For the best experience use full HD.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Sniper Talos

Jester's Fit of the Week this week is a hands down damage dealing beast. It is a shield tanked and PvP fit Talos. I asked Jester about armor tanking it and he was very polite. Jester is a nice man like that. Just don't piss off his evil twin Garth (who we've not heard from in some time and that makes me worry.)

So, to the point. Below Jester's reply Hoarr pointed out armor fit for PvP in a Talos is not just a no but a NO! I agree. What I didn't make clear in my question of Jester was that the Talos I had in mind is sniper fit. It's something I hoped to try out when the Goons declared war against MABMM earlier this month. I never got the chance. Some day I will. I have no doubt.

So, to the point of the post. Since I wasn't clear on Jester's blog and I needed a topic anyway, I decided I'd enter the realm of fit critiquing and offer up my Sniper Talos as fodder. Here it is.
Sniper Talos
What I really like about this ship is that is has a fast lock (3 seconds on most frigates) and a sit-up-and-take-notice alpha strike. I can mix and match drones as "assistants" (your mix may vary.) It also as a good range versus hit profile. Here are the charts.
Now, since we've already established that the armor repper is undesirable, throw it out. You shouldn't be close enough to your target to need it. As Jester pointed out, overheating your MWD gives a top speed over 2200m/s. You should be able to kite just about anything at that speed and those ships you can't will explode long before they can hurt you. Right?

So what can we use instead of the repper? Well, just about anything, but another Mag Stab boosts alpha to nearly 3900. O.O Also, if you don't like that range chart just switch to Spike. It'll cost you some alpha and DPS but you'll get a chart like this.
Now who doesn't like the look of this chart? There is one word of warning I have though. These are still battleship turrets. They are massive and they take time to turn. Tracking is not great even with the tracking enhancement modules. The closer the target is and the more transverse velocity it has the harder it will be to hit. Don't let the target get within 30K is all I can say. The front of the curve with any transverse velocity applied is ugly. Of course, anyone who decides to close on this ship is either suicidal or just plain foolish. It aligns in 6 seconds and can just dance away if you don't want to warp out.

So, that's my sniper Talos. I know it's not perfect - nothing ever is. And it isn't a PvP monster like Jester's.  Sitting safely at range isn't exactly the stuff of PvP legend. But I'm a carebear. I'm not interested in being a legend. I just don't want to wake up in a clone vat.

Fly careful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Habits of the Genus Homo Goonus

The war is over! Mabrick Mining and Manufacturing has no cross hairs trained on our corporate logo. I suppose I should take this opportunity to make a Jita run... or not.

Regardless, there are a couple of "things" to take away from this whole experience. They're not awe inspiring things but perhaps they will be thought provoking.
  1. Just because you have war brought against you is no reason to hide or rage quit. That's ludicrous. This is a sandbox, a very large one. Explore it! War is an excuse for a carebear to to stop caring about the bottom line, buy a few ships with your hard earned profit and have a little fun. Don't waste it: embrace it!
  2. If the Goons declare war against you, just remember this: they can't be everywhere at once. You have nothing to fear but fear itself. Just stay paranoid and move cautiously.You can still carebear. Just practice safe habits.
    1. Don't fly what you can't afford to lose.
    2. Put a tank on your damn ship for god sake.
    3. Stay aligned at all times.
    4. Dock if things make you too nervous - stay paranoid.
    5. Make some fast un-dock locations so you can get out again.
    6. Make some safe spots were you can hang out for awhile (preferably cloaked.)
And about that habit thing, I'm reading a fascinating book right now titled The Power of Habit. The take away from that book for this last event is this: all large organizations have habits. What are the Genus Homo Goonus' habits? They are there, believe me. We all have them. That includes you whether you realize it or not. The key is knowing what those habits are and using that knowledge constructively.

To wit, all habits take the from of a cue, a response and a reward. This is the habit cycle. For the Goons one could say the reward is a good fight. Or, you could say it is juicy tears. Or, you could say it is fame/infamy. Those would all be wrong. It has to be something everyone within Goons shares or the alliance wouldn't exist at all. So what is it? Let's analyze the cue and it'll give us the answer we seek. 

When does Homo Goonus act out? When are they the most Goon like? Others have mentioned this so it isn't too hard to figure. When they get bored. The cue for the Homo Goonus habit cycle is plain boredom. They have to do something about it. Simple uh? Cues don't have to be elaborate at all.

So, what is the reward? That's right, the elimination of boredom! See, it really is simple. And what are the responses that get Homo Goonus from cue to reward? Right again! Burn Jita, Hulkageddon and declaring war on high-sec carebears are all responses to the cue of boredom intended to bring about the reward or, in this case, the end of boredom.

Now that's the easy stuff to figure out. There is one more aspect of habit and it is all important. Habits need  this to keep the habit circle intact. You see, we go through this cue, response and reward cycle over an over. What brings us back to cue from reward?

Well, it could be that the reward we wanted didn't happen. That is not what happened with the high-sec wars though. Homo Goonus got the good fight and even some juicy tears. It was not boring for them I think even if it didn't go down the way they anticipated. And having a reward thwarted is especially dangerous to organizations but more on this in a moment. So what is it that bring habits full circle?

The last piece of the habit circle is craving. Craving is the engine that drives the habit circle from reward back to cue so it can happen all over again. When this craving is unhealthy we call it addiction. It is a fine line. But it has to be there. If it is not there, a habit can never form.

So what is the craving that drives Homo Goonus' habit? An interesting aspect of craving when it comes to large organizations is that it only has to reside with one person - the organization's leader - the Head Coach - the Dean - the CEO. In this instance, I believe the craving is for power: power over Homo Goonus; power over New Eden; perhaps even power over CCP itself. And because a single person's craving drives the habit cycle of many, it is up to that person to direct the cycle and engineer the responses that bring cue to reward.

But there is danger in that. If the response fails to bring reward, the cycle will break. At that point, Homo Goonus must find a way to reestablish it or shatter. It has to. That is the nature of habit. And Homo Goonus will do whatever it must to make the circle whole again - even if that means finding a new engine for the cycle. When craving resides in a single leader, that means a change in leadership.

I am certain The Mittani knows this at some level. That has to be a sobering realization - or one to get drunk over perhaps. That is why the Delve campaign is suddenly Homo Goonus' - that's right - new response. If The Mittani doesn't keep giving them collective responses... boom go the Goons.

But beware! This is perhaps an unwinnable situation for The Mittani. If all his engineered responses succeed, and they quell all opposition, wouldn't that bring Pax Goonus? What then would Homo Goonus do when cued by boredom? Boom go the Goons.

Fly careful.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What Roc Says Here

Roc Wieler needs you to read his latest post Supporting Our Own. Please click on the link and read what he has to say - it's important. Then make a difference. Thank you.

Fly careful.

Monday, June 25, 2012

RAZOR Alliance - Occam's Namesake?

"Ha-ha-ha! Hello, boys! I'm back!" - Russel Casse, Independence Day

This was certainly enjoyable theater.



But I'm not convinced RAZOR Alliance's info film accurately predicts the psycological state of their carebears if those carebears were to meet the ginormous Thor "Darwin" missile. It seems there might be a simpler outcome. They might just shrug and get in another ship - rinse, lather, repeat. It's the power of habit that matters. More on that in a later post. It's time to login and see what the Goons are up to!

Edit (04:30:) Well, I am no longer war-decced by the largest alliance in New Eden. It seems they found a bigger chew toy. However, I am still war-decced by a seven capsuleer splinter corporation named Goonwaffle... oops, sorry, misread that - they are Goonwaffie. Is that like Goonwaffe only smaller?

Fly careful.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Why the Goon's Forever-War Glitched

There is a new science emerging. It is the science that drives the gamification of all that we do. If you have not familiarized yourself with the theories of this science you should. It is already affecting your every day lives. It also affects your Eve lives.

One of my favorite PhD's in this new science is Nick Yee. Though most of his research has been using World of Warcraft, his studies are scientifically based and apply to gaming in general - even Eve Online. By reading his findings, one can get an appreciation for the various types of players that exist in all games. It also sheds light on the personalities of the players that adopt certain play styles. The fascinating thing of this is, we all use play styles in our every day lives whether we realize it or not. Sometimes we call them habits. Sometimes we call them talent. Sometimes (most times?) we don't even know we are doing it. These behaviors become predictable as the retail chain Target proved. They can even predict a young woman's best kept secret.

So back to Nick Yee and how this all applies to Eve Online. Nick has developed a list of basic player motivations derived from the older Bartle's list of MUD player types. This isn't just his best guess. The man has a PhD on this subject. These are scientifically quantified behaviors. Here is what he's determined the basic motivations for playing a MMORPG are (descriptions are my paraphrasing; You can read the full descriptions here:)

  • Relationship - the desire to form meaningful relationships.
  • Immersion - the desire to make it "real."
  • Grief - the desire to use other players to get ahead.
  • Achievement - the desire to become powerful.
  • Leadership - the only one not linked to desire, it is gregarious assertiveness.

Now, to the subject. These are motivations that apply not to just to carebears or Goons. They are not defined by null-sec or high-sec. These motivations exist every location and in every capsuleer. They are, at their very heart, basic human drives. A carebear craves to become powerful in terms of ISK so they are an achiever just as much as The Mittani is an achiever with his powerful coalition. The Mittani also displays Leadership whether you care to admit it or not. The Goons are - 'nuf said. But so does Chribba (and if you don't know what he's done for Eve shame on you.) He's a carebear!

One important thing to remember is these are not pure categories. We all incorporate some of each into our personal motivations. We choose which motivation to follow but that does not mean we don't have other motivations. Under The Mittani are many more who have the leadership motivation. Those same pilots may have achievement and grief motivations as well. At what point does achievement trump loyalty and grief come into play?

So what are the possible motivations of other Eve play styles? What about pirates? I'd say they are perhaps motivated in the areas of relationship (with other pirates of course) and perhaps grief. They are also inclined to immersion so long as it pertains to pirating - YARR!. There may be a healthy dose of achievement in there too. How many kills do you have?

A good immersion oriented Eve play style is the Militia capsuleer. They are in an ongoing story up to their eyeballs with faction warfare. But, are they not also motivated by grief? And what of the griefer? Is grief their only motivation or does achievement guide them as well? Do they typically fail at the leadership motivation? Who wants to follow a liar, thief and murderer? No, wait, don't answer that. I'm in enough trouble already.

Knowing all this, you can understand why the Goon's attempt to declare war on high-sec was a flawed idea to begin with. They see high-sec as filled with carebears who would all run or capitulate. They saw them as achievers only, interested in making ISK to the exclusion of all else and willing to run, hide or un-subscribe rather than give up their achiever dreams. That's a stereotype of the worst sort. It ignores the other motivations completely. Without considering those, the Goons didn't grok there are those in high-sec that will allow their other motivations to come to the front - like grief. That's how you get stuck in a mutual war.

But we all stereotype. Didn't I see the Goons as Reavers bent on eating us all? (Not really but I love Firefly, don't you?) It seems to be human nature to stereotype. It is a very bad planning tool. To assume high-sec players are not also motivated by relationships, immersion, leadership and even grief is to make a fatal mistake. Pure achievers will give up if they are denied their only motivation. But their motivations aren't monolithic and it only takes the right impetus to move a high-sec carebear from one position to another. What turns a high-sec carebear corp into a griefer corp? Evidently it's a war-dec from Goonswarm and a CEO with a predilection to achievement and perhaps an ounce of leadership. But in general, it's a bunch of players who are not only achievers but also have these other motivations who simply get nudged out of their preferred play style. This could have been predicted.

So the next time you greet another capusleer in local or start-up a private chat, ask yourself what really motivates them. If you understand that, and you understand your own motivations, you have a much better chance of having fun. There are those who can do this innately. We call them "born leaders" and "gurus" and such. For the rest of us, it takes work. A good place to start is Nick Yee's research.

Oh, and speaking of his research, one of his recent papers really made a surprising discovery. Did you know most PvPers are young guys with children who play in the evening? Seriously! Read Through the Azerothian Looking Glass: Mapping In-Game Preferences to Real World Demographic. It's excellent! And try to figure out why guys with children have this need to just kill everything in game will you? It may just help you understand why game companies like CCP do what they do - but that's a different post altogether.

(And that's it for awhile. I'm taking a RL vacation starting tomorrow so this blog will be quiet for almost two weeks. I won't be able to log in either: no Internet. I am not running away from the war-dec as some have accused. I've been on every night since it started for crap sake! But my RL job requires I plan my year's vacations before the end of the previous year and I'm not giving up some genuine relaxation for the effing Goons. So "sod off" to anyone who says otherwise. I'm going where there are barely old fashioned telephone lines and enjoying some much deserved time off with the family!)

Fly careful.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mining barge changes to come!

CCP Ytterbium has a new dev blog out. Smack in the middle of it are juicy, juicy words discussing changes to mining barges! I cannot tell you how long I've waited for this day. Now I can't wait until the end of summer!

I'm going to quote the mining barge bits and provide commentary inline [like this] because it's late and I'm too excited to do anything else.
Our goal is simple: each and every single mining barge (and their tech 2 variant) should have an appealing role, and not just be a stepping stone on the way to something better. [Amen!] Players should'nt [sic] only aim for the Hulk without considering anything else when doing some hard rock and roll mining. That means playing with the following variables:
  • Mining output: first and most visible balancing factor, plan is to increase all barge mining output to be within an acceptable margin of the Hulk, not miles behind as it is currently. [Nearly the same reward for the same amount of work. I like it!]
  • Autonomy: mining barges should have proper cargo holds so they not always have to rely on jet cans [Yes! Goodbye can flippers.] (without turning them into industrials however). [agreed] That means giving them large, specialized ore bays where all the ore will automatically go into when mining. [Like an Orca? Took them long enough.]
  • Resilience: another point is to give some of them proper EHP not to be one-shot by anything that even remotely sneezes on them. [Make those Hulkageddoners work for it! Hard work for everyone!]
As a result we thus get:
  • New ORE frig: we want this ship to replace current mining frigates as low barrier of entry vessel, but also fulfill high-end gameplay expectations by providing a very mobile platform for mining in hostile space. Lowest mining output, decent ore bay, little to no resilience. [Interesting. I'll have to see it in use. Could be a lot of fun to fly.]
  • Procurer/Skiff: primarily made for self-defense. Better mining rate than the ORE frig, good ore bay, but capable of having battleship-like EHP. [Battleship EHP for the win.]
  • Retriever/Mackinaw: made for self-reliance. Has the largest ore bay, similear to the size of a jet can, second best mining output but less EHP than the procurer mining barge.
  • Covetor/hulk: ore bay is identical to its current cargo hold, little to average EHP, but best mining output. Basically made for group operations when players have industrials and protection to back them up. [I like the way they are restructuring from skill acquisition to increasing industrialist roles. This is key! Large box stores need a fleet of large capacity trucks for their business to work. My company does not. We need smaller vehicles capable of multi-stop local delivery. They all take approximately the same skill to drive. Having mining barges built for role and not pilot skill is a huge step forward. Way to go CCP Ytterbium and the rest of the dev team!]
Excellent stuff; can't wait!

Fly careful.

Monday, June 11, 2012

D-day plus Four - War Rules Change!

It's been five days since GSF declared war agaianst MABMM. Today CCP announced changes to the new Inferno war declaration system. Normally I'd tell you to follow the link and read the details. However, I need to highlight something in these changes.

Superfriends
  • Ally contracts have fixed length of two weeks
  • Allies can not be part of mutual wars – defender cannot hire allies into mutual wars and existing ally contracts are cancelled (with a 24 hour grace period)
  • Cap on War Dec cost – it will never have a base price of more than 500 mill regardless of corp/alliance membership (still affected by the number of wars you have declared)
  • New UI control for War options in war lists
  • Added cost for hiring multiple allies for a war – hiring more than one ally now incur a cost that goes to CONCORD. The cost rises exponentially the more allies are hired into the same war.

So, for those of you who don't keep up on such things, it seems that Jade Constantine came up with a way to game the new war-dec system and even the odds against Goonswarm and other large alliances who declare inexpensive wars against smaller corporations (like my own.) She outlined this plan several days ago on Failheap Challenge. The "defender" (words in quotes provided by CCP) simply makes the war mutual and then get's every mother's son with an ax to grind to sign on as allies. By making the war mutual, it traps the "aggressor" in the war until they offer a surrender to the "defender."

Now, at face value this seems brilliant. It provides real consequences for declaring war against anyone. Isn't that what CCP has been harping about all year? They want more risk and more consequence for actions taken in New Eden. To be sure, many who dislike what's been going on (think The Mittani and Death Squads) jumped on this opportunity to give payback. It seems to have worked considering what's happened with The Honda Accord war.

Now CCP comes along and announces changes. Take a look at those highlighted ones again. Even to me they look like they are specifically designed to stop "defenders" from dog piling allies onto "aggressors" in the manner Jade outlines. In fact, this is precisely why they were included. CCP wants to stop "defenders" from dog piling "aggressors." The reaction to this "nerf" was predictable. The rage was so bad CCP Goliath had to lock the thread.

Now, before you get yourself all worked up because CCP is favoring Goonswarm again, think it through. They NEED to make these changes. That little mutual war-dec dog-pile loop-hole isn't just usable to exact revenge on Goonswarm (or Test.) It can be used against every mercenary corporation that ever wanted to make a living from being mercenaries. And though you may find it odd for a carebear to say, they deserve the right to earn a living too. Frankly, mercenaries are some of the hardest working people I know. Dog-piling them because you don't like their chosen profession is no better than The Mittani sending out Death Squads because he doesn't like bad press from a high-sec carebear.

So CCP has to draw a line and the system has to be the same for everyone. There cannot be two separate war declaration systems - one for Goon size "aggressors" and one for everyone else. As much as I'd like to see Goons and anyone else with visions of a PvP Utopia driven out of high-sec, I can't condone ruining legitimate game-play for someone else. That would be selfish of me and it would be of you too.

I hope cooler heads will prevail and people start getting behind these inevitable changes. Jade has already stated much of what I have and proposed other changes that will stop the abuse yet allow a 3 person corp to field 8997 allies against 9000 Goons. Perhaps some of you will think it through and make even better suggestions to CCP Goliath. They will listen. Not all of them were once Goons as someone else pointed out in that Failheap Thread.

So look, here's the deal my friends - carebear and otherwise. This is our game. No really, it belongs to us because, outside of CCP, we are the only ones interested in seeing it succeed. If it is to succeed, we frankly need to embrace all play styles. We have to support them and insure they have a place, and a properly balanced role, inside our universe. Will there be risk? Yes. Will there be reward? I hope so. But the most important thing is that, in the end, there will still be a New Eden for all of us - even Goons.

Fly careful.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

D-day Plus Three

FINALLY! On the forth day of the war a red star showed up in local.

Nice that his name is alphabetically next after mine isn't it?
It was time to put my drilling into action. I hit the warp button and moved into my over-watch position. With my modules heated up and ready to go, I waited. Just as I'd anticipated, a Nemesis dropped out of warp near the station. While drilling the last couple nights and even this evening,  I'd had Aura repeat over and over, "Lock first, lock first, lock first." Reflexively I hit the target lock button on my console.
[ 2012.06.11 03:47:26 ] (notify) The Shinobi is too far away, you need to be within <redacted> meters of it but are actually <redacted> meters away.
Crap, he'd dropped out of warp on the other side of the station. It was his lucky day, there was only one gate in system that would have done that and I played the higher odds. Rather than close, he warped off. He made a good decision. He soon disappeared from local but it wasn't for the last time.

I guess he didn't get his business finished because five minutes later he stuck his head back into the system. He didn't come back to the same station. A quick repeating bounce from system gate to system gate failed to find him before he once again left local. 

I waited in my re-assembly area for another 30 minutes. No more red stars showed up in local. It was time to call it a night.

Fly careful.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

D-day Plus Two

It's the third day of the war. I've been in space for more than 90 minutes. I'm still there as I dictate this report. I've nothing to report other than an attempted gank in a Navy Megathron one jump away. I'm not kidding, that was the report in local. It had to have been someone executing an idiot-click. I mean, who risks a Navy Megathron to Concord?

I am happy to report that Lima Foxtrot Corporation is now closed.
No, I doubt my last post had anything to do with it at all. That was evidently the intent all along. I suppose it's still possible it's a system gaming. Only time will tell on that one. It's nothing I can worry about anyway.

Tonight I've spent the entire evening setting up fast warp points outside my favorite stations. With any luck they'll keep me from getting trapped in station. I imagine that has to be just about the worst possible feeling. Sort of like being stuck in a burning building with no fire escape.

So I've been at this over two hours and it's time for some shuteye. My two other corp mates also report that there were no reds in system this evening. It certainly does make one wonder when the other shoe is going to drop. But until that happens...

Fly careful.

Friday, June 8, 2012

D-Day Plus One

Day two of GSF versus MABMM and I'm still alive and full of implants. I left dock in a new ship I christened HMS Hood and drilled for about an hour. I'll not say how or where or what I was drilling because that's just dumb. Remember...
So I'll just keep the tactical details to myself thank you very much. I didn't see a single red the entire time. I was getting bored so I finished 5 Helios manufacturing jobs, four Helios BP invention jobs and reset my planetary production lines. It was almost like a normal day - except I kept checking local every 5 seconds.

What I will talk about are some of the really cool things that have happened as a result of this war-dec. Now, I've asked for no assistance in this war. Nevertheless, several small corporations have offered their aid pro-bono. I'd gladly accept such offers if those corporations were not already at war with GSF. Accepting their offer only produces a notice which says, "[ally] is already at war with [aggressor]." I've not decided if this is a bug or a feature. I suppose it doesn't matter much.

What does matter is that today's offer came from none other than Mord Fiddle! Sir, I am honored to accept. One of my little non-tactical secrets is that your blog played a big part in starting my blog. Yours was one of the first I came across so many years ago and I've been following ever since. It's been an inspiration; thank you.

Some other cool things that have happened arrived as emails. The first today came from Zos Tarkross. He recommends I join him and other like minded capsuleers in Providence. He points out that it's currently controlled by CVA who have an NRDS (Not Red, Don't Shoot for any rookie pilots out there) policy in place. They are also sworn enemies of Goonswarm. His is a very tempting suggestion. If I'm going to fly around looking over my shoulder for Goons all the time, I may as well be in a location that provides a larger income potential. Of course, that goes back to that The Mittani winning thing. But really, is it a loss to change venue? It's not like I'm rage quitting or pulling some self-destructive cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face stunt. People move to new locations all the time in Eve. And, if the Goons still want a piece of me they can find me there just as easily. It's definitely worth thinking about!

The second email I received is, to be honest Zos, more intriguing. However, the sender specifically requested secrecy and I agree it's necessary. You all will have to wait on that one. I've got some thinking and some consulting to do with corp mates (and you thought MABMM was a personal corporation - tsk, tsk, tsk... okay, there's just three of us and we all know each other personally. It still counts.) After I discuss it with them we'll see what happens. It could be big news (for me at least.)

The last interesting thing that happen today, while I was drilling in fact, was this:
LF.C is part of GSF. The description lists it as an "alt corp" and it has one member, TheSalvationArmy. I'm not sure what this spin off will accomplish. I'm sure it's not good news for me and the other two corporations with whom the LF.C is still at war. Does anybody have any idea what they're up to?

There is one more thing about this that really, really irks me. Goon dudes, pay attention!
"LIMA FOXTROT" is the brand name adopted by Lakeshore Foundation (Birmingham, Ala.) to describe what has become one of this country's premier, comprehensive, year round, sport, fitness, and recreation programs for severely injured members of our Armed Forces. Initiated in 2006 in response to the significant numbers of injuries from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, LIMA FOXTROT has served over 1,000 injured servicemen and women and their families, from thirty-five states and territories. Through LIMA FOXTROT these young men and women use lessons from sport and recreation to learn how to pursue life after injury.
Be dicks all you want in Eve, but use your brains and check your corporation names first to make sure you're not insulting something much greater than your silly internet spaceship antics. I know that might cause unbearable throbbing between your ears but trust me, it won't kill you. Here's a web site you can use to check for name usage in the real world. Shut up and do it.

Fly careful everyone but GSF.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

M-minute Plus 20 - All Quiet on the Local Front

At 04:12 Eve standard the war between the Goonswarm Federation and Mabrick Mining and Manufacturing began. A few minutes later I undocked from my current location in PT-1098 for a reconnoiter. There was no sign of the Goons in system. Local was quite with no red squares anywhere.
I expect this will be the best day of the war. I am prepared. I spent the time up to the start of hostilities purchasing replacement implants. I will make further reports as events unfold.

Fly Careful

H-hour Minus Six

I'm damned if I do and I'm damned if I don't. If I refuse to PvP in high-sec and turtle up, The Mittani wins. He'll have stopped one more carebear from ruining his PvP utopia fantasy. If I undock and fight, The Mittani wins. I'll be part of that PvP utopia fantasy he dreams about. Either way, he accomplishes his goal.You know, I never said he wasn't shrewd or calculating. Regardless of how you feel about his vision, you have to respect his play. It's good... damn good.

Fortunately I've always been of the opinion that without PvP, without the risk, EvE would be just another lackluster MMO. Until Eve I'd never played an MMO for more than 18 months. The one I played longest was  Ultima Online. I'd like to say that was because there really wasn't anything else to play. However, I have to admit that it was probably because it was not boring. Danger never is. Eve has danger in spades. That makes accomplishments worthwhile. In Star Wars Galaxy, I was a triple-master done the hard way of the original skill tree. I ranked in the top 1% of income earners in that game. In terms of Eve I was as wealthy as the Goons. There was nothing I couldn't buy. But all that wealth was a hollow victory. Without blood, sweat and even a few tears on them, those things have no real value. They are just numbers on a screen or things in a can.

So, four years down the road and two years after starting my small business, I find myself at a cross roads. I am war-decced by the largest alliance in the game because I dared to speak my mind. (That was very Soviet Union of them. Are we sure they aren't DRF in disguise?) I've read the horror stories about how this goes. James can give you the personal account. He hasn't been able to undock since his corp was war-decced by GSF.

Now I have a choice to make. What shall I do? Stay tuned to find out.

Fly careful.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Legacy of The Mitanni

[Edit: This just in! The Mittani doesn't share my esoteric view of history. Who knew?]

Eve character names run the gamut. Mine is an old nickname bestowed upon me by a roommate. I use it in all my MMOs. Others are infantile plays on various vulgarities. Some are role-play oriented. Some are function oriented. Most are boring, like mine.

Then there are the names that make me smirk. One such name is Helicity Boson. That name is creative and works - in non-obvious ways. A boson is a sub-atomic particle. The helicity of a boson is "the projection of a spin vector in the direction of its momentum vector." Now, if THAT doesn't describe Helicity Boson nothing does!

Another name that has intrigued me from the first time I read it was The Mittani. You see, I'm an avid reader of ancient history and I know from wince that name comes. Let me fill you in if you don't mind. It will make my coming observation more sensible.

The Mitanni were an indo-aryan horse breeding people who lived 3500 years ago in what is now Syria, Iraq and Turkey. This era was the dawn of civilizations and the Middle East was the locus of many. We all know about the Egyptians and the Babylonians (I hope.) Some few less know about the Hittites. Very few if any of you know of The Mitanni... also known as The Mittani. (I was NOT spelling it wrong. *STO*.)

The Mitanni ruled the Hurrians, a non-related group of people who have been absorbed into the Semitic Middle Eastern populations of today. The Mitanni were not Hurrians themselves. They were a foreign elite who imposed their will on the older and more established Hurrian cities of the region. Back in those days, horses were power and those that knew how to raise them ruled empires.

This is how The Mitanni came to prominence. With horse-drawn chariot armies to rival those of Egypt and the Hittite empire, they took the stage and carved out an empire for themselves. Like the Hittites, another indo-aryan people, (and unlike the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians who were Semitic) they were not monument builders. From what we know from the writings of those empires that bounded them, The Mitanni were a feudal people, distrustful of those who would "own" land (selling land was not allowed by Mitanni law) or seek to exist outside their feudal grasp.

"So why the ancient History lesson Mabrick?" you ask.

"Because you didn't know any of this," is my reply. You need to know this so the irony of what I say next isn't lost on you.

The Mitanni is known as the forgotten empire. Our historians know volumes about the ancient Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Hittites. We know precious little - next to nothing by comparison - of The Mitanni. They left no written records of note. The only stories we have of them are told by their adversaries the ancient Egyptians and the Hittites. In the 500 years they existed, only one letter, written by one of the last Mitanni kings, survives to this day - and that only because it was sent to the ancient Egyptians who preserved it. Their armies were defeated. Their king was assassinated. Their cities and estates fell to dust. Until recently even their name was forgotten. They left no lasting impact on the people they ruled or those they fought.

History has a way of repeating itself. Eve is real. Enjoy the ironic implications of that for awhile.

Fly careful.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Low-sec ratting is good for the soul.

I'm what Penny Ibramovic over on Tiger Ears calls a day tripper. I like investigating worm holes. I don't live in one - yet - but I admit I find them intriguing. A bit over a week ago I was looking for anomalies and found a K162.
I've been training myself to recognize what lies on the other side of K162s just by the way they look. I'm not that good at it yet but even to me this looked odd. I've seen many K162s and this didn't look like any of them. I referenced Penny's guide. It basically says that if it doesn't match any of the ones listed the K162 leads to known or k-space. In this case, it led to low-sec space on the other side of k-space.
I'd never been to this region of space. Hell, I've never been to the Amarr Empire. I've no use for proselytization. However, this presented an opportunity for something new. There were no capsuleers in local and only two gates. That's an opportunity for ratting!

I traded out Space Ghost II for Prinz Eugen and headed back into the K162. The system was still empty when I emerged so I warped to a random asteroid belt. I hit pay dirt with the first warp.
This was also the first time I'd had a chance to see the new camera upgrades the hanger mechanics installed the week prior. The new upgrades could easily distinguish individual missile trails: veerry niice!

I'd never encountered Blood Raiders before. They seemed to have a hard time hitting Prinz Eugen. That didn't bother me too much. I finished off the first Blood Archon and headed to another belt. It took a few more warps, ignoring the frigates and cruisers on station, but I found another Blood Archon.
I used a little sensor magic and got my view screen to show me what the assault looked like on the receiving end. It's got to be a little disconcerting to see all those missile trails streaking toward you, weaving in and out among themselves, knowing there's nothing you can do to stop them. I imagine the entire ship shook as the missiles blasted away the armor plating. Soon the ship exploded and I moved on. My cargo hold was filling with loot and salvage but I'd still not gotten anything exciting. I hoped the next Blood Archon would provide better.
It actually put up more of a fight than the other two combined though I was never in any real danger. Prinz Eugen can take a lot of incoming as I've mentioned before. While the missile battery crews were doing their jobs, I was able to study the impacts more closely. The new cameras sure do let you see a lot more detail.
At each impact, I'm fairly certain I was seeing chunks of armor and external sensor pods getting blown right off the Blood Archon's hull. The resolution is truly amazing. My hat's off to those camera engineers (aka CCP.) They certainly know their stuff.

In the end, I still didn't get the bonanza I was looking for. I did at least make a profit after paying for the missiles I used. But really, can you put a price on something so fundamentally satisfying as watching chunks of armor careen through space while blowing bad guys to smithereens?

Fly careful.