Sunday, March 3, 2013

EvE Solitaire...

~or~ What do You do When Yer All Alone… in Space?

Something occurred to me last night after another slam-dunk, almost boring, C6 Sleeper Escalation Farming run. We ran five sites which are currently being ‘farmed’ in our homehole. By this I mean the age old farming mechanics apply to Sleeper sites same as they apply to any non-mission ratting site. You simply don’t kill all-the-things (leave at least one Sleeper ship in site) and come back the next day and re-not-kill-all-the-things… what you get on from second day on is pure BS spawns… nuthing but Sleeper Gold raining down from the black.

You initially warp in a Cap (Carrier or Supercarrier) who acts as Anchor & Capitol RR and who triggers the initial BS wave then all Subcaps are immediately ordered in. These are usually T3’s fitted as Webbers 1st, and Painters 2nd, and initially fulfill the Frig & Cruiser Killer squad role. They tackle and eliminate the Frigs and Cruisers, many of which Web, Neut and Scram and ‘can’ effectively slow down the overall Op once the Dreads are called in and hence need to be removed mainly to increase the fleet’s effectiveness against the BS’s.

Once the FC determines the Frigs & Cruisers are effectively nullified, he calls in the Dreads. Now the Subcaps role changes to one of Dread Support. By this I mean that while the Dreads can put out really amazing DPS… as Dreads their tracking is obviously not good against medium and high transversal so you have your subcaps, fast Legions, Lokis, etc., Webbers and Painters in the Role of Dread Support which tackle and paint the Sleepers BS’s to allow the Dreads to blap them. It is basically a PvP tactic brought into PvE due to the Sleeper AI being so much more ‘lifelike’. As the site progresses the FC will call in more Caps to trigger the Capitol Escalations and thereby give us the maximum Sleeper BS spawns possible per site hence maximizing the possible ISK payout derived from the only way one makes ISK in holes… Loot & Salvage.

So last night during the site run I had left the command deck to refresh my drink, as my curvy blondacious Ensign was, as always for some unknown reason, down in the cargo hold so I had to do this for myself… when I returned to my (perfect copy of Cpt. Kirk’s) command chair I verified that I was;
...I was still safely inside rep range of the 2 main RR Caps; armor was bouncing between 80 to 100% as usual depending on incoming DPS/reps; CAP was bouncing between 0 to 100% as usual depending on incoming Neuts/reps;
...the ship I was active on when I got up was gone, as expected, so I put painter/web/web/ on the next target in the Tag List, checked range and if in gun range, I add my DSP for the LoLz.

Then I sat back, sipped my sweet sweet southern iced Tea and it hit me… I was missioning again. Now don’t get me wrong, these are great guys, I am making AMAZING ISK, I would not play EvE in any other venue… but… it used to be a challenge. C6 Sleepers were the Holy Grail for we who live on the other side of the sky… we were a small corp making our way alone in the deadliest space in EvE. It was hard, it was dangerous, it was a challenge… it had been a challenge… it is no longer a challenge… huh.

My ‘normal’ EvE day’... wake up in my comfortable quarters in my cloaked Hound, check in with the bridge to ensure we are cloaked, at station keeping and ask for the MidsRep (midwatch report). I dress and head up to the galley, grab a bite and a cuppa while reading the MidRep then head on up to the bridge. I take the Con and have Lt. Uhura (if you sit the THAT chair <points>, then THAT’s your name!) open Comms with corp and Alliance, then I ask Spock (<points> THAT chair! THAT name! and where are your rubber ears Mister?) to open video comms with the various POCOs where our PI is being done. I then spend approximately 15 to 30 mins making the necessary logistics orders and changes for the day.

Once PI Logistics is done we warp to the Alpha Docking Point in our Med POS (meh) and reship to my Prowler. Then we head out hitting each POCO in turn, transporting products from and to the POCOs as needed then end the circuit back at the Alpha Docking Point, transfer Final Products to outbound shippin crates, store excess P2 Prods for the next run then… then…

It’s the ‘then’ that gets me. I am on COMMS with the Alliance and corp. We say ‘Yo, what’s up?” and unless there is an active or planned Op, be it sites a merc Op or a ToO or a Roam on there is not much to DO… Now don’t get me wrong, there are sites, merc Ops, ToOs and Roams… you’ve read of the one’s I have been in and I have had an AMAZING time and look forward to more amazing times, but these are not ‘on’ 23/7/365 (or more realistically for me, 2 to 4/7/3howevermany…). Goons mebbe can have some kinda Op going on 23/7/365, but SYJ as a middling sized Alliance simply cannot. We don’t cover all times zones or even ‘all’ of the western time zones we are mainly in and we don’t have the active membership to run continuous ops for even that time … so, unless there IS an Op either in the works or in progress… well, there’s PI, scanning for mining sites and mining if any exist (which the dedicated SYJ miners are fairly good at hammering into dust..), or… going out to find something to do… IE leaving the hole…

Huh, WHAT!? Leave the hole in order to find something to do? LEAVE the hole?? I’ve never had to leave the hole in order to find something to DO. In the past I left the hole ONLY to sell or buy shit but never in order to have something to DO. And so, having done my PI for the day, having finished any sites I was able to join in on… I find myself sittin, doing fuk all, listening on Alliance comms praying something will ‘turn up’… as I listen I realize quite a number of my Allies ARE out of the hole in some-other-sec doing other stuff. The hole has become a place to ‘work’ and make ISK but not, necessarily, a place to ‘play’ as such. Oh we do have a ‘moment’ every now and again like the night a solo player jumped into the Hornets’ nest…

One of our scouts jumped out of our static and landed on a Golem who was just sitting there.., he cried “Tackle” and then for backup! and the Golem jumped the hole to get AWAY from the attack, and right into SYJs holehome… ZOMG! He must have pissed his pants when he hit Dscan… sooooo many Towers, sooooo many Forcefields, sooooooooo many ships… LOL. Well he tried, gotta give him that, he started warping celestial to celestial and we started chasing him like an old Keystone Cops movie… it was hilarious. I reshipped to my ‘Sword and bubbled the Static while the rest settled down and began to systematically go after him… and finally he did land on one of us, “POINT!” “Web!” “Warp to ME!” and we did… and he died.  =]  and so I was in on my first ever Golem kill…  HAHA!

So my issue is not that there is ‘nothing’ to do, its how do you fill the time, sometimes hours, between sites and Ops and ToOs etc. EvE is a social game… we are a small yet very social corp, in what seems to be a middling social Alliance. By that I mean my corp, HBHI, is mainly my son, our CEO, a RL Marine corpmate of his and myself at the Director level and a few very close ingame friends. Being a small corp we are all comfortable with the solo game because we are not all on at the same time etc. We also greatly enjoy those times we are all on together mainly due to the fact that they are somewhat rare, or at least not common to the point of getting under each other’s skin.

SYJ is, IMHO, a middling social Alliance (which I see as a good thing) because while we have 15 corps w/ 500+ members (alts + live) our Comms server is not swamped and yet most of the time in our main TZ times there are a very good number of people on and active and involved. Most can usually be in one room all together and still manage to have a good ‘conversational flow’ without too much ‘walking on each other’ as can happen with too high a number in chan.

I have found the FCs to be knowledgeable and experienced and easy to fly for. PvE is, well, easy… once they approve your fit for the fleet intended and once you have flown a site or 2 you can easily settle into the routine, understand your role and how to effectively add to the overall fleet goals. PvP is, of course, more fluid and requires a bit more leeway on the individuals part, but you still have to be able to understand the FC, his calls and goals, and so far I am more than happy with the SYJ FC’s I have flown with.

Yet… what do you do when all the scanning is done, all your PI is done, all sites have been done, there are no Ladars/Gravs on scan… what do you DO in a wormhole? As far as I can tell… many leave and look for PvP solo or in small gangs (corpmates who are close and like to fly together) in lowsec or even run missions or mine or… YUCH! OMG I live inna C6 wormhole but because we do it SO well I have to go to EMPIRE to find something to do… effin yuch.

I was ‘trapped’ in Empire recently… IE we had no decent pipes back to home for a few days, or they were closed by others or whatever, but the point was when I was on there was no way back… I was told by an Ally “It’s no prob man, there are ways to make ISK in Hisec.” I almost logged off right then. Now I don’t ‘hate’ hisec… I just cannot spend up to 2 hours or so flying solo, killing NPCs with a Dessie to make what, 2 mISK, mebbe 4m for my efforts after spending approx two hours flying against NPCs that can PWN me in my best ship and fly with some of the best guys I have met ingame yet AND making 100 to 180 mISK in that time. It’s…. it’s…. slumming… it’s degrading, it’s embarrassing, but most of all… it’s BORING… to me.

So, I need to fill the time between my group game, PI and my social game. Ok, what’s left? What have I not tried in EvE? Well, let’s see what I have… Started as a noob, did missions up to L4, L1& 2 solo, L3 & 4 inna group. They were good days… the salad days… when we were young and everything we did was an adventure. That was before we found wormholes… when that happened we really though we had come of age as twere. The ISK we made in the C1 was, to us, simply amazing… I ‘made’ my first personal 100mISK in the C1 that wasn’t tied to a Faction Drop.

I learned Salvaging there, the skill I thought would last me my whole game and did last as a prime part of my game until we moved to null. Little did I know that later on salvaging, at least in Empire, would be nerfed all to hell… that was hard for me to take. I really enjoyed running a Noctis, putting my skills to work for kith and corp…  Strangely while I broke my first personal 1bISK in Null, I hated it. I felt trapped the whole time and for the first time ran into the ‘if everything you can do solo is done and the group isn’t doing anything… what to do, what to do?” Boredom had set it. I may have had a bil in the wallet but it was hard to spend and deadly, not just dangerous to bring ‘home’ the fruits of one’s labor.

So back to Anoikis ran I… and home again I was. And Salvaging again was important, but after my corpmates rejoined me and we setup home in the C3 all of them had skilled up to L5 in Salvaging and they developed a tactic that was faster and safer then “Bring in the Noctis!”… they ran in Marauders such as the Vargur which gives a 100% bonus to Tractor Beams and has can fit only 4 guns leaving 3 open hislots… so they tractored as they looted as they salvaged as they ran the sites… I had to agree this was far better but… it left me only adding my DPS to the game so I was personally ‘nerfed’. Later we did try tractoring all the wrecks together into a Wreck Ball while looting and then dropping (me) in an all 8 Salvage fit Noctis that nommed through them so fast it was really funny… but, I and they, knew it (1) put a Noctis in harm’s way and in doing so, (B) put our salvage at risk too… and they only did it to mollify me, not a good reason to risk our only source of income in the C3.

Then we got perma-camped by SYJ, we saw they were good at their game and also decent and honorable mercs and so we joined with them. It was around this time that I decided, finally, on Tur’s new specialty... Ewar & Logi. I have taken a few steps towards that and I liked it. So my skill Q is now geared towards all aspects of Ewar first and then all aspects of subcap Logi second.

In the course of these last 2 plus years I have mined enough to know where I stand on that as an occupation of any length. I have missioned and run Sleepers and cannot go ‘back’ to missioning. I AM getting more involved in PvP BUT that is somewhat dependent on the ‘group’ in here mostly… The problem as I see it with Leaving The Hole to Do Other Things is the whole “An Op is up, X in fleet!” and there is either no pipe OR there is one… 35 hops away and it’s close to crit… “Ya better hurry Tur.” …fukme. And yea, I have heard just that happen on Comms more’n once.

But I have to admit, I am now wondering if… just IF Tur should go buy up some cheap ships and really take to losing them in earnest in some solo PvP or see if some Allies are runnin round lowsec soon… Now, if I could only find ‘Earnest’ on DotLan…   =]

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


  1. Wait a second.... Farming anoms, fighting with neighbors under pre-defined conditions (no caps, no structures, no podding, Mabrick's blog), no fear of getting evicted, massive fleets with dedicated FCs, looking for things to do if there isn't a fleet... .

    Are you sure you are in a WH? Welcome to nullsec. Next thing we know is you spew insults in local and don't undock unless you have a few hundred guys with you and your transformation to goon is complete ;-)

    (I am of course joking. Glad you have a home)

  2. You know... I am disappointed... not in you Splat, but I really though someone would get the multiple references sooner than this... the first draft of this post was about how I felt a little like I was back in null again, I almost called it "The Big Blue Doughnut Hole"... then I though, NO! Give em a run around story loaded with hints... won't that be fun!

    I guess I did too good a job of obfuscating my original intent... oh well, you win, have a cookie. =]

    And yea, I really couldn't be happier... my biggest let downs now-a-days are missing Ops and Roams n shit... they, uh I mean, WE are an active bunch. =]

    1. Ha, 'twas obvious. But this mechanic is one of the reasons why I am personally not so keen on C5 and C6 (and to some extend C4). Its a bit like frontier spirit. I like the lonely cabin in the woods. Sure there are bears and wolves and I need to be careful. With a few friends, we build a saloon and we still have fun. Once the town gets a Sheriff and a church, its time to move on...

    2. Yea... I do hafta admit I do miss the old on-our-own days a bit, even with them so close in recent memory... but... as our experience and a very recent SYJ Op shows... if, for any reason alt all, someone wants a small corp evicted from a hole... it most certainly can be done... and we (SYJ) get paid to do it... and we're good at it too.

      My current moral issue is the going from a lone wolf small corp inna hole to being an active part of a mid-sized Alliance, who kicks lone wolf small corps in holes, out... hmmm... try chewin on that nugget for a while. =\

      But you know... it's as the man hiself said...
      "I do the job, then I get paid." "Go run your little world." =]


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