When the news broke that CCP Guard would be leaving CCP and that Evesterdam would be his last official Eve player event - we knew we had to go. We've talked about going to Evesterdam and Eve London many times over the years. So this wasn't an unusual thing. We even tried to make it to the London event back in November and only missed it because of an Ice Storm, power outage, and Air Canada's stupidity. (That's all.)

Luckily my Wife is a Wiz when it comes to making these trips work for us. I don't know how she does it, but she always finds the best deals and amazing rates for these trips. And all the pieces came together quickly for this one. So later this week we'll be landing in Amsterdam for the first time to attend the event. This will also be our first time in continental Europe, having been to Iceland three times doesn't count. So that is pretty exciting.

I wanted to be there to see Guard off and to do something special for him. Like making the trip across the ocean. That's a big part of this obviously. But we've talked about this trip for years, so the Guard thing was more of an excuse than anything else. Don't misunderstand, it's important. But it was more of a catalyst than it was a prime driver.

Going to Eve events is a HUGE reason why I'm still playing Eve. Since Fanfest 2015 we've been to two more Fanfests, Eve Vegas, and a few smaller events. And we've hosted our own Steel City Eve event three times, the fourth one is coming up this Summer. And this year we'll be going to Evesterdam, Eve Toronto, the Cruisers of Eve, and maybe something else later in the year. But meeting other players, making friends, re-connecting, and spending time together is a huge reason why we do these things. It's fun. And it brings Eve alive in ways that are unexpected and long-lasting. I highly encourage you to attend a player event near you. Even if you can't go to one of the big ones, check Eve Meet and try to hook up with some local players. Those are great too. And it makes a big difference.

The decision to go to Evesterdam happened quickly so we didn't have a lot of time to prepare. But I did manage to get some new swag made, which we will be bringing with us. And also all the remaining swag in the famous swag bag. Plus I have some surprises planned, but those are all OpSec for now.

We're both really looking forward to seeing old friends again and, as always, making new ones. Like I always say, don't be afraid to come up and talk. That's why we are there. And if I miss you, be sure to ask for some swag. That's why I make it.  I really do want to meet you.

I'll have pictures and stories to share. And I hope to see you there.

What a Killboard Means to Me

Click to embiggen, or just go look at my killboard
8,339 fights, and those are just the ones that ended in an explosion, later and what does a Killboard truly mean? The above is an image of my zKill page today after ten plus years of playing Eve Online and about seven years after I stopped playing in Null and moved to Low Sec and started losing my sec status. It is neither the best Killboard nor the worst. And this week is the first time I've seriously looked at it in over a year.

Look, you may or may not believe me when I say this, but my Killboard doesn't mean much to me at all. I rarely look at it. And when I do it is for two reasons - 1) To make sure an engagement has been recorded, and - 2) To see what my Efficiency percentage is. I like to keep my efficiency around 75%. The reasons for this are derived from wisdom I was given years ago by other Pirates I respected. A high efficiency percentage denotes a risk-adverse approach towards engagements. Pilots who take easier fights they believe they can win. And a lower efficiency percentage denotes pilots that are struggling with PvP. When I look at an enemies killboard (which I rarely do) efficiency is the first thing I look at.

It would be easy to find an example of a poor killboard, so instead let's look at one from a pilot who I know thinks they are elite. I've removed the name obviously.

The first thing you notice is the 90% efficiency rate. And indeed one of the first things you'll notice about this pilot's KB is the amount of 100+ pilot kills. With a 13% solo rate, most of which are easy kills, this pilot is essentially hiding in plain site. This tells me that this pilot probably has help waiting nearby. They also don't honor 1v1s, but that is a story for another time.

I don't bring this up to shame that pilot, which is why I'm not mentioning their name. But only to illuminate a common trap that some players fall into. Because this looks like a solid killboard at first glance and many people would judge this pilot as a "good" pilot. But a closer look tells you exactly what kind of pilot they are - the kind that will explode your T1 Frigate with an Assault Frigate using a wingman.

Efficiency alone is not enough to determine what kind of pilot you are however. While an efficiency above 90% is telling, combined with the solo rate and the gap between wins/losses, and that insane 99% isk gap - those factors combined tell a more complete story.

You can see higher efficiency rates in pilots that have simply gotten much, much better at PvP over the years. Or have focused on different aspects of the game, such as Null fleet fights, etc. So a high efficiency percentage is not always a bad thing.

So what does my Killboard say about me? First of all I obviously take a lot of high-risk fights and I lose about 25% of them. I'd certainly like that rate to be better, but I'm not going to stop taking pretty much every fight I can. That's the only way those incredibly awesome wins happen. I'd like my Solo rate to be higher, but I am also the CEO of Stay Frosty and that means I end up sharing a lot of fights with my Corpmates. That isn't going to change either. Although I have been trying to focus a bit more on my solo work lately.

I know pilots with 12k kills or more. And I know pilots with tons of losses. I've seen pilots streak and gets lots of kills and then burn out and quit. And I've seen pretty much everything in-between. Years ago I decided I was going to play Eve forever. And since then I've rarely spent time worrying about my killboard. I'm in this for the long haul and for the fun of it. My focus isn't on numbers, or percentages, or anything else other than trying to gain the maximum amount of enjoyment I can from my playtime. That is how I choose to play Eve.

That style isn't going to be for everyone. And I highly recommend you play Eve however you want. But remember this, over ten years of playing an aggressive, yarrr-based, maximum fun style in this game and my efficiency stays right at 77%. Like a rock.

So what does that tell you?

Be the Content

SF Bare Knuckles Wallpaper
Click to embiggen
I often tell people who ask, "Be the content you want." It is a piece of advice that I wish someone had given me back when I first started playing Eve Online over ten years ago. But then, if they had, I may not have understood it. It took a lot of wars, moving, trying things, learning, failing, and generally trying to find my own way - before it all started making sense.

So what does that even mean? Be the content you want?

People tend to whine and complain that certain parts of Eve are terrible, or dead, or not as active as they'd like them to be. For some Eve players, that attitude is normal. Low Sec is dead they'll say. Solo is dead they'll say. Just look at Reddit any day of the year and you'll find one or two or more posts about some section of Eve that ain't working right. Thing is though, Eve Online is a sandbox. It is literally a blank slate.

If I log in and think, you know what we need is a good old angry brawl. I go make enemies with someone and get them to hate us. If I log in and think, I should go find some good solo fights, I go fly around solo and find some. We've taken Sov on a whim, because it sounded fun. We've invaded, we've prodded, we've taken down Citadels, pretty much anything you can imagine and we make it happen. We generate our own content. We are the content.

Too many people seem to believe that Eve is a passive experience that happens to you. It isn't. Sure, you can undock and wait. Eventually something will happen to you. But that isn't content, or all that interesting, or sustainable. Eve isn't a passive experience. It isn't a roadmap, or a platform, or a goal-oriented console game. Eve is an active participation experience largely driven solely by your own will. Do you want to fight in a large fleet battle in Null space? Then go make one happen. I've done it many times.

I've created wars. Or helped to create wars. Or prodded people into making them. Because at one time that was what I wanted.  Not always alone, don't get the wrong idea here. Sometimes it takes getting a bunch of people on your side, or influencing a group of people, or going into enemy territory and causing trouble, or talking on Discord, or spending a lot of iskies, or whatever. But one person can do it. Put your mind to it and suddenly there is World War Bee. Or another invasion into Providence. Or another war in the North.

But Rixx, you'll say, I'm only one person. Good. Because everything that has ever happened in Eve's long, storied history was started by one person. Not the same one person. But hundreds and hundreds of them. That's how this works.

And it just doesn't work for PvP or Wars or conflicts either. It works for everything. Whatever you want to happen in Eve, go make it happen. Seriously. Is it always easy? Will it always work? Nope. It can be hard and often it will fail. But you'll learn. And you'll know better the next time. Or you'll discover something even better.

Want a media empire? Go make one. I can remember back when Nashh and the guys at +10 started Eve_NT with little more than an idea and a player event in Nottingham of all places. A few years later and they are hosting the Alliance Tournament production. I could name a hundred other examples. I remember when Katie Sae started the journey to visit every system in Eve. And here we are a decade later - every system visited with no ship losses. Amazing.

But it doesn't have to be big content. It can be extremely personal. Just undock and make it happen. Start a conversation. Plan an event. Plant your flag in a system. Haul cargo. Buy low and sell high. Explore. Try something new. Join a Discord server. Whatever it takes, it only takes one step. And who knows where the journey will end?

Once long ago I had never heard of Eve Online. My first day I tried flying to the gate directly because I didn't know about right-clicking or warping. And every adventure, every war, every conflict, angry poster, horrible comment, and everything else that has happened in the last ten years plus came after that day.

Be the content you want. And others will follow.

Falcon Challenge

I couldn't resist. And since I don't go on Reddit, I'll post these here. And over on Twitter.

And finally, the ultimate Falcon Face Challenge image:

Achievement Unlocked: 200m Skillpoints

So yesterday I passed 200 million skillpoints on Rixx. The skill that did it was Capital Blaster Specialization IV.  Ten years and six months later and the last great milestone has been achieved. I say that like it means something, and while passing 200m skillpoints is a big deal and a long-time goal, it is just another arbitrary milestone. It only means something if you want it to mean something.

Almost all of that training has been done the old-fashioned way. A few times before an Alliance Tournament I have injected or topped-off a skill or two, but mostly I never needed to do that. I only have one level V sub-cap spaceship skill to train and that is Precursor Battlecruiser V, I paused that train in order to train up the Dreadnaught skills. I have all other PvP Sub Cap skills fully trained. And almost all of the support skills, except for a few weird ones out on the edges. 

So after I finish these last few Dread skills, what next? It is entirely possible that skill training for Rixx might come to an end here in the next year. Right now my skill train is sitting at about 345 days and is full of very obscure skills and remaining level V top offs. Stuff that I don't exactly need, but things that could prove useful in certain situations. But not much of a critical nature. Except for Medium Beam Laser Spec V maybe? lolz.

But the truth is that I will more than likely just keep training Rixx until the heat death of the universe. Every time I look at the skills I see things that would be nice to have. So we'll see.

I remember my first 1 million skill points. I remember what a big deal my first 10 million, 20 million, 50 million - what they all meant and how important they all felt. But I also remember the advice I got from an older player back in the early days, "There is always more ahead than behind." For the first time since I started playing back in 2008 it feels like that isn't true anymore. And maybe, after everything else, that is the meaning that this milestone has that the others didn't. There is less ahead now.

Gosh, that felt kinda sad to write. This was supposed to be a happy post!! 200 MILLION SKILLPOINTS! Wooohoooo!

That's better.

PS: Some of you may have noticed I am currently -9.9 and not my usual -10. This is because I got bored and started shooting those NPC mining fleets for fun. The fun part isn't shooting them, but dealing with the support fleets that come to their aid. I have to admit, those are pretty fun for NPCs.

If Not Now, When?

If not now, when?  That's the question I kept asking myself this week. I've been ruminating and rolling the idea around in my head for a long time now. I should get serious about putting a book together about my adventures in Eve Online over the past decade plus. I really should. But something always kept me from getting serious about it. Perhaps the daunting nature of such a project. Perhaps the wall of CCP legal. Perhaps just the natural lazy nature of my core being, something I fight against daily. Or perhaps that voice in your head (or at least my own head) that keeps telling you that you'll get around to it someday.

Finally I had enough. This week I told that voice to shut up and be silent. And, as always, the only way to make it be quiet is to commit to doing it. So I've made the commitment to myself to stop thinking about it, delaying it, or putting it off until tomorrow. I'm going to move forward with this project, one way or another.

For those of you that do not know, I've previously created two ebook projects based on Eve Online. The first was an Art of Eveoganda Book that I published a few years ago, before the poster run that eventually led to the line of illustration posters that CCP published in 2015.  You can still download that book at this link.  It has been downloaded over 10,000 times from that link alone.

The other ebook is called Empyrean Chronicles Vol 1 and it is pictured in the header image above. It is also still available for download at this link.  It has been downloaded over 15,000 times from that link and more from others - although I don't have access to that data.

So I've managed to produce two books already. Although obviously those were always intended as ebooks and nothing more. But they do prove I can do what I say I'm going to do. Which honestly shouldn't be a question at this point.

So what would this new book be? I'm imagining a fusion of art and story that follows two tracks, one from an in-game perspective and one from an out-of-game perspective. Essentially the story of Rixx and his adventures inside of Eve and his eventual rise as the Pirate Lord of Low Security space and the most infamous Pirate in all of New Eden. And also the story of me as a player and my adventures in the community at large, hats, frills, illustrations, fan art, this blog, wars, and meta trials and tribulations. There is a lot there. Goodness knows I've been involved with just about everything that has happened in the last decade to one degree or another. And I've certainly had more than my fair share of haters, fans, and more.

That sounds like a very compelling and interesting story. And a unique one that I don't believe has ever been told before. And that, to me, is the part I am most excited about. I don't believe anyone has ever told a story like this before, especially one from so many different angles in regards to a MMO, with Fan Art, gaming community, and player perspectives all mashed up into one story.

So what does this mean? I have no idea.

Writing this blog post and committing to doing this is my first step. Now I've locked myself into it. So I have no choice now but to move forward. How I do that, what that means, how it works? No idea.

So next step is to discover what the next steps will be.

In the meantime, how does this sound to my readers? Are you excited about this project? Is this something you think sounds like a good idea? What are your thoughts?

As always, I'm anxious to hear what you think.

On Guard

The first time I met CCP Guard in person was LIVE on the Fanfest stream during the 2015 Fanfest. I was on to talk about my new line of illustrated posters. You can't tell from that photo but my head is spinning. That entire Fanfest was nothing but a blur. Everyone I met back then was the first Eve player or person from CCP that I had ever met. Up until then I had never met anyone in real life that played Eve, or worked at CCP, or had anything to do with Eve.

I never got to spend a lot of time with Guard. If you've ever been to an Eve meet before you know that he is little more than a blur of motion. Constantly moving. If you manage to get a few minutes here, or there, or in line, or in an elevator, or at a bar late at night - you are lucky. We had those moments. More than a few.

And over the last decade I've used Guard in more than a few memes. The iMac in my home studio has his picture as its icon. And I can't begin to relate to you the number of times he has helped in big ways, small ways, and in other ways over those years. From community contacts, to answering questions, finding out information, coordinating charity work, and in thousands of other ways that he probably doesn't even remember. Heck, that I probably don't even remember.

Guard has been a constant. His energy and passion permeates everything he does. I'm sure that he has no way of knowing or truly appreciating the impact he has had on the Eve Community. Those of us who truly care about those two words know, and we truly appreciate that he is the heart of us. Others are important certainly, and this is not intended to take away from the impact so many have had. But Guard is our dynamo, our spark plug, our little engine that could - and did. Frankly we didn't deserve him. Not his energy in front of Permaband. Or his constantly popping up all over the world at player events. And he did this for 16 years!

Whatever life holds in store for you beyond Eve - you will be great. And greatly missed.

I wish I knew you better. And I wish we'd have had a chance at that Space Jam duet on stage one day. (Which is a terrible idea!)

Thank you for all you've done for this great community. And maybe next time we are at an Eve event you won't be moving so goddamn fast.


The Sublime

Last night I fitted up a ship I haven't flown in a long time and undocked to see if I could find any fights. The ship was a Slasher. Which used to be a more regular member of my rotation, but it has fallen out of favor lately. For no real reason. So I put a fit together I liked and figured I'd go put it to the test. Hopefully something good would come of it.

Sadly space last night was unusually empty and barren. It was seven or eight jumps before I even started seeing other ships in local. So I chased a few Ventures around, they were in no danger from my Slasher. But that can be fun and it helps waste time.

I even went into a belt and killed a couple of rats. That's how bored I was.

Then I had a series of ships in local in various systems that refused to fight. Which is also pretty typical. If I was them I wouldn't want to fight me either. Of course one of the big things about being a Pirate is getting people to fight you even though they don't want to. I try to teach this to my fellow Pirates, but some people never seem to understand that part of the game. I'll keep trying.

And then, almost by accident, I spotted the Cormorant in a small plex on my was back home. It had been over an hour since I first undocked. I was 100% aware of the Rixx Rule #23 which states that the longer you are in space without a good fight the more likely you are to take a fight you can't win. It's a real thing. But I had an ace up my sleeve that gave me some confidence.

First of all there is always the chance the enemy pilot is going to be terrible. Or badly fit. Or AFK. There are a bunch of things that can swing a fight in your favor. I never count on those, it's a bad idea to consider them. If they happen - BONUS! But don't build a plan around them. No, more than likely this was one of two scenarios. He was blaster fitted and sitting on zero inside the plex. Or he was RLM fitted and sitting off the beacon at range. Since most people are not me and tend to fly the more confident and predictable choices - more than likely he'd be blaster fitted.

And pumping out a crap ton of deeps! Scary deeps.

How could my lightly armored Slasher survive? I landed with my AB, REP, and Scram overheated. My immediate goal was to pull range as soon as humanly possible. If I lived that long I'd be fine because I also had a Tracking Disruptor fitted and loaded with a Speed Tracking Script! That's right true believers, I was fitted up to attack this specific target.

And yes, that blaster Corm hurt bad. But once I started pulling range and the Disruption script started flinging his bullets in weird directions - the fight was essentially already over. It took longer, and he almost slipped out of scram range once, but eventually he exploded. And we both gave good fights in local. I even let his pod live.  (And no, I can't explain his killboard. Eve is so weird these days.)

I bring this fight up because it was a good fight, but I also bring it up because it was nothing truly special. It isn't even that great of a story. It's always good to get a 1v1 solo kill above your weight class, but that isn't super unusual. So why did I just write an entire blog post about it?

Because it was sublime.

And while huge fleet fights get all the attention. And scams and rip-offs get the press. And large, butt-numbing F1 monkeys get all the love. There are those moments every day, outside the limelight, away from the lights, that truly, honestly and with regularity - keep Eve alive.

For me it was a solid good fight last night after an hour of boredom. For you it might have been the perfect timing on a rock depleting just as your cargo filled up. Or finding that perfect site during the first sweep of the probes. Or slipping out between those gate campers. Or quietly achieving a goal you've been working on, that no one noticed. Except you.

Those are the sublime moments. And I just wanted to take a minute and appreciate them.

Every once in awhile the sun glints off my ship in just the perfect way.

Gap Insurance

It has been 15 days since I last wrote. That was unintended. There has been a gap.

Mostly that happened because of two things. My lovely Wife had emergency gallbladder surgery and I went on a business trip. Because of those two things I also caught a nasty case of Bronchitis which I am trying to get rid of. But it isn't easy to do that, it wants to turn into Pneumonia so bad.

So yeah, Eveoganda took a back seat during all of that. As did Eve for a bit there. I wasn't playing at all there for about six days.

This enforced break helped however and I've had some time to think about certain things and put my on-going Eve career into a bit of perspective. Back in 2014 I started the #Creatives channel over on Tweetfleet Slack and for a long time that was a hoping place. We had over 300 people in that channel at one time. But over the years Slack lost popularity and now everyone is over on Discord. So I'm happy to see that some of my fellow Eve Creative friends have started a new Eve Fan Art home oveer there. I'll get a nice banner link set-up for it shortly. But come check it out and hang out with us creative types.

In addition I decided to initiate the Great Purge of 2019. I'm kicking every single Stay Frosty member who hasn't logged in within the last six months. As always these members are aware that they can re-join should they decide to return to Eve Online. They will always be welcome. Once a Frostian, always a Frostian. (Unless you are a poo-poo head)  But already we've trimmed the membership down more than half. With more to go. I'll have to stop saying we are the largest Pirate corporation in Eve here soon. But I probably won't. No one else has active members either.

Time to clean house. From an Alliance stand-point we are also cleaning some house. Over the years you tend to collect a few placeholders, or one-man corporations for various plots, or schemes, or whatnot. Those are going to go away. Time to consolidate.

I just want everything to be nice and clean, and much easier. And more active.

With that in mind for the last year we've been pushing hard for more activity, more fleets, more gangs, more fun, and more participation in public roams and fleets. Currently we run internal fleets about 6-7 times a week and a public fleet each weekend. We'll be doing more of that. In another month or so I want to start FC'ing a regular public fleet as well. So I'll be sharing more information about that in the near future.

Our focus from day one in Stay Frosty was a more engaged, active, and participatory model of low sec Piracy. We used to hold FFA's with 4,000 deaths, and Death Races, and crazy public events to bring back Vagabond Frills, and fun stuff for everyone in Eve. We used to laugh in the face of danger! Well, I still do that. Most of us do.

I'm tired of Stay Frosty not being mentioned when someone talks about Low Sec. We are the last remaining bastion of old-school Piracy in New Eden and it is time for us to re-claim that crown. Even if we have to steal it.

I'm ready for a new age of Stay Frosty.


And Now the Alliance Tournament

This almost happened last year, so this news isn't exactly a big surprise. And yet those of us who happen to care about such things held out hope that it would happen anyway. Until today. Now we know there won't be an AT this year.

I'm really trying to stay positive here. I truly am. But it is getting increasingly challenging not to see connections between the sale of Eve late last year and the fact that we don't have a Fanfest this year and now the Alliance Tournament has been cancelled. And more than that - let me ask you an important question - what exactly is the next BIG thing coming down the pipe from CCP?

I'll wait.

I bet you, like me, don't have an answer to that question. In years past I always had an answer to that question, even if it was sometimes vague or general. We're getting new player-built stations. Or we're getting Walking-in-Stations. Or player-built Gates. Or something or other. But I don't have an answer now. Even after Fanfest and Vegas and everything else that happened last year. What exactly are they working on that is taking so much time? I wish I knew.

I'm a content creator and the leader of a large, hungry group of players that need constant content. Over the past few years, as we've watched Low Sec and Faction Warfare flounder into inactivity and hopeless Citadel expansion, it has become increasingly difficult to fill that need. I've watched player after player slip away, into inactivity and worse. And one of the few remaining things that keep many of us interested and passionate is the Alliance Tournament each year. We've been planning for it. Training for it. Practicing for it. And now it's gone.

I'm worried my friends. I have been for a long time now. I'm not going to beat the drums about "Eve is Dying" or anything like that. But I worry. And everything I'm hearing lately is not helping things. It's all about skins, and events, and platitudes that simply don't seem to add up. Not into anything you can get excited about. Where is the big dream? The vision for the future? Where are we going? I simply don't know. And it is becoming increasingly apparent that maybe CCP doesn't either. And that worries me.

None of this is news. I've been asking for this since CCP Seagull left. And we haven't gotten anything beyond the Citadels and structures since then. That was a big deal and now those damn things are everywhere. For good or bad New Eden is chock full of player-built paperweights now. 

I'm not happy about the AT being cancelled. I know players that won't be logging back in now because of this news. And that is a shame. It's a shame because there are becoming less and less reasons for anyone to log back in again. And we desperately need more of those, not less.

Where exactly are we going?

Right now we are going into a year without the Alliance Tournament. What might we lose next?

Vedmak Wallpaper

Vedmak Signature Wallpaper
Click to download various sizes up to 4k
Enjoy this new Signature Wallpaper from me! The Triglavian Vedmak in all her glory. (The Triglavian letters in the corner spell Vedmak by the way.)

Like the entire Signature Series of wallpapers this image is not exactly an illustration, or a screenshot, or a piece of photoshop rendering, but rather a weird combination of all those things. I honestly don't know what to call them. Doesn't matter, they take a lot of photoshop work and some illustration/painting work, mixed with a few composited images blended together to make. Whatever, this one turned out really nice and I like it. So I hope you do as well.


1,900 Deaths Later

Yesterday I was fighting an Atron in Eha and he was seconds away from exploding when he started pulling range from my trusty Incursus. I knew what would happen next because I had already spotted the Comet on d-scan. I was hoping to pop the Atron and beat a hasty retreat before he landed. Such was not the case as he landed before the Atron lost point. My Incursus may be trusty, but he can't survive an Atron and a blaster fitted Comet. So BOOM. Another lost T1 Frigate that cost about 8m isk.

Another day and another fight. Nothing special or remarkable, other than it represents my 1,900th ship loss in Eve. According to zKill.  Out of 8,306 recorded fights I've lost about 33% of them. (Which means I win 77% of the time btw! 23% of which are Solo! ) But still, 1,900 is a lot of losing. What the heck is going on here?

I do lose a lot of fights. Which is a result of the fact that I take a lot of fights. In fact most of the time I take all the fights that are available to me. It is extremely rare that I won't take a fight. Just moments before that Incursus exploded I had warped it into a fight with an Algos. Now, more often than not, I'd lose that fight. But this time I won. Turns out the Algos wasn't fitted very well and he died instead of me. But I still took it. Even knowing that the odds were not in my favor. I do this all the time. It is exactly how I choose to play Eve. All the time. For almost ten years now.

I don't take all fights of course, I try not to be an idiot about it. But I enjoy taking fights that are against the odds and winning. Sure I often lose those fights, but more often than not, I also win them. And for me, that is where the joy of playing this crazy game comes from.

That and running Stay Frosty. Which is where more of my losses come from. I also happen to be the CEO of the most notorious gang of Low Sec Pirates in all of New Eden. (Not to mention A Band Apart Alliance, of which we are a part.) Along with that comes additional content responsibilities which I take seriously. Like warping in to death traps to try and save a corp mate. Or tackling something big and holding it long enough for the gang to kill it, often losing my ship in the process. This happened on Saturday when we tackled a Cyclone. I lost my Retribution before I could return with a Kikomora and help bring it down. This is just the kind of thing that comes along with the territory and I wouldn't change it. In fact, I love stories like that. It is exactly how I choose to play Eve.

I bring this up to also encourage other players. Self-preservation is not the ultimate reward of playing Eve Online. And fear should never be a determining factor in whatever playstyle you choose to adopt. Don't allow the fear of losing influence the way you play your game. You will lose. And you will win. Some of my most memorable experiences in this game ultimately resulted in me losing the ship I was in - and yet - those are among the best experiences I've ever had. I can remember almost all of those 1,900 losses. Each one has a story. Some more memorable than others certainly, but each one an important part of the history of Eve for me.

And I'm still here, still plugging away. Undocking and bringing content to the universe.

Hopefully winning more often than losing. But always having no fucks to give either way.


NEW Shirts!

The Rixx Store has two brand new items for sale!

The Booshmaster Elite Pilots design for those of you that enjoy booshing ships off of Gates and Stations!

And for my Wormhole friends...

No Local design with small J-Space Branding!

Both are available on a wide variety of merch, shirt styles, hoodies, cups, phone cases, etc. You can always jump right to the store with the handy Rixx Store button in the margin of this blog.

More designs coming soon™ Enjoy!

Eve Technical Specifications

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Who knows where ideas come from? This idea started as a goof. I was looking at this screenshot in photoshop the other night and thinking about all the elements in the shot. And then it hit me, I should just go ahead and label them. At first I wasn't sure just how far I could push things.

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I posted these on Twitter and Eve Facebook as I did them. I personally think they get better as I get more comfortable with the concept. On Twitter I created a hashtag for them called #EveIsEasy to help get the word out. Not only is Eve very easy, it is also funny to say that because Eve is insanely complicated. Contradiction. That's funny.

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There are literally thousands upon thousands of Eve screenshots on the Internets. Goodness knows I've provided my own fair share of those. But I wanted to do something different that hadn't been done before. As you all know, that is the sort of thing that motivates me. And I've never seen anything like this before. I'm sure somewhere, someone has done something like this before. But I haven't seen it. At least in Eve.

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Will I do more of these?

You bettcha. More coming soon™

Then & Now

2009 to 2019 Hangar
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CCP is running a new competition at hashtag #EveIsBeautiful over on Twitter asking people to post before and after images from Eve's history compared to today. So I went back into some old screenshots and tried to capture new versions of them. The image above compares my hangars from 2009 and 2019. The 2009 image is from inside the station in PI-5 down in Providence. You can clearly see the old fitting window as well as the Drake and other windows. You can see an even bigger version of that screenshot here.

2009 to 2019 Cormorant in a belt. I tried to recreate the same general screenshot from a decade ago. Of course these days I can't go into High Sec, so it isn't 100% the same.
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The next image compares a screenshot of my Cormorant actually mining in Piekura back in 2009 with my Cormorant shooting rocks in Ouelletta last night. I can't get into high-sec anymore, so I did the best I could to re-create the scene. 

You can see my entire screenshot collection in the Flickr album those images link to. I may try to recreate more of them in the coming days. I have to admit it was kind of fun and it gave me an excuse to fit up a Drake. So it can't be all bad.


Daredevil VS Hookbill

My 21 Killmark DD in action
My favorite Frigate to fly in Eve has been the Daredevil for as long as I can remember. So long in fact that I created the rail Daredevil and get zero credit for doing so. My Daredevils are always named Murdock, and have been since before most people got that joke. In other words, I love the ship and what it is capable of doing. I've used it to destroy 153 other ships (it ranks #7 on my all-time list) and I'd use it more often - but I rarely get fights with it. The one I was flying last night is the less blingy version of the three DDs currently fitted in my hangar. It had 21 killmarks on it. The last one sadly was a poor noob I ambushed, I ended up sending him some iskies and a note.

I took it out last night mostly because I was too lazy to fit up anything and everything that I did have fitted just wasn't inspiring me. This after having flown 4 other ships beforehand and having zero luck. As usual, lots of people running away from me. A typical night for the Pirate Lord of Low Sec.

On my way back home I noticed the Hookbill following me. So I jumped into system and slide into a Novice plex. I've killed Hookbills with the DD before, but they are always tough fights. I've also lost a few DDs to Hookbill fights, it all depends on the opposing pilot. This guy enters local and takes his time getting around to sliding into me. So I figure that he is doing the old dock and re-fit trick. He probably keeps a TD in his cargo and is changing it out on me. Those previous HB losses happened because they had TDs fitted. They are the bane of rail guns everywhere. I was going to take the fight anyway, but just to be extra prepared I popped a 20% rep bonus pill. Hopefully that would even things out a bit.

And yes, this is exactly the kind of thinking that goes into almost every fight. Eve is freakishly complicated.

And so we danced. It was a long fight. So long that my cap came into play at the end and that rarely happens in a DD. I still think if I hadn't missed two volleys at the end that he would have exploded, but instead I did. In hindsight I probably could have done a few things differently, I haven't flown the DD solo in a long time. But I'm not making excuses, he won fair and square. Once I docked up I realized that he had also exploded, thanks to some pilot in local flying an Enyo. So that all worked out ok. Not great. But ok.

What the fight made me realize however was important. I tend to forget that having a hangar full of ships results in an interesting problem. Especially when so many of them are fitted. That DD might have been several years old. In fact, I know that certain ships in my hangar are possibly older than Stay Frosty - which makes them almost six years old. And while their age isn't an issue here, the fits they are sporting could be. I honestly hadn't considered that, or at least not to the level of importance that it probably demands to be considered.

And while I always review a ships fit before undocking in it, maybe I need to take a good hard look now. A lot has changed, and continues to change, in Eve. So time for a fitting party in my hangar tonight.

Anyway, good fight.

Back to Business

I just flew back from North Carolina and boy are my arms tired.

I haven't written in a week because I had a business trip to prepare for and then go on, which was taking up a lot of my time and energy. I returned late Saturday night and spent most of Sunday vegetating in front of the NFL games. And not much else. Although I did take time to finish a few loose end projects that I had promised to finish. I do try to keep my word, although I am not always successful.

Before I left I managed to get blobbed properly by Hull Penetration, who were kind enough to exploit my DC and also pod me. Which was super nice of them. I'm currently out of implant sets so now I have to haul my alt around to pick up some new brain candy. Something I always enjoy doing... not! Not sure what flavor I'll go with this time, it might be time for a change. I've been humping Slaves for awhile now, I do like the extra armor they give me - but it might be time for a change. I'll have to give that some thought. It comes at a good time, as we've set up a new alternative base of operations I need to establish a jump clone for anyway.

Take a minute and go check out the new single track from Roc Weiler that I did the cover art for. It's a truly great new music track called "O Seven" and you can check it out at this link.

Other than that, back to business as usual.

New Word: Fracklehead

I've invented a new word that I would like to introduce to the Eve Lexicon - Fracklehead. We needed a new word to describe pilots in Eve that went beyond "Newbie" or "Newb" and got at the heart of something more than just simply being young. Originally I intended this to be a description based on Faction Warfare, but that wouldn't be entirely fair. So the more I've thought about it, the more it applies across the entire breadth of New Eden. So what exactly is a Fracklehead?

A Fracklehead is any pilot of any age that flies aggressively ignorant of basic and generally accepted ship fittings, PvP tactics and game mechanics. The word's origins come from combining the Battlestar Galactica curse word "Frak" and the Deadwood insult "Hooplehead" into one word. It works because it isn't profanity, or even immediately insulting. And it perfectly insinuates that something must be wrong in the person's head region - where most people tend to have their brain located.

There isn't currently a word in the Eve Lexicon that works in this capacity, so there is a great need for this word. It should be adopted and used immediately across all media. I've already taken the steps and submitted it to the Urban Dictionary. I made it a general video game term so that it would get accepted by the voters. Fingers crossed.

While all of us in Stay Frosty try our best to educate the playerbase both by defeating them in combat and then giving them friendly advice, and also by spreading the word thru education - we can't do it alone. Using proper definitions and words will only help us all properly elevate the players around us. As we all know by now, if frackleheads keep losing over and over again - they will stop playing.

If you or someone you know is a fracklehead, please heed this advice - there is hope. There are so many resources available to you today. Video guides, written guides, forums, support groups, the list is endless. And if that doesn't work for you, bring your ship to Ouelletta and one of our Pirates will be more than happy to educate you personally.

Don't be a fracklehead.

8% Depression

This is a quick post. I was curious today and decided to look at some numbers. I went back to full-time employment 26 months ago. The 26 months before that I spent being sued, fighting in court, watching my business partner die from brain cancer, and generally fighting with CCP about stupid crap. Y'know the story. In other words, massive depression.

I'm more my old self these days, so I was curious to see if there was a difference between the last 26 months and the previous 26 months before that reflected on my kill-board. It's sort of a dumb thing certainly, but kill-boards are the only data I can actually track. So here is what I discovered.

In the last 26 months (2 years, 2 months) I've had 1,110 engagements and I won 81% of them. For the 26 months before that I had 2,455 engagements and won 73% of them. Which is an overall improvement of 8%. The raw numbers are 899W/211L to 1,773W/682L in the same periods. Obviously my total engagement numbers are less than half of what they were, which is a result of having significantly less playing time combined with the slow agonizing death of low sec in general.

Beyond the numbers however, I can honestly tell you that I've seen a significant difference in the way I play Eve. Looking back from a safe distance now I can clearly see how my depression impacted not only my play and the risks I regularly took, but also my interactions with fellow players, CCP and others. And while at the time I would have sworn I was dealing with these things normally, I can easily attest to the fact that I wasn't. Now. From a further remove.

These days, while I still retain a healthy amount of pirate risk taking, I'm not as desperate for the rush. I'm not looking for an escape as much as I was. This is certainly a much healthier me. And that's a much larger and more significant improvement than any statistic can reflect. Much more importantly however, and the single biggest change over the past 52 months - I no longer have the pressure to make everything I do a huge success. Our entire lives are not resting on every decision. During the dark times, that was always an important consideration. It was often the most important consideration. Understandably.

An 8% improvement is nothing in the grand scheme. Honestly I'd rather go back to a 73% success rate if it meant that Low Sec was more active again. The important thing is how I feel and the progress we've made in the last 26 months. Not so much in-game, but out here in the real world where it truly counts.

Just a quick post. I thought it was interesting enough to share.

Keep the courage.

Sunday Drive

I had to curtail my usual Saturday Fleets over the Holidays due to the unpredictable nature of my schedule. Nothing serious, just the usual insanity of family, home, decorations, the usual Holiday stuffs. Not to mention starting a new job right smack in the middle of all of that. More stress than usual. So I've been trying to get back to that schedule after the New Year and it has been tough. So I figured why not do it on Sunday instead. Duh.

I called the fleet "Rixx's Sunday Drive" and it was just a quickly put together thing, nothing serious. 10 or so ABAians in armor Frigates with a couple of logi in support. My plan was to quickly push past the local neighborhood and burn down towards Minnie FW space towards Evati. That's a route we don't usually travel due to the large gap in FW space it takes you thru. Only about 5-6 systems, but that can get annoying. Since we had logi along I decided to fly a Damavik since The Space Princess was flying one already. As anyone knows who has put fleets like this together, especially with late notice, it can take some time to get everyone ready. Luckily we didn't have to wait long.

Someone said on comms that we had a Megathron in local sitting at one of the out gates. We all flew over and sure enough there it was, all neutral and positively sec status gray. If you are reading this and not aware of how gate guns in Eve work (why don't you!?!) we criminals can't shoot a neutral on the gate without being shot by the gate guns in return. Not unless he shoots us first. Luckily he did start shooting a few of us. Which in return means he has aggro and even if he stops shooting he has a timer before he can jump. The rest of us can't shoot him without the gate guns, so it becomes a constant game of shoot and then warp out if you are in a small ship.

That's the reason I flew straight back to station and traded my Damavik for a Rattlesnake. That, and the distinct possibility that he wouldn't be alone. I mean, it isn't every day that a solo BS shows up in our home system that isn't bait. Although it does happen. This is Eve. Everything happens. My goal was to ensure the safety of my pilots, put the Mega down fast and bugger out. Additionally the Rattle could tank the gate easily enough and keep point in case the smaller ships needed to boogie away under fire. Sure enough, a few volleys from the Rapid Heavies, and the Megathron went BOOM!

So back to station to re-organize and get ready for the roam... unless a Bhaalgorn is spotted in the large plex! Yep, Bhaalgorn in the large plex. A couple of crazy Stay Frosty pilots went to grab tackle in Frigates and I jumped into a Bhaalgorn in station. I didn't want to undock before they had tackle in case he'd run off. Anytime I do something that I "always" do my alarm bells go off. This is how I'm trained even out here in the real world, to question everything. So instead I grabbed my Nightmare. I hardly ever get to fly it and it's perfect to shoot a Bhaalgorn in the face with. Watson grabbed a Mach and Johnny a Brutix, so we had a nice little group. He went down hard but we didn't lose anyone. It was obvious from the loot that he was loaded with faction.

We hadn't even left home yet and already the roam was a huge success. Sadly the next ninety minutes wouldn't be as exciting. Although we all did live to return home, we only had a few engagements along the route down and back.

As always the best part is hanging out and flying with your friends. We had a lot of fun and we obviously won the isk war!

Honestly, I can't wait until the next time.

Win Conditions

Rixx Javix Series Two
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We've already established that quitting isn't winning and we should stop calling it that. And, as Nosy rightly pointed out, in an MMO like Eve Online - there may not even be anything that resembles traditional winning. He is correct of course, there is no traditional metric that we can judge against when it comes to a win condition in Eve. He was also correct that "winning Eve" is a pet peeve of mine. I personally don't like it when people quit and say they've "won" Eve. I totally understand where people are coming from and I respect your choices, I really do - but let's call things what they are.

As always my goals are to entertain, start a conversation, and get you to think about things. Often it is the things we all tend to take for granted that need to be questioned the most. So if we accept the fact that Eve has no built-in way to win, then what are we left with? How does one "win" a game that cannot be won?

I believe this is one of Eve's truly great strengths. It forces us all to think about our own goals when playing the game. I've often given the advice to new pilots - establish your goals early and often. Be adaptable and open to change. Revisions are good. Things change. And new goals are always on the horizon.  Early on in my own Eve career I made the decision to become as knowledgeable and proficient at PvP as possible. I sought out Wars and conflict in Null. I trained to become an approved Fleet Commander. I chased membership in PvP oriented Corporations. I was a sponge. I learned from people as much as they could teach me. And I tried everything.

I've been playing for over a decade now and I can tell you my personal goals have changed over the years. But that core goal remains the same as it was those first couple of months. I am still, every single day, chasing that elusive original goal - to become as knowledgeable and proficient at PvP as possible. I did add a twist over time when I quickly realized that FUN was just as important. That was a lesson it actually took me a year or so to truly understand. Obviously, the combination of those two goals has formed the basis of the vast majority of my Eve experience over the past ten years. PvP mixed with a healthy dose of good times. 

But those are goals. So what would I personally consider my own win condition? I have both out-of-game and in-game goals that I would like to achieve. If I managed to achieve them, I would consider those to be personally satisfying win conditions for me. Out-of-game is easy. My goal is simple. I want to establish a legal process that allows for Limited Licensing Agreements between creatives and CCP so that myself and others have a pathway to provide creative products to the community. I should be able to sell posters of my work. Others should be allowed to sell 3D models, or whatever else they want to create. Legally. I thought we were on the verge of this back in 2014-15, but we took a huge step backwards and very little progress has been made since then.

In-game I've already achieved many of my original goals with the success of Stay Frosty and A Band Apart. Those are both huge "wins" in my book. The Alliance Tournament remains a big goal for me. Not to win, although that would be awesome, but simply to make it to the final weekend. That's a really tough one for a group of what The Mittani called, "Idiots of No Consequence." (Which only proves he has no real idea of how the meta game works around here.)  But that would be a nice thing that I would personally get a ton of satisfaction from. As I know many of our pilots would as well.

And lastly I'd like to break the 10,000 kill barrier playing the way I play the game. Not by smart bomb camping, or dropping Carriers on Frigates, or flying in massive F1 Fleets - but by being -10 and playing the game on Hard Mode. At my current pace it should take me another 2-3 years to achieve this goal. Given my current lack of playtime.

I suppose the day may come when I have to hang up the Pirate Lord spurs and slip quietly away into the void of deep space. When that day comes I'll know I managed to achieve, or tried my very best to achieve, the goals I set out for myself along the way. Just like you, I may not ever get to technically win at Eve Online - but I will have given it a solid shot. In that regard I already feel like a winner. And I hope you do too.

Play the game and have fun. Do what you want an don't let anyone stop you.

In my opinion, that is how you win at Eve.

Happy New Year

I don't believe in new year's resolutions. So I tend towards never making promises to myself that I don't plan on keeping. However, it is the beginning of a new year and that makes for a perfect time to reflect, ponder, and generally look forward. It is also a day to look back at just how far you've come, the challenges you've managed to overcome, and the lessons you've learned from all of that. All in all New Year's Day is a great day to think about things.

It is also a great time to point out some of the highlights from the previous year and collect them all here for you. So here are some of the 2018 highlights and links for you. But before I go, thank you all once again for sharing this journey and for the comments, shares, and support. It is sincerely appreciated. I wish you all a prosperous and incredible 2019. Hopefully the world will still be here this time next year.

FREE Eve is 15 Poster (Still available)

The whole month of September was a celebration of my 10th year of playing Eve, you should check out all the posts from that month.

This year will see the 6th Anniversary of Stay Frosty. Hopefully I'll hit 7,000 kills at some point this year if I can find the time to play as much as I'd like. Rixx will undock in his first Capital in two months. And shortly he will pass the 200m skillpoint mark. So lots of milestones to look forward to. 2019 will also be the 10th year of Eveoganda. And my Wife and I will be traveling with other Eve nerds to Alaska in July, another first. We are working on getting up to Toronto for Eve North and planning for the 4th Annual Steel City Eve meet on the last weekend in July. Which I hope you can attend. I'll have the information up on Eve Meet this weekend.

Who knows what else might happen next year?  I guess we'll just have to find out.