Saturday, 29 May 2010

Just Call me the Drone Commander

Just a short one.

Yesterday I experienced my first armour tanked wormhole PvE fleet. Previous to this point I've always flown in shield tanked fleets, which are a slightly rarer breed. I really enjoyed the experience, especially since the fleet was huge, so we raced through a good number of sites.

I was piloting a Loki which is great for taking out the Sleeper frigates. Fit it with two webs and some autocannons and those frigates just go pop! Although I have to admit, maybe that was because I had about 40 drones assigned to me! The number of drones we had on the field was crazy, and controlling them was great fun - all the Sleepers just melted against them. When I have a bit more experience of armour tanked fleets I will be writing a comparison between shield and armour tanking. I'll be able to discuss the different setups and give you a good idea of fleet composition for each.

In other news, the new patch Tyrannis has arrived. I'm enjoying it so far, but that's not really because of any new content, I'm just enjoying the game at the moment. In fact my favourite thing so far is that I don't have to listen to that horrible Dominion load screen music ever again! Hopefully I'll be able to play with some of the new features in a little more depth soon.

But I'm afraid that next week I'm off on holiday. So I've taken the opportunity to put some nice long skills on train. I'll be back and posting again on June 5th.

One last thing. If you have anything you'd like me to blog about when I return, just pop it in a comment, or send me an evemail to Banear. It could be a question about wormholes or ship fitting or anything really, I'm just curious about what you would enjoy reading.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

This is a Live Event Right?

Recently CCP have reintroduced Live Events to Eve. A Live Event is an in-game story scripted and coordinated by CCP Devs, in which capsuleers can participate. The Live Event currently being played out in Eve revolves around the entity Sansha's Nation who have been manipulating wormholes in order to launch attacks on systems all over the universe and kidnapping citizens of various planets.

I'm afraid I'm not going to give a potted summary of the story so far. Firstly because I don't know most of it myself, but also because I have to talk about what happened yesterday.

Although I personally haven't been able to get involved in any of the actual events, one member of our corporation, Darkcoro has been heavily involved in many of them. He was recently mentioned by name in a news article when a Sansha's Nation wormhole was collapsed by a fleet he was helping to lead. So he has been a really useful and interesting to source to have around while the events have been ocurring.

Yesterday, the 25th of May, a rumour was circulating that a Sansha's Nation invasion event was going to occur one hour before the Tyrannis patch downtime. Since I hadn't been able to witness any of the previous engagements, I felt it was time I should make the effort and see what it was all about. Darkcoro gave both myself and other members of our corporation an invite to the Operation Bad Moon fleet. Operation Bad Moon are a group of roleplayers who have been at the forefront of player interaction with the Live Events.

Once in the fleet, we were told that information had been leaked regarding this invasion event. Apparently it was to occur in a lowsec system called Maut, which is one jump from Gallente Highsec. Other rumours suggested that the CCP Dev players were going to bring a whole cap fleet, incuding a Leviathan Titan to the engagement! The fleet started to gather in Auvergne, Gallente Highsec, and the lure of getting on a Titan killmail eventually pushed the number of pilots in the fleet above 200.

This number of pilots was something that the Operation Bad Moon leaders weren't prepared for. Fleet discipline was becoming difficult to maintain and many of the wing commanders seemed rather clueless as to what the big plan was. Attempting to use Eve Voice was not a success as it seemed to be a bit tempremental so I ended up just joining the corp Vent channel.

Our corporation had our own squad in the fleet. I decided to go all-in and bring a PvP fitted, armour buffer Typhoon Battleship. In our squad we had a couple more Battleships, some Stealth Bombers and a Cruiser. We ended up at the highsec gate to Maut waiting for the action to begin.

At around 01:00 Eve time a report came through that a cyno had been lit in Maut. Through this cyno came a Nyx Supercarrier and Carrier support. In the Operation Bad Moon fleet it was assumed that these ships belonged to players who had aligned themselves with the cause of the Sansha's Nation invasion and that the actual Sansha fleet would follow. Further reports started to come in about more cynos being lit in system. Eventually our fleet was ordered to jump into Maut.

Local in Maut numbered around 600. So once grids had loaded the fleet was warped to the cynos that were close to planet six. Upon arrival our 200 strong fleet was greeted by the sight of a staggering number of Carrier, Dreadnought and Supercarrier capitals belonging to the Nullsec alliances Morsus Mihi, RAZOR Alliance, Wildly Inappropriate and Pandemic Legion, just to name a few.

It is safe to say that at this point nobody in our fleet had a clue what was going on. There didn't seem to be any Sansha around to shoot. A primary was called but a 200 man mixed sub-capital fleet couldn't make a dent on anything. After a while battleships began to be picked off including my Typhoon. At this point lag was making the game unplayable and there was a small node crash. I ended up being thoroughly confused, logging off in my pod just before the patch day downtime hit.

So this morning I endeavoured to find out what had actually happened. Where were the Sanchas? Why were so many Nullsec alliances involved? If CCP was involved why wasn't the node reinforced?

The brilliant and hilarious truth of the matter?

This was not a CCP run Live Event.

From what I have been able to make out a rumour was started by a number of Sansha sympathising players about the Live Event which the RolePlayers fell for totally. The players spread all sorts of rumours about there being an invasion in Maut just before patch downtime and there being a possibility of a Titan kill. The initial cyno in Maut was lit by these sympathisers who jumped in the Nyx piloted by ECHAeries with two triage carriers in support. Cry Havoc opportunistically lit the second cyno in Maut and jumped in a sub-capital fleet. They were then jumped by both the Morsus Mihi and Pandemic Legion capital fleets. Another cyno was also lit by United Star Federation who also brought in a few carriers. These were all joined by our large sub-capital fleet and possibly other fleets as well. I know for sure there was an Eve University fleet in the area.

It seems that ECHAeries' Nyx was primaried but due to an interdiction mistake it was able to warp out when deep into armour. The capital fleets then picked off random capitals before turning their attention to any of the sub-capital ships that remained. As downtime approached the fleets moved out of Maut and the fight ended quickly.

So far I have managed to find killmails for 1 Chimera, 3 Thanatos, 1 Moros and an Archon, along with plenty of sub-capital losses, mine included. None of the Nullsec alliance fleets seemed to suffer any losses.

All in all it was an incredibly entertaining evening, and even more so now that I know the truth of it. Is there a game like Eve where a single rumour can trigger an engagement on this scale? Tyrannis is currently patching and there will be some nice new features to play with, but it's worth remembering that sometimes it's the players that create the best content.

Interesting Links

Pandemic Legion Battle Report
Morsus Mihi Killboard
Eve Forum Thread
Scrapheap Challenge Forum Thread

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Sorry, I've Been Enjoying Eve Way Too Much to Post!

My title for this post is really the only legitimate reason I could come up with for not posting properly for so long; and the best thing about it? It's totally true!

The benefit of this little break from posting is that I have tons of stuff to talk about. But let me first tell you what's going on.

With an alt character I have joined SI Radio, an ex-wormhole dwelling corporation who are known for the show Planet Risk produced by two senior members Luminus Aardokay and Quivering Palm. Planet Risk is a great show that revolves around wormhole exploration and exploitation. SI Radio were recently forcibly evicted from their class six wormhole by the Lowsec pirate alliance Rooks and Kings. They now reside in Providence as renters living in a small pocket of nullsec systems owned by Noir Mercenary Group.

But despite living in Nullsec SI Radio have not lost their love for wormholes, otherwise I would not have joined! Nullsec systems can now be fitted with sovereignty upgrades that increase the amount of wormholes that spawn. So the big plan is to continue battling Sleepers in wormholes from the base in Nullsec, while also getting involved in the PvE and, more excitingly, PvP of the region.

The region Providence is very active and exciting at the moment. It was overrun by the big alliance Against ALL Authorities or AAA earlier this year. Rather than owning the systems themselves, they have installed other smaller alliances in the systems under strict orders not to engage in sovreignty warfare. The smaller alliances are often called 'pets', they are used by bigger alliances to live in space that the bigger alliance doesn't have the members or inclination to use properly.

As a result, Providence is a busy place, filled with small alliances. The region is currently partially united in its efforts to expel the remnants of the old sovreignty holders from the region. In particular two alliances, Curatores Veritatis Alliance or CVA and Paxton Federation who are making things as difficult as they can for the new alliances settling in. But once they have gone it is to be hoped that alliances begin to reset their standings towards each other, and the region is likely to become a haven for small gang PvP. The new space-holding alliances are very diverse in nature and play-style, from the professional mercenaries for hire, Noir Mercenary Group, to the Minmatar roleplaying alliance Ushra'Khan and many more that I currently know nothing of.

SI Radio is a tiny part of this. We rent systems from Noir Mercenary Group. So maybe that makes us AAA's pet's pet. But, whatever we are, I'm completely new to Nullsec so it feels like a whole new game for me!

So, there's your update of what's going on. I now have one character living in a class five wormhole and another in Nullsec. My focus for the blog is still going to be wormholes. But don't be surprised if some of my Nullsec exploits also begin to creep in!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Quick Update

Just a quick update for everybody.

I've been pretty busy recently so I've not managed to post a great deal. But Tyrannis is just around the corner and several interesting things have been happening so expect some good posts next week!

Just a reminder: last chance to vote!

I'm also going to stop being impartial and say, if you haven't voted yet, please vote for TeaDaze! Because he has just started making the most amazing CSM data website and it would be a crime if he didn't get on the CSM and continue the great work!

Please check the website out!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Excercising Your Right to Vote

The Council of Stellar Management, or CSM for short, are a group of 9 individuals elected by Eve players. Their job is to take the views, suggestions and criticisms of the Eve playerbase and present them to CCP, the developers.

Voting has just begun for 5th term of the CSM and will continue for two weeks. There are 53 candidates running for a place this year. If you are anything like me, you will have never heard of the vast majority of them, have no idea what they stand for and have no idea how to find any of this stuff out!

So, in order to help you excercise your right to vote, here is a collection of links that should help you find out everything you need to know about the CSM, voting and the candidates.

About the CSM

CSM Summary - A short summary by CCP of the structure and purpose of the CSM

CSM Expanded - A much more in-depth look by CPP at the theory and design behind the CSM

About the CSM - An Evelopedia article explaining the CSM

The Work of the CSM

The Assembly Hall - An Eve forum where game issues can be raised and brought to the attention of the CSM

Jita Park Speaker's Corner - An Eve forum for CSM members and candidates to air their views

CSM Meeting Minutes - An archive of all the minutes of CSM meetings

CSM Issues - A list of all the issues that have been raised by the CSM


Attendance of previous CSM members can be found from the meeting minutes.

CSM4 Attendance - CSM4 Secretary TeaDaze has compiled a handy attendance report for CSM4


Candidate List - CCP's list of candidates for CSM5

Most candidates for CSM5 have posted a campaigning thread in the Jita Park Speaker's Corner forum. Read these threads for information about the issues candidates are campaigning on.

CSM Candidate Interviews - Mandrill of the 'I am Keith Neilson' blog has posted the results of interviews he has conducted with applicants

Vote Match - An interactive survey created by Dierdra Vaal that shows you which candidate agrees the most with your opinions


Candidate Page - Vote for your candidate here, this will require logging in

Hopefully these links will give you a little more information to help you choose who to vote for. If you have any other relevant links or data please tell so I can include it.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Do We Need More Sand?

Eve prides itself on being a game that allows the players to create content and story themselves rather than being led by the developers along a pre-conceived narrative.

This is the famous 'sandbox' idea. The player is given an non-linear game environment and they are left to interact with it. There is no definite end to the game and there is no progression other than the goals which players set for themselves. Eve players are free to do what they like.

The only limitations of Eve are the environments and tools that we are given by the developers to play with. Or, sticking to the analogy, how much 'sand' we have. The 'sand' we have been given is geography, such as Empire space, Lowsec, Nullsec and wormholes. We also have infrastructure like open markets, stations, planets and stargates. Finally we have the ships, the modules, the enemies and so on. All this 'sand' is of course hugely important to the game. The players can only develop emergent behaviour and innovative gameplay if they have the materials to work with. The big question I want to ask is, do we need more sand?

The most obvious way to give players more 'sand' is to create new environments. New environments spawn the most distinctive differences in gameplay. For example, life as a player in Empire is totally different from Lowsec, which in turn is also nothing like Nullsec and living in wormholes is different from them all! These are the four very distinct environments that Eve players adapt to fit into. CCP has created these environments and the laws that govern them. The players and corporations have created play-styles and professions that function well in those environments.

Getting to grips with new environments is also something that Eve players find very enjoyable. The most sucessful Eve expansion so far has been Apocrypha, which tempted people to play by the lure of both a whole new environment, wormholes, and a new way to exploit them, T3 ships. Apocrypha attracted many new players to the game, and also rekindled the interest of players who had become slightly bored.

So back to my big question. Do we need more sand? Does Eve need to continue to create new and unique environments? Or do we already have enough? Will the current environments be able to satisfy you for a long time to come? Or will you need a constant stream of new material to keep you interested? Maybe you are more concerned with balancing and tweaking the environments we already have?

What do you think?

Sunday, 2 May 2010

So How Much Can You Earn Per Week?

The title of this post is a question that gets asked a fair bit by applicants to our wormhole corporation in the public channel.

Funnily enough, of all the things they could ask, this one question is probably one of the toughest for us to answer. Really the only valid, short answer to the question is 'it depends'. Unfortunately this often isn't enough to satisfy potential recruits and we have to explain why it's so difficult to come up with a salary for wormhole life.

The first thing we try to make clear is that the potential isk stored away in wormholes is massive. Tapping into that potential requires coordination, teamwork and a lot of logistics. So it's important for applicants to realise that, isk will only end up in their wallets after a large concerted group effort by the whole of the corporation.

For your consideration here is a potted summary of what is required in our corporation to convert our wormholes into isk.

- It starts, as many other things in wormholes do, with a scanner. This person will scan our home system to find our static class six exit
- The class six wormhole must then be fully scanned and combat sites will be bookmarked
- Adjacent wormholes to the class six will need to be checked for any possible threats
- A fleet commander has to form a fleet consisting of at least 8-10 pilots
- The fleet commander may delegate different roles within the fleet, such as the logistics pilots, a target caller and a Sleeper frigate killer
- The fleet will begin attacking the Sleepers while other pilots may be asked to keep an eye on the surrounding wormholes for any signs of trouble
- After a site has been completed, salvagers will need to be brought in to mop up the salvage and loot
- The Fleet Commander will then need to submit a report detailing who was involved in the fleet
- Those responsible will then, if necessary, have to begin to process the loot towards becoming T3 components
- Any materials needing to be sold will have to be transported safely to Empire space
- The materials will have to be listed at competitive prices to get the mopst isk for our effort
- The profits must then be divided up between all involved

As you can see, it's not a simple matter of blowing up ships and receiving isk for it. Not only are there multiple people who need to be rewarded for their effort, but the entire process from killing a Sleeper to seeing your wallet flash with the sparkle of isk may take weeks, even months!

So you can perhaps understand the difficulty we have when trying to answer the question. The best thing we can say is, the more effort you put in, the more isk you will get out. But if you're active and part of an active team, then there is no reason why living a wormhole won't make you a billionaire many times over.

It just so happened that today was a payday for me. My wallet flashed and I was 800 million isk richer.

How did it get there? - Some mystical process.
When did I earn it? - Some time recently I guess.
What did I do to earn it? - I couldn't really say.

Was it worth it? - Definitely yes!

All I really know is that for the amount of work I put in, isk seems to appear in my wallet in astounding amounts. And for me, that's all I really need to know.