ARCHIVE: Real World Eve Terms

 

What if Eve didn't exist?  But somehow, through the magic of our imaginations (or at least mine), the terms we associate with Eve survived and had been integrated into our everyday lives?  What would they mean?  This is the lame-o supposition behind today's post.  I hope this turns out as good as it is in my head right now.  Let's see.


Station Spinning:  The act of pacing back and forth within a confined space, delaying actions that may cause you physical or mental stress.  Any action that attempts to do nothing, as opposed to doing something.  As in, "Honey, the kids won't go outside and play, all they're doing is station spinning in the living room!"  or, "Dave, stop station spinning and get out there and and talk to that angry mob!"


CTA: Any organized and scheduled mandatory event designed to counter station spinning.  "At 7 p.m. Dave you'll have to go outside and talk to that angry mob or else you're fired!"  or, "Boys, it's almost 2 p.m. and that means it's time to go outside and play.  Or Binky gets it!"


TeamSpeak:  A self-generated slang language typically shared by members of a sports team or other organized athletic groups.  TeamSpeak is localized and often unique to the individual teams and cannot be easily understood by the general population.  Often other rival teams will employ a "spy" whose job it is to learn the local TeamSpeak and pass along sensitive information regarding plays and player conditions to his own local sports team.


Yellow Boxed:  Any condition of anticipated aggression or attraction by one person towards another.  "Dude, that chick at the end of the bar is totally yellow boxing you."  or, "You best stop yellow boxing me man or we is gonna 1v1!"


Sansha Nation:  A small Asian country, formerly part of the Soviet Union, best known for two reasons.  First, it is the boulder capital of the world.  The sheer amount and size diversity of boulders is staggering.  Secondly, the Sansha Warrior tribe is well known for standing around in the boulder fields only to attack anyone wandering into them.  There are few surviving members of this tribe remaining, but an enduring myth states that they will be re-born during the time of the "Re-Spawn" which occurs periodically.


DT: Similar to a Siesta, a DT is different however in that it is usually only one hour long and occurs not in the heat of the afternoon but at the worst possible time of the day for resting.  DTs are often extended past the one hour time limit due to technical problems, which have something to do with food delivery servers or waiters, the exact reasons are always murky.


Grid:  Commonly this is the area immediately around an individual person, the exact measurement of the grid varies by individual, but is typically four times the width of out-stretched arms.  For some unexplained reason, whenever you jump into the air, it can take time for your "Grid to Load", which is yet another slang term used by certain youth that defies easy definition.


Inty:  Any person acting on their own, weaving through a crowd to engage another individual.  "Man Sheila is all the way on the other side of the dance floor, I'm goin' Inty."  


Undock:  The act of leaving a designated parking space, such as a garage.  "Timmy! How many times have I told you not to leave your bike in the undock!  I ran over it again."


Pointed:  The act of forcing someone to stand next to you and listen to you speak when clearly they'd rather be somewhere else.  "God my Boss wouldn't shut up this morning, but he had me pointed for over fifteen minutes."


Phoon:  A large, interesting looking person - usually male - that is completely harmless in most situations but tends to stand immediately outside doors and try to talk to you or sell you something when you pass through them.  "That Ralph is such a Phoon!  He grabbed me on the other side of the bathroom door and wouldn't shut up about his Mother's cookie recipe!"


Optimal Range:  The exact distance from another person at which you are most comfortable and effective talking to them intelligently.  This term is most commonly used in male to female relations and refers to the minimum distance from a female at which the male brain functions at full capacity.  Once the male gets within Optimal Range, other factors such as smell, breast size and cuteness can seriously impact his ability to function as an adult.


Falloff:  (See above)  This is the distance from optimal range in which the male can not only see the female, but realize she might be someone he'd like to engage in conversation.  The typical male that is outside of falloff range tends to play more video games, watch sports and hang out with his buddies.  Interestingly it has been found that general hygiene quality decreases the closer to fall off the individual gets.

Originally published Sept 22, 2010



Booster Alts on Killmails

Today's post caused some waves around the Community, as I hoped it would. EN24 even picked up the feed and ran with it. As usual when that happens the comments over there amuse me to no end. People try so hard. (Some good comments also by the way. And the last post here on Eveoganda got some good debate rolling, nicely done as always educated readers!)

There does seem to be some general confusion and butt-hurt - especially amongst the security blanket crowd. (That is my endearing knick-name for those elite players that love their win-buttons so much.)

Like any five year old, try to remove the security blanket at your own peril.

I would like to explain myself clearly and understandably for those not following along at home. I am not suggesting an end to boosting. I am not annoyed by booster alts. Even with my bare knuckle play-style I see the need for links every so often, especially when the other guys are determined to always use them. Frankly I enjoy killing ships that are boosted, it is awesome defeating someone who thinks they've found a win button - without using a win-button yourself. Very satisfying. You should try it. The tears are hilarious.

So here is the gist of my argument, the genesis if you will:

Two ship are fighting. No one else is on grid with them. One of them explodes. The victor is using boosts from a T3 ship safely parked somewhere off-grid. The killmail lands on a killboard somewhere and shows up as a solo kill. That is how things currently work in Eve. This is not accurate. And it has nothing to do with Eve being fair, unfair, hard, easy, whatever. It has everything to do with not being accurate. Another ship was involved in that victory. A ship without whom the victor may very well have lost the fight. That other ship isn't something the pilot ingested, like drugs or implants, it is an asset flown by another player or account. That ship needs to show up on the kill. Once it does the kill will be accurate. Until then it is a lie.

In my humble opinion this is not something that can be argued about. This is not about boosts being on-grid or off-grid, that is something I have personal opinions about - but I also understand changing it now could be problematic. And I am ok with that.

Fix this. For those of us that PvP all the time this is a huge deal. It is not a game-breaker or something we'll rage quit over. Of course not. But it is a small change that will have a dramatic and lasting effect on PvP in a PvP game. It will, trust me. Big dramatic changes. But, more importantly, it will fix something that has been broken since boosts were introduced. Yes, that's right, we didn't always have them.

This needs fixed in my opinion. Agree or disagree, that is your right. My right is to beat the drum and try to get something done about it.

And my drum is rather loud.



Shave & A Haircut


Hyperion deployed yesterday and sadly the Hyperion Battleship does not generate its own Wormholes as I was led to believe. Which is a serious bummer. Another bummer is the transparent frills on the Thrasher and Cyclone models. I was hoping CCP learned their lesson with the Vagabond Frill Me Campaign and would stop chopping frills off our beloved ship models. Turns out this latest incarnation is nothing more than a patch bug. So look for the wingy bits to return soon™.

Something that may not return so soon is your overview. If you happened to patch early or missed the advice, you may have doomed your overview yesterday. As you may or may not be aware, one of the new things is the ability to share overview settings with other players. However, if you already have yours set-up and you logged in yesterday without touching it - you may log back in with it all mysteriously vanished.

The fix is simple and ludicrous all at the same time. Remove something, like Gates, from your overview and then put them back. Apparently this solves that bug.

I didn't have long to play yesterday, but I did try sharing my overview with someone and it didn't work. Obviously I need to take a harder look at how that new feature works, or doesn't work.

Hyperion might not have a lot to do with or impact on my own play style, which is fine, not all the patches have to be about me - but it does bring along some much needed changes, updates and whatnots. This is the third of these new breed patches and so far CCP has managed to make each of them rather interesting and meaningful.


---------------------------------------------

And now for the haircut.

Straight up. As much as I despise ECM or WCS, I in no way advocate for their banishment from the game. I would like to see projected ECM limited to Null Space and WCS operational only on Industrial and Transport ships. That is my personal belief on those modules. I will always believe that and will continue to advocate for those changes. They'll probably never happen.

When it comes to T3s I also am not advocating for their banishment. I personally believe that their inclusion on kill-mails when boosting one or more of the involved combatants would be enough to effectively nerf their use - without having to solve this apparently unsolvable problem of having them on-grid. Solo l33t pilots who use multiple link boosts would no longer get credit for solo kills when obviously they are not actually fighting solo. The fact that this is still a thing is one of the single dumbest parts of PvP in Eve right now. And large fleets who use boosts effectively wouldn't care as much about them showing up on kms.

That is an easy fix to a rather complicated problem.

Right now, if you fly thru Low Sec as much as I do, you'll soon notice that almost every system with anyone in it - also has a Legion, or a Loki, or a Tengu, or a Proteus on scan. It is rare to find a system with people in it that does not have a boosting ship on grid somewhere. This is just silliness.

As a leader of an Alliance and generally all-around awesome supporter of Eve and the community I must also admit that adding Link Boosters to kill-mails is not enough. As much as I loathe ECM and WCS at least those ships have to be on-grid with us. They are risking something. The T3 link booster is essentially risking nothing. And that is, in my humble opinion, anti-Eve.

Either put the damn things on-grid with us or give us the tools to find them and kill them. Right now, and believe me we've tried everything, it is essentially impossible to catch and punish them. Most boosting alts are positive or neutral sec status and can sit on gates, stations, and other public spaces with impunity. If they are in space they can cloak or use their natural in-bred resistances to probes. Or, you know, just be smart. Barring a stupid accident or mis-click, they are virtually invulnerable.

This is yet another example of a mechanic that might make some sense in Null Space, being totally subverted and exploited in HS and LS. The knowledge of this invulnerability has warped and tilted the op so far in the boosters favor that it has become commonplace. This needs to change for the long-term survival of Eve in my opinion.

If I am growing tired of it, then we are in some serious trouble.

Put them on kill-mails, bring them on-grid, or give me the tools I need to catch them with reasonable proficiency.


What are your thoughts?



Killboard Shame & You

The Hyperion, which now makes Wormholes!!

Sugar Kyle wrote a great post about killboard shame which you should read. And Nosy wrote up a post on this idiot in Jita who killed his own Alt a dozen times to pad his killboard. That one broke on Tweetfleet the other day as we all watched the Bestower kms pour in.

I was going to write about the new Hyperion Battleship and how it makes Wormholes, but instead I'm going to talk about killboards and ships exploding. If I write about Wormholes I may just confuse myself, so I'll stick to something I know something about. Explosions.
(It's humor people, relax!)

I rather famously or infamously, depending on your own perspective, do not play Eve for my own killboard stats. And I don't want this to turn into a thing, this ground has been well traveled here in these pages. Let's just take that as fact at this point. What I enjoy is playing Eve and essentially ignoring my own peril while doing so. In other words, I don't worry about losses because without them there are no victories. Your own level of participation in that concept may vary. Far be it for me to tell you how to play a game. I will say that I strongly believe my way is far more enjoyable and sustainable over the long haul. But of course I would say that.

Killboards are important however for a variety of reasons and they should not be removed from Eve. Perhaps it all could have been handled differently from the beginning, and that might be a valid argument, but we're twelve years down that road now. So no going back. That isn't to say that killboards couldn't be better, or that the data could be presented differently. I happen to agree with that. One of my own personal gripes is Booster Link Alts - I believe they should show on kills. For example. I fought two Kestrels yesterday within ten minutes of each other. Both solo. I killed the first one and then lost to the second one a few minutes later in another system. Why did I lose to the second one? And why, when he was in structure, was he able to kill my buddy in the Rifter after we fought? Because he had Legion links up in system. And yet he gets a solo kill notched on his killboard. That shouldn't happen. He didn't kill me solo. He had a buddy giving him boosts. That needs to change.

I feel no shame losing that fight. My ship was well fit. My tactics were solid. It is a fight I should have won. That isn't always the case. And when I screw up I want to learn, understand my mistakes, and move on. The loss is a record of that moment in time. But the past is dead. Already gone. Nothing I can do about it except bury it in a mountain of kills so no one notices. I've had about 1k ships explode under me in the last six years and I've been podded about 90 times. Every single one of those was a mistake. Sure I've killed 4-6 times more than I've lost. Sure I've learned many valuable lessons. Sure I've become a much better pilot. And sure, I am a rather decent pirate. Not to mention incredibly handsome.

Shame comes from doing something wrong. And if you are feeling "shame" about a loss you need to ask yourself why? Find out why. Ask someone about it. Share your fit. Learn something about your ship. Do better next time. There are so many great resources available to players today. Heck, steal fits from other people's killboards. We all do it. Whatever it takes, learn how to fit a ship properly. At least make the attempt. That will go a long way to removing shame from your game.

The only real shame is in not trying. When I enter a system and 27 players are docked up, that is shameful. When I see a new player with 6x WCS on his Rokh, that is shameful. When someone in a Dramiel runs away from my Breacher, that is shameful. But losing a ship? That should never be cause for shame.

Free your mind from worry. Dive into danger. Laugh when that bait ship turns out to be actual bait. Scream "Geronimo!" as you jump into the enemy! (I do!) Fight even when you know you will probably lose. Because you only live once out here in the real world, but in Eve? In Eve you always get a do-over.

You can't make an omelette without breaking some eggs.







Full Circle Pirates

January 15th, 2009 in Hasama

Those of you with a keen eye will have no doubt noticed the cloaked Drake in the above screenshot, which I took in January of 2009. Yes, that's me in the Drake. I was four months old and flying a ship I shouldn't have been flying into space I shouldn't have been flying into, in a ship that had no business being there. With a cloak on it. Did I mention I was four months old?

I once orbited a can thief in a High Sec belt while cloaked in that Drake and actually said in local that my ship, "was full of surprises." Oh yes, I was full on Noob once.

While a couple weeks into my Eve career I did move to Null Sec (Providence), our Corp kept a base of operations in Piekura. We would often JC up there and run missions, mine, or otherwise tool about in local. My first experiences with Low Sec Piracy happened in the area around Piekura. I made a video about my very first solo kill. But that was very early on in my career. By four months into Eve I was becoming much more adventurous. I was putting cloaks on Drakes and diving into Low Sec.

I remember the first time a few of us got up the courage to form a small gang and make the jump into Mara. We died so fast to a gang of gate camping Onyx that I barely had time to react before I was in my pod. That was scary. Which is why I started putting cloaks on ships I guess. My memory of the details is a bit sketchy.

Pirates were scary back then. I was just learning how Null Sec worked and I had a good handle on how High Sec worked, but Low Sec? That was a huge unknown scary land to me. It didn't stop me from exploring however. Exploring and watching. The cloak on the Drake, while a typical dumb idea, also had purpose. I wasn't there to fight anyone, and I didn't, I was there simply to watch and learn. I wanted to know what was going on, what the rules were, and why?

I was being indoctrinated into the Anti-Pirate mentality of CVA at the time, so pirates were the bad guys. Scum suckers. Preying on the weak. None of which made any sense to me as a young player, but you go along with things until you find your own way. Eve was complicated enough.

It's funny now of course. Here we are almost six years later, I've been all over New Eden and now I'm the bad pirate in Mara/Hasama/Ishomilken. I've come full circle. Now when people come into Low Sec from Piekura I'm the one with the red skull -10 mark in local.  Now I'm the one reported, the one avoided, the one feared. How many pilots have I killed that shook their head and wondered how I managed to explode their ships so fast? Without warning? How many have I forced to resort to putting cloaks on ships?

As I've said many, many times, I do not purposely prey on young pilots. I shoot everything without regard to age or experience. I can't afford not to. I don't look before I engage. And sometimes, like yesterday, when I do explode someone very young - I'll send them some isk. Or try to convo them. That is something that no one in Low Sec did for me back in the day. I never even got a gf in local back then.

I may be a scum-sucking pirate, but that doesn't mean I have to be evil.

We were all stupid four month old players once.



CapsuleOOPS!

FX Announces new Eve Online show as part of their Fall lineup!

I've done it. You've probably done it. After all, the skill train in Eve is so long, the temptation to do it is very strong. At some point in their Eve career every player has thought the same thing, "I bet I'd be much better at this if I could only fly a better ship." I mean really, do Drake's really need T2 missile launchers? Does the Ishtar really need T2 Sentries? So what if I have to put two Micro Aux Power Cores in my Dramiel's low slots? It is such a badass ship, I'll be a badass flying it.

And while I am a huge supporter of players flying whatever they want to fly (barring fitting WCS and using ECM of course!), you really shouldn't fly that next tier ship until you are ready.

The pressure to 'move on' in Eve can be tremendously powerful. Everyone has sold everyone else on the idea that the skill train is hard, the learning curve is steep, and that faction-fitted, linked, drugged-up ships are the only way to 'win' in Eve. There are entire sub-cultures within our game dedicated to these core beliefs. It can be a rather intimidating and formidable horizon when you are first starting out.

Let me offer a much better alternative, that also happens to be true. Eve is much easier that anyone wants you to think. In fact, Eve is tremendously simple. Have you ever taken a moment to think about your future out here in the real world? I mean really stop and ponder it? The long road of life that lies ahead of you can seem daunting, scary and unpredictable. Where am I going to go to College? What do I want to do with my life? When will I meet the love of my life? If you start thinking about it long enough it seems impossibly hard. And here is the secret - Eve is just like that.

But when you take life one day at a time, in smaller chunks, it is so much easier. Of course you need always keep an eye towards the horizon, but you live in today - not tomorrow. There is a good reason why we don't let eleven year olds drive cars on the highway. And why six month old Eve characters shouldn't be flying Dramiels.

Focus on the ships you can fly now and train for the ships you'll fly tomorrow.

Believe it or not, I don't want to fight Rokhs with T1 guns. Or Dramiels with Co-Processors. Or badly fitted ships of any nature. And faction mods are not band-aids that will hide your lack of skills. They will only become a valuable part of your loot drop and end up on my ships.

You will do much better in a well-fitted T1 Frigate that you know how to fly, than you will in a poorly fitted Faction Frigate you just barely squeeze into. Even with links.

The old adage is only fly what you can afford to lose. It should be, only fly what you can fly well.

Keep the courage.




SomerBlinks


I don't know much about Somer Blink. I never used their service for anything. I don't gamble with my ISK, but I know plenty of people that do. I have bought two or three Plex from CCP over the years which I promptly turned right around and sold on the market for whatever the price happened to be. I say all this in the spirit of full disclosure. The guys at EOH Poker have been good supporters of our events over the years and I appreciate that. But I never had any dealings with Somer Blink that I can remember.

Nothing that has happened recently should be a surprise to anyone. From Watch Scorpions to the accumulation of wealth under often spurious regulatory oversight, such places are always moist armpits of honor. Think Junk Bonds, Casinos, the Oil Industry, Defense Contractors, and any other analogy you want to attach - they all apply. How about that awesome Mortgage Crisis from 2008? That was fun.

The introduction of real world money into Eve laid the foundation for the exploitation of real money in Eve. This should not be a shocker. The Roman's built roads so people would be able to use the roads. Once that door was opened it would be exploited. And it has, Somer Blink is only the most recent example in a long line of examples. And it won't be the last.

I don't like it. I've written posts about this subject before and my opinion hasn't changed. I believe the unification and stagnation of Null, the proliferation of Supers, the explosion of alts, T3 links, and many of the other ills in Eve are a direct result of this evolution. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and absolute power derives from absolute wealth.

Somer did not create this situation. But they certainly exploited it. And much like any decent Mafia they also supported the community, cared about the people that used their system, and even made good there at the end before they all went to the Big House (or stepped away before the Feds got 'em!). Now they can all sit around and have spaghetti and talk about the good 'ol days.

There are people, like myself, who could run systems like this without being corrupted. It is possible, but highly unlikely. Like any analogy the "mafia" one isn't perfect and tends to break down on an individual case-by-case basis. I'm not pointing fingers at any one person, but rather the system as a whole. The system is easily corrupted. And it has been.

How do we fix this so it doesn't happen again? I think the Casino business in the US is a good example. The Casino business used to be corrupt, and it remains so in some instances, but generally speaking regulation, enforcement, and merging it into the mainstream have curbed serious organized crime. Nothing says mainstream like "we're gonna tax you and help old people!"  Once the government got into the casino business, they became the 'mafia', so we didn't need the actual mafia anymore.

Is CCP capable of regulating and incorporating these types of systems into their system? Probably not. Although it certainly appears this specific case could have been handled a bit better, but that isn't all on CCP's hands. It looks like someone actively tried to work under the system in this case. And that type of exploitation is difficult, if not impossible, to stop beforehand.

I'd much rather be talking about good fights today. But I thought I should say something about this and try to explain my position. It is the same position I've always had. I wish it would all just go away frankly and we could play Eve again.

My wife, who is very supportive of my Eve habit, read thru the Twitter feed last night and turned to me and said, "Eve is certainly full of a lot of drama, isn't it?"

Yep. It sure can be.





Famous Eve Online Advertising Series

Eve Think Small Ad
Click to embiggen!
That was fun, I might do more of these. If you are young, or not a fan of great advertising, and don't get the reference then check out this link.


Eve Happy Life Ad

Getting Across the Hangar


As everyone knows by now, the door to our Captain's Quarters remains locked, sealed and otherwise unable to open. The rumors surrounding this mystery continue to fill the space lanes, from leaked radioactive materials, alternate dimensional beings, pest infestations, a monster called the Hilmar, and more. Conspiracies. Wild imaginings. Strange doings. Personally I don't believe any of it. I think normal people are scared shitless of us Capsuleers and they don't want us wandering around their Stations. But that's me.

But there is another door. It may be called a balcony, but it is still a door. When all the other CQs have balconies and they all face each other across a wide open space - that is a door.

When anyone becomes a member of Stay Frosty they are given a swanky Membership Bag full of goodies. I won't spoil them all, but one of the most important items is the Gurista Rocket Pack. This bad boy packs a small fusion reactor into a very light-weight and compact design that only slightly causes permanent DNA damage. Which luckily can be cured with your next podding accident.

These are important and we use them to fly back and forth between CQs, hold beer-keggers on top of Battleships (good times) and sneak in a panty raid every now and then. We are Pirates after all.

I mention this because my wife lives in one of those CQs across the Hangar from me. I get a lot of practice using the Rocket Pack! So last night we decided to have a small celebration dinner for our Player, since today is his birthday. It was all planned, the food and the beer was prepared and everything was going well. I should have known it wouldn't be that easy.

There is a small amount of danger involved with flying back and forth across a vast open space inside the hangar. You can start out flying when a small Interceptor or Frigate is hanging in front of you when suddenly someone decides to take out a Megathron and BAM!! Giant Battleship in your face! God knows how they switch these ships out so fast, but it is a hugely dangerous moment if it happens to you mid-flight. Despite all my caution I admit that I may have already been slightly drunk when I jumped from my balcony into the void. The Tristan above me was no cause for concern, but I kept a weary eye on it just to be safe. My reaction time may have been somewhat hampered when the Machariel popped into space in front of me.

That may explain how I managed to hit that pointy ariel that juts out the front of those ships! I hit it hard, full speed. I don't remember much, I must've blacked out for a few minutes. When I came to my senses I was out in space, pinned to the front of a Mach outside our station. My jacket was impaled on the ariel and my helmet was cracked, leaking valuable gasses into the vacuum. I laughed. Really, it was pretty funny.

If you've ever been pinned to the front of a Machariel then you know exactly what it feels like. Otherwise, you'll just have to trust me here, it isn't a good time. My worst fear was the warp jump, if it happened. A human body is no protection against the mind-numbing vortex of warp distortion, people have been known to disappear and never return from such things. Or, at least, that's what we think happened to them. If no one ever comes back... well, best not to think about it.

I managed to get my jacket un-stuck and activated my Rocket Pack. I was leaking air, but I figured I had at least five or six minutes of good old oxygen left. I zoomed up and over the main part of the ship and headed straight for the control deck emergency access panel. You know the one. Most pilots don't even bother locking it, because seriously, who boards your ship from the darkness of space? No one, that's who. Except Rixx.

Sure enough, unlocked. After that it was an easy jaunt up the Beta Corridor to the Control Room. The ship was lightly crewed, I only saw three people on my run and they all looked at me like I was a Sansha Warrior covered in blood. I was disgusted to see several Warp Core Stabilizers covered in plastic wrap in the corridor, so I kicked them all right in the Ionic Coupling, right below the Main Inlet. You know what I mean, a swift kick right there and the damn things are useless unless you replace the Manifold Coupling right away. You don't want them firing up with a dented Ionic Coupling, that can be rather upsetting.

The pimply faced pilot pissed his pants when I showed up and shoved a Triple-Barreled Sansha Phaser in his face. I wish you could have seen the look on his face! Priceless. Needless to say he went straight out the airlock in his pod and I settled in to the Captain's chair to manually pilot the Mach back into the station.

It's mine now.

The rest of the evening is none of your business.

Happy Birthday to my Player! Hope your day is as exciting as mine.




Eve as E-Sport & American Ninja Warrior

Drackarn has written a great piece over on his blog about Eve Online's hopes of becoming an E-Sport worthy of actual viewers. I highly recommend it.

Ok, now stick with me for a few minutes and let's consider Eve's potential as a viable sport. Granted Eve is a dark game. Granted it takes place in a big place (space!). Granted it takes a considerable amount of knowledge to follow along, which generally means charts, graphs, UI, and other graphical aids. All of this is given. (Funny, when you say it like that it sounds a lot like Baseball.)

Last night, for the first time ever, I watched an episode of American Ninja Warrior. I did this for my usual reasons - it seems to be rather popular, it is something that seems to be in the common pop culture, and my usual dose of morbid curiosity. It is a rather hilarious and funny show, that tries extremely hard to be earnest. I'm not convinced that any of it is real, in the sense that it has real stakes, or that some people are trying very hard. It sure felt like the enthusiasm of the announcers made up about 98% of the total excitement the "sport" has to offer. And some contestants are obviously making things look harder than they obviously are. I mean, c'mon.

But it did happen to align rather weirdly with having just watched a whole weekend of ATXII, or as Elise called it AT ex eye eye. I will say right up front that as an Eve player myself and an Eve fan I think the AT presentations are top-notch. Despite some technical glitches and some weirdness from CODE and disconnects, it runs rather smoothly considering. Go watch a very old match and see how far we've come.

(On the subject of CODE for a second - what a bunch of wankers!)

I happen to be in a rather unique position in that I actually know many of the people fighting in the AT. When I look at the list of names of the pilots in the match, more times than not, I know those people. Either thru this blog, art that I've done for them at one point or another, in-game encounters, we've flown together or against each other, etc. And watching the insane made-up sport of Ninja Warrioring last night only illuminated something that is missing from the AT - people.

It seems to me that one of the things that makes Eve truly great is the characters that play it. While they are only a list of names within the AT, they are actually characters with a tremendous amount of history within Eve from a wide and varied background within a global community. I believe that highlighting some of these characters would bring a human personality to an otherwise rather sterile environment.

As part of the pre-match warm up I'd really like to see two segments on two randomly selected player characters from each team. Perhaps each team could select their representative, much like they do their Captains. Player profiles, well produced segments that highlight some of the personalities, history and goals of each team. Maybe each player could submit a video clip or something to go along with their profile. However it was produced (if it had anything to do with the real person, or was totally about the character in-game) I think the profiles would help put a human face on each match and help ground it within some context.

Personally I think the AT does a great job of presenting Eve. Can it be better? Of course. But essentially the AT proves that Eve is not a great vehicle for e-sport. And I don't believe that is a bad thing. I don't want to see Eve changed to conform to a better e-sport viewing experience.

But I do believe that bringing some player personality into the mix would help make the experience more personal. In addition to anchoring it into some context, showing the backgrounds and accomplishments of the players involved, and setting the table for the conflicts about to be resolved.

And once that is done we can talk about the need for a CCP produced annual solo pilots round-robin tournament. Do eet!!



Where Did Rixx Go?

Nowhere. I decided to take a short break from blogging this week. My decision was easy to make considering the triple threat suddenly appearing - my Wife home on her porch vacation, my three remaining boys home from various camps, and a sudden and welcome insano work schedule.

Not that this belongs on a blog about Eve, but it does sometimes affect my playtime and the decisions I make in-game. My oldest remaining Son (at home, my oldest recently got married and moved out!) suffers from some combination of Autism Spectrum Disorder along with various and sundry other conditions that medical science is unable to properly diagnose. Heck, even the Autism Spectrum thing is really just a catch-all for a wide variety of symptoms they have no idea about. We use "autism" as an easy way to explain to other people what we don't know. Which is a lot.

We've been dealing with this in our family for seven years now. And sometimes it flares up into a violent episode. It did so again this past week.

This first time this happened was when Lucifer's Hammer was growing and we had just started the BURN AWAY Alliance. The events in real life during that time were rather devastating, unexpected and violent. None of us knew what we were dealing with at the time. I came very, very close to quitting Eve. And, sadly in hindsight, made a few bad decisions in-game as well, which eventually resulted in losing the Alliance and effectively killing Lucifer's Hammer.

I've taken a lot of grief over those events. I essentially down-stepped my Eve play and did the only thing I could think of and joined the Tuskers. For about 4-6 months there I rarely played at all.

I've never said any of this out-loud in an Eve context before. But it has happened again and I think it is time to come clean. I do try and not mix RL and Eve much in this blog, but over the years I've come to realize that the two things are really not different. They are the same. Events in RL do affect events in Eve. The loss of my business, bankruptcy, a nasty divorce, and then the on-going issues with my Son impact the goings on in Eve, just as they do in my real life.

When I did come back fully to Eve it was to face an asshole in Tuskers that not only insulted my decision to take down the BURN AWAY Alliance, but who also brought my children into it. The leaderships decision to back that individual and strip me of my roles set the stage for everything that happened afterwards. It was at that moment that I started planning Stay Frosty and A Band Apart. I wanted to build a place that put RL on par with Eve. That treated people with respect, understanding and compassion.

You may scoff at this. And you have every right to do so. I don't mention any of this to justify anything that I have done or to place blame at the feet of anyone. I mention it because I want the real story told and because real life is important. In fact, it is infinitely more important than anything that happens in Eve.

This time I don't have to make the choice between playing Eve and taking care of things in my personal life. I don't have to make that choice because Stay Frosty and A Band Apart are exactly the place they are supposed to be. The people are incredible. They understand. And they know what is truly important.

I'll be back this week in-game. I'll be back to blogging full-time.

We cannot be defeated. In this life or in-game. But we all have the choice to build a better world. Both out here in real world and inside the virtual worlds we choose to play.

I'd like to challenge us all to work harder to be better people and better players.

Keep the courage.



Pirate Admin

Lately Rixx has been spending more and more time locked upstairs in the luxurious Stay Frosty Office Tower dealing with Administration details, politics, Wars and various other sundry things that need dealing with.

Especially during the last two weeks this has started eating into his playtime rather considerably. The last four days it is pretty much all he's had time for.

Now, your first reaction might be, "Gosh, Rixx must hate that kinda thing!", or "I feel sorry for Rixx." If so, you'd be wrong on both counts. Don't get me wrong here, I'd rather be flying around and exploding things. And I certainly don't want to become a full time Pirate Desk Jockey. Ugh.

But this season of admin duties has also coincided with an incredible burst of growth for A Band Apart and our member corporations. Summer is coming to an end and the fires have been lit under a few feet. Our new Corps are settling in, we won a rather large and protracted War (which brought us to the attention of some other War Dec Corps.), and have had some challenging growing pains inside the darkness of several Wormholes. I've also started teaching some classes and am encouraging others to do the same. Not to mention getting Jabber set up, and all the other details that need detailed.

In other words, I am very excited and pleased about where things are going. If that means I have to take some time to help things along, then that is time well spent. Either way, my playtime is rather limited at the moment. My boys are back home from their various Summer camps, everyone wants to go do things, my new company is taking off and getting busier and busier, and there are a million things to be done. I've got two short films in the works, a New Eden vector map I'm working on (MY EYES!) and a couple of other side projects I'm excited about. Sheesh.

But that's all normal.

This time of year is always like this.

Onward and upward.



-ABA- Pilot Profiles: Argos Gelert

-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 Argos Gelert, a member of Giant Flaming Isopods of Screaming Temporal DOOM [ISOPD] and a member of A Band Apart for over three months now. He also has a robot arm.


• Tell us about your background in Eve

I first started a little over a year ago.  I had been interested in playing since I first heard about the game years ago, but for one reason or another I'd just never gotten around to it.  Real Life and all that.  Once I finally subbed the game, I was sucked into the typical HighSec Mining Corporation after awhile.  Though it ultimately wasn't my cup of tea for quite a few reasons, it was still a good learning experience and I definitely made friends there.  After quickly getting bored with the mining life I started going into low and trying my hand at solo PvP.  I got in trouble for being a part-time, semi-successful PvPer (why are you going into LowSec?!?!?-ignoring that I was 7-1 in the space of time I was getting yelled at for lol), so I finally split and joined a more PvP oriented Corps. which was headed by a member of my former first Corps. that wanted to do more PvP himself.  Unfortunately that folded a few months afterwards due to those guys getting Bittervet Syndrome, and that's when a few of my original EvE friends along with myself formed the 'Giant Flaming Isopods of Screaming Temporal DOOM'.  Yes, it's a long name lolol and there is a backstory to it.  Hit me up if you want to hear it.

• How did you first hear about A Band Apart?

Through Rixx's Blog EVEOGANDA.  I'd followed it for awhile, joined the Pub Channel and talked to both Rixx and Joffy numerous times, along with others as well.  I donated a Prize during the Stay Frosty FFA, and helped Joffy with an 'Astero problem' he had as well lol.  Joffy kept trying to get me to join Stay Frosty, but I just couldn't pull the trigger and live in LowSec permanently-I prefer to dip in and out as the mood suits me.  Finally the Isopods just up and joined ABA, and we've been there ever since.

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

It's great that the men and women of A Band Apart are as consistently chill as I always knew that they were.  There is no pressure on anyone to do anything in particular, and we are all free to play EvE in a manner in which makes it fun for each individual player with no judgement on anyone's play-style.

• What have you learned since joining?

To undock more often, not worry about losses nearly as much, and just go for it because honestly, why not.

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

Do what you want to do in EvE, and don't let yourself get discouraged by people that tell you that you are 'Doing it Wrong'.  I'm a firm believer that the only way you 'Lose' at EvE is if you aren't having fun, and to that point I do not believe there is anyway to 'Do it Wrong' in EvE.  I may not agree with your play-style or personally support it, but if you are having fun, then you are doing EvE 'Right', at least for yourself.

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

Well, even though my Corps. pointedly has no specific goals, it would be fairly interesting to grow a little bit larger than we currently are.  We don't really care about growing though, so I doubt that will really happen, and we are far too lazy right now to actively try to do it lol.  It doesn't help that since we have no goals other than to play EvE however we feel like playing it at that exact moment we don't exactly have a Recruiting Line we can use on people.  After all, what we feel like doing now might change drastically in 2 minutes, let alone in 2 days.

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

One day a good number of months ago, I saw a Cruor in a plex.  I figured hey, I'm scram-kite fit, if I can catch him I can hover around 8km out and I should have a chance at easily killing this guy, right?  WRONG.  I'd forgotten the Cruors current (and soon to be changed) web effectiveness bonus.  In moments he's got me in brawly range and I'm neuted, my cap is gone, my guns are off and my Hobs aren't doing enough to take him down quickly enough.  I'm spamming my AAR and I somehow manage to get a few reps off in between his neut cycles, but he's still tanking me easily, I'm in structure on fire, and I know I'm about to die.  Then... nothing.  His guns shut off.  I start pulling range.  My rails start hitting him, his ship starts dipping down to low armor, then structure, then *pop*, he dies and my Hobs rejoice.  I have 27 structure left at the end of the fight, though my armor has repped up nicely.  What happened?  That's right, he forgot to turn off his neuts and he capped himself out.  He lost his mostly Faction Fit Cruor in a 1v1 to a T1 Frigate that he should have easily been able to kill.  He was a good sport though and we exchanged GFs, as after all, everything that had just happened in those few brief moments?  Well, that's just EvE.

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

His Blog, his Artwork, and above all else his Favorite Hockey Team XD
(EDITOR: Go Penguins!!)


If you are interested in playing Eve with the nut jobs in A Band Apart, please join our in-game channels EVEOGANDA and/or The Frosty Hammer to talk to us about how much fun we are having!



A Band Apart: Core Principles

Time flies when you are having fun. Or so they say. "They" being the type of people who run around expressing their own opinions in little sound bites of wisdom. But, at the very least, time does march on in 24 hour installments until you look back and realize that a lot of it has gone under the bridge. Where the bridge came from in this opening paragraph is anyone's guess. Perhaps "they" had something to do with it.

Let me get back on track(!!), ahh I did it again.

A Band Apart has been an Alliance for 4 months and 16 days now. As of today ABA has eight Corporations under its umbrella. In general those break down to areas of interest for our members, HS, LS and WH space. Members of the Alliance are free to move between those areas of interest, to park alts in them, to play with each other and generally behave like the Alliance is one giant Corporation. This was always the intention and it seems to be working exceptionally well. All of that within the established confines of common sense and game mechanics, of course.

And while the Stay Frosty philosophy is well established and has been churning along for a year and a half now, ABA itself is still relatively new. Some of those eight Corporations are recent additions. (Welcome aboard!) And so we've lacked an overall philosophy that applies to the entirety of the Alliance itself. In general, most everyone has been applying the "Stay Frosty" way to everything. And while that works in theory, I believe it is also important that we spell it all out in black and white. Not everyone in the Alliance has been as exposed to the Stay Frosty method and new members may not be as aware of how awesome that is.

One of the most important Core Tenets of Stay Frosty has been, since day one, openness. Not only is our recruitment totally open, but our attitudes are as well. Not everyone likes that sort of thing, but the vast majority of our players do. And thrive in that environment. That Core remains and will continue to form the basis of our activities moving forward, Alliance wide.

I have posted and written a lot over the past year and a half about Stay Frosty and our philosophy. Now it is time to spell out and share with the wide world the Core Principles of A Band Apart.

_______________________________

A Band Apart: CORE PRINCIPLES

A Band Apart is a group of Eve musicians gathered together for ensemble playing, united together for a common purpose. That common purpose is to uphold the ideals that bring us together, to withstand the tide of conformity, and to give all of our players the chance to excel on their own merits. We do this by standing apart from the crowd, by giving no fucks, and by upholding these common principles:

• Real Life always comes first.

• Eve is a game and should be played like one.

• Your Alliance mates come first.

• All of our players have a voice. 

• All of our players should be self-sufficient first and foremost. All of our Corps should be self-sufficient second. And the Alliance will be the stronger for both.

• We shall create and preserve an environment where all our players feel empowered to take on the mantle of responsibility and rise to any challenge, organize others and overcome personal goals.

• We shall never DEMAND anything.

• We shall encourage our players to only fly what they can afford to lose, but shall never confine them to that idea.

• The Alliance exists solely to empower our players and individual corporations.

• We shall withstand the urge to conform and store our potatoes any way we damn well please, Praise Bob!

• Any player, from any Corporation, who wishes to participate in any activity should be allowed to do so if at all possible.

• In ALL things FRIENDSHIP first. The rules of friendship, among us all, are the guiding principles of our conduct within the Alliance. Friends may come and go, but as long as they remain our friends, they will always be our friends.


A Band Apart is not intended to be just another Alliance and the Corporations within A Band Apart are not intended to be just another group of Corporations. Any path that leads us to the "same-old-same-old" should be avoided at all costs. Find another solution. Forge your own path. Challenge the status-quo. Build something better. These are the qualities of A Band Apart.


_______________________________

I strongly believe, just like Martin Luther, that if you believe in something you should nail it to a wall for everyone to see. So I'm publishing this on the blog today for everyone to see.

This is us. We make no apologies for being weird. We are doing our own thing here and it may or may not align with your pre-formed opinions about what constitutes an appropriate Eve Alliance. That is written right into our Core Principles, so whatever. It was never my personal intention to create just another group just like all the other groups. And please, do not take that statement out-of-context and put words in my mouth. I did not once say that we are better than any other group, or that our way is the best way, or that any other Eve group's way is inferior to ours. I have never said that, nor would I.

Our way is our way. Take it or leave it.

However, if our way sounds at all interesting to you and you'd enjoy being a part of something like you've read about here today - then I encourage you to talk with us. Our great Alliance is coming together and will be the foundation upon which we build great things. You can be an important part of that, or you can just come along for the ride. It is totally up to you.

Talk to us in the in-game channels EVEOGANDA and/or The Frosty Hammer.

We Are Groot!



Eve Sanctuary


Interesting article over on the Evil One's site today, called Retaining Players in Online Games. One part in particular stood out to me:

"The research by Nicholas Yee is older and based on Everquest, but there is still some interesting reading in The Virtual Skinner Box. Yee makes some interesting points about how players can be drawn in by making life easy at the start of a game. Players are given instant rewards - like easy combat, quest completion, and upgrades - to keep their attention and reinforce the feeling that playing the game is a positive experience. To explain the title of his text: Skinner is known in psychology for stating that the frequency of an action is linked directly to whether the behaviour is rewarded or punished. Rewards are more likely to cause a repeated action, so if players feel rewarded by playing a game, they are more likely to come back and play some more. This is a model that is easy to see in MMOs - when you start out, everything is easy to kill and it’s easy to hit a new level. As the player progresses, it takes longer to complete quests, becomes harder to make kills, and more experience points are needed to gain a new level."


I'm the wrong person to ask when it comes to Tutorials and Manuals. I never do them and I have yet to read a Manual on anything. I don't read "Idiot's Guides" and I rarely bother with studying manuals. I will often refer to a manual, or keep the Quick Reference Chart handy, but that is about it. I'm much more of a sit down and do it kinda guy.

And even though my Newbie days are well behind me, I can still recall the utter horror of that first day in Eve. This was before I was told the "Right-Click Everything" rule of Eve UI design. I was determined to make my ship fly to the exit gate in Todaki and so, like any other space adventure explorer person would, I simply pointed my ship at the gate and started flying there. This is when I discovered the wonders of the m/s speed of my ship. Huh. I hate math, but that doesn't mean I'm not a super-genius and can do calculations in my head. At first glance I quickly realized that at my current speed, it would take me several days to fly to the nearest gate. My first thought was, this Eve game is boring as shit! My next thought was, I am seriously missing some important information.

At that point I signed up for the Tutorials and went thru about three of them before I felt I had a good handle on things. I still don't remember if the tutorials showed me how to warp, or if that came from another player. I do remember saving some tourists or scientists or someone.

The scary part for me, when I think back to those first days, is how close I was to quitting. Again, my Eve play at the time I started is probably not typical. I was starting Eve to play with my Son. We were both were going thru a rather horrible divorce and Eve seemed like a good place to spend some time together. He'd already been playing for a week or so, so I was determined to see things thru to the bitter end. If it hadn't been for that kind of personal motivation, I honestly don't think I'd have given the game the time it needs to sink in.

And I'm Rixx. How scary is that? I mean seriously, if Eve can be said to have a head cheerleader, that would have to me wouldn't it? And be sure to never EVER call me that btw. Not that there is anything wrong with male cheerleaders.

The new player experience within the first few days of logging in has gotten better since I started. I know this because I have created a few alts over the years and once even allowed myself to make it thru the tutorials, just so I could experience them for myself. I do like to know things first hand.

Saying it is better doesn't mean it's good. So how do we fix it?

Eve Sanctuary

1. All Rookie systems are Sanctuaries. No one can enter these Systems. Only those born in them can stay.

2. The first three days are Sanctuary Days. A new player can opt-out of the Sanctuary Program, but those first three days are designed to introduce the new player to Eve.

3. Instead of dropping you into the Hangar and asking you to run the Tutorials, Eve has an Immersion Program for first timers that leads them by the hand thru the basics. This can also be opted-out of, but think of it as a Tour of Eve UI. 10-15mins of hand-holding. This is your Captains Quarters, this is your Hangar - here is how it is organized, here is how the UI works in space, this is you in your Pod, did you know you need to right-click everything? Etc.

4. Graduation Certification. If you complete the Sanctuary Program you receive a certification of graduation and are allowed to leave the system. There should be a ceremony attached, perhaps fireworks outside the station? Upon graduation Eve opens up the chat channels for you and the universe is now open to you. Perhaps graduation triggers some other type of events, but I'd need to think about that some more.

That's it. Automatic 1000% better first days experience. Not hard to implement. Doesn't require tremendous resources or changing much about New Eden at all. Heck if CCP needs help with the Immersion Program I'd be happy to volunteer to write and design it with them.

I'm willing to do whatever I can to help retain more players.

I mean it.





Eve Sanctuary for New Players


It seems the Mittani, in all his infinite wisdom, has recently proposed a Newbie Zone within New Eden to help new players enter the game.  Drackarn over at Sand, Cider and Spaceships has a nice follow-up to that idea as well. All of which is extremely valuable and worthy of reading and considering.

Back in the Fall of 2011 I wrote a series of posts predicting events to come in 2012. Part of that series was a concept that I put forth called Sanctuary, which remains in my humble opinion, the best core concept for the New Player Experience.

The essential concept works within the existing state of New Eden and doesn't require any new space, or weird instances, or additional space to be created. As we all know, each new player is already being "born" within several existing systems known as Rookie Systems. Rixx was born in Todaki, for example.

The idea is to limit each of those Rookie Systems (or combine them) to only young players. No one else can enter. (Perhaps there is an age limit.) New players would have the option of signing into the program or simply just flying out of system, since many new players are actually older players - we can't trap people without their consent. Once signed in the Tutorials would be structured in a tiered system leading to graduation. These tutorials would be helpful, interactive, and expose the new player to various forms of potential Eve game play. All while engaging them with other players within the system.

That is the essential bits. The rest is simply blue-sky concepts. But mini-games are possible within this frame-work. The ability to fly and experience different ships. The concept of working together to achieve goals, or flying solo to achieve your own. The structure is open-ended at this point obviously, but the goal should be to provide a safe learning environment for a few days. To get the new player comfortable with Eve and how it works. To lead them a bit and show them a taste of what is possible.

Eve has been a find your own way experience for a long time. And that is certainly its power. But it can be a rather soul crushing experience for the first time player. And it really shouldn't be.

Whatever the final core concept becomes, and what doesn't matter as much as SOON! The goal should be to make Eve a little easier those first few days. To engage the new player in this strange new world, and to help them understand a bit more about how they fit into it.

It should have been done already.

How many more trials can we afford to fail?



Coming to Terms


Let's face it, I tend to stick out like a sore thumb. Even before I started writing this blog, I was causing trouble in space. But the real nature of that visibility truly exploded once I started putting words to digital paper back in 2010. Shortly after this blog started I jumped thru a Wormhole into the the Outer Passage on a small roam. The first system we appeared in had one person in local. That person said o/ Rixx in local.

I haven't managed to do a single thing since then to change that visibility. And it has served me extremely well. Let's be clear from the beginning, I am not complaining at all. Every moment has been a blast and I wouldn't change a thing. My visibility, as much as it is, has allowed me the opportunity to create events, build a 450+ player Alliance, and do an incredible amount of community support for this game I love and enjoy. Not to mention the amazing, incredible and extremely talented people I've been able to meet and come to call my friends. That part is all good.

It wasn't until recently that I finally feel as if I've come to terms with the dark side of that visibility. The dark side, if it can even be called that, is entirely oriented around the impact that visibility has on my in-game play. It is something that I have struggled with during the last few years. A big part of being a Pirate is being sneaky and being sneaky is rather difficult when you are well known, the CEO of a large Pirate corporation, a blogger, and the titular head of a rather large behemoth of an Alliance making waves. This is just the way things are.

There are times when I just want to play. And there are times when I still can. But those times are few and far between. However, over the last year, I have managed to incorporate this reality more easily into my play. And accept the fact as it is and not how I would like it to be. Acceptance is a huge part of it. Another huge part, if I'm being honest, is the turmoil surrounding my real life. As many of my readers know, for the past two years I have been struggling to re-build a career after my decades long business closed in 2012. Things are going much better out here in the real world and I believe that has had a lot to do with things getting better inside of Eve as well.

When I finally left Null Space and moved whole-heartedly into Low Sec my goal was extremely specific. All I wanted back then was to prove to myself that I could PvP and have fun playing Eve. That was the only goals I had. Along the way, other factors presented themselves and those goals changed, evolved and morphed into other areas. But, at the heart, that goal was always there. Looking back now, from this perspective, it is so much easier to see how each step along the way, led to where I am now.

Now it is important to accept the mantle that I created and move on. My goals are more general now and they involve a lot more people. Those original goals were all about me. And in a way, they were very selfish. My goals today do not center around me as much as they center around this amazing group of people that have become this incredible beast of an Alliance. I play for them now.

I am no longer an individual pilot sneaking around the Universe. Now I am the tip of a spear, the representative of a entity, the personification of Stay Frosty, and the fulcrum for an entire Alliance of players. And that is just about the coolest sentence I've ever written.

WE ARE GROOT.



As always, if you'd like to become a vital and important part of A Band Apart, and have fun playing Eve, please visit our in-game channels EVEOGANDA and/or The Frosty Hammer to hang out and learn more about our LS, HS and WH opportunities. We'd love to have you.



Guardians of Eve


First things first, If you enjoyed this weekend's Guardians of the Galaxy film and the debut of Rocket Racoon (and how could you not?), then take a moment to consider helping Rocket's creator Bill Mantlo. I did.

I also updated the Stay Frosty Killboard in honor of Rocket and Bill.

___________________________


I've waited a long time for Marvel to go "cosmic". I'm an old enough fanboy to remember the original Guardians of the Galaxy. My sketchbook from high-school has drawings of Rocket Racoon. (My first paying art job was a sketch of Iron Man I did in fifth grade, some kid paid me $5 for it.) As I've said before, my geek bono-fides run very, very deep.

I also have zero investment in Marvel Comics or multi-million dollar entertainment vehicles. I don't currently even read comics, although I still have about 4,500 of them stored away in boxes in my attic. I tell you all of this just to set the stage a bit. I'm not going to review the new Guardians of the Galaxy film, there are more than enough of those around already. It is a blast and you won't regret seeing it in the theater, that's really all you need to know.

Maybe it is my age that gives me enough perspective to appreciate what we are privileged enough to be experiencing. And yes, I have spent way to much time in comment threads this weekend. I've been rather taken aback by the rancor at which a certain crowd is attacking this film. And it reminds me a lot of a certain other crowd that does nothing but attack a certain video game I spend a lot of time with. They seem cut from the same cloth.

Criticism is important. Critical thinking is extremely important. But I believe many people get confused about what those two things really mean. Criticism without compassion, context, and character is nothing more than juvenile ranting. Roger Ebert understood this. The great critics always do, that is why they are great critics. It is easy to take an opposing view, it is much more difficult to provide context, write with compassion and caring for those involved in something that you yourself, most likely, cannot do.

It reminds me of something Harlan Ellison once said, “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

Guardians of the Galaxy will be fine. It'll make gazillions of dollars and Disney/Marvel will survive. I'm more concerned about Eve Online. And this gets back to the point of this ramble.

Where has the sense of wonder gone? I sat in the theater this weekend with a stupid grin on my face for two straight hours. Not because GotG is a perfect film, it isn't of course, but because it was friggin' wonderful! It didn't suck balls. It was beautiful, funny, action-packed, and it had Rocket in it. I was a very happy fanboy. We are fortunate to live in an age of wonders. Do you have any idea how fortunate we are? I do. I sat thru a childhood of 2d vector based games, of shitty television shows during which I yadda yadda'd all the dialogue until the Hulk showed up for five seconds, of stupid Spider-Man, Wonder Woman, and various other crap. Of Dolph Lungren as Punisher. Of Captain America in a motorcycle helmet. It was horrible.

And yet, every day, I undock my STARSHIP into an amazingly beautiful, fully rendered, spacescape of incredible beauty. Playing alongside people from all of the world, in real-time, on one single shared server, built by people that live in Iceland. Sheesh. That is pretty amazing stuff.




And yes, Louis and I are about the same age.

I was once a film critic, in both print and on-line. And I've certainly spent a tremendous amount of time and effort in these pages pointing out flaws in Eve. But I hope I've also managed to communicate a fundamental sense of wonder that such a thing as Eve even exists. Because, despite its obvious flaws, it remains a truly amazing, wonderful and incredible thing of immense achievement.

And maybe, when it all comes down to it, I believe we'd all be better served if we held onto that sense of wonder a little tighter. The way the world is going, we need to share that with each other.

Compassion. Context. And Character. We live in an age of miracle and wonder.

Just a Monday morning ramble.




1v1 EVE COMIC #71

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A short story about a fight. The other day I was wasting time tooling around in a Sentinel solo. This is wasting time because no one will fight me on a normal day, much less when my -10 red skull flashing ass is in a shiny kinda ship. Want to see local empty? Let me jump into system in a Daredevil or something and watch everyone scatter. Heck, sometimes even when I'm in a Tristan or something as pathetic as I can muster. But that is another story.

So, Sentinel. I had logged off in a system the day before in it. We had been trying to catch a gang that had Sentinels in it. So I figured why not buzz around a bit before heading home. As usual, nothing was happening. This is when I jumped into Kedama, which is sometimes a place you can find a decent fight.

I held my cloak and did my usual insanely quick d-scan. Lo and behold, a Thorax and he was in a belt! Which is so close to being a dream it isn't even funny. As usual I ask no questions and I'm in warp before I even fully de-cloak. Speed being the essence and all.

Sure enough, there he is inside an actual belt. Now, couple of things up front. I have no idea who this pilot is, how long he has been playing, what his killboard is or isn't like, how he fits his Rax, or who he flies with. All I know is he is in a Thorax in a belt. Which is all I need to know. I point him and half expect him to warp off under WCS. But no, he stays and starts fighting. Even better.

Right away I know I am in trouble. This Rax is working as intended, so the pilot knows what he is doing. My neuts are keeping the ship managed pretty well, so he does the smart thing and goes after my drone dps. I pull them back, then push them back a few times, but essentially my available dps is dropping one drone at a time. He enters armor. I pull and push range a bit. Trying to find the sweet spot. Meanwhile he is doing some rather good damage to me despite my speed, TD, neuts and whatnots. As usual I start doing math and figure I'm going to pop slightly before he does. Which is only fair, him being a Cruiser and me being a Frigate.

Just then, Cerv enters local in his Garmur of Death. Just as I hit structure he warps in and claims point, allowing me to bail and rep. The rest is history and the Thorax goes down.

Good fight.