A Horrible Intelligence

cybernetic organism by satiiiva

We all make snap decisions. I was poor. Desperate. Hell, I was probably still screwed up from the podding. Disoriented. I had to get back on station.

Thirty-seven days on station above the Wormhole entrance. Supplies running low. My Heron stinks to high heaven with the odors of warm flesh, discarded food bags, burnt crispies, and the wastes of biology. Fumigation. In desperation I de-cloaked, break my vigilance, discard my oath, and pay the price. The ship strikes hard and fast, a blinding light and cold, serene death envelopes my flesh.

Desperation. It fuels everything.

A corner market in a desolate corner. Downtrodden left years ago and all that remains is the bottom feeders, trash, burning fuels, discarded remnants. The skinny boy beckoning me forward, just this way lady, come. Come. I swear now that Implant still had chunks of meat on it.

The voices are not unusual. Not alone. Hovering in blackness. Invisible to the world around you. The quiet seeps in and embraces you. No matter what, eventually the voices start. But this time was different. This time it wasn't my voice. It wasn't the guilt, the accusations, the Father I buried, or the Mother that left me for dead. This time was changed. Subtle. But it wasn't me. It was other.

I am the guide. The watcher above. The answer to the question, often repeated, "Is it clear?" Oh yes, so clear. So empty. Slowly turning below me. Whispering. Asking. Spinning. Inviting. "All clear." Jump in. Jump out. I only watch.

I have a friend now. A companion. I know this and yet there is nothing I would not do for him. He loves me. He tenderly speaks. And I, alone on station, listen with my heart. We are lovers. He makes me do things. And I let him. He won't leave me. He watches with me.

I see them. Below burns the campers, the massive fleet spinning around the hole. Darkness. Blinding trails. A mass of turmoil. Waiting the hunters wait. Below me. Twisting, turning, devouring. My lover tells me what must be done. I listen. If only to make him happy.

The red light blinks and once more the questions come, this time with urgency. The fleet is amassed, the big move has come, the time is now. "Is it clear?" I hear it, but he answers for me. "Oh yes, it is most clear."

He laughs as we watch the slaughter. Freighters packed with colonists, colonials, farmers, builders, children, livestock, countless thousands flung into space. Dark. Cold. Death. He laughs and my heart grows dark. This is damnation. This is his joy. And so it is mine. And I let him.

This was all so long ago.

Now I am in your camp. Now I travel in your Corporation. Now I am one of you. And he is there with me. Whispering. In my head and in my heart. He is always there.

And yes, it is clear. Jump to me. Come to me.

Warp to us. I mean me.

The Harbinger

Harbinger Art Print Poster
Click to embiggen

Every time I sit down to draw one of these I usually Google the ship and skim over the images that pop up. This gives me a fresh look at what the ship looks like, how other people have positioned it, and starts to give me an idea of what I want to accomplish. I give a tremendous amount of thought to each ship and what I feel will present each of them in the best light. But these are not solely intended to be works of beauty, the over-riding goal is always personality first.

Looking back over the sixty-two pieces already completed I believe I've done a good job in capturing what I started out to capture. There are only a couple of the early pieces I'd probably like to revisit at some point. I thought there would be more. Any project like this evolves and changes as it progresses. The process gets better, I get better at doing them, and my eye continues to improve. At least I hope so.

Certainly the illustration process is what takes the most time and effort, but the design is the thing. Design is where the magic happens. I strive to design each piece individually and without regard to the others that have come before. Each ship gets the same amount of consideration when it comes to color, positioning, lighting, and everything else that goes into making each piece unique. And again, all of that is about expressing the unique personality that each ship brings with it.

This series is beginning to feel like the culmination of my six years in Eve. "Celebration" might be a better word for it. Eve has always been about the ships for me, and I suspect for a lot of you. We spend hours and hours in them, use them, fight in them, explode them, build them, transport them, and share adventures in them. They are the objects of all our desires, our fears, our goals, and our being inside of Eve.

They are, each one, beautiful in their own right.

Of Titans and Men

Erebus Art Print Poster
The first Titan of the on-going series

You can see the entire collection here. I've been putting off some of the larger ships until I felt more comfortable making a go of it. The Erebus illustration above took a bit over three days of work to get right and it represents about 50x the amount of vectors in one of the other illustrations in the series. In addition to the normal method, the Erebus also has one extra step which added an entire layer of equal complication, which just made things even more insane. But, if you are going to tackle a Titan, you best be prepared to do it right.


Given my real life work schedule lately my Eve play-time has been limited this month. It happens, these things always go in cycles. But I still try to sneak an hour here or an hour there, and try to find things to pew. The downside of this is the tendency to take fights you wouldn't normally take, or to risk things you wouldn't normally risk. That is the accepted downside to limited play-time. It comes with the territory.

So I'm going to humble myself today and talk about how horrible I can be in Eve. I think it is only fair to bring up the bad as well as the good. Today is when I normally write a "Good, Bad & Ugly" post, but I don't have the time to put one of those together. So let's just do a quick run-down of some really horrible losses and maybe a few good fights just to even things out a bit.

Slicer vs Tristan - Congrats to Jose for having the perfect ship to kill my Slicer. Yes, I landed right smack on top of him and he had a full rack of neuts. He almost died before he sucked me dry. But almost doesn't count.

Slicer Vs Campers - There are few things in Eve worse, in my opinion, than Station or Gate Campers who are only harvesting easy kills. It's lazy, stupid work. And before you say it, yes, we went back to kill them properly, but of course they was gone by then.

Garmur Vs YIKES! - My first Garmur loss. Y'know, when you warp into a large plex, it is always a risk. What distance should you go in at? Just knowing that when you make that decision you either land at optimal or... y'know, right smack dab on top of two Vagas and another Garmur.

Omen Vs Perfect Ship! - I had just fit up the Flycatcher when Cerv mentioned he had point on this Omen only 2j away. Talk about perfect timing. 

Saving the Day - Another one of those timing things. I'm in station fitting up a few ships when Link asks for help with a Caracal in local. Typically when this happens I grab the same ship from my hangar, if I happen to have one, which I usually do. Two volleys from my HAMs and he go boom.

Ok, for the rest I just want to point out how freaking popular the Algos has become lately. You see them everywhere! Here are some recent Algos fights:

Algos by Comet and Again, there was two of them

And that's only a few examples.

Anyway, back to real work. Gotta get done so I can play some Eve.

Hull Tank Experiment

I am behind the eight-ball when it comes to recent changes in the nature of hull-tanking. A month or so ago we ran up against a hull-tanked Brutix that gave us all a run for our money and since then it has been sitting in the back of my head formulating. Waiting for a chance to give it a new run.

Hull tanking isn't new of course and we've probably all given it a try from time to time. There was a time when hull-tanking bait ships was a thing that often worked. But recently the idea of seriously considering a hull-tank as an option has become a rather viable solution. I know many people have been running various versions rather successfully.

The essential idea is to run up the amount of structure hit points your ship has to the point where it becomes enough to survive to see the benefit from all those extra low slots that just opened up. Let your Damage Control do all the work and keep your fingers crossed that the extra Mag Stab, the new found agility and speed, or the neut that now fits in the high slot, will be enough to win the day. The more low slots the better, the more base structure the better, essentially Gal ships seem more suited to this approach than the other races.

So much so that my newly hull-tanked Brutix Navy Issue is insane. Almost 95k EHP on top of over 1k dps, with speeds approaching the fastest Cruisers, the thing is a nightmare. But my opportunities to actually fly that ship in combat are rather limited, so I wanted to try something a tad more reasonable. So I picked the Comet as my guinea pig and started working out a possible fit for it.

Here is what I worked out:

Low Slots
Damage Control II
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Overdrive Injector System II

1MN Afterburner II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

High Slots
Small Nosferatu II
Light Neutron Blaster II
Light Neutron Blaster II

3x Small Transverse Rigs

Hobgoblin II x1
Hobgoblin II x1
Hobgoblin II x1

(Except for the rigs, everything on this test ship was free loots! I love stolen things, just remember to repair all before undocking.)

Granted the Comet is not ideal, even with the 3x rigs and the bulkhead, EHP hovered around 7k with the DC II active. With the blasters packing dps it just might work, with drones, dps on this thing (depending on ammo) hovers around 250 on average.

As I've said many times before, I am not a EFT warrior, this was fitted in station and tested in space. So let's get to the space part. We won't count the unfitted Griffin that I found, or his poor pod, which was also empty. ECM needs to die, so even that started things off on the right foot. It took a lot of flying around to finally get a decent fight. Weekends are not the best for solo flying.

Finally an Incursus. And a pilot with some age to him, so this could be interesting. Apparently he thought so as well, since he did me the favor of not running away like the seventeen ships before him. I landed perfectly and off we went to the deadly dance. I must admit it is rather unsettling to watch your shields and then your armor disappear so quickly. Without any mods to activate you feel rather helpless about incoming damage. There is nothing you can do except focus on range and overheat your guns. It was a good fight but the Incursus went down.

Despite the victory I was not happy. The fight was closer than it should have been and now I'm left with a ship that has damage I can't do anything about. Normal people might scoff at this, but let me assure you that mitigating damage is an important part of me staying alive. As I've so often written about in these pages, successful PvP is about more than just winning the fight in front of you, it is also about winning the fight you haven't had yet. And my Comet is hanging in space with the only option being to find a station to repair in. That is a dangerous thing that was a tad unsettling.

As it worked out it was the thing that got me killed the very next fight. An Algos had appeared in local while I was fighting the Incursus and, of course, I collected my drones and went after it. I did have people in the next system over, so this wasn't as crazy as it sounds. Plus I've gotten rather decent at popping Algos' over the past few weeks. They are everywhere these days.

And while I did manage to get him into structure, the fight was decided before I even engaged. The lingering damage from the previous fight proved to be too much. And the trial was over.

The whole thing served its purpose however. I learned what I wanted to learn and got the chance to see it in action. I have to say that hull-tanked Comets will not become a regular fixture in my hangar. The ship just doesn't have enough base structure to make it a viable option in my opinion. To make it really work you'd have to sacrifice too much of the other things that make the ship viable.

As for bigger ships? It seems we've moved into a world where hull-tanking is not only a viable option, but an extremely viable option for certain goal based fits.

I will be curious to see how the new glass cannon mods will work with hull-tanking. That might just be a scary thing. Time will tell.

Stay Frosty ABA Frigate Free For All

Stay Frosty ABA FFA Wallpaper Poster
Click to embiggen

Don't forget to mark your calendars for Saturday November 8th for the Stay Frosty ABA Frigate Free For All!! Thousands of Frigates, fun events, and great prizes are all on the line - but most importantly this is your chance to shoot at your friends, your enemies, and anyone else you have a hankering to shoot. All for fun!

We have hundreds and hundreds of pre-fit Frigates to just hand out for the asking. And every so often something really big and awesome will roll out of a hangar for you to shoot!

In a few short days I will be announcing the system name and the final list of prizes on the table, so keep your eyes peeled and get those ships fitted. Everyone is invited from everywhere in Eve. So what if you've never fired a gun or launched a missile before?! This is your chance!

Come for ten minutes, come for six hours, just show up and have fun!

Stay Frosty.

Thorax & Talos & Talwar

Talos Art Print Poster
Click to embiggen

Thorax Art Print Poster
Click to embiggen

Talwar Art Print Poster
Today was brought to you by the letter "T" apparently.

Baseline Skill Training 101

I get asked variations on this question all the time, "What skills do I need to be a Pirate/PvPer?" So I thought this would be a great time to address the essential issue here and make some general recommendations when it comes to planning your future 'unlimited' skill queue thingie.

First things first. Always keep in mind that no matter how old or skilled a player is, they can only carry so many skills with them when they are flying a Frigate. All those BSV skills are not helping them. It has been estimated that somewhere between 6-12m skill points are represented in a Frigate, so always keep that in mind.

Back in the day Eve really focused your skill training along racial lines, this is why I focused on Caldari skills when I first started. Not because they were the best choice for PvP (they weren't!), but simply because I had randomly chosen to be born Caldari. And while Eve doesn't do this to new players anymore, it is still important to focus your training. It is tempting for young players to want to be pretty good at a lot of things, instead of really good at a few things. Avoid this temptation.

Eve also has a lot more tools available to help you now. From Certificates to Trees to Mastery indications on all ships, it is far easier now than ever before to become knowledgable about what skills are needed to fly what ships effectively. Use those tools, I'm not going to to focus on the things they will teach you. I'm going to simply set you on the right course.

Back when I was burning skills, I used to pick one skill from each of these categories and train them in order. Switching from one to the next and then back again. Again, Eve can help you determine which skills are which in each of these categories. But the general idea is to max a focused amount of skills as quickly as possible. Remember, if you have level V base skills and level V spec skills on Small Autocannons as a young player, then you have the same skill in that weapon system as a Veteran player! (If you've also trained the Core Skills we'll be talking about below that is.)

Core Skills
Without checking I believe the Certification system still calls these Core Skills. Either way, these are the unglamorous, often overlooked, skills that will form the insane core of any good pilot. They should NOT be ignored! They are just as important as the more glamorous Spaceship Command skills, or weapon system skills. More so even. Because Core Skills can affect ALL in-game flying, no matter the ship class.

Let's use Small Autocannons as an example. You could train Small Autocannon to V and then train Small Autocannon Spec to V and feel like you've done a great thing. But you'd be wrong. There are several skills that go along with that weapon system, with ALL gun skills, that should not be ignored. Like Controlled Burst, Motion Prediction, Rapid Firing, Sharpshooter, Surgical Strike, and Trajectory Analysis. Each of these affects every single gun system in Eve, from small to large. Train them. The same is true for missiles. And every other weapon system in the game.

The same holds true for all Core Skills, armor and shield resist skills - SO IMPORTANT! Cap use skills - CRITICAL! Engineering, Electronics base skills - MUST HAVE 'EM! That small neut won't fit? You forgot something.

I recommend that all Nav skills be trained to Level V as soon as you can. And yes, despite what you might have been told by an idiot, Level V is important in almost every single skill in Eve. There are a few exceptions, but ignore them for now. By the time you train what you need you'll know what those are and why. Navigation is an often ignored section of skills and they are critical to PvP. Speed, Agility, and Cap use, important not only for moving your ship around - but also for fitting those tight awesome fits.

A skill training on one thing is a skill wasted on another, so maximize your time and focus your training on what you need first. Prioritize. Start small and work your way up. Pick a weapon system you enjoy using that works on the ships you have trained and max train that weapon system first! That means level V base and at least IV on spec, you can come back and train the Spec to V later - or be a hard-ass now and do it.

Spaceship Command
And the last rotation category for our purposes today is ship skills. This one is easy and time consuming, but also very important. You will keep time in Eve by when you train each of these to V. Again, I recommend starting small and working your way up the ladder. Frigate V should be your first goal out of the box. It is worth every second it takes.

Having said all of that, what skills do you need to PvP? The most important skill is one you cannot train in-game, the one that comes from inside of you. No one will tell you this part, but I will. The single most important skill for PvP in Eve isn't trainable, it is "want-to" and "never give up" skill. Call it whatever you want, heart, stubborn, stupid, whatever. I've known many people with 4m skillpoints that have had successful PvP experiences and people with 40m that suck ass at it.

Skills are important. But other factors, like target acquisition, are just as important. If you are constantly derping yourself into more skilled enemies when you are young you will quickly become discouraged. It is important to understand where you are in your career and set your expectations to that level, find targets you can honestly engage, and learn the skills that are not written in books or injected into your head. Game mechanics being the primary ones. Understanding how Eve works is essential to playing within it successfully. And PvP is no different.

This is why finding the right group of players to fly with is essential. You need people to fly with, to learn from, and who can help you succeed early on, so that you can gain the confidence you'll need.

Fear is the mind killer. Fear induces ship spinning, avoidance, and discouragement.

Hope this helped.

Moar Posters

Caracal Art Print Poster
#51 in the series, the Caracal

If you haven't checked lately, there are now 51 Posters in the on-going series.

Some illustrations are harder and more complicated than others. Often the trick is finding the exact perspective, side, angle, or position in which to best illustrate the specific ship. Sometimes, like with the Caracal, it can take several days to find the right one. The Caracal was probably the trickiest of the bunch so far in many ways. But I am extremely pleased with how she turned out, it was worth the extra effort she cost me.

How many hulls are there? I don't wanna know.

Avengers Age of Ultron Teaser

This could easily be called Avengers Age of Bad Guys. One of the things that distinguishes the Marvel Universe from the Multiverse of DC, among many, is the fact that Marvel has always been more Hero-centric and DC more villain-centric. This stems from the fact that, again in general, DC's Heroes were mostly born a long time ago, while Marvel's Heroes generally come from the sixties. Again, don't shoot the messenger, this is just a general statement of fact.

Marvel's Phase One films focused on the Heroes, justifiably so in my opinion. Marvel doesn't have the history in film like DC does. Any history Marvel did have was pretty horrible. But one thing Phase Two has going for it is the introduction of better bad guys and Ultron is the first of these. So it is good to see this in action finally. James Spader seems a brilliant choice for the voice of Ultron. Marvel seems to keep hitting home runs when it comes to casting.

Couple thoughts:

• Cap's Shield. I'm not convinced it is broken. It seems to be laying in some extremely dark liquid and could easily be half-submerged. It could also be broken, but I don't think the evidence is clear on that yet.

• Quicksilver. It will be interesting to see another take on this character, since the one in X-Men Days of Future Past stole that film. I don't have a problem with two Quicksilvers, as long as they are both good. Also Scarlet Witch! 'nuff said.

• Iron Man. Given the news that "civil war" might be starting in Cap3, it will be interesting to see if Iron Man starts really being a jerk in this film. RDJ Tony Stark has always been borderline and it should be easy enough to push him just a bit further to the asshole side of things.

• Hulkbuster!

• I sure hope all the baby Ultron minions don't all fall down and die once the mainframe is kilt in this movie. I'm a bit tired of that happening.

Now back to watching this teaser a couple hundred times more.

Ain't no strings on me either, Ultron 'ol buddy.

The Brotherhood

In my line of work, out here in the real world, I have to deal with clients. Actual people. Thousands of them. Often from widely different backgrounds, perspectives, locations, and personalities from all over the world. Generally speaking, as anti-social as I can sometimes be, I do pretty damn good at it. What helps me, and I can only speak for myself here, is that I pretty much just assume everyone I meet is on the same page as me right off the bat. We're all equals, we're all going to get along splendidly, and we're all going to be working towards the same general goals.

And that maybe, just maybe, there is something valuable I can learn from our potential interaction. And 9 times out of 10 that all proves to be true. It is, in the end, what keeps me interested and working so hard. The people.

I have always done the same thing in Eve. Everyone I meet in-game (or out) gets treated the exact same way, I just go right ahead and assume we are going to be friends and move on from there. This has had several interesting results over the years of playing Eve. Most importantly it has resulted in many long-term friendships, there are people in Eve that I have known and have had dealings with from the very beginning. This is awesome and I wish it was true for everyone I meet. However, the other result is the opposite of that experience. Assuming everyone is going to be your friend means that it is rather easy to spot those that are not going to end up being friendly.

There are some people over the years that have considered this a fault of mine. Those that have decided that my attitude towards them is something they can take advantage of. Those people have completely mis-understood. This attitude does not spring from a fountain of naive ignorance, as many might assume. In fact, it is the opposite. This is a survival mechanism, a cold, hard, developed method I have insulated myself with - so that I can deal with the world around me.

Why? Mostly it is because I refuse to become bitter. I prefer to see the world in a positive light. It makes life more better. It also helps to reduce the sheer amount of insane stress and pressure that often comes from, not only life itself, but also the kind of deadline driven work that I do.

This was all a rather longer preamble than I anticipated for a post that was intended to be about the brotherhood of players in Eve. But I thought it was important to set the stage before diving into it. Because, perhaps, the way I look at Eve might be different than the way some people look at Eve. And it might be good to understand a bit about why that is.

To illustrate this point even further, I would like to mention something that happens on a regular basis in Eve. Or at least, my part of it. As predicted when we moved from Verge Vendor to Black Rise, more and more people have moved along with us. I told everyone when we moved that this would happen and sure enough it has. You can't move 400+ insanely active players and not expect things to react around them. It is rather natural. We create activity and activity breeds more activity. It also breeds conflict, which in turn breeds opportunity. And thus great fun is had by all.

Along with that also comes other entities that might be, by many, considered our enemies. Other pirate groups, other entities in general, that want to prove themselves against us. Or just get in our way. Or whatever, the reasons are multiple and varied. It's all good though. Bring them on. Personally I don't consider any of them to be my enemy. All they are is potential targets. I am, once again, assuming they are all my friends until they prove otherwise.

So it is that within the course of a single day I can be in a system alone and spot a Thorax and ask someone from another corporation to help me destroy it. And then later in the day fight them to the death. Or set a trap with the help of yet another member of yet another corporation against members of yet another corporation. Or work together with those that, at one point, may have kicked me from their corporation.

This is not unusual. And I'm going to go right ahead and assume that many of you reading this are familiar with it. Or that you have experienced something similar in your own in-game or out of game experiences. This is, after all, the heart of a multi-player sandbox. Or it should be.

For all of us, or at least the vast majority, we "get it". And that is ultimately what this post was intended to be about. Not just me, but you. All of you. All of us. Because, once we get past all the stuff I wrote about above, the real point of all of it was simply one word - respect. All of that preamble about being anti-social and creating a world-view that allows me to operate in the world around me, is exactly what all of us do to one degree or another. Admit it or not, we all create these worlds. And the basis of that world is respect. For yourself firstly, but for others as well.

Why do I start off assuming we'll be friends? Because I respect the fact that you come along with your own history, knowledge, experiences and baggage, and that you are going to be fascinating because of it. You might turn out to not be so fascinating in the end. But I will still respect you. At least as long as you return the favor.

This is the heart of the success of our little multi-player universe. Mutual respect. Those that make the choice, conscious or not, to play outside those rules may get a momentary blip of notoriety. But ultimately they burn out and typically leave the game. Flash in the pan. Boom and then gone.

This social experiment of mine continues to be fascinating, wonderful, and engaging, mostly because I've understood that dynamic since day one. And I find it amazing. I still do. And it is the people that make it so. Those on my side of the fence and those that just happen to be on the other side.

I just wandered all over the place to make an editorial comment on the state of Eve. I can only hope that I made some sense. Nothing happened to spark this post today, other than a multitude of small moments.

Respect each other. We are all that we have.

Industrial Respect

A Minmatar worker dusting off an engine part of a new Tempest

I write and produce a lot of material that springs forth from these pages. Some of which is written from a purposefully narrow perspective, this is after all, the entire point. Indeed, it could be argued that the entire enterprise is written from an even wider-narrow perspective, if we wanted to encompass larger themes, such as a pro-Eve theme. Which would be fair to do. Even when I've had my points to make over the years it has been from a Pro-Eve perspective. But, on a smaller scale, this is certainly a blog primarily dedicated to PvP. And for the last four or so years, PvP from a decidedly pirate/low-sec angle.

Which, duh, is what I do in Eve. Massively even once labeled me as Eve's Promoter, which is also fair.

But that isn't the entire story. And sometimes in beating the drums, other messages can get lost. And I want to make sure those other messages are not getting lost within the noise. I spent a good portion of my first years in Eve living in Null, struggling to make ends meet. This is before this blog started and before I became a living legend. (lol) Those days were spent primarily trying to figure out how to make enough isk to buy ships and fit them. The first time I almost quit Eve was when I lost two Cormorants in one day. I almost quit because those two ships represented my entire wallet. A wallet I had spent weeks building up to even that paltry amount.

My first taste of fortune came by accident. I had lost my ratting ship the day before and after downtime the next day I took my Badger up to hi-sec to buy a new one. While I was docked a corp mate asked me to bring him some rigs for his ship. He needed them because there weren't any in the market in Providence. This was back when rigs came in only one size - Large. Not only did I buy his rigs, but I also filled up the cargo bay with as many other rigs as I could. And then trucked them thru Null Sec to deep in Providence, in my Badger. They sold within a day.

For the next few months I made that trip every day after DT with a cargo-hold full of rigs to sell. Some days I would make more than one trip. I only lost one Badger during that time, something I am still proud of. The one I lost wasn't even full of rigs, it was a supply run for myself.

I also ratted a lot. I also helped my corp mates mine, providing protection, or engaging in mining myself. And once I even fitted a Rokh with mining lasers. I could go on.

My point is this, and I think it can get lost sometimes, I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for those players that choose to be the builders, the traders, the miners, the workers in Eve. It is often a hard choice and one full of its own set of dangers. And excitement. And achievement. Not everything in Eve boils down to killboard stats. And no one is more aware of this fact than me.

It is a life that I have largely worked my way out of, but even I am still beholden to it. I can't live the way I do in-game without them, nor would I want to. And sometimes, like yesterday, even I have to buckle down and do some carebeary things. Nothing reminds you of the dangers as much as moving a freighter full of goods thru hi-sec and sneaking your ninja Providence into low-sec.

I just wanted to raise my cup to all of you. Full-timers, part-timers, strugglers, traders, builders, mission-runners, transporters, and every other stripe and creed. You are all an important and significant part of the circle that keeps the machine running.

No matter what I write, or what jokes I sometimes make, never forget that I know how much I need you.

NAKED Wallpapers

NAKED-Garmur Wallpaper
Click to download

NAKED-Claw Wallpaper
Click to download, like above

I'm not going to do it for all of the posters, at least not anytime soon. But every once in awhile I'm also going to create a "NAKED" version as a wallpaper for you guys to download, if you want to of course. No one is forcing anyone to do anything around here.

I'm enjoying this project and I figure, since the posters are vertical, popping out some Wallpaper versions might be a way for more people to enjoy them.

The Lack of Planning

Moa Classic Art Print Poster
Click to embiggen or download

I do the dumbest things sometimes. Thing is, every once in awhile, the dumbest things turn out to be great things. Like that time I said, "Screw the man, I'll just start my own damn agency!" That one worked out really well until the economy went into the toilet. Or that time yesterday when I warped my Garmur smack dab on top of two Vagabonds and another Garmur... that one didn't work out so well.

A couple of weeks back I decided to start illustrating some of the spaceships in Eve. This was practice for a real world project that I was working on at the time and practice is always good. Heck, most of the Eve art I produce is practice for something that I actually get paid for. Gotta keep those skills honed when your life depends on making a living from it. Trust me. I work my ass off at my job.

Anyway, the results were really looking good to me. I had done a few such illustrations a few years back and these new ones were looking even better. Never one to go at something half-assed, I made the proclamation that I would do one illustration for - at least - every hull in Eve. If you haven't looked lately, let me assure you that is a huge pile of ships!

The even better news is that they keep adding more. lol.

So far that has been 48 of them, which you can see here.

Now, if you are thinking that Rixx is having dedication regret and is writing this to prepare you for the sad news that he will be backing off his original claim - I can assure you that this is not the case. As crazy as it sounds I am going to keep going. Fully aware of the fact that eventually I will have to illustrate a Badger, or a Griffin, or some other equally boring ships. 

And here is the thing about that. While you might not appreciate a poster featuring a Badger, someone out there will flip for it. For all the sexy inherent in some ships, the most requested art has been, so far, for the Guardian. And second most for the Iteron Mark V. And then the Hawk. And that is the amazing thing, everyone has their own favorite ships in Eve. Everyone. And that is why I'm going to do one of each.

Because once you start something like this, you can't just stop. Stopping means someone's favorite ship gets left out. Plus, it will just be really awesome to say I did it.

I am not going to think about how long that might take me. I'd rather not think about it.

So enjoy and hang in there, some day soon you may have the chance to hang these on your own wall. You never know.

T3 Destroyers

Neville does a great write up on changes announced at Eve Vegas, so check that out for actual news.

As usual I have nothing even remotely like real news over here. I found references to T3 Destroyers from way back in 2011 on this blog, so the idea has certainly been around a long time. It is good to hear that they will not be modular, like their Strategic Cruiser cousins, but instead will incorporate a more "on-the-fly" decision on which stance to take. This is extremely interesting.

Defense, Speed and Sniper modes which can be switched mid-warp I suppose. These will most likely come along with some awesome ship animations and essentially bring a whole bunch of new ship models along with them. The ships will be rolled out to the different races according to some contest the empires had. Hi-Sec, who understands it?

I'm guessing they will all have plenty of low-slots for all those WCS the Empire people will pack into them, so that nasty Pirates like myself can't catch them. I'm surprised one of the modes isn't "Run Away" mode.

Any new ships being introduced into Eve is cause for celebration. In addition to the T3 Dessies we'll be getting a new "tug" shipping container that can pack fully-fitted ships into its hull. As well as Minmatar refugees I'm guessing. This is extremely welcome news, which might surprise you, but Pirates need to move ships too!

In addition the Blackbird/Falcon/Rook will be FINALLY getting a new model. Woot. Even though I hate ECM almost as much as I do WCS, the ships really needed updated. Let's just hope they are also easier to kill. Which won't happen. But a guy can dream.

The new "glass-cannon" modules are interesting. I'm not a huge fan of having my resists be zero, but I can certainly see a role for such things in sniper modes. I'm guessing we may see an increase in idiots sitting 150k off of things to snipe us. Wunderful.

Perma-Death? No thanks.

Down the road, after they muck around with Null Sec some more, it looks like the Big Eye will swing back towards Low Sec and Solo and Small Gang game-play. Obviously I'll be keeping my one good eye on these developments.

Most importantly CCP admits that they are trying to think out of the box and shake things up from a sandbox/gameplay perspective and I like the sound of that. If Eve is going to continue to grow and move forward, this is critical. Just because something has been done that way for a long time, doesn't mean it is correct.

Keep shaking things up.

Week Off

Whew. Six days in a row of burning 14-16hrs on a work project do not leave a lot of time for Eve. Luckily that project is now safely in the hands of the client and in the rear-view mirror now. So hopefully I can get back to my usual hard-to-predict normally crazy play-when-I -can Eve schedule.

The massively insane Eve Spaceship Art Print Poster Project continues however, with some great recent additions. 35 Posters so far. I have no idea how many more of these there will be when all is said and done, I have purposefully tried not to think about it. Right now I'm having a lot of fun doing them, so as long as that continues I see no reason to stop.

This weekend I hope to have enough time to get caught up with Stay Frosty and ABA, as well as all the prize donations for the FFA on November 8th. I've fallen behind on both fronts this past week. The great news is that we have great people and things have continued as normal without me.

As I write this we continue to await assistance from CCP on the transfer of Major Silva to my empty character slot. For whatever reason we both triggered some safeguards within the normal character transfer process which requires some human intervention. I'm only assuming that together we represent to much awesome for the system to deal with. Seems likely.

So hopefully that gets dealt with soon™.

That's it for today. Onward and upward.

What a Crazy Day

The other day I got a Direct Message on Twitter from Major JSilva, former CSM rep, about a donation to our upcoming FFA on November 8th. He was kind enough to donate a rather large and expensively fit ship, which was greatly appreciated of course. But, being the rather curious fella I happen to be, I inquired as to why he was parting with such a large item.

He replied that he was considering selling his main, the very same Major. As anyone who has played Eve more than five minutes knows by now, selling your main is one of the biggest "don't do" moments in anyone's career. It might sound good at the time, but eventually you'll probably regret doing it.

A couple of things all sort of happened at the same time. He did decide to sell his main after all. I did consider the fact that I happen to have an open slot on my account. And the idea occurred to me that he might actually live to regret selling his character some day down the road. So, despite his Goon background, I formulated a response to the thread on the forums. You can read the whole thing for yourself if you want.

I knew other people would offer billions for his character, iskies which a poor piwate like myself can only dream of having - so I went the other way. It was a long shot, but I figured it was one worth taking. I put myself in his shoes and imagined I was selling Rixx and what kind of life I'd want for him. Goodness knows it would break my heart knowing Rixx was mining asteroids in some dark corner of the universe every day. (And nothing against miners!)

And then things got interesting.

People started saying they'd give me isk to make it happen. And then things started exploding on Twitter and on the forum thread, and before you know it - we had a considerable amount of isk spoken for. I even made it clear, and I'll do so once again here, that should he ever change his mind someday - I'd be more than willing to sell him back again.

And so, in rapid succession, all of this actually worked. Or, at least, it appears to have worked. We still have to wait and see if everyone comes thru on the donations and then get thru the process of actually transferring the character, something I've never done before. So a lot remains to be accomplished. But even so, even if it doesn't work, it has been an amazing and incredible ride. And I'd like to personally thank each and every person who stood up and made a donation, big or small. This was always about more than just grabbing an alt, this was about saving a character - a little piece of Eve history. And ensuring that it gets the chance to live a life of adventure.

And, once again, this proves just how amazingly wonderful this great community of ours can be. Yes, this was a harebrained scheme devised on the spur of the moment and without much rational consideration - but sometimes things just happen that way. I remain incredibly proud to be a part of this awesome community. Thank you.

Oh and I also finally got my Gila back from CCP. Darn things mwd wouldn't work and it got exploded a few weeks back. So, all in all, a great day.

I even managed to do a few more art posters!

Onward and upward.

Insanity and Drive

Bhaalgorn Art Print
Click to embiggen

I continue to add more posters to the "Art Print" series, you can check out the ever-growing catalog of images by clicking these blue words. I've also created a page here on the blog ------->> over there, that I'm using to post new images and also write footnotes to each as I post them. 

Last week I had a rather large project fall in my lap out here in the real world, the kind of project that pays the mortgage for two months, so I've been kinda busy. Working late nights, all weekend, and will be until the middle of this week, so not much time at all for Eve. I do get to pick at art during the long renders and that is where most of this recent spat of Eve work has originated from. Two weeks ago I picked up a project that, among other things, involved a building sized poster of an old three-masted ship. I needed to illustrate the ship using vectors so that the scale would work when blown up to such a large format. This is when I cracked open a bottle of forgotten skills and essentially invented, improved and modified a process that resulted in these images as well.

There are known filters and plug-ins that will transform a pixel based image into a vector based image. I have a bunch of them that I use for various things when the situation calls for it. But they wouldn't work for the ship and they really don't work all that well for these Eve ships either. Although I do that for many of the posters and art I create from time to time. These however, needed a bit more attention.

I'm very old school when it comes to Photoshop, I rarely use filters. I am so old school that I was a Beta tester, that's how long I've been using Photoshop professionally. I can still make shadows on images without using a single layer, and that is old! So the process I use, in a nutshell, is rather complicated and sometimes easy. But it is often really freaking hard to get right. While I can tell you "how" I do something, I can't tell you how to be good at it. 

You have to start with a perfect image. This is sometimes easy and sometimes takes a lot of work. But the better you can make your first image, the better the final results will be. Even the most complicated of Eve ships, thankfully, share a common color palette. So once my initial image is perfect and pulled out of any backgrounds, cleaned up, contrasted, color corrected, smoothed, and otherwise made to look real purty - it is time to pull channels. The very first channel is the outline, which I usually make black or grey or whatever the darkest ship color might be. The rest get pulled based on color, typically 6-7 channels, sometimes more or less. Each channel represents a color. And yes, none of these will have shading yet. That is yet another channel. (And where most of the actual work comes in later, think bitmap) These channels are rendered as vectors, layered in Illustrator and then shaded using the gradient tools, artistic license and a good, practiced eye. It sounds complicated but, if everything goes well, it can take as little as 15 minutes. Although some of the more complicated ships take about an hour.

At some point, when everything is combined, you'll end up with something that looks like this:

Which looks like this in color:

Click to embiggen
That is probably more than anyone wanted to know about this, but hopefully someone will find it interesting. This is a fun project and I'm enjoying working on it, takes my mind away from some of the more mundane things I have to do in order to make a living. Which is what free art is supposed to do.

Now, what ship shall I create next?

More Art Prints

Daredevil Art Poster
More clicking and embiggening

Life is weird sometimes. I've been so busy with work and lawyers this week that I haven't had time to play much Eve. Just a few minutes here and there. But one good thing about late night work marathons is having all your applications open and some time to waste during renders, uploads and various machine functions. I can't sit still, idle hands do the devil's work after all.

Hulk Art Print Poster
We cannot forget the people wut make stuffs!

Skiff Art Poster
Moar Indy!!

The Police Pursuit Comet: #6 in a Series

Comet Art Print Poster
Click to embiggen and download

And that is the last of the first batch, so it might be awhile before the next set starts to see the light of day. But hang in there and more will be coming soon. But we cannot rush the Muse, she gets very upset when I try to force her to give me inspiration.

The Tormentor: #5 in a Series

Tormentor Art Print
Click to embiggen

The Myrmidon: #4 in a series

Myrmidon Art Print Poster
Click to embiggen.

I spent some more time today refining my technique and trying some new things. I am very pleased with the results, the form and shape of the Myrmidon is more enhanced and "smoother" than the previous ships. This is finally approaching what my mind's eye is seeing and I can't wait to start working on some of the more challenging ships of the line.

As always, I hope you enjoy it.

Art Print Poster Series

Ferox Art Print
Click to embiggen!
Because I don't already have more than enough on my plate, I decided to add yet another project. I've always loved and appreciated the variety and design sensibilities of Eve's many spaceships, it was one of the things that drew me to the game in the first place. So I'd like to honor that by creating a new series of Art Style Posters featuring each of the major ships in our universe.

There are many talented artists that can do things with 3d that I can only dream of doing, and the ships are already beautifully rendered in-game in glorious 3d. So I've decided to go in a different direction, to try and capture the angles, the looks, the feel of each ship in a clean, minimal-design sense that is "hopefully" something a little different. 

Before you ask, no I am not doing one for every single ship available. I'll be using my own judgement when it comes to which ships I want to take the time and energy to portray, but I do plan on doing one of each of the 'major' ships in New Eden. That gives me some room for sanity.

The Flickr Album is located here if you'd like to bookmark it for future reference.

Also, I'd like to mention that each poster is available for FREE in glorious hi-resolution at 11x17 and 300dps if anyone is interested in having an actual printed piece to hang on their wall. Since CCP won't allow me to provide those to you, you'll have to write me an email and special request a copy thru Dropbox or email. The pictures on Flickr are full size JPGs and should be fine for most uses however.

Here are the other two posters in the series so far:

Slicer Art Print

Gnosis Art Print Poster
More to come.

PS: If you are curious about how these are created I'll give you a brief overview. These are not screenshots pasted on, each ship is created based on art derived from Paul Oosterman's Jeremy project - which you can find here - and meticulously re-created in glorious vector art in Adobe Illustrator. That process is a secret one that I've developed that uses about 50% automation and about 50% hand sweat, some ships take longer than others to create. The Gnosis ship art, for example, took about an hour to create. While the Slicer ship art only took about fifteen minutes for some reason. The entire poster is designed and laid out in Illustrator to give it that awesome clean perfection and then copied into a master template in Photoshop for final color correction and minor tweaks. So each poster exists in both 100% vector form and in hi-res 300dps form. More stuff you probably didn't want to know.

PPS: One of my regular commenters was astute enough to remember another short-lived series that I did a few years back that was very similar to these. I was looking back thru the archives this past weekend when I stumbled over them and started thinking about re-starting the series again. But so much time had passed and I was anxious to start something new. The original concept behind those original pieces was more like what you see now, but as often happens they went in a different direction. So, in a way, this new series is more like the original series was supposed to be in the first place. If that makes any sense at all.

If you are curious here are links to that series:
Slicer - Rifter - Sacrilege

Top 10 T1 Combat Frigates

We fly Frigates because they are the purest expression of combat in all of Eve. No matter how old or experienced the player, you can only pack so many skill points into a T1 Frigate, which gives players of all ages a chance to experience a good fight.

Cheap, versatile, and a lot of fun to fly - T1 Frigates rule the skies of Eve. Great for solo, impossible to stop in swarms, Frigates are the foundation for everything else that happens in New Eden.

I fly a lot of ships but I try to fly at least one T1 Frigate every single day. Based on that experience and the experience of fighting against them, here are my current Top Ten Rankings of the best of the best in T1 Frigates within the current environment. I based this solely on my own opinion, experience and each ships ability to fight solo and in small gangs.

Below Ten - The Condor and the Rifter

Every Frigate has a place and a use, but some are more versatile, stronger, faster, and potentially worth flying solo than others. Currently the condor and the rifter are challenging ships to fly. And while many opportunities await the daring pilot, the cross-fit, the 'try-anything' sort, (or the dishonorable link booster) it is impossible to ignore the facts. Right now, as things stand, these two ships are relatively useless in solo and challenging in small gang applications. It pains me to see the rifter down here, but there it is.

#10 - Executioner

The executioner is the T1 version of the Slicer and has speed and great tackling ability that is almost useless in the current environment of WCS enemies that run at a change in the breeze. If you do manage to catch someone and kite them it will take you all day to actually kill them. And if you fit for more damage you'll get caught and die so fast you might get podded. The executioner is fun to fly but deadly in combat - for the pilot.

#9 - Punisher

Well, it does have a decent tank. The punisher's best role is bait, but sadly almost everyone knows this and obvious bait is obvious. Blessed with slowness and determination the punisher is a great little ship with a lot of potential, but in practice it will explode more often than not. Best flown in a group and used as a nice anchor.

#8 - Atron

I love the atron and in the hands of a skilled pilot it can be terribly effective. On the other hand every single atron you see in space, unless Crake or Stay Frosty is in local, will be stabbed and run from any potential fight. This makes me sad, but it is currently the truth. 99.9% of atrons are flown by cowards.

#7 - Slasher

From here to number one is essentially my own opinion, the remaining Frigates each have their own unique blend of attributes to offer the daring pilot. At some point however you have to say, "which one would most likely win in a fight?" and go from there. The slasher is pretty versatile and can be extremely effective if fit perfectly for the target it is engaging. That can often be a pretty narrow target window however and that is why the slasher doesn't rank higher on the list.

#6 - Merlin

If fit the right way there are few Frigs that can pack the damage output of the merlin. Sadly its lack of a drone bay drops it down the list a bit due to a lack of versatility, but the merlin is a formidable ship that has several effective configurations to choose from. Speed/Kite with rails or brawl/blasters and have at it. The merlin is a great example of how often the meta changes in Eve, it wasn't long ago that it was firmly planted in the bottom of this list.

#5 - Tormentor

Like any Amarr ship the only drawback to this Frig is cap. There are two ways to deal with this issue, extend the cap or increase the damage and hope for a short fight. The tormentor ranks higher than the merlin simply because it carries drones. But I love flying this ship, it is complicated and clanky, but it also has lazors!!

#4 - Kestrel

The highest ranking frig without drones, the kessie is extremely versatile and effective, especially in small gang applications. Recent light missile changes have curbed some of that, but not by much. Decent speed, decent dps, decent tank, the kessie is pretty damn decent when it comes to fighting.

#3 - Incursus

The workhorse of the frigate line-up, the incursus is a beast. It takes a beating and keeps on trucking. Versatile highs and lows make it a combination monster in the right hands and an excellent choice for solo or small gang engagements. I once tanked four AFs in one and lived! Stories like that are the stuff of the incursus legend, which is well earned and the ship remains a constant in the changing meta.

#2 - Breacher

The difference between these last few frigs is small and the breacher could easily be number one, but it losses a few points simply because it is a missile based ship. That might be unfair, but in a close fight ammo selection is critical. Having said that the breacher is currently a great choice for any combat and can be fit in many exciting ways, even dual tanked for ultimate surprise.

#1 - Tristan

In my humble opinion the very best frigate in Eve right now. The proof of that is the confidence I have while flying it, while every other frigate takes careful consideration of target selection - the tristan has a much wider field of opportunity in front of it. Extremely versatile high slots and an incredible amount of fitting opportunities mean the ship is rarely what you think it will be. And this is, next to a huge drone bay, its best strength. Are the highs full of neuts? Rails? Blasters? or something else? The tristan can be effective in many configurations and is currently the best frigate in Eve.

Agree? Disagree? Make your case in the comments below.

Daredevil Pulp Magazine Wallpaper

Daredevil Pulp Magazine Wallpaper
Click to download xtra large desktop versions! Up to 2560x1440!!

Last week Marvel released the new logo for their Netflix show "Daredevil" which is coming out next year, immediately I thought I should update a very old piece of art I did featuring my favorite Frigate. I wanted this to have a comic book/pulp magazine vibe and I think I managed to capture that style.

Hope you enjoy!

From the Archive

EON Bar & Grill Ad
Click to embiggen

An ad I designed for EON Magazine back in early 2011. Was featured on the inside back cover if I remember correctly and was in anticipation of WiS and potential player meeting places. Which, sadly, never happened.

Still, the ad turned out really good. I miss EON.

No Data Available

Mongolia. I have many side interests, thousands really, and one of them has always been maps. Somewhere buried deep in my evil ex-wife's house (which is really my house) is my map collection. I would save the National Geographic maps. I had books with maps in them. One such book showed statistics graphically and often the area around Mongolia would say, "No Data Available." This is how I've always thought about Mongolia.

I have no access to that map collection. It very well might not even exist anymore.

This post is just me sitting down on a Saturday morning and writing whatever comes to me. I probably have no point to make and I have given this zero thought. That admission either puts you off, or excites you. That judgement is yours. I make no judgements.

I flew 37 jumps yesterday in a Slicer and attacked 17 different ships on 15 different engagements and all of them had warp core stabilizers attached to their ships. All of them. If you are reading this and think that sounds right, then I do make a judgement about you. You are wrong. I finally got so desperate for a fight that I attacked an obviously linked combo of a Garmur and a Slicer. I exploded of course. But at least I got a fight.

I'm sorry but I thought I was playing a PvP game.

I fully accept my role. I am rather infamous. I am the CEO of a rather infamous Pirate Corporation. I am -10. And have been for over three years now, closer to four. I fully accept my red status. And I am not complaining. I get it. My appearance in local cause two reactions, 1) RUN!! or 2) We gang up and kill him! It is rare these days that someone will stand and fight. When they do it is usually glorious. For them and/or for me. They often win. I usually win. But not always.

The other day I fought a very close fight with another ship. It was down to the wire, but I fully expected to win. I didn't. I didn't because my ship also has a thing called a Drone Bay. A Drone Bay I had forgotten to put drones in. I would have won otherwise.

The sad part of that story is that I immediately went back and fitted up another ship with a SAR based fit, which I undocked without bothering to put any Nanite Paste in either the module or cargo hold. It also exploded.

Yes I was distracted. We had someone close to the family suffer a major heart attack this past week and it threw our household into turmoil. I make no excuses however. These are just the facts.

I changed up my Comet fit. It is a constantly evolving thing. I am always tinkering. Often these tinkers lead to death. But that is the only way to test the limits. I like this new fit. Yesterday I had the chance to test it out. I came to the aid of a corp member who had two ships on him. Eventually they became three. Sadly he exploded shortly after I landed and I fought all three of them. They all exploded. It was very close. It was one of the best fights I've had in a long time.

This is not Eve's problem. This is my reality. I fully accept that.

Like I said, this post has no point. I'm simply writing from the hip. Totally making this up as I go.

If you are thinking for a single second that I'm angry about any of the above - then you do not know me. I own this. In many ways I created it. And I love it. Go ahead, empty local. Fit your WCS to your ship. Hide in your safe. Run to the next system. Go ahead. Bring your buddies. Damp me. ECM me. Neut me. I'm just going to go re-ship and come back. Eventually our paths will cross.

Mongolia. No Data Available.

Jumping Beans

At some point down the road a ways, players in Eve are being told (as we sit by the fire all cozy in our Yoda snuggies) that we'll be able to build our own Stargates. The image above, of Badgers "building" such a thing, has been floating around the universe for a long time now. What exactly are those Badgers doing? And why are we building Stargates? Doesn't every system in Eve already got at least two of them?

So many questions. And nope, before you ask, I don't have any answers. As you know that rarely stops me from donning the ponder hat and taking a long hard look at something that puzzles my puzzler. With the upcoming changes to Jumping coming up in the next release it appears that we are on our way towards this happening sometime within the next year or so. We've taken our first step into a much larger universe.

While it would be incredibly funny if we find out that we can essentially build a gate to any system in New Eden and everyone builds theirs and points it at Jita - I hope that isn't the case. Although it would be funny. And you know that is exactly what would happen.

The real determining factor is, "Can they be aimed?" and if not, where do they lead? If you can aim them, can you aim them again? And if not, do you jump and appear in a random place? Perhaps a new place that hasn't been explored yet? Are we, as many have speculated, finally going to be allowed into Jove space, or is this somewhere entirely new?

In my opinion the first piece of this puzzle has been revealed - Caps can now use gates. This is obviously a huge clue. We can build our own gates and now, suddenly, Caps can use them. Got it. And then, just as extra incentive to actually build these things, the jump ranges on ships just got nerfed to anger levels. Apparently CCP wants us flinging our Cap ships thru these new gates of ours. Interesting.

So, let us assume for a moment that we build them and can aim them anywhere in space except High Sec. Frankly that makes no sense to me. The obvious choice would be for Null Sec Alliances to simply aim their gates at the low sec systems with High Sec gates, like Ishomilken, and use them to transport goods back and forth. While super convenient (ha!), that isn't a compelling game-play addition. So let's add a timer, since CCP loves timers, and imagine we can re-aim the gate every 24hrs or so. Once aimed, the landing system gets a warning (since everyone is in everyone's business these days) and knows the gate is aligned and in 24hrs nasty Supers will be pouring into their system. Ok. That also makes no sense. Are we also building an entirely new type of "people aimed a stargate at me" defense systems? Probably not.

The mechanic points us in yet another direction. Stargates need another stargate to work. And unless this is changing, it means there must be another gate on the other side of the one you just spent the GNP of Liberia building. These gate things have got to be more expensive than a Titan, don't they? So where does that other gate come from?

I see a couple of options. First, our shiny new gate is capable of "hacking" existing gates and making new connections to them. Suddenly the Uuna gate in Ishomilken leads, not to Uuna as usual, but all the way down to Catch! And back again? Again, rather unlikely.

Or, as seems to be the case, these new gates lead to a new land of riches and unexplored lands full of new and interesting people we can shoot and keel. Ok. So it is either Jove space or some new type of golden land full of milk and honey.

Whatever it ultimately turns out to actually be, it better be awesome. I've flown Badgers before and I know they are not capable ships. These gates are going to take a long time to build and require a shit ton of ISK. So wherever they lead, it better be worth it.

As a weapon delivery system they make no sense, at least not now. All we know for sure is that CCP wants us flinging Caps thru them. And the rest? We'll just have to wait and see.

What are your thoughts about building Star Gates?

Force Projection Bear Shake

Yesterday CCP rolled a stick of dynamite into the crowd and we all got a chance to watch it explode. The long anticipated first round of changes arrived with a DevBlog from CCP Greyscale and BOOM CHAKKA BOOM!!

After essentially lying dormant for the past few years post-Incarna CCP finally exposed the beginnings of what is going to be significant changes to the "way-things-have-been" and have shaken the ant farm up a little bit. As you can imagine, this has not gone over well with the louder elements of New Eden. Especially those that have exploited the failings inherent within the established system for years. Those people are very mad bro.

If this heralds a return to a more pre-Incarna CCP then I for one welcome the return of our Overlords. While I've appreciated Tiericide and Small Changes and UI improvements and new ship skins and star flares and cloaking effects, it is also incredibly important for Eve to sometimes take giant leaps forward... or, at the very least, a big step in one direction or another. This is something that vital, growing, important and engaging games must do to stay relevant.

The great thing about Eve has always been an often overlooked fact of single shard, shared universes - rules apply to everyone. If your Dread fleet can't jump across the universe in five minutes, neither can the other guys. We all live under the same roof in this house and we all have to play by the same rules. It is a lesson the Wormhole players learned recently after getting so upset when it was their turn to eat the change bullet. As my WH guys said yesterday, we learned, we adapted, and we moved on. HTFU, it used to be Eve's un-official motto.

Having said all of that I'd also be the last person to tell anyone to just take and accept everything that CCP gives us. If you've followed this blog for any length of time you should know better. And there are things within the Dev Blog that concern me. And that we shall have to keep a close eye on as hopefully more and more details emerge. For one thing, I'm not sure the new fatigue system is the most elegant solution to a complex problem - not to mention yet another timer - but it does seem to achieve a certain objective.

After months and years of whining and complaining about Force Projection and Cap Proliferation ruining the Null experience - it shouldn't come as a surprise. CCP was, for all intents and purposes, obligated to make drastic changes to a region that has become rather bland, boring, predictable, and carebeary. If anything, those that have been willingly and knowingly exploiting that system for the past few years have no one to blame but themselves. Those of you that chose the easy way, that joined the herd for the sake of monetary convenience and safety - will get no sympathy from me. Those of us who have sat on the sidelines of Null have watched as one after another power-bloc gave up and gave in to the powers that be. CCP didn't do that, you did.

Personally I hope this is only the opening salvo in a long and determined string of changes aimed squarely at shaking up the status quo. And from all indications it is.

For those of us in Low Sec, WOOT! The proposed changes actually make me excited for a wide variety of reasons. Carriers using Gates? Doomsday in Low? Heck yeah, bring it on.

Suddenly Eve feels vital once again. This reminds me of the heady days leading up to Dominion and the hand-wringing that led up to the changes in Sov that have directly led us to this day. As Eve players we should know better than anyone how to adapt, learn and exploit any new system of rules that CCP throws at us. I for one look forward to figuring out what this all means, how to take advantage of it, and then how to explode all the other people trying to figure it all out.

This is good for Eve. This is good for us. Keep shaking CCP and watch as we scurry about rebuilding.

HTFU. Oh yeah.

PS: Let's all be honest with ourselves here, these changes alone are going to do nothing to break up Null, or fix the issues that Null may or may not have (depending on your perspective). They are an interesting first step and anyone who is rage-quitting over this is welcome to do so. How easy are you? Changes are coming!?!?? I friggin' quit man! Sheesh. What a pussy.