The Nano Gang

The perfect Nano Gang consists of several important components:

> Loki - giving bonuses, point range, scan res, etc., sitting cloaked somewhere in system.

> Tackle Drakes - 34k point with bonuses (Pilots need Low Grade Snakes to make it work) Typically Long Point, 2 Webs, very little tank because you won't need it.

> Scimitars - And this is why. With Scimi and Loki Bonuses, you should never be caught, never in range, and faster than anything else on the field that could be a threat.

> Optional - An Arazu is always a great choice as scout. In a pinch the Loki can do it, since it is always good to have bonuses in the system you are going into.

That is the foundation composition for the perfect Nano gang. The great thing about it is scalability, it can work with a minimum of six ships (although it works best with at least eight) and up and up.  In my opinion the perfect gang size would be, 1 Loki, 6 Drakes, 3 Scimi, 1 Arazu. But that can be more or less.

Drakes sit 30k from the enemy, remember they have 34k points, and hammer away with missile spam. They are fast enough (with Nano in the lows and Loki bonus) that nothing on the field can catch them. Except for small stuff and that's what the webs are for. (Anything small that tries will be doomed) Scimis sit 30k away from the Drakes and serve as the Drake tank.

For those that can't fit the Tackle Drake (and it does take excellent skills and low grade snakes to fit properly) the Tank Drake is the next best option. You lose a web and some agility and some range, but it's better than nothing. For those that can't fly either Drake, the Artie Cane is the next best choice. It doesn't need the snakes, but you're losing DPS and EHP.  The Harbi would be the last BC option in this set-up as it doesn't come close to the range, etc., of the other two. In fact, you'd be better off using a Zealot instead.

It is nice having a couple of Artie Canes along if possible and have them focus entirely on Alpha striking small tackle from range. They work great for that purpose.

And no, I am not giving away fits. Or any other specific details on how this all works. There are probably plenty of other sources out there, but for us in Lucifer's Hammer and Burn Away, we've been working on this for a very long time. In fact we sorta became notorious for it for awhile there. Our Alliance name comes from this gang doctrine for goodness sake! LOL. But we don't run these like we used to, like anything they've sorta fallen out of fashion. But that doesn't mean it isn't still a valid fleet doctrine.

And honestly it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it all out.  The keys are the Loki (and really the Loki is the only real choice here, I've seen people do it with the others to mixed results.) the Tackle Drake and having the Logi along. Without Logi this turns into a Nano Strike Gang, which is different in many ways. But that's still something I'd rather keep to myself for awhile.

Can't give away all my secrets now can I?

Fan Art

@BlackArcturus made me a piece of fan art. I don't know what else to say, but I thought I'd share it with all of you.

Click to embiggen if you dare!

3 Doors Down

I was fitting ships, checking old fits (sometimes a ship sits so long in the hanger... but that's another post!), and generally putzing around in the neighborhood. I always imagine Rixx with his sleeves rolled up, grease stains, working on his ships, tinkering in the garage.

I had made a slight change to my Devoter fit and wanted to see what difference it made, so I undocked in it.  I already had some nice kills under my belt for the day and I was waiting around with a few Alliance mates for more people to show up so we could go on a roam.

But sometimes, Eve has other plans. Lo and behold what do I spy with my eye on d-scan? Could that be a Machariel? Along with a Drake, a Domi, a Basilisk, and a Eagle (wtf?! An Eagle? lol).  Man that sure sounds like a level 5 gang to me. ( I only say that because I was told that later, honestly I have no clue what a level five gang is or isn't. To me it looked like a bunch of shit that needed to die.)  And the cherry on top? The gang just happened to be Douchies, a former Burn Away corporation that had left to join Shadow Cartel.  Nothing personal here, but it did make the following a bit sweeter.

We started organizing immediately. Once I got the ball rolling I made a phone call to some good buddies of mine that I hoped would already be out and about. Not only that but they were nearby. In cases like this it is important not to rush, despite the urgency of the situation and your desire to hurry, things have to be done correctly. We merged fleets, comms, Rixx got bumped to FC for a bit so we could work the probes on our end. And we dropped probes.

Devoter, Cane, Drake and Stabber is what we had in system. Certainly they had seen us on their own d-scan and thought nothing of it. We warped in to the acceleration gate and jumped thru. Into a room full of wrecks. Another acceleration gate, burn and jump. Another room full of wrecks. The further we go in the longer it takes for back-up to arrive. Another gate, burn and jump. Right smack dab on top of 'em!

I yell GO, point Mach, point Eagle on comms! My Drake (piloted by Qanzark) Cane (piloted by Torrinar) and Stabber ( piloted by Gordon Rush ladies) also get points. Woooo! This is insane, rats everywhere, explosions, missiles, smoke, crazy pointy rocks and ships flying around every which way! Our job is to hold on, keep points long enough for the back-up to arrive.

I really like the Devoter in many ways. Two infinite points, damn awesome tank (right at 100k ehp with high resists), but it is slow and like almost all Amarr ships it has cap issues. Right off the bat I'm not only getting hammered, but I'm also having cap issues. Everything I don't need is turned off, I'm even cycling my hardener! But I can't keep up with the Mach, the Domi is making that impossible, even with full cap the Mach could outrun me without webs on him. My Alliance buddies are hanging tough, but they won't last long, I'm at half-armor when I finally get some cap back to start the repper!

And like some golden WW2 dive out of the sun fighters, the Tuskers arrive. I had kept point on the Eagle and it died quickly, the Basi shortly afterwards and the Domi in short order. The Mach had run off, but we also caught the Drake. We kept the Drake alive to keep aggro from the mission rats so we could loot the field. We were also hoping the just arrived Tempest and Ishtar enemy back-up would try to save him, but they didn't. Once we secured the loot we killed the Drake.  (Battle Report)

When we got back to station to drop off the loot everyone docked up. I stayed out to see what might happen, when one of their Canes arrived and red boxed me. Huh. Obvious bait is obvious? So I docked and we decided that those of us in Artie Canes (I switched) would undock, lock him up and then Alpha Strike! Then gtfo before his back-up arrived. Believe it or not it worked like a charm, he was actually still there. But not for long. He didn't actually have any back-up because no one came. I don't know what he was thinking. (Oddly, when I undocked my Cane refused to turn and just kept going in a straight line. lol, fortunately that issue didn't end up meaning anything)

Thanks to Suli for answering my call and for my good friends in The Tuskers for coming to help. And to my Alliance mates that hung tough on that Mach as long as they could. Heroes, all of ya!  Much appreciated and I hope you all enjoyed the fight as much as I did.

50m Now What?

This morning as I snapped Interceptor V into the training window, my skill points popped up over 50 million.  I picked Interceptor V, among so many other skills that need trained up, because it felt especially appropriate. Given that I spent such a large portion of my formative time as a Hero Tackle pilot. I don't even fly Ceptors much these days.

I have to admit that all these milestones lately, the 50m, the three years in-game, have given me a natural place to ponder. Wonder, mull, and otherwise consider.  And yes, I know I think too much.

And since I know that, I've decided not to think. Just going to keep doing. Moving forward. Much like the skill train itself, time marches on, and more often than not - decisions are made for us. What to do? What to train? And deeper questions, all seem to resolve themselves eventually.

So I went on a shopping trip and re-stocked my supplies, bought  a few new ships - including a Cynabal, which I realized I haven't flown in over a month. I decided not the replace the Absolution I lost yesterday, not yet anyway. I tend to over-rely on certain ships and that one was becoming a bit of a crutch lately. So I probably won't but another one for a month or so. Time to give some other ships a run. 

I also have a few other things up my sleeve to spice things up a bit. I can't share everything on the blog y'know. Eventually, all things become clear however.

So 50? Honestly I thought it would mean more. All I see are the skills that still need to be finished off, the things I still have to do, accomplish, learn and get better at doing. Eve continues to be a journey and not a destination.

Where will it lead next? Let's undock and find out.


Click to embiggen
Not much time to write at the moment, so I thought I'd share the Album Cover I created to mark the occasion of passing 50 million skill points today!!  Another milestone on the path to... well, wherever the heck that path leads? 

Enjoy and I'm sure I'll be back later to beat this thing into the ground.

Incarna: The Text Adventure

Every so often something truly brilliant happens. This is one of those moments.

This is the work of Seismic Stan at FREEBOOTED.  He is trying to be humble about it, but we won't let him.  Enjoy.

Tusker Wallpaper

Tusker Wallpaper

Clicking on the image will take you to Flickr where you can download various sizes.

Who knew it would be so hard to find a Wild Boar image? I knew what I wanted and couldn't find a good one anywhere, so what to do? Why make one of course. The Wild Boar in the Wallpaper above is actually three different images combined into one bad ass pig. The face, the snout and the tusks all came from different images, working them together wasn't as difficult as it might seem, and resulted in some very interesting textures. This gave me the chance to build exactly what I wanted, a grizzled, wise, tough, monster boar that you wouldn't want to mess with.

Anyway, hope you enjoy it.

Twitter Tuesday: Twits from the Tweetfleet

Sometimes when a Tuesday rolls around I have to ask my fellow Tweetfleeters to hit me up with any questions they'd like, serious, silly or just plain stoopid.

They never let me down.

If a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil causes a hurricane off the coast of Florida, why don't we squash all the butterflies?

This isn't the first time this idea has surfaced, in fact it was the Aztec advisor QuaqualoopieTek that first suggested this action to his King. The King found his logic to be logical and so ordered the systematic elimination of all Butterflies in the kingdom. If you are wondering how things went... ask an Aztec.

What would you do with the time you play EVE (and doing EVE-related things) if you stopped playing right now?

I'd probably finally get around to finishing one of the novels I'm working on, or that graphic novel I've been meaning to get done, or any one of a number of other projects that always seem to get pushed aside. Mostly though Eve fits nicely within my already packed, crazy, never stop for a moment life, so stopping wouldn't really change things all that much.

Do you prefer flying armor or shield Merlins? Do you still fly frigs at all?

I prefer shield Merlins.  I do still fly frigs, although my ship flying goes in phases and spurts. I typically have 50 ships fitted and ready to go and tend to fly certain ships until I get tired of them. About a month ago I was flying mostly frigates, but then started flying AFs, then Broadswords and Devoters, lately some Command Ships... it all depends. I have been tinkering around with some new Frigate fittings and will probably start trying them out shortly. Variety is the spice of life.  Frankly I don't fly the Merlin much, although I do have a couple fitted up, because the Hawk or the Worm is so much better.  Although harder to get fights with.

If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?

Real World - Always a tough one. It would be hard to pass up certain pivotal moments in our history, or ones that people tend to answer - like Christ's death. (Which would open a whole can of worms) But the past is dead and since you included the future, I would have to answer with any random moment from around 2,000 years into the future. When I think of how far we've come in the last 2k years a glimpse of 4,011 AD would tell you so much about where we're going. That would be very interesting.

EVE - There isn't really an event per se, but it would have been interesting to be around when Eve was turned on for the first time. The changes I've seen in just the past three years are amazing, I can only imagine what it would have been like to have been around since day one.

Why is it always @BuckyOhair's fault?

Ah, the Blame Bucky Temporal Quantum Conundrum (BBTQC) is a relatively little understood phenomenon that occurs when frankly anyone named "Bucky" is in close proximity to more than 5-7 people. This was first noticed during WW2 when several Privates named Bucky were blamed for the disaster at Dunkirk. This early discovery even found its way into popular culture at the time and resulted in the death of Captain America. Interestingly, several MIT scientists have postulated that the BBTQC effect works within the virtual world as well. I've written these scientists in regards to our own experiences with Bucky... hopefully I hear back from them soon.

If you had to join another corp in New Eden which would it be and why?

Right now if I was forced to join another Corp it would have to be The Tuskers. Having flown with and against them so much in the last eight months I've gotten to know them and respect them more than ever. They seem to be more closely aligned with my own personal feelings about Eve than just about any other Corporation around. Although there are several others that I would also have to consider, at the moment, it would be them.

Why is British Top Gear brilliant and American version suck hairy goat balls? 

As any intelligent, PBS watching human knows, anything said with a British accent is better than the same exact words said with any other accent, especially an American one. Funnier, wittier, more insightful, the British accent (in all its flavors) adds that extra "umph" to anything. Nothing proves this more than Top Gear.  Plus those little British cars are funny looking.

Blob: What it is and isn't

There are few words that invoke the anger, hatred, fear, loathing and general wtfs in local than the word: Blob.  Nice blob. I've wuz blobbed. Blobbing and being blobbed are two sides of a combat coin that at once provide the best and worst of Eve.

But, what exactly IS a Blob?

I've been in fleets numbering from 2 to 2,000*, and for the most part not a single one of those were blobs. However, that depends on your perspective doesn't it? Over the weekend I was in a fleet that numbered around 50, not huge and not small. While we were waiting on a gate, a lone Hurricane jumped thru and we all opened fire and killed him in a matter of seconds. Now, to that poor Cane pilot, our fleet was certainly a huge blob of death. But it wasn't a blob.

Over the years I've come to certain conclusions regarding the word, function and results of blobs in Eve. And mostly they come down to one fact of life - no one likes to die without hope. That Hurricane pilot in the story above? No matter how skilled, talented, well fit, trained or officer blinged his Cane was - he didn't stand a chance. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

I don't care who you are, no one likes to die like that. We spend a lot of time, effort and in-game resources to prepare ourselves for the worst. And then, well sometimes the worst happens. We pick the wrong gate, the wrong undock, the wrong whatever and kla-blooie!! All gone. 

That hurts.

But, again, not always a blob. So, what is a blob anyway?

I've developed a definition that I'm sure no one will like, but I'll share it with you anyway.

Blob: The deliberate and purposeful accumulation of sufficient resources to render your opponents resources meaningless in a direct confrontation.

"Deliberate and purposeful" speaks to the thought process of the blobber. In the Cane example, we were on the gate because there were large enemy fleets in the next system. We were not there to destroy the Cane, it just got in the way. However, had I found a Cane ratting in the belt and assembled a like force to kill him, that would be a blob.

"Render your opponents resources meaningless" means this definition works no matter what your enemy is flying, or how many they have. If it's an Archon ratting in a mission, or 10 BCs in system, or a single Rifter, you decide to bring enough ships along that it won't matter what they have. You'll win no matter what happens. The blob eliminates or reduces the possibility of defeat.

But Rixx, isn't your definition the actual purpose of combat? 

It is indeed. The fact is there are only 2 kinds of blobs in Eve, the one your in and the one that finds you. And neither of those is wrong, bad or otherwise worthy of hatred. Even if I have 2 ships in a gang and some poor schmuck is unlucky enough to be flying something stoopid in a belt and we kill him, is that a blob? To him it is. To us, a good kill.

Perspective. Goodness knows I've been blobbed many, many times. And I still get angry about it. Because it sucks. It stinks to be caught and have no way out, no chance to escape the overwhelming display of firepower. And I will never get over it.

But it happens. I might even make some snide comment in local about it, and I certainly will never offer a gf, but really that is all for show. Inside I know it could have easily been the other way around and I'd be posting a new killmail.

So what have we learned about the blob? Nothing really. This is all just my opinion. And in my humble opinion there are no blobs, only people with less friends than other people. People with worse luck that day. People without intel channels. People that shouldn't be flying that there. And people that should learn the proper ways to avoid being blobbed in the first place.

HTFU. No wiser words.

*NOTE: Several people have brought to my attention that no fleet in Eve can have 2,000 members. Of course this is technically correct. No single fleet can, but I was counting combined fleet efforts on single battles. I have seen those numbers several times, as I'm sure many of you have.

Pod, Stuck, Death & Blobs

I had a little more time to play yesterday than normal, broken up into little bits, but still - more than usual. I haven't had much time in the past two weeks, so I decided to let my hair down and act a tad more aggressively.

I should know better.

I say that mostly to be funny, honestly you just never know how the day is going to go. Sometimes things fall your way and sometimes they don't.

For example, I'm warping around in system trying to find this Brutix in my Broadsword.  I had already killed a Iteron MkIII, a Myrmidon and an Incursus (along with the help of my Alliance mates of course). Then I got a bing on my constant d-scanning, a lonely Rifter at the Sun. Being a slow ass Broadsword he was gone by the time I got there, but I swung the d-scan around and caught him on the Gate. I might have time to kill him if he landed off a bit.

And this is where stupid, bad luck and game mechanics come into play. Our system has hi-sec and low-sec gates, two of which have sorta, kinda similar names. While I scanned him at a low-sec gate, my brain thought I meant the hi-sec gate, but my warp finger knew I meant the low-sec one. So I warped to the low-sec gate at zero and immediately got caught in the gate. The Rifter was there and he warp scrambled me. Now the ONLY reason a Rifter warp scrams a Broadsword is because he has friends on the other side. (Duh!) So I wanted to untangle myself from the gate and start burning for something. I couldn't jump thru the gate, because who knew what was on the other side.

Ah, now I know. A blob. Great. At this point I was a bit off the gate, so two choices - burn for the gate and jump (right into the heart of the dps) or continue burning and kill the only thing stopping you - the Rifter.  Being me, I went for kill the Rifter. Which would've worked had it not been for the Rook. Oops. So I lost the Broadsword. And, lucky for me, I also lost my pod to game mechanics. I was aligned and it wouldn't warp. So my lucky streak ended at almost three months. (Last podded July 3rd)

Oh and by the way. If you are -10 and flying to hi-sec to replace your implants in the stoopid Rookie ship CCP insists on giving you - do not mock CONCORD in local. I did and they immediately made the gates stop working and blew up the ship they just gave me. Coincidence?

So a Megathron undocks. I go get my Megathron and warp it to station. My Alliance buddies are already there in a Cane and Broadsword. We play station games with him for a bit, docking, undocking, etc. Honestly we expect this is bait and we'll be blobbed any minute. But intel remains clear and a few of our friends are also in system. So I start blasting away at the Mega, just to see what he does. I make sure to tell my mates to hold off. And he undocks an Archon. Sigh. And so I lose my Megathron. Special thanks to Lau for whoring on my death.

The day gets better true believers.

If you can't beat them, join them. A large fleet of friends is forming up, so I undock my Baddon and join up. Our target is a couple of large FW gangs fighting up in Heyd. We kill a Hurricane that jumped into us, poor guy. We get reports that the two opposing forces are mounting on the gate and we quickly form up on the other side. We jump into them and all Hell breaks loose.

This was an epic fight and we didn't lose a single ship. The fleet was tight, the commands clear and well executed, the logi flawless, everything went as perfect as such things can. The Battle Report is a mess, but remember we jumped into two other fleets, Caldari and Amarr militia.  We were shooting both of them, what do we care? In the final analysis I helped kill 3x Geddons, a Megathron, a Typhoon (Hello Rote Krappelle!?), a Tempest, another Cane, and best of all an Archon! I even popped a Vigil that was off station later.

More stuff happened. RnK brought a fleet in and for awhile there Heyd local was up over 200. The militia tried to camp us into a station, but we undocked and killed one of their Guardians and shot their Bhalgorn. Their fleet had 30+ Geddon Navy Issues in it! Talk about overkill.

It was fun, RnK hotdropped them somewhere and they pulled off station and we went home for the night.

All in all a very good day. Despite the losses I had a blast. Shit happens, this is Eve. If you are gonna undock and fight, you aren't going to win them all. But 15-3, even with the game mechanic loss, isn't a terrible day.

Choose What You Use

Skill training in Eve can be extremely confusing, complex and potentially a huge time-waster if not done correctly. It can also be intimidating.

When it comes to skill training I've always been of the "Choose What You Use" camp. In other words, train the skills you are using now, not the ones you might be using tomorrow.

For example, let's say I fly a Hurricane a lot. Train the skills needed to fly the Cane to its best extension - BC V for example. T2 Autocannons for another. Once you factor in support skills like shield or armor, rig skills, and the other gun support skills, you could be looking at a nice long skill train.

For you younger players out there, a word of advice. Don't be afraid of long skill trains. Focused long skill trains are the key to your success. Only training the above Cane half-way is a sure fire way to only be half-assed when flying it. Don't let the allure of the new shiny take your eyes from your goal.

The second part of this is the path. I often get asked, should I train Armor or Shield skills for a particular ship? Let's stick with the Cane as an example. The Cane can be fit either way, but what do YOU already have? If your skills are already part of the way there on the armor side of things, then focus on that first. Or vice versa. Don't jump skill sets mid-stream. Wait until you have solid skills established in one set before jumping to the next.

And then the great underlying mystery of Eve - the under skills as I call them. Ship, tank, gun is all well and good, but there are a whole line of skills that go into flying a ship masterfully. Navigation, electronics, mechanical, drones, the list is almost endless. It is amazing just how many under skills go into flying a ship, any ship, in Eve. Don't forget them!

It does no good to train the gun damage support skills if your rigging skills are robbing you of damage, or increasing your sig radius, effectively negating your train.

Focus, relax and choose what you use. That's my advice.

Eve is Real: Winners

I awoke this morning to discover that I was among the winners in the Eve Is Real contest. Yeah! I didn't actually enter to win (I know you probably won't believe that, but that's cool, whatever) but I am honored to win. And congratulations to all my fellow winners! Well done. You guys got all my votes! 

I thought the video was probably the toughest choice, so many good entries, my votes went a lot of different ways. At least on the rare day I remembered to vote. And while many could have won, it is very hard to argue with the one that did. Despite it originating with TEST, this thing gets me every time I watch it.

It even looks like the video card might actually work in my Mac.

Read This

Read This.

As I said in my recent EVEotorial series "It is never too late" and hopefully this truly signifies a change in policy, direction and commitment from CCP. No one would be happier.

Those old FC muscles

The art of Fleet Commander. FC'ing. Running gangs and fleets in Eve. It is both art and science, instinct and knowledge. There is no substitute for experience.

I started FC'ing gangs out of necessity way back before I should've been doing it, because no one else would.  Half of anything is want-to, as my Father told me. You want to raid -A- headquarters? Then you form up a gang to go raid -A- headquarters. As long as everyone doesn't get derped along the way, before long you are an FC.

I was lucky. I had some great teachers along the way. I mentioned a few of them in my post yesterday, but a few of the others are now heads of Alliances (or at least in Command structure) for Nulli Secunda, Morsus Mihi, -A-, U'K, you name a major Null Sec Alliance and I've probably flown with or against someone in there. For all its faults and failures, Providence was a breeding ground for PvP - on all sides of that fence. A unique set of circumstances that we aren't likely to see again.

So I FC'd a lot. Small gangs and huge fleets of destruction. I can still clearly remember the first time someone turned control of a 200 man fleet to me, the FC had to go AFK and he asked if I would take them home. Gulp. Oh sure. It turned out to be a cake walk that time, but I can remember being extremely nervous. I was little more than a rookie and probably had 20 million in my wallet, driving a fleet worth billions.

Over time I became much more comfortable driving bigger gangs and fleets than I did smaller ones. This was the nature of Providence, like much of Null, it wasn't hard to form up 20-30 people at a moments notice. When I did fly with 2-3 people we didn't really need an FC exactly, we'd usually just flew together. So the small stuff became more casual than formal.

During the past eight months that has been the general state of things. If we do fly under an FC it is usually someone with more Low Sec experience in flying smaller gangs that takes over. I've been more than happy to let that happen, it makes total sense and was a good learning experience. But people come and go and the Alliance is changing, new Corporations, new pilots and new levels of experience are coming to the table. All good, but if you want to raid a neighboring system then you need to form up to raid a neighboring system.

So the old FC muscles need to be worked on. And the only way to do it is to do it. So last night I took out a small group of Cruisers for a quick jaunt. We'll be doing that more as the weeks go along. We had fun, but we mostly managed to get caught in the middle of a Back to Yarr/SP DR drop and we lost a few ships without any kills to show for it.  Gotta start somewhere.

And this is just my own perspective of course. The rest of the Alliance will be working and doing and killing as well. Plus we'll always have our friends to fly with when the mood strikes us.

It would have been nice to have had 100 ships at my command last night, we could of mopped the floor with those two fleets. On the other hand, there is something to be said for doing it yourselves - just you and a few of your brothers in arms. 

Eve is darkness filled with light

Eve is darkness filled with possibilities, a canvas upon which only you can paint the picture of your own fate. Eve is wonder and majesty and infinite pathways that lead to your own soul, written on the scrolls of time and endless cycles of birth and death. Eve is harsh, Eve is cruel, she is merciless, heartless, cold, calculating and unforgiving. Only the strong, the powerful of spirit, the willing, the brave need approach her, embrace her and make love to her draped in the blood of those that have dared before. Eve is light, filled with humanities foibles, courage, fear, betrayal, cowardice, lust, anger, envy and each one magnified to often unbearable states. Eve is beauty, serene in her peaceful dance. Orbiting her stars and gliding among her planets softly whispering the glories of what can and will be. Eve is sudden, unexpected, mystifying and often abrupt. Deeply penetrated, often explored, but never fully known. Eve is diverse, as the pebbles on the beach of time, springing forth with life, tortured by glorious death and echoing with the cries of those that could not make it and gave up trying. Eve is unstoppable, a force unto itself that will make you break, drive you under and crush you into the ground. Eve is gentle, Eve is rough, Eve is breathtaking and she will catch you off guard. Eve is you. And no one else. Eve is everyone and never you. You are alone and you are among friends, enemies, slavers, pirates, fighters, explorers, traders, miners, travelers, adventures, police, soldiers, glory hounds and glory hogs, thieves, liars, honorable men and treacherous women. Eve does not hold your hand, ask for favor or deny you anything. Eve is open, her legs spread wide, inviting you to penetrate her secrets and plunge into her depths. She is a mistress who will steal your soul, lie to you, tempt you with treasure and rob you blind, reward you and stab you in the back. Eve cannot be tamed, but she can be bound. If your will is strong, your heart brave, your mind quick, you may have a chance. Dare to try. Unleash yourself upon her. Ride her storm. See if you have the mettle, the strength to pull her down and give her all you have. Eve will laugh, but she may one day grudgingly respect you.  Eve is darkness, a room into which you must fill her with your own light. What will your light reveal about you, about her and about your soul? Eve awaits. What will be born is up to you.

3 Years Today

Three years ago today I logged into Eve for the first time. Yesterday I talked about those first days and why I started playing Eve in the first place. It has been a wild, interesting, frustrating, eventful and epic journey over the past three years. 

So I thought that today I would take you with me on that journey by way of the Corporations I've been a part of, even though I originally wanted no part of them.

Phoenix Industrial-Technologies [P-IT] from 2008.10.12 to 2009.01.31

My very first Corporation. PIT was awesome and I remain friends in-game with many of the pilots I flew with in there to this day. Heck I just talked to my former CEO the other day.  PIT was the perfect first Corporation and I learned a lot during my time with them. Eventually the CEO and the Alliance leadership had a falling out and I moved on, but you never forget your first.

I'll tell you a good story. PIT moved down to Providence shortly after I joined and I needed to get down there from our station in Choonka. I was all alone in my Merlin and the CEO flew up from Providence through enemy space and turned around to scout me back down. It was the first time I had been in Null, the first time I had even thought about "reds", bubbles, any of that crap. The journey was one of the scariest, tense, intense and exhilarating moments for me. And I made it safely.

Dusty Death Enterprise [DREF] from 2009.01.31 to 2009.02.25 

Dusty was well known for its PvP powers and I had started flying with them around Providence. This is when the PvP bug really started to grab hold of me and I wanted to get better at it, by flying with the best. This is where I met FloridaJ (who isn't him anymore) and we had some amazingly insane times in this Corp. Good peoples.

Inglorious Basterds [INGB] from 2009.02.25 to 2009.04.16

Angor and I got it into our heads that we were ready for big-time PvP so why not go to Low Sec and form a Mercenary Corporation? LOL. Oh god, it wasn't the smartest thing we ever did, but we did have some good times for awhile. Mostly because of MasterSelin, a great PvPer that went with us for god knows what reason. For goodness sake I think I had 4 million skill points!? I remember just getting T2 missiles on my Drake!  We failed but we learned a lot. And had some laughs.

Dusty Death Enterprise [DREF] from 2009.04.20 to 2009.07.02
BRUTAL COMPANY (Closed) from 2009.07.02 to 2009.07.17 

So we went back to Providence and Dusty. But it wasn't the same. I was getting more and more involved with the LFA Alliance and the Corporation was disintegrating around us. More details for another time, but essentially Angor and I thought we could save it by re-forming it as another Corporation. It didn't work and Brutal Company only lasted two weeks.  I lost about a gazillion iskies on that venture when Angor's transport full of POS Mods was lost. Thus began the sad tale of me losing billions of iskies over and over again.

Tropical Killer Bananas [T-K-B] from 2009.07.17 to 2009.07.19

To this day I can't remember why we thought the loss of Brutal Company was such a horrible thing that we had to make yet another stupid mistake. But we did. Angor picked this one because they were at the top of the killboard rankings. Never, ever pick a Corporation for that reason!!  I was in TKB for about three hours. Ugh. I will never again be in a hi-sec "pirate" Corp.

Setenta Corp [STC] from 2009.07.20 to 2009.08.12

I went back to Providence and joined Setenta while Angor went off the deep end and joined U'K. Setenta was a great group of guys, although a little to focused on industry for my tastes. It wasn't long before they decided to move to Fountain and I had just gotten back to Providence.

Dissonance Corp [DION] from 2010.01.06

Since back with Dusty I had been flying with a pilot named Nauron. He and FloridaJ had taught me in FC School and we flew together a lot. Nauron belonged (and still does) to a Corporation called DION, one of the oldest in the game. So began my relationship with DION and the pilots that would become my best friends in all of Eve. Even today.

But this was dark days for the LFA Alliance and Dion decided to head out to the Great Wildlands and beyond. After a few failed Alliances I got a call from some old friends in Providence. It seems CVA/LFA/PXF was going to invade -A- space...

Smegnet Incorporated [SMEGI] from 2010.01.06 to 2010.02.11

So of course I flew all the way back to help out in the war. LOL. SMEGI was and is a great Corporation and I made many friends there. For awhile FloridaJ was even in the Corp, before he stole all their assets and ran off, but thats another story.

We invaded -A- and the rest is history. LFA collapsed, CVA was driven into low, Providence was on-fire and people started evacuating. I've told this story before.

Unforgiven Blood (Closed) from 2010.02.11 to 2010.02.23

A few of us from SMEGI ran off to Low Sec and formed a pirate corporation. Good guys but we really didn't have a clue what we were doing and it didn't work out.

More-Cowbell [M.C.B] from 2010.02.23 to 2010.03.21

Speaking of Great Wildlands. Great Corporation and Alliance that sadly isn't around anymore. This was a good month, but once again, I arrived at the wrong time and things just started falling apart.

Lucifer's Hammer [LUCRH] from 2010.03.21 to 2010.04.20

So Angor and I decided to start another Corporation and hang out in low sec for awhile. We didn't recruit we just chilled for a bit, deciding that we would leave an Alt holding Lucifer's Hammer in case we ever needed it again. lol

m3 Corp [M3] from 2010.04.20 to 2010.06.17 

I got another call about Providence. Seems Paxton was fighting the good fight and needed some help. So I packed my bags and once more went South to help my friends in Paxton. M3 was awesome and I met many wonderful people there, including Kirith. We fought the good fight and had some awesome victories, but in the end -A- was just too much for us and CVA stabbed us all in the back again. M3 went off to really far North Blue land which is no place for a man of action.

Dissonance Corp [DION] from 2010.06.17 to 2011.01.21

So I went back to DION who were just leaving the PRIMARY Alliance and we moved to The Spire (Which is possibly the most boring section of space in all of Eve).

MORD EDIT: It was at this time that Providence called once more. Transformed into a "playground" by -A- we decided to join the Co2 Alliance and have some fun in the South. Shortly after we arrived Co2 and Allies invaded South. At first the war went extremely well, but eventually the tide turned due to an amazing combination of horrible decisions, bad leadership, war-weary members and just bad luck. Tired of all the fail alliances, we decided to head to Syndicate and try our luck forming our own Alliance - Black-Mark.

Lucifer's Hammer [LUCRH] from 2011.01.21 to 2011.06.16

In order to help grow the Alliance I re-started LUCRH as a PvP Corporation and started recruiting. As we started adding members it became obvious we were more than just PvPers, we were becoming Pirates. As Black-Mark was becoming more and more interested in holding Sov and creating blue relations, it became obvious we were growing in two different directions.

I won't even mention the little Morsus Mihi blip this Summer because it isn't important.

If I had to sum up the past three years with regards to the above Corporations I would say the following, I don't regret a single moment, a single person, event, or experience. It has all grown into the tapestry of my Eve experience and it has helped to make me the pilot I am today. So thank you, each and every one. The good, the bad, the rivals, the bastards, all of you.

Special thanks however to Cul for being the first person I called Boss. To Florida and Nauron for showing me the ropes when I could barely fly a fully T2 fitted Drake. To MasterSelin for believing in us for whatever reason. To LJB, Erad and all my friends in Dion. For Cold and Ninjabadger and Kirith and Makalu and Progod and... well the list goes on and on and I need to stop. You know who you are. Thanks guys.

Here's to the next three years, where will it take me next?

Tales of the Newb

I first undocked in Todaki in my trusty POS Ibis. I knew nothing of Eve, not one single thing. I hadn't read about Eve, barely even knew what a MMORG was (beyond some minor knowledge of World of Warcraft) and certainly didn't know wtf I was doing.  I was playing Eve for two very simple reasons:

1) It worked on my Mac
2) You could fly spaceships

So I undocked. And sat there in space wondering what to do next. So I docked. There were a lot of spaceships out there! And they were all different colors!!

Deep breath. It is hard to remember now just how intimidating those very early days were. The channels, the tutorials, the overwhelming sense of space, crowds, insanity and massive universe... well, at least the massive system of Todaki.  It would be awhile before I managed to muster the courage needed to jump into another whole system!! Heck, for a day or so I wasn't even sure how to get to another system.

One step at a time. I started the tutorial, although I didn't stick with it long, it did help. I also watched the new player channel, you can pick up a lot just by watching that thing. Turns out a lot of it was wrong, misplaced or slightly in error, but I quickly learned my way around those hurdles. Trial and error. Huge independent streak.

I remember sitting in a belt hammering away at a rock with my single pitiful mining laser when two HUGE ships entered the belt. I don't remember what they were, or who they were, but I do remember they were a husband and wife team. By this time I had learned how to say hello in local. We had a fifteen minute conversation that illuminated a lot of Eve for me. Carebear Eve sadly, but at least it was a start.

I also had a RL friend that had started playing about two weeks before me. He kept trying to get me to join this Corporation he had found. I resisted for about two weeks. The idea of a Corporation sounded evil to me, full of politics, pressures and obligations I didn't need. (Oh, I was so right back then!) I'd do this Eve thing on my own gosh darn it.

No, I wouldn't. My opinion changed when Aura told me to go to the next system and pick something up for her. I figured she must know someone more capable... but she insisted. So I warped my first warp to a Gate and sat there. Panic stricken. The couple in the belt had told me the secret to Eve, a secret I share even today - right click everything!  So I right clicked the Gate and jumped thru. Would I be able to get back? I didn't know.

That was my first two weeks in Eve. I joined that Corporation just as they were moving to the rich mining ground of Providence. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I knew a few things after those first two weeks. I knew I didn't want to be shooting rocks any longer than I had to. I found out you could buy ships instead of having to build them yourself, I still have Frigate Construction trained to level 2 because of that. Thanks random person in the Help channel!! ( May you suffer a thousand deaths )  And I knew this Eve thing was one of the most amazing things I had ever participated in.

I had no idea where it would take me next.


If Eve is a journey and not a destination (and it is), then that road is a long one. Been traveling down that road for almost three years now one step at a time. It can be a weary, tiresome journey at times, but it is always the road ahead that entices us.

Along the way we can often pause, take a deep breath, look back and see how far we've travelled. What mistakes we've made, what challenges we've overcome and just how far along the road we've survived. Really, when it comes down to it, the only way to 'win' Eve is to never give up.

So I hit a couple of milestones recently and am looking to hit a few more in the coming days and weeks.  Yesterday I managed to get to 1,200 kills on the killboard (to 315 losses). To many people that isn't an impressive number, but for me it is more about what it means in recent history, rather than what it means for the two years prior. For someone that was averaging a pod death every 14.8 days, the fact that I've now gone over 75 without one - well, it says something. Personal gratification, nothing more really. The same could be said for ship losses as well. The numbers are way down.

I've always taken the fighting portion of the game seriously, as seriously as someone who doesn't take Eve seriously can take it. But over the last six months I've really tried to fight smarter and it seems to be paying off. Smarter doesn't mean I still don't dive right in, because I do, but it does mean I might not. And the might nots have saved me some deaths that in the old days I would've suffered.  In the early days I didn't often have a "might not" button.

Another part of that journey is another milestone coming up shortly. I am now training the skill (Recon V) that will take me over 50 million skill points. In conjunction to trying to take things a tad more seriously, the increase in skills is really starting to show. Obviously. I can remember being so excited when those numbers finally rolled over to 10m and then finally to 20m, somewhere in that range where the magical Eve Fairy decides you are no longer a Newb. And then 30, 40 and now 50. Still a week or so away yet.

Another milestone happened yesterday that isn't as monumental as some but for me meant a lot personally. After almost two years of being able to fly a Tengu, I purposefully undocked in mine yesterday alone with the express purpose of killing someone in it. This might sound odd, so bear with me. I've flown the Tengu (2 generations now) and have never lost one, but only in short, easy gang flights that had a high level of probable success. Sucker cost me a lot of iskies and I don't like flying things I ain't fully skilled for. (Those were the old days.) So a lot of other skills had to come first, always something more important on the plan.

But the last few weeks I finally got around to topping off three of the T3 Support skills to V and the rest are at IV. So I undocked to hunt and kill something, alone. It took awhile but my patience finally paid off. The kill itself wasn't much to write home about, but it was what it represented that meant something. I was patient, cold and methodical as I warped in at 40k and slowly burned towards my prey, cloaked and silent, only to spring on them and destroy them before they knew what hit 'em. Which is exactly what this machine and I aim to do more of in the coming weeks and months.

Eve is a journey. No matter where you are on that path, hang tough, stick with it and never, ever give up. That's how they beat you.

Next Steps

I started Lucifer's Hammer back up again back in January, so it has been almost eight months now. Starting a Corporation from scratch is hard and full of challenges, but over-all I think we've managed to meet those challenges head on.

Certainly this past Summer was the toughest challenge and the most unexpected. The crises with my son and spending nearly a month in the hospital put serious strain of RL and Eve. But despite some choices that weren't popular, we weathered that storm and I've been back in Corp now for almost three months.

In the meantime our focus has been primarily on the Burn Away Alliance and establishing a core group of like-minded pilots and Corporations. Personally I think we've managed to excel at that objective and our group is running smooth and professional now with the addition of Sinners and Warp Core. We also have another Corp joining us shortly.

A week ago I took over as CEO again. Angor has become increasingly drawn to spending his time in World of Tanks and we need a more active CEO. So that's me again. While Lucifer's Hammer was gutted over the Summer by the exit of nearly half our members, who followed two of my Directors into their old Corporation ( And yes, the hospital chaos had a lot to do with that situation ) it is time to now turn my attention to recruiting for Lucifer's Hammer and getting our numbers back up to 30-40 pilots. (We stand at 20 today)

At the moment Lucifer's Hammer is ranked #1,078 on Battleclinic and slowly climbing steadily every day, Burn Away is ranked #259 among Alliances btw and also climbing.

Now that the Alliance is running smoothly and becoming something I am extremely proud of, it is time to re-focus on building Lucifer's Hammer again. That is where you come in Dear Reader.  If you happen to be looking for a home that focuses on having fun in-game, that doesn't take itself seriously - but also flies professionally - then you might be interested in Lucifer's Hammer. As you can clearly see from our killboard we fly solo, small gangs mostly. However we also have the ability to take down a Phoenix every once in awhile.  So we have access to larger fleets when we feel like it.

We've built an excellent reputation and want to continue doing so. We honor all 1v1s and ransoms and we try not to suck more than we should. Other than that, we don't have any rules.

So if you are looking and you can at least fly a BC decently, join our in-game channel LUCRH HAMMER TIME and talk to me about joining and flying with us.

'Nuff said. Just do it.

There's a Harbi in Mah Cane

Click to embiggen!
TL;DR: Dr. Seuss. Just roll wit it.

There is a Harbinger in my Hurricane. Oh my. I don't know why. I don't know why, indeed I don't know why the other is in my other. Why, when I fly, does the tunnel come and go? I can't tell you, because I do not know.

You expect me to, I can tell. But I cannot tell, because you know. You know I cannot tell, because I do not know. It ain't for lag, it ain't for fear, it ain't for far and it ain't for near. There is a nudder in my udder, amarr in my minnie, oh dear.

And now the double lock, the skip and the jump. Twice the time, twice the lock. Life's a crock, then they dock, cause I've got twice the lock. In case you didn't hear there's a Harbi in mah Cane you know. Silently creeping, silently leaping, twice the lock, oh why do they dock?

Gotta be the lag, the reason I missed that Jag. Gotta be the delay, when he tried to get away. Darn servers, update, patch and crash. Beams in my cannons, when I warp in a dash. I cannot tell, because I do not know. Why the servers move so slow.

And now I stare at that door, with invisible feet on the floor. While outside I cannot see, there are no windows, how can that be? When deep in space a Harbi takes the place. Cane, Cane, why are you displaced? I cannot take no moar, I know what, I'll blame the door.

There is a Harbinger in my Hurricane. I understand this is a game. Oh what a shame. Oh my, Oh dear, this will never end I fear. Cause there is a nudder in my udder. But hark, I hear, a voice from far and near. Another patch is on the way, perhaps this one will save the day?

There's a Harbi in Mah Cane.