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.