Monday, May 20, 2019

Now That Just Makes Ya Wanna Slap Yo Gran'ma...

`or "My god, it's full of Arkonor..."

Hi, I'm Tur. I have a problem. I'm a miner. I mine. And I like it. There... I said it.

OK, here's the thing. I hate mining in EVE and I always have. Now that's not to say I haven't mined in EVE in the past. I have no problem with the need to make ISK and with taking advantage of all available sources of ISK. And I mine in wormhole space, a space that is richer in the quality of it's resources than even nullsec... but I have never "enjoyed" mining as an activity for and of itself. To me it's simply the Worst most mind numbing PVE in any 'verse... but, it is also the very Best representation in the game of what a "work for profit" job IS. PVE in EVE was ALWAYS just supposed to be just a job. A grind. A pain, and unfun. Designed that way, and working as expected.

This has changed in a very interesting way...

What you see above, is mining in Anoikis today, 16 years after the advent of the Empyreans (aka Capsuleers) and 8 years after I first mined in W-space. This is a moon mining operation, one of 2 we have running now. It is absolutely fascinating. Mining was NOTHING like this when I was last here... nothing at all.

The Refinery station you see used a "Moon Drill" to literally BLOW then RIP a sizable chunk of that moon (see that crater!) and then tractor it up to orbit, this operation is called an "Extraction". The length of time the extraction is set for (6 to 56 days) determines the final size of the chunk. Longer Time = Bigger Chunk = More Ore = More ISK = More Time Exposed to Attack... Greater Reward = Greater Risk, it's the Via EVE.

Once settled in orbit, the chunk is then blown apart into smaller (yet still HUGE) mineable 'roids. We are creating our own temporary mining fields from a chunk of a fukkin MOON!!! This is so very COOL and also extremely profitable. I'm in Anoikis... the available ores are the finest quality you can find in or out of New Eden, and in quantities that are, even to me an 8 year veteran of  wormhole life... in quantities that are staggering.

Next comes the really boring part which has not changed not one damn bit. Warp to rock > orbit or sit at "0" > target rock > engage mining modules > launch mining drones > sick mining drones on rock > spam DScan > spam DScan > spam DScan > spam DScan > spam DScan > spam DScan > spam DScan... ZZT...  Zzzzz...   zzzzzzzzzzz....

If my gameplay is going to consist of 95% spamming DScan and 5% moving the ship, triggering modules and drones, it'd better be really damn pretty and stinkin' lucrative to boot! Well... they did it. Mining, as an activity, still sucks a tub of lard with a hair in it... but the view, and the profits, have been VASTLY improved.

I fly a Mac' (Mackinaw) by preference. I like the Ore bay, at 35,000m3, is the largest of all the Exhumers. I run faction Ore Strip Miners and fly 5 mining 'bots and I am more than happy with the yield overall. In the past I have always fit for max defense and GTFO but, in this New World of EVE I have decided that I'm going to refit for max yield while mining in a wormhole.

I have been watching the numbers of user's logged in and it is down, way down from not just my heyday, but for as long as I can remember. There are far fewer players on now most of the time and EVE is BIG... really big. 7,500 systems... thousands of planets and stations and... well, 15 to 20k users active and spread across the time zones of the real and the thousands of places you can be in EVE... statistically speaking the risks are far far reduced from when I was here before. There simply aren't as many players around in the game as a whole and wormhole space specifically is all but dead except for us and a few other big groups.

So yeah... I'm gonna fit for max yield and mine solo in a wormhole... and expect to live substantially more than I die. If you only knew just how deeply weird and against all I was taught and learned in my experience over 6 years living exclusively in holes this is. It's just not done... and I'm going to do it.

The whole time I have been writing this post I have been AFK mining a big fat rock of sweet sweet Flawless Arkonor... I have thrice looked up only to find my ore bay full, my drones orbiting me and I have no idea how long I have been sitting there like that... In truth, I may be hitting DScan 3 to 5 times every 20 or 30 minutes, if that much.

It's sad that I feel safe in Anoikis. I did before but it was leavened with the bone deep understanding that I liked the reality of the fear, the excitement of knowing "they" ARE out there and "they" ARE looking for you and "they" DO want to Do You Harm. The cold hard truth that Surprize Buttsex is always only a moment away. Now I wonder if anyone is really out there at all. There is a certain degree of safety in the deep woods, in the wilderness, and Anoikis has always been the Deep Desert compared to Empire Space's safety of Rock... (let's see who gets that).

One nice thing other than the ISK and th' pretty... mining can be a very social thing for some and I am still very new in NOMEX and as such I am careful about comms. For voice comms to work, there has to be an understanding. Imagine a room with 20 or 30 people sitting around all talking. Now imagine those 20 or 30 people sitting around in the dark, no visual cues as to who goes next, who gets to speak, all trying to be heard... yeah, it is unpleasant at the least, and decidedly deadly inna fight. So there is an unspoken understanding that the Directors, Scouts, FCs and anyone nominally "in charge" of something will have primary speaking rights (this un-written list often includes a few "favorites" of those listed above too). If you are new, unknown and not in charge of anything, well the understanding is that (all of) you will keep off comms and use chat. I hate chat. I've always said.... "I type and fly, I type and die".

I'm new, so I'm careful on comms, but I want in. I hate chat. The opportunity came tonight in the form of this ongoing mining op I knew naught about. Earlier in the evening I had decided, as there were no gas sites in home, that I'd do a bit of mining instead. I'd pop a belt, kill the Sleepers and nom-nom up the ABCs (Arkonor, Bistot and Crokite). So I had popped out to hisec to get my Mac' and lo and behold on the way in I heard tell of this op and asked to join in. I interjected myself a bit, asking questions then questioning the answers as is my wont. Telling a few tales from my past and then listening... people like you when you listen to their stories too.

I feel like I'm finally settling in. I have maybe made a few new friends and people in the corp are getting to know me, and that's all to the good. I look forward once again to this game where I am so very comfortable... yet everything is so very new. Me mining and liking it... whodathunkit?

Fly like no one is watching...    (or, are they?)


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Reboot, is a Very Delicate Time...

~or "Deja Vu'ja De"

This has NEVER been seen afore...
Yesterday I got 3 solo kills. Seems I'm not just back, I'm... luckier?

Three back to back solo ship kills w/ Anoikis Specials, the gratuitous yet required 3 attendant POD kills. You must understand, this is HUGE for me. I'm no one's idea of a PVP Legend... even in my own mind, they know me in there and they laugh openly.

I feel the need to segue here and say that I actually do play for the pew... I do, I PVE to afford PVP and I like good ships and good, (GOOD not Blinghy) fits, most of which usually include T2 but also some Faction and Officer mods but because they can give better Power & CPU to HP & DPS fits. My implants are almost all fit enhancement 'plant's. I do not fly the most expensive ships, but I have lost a Marauder that was worth more than a friend's carrier... I like the pew Wormhole life affords, but you gotta do the pew to afford the PEW which is where you start... at the beginning.

As them as follow me know I have been knockin' the rust off the ol' skills, of course just to discover that my, not Tur's, old skills have been changed or supplanted, which is it's own kinda fun. I have been burnin through ISK like... well, like you do when you buy and fit up a whole new fleet of multi-hundred million ISK Spaceships that's how. I also sold off the last of my PLEX, and burned through all of that too but now I have a nice fleet in th hole. A nice mix of corp acceptable DPS (PVE & PVP) and Logi and the attendant support ships.

It has been very interesting, the beginning of this new foray into EVE. It feels like it should feel weird to undock and go "do" something... I say this because of the way it felt over the last year or so at the end of my last 'active period', around Sept. of 2017. It was depressing, it was unfulfilling, it was... boring. From around late summer 2016 to then my interest in EVE died a slow boring saddening death.

During that time my son's left the game, for one reason or another, and the guys in HELPeR were playing other games more, EVE was stagnating for us all. Rolling for content and finding none... actually giving up on hunting in Anoikis and trying lowsec roams that went everyhere and found... nothing. And PVE? PVE for it's own sake, for me is a purposeless pursuit. Without PVP losses to replace, just what is all that ISK for? Plus this was also the turning point in my last relationship (2nd wife) and the beginning of this new page, life as a single-man-to-be, and getting back involved in sailing. Something had to give, and EVE got the short straw.

As I said, it feels like it should feel weird to undock and go "do" something... but it doesn't. It feels great and also very comfortable at the same time. I now understand how this reflects my new life in the real. It'sa very cool feelin.

So I have been doin some PVE while I get settled in to where I'm ready to fleet up and actually add something to the confusion that is a Fleet Op, or, "herding cats in EVE". I've been running gas sites mostly as in our home C2 as I can run them like Hisuc rattin, well, Hisuc rattin with probable Hot Drops and Bubbles. It's fun, scary and decent solo ISK, worth the time and effort and yes... actually fun again. I still love the 'reality' in our great VR game when you live and fly in Anoikis.

Nervous in th' Service...
If we humans ever really do go out into space in any worthwhile scale, I very seriously doubt we will have "local" or instant 100% reliable comms, etc., etc. ... We will be ALONE in space so vast it staggers the imagination. Minding your own business, velocities matched with a rock, extracting ore or whatever, and having someone land on you out of nowhere is so much more probable than the way things work in any empire in EVE and I love it.

So, I'm logged on and decide to try comms on the ol hoopty laptop's internal audio... it sucks but it also does work. So, there was a slack ping about a birthday roam op and I joined up. I get buried in the details. Ship and fit... OK; cargo - ammo, MDepot, Probes & Launcher, OK; BMs? where?, yup, OK; NOTE TO SELF: keep mouth shut, these are not our comms; Fleet up is where? OK, got it, OK, warping... warping... warping... landing...


Possibly the coolest fleet I have ever flown in...
At one point we had 55 in fleet. Something in the 40's in the pic above (this was towards the end of the Op). This was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO COOOOOOL! Yup, that's a 'Hog you see (Nidhoggur) and 4 or 5 Leshaks and a number of Drekavacs etc. I had not flown with any Triglavian ships yet so for me that was a real hoot. Turns out my Prophesy had the same warp time & speed as the Leshaks so I spent a good part of the time watching this... so good!

Ooooooo   AHhhhhhh
So, we fleet up and I'm listening, trying to match who on comms is who in space. We are on a joint op with at least one other corp and others I know not who they be. IE we are not on "our" comms. I settle down and focus on Being a Sponge and soaking up the who, where & how. Thankfully one of the (3) fleet bosses (thanx Trenz!) was very good at fleet warping so that freed me to focus on interpreting their comms.

I tuned out the general chatter trying to key on specific orders, I did not want to miss anything important... such as 'warp to garble garble and hold'. If you've done any fleet ops you know they are almost all huge hurry-up-and-wait exercises. 2, 3 maybe 5 hours of "warp here and sit and chat" held together with the "Hope of Pew" whilst the Scouts and FCs (and their entourage) keep comms lively with, for the most part... jokes & meme's and shit talk interspersed with rare orders.

So I cannot relay to you dear reader exactly what we were doing or where or why... I just wanted to not lose the fleet and to effectively shoot who I was told before dying. I was working out who was anchor, who was logi, what my DPS ranges were et., etc.

I hear "Jump, jump." and I see a Nag' (Naglfar Dreadnought) land right next to us as... well, I'm not sure exactly what happened next. As I remember it I then heard "....stop, jump, stop jumping..." very confused on comms and I think I jumped... and some jumped through, some didn't... then the hole closed.

The Nag' and some ships were on one side, approx 1/2 the fleet jumped and 1/2 didn't but at that point it all went south. At some point there was a Sabre dropping bubbles on us, scouts jumping in and out, but no DPS landed on us so meh. Because I was still learning who to listen to and because we had 3 FCs... which is usually fine as long as they don't start giving opposing orders... which they did, so I was totally lost as to what to actually do. Finally there seemed to be a consensus to GTFO so I followed them as had scanned down a Hisec exit.

I'm outta here...
Personally I felt we should have stayed and died gloriously backing up the Nag... but I was on my very first op (in more than 2 YEARS) my very first combined op under totally unknown FCs when I haven't even learned who my OWN FCs are yet. Well, I buggered the fuck outta there.

I don't mind losing a ship, especially one fitted specifically for PVP Ops. I always kiss those goodbye on undocking them, I can podwarp away from the smoldering wreckage without a tear, as long as I get to at least engage something FFS. And the Nag was lost as we ran away. Sigh. It was a long slog back through Hisec to Amarr and so ended my first Combined Fleet Op... An interesting night to say the least.

The hole closes on the fleet...
End segue... back to the Three Kills.

The very next day, I log on and remembering from the night before how much I like 'dictors, I fit up a Sabre and head home. I had just jumped into home when...

Corpmate > magnate on D in envy, probes out, getting on comms
Tur > Magnate on Hisec hole
Corpmate > hisec bubbled (<- my bubble)
Corpmate > nice catch

The toon was newish, only 86 days old. Now this does not mean what it seems to mean... it could be a truly new player... it could be an older player rolling a new toon for whatever reason... it could be an alt... who knows? I'm pretty sure he was a noob though, the Magnate was horribly fit, 2x Scan Rangefinding Array I's (penalty for more than one), no cloak,  empty slots all over and... he had 4x Type-D Restrained Inertial Stabilizers filling the lowlots... wanna bet he thought they were "Stabilizers" as in Warp Core Stabs? He was just sitting 77km off the hole... at "0". Of course I didn't know any of that till I looked at the killmail.

So, I knew he would cloak up, I knew I was wasting my time... but, as a corpmate landed on the hole and popped drones I broke cloak, turned and burned towards the Magnate and as soon as I could I popped a bubble, fired up the MWD and waited for him to cloak and burn randomly and tangentially out of my path. He didn't. He just started to burn away... really? I got in targeting range and locked him up... I got in gun range and dropped another bubble, started the music of the 125mm Gatling AutoCannon IIs... and Boom! I locked his POD and... huh, that was unexpected. I looked over the killmails and tried to convo the guy. He only replied to my attempts with "Sorry i dont speak english" and "OK! thanks" and "UPS!" so.... boom.

He came back, just under 20 minutes later. Same guy, same ship, same fit, same tactics, jumps in and breaks cloak... so I break cloak, chase him down, pop a bubble and pop him again, Boom! followed by boom. Seriously? EVE is weird and EVE players are weirder still.

Both times I scoop corpses and lewtz and assplode the wrecks, they're just T1 hulls so not worth salvaging to me. I warp back to Visteen, drop off lewtz ,decide to stay in the Sabre, undock and warp back out to the hole. I feel like a kid who just happened by a fishin hole and got lucky, twice. So what the heck, I'll go dip my line in again...

And... Boom! Yup... I warp back out to the Hisec hole and cloak up orbiting at 5k. This guy pops in and decloaks and pops probes. I do the thing, pop a bubble on the hole to slow him down if he tries to exit and burn hard towards him, surprisingly I catch him, lock him, bubble him and pop him.

Now this toon is not newbie new at a bit over a year old and his Astero is properly fit. T2 mods, fully and properly warp core stabbed in the lows, proper rigs etc. He should not have died to me in a Sabre. I had to run him down same as the other guy and he had more than enough time to cloak up and burn out of range or even fight back. He did have a full complement of Hornet I's FFS. I was in a SABRE... itsa tin can, I've been killed by drones inna Sabre before it ain't hard. But he didn't cloak up and he didn't pop drones and he didn't fight... so, boom.

Sorry I don't have any pix of the PVP... if you play, you know why. Just too much goin on was all.

For those curious about the subtitle, "Deja Vu'ja De"...
Deja Vu, that feeling that This Shit Has All Happened Before.
Vuja De, that feeling that NONE of This Shit Has Ever Happened Before.

Fireworks while we wait on a hole. It was a Birthday Roam after all...

Fly smart and keep your finger on DScan and the Cloak my friends.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

EVE on Vaca

~or "...Capt. Elrandir will be out of the office until he gets back..."

I am traveling ATM so EVE is laptop only, a reduced ability gameplay mode. But I have been loggin' in and collectin' the daily freebies just like Noob said... 

"Dear Bob, what have I done now...? I feel responsible, and surely you are now locked in for another 16 days to grab all the freebies for EVE XVI...." 

He added that his last post was...  

"...effectively me shouting OMG while slapping my head repeatedly as my eyes bugged out over the joy in depth of EVE. It's good to see you back in the black!" 

Which is exactly how it came across!! And yes, to a degree, it was one of the catalysts for me jumping back into EVE. But later that night, that first night back ingame, when I finally logged off and sat back, I had a strong feeling that this was not me or even Tur "returning" to the game I had known and loved, this was a new page for me an Tur in EVE... Like sailing and all the changes that I have gone through IRL these last two years. Yes, they are "my" experiences but, they are not any part of my old life, that book is closed.

My relationships with my kids are strong and stable and evolving, as they should. They are in those weird weird teen years, on the very cusp of becoming independent human beings. This is the time to begin the transition from purely a "parent", the Makers of All Rules and Payers of All Bills to the (hopefully) Wise Mentor and, if yer lucky, also a true friend to them. It is the time to begin showing them how respect is earned, by showing them the respect they have earned from you. And punishment must now give way to discussion, dialog and a transfer of responsibilities, with all attendant costs and risks... and rewards. And my two? so far, so good.

My divorce is finalizing on good terms thank the gods. CJ is well and we are solid and happy. Job prospects are good, and we have decided to take advantage of this break to sail in a number of distance races, among them the Annapolis to Newport. A Chesapeake Bay / Atlantic Ocean race, 475nm from Annapolis MD to Newport RI. We will sail in excess of 1,000nm total by the end and spend almost two weeks under sail (there and back) that race alone.

So EVE? I sit here on my laptop alone, no 22" monitors, no surround sound quad speakers w/ separate Bass woofer, and my USB headset won't unfuck itself and get recognized... sheesh. So I am loggin' in, just don't feel confident tryin' to get on comms and join in any ops as I'm just not comfortable with the limits of this setup.

So I am using the time to get consolidated in Visteen. I have worked on getting a grip on some doctrine, or at least corp acceptable, fits for my preferred gameplay and I recently brought in a Onyx properly fitted with them newfangled Zero Point Mass Entanglers instead of the ol Dubblebubble Hictor I knew and loved... <sigh> So now I have to update my 'Sword Hole Closer fit as the ol dubblebubble is so "last year dahling..."

So I log on but stay off comms, being on comms is a way of saying I'm here enough to play with others, being logged in but off comms is I'm not... and so I shuttle or Sneaky Pete my Prowler out to Amarr and back regardless of the hops and read chat, blogs, check Pathfider, etc. and I play on PYFA and play the market a little.

I am low on funds and have been stripping and selling old hulls and separating and selling unused gots-too-damn-many of em modules and I did not know PLEX had been split into smaller whatever they are's, 'plex' singles I guess? Anyhoo I sold off what amounts to 1/2 of the "1" PLEX I had left to Tur's name which was nice and is now of course all gone.

Anyhoo, so that's about what I'm up to for the next 2 weeks, well... week an half now I guess. I might just stay in Hisec till I get home and have access to more than this 17" screen and text only comms, then I will be ready to fleet up and undock and make some ISK, and hopefully make some trubble too...

Take care, and fly it like yer hold is full of PLEX... or plexes, or whatever...