My Wife is not a Svipul

Last night I sat and watched as my wife created her first avatar in Eve Online. I helped her with advice here and there, but I let her have fun with the character creator. I laughed as she laughed when her avatar's head turned and blinked at her, and watched as she stretched and pulled and tweaked the possibilities. Eventually she had something she liked and now she is sat in station inside her pod.

My wife has expressed an interest in playing Eve before, so this was not that big of a surprise. Given our real life situation however, having time to play Eve has always been the determining factor. I think Fanfest had a lot to do with her finally deciding to take the plunge. Nothing has changed out here in the vast wasteland of our insane lives, and it doesn't look like it will anytime soon - so why not?

And let's face it, she has access to the world's greatest living tutorial - namely me. She won't have much time to play, but we'll try to make the most out of what she does have. Which is what Stay Frosty is all about. Funny that.

Oh yes, she told me the other day, "I just want to blow things up!" My heart swelled with pride obviously. This should be an interesting adventure.


Due to being away from the game for a few weeks, and recent wars, and other factors - I hadn't really gotten the chance to fly the Svipul. Yesterday I decided it was time to change that, and I dragged one out of the hangar and started fitting it. There is no way that this is going to stay this way! Everything fits. There are multiple ways to approach fitting this ship and no matter which way you choose, it all fits. No wonder we are seeing so many of them in space these days. This will not last and eventually Fozzie will nerf this back to a sane place, but for now... wow.

I wasn't having any luck in it, mostly because the systems I was in were empty. So I decided to turn back towards home and dock up for the night. That was when Skir Skor popped up in his Svipul and Skine joined our small gang. We chased a few ships around and eventually caught this Hawk. Poor guy never had a chance. Not much of a test for my Svipul even though I had some minor heat damage. So I warped over to the station to rep and undocked to scan. As I sat there a Stratios undocked behind me. We looked at each other for a few moments and then he warped to the Medium Plex.

It is moments like this that define a man's soul. In fleet we were all like, "Can we?" and all of us agreed, "why not?" and warped in after him. What followed was an epic fight, with Skir losing his own Svipul and returning with another ship. And Skine losing his ship and going back to re-ship. About half-way thru the fight a Lachesis showed up and got me scrammed and pointed.  It took a few minutes for me to figure out the best approach to fighting the Stratios, but eventually I found the right ammo and position. Managing the multiple issues involved in such a long fight are difficult, cap, point, heat, position, a mistake in any of those would cost me the fight.

This was not a poorly fit Stratios either. Between him and the Lach I was double webbed and scrammed and neuted and pointed and otherwise screwed. But eventually the Stratios bit the dust. The Lachesis was 29k away from me at this point and I popped the Svipul over to Propulsion mode and burned my 10mn AB straight at him. At well over 3k m/s I closed the distance fast and managed to get my scram on him. Skir landed in his Myrmidon but he was too far away to offer any help. I figured the Lach would be blaster fitted and I was worried he'd pound me into nothing, but what I didn't know until he exploded was how he had his low slots. That's why he was barely hitting me. So I managed to also solo the Lachesis.

Almost a billion isk down and we lost a Svipul and a Condor. Not a bad way to end the evening.

And then, about two hours later, my wife started playing Eve. Now that is a good day.

Back in Black

March is going to end up being one of my lowest months in a very long time when it comes to PvP activity. Given the mad rush to get the posters ready for Fanfest, prepare the presentation, prepare the necessary things we needed for our three boys and our animals, and then actually go to Fanfest and then return to the insanity that is our real lives - March has been a tad sparse when it comes to logging into Eve. 'Natch.

So it was great to finally, after two weeks, log in with a few hours to play yesterday. I honestly fully expected to be rusty when I undocked, but that didn't turn out to be an issue. Oh I certainly made a few errors, like forgetting to check my d-scan before jumping into a Dramiel in my Slicer, but overall the rust seemed to shake loose pretty fast.

The best part was being back amongst my friends in Stay Frosty and ABA. We quickly built a pretty decent little YOLO gang and went yarring around the neighborhood like a bunch of crazed and drunken sailors. In typical Stay Frosty fashion, some of it went well and some not so much. But we were having a blast and that is what being in our Corporation is all about, so meh. We had fun. Everyone else's level of fun may vary.

I did hit 120m skill points while I was away at Fanfest, so that is another milestone. And for some reason I am now training Jump Drive thingie to level V... I may have to look at my skill list again today. I also didn't have a lot of small ships fitted, so I may have to go on a shopping trip soon. I took out my Comet and eventually lost it, then a Slicer and then eventually lost that to that Dramiel I forgot to scan. So at the end there, I was left with just a Maulus. The only small ship I had left that was fitted. I generally avoid flying support ships, darn thing doesn't even have a point, but sometimes it can be relaxing to just be a part of a gang and not have to be point all the time. It also came in handy when a Harpy attacked it outside a gate. Poor guy hit me hard the first time, then I got both Sensor Damps on him and he couldn't hit a barn.

This was my first day back in the new expansion and I am a tad worried about the speed at which space is loading. Is anyone else having this issue? My undocks and jumps seem to take longer to load grid than before. That is a tad worrisome. I may have to take a fresh look at my settings. I'm not sure but maybe that has something to do with the new "on-demand" cache settings?

I have a couple more days to try to get my kill total up a bit for the month, 28 kills is not enough!! lol. Like it matters to me. I am joking here.

Ok, enough for today. I have lots of busy things to do, a whole plate full of new commissions to deal with. Some copy to get to CCP Spitfire and a super sekrit new project to work on today. (Very exciting, but you'll have to wait)

Until then, I hope to run into you in space.

Eve Fan Art: Fanfest Presentation

My Player Presentation from Fanfest is now on-line.

I am aware of every single mistake I made, from mixing Andrew Groen and David Perry's names into one mysterious person named David Andrews, to mixing up a few other details here and there. Please forgive me for those, I was speaking live and not using notes. Despite that, I believe in the larger themes present in this presentation whole-heartedly and encourage everyone to join the Slack Creative channel who has an interest in pursuing creative solutions for the Eve Community. I honestly believe we are stronger for our individual parts if we help support each other.

Fanfest Wrap-Up

This was my very first Fanfest and I had a blast. It was an insane whirlwind of noise, stress, cold, a solar eclipse, long-time friends, new friends, spaceships, presentations, roundtables, inane questions, incredible VR, huge crowds, good beer, terrible beer, amazing food, something that gave me the runs Friday night, a chance to be on Eve TV live(!!), and great conversations. It was a collection of incredible moments and it went by way too fast. And I couldn't possibly recommend it more highly. If you have never been before, you really should try to go at least once.

Here are my thoughts about the rest of my Fanfest.

Norbet Bensel showed up at Fanfest with five huge, incredibly beautiful art books that he had printed featuring my Eve Art. Let me assure you, these books are gorgeous and very, very heavy. And yet he lugged these from Germany to Iceland so that I could sign them for him. And so he could give me one of them as a gift.

The Book

I am speechless in the photo above. This gesture was the highlight of Fanfest for me. I don't even have the words to convey, much less summarize, how this gets me right smack in the feels. The book he made for me is currently sitting on a shelf right next to my work area, within arms reach, so that - should I ever feel low or down in the dumps - I can easily reach it and remember this incredible gesture. Thank you Sir.

• Trony @UndockRamp made me a 3D printed Daredevil!! Awhile back he asked me on Twitter what my favorite ship was, and of course it is the Daredevil. Every so often he would update me on its progress and how much trouble the ship was giving him. It got to the point where I said, maybe just make a Comet instead. My thought being the Comet would be easier. I don't know how many tries it took him, but eventually he got it to work.

He had an entire small fleet of ships with him and each one was amazing. But I have to say, none more so than my Daredevil. Thank you Sir, the ship is incredible and I will treasure it always. I am still debating if I want to try and paint it or not, I have some more investigating to do about that first.

• Tweetfleet caps, CVA Pins, Crossing Zebra shirts, WCS Stickers, Hydrostatic stickers, pens, more shirts, another cap, I was overwhelmed with the generosity and consideration of all those that took the time, thought and effort to present me with something at Fanfest. Thank you. Sincerely. Each and every one of you. My loot pile was zero before last week and now it is impressive - even for a Pirate.

• WCS. I had several excellent conversations about Warp Cores while at Fanfest. And one funny moment. The funny moment came during the Low Sec FW Roundtable when a gentlemen two seats away from me asked about WCS before I had a chance and Fozzie turned to me and said, "I expected that question from you Rixx!" lol, that was a good moment. My position on WCS is widely known, but I had a great opportunity to discuss the actual issue with Masterplan and we both see eye to eye on the real issue. My point is essentially that the module is a lot like Legacy Code, it has been around since the beginning and needs to be looked at with fresh eyes. I'm not against a module that helps pilots that need help, I am against bad game play mechanics. There should never be a reason to fit all WCS in the low slots of a ship in Eve. That is just bad game play.

• Hats. It is funny that at some point along the line, hats became about hats. The concept of hats on avatars sprung out of Incarna, as a protest against monocles and high-priced in-game merchandise. After Incarna the hats became the symbol for out-of-the-box thinking at CCP, a way to challenge a new regime to challenge the status-quo, to think beyond their means and move Eve into a new era. If you can't find a way to put hats on avatars, then what can you do? And sure, hats on avatars is still a good idea and should happen someday. Especially now, given all that has happened in the three years since Incarna. But it should also continue to be a low-priority item. I had a chance to convey those thoughts to several people, so I'm happy with that.

• I didn't ask a lot of questions during roundtables. To be honest I was having much more success talking with CCP during conversations outside of that environment. In addition, frankly, much of my roundtable experience was not very good. I have to be honest here and say most of the questions asked during roundtables are not very inspiring to say the least. But during the other Low Sec session I did have an interesting and brand new thought regarding the Utility High Slot. Why not consider a few new modules specifically designed for that space? For years we've been throwing Salvagers in there for heat sinks, why not a module specific to that purpose? Once you start thinking down that road, some interesting game play opportunities present themselves. Both Fozzie and Rise seemed open to the potential.

• I managed to get smacked down by Hilmar. During our tour on Wednesday he wasn't in his office, so I missed my chance to meet him. At the Charity dinner I finally found myself standing next to him with a small group. I quickly concocted a rather lame joke and presented it at the earliest opportunity, "I was in your office yesterday and you weren't there sadly. So I sat in your chair and sent a bunch of memos out and banned Warp Core Stabs!" At which point he turned slowly towards me with his steely cold Viking eyes and said, "I know that is not true because I don't have a chair in my office. I stand while working." He went on to discuss the merits of standing while working, but I couldn't hear him because I was only three inches tall!! lol.

We made up later.


Fanfest is about people. People who all share a single common connection to an amazingly complex community called Eve Online. Being there and feeling it for yourself only reinforces the "behind-the-screen" lives that we all share. I had a chance to meet and talk and laugh and share drinks and stories with so many people that thinking about it only makes my head spin. No matter the background, where you are in-game or out, everyone at Fanfest is there to have a great time.

I can't wait to go back.

Fanfest Notes Day Two

The evening before I arrived in Reykjavik the players and CCP engaged in a friendly soccer match. Previous to that event CCP Puck had asked for my help with the players jersey design, so I put together a BallGorns Team logo for him. In appreciation he had an extra jersey made with my name and number on it. The printer got it mixed in with CCP's jerseys and so CCP Rixx Javix was born.

I used this to open my player presentation, based on Neville Smit's comment after I told him the story. It was pretty funny I thought.


My second day in Iceland, and the first day of Fanfest, was another insanely busy day for me. Those of us doing player presentations met with CCP Manifest early to go over last minute instructions then raced to find a seat in the big hall for Hilmar's opening statements. Then up to check out the Eve Store and see the posters CCP Spitfire had managed to get framed the day before. Then time for one roundtable before watching Andrew Groen's player presentation which I followed. Our time was tough, other presentations happening at the same time pulled a lot of potential attendees, but the crowd was strong anyway. I think I did ok. Everyone seemed to enjoy it. I've heard from some of those in attendance that they did. One wrote me this morning to tell me I inspired them to start drawing again. So that alone made it worth it.

Then on to a roundtable with myself, Spitfire and Andrew answering questions about CCP Merchandise and the Eve Store. It was mostly Spitfire's show, but I had fun sitting behind the table. I just kept thinking to myself how cool it was to actually be there.

By then it was time for the Keynote and once more trying to find a seat. We've all seen the Keynote by now and I won't spend a lot of time on it right now, but in general I think it went extremely well. No doubt that everything is positive and headed in interesting directions. Putting the big stuff up-front is also the right thing to do at Fanfest, everyone I talked to agreed. But it is also kind of a bummer to be honest. And most people I talked to agreed with that as well. I think some tweaking needs to happen to Fanfest next year. Maybe withhold a few smaller things until the closing ceremony? Just to give attendees a sense of excitement.


I also managed to spend an hour upstairs in the Eve Store signing posters and talking to anyone that stopped by. I think I managed to sign about 50 sets, which is 200 signatures! I haven't signed that many things since my divorce settlement.

People kept asking me when the posters will be available on-line. I do not have a definitive answer on that. They will be available on-line, this I do know. CCP Spitfire is happy with the way they sold at Fanfest and the feedback we received from everyone. So we will be moving forward. And I have confidence that we will be doing even more sets in the very near future.

As always it comes down to finding the right partner and trying to find the best solution for shipping. As we discussed in the roundtable, shipping is probably the single biggest issue when it comes to providing real products to a global player base. It is a problem that everyone faces and isn't unique to CCP.


Race back to the hotel to get ready for the Charity Dinner. This was my first Fanfest to attend, but my seventh in many ways. Every year I read and follow along the happenings from Reykjavik, but this year's Charity Dinner was going to be different. A meet at CCP HQ and then across the way to the Museum for dinner and drinks. We arrived at CCP HQ just in time for a sip of champagne and then off to dinner.

It is important to realize that Iceland has an over-abundance of Geo-Thermal heat. The island literally sits on top of a heat sink, so they are not shy about using that power. Every single structure in Iceland is heated. I believe even sheds and barns are probably nearly saunas inside. This is especially an issue when it is near freezing outside and then you walk into the heat inside. Layers help, but you will eventually start to sweat. Hot then cold, then hot and cold again. It is no surprise that people get sick although we managed to avoid it ourselves. Add 200 people to the mix crammed into a small space, force them to stand, and then hide the food behind walls of sweaty people. No wonder a large group of us spent most of our time out on the deck.

That might sound like complaining, but it isn't. We had a good time at the Charity Dinner and it was all for a good cause. I got to chance to meet and talk to a lot of people, players and CCP'ers. And I had probably my very best moment at Fanfest.

Remember my story from the last post about my Fan-Boy moment with CCP Explorer? Well nothing fixes that like an entire busy day at Fanfest, people from CCP are everywhere. And while a few more remained to meet, at the Charity Dinner that list was getting smaller and smaller. I got a chance to say hello to the always awesome CCP Punkturis, and I got a Big Hug from CCP Fozzie - which was awkward at first - as it should be. CCP Paradox, Masterplan, the list is long and everyone was generous with their time and extremely friendly. CCP Rise and I kept missing each other and I couldn't find CCP Guard, but I expected that. He tends to disappear in crowds.

So my wife and I are standing outside on the deck with a small group of players when CCP Mimic comes over to join us. There is a moment at Fanfest when someone new joins your group when their eyes scan the lanyards around everyone's necks. You see it all the time as people try to figure out who you are without having to nervously introduce themselves to everyone. Mimic's eyes started across the circle and then landed on mine and I began to introduce myself when she went to her knees and started the supplicant wave with her arms. It was a very funny moment, and as a huge fan of hers, it reminded me that things always run both ways. We managed to spend a lot of time with her that evening and she is as charming, intelligent, and amazing as I expected. After such a long day it was exactly the ice breaker I needed.

Me with CCPMimic

Me with Fozzie

CCPPunkturis and Me

Back to hotel, pass out, rinse and repeat.

Back from Fanfest

I was on EveTV!!
After a 6 hour flight, 2 hours in Customs/Baggage Check, and a 4 hour drive which got us back home at 2am, I am back on home soil once again. As most of you know, for the last seven days I've been in Iceland for my first ever Eve Fanfest! And despite my intentions, I was unable to mentally or physically develop the capacity to blog while away. I have an even higher level of respect for anyone that can go through that experience and still find the time or energy to blog about it. That person was not me.

I did manage to Tweet and keep up with my Slack channels, email, and other forms of communication - but not blogging. The consequence of this is that I have a lot to talk about (Good!), most of which has already been talked about (Bad!). By putting the Keynote up front this year, the Keynote is now almost a week old as I write these words. So I'm planning a series of posts to discuss my thoughts about Fanfest, my experience and what I learned from going. I hope you will follow along as I try to make sense of what was, quite literally, the experience of a lifetime.


I think it is important to mention again that I had never met another Eve player before this trip. That is fact number one. Fact number two is that very few of us actually look like our in-game avatars. (I know this sounds like a serious "Duh!", but the reality of that fact is rather significant.) Third fact is that everyone from CCP looks exactly like they do in real life. I've spent over seven years watching Eve broadcasts, getting to know people on Twitter, here on this blog, in-game, and in various other capacities - but nothing prepares you for the reality of being in the midst of the madness that is Eve Fanfest.

It started before we even left on our flight. From Twitter I knew we had about 5-6 other Eve players on our flight - but who are they? No one was wearing handy lanyards around their necks with their Eve character names on them! Our flight was full and any of those people could have been an Eve player. Despite what anyone might want to say, Eve players come in all shapes, sizes, ages and whatnots. It was then that I also realized what would become "the other side of the coin" for me - I hadn't exactly promoted what I looked like in real life either. As I learned later, a lot of people thought I might be Rixx - but like me - they were worried about approaching a stranger and making a mistake.

So reverse the opening statement about travel, four hour drive to Washington, three hour wait at the Airport, five and half hour flight, an hour and a half to get baggage and ride to Reykjavik, check in at the hotel lose about four hours of life, and drag our sorry, tired, sore bodies down the street to the Laundromat for breakfast. Immediately upon opening the door someone ( I forget who ) from Brave Newbies recognizes me and gives me a Big Hug. And from that moment on my Eve Fanfest became a blur of motion, noise, chaos, and awesomeness. The Laundromat was chock full of Eve players and we just happened to take a table next to Neville Smith and Spanky Ikkala. (Both awesome!) And many, many others. The Laundromat is exactly as advertised.

We had no time to waste however. As you all know I was attending Fanfest for many reasons, one of which was to promote my new line of ship posters CCP was going to be selling exclusively at Fanfest. At this point I hadn't even seen them, they had been printed in Iceland just the previous week. So CCP Spitfire offered to meet us at CCP Headquarters, give us a tour and show us the printed posters before he had to drag them off to Harpa to set up the store. (Just a note, whenever possible I'm going to stick to speaking about CCP people with their public CCP names - I think it will make it easier to remember who they are.) So after the Laundromat my wife and I trekked up the road to CCP HQ. In other words, we walked. In the cold and wind and sleet and snow and sun and... Icelandic weather is ever-changing.

CCP HQ is further than it looks on Google Maps. But eventually we walked around a corner and saw it. And then we saw the Eve Memorial.

Eve Memorial

I have a funny story to tell you about my visit to CCP HQ. But I want to pause and say a few words about CCP Spitfire. I can't say enough good things about how great it has been working with him on this project. He is incredibly passionate about his job and extremely dedicated to making the Eve Store into something that we can all be proud of. Spitfire only recently started working on this aspect for CCP so he is hard at work trying to bring the past up to speed. He, like everyone I talked to, understands that the Eve Store needs a lot of work. And I believe that he is in a position to really make significant progress on this front. I couldn't be more optimistic about that right now. The Eve Store is in good hands and great things are in the works.

In my thirty-year professional career I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with and alongside a wide range of famous, semi-famous, geek-famous, niche-famous and other celebrity types. From Wayne Gretzky, to Jesse Jackson my encounters with famous people go way back. And I have never been one to be enamored by "fame". Always the professional. But I will be honest here and frankly admit to you that veneer of professionalism finally cracked. And for a brief moment I was a fan-boy.

Please remember that at this point my wife and I had been awake for more than a day. Seeing the Eve Memorial in person, being in my namesake City, having met so many Eve players at the Laundromat, and being at CCP HQ on a private tour - was a lot to take into our sore, tired, sleep-deprived brains. And the hits just kept coming. Of course, like everyone, I had seen a lot of CCP over the years. And it is never about the building, but always about the people. Once we started seeing actual CCP employees, things really started adding up. Oh look, there is CCP Punkturis and CCP Karkur and a whole batch of other CCP employees I "know" in that area. And here is CCP Guard talking to this group of CCP employees in that area. And here is CCP Explorer talking to this group in this area! And, I admit it, I lost it. I waved like a fanboy at CCP Explorer! A big, tired, goofy looking dude standing with a dumb look on his face waving at about eight people trying to work. And IMMEDIATELY it hit me, they have no freaking clue who I am!!

My arm went down so fast it made a small sonic boom and off we went on the rest of the tour. For a split-second I couldn't understand why no one had noticed me walking thru, then it was "duh!" of course why would they? It wasn't Rixx Javix walking thru the offices, it was just me. And no one there knows me. It was extremely funny to me. And a great lesson in how weird this world we've created really is. This was a moment that would follow me throughout Fanfest as I continued to meet hundreds of Eve players in the following days.

All of which become a lot easier once the lanyards went around our necks.

That evening my wife and I were treated to an incredible dinner with CCP Spitfire and CCP Seagull and her husband. We missed the Tweetfleet meet up at the Celtic Cross that night, but I suspect everyone there would forgive us given the reason. I have had a great deal of admiration and respect for Seagull since she took over as Executive Producer and my experiences, conversation, and sharing with her and her husband that evening have done nothing but increase by tenfold that feeling. She is an amazing person and we are extremely fortunate to have her in the position. Eve is in great hands.

And then we crashed and crashed hard. I barely remember getting back to the hotel. That was only Day One and the days, believe it or not, would only get busier. Day Two meant my player presentation, roundtable, and the opening of the Eve Store at Fanfest. Would anyone even like the posters? Who knew?

But that is a post for tomorrow.

Right now, it is good to be home.

Eve FanFest from The Wife’s Perspective

Today's guest post comes to you from my wife, who attended our first Fanfest with me this year. Some people have requested a post from her perspective about the experience, which I think is a great idea. She is an amazing lady (obviously!) who was slightly reluctant when the idea was first brought up back late last year, but who is now excited to return next year!

And yes, I will be returning to a normal blogging schedule as soon as possible. So much to talk about!

From Mrs. Javix,

I would like to preface my post with a statement about Rixx and me. We are not a stereotypical married couple. There is a very large King Kong lithograph in my living room as the focal piece, I still have all of my original Star Wars toys and packaging, and up until very recently I had all of my Barbie dolls and her accessories. Rixx and I both came from marriages that weren’t exactly supportive, I argued with my ex in marriage counseling about Isaac Newton. There are no arguments about hanging space art in our home, so the idea of going to Iceland for a video game convention is not something I scoffed at.

If you do decide to attend FanFest with your other half, bring a good attitude. People are here because they love the game and the community, so you shouldn’t have a shitty attitude about it. If you have a bad attitude you will have a bad time. It is an adventure and there is a lot to do in Iceland. I do not play Eve though I hope that someday to have the time to put into playing the game. You don’t need to enjoy video games to come to FanFest though, I am a little biased because I do have an affinity for video games but I simply do not have the time to play like I once did.

My only reluctance to this trip was my own social anxiety. I spend most of my time hiding behind a computer coding or writing and trying not to talk to people because I sometimes lack the ability to not say really stupid or sarcastic things and then I worry after about having hurt people’s feelings. Rest assured if you're like me, FanFest is not a problem as there will be other people who may not be super social or able to make eye contact. And if you are the opposite of me there are plenty of people who are like you, outgoing and not socially inept. I recommend going on the Sisters of EVE tour because it is a chance to get out and see the country and be exposed to new adventures. Even though I didn’t talk to many people it was enjoyable and there were plenty of folks making new friends and chatting it up. Life is what you make it.

But if you aren’t into guided tours…
Reykjavik is a very walkable and safe city. I spent some time going to shops by myself and just wandering the flea market and some cool city streets. I gave up trying to convert currency in my head, (I’m on vacation I don’t want to do math!) so I downloaded a currency conversion app, and problem solved. If the weather is favorable there are lots of squares and benches so you can just hang out and drink coffee, read, or people watch. We did reserve a room at a hotel near Harpa which made going back and forth by myself much easier and my wandering alone less of a concern for Rixx as I have a tendency to find trouble.

Another point about the hotel is that we reserved a room in a very nice hotel, I booked early and managed to get a great rate. I mention this because if you are of a certain age and don’t want to party all night long but want to be close to the activity in the city, look for a nice room in advance, it makes the experience a lot more pleasant. You can party a little then go back to your room with ease and not feel like you are spending the week in a frat house.

I attended a few presentations with Rixx and although he was involved in two of the three I attended I thoroughly enjoyed the NASA presentation because I have a great interest in these things. I recommend attending just one of the many presentations, try to find something that is of interest to you IRL and you might be surprised and enjoy it. If not maybe you will learn why your other half loves this game so much that they wanted to travel to Iceland.

We attended some of the other Eve Events like the Charity Dinner and had a really great time. We didn’t stay for the entire event as it was the first day and had been packed full of presentations and overall excitement for finally making to Iceland despite the universe’s many attempts at thwarting our travel plans. 

My point is that there is a lot to do. You can do all or some of the Eve events or just go your own way by visiting the tourist center in town or TripAdvisor and have a fantastic trip.

I think my biggest recommendation is having a good attitude sprinkled with some flexibility. Things do not always go as planned, especially when you are traveling and meeting new people. We allowed for two non FanFest days after FanFest to enjoy Iceland and that has allowed us to keep things in perspective and not rush through everything. 

I had a great time because people seemed genuinely happy to be there. It was infectious.

So take the plunge and go, take a great attitude and comfortable water proof shoes!

Fanfest Schedule

We leave tomorrow for our flight to Reykjavik. We drive down to Washington and catch the non-stop, arriving around 6:30 am on Wednesday Iceland time. This was the best option for us, other flights included really long lay-overs, some of those were like 11 hours! Yikes. So our trip will be for seven days, although only six of those are actually in country, as we return the following Tuesday. Plus six and then minus six. It is sorta like time travel without the costumes.

I have no idea what condition we will arrive in, so a lot of this day depends on how we feel once we get on the ground and to the hotel. We're leaving this one pretty wide open with plans to visit some sites in Reykjavik and generally eat some good food and take it easy. The only real plans we have right now is a dinner with Andrew Groen, CCP Spitfire and maybe CCP Seagull that evening. I suspect we'll be going over the roundtable discussion we'll be having the next day.

Oh and get registered at Harpa of course.

Thursday - Fanfest Day One
I was surprised that Fanfest doesn't really get kicked off until mid-day. I don't know why that surprised me, but it did. Actually going and being there probably makes you more aware of times.

I'm using the Guidebook App to organize my schedule, it is an extremely handy thing with the Fanfest schedule, maps, alerts, and much more included.

Here is what I'm planning on attending and doing the first day, plans can always change:
Noon - Welcome to Fanfest and the Future of VR
1 - Sovereignty 5.0
2 - Art of Eve (Duh!)
3 - The Most Pivotal Decision in Nullsec History (Andrew's player presentation!)
3:25 - EVE Fan Art (And my player presentation! So I have to be there for that)
4 - EVE Fan Creations - Roundtable with Andrew and CCP Spitfire (Also have to be there)
5 - Eve Online Keynote

and then the Charity Dinner at 8pm at CCP HQ - Which should be a lot of fun!

Friday - Day Two
Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll get a good view of the Solar Eclipse at 8:30am. (Please!) Which will give me time to see my wife off on the SoE Golden Circle Tour at 9:30.

At 10:45 I'll be joining Niden for a section on Eve TV.
11 - Community Fansites or the Concept Art Session (Grrr! I want to go to both!)
12 - Make Eve Real - Creating Planetary Civilizations!
1 - Fleet PvP
2 - Ship and Module Rebalance (Ban WCS!!)
3 - Lowsec and Crimewatch
4 - The Future of Spaceship Rendering
5 - World's Collide

We're not going on the official Pub Crawl, we'll be sitting down somewhere and drinking like a bunch of old people instead.

Saturday - Day Three
I'm excited to be having lunch with Torfi on Saturday, will be great to finally meet him (after months of working with him on the poster project) and talk CD to CD. Really looking forward to that.

11- From Science Fiction to Science Fact
12 - Art and Graphics Panel (maybe)
1 - Valkyrie VR
2 - Future Vision of Structures
3 - Poster Signing
4 - Ship and Module Rebalancing (In case I miss the first one)
5 - Closing Ceremony

8 - Party at the Top of the World

All of which is subject to change without notice and I'll have to squeeze some poster signings in there wherever I can.

Sunday and Monday are both personal days for my wife and I to spend exploring Iceland. My wife has found us some great tours to explore, so we'll be doing that most of those days. Keeping the evening open for anything else, good food and more drinking most likely.

Then back home on Tuesday.

Whew. Gonna be insane!! Can't wait.

I'm really going to Fanfest

Every year for the past six years I've had to watch, and listen, and read, and hear about all the other people that went to Eve Fanfest. Well gosh darn it, this year you'll have to watch, listen, read and hear about your friendly neighborhood blogger going to Fanfest!! Serves you right honestly.

Believe it or not, and it still has an air of unbelievability about it, I will be getting on an Icelandair flight on Tuesday and flying to Reykjavik with my lovely wife to attend this annual clarion call of the socially awkward minions that play (and seriously "play" isn't the right word) Eve Online and its associated products. How crazy is that!?! I mean seriously, let's all be honest here, this is not normal adult behavior. Let's be further honest and admit that my wife must be a friggin' Saint to agree to this insanity. Which she most certainly is.

I am incredibly excited. This may not have been obvious from the multiple other posts I've written recently about the trip. Far be it for me to milk an obvious topic into the ground. We have a smidgen of journalistic integrity around these parts. (Who are the "we" I keep referring to?) This post may have jumped the rails already.

I am excited for a multitude of reasons. All of which, when taken alone, seem rather sane. I am looking forward to being away for a week. It will be a nice break. Given our somewhat rocky personal situation our family didn't take a vacation last year, and my wife and I haven't been alone on a trip together for a very long time. So that part is awesome. I've never traveled across even a portion of the ocean before. I've been all over the US, parts of Canada, Mexico, Alaska, the Caribbean, but never in that direction. So that's new. Also cool. There are tons of people I've known for close to a decade whom I've never met in person, both players, CCP employees, and others. So to finally have a chance to meet them is incredibly cool. I even have an actual, concrete, business-type reason to go, to help sell my new line of posters and hopefully impress upon CCP the need to expand their merchandising offering even more - a process which I believe I can be an important part of. (We all know the Eve Store could be much, much better!) And I'll be giving a player presentation, sitting in on a roundtable, and generally be available for whatever else might be needed. See? Taken individually it all sounds rather sane. And somewhat adult.

I mostly joke of course. I should be excited. This next week or so will be great. Lots of new adventures and memories will be made. We'll have a blast. And it will all be over way before it should be.

I make no promises about how often I will be updating the blog while I am away. I have no clear understanding about how much time I will or will not have. I plan on taking lots of pictures, making tons of notes, attending as many sessions as a human being can attend. Having as many conversations about Hats and WCS as those poor CCP employees can stand. And trying my best to meet as many fellow players as time will allow.

I am fully, 110% prepared to sacrifice myself upon the rock of Eve. I can always rest when I get back.

I really am going. And I'm really, really looking forward to it.

Reykjavik here I come. (on Tuesday... or Wednesday morning to be even more accurate. Darn time travel.)

Last Two Before Fanfest

Wyvern Art Print Poster Raptor Art Print Poster
The project continues. These two were both in various stages of completion, so I had some time today to finish them up.

More to come. But not until after Fanfest.

The Heroes of A Band Apart

I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge the many courageous acts of courage, dedication and derring-do that our pilots exhibited over the past few weeks. I've already expressed this sentiment internally, but I'd like to point it out publicly as well.

As many of you already know, A Band Apart is an Alliance built around a core concept that is rather unique. Each of our member Corporations represents different play-styles and approaches to playing Eve, and not all of those approaches involve combat. In fact, the majority of our members are involved in non-combat actions, industry, construction, missioning, mining, exploration, transportation, trading, and other activities. It is pretty awesome. We are Groot!

Many of our victories won't show up on any Battle Report, because they involved targets not directly at war with our Alliance. One such kill is this Orca kill. This happened just as the enemy was moving into the WH, and as you can see from this 1.2b isk loss the Orca had a lot of supplies to deliver, including another Tower. Quick action on the part of our pilots resulted in this victory and kudos to all of those on the kill, well done.

Another victory that won't appear on a Battle Report is the destruction of this Tower and Modules in our WH. The enemy used another Corporation outside of the war to anchor and build this tower, so it wouldn't show if destroyed. Which is a legit tactic of course, but destroy it we did. This report doesn't show all the modules destroyed but it gives you a good idea.

There are a bunch of other moments like that, especially in the last week during the WH part of the war. Not all of us are used to fighting wars inside WHs and the vast majority of our players got stuck outside once things escalated during the week. And those of us inside had to rely on the supplies we had. No moment represented this better than when Shadow brought 36 Ishtars to hang outside our POS. I freely admit we were totally unprepared for that action. But even so our Bomber Squad did an amazing job of whipping the field of sentries every so often. And our fleet even managed some Ishtar kills by warp baiting the fleet. Ishtar. Ishtar. Ishtar. Ishtar. Ishtar. We certainly came out on the negative side of that engagement, no doubt about it, but I think we managed to give as good as we got considering the enemies advantage.

I'd also like to give some kudos to our spur of the moment allies in the WH. Thanks for showing up and offering your assistance, it was greatly appreciated. While ABA never "hired" any help, we certainly appreciate help when it is available. I was especially encouraged to see my old friend Budrick3 in fleet. We go all the way back to Burn Away days when I was in Lucifer's Hammer and he was in Douchingtons. Always good to see old-friends.

And no shout-outs would be complete without mentioning the master-stroke. Extremely quick thinking and amazing on-the-spot probing led to a huge double kill for us when our guys managed to bring down Nashh's Ishtar and then his 1b iskie pod. Poor guy went into a WH with snakes in his head.

Again, just to be clear. I have nothing at all against any member of their group. I still believe wars between Pirate Corporations are silly and pointless, but granted our Alliance is more than just a Pirate Corporation and we have a lot of non-combat pilots that can be considered targets I suppose. To each his own. Far be it for me to judge.

Our Alliance conducted themselves in heroic fashion. Actions that are not always reflected on kill-boards, the hard work, the moving, the providing, the logistics, the planning, all those things that often seem to be overlooked. I can assure you that they are not overlooked, not in our Alliance. I know all our CEOs, Directors, and leaders appreciate all that you do.

A very special shout out to those brave souls that moved billions and billions in assets out of the hole right under the enemies noses this week. Extremely well done!

And a funny story to end with. One of our pilots was in an Orca during the time Shadow Cartel was camping our POS. Turns out, this Orca was in fleet with us as we warped out to a safe spot. When we realized this we all turned to align back to the tower just as enemy Ishtars began landing on us. Believe it or not, the Orca arrived safely back in our tower with us. I won't name the pilot here, but they know who they are. In my opinion that was an amazing piece of flying under extreme pressure and well done.

So many things turn on the smallest moments.

And in those moments, true heroes are born.

Drifter Battleship

This is the 140th Art Print Poster in the series. I haven't finished one of these in awhile and I wanted to get this one done before I left for Fanfest.

You can see them all HERE.


War, what is it good for?

The recent ill-conceived and useless war declared on A Band Apart by our neighbors in Ishomilken is drawing to a close. Finally. As you can clearly see from this War Report on zKill, the Bastards are technically victorious in both number of kills and isk. These numbers will swing even further later today as one of our POS Towers in Phoenix comes down.

I have refrained from editorializing about this war here on Eveoganda, except for some good-natured ribbing the first week. I did this on purpose because I believed the war was silly from the beginning. I have no hard-feelings, now or from before, against the Bastards. Especially from Stay Frosty's perspective, we're both Pirate Corporations and fight all the time anyway. Which makes war pointless in my opinion. Shoot all the things.

And I'm not going to editorialize it now. The war is what the war is. Eventually I was able to bring Nashh to the table and work things out between us. Largely because of avoiding fighting the war here or in other media outlets. I un-followed them on Twitter, blocked them in local, and went about my business. I believed we needed to avoid digging a deeper hole from which one of us might not be able to get out of. I strongly believe that was the right approach.

And I owe Nashh a round on me at Fanfest.

No hard feelings from this side of the fence.

Fanfest Poster

There was a brief moment in time when I might have produced a commemorative poster for this year's Fanfest. This was back when other plans and timelines were being considered, plans which changed and eventually this idea was shelved in favor of releasing the Art Print Posters at Fanfest.

And while this never made it out of the 'concept' stage, I thought I'd share it with you now. I still love the idea behind it and am pleased with how it turned out.

Hope you enjoy!

My First Eve Art Thingie

December 8th, 2008. This image is the very first piece of Eve related art that I created, just a few short months into playing. (I started in September 2008, which is just about as early as a Mac-centric person could play.)

I can still remember exactly why I created that thing. A bunch of us were trying to rat down in Providence. In those days you needed three or four buddies to help rat belt chains, mostly because I was to pathetic to do it solo. And sometimes a "red" would show up in local and try to explode your ship. These long and amazingly boring sessions would mostly be filled with jokes, making fun of people, and generally trying to make sense out of this crazy game. We were talking about the poor rats and why they died so much, what could possibly be their motivation, and how different they were to the other "reds" that were piloted by real people.

This conversation resulted in my popping over to photoshop and making that piece in about five seconds. I seriously gave it zero thought and then posted a link. Before I knew it, the link had made the rounds and the feedback was extremely positive. Huh. By this time I'd already been exposed to some of the work that others had done, via forums, shared links, and other sources. I was just starting to put the connections together. Up until this point, video games had always been things you played. But Eve was something different. It was more like a game you lived. And it was possible to cross over, in a way, into a brand new type of experience. This was different kind of thinking for me.

But that path started with that single image. Soon I'd become the self-proclaimed Minister of Propaganda for Providence and eventually start writing this blog and creating thousands of images based around Eve Online.

That thread would lead to some amazing and incredible adventures. A thread whose winding and twisting turns would lead me to help dozens and dozens of Alliances, podcasts, bloggers, web-designers, and much more create an engaging world around their own creations. And help to create in-game events, campaigns, protests, hats, and return frills to spaceships. A thread that has built upon itself in ways that I could not have imagined when I started playing. The culmination of which, in many ways, will be next week at Fanfest.

It has been a strange journey. One I wouldn't trade for anything. Some of the work I've done has been silly, frivolous, and intended that way. And some has been the result of countless hours of hard work. And the rest falls somewhere else in the middle. All along my only intention has been to entertain and enliven our experience, to help the community, and to share my passion for this incredible experience that we all enjoy. And to help spread the word about Eve.

I honestly believe that this journey is only just beginning and that there is much more that I can do. And I'm looking forward to seeing where it leads me next.

I hope they have cookies there.

Fanfest Art Posters

As revealed today on this community post, the above poster set from yours truly will be available for purchase at Fanfest! I honestly wasn't sure if CCP was going to say anything ahead of time or not, but I've obviously been working on this project with them for about three months or so now.

I hope everyone reading this can appreciate how hard it has been to keep my mouth shut about this. lol. And to all of you that have written me during that time asking for prints, or access to prints, I hope you can now appreciate my vague and sometimes frustrating responses. I had every intention of, as always, making my work available to the larger community. But as this series gained in popularity and exposure CCP showed an interest in exploring ways in which we could work together to bring them to the even larger community - and in a quality befitting our own passion for Eve Online.

I'm extremely excited about this project. I will be presenting about Eve Fan Art at Fanfest and attending a Roundtable with others, including Andrew Groen, about Fan Art and Merchandising Eve with CCP. I believe CCP Spitfire will also be attending that roundtable. My presentation is essentially going to be about the community of creatives we are trying to build using Slack and about the journey that led to these posters. If you are attending Fanfest I hope you will attend the presentations and roundtable.

I also plan on being available each day in the Store area to sign posters and meet with anyone that wants to talk with me about them. I don't have a schedule for those appearances, but I'm going to do my best to make myself available as much as possible.

What happens after Fanfest and will these be available to those not attending? Those are both excellent questions and I can tell you that, if the reaction is what I believe it will be, plans are in the works to offer high-quality prints on-line to the entire universe of Eve fans. And potentially expand the offering in other exciting ways.

This truly is a great example of how committed CCP is to reaching out to the larger community, and I believe it can stand as a cornerstone for even more opportunities for synergy between them and their fans in the future. (I used synergy in a sentence!!) Many thanks to Alexey, Torfi, Manifest, Erlendur and all of those at CCP that helped bring this project to reality.

I'm excited and can't wait to meet you all at Fanfest.

Beating Crows with a Rifter

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wormholes up with our exploded pods.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the auto cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful space.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest Capsuleer.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And secured their missiles for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in Hi Sec, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Rixx, Phoenix, and Saint Bob!'

- Czar, New Jovian Exploration Department [ABA]

Big Hugs

Yesterday I received an email from a young man stationed in the Middle East. I won't break confidence or mention his name, but he wrote to tell me how much he enjoys the blog and how it has helped him pass the time during his deployment. I can't begin to tell you how much emails like his mean to me. Words are not enough. Thank you for reading and for your service. It is readers like you that keep me going.

I went over and over today's post, trying to decide what to write. There is a lot of negativity flowing around lately. What really struck me was a conversation I had recently with my wife, who is graciously accompanying me to Fanfest next week. I will spare you the details, but the conversation essentially boiled down to a slight concern she has about "haters" who may also be attending Fanfest. You may not be aware of everything that goes on behind the scenes here at Eveoganda, but my wife is. I tell her everything. And there are some legitimate concerns that we both share. The other side of the coin. You may be ready to dismiss this, but that is because you are not aware of my "stalker", or the threats, or the supposed "parody" accounts, or the apparently jealous blogger, or any of the other things I have to deal with.

You are not aware of them because I don't blog about it. Which is odd given that most of those haters usually throw drama in my face whenever I mention something like this. I'm sure that some of them may even show up in the comments to this post.

So I decided instead that today I would focus on the positive. I'd think about that young man's email and the hundreds of other positive emails, notes, convos and positive energy that surrounds me. And I would lob some much needed and perhaps unexpected hugs at those that seem determined to hate. I don't understand you, but I know that a hug makes everyone feel better. So consider yourselves properly hugged today.

And I'd like to take a moment to also thank each of the incredibly awesome and extremely positive members of Stay Frosty and our brothers and sisters in A Band Apart. It is hard to explain how someone as horrible as I am has managed to gather such a large group of incredible people around them. Weird huh? Thank you all for being the living, breathing and powerful counter-argument to hate. All I ever have to do to dispel any hate hurled at me is simply point at you. Case closed.

Ignorant people confuse "drama" with "story". Haters hate thru a cloud of self-righteous blinders that narrowly focus rage on supposed injustices that are often self-created. Self-imagined. And self-fulfilling. Prophecies of doom upon which they themselves tread. It is sad. But again, it comes with the territory I suppose. We can't have day without night. Good without ebil. And the line between what happens in-game and out-of-game is a hard one for many people to deal with.

So I'm lobbing Big Hug Bombs all over the world today. I'm staying positive. I'm taking a new stance both in-game and out. For the first time EVER I've started blocking people in Local inside Eve, I've never done that before, but it is surprisingly awesome. As soon as anyone says anything negative, boom! Blocked. I like it. And I've started un-following negative people on Twitter and in other areas of the community. Once again, pretty awesome. I'm working hard to distance myself even further from negativity. And if it takes ignoring people, then that is what it takes.

In many ways, the upcoming Fanfest represents a turning point in Eve for me. And I'm feeling very strongly that I need to re-focus on positive energy both in-game and out. And while I have always been an extremely positive person, I've also always been more than ready to fight the good fight. But I'm coming to understand that even good fights are still fights. And maybe sometimes, it is better to just walk away.

Consider yourselves hugged.

A Week to Fanfest

I cheated a little, it is actually a week tomorrow that my wife and I board our flight from Washington and head off to Iceland. Like most headlines this one is also a tad misleading. Even at Eveoganda we try to adhere to journalistic standards.

Everyone looks at you a bit askance when you tell them you are going to Iceland this time of year. I can't blame them, it is a bit odd to say the least. I recently discovered that a long-time friend of mine and his family recently stopped in Iceland for almost a week back in February, so I don't feel so weird about it. They had a great time and they didn't have a Fanfest to attend.

I remember watching a film in school when I was very young about a new island being formed off the coast of Iceland, the black and white footage of the volcano was extremely powerful for a young mind like mine. And I've been fascinated with the island ever since then. When I first saw Eve and learned that the company that made it was located there, my first thought was to name my character after the Capital. And so Rixx Javix (Reykjavik) was born. So yeah, my mental ties to the island run rather deep for a person that has never set foot there... yet.

And of course every year for the past eight years I've watched and read and listened to the Fanfest streams, the Fanfest blog posts, the Fanfest pictures and everything else those that have been fortunate enough to attend have related back to those of us unfortunate enough to not attend. My annual Fake Fanfest jokes on Twitter will have to be curtailed this year, because I am finally going. For real.

It is a bit unreal at this point.

I am most excited to meet people. I already consider huge swaths of the Eve Community to be my friends, but to actually meet them in person will be awesome. Which only highlights the tinge of sadness about those that will not be there. But that is the way it goes, I've been in those self-same shoes myself for the past eight years. I was so close so many times, I really wanted to be there for the tenth year celebration - but that was not a good time for me. (Which is such an understatement.)

I will now try to dispel some myths and rumors regarding my trip that have been brought up the past few weeks. I will not be wearing any hats. Believe it or not I don't wear hats in real life. I know this sounds weird, but it happens to be true. And while I have considered wearing a Mittani Wizard hat, or a Pirate hat, or some other contraption, I felt it best to plow ahead with my usual non-hat head. For you haters out there, rest assured that my non-hat status has a lot to do with the fact that my head is HUGE. That should make you feel better.

Also, if you are attending, please feel free to bother me. You know that feeling you get when you see someone you know and you think, "They seem busy right now, I shouldn't bother them." Don't do that. I want to meet you. Goodness knows what things are going to be like at Fanfest, but please feel free to bother me. I really am a super nice person and I'm going to Fanfest to meet people. So come on up, introduce yourself and let's chat. Who knows when we will have another chance.

I honestly have no idea what to expect. This being my first Fanfest makes it difficult to form any opinions about what might happen. So I'm going in with a totally open-mind to have fun, meet as many people as possible, and enjoy some free time with my wife in a foreign country. The rest will take care of itself.

I also have some cool things to do while I'm there. Some of which is super sekrit. So that adds a nice blend of awesome to the entire venture.

I hope to see you there.

CCP's Walls

The other day CCP put out a call to help decorate two large walls in some newly expanded space. If you missed it, you can read about it at this Dev Blog. It is a rather unusual request and one that is rarely (if ever) made. So I encourage all of you to consider entering.

Given the dimensions given in that article the final specs put the murals at 8 feet wide (270cm x 135cm) so these pieces are going to be huge! It would be insanely awesome to have art hanging in CCP HQ, so naturally yours truly is making a go of sending along some submissions for consideration.

I have some ideas in the works, but I've already submitted three pieces for them to consider. I might even do some more, but time is really at a premium right now what with preparation for Fanfest well under way. So we'll see how much time I have to put some additional pieces together. I may just end up with these three submissions.

See what you think.

The Patrol
This first one might seem familiar as it is based directly on a Signature Wallpaper I finished recently and is currently on rotation in this blog's header image. This might be one of my favorite pieces ever as I think it captures so much about what Eve means to me. It is extremely evocative, there is so much potential story in that image. And I think it would make a great mural.

Paisly Caracal
This one is admittedly a little bit out there, but I wanted to try something more striking and influenced by a pop-art sensibility. Granted this isn't what most Eve art looks like, but I like it for that reason alone. It is a strong element and I'm not sure CCP's wall is ready for something like it. But you never know.

Paisly Caracal Blue

Rip in Imagination
A lone Comet makes a mark on space-time and rips open space itself, revealing New Eden and a map of Star Systems in its wake. The negative space on this one is the whole point and it makes for a powerfully striking image that captures, in my opinion, the entirety of the Eve experience in a single image. At least from a certain perspective. Which is why I liked it so much.

Stratios March

Nothing Ventured

I have no idea if CCP will choose one of these for the wall murals, but I hope so. Like I said, I may do a few more or I may not. Undecided right now.

I hope you all enter if you can and good luck.

Learn to Fly: Counter-Fit

One of the biggest ingredients of Low Sec combat, especially for Solo or Small Gang, is expectations. Every pilot, upon seeing a potential target engagement on d-scan, makes a series of immediate judgements based on ship type. Compare that to the known quantities of the ship you are flying, and make a determination on how best to proceed.

This thought process happens every single time. And one of the most effective tactics for those of us seeking engagements is to fit our ships in a way that is outside of that process. To play against expectation. Call this whatever you want, but the idea is simple: Fit your ship in a way that your enemy might not expect. And gain the upper hand in the fight to come.

In my hangar there are a bunch of ships fitted this way, often for a very specific set of circumstances. But sometimes I'll also fit something more typical that can be used on a regular basis. Recently I've been having good success with a counter-intuitive Thorax fit that I'm going to share with you today. I developed this fit in a hurry one day to provide a cheap counter to some Caracal gangs that were wandering around. Turns out it is the perfect counter to RLM and LML Caracals, as they die rather quickly under its guns.

Let's talk a bit about the thought process before we get to the fit itself. I want to explode Caracals. I'd prefer the solution be cost-effective, I have a lot of expensive options, but there are a lot of Caracals and eventually I will get caught and exploded. So let's keep it cheap. I need some tank to survive the initial onslaught - in almost any situation the Caracal is going to start with a range advantage. And I need speed to close that distance and remove that advantage. And, this is the critical one, I need it to be a ship the Caracal pilots think they can kill. (Any known anti-Caracal ship will only cause them to run away)

Thorax (Caracal Counter Fit)

5x Heavy Neutron Blasters

Large F- Shield Extender
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster
Web of choice
10mn MWD

Damage Control 2
2x Magnetic Field Stabs
2x Tracking Enhancers

Rigs: To Flavor but I went Med Ancillary, and 2x Medium Cores

And Drones. I prefer Hammerhead 2s with this.

Depending on the Ammo loaded at the time (and your skills) this fit gives just shy of 800dps cold. And, since it is shield fit, it moves at nearly 2,400 m/s cold. It hits very very hard. Trust me.

The tactic here is simple. You are a glass cannon with just enough tank to survive any initial engagement. You may have noticed that this fit doesn't even have a point, only a web. I've been flying this ship for a couple of weeks now and no one has run off once engaged. Mostly because they explode rather quickly.

Like this Caracal.

Like this Caracal.  It also does well against Svipuls. And one Confessor. But not three.

Like any counter-fit this one has its own drawbacks and it wouldn't be wise to fly it in every situation. The idea is to think outside the box and present something different, that works, in a combat situation. And that is the key to any potential counter-fit - that it work. At least for its intended purpose. That is a fine line that can lead to some horrible losses so be careful, ask questions in your own Corp/Alliance chat, look at killboards and study those that fly like you.

And always remember, if you are doing it - then they are too!

1v1 EVE COMIC #75

This is for Easy Esky who managed to pre-empt my planned joke for today in yesterday's comments, and for Turamarth Elrandir who just needs to lighten up and enjoy life a little bit.

I actually haven't played Eve the last two days because of snow, cancelled schools, and loads of real life stuff that happened. I hope to be able to log-in today and get some much needed pew pew in.

Until then.

The Power of Entosis

If you live in a cave and missed it, you really should go read this small, concise Dev Blog from Mr. Fozzie.  It is War and Peace: Eve Style.

TL;DR: A new High-Slot module called Entosis will allow any single ship to cause Sov to come into question, resulting in an increasing cascade of events that can spawn Constellation based "Nodes" the actions over with Sov will be decided.

Trust me, that is super TL;DR. In fact it is so condensed as to render it almost useless in understanding the sweeping changes that are being proposed to Sov Null mechanics. All of which essentially boils down to the introduction of a new module called the Entosis Link which renders all structure shooting to the history books.

There is more to it and I encourage you to read it all in detail. Even if, like me, you aren't currently playing in Null Sec - you should still know what these changes are. There is no sugar-coating this, these are significant and profound changes to the way Eve has been played since Dominion. As you can imagine there is a lot of teeth-grinding going on across the community right now. But mostly, from what I'm hearing, these changes have been generally seen as an interesting step in the right direction. Goodness knows, structure grinding is a horrible experience. I know. I've sat in ships for entire days flipping Sov and it is mind bottling.

I'll leave the deep analysis to the experts. I am not, nor do I pretend, to be an expert on Sov Null Sec - especially the political side as it exists currently. What I'd like to spend a minute on is opportunity. From my own perspective this seems like an open opportunity to finally consider actions beyond those of an occasional raiding party. And if I am thinking this, you can be assured that others are as well. Since Dominion changed the way Null Sec operates, it has become increasingly impossible for smaller or mid-sized groups to even consider operating in Null Sec for extended periods of time. The result of Dominion was consolidation. The death of the small independent Alliances and the birth of massive aligned entities. Entire swaths of space blued. Stagnation that sometimes erupted in massive Cap fights. That is what Null has become.

More than likely things will stay the same way for the near future. The renter foundation of large Bloc power will slowly erode and disappear. But will this mean smaller and more independent Alliances or larger, more powerful Alliances growing fat off of absorbing smaller entities? That remains to be seen. And perhaps some thought needs to be given, in the changes to Corporation/Alliance mechanics, to self-limitations on size? Perhaps. When such significant changes are implemented in a foundational mechanic, it is important to consider what they mean across the board. I suspect that T3/Carrier/Cap/Titan re-balancing will be one such mechanic that changes based on these changes. Along with many others still in the wings.

If the power to instigate is now in the hands of a single player - which it seems to be - then this is fundamental. Large sections of empty space now become ready for exploitation. No longer can a distant entity keep you out of using station services just because. An interesting and forward-thinking mechanic opens up for those of us who wish to exploit it. And suddenly the borders of Empires become a serious game of Whack-A-Mole. A drain on resources, time and attention.

I'm sure this will be the topic of discussion at Fanfest. And I look forward to hearing more about it and talking to players about their own feelings in regards to these changes. In my opinion, right now, I am encouraged and optimistic about them. So that is where I stand today. Let's see what developments, changes, and tweeks pop up over the coming months. Still a lot of time between now and June.

What are your thoughts?

Unidentified Structure

So this weekend as I'm flying around space looking for targets that aren't bait, linked, hiding a Recon, slaved, or otherwise potentially also interested in having a good fight - I warped unthinking into one of those things up there in the header image. And for a moment I couldn't for the life of me remember what the heck it was.

That was a good moment. For the first time in I don't remember how long, even for a minute, I didn't know what something was in Eve. That moment didn't last, but I told everyone in my gang to warp to me. And for an even longer moment we all gawked at it. They are impressive. These Unidentified Structures that seemingly appear at random. I have yet to see a Drifter, but I have had plenty of Sleepers try to scan me. I don't generally take well to scanning, so all of those Sleepers paid the price for trying.

I don't follow the development of lore much. I read things. And I try to keep up, but that isn't my game. My game takes almost all of my time these days. I barely have time to read other blogs these days, but I do manage to keep up with my Reading List. Beyond that it is all Alliance forums, Corporation doings, stalker prevention, prep for Fanfest, and continuing my other projects. Not to mention desperately trying to stay out of jail, pay the lawyers and find a decent way to make a living. I could go on, but I probably share too much personal stuff here as it is. At least that is what I've been told. Back to Eve.

So it is that the string of events that have been happening since Caroline's Star exploded. They've been a part of the Eve experience and yet not as much as they normally would be. Tangentially exposed, but not wrapped up in conjecture like I would have been a year or so ago. I hear reports about Drifter Super-weapons and Jovian towers, and I see the images, watch those amazing Scope reports and wonder like the rest of Eve. What the heck is going on?

But it wasn't until a new object popped up in space, an icon I was not familiar with - that I went in to take a look.

I don't have any deep insights. But I do know this much, this is the kind of Eve I want to be a part of. I've advocated for years for the introduction of mystery into New Eden and it is great to finally see some. I enjoyed flying towards an object I knew nothing about. I liked looking in awe at something new floating in space. I could feel New Eden expanding right under my feet and it was a feeling I enjoyed tremendously.

The revere was broken by a target appearing in a nearby plex, but for those few minutes - Eve felt like a game set in a strange, alien, and living universe.

And that is a feeling I haven't felt in a long, long time. I liked it.

Can I have more please?

Tristan Vs Zealot

If you haven't had a chance yet, check out the NEW Episode of A Podcast Apart which is up and running in the sidebar!

So I roll into Asakai on Saturday in my trusty Tristan. There are about 14 players in local and none of them are friendly. As soon as I land in my scanning perch I notice the Zealot. A quick d-scan and he is sitting alone either outside or inside the medium plex. I immediately knew what I was going to do, I even said as much on Comms and in Chat.

Of course I went for it. Engaging is a no-brainer. I'm in a T1 Frigate and, even if I lose, the risk to reward... ok, let's be honest here - I never worry about that anyway. It never once even entered my head and I'm not going to write it like it did. Geronimo!

The trick is surviving the initial approach. The Zealot was about 24k off of me when I landed. My Tristan is brawler scram kite fit, depending on ammo choice I can choose to hover at scram range or go in close blasters blazing. He got off a couple of good shots initially as I burned in at an angle, my AB keeping my sig radius nice and low. My AB was overheated, I wanted nothing more than to get scram and web on this guy. My only concern after surviving the initial distance was if he had a neut - which would be rare, but this is Low Sec and god only knows how people fit their ships.

And he never touched me again. The rest came down to managing cap, keeping my drones alive, and hoping that no one noticed what I was doing and came to help him. I kept a close eye on the d-scan. Once I got in tight I knew the Zealot was all mine if I could get the time needed to bring him down. I had to be very careful not to burn any modules. Once he entered structure a former Stay Frosty pilot entered local and I could see he was in a Comet. I acted quickly and invited him into fleet just as he landed on the plex. I never thought he'd shoot me instead of the Zealot, but you can't be careful enough. Just as the Zealot started to die he managed to whore on the kill. But, more importantly, the Zealot exploded. We also got the pod. As icing on the cake it turns out the Zealot pilot was a Goon! Yeah!

I wish that I could tell you the entire weekend went like that. Just one amazing kill after another. It didn't. I had a lot of fun this weekend and managed to get some good kills, but boy oh boy did I die a lot!! Weekends are harsh for the Solo/Small Gang pilot who flies without links and cloaked buddies and snakes and gate camps and whatnots. Always has been and this weekend was especially derpy for poor old Rixx.

It started Friday when I was bringing my Cynabal back from a few jumps out. I had taken it over there Thursday in the hunt for someone or something. As I jumped it into Unna I caught a Confessor on a plex gate. Next thing I know there are seven other ships on me including ECM and Links. My poor Cyn never stood a chance.

The same thing happened to my Slicer when I attacked a Retribution. Although it took nine of them including two Griffins to do the job.

I also lost a Tristan, an Algos, a Hawk and a Comet this weekend. And an Ashimmu. My poor Ashimmu. I've had that ship for almost three years, it was a gift from Oma Lorche from way back even before Stay Frosty was formed. It died valiantly, but frustratingly against overwhelming links and whatnots. Shame, but that is the way the bones roll.

I killed more than I lost, but it was a close call. Typical weekend and typical spit into the wind beginning to another month. I tend to be much more aggressive in the beginning of a month and more conservative as it wears on. lol, that's funny. Again I try to make it sound like I have a plan or something. I don't. Seriously. I just undock and take what Eve gives me every day. I have no control over it.


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