Saturday, 21 March 2015

First Ever Kill

..shortly followed by...

After a couple of hours of running combat sites in a c2 (and thankfully, having already stashed the loot from the previous sites), a sleeper battleship finally cracked my tank and got me down to 50% hull. I warped out to a deep space safe and went AFK to let my shield regen while I got dinner prepared... meaning these guys got in the hole while I wasn't looking. So when I went to warp back to my MTU, there was the Flycatcher. Up went the bubble... the whole fight was over in under 30 seconds.

I got a tiny insurance payout, and thankfully had jumped into a clean clone so no additional losses with the pod. And so ends the saga of my first 7 years of EVE; 1.3 bil in losses, 300 mil in kills, 1 solo kill.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015


Voting for CSM is now open. PLEASE VOTE HERE.

If you aren't sure what CSM is, check out this post by CCP Leeloo - in short, it's an elected body of players who consult with the game's benevolent masters CCP. They are given direct access to developers and upcoming changes to the game are shown to them first, so they are the most important avenue of feedback and representation we players have available to us. Voting is by no means mandatory, but you can count on the big nullsec alliances to push their hundred thousand accounts to vote, so I want to make sure smaller voices, particularly "highsec carebear" types, get heard too.

I have just finished listening to all of the Cap Stable interviews and panels, w00t! They have put together some great resources which can be found here, if you are interested in doing some research of your own. There are only 5 days left at this point though, so if you don't feel like you have the time to do enough in-depth research, I'm presenting my ballot here for consideration.

The full roles of voting can be found here, and further information on single transferrable voting can be found on Wikipedia. In short (for those who don't use preferential voting... *coughAmericans*), you order your preference amongst the candidates (in the case of the CSM, the most you can vote for is 14). Anyone who exceeds the quota (a set number of votes, usually dependant on the total number cast) is elected outright. After that, the fun of distributing preferences takes place. After initial preferences (ie #1 votes) have been tallied, the candidate with the least votes will be eliminated, and their preferences distributed. If you have voted for only one candidate and they are knocked out at this stage, your vote will "exhaust" and not count; as such, I'm recommending a full ballot of 14, ranging from generally smaller candidates to generally bigger ones.

With that in mind, my recommended ticket:

- #1 Jayne Fillion

Jayne is responsible for adding great content to the game, which a number of SLYCE members take part in and enjoy. Since the game is all about "what can I do", any player that creates content for others to enjoy is a great candidate in my opinion. He represents the NPSI community (Not Purple, Shoot It) - groups who form up fleets and go shoot other players regardless of ordinary allegiances. It's the only way I've been able to enjoy PVP sofar. Campaign thread here.

- #2 Chance Ravinne

I loved Chance's energy and enthusiasm. He runs a great youtube channel, knows about marketing the game, and flies in bombers and wormholes, which are parts of my gameplay (that I haven't covered on this blog yet). Campaign thread

- #3 Erika Mizune / Yumene

EVE radio host and industrialist. Erika's ideas on reworking mining and industrial systems are very interesting to me, and represent the PVE content that I'm writing about on this blog. In particular, the idea that finished asteroids have a chance of spawning smaller chunks of bonus ore would make mining a little more fun. That being said, her interview on Cap Stable was pretty poor, with nervous answers and issues understanding the interviewer's accent. Campaign thread.

- #4 Aeon Boirelle

A high sec candidate representing for the carebears. While I don't like all their ideas, particularly on revisiting input duplication, they want to represent parts of highsec gameplay at the core for me, and anyone who wants to fuck CODE. over is OK by me. Campaign post.

- #5 Bam Stoker

AUTZ = BEST TZ. Bam organised the only EVE meet up that I've been to. He is a nullsec player, but standing to represent community interests, and lobbying to introduce better ways for communities to network through the game client itself. Campaign thread.

- #6 Lorelei Ierendi

Who is Lorelei? A high sec carebear. Tick. Some ideas of changes that might have unintended consequences on the economy, but in general, another representative of grinders, and one who is particularly reaching out to the solo players, which I was for a long time. Campaign thread.

- #7 Nervon
Another high-sec carebear candidate. They seem to be a bit more rainbow minded in terms of a mix of PVE play with a little PVP, much like myself, but they have done themselves no favours in terms of having little existence in the metagame. Campaign post.

- #8 June Ting

The recently announced rework of Sovereign Nullsec space means I want to put at least a couple of nullsec candidates on here, and of those, June is the one who appeals to me the most. Her ideas seem to match the thrust of the announced changes, so I trust her to get the details right. Campaign thread

- #9 Mike Azariah

The incumbent highsec resident and blogger who inspired me to start this blog. If you've ever experienced a watering mouth at the sight of the Bowhead like I have, thank Mike. Has done a fantastic job on CSM, and also on Operation Magic School Bus, helping to retain newbies after the success of the "This Is EVE" trailer. Campaign thread.

- #10 Xander Phoena

Incumbent. Although the crazy Scotsman has gotten some bad press in recent weeks, his blogs on CSM 9 have been highly informative. He makes it onto my ballot for his work on input duplication, if nothing else. Disclaimer: former Goon, now flies with Pandemic Legion. Campaign thread.

- #11 Sugar Kyle

The most respected incumbent candidate. Although she represents lowsec, where I barely dip my toes to nab a little ice or deal with market orders, she has also represented PVE content, and been one of the strongest workhorses of CSM 9. Campaign thread.

- #12 Corbexx

Incumbent wormhole candidate, which covers me during wartime and a fair whack of other time too. Has done good work in rebalancing the wormholes I spend time in (c1/c2) so that they are ISK fountains worth the inherent risks. Campaign thread.

- #13 Steve "FuzzySteve" Ronuken

Incumbent third party developer and industrialist. Highly specialised and involved with the CREST API, which has allowed for better market data on sites like Eve Central. Runs Fuzzworks, which has allowed me to optomise my PVE gaming to no end. Campaign thread.

- #14 Khador Vess

RVB fleet commander and all round good guy with some interesting ideas on how to make life in high sec more interesting. Loses out to Jayne, Bam and June for me, but I think he's worth having on the end in case all of the above get exhausted. Campaign thread.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015


Busting rocks in a Proc

The What

As the name would suggest, mining is the harvesting of mineral resources from celestial features - asteroid belts, ice belts, or gas clouds. It's one of the easiest ways to make ISK: unlike 'rats, rocks don't shoot back. However, it comes with its own risks, most notably bumping and ganking. Despite the risks, it's still one of the most boring forms of PVE; grinding, pure and simple.

The Where

There's something to mine everywhere in New Eden - usually multiple kinds of things, so it can often be hard to know what's the most lucrative choice. The rule here is the same as with all PVE: more risk, more reward. Asteroid belts in highest sec systems have the smallest rocks with generally the lowest worth, working their way up through to the lower sec systems, then with better rocks and the other better value options becoming available in the lawless areas of space - lowsec, nullsec and wormholes. Disclaimer: I'm only familiar with high sec and wormholes at this point in time.

Huffing gas in a C1 wormhole

The How

You warp in to the belt or site. You target the rock or gas. You switch on your lasers or harvesters. You collect ore. Mining is one of the simplest activities in EVE, which is probably why it is one of the career paths many players try early in their career. However, there is still quite a bit to think about in order to optimise mining, even for a brand new player or account:

  • Rule of solo mining #101: don't sit on the warp in - move your ship to the other side of the belt. Don't be the low hanging fruit for gankers. 
  • It's generally not a good idea to refine your minerals until you have all of your reprocessing skills to V and sufficient standings with the corporation whose station you are using to refine. Generally, taking the time to train an industrial like the Miasmos and haul all that ore to a market hub will be a better option initially. For more info on reprocessing, check out the Eve Uni Wiki.
  • It's generally worth checking which are the most valuable rocks to mine, not just in your local area but in the market hubs through a site like Eve Central. If you're at the point where you are reprocessing minerals to sell, then it's worth going even more in depth on an ore calculator with a site like Fuzzworks or Grismar. At the end of the day rocks are rocks and spending more than a few minutes looking around for something better cuts down your overall ISK/hr efficiency, but it's worth knowing what to look for.
  • If the drive for bigger and better rocks sends you into 0.5 or 0.6 security space, don't make the mistake of thinking your Retriever or Covetor will be safe. Predators are out there and they live for juicy killmails from expensive barges. A well tanked Procurer can survive the 30 seconds it usually takes Concord to respond to a ganking attempt. Stay tuned for some fits.
  • That being said, Rettys and Covs have their place - generally in fleet mining. Even in a more basic ship, the yield and range boost from an Orca pilot can make mining considerably easier and improve your ISK/hr quite a bit. Flying a well organised fleet op with Covetors and an Orca/hauler combo can pull over 10m ISK/hr, even in highsec. 
Warning: not all mining ops include celebratory fireworks...

For a more in-depth guide to mining, check out the Eve Uni Wiki page.

The Why

As suggested in the How, mining is one of the easiest ways to start making decent ISK, and relatively simple to get into - the tutorial missions give you a Venture, which is a solid ship to start flying and my tool of choice for Wormhole gas, which can provide way better income than you ever get mining in highsec (helped along by the rise in demand due to the ongoing release of T3 destroyers). Even if you find it bores you to tears, it's a part of the gameplay that everyone will have a brush with at one point or another, simply because minerals are the base of the whole EVE economy.

Many players mine because they need the minerals for manufacturing, but (in EVE and IRL) I'm no industrialist. For a grinder like myself, always looking towards the possible income, solo highsec ore mining is one of the least effective ways I can spend my time. But it's relaxing, simple, and, assuming the above precautions have been taken, fairly safe. If there isn't a fleet on first thing in the morning and I'm in highsec, I'll usually undock and pick up a hold ore two in the Proc while I make breakfast, etc. And there's even AFK mining - which I'll cover in another post - that allows you to play EVE and make ISK while doing the groceries, laundry, etc.

The income from my minerals is only a small portion of the month's total, but it appeals to the proletarian in me to be toiling away at the lowest tier of industry.

Monday, 9 February 2015

The J Word

Universal Narrative

Another war dec finds me flying around from A to B in a stealth bomber that I just trained for and planning to buy my first Ishtar. It's an unusual level to be flying at with 42m skillpoints, or close to 7 years in the game.

Other players have different goals to me. They enjoy the rush of PVP more than I do, or the power trip that comes from skilling up for a capital ship and being the biggest fish in the (rather large) small pond. Others just enjoy the graphics, mechanics or the social interaction. For me these things are all very appealing, but something else about EVE Online appeals to me more: the unique sense of narrative.

Narrative is powerful. It's how we understand the whole universe. As a student of creative writing, I've made it my job to understand the different narratives being presented to us - not just in fictional works but in the media, politics, etc. We fit all the pieces of these different things together into coherent narratives to make sense of them; we even do it to things where it might not make sense, like the behaviour of our co-workers, the weather, our own plans for the future...

EVE, more than other games, allows us to shape a narrative in very special ways. That's what sets it apart from other MMOs, what has kept me coming back to EVE after bouts of Minecraft, Civ IV, Zelda and Borderlands. "Player Created Content" is the watchword in this sandbox.

Does that mean I should head out to nullsec, play the politics and sovereignty game, where grand narratives of empires and colonization (without the negative consequences to indigenous peoples) are written by players every day? Mebbe I will at some point. I certainly listen to enough podcasts to do so.

But one of the main reasons I'm writing this blog is to point out that there are narratives in EVE, even for high-sec care bears. Every succesful hauling trip to Jita is a narrative of cat-and-mouse (and every unsucessful one a bad horror story). Every succesful fleet op - or even the slow, patient game of growing your wealth - it's all narrative. And we have our own grand narratives, too - wars between Marmite and CODE., the fights over highsec POCOs. There is content to be found, even for the carebears.

Sunday, 18 January 2015


It's currently 8:35 AM local time as I type, and I've been gaming for an hour and a half. I'm hauling ore for a mining fleet with a dozen people from Europe and the US. We are chatting on teamspeak; they are sorting out dinner as I brew my morning coffee.

As an Australian player, I've gotten to know some of the guys involved in Eve Down Under. As they say, AUTZ = best tz... but i'm rarely on in our primetime, local evenings, to take part in the shenanigans. I usually prefer to game in the morning or during the day. So that ends up leaving me online during late EU or US tz - right now. Our regular fleets start at 20:00 Eve time, which in daylight savings means 07:00 local.

This does make it difficult to game with the few other Aussies I've been in corp with, since I'm usually on while they are at work and vice versa - but it's a great opportunity to make friends from all over. Those of us with matching schedules get to know each other pretty well, and SLYCE has a pretty good casual culture - we run sites or missions while having a laugh on comms.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Shoutouts: The Carebears

So this will be an ongoing series of shoutouts to those who are out there in the Meta doing something I consider to be representing the "carebear" playstyle. Some of these peeps might not consider what they do "carebear", but they are people who I've looked to for inspiration and ideas on the way I play.

Firstly, to Mike Azaraiah, CSM member, owner of the blog A Missioneer in Eve, and frequent podcast guest. His style of narrative posting is very interesting and unique, and he often sees a side of the story that other, more direct players might miss when it comes to upcoming changes or the kind of content creation going on in the game.

Secondly, Von Keigai, owner of the blog Deep in EVE, for this interesting post on high sec ice mining. The reasoning and philosophy behind it applies to other forms of gankable mining (basically all of them) just as much as ice. Otherwise he's also a wormholer, which is a place I find myself ending up more and more these days (pretty much 100% of undocked playtime during our current wardec and the previous couple too), and he's documenting some of his more exciting adventures there.

That's it for now. There will be more.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Dominix Fit - The Droneboat

Ahh, trusty space potato

Here is my Dominix level 4 mission running fit. The Domi is a warhorse of EVE, for both PvP and PvE. It has one of the biggest drone holds of any battleship, a very solid armor tanker with seven low slots, and six high slots to pack a punch. For an idea on common fits look no further than Eve Uni. This is what my sniper fit looks like:

And here it is in EFT plain text (I hope this means people can copy and paste it into EFT; if you are too lazy to put all this in manually, Eve mail me: TrickyH Shazli and I'll send you the fit).
[Dominix, Domi latest Serp]
Damage Control II
Armor Kinetic Hardener II
Large Armor Repairer II
Armor Thermic Hardener II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
Omnidirectional Tracking Link II
Cap Recharger II
Heavy Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I, Cap Booster 400
Large Micro Jump Drive
Drone Link Augmentor II
Drone Link Augmentor II
Large 'Solace' Remote Armor Repairer
425mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge L
425mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge L
425mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge L
Large Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Large Sentry Damage Augmentor I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Hammerhead II x5
Hobgoblin II x5
Warden II x5
Garde II x5
Salvage Drone I x5

Why a big space potato like the Dominix? Firstly, there's a logical progression in Gallente skill training through smaller ships like the Vexor and Myrmidon. You can use a lot of the same basic modules and skills for your tank, guns, and drones as you work your way up. As missioner ships go, the Dominix is on the cheaper end, and it can be skilled for at tech 1 within 30 days, so even if you progress onto something more blingy, it's a good ship to aim for if you're interested in missioneering.

Most of my DPS with this boat comes from the drones, which is par for the course with the Domi. Longer range sentry drones hit out comfortably to the 102km drone command limit using two Drone Link Augmentors (and 7 mil SP in drones, mind). Sentries are fantastic for DPS, but they can get a bit painful to come back for and pick up, especially in a slowboat like this, so you end up sitting in space while they go to work. When I first started on a battleship I tried flying without using them, with heavy drones instead, and it's WAAAY tougher tactically.

The Droneboat in action

My standard tactic for a l4 mission in this ship is pretty simple: if the 'rats are within 50km of the warp-in point, I microjump out to around 100km range, load up some Iron or Lead charges, drop the Wardens and start picking off the frigates while they are busy moving straight towards me, working my way up in size until everything has gone pop. So long as you carefully manage pocket aggro, most missions can be completed this way without ever needing to warp out.

I fly for Gallente corps at the moment, which means a lot of Serpentis, who basically can't hit you at 100km. Angel Cartel can be a pain - especially the bonus room on Angel Extravaganza, in which I often have to warp out after taking out the turrets, which means a 5 minute slowboat back through all the other rooms. Another note on corporations: unlike the Eve Uni fit with Energized Adaptive Nano Membranes providing across the board resistance increases, I fit two active modules. The two in the example are tailored to Serpentis - Thermic and Kinetic - but I swap them out based on the advice of Eve Survival.

You'll notice I have Salvage Drones in there, but using Cap Booster 400 to keep that tank running means you'll only just have enough room for the MTU, so you definitely need to keep another looting ship handy. I have a Vexor fit with salvagers, and just use the Domi's salvage drones when you have some sort of slowboat distance to travel, or when you're in a fleet and helping to chew through a room before moving onto the next mission.

Flying with a Domi like this in a fleet is very powerful. It's got a solid tank so it's great to take aggro while newbro corp-mates bring in cruisers or destroyers and pick off targets. Multiple Domis can tear through tough missions like AE or the Epic Arcs. I'll be trying the Gallente arc for the first time soon, so look forward to reading about that :)