BB64: Fire All Da Missiles

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters, the first hosted here at SCAS as Kirith has handed over the baton, and our 64th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.


Torpedo! Torpedo! Torpedo!
With the Aegis release we will see missile boats get their own version of the tracking enhancer and the tracking computer. On the forums there have been calls for new 'missile defence eWar' to counter these new modules. Is this needed? Are smartbomb 'firewalls' enough? Do defender missiles need an overhaul to make them actually worth using? Do we need the missile version of the remote tracking disruptor? Or do we go all Star Trek and have Point-Defence Phaser Banks? Banter on!

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I've been playing Eve so long now that I've watched the world turn not once but multiple times around the meta, the useless, the OP, the accepted doctrines, and all the things we should be doing, shouldn't be doing, and wish we could do. I suspect that many vets, like myself, often find it difficult to remember where we are at the moment. Especially now, when the world shifts beneath our feet every few weeks.

One constant throughout my Eve career has been the general suckage of missiles. It was so bad when I started playing that you could be openly mocked for picking Caldari as your starter race. (Back in those days the race you started with actually meant something.) As it was obvious that the other three races started the game with a significant leg up. You had to actually apply damage to get on killmails back then, and missiles are sloooow. I probably left hundreds of potential kms in space because of that. It was so bad it became an eternal "Can I bring my Drake" meme that will never go away.

When missiles finally get some much needed love it is difficult to see things clearly. There can be no doubt that the entire weapon system, across the board, needs some serious help. Especially the middle ranks, the Heavies mostly have been meta'd into almost irrelevance during the past two years. Unless they are "Rapid" and then they might be cool. But the problem with missiles goes much, much deeper than that. Defenders? I bet a lot of players don't even know they exist.

The new modules alone are not going to solve the issues that missiles (in general) have been fighting. The entire weapon system is starting so far behind now that these new modules are simply a way to hurdle over years of neglect. The entire line-up of available missiles needs tiered and re-done. Each ship class needs bonuses that make sense and that properly scale by ship class. And the excess that has plagued the entire enterprise needs to be dealt with properly. Two new modules are a big step in the right direction and I hope they are only the beginning.

So all of that brings us to today. Will we need counters to missile spam? My initial reaction is HAHAHAHAHA! You gotta be kidding, right? Between ECM, transversal, instant gun damage, linked target speed, and everything else already stacked against missiles - the last thing we need are even more reasons to stop using them. We're already starting from so far behind, why push it even further? Granted, we may need something down the road but that remains to be seen. Why jump the gun?

From what I've been able to see fitting these new modules is going to seriously affect other areas on missile boats, pushing the envelope even further on tanks, and other options. Those modules take slots, slots that won't be doing something they were doing before. Which is a classic example of a Buff/Nerf combo. Good news, bad news.

As usual I care less about the technical side and more about the impact changes have on the actual game. Which are often two completely different things. I suspect that these changes will have a small effect on the current state of affairs, slightly buffing the general missile platforms and bringing them back from the darkness. But I don't see them having a major impact as currently proposed. Again, in general.

So count me firmly in the "wait and see" camp. Let's see what happens. Goodness knows, in a few weeks it could all change again.





From the Archives: On Staying Frosty

This post originally appeared in May 2013 during the first month that Stay Frosty was born. At the time of this writing we had less than 20 members, we were under a War Dec, camped in our station, and under constant harassment. We survived and we have flourished, and not a single word in this post would change today. Not a single one.

Stay Frosty. [ST-FR] is a new pirate corporation and we are currently accepting applications from all corners during our 30 day OPEN recruitment. You can join the EVEOGANDA in-game channel to talk to us.

But why would you?

You shouldn't.

Pirating is hard, lonely and extremely dangerous. Everyone hates you and wants to see you fail. The only people you can count on are also scum-sucking pirates. You can't go into "decent" space, not with that criminal label on your passport. So you have to rely on others to bring you the things you need, or work your ass off to bring your Security Status up enough to do so yourself. You probably have a Bounty on your head. You probably have very little money in the bank because you spend it all on ships that are only going to explode eventually. And your dog died.

Being a pirate sucks. It ain't worth it really. Best to hide in a large fleet and add your .05% dps to the primary. Again and again. Who wants to rely on themselves and a small group of dedicated killers, thieves and malcontents?

You'd have to be crazy.

I must be. Especially to do this all over again. Angor and I started Lucifer's Hammer alone down in Syndicate almost three years ago. In less than six months we had 30+ members and three other Corporations in our Alliance. And now, here we go again. Heck, back then it wasn't even going to be a "pirate" corporation! I had positive sec status back then! But we kept having roams into Low-Sec and enjoying ourselves. The bug bit and bit hard. And while I'd always flirted around with the pirating life from time to time, I finally gave in and haven't turned back since.

If you are still reading this then maybe that spark exists down in your soul as well. Or maybe it has been burning there all along, for years. Or its been trampled by one bad experience or another. Let me spell it out for you.

Stay Frosty is not a response to anything that has happened before. It is what is happening now. Casual solo and small-gang pirating without pressure, dictatorial rules and regulations, without blues and without stoopid childish lectures, CTAs, and demands to "be on comms!!". You want to be on comms? Great. You want to fly around in silence? Great. You want to type? Great. ( Seriously, I think comms are the best way of course, but really? BC in Belt 5.1 Go. Is really 90% of what we have to say. That and gtfo! )

The Corporate hanger is stocked with Frigates. We honor 1v1s and Ransoms. (And we believe our Corp mates FIRST, no matter what.) The proof is in space, the rest is bullshit. We undock, we play, we fight and we laugh at our enemies as their ships explode. And we laugh when ours explode. We laugh a lot.

Because this is a internet spaceship game.

Why would you join? Because you've been smiling to yourself while reading this.

Stay Frosty.




Enyo Face!!


I've been counting this week again. Just out of pure curiosity. This week was a light week as far as Eve play-time, but in total I had 338 potential PvP opportunities this week. 265 of them turned out to be stabbed, or farming. All of which resulted in only 25 actual engagements, of which I won 21. (This doesn't count draws, in which both parties escape engagement with their ships intact. I had 4 of those this past week.)

Let's figure this out using maths. 78% of my encounters this past week were stabbed farmers. (Which is an increase of 12% over the mean average by the way.) Only 7% of encounters result in actual PvP. (Of which I won 84% thank you very much!)

I've been keeping count since the beginning of the year. So if you are curious, the year-to-date data is as follows. 66% of encounters are stabbed farmers. 12.5% of all encounters result in combat, and of that combat I win 79%. If you are even more curious, yes the data is on a rising curve over the past six months. The number of stabbed farmers is increasing each month.

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Last night this happened.

Yes, that is an Enyo with FOUR WCS. Cervantes tried to tackle him with 2 scrams fitted, but he got away. So he went back and fitted 3 scrams and finally caught him with help from Stinkfist.

I really do not enjoy beating the same drum over and over again. I really don't.

So instead of raging against the module, I will simply leave this data right here on the page and let you work it out for yourself.

I will however leave you with a question. As the Summer doldrums kick in and subscription numbers continue to suffer, is Eve better with a safety net? Or better as a vibrant, dangerous, engaged world that requires intelligence to survive?

I know which Eve I prefer.




Life and Eve

This week on Eveoganda I've been discussing some important life lessons that can be learned from playing Eve. That might not have been apparent, because I don't tend to announce these themes and rather let them happen naturally. It started with the "Power of Rejection" post and continued in yesterday's post about the realities of Eve, "How Dare You, Sir". And today I will wrap it all up in a nice bow for you.

You may or may not like what I have to say.

How you respond is more about you than it is about me. Why? Because what I am about to tell you is the truth, born out of a lifetime of lessons, experience and practical knowledge. It holds true no matter what you are doing, living your life, or playing a video game. You are only going to get out of those experiences what you are willing to put into them. In fact, the more you put in, the more you will get back. Until it becomes an exponential curve of increasing returns. Family, friends, children, college, work, sports, music, and video games. Everything works on this basic, fundamental premise.

It might surprise you to learn that I am not the most talented artist. I am certainly not the most talented writer. Or blogger. Or pilot in Eve. I have however, achieved a measure of success at each of those (and other) areas in my life. Not because I am the most talented, but because I've worked hard at them. I study them. I learn them. I practice them. And I work harder than most at them. And yes talent helps. I'm not working hard at becoming the next great ballet dancer, because I certainly have less than no talent at ballet. In fact, I probably have a great deal of negative talent at ballet.

Most people do not do this.

Shocking right? And you may be thinking to yourself right now that I am wrong. If you are then you haven't lived long enough to know better. Most people are willing to cruise along on the bare minimum, to wing it on the talents they may or may not have, to ride the wind and see where life takes them. This is how most people live. This is how most people play video games. And I make no judgements about other people. They are free to live their lives the way they choose. Good for them.

Because, in the final analysis, self-reliance and self-determination are yours and yours alone. They do not belong to anyone. Not your rotten Family. Not the neighborhood you grew up in, or the breaks life gave or took away. Not the economy. Or anyone, other than you. This is how life works and only you can choose to be overcome by obstacles, or to overcome those obstacles.

How does this relate to Eve?

The place you choose to play, the Corporation you choose to play with, the activities you choose to participate in - these things are not going to make your experience better. Only you can do that. You can be miserable anywhere. Any Corporation or Alliance can suck. Any group of people can be boring. It isn't them (usually), more likely it is you. You want to make friends, then be a friend. You want fleets, then make fleets happen. You want to be active, then be active. You want anything in Eve, then make it happen. And if you try, if you put the work in, the effort, and it doesn't? Then find a place, or better yet, make a place - where it will.

I did. I created the perfect place for me in Eve. It is exactly what I wanted out of my own Eve experience. And I've been fortunate in that it also seems to be something that other people were also looking for. I worked hard at it. I put a lot into it. And now it gives back much, much more than what I put in. It has to, because eventually, at some point, I will be unable to put as much in. Because self-reliance and self-determination are at the core of what it is all about.

If you want something, in Eve or in life, you have to make it happen. No one is going to do it for you. Others will help. And some will not. Even fewer may try to keep you from doing it. Or actively try to prevent it. The only way you will achieve anything, is by working harder than them. There are no shortcuts to overnight success.

Eve, more than any other game I've ever played, reflects back real life. Your experience in Eve will only get better if you put in the work to make it better. No matter where you are, or what you enjoy doing.

Go on. You better get busy.



How Dare You, Sir


Two incidents last night while I was flying around in space that seem different, but essentially have the same core problems at their heart. As usual I won't be mentioning any names, the who is not the story here. When I rarely mention names it is either because the person deserves some recognition, or because the person deserves some recognition. The who, in this case, is irrelevant. Mostly because these two attitudes are displayed rather often in Eve space.

Case One: On scan I notice an Atron and an Incursus inside a plex. No calls have been made in fleet chat. As always I warp in to engage both targets. Upon entering the plex I realize that the Incursus is a Stay Frosty pilot. I lock and shoot the Atron, which promptly explodes. I have effectively "whored" on the killmail. An action so prevalent that we have a term for it. (A term I abhor by the way)

Case Two: In another System, a Kestrel is on scan inside a plex. As always, I warp in to engage. I manage to get the Kestrel into low armor before he remembers that he has fitted WCS to his ship and promptly warps away. In local he says something to the effect of, "Picking on Newbros Rixx?"

The Atron pilot was upset with me and convo'd me to let me know. As always, I took the convo and engaged in conversation. I was accused of ganking, of doing something someone shouldn't expect from Stay Frosty. They were very disappointed in me. Much like the Kestrel pilot, they had developed some framework around expectations that have no basis in actual reality. Either real or imagined.

I've been rather clear I think. My only play-style inside of Eve involves undocking and engaging everything in space that isn't blue to me. I take this very seriously because it is fun. I purposefully do not gather intel on potential targets before I engage. I do not want to know how old a character is, or isn't before attacking them. I do not care about their Corp history, what Corporation or Alliance they might be in, or anything else about them. There are blues in space (A Band Apart) and then everyone else.

(There are more complicated engagement scenarios in which intel is needed, such as the Thanatos incident the other night. Please don't get me wrong here, intel has its place. But generally speaking, I don't really care. I can't. If I allow determination to act as a part of any potential engagement, then I've allowed morality to seep into the equation. And then I hesitate to make moral judgements. And I can't afford moral judgements, I'm a Pirate. As a moral person, those judgements come after a fight. In many cases resulting in Newbro compensation, advice, return of loot, etc. But not before a fight.)

I do not know you are a Newbro when I engage you. When I see two ships on scan and decide to take a 2v1, I have no way of knowing that one of them is a Stay Frosty pilot, unless some mention of the fight has been reported in fleet chat. Ask any Stay Frosty pilot how often we hunt down and warp in on each other. It happens ALOT.

Having said all of that, there are pilots in space that I know that are not blue. We live in a neighborhood and the regulars get to know each other. That is only natural. That is, in its own way, an evolving system of natural intel that works rather well. Many of these people, if they need assistance, will ask for it. And it will be given. Often, as we regularly do with the Bastards, we may even form up together to engage something worthwhile. There is a Pirate community and it has its own flexible codes by which we all try to adhere to varying degrees. We all have to live in the same neighborhoods.

I may help someone one day and then attack them the next. And I would expect the same from them, because this is what they will do. I should never assume they won't. Assumptions only get you killed in Eve.

The only security blanket in Eve is your Corp/Alliance. Everyone else is potentially friendly or potentially an enemy. And often, they are both things at the same time. For me, they are all the same. There is nothing personal in how I play Eve. It is only pixels after all. I treat everyone the same, I take all convos (unless I happen to be fighting when you try), I share loot, I often compensate young player losses, I give advice, and most importantly I assume we are all friends. Unless proven otherwise.

But if you are undocked and I am in local, I am hunting you. In one way or another you are a target. Why? Because I am also. Everyone is also hunting me.

Kill. Or be killed.

It doesn't get any easier to understand.




The Power of Rejection


I've been a story-teller my entire life. Either making up stories to amuse my classmates, or building them conceptually, or rarely taking the time to write them down. I got this gift primarily from my Mother, who would spin yarns to me and my friends when we were little. That spark led to an entire lifetime of story-telling. Even though it didn't lead me ultimately into a direction you might expect this story to go - young man pursues his dreams and despite many obstacles finds success as a writer - it did sorta go that way.

Not all stories end the way you think they will. And often our path is formed in ways we don't expect. When I was around twelve years old, a voracious reader of all things interesting to me, I decided I would be a great writer someday. And so, like any intelligent young man, I set my sights on the big-time. Why muck around in the dirt when I could just skip right over all that and get published in a major magazine? I was certain they paid people for those stories. Why not me?

So I sat down and wrote a short story called, "The Techno-Color God" which has (thankfully) been lost to the dust bin of time. Trust me when I say that I hold no illusions as to the quality of that story, the writing, or its merits in any shape or form. It sucked. To my twelve year old self, writing in my room on an actual Typewriter, it was gold. Surely it would knock the socks off the Editor and be picked up for publication. I remember the basic premise of the story revolved around the fact that the world used to actually be in shades of gray, almost like the movie Pleasantville years later. But much worse.

At least the Asimov Magazine's rejection letter was nice about it. In fact it helped me. As did all the other rejection letters that came afterwards. I have a folder with hundreds of rejection letters in it. Not only those for writing, but including those for comic book submissions and eventually creative positions during the early years of my career. You can choose to take rejection many ways, and often it can seem depressing. But I've always chosen to see it more as a challenge. A personal challenge to do better, to find another way, to move on past rejection and find the path that is right for me.

No, I didn't turn out to be the next great writer. Not yet. But story-telling and spinning yarns has been in my blood my entire life. It is present underneath everything I do. In the thousands of television commercials that I've written and produced. In the screenplays. In the short films. In this blog. In the branding development, the advertising, the presentations, the thousands upon thousands of pieces that I've created. And in every single piece of work. There is a story at the heart of them all. It is the connective tissue that binds everything I do.

I mention all of this as encouragement. If you are out there right now along your own path, finding yourself blocked or rejected, I want to encourage you to take the long view. To find your own challenge. To gain strength from rejection. It isn't the universe's way of punishing you, it is the universe's way of pointing you in the right direction. A direction that only you, and you alone, can find for yourself.

Today I am perfectly comfortable knowing that I am a professional writer. And so much more than that. I've been paid a lot of money over the years for things I have written and created. I hope someday to be paid even more for things I have yet to do. And while the dream of becoming the next Harlan Ellison, or Ray Bradbury may have eluded me so far - that doesn't mean I have to give it up. Dreams are what keep us going. The dreams of that twelve year old boy, writing crappy stories on a crappy typewriter, are still alive today. They will not die.

Don't let your dreams die. Hold on to them. Work hard to achieve them. And always know that the path to realizing them is not always straight. It can often be rather strange. And wonderful.



A Thanatos Jumps Thru a Gate


So I'm flying back to Ish last night to dock up for the evening when I spot two Confessors on scan a few systems out. I don't pay much attention to them, they are not on any celestials and Loki links are up in system. I'm alone, so not much can be done anyway. Been a long day and best to call it a night. As usual it takes some time to get to the point where I can log, the small details, organizing the office, take some time to manage. Normal stuff.

Then the call comes in from next door in Nikki, a fleet member is tangling with those two Confessors and needs help. I make a snap decision and pull my anti-Caracal Thorax from the hangar. I dunno, maybe it will work against Confessors. Or maybe at least scare them off. In mid-warp it becomes apparent that two Confessors have turned into three Confessors and an Ishkur with Loki links. Oh and they appear to be remote rep fit. This is not going to go well. As expected the Thorax explodes, it wasn't built for this kind of fight. But that is not the story here, the story is what happened just as it was starting to go down. Y'know, when a Thanatos jumped thru the gate on to us.

Fortunately we have enough in fleet to get point and keep it cycling while we re-ship and try to figure out what to do. After the Thorax exploded Serj Reaper from the Bastards convo'd me, so we decided to merge gangs and jump on comms to organize a quick gank. The key was going to be keeping the Thanny pointed long enough to bring in bigger ships. To help with that I decided to sacrifice my cheapish Vexor Navy to hold the Carrier down as long as possible. By this time, not only had our fleet grown, but so had theirs. It wasn't clear at the beginning who was with who. And if this was bait to a much larger escalation. All unknown at the time.

Of the hundreds of ships in my hangar it figures I don't have a HIC fitted, so I decide to grab a Hyperion. We have another Carrier coming and Serj happens to have a Nag in system. We figure it is best to make this as short as possible and try to keep the chances of being Hot Dropped to a minimum. Our brave Stay Frosty gang members are holding points in cycles, while the original gang is still shooting at them and the Carrier. It is a confusing mess and there are several moments when it looks like we've lost point - only to have someone else step in and announce they have it. I can't say enough about their efforts, well done.

Finally, after what seems an eternity (but is only a few minutes), we have our gang on the Carrier. We even have our own armor reps, links, and support up and running. The original gang pulls away and I manage to get point and double-webs on the Carrier. Then the Nag lands and and really brings the deeps. The Thanatos goes boom. 2.5b baby. Some decent loot and some Geckos, Fighters, and a very pretty wreck.

We loot what we can and then decide to bring a salvage freighter in to scoop the rest. We re-ship into web ships, me in a Rapier, so we can get the Freighter in and out faster. The Charon gets in without any problems, but shortly after we land a small TEST gang appears to harass the Freighter. We pop webs on it and head back to station. Luckily we manage to pull some decent loot and grab the remaining Geckos and most of the wandering Fighters. Freighter safely back in station, I dock up the Rapier and we start dividing the spoils.

And then the call comes from the gate, the original Confessor/Ishkur/Loki gang is back and engaged. I pop a Myrmidon into space and warp off to help. We finally have enough dps to break their chain and the first Confessor pops pretty quickly. Then the second. Then we all turn our guns on the link Loki at once and it goes down pretty much instantly. The remaining ships wisely de-aggro and jump out.

All of which took about twenty minutes or so from start to finish. In the end I think we made off with close to 5b in total loot and ships destroyed to only a couple Cruisers, and a couple of Frigates lost. I haven't done the math, but I bet our total losses are less than 500m.

A special call out of thanks to Serj for organizing the merge and for being willing to bring the Dread Hammer out of station. What I may not have mentioned above was the constantly incoming Intel situation and the threat of escalation, which shouldn't be overlooked. It was ongoing. Being able to bring the Thanny down quickly was important to making it out safely. And a special nod of thanks to the brave Stay Frosty pilots who kept their cool and kept points on the Carrier while we organized. Well done.

You never know when a Carrier will unexpectedly jump thru a gate into your lap.

I mean, it does happen. See above.



Lost Expedition Animated

Click to larger version

As promised, here is an animated gif showing the process of putting together the latest "Lost Expedition" Wallpaper. You can see the final in the post below, or by clicking on this link.

Enjoy!



The Lost Expedition

CRASHED The Lost Expedition
The FINAL Version!

Art is never finished, only abandoned. This morning I awoke unsatisfied with where I left this image last night. So I spent a bit more time with it and got it closer to where I wanted it. It is never perfect, but this is close enough.

I'm going to make an animated gif out of it and will post that here shortly.



CRASHED Animated Gif



I made a Gif of the recent CRASHED Wallpaper so you could see how it was put together. I'm going to try to do these more often.

Enjoy.



The Thrasher Re-Design


There are parts of Eve Online that are starting to really show their age. Let's face it, the first ten years are firmly in the rear-view mirror at this point. Eve is moving quickly into its second full decade of existence. That is amazing and also extremely challenging. And, as much as some of you want it to, the game can't be allowed to stand still. It has to keep moving, changing, updating, adapting and evolving. Or it will die.

I love the Thrasher. I've spent a lot of hours in that ship, or its cousin the Sabre. It is a classic design. But it is also over ten years old. Did the proposed re-design need to go so far? Maybe, maybe not. But it is after all, only a proposed design. Frankly I love the new design, that is an impressive ship. But is it a Thrasher? Now that part I'm not so sure of.

The great thing about recent design upgrades has been that recognizable factor, the Caracal still looks like a Caracal, the Domi still looks like a Domi, the Rook is a Rook (despite its radical changes), and the proposed Stiletto and Probe changes maintain that connection. The reason the proposed Thrasher upgrade is getting so much heat is simple - it doesn't look at all like a Thrasher. (I put one on the picture just to prove my point.)

Like I said, I love that design. It is rather Boss. And I support the idea that the Republic is finally getting better at building ships, that is also a rather cool way to explain recent upgrades. But does the Thrasher need to change that much? (At least they kept the Frills!)

There needs to be connective tissue. A nod to the legacy. Feel free to upgrade, change, modify and make it look like it belongs in the modern era - please. But don't forget the things we love about the model. Keep those things. While that new design is amazing, it isn't a Thrasher.

We'd like to keep our Thrasher please. Back to the drawing board.




CRASHED Wallpaper

CRASHED Wallpaper

REVISED AND UPDATED


My good friend t'amber started a thread over on Reddit challenging everyone to produce an image based on elements her provided, essentially the ship you see above. And yes I am aware that the scale is all wonky, but sacrifices have to be made in the pursuit of art. This is my submission to that thread. I wasn't going to do anything, but I did anyway.

Enjoy!



1v1 EVE COMIC #78

Click to embiggen!

Busy day yesterday, but I finally had time to log on to Eve and in plenty of time to catch a fleet that was prepping to go out on a roam. Got my ship and had just undocked when my phone rang. I quickly docked up and answered it. It was a Headhunter calling me just ten minutes after I had sent in my resume for a newly posted position. Which is rather unusual. About twenty minutes later and I finally returned, but the fleet was already seven jumps away. I should mention that this is the third week in a row that I've been late, for one reason or another, for this particular weekly roam. So off I went, racing to catch up.

I made it five jumps before popping into this gate camp.

I should also mention that is also the third time that has happened. New rule, if I happen to be running late next week I'm just gonna stay around the house and play.

Enjoy your weekend, more later.

PS: And the phone interview went extremely well.




AT Newbie


The official Alliance Tournament seeds are out and someone has already taken the time to make an unofficial bracket. I'm sure there are other ones out there as well, but essentially you take the top seed and pair it with the lowest seed, and then continue. A Band Apart is the 51st seed so if these early brackets hold true we'll be facing G0dfathers in the first round. Luckily we are in the same section of the bracket as PL, Shadow, and about 63 other teams that probably have more Tournament experience than we do.

This is my first AT. I've come close to being in the Alliance Tournament before, but something always happened to change those plans. Things like Alliances collapsing, or wars, or evacuations. I'm glad that it worked out that way in the past. I'm incredibly excited to be entering the AT at the head of my very own Alliance. I mean seriously? How freaking cool is that?! It honestly doesn't get much better. ABA isn't just another Alliance. It is my Eve family. Something I created from thin air and which has grown and thrived over the past year. I don't think it gets much better than that.

Let's be honest here, this is our first ever Tournament. As such it would be entirely understandable for every single person looking at a bracket to say, "Who dey?" And write us off as just another newb Alliance. Because we are just another newb Alliance. No sense in denying it. We don't have years of experience and frankly our team is not going to be filled with 200m skill point pilots. As far as expectations go, place us firmly in the "going-for-it" camp. We have no expectations other than doing extremely well, fighting hard, and making our best effort on the field of battle.

Having said that, within our team, we do have experienced pilots. Those that have participated in the AT and other Tournaments before - both with ABA and with other teams. So it would be a mistake to discount us entirely. While I might be rather notorious for not taking anything seriously, I freely admit to taking our participation in the AT extremely seriously. Maybe 89% serious. Which is a huge upgrade from my normal levels. I joke, but why play if you don't try to win? So we are putting our best foot forward.

It is a big deal looking at the seeds and seeing our name there among the other 63 teams. It is, in a larger sense, our coming out party. And while we might very well get smacked into oblivion, we shall strive to make each opponent know they were in a fight. Because if there is anything we are not newbs at, it is fighting. And, if I remember correctly, the AT comes down to a bunch of ships fighting another bunch of ships for ten minutes. And that is something we do every single day.

So we are on our way. And whatever happens, win or lose, I'm extremely proud of our members. Those on the team and those supporting the team behind the scenes. Because I do know one thing, in order to do well we need everyone behind us.

At the very least, it will be interesting.



The Frosty Wolfpack


Hunters hunt, or they starve. And while there are many strategies, tactics and group organizational plans that work well for the hunter in certain situations - the hunter must also adapt to the world around them. The hunter is not responsible for the environment they find themselves living in, but they better be able to recognize it and work it to stay alive. And while the hunters may not create that environment, they do have a certain responsibility to maintain it. Or else they will also starve. It is no surprise then that evolution bestowed the gift of intelligence to the hunters and not the prey.

While we do a bit of everything in Stay Frosty, over the past two years we've evolved our own method of working within the environment we find ourselves. I don't actually label things, but for the sake of this post I'll call it the "Frosty Wolfpack" or the Solo Gang. While we certainly didn't invent the concept we have, by benefit of flying it almost every single day, perfected it.

The concept is rather simple. How do you organize a group of primarily Solo pilots, veterans and young players, into a support group that functions both as a Small Gang and as a Solo expression of individuals? All while hiding that function from potential prey? And allowing the environment to flourish around you, providing plenty of opportunities for action? And the kicker? It has to work no matter how many pilots are playing. From two to two dozen.

The Wolfpack exists within a system bubble about five to six systems wide. It is important to spread out, but not so far that support can't get to you quickish if needed. Solo pilots each function as their own scouts, sharing intel of every system they visit, which starts to build a collective memory of what is happening within that bubble. This gives all members of the pack the intel they couldn't get by flying alone. This is the key to why the Wolfpack works so well and why we encourage all pilots, even those that may not be flying with the pack, to join. Each pilot has the ability to determine opportunities as they present themselves and decide if they are capable of dealing with them on their own, or if they need support. A single pilot can quickly become a small gang of pilots when needed. This is an incredibly empowering part of the experience, each pilot knows that the weight of his mates is behind him.

It also means that opportunities that a solo pilot might normally pass up, suddenly become possible. A solo Tristan might move along if they spot a Vexor in the large for example, but in the pack a simple call can bring enough force for the Tristan to feel comfortable tackling the Vexor. Force projection and expansion in action.

The Wolfpack also presents a false facade to potential targets. Instead of traveling around in a group, the pack is spread out in individual systems. Which makes it difficult to grasp and report effectively. And while the individual pilots have back-up if needed, they don't always use it. Meaning they continue to fly solo or in smaller groups. This makes them flexible to gate camps, blobs and other attempts to destroy the group as a whole. Even when some pilots are lost, the group survives. Usually long enough to exact some measure of revenge.

And unlike more organized activities the Wolfpack doesn't scare away the targets. Gate camps, fleet operations, and linked rovers become known entities that force prey to seek other pastures. And while they each have their place and their uses, none of them work in the same way that the Wolfpack works. Or as well within the environment we find ourselves.

The beauty of this for us is that it gives all our pilots the chance to "play" and learn together in a group, while also experiencing the solo play-style. And it also keeps us working together as a team and not just a vast collection of players off doing their own thing all the time.

It is the social way to play solo and stay frosty.






Workload


Right now, on my list of things that need done, is 17 custom illustrated wallpapers (6 have been finished so far), 8 Alliance/Corp logos, 6 identities, graphics for a "computer game", about 12 misc graphics for various things, an Eve Event identity, a massive "Sekrit Project" that I can't tell you about yet, and a hand-full of odds and ends here and there that need to be completed. Many legacy projects remain in various stages of completion. Add to that the on-going Art Print Series, I am currently hard at work on the next round of potential posters. And then writing Eveoganda. Oh and running a 600 player Alliance and preparing for our/my very first Alliance Tournament. And I know I'm forgetting a bunch of stuff. Y'know, like finding time to actually play.

And that is just Eve. Let me assure you my real life projects are just as extensive, if not even more so.

I don't mention this for sympathy or anything. This is my journal and I'm just telling you about what is on my mind right now. That stuff I've listed above? It has been that way for the past three years. So nothing unusual about it. And all of those things will get done eventually. One step at a time. As usual.

If I'm not the hardest working Eve player in the world, then I'd like to meet that other person. lol.

I do need a better system for tracking things and I'm going to be working on a new system for that over the next few weeks. I'm even considering making it public, like on Google Docs or something, so that everyone can see where their project stands. Dunno, but if anyone has any suggestions for that, I'm all ears.

So yeah, no time today for a full post. I had some real life things that needed taken care of this morning. And then some things on SiSi that I had to do for the AT. So those are done. And I even found time to design an album cover for a band in England, and revise a couple of logo designs. Sheesh.

If this is all going to be my new career, it is time to start taking things a bit more seriously. Nose to the grindstone.




Jurassic Sandbox


It struck me yesterday as I was enjoying the new Jurassic World movie (which is a lot of stupid fun, nothing great but enjoyable despite its predictable plot and rather tame violence) just how much Isla Nubar reminds me of New Eden. Bear with me here and even if you haven't seen the film I think you'll get the analogy.

Jurassic World is a self-contained island being run by a Corporation called Ingen. The park concept, originally conceived by John Hammond in the original movie Jurassic Park, is now up and running. Has been for awhile now. On this island you have a dozen or more Dinosaur species living in various stages of security, among a large throng of extreme high security. The dangerous need to be kept away from the tourists. Sound familiar?

I don't think I'm stretching things to say that Jurassic World sounds a lot like New Eden. The tourists mix with Dinosaurs in variously decreasing security zones, from petting zoos, to water park attractions, glass log tubes, and glass bubble cars that zip about in protected fields among certain types of "safe" Dinosaurs. The more dangerous the Dino the more security you need. In case, you know, they get out of their zone and eat you.

As we all know from Ian Malcolm this kind of system is going to break eventually. You just can't keep the nefarious elements away forever. Despite all the safety systems in place to protect everyone from each other, it is only a matter of time before the inhabitants have a chance to meet one another and have some fun together. Or get eaten. Or just run away in fear. Or leave. Depending on your own personal choice I guess.

I found it interesting that Ingen thinks Dinosaurs are not enough anymore. Despite good attendance figures they feel the need to go even bigger. So they engineer a massive new attraction that is part Rex, part Raptor and a bunch of other stuff that results in the creature being able to hide its body temperature and cloak up. (Although it only really uses the cloaking ability once!) And this new attraction is all the more evil because it only kills for "the sport" and not because it needs to feed. That's horrible. (cough cough)

So, once it escapes Ingen sends Concord out to deal with it and put it back in its cage. A cage that was its only home, where it grew up in isolation. God only knows what kind of screwed up thoughts it must have about how the rest of the Island works! Poor creature. Funny, in order to escape its pen the new Dino even pulls a New Eden-esque hack job, tricking the captors into letting it go. I was reminded of all the ways in which Eve players have found work-arounds to CCP rules over the years.

Obviously the new Dinosaur is totally OP. It can't be killed by mere bullets, nets, tranquilizer darts, or .50 caliber Helicopter mounted machine guns. No Sir. Its tank is too big. The only way to teach this bad boy who is Boss is by ganking it with a blob. I won't spoil the film for you, but the ending is pretty bad ass.

High Sec is saved. But the fallout will have consequences.

You can't blame the Dinosaurs. They are only doing what they do. Life will find a way y'know. And you can't really blame the tourists. I mean sure, they came to the Island to see Dinosaurs. And sure, their whining about it being boring now is why Ingen felt forced to invent an even bigger, nastier Dinosaur in the first place. And you'd think they'd be happy once the Dinosaurs are out of their cages and mingling with them. Up close and personal. But they aren't. You just can't please some people.

So now the theme park is ruined and the Island belongs to the Pirates Dinosaurs.

Unlike New Eden you can't just put everyone back where they belong. Whew, thank goodness we live in a park where the bad elements stay where they belong, huh?




Alliance Tournament

A Band Apart Character Posters - Rixx Javix
Oldie but a goodie

I was in the Courthouse almost all day today, I was called in for Jury Duty and waited around to get called into Court. So this had nothing to do with my on-going legal battles and was simply my civic duty.

So no real post today. But I am proud to announce that A Band Apart is going to be in the upcoming Alliance Tournament as announced on yesterday's o7 Show.

This is our first appearance and we are all working hard to make a good showing for our first time. Granted, the odds are stacked against us - but they always are. So we're used to it.

Onward and upward.



The Challenges of Leadership


I once grew a company from one employee (me) to over 42 employees. Full-time, part-time, interns, the whole bunch personally hired by me. Each one paid above the average, with profit sharing, insurance, a great work environment, challenging and interesting work, great people, superior community... it was an awesome place to work. And always my door remained open. Everyone knew they could speak up at any time, take on any challenge, pitch in wherever needed, or simply walk right in to my office and rip me a new one.

It was always surprising to me how few people did that. Or how, sometimes, I would hear that some of the employees were afraid to do so. The truly amazing thing is just how often someone can harbor feelings that could be easily dealt with if only they would speak up about them and let someone else know. But they don't. They let them fester. Humans are strange creatures. But I often have interesting conversations with them.

I can't begin to tell you how many books, seminars, TED talks, and leadership conferences I've attended. And while many of those experiences taught me something, most of them are complete and utter bullshit. The truth is that common sense, empathy, and experience are the only things that truly matter when it comes to herding humans. Balance is the key ingredient. Maintaining a proper balance between being understanding and hard is extremely difficult. As much as people say they want a leader that understands them, they don't really mean it. And as much as other people say they hate the tough leader, they also don't really mean it. People tend to want what they don't have. This is the truth about people in general.

The same holds true in Eve. As a leader of anything, a CEO, or an FC, or whatever, you are screwed in so many ways it can make your head spin. You can't make all the people happy all the time. And here is the advice that very few people will tell you, don't try to make anyone happy. You will fail. Making one person happy will only piss someone else off. The only thing you can control is yourself. In all things be true to yourself first and foremost. Not in a selfish self-centered way, but in your principles. Be a rock. Whatever kind of rock you happen to be, be that rock. All the time. People respect rocks, they depend on dependability, predictability and direction. Don't try to be what you are not. Be who you are. Even if you happen to be an asshole. Be a great asshole. (And maybe get some therapy, cause seriously dude, the world needs less assholes.)

Being consistent is critical. And this is not to downplay the other elements of leadership, only to place the focus where it needs to be. It is important to be understanding, to have empathy, to have a direction in mind. And mostly it is important to communicate those frequently and often, over and over and over again. If you ever think to yourself, "I'm sure they all get it now", they don't. Tell them again. Trust me.

Being a leader is incredibly rewarding. It is also insanely confusing, frustrating, and often complicated. This is what you asked for when you stepped up to the plate. It comes with the territory. People are counting on you.

The secret is that you control nothing. What you have created controls you. Always remember that and use it to your advantage. Direct the current, guide the flow, but never try to stand in its way. You will get railroaded. And then you'll get frustrated. And then you'll throw your hands up in defeat and wander off into a corner somewhere to cry like a baby.

"Let's go that way." Just be damned sure you know what you are doing when you get there.



A Banner Day

Yesterday CCP announced the winners of the A Call to Art Contest and I am grateful, humbled and appreciative to have been selected as one of the two winners. I would also like to state right up front my appreciation for all the entrants, their talent, time and dedication to the cause of fan art in the Eve Community. Once again I'd ask that anyone that is interested should consider joining our Slack Creatives channel by clicking on the link in the sidebar.

In case you don't know the two winning pieces, and congratulations to “Sandcastles Before Me” by Kalistonius II the other winner, will be printed on large canvas and displayed in the CCP Customer Support office. In addition, CCP also selected several other submissions to be printed and displayed at smaller sizes in the office as well. Which I think was a great idea and I'm glad to see they did that. From what I understand they got a tremendous amount of submissions.

Here is the piece that I submitted:

The Patrol
Click to download
Those of you that have been following along might sorta recognize this piece. That's because it is based on an earlier Signature Wallpaper I did awhile back. I liked the original piece so much I decided to take an insane amount of time and illustrate the entire thing by hand. 

Here is the original piece:

Tristans Signature Wallpaper
Also click to download
Now the original is made up of images drawn directly from the game assets and then manipulated in cunning photoshop Jedi fashion. For the mural I drew the Tristan's in my normal Wacom painterly method in Illustrator and then imported them into photoshop against the already painted background I had done earlier. Luckily for me, the original had been done at a high enough resolution to sustain the size changes needed for the mural.

Which is all technique blah blah blah really. The important thing is the art. And art is not about technique. The piece doesn't work because of the method in which it was rendered, it works because it is art. It evokes an emotional response and isn't just another image of spaceships in space. I can't speak for you or how the piece works or doesn't work for you, all I can tell you is how it makes me feel and what my intentions were. I wanted to capture the feeling I get when flying with one or two of my Corpmates in a small gang, out in the depths of space, burning towards God only knows what. The silence that hangs around you as you align towards a potential target, the vastness of the unknown, the depth of New Eden (which is where the idea for reducing the game map to a colorful blob of dots came from, and yes that is actually the in-game map by the way. Although altered, enhanced and distorted for visual effect).

I almost called it "The Lost Patrol", but that sounded false and rang hollow to me. You can't be lost in New Eden, not truly.

Anyway, I hope you like it. And I look forward to seeing the piece on the walls of CCP the next time I am there. Hopefully we'll get some pictures once they all go up.

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

Speaking of art. I had no idea of the response the "Drifter Wars" piece would get. Once again the community has overwhelmed me and I have no choice but to enjoy the ride. Understand that I create in a complete vacuum when these pieces are being worked on, nothing has happened and nothing may ever happen. They are all potential, but a potential that only exists in the future. At the moment of creation they are nothing yet. Once I put them out there the rest is almost completely out of my hands. Will they live or die? I have no idea.

The Drifter War piece is a perfect example of how that sometimes works. It just took off and took on a life of its own. CCP Affinity contacted me and asked if Team Space Glitter could use the image as their banner, potentially getting t-shirts made, banners, etc. Of course I said yes, I'd be more than honored. And then later in the day CCP Manifest made it their Facebook banner!

What an amazing "banner" day.

Those of you hardened of heart may want to stop reading now. I may start to get a bit sappy in the following paragraphs.

For thirty years my career has been an insane amount of work. A struggle, a challenge, and journey that has been amazing, fortunate, and incredibly rewarding. But it was all clearly laid out in front of me and eventually I rose to the goals I had set for myself along the way. And, in so many ways, exceeded even my wildest imaginings. I became so bold that I quit my VP Creative position at a large advertising agency in the wake of 9/11 to start my own Creative Agency. That was insane. But it worked. And for the next eleven years I grew that seed into one of the fastest-growing agencies in the country. We competed for accounts from all over the world and went head-to-head with some of the largest agencies, for awhile we even won most of those battles. I was working 80 hours or more a week, traveling, working weekends. And then, for a wide variety of reasons, it was all gone.

People often ask me, why do you do so much work for Eve? The answer is simple. That journey, the one that was so clearly laid out before? Well its gone. It vanished in a horrible on-going divorce, an economic downturn, and devastating financial ruin. For the last three years I've been desperately trying to find my way. A new way. An old way. Any way at all. And I will tell you straight up that this amazing community of ours has been a lifesaver. Literally.

And when I try something new, something dangerous, something unknown to me, and it "takes off" around me - I can honestly tell you that it fills me with hope. And hope my friends, is sometimes hard to come by in this world of ours. It should not be under-appreciated. It should be cherished.

My sincere heartfelt thanks to all of you. I won't stop. I'm hoping that somehow, some way, I can build a new life and a new direction from the ashes of the old one. And, even if you don't know it, you are helping me do that.

Keep the courage.




The Wormhole Report: Second Genesis


[ In A Band Apart our Wormhole Corporations are thriving, growing and expanding. I intend to bring stories, reports and adventures to you regularly from that side of the universe. Today's adventure comes from Sanders Schmittlaub of Supreme Mathematics. Enjoy! ]


The following is a precautionary tale about the risks of being too greedy and prideful in the sandbox that is EVE Online. While these are important motivators from which content is created, becoming too attached to your pride or greed can result in an extremely costly and humiliating defeat, as Black Submarine recently learned.

The second precaution is in regards to alt naming. Characters with similar names can be mistaken for each other, especially if both are online at the same time. If someone does a little research, it is easy to find that multiple pilots belong to one person if they are all named the same – in this case, to disastrous consequences.

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On Thursday, Supreme Mathematics leadership began to receive notifications that the POCOs (Player-Owned Customs Offices) in our original wormhole (Genesis) were being attacked by a Russian corporation named Black Submarine. We had not lived in Genesis for almost a year – we had moved out to upclass to a C4 wormhole. Our only connection to the system was through the POCOs, which we had tried to sell after moving out without success.

I sent a request for a conversation to Macrus Ra, CEO of Black Submarine, asking him if they would like to buy the five POCOs in system for 100 million ISK each. Their CEO responded to that request with an offer of 30 million ISK per POCO, or setting the tax rate to 0% and we could keep them. I considered his offer unreasonable – 30% of the value of the POCOs or no profit to us provided no incentive to agree. I redid the value of the POCOs and found that new POCOs could be bought for 71 million ISK. When presented with that price for each POCO, Macrus told me that his offer was the only one they would accept, and that I could go away with any others.

I had to stop and think why he would want to play hardball over 40 million ISK per POCO. They lived in a wormhole, so probably had plenty of ISK. Buying them would save them the trouble of having to reinforce all five (not a small endeavor for a corporation of twelve members) and haul in replacements. Both operations are a big risk for a small corp in a C2. We were not using the POCOs and clearly had no use for the C2. A brief check of the killboards showed we had not even rolled into system for more than six months. The only reasoning I could think of was that he was far too greedy to part with so much ISK.

They didn’t reinforce the POCO Thursday, and Friday morning I again received notifications that our POCO was being attacked. Again, I requested a convo to make the same offer and see if he had rethought his position.

The CEO very rudely informed me that I could not convince him, and that any words between us were wasted. The offer was 30m or a 0% tax rate. We had nothing more to discuss. He then closed the convo.

This upset those I was chatting with on Teamspeak greatly, and the decision was made to mount a punitive expedition to our old home to show Macrus that rudeness and greed had no place in (or beyond) New Eden. I sent him a mail saying that his rudeness and greed would not go unanswered, and our wrath would be swift and thorough. He responded a short time later with two words, “Bring it.” The game was on.

It should come as no surprise that we did not have a scout in the wormhole after more than a year of not living there, so I put a bounty on an entrance to the system: 750 million ISK to anyone who got SM.RB in before our POCO came out of reinforcement Saturday night, or 500 million after.

With such a noble goal as this, and with such a prize, the pilots of A Band Apart threw themselves into the task with gusto. There are 2,601 Wormhole systems in New Eden – trying to find a specific one is like trying to find a Fedo in a Titan – nearly impossible until you catch its trail.

Pilots in our wormhole raced down the chain from our current home, ending the night nine levels down a chain that ended up containing nearly a hundred systems. The Pirates of Stay Frosty were told the system had a lowsec static (it always has a wormhole connecting it to lowsec), and they spread out through lowsec, diving into every wormhole they could find. A few of the pilots of Supreme Mathematics had alts in hisec, and began to use locator agents to track the members of Black Submarine through hisec.

The third option is where our entrance was found. Soro Harbon and Trekan Kion, two longtime members of Supreme Mathematics, began to search for the online members of the corporation. The search deserves a story of its own due to the spectacular luck involved. One of the Black Submarine pilots, named ‘grizzzlix krylov’, showed as online. Trekan fired up his locator agents, but mistakenly forgot the third Z, instead typing ‘grizzlix krylov’ (he did not notice this mistake until much later in the night). Not only did this character appear as online, but it was located just a few jumps away. Both Trekan and Soro sprinted over there in scanning ships – Trekan began furiously scanning the system grizzlix was found in, while Soro jumped to the next system (Urlen) and began to do the same.

A short few minutes later, Soro called out on comms “I found it!” Less than eight hours after the bounty was put up, it was claimed by one of our own, and Supreme Mathematics returned to Genesis.

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

Moving quickly, RC (one of our senior FCs) rageformed a fleet of Gilas/Ishtars and Basilisks to move in and seize control of the wormhole. Regardless of the early hour, nine pilots responded and raced to Urlen to jump into system.

Before the fleet could arrive (our exit from wormhole space was on the far side of the cluster), Trekan and Nimrod Trisi (another SM.RB pilot) who were nearby, entered system with two Stratios to begin scoping out the system. Their entry to the system was foiled - when they jumped through the wormhole, they found there was already a small skirmish between a Black Submarine Confessor and a non-related Thrasher. Both Stratios decloaked, and rather than try to cloak and hide, they engaged. The Thrasher managed to jump out to safety. The Confessor was not so lucky, and it exploded in short order under the sustained fire of two cruisers.

Not expecting us to be able to find them, Black Submarine pilots were caught completely by surprise. Once the main fleet arrived, their pilots were rapidly caught and destroyed or fled behind the shields of their starbases, where they insisted on taunting the pilots of SM.RB in local with threats and promises of ‘pain and suffering’ to come.

It was discovered that a second corporation was living in system with Black Submarine. 3A PODUHY had a second control tower up and operational, however our intelligence wing quickly found that the corporation was only five members strong, bringing total hostile numbers living in system to 17. With that information, and the reasonable assumption that two small corporations living in the same wormhole were close allies, we elected to destroy both.

Once our fleet had established initial control of the system, I opened up another round of negotiations with the CEO of Black Submarine. Even through the rough translation provided by Google Translate, it was clear he was amazed that we could have gotten our fleet in so fast. I told him that we would still accept 350 million for the POCOs plus a few of the ships in POS for our trouble and we would leave. He again responded that they would not negotiate or surrender. I told him to consider his corporation under siege, and we gave the go-ahead to begin the attack.

SM.RB pilots began to tighten the vice around the hostile towers. A staging tower was brought in and set up at a nearby moon. Warp Disruption Sphere Generators were hauled in and readied. A hole rolling Raven entered the system and began to make its presence felt, rapidly pushing all of the wormholes in system to (or beyond) the verge of collapse. The static wormholes were left on the verge of collapse, with an Interceptor and a bubble to catch anyone trying to get in or out.

The main fleet warped to the Black Submarine starbase and began to destroy their defenses. One Ishtar began to deploy Warp Disruption Bubbles around the tower, denying the enemy the opportunity to warp in reinforcements or escape. The enemy gunners made their presence felt, concentrating fire on the flights of drones pouring forth from our fleet. As the losses began to pile up, the call went to our Logistics wing to bring in replacements. The wormhole connection to Urlen was just two jumps from Jita, so the transport was in system scant minutes after the call.

The first starbase, completely stripped of defenses, went into reinforce mode four hours after the wormhole was discovered. The Russians, who had so ridiculed us for showing up with just nine ships at first, were silent. The starbase’s reinforcement tower was barely fifteen hours long, set to come out Sunday afternoon.

At this point, many of our pilots were beginning to tire, and a break was called for a few hours before the second tower would be reinforced. Skirmishing began between Russian pilots who were either trying to escape or harass our fleet. Each time, our Interceptor pilots would race forth to tackle the target while the heavy cruisers of the main fleet chased to catch up. Several enemy pilots lost their ships and three were podded out, not to return.

Throughout the break, negotiations were reopened again with Macrus and his leadership. Even though he was in a clearly inferior position (both towers bubbled, all wormhole collapsed or defended, one tower in reinforce with a fleet at the other, several ships destroyed and one pilot podded out) he still arrogantly announced our impending defeat. I made him the same offer I had prior to the start of the siege, and even with the proverbial gun to his head, he refused to be reasonable. After nearly two hours of talking, I had barely convinced them to pay a fair market price for the POCOs plus a little extra for the drones they had destroyed – 400 million. In light of the facts he had available, his arrogance was astounding. They refused to pay anything (ships or ISK) to send us on our way - they were insistent the POCO deal was what we were here for and that we should leave afterwards. I told them they had until the second tower reinforced to accept my offer and begin handing over ships or we would wipe them from the system.

The second tower was reinforced with relatively little fanfare. One of the 3A pilots tried to sortie out of the shields unsupported to fight our fleet. His Armageddon was rapidly bumped away from the shields and was destroyed by massed Sentry Drone fire. It was a close call engagement, and indeed both the wreck and his pod spawned just inside the POS shields.

After that, it was clear the spirit of the defenders was broken. The Armageddon pilot’s pod moved back to the starbase hangars and he began to self-destruct its contents. The tower reinforced shortly after, and only went into reinforce for eight hours. Our fleet returned to the staging starbase for the night, and the first watch took up vigil over the heavily bubbled towers while the rest of the corporation logged off for a few short hours of rest before the fight would resume.

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

The night passed slowly. A few Russians logged on, but none were interested in fighting. The order had clearly gone out to empty the towers – several billion ISK in ships blew up, including an Orca, Phobos, Deimos, Ishtar, a dozen assorted cruisers, two Noctis, and numerous smaller ships. The remaining pilots logged off in whatever ship they most wanted to save. One Tengu, who was cloaky and interdiction nullified managed to run the gauntlet out to lowsec. The wormhole was collapsed before he could try to get back in.
It was a good thing that Black Submarine or 3A PODUHY did not try to sieze control of the wormhole overnight, since there were only two SM.RB pilots online for about half of it, and for an hour or so it was just myself in an Interceptor, guarding two starbases and three wormholes against up to five hostile pilots. The fight would have been very one sided if they had tried.

The next day dawned bright and early. Our night watch reported the situation and either logged off or got in bashing ships. The siege fleet, over 30 pilots strong, warped to the 3A tower and launched drones. There were no hostiles logged in. We destroyed both towers to little fanfare. The entire system burned except for one offline starbase that had been there since before SM.RB called it home.

True to their word, the enemy pilots destroyed almost every ship in their towers. We ended up taking just four Buzzards, an Anathema, a Taranis, and a few mining barges. With fittings, they ended up being valued at around 200 million ISK.

Once we had cleared grid of all hostile structures, the order was given to evacuate. We began to strip our towers of all defenses. This time, we have left a scout in the wormhole for anyone wanting to rudely demand our POCOs for free. The tower and its contents were loaded back up and sent home. Our Raven pilot was the last person to exit Genesis. He held on the exit wormhole for the fleet to pass, escorting our transports back to safety. He then placed a ‘o7’ in local, as a tribute to our vanquished foes, then activated his MicroWarp drive and jumped out to safety, closing the wormhole to Genesis behind him.

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It is easy to see how the pride and greed he so willingly exuded ended up destroying his home. Offers were made to him at every opportunity to stop the fight before it got worse, and every time he spit on the hand offering it to him.

This refusal to negotiate or see the truth of the situation turned an argument over 200 million ISK into a fight that ended up costing Black Submarine and 3A billions and billions of ISK, and they still did not get the POCOs as they demanded.

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I want to thank everyone who assisted in the fight for the Genesis POCOs. Personally, I had a blast doing it – all the negotiating and hunting was exhilarating. We successfully defended our assets in system, destroyed both hostile towers and several hostiles, then withdrew without so much as a single loss.




Drifter Wars: Eve Online

Drifter Wars: Eve Online
Click to see or download additional sizes

This morning on the Slack Creatives channel my good friend t'amber challenged me to make an "old-school" Star Wars style graphic for Eve Online. As you should know by now, it is difficult for me to ignore such challenges. And while Eve doesn't have a Darth Vader, we do have the Drifters - so they'll just have to sit in as the big baddies for now.

I even made a game cartridge for it.
Drifter Wars Game Cartridge
You can also click this image!
I have so many projects right now that deserve my time and energy, I have no time for such games! I apologize, but sometimes I just have to do the thing right in front of me.

Back to work now, I promise.

We dug back thru our Archives and managed to find a rare screenshot from Drifter Wars: Eve Online:


The angled side-scrolling was truly ground-breaking for its time.

It seems some of our more intrepid fans followed a long-held gaming myth to the middle of an Arizona landfill and found an original game box:


The legend just won't die.

And now a Wallpaper of an old ad from the game's original release has been scanned from an old copy of Byte Magazine!

Drifter Wars Advertisement





RJ's Icon Guide

Rixx's Icon Guide
Click to download various sizes

Neville Smit posted earlier about the guide that CCP made to the new icons, you can read it here.  He sorta challenged me to do something about how small and hard to read it was. So I have accepted the challenge. If you click on the image above you can download an 11x17 version to print or use. However, if you really want high-quality, I've also provided a print-quality PDF that you can download by using this link to my DropBox.

I don't think the Overview icons will get any more readable than they are in this document. I had to make some assumptions given the small original size I had to work from, but I think in each case you'll get the idea. Hope this helps.

As always, enjoy!


RJ's Icon Guide Dark
And a dark version for those that prefer them
The Dark version can now be downloaded as a PDF using this link.





ABA Wallpaper

A Band Apart Logo Wallpaper
Click to download various and sundry sizes

Had a tiny bit of time today before taking one of our cats to the Vet. This week has been Hell on wheels out here in real life and I am desperately behind on many projects. I'll be working hard to get caught up I promise.

In the meantime, enjoy the new A Band Apart logo wallpaper. And seriously give some thought to flying with one of our member Corporations - PvP, Wormholes, Industry, Mission Running, Pirating, pretty much whatever you enjoy about Eve we have you covered. I even hear a rumor that we'll have an awesome Newbro training Corporation before long!

Weirdoes. Nerds. Insanely awesome people. Guaranteed or your money back!



Celebrities and Alliance Logos

Finally, after more than a year, A Band Apart has an Alliance logo in-game. For some weird reason this update makes it all feel real. Hard to explain, but that default star always felt strange. Throughout the history of Eve building, expanding, and developing a working Alliance was always capped by the adoption of a brand. You needed to be around for six months, have a minimum amount of members, and qualify for the honor. It was the period on the end of a type of sentence.

I had to relegate the "Clash" logo to a non-official supporting role, it being based on the famous Clash album cover was enough of a connection to an intellectual property to cause consternation. So I decided to play off the logos I'd already created for Stay Frosty, Lucifer's Hammer and Supreme Mathematics to make this one. The words round the circle are supposed to be almost impossible to read, think Lord of the Rings style. But the words say, "A Band Apart Together in Chaos A Band Apart Brothers and Sisters A Band Apart Live Free or Die" Runes of protection I guess.

I'm happy with it and it looks great in-game. It'll look even better plastered on the side of my ships. Soon™


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Yesterday on Slack I got into a conversation about celebrities. In my long career I've had the opportunity to work with quiet a few of them over the years. In addition, having traveled so much for business, I have often bumped into or had contact with them as well. There was a point in my life when I was going to New York or LA rather often, primarily for production or advertising work with clients, and that period was when a lot of these encounters happened.

Some of the encounters happened for business reasons, some introductions from friends, some random encounters and sometimes I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Or the wrong one. As in the time I backed right into Roberto Benigni in Times Square. I had some time to kill before a color timing session and I wandered down to Times Square to grab a tourist gift for my son. I was standing on one of those concrete risers, my mind lost in thought when I backed right into him. We both stumbled, him more than me, and when I spun around I realized he was surrounded by cameras and press. This was right around the time of the Oscars. He was a good sport about it and we both laughed.

I've given thousands of presentations over the years but one of the more memorable ones had to be down in West Palm Beach Florida. It is a long and convoluted story, but essentially I was there to win a piece of business. As part of that I had agreed to be in a Celebrity Golf Tournament to raise money for charity. This remains the one and only time I have ever played Golf. Which is a funny story on its own. But the day before I had to give a presentation to the board of directors of a cable channel. The board included Evander Holyfield, Marlon Jackson, Cecil Fielder, and Robert Townsend among many others. During the presentation I noticed that Evander had fallen asleep and was snoring at the end of the long conference table. Everyone paused for a moment and I said something like, "With that ear of his, he probably can't hear us anyway." Thankfully everyone laughed and we won the business. Needless to say the next day's tournament was chock full of famous people and I even had the opportunity to shake hands with and speak to Jesse Jackson.

I once gave a presentation in the basement of a hunting lodge with Elk bleeding all over the floor, so I've been in some weird situations. That one was to Matt Williams and David Dellucci for a television show we were producing. The show was actually picked up by the Outdoor Channel before all the involved partners had a huge falling out.

I'll save more stories for another time. I have never once had a negative encounter with a celebrity, famous or otherwise. It helps that most of my encounters happened to be professional ones. I'm not enamored by fame and I never ask for autographs and rarely get pictures taken with them. They are all people just like us, putting their pants on one leg at a time. I admit to geeking out more when I meet people that I admire, like Harlan Ellison, or Neil Degrasse Tyson, or Sally Ride, or John Byrne, or Terry Austin. Or that time I was handed an award from R. Lee Ermey, now that was pretty awesome.

I really need to write a book.




Police Pursuit Comet Wallpaper

Police Pursuit Comet Wallpaper
Click to download various sizes

Enjoy!



What would it take?

So this happened:

Mangala Solaris, most famously of RvB fame and a constant and abiding Rixx supporter, is walking away from Eve. It is sad news and Mang will be missed. It is always a little like having a small chunk of your heart ripped out whenever someone leaves Eve. I don't like it. But I certainly appreciate everyone's right to do so. Life is a complicated mess and it is best to get on with it. Eve is only a very small part of that mess.

This post isn't about someone leaving. Rather it started me thinking about what it would take for me to leave. In a few short months I will have been playing Eve for seven years and writing this blog for six of those years. There are times when my involvement in the Eve Community, my responsibilities as CEO of Stay Frosty, Executor of A Band Apart, and everything else I'm involved with can be a tad overwhelming. Just being honest here. In the spirit of honesty however, I must also admit, that I love and enjoy all of those things tremendously.

I did come close to walking away once. In the Spring of 2012 during the chaos surrounding my long-standing business closing it's doors. That was an extremely horrible moment that amounted to a huge stinking pile of stress, the ripples of which I am still living in today. (Both in and out of game.) It was catastrophic, no sense in down-playing it. And my first reaction was to shed as many layers of involvement as possible to focus more energy on what really mattered. In hindsight it was the right response and I did walk away from Eve for a couple of months. It did help. But I just couldn't let go.

At this point I am so invested in Eve, the community, and my place in that world that I have no intention of ever leaving. Intention is one thing, results are another. Life often has other plans and I know very well that day may come. Nothing lasts forever. There are events outside of our control that could take me away from Eve. Those are just things that happen and happen to us all.

I never intended to close my business either. But events beyond my control conspired to force me to make that decision. Sometimes we have to make hard choices. Let's just chalk those moments up to fate. Shit happens.

But otherwise? No. I'm staying.

I still get excited when I find time in my day to play. I enjoy the people, the community, the projects and the on-going challenge of trying to become good at playing this eternally confounding mess that is Eve Online. It is, after all, a lot like life. There is no end game. There is no roadmap, no path, no way of knowing where it will all lead. And one day, no one knows when, it will suddenly all just end.

Maybe in the final analysis that is what is so amazing about Eve. The same reason we all get out of bed every morning. The promise of a new day and what it might hold for us. Life, and Eve, are both adventures.