Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Entry: seven hundred fifty-two.

It feels as though it's been longer than ten days. Amazing how time can fly like that.

Since my last public log, things have been better. Amazingly, for whatever reason, the rash of CTA activity has vanished while roams have increased. High Command finally seems to have gotten the message that while taking space sounds cool, it isn't, nevermind trying to blitz an entire pocket of seven systems.

The biggest problem was that the CTA blitz started just after a month long CTA campaign. Nothing but structure shoots, as any interesting combat wasn't to be had. Whelps, ganks, or was dull and tiring. 
With CTAs grinding to a halt, roams of all sorts have been going out for killing. It's been a great time through and through, although none of it seemed to have started in earnest until last week, when my corporation, Militaris Industries, started taking out its own roams, alliance be damned.

I and many in UDEAD wanted to roam around and kill something. No fleets were up, people kept saying they wanted to go, and no one was forming a fleet. On one particular day I only had a few hours, and I wasn't about to spend it sitting in station watching the news bulletins. I formed a fleet, and fifteen of us made our way into Curse.

As time passed while the fleet roamed Curse, more UDEAD logged in and wanted to join. I was officially the FC until then, taking suggestions from another member, Tier, about where to go in Curse since I had no familiarity with the region. At that point, I began picking up newcomers and escorting them to fleet, getting a brief spat with calling primaries as I and two others engaged a Sabre-Falcon team a hundred off an outgate, and again as I and another latecomer tackled and killed a Raven burning through Legio space. 

Tier took over as FC at my request while I escorted the late-comers. We didn't get many kills, but everyone was happy. By the time we got back, two other fleets had formed, but ours was very nearly the size of either of those. The only loss was mine: a Crusader tackling a Wolf in Sendaya on a stargate. I had completely forgotten about gate guns. God, I really LOATHE gate and station guns.
Since then, Tier, who was once an FC, has been taking out more corporate roams, our numbers typically hitting about sixteen. We've gotten more kills and have had more fun than most of the alliance, and we've not had to put up with fail jumpers. We did have a roam that got loaded down with killmail-whoring, however, which ended up costing the whores their ships. I think that that taught them their lesson: you don't whore in small fleets, but feel free in CTAs.

I feel reinvigorated again. No six hour stints of crushing structures or hundred plus fleets. Those are all well and good IF you get a fight, but almost unacceptable if you don't. It's just been fun and roaming, having good fights and funny ganks.

We can't rely solely on Tier for corporate roams though. Our timezones don't exactly match. I'm thinking of forming up some corporate roams myself soon as well. I don't like waiting for alliance level fleets to go do something, and there's no reason I can't lead a fleet, however unsuccessfully, when no one else is willing to yet.
Computer: terminate recording.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Opening Moves

Entry: seven hundred forty-two.

Yesterday our campaign kicked off in force. With the original objective of sieging Teneferis no longer viable, our target has switched to Immensea. Seven systems were successfully blockaded in the immediate area around I-N. Shortly after the blockade units onlined, Infrastructure Hubs and Control Towers were assaulted. I am unclear on whether Territorial Claim Units and Stations were attacked, but if it was possible to destroy and reinforce those structures respectively, it's likely that that happened. Elapsed time between the beginning and end of the first operation in the siege was six hours. No resistance was forthcoming.
Following that, there have been cloaked harassment fleets taking advantage of petrified Red Alliance members. I did not join in on this. There are better things to do than camp enemies in their stations when there is no need or reason for them to come out yet. A few days down the road will make such operations more worthwhile in my view as those under siege begin to panic and attempt to rescue their assets.

There was another operation today, although I don't know what for. Judging by the fleet composition and duration length of fleet, it was another long series of structure shoots, either destructions or reinforcements. Again there was no conflict to be had, which is the point of our campaign. Sooner or later, something is going to give. Either they push back before it's too late or lose everything. After this next round of reinforcement timers, things will become more critical, hopefully eliciting a response. For now, ship spinning is their solution.

I'm looking forward to what comes next. Whether or not Cascade takes those battles, a trail of bloodbaths await.
Computer: terminate recording.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

BB32: Against Your Will

      "A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons' Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships there were calls for an "opt out of PvP" option.
      Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online? Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?"

Mainline Response:
     "Fuck anyone who plays EVE and doesn't want to risk getting attacked."

Less Popular Response:
     "There should be areas where people ARE safe from attack," and sometimes with a "...and here's my idea for it..."

My Response:
     First, I'm defining PvP as attacking/blowing up someone else's ship. Nothing else. No other form of PvP is under as much scrutiny as this form, not by far.

     Ultimately, EVE is a game. It doesn't have to have the same sorts of consequences as real life ALL THE TIME everywhere and anywhere. As it stands, EVE models things in real life pretty closely, and if you made everyone immortal and gave everyone spaceships, I bet the two would be the same.
     But remember, it's still a game. Not everyone wants to spend real life playing real life. In fact, almost no one does when you look at the number of EVE subscribers versus, well let's say WoW as the typical case. At any one time, the most logged in accounts I've seen online crested just over 50,000, and knowing the game as I do by this point, I can safely trim a third of them out as alts or bots. So at any one time, you're looking at roughly 36,000 people worldwide ACTUALLY playing EVE at any given point.
     It's no wonder you spend 2 hours roaming around for a measly few kills. There's hardly anyone playing, never mind those in the areas where you don't have to worry about CONCORD.
     How many people sign up to try EVE, only to find out that in their starting phase they get ganked. Frustrated, having to work to play at work, and not wanting to play real life, they move on. Instead of someone who would have one day become ISK sufficient enough to partake of PvP regularly or even just weather the losses, they've abandoned EVE. One less future combatant for all those who love to fight or at worst one less repeat target. I don't know the numbers that sub and unsub, but the number of active accounts at any one time doesn't seem to rise even by a thousand in a few months...
     How many people want nothing to do with combat, and invest everything into developing a super pimped out ship. It's akin to working on your car; you want to invest in it without actually risking it, because you want to take pride in it. Now how often do we hear about said people being attacked and robbed of that accomplishment, complete or not, and all the time it took to get that far. Should that player get fed up and leave EVE, it's one less source of revenue and minerals, of items, one less source of the stuff that shows up on the markets that lets PvPers PvP, and one less buyer of those faction, deadspace, and officer mods that help support PvPers. Drive enough away, PvPers will have to work a little harder for ISK. Maybe not enough to truly hurt, but enough to be uncomfortable.
     Is there any reason there should not be PvP-free zones? Sure, EVE is a sandbox, so what if I cordon off a small chunk that no one is allowed to be violent in? You still have your sandbox, and I have mine. Two sandboxes, largely similar, slightly different rules, and more people are happy and able to play. It's not as though preventing PvP in the highest of security systems would cripple EVE, or even muck around with the storyline, and it's not as though PvPers need all the hi-sec "leave me alone I hate PvP" targets they can get: there are plenty of targets elsewhere. Everywhere else, in fact.
     I'm not proposing a design to implement this, I'm not a game designer. That said, simply disallowing PvP in 1.0 systems should be rather simple: AOE systems are offlined in said systems, and targeting a player's ship is impossible. Simple. It's a bazooka, but it does the trick.
     The standard argument is that EVE is PvP, that the sandbox is a do-or-die jungle in every regard, and that the moment you undock, you've agreed to PvP, whether you know it or not. I call bullshit. Even CCP says that if you grief people on trial accounts, you stand a good chance of being perma banned. There's your PvP: you versus CCP. How's that sound? This standard argument runs the risk of ignoring what happens when PvPers drive too many non-PvP types away from EVE. a) CCP will be forced to institute hi-sec = no PvP in order to stay alive. b) no carebears = minus half of EVE = EVE is crippled at best, dead at worst.
     To make the best of both worlds, yes, I think there should be PvP free zones, but very few. Enough to accommodate those that want to stay away from the possibility of being blown up, but few enough that accessibility of targets is not noticeably affected. This way, we can have our carebears (some who will grow to love PvP, some who will hate PvP) keep playing and subscribing, who get their friends to try EVE (some of which will subscribe, and some will love PvP and some who will hate it), which generates more funds for expansions and dev teams and better servers, the list goes on and on and around and around.
     Giving just a few PvP free zones could do nothing but help the game in the short term, or at worst do nothing, and if it did nothing, it'd be a simple matter to just go back to the way EVE is now. Leaving EVE the way it is now and never even trying PvP free zones though...stagnation is the surest sign of death in a society, and EVE is no different. It needs change if it's going to grow, never mind simply survive.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You've Veered Off Course...

Entry: seven hundred thirty-eight.

Seven hundred thirty-seven I think anyways. The days seem to blend together of late.
It didn't take much, some browsing around, looking for new material while working on a personal project...and I found some really good finds. Before I knew it, I found myself sifting through them.

And then I found myself thinking that nothing I logged recently was as good as some of these new finds. Not really the effect I was looking for, if you catch my drift. It was a bit unsettling, one of those unwelcome shocks to the system that at the same time makes you realize you can't continue on the course you're on. It could really be the case that they are simply more talented, but that wasn't the sinking realization I'd encountered.

It turns out that I actually don't feel all that great about my recent logs. They're more detached than they used to be, less filled with emotion and action than they were. The old flames, once bright and scorching hot, now burn far less intensely than before.

It also turns out that I encounter a similar feeling when considering my current available material. Some remains excellent, but there are more times lately where I come across a series of entries that I've got no interest in exploring them and simply let them pass by.

That vacation solved some problems, but it seems it may be responsible for others.

I've been too passive lately. Busy, but passive. Even as slow as activity in Querious has been, people in my alliance have been getting on quite a few kills. It's the reverse of two months ago, where the alliance was in my situation and I'm in theirs. The solution for them was roams farther from home: necessary, if a bit tedious, but worth it in the end. I didn't find myself complaining or blanching at the trips then, but now I do. I've had no desire to roam, none to leave Cascade space. It was only happenstance that I ran across that Merlin in GJ0- and had some real combat.

That needs to change, for my own health and state of mind. It has nothing to do with anything beyond a personal level. I simply need to go beyond alliance space and find that passion I once had.

I think I may reduce my frequency with these logs a bit, until I can rediscover what I've lost...I don't have a desire to waste anyone's time with halfhearted updates...
Computer: terminate recording.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Entry: seven hundred thirty something. I'm too tired to count right now.

Recently,  a few friends and I have taken on meeting up via the Singularity simulator and practicing some techniques, some fits. Today had some revealing results for me.

In the first battle, I was in a Firetail, my opponent a Rifter. We clashed, and at a point briefly later, the Rifter was no more. The Firetail was a fairly standard fit: gank with some buffer and heavy tackle. Double his damage, it isn't a surprise the Firetail never lost shields while the Rifter went out with a bang.

A few subsequent battles included said Firetail versus a Wolf. Each time, I got close to the goal of eliminating the enemy Assault Ship, but the Firetail always crumpled first. Baffled is the term that describes the situation best. There was nothing special about the Wolf fits I was matched against...

And then I saw it, that fifth low-power slot. I had forgotten all about the tech improvements for all Assault Ships. Where I was expecting a four hundred plated Wolf, or an active two hundred plated Wolf, I had instead encountered a new menace: the four hundred plated Wolf with a Gyrostabilizer. It's no wonder the Firetail could never win, even scoring on the explosive resistance hole. The Wolf, quite simply, is too powerful for a mere Firetail to brute force it into submission.

I tried a different tactic: tracking disruption. It makes sense that where brawn fails, brains must prevail, and vice versa, right? 

Testing proved this assumption to be correct, at least in this case. Due to piloting error, however, the disruption was discovered and thwarted, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for the two hundred plated active armor repairing Firetail. Thanks to this Firetail's sacrifice, it's been determined that, in my case, one tracking disruptor is not enough to secure dominance against a Wolf, or any variation using tracking enhancers. Two tracking disruptors will be necessary in the future, combined with an active armor tank. My senses are telling me that this is a very fickle and specific mistress to handle, and that she is perhaps a tad too hot to handle for the likes of me.

The next scenario I was pitted in was Crusader versus Merlin. I wanted to have another run at this, to validate my win in GJ0- the other night. The fit was slightly different: gatling pulse lasers, an additional ANP as opposed to a nano, conflag instead of multifrquency.

The fight was, for all intents and purposes, even. I lost the Crusader with the barest slivers of structures remaining on the Merlin, my capacitor completely nullified. It was likely my decision to get another repair cycle in as opposed to spray and pray that cost the Crusader its life, as well as the less than optimal cap regen thanks to a now useless rig with the way I currently fir them. Still, I find this encouraging, and feel confident that any Crusader I pilot in the future will convincingly defeat a Merlin. It remains to be seen how these Crusaders will handle other frigates, although all Minmatar Assault Ships are on the DNE list for laser fitted ships.

The final combats were Slicers against Merlins. The wins were beyond convincing, although the Slicer was only as fast as a Rifter in that combat configuration. It is probably not the best idea to fit afterburners to Slicers without serious speed modifications. How this will work without sacrificing tank and gank is beyond me at this point. Hopefully the answer will present itself.

The finishing touch was a test run of the Retribution. I'd heard that it was getting an additional midslot, essentially making it the Amarr version of the Wolf. This essentially held true. Slower tracking, slower speed, but still beefy. Given the costs of Minmatar tech as opposed to, well, any other race, it seems a fair compromise. You get what you pay for, and to be honest, I could be convinced to be fly it with a microwarpdrive. It's already a fairly tough piece of gristle, so the rigs can be put to optimal use on capacitor.

I've heard much grumbling about the microwarpdrive 'enhancements' to Assault Ships. I'll be blunt, and say that I disagree with the negative stance on it. All said and done, Assault Ships will still not be anywhere nearly as fast as Interceptors, nor be graced with the warp disruptor enhancements, and will still have the signature radius of an extremely heavily buffered shield cruiser. These microwarpdrive enhancements make Assault Ships viable in null-sec as heavier tacklers, as opposed to utterly useless. 

In another two weeks, we'll likely run more test scenarios. I wonder what I'll learn there? I'm thinking that I should focus solely on one or two ships, to make the most the of the time and experience. It seemed to work out well today.
Computer: terminate recording.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1v1: Paper Tank vs Contruction Paper Tank

Entry: seven hundred thirty-three.

Got my new deployment orders: GJ0- in Catch.

Intel was quiet, as has been the case lately. Alliance killboards are looking like some poor bastard bled out on an operating table. No roams posted, no fleets up, no one doing anything except money-grubbing.

Or maybe prepping for the move, who knows. I don't sense the mood though, and it's usually more active for that besides.

I made the trip from 49-, made some pounces along the way for systems I hadn't created them for. When I finally arrived in GJ0-, local was pretty neutral. I made some more pounces, one for each gate, and then started making undocks. At my final undock, some eleven hundred off, a Merlin appeared on sensors.

I warped to station, he was a hundred off. I warped to a hundred from my first undock and appeared a hundred beyond him. He came for me though, approaching quickly.
At first, I was a little skittish. He had friends in who knew what who knew where in system. A few seconds' indecision, and then I reciprocated his advance.

I shot past him, too fast on my approach, easily missing scram range. I spattered a few laser beams at him while keeping some range, then went in again. 

'Orbit 1000m. Switch to Multifrequency. MWD off. Scrambler on, activate weapons, preheat small armor repairer.'

I snagged him, slowing down and managing to keep just in range to keep him scrambled. Everything out here uses a microwarpdrive, and last thing I wanted was him getting away. I reset the orbit to get in close, and let the lasers do their work, figuring his mix of blasters and rockets wouldn't work so great if I got a good orbit on him.

Rockets and blasters were hitting, the armor repairer almost recovering all the damage. Still, I was slowly bleeding out. His shields were taking their sweet time. It was his medium shield extender vs my unbuffered but regenerative armor. Capacitor wasn't going to last long at the rate I was using it, between the lasers, scram, and repairer.

I entered structured, he was still in armor. My cap ran dry, guns and scram taking every drop of energy. The repairer ceased functioning, and I was torn between the killing and the living. The desire to live won out, and I managed to get a cycle out of the repairer before it shut off again, stopping my lasers for a few seconds in the process.

There wasn't anything else to do at that point except spray and pray. I was down to half structure, the Merlin at the same, my lasers and scram running on the wisps of energy remaining.

Another few shots and his ship exploded. I'd won the day, his ship in pieces of melted slag and mine riddled with holes and burn marks.

It's been a long time since I felt this good about anything.
Computer: terminate recording.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

So much is new, and so much is the same.

Entry: seven hundred thirty-one.

Life in Querious remains...quiet. There's been very little to do worth talking about. With the Evoke NAP in place, blue-status with N3MESIS, Krysis, -A-, and Nulli, little remains to be shot with the exception of the normal cloakers that like to roam about. Alliance goals need completing, but from everything I can tell, it's all taking down structures. Suleiman's comment keeps echoing in my head...

While that has remained the same, the alliance seems to have changed drastically. I'm seeing quite a new corps lately, more activity than was there this time last month, and more fleets. Sadly, the fleets are posted by mail, and I dislike waking up to another twenty-two mails blinking by inbox to death. I typically delete them. I love knowing when the fleets will be, but I can't be bothered to sort through twenty-two mails for some fun.

To that effect, I've actually missed most of the fleets. I'm going to need to fix this. I can still see formups for -A- CTAs, maybe I can get in on some of that action. Or maybe I need to deploy to more active regions. Ah, but I forgot, my alliance is 'deployed' to 49-U6U. I must be missing the definition of deployment. I was pretty sure deployment meant "go somewhere other than home".

But, I don't really have anyone but myself to blame in the end. I don't feel like hour formups, or multi-hour waits, or dealing with the regular cloaky gatecamp a few jumps away. There's not been any inspiration. Maybe I got a bit too addicted to the simulators and games in the quarters.

It's a struggle, getting back into the game...
Computer: terminate recording.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Vacation's End

Entry: seven hundred twenty-two.

I've been pretty inactive since about two weeks ago. Burnout, the doctors said. I didn't have the mental fortitude to be active out in the wide open galaxy and participate in the endless destruction of shaped metal throwing rocks out the back.

They told me to take a vacation.

There were terms. I could continue skill training, but Tranquility neocom access was cut down to a minimum. Singularity simulator access remained open, as well as any of the other entertainments I could find. Sleep was also a major requirement, and lots of it.

For two weeks, I didn't participate at all, and I have to admit, it felt like a burden was lifted off my shoulders. I knew I would come back eventually, but I felt lighter for not constantly trying to push myself to do better and better on the killboards. I had no corp responsibilities, no CTAs to attend, no roams to go to, and none of the frustrations and joys that go with any of them. The absence was the drug, and it was a blissful one.

For those two weeks, I played some games via jacking in from the quarters at 49-U6U. My new favorite has been this particular one called Skyrim. From my youth, I played Daggerfall, and Skyrim played in the first person view is exactly like it. Good memories and a great game, who can argue with that? I also took one day in the Singularity simulator to practice some combat with contacts of mine.

That particular simulation activity was a bit hodge podge, and we just ran around shooting each other, but there was no thrill. Eventually we tried some fleet and gang stuff after testing solo fits against each other, but it was getting late for everyone, and we only got the one fleet versus fleet fight to happen before going.

Still it was a learning experience. My solo combat remains poor. Testing the Tornado AC fits tells me it's either rubbish or I'm flying it wrong, the answer likely being both. Fleet combat remains good for me: something about being part of a group makes it easier for me to make better decisions. I intend to keep working on my solo skills with Singularity from time to time, but it will be a while before I feel half decent enough again to even think sideways about solo roaming. It sure puts a new respect in me for solo roamers. Offhand I know of a few, but let's not name names and blow their covers for the unwary.

Two years as a pilot have come and gone and I don't regret any of it. I'm looking forward to the third. In a few days, I'll have been a null-sec resident for a full year. Truly, I've never experienced a place more vibrant and energetic than null, and I hope to never leave.
Computer: terminate recording.