Eleven Years Redux


Eleven years ago my Son called me into his room and showed me a spaceship spinning in a station. He then undocked that spaceship into the dark vastness of space and what I saw hooked me for the next eleven years.

Together we flew in Wars as both defenders and conquerers. We helped save Providence and helped to destroy it, a few times over. We took Sov, both by force and by intent. We logged in simply to make sure skills kept training. We gate camped, we died by Titan area of effect weapons, and we watched as Wormholes, T3 ships, and more entered the game. We started corporations and closed them. We had a blast trying new, bold, interesting, crazy, and weird things - just because it would be fun to try.

I was once asked to prepare a proposal for my company to run the social media and PR efforts for CCP Games.

One day I decided to start writing down those adventures in an online journal I called EVEOGANDA. A place to share our adventures, and some of the weird propaganda work I had started doing for Alliance forums.

I created ads and wrote stories for a print magazine called EON. I was paid in iskies.

I believe that in the past eleven years I've literally spent millions of hours staring at spaceships in space, in station, and in real life. It didn't take long before I started drawing what I saw. One Summer I went insane and drew a LOT of spaceships trying to learn how to do it better. Those illustrations garnered some attention and before long CCP noticed. 

I went to my first Fanfest in 2015 where I met the first other person who played Eve. Soon I met hundreds more. I had dinner with Seagull and lunch with Torfi. I gave a player presentation about Fan Art and sat with Andrew and Spitfire at a round table afterwards. I was on Eve TV live sitting next to CCP Guard. And I spent two days signing autographs on posters I illustrated that were being sold at the store! 

During the Summer of Rage (Incarna) I started putting hats on my Twitter avatar and before you knew it I had put hats on over 500 other player avatars.

When the Stabber model was updated an Art Director at CCP forgot to include the frills on the Vagabond. I helped organize a community protest that resulted in them being added back, where they remain to this day.

I organized and ran several Death Races in-game, the first one ran thru Providence and maybe had a hundred pilots attend. The last one had over 400 attendees.

I organized and ran several Frigate Free-For-Alls that created extremely large red dots of destruction on the Eve map. The last one resulted in over 4,000 ship explosions. And Stay Frosty handed out over 1,000 FREE fully fitted Frigates that day.

I helped someone create a browser based side-scrolling Eve game. It worked for about three days until CCP made us take it down.

You can't travel around the Eve community without bumping into my work. In every corner you travel you are probably looking at something I created. That's pretty awesome.

I've been to three Fanfest in Iceland. I stood on top of a volcano. I've been all over the island, to the far east and far west. My wife and I have traveled to Amsterdam, Vegas, Toronto, and Alaska. And we consider hundreds of Eve players to be our dear friends. Some we've met, and some we have yet to meet.

And one day I decided to start a new corporation called Stay Frosty. Soon that grew into an entire Alliance. For the past almost seven years that group of misfits has been my pride and joy in-game. We may be "idiots of no consequence" as a trust-fund baby once described us, but we've accomplished a lot in those years. We've had solid runs in the Alliance Tournaments and in other Tournaments that have resulted in some of the most fun I've ever had in-game. We've taken Sov for fun. We've annoyed the Hell out of certain people. And we've outlasted every single one of our enemies who at one time or another promised our failure, or defeat.

For fun once I played a major role in starting a major war. For fun once I wanted to see how hard it would be to manipulate the person in Eve that everyone seems to think is the game's best manipulator - it turned out to be comically easy. So easy in fact that I lost interest in the so-called "meta" game and haven't been interested in it since.

We've had Eve players over to our home. Four times.

Funny. I didn't start writing this with the intention of listing off things I've done or experienced in the last eleven years. I truly didn't. But eleven years is a long time and I've done a lot of things I'm proud of. And a few that I am not proud of. I've made many mistakes. I also often let my depression and anger over my real life situation bleed into my game. It is challenging to keep the two apart. As much as we try, real life and Eve life are truly one and the same. I haven't always been the best version of myself. I realize, looking back lately, how unlike myself I have been from time to time in the past. Out here in the real world I had a rough fourteen years, a run that started well before I found Eve and this great community of ours.

If, at any point during the last eleven years, I've said or done anything to offend or hurt you - I sincerely apologize. That was never my intention. 

Except for a few people.

I wanted to learn what an MMO was. And I wanted to find my place. And have fun. And help others. And live life to the fullest.

I still do.

If you've read this far, thank you. Thanks for reading and for following along on this crazy adventure. If you are new here, then welcome aboard. I have no idea where the next eleven years are going, all I know is that I'll still be playing Eve. If it is still here. And if I am.

Keep the courage.




An Epic Day


The funny thing is, I didn't really have much time to play Eve yesterday. I hopped on at lunch for about thirty minutes and then again in the evening for maybe an hour or so. Which is exactly the kind of scenario that benefits the Pirate Lord's casual play style. I decided to just hop into my new Wolf fit that I've been working out and warp around the neighborhood and see what kind of trouble I could get myself into. What unfolded is one of the best days I've had in Eve in a long time.

Fight #1 - Jackdaw

Stay Frosty kills a LOT of Jackdaws. We have a couple of pilots who have become rather skilled and proficient at popping these ships. The Jackdaw has become the de facto choice for pilots running those Left Hooks, Reprisal, Dead Man plexes in Low Sec. The damn ships are everywhere and they are notoriously difficult to catch. They sit about 150k off the button and they warp away immediately. Usually.

This one was sitting right on the button. At least he fought back, most of the time they just curl up into a fetal position and wait to die.

Fight #2 - Tristan

I gotta give Rima credit here for trying. This is the kind of fight I like to get myself into, so total respect for giving this a shot. It isn't as crazy as it sounds on paper. The MWD driven Tristan is fast, has drones (something my Wolf doesn't have), and is an accomplished kiting ship choice. Given the right circumstances and the right target this fight might have gone the other way. In fact, it was a bit tricky. Luckily my Wolf is also extremely fast. Surprisingly so.

Fight #3 - Jackdaw, Jaguar, Merlin, and Garmur

For some reason zKill is lumping an earlier Jackdaw kill that my corpmate FireSequence scored into that Battle Report. What happened was that Fire entered a plex to attack that Jackdaw (which he exploded nicely) and when I landed on the gate I was pointed by a Merlin. This Merlin was the vanguard scout of the Jag and Garmur pilots who would show up shortly. So I stuck on the gate killing the Merlin while he was inside killing the Jack.

That's when I saw another Jack on scan at another plex and warped over to say hello. And that's when the Merlin's buddies decided to join in. So I was already engaged with the Jackdaw, who was fighting back to his credit, when the Jag and then the Garmur landed. Ok, fine. I knew, based on experience, that the Jack would explode pretty quickly, so I focused fire on him while also trying to position myself for the Jag next. I also needed to keep an eye on the Garmur to figure out what kind of Garmur it was. He started pulling range, so I figured he was probably the light missile version.

I love the Jaguar. But it has a flaw or two. The DPS is not awesome and it usually comes shield boosted, so charges are an issue eventually. The tank can be amazing, especially when combined with the ADC. But eventually it can become paper thin to incoming dps. I have to admit here that this fight was not looking good for your friendly neighborhood Pirate. The Jag's tank was holding and mine was slowing failing. I finally had to admit to myself that my Wolf had seen her last fight and the best thing I could do was try and save my pod. I OH'd everything and aligned out. Spamming the warp button. Waiting for death.

And I did warp out, except I wasn't in my pod.


I was in my Wolf!! 2% STRUCTURE LEFT!!!!

The Jaguar had exploded and the Garmur was probably holding his point to try and snag my pod, so I warped away because I was aligned already! EPIC!

The Garmur pilot called it luck in local. I'll take it. The God's know it often works against me.

Fight #4 - A Comet, Another Comet, and an Atron

You'll notice that the Atron above doesn't have a link. That's because it didn't die. That's right true believers, they finally got me. Turns out that three incoming blaster ships DPS is what it takes to explode my epic Wolf. But just barely and by the smallest of margins. In fact, given one more volley from my guns, I think the Atron would have been the one exploding. That is how close it was. (See above about "luck". The wheel turns for all of us.)

Still, a great fight. And I learned a few things that I will perfect further in the next generation. Perfection awaits!

Fight #5 - The Gila

Warping my pod back to station I couldn't help but notice the Gila on scan. I waited at the undock and did a quick scan. Sure enough, there was a Gila in a belt. To be fair I grabbed my own Gila and undocked to go say Hello. I didn't know it then but the poor Gila ratting in that belt had zero chance of living. We learn these things afterwards. Still, I got to use my Gila. That's a win.

Fight #6 - The Executioner

I have a lot of ships. Many times, when people retire from Eve they will contract me their ships so that they can be used in combat. (Always remember the Pirate Lord accepts donations and all ships, mods, and ammo will be used in combat by a certified Stay Frosty pilot!)  I don't fly Executioners very often but I seem to have three of them fitted in my hangar. So I grabbed one and undocked to fight the Executioner in the Novice. What I didn't notice until I landed in the Plex was that this ship had an AB fitted... and not the MWD I was expecting.

As you would expect, that fight did not go well for me.

Fight #7 - The Executioner

Just to end this epic day on the right note, I did remember to fit a MWD on my Slicer! This wasn't an easy fight, but the pulse MWD slingshot trick worked and the enemy Executioner exploded nicely. I did manage to win that isk war in that exchange. My Executioner was worth about 4m and theirs was more like 15m.

Always remember kids, never take the second fight.

And Stay Frosty!







11 Years of Eve Online


To be perfectly frank I was dreading writing this post. Last year was my 10th year anniversary and that seemed monumental and important, whereas 11 years...? I dunno, it's just the 10th plus One isn't it? But then I started to think about all the things that have happened since last September, Eve Vegas, Eve Amsterdam, Eve North, Alaska, Steel City Eve, that's five major Eve events in the last twelve months! Not to mention the horror show that was our attempt to get to Eve London in an ice storm and the subsequent weekend living in a hotel room. Not to mention that at all. So, almost six Eve Events in the last twelve months. Whew.

Inside of the game we've started down this Chaos Era path, local is gone, local is back, cyno changes, and all the associated stuff that has changed in the past year. But all that has done is make the lack of a plan more apparent than ever. When was the last significant change/upgrade/addition to Eve Online? Citadels? That was 2016, almost three years ago. In the past year the "Eve is Dying" crowd has ramped up their cries across all media, it became so bad that the Eve Online Facebook group moderators banned posts about the subject.

I exploded 411 ships in the last twelve months. Stay Frosty purged half of our membership and worked hard to become even more active and engaged over the past year. I trained and flew my very first Capital ship (Not counting my alt's Archon which I've had for eight years) and promptly lost it the first time it undocked in anger. I went months with very little time to play and I've gone months when I've had more time to play. The usual. I've made it eleven years because I learned a long time ago how to manage my Eve playing time properly.

My favorite thing from the past year has to be this:
CCP Guard Rock God Poster
Click to embiggen
Being able to quickly decide to go to Eve Amsterdam and hand deliver this piece of art to CCP Guard has to be the highlight of the year for me. The way everyone came together to make that happen is epic and just goes to, once again, prove how incredibly awesome this community truly is.

In the final analysis it is the friendships that we've made that keep me going. Whenever my mind wanders over the idea of quitting or stepping away from Eve it is our friends that make that unimaginable to contemplate. My friends in ABA and Stay Frosty, my friends in the greater Eve Community, at CCP, and across the globe are what makes this experience worth living. And I honestly can't imagine walking away from that.

As nutty as it can be at times, as weird as some people seem determined to make it, I wouldn't trade it for anything. Anything less than a million dollars at least.

Eleven years. I never would have imagined it. And now I can't imagine life without it.

Eve Forever.




A Week of Good Fights

Tormentor
Click to embiggen
In my line of Pirate Lord work the good fights come and go like the tides of the solar winds, some days you get the bear, somedays the bear gets you, and some days there just ain't any bears. This Summer, as you may have heard from some of the more negative corners of the community, has been rather sparse at times. For those of us who have been playing for more than ten minutes, this is not unusual. Summer is brutal. Darn people and their vacations, outdoor activities, family time, and whatnots! Sports!?

Instead of panicking and spouting off about how Eve is Dying© again, us veteran players hunker down in anticipation of the return of September, school, college, and cold northern weather to force more people indoors in front of their toasty warm overheating graphics cards and more Eve Online! The hunting has been good this week. The bears have returned.

Here are some highlights from this week.

2v1 Comets versus my Wolf
I bumped into one of these Comets on a Gate and we mutually yellow-boxed each other. I can't shoot first because of Gate guns, so I waited for him to make the first move. He didn't. Which means one of several things, 1) He doesn't want to fight, 2) He does want to fight but doesn't know how, 3) He does want to fight but is waiting for back-up to arrive, or 4) He forgot to turn off auto-lock. More than likely it is option 3, so I warped slowly off to a Small Plex and waited for him to make up his mind.

Luckily for me he came early before his back-up buddy had a chance to slide into the Plex with him. I couldn't have asked for better timing on their part, if they had landed exactly together I would have had a much harder time of it. But they were staggered slightly which gave me a slight, very slight, advantage. These hull tanked Comets don't die quickly, but the first one exploded just as my Assault Damage Control spun down. I had timed that perfectly to absorb the maximum damage from both targets, I hadn't even had to use my Ancillary yet. So that gave me a full set of Nanites to deal with his buddy, who exploded even faster than his friend. I'm guessing that remote armor rep in his utility high didn't help much.

Imperial Navy Slicer versus my Atron
Ask any solo PvPer how to get good at solo PvP and you'll get a wide spectrum of answers. But somewhere in there will be two things that are critical, 1) Know your spaceships inside and out, and 2) Learn how to manually fly (Also key commands!!) Manually flying in a fight like the Wolf versus Comet fight above is not as critical (My Wolf is MWD fit so most of that fight I spent scrammed anyway.) as it is in a fight like this one. In fact, it is the only reason I won the fight. It also helps to know every spaceship you are likely to face inside and out. The critical piece of knowledge in this instance is that Slicers don't have a lot of cap. They get tired pretty fast.

I have 400 kills in a Slicer, so I know the ship very well. The key here is to stay calm and let him kite you comfortably. Meanwhile you act like a target that is going to be an easy kill. All while waiting for the perfect moment to slingshot into him for that all important scram. If you don't get scram you die, or he runs off safely. People tend to get very focused when fighting and often forget that they can just leave at anytime. That's what you are counting on. This fight went as textbook as they can. I was so dead. And then suddenly his cap started running out. And slingshot, manual piloting, and boom he was caught by my scram and it was all over from there.

That was an insanely good fight. Kudos to him for sticking to it. Well done.

Hecate versus Crows
I'll mention one more that wasn't the same kind of solo fight that the other two were. Some Stay Frosty pilots have been exploiting the lack of Local in Null this Summer to great effect. So yesterday I finally had a chance to go down and join in the fun. I lost one Crow hero tackling a Kikimora which we managed to bring down. But it was this Hecate fight that really got the blood going.

One thing I quickly learned roaming around Null is how much Citadels have truly changed the fundamental environment there, much more than they have in Low. Citadels are everywhere, just as in Low, but in Null they provide a much safer protected perch in local. We don't use them that way in Low Sec very much. But watching them clustered around gates in Null Sec and how ships perch tethered waiting made me realize how important this lack of local really is. Citadels have truly made a lack of local in Null critical in my opinion.

So between a Gate and a Citadel the enemy has a relatively safe zone from which to perch in safety and swoop in to assist in kills. If that Citadel is manned, even more so. Add bubbles and it becomes even more challenging. So we'd been working on this Hecate for awhile, trying to figure out where he was and when we might be able to grab him. The locals also had a few other ships around sitting on the Citadel. An Arazu and a few others. We finally managed to get the Hecate off the Citadel a few hundred clicks and grabbed point, while the Arazu and a couple Gnosis warped in on us. Luckily for us we managed to pull off the perfect "under their noses" operation and killed the hecate before they could grab us.

Whew. That was a close one.

These are the reasons I continue to play Eve Online.




Guest Post: The Final Place

Hot Pursuit 5k Wallpaper
Click to embiggen


Today we have a Guest Post from Stay Frosty pilot Thunderdomebaby

_____________

I have been a Capsuleer since 2006, with a rather long break in 2016, I returned early 2019 to the wonderful world of New Eden.

However, I found myself quite alone in space. My old corporation was just an empty shell of what it had been. Friends were gone, and I thought to myself “Is this it?” – Is this really the end of EVE for me?

Shortly thereafter I started looking around for news, and there was this one guy who kept popping up around the community. The self-proclaimed Pirate Lord of Low Sec. At first, I thought that he was probably just all talk, and no action. But something sparked my interest. Deep within my pod I heard, what can only be described as … a yarr?

Did I just hear that? Was it just my imagination?

Fast forward a few more months, and I decided to finally contact him directly, Rixx Javix – The Pirate lord of Low Sec. He immediately welcomed me into their comms, and told me what system they were based at.  I quickly took all the spare ammo I had and loaded the old trustworthy Comet and set the course for Ouelletta. What a weird bunch, I thought to myself, trying to navigate through Gallente space, avoiding the police. I did after all have a small bounty on my head and wasn’t that welcome in High Sec space.

It only took a few days for me to be accepted as a part of Stay Frosty. It seemed so odd. They were just so welcoming – so – friendly? Wasn’t this supposed to be the much-feared Pirate Lord and his gang of buccaneers?

Hours became days, and days became weeks. I mailed my sister, not that she would care, but I thought that it was a nice thing to tell her where I moved and what I was doing. After all, we did have some fun back in the day, hunting in Tama together. I didn’t really expect to hear from her, after all, we had lost contact during the last few years.

She had always been this goodie two-shoe, highly respected by the Caldari Navy – and she didn’t really approve of my career. Last thing I heard, she was working for the Corporate Police Force in Inaro, but that was years ago.

As time flew by, I started enjoying the pirates in Stay-Frosty. Even had a chat with the CEO of Lucifer’s Hammer – Starfire Dai. I’ve never met anyone that welcoming and heartwarming in New Eden. Must be an innocent little girl I thought. Now knowing what space was all about – hiding behind her asteroid.

A few weeks later I got a reply from my sister. Turns out, that she had also talked with Starfire Dai. My sister was stuck in a dead-end escort job for Rapid Assembly and was looking for new opportunities. I was told that she didn’t care much of my mail in the beginning, but then started looking into the alliance that Rixx had brought together – Vagrant Skies, the roaming corporation. Lucifer’s Hammer, the industry focused corp, making the foundation of New Eden. And not to forget Voodoo Children, who had started a base in Anoikis. Something was awakened inside her. A sudden flow of blood to her veins. What was that?

Star contacted me again – and started interrogating me. Turns out she wasn’t a sweet little girl after all. She wanted to know everything, and I mean everything. To this day I still don’t know how the devil she discovered who my father was. We were always so careful when we communicated? A veteran of the Caldari Navy couldn’t be seen dealing with a pirate like me. But Star knew. How? It seemed like she had eyes and ears all over the entire galaxy – and beyond.

I didn’t have anything to hide from my new band of brothers, so I came forward and told her what she wanted to know. I decided to come clean, it seemed that I could trust her. So I told her about my family, and my heritage – and hatred for the Gallente Federation. That’s when she went all silent. Days went by, and I didn’t hear from her.

About a week later I got the message.

My father had joined Lucifer’s Hammer and was now based in Atreen, he had already moved the first 3 loads with his old Providence class freighter. He sent me an image of one of the largest mining fleets I’ve seen. Three orcas, and a dozen of exhumers mining off one of LH’s structures.

My sister also joined Lucifer’s Hammer, now located somewhere deep in the Anoikis galaxy, in a wormhole system they call their own. Flying around in cloaked ships, protecting what is theirs. A job made for her – fighting a common enemy, where CONCORD and the Caldari Navy can’t see what she’s doing. I knew she had it in her. Daughters of a war hero. We were born to fight.

All was bliss, I really enjoyed flying in Ouelletta – even though it was a few close calls for my pod here and there, but I learned like I never did before! The veterans were never angry when I lost a ship, instead, they tried to teach me what went wrong, and what to improve for the next setup.

Was this the long-lost family I’ve been looking for all those years? 
Have I found the right place to live in New Eden now?
Have I finally won EVE?

Two months later, an urgent message comes from Rixx. Call to arms, a former member of the alliance had been playing a little Grand Theft Spacestructure, and now was the time for revenge.

From the outlawed Ouelletta.
From the depths of Anoikis.
From the foundries in Atreen.
We all joined forces. The family was complete again.

It lies within our blood. Fighting, defeating the common enemy. Protecting the family. A Band Apart – but all together. After 13 years as a Capsuleer, I have finally found my resting place. Whether it’s the never-ending veldspar roids, ransoming innocent pilots, or exploring the vast unknown. This is the place we all belong.

This is the final place for me. For us. The biggest, weirdest, most loving space family one could ever wish for.

To all Capsuleers in New Eden, new or old. This is truly an alliance who flies the Friendship.

A Band Apart!



Why So Negative?


“Negativity is a tendency to be downbeat, disagreeable, and skeptical. It's a pessimistic attitude that always expects the worst. Negative outcomes are bad outcomes like losing a game, getting a disease, suffering an injury, or getting something stolen.”


One of the first things I heard about Eve when I started playing almost eleven years ago was, "Eve is dying", why bother playing? The game won't last much longer. CCP is determined to kill it. They don't know what they are doing. Look at the server numbers. You'd have to be an idiot to believe otherwise. That was eleven years ago.  And I suspect it has been there since the beginning.


This is a lot like the supposed intelligence of Mittens, if you say something long enough, people will start to believe it. In fact, it is even worse than that, the human brain is predisposed to believe negative information over positive information. It is part of our biological past, inherited from our prehistoric ancestors. Negative information requires an immediate response, an action, or some emotional trigger. Positivity on the other hand means things are ok, chill, steady, no action is required. And so they tend to filter toward the back of our lizard brains.


It has been proven that successful relationships need at least a 5 to 1 balance between positive and negative inputs in order to thrive. 5 times the positivity in order to thrive. Get that out of whack and you break up or get a divorce. This is one of the main reasons I recommend players stay away from Reddit (All humans should) and other bastions of negativity. Your input ratio can get out of whack quickly and you'll start to feel the stress, the worry, the negativity overtake you. It might manifest itself in different ways, but for the sake of our topic today - you might just quit playing Eve.


And because Eve refuses to actually "die" as predicted, the rest of us get to experience you and your negativity hanging around afterwards. This is one of the weirdest behaviors that puzzle many players, why do quitters continue to hang around? Why do they not move on? Why continue to harangue the rest of us? 

All of which is not only bad for Eve, but also truly bad for you. Emotions are contagious, just like diseases. Take a moment and read this Wired article on that very subject.  In fact, spend any amount of time googling and reading articles on the subject and you'll quickly start to understand what I'm getting at. Articles like this one in Psychology Today about Negative Bias are excellent places to get started.


Look, eventually Eve will die. So will I. So will you. That is gosh darn sad. I don't like the idea anymore than you do. However, I do choose to live those days being realistic and balanced in my approach to my life, my hobbies, and my personal relationships. I'm not an overly optimistic person, in fact I'm rather prone to horrible bouts of depression, anxiety, imposter syndrome, and dozens of other weirdo mind-fuck things I can't control. Much like you I bet. I'm not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I do strive towards balance and I do try to learn from my mistakes.


Eventually the negative people will be right. Their self-fulfilling prophecy will come true. On that sad day they won't be happy about it. Oh sure, they will be impossible to live with for a few days, but then they will move on to the next thing. What they will leave in their wake will be thousands of once happy Eve players who suddenly have to live without Eve.


Is it any wonder people aren't playing Eve?


Think about the environment we're asking them to join. Is it 5 to 1 on the positive side?


Sadly the answer to that is certainly negative.








PAID IN FULL!

(Please Note: This is a personal real life post written specifically for those readers and friends who care about such things. If you are sensitive to people sharing things that are important to them, then please do yourself and others a favor and skip this post. This post contains feelings, emotions, and other human expressions that certain people may find offensive.)



PAID IN FULL

As of today, September 4th, 2019 my 14 year odyssey of pain has officially ended. My balance is zero. Zilch. Nada. The last payment, made four months early, was received and I no longer owe anything.

For those of you that have been along on this journey with me, thank you for sticking around and for caring. For constantly hitting me up on DMs, emails, and other messages to check in on us. For your support. But mostly just for caring. You deserve a HUGE shout out. We can't possibly thank you enough. And we will always remember. In so many ways our Eve family has seen us through the worst of it and we will be forever grateful.

To the haters I say this - I did get a fucking job. I did take care of this myself. Every single fucking dime of the money paid came from our own hands. In a few instances family members helped us over a few rough patches. No money from anyone else was ever used to pay this debt. Ever. The important thing you will never understand is the scale and complexity of this 14 year journey. I honestly hope that you never do, because it was in no way anything close to being normal.

Having said that I would like to specifically say thank you to all those that helped us through the darkest most desperate hours of that journey. There were a couple of moments along the way when the situation got away from us, things that could not be planned for, prepared for, or anticipated. And at those moments this incredible and compassionate community of ours saved us. Not from the debts, or the payments, or anything associated with that issue specifically - but from the real life turmoil that sprang up around us. And for that, and in deep appreciation for that, I have dedicated my efforts these past years, doing what I can to give back. I cannot stress enough how much you all mean to us. And just how much we appreciate you all. Thank you.

I was not always who I am. A long time ago I was a troubled and confused young man from a small town in the middle of nowhere. At the end of a long stream of bad mistakes, I made another one that would haunt me for over thirty years of my life. But out of that mistake would grow a new person, a stronger, more confident, more self-assured person. And a small miracle, a Son that I would raise myself. Together we would face life together and one day, when we were alone building a new life together, that young man would introduce me to a stupid video game called Eve Online. Together we would fight multiple wars in Providence and across all of New Eden. Together we would learn to become Pirates. And one day, that young man would turn to me and say, "We should call it Stay Frosty." And so we did.

I want to encourage you. Even the worst of stories can have happy endings. Despite all that has happened I found the love of my life during the last fourteen years. Despite all that happened, my Son has grown into an incredible young man with a wonderful wife of his own. Despite all that has happened we've traveled around the world and made incredible and real friends with people we never would have known otherwise. Despite all that we've been through, I would not trade those wonderful moments for anything.

Another chapter has ended. And a new chapter has begun.

o7



Why Do We Pod?


A fellow player I podded twice yesterday asked me in local, "Why did you pod me?"

It is an interesting question that has multiple answers. Some people pod, some people never pod, and others have their own code about when and where they pod. It is an answer that is as varied as Eve itself. From one corner of the universe to the other, you might not get the same answer twice. So I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of those answers.

I was podded during my very first PvP engagement.  I had no idea what had just happened and why I was suddenly back in my home station. I had to ask. Since that day I've been podded 144 times according to zKill. And I've podded 849 fellow pilots in return. My own history regarding the pods left after a fight has gone thru multiple changes and attitudes over the years. I grew up in Providence and podding was strictly against the rules. The basic concept was that a podded pilot was getting a free ride home where he or she could re-ship faster than if they had to hoof it back on their own. This made strategic sense. And while accidental podding happened during battles, it wasn't something we did much of.

As I made the transition from Null to Low Sec Piracy an entirely new attitude about pods started to take hold. Pods often contained expensive implants, which is something rare in Null Sec. But in Low Sec pilots often fly around with implants (head candy is what I call it) that they don't want to lose. So pointing a pod after a fight and asking for a ransom became a part of piracy back in the day. Ransoms could be a significant part of a Pirate's income stream. And it was the case for me as well. For a time.

As I started to become more familiar with the people behind the ships a new concept started to take hold. I began developing my own philosophy regarding podding. Ransoms started to drop off as the amount of ISK in Eve started to grow people became less and less willing to pay a price for their pods. At the same time I started letting people go free after "good fights". If a pilot gave me a good fight their pod was free to go. Conversely, if they blobbed or used ECM or WCS or slighted me or my friends in some way then they deserved to be podded. I was developing my own personal code for when and where I would pod.

Ransoms are dead. I can't even tell you the last time I was able to ransom a pod. Clone costs are next to nothing these days, head candy is cheaper, and Eve is bursting at the seams with ISK. More often than not a victim might ask to be podded back home, instead of taking the long way back. This happens a lot more than you might think. My personal code regarding when and where to pod has finally landed on this - whenever I can.

If I know a pilot I will still let their pod go if they have given a good fight. But these days it is 100% a tactical decision. And a luxury. Without podding my Sec Status starts to creep back up. Podding helps me keep my -10 status and that is something I intend to maintain. There are just too many rats on gates, and free skill points for killing them, these days. Podding is one of the surest ways to lose Sec Status.

And now that I realize I have 849 pod kills I really want 1,000.

I might be nicer after that. Maybe.

What are your thoughts about being podded in Eve?



The Rixx Store


The Rixx Store has been around since 2016 and offers a wide variety of themed merchandise that tries very, very hard not to violate any copyrights or trademarks. Seriously. We really don't want to cause any trouble. What I am trying to do is fill a hole in the merchandise that is available to us. Believe me, I'd prefer a limited licensing agreement and access to IP, but until that happens this is the only option. Or, even better, they could just ask me to design actual t-shirts and merch for the Eve Store and only buy the designs they want. That would be better for everyone.

Right now you can get 30% OFF everything at the Store using promo code FORYOU30 at checkout.

I've added some new stuff this week, so be sure to check it out. People have asked me for stickers they can put on their cars, so I've added a NEW Collection called Tourist Icons which feature various Eve related and science-fiction related stickers.


Like this one of someplace called HED. Who knows?

Check 'em out.




The Eve Reavers Ship

Artist Unknown
Mike Azariah recently picked up on an older post I had made about the Anti-Marshall, or a ship that was hull bonused for negative sec status. I recommend reading his post and checking out the original post in the archives.

I think the concept of ships in Eve that derive their bonuses from other attributes has some merit. If the Marshall can impact Sec Status in a positive way, why not consider other hulls that do similar things? Perhaps we've unlocked a new path into New Eden that needs consideration. While I personally benefit from a negative sec status bonus ship, other players could benefit from additional attributes. How about in Faction Warfare a bonus derived from LP? Or system control? I don't want to completely go over ground that Mike discussed, but I think it is worth thinking about.

I wouldn't want this to get out of control. The thing about being -10 in Eve is just how difficult that decision makes everything else. It isn't an easy play style choice and maintaining it over the long haul is even more challenging. Granting bonuses based on that choice seems appropriate given what has been sacrificed to get there and maintain it. Eve is not built to support, in any way, a player that has committed to the -10 play style. Which is why the few of us who choose to live that way do it. There is nothing else like it in all of New Eden. And I know that statement will cause some people to freak out, but the only thing that even comes close is living inside of Wormholes.

I've also grown weary over the years of adding new things to the game. I'd much rather see more attention paid to established paths that need a lot of improvements. While I'd love to see an Anti-Marshall in Eve, I'd also be willing to give it up for UI improvements, or FW improvements, or some resources added to Low Sec, or some kind of WH improvements, or a hundred other things.

While this magazine is about my own journey in Eve I've always believed that whatever makes New Eden better, for all players, ultimately makes my own game better. I'm not selfish.

A spaceship that belches black smoke and is covered in fresh blood speaks to my Pirate soul however.

Yarrr!



Hey, Ventures Are Banned By The Way

Waiting Titan 2
I waited three hours
Typically I prefer waiting a bit before offering up an opinion on some new change, nerf, or buff that rolls down from Mt. Olympus in Reykjavik (or London these days). For one thing some changes are horribly complicated and can have multiple threads attached. Speak too quickly and you run the risk of stepping on stupid. Secondly, it's just fun to let others say all the stupid stuff first. The forum thread on the recently announced Cyno changes coming in September is a great example of that process. And highly entertaining.

I've listened to both the Hilmar and Rise interviews on TiS and I think we should all have a good idea of what this Chaos Era thing is all about. Changes. Disruption. And Isk Faucets. The Cyno changes hit all three of those and disrupt practices that have been abused for a long time, practices that became to predictable (which is bad for bot control), too easy (which is bad for Combat), and too rewarding (which is bad for Isk Faucets). There are plenty of resources that can get you more information, charts, and whatnots about those if you are interested. I don't trade in that kind of spurious detail in these pages.

The Cyno change is a good start. Yes it is a pain in the butt to certain trades, like Jump Freighter chains (and I hope that gets addressed), and Cyno Vigils (I like the idea of a module that interacts with the new Player Memorial that is coming to TQ), and a few other niche uses - but overall it is a tremendously good start. And I use the word "start" on purpose, because I don't think they should stop here. More needs to be done to make this truly work the way they intend.

But I thought Rise nailed it, Cynos need to be pinned to a ship class in order to be brought into line with every other module in the game. The idea that any old ship could light one was always a silly idea that made it difficult to control. So that is fixed. What happens next should be interesting.

Not that anyone else cares - but Ventures will be banned from entering FW Plex in September as well. This is a huge victory for us Low Sec players and follows up on promises that Fozzie and Rise made back when they banned WCS from FW plex. Heck, Fozzie and I discussed this as recently as Toronto. For those of you that don't fly in Low Sec you may be wondering why this is such a big deal? And no it doesn't have anything to do with combat, or kills, or anything like that. It has to do with bots and defensive plex running. Both of which are completely out of control. This does not solve those problems, but it removes an unbalanced option from the hands of those trying to exploit the system as it is currently constructed.

Again, I hope that won't be the last change. If we truly are entering into an era driven by chaos these two changes are not enough. More needs to happen.

And soon.



The Artist's Guide


I've created a new page called The Artist's Guide and you can see the link at the top of this page under the banner. But here is the link.

I created this to help anyone who is interested in Eve Fan Art answer questions about what is and what isn't allowed. While it is not intended as legal advice it is based on over a decade of working with CCP on various issues, projects, and (sometimes) failures of communication. So it is often hard won advice.

Check it out and please share it with anyone you may know that is thinking of creating.

More later.



Keeping Up With CCP


I don't normally link to INN articles, but I think this one is worth a read. I 100% disagree with the conclusions drawn up in this article, in fact I believe Eve Online is better today than it has ever been at any other moment in its history. However, that does not excuse the obvious pitfalls, problems, and concerns that remain an important part of its potential growth or failure. As always, I maintain that if you are not having fun playing a video game - you should stop playing that video game. And please, do so without dragging the rest of us through the mud with you.

Having said that, it would also be irresponsible to ignore the concerns brought up by the article. But perhaps I have a slightly different response than most people reading it. And that response is what I'd like to question openly here in this post today. And here is the nut of it -

After 16 years is it time to consider that the openness and communication between CCP and the players of Eve Online ultimately was a bad thing for the long-term success of Eve?

In a microcosm my own personal experiences with CCP and the employees there has been a mad rollercoaster of on again off again weirdness that I have a very difficult time keeping up with. Pardon me while I go back through some of the highlights. I think it will help frame the ultimate point I'm going to try and make here. For the first half of my Eve career I had very little interaction with anyone from CCP personally. I had never met anyone, nor had much call to deal with them directly. And when it happened it was removed by distance, rareness, and corporate communications. There was a distance to it all. I wrote in this blog. I made memes. I had fun at their expense. And I raised Hell during the Summer of Incarna.

And then everything suddenly changed. Within a very short period of time I was having conference calls with groups of them on the phone, over Skype, and for months we worked on several projects together. It was the best of times. The promise of a new Eve Store and projects that would open up to all players. I created an entire line of posters, t-shirts, concepts, and other products that would help kick this new world off. I was invited to private dinners and tours. I had people's cell phone numbers on my cell phone. This is all true and I'm not trying to brag or anything here. Those of you that lived thru this with me here in these pages know what an exciting time this was. And how much potential there was.

Since those days it has been nothing but a rollercoaster trying to keep up with the changes in personnel, attitudes, and constantly changing "We like you, we don't like you" weirdness. One minute you are making videos for the o7Show and the next minute no one returns your emails. One minute they want to make a project with you, the next minute you are getting CnD letters from legal. Oh man, I could tell you stories. It has gotten so bad over the last few years that I've just given up trying. These days I just ignore CCP and do whatever I want based on the community and the people in it.

And that change has also illuminated something in my mind. What if my problems are more widespread than I thought? What if my issues are community wide? And I'm not just asking open-ended questions here, because I already know the answers to those questions. They are without a doubt - community wide. Because I deal directly with event planners, streamers, tournament organizers, pretty much everyone doing anything in Eve - I've seen and heard these things directly from the sources. To one degree or another, I'm not unique.

This makes sense when you look at it from the long view. People come and go at CCP constantly. There is very little continuity. CCP Falcon doesn't know anything about those months of planning and work that lead up to Fanfest 2015 because he wasn't involved. Everyone who was involved? They are no longer at CCP. Seagull? Gone. Spitfire? Gone. Torfi? At Minecraft. And I could keep going. This makes it difficult when the players, like myself, are the only ones with a constant record of events. This puts an almost impossible responsibility on the shoulders of people like Falcon, or Fozzie, or Rise, who are some of the few employees still around.

Which begs the question - would it have been better without that level of communication?

Have we as a player base become used to yelling and screaming about things and expecting CCP to answer. Are we spoiled by the back and forth relationship that CCP itself created between us? You can't blame the players for this situation, this is entirely a self-created environment that comes directly from CCP. And part of that problem is that so many CCP employees, like Falcon, Rise, and Fozzie for example, are also former Eve players themselves.

If you read that article you can see within it the seeds of discontent about the state of those communications. In many ways the off again on again nature of them is confusing to most players. Living with that for any length of time only adds to the negativity of the player base. Doesn't it?

There is no blame here. I'm not blaming anyone. This is just the way things are. But maybe, just maybe, if we truly want them to get better - maybe the best thing is for CCP and the players to evolve into a more standard corporate relationship. And for CCP to be more professional when it comes to communicating with the players.

It won't happen of course. The investment in events, such as this year's World Invasion Tour, are just too powerful. Go to one of these events and just watch the cult of personality at play in them. That isn't going to change anytime soon.

No, we are stuck with what we have. For better or worse, this is the relationship we've each made for ourselves.

Which is why I've made the decision to just ignore it and play the game.

Things have been much, much better in the last two years because of it. I highly recommend it to all of you reading this. Stop trying to be a game developer and focus on being a game player, life is so much better.

And so is Eve Online.

It is a rather remarkable game.




My Minecraft Project



I started playing Minecraft again at my desk while I ate lunch. Originally it was just a quick Survival game without any plans for more. A way to pass time on something that you can stop quickly without problems. Ten minutes here, twenty minutes there.

I've played Minecraft before. Years and years ago I had a huge world that I was playing in Survival but the save file became corrupted and that world was lost. After awhile I got bored again and decided I needed to do something I had never done before, so I converted the map to Creative and decided to slowly build a city. And so "Lunch" was born.

This video tour represents about eight months of those ten to twenty minute work spreads here and there. Lately I've been working on it at home as well when I have time. Most of this is about planning and working things out in my head before I do them in the map. That kind of brain work can be done anywhere. I also look at a lot of photos and reference before I start building.

This is Minecraft Java running on my MacPro. I don't use Mods or Editors or anything, just whatever comes with the software. The only thing I did a bit different was the cooling tower on the Fusion Reactor, that I looked up a map before I started making it. Otherwise it is just trial and error. I tear down a lot of stuff that doesn't work and try building something else.

I will also mention that I try to stick with my own interpretation of what makes a Minecraft City. You won't see any roads in my map and that's because they don't have wheels, so no cars, so no need for roads. There is a Subway system underground and for everything else they can walk or take a boat. I'm not trying to reproduce a "real world" city or anything in the real world, everything I do is intended for Minecraft citizens. Whoever they might be.

Anyway, I thought it was finally far enough along to share with you.



The White (Black) Whale


So yesterday was a frustrating day in the neighborhood. Despite getting some neuts on an Ashimmu kill before the blob arrived, nothing much else was going on. Everyone out and about was extremely risk averse and ran away no matter what we brought. This happened over and over and over again. This is typically not a good sign. I probably jumped into a half-dozen different ships to try and get something stirred up. But to no avail.

Eventually I was in my trusty little Tristan when I saw the Leshak on in a Large Plex. The pilot was 2019 or 2018, not sure which. Either way he seemed rather young to be flying a Leshak. And with no other prospects in sight, I went ahead and warped into him. Sadly he was a bit far from me when I landed and he warped off to a Gate. So I followed and landed well ahead of him. When he landed I targeted him and waited to see what he would do. He jumped thru. I followed. I targeted him on the other side and got a nice bump. But he burned back to the Gate and jumped thru again. Rinse and Repeat. I don't remember how many times we did this before I saw the Yellow Box.

Mike came over to help me but the Gate Guns got his Comet. (I felt bad and sent him the iskies to replace it.) But I did manage to kill a whole bunch of Hobgoblin IIs, the Leshak was really unable to do much against my Tristan. So I was stuck killing drones and hoping someone would come along to help.

I won't mention any names but I saw a familiar face in local and started a convo to see if they could provide some assistance. What I got instead was, "I don't shoot noobs." Which, to be fair, was said in a rather condescending tone which I frankly didn't appreciate. A noob? In a Leshak? I don't think so. I'll come back to this in a minute. The Leshak got away, he popped some ECM Drones, I killed two of them before they finally managed to break lock and he warped off.

So, just to be clear, that Leshak died a bit later on. Here is the killmail.

That pilot lost 2 Leshaks yesterday. Both fully faction fitted.

That could be an entire post, but I want to return to the previous statement about Noobs. These days a "noob" is not the same thing as it used to be. These days, with elevated starting skills and skill injectors being so common, a young player can - if they so decide - be in almost anything. I've seen "noobs" flying Carriers, or BS, or T3 ships. Heck, we see all kinds of weird things out in space. Some of which you wouldn't believe. So I'm sorry, but that argument doesn't hold water anymore.

Plus, who has time for these sort of judgment calls? I rarely look at a pilot's information before a fight. Most of the time I have zero time for it. Afterwards? Sure. Or like yesterday when I got into a convo with a new player in local and gave him advice about his ship fitting and encouraged him. But normally that stuff happens after a fight.

Everyone who comes into Low Sec is equal in my opinion.

And sometimes, they are flying faction fitted Leshaks. And while I couldn't break his tank with my Tristan, I still tackled him. It was Epic.



Those Two Things


Today's post is a small story that I'd like to share with you. It isn't a great story and I certainly don't come out of it as the Hero, or a genius, or anything. But it happened. And it is a good story. I said on Twitter afterwards that Eve is the kind of game where even after a decade of playing - you can be an idiot in one minute and a genius in the very next minute.

Not a lot was going on last night in the old neighborhood. A quiet evening between EU and US TZs, which is typically when I prefer to play. I enjoy the relative calm in this period, space is in transition and people are logging off and logging in. Some people think its boring, but for me it is full of potential and I often get some truly good fights. Not always volume, but volume is not what my game is about anyway.

I won't bore you with all the details of the evening. I had just finished a truly good fight between a Maulus and my Tristan. Johnnie's Algos was too big to get into the Novice and he was nice enough to point me towards the Maulus. The other pilot did a good job and it was closer than that fight usually is, so kudos to him for a fight well fought. I grabbed the loot and the loose drones and headed back to the station for repairs.

As I landed I spotted the Gila sitting about 40k off the station. No other neuts in local, everyone else was Stay Frosty. I quickly docked up and switched out for one of my boosh ships, "Oh Nelly!" a dual rep Magus. When I undocked the Gila slipped into station. No one else was active and Johnnie was several systems away in his Algos. So I figured I'd sit outside and wait for backup to arrive. Shouldn't take long and the Gila would probably never undock...

Two things. One, I live in an opportunity based environment. I take the opportunities that are given to me. Sometimes they work out fantastic, like a Rifter taking a Vexor. (See earlier post) And sometimes they don't, see any number of losses on my killboard. But that's me and I ain't changing. And two, I specifically order my modules the same way on every single ship for key command purposes. I've done this for a very, very long time so that it has become second nature. The same mods on the same keys - always.

So the Gila undocked and I was totally alone - so of course I booshed him anyway. I have dual faction reps on this thing for a reason after all. Except what I didn't realize until it was too late, was that for some reason my Cap Booster (a critical component of keeping those dual reps running) was not located in the proper slot. My key mashing was doing nothing. The reps ran out of cap, I noticed they had run out of cap, I went to inject some much needed cap - and I exploded.

You'd think I'd be upset about the loss of the ship, but the only thing I thought was, "Damn, he's going to get away!" I quickly warped off to the nearest celestial and warped immediately back, fully expecting him to be gone. Instead he was still out there slowly picking up my drones and loot. (Luckily the loot fairy did not see fit to grant him my faction reppers!) Johnnie had landed at some point but had to warp off due to station guns.

I took a chance and grabbed my own Gila and undocked. He was still about 91k off the station, so I kicked in the MWD and hauled ass out to get him. I saw from my earlier killmail that he was Rapid Light fit and now I had a Limited Engagement with him - so no Station Guns and my Rapid ASS Missiles would shred him easily. Sure enough he turned to intercept. Oh man, it was beautiful. Like something out of a training manual, I swooped right in got my point/web on him and started shredding with ASS Missiles. I didn't even bother putting drones out. In less than a minute he exploded in a glorious fireball.

I will mention here that I let the Maulus pilot's pod go earlier because I try not to pod pilots that give good fights. But my definition of that varies by instance, so in this case - since I lost the Magus earlier - I went ahead and podded the Gila pilot. In my defence, he could have easily have gotten his pod out if he cared.

So that was my adventure last night.

I love this game.




Frigate Fighters

Frigate Fighters
Click to embiggen
I did this back in 2016. It was a quick idea that I had and I wanted to get it down before I forgot it.
Here is the original post.

Next month I will have been playing Eve for 11 years. Like anything else, it both seems forever and as if it was only yesterday. That is the nature of time after all. I don't have much else to say today, I'm busy working on a paying commission. And yes, I will share the final piece when it is finished. And no, it has nothing to do with Eve.

Until next time.



Why Low Sec is Eve's Conflict Engine


I love all of Eve Online but I happen to be an advocate for one specific part of the game - Low Security space. It is where I fell in love with Eve and where I've decided to hang my hat for the last eight years. I run the largest and most successful group of Space Pirates in Low Security space (Stay Frosty) and while other groups come and go, we've been doing this for over six years now. This is all known, but what might not be appreciated is just how important Low Sec is to Eve Online and why it is currently suffering so much negligence.

Low Security space exists between the relative safety of High Security and the relative safety of Null Sec. It is the conflict engine for Eve. And while Null Sec gets all the glory in the press and in the minds of most players, the real truth is that Low Sec drives most of the actual conflict in New Eden. Often this can be painfully obvious, as in the case of the World War Bee/Casino War a few years back. (And in case you forget, that war was started because a certain Null Sec Alliance thought they could dictate to Low Sec. We didn't appreciate that sort of thing.) But more often than not it is more subtle than that. Which causes it to be ignored, or under-appreciated.

Let me start simply and build from a basic understanding. Every single day I see players taking their first steps into danger by flying into Low. A decade ago, my first experience with conflict in Eve came from jumping into Mara on the edge of Piekura and getting blapped by Pirates on the Gate. I wanted to know how and why I had been killed so easily. That incident, and others like it, are being replayed hundreds and hundreds of times throughout Low every single day. I see it personally all the time. In Stay Frosty we will often try to talk to those we explode after a fight, to give advice, offer help, and generally try to infuse some measure of confidence to the player. Often we hear that this experience was the first time they tried something like that. Just a few weeks ago I tackled a Myrmidon entering Low and exploded him. The pilot had lived in High Sec for six years and this was the first time he had entered Low Sec looking for a fight. He wanted to try it out.

Sure, some new players will make the jump to Null Sec immediately. It happens. I was six weeks into my Eve career when I made my way down to Providence. But the vast majority of Eve players, especially younger players, will stay in High Sec for longer than that. More often than not, jumping into Low is their first "dangerous" activity. The first taste of conflict beyond hiding in station during a HS War. (And probably not logging in that week.)

In the old days the new Alliance engine was NPC Null, places like Syndicate. Newly formed Alliances would live in those regions during expansion and growth because they were easier to maintain than other Null regions. This hasn't been the case for a very long time. Syndicate is empty. The Super Cap proliferation has made such places nearly impossible for baby Alliances. That engine has moved into Low Sec. And while the Super Cap problem has impacted Low as well, the avoidance of that issues is much easier now with yet another proliferation - the Citadels. Low Sec is now the engine for future Alliance growth across New Eden.

Low Sec is also the training ground for PvP in Eve. And not just for young players, but for veterans as well. The vast majority of Eve's best PvP players have at least a background of time spent in Low Sec and many of those players will return to Low time and time again to keep their skills sharp. If they aren't using their mains, they are certainly coming on Alts. This has always been this way. And it will continue. LowSec is the engine of individual PvP players in Eve. Often it is where a player gets his or her first taste of being an FC as well.

And then we come to Faction Warfare. A sad and long-ignored engine that languishes in the dust of former glory. Which is sad because, if all of the above is true, then FW should be the glue that binds all of this together. FW is Null Sec Lite. A training ground for control, organization, fleet composition, engagement, and all of the other forces and experience a player might need later on if they choose to go into Null space. Or they choose to stay. It should be a vibrant and engaging option for players of all kinds. But sadly it needs serious help these days. It is not fulfilling this role currently. (Shout out to all my FW friends who are sincerely trying to get CCP to pay attention to them! Keep the courage.)

Say what you want about the big fleet battles and ego-driven posturing of Null Sec - but the truth is that Low Security space is where players fight players every single day. It is the danger zone. The place you go to prove yourself. To learn. To gain experience. To dip your toe into combat. Low Sec is the conflict engine of New Eden.

And that is why Low Sec is important.

Plus we have Pirates.




A Good Day


I had more time than usual to play Eve yesterday, so I figured I might as well take advantage of the opportunity. We've been having a friendly competition in Stay Frosty during July to see who could kill the most Jackdaws. Most of whom are bots. If you don't know already, Jackdaws are everywhere in Low Sec these days. It has become the go-to ship for running the non-FW plexes lately. It isn't unusual to see 2-6 Jackdaws on scan in any given system. They can be challenging to kill. Typically they are sitting 100-120k off the button and if there are still rats inside they will damp, web, and shoot you while you try to race towards the Jackdaw. Which is also loaded with ranged light missiles.

We did manage to kill 48 of them in July. Half using Garmurs and nine using a Taranis. So when I logged in I figured I would grab a Taranis and go Jackdaw hunting. Within the first 30 minutes I had three chances. I missed all three. Again, a combination of distance (In one instance I smacked right into an asteroid!) damps, and webs, made it challenging to catch them. Plus they tend to run away.

I jumped into another system and watched as a lone Vexor landed on the Gate with me. I burned back and jumped thru the Gate with it. Cloaked I watched as it warped off to a Medium Plex and I immediately went after it. I yelled at Ciba to come help, and he and our newest recruit Rhys raced to assist. Of course I landed before theVexor, set up to catch him, and sure enough I was calling "point". Our first catch of the day.  We dispersed and started chasing these AFs in local, soon enough Ciba called for help on an Ishkur he caught and we had our second kill already.

That was enough fun for awhile, so I took a break to get some work done. When I came back I undocked in the Ranis again - but noticed a Gnosis on scan. I quickly docked back up and grabbed my Stratios. He was in a belt ratting and I landed right on top of him. Lufax joined in with his Garmur and we made short work of his ship.

I decided to try the Jackdaw hunting again and grabbed my Taranis. A few jumps later I found a Caracal sitting in a Medium Plex all alone. I watched local for a bit to make sure he didn't have help. Eventually I decided to just go grab tackle and see what would happen. I fully expected this to be a trap bait, so Watson and Lufax were ready in Cruisers to help out. There had been a lot of local activity, two Vexors were around, so anything could happen. I fully expected the Caracal to be way off the button armed to the teeth with Rapid Lights ready to chew into me. Which he was, but sadly for him he was sitting right on the button and I got tackle instantly. I believe I could have solo'd him with my hardy little Super Atron, but share and share alike. So the Caracal died and no one came to help him. Sad face.

During the Caracal fight someone was asking in local to be podded over by the Sun. So after the fight I warped over and gave him a ride home on the PodExpress.

Time for another break.

By the time I got back I didn't have a lot of time. Had to take the kids out to an appointment, so I grabbed a Rifter and started hanging out in Novice plex. I even did the thing were I name the ship after the newbiest person in local. Just to be sneaky. About 11 different ships passed thru local in the first fifteen minutes and not one came to say Hello. I was getting frustrated, which is usually a sign that my risk taking tolerance (already legendary) is going to jump off the chart.

Which it did. I saw the Cormorant on d-scan and watched to see where it was headed. Sure enough, it landed on the only small plex in system. And so did I. I was super worried about attacking a Cormmie in my Rifter, but luckily I landed exactly where I wanted. Not exactly safe, but at the far edge of his potential blaster range. I took some damage, but he was the one that exploded.

And immediately I saw a Vexor on scan. I quickly d-scanned him at a belt and warped over to tackle him. My corp-mate Thane jumped into a Comet to assist but by the time he was ready I called him off. It was obvious by then that this Vexor was not going to be a problem. Thane landed to help with the loot and we waited for the victim to warp his pod out. I even said in local, "Dude, warp your pod out!" Nothing. So in true Pirate, Low Sec is dangerous, fashion - we podded him.

And that was the end of a rather good day in Eve.



Ganking Fixed?


A "gank" in Eve Online is generally accepted to be anytime someone in High Security space gets their ass handed to them and losses a ship unexpectedly. A transport or other ship cruising along, or mining, or doing some other type of CareBear stuff - suddenly gets attacked. Or bumped. Or otherwise "ganked". It is a weird mechanic that lots of players have turned into an art over the last 16 years.

I don't generally participate in it myself. I'm a Low Sec Pirate, but over the years I have derped a few ships into HS for a belt kill here and there. Back in my early days I engaged in lots of HS activities with my positive sec status. But generally speaking I am neither pro or con when it comes to whatever happens in HS space. I rarely go there. I'm not exactly welcome.

I have however, on my alt accounts, been on the losing end of a few ganks. I was once killed on gate by a smart-bombing Battleship. And I lost a fully loaded Freighter once on gate. Considering just how much hauling and moving I've done over the years the number of incidents is extremely low. Live and learn is my usual response.

But Hilmar recently asked for opinions on how to deal with HS ganking in general. So that has caused some opinions to be raised across the community. As you can imagine those opinions range from HS should be totally safe all the way across to don't change nothing! Everywhere in New Eden should be dangerous and evil. Which is typically where my sentiments usually weigh. In recent years changes to the War Dec mechanic have made that system a bit more logical, so can something like that be done to help those that move stuff in and thru HS?

I have one idea that would fundamentally change the way HS works and alleviate some of the issues. It is a simple, clean, and easily implemented solution that makes some sense. High Security space is owned and operated by the four Empires with the assistance of those bastards in CONCORD. It is, in all senses, the most civilized areas in New Eden. If that is so, then why do the NPC Stations and Gates not work properly? My idea is to fix that.

Every Empire controlled NPC Station and Gate in New Eden HS systems enforce a 150k non-aggression space around them. Unless there are War Targets involved, you can't lock or engage any targets within that space. Out in a belt? Sure. In orbit around a celestial? Of course. Just not around Stations or Gates. This "space" can be tied to system sec status, so perhaps it scales depending on the amount of sec status in each system. So .6 HS is only a 10k range? All the way up to 1 systems being 150k. This ensures that zero to zero transportation is relatively "safe" from ganking, unless under a War Dec.

Everything else stays the same. And Concord continues to punish people like me that are low sec status from entering HS systems.

Personally I don't like it. However, if HS ganking is truly the cause of so many young players leaving the game - then something needs to be done. I'm not 100% convinced that ganking is the leading cause of new players leaving Eve Online. I remain convinced it is just the easiest thing to complain about. And has always been the easiest target.

I firmly believe that the log-in, creation, tutorial, first three day experience of a new player in Eve Online sucks horribly. I just went thru this with three young boys who are dedicated gamers, and it was painful to watch. Only one of them continues to have an Eve account, and that one only plays sporadically.

But the Stations and Gates in HS could easily work better. It makes sense.

I just don't believe it'll fix anything.




How to Fix WCS

Mr Mittens Wallpaper

I've been proposing a ban on Warp Core Stabilizers for a long time. I'm sure there are hundreds of players who have been proposing it longer than me, goodness knows that Falcon probably started thinking about banning WCS back in 2003. Regardless, I have also been doing doing it. And like those hundreds of other players I've appeared on Podcasts about it, made stickers, wallpapers, videos, had Fozzie make fun of me for it, and generally written thousands of words about it. Just like them.

In the end, I have a very simple, easy and quick fix that will make everyone happy. It is the same fix I proposed years and years ago.

There are two choices:

1) Just get rid of them. That's clean and it works great.

2) Keep them. Just make them different. When you fit them to your ship you are no longer able to lock anything. They still give you the same bonuses as now, so they will still be great for Transports and Moving Assets. But they will be completely useless when it comes to PvP or FW.

There. Done.