A Preponderance of Hats

I've been putting hats on Eve Avatars since the Summer of Incarna, shortly after I started my Twitter account and joined #tweetfleet. I've lost count but we are probably talking around 400 or so hats, give or take. Early on it started as simply a lark, a joke even, a protest aimed at mocking the monocle and the idea of over-priced real world monied items in the store. But since those heady days it has slowly and surely evolved into an expression of individualism.

I joke around a lot. I tend to not take things seriously. But after years of plopping hats on top of avatars even I must start to admit - the idea has merit. It is hard now, against the overwhelming preponderance of evidence, to understand why some form of hat is not more widely available in the character creator. Let's face facts here and admit to ourselves that Eve needs hats.

I viewed the subject of hats as a test, a litmus-test, that pushed the envelope of creativity. I use it when I interview potential CSM members, to see where their head is on the subject. Not because I actually wanted hats in Eve, but because I wanted to know how they think. This was before. Once I recently started collecting these hats into a single location on my hard drive, in an effort to preserve them, did it really start to dawn on me. A change in my own attitude towards headwear.

Perhaps it was the recent implementation of Ship Skins? Maybe that is what has pushed things over the edge? If we can have customized on-the-fly ship skins, then why not hats?

And while I am well aware that many of these hats would not be appropriate in the context of in-game Eve - I challenge you to tell me they all wouldn't? Just look at that guy in the upper left corner? That is an Eve hat. The yellow woman? Eve hat. The orange woman across from her? Eve hat. And so many more examples.

Most importantly, from a supplier's perspective, people want hats. In fact, I believe they'd go nuts for them. Our avatars are the only true expression of ourselves in-game. It is about time we got the chance to decorate our heads.

This is getting real. And Eve is real. Isn't it?

Skin in the Game

Ship skins have arrived. The implementation of this feature has to be, in my humble opinion, the smoothest and best introduction of a new feature into Eve that I can remember. It works at a level that makes it seem as if it had always been there, hiding off to the side somewhere, waiting for us to discover it. Well done to all those involved in setting this up and getting it incorporated into the game.

I never gave much thought to ship skins. I enjoyed flying the Police Comet when it was introduced, but only because people donated ships to me. On my own I would never have bothered. My ships don't tend to survive long enough to make the investment worthwhile. The entire feature was more of a curious oddity than anything else. It was "neat" and fun to look at, but not something that I cared all that much about. The hope that someday we'd be able to put Corp/Alliance logos on our ships was about as much thought as the feature deserved.

But now? Now there is no arcane blueprints to deal with, the skins are embedded into your character for use whenever you want. They have become a part of you. A choice that can be made. This is revolutionary. Now it doesn't matter, now there is no building, or industry, or loss (generally speaking, at least for permanent skins) only choice. No one is more surprised than I am about what a huge mind-shift this is turning out to be.

I was shocked yesterday at how many of these things I had in my redeeming system. Apparently I have stolen or been given a lot of skin blueprints over the years. I think I had at least eight of the Police Comet skins, I gave the extra seven away to Corpmates yesterday. In addition to the three Fanfest Quafe skins, I also had at least a dozen more to choose from. A few are the 30 day variety, which I am honestly not that crazy about. But why wouldn't I always fly a Quafe Tristan?

I honestly think I will choose to always fly a Quafe Tristan. Why not? Click done. Wow.

Ok, so this is obviously a feature that will be building towards the day when we can add our own Corp/Alliance logos to ships. That seems all but assured now with the new Alliance logo submission process churning along. But it also got me thinking... where does this end?

Naturally our minds all jump to the Hello Kitty pink ships that have haunted the Eve community for years. But, while that might be a silly thing, the idea of custom ship skins is entirely possible. And I don't mean custom ship skins designed by CCP, but rather the potential inherent in truly custom ship skins designed by others. While the idea of pink ships in Eve might be a bit much (maybe?) there is an extremely wide spectrum between Quafe and Pink. A wide spectrum that someone like myself could exploit to develop some truly interesting and profitable skins. Want to see some flaming skulls? Or tribal tattoos? Or anything on a Caldari ship?

The possibilities are endless. And that can potentially be a bad thing. Goodness knows we don't want to start seeing sponsored ship skins, Coca-Cola reds, and Monster Energy Drink Hyperions, such garish displays would ruin the game. (I don't believe they'd actually ruin anything, I just think they are a horribly bad idea.)

Between the beginning and the horrible end-game, there is a lot of territory. And when it comes down to it the true potential of ship skins lies in the individual nature of the choice we now have. This choice doesn't affect anyone except you. This is a strange feature that has no implications beyond the individual pilot in a way that few features do. It is all about you. Ship skins don't affect game play, that don't damage anyone else, change anyone's game, they are truly and simply cosmetic.

But watching a ship transform before your eyes is transformative in ways I hadn't anticipated. I'm shocked to find that I really like it. Like a lot.

It should be interesting to see this continue to develop. I'm ready to design some awesome skins, just let me know.

The Lord Giveth

Part of this post was written up as a news story on New Eden Express.

I didn't have a lot of play-time yesterday. Mostly I had three distinct moments in Eve that turned out to be rather short bursts of activity. Days like that make it difficult to build any sort of momentum, and momentum is important in Eve. Or at least, it seems that way to me. This doesn't count the thirty minutes I spent warping around and having people run away from me, which is pretty typical and doesn't count.

First One
During the end of that frustrating thirty minutes a group of us discovered a Svipul inside a Medium Plex that had a Huggin friend with him. Luckily they can't lock very fast and we all got our Frigates out in time. This started us thinking and we decided to quickly form up and take them on. The system was only a few jumps away and I raced back to pick up my Curse. Nothing fancy, but enough to make problems for the Huggin and allow my mates to clean up.

Of course, by the time I returned the targets had moved on. A few more systems down the line, but across Okka. Now I typically won't take a large ship alone across the Okka barrier, this is simply a pragmatic rule of thumb, since Okka is often camped. All our potential scouts were in Reit at the time, but Okka was clear and I decided to jump thru to help them take care of a Stabber. Once again, by the time I arrived the Stabber had moved on. We waited inside the plex for a few moments and managed to grab a pair of poor Frigates. I don't purposefully engage in this sort of thing, but we happened to be there. Breacher and Tristan.

Sure enough, on the way back across Okka I ran into a gate camp and lost the Curse. As you can see from the kill-mail, I was not going to escape that.

Second One
I came back later to the news of a couple of Svipuls next door. I jumped into mine and went hunting, but they ran off. Eventually one of our scouts reported one in Okka and Skir and I went off to take it on. I landed at the plex early and decided to go ahead and engage. Sadly the Svipul was not alone and once I was engaged an Eris de-cloaked and started pumping insane deeps into my shields. I melted rather quickly and tried to warn Skir, but he was already jumping the gate. This was not turning into a very good day.

Typical Monday.

As usual however, if you wait long enough fortune will smile upon you. Returning home reports began to come in about a Rattlesnake a few systems over. Tia Aves was following him, but it appeared he was just warping between gates and he was neutral. More then likely he was high-tailing it to HS and we'd miss out. I started fitting up other ships and waited to hear what might happen. We only had about six players in our gang at the time, so this could be a tough fight. If it happened.

Sure enough, two systems away, the Rattlesnake appeared at a plex. Tia was already in warp to get tackle. Hurriedly I made the decision to grab my Rook. As you all know I loathe ECM but the Rook is at least combat fitted and, since we didn't have numbers, I thought it would help balance the field in our favor. We also had a Maulus on the way, between the two of us we should be able to keep him at bay.

By the time we arrived he had burned over 200k off the gate and Tia was just about to die. Luckily our staggered arrival meant others could grab points as I burned at him. I started asking for some assistance and Nashh and his group responded, so back up was on the way. Just as our Comet pulled off I managed to get point and hold him. Jams finally caught and he was held down. In between cycles I started taking some serious hits, but we held him long enough for Skir's Domi to get close and the Bastards to show up.

3.8b Rattlesnake go boom.

Thanks to Tia for sticking with it and holding on. And for our friends for the assist. Much appreciated.

Third One
I came back after Dinner to reports of a Drake. Common refrain huh? I grabbed one of my Hurricanes and started moving across gates. Skir was already in system hunting him down, but he kept moving and it took awhile for us to get him locked down. Eventually he landed on the other side of the gate from me, but he was neutral. The plan was to engage, then warp off, heal and return. However, once I landed I realized I had grabbed the AC Cane and not the Artie Cane. I made the decision then that the Drake would die. I burned at him and got so close I could see his eyes! Between him and the gate guns I was taking furious damage, but I remained calm and focused on breaking his shields. It was going to be close, but once his shields broke he went down fast. I had 6% armor left. I think Skir said his armor was about the same.

All my mods were toasted and I had almost no armor left, so I immediately started burning back home. As it turned out, I was going a tad fast and didn't have a scout set up. As usual that didn't work out very well for me. I jumped right into Adi and Nashh who were coming to look for us, and with everything toasted I didn't really have any choice but to align out and wait to go boom.

Typical Monday.

CEO Advice: Delegation

Due to popular demand I've decided to add another post to the CEO Advice series and talk a bit about one of the most important decisions a leader needs to make - Delegation. In the world of Eve this boils down to appointing Directors to assist in running the Corporation. But delegating authority can take many forms, much of which depend on the type of (and goals of) the Corporation you have in mind.

This makes it a challenging topic to give advice about within the confines of this post. There can be no doubt that delegating aspects of authority is crucial to the long-term success of your Corporation. You can't be on-line all the time, and what happens when you are logged off is critical. But there is so much more to it than just a careful way of preventing things from sliding into chaos. A leader that delegates simply to plug holes in his or her on-line time is making a huge mistake.

One of the biggest challenges we face within the realities of Eve is the person sitting on the other side of those screens. In many cases, we simply do not know them well enough and the barrier to getting to know them can be a vast ocean. (Figuratively and literally) This is why so many Corporations form around real-life friends and associates, the opportunity to "know" your leadership council is a powerful one. But not all of us are so fortunate. So how do we decide?

I will tell you straight up honest here, I do not have all the answers. While I have been extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a great group of leaders in Stay Frosty and in A Band Apart, I have also been burned. One Director turned crazy on us and opened our forums to the world, brought down our TS and joined the Corporation that declared war on us. One of our Corporation CEO's nearly brought down one of our member Corps last Fall. The important part of these stories is that those exceptions failed miserably. And they failed miserably because good leaders stepped in to deal with them decisively and with strength. As stated before, those lessons made our entire organization better and stronger.

Character is what I look for primarily. Those with strong character tend to rise to the top and should be recognized. It is important to note that this is not a statement against other players, many of whom may also have strong character, but a positive statement regarding a specific approach to the game itself. In other words, how someone approaches playing Eve is as important as who they may or may not be as people. There are tons of great people in our Alliance, but you can't make them all Directors. But this doesn't mean they can't all be leaders. Because they can.

So let's take a look at this from a different perspective. What makes a good Director? A good Director is someone that understands what the Corporation stands for, what its purpose is, and what the general goals are. That is obvious. More importantly however, they know what that means for them and how they can take those ideas and put them into action. This action varies from group to group, it isn't the same for a Pirate Corp as it is for a WH Corp or a Null Corp or a Indie Corp, or any other organization. In our situation the primary goal of our Directors is to help drive content on a daily basis, keep gangs running, encourage players, and deal with issues as they arise. We don't have assets that need to be dealt with, or structures to feed, etc.

For us the primary role of our Directors is that they play the game, in-game, a lot. We need active, engaged players to keep our momentum moving along. It helps if that also translates into social activity in our various applications. This activity is crucial to keeping things active, engaged, and alive. Nothing is more dangerous to a Corporation than the perception of death, quiet, and non-activity. (And that is true in all Corps)

We've had to remove Director's roles from players that have (for whatever reason) stopped being as active. This is not a condemnation of their character or a judgement against them, only a fact of life. Activity has to remain a bastion of responsibility, it is just the way things are in Eve.

Be smart. Don't over-commit to people until you know people. Take things slow, learn and grow together. Talk a lot. Communicate openly. Share your dreams, your goals, and be clear about what you expect from them. Let them make mistakes. It happens, we all do it. And we all should learn something from them. Not everything is the end of the world, try not to be so dramatic and dogmatic. Understand that there is a person on the other side of that screen, a person who may become a friend.

Don't be afraid to delegate. It is one of the clearest signs of a good leader. And the only way to build a great Corporation.

Flashback Sunday: Touch It

Lord Drakken Likes to Touch It

From November 2009.

I honestly do not remember the details surrounding the creation of this piece. I was in Dissonance at the time, having recently vacated Providence again. We had moved somewhere deep down in Insmother I believe. Lord Drakken was a Corpmate and, as these things sometimes do, the "touch it" joke took on a life of its own.

Whatever the details, this remains a favorite of mine. So Euro.

CEO Advice: Tension and Conflict

As an Eve CEO you have a lot on your plate. Growing a vibrant Corporation that provides content to its members, recruiting new members, laying out the broad strokes, keeping things on track, playing a game, finding your niche - it is a never ending litany of tasks, projects and challenges. Just remember, you asked for this.

Because this is Eve your reign will be stuffed full of tension and conflict, it is unavoidable. And let's be clear right up front, for those of you that enjoy throwing words around without thought, we are not talking about "drama". Drama is the unsupported and inappropriate use of tension to garner attention, and should not be used to label every single piece of action that happens. Tension and conflict on the other hand happen whenever anything is moving forward. If you are not experiencing some level of tension and conflict you are doing something wrong. You are not moving. And not moving is bad.

Tension and conflict are not, in themselves, bad. A leader that throws his or her hands up in defeat at the first signs of trouble, is not a leader. Trouble is the natural and expected outcome of progress. Trouble provides opportunities for solutions. Innovation stems from conflict. You cannot progress without it. You can't find solutions without problems to solve. This is simply the way things work. Not only in Eve, but out here in the real world as well.

When I first started Stay Frosty I created an organization that was totally open. We'd be the totally open Pirate Corporation. Not only with our recruiting policies, but in the way we dealt with Corporation Hangars, assets, leadership, essentially everything. This was great in theory and I knew from the beginning it probably wouldn't work. And sure enough, little by little, most of those things were changed in response to player conflicts. And while we remain one of the most open Corporations in all of Eve, even we had to adapt to changing circumstances and adopt a more viable structure. The important things stayed, but permissions, structure, passwords, tiers, some important infrastructure improvements had to be made. If we hadn't made them, we could not have started the Alliance. Despite the betrayals and thefts we turned those regrettable incidents into positives. We grew.

And growth, not only in numbers but in other important ways, is always the goal of a good leader. For him or herself and for the Corporation as a whole. And for the individuals who have decided to play ball in your court.

If I have one piece of advice to give the budding CEO, or even those more experienced, it is what Steve Jobs was saying in the quote that heads this post - "Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do." Knowing the difference between something that requires immediate and decisive action and something that will most likely resolve itself is critical. More often than not most conflicts tend to resolve themselves in time. Solutions appear in calm reflection. And circumstances change. Often the best thing you can do as a CEO is doing nothing else but being the anchor in the eye of the storm. Confident. Assured. And certain that nothing will move you from that rock. More often than not, that is the kind of leadership that is needed.

And then there are the fires. And fires need to be put out. A fire cannot be allowed to burn and requires swift and decisive action. Over time I've developed what I like to think of as my "Fire Plan", which is a series of bundled steps I take whenever a fire is detected. I won't go into the details but essentially they represent a series of actions that I take immediately upon potential trouble. Protect the Corporation is primary. All of those actions can be reversed if the situation resolves, the Fire Plan doesn't include any negative actions - only positive ones. And while protecting assets, forums, and materials is important, the key action is the reach out communication portion.

Let's be honest here. Most conflict arises from a lack of communication. It has been argued that all conflict arises from a lack of communication. Whatever, the point is that more often than not, communicating resolves most conflict. Frank, honest and strong dialogue tends to resolve most problems. Either from you or one of your leaders, reaching out to those affected can be a huge step in the right direction. As long as you do so with the goal of resolution, you'll be surprised just how often it works.

Conflict and tension are normal by-products of organization. Knowing how, when and where to deal with them is the mark of a great leader. Don't be afraid. Don't throw up your hands and walk away. Stand firm, be fair, and deal with what is in front of you. And know that your members are counting on you, watching you, and making decisions based on your actions. Or lack of action.

You are constantly being judged on your merits.

And remember, you asked for it.

I hope that you've enjoyed and learned something from this mini-series this week. I've been a CEO both in-game and out of game, so I hope that I've been helpful to those of you that are considering becoming one yourself. And, perhaps, given some insight into the process. 

CEO Advice: Your Soapbox

Yesterday I discussed the merits of building a proper Mission Statement for your Corporation. This is something that first-timers typically scoff at, but it is critical to focus your efforts and provide clear goals to not only yourself, but those that may follow you. That is a crucial first step along the path of building a Corporation, but there are other steps - like getting the word out - that I want to discuss with you.

For sake of argument let's assume you don't have the inclination to spend six years making an awesome, well-read, horribly creative blog of your own that attracts a tremendous audience every single day. Just for the sake of argument here. So what else can you do to help spread the word about your shiny new idea for a Corporation? And keep in mind, everything is about scale when it comes right down to it, the more you put into it the more you get back. I did in fact spend six years writing this blog, so I do get a tremendous return for that investment. Your time, on your own scale, is also an investment. There are no short cuts to hard work.

Don't despair, there are more tools available to the potential Corp CEO than ever before. Getting the word out is easier than it has ever been before. So let's take a look at the tools that are available to you.

Bottom Line
Traditionally posting a recruitment thread on the Eve Forums is always step one. This is traditionally the first step of starting a new Corporation for good reason and it should remain your very first step. Not only does it work, if you keep it active every day, but it also serves as a handy link you can share with people in a pinch. I still recommend you do this immediately when you are ready to start recruiting.

In-game recruitment ads are a good second step. Just be sure to post them in areas where potential new recruits will be hanging out and not to far from what will be your base of operations. Especially when you are starting out, many people simply don't want to have to move across the universe to test out your new idea. Most people won't. But these ads do work and help to make you "seem" like a real Corporation.

Seeming like a real Corporation is important. Even with only you at the helm, you can do things that make it seem like you know what you are doing. Setting up a forum, even a free one with ads, is better than not having one. What are you going to do about Comms? Do you have a Slack or Tapatalk account? What about a killboard? You don't have to go and set all these things up before you recruit your first player, but these are the things you may need if you want to grow past a few friends. Remember the scale, a few friends may be all you are after.

And get a public channel right away. Do eet!

Social Media
Today we have Twitter, Slack, Skype, Facebook, G+, and many many more tools at our disposal. I honestly can't imagine trying to start a new Corporation without being involved with at least some avenue of Social Media. And while not all of these are important, being involved in at least some of them is. This is where active people hang out together and you should be in the mix.

As a recruiting tool the benefits may not be obvious. But recruiting is about more than just finding people that may want to join your Corporation. It is also about building word of mouth. Everyone already on social media also already comes along with their own audience and network, a network you may not have access to. But they do. Especially if you are starting from scratch, exploiting other people's networks can be very important. We all know someone, and that someone might just be interested in what you are doing.

You may not know this, but I re-tweet every single recruitment tweet I see on Tweetfleet.

Get in there and mix it up. Show some personality. Link stories that you find interesting, that might apply to your goals, and don't be afraid to cheerlead your own Corporation.

Your personal style is going to play a huge part in the type of Corporation you build. There is no way around it. This is a good thing. As the leader your Corporation should reflect you, and likewise, you should reflect your Corporation. This makes you the primary Cheerleader for your Corp. You are its biggest fan, you believe in what you are doing, and you want to jump up and down and tell everyone about it! Go Team Go!!

Remember the scale. Your own scale may vary, but within reason you are the one that believes before anyone else does. So tell them about it. Tell them in local. Start convos. Send evemails to old friends in-game. Get the news out baby!!

I used to drop links to the Stay Frosty article in every local I went thru back when we first started. Every single system, once I started to leave, drop a link. I have no shame.

Luckily, all the photos of me in a Cheerleaders outfit have been burned.

In real life or in-game (or both) friends are the bestest. You can't beat friends. But you can exploit them. Either they can join you on your crazy crusade or they know people that might want to. Friends already sorta kinda like you, so they are great for getting the word out about what you are doing. It is called a network for a reason, a giant spider-web of connections, potential connections, and potential new recruits. Invite your friends to your awesome public channel, talk in that channel, tell them to invite their friends.

You may not have a blog, but you can comment on them. You may not have enough members to set up a 200 man public roam, but you can fly in them. You may not have 14b to hold an FFA, but you can participate in them. Being active makes you active. Not only can you have a lot of fun, but you get to meet new people, hang out with successful players, and learn new things.

Your Corporation is going to be awesome. I just know it.

Tomorrow the last post in this series will talk about what to do when everything goes down the toilet. Tension and conflict baby. Tension and conflict.

CEO Advice: Herding Cats

It is a question I get asked over and over again, "How can I start a Corporation?", or some variation on that theme. Over the years dozens of pilots that I've flown with have decided to break off and start their own Corporation in Eve. Many have been extremely successful, some have not, but to each of them I've given the same advice - simply start writing a hugely successful blog for four years and then use that platform to draw people to your Corp. Done.

Ok, that isn't what I tell them.

In a couple of weeks here Stay Frosty will be celebrating our second year. We have somewhere around 230 pilots in the Corporation, which makes us one of the largest (if not the largest) Pirate Corporations in New Eden. Our Alliance, A Band Apart, has over 600 members and is running along rather smoothly. We continue to grow and expand in interesting ways every day. Building something like that takes time, energy and commitment. It doesn't happen over night. Few people have the kind of drive it takes to achieve a goal like that, or even bigger goals. The good news is that you don't have to. Successful Corporations in Eve have nothing to do with numbers. They have everything to do with leadership.

And with failure. Failure is a huge part of success, both inside of Eve and out here in the real world. Trust me. I started a bunch of Corporations in Eve before I finally got it right. My trail of failure inside of Eve is long and storied, but each experience taught me something important. Each one was not a failure that stopped me from trying again, each one was a lesson from which I learned what not to do. And today I'm going to share with you some of those lessons. If you are thinking about starting your own Corporation inside of Eve, then pay attention. If not, then maybe you'll learn something anyway.

Find something you care about.
Stay Frosty works because it is about the one thing I enjoy doing more than anything else in Eve. I have a game-play style that I enjoy, one that took me four years to find, and I built a Corporation around me that services that play-style. This is a universal truth, build a Corporation that does exactly what you enjoy doing. This seems simple, but it isn't. So many Corporations fail from simple inattention from leadership. I play every day I can because I enjoy what I'm doing. It isn't work for me. So find that thing you enjoy doing and then go find other people that also enjoy it. It can literally be anything.

Focus to a Fault
This can be hard, especially once you start adding more pilots. It is simple human nature that each piece you add will have their own ideas about what you should be doing, where you should be going, and how you are going to get there. This is normal and the temptation to give in to these desires can be extremely powerful. Doing so will eventually destroy your Corporation. It will dilute your focus, spread you thin, and eventually those that wanted to do "something else" will leave you to find a place that does that thing better than you can.

Stay Frosty, for example, is a solo and small gang Pirate Corporation. To a fault. We have a simple and easy to understand mandate. Anything that crosses outside that line is something we do not do. No matter what. If you like that sort of thing, come fly with us. If not, then we hopefully leave as friends. Within that mandate the sky is the limit. Take that mandate anywhere you want, fly to the furthest corners, inside of Wormholes, out into High Sec, wherever - but the goals remain the same.

Stick to your guns. No matter what.

Empower Leaders
The true key to building a successful Corporation, no matter how big, is finding good people that share your enthusiasm for that thing you want to do. You can't do everything yourself and trying will only lead to burn-out and failure. Share the load, as Samwise would say. This is why having a clear mandate is so important, it helps other people understand clearly what you want to achieve. But it is also a measuring stick against which anyone can measure opportunities and challenges.

I am extremely fortunate in Stay Frosty and ABA to have a great group of leaders that clearly understand and accept what we are trying to do. Because of this, I don't have to hold any hands. Everyone knows what is and isn't the "ABA way" or what is or isn't appropriate for us. And they can easily measure opportunities and challenges against that standard themselves. Give your leaders the tools they need to be successful and let them be successful.

Herding Cats
Keeping it all on track is the job of the CEO. Making the hard decisions and being decisive, no matter how painful, is critical. A leader needs to have empathy, but more than anything, he or she needs to lead. If you can't lead, you shouldn't be the leader. That sounds like common sense, but I bet we've all been in Corporations led by non-leaders before. Being CEO is not a vanity project, if you are in it for that reason you should really just stop now. It is hard work, it takes dedication, and it is a lot like herding cats.

Everyone has a different style when it comes to being a leader. The trick is to discover what style works best for you and then growing into that style. Consistency is important, vision is critical, and caring is key. Keep the group pointed in the right direction, anticipate course changes, and generally keep the natives entertained as best you can. And before you know it you'll have a group of people around you that you can enjoy spending time with on-line. After that, the rest will take care of itself.

So to answer your question - anyone can start a Corporation. But not everyone should. Be honest with yourself about your goals, your vision and your level of commitment. Be clear about what you want to achieve and clearly state those goals to potential Corp members. Stick to your guns, never do the easy thing, but always try to do the right thing.

And don't be afraid to fail.

Low Sec Dictionary of Terms

Low Sec, like other areas of New Eden, has its own terminology. Commonly used phrases and short-hand terms used to describe things in easy to understand and comprehend ways. Indeed, each Corporation in Low Sec probably takes this idea even further. I know Stay Frosty does, and here are some commonly used terms you may not be familiar with, that we use everyday.

If you jump into a Low Sec FW system and there are 9 people in local, but no one is on a celestial or in a plex - but ships are on scan somewhere - then most likely they are Vultures. People waiting in a safe spot for some schmuck to appear on a plex so they can swoop in and explode them. Or, more likely, for two other entities to fight so they can swoop in to pick off the carcass of the dead and dying.

Pilots in a Militia operating inside a Combat Site or Plex that have zero intention of engaging with those around them, are called Farmers. Farmers exclusively fill their low slots with Warp Core Stabilizers to avoid social interactions. They will often say something in local as soon as you appear on grid, "Not interested", or "No thanks" are common phrases Farmer's will say. Some take this even further by naming their ships "No Thanks" or "Leave Me Alone". These people are not playing the same game as the rest of us.

Compensators (also known as Linkers)
Solo pilots that suck so hard at Solo that they need a "compensator" to sit on a gate to give them that extra edge so they can win fights. You know one is around when you jump into a new System and see a neutral Loki (or Tengu, or Proteus, or that other one) sitting on the gate. Compensators can be easily identified, typically, by the insane and unnatural speed of their ships. And their small equipment.

Typically an Ibis, Bantam or other small ship mysteriously sitting alone in a Medium Plex still alive when you enter local. He is not still alive because he is awesome at PvP, he is still alive because he has a Combat Recon in there with him!! Curses! This strategy is so obvious it is amazing that anyone falls for it. (See also "Farmers")

Bros are two pilots that fly together in some insane combination of death that no one can really do anything about it. Typically they are also Compensators. An example is two Orthrus pilots being followed by a link Loki and achieving ludicrous speeds and distances that any normal ship cannot compensate for. Bros do not linger long enough for defenses to mount, they move quickly and strike fast.

The Talker runs from social interaction in order to achieve social interaction. He/She will run from an engagement but only because "I wasn't ready", or "I beat you guys the other day", or "You blob", or some other excuse. Strangely this action does not prevent the talker from filling up local with boasts regarding his, still unseen, PvP powers.

Show and Tell
If you warp into local and see a blingy ship on a station, you can be pretty sure you just warped into a Show and Tell scenario. Typically this happens when someone is holed up in station and decides everyone in local would like to see what he bought with their Plex. Knowing full well they have no intention of engaging with their blingy ship(s). The Show and Tell is usually marked by constant links to their fits, so everyone can see their bling.

A term used to describe someone that isn't actually Santo Trafficante who really wishes they were Santo Trafficante and hangs out on gates to smartbomb passing pods and small ships, typically in a T3 Cruiser. So sad.

Ghosts are people in a better ship than the one you are flying, who would most likely win any engagement, who decide to warp away instead. Usually the only image you have of them is the ghostly remnant of their ship in the space it occupied before warping away. Interesting in that the warp trail is typically yellow.

These are only a few of the colorful terms we use to label others in an unfair and totally biased manner in Stay Frosty. Rest assured that often these terms are used in chat and comms with even more colorful language surrounding them. If you recognized yourself in any of the terms used here, rest assured it applies to you. If not, then you'll just have to wait for the next post.

So what terms of endearment do you use in your Corporation?

PS: Just to clear up some confusion for those readers without the benefit of a sense of humor, this is intended as a piece of humor. A post to laugh at, or with, or about, or chuckle softly to yourself, whatever you enjoy. In fact, most of these terms are not ones we use in Stay Frosty at all! Shocker!! They are ones I use in my head or ones I made up on the spot this morning while writing. Hello creativity!! However, because I am the CEO of Stay Frosty I can legit say "we" as in the Royal use of the word. This, along with The Corp Amex Card, the key to the Executive bathroom, and the unlimited drinks in the Frosty Pub, are the benefits of leadership. So get over your hurt feelings. Sheesh.

Real Eve Friends

Eve Washington Meet 2015
L to R: Sugar Kyle, Unknown, Mynxee, Grimmash, Mord Fiddle, Unknown, Argos Gelert and Rixx.

I drank to much. My memory is fuzzy and I apologize to the two "unknowns" in the photo, you aren't really unknown - its just that I can't remember your names. I blame the noise and the alcohol. The photo was taken by my wife and it was still early in the evening, more people came and went as the night went along. Turamarth Elrandir also showed up at some point with his family, and Veskrashen and his wife Sheeana al-Seyefa among many others.

Having finally made it to Fanfest and now my very first local Eve meet, I can tell you honestly that I have the bug now. Meeting actual humans that also enjoy Eve, or used to in some cases, is pretty gosh darn awesome. Kudos to Sugar for putting this on and for being an incredibly amazing human being. I hope to be able to make more of these in the future. Not just in Washington, but in other places as well.

I encourage everyone reading this to check out Eve Meet and see where the next meet-up near you might be. And if there isn't one, you should really think about hosting. It doesn't have to be a big deal like Eve Vegas or Eve Down Under to be fun, heck Saturday night was just a bunch of people showing up at a restaurant for the evening.

I had a lot of fun and had some great conversations, not all of which were about Eve. 

And the next day I even got to see some real spaceships at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum in Washington.


Washington Eve Meet

Washington EVE Meet Wallpaper
Click to download full sized Wallpaper

This weekend my wife and I will be attending the Washington Eve Meet in Falls Church, VA. Which means less than two weeks after driving back from DC jet lagged and tired, we will be driving back. This time, hopefully, without the jet lag, six hour flight and two hour customs ordeal from the last trip.

Sugar Kyle will be there, as will Mynxee and Mord Fiddle, several members of A Band Apart and hopefully a lot more Eve players to meet and hang out with. We are both really looking forward to it. We decided to make a weekend out of it and see the sights in DC before the meet and on Sunday. My wife hasn't been to Washington in a long time so we'll do some sightseeing on Saturday and then visit the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum on Sunday. 

Should be a great weekend and hopefully I'll have lots of stories and photos to share with you all next week.

Keep the courage.

What to do when you are caught

Eventually, no matter what you do for a living in Eve, you will get caught. In some dark and lonely corner, or out in the light of High Sec, eventually some idiot will Scram, Web, Point, or otherwise catch you. And you'll be trapped.

And, like all of us, your heart will sink into your lower intestines and you will know the horrible feeling that comes from the sudden knowledge that your ship isn't going to make it. It will die. Explode. Turn to scraps. And end up on that idiot's kill-board for all the world to see.

Sounds pretty bad. You are terrible at Eve. Just like the rest of us.

But never fear, even in the darkest moments of despair - victory can be snatched from the jaws of defeat. And today I will impart knowledge gained from the 1,180 times this has happened to me. These are not secrets smarts, these are tips on avoiding death. And avoiding the ultimate punishment - the loss of your pod.

I'm not concerned with how this happened. For the purpose of this post we will ignore the stoopid decisions that led to your capture and focus on what you can do once caught. You do have options, however limited, that will increase your chance of survival and of getting your pod safely out of harms way.

Once you know you will die combat turns into survival mode. It is important to recognize when this happens and only you know when that time comes. But at some point in the fight you will know. This is true for combat pilots and carebears, it doesn't matter what you are flying and how many they have - the moment comes for all of us.

First things first - where are you going to run? Hopefully you have a safe spot already bookmarked in system that you will escape to, but if not you'll need to quickly make a decision about where your pod is going. If not your pod will end up back in your home station. In the worst case scenarios, when death is seconds away, immediately align to that point and spam the Hell out of the warp button. This is basic escape mode. As soon as your ship dies your pod will warp off to that point. Hopefully you haven't decided to warp at zero to the Sun! (Never do that!) But, if you did, immediately warp off again once you land.

In the seconds of time between the knowledge that you are not going to make it and having to align your pod - there is room for victory. Believe it or not, I am often convinced of death one second and assured of victory the next. There are several factors at work here that need careful consideration. So this next bit is specifically aimed at combat pilots who are locked in a fight with one or more enemies.

Overheat Everything! You are soon to be dead, don't save anything for later. Push your ship to the limit and see what it can do. A fully OH'd ship is a machine of rage! It is amazing what they can do for a short period of time. Put everything you've got into it, turn off wasted mods that you don'd need to save cap and burn 'em down. It is surprising how often this works. At the very least you might take one of them down with you.

The reason for this is that your ship is a lot stronger at the end than you think. A lot of modules, such as Damage Controls, become better right at the end. That last little bit of structure, especially with everything burning in overheated frenzy - is tough to break. Especially if whatever cycles your shields, or armor reps, or whatever happen to be on match the incoming damage. (And yes, I am aware of the fact that I am over-simplifying this process.)

This also helps if your tactic is to turn tail and run. An overheated prop mod can be your best friend. Align out early to your pod destination and burn like a coward. Which you are not, you are a survivor. Probably not, but it is the attitude that counts.

If you are being jammed and you have drones, those drones should be attacking the jamming ship.

If you have ECM dis-honor drones, use them!

The point here is that, in those final seconds, don't give up. The worst thing you can do is throw your hands in the air and admit defeat. Trust me, so many victories come in the final seconds. Fight to the bitter end. And then get your pod out. I can't stress this enough, GET YOUR POD OUT.

As much as I enjoy catching your pod and adding it to my kill-board, I am always disappointed in you for leaving it there.

Alliance Logos are Back

As of this morning's post from CCP Falcon the Alliance submission process is now open again! Huzzah!

In a nutshell ALL currently in-game Alliance logos are being removed. They will be replaced by newly submitted logos starting on June 2, 2015. The old 128 x 128 pixel size has been updated to 512 x 512 and CCP will no longer accept anything even remotely that looks like copyrighted materials.

Once in-game your logo will be CONCORDED and a Concord logo will be added, as well as some scratch effects. This means that you can retain the rights to the original, while CCP retains the rights to the in-game altered version. Everyone is happy.

As always, my services are available if anyone needs their old logo updated or a new one created. Simply email me at rixxjavix@gmail.com and we can talk about what you need. Needless to say I am very busy right now, but I've put on my worker's gloves and am trying to get through these projects as fast as possible, while maintaining the high-level of quality you deserve. I just finished working on new logos for The Neocom and Crossing Zebras to name just two, so things are moving along.

Higher-quality in-game logos combined with the copyright solution CCP has introduced certainly bodes well for additional uses in the near future. It doesn't take a genius to see that the coming introduction of Ship Skin Licenses and new logos will lead to Alliance logos on our ships. It will be a natural step to provide licenses to Alliance members that feature the Alliance logo. I suspect that should happen rather quickly once the new shader is properly in place. Which, from what I heard at Fanfest, shouldn't be long at all.

A Band Apart became eligible for an Alliance logo as the exact same time that submissions stopped being taken last year. So even though we are over a year old and have 599 members, we still have to bear with the default Alliance logo in-game. It will be great to finally sport the official ABA logo everywhere.

So let's get those logos updated and in-game!!

Mrs Javix' Journal

My wife decided to start playing Eve after our trip to Fanfest. Every so often she will be writing about her experiences as a young player learning the ins and outs of her journey. This is her first entry.

2 weeks in and I suck at Eve, but that's okay!

I'm two weeks in to this thing called Eve and I love it, I want to blow stuff up, but I can’t even remember where to go to fit my crappy rookie ship half the time.

And the Rats, that was cool at first. Then I had three shooting at me before I was even in range to do anything, stoopid slow Ibis.

But you know what, I really like it and I want to get better and figure out how I want to configure those crazy dialogs on my screen. When I have had time to play, there’s been a lot of “hey Rixx, come here, what’s this, why do I do that?” I am fortunate to have someone there to help, and there are a lot of resources for learning, but I am one of those 'figure things out the hard way kind of people IRL', so it’s likely I will be that way as an EVE player. I haven’t been able to play as much as I want but that’s okay, I work it in when I can. I am eager to explore and see what else is out there because from what I have experienced by not even playing there is community and many different paths to choose.

I would like to say that I dislike the IBIS, it is slow and all I want to do is blow up Rats and when I warp in and there are three of them I don’t stand a chance. And that sucks, but it makes me want to try harder, get moar stuffs so I can have a better ship and weapons and get moar practice. Rixx tells me what areas to avoid and other tips but I can’t remember, so I think I will probably be investing in some post-it notes to frame my computer monitor.

The learning curve is steep, and I am not comforted by Rixx saying, “They didn’t have that when I started.”  But that challenge is what is so enticing about it. And then there is the metagame aspect, it intrigues me. I don’t know exactly what I want to do in or around EVE, and I imagine that I will try many different things. It is exciting to know that there are so many options and paths available with communities to support them.

That last part is what really got me thinking about playing EVE in the first place. Community and paths. Real life blows sometimes, I don’t find much in common with people I work with or meet in my community. I have changed careers and jobs more than a few times. I like to try new things and learn. So why not have a hobby to do that? I have explored other interests but a person can only knit so many scarves or make so many pieces of jewelry and those are typically very solitary activities unless I join some group, which I tried, but no thanks. So why not EVE. Why not choose to play a really difficult, ever changing game where I can blow stuff up or be blown up instead of telling my boss fuck you.

I considered EVE for a long time, and I just couldn’t make up my mind. Did I really want to play this game? How am I going to remember what all of that stuff does? Do I want to be a pirate with Rixx or do my own thing? What about the jerks, sexism, and just crappy people in general? What finally helped me make up my mind happened the day we returned home and I returned to work. In a conference room, with three hours of sleep and jet lag, reviewing a web site I created for a group of engineers and the like, a couple of them asked “How was Iceland? Why were you there?” So I reluctantly explained about Rixx, “Oh I used to play WoW, I think I may have tried EVE at some point, do you play?” Before I could answer one of the managers had queued up the This is EVE video on his phone. “Oh that’s not the one I tried but it looks really cool.” So a few of us talked about EVE and Iceland and it was cool. Then one guy said, “I don’t know why you would go to Iceland.” I ignored it, there’s a lot of that in my workplace, hence the reason I mostly keep to myself since I don’t dig small minded jerks. A little later in that meeting that same small minded jerk made one of those casually sexist remarks. There was a lot of Whoa dude! after that, but at that moment I had made up my mind. I put up with a lot of that at work, and frankly that was the final straw. So I went home and signed up, and started learning the very next day how to fly my rookie ship.

I might forever suck at EVE, but at least I am playing. And that is my big middle finger to small minded jerks everywhere.

1v1 EVE COMIC #76

Even though EVEOGANDA didn't make Neville Smit's list of favorite sites doesn't mean we fired 75% of the staff yesterday and sold ourselves to a huge intergalactic media conglomerate or something. We remain, as always, fiercely independent and alone on our own island of insanity over here. As more and more of the Eve Community continues to join forces and become destinations, EVEOGANDA will remain a bastion of weirdness, bad jokes, tales of piracy, and pure genius. Cranking it out every day. Nose to the grind-stone.

Appreciated or not.

Yesterday someone linked my 1v1 COMIC Page over on Eve Reddit, which brought about 10,000 new readers over to read the comics. So that was nice. The first Eve Comic was published in March 2010, which means those 76 panels have taken five years! Which is just insane when you think about it.

And when I say "insane" what I mean is, "that's all I've done!?! Just 76?!?" Seems like it should be more. I promise to step up my game.

I think it is important to note that the EVE COMIC Series is intended to be bad, groan-worthy, and slightly off somehow. In fact, the worse the jokes are the more they make me laugh. I can't explain this, but that is the way it works. There are times when I purposefully skip the funnier lines and choose the bad ones. For some reason this is how I always saw it. It was intended as a lark. A trifle. And now I'm stuck with it.

And this is probably why we don't make anyone's list. And why all the crying yesterday in the offices. I feel bad for the staff, so many of them have families to support. I don't know what will become of them. Our headquarters is on a lava planet and I don't think they'll survive long out there.

Tongue firmly in cheek as always.

Beam Lasers

If you had asked me a few short months ago about my weapons training, I would have told you I had max skills in all BS and below weapons except one - beam lasers. I never bothered to train them beyond low levels because, frankly, it was common knowledge they sucked. Oh sure, like anything, they had their uses - but none of those uses really applied to me in Low Sec. It was one weapon system I would eventually get around to finishing "someday".

With recent changes and the introduction of the Confessor, "Someday" came and I recently went ahead and trained the final few levels on Beam Lasers. A day that I never thought would come, had arrived.

Now that beams have finally been given some love by CCP they open up some interesting options when it comes to fitting, and not just for the Confessor. In fact the elevation of beams to actual utility opens up a wide range of ship options. And I'm only beginning to appreciate that. Mostly because I didn't actually have any of them in my hangar, or the ammo needed to fire them!

So yesterday I thought, why not try beams on one of my favorite ships? So I grabbed a new Slicer from the hangar and started to fit it around beams. The choice of beams was easy since I only had one kind in my hangar (yes, I need to go shopping) Dual Light Beams. And some crystals, after looking it up again to remind myself which ones they use. I freely admit to having limited knowledge of the ways of the beam.

So I fitted the Slicer pretty much exactly like usual - weapons, disr, mwd, dc2, heat, targeting, adaptive nano, small ancillary, aux, locus, burst rigs.

Long, mid and short crystals loaded. With long range I can hit well past my targeting range, which is always funny. It is always interesting undocking in a new fit, the unknown quality and experience missing from a new trial. And so I went out, joined the Stay Frosty gang that was up and running, and started hunting.

What I didn't know then was just how good a day I was going to have. Despite the typical Sunday interruptions from real life, I managed to get some good quality time behind the wheel of the new Slicer. I had to keep telling myself that this version was a true kiter, unlike my other Slicer fits. So I just needed to be extra careful about the situations I got myself into.

It wasn't long before Laguna and I caught an Ishkur. Laguna was also sporting a beam Slicer. Poor guy couldn't do much at all about that.

Or this Corax. Or this Blood Raider Coercer (granted he was victim to the SF Swarm), or this Firetail, or this blaster Comet, or this Rail Comet.

I learned that I probably need a different set of guns on my ship, so I'll have to go shopping and pick up some different varieties to test out. I'm not convinced the Dual Lights are the proper choice. But damage application seems decent, although most of the fights yesterday I was simply working as tackle mostly. None of those encounters was especially challenging, so I'll have to wait and see how it does in a more difficult scenario. I was happy enough to have undocked in a ship and returned in the same ship. Although that always feels a bit weird frankly. It is so rare. It almost feels like an incomplete day.

One funny story. Former SF pilot SniperBros convo'd me and asked if I could come down to Hirri and help him catch and kill an Eos. Of course I said yes, even though I was only in a Slicer. I tried to help scout and managed to find the Eos a few times and keep eyes on him, but he wasn't negative and kept warping directly to gates. Finally Sniper's gang of friends got him pinned down on a gate and he started flashing. I burned in and got point.

It would also have been good if I had remembered to turn on my guns. I can only attest this to the fact that I was not in fleet with the attackers, and so the gate was a mess of neuts and yellows and reds. That and the fact that I was only in a Slicer, focused on keeping point and scouting, that I totally derped on my guns until the very last second.

Either way, the Eos went down. No thanks to me.

Beam lasers only work if you use them. File that one away for later.

Flashback Sunday: X Up For Defense

X Up For Defense!

When I look back on it with the power of hindsight, this piece is really when things started to make sense when it came to mixing Eve with Fan Art. Back in early 2009 I was serving as the self-proclaimed "Minister of Propaganda" for the LFA Alliance as part of the CVA Provi Bloc (the better original version of that!). I was testing the waters by creating posters and posting them on the forums, this is almost a year before this magazine would be born.

For some reason this specific poster caught the attention of people outside of the forums and spread to a wider audience. I believe a few blogs picked it up and it was posted on other forums. And then Richie Shoemaker from EON Magazine contacted me and asked if I could make a hi-res version to appear in the publication. That is the version seen above.

Not only did this help me understand the larger community of Eve, but also started a relationship with EON Magazine that would last up until it stopped publishing. (Which is still a serious bummer!)

Just the other day a bunch of Provi Veterans convo'd me in-game, it was great to see so many familiar faces and catch up with them. We had an amazing thing going down there for a short period of time, a true PvP playground in which a young player could learn and try a wide variety of play-styles. So many of those I played with have gone on to remain important in the Eve universe, ProGodLegend, Makalu, and many others.

I still get a shiver of excitement when I hear the words "X up".

Down the Rabbit Hole

A quick one for a busy weekend. I had a conversation in fleet yesterday that made me want to return one last time to a topic that has, obviously, been beaten to death in these pages. I'll warn you upfront that this is yet again about Faction Warfare and the module associated with it. If you want to skip reading the following I'll understand. I'm not even making an engaging and creative graphic for this post.

Let's follow a logic tree:

1. Banning or removing WCS from Eve is obviously a bad idea.

Why? Mostly young players (and some alts) use WCS to establish themselves in Faction Warfare and make iskies. Removing WCS would also remove the perception of safety that these players rely upon to engage in their moment of safety. This would make FW less profitable for young players (and some alts) and remove players from Low Sec.

Obviously, no one wants that. Least of all me. In fact, I want the opposite. I am a LS Advocate and I want LS to be even more engaging and have even more people playing in it. Low Sec is best sec.


2. Given that, why would Rixx want to ban WCS?

Because he doesn't. A fact he has repeated over and over again. Look, there are tons and tons of rational and well-discussed treatments on this issue on the internet, I've written some of them myself. But the thing is, no one pays any attention to them. Because they are BORING! If you want someone to pay attention you can't be boring and dull. And goodness knows, I am usually anything but boring and dull. Which is why people pay attention. See how that works?

3. He obviously can't catch people using WCS which is why he wants them banned.

This is rather spurious given the evidence. It also seems to indicate a penchant for preying on the weak and young, an argument also not backed up by any evidence. In fact the opposite is true. While I adhere to a rather simple rule, "Kill All The Things!" in my gameplay, the simple fact is that we are looking for good fights. Not easy ones. And while we do often kill ships with WCS fitted, "farmers" are not our primary targets. In fact, often when we do catch one we will send them iskies to help them on their way. Just last month alone I gave back nearly 250m to young farmers who ran afoul of Stay Frosty.

And that is a pretty typical month. I know other Stay Frosty pilots do the same.

4. So if you don't want to ban WCS and have no problem with them, what do you want?

Primarily I want LS to be an awesome place to play, for everyone. Secondly I want Faction Warfare to be awesome. FW brought new life to Low and I'd like to see it continue to flourish. To those that say I don't play FW and have no say in it, I say Pffft! I live in FW space, I play in FW space, I engage with FW every day. I am your biggest fan.

I spoke with several CCP'ers about this issue when I was at Fanfest. And never did I say to them that WCS needed to be banned. What I did say was that the entire FW mechanic needed to be looked at, that the module needed a fresh pair of eyes, and that changes needed to be made. Changes that would continue to ensure the perception of safety for new players, continue making isk, and make FW an even more engaging place to play. Which only benefits us pirates.

More than anything I just don't want Low Sec to be forgotten while CCP is off making Sov changes to Null.

The good news is that changes are coming. And I believe that the aftermath of those changes will be better for all of us.

And that will be a great thing.

BB63: Customization?

Blog Banter #63 - Customization
Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 63rd edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

* * * * *

Super Kerr Induced Nanocoating, new structures that can be fit like ships with modules, the promise of player built stargates... the ability to shape your space and change the look of your ships is finally coming to EVE. What other customization options of EVE would you like to have? What would you like to do to be able to shape space and environments? What would you like to change just for you in the client or in any 3rd party tools?

I wish zKill let me compare the history of two entities' record against each other. I could type "Stay Frosty" and the name of another Corporation and bam, be able to see how they did against each other. Same for pilots. Wouldn't that be awesome?

I'd like to see a room beyond the CQ's door that was like a Corp Club room, a nice open space where those pilots in my Corporation/Alliance currently docked in station could mingle. Nothing super fancy, just a nice room. Maybe customized a bit with Corp/Alliance stuffs, maybe in Pirate colors (or whatever floats your boat). That would also be awesome.

I think it would be great to have the Stay Frosty logo on our ships.

I'd like the ability to bribe the owners of the station we live in to allow us free repair bills. Which might result from some ability to "plant our flag" in local, even though it is Low Sec. That doesn't seem unreasonable.

I honestly don't care much about ship skins, my ships don't typically live long enough for it to matter much to me. Paint your ship pink if you want, I'll still blow it up if given the chance. But I do appreciate that other people want ship skins, so I'm cool with that. I do really, really like the idea of ships aging and getting rustier as they do, bring that on immediately.

That pretty much sums up my feelings about new structures as well. I know it is good for the game and I totally support it, but it won't have much impact on me. But I'm not tunnel visioned enough to dare think everything has to have something to do with me. If it is good for Eve I'm all for it. And it will be. There is no doubt about that.

The point here is that I really don't have a dream list of things I "have to have". All of those things above would be really nice to have, but honestly Eve is pretty great at the moment. We have new ships coming out that transform in space, new structures, new rendering engines, new graphics, new opportunities - all of which is built upon a rather strong foundation of amazing changes that have happened over the past three years.

Which is a weird place to be in the history of Eve. Things are pretty darn good. It even looks like the biggest bug-a-boo since Dominion is headed in the right direction - Null Space Sov is getting some major changes. And they even sound pretty darn decent frankly.

Despite what other people (the kind of people that like to label everyone) seem to think, my campaign about WCS is really a campaign to fix Faction Warfare. But even that isn't terribly broken, it only needs a little more tweaking. And yes, I know, I'm not actually in FW and what right do I have... blah blah blah. I've got news, I live in a FW system. I fly in FW space. And I want nothing more than to have FW be incredibly vibrant and engaging for those that play in it. FW made Low Sec better, and that makes my game better.

So all in all? Yeah there are always things that could be better. And it looks like more and more of those things are going to be placed in the hands of the payers. Which is a good thing.

Onward and upward.

PS: And hats of course!! Duh.

Greatness: Follow Up

Yesterday morning I woke up with a solution to an idea that has been bumping around in my head for a long time. The idea was to create a video about Eve that was different than other videos about Eve. A video that captured the heart and spirit of Eve without referencing the game at all, that worked on a variety of levels, none of which had anything to do with it being a game. This idea, which I recognized as being transcendent, was not an easy one. To make it work it had to be perfect.

There are so many great videos created about Eve every day. People I respect very much put a lot of time and effort into creating them, and no one appreciates what that takes more than me. I don't want to do what they do, as usual I try to explore other avenues, other niches in which I can achieve something different. Granted it isn't always successful, I'm not kidding myself here. But more often than not the results are, at the very least, interesting. And I learn something from each attempt.

While the "idea" for this took a long time to formulate in my brain, the execution was rather simple. My intention was to create a simple, quick and easily executed video primarily for myself. I just wanted to see if the idea had merit, if the execution would work the way I hoped it would work, and if anyone else even cared. I honestly had no intentions beyond that.

I had hopes however. I hoped it would be amazing. It felt amazing in my mind, and it felt right in my heart. In moments like that I have to let myself go and do the thing. In this case it wasn't about creating something new, the video of Carl's voice has been on the internet for years, but rather about merging two completely different things into something incredible. Inspiration and creation are not always limited to invention, this is a rather common misconception. In fact, most inspiration springs from the combinations that arise within a new thought. Creativity is about seeing the potential inherent within those new combinations.

I'm not taking credit for anything more than what came out of my mind and was born on screen yesterday morning. A new thing. A creation that seems to have resonated with a significant part of the Eve community and beyond. A way of thinking about not only Eve, but our place in the universe.

I grew up on COSMOS and Carl Sagan's optimism about science and our place in the universe. My copy of his book was worn down to a nub from reading it over and over when I was young. My fascination with science and space didn't start with Mr. Sagan, but it certainly found its way thru him and his show. I have nothing but the utmost respect for him and what he accomplished, and what he represents today. I've listened to his words many, many times for inspiration. And I wanted to ensure that I did nothing to take away from his words here.

But I also wanted to be true to Eve. And while I understand that some people are having a difficult time with that contradiction, I find the contradiction more powerful than simply showing images of beautiful space shots behind his voice. Those videos already exist on the internet. I had no interest in recreating them. What I find compelling is the continued and powerful hope that his quote instills. Even in the face of humanity's continuing aggression. Even 20,000 years in the future, Carl's words carry profound and significant weight. We still have many rivers left to cross. Despite our technological advances, our biological ones remain challenging.

The message transcends Eve. And that is why it resonates so strongly.


I've always been a huge fan of Carl Sagan's, and his words about our future in space have always inspired me. This morning I ran across them once again and thought about how closely related what he was saying was to the origin of Eve Online. So why not mix the two?

Granted, as the story goes along the difference between Sagan's optimistic view of our future and the harsh reality of Eve become more and more apparent - which is the entire point.

We still have many rivers left to cross.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.

Gooder Eve: The War Pass

[ Gooder Eve is a series of on-going articles that examine ways in which Eve can be made Gooder.  Some are serious, some are not, but all are intended to create debate, dialogue, and discussion.  So enjoy! ]

So this morning I log on my Alt to go to Jita to pick up some supplies. I haven't been able to do this in over a month because of all the War Decs we've been getting. And lo and behold we have another one I wasn't even aware of. Sigh. So I used my special Impel to go get the stuff I really needed and will have to wait until this one is over to use the Freighter.

On the way to Jita I had an idea.

The way things are right now there is nothing I or most of Stay Frosty can do to help the rest of our Alliance during these HS Wars. We essentially issue the same warning emails about being careful, watch for WTs, and don't be stupid. Counting on them to just run out eventually. The only choice is to give up my sec status and become positive. Which is something I will not do. My -10 status is a badge I've had for over four years now and why should I have to give it up because some lazy HS corporations want to prey on our non-PvP Alliance mates?

What if there was another way? What if when someone War Decs you, you could buy a War Pass from Concord? A Pass that would allow you to jump into HS despite being negative sec status and engage only War Targets? They did attack you, so it makes sense that you should be able to defend yourself. This would at least give HS War Dec'ers something to think about. Obviously such a system would need careful and considered implementation to avoid being exploited, so let's put up some clear and easy to understand conditions:

• You must be the Defender in a War
• You must be negative Sec Status
• You cannot dock or use POS, Mobile Depots, etc., while in HS
• Your Sec Status remains in effect, essentially meaning anyone can attack you
• You can only engage WTs, anything else results in Concord as usual
• The War Pass expires when the War is over

Make the War Pass work the same way War Decs work, only in reverse. The cost is based on the size of the Corporation/Alliance on the other end. And can be purchased for a single Corporation or for an entire Alliance. Or maybe only individuals can purchase one? I'd have to think about that. An entire Alliance showing up in HS could be prone to abuse, even Concord might have trouble managing that.

As usual with these Gooder Eve posts this is just the beginning salvo in an on-going discussion. This idea is not intended to be fully formed and without fault, it is intended to start a discussion about a potential path that could be further explored.

I believe the essential core of this idea is a good one.

What do you think?

A Day in the Slicer

Slicer Signature Wallpaper

One of the many challenges awaiting those that choose the solo/small gang Pirate play-style in Eve is the availability of targets. You have no control over what, where or when opportunities will arise and present themselves. You can head to busy systems that might be empty, bait someone who must be afk, try to fight someone who simply runs away, run routes that typically harvest some opportunities only to find larger gangs and gate camps along the way. There are, quite literally, no end to the possibilities. This is both the challenge and the incredible variety that Eve offers on a daily basis.

It can often be insanely frustrating. And while every solo/small gang player will tell you it is all about patience - what they won't typically reveal is that even those of us with an Iron Will often lose our patience. We are only human after all. The other day, after a long and frustrating session, I attacked an Orthrus in my Thorax simply because I was bored. And I knew he had another Orthrus as backup. That is the action of a man who has lost his patience.

That is why yesterday I chose to fly a ship that requires patience, as a sort of penance for my lapses the day before. Choosing which ship to fly every day is an expression of a larger story, a tapestry of tales if you will. So yesterday I chose the Slicer because it requires extreme levels of patience in order to avoid being exploded. Not to mention how fun it is to fly. The Slicer is challenging. Fast, lightly armored, relatively low dps, insanely short cap life, and prone to acts of awesome - it was the perfect ship to bring me back to a more balanced approach. At least that was the intention.

It all sounds good in theory. In practice however? System after system was empty, or full of large gangs and linked trap baiters, or stabbed farmers, and tons of other opportunities that the Slicer was not intended for. What started as an act of patience was quickly turning into yet another act of frustration. I kept telling myself to be patient.

And then I jumped into Manjo and there was only one person in local and a quick d-scan revealed the Algos. And at that moment both sides of opportunity knocked hard in my head. Patience said, "Wait! This is the exact sort of crap you always do and you are going to die in a ball of fire!" While opportunity said, "Sure you might die, but then again... you might not. Plus, I'm bored!" So I hedged my bets, I announced in fleet chat that I was going to probably die, but that I was going in anyway. And so I did. It would be the adult thing at this point to warn the young among you that jumping a Slicer into an Algos is a bad idea. This will not normally work out well for you. Do as I say and not as I do. So I did it anyway.

Fighting a larger or tougher ship in a Slicer is challenging, as I've mentioned before. The key is battle management, nursing your cap, expressing your distance and ammo choices (I sometimes change ammo multiple times during a long fight), and hovering right on the edge of one lone solitary orange dot of capacitor. That one dot can run one thing, choosing which one thing to run is the key to not only winning a fight, but living to talk about it. Run the guns, run the repper, kill the point, cycle the mwd, rinse and repeat. The great thing about the Slicer is just how close to the edge of failure it always is. At any moment I'm going to miss a cycle, or run the wrong thing, and get caught. It is a rush. And I love the ship for it.

Oh and the Algos exploded. I was in 32% structure and my Slicer was on fire, which it always is after a fight.

I killed nine ships with it before I got caught by a Comet. Shortly after the Algos fight a Thrasher attacked me on a gate, and paid the price. The only other fight worth mentioning is the one right before the Comet. By this time we were in a small gang of us doing the Stay Frosty sweep when we happened across on Eris sitting 100+k off a plex gate. Only two of us were really fast enough to try for it and luckily one of us was in a Dramiel. I say lucky because the Dramiel distracted the Eris pilot long enough for me to kill him. I learned that later on.

While I have killed Comets in my Slicer before, generally I avoid engaging them as much these days. Blaster comets are rare, and most people are fitting rails, that being the primary reason. Plus I don't fit my Slicer the same way I used to, so switching to a brawling situation is not a good idea like it used to be. I still tried and it finally caught up to me. As it always does eventually.

I did log on later and hero tackle an Osprey in my Tristan. Those two neuts really made things difficult. Did I mention that I love Tristans too?

The Monday Mailbag

We get a lot of letters here at the Eveoganda World Headquarters and sometimes we even take the time to answer them. That's why we call this The Monday Mailbag!

Dear Rixx,

I just wanted to take a moment while I'm sitting here in my safe spot to write and let you know why I won't be fighting you today. I could fight you, and as I said so well in local, I'd certainly win. I am the best person I know at PvP and I have pwned you and Stay Frosty in every single engagement we've ever had - this is well known. But I choose my own fights, and despite us being in equal ships and my link alt being in local, I've chosen to warp off to my safe spot and taunt you in local instead. Consider this a gift of sorts.

Mister Name Changed to Protect His Honor

— zKill must be terribly wonkered, I've searched for your name and yet all I can come up with is some newbro that has 14 kills and 43 losses on their kill-board. I'll wait until it refreshes and try again.

Mister Javix,

Hi! I'm the guy you shot outside of station recently. You might remember me? We were in equal ships and once you engaged I brought twenty of my friends in to end you? Yeah, that was me. Well there are forty of us now and we brought Battleships, Logi and a few HACs, and links, and maybe one or two Falcons. Was just wondering if you and Stay Frosty would like to undock into us? We're just outside.

Waiting for Good Fights

— As tempting as that is, and believe me it is extremely tempting, I must decline. Please understand that this has nothing to do with you or your friends. In fact, I have a whole bunch of ships that need to be exploded for no good reason. Any other day and I'd undock into that in a second. But today is special. Today is Stay Frosty Movie Day and we are all in the film room watching the Porkys Trilogy.


Your on-going campaign against WCS has to stop. You are embarrising (sp) yourself and everyone is mocking you. Understand that some people just don't want to fight and stop trying to force your niche game-style onto the rest of us. Please stop. Seriously.

4 on my Vexor

— You've obviously misunderstood Eve my friend. Eve is a struggle, a fight, a conflict in everything you do. I can't change that. Lie to yourself all you want, but even if I miss you someone else won't. Eventually you will explode. There is no safety unless you stay docked. When you log in you log into that world. Grow up and accept it, or don't. Either way you will explode eventually. WCS won't save you.

To the loser Rixxie,

I'm not playing Eve anymore but I just wanted to write and tell you again that Stay Frosty is doomed. What a joke! You guys will never make it and you are destined to fail. You are such a wanker. No one will follow you and you suck!!

Bitter Former Corp Mate in an Unnamed Corp

— This is so true.

Just remember that Stay Frosty is always OPEN! We are currently looking for USTZ pilots that wan't to enjoy solo and small gang combat, have fun, play without bullshit, politics, and all the other crap. We undock, we fly, we die. I'd especially like to mention to any BRAVE members out there that I cannot be removed as Alliance Executor and our mission will never wander off the rails. A Band Apart is awesome and we are planning on staying that way forever. Maybe it's time to come fly with us?

My Last Word on WCS

It is time to move on to other issues that are more important. My position on the current state of Faction Warfare in Low Sec is well known. The issue is about much more than a single module, as I've explained before on numerous posts. Warp Core Stabilizers just happen to be a handy mechanic to point to in order to illustrate a point about bad gameplay mechanics. WCS on their own are neither positive or negative, they only happen to be broken. Potentially great gameplay is present within the FW system and I continue to hope that gameplay will be unlocked in the near future. To the benefit of everyone that loves Low Sec.

As I've learned over the years fighting for Frills, Memorials, Hats and numerous other issues within Eve and our Community - it is far easier to get something talked about by using a simple, easy to understand device to illustrate your point. The Frills on the Vagabond were not about the Frills on the Vagabond, it was about CCP respecting the heritage of the game. The Player Memorial wasn't about a Player Memorial (although that was important) as much as it was about CCP respecting their players. And Hats are not really about Hats, and more about over-priced merchandise and thinking outside the box when it comes to customization. Which will eventually lead to Ship Skins and player created logos on ships and clothes.

The same is true of WCS. This issue isn't really "about" WCS, as much as it is about a mechanic that could be much, much better. About a section of space that often gets overlooked because of the attention Null Sec gets. And if you happen to be a Low Sec dweller and advocate, like me, then you know exactly what I am talking about. I've said this before, but it bears repeating, this is not about the module - but about the environment in which a player feels it is ok to fit their entire low slot rack with that module.

I had the chance at Fanfest to speak with several people at CCP about this environment and I can assure you that at no point did the words, "You need to ban WCS" come from me. Because this isn't about actually banning a module, it is about better gameplay. And better gameplay for Pirates and Faction War pilots. Not one over the other. I want Low Sec to be a vibrant, engaged, awesome place for ALL of us to play. That is my only goal. And it also happens to be the goal of all those I talked to about it. In particular, Masterplan and I had a great conversation about these issues and I feel we see eye to eye on potential outcomes. Many of which are already in the works.

So I feel rather confident in closing the book on this issue. Whatever you think about what I've just said, changes will be coming. And no, those changes won't be the sudden and mysterious disappearance of a module from the game. That was never my intention. My intention from the very beginning was to get people talking and to raise awareness by having fun, causing trouble and making funny posts about an important issue.

Which, as usual, has worked extremely well.

I'm not going to stop doing this. I love Eve and I want nothing more than for it to be as great as it can be. As long as I feel that way, I will keep beating the drums for changes that need to be made.

Like it or not, that is just part of who I am. And I ain't changing.

Banning Warp Core Stabilizers

Mr Mittens Wallpaper

I find it works well if you think about WCS like you think about Legacy Code. They've been around since the beginning, nothing much has ever been done with them, they sorta kinda work, but the more you think about it the more you realize they don't actually work the way they should. In fact, they may be actually stoopid. I mean you wouldn't ask an Elvis Impersonator to design a Space Station now would you? It would be asking too much.

And this is how I feel about the WCS. It feels like an old module that no one has dealt with in ten years, that should probably be split up into about three new modules designed to achieve three different goals. Instead of asking one old tired module to do all this work by himself.

The reason is simple. As it exists right now, anything you do to it will harm someone and help someone else. I don't want to Ban WCS to make my job easier, as some people have claimed over the years. Trust me, my job is hard enough already. I do however strongly believe that 4 WCS on a Vexor in low sec is bad gameplay, and I don't mean a "travel fit" Vexor either. Any ship planted in a combat zone should have an expectation of combat.

ONE: So let's start there. A new module for FW Wussies to put on their ships to avoid having to contest plexes and just sit there and make iskies all day. Why they have this expectation is a huge part of the problem in my opinion. This seems easy to me. Right now, in a normal PvP situation, once a ship has you scrammed there is little you can do about it. Other than having to fit your ship with some special modules or using ECM drones for example. (And yes, I am having a very hard time arguing the other side on this!) So the new FWW Module is a chance based module that can break scram based on the skill of the pilot fitting it, the higher the skill the higher the chance to break scram. Only one per ship. This allows the other slots to be used the way they are intended, so if scram is not broken they have a fighting chance. It should have a balanced penalty to optimal range or something, but nothing harsh. On my side, overheating my scram gives me a counter bonus to the modules chance based on my own skills. The balance in that approach is in me managing my heat, and the fact that I can't do that for long before the scram burns out and the target gets away anyway. It has no effect on Disruptors or Webs, and faction scrams come with built in bonuses as always.

TWO: The travelers companion. Works exactly like WCS do today except it removes the offensive capabilities of the ship it is fitted on. You want to move "safely" thru space? Then you need to give something up in return. If you don't want to travel without guns or missiles then fit Inertia Stabs and Nanos, or jump your ship over. Or, learn how to use bookmarks and scouts for goodness sake.

THREE: Industrials and Freighters. Pretty much the same WCS Module we have today. This is where the darn things belong, so why change it.

Right now if you try to scram a ship with WCS fitted it just warps off, there is no way (other than fitting more scrams) that you can counter the fit. At least the FWW module gives you a fighting chance to engage and then it comes down to the skill of the two players involved. This is called gameplay and I support better gameplay.

Whatever the final solution there can be no doubt that we need something that isn't the current state of affairs. The WCS module is old, clunky and anti-gameplay. There are literally dozens of ideas floating around about how to fix it, this is only one. The solution needs to add to gameplay and not take away from it - for both sides of the coin.

I want WCS Banned because they are broken. Not because I am anti gameplay.