Saturday, February 28, 2009

BS Angel's Blog Banter: My Lady and Gaming.

Welcome, welcome to Blog Banter, the monthly blogging extravaganza headed by bs angel! Blog Banter involves our cozy community of enthusiastic gaming bloggers, a common topic, and a week to post articles pertaining to said topic. The results are quite entertaining and can range from deeply insightful to ROFLMAO. Any questions about Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

And the topic is : Gaming with your significant other!

I game. I game a lot. When I first met my lady many years ago she led me to believe she was just as hardcore a gamer as I was, but since she was shy I didn't press the issue, instead taking her word for it.

Later, when we began living together, I realized the extent of her noobness. Her prowess extended to JRPGs, the Harvest Moon series and little else. This didn't bother me per-se, but I do believe it came to bother her. She saw how much enjoyment I took out of more varied and challenging games, as well as my inclusion into gaming culture and wanted more and more to be a part of it. I took the role of encourager, companion, trainer and opponent.

A few years now into her journey, she's made some progress. We play Castle Crashers on and off, she owns a PSP and is slowly growing her collection of games for it, and peeking over my shoulder to perhaps gleam some interesting in other titles.

She's tried FPS games but they don't seem to pull her interest enough for her to continue training. Every few months I get her to try again and see if the genre can put some hooks into her. She has started playing EVE-Online, which is arguably the most hardcore video games ever made. She watched me play for a little under a year before she allowed me to pull her in as well. She's just starting and I'm documenting her progress here on this blog.

We wanted to start playing D&D, but it's been impossible to find a group to play with. That search continues. We tried getting into CCGs with YuGiOh. I've been a Magic: The Gathering player since 4th Edition and was stoked to start playing something again, but games like that are so much better when you have more than one opponent to choose from. It got old and we didn't continue.

She still plays JRPGs, but so do I. Really looking forward to Final Fantasy XIII. Also need to get a copy of Star Ocean 4.

We talk about games often, watch each other play and play together when the opportunity presents itself.

Gaming, like life and love, is a journey. We continue together upon it.


Other participants!
Gaming with my wife, You could be doubling alone, Next Gen Killed Our Gaming Relationship, Forced Perspective, Playing With My Toys, From Gaming Geek to Heroes Freak, My Lady and Gaming, Gaming with your significant other, Gaming Together, Maybe?, Girl Gamers = Hawt, Gaming with my significant other, Move Over Hott Boy, I Want to Play, Valentine's Day is for Gamers, Frag the Girlfriend!!, 'Til Mongoose Do Us Part

Friday, February 27, 2009

Certificates: Elite = 1337?

After Energy Management V finished I took a second to update my certificates. Last time I did it I had mostly standard and basic with a handful of improved. Now I have Core Capacitor at Elite.

It's my first elite cert, but I'm not sure if I feel any sense of accomplishment from it. I'm not really using them to plan my skills per se. I know what I need to do. It's cool to have them, but I'm not sure they had the effect CCP thought they would have. I wonder why that is...

QR has come and gone and Apocrypha is just around the corner, so I want to know what the long-term effects of certificates has been, especially from the players who are more than a year in (since we all know it's been helpful to the noobs).

Is it completely superfluous or can it be tweaked to be better? How would you tweak it?


Thursday, February 26, 2009

CK's Blog Banter #5: Everybody Needs Sombody.

Welcome to the fifth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banters.

This month's topic comes to us from Mynxee of Life in Low Sec. She asks "Alts and Metagaming: Is playing two accounts who are logged in at the same
time and work together (hauler/miner, explorer/combat associate, trade alts in trade hubs) a form of metagaming that is "ruining the game"?"

articles at the bottom of this post!

I'll start this one with a little music. The song seems appropriate to the issue.

Metagaming to me is not a good or bad issue. It's a fact of life in MMOs. There are constructive uses for metagaming and others that tend to ruin the game for others, but in EVE metagaming is condoned more readily than in other games in the interests of realism.

A hauler alt for your miner. Explorer alt for your combatant. Trade alts for your indy. RP alts for your RP primary. These are all pretty harmless and do nothing but help a player create the most basic of personal support structures. Having a corp and alliance to go to for backup is nice, but when everyone is busy or AFK, you still got stuff that needs doing and it's in your best interests to figure a way to do it yourself efficiently.

It's really espionage that pisses a lot of people off. However, if you look at subterfuge and counter-intelligence IRL and extend it into the EVE fiction, then it's a fair assumption that one could change their appearance and identity quite easily in New Eden. Having a clone to download into that looks completely different from your original body but has the same brain isn't that difficult a concept to grasp in the world of flying internet spaceships.

Nobody on the receiving end of clandestine intelligence tactics is ever pleased, but that doesn't make it any less realistic.

So to answer the direct question, no. I don't think metagaming is ruining EVE because it embraced by the fiction.

Further into the issue, when it comes to programs and tools outside of EVE and you're asking yourself if this is "hurtful" metagaming, ask yourself if such a tool would not be available to an actual capsuleer. EVEMon, EFT, forums and killboards, etc... It's easy to see how such services would be at the ready for the capsuleer community just as it's at our disposal as gamers.




Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My life in EVE - Part 23.

Truth be told, I haven't had much time to log on for anything but changing skills. I hope to change that soon, but I'll have to see.

Energy Management V finishes today after a fair amount juggling. It's a minor milestone for me. Next I have to do some serious work on my shield skills.

I dropped in on my corpmates last night as a friendly check-in. They were happy to see me and I them. We did some catching up on RL and IG issues. I didn't have much time but I'm getting the feeling COGN is being retasked internally for something more than just the same old combat duties. More on this later.

My lady is still in Hulm mining Veld and Scor in her Burst. Other than a small amount of juggling she's remained focused on her learning skills. She's got one more rank 1 skill to get from IV to V and then she can start on the higher ranked learning skills.

She has yet to get over her fear of venturing into less-secure space. That'll pass in time.

She's looking forward to joining EVE-Uni.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mass Effect 2: Teh Teasing Begins.

Go HERE. Come back to my blog when you're done drooling.

I'll go over what we can gleam from this flash site point-by-point.

1) At some point, we see Sheperd "die".
2) We can expect a few returning characters. I'm also guessing we'll see a point in the game where the player takes direct control of characters other than Sheperd. They did this in KOTOR2.
3) The Geth are evolving. This could be due to adapting Reaver tech to themselves.
4) We may see a slightly improved graphics engine.
5) Cerberus will be a major antagonist.

Did I miss anything?

Other than the short teaser, we get to see two pieces of setting concept art, which looks great.

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that Mass Effect is probably my favorite non-EVE game of all time. I've been waiting some something to sink my teeth into for some time now, and now I can't wait for more!

If you have a 360 and have not played it, it's a pretty easy game to find and you get a great amount of replayability, especially for an RPG. It's unique in its execution and gorgeous in its presentation. What's more, you'll be able to transfer character data from the first game to the second, so anyone looking at getting into the series is best served grabbing the first game before 2010. Lastly, it's a planned trilogy, so investing in the story now gets you in on a well-constructed epic.

I was hoping for more DLC for the first game, but there are big indicators that there will be much more DLC for the sequel.

PC players have Mass Effect as well, and I'm betting on a simultaneous release for the 360 and PC this time around. Also, don't rule out a PS3 version at some point.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Death Tank: Like Worms but faster.

I downloaded the trial for Death Tank, merely on the fact that I've seen some people talking about it. I didn't actually learn anything about the game, but the fact that the community was talking about it got my interested.

I've played Worms before on several platforms and through several iterations, the latest one being on the Nintendo DS. I liked it as a simple, time-based source of fun. There's something to be said about the causal fun of a time-based game.

This is like Worms... sorta.

Death Tank is not casual, in fact is seems to make every effort to make your playtime as frantic as possible. That's not a gripe, but an observation. It's real-time, and with up to 8 players in tanks on the field it gets pretty insane. What's more, after about 1 minute a random bombardment from above begins, blowing away those unlucky enough to have lasted that long until there's one left.

There's a money system which allows you to rack up cash for kills to buy upgrades and weapons over the course of 20 matches. There's not a huge amount of available items, but I guess there could be more on the way at some future date.

It's fun, but I think the price of the full game (1200 points) is a little steep. Give it a shot with the demo and tell me what you think.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Watchmen Movie Predictions.

I'm almost done the graphic novel, and after watching every trailer and checking every ad and pic, I'm still not entirely sure the story will fully translate to the big screen.

Now let me be fair, it looks AWESOME and as far as I can tell the acting is spot-on. The mood I get from the book and movie samples are very similar to each other. My problem is two-fold.

1) Time. The graphic novel is long, and even if you cut away the pirate stuff and some other small side-stories, it's an epic to be told. I'm not sure if a running time has been announced, but if it's shy of 2.5 hours, I don't think it can be done well. If you have a confirmed running time or just want to argue this point, go ahead.

2) Super saturation. Anyone who's read the book knows there's nothing super or heroic about these characters. It's a vigilante story with costumes. The problem is that it doesn't come off like that in the trailers. It comes off as another superhero flick, and we may be reaching a mainstream media saturation point with that genre. Marvel and DC are pumping out movies as quickly as possible, and Heroes is still going strong on the small screen. Will people just write The Watchmen off before seeing it? It all depends on initial reviews. If the point is made that this is NOT a superhero movie, than it may just attract movie-goers.

Let me know what you think.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Getting to know you...

Looks like I've hit a new high on the number of people following my blog. I'd like to send a huge thanks to those who read my trash.

The series of tubes we call the internet can be a cold place sometimes. Impersonal. Today I hope to change my little corner of it a little.

23 questions. To be perfectly honest, it's a meme I got from a blogging friend of mine. I figured it would be an interesting thing to try.

If you want to answer but don't want to stamp your name to it, feel free to comment anonymously.

1. Can you cook?
2. What was your dream growing up?
3. What talent do you wish you had?
4. Favorite place?
5. Favorite vegetable?
6. What was the last book you read?
7. What zodiac sign are you ?
8. Any Tattoos and/or Piercings?
9. Worst Habit?
10. Do we know each other outside of blogging?
11. What is your favorite sport?
12. Negative or Optimistic attitude?
13. What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
14. Worst thing to ever happen to you?
15. Tell me one weird fact about you:
16. Do you have any pets?
17. Do you know how to do the macarena?
18. What time is it where you are now?
19. Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
20. If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
21. Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
22. What color eyes do you have?
23. Ever been arrested?
24. Favorite fictional character of all time?
25. If you won $10,000 dollars today, what would you do with it?
26. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
27. What’s your favorite hangout?
28. Do you believe in ghosts?
29. Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
30. Do you swear a lot?
31. Biggest pet peeve?
32. In one word, how would you describe yourself?
33. Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?

Looking forward to your answers!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Prano's Journey #6: Candlelight.

Gods, I need a shower...

Not surprising really. I just spent the last 5 hours crawling around the old construction and maintenance tunnels of this station. Why would I do that? No, I'm not trying to pick up some extra cash as an engineer. I was looking for someone. A family of someones in fact.

You see, I ended up stuck here in Frarn for a few days while my Maelstrom receives an overhaul of its dorsal shield emitters. The problem with flying a new ship design is that they're often pretty rough around the edges. The downside of that is you spend a lot of time in dock receiving multiple overhauls or "patches" as the crews call them. The upside is that the cost for any repairs that need to be done at the same time are covered by the companies involved with the patching. If you run the ship especially hard and gather a lot of useful flight data, they may actually pay you for it. I think they call that "beta testing". I wonder where they come up with these terms...

Anyways, I was in my quarters, meditating as I often do. I turned off all the lights and lit a raw wax candle I'd made. Yeah, I make candles. It's a hobby. So I'm meditating, and suddenly I feel this slight pull on my shoulders. My vision blurs for a second and I find that I'm not in my quarters anymore. I'm in a dark, tight space. It's very cold and I'm very hungry and tired. It's hard for me to perceive what's around me, but by the light of the candle I can see a Minmatar woman sleeping in the corner, and a young girl no more than 6 or 7 years old huddled close to her for warmth. As I sharpened my focus, I could tell I was looking through the eyes of a man close to death. So hungry...

Somewhere on this station there was a family of Minmatar who were at the end of their rope. I had to find them fast.

I threw on a thick work jumper and gathered some light gear I thought would be useful for a search and rescue. Rope, flashlight, first-aid kit, water, nutrition bars and an Omnivice that I could use for medical scanning and light mechanical work. I also brought my candle, in case I needed to attempt a reconnect and get my bearings. I could still sense what general direction they were in, but it was very vague and a space station has a lot of nooks and crannies to hide in.

I crawled around between structural layers for hours, whacking my head and limbs more times than I can remember. Stepping in and rubbing against sludge and residues that I'd rather not describe. This space was never meant to be livable or navigable, and it was quite a task actually finding my way in at all. The cold of the void and the thin air made exerting myself difficult to say the least.

Not surprisingly, I eventually found myself lost. I was stuck between two metal walls only a foot apart no light except for my flashlight. My connection to the man had almost disappeared, so I took out my candle, lit it and stood there holding it and focusing on the flame. It was far more difficult to find them a second time than I thought, and I figured that was due to the man being close to death. All I could detect was a faint echo, pleading for rescue. They would not last much longer, and I had to hurry.

Another hour in the dark before I laid my hand on a bulkhead. Every other surface was ice cold, but this one was slightly warmer. Either there was an active shield energy conduit behind here and I'd die in seconds from radiation, or there was a family about to die from starvation. My Omnivice was useless at this point on account of the refractory metals used in armour plating. It took every bit of strength I had left, but I managed to rip off the metal plate.

The candle in the middle of the 5x5x5 space was down to a nub. My violent arrival had awoken the woman and child, scaring them into hysterics. I managed to calm them down by offering food and water in Matarese. Oddly, the man had not moved since my arrival. He was sitting up against the wall but slightly slumped over. I shook him slightly, saying that it was time to go. He didn't respond. That's when I noticed how cold he was to the touch, just like the bulkheads in the tunnels. I checked for a pulse, but couldn't find one.

His last effort in life was call for help the only way he could. He prayed by the candlelight. It was a miracle that I was here to answer his plea. I just wish I had gotten to them sooner.

So, woman and child are getting expert medical attention for now. They can stay in my quarters and regain their strength until I can find a home and source of income for them. I had the body of the man retrieved and brought to my ship. I'll give him a proper burial in space when I can.

It's been a long day. Time for that shower.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Star Trek or EVE: As long as I get my green women.

Hahaha...Orion Slave Girls!

This topic is inspired by a post over at Dense Veldspar. I'm not trying to steal his thunder, but I want to expand on my thoughts fully.

So here we have two distinct views of the future. Star Trek is a utopia where most of humanity's ills have been solved and we collectively strive to better ourselves. EVE is a dystopia where many of humanity's vices are still intact.

I believe that our future lies somewhere in the middle.

Now, I'll say that I'm a firm believer in Roddenberry's dream. I say dream because it's an ultimate goal to aspire to. It does glaze over a few things, but so does EVE.

How does ST glaze over things? Eugenics and transhumanism for one. A growing movement today, it'll be a key component to any space-faring civilization, but ST dismisses eugenics as a path to war (obviously a remnant of the shows WWII roots) and transhumanism as an easy way to lose ones humanity.

How does EVE glaze over things? It's called the Drake Equation. Part of this equation is a sort of half-life for a civilization. Either it reaches the stars or destroys itself when it reaches a critical point (also called a singularity) where its technological advancement has made it possible to do one or the other. There is a small chance colonization can be achieved without certain key resolutions, but the chances decrease geometrically as the race matures. The only reason the races of EVE exist is because they are actually 4 civilizations, each of which is (mostly) unified.

Where do I think we'll go? I think we'll manage to shake most (not all) of our cultural vices, but a sense of unified achievement, identity and purpose will be the key to survival. A unified humanity would in essence relieve us of ills compounded by a lack of international cooperation. War, famine, disease, etc...

The idea that concepts commonly known as the deadly sins will be somehow erased from humanity is ridiculous. There will always be war, especially on smaller scales. There will always be greed. There will always be gluttony and pride and wrath. It's part of our nature. The trial is to overcome these vices as best we can for the common good of our civilization.

The key thing to remember is that it's not about reaching an impossible utopia. The dreamers of our race must always push the whole of humanity to strive for as close to that utopia as possible. We will stumble and make horrible mistakes, but we must continue to evolve and improve until the last of us are gone from this universe. We must never give up, because if we do, we are doomed.

Hope some of that makes sense. I could go on and on but I'm having a hard time writing today.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Roc's Bio

We all know Colonel Roc Wieler. We know him from his ramblings and his Capsuleer project.

BUT! Did you know he's also a talented musical artist? Yeah, I'm kinda shocked as well. Shocked because the quality of his album, entitled "Bio" is a success in artistry that so often proves elusive to people to do this for a lucrative living.

Bio, as the name suggests, acts as a musical autobiography of Roc's RP life up to the present. His days as a young slave, participating in the Minmatar rebellion, becoming a capsuleer, joining the militia and seeking answers. Each track usually is only a minute or two long and is accompanied with a small blurb in the insert booklet explaining the track's RP inspiration.

I've written quite a few CD reviews in my past, but I've never felt the need to examine it on a track-by-track basis, until now. I wrote my thoughts and impressions as I listened to it.



Heavy guitar. Almost punk rock. I get the sense of Roc being literally forged in flames from mercury-like steel.

Path To Freedom.
Remember that CG cartoon Shadow Warriors? This reminds me of that shows opening. Inspiring a sense of nobility being called to arms in the face of unknown challenges ahead. Cool drum work. The second half of the track picks up a bit and adds choir vocals, reminding me of Halo.

Child of New Eden.

A voyage begun within the depths of space. More electronic work here then the first two. Different vocals here than Path To Freedom. These remind me of The Fifth Element's blue Diva lady. Very cool in a futuristic discovery sort of way.

The title track. Judging by the title, it's supposed to be about Roc's inner-self. The piano, brass and violin work among light electronic work and a slow tempo seem to depict a man of great pain and conviction. It almost has a Gaelic quality to it, which doesn't become apparent until the second half and actually it a little surprising, standing out sharply at first then coming together with the rest of the tune.


Liquid. I'm not sure if that makes any sense in an audio context, but I get the sense that I'm suspended within a tube of liquid, connected to machines. A large amount of the sound here has an electonica aspect to it.

Virgin Clone.
I get the sensation of preparing for battle. High-pitch brass work and deep drums. Varied choir work in the background, and a piano opening and closing the track. To be quite honest, I think this track and Capsuleer should trade titles.

Oh yeah, trippy. Odd sounds I can't begin to describe. Distortions on top of distortions. It's not a sense of incapacitation, rather a sense of hyper-reality, or hyper-stimulated senses. Slow, but exaggerating certain noise qualities that perhaps a normal human either can't sense or instinctually ignores. The longest track by more than a full minute, and I'm guessing that was on purpose.

Tribal drums. Dark. You get the sense you're in the middle of a desert near a campfire with warriors on a sacred hunt. The slight electronic element is interesting but to me doesn't quite fit as well as it should initially. The drums pick up the tempo two-thirds through. Warriors dancing?

Methodical anger and determination are what I get there. Electonica mixed half and half with tight, almost raspy drums. There's a sound of a hammer hitting an anvil, but I'm not sure where that fits in to the image here. Perhaps a ship being built?

Black Hole.

This is very different from the other tracks. Jazzy and slow. A sense of a cool club and bar set in blues and purples, filled with people dancing provocatively but in slow motion. Almost old-school jazz. Worthy of the Seatbelts.

Drums mixed at a medium-high tempo with a few violins and some vocals half way through. I get a sense of the world changing on the horizon.

War Declaration.
Majestic fleets slowly flying though space. Unimaginable destructive power and purpose. The strings are met with a deep throbbing drum and choir vocals with light electronic work to even out the edges.

Matar Colonel.

An army marching across a battlefield, led by a hero at the head of the formation. The troops gather their strength and pin their hopes on this man. Marching drums and high-pitch strings. Half-way through brass picks up but seems to come off melancholy for some reason. This track might be at home in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

Rise of The Republic.
The sense of a people rising up to wage war upon their oppressors. There's a sense of understood death here, as if the people will gladly throw themselves upon the swords of their enemies so that others may win the day. Fast tempo with sweeping brass and vocals. The drums here seem much more modern than the war drums in many of the other tracks. Again some electronic work to glue it together. Ends on a sorrowful note with a single violin and vocals.

Roc's Renegades.
A skilled team, tight-knit and defined in purpose. An electronic guitar is front-and-centre here. This really has a Bad Boys Jerry Bruckhiemer sounds to it.

What does the future hold of the Minmatar man forged in fire? That's what we ask ourselves here. Pretty much building on the first track with more layers. What's unique and quite surprising about this track is there are actual lyrics! Marcus, is that you? Dude, you can sing! Listening to this one can easily picture a music video featuring Roc and all the people intertwined in his story. This is easily my favorite track on the entire album.


The fusion of classical instruments and electronic effects creates a sense of new and old coming together together, symbolizing the basis of Minnmatar roleplaying. There are many layers here, but unlike most amateur works each layer is easy to focus on and is stark in its contribution to the piece. There are several uses of choir-like vocal melodies, but the last track is the only one with actual lyrics.

As word slowly spreads about this album, I hope it gets more play on the three main EVE radio stations. This is exactly the kind of musical quality that the EVE jukebox calls for. I'd recommend the buy, and if you like what you hear, email the EVE radio stations and tell them you want this to get more attention. If this is the genesis to an EVE original music movement, than it's one hell of a good start, and it should be supported.

This album is dedicated to Taniqua (Roc's beloved dog IRL) who was born January 13, 1998 and was taken from us far too early on April 24, 2008.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Prano's Journey #5: Naked.

The air was moist and the breeze hot on the beach. The sun beat down on Gigaer's naked body with an oppressive force. Exhaustion was beginning to set in and he felt his consciousness begin to give way.

All according to plan.

A planet on the outer edges of known space. Gigaer was probably the only sapient creature on the rock. The perfect place to isolate himself from everything he could in order to perform this specific and risky ritual.

He danced a deadly dance upon the blazing sand. Deadly because it involved the expert use of his kandjal. Deadly because this ritual lasted for days and required the participant to push himself beyond the breaking point, inducing a near-death experience.

For days now Gigaer felt something on the outer edges of his ethereal perceptions. Beyond the mist that blocked his view of eternity and protected his sanity, there was something looking back at him. This something was malicious to be sure, but he could not discern anything else. Such a sensation would not have normally prompted such a dangerous measure as the one he undertook now, but things were not so simple.

A message. One sent on an open channel and unencrypted. This was not truly out of the ordinary, until you take into account the sender. Eyes. Eyes was a man who didn't just live in the shadows of secrecy and subterfuge, no, Eyes WAS a shadow. As close to a non-entity as any human could be. The circumstances of the message put Gigaer on alert to be sure, but the content sent him into as close to a panic as he had been in years. It was only one word:


Eyes was surely dead, and that death was surely Gigaer's fault. Someone, or something, was hunting Gigaer, and somehow managed to get to Eyes.

Gigaer was not in the middle of nowhere to run. Running had never been an option. Eyes must have known that. The message was meant to warn Gigaer that he was being hunted and that evasion was key. Gigaer chose instead to hunt the hunter, and to that end needed information on his prey. Anyone who could outmaneuver Eyes would not exist to the rest of society, so searching any normal channels of data would be fruitless. Gigaer had to use extraordinary means.

Gigaer had grown much since the day he learned of his true heritage. At a height of 6 feet and 3 inches and a weight of 250 pounds, he was on par with the largest of Brutor. His constant training endowed him with dense muscles and low body fat that pulled his jet black skin taut, showing off every ripple and bulge. Due to his clan's history of inter-tribe relationships, his facial features took on the more expressive features of the Starkmanir. His eyes were a solid green that seemed to exude willpower, and his hair was ashen white (a rare Minmatar trait that he guessed hearkened back to a Krusual relative) which he wore in a large mane of dreads that extended down to the small of his back and were held together with thick crimson rope. Gigaer had undergone the Voluval when he was with the Elders, yet his tattoos covered his entire body, unlike most Minmatar whose markings were found only on the face and shoulder. A Prano's tattoos served a unique purpose, in which they would enhance the connection to the vital universal energies that the clan tapped in to.

Gigaer's body ceased to sweat some time ago and Gigaer had to fight to remain awake and upright. Before he began this ritual, he ingested a Matari plant known for its minor hallucinogenic effects. This would aid him on his quest for answers and help him pierce the veil between him and the universe for an infinitesimal moment. It was dangerous, but Gigaer saw it as the only way to proceed.

Gigaer has lost count of how many times he had gone through the specific series of kandjal forms, which was half dance and half fighting style. The repetition of these specific forms was meant to focus the mind on the task of seeking answers in the void.

Slowly Gigaer's perception pulled inward until the universe was only the whistle of his kandjal blade and the war drum-like thumping of his heart.









The sounds danced with each other inside his head until they coalesced into a single point of life. Gigaer existed as this speck of will and dashed along the border between nowhere and everywhere. There, for the first time, as he stared into eternity's swirling vortex of past and future, something was looking back at him... something human.

Gigaer opened his eyes. It was night and the stars above him were out. He guessed he had been unconscious for a few hours. Local scavengers had begun to approach, but scurried off and flew away once Gigaer managed to move again. his naked body lay sprawled out facing up. His kandjal was stuck in the sand a few feet away, where it must have flown the moment he lost consciousness and his grip on the weapon.

A few metres away lay a vast ocean. Before Gigaer would trek back to his Claw interceptor, he would take a dip in the cool waters and plan his next step.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My life in EVE - Part 22.

Energy Management V is a long skill to train...

Funny noobness from the little lady. I'm reading and she's mining, and she calls me over in a slight panic with, "Honey, something's trying to eat my ship!" which makes a big "?" appear over my head. I run over and find that a mining drone graphic is somehow fused to her Burst and was blinking rapidly in and out of existence. Now, anyone who's taken a look at a mining drone will agree that they look slightly organic and more than slightly menacing. Obviously once I figured out what was going on I laughed, told her what was going on and said it would disappear at some point. I think docking did the trick. In any case, it was cute. These little doe eyes looking at me worried she's gonna lose her poor little ship. I tell you I could just eat her up sometimes.

Right now she's working up the cash to buy those higher-level learning skills, which cost about 4.5mill a piece. She's well on her way though. She's getting comfortable with the UI and once her learning skills are in line she'll be joining EVE-Uni.

Quick question: anyone know a really easy way to calculate ore sales vs. refined material yield sales for someone who wants to evade the math? I'd set up a spreadsheet for her but I'm shit with Excel. Help plz!

Not finding a lot of time to log on, which is fine since I'm trying to get some writing done. Now that the tourney is done, I should be able to get really rolling.

Will be giving Roc's Bio my full attention this weekend. It will be a track-by-track impressions/streams-o-thought post on Monday. Usually I wouldn't do that for a CD review (which I used to write very often in my semi-pro writing days), but there's something special about this one. Don't expect me to be all fanboy about it though. I'm hard on Roc because I know he demands excellence from himself, so I'd be doing him a diservice if I just gushed.

Weeknight gaming time has been cut back since I've started going to a gym. Oh, right, that was the big announcement. I got a gym membership and I'll be going 4-5 times a week. The plan is to get in good enough shape to get through Reserves bootcamp this summer, which will put me on the right physical path to becoming a cop. I get an assessment every 8 weeks, and I'll be posting my accomplishments here. Had my first one last night, but I won't tell you how I did because I think my crapness was just a case of not working out in a decade. Things are looking very good so far though.

Gonna try for a fiction piece tomorrow. I want to outline what Gigaer actually looks like. Trying to think of an interesting way of doing it. Will probably write it tonight so I can get a woman's POV (the wife) since I want Gigaer to come off as more than a little attractive.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Thoughts on Apocrypha.

First, it's interesting to not the source of the word Apocrypha. CCP obviously is trying to play of the mysterious nature of the wormholes and Sleepers.

My thoughts, item by item. And no, I have not gotten on to Sisi to try some of this stuff out. I barely have time to play on TQ.

T3: Hell, I'm still trying to get skills for T2! Seriously though, I'm really happy with everything I've read and seen on this so far. A system providing more customization is always a welcome improvement in any MMO, and EVE has been lacking it on a visual level. Players like to fly bling, but customizable bling is exponentially better the more you can trick it out. It'll be quite some time before I can actually get one of these things for myself. I'm wondering if someone will come up with a program where you can not just build and fit them (like EFT), but also see what they look like. I also expect them to be super-expensive for some time, so that's another barrier for me at the moment. I like the fact that you can lose specific skill points if destroyed and there are penalties for disassembling the ship.

: I'm just beginning to get skills in place for exploration, so I'm glad This came around when it did. I doubt I'll be getting much use out of them unless the U'K or COGNet start scanning these things down as a group. No way I'm doing it solo.

Epic Missions
: I'm looking forward to this most of all. I'm primarily a mission-runner and adding a "choose your own adventure" aspect to vast combinations of missions should keep me talking to agents for the foreseeable future.

NPC A.I.: I might be worried about this one most of all. I know this only applies to the Sleepers for now, but eventually it'll be all NPCs, so the discussion is valid since feedback is critical. Don't get me wrong, I like the fact that they'll be smarter and the difference between PvE and PvP will slowly fade. My issue is the risk/reward balance. If they make any run-of-the-mill NPC too difficult while not boosting bounties and loot values properly, I predict a dramatic drop in mission-running across New Eden. If not done correctly, Missions will no longer be a viable source of solo income and players will have to look at other options. That said, I have faith in CCP and their ability to do this right. Expect to hear more about this from me in the future.

Skill Training: I've mentioned this before. I'll get some good use out of it, but the wife will really love this, since she's just starting. There have been some people complaining about the 24-hour limit, but to me it honestly makes sense. CCP wants people playing, not setting skills to train for a month and then taking off to play something else. True, it wouldn't be widespread, but to CCP it must be a concern. Maybe down the road they'll extend it, but for now anything is good.

Attribute Reallocation: Wow. Am I ever happy that I trained my charisma up for no apparent reason. Once this comes into effect, I'll just allocate it to Willpower or Perception. Making attributes fluid to a small degree will further help people cut down on skill-training time.

Box: I'm really hoping this works out for CCP. Advertising will be important, and we've heard little in that regard. I've always wondered what EVE would be like if it had the kind of subscription numbers were in the millions, instead of the hundreds of thousands.

UI Improvements: The only one I've heard of or seen was a new fitting window. It's OK, I guess. I'll have to try it out first.

EVElopedia: It's growing... slowly. Watching the World Domination presentation from Fanfest '08, they seemed to give the impression that there was a LOT more on the horizon. IMHO, they need to start pushing it more.

Effects: This will complete the Trinity graphical update, and I'm really looking forward to seeing it in it's full glory. The next alliance tourney will be a very different beast visually. Planet maps are nice, but I'm waiting for actual interaction.

Goodbye Classic: This... scares me. I'm relatively sure my comp can run the Premium Lite client, but I won't know for sure until it is released. If I can't, I'll have no way to access EVE until I can build my new comp, which will not be for a few months. I fully understand why CCP is doing this. I just hope I don't get screwed.

I think that's it. Those are my thoughts, for whatever they're worth.


Monday, February 9, 2009

6th Alliance Tournament: Recap and Lessons.

Before I get to the topic at hand, a little history lesson. 26 years ago today, the wonderful couple of Mario and Patrizia Paniccia gave birth to a baby boy. They named him Giancarlo. He was healthy, didn't cry too much, slept a lot and was full of potential. They didn't have a lot of money, but a lot of love, determination and a supportive family with good values. They were the best parents Giancarlo could ever ask for. They both deserve a fraking chest-full of medals for putting up with that brat. So, if you wish to comment, please don't wish me a happy birthday. Instead, praise my parents for their saint-like patience and superhuman resolve. I'll be sure they read it.

Now, on to the Tourney.

Obviously I called the finals wrong, but to be honest it really could have gone either way. Both teams had what it took to win it, but only won could be crowned champ. Pandemic Legion are enemies of the U'K at present, but I'm sure my entire alliance congratulates them on a much-deserved win. As for R.U.R., I'm sure they'll be getting a pretty big boost in recruitment.

I made picks for every round, which you can see in posts I made on the weekend. I think I got about 50/50 between right and wrong calls, which I think is pretty good considering my relative noobness. There were so many great matches, I hope CCP and EON see fit to put out a DVD.

The entire tourney was a huge thrill to watch, and I learned quite a bit. For instance, I learned:

- I can't afford to avoid flying Amarr ships because of my RPing. I'll just have to work it in.
- Fleet Stabbers and Command Ships are better than I thought they were.
- A smart pilot can really make amazing use of sentry drones.
- Drakes are not as good as I thought they were.
- FoF missiles are tricky, but useful.
- The Abaddon looks like a Battlestar. I want.
- Sensor boosting and Marauders are a match made in heaven.
- Stevie is hawt.
- Every ship has a drone bay. Every pilot should make use of it.
- A good FC is worth more than his or her ship's mass in Mercoxit.
- Screaming at the screen will not turn a match in your team's favour.
- A cool head is a pilot's best asset.
- CCP Soundwave says "Um" and "Uh" a lot, but is a great host.
- Hero-tanking needs a guide.
- A ship can be too fast.
- Smartbombs are great for anti-drone warfare, but misuse can kill pilots on your side.
- Tenacity, guile and thinking outside the box go a long way in small-gang warfare.
- The 8th Alliance Tournament is going to be awesome!

Huge kudos go to CCP, EVE TV commentators, all three EVE radio stations, all combatants, viewers/listeners and everyone online at the time EVE hit its new PCU of well over 51000. I'm looking forward to participating in next year's U'K tourney effort.


Sunday, February 8, 2009

6th Alliance Tournament Semi Finals

Grid - Picks.

1st match: Neither team changed their setups from their last matches, and it was interesting to see who would last longer, the Navy Omens or the Nighthawks. The boundary violations in a match like this are crippling. Things were extremely close up until that point. Once that Nighthawk was lost to a violation, it was pretty much over. R.U.R. move on to the finals.

2nd match: That was the most chaotic tourney match I've ever seen, but not nearly as close as everyone thought it would be. I think Evoke's big mistake was to focus on the Claymore first. That initial time could have been better used by going after the Sleipnir which would remove a nice chunk of DPS from Pandemic.

My pick to WIN the 6th Alliance Tournament is ***R.U.R.***

I'll post about the final match tomorrow. Hopefully the Youtube video will be up.


6th Alliance Tournament Quarter Finals.



I got myself and the wife logged in to help with a new PCU.

1st match: This was a great showcase for Ruptures and Navy Omens. The Omens using a nos-based strat really worked well and kept those ships charged and in the fight, while crippling the opposition just enough to get the edge. Not much surprising here as R.U.R. wins convincingly.

2nd match: This match is an interesting study in how to use and support Ishkurs properly. I have no idea why the Aries was there. G00DFELLAS did a great job focusing on and taking out those Sleipnirs quickly. It may be a good idea to mix Command Ships instead of bringing 5 of the same class.

3rd match: I can understand bringing the Domis again, but why keep the Vigils? Making the Navy Omens priority targets was the right thing to do, but the Domis did not have the kind of DPS necessary to take out enough ship quickly enough to turn the fight in their favour. No surprise the Fleet Stabbers survived as well as they could. The Vigil laser-tag while the Fleet Stabbers salvage and loot was kinda funny. In the end we got a self-destruct from a Vigil, earning Agony 150mil isk for noob training. Is it me, or does an Abaddon look like a Battlestar...

4th match: OK, I was wrong about Marauders. They can work in this format. The whole thing happened so fast and so odd. There was the bait Curse with the drone tanking, and the shocking loss of both Sleipnirs while the Vulture buffs everyone's shields even further. Of all the quarter final matches I want to see on YouTube, I want to see this one first. Inspired work by Pandemic Legion.

Picks for the Semi Finals:

- R.U.R. over G00DFELLAS
- Pandemic Legion over Evoke


6th Alliance Tournament Finals (16)

Grid here. My picks here.

1st match: This came down to pure DPS, and R.U.R. brought more. They managed to get the U'K's Fleet Stabbers webbed quickly and took them out. No problems with U'K's FCing or setup, but it may have been smart to rely more on the Stabbers' drones and make full use of the ships' agility to stay alive while the drones did the work. I think our FC expected smartbombs from R.U.R., but I didn't see any. I'm really sad Ushra'Khan is out, but going out to a team like R.U.R. is nothing to be disappointed about.

2nd match: I like Command Ships, and I really like the Sleipnir, but I don't think bringing any more than 3 is a waste of points, and I'm stunned at how fast they were folding under fire. I think if their theory was to compound gang bonuses, than a Claymore or a Vulture would have been a better choice. To me, FI's team smacks of not being thought through. We saw a proper use of Drakes this time, which is to compliment a gang, not to be the backbone of one. Good move setting them up with EW.

3rd match: Those Ishkurs went out really quickly, and a proper use of anti-drone tactics, and once they were gone the Nighthawks were a lost cause. That Firetail was far more critical than anyone could have expected. AND THEN THE HERO WAS BORN! Superb piloting from that Nighthawk, pulling it out and winning it for the G00DFELLAS by 0m smartbombing an Abaddon and precision-missiling that Firetail. If I had isk to spare I'd send some to him.


4th match: Again, a little EW goes a long way against Marauders. Those Fleet Stabbers trumped those Ishkurs easily. Solid showing from The Five.

5th match: I didn't think 5 Domis would be a smart gang, but the fact is they're super solid and very versatile. One thing I can't understand is why that one Domi started smartbombing their own sentries. Good win for Agony Empire.

6th match: Going in, I was really hoping Star Fraction would win for the RPers, but this one really came down to pilot skill, and Evoke just brought more punch. Those Caracals could have done the job if They'd switch out the Domi for something some supportive a Command Ship. Evoke moves on with good use of Fleet Stabbers.

7th match: My jaw dropped when I saw that net of cap transfer beams between those Rokhs, but unfortunately there was not nearly enough DPS coming from AAA to do anything. Things went a little more wrong when one of your players crashes. It was just a matter of time.

8th match: I think the 5 Ishtars were a mistake, especially against Fleet Stabbers. I knew how this was going to go as soon as I saw what everyone brought.

A lot of good calls yesterday, and so far the complete opposite.

My calls for the quarter-finals:

- R.U.R. over Unaffiliated
- G00DFELLAS over The Five
- Agony Empire over Evoke
- Pandemic Legion over Cult of War


Saturday, February 7, 2009

6th Alliance Tournament Finals: Saturday

Breakfast with the wife and awesome pew-pew. I love the weekend.

Again, my calls are here. The match grid is here.

1st match: I'm not surprised R.U.R. pulled it out. They had another awesome setup. No surprise.

2nd match: WE COME FOR OUR PEOPLE!!!

3rd match: I have a feeling Marauders are going to go the way of the Destroyer, once the difference between PvE and PvP begin to fade away. Good win for Unaffiliated.

4th match: Close match, and the first of what will be many wrong calls by me. Good win by Firmus Ixion and a good try by The Church.

5th match: Hump-my-monitor goodness! I'm so glad the Privateers didn't make it through. From what I could tell it came down to poor FCing, since the DT's Abaddons were not called targets at all, when taking them out early would have killed DT's DPS potential. Oddest Rokh setup ever. Roc would be happy to see a Firetail, though I'm not sure what it was doing other than flying around really really fast.

6th match: Ishtar Jesus fails again. I'm still not sure why we've seen people rely so much on this ship but it's not really working very well. Bad choices with drone use as well lead to a clean victory for G00DFELLAS.

7th match: I think the critical points here were the DPS of the Paladins and the overly spread-out damage from G4L. Cry Havoc are the popular favorites to take the whole tourney, and they showed why in this match. If the Paladins had gone down faster, G4L might have taken it. CH very wisely mixed crystals to expand their effective range while not losing too much DPS, which to me flies in the face of people who think any setups that mix ranges or active and passive are fail. By biggest regret here was the lack of double-entendres from the commentators, which were so fun last time G4L fought.

8th match: Wow. The Five's win here was extremely convincing. I'm not entirely sure why V3 lost so badly, but I'm guessing it's a combo of a lack of proper FCing and strong EW from The Five. If I were the V3 FC, I would have picked off the Caracals first thing, them being slightly fragile. The Rattlesnake was a little bit of a surprise, but it's funny that it started looting near the end of the match.

9th match: I'm really impressed how well the Fleet Stabbers and Vagabonds are doing in this tournament. Once the smaller ships were gone, the Apocs had no chance against foes with the kind of speed Fleet Stabbers can put out. Great show by HUZZAH.

10th match: Huge battleship slugfest. Smart FCing to take out those Griffins right away, since their EW could be a huge problem. Agony's FC deserves kudos for that match.

11th match: Evoke were last year's winners, and they just barely managed to pull through. Normally I'd vote for Fourth District, them being RPers, and they really had a strong showing, it being neck and neck for quite a while. One of the most entertaining matches I've ever seen, especially with that crazy Vigil. Both teams deserve to move on just for pure guts. Great work all around.

12th match
: Two great RP alliances, and I'd be happy with either going through. The match started with 15 Fleet Stabbers, and almost every ship on the field was Minmatar. Because the setups were so similar, IMHO it all came down to FC skill. A lesson to learn from EM's loss is to be careful with smartbombs. Remember it's an AOE weapon and damages everything in range, including your friendlies. Kudos to Star Fraction for the win.

Someone PLEASE write a guide to "HERO TANKING"!

13th match: More awesome Fleet Stabbers! Now I want one. I find it odd that a team would choose a Claymore over a Sleipnir. In fact, if it were my call I'd bring 2 Sleipnirs and then fill out the rest with Fleet Stabbers. Regardless, great win for AAA. HUN was completely overwhelmed.

14th match: 15 Navy Caracals? They're OK, I would have chosen something else. That Huginn was more useful than I thought it would be. This is a good kind of grudge match. These teams want nothing more than to kick each others' asses, but there's no malice. It's called good gamesmanship, and there are a lot of EVE players who need to learn about it. Gratz to Cult of War for the win.

15th match: More Fleet Stabbers? SHOCKING! Actually I'm not impressed with either team, though the FC for the Wrong Alliance did the right thing in taking those Ishkurs out before focusing on the Apocs. I think a lot of people disregard Hurricanes, but they've done very well in this tourney. Good win for The Wrong Alliance.

16th match: Ospreys? Really? This smacks of an FC just trying to stand out in ways other than winning. I was relatively sure Pandemic Legion was going to beat them, but I don't think they expecting the setup-o-lulz.

My calls for tomorrow's first matches are:

- Ushra'Khan over R.U.R.
- Unaffiliated over Firmus Ixion
- G00DFELLAS over Dead Terrorists
- Cry Hovoc over The Five
- Agony over HUZZAH
- Star Fraction over Evoke
- Against All Authorities over Cult of War
- Pandemic Legion over The Wrong Alliance

I'll post after every round of matches tomorrow, and Monday I'll go over best moments and lessons learned.

Hope you enjoyed today's matches. EPIC thanks to all combatants, everyone at CCP, the EVE TV team, commentators and everyone at the 3 EVE radio stations.


Friday, February 6, 2009

A Proposition: The Anti-Goon Coalition.

I felt I should follow-up on and expand on my idea from yesterday's post, considering the feedback I got on it.

First, the latest news on BoB.

The worry to me right now is the assets the Goons now have could create a critical mass effect, allowing them to eventually take full control, or at least effective domination of nullsec. This worry is compounded by the fact that Goons have never hidden that they'll gladly ruin the experience of players who are not goons by any means necessary. Their actions are often (if not always) dishonourable, even by New Eden standards.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "Hey, I don't care about nullsec. I'm a pirate or an indy or in FW or in low-sec. It has nothing to do with me". You'd be wrong. If this were to come to pass, Goon control of the markets through O.0 resources would be a problem affecting everyone as far in as 1.0 systems. The implications of an alliance like the Goons with that much control would be problematic for all.

There is a chance that they'll get penisy and expand too quickly, over-stressing their ability to hold space, and in the end turn up with less assets than they started with pre-BoB implosion. That would be the best scenario for all.

Perhaps I should qualify my use of "implosion". IMHO, it's BoB's fault that the Goons accomplished what they did. Others have commented on the horrible state of inter-BoB politics, so I won't rehash that. It'll be perfectly apparent once their forums are published. That said, NO alliance deserves this fate. I wouldn't even wish it on the CVA or the Privateers, whom I hate deeply.

BoB may rebuild, but the ifs and whens are still too many for anyone to count on them to hold the balance they created with the Goon threat. We may have to think a little... radical.

A coalition would not operate the same way as an alliance. An alliance in EVE is a registered entity, one that can be just as vulnerable as it can be effective against a foe such as this. A coalition would be a banding-together of alliances and corps through diplomatic and economic channels in common interest. Remaining separate entities with their own autonomous command structures and operations, they would commit to unified anti-goon operations and policies.

If nullsec becomes an us vs. them situation, then we best be sure that we are ready to show a united front.

If such a conflict were to go hot, it would make any previous event in EVE history look like a pissing match between grade-schoolers. The heroes of this event would not be warriors, but the peace-makers and the diplomats. In human history, people like that in dark times are considered as true heroes and patriots and visionaries. Their names echo through the ages along with songs and poems of their epic deeds, burning souls and mettle hearts.

Let me know what you think. Am I being too dramatic about all this? Is such a coalition possible? Would such a coalition even work if the Goons accomplish what I fear they may?

Other than that...

Planning on posting several times on the weekend in an effort to keep up with the Alliance tourney finals. I'll also be on Twitter and in-game channels commenting. At night hopefully I'll find the strength to write some of that ENN fiction still in limbo.

Next week, A review of Roc's Bio, a big step forward IRL, my first serious use of drones, and hopefully some fiction.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

My life in EVE - Part 21.

Small correction. I'm not yet a year old in EVE. I was looking at the wrong readout. Will be a year old March 10th. Wait... when does the next expansion come out?

I haven't been logging on too much lately. RL, coupled with some writing that I plan to post on ENN, and add on to that my crazed fascination with the alliance tourney... it doesn't leave much time for pew-pew. I have been mining a bit for the lady though between matches.

Of course, I've been keeping up with my skill training. 14 days for Energy Management... ugh.

Got around to buying some drones for my Maelstrom last night. I'll need them for whatever my 1200mm arties can't hit. I may also buy some mediums, but I need to check with EFT. I was considering ECM drones as well, and I uncovered some contradictory opinions. Some people seem to think ECM drones won't work against NPCs. This is not true. The fact that most missioners don't use ECM drones is due to them rarely being of any use in that format. 1 vs.20 isn't something you'll often come up against and decide to slug it out on in PvP, but it's common in missions. There's just too many targets to make ECM drones worthwhile.

I'm really happy with the announced skill queue system. The 24h time-frame keeps things from getting too AFK while allowing players the ability to log in just to change skills as often. If you think about it, it saves CCP a little server power. I'm not going to get such a huge boost out of this, but the wife, who's just getting started, is going to LOVE it.

Got my copy of EON #14, and on the same day my copy of Roc's Bio came in. I need to get the tracks ripped to my MP3 player, as I've already got it on my 360. I'm going to give it a few good listens and offer a review next week.

CK's article in EON about Fanfest is a masterwork. I read it twice in one night and am now so jazzed about going I'm trying to convince the wife we should go there in 2010 instead of Boston for PAX. Let's just say that for now, she's skeptical, but receptive. EVE needs to work its hooks into her more before she'll go along with this. I'd go this year, but I'm pretty sure I won't have the cash for it, or anything else.

Last night, as I was buying those drones, BoB Alliance disbanded. I stayed up way too late trying to keep track of the situation. I won't rehash everything you can read from the link and in the forums, but I will offer my opinions.

Firstly, I hate Goons almost as much as I hate metagaming, so I'm not happy about what happened. That said, if it was not a bug or haxploit, CCP should not get involved. Director-level espionage of this magnitude, though almost unheard of, is within the rules of the game. There are rumours of a lot of BoB in-fighting and stress fractures that may have allowed something like this to happen.

Time will tell. I'm very interested to see what comes to light when the Goons publish the BoB forum records.

From what I heard, the Goons made off with a little over a trillion in pure isk, and a few more trillion in ships, modules and BPOs. Almost immediately after this hit I heard about at least 3 huge fleets going into Delve trying to grab what they could. It's probably going to be chaos in that region for a while, and I'd advise anyone not looking to run up against multiple gate camps and roaming gangs to avoid it.

What I found particularly interesting is that many of the ex-BoBs on the forums didn't seem to be too pissed about all this. Many BoBs automatically had their tickers changed to Goon, and there was far less emoragequit so far than you'd expect (yeah, look at the wonderful kinds of words you can learn on the EVE-O forums).

My main concern at the moment is how this effects the U'K. We're already having issues with Goons trying to take AAA's space, and I know that BoB was somewhere in the background of the conflict on AAA's side. Without BoB, AAA may not be able to handle things and be forced to leave, which would put us in a bad situation. I have confidence in UNITY brass to figure this out and handle it, but being put in such a situation is still not something I relish.

If anyone's looking at SOV maps and seeing posts that say "Goons win!", and if the bile is beginning to rise, then I think it's time we do something about it. Not so much an official alliance, but a vast coalition against all things Goon between as many corps and alliances as possible. Whether we like it or not, things may quickly become us vs. them.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

6th Alliance Tournament: finals (32) picks.

Hello! Welcome to my 100th post. I'm happy that it coincides with such a momentous event in EVE history. I'm also 1 year + 8 days old in EVE, but that's a topic for another post.

The match tree for the finals can be found HERE.

I'll be posting a special weekend report Saturday night, and maybe more during the Sunday matches at the beginning of the 16, crazy 8s, quarters, semis and final round.. I'll also be on Twitter live-twitting it up @PsycheDiver.

Obviously we're dealing with a lot of tight matches. Equally obvious is the fact that anyone's ability to "call" these matches is 99% guessing. There's just not enough information to educate oneself on the ability and readiness of these teams. They've all been training for months with setups and tactics that we've never seen before. Luck is a definite factor. I'm sure you poker players out there can appreciate that (I'm looking at you Mynx).

My picks ARE coloured by who I want to win, just as much as who I think will win.

So... my picks are (drumroll please):

R.U.R. (Hurra for the underdogs)
Ushra'Khan (My bet to take the whole tourney)
The Church

Dead Terrorists (Ahmed FTW)
Gay4Life (Just too much fun for the commentators)
The Five
Huzzah Federation
Agony Empire

Electus Matari (One RP alliance vs. another, hard call but I think EM wants it more)
Against All Authorities (Friends of the U'K)
Otherworld Empire Productions (Cult of War had a better showing so far, but OEP is loved by many)
The Wrong Alliance
Pandemic Legion

Looking forward to comments flaming me and telling me I'm just dead wrong. Seriously, let me know what you think.

Good luck to all the competitors.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

/Gigaer puts "Salvager" on capsuleer resume.

After being told that the time/cost/profit ratios were very beneficial towards mission salvaging, even if you have to drop a bookmark or two and run back for a dedicated ship to do it, I've finally gotten around to buying a Catalyst (my first Gallente ship) and outfitting it as a salvager. 4 tractor beams, 4 small salvagers, an AB and 3 extended cargoholds. The CSF Rake is ready to go!

As I was looking into the mechanics of salvaging among the series of tubes, I ran across a fragment - a ghost really - of info regarding salvaging drones. As some point during the not-too-distant past, there was a skill called "Salvaging Drone Operation". I can't find any record of those drones ever existing, and the skill only existed for a few days before it was removed, but it got me thinking.

Not everyone uses drones, but everyone would like to salvage given the opportunity. Every ship has a drone bay, so why not give another option of how to utilize it? It also frees up high-slots and cap from the demanding tractor/salvager setup. What capsuleer would not want to have the ability to take salvage materials from a ship he just popped?

There are some arguments against it though. Allow me to play devil's advocate.

1) It would allow ships like the Domi to be salvaging monsters.

Domis are already super-popular, so I doubt this will change things much. We have ships not built to mine mining, even when we have ships like barges, exhumers, the Orca or Rorqual, people have still use industrials, Apocs and carriers to mine (I even see some people using destroyers and BCs for it). My CSF Rake could probably salvage almost as efficiently as a Domi could with salvaging drones. Salvaging doesn't need a dedicated ship type, but a dedicated drone would be an interesting and useful option.

2) It's not a job drones should be able to do. What if your drone has more salvage than you can accommodate?

Have you ever heard of a mining drone? Fact is all drones have cargo space, but most don't use it. If your mining drone has more ore than you can take on, it disappears because you're AFK or maybe just careless. Hell, mining lasers do the same thing. Why should a salvaging drone be any different?

3) The tractor/salvager setup is more efficient.

That could very well be the case, but unless we had a salvaging drone in TQ to compare it to, there's no way to be sure. Some people just don't want to have to run back for a different ship every mission. What if you're in a roaming gang or a pirate? low and null are not exactly places to be flying around with a ship with no weapons and no tank, and many don't want to waste one or two high slots on a skip that should be dedicated to combat. There's also the issue with T3 and wormholes where you also have to take into account mass transfer. Even if the drone option is slower, in many situations it could be the only feasible option.

4) If CCP took the skill away, there was probably a reason.

Titans were on the drawing board since '05. The fact that the skill existed at all means someone at CCP had to make it, and I doubt it was something they did on their spare time. My guess is that it was something that was in the works that made it into an expansion or patch by mistake. It's probably still on the drawing board, being balanced. If we insist on it as a group, we'll get it.

5) It would make salvaging too easy.

You still need to pop a ship before you can salvage the wreck. It's not like flying up to a roid and slapping it around with lasers. The spoils are not so great that it would cause a problem. Now, from an RP POV, think about what a drone manufacturer (CreoDron, for example) would want to do to supply capsuleer demand for salvaging equipment.

6) It would cause prices on salvaged materials to crash.

Again, we're not talking about a HUGE amount of materials that are just being left out in space to vanish. Smart missioners are already using a salvaging-specific ship. I really doubt there would be more than a 5% increase in supply on the entire market.

I think I've made my point. Agree? Disagree? Let me know.


Monday, February 2, 2009

6th Alliance Tournament: 2nd qualifier.

Well, THAT was interesting!

Out of 32 matches, I managed to call 7 on the first day and 10 on the second. 17 out of 32 isn't bad. Most of my choices were who I wanted to continue to the finals, not who I thought would win.

Obviously I'm thrilled that the Ushra'Khan did so well, and I sent a letter of personal thanks to our FC, Seliah. Those of you who read the final chapter of Last Son of Prano may recognize that name. Other pleasant wins came from AAA, Electus Matari and Gay4Life (I'm glad G4L won because the commentary was FULL of gay joke double-entendres that had the wife and I rolling).

The Bastards fought really hard but unfortunately didn't manage to pull out a win. Best wishes to those sexy pirate beasts and I hope to see them in the next tourney, since I plan on being on the U'K team and would love to take it to them RP-style.

In hindsight, I'm glad the FW teams didn't do to well. It's quite obvious that all 4 teams needed better organization. It's a hard but good lesson to learn. Hopefully CCP is looking at their performance and forum comments in order to weed out problems in the FW system.

It's an amazing thing to see an unknown team like R.U.R. dominate a tourney filled with old war dogs. I hope they get a nice healthy spike in members because of this.

The final score tallies are up!
The match schedule will probably be up soon as well. When it does pop up I'll make my picks. I'm going to review the YouTube vids of all prior matches and try to make educated guesses, but obviously I'm looking to see the U'K go all the way.

After all is said and done, I'll do a post about the best moments of the tourney and how CCP can make it better.

Big props go to everyone who participated in the tourney, including the stellar coverage from the radio stations. Congrats go to everyone who made it through to the finals.