Eve Predictions for 2012

This time next year we shall all be atomized by some sort of cosmic Mayan revenge fantasy, otherwise known as "Oh great leader we have charted 2,000 years on this calendar... and our fingers are sore."  "Sheesh guys, take a break, it isn't like our civilization is going anywhere!" They all LOL'd and went off into the jungle to wait for the Spanish.

Where was I? Oh yeah, 2012.

Here are some boneheaded predictions for our little Eve Universe (ish) for the coming year. Live it up while you still have time.

Prediction 1:
Mord Fiddle will admit that I am right about something!
Granted, this has about as much chance of happening as the aforementioned Mayan Apocolypse, but my crystal ball is telling me it is bound to happen sooner or later. The problem is, it'll probably be something small and insignificant. But a victory nonetheless!!

Prediction 2:
Ripard/Jester will be revealed to be four lonely teenage brothers living in a trailer outside of Birmingham, Alabama.
C'mon, this isn't that big of a reach. I write a lot, almost 700 posts in two years, but this guy puts me to shame. It can't all be the work of one person. Granted he has only been blogging for a year and the inevitable blogger block happens in the 14th month (proven btw by Google research, most blogs die after the 14th month!). Not that I wish that to happen of course. 

Prediction 3:
The Russian Null Bloc will finally realize they actually hate each other and fight amongst themselves. Vodka prices in Jita climb to all-time highs.
More then a prediction, this one is more like a wish. Just remember my Russian friends, everyone is talking about you behind your back. Especially that Serbian character! And don't forget about the Georgians!!

Prediction 4:
CCP will come to their senses and universally adopt all Gooder Eve suggestions.
And really, that would just be so awesome. Especially the POS BattleStar!! Woot.

Prediction 5:
Rixx will start a new Corporation that grows into a thousand man powerhouse that takes back Providence!!
No he won't. Yes he will. No he won't. Huh, that does sound interesting though... anyone else up for it?

Prediction 6:
The new T3 Frigates and the new Tier3 Destroyers are friggin' awesome, spawning a new era of good fights across new Eden!
Ok, some of these are pure wishful thinking. But you never know who might be reading.

Prediction 7:
GCC gets lowered to 5 minutes in an intelligent new system based on the security status of the system in which the combat aggression takes place.
Those responsible at CCP win the coveted Noble Gaming Prize in Stockholm and are universally hailed as geniuses. World peace follows shortly.

Prediction 8:
Mord Fiddle will admit that I am right about something!
Maybe that last prediction is the one Mord will admit I was right about?

Prediction 9:
The number of women playing Eve rises dramatically from 1 to about 12.
Schweet. Sadly this has more to do with the dropping costs of sex-change operations than anything else.

Prediction 10:
I'll finally have that moment where you go, "oh yeah, that's how it works" and suddenly Eve will make total sense and I'll be - like - awesome at it.
Had to throw one in here for me!  Ok, so I hope it happens to all of you!!

Happy New Year. Let's hope it doesn't actually end next December, I'm really starting to get the hang of it.

My Ten Favorite Posts of 2011

These are the ones I am proudest of. If you missed them now is your chance to catch up and avoid the eventual loss of self-respect that you'll feel from not having taken the chance when it was offered to you.

These are presented in no particular order.


In this post, which is a follow up to this post, I managed to lay out a viable solution to the idea of planned, agreed upon PvP content in Eve. This was in direct response to many people saying such a solution was impossible within the context of Eve and since I hate it when people say something is impossible, I went about proving that it wasn't. This caused quite a stir and eventually led to even more debate. Which is why I write these things in the first place. Just to be clear, I personally do not want THUNDERDOME in Eve. But it could work.

Later in August, the topic came up again in a Blog Banter.

Large Coalitions Are Not Bad For Eve

I love playing Devil's Advocate around here and sometimes it gets me into trouble. Which is the whole and entire point of doing it. Funny looking back on this post now that the NC doesn't even exist anymore. Muhahahaha.

TOP 10 (Double Post)

The Top Ten Most Frustrating Things About Eve and the follow-up Top Ten Most Amazing Things About Eve. Written back in May the frustrating bits are still frustrating and the amazing bits are still amazing.

The Thin Green Line

A few of these "best" post came about because of Incarna and the subsequent shit-storm that hit over the Summer. This one was written right at the beginning of the tide and it lays out my own beliefs about vanity items and "gold ammo" perfectly.

EVEOTORIAL: The Mass of Men

And then this one. You have to read it for yourself. This was one of the most popular posts of the past year and I am pleased that it was, in fact it got a lot of proper attention if you know what I mean.

Rixx Internally Debates Being a Pirate

These are actually several posts in which I debated the personal merits of the play style I have recently chosen to pursue. It all sorta started with this post I wrote about how docking up in the face of combat made you a coward. I then wrote two follow-up posts about the topic, here and then here. And then that thread sorta ended with this post. Now all that talk about cowards, haters, trolls and whatnot really got me thinking.

And then I wrote this post, which is just friggin' brilliant, about Criminal Intentions. Really it boils down to my own RL personal morality and how that balances with being a scum sucking pirate in-game. Writing that caused Rixx to write his own letter. Which finally all got wrapped up nicely in this post called Morality and Moral Bankruptcy

I know it is a lot of posts, but it is worth reading.

EVEOTORIAL: The CSM and Why It's Bad for Eve

I wrote this and the next one in response to continued frustration over the Incarna issues that plagued Eve over the Summer. Much of what I wrote was based on events on-going at the time it was written, which is the hallmark of good editorial writing. I stand by much of what was written, especially in light of the changes that happened as a result.  But especially in light of the next post...

EVEOTORIAL: Why CCP is Bad for Eve

Much of this post was simply me best-guessing my way thru the issues surrounding the events of the past Summer, using my own experience and knowledge the best I could to try and explain what was rapidly becoming obvious. I know for a fact that many people at CCP read this post, many of them contacted me off the record to say as much and more. I know I missed on a few things, but even on those it was a glancing blow. Whatever the final results, and I don't care one way or the other, the facts are obvious. Something changed at CCP and we, the game of Eve and CCP are better for those changes. 

Swinging Lucifer's Hammer

A work of fiction that I wrote. It won a contest.

2012: Sanctuary Training Program

And finally, I wrote an entire series on what I think 2012 might bring to Eve. Or, more to the point, what I think it should bring. But this one is the most important as it brings to life an idea that I believe Eve needs. A total re-build on the new player experience.

And those are my personal top ten. 

Most Popular Posts of 2011

2011 was a year of big changes in Eve for Rixx. His transformation from Null Space Soldier to low-sec Pirate started in late 2010 and early 2011 with the creation of Lucifer's Hammer and ended with him joining The Tuskers.

Now that I can actually see and think a little, my Flu is dying a slow death, I thought I'd look back on the year that was by posting the most popular posts based on traffic. These are not my favorite posts, that list will be coming later, but these are the ones that grabbed the most attention.

Death Race II: Bath of Blood

While over 55k people read this post it wasn't enough to save it from being a victim of bad timing all the way around. You can read more in the post that announced the reasons behind the cancellation.

Golden Rokh

Over 45k visitors liked the Wallpaper of the Rokh hovering over the Golden Gate bridge. That is more than the two Pirate Cruiser Wallpapers combined. And yes, I plan on doing more of those in the future. Both of them.

Gang Tactics

The Gang Tactics series was extremely popular and yes I do plan on continuing those as well, just as soon as things calm down a bit from the Holiday madness.

EVEOTORIAL: The Mass of Men

This one would also make my "best of" list and I remain extremely proud of what I wrote during the heat of last Summer's turmoil over vanity items and the CQ. If you haven't read it I recommend every Eve player do so, it is a strong call to civil disobedience and the responsibilities that come with it.

Goodbye RK: You've got Red on your Orchestra

I still maintain good relations with many pilots in RK, both former and current, but they were not the Alliance for Lucifer's Hammer. It is a funny story and if you are not familiar with it then it is good reading. The whole thing started with one of our pilots fitting a small neut on his Vagabond, mostly because he was waiting for AWUV to finish training, and bloomed into an epic Troll of mammoth proportions. It was all in fun, at least from our end, and helped secure our little corporation some much needed attention. I still find it fascinating that people that proclaim to be "trolling" are so sensitive when they are being trolled.

BOOTED: Muppet Ninjas Endorse Blue Vs. Blue

And then an even better Troll came along. This was classic and one of the best laid plans that I have ever been involved with. Over 50 comments on this one, and they are probably just as much fun as the actual post. 

There were things about that moment in time that I couldn't write in the post, but they really aren't important now. Seeing as that was back in April, who really cares anymore?

What Tomfoolery awaits in the coming year?  Guess we'll have to wait to find out...

sickness pervades

even one as stalwart and physically, mentally fine a specimen as yours truly sometimes, rarely, succumbs to the mundane, asinine, trivial failures of the flesh and creeping, swollen, cough infested malignancy known commonly as the flu. stop bah. hit me hard christmas night and hasn't let me out of its icy heat tinged grasp. stop. feeling better, must not lose hope. sweat. dripping mucus factory imbedded in my own head and uncontrolled workings. stop. mundanity.

trivial. stop. but all so repellent when it comes calling. one thinks, professionally, i shall return to full strength right soon. stop. love to mother. stop.

send iskies. stop.

Happy Holidays

Everything has a way of changing around the Holidays. The plans and schemes of men are given over to the twisted whims of family, friends and obligations. This is the way of things. Neither bad nor always good, in the end it is what it is. We endure.

Beyond endurance however, lies a land of peace and harmony. I've never seen it, but the stories persist. The idea that some truth lies at the heart of those tales is what keeps us going. The tantalizing thread of hope that one day we might just stumble upon such a place.

In so many aspects of my own life, I have found that land. After tribulation, trial, effort, failure and more lawyers than... well, best to leave that for another day. The point is this, I have tasted of that land my friends. At various points I've lived in its suburbs, glimpsed its white towers and smelled the wafting breeze of its glorious foodstuffs.

And this Holiday season, in the context of Eve or outside of it, I have one fervent holiday wish to share. It is my sincere desire that each of you, the carebears, the pilots, the wormholers, the hi-sec gankers, the mission runners, the transporters, the miners, the scammers, the Corp CEOs, the folks at CCP, everyone, each and every, have a chance to taste, to feel, to live - even for a moment - in the fabled land of peace, joy and harmony.

The book that is Eve is closed until next week. I'll be spending my time on-line with friends and family until then. And I won't pod a single one of them, I promise.

Next week we'll spend some time looking back over the past year, at some of the best and worst that 2011 brought us. Until then, whatever your personal beliefs might be, my sincere and heart-felt best wishes for you and yours.

Keep the courage.

The Next Step

Click to embiggen
This is the time of year when we sometimes pause to reflect on where we've been and where we might be going next year. I suppose in the coming weeks I'll be doing my fair share of that as well. But today I thought I'd spend some time talking about it from a skills perspective.

This time last year my goal was to train Sabre/DIC/HIC and start flying those ships. Funny, since I spent only a few short months after writing that in Null Space. I did achieve that goal right away and even though I don't fly those ships much, they have still come in handy from time to time. Even in Low Sec they have their uses. The super long point of the Broadsword, Devoter are especially useful on Cap kills. And while the Devoter sucks at delivering DPS its tank makes it useful when breaking up gate camps or station camps.

I never got around to training Logi V, it is still stuck at IV and probably will be for another year. Rixx is a combat pilot and his focus remains on training combat related skills. Eventually he will get around to it I suppose, but not any time in the near future. My ultimate goal for Rixx remains, to fully train all four races up to and including Battleships. The underlying principles behind that goal are largely finished, the support skills, the gun skills, the weapons, powergrid, etc. Most of the coming year will be spent on topping off some key skills to level V and expanding the ship skills underneath BS.

For example, Recon V, which he is training right now. At least two of the four BS skills to V and I'll probably get around to finally finishing Gal Cruiser V which is the only one of those I don't have.

As for Ana, her goal next year is Black Ops, JF, and then Dreadnaught or Super Carrier, depending on how much I can afford. She has spent the last nine months training every Carrier skill you need to level V and she is right in the middle of training Cap Armor Rep to V at the moment. She is well on her way to being a truly badass Carrier pilot.

At a little over 55m skillpoints it is interesting to think about where Rixx will be this time next year. While I was looking forward to the Sabre last year, I don't really have a ship class I'm looking forward to next year. So instead my focus is going to be on getting better at the ships I do fly, filling in some of the remaining holes in my skills ( there are still a few, do they ever really go away? ) and becoming even more of a terror. To myself and others.

If I had to do it all over again ( ugh ) I wouldn't have jumped into the cross-training so soon, it did hurt early on, but having done so is finally starting to pay off now. So no real regrets.

What are your plans for the coming year in regards to skill training? Anything you are looking forward to?

Blog Banter 31: The Rollercoaster Thrill Ride that is Eve Online, with Cookies, Review

Eve Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that works within a science-fiction universe. It is a deep, dark, complex universe that is hard to have fun playing and will probably kill you dead. Be warned, if you are considering playing Eve, you will probably suck at it.

It has taken me over three years to write this review. I set out to take a deep dive into the Player Versus Player combat scheme presented in CCP's on-line internet spaceship "game" called Eve Online. You probably haven't heard of it. Mostly weirdoes play it.

Wait a second... that isn't working. Time to try another angle.

Hello! My name is Rixx Javix and I'm an Eve Online enthusiast that spends an inordinate amount of time wasting my life shooting internet spaceships...

That makes me sound pervie. I need a good angle here.

By jovian! I've got it. I started playing Eve for one simple reason, I could fly spaceships and shoot other people who were also flying spaceships. And while that might sound all groovy and cool, it isn't.  What I mean is that Eve is much more than that. It comes down to people  man, the people are so friggin' awesome. They taught me so much about myself that...

Uh, this is harder than it sounds. Seismic Stan asked us to write a community centric review of Eve Online. It could be from any angle, section, piece, corner or whatever we wanted. Open ended huh? Eve isn't like a movie I just saw, or a new album I just listened to. Eve is very strange in so many ways, especially for me, since it incorporates into so many aspects of myself and what I do on an almost daily basis. It isn't that I'm one of those weirdoes, or that I attend Eve conventions dressed like a Jovian, but Eve permeates so fully that it is always there. Even though it might be lurking behind a corner, it is hard to remove yourself from it in order to see it clearly.

Rationally it makes little to no sense at all. I mean, most of the time it isn't even that much fun to play. And even the word "play" is wrong, cause you really don't play Eve as much as you experience Eve. Even thinking about it in terms of "play" is wrong-headed and will only result in your frustration. Believe me, I've been there several times.

Emotionally it can be crushing. I spent an entire year helping an Alliance grow only to watch it crumble and squish and be betrayed and ultimately destroyed. I've actually done that more than a few times now. It can be emotionally disturbing to invest so much time, literally hundreds of hours, effort and dedication into something, only to watch it melt away as if it never existed in the first place. Poof. Gone. That hurts and hurts hard. That kinda thing can kill you dead.

Eve is horribly harsh and unforgiving. I have worked my butt off to buy ships and 99% of those have been blown up by other players. I've sunk billions of in-game money, they called it ISK, to buy ships only to have them destroyed by other players. I've lost 255 ships and I have less than 50 in my hanger, what kind of odds are those?!  Oh sure I've blown up more than my fair share of other people's ships, almost 1,500 of them, but that just means I am part of the problem - not the solution.

I'm trying to make a point by painting a negative picture about something I love. Eve is all of those things above. It doesn't make much sense, it is often emotionally crushing, harsh and unforgiving... and that is exactly what I love about it.

From day one I have only been interested in one thing about Eve - combat. I sucked at it early on in my career and got my ass handed to me on numerous attempts at shooting other players. Slowly, but surely I got better at it. Some days I feel like the king of the universe and other days I feel like the court jester of the universe. You can't be in love with something that makes rational sense, that doesn't have the potential to crush you emotionally, that isn't often harsh, cruel and unforgiving... because it loves you back.

What other virtual internet based digital universe can deliver that kind of passion? I don't know of any. That might make me weird of course, I have to concede that possibility. But if so, then I welcome it.

Combat is my thing. My only thing. I've fought countless times across the width and breadth of New Eden. My Eve map is full of colored dots from one side to the other. I've fought in every type of space the game has to offer, from Empire to Null, Wormholes to Low and every where in-between. On the side of thousand man fleets to small five man gangs, to creeping around by myself looking to pounce on some unsuspecting pilot.  In all that time I've learned a lot about fighting in Eve over the last three years, but still I manage to learn something new every single time I fly.

Ask yourself this? How is that even possible?

I mean really think about that for a second. I've been playing for over three years, I write a blog about it, spend hundreds of hours doing it, talking about it, thinking about it, planning about it, reading about it... and still there are things to be learned?

I can't say that about very many things. But I honestly believe, that when it comes to Eve, I may never be able to learn it all. To encompass the breadth and width and height and depth of it. How remarkable is that?

So then. For this rambling, disjointed reviewer, I give Eve unlimited stars for potential and 4 out of 5 stars for reality. Eve is, as always, an on-going work in progress. It ebbs and flows between utter collapse and the heights of accomplishment. The most recent expansion Eve:Crucible has raised the bar once again. 

I can highly recommend Eve Online.

Art About Me for a Change

So I see this link on Twitter this morning that has my name on it and click thru casually, one never knows what might be on the other end of such a thing, and this pops up in the window!  Lo and behold it is a piece of art featuring none other than your friendly neighborhood blogger and pirate, or me as I call myself. ( in my head I sometimes call myself Studmuffin, but you probably didn't need to know that )

Said piece of brilliance was made by HighRezEVE, you can see his growing portfolio over on DeviantArt. The idea of producing art based on Capsuleers is a good one and I'm glad someone else is doing it instead of me. I am extremely flattered by this unexpected bit of awesome sauce and would like to thank HighRezEVE for the honor.

I will even mention that HighRezEVE does take commissions and will produce one of these pieces with you in the spotlight.  Details are on his DeviantArt page.

One just never knows what lies on the other end of a link. Sometimes it even turns out to be something quite awesome.

The Power of 100 Voices Wallpaper

The Power of 100 Voices: United Technologies of CreoDron

My fellow blogger and podcasting genius Arydanika is running a very interesting... hmm, what would you call it?  Sort of an open casting call for Eve Voices I guess. She is compiling as many voices as possible to produce a "Colors of Beneton" style commercial for the in-game NPC Corporation CreoDron.  Who happens to make drones.

You can learn more about the project by clicking over to her blog post.  Click right on thru the verification thingie, she doesn't bite.

I was so inspired by her enthusiasm for producing commercials and her creativity that I decided to create the Wallpaper Ad above in support. You can click on the image to download various sizes.

So go on over there and lend your voice! Go on. We should all have microphones, voice comms is mandatory y'know.

Star Raiders: Eve's Great-Grandfather

I'm going to date myself horribly in this post. Way back in 1979 when it came to video gaming the Atari system was all the rage. The Atari 2600 was the coolest thing you could own and one of the coolest games you could play was a game called Star Raiders. ( Asteroids was fine, Space Invaders was popular, but for my money Star Raiders was better. Oh and Defender was awesome too! )

The more I think about this game the more I've come to realize the direct lineage between it and Eve. And while SR was four-color 8-bit and cheesy by todays standards, the game-play and strategy sounds awfully familiar.  Let's take a closer look.

While SR was the direct ancestor of today's first-person shooters, other aspects of the game can't be ignored when considering its Eve heritage and inspiration.

Consider the "Galactic Chart" pictured here. Each square represents a Star System. Your ship could fly around each star system in sub-warp speed, but to get to another star system you needed Hyperspace. You selected another system and jumped to it, much like our Eve Gates today. Some of these systems even had Starbases in them, which you could use to repair your ship.

For those of us alive at the time, the sight of the SR Hyperspace warp tunnel in store monitors was extremely common. Video stores would run loops of the warp tunnel effect to showcase the graphics of the Atari. But the similarities don't end there.

The whole point of Star Raiders was combat. And to aid you in that combat you had radar, in fact you had two types of scanning, short and long range. This "overview" type system also let you know when enemy ships were locked and ready to be fired at. There was even a primitive version of tracking to enable hits on the bad guys.

Unlike many of the multiple lives games out at the time, in SR you only had one life. One ship. Your ship could be damaged by bad guys, by collisions with asteroids ( or Meteoroids as they called them ) but could only be destroyed when your shields get low or won't work. In fact, multiple damage types could hurt your ship in different ways, shields, weapons, engines and even your overview could become damaged. ( something even Eve doesn't have )  You even had to manage your Cap ( Energy reserves ) to effectively stay in business long enough to keep fighting.

Oh wait. While you could dock at Starbases for repair, the enemy could also destroy your Starbases. If they surrounded one and you failed to defend it, it could be blown up and lost to you. Sounds kind of familiar doesn't it?

The picture to the right shows the screen view of a Starbase and the shuttle you used to dock with. You can see the ship information along the bottom and the "overview" on the right.

The entire game took up only 8k of ROM and worked with only 8k of RAM. A far cry from today's system requirements huh.

Understand, I am not saying that Eve is a rip-off of Star Raiders or anything nutty like that. That would be silly. But anyone can see the direct lineage that today's games have with those that came before them. Star Raiders isn't the only game on that tree, but it is probably the most significant example and truly the Great-Grandaddy of Eve.

For me personally, Star Raiders represented the first time I had played anything remotely like a real, immersive ( for its time ) space game. It wasn't the arcade classic Asteroids, or Space Invaders, in which you were displaced from the action by the screen. Star Raiders was unique for putting you into the action, it was first-person before first-person was even a concept.

And it planted a seed in my young brain that became fully grown when I saw Eve for the very first time. And for that, I thank you Great-Grandfather. You rock.

A Sense of Place

Lately I find myself actually looking off into space while I'm flying around in New Eden. For the last three years space was mostly the same dark inky place, much better than when I first started playing ( heck, just a month ago I would've sworn it was cool!! ) but still... I mean, just look out of your window!

We all get that. We've seen the purty nebula, the stark contrasts, the deep blacks, the crispy color, the sharp defined edges, the new shaders, models, and other unexplained something or others that make New Eden post-Crucible just friggin awesome to look at. We get it. It sure is real purty.

But there is something else going on here. When I'm looking off into space now, I can see home. It is over there. And it keeps getting smaller and smaller the further I fly away from it. And the place I'm going for nefarious purposes?  Why, it keeps getting closer.

For the first time EVER New Eden is an actual place. You can drive thru it and kinda tell where you are headed. And where you've been. Somewhere out there in the twinkly stars is the one star you call home. It used to be those stars were like a randomly generated background not much different than the old Atari Star Raiders star-field. ( And yes, Star Raiders is the direct ancestor of Eve, but that is actually the post for tomorrow! It has been sitting in the dust bin unfinished for long enough. ) But now, even though they still might be randomly generated, they don't feel that way.

One of the biggest reasons is the new wonky Star Gates. They tilt, lean and generally point DIRECTLY at the next Star! In fact you can watch the Gate thingie shoot your disassembled and suddenly incorporal mass directly to the destination star, which is all big and twinkly in the path of said beam thingie.

What an odd and unexpected thing. A sense of place in this vast and virtual universe, a place we like to call home. Huh.

The other day whilst out on a roam, the nebula were all around us. Off in the distance was Cloud Ring and other still un-named ( to us anyway ) nebula. Back behind us though was the one featured in the post image above, which is my own home system of Hevrice.  It was much smaller and more distant than when we started the roam. It was actually far away. Really far away.

My point is this. I think the impact of this perception goes way beyond the purty pictures and sense of time and place. In fact, I think this single little thing might very well become the most significant and important change to come out of Crucible. Over the Summer CCP held a contest/event called "Eve is Real" in which players were asked to contribute things that made Eve seem real to us. But we had no clue yet how real Eve could potentially be, how much we were missing this sense of place. You can't miss what you don't know you don't have.  Cause we thought we had it. But we really didn't.

And now we do. It sends chills down my spine.

I could almost navigate New Eden without using my map now. Simply look off into the steller distances and see something that interests me... and head in that direction. Like our Fathers before us, navigating vacation without GPS and Navigation Systems, sure we'd get lost every so often. But on those trips getting lost was sometimes the best part, the discovery of the World's Largest Ball of Yarn, or the Weird Hole, or Gravity Hill.

New Eden. One of those twinkly stars is my home.

The Ninja Blog Pack

Since Ninja are sneaky and covert and clever, you might not know that there is such a thing as a Ninja Blog Pack. But there is. My good friend Aiden Mourn ( who just happens to be a Ninja, shhhh ) runs it over on his awesome blog that he calls Finders & Keepers.

Memorize that link and then destroy this... oh wait. Huh, quandary. Ok then, this blog post will self-destruct in five, four, three, two...

A permanent link will be going up around here shortly.

Oracle Kills Zealot & Other Random Crucible Musings

I was fitting up my shiny new tier3 Battlecruisers the other day and musing on the changes that Crucible has brought to New Eden. A bit stunned, disoriented and overwhelmed by the multitude of paper-cut fixes, the major game-changers seemed lost in the pile at first.

Then, as I was fitting up my shiny new Oracle, I happened to glance at the Zealot sitting in my hanger.

It hit me, that poor ship is dead.

Which made me wonder, what other ships in my hanger are also dead?  Gulp. Suddenly Crucible started to seem like a religious death-squad intent on antiquating my personal collection of death-dealing wonder ships! What would it devour next?  My Vagabond?!?

For all intents and purposes, the Zealot and the Vagabond have seen their day of glory and will never again be the ships they once were. They have been regulated to the dusty back bin of the hanger, to be brought out only because you were to damn lazy or poor to buy a new tier3 when you were in Jita last week.

The Oracle is twice as cheap as a Zealot, hits for BS damage at better than Zealot ranges, doesn't have the same cap issues and, did I mention, it is twice as cheap? ( It varies of course, but eventually it will be. And while this might be over-simplifying a complex issue, it is the truth. Plus, oversimplifying a complex issue is what I do! )  The Zealot, poor thing, just can't hold up under this kind of pressure.

The story isn't the same for the Vagabond. It wasn't directly killed by one ship, but by a combination of events that put it squarely in the middle. The Tornado started it. Once you introduce a 900 dps warrior that can hit at Drake range with the ( relatively ) same tracking as a Cane, with nano Cane EHP ( close enough! ) you've upset the apple cart. But the Tornado is a tough nut to fit a point on, so how does this kill the Vaga?  It doesn't directly, but follow the logic tree down a bit and you'll see why.  Once again, it comes down to cost relationships. The Vaga is to expensive. Just like the Zealot, the Vaga is killed by being more expensive than it is worth. Heck, when you can make a Catalyst into a Taranis ( call it a Fat Tranny if you want, but with the right skills the Catalyst is pretty badass right now ) for a fraction of the cost, you begin to see what Crucible has wrought.

After all the Dramiel talk, the nerfs/buffs, the balancing and whatnots that Crucible has brought us. It is fascinating that the most significant changes might be to the overall market value of our traditional thinking. Battleship DPS at Battlecruiser prices is about more than meets the eye.

And we're only in the opening weeks.

I love Twitter. Having banged this around a few times I just wanted to focus the post a bit more on the important point. Cost. Eve is all about risk/reward and ISK balance. I'm not saying the Oracle is a better ship than the Zealot. In many ways it is not. But what I am saying is this - it is much, much cheaper and it does more dps! These are hard facts to ignore. And while the Zealot has a slightly bigger tank and can have a lower sig radius, that dps thing is hard to get past. Especially considering the price.

And that is the thing. Take a look in the comments and notice what Kirith says about the Naga compared to the Rokh. 1/3 the cost, better agility with a damage bonus. Forget the EHP when you can field more of them for the same cost.

Unless something weird happens and T2 prices fall significantly, and they probably can't even do that anymore, the world has changed and it is time to start thinking differently.

And if you are counting on a buffer I wouldn't be so quick. I seriously think this is exactly what CCP wanted to happen. 

Stuck in the Fridge

If I've learned one thing during the last 3+ years playing Eve, writing about Eve, drawing things about Eve and generally being so cool doing all of it, is this - sometimes even I need a break from Eve.

The past month has been, for me, a break from Eve. Although I've stayed mostly active here on Eveoganda and in other places, my in-game time over the last month probably amounted to about 2 hours in total.  This had nothing at all to do with Eve itself, in fact I couldn't be more excited about Crucible and the direction the game is going right now. This had everything to do with the usual things these things have to do with, a confluence of events both in-game and out, that crossed streams in places they shouldn't have crossed streams.  Hence causing additional stress and poo-poo crap'ola that needed to be dealt with.

Yesterday marked my general return to form as I undocked Rixx from Hevrice for the first time in over two weeks with the intent to blow something up.  Mostly I've been logging in to Ana to move stuff and buy nifty new ships. But yesterday I wanted some much needed action and explosions.

It didn't happen like that. Oh I had fun, don't get me wrong. I lucked out and logged in just as a Tusker Dessie gang was forming up. Sounded fun. I quickly fitted up a Catalyst and waited to head out. The FC was asking in fleet chat for some pilots to fly Interceptors and I volunteered, so no Catalyst for me. He wanted a long point Ceptor, so I had to scramble to find one. I have several Ceptors fitted up, but since I don't fly in Null Space much anymore, almost all of them are short pointed. Ranis, blaster/web. Daredevil, blaster/web, Dramiel, Malediction all short range killers. Maybe the Slicer or maybe the Crow. I had the Crow fitted with AB/Scram but it was easy enough to switch out.

We ran all over and couldn't find anyone to engage us. Not really. There was a decent sized PIRATES gang that was full of potential but they wouldn't engage us and kept docking up. You'd think 4-5 BCs and support ships wouldn't be afraid of a gang of Destroyers... 

I did manage to get in on a Hurricane kill. And seeing just how fast his tank melted, maybe people were right to avoid us.

One more thing. It is pretty awe-inspiring watching your home system Nebula shrink into the distance the further you get from it. And seeing Cloud Ring off in the distance, or some of the other Nebula, really gives Eve a sincere sense of location. It would be easy to dismiss this in the heat of hunting and killing, but I think the impact of this most recent level of immersion may have a lasting impact on New Eden. Very interesting.

Twitter Hats: Clearly Spoken

It's my own fault. Sometimes I can be unclear by trying hard to be clear and all I do is confuse people by trying to be clear, so let me be perfectly clear. (With apologies to Richard Nixon)

For almost six months I did a Twitter Hat every day, some days as many as six. That is over. No more daily hats.

But I will still be-hat your Twitter Avatar for you if you ask me nicely. And that hat will become part of the Tweetfleet Hat Collection here on Eveoganda. Which will eventually result in a printable poster and more fun Wallpapers.

In exchange I will accept small donations for my efforts, or not, totally and 100% up to you. I am a Pirate who doesn't play as much as he used to, so every little bit helps me afford more ships.

That's it. You can request hats thru Twitter, thru email both out and in-game, or by leaving a comment on a post.


Year End Gift

Every year I like to give Rixx a year-end gift that comes in various forms. Part one of the "gift" isn't a gift at all really, more of a long skill train that takes him thru the Holiday. Since the time around Christmas isn't usually one that holds a lot of play-time, it is the perfect time to plan a longer than usual skill.

Last year it was two skills, Propulsion Jamming V and Destroyer V on my way to flying the Sabre, Onyx, Broadsword, etc.  The year before that was BCV. This year took some thought and planning to determine which would be the best skill to train. There are many more skills now that need taken to the final V level. But I've always tried to make it one that leads directly to having more fun. Either in flying something new or in flying something better.

So this year it'll be the long put off Recon V. I kept putting it off because I wanted to focus on other things, like gun skills, drone skills and shooting stuff dead skills. Plus flying Recon ships like the Rapier, Curse and others isn't as big a deal in Pirate Land as it would be out in Null. Don't get me wrong, having Recon V is a HUGE deal. But lower on the totem pole than other skills in low sec.

The second gift is an actual gift. If I can swing it by Xmas, Rixx will finally be getting his Machariel. And there is no really good reason why this will happen. I don't need a Machariel and I probably won't fly it very often. But I want one anyway. Last year when I wrote this post I mentioned wanting a Machariel for Xmas and I didn't get one then either. I've put it off long enough, I want a fully fit and fully operational Mach in my stocking.

And, in typical American fashion, I can't afford one. Which won't stop me from figuring out a way to get one.

Twitter Hats

Mockery is a powerful tool. 

Back on June 9th it occurred to me that the only real way to express my utter contempt for vanity items in Eve was to use the only visual tool at my disposal, the head and shoulders avatar. And what would I be able to do to it to express just how silly it all was? The answer, as all such things tend to be after the fact of inspiration, was obvious.  Hats.

The mere idea of our seasoned, scowl infested, tough-as-nails avatars wearing silly hats was profoundly funny. At least in my own humble opinion. 

At first I simply used Rixx as the target for the silly hats, along with my own Twitter campaign in the midst of the Incarna Summer outrage. Along with various posts here on Eveoganda, it seemed like the perfect way to straddle the fence on what I considered to be a difficult razor. On one side the obvious silliness of CQ/Incarna, Aurum, and clothes no one could see. On the other a passionate caring for an Eve gone wrong.

Towards the end of June the little protest of mockery took a turn in a slightly unexpected direction when Mark from Eve Travel requested a Dunce hat for his avatar. Neither of us can remember the exact reason why he wanted such a thing, but he started using it on his own Twitter account. And so was born the expansion of what would come to be known variously as the Twitter Hats, or the Mad Hatter, or other descriptions.

Six months have passed and almost 160 hats. And Eve has moved on from Incarna to Crucible. The universe isn't the same anymore. Many of the Twitter hatted avatars aren't even using their be-hatted avatars anymore. And it seems obvious to me that it is time to put that moment of Eve history to rest.

The hats have served their purpose. Perhaps to a small degree, perhaps more so, who can know these things. They were part of the process however, that cannot be denied, not when so many of CCP's own are proud owners of hats, even the big guy at the top with his fluffy Viking hat.

But it is time to put them behind us and move on. However, since I am such a nice pirate type person, I will still be-hat your avatar, but only on request.  And while I will still do them for free I would consider a donation to Rixx a small price to pay, since he is a poor pirate that tends to get things exploded a lot.

The hats were a blast to do and I'm glad they made so many people happy. It still makes me smile when I see one of the hatted avatars pop up on Twitter.

So thanks to all of you that are wearing or have worn your hats with pride. That was fun.

Rixx JavixX is fake

That isn't me. Although it does look like me a little.

Yesterday Ana was in Dodixie buying one of each of the new ships, plus fits and some assorted other things, for us. Once she had flown them back to Hevrice she went to put them up on contract. Imagine her surprise when someone else named Rixx JavixX ( the cap is mine, the character is Rixx Javixx).

He is even a member of a FAUX version of my old Corporation, Lucifer's Hammer.[LRUCH] - the dot and the scrambled call letters.  This was done on October 31st, so I have to appreciate the Halloween aspect.

I have no proof regarding who is responsible ( not that it really matters much tbh ), there have been several "Rixx Javix" lol clones since I started playing. I can remember nine, but I think there were a few more. So this isn't very creative. Sorry Lex. Plenty of others have trodden this same road over the years, from -A- to Ash most recently with his funny Rixx Javix Jr. character.

I know it is my former Corp member Lex because of the Bio. Pardon the language, I didn't write it and I suspect he was probably drunk when he did. (It is all in Caps, so I've taken the time to de-cappify it for you)

"My Butthurtometer is going into overdrive. God damn those blaggard Directors and their Corp member stealing skills. I hope they read my 100% legit Nano Drake Guide that I wrote even if it doesn't actually include any useful info and is a total copy and an awesome pro pvpers version (that is way better btw)

Further more I am so butthurt even my butts that are hurting have little butthurts growing on them like little butthurt pustules that hurt my butt"

The Nano Drake Guide he is referring to is HERE.

I admit to some confusion regarding the capitalization of "butthurt", so pardon me if I erred. I know Lex is behind the creation of this version of Rixx simply because of the reference to the Nano Drake guide. Apparently because Lex posted a similar guide on the Lucifer's Hammer forum he believes he is the expert on Nano Drake gangs. And that somehow I stole from him to create the brief guide that appeared on this blog Sept 31st.

The fact that I've been flying such gangs for three years doesn't seem to matter. Or the fact that lots of other people have also. Y'know, unknowns like PL, -A-, Co2, Goonswarm... people like that.

I am flattered. This obviously came about as a result of me calling him out on the blog at some point regarding his role in the death of Lucifer's Hammer and Burn Away. It is comforting to see the path that Lex and Cyber have managed to take since then has been so rewarding for them. Just to be clear I am joking here. Let's see. Targeted Aggression for five days. New Eden Renegades (the best Corporation Evah!), Kadavr Black Guard ( Sorry Nashh, but you can't say I didn't warn you), Kicked ( Back with my friend Itsme, shame that didn't work out) and now in Blue Republic. Nice track record.

Credit where credit is due. Lex is a great PvP pilot and I was proud to have him in my Corporation. We had a lot of great times together and his particular brand of insanity was tremendously entertaining, especially when he backed it up in space. 

But once again I apologize if my special needs child got in the way of your internet spaceship game. Because it didn't get in the way of mine.

Sometimes it rocks to have your own hugely popular and well-read blog.