Friday, February 28, 2020

Better Than Nothing...

~or "Whatintheabsolutefuckaretheydoing?"

Some fun was had last weekend and some ISK was made... but before I weigh into the fun, understand first that I am broke... I mean under 10m ISK broke and in EVE that's pauper poor, poorhouse poor, debtors prison poor, "I brought the wrong missiles because I can't afford the right ones!!" kinda poor.

So I have been championing PVE lately, cause ISK you know? You gotta PVE to afford the PVP and we are dealing with a few things that have slowed NOMEX activity in all area's down a bit of late... The Loss That Shall Not Be Named is the first.

That kinda loss, well... it's damned hard on a group. To lose such a staggering amount of ships and assets can be stunning. Especially as we were unable to actually put up any kind of a Good Fight.

I joined NOMEX after Visteen was anchored and while I myself lost a complete, newly purchased, fitted, painted, named and never flown fukkin FLEET, on the whole I lost a lot less than some if not most of the rest of the guys. In my case I had been OOG (out of game) for about 3 years and was making a stab at coming back so I was not as emotionally or immediately impacted by the loss... I actually did not hear about it until quite some time after rad counts were down and the wreckage had cooled. But for those who were actively playing, it was as bad as it gets in EVE.

Understand also that all the guys in NOMEX who were involved in the Keepstar knew, as all who choose to live in Anoikis know-in-their-bones that Visteen was lost the day she was anchored.

"One cannot simply anchor a Keepstar inna C2"

and expect it to live very long. Itsa HUGE SHINEY OBJECT IN SPACE which CAN be killed, and it's EVE so it WILL be killed eventually. But man would the guys have LOVED a chance to really see what manning a Keepstar was like at least, but she went down almost without a fight... and that really sucked.

The aftermath is of course, in its own ways as bad as the loss itself... the blow to moral, loss of incentive and desire to play, all the "Where do we live now?", "What do we do now?" and suchlike have to be duly considered and answered to and Decisions Have To Be Made at the Director level.

All of this was happening while I was rediscovering my desire to fill the dead evening hours of this weird warm winter with some EVE time and then my son rejoined and I found myself actually active on a level I have not been for over 3 years... Cool except for the need to rebuild a new Hole Fleet from almost scratch. I did have a couple hundred mil ISK left but it was woefully inadequate to build a new fleet...

So I broke a rule, one I had kept to for over 9 years... I bought PLEX to buy & fit a new fleet. I played the game with a credit card and I don't like that not one bit. But I promised myself, and Tur really, that this was a one-off case due to the circumstances and I after I had a workable Anoikis Fleet I would reinstate and once again uphold The No PLEX Rule.

So I sold off a shit ton of of old stuff, Gecko's I had been hoarding against just such an occasion for one, a few ships I knew I wasn't going to use for two, that plus some PLEX and I had my fleet... which left me under 100m ISK again but I figured NOMEX was set back up inna C5 so ISk was gonna be easy again... well, not so much really.

Yea it seems that other forces than The Loss are at work here. A core group of the guys in NOMEX have flown together long enough to become a "core group" and they play more than a few other games together so when interest in EVE wanes... no biggie, they are all still on TS so they pop down to one of the other games rooms and that's that.

And here I run face first into one of the unassailable walls I have created for myself in my gaming...
(1) I only play EVE
(2) I don't use alts, so I ONLY have Tur.

This has been an issue before for me. If the group I am in is busy in other games or whatever I am left out in the cold playing solo, but that's on me not them.

But I so prefer flying in a group or a gang. You can simply DO so much more. So I have been trying very very hard not to whine and winge and be a pain to everyone while I whine and winge and am a pain to everyone about running some real sites and MAKING SOME ISK... dammit.

So summa the guys, well a few, well a couple... Ok there's this one guy who seems to give a shit at least as far as communicating with me about this topic goes.

The rest... well, we spent an interesting night this past weekend listening to 2 of the (core group) guys explain how "easy" it is to make ISK and how to go about it. I also heard quite a few times things like, "Yea, you should be able to make a lot of ISK running (Incursions, Abyssals, Conduits, etc.) in hisec.", and "(laughing) Not that I've done anything like that in years." and the inevitable, "I just PLEX, it's easier." meaning, 'buying PLEX with a Credit Card to sell for ISK instead of grinding PVE' which I will not do.

I could setup PI, which can be OK-mostly-passive-income but it is not really all that passive in that a good profitable PI setup requires usually at least a once a day login to at the very least "move shit around" and there are always ways you might improve a bit here and tweak it there... and I will not be able to logon every day after the 2020 Regatta Season starts (this year around April 19th) my available "free time" will decrease drastically as I will be onna yacht every weekend, all weekend.

So last week I was down in Hisuc looking into Ships & Fits to try and solo Abyssals, Conduits, etc. when the idea of "PLEXXING on Sunday" started being mentioned on Slack, in Chat and TS. Turns out the guys in NOMEX call running PVE Sites for ISK, "PLEXXING"... I assume from the old, "PVEing to make the ISK to buy a PLEX for a month of game time"... 

So I kept faith and held hope that it might come together and lo and behold it did. Come Sunday early evening we had a nice fleet together. I could have flown a Nestor, as they use a Nestor/Leshak comp, but I no has Nestor and can't fly Leshak to corp spec (yet)... so I was the Noctis pilot. And that was absolutely good with me. I love the Noctis, salvaging was one of my fav roles back in the day.

So I was pretty happy sittin' outside MOB, our Fortizar chillin' and listenin' as the guys learned all about the new unannounced and potentially deadly changes the Chaos Era is bringing us. It seems Drifters now change targets faster and a lot more for one. On the whole the guys did well, only had one ship got into structure before they got him repped back up.

And me? I'd wait til the BM for the MTU at the center of the wreck ball dropped and the site is called "clear" then I'd warp in grab the loots from the MTU and start the music of the 8 Salvagers on all the dead burnt up things... ahhhhhh... just like the old days.

Plus on Saturday 2 of the guys cleared a few Vitals and we nom nommed all the gas, each guy keeping what he huffed. There is talk of chem reactions and facs being setup in our Citadels, but for now I will sell in Jita until we're setup then I'll look into how profitable that looks.

(Nope not even one pic... too busy doin' the ol' hurry up an' wait, all keyed up for that 3 Minutes of Terror & Adrenaline).

And now, The Great Hole Roll Gank... A scout jumped a new hole in KT ("KT" is for some legacy/historical in-corp reason, the name NOMEX always uses for our Static, which in "Ira", our home C5, is also a C5), so he jumps this hole and "Ventures on scan"... We all perk up, Hmmm, jumping Ventures is fun cause they are fast and slippery.

So pings go out and people log on and we all listen for about a 1/2 hour or so as the people in that hole seem to just be taking out and flying around in every ship they have, to what appears to be no clear purpose that we can ascertain. We form up a fleet, a few more scouts jump in and things go as they do, the ol' "hurry up and wait" thing.

Things warp here, things warp there, the scouts and FC's are working the angles, trying to come up with a winnable fight or something at least worth Leroying in and dying gloriously taking down a few shineys for the effort. Eventually the guys we're watching catch wind of us and react... and the FC's call a Hole Roll Logoff Gank, everyone on the Ira side of the Ira/KT hole logs off and gets right back on the login screen and keeps ready to log in and kill whatever they decide to roll with...

I was inna Sabre initially, but decide to swap over to DPS as we now had 2 HICs, so bubbles were covered and DPS was needed more. I swap over to my Cloaky HAM Loki, warp out and cloak up 10km off the KT hole... annnnnnnnnd

Megathron 1
Megathron 2
Megathron 3
Megathron 4

Oh and in case you were wondering about the title, "Better than Nothing..." that refers to the fact that we had hoped for Rolling Caps and only got Megas... Oh well, better than nothing... right?

Like I said, some fun was had. =]

And one last tidbit that kept me VERY busy lately... I moved. Since I was about 5 months old (in game) I have been a full time permanent resident of Anoikis (Wormhole Space, Negative Sec) and to me Empire Space (Known Space, Hi, Lo & Null) are where I go to sell my goods and go shopping. Unless of course my home go boom (see "The Loss That Shall Not Be Named") then I "refugee" in Empire until a new home is built and my rooms are ready in our new hole.

Empire is also where I store my Ship replacements, Tur's Shadow Fleet (which also needs to be rebuilt) and any Empire specific ships I own. I have refugee'd in Amarr over the years of my cloistering, but now that I am walking the world again, I decided I was just too tired of (1) Amarr prices being just a tad higher than Jita, it adds up over the years, and (2) being shit out the ass of that Great Gold Egg of a station every time I undocked.

I so prefer a nice, reasonable "door" that lets one enter space in style and grace and without vertigo... so I moved to Jita. Not in 4-4, gods I'd HATE that worse than Amarr... can't stand the station design (never could) and the sheer number of A-holes in space, especially at the 4-4 undock... just gives me hives it does.

So I tootled around on Sat and took a good look at the other real estate available in Jita and I found a nice place, a quiet place off the main trade lanes, not a lot of neighbors, good schools, day care, really good restaurants and I like the look of it I really do.

So I spent an evening or 3 carefully packing every square m3 of "Canterbury", my Oracabago Floaty Home of Ineptitude, with everything I own and fast warping from Amarr through Perimeter to my new home in the Jita VII - Moon 2 (Jita 7-2) Caldari Business Tribunal Law School.

It was actually kinda fun. I am finding new things to be interesting and interested in and I am very much liking this new foray into EVE... I truly am.

Fly safe or not, I'll still be cloaked up watching you.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Sometimes You Gotta Change the Sand in the Sandbox

~or “Change Hurts Like Hell, Until it Doesn't Anymore...”

This is a post born of a the rummage of thoughts I have been having on the recent changes and direction CCP seems to be taking the game, and all of us, as we head deeper into The Chaos Era... which most definitely is Still Very Much a Thing in EVE. In a comment 'tween myself and Hermit, it all kinda gelled into this post.

Chaos is bad, right? But what is “Bad” and what is “Good” are subjective are they not? So I say Chaos is also subjective... I mean one man's tragedy (Hurricane [the storm not the ship], Tornado [the storm not the ship], Earthquake [the natural disaster not the ammo], etc.) that wipes out his house and home is another man's land and redevelopment opportunity.

If you are not a miner or involved much in Industry, as I and The Forever Noob are not (and though I have been on the other side of the lazers in a mining gank once or twice, it has never been my preferred playstyle) then these recent and seeming drastic changes to the game, what seems like a truly massive shit CCP is taking all over mining returns and ore availability, may not immediately impact you or your gameplay, yet.. However, those mining changes WILL be hittin' all of us in the wallet in the months to come, like a Dreadnought Alpha Strike direct to the Nads...

And I have just This to say about That... <takes a deep breath...>

Actually go and listen to what Hilmar himself has to say YOUROWNDAMNSELF in this podcast where he introduced us all to The Chaos Era... and The Why. (the link is to the point where he begins to speak directly to the Chaos Era but I strongly suggest you listen to the beginning also). Don't wait for someone else to boil it down and tell you how to feel about what he says... listen for yourself. Decide for yourself. You may be surprized.

He actually does explain it all, and IMHO I think he does so quite well, if you actually take the time to listen and don't let yourself get all bogged down in little shit... don't sweat that Ashterothi makes a big deal out of his mistake of saying “Purple Donut” instead of “Blue”, he is being interviewed and by EVE Players none the less... his getting the 'color' wrong is a fukkin little ass thing ya'll, so please focus on what he says “about” the game.

About how EVE is stagnating, about how because of the Alliances, Coalitions, Peace Treaties and Agreements made between all the Null Powers That Be (the players)... that the Sandbox is turning to cement.

If you are interested in my take on this it is simply that because of us, a significant majority of the playerbase, EVE Online is dying. Not because of CCP, because of us.

That's right, I said it and I will say it again... because of us. Because we want to have control over what happens to us... because we want to feel safe and if possible, BE safe. It is as natural and human as sex or greed or empathy or anger. We want to be safe and do the things we enjoy and profit by from a place of safety.

No one likes Surprise Buttsex unless they are the one's giving it, and the Cyan Donut came about because we, the players, working Outside Of The Game, agreed to work together for Prosperity And Safety For All, which is how we ended up with the vaunted and reviled “Blue Donut” a state of peace throughout Nullsec that is enforced with tenacity, zeal and at a level that makes Concord's Law & Order enforcement efforts in Hisec seem like 2 guys with BB-guns comin to your rescue inna canoe...

This “Pax Congregatio“ is enforced throughout all of domesticated and peacefully farmed Nullsec, where tenement and sharecropping ratters, miners and bots are all treated with respect and integrity while being squeezed for every possible Red ISKie their Nullsec Overlandlords can wring from them.

Oh Gentleman's Agreement fights are acceptable and yes, there is always some “real” strife of course, WWB was a real enough thing, but once a Null Empire is established, the diplomats begin working in earnest to KEEP it established and to keep things inside their borders humming along productively and under a shield of safety that is a Hisec Carebear's Wet Dream...

Let's be very clear, people working together for Prosperity And Safety For All is exactly what is most desired and needed in the Real World ('cause no clones in the Real World) but EVE is not the Real World... it is a Virtual World filled with malevolence and hate and tears and greed and suffering and Ebil Oberlords and Their Miscreant Minions and Pirates.. It is a star cluster full of conflict and passion, fear and death, taxes and carebear tears and because it is all of this, it is also a 'verse filled with friendship, camaraderie, sacrifice, hard work and yes, love.

Without the Dark, one cannot have Light, without Grief, one cannot have Joy, without Failure, one cannot have Success. And EVE, EVE is not about Hugz and Rainbows my brothers in arms... Hugz and Rainbows, as nice as they are, are boring and now so is EVE as all of nullsec huggz and sways along to Kumbaya, EVE Online has become Boring... and CCP Himar my gentle reader, one of that small group of guys who together so long ago dreamed a big dream, a dream of a 'verse that is EVE... CCP Hilmar has decided to Go to War Against the Forces of Boredom... And that means against Us.

Because my brother Empyrean's... we suck at EVE, not CCP, us. Many of us, or at least a large and very vocal number of us are entitled, nasty, dreadful, horrid children and we have no respect for what CCP has created for us.
We” have tamed EVE...
We” have made EVE docile and safe...
and CCP Himar is pissed and he is going to DO something about it.

And I for one, think it's high time he did.

Thanx Hermie.  =]

Fly it like the Po-Po aint coming!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Postcards from the Other Side of the Sky...

~or "Always Remember to Take the Time to Appreciate the Smell of the Inside of Your Spacesuit..."

I am not FC... never will be, shouldn't actually... I like how very pretty EVE is, way too much. The artwork is stunning and the ships, animations, especially some of the backdrops... breath taking... and when you throw in a little chaos, a little ButterFly Effect, like a random undock in a Speed Tanked Slasher where I randomly decide to orbit the new station just FFS and then I get the "Oooooh" and the "Ahhhhhhhh" and without thinking I turn off the overview to take pictures. That's right, you really don't want me FCing.

So I am in a tight orbit round the POS... (Oh, ahem, right) I mean, the "Astrahaus Citadel"... (fuk whatever, itsa POS ok? a Player Owned Station). In Anoikis unlike any other space in EVE, Player Owned Stations, Citadels or old POS Spikes, are the ONLY ways to have a home in space other than a ship...

There is beauty to be found in a place and a space one calls home... Here is some of the beauty I see everyday in my beloved Anoikis, wormhole space... OUR space, our home.

I spent, well, am spending, the weekend in EVE. The whole damn weekend. Something I have not done in years, literal years, as in with an "s". Today some sturdy kind soul in Ira scanned down a bunch stuff, among it all, a 2 hole pipe to Hisec, Schweet. I then spent the rest of the day late into the evening ferrying Gas, Lewts & Slavage OUT and ships, mods and such IN. I brought "The Cant", my Orcabago... but the C1 hole was a little too tight (that's what SHE said) so I parked in the closest station and spent the evening shuttling my old ass off.

Anyhoo, as part and parcel to all of this was a side trip to Jita to sell off the GL&S and to, ah hem, umm, get a NEW Sabre cause my old one, well it was ...mumble, mumble... and so I bought n fitted a replacement, 'nough said, moving on.

So at the Jita undock I decided to do something I used to enjoy back when I was a noob... a real noob, a 4 months ingame noob and all wide eyed and bushy tailed and a real Fan Boi of CCP and all cute and cuddly like a little puppy in space...

I carefully placed my ship top center of the undock and just sat up on the ledge and watched the world go by... just like I used to do back in Arnon right after I "graduated" EVE Noob School (the Tutorials) which ended for me with Sister Alitura's Epic Arc, "The Blood Stained Stars".

For the next few months after that, fresh out of school I kept busy doing odd jobs, ratting the nearby .5 belts, running a mish or 2, keeping some coin in ma pockets... but each evening always found me sittin' on the undock, like a kid swinging his legs on the porch of a summer's eve... watching the world, and in my case, the incredible panoply of noob's and noob scammers and griefers and all the amazing asshats of EVE... I loved  it.

Sittin in Jita' 4-4's undock today... this is some of what I saw...

I love EVE...  Thank you CCP.

Fly however you damned well please... but FLY dammit!!

Friday, February 7, 2020

Denied of Service or Virtual Problem Nomore... Hmmm?

~or "You Gonna DO Something About This, or what?"
CCP and EVE Online was attacked on Monday Jan 27th with a massive DDoS, a Distributed Denial of Service attack. This swamped the servers and blocked a huge number of players from accessing the EVE Server named "Tranquility", in actuality a server farm that our amazing Single Shard MMORPG runs on.

It caused a shit storm and it has most likely also caused some players to stop playing, and possibly to even un-sub. There was quite a bit of chatter about that in the forums and whatnot.

This is, most likely, exactly what the attackers wanted.

Think about that as you vent and shitpost and create your Fifth Support Ticket to CCP to return your stuff and give us ALL free Omega Days to pay US back for our lost time... what about their potential lost income? You see whether you like it or agree or not, this is a partnership, without CCP we wouldn't even have EVE Online... without us, the paying customers, we also wouldn't have EVE Online as CCP would not continue to exist. In the end if enough of us walk out inna huff, rage quit or leave for any reason, if we pull a Seinfeld on CCP, "we" lose EVE.

As as much as sometimes there is reason to yell, "CPP Godsdammit This!" or CCP Fukkin That!" I really love this game and I don't wanna lose it, and yes, I mean that even in a world where DDoS's happen. Yes, even if I must wait a while, even a long while, so they can fight off an attack on their livelihood... Yes, even then.

You see the thing for me is CCP is not to blame for the DDoS. I don't work there but I do, as so many in EVE do, work in IT... I have for over 25 years and any attack, viral, DoS or a DDoS attack is not the fault of the entity being attacked. As a matter of simple fact... CCP was being virtually mugged. Beaten and kicked to the ground by a faceless gang (the people who initiated/ran the attack) and that bothers me... but what got me really pissed was the number of the EVE players trolling, shiposting and blaming CCP in the DDoS Megathread and forums and elsewhere for not "doing" something about it.

Really? Ever been mugged? bullied? beat up in a school yard? Ever had your business, your livelihood and the livelihood of many other people threatened and attacked? I wonder how you'd act then... 

The attitude above is one of, "If it/they are not doing what WE want, let's set fire to it/them, that'll fix it!" IE "Massive wave of unsubs" = "CCP files bankruptcy and shuts down". How incredibly juvenile... 

Here is what a DDoS looks like, brought to you by Chribba's EVE Offline, The Very Finest in Graphporn. This shows us from DT (DownTime) Tuesday the 21st through DT Sun the 26th... a very "Normal" in all respects rolling PCU graph...
Then... Monday the 27th and you can SEE when the DDoS started... those ragged sudden drops in PCU... and it is clear how it progressed over the next 8 days until late on Feb 3rd. Friday the 31st was the worst... and I, like so many, couldn't get in at all that day, until I installed VPN that is. (click th' pic to embiggen!)
So, for me personally, how did it go? Well, on Fri 31st I read a comment in the Megathread about a guy who installed a free VPN client, connected to a server in Europe, and he was back up and playing OK. So of course, I tried it. 

I didn't winge and moan about CCP, I was reading, browsing, blogging following the metagame and I had heard a suggestion that might actually DO something about it? Oh, hell yea! And yup, it worked. He had said he had decided to use ProtonVPN, so I researched it and it was solid looking and solid sounding to me. Reviews were acceptable and seemed real world and it was created by a company I knew of even if I had not used their service. It offered an actually "free" single logon with a limited but acceptable list of servers to connect to.

I installed, connected to one of the Swedish servers and logged into EVE like nothing was going on. No credit card was ever asked for, you need to create an account of course, but then, clickety, done, thank you. 

In the 9 days since I started using VPN, I have had 2 disconnects and 4 laggy periods, one of those was quite bad and happened as the drawn out start of a disconnect... But as bad as that sounds that's all the trouble I've had since the 31st. as I understand it on the 4th CCP finally was able to mitigate the incoming dataflood or it ended or a bit of both or whatever and CCP has things patched or bounced or restored... whatever was needed.

About that I don't really know... my son and I were in Amarr and parts near and farish getting our hole fleets pulled outta mothballs, dusted off, refurbed or  bought, built & fitted, painted and ~"The Naming"~, important that... the Naming of Names. To me at least. I take some small pride in what I think are interesting names for my ships... but that's just me.

Fly safe my friends...