Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Event - Frigfry Fridays in Amamake

Our brothers-in-yarrrrr's, Heritic Army/BANE have been organizing a monthly event in Amamake called "Frigfry Fridays". The idea is simple enough. On the first Friday of the month, bring frigates to Amamake and fight. There is a dedicated killboard and prizes to be won. Solo players, gangs, frigate blobs and even complete tossers who bring larger ships to try and get some easy kills are all welcome (well, maybe not he tossers bringing the larger ships, but we'll just gang up on them and kill them.... horribly!)

The next Frigfry Friday is this Friday, 2nd September. Join channel "Frigate Fridays" to find out what's going on.

Full details can be found on the Eve-O forum post here....


And a mention by ISC.....


Current prizes for this Forthcoming Fridays Fantastic Frigfry Friday (try saying that drunk, nearly as hard as "no, I don't want to sleep with you" or "No kebab for me, I want a low-fat Chicken salad") are.....

September Prizes:
Top Solokiller: 200 Mil ISK Faction Fit Federation Navy Comet
Top Killer (Individual): Choice of T2/Faction Fit Assault Frigate
Top Killer (Corp): 100 Mil ISK Monetary Prize
Plus 100 Mil ISK of Combat Boosters provided by Uppers and Downers (join IG channel "Upchat" for all your combat booster needs)

Hope to kill see you there in a frigate!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Caught! Oh Bugger. Two Close Calls in One Night!

So it's rather late on a Sunday night and I've had a couple as no work in the morning. There are a few friendlies on and roaming about our home system. Whilst there is a fleet up, there is no real FC or organisation at that time and people are just doing their own thing. I look at the ships I have in the station and try to decide between the two possible drunk-friendly ships.

Falcon - Stay cloaked at range, uncloak and jam from 100km so plenty of time to try and find the warp out button even when my reactions are "slightly" slowed.


Drake - Because no one every primaries the Drake.

I chose the Drake and warp to an on-grid pounce at the top belt. Nobody around. So I warp to an on-grid pounce at the high-sec gate. Nobody there, all empty, oh wait! Except for that Loki 6000m from me. OH SH......!

I assume he was at the same pounce or I had been probed down there some day before and he'd bookmarked it. I'd only been sat there 20 seconds before he appeared. Unfortunately I was in a "utility" Drake, not a brick Drake. Not going to go into details on the fit but that Drake was geared up for gang assistance, not 1v1. I'm in trouble.

It's quiet on comms, but there are plenty of people there. However, I'm reluctant to ask for help as usually in Amamake a Loki or a Mrym mean one thing, they have a gang with them and they are the bait.

So I'm hitting the Loki, he's hitting me. My heavy missiles are taking his shields down a lot slower than his 425mm are taking mine down. But still no fleet. Is he REALLY solo? Looks that way.

"Hey guys. I'm tackled by a Loki at an off-gate pounce. I don't think he's got a fleet with him, if you want to risk it you can. He's going to kill me in less than a minute at this rate."

I should have thought shouldn't I? Offer a Loki kill and EVERYONE wants in.

So backup arrives swiftly. My Drake becomes useful again and thanks to some ECM drones provided by the back up, it survives!


So that was "phew that was close" moment number 1.

A little while later a Mrym is spotted sat in top belt. We know it's a trap because, 1 - it's a Mrym, and 2, it's Amarr militia lite (Caldari). Anyway, we've got a few of us so we go for a smash and grab. We warp in a gang of BC, T3 and Command Ships, wtfpwn him and get out. http://sotf.eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=10522046

Now if any of you are thinking that it was unfair to gank him like that, what do you think would have happened if the T3 or Command Ship had gone in solo? I know exactly what would have happened, as his 12 mates jumped in as he was going down.

We saw his back up and it was a bit light, mostly small ships. So, stupidly, we thought we'd ship up to T3's and take the big gang on. We change ships into armor T3's, an armour logi and I jump into my Falcon whilst getting another vodka. I had a feeling this is not going to go well for us.

We engage in top belt, suddenly there is another spike. Local was around 20 when we engaged the Mrym originally. It went up to over 30 when they sprang the fail trap, now it's over 50. I've got my nose pressed up against the screen trying to see what to jam when suddenly I'm being targeted. Not good in a Falcon with no tank. So I hit a celestial and go for warp. It's Millenium Falcon time as the warp drive fails to do anything. I go back to pressing my nose against the monitor. Tackled! 1, 2, 3.... oh 4 ships have me! I quickly unlock my previous targets and spam lock on the top 6 on my overview sorted by range. Shields nearly gone. As I lock the small ships I hit the jams. I'm not even looking at the ship types. That's a blue one! That's a red one! As I get the last one jammed I'm into armor and just manage to warp off.

However I then realize I'm in a Falcon with no shields, 2/3rds armour and warping to a station, which has big guns, whilst GCC. I cloak up to give myself some time, select a planet, land and hit warp. The guns get one volley on me as I warp off. As soon as I get to the planet I bounce back to the top belt, but we only have one guy left and the overview is a mass of red. Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Eve Blog Banter - Quick Matches

Seismic Stan over at Freebooted is trying to get the blog banter up and running again with this topic.

Kirith Kodachi recently discussed the idea of what a World of Tanks style quick-match element would bring to EVE Online. Would the opportunity for a quick combat interest you? How could it be implemented? Could it be done without having a negative impact on existing gameplay elements? Or does such a concept have no place in EVE?

My first reaction is NOOOOOOOOO! If you want PvP come to Anamake! 

OK, well if it did have to be implemented how would it work?

A Spaceship Simulation Within a Spaceship Simulation
Seismic Stan suggested a few things that could be implemented in Incarna establishments. Whilst I agree 110% about poledancers, I'm personally not sure about "combat simulation booths". I understand the concept of trying to get people into PvP, but a game about spaceships within a game about spaceships? 

Rixx over at Evegander suggested a Thunderdome arrangement. A 200km style POS shield where two combatants have a 1v1.  The idea is good, but I was thinking along the lines of something just slightly different.

Deadspace Arena's
My personal idea is a sort of combination of the above two and has already been suggested by Arydanika here. Basically you would go to the bar in station, put an advert up for a 1v1, when you have an opponent an acceleration gate is spawned and you both warp to it and jump in. 

Now I'm a bit stuck as what to write. When I first saw the theme I had formulated an idea of how it could work, but Arydanika has beaten me to it. Therefore, as they've got the base of the idea pretty sorted, I'll look at the things that could go with it and some of the problems CCP would have to overcome.

The Bolt-Ons
So how about the things that go along side this gladiator idea.

Enhancing Establishments - I might be a PvP'r in Eve but I really want Incarna to work. Currently I have it turned off as currently it's no more than a 3D station menu to me. But I want Eve to be a fully imersive sci-fi game. I want to be able to walk in stations, go to the bar, interact with people, see poledancers and generally feel I'm in the movie Serenity. This idea will encourage people to go down the bar rather than just person spinning in the CQ!

Spectating - Screens in the bars could show matches in progress. It could be possible to click on the screen and have control over the camera. You have option of switching "look at" from the beacon in the center of the arena or one of the combatants. Otherwise the controls would work same as in-space. It would be like the alliance tournament where you control the camera!

Gambling - You could bet on the outcome. Could this start a new Eve "career" of bookmaker. Obviously this is open to abuse and match fixing.... and that sort of meta-gaming and shenanigans is what Eve is all about! The combatants could also put up ISK. Bit like a wager match. In fact this could be a requirement. When you put up your "advert" for a 1v1 it requires a wager amount. Minimum amount 1m ISK? 5% is taken by the station as a fee (ISK sink to keep in-game inflation under control). So when you search for a 1v1 you can see   the adverts showing hull class and wager amount. "A 1v1 cruiser for a 5m wager? I'll take that!" So minus the 5% the winner would take 9.5m ISK in the purse and of course the loot from the losers wreck.

Sponsored Tournaments - Alliances could sponsor tournaments. Offering prizes to the winners. A series of 1v1's with the winner taking the purse.

The Potential Issues
There are problems with this idea of course. Firstly does it fit into the Eve Universe? I suppose it does. Basically it would be like any other spectator sport, like that popular Caldari sport of Mind Clash (or whatever its called). But there are also problems in the mechanics of getting a good fair fight. Generally in Eve it's difficult to get a fair fight, and a lot of work would be needed to make the arena's a level playing field.

Fleet Boosts - You would need to ensure that you couldn't be in a fleet inside the arena. Otherwise you could just park a mate/alt with max leadership skills in a boosting command ship/T3 and get a massive advantage. Could the deadspace arena function as a separate system in relation to fleet mechanics?

Boosters - Should boosters be allowed? For an active tanked ship they make a big difference. What if someone is popping strong pills as they undock? (Join in-game channel "upchat" if you need some boosters - they you go Spud and Wivers, free advertising, now I want my blue pills!!!)

Implants - A full hi-grade implant set would make a huge difference in a 1v1. How could this be policed? Is there anyway in-game to stop someone going through the acceleration gate with "banned" implants. I doubt it but if it was added then implants could be shown on pod kills which would be popular.

Modules - Most people who have blogged on this subject have suggested T1 modules only. However are the mechanics in game able to police this? One solution would be to have specific gladiator ships. A new ship in each class specifically built for gladiator games. I'll stop now, this would require some serious work and I don't see enough demand for this for CCP to invest that much work.

E-War - Electronic warfare could be a real issue. A kitey ship with a couple of targetting range damps and sniper fit. I once came second in a corp tournament with a fit like that. But my, it was boring to watch. ECM would be worse. One of the participants perma jammed and dying a slow death. Again, not fun to watch.

When I first saw the topic I was very much against this idea. As a low-sec pirate I like my PvP to mean something. But after reading the other posts on the subject and writing about it myself, yes, I do see there is a place for it in Eve Online. However, a lot of development work would need to go into this and I doubt we'll be seeing it any time soon. With things such as T3 frigates (that are actively called for by the player base) not scheduled until 2014, we'd have a long wait.

In the mean time come along to Amamake for all your PvP needs. If you want a 1v1 ask in local. Dishonoring a 1v1 is a bootable offence in Shadows of the Federation. Just like a Lannister always pays his debts, an SoTF'r always honors a 1v1!

Other Banter Posts on this Subject -

Kirith Kodachi @ Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, World of Tanks - Lessons to be Learned
Rixx Javix @ Eveoganda, Thunderdome!
Seismic Stan @ Freebooted, Suddenly Combat: World of Spaceships
Arydanika @ And Knowing is Half the Battle, Blog Banter: Competition Arenas
Harrigan Vonstudly @ Gun Turret Diplomacy, Blog Banter: Quick Matches. Eveharmony?
Mike Azariah @ A Missioner In Eve, Blog Banter: Pinks
Ender Black @ Pod Goo, Blog Banter: Quick Matches
Noise @ The Phoenix Diaries, Arena PvP
Rhavas @ Interstellar Privateer, NECL Season One

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mass Murder in Eve

I was enjoying the latest post on the excellent Eveogander blog by Rixx Javix this morning. His latest post is about him being labled a "Criminal". As a fellow pirate (sorry I mean scoundrel/hunter/rapscallion/adventurer) I know what he's talking about. However, this little line caught my eye....

"The poor pilot is still alive somewhere else in the universe, so he wasn't actually killed. In fact, Rixx has never actually killed anyone. Not a single living soul."

It is a little known fact but we capsuleers do have crews on our ships. I know this only as I am a sad uber Eve geek and have read most of the back-story and chronicles. So as a rapscallion (that's my favorite Rixx used as an alternative to pirate), Rixx, like myself and countless others have killed A LOT of people.

In fact there are as many as 9000 crew on a capsuleer battleship and 145,000 on a Titan. Even on a small frigate we have 5 to 8 crew. The Eve Chronicles on the main Eve Online website make references to the crews of capsuleer ships in several stories. Especially this one here where a capsuleer talks about the 6000 people that died as part of his battleship crew.

So how does that make us feel? That BS you just popped had up to 9000 "innocent" people on it. Not thought about it like that have you?

This is also highlighted in the Eve novel "The Burning Life". A capsuleer goes to a pirate outpost for a mission and pretty much blows everything up. But those structures contain people, and not just the pirates who fly shooty ships, it contains women, children, families, workers and many other people. However your average capsuleer doesn't think about this. It's a viable target and thats that!

And the final proof of ship crews existance - CCP have actually listed the crew numbers by hull type in the Eve-O wiki here wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/New_Eden_crew_guidelines.

So suddenly we're not just "killing" a lone capsuleer, which is not an issue as they'll awake in a clone in their medical station, we are killing a lot of people.

So how many people have I killed? I took the mid-point of the crew capacity from the Wiki and came up with the following numbers:-

Average Crew per Hull Class -

Frigate - 7
Destroyer - 65
Cruiser - 450
BC - 600
BS - 6500
Cap - 18000
Super Carrier - 35000

Drackarn's Kills from Battleclinic (plus my 3 super kills from this year that are not on there???) -

AF - 75
BC - 625
BS - 466
Pod* - 232
Carrier - 13
Recons - 49
Command - 23
Cov-Ops - 10
Cruiser - 372
Destroyer - 64
Dread - 2
EAF - 6
Freighter - 1
Frigate - 167
HAC - 52
Hvy Inter - 22
Industrial** - 12
Ocra** - 1
Inty  - 47
Interdictor - 4
Logi - 32
Barge** - 3
SB - 36
T3 - 17
Super - 3
Transport** - 1

*I've not counted pods as they have a crew of 1 who is cloned upon death.
**Industrials and the like I've used a similar sized ship hull.

So if I add that up by multiplying the hull type with the estimated crews, how many people have I killed in my Eve Online career? This is just from capsuleer kills in FW or pirating, not from my previous life as a missioning carebear.

It's a big number....

It's a VERY big number.....


Wow! Four million! I really feel bad now :( No wonder CONCORD wants to spank me!

Kind of wish I hadn't wrote this now!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What is a blob?

On Monday night we were accused of "blobbing" by the Amarr militia...

"nah its just funny you need to blob and jam as well"

Really? From the Amarr militia? The militia I won't personally engage solo or small gang as I have yet to find one of them without a fleet to back them up.... ever! I'm not saying the other militias/corps/alliances don't blob, but the Amarrian's are the masters of it. We've been thinking about getting Steve McQueen in to deal with them!

I personally never really have go in local at any fleet who blobs me, well maybe a bit of tongue in cheek "GG" rather than a "GF" for a Good Gank. Why? Because we all blob! That day I myself blobbed and I was blobbed myself. It's always a bit blobby in Amamake! You could say Eve is blobby full stop.

So how do you define what is a blob? Generally, it appears to be who won! If you are on your own, 4 people could be a blob. If you are in a fleet of 10, does 20 count as a blob against you?

We camped a gate and several people jumped into us including a Nighthawk, which was rather nice of him. I would say he got blobbed, 12 on 1 is petty much getting blobbed by my reckoning.

Earlier that day I got tackled in the top belt by a lone BC and suddenly his mates jumped into system and warped on top of me. 6 BC on 1 BC could also be seen as blobbing.

That night we found a Mrym in top belt. Obvious bait is obvious..... especially when it's an Amarr Miliia Mrym. Rather than all piling on top of it, we went smart (after getting blobbed in a very similar style earlier). We used fast, kitey frigates for tackle and sniper BC for DPS. The Mrym pilots grand plan was in tatters. He couldn't tackle and hold any of the frigates and there was no point in his mates springing the trap as they'd not catch the sniper boats which were out at range. As he was going down, his mates decided to jump in anyway after realising we were not going to jump BC's right on top of him. However they were too late. We took down the Mrym and warped off as his backup arrived. He then started moaning in local about us blobbing him. I wonder if one of us warped to him at zero in a BC whether he'd have taken it as a 1v1, or would have called his mates in when he got the tackle in? So when a blob-trap fails and the blobber becomes the blobbee you can moan that you got blobbed?????

Come on guys HTFU!

Blobbing is part of the game. It's part of real life! Do army commanders reduce the number of troops in an assualt as they don't want to be accused of blobbing? Of course not. Is there such a thing as overkill in warfare?

If you want 1v1 ask in local. You might find someone willing, but by no means does eHonour mean he won't blob you.

But whatever you do, don't sit in the top belt in a tanky BC and then moan you got blobbed just because your own blob, which was waiting in the next system to blob whatever engaged you, didn't arrive in time to save your ass.

I'm getting sick of the word "blob" after writing this!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Zakree Part II - The Gamble

Below is some more geeky fan-fiction. I originally wrote this to accompany this post about custom ship crews in Eve. However I thought it need a bit more background about why he was so desperate to get out of capsuleer crewing. So I wrote an introduction to the main character for that post instead. The piece below follows on from that previous blog post.


"How did it come to this?" Zakree wondered. His head held facedown in his hands, his elbows resting on the table.

He felt Samara's warm hands on his shoulders. She gently squeezed in support.

Zak raised his head and looked across the table. Marcus, his XO, sat there arms folded, staring at him emotionless. His girlfriend, Zak could only assume she was his girlfriend, the black-haired sultry beauty, was all over him like a rash. Probably whispering in his ear what she was going to do to him tonight after he won. Most likely to ensure she got a better present from his winnings, she looked the type.

Between the two men lay 6 playing cards, 3 each, all face down. In between the cards was a pile of money the likes of which Zak had never seen before. The pile was over several years worth of salary to him. As well as the cash there was a necklace and a encrypted passcard for a starship. The passcard would give Zak his dream. However, the necklace was the most precious thing to him on the table even though it had by far the least monetary value on the table.

The series of events that had led up to this moment had all started a few hours ago whilst he was on-shift in the Hurricane class battlecruiser on which he lived and worked.......

"Now hear this! This is the Executive Officer" The crew in the engineering bay all groaned out loud as his voice came over the ship-wide comms channel. In every other starship in the galaxy, the 2nd in command was known as the XO, however their XO, Marcus, always insisted on the full title of Executive Officer being used.

"Our captain is not planning to take this vessel out again over the next few days so has asked me to inform you that you may consider yourselves on station-leave this weekend"

A cheer went up throughout the ship.

"Additionally he has authorised me..." everyone noted how the XO emphasised the 'me' bit ".... to deposit your quarterly wages a few days early so you may enjoy this weekend even more" an even bigger cheer went up.

Zak smiled. As Senior Mechanic, even when the ship was in station he usually had work to do. A weekends leave, and being paid early was great news. He could spend all weekend with his girlfriend, Samara, and he could treat her to something nice too. He had been with Samara for almost a year and it was going very well. However, a capsuleers ship in low-sec was no place for a couple. Samara had said she wanted to take their relationship to the next level, but not whilst he was serving on a capsuleers crew. He understood. Capsuleers were the immortals. They generally didn't care too much about a persons life, their own included. Death in space was a mere inconvenience to the them. Mortality rates on capsuleer ships were high. Even with the escape pods on modern ships, Zak himself had lost many good friends and had almost died twice. He glanced over to the power relay board. It was at that panel on another Hurricane class battlecruiser last month he had seen his friend Kathreen killed. A power conduit had blown out and skewered her. He had seen the life drain from her young eyes. He too had nearly died that day. He had only just managed to reach an escape pod in time. Whilst he was awaiting rescue the captain had flown back to station in his pod and simply bought a new ship. The hundreds that had died that day probably didn't even register with him.

The problem was there was limited opportunities for him outside the well paying capsuleer ship crews. Normal captains, who weren't cloned at death like capsuleers, were a bit more careful with their ships. So an excellent mechanic was not really needed as long as you had a good or average one, and they were cheap and plentiful.

"And finally" The XO continued "I'll be in the crew bar on deck 92 myself tonight. If anyone fancies a few hands of cards I'll be up for it."

Marcus' card games were legendary. After a few drinks the crew were soon keen to gamble their recently received their full three months of salary away. Living costs on a battlecruiser were zero. You had your shared cabin, you were fed, clothed and on this ship there was even a modest drink allowance. You didn't really need to spend anything to survive. Marcus was a shark. Not only was he paid 10 fold compared to the rest of the crew, he would happily bleed them dry at the card table. He had no mercy, no morals, no empathy for his fellow man. In fact he was more like a capsuleer than anyone dared to point out to him.

As soon as the ship was docked and powered down, Zak grabbed his bag and headed to the station transit system. Half an hour later he was pressing the call button at Samara's quarters. She opened the door and smiled, pulling him in close to her and kissing him deeply. Zak was taken by surprise by this. She pulled him into her quarters, the door slid shut. She span him round and pushed him hard. He staggered backwards and fell on the bed. "What's gotten into her?" Zak thought "This is not like her!". Samara smiled and undid the belt on her robe. She dropped her shoulders and the robe fell to the floor. She walked towards Zak with a smile on her face.

An hour later Zak walked out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around him, still wet from the shower. Samara was still in bed where he'd left her but he could hear quiet sobs coming from her. He slid onto the bed behind her.

"What is it?" he asked.
She sniffled "I cannot do this anymore. I thought I could, I thought if I really tried.... but I can't. Earlier today in the office we could see two ships engaging off the station from our viewport. One was a Hurricane, I... well.... it could have been yours. Two bigger ships undocked and tore it to pieces. I saw it break up. The bodies....." she broke down in tears.
"I'm trying to get out. It's not easy. You cannot support us both on your salary. I cannot find work other than on the pod ships."
"I know, but I cannot go on like this. Never knowing if you'll be back. I just can't"
Zak looked up at the clock. There was still time. He got up and started dressing.
"Where are you going?" Samara asked as she propped herself up in bed, pulling the sheet up around her. She wiped her moist eyes.
"I'm going to make a break for freedom." Zak said as he walked out of her quarters.

The bar was packed but Zak could see Marcus at his usual table. The bouncers were in the process of dragging a clearly furious, and very drunk, crew member away from the table and out of the bar. It was impossible to see how many peoples quarterly pay Marcus had already taken, but looking at the pile of money on the table, it was many.

Zak went up to the table and took the now empty seat. Marcus smiled... "Ah, yes.... erm...."
"Ah yes of course Zak. How are you"
"Fine, lets play"
"I like a man who gets to the point. As you can see I'm having a good night. How much we playing for?" Marcus was so smug any normal person would just want to punch him in the nose after spending 10 seconds in his company.

Zak pulled out a bag and emptied it on the table "100,000".
There was a gasp from the people surrounding the table. Zak had been to the bank on his way down and withdrawn his life savings. He'd been saving hard to buy a frigate. With his skills he knew he could easily make a living from salvaging. Unfortunately, the 100k was not Interstellar Kredits. It was the local currency used by non-capsuleers. And even 100k which was a lot to a normal person, was nowhere near enough to buy a frigate which were traded in ISK. Zak had now realised by the time he had enough saved, he'd be dead. Also he knew he was losing Samara. So this was his plan. Win big, buy his frigate and marry Samara. Or lose everything, his savings, his dream, his girl, and be bound to that godforsaken battlecruiser for life, which was not likely to be that long serving on a capsuleer ship.

"Wow... erm... Zak wasn't it? Where did you get all that?" Marcus eyed the money greedily.

"Savings. Are we going to play or are we going to discuss the virtues of compound interest in the banking services?" Zak was nervous, but he needed to show he was strong.

"I've no problem with that!" Marcus beckoned over a woman. She was stunning. Hourglass figure in a tight red silk dress. Her long jet-black hair bounced gently as she walked. "Honey, could you get me a drink. I think we'll be celebrating later." The woman looked at the money on the table and smiled. She walked over to the bar without saying a word.

The first hand went badly for Zak. But he didn't let it show. The volume of money on the table had attracted quite an audience. They were all stood slightly back, except Marcus' girl who was now stood behind him. Touching his shoulders and occasionally whispering in his ear.

Over the next few hands Zak lost more, but towards the end he started to win some back. He jumped as a pair of hands were placed on his shoulders. He looked up to see Samara behind him.

"What the frack are you doing?" She asked, despite the words, neither her voice or expression carried any real emotion.

"Risking it all. Either I win tonight and I quit pod-crews and we live happily-ever-after. Or I lose. And I lose everything." he whispered at her. She smiled back at him and nodded.

Zak's run of luck had started to irritate Marcus. He was getting angry with himself. The more worked up Marcus became, the more Zak started winning. Within half an hour Zak was up. Still nowhere near what he needed, but he was up. The next few hands were massive wins for him. Before long his pile of cash was bigger than Marcus' who was now looking decidedly uncomfortable. Soon Marcus was looking downbeat and sweating. However, Zak realised it was not going to be enough. Even if he did clear Marcus out, and in one more winning hand he would, he'd not have the cash to set up on his own. His gamble had not paid off. He had won, but not by enough. After the cards were turned, with Marcus all in, Zak played another winning hand. Marcus slammed his fist down on the table as Zak pulled the pile of cash in the centre on the table towards him.

"I want to continue!" Marcus growled.
"Your running slightly low on money by the look of things" Zak observed.
"Screw money. I want another hand." And with that Marcus fished a passcard from his pocket and tossed it into the centre of the table. "The Claw"

Gasps and murmured voices rose from the spectators. Zak's jaw dropped open. Everyone on the crew knew about The Claw. It was a rather fancy name for an old Kestrel class Caldari frigate. It was nothing special and the fact this rather poor little frigate had been named "The Claw" was a constant source of amusement for the crew. Apparently Marcus won it in a card game but had never used it. He saw his position as XO on a Capsuleer piloted battlecruiser as much higher status and better paid than an independent captain of a rust-bucket frigate. However he did like owning his own starship even if it had never left the docking bay.

"I... I... I don't have anything to match that" Zak stammered. He wished he had, but he just didn't have the money to make it an equal bet.
"Yes you do. All that what you came with, and what you've won from me, plus....." Marcus shifted his gaze to Samara. Marcus' companion saw this and looked at Samara with hungry eyes. Biting her bottom lip in a an over the top statement of agreement with her man.
"Oh yes baby! Do I get to play too" Marcus girl purred seductively.
"That's a definite babes, you know how I love to watch." Marcus was clearly loving this "One night with your woman, and she has to make an effort, plus all that on the table for The Claw. One hand, three cards, simple blind draw. What do you say Zaky?"
"NO WAY! YOU ARE FU..." Zak was rising out of his chair angrily but his words were cut off by Samara squeezing his shoulder and pushing him gently back into his chair. She walked around to the middle of the table and raised her hands behind her neck. She unfastened her necklace and placed it next to the passcard for the frigate.
"That's me" she said matter-of-factly. "You win" she turned to Marcus with a neutral look "You and your whore get me for the night as a willing participant". "You win" she turned to Zak, smiling, "You get me forever". She walked back behind Zak and placed her hands on his shoulders. He slowly pushed the huge pile of money into the centre to join the passcard and the necklace, still shaking his head in disbelief. The bar had fallen silent.

As the dealer lay the cards in front of each player Zak held his head in his hands.

These six small plastic cards would decide his fate. In a matter of moments he would either have a frigate and the cash to fit it and be off to start a new life with the woman he loved. Or, he'd be penniless as his XO took all his money, his woman and his dignity. Zak felt light headed. "How did it come to this?" Zak wondered.

Zak straightened himself up. Marcus smiled, shifted his gaze to Samara, smiled, and turned the first card. A Black Raven. He turned the second card, another Black Raven. He turned his final card. A third Black Raven. There were more gasps from the spectators and Zak's heart sank. Not many hands could beat three Black Ravens.

With shaking hands Zak turned his first card. A Red Chimera. He turned the second card. A Black Nyx. His cards were technically higher, but three Black Ravens was still better and with the mix of colours in his own hand, a win for him now was unlikely. He couldn't turn the last card. His mind fast-forwarded, he saw Samara leaving with Marcus and that dark-haired whore. He saw his life savings gone. He saw himself back on that battlecruiser with no money, no way out and a smug son-of-a-bitch XO who would remind him daily in every gory detail of the night he'd spent with the woman he loved. Not that it mattered in the long run, he saw the capsuleer getting into another unwinnable fight and seeing himself tripping as he went for the escape pod and becoming a frozen corpse a few seconds later.

Zak finally turned the last card....... a Red Avatar. The bar went silent for a split second and erupted in cheers. A cap run. Carrier, super-carrier and titan. The colours meant nothing, a cap run beat the XO's hand, even with three Black Ravens. Zak had won. Marcus just sat their for a brief second before suddenly standing up. His chair went skidding across the bar, his woman had to dodge out of the way. Marcus snapped. He was screaming that Zak must have cheated and that he would flush him out of an airlock for humiliating him like that. Marcus picked up a bottle and smashed it on the edge of the table and lunged at Zak. He never got close. A blue bolt of energy hit him and he went down. Three bouncers picked up the unconscious Marcus and carried him out. The pacifier camera in the ceiling retracted it's stun gun and went back to scanning through the crowd for trouble makers. Zak turned to Samara and kissed her. He scooped up the passcard and placed the cash back in the bag he had brought in originally. He picked up the necklace and stood behind Samara and fixed it around her neck before kissing her there. He then dragged her to the bar and ordered the most expensive bottle of Amarrian wine they had.

After two hours of celebrating, Zak was still smiling when two station officials approached him.

"Zakree Audian?" one asked.
"Please accept this hanger transfer" the official handed a datapad to Zak.
"But I won a frigate tonight. Not a hanger!" Zak protested.
"Be that may. The fact is that we have been requested to set this hanger up in your name and transfer some modules across."
Zak placed his thumb on the scanner.
"OK but there is some mistake, the thumb-scan will show you've got the wrong...." The datapad bleeped in acceptance. Zak looked at the manifest and it showed he had a prepaid hanger in station which his new frigate was being moved into. Moreover, the hanger inventory showed stocked ship modules, everything he needed to fit his salvaging Kestrel.
"But.... who?" Zak asked
"Whenever you grease monkeys get really out of control, the capsuleer of the ship that you're registered on gets a message. I can only assume your XO will be working the value of those modules off for a long time!" the official smiled. "Well done son" and left.

Zak wondered, it must have been the capsuleer. But he'd never seen the guy, never-mind properly met him, he didn't even know his full name. Surely he didn't even know Zak. It didn't make sense. Also how did he know about his plan for a salvaging frigate. Did he have access to Zak's private logs? Is there nothing on those damn ships the capsuleers don't know about? He put it to the back of his mind and drained the last of the bottle into his and Samara's glass.

Zak was in wonderment how in such a short space of time his life could change so dramatically. 3 hours ago he thought he'd lost everything. Now, he was leaving the bar with his girl, a sack of cash and the passcard for his dream, his own starship. Zak was almost floating to the door with Samara by his side. As they were leaving they saw Marcus' girl sitting alone at a table near the door.

"Wait here a sec" Samara told Zak and walked over to the girl who was looking pretty unhappy. Zak couldn't actually hear what was being said but the girl suddenly had changed from looking rather down to looking rather happy. He saw her pick up her bag and walk back over with Samara.

"Zak, this is Sable. Marcus' girlfriend. I don't think you were properly introduced."
Sable gave a wry smile "Yeah, sorry about that. Marcus is always most... erm.... insistent that I behave in that way. Apparently it helps him win"
"Anyway..." Samara said "Marcus is apparently having a night in the cells tonight. And I thought it was very unfair that Sable here had been promised a night of passion and a cut of the winnings and she wasn't going to get it. So I've invited her back to ours to continue the celebrations"
Zak's jaw dropped open again.
"I've just got to get my coat" Sable said and walked over to the cloakroom.
"What? Are you serious????" Zak whispered. "Have you gone mad? You're not.... well..... you're........ you're just not!"
"Oh I'm very serious!" Samara smiled "Firstly, when you see Marcus tomorrow when you go to clear your bunk of your personal items you'll have something to talk about. Make sure you let him know exactly what we all got up to together. That will teach him for trying to win me in a bet, the bastard!" Zak couldn't believe he was hearing this "And secondly. After we're married, and it will be this week by the way, you don't ever get to touch another woman again, so you'd better make the most of tonight" Samara giggled and led Zak out of the door with Sable as she returned.

Zak simply pinched himself on the way out. No, he wasn't dreaming!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

DING! -10.0 G'aaaaarrrrrrrrrrr!

Well it's been a couple of months getting there but I'm finally at a security status of -10.0. I never knew the time it would take to get from -9 to -10.

It's a long grind. Getting onto pod kills is the key to reducing your security status. Killing a pod really hurts your sec status compared to killing a ship or just agressing someone. The recent sec status changes I've been getting are around these levels:-

Aggression: -0.7%
Ship Kill: -2.8%
Pod Kill: -18.1%

And that last bit from -9.9 to -10 took the longest. But finally I'm there. After a few kills in Amamake we moved to camp a gate. We catch a few and then a character called Zaptan Trild jumps through in a Probe. We pop him and then pod him. Feel a bit mean for killing a 1 day old character!

"This penalty was incurred for podding Zaptan Trild in Amamake" - and that took me to -10.0

A few of our kills from our Saturday Amamake hunt... 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

How to Solo a Machariel in a Dramiel

"What? Are you serious? Solo a Mach with a Dramiel! Do me a lemon!"

I'm deadly serious. And here's how to do it.

1. Become Loren Gallen, the Chuck Norris of Eve.
2. Find a Machariel and engage it.
3. Kill it whilst idly asking if anyone wants to whore onto the mail.


Yes I know it's a fail lol fit. But still, that's a classic!

I was one jump out from whoring onto that mail!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Monday Night DIAF Fleet - 15/8

So it's the third Monday night of my August FC'ing bonanza! As previously blogged I'm on reduced working hours due to the time of year and I can stay up and FC a fleet in the evening for the EU boyz even though I'm GMT+4. Gottta love these past 8am lay-ins rather than the normal 6am alarm!

Also this is the first DIAF night where the QCats and B.A.N.E. are now working with us so there could be more in fleet. I certainly hope not tbh. 6-10 I can cope with, a bigger fleet could get messy with a fail FC such as myself.

So far my DIAF nights have not lived up to their name. In the last two roams we've had only one loss and a dozen or so kills including an Apoc and a Maelstrom BS. Then again we've not actually encountered another fleet I was happy to engage (they have either been too heavy with lots of BS, to many as in double our number or been about equal but they had heavy ECM support).

So what will tonight bring for me? Only one way to find out. Get fleet formed, create advert and post in Corp, Alliance and our shared intel channel. Oh well, what's the worst that could happen.

We're forming up and I'm sat in station staring in disbelief at local.....

[ 2011.08.15 19:02:44 ] Cryloud > how more gay can sotf be ?
[ 2011.08.15 19:02:53 ] Cryloud > working together with the most noobish blobbing shit
[ 2011.08.15 19:02:56 ] Cryloud > BANE***,
[ 2011.08.15 19:02:58 ] Sir Liberty > ..|..
[ 2011.08.15 19:03:36 ] Cryloud > loren gallen fits into bane i think
[ 2011.08.15 19:03:42 ] Cryloud > hes gay aswell
[ 2011.08.15 19:03:51 ] Endureth > there's nothing wrong with being gay
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:05 ] Cryloud > your not only gay
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:07 ] Cryloud > your shit aswell
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:13 ] Endureth > =(
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:15 ] Cryloud > bane is most faggot ally ever
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:29 ] Cryloud > sotf was shit aswell for there playstyle
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:30 ] Cryloud > but NIOW
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:36 ] Cryloud > its even more shit bane + sotf
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:40 ] Johnny Punisher > :D
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:42 ] Cryloud > blobbing mass fags rofl
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:45 ] Johnny Punisher > aalriiight....
[ 2011.08.15 19:04:56 ] Cryloud > nothing can beat that
[ 2011.08.15 19:05:13 ] Cryloud > this is the most faggot bunch of guys ive ever seen
[ 2011.08.15 19:06:08 ] Cryloud > gay probes out
[ 2011.08.15 19:06:10 ] Cryloud > scanning for me
[ 2011.08.15 19:06:14 ] Cryloud > i feel important o/
[ 2011.08.15 19:07:06 ] Koratte > so much for our quiet home system, srsly
[ 2011.08.15 19:07:23 ] Sojet > wow busy around
[ 2011.08.15 19:08:09 ] Cryloud > only 4 probes = noobish
[ 2011.08.15 19:08:18 ] Cryloud > use 7 for beeing a hero

Really? Why would you act like that? Does the guy behave like that in real life? Does he walk into a bar and start spouting off like that? Amazing! Doesn't Eve bring out the worst in some people.

Anyway Mr Smack leaves system and we've got 16 in fleet. Biggest yet I've FC'd.

Wolfsbrigade have a camp outside station with carriers, BS and fast tackle. We burn through their station camp. We lose one undocking. We collect at an on-grid safe but WBR are not moving from the station and their carriers.

So we move on, as our fleet cannot take on that camp with it's carrier support.

We find a small BC, BS and T3 gang in Sahtogas but they had eyes in previous system and docked up as we entered.

There are a few people in the next few systems but cannot find anything to kill. It's very quiet again with, on average, 2 people per system.

We're not doing too bad given the lack of pew-pew, there are lots of pic-links in fleet chat, giggity, however it is getting annoying with lots of empty systems or systems with 1 person in it.

Our scout finds a couple of Thannys in Aeschee. May be doing level 5 missions! As soon as our scout drops probes they warp to the station. Bugger.

We pass through OMS and Heyd which are quiet. We find a squid BC and AF gang in Abune and we chase. Getting very blue balls now so we keep chasing them. It's a proper Benny Hill for a few systems and in the end we manage to catch a cyclone who lagged behind.


Our scout spies some pirates in Akidagi. We land at the Akidagi gate as they jump through into us. Two canes. Some nice tackling and webbing catches them both. Pop and pop!


We find another small wanna-be-pie gang. Benny Hill again after them. Really needed the theme tune on comms last night!

We've had a few more members catch up with us. Fleet of 20 and, Woo Hoo, I'm FC'ing a Blob, and that's official!" [21:09:16] Tedio > nice blob

Whilst waiting on a gate to get everyone back together a Navy Slicer jumps to us. We didn't manage to kill is but we did get some praise - [21:24:14] Vakah > Nice camp:) IM impressed you were able to hit my slicer a few times

Summer has hit us hard so far. Damn tanned people going out and enjoying the sun and not playing Eve as much. Sad people, very sad ;) But tonight we're up to 30 on Vent! Not bad for a Monday night!

With only three kills we're getting frustrated. Our scout finds a Chimera on station in Kinakka. We jump in and warp to it just to fire on it for lolz. During this a Purifier undocks and gets popped.


But it's getting epically late for me and we're 25ish jumps for home so I turn the fleet around.

It's at this point Our Great and Glorious Leader (OGAGL) Gallactica lets us know he had a dirty dream about Eelis Kiy of WTFIMS fame last night. Apparent she looked a bit like Cheryl Cole (most of us know what Eelis looks like in rl and yes, I can actually see where he's coming from there) and was showing him around the college campus where she worked and then it got dirty. But he didn't want to go further as his wife was near!?! o.0 I did ask if Rash was there (her rl other half) and he said yes he was. I don't think I want to go into any more details now!

Our scout finds and points a phoon in a plex in Abune, it's stabbed and warps off :(

I'm struggling to keep hold of our bloodthirsty fleet who want to chase. It's coming up to 2am and I have work to steer them back down the pipe.

We find a Titan in Aeschee. Might be a bit much for us.

Ten to two in the morning now. Thankfully I have a meeting in the capital which means I'll start work later, so get an extra extra lay in tomorrow.... I mean today!

Fleet chat suddenly spikes as Jude notices one of his corpies just lost a recons elsewhere. Our new blues and fleet mates have some odd lines in corp punishments....

[22:07:47] Jude Lloyd > we just lost a rapier
[22:08:21] Jude Lloyd > whats the punishment for losing a recon?
[22:08:25] Jude Lloyd > 20 lashings?
[22:08:37] Endureth > hamster in anus
[22:09:11] Endureth > he's lucky it wasn't a CS, that'd be a porcupine in anus


Our scout finds a Tempest on station in Kurnianen. Tries to bait him, he's having none of it. bah!

After that it's a clear run home. Fin!

Summary -

Kills - 4
Losses - 1
Blue-balls per fleet member - 2 (large and extra blue)
Jumps - 50+
Titans Seen - 1
Capitals Engaged - 1
Systems either empty or less than 3 in them - Loads!
Tales of erotic dreams our CEO has had involving 1 female and 1 male corp mate - 1
Smack Talking Experts Encountered - 1
"Lateness" of FC going to bed - High!

So three Monday's down, two more to go. What have I learnt so far (or at least confirmed what I knew already!).....

1. Call a target, any target.
Worst thing to do is hesitate in a fight. As soon as it kicks off pick the first high-DPS ship you see. It might not be the best call but you don't want "Erm.... right... let's primary...... erm........ that there Hurricane!". You want to be immediately identifying any DPS boat and primarying it. Whilst everyone is shooting that, then you have time to look more carefully. The secondary might actually have been the best one to primary but you don't want to loose that few seconds of DPS whilst you ummm and arrrr.

2. A good scout is worth his weight in gold.
One thing that has made my experiences so much easier is good scouting!

3. A good prober is worth his weight in diamonds.
When roaming, you get silly people doing silly things like sitting at safe spots in expensive ships. If your scout has probes then you'll get more action!

4. Obvious bait is obvious.
A lone Mrym does not make a good gate camping ship. A lone Mrym on a gate with a BC gang and a scorpion at a pounce does make a good gate camp.

5. Sometimes a Benny Hill is Worth it
They can be a pain in the ass, they usually lead to nowt but blue balls. But occasionally they pay off.

6. If someone during the fleet is going to fail jump at some point, they will do it the one time you didn't want them too.
Passing through empty systems and everyone is doing as asked "Warp to out gate and hold" or "Warp to out gate, jump on contact". Then your scout has found something, he's probing them out, you give the order "Warp to out gate and hold" and two of your fleet jump on contact and spook the prey. Oh well, Sod's Law I suppose :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pirates Reunited

It can be a hard life being an ebil piwat down in the Amamake area. First of all it's one of the most PvP active areas in galaxy. That's the no. 1 reason we moved there. But between the Blob Militia, sorry, the Amarr militia, and the Minmatar Militia, good old SoTF just hasn't had the numbers during the summer to counter their fleets. Even solo PvP in that area is difficult. Getting a solo fight isn't difficult in itself, it's keeping it solo that's the problem.

Over the weekend I'd had a roam up the pipe to Black Rise and had not been able to get a fight. I'd encountered a few people I thought could give me a gf, but they ran away. An Enyo vs a Hawk, surely that would have been a good one! I came across a few cruisers, but nope they are off too! So I head back down to Amamake area. I know I'll get a fight there..... only problem is trying to get one where there isn't eleventy-billion others joining in.

I was roaming around in my trusty Hawk when I came upon a Caldari Navy Hookbill on a gate. He was in the Minmatar Militia so it was a possibility he had back up, but I was not 100% certain as I would have been if he was Amarr. So I warped to the sun. He follows and lands 100km off me. We sit there a second, like wild west gunslingers at high-noon. Sat staring at each other, fingers twitching over our guns.

It's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. In fact I'm whistling the iconic theme. I decide to burn at him, he does the same. Suddenly we're back 300 more years in history from the Wild West to the Middle Ages.

Is he range fit?
Is he close fit?
Is he going to about turn and warp off?

Nope, it's fast forward to the time of the Matrix! Like Neo and Smith in the subway we clash at point blank range. He's scrammed me, I've scrammed him. LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

It's a close range brawl. We're both rocket fit and shields are dropping both sides. However looks like I might have the upper hand as his shields are dropping faster than mine. 

Yup, I'm at one third shield and he's into amour. Boom!

I decide to try and catch his pod but not ransom or pop it, just hold it and thank him for having the jacobs to do a 1v1 and release him (I know, it's not a very piratey thing to do) but he warps off before I lock his pod.

I know I need to move fast, he may have back up so I open his wreck which is only 800m away and just about to scoop the loot when his tardy* mates land at on me at 0. They must have already been in warp to him as he went down. Stiletto, Ruppy, Ruppy..... WARP! WARP! WARP GOD DAMN YOU!!!!

The Hawk is painfully slow in aligning and the 'ceptor gets a point on me. I go down like a sack of the proverbial!

I post "gf and good gank" in local and I pod home.

I was not too please that my high from a solo 1v1 and kill lasted approximately 5 seconds. But do I blame his mates? Of course not. We hadn't agreed a 1v1. Therefore I was fair game to his fleet mates. If it was the other way around and one of my corpies had an Assault Frigate tackled and was asking for help I'd be there PDQ. So no hard feelings about being ganked, just mad at myself as I should have known that would have happened and as soon as the Hookbill had asspolded I should have been spamming warp. Then again that faction point could have dropped and I could have scooped it and been away on another day with some nice loot. Greed killed me this time, oh and the severally volleys of medium AC fire!

Anyway, things are a changing for us. B.A.N.E. have moved back into the area and we have blues with them. Heretic Army want Amamake back from Snuffbox, and we're going to help them do it. Our old comrades-in-arms from the days of the MDP, the Quantum Cats Syndicate (QCats), have moved down with us too. We're starting to get numbers and it's still only mid-August. A few more weeks and the European weather will start to turn forcing our drunken comrades from the beer gardens and back to New Eden.

I think things are about to get interesting in the Amamake area!

*I know from the stats people from countries that do not have English as their first language visit this page. "Tardy" means late, delayed, overdue, poor time keeping etc. Thought I'd better add this here as people might think it meant something different!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Customisable Ship Crews in Eve and Zakree Part 1 - The Loss

This blog post has two parts. First my thoughts on how customisable crews could work in Eve Online. Then half way down is a little geeky (OK, may be a lot geeky) fan-fiction on the subject!

Ships in Eve do have crews. Whilst the smaller shuttles and frigates may only have the capsuleer and may be a couple of others, anything bigger has a more substantial crew. Whilst their numbers are much smaller compared to a comparable ship piloted by a non-capsuleer (ie by a captain stood at a bridge), there are still a lot of people on board that ship of yours. In fact there are around 6000 people in a normal capsuleer piloted battleship! You can find plenty of references in the Chronicles on the main Eve-O website to the crews of capsuleer vessels such as here (where I got the 6k from).

However, currently in-game we don't have anything to do with them. We assume the crew come with the ship, their pay is taken care of (some how), and when we lose the ship they all die.... horribly.... in a fire.... screaming.

Customisable spaceship crews is something that's been suggest for a long time by some players. Basically they could work like another rig slot on the ship. Your ship comes with a standard crew but you can always hire a better crew. They could make a slight increase to the power grid, may be they could make tanking or DPS better. Not a huge buff, but something small, and like rigs they are lost when your ship is destroyed. May be they could be specialised in some areas?

  • Engineering Specialist Crew - X% bonus to powergrid, max capacitor, capacitor recharge and shield recharge.
  • Gunnery Specialist Crew - Y% bonus to tracking speed, optimal range and rate of fire
  • Armour Specialist Crew - Z% bonus to armour repair amount, armour repairer capacitor use, armour resists.
Or may be we could be racial about it. Trained, Experienced and Elite Faction Crews. Each giving a slightly better bonus.

  • Elite Caldari Crew - 4% bonus to missile damage, shield HP's, shield recharge and shield boost amount.
  • Experienced Minmatar Crew - 3% bonus to ship max velocity, projectile turret damage and duct-tape (nanite paste) application.
  • Trained Amarrian Crew - 2% bonus to armour amount, energy weapon optimal range and armour repair amount.

There could even be faction Navy crews requiring loyalty points from the militia. The Gallente specialised in armour tanking and hybrid weapons, the Minmatar on ship speed and projectile weapons, the Amarr in gathering up all their mates to blob you and the Caldari specialised in fitting warp core stabs and cloaking devices to BC's and generally running away. ;)

You might need a specific skill to use the right crew "Crew Liaison" might need to be trained to 5 to use the Elite crews.

There could be crew offices in the stations, you have to go down yourself to find one of these crews (when Incarna properly deploys). You cannot sell them on, they are non-transferable. When you "buy" one you have to select the ship at that point and they are assigned to that ship and that ship alone. System generated, random availability (better chance in 0.0 NPC space of an elite crew than hi-sec) and also acts as an ISK sink to keep in-game inflation under control. You can go down to the crewing office but you have no idea what you'll find available. May be there will be an Elite crew available for the style of ship you want it for. May be there will be nothing you are interested in, you will just have to try another time. They could also be rather expensive.

There are a few ideas on how customisable ship crews could work. Or we could simply go the "Drackarn Way"...

My crew don't help the ship in any way but the Captains Quarters are THE place to be when docked up. Giggity!

I got onto this the other day, as I lost a BS. "Whoops there goes another 6000 people. Oh well at least I made it out alive!" And that got me thinking that if CCP ever did implement customisable crews to Eve, us PvP addicts would struggle to find them if it was kept realistic!

"Hi would like a job on a starship?"
"Yeah, that would be great. What do you do? Mine? Mission? Haul?"
"Erm, actually I'm into low-sec piracy. To be honest I thought the eye-patch, peg-leg and the parrot might have given it away!"
"Oh yeah, right.... and how long do your ships usually last? A year? 6 Months?....... A month?"
"Erm.... yeah sometimes... if I don't use them that much"
"OK I'll put it another way, how many of your crews have died in a fire this year so far?"
"Only about 48 or so"
"And we are only 32 weeks in to that year."
"Yes but it has been a FUN 32 weeks. OK, may be not for the crews"
"Thanks for the offer, but your crews appear to have a life expectancy of around 4 days.............."
"Yes, but, wait! There's free beer in the ship's bar! Wait! WAIT!!!! We have exotic dancers!"

So then I got thinking that actually most low and null sec PvP capsuleer crews must actually be either suicidal, mad as a badger or utterly desperate for work. Surely they are constantly looking for a way off these death-trap ships!

I ended up writing a short piece about a crewman trying his "big chance" at getting out of capsuleer crewing before he ends up a frozen corpse and losing his girlfriend who cannot stand not knowing if he'll return each time he leaves on the ship. After I wrote it I didn't think I fully expressed his real need to get out of capsuleer crewing and why. But I didn't want to add anymore to that one, so thought I'd do a preamble to flesh it out a bit. Hopefully this will help in understanding his need a bit better when I post Part 2 - The Gamble.


Zakree Part 1 - The Loss

The ship shuck violently as another salvo of missiles slammed into the shields. One of the warheads found a gap through the energy field and exploded onto the ships armour plating.

"This is not good" thought Zakree.

The Hurricane class battlecruiser was caught by two Drake class battlecruisers. They had them webbed and scammed. They weren't getting away.

A rumble resonated through the ship as the 720mm Howitzer artillery fired into one of the Drakes. It's shields we're nearly gone, but the other Drake was practically unscathed. The Hurricane shields were well below peak recharge and the low shield warning alarm had already gone off.

"Divert more power to the shield resistance modules and the binders" yelled Zakree.

Technician 2nd Class Kathreen went to work on the power distribution board. They were the last two in engineering. The others had moved to gunnery where the capsuleer had been overheating the guns for some time or had evacuated due to smoke or from injuries caused by the frequent explosions.

"I'm giving it all she's got" screamed Kathreen over the alarms and the crackle of the sparking power conduits. The 21-year old looked panicky.

Zakree looked at the engineering read outs. The other Drake might go down, but unless backup arrived sharpish, their ship was doomed. Engineering was already in bad shape. Smoke, small fires and showers of sparks erupted all around them. He needed to calm the inexperienced girl down, she was his only assistance down there now.

"Keep it up. Help is on the way" Zakree lied. He had no idea if help was coming or not. The capsuleer, floating in his Hydrostatic pod in the centre of the ship was the only one who knew. All Zakree knew was that unless it was here in 30 seconds there would be no point in them coming at all.

The engineering section was racked with a series of small explosions. The last volley of missiles had taken the shields down and now was hitting armour. Power conduits along the walls blew out as the shields gave way.

"See if you can divert auxiliary power from the warp drive to the shield extenders" Zakree shouted.


Zakree turned round and saw Kathreen turn slowly away from the power distribution board towards him. Her face was white. She tried to speak but only foaming blood past her lips. Zakree saw a conduit section that had blown out from the wall. It had pierced her through the midrift. She held the jagged, bloodied metal pipe protruding from her stomach with both hands. She tried to speak again before falling to the ground.

Zakree didn't think about it. He ran to the control board and tried to divert the power. As he engaged the switches the console sparked, burning his hand. He returned to the engineering station stepping over Kathreen's body. Zakree didn't know if she was still alive, but it didn't matter. They were all likely to be dead within seconds and there was nothing he could do for her. The time to grieve would be later, if any of them survived.

He saw one of the Drakes had been destroyed. The smoldering wreck span slowly off the port bow. The second Drake had taken some shield damage but the Hurricanes armour was about to fail. Help had not arrived.

Zakree glanced at the escape pod hatches. The red light indicated that the damn capsuleer had not activated them. They never did until the last possible moment. Until they were sure the ship was utterly lost. You didn't want your crew abandoning ship every time you got fired on was the reasoning behind it. Zak knew the ship was lost, surely the capsuleer knew that too. Why didn't he let the crew abandon ship now whilst they still had time.

A strike from another salvo of missiles set off the low armour warning. The Damage Control system was still online so the structure would hold, but two more volleys like that and they were all dead. The ship was already dying. Zakree could feel he was lighter, the artificial gravity on the ship was failing.

He glanced over at Kathreen. She lay on the floor surrounded by a pool of blood. Zakree knew she was dead, and he was actually glad for her. Contrary to popular belief, death in the hard vacuum of space was not instantaneous. You survived for a good few seconds as your outer flesh froze but the decreased pressure made your blood boil. It was not a pleasant death freezing on the outside and boiling to death on the inside as your lungs and eyeballs exploded.

Another salvo stuck. Warning sirens went off as the structure of the ship began to fail. Zakree saw the red light turn green. The escape pods were active. He dashed to one of the small hatches and hit the button. The hatch opened and using the grab bar Zakree slung his body through the small opening. As his feet hit the bottom of the torpedo style capsule the hatch automatically closed and the escape pod launched.

As the pod exited the ship Zakree realised he was out on the port side with the Drake. He could see the heavy assault missiles from it streaking towards the Hurricane. He looked through the narrow back viewport in the hatch as the missiles passed him either side. As the missiles detonated on their target, the hurricane erupted in flames and explosions.

As the ship broke apart, within the smoldering wreckage he saw it. The olive-green coloured pod. Compared to other ship construction it looked so alien with it's bulbous curves and not a straight line in sight. Inside was the captain, a capsuleer, probably willing his pod to escape right now. The pod aligned out and slipped into warp. The Drake closing in on the burning wreck to loot what it could.

Zakree's escape pod was too small to be seen by the Drake. But it didn't matter. The capsuleer on board that ship had no interest in him whatsoever. He was insignificant and not even worth considering. The readout in his escape capsule was showing a total of 155 beacons from crew-pods in the area. Some of them were probably from the Drake they downed. Probably no more than 70-80 of the Hurricanes crew had made it.

The small screen inside the escape capsule bleeped as an incoming message arrived. A standard message from the Sisters of Eve to say they had detected his escape pod's beacon and a rescue ship would be arriving within 4 hours. Unlike the much larger capsuleer pod, these escape pods didn't have warp drives or engines. Just some basic maneuvering thrusters that would keep the pod out of harms way until a rescue ship arrived.

Zakree leaned his head back and closed his eyes. He now had time to grieve for his dead crew-mates.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday Night DIAF Fleet - 8/8

Anyone who has read this blog previously will know, one, that I hate FC'ing and two, its summer so most of the Shadows of the Federation are out sitting in beer gardens, laying on beaches and not generally playing Eve Online as much. Therefore I have to FC. Well technically I don't have to, but we're short on FC's and organised and planned fleets are in short supply. Roll on September when people return to Eve!

So it's my 2nd Monday Night "Die in a Fire" fleet and we form up in our home system.

We have seven in fleet and the drink is flowing (for the FC anyway, not feeling too well as I type this the morning after), so we undock to see what the composition looks like. All BC's and looking good! A Crow undocks a few seconds after us. I don't know if he didn't have an insta-undock or was just trying to be cocky as we didn't have any fast tackle. For whatever reason he tried to burn off. He didn't get very far....


So we drop GCC and head off. Our scout is bouncing around Sahtogas which has a few people in it. Whilst waiting on the Sahtogas gate a Manticore jumps in. We'll never catch a Manticore with BC's will we? Yes, yes we will.


Well we'll never pod him without fast tackle will we? And podded.

I saw a Cyno up so went to investigate. As I'm in warp the cyno drops. Bugger! It is also at that point I start REALLY hoping the cyno is at station and not at a deathstar POS. May be I should have thought about that before warping in! I land and I see a Heron and Merlin on station (phew). I'm a bit far out (didn't think it was a great idea to warp to 0 on a cyno) so burn towards them. Merlin warps off, Heron sat there.... 40km, 30km 20km, FIRE! Instapop!


Just as that happens a Maelstrom battleship lands on the guys left in the previous system. He jumps in and we all warp to gate. A Drake follows quickly the Maelstrom. We point the Maelstrom and he aggress'. Drake decloaks and one of the guys gets a point (but he'll burn back to gate surely whilst we are concentrating on that battleship?). Maelstrom is active tanked and he kills one of our Hurricanes piloted by Jared. But he dies before anyone else goes down.


Now onto that Drake.... he's not burning back to gate! He's not trying to make range so he can warp off either. He appears to be flying parallel to the gate and not doing anything? Interesting tactic, confuse the pirates? It didn't work....


Took down the Drake's Pod too. Ahhhhh noob missioner!

Oh well, 5:1 on kills so far plus a couple of pods. ISK wise it's even better with that 158m Maelstrom.

We jump into Mormelot as local spikes. So we burn back to gate just in case. A few seconds later a BS blob with command ship and two logistics land on us. I calmly give the order to "RUN!!!!!!!! FLEE FOR YOUR LIVES!!!! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAYYYYYY!". We scatter (mix of jumping back through the gate and warping off. They sit on the gate for a minute and as soon as they confirm we're not lemmings they move on. I assume with that fleet composition they were off to bash a POS or for a fight with another BS blob rather than gate camping.

We get out to Black Rise and it's quiet, and getting late. So we swing 180 and start heading home.

A Horder jumps into us on Schoorasana. Same corp as that missioning Drake we killed earlier.


And that was pretty much it, most systems were deserted on the return leg and we had a pretty clear run to Kamela.

Another sucessful roam. About two and a half hours, only one loss (a Hurricane) and a few kills including a tier 3 battleship. Yup, I'm happy with that.

So in summary:-

Kills - 6
...of which were top tier BS - 1
...of which were "WTF is that noob doing?" - 1
...of which were "We really shouldn't have been able to catch him"  - 2
Pod kills - 2
Posts in fleet chat of "Red Shirts Demotivational" - 6ish
Number of those that made you go "Giggity" - 2 (or at least I really hope only 2. Otherwise you have a sick fetish!)
Number of Jumps - 45ish
Number of times the "Brave Sir Robin Manoeuvre" was used - 1
Blobs seen - 1
Empty systems passed through - Far too many :(
Sober FC's - 0
Number of Gallactica's in fleet - 0
Number of Lexx's in fleet even though Monday night was chosen as that was his "Eve-O Night" - 0

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Boosters Part 2 - An Interview with Uppers N Downers

I personally do use the odd combat booster during combat in Eve Online. For those of you who don't know, boosters are consumables that improve your ability to pilot your spaceship and it's systems. For example I use blue pills which gives an additional extra to shield boost amount for 30 minutes. The Synth variety give a 3% bonus. There are stronger varieties giving a better boost but these come with the potential for a side-effect, a chance of a negative buff on your ship or your ability to use its systems. There are skills you can train to negate these side-effects or reduce their severity such as "neurotoxin recovery" and "nanite control". The stronger varieties are also illegal in high-sec and if caught by the NPC customs officials that you see orbiting stargates you'll get them confiscated, fined and you'll take a standings hit too you naughty smuggler you! They cannot be included in contracts as they are contraband so the only way to buy/sell them is on the market (for the time being, more on that soon) or by direct trade in station.

The last CSM minutes gave some hints to some interesting possible changes to boosters in up coming expansions/patches. In fact there appears to be the possibility of new Eve Online "careers" of DEA style officers and contraband smugglers.

To be honest, I'm not much up on the booster scene. I just pay and pop, but I thought this was a hell of an intersting topic especially with the proposed changes. So I thought I'd ask some "proffesionals" to give us the low down on the shady underworld of combat booster production. So I head down the bar and see a shady person sitting in a dark corner......

Hi Wivers. Can you give us a quick introduction to your character history.

I have been playing Eve for just over 2 years, I got talked into it by a real life mate. I kind have learnt eve backwards, I spent my first few months living in a class 5 worm hole (in my mates corp) which was interesting to say the least.  I then tried alliance life in 0.0 both player owned and NPC, I am now living in low sec, in a corp with a few of the guys I started my Eve life with.

How did you get into booster production?

Through a character called Xenos Giger, he was the CEO of my first corp in WH space, even though we were focused on T3 production, he had been going on about making boosters. To cut a long story short, after about 18 months (not all of it solely dedicated to research) he had finally worked out what was needed to do it and bought all of the equipment and resources he set up a POS  and started making synth boosters, and it expanded from there.

How did Uppers and Downers start?

Basically a few of the guys from mine and Xen's corp/alliance that had been involved in the booster production decided we wanted to set up on our own, as all the booster production equipment and resources had all been funded by Xeno's personal wallet.  After a couple of months from the idea first being discussed we decided that, it was time to go off on our own and Uppers N Downers was born.

What's the most popular booster you sell?

For synth's X-Instinct is the most popular, for the stronger types blue pills and exile are the most frequently requested.

The Synths are weak but have no side effects, do you do a good trade in the more potent varieties or is demand mostly for the synths?

The main bulk of our business is the sale of synth's as they are easier to trade in.  The stronger types are becoming more popular and when we first started up we mainly did the stronger varieties too order.  However now we are starting to build up stock levels of all types of booster, to improve customer service :)

What's the biggest ball-ache with booster production?

Well there is one source of a big ball ache, and that is the Myko and Cyto gas which is somewhat essential for boosters.  The first being that the various types of gases all naturally occur in certain areas, which means getting gas hauled from where it naturally occurs to where we produce the boosters.  Sourcing the gas and transporting the gas to where it needs to be can be a bit of a nightmare.

Nope, not a lot of that stuff out here either!

Is there a booster not available that you'd like to see implemented in-game? One that's been suggested for a long time is a booster with a longer duration that buffs attributes and therefore improves skill learning times.

Maybe a booster that improves scanning would be good but other than that I can't think of one, however, should newer boosters be introduced we will be adding them to our range of products.  As for the booster for skill attributes, I am not sure how viable that would be, as the manufacturing process would mean that ccp would have to introduce a new type of naturally occurring gas, or use a combination of existing gases to make the final product.  but I am sure if they were brought out people would be more than happy to use them.  But whether they could be made so that they have a duration that lasts long enough to actually make a real difference to training times is questionable.  I would say they longest time period a booster could last is 12 hours.

One idea I had is for invention in boosters. Mix and matching recipe's so a unique booster is produced. For example a Blue X-Synth Pill? May be even 3 or 4 effects? The actual strength is also randomised with regard to the skills of the player creating the booster, the ingredients etc. A lucky strike could produce a booster that everyone wanted but there was only that one run of it.

Invention for boosters would good if it meant it was easier to make more exotic boosters.  I am not sure the randomising the strength of the booster based on skills would be beneficial.  People like to know what they are getting and I am sure they would be reluctant to spend money on a booster that doesn't give them the required kick.

The last Council of Stella Management (CSM) meeting minutes hinted at some very interesting changes to booster supply. Firstly that NPC Customs Officials may become a thing of the past and players may be tasked with scanning down and intercepting smugglers in hi-sec. However the CSM pointed out the bribery and corruption must be allowed! What's your view on all that?

Well anything that makes it easier to transport the products is good for us.  Personally I think it would be a good change.

Do you think this major change will effect supply/demand for boosters or even the price?

I can't see the changes you mentioned in your previous question effecting the supply and demand for the boosters or even the price.  The fluctuating costs of the resources needed [gases] will effect the price more.  The ability to obtain the the natural gas affects supply and costs more than anything.

Would you like to see specific smuggler ship mods? Rather than an expanded cargo hold module, you could fit a smuggler hold in a low slot. It would have a specific cargo capacity which reduces the other players chance of successfully scanning the boosters in it? Or maybe even a specific smuggler ship? There has been talk of changes to the pirate faction frigs such as the Dramiel (nerf, nerf, nerf it well!). Should they have bonus' for smuggling?

While smuggler mods would be cool, and would be help in certain situations, I don't think they are really needed.  As long as you can fly a cloaky hauler and are quick to activate the cloak its all good.  I dedicated gas harvesting ship would be more welcome than a smuggler ship or smuggler mods.

Players may need to become more creative to smuggle boosters in the future

The other big change that's been rumoured is that boosters will be taken off the market and direct trades stopped (they are already banned under contracts as illegal). The only way to trade boosters will be in Incarna in station bars face-to-face. May be a "market" behind the bar in pirate stations like a vending machine. What are your views on this? Will this make it easier or harder to get boosters.

I like this idea, as I like the idea of being sat in a bar all day selling boosters.  I don't see it making it any harder to get hold of your fix as for the harder stuff is done via player trading anyway all it means is that its done in a bar rather than through the trade window.  If they were to take synths off the market though that would have a negative impact on sales.

As a booster trader, you're likely to spending a lot of time in the bars when Incara finally deploys fully. How would you like the bars to look? Is there any particular sci-fi movie bars you would like CCP to looking at for inspiration? Should they be vastly different depending on faction?

I'd like to see something Bladerunner-esque and I do think there needs to be a difference in style between the races, but it would be good for there to be differences between the factions. CCP has a wealth of sc-fi movies to choose from and take elements from a whole collection of them.

The bar in Serenity would look right at home in Eve, especially in Minmatar space!

What changes would you like to see in the booster mechanics side of the game?

To be perfectly honest I don't think mechanics need changing.  It seems to work the way it is!!

Thanks for your time and on a personal note I'll be in touch soon for some more blue pills.

For everyone else join channel "Upchat" to speak to a dealer!