-ABA- Pilot Profiles - Harrigan VonStudly

-A Band Apart- Pilot Profiles is a series of posts that feature players from our Alliance that share their stories, experiences, and play-styles.

This post features Harrigan VonStudly or Harri as most of us know him, a long-time Eve player, pirate and opinionated, but lovable member of Tweetfleet. Harri is one-of-a kind. And we are all the better for him being a part of our Alliance.

• Tell us about your background in Eve

Queue some Beastie Boys~
It started way back in hist-o-ree with a laugh and tease at my girlee.
When I first met my now wife she was playing Eve. I used to laugh and tease her for playing a spaceships game online. Two years later I decided to try it. The rest is history.

My first attempt was to train my pilot and learn the game from my then girlfriend. I trained, under her advisement, a Drake pilot to be able to run level four missions. It was 2008 after all. And running level 4's solo in a well skilled Drake was easy enough. Heavy missiles weren't useless back then.

As I learned more and more about Eve I eventually created Harrigan for the sole purpose of PvP. I was enthralled with the depth and complexity of Eve. I decided that I would not undock Harrigan until he was well skilled and I had read and learned enough about Eve to decide specifically what I wanted to do with him. I didn't want to keep carebearing like she does. Still, to this day.

An advert for Suddenly Ninjas had caught my attention one day. By the time I finished reading it I had realized what it was I wanted to do. Suddenly I was a ninja. Life was hilarious. Ganking and fucking off high sec loot pinata's was worth every second spent doing it. Oh the tears.

Being in SN led to meeting Zedrick Cane, a former Stay Frosty member, by the way. Zed eventually left and started his own corp which led to a war dec. The war dec led to a mercenary alliance getting involved on Zed's side. It was a giant battle that had hilarious as well as serious undertones. If I remember correctly the CEO or someone that was Zedrick's in-game target had looked up real life information on Zed and began a personal attack on the man and his family. That's just a no no. The target threw numbers at Zedrick who was a one man corp. Zed opened his corp to people from all over Eve who were joining to fight the good fight to help Zed kick the snot out of such shit bags. The honorable Le Soulteur, CEO of Underworld Excavators, a well known mercenary alliance and others joined the noble cause to in-game punish these pieces of crap who do not know how to separate real life from a game. It was quite a large story on the Eve-O forums back then. And having known Zedrick already, well, it wasn't a question to join his corp and join the war effort. Once over the affiliations we had made from the war led to some of us being invited to join the merc corp/alliance. Zed had wanted to return back to his corp being a one man corp comprised of just himself. And so it shall be. We left his corp and let him do his thing again.  Yes, I've done the honorable warrior thing.

Eventually the merc thing fizzled out and all the crew moved over to a new corp founded by our leader, Le Soulteur. Low sec pirating was the new mission for us. For the first time ever those of us who held sec status to the utmost sacred for the purpose of chasing targets in high sec now became -10. And with pride we did so.

I've been in high sec ransoming/terrorizing corps.  I've been in and out of null sec corps/alliances doing both NPC null and sov warfare. However, I've never committed to industry/mining/manufacturing/trading. That stuff is too boring. PvP is all I do. I try when I have time. Sometimes I don't try either. I've taken a large interest in the meta-game of Eve. While my blog is pretty much unwritten on with any regularity I was a co-host of a podcast with a mate of mine for awhile. I am a regular on the Podside podcast. I also try to get over to Eve Radio and join DJ Wiggles on his live show when I can. The meta game is sort of my niche now.

• How did you first hear about A Band Apart?

I first heard about ABA on the corp forums. Doy yay!
Seriously, ABA wasn't a thing when I joined Stay Frosty. We knew that it was an eventual dream of Rixx's. However, I heard about SF by reading Rixx's tweets on twitter and his blog. Eventually my time in game came to a head that I was able to finally join Rixx's band of merry murderers. The concept of and what Rixx was doing with the corp with his vision had created this explosive, contagious train ride that I wanted to be a part of. And so here I am.

• What is it that you enjoy the most about your Corp/Alliance?

Freedom. Neither the corp nor the alliance nor the leaders demand anything. There are no demands for a certain number of kills per month. There's no kill/death ratio that must be maintained. There's no call for people to HAVE to do anything. We are given the freedom to do as we please. Honor thy word and don't be a complete asshat in local is all that is asked of us.

• What have you learned since joining?

That I suck at solo pvp. Holy shit I suck. I've been a small to super fleet player for so long that I totally suck at solo pvp. I hope to overcome.

• Do you have any advice for players just getting started?

Read and research. Read and research everything you can about Eve. Youtube, twitter (hashtag is #Tweetfleet). And just get out there and do it. Find a player corp that is new player friendly. Forget about Goons, NC, PL, TEST, etc...  and all that null sec bullshit. If you like being a puppet meatshield then by all means. The riches are lies. They're for the chosen few. And that ain't you.

• What are your goals for yourself, and your Corp?

As for me I'd like to achieve a goal of being as fine a solo pvp'er as possible. I'd need to undock more and get away from the meta game stuff that I love so much. All in due time I suppose.

As for the corp/alliance I hope to see the prosperous growth and identity that is Stay Frosty/A Band Apart continue as it is and be a force to reckoned with in both the nature of warfare within Eve and the successful brand that it has become. It's a great time being a member.  Long shall it continue as long as Eve continues to breathe life.

• Do you have a funny Eve story you can share?

Yes. I had decided a few years ago that I wanted an Orca for my first created Eve character. Not so much because I wanted it for its intended uses as much as I wanted to steal one and happened to have a pilot that could fly one.

One evening I set out in high sec looking for one of those foolish people who liked to eject a mining barge from their Orca and leave the Orca unpiloted in a belt. I literally warped to the first belt in the system I was docked in. Voila'! An unpiloted Orca.

I needed a plan. It was a dead-end system. The Orca was positioned with asteroids between it and the only star-gate into the system. To warp to the Orca from the gate, or any other celestial for that matter, as the Orca was smack in the middle of this asteroid cluster, would surely mean the capsule of my Orca pilot would likely bump off rocks and be delayed getting into the Orca having the plan foiled.

We didn't play to lose. This Orca would be liberated from its foolish owner. Myself and two of my fellow pilots, yes, we were still mercenaries and honorable blokes at this point in time, spent over an hour devising a plan. I had to maneuver myself in to place cloaked around to the opposite side of the asteroids without being decloaked and noticed by the target to get behind the Orca so my two mates who were fitted in MWD bump Stabbers could get a warp to and land directly in line with the only slight clear path from any celestial, the gate into system and warp in to the Orca' without being bumped by the rocks themselves. There was an ever so slight clearing to get the bump ships warped in and a direct path for them to align to the Orca and a slight, narrow path for them to bump it through the rocks out of range. It was literally like bowling Orcas down a residential street sideways.  It took detailed and careful planning/piloting to say the least. Over an hour, close to two hours, we spent creating this plan and getting myself into position. Patience Daniel son is no bullshit.

Finally. The cloaked warp to was in place. My Orca pilot was in place and ready. The two bumping pilots were in place on the in gate. The plan was for my two mates to jump in, warp to Harri at distance and make bump runs at the Orca to bump it out of target lock range of the Hulk that he ejected from the Orca and was piloting. You see, if the owner of a ship ejects from his ship and targets the ship he ejected from it can not be boarded by someone else.

Everybody ready? Clear comms was ordered. We had a listening audience of non participants. Jump Jump! Bump Stabbers in and warp to Harrigan at 20. Stabbers warped, landed, aligned to the Orca with MWD activated.

It was perfect execution. No rocks interfered. The Stabbers successfully bumped the Orca away. As they worked their tail flame magic I jumped my Orca pilot into system, warped to the warp in and boarded the Orca. The last image burned in my mind was the Orca making a sharp turn to the starboard side aligning to its gate of freedom while those Stabbers bumped the living piss out of that Hulk.

A o/ and thanks for the Orca was said in local. No response. None. Nothing at all. After about five minutes the victim finally responded. The guy was totally unaware that anything had happened. He was afk having a pretty bad argument with his wife. All that planning, checking, double checking, and detailed cloaky flying was all for nothing. Of course we had no way to know. No, I did not give the Orca back. I named it Freedom from Stupidity before leaving local with it.

In game I have a public medal. FLAPS project medal. Found Laying Around in Plain Sight for my planning and operational patience to pull off a heist that deserved pulling.

• What is your favorite thing about Rixx? (lol)

The guy is a machine. Literally one of the most talented people I've ever known. He has a talent of running a successful corp/alliance that just works. Without question his graphics artwork is phenomenal. Plus he's one frosty cat.
(EDITOR: Meow baby!)

Are you looking for a home in Eve? A place without bubblegum? Then join our in-game channels EVEOGANDA and/or The Frosty Hammer and give A Band Apart a try. We have a Corporation for every taste bud, Pirates, High-Sec Industry, Wormholes, and everyone gets to play together as God intended. No one looks down on anyone else. True Story bro.

Kronos: Not-An-Expansion Notes

For those of you watching at home, Kronos is not an expansion. It is one of those new-fangled mini-bi-monthly-thingies that bring new content to Eve Online without expanding anything. Stuff is being added to the game, changed, and otherwise twisted and altered, but Eve will no longer be expanded.

Think about it this way, Eve is old enough now to stop binge eating at the Super Panda Buffet twice a year, and start eating more responsibly every other month. Eve is just about to enter puberty and cares about what the ladies think about it. Eve needs to work out and get rid of that baby fat. Eve needs it own room, man! Eve has its own opinions y'know, you people just don't get Eve! Do you!?! That is NOT a pimple!

Cough. Ok here is Part One of the new things Kronos is bringing with it Tuesday. And here is Part Two.

Walk with me as I run them all down in my own special way.

• The ORE Prospect – the covert ops mining frigate!
A new ship is always to be celebrated. No matter what kind of ship, who it is for, what it does, or even how it looks - a new ship is new. Yeah! More targets and another thing for killboards to be confused about for the next two or three weeks.

• The Mordu's Legion Garmur Frigate
And yes, there are a bunch of new ships in this not-expansion. The Garmur is an exciting addition to the Frigate line-up and all us Pirates are very excited. Can't wait to get my hands on these three Mordu's Legion ships. Someone out there help out a poor Pirate and hook me up! Please?

• The Mordu’s Legion Orthrus Cruiser
There is some concern that this ship is going to be rather OP and shatter the current Meta. Probably. I also need one of these as soon as possible. I promise to fly it into extreme danger and report back.

• The Mordu’s Legion Barghest Battleship
Heck, I still haven't flown the SOE BS. Sigh. Oh well, this is another BS I probably won't be able to afford anytime soon. So no breakfast waffles in my house!

• Mordu’s Legion advances in low-security space
More stuffs in Low Sec!! Come to Low Sec and get some of these tasty new Mordu things and build lots of new spaceships. You know you want to.

• New capabilities for pirate faction ships
All kidding aside, this is where the real action is for us Low Sec dwellers. Pirate Faction ships are getting Fozzienated this week and things will never be the same again. Just imagine if some amazingly talented Eve blogger had just spent an entire week reviewing all the Frigates in Eve... that guy would be pretty pissed right now!

• Faction-themed stations
Eve gets even more pretty. I rarely pay any attention to stations, I can't even tell you who owns the one I live in every day. But I fully appreciate this change.

• Sound customization on a whole new level
And once again, Eve just gets that much better. This is a small thing in the grand scheme, but it is an awesome change.

• Smarter NPCs in factional warfare
Well the NPCs are getting smarter, one hopes that the players will also be getting an upgrade in the smarts department. One thing is for sure, the FW Meta is about to change once again. What will it mean!? If only I had some Mordu Legion ships to test it out...

• Updates to Mining Barges and Exhumers
I fully endorse this product and/or service. Seriously. I know you Carebears think Rixx doesn't care about you, but you are so wrong. I do care. Sometimes I care too much.

• Drones from all races become viable for a range of tactics
As if everything else didn't already mean new stuff to learn, now they go and fiddle with drones. Lots of new changes here, all of which seems pretty decent on the first pass. Time will tell, but I think this is going to be a good thing.

• New effects for ships warping in and out
Jita will never be the same again. I love this addition to the game, more immersion is good news all around.

• The new Moa and its variants
I'm just happy for my friend Kirith. I have no idea what he'll complain about now.

• The new Condor and its variants
This was teased so long ago, it is great to finally see it happen. Much needed updating.

• Low Slot Mods for Freighters and updated Deep Space Transports and Blockade Runners
I'll let those with more knowledge than I have deal with the consequences of this upcoming change, but for me and my once a month trip to Jita - this seems like an awesome change.

• New visual effects in space
More changes to make Eve even prettier to look at. Aww.

• The New Eden Store - customization for ships and characters
I don't really participate in these things, but I do like the increase in Ship Skins.

• Increased sightings of wormholes in low-security space
Yeah!! More wormholes to more places means more roams to more places means more targets in more places, means more fun.

• Quality of life improvements
I am a huge fan of the small things effort and it looks like we are getting some major small changes on Monday. Go team.

• The new Typhoon model
I'm a big fan of the Phoon and the new model is stunning. Well done and much needed.

• Improved customer experience on the Mac client with the latest Cider update
And the thing I am probably most happy about, more updates to the Mac client. I recently updated my computers to the latest versions of everything and Eve has been creaking along since then, I'm hoping this update will bring Eve up to speed and eliminate or decrease the frequency of these issues. It does affect my game play when half the screen turns yellow, or when space disappears suddenly, or when the client crashes 3 or 4 times in a play session. These issues have had a hand in a half-dozen ship losses for me the past month. So I am very excited about this.

All in all this not-expansion is shaping up to be a good one. We'll have to wait and see what happens as a result of some of the re-balancing before we judge it fully. That always takes a little time to sink in properly. I'm excited about a lot of the things on this list and I can honestly say that Kronos looks to make Eve better. And ultimately, that is the only rule of thumb that truly matters.

Onward and Upward.

The Ballad of SerenitEVE

Nicely done. New Moa hull next week! Woot.

And yes, duh, I'm a huge fan of Firefly. I am sad that I didn't think of this myself.

The State of Frigates: The Navy

Four more Frigates to unfairly judge based on enigmatic personal preferences born of daily use over an extended period of time, time once again. If you didn't catch the gist of that, in other words we have four more Frigates to review. Once again, and totally up-front, these reviews are solely based on my own personal opinions based on daily use over the past years of playing Eve.

I am, if anything, brutally honest. But fortunately the Navy Frigates represent the very best group of Frigates in Eve today. So these reviews will mostly be kind. Awww.

The Caldari Navy Hookbill

(8/10) The Hookbill and I have a long and storied history together. There are times when I seem to excel at flying the damn thing, and other times when it dies easily in a fire. I honestly have no idea what the difference between those two states of being might be. It perplexes me to no end. I am vexed. I am also currently on a rather long hiatus from flying the ship, a hiatus which will be coming to an end next week as I've fit up a few to undock in once more.

Don't get me wrong, I like the Hookbill. Dual webbed, 10mn AB, Light missiles or rockets, dual tanked, shield tanked, shield boosted, armor rep, mwd, the sky is truly the limit on how you choose to die in one of these things. It gets knocked down a peg or two in my book for once again representing the kind of ship that I will attack in almost anything else. The Hookbill, or HB as I often type it in chat, is not a ship that invokes much fear. That is both its strength and its weakness.

Strength: Versatility  Weakness: Versatility

The Federation Navy Comet

(10/10)  The Comet is one of my two go-to daily PvP ship, the ship I grab when I don't specifically have another ship that needs to be flown. The Comet is perfectly adapted to today's low sec environment. It is tough, moderately quick, with nice damage projection (in both rail or blaster configurations) and decent survivability. There is no other Frigate I won't engage when I am flying my Comet, a fact that is only shared by the next ship on this list. I may not win every one of those engagements, and I don't, but I go into each of them confident that I have a chance of winning.

I've fought 7-1 odds and cleared the field in my Comet. I've scored solo victories against every other Frigate in the game at one point or another. And probably all of the AFs as well. I've tackled Cruisers, Battleships, and every sort of thing in-between. The Comet is supremely gifted at being generally decent, and in the right hands, can be a force to be reckoned with. I prefer the rail fit variation, but I also fly the blaster one. Both are good for different reasons, but you will explode more often in the blaster fit.

Strength: Damage Projection & Survivability  Weakness: Speed

The Imperial Navy Slicer

(10/10)  My other go-to daily PvP ship is the fantastic to fly Slicer. Which is probably the most fun you can have in a ship. Seriously, if I wasn't trying so hard to bring diversity to my daily rounds, I'd fly the Slicer and Comet all the time. Both are more expensive than T1, but they both bring value worthy of their price tags. The Slicer is like the Jet Fighter of Eve, fast and furious for a little ship. Depending on your fit the little sucker can match any other ship in speed and damage projection.

The Slicer has one major downside, it is Amarr. And as such, it will kill you every so often from lack of cap. The Slicer is not intended for long, protracted fighting. Eventually all your mods will shut down and those bastards will get their webs on you! Most of my non-blobbed to death Slicer deaths have been from cap failure.

Strength: Speed  Weakness: Cap

The Republic Fleet Firetail

(9/10)  About a year ago I went thru a period of time when the FT was my go-to daily PvP choice and it rocked. I scored an awful lot of kills in it and it became a real joy to fly. At some point late last year, the FT became a death-trap for me. Since then, every single time I fit one up to fly, I get blobbed to death in it. Or have a Moa suddenly drop on me, or some other horrible fate. I'm convinced the darn thing is cursed.

But you shouldn't let my curse stop you from flying one. They are great little low sig radius ships that can do a lot of damage in a variety of ways. They are, truly, the direct descendant of the Rifter legacy.

Strength: Versatility and Sig Radius  Weakness: Tank

Yes I know some of this series will most likely change next week, but then again, nothing really changes in Eve. The core remains the same. The details move around, and new things are introduced, but Eve remains a game of knowledge and odds. Especially in PvP. Know your enemy and weigh the odds.

That will never change.

The State of Frigates: Pirate Faction

We've looked at the current state of T1 and T2 Frigates in Eve, so now it is time to look at the Pirate Faction Frigates. There aren't many of these available right now, but there is a new one coming in the expansion - the Garmur. It looks like the Garmur will fit in nicely with the current selection and take its place right along side the others.

Remember, this is all written from the perspective of a pirate. One who flies small gang and solo primarily.

All Pirate Frigates stick out like a sore-thumb, are expensive, and usually garner a lot of attention when they appear in local. They are ships for the bold and the daring, flying one makes a statement and requires the proper respect. And also the understanding that others want to make a trophy out of you. For good reason.

The Astero

(8/10) The Astero, the newest addition to the Pirate Frigate line-up up until the Garmur shows up, has proven itself to be perhaps the most versatile of the Pirate Frigates. That distinction doesn't seem to be threatened by the newcomer, which is good news. Versatility is good, but it also comes with a price. (Not to mention the price that all Pirate Frigs come with, cost and visibility.) The Astero can sport a very healthy and robust tank and in many configurations extremely respectable damage, its drone capacity is good, and it even has the ability to cloak if desired.

The Astero is a great addition to Eve and has quickly found its place amongst the other Pirate Frigates. But it is also a highly sought after trophy and one that requires special skill to fly properly. The addition of cloaking abilities makes the Astero popular amongst the "run-away" crowd.

Strengths: Tank and drones  Weaknesses: It acts like a Cruiser, but it is only a Frigate after all.

The Daredevil

(10/10) Eve's only perfect Frigate, the Daredevil is supremely great at being a Pirate Frigate and personifies the class in ways that the other ships wish they could. Perfectly balanced the Daredevil is often accused of being OP, but it isn't. It just happens to be perfectly designed for what it is. The Daredevil balances damage, tank and speed in a way that makes perfect sense, something I wish more Frigates in Eve did. While in the right hands, the Daredevil can be extremely scary, as befits a superior Pirate Frigate. I make no bones about it, the Daredevil is my favorite Eve ship.

Daredevils are typically fit one of two ways in Low Sec, rail or blaster. Both have their pluses and minuses, and both are legit ways to fly the ship. There are other more uncommon fits, but typically all fits are designed around one of the other of these weapon systems. I suggest only flying this ship when you are properly skilled enough to do so, poorly fit and under-skilled Daredevils are an abomination and an insult.

Strengths: Balance  Weaknesses: None

The Succubus

(6/10) You don't see this ship very often in Low Sec. Many people don't like them, but I've had mine for a long time and it is still alive. I actually flew it in the last FFA and it is still alive. Don't get me wrong, the ship has serious downsides and isn't extremely good at anything. It demands a certain level of care when flying and is not intended as a daily choice to PvP with. The Succubus also happens to be perfectly balanced, and is the darker side of that philosophy, since its balance means it isn't specific enough to garner much use on a regular basis.

You can judge the effectiveness of any ship by judging how likely you are to attack one when they appear on d-scan. The Succubus ranks highly on that scale, which tells you all you need to know about the ship. It is expensive and unless it is being used properly, it is a high-impact target.

Strength: Projection  Weaknesses: Depends on the fit

The Cruor

(7/10) The Cruor excels at small gang warfare, it is a great choice to help support the efforts of other ships. While it can be used solo, the attention it gets in local often precludes any attempts to do so. Like all of the Pirate Faction ships on this list, I judge them not only on their own merits, but also on experience. What good is a PvP ship if everyone either runs away, or forms up a gang to kill you?

I like Cruors on their own merits, they are nasty little things that can suck another ship dry. But I don't fly them very often.

Strength: Neuts  Weaknesses: Attention

The Dramiel

(8/10) Once the king of the Pirate Frigates the Dramiel's once vaunted abilities have been curbed downward over the years. Make no mistake, it is still a force to be reckoned with and with proper skill can be an amazingly epic little ship. Last week we encountered one running with Links in a nearby system and it slaughtered several of us before we were able to force it off the field.

Dramiels are tough to fit properly and should only be flown when you have the skills to fit it as well as it deserves. Like the Daredevil, the Dram is a beast that demands respect. Dual prop fits are common, as are faction web versions, weapons can vary but typically the are AC fit with either armor or more daring shield tanks. I've even seen some recently with dual tanks.

Strength: Toughness  Weaknesses: It is a Frigate!

The Worm

(4/10) I haven't flown a Worm in over two years, which should tell you all you need to know about the Worm. I've probably flown every other ship BS and below in the last two years.

The Worm still needs work. Don't fly it.

Maybe I'll take a look at Cruisers next.

-ABA- Pilot Profiles: Mynxee

-A Band Apart- Pilot Profiles is a series of posts that feature players from our Alliance that share their stories, experiences, and play-styles.

This post features Mynxee, a long-time Eve player and well-known Pirate, who took a 3 year hiatus from New Eden. You can catch up with her regularly at her blog Outlaw Insouciant.

• Tell us about your background in Eve

I discovered Eve in Feb 2007 when I got the urge to game again a few years after my long-time gaming group had dispersed to the winds due to real life. As soon as I saw the first trailer, I created a trial account. I was awestruck the first time I undocked. Having never played an MMO before and seeing all this gorgeous and endless space with total freedom to just...go there...and knowing that lots of those other ships were flown by real people...just kinda blew my mind. I subbed after only 2 days.

That first character was a carebear and explorer. Within a few days of subbing, I was contacted by someone ingame and invited to a chat channel where I learned about corporations and why it was a good idea to join one. So I joined and luckily they were helpful, friendly folk who taught me a lot about the basics. Over time and several other corps, I learned more and ventured out more and more to do high sec exploration. I decided at some point to cut through Egghelende, a notoriously dangerous low sec system. Predictably, my cruiser was ganked by pirates. Some anti-pirates (who used to be pirates) jumped the pirates that killed my ship but they also got their asses handed to them. However, we started chatting and in that way I learned all about the pirate lifestyle. It REALLY appealed to me and I vowed to create a pirate character.

Mynxee was born in May 2007 but spent the first few months serving my main as a hauler while training up combat related skills. Finally one day I just said screw it, and joined a pirate corp (Death of Virtue). We lived in Deacon and despite it being one of a two connected low sec systems entirely surrounded by high sec, had a great old time ganking short-cutters and camping the gate. I learned quite a lot and also had my first solo kill there (Rifter vs. another frigate, can't recall what it was). Mynxee soon evolved into my main and my first character became a very handy alt (she was later sold and has been a Goon since then).

After spending time in a few corps and not finding quite what I wanted, I formed Hellcats (a women-only pirate corp). We had some fun randomly terrorizing low sec for nearly two years, flying with a lot of different folks in the process. The responsibilities involved in running Hellcats became burdensome so I decided to join Noir. to get a taste of the merc lifestyle. The worst part of all that was grinding my sec status back up so I could participate in high sec ops! Had some great times in Noir., lots of interesting fights and many good memories. While in Noir., I ran for CSM5 and got elected as Chair. During my term as I was busy with CSM, I decided the merc life was too demanding and joined VETO., long a dream of mine. CSM conspired to consume much of my time and I had little actual time (or desire) to actually play Eve.

After my CSM term concluded, I was burned out and decided to take a long (and maybe permanent) hiatus from Eve. I gave all my billions' worth of ISK (mainly won by playing Eve Online Holdem plus character sales) and assets away and unsubbed my accounts. But I kept up with a few blogs and occasionally on Twitter, primarily interested in what the CSM was up to and how it was evolving.

In April 2014, I got a new computer that could actually run Eve (my old PC had died just after my CSM term). Eve had enjoyed a lot of good fixes and I got the urge to fly spaceships again. So I resubbed looking for a no-responsibility, casual low sec pirate experience.

• How did you first hear about A Band Apart?

On Rixx' blog and his posts on Twitter.

• What is it that you enjoy the most about your Corp/Alliance?

The laid-back, no-fucks-given, go-for-it attitude. Despite being in a helpful, friendly alliance full of active pilots, I prefer wandering around low sec mostly by myself looking for solo fights in a Rifter, wormhole-hopping in my Rapier or Hound just to see where it takes me, or simply sight-seeing in low and null sec in a cloaky ship. There's not pressure to fit a certain way, fly a certain way, or anything. It perfect fits the casual way I want to enjoy the game these days.

• What have you learned since joining?

Well, considering it's been 3 years since I played, I am learning something new every day because the game has changed a LOT in that time. I'm sure my corpmates are having a good laugh about my noob questions behind my back! But it's okay because I stumped them the other day when I asked what the shortcut key was for displaying brackets in space. No one knew so I actually had to look it up in the Shortcuts menu.  :P

• Do you have any advice for players just getting started?

Do crazy random stuff, try things, ask questions, find a good helpful corp to join (like Stay Frosty or one of the other A Band Apart corps).

• What are your goals for yourself, and your Corp?

My goal is just to have fun, blow lots of stuff up, and try not to lose ships on too grand a scale  ;D I'm free of having to think or worry about any corp goals, thank the gods.

• Do you have a funny Eve story you can share?

How much time do you have? Could tell stories all night :)

Myself and another Hellcat (a very new player only a few weeks into the game) were roaming one night with some members of The Bastards. We ransomed a mission ship for 100,000,00 ISK but he accidentally sent 1,000,000,000 ISK instead. The ethics of the situation was considered...should we return the excess or not? One clever Bastard suggested that we were such good pirates that our victim felt it necessary to tip us 900,000,000 ISK. So of course we kept it all. Never heard a peep from the victim about it, so he must have had so much ISK he didn't know what to do with it or else was too embarrassed to admit having made such a big mistake. Either way, it made for a good payout. Everyone--including the Hellcat newbie member--got well over 100M. Pretty awesome, esp. for that few-weeks-old character!

Another night out with the Bastards, 12 of us in frigates and assault frigates discovered a Rorqual about 10K outside the POS shields. This was when they were quite new in the game and very expensive. As I recall, we considered whether to ransom or kill and decided the kill would be more fun because we were all in frigates. So, we tackled him and bumped him further away from the POS, then proceeded to (slowly) kill him. The POS guns failed to do any significant damage as we were about our business due to our frigate speedtanking and also (as we learned later from the victim) the fact that the guns were not properly configured. We kept expecting help to show up for the poor pilot but no one did. Once the Rorq was dead, we had a fleetmate go two jumps to buy a hauler and salvagers so we could loot and salvage the ship...all of which took about 20 minutes. Still no sign of help from our victim's corp and remarkably, no interference from anyone else passing through! The victim later told us that it was a small corp and no one was available. I think we ended up selling the loot back to the victim, who was a pretty good sport about it all considering the cost of a Rorqual in those days. It was another nice payday for us pirates and a sweet kill :)

• What is your favorite thing about Rixx? (lol)

He's chill. :) And quite artistically talented. And oh yeah, good looking. (He paid me to say that.)
(EDITOR: I did not actually pay her to say that.)

Thinking about a life of piracy? Or maybe one just hanging out with Pirates? Either way the Corporations of A Band Apart have got you covered. Wormholes, High-Sec, or scum-sucking Pirates! And we all play together and support each other. How about that? Join our in-game channels EVEOGANDA and or The Frosty Hammer to learn more.
A Band Apart Character Posters - Mynxee
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-ABA- Pilot Profiles: Morg Braktar

-A Band Apart- Pilot Profiles is a series of posts that feature players from our Alliance that share their stories, experiences, and play-styles.

This post features Morg Braktar, a pilot in Stay Frosty who is very active in the Corporation.

Background: I started EvE on a trial some 7 years ago. I decided to sub as I was playing a few games and burning out on all of them. When I started, there was no skill queue and I really didn't do much research into EvE before starting. I may have played a month or two before I was completely lost and baffled with the complexity of this wonderful game. After quite a break, I decided to resub after a free five day offer. That time, I did my research, I found some people to play alongside. I have since been playing only EvE as my MMO. Through those years, I have done a little bit of everything. I went from novice to miner, solo industry to nullsec power bloc. The PvP aspect has always been my downfall though.

I heard about A Band Apart because I am a member of #tweetfleet on twitter. I regularly converse with Rixx and others. When I heard he was expanding from pirate corp to a comprehensive alliance, I decided to pull my alt in. I have since moved my main from nullsec to Stay Frosty as well.

The one thing that I most enjoy about A Band Apart is the casual play style that many of us subscribe to. We are mostly older and as such have life that is full of family, work, and other pursuits. I don't have to worry about being kicked because I missed a CTA. If I want to log on for an hour, there is no pressure to stay playing because of some sov fight or station grind. I get to choose my play style. In fact, at one point, I was involved in an effort to create an alliance of this nature. Unfortunately, that did not work out as the others disappeared over time.

I haven't been around long enough to say I have learned anything new.

My advice to new players is simple. It's a game. It's your pastime. When it becomes a second job, the fun will leave. Play as you want, play by your rules and find a group that will allow you to do that. Do not become one of the nullsec slaves who go where they are told when they are told.

My only goal is to have fun and see something blow up. I don't care if it is a target or me, but some internet spaceship pixels have to blow up.

EDITOR: Well said.

The State of Frigates: Tech 2

Yesterday we looked at the State of T1 Frigates in Eve and how they compare to each other and to the general environment, from a Pirate's perspective. While not intended as a "guide" it does give you a brief overview, and I thought we'd continue today and look at the T2 Frigates.

T2 Frigates come in many flavors, from Assault, to Interceptor, to Electronics, and Covert/Bomber types. Each one highly specialized and intended to serve a specific role. For my purposes all I care about is how they serve the role of blowing up other people's ships. So let's keep that in mind as we go. Does the ship help blow up other people's ships? Or not.


Retribution: (4/10) The Retri is best utilized in small gang support roles, it can be rather tanky and serve as the anchor for other ships. But it is gimped pretty harshly when it comes to 1v1 work and eclipsed by the next ship on this list...
Strength: Tank  Weakness: Cap and Speed

Vengeance: (6/10) The Veng is an amazing little ship that fails me every time I fly it. I am cursed in Vengeances. But I won't allow my personal challenges to take away from the knowledge that they are awesome workhorses of doom. I've fought some good ones and they are tough. I just need to figure out how that happens.
Strength: Tank and Damage Projection  Weakness: Depends on the fit

Crusader: (3/10) Generally speaking Interceptors have a very hard time in Low Sec*. They can be used rather well as extremely quick raid and go platforms against specific types of enemies, or as fast tackle for small gangs. But even that is a bit of a stretch. In that environment the Crusader isn't very well suited, and the Malediction is better suited.
Strength: Speed  Weakness: Everything else

*NOTE: All long-point based ships suffer in today's low sec environment. Given the AB based, stabbed, cloaky, run-away mentality of most foes, long points suffer from a general lack of "Hey, I caught you!" power. This doesn't mean they can't succeed, they can. Only that it is very, very hard to do so.

Malediction: (5/10) Versatility is the strength of the Malediction and for my money it is the best of the two Amarr Interceptors for that very reason. You can fit a scram to it and that's all you really need to know.
Strength: Versatile  Weakness: It'll die a lot

Sentinel: (9/10)  This ship rocks. It might even be a tad OP right now, but so what! It is a blast to fly, it can do a lot of things really well from a safe distance and it is hard to counter. I really try not to fly it very often because it is kinda sorta like flying an ECM ship. But man. It is tough not to. (Mostly I don't fly it much because it is impossible for me to get a fight in one, but other pilots in Stay Frosty do very well in them.)
Strength: Long range neuts and speed Weakness: Tank


Harpy: (8/10)  Fear the Harpy. Multiple platforms, decent tank, nice damage projection, nasty survivability - the Harpy is a tough bird to kill. Mostly because you never know for sure how it will be fit, blasters? Rails? Ab? Mwd? Tricky. Very tricky this ship.
Strength: Versatility  Weakeness: SLOW AB and Weak MWD

Hawk: (9/10) Dual ASB Hawks are also a tad OP at the moment. They have bastard tanks and do decent enough projected dps to be a beast to kill. But in one, you feel pretty confident you can handle just about anything, especially if they get close.
Strength: Tank  Weakness: Speed, drones

Crow: (4/10) So fast. So easy to kill. The Crow is an expensive toy that fills a role better served by other ships. But boy, that new model sure is pretty.
Strength: Speed!  Weakness: Everything else

Raptor: (1/10) There was a short moment in time there when people thought the Raptor might be a viable PvP ship in Low Sec. They quickly discovered that it isn't. No matter what other ship I am in, I will always attack a Raptor. That should tell you all you need to know.
Strength: Uh... Weakness: The actual ship

Kitsune: (6/10) This is an ECM ship, so never fly one of these! I mean it.


Enyo: (8/10) I love the Enyo and it is seriously like an Incursus on steroids. Good tank, great dps, slow speed, decent damage projection in certain configurations, the Enyo is a tough ship.
Strength: Tank  Weakness: Speed

Ishkur: (7/10) I should love the Ishkur more than I do, I know that. But like the Vengeance I haven't always had the best of luck in this ship. So my own view is tainted. Take that for what you will, but the Ishkur should be a better ship.
Strength: I dunno  Weakness: It explodes when I fly it

Ares: (1/10) Nope.

Taranis: (5/10) The only viable low sec interceptor, the Taranis suffers from the simple fact that it is much more expensive than other ships that do the same job much better than it does. It is a blast to fly and looks great when on fire, but other than that it costs a lot of iskies.
Strength: Awesomeness Weakness: Price

Keres: (4/10) A horrible ECM ship that you should never fly, even if you are a dishonor pilot.


Jaguar: (8/10)  Many people do not like the Jag, but I love them. Versatile and decently tanked, the Jag offers fun in the sun for those looking to sit firmly in the middle of the road. Confuse those around you and confound your enemies. This ship does just that.
Strength: Confusion  Weakness: It really isn't that good... or is it?

Wolf: (6/10)  The Wolf is best in small gang support bring the dps from a safe distance roles. As a solo ship it is possible to try and fit it like you would a Rifter on steroids, but it is pretty expensive to be doing that with it.
Strength: Damage Projection  Weakness: Tank troubles

Claw: (5/10) If you don't mind spending the isk, the Claw can be fitted in several ways to be useful in low sec. It can also be extremely fun to fly. You just need an enemy willing to stick around long enough for you to kill them.
Strength: Speed  Weakness: Depends, but it's always something

Stiletto: (3/10) They still make this ship?

Hyena: (3/10) It actually can have a role in small gang warfare, but not really.

You'll notice I didn't mention any of the Stealth Bombers or Covert Ops ships in this post, that is because they have specific roles that should be rather obvious. And each of them is good enough at those roles to also be rather obvious. Plus they don't really fit into the PvP Pirate role much.

And there you go.

The State of Frigates: Tech One

We've got a new Frigate, the Garmur, coming out here shortly. With that in mind I thought I'd take a look at the current state of Frigates in New Eden. Sort of mini-reviews of each one and where they stand currently. All of this in my opinion, based on flying them every single day, yadda yadda. I actually play Eve y'know. Be aware that this is all from my perspective as a scum-sucking ebil pirate.

In this post I'll be looking at the Tech 1 Frigates and tomorrow I'll take a look at the T2 Frigates.


Crucifier: No one flies the Crucifier anymore because of Sentinel. This poor ship got buried under the changes wrought to its Tech 2 counterpart and was rendered rather meaningless as a result. Personally I'd fly one simply because most people have probably forgotten that it even exists. I should try that.

Executioner: I fly this every once in a while just for fun. It is cheaper than the Slicer and almost a good ship. Long point ships suffer horribly in today's risk-averse Low Sec and the Executioner is no exception. Until such time as Fozzie does something to fix WCS, long point Frigates will continue to suck ass as viable options. But it is great as back up. So fast.

Inquisitor: Awesome! Who ever thought Logi Frig would be a real thing?

Magnate: Target!! 'Nuff said.

Punisher: If it wasn't Amarr the Punisher would be one of the best Low Sec Frigates around. As it is, it is still a very viable option. Slow as molasses, but tanky and with decent damage output. Just hope the bad guys don't have neuts or that the fight doesn't last more than a couple of minutes.

Tormentor: Currently the best Amarr T1 Frigate for low sec fighting. The Torm has everything, damage projection, tank options, decent speed, and a face that only a mother could love. Yarr.


Bantam: Target!!

Condor: One of the most fun ships to fly in all of New Eden, the Condor has sadly been co-opted by the cowards in FW. If you see a Condor in a Plex you can be assured that it will run away and hide. Stabbed, cloaked, and aligned. Poor thing. New Condor is purty though.

Griffin: No cowardly low sec gang is complete without one of these along. Just apply drones and watch the damn thing melt, then kill everyone else. ECM is fine as long as it is on your side.

Heron: Probes on scan!! Might be a mission.

Kestrel: The Caldari get two viable Frigates and the Kessie is one of them. Variety of fit, strength of tank, speed and damage projection make the Kessie one of the best low sec Frigates going. And it's fun to fly.

Merlin: And the Merlin. An awesome Frigate of death, the merlin can be fit is so many ways to confuse and confound. In some configurations the damage output is simply insane for a T1 Frigate.


Atron: Now that Crake has sadly bio-massed himself Atron usage in Low Sec has probably dropped about half. But that doesn't mean it still isn't one of the best Frigates in the game. Speedy as all heck, the Atron is fun, agile and versatile. Plus the darn things are cheap, cheap, cheap!

Imicus: Target!!

Incursus: The Gallente have three viable Frigs, and the Incursus has always been one. Nothing has changed, the darn ship is just awesome. Fly one.

Maulus: Being damped isn't the same as being jammed.

Navitas: People who try to use one of these as a Logi Frigate are cute. Mostly carebears seem to use these ships.

Tristan: The most mainline of all the T1 Frigates and a favorite of Stay Frosty pilots, the Tristan is extremely versatile and a properly flown and fit Tristan can defeat any other Frigate on this list, more times than not. You can't say that about another one.


Breacher: One of my favorite Frigates and one I haven't flown in a very long time - mostly because I like to change things up. The Breacher is capable of amazing feats of strength and daring do.

Burst: Target... maybe?

Probe: Or maybe the Burst and the Probe are up to something? Who can be sure...

Rifter: The most iconic ship in Eve and no one believes in you anymore. They say you are washed up, no good for nothing, and worthless. Mostly, they are right. I still fly them, one great thing about the Rifter? No one is afraid of you in it. Except FW peeps, but they are afraid of everything.

Slasher: Always an enigma, the Slasher suffers from middle of the road syndrome. But it is a great and fun little Frig that can often be surprising with the right fit and pilot at the wheel.

Vigil: Drones on the Vigil!!

And there you have it, my extremely biased opinion about the current state of Frigates in New Eden. How will the Garmur fit into this? Only time will tell. Tomorrow I'll take a look at the T2 and Pirate Frigates, a place the Garmur will most likely fall.

Until then, buy some of these and fly around. They are cheap, fun and you can fit them any way you like.

A Band Apart Wallpaper

A Band Apart Wallpaper
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I saw this promotional image a few days ago for The Expendables 3 and saved it, knowing full well I'd eventually have to use it. A few years ago I did a similar piece featuring Eve Bloggers with an image from the first Expendables movie.

I wish I had room to feature all of our pilots, but I picked heads simply based on what would work and what wouldn't. Also, don't fear ladies, I have something coming up that will feature the ladies of A Band Apart as well. You are a bit more challenging what with all the hair and close cropped avatars. :)

Pretty badass line-up there. I imagine Draiv as the sinister money-bags behind the scenes guy, Joffy as the munitions expert, Cerv as the sneaky ninja, Bloody as the hard-drinking crazy, and the rest of us as former Seals or something. Probably each of us spent time in a Federal Prison for crimes we didn't commit.

I'd hang out with this bunch. Oh hey, I do hang out with this bunch!


PS: And now the women of A Band Apart, or at least four of them :)

A Band Apart Biker Babes Wallpaper
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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Jita

[The following Guest Post has been provided by Stay Frostian Watson Crick. All the lies and exaggerations are his alone this time, but the story is 100% true.]

It all started last Friday evening, my hauler’s Orca had just docked to Ish [EDITOR: Ishomilken, fun-time home of Stay Frosty!] with a billion ISK in modules but, being the idiot that I am, I had managed to forget a few and some of my favorite fits remained incomplete. I needed to send her back to Jita.

The only fast ship available was her Viator but just as she undocks, the Stay Frosty comms light up, “Caracal fleet in the Med”. I warp her off to the high-sec gate, hit the Autopilot button and tab to my main’s window.

Although it took us longer than expected to get this fight, it was a lovely affair. Four Caracals and a Moa died to an SF Cruiser fleet with no losses on our side. Fitting cloaking devices on t1 Cruisers is rarely a good decision.

When playtime was over, I noticed the delivery guy coming in with our food. Since I fully deserve my SF title of “Docking up for dinner”, I tabbed back to my alt, saw that she was sitting in a Caldari station and quit the game without realizing that she wasn't in her BR in Jita but rather in a pod in Ish. She'd been ganked and podded by a Catalyst and an Evil Monkey Asylum Cruiser fleet.

Viator Kill [EDITOR: Don't fit WCS to your BR kids!]
Pod Kill

Normally I'd be pissed about losing 140mil in ship+pod but I realized that the 8 gankers who did me in all had sec statuses between -1.2 and 2. So I put all of the kill rights for sale at $20mil each. Maybe I’d make a profit out of this after all.

In addition, since their cruisers all got CONCORD'ed, they probably lost the ISK war. I wanted to see by how much, so the next morning I headed off to zKillboard and this is where the story took a hilarious turn.

4 Billion Boo Boo Headed Vindi Loss

Eight minutes after ganking my alt, this guy undocked in a 4.3bil ISK Vindicator. The tears must have been glorious. Of course I couldn't resist contacting him… right after I increased the sale price of his kill right to 100mil ISK.

Haaaaaa ha ha ha ha!

From: Rosalyn Franklin
Sent: 2014.05.17 13:44
To: Razzack Chronos,  

I was temporarely AFK since my main was busy killing a bunch of cloaky Caracals with his Stay Frosty fleetmates.

Don't forget to clear out the kill right before undocking from Jita in your new 4bil Vindicator. Since you got top damage and can obviously afford it, I've made it a bit more expensive than your buddies.


Re: Haaaaaa ha ha ha ha!
From: Razzack Chronos
Sent: 2014.05.17 21:36
To: Rosalyn Franklin,  

Complete fucking derp on my part.. Top lel/10. i will pay the killright off when I go to jita for a new vindi next week so all good!

Myself, corp and probably most of EvE would have a good laugh.

Peace o7

TLDR: Ganking, u r doing wrong!

Epilogue: On Sunday night, we spotted another one of the gankers gate camping the Usi gate in a Brutix. Stavblest’s alt got him to agress with a bait hauler and we gave him a nice big hug. The bait survived in half shield and we didn’t even need to activate the kill right.

Brutix Go Boom!

Words In Station: Incarna

There is an alternative universe somewhere in which Eve players are busy walking around in stations all day. One day the door opened on our Captain's Quarters and revealed all that lay beyond. Game rooms. Corporate Lounges. Hallways. And much more.

I took a trip there yesterday and trolled the forums a bit. I managed to get a great look at what our Bizarro World Avatars are up to and some of the slang they are using over there. I thought I'd bring some of those back with me to share with my dear readers. I must tell you up front, it is a strange land of weirdness over there.

AFZ, Or AFZombie, Stations are full of them! AFK players don't hide in a safe spot, they linger in corners, hallways, or other public spaces and stare blankly off into space. You can't do much with them, knock them over, or steal their clothes - but some players figured out a way to "shuffle" them into a wall or corner. In most stations this isn't a problem, but in Trade Hub stations forget about it! You can't go anywhere with all the AFZs around.

Jiggles - Thanks to CCP's recently implemented "link" feature (you can link your avatar to another player and follow them around station) a new "play" feature developed called Jiggling. Apparently dozens of players decide to link to some poor schmuck and follow him around everywhere he goes, all while jumping up and down as fast as their fat little fingers can hit the jump button. Women avatars are especially well-regarded and certain Twitch channels are dedicated to this activity. They are very popular from what I heard, I didn't look. Honest.

BAW Time, or Big Actual Windows - Yes, over in this alternative universe every station has windows. Real ones that look out into space! I know, I was very envious at first. Until I saw one for myself and spent the next two hours staring blankly at all the awesome planets, ships and whatnots outside. I wasn't the only one, in my station there were 47 other players standing next to me doing the same thing. Apparently this is called BAW Time and is an extremely powerful psychological response to being able to actually see out of a station!

Poke Her - The good news is that they do have game rooms in this alternative universe. The bad news is that these game rooms are havens for degenerates and scum-sucking nerd fantasies. I tried to join a game of Poker and soon found myself being bumped over and over again by a flock of Goons yelling "penis!" in chat. If you thought Jita local was bad, you should see the Jita Station Channel. My god.

Nag Rave - Ok, this one takes some explanation. From what I can gather several dozen players will bum rush a station all at once to generate some nice lag. If you have enough players and the situation is perfect, the servers will suddenly be unable to generate clothing. The word gets out quickly and more players pile into system to dock up. And suddenly you have a mass of naked avatars bumping and grinding in one of the large hallways or public spaces. I saw this happen once as several DUST players were trying to coordinate a planetary bombardment operation. It was pretty funny.

Unreal - The introduction of third-party widgets in the last expansion, known officially as "Gideon" but mostly as "Give Up",  there are a lot of alternative play-styles available in station. One of the most popular is the Unreal Tournament Widget, which I thought sounded pretty awesome until I downloaded and installed it. Instead of playing a Deathmatch in station, mostly it seems to result in small headed, or big headed people firing Redeemers as fast as possible. The results are funny, if not a bit silly.

I didn't have long in this alternative universe, temporal friction is real, even for me. It seemed as soon as I arrived that I was back in our world once more. An interesting place, the Incarna Universe, great to visit - but I wouldn't want to live there.

Oh, and no one undocks.

4 Years Ago: The Night of Shattered Carriers

Originally posted on May 10th, 2010

As our systems in Providence fall like dominoes before the red hordes our resolve and our spirit remain high.  Every day brings new operations aimed at stemming the tide and holding fast against overwhelming odds.  And while each of us knows it is only a matter of time, I think we still believe that the exact time is something we have some control over.

Last night in I7S we proved once again that we won't be going down easy.  The system was already pinned down by SBUs and the station was rapidly on its way through reinforce, repair services were down and had been all day.  We knew that the enemy would be coming in to finish what they had started, so we were prepared and waiting.  It started with small skirmishes around the neighboring systems as the fleet began killing one of the SBUs.

It didn't take long for the enemy to hot drop a fleet of carriers on top of us and the battle was on.  You can read the battle report (EDITOR, the Paxton KB link doesn't work anymore) for yourself, and while the total numbers are certainly in our favor there is one statistic that bears a second look.  That's right, we killed 15 Carriers!  (I know the PXF Battle Report says 17 but two of those are repeats for some reason.)  Oh, and we didn't lose a single one.

Strangely enough Pandemic Legion arrived on the field with a nice force of mostly T3 Legions and Tengus to assist.  I say strangely because no one seemed exactly sure where they came from or why they were helping us, PL being a long-time foe**.  Obviously it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out, but last night it was a bit cloudy.  I wasted some time tackling a PL Zealot before it all got straightened out.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am not a fan of large fleet battles.  But I realize they do have their place in the universe.  And sometimes, like last night, they can be things of beauty.  The grid games, the mass of bubbles, wrecks, fire, explosions, carriers, fighters and the sheer awesomeness on display was certainly eye catching.  But the real beauty for me was the execution and coordination of our efforts.  From tackle to Sniper to Guardians waiting to rep our damage inside POS shields, the battle went well because we worked together.

For my part, having lost my dps ships during the week, I decided to provide tackle in my trusty Taranis and Crow.  During most of the battle my hardy Ranis was on fire and trailing smoke.  There are few sights that get my heart pounding as much as my Taranis trailing smoke while pointing a Carrier and popping fighters.  Eventually the damage became so significant, only 10% structure left, that I had to park it and bring out the Crow.

In the end I pointed and tackled 12 ships, including 6 Carriers, as well as helping to bring down one of the evil SBUs.  With no losses.  They tried, but they didn't get me.  Not then anyway.

**Future Rixx: Interesting reading this now, since the entire thread that ended up bringing PL onto the field to help us started with a simple convo with Vile Rat weeks before. I couldn't say that at the time of course.

-ABA- Pilot Profiles: Draiv Solregard

-A Band Apart- Pilot Profiles is a series of posts that feature players from our Alliance that share their stories, experiences, and play-styles.

This post features Draiv Solregard, a Director in Stay Frosty and one of the pilots I rely upon to make everything work so well. (Or not, depending on how you look at it.)

• Tell us a little about your background in Eve

I originally joined Eve because I had a few friends who were playing it.  But when push came to shove I was left playing alone most of the time.  So I had a lot to think about and try to digest as I explored the wonderful world of spaceships.  Showing the game to my brother eventually caused him to sign up and so we began trying stuff out in Eve.

My background covers and still does, a large portion of PvE content.  I really enjoy doing various types of PvE stuff, I ran missions and puttered around High-sec for just over a year even with Eve's lack of normal MMO questing.  I really enjoyed questing during the many years I played WoW and a sprinkling of other MMO's.  So when I had finally made it to level 4 missions and realized how few there were I started to wonder what was left in Eve.

This year in High-sec I spent pretty much solo or playing with my brother.  Eve instilled such a strong impression of distrust I figured everybody was a rabid froth spewing blood craving lunatic and avoided interaction with other players because of this image which is projected to those who don't play Eve.

• How did you first hear about SF, LH, MATH

I heard about Stay Frosty from reading Rixx's blog.

However I ended up at Rixx's blog through a long chain of web links in my search for more information about Eve.  After visiting the page several times I decided to read what he had posted on the front page.  The writing was entertaining, and he didn't sound like a rabid froth spewing blood craving lunatic even if he did shoot all the things.  I followed the blog for quite awhile and even participated in the "Death Race" where I made it to the final system (only to DIAF).  It was lots of fun and got me out of High-sec for the very first time.  I didn't win any of the prizes but I was proud when I got a few kills and did the most damage on the smart-bombing battleship bit.  Long story short (too late) I continued reading his blog and my blog list continued to grow.  I finally reached a point in Eve where I was going to quit, instead I took inspiration from the few blogs I read on a regular basis and decided to start blogging myself.  Feeling uncertain with my decision and quitting still on my mind, Rixx announced on his blog that recruitment was open for Stay Frosty so I hopped over to his Evoganda channel,

[ 2013.05.14 21:57:38 ] Draiv Solregard > hey everyone
[ 2013.05.14 21:57:44 ] Rixx Javix > howdy
[ 2013.05.14 21:58:05 ] Draiv Solregard > saw the recruitment on your blog and had a few questions with being in Stay Frosty
[ 2013.05.14 21:58:18 ] Rixx Javix > shoot
[ 2013.05.14 21:58:22 ] Rixx Javix > lol
[ 2013.05.14 21:58:24 ] Draiv Solregard > is it pirate attitude 24/7 or can I also do other things like explore and such
[ 2013.05.14 21:58:29 ] Draiv Solregard > ?
[ 2013.05.14 21:58:59 ] Rixx Javix > you can do whatever you want, just no hulk kms, we have a alt corp for that
[ 2013.05.14 21:59:21 ] Draiv Solregard > cool, then I'll apply :D
[ 2013.05.14 21:59:29 ] Rixx Javix > awesome

and whelp; I'm still here.

• What is it that you enjoy the most about your corp?

I enjoy the mostly carefree attitude and loyalty our members show to each other.  When someone calls for help; they jump right in with whatever they have before the threat has even been described.  This has led to a lot of unnecessary losses where people point, laugh, and bring up those kill-mails as some sort of insult or failure.  I see all that red (some of those losses being quite expensive) and I don't see failure.  What I see are friends who are not risk averse and are willing to keep throwing ships at the threat even though we have clearly lost.

• What have you learned since joining?

Too much to make any kind of coherent paragraph out of it.

• Do you have any advice for players looking to start PvPing?

Make sure you have some sort of income because you will have losses, after which don't be afraid to engage.  You're out and about to shoot stuff, so make sure to shoot stuff!  Accept the fact that your lovely ship may get blown up and enjoy your time together while you still can.

• What are your goals for yourself, or for your corp?

I personally want to win more fights and solidify income so I can work up to bigger ships when needed.  Breaking the "meta" is another long term goal, I find Eve has lost a lot of its ingenuity due to the player base stamping on anything new or innovative.

As for the corporation I'd like it to achieve a point of great activity in and out of Eve.  A good Eve foundation is built on the good social interaction available, being able to have that around would be a great benefit for any corporation.  It's amazing I even stayed in Eve as long as I did with how stale the PvE content can become.

• Do you have a funny Eve story you could share?

I was podded in Hevrice and woke up 22 jumps away.  Considering it was late and I was tired the first thing you should do after being podded is to update your clone.  Being the uber l33t PvPer that I am with my 40+ million skill points I got me the appropriate clone for 45 million.  Hopped into another ship and started hoofing it back to Hevrice.  Since it was a rather long flight I took the time to do inventory on where stuff was located and how much ISK is needed for resupply, etc...  I open my wallet to see I'm suddenly missing 45 mISK.  There was a good'ol WTF moment as I tried to figure out where it went.  Then my most recent purchase registered and I guess I subconsciously decided I was l33t enough to be Clone Grade Phi.

• What is your favorite thing about Rixx? (lol)

The fact he listens when I ramble, and that he's kept me around this long.
(EDITOR: He does ramble a lot btw.)

More to come. If you are like Draiv and getting kinda tired of the same 'ol same 'ol and thinking of quitting Eve... why not take a chance and become an ebil fun-loving pirate instead? Join our EVEOGANDA in-game channel and suit up. We take everyone. No blood tests required.

Team Solo

Just a word to the wise, the best way to deal with a troll is to troll them right back.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

A couple of days ago I posted a chart that compared some common killboard stats from a randomly selected group of low-sec corporations. As expected, this caused a stir among the community. My original intention was simply in response to the accusation that my own Corporation is a bunch of "blobbers". I was curious how one would go about proving that wrong. I freely admit that I may not have found the perfect solution. But out of that came some interesting discussion, so I think it served its intended purpose.

It has been apparent to me for the last six years that Eve is full of people that like to see things in black and white. Most arguments come down to "I am right" and "You are wrong". People like to label things, put them into convenient boxes, and move on. But nothing really works like that. We could argue all day long about what a "pirate" corporation is and isn't. But we are all going to have our own opinions about it, and in the end we all realize that it doesn't even matter.

But one thing that came out of this was an argument about what is and isn't "solo". That would seem rather obvious, solo piloting in Eve is one pilot flying around by him or herself in space looking for fights. But then you throw in scouting alts, link alts, bait, and the whole thing starts to get funky. And we don't like when things get funky around here, do we?

Add to that the challenges of building an entire corporation around solo. If everyone is off doing their own thing, that doesn't do much for cohesion, or corporate spirit, does it? What is the solution?

Well, over in Stay Frosty I believe we've stumbled on one answer. I've never called it the "Team Solo" approach before, but I am going to for this post. It is rather simple and probably nothing new, but I believe we've managed to take it as far as it can be taken.

Every day we have a fleet up and running. This fleet should be running 24/7, but there are usually gaps. Which is why we are still recruiting!! Anyway, this fleet is the daily standing fleet and typically, on a regular day, we are all flying together solo. The benefits of flying together solo are insanely great, you share intel, report ships and pilots, system status, and generally start to build a pretty good picture of the surrounding area. Sometimes the only way we know a fight has happened is when the pilot posts the km for us. Other times they will call for help, and off we all go to assist. Or a few of us, or the whole bunch, depends on the target of course. Or we can race home and re-ship as needed.

Everyone on-line is encouraged to be in the fleet. Even if they are off somewhere else, or missioning, or running errands. This is because one never knows what one might find out in space, what opportunities you may discover, or what you might learn - even from just listening.

It is possible to build a corporation primarily based on solo PvP that also builds a great team. We also do other things together, and hopefully we will be doing even more of that in the coming months. But primarily we are a corp of PvPers that fly wherever and whatever we feel like, together and solo - but never alone.

Cause what fun would that be?

Killboard Stats

Today's regularly scheduled post about fighting Solo in a team environment has been pre-empted by this lovely Tweet I received this morning from newly elected CSM Member FunkyBacon.

@rixxjavix @RossMP9999 Quite true actually. I've lost count how many times you post up kill stats extolling the virtues of SF, which is fine, good for you. When someone posts competing stats or talks about how theirs might be a little better, you like to toss up excuses, such as "The reason our KPP is lower is because we have those guys in highsec" (to name one when you were compared to GMVA), or how killboards don't matter, followed by a negative comment about people who are all about their killboards. Then within a day or two more kill stats are being tweeted, and then most recently asking the zKill devs about more tools to compare yourself to others on kill stats. 
What bothers me here is not that you flaunt kill stats, and not that you don't like people who flaunt kill stats, but that you do BOTH. Look man, you either care about kill stats, or you don't. You either think negatively about people who care about kill stats, or don't. Caring about kill stats when it benefits your corp/alliance, and then pretending not to when it doesn't followed by negativity about people who love killboards makes you look hypocritical. 
GMVA has a higher KPP than we do as well in that example above, but instead of making excuses and commenting about people who love their killboards (because I'm a person who generally likes our KB) I let him have that one, fair play. And now Ross, maybe you understand a bit better why I come down on Rixx just about every time I see him talk about his kill stats. A: He plays both sides. B: He gets REALLY spun up about it in a hurry, and the reactions are great. C: It's the right thing to do.

Some people see things in black and white. A thing is either one thing or another. Perhaps it is a testament to how many Eve players are analytical by nature, or tend to hail from engineering and technical fields. Whatever it is, I am not like that. And perhaps it is because I hail from a creative background, my experience demands that I see things from all angles, that I understand the motivations and drivers behind decisions that people make. That is, after all, the entire point of advertising and marketing.

Funky is having issues understanding my feelings in regards to killboards in Eve. Something I have written about extensively here on this blog, over and over again. Since those posts don't seem to have worked, I thought I would try something new and approach this from a different angle. Let's work together to educate Mr. Funky. Since he will be representing us all on the CSM, he really should start listening to what people are actually saying. And not hearing what he wants to hear.

I didn't invent KBs, they were around before I started playing Eve and I suspect they will be here long after I stop playing. I have zero control over them, they collect data with or without me. I don't own stock in any of them, nor do I have any say over how they operate. So I wash my hands over any and all responsibility for the existence of killboards.

I am a PvPer in Eve. Call it piracy or whatever, every day I do one thing in New Eden - I undock to fight other players with my ship. That's it. I don't mine, or rat, or run missions, or anything else other than engage in combat. I win some, I lose some. Killboards collect that data and display it for everyone to look at. They do this with and without my consent. Again, they've been doing that long before I came along.

I do not personally care about killboard statistics and I do not allow them to dictate how I play the game. At various times during my long Eve career I have allowed myself to care and I did not like how that affected my game-play. I learned and grew up, and changed my opinion. I have found this to be a much better and more relaxing attitude, and one that I highly recommend to anyone. It is hard for many people to believe this about me, and I respect your right to your own opinion. Your opinion doesn't change the truth however. I have learned enough about Eve over the years that I could easily play in such a way to increase my personal stats, increase my own rankings, and manipulate my own numbers. My not doing so is proof that my statement regarding my personal feelings are true.

I also happen to be the CEO of one of Eve's greatest Pirate Corporations. As such I serve as their greatest cheerleader and #1 fan. I am proud of our pilots and go out of my way to extol their virtues. I post about them, link their kills, and defend them both in space and in real life. I will always do so, even when it means taking heat, or losing a ship I shouldn't have lost. This is my job. The responsibility I assumed when asking people to join our merry little band. I take that responsibility seriously and will continue to do so. This is where some people lose the connection. How can I personally not care about KBs and yet extol those very same things about my Corp? Well that's easy - THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS!

On top of all of that, I also happen to be an Eve Blogger. I know this is getting complicated, so please try to follow along. I also write about Eve almost every single day, nearly 1,300 posts in the last five years. That is a lot of content about a lot of different things. I stir pots, hold events, make noise, fuel fires, argue points, demand answers, poke fun, and generally cause some havoc. It is in the blog description and in the name.

So, let's recap shall we? I am indeed negative about people who care about their killboard stats. I think that is boneheaded and leads to risk-averse play. I am four-square against risk-averse play in Eve. I'm sorry, but I've made that position very clear over the past 1,300 posts and I'm not going to stop now.

On the other hand, I appreciate that many people take pride in their killboard stats. I am ALSO ok with that. I also happen to take some measure of pride in my own measily 3,787 kills. I don't let it dictate my play-style, but it does speak to the hard work and success I've managed to have over my Eve career. So sue me if you are unable to understand how two things can be true at the same time.

That duality is not hypocrisy, it is simply the way I am. A complicated, free-thinking, educated, and experienced human being who tends to rail against injustice, labels, and ignorance.

I yam what I yam and I do not apologize for it.

Pirata est liber!!

Pirate Corporation Infographic

Last week a small version of the following appeared on our forums and I shared it on Twitter. It caused a minor storm needless to say. As is well known, I rarely bother to look at killboards. I don't play Eve for rankings or silly ePeen dick comparisons. I play to have fun, get into fights, and win more often than I lose. I take that effort half-seriously, and strive to do well, while not letting failure stand in my way. All of which is going extremely well by the way.

But stats do get collected. And boards fill up with tallies of past fights, regardless of how or why we play - there is nothing inherently wrong with taking some measure of pride in those accomplishments. It is possible to have it both ways, to not really care and also take pride in something.

This all stemmed from the accusation that certain people started throwing around that Stay Frosty was nothing more than a bunch of blobbers. Was this true? Did we suddenly and without my knowledge become the very thing I loathe? I'm not on-line 24/7, so anything is possible. I was determined to find out for myself.

I respect everyones chosen play-style. But the following Infographic is purpose built around my own personal assumptions regarding what exactly a Pirate Corporation is. That is why Corps are ranked, from top to bottom, on the percentage of Solo fights they've had over the last six months. (From October 2013 to April 2014) The second assumption is that a higher percentage of Frigate fights make you a more pirate-centric corporation and a lower percentage makes you a less pirate-centric (and more blobby, gate campy) corporation. These are not hard and fast rules, but ya gotta have something.

Sources for data are public killboards, Eve Who, Eve Census and other public access boards. There was a lot of math involved and it is possible that a few mistakes may have been made, I readily admit that. All percentages have been rounded to the nearest tenth. I have added a few Corporations, as comparison, that may not be pirate corporations.

Here then, without further disclaimer, is the Infographic:

Click to embiggen!
This was done for fun by the way. I did it mainly because I was curious and wanted to see for myself. Statistics are, in many ways, bullshit of course. They don't reflect the details, the character, the personalities, or the real meaning behind the numbers. Secondly, not everyone is intent on being great solo pilots, or corporations. There is nothing inherently wrong or correct in statistics. And I am not making any judgements by presenting this chart. In fact, I think it is pretty awesome that so many of us are relatively equal in our pursuits of the dark arts and player versus player combat in Eve. It speaks well to this game in my opinion. And I have nothing but respect for all of us that pursue this play-style.

I know many people don't believe that, but it doesn't change the truth.

Keep the courage.

H. R. Giger: In Memory of Nightmares

Swiss artist H.R. Giger has left us.

I don't normally pause to reflect on real world news here on the blog, but there are artists whose work transcends both realities and Mr. Giger's work has to be counted among them.

My friends and I snuck into the opening night showing of Alien, we were to young to be allowed to see R rated films. I will never forget that experience, it remains the only time in my life that I've seen grown men and women actually and literally fall into the floor in fear. That experience coincided with my own growing knowledge and passion about art in general and science-fiction artists and writers specifically. Due in large part to devouring Starlog and OMNI magazine I was already aware of Giger's work and his influence on the Alien film.

Giger's art continues to influence the look and feel of Stay Frosty, from our banners and our propaganda, his work is ever-present. I won't go into details regarding his life and his work, if you are interested I encourage you to Google it yourself, it is worth the time.

In honor of Giger, all Stay Frosty pilots will be wearing black arm bands when we fly today. In addition, the Jolly Roger that flies over Ishomilken Station V will be flown at half-mast for the remainder of the week.

Godspeed Mr. Giger. Thank you for your vision, your insanity, and your passion.

CSM: Voter Apathy

There is a bunch of hand-wringing going on around the Eve Community lately. Jester is doing it. Rhavas is doing it. Despite the myth perpetrated that anyone knows anything about where, when and how votes actually happen - the biggest issue seems to be some concern over voter turn-out. In case you are wondering, it was very low.

I took a lot of grief back in 2011 when I compared the CSM to a Student Council, so I won't debate the merits of having a Student Council for an on-line video game. Although it could be argued that Twitter has done more for CCP's responsiveness to the players than the CSM has. But, like I said, I won't mention it. A lot of people have a big stake in maintaining the playing field. 'Nuff said.

So 99% of the players that make up the game couldn't be arsed to vote. Essentially this is what the numbers all boil down to. Give or take a few percentage points. Commonly this kind of turn-out is blamed on Voter Apathy. The voters simply don't care enough, weren't communicated to properly, or somehow missed the entire idea of just how important the CSM is to them. Silly voters. This same line of reasoning pops up out here in the real world each election cycle, and the same excuses are bandied about. What is wrong with these darn voters? Can't they see how important we are!?!

From a real-world perspective I can tell you right now that the most common and prevalent reason people don't vote isn't apathy. And this is based on actual, real, paid-for research and experience by the way. It isn't apathy in the way you might think of it, as an expression of ignorance, or "I don't care". It is, instead, a powerful statement regarding voters feelings towards the government. There is no connection between the voter and the workings of that government, a lack of investment, and a sense that the government is going to do what it is going to do - with or without me. So f*#k them, I have better things to do with my time. You might be tempted to lump all of that into "apathy" and many people do, but that would be a mistake.

I suspect that most Eve players feel the same way. I suspect this rather strongly now that I represent 300 of them in-game. This is the first voting cycle for me in which I was running a rather significant collection of Eve players and it was rather eye-opening. We discussed the upcoming CSM elections, I posted about my suggested picks on the forums, and we openly debated the merits of each candidate in chat. I also heard a lot of what I am talking about directly from the players.

It is important to remember that for many, many players, the summer of Incarna is a distant or never-even remembered event in the history of Eve. I mention Incarna because it is, in so many ways, the benchmark against which the value of the CSM has to be measured. Incarna represented a lot of things, but primarily (in the long run) it represents a spectrum change in how CCP deals with its players. It isn't a coincidence that it also happens to represent the collision of social power expressed thru Facebook, Twitter, G+, and other avenues outside of the former powerhouses of Forums and Reddit.

Since Incarna, CCP has gotten much better about communicating and keeping Eve focused. And while I personally believe the CSM has had a hand in this progression, to most Eve players the CSM might as well be a non-entity. For a significant part of the player-base the CSM doesn't exist. Doesn't affect their play. And doesn't represent them in any significant or potentially meaningful way. Period.

What can be done about this? And should anything be done about this?

First things first. Despite my personal feelings, Eve is better with a CSM than it is without one. Now that the darn thing is up and running for nine cycles, it is better to keep it running than it would be to stop. (Although I find it interesting that people complain about the lack of significant content and "jesus" features in expansions, when this all began with the rise of the CSM. Those two things are not un-connected by the way. Along with other factors. But that is the subject of an entirely different post.) So let's keep things going.

So we have a vast proportion of the playing public that effectively doesn't vote. What to do about it? Normally I'd recommend a rather robust grass-roots campaign, surrounded by great Public Relations, social media, and compelling television commercials, billboards, and assorted whatnots. But this is Eve and our tools are rather limited. And perhaps that is part of the problem? Maybe we need a new tool? Or a way of thinking about an existing tool in a different way?

How do we reach ALL players? There is only one way and that is thru Eve Mail. And while I would be the last person to advocate for the introduction of spam email into my Eve, perhaps a limited, quarterly email blast is not out of the question? This could simply link to something more robust, perhaps an on-line representation of the CSM's efforts to date. Videos. Photos. And some actual action reports in simple, easy-to-understand language. When I think of the amount of time spent on those White Papers it boggles the mind, they are a lot for a regular player to wade thru.

The key here is, if you think you have value, then communicate that value. Because right now the vast majority of Eve's players don't believe you.

PS: Just to be clear, I am not advocating spam email. I mentioned it as an example of how difficult the current tool set is in communicating to the wider player base. I should have been more clear about that. It is however, the only current tool we have to reach ALL players.