Thursday, June 30, 2011

"The Backstory Of TurAmarth"
or "How TurAmarth Came to EVE", Part the Second

OK, so where was I? OH yea, how I got here...

When we left our insipid hero he was making things better w/ the (1st) wife...

I had become a PC Gamer via the evil that is/was Wolfenstien 3D & Doom in all its various iterations, and then Quake and all of its various iterations, them on to Duke Nukem, Star Wars: Dark Forces. I also had a bad addiction to all of the Descent series which is an amazing blend of 1st person shooter and sci-fi one man fighter in a micro-G environment. The only 3rd person gaming I have ever been interested in were the Halo and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell series all of which used a combination of 1st and 3rd person perspectives based on the actions required at the moment.

I did, strangely enough, really enjoy the Diablo series of 3rd person Fantasy games, a genre I have very little interest in as I am a hard SF guy at heart. And, while i have a deep abiding love for the Lord of the Rings books... I have never been interested in any of the games, I don't want t play at LOTR, I want to keep that story where JRR Tolkien created it, in my mind. I have never.... ever... been interested in ANY of the SIM, or Fantasy MMORPGs available... and I have trail accounted many... I get bored or am unable to suspend my belief and get immersed in those games.

I also have never been much really big on console gaming... the PC is for me vastly more comfortable to play on. This no doubt comes from my Wolfenstien 3D, Doom & Quake days which were all PC games, though I did have a Sega Genesis and several games I played quite a bit on that. One of which I found available for download at Abandonia and playable on the PC by running "DOS Box"... so I still play Star Control, a 2D SIM/fighting game w/ a wraparound screen.

By the time I was in my late 30s I had reached a point where I had really sorta dropped out of gaming pretty much all together. In the fall of 2010, my son AI, not just my son, but a good and trusted friend too, come up to have Thanksgiving dinner w/ us and as he and I were sitting at the bar in my pub (I married a Brit, so I have a pub, not a bar... ) and he opens his Mac and says... "You gotta see this."... (isn't the evil always spread by a good and trusted friend??)

He logged into EVE... and 15 minutes later I was screwed for life.

And so I have ventured out into the Deadly Sky’s of EVE and deep into my second great gaming addiction. I have soared to new heights I could never have imagined before… I have watched and done things both highly honorable and deeply malicious… I have met some of the most strangely decent people I have ever known, I have met people who exhibit a level of indecency I am hard pressed to believe, and I have seen…

I have seen…

I watched, and took a very VERY small part in one of the very earliest Sansha Incursions. Back when I was very new ingame, there was an incursion in a system I was noobin around in, so I warped to the moon the incursion was at, not to the incursion itself… and, as I flew my speed tanked Thrasher out from the moon I watched in sheer awe as the spectacle of this immense battle rose like a sunrise over the moon’s horizon. I was stunned… I have no idea how many ships, both NPC and pilots, were involved, but at a glance it had to be in the hundreds.

It was simply stunning… You have to understand, I have been avidly reading hard SF ALL my life. My first exposure to SF was E.E. ”Doc” Smith’s “The Grey Lensman” series. I was lucky enough to be introduced at the age of but six to some of the most imaginative and wonderful stories a kid could read. I was hooked as deeply then as I was that day I flew out of the shadow of that moon and watched a For God Space Battle of Epic Proportions… Beams of raw energy slashed the night sky, ships exploded in mute evidence of the Terrible Powers being wielded by Implacable Enemies.

Hundreds of ships orbited and flew in the patterns of chaos that are the earmark of all battles… wrecks appeared and disappeared as they were looted and salvaged while the battle raged around those fearless enough, and greedy enough, to turn their attention away from the onslaught of artillery, missile, railgun, and laser fire sleeting around them. I watched as two of those looters were suddenly the focus of the fire from multiple ships, both Sansha and capsuleer… they quickly joined the wrecks they were working on as wrecks themselves, their pods flashing away as their pilots sought safe escape.

I watched for a while and actually shook myself out of my reverie… I then decided I had to do ‘something’, anything, to be in any way possible involved in this spectacle. In my tactical view I found the closest Sansah ship, I have no idea what it was except that it was huge and it was under heavy fire from a dense ball of drones and ships... I flew in to my max targeting range, locked it up, aligned my ship to quickly warp away, took a deep breath… and fired all seven of my 280mm Howitzers... I was in the fight!

After just two volleys I was targeted by the Sansha ship… I went to full speed and got off one more volley before the world went !!WHITE!! as I was hit by some massive laser fire… as my screen cleared I saw that my shields had dropped instantly to under 50%. I immediately started spamming the warp to button… I was entering warp, and heard my guns fire one last time, when I was hit again… this time when my screen cleared I was in warp, my shields were gone and I had only 30% armor left… My heart was POUNDING in my chest as though what I had just experienced was REAL…

All my life I have dreamed of space. Of life on other worlds, of travel between the stars, of the dangers and wonders we might find if we ever get off of this one lone rock. I watched the politicians and the bleeding hearts with no VISION tear apart my dreams and nerf NASA and the space program until was nothing more than a joke.

Now I am an old man and this is the closest I will ever come to my dreams of spaceflight and exploring the universe. Make no mistake for those of you who know me, 50 is so far beyond the cut off for ANY possibility of taking part in spaceflight today that I am permanently out of the running… not that I ever was IN the running after the visionless politicians got their way. Oh, and if I sound a bit bitter… it’s because I am.

So, I fly in EVE… I take part in this, one of the most visually stunning and thought provoking pastimes man has yet to devise. And so I fulfill, virtually, my dreams of freedom in the eternal sky…

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Incarna, MT, Riots… and The Director’s Retreat.

With the advent of the Incarna Patch, we have seen things in EVE never before seen… Riots. Real, honest for god riots…

As I and my corp live in a WH, we are just a little out of touch sometimes re the goings on in Empire… and I found out about the riots in Jita (and elsewhere) cause I was on a store run from our C2 WH w/ like 50Mil I$K of sleeper loot & salvage… and I was unable to jump into Jita due to server load… wha?? When I finally got in, there were like close to 2000 players IN Jita… and many of them were firing on the monument... WTF??? So I started running Google searches and reading up, etc. and that was my intro to the Incarna/MT et al Rioting and in general all-round crazyness that had started up while we were down in the hole.

Over the last few days I have looked in on the Riot in Jita and been out to the Caldari Leviathan, the scene of another riot as hundreds of pilots fired on the Leviathan (causing only the barest sliver of red in shields and armor)… One of the most fascinating things I saw was the Caldari Navy NPC Fleet, which normally acts as a protecting force around the Leviathan (usually around 30 to 40 BSs and BCs) respawned right in the middle of all this and was basically wholly melted in under 2 to 3 minutes…

I’ve been out to the Leviathan many times. Good money to be made there preying on the Cal Nav fleet. If yer willing to take the sec hit, you can use a weird drone agro mechanic to attack individual ships and loot and salvage them. The “weird drone agro mechanic” is to primary and attack a single ship with your drones. Many of the nearby Cal Nav ships will agro and attack the drones. You start your attack on the primary ship and immediately recall your drones. Once target lock is broken, either through the drones melting or jumping into your drone bay, ALL Cal Nav NPCs deaggro and you can safely fire at will on the primary until it pops. Then loot and salvage… if you can, cause there is usually a small ninja salvage ‘fleet’ lurking openly in the Cal Nav fleet ball w/ you… I know… cause that’s the other thing I do out there.   =]  but I digress…

I waited, a bit… but like so many I have decided to jot down my thoughts and reactions to this latest ‘Incarnation’ of our favorite shared virtual life... and the problems and issues concurrent with it that have raised the passions of so many of its inhabitants, myself included.

All of what I have read about boils down to really one basic Issue as I understand it:

A break in trust between CCP and its client base, (We) the people who pay for game time on the Servers that host “EVE Online”.

Everything I have read, and my personal experience over the last 7 months, leads me to this one basic conclusion. We trusted the DEVS and Executives of CCP to stay the course of their stated mission, to create an unscripted MMO(RP optional)G using the “sandbox” ideal where in CCP creates and maintains the Sandbox we play in, and We create, and live in, and fight over, the sandcastles therein.

Why? Greed. Simple, age old corporate greed. Greed is NOT good. Greed sets the desire for ‘profit’ over the desire to provide a ‘good service or product’ to your clients. Create a great service or product, for profit, as CCP did when it created EVE and you will have customers flock to you and you will greatly profit thereby… But sadly, if the service or product is good enough, as it is with EVE, and you will make so much money that eventually greed will raise its fugly head and you may even abandon your original goals… for greed. I fear CCP may have reached this point, I hope not.

Allowing the ‘foot in the door’ of MT, “Microtransactions” for vanity items, which is nothing more than CCP leagalized RMT (keeping in mind buying PLEX for RL money, then selling it for I$K is a form of legalized RMT too…) wherein CCP is the benefactor of the RMT (not someone else, which is still a banning offense)… allows for the ‘possibility’ of increased profits (IE Greed) one day from non-vanity game play items such as faction standings or actual items (the oft referenced “Gold” ammo, etc.). Yes I know CCP is saying that is NOT ever going to happen…. But they have provably lied to us already and hence the break in trust.

Break in Trust: I will list just two I know of as one may be a mistake, more than one is the start of a pattern…

I.                    “Captain’s Quarters will be optional.” The only ‘option’ is to disable it and instead of Ship Spinning or anything interesting, you get an extremely unpleasant static pic of the CQ non-functional door that is supposed to (but doesn’t yet) lead out of the CQ to the rest of the station.

II.                  Is CCP going to introduce Pay-To-Win MT's into Eve Online?
It's a yes or no question that doesn't need days or weeks to answer. The fact that there has not been a definitive answer to this point in time screams a resounding "maybe" or "yes" because no would be so easy to say if they have no plans for it.

If they do, I will leave. You will have hordes of children flocking into this game because they can then PAY to circumvent the time honored (and time consuming) Skill & Grind of the World Famous EVE Learning Cliff… and using legalized RMT, beat players who have paid their dues, in skill time and I$K grinding… the way it was always supposed to be.

I love this game because I am a 50 year old guy who does not want to play games w/ kids… got two of my own and can play “Go Fish” w/ them anytime I want… I go to EVE to play with ADULTS. or at the very least extremely bright and socially mature young adults…. Though I cannot say I know for a fact of anyone under 21 that I have flown with so far, and MANY I fly with are well above 25 with a few near my age.

I have turned off the CQ. It is less than useless in its current form, it is extremely laggy; gives us some (but not all) of the functionality we had before but in a far less friendly and vastly more time consuming format. It does not replace ship spinning w/ something as, or more, interesting to do than ship spinning was.

If One Whines, One should be able to give Alternative Solutions… my ideas are:

(1) Options other than docking (speeding up actual gameplay and possibly helping to reduce lag):
Give us the option to contact our agents and conduct business w/ them OUTSIDE of the stations (within docking range) via comms like we do now for Agents in Ships. Getting missions, completing missions and getting paid all do not REQUIRE one to dock. Docking is required ONLY if cargo needs to be loaded/unloaded for missions, or to change or refit ship(s).

(2) Make CQ more interesting until WIS is ready... (this is my pet request):
(a) Strike a deal w/ Netflix so we can rent moves, TV shows and watch them on the CQ big screen. I personally would LOVE to watch "Firefly", "Star Trek", "BSG", or "Clear Skys" in the CQ.
(b) Possibly add a change of view from 2nd person behind your toon to 1st person on the couch watching HoloV.

(3) New Ship Spinning:
(a) Give us the ability to click on the Ship Hologram and see our current ship either full screen and rendered similar to the old ship spinning in dock view
(b) Possibly a change of view to 1st Person with a fully rendered model we can manipulate and spin.

(4) For the sheer hell (and fun) of it... put in a bathroom, allow the toon to enter, shut door, and... well, you know... w/ flushing sounds as toon exits... Make it last long enough (on average) so a player can go too. =]

OK on to the fun stuff… Part the Second: The Directors Retreat

This past weekend SL, AI and I got together in South Carolina ostensibly for a wedding of a friend of AI’s… but “WE” knew it was actually a cover for the HB Directors Retreat! Oh the wedding was real enough… my wife made the wedding cake and the groom, AI and his staff Sgt. were in their Dress Blues, swords and all… The bride was, well, quite simply stunning.

But from Wed night (well, Thurs midday) through Sun afternoon, aside from the timeouts for the wedding and food and the guys chasing my 8yo daughter and her best friend around the apt for tickle fights, oh and the obligatory bar hopping on the last night in town…   =]  we had our systems setup on the same table and discussed Corp matters both of deep moment and of little consequence to our little corp.

There are few things better in this world (on a par with hearing your friends and allies warping to your rescue) than the three of us, the founding directors of our corp, flying together and in person. You get so very much more understanding from face to face than you ever can over chat or even TS.

Plus, we’re close friends… it was just plain ol fun.

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

Monday, June 13, 2011

Intruder Alert…
(Stories from MY early daze in EVE)

If you follow this you know by now one of the reasons I love living in Wormhole Space is ‘cause there are only… I repeat ONLY, two kinds of people here… my corpmates, Allies and friends on the one hand… and the dead, frozen blue corpsicles of EVERYONE else on the other. Wspace is -1.0 space… my very 1st kill, both ship and pod, were in wspace… and the pilot I killed did not even have a weapon on her ship...

Sounds terrible don’t it? All piratey and dreadful and bloodthirsty… Actually, it was a lot less that and a LOT more me scared witless but doing what I had to do anyway. You see 99.999 times out of 100 when a ship warps through a WH it… well, first off it doesn’t happen by mistake.

You have to SCAN down wormholes. You will never just run across one in normal travel between gates and planets and stations and moons etc., etc. … because WHs spawn out of the way of ALL normal lanes of travel so you have to go actively seeking them in order to find them and it is first, a skill you have to learn and second, it requires that you buy a probe launcher and fit it on your ship and buy probes for the launcher… and load them… and then use them. Once you find (scan down to 100%) a wormhole, you have to make a bookmark and then warp to it… Now is the moment of truth… do you warp through to the other side?

Those who do are 2 kinds of pilots… 99.999% are pilots looking for either Sleeper, Grav or Ladar combat, mining and gas mining sites from which one can make really large amounts of I$K or… they are pilots looking for other pilots in order to engage in a little hopefully lucrative PvP. They are looking for POSes or simply pilots running sites or WH mining or such.

The other 0.0001% are the rare noobs who have reached or finished the scanning tutorial but who don’t read well, or if they do they are either not too bright or simply don’t listen well and they do not harken to the DIRE WARNINGS written in many, many places about the serious and very deadly consequences of mucking about in wormholes.

Among those consequences are… getting Lost in Space. And when I say lost I mean you can’t get there from here... I mean you really actually literally cannot get back THERE, where you came from, from HERE, where you are now.

Let’s say you scanned down a system and BMed the WH that you found AND you popped just inside the WH and scanned down, oh let’s say, a Grav site. Grave sites have asteroids... Grav sites have really valuable asteroids! So you pop back out and run by a nearby station, swap out your probe launcher for a miner (cause your frigate won’t fit both) and cause you read that mining in a WH can make you a billionaire!! You warp back to the WH (you BMed it just like the tutorial said) and you pop through and head off to the BM for the Ladar site... AHHH!! Arkonor! Biskot!! Crokite!!! Yer RICH! You start happily mining away… now several things can, and probably will, happen to you.

One possibility, the lowest, is that you fill your paltry frigate’s cargo hold and… wait, where’s the WH? Ah… oops, in your haste you forgot to BM the INSIDE of the WH and now you are fuked. I mean you are as truly and completely screwed as a skinny, girlish prison inmate on his first day in the state pen. That’s it… as the man said, “Game over man, Game OVER!” Your options at this point are, (1) hope you have a friend who can scan down WHs, hope he is willing to travel to whatever system you were in and do so, then pop into the WH and fleet you so you can warp to him and get out… or if not you can always (b) asplode your ship (or eject and just asplode yer pod) committing “There’s No Place Like Home” cloneicide… really. I personally know someone who has used this option to get out of a WH... and he KNEW what he was doing.

One other possibility is that as you are mining away strange, fugly, black ships begin attacking you out of nowhere and basically melt your ship like buttah on a Florida street at noon in July. You see these are Sleepers, and Sleepers defend their wspace… and they will spawn at mining sites and they are VERY VERY tough to kill. They do omnidamage and have very strong armor tanks… and they HATE you. Yes, YOU,  personally.

Now let’s say that your ship IS capable of fitting both a miner AND a probe launcher… cool, you fill your hold w/ ABC and upon realizing you dint BM the inside of the WH you can just scan down the WH and head on back out to riches and fame… right? Mmmkay. So you start scanning, but you are getting sigs and stuff you have never seen in hisec… you BM a “Perimeter Hangar”, hmmm now what could that be? You wonder as you warp to the BM… just to get killed much faster by even larger and vastly more angry Sleepers than the ones that guard mining sites… oh and there are MORE of them too.

Now, let’s say you decide to err on the side of caution and you keep scanning until you get an actual wormhole to 100%… Yippee! Yer home free… right? Uh… let’s see, if you do scan down a WH inside wspace… it will probably not be the one you want as most wspace systems can have up to 7 (4 confirmed by CCP devs) other WHs inside it that “can” lead back to Hisec Empire space… or down to NULLSEC... where things that laugh at Sleepers live…

One other, possibly worse, possibility is the WH is occupied or the sites are being run by other pilots who immediately respond to your probes and prepare for your arrival… as I and FR did that fateful day. We both saw core scan probes in the WH on dscan and we hightailed it back to the Alliance POS in the C1. This was during the first weeks my corp had joined the Alliance and we were undergoing intensive WH training… (and having the time of our lives lemme tell you!).

Standard Operating Procedure for an incursion into the WH is:
(1) EVERYONE immediately stops whatever they are doing, warp back to the POS and get into a PvP ship;
(2) one or more pilots gets into cloaky scan frig and attempt to find the intruder(s);
(3) call in any reinforcements if available;
(4) gather intel and formulate a response.

The responses range from KILL IT (THEM)! This is the desired response. We have setup a POS, we use this wspace as a resource and we defend our wspace from all intruders. If it is a fleet, or if there are simply more of them in better ships than we have at present, then the response can range down to a shutdown of all normal WH ops in conjunction with preparations for a possible siege or POS bash (attack on the POS).

This particular day FR went out and scanned down the intruder while I changed from my Drake to a Rifter… The report back from FR was, “A single ship, frigate, mining at a site.” Next thing I hear on TeamSpeak from FR is, “Tura, warp to me NOW! And prepare to engage.” I warp out, as I land there is a frigate in range, I bore in, lock up the frigate, scram, web and start the music of my 220mm guns as I take my Rifter into a tight 1000m orbit around the hostile. FR flies up in his Myrm and adds his DPS to mine. The Frigate melts in seconds… and the pilot’s pod appears on grid and is not warping out, I lock ‘im up and call out, “I have the pod LOCKED!” FR calls back, “Kill it.” I open fire and the pod instapops…

At this moment I realize I have, for the very 1st time, won a PvP encounter. I have been in several by this time ingame, and I had lost ALL of them and been pod killed twice myself… this was my first win. I was shaking so hard I almost couldn’t use the mouse or keyboard. FM told me to get back to the POS while he cloaked up and scanned to see if there were any more hostiles.

After I got back to the POS, FR talked me through checking my Combat Log and pulling up the killmail for that fight. It was then that I discovered the “hostile” I had asploded, and then podkilled, was a noob and did not even have a weapon fitted on her ship. And you know what…? I did not feel bad at all. She was in OUR wspace. She was mining OUR resources. And this is the SOP for everyone who lives in WHs in EVE, period. No one can assume that a stranger in the WH is NOT a hostile… because if you do, you will be wrong 99.999% of the time… this just happened to be that rare 0.0001% noob in a WH.

Do I feel she “deserved” what happened? What I did? Yes.. if she didn’t heed the warnings about how very dangerous wspace is… then she will after today. After a week had passed I inmailed her and offered this…

Sub: Hello
From: TurAmarth
To: Xxxxxx

I wanted to say I am not keen on podding noobs. I vastly prefer to fight those with more experience.
But you were:
(1) in our wormhole (we have based a POS [Player Owned Station] there) and,
(2) Wormholes are 0.0, or null sec, space and,
(3) we were defending our territory, my actions were well within the 'rules' such as they are in EVE.

I just wanted to say that I too was pod killed more than once when I was new.... and I hope you will learn (as I did) never to go into lowsec, nullsec or a wormhole w/o being armed and very, very ready to defend yourself or run.
I hope there are no hard feelings... and I am sending you enough I$K to cover your losses.

Fly safe... if you ever want to talk, please look me up. I can be reached at HBxxxx in chat, it is our public channel

HB corp / Xxxxxx Alliance

I received this reply…

Re: Hello
From: Xxxxxx
To: TurAmarth

Thanks for the message and info..... No hard feelings.

I did realize (at least in principle) that null-sec is high-risk. Being podded wasn’t the highlight of my day but that is part of the game as you say. It was actually a learning experience. I will take more care, and also use other probes to be able to spot POSs (a lesson learned). No permanent harm was done, and your "donation" was surplus to requirement.


I sent her more than enough I$K to cover her loss. I did this because of the 3 times I was podkilled in my noob daze, 2 were by people I ended up being friends with who did the same for me.

Only once was I podkilled, and laughed at for it, by a group of sheer assholes… well EVE has them too. In the human race they are as unavoidable as cockroaches… and often as hard to kill.

Strangely this missive started as a post about last night’s incursion into the C2 we now share with an Alliance corp and where we have our own POS… but the story sorta told itself… guess I’ll write up the other one when my muse decides it is time.

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

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

No Moar War!!

We are getting all settled in our new quarters here at Serenity Station. Over the last week our two members at large, TF & KK who were on sabbatical with the Executor corp for intense POS training, have returned to the fold. All of us have our prime and some have alts settled in the POS permanently so we will always have a live presence.

I had decided my 1st alt, AK, would be my WH Gurl and she is now permanently in residence at the POS. I have stopped all training on Tura and she is now skilling up for all the various WH related and required skills…. Scanning, both on-board and scanner probes; cloaking which is required for working in wspace and when exploring adjoining WHs etc.; Industrials, I want to get her into a Mammoth for hvy hauling… fuel, ore from mining, ships, etc.; PI, so she can start making fuel and strip mining the planetary bodies in here; and of course I need to get her into a Drake and other cool fighting ships… In other words, poor AK is gonna get her sexy toon ass hammered in the weeks to come…  =]

SL says he is NEVER leaving the WH again! Well… except for runs to Jita or Rens to sell our WH produce and buy whatever is needed, which we all will be doing as time and OL schedule decree. I know the rest of the guys feel pretty much the same as I do… this is HOME and a majority of time and our I$K making will be done in here… but we will also take part in the Alliance fun & games in Empire still. Run some missions w/ allies… take part in PvP Tournaments… Low Sec Roams, all the usual stuff, just at the end of the day I want to log off in here, and if I can’t due to distance to an event or whatever, I will prolly opt to stay inside and PI, mine or raid adjoining WHs.

Take for instance last night… I had both my prime and AK out in Empire setting things up so AK could bring my Hoarder down packed FULL of my stuff… and full for a properly setup Hoarder is not too shabby… Fully rigged and w/ 3 T2 cargo expanders she holds (from a base of just 5,100m3) 20,771m3… add the ‘cargo can trick’ and with 207 full std cargo containers in her hold she carries 24,911m3. Consider that a Mammoth fully rigged and modded carries 26,115m3 (w/o the can trick) I am not unhappy w/ her at all. Granted add the can trick to a Mammoth and you get 31,335m3 (which is only 2,143m3 less than a fully rigged and modded Itty Mk IV)… and is why I want AK in a Mammoth.  =]

For those who don’t know, the ‘can trick’ is simple… a Std Cargo Container takes up 100m3 of space in your hold… but it holds 120m3 of cargo… That’s right, it carries 20 square meters MORE ‘stuff’ inside itself than the space it occupies. So for every 100m3 of cargo space in your hold, fill a can and you can carry 120m3, it adds up. 207 cans in my Hoarder carry 4,140m3 EXTRA stuff… Plus add in that you can name the cans what they are, who they’re for, etc. etc. …

But I digress… So I have loaded my Hoarder, “Tughiril”, as full as I could and flown it out to a fairly deep SS I have in Dodixie, podded back to station, switched to AK, podded down to the SS, boarded and docked her. Then I switched back to Tura, bought 3 cans worth (4K per can) of std Scourge hvy missiles, loaded my Drake w/ CalNav Scourge (w/ 500 ready reloads in the hold) and headed back to the hole as soon as KK had the new entry system… not too bad, 14 hops and only 1 lowsec.

Once I got home I settled Tura in and swapped back to AK and started her on the run to the C2. Again got in OK and got her settled in. Now all I have left really is the arduous task of deciding what ships to bring down and then fly them here as all of my ships can’t be repackaged and hauled… I rig ALL my ships… costly in some cases, but worth it in my opinion. So I will have to fly in everything I want to have handy until we get enough ore and parts to start up operations with our Lrg Ship Building Array.

Now the whole time I am doing all of this my corpmates and allies in the hole are scanning down the adjoining WH’s inside the C2… Our WH is a static C2 which means it will ALWAYS have a WH to another C2 wspace. Plus as stated in prior posts, ours has a static lowsec entrance. One of the up to 4 WHs that can exist at any one time in our wspace, will ALWAYS lead to a lowsec Empire system. The nice thing about this is we most often have one WH to lowsec, the “door” to our C2 and we almost always have a WH to another C2 wspace… which can be raidable and if so, very profitable.

Last night we found we had a WH spawn that was to a C5… Yipes!!  RUN Forrest, RUN!!! You see wspace is classified as:

Unknown Space (C1, C2 &3)
Dangerous Unknown Space (C4 & C5)
Deadly Unknown Space (the dread C6)

To break that down into understandable terms…

Class 1 and 2 systems have sleeper sites that can be soloed
   (with the right skills, ship and fit).
Class 3 will want to run with some friends with RR.
Class 4 will want lots of friends with RR.
Class 5 definitely will need lots of friends with RR and probably a capital.
Class 6 definitely will need a capital or two and lots of friends with RR. 

They scanned the C5 w/ the onboard system scanner… 27 sites! and no sign on dscan of any inhabitants… It’s a C5, of course there are no inhabitants… it’s DEADLY in thar!! But we were safe enough w/ that hole present as no one was going to use it to venture into our wspace!

They scanned down the new static C2… and it was occupado… so my friends went about the hairy task of closing a WH. Now closing WHs is a subject I should devote a full page to, but I’m here now so here goes…

Mass Collapsing Wormholes

First, study THIS link… then consider your options.

You have a WH, a C2 in wspace with a life expectancy of 16 hours, max mass allowed per jump is 300,000,000 kg, total mass allowed over its lifetime is 2,000,000,000 kg. 

"The Massamatix Strategy”

You simply add up the mass of each ship, plated BSs, Indies, Orca whatever, taking into account the effects of an AB if you decide to use tem and try and determine, massamatically, the number of hops required to breach the 2B kg mass limit on the last hop back in.

The issue here is that there's a random factor on the total mass [+/- a few percent afaik]. Plus, it's difficult to know FOR SURE that no one else has gone through unless you are 100% certain that you probed the hole first. 

“The Free Willy Solution”

Instead of worrying about figuring out the 'exact' mass amounts and number of jumps by what ships with or without ABs on... first you have an Orca go “out” and cloak up on the far side of the WH then you jump a couple of BS’s or Indies with ABs on back and forth and carefully watch the state of the WH and react based on that. After each jump a pilot ‘gets info’ on the WH looking for the warning:

"Has had its stability reduced, but not to a critical degree yet" - This means the wormhole has seen a decent amount of travel, and has less than 45% of its total allowable mass left.

Now you use no more than 1 or 2 BS’s or Indies without ABs on and carefully watch the state of the WH looking for the warning:

"This wormhole has had its stability critically disrupted by the mass of numerous ships passing through and is on the verge of collapse." - This means exactly what it says. The wormhole has had most of its total allowable mass used up, and has less than 5% left. Collapse is imminent.

As soon as the WH goes critical any pilots on the “outside” (should be no more than 2 plus the Orca) jump in and then the Orca jumps through with AB going (for the additional mass to ensure closure) and closes the hole.

As long as you're careful you should never strand the Orca on the wrong side, and you should be able to close a WH reliably.

Note: If a wormholes mass allowance has been reduced to only (e.g.) 1kg before it collapses, it will still allow your Orca through.

Note: It is ALWAYS good idea to scan down any other WHs inside the WH to be closed or at least have the ships involved have probe launchers and probes fitted…. JIC. 

“The Short Straw Option”

Run an Orca or plated AB fit BS or 2 through until it goes critical (on the verge of collapse). Then take a noob alt in an insured, BS fit only w/ and AB and run him through a couple times. If he gets stuck, he simply self destructs, wakes up in empire, and makes his way back in at the first opportunity.

Not ideal, but it's better than having a prime and a valuable ship stuck on the wrong side.


My guys went with the “Massamatix” and it worked out ok… the last ship ‘in’ closed the hole… this time.

Now forcing the static C2 WH closed automatically spawns the new C2… and they quickly scanned it down and explored… Ah HA! Now this is more like it! While there was a POS, it was all quiet, no activity and a LOT of nice fresh sleeper sites… oh joy! Dreams of I$K danced in our heads as we each checked out and loaded and prepped our ships. WH RAID!!!

This is the real joy of a C2 w/ a static C2… C2s are far better I$K faucets than C1s but FAR safer than C3 and up WHs… and with a static C2, you get many opportunities to raid the static hole if they are (1) unoccupied [not often the case] or (b) occupied but with everyone asleep…  shhhhh… It’s like having a C2 w/ 2 full systems and 2 full sets of sleeper sites. And if you aren’t happy with the current selection of C2, you just close the hole and see what the next one has to offer.

So off we go… we had my Drake, SM in his Tengu, NC in his Falcon, SL in a Abbadon and KK in his Armageddon.  We ran, 6 site I believe, I ran 2 with my Drake and then went back and got the Noctis from SM and ran the loot & salvage for all the sites as the guys finished up ahead of me, timed it just about right. Dropped off the Noctis, and took “Spirit of ShitFit” (my Drake, ‘nother story there…) back to Serenity Station… I sat for a few and just gazed at the stars, then logged off to bed.

 So… there you have it in a nut shell… (well, a coconut shell mebbe) a day in the life in our Wormhole…

Oh… and the title you ask? Where is there anything in here about the War you ask? Well, that’s just it you see… the war did not exist for us in the C2. Actually, when I logged in that day, we all got the notification that the war had been invalidated (CONCORD was stopping it due to non-payment of the War  Charges by the deccing Alliance…) but our attitude was… who cares?

You see, In the C2… if yer not a corpmate or an ally or an invited friend… you ARE a Legitimate Target, plain and simple. Empire wars mean nothing in the Wormhole…  No Moar War.

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

Monday, June 6, 2011

POSitively.... Wonderful!

OK... my last post was all about how my corp lost 2 Lrg Minmatar Planetary Orbital Stations before they even got anchored and onlined... the first was lost to a gank outside of the station is was purchased at... the second one made it safely all the way to the inside of the C2 WH it was to be setup in when it was lost to some form of glitched game mechanic which sent my Hoarder, being flown by my out of corp alt, directly to an Allies POS, which then promptly killed my ship as an unknown...

Well, during the course of my bloggin about that particular occurrence, my corpmates scraped together enough to buy, you got it, another (read 3rd) Lrg Minmatar Control Tower and 8 shiny new Med Artillery pieces and 5 Med Autocannons... They made the run and got them in the C2 while I was offline. So when I came back online everything was there, stored in our Allies Hangar ready to go.

So... the time has come at last. Now if we can just (1) get it to a moon, (2) get it anchored, which take approx 30 minutes, get it fueled and onlined, which will take another 30 minutes and completes with the raising of the forcefield, at which point we will have a POS with a shield base strength of 45,000,000 HP.

This is more than an hour... exposed.... inside a C2 Wormhole. The thing to keep in mind is this is a tiny little single system piece of nullsec, actually -1.0, etherestate. Now the C2 we are in has a static lowsec WH. This means this wspace can have a variety of WH's, from those that lead to null, to some that lead to hisec, but it will ALWAYS have at least one that leads to lowsec.

This means two things... (1) we don't get very much hisec traffic at all... it tends to be a rather quiet WH in that respect, (b) though we don't get as many visitors as a C1, when we do.... they tend to be of the more deadly type.... either coming in from lowsec or even null... so in one way we are safer here than in Low or Hi sec space... we are not surrounded by a butt ton of people from noobs to '03 players, but IF we did see anyone not "us".... it was most likely gonna be Trouble with (as you can see) a capitol "T"...   But, nothin' to it but to do it right?

So we discuss locations with the corp what owns this particular piece ‘o wspace, you see a CT can’t be anchored anywhere but 100Km off of a moon… don’t ask me why I didn’t write the code… heck I’d give anything to be able to go into orbit round a planet or moon and ya can’t do that here… but you get to fly THROUGH them allatime… go figger huh? Anyhoo, we agree on a moon selection and I fly out to take a look around… you know, see if I like the view… and I do.   =]

Bring it on I call back and SL loads up the CT in his Badger Mk II, warps to me and kicks her out the hold… now I have been hittin Alt-F9 ever now and again to take pix (screenshots w/o any of the overviews or icons) of the operation for posterior sake… yet for some reason I didn’t take one of the POS in its packaged state and I so wish now that I had. It looks like an immensely large sack of potatoes. I clicked and selected “Anchor” and watched the Spike as it very quickly grew out of this ‘bag’. It builds vertically both top and bottom out of the ‘bag’ with the bag simply disappearing in the process. In the space of only a few seconds the Spike was up and the anchoring clock began its count down.

We had a small group there watching over the process… myself & SL and our ally SM. I was in my Stealth Bomber a Hound named “Kilroy”, which is very fast at 3000+M/s which allowed me to move around the site very quickly and of course, being a stealth bomber, she can warp cloaked and is fully equipped for scanning. SL went back and filled his Badger w/ a full load of POS fuel then hopped out in his pod and went back to get another Indy, a Bestower and another load of fuel… SM joined us in support in his Maelstrom.

So there we are watching as the Spike anchoring timer counts down and watching DScan and in general feeling pretty good about ourselves… After a while SM warps back to his POS to get us some fuel we are short on and comes back in his Mammoth. Finally, anchoring completes! Yea! Step 1 done… SL loads up some fuel and starts the onlining process, and we begin another 30 minute countdown…

Things are going pretty smooth, we’re approx half way through the onlining when I notice that there is an orange icon now on the field. For about a second and a half I assume it is KK, my corpmate who has a slight negative sec status due to some low-sec roams which he has not worked off yet, but right as I take a closer look SL yells out “There’s a Loki at the POS!!” Then it hits me that the orange icon is a Loki and not KK and it has started firing on the Bestower… I try to get “Kilroy” out but I get hung up on the POS and can’t cloak as I am too close… the Loki kills the Bestower and turns its attention on the Badger Mk II, I am almost free of the CT when the Badger asplodes… then he locks up and quickly kills my Stealth Bomber.

As I warp out SM’s Mammoth is getting locked up and the Loki starts trying to Scram him… but he had enough time to get up to speed and he gets away as I follow SL back to the POS in my pod. SL immediately jumps into his Rokh and warps back to our POS as I jump into the first ship I know I can fly, a Slasher… I am so upset I don’t even look at how it is fitted cause no matter what it wouldn’t last 20 seconds against a Loki… I just want to get back to the POS and see what has happened. So I warp back to the POS at 100Km… On the way I hear SL call out that the Loki warped away as soon as he landed… and that the Control Tower is OK…. whew. Now it is my understanding that the CT is invulnerable during anchoring and onlining… I’d really hate to find out the hard way that that had been nerfed or glitched by some of the latest patches.

So I fly in from 100Km out (and discover the Slasher, a Minnie frigate I had not flown yet, is one damn fast little ship) and SL is there patrolling in his Rokh and there are still 3 wrecks on the field… We were able to return fast enough to keep the Loki pilot from Looting and salvaging them. It is then that I notice the Slasher I am in is setup as a T1 salvager… well, you take the good w/ the bad… so I start salvage and recovery operations on the wrecks making several trips back to the other POS to empty my hold. On my last trip SM offers to lend me a ‘Cane so I would have a fighting ship, I accept gratefully and head back to the POS.

I return to the CT just scant seconds after onlining completes and the forcefield goes up for the 1st time. We have our very own Planetary Orbital Station !!!! (in actuality CCP calls it a Player Owned Station but I so prefer the former appellation…)   =]

We finally have a home of our own… now… where 'round here can I hang my hammock?

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

PS. The attack on us took place on 2011.06.04 07:21:25, just 3 hours later at 09:21:00 that EVEning, SL, Tis, SM & NC killed the Loki pilot in his Loki and a mate of his in a ‘Geddon…

I had logged but the word from SL is...
They came back, well the 'Geddon showed up while I was sittin by the tower (in his Rokh) and he (the 'Geddon) started firing on the spike... then SM showed up in his Jaguar and the Loki foolishly uncloaked so we then waited for Tis (in a Maelstrom) and NC (in a Falcon) to get ready and then we sprang our trap...  We killed both the Loki and the Armageddon.

Good work all!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

POSitively awful....

OK... here is the sad yet painful story of the loss of a POS...

Not one that was up and running with it's forcefield shimmering in the starlit permanight sky of EVE...
Not one that was all spikey and DETHSTARRY in it's occupation as our Wormhole Fortress of Solitude... oh noooo... <fadeout>

My corp has harbored the desire to put up our on Planetary Orbital Station ever since we first joined the Alliance and got all trained up in the Alliance C1 wormhole. We are old hands now at runnin sleeper sites, mining gas and mining the ABCs, Arkonor, Bistot and Crokite... We have defended our WH space and we have been killed in our WH space.

Some time ago we were talking about wanting our own POS and one of the Alliance guys decided to gift our corp with a Medium Amarr Spike and some basic mods to go with it. We got ALL excited and started to do some real research and talk to a lot of people and we found out the majority opinion was a small POS (in a WH) is nuthin more than a near-future small wrecked POS... period. And a medium POS was basically considered to be the same, only with a slightly slower dethrate... but still a 100% fatality just beggin for it. In WH's go LARGE or go back to hi-sec...  mmmKay...

So... we had received a Medium POS, which for hi-sec would possibly be fine, but we want to be wormholers and so we decided to sell the Med Spike and churn up the I$K for a Lrg Spike and such mods as were not included in SB's very fine gift. Two of our guys were really getting into WH mining and PI... well one was and he sorta dragged his RL friend, another corpmate, along with him.

Anyhoo, T and KK were spending a LOT of time in the Alliance C1 and getting all bent about how they could not access the hangar bay and other mods as we are a Alliance corp but the POS is owned by the Alliance executor corp. Initially they, well T, wanted to leave our corp and join the POS corp so he could use the bays and mods and such, but KK was not really into that, he was not interested in leaving our corp and in addition deal with the politics of the POS corp.

I then had an idea that suited everyone, I said, "Why don't the two of you take a leave of absence, a sabbatical of sorts and temporarily join the POS corp so you can learn all about POS mechanics and suchlike and when we get our ducks in a row and are ready to setup our own POS, come back to our corp and then we all benefit." Our corp will have people with POS experience, and as I put it, "Ya'll will know where the bathrooms are." and T would get to run all the PI and WH mining he can stand, AND KK tuned out to be pretty good at managing the C1's sleeper site ops. C1's are the lowest WH I$K faucet and have to be managed or you can pump em dry in short order.

So things go on like this for a while and then one fine EVEning, SL is online and tells us all the tale of how he had churned and churned and saved up the I$K and had bought a Lrg Spike... and as he exited the station in his Indy, he was ganked immediately and popped and lost the POS... sigh.

"OK... Look, we're ok, we just need to churn and mission and run as many sleeper sites as we can to make the I$K back so we can... huh? what?? We're at WAR???"  "Oh great flying crap!!!" Our Alliance was wardec'ed and so we now have to deal with that, which of course kinda puts the kybosh on a lot of "normal" activities, like making I$K etc., etc.

And so the war goes from exciting with us getting some really good kills to a sorta stalemate as he (the one man corp what wardec'ed us) starts playing the "kick the stargate", "warpaway" and "cloak and seek" games until we all got tired and bored and a few got careless and stoopid... then he started racking up some kills.

So finally the war come to a close an we all look forward to things getting back to a peacetime footing... and we get that nasty CONCORD letter, "XXX has War Dec'ed your Alliance, hostilities may commence in 24 hours." OH DAMN NOT AGAIN!! Yup, and this time it is an Alliance with 4 corps and, while not nearly as many as ours, still and all, more and probably more dangerous... um, what was that? They're French? Really?? Huh. I mean... french. Really? this could be... interesting.

Anyhoo... so we gird our loins (which we had to look up how to do BTW...) and prepare for... well whatever. Now while this is taking place, my guys, both in corp and especially KK on sabbatical in the POS corp are getting ancy about the whole "Are we THERE yet??" thing with a POS... and the answer is nope. The corp wallet is not fat enough. SO KK priv chat's me and says, "You know, T has been WH mining and PI'ing his silly ass off and he and I are sitting on more than enough I$K for a POS." "Why not just have the corp borrow it and we'll work out a deal?"

Mmmm... interesting. So we are talking about this and then SM and Tis, from the corp that owns the C2 WH POS the Alliance has access to, discuss the idea of having us setup our POS inside their C2. We work out an agreement, AND it turns out they have a whole stockpile of POS Mods they would be willing to sell to us at a very decent price... Mmmm.... interesting. Well that sure put a spark in our collective britches I'm here to tell you! We could actually do this..! we can actually put up a POS, like real soon even!! So when and how?

Well, I get deep into more research and then I get into it w/ SM and we strike a deal for the Mods they can spare. Good price, I am well satisfied. SL drops some major I$K in the corp wallet, KK drops even more I$K same e same. And I get our ducks all lined up. I buy a Lrg Minmatar Control Tower, 8 Med Artillery Batteries, and 5 Med Autocannon Batteries and that plus the stuff we bought from SM plus the stuff we already had from SB basically give us a fairly nice 'starter' dethstar.

Finally we're ready... and THIS TIME we are NOT getting ganked! I use an out of corp alt as my Indy pilot, so the War Targets are not an issue, I run my main down to the last hi-sec system before the two hop low-sec run to the WH so he can take over and re-establish corp ownership of the POS and mods.

KK is going to run scout for me and SL is waiting in the C2. Our only real worry is a ganking. My Hoarder simply accelerates like a fat lady runnin uphill in august wearing a rubber suit... From the time I break cloak until I warp I am vulnerable to attack. SM tells us of a mechanic whereby I canflip KK and go red to him and he can then webify me... OK, so why in hell would I want to go SLOWER??? Then he explains that 'cause the webber cuts your top speed, you reach 3/4 of your new top speed much much quicker an then warp out... Huh? Ok, we'll try it. Sounds weird though.

So we head out one hop away and warp to the sun in the next system. I canflip, KK locks me up and webs me.... no CONCORD, good. We head out. First gate he calls clear and I start my run... we did try the webwarp... and by god it really does work. I align to the next gate and hit 'warp to'... he webs me and I basically instawarp. Really cool mechanic...  =]  Anyway off we go...

We had, I think, about 14 hops, w/ 2 of em in low-sec to the hole. We make the run uneventfully, thank god. SL is in the hole and comes out so I can warp to him, I do so. Now I had brought my main down but had forgot to swap over, so we decide that I will swap over to SL at the Relay Point, a bookmarked safespot 1.5AU from the C2 POS. I warp inside, BM the hole, and SL warps to the Relay Point. After he landed I use the Fleet 'warp to member' to warp directly to SL. Once I am fully inside the warp tunnel I call out "I'm in warp." at which point SL warps to the POS.

Now we were using a game mechanic we have used so often that we have come to rely on it. If you fleet warp to someone who is landed and they warp away, you will always land where they were. If you fleet warp to someone who is currently in warp, you will land where they were when you initiated your feet warp... so I "should" have landed at the Relay Point...

Instead I see the POS Force Field shimmer into being outside my ship as I land directly outside the POS. Now AK, my alt is not a corpmate and not in our Alliance, I was using her specifically because of that as she was immune to the War Targets... so the POS sees a stranger, an ENEMY... and opens fire on me and destroys my Hoarder, and the POS Spike, and the 8 Med Artillery pieces and the 5 Med Autocannons...  poof.

To say I was pissed... is like saying Hitler didn't get along well with Jews... that Atilla the Hun was politically incorrect while on vacation in Europe... that Stalin did not play nice with his peasants... I was madder than I have ever been in this game... especially when you consider that I arrived at the POS BEFORE SL did... You see, as I landed and realized I was dead, that there was NO WAY that fat ol lady was going to make it either warping away or running to get inside... I heard SL call out, "I saw you blow up!" as he landed inside the POS after I had been killed.

So... our second POS was taken from us before it ever even saw the starlight of New Eden...


Victim: AK
Corp: NPC
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Hoarder
System: JXXXXX
Security: -1.0
Damage Taken: 3154

Involved parties:

Name: Amarr Control Tower / XXXXXXX (laid the final blow)
Damage Done: 3154

Destroyed items:

Expanded Cargohold II, Qty: 2
Expanded Cargohold I (Cargo)
Medium Shield Extender I, Qty: 2
Medium AutoCannon Battery, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Medium Cargohold Optimization I, Qty: 3
Minmatar Control Tower (Cargo)
Bookmark (Cargo)
Hardwiring - Eifyr and Co. 'Gunslinger' SX-1 (Cargo)
Medium Artillery Battery, Qty: 8 (Cargo)

Dropped items:

Expanded Cargohold II
Amarr Battleship (Cargo)
Viscoelastic EM Ward Salubrity I
Depleted Uranium M, Qty: 10000 (Cargo)


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