Saturday, March 27, 2010

ORDR Takes Sovereignty

So, as anyone who reads the news knows, ORDR (Sodalitas-XX), the Alliance to which IT (Imperium Technologies) belongs now has it's name on the map.

In fact, we have our name on the map in... *googles 'Seven tuplets'* septuplicate!

That's right space-fans, ORDR has annexed a constellation just inside Providence, as part of AAA's continued offensive in the wake of CVA's refusal to accept terms, ORDR has stepped up and after some diplomatic discussion accepted AAA's assistance to take their own constellation.

Now, the cry of 'Pets, pets' has already hit the news-stands and there's a lot of derision and scorn being thrown ORDR's way. Which is giving everyone a lot of smiles and chuckles. While Sodalitas is new, do a check on the employment history of some of our top pilots and leadership sometime. You'll note that little glitch in there where CCP acknowledges they weren't keeping employment records back when these folk rolled their characters. Some of the Corps are in the same situation, having been created prior to employment record keeping.

While I don't have nearly the kind of play-time that I would like, roaming out there and joining in the action, I can comfortably say that what comes next is well expected by ORDR leadership, and anyone who decides that having intelligent leadership with an understanding of how diplomacy works is a weakness, is in for a bit of a shock.

Fly Straight,

Thursday, March 25, 2010

EVE Blog Banter #16: R.C.F.T.W.!

Welcome to the sixteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

The third Blog Banter of 2010 comes to us from ChainTrap of the Into the unknown with gun and camera EVE Blog. He asks us: “Eve University turns six years old on March 15th; six years spent helping the new pilots of New Eden gain experience and understanding in a supportive environment. Eve is clearly a complicated game, with a ton to learn, so much that you never stop learning. So, the question is; What do you wish that someone had taken the time to tell you when you were first starting out? Or what have you learned in the interim that you’d like to share with the wider Eve community?”
Hmmm.... What do I wish someone had told me when I first started out?


Now that that's out of the way, I'll go ahead and explain. You know how you get your first mission as a total noob, and they tell you to go to the mission site and kick some pirate hull?

When I first started playing, they didn't tell you how to get there. Sure, I managed to find the right star-system, and then spent ages flying around asteroid belts trying to find the 'mining camp' that these wretched pirates were infesting... Knowing to Right-Click on open space when flying would have really helped about then...

Right click on everything, and read all the options that pop up. If you have a question about something, right-click it, if that doesn't answer your question, THEN ask someone.

Many of the other fine bloggers out there have given great explanations for all the little things they wished they'd known. Like, 'don't bother with better ships till you can actually fly the one you're in' and 'fly cheap stuff and get used to getting blown up before you fly expensive stuff and rage-quit', so I'm going to leave this incredibly late entry short and sweet with my 1 pearl of wisdom.

Straight Fliers Right Click.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Making The Game: PvP Missions

Once again, the banter on someone else's blog has sparked off a diatribe of a comment that I'm turning into a Making The Game post. What can I say, I get wordy at times...

The original post comes from Letrange over at Letrange's Eve Blog, I give him a C- for blog name originality, (who am I to talk, I just translated my name for a blog title) but a solid A for content, including the two guides on Dominion projection weapon changes that I have linked on the right-side bar of my page and will until something changes to put them out of date. If you don't read his blog, start. :)

Basically, the tl;dr version is that he suggested that PvE should be given elements that make it more exciting and realistic, and offer a 'training' opportunity for budding PvP pilots, so that the flight styles aren't so VASTLY different. One or two people commenting on his post stated their disagreement, that missions are supposed to cater to a different clientèle than PvP.

I think a good compromise/workaround the various schools of thought on this sort of thing (and something more in line with CCP's style) would be to add a new agent-type, that offers advanced military missions.
They already did it for the training lines, but if they did so for missions, they could add agents that offer missions that are designed for PvP fit ships. None of this 'waves of badguys, go-go-drake-tank and wait for the money' and instead more along the lines of 'catch that Rifter for a big bounty'. Stuff that gets the blood pumping a bit more, with higher payouts for the individual kill, but the overall reward being based on the time it'll take you.

One of the great things about EVE is it's 'toolkit' nature. Far too often I read cries of 'nerf this' 'change that' 'this is boring, fix it'. While in some cases that can be appropriate, (if 1 ship is out there defeating all comers, regardless of situation or opponent, there's obviously a balance issue) for the most part the 'toolkit' approach suggests addition over subtraction.

In other words, when you find missions grievously boring (I do) and only run them for money, don't suggest changing missions and driving off the folk who enjoy them, suggest ADDING something new that can allow you an outlet of PC vs NPC violence that YOU will enjoy.

Another possibility. What if they introduced PvP missions that could let you pew pew on other players and make money doing it?


Here's a sample.

Capsuleer A is hired by Agent A to take a frigate sized hull out to a rendezvous point, carrying a valuable trade commodity. Naturally, they don't trust Capsuleer A, so they make him put some money down and tell him to 'come alone'. He flies out to the mission coordinates and finds a rusted old Minmatar jump-gate leading into the deadspace. He activates the jump-gate and slingshots out into the complex.

Inside, he finds silence, and receives an incoming communication from his agent. "Agent B is trying to horn in on my deal. Kill his Agent when he shows up, then make the deal."

Here comes the tricky part (from CCP's standpoint), the jump-gate 'sorts' people into different 'instances', the first 2 people to enter arrive together, the next two, the next two, and so on. This way, numerous people can be running the mission, and they'll get their chance to complete it as soon as a second mission-runner shows up. Entering the later half of the complex also gives aggression to you and the other party, keeping Concord out of the equation.

After a set amount of time, the contact shows up and drops a can for his swag.

If no-one else is running the mission, you get to drop off an item for an easy, though probably not large, reward. If someone else is running the mission, you get to drop off an item for the small reward, AND get some 1v1 PvP action, complete with the possibility of recouping the very item you had to put money down on when buying it from your agent, which you can then turn around and sell on the market.

Obviously it needs tweaking and goodness knows I don't know squat about the programming that would be required. But in my head it sounds awesome.

What do you think?

Fly straight!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

My Blog Following

So, today I received my 9th follower, and it got me to thinking that most Bloggers in the community don't really acknowledge their following as well as they should. Shame on us. I'm determined to turn that around, and so I want to start by publicly thanking, and doing a bit of a 'hey, look at these guys' to those people who are willing to read my drivel, and (perhaps more importantly) are willing to admit it!

My wife and gaming partner, Katt has been with me from the start. Making a profile and blog of her own, over at Katt's Midnight Starr, she hasn't done a lot of blogging, but has read and commented (to me) on all my work. I'm a lucky lucky man to be able to share a hobby like EVE with my wife, and I'm sure 90% of you that are reading this will agree with me.

And the other 10% of you? Just shush.

"The BlogFather", my 2nd follower. I was very excited to see his name appear, not least because of his notoriety (Capsuleer introduced me to blogging, so I had been reading the fruits of his organization before I knew he was organizing it at all!). You likely know who he is, but just in case you've stumbled into my Blog after removing a several tonne rock, complete with several years of moss, from your head, he runs the Blog Pack from out of CrazyKinux's Musings.

No, The Midnight Sun, isn't in the Blog Pack, but maybe one day!

Romeo Blakstorm
Follower number 3, Romeo authors Life Among the Pirates. He doesn't put out a lot of blog posts, but they're worth a read.

Logan Fyerite
Follower number 4, and also the most prolific member of the Frequent Commenters Club (The FCC, I like it...) here at The Midnight Sun. From Scimitar fittings to commiserations on my screwups, Logan has been nothing but great. He writes at EVE Opportunist and often has insightful commentary.

Winner of the 'Why We Love Eve' competition, and writer of Wench With a Wrench, Lea was follower number 5. I will admit I haven't been as loyal a reader as I should be for one of my followers, but after earning fame on CrazyKinux's site, she hardly needs MY readership.

Ok, so this is actually my wife again. She set up another account for her RSS Reader, and followed me again. *blush* What can I say, she loves me!

Despite being a filthy Amarr, some of the most enjoyable fiction in blogging has come to my various readers from A Ghost Blog, so I was naturally very excited to see Cartoonboy's grinning moniker on my blog. I will continue to be an avid fan of Mr NOXx, until of course we meet in-game.

Die Slaver Scum!! ;)

Quivering Palm
The Planet Risk Show blog has been a source of entertainment for me, and I'm sure for many of you too. I haven't had a chance to listen to the podcast, but I nod my head in deferential awe to anyone willing to go to that length for their contribution to the community. Frankly, I don't think I could keep up the energy nearly as well. Kudos to you, and thanks for being Follower Number 8. (7 if you don't count Katt as being worth 2 people... I suppose it's possible I'm biased as to how awesome she is... Naww...)

The most recent addition to The Midnight Sun followers, Arrhidaeus writes at Cogito Ergo Yarr and inspired this post by giving me that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you see your follower number bigger in the morning than it was when you went to bed. I checked out his blog, which wasn't one that had come across my reader before, and was very pleased. Bushkazi sounds like an awesome load of fun, and I might have to conn some corpies into playing a game of it out in 0.0.

That's it, the complete role-call. It's not as fancy a list as is attached to say CrazyKinux Musings, but it's MY list. As more folk (IF more folk) add themselves as followers here, I'll be sure to do regular thank-you's, because how can we call ourselves a blogging 'community' without the manners to acknowledge those people that give us such a high compliment.

Fly Straight, and may my follower's ammo be laced with Dev-Hacks that own non-followers... Hmmm, a 'Making the Game' post in the making?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Flash Fiction 10: “Should you be doing that?”

This week's entry into Ecliptic Rift's Friday Flash Fiction.



The distinctive crackling sound that characterized communications funneled through communication drones, dropped surreptitiously through wormholes to connect W-Space to K-Space for corporation and private comms, was evident in KattraStarr's disapproving voice, "Should you be doing that?"

As I threw the Bam a Lam I, one of a matching set of ten Rifter's I had purchased and had my engineering crew fit out in preparation for some silly fun, into a keep-away orbit of a pursuing Amarrian assault frigate, toning down the microwarp-drive so that I didn't completely outrun the armor laden beast, I replied back, my own voice tinged with amusement and adrenaline. "How am I supposed to become a better pilot if I don't risk a few ships here and there. This fellow isn't going to catch me, and it keeps me from getting bored while I hope for a less lopsided match up."

Katt voiced her disapproval anyway, "You get blown up and it'll look bad on the alliance's reputation." She admonished me.

"Bahh, a half-mil Rifter? I'll admit, when she gets blown up, and the speaker's stop blaring Black Betty, I'll be sad for a moment or two, but if anyone gets pissed off that I'm out training in a ship that costs less than what we can make in two volleys of rockets, they're gonna need to harden up." I pulsed the MWD again, throwing the Rifter into a lazy barrel roll as the persistent Amarr continued to burn towards me.

Deciding to make a few safe points and dodge around a bit, I let the engine kick over into warp and left R3TRO behind, zipping around the system making bookmarks and otherwise amusing myself. Dropping back to his location every now and then just to get his hopes up.

"Warning: Incoming target lock." Aura piped up.

Glancing at the gate, and the Tempest battleship that was currently locking me from 150 km out, I grinned. "Amarr boy needed some Minmatar backup." I told Katt gleefully, kicking in the warpdrive again and zipping off to a nearby planet before the target lock could solidify.

Weighing my options, I decided to buzz the other stargates just to see what was around before heading back to base and docking up. As my warp-drive disengaged, I whistled appreciatively at the standing gate-camp, whipped the rifter around, kicking in the MWD foolishly to distance from the spied interceptor, despite its range.

"Well, new Tip of Experience to note in the journal, Katt." I voiced into my comms as my pod zipped safely away from my wreckage. "Don't turn on the MWD when fleeing a sniper gate-camp. Helps them lock you faster and makes the hit a LOT nastier, I've never seen my systems red-line that fast."

"I wonder if the ammo they spent cost more than my Rifter?" I asked her, despite her disapproval, as I flew my pod past R3TRO, offering a 'good job' in Local as I exited 0.0 and dropped back into High-sec space.

"Back to base. Still another 9 Bam a Lam's that need their wings shaken out."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making The Game: Planetary Interaction In Wormhole Space

Unlike my usual 'Making the Game' posts, this particular post centers less around an idea I had for making the game more interesting, and more around my growing suspicion that the new Tyrannis expansion is going to be applied only to K-Space in terms of Planetary Interaction.

So I thought, 'well, maybe we should go over the positives and negatives of letting W-Space holders have access to Planetary Interaction'. Voila, a blog-post was born. Don't mind the squalling, newborns are cranky like that.

- Consistency of realism.
- More reason for people to explore.
- More resources in riskier locations.

- More profitability to W-Space habitation.

Now, let's discuss these points in a little more detail, shall we?

For the Positive team, we have Consistency of realism, which can be roughly explained by this question. How does it make sense that all W-Space planets and moons are completely devoid of profitable minerals? And people too? Did the sleepers strip-mine all the planets to build more of themselves and in-so-doing kill all the indigenous people? I could buy that, if there were planet-side ruins and the like, but if so, couldn't we import colonists and export archaeological finds? Maybe as a precursor to T3 Frigates? It's unrealistic and inconsistent to, in a sandbox environment, say 'you can do this stuff with planets and moons' and then say 'except the ones over there' without giving an explanation.

Next we come to, More reason for people to explore, that's right, the shiny probing interface that was installed a few expansions ago? Doesn't that suggest you WANT people to explore, find W-Space, and go searching for fun and profit? Another resource in w-space means another reason for people to want to visit. It also ties in well with my next point...

More resources in riskier locations. The key point here is RISKIER. W-Space is more dangerous than 0.0 in a lot of ways, particularly if you're at a location that isn't either a) protected by a POS bubble, or b) requiring a full set of 4 scan-probes to location. In other words, paranoia at a Mag-site, needed. Paranoia at a combat site? Really needed. Paranoia floating above a planet? Down right necessary to even the faintest hope of survival. In 0.0, you could dock up when someone comes in system, in W-Space, you have to hope you spot them as they're warping to your planet, and hope you can get into warp before they arrive. Is anyone else snickering at your odds there?

Since Risk vs Reward is what you're looking for, W-Space will have a good mix of risk to reward if PI does get implemented there. Sure, you're off the beaten path and someone has to scan down your hole to find you. But once they're in your system, you have no way of knowing if you're going to drop in on your planet safely, or if a handful of SB's are gonna decloak and fry you for your greedy ways.

Add to all that my hope that they'll design the 'launch to space' system in such a way as to give a chance (however small) for theft of your hard-earned goods, and it just sounds like a better and better idea.

For the Negatives team, I could only come up with one thing that really seemed logical to me. Call me biased, cos I probably am, but More profitability to W-Space habitation was all I could decide would hold CCP back. It's been stated that CCP didn't intend for W-Space to be colonized on a permanent basis, so maybe they won't want to give people even more reasons to want to stick around in W-Space.

But that ship has already sailed, folks. W-Space is colonized in the majority of systems that open up connecting to Our Slice of Heaven, and from what I hear, it's the same for most other colonists out there in the community. Trying to artificially coax people out with inconsistent, artificial schemes is a bit sad at best and detrimental at worst. People wouldn't do it if they weren't enjoying it, and the game you've designed is supposed to be a sandbox, and the first rule of the sandbox is that you don't kick down other people's castles just because you don't like their moat.

Anyhow, if YOU have any ideas on a good Positive or Negative on the 'PI in WH' argument, post it in the comments and lets chat. I'm sure there's plenty of arguments for both sides that I've missed!

Fly Straight,

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Honour, Humour and Piracy.

Not exactly the Holy Trinity, but it was pleasant the other day after getting jumped while closing an unscheduled Low-Sec hole, (details to follow) to find a set of Pirates with both Yarring skill (see details for a bit of an addenda to that..) a sense of humour, and enough honour to follow through on a ransom.

We lost 2 ships and 1 pod to their gank, which included a Phobos. Fortunately for us, it took them too long to kill Leilani and her pod before moving onto Katt that by the time her Typhoon exploded, the Phobos pilot had run out of capacitor and lost his bubble, so Katt slipped away safely. Fortunately for me, I'd managed to get my cloak on before they jumped through the bubble, and despite some close calls, they didn't manage to close within 2k (<2.6k? Sure, but never less than 2k.. phew).

Tip of Experience: Cap stability is not an optional item on a HIC.

Insurance covered Leilani's loss, but Katt being in the wrong ship cost us a few million, nothing hurtful though.

Normally, this would quite upset us, as would the threat from the pirate gang to further harrange and bother us in Our Slice of Heaven, they were asking for 50M, which isn't a tremendously unpleasant amount of money to pay, which just shows at least they weren't silly. Afterall, we could just hide out in our POS and unless they felt like sieging us while we called the reinforcements, they would have a very boring afternoon.

So, to pay or not to pay? I was working (called away when they warped INTO the wormhole, of all the darned times to get someone at my door), and so Katt held the negotiations. Some of the highlights included the threat of seeing one of the pirates in a Leather Tutu, which surely evoked horror in his compatriots, who fair begged Katt to give them the money and save them from such a fate.

They made Katt laugh, and that was worth 50M to us, so we paid them to go about their business, fully expecting them to stick around and cause trouble.

Well, holy moly! They said their thank-yous and meandered out, assuring us several times of their lack of ill intent. Katt closed the wormhole up boldly, and was unmolested in the process.

So, Pirates, if you're going to ask for a ransom, keep in mind that while you've just had your entertainment and blown someone's ship up, if you're trying to get paid, it helps to get the OTHER party, the gankee if you will, in a good mood! If they'd just threatened us, we'd have kept our money and onlined a few extra defenses at the POS, they'd have spent a very boring day in a wormhole hoping we'd come out, when we'd in actuality cleared the absolute last site in there just hours before their arrival on the scene.

Their sense of humor netted them 50M, and I hope they have similar luck elsewhere.

Well, I also hope the next group they jump on a wormhole is sitting there in a gank-squad and teaches them to leave W-Space holders alone.... But I never said I was consistent.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Speaking in Local... Part 2.

Last month I told you all of my quandary regarding warning people in the local channel of our presence and ownership of Our Slice of Heaven.

Not long ago, I had occaision to test the theory once more. Upon logging in for the early morning victuals (don't ask...) I was displeased to find a small gallente POS on the D-Scanner. For those of you that play WoW, (I know, I'm a sub-par EVE personage), you may remember a certain iconic phrase uttered by mechanical robots in Gnomeregan.

That's pretty much what I was screaming inside my head, "WARNING, WARNING, INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!!!".

After I calmed down a little and started scouting this new threat out, prepared to pester as many folk online and into combat ships as possible to drive these intruders out, I found the tower. Looking up the corporation from the ticker, I quickly looked up membership numbers.


Ok, that's not so bad. Katt spotted a wreck, named after the pilot (tsk tsk) and I looked that guy up. He wasn't from the corporation of 1, but had a name eerily similar. Hmmm.

Convo? No convo? Convo? No Convo?

Here's the score-card for warnings in Local:

Warnings Gratefully Received: 3
Gankings: 1

Because 90% of you didn't go read my link *Sad panda* you will have to keep reading to know what that means.

But, I'm not gonna make you wait long.


Ok, fine. He was really nice, and explained he was very new to Wormhole space and 'did I set up my POS too close to yours?'. I explained that typically speaking, in the same wormhole is considered too close, and normally explosions followed shortly after such a lapse in etiquette. He politely asked if he could move his stuff out of our space and I agreed.

I and others watched him move out, and though none of us ever uncloaked, I kept relaying helpful tips on how he could improve his operations in WH space, in part to let him know he was being watched, and in part to be nice. Let me tell you, having only just recently trained up Bomb deployment, it was tempting to break cloak when, 30 km in front of me, and still 10km from the wormhole, his Hulk comes out of warp and starts slow-boating towards safety.

Fortunately, I'm a nice guy. Phew for him, eh?!

Fly Straight, but not into other people's territory!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Time Demands in WH Space

Hey folks,

Over at EVE-Online Wormholes, this post popped up and sparked my conversational side. I started to leave a nice rambling comment, when I realized it was going to be almost as long (or longer) than the original post!

This calls for, BLOGGING MIN! *Plays cheesy super-hero music*

Ok, now that I've got my inner dork out of the way for a bit, let's get down to brass tacks. Many different bloggers and W-Space occupants have recently decided to step back their operations in WH space, citing either the emptiness and inactivity of their bit of space, or the constant demands upon their time that managing W-Space requires.

While Katt and I have run across both of these problems within Our Slice of Heaven, we've come up with several methods of combatting the dread 'W-Space Mania' that has afflicted so many of our fellow capsuleers. And now this information can be yours for the price of just 49.99 ISK plus shipping and handling!

Or, you could just read the blog...

Let's set up some fancy looking (not) headings and break this issue down, shall we?

"So much empty space... Nothing to do in it... Gahhh!!"

Problem number 1, and by far the most common complaint I hear from the various WH inhabitants that I've spoken with or read the blogs of, is that they're too efficient, and everything is cleared, and now they've got nothing to do.

While indeed this is a painful problem, and one that's difficult to amend, there's a key pair of words up above, 'too efficient'.

That's right, you done shot yourself in the foot, boys!

Wormhole signatures, while not completely reliant upon the number of signatures in system, DO take into account current 'activity' (via readings on how many untouched sites there are) when spawning new sites, particularly wormholes and combat anomalies. What this means is that, when you aren't getting enough sites, you need to do LESS.

Freaky, I know. But when we left 5 combat sites and several signatures as 'seed', we would often have upwards of 5 combat sites and 3 wormholes or other signatures spawning PER DAY in Our Slice of Heaven.

It takes a little coordinating to leave these sites alone amongst the various folk inhabiting your wormhole, but the net result can be a large increase to the profits your corporation can enjoy. Another big issue is defending all these resources from poachers. But really... You went to WH space to avoid PvP?... Seriously??

"Zzzzzzzz... *Snort* Huh, What, yeah, I've got that Sleepless Upholder right where I want him.... Zzzz.."

Sometimes, Real Life (tm, pty, ltd), can be a real pain in the neck. Often it keeps us from playing as much EVE as we want (*gasp*) and even more often, it leaves us with only 'so much' time to spend on our hobby. When our WH's spawn rate is high enough, that can mean we don't have enough time to get all done that we want to.

Also, EVE is a big game, sometimes we want to do something OTHER than pop the 3 wormholes that spawned in our hole this morning, before we go to work.

Actually, I can pretty much guarantee we'd rather be doing almost anything than popping all those wormholes. It's boring as all get out.

Anyhow, for whatever reason, the other main gripe going around at the moment is people getting sick of the amount of time they need to spend EVERY SINGLE DAY to keep their WH under control.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that the solution to this problem is 'DO MORE'.

Ok, maybe a few of you were shocked. But only if you're not paying attention. That's right, if you completely clear (or, just visit every site and let them despawn on their natural cooldown) your wormhole, you will get less site-spawning.

By clearing your wormhole down to the static exit, and then popping that static exit and not scanning down the next one, you have effectively sealed off your wormhole. You're all alone, with no way in, and nothing to do.

Log off at that point, and take a much-needed break. Sure, stuff will spawn, slowly, while you're gone, and there's always the possibility that a wormhole will open into yours, where it will be almost instantly disregarded by 99% of visitors as 'worthless'.

IF by some chance you run into that last 1%, your tower should be online, armed, well defended, and with a fat bay full of Strontium. Odds are, most folk won't bother, and the few that will, would have bothered even if you were logged in.

Using this method, you can log in every other day, or even less frequently. If you're a little worried about leaving it that long, open up and run a search for your J-Code, see how things are going. If you see a bunch of jumps, maybe log a character into the WH and peek about lazily to make sure the POS is still untouched.

In closing, these methods have worked for Katt and I. We've been occupying Wormhole Space for over 6 months, and have no intentions of leaving any time soon.

Fly Straight, whether you're agoraphobic or using toothpicks to hold up your eyelids, it's just darned easier than zig-zagging!