Poster Contest: Second Entry

Make The Jump
Click to embiggen
Funny, this is actually the first one I did. I had this idea a long time ago, or at least the very beginnings of it. I wanted something very conceptual in nature, something that distilled Eve down to its very core nature. That represented what I believe to be its emotional center. And while we could all argue about what that might be, and each of us have a valid and meaningful reason for thinking it - Eve is after all a very personal experience - this is what it comes down to for me. Strip away everything else and I'm left with this core image. Everything we do, every adventure, every gank, blob, fleet op, war, every single thing begins with this moment when we face the unknown. 

My very first day in Eve I tried to slow boat over to the system gate in Todaki. This was before I learned about right-clicking and warps. That moment when I stood before my very first gate, wondering what I'd find on the other side, trying to figure out how it worked, and what I might have to do in order to get back home. That moment has never really left me these past ten years. And that feeling is what I was trying so hard to capture in this illustration. I hope I succeeded, even a little.

Unlike the last poster, this one was done entirely in Photoshop. Although to be fair I did create the base templates for the gate and Incursus in Illustrator to start with. It is hard to avoid when it comes to these extremely mechanical devices. I took some much deserved artistic leeways with the internal glows inside the Amarr gate obviously. I wanted to play up the alien feel and the impending disintegration and re-integration about to happen.

For everything else please see the previous post regarding the other poster entry, for my thoughts on the contest itself. Once again I wish all entrants the very best of luck.

Poster Contest: First Entry

FC, Can I Bring My Drake
Click to embiggen
If you haven't heard, CCP is holding a poster contest for Eve Vegas.  I encourage everyone who wants to enter to do so. I have entered two posters of my own, the first of which is above. I'll be releasing the other one publicly later.

Long time readers may be surprised to hear that I am entering this contest. As is typical of these CCP contests, you are essentially giving over all rights to your work forever and ever. However, seeing as that work is rife with CCP IP Trademarks - there are truly no other options available. If you want to do art based on Eve IP then these contests are it. As I have discovered over and over again, CCP has zero interest in working outside of whatever arcane, ever-changing, adaptable, fart-in-the-wind system they have at the moment. Which is fine. As I've said thousands of times before and will probably say a thousand times again - it is their IP to do with as they please.

As for me, I just want to get my work into the player's hands. Mostly that means creating awesome swag to give away at player events like Fanfest, Steel City Eve, and Eve Vegas later this year. But often it means taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves. Like a poster contest.

All of which doesn't mean anything. I might not win, or I might come in second or third and not get a poster printed for Vegas. Or I might win and CCP change its mind about printing them for Vegas. Goodness knows that has happened to me before. Twice.

Chance. There are a lot of very talented creatives in our community and I look forward to seeing the other entries. Best of luck to everyone that enters. And I mean that sincerely.

Once I decided on the creative for this poster I decided that the best way to present it would be to create a style that captured the look of old screen printed limited color propaganda posters. To do that I decided to work entirely in Adobe Illustrator to create the art. I actually illustrated two Drakes in two different styles before I finally landed on the final look I was after. I hope to use the other one in another project down the road. The final Drake was probably the easiest spaceship illustration I've ever done for a final project. It only includes three colors, which made it pretty easy to create.

The final poster is actually four-color, the limited color palette is only a "style" and not an actual treatment. Which I think helps to modernize the look, which is what I was hoping for.

This was not my first design for this poster, in fact I probably did about 8 different thumbnails and eventually decided to just work it out in real-time. The graphic elements are re-used from beer labels I designed years ago, altered of course. My habit of never throwing anything away comes in handy. And that helped to keep the total time spent on this poster down to about 8 hours from start to finish.

Whatever happens with the contest, win or not win, I'm happy with the end result. It is yet another example of what I believe is an endless well of largely un-tapped Eve based creative that could be used to help sell Eve Online to a much larger gaming community. And that, as always, has been my goal since day one.

Tomorrow I'll show you the other entry. Which is completely different.

Five Years: Eve Dumb Ways To Die

It is hard to believe it has been five years (or will be on July 29th) since Sindel Pellion and I released this parody video. Since then it has been seen almost 740k times on my YouTube channel alone, who knows how many other times on other channels and sources. 4k up votes and 400 down votes ain't bad either. Although one wonders who those 400 sour puss people are and if they are ok? I hope they've all gotten the help they so desperately need.

How has it aged? Not bad, although I think today's Eve players might be confused about a few of the references to Luminaire, Asakai, and Rahadalon - Brave was still a brand new idea five years ago. And obviously few people still fly with PLEX in their cargo sadly. Although you still see that every so often, it isn't the common sight it once was.

I sometimes get the itch to do the graphics over again. But I'm not putting myself through that. It was a tremendous amount of work the first time and I think I mostly succeeded in producing the half-assed style of animation I was trying for. lol.

The thing that has aged the worst is probably the original version that this is based on. Not that it is bad, just that it has faded from the general memory a bit in the years that followed. Like most popular memes and viral sensations, the lifespan of these things is hard to predict. Believe it or not that damn song and video were everywhere five years ago. There was even a phone app game.

I still enjoy watching it every so often. So that is all that really matters.

Time marches on.

One Bad Apple

If you haven't read my "The Toxic Community Myth" post yet, I highly recommend doing so before reading this post. However, if you feel like continuing onward without reference, I have to respect that. You are a reader of action.

I was super curious what the reaction would be to my last post. And no, it wasn't a "troll" or anything stupid like that. It was genuine. And it remains genuine. But still, it has been awhile since I addressed that issue and I was curious what the response would be. Overall it was extremely positive and thanks to everyone who responded, reached out, or otherwise supported the thoughts expressed. But, as always, you can't please all the people all the time.

As before, let me be as clear as I can be. Bullying, abuse, harassment, and all other forms of hate are abhorrent and should be dealt with. By CCP, by law enforcement, by the community, by anyone with any sense of right and wrong. Me saying that the Eve Community is awesome is not the same as endorsing bad actors that happen to play in the Eve Community. It just isn't. If you think that, then you haven't been paying attention to my adventures in Eve during the last ten years.

A part of the my attraction to Eve from day one was the social aspect, the fact that the ships in this game are piloted by real people playing somewhere. I was slow to build a community in game, back in those days it was mostly just me and my oldest Son playing. But hanging out on gates in Null tends to get dull and you start making friends. Eventually I got involved in Alliance politics, forums, and leadership. And then I started this magazine. And then I became involved in the greater community. Along the way, I've bumped into my fair share of bad actors. I once had my account stolen, I've had a couple of harassment issues, potential stalkers, and a-holes at the top levels of certain other player groups. I've seen and experienced a lot of hate in Eve. And some of that I purposefully sought to engage with. To varying results.

After all the work and effort that went into WWB I made a conscious decision to step back a bit and focus on different aspects of Eve. I had some projects I wanted to try and get off the ground, but those didn't work out. So now I'm just chillin'. I'm enjoying the game and helping the community and practicing for the Alliance Tournament and all the other projects I'm involved with. It is pretty awesome.

My point is this, you can actually step away from it. It can be hard and it can certainly take time and effort, but it can be done. You can surround yourself with great people and stay away from negativity. 99% of Eve players are just normal people like you and me. Most just want to have fun and do their thing in-game, whatever that might be. They are well aware of the line between real life and game life. Hang out with those people.

And if you really just can't? Then maybe Eve isn't for you. Sometimes even I need to take time and play something else. There are so many other options. If Eve is impacting your enjoyment of life, friends, family or anything that makes you happy - then for goodness sake just step away from the computer. Please.

I thrive in this environment. Nothing that has happened to me and no one that has tried to ruin my game, has mattered or impacted my real life in the slightest. Not Mittens, or Grath, or anyone else. But that might not be your experience. And I can appreciate that. We're different people. Do what makes you happy and brings your life enjoyment.

Eve is a game, please don't suffer for it. It just isn't worth it.

Keep the courage.

The Toxic Community Myth

I'm not going to mention any names in this post. My intention is not to call anyone out. But the idea of Eve's toxic community has once again, for the millionth time, risen to the surface of the conversation. If you are not aware of the specifics, I'm also not going to link to them here. Suffice to say our community is horribly toxic and destructive and hurtful and angry. Again.

First of all, and most importantly, let's be clear up front that I have zero tolerance for bullies of any kind. No one should have to endure toxic attacks online, in the real world, anywhere. Not the actor playing Jar Jar Binks, or someone who plays Eve Online. Specific incidents of this kind of activity are horrible, painful, and should be dealt with.

Secondly, it is true that Eve Online is a harsh, dark, nasty, complex game that CCP purposefully created that way. They have spent the last 15 years ensuring that it remains that way, despite drunken suicide threats, home invasions, service attacks, and all the other horrors that HTFU have spawned. This is a game imagined by Vikings on a cold, desolate island in the North Atlantic. We can argue and debate if this was the best course of action for the long-term success of this game (I don't believe it was, or is) but here we are. No sense sugar coating it.

With all of that said the Eve Community is not toxic. It is a myth and to believe in this myth is to continue to help spread it. The Eve Community is awesome and full of awesome people who support charities, help each other out (even strangers), give of their time, worry about each other, worry about our game, travel thousands of miles to spend time together, create amazing works of creative power, and generally exemplify all that is good and decent about gamers. All with a sense of humor, and all the inherent weirdnesses that often come with social awkwardness, fear, insecurity, and isolation. Which is true of any community.

Individuals are toxic. And I personally know a bunch of them. I have two of them blocked on Twitter. If I were to show my face over on Reddit a few of them would show up in the comment section. They always do. If given half a chance they have, without reason, spread all kinds of insults, lies, and fake news about me and my family around the internets for the past ten years. But that is not the "community" doing that - those are individuals choosing to do that. And I happen to believe that is an extremely important distinction. People are things we can point at and expose, a community is only something that we can wave at. It is amorphous.

I believe it is vital to make the distinction between a single person and a group, community, or organization. Especially in the time we currently find ourselves living in. Labeling a group under the umbrella created by bad actors endangers the entire group by association. A person can be dealt with and banned, removed, ignored, blocked, or helped. But an entire group?

This community of ours saved my sorry ass when I needed it most and I won't ever forget it. I'm not ashamed, or embarrassed by it. In point of fact, I am very proud of it. And I believe I've worked my butt off to pay it back in spades. So no one will ever convince me that this community is toxic. Because it is, like always, only the work of a desperate, confused, ignorant few. Most of whom are super easy to ignore.

If you are really concerned about the toxic elements in our great game, then I suggest doing what I do to avoid them. Here are some helpful suggestions:

• Stay away from Reddit. I do. You won't miss it.

• Block bullies on Social Media. I do. You won't miss them.

• Meet Eve players in person. They are awesome and you'll become life-long friends with many of them and then one day find yourself inviting them to your house and then 30+ of them will show up. And it'll be so awesome you'll do it for three years straight. I have. Our next meet is July 21st.

• Join or create an incredible corporation/alliance. Find your place in Eve. And if you can't find one, create one. I did.

• Do your thing. Ignore the idiots, trolls, and bullies. Find your thing and keep doing it. Eventually good things will happen. I do this all the time.

• Let Eve be Eve. Fight for things you believe in, but do it in a positive and encouraging way. You'll be surprised how much more you can get accomplished. You can get WCS Banned, or wings put back on Vagabonds, and have your opinion matter. Trust me.

• And always remember that bullies are just expressing the troubles that haunt them. It isn't really about you, it is about them. Their insecurities and fears. Always keep that in mind, it helps.

Engaging trolls on their turf accomplishes nothing. You can't "win". Eve is much more fun when you control the narrative and ignore the bastards.

For anything worse we can file tickets, ask for help, or simply log off for a few days or months.

Hope this helped.

Start the Hype Train!

A Band Apart: ATXVI Poster
Click to embiggen
Time to start the HYPE Train! This year's Alliance Tournament is just around the corner and July 28th will be here before you know it. The brackets are out, the Flagships are announced, the teams are practicing (one would hope), and your friendly neighborhood underdogs are ready to rumble. This will be our fourth AT and our 11th place finish last year has given us some decent seeding this year, but make no mistake - we won't be taking anything for granite. Or granted.

Anything can and will happen. Lady Luck may or may not be on our side, the chips may fall where they may - who knows. All I do know is that we've been practicing hard for a long time, our team is experienced, prepared, and working like a well-oiled machine. I believe this is our strongest and best prepared team ever. So there is nothing to do now but make some really nice wallpapers!!

Fire up the engines! Let's get this HYPE Train rolling!

Why is a Pirate's Honor Important?

A Pirate's Honor. It is the single most important thing we own. More important than the ships in our hangars, the implants in our heads, the corp or alliance we belong to, or the marks on our killboards. But why? We all know there is no honor among thieves, so why is a Pirate's honor so important in the context of a game like Eve Online?

Reputation is an extremely important part of our game. Especially for those of us that operate on the margins in Low Sec and Wormhole space. Often our reputations are all that proceed us when we enter a new area or jump thru a Gate. There is an expectation that comes along with any pilot flying the Stay Frosty banner. That expectation has been built over the past five years by every single Stay Frosty pilot that has flown before you. On an individual level and on a much larger meta level across all of New Eden. 

That expectation is so important to us that we've written it down in our Stay Frosty Code - which you can read for yourself at the link below the masthead on Eveoganda. A version of that Code was written originally by KaJolo, former CEO of The Tuksers and Stay Frosty has used a modified version of it since day one. That Code is almost as old as Eve itself. It lets everyone who decides to fly our flag know what their expectations are and the standards by which they will be held. All of us in Stay Frosty uphold that Code every day and those that choose not to, or are incapable of doing so, are dealt with harshly. We have zero tolerance for fools.

A fool can damage our reputation and ding those expectations. Even if it is only in the smallest of contexts, say one individual pilot, it is important enough to warrant swift action to repair. 

A Code does several things at once:

• It gives everyone in the Corporation the same understanding and it unites us
• It gives everyone outside of the Corporation the same understanding about us and our conduct
• And it forms a solid foundation against which all decisions/actions can be measured

The result is our enemies understand us and what we stand for. This understanding is so powerful that I can literally just undock and wait for people to show up to fight me. The stories of similar encounters from every corner of New Eden fill our Discord. Stay Frosty is well known for giving good fights, often under-manned and against the odds, that often other players will seek us out. Or engage us if we are in their local. It literally happens all the time. And I could give thousands of examples. As could any pilot in Stay Frosty.

For us, that is the single most valuable thing we own. And we've all worked hard since day one to protect it, share it, and spread the word about it across all of known space.

That is why a Pirate's honor is so important.


May 2013

Stay Frosty "Anarchy" Wallpaper
Stay Frosty
May 2013 is the high-water mark for Eveoganda (so far!). In that month this magazine experienced 212,495 visits, which works out to an average of 6,854 visitors a day (including Memorial Day weekend). Looking back now, some of those days saw 14-16k visits a day. I have no way of knowing now how many of those were unique visitors, I never ran metrics on this magazine and I still don't. So these numbers just come from the basic Blogger metrics that are built into the Google platform. Our second highest month was October 2013 when we had 190,835 visitors. 

So what the heck was going on in May of 2013 that drove so many people to this little, quiet, unassuming corner of the Eve community? 

Stay Frosty was born. I was kicked from The Tuskers in April and I started Stay Frosty in May. Between those two things a lot of stuff happened. A lot of those things were extremely public, some not so much, and some remain behind-the-scenes. Some people labeled those things as "drama", usually those on the other side of events - but undeniably everyone found them interesting. 

I'm not writing this today to re-hash any of the things that happened then. I've moved on, The Tuskers have moved on, and Stay Frosty has certainly moved on. Last year at Fanfest I even had the chance to finally meet Suleiman Shouaa the CEO of The Tuskers in person and we hit it off, buried any hatchets, and we've both moved on from it. So all of that is well-buried and mostly forgotten. And I only say 'mostly' because it is still history.

I had a tremendous amount of things happening in my life at the time. A lot of which was still private at the time. I had lost my business the year before and my personal life was in chaos. I wasn't playing Eve as much as using this blog to stay sane. And I suddenly found myself with a lot more time on my hands, sadly, than I had previously. When I finally found time to start playing again - I decided it was time to exert more control over my situation in-game.

I had a plan. That plan worked out almost perfectly. But, as with any plan, there were certainly things that happened along the way that I couldn't have planned on. There were unexpected things that cropped up that unfortunately made the situation much more acerbic than I intended. You can't predict everything, the only choice you have is to accept things as they are and move forward. There are things I wish hadn't happened, and there are a few things I wish I had handled differently in hindsight, but I can't change those now.

The plan was to make as big of a splash as possible and get Stay Frosty off on an incredible growth spurt, establishing the code by which it would operate, and attract the kinds of players that would find that play-style interesting. And by those metrics alone, May 2013 certainly exceeded my wildest dreams.

I had started or been a part of starting 4 Corporations and 2 Alliances before starting Stay Frosty and I knew that doing so without a platform like this one was almost impossible. Corporations and Alliances start every day in Eve and no one notices. I was determined that if I was going to do that again, that this time I would put everything I had into it. It was time to put the biggest foot forward I could and establish something that would stand the test of time.

As I approach my 10th year of playing Eve this September, May 2013 is becoming the half-way point in my Eve career. Everything that happened the five years before that directly led to everything that has happened in the five years since then. It is both literally and figuratively the half-way point and the turning-point of my entire Eve career.

And that's why I brought it up today. Not to kick a dead horse, but simply to remember the past and to learn from it. But mostly to remember it. 

It is, after all, only a game.

Eve Onion

Eve Onion Logo
The Eve Onion Logo
You should be reading Eve Onion. I do.  Bookmark that sucker. Go on.

There are tons of great articles full of sarcasm and biting, sometimes bitter, commentary. It often makes the work I do here more difficult, but I honestly don't mind. I highly recommend the site and not only because I designed the new logo. But mostly because I designed the new logo. In other words, I'm a fan. And you should be also.

One of the best recent articles is called "CCP Introduces Brutal PvE Content to Drive PLEX Sales" and you really should go read it now. I wanted to talk briefly about this post because it involves me. First of all, it is brilliant and so close to being true that it stings just the right amount. Secondly it has been up for almost a month - which reminds me that it has been over a month since I wrote the post it is based on. 

Time flies when you are having fun.

The Holdo Maneuver

A lightsaber in peril
The Last Jedi. No matter how you personally feel about the latest entry in the Star Wars "Skywalker" series, it does contain a few scenes that are challenging. One of the most challenging is something that has come to be known as "The Holdo Maneuver". I've read and watched countless opinion pieces since the release of the film and no one that I've seen or read has seemingly connected several dots that, I believe, are obviously connected. If you haven't read this piece over on The Ringer I suggest you do so.

When I walked out of seeing Jedi the very first time I was excited by the challenges the film presented, with the bold new directions it took, and with the way it handled both classic and new characters. Like everyone, I was sad that Carrie was gone from us. And watching her scenes in the film were gut-wrenching. They still are today. But strangely, I didn't find myself confused by anything I saw. In fact, the now infamous Holdo Maneuver made perfect sense to me. I was baffled when that started to become a 'thing' on the Internets.

I'm not going to spend 3,000 words making you wait. So let's get this over with.

There are three things happening at the exact same time in the film. Finn and Rose are getting their heads chopped off inside the ship. Rey and Ben Solo are force pulling that poor lightsaber apart in the ship's "throne" room. And Holdo is spinning the ship around to ramming speed. While it is impossible for a filmmaker to actually have three things happen at the same exact time in a movie, I believe it was the intention that all three of these things happen together. No one in any previous Star Wars film has ripped a lightsaber into two pieces before. No one in any previous Star Wars film has attempted to warp one ship into another ship. But hey, here we have two of those things happening at the exact same moment.

I can't believe no one else has connected these two unique things together before. It seems rather obvious to me that they are intended to be connected. When I walked out of the theater I felt secure in knowing that the so-called Holdo Maneuver would not have worked without the lightsaber being torn in half at the exact same time. To me, this was rather obvious. And I've seen, nor read, nor heard, anything since that first day to change my mind. In fact, I just watched it again before writing this... and duh.

This, in my opinion, solves all the weirdo problems that people seem so hung up on. Sure, ramming one big ship into another has been done before. We've seen it in other Star Wars movies. And I contend that was what Holdo had in mind. She had a big ship and they had a big ship, ramming them into each other would cripple the First Order's ship and allow the Rebels to escape. She got super duper lucky - thanks to the effects of the Force.  And the reverberations of the lightsaber being ripped apart at the same time. That is what allowed the Holdo Maneuver to work.

So yeah, feel free to use that again if you can manage to get someone aboard the enemy ship with a lightsaber and another force-user and then make those things all happen at the same time.

Good luck with that. MTFBWY.

Glad I could help.

The Year of the Leshak

ATXVI Traglavian Rock
click to download various sizes
The deadline for Flagship submissions for this year's Alliance Tournament (which starts July 28th btw) has passed. You can see the public list here for yourself. Even the briefest of looks will reveal that the new Triglavian Battleship is the popular "meta" choice this year. And yes, A Band Apart's Flagship is also a Leshak. ( I spent 14b isk buying skill injectors to train the Cruiser/BS skills to Vs, I have 28 days left to train Large Disintegrator Spec to V. That one won't be ready in time for the AT. I'm only a poor pirate.)

43 Teams submitted a Flagship. 25 of those are the Leshak. 5 are Scorpion Navy Issues. 2 Bhaalgorns. 2 of the new Praxis and 2 Rattles. 1 Golem, Vargur, Macharial, Geddon, Barghest, Nightmare, and Paladin. 63% of all Flagships this year will be new ships that have never appeared in the AT before. That's huge. And exciting.

First of all the Leshak is a powerful choice for a Flagship. All the criteria are there. It is a beast on the battlefield, especially in an enclosed box situation. Damage application is insane. And it benefits from the freedom to fit faction/officer mods. Secondarily it will be a hugely popular ban choice in this year's tournament, which means you won't be able to bring one if it isn't your Flagship. (Even if the hull is among the banned ships, you can still bring your Flagship.) This is critical in deciding which ship gets that designation on your team each year.

I want to be clear, every team has to make this decision on their own. And I'm not trying to throw shade on anyone specifically - but this post is about the Flagship choices. So I am going to talk about them. In particular the Praxis and Nightmare choices. There are other questionable choices being made in this list, but let's give those teams the benefit of the doubt. It is obvious that certain people have convinced themselves that RML spam is going to be a thing this year. And while it might make an attempt at being a thing, I don't believe it will be successful.

The Praxis is the Gnosis big sister. And when I say big I mean BIG. If you haven't been in space next to this Battleship yet, it is monstrous. I can't wait to watch them in the tournament. But like the Gnosis the Praxis is a Jack-of-all-Trades and Master of none ship. Remember ship bonuses? The idea of a Flagship is to maximize those bonuses under the influence of Faction/Officer mods. A Geddon Flagship is a lot like a Bhaalgorn, as an example. Those faction neuts are brutal. In my opinion I don't see the same net gain from a Praxis Flagship. I also don't believe that the Praxis will be a popular ban. Especially after the first weekend. But, as always, I'm willing to be proven wrong.

Unlike the Praxis however, the Nightmare is just a confusing choice. And I love the ship personally. We've fielded Nightmare comps before in the NEO and we tried to build some comps around them a few years ago for the AT. Double Nightmare comps can be quite effective with the right support. But I don't like them in this tournament. Sadly the real reason for that is something I can't reveal right now. Some thoughts and opinions must remain OpSec for now. Again, I could possibly be wrong.

Last year our team picked a Geddon Flagship. We weren't alone, but the big winner last year was the Bhaalgorn. It was probably picked by 50%+ of the teams then. So I know exactly what it feels like to be off-meta before any matches are played. So for all of those teams out there that picked an off-meta ship, be of good cheer. It is only one of a thousand choices that will impact the outcome of matches. Only one. Every match gets played out on the field of battle and sometimes the odd choice, the off-kilter decision, the lag, the boundary violation, the ecm landing or not landing, the range, the jumps, the... well you get the idea.

The HYPE is real.

Once More Unto the Breech

A Band Apart ATXV Poster
HYPE Train
The Alliance Tournament is four weekends away. Flagships have been locked in. Fleet Compositions are being spreadsheeted. Ships are being built. Mods are being hunted down and hoarded. Practices are really starting to hum. This is the stretch now. Shortly the brackets will be announced and the path to glory locked down. Hopefully our 11th place finish last year will mean something when it comes to placement. But nothing is guaranteed. Especially this year, with the rule changes and the new ships on the field - literally anything can happen.

If you've never experienced the mad rush to build an AT team yourself, I highly recommend it. Of all the things I've done or been a part of in Eve - flying with my team is simply one of the best things. Especially when the team starts to come together and mesh, when things start to hum. It is an elevated feeling, confidence, team-work, energy, that is hard to replicate in normal game play. Even in fleets or gangs, it just isn't the same thing. Working together for a purpose, to achieve a direct goal is rather unique. It is easily one of the things about the Alliance Tournament that keeps bringing me back.

Winning would also be awesome. A Band Apart remains an underdog. Apparently we aren't getting a version of Apothne's yearly AT predictions this year, but I wonder if we'd finally make it out of the mid-tier if he had. Maybe. While I like to use that information every year to help motivate our team, it doesn't really matter. The only thing that matters is winning matches. Without checking I believe we are 7-6 so far in the last three tournaments, having finished in the Top 16 the last two. My goals for this year would be to break into that last weekend without being in the loser's bracket. After that, just let fate take charge and see where it takes us. I believe that is an achievable goal. But I know that anything can happen.

We've bumped into hard counters the last two tournaments and I know how fast those can wreck the best laid plans. So anything is possible. Avoiding the rock, paper, scissors nature of the AT is our last hurdle, to put aside the underdog status and make an impact on the field.

All of which is a lot easier to write about than it is to achieve.

Our team is strong and we are really coming together this year. Whatever happens, I'll be just as proud of every single pilot and the players behind them - as I have been every year.

"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height."

New Art Prints & Event Updates

My days of trying to work with CCP to broaden the appeal of Eve to new audiences may be at an end, but that doesn't mean that I've stopped creating. Nor will I. Last weekend two of my posters arrived from the printers and we framed them and hung them on the walls in our recently renovated sunroom. They look awesome. And if you are planning to attend Steel City Eve III on July 21st at my house, you can see them for yourself.

Those are both movie poster sized prints (27"x40"), but we'll be handing out 11x17 versions of the Eve Anniversary illustration at SCEIII to everyone that attends. As well as other goodies. Just like every other year.

In 108 days we'll also be attending our first Eve Vegas! We also have several awesome swag ideas in the works for that event. So keep an eye open for more information on those as the date gets closer.

And next year, it looks like we'll be joining a bunch of Eve nerds for an Alaskan Cruise, which you can find out about on the forums HERE. At least we are planning to attend, I'm calling after this to reserve our place. But we have until March to make the final decision. And I've got work to do for that as well.

I'm busy with commissions, projects, AT practice, and a thousand other projects.  And our schedule is crammed full of future events and hanging out with our Eve friends. Hopefully we'll have the chance to meet many more of you at one of these soon.

Onward & Upward.

5 Tips for Being Better at PvP

Cyno Ad
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There are as many ways to describe PvP in Eve as there are people outside the station in Jita. All of which are probably valid in one way or another, to one degree or another. Player versus Player combat in Eve is one of the most complicated, time-intensive, stressful, and potentially rewarding experiences in all of gaming. There is simply nothing else like it. It takes time, learning, and experience to get decent at it. And it takes teachers, failure, failure, and dedication to even approach mastery. No wonder it generates so many colorful ways to describe it.

Essentially PvP combat in Eve comes down to either being prepared or being unprepared for what is about to happen to you. The more you as a participant can swing the scale in your favor the more likely you will be to fly away the victor, and vice versa. Fail to swing anything in your favor and it'll be the Pod-Express home for you.

With this in mind I'd like to offer up five seasoned tips to help you become better at PvP. My goal has always been to see everyone in New Eden become insanely good at combat. This makes the game better for everyone. I want to be challenged. And that will only happen when people learn some valuable lessons.

Yes, there are more than five things you need to do. But I wanted to keep this list manageable and concise. Find a teacher. Become a Wing Man. Join a good Corp like Stay Frosty.  But for these tips I'm going to focus on things you can actively do to enter a fight more prepared than your enemy.

1. Learn to Fit your Ship

Be a student. Always be in learning mode. Study the killboards of famous or infamous pilots. Learn the abilities of the ships you want to fly. Find ways to maximize their bonuses and minimize their weaknesses. Every ship in Eve serves a purpose and the art comes from finding ways to exploit those purposes against your opponent. But never at the expense of common sense. Being prepared does not mean fitting one of everything on your ship! It means not expecting a slow, armor-fitted AB Dessie to defeat a shield-fitted, MWD LML Garmur. 

There are tools available that can help you, tutorials on YouTube, plenty of blogposts, forum posts, and everything else. But nothing replaces doing it yourself and undocking in it. A fit doesn't have to be fancy, or faction, to work. More often than not a smart fit is all you need.

2. Situational Awareness

Learn to see past your d-scanner. Situational awareness is more than what your d-scan shows. It's about what it doesn't show you. How many people are in local, where are they, what are they doing, are they together? How many people are in the systems around me? Are they related to these people? What ships are around and why are those ships in space? What is their purpose?

You get blobbed because the guy you attacked had friends next door. Or you attacked an Incursus sitting in a Large with Cruisers on scan. Or there are two people in local and one is in a Medium plex with a Rifter. (C'mon, that other guy is in a Recon 75% of the time!) Learn how to read the signs. Often I will fly around 5-12 systems just to get the lay of the land, turn around and then head back to see what has changed. You can tell a lot from what moves around. Those Core Scanner Probes from earlier might just be a juicy PvE target when you come back around.

3. Control your own Space

You want the other player at your mercy, or as close as you can get him. Let me use a Blaster Comet as a good example of this in action. Let's say I'm flying around in my Rail fit Daredevil. I can kill any Blaster fitted Comet that I come across in that ship, as long as I maintain control of my own space and make him fight me on my terms. But I will lose my ship if the opposite happens. If I land at zero on that Comet I'm going to lose that fight nine times out of ten. But if I land 10+k away from him, he will lose that fight nine times out of ten to me. This essential premise is true, in one way or another, in every single fight in Eve. When you engage within your own space you will have a much higher chance of winning the fight.

4. Be Bold, Not Stupid

Before a fight we are all geniuses, afterwards only the winner is. Your own scale is going to depend on your own personal preferences, how long you've been playing, how much isk you have, what your personal goals are, etc. But you want to take chances, just not dumb chances. The other night I tackled a Myrmidom in my Hawk because I knew I had two other AFs behind me and we were one jump from home. We couldn't defeat him alone, he was tripled-repped, so we sent one guy home to get a bigger ship. That is being bold and being situationally aware. I wouldn't have tackled the ship had we been 17 jumps away from home.

Had we lost that fight, we'd all be idiots. But the odds were in our favor because we understand and exploited the three rules above. We know not only our ships, but all ships. So I knew what to expect from the target. And he didn't. It is one thing for someone to tell you to take chances, be bold, but another for someone like me to tell you to take smart chances. The more you understand the less bold those chances become. And the less likely you are to come out looking stupid.

5. Don't Be Afraid of Failure

I've lost 1,831 fights in Eve. I've had exactly 8,000 fights that ended in victory or death according to zKill. I've failed 1,831 times. I've horribly failed 139 times and not only lost a ship, but also my Capsule. And while these days I tend to succeed 77% of the time, that wasn't always the case. In the beginning I wasn't even planning on being a PvPer, or at least not a full-time Pirate. 

Have patience with yourself and don't let failure stop you. Each time you don't succeed is another lesson you can learn. And then sometimes you can just do dumb stuff for the sheer fun of it.

Undock, have adventures. I hope to see you in space.

Laser Tristan

Laser Tristan
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For no good reason tonight I fitted some lasers to a Tristan and went flying around with it. Mostly just for fun. Every once in awhile you have to shake things up and do goofy shit or you'll go mad. Mostly people just ran away and eventually I settled into a Novice Plex. Ships would come to the gate and then leave. But eventually an Imperial Navy Slicer warped into the plex. Sadly for him I was ready and my scram shut him down and my web made sure he wasn't going anywhere quickly. He almost killed me when I had to manually get into position, but once I built up some velocity and my repper started chewing down the damage - he exploded.

I may never get another kill with this freak of nature, but that fight made it worth doing. Good fight.

I named the Tristan "Facepalm" by the way. Seemed appropriate.

What to do with High Sec?

The Industrialist
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Since yesterday's post I've gotten a bunch of emails, discord DMs, and other notes about High Sec. I want to be clear here, I am not an expert at HS and what goes on there. My expertise is Low Sec, PvP, and the meta game surrounding Eve. I'm certainly not trying to pretend otherwise. There are a lot of people whose opinions I would trust on the subject above mine, like my friend Mike Azariah, and others of course.

Let me be clear, there should be no place inside of New Eden that could be considered "safe", except inside a station. Having said that there already exists a scale when it comes to levels of danger. A player in a 1.0 system should feel "safer" than a player in a 0.2 system. I would argue that might not always be the case. But that doesn't mean that everything gets thrown out with the bath water. I believe that most of us would tend to agree that High Sec isn't working as well as it should and that certain mechanics are, to one degree or another, broken.

As always my only goal would be to make it better, not worse. But in thinking about what better might look like, I wonder if we all have a good enough understanding of what exactly the goal of High Sec is exactly? What is the purpose of HS? I bet if you asked 10 players you'd get 10 different answers. Which is pretty normal, you'd get 10 different answers from 10 different Low Sec players and 10 different Null Sec players. But from a game design standpoint High Sec seems less defined than those, and especially when compared say to Wormhole Space.

For me HS served as the place I first learned the game. The place I first experienced combat, trade, community, and the pull of something more dangerous. When I fly thru HS on my alts I don't look at those in system as losers, or players without courage, or guts, or anything other than potential. Their potential might be different than mine, but that doesn't make it any less important to them. I learned a long time ago that it takes all aspects of New Eden working together to make things work. There is no Low Sec PvP without Industry, Mining, Exploration, and Trade. HS functions as a foundation for every other single activity in Eve, it is - and should remain - the Grand Pivot around which everything else turns.

Tahrl Cabot from Eve University wrote me a well-reasoned email that essentially proposes that HS function exactly like LS when it comes to War Decs. Aggressors get Sec Status hits that affect gate and station guns, etc., exactly the way they do in Low. This risk/reward loop is important everywhere in Eve and the idea has a lot of merit in my opinion. But this is only one idea. There are many ideas.

My "change of mind" was simply an acknowledgment on my part that it needed some consideration. Those of you that are quick to judge may not realize it, but a significant percentage of my alliance A Band Apart operates in HS. As well as every other section of space. I'm not only the CEO of Stay Frosty, but I also represent my Alliance players. I would also like their game to be better. And so would they.

I recommend reading this article from my friend Saint Michaels Soul - Non-RP – A counter to Evocation Adzhera’s article. He is responding to the original article that I was responding to yesterday. It seems the community is currently pondering these issues and I fully support that idea.

As always all I want is for Eve to be awesome for all players.

Changing My Mind

Another Lonely Haul Shadow Wallpaper
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For the longest time I used to take full responsibility for moving my own assets around New Eden. It came about from a desire to make the experience of playing Eve as "real" as I could. It is the same thing that keeps me from using drugs, or insane implants, or other tactics. Creating our own limitations is a common inhibitor used by filmmakers, story-tellers, and other creative people. Moving my own shit around New Eden was one of those. I make up my own rules to challenge myself. Otherwise I'm just playing the same way every one else is playing.

I bring this up because I got really good at moving things around New Eden. And it helped me learn important lessons about the game. And when I think about High Sec especially, my opinion is clouded by that experience. In ten years of playing Eve I've lost a total of two Transports in HS. That kind of record has a tendency to cloud our judgement. And I'm starting to come around when it comes to HS and what it should be.

I stopped moving my own assets a year ago. After hearing rumors that HS had changed and that it had become even more dangerous to move assets thru it, I went ahead and did it anyway. I was on my Alt, I was traveling in Super HS, along well-trod lanes, and avoiding hot spots - my usual tactics. I was being stupid and I had more than my own limit in cargo, but that is my own lack of patience at work. Long story short, I got ganked for the first time. 6.3b lost. My only other HS transport loss was an empty ship and pod to a smartbomber on gate. 

Since then I've been using our JF service.

I'm starting to feel myself agreeing with those that have been saying HS is broken. War Decs are broken. Ganking mechanics are broken. The penalties do not match the rewards. And HS has rapidly become a true mess without purpose. It should make sense and it doesn't.

Look, I'm an admitted Low Sec Pirate. I've been -10 for a very long time now. My experience of HS is on a transport alt. I buy things and then run home. I recently took Rixx six jumps into HS in a Leopard to buy 14b in skill injectors. That was probably the first time he was in HS in years. Point being, I'm no expert when it comes to HS.

But I see the numbers dwindling. I hear the people saying that we need a safer place to learn the game. And I also remember what HS used to be like when I started playing Eve. It wasn't like it is today. It wasn't as chaotic.

I'm sure if I took the time to dig around in my archive I'd find posts about this, but I'm feeling lazy today. I'm starting to wonder if HS wouldn't be better if 1.0 systems were totally, 100% safe. And if the sec status drop didn't allow for increasingly less safe space until you find yourself in LS or Null. What exactly would we be losing?

More players?

It feels like it is time for CCP to take a risk and try to turn Eve on it's head. And maybe turning HS into actual Empire space is the way to start. Isn't it supposed to be safe there anyway? Isn't that why it is 1.0? 

Something needs to change.

How Does This Thing Work?

Caldari Corporation Cup
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A commenter on my last post wanted to know where my ISK comes from. That is a legit question and I realize I may not have addressed this recently. Eve is nothing if not an opportunity to tell the same stories over and over again. The other night I had to explain what World War Bee was. The Eve community is constantly changing and new people are being added all the time. Like that poor guy last night who asked me for a 1v1 in our Atrons. You gotta love 'em.

Way back in 2009 I started doing work for the Alliance I was a part of at the time. I've been a professional creative and marketer for over thirty years, so it was a natural extension to me. Once I started seeing propaganda in-game and out, I quickly started grasping the potential for it. As well as learning the impact and uses for the "meta" game in Eve. I asked around and learned that exchanging art services for in-game ISK was allowed. I haven't had to PvE since that day.

100% of my in-game currency comes from the work I do for the Eve community. There isn't a major Alliance, group, website, news service, player meet, or community project that I probably haven't done something for in the past nine years. A large percentage of the videos playing on Billboards? (Although less of those lately, my time is more limited these days)  As well as a ton of work that you never get to see, player's personal projects, or professional projects. Side businesses and other stuff I try to help out with. Sometimes those out-of-game projects involve real money. Or I just do them for free. It depends. Charity work is always free.

In addition to that income stream, I also accept donations. Players donate things to the effort, to our AT runs, to events, and to the blog. As players go I am a very poor Pirate. Stay Frosty has no secure stream of in-game income. I don't skim off the top. If anything I donate most of my own income to the Corp and Alliance. I have shouldered that responsibility since day one and will continue to do so. But we have a lot of players in the Alliance that also donate and support our efforts. It is that kind of place.

So that's pretty much it really. If you are reading this and starting to think about a smart-ass comment about how much iskies I make - let me assure you the total is much, much less than you are imagining. My goal was never to get space rich and I have exceeded that goal for nine years. 

But I am always willing to accept donations. All of which will be undocked and used to create content in-game.

That is literally all I do.

Catalyst Night

In yesterday's post detailing my current Top Ten ships, I also mentioned the ones sitting at the very bottom at #100. Among those was the Catalyst at only 7 total kills in almost ten years. Which is decidedly wrong of course, but I won't go into the whole "killmails are missing" thing again. Let's just go with it.

The Catalyst has just never done much for me and I certainly haven't flown it much over the years. Typically it is the 'other' option when it comes to High-Sec Ganks - after the venerable Thrasher. So whatever the total number of kills really is, the truth is I haven't flown it all that often.

So last evening I decided to do something about it. I bought 2 Cats and fitted up the first one. God knows how old the single saved fit I had was, but it seemed legit. And with Blasters fitted the darn thing put out pretty close to 500dps! That seemed good. (This is the place where people who fit Comet's with Blasters fall victim to the "That is sooo much deeps!" syndrome!) Note to Readers: DPS only matters when it can be applied. Remember this.

So I undock and warp to a small plex to get used to the ship. My trusty wing-man Pirate Cat jumps up into my lap and I miss the Slicer on scan. So I'm pointed and being slowly chewed away by the annoying kiter. At this point I do my usual thing, which is to practice my manual piloting skills! Yes kids, even when you are being slowly killed and you really have no chance of victory or escape - use your time wisely. If I could catch the Slicer he'd die, and while I came very close a few times, eventually I did explode. Not a great start.

However, lessons were learned. And I had another Catalyst. Except this time I went with a full rack of 125mm Rails, like an intelligent person. I wasn't going to be slowly chewed away by another kiter! I'd be killed by a high-dps brawler instead!

I learned in Corp Chat that a pilot had been haunting the area earlier in a Griffin. And sure enough I saw him in a couple of systems flying around. Eventually our paths brought us together in the same system and I warped to a plex and waited. As predicted he just couldn't resist the juicy Catalyst and we started our deadly dance. I was jammed from the start and his rockets chewed into me. Sadly for him I never panic, or lose hope, or give up. I knew that eventually my lock target button smashing would pay off. I also figured that his ECM using cowardice would mean he would stay until the end. Sure enough, with about 40% structure left the jam finally broke - point - overheat guns - one dead Griffin. Hull tank ftw.

Later I found myself waiting in another plex for a Firetail and a Tristen to decide to come for me. It took them awhile to work up the courage, but eventually they both landed on the Beacon. I immediately went for the FT figuring he'd be Artie fitted with dual webs (which he was) and I'd need to eliminate him first. I also figured that would mean the Tristan would escape, but better that than losing my ship. The FT died rather quickly under my guns. And so I turned my attention to the Tristan who had me long-pointed. He was faster than me, but as long as he had me pointed I could point him too. I switched ammo and a few volleys later he exploded nicely. After that fight I had 19% structure left. The entire portion of the fight with the Tristan I ran with almost no cap. So I was switching between running the rep and running the guns. All without a functioning prop mod. Such a good fight.

At this point I'd like to mention that everything I've written about above, in addition to a couple of targets that ran off, a small roam, a fellow Stay Frosty pilot who lost his Thrasher before I could arrive to help, all took place within 45 minutes. That is all the time I had last evening.

And people continue to complain that Eve takes a huge time commitment. No it doesn't.

Jump into a ship, undock, and adventures will happen. Rinse and Repeat.

It is only as complicated as you make it.

My Top Ten Ships

Comet Signature Wallpaper
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These are my Top Ten PvP ships according to zKill as of today. I thought I'd run down the list and make snarky comments about each ship. I've never been one to focus on a single ship, I typically fly numerous ships even when I don't have long to play. The other night I had 45 minutes to play Eve and I think I undocked in five different ships at various times.

#10 The Kestrel (113 Kills)
I haven't flown the Kessie seriously in about 2 years. I still have a couple fitted up and will undock in them sometimes, but they are not as reliable a T1 Frig as they used to be. Nothing against them, but the hole that scram kitting used to enjoy has been plugged by changes that have happened over the past two years and that has hurt the Kessies over all usability in my opinion.

#9 Firetail (118 Kills)
These kills are much more recent than the Kessie. The FT is in my "regular rotation" currently and I love the ship. It has always been a reliable choice for PvP but it has recently become even more reliable. This is primarily because it has more flexibility now than it enjoyed back in the day, when you'd typically only see fast, kiting versions around. Now the Ancillary Repper has opened the door for more brawly, scram-kiting fits. The Firetail is an exceptional ship and I really enjoy flying it.

#8 Dramiel (121 Kills)
The Dram is always in the rotation. I tend to fit mine more expensively than I used to, so it doesn't get as much use these days. That isn't the reason I don't fly it, the reason I don't fly it has more to do with my impact on local than anything else. A lot has changed for me over the past five years, these days any fights I get in a Dramiel or a Daredevil are probably not going to end well for me. Mostly people just run away.

#7 Daredevil (137 Kills)
Same thing with the DD. I love my Daredevil and I am ace when flying it. But sadly me in a DD generally causes two reactions, 1) Run Away, or 2) Blob. As such it has seen a diminishing role in my regular rotation. Sad, but them is the facts.

#6 Capsule (208?)
Can someone explain to me what this stat means? I've killed 783 Pods and I've lost 139 Pods, so it isn't that number. Is this how many ships I've killed when I've also exploded? Not sure tbh.

#5 Tristan (234 Kills)
The Tristan is, in my opinion, the best T1 Frigate for Low Sec PvP. Despite the idiots who speed fit theirs and stay far away and try to kite with the damn thing, which it truly sucks at. Otherwise the Tristan is a versatile box that can be fit many, many ways and has great survivability. Unless you are caught by one of those annoying kiter people. But then send them drone love and they usually run off.

#4 Drake (309 Kills)
The majority of these kills are in Null Sec, since I rarely fly a Drake in Low. Especially during the last few years. I do have several fitted up and ready, so you never know.

#3 Sacrilege (380 Kills)
The vast majority of these kills happened in a less than one year period when I wasn't playing Eve much and lived in a system with two HS entrances. My play time back then was extremely limited, so I fit up a bunch of these bad boys and camped the entire system. My strategy was to attack everything that entered, undocked, or tried to do anything. It is surprising how well that worked. Until it all went to Hell and I finally got more playing time, joined Tuskers and then Stay Frosty. I rarely fly Sacs today, but they are still one of my favs. I've had so many memorable fights in one.

#2 Slicer (395 Kills)
This is the ship I fly when I want to be one of those annoying kiter people I mentioned earlier. Although I fit my Slicer to be a Kiter/Brawler, which is a weird thing to do. But I fly it rather uniquely and it works for me. I'm not sure anyone else would understand what I'm doing. I know this because other Slicer pilots have told me all about it.

#1 Comet (795 Kills, Fed Comet + Police Comet)
Those used to be two different ships. And here we have the very best Low Sec PvP ship available in Eve - the Fed Navy Comet. You can fit them with Blasters or with Rails, I personally prefer Rails on my Comet. I've painfully died to too many kiters to enjoy the Blaster version very often. I do fly it, but it limits my engagement window. The rail version however can engage almost anything. Just this week I engaged a 4-man FedUp gang in one. I killed two of them before mine exploded. There are not many ships you can do that with. I love my Comets.

And there you have it, my current Top Ten. My number 100th most used ship is the Catalyst, Stabber, Ferox, and Machariel each with 7 kills. Although that is certainly not accurate. It is my duty to mention that all these zKill numbers are inaccurate. Early Eve kills remain missing and a large part of Eve's history along with them. I remain hopeful that someday they will reappear, but for now about 500-750 of my own kills remain missing from my killboard.

Until next time.

Alliance Tournament

Kronos Centric

This will be A Band Apart's 4th Alliance Tournament run. Our first year we were honestly not prepared and lost the first two matches to the G0dfathers and The Explicit Alliance. Being a first time Alliance in the tournament is rough. But it was a good learning experience and we decided to try and actually prepare for the next tournament. We went 4-2 the next time out and managed to break into the Top 16 finishers, which means better standings and an automatic bid. We won matches against Shadow Cartel, Spectre Fleet, Snuff, Methodical Alliance and lost matches against Villore Accords and PFR. Then last year we finished 11th in the tournament, winning matches against Slyce, Hard Knocks Citizens, and We Form Volta before losing to Lazerhawks and Brave.

We got really good at practicing and preparing for the early matches. Our issues the last two years have been in keeping up with the changing meta and adapting our approach to compensate. Both times when we lost matches, we probably should have won, but we failed to anticipate the impact of those changes. This is not a criticism against anyone specifically, our team worked hard and we all did the best we could. But in hindsight the shortcomings are more obvious. 

Can we get over that hump this year and break into the final weekend? I have no idea. Not only is so much of the tournament a rock, paper, scissors situation (which it is), but this year changes to the rules have made it even more likely to be a hotbed of upsets. Not to mention the inclusion of three new ships that no one is super familiar with, the Precursor ships are certainly OP, but they are also NEW. Which means a significant lack of flying them around TQ and getting used to how they operate, engage, and work inside of gangs. But the biggest change is more foundational to any Comps that we, and others, had on our table. And that is the lack of doubles. Every ship has to be the only one on the field this year, so no double Eos, or double Gila, or double Blackbird, or double Bhaal comps allowed. And since doubles make up the core of pretty much every comp - it has been back to the blackboard for all of us.

As always it is impossible to predict what might happen. Our team is coming together and we are practicing hard. Our comps are starting to make sense and we are starting to understand where things are headed, at least for the opening weekend. We are a little over a month away from the July 28th start and things are looking good. Personally I feel great about the pilots I'm flying with and I think this has the chance to be a special group of players. When we are firing on all cylinders together it feels pretty damn strong.

We will always be underdogs in my mind, no matter what happens. I'd like nothing better than to improve over the last three years and see us make it to the final weekend. That is my personal goal. But no matter what happens we'll have fun and enjoy flying together, and when it is all said and done that is what truly matters.

Six weeks to go.

Good Fights & Bad Decisions

In Orbit
My Comet "Columbo" at Zero

I'm going to start writing more, I promise. So here are some stories from the past few weeks about fights I've gotten into, win or lose. I hope you enjoy. My ship is listed first.

A Comet beating a Merlin doesn't sound like a good fight and, to be honest, it often isn't. Unless the Merlin happens to be sitting at zero inside the plex, is Blaster fitted, dual webs, and has probably taken a booster recently. Not to mention that your Comet is rail fit and not blaster fit. This was a good fight for a the first part of it, but I managed to pull range and eventually he ran out of booster charges. It is good to see the Hellcats back in the neighborhood. I told him in local that it was a worthy try. It felt like something that I would do.

This fight between a rail fit Incursus and a rail fit Comet was very, very close. I still believe I would have won this fight had I not seriously derped at the last minute. I oops clicked in space which caused my poor ship to lose all velocity and essentially become a sitting duck right at the worst possible moment. Sigh. Still we were both in low structure and it was a worthy try. Comet should win that fight... but it almost didn't.

Granted, a Firetail should lose against a properly fitted Algos most of the time. Also granted, I wasn't actually trying to solo it and it did eventually die. All I had to do was hold it long enough for help to arrive. Which would have worked except I went into the fight with only 2 or 3 nanite repair paste thingies in my armor repper, instead of the much more intelligent full amount. As you can imagine this did not end well for my poor twelve killmark Firetail. But the Algos did die.

Yes, this is the same Firetail from above while it was still alive. This is a fight that is even rarer than a "good fight" - it is what we call - an "honest fight". Which is when two of the exact same ships manage to find each other in the darkness of space and decided to engage each other. Sadly for the other guy he sorta forgot to fit a tank and went boom rather quickly. Remember kids, you usually need some kind of tank to survive in Eve.

When a Pirate chooses to engage they do so typically without knowing what they are getting themselves in for. We make decisions based on type of ship, local intel, killboard intel, age of character, and other factors. Some of which are rapidly becoming meaningless, like character age. What does it matter when you can inject yourself into anything? Point being, you have to be prepared. I had seen this Gnosis earlier and pegged the pilot. When I was docked I noticed that the pilot was also docked, so I undocked in my cloaky Stratios and waited. My patience was rewarded and the rest went down pretty easy. The scariest part of these kinds of fights is being exposed during the fight. You are mutually locked down and an easy target if a gang or fleet happens to pass by.

To be fair I'm putting this in the loss column, but I truly won this lopsided encounter. My sturdy Tristan warped in on two ships, which rapidly became four ships, and eventually became six ships in total. The funny part for me was just how hesitant they were to engage at first, even with far superior numbers. Including a Bantam, which I killed pretty quickly. I also killed the bait Incursus before the sheer numbers finally brought me down. Fun fight.

Another funny fight. So two Goons decide to attack my Algos, which is fine, but they also decide to bring along a Griffin to make things all cowardly. Now here is the funny part. I point and start fighting the Dramiel, but send my drones to the ECM ship sitting about 30k away. At any point here, the Griffin could have gotten away and saved his ship. But he stayed and let my drones kill him. Sadly without my drones the Dramiel did eventually kill my Algos, but honestly I'll take a 19m Algos loss in exchange for a 45m bling Goon Griffin every single day. One less ECM ship.

That's enough for today. I hope we've all learned some valuable lessons. I know I haven't, I'll keep doing the same old dumb things as I always do.



You'll never get to play it
In Baseball when the batter gets three strikes he is registered as an out. And while my count is full of a lot of foul balls, the last strike was registered yesterday. I stepped up to the plate way back in 2009 at the request of CCP, who was looking for a company to help them run a piece of their business at the time. As a player, a fan, and an owner of a company that could help them - I gladly tried to do so. Since then we've had a few successes, like the 8 spaceship posters and the London office opening materials, and more than our fair share of "foul balls". A free video game - shot down. Several lines of shirts - shot down. A Faction Warfare Card Game - shot down. An Alliance Tournament Card Game - shot down. An original film - shot down. Two fan-run stores - shot down. A Fanfest illustrated poster - shot down. An Eve Vegas poster - shot down. And finally, this week, another original Eve based Card Game called Pub Brawl... you get the idea. (And I'm leaving out some stuff, just to keep this brief.)

You may have noticed a distinct lack of posting lately here in Eveoganda. You may have wondered why I wasn't posting at my usual pace. Was something wrong? Did the Bitter Vet Syndrome get me? Nope. I was purposefully being quiet, reserved, and hiding. I didn't want to say anything that might be construed in a negative light by anyone, anywhere. And the only way I know how to do that is by saying nothing at all. I was hoping that would help things along. And for a long time there it seemed like it just might do the trick.

I'm not going to bore you with all the details. Mostly because they don't matter. The point is, that despite other successful kickstarter campaigns for an EVE licensed product,  new personnel dedicated to new directions (as I was told at Fanfest) and an overall strategy that involves third-parties (as I was also told at Fanfest) yours truly is not allowed. I'm not only not allowed to develop a Card Game which would only take a very small KS to launch, but I'm also not allowed to sell Limited-Editions of my spaceship art posters (which would be at my own cost and not require a KS) or a Collectible Card Series built around famous Eve players (which would also be on my own dime and not require a KS).

So I am registering myself as an out today. I'm done.

I have some Star Wars projects I want to work on. I've got a cool lead on a potential project with Overwatch. And there are several other projects in various stages that have been ignored for to long now. I've always got something going on. (Not to mention my full-time CMO job!)

As for Eve I remain its biggest fan. I'll keep supporting community projects as much as I can. I've got the Alliance Tournament to train for again this year and I'm excited about our team, Stay Frosty and A Band Apart continue to require my attention. We've got Steel City Eve coming up in July, and then we will be attending our first Eve Vegas in October. You can bet that we'll have some great swag planned for both of those!

The only thing that changes is I can start being myself again here in these pages. And I can stop bothering a little company in Iceland with my crazy ideas and start bothering someone else instead.

To my readers and my fans my sincere apologies, I really did try. But it is way past time to admit defeat and move on to other things. It isn't the ninth inning yet.

Onward and upward.

Announcing Steel City Eve III

Steel City Eve Logo
The original meet logo I designed in 2016
This Summer my Wife and I will be opening our home to the Eve Community for the third year in a row for Steel City Eve III. The event is all day Saturday July 21st and you can read all the details over on Eve Meet at this link.

I'm not into publishing our home address on the internet so you'll have to write me an email to get the address. It is an easy email to remember because it is

So if you are an Eve player that lives anywhere near Pittsburgh and want to spend the day with 30-40 like-minded weirdoes hanging out in my backyard eating hamburgers that I make on the grill all while drinking and laughing and sharing stupid stories that only other weirdoes would understand - then you should come! And by "close" I mean as close as Texas, or Canada, or St. Louis, or New Jersey, because we've had people come from each of those places before.

Otherwise it is too early for any other details. If things go well I may have some super awesome sekrit things to share with you, otherwise we'll just have the usual limited-edition swag you can't get anywhere else. Like signed posters of my art. And more.

So be there or be square! It's a great time. If you ask nice I'll even give you a tour of the studio and my own collection of Eve stuffs, you can meet Pirate Cat, and see my Tweetfleet computer with your own eyes! Oh yes, it is all real baby.

Make plans now. And we hope to see you there!