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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Upcoming Enhancements now on SiSi

A picture is worth a thousand words or so the saying goes. I figured that in this instance, that would be true. So, I logged into the test server Singularity, SiSi for short, and made a quick video of some of the enhancements currently in testing.

This video shows you what the new display menus for system and route currently look like. It also discusses the route painted on the star box a la connect the dots and what that entails for the future.

Oh, and I recently picket up this annoying Chinese water torture like sound in my audio and can't get it out. If anyone can tell me what the hell that electronic dit-dit-dit-dit-dah noise is (and it's not Morse Code, I know Morse,) and how to get rid of it I'd be very grateful. The crackling is unfortunately an artifact of my cheap headset when the microphone is put into loop-back so I can capture the audio. Sorry about that. I'll be upgrading soon.

EDIT 1/30/13: The sound is gone tonight. The only difference in the electronics in the house? We moved the First Response base station we use for our 93 year old Aunt (push a button on a pendant, it calls for help - think "I've fallen and I can't get up!") back to it's original location in her bedroom. Last week we moved it into the kitchen so we could paint the room this week. We set it up next to the coffee pot, but I think more importantly, the telephone base station which was subsequently plugged into it in relay. Two transceivers connected to the phone line transmitting on similar frequencies? Yeah, I believe that's were the interference came from. I am so happy it's gone now. Good thing I ordered the Sennheiser PC350 headset at lunch! 8D

Fly Careful

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Start of a New Chapter

So, you thought we were done with WH space? You thought we'd been run out? You thought we thought we couldn't handle it? Well, in that last part you were partly correct. HBHI is a small corporation. We have eight (8) members spread across four time zones. If five (5) of us are on at any given time it's practically a miracle.

Now, this fits fine with my play style. I spent four years by myself, doing the mining and industry thing. But that's no way to run a C3. When Surely You're Joking decided to "get Mabrick" they showed that a well run small gang could quickly and effectively shut us down and there wasn't a hell of a lot we could do about it.

That didn't sit well with HBHI but not in the way you might think. We didn't get mad. We didn't smack talk - well, I didn't smack talk. We didn't cry juicy tears because this is EVE and shit happens. We did, however, want to know what we could do to get better. The members of Surely You're Joking are nothing if not enthusiastic about sharing their insights - after they get the ransom of course. I mean, they ARE mercenaries after all. *LOL*

So we talked. We got invites to roams which I have not had a chance to pursue yet. You see, I've been dog busy moving out of a C3 and then rounding up all our stuff since we couldn't get it all out with one static. Hey, here's a quick aside for you. If you want to make your freighter runs a lot faster, get a buddy in a damn fast frigate with a web to sling-shot you into warp. In PvP I learned you never web then point, you always point then web. Here's why.

Anyway, that's a quick lesson on web warping a freighter and a long tangent. Now where was I? Oh yeah, Surely You're Joking are a great bunch of guys and gals once you get to know them. So, we did some talking, and then we talked some more and then the next thing I knew I was providing a full API to my CEO. Day before yesterday we got the official word from Pell Helix, CEO of Surely You're Joking. HBHI is now a member of the alliance. The paperwork came through last night.

So now you know why all the secrecy. We didn't want to blather about it only to look the fools if we didn't meet muster. Fortunately, we did and we are in!

For now we have moved into their C6 for some get to know you time - also know as probation. We have a nice new medium POS all to ourselves - also known as something their Dreadnoughts can put into reinforced in about 10 seconds should we turn out to be spies  After that, we'll settle in a new hole along with one or two other HAHA corporations from what I'm told. That will give us the numbers we need to defend what is ours. Next time, we WILL be ready.

Fly Careful

Saturday, January 26, 2013

My question is answered!

Yesterday I expressed dismay that Goonswarm negotiated their way out of a spat with TEST. It just didn't seem very Goonswarm to me. It seemed like something I am very familiar with: the carebear attitude. I wondered what the hell had happened to Goonswarm. Today I got my answer.

NOTHING happened to Goonswarm. 
THIS is what I think about when I think of Goonswarm. These ships are most definitely in harms way. This is what ships are built to do.

At 4:30 AM Janury 27, 2013 New Eden Central time this is what New Eden looked like.

As I type this my friend in FA is in his battle Maelstrom along with a hundred other Fatal Ascension pilots on their way to bolster Goonswarm. He was told by his FC that CFC is opposed by PL, Black Legion, TEST (they sent 400 ships I was told,) N3 and what's left of -A-. God's speed my friend. I'm glad you got insurance and into a combat clone before you left.

This fight is New Eden wide. I've been warned to stay out of industrials as even neutrals are being scanned and targeted if they might be running ships and ammo. That big red splat is Poinen. According to Dotlan 30,000 ships have been lost there in the last 24 hours.  That's a high-sec system. That's the scope of this battle.

Though I've no dog in this fight, I wish all participants the funnest of times. You are part of EVE History tonight. Capsuleers will talk about this day for years to come. Remember that as you DIAF gloriously.

UPDATE 06:44 EVE time: From my friend in FA - "The Mittani just posted that the FC made a mistake and then made it worse repeatedly. He lost A titan, and a couple of supers and dreads himself - the FC did. The Mittani banned him from flying caps forevermore." This makes me very, very sad - the banning, not the compounded mistake.

Fly Careful

Friday, January 25, 2013

What the hell happened to Goonswarm?

It's been awhile since I've written anything about Goonswarm Federation and their leader The Mittani. It's not that I haven't noticed what's going on outside wormhole space. I frankly didn't care. If it wasn't a K162 leading into my space, it was effectively off d-scan for me.

But now I'm taking some R&R in high-sec, and I did post awhile back about a friend's take on TEST threatening Fatal Ascension, so I suppose I've already dipped my toes into this one. Since then there has been an escalation, a deescalation and tens of thousands of blog words spilled over the incident - and absolutely no POD goo.

This has left one indelible question mark inside my brain. What the hell happened to Goonswarm? This is not the alliance I've come to know and love. They NEGOTIATED a deescalation of tensions. There wasn't even a single large fleet engagement. It was at best a proxy war and a disappointing one at that. Is this appropriate behavior for vaunted Goonswarm? I think not. It certainly doesn't match their swagger and strut image. They took a smack talk torpedo from "crazy" Montolio amidships and turned the other cheek.

I once posted something about the Mittani, an obscure and unremembered bronze age empire, and compared them to The Mittani of Goonswarm. The analogy I made was the Mittani faded from memory and so will The Mittani. What I did not discuss is why the people known as the Mittani were not remembered.

It was because their existence was simply not memorable. They built no monuments. They did not conquer any worthy adversaries for the half millennium of their existence beyond their initial conquest of the Hurrians. They left no written histories for others to ponder. They kept to themselves, took no chances and faded into oblivion. In all, they did nothing of note and people don't bother to remember nothings.

This latest crisis is exactly that - nothing to remember. It's about as memorable as a boil: exciting when it erupts but once lanced completely forgettable.

Why did this outcome happen? It seems it was because Goonswarm and TEST don't want to risk what they have. That's a carebear attitude. "Dude, why'd you attack me? It took a year of campaigning and endless CTAs to obtain sovereignty over this many systems!" How is this any different than the high-sec miner who doesn't want his expensive mining barge blown up? Just because Goonswarm's mining barge is comprised of dozens (hundreds?) of Technetium moons doesn't change the attitude equation. Not taking risks so you can protect what you've invested your hard work to obtain IS a carebear attitude. I ought to know. That's what I am at heart.

But that's not what I have to be. That's what I choose to be - usually. Sometimes Mabrick does DIAF. And Goonswarm makes excuses not to fight. Damn, hell has frozen over ladies and gentlemen.

Here's some free advice from a capsuleer who's been a carebear longer than you Goonswarm. Ships are safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are built for. If you really are the combat pilots you claim to be, the self-proclaimed masters of emergent game play, then start acting like it. Dare to be great even if it risks everything. And in this instance...

Don't Fly Careful

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Place to Call my Own

Anyone versed in EVE Online's latest blog-o-sphere controversies knows the shit-storm brewing for this year's expansions. No, I'm not referring to BB44 and the "local" discussion. I am talking about POS changes - or lack there of - and the growing comment thread about it.

So, up until about six months ago I knew two things about POS living: diddly and squat. Now that I've had nearly half a year living exclusively in a POS, I certainly know their shortcomings. Still, I am not an expert, having recently just learned how POS management works. Therefore I am not going to discuss how to make the existing POS system better.

The biggest issue doesn't even seem to revolve around how difficult the POS management interface is. Don't get me wrong now. I've seen it. It's a nightmare. But that's not what most pilots really care about. What concerns them is the fact they have no control over their ships, their production runs or their possessions while living in a POS. I understand that. I've had my ships "borrowed" without permission myself. I've had arrays off lined in the middle of a production run. I've also partaken of "corp" assets to refit ships for special occasions. I've flown "corporate" ships - the Vengeance I was using for example.

Living in a POS is a 50-50 deal that's plagued with issues and one unscrupulous corp mate can ruin it in about 10 minutes. We've all heard the horror stories. The guy who off lined the hanger, found a smartbombing Raven and destroyed everything. Search You Tube, POS security failures are well documented.

And that leads me to addressing the real issue most capsuleers talk about. Reading through the various blogs and comments about it, I see one recurring sentiment. I've named it "a place to call my own" syndrome.

While I have no solution for the POS problem, I do have something that will address the "place to call my own" syndrome for most capsuleers. CCP has already laid the ground work for it. I'm not sure how far it's gone, but I'd wager further than we let it.

I am talking about Incarna. Yes dammit, it's that walking in stations bullshit again. If that pisses you off go read something else. This isn't for you. This is for those who long for a place of their own and an alternative to vulnerable POS industry. A place CCP might be able to implement without too much fuss. First, let's review the types of space and how this idea will apply to them.
  • High Security Space - Highly Applicable
  • Low Security Space - Applicable
  • NPC Null Security Space - Applicable
  • Player Null Security Space - Probably Not Applicable (Outposts?)
  • Wormholes - Not Applicable
So straight off this will not help wormhole dwellers. We will continue to exist as we do for some time to come. That's okay. The freedom is worth it. Player owned null-sec will also see little benefit from this. However, that's only 25% of the player base.

For the rest, all they need to do is get CCP to open that damn door. You know the one I'm talking about. However, there needs to be one caveat to opening the door. It only opens on one station, in one system. CONCORD makes Captains Quarters available in every station. They give you personal hanger space in every station. But only one station is your home. That's the station in which you can expand.

Having visited a lot of low-sec systems over the past half year, I've always been amazed at how may POS there are. In some systems, every fracking moon has a POS orbiting it. In addition to that, there is usually at least one station if not four.

Would it not make better sense to move the functionality players want from their POS into the existing stations? Incarna is the framework to do that. You can purchase whatever additions you desire for your personal office/factory. It gets handled separately from local space, it does not impact node performance for Internet spaceships, and it resolves the biggest downside to POS usage by taking the usage out of the POS. That's the idea at least.

"Okay Mabrick, what can I buy?" I thought you'd never ask. With ISK or Loyalty Points or both, you can buy the following:
  • Personal Manufacturing Lines
  • Personal Research Labs
  • Personal Copying Facilities
  • Gambling Dens for separating pilots from their ISK
  • Tattoo parlors where players can sell custom tattoos they create to other players
  • Anything else CCP can use to separate you from your ISK
That last bit is not a mistake or a lack of coming up with something else either. It is more of a nudge for CCP. We've all read discussions concerning ISK faucets and ISK sinks. CCP is always in need of sinks to soak up extra ISK coming into the economy. When they can't, they nerf very popular game play elements to limit ISK creation. That's very unpopular and ultimately self-defeating for CCP. They want to attract new players, not drive them away.

This would give them a perpetual and expandable ISK sink. Besides charging you a healthy sum for your personal station space, there should be a tax on every transaction just as there currently is. If a station has 20 public invention slots and they are all busy all the time, it is at the limit of how much ISK it can soak up. However, if 100 pilots have four personal invention slots each, not only does it quadruple the tax base, but the increased turnaround time will actually have another multiplying affect on the sink as more jobs are completed more quickly. What are you waiting for CCP? This looks like a dream come true for CCP Dr. EyjoG. And it will give capsuleers what they seem to be clamoring for the most over on the POS thread.

Fly Careful

Monday, January 21, 2013

Space Trucking

Yesterday I spent more time in my pod than I have ever logged in a single day. It was grueling. It was butt numbing. Not a single ship was exploded either, though one tried. Why did I numb my butt you ask? Because you just have to do some things as no one will do them for you - or they will do you for them if you catch my drift. Still confused? Here's a video I hope explains.

Space Trucking performed by Deep Purple

So why you now ask? Because we have moved out. Yeah, you read the right. HBHI has moved out of our C3. PI is shut down. Our ships are flown out. We collapsed one Static and took the next to 50%. The POS is packed up and hauled away. We are gone and a For Sale sign hung on the U210.

I can hear the anguished cries of, "Why!?" vibrating through local as I sit at my current R&R spot. It's a lovely station built just for miners. It over looks a beautiful storm planet. Here's a picture of it. It's quite relaxing.

I still haven't answered the why have I? Well, you'll just have to wait for that. However, I'll give you a hint because I'm not a callous pirate. Perhaps this bone will mollify you while I take some much needed rest in high-sec.

Fly Careful

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bubble Hunter

During our recent siege, the first occupation escalation was the appearance of warp disruption bubbles all over the system. This occurred last Saturday. Whereas the initial harassment and hole control were dangerous but did not interfere with me livelihood, these bubble were a direct threat to not only my income but also the corporation's fuel production capability. They had to come down.

This was the first non-Sleeper op with the Chimera. We used the carrier to attack the large generators along with a Tornado Tur just happened to have lying around. For escort duty, we had the CEO's and my Proteus.

My Proteus is cov-ops fit so it fell to me to locate the large bubbles, warp to them, and position myself outside the bubble's perimeter so the rest of the fleet could warp to me. This is the fit I came up with for this sortie, though I now know it's not optimal for PvP. For that I've been told to swap the hardeners and pump rigs for EANMs, Mag Stabs and Trimarks thus lowering the resists but increasing the DPS - which is all important in a fight. I guess.
Proteus Defensive - Augmented Plating
Proteus Electronics - Friction Extension Processor
Proteus Offensive - Covert Reconfiguration
Proteus Propulsion - Localized Injectors
Proteus Engineering - Power Core Multiplier 
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
5x Heavy Neutron Blaster II (Void M) 
10MN Afterburner II
Warp Scrambler II
Stasis Webifier II 
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Steel Plates II
2x Armor Explosive Hardener II
Armor EM Hardener II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
2x Medium Anti-Explosive Pump I
Medium Anti-Thermic Pump I
Effective HP: 115,268 (Eve: 100,157)
Tank Ability: 14.25 DPS
Damage Profile - <Omni-Damage> (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
Shield Resists - EM: 12.50%, Ex: 56.25%, Ki: 86.88%, Th: 65.00%
Armor Resists - EM: 84.86%, Ex: 86.72%, Ki: 89.50%, Th: 84.70%
Capacitor (Stable at 36.32%)
Volley Damage: 1,298.98
DPS: 383.96
(NOTE: This fit takes a CPU implant to make it work. YMMV)
We expected our adversaries would intercept us at any point during our bubble hunting and busting sortie. We got away with it to take out the large bubbles. Still, it was a bit nerve wracking - but in a good way. There was even time for some New Eden humor.

New Eden is a much different place for this carebear these days. There is no CONCORD to back me up out here. It's up to me and my corp mates. If I'm to make my fortune out here, it's time to learn how to protect my assets from would be claim jumpers. But as the old saying goes, it takes one to know one. Hmmmm, now THERE'S an interesting thought. Not that I'd ever become a claim jumper, mind you. But that doesn't mean I can't learn from them. My sensors indicate change on the solar wind. Stay tuned.

Fly Careful

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Is there a Message between the Lines?

It is just me, or did CCP Unifex open-hand slap The Mittani?
"During December we had an incredibly productive summit with the CSM. Thankfully, we have not had too many dramas during 2012 and so our time has been spent on constructive evolution of the CCP / CSM relationship rather than damage control. I feel that we are really getting to grips with what the CSM as a stakeholder really means and that through the lessons of 2012 the CSM really is adding a huge amount of value to what we are doing at CCP."
I mean, I don't want to put words into Mr. Lander's mouth, but comments like "not had too many dramas" and "so our time has been spent on constructive evolution" looks like it refers to the one CSM drama of 2012 of which I am aware. That is the infamous Mittani Fanfest incident. That being the only incident I know about, the entire paragraph seems to contrast the before-that-incident environment with the after-that-incident environment. As there was only one change to the CSM as a result, is it not logical to conclude the environment improved because of that one change?

The Dev blog goes on to say that they are "getting to grips with what the CSM as a stakeholder really means." This seems to imply previous CSMs didn't understand what they were supposed to be doing. As pointed out before, if the only change between then and now is the leaership, one might conclude a leadership problem was the cause of the CSM not "getting to grips" in the first place. If that's the implication, it's ugly stuff for sure.

CCP Unifex ends this paragraph with, "through the lessons of 2012 the CSM really is adding a huge amount of value." Does he mean to imply the CSM before these lessons did not? There are a lot of the same CSM members on the team still. Why didn't they figure this out before and, if they were in the process of figuring it out, why is it noteworthy now?

It's possible this one paragraph says a lot more than the 82 words printed. It certainly raises more questions with me than it provides reassurances. The Executive producer of EVE Online seems to have more to say than political correctness allows. I could also be completely out to lunch. Does anyone else see this message between the lines?

Fly Careful

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How to DIAF

This is a tutorial post on how to die in a fire. Or, as it applies to this carebear, how to do it and fail.

Life in the wormhole has been tough for the past two weeks. It began on January 2nd unbeknownst to me or anyone in HBHI.
That day a destroyer, cruiser and battleship were destroyed in our hole. They did not belong to HBHI. I didn't really pay them any attention. This happens all the time in WH space. That was a mistake.

Had I taken the time to investigate, I would have discovered the aggressing pilots are members of the WH mercenary alliance Surely You're Joking [HAHA.] Had I discovered that fact, I would have worried much, much sooner. These folks are good. I've learned in the two weeks since these kills they are VERY good.

In the beginning, there was random harassment. If we left the POS alone, we became a target. I lost a Talos in this way. We thought we had one of them pointed. It turns out they had us just where they wanted us. It was all over when the three Loki's uncloaked.

After a few days of this, they escalated. Warp disruption bubbles went up on all our POCOs and other warp-in locations: six large bubbles and a plethora of small and medium bubbles. We spent an evening last week taking the bubbles out with our carrier and T3s flying cover. Our adversaries did not make an appearance. I don't blame them.

What they did do after we destroyed the bubbles was attack our POCOs directly. They put one into reinforced in the middle of the night. When it came out of reinforced, most of the corp was logged in and willing. The timer came and went and the POCO was not assaulted. They waited until most of our east coast members had to go to bed because RL > EVE. Then they arrived in three Oracles to shoot the POCO.

Well, that's hitting an industrialist where they live. I couldn't just let it go unchallenged could I? I talked Tur into doing something rash, not that it was all that hard to do. Some of you who've been reading this blog awhile may remember my first and only assault frigate purchase, June Bug. Well, I brought her into the hole with me and re-purposed her. As the old saying goes, "a ship is safe in port, but that's not why ships are built."  I decided it was time to let her do what she was made to do.

Here is where the lesson starts. I now have a list of what you DON'T do in a situation like this.
  1. DON'T forget to fleet warp.
  2. DON'T try and target your primary before warp ends.
  3. DON'T forget to launch drones.
  4. DON'T forget to verify you are shooting at the correct target (see #2.)
It is obvious I am a rank amateur at this sort of thing. The most embarrassing thing I discovered when reviewing my ship's records is I messed up the targeting of the Talos. I was instead shooting at an Oracle completely out of range - AND DIDN'T REALIZE IT. Derp.

It was a total noob fail. I don't care. It's not something I've invested time learning so I'm not ashamed to be a noob at it and make noob mistakes. What I do care about is learning something. Here is what I learned.
  1. PvP isn't as bad as you think it will be.
  2. Remaining calm is the first step to success.
  3. With a little forethought about the opponent's weapon fit, you can figure out where the best warp in is for an immediate engagement. I practically landed on the Talos when warping to 10km on the POCO because the Talos WAS blaster fit.
  4. Speed tanking works - until they get a web on you.
  5. And last but not least, you will learn nothing by not trying.
I've one regret. It's too bad I was spewing my blaster ammo into empty space. I'd have liked to see how much damage they could have inflicted on the Talos during the short time I was orbiting it. Anyway, just so there is no misunderstanding of this event, I captured it for posterity's sake. You can see all my noob mistakes for yourself. I present to you, How to Die in a Fire, by Mabrick. Be sure to switch to full HD for best lulz. Enjoy!

Fly Careful

Monday, January 14, 2013

BB43: The 2012 Scientific and Technical Awards

Blog Banter 43: Celebrating the Nation of EVE
At the turn of the year in meatspace, award season starts to spin up. Across the general media, folk are encouraged to look to their peers and recognise excellence and inspiration from the previous year. 
For the past two years I have attempted to do the same for EVE by distributing imaginary Free Boot Awards to an eclectic assortment of community luminaries. This year I thought it might be nice to expand the concept. 
For Blog Banter 43 I would like to invite every participant to nominate their peers for whatever awards you think they deserve. Let's start the year with some EVE-flavoured altruism and celebrate the best and the worst of us, the funniest or the most bizarre, the most heroic of the most tragic of the past year. They could be corpmates, adversaries, bloggers, podcasters, developers, journalists or inanimate objects. Go nuts. 
There's only one rule: no narcissism allowed (so step away from that mirror and resist the urge to nominate yourself). 
Other than that, if it's great, let's celebrate.
Did you all know that last year Milla Jovovich (yeah, THAT Milla Jovovich - multipass!) hosted the Scientific and Technical Awards two weeks before the main Oscar Awards last year? Did you know that it's quickly become a highlight of the entire awards process? Here's the purpose of it.
The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards honor the men, women and companies whose discoveries and innovations have contributed in significant, outstanding and lasting ways to motion pictures.
This is what I'd like to concentrate on for this Blog Banter. This will save me the problem of making some folks happy and some folks not so happy. You see, I really dislike the idea of handing out awards that are not anonymously voted upon. Feelings always get hurt when you don't do it anonymously. To avoid upsetting people I admire (all of you,) I'd like to recognize those that have contributed most to the Scientific and Technical aspects of playing EVE Online. I'll loosely use the awards the Academy gives as a basis for mine.

This year's recipients of the Award of Merit are:
  • Rixx Javix for creating and handing out Twitter Hats.
  • TurAmarth ElRandir for the art work he creates on his blog A Carbon Based Life.
  • Penny Ibramovic for Wormhole Glossary and Guides but perhaps most for her secret database of wormhole occupation gathered through years of intelligence gathering.
  • Blake for his willingness to document in pictures and tables all things industrial (even of they aid his competition) in his blog K162space.
  • Wollari for DOTLAN Maps - need I say more?
  • Marc Scaurus for the EVE Online Bloggers Portal.
  • Riverini for EVE News 24.
  • The Mittani and minions for
  • Cailais and Zapatero for EON Magazine.
  • Laci and Mermalior for The ISK Guide, all versions, because without you the others would not exist.

The world has changed considerable since EVE Online went live nearly 10 years ago. Since that time, we have seen many innovations go mainstream. One that shows no sign of faltering is the smartphone. With the introduction of the original iPhone, Apple not only changed the market but changed the world as well. EVE Online soon followed. Though events along the way cut short it's life, the Scientific and Engineering Award goes to Roc Wieler and his ground breaking app Capsuleer that launched EVE Online character management into the iPhone era and has had an influence ever since.

Picking up where Capsuleer left off was no easy task. But it was done. And, it was expanded upon. Though it it is still a work in progress, Aura for the Android system shows great promise. It has even added content to bring DUST 514 into the mobile app world along with EVE Online. The Technical Achievement Award for 2012 goes to Jason Parks for his app Aura.

There are many capsuleers who are nominees for this award. However, in my mind, there is only one capsuleer who consistently, over a long time, has striven to uphold the high standards of this game - even if they are his standards and I don't myself have those particular standards. Nevertheless, his play style is valid. And beyond that, when he sees something that is truly not right, he takes action. His 'frill' campaign can leave no doubt about his dedication to high standards. This year's winner of the Vile Rat Medal of Commendation is Rixx Javix for his Vagabond frill campaign.

EVE Online has often been called the spreadsheets in space game. There are many things about EVE Online the beg to be quantified and analyzed. It is easy to see where and how the EVE Economy can lend itself to that sort of treatment. After all, spreadsheets were invented by economists in the guise of financial officers. But developing a spreadsheet is the low end of the technical contribution for the game. There are many other tools we use to play this game day in and day out. They track our accomplishments. They help us fit our ships. They allow us to follow our progress in the game even though we aren't playing the game at that moment. From Capsuleer, to Aura to EVE Mon, to EVEHQ and the many, many websites that help us make every minute of game time count, the nominees for this award are too numerous to list. But there is one application that I have used consistently for over four years and without it I would not be where I am today. Though it recently changed caretaker, this year's Chribba Award for technical contributions go to Vessper, and by extension the team that keeps EVEHQ up to date and indispensable.
That's it for the 2012 Scientific and Technical Awards. Thank you for attending.

Fly Careful

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Local Nexus

I blame Rhavas of Interstellar Privateer. With his 100th post, congrats and good job BTW, he fired the first shot at one of the biggest worm cans (WC, also the acronym for water closet - not a coincidence I think) in EVE Online. Since I started nearly five years ago, I haven't met a capsuleer who was satisfied with local - until I moved to wormhole space that is. Most wormholers are wonderfully happy with local. It doesn't exist.

I've read through EVE Hermit's I'm not a local, and Poetic Stanziel's Getting Rid of Local as well as other post's throughout the years. The thing I find objectionable in all three of these fine bloggers' attempt to address the local WC issue is they all make the situation far more complicated than it needs to be. I don't think capsuleers want a more complicated system. I know I don't.

So let's discuss the big problem with local first. The thing about local is that it really has nothing to do with Internet spaceships. Why is it even in EVE Online? Have you ever seen a science fiction movie, or read a science fiction book, where the communications screen showed every pilot in system whether they wanted to be seen or not? In Star Trek every ship had it's own transponder, but how many times did that fail, be faked, or otherwise masked on the covert mission deep into Romulan space? ALL THE TIME.

Local is not a sci-fi phenomena. Local has nothing whatsoever to do with Internet spaceships. It is, in fact, social network contamination of our Internet spaceship game. It is the same damn thing as Facebook Chat, Google Hangouts, Facetime and Skype. I don't want to but I have to say this next thing. I bet if you could force a Freedom of Information subpoena on CCP, you would go through their records and find a proposal where they considered adding video to the local chat channel. OMG, I think I'm going to vomit.

If you haven't guessed by now, I'm not a fan of local. I never have been. I can count on one hand the number of times I've chatted in local. There was only one time, ever, where I instigated the chat. I popped out our static one night and Rixx Javix was in local. I just had to say hello.

This is not to say I "hate" local. I've just never been the chatty sort. A private one-on-one conversation is fine, but public blathering is not my style. Still there needs to be some venue for the Jita scammers to use. I wouldn't actually want to eliminate that play style. Local can stay so long as you understand it is an infection of EVE Online by social networking.

Unfortunately we've warped it into an intelligence gathering mechanism. I once said in this blog that capsuleers will game any situation to their benefit. Well, that's what's happened with local. It's become an easy way to tell who's in system and whether you should dock up or not. Frankly, the entire existence of local cheapens the game. It's like those big game hunting vacations. You know the ones. The "tracker" sits the well paying rich dude in a blind, and when the animal that's walked down the trail trail for a drink every night for the past month does it again - BLAM! Yeah, that took a lot of hunting skill and machismo... not really. What a fake!

Okay, maybe I do hate local a bit but, not the idea of a chat channel in EVE Online. I just dislike the idea that people use it to gain information they really shouldn't have. It's a cheat. It's a crutch if you don't like being called a cheat. Whatever term your ego accepts, it isn't right. So what's CCP to do? Not much it turns out.

First of all, make local voluntary through speaking. Put a person's privacy back into their own hands. Isn't that the mantra of today's Internet anyway? Do this EVERYWHERE. Yes, that means all locals would become just like wormhole space. So what, it's a chat channel and if I don't talk why should anyone know I'm even there? That's the way it should have been all along. Capsuleers don't need crutches to find and fight each other. Six months in a wormhole has taught me that repeatedly.

Now, in keeping with the idea of putting the problem into the hands of us capsuleers, CCP should put intelligence icons on the system map available by pressing F10. Make the data real time data. For example,  if you are in a fleet, and a fleet member has eyes on an enemy fleet, the enemy fleet will show up on the map until the scout can no longer see them. This would be the only way invading fleets could gain intelligence. That's the way it works when you're the attacker. After all, it's not your home system. You only want it to be and that will take sacrifice. I'd also ask that CCP make the system map a window rather than a full screen display. However, I can live with it either way.

The only "module" I would add to the game are d-scan buoys pilots can anchor in space. It would require Anchoring I as the skill to accomplish the task. These buoys would constantly d-scan an area of space and beam the results to the anchoring ship or designated POS. They would have a far lesser range than ships due to power limitations, I envisage 2 AU, so a local nexus would have to be built. If you put enough buoys in space, you can see every ship that moves in the system. This would be tricky to setup. Building a complete local nexus might require hundreds of buoys. You might have gaps because you could only warp to those things you can warp to today. I'd add active buoys to that list of objects a ship can warp to. If you want the intelligence on your map, you will just have to spend the time making it possible.

CONCORD, in their treaty with the various Empires, already have a local nexus setup in every high-sec system. That doesn't mean they share their intelligence with everyone though. If you want access to their  data, you had better have a big, fat wallet. Oh, and the information will be limited to a specific time and place. Those taking the bribes don't need long duration data accesses sending them to jail. They're not stupid after all. Finding these corruptible CONCORD agents would work somewhat like locator agents. BTW, if you find and destroy a buoy in high-sec, it makes you an instant criminal.

In low-sec, I think the various Empires have a vested interest in helping their militias. So, in factional warfare systems, all pilots participating would have local information about all pilots on their side and on the other side as well - unless someone decides to take out the local nexus. Destroying a buoy in low-sec would only make you a suspect. The ships of the other two races would not be visible unless someone in your fleet sees them or a corruptible agent was found and bribed - but those agents should be very, very rare in low-sec. This would make low-sec as safe as wormhole space for neutral races - with the same sort of local, none.

In null-sec, it would be up to the sovereignty holder to decide if a system is seeded with local nexus. Dissemination of the information gathered would be done at the discretion of the sovereignty holder through any POS they own in the system, but only one. It would be assignable through corporation management. Those living in NPC null-sec could setup whatever sort of local nexus they could get away with. It would be up to them to keep it from being taken down. Of course, they'd have to have a POS in place. One last thing: if you lose the POS, you lose the local nexus - POOF! A hostile force could capture a local nexus intact by destroying the controlling POS and gaining sovereignty over the system. However, to activate it they would have to find a buoy and hack it. I recommend Hacking V as the minimum skill required.

These buoys would also work in wormhole space, but they draw Sleeper frigates like shit draws flies. They don't usually last long, less than an hour in fact. Sometimes much less time than that. However, they might have some limited functionality. I know I could think of a thing or two to do with them.

One item, the d-scan buoy, puts all the control into our hands. A local nexus gives us the means to gather intelligence. Like any other objects anchored in space, we already have the means to remove the local nexus. What a fantastic extra role this would give our covert ops pilots! And the only thing CCP needs to do is create these anchor-able d-scan buoys and add an option to existing agents. It doesn't affect ship balancing. It doesn't change cloaking mechanics. It's the same mechanism for all types of space. It expands player tactical and strategic options opening new avenues of game play. But first and foremost, it leaves the solution completely (okay, mostly) in our hands - as it should be - and flushes the crap out of the local WC. Yeah, I had to go there.

Fly Careful

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Using D-scan to Avoid Detection

As promised in Monday's post, here is a short video that explains how to locate hostile ships without using Combat Scanner Probes. There are three things I would like you to think about as you watch this video.
  1. This video is in real time. The text goes by somewhat fast, but I want you to understand how long it really takes to track someone down - and as a caveat thought to ponder - I am not an expert at this... yet.
  2. It took me under two (2) minutes to locate the hostile fleet and warp to their location - including the annoying WH bug with the system map. Including the time to isolate the planet they were at and warp to a nearby safe, it would have been about 90 seconds!
  3. Penny Ibramavic is MUCH, MUCH better at this than I am and far more dangerous.
So, without further verbiage, here's how you do it.

Fly Careful

Monday, January 7, 2013

Participating in a Training Op

My Nemesis came out of hibernation and I made certain the cloak was still operative. The next thing I did was check d-scan. Unless you're in a cloaked ship, that's the first thing I've learned you must do in a wormhole. (If you have a cloak, make sure it's on first.) D-scan was full. Once again, we were being raided. The night before we only had five anomalies in the system. It hardly seemed worthy of a raid by so many ships, I counted 10, but d-scan doesn't lie. And, of course, I was obligated to contest the raid. That's life in a wormhole.

Unfortunately it was only me and one Stealth Bomber. About the best I could hope to accomplish was harassment  If I got lucky, I'd catch one of the ships after a Sleeper mauled it. Then I might finish it off. Regardless, it was more bomber practice and a live fire training exercise as well so I'd at least benefit from the encounter.

The composition of the fleet was a bit odd to me. There were an awful lot of T1 ships in it. I'd seen Harbingers and Hurricanes in the hole before, but I've never seen anyone using a Myrmidon or an Exequror in a wormhole. There was also a Talos, a Zealot and a Legion. The Myrmidon could be a triple repping DPS boat so it could run sleeper sites in a C1 or C2. Perhaps this was a C1/2 raiding party. The Exequrors though vexed me a bit. That is, until I warped into the anomaly they were in and got eyes on the fleet.
Right... Retribution made the Exequror a T1 logistics ship. I also noted this was an EVE University raid. A training operation. That realization pretty much eliminated any hope of catching one of the raiders with their shields down. I was certain they would be well prepared. It didn't matter though, I picked a target and aligned. They were an active fleet, constantly moving from sleeper to sleeper to finish them off. This told me the bulk of their ships were range limited. Hopefully that would be true of all of them and their falloff would be well below 30 kilometers.

They killed the last sleeper and went into salvage mode. I was still at around 40km. I closed the distance a but more and fleet members began to warp off. I launched the first bomb early and warped away before I saw if it even landed. My logs confirmed I'd caught one raider, a Harbinger, in the blast radius.
[ 2013.01.05 04:30:51 ] (combat) 500 to Awakened Preserver Wreck[E-UNI](Sleeper Medium Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:30:51 ] (combat) 5158 to Croixant[E-UNI](Harbinger) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
Well, that was one wreck they weren't going to get any salvage from! I located them at the next anomaly[1] and warped in. It'd taken me a bit longer to determine which anomaly they were in. I had two that were at roughly the same distance from me. For the sake of speed, I guessed. I guessed wrong. They were at the other one. I began my align just as the last Sleeper died. I'd almost gotten to a good range when they began warping off. I noted the direction, toward Planet X, and launched my bomb. The delay to see where they were going cost me. I missed all of them as they warped away.
[ 2013.01.05 04:43:39 ] (combat) 0 to Cosmic Anomaly - Scorch Bomb - Hits
I needed to launch faster. I needed to get closer on my initial warp in. Since they were moving around so much this meant I needed at least one scouting warp in to determine where they were in the anomaly. There were only two anomalies near Planet X. I wasn't going to guess again. I quickly determined which anomaly they were in.[1] A quick scouting run at 100 kilometers told me where I needed to warp in from and at what distance. I bounced off a safe and back at the appropriate place. Here's how that bombing run went.

Did you notice where I made my mistake? Yeah, I waited to see the bomb go off. If you want to fly bombers, DON'T DO THAT. Warp away immediately. You are flying tissue paper and the Zealot on the field may have a longer range than you think. Had I not hesitated, I'd have gotten away in structure since the warp scramble failed.

Consulting my logs later though, I was pleased to confirm it was a well placed bomb. If it killed all the drones it took out 7 mISK worth of equipment, a full three flights plus.
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 958 to Ev4[HALL.](Legion) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 352 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 388 to Hobgoblin I[E-UNI](Hobgoblin I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 388 to Hobgoblin I[E-UNI](Hobgoblin I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 352 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 388 to Hobgoblin I[E-UNI](Hobgoblin I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 811 to Nibios[E-UNI](Zealot) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 352 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 420 to Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I[E-UNI](Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 0 to Rusty Cloud - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 0 to Dust Cloud - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 1127 to Tujiko Noriko[E-UNI](Exequror) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 651 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 2350 to Richard McTrader[E-UNI](Myrmidon) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 352 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 500 to Awakened Defender Wreck[E-UNI](Sleeper Medium Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 350 to Emergent Upholder - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 651 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 500 to Sleepless Defender Wreck[E-UNI](Sleeper Large Intermediate Wreck) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 500 to Heavy Missile - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 3360 to Pontos Maken[E-UNI](Hurricane) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 420 to Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I[E-UNI](Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 622 to Hammerhead II[E-UNI](Hammerhead II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 352 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 420 to Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I[E-UNI](Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 622 to Hammerhead II[E-UNI](Hammerhead II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 622 to Hammerhead II[E-UNI](Hammerhead II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 900 to Awakened Defender - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 420 to Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I[E-UNI](Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 622 to Hammerhead II[E-UNI](Hammerhead II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 622 to Hammerhead II[E-UNI](Hammerhead II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 420 to Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I[E-UNI](Medium Armor Maintenance Bot I) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 651 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 651 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:55:38 ] (combat) 651 to Hobgoblin II[E-UNI](Hobgoblin II) - Scorch Bomb - Hits
[ 2013.01.05 04:57:46 ] (combat) 381 from Nibios[E-UNI](Zealot) - Heavy Pulse Laser II - Penetrates
[ 2013.01.05 04:57:46 ] (combat) 328 from Nibios[E-UNI](Zealot) - Heavy Pulse Laser II - Penetrates
[ 2013.01.05 04:57:47 ] (combat) Warp scramble attempt from ∴Legion EVA 337 |  [IVY]Ev4 - to you!
Still, if I hadn't waited to see the bomb go off, I could have made another run. I wasn't likely to destroy any of them with a single bomber, but that wasn't the point really. It was about having targets to practice on.  And even though I lost the bomber in the end, I felt good about the encounter. I'd gotten good practice on several skills. They'd gotten to practice dealing with a hostile wormhole denizen. I feel both sides benefited. And since I don't ever talk in local while in the hole (and almost never when out,) I'll say now what I didn't then. Good fight EVE University! I hope you got some good training out of it too.

Fly Careful

[1] Be sure to catch Wednesday's post where I'll have a training video on how to find raiders without being detected!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Grunts View of the TEST vs FA Squabble

I've mentioned before I have a friend in FA. I asked him what he thought of EN24's article about the TEST and FA falling out - if that term even applies. He sent me a rather lengthy reply. It's nothing earth shattering, just a grunts perspective of the situation  However, my friend makes some interesting points. Here's his reply to me in full for your consideration.
"The Mittani posted a note where he quoted some things Mitrolio(?), the TEST leader said concerning CFC and FA. Our response was well-written, well thought out, and displayed a great deal of diplomacy and diplomatic restraint. Their respone to that was to accuse us in return of breaking and pushing all the "rules" by which we co-exist with them. That's like no Cloaky camping, no pos shooting, no iHub take down  no Sov challenges, etc. Yet to my knowledge, we have done none of these things to them. I know for a fact that they routinely cloaky camp our ratting and mining systems, and even went so far as to set up a POS in the new system in Pure Blind where FA just moved its HQ. I cannot remember a day in the last month or two that TEST pilots have not cruised through Fade and Pure Blind looking for easy kills. We've killed a bunch of them. That however, is legal. It seems that TEST is either blue to CFC or neutral, but is blue to some alliances within the CFC. We are currently not one of them, although we have been in the past, like when we helped them take control of Delve recently. They are neutral to us, although I don't know if they call us neutral, orange, or red.

Unfortunately, it seems that TEST is trying to single us out - in light of the TEST web / forum postings and their constant raids / camping / etc. it seems they are trying to put pressure on us in the hopes that we will start a war. I think it was The Mittani who commented that TEST is something like 5 times the size of FA, so it seems a little ridiculous. Potentially they are trying to get alliances to break away from CFC - I don't know. I think they believe that if they provoke us into as they put it our usual gunboat diplomacy, and we break the agreements and start a war, that the rest of the CFC will sit by and watch it happen without interfering. Seems like a vacuous assumption to me. By the way, the last few GSF fleets in which I have participated had more FA pilots in them than from any other alliance in CFC, so I don't think our participation is overlooked or discounted by the CFC.

I don't think we intend to escalate anything - keeping our cool seems to be the order of the day. However, as Zagdul seems to do often, I think he has already become bored with actually living in and protecting our SOV and simply enjoying the game. We got a warning order that a deployment of some kind is looming on the Horizon - don't know where or when. Given what little I know of politics at that level, I suspect we won't do anything without tacit backing or even active support of the CFC.

So, after all that, I have no clue if we'll wind up in a war or not. For me, I am still trying to get skills in place so I can even fly the ships in our new "armor" doctrine fleets. I have "Armor Tank Elite" skills and can't even use them, as all the DPS ships are Amarr and Laser shit. I can fly everything but those, so I'm training like mad right now. Even the smaller ships are ones that I don't have and have never flown, although I can, so I am starting at scratch and need to build an entirely new set of ships for fleets, along with learning how to fly and fight them. They also changed rules on the Ship Replacement Fund so now if we aren't using T2 guns, we dont get reimbursed for a loss. I'm not sure they understand how many pilots this affects, and the impact it will have in the case of a shooting war or deployment. It would be sad to find that we can only field fleets of cruisers and below with a few battleships mixed in on a deployment because people won't fly ships that won't be reimbursed. Sigh. Just my usual rant at the utter chaos the FA leadership seems to thrive upon. I personally don't get it. Maybe I just don't have the knowledge to understand the bigger picture. Something was said about the old fleet doctrines no longer being effective with the updates and upgrades in EVE, and the new tactics employed by enemies to counter the strengths of those fleets. Over my head - I just want to mine and manufacture and run anoms and occasionally join a fleet to kill things.

I think if a war occurs, TEST will likely be surprised. I think FA alone can field a tremendous force, and being outnumbered is not really a new concept for us. I hope that the CFC would respond as well if that happens, in which case I really think TEST would go down just like -A- (Triple A), Raiden, and NC(dot)."
I won't even pretend I'm qualified to analyse the implications of what he's said, let alone what's between the lines. I'll leave that to the more null-sec knowledgeable pilots leaving comments below.

There is one thing I'd would like to point out though. Poetic Stanziel already weighed in on the inevitability of a clash between HBC and the CFC. I agree with him. It's an inevitable conclusion and surprise should not be the response to such rumors. So the real question comes down to this. Why would they fight rather than enjoy what they have so far divided up between them? I suspect the answer to that question may be far more surprising - and interesting. Anyone care to take a stab at it?

Fly Careful

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Carrier!

IRL I've been travelling all day but I didn't want this Wednesday's post to slide by the way side. I didn't want to forgo it especially because of what HBHI did yesterday. We launched our Chimera!


I took pictures. Yes, here comes the holiday slide show. *LOL*

Next on the list, a Moros.

Fly Careful