One Year Ago Today



One year ago today the Eve Dumb Ways to Die Parody video was released. You can read the original post from July of last year.  Who knew it would get almost 220,000 views, make an appearance in the documentary A Tale of Internet Spaceships, and lead to me directing one of the upcoming Star Wars films for Disney? (Ok, one of those didn't happen sadly.)

As always I am indebted to the extremely talented and beautiful Sindel Pellion for agreeing to take on the song and doing such an amazing job with it. Infinity cheers!!

If you haven't seen it in a long time I suggest you go watch it again. It is certain to put a smile on even the most hardened bitter vet's face.

Time sure does fly.




The Lazy Revolutionary Doctrine

Viva la revolución!

Dear Comrades,

The Establishment Must Burn! The artificial entitlement houses built by greed, envy and ego must be torn down! Null Security space is a joke told by the rich and powerful at YOUR expense! We are wrapped in chains of gold and Moon Goo! We must break those chains and bring low the one-percent!!

(All reports state that the crowd gathered that day went nuts at this point, the cheering was so loud the speech didn't start again for nearly twenty minutes. Someone played some music, but no one can remember the play list. Stadium Rock most likely.)

I hear you!! And I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that somewhere among the teeming throng gathered here today... is just the person to do something about it!!!

(Half the crowd cheered at this point, slow on the uptake. The rest collectively went, "Wut?")

I believe in you my Comrades! I know you believe what I am saying, I believe you are willing to lay down your lives for the cause of justice. I know that there are those among you that are willing to step up and lead the cause. It will be tough, it will require hours of dedicated play-time, the sacrifice of family, of job, of everything else in your player's lives! But I know that you believe. That you are willing to put forth the effort, of hunkering down and writing tons of forum posts, of being active in social media, of starting a Revolutionary Blog, of inspiring hundreds of pilots to join your doomed cause! I know this about each of you! I believe in YOU!

(At this point the crowd had already started to drift. Feet shuffled, weight shifted, and along the edges, the numbers started dwindling.)

The Null Sec Overlords do not have lives! They don't care about their families, or friends, or their careers! And neither should you. All of you should get used to alarm-clock operations in the middle of the night, of hours and hours of structure bashing, of sitting on your Titans for hours upon hours!! This is what it will take, this is the dedication you will need. Your enemies have it. They have tons of it. Heck, it is the sole reason things are the way they are when you really think about it. Yeah, you know, really. When you stop and think about it like that...

(The crowd was little more than a large group of people running for the exits at this point. Several dozen would be stomped into the ground and killed under the weight of thousands seeking the fresh air outside.)

I mean MY player has a family he loves!! A career outside of Eve. I mean, don't we all? How are we going to take down anything like this?

We aren't are we?

(The revolutionary paused. He looked out at the now empty Mega-Stadium and a single tear escaped his eye.)

Screw it. Back to ganking.




It is time for Null to Burn

My fellow Frostian Taz has written an excellent post that I encourage everyone to read.

The essential question at the heart of this article is based on a very simple premise - where have the revolutionaries in Eve gone?

I've been playing Eve since 2008 and in those days I spent almost all of my time in Null Sec. For over two years I was indoctrinated in the power of Sov, the rewards of owning your own space, and the need to protect it at all costs. I fought in multiple wars defending that space, and then in several other wars invading that space. During all of those early years Null Sec was a dynamic, constantly changing, undulating, powerful mix of waring states. It was constantly exciting.

That is why I kept coming back over and over again. Everything that happened in Null in those days was driven by individuals, people who led great armies. The names are well known to those that care about history. But, in the years since I left, Null has slowly and surely become a placid blue ocean. A splash here. A ripple there. But all succumbed and overwhelmed by the blue tide.

The essential question then, as Taz asks, is who is at fault here? Is it CCP? Is it the Mittani? Is it Moon Goo? Is it the proliferation of Super Caps? And while these things certainly play a role, none of them are answers.

To find the true answer one only has to look at history, real history. One of the things I found fascinating about Null when I first started playing Eve was just how contradictory to human nature it seemed to be. Throughout human history conflict has been driven primarily by a sense of security. The unknown must be subjugated to the will of powerful principles in order for the unknown to be pushed away. Darkness, ignorance, all need to be defeated (in one way or another) for our people to feel safe. We can't have barbarians raiding our cities and killing our people, so we need to kill the barbarians, or at least drive them further away.

Eventually there are no more barbarians. Borders become relatively stable, states descend into trading, people are educated, people make money, states become (more or less) uninterested in killing other people so much. Conflict resolves into ideological, philosophical or religious camps, outdated and ancient baggage still unresolved. But, for the most part, stable and predictable. Borders seldom change much.

I found it interesting when I was in Null that this wasn't happening. That Alliances who held a certain amount of space were not content, and instead initiated conflicts, instead of building allies. This seemed counter-intuitive to human nature. Was this because of Sov mechanics? Why was this happening?

What I failed to realize until much later on, was that it was happening. It was just happening very slowly. Even in 2008 the seeds were being planted, the allies being formed, that would eventually lead us to the Null we have today. The process was already under way. Over the years I've gotten into some rather heated debates with some of my fellow bloggers about this very fact. It wasn't until I left Null that I could see what was happening to Null. My perspective was altered. And over the past four years it has become rather obvious where this was all leading.

Back then I attributed the conflicts in Null to the power of Eve. It was Eve that drove the conflicts, that kept human nature at bay. We'd all be the beneficiaries of Eve's desire to see us all shoot at each other until the servers went dark. But it wasn't Eve. That was a lie. Eve is only a sandbox after all. And human nature cannot be subverted, even by game mechanics.

In my humble opinion it is time that Null sec was set on fire. It needs to burn to the ground. I'm tired of hearing about it. It is dead, it died a few years back and now is nothing more than the artificial playground of the rich and famous. It is boring. It is blue. It is dead.

But who will burn it down? How can they achieve such an ambitious, some would say impossible, goal?

The same way it was done the first time. Slowly, over time, and with great conviction. By a few motivated people. Who are these people? I have no clue. But I am telling you right now that it can be done. It is not impossible. Null sec needs an enema.

The revolutionaries are playing Eve right now.

Viva la revolución!



Status Report: A Band Apart

ABAwarposter
Click for additional sizes

I haven't talked much about Stay Frosty or A Band Apart lately (on purpose!), but I thought it was time to write a post about where we are and what we are up to. The Alliance has been in a bit of a "growth" mode lately, despite the Summer doldrums that usually infect New Eden. Our growth has been carefully managed to try and enhance our offerings and not simply to get bigger. Size has never been a goal of our efforts, quality being the sole purpose behind everything we do.

You can break the Alliance down into categories, Low Sec PvP, High-Sec Industry, Wormholes, and Special Projects. Into those categories we are striving to build best-in-class corporations to serve all areas of play, support and adventure. Barring Sov Holding and Faction Warfare. This is not always possible to achieve by simply growing each corporation individually from within. Sometimes it is necessary to merge the interests of like-minded people and areas of operation. This is what we have strived to do. Especially in both WH space and in HS space.

As always A Band Apart operates like one large Corporation more so than an Alliance. All gangs and all operations are open to all members, and the entire point is to provide mutual opportunities and support Alliance wide. I remain extremely optimistic that this model will continue to show itself as an extremely vital and powerful way of doing things in Eve. And so far, the evidence is pretty darn overwhelming.

If everything continues to go as planned, we should start hitting our true stride this Fall. I say this because we've been essentially in build mode since March. Hard to believe it has only been five months! 

It is Summer in Eve and things tend to slow way down during these months. We are no different. It is rather pointless to try and do anything significant during this stretch, however we have managed to further expand our capabilities and our reach in ways that I find outstanding, even during this Summer. I give ALL the credit to this to our amazing group of leaders and pilots, they have taken on several major side-projects this Summer and run with them. Largely without much assistance from myself, in some cases because I simply can't help. I'm rather dedicated to my -10 sec status for example.

As for Stay Frosty we continue to fight the good fight. We attract as many pilots as we lose (either to the Alliance or to other entities) and our core group of dedicated ass-kickers continues to develop. On the horizon we will be implementing a rather aggressive FC training program, preparing for another FFA this Fall, building a team for the next NEO and then preparing for yet another move this Winter/Spring. Those are the goals that I can share publicly at least.

The primary goal however is to simply provide what we have always provided, a home for good fights without the bullshit. We have no egos to feed in ABA. We are all here because we want to be. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and however they want. That kind of freedom isn't for everyone, and we don't want everyone. Only a few.

It is important to always keep that in mind as we continue to grow and expand. If we lose that, then we become just another in a long line. As long as I have anything to say about it, that will never happen.

The truly great news is that I continue to log-in and play as often as I can because of the people in ABA. We have a great group of players that I am honored to fly with, work with and help. We are very fortunate to have attracted such an amazing and talented bunch of nut jobs.

I can't wait to see what happens next.


As always, if you are interested in joining any of our amazing Corporations and being an important and valued member of A Band Apart, join our channels EVEOGANDA and/or The Frosty Hammer to talk to us.



Part Three: What Makes a Good PvPer?

Good PvPer Recipe

1x Cup of Daring Chance
1x Cup of Target Selection

Be bold and be smart essentially. Take chances, enjoy risk, but also know when and where those risks make the most sense. Mess up either of these and you'll not only miss out on good fights, but you'll also get your ships exploded. And that is no fun for anyone other than the other guy. And you are not playing Eve to make someone else's game more enjoyable.

Throw those two ingredients in a bowl, add some water, and mix liberally. Now we need some spice, a dash or two of special ingredients here and there, to make a good PvPer cake. Or whatever it is we are baking. Perhaps muffins?

1x Dash of Mistake Training

You are gonna make mistakes. As in real life, the key is learning from them and trying not to make the same ones over and over again. Eve is the same. We all screw up. I've been playing Eve for a long time and the other day I forgot my key commands and flew a ship right into an Enyo, instead of escaping. I was dead before I even had time to correct my boo-boo. It happens. Relax. Learn something. Take something, anything, positive from the encounter, the experience, and mold it into that giant blob of learning inside your head. You'll be that much better and that much smarter the next time.


2x Pinches of Honor

We are all playing a game together. In my opinion a little honor goes a long way towards making a Good PvPer. We could call this respect. That other ship is being piloted by another human being somewhere, one trying just as hard as you are. This is why we type "gf" in local after every fight (unless they use ECM!), even when it wasn't that great of a fight. Respect. Granted, respect and honor are intangibles, you can't measure the percentage impact it has on your orbital speed. But in my opinion, it is just as important as those level V spec skills. In the end, it may be the only thing that makes a Good PvPer any different from everyone else. Without it, our recipe is going to taste rather bitter.


1x Tablespoon of Situational Awareness

Why do solo pilots fly in a fleet? Why is it important that we have a running gang 24/7? One of the biggest answers to these questions is the all important situational awareness. Sharing. Intel. Advice. Answers. Call it whatever you want, but knowing is better than not knowing. Is that Thorax bait? Is the gate to Reitsato camped again? Someone has probes out in the system next door. That Loki is not alone. Those frigates are linked. That Catalyst is stabbed. There is no end to the amount of situational knowledge to be gained from shared experience. This is why it is essential to be in a Corporation, and to be in a gang/fleet, even if you intend to fly alone. Do eet!


1x Healthy Dose of Attitude

I can't help you with this one. Every good PvPer I've ever known in Eve has had a strong personality, a winning attitude. Not to be confused with asshole, although that can also make you good at PvP, it doesn't make you a Good PvPer. (Btw, assholes burn out. It is one of the best things about them, they do not last.) We could call this confidence, but it goes beyond that. Confidence is part of it, but not the entire picture of this ingredient. Goodness knows you have to be part crazy to engage in this playstyle to begin with, it is so much easier to hole up in High Sec and play that safety game. Or to camp those gates. Or to shoot poor defenseless War Targets as they undock. Putting it all on the line yourself or with your friends is a confidence destroying experience. Somewhere, deep inside, you need that thing that keeps you going.

In the end, a Good PvPer doesn't have much to do with being good at PvP. Mostly it has to do with character, motivation, attitude and conviction. A mix of time-honored warrior traits that you can't buy in any store.

Good PvP is a result of being a Good PvPer. Not the other way around.

Stay Frosty my friend.



Part Two: What Makes a Good PvPer?

Ok then, we are baking up some yummy PvPers and the recipe is under construction.

Good PvPer Recipe

1x Cup - A heaping cup of daring chance, half daring and half chance.

We are off to a good start, but one cup of Daring Chance isn't a recipe for anything other than disaster. As my Corpmate Bloody James pointed out yesterday, you also need a healthy dose of smarts. For the purpose of this series, we are going to call that Target Selection.

So let's add one cup of Target Selection to our recipe. But what exactly is Target Selection, and why is it so important? Good question. Let's continue with the Kessie attacks Myrm example from yesterday's post. (For those of you catching up, I attacked a Myrmidon in a large plex, in a busy local with my nearest support 5 jumps away in a Hookbill.)

As bold and daring as that engagement was, until we discovered just how young the Myrm pilot was afterwards, it was also smart. I was flying a kite fit Kestrel with a TD fitted. Unless I landed right on top of him and he got extremely lucky, I'd most likely have the option to leave the fight anytime I wanted. Let's say he unleashed a swarm of T2 Warriors for example, I could just leave the fight. A Myrm can kill a Kestrel, unless the Kestrel just leaves. This is called Target Selection and it is, quite possibly, the CORE ingredient of good PvP.

Shortly after the Myrm exploded, I jumped into a Fed Navy Comet with that Kessie. Now, my Frigate loves blaster fitted Comets and I already knew he was blaster fit. He had recently kilt another Corpmate. The Daring Chance on this type of attack is very high, it is extremely risky and can often end in death. But the reward of killing a Comet with a lowly Kessie is very high. As for Target Selection, he was blaster fit, if I could gain the distance he would be helpless against me. (Well sorta helpless, I mean he still has drones and cunning. At the very least he may be able to get away.) None of that ended up mattering however, since he was sitting at zero and got his blasters right in my face. The tables turned and it was me that was helpless. Although I did manage to put up a good fight to the death.

I've been preaching from this pulpit for a long time and one of the primary lessons I have been preaching is simple - KNOW YOURSELF. Know your skill set, know your ship, know the ships and tactics of your enemy, and know how those pieces fit together. Target Selection is not just determining what ships your ship can engage and win against. That is the most simplistic and ultimately doomed version of Target Selection. There is much more to it than just an answer to, "Can a Condor beat a Firetail."

But that is the core of the issue. When it comes right down to it, engaging anything is all about minimizing the odds. Swinging them in your direction. Anyone can throw themselves at a brick wall all day, but it is the rare bird that brings along a jackhammer to tear that wall down. Be the jackhammer.

Many players take this ingredient to the extreme. The odds are never good and they have a very hard time living in that world. So they swing the odds even more in their favor, by bringing along some ECM, or a booster alt, or a dozen friends. Or flying blingy, faction fitted, win-buttons, or Ishtars. (lol) These are not the tactics of good PvPers. Too much of a good thing ruins the recipe.

A good PvPer knows the odds are terrible. And he or she accepts that world, thrives in it, and finds glory in defeating the odds. That is the heart of any good PvP, the smashing of walls, the climbing of mountains, the stomping of enemies. It is a lot of fun and personally satisfying in ways that are hard to explain.

Tomorrow we take a look at the last few ingredients of the good PvPer recipe.

Until then, fly Bold and fly Smart.

(For additional reading about this subject, check out this post about Target Acquisition, for more detailed information and analysis.)


Part One: What Makes a Good PvPer?

What Makes a Good PvPer?

Part One: Ingredients of Daring Chance


Last week someone asked me in the comments of the Eve is Great Series about what makes a "good" PvPer. I said the answer to that question deserves its own series, so here we are. Let's get started.

Rules first. Everyone's opinion is going to vary as to what exactly makes a good PvP player in Eve. I accept that. So, instead of trying to define what a good PvPer is - I'm going to examine the ingredients it takes to be a good PvPer.

Just FYI - I'm listening to Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" while I write this. I'm going to start sharing my music choices, I almost always write my daily posts to a soundtrack.
It is a great PvP track btw, listen to it before you undock.

Today I'm going to talk about "Daring Chance", the first ingredient in building a recipe of good PvP. Without daring chance you will be filled with fear, caution, and reliance on winning cards. Those are all secondary ingredients. So what exactly is Daring Chance?

Let's take a look at an example from yesterday. My Kessie and Masaaq's HB took down a Myrmidon. Let's be honest here, the Myrm turned out to be a young player who was obviously ill-prepared to fight us, even in Frigates. That is the sum total of the after action report on that fight. But that isn't why it is a good example of Daring Chance. Let's take a look at the situation preceding the explosion.

I was the only Stay Frosty pilot in local when I spotted the Myrm in the Large Plex. Local was standing at about 9-10 players. A Worm, an Algos and a couple of other ships were on scan. Masaaq was still 5j away. And I was in a Kestrel. I had just entered local and had no idea who was piloting the Myrm. Young? Old? Part of a gang? Bait? No idea. And this is the important bit... none of that mattered. The thing I know is, if I'm in a Myrm and a Kessie attacks me, that Kessie is going to die.

So I went in anyway. Engaged, pointed, and start applying damage. Eventually Masaaq arrives and the fate of the Myrm is sealed. And yes, as soon as the T1 drones pop out I'm extremely confident, but even then we were sure to be dropped by any number of other ships coming and going thru local. At any time.

Granted, that is not a great kill. It wasn't even a good fight really. But it does illuminate the point of what Daring Chance means. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Without risk there can be no glory. Say it however you want, but the essential ingredient of being a "good" PvPer is the willingness to take those chances. To dare.

The Stay Frosty killboard is full of daring chances, as I'm sure many killboards are. When you think back about your good fights I bet they all start about the same way. It was a risk, but we/I decided to take the chance. All good stories start the same way. The odds were stacked, I never thought my Tormentor could take that Daredevil.

And it never will, unless you have the first ingredient. Daring Chance.

And no, it isn't always going to work out. Sometimes you will fail horribly, perhaps even to your shame. And that is the second important ingredient to good PvP, but that is a subject for tomorrow's post.

Be daring. Take chances. They are only pixels after all. But glory, glory is real.



Six Days without Eve, I might Crius!

Last week, after some brief warnings, the video card in my primary Eve computer went kaput. The computer, being relatively new, was still under warranty - so off to the Apple Store it went.

Free of charge trumps convenience these days.

I've taken some ribbing on Twitter in regards to my choice of computer systems. So I thought I'd take a moment and try to explain why I exclusively use Apple products.

I used my first Apple sometime in the late seventies. At that time I was also exposed to various other "personal computers", such as the TRS-80, the Commodore64, the Atari 400/800, and others lost to the sands of time. The Apple didn't distinguish itself from that field frankly, it was just another of the same cloth. Despite teaching myself various code, enjoying some text based adventures, and hacking into places I shouldn't have been (if you've seen WarGames, that was me at one point.), computers had very little to do with design, art, or anything else I was truly interested in.

All of which changed the day I first pulled a Macintosh from its box. Since that day in late 1984 I have been a loyal Mac user. I have personally been responsible for purchasing hundreds and hundreds of Macs over the years, including the dark years between Jobs and Mac Clones. I was a Photoshop Beta tester and served as an Adobe advisor for several years. I've met and worked with Steve Wozniak and he once helped me get 500 iPod Nano's a couple weeks before release. I installed and worked with one of the very first Mac based Digital Video Editing systems, the Media100. I've attended Mac World, I was at the very first AdTech Conference as well.

I could go on. A few years ago when I owned my own agency, we had about 40 Mac Workstations all running off of Mac servers. On my bookcase, right now, are 6 generations of Mac laptops - all of which still run just fine. I currently have two main workstations, a MacPro quad tower and this iMac. The MacPro is now located in my new offices, the iMac stays in my home office. There are also several other Macs running in my home, but they are smaller "family" computers for my kids to use.

Since 1984 I've listened to hundreds of people, many of whom I respected, tell me to switch to more mainline PCs. This was especially difficult to ignore in those dark years when it looked like Apple might very well fall apart, or just become a software company. I did once break down and purchase a PC, it lasted four hours before I returned it. I've never made that mistake again.

I've watched as the "best" changed hands over and over again. As people flitted from one platform to another. I make no judgements. In fact, for many people, the PC is certainly the better platform. But I am not "many people". For me, for what I expect from my computer, the Mac is the only choice.

I can't explain that. It has never been about speed, performance, chips, boards, or whatever else you choose to compare. My computer is my partner in the creative process, my hands, my brain, my paintbrush. And so much more. I can't explain it. But I know that Windows sucks the soul out of me. And I know the Mac OS does not.

As far as Eve goes, I only play it because it works on a Mac. I started playing when that happened. And I'll stop when it doesn't.

My computer is fixed. I'm back in the saddle again.



Video Card Kaput

My video card bit the dust.

So I'm unable to log-in to Eve, probably until early next week. At one point I had access to multiple computer options, but those have either been sold, scrapped, or moved to my new business office.

So bear with me. Short hiatus.

I'll be back before you know it.



Learn to Fly: Kestrel

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

Previous Chapters: Condor / Sac / Comet / Slicer / Tristan


In this installment we'll be looking at the Caldari T1 Frigate known as the Kestrel. The Kessie (as I call it) is not as good as other Frigates and it isn't especially good at anything, but it is an awesome T1 Frigate that can take your enemy by surprise. And, at that, it is most excellent.

People tend to under-estimate this Frigate and when you are looking at trying to get these cowards to actually fight you, under-estimation is your friend. Remember that everyone else is a wussie in Eve. This is Lesson 101 stuff, but keep it in mind.

Let's take a look at some recent awesomsauce kessie kills:
Kessie Vs Comet I totally coulda solo'd this blaster Comet, but I called my friends in anyway, like a boss. Exactly like a boss when you think about it.
Kessie Vs Thrasher
Kessie Vs Executioner
Kessie Vs Another Blaster Comet

The great thing about the Kessie is how friggin' cheap it is. And the wide range of more expensive ships you call keel with it. This is so embarrassing for the bad guys. It can also be rather humiliating if you choose to go with a kiting fit. That keel could take a looong time.

RJ's Kessie Fitting Guide

Instead of sharing an actual Kessie fit (I mean really, just go look at Stay Frosty losses and copy those! Sheesh) I will tell you the main ways you can choose to fit your Frigate of Doom.

Kiting Kessie

This is easy. Light Missiles in the highs, MSE or a MAS in the Mids, point, plus a MWD and one Utility slot - which is usually a TD, but can also be something else nefarious. DC, BC, or Nanos in the lows, or something like that. Rigs are also easy, plug the EM hole, use a damage rig and maybe a Shield rig. Like this maybe.

You have a grand total of about 79 dps in this thing. But if you pick the right target they cant touch you while you peck away at them for a really long time. Just about when you run out of cap is when you'll keel them, if it takes longer than that you need to skill up.

Rocket Kessie

Same idea essentially, but fit for closer range and base the whole thing around a scram and a MSE/AB. Fit for more dps and hover right on the edge of OH'd scram range. This fit is so much fun. I'm going to fit one up later and go fly around in it until I get blown up.

You can also go totally against type here and base it around an armor plate in the lows with a DC. This is unexpected glory. Like this maybe.


Know Your Ship

Like I said earlier, the Kessie is not the greatest Frigate in the game. And this is its strength. It is a cheap and usually flown by younger players, which makes it a great choice for you. No one freaks out when one appears on d-scan.

Just know that the Kessie, no matter how you fit it, is extremely fragile. You need to engage with caution and with the full weight of your target selection powers engaged. Don't be stupid in it, or you will die in a fire. But also feel free to tackle crazy things with it. Why not? It is cheap.

Targets

Depends on the fit you choose, but generally speaking drone boats and heavily tanked ships can give you trouble. If you are kiting watch out for ships faster than you. That's bad news. And if you are rocket fit watch out for dual webbed tanks. Those are bad news, things like Hawks and Worms are no go.

Reality

The Kessie is a lot of fun. And comes with a lot of freedom. And danger. But, like any T1 Frigate, the rewards are potentially amazing when you finally corner that next great keel. Stick with the Kessie, she is a proud and often forgotten Frigate.



4,000

On February 5th of last year I wrote a post about passing the 2,000 kill mark. This weekend, 18 months later, I passed the 4,000 kill mark.  That is as many kills in the last year and a half as the entire 4.5 years that proceeded it. 1,739 of those, the vast majority, have been with Stay Frosty.

(And yes, I am aware that various kill-boards don't all agree on these totals. No system is perfect, and there are many kills lost to time. Plus - who really cares?)

4,000 kills is nothing when compared to a lot of Eve players. My friend Cervantes Marovinjun has double that with over 8,000 kills. And some have over 25,000 or more! On the other hand, it is yet another milestone on my Eve journey. This blog is also a journal in many ways, read back over the archives and follow the bouncing red dot.

I am never going to amass huge numbers. I am never going to be considered a great/elite/proper/excellent, or even decently good, PvPer. That is just not going to ever in a million years happen to me. And I'm ok with it. In fact, that isn't even remotely my goal. It never has been.

My goals are pretty simple. To enjoy logging in and playing Eve. There have been many times over the years when this was not the case. When the thought of playing Eve felt like a burden, or a weight on my shoulders. Or when real life became overwhelming and Eve had to take a seat in the back of the bus. I enjoy playing Eve and I enjoy writing about it. But there have been moments along the way when that wasn't the case. My goal is simply to avoid those moments and keep Eve fun for me.

As long as I can achieve that simple goal, then I will continue to play. And the numbers will just take care of themselves.

I know exactly how to get large numbers. I could. But, for me, doing so would squash what I find enjoyable about playing. It would remove the challenge and make the game simply about racking up statistics. And that (again, for me) is not something I am willing to do.

I'll just keep chugging along. And every so often I'll have to write another one of these "milestone" posts to mark the way.

Here is to the next 4,000 ships and pods exploded.

Onward and upward.



Geekness Day

I'm going to tell you this right up front. About a week ago I get an email from Lisa at SingleHop asking me if I'd be interested in posting about Geekness Day and what it means to me. Nothing wrong with that, I admit I was interested enough to respond affirmatively. And then I just forgot about it. Sorry about that Lisa, my geek life is extremely busy right now. As are my other lives.

(If you'd like to learn more about SingleHop, check out their new private cloud hosting page.)

I rather famously don't like labels. I was a multi-sport athlete growing up, one scouted professionally and one offered scholarships - which I turned down to pursue other interests. I hated math. But I loved writing Machine/Fortran programs on my TRS-80 and Atari 400/800 or Commadore 64s. I love science. But I hate formula. I suck at memorization, but I can make up complex and twisted interlocking stories on command. I love story-telling. I am an artist, but I rarely draw. I can go on and on. I defy easy labels. And that is just the way I like it.

But sure, I am a geek. In much the same way that I am a nerd. Or a business leader. Or a Father. Or a Blogger. Husband. Comic Book Writer. Commercial Producer. Chief Executive Officer. Entrepreneur. Editor. Relief Pitcher. Song Writer. Animator. Beta Tester, or any of the other labels I've worn over the years.

So what makes me a geek? Curiosity? An innate desire not to waste a single second of a brief life? I dunno, but I do know that at this point it would be more than fair to call me one. I am writing this in the pages of an on-going blog about Internet Spaceships. That sounds pretty darn geeky to me.

(Mostly it seems to be fear of failure that drives me. I admit that freely.)

My proudest geek moment? That is a tough one. I did once help to invent, game-test and design a Super-Hero card game for Marvel Entertainment called OverPower. Almost all of the game's graphics, packaging, promotional materials, ads, and whatnots were designed or Art Directed by me during that time. And I got the chance to work with hundreds of extremely talented and wonderful artists, many of them very famous in the comic book and fantasy fields. That would be a hard one to beat.

But sitting on a custom-built Motorcycle you helped design, on top of the Crazy Horse Memorial, which was being raffled off to help the memorial during an event you created, would also be tough to beat.

I'll stop now. My geek bonafides are deep and life-long. My role models tend to be mavericks, challengers, artists, writers, poets, thinkers, world-changers, drum-beaters and pot-stirrers. People who, big or small, helped change the world. No matter the medium.

I'm sure the services at SingleHop are great. But I can't say much more than that. I've never used them personally. I have this sinking feeling that when they said "geek" they meant someone who programs, develops, or otherwise has something to do with computers. Which isn't really my thing. Although I did interview Woz once. And I have been to MacWorld. And I was a Beta Tester for Photoshop. But I don't think they meant the kind of geek that I am.

But I said I'd write this post, so I was determined to write it.

And I am proud to be a geek. Even if it isn't the kind of geek you think I am.



A Tale of Internet Spaceships



An Eve Documentary filmed at last year's FanFest. I'm posting it before I've even had a chance to watch it. Which is just horribly lazy blogging in my humble opinion. But that is exactly the kind of crap you have to deal with here. So deal with it. And then watch this, because I will be. At the same time probably. Which, when you think about it, is kinda cool.

I'll go now.


Flat Rixx makes an appearance at 49:57. That is Matt behind me. I'm going to turn the Flat Rixx Page back on in case someone out there is wondering wtf?!?



How to Ruin Low-Sec

Image courtesy of Hussars On-line
It could just be Summer doldrums. Or it could be the aftermath of recent expansion changes, or the prelude to fundamental shift-change, or simply only recent aberrations - but whatever the reason - our Low Sec neighborhood has been changing recently. And not for the better.

And look, I get it. Change is the only constant. Change is good for the soul. Blah blah yadda yadda. So don't start with the, "Rixx is whining" crap. Do us all a favor and actually consider the words. All I am doing here is musing, commenting, and generally pointing out some concerns that have been building since Kronos was released.

Yesterday I was flying around in a Kestrel. Which is just about as low as I can go and still be in a decently capable ship. Finding good fights has become increasingly challenging. (Although I did manage this fight with a Thrasher!) Even so, at various points, Dramiels, Daredevils, Comets, Sentinels, and various other ships more capable than the lowly Kessie - ran away from it.  This is nothing new. The aversion to actual PvP is legendary among certain factions in space. Let's take that as read.

Finally I manage to find an Incursus who would probably have beaten me fair and square had he stuck around to fight. Instead he warped off, probably stabbed several times for protection. So I burned off the gate a bit to check d-scan, when an Ishtar landed and red boxed me. He launched his Sentries. He really did. I laughed and warped off. Unlike the Incursus, that fight would not have ended well for me. There is no place in which my Kessie would have won a fight against an Ishtar. Not in Low Sec at least. And barring stupid, badly fit, young characters flying things they shouldn't be flying. This pilot was 2006. Did I also mention that he had links in local up and running?

Whenever our local neighborhoods get insane, we often head down various pipes to spread out and seek fame and fortune in other lands. This is pretty common, a daily activity. At some point during the day, Stay Frosty pilots are pretty much everywhere. Lately however, our ability to do this has been getting increasingly difficult. More and more of Low Sec is being "camped" these days. Especially commonly used "pipes". Camps in Low Sec are nothing new of course, and there are well known systems that are typically camped. And still are. However, we've noticed a sharp increase in new camps along different avenues. Long-lasting, semi-perma camps using multiple T3 sensor boosters with Ceptors and other fast locking over-kill machines. (Typically cheap Frig/Dessie support, which is something relatively new.)

This type of lazy PvP isn't new. But we are all noticing an increase in it across a wider spectrum. In addition, more and more we are seeing small gangs with Griffin support, or with nasty combinations of cheap Frigs escorted by expensive Pirate ships (Gilas, Garmurs, Daredevils, etc.) or all-to-common Ishtars. All backed by an amazing growth in T3 booster support.

In order to identify known Booster alts, Stay Frosty labels them orange, so that we can all see them in local. There are systems in which there will be 3-4 orange pilots in local, and yesterday I counted 10 in one System.

There is some debate about the root cause of these recent changes. Is it a localized phase that will normalize eventually? Is it in direct relation to a more active Low Sec? Is it a response to us having moved to a different area? There are certainly legitimate reasons why local might be evolving. And we'll have to wait and see if these are long-term trends, or short-term responses.

As I said earlier, I get it. Change is the only constant. And ABA will adapt to meet any challenge. We'll change along with the Meta, of course. But more significantly, IF this is indeed a trend. IF Low Sec is slowly evolving into a more organized, self-contained, group-based region - then I worry about the future of our casual play-style.

And that is all it is right now, just a worry.





Why Go On?

I dunno, I woke up this morning with a serious question on my mind. The echo of some strange dream most likely. The after-thought of a restless sleep, or the under-pinnings of a moral quandary debated by neurons. Regardless, there it was. Right on top of my head. Why do I continue to play Eve?

Why indeed.

It is, after all, a damn good question. And I suspect the gestalt for a much larger introspection of general Eve activities which might include writing in this blog every day, creating arts, tweeting, being socially active, running the coolest Corp in the whole game, and generally being awesome 24/7. It could be part of that.

But I'm going to try and stay focused. Why do I keep playing? The surface answers immediately bubble to the surface, time invested, quality of content, an awesome group of nutters, chaos in general, the expectation of forward progress, the desire to experience what happens next, all of those are valid. And yet, they are truly only side issues when one examines the root.

Perhaps it is more the fact that I can't imagine myself NOT playing Eve? Maybe that is closer to the truth at the moment. My Eve career is finally my own now, and has been for the past two years. So instead of chasing my Son around his game of Eve, I've finally gotten to the point where I am playing my own game of Eve. That is part of it. A huge part. My Eve is much more settled and rarely steps to the beat of a random, "Why don't we move to the other side of the Universe" moment. Moments which defined the first years of the game for me. (If you don't know already, pretty much every decision I made up to and including joining Tuskers, was made because that is what my Son wanted to do. I pretty much just followed him around, with a few exceptions here and there, for the first three years. He stopped playing Eve, for the most part, shortly after that.)

As an extension of that thought, Eve is finally something of my own. The ideas, challenges, lessons and experience of those first four plus years finally coming to fruition in the form of Stay Frosty and A Band Apart. Every moment, every lesson, every experience having formed a massive ball of ideas unleashed upon a manifestation of sheer joy. Which is pretty much how I see the birth of Stay Frosty. Other people may have seen "drama", but I only saw destiny. Two sides of a fence. One man sees the future and the other sees a highway cutting thru his family farm.

Ultimately however, these are only expressions of the core. The core remains intact. I inhabit my first day experience. I own the fear of flying thru Null that first time, of wondering when and how those "reds" would kill me. The sheer joy of jumping thru a gate for the first time and anticipating what was on the other side. Of bumping a Titan. All those things I have done, the wars, the fights, the camps, the cloaking, the sneaking, the threats, the challenges, wins, losses, all of it. I own it all. It is me. And it continues to drive me each and every day.

This is why I cannot stop. To stop would be to kill all of that. To regulate it all to the dust bin of time. I am the only living memory of those moments. Without me, they will vanish. Gone. Forgotten.

But that isn't why I keep playing. I keep playing to make more. To see what is on the other side of that gate. To find out what is next. To experience the next thing. To do so with my friends. And to continue to challenge myself, my character, and my play-style. I feel as if I've only started scratching the surface of a much deeper and more profound experience.

That is why I keep playing.

Which is just nuts frankly.



State of Commissions

I am the type of person who is always busy. I have a very difficult time saying no when someone genuinely needs my help, or if what they want sounds especially awesome. I always have multiple projects spinning above my head. That is the way I like it.

On the other hand. There are only so many hours in the day. In the past month these hours have been mostly filled with launching a new business venture and working around the clock to ensure it gets off the ground. Which also ensures I get to keep my house, and support my family. Needless to say, Eve has been suffering for it. (Which is normal of course.)

All of which is the round-about way of getting to the point. I'm no longer going to be accepting commission work in exchange for ISK.

I have fallen terribly behind in my commitments, and that is not fair to those seeking my help. It creates a horrible amount of pressure, which I feel each and every day, which makes it difficult to even get started. All of which only further feeds the depression I've been fighting since I was forced to close my business back in 2012. Life is finally starting to make sense again out here in the real world, and it is time to start taking more responsibility for it.

I sincerely apologize to everyone that has reached out to me for my help with your individual projects. I appreciate your trust in me and my abilities, and I will be reaching out to each of you. I will do everything I can to wrap up your projects, or come to an understanding with you. It is not my intention to leave anyone in the lurch, but I honestly simply don't have the hours in the day anymore.

Part of this decision also has to do with several new Eve projects that have presented themselves in the past few weeks. These are time-consuming and potentially paying projects that demand more attention and care. More on those in the coming weeks.

I've been providing work for hire services to the Eve community for over five years. And I am extremely proud of the work we've accomplished together. And I thank you all for your support and your trust.

This blog, my pilots in ABA, my extended family and my real family out here in no-spaceship land, all deserve my attention. And I wouldn't be me if I didn't try to give them my full effort.

Change. It is the only constant. Onward and upward.




Wild Banshee Indians

Whenever my brother and I would run around like crazy people, our Mother would say, "You two are like a pack of wild banshee Indians."

The Internets say, "A banshee Indian is an Indian mythical female spirit whose wailing or appearance warns a family that one of them will soon die. Before a death occurs, the Indian banshee will go wailing and clapping hands: if the death is of a holy person, a whole chorus of banshees will wail."

Ok fine, I believe everything I read on the Internets. I don't think my Mom seriously thought my brother and I were harbingers of death, at least I hope not. I suspect what she was on about was the sounds we were probably making. When you are a kid these sounds are normal, but when you grow up and have children of your own - well then you know exactly what kind of Hell your own parents lived through.

What does any of this have to do with Eve?

The whole idea of "wild banshee indians", not the actual historical words, (but the concept that springs to life in your imagination upon hearing those words) makes me think about Stay Frosty. We certainly operate like a pack of wild banshee Indians. Again, not like historically accurate and respectful representatives of a proud, dignified and amazing race of people whose lands were taken from them. But exactly like the concept sounds in your head.

Lately however, it has started feeling more and more like someone is following me around wailing about how they are going to die soon. As if I have my own Banshee following me around in space. Someone is clapping hands and making noise, and it ain't me!

I joke around in Corp chat that I get three kinds of fights:
1) Everyone runs away,
2) I get blobbed, and ("wouldn't Rixx's head look good on the mantle?")
3) They obviously don't know me...yet.

I am well aware of the various skulls/red tags/flashing bars/-10/criminal tag/suspect flags that follow me everywhere I go. Those things come with the territory. I am, as far as others are concerned, a bad egg. I am not entering local for a nice game of Bingo or to join the knitting circle. I am entering local with one thing on my mind and that is removing your pod from your ship. That makes me a problem. A problem with only three possible solutions. (See above.)

From my perspective there are two possible outcomes from this reality. Either I choose to bemoan and whine about the reality of the situation, or I choose to embrace it and do the best with it that I can. There are other options, like becoming a carebear, but let's not get carried away here.

I, like the entire Corporation of Stay Frosty, have only one choice. We must embrace the reality of who and what we are. I'm not going to change and neither is Stay Frosty. We are a pack of Wild Banshee Indians. That is our badge of honor. Our claim to fame and our chosen play-style. We are rarely home because we are out hunting. We are perfectly capable of fighting alone, but the other warriors are always nearby if needed. We range far and wide in pursuit of our prey. And we are not afraid of attacking a Buffalo with our horse.

The fact that people run is understandable. The fact that many choose to over-do it a bit when they tackle me is also understandable. This is the world I have created for myself. And the reality of it makes every single kill that much sweeter. This is a hard-scrabble life I've chosen for myself, that every pilot in Stay Frosty has chosen. It isn't supposed to be easy.

When I get caught, good for them. I should be better at not getting caught. When they blob me, or gank me, or ECM me to death, good for them. I should be better at avoiding those tarps. And when they want my head for their mantle, I should be better at denying them that opportunity. That is on me. I cannot change the fundamental nature of my prey, all I can do is be better at the job of catching them. I cannot change the deer or the buffalo, all I can do is learn their ways. Observe them in the wild. Understand their spirit, and use that knowledge to hunt them.

And ultimately be respectful of their spirit. They exist in this world, they share my space. They are a valuable and important component of what makes my life in-game possible. Without prey there can be no hunter.

Wild Banshee Indians. I like the sound of that.



-ABA- Pilot Profiles: Grimmash

-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 Grimmash, a member of our Wormhole Corporation Supreme-Mathematics [MATH.] and a heck of a nice guy. And he isn't even an alt of anyone! (Just to dispel those rumors.)


• Tell us about your background in Eve

I started playing in something like 2006, got a catalyst, and was promptly killed by... something.  I was so frustrated I just stopped playing.  Fast forward to 2011, and I was getting rather bored with the MMOs I was playing, and decided to try Eve again.  I had read a few stories about the game, and gave it another go.  I've been mostly active since.  I started as a mission runner, went through a corps which all eventually folded due to leadership burning out having to do things.  Then I landed in FW for a while.  After an absence due to family illness, I came back right around when ABA was looking to expand into wormholes.  So after lots of day tripping holes and getting experience in PvP through FW, I decided to jump into the wormhole life entirely.

• How did you first hear about A Band Apart?

I write a gaming blog, and have followed other bloggers for a few years.  I saw Rixx's post about expanding ABA with a wormhole corp.  I knew about the pirate aspect of the alliance, but the WH info was new to me.  I pestered the directors for a while, and here I am.

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

I've spent more time with my corp than the whole alliance, although I am trying to start chatting in alliance more.  In SM, I like how everyone is pretty chill, up for trying just about anything within reason, and that everyone tries to support each other.  Having been part of failed WH ventures and failed corps, it is nice to have a group of relaxed people who are into the game, into helping out, and also understanding of wife aggro and real life issues.  We have plans, and I think we have a good core group in SM to try and accomplish those plans in a relaxing environment.

• What have you learned since joining?

I've more remembered a lot of things I have forgotten at this point, but every day in the hole brings new knowledge.  Right now I am learning a lot about infrastructure and the joys of POS living.  It's really not that bad, but it has a lot of quirks to sort out.  WH space is not like anything else in Eve.

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

Join groups and do stuff, even if you lose ships.  In fact, lose enough cheap ships that you get comfortable with assuming you are going to lose anything you buy.  If you have a decent group to play with and a lack of risk aversion Eve is a much more interesting game to play.  And when you leave the confines of HS space, you find a great combination of rewards and adrenaline, and you learn a lot more about the game.

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

I recently joined leadership in SM, and am trying to spearhead some industrial activities.  Aside from that I am trying to help some of the newer guys get the hang of things and plan out some doctrines for ships.  I know Stay Frosty would probably groan at he mention of doctrines, but WH space does have some challenges to overcome, and everyone seems onboard with getting some basic small gang comps in place to fry bigger fish and make more isk.  Outside that, I am try to get my website in a better shape and expand what I write about.  I’ve had fun doing propaganda posters in the past, and want to show off the beauty of New Eden a bit.

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

Just recently I was moving some goods out of the wormhole.  My corp mates sounded the all clear, and I jumped a hole right into a cloaked Legion and Proteus.  I was flying a Tayra, so you can imagine how that went.  But afterwards we had a nice chat about the fight, and they sent me a pic of the fight in progress.  Needless to say, I was more than happy with the experience.  

I don’t mind dying and I learned a few things, and my killers were good sports.  The icing on the cake was they left me about half my loot, so all in all, it was a pretty fun experience.  The whole time my wife was chatting with me and had no idea what was going on until I told her I just got blown up.  Her expression was priceless.

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

His shameless ability to self promote ☺.  Seriously, I like his drive to create a welcoming place for players in Eve.  Providing players opportunities is one of the best uses of time in Eve, and Rixx has given us in SM a nice new home to explore the game.
(EDITOR: Did I mention how smart he obviously is?)


-ABA- isn't just about piracy! We have several vibrant and growing High-Sec Industry and Wormhole Corporations, and we've recently added even more to our growing roster! If there is an Alliance in Eve that has a place for you, it'll be A Band Apart. Join our in-game channels EVEOGANDA and/or The Frosty Hammer to learn more or just to talk. We don't bite our friends. Much.




Eve Fourth of July Wallpaper

Eve Online Fourth of July Wallpaper
Click for various sizes to download

Small break for the Fourth of July weekend. Be back on Monday with more incredibly awesome and interesting stuff about Eve Online. Or the usual drivel. Who knows?



Why Play Eve Online: Part Four


Welcome to Part Four of a series in which I will attempt to explain why everyone who enjoys gaming, should play Eve Online. And by "play" Eve Online I mean join up, log on, and have fun playing the most amazing virtual/real universe ever conceived by man. With spaceships in it!

Part One: The Common Thread

Part Two: Actual Real Humans

Part Three: The Big Lie!

Part Four: Spaceships


So far in this amazing series we've explored several unique and wonderful aspects of the incredible thing that is Eve Online. We've seen that it is a large and vibrant universe that happens on one single shared server. That hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world play it together in a continuous thread of history, built every day by the players themselves. We've also learned that when it comes to the players, the company and the community, Eve Online is stuffed full of actual human beings. And that, despite the horrible rumors, Eve Online is really very easy to play. And that learning isn't on a curve, it just simply never ends. Which isn't all that different from real life when you stop and think about it.

All of that is pretty darn cool. But it pales in comparison to the primary reason anyone should be playing Eve Online! Oh yes, believe it or not, you get to fly spaceships in Eve!

"But Rixx", I can hear some of you saying, "Flying spaceships in a video game isn't unique." And you are right, of course it isn't. By the way, you have a strange need for uniqueness. Flying spaceships in video games goes way, way back. Asteroids anyone? It isn't that the feature of flying spaceships is unique to Eve, it isn't, it is the sheer application of flying spaceships that is uniquely Eve.

And when it comes to spaceships Eve is jam-packed with the buggers. And they keep adding more and more to an already extensive line-up of Mining Barges, Transports, Blockade Runners, Frigates, Assault Frigates, Pirate Ships, Navy Ships, Cruisers, Strategic Cruisers, Heavy Assault Cruisers, Interceptors, Electronic Attack Frigates, Stealth Bombers, Battleships, Black Ops, Interdictors, Carriers, all the way up to city-sized headline grabbing Titans. And much, much more. When it comes to spaceship porn, Eve has two eyes full.

In fact, almost everything you do in Eve revolves around spaceships. This has been a bone of contention at various points in Eve's storied history. At some points in the past, efforts have been made to move away from this spaceship centric focus, with horrible results. If we've learned anything from those moments, it is that Eve continues to remain a spaceship focused game. And will continue to do so well into the future.

Which is excellent news. Spaceship focus means more focus on spaceships. And Eve continues to create, modify and expand that focus. Which has made extremely wonderful leaps and bounds over the past three years because of that focus. Spaceships are better now than at any previous time in Eve's eleven year history. Fact.

I had never even heard of Eve before I saw it for the first time. I watched as a large ship turned slowly in its hangar that first time. Watched as it undocked from a massive station and the camera slowly turned to reveal the vastness of space. A shiver ran down my spine and I walked directly to my computer and downloaded Eve. I haven't stopped playing since. And each and every time I undock from a station, I still get that feeling.

We tend to take a lot for granted these days. Maybe my perspective is different than yours. Or maybe we share the same essential sense of wonder. Either way, it is difficult to not appreciate the sheer amazing wonder that is an immersive, global, shared 3d gaming environment that features such incredible beauty as the universe of Eve Online has created. And displays for us to enjoy. And experience. Together.

I personally want to invite you to join me in space. To give Eve Online a try. To add your story to the tapestry of Eve's history, or to simply fly and have fun. It doesn't take a huge commitment, an hour here, an hour there. Whatever you have time for in your busy schedule. Last evening I logged on for twenty minutes, because that was all I had.

If this is your first time trying Eve, I want to give you some ideas to help you along. There are organizations in Eve that are ready and willing to help new players. So many, that I cannot list them all, but here are a few.

A Beginner's Guide to Eve Online
Eve University
Brave Newbies
Dreddit
Stay Frosty

Again, only a few of the hundreds of resources available to any new player. Or simply log in and get started on your own path, with your own friends, or all alone in a brave adventure.

I hope to see you in space.




Why Play Eve Online: Part Three


Welcome to Part Three of a series in which I will attempt to explain why everyone who enjoys gaming, should play Eve Online. And by "play" Eve Online I mean join up, log on, and have fun playing the most amazing virtual/real universe ever conceived by man. With spaceships in it!

Part One: The Common Thread

Part Two: Actual Real Humans

Part Three: The Big Lie!


There are a lot of myths perpetrated by well-meaning people. The Loch Ness Monster. Bigfoot. UFOs. Gaming is no different. We create self-perpetuating mythology as individuals and as a community, that eventually become 'truth' and well accepted fact. One of the most annoying, for me personally, is the commonly held belief that Eve Online is an extremely hard game.

This could not be further from the truth.

Let me be perfectly Nixonian (perfectly clear) here, Eve Online is super easy! Do not let anyone tell you differently. You create a character all your own, an avatar you will hardly ever use for anything, jump into a spaceship and undock into the vastness of space with it. For the new player CCP has created an entire suite of helpful tutorials that will guide you step-by-step into the universe, if you choose to use them. So many people choose not to use the tutorials, that is just how easy Eve is! I didn't, and I'm still playing almost six years later.

In the spirit of truth I will tell you that Eve is a rather complicated and deep game. It is so expansive in fact, that someone can actually blog about it for over five years and not run out of things to talk about... yet! There are over 5,000 star systems and wormholes and high-security, low-security and zero-security space out there. Hundreds of spaceships (spaceships!!) and thousands of variations that spring off a very simple and easy premise. Log in, undock, and let the universe present itself.

Eve is hard in exactly the same way real life is hard. I suppose that is one way of looking at it. I prefer to look at life as challenging instead. And Eve is very much a challenging experience. You don't play Eve as much as you experience Eve, let it unfold around you, and choose your own adventure. Eve is not into hand-holding, and it can be powerfully beautiful and insanely harsh. It is unforgiving. It is dark. Scary. And full of weird people doing weird things. Just like your neighborhood.

Eve is not Candy Crush. Eve is not Angry Birds. Eve is not even Diablo or Halo. Eve is not an achievement based "game" in which players are rewarded BY the game. Eve doesn't work like that. Eve rewards you only when you let it. You are the driver of your own experience. No one else is, not the game, not CCP, not the other players. It is all up to you. And I suspect, that is the aspect that horrifies and challenges so many people. But that shouldn't be translated wrongly into making anyone think Eve is hard to play. Because it isn't.

While I'm about the business of debunking myths about Eve, let me address another one. It is bantered about commonly (and even in the ad I used for the banner to this post!) that Eve has a very steep learning curve. This also annoys me to no end. Eve does not have a steep learning curve. Eve has a CONSTANT learning curve! If there is some fool out there that seriously believes that, at some point along your journey, that you STOP learning in Eve - then I have some swamp land to sell him. I have never once stopped and thought, you know, I'm kinda done here. I think I know everything. That is never going to happen.

Why? Primarily because I don't want to know everything. But also because CCP keeps changing, evolving, and adding new things all the time. Just recently everything I knew about an entire class of ships changed under my feet. That was very exciting. New stuff to learn!

When I started playing I bought into the myth of the learning curve. It is most commonly seen as a cliff with a plateau at the top. It is not like that at all. The curve just keeps going and going. There is no plateau. Believing in such a thing only sets new players up to be horribly disappointed. The curve presents the idea that you have a manual's worth of knowledge to learn right off the bat. That Eve is so hard and complicated that you can't possibly know it all. Which you can't, but you also don't even need to know most of it! You really don't even need to know much of the game, at all.

Especially at first. This isn't a Phd after all. My first day in Eve I learned to undock, dock, warp to belts, and navigate a bit. I also shot a laser at an asteroid. How hard was that? I did that my first day! I was so friggin' happy. I was flying a spaceship in space.

Did I mention that you get to fly spaceships?

That is tomorrow's post.

Eve is super easy! You should come play with us.




Why Play Eve Online: Part Two


Welcome to Part Two of a series in which I will attempt to explain why everyone who enjoys gaming, should play Eve Online. And by "play" Eve Online I mean join up, log on, and have fun playing the most amazing virtual/real universe ever conceived by man. With spaceships in it!

Part One: The Common Thread

Part Two: Actual Real Humans

There are many things that make Eve Online unique. Yesterday I talked about the common history of playing with 500,000 other people on one shared server. Today I'd like to talk about those 500,000 other people.

You may or may not know that inside of Eve I run an Alliance made up of almost 400 players from around the world. I mention this only as an example of just how diverse Eve is. We have a Google Map on our forums and currently have players located in the United States, England, French Guiana, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Austria, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, South Africa, Malaysia, New Zealand and many, many others. I know that in the world we live in, this fact isn't all that unique. But it is still amazing, and builds the background for what comes next.

But let's take a small step back for a moment. For decades video games were mostly an activity limited to you alone or maybe with a few friends. They still can be, but there is also an entirely different world that has opened up over the last decade. I can still remember when I realized that the ships I was playing with in Eve were being piloted, by real human beings. People much like me, on the other side of the screen, trying to accomplish something. Just like me.

This may sound relatively basic to you now. But it is revelatory. Especially when it comes to Eve Online. Let's face it, Eve is not like your typical video game. It isn't even much like... well, anything else. It can be daunting, dark, and complicated for the first time player. And I'll be touching on this in more detail in another installment, but it takes a different kind of player to truly enjoy Eve. That mentality, that mind-set, isn't born into you. It is acquired. And that can happen all at once, or slowly over time.

The thing is, the more you play with other people, the better Eve is. There is no getting around this fact. But the thing that most people ignore, is that "playing" with other players isn't simply limited to what happens in-game. Nope. In fact, you can enjoy the company, comradeship, and shared experiences with an entire community of players and never even meet inside the world of Eve Online.

This is what most of us refer to as the Eve Community. And the Eve Community is one of the most unique and vital groups of people in all of gaming. I wish I had the space to relate to you all of the amazing, talented, sincere, and wonderful experiences I've had over the past six years with other Eve players. Some of those experiences I've related over time in this blog. Some I have not. But I can assure you that it is the Eve Community that ultimately keeps me writing, drawing, and engaged in this crazy universe of ours. Both in-game and out.

The strange thing is, the community is not limited to just players. The company that makes Eve, CCP, is also full of real human beings. Even though I have never met a single CCP employee, I still consider many of them to be "friends" in the true sense. In a modern, global, connected sense perhaps. But definitions are evolving all the time, are they not? Either way, CCP employees are also involved, engaged and communicate with us players in ways that make the game even better. On Twitter, forums, in-game, on blogs, and in many other ways.

All the 3d graphics in the world don't make Eve Online a great game. It is the people that truly elevate Eve. The people that fly with you, against you, and support you both inside that virtual universe and out here in the real one.

There are many games full of people from around the world. But only Eve has the Eve Community. And we are always willing to embrace new players.

You should try Eve Online. You can for FREE.