helpful until they aren't helpful. Personally I ran about a day's worth when I started, after that I had things pretty well figured out.

•Corporations - Join one. It honestly doesn't even matter which one, although it'd be better for you if it was one that liked young players. But even if it doesn't it isn't a bad choice, the point is to get started. Meet people. Learn things. And then stay or move on. Eventually you will find the place that is right for you. If you really, really want to make a good choice right off the bat then I recommend Eve University or Brave Newbies. I don't recommend joining a Pirate Corporation your first month, it is a hard life that demands a certain level of understanding and experience with the game. However, we have had some young players do very well in Stay Frosty.

•Explore - My first month I flew deep into Null Security space. I played in Low Security space, I took a Condor and flew all the way to the furthest point on the Map, I visited the Eden Gate, I found the Monolith, I mined, I ratted, and I tried to cram as much as I could into my own experience. I did all of that my first month. The Universe is big, go fly around in it. Watch people play. Meet people. Let them shoot you. Shoot back. Have fun!!

Have fun. It's a game. Nothing you do will be a bad decision.

You can change Corporations. You cannot die. There are people in the game that will give you advice, help you, and even give you things. It is pretty gosh darn awesome.

So go that way. Or maybe that way over there. The point is to get going, keep moving, and learn the game. Meet people. Explore. The rest will take care of itself and before you know it you'll know Eve like the back of your hand.

I envy you your first month. It is a feeling that you will never have again. Enjoy it.

Pirate's Little Helper

The Pirate's Little Helper is an Eve app that runs with Eve Online and gives you more information about those people in local. I can't give you a review or a direct recommendation since it only runs on PCs and I am a Mac person. But, as the screenshot above clearly shows, it must know what it is doing.


So I wake up this morning to some turmoil over on Twitter. I'm slow waking up and it takes me a few minutes to get up to speed. But it quickly becomes apparent that EN24 has finally launched their new forum feature under the title "Tweetfleet" and that the hastag #Tweetfleet users are pretty gosh darn upset about it. That much I get pretty fast, I am after all a quick study.

There is a lot of history here, which I am not all that interested in re-telling. Suffice to say that I don't have a dog is this fight, but I have always been partial to EN24 simply because they sometimes pull my blog posts (and then I get to enjoy the awesome comments!) and they are not run by the Mittani. Anyone that knows me, or reads this blog, should know I am no fan of ego-maniacal Oligarchies. I'm a Pirate at heart and I believe in competition, free markets, puppies, and wuv. Ok, fine. I do try to get along with everyone is the point I'm trying to make.

I will also be open and tell you that Enrique and I speak often. He will often hit me up to chat about things in general, Eve related and otherwise. Been doing this for years. This is also not unusual, frankly there are hundreds of people in Eve that do the same thing. Just last night I spent time chatting with someone about the merits of Open Recruitment. I also gave someone else advice on promoting a new Podcast. I do this a lot.

So instead of joining in on the Twitter outrage, I decided to hit him up for a chat. As we are talking things are only getting worse over on Twitter and people are starting to get pretty angry. A lot of people seem to have very strong opinions about Riverini, which I don't understand. In my dealings he has always been level headed and reasonable. He is also very concerned about the reaction. And upset about it. All of which is understandable. I won't relay everything we discussed, but suffice to say it all eventually works itself out. Diplomacy, what a concept.

We've all done things with the best of intentions that we've screwed up the execution in some way. I think this is a classic example of that in action. I do believe the intentions happened to be good ones, but the execution could have been better. I believe that is rather obvious in hindsight. I also know that everyone wants it to work, at least as a trial, so changes will be made in good faith.

We all make mistakes. And we all tend to rush to judgement sometimes. Somewhere in-between those two things is where Diplomacy lives. Someone told me that in Providence years ago and I've never forgotten it. (Thanks VR, never forget!)

The funny part is, I don't even use forums. (Unless I have to.)

So let's see what happens next.

New Eden Renegades

I'd like to formally welcome all the pilots of New Eden Renegades to A Band Apart today. Welcome aboard. All of us in ABA look forward to your unique blend of insanity and inappropriate behaviour! You have already established yourselves as Masters of the Undock in Ishomilken, so I can't wait to see what happens next.

For those of you that do not know the history here, let me briefly get you up to speed. The roots of Stay Frosty and A Band Apart stretch back a long way to the fertile NPC playground of Syndicate. It was here that a rag-tag group of ex-Null patriots established an Alliance called Black Mark. And it was here that Lucifer's Hammer was born. CyberTen and Lex Fasces were two of the very first members of Lucifer's Hammer. Cyber had read one of my blogposts about the new Corp and had brought Lex along. They helped introduce us to a lot of other players and were a big reason LH grew the way it did.

I did say "briefly", if you want the full story it is pretty much the full story of this blog, so go back and read thru the archives you lazy wanker! But essentially Lucifer's left Syndicate, moved in with Rote Kappelle, Muppet Ninjas, and eventually started our own Alliance - Burn Away. For a lot of weird reasons, which I can finally and publicly blame on Angor Mau (I've had to eat crow on this for a long time. It was Angor's ideas that eventually led to us briefly leaving LH and Burn Away and the whole thing falling apart under us.) Either way, we all ended up going our own way, me to Tuskers to hide out for a bit, Itsme to Shadow, and Cyber and Lex off to their own adventures.

The first Summer of Stay Frosty Cyber and Lex even joined up for a brief moment. But neither of them were playing much do to real life and they wandered off again.

People can say what they want about Eve, but the relationships you build in this game are important. Life is a giant circle filled with smaller circles, and so is Eve. People who treat other people horribly don't tend to last, just like in real life. And while I've never met Cyber and Lex in real life, I still consider them friends. Maybe not the sort of friends that you can have in the real world, but friends none the less. It is a comparison that doesn't interest me. Friends or not friends. All this bullshit gray area stuff doesn't matter.

And so, when Cyber convo'd me last week and we started talking it wasn't a surprise. I know he received a lot of offers from a lot of different groups to come and join. And I would have understood had they chosen to go down one of those paths. I didn't make any offers, other than the obvious one. We are what we are. We don't have a lot to offer anyone, other than friendship. Which is a rare enough thing to matter, both in the real world and in Eve.

So welcome back my friends. You got me right in the feels.


The History of Hats Not Being in Eve Online

Let's face it, the idea of hats on Avatars in-game is both the most insanely awesome idea ever and one of the most ludicrous mis-appropriations of talent, resources and development ever conceived by a mere mortal type person. And yes, I'm pointing a stern finger right at Rixx Javix. Gulp.

I started putting hats on Twitter Avatars in direct response to "Monocle Gate" and high-priced in-game items as part of the initial rage that built into the Summer of Incarna. Hey, if we could have Monocles and Gold-Items why not hats too? At first I was only putting a hat on myself, every day I would change the hat on my own avatar into more and more insane versions of silliness in an effort to expose how insane Incarna was becoming.

The crazy bit is that it worked. Before long just about the entire swarm of Tweetfleet was sporting a hat. I even made a nifty Wallpaper featuring most of them.  And there is a Page where I still collect the ones I continue to make, goodness knows how many there are now. Over 200 I would guess, maybe more.

I even created a concept for what an in-game version might look like:

The Rixx Javix Hat Collection, coming soon™

Ok, now we are all caught up on the history. I continue to make hats when someone requests one on Twitter. And I enjoy doing them and people enjoy wearing them. There can be no denying the odd joy of seeing an Eve Avatar be-hatted. It is ludicrous. It is silly. And it is a lot of Fun!

If you took the time to read the most recent CSM minutes you'll know that Hats have been discussed at the highest levels.

Hats continue to be a major trolling device on one hand and a semi-serious brainstorming device on the other. It is, and always has been, good natured trolling. The more serious I seem about wanting hats in-game the funnier it gets. But that is only a very small part of what is really going on here.

Once you put a hat on an avatar, the sky is the limit. As a conceptual device it is extremely important and rather vital to consider. What are the limits? What exactly is appropriate? Why wouldn't we have hats in the future? Or, why would we? If we can put hats on avatars, should we? 

A hat is a transformative device. Just look at those avatars with hats on them and you'll know what I mean. Once be-hatted an avatar takes on an entirely different, and more personal, appearance. They are transformed, in unexpected ways, from the mundane. Even I question if this would remain true should hats be commonly available in-game.

At one time the mere idea of hats inside of Eve was a protest against high-priced fashion items that no one could see. They served a purpose as a spark-plug around which protest and player outrage was built. But that was almost four years ago now and Eve has moved on. The idea of our CQ door finally opening is not as ludicrous as it once was. CCP has built a tremendous amount of value into their vault at this point and things that once seemed grossly out of place, are now starting to feel more appropriate. Or at the very least, on the horizon.

Could hats be far behind? Maybe. 

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


It is the time of year when people around the Eve Universe start thinking about, posting about, and launching campaigns for the upcoming new year of CSM Elections. The Council of Stellar Management (CSM) is a player-elected body of player representatives that work on our behalf in conjunction with CCP to help steer the overall direction of Eve Online.

I've had my own issues with this rag-tag group in the past. Goodness knows it didn't all start out so great and there have been some rather embarrassing incidents over the years. But overall these last few years have been outstanding in my opinion. So kudos to all those involved and well done for the most part.

Every year I tend to pause at some point and give some thought to the idea of running. And every year I come to the same conclusion. I still believe that my strongest advocacy of Eve happens outside of the official world, NDAs, and politics naturally involved with being on the CSM. This in no way detracts from the efforts of those that choose to run and are selected to serve. It has much more to do with what I strongly believe is my role in the Community and how best I can continue to serve in my own unique way. Something I feel rather strongly about and which I think would be tempered in any sort of official capacity.

On top of which I am just freaking busy. All I need is something else on my plate. I have to also consider my other commitments, which are substantial, and not just those that involve Eve. I'm still struggling to re-build a career after the closing of my business in January 2012 and the crushing aftermath that followed. Things are just now starting to fall into place again on that front and my focus has to remain on that struggle. Plus family. Plus running Stay Frosty and trying to build A Band Apart into a powerful Alliance. Take care of Eveoganda. And draw purty pictures. And figure out how to use Element3d. I mean, my plate is really hefty.

Some days I can barely see straight.

So yeah, no CSM for me. Once again I'll fully support the Council and do everything I can to help those I believe in get elected. And then keep a close eye on them once they are in. Eve is going places and we need the right people to ensure it gets there.

As for me and my house, we'll be staying right here. Yelling from the sidelines like a bunch of loonies.

Maybe next year. lol.

I have a Gnosis?

Despite having the day off yesterday I didn't have a lot of time to play Eve. I know, sadness ensues. Fear not, as usual I do try to maximize my Eve time and find something worthwhile to do with it. Sometimes this simply amounts to taking insane risks and losing ships I probably should have kept. Case in point.

My supply of fitted small ships is almost zilch at this point, for some reason my small ships keep getting exploded. So the only fitted Frigate I could find, being too lazy to fit a new one, was a Worm. So be it. I undocked and flew around a bit in it and, as usual, everyone fled. I can't blame them. I was about to give up when I caught the blip of the Gnosis on scan in Hasama. Been awhile since I'd seen one of these on scan and usually they simply mean a mission-runner that I can't find because I don't have magical dual-boxing prober skillz.

I waited and sure enough the darn thing shows up near a Plex. So I warp in to take a look. And sure enough there is a Gnosis sitting about 140k off the gate. Let me pause a moment in this story, just as I did in-game, and give you a brief overview of my thinking. The Gnosis wasn't moving. The Gnosis could be AFK. Not likely, but possible. The Gnosis is probably sniper fit, given the "sitting 160k off" stance. Gnosis are Cruisers and I'm in a Frigate with awesome Drone powers. My Worm today is AB fit and not MWD fit, so low sig. And boy, killing a Gnosis with a Worm would be cool. I will most likely die. Or, more likely, he'll just warp off.

So I burned at him. I manually burned and kept my angulars all angular in case he was sniper fitted. There was a celestial sorta kinda behind him so I had a nice warp off if I needed it, but meh (you know me) once committed. I'll keep this part of the story short and sweet. Things went very well for a moment. As expected his guns couldn't really hit me all that badly and I chewed thru his shields pretty quick, so maybe armor tanked? It was about this time that my speed dropped to almost zero and his drones and guns found me. I went boom.

Ok fine. Hasama is only two jumps from Ish so I went back to grab another ship. People rarely stay around for round-two, but you never know. As usual in these cases I really try to pick a ship that will result in a good-fight, usually (if possible) the exact same ship as my opponent. That only seems fair. And sure enough, much to my surprise, I actually had a fitted Gnosis in my hangar!! Who knew? I don't even remember flying it before. Although I think I may have way back in Hevrice. No time for questions about fit, I undock and head off.

By this time a couple of Frostians are on the case and watching local for me. The Gnosis is next door in Nikki, probably headed to station for reps. So I warp over to the station and sure enough he undocks just as I land. I align out and warp off slowly to the Sun, being all obvious. Hoping he will follow. Yes, I still had a Limited Engagement, but Sun is better than station. After a brief pause he lands about 100k from me and we begin the dance.

My own Gnosis is a shield-fitted Artie Sniper packing 750s and a really decent buffer on top of a MWD and a surprise package of Garde IIs in the drone bay. I already knew his Drones were Hob2s, so I waited a bit longer before releasing the Sentries. My hope was to stay out of his point range and hammer him from a distance. But one problem with quickly undocking a ship you don't often fly is those pesky pre-set orbit/keep at distance numbers. Yes, I forgot to check them. It didn't matter as much as I feared because the fight just boiled down to a hammer-fest anyway. He wasn't armor tanked, he was hull tanked with three T2 rigs.

Mash and Temar joined in at the end, but the fight was decided already. Between the Arties and the Sentries my deeps was just gonna be more than he could take. And eventually the Gnosis exploded.

Good Fight.

I even got an eve mail from the Gnosis pilot (which I hope he doesn't mind me re-printing): "Good to meet some fighter over here...before you engaged for the firt time I was sitting on Ishomilken for 15mins on 16ppl local and no one went to take me down :)"

Happy to oblige. And it was worth losing the Worm (THREE WEBS!! No wonder my speed dropped to zero!) to end up with a great Cruiser Brawl.


Orthrus Art Print Poster
Click to embiggen

Why Stay Frosty Puzzles Puzzlers

No one really understands what is going on in Stay Frosty. Sometimes even our own members are probably confused. Heck, I must admit, that I am sometimes confused. Let's be honest here, it shouldn't have worked. Goodness knows I've been told a million gazillion times that it wouldn't. That it would never. That we was doomed to fail. That this idea was stoopid and would never work in Eve. Sometimes the people that told me it wouldn't work were pretty darn angry about it. Like crazy angry.

Thing is? I never had any doubts.

I was confident it would work because I had zero expectations that it would work. All I knew for sure was that I was going to do it no matter what happened. And, if I was the only member, then I'd keep doing it. Frankly, had no one else joined, I'd still be in Stay Frosty solo'ing around Low Sec on my own. There is a extreme amount of freedom to be had in approaching the building of an Empire from that perspective.

And yet here we are 1 year, 6 months and 27 days into the Stay Frosty Era and 251 days into A Band Apart. 230 players call Stay Frosty home and over 400 call A Band Apart home in seven different Corporations - each, to one degree or another, embracing the ideals of the parent corporation in their own unique game-play orientations. High-Sec Industry, Missioning, Wormholes, Trading, you name it and we have it covered. We operate like one giant Corporation, with members free to move within the Alliance and everyone free to do as they please. Join an op. Go make iskies. Yarr with the Pirates. Whatever.

We continue to confuse people. We've had an open door recruitment policy since day one and that isn't supposed to work in Eve. Considering that well over 700 players have passed thru our doors, we've only had a few minor instances of drama. (Three to be exact.) We continue to hold fast to an old fashioned idea of Solo and Small Gang piracy that is increasingly difficult to find in Eve. And when I say old fashioned I mean old fashioned. As in without link ships hiding next to Gates or on Station. Just try to find a Pirate group that doesn't do that. You can't. (And yes, we have many link ships - heck I have an alt that is extremely good at them and Rixx himself is trained in them. So let's be adults here. We use them when forced to, but never in normal day-to-day activity.)

We are also very strange in other ways. We are extremely casual when it comes to rules. We have comms, and we use them for organized roams, but we have no rules about having to be on comms all the time. This confuses the hell out of people. We don't kick people for inactivity. (I do clean house every six months, but I write each person a note telling them they are free to come back if they return to the game.) We roam all over the Universe. We have active groups in just about every corner of New Eden and you'll often see kills on our killboard from every corner. And generally we tend to do whatever seems like it would be fun to do.

We are weird. We don't play by the rules. We are doing our own thing over here. And it works really, really well.

Granted, it isn't for everyone. There are those that enjoy being told what to do by a handful of ego-maniacs who think they know what is best for them. Or those that prefer to serve masters who only care about filling their own wallets at the expense of others hard work. And some people like to be responsible only to themselves and choose the hard way of going it alone. I respect that. And no one believes in your right to choose your own adventure more than I do. More power to you.

However, if you are also weird and want to prove yourself to no one other than yourself - then I invite you to come join Stay Frosty or one of our member Corporations. Supreme Mathematics focuses on Wormhole space, Lucifer's Hammer on Hi-Sec Industry, Voodoo Children on Missions (and other stuff!) and each one is always open to new members. And, of course, Stay Frosty is all about pew pew. And we take everyone, young, old, bitter, crazy, nuts, whatever.

I don't know where this crazy train is going. All I know is that it keeps rolling along with a full head of steam. Where we go and what we do is ultimately up to our members. And that is yet another thing that makes us pretty weird.

Stay Frosty. Always.


Take a moment out of your day to watch this short film full-screen. You will not be disappointed. It is simply gorgeous.

Happy Thanksgiving

Here in the States tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A strange and weird holiday when we gather around family and friends, eat way to much food, watch American Football and generally sit around wishing we hadn't eaten so much goddamn food. This all stems from a tradition that stretches back to a brief day or two when white people managed to get along with people of other races for a second. Like those doods in the drawing up there.

Yeah, that didn't last. And neither will that horribly bloated feeling I'll have tomorrow after eating way to much of my Mom's amazing cooking. Because yes, even I will be traveling to visit my parents tomorrow and partaking of the prepared feast, watching American Football and driving about nine hours in total to do so. We are nutty.

The best thing about Thanksgiving is giving thanks to all those things we have to be grateful for. I've never really understood why we needed to set aside a single day for this gratefulness since I happen to appreciate my few blessings each and every day - but who am I to argue with tradition?

Every year I write the same thing here on the blog. So here we go again. I am extremely grateful for the amazing and wonderful Eve Community and all those that call themselves members. Thank you for coming to visit this blog and for making it a great place to spend time each and every day, I sincerely appreciate each of you. Even the wankers. And I am thankful for every single member of Stay Frosty and A Band Apart for being awesome and for hanging out with us every day in-game. I'm also thankful for all the other players, without you we'd have no one to shoot at.

And this year especially I'd like to give special thanks to CCP for revitalizing Eve over the past two years, but especially during 2014. Thank you to each of you for doing such an amazing job and never giving up on us wacky Eve players and fans. I wish I could call you all out by name, but I'd be afraid I'd miss someone and I wouldn't want to do that.

Despite the hardships, despite the challenges, despite everything - I personally feel like I am on the verge of new beginnings this Holiday. Both in my own personal life and in my relationship to Eve. The darkness feels like it is receding into the rear view mirror and better things are on the horizon. And a big part of that is because of you reading this now. Even if you don't realize it.

So thanks.

Needless to say I won't be posting again until this weekend. So wherever you go in the next few days and whatever you do, fly safe. And always remember to, Keep the Courage.

Hel on Earth

Hel Art Print Poster
Click to embiggen

The following post has very little to do with Eve, so consider this fair warning. I mostly write about my experiences with Eve, but over the years I've made the conscious decision to begin blurring the lines between Eve and Real Life here on the blog. It is very difficult to write thousands and thousands of posts and not let anything through. So why bother?

Originally I set out to keep the two things completely apart. I didn't know what I was getting myself into frankly, and I honestly had zero expectation that I'd still be not only playing Eve, but writing and drawing about it, over six years later. So it made sense to keep a wall between the two worlds. It was never something I created to hide anything, only a way to keep things in neat compartments. I'm sure many of you do the same thing, to greater or lessor degrees.

For me it was mostly because of the business I owned when I started playing and the horribly messy divorce I was going thru at the time. I've chronicled before how Eve served as a bridge between myself and my Son, who introduced me to the game. We spent most of those first years flying together in Eve and it was something that we shared together. He is all grown up now and went and got himself married. And I continue on.

I finished the Hel today purely as a symbolic gesture reflecting the reality of what lies before me. Because today I am being forced to return to my own version of Hell. After eight long years my divorce is in the final stages of its death spasms. I will spare you the details, but suffice to say I am once more being dragged into Court for spurious money-grabbing reasons that go way beyond what any rational human could consider just, or fair, or equitable. This is just another chapter in the insanity that is the unfolding and seemingly never-ending novel of my life.

Which is what life is. For all of us.

In the end, this Eve project is the visual manifestation of the beginnings of a new chapter. Whatever happens today, this is the beginning of the end of that old chapter. No matter how hard it struggles it must die eventually. I will re-build and come back stronger than ever, there is no stopping me. My entire life has been a struggle that I've had to overcome against seemingly overwhelming odds. And this, this is no different.

So yeah, me and the Minmatar have a lot in common. They have their Hel and I have mine.

Pardon the break, back to Eve next time I promise.

[UPDATE: Sadly my Lawyer and myself were the only ones who bothered to show up at the hearing today. Neither opposing council or my ex showed up, so the hearing has to be rescheduled for yet another day. Sigh. And no, there really isn't even a penalty for this action. At the most my lawyer may have his time compensated. So the saga continues. 8 years, 4 months and counting.]

Welcome to Eve Online

Let me be the first person to welcome you to Eve Online. Welcome. Let me assure you that you've made a wise choice and that your family will not disown you, your friends will still love you and the people at work will never find out what you are doing on your lunch break.

I want you to do me a favor. Take a deep breath right now and exhale slowly. In your mind, picture all of the video games, apps, computer games and other digital forms of entertainment you've ever experienced in your life. Got it? Eve is NOT like any of those.

I know, you think you've got it, your cool. That's fine. Like most things in life you kinda have to find it on your own. But I wanted to get this out of the way first. Eve is not a video game, it is not a spreadsheet lovers nightmare, it is not a virtual universe of startling clarity, it is nothing so much as it is an experience. You must experience Eve for yourself.

So I want to encourage you to do so. Do not be afraid, do not be hampered, confused, or otherwise dissuaded from attempting the seemingly impossible task of grasping this experience for yourself. This is not a Playstation FPS that will guide you along, Eve isn't like that. What Eve IS, is a huge playground full of toys, people, and noise. And incredible silences. Everything you need is here, but it takes you to find what it is you need. But don't worry, there are 500,000 of us in here with you. Ok, maybe that was scarier than I thought it would be.

I've been playing Eve myself for over five years and I am still learning. Just last week I learned to do something that I had never done before. How amazing is that? It is, admittedly, rather amazing. So just relax, you are not going to "get it" right off the bat. Knowing this going in will be a huge benefit to you and something I wish I had known when I started playing. The learning curve is not a barrier to be crossed, it is an integral part of the entire experience. Trying to cross that barrier only creates frustration. Forget about learning curves, goals, winning, or any other traditional definition of success. This is not how Eve works.

The first time I undocked in Todaki I was determined to strike out on my own. I would explore this vast universe and make my mark alone, without help, without favor and without any freaking knowledge. I quickly realized that every avatar in the star system with me was a real, flesh and blood person. And that these people were also playing the same Eve I was. Each one of them holds a piece of the puzzle and the more people you meet, the more you interact, the more of that picture becomes apparent to you. The more pieces you have, the more you see the bigger picture.

My choices back then, each one of them, led me to where I am now. And that path has been rather extraordinary. Massive wars, huge Alliances of thousands of players, star systems from one edge of the map to the other, Pirates, Miners, builders, spys, and more. Much more. But that path started as a day one young player without anyone.

Just like you.

Be bold. Eve rewards those that take chances, that explore, that challenge, that define, that take the initiative. The universe is literally yours. No other experience is like it. And no other experience leaves so much of that in your hands. Eve will challenge you like nothing else you've ever tried. It does this to test you. To challenge you right back in your face. It is not going to hold your hand.

Welcome to Eve. If you succeed the universe is literally yours for the taking. And if you fail, well then, let's not start thinking like that.

Undock and go play.

Here is a link to Part Two of this Post. You should read it.

[This post was originally posted in February, but it seemed more than appropriate to re-post it today.]

Null Dive

Point of the Sword
Oldie but a goodie
The Taranis remained a tight fit. Old and uncomfortable. Rixx cracked his knuckles as he undocked and set the waypoints using his mindlink. New Eden unfolded and he decided to hoof it straight thru High Security space. The twenty-seven jumps he'd save would shave off an hour of flight time. He wouldn't even bother with the directional scanner, this was a burn trip, and seeing big fat targets in space he couldn't attack would only make him grumpy.

Third jump in brought him to the Piekura gate and the border of Low Sec and High. More than anything it represented another border. This would be his first jump into Piekura in more than four years, a system he spent a lot of time in when he was younger. He'd fought can thieves, waged several wars, started his first Corporation, and made good friends in the system. As with most places in New Eden, his blood was all over it.

He burned straight thru it. He wasn't much for sentiment, but that didn't mean he ignored his own history either. Best to get on with today, the past is dead in more ways than one. He leaned back in his podkit and allowed his mind to meld with the ship, this was the dream state. The conscious mind wanders off and lets the unconscious mind fly the ship, a meditative and relaxing half-sleep he learned in his years in Null.

The silent alarm awoke him as he appeared in local. Docking requires more attention and it was time to get the fleet formed up. He dialed up the communicator and smiled as familiar voices filled the comms. Almost thirty pilots had showed up for this operation, more than enough. The Taranis docked and he was back in the CQ organizing the fleet in less than five minutes. Nothing unusual, just the typical stuff. Making sure everyone had the right ship and everything was working. A few pilots were having trouble with their communicators, but that was also normal. Another half-hour and he was sitting outside in the swarm of Band pilots laying out the navigational markers.

He'd decided on a Blaster fitted Harpy for this trip. In fact, most of the ships in this fleet were in-your-face fitted Assault Frigates. Mixed in with a few Logistical supports and a couple of surprises in case they needed them. They spent the first half-dozen jumps to the Null entrance fooling around with the links, but nothing seemed to work. They rarely used the damn things and everyone was rusty about how exactly they worked. While he managed the fleet a couple more pilots volunteered to help, but to no avail. Eventually it was discovered the link pilot hadn't trained one of the skills needed yet. Rixx laughed. Pirates. Hell, we'd go without them.

Once more he lectured the fleet on the protocol of Null. Squads were assigned roles that could be communicated swiftly, scouts assigned, and early jumpers named. He was hoping they'd get a half-dozen jumps in before intel picked them up, but you could never count on it.

It had been awhile since he'd been down this pipe. His tacticals still held however and the fleet moved professionally enough. Sadly Null seemed mostly empty this close to Low Sec and that was unusual. Bubbles lined the gates in many places, but no one was watching them or waiting to ambush anyone. Disappointing. They continued to move deeper and the scouts got further ahead. Anything flushed out simply vanished and it was starting to feel like a lost cause.

Rixx knew better. This was Null and this was how it always was. Deathly quiet for ages and then suddenly filled with whatever the locals decided to bring. That was when the scout reported the three ships manning bubbles in the next system over. The fleet held on the gate and Rixx sent the first-twos in to assist the scout. No sense in spiking local and scarring off the targets. They may have been reported and they may not have been, either way it was better to play by the book until things went south.

The scout, George, did his job perfectly and the entire fleet landed right inside the three enemy ships. The Maller was primary and point spreads were given to the other two. Within seconds of engaging the Maller went down with the Hurricane and Vexor not far behind. The fleet aligned out as they waited for wrecks to be looted. The scout ship had been lost, but otherwise the fleet was unscathed. 

He decided to swing the fleet around and come in the back-door to N-RAEL. Hopefully someone would be home there of all places. Some of the best fights he'd ever experienced had been in that system.

Sadly the only thing waiting for them was a linked Orthrus who didn't want to fight. They tried a couple of pincer moves to get him off his perch, but that only resulted in a couple of ships being lost to his ranged alpha. It was pointless and so he brought everyone back to low.

Not bad for a three-hour roam into Null. It's good experience for everyone and they managed to get almost everyone home safe. Not that safety is a priority, but it does help to encourage more participation. And that is always a good thing.

They'd plan more of these in the near future and start putting together even more gangs led by even more experienced Fleet Commanders. Who knows where the future leads? And in New Eden, it is always best to be prepared for anything.

Even a ride back home in that damn Taranis.