ABA Voices: The Old Pirate

A Band Apart Voices is intended to be the home for members of ABA to guest-post any issues, stories, or adventures they'd like to see here in the pages of Eveoganda. The intention is to provide an even wider range of topics to our readers.

The Old Pirate
by Bold Podiene

In Eve, I’m one of the 5 percent.

You’ll see what I mean in this interesting time-lapse chart of the age of Eve participants:

The chart shows that 95 percent of Eve players in 2014 were 50 or younger, with the median age in 2014 at 30 years old (meaning basically that half the players were younger and half were older).

Consider that an alliance called The Older Gamers says in its description that most of its members are in their 30s (though many are older).

Me? I’m 59—I’ll be 60 this summer. In three-man gangs, I’m often older than the combined age of the two other players.

I can’t speak for all older players, but I can say for myself that my reactions aren’t as quick as they once were. I haven’t grown up in a computer/video gaming culture. I don’t have the same technical knowledge of computers and programs that often benefits other players, and frankly I don’t learn stuff as quickly as I once did. I have a demanding job and I desire to spend time with my family, so I probably get online less than many of the younger people I know in Eve.

However, Eve can be a terrific game for older players.

Among my Eve friends of a certain age, some are industrialists who find rewards in planning and executing manufacturing or Planetary Interaction. Some run missions. They all enjoy the social aspect of the game (which is how I know them).

I’ve enjoyed learning about things like wormholes and manufacturing and hauling—one of the pleasures of Eve is there is more to learn than one person can encompass.

But I have focused my efforts on solo and small gang PVP. And I find that even here, I can enjoy the game.

What I like most in Eve is winning a close solo fight—getting victory when I’m deep into structure!—or tackling a much bigger ship with an experienced friend, or helping a carebear friend learn about the adrenaline rush of PVP.

Because I don’t have as much time online or learn as fast as my younger friends, I find it works best to for me to focus on a PVP niche. I like flying frigates, in part because they are inexpensive and I don’t do lots of PVE to earn ISK, but also because I really enjoy them. Flying frigates limits how much I have to learn about other types of ships: It’s unlikely that I’m going to engage an Abbadon, so I don’t need to learn all about its strengths and vulnerabilities.

And I have also found it best to focus on one style of fighting and a few types of ships and weapons, so I am less likely to react the wrong way in the middle of a fight (For instance, a brawler needs to do very different things in a close fight than a kiter, and hybrid weapons must be handled differently than missiles).

Being an older player does enhance my Eve experience in a key way. Growing entails experiencing losses, disappointments and sadness, along with achievements and satisfactions. I think that’s why I have found my ability to feel gratitude has become more important as I’ve gotten older. And gratitude for the occasional good fight, new things to learn and, most of all, for friends made during Eve is deeply satisfying to me.

So I’m happy being a member of the 5 percent in Eve. I hope the game lasts long enough that many of you can join me in that club.

My CSM Voting Endorsements

Borrowed this from Crossing Zebras

It is that time of year again! When the entire Eve Community holds their collective breath waiting to hear who will make the official Eveoganda CSM Endorsement Ballot. Each year I diligently comb thru the thousands of wanna-be politicians to bring you the very best candidates. And each year my choices tend to get elected to an extremely high percentage. In fact, over the past years, Eveoganda is running well above 75% based on our recommendations.

This year is unique however! This year we have our own official Eveoganda endorsed A Band Apart/Stay Frosty candidate - JOFFY AULX-GAO!! Go Joffy!! If you want quality CSM members then Joffy should be at the very top of your ballot. Not only does he play Eve every day, he is extremely active, engaged, and knowledgeable about Eve. As our Alliance Diplomat he has worked directly with a vast network of Eve players across New Eden. Our own Alliance - A Band Apart - is made up of Corporations that represent a wide swath of Eve play-styles, from Low Sec, Wormholes, Industry, Missions, and much more. Not to mention the fact that he is also incredibly awesome! 

Obviously Joffy is my number one and I would greatly appreciate him being yours as well.


The remaining Eveoganda candidates in voting order:

2. The Judge - I've worked with The Judge during last year's AT practices and I even used to be in Co2. Great guy who will work hard for us.

3. Erika Mizune - Erika will work well with Joffy on the issues we care about, as well as represent all of New Eden with character and purpose.

4. Tora Bushido - We may not often see eye to eye on our play-style choices, but Tora has been a stand-up friend of ABA and I've grown to have a tremendous amount of respect for him and Marmite.

5. Steve Ronuken - Steve is great and will continue the work he's already done and provided the connection to the past since this will be his third term.

6. Diana Olympos - Again this CSM is all about personalities and building a great team, Diana will work well with others and help Steve and Joffy run a powerful and effective CSM.

7. DoToo Foo - Wormholes, PI, etc etc. Good guy.

8. Toxic Yaken - Highsec representation.

9. Nashh Kadavr - I've known Nashh for as long as I've played Eve and he wants desperately to be the go-to guy on eSports. And I support that.

10. Borat Guereen - Small gang and solo PvP representative.

11. Mr Hyde113 - Well known streamer and extremely knowledgeable about Eve.

12. Apothne - PL, Crossing Zebras and AT commenter, well rounded.

13. Gorski Car - Gorski banned me from the Lets Bring Solo Back channel (no great loss tbh) but we need at least one jerk on the CSM.

14. Kyle Aparthos - This is as close to Goons as my ballot is going to get.

As always my goal is to build what I think will be the best team that represents the widest possible field of Eve play-styles on the CSM. If more people followed this formula every year we wouldn't have the problems with the CSM we've had in the past, trust me. So do yourself and Eve a favor and vote straight Eveoganda ticket this year. And then watch what happens.

Otherwise you have no one to blame but yourself.

PS: Special thanks to the hard-working and grossly underpaid professional staff here at Eveoganda, otherwise known as A Band Apart Alliance members, Directors and those that put their two cents in to the pot. Much appreciated.

Apocalypse Special Edition

Apocalypse Special Edition Art Print Poster
Click to download various sizes

I haven't been writing as much lately because of real life challenges. I hope to get back to a more normal schedule soon. Tomorrow I will have my annual CSM recommendations for you to consider.

In the meantime, enjoy the new Apoc Poster!

The Thing About Trolls

Way back in 2013 I worked with Markonius Porkbutte on designs for the Brave Newbies Alliance. We collaborated on the project over several months and I created dozens of various options for them to consider. It remains one of the largest Alliance logo projects I've ever worked on and quite a bit of really good work came out of it. Some of which I remain very proud of.

Yesterday a fan of mine posted over on Reddit about a Rokh Poster he had recently printed out and had framed. He was proud of it and wanted to share it with the community. He even asked me ahead of time if I minded him posting on Reddit. I said, "only if I can post it over on Twitter!" lol. I was made aware of the Reddit post late last night and the comments were generally very supportive. Until this morning.

Trolling is one thing, but making direct and specific accusations is another. So I immediately did what I always do in these cases and sent Markonius some convo requests on Twitter and Slack and waited to hear back from him. We have since talked and cleared up the root cause of this idiocy and I want to make the entire thing public now for all to see and read.

During our collaboration on the Brave Newbies Markonius shared with me this image he had created:

Which I worked on and turned into this:

It was never used and I gave attribution over on my Flickr account. And so it sat in my folders for almost three years, I never throw anything away. Until one day over on the Slack Creative channel CCP FoxFour asked us all to try and create a new identity for one of the Dev Teams. The name of the team sparked a memory of this art and I grabbed it, created a new environment for it and posted it. They loved it and decided to adopt it as their team identity. I've done this numerous times for other Dev Teams, so this was nothing unusual. I was glad that the art was finally getting used frankly.

And so is Markonius by the way.

I want to make this as clear as humanly possible. I have never knowingly used another persons art and claimed it to be my own. Never. Nadda. Zilch. This does not mean I haven't made mistakes, but when those do happen I own up to them and make them right immediately. Within the Eve community we all live in an environment of "fair use" and usage of CCP's IP, which can often cause cross-attribution issues among those of us that create content. As such we've all come to live under acceptable conduct regarding each others work. Conduct which I fully respect, have helped to create, and continue to be actively involved with. We are after all talking about FREE work here. Nothing that involves real money, the legality of which is all protected by fair use policies accepted worldwide.

I am a professional creative. I have been for thirty plus years. Attacking my integrity is a serious issue that I take seriously. It is the foundation upon which my entire living is based. I have clients who come to me specifically because of my integrity, both here in Eve and out here in the real world. And I will take any accusations that threaten that integrity seriously.

On that you have my word.

Give Me Some Skin

Vagabond/Stabber Skin Practice
Learning how to skin

Yesterday was not a good day. I won't bore you with the details so you'll just have to trust me on that. Nothing significantly bad, just a cavalcade of not-awesome events. Which perfectly coincided with the release of a new illustration. One I've been working on for awhile now. 

Up until recently I've avoided the issue of "skins" when approaching these ship illustrations. Skins are a pain in the ass. So I decided when I started to just ignore them as much as possible. But they've been in the back of my head every time I start a new drawing. The challenge was to try and discover a way to make them work without having to draw an entirely new spaceship every single time. It was a roadblock I just couldn't figure out. And like all challenges it required some creative problem solving and looking at the issues in a new way.

The solution is not easy. However it is rather simple and doesn't require re-drawing the entire base illustration each and every time. Rather it comes down to a case of proper organization and planning. Each ship illustration is a progression of dark to light color blobs, layered one after the other, building towards the surface. If I know ahead of time that I'd like to apply different "skins" to the finished product I can prepare ahead of time. There is not much to be done to already finished pieces, which is why I was getting stuck thinking about them. But starting fresh on a new one? As long as I know this ahead of time as I'm layering colors. Not as bad of a problem.

The Stabber/Vagabond seemed like a good place to start. I would be lying if I said everything went smoothly or easily. It did not. In fact the illustration that ends up being the final Vagabond is rather screwed up. Even though you probably won't be able to tell, the underlying foundation of the whole thing is a royal mess. I don't think anyone can tell, so as long as it "looks" ok. It is, after all, the final result that matters.

You have to break some eggs to make an omelette. And I broke a whole carton of eggs yesterday. But, next time? I'm ready. And along the way I learned a few new things that have made these illustrations a tad bit easier. Most of which result from having a much faster and more robust machine behind me.

All of which is probably more detail than you wanted to know.

So here is the final Vagabond:

Vagabond Special Edition Art Print Poster

Enjoy! And apologies for being a mess yesterday. I'll get my shit together someday, I promise.


Nestor Special Edition Art Print
Click to download various hi-resolution sizes

I want to inspire you today. I'm feeling especially negative and depressed today, I'll freely admit it. I'm still waiting to hear back from the Court regarding my legal case and the weight of that ruling weighs heavily on me and my entire family. We are looking at moving and selling our home in further efforts to downsize. We lost another cat this week and my Father is looking at back surgery because he is having trouble standing. So the petty bullshit dramas that often sweep across the Eve community mean little to me, as they rarely do. I play at Eve every day. As a release from these stresses. As an escape. As an outlet. For fun. I always have. On this side of the screen, no matter what is happening inside of it, you'd see a smile on my face. 

I want to inspire you today. I want you to read this post over on Sugar's blog. And I want you to understand exactly what you are asking of the fellow players you elect to represent you on the CSM. I want you to appreciate the effort, the disruption, the energy that it takes from real people's lives. For a video game. For a community that often eats its own tail. And chases itself around in the dark. Read it. Be inspired.

I want to inspire you today. I want you to know that I was not born with any special talents. I have spent a lifetime listening to others tell me I couldn't do, shouldn't do, or would fail at doing. Stop dreaming and be real. Be realistic. You'll never amount to anything. A lifetime litany of people, coaches, teachers, bosses, mentors, and others that constantly strive to put you in a box and label it something of their own making. I want to inspire you today. Don't listen to them. Listen to your own heart. Strive for your dreams. Take risks. Explore the world. Be yourself. Fail? Sure. Stumble? Of course. But never give up. Tomorrow is a new day. And I am living here today to tell you it is all worth it.

I want to inspire you today. I could have written about a lot of things today. Some of them negative. But I've chosen instead to turn that negativity into something positive. I love Eve. And I love the Eve community. Good and bad. It keeps me engaged and involved in ways that I never would have dreamed. And I want to inspire you to see it as it is, a unique, diverse and wonderful collection of people from around the world. Eve is a gift that will not last forever. Enjoy it. Thrive in it. And treat each other with the respect we all deserve. Someday it will all be over. And the only meaning left to each of us, will be the meaning we gave to each other.

I want to inspire you today. I suck at art. I never took an art class until I was a Senior in High School. It wasn't until the last minute that I decided to take the plunge and go into art as a career. And that was only after other doors had been closed to me. I've had to work my ass off to get to where I am today. And deep down where it matters I still suck. I use that knowledge as inspiration, as the fuel that fires my soul every single day. I want to inspire you that no matter what your personal challenges might be, that you can overcome them. Hard work, dedication, and an attitude that refuses to quit. Be the person you want to be all the time. And you will be that person. Never give up.

I want to inspire you today.

Because goodness knows, I need inspiration myself.

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

The following Eveotorial was first published in September 2011. I thought it was worth re-posting given recent events that make it sound rather prophetic in hindsight. Enjoy.

TL;DR: The CSM is actually bad for Eve, or haven't you noticed?

Imagine a private school somewhere that doesn't have a Student Council. This school has some issues that are extremely concerning to students and the administration has heard about Student Councils at other private schools, and they decide it is high-time their school had one.

Everyone thinks this is a good idea.

The students are excited. The administration is pleased, they look like modern thinkers and the students are excited. This decision quickly becomes generally accepted as good for everyone.

And granted, at first, it is. The students manage to "get things done" mostly because there are things that need done, obvious things. The Cafeteria needs to adopt a more healthy menu, the leaking faucets in the boys gym needs fixed, the band needs new uniforms, the list isn't long, but the student council is getting these things fixed.  The administration continues to be happy about the whole thing.

Time marches on however and eventually the student council falls into the same traps as student councils everywhere always do. The obvious issues are resolved. Students come and go, replaced by new students for whom the Student Council is just another chance to have something to do, to shine a bit brighter, look good on a college application, or practice for eventual political careers. 

Now what?  Now the council is reduced to reality. The reality being that no matter how much they want something, the administration is locked into rules and regulations that they cannot change. An extra five minutes for lunch?  Sorry kids, that sounds good, but lunch time is dictated by State law - nothing we can do. And so it goes.

Our esteemed Council of Stellar Management is our Student Council. Except the analogy, in the case of our CSM, can't continue beyond the confines of the school.  So we must leave the analogy, it has served its purpose, and move into the reality of our own burden - the CSM.

Think back a moment. Think back over this past Summer and to Summer past, to the conflicts that have defined Eve of late. Notice any trends?  Where did the trouble start? Who brought it to your attention? Who fanned the flames? Who "fixed" the issues?

Remember, real world is different than Eve world. But you can clearly see the trend over time. The obvious issues resolved, the gulf between "what can" and "what should" and "what will" grows ever larger. Left with no recourse, the organism that is the CSM, is left with little other choices but the obvious ones. Feed the machine.

"Oh my god, did you hear what CCP has planned!?" "If I don't get my way, I'm going to the school newspaper, and, and they'll print my story!!" "Seriously, if they don't start serving Vegan I'm staying home in protest!! I swear!" "I stole THIS from the Principal's office guys, can you see what he says!?!" "Let's get the students together out front and shoot the statue of the founder!!!" "It'll be sooo cool."

Sound familiar?  CCP is a business. Like the school they have their own direction, decided by management, that generally speaking is the course they are on. The CSM, while everyone agrees was a good idea at the time, has largely settled the obvious issues. They have become part of the establishment. CCP can't change in any significant ways, the CSM can't effectively be the instrument of change, and now nothing is really left. Except conflict.

And so conflict springs forth. Some based on actual, real issues. And some manufactured to serve other purposes. The core reasons don't actually matter in this case, because the results are the same. The player base becomes aware of issues that cannot be resolved in any significant way. Both CCP and the CSM are aware of that, but the issues are brought forth anyway. The player base becomes frustrated, why are these issues not being resolved?! By the time the smoke clears and we all realize they weren't issues at all really - or they have been resolved - the damage has already been done.

Now multiply that by a factor as yet undetermined. One has to wonder, wouldn't everyone be better served - in the long run - if we didn't even know about those issues? Or, at the very least, we were left to decide on our own which issues we care about?

Out here in the real world I find the mere concept of ignorance as bliss abhorrent, but within the confines of Eve?  I can remember when we didn't have a CSM and no one was shooting statues in Jita. No one was leaking documents, rage quit storms, anger, dwindling subscriptions, mockery in the press?? Unheard of.  (Ok, not 100% true, but certainly the recent issues have illustrated a factor involved that only continues to grow)

This isn't a individual complaint. Those that serve or have served on the CSM to varying degrees have done so honorably. This is merely an institutional complaint. The institution of the CSM will continue to harm EVE. It is only natural. It must turn on itself. It must attack the institution that created it, it must feed. It will destroy. (It's not like the CSM has a wife, or kids, or a hobby it can occupy itself with until needed.) In fact, the MORE CONFLICT THERE IS THE MORE WE ALL NEED THE CSM.  Sorry about the caps. Without issues we don't need the CSM, the CSM becomes the student council. Power and prestige are illusionary. The only way we need the CSM is if CONFLICT CONTINUES.

Can anything be done?  Not really, we're kind of stuck with it. CCP can't dissolve the CSM because that would just look really, really stupid. The CSM can't stop, especially under current leadership, and issues will continue to be brought to our attention. Issues that aren't really issues after all. And that, even if they were real issues, could be resolved in the good old fashioned manner. 

Most gamers don't have a clue what the game company behind the game they are playing is doing, what their plans are, how they are dealing with player satisfaction, etc. Besides a general sense of what they read in a magazine, or see in an ad, they don't have a clue. If you ask them, they'll even look at you kind of funny.  Most of the people I know that play Eve are also like that, the real players, the ones that don't read blogs, or forums, or follow the CSM. The players. Generally ignorant of all this drama. They look at me funny too.

Information is good. Cross-pollination of ideas is good. Communicating with your subscriber base is good. If it is all good, why is it so bad? Because one side can't change (much) and the other side can't be seen to do nothing. Those two forces cannot co-exist forever.

The conflict between can't change and can't go away will only continue. We haven't seen the last of it and sadly, we haven't seen the worst of it.  The only hope we have is the incoming Freshmen class. Maybe they'll bring some new ideas, some new energy to the table.

Or maybe all they'll care about is school spirit and cheerleaders.

A Few Fights

A Stay Frosty Tristan
Have had more time to play Eve this past week and that has resulted in some good fights, a lot of fun with my corpmates, and some truly horrible derps, gate camps, and blobbery. In other words, the usual. Here are some recent fights and my thoughts about each one.

Oracle vs Firetail: I was fitting up a new Firetail when Jon asked for help with an Oracle in fleet. By the time I undocked and warped over his Rifter had exploded. Luckily I landed close enough to the ship to land point and start to work. Ishomilken is always a very busy system and I was worried I wouldn't have time to finish before a blob landed. I have no idea how long the fight actually took, but it felt like forever. 16,000 dps from a Firetail doesn't happen quickly.

The WCS Vexor Navy: This poor guy, I really do feel kinda sorry for him. This is just one of the many times we've caught his VNI and exploded it. This one was interesting because we only had three pilots available and so Cerv went to another system and fitted three Scrams on his Firetail. He usually fits five WCS but this time he had six. The funny part is that he always ejects his pod before the ship explodes. FW people are very strange.

Snuff Cynabal: Often you have to risk something in order to achieve something. In this case catching and holding this Cynabal that appeared in local meant risking my Maulus Navy Issue and its 18k faction scram long enough to allow my corpmates a chance to kill him. All of which worked perfectly until I hit the wrong button and lost my velocity and his ACs removed my pod from my ship. It was worth it.

Atron vs Incursus: The notable thing about this fight is just how un-notable it should be, and yet how rare it has become. Just two T1 Frigates finding each other in space and having a good fight. It was a good fight and very close. I only wish these kind of fights were more common these days, but that is not the kind of Low Sec we have anymore.

Gate Campers: This is more like the kind of Low Sec we have now. This is the same Incursus coming back from a roam down to Tama. Yet another insta locking Svipul sitting on the gate waiting to catch easy kills. It is the scourge of our time.

Comet vs Comet: Another rarity, to bump into a ship fit almost exactly like the one you are flying. This Comet's fit is almost exactly like mine, although mine varies slightly. And I had a funny bonus that I didn't even realize at the time. Flying a Comet you tend to lose a fair amount of Drones. So I tend to grab them along the way and stash them in all the stations I can, just so I have some. Apparently I did this earlier before this fight, but instead of regular old Hobgoblins I grabbed Augmented Hobs instead. Didn't even realize it until after the fight.

Slicer vs Comet: I always appreciate it when a Slicer pilot sticks around to finish a fight. I mention this because so many of them will warp off once they realize they are gonna lose. Kudos to this pilot for sticking around.

The Worm: Much like the VNI from earlier, this guy flies a Worm around running sites and we take it from him every so often. I give him credit, he isn't easy to catch. But I find the Vigil Fleet Issue or the Maulus Navy to be perfect choices to keep him in the plex.

Vigil Fleet Issue: Been flying this ship a bit lately and it has some good potential. It is best as a small gang asset, but you can get some good solo kills with it if you are careful about target selection. In this case I found a blaster Comet that took awhile to deal with, but the only thing I had to worry about was his drones. However this Comet was rail fitted as it turned out and that ended up being a different story. Live and learn.

Goon Hecate: So last night my corpmate Oleyy was in system in his Tristan when this Hecate lands on my side of the gate. I see that he is red and wait to see what he is doing, when he jumps thru to the other side. Immediately Oleyy says he is being aggressed on the other side and I jump thru to assist him. The Hecate dies pretty quickly and its then that we realize he was a Goon. We don't hunt people in Stay Frosty, we hunt ships. So it didn't matter who he was with, we just wanted to have a good fight with his Hecate. But it was nice to welcome him properly to Low Sec.

Those are just s a few of the fights in the past few days. More later. Yarrr!

Typhoon Special Edition

Typhoon Special Edition
Click to download various HI-RES sizes

I started this one about three months ago. I'm not saying it took three months to finish, not in a row at least, but it sorta kinda did. Either way, this is the first NEW illustration in the ART PRINT series completed on the new computer. I didn't fully appreciate what the increase in speed, stability and working space would mean. Not until you get down into the meat of something do you really appreciate the small things. But it makes a huge difference.

Which is why this image is HUGE! It is 45"x14" and available for download at various high-resolution sizes by clicking on the link above.

This one is freely available as a thank you to Tweetfleet, readers and fans for supporting my GoFundMe last Fall. Thank you.

Enjoy! More coming soon.

Detail from the engines

A Story You Don't Know

I've written before about the incredible challenges my good friend Joffy Aulx-Gao faces each and every day. He is an inspiration to not only those of us who fly with him every day in A Band Apart and Stay Frosty, but to me personally. And so it was that late last Fall when he told me he wanted to go to Fanfest, I decided to do whatever I could to make that happen for him. At the time, I had no concept of just how much of a challenge it would turn out to be.

It is impossible to appreciate the true challenges involved until you know more about his condition. When I started down this road even I had a lot to learn, even after having written that linked post above. The reality is often tremendously different than you can even imagine. One of the most obvious challenges is geographic. I'm way over here in the US and he is way over there in Europe. In this day and age that isn't normally the problem that it used to be, but when it comes down to helping someone, it remains extremely challenging. You can't just show up at his house and have a chat. Or see for yourself what is involved. It makes a difference.

We knew such a trip would be expensive. All of us in ABA talked about setting up a crowd-funding effort to help cover the costs. A fan of this blog stepped up and volunteered to help cover a significant portion of the those costs, which was (and is) incredibly generous. My Wife got involved and started researching resources in Iceland, hotels, rentals, etc. As we went along we were all learning more about how difficult this was going to be.

Joffy can't just sit down in an airplane seat like you and me. Because of the physical problems he faces he can only sit normally for short periods of time. This means that he would have to travel in a hospital bed on the plane. Which means x number of seats would need to be removed to accommodate him. All safely secured. And not just him, but five other people as well. Joffy's entourage. Parents, Nurses, and caregivers. Oh, and he'd need to have electrical power. And his wheelchair would need stowed. And then where does he stay while in Iceland? Does Iceland even have special vans? We'd have to let the local Hospital know. And his caregivers need permission to leave the country. Everyone needs passports. As you can start to see, the list of challenges continues to grow.

Meanwhile we continue to explore options. We send emails out to Icelandair, WOW Air, and look into Ferries, special planes, etc. Making contact is difficult at first. Slowly our information starts to add up and options can begin to be removed or additional information is needed. The process is slow. And then, finally, several things start to happen at once.

And here I want to give a special shout-out to CCP Guard and CCP Falcon. They were both incredibly helpful and understanding, working with us to try and make this happen. Over the last few weeks I know several people at CCP and at Icelandair were working hard to see if this was something that could be done. Icelandair was willing to work with us and cover some of the cost. As was CCP. Things were really starting to feel like they would happen.

And now they can't.

Despite the best efforts of everyone involved we've simply passed the time when it would be possible. There isn't enough time now to get the proper permissions for his entourage to leave the country. Not to mention that every hotel room with the ability to accommodate him is disappearing as we get closer to Fanfest. And other factors. This past weekend was the deadline for confirmation. And we didn't get it in time.

We learned a tremendous amount. And now we have established contacts. And I really believe next year we will be in a much better starting position to make this happen. I hope so. Nothing would make me happier then to help my good friend get to Fanfest.

Very sincere thanks to everyone involved. We won't give up and we'll try again next year.

Now we just have to get Joffy elected to the CSM.

A Level Playing Field

The recently announced changes to Damage Controls and Warp Disruptors and Scramblers and ECCM and Damage Modules and Damps and Tracking Mods and ECM and Cap Batteries heck, even orbits, represent a HUGE round of tiericide changes coming up in March. Whew, that is a lot of modules being affected. Is this the largest single round of tiericide we've ever seen? Dunno, but it is an exciting time to be alive.

When I look back over the past eight years and think about the times the Eve player base got really upset with proposed changes, a common theme starts to emerge. This isn't a secret, or a special observation, because the theme is rather apparent. The things that really drive the player-base cray cray are the changes that threaten to tip the sandbox. Changes that "golden ammo" or "pay to win" or give special advantage to players willing to spend more real life monies. It is a fundamental and accepted mantra of the sandbox - fairness. When that is threatened, or potentially threatened, we all get extremely nervous. And often angry.

On the other side of that coin are universal changes, such as these new tiericide updates. These are Universal Changes that affect the entire player-base. And while your specific play-style might change somewhat, everyone that does what you do will also be affected. So it really doesn't matter. No matter what CCP does to the game (in theory of course) as long as it affects ALL of us, it really doesn't matter. We'll do what we always do. Learn. Adapt. And Modify. And move on.

The more important and esoteric question is this, does it make the game "better"?  And that is where the heart of debate lies in countless blog posts, channel discussions and forum debates. Personally, having finally had a chance to read over the proposed changes, I'm in the "much better" camp. I still think we could have merged more modules and eliminated some more, but the overall effect of these changes is extremely positive.

Yesterday I was out hunting and found an Executioner sitting in a large plex. I landed about 60k from him and started burning towards him with my Comet's AB. I fully expected him to warp off, but instead he cloaked up. Ok. So I launched my drones and burned straight at his position. (My null sec instincts are still razor sharp thank you!) And sure enough I de-cloaked him, locked him, and scrammed him. And then he warped away. So not only did he have a cloak on his Executioner, but he also had WCS fitted. And I won't even mention the Worm I tried to catch that had WCS fitted, because I don't want to make you cry.

This is a perfect example of what makes a good module and what makes a bad module. A cloak is a good module. It is good because it has a skill based counter. In that situation my own player skill is the counter to the cloak. I made a mental note of his position and burned straight at him and successfully de-cloaked him. His decision to fit and use a cloaking device is a choice he made. Point/Counter-Point. We each make decisions that affect the outcome of an engagement. That makes for excellent game play.

Not all modules do that. These changes, while they certainly don't intend to fix everything, are yet another big step towards leveling the playing field for all of us. And, in the end, that is all we want.

Onward and upward.

Famous Monster

I'm taking the week off from the blog. I'll be back to my regular schedule in a few days. Real life had a bit of fun kicking my ass this week and my enthusiasm has bottomed-out a bit. If I've learned anything from the last six years it is to take the hint and slow down a little.

Never fear.

My Super Bowl Commercial

I was in the office on Saturday January 4th 2006 when the phone rang. It was a media rep from one of the local television stations. The Super Bowl was the next day and one of the local buyers had backed out leaving them with an open spot during the game. She was desperate and calling around to all the local agencies to see if anyone had a client that would like to take advantage of this opportunity.

If you aren't aware, during the Super Bowl there are several allotted packages for local media feeds, this is when the national commercials get put aside for local network affiliates to broadcast their own commercials. So the commercials you see during those segments will vary by where you live and how big your local broadcast zone might be.

It was Saturday. The game was the next day. So the decision needed to be made quickly. If I remember correctly the spot normally sold for about $18,000 or so. Because of the issue and time, they were selling it for less than half-price. I needed about three seconds to make my decision. I'd buy the spot to run our own self-promotional commercial. The Super Bowl that year was the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Seattle Seahawks, so everyone in Western PA, Northern WV and Eastern OH would be watching. It was a no-brainer.

And so, immediately before kick-off, this spot ran. I always imagine the look of extreme confusion on the faces of everyone watching. 99% of them wouldn't know what the heck that was about. But we weren't interested in them, I was interested in the 1% that knew or would discover us later. Potential clients. Business leaders. And it worked. Traffic to our website more than tripled in the days following the Super Bowl. Calls poured in. New clients came calling. And from that day on, we could say that we ran a commercial during the Super Bowl. Something no other agency, at least that I know about, has done.

The spot itself was created on the spur of the moment. We were about to shoot a several day-long series of commercials for a large client and we were looking at a day of "technical scouting" before the shoot started. So we had nearly a full crew for the day. So I said to the Director, why not take the morning and shoot another commercial? I wrote the spot the day before and had called the local talent studio to pick two actors to show up for the morning. I'd already had a mask built, but we hadn't used it for anything other than a series of promotional photos.

Essentially we made it all up on the spot. The original mask was HUGE and heavy, you can't really see it but it has a brace that wraps around the actors chest, and a large metal bar that goes down his back. It made it very difficult for him to move and we worried about him hurting his neck. After this I had another mask made, this one much, much lighter and easier to use.

2nd time's the charm
So that is the only Super Bowl commercial that I created. I have worked on or been a part of several others, including a few that I helped "fix" in the editing studio. But those are stories for another day.

Hope you enjoyed this bit of real life history. Let me know in the comments. I'm thinking about doing more of these in the future.

The State of Commissions

TL;DR: It is with regret and sincere apologies that I have to step away from doing normal commission work for the Eve Community moving forward. I will continue to do "special projects" as always, such as the recent posters for Care4Kids, Best of Us Wallpapers and videos. But regular logo, banner, and other types of commissions for ISK are going to have to cease. I have no other choice. 

I am hopelessly behind. And there is simply not enough hours to get caught back up again. As prolific and dedicated as I am, even I have to admit defeat in the face of overwhelming odds. It has gotten to the point lately that I dread even looking at the backlog. It is depressing and my personal responsibility to each person just makes it worse.

I apologize to each of you waiting on work. But I really have no other choice than to start saying no and walk away from the project list. My focus out here in the real world has changed significantly lately, from looking for full-time employment to building a broad base of contract/freelance work, and that effort is requiring more and more of my available time, energy and creativity.

In addition I want to be able to focus my efforts on helping special projects succeed. And spend more time creating and practicing my art. The new Podcast. And other video based projects I have in the works. I will of course continue to support the Eve community in any way I can. And I have a lot of ideas for even more work in that regard. But the Alliance logo, Corporation logo, commission based requests are just too much for me to keep up with. Which is a disservice to those waiting in the bottom of the list.

My apologies.

The Eve Store Story

How amazing would wall size Eve Spaceship stickers be?

This is my story. It is not an indictment, or anger, or anything other than simple frustration.

Frankly I've come to the conclusion over the past few years that I may care about Eve more than any other living human being on the planet. This would not be unusual for me. Whatever I do, I have to throw myself into it 150%. I care about things. I think about them constantly. I trained myself, in many ways, to do this for the sake of my clients. In my career I have often found myself caring more about a client's business than they do. I've become better at managing that over the past decade, having to weather the loss of your dreams can do that to a person, but I still believe that caring is important. In many ways, it is essential. Otherwise, why bother?

Back before I became the Rixx Javix you know and love today, I was just an Eve Blogger. I ran a fansite and played Eve because I loved it. I ran a large advertising agency, was going thru a divorce and building a new life with the woman I loved. Back then, and this is almost six years ago, I had a thought. I could create and sell some unique t-shirts with Eve art on them. I didn't know anyone at CCP back then, so I asked around. It should be possible, I mean just Google it and you'll see that there are plenty of people doing it already. So I sent some emails and waited. And waited some more. And waited for almost 18 months without a reply. Eventually I decided that no one cared, so I built a store anwyay. Designed a few shirts. And started promoting it here in these pages. Some of you may still remember this.

The ban hammer came quickly. The store was not only brought down, but I was effectively banned from the site for over a year. (I've since gotten my account re-instated) I took this with a grain of salt. Obviously I knew that I couldn't sell Eve IP merchandise without an official license. Duh. But how to get an official license? So I decided to just build my audience and create awesome artwork and keep trying to get some attention. Not just for myself, but for all of us would-be Eve artists out here.

To be fair, lots of changes were happening inside of CCP during those years. People came and went, some merchandising deals were made that should not have been made, and generally things went along that way for a long time. So apparel was obviously a challenge. What else could I do that would be easier than t-shirts? That's when I had the idea that led to 142 Spaceship Posters. Even so it took a lot of posts like this, a ton of support from the community, and hundreds of tweets, before CCP started to pay attention. Even then, believe it or not, the first idea was t-shirts.

Original designs never seen publicly before

Those designs were done, along with others, way back in the early fall of 2014. Today I'm wearing a "test-run" version of that Hurricane shirt. Eventually the t-shirt idea was set aside for the posters and we created some for Fanfest, they sold more than anything else, and then they went up for sale thru QMx Online. And believe me, I considered this a huge accomplishment. I had no idea that QMx shipping would end up being an issue, trust me all I heard was that a solution was around the corner. I have nothing to do with that just to be clear. I'm as frustrated as anyone. More so.

I'm just this guy, y'know? I love Eve and I love creating things. I can't help it. I can't stop doing it. When I wear my Hurricane t-shirt people ask me what it is and it starts conversations about Eve. I've had more than a few good conversations about Eve because of one t-shirt. That is what merchandise is supposed to do. That is what it does. It is us expressing ourselves in public. It is an extension of what we find interesting. It expands the brand. It tells a story. Or allows a story a chance to be told.

Imagine opening that laptop in Starbucks?

So to all of you contacting me about more posters, or about purchasing hi-res versions that you can print yourself, or where is the Eve Store... I don't have any answers for you. I'm as in the dark as you are. Right now, over on Amazon, someone is selling versions of my Eve Posters for less than retail. This is why I can't send anyone hi-res printable PDFs, because they might end up for sale on Amazon. I'm sorry about that, but as honest as you might be, once a print quality PDF leaves my control - it leaves my control. I respect the EVE IP and the rights that CCP owns. And while I often try to bend and push and challenge things, I will never knowingly cross that line.

More designs

I wrote this post today because of all the questions, concerns, and messages I've gotten lately. I felt like I owed it to my fans/readers/etc to provide some answers. Or at least set the stage and give some history. I am not angry at CCP or anyone at CCP. In fact I respect everyone there tremendously. I've had nothing but the best from my dealings with them. And I hope that continues into the future.

All I know is that I won't give up hope. But I may start drawing dragons or robots or something.


Joffy Aulx-Gao for CSM
Do eet!!
You can listen to the CSM Watch interview with Joffy Aulx-Gao here!

My name is Rixx Javix and I endorse this message. Why should you vote for Joffy? Let me share a small story about this young man. For the past several months we've been hard at work trying to find a way for Joffy to attend Fanfest in April. And when I say "we" I mean myself, my wife, Joffy, and just about everyone else we can get involved. You see, something as simple as flying to Iceland is not so simple for Joffy. It involves a HUGE commitment, an entourage of support, the removal of airline seats, special transportation, coordination, and the support of large multi-national corporations. I kid you not. It has been a challenging, time-consuming, and often frustrating process. And thru it all, every single day, this hard-headed, obstinate, courageous young man has never once given up hope. In my darkest days, and I've had more than a few lately, he remains my own inspiration. It isn't often in this community that we get to discover the true nature of those we play with, but I have discovered this about Joffy - he will fight and he will never give up. And that is enough for me.

To learn more about his campaign you can read this post. Or head over to the forums to show your support.

When it comes time to cast your vote for the next CSM, be sure to choose the one candidate that will never give up and will fight for you.

I will.

Help Gaming Veterans!

Best of Us Warfighter Wallpaper
Click to download various sizes
Best of Us and Warfighter Engaged are running a donation campaign right now to help Veterans gain access to gaming, check out the details HERE.  

This is a great idea and I encourage everyone to support this extremely worthy effort. Essentially any old gaming controller can be modified by Warfighter into adaptive controllers. I know we have a bunch of old controllers laying around and I'm going to get those into a box this weekend to donate.

And for those that donate you'll have a chance to win a authentic Rixx Javix piece of artwork!! How cool is that?

So get those old controllers together, throw them in a box, and help Veterans! 

Major News

Back in October of 2014 Major JSilva was leaving Eve and selling his main.  In what became a rather crazy and bizarre day, I made an offer on the forums to not only take the character, but to hold it in reserve in case he ever returned to Eve.

Thanks to the generosity of the community I was able to acquire the character and for the last year plus he has been holding down the fort as ABA Alliance Executor. And sometimes scout. And my Null expansion pilot. And whatnot.

But today this story comes full circle and Major has been returned to his rightful owner. The transfer is in-progress and should be finished here in 10 or so hours. I know the rightful owner since we've been in contact pretty much since before this happened. So no worries on this being a scam.

I will not be able to re-pay the donations that made this happen in the first place, my apologies for not keeping better records. But now I'm back to being without alts again, just Rixx and Anastasia the way it was always meant to be.

I'm glad this story worked out and Major is back in the right place again. I had several offers over the past year to purchase him, most significantly higher than the original purchase price. But that was never going to happen. Even if this had taken many more years. I gave my word. And that has always been worth more to me than money.

Good luck Major. I hope you are wiser now and enjoyed your brief stay with us in A Band Apart.

Eve NT Video


1,000 Days of Stay Frosty

Stay Frosty Patron Saint Cpl. Dwayne Hicks
Stay Frosty is 1,000 days old.

Instead of talking about everything that Stay Frosty has achieved in the last 2 years, 8 months and 27 days, I thought I'd take a moment to talk about something else. I had been planning Stay Frosty for months before I started the Corporation and had extensive plans, notes and outlines for how things would happen. You don't just start the world's greatest pirate corporation on the spur-of-the-moment, or at least I don't. One thing that stood out from the beginning was player recognition. Its one area that I believe a lot of Corporations don't do a good job at. Not only did I want to build a culture of support, comradeship and risk-taking, but I also wanted the Corporation to acknowledge its players.

The most obvious way we do this is our monthly Hick's Award competition. Since day one our patron Saint Cpl. Dwayne Hicks has presented the player with the most total kills and the most solo kills with his monthly award. And I thought I'd publish those results for the first time publicly here today to honor those pilots who have excelled over the past 1,000 days.

The Stay Frosty Hicks Award Honor Roll

May 2013: Rixx Javix with 63 Kills and 33 Solo Kills
June 2013: Joffy Aulx-Gao 218 Kills and 110 Solo Kills
July 2013: Nakamura Shuji (168) & Bloody James (166 - And 114 Solo Kills)
August 2013: Bloody James 265 Total Kills and 178 Solo Kills
September 2013: Joffy Aulx-Gao total kills (196) and Solo Kills (112)
October 2013: Joffy Aulx-Gao total kills (142) and solo kills (80)
November 2013: Cervantes Marovinjun with 240 total kills and 168 Solo Kills
December 2013: Stan Ace with 305 total kills and Cervantes with 192 solo kills.
January 2014: Syl Kougai with 431 total kills, and Nuke Cave with 202 Solo Kills!!
February 2014: Ciba Lexlulu with 321 Kills and 172 Solo Kills!
March 2014: Deltron Zi with 275 total kills and Cerv with 148 Solo Kills!
April 2014: Skir Skor for total kills with 235 and Cervantes with 115 solo kills.
May 2014: Cervantes Marovinjun and Skir Skor with 214 kills and Cervantes Marovinjun with 131 solo kills.
June 2014: Bloody James with 233 Kills and 127 Solo Kills
July 2014: Laguna Fox with 283 Kills and Cervantes Marovinjun with 128 Solo Kills
August 2014: Laguna Fox with 229 Kills and Reed Tannid with 124 Solo Kills
September 2014: Laguna Fox with 137 Kills and Skir Skor with 59 Solo Kills
October 2014: Skir Skor with 154 Kills and Prda Prda with 81 Solo Kills
November 2014: Ciba Luxlulu with 210 Kills and Reed Tannid with 81 Solo Kills
December 2014: Ciba Luxlulu with 163 Kills and 94 Solo Kills
January 2015: Tia Aves with 397 Kills and Reed Tannid with 138 Solo Kills
February 2015: Reed Tannid with 163 Kills and 106 Solo Kills
March 2015: Ciba Luxlulu with 224 Kills and Prda Prda with 136 Solo Kills
April 2015: Joffy Aulx-Gao with 268 Total Kills and Reed Tannid with 145 Solo Kills.
May 2015: Demeison 00 for Total Kills (236) and Prda Prda for Solo Kills (149)
June 2015: Ciba Luxlulu for Total Kills (174) and Reed Tannid for Solo Kills (119)
July 2015: Ciba Luxlulu for Total Kills (246) and Solo Kills (126)
August 2015: Ciba Lexlulu for Total Kills (263) and Solo Kills (161)
September 2015: Cervantes Marovinjun with 227 kills 161 solo kills.
October 2015: Cervantes Marovinjun with 208 kills and 149 solo kills
November 2015: Rylan Yutani with 325 kills and 274 solo kills
December 2015: Rylan Yutani with 282 kills and 206 solo kills
January 2016: Cervantes Marovinjun with 317 kills and Raylan Yutani/Cervantes Marovinjun with 202/201 solo kills.

And yes, I personally find it extremely gratifying that my name only appears once in that list. While I've ended every single month in the Top Ten, it means more to me that other players excel in our Corporation. I take a great deal of pride each month watching and participating in this good natured contest.

Back when we first started many people told me it would never work. We wouldn't last. You can't build a pirate corporation on an Open Door policy. You can't just let people play however they want. You can't ignore the killboard. You can't do this and you can't do that. And yet, here we are. Stronger than ever. Still undocking every single day to Yarr, laugh in the face of danger, fly wherever we want, fly in whatever we feel like, and take insane chances in the face of overwhelming odds. 1,000 days of no fucks given.

To all those naysayers and expert pundits I'd like to say, neaner neaner.

Here's to the next 1,000 days of Stay Frosty and not playing by the rules.