Monday, April 30, 2012

Can I Haz Your Moon?

As well as us Gallente Militia fighting the Caldari Militia and the odd pirate corp y'aaaarrring through space, down here in the low-security Black Rise Region, there are also a few very high-value moons. We faction war players and the pirates tend to leave them alone. These are owned and run by the big alliance boys, Raiden, PL, Evoke etc.

Anyway some changing of hands is going on, rumour has it, from the problems that Raiden have been having lately. Or not having if you listen to them. Or big problems if you listen to their rivals. Whatever!

Whatever the case, a corp friendly to us jumped in and stuck their own POS up in a gap in the fighting over these moons in our home system. When I heard this Iol'd a bit. Ballsy idea guys, but seriously, how long do you think that will last? You just stuck a POS in a position that every large alliance wants.
Sure enough, an Evoke fleet turned up to reinforce the POS pretty much as soon as it was up. It was coming out of reinforced during the night for most of us but I didn't need to stay up to know what would happen. Like I said, a ballsy move, but a 100-man faction war corp ain't going to stand up to one of the major alliances when it comes to moon mining.

As expected, when I woke up the POS had been destroyed. Pandemic Legion had dropped six Titans (3 Avatars and 3 Bus') as well as a load of Nyx for good measure. However, things are not that simple, and the story I was told gave me a bit of a laugh.....
So as the POS comes out of reinforced mode a PL sub-cap fleet turn up consisting of a lot of Rokh's. A couple of carriers then join them. Our guys know PL supers will soon blot out the sun so jump into tier 3 BC's and try to pop some PL BS from range. For some strange reason, PL just happen to know we have plenty of dreadnought pilots, so maybe they are trying to bait us into dropping them and are holding their supers back in case we do. Well we also know Pandemic "ZOMG SUPERS!" Legion, so we don't! The Rokhs are sniper railgun fitted so the initial engagement doesn't go too well, sniper BC vs sniper BS. So we reship to battleships ourselves and take them on again.

The engagement goes rather well after that. In fact in the end, nearly 10bn ISK was inflicted in damage before PL cyno'd in the 6 titans and 14 super carriers (presumably when they saw we'd heavily damaged their BS fleet and taken down two of their carriers and therefore weren't going to drop any dreads). Apparently we bailed at this point, understandably. The POS obviously died to PL's supers and we suffered just under 2bn ISK in loses throughout the engagement. So the ISK war went to us then to a tune of nearly 8 billion ISK. But PL destroyed the target - the POS.

So why do I think this was a great laugh? Especially when it looks to be a simple fight and I wasn't even there. Well what happens next defies belief.

PL drop their own tower at the moon, presumably to secure it to start moon mining operations. They then promptly bugger off, leaving the tower pretty much defenceless. Our guys, who have enjoy shooting PL stuff purely for "shits and giggles" in the past, decide wouldn't it be funny to reinforce their shiny new tower within minutes of them putting it up? So they go back and start shooting the tower. PL don't come back, probably cannot be bothered coming all the way back and think that they'll sort it out when it comes out of reinforced. So we kick down the towers shields for a laugh, and stop laughing when the tower starts taking armour damage.

Pro Tip for all people running POS'.....


And then the icing on the cake? We steal all the POS mods that were still anchoring.

P.S. I wasn't there, so this report is made up from several, probably very biased, people who were there.
P.P.S. I used the term "we" as it's less to write than "a combined force of Gallente Militia pilots from various corps and alliances"

P.P.P.S WTF? Those cheeky Militia boys put up their own POS again?????

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Jita Ripper - Part 2 - The Cover-up

Marcus checked the factory control panel. Everything was ready. He saw Gren checking the lines below. A few more minutes and it would be over.

He let his mind drift back to the weekend. It was going fine, just like it had a dozen times before. He had found a case of expensive looking antique Minmatar ceremonial daggers. He was just looking at one when he heard a noise behind him. She'd woken up. Even with enough drugs to fell a Brutor Commando she'd come round. She had charged at him like a mad woman. She ran into him and the knife he was holding had slid into her. She'd backed off and fallen over. He'd assumed dead.

The smelter indicated that it was up to temperature, the tritanium was now molten.

He had stood over her body. He'd never seen a dead body before. She still looked beautiful, naked and with a knife sticking from her abdomen. He'd gone back to looting the room, surprised how little the event had unsettled him. After about twenty minutes she had come round. She hadn't died, but she was badly hurt. She started pleading for him to save her, that she'd not tell the police, she'd not rat him out just as long as she got medical attention. He'd gone over and knelt by her. She was in pain, she was in terror, and it had excited him. When he pulled the knife out and she'd screamed and he felt something inside him spark. When he raised the knife to finish her she'd put her hand up to protect herself. As the knife plunged through her hand and she screamed again, that spark turned to a rush, a feeling that had spread over him. He had then taken his time, he'd never felt more alive.

"Check! Check! Is the smelter offline?" Gren's voice broke Marcus' concentration.

"Yeah, all safe. Get your ass in there."

Marcus watched Gren enter the mould on the factory floor. The forge-line start-up scan had reported a foreign object in the mould and it would have to be removed before the line could start. Gren had gone down to the floor to check. Marcus hit the dump command and several tons of molten refined veldspar fell into the mould below.

Marcus was slightly disappointed as he never heard anything from Gren, just the hiss of the hot metal. The only person who knew about his activities impersonating a capsuleer on the station in orbit above had just been vaporised.


One week later.

Inspector Avi entered Chief Inspector Chan's Office.

"Avi, what have you found?"

"Well sir, he struck again this weekend. A 24 year-old Caldari woman. He's..... well sir, he's evolving."

"Go on."

"The initial MO appears the same. She picked him up in a bar, took him back to her quarters. They made love, he drugged her. That's where the similarities end."

Inspector Avi placed a small holoprojector on Chan's desk. It sprung into life. It showed a hologram of a woman tied spread eagle to a bed.

"My god!" the Chief Inspector exclaimed. "What the hell did he do to her. Where are her....."

"He cut them off sir and took them with him. We think he kept the dagger from his first murder. He took two hours to kill her. Over 150 wounds."

The Chief Inspector reached over and turned the holoprojector off.

"Thanks for that Avi. That will give me nightmares for a week."

"Sir, we need to warn people. We need to get the message out there."

"What? That we've got a nutter who loves seducing women before slicing them up slowly? The CEO has said we must keep this under wraps, we cannot have any negative press. The Goonswarm attack on the local traders has left people wondering if Jita is still the best place to do business in the cluster. Something like this could drive people to Dodixie or Amarr. You need to find this guy before he strikes again." The Chief Inspector didn't sound convinced himself.

"You’re kidding? We bury the truth from the public because it might affect profits?"

"It's not that simple. Our stock isn't doing too well and neither is the war against the Gallente. The last thing the Caldari Navy needs is people associating our name and this station with some lunatic after that Goonswarm attack. First 'Burn Jita' then a serial killer on the loose? We can issue warnings for women to be on guard. We don’t bury the truth, we just don’t tell them everything."

Inspector Avi shook his head.

"So we post warnings about a con-artist but don't tell the women of this station that his new favourite hobby is slowly slicing them up and hacking off their..."

"Look!" the Chief Inspector cut him off "I don't like it any more than you. But those are our orders. Look, I've got enough on my plate trying to control the flow of information. That pirate news network, Tech4News, has already run with the first victim’s story. If they get hold of news of this latest victim, who know what shit-storm that will be caused. On top of that, the board has allegedly hired a private investigator to do his own parallel investigation."

“Oh fantastic” Avi exclaimed “That’s all we need, some private dick on the case too getting in the way!”

“Well that’s the situation we have to live with, just find this guy Avi, before he strikes again.”

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Can I Haz Eve Stuffz

Did you know that CCP are pushing for a new version of the classic Rifter frigate?
No, it is not a pirate faction Rifter.
No, it is not a Navy faction Rifter.
No, it is not a T3 Rifter.
It's a......... Lego Rifter!
Here is a picture of the "prototype" that I took at Fanfest where it was on display.
If it gets 10,000 votes on the Lego website, they will look at it seriously. And we're OVER 9000 currently. So why are you still reading this when you could be voting to make the Lego Rifter a reality!
There has been a lot of talk recently about Eve branded stuff. I was amazed at Fanfest of all the gear that was there. Of course there were the T-shirts from Quaffe to "Can I haz your stuffz". The laptop backpacks were very nice.... and very pricey! Eve mugs, hoodies, glasses, bottle openers, stickers, shot glasses, ship models, patches, stickers, books, the list goes on and on. But no real electronics or computer related items.
Legs, sorry I mean Sindel Pellion, from the #tweetfleet raised the other week that if Razer are making a Star Wars: The Old Republic special edition keyboard, why are there no Eve keyboards? Think about it. There are some great reasons why an Eve keyboard would sell.
Eve is nearly 9 years old. Next May it'll have been going 10 years! A decade of one single game with no signs of slowing down. What other games have that longevity? Seriously how many games are still going strong after a year, never mind 10.
The year Eve started was the year:-
- The space shuttle Columbia disintegrated on re-entry
- First case of SARS was reported
- The Iraq war began
- Arnold Schwarzenegger took office in California
- Sadam was captured
- The Beagle II explorer lands on Mars. The logs, and everything else, show nothing, at all, ever!
- Bob Hope and Johnny Cash died
- The movies of the original Pirates of the Caribbean and Finding Nemo were released.
Now wasn't that a long time ago! Now think of that in gaming terms. The following games were released same year as Eve Online:-
- Star Wars : Galaxies
- Star Wars : KOTOR
- Silent Hill 3
- Homeworld 2
- Call of Duty (The first one!)
- Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Now also remember those are releases for the PC, PS2, XBox, Game Boy Advanced and Gamecube. The very first initial prototype of the PSP was shown in 2003. The PS3, 360, WII etc were still on the drawing board.
Technology wise the following happened:-
- Intel Pentium M was released.
- Intel Pentium Celeron 2ghz was released.
- GeForce 5600 was announced.
- Windows XP 64-Bit Edition.
- iTunes store is opened.
- Steam releases.
- Windows XP Media Centre.
Your average shop bought PC came with a gig of RAM (yes, just the one!) and a 30-60gb hard drive!
As Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw said, Eve is "inhabited by geeks that are to geeks what geeks are to normal people". We love technology, we love gadgets. We'd love an Eve keyboard. Here is my set up below, I tried to take the picture in a Sindel Stylee (as it's her idea!) but ended up crushing my nuts. So no legs in this one!
I have heard of corporations in Eve that insist their logistics pilots must have PC's with SSD's fitted and minimum scores in 3DMark. Seriously what other game has people THAT dedicated. As you can see in the above I have a Razer Keyboard and Razer Mouse. We Eve players love our technology.
Yes Eve doesn't have the millions of players that SW:TOR and WoW has, but what we do have is more long term players. People who are more likely to invest in hardware that would help them play that one particular game. I for one would pre-order an Eve Online keyboard and pay the extra get it ship out here to the desert if someone would just make one.
Only real fans will buy a game specific keyboard and if it's one thing Eve Online has in abundance, it's real fans!
So again, why are you reading this when you could be Tweeting @cultofrazer and saying what a great idea a Razer Eve Online keyboard would be.
After that's sorted, I propose Eve branded lingerie! It's the only way I'll ever get my wife "into" Eve!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cyno Lighting 101

Lighting a cyno isn't difficult, but get it wrong and you can incur the wrath of your cap ship pilots.
Following an incident last week, it was suggested to a fellow corporation mate that he should "go forth and multiply" and that bio-massing their character might be an excellent career move. This was from a guy who found his carrier 17km off station after an epic bump due to a poorly positioned cyno. I'm no expert, but here is Drack's very simple cyno guide for people who don't know how to light a cyno and do not want to get raged at as you watch a corpies carrier being propelled at high speed away from the station whilst wondering "Why is he doing that?" whilst you can hear in your headset "What was that cyno! You are a F........".

Lighting a WHAT?
A cyno. Otherwise known as a cynosural field. This is an energy field that is projected from a cynosural field generator mounted in a high-slot of a ship. When the module is activated, providing there is sufficient liquid ozone in your cargo bay to act as fuel, a cyno field is generated which allows all capital ships in your fleet to jump to from other systems. It also makes you a target.
A target????
When you light the cyno, you cannot move for the duration of the cycle (10 minutes usually). You cannot dock, you cannot warp. You can use other modules and weapons, but your are basically a sitting duck. Also the cyno appears system wide on every ones overview. Any ebil piwats in the system, like me, might just warp to the cyno and pop you, just because they can! Therefore most "cyno lighters" tend to be alts created for that purpose.
Sounds easy?
Yes and no. Any numpty can light a cyno as long as he has the skill, the module and a ship with enough fuel. What you want is to light the cyno where the ship is not going to get bumped yet still is near enough to the POS or station to be safe.
When a capital ship jumps to a cyno it will appear somewhere within 5km of the cyno. If it appears touching part of a station or POS shield it will be "bumped" away.... at high speed. When cynoing onto a station your capital pilots want to land, wait their 10 second session change and dock. That doesn't work if you've been bumped 17km off the station. In fact it's rather dangerous if enemies are around! Carriers and dreadnoughts are not the fastest ships around and 17km is a long distance to travel at well under 100kph.
So How Do You Prevent Bumpage?
First look at the station as a 3D object. What you are looking for is an area "within" the station ideally. Look for things that jut out, towers, masts and aerials are all useful. What you want is a point that is surrounded by as much of the station as possible, but has enough room to prevent bumpage. Turn on your tactical overview and fly your ship to a location where, if you took the 5km radius as a globe, there is no part of the station within it. Even thin aerials will bump the carriers so you need to make sure the full 5km sphere is clear (and add some margin for error too) . Below is Nisuwa station, home for me and my corp.
As you can see it has this big jutty out thingy at the back (that's the technical description, similar to "top wingy bit"). Now if I fly a ship within that V and head down until I'm a good 5km clear of any part of the station in all directions...
.... I have a good cyno spot. It's 5km, plus a bit extra for safety, from any part of the station. But the whole 5km radius of the cyno sphere is within insta-dock range. That bottom aerial keeps any ship at 0km from the station.

Any capital landing here can simply insta-dock 10 seconds after jumping in.
Simples! And it'll stop you from being referred to as a "Fundamentally flawed individual!"

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Jita Ripper

Would you like a lot of ISK, some nice expensive modules as well as some good old fashioned fame? Of course you would! You're a capsuleer and live for these things right? Well follow this, take part in the in-game live event and you could have it all!

A while ago I posted this piece of fan-fiction about a gold-digger getting played herself. If you are going to follow this series you really need to read that to set the scene. After I posted it I thought that may be she got more than she really deserved, women should be warned about this man! This led to another piece on another website. I met the guy who runs the other website at Fanfest and we got talking. He had some fantastic ideas about running with it and it all leading up to a live event in-game.

So here is the first breadcrumb. My job is to set the scene every Friday, if you are part of the final battle you might have a moral choice to make that will effect the final outcome and how much cash you'll get. This blog series will help you make your decision there.

You will find other information on websites such as..... well telling you would be too easy. Eventually, I'll stop here and let others take over as it approaches the end. They'll give you the clues you need to get to the final fight where the aforementioned fame, fortune and phat lootz can be had.

I wish you all the best of luck!

The Jita Ripper - Chapter One - Escalation

Deena shifted nervously in her seat. She checked the time, 5 minutes past. Only 5 minutes, what is 5 minutes, especially to men like him?

She took a small mirror from her bag and checked her make up. Perfect.

"Calm down. It's just a man you’re meeting. You've met them before. No need for nerves." she told herself.

"But you've never had a date with a man like this before. Play this right and your wildest dreams will come true." the voice in her head had been telling her that all evening.

She'd spent hours getting ready. This morning she went out and spent nearly an entire months’ salary on the outfit she was wearing. Very classy, very seductive. The expensive Gallente underwear cost as much as the dress and shoes. This afternoon she spent the rest of her savings at the spa getting treatments and hair styling. She had done everything she could possibly do to make herself look desirable. Now it was down to her to seal the deal. She was in the most expensive bar in the station that was open to the general public. If he didn’t come, and pay the bill, she was in big trouble.

She saw him enter. He looked her way and smiled. Her heart fluttered. He approached the booth and she stood to greet him.

"Wow! You look amazing!" he said as he kissed her on the cheek.

"Thanks, you’re not looking too bad yourself" she replied smiling. They sat opposite each other and a waiter took their drinks order. After he left to get the drinks Deena leaned forward.

"I hope you don't think I was too forward asking you for this date last night. I mean life's too short to wait don't you think?"

"It can be." the man replied smiling

Deena returned the smile.

"And I didn't know if I'd see you again. After all this station is so big, and not many people stay long. Especially, people like you."

"People like me?" the man asked quizzically.

Deena looked embarrassed.

"I didn't mean that as a slight. I mean you look like a starship captain, am I right?" Deena was being careful, she knew what he was but didn't want to play her hand too soon.

"Very perceptive. What gave me away?"

She wanted to say Those implants on the back of your neck which you try to hide but I saw but she knew she shouldn't.

"You have an air of command about you. I knew that when we met last night at the bar."

The man smiled.


Two hours later Deena couldn't believe how well things were going. They were really getting on well. He hadn't told her he was a capsuleer and she thought she'd better wait for him to mention it. Currently he thought she didn't know and that was the best way, she didn't want him thinking she was coming onto him just because of that, even if it was the truth. However, this station was a trade-hub, the majority of capsuleers came and left within a short time. She had to seal the deal. If she didn't hook him tonight, she might not see him ever again.

"I've got to say I'm having a great time. I was really nervous before you arrived."


"Well the fact that I asked you out on a date. You know, a lot of you guys prefer to chase. If the woman is forward, it puts them off."

The man laughed.

"Don't be silly. Maybe that's what some guys are like, but as far as I am concerned it is impossible for a woman to be too forward. As you said earlier, life is too short."

"Really? Impossible to be too forward?"

"Yes, really. I actually prefer my women forward, those that make sure they get what they want. All that coyness and teasing is such a waste of time."

Deena smiled and discretely raised her foot under the table. She reached down and unhooked the clasp of her shoe and slowly lowered it to the floor. She slipped her foot out of her shoe and ran her foot over the inside of the man’s leg under the table. As soon as she touched him he smiled.

"A woman after my own heart." he said as her stocking-clad foot slowly worked its way higher, sliding upwards over his inner thigh.


Deena slowly woke. She could hear sounds, she kept still. She was scared, she knew something was wrong. What had happened? Her mind was foggy. She had met Marcsal in the bar, the date had been going great. She had even started to play footsie with him.

He had responded. He didn't want to go back to his quarters, probably still didn't want to reveal he was a capsuleer, so they had gone back to hers. They had spent a while in bed, then he'd made her a drink, then, nothing, she'd passed out. She knew she had not been that drunk. Drugged? More crashing sounds, she opened her eyes slightly, she was laying on her front with her head to the side. Marcsal was naked and searching her apartment. The few remaining "implants" on his back were hanging off.


Deena slowly rose, she picked up a small lamp to use as a club. She started to approach him from behind. Suddenly she tripped over her shoes that had been discarded in the middle of the floor. Marcsal looked around as she scrambled to her feet and charged at him. She looked in terror as he finally turned fully and was holding one of her ceremonial daggers from her collection in the draw he'd been searching. She couldn’t stop herself crashing into him.


Inspector Avi entered the medical bay. Chief Medical Examiner Boras was washing his hands in a metal sink.

"Evening Chief."

"Inspector Avi! Good to see you again. I assume you are here for a debrief about our victim there?" Boras nodded to the body laying on a slab, covered by a white sheet to her neck.

"Yes. What can you tell me?" both men approached the slab. The Chief Medical Examiner pulled the sheet away. Deena lay there, her body was covered in wounds and her arms and legs had been removed.

"Well it's been a hard one to puzzle out. Minmatar female, 26, details are in that file, that was the easy bit as she was a station resident and was found in her quarters. Well, not exactly in her quarters. The perp cut off her arms and legs and shoved her into the garbage chute to hide her body which became jammed. Those janitors who found her won't be sleeping well for a few weeks I'd guess! The rest was much more difficult. We think there are three distinct events. Firstly she was a willing participant in the bedroom. Blood-chemical analysis indicates she made love several times in the hours before he death. No evidence of a struggle or wounds at that time."

"Are you kidding?" Inspector Avi said in surprise. "Look at her! It's like some wild animal has been at her!"

"Inspector, we can give you an exact time of death. We can also time-stamp all her injuries back from that point. None of these injuries were sustained in the period up to 30 minutes after she'd finished her, shall we say 'coupling'."

"So she was either with the person who killed her, or someone else 30 minutes before she died?"

"No, it was an hour before she died. The first wound was 30 minutes after, well you know, death was another 30 minutes after that."

"Sorry, you're confusing me" the Inspector took out his datapad "Perhaps you can run through this for me slowly."

This place always creeped the Inspector out. The room where the dead were sliced open again to reveal their secrets.

"The victim was making love to a person unknown. There was then a 30 minute gap, I will explain this shortly. Then she took a deep stab wound, here, to the abdomen. We believe it was a bladed weapon, perhaps a serrated dagger. As she is Minmatar it is possible she had one in her quarters or the attacker brought it. We think she was standing when she was stabbed, a wound on the back of her head and a brain-scan shows its likely she fell backwards, struck her head on the floor and was rendered unconscious. It may be that the attacker thought she was dead. Twenty minutes later she sustained the other injuries in a sustained attack for approximately ten minutes which finally killed her."

Inspector Avi pondered this for a moment, making notes on his datapad.

"You said you could explain the 30 minute gap?"

"Ah yes. When we tested her blood we found two chemical traces. First is Lanzazine. This is a powerful tranquiliser used by the Amarr in their tranq-darts for capturing fleeing slaves alive. The second is Insorum, which as you will know is the cure for Vitoc, our victim here is a rescued slave. The interesting thing is that the Insorum not only counters the mutating virus aspect of Vitoc, it also blocks the receptors in the brain that lead to the addiction to Vitoc. The blocking of those receptors would also greatly reduce the effects of the Lanzazine. A dose that would have knocked her out for several hours would have only worked for a short period of time."

"Right. Anything else?"

"Two things. Firstly the wounds. The first appears to have been in defence. It's possible he was surprised by her waking up early and she may have attacked him. She's Minmatar so quite likely she went for him if he drugged her and was still there when she woke. It is a deep penetrating wound, but it did miss her vital organs. At that point she fell and knocked her head and became unconscious. He probably thought she was dead. When she came around she would have been in no state to defend herself due to the first wound. But it took him ten minutes to kill her and over 100 separate wounds."

"He took his time?"

"Very much so. The wounds she suffered are generally shallow and carefully targeted. As you can see he concentrated on several areas. I believe this man didn't intend to kill the victim at first. The original wound was probably self defence when she woke up too soon. However, it would appear once he got a taste for it, he started to enjoy himself. "

"And what was the second thing?"

"We found traces of organic glue on her. We couldn't work out why, so we sent them for analysis. The forensic lab gave me us a chem-match to two previous recent unsolved crimes on file." the Examiner took his glasses off.

"I fear your pretend capsuleer con-artist has now got a taste for blood."


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fame and Fortune to be Had!

Very soon I'll start posting a series here that will be culminating in a live event in-game. If you decide to follow this story you could end up with some nice loot, plenty of ISK as well as fame!

There are a few of us working on this project. You'll not get the "when" and "how" here on this blog, just the "why". I will be setting the scene over the next few weeks, introducing the characters and giving you an insight into what's going on. You'll need to identify the others involved and do a little detective work of your own if you are going to get your hands on the prize!

The story on this blog will be developing over the coming weeks. I'll be looking to post a part every Friday. As well as this evolving piece of fan fiction you might see references in-game and on other Eve Online related sites. Eventually the path will become less clear here and you'll need to look for the way elsewhere on the web as others take over the running. Eventually it will culminate in an in-game battle where big bounties will be paid, and capturing the right "cargo" will give you choices. Is your morality for sale? What choice will YOU make? Will it be the choice of law and order, for a small financial reward but knowing you've done the right thing? Or does the big cash reward and the dubious moral option sound more appealing to you? If so, how do you justify the end result to yourself?

This all started with this piece of fan fiction here. It was about a gold-digger looking to snag a capsuleer who got played herself. I thought that people should be warned about this criminal! I wrote a "news" article which got published here.

Following this, someone who read both pieces came to me with an idea. A bloody good idea. An escalation. What if? And then how about?

We talked about it, we brainstormed, we got to the point that we are now. So here we are, at the start of a journey that could make you rich (relatively speaking, if you are a multi-billionaire already it's not going to make a huge difference). But be warned, we're not giving it away. You'll need to follow the story and track down the leads from this and other sites.

Oh and you'll not be the only capsuleer on the hunt. Some will follow the path for the money and rewards, some for justice after reading the facts and believing i is the right thing to do, some will follow the path for what is right and some just because there is going to be pew-pew to be had. You don't need to be a roleplayer to take part, I am certainly not.

I wish you all the best of luck!

Monday, April 16, 2012

What is Fun in Eve Online?

Mama told me not to come...... 
Mama told me not to come..... 
She said, that ain't the way have fun, son. 
That ain't the way have fun!
Tom Jones - Mama Told Me not to Come.

I'm having fun in Eve. Are you?

Of course you are, otherwise you'd not play it. But what are you doing to have that fun? And does everyone think that what you are doing is fun too? Probably not. Eve Online is not a single game. I've referred back to Call of Duty in the past, a nice simple game I can jump on the XBox and have a quick blast. Whilst you can be close quarters with a shotgun, somewhere in the middle with an assault rifle, out further away with a light machine gun or sniper rifle, the choices in the game are the same. See someone, shoot them them in the face with something (steady!) and that's pretty much it. In the sandbox of Eve Online, you have countless choices.

We entered an Alliance with Wolfsbridgade last year as we thought they were just like us. A PvP corp with some great, like-minded people who enjoyed the same things as we did. Which they are, no doubt about that. Unfortunately, like many things in life, it's only when you take the relationship to the "next level" do the slight, previously unseen, differences and cracks appear. It's like moving in with the love of your life. You've been with each other for a year, you're very much in love, and never had an argument and had a great relationship thus far. You are at it like rabbits daily and you make all your friends sick with your lovey-dovey public displays of affection all the time. Then you move in together.... and after a month you are ready to kill each other and you split up!

And the same can happen in Eve, although we weren't "at it like rabbits" with WBR before we moved in together. Well.... then again I'm not sure about the two CEO's who seemed to me working a bit too closely together ;)

How people define fun is a major issue in corporations and alliances and varies massively between Eve players.

How do I have fun in Eve Online? I like PvP. However when I started I was into hi-sec level 4 combat missioning. In the past, I've even been known to (/bows head in shame) mine! However I will say in my defense I don't class mining as "fun". I did it for semi-afk cash with 1 Orca with cargo expander's and cargo rigs plus two hulks, again with cargo expander mods and rigs. Get the Hulks jetcan mining, use Orca to scoop up ore and read a good book (ideally with naughty bits in it to make up for the fact that I'm mining. A good Richard Laymon or Vince Flynn always does the trick) as it takes a fair time to fill a Hulk fitted like that and even longer to fill the Orca.

Ask 1,000 Eve players on the above, some will agree with me on the PvP, some will see the hi-sec missioning and would rather skip through a field of waist-tall stinging nettles in the nude. Others will see the PvP and run off screaming and hide behind a tatty red sofa. Right now, 5 serious-serious PvP'rs have committed ritual seboku after finding out they've been killed by someone who has been known to go mining!

So, with PvP it's a case of it's either fun for you or it is not fun for you? Marmite style? Nope, not that simple I'm afraid. There are different styles of PvP and some are not always compatible with each other. Lets take the two extremes.

Fun-Fun PvP
The Fun-Fun PvP'r is out for kills and a laugh. He'll take the fight even if it looks unlikely he'll win, because if he does win, well that's the best feeling in the world. Overcoming the odds to come out on top. He's not really bothered if his ship goes pop. After all, it's only pixels in the end, and so what if it pulls the killboard efficiency down a bit. It's still a good fight, win or lose. Of course he prefers to win, but not at the expense of not fighting often. When you kill a Fun-Fun PvP'r you'll get a "gf" in local or a bit of fun banter. To be honest, he's probably drunk.

Serious-Serious PvP
The Serious-serious PvP'r wants to win EVERY time. In fact he'll dock up or run unless he is sure that he'll win. Killboard efficiency is king and he'll only risk a ship and fit if he knows he'll win 100%. Any fleet he is in must be the perfect composition with logistics, E-War, DPS and other ship types set up exactly right. Woe betide anyone who is not in a correctly fitted ship or makes a mistake in fleet. There will be yelling, there will be raging! The enemy will be analysed and tactics discussed and thought through. Numbers will be crunched and if it is a certain win, he'll engage. If not, he won't fight. If you do manage to kill him, you may be raged at in local, there may be tears. Your "gf" in local may go unanswered as he turns a bright shade of red. Oh and he'll be sober as a judge. "Drinking reduces reaction time and in Eve it's all about reaction time and..... blah blah blah"

Both the above players are having their own fun in PvP, however the play-styles are vastly different and the one play-style is not seen as fun to the other. In between those two extremes there are many, many levels as you become more fun or more serious (to be honest I've not yet met the later category but I'm sure he exists as I've known a few edging that way). But whatever the "level" of your seriousness, you're having fun, or at least I hope you are. I have nothing against the serious-serious PvP'r. If that's how you want to play that's up to you. However I'm only a few grades up the scale from the Fun-Fun PvP I'm afraid so my play-style is likely to repulse you like a garlic-scented-crucifix-washed-in-holy-water to a vampire (a proper vampire, not a gay sparkly one).

"But surely your having fun when you are winning?" This being the argument used by the ones at the more "serious" end of the spectrum. Yes and no. Of course I want to win, losing is not fun. But at what price.....? I don't want to spend my game time training, EFT warrioring, planning and discussing tactics, not undocking unless I've got the exact right fit and 110% I don't want to spend it sober!!!!!

"You must do that, you mustn't do that, this is the fit you WILL use, right Director X you need to bollock corp member Y for that fit/lemmingism/fail-jump etc. Right everyone onto SiSi now for mandatory training!". Defo not for me!

Now there are clearly some people in-game who would find this fun. I don't. So if it means not winning as regular but not having to do the above, that's fine by me. Problem is that the more serious PvP player has great difficulty relating to that. It's like Captain Jack Sparrow and his rum. "I cannot be arse with all that, I just want to log in, undock and have fun", "But... the WIN?", "Yeah but to be at that level you need to do all that extra crap I don't want to do.", "But, but why's the win gone?"


I'm still not sure I'm making myself completely clear here. Take the analogy of a pub football team (soccer team for our American friends). Do they train five nights a week? Do they rest the night before a Sunday match meaning they are in bed early on the Saturday night? Do they spend all Sunday morning working out tactics? If they lose do they spend all Sunday afternoon dissecting their performance. Do individuals get a lecture/bollocking if they did something wrong? Are players picked for their footballing ability and not their personality? Are top-of-the-range football boots and shin pads stipulated as mandatory kit?


They'd win a lot more if they did, but they don't. They train once a week max and really that's just an excuse to get out away from the wife for a few hours and go down the pub for a couple of pints and a laugh after training. They go out on the town and have a good time on the Saturday night. They turn up for the game with a hangover, have a good game win or lose and then go for a couple of pints and a laugh after with the team. The players are a group of friends, yes there are probably better players out there but it's a group of mates. Even if Mike "The Flying Potato" Smith is not the greatest goalie, he's a right laugh to have around. If they lose are they depressed and sulky? Is their football life unfulfilled? Do they quit the team in a spectacular emo-rage? Of course not, they are having a good time. It's not always about the win!


Now some reading the above will be screaming "YOU CANNOT COMPARE EVE ONLINE TO SUNDAY FOOTBALL!!!!" others, and I know this for a fact as I've used the above recently, will agree with it and say that's how they like their Eve.

A roam we had last year was a good example (See "Teks Shiny Birthday Fleet" here). The majority of the fleet was hammered and flying 1bn ISK ships. If we'd run into an organised fleet we'd have been in serious problems. But that was the best roam we've had in ages. Laughing so hard you nearly cry, plenty of T&A in chat, a few kills but most importantly a very good time. It was a social fleet. Battle comms it was not :) I think the best way to put it is our fleet was the Howard Stern radio show of Eve that night. Could it have been better? Of course it could. We needed to run into an incompetent fleet with a few caps and wtfpwn them and we needed Eelis back on comms and shooting gate guns by accident!. However it can work, I've seen SoTF do this before. A drunken roam, run into a fleet and suddenly everyone sobers up, we move to battle comms, wipe out the other fleet, loot the field and jump out and instantly return to drunken lolz.

Now how about running a corp? Are the guys doing that having fun? Of course they are. No matter how much we Directors and CEO's bitch and moan, it's fun and a sense of achievement. If it wasn't, then why on earth, or in space, would you do it?

But again, how you have that fun will vary. To be honest, SoTF don't make lots of long-term plans. We make it possible for our corp members to log on when they want, fight, drink, chat and socialise with a great bunch of people, get some kills and log off. Basically to have that sort of fun playing Eve. We've been doing that for years now and so far it's worked well. Our time in R.A.G.E. deviated from that and it caused us problems. So we stopped it and went back to our roots!

But that style of management isn't for everyone. Some people want business plans, short, medium and long term strategic goals, meetings with minutes taken. Now I have to assume that is fun for them. It's what they enjoy doing. I do not see that as fun in the same way a low-sec PvP pilot cannot see the "fun" in hi-sec mining. We even have people in Corp who would probably like us more serious and focused. Aiming to be like Pandemic Legion, Rooks and Kings, Snuffbox and the other well known good PvP corps/alliances.

However, we know we'll never get there with our current philosophy. For me, I accepted that whole heatedly, others may not.

For a fact, I know my attitude drives certain people in the game mad. They just cannot get it. Why don't I want to be number 1, the best, the top of the top, etc. I don't even try explaining anymore. If you are one of those who want to be best of the best, good luck to you. I wish you every success. Nice to have ambition. However, in game I'm happy with "fun-fun-serious internet spaceships" and not "serious-serious-serious internet spaceships".

We all define fun as something different, and lets be grateful for that. We all have different goals in life and Eve, different definitions of fun and enjoyment, we all like something slightly different. I try to do the "best of the best" in my career. I do business plans and spreadsheets, in fact my work life is full of bloody spreadsheets. May be that is the real reason for how I am in game. We've all heard of the people in positions of great power getting caught with Ms Whiplash walking over their back in thigh-high, high-heeled leather boots dominating and degrading them whilst spanking them with wet celery which gets their rocks off. Their release is to have the opposite of their working life in their (very) private life. May be I'm the same! Oi!!! I meant as in my Eve life is the opposite of my working life, I have no wish for the other thing, thank you very much! Well..... if it was Catherine Zeta Jones, Angelina Jolie or Megan Fox then may be I could put up with it for 5 minutes or so as long as we switched "sides" after the 5 minutes....

If we all liked the same thing would Eve work? No it wouldn't. Have a look at the list below I've done off the top of my head of what "career" you can do in Eve.

Industrialist building spaceships, equipment, drones and ammo
Asteroid Mining - Hi-sec, lo-sec, null-sec or even WH
Ice harvesting
Gas harvesting
Hi-Sec Missioning
Lo-Sec Missioning
FW Missioning
Pirate Missioning
Epic arcs
Belt Ratting
Speculating on the markets
Logistics (as in moving goods around)
Militia warfare (pure PvP)
Militia warfare (plexing and capturing systems)
Hi-sec wars
Hi-sec griefing
Alliance management
Corp management
Coalition management
PoS management
Moon harvesting
Planetary Interaction
Spying/espionage (infiltrating an enemy corp/alliance)
Fraud (Titans4u style)
Con Artist (scamming)
Corp thief
Combat booster production (join in-game channel "Upchat" to meet some shady
people who will "sort you out")
Suicide ganker
etc, etc, etc

Now how many of those do you find fun? How many of those would you rather be skipping naked though that field of nettles I mentioned earlier. However we need all those "jobs" above to create the things we need in game, to keep Eve an interesting universe and to attract new blood and keep the game going. We need all of these things doing by someone.

Now aren't you thankfully that we all have different definitions of fun!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blog Banter 35: The Public Perception of EVE Online

Now approaching its tenth year, the EVE Online player community has matured into an intricate and multi-faceted society viewed with envy by other game developers, but is frequently regarded with suspicion by the wider gaming community. Is this perception deserved? Should "The Nation of EVE" be concerned by its public identity and if so how might that be improved? What influence will the integration of the DUST 514 community have on this culture in the future?

[Unrelated and random bonus question sponsored by EVE News 24: What single button would you recommend be included on an EVE-specific keyboard?]

Public perception eh? Well I think there are a number of differing perceptions out there and you cannot just lump them into one. I think I've come across four different public perceptions I can write about. Firstly you have the one I had myself which stopped me downloading Eve for a year or two after I first found out about the game.....

Eve is Hard and the Veterans Will Always be Better Than You!
It was around 2006 or 2007 I first heard of Eve Online. There was a review in a PC gaming magazine that caught my eye. It sounded a good game, as a fan of the games Privateer and Elite, I was interested. Then towards the end I read a line which was something like "....however, as in Eve skills are trained on purely a time basis, uncapped and with no grinding, you will never catch up to players who have been playing since 2003". WTF? So I'll never be able to compete against the veterans. Sod that for a game of soldiers! What's the point playing a game that you'll never be able to compete with those who played it for a year or two before you?

In 2008 I built a new PC and wanted something to test it out with. I had no idea what made me choose Eve, may be I saw some advert or something, but I did download it and was instantly hooked. But that magazine article, which is clearly wrong and a new character can compete with a bitter-vet, put me off for a few years. We know Eve is hard, and CCP are even using that in their marketing.

Eve On-What? I've Never Heard of it!
The most common response I get. Even with gamers, Eve Online is generally not that well known. Some might say it's a niche game, but a niche game with a loyal following. Compared to World of Warcraft's 8 million peak subscribers, Eve's 340,000 (ish) peak is much smaller. It's not a big game and therefore is not as well known both inside the gaming community and especially outside it. Now try explaining Eve to someone who doesn't know the game. The sheer vastness and openness of the sandbox can make it difficult to describe!

Eve is Boring and Really Just Spreadsheets in Space.
I think this video review covers this incorrect perception very, very well!

Eve is Full of Ebil Scum Bags Who Want to Be Horrible to You and the GM's Won't Protect You!
So I'm assuming this is the perception the banter was aiming at. Go to Jita, go on, go to Jita right now. Have a look in local at the contracts being posted. How many are legit? Those minerals being almost "given away", two PLEX for a great price, the Navy Issue Battleship being sold at a steal! Until you look at them and realise it's not 500,000 units of the mineral as the guy is saying, its 50,000. Those two PLEX turn out to be one PLEX and that Navy Issue Battleship has nothing Navy Issue about it at all.

Eve's reputation has served me well. I expect every bugger in game to try and rip me off, so other than buying an 8,888,888 ISK shuttle from the general market as a noob, I'm not fallen for any others.... so far. However, in game people do scam each other, steal from corporations and alliances, stab their friends in the back and can be generally shitty to their fellow man. And whilst these people are in the minority, it's the nasty guys that make the news. Take this years Fanfest, there was a lot of love being spread about but what made the news? Mittensgate!

And may be that's the problem. The news is made in Eve from the nasty acts in the sandbox. The billions stolen in corp theft, the scams, the destruction of expensive ships that people have worked hard to get. We advertise the sandbox that allows you to create wonderful "sand-sculptures", and then shout loudly and excitably about it when someone stomps through and kicks them down.
The DUST514 Community
The banter question asked at the end "What influence will the integration of the DUST 514 community have on this culture in the future". Now this is going to be interesting. Eve is NOT a game for casual players. Console FPS's ARE games for casual players. How are these two different player styles going to mix? With a wider audience (FPS games attract a wide range of people, niche games about important internet spaceships don't) will DUST have a community like Eve? Unlikely, and its more probable that any real DUST community that is formed will be formed by current Eve players. I don't see DUST having an impact on the perception of the game. DUST will have one community and reputation, Eve another. I consider that these potentially different communities will not get "lumped" together and will remain separate.

The public perception of Eve Online is generally far from reality. Those who have properly tried Eve and immersed themselves into the game know the truth. You cannot experience Eve Online solo in a 14-day trial, you need to get in a player corp and make some new friends and let them help you. Eve is an amazing game, but only if you invest in it. You get out, what you put in!

The wider public perception of Eve is that it is a difficult game, requiring a lot of time, investment and sitting around doing nothing whilst legions of nasty people plot to kick over your sandcastle.
Now the big thing is, do we actively seek to dispel this perception in our in and out-of-game lives, or do we reinforce it?

[Unrelated and random bonus question sponsored by EVE News 24: What single button would you recommend be included on an EVE-specific keyboard?]

This is obviously from @sindelpellion's Tweets about how Razer should create a Eve Online special edition keyboard. Luckily I wrote a blog about what keys it should have yesterday. My favorites being "Start forum whine", "Hot Drop O'Clock", "Initiate Brave Sir Robin Manoeuvre" and "Childish Smack Talk". But given that the question is "what single button", I'll have to go with.....

A button that can be customised within the client to warp to a specific place. You could set it for the sun at 50km, planet 1 at 0, planet 2 at 100km. So if you are happily plinking away at a POS and suddenly a cyno is popped and the sun is blotted out by supers, hit the button. You are scrammed, webbed and have 20 of your dearest enemies shooting you. Place finger on the button ready to get your pod out as your ship melts and DIAF.

The "Initiate Brave Sir Robin Manoeuvre" button - saving your implants, and ass, in one key press.

Other Banters on this topic....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

An Eve Keyboard?

The "Legs" from #tweetfleet (aka Sindel) posted some tweets yesterday about how there should be a Razer keyboard for Eve Online. I think that's a fantastic idea and getting into work this morning I see she has even written a blog post about it here. I was planning a blog on this on my drive in and she's ruined it! But she didn't cover what keys we'd want......

The Star Wars: The Old Republic keyboard by Razer appears to have 10 special SW:TOR keys (wow, bet that was a surprise!).

We want an Eve Online one NOW! But, how would we utilise those 10 keys for Eve?
Well obviously the selected object menu is ideal to go in the top set, Warp, jump, keep at range, orbit and lock covers the first 5 buttons. However I think we need to change the order a little.....

"Warp to 0" and "Warp and Jump" Keys.
MOVE THESE APART! I mean far apart, I mean opposite ends! A miss-click in Eve currently of just a couple of millimetres is the difference between landing on gate and sitting there and fail-jumping into an enemy gate camp whilst your FC screams at you. Seriously, we need separation here.
The warp and jump button (aka lemming button) needs to be away from the warp to 0 button...

Now, for the other five keys! What actions do we use regularly?

Start Forum Emo-Rage Thread
There appears to be a constant steam of tears on the forum. So how about a button that automatically opens the IG browser, logs into the forums and starts a new whiney thread? Should we just go for tears, or perhaps the most common cause of whine threads/tears? We'd probably need three actually.....

A button preset to warp to a specific celestial at a set distance. These can be set in the client. It might be the Sun at 50, planet 2 at 0 or planet 5 at 100. It's up to you.

Place Bookmark
This could be useful. Just hit the button to place a bookmark and bring up the window so you can name it.

A button that activates your cyno and then automatically posts in local "Its time! Time for what? Its HOT DROP OOOOOOOOO'CLOCK!"

The CSB button is the "Childish Smack Button". When pressed it will randomly post a single line of childish smack talk in local. This is for when you want to retort to someone acting like an 8 year-old but you are too tired/drunk/busy to think of anything witty to say. Options could be:-

"My dads bigger than your dad"
"You smell of poo"
"Yo mamma is so fat, your dad needs Gallente Titan 4 training to ride her!"
"I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?"
"Back to you with nobs on"

Or anything so childish that the original smack talker just doesn't know how to respond and shuts up!

Oh just think of all the fun we could have :)

Now we just need to convince Razer to get into Eve....

Oh and get a new logo.....