Seven Years Later

WARNING: This post contains personal, real life, honesty. It may be unsuitable for some readers. It has virtually nothing to do with Eve Online and is written for those readers who have shared my journey over the past decade. It contains Adult Situations.


On Monday I start a new job as VP of OBOT Marketing & Business Development for a large East Coast Office Based Opioid Treatment (OBOT) company that operates clinics from Pennsylvania, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and other states. They called me a month or so ago and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. This came about because of the work I did prior to coming to my current employer, the company I worked for then was purchased by a much larger entity. That sale wouldn't have happened without the work I did the six months I was there.

And, believe it or not, they know this and appreciated it. Which is why I got the call and the incredible offer. After so many years of people I've helped in the past turning their backs on me, this was an unexpected and truly awesome change of fortune.

It is a rather perfect ending to the last seven years of chaos. And while we still have another year to go before that chapter is finally and forever put to rest, this is a significant step on that journey.

We've been through so much these past seven years. There were times when we weren't sure what would happen to us and our family. Times of desperation and near total panic. And while many people decided that attacking us, or accusing us, or throwing more negativity at us was the right thing to do - most of you stood by us. Especially two very important moments when we needed it the most. I promised then that I would never forget it. And I've kept that promise every single day since. We will never forget. Which is why I'm writing these words today.

You weren't wrong. We didn't scam anyone of anything. We worked our asses off. We faced our problems head on and worked hard to overcome each of them. Our family stood by us and did what they could to help. And so did you. I can't begin to tell you just how much that continues to mean to us.

So I just wanted to share our good news with you. And once again assure you that your trust was not misplaced. And to once again thank you for your help, your support, and your belief. There were many dark moments when, quite literally, all that kept us going was our Eve friends. Or an Eve event to look forward to. Or an Eve project that needed finished. Depression sucks hope. Having something to look forward to helps keep hope alive.

If you are reading this and know what I'm talking about - then thank you. If not, then let me just say this - tomorrow is always a new day.

Onward & Upward.

Keep the courage my friends.



The Mysterious Gnosis Revealed!

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If you use the New Ice Cloud skin on your Gnosis it reveals the mysterious ancient creature herself on top, right in front of the mast! I discovered this tonight. It is truly a Christmas Miracle.

Or, y'know, a strange coincidence that comes from skin edges merging. Whatever.

It's weird and I thought it was cool.


Yes, I flew Logi


If you haven't read my last post yet, you should go check it out. It's called, "How to Survive Eve Online" and it gives some solid advice on how to play in this universe for a long time.

They say 'variety' is the spice of life and inside of Eve that is certainly true. It is all too easy to get yourself trapped in a rut. Doing the same old things over and over again, and then one day wondering where the fun went. Just as in real life, you have to take an active role in forging your own destiny. Shake things up and try something different from time to time.

That's why Monday when we were putting a fleet together I decided to fly a Guardian. We needed at least five Guardians to make the fleet work properly and I volunteered to be one of them. I obviously don't get the chance to fly Logistics very often. And by "very often" I really mean maybe ten times in the last ten years. So yeah, not very often. But I believe it is important to keep your skills honed in different areas and also helps to understand what is involved. Walk a mile in another man's shoes, or in this case fly a few jumps in another person's spaceship.

Like I mentioned, I have flown Logi before in a wide variety of different situations. But it has been almost seven years since I've flown one in a larger fleet like this one. And while I have always had a tremendous amount of respect for Logi pilots, it doesn't hurt to experience that for yourself every so often. Talk about tunnel vision. There were times during the fight that I had no idea what was happening outside of my cap chain and popping reps on my watch-listed Alliance mates. Rinse and repeat. What's happening? I have no idea, but I do know that Brutix is getting into armor and needs reps fast!

I did manage to get on two killmails, it would have been more but my poor drones got exploded. No worries, I wasn't flying Logi to get on killmails. (And that is an entirely different topic of conversation, one I've covered many times in these pages)

In a few more days my Dreadnaught skill train will finally be far enough along that I can legit undock my Moros. I just bought the fits for it last night and they will be on the weekly JF this weekend. My alt has had perfect Archon skills for almost seven years, so I've flown Carriers and Jump Freighters before - but Rixx has never flown a Capital. So I'm excited about the opportunity to open yet another chapter in his ongoing adventures. As always I'll be taking it slow at first until I get familiar with the ship. There are still sub-cap ships I don't entirely feel competent to fly yet, so sometimes it takes me awhile. Some of that comes from living in Low Sec, we don't always get the chance to fly certain ships as much as those in Null or WHs do.

I just wanted to share my experiences and encourage you to think a little differently about your own adventure inside of Eve. Don't wake up one day and realize you are in a rut. Be an active and engaged participant in your own story. Be the content you want to have.

It can be truly eye opening.



How to Survive Eve Online

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There are many ways to play Eve Online. And I'm not here to disparage any of them. I've always supported a wide variety of play styles within Eve Online and will continue to do so forever. But no matter how you choose to play this crazy game of ours, the truth of the matter is... it can break you. Chew you up and spit you out. Over the past ten years I've watched this happen countless times, over and over again. Good players, great players, captains of industry, miners, builders, alliance leaders, meta-gamers, bloggers... you name it and I've watched them all break. Disappear. Vanish into the ether. (All while some players who should leave annoyingly stay)

"But Rixx," you say "how have you managed to stay so fabulous for so long?" Well I'm glad you asked. Let's take a look at some wisdom I've learned from the past decade that I hope will help you stick with Eve for the long-term. Because unlike what you might have heard, the only way to win at Eve is to never quit. Quitting isn't winning, it's quitting. Unless you come back at some point. Which you are always welcome to do. Then you can just start right back up again with the winning.

Slow Down

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your Eve career. Take your time, the Universe isn't going anywhere. I've seen way too many hotheads burn themselves out by trying to become the greatest player in Eve all at once. It is great to be enthusiastic and passionate, but all you are going to do is get tired pretty quickly. Eve can be exhausting. Especially if you take on any responsibilities. Be awesome, have fun, and remember that in Eve slow and steady really does win the race.

CCPlz

It's best if you think of CCP as simply a gaming company that happens to make Eve Online. And leave it at that. Yeah it's cool that some of the Devs will talk to you on Twitter, or engage with you on the Forums, or smack your face over on Reddit. I'm not suggesting that you ignore that, far from it. What I am suggesting is avoiding the all to common pitfall of thinking CCP is going to do anything about your specific complaint. Because they most likely are not. And you will get very, very frustrated by this and start to really hate them for it. Trust me. Don't do this. They are people who work very hard at trying to make Eve the best game they can. Really. That is all there is to that. Don't read anything else into it. Down that path lies nothing but frustration.

Friends

Make friends everywhere. In-game, out of game, in school, at work, at player meets, make lots of friends. We all need them. And so will you if you plan on playing Eve for any length of time. Nothing is more frustrating than being ganked and having no one to talk to about it. So do the right thing and join a Corporation of people that enjoy doing that thing you enjoy doing. Hang out with them. Talk to them. Learn stuff. It really, really does work.

Take Micro-Breaks

Eve can sometimes really suck you in and before you know it you've just spent three months straight single-handedly moving an entire Alliance's assets from one dark, damp place to another. It happens. I've discovered over the past ten years that taking small breaks from Eve is the best thing. What that means is totally dependent on your life, commitments, and whatnots. Everyone is different. And my schedule might not work for you. And yours might not work for me. Find out what works for you. Eve runs 24/7 (minus DT) but you can't. Walk away every so often and enjoy life. It helps.

Goals

It is great to have goals inside of Eve because often Eve can be a weirdly goal-free game. For example, my goal is to be the last player left. I'm kidding. (Sorta) In reality my goals would be very boring to most people, they are small things I need to accomplish in the near-future. Like moving a Moros from High-Sec to our base in Low. Or defending our Citadel. Stuff like that. But I am always goal-oriented in Eve. I think it helps to keep you focused. And thinking about the future.

Have Fun

Whatever you are doing in-game, no matter how serious it might be, find a way to let go and have some fun. Try something new. Fly something different. Go somewhere new. Whatever it is, do it and enjoy it. I am constantly trying new things or flying new ships and fits, often to hilarious results. Or derping myself into stupid fights I can't hope to win. Last week I tackled a Drake in an Atron. I almost had him! If you aren't enjoying Eve eventually you'll grow tired of it. And maybe you should. It might not be for you. It certainly isn't for everyone.

Don't Be a Dick

Despite its reputation Eve is very unforgiving of a-holes. You might not think this, because at any one time it seems that Eve is full of them - but in the long-run they don't last. It's true. I can go back and re-read old blog posts about people and then look them up in-game today and guess what? 9 times out of 10 they no longer play. Some take longer than others, but eventually almost every single jerk ends up leaving the game. All while the most awesome people tend to last a really long time. In the final analysis the good guys do indeed finish last. It's math, you can't argue about it.

Everyone leaves eventually, nothing lasts forever. So I'm not suggesting that people that stop playing Eve are in the wrong. Not in any way. We all have to do what we have to do. But, if you do want to try and play Eve for a long time, these are some solid pieces of advice to follow. They work for me and I suspect they will work for you as well.

Eve Forever.

What are some of the things that you do to keep yourself interested in playing?

This is just INCREDIBLE


So yesterday I get a notice over on Instagram that I've been tagged in a post. I go over and this is the image I see. And suddenly it all comes rushing back in my brain. Back in 2015 during my Fanfest presentation about Fan Art I mentioned that someone was planning on turning my Art Print Series into a quilt. In fact, you can see for yourself around the 23 minute mark in the video:



This is that quilt. Natalie made this for her husband and it took a little longer than she anticipated. Which she tells me was fortunate because the technology has come a long way in the years since. Which is good news. It isn't like the quilt took 3 years of hard work to produce, although I'm certain it took some doing.

They even managed to make one of the squares with my character avatar on it.

How awesome is that?

I've done and experienced a lot of truly amazing things in my life and my career, but I have to be honest here and say this ranks right up there. (I don't actually "rank" events, it is only an expression)  I'm humbled by the fact that someone enjoys my work enough to even want something like this. How could you not be? Not only to think of something like this, but to actually take the time, effort, and creative energy to execute it. And I'm honored that it was my art that inspired them to do so. Truly mind-blowing for me. I struggle with a tremendous amount of insecurity when it comes to my illustration/painting work and this just blows my mind.

Like my wife said last night, anytime I start to feel depressed or insecure about my illustration work going forward - all I have to do is remember this quilt. I don't mind admitting I get very emotional just writing this post. And no I didn't actually cry, c'mon, I'm the Pirate Lord.

It's moments like this that remind me of just how powerful and creative the Eve Community truly is. Thank you so much for sharing this with me Natalie. I sincerely hope that you both get years and years of enjoyment from this amazing quilt. And that you know how much it meant to me that you did it.

All I can say is Wow, thank you.




Things Are On Fire!


Our Stay Frosty Dev Team (which is pretty much Devlin) have set up a Pinger app on our Discord that warns us about certain things. It works pretty well and I know he is trying to get it to do even more. Yesterday it started screaming about one of our Citadels. Luckily I was in a position where I could run to the studio and log-on as fast as humanly possible. Slam those headphones on, jump into comms and see what the deal was.

Apparently our wacky neighbors decided now would be a good time to poke The Hat Emporium and see what happened. Why anyone would want to explode the finest haberdashery in all of Low Security space is beyond me, but that did seem to be their intention. Some people do not like hats I suppose. Either way the attack was underway and the Citadel was manned thanks to Devlin, who ended up locked in there the whole time. People who man Citadels should get on killmails by the way, it is truly a crime that they do not. As well as Logi. Weren't we supposed to have that fixed already? But I digress.

Our pilots are super good at exploding Fighters. To be fair we may have the best killing Fighters pilots in all of New Eden. We killed a lot of Fighters in the early stages of the fight, enough so their Carriers decided to bugger off early. Still, a formidable force remained. There was no time to properly organize a resistance force, so we all just jumped into whatever expendable, high-DPS ships we happened to have at hand. I personally picked an Oracle for not only DPS but range. In hindsight I think one of my Nados would have been a better choice, but I was thinking fast. And the Oracle did just fine.

They had a lot of Logistics on the field. Maybe twenty or so, I dunno. Luckily the Citadel is armed to the teeth and amongst its arsenal is a bunch of ECM thingies that can jam Logi ships. Our tactic evolved into a simple execution - someone in a tiny brave ship gets tackle and then we all warp in at range, burn it down, then warp off. Rinse and Repeat.

It worked pretty darn well.



That was a fun fight and strangely enough we didn't get Dreads or Titans dropped on us this time. And don't worry The Hat Emporium is fully repaired and open for business again.

Stay Frosty my friends.




Condor Vs Daredevil


A simple story about a simple fight I had the other evening.

I logged in and decided to fit up a simple, cheap, dual-tanked rocket Condor and take a quick ride around the neighborhood with it. My chances of getting fights increases directly when I fly T1 Frigates, so why not. It certainly did not start out that way.

I spotted an Atron in a Novice Plex and warped in on it. They ran off as I landed. It happens. Even though an Atron vs Rocket Condor fight is pretty equal, some people just want to farm in peace. Fair enough. Except this exact same scenario happened another NINE times in a row in seven different systems. It would have been TEN, but that pilot was in an Incursus. Sigh. Things were looking extremely bleak.

And that's when I spotted the Daredevil on scan. It slid into the Novice just as I landed. Now I might be a super-aggressive pirate type-person but I also try not to be super-stoopid. More than likely this Daredevil would be blaster fitted and sitting pretty at zero if I was to take the gate. And my poor Condor would be toast, even with two tanks. So I did the smart thing and set-up on the outside of the gate and waited at my optimal. I figured he'd have second thoughts and warp off after he took time to look up my killboard. But instead he landed at the gate.

Fighting ensued. My Condor is set-up as a Scram Kiter, which means it typically operates right inside of scram range. To set this fight up however, I over-heated my scram to get the range at maximum. I also approached the target under manual control to try and optimize my angle of attack. He managed to get three solid volleys on my shields, which I was able to repair without using all of my cap charges. Then I had range, thanks to an over-heated prop mod. Which was a tricky thing given the power of a DDs web. So I had him scrammed and webbed, and he had me scrammed and webbed. Sadly for him, his Blasters were struggling to hit me at 8-9k, while my low-dps rockets had no trouble hitting him. He only managed to smack my shields once more and not enough to warrant using that last cap charge. The Daredevil exploded shortly.

Good fight. Taking down a Daredevil with a T1 Frigate is never a sure thing. But luckily he was sporting a MWD on a blaster boat. I know this is a bone of contention among many PvPers in Eve, but I personally don't believe in putting MWD on blaster ships smaller than a Cruiser or an AF in certain situations when flying solo. And this is a perfect example of why. If he'd have fitted a AB, especially a faction AB, he would have had a much better chance of winning that fight. As it was, his MWD was shutdown and useless the entire fight.

My Condor was not long for this world however. I spotted an Incursus shortly after the DD fight and engaged. I figured it'd be a long fight given the Incursus' likely tank. But no one else was in local, so I had the time. Everything was proceeding as planned when Devil's Tattoo pilot Jameson2011 entered local in a Comet. I made the decision then to stay and try to kill the Incursus before the Comet landed and killed me. Jameson asked in local if this was an agreed upon fight, so I figured that convo might give me a few extra seconds. Just as I noticed the Incursus was out of charges the Comet landed and caught me before I could make my escape. I guess he also decided to finish off the Incursus.

I named my Pod "Blobbed Again" as a joke. But I don't think he appreciated it.

That Condor lived only briefly, but its life was glorious.




Pirate Lifestyle - Living by the Sword


If you haven't yet, I recommend reading PvP Lifestyle - Living By The Sword over on INN. I've never recommended an article from there before, but this one deserves your attention. Lots of good thinking about the future direction of Eve.

While I care about all of New Eden, my primary focus is naturally on Low Security space. I've spent millions of words over the years trying to not only promote the benefits of my playground, but also recommend changes to encourage its continued growth. We are in desperate times in Low Sec, overall traffic is down, participation is low, and we are seeing log-ins dropping across the board. One faction dominates Faction Warfare. Plex are empty. Belts are likewise. Structures are everywhere providing more safe havens, tethers, and guns. A safe place to spin. But little incentive to engage. Less engagement means less need to log-in. And the cycle continues.

While Stay Frosty remains one of the most active Corporations in Low Sec, even we are seeing the impact of this climate change. Over the past six years our monthly average of kills is right around 2,000. For the last five months those numbers are 731, 998, 1,112, 834 and 883 so far in November. In the last year our average weekly active numbers have dropped from 55 to 35, in a total membership that remains around 300. (Which is where we like to keep it)  And while you'd be right in questioning using Stay Frosty as the bell-weather for all of Low Sec, I'd caution you against thinking that. I keep very close tabs on the killboards of our neighbors and I can assure you they are all feeling the pinch. Heck, many of them simply do not exist anymore. Or they moved out.

It is time that CCP started thinking differently about New Eden and I like many of the suggestions in that INN article. Many of which I've made myself over the years. Especially when it comes to Faction Warfare in Low Sec. I've always been an advocate for FW as I think it serves an important and vital function as a bridge to PvP, an introduction to Low Sec, and a motivation for engagement for a lot of players. Unfortunately it is dead as a door nail right now. And that's sad, not only for LS but for New Eden as a whole.

But it is time to start thinking differently about Low Sec. It should be a training ground not only for PvP content, but also for other activities as well. Including Sov. Think of Faction Low Sec like SovLite. And that is primarily where I'd like to focus my expansion thoughts based on that article. I think Faction Warfare and the role of Pirate groups like Stay Frosty can be evolved into a much more dynamic and player driven system that rewards players on ALL sides - and not just one side over another. Us scoundrels need some love as well.

So think of each FW system as a place that can be influenced and controlled by those that have the most to gain and the most to lose by doing so. Faction Warfare certainly, but also Pirates. Right now we have a tremendous amount invested in our home system. Two Citadels, several Mining thingies, and some Engineering thingies. Not to mention all of the infrastructure, transportation, and support that goes into that. We essentially control our own space. And yet, we gain nothing from doing so. Zip. Zilch. This is a system that does nothing to encourage or benefit our players to log-in, defend, or promote our own space. I think that is a bad system.

When I'm talking about Pirates I'm talking about a horribly under-served group of LS based Corporations like Stay Frosty, Black Rebel Rifter Club, and those that remain committed to our space. The extensive Eve Lore pretty much ignores us completely, in fact it is difficult to even find us mentioned. I think that should change. I believe there should be a lore based reason for Pirate groups to exist, perhaps as Empire Ex-Pats, or some other type of rebellion, etc. If we can at least get a baseline for our existence, then out of that can grow a more complete picture of what our goals might be - and then the game can help support those.

Until then, all I'm left with is concepts that are based on the current system as it exists now. And I strongly believe that system needs to change drastically. But I do have several concepts that I'd like to put forward that showcase what I'm talking about. And that hopefully serve as jumping off points to even greater ideas that can be executed quickly.

I think the controlling group in a system should be immune to gate and NPC station guns. And that includes Pirate groups. This makes an insane amount of sense if you think about it. I know that immediately a lot of people will start moaning about gate camps, but gate camps are content. And right now, unless you have a dedicated group to support them, they are very hard to effectively mount. Which should not be the case for defenders.

I also want content specifically created for Pirate groups. Imagine a Pirate Plex that is spawned based on the activity level of -5 or below individuals in a given system. Only -5 or below individuals can access the content of this Plex, but anyone can enter to defend it. And they'd want to do that because if it is completed it impacts the influence of the system it is located in. Now you've given Pirates a source of income, a source to impact influence, and a reason for FW pilots to engage them. And a reason for Pirate pilots to log-in.

In addition FW pilots that defend themselves and kill a -5 or below pilot receive a reward for doing so. Be that Bounty, LP, or ISK I leave to smarter people than myself. But they should get a reward for defending themselves.

I think a little bit of creative thinking can go a long way towards creating an Eve that is increasingly engaged in ways that we can only imagine today. I think ALL choices should come with benefits and consequences. As someone who has lived as a -10 pilot for the past six years I can tell you there is no benefit in-game for that. There should be. Even if it is rotten. And the same holds true for any other activity or sec status or career choice in-game.

The base systems are already there. The time is now to make the changes that can help ensure that Eve survives into the next decade as a vital Universe of engaged players.

If we don't I'm not convinced it'll make it that long. And my doubts are mostly based on Null Sec, but that's a topic for another day.

What are your thoughts?




Beware The Blob


Few things illicit more cries and salty tears than the infamous "Blob" in Eve Online. But what constitutes a Blob? Is there a definition that makes sense across the board? Or is being blobbed something that is situational and defined by the victim?

When challenged to define obscenity the US Supreme Court issued one of its most famous sayings, "I know it when I see it." The act of being blobbed is a lot like that. You know it when you see it. As in many things your own perspective has a tremendous impact on your own perception about being blobbed. Are you the attacker or the defender? Are you solo, or are you FC'ing a group of hungry PvPers, have you spent weeks putting together a mining op only to have it hotdropped by Snuff? I could go on and on with scenarios, but each of those can impact your perception about what exactly a "blob" might be.

Let me try out a definition and let's see if it holds up. "A Blob is the application of any excessive amount of force disproportional to that needed to achieve victory." That sounds smart. Let me show you an example. Last night I engaged a Thorax on Station with my Vexor. Once engaged his alt/friend/whatever undocked in a Maelstrom and exploded my Vexor. Was that a blob? Or was I just the unfortunate victim of an a-hole? Let's look at another example. Judge Sarn was in local last night and was fighting fellow Frostian Dred in his Rifter, Dred was in an Atron. Meanwhile Giga and I were also in local and saw the fight happening inside a Novice Plex. We both landed on the Plex in time to help Dred, but we waited outside until the fight was determined. Our guy lost so we went in and killed poor drunk Judge Sarn. We certainly didn't need a Damavik and a Dramiel to explode a Rifter who was already damaged - so was that a Blob?

This is why defining a Blob is impossible in my opinion. Neither of those things are blobs, although in both cases a different pilot may very well have screamed about being blobbed in local.

I'll share another story with you that might help illuminate things. I have several names that I tag my pod with after I lose a fight. Instead of talking in local, I let my feelings be known in a more subtle way. Most of the time it is simply the default, because the fight doesn't need any further comment. Two of those names are - "Good Fight", and "I was Blobbed!".  I have others as well. Mostly I find it funny to do it this way and it kind of advertises my feelings on the way back home to re-ship. Point being, I rarely use the "blob" one. Very rarely.

Why is that? Is it because I rarely get blobbed? Of course not, I get blobbed all the freaking time. It's because I know it when I see it. And usually it isn't intentional. While I certainly try to never blob anyone, when you are out in a 12 man Frigate gang it can be impossible to avoid sometimes. That isn't intentional, but the results are the same. (If I'm FCing we will often try to only send a few ships, but you also have to know that what looks like a single ship can often turn into an entire gang - Eve works like that.)

A blob is in the eye of the beholder. You know it when you see it.

It's a different story if they are using ECM or a Curse... that's just nasty.



Whoops Apocalypse!

Our neighbor's once proud Oak Tree
A mild Autumn resulted in several species of Oak not dropping their leaves as quickly as usual this year. And then last Thursday we got rain that slowly turned into ice overnight and then heavy wet snow as the temps slowly dropped below freezing. By morning the weight of all that ice and snow, combined with the leaves trapping it all, broke thousands of trees across our County and beyond. In our neighborhood only one such Oak made it without some damage. A rare combination of events that ended with tens of thousands without power on Friday morning.

Shortly after this started sinking in Air Canada cancelled our flight to Montreal. It would be the only cancelled flight that day. It was also the only flight leaving Pittsburgh for Montreal. We decided to leave early and head to the airport. Without power our desktops were useless and no one was answering the phones. Our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 4pm that afternoon, so we figured there would be options that would still result in us landing in London early enough on Saturday.

I've flown hundreds of times and anytime there has been a cancelled or delayed flight, a courteous visit to the airline desk is usually enough to find a solution. After waiting in line at the Air Canada desk we were rather sternly told they would not be helping us and we'd have to call the 800 number. A number no one was answering. There were flights available leaving for Toronto that connected to London - but we had no way of making those happen.

While we desperately tried to summon help thru the phone, the app, and even over on Social Media - Air Canada was kind enough to reschedule our flight for us! They put us on a flight for Sunday which would get us to London on Monday morning about 2hrs before our return flight to the US. I kid you not. This automatic reschedule remains a sticking point with the airline even today. This has not yet been resolved despite speaking to several human beings at both Air Canada, United, the flight insurance company and who knows who else.

Sadly we were not able to make the trip to London.

Our power was out all weekend until late Sunday night. Chaos with kids schedules, hotel rooms, spoiled food, melting fridges, food for cats, the usual. I won't bore you with the details. It all worked out fine in the end. We even managed to have a decent weekend in many ways.

The tree in the photo above is gone now, they came and took it all down today. About 16,000 people remain without power but it looks like that number will drop tonight.

We are already planning our next trip to the UK... but this time in the Summer.


London Calling


We are flying out tomorrow for Eve London. If you are in the UK I hope you will stop down during the day on Saturday and that we get a chance to meet and talk about Eve (and anything else you'd like to talk about). We should be getting there around 2-3pm local time, if not before.

I'll have swag.

Neither of us has been before, so this is a big deal for us for so many reasons it'd be impossible to name them all.

Be back next week with photos and stories. In the meantime be sure to follow our adventures over on Twitter or Instagram.

Until then.



Flying Reckless


Sometimes I get bored. Yes, even the Pirate Lord of Low Sec gets bored from time to time. Engineering wars and plotting the downfall of our enemies, promoting Low Sec and Stay Frosty, keeping our Directors on course, maintaining a 77% success rate at PvP (which often sees entire Solar Systems empty when I enter), not to mention creating art and logos for the Eve Community and attending player meets around the world (London next!) - even with all of that I can sometimes log in and say, "now what?"

Mix that with my tendency to collect a crap-ton of spaceships in my hangar and across the universe. Last weekend I discovered a Prophecy that was fitted from a fleet we ran almost five years ago. And yesterday I found a Thorax that was specifically fitted to kill LML Caracals in Ishomilken back when we lived there almost four years ago! I had so many ships in my hangar that it wouldn't let me repackage fitted ships because there wasn't enough room to complete the requested action. That's a problem.

The solution started innocently enough when I attacked a Wolf with a Talwar. I made the assumption (incorrectly as it turned out) that the Wolf would be Arty fitted. It was not. Hence my approach strategy was horribly wrong and ended with my death. Hmm what other ships can I fit differently and try out? How about a kitey Punisher? It might have worked had my default Punisher orbit not been set to 500 and had I remembered to check it before the fight. Imagine my surprise when I approached the Rifter instead of burning away? And yes, I was also being lazy. I had a long day at work. So I totally deserved to die.

As long as things are going badly, I might as well lean into it huh? So when I saw 3 Hawks and a Crow in local I figured it'd be a perfect time to get rid of that weird Thorax. And maybe kill at least one of the Hawks. Sadly I didn't manage to kill the Hawk. I would have, but without a point he just ran off before he exploded.

I had gotten rid of the old Prophecy over the weekend. But it didn't die in vain, as I managed to take a Gnosis down with me. And a Tristan.

Lastly I saw Kage Huren in local from Black Rebel Rifters in a Firetail. I knew he'd be alone and figured I'd try to burn him down with a Tristan. This is an almost impossible fight to win. Even with everything on my side. I sat at zero on the button with my AB overheated and got point, web, and neut on him right off. But I still lost. Good fight and he deserved to win.

Of course I realize this all sounds a bit like, "I didn't want that ship anyway" territory, but you should all know me better than that by now. The point wasn't to throw away ships, but to use them recklessly for the fun of it. It's good for the soul to be reminded that Eve is a game and sometimes (not all the time) it is worth creating some fun for yourself. If those moments achieve other goals at the same time, then so much the better.

I enjoyed every one of those fights. Even though I lost almost all of them.


The Truth About Low Sec


As many of you know, I am unabashed and passionate about my love for Low Security space in Eve Online. Some people love Wormholes, and some people claim to love Null, and you might even bump into a person that lives in High Sec from time to time - but for those of us that call Low Sec home - well you'd have to love it in order to live there. Especially for those of us that choose to live on the underside of the Empire's boot heel. I've said it before, but it needs repeated from time to time, criminal low sec life is playing Eve on Hard Mode.

And so it is only natural that I worry about it. I recently wrote a post about how quiet it is been lately. And fellow Frostian Kirith Kodachi also wrote a post about it, but his has graphs! (So be sure to check it out.)

And while things have certainly quieted down a little over the past few months, the truth is that this feels more like a natural cycle rather than the end times. And while I will always remain worried about server login numbers, and kill-rates, and all of the data - personal experience is also important. And from what I've been seeing lately Low Sec remains as it always has been. Fights are still around, you just have to look for them. Some places are empty and some are active. And where and when those things are true is constantly changing. As anyone who has lived in Low Sec should know by now, you can't predict it. A System can be a hot-bed for action one week and be empty the next.

Long term the situation is a bit different. I still believe that Low Sec needs a unique value that can't be found anywhere else. And while Faction Warfare was often regarded as that unique value, I think we can all agree that it isn't currently. And it may never be given CCP's lack of support or upgrades over the past almost decade now. And while I still support FW and hope that CCP helps it sooner rather than later, I also strongly believe that we need something else. I've made enough suggestions over the years so I won't bore you with the details again. But there are a lot of ideas that could help drive content into Low Sec and encourage players of all ages to take the Gates.

We can't always wait on CCP however. So Stay Frosty will continue to promote Low Sec ourselves. In fact, we have several plans in the works to help bring more traffic into our neck of the woods. In addition I hope to return to creating and hosting some in-game events in the coming year. I don't know what form those will take yet, but I think it's time. Maybe a couple of Frigate Free For Alls or something?

I had more to talk about, but I'm running out of time today. So consider this part one.

Yarrr!





Rankings

SF Bare Knuckles Wallpaper

It's hard to believe that Stay Frosty will be six years old in May. Time sure does fly when you are having fun. I bring this up not to travel down memory lane or anything, but because I discovered something I had forgotten about this morning. I so rarely pay any attention to kill-boards, but I had to recently go over and give out some corporation awards that I was behind on. One thing led to another and I found this All-Time Ranking thing that zKill compiles. Of course I had known about this earlier, but when you don't use something for a long time you can sorta forget it is there.

So, I was curious. We've been around for a long time now, so how do we rank when it comes to individual ships against the rest of Eve? I'm not going to do all spaceships, but here are some of the more popular PvP ships and how we stack up.

Federation Navy Comet
Stay Frosty: #6
A Band Apart: #7

Navy Slicer
Stay Frosty: #11
A Band Apart: #29

Tristan
Stay Frosty #11
A Band Apart #13

Firetail
Stay Frosty #4
A Band Apart #13

Kestrel
Stay Frosty #16
A Band Apart #18

Atron
Stay Frosty #19
A Band Apart #18

Condor
Stay Frosty #44
A Band Apart #49

Hookbill
Stay Frosty #32
A Band Apart #29

Merlin
Stay Frosty #23
A Band Apart #22

Breacher
Stay Frosty #7
A Band Apart #7

I'll stop there, but it's heartening to see us ranked so highly across the board against other Corporations that have been around much longer than we have. Especially in Low Sec, many of our fellow Pirate groups have been around a significantly longer time than us. But we are certainly making up ground. And with over 112,000 kills already on the board we'll pass some significant milestones next year.

Pardon me for being proud of our band of misfit toys. We've come a long way in the last five years and right now Stay Frosty is better than ever. We have a great group of active leaders and FCs that have stepped up, and numerous weekly scheduled roams, activities, and plans for the future. Both in-corp and in Alliance. It is a very exciting time and I'm looking forward to where the next five years takes us.

Check out this Garmur I killed with my Astero! (Random killmail mention)

Stay Frosty my friends.







The Anti-Concord Pirate Ship

Love this image from Jacopo Alfano, here is a link to his artstation
I have a Marshall I can't fly. In fact, my hangar is full of several ships I can't fly because they are tied to Security Status. (And yes, I can literally fly them, but doing so would be stoopid for me given my -10 sec status) More specifically, positive security status. Which seems weird when you think about it for a PvP game that seems determined to push people out of High-Security space. But there it is, rewarding goodie-two-shoes and making it difficult for us scum-sucking independent minded freedom fighters to excel at - you know - Player Versus Player combat. The backbone of Eve Online.

So it was suggested on Stay Frosty Discord the other night that it was high time for some ships that benefit from negative sec status. Ships that grant bonuses in an increasingly negative manner, that start at -5 but increase the lower you get, with max role bonuses at -10. I love this suggestion and I think it is high-time that such a thing happened. We have Explorer focused ships, Mining ships, SOE white ships, Capital ships for Null Sec, it is about time we had a few Pirate focused ships with negative sec status role bonuses.

Obviously these ships (I imagine a BS/Cruiser/Frigate variant) would only come in black. Probably with badass Tribal markings and skulls on them. Maybe with skin variations available, or better yet the ability to have our Corp/Alliance logo on them. It would be great if the ship models were amalgamated versions of Empire ships cobbled together poorly, something that Low Sec people did. Worse than Minnie ships, which have been getting better lately. Think Reavers from Firefly. Or whatever, the design of the ships could be extremely creative and allow my friends in CCP's Art Department some freedom to explore.

So what kind of role bonuses would such ships have? My first thought was an automatic pod lock after the target ship explodes. Which is awesome but probably not realistic. Other dumb ideas included a YARRR! sound effect when it comes out of warp, a neutral appearance in local for a certain limited time, immunity to gate guns or NPC station guns, built-in probes (so you don't need a module, only the probes in cargo), a scram range and effectiveness bonus, a special rig that attaches extra armor onto the ship model (even if it is shield fit), a Flying Tiger skin (which gives your ship a full set of awesome Shark Teeth!), a smoke generator which generates a tremendous amount of smoke from the ships exhaust for no benefit other than it looks insanely awesome. I'm sure you can imagine your own.

As far as serious bonuses go I'm sure Fozzie could come up with some decent ones that don't imbalance the game but also make it worth flying.

As usual I'm only half serious here. But CCP started this with the introduction of those Concord sec status bonused ships, so I think it is only natural to start thinking along these lines. If positive sec status people can have special ships, then why not us? We're people too!

We're just freedom minded independents that don't like the Empire's boot on our necks. Don't tread on us.

What are your thoughts?



London Bound

Leviathan Over London Commission
2018 is the year we do four Eve player events. We traveled to Iceland for Fanfest, held Steel City Eve at our house over the Summer, attended our first (and probably last?) Eve Vegas, and in two weeks we will be jetting across the pond for our first Eve London. This trip will be nuts as we fly out on Friday and return on Monday! Trust me, we have very little vacation time left after all of this.

We both figured this was as good an excuse as any to get across the ocean and see our friends and those we've never had a chance to meet in person. Neither of us have been to England before and while we'd certainly like to stay much longer, this is the best we can do right now. We land Saturday morning and take a Black Taxi from the airport around town for a quick tour of the city and then get dropped off at our hotel before we drag our tired carcasses across the street to the player meet. Then Sunday we spend most of the day traveling to Stonehenge and Salisbury before an open evening to find food, and then board a plane on Monday to fly back. Whew. That's nuts.

I have been to Foamhenge!
As crazy as this most certainly is, we're both looking forward to it. Life is too short not to do crazy things when you have the chance. We'll come back for a longer visit at some point, but I think we both enjoy the idea of using these Eve meets as an excuse to travel.

I know we are both excited for Eve North next year because it is so close. And we've discussed making a trip to G-Fleet in Berlin next year depending on when it is. Maybe Amsterdam, or even Eve Down Under someday. How cool would that be?

Two weeks from today we'll be on our way. Can't wait.



Gooder Eve: RoundUp 2018


It's been almost three years since I last posted a catch up on my old "Gooder Eve" posts in which I made the case for all sorts of crazy ideas that would make Eve better. Essentially CCP just goes back and reads these and then makes them happen about 3yrs later and then takes all the credit for it. Whatever. As long as it happens right?

We already know about the victories with WCS and ECM, but what else can I take credit for?


Gooder Eve: Time to Clean the Database (Still Waiting on this one!)
Let's start with this one. CCP recently did a good job of cleaning out some old character names that haven't been used. And I continue to believe the same needs to be done with Corporations. I get asked a lot to help name things in Eve and I'm always frustrated by how many times the name already exists. Usually by a one-man Corporation that hasn't been active in a long, long time. Stay Frosty is a great example. We had to add a dot to the end in order to use it! Time to clean house.

Gooder Eve: Tactical Bookmarks (DONE!)
This one is done. Not only that, but CCP did me one better and incorporated bookmarks right in space. Nicely done.

Gooder Eve: Battle POS (DONE!)
This is actually several posts about making POSes better and more integral to the game, which is essentially what Structures are - especially now with all the new stuff beyond Citadels. .

Gooder Eve: Cap Buster (Maybe?!?)
Another one that has several posts behind it, but the general idea is of a ship or module that essentially "banzai's" Cap Ships. As a solo and small gang guy the idea is extremely biased and I make no apologies for that. I think the "Array" idea is a lot of fun. This one will probably never ever happen. But I can dream.

UPDATE: There has been some Cap busting talk lately and while it probably won't take the form of a giant missile strapped to a Frigate, it might result in a similar outcome.

Gooder Eve: Skill Smarts (DONE!)
Again, CCP does me one better by not only incorporating intelligence into the Skill train, but expanding functionality and allowing us to add years worth of skills into the list. Well done CCP! I was trying to be realistic in my expectations.

Gooder Eve: Majestic Time (DONE!)
Granted, it is a bit of a stretch for me to take credit for this one, but I'm going to anyway. The essential argument here was to make New Eden bigger by slowing it down a little, which is exactly what Jump Fatigue has done. I didn't suggest Jump Fatigue, but the results are the same, so there.

Gooder Eve: Harvester Class (DONE! And Maybe?)
This one may never happen. But that doesn't mean the general idea isn't worthy of consideration. The idea is simple, this is the future and we have a huge source of energy in every system that we do nothing with, the Star. Would be interesting to find a way to incorporate Stars into Eve.

UPDATE: Well the Moon mining structures obviously came out of this idea and a CCP Dev mentioned Star Harvesting at Eve Vegas - so the concept lives on. It ain't dead yet.

Gooder Eve: Gate Jammer (Maybe?)
A module or ship or device that momentarily disables a Gate. Well we have new Jump Gates now that can be destroyed and hijacked, so that's sorta similar. I still think something like this will be introduced once we get to build our own. If that ever happens.

Gooder Eve: Module Based ECM (DONE!)
I love the idea of ECM affecting module classes. Missile ECM turns off Missiles, Propulsion ECM turns off Propulsion, etc. This may never happen, but I think it is a much better way of using ECM than the current, "you are screwed" way. CCP did me one better and just went and made ECM awesome, so well done.

Gooder Eve: Universal Standings
This one is a bit crazy I admit. I'm not even sure I like it. But thinking about standings is important since they are a crazy jumble of messed up right now. The point is that Alliance and Corp management in Eve is bonkers and needs to be fixed, updated and made much gooder.

Gooder Eve: Counter Measures
I love the general concept. This was written in 2010 and Eve has come a long way since then, but we remain essentially trapped by the same PvP constraints we always have been. Funny, for a PvP based game, not a lot of thought gets mentioned about actual PvP in the game. Isn't that weird?

Gooder Eve: The Combat Tractor Beam (SORTA!)
This kinda happened, didn't it? We do have Mobile Tractor Beam thingies. I'll take some credit for it thank you. UPDATE: At Eve Vegas the concept of a tractor beam was mentioned as a module and CCP indicated they are thinking along those lines. Of course they are.

Gooder Eve: Maker's Mark
I still like the idea of ship history. This has been brought up after this post by other people time and time again, but essentially the idea is a running history of the ship you are flying. Who made it, when, and whatnot.

Gooder Eve: NPC Corps
This one still needs to happen! We should be able to show/hide the NPC Corps from our Corp history! Easy fix that would clean things up a lot for us players. Make this happen.


There are more Gooder Eve posts so feel free to use the Search Function to find them. I should start writing these again since CCP has run thru so many of them already. lol.


The Perfect Thing


Years ago down in Impass I was flying around in my Manticore doing extremely dangerous Gate Perching. Gate Perching is when you sit on top of a Star Gate in a Bomber (aligned out) waiting for a Transport ship to jump into local. This rarely works, but when it does it is insanely awesome. It is also insanely dangerous. A variation of this involves doing the same thing but to a Station. Add in the extra complication of a bombing run and then watch things go to eleven. And yes, I did this sort of thing (and worse) all the time. Heck, part of the fun of Eve is trying to think of dumb things you can do and try to get away with.

On one such day I found a Armageddon slow boating away from a Station. No one else in local. So I uncloaked my Manti and pointed him. And thus began the extremely slow process of exploding his ship. And not dying to his drones. I can't begin to tell you how long this took, but one eye was always on local. He hit structure and started dying. And then I ran out of Torps.

Years later I'm in Hevrice when I notice a Megathron jumping into Jove next door. I follow in my Condor. He warps to a belt and I follow, point, and start the process of exploding his ship. I am in zero danger from him, but again, one eye on local. No one comes to help either of us. He hits structure and starts dying. And then I run out of missiles.

That first example happened almost nine years ago. The second more than six years ago. And I remember them both, and others like them, like they happened yesterday. Sadly neither of those two ended up on my Killboard, but they remain among my favorite fights. I literally have hundreds of fights like that in my history. And I can clearly remember them all. Some you win, some you lose, and some just... well, sometimes you just run out of ammo.

We are all chasing our own version of the perfect thing. The moment when everything aligns perfectly for us and the unexpectedly great thing happens to us. No matter what you are doing in-game that perfect thing exists for you. For me it always involves finding a much larger target in a much smaller ship, the ever elusive under-classed kill above your weight-class. Or the elusive equal class match-up, when two ships of equal class square up and duke it out. Your own "perfect thing" might involve much different circumstances, but no matter what it is - they all share one common trait.

Risk. And no, I'm not going to bore you with a lecture about risk. What I am going to do is challenge you. Are you risking your own story? Only you can answer this because it is going to be different for every player. But are you making your own story interesting? After all Eve isn't a game you play as much as a game you live while you are playing it. And again, the kinds of stories will vary by player - not everyone has to be the Pirate Lord of Low Sec. But what are you? Are you living the game, are you getting the best out of your experience?

You might not have an answer right now. But let that sink in. If you discover that you are not, then you should change something. Move. Change venues. Challenge yourself. Build in some risk. Comfort becomes boring eventually.

Try something. No matter how crazy it sounds.

I bet you'll like it. And even if it ends badly, or you run out of ammo, you'll remember it.




Forgotten Corners


Wormholes. Low Security Space. Spend any amount of time at an Eve Player meet and you'll quickly understand that these regions don't get the same attention that Null Sec does. Null groups dominate events. Test had over 100 players attend the most recent Eve Vegas for example. I'm guessing but I'd bet there weren't 100 total players at Vegas that call Low Sec home. Or Wormholes. Null gets the attention in every way attention can be given. From CCP, from the media, and from other players. Look, I've played in Null and fought in many wars, I've got nothing against it. Play where you want and play how you want.

But when was the last time Wormholes got an upgrade? When was the last time something new was added to Low Sec to make it more enticing? That's right, in both cases it has been almost an entire DECADE. Which is ten years by the way.

And right now I'm speaking as the CEO of a 300+ member Low Sec Pirate Corporation - low sec isn't bouncing back after the Summer like it usually does. It is concerning, quiet, slow, and relatively dead. We are running 4-5 fleets a week and having trouble finding content.

Take a look at our monthly killboard stats:

Yarrr!

You have to go back to August of 2016 to find a month with lower than 1,000 kills and we've had three of them this year alone. Again, Summer is generally slower, but this is October. And September barely broke 1k.

I have a lot of hungry mouths to feed. I'm not going to give up on LS but I also know this means we have to start stretching out even further for content. Which we will of course.

My point is more about the long-term viability of both areas of space. Nothing in the long-term roadmap that I am aware of addresses either. Nothing. No hints at FW upgrades, or WH Abyssal graphics, or special "LS Only" content, or anything that can help drive engagement. Or provide a side-income stream that isn't relying on our alts in Null Sec. (And yes, we all have them. Spais are fun!)

It is important to mention that both WH and LS players don't want a lot of help. We just want some help. We like our spaces and they way they operate. Don't mess with stuff that isn't broken. In the case of LS all I really think we need is some love given to FW mechanics and some additional type of content drivers. Not much to be frank.

But when will that happen? My worry is not soon enough to matter.


I Barely Survived My First Eve Vegas


If you read this post you might think I had a terrible time at Eve Vegas. I did not. Not entirely. And only for large chunks of the time. You might even get the idea that I was miserable. And you wouldn't be wrong. Not entirely. But mostly I wasn't. Hopefully you will read this and understand that my feelings about Eve Vegas are complicated. And I hope you won't judge me harshly for being honest. Or, at least, trying to be honest.

This was our first Eve Vegas. It was my wife's first time in Vegas ever. And it was only my second. Although I've been in the Vegas airport a dozen times or more. My first time on the strip was a drive up and down with a few stops along the way. So this was truly our first significant exposure to the city. And let me be brutally honest here, for two people who have struggled their entire lives with social anxiety and depression - Las Vegas is possibly the worst place in the world. It is loud, obnoxious, unending, unrelenting, bright, noisy, harsh, and weirdly cavernous. It is unrelentingly oppressive. And I won't even go down the financial, corporate, stupid-tax, side of gambling. Or worse. Suffice to say that Las Vegas is not our happy place.

Our first two days on the trip we left the city and went off to the country. Those two days were awesome. More about those in another post.

I'm glad to hear that the event will be moving from The Linq because that was like having an Eve meet in a cave for three days. There are no windows. And it is dark and oppressive. For anyone that bumped into me during those three days and found me sour, or surly, or dark, I sincerely apologize. Just know that I was expending a tremendous amount of personal energy trying to be normal. And I'd be the first to admit that I wasn't always successful. I know my Wife had the same problems. The consequences for that expenditure of energy was manifested physically in my knees. So, lucky me, I was also in some physical discomfort most of the time. (Feeling much better now.)

God that sounds awful doesn't it?

But it also wasn't. As always we enjoyed meeting up with our friends and having the opportunity to meet and make new friends. As always we missed running into people we would have liked to have bumped into, or else ran into them at bad times. I also know a lot of people are dealing with their own social anxieties and I do always try to be aware of that as well. We can be a hot mess the Eve community. So it's all good. If we missed you just know that we hope to run into you again at another event soon. And if you didn't manage to grab some swag, you have no one to blame but yourself. Liz and I were practically throwing it at people towards the end there.

Top Golf was a blast and we both really enjoyed that much more than we thought we would. I sucked so hard at first it was truly embarrassing. But, as always, I struggled on and by the end I was doing much, much better. I even managed to sink an air shot into the furthest white circle near the far end. So I was pretty proud of that. Even though, by then, no one was paying me any attention.

We also enjoyed Drai's more than we thought we would. Although that was a hard place to talk without yelling at each other. Enjoyable and always good to see Permaband in person.

For a low sec Pirate Lord there wasn't much about the event itself to get excited about. Almost all the new updates are for Null Sec. Although I always appreciate updated graphics and the new Stargate effects are insanely awesome. And we get some new ships, which is always good news.

I tend to seek out and hang with the art department, so it was great to have some time with CCP Burger. Awesome guy and while he is still relatively new in the position (since July), I am very encouraged by what I've heard. CCP has traditionally been very silo oriented and it is encouraging that they are trying to change that and get different departments working closer together. That should have long lasting and positive impacts across the board going forward.

I also spent some time with him on the new 3D Camera. And I am pleased to report that this thing works like magic. And while it won't launch as feature-rich as it could be, the groundwork is obviously there to expand the capabilities of the feature in the future. For someone like myself who has been asking for something like this for a decade, this is huge. It works. And it is beautiful. Look for a drastic increase in the quality of Eve cinematics in the near future. I know I'm going to be purchasing a 3D mouse.

I also finally had a chance to sit down and talk with CCP Salvo as well. And while the Imicus is next up on the update line, I tried to convince him that the Thorax should be next. He also agrees with that assessment and hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later. I also stressed that the entire Battlecruiser line-up needs updated, especially the Hurricane, Cyclone, Myrmidon, Harbinger and Drake models. The important thing with those ships is to maintain the current model while updating the look and texture of each. They just need some TLC and updated to look more modern.

The Eve store featured one item with a spaceship on it, which sold out. A t-shirt with a white Rifter. I honestly don't know how many more years it will take for CCP to savvy to the point here, but at least that is some progress. Put ships on things! Duh. Remember Incarna? We like spaceships, it is the entire point of the game.

Speaking of spaceships we had several 3D printed models in the charity auction this year. I wish I knew who provided them, but I don't. (Enough said about that.) But they were amazing and they sold, I believe for a combined $1,200 or so. Proving once again that we like spaceships. Duh.

I was proud to donate a print of mine to the auction as well. And while I had to handwrite an information card for it and it had no way of being displayed (the less said about this the better), it still managed to bring in $360 for charity. I promoted the crap out of it myself and the guy who bought it was extremely happy. As was I.  All told we raised slightly over $15,000 for Able Gamers and I'm proud to have been a small part of that success. Always feels good.

I was also happy to hear that Toronto will be an official meet next year. I know those people have been working hard on that event for years and they deserve the recognition. I'm sure that we will be going next year, it is so close after all. Once I heard that, I figured we wouldn't win the Fanfest at Home contest. And sure enough it ended up going to those nudists in Finland. Well deserved.

I could complain about more things. Or I could just shut up about it.

We're already looking forward to Eve London in less than a month. That'll make FOUR Eve Player Events for us in 2018. Fanfest, Steel City Eve, Vegas, and London. I doubt we'll do that many again next year. But you never know what the future holds.

Whatever happens just know that I'll always be over here trying to shame CCP into a better store experience, better merch, better game play and more better graphics all around. In the end all I want is for Eve to be awesome. Just like we all do.

Now I'm just looking forward to logging in and blowing something up.

Yarrr!



Vexor Progress

Right now I'm working on something new. I hurt my shoulder over the Summer and the lingering effects from that injury have impacted my work. I can't really work some of the same techniques I used in the past. Heck, it is probably those exact techniques that led to some of the problems I'm having to be honest.

So I've been working on a less impactful schedule and technique which I am getting pretty decent at. I did a few trial runs with it and then decided to challenge myself by painting/drawing a Headhunter skinned Vexor entirely in Illustrator. The ship is just a part of a larger piece, but it is the hero and the most important element.

So I thought I'd share a few of the progress images with you.

First step is just to block out big areas of color, shadows, and a few fine lines and details.

Then it is just a question of adding increasing details, color, shading, and then final details like lights and labels. Almost all of this stage is done freehand using the brush tool.


Some elements required testing out various SVG Filters, mostly to do with blending and blurring. As this is a vector based illustration, achieving the desired results is not as easy as it is in Photoshop.

The real challenge for me was going to be getting the skin effects correct. This was extremely challenging.

And there it is. An entirely vector based illustration of the Vexor with the Headhunter skin. I'll finish this piece up when we get back from Eve Vegas. But now that the ship is finished, my original intention might change. I'll have to give this some thought.

A piece of advice if you are going to try working like this in Illustrator - be sure to outline everything as you go. Or at least at the very end. It makes dealing with the drawing so much easier later on. Especially when moving it around or re-sizing it.

In total this piece took about 6 hours from start to finish.

BONUS:

Here is a wireframe view of the illustration about halfway along.


And the whole thing up on my monitor.


Off to Eve Vegas



In two days we leave for our first trip to Eve Vegas. Finally! After years of trying (insert long-story here) we are finally going. I hope. There are still two days...

Above is our entry in the recent Eve Fanfest Home Contest. The Harpa in Reykjavik is undergoing some renovations and CCP is moving HQ buildings, so in 2019 there won't be a Fanfest in Iceland. Instead they will be spreading things out a bit across the globe. And one of those stops will be at someone's house. Most likely not mine. But one can hope and after long and careful consideration, my lovely Wife and I decided to go ahead and enter. Just on the off-chance we might win. Because we already host Steel City Eve at our house and that is awesome.

Last week CCP held another contest and asked the community to post Fan Art around the social media universe. And while I could have posted a lot more, I did try to contain myself. Over on Instagram I posted a few images, one of which was selected as one of the three winners. I think we each get one of those awesome white Art of Eve book collections. Which, believe it or not, I don't already own. (Although I do have the Art of Eve book, I'm not a caveman.)

This is the piece that won:
Maulus In Orbit Illustration
Click to embiggen
Which is cool because this piece was really a test more than anything. One of the very first times I tried to do an entire piece in Photoshop using the Wacom tablet and a whole bunch of custom brushes. So it represents an important moment in my own history, so it's nice for it to get some recognition.

I don't do as much Eve art as I used to these days. But I try to stay busy and I have a new piece I'm working on that I am very excited about. But that will have to wait until after Eve Vegas.

Until then.






War Decs in Eve


There is a lot of talk within the community lately about War Decs. The possibility that something may be or may not be done with them has stirred up discussions around town. The recent CSM minutes are to blame. But there is another culprit, one much more serious and impactful. It is becoming rather obvious that War Mechanics in Eve are actually driving players out of the game. This possibility has been debated for years, but it looks like we finally have actual data to back it up. Indeed, players do disengage from Eve when under War and (even more importantly) afterwards. They don't always come back.

The critical issue here is engagement. The more engaged players become the more likely they are to stay players. And sadly, War Decs as they exist in Eve are anti-engagement. There is literally nothing you can do about them. Except log off, stay in station, stop doing anything, avoid them, and other non-engagement activities. For most Eve players these are the options. Back when I lived in High Sec at the beginning of my Eve career a War Dec meant a jump-clone into our Null Sec base. But not all players have that option.

I'll leave it to others to complain, because I have a simple solution - get rid of them. Completely.

Scrap the whole thing. Don't keep iterating on a system that is horribly broken. Instead, wipe the slate clean so that it can be replaced for a new system built from the ground up. I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers here, but I do know what a new Engagement System should look like. Here are a few of the basic tenants:

• Goal Based - Both sides in an engagement should have goals that can be completed to achieve victory conditions. These victory conditions need to be meaningful for both sides. This can easily become a very complicated and intricate system, but I would prefer it stay as simple as possible. Goals could be tied to missions, or other pve content, or based on activity levels. Getting out of a War Dec should be easy for an active, engaged group of players. We want to encourage activity. Not penalize it. Maybe some goals are in Low Sec, Null or in a WH?

• Bribery - This wouldn't be Eve without risks and underhanded mechanics. I suggest building it into the system. You should be able to bribe Concord to gain advantages or to combat advantages. I'd like someone to bribe Concord to let me into HS for a war mission (Yeah, War Missions!) for a few hours. Or for a victim corp to pay off one of their goals and reduce the timers. The options here are numerous. Cross pollination is the goal here, let's get players jumping into systems and experiencing new parts of space.

Right now there is nothing an Alliance like mine can do against a War Dec. Our HS arms simply move around it and HS activity is avoided. But our main combat arm, Stay Frosty, is 100% useless when it comes to HS Wars. Us scum-sucking Pirates can't do anything to help. At least not reasonably. I suggest that during a War Concord grants temporary sec status to all combatants. So I could fly into HS to search out and freely engage War Targets. Obviously, if I abused that access by attacking anyone else, my status would be removed. But to other members of HS I'd appear just like a regular joe. Maybe with a special icon or something so they could avoid me. More engagement.

People who declare War need to have skin in the game as well. I'm not trying to take anyone's play style away from them. I'd also want these systems to engage them as well. But they should have something to lose. And something to gain.

And then we need to eliminate the ability to engage other players in HS. You simply are unable to lock another ship, not under a War Dec, in HS. Any smartbombs on a gate will not damage ships not under a War Dec with your corp/alliance. Let's eliminate ganking completely from Eve. It is horrible game play that only encourages the worst in players.  It is borderline abuse and it is time for it to be eliminated. Let HS be for the safety conscious, encourage them to travel, to be engaged, to experience other aspects of the game. HS shouldn't be that great. Players should want to move to Low and Null and Wormholes. If they don't, then something is wrong.

But that only works if we can more easily travel between those sections of the game. It only works if I can travel into HS to engage War Targets. It only works if HS Wars require visits to Low, Null or WHs. And that's why we need a new system.

In my opinion.



So What's Next?


I keep getting asked in local about my Podcast After Hours and when it will be coming back. And I keep having to decline commission work. And sometimes I find it challenging to think of something to write in this blog. Any free time I have these days is typically time I want to be spending in-game. Things are really hopping in Stay Frosty and ABA these days. We're running anywhere between 4-6 organized fleets a week lately. Which is exciting.

I think I've gotten my FC mojo back. I keep thinking about more theme roams that we can try. This past Saturday we went out in Rifters and that was a lot of fun. I want to do more of those. During the week most of the fun stuff happens while I am at work, which has always been a bummer. But I'd rather be working than face the alternative. Which is why weekends end up being so important. We will be missing a couple of weekends for Eve Vegas and Eve London. And all of the Holiday stuff coming up end of year.

It is a busy time to say the least. I've been at my current position for over a year now and things couldn't be going better. The marketing is humming along and we are exceeding our goals. I really enjoy the people I work with every day. So that's going really well.

All of which adds up to decisions that need to be made about priorities. I've already made the decision that commissions will generally have to be a thing of the past. Except for charity or community projects. Those I will continue to help with. But sadly I just don't have the free time these days to commit to anything more than that. I want to focus more on my own work when I do have the time. I need some new creative projects that I can get excited about. I'm in a sort of transitional time right now when it comes to my personal projects. I was expecting to be working on several card games right now to reveal at Eve Vegas - but sadly those didn't happen. So I'm looking to be inspired again, I keep fiddling around with different things, but nothing has stuck yet. It will eventually.

I admit I'm not 100% percent sure about After Hours right now. If it does come back I'm not sure what the format will be. I've been thinking about doing something else with it, but I'm not sure yet what that might be.

Believe it or not I've even considered the possibility of Streaming.

In other words, I dunno. Right now I'm having fun in Eve roaming with my Pirates. Planning our Eve Vegas and Eve London trips. Mailing out the posters people won during EveAThon this past weekend. And generally taking a small break from being insanely busy - to just being moderately busy all the time.

It feels good for once not to have the weight of the world on my shoulders. And maybe that is the thing after all. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm pretty sure this time it isn't actually a train coming towards me. It might just be daylight.