Thursday, 29 December 2011

Reviewing Eve

Jester has posed a challenge to the Eve community to come up with an objective review of Eve Online.  I thought I'd voice my opinion on the subject using the basic same criteria.  I know off hand my review will be from a different point of view since I've never ventured into nullsec but in the end voicing my reasons and motivations is a valid exercise.  I'm going to skip a lot of the additional information Jester has already covered.  There's no real need to write a summary of Eve, if you are reading this you already know about the game.  Instead I'm going to dive into the heart of the matter and hit the topics immediately.

Interface- 2/10
  I'm going to further break this category down into combat, market, and fitting since those are the three things I've spent the most time doing.

  Combat:  Much like Jester I feel the interface when undocked fails on multiple levels.  The single most important window is the overview and it also happens to be the most difficult window to configure.  The overview settings consists of multiple windows, tabs and options that can't be tested or viewed until specific events occur relating to the chosen options.  Want to make adjustments to how an enemy fleet is going to appear?  You won't know if your changes are what you want until you encounter an enemy fleet. 
     The next most important element to combat is the chat windows.  While the chat blocks can be adjusted and moved, there are a few pieces that are all or nothing.  Viewing the people in each chat channel requires a large portion of the window to be taken up with both name and portrait icon.  There is no option to turn the portrait off to just view the names, nor is the any kind of option to adjust how the names are listed.  The other problem with the chat windows is the inability to combine different types of chat channels into the same block.  I'd love to have both alliance and corp chat in the same window, but the best I can do is have multiple tabs stacked and flip back and forth.  Extremely annoying.

  Market:  The market tab provides a lot of information while being very unfriendly to use.  There is no automation, the organization options are limited, and the filter options are buried which can lead to mistakes.  The cherry on top of the market window is a skill that allows people to create buy orders with insufficient funds which leads to a plethora of scams.  Selling is worse than buying because you have to sell each stack of items individually which can lead to a lot of clicking to unload a weeks worth of loot.

  Fitting:  The fitting window is the single bright spot for the interfaces of Eve.  Drag and drop works, it's easy to see changes and what will or won't fit, and you can spin the ship to your hearts content.  Having more information for ammunition, weapons, and resists with activated hardeners would be great; but it's not enough to call the fitting window a failure.

Gameplay- 8/10

  The most impressive part of Eve is the gameplay.  Whether you choose to fight NPC's in missions, mine astroids, explore uncharted areas, live in a wormhole, pirate in low sec, build ships, create an empire in null sec, or become a market tycoon there is something for everyone.  There is always something new to try or something old to go back and revisit. 
  One of the common complaints about Eve is the high level of knowledge required to effectively play.  This is usually translated as a steep learning curve, but I found that some time spent on the forums or surfing the net would answer many questions.  The help channel provided information on basic actions and was enough to get me going.  The hardest part I had with the game was learning to fit the ships but this is roughly the same thing as learning the maps in a first person shooter.  The only way to really learn is trial and error.  At least with Eve there are some excellent programs like Eve HQ or Eve Fitting Tool to allow lots of trial and error for free.
  The only real complaint I have about game play is the lack of a safe zone for people that just don't feel like putting up with PVP today.  Eve is all about PVP and if you leave the station you are putting yourself at risk.  In my opinion this lack of an area in which to relax and just enjoy the PVE aspects of the game has been the biggest killer of subscriptions.  Most MMO's have more PVE servers than PVP and the PVP servers almost always have areas that are PVP free.  Eve has purposely chosen to ignore this section of the gaming populace and the results have shown through in the lack of an increased player base over the years.

Story: 9/10

  Eve has a rich and varied story line.  Every month see's additions to the universe and the players are encouraged to contribute as well.  There are even a novels based on Eve.  The only real negative is that the players are never really tied to their empire so there is no real way to enmesh your character into the storyline.

Graphics: 5/10

  The developers of Eve has spent a lot of time and effort to improve the graphics of Eve.  The ships look great, when you're in station and are actually able to have your settings turned up.  Once you are in space there is no real way to look at the pretty ships, keep track of the overview, and watch chat channels for critical updates.  Settings have to be turned down to avoid lag and in the end all of the wonderful looking ships go unnoticed.  The background nebula, clouds, stars, asteroid belts and other space settings are pretty, but having a pretty background is not enough.  Part of the low score for graphics can be blamed upon the poor interface.  If combat was easier to conduct then having the screen show off the ships would be practical.  As things stand though the inability to fight and look at the ships means you aren't looking at the beautiful artwork.

Sounds: 8/10

  Eve has some good sounds and the score shows.  There's also an in game player if you want to listen to your own tracks.  All in all they've done a decent job the noise of space.  The only thing I'd like to hear is the sound of the guns firing from inside my ship instead of the noise of my partner's ship next to me.

Multi-player: 7/10

  The score on this category is going to differ based on what you think multi-player (MP) should offer.  I think that there is more then just the reliance upon interaction with those around you.  In my opinion MP should be a mix of need to incorporate other people for progress, access to other players, and ability to play in a group.  Eve is smashingly successful at requiring other people's help to progress.  Almost every aspect of the game is controlled by players.  Where Eve is lacking is access and then actually working with other players.  Eve has lots of chat channels but the risk inherent from the PVP aspects of the game end up making people shy away from joining with others.  Then when you do find a group of people there is a huge amount of risk that they could be setting you up to kill your ship or pull off some kind of scam. 
  Overall Eve's lack of acceptance for a safer environment in some areas of the game results in actively causing players to avoid grouping. 

Single player: 5/10

  This score is lower than what it should be due to the lack of a safe area to conduct PVE operations.  There is a lot of content for players to utilize, but the risk of getting attacked by other players ends up driving away a lot of the fun and relaxation that most single player games offer. 

Character enhancement: 9/10

  One aspect of Eve that hasn't been mentioned yet is how you level your character up.  In Eve all improvements are accomplished through training that occurs at a real time rate.  There is a que that allows a player to store up varying levels of training which require a specific amount of time to complete.  The ability to train without being online is the single aspect of Eve that has kept me playing despite all of the shortcomings.  I love the fact I don't have to raid, I don't have to grind rats, all I have to do is log on to set my skills into the que and my character gets better.  The only downside to the skill system is the lack of a decent interface (go figure) to allow planning.  There is an excellent third party program however (Evemon) and it's everything you need to plan your characters progression.

Overall: 6/10

  Eve can be a lot of fun, but you have to be a player that enjoys the unique highlights of the game.  Heavy reliance on PVP, no safe areas, and an antiquated interface all detract from what would otherwise be a game that could honestly compete with WoW.  The developers have built the game the way they want, but this has resulted in a game that isn't popular with the majority of the player base and if Eve is ever going to expand some fundamental changes are required.

Sunday, 13 November 2011


  There has been a noticeable lack of reports lately due to the fact I haven't been piloting a ship.  I had to relocate and now I'm starting to get set back up.  The command center won't be up and running to full capacity for a few weeks still, but I'll be out and about looking for a fight.  Along those lines I just refit my trusty Hawk with T2 launchers.  Now I just need CCP to hurry up with the T2 MAC to free up a low slot.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Path Less Taken

  Reading through the blogs linked on the left resulted in a huge release of information when the test server was uploaded with a data packet detailing future changes to ships, weapons, and modules.  The best review I saw was from Azual at The Altruist.  I'm not going to rehash all of the changes, but I did want to post about some of the things I'm looking forward to or concerned about.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Hawking My Wares (AAR)

Task: Practice and learn tackling procedures while solo

Conditions: Given a disruptor fit Hawk in the Auner system

Standards: Don't lose my pod

I wanted to hang out in space tonight so I hopped in my Hawk and headed out to Auner again.  I got on the Resbroko gate and waited to see what came through.  Soon enough a red (no GCC) Wolf landed on top of me and I locked him up. 

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Losing a Logi (AAR)

Task: Conduct anti-pirate roam in low sec area around the Arant system

Conditions: Given a shield tanked BC fleet and access to low sec systems while personally flying a Scimitar logistics ship

Standards: Have fun, fly smart


The fleet was engaged in combat almost from the start on this roam.  There was a small gang engagement and later on a fleet fight.  In both fights I made a few mistakes but the fleet did well overall.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Circle in Space (AAR)

Task: Conduct solo patrol of Auner space for familiarization and experience.

Conditions: Using Hawk AF with long point move around the Auner area looking for possible engagements.

Standards: Have fun and ensure pod is removed from fight if at all possible.

Summary:  This is a short note, I didn't engage in a fight but I did have a situation occur worth writing about.  I was in my Hawk and orbiting a gate in the Auner system when a red security status Megathron jumped into system.  My first instinct was to prepare for warp off in case he locked me so I aligned to a station.  Nothing happened though and he left the area.

Personal Notes:  I have no illusions that my Hawk could have broken the tank on the Mega before he could get back to the gate.  Calling in friendlies was a possibility, but I wasn't expecting to engage anything that big so I hadn't arranged for support.  I also wasn't sure if the gate guns would engage me for starting the fight but I found out later they wouldn't.  The more I thought about the encounter the more I thought I could have done things differently.

  At a minimum I should have locked him as soon as I saw he was low security status.  Whether I wanted to engage or not the time wasted locking could have been critical, and it's a good habit to get into.  Second instead of moving away from the BS I should have closed range to put him in a tight orbit by manually flying in an arc towards him.  Finally picking a warp out point that was on the overview and doesn't require clicking on the screen would have made more sense.

Locking pirates whenever I'm not cloaked is a good idea, no requirement to engage them
Plan some possible reactions for different size ships whenever I setup a patrol to help initial decisions occur faster
Practice aligning to smart warp outs instead of panic selecting where to go

Continue getting out into space
Finding answers to questions

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Because of Falcon (AAR)

Task- Conduct anti-pirate operations in Auner and surrounding systems.

Conditions- Given an operating environment consisting of small gang, a mix of BC and support ships, with voice coms in a two to three system operational area.

Standards- Engage and destroy ships with horrible security standing or that are GCC while maintaining maximum advantage and avoiding unfavorable pitched battle.

  I recently moved to the Amo system and part of the motivation for the move was to conduct anti-pirate operations in the Auner system.  I have little experience with small gang warfare as well as little experience with solo fighting.  Last night there was a defense fleet up so I hopped in my Hawk and went join in the fun.  When I found out our fleet composition was mainly BC in size I reshipped into my Falcon and joined the fleet on the gate.  I established an orbit of 30km which provided optimal range for all jammers if/when the enemy came through the gate.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Nulling it over (Change suggestions)

  A recent comment from a new reader (up to three now) got me to thinking about how to make null sec more appealing to small alliances.  Let me state up front that I have no experience in null sec although I'm interested in taking up residence one day.  My opinion is from the segment of the population which CCP wants to get moved into null.  You may not like the idea of changing null to be more appealing to bears with teeth, but perhaps the idea of having a chunk of high space dwellers (80% of the population) move into null to take up the fight is appealing.

  That said I'll briefly break down the problems I see with null sec and the influences which have prompted me to stay away from the promised land.
1. Paying rent:  I want to be a homeowner and if I'm going to spend money on a place to stay I want that money to be an investment and not just a monthly expenditure that hopefully keeps the landlord on friendly terms so I don't get evicted when his mistress has a midlife crisis and needs a place to recover from her plastic surgery.
2.  Bringing a pen-knife to a gunfight: My hangar full of super awesome BCs and T2 cruisers won't last very long against cap and supercap blobs.  Even my uber cool BS squadron is of little to no value when going up against the top of the null sec food chain.
3.  Getting lost in the shuffle:  I really enjoy the people in my alliance and I like the small town atmosphere of our chat channels.  I don't want to join a thousand member strong group and become one more cricket chirping in the background.
4.  Fire in the disco:  Sudden and rapid seizure of all assets due to overwhelming force with little to no time with which to flee the area.

  Those are the main things that put a negative spin on null sec for me.  Today I thought of a few possible solutions and wanted to share.  These new structures could only be implemented in a designated home system and when an alliance grows large enough to occupy multiple systems they lose the ability to designate a home system.

1. Capital/SuperCap ship inhibitors.  This isn't the same thing as a cyno jammer.  Instead this is an indestructible structure that prevents all capital or larger combat ships from entering a system.   Additionally this could be tailored to just supercaps and allow the use of capitals.

2.  Population density isolator.  A structure that limits the total number of players in a system.  Numbers allowed are based on sovereign alliance total membership.  So an alliance with 50 members is allowed to have 75 total friendly (dark or light blue) in system while neutrals and below are limited to 50.  The owning alliance can adjust the allowed numbers up or down as they grow or decrease, but there will be a maximum allowed based on membership.

  I think those two changes would be enough to make null sec appeal to small alliances and see a large number of systems become occupied almost overnight.  Larger groups can still take territory using siege tactics and attrition to wear down the defenders.  Defenders would have a home fleet advantage with slightly higher population.  Some jump lines would have to be adjusted to remove possible bottlenecks and there might need to be the ability to jump around a fully occupied system.  As an alliance expands, whether in population or technology, they would have to reduce the safeguards and thus expose themselves to more dangerous situations.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Changing the Game

  Recent Dev blog activity indicates CCP is looking to change the game some.  Many people are looking forward to a pending SuperCap nerf to help even the playing field in null sec.  There is talk of long term plans for revamping null into something more friendly and more appealing to the masses.  UI modifications, font adjustments, and more fun with the API have all been talked about.

  What hasn't been talked about though is the idea that perhaps some attention should be paid to the 80% of the population (QEN Q4 2010) that lives in Empire.  Everyone knows that Eve is a game based on PVP and there is no such thing as a safe place.  Anytime you undock there is a chance of getting killed by another player.  This hardcore mentality is not new to MMO's, most games have several servers based on this concept, but Eve is unique in that it has no option to avoid PVP.  Thus the game ends up with a constant threat at all times.

Monday, 12 September 2011

War is over (AAR)

Task:  Participate in high sec war declared against us.

Conditions:  Given high sec area in Minmatar space with access to low sec routes.

Standards: Continue to enjoy the game while still participating in war activities and minimizing losses.

Three weeks was the total length of wars declared against us.  I was much more comfortable than previous wars, but at the same time I was rather disappointed with how the war was conducted on the part of the antagonists.  The war started when a GCC T3 cruiser pirating in low sec was killed and the alliance leader pilot got upset and declared war on two of the alliances involved in the kill.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Black Bird Loss (AAR)

Task: Travel solo to join up with fleet located in low sec.

Conditions:  Using  a Black Bird ECM cruiser travel to and coduct pvp with friendly fleet deployed in low security system.  Travel will be solo and can occur in both low and high security systems.

Standards:  Arrive at fleet location with ship intact and appropriate ECM modules fitted.

Summary:  I was moving to join a fleet in the Todifraun area last night and decided to take my Black Bird as I've had good success moving during times of war and through low security systems with this particular ship.  In addition the fleet was low on ECM support so two birds, one stone.  I opted to travel through low sec along a route I'm familiar with and when I jumped into Eifer a gate camp was in place.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Coming Out of the Closet

  Part of my intention when creating this blog was to discuss game topics near to my heart.  Recently I've been participating in incursions as a logistics pilot, and I am exclusively shield focused on all of my characters.  Yesterday it took awhile to get a fleet but I noticed in chat that armor logi's were in high demand.  The Guardian is far and above the logi of choice for armor but I can't fly one.  I could train for Amarr cruiser 5 rather easily but it would mean choosing to endorse the Amarr empire, and that is something I' won't do.

Staying Classy

There are many sites out there that detail the how to's and what not's of most of the ships in Eve.  What I'd like to do is talk some about the general differences in ship hulls and what to expect from the different classes of vessels.

The different classes of ships are:
Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser, Battle Cruiser, Battleship, Capital, Super Capital and Auxiliary

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Sansha's MOM has got it going on (AAR)

  Yesterday I was in an incursion fleet working vanguard sites when word came down the MOM was up for our system and a fleet was forming to take it out.  Fortunately for me the FC of my fleet was some kind of head honcho type for the incursions so I got a backstage pass if I wanted to help out.  I was in my Basilisk and agreed to go along and help heal.  We got word on what system to head to, got into the new fleet and I was invited into the basilisk channel.  I thought I was all set for the fight when the guy who formed the channel says we need to have two LSE's or we won't survive the bombers.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Being Logical

Those that have read my earlier posts (all two of you) know that I prefer support class ships in PVP.  I’ve created one post already with my opinion of the ECM ships I fly and I wanted to take some time to discuss the shield logistics ships.  

When I first started flying logi ships I read through several different forums to help gain a baseline understanding of which ship is better in which situations, and to what level should skills be trained.  One thing that kept showing up over and over was that if you’re going to commit to flying logi you should train logistic ships to V.  The reason to spend over 20 days training is capacitor stability.  The additional boost to capacitor efficiency is usually the different between an additional Large Shield Transporter (LST) or having to downgrade to a smaller sized repper.  Tank can also be affected due to a requirement to add a capacitor recharger or capacitor booster in a mid slot.  Overall the value of training to Logi V is completely worth the training time for anyone that intends to fly a logistics ship as a primary playstyle.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Flight of the Rumble Bees (AAR)

Fleet: Conduct anti-piracy roam
Personal: Use tackle frigate to better understand tackle role

Fleet: Given low security space in small fleet setting with frigate class combat ships
Personal: Utilize an AC equipped Rifter with AB and Scram to conduct short range tackle

Fleet: Engage only pirate or GCC targets, follow FC commands, have fun
Personal: Tackle at least one enemy ship, preferably being the tackle that holds the ship in place for great justice

Personal notes:  Several kills were made during this roam, and a few losses as well.  The losses were expected considering the choice of light ships.  Overall was fun trying out a different fleet mix and I'm looking forward to the next roam.  I'll detail the overall fleet activity first and then my personal performance before getting into the sustains and improves.

  I flew a Rifter for the first time ever because I failed to plan my JC's last night to coincide with the roam today.  My ECM character was in his PVE clone and wouldn't be able to jump until over an hour after the roam started.  In addition I'm out of EAS so I needed to spend 30mil or so to get a good ship to fly tonite.  I might have gone with a griffin but neither of the alts with accessible JC's is trained in EW warfare.

  The Rifter was shield tanked with 200mm AC II's, an AB, scram, DC II and MSE II for tank, a TE to boost falloff, nano II, and resists coming from the rigs.  I know most PVP Rifters are armor tanked but every fit I came up with using armor had a speed less than 1k mps which I felt was too low when using a close range ship.  I put on the scram to offset the use of an AB and I figured our primary targets would be cruiser or BC class.  If I could get in range of the scram I wanted the AB to keep my transversal up.  I knew I'd have trouble tackling frigate sized targets but we had inties for the speedsters.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Taking the longcut to a great fight (AAR)

Task: Conduct fleet operation with shield BS arty fleet
Conditions: Combined alliance group looking to engage WT's around the Rens area
Standards: Get into a fight with the WT's and win  

  Situation:  Enemy fleets ranging from 15-30 war targets have dug in at the Rens star system and send out raiding parties to nearby systems. Friendly force commanders desire to engage and defeat WT's in a system away from Rens thus causing the enemy to potentially lose some neutral support and put the fight on more even terms.

  Mission: Coalition forces assemble fleet and conduct roam through outlying areas in order to engage the enemy in pitched battle.

  Execution:  Assemble in REDACTED with long range shield BS, preferably maelstrom class minmatar battleship, with logistics, recon, and ECM support.  FC will determine route based on scouting reports.

  Service/Support:  Logistics and ECM support will be traveling with fleet.  Stations along the route of march can be utilized for last second module exchange or repairs.  No capital or supercapital support will be expected during operation.  Follow on forces will be dependent upon themselves for movement to link up with fleet, no scouting will be available.

  Command and control:  Voice coms will be located on ventrillo at REDACTED.  FC will be in overall command.  Wing or squad commanders should be prepared to execute individual command over their echelon as needed.

  Summary report:  I logged on late tonite for the planned op but my corp leader linked the system the where the fleet was loitering.  Jark is only 6 jumps if I'm willing to cruise by Rens, but in this war the enemy is turned Rens into a wasp nest of neutrals and spies.  Instead I decide to route through metropolis, back into heimatar, and finally into delve.  I think the total jumps was somewhere around 18, but I wasn't counting because I was trying to get voice to work.  Eventually I realized Ventrillo was required and no matter how much I checked the info in TeamSpeak just wasn't gonna work. I started downloaded ventrillo about the time I was heading through two low sec jumps, in a blackbird, and I had to pay attention to flying.  At last I joined the fleet and was about to switch back to loading ventrillo when reds jumped through the gate.  Battle was upon us and I would just have to fight without coms.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Nulling about

A new blog came out about reshaping null sec (bloggity bloggity) and my interest it was piqued.  I've been into null sec all of once so far and I ended up losing both my ship and pod.  I was very new to the game still and bought a Heron from a corp or alliance mate not knowing the ship was in null.  I decided to go fetch it before I could use a cov ops cloak.  I was at the high sec gate and decided to jump to 100 to check the gate for a camp.  No bubble was up so I proceeded to slowboat to the gate instead of turning to 150km for a warp.  Part of the way there a bubble went up, my cloak got dropped somehow (still don't know if bubbles can uncloak you), and I died.  All in all I had fun seeing something new, found out I needed to learn much more about bubbles, and I've been curious about null ever since.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


  My alliance got war decced this week.  Not my first war but this time I've got a lot more PVP experience from all of the recent roaming.  I want to work on understanding the in's and out's of tackling this time around so I plan to keep the logi and ECM parked and get in some smaller ships that can hold the enemy in place.  I don't want to switch to tackling for large fleets, but I do wish to further my knowledge of how tacklers work and think so I can better avoid them in my support ships.

ECM comparison

  When I started figuring out what I wanted to do in PVP I decided to try ECM.   The first ship I lost in a war-dec was a Kitsune.  I've since flown BlackBirds (BB) and Falcons on several occasions, sometimes even in a fight.  I thought I'd take some time to talk about the strengths and weaknesses I've seen in the ECM ships in case my experiences can be of use to someone else.  Hopefully there will also be some comments to point out ways I can improve my understanding of ECM.

Fight week (AAR)

  I've had a fun week in game although I've failed to post about it so far.  Allow me to remedy that situation.

Fight 1

Earlier in the week I went on a Nano BC roam.  Once again I flew my rusty scimitar (although to be fair the scimitar is a rather beautiful ship) into battle and we ended the night with an impressive fight. 

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Cruiser Roam (AAR)

  Yesterday I went on a T1 cruiser/T2 frigate roam.  The roam was a lot of fun although the value of cruiser sized ships was called into question by the end of the night.  I spent a chunk of the day moving various cruiser sized ships to the start location and on a whim I took my Kitsune electronic attack ship.  I've used a Kit once before and it died rather quickly when I was first learning about ECM ships.  I wanted to start off in a support role and for some reason the Kitsune seemed to call to me.  I think it regretted picking up the phone by the end of the night.

Epic Arc (AAR)

  I helped out a corpmate friday night when he requested some support for gallente epic arc missions.  I took a tank focus Rattlesnake and a Scimitar to back him up.  EHQ indicated I would have be able to tank something like 3000dps with the fit.  The first mission went fine.  I warped in, took agro, shield went down a little, and then scimi landed and no problems.  The next mission though got interesting.  I had to refit for omni tank and I didn't consider neuting so I put on active hardeners instead of passive amplifiers for resists.  The fight was going fine to begin with but my rattlers cap was slowly going away.  Once the cap died so to did my resists and my shield was getting gouged.  Fortunately we killed a BS and at that point the scimi was able to keep me up alone.  I sat on half shield the majority of that mission but we finished in the end.

  Lessons I learned for future epic arc missions: use passive resists when going up against neut ships, bring multiple resist modules along, and epic arcs look fun.  I think I'm gonna look up some Caldari arcs and perhaps give them a go.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Munching on Feedback

  After I wrapped up yesterdays post I sent my corp an email asking them for advice regarding my training plan dilemma.  The consensus was work on basic level skills, so that is what I shall do.  Tonight was some simple mission running to make back a few iskies.

  Over the last few weeks I've been mixing up my mission fleet.  I've gone from Rattlesnake + Machariel + Noctis to Tengu + Machariel + Maelstrom.  I've tried both arty and AC fits for the maelstrom and I've settled on arty simply because I keep hitting a decent dps barrier around 35km with T1 AC's on the Mael.  A lot of the missions I run have ships hanging out in the 45-60km range and the Machariel can apply decent enough damage out that far with standard ammo or Barrage for stuff 60+.  I'm dissatisfied with the arty Mael too though.  I can apply a medium amount of damage at all ranges, but it just can't keep up with the high damage of my other ships. 

  So I'm thinking of moving from the Mael into another Tengu.  I've got the missile and ship skills, I just need the T3 specific stuff.  The ship cost is a bit high as well but I've got spares of most modules I use on my primary Tengu.  I know some people swear by the Nitemare for mission running, but I'm completely happy with my Tengu.  I started off on the standard Caracal > Drake > Raven route, but I wish I had gone for a Tengu at that point.  Instead I got a Rattlesnake and while it did the job I soon grew bored of sitting on the sentries.

  I highly recommend that anyone looking to upgrade out of the Drake for missions give the Tengu serious consideration.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Sit, Stay... Good logi (AAR)

  Another roam in my scimitar and while I had fun again I'll admit that switching to a logistical ship mind set can be a bit tough sometimes.  I'm not that interested in being in a DPS boat and turning the enemy's ship into a modern art sculpture.  I much prefer scouting, moving around cloaked to setup a fleet warp to have proper range, utilize EW mods to tactically shape the battlefield, or apply reps when needed.  Basically I enjoy being a combat multiplier instead of a line dog.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Nowhwere Bound

  Thrusters flared soft blue light as the ship undocked from the station.  The 'Nowhere Bound' slipped silently into space on yet another mission at the Captains behest.  Sphen Larson, CPT, had been commanding one ship or another for the past 20 years.  Medium height, blond hair turning gray, solid, and with a face that inspired confidence in all those around him.  The man was a natural born leader and his tenacity, foresight, and grounded values had saved his crew countless times.

  Next to him on the bridge was his First Officer.  Lt JG Alan Smith was tall and lean, some said he was built like a greyhound, with short brown hair and the faintest hint of a mustache. He conducted all of his duties with a seriousness that bordered on autism yet most people overlooked his eccentrics simply because he always got results.  Part of his demeanor stemmed from the fact he understood computers better than he did people.

  The cargo hold echoed to the sound of boots moving crisply through aisles of containers.  Warrant Officer Natasha "Ems" Stewart was ensuring the deck hands had secured all of the safety straps and cargo netting.  She was tall for woman, but moved with a feline grace she acquired from years of martial arts practice.  This week her hair was a vibrant purple, her coveralls displayed crisp pleats, and every male eye in the hold followed the sway of her hips when she glided past.  The rumor mill said she once was a model and everyone assumed she quit when she got the scar on the side of her face.  As acting quartermaster she was responsible for all cargo as well acquiring and selling any trade goods that might turn a profit.  In addition she had an engineering degree and assisted with keeping the ship fitted for whatever mission was required.

  Chief engineer Master Sergeant Harold "Fuzz" Peach was finishing his pre-warp checklist and trying to avoid stepping on the cat who insisted it was feeding time.  Cat was welcome company most of the time but right now the priority was ensuring the capacitors were working at optimum capacity.  Fuzz had two passions in life, searching for the universes perfect beer and finding a way to get just a little more performance out of every piece of equipment on his ship.  Average height and build would seem to indicate he'd live a lonely life, but somehow he managed to always have a woman on his arm a few hours after docking at a new station.  Chief couldn't wait to investigate the claims that  a retired Sergeant Major who helped train new recruits at the Federation School in orbit around Dodenvale VIII was making the beer that one last quarter's micro brewing contest for the Sinq Laison region..  The beer was rumored to be almost perfect, and Fuzz was determined to find out for himself.

  Ajax, the ships computer, notified the CPT all quartermaster and engineer checks were complete and the ship was ready for warp.  The CPT confirmed his ship readout was all green and told Lt Smith to engage the warp drive.  A tunnel of light surrounded the Ferox class battlecruiser as it's crew set forth on the first step of a journey that would last a thousand miles.

Monday, 1 August 2011

My First Kiss

Everyone remembers their first kiss.  Mine was with a girl living in a foster home, yeah I know you don't want to hear this.  In Eve the only first that matters is your first kill.  And your first death.  Well here are mine.

Stay away from the cans, he hates the cans!:

Back when I first started the game I would mission/haul on one account and mine with the other.  I'd been jet canning for a few weeks in an out of the way .9 system and finally moved to a .6 for some better ore.  The new system (Poinen) had over 100 people in it consistently but my noobishness didn't realize how bad of an idea jet canning is in a busy system.

So I'm happily jet canning in my new system when all of a sudden my container box disappears from my miners screen.  What the trickery is this?  I checked the overview and a yellow can is sitting where my white can once was and a Caldari Navy Hookbill (I had to look it up as I'd never heard of it before) is hovering nearby.  NINJA! THIEF! ARRRGGGHH, PIRATE!.  I immediately docked and grabbed my badger.

Yep, I grabbed my badger.  I just knew I could take the stuff out of the can and warp off before he could get me.  I didn't think about prelocking, didn't know just what a warp jam did, basically I knew as much about PVP as your typical 13yr old nerd knows about the female anatomy (only what you see and read on a porn site... I mean forum).  So I get my badger lined up, opened the can, scooped the loot and tried to get away.  We all know what happened next.  Shields die, armor dropping, I think fast and jettison cargo so maybe he'll be nice and let me live..nope, the Jerk.  My badger Died in a Fire (TM).

I was literally shaking this whole time.  I get some pretty intense adrenaline rushes from gaming and I was definitely hopped up on Mt. Dew and ready to go spider monkey on someone from all the adrenaline I had pumping in my veins.  So my badger died and I headed back to my station to figure out what to do next.  Next was waiting about 20mins for my hands to stop shaking while I figured out the multiple things I did wrong, on the forums of course.

The only smart thing about the whole incident was I didn't use my mining barge drones to help.  My retriever was still safely mining while the hookbill stayed on grid for more easy kills.  In the end I waited out my aggression timer and determined I needed to figure out some kind of PVP ship to have on hand in case this happened again.

 Days go by and I get smarter about mining.  I realize that the only way jetcaning would work would be to have a third account for hauling so my mission runner could go about his business.  So I make a minnie (I was told mammoth's get targeted less than itty's) and quickly had a hauler alt.  Soon I've got a Hoarder sitting next to my retriever and I'm raking in the big bucks.

Revenge is best served with AML's:

One day a rifter shows up and is orbiting close.  No biggie.  Surely I'm faster than this guy at opening my can's and moving the ore.  So I get ready and drop the can so I can swiftly transfer the contents with my hauler.  Only for some reason the rifter goes red and my Hoarder blows up.  Great googelymoogely batman.  How did that happen?  I can only assume we both dipped into the can at the same time giving mutual aggression.  This time I was ready though.

Earlier in the day I had put together a great PVP caracal.  Scram, check; web, check; assault missile launchers, check; AB, check; shield buffer, check.  I looked on battleclinic and the forums for help and I was so happy to finally have a PVP bird in case I ever needed it, and the case happened sooner rather than later.

I pulled my mission guy in, swapped ships and warped the caracal on top of my retriever, which was being tightly orbited by the rifter.  I landed, got lock, pointed, webbed and ate his armor like it was mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Yay revenge.

I kept that guy on my watchlist for a very long time, but he eventually gave up when I never, ever dropped a can when he was around.  To this day that is still the only kill mail I have and my only solo kill, but it's one of my favorites.  I killed Zuchini Warrior, who in my mind was a great PVP person, which showed me that I could survive in this game if I really wanted to.

Oh, if you're still interested, my first kiss was to this cute little blonde who so didn't care for me as much as I did for her, but I could feel her lips on mine days later.  We eventually broke up, well she left me, but the memory is something I'll always cherish.  Just like my first Eve kill.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sansha Pinata (AAR)

  I was around the day incursions launched and thousands of ships died.  The rate of loss, the talk of how difficult the sansha were to kill, the fact that frigates were WTFPWNBBQ'ing entire fleets was enough to scare me good.  Recently though there has been talk in our Alliance chat of a corp that runs incursions on a daily basis.  I figured eventually I'd tag along with them in a safe environment.  Eventually turned into now and I've spent six hours this evening killing fanatical frigates.

  The call went out for two people in shield fits to join an incursion fleet.  The request was for a T3 and I was just starting to adjust some probes for my first attempt to find a WH to break the monotony of mission running.  I decided now was my time to see something new so I volunteered to join up.  I inquired as to a good tengu fit, got a fitting and realized I'd have to reset my rigs or get a new hull.  New hull won out since I'd be thinking of getting another anyway.  Got a new hull, went through the hoops required to swap out subsystems between two ships (I bought 5 new subsystems and the hoop was jumped) and was on my way.

  I got in system and warped to the first room.  I saw eight ships floating around, missiles and lasers flashing, but no targets.  Hmm, where the heck are the targets?  So I asked if there was a bug and was told you have to manually click on the ships and add them to overview.  I spent five minutes looking for the incursion ship check box in my overview settings to no avail.  Finally I tracked some missiles to a small dark blip on a distant nebula and was able to add sansha incursion frigates to my overview.  Huzzah.  Later on I had to repeat the process for cruisers.  I am not looking forward to having to rinse/repeat for the rest of the ships types.  As an added bonus I didn't see any of the ship icons in space until I had them locked up.  This made me not a happy camper but I worked it out in the end and was able to get to the killing.

PS- CCP this is ridiculous to allow to happen and incursion ships should have some sort of identifier in the overview list or default to always being on.

  Anyway, overview fixed and I started adding to the slaughter.  My tengu was firing high damage T2 missiles but they did crappy so I switched to regular missiles and my damage output tripled.  Later on I tried precision heavies and they performed about the same as standard T1's.  So atleast ammo was cheap.

  We killed vanguard missions one after the other for an hour or so averaging about 10 minutes per mission.  I learned the patterns and our logi pilots were jonny on the spot with the reps.  We eventually took a break, added some more folks, split into two fleets and continued the carnage.  We ran some of the mining colony and I learned you need ore to turn in to complete those missions.  I didn't find out how much but it was my first day.  Highlight of the night was getting to apply tags to designate targets after I was promoted to squad lead for fleet bonuses.  I sorta didn't know the fleet could see tags because I'd never highlighted that option in my alts overviews.  That will help out some for missions when I'm trying to designate jamming ships.

  The time flew by and soon enough people were getting tired.  All told I ran 25 missions, got back almost half what I spent on the Tengu, and realized I enjoy incursions.  I need to get my boys some basilisks to ease the logi burden, but I see more sansha killing in the future.  I do so enjoy whacking the ISK pinata and watching my wallet fill up.

  Ship fitting addendum: Tengu worked out ok, but I think a Nighthawk might actually be better with it's bonuses for killing frigate sized ships.  I'll have to look into that for the future, especially since it gives me a great excuse to pick up a NH.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Strangers in the night (AAR)

Tonight I went on another roam with Mistersparky from the Estrale Frontiers corporation and once again he did not disappoint.  Recently I missed a roam that saw the death of two carriers so tonight I requested more carrier action and Mistersparky happily obliged. 

The evening started off with a few hours of jumping and no one that wanted to fight.  I'd like to think that the pirates are scared and hiding, but it could just be an off night.  Eventually our scouts found some targets in the Onatoh system and we shuffled our forces around to encourage a fight.  Just as we were ready to get things started our scouts reported a POS that was almost out of reinforcement which just happened to belong to the targets in system.  This thickened the plot faster than a Danielle Steele novel and we promptly moved the bulk of our forces to a neighboring system.

The move paid off as a T2/T3 fleet with half a dozen logi's in tow showed up at the gate we were just orbiting.  The opposing fleet was sized up and it was assessed to severely overpower our forces.  However since the POS was a factor we stuck around and let our scouts see what they could find.  Lo and behold another fleet was assembling on a different gate.  Com's were established and we were invited to tag along and add to the carnage.

Our plan was to get into a fight and hopefully have some fun culling people from the blob.  Fleets were adjusted, voice com's were changed, new FC gave new orders, havoc was cried and the dogs set loose.

We jumped into the T2/T3 fleet and began to kill them quickly.  Capitals were brought in and things were going great until another cyno lit off and PL dropped a few dozen supercarriers and carriers into the mix.  We warped off, GF's were sent in local and the new FC had us all dock.  Apparently the fight wasn't over and the plot was thickened from a hearty stew consistency into something resembling brick laying mortar.

The POS was still a ripe target and we still had a significant number of forces on hand.  Once the carriers left the system our FC had us head towards the POS.  We engaged the defenders until they brought another round of caps onto the grid.  Our FC was waiting for this and called in his own group of supporting supers and caps.  The plot mortar hardened at this point and was too thick to follow.

The help was red to our original fleet and a good chunk of the new fleet as well.  The FC was desperately trying to keep people on the correct target and the help was hindering the process by shooting our forces as well.  No one panicked though and eventually the POS defenders were whittled down and our fleet left the area to allow the caps to mop up without worry of hitting the wrong folks.  We settled back into the station and waited for the helpful caps to leave the system.

Soon enough scouts were letting us know the POS grid was clear and we warped back into the fray.  Some enemy ships were still present but they stayed inside the shield for awhile before jumping out.  A few subcaps showed up but were killed or warped off as well.  The POS eventually dropped, champagne flowed, fireworks were displayed, kill board links were flung across the channels and GF's were broadcast one last time.

All in all we spent about 6 hours roaming and fighting, lost a handful of ships and killed a few carriers, a bunch of command ships, and a few other ships.  This was my third fight with capital ships and the first cap fight that I was on the winning side of (well, the super cap pilots are the only true winners once they hit the grid).  I had a lot of fun and gained a bit more insight into what the future holds.

Kill board link

You won't see my name on any of the kills as I was once again flying my trusty scimitar and learning the fine art of support.  I'll save that discussion for another post though.

Friday, 29 July 2011

Radio waves into the dark

  I've spent time writing, but I've yet to find a good medium with which to share my creations.  Alliance mail is bad, only Monty likes that much spam.  I have enjoyed reading others blogs though, so thought I'd fire up the ships computer and see how this works out.