Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The RedHawk (My Computer)

So, my old el cheapo Dell PC kept killing my graphics card, including a GeForce XFX 8600 and a Sapphire ATi Radeon in under 2 years. As I sent my GeForce in for a lengthy RMA... I had an idea...

I figure that to become a true geek, I have to build my own computer, so I went on Newegg and bought some parts and embarked on the ambitious project. I expected some scraps (and I did - got my palm bbq'd by the steel case, bah), but the total build time was under 12 hours, which I was pretty proud of as a first-time builder. Someone had attempted to teach me how to do it as a kiddo, but I was 8 and hardly remember anything besides how difficult it was to wench out the power cables.

The total cost of the components with shipping comes to approximately 600 bucks, which I thought was a great deal for a mid-range computer. Newegg is the only place I bought PC parts from and they've got fantastic service - highly recommended!

My system specifications:

Intel Core 2 Duo 3.16GHz Dual-Core Processor with Arctic Cooling CPU Fan
ASUS P5Q Intel P45 Motherboard
G.Skill 4GB DDR2 800 Memory
Western Digital 500GB SATA Hard Drive
OCZ StealthXStream 600W Power Supply
GeForce XFX 8600GT Graphics Card (RMA in progress, ugh)
Windows Vista Ultimate SP1
All encased in a red NZXT steel chassis.

Oh, and Arctic Silver Thermal Compound is so hax, it keeps my CPU at room temperature and the motherboard at 30C idling.

Anyway, enter the sexy little piece:


/end nerd pride

A huge thank you to the EVE geek squad who helped with picking my system parts!

I just had to stick my painted toes in there for color comparison...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Completing Job...

All pvpers need some way of recouping their losses. This time, y'all get to see the carebear side of me. After all, I need some way other than grinding L4 missions, which are boring (but admittedly relaxing) as hell, to earn some isk...

Enter Celestine, who has a wide array of skills for ship invention and building.

How delightful is it to see so many invention jobs ready and be able to click on that elusive "Deliver" button, just like pressing down the handlebar on a slot machine while the screen spins "Completing Job"? I swear even Aura plings happily when the window pops up for a successful job while the audience goes "awww" for a failed job. Many people even idle in their R&D alts and wait for jobs to complete, not that I'd ever admit to anything like that of course. In fact, the deliver button is so addictive that everyone in Celestine's empire research corporation likes to deliver her jobs every now and then, much to my chagrin.

The results from this one invention run? An impressive 50% success rate with 2 Sabre blueprints and a Kitsune blueprint, which was collected and placed into a container full of other T2 blueprints as Celestine trains up Frigate Construction V for the lovely Sabres:



It will be a full 20 days before she can start building all T2 frigates, HACs, Recons, Heavy Interdictors and Command Ships. A lucrative and satisfying business as the invented blueprints go into production. That would also mean more cerberuses at cost price for me, and everyone knows I "lose nyx-loads of cerberuses in pew pew". I can't wait!

P.S.: If you'd like to buy some Minmatar or Caldari T2 ships, feel free to talk to me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Power of Vengeance

And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. - Jules, Pulp Fiction (1994)


After the super alliance formed by the combined forces of Goonswarm, IRON, Razor, RA, Tortuga (debatable), and miscellaneous other alliances who attacked BoB's fortress in Delve and nearly killed them, it wasn't hard to imagine the simmering thoughts of death the bobbits harbored for their northern brethern. In recent months, the GBC has been conducting massive campaigns in Tribute, Vale of The Silent, Deklein, and surrounding areas. The dark horse Triumvirate has been working with BoB, leaving their own trail of destruction by eradicating Hydra. IRON and Pure were the latest casualties in the so-called napfest to fall to GBC advances.

Just yesterday, the GBC scored another impressive feat in the Tribute pipe: the systematic slaughtering of some 50 NC capitals and innumerable support ships. A battle report is given by both SirMolle of BoB and KIAEddz of KIA Alliance from opposing points of view (with propaganda thrown in for good measure). What was supposed to be an ambush on the part of NC backfired badly; they were supposed to gate jump their support and battleships into M-O, cyno the capitals in at the gate (??!) and titan bridge the rest in at the same time. The last time the NC tried to pull this on Insurgency, the same thing happened: the node crashed, NC pilots lacked the discipline to log on at the same time, and the result was a turkey shoot that yielded some 60+ kills for me over a period of 2 hours. This was no different except that the NC had capital ships that crashed at the gate in M-O, with predictably disastrous results as they all logged in one by one. It made me wonder if the NC fleet commanders ever learn from their experience, and if they knew how to play chess.


Battlefield in M-O from a bobbit's point of view. Red ships and yellow wrecks belong to the Coalition.

One by one, the segments of the train has disintegrated. It will only be a matter of time until all the best PVP corps are consolidated into Morsus Mihi as BoB and Tri continue their rampage through the North. Then and only then will we know if MM can survive an onslaught on the scale of the Delve invasion that Bob successfully withstood.

My only qualm is that I couldn't be there to watch the NC die, for Insurgency.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Searching...

I've been searching for a new corp to join since I left Game-Over a few days ago with a bunch of guys that I've been flying with since Insurgency. GAME had been suffering from inactivity ever since we left Requiem; the only guys who made an effort to roam were the guys that I am now with. We formed a 10-man corp named "Forged from Fire"; its ticker F4F was originally meant to be "Friends for Friends". We've been harassing the crap out of Huzzah, Red Skull, and various other small alliances out in Syndicate. F4F also joined the Gallente Militia for a few days, but it ended when I joined the corp with my ultra-low Gallente standings (I am loyal to the Caldari Navy hey, so I like running missions for them...). Also, good fights were few and far between in factional warfare - I simply had no desire to fly into low sec and be blobbed by an army of drakes and nub looters.

And so I am currently trying to figure out where I'd like to be next. I live for 0.0 fleets and frankly, have no desire to play Eve when I am not in a structured alliance. I am fairly picky about choosing the right alliance, so Triumvirate, Pandemic Legion, or the Northern Coalition are unlikely homes. I have a fair bit of reputation as a pvper and have little interest in traditional carebearing activities, so things like Atlas/TCF/IAC are out of the question. I'm also not considering start-up or small alliances. I could join Goonswarm, except that I'd rather keep my um... trade ventures, to myself. While I am very interested in joining BoB,I haven't flown with them enough to make too many acquaintances. So as I chill in empire with my little clique, I'll be performing some of my magic on friends, acquaintances, alliance recruiters and leaders... If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave me a comment.

P.S.: School life has been harsh on my time and my brain, which feels like it's about to pop any moment. So I apologize for my past and possible future tardiness in keeping my blog updated.

Friday, August 22, 2008

A Prophecy Fulfilled

Remember that many months ago, when I was still in Insurgency, that I made a prophecy about the combination of the four pvp alliances MC, BoB, Tri, and Insurgency into one superpower that can steamroll the NAPland that is the new North? Well, part of it is coming into fruition with the latest MAX campaign kills. As it stands, the Northern Coalition and Band of Brothers are traditional enemies from the war in the South about 8 months ago.


BoB Loses 12 Dreads

The exact title on our alliance forums. By the way, they also took down 3 Morsus Mihi motherships (an Aeon and two nyxes), 13 dreads, 2 carriers, and more than half of the Coalition's support and battleship fleet. You can view the details of the battle on BoB's killboard; while the GBC fleet far outnumbers the NC fleet, the irony of a Coalition member's comment in local cannot be disregarded:

"There s [sic] no need for smack. It is natural for weaker entities to group up in order to try and defeat a stronger, more powerful enemy. It's flattering really."

As an ex-Insurgency member, I cannot help but chuckle.


The Death of IRON's Flagship

Insurgency, as they were ousted out of Branch, held a big grudge for IRON - an alliance whom Insurgency helped defend and had blue standings with, who caved under the pressure of the Northern Coalition to aid in their quest to remove the Insurgency threat from Branch, sending in huge fleets on the second wave and helped push the momentum of the war against us after the death of Razor's Erebus. IRON even helped camp Insurgency into the Venal Guristas station after we were removed forcibly from Branch.

As with wars in the real world, one can be friends with someone while their countries are hostile to each other; simply look at the stories of friendship between individuals living in Israel and Palestine, Georgia and Russia, the United States and China. I still have many friends in IRON, one of the pillars of the North, from my times living in the Drone Regions. And yet one can sometimes be easily swept into the shifting sands that represent politics. While I cannot blame any of my IRON buddies, for all's fair in love and war, I also cannot help but smile at the Band of Brother's success in Deklein, home of IRON.

The result of the skirmish? A dead Macabre Votum titan, flown by Lord2evil. A summary of the battle, presented from BoB's point of view, can be found on CAOD and is surprisingly good and free from smack.


Touché, Razor alliance. Better be careful with Intensity Green's Erebus - Eve has not yet seen a titan pilot losing 2 titans!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Summer Primetime, Just Not for EVE

I hope everybody is having a glorious summer!

I've been very busy with relocating and setting up IRL, so unfortunately my Internet access has been on, off, shakey, and sometimes reversing in full speed, making Eve all but impossible. Luckily it's now properly set up at my new place... However, I will still be travelling the next two weeks, so I won't get to blog much or play much Eve. As a confirmed Eve geek, I'd like to issue a friendly reminder to others living in the northern hemisphere: Internet spaceship is serious business, but remember that summer is short and winter, soon to arrive, is the prima season for indoor activities.

Meanwhile in my absence, the Requiem has been making inroads into Fountain. Pandemic Legion had left the region and its pets behind earlier on this month, most likely in pursuit of "hotter" regions for pvp prior to Requiem's move-in. Apparently Requiem proved to be a worthy enemy for PL, who returned to the region it once abandoned and issued many strong challenges in terms of nanogangs, capital fleets, and sovereignty swings. As of the moment, Requiem is holding onto its newly gained station system. Much fun to be had by both sides, lots of expensive big ships are making their way around the frontlines, and fair action reports are plentiful but unfortunately, at the moment, still full of smacky commentators.

I'm off to continue my vacation. Until then, fly safe, and shoot many!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Great Ship is Sunk

My heartfelt condolences to our fearless CEO, Agmar. His magnificent Nyx was lost while he gallantly evacuated other friendly motherships as he stayed behind. The hull of the shining Gallentean flagship finally went up in flames to the merciless battering of missiles and gunfire from our enemies, Pandemic Legion. The Requiem capital fleet was ambushed by the enemy fleet as it was hotdropped onto our dreads and carriers as they came out from sieging enemy towers.


(Hey, I actually lost some sleep. Okay, maybe it was because of the jetlag too.)


Au Revoir, U.S.S. Jigsaw. Your glorious battles shall be remembered.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Nano Nerf and Random Updates

The age of "ludicrous" speed is going out of vogue. Gallenteans, Caldarians, and Amarrians rejoice!


Morphisat has beaten me to the punch and has given his opinions on the EVE dev blog regarding the nerf to many T2 speed mods and the once-expensive polycarbon rigs, as well as the very intriguing addition of functionality to the once-useless warp scrambler: the ability to disable any microwarpdrives when activated on a ship in range. This makes the Gallente recons an absolute terror to nano ships when you consider their disruptor and scrambler range bonus, making them on par with the feared anti-nano Minmatar recon ships. The popular vagabonds may very well go out of fashion very quickly, as their only saving grace is the speed and dps that they can dish out at close range with autocannons. Beside escaping from webifying and energy-neutralizing recons, nano ships now have to be wary of web scrambling ones as well, making them an even bigger challenge to fly.

I'm happy that I've trained up Recon V on my Minmatar girl, since Rapiers and Huginns will likely remain powerful mid-range support ships. And I'm even more delighted with the stealth boost to missiles, since I bring mainly Caldari battleships and HACs into fleet battles. Heck, I might even consider training up for T2 heavy assault missiles and fit them on drakes, something that I've been rather hesitant to do previously.

These changes make speed slightly less fearsome and tanking/dps/range slightly more viable. A very well-thought out balancing by CCP indeed.

Of course, many of us can't help but chuckle at the resultant emo whinage on the forums from some alliances, who shall remain unnamed, who are notorious for their use of nano-fit ships. Most sane players would've expected the nano nerf to come!

Anyway, ingame changes aside, I'm pleased to report that Requiem has now completed its move from Curse into Fountain and taken some stations, after Pandemic Legion reset standings, moved to Syndicate/Geminate to fight the Goons, and left its pets stranded. My alliance mate has given an excellent summary of our rapid deployment to Fountain in his blog. My goal is to get the Thanatos or the Moros by the end of the year, and settling down in a rich region would certainly help with the cost of frontlining capital ships... Also, the recent addition of HAVOC has added many ex-FIX and ex-0utbreak (also some ex-Rule apparently..) faces into Requiem. Many eyes are on us!

In other news: BoB and its MAX campaign seems to be wavering between pwning big time (look at all those dread kills!) and being pwned big time up North. Also, been thinking about the Fanfest, but someone tell me how I'm supposed to tell everyone that I'm taking leave on a Thursday to go for a GAMING festival in Iceland?

[OOC] Will be moving this coming week, and family will be around so... Updates will be a bit more scarce in August.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Back at CAOD - The Drama Continues!

My apologies if you're not into alliance politics, since I'll have to hold off on my informative posts for a while to come. While I make no claims to be a neutral party, I've attempted to keep some objectiveness in my post.

So, days after The Requiem was featured on the front page of EVE ISD News, the ex-Tri corp leaders (oh sorry, they are Tri again! With the addition of the notorious Burn Eden, good luck...) issued an ultimatum for various emo reasons on Tri's part: 1) they wanted GAME to leave the alliance or they will leave because they didn't like us and our main FC, for reasons unbeknownst to many of us; and 2) they wanted to control and turn Requiem into Tri II and was affronted by the ascension of Seleene to alliance leader. Ok, so this is turning into old news and Tri reformed back in Venal...

Just as we *think* we're getting some peace and get down to serious business, Kar-BOOM! Our alliance forums got mauled from... who else... but a Tri member himself? Apparently, this time it was Karbowiak, the Dane who felt deeply wronged by the handling of the transfer of the forums and killboard. And hell hath no fury like a database admin spurned! Check out the old alliance forum site for yourself and see the screaming fit that was plastered there.

Consider, then, that I gave Karb the benefit of the doubt: that he truly paid for the domain and BDCI did not offer to pay for it but wanted the domain anyway. In that case, I am inclined to frown upon the person receiving the domain, but the subsequent SQL dump of the entire forum database on Scrapheap IRC, including any new and old RQM (yes, including Tri) members' emails and passwords, did not endear anyone to his opinion. If he had any sympathizers, he certainly had none left when the entire code was posted in a public forum. Flaming Yaay is one thing, but I believe this person completely lost his head in his righteous rage and did something that's deeply disliked and borderline illegal in the online world: releasing private contact details. You'd think a database admin would know better.

If you want people to believe in you, write with flair and logic like me or Seleene (told you the schmoozing begins now) - nerd rages don't get anyone far in life and make that person look like a typical forlorn gamer dude who doesn't have a life or any semblance of intelligence. That's why I waste little time posting in CAOD, because sinking into the quagmire makes one look rather witless. The drama, however, beats Desperate Housewives and makes fantastic lunch-time reading. Well... at least to a gamer chick like myself.

Some people really need to get a life away from Eve. Touché!

(I swear, the next entry will be something meaningful for once, unless another drama bomb hits!)

In other news around the Galaxy: MAX just got pwned in Round 1 vs the North.

Monday, July 7, 2008

O CAOD, The Soap Opera Channel!

After Batolemeus' comments on my last entry I rethought my stance on Requiem. I was being optimistic as usual and some incidents developed which involved a GAME FC and his ops being ridiculed and spurned by some ex-Tri corps. Some spitting and hissing must have gone on within the leadership level because just a few days ago, D00M, Cora, 0men decided to leave the alliance. Rionnag Alba remains, as of the moment, undecided. All this resulted from a clash of egos and the belief that Triumvirate's method of nano-flying is superior over any other method, wich has been disproved when CVA brought in a sniper fleet to the field. Yes, Tri was a powerful alliance while it lasted, but even the most powerful fall and it's high time to put that to rest, seeing how some ex-Tri members refuse to do so. While those players in D00M, Cora, and 0men were great pvpers, the same cannot be said of the emotional quotience of their FCs and leaders and I am not truly upset to see them depart. Best of luck wherever they go.

And of course how could this drama escape from the ever watchful tinfoil eyes of CAOD? Look here for some entertainment, while remember that this is pure tinfoil hattery.

My apologies Bato, good thing I didn't put down any money with my word.

[OOC] Traveling in Thailand atm, and it's HOT (like, hot hot) here. Also, my birthday today! Thanks for all the bday wishes. :)[/OOC]

P.S.: I heartily welcome Seleene as our overlord of the alliance! Some schmoozing is soon required.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Defining of A Phoenix


Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

"Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them."


[OOC] To my dear readers: the lack of update was due to a sudden influx of actual work at work, resulting in a mad scramble to finish a technical presentation and report... But of course it all went well... A most satisfying big bang to end my internship on, despite some moments of dullness in between. Blog updates will be sporadic in the months of July and August due to travel and relocation, but expect another post to come in a few days - a rather opinionated topic that I've been wanting to write about for ages but just did not have the time for. [/OOC]

Aye, a lot has happened over the past few weeks in Curse indeed. First of all, The Requiem alliance has formed with the following corps: Game-Over, Corp 1 Allstars, Celestial Apocalypse (ex-Insurgency), Body Count Inc. (ex-Mercernary Coalition), D00M, Rionnag Alba, and Coracao Ardente (ex-Triumvirate). Greetings to Mr Winterblink of Warp Drive Active (update your podcast pls), bloggers, reporters like Yalson, and Seleene of BDCI, who has a lovely magnetic radio voice!

Anyone not unfamiliar with alliance politics can easily see that these are the cream of the crop from powerful alliances that had fallen to hard times - entities that once ruled over large swathes of Eve: INSRG in Branch against the Northern Coalition, MC in Branch vs the NC and forming Tortuga in Period Basis, and Tri in Deklein steamrolling everything in their nano ships of doom. Acceptances to these corps are by invitation only, and most of them can field more capitals than a small alliance. I feel honored to be flying with all of them.

A ferocious war machine when you combine the power of all these pvpers, more powerful than all three ex-alliances combined... The potential to become the next fearsome superpower...

Except that thus far, the road has been a rocky and expensive one. Just yesterday Game-Over lost her titan to Tau Ceti Federation and Interstellar Alcohol Conglomerate, the one that I so proudly pictured in my previous post. I was there on the battlefield when the Ragnarok went down to TCF capitals sieging a POS due to a borked cyno and good baiting on their part. A very sad day for the alliance, but it has only served to deepen my commitment to Game-Over. And just a few days before this, I got my first carrier kill on F0undation alliance, except that an argument between fleet commanders and overzealous hotdrops resulted in 4 friendly carriers being lost. Despite these losses, the Triumvirate presence is significant and I've already gotten over 50 kills in this alliance, which pales in comparison to the daily diet of some other more active players. And organization is starting to get better within leadership, which as we all know is the basis on which a solid alliance is based.

But this is just the beginning. Who knows what the future will bring? How long will we remain in Curse, the home of the ArchAngels? Will we implode from a clash of egos? How many warzones will our campaigns create on the sovereignty map? The phoenix has risen and you can be certain that it does not have peace on its mind...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Taxi Service

I mentioned last time that INSRG is folding its banner and moving out of the North. I had taken a brief hiatus this past week and ran Level 4 missions for Caldari agents. It brought in a steady stream of income, but the pay was meagre compared to what I earned from ratting in 0.0, so I did not do those missions with a great deal of gusto.

When the time came to move our assets to the South, I was more than ready. I hauled all my luggage and toys into the designated low sec system that we were jumping out of, and hollered for corpmates to be my bellboy (since I don't own a capital ship). The actual moving op happened on a weeknight, was as chaotic and raucous as any form of moving can be, but we finally sorted everyone out. The system was clear of nosy pirates for the whole duration of the move, and anyone who came in were either awed or scared off by the Ragnarok-class titan and her capital escorts on scan.

I was flying about in my crow, safe in the knowledge that all my baggage were secured for the move, when I discovered that flying into a moon's center produced some rather odd visual disturbances:


When the order finally came to start the op, I took many pictures of the titan, like any proper tourist would do, and almost missed the actual jump like a complete fool. After all, this was the very first time I had been in the vicinity of a titan, and so my distraction was understandable. This one here shows the titan activating a jump portal, which allowed us to "teleport" into another system far away:

A close-up of the Ragnarok with its hull gleaming in the sunlight:

After a grueling hour or so, we finally arrived at our new home. A big thank you to the titan, supercapital, and capital pilots!

The naughtiness started just a day after the move, and this was the result of a doomsday device activated on an unsuspecting IAC fleet. Game over! About 30 enemy ships were destroyed, most of them being Tech II ships. Some 4 to 5 of us perished when we could not warp off from the grid or got desynced. (The rest of the white wrecks were NPC rats.)


All in all, a fairly warm welcome for us into our home in the South. This is starting to turn into one of the best corporations I have ever been in, and I think I'll fit in just perfectly. Keep checking here for more shenanigans that are sure to come!

Monday, June 9, 2008

All Things Must Come to an End

A new beginning. Again. Wait, three times in a year ain’t enough?

This morning, as I woke up groggily and grabbed breakfast before dashing out of my house to go to work, I read an important announcement from Insurgency alliance leaders. Now, before any of you angry zealots go off on me for giving out intel, I can almost assure you that the news is out on CAOD by the time I finish polishing this entry. So ridden is Insurgency with spies, even in its leadership positions, that any announcements made over the alliance forums would most certainly leak like a troublesome sewage pipe the moment they were made.

Anyway, word is that Insurgency is finally laying down its defiant flag and disbanding. After falling from the lofty throne of conquering Branch, the subsequent loss has devastated the morale of many members, who fled in droves just as quickly as they jumped on the bandwagon when the going was good.

Is my sixth sense just too acute, or what? Just a day before the announcement was made, I made the difficult decision of joining another corporation within Insurgency, one that is of elite reputation and has the firepower and organization to back it up. In a scenario that is eerily déjà vu, I find myself bailing from a ship moments before it is due to hit a reef.

I joined Game-Over, an ex-BoB corporation.

(Strangely enough, my main is yet again camped in and so cannot get to an office, while my alt was already accepted. I may resign to podding myself out of my +3 set of implants if it doesn’t look clear by tonight. Only the truly special/lucky/talented can get at Bri’s corpses, since I’m usually one slippery chick.)

It is oddly amusing that high smack trails me whenever I leave a corp, usually the "backstabber - typical girl yadayadaya" sort of remark. I’ve always behaved with integrity, and have made a reputation of myself as a pvper with a brain and not your average gold digger chick (though donations will bring you much luvin’…!), but some people simply cannot accept my laissez faire attitude when I choose to go. To clarify, I abhor corp hoppers and will do my utmost to stay in one for years if possible, but it’s plain silly and futile to try to repair a boat that has its hull fatally breached. For those nay-sayers of mine (btw, I’m flattered if you read this blog), note that I did not leap off the bandwagon right when Insurgency lost Branch, and actually stepped up for a limited amount of duty. Anyway, such is the manner that I find true friends, ingame and out-of-game – those who can see past their own egos and stay in touch despite petty differences. I digress.

For anyone remotely familiar with Insurgency, the reasons why it fell was painfully obvious. There were simply too many bandwagoners, too many spy-ridden corporations all doing indiscriminate recruiting, and too little visionary leadership save for a dedicated few who tried their best to hold everything together (a big thank you to d solo, C4, and the fine ginger FC). It was like rallying a mob of gangsters who had some success in the underworld. Of course, one may claim that hindsight is always 20/20, but I had expected Insurgency not to adhere for too long when I first joined for pvp pastures. I had even voiced concerns about the “ghetto-ness” of some alliance members back then.

But in all, I am rather blasé about all of this. I had awesome fun, but it turned into yet another fallen alliance that allowed discord to reach a tipping point and could not harness the power of its members combined. Que sera sera.

This is your newsperson for the North signing out; I do not expect to be back for a long, long time to come. It has turned into a sea of blues, which was what I was escaping from in the first place. All good things must end someday and it could well be a blessing in disguise...

Fly safe you monkeys – especially bato, what was with that fleet landing in your own inline bubbles, and ignoring my greetings in local! *pouts*

Update: I got my pod safely out of Vale using 5,600 isk, logoffskis en warp, and the bloody sacrifice of a noob alt, but it was a very close shave. And to clarify the "sign out" comment, no I was not emoragequitting, but rather stating that I will not be able to report news from the North in much detail in the future.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

We didn’t want that ___ anyway!

When I fought with the Northern Coalition against BoB down south half a year ago, a particular alliance stood out to me: Firmus Ixion (aka FIX). Word was, they were a “pet” alliance who paid rent to BoB for living in Querious. They sure didn’t seem like your usual docile “pets”, bringing on multiple fights, clinging to I1X like a plague despite being completely outblobbed and outgunned, and proving to be a nuisance to the typical NC’er who tried to operate out of there. I had even more respect for them when they reformed and forged a home for themselves in the Drone Regions. It is really unfortunate timing that caught them right smack in drone politics and they seemed to have gotten chased out of their space again. These guys seriously deserve a home far more than many mega-alliances.

Anyway, that wasn’t the point of this entry. The point was, last night I managed to leeroy my Gistii Crow into a tiny bubble camp in Tribute. D’oh! A most deserving explosion, since I should’ve known better than to directly warp to the exit gate. I know the cool MM boys like me reckless like that… Anyway, it reminded me of a time when I waited hours for rescue, then danced right into the lap of a hostile Insurgency roaming gang…

This tale is dedicated to an old friend and a brave pilot, Brainstem, and serves as a fitting tribute to my time in the North.

***

Once upon a time, before I turned into a naughty cowgirl and moved to Insurgency, I was a good carebear blasting away at creepy crawlies that dropped valuable drone compounds that could be refined into high-end minerals. The payout was good, except that no bounties were to be had. Apparently, CONCORD deemed rogue drones to be of little menace, offering no security status increase for each drone killed. At that time, many of us had blinky red auras that made empire travel difficult. Someone had a brilliant idea: why not make a road trip to Venal, home of the Guristas, until we were all bloated with isk and Concord would forget our past transgressions and welcome us with open arms?

It all began on a fine Sunday morning. Four of us, all in Raven-class battleships fit for travel, began our journey to a quiet spot in the Venal constellation. Launchers were filled to the brim with cruise missiles, speed modules were slapped onto the thrusters, cloaking devices were primed for emergencies (another bright idea from Brain – not many of us knew how to rat in cloaked ships at that time), and off we went. The journey there through friendly Northern Coalition space was entirely uneventful. We hit our spot and started ratting in gusto, egged on by the promises of a faction or officer spawn.



This went on for a good hour or two. Suddenly, my radar flickered with something orange: an Insurgency pilot named “fumb duck” (we shall call him FD) had come into the system, no doubt looking for tasty morsels. We were all ready and warped out to our safe spots and cloaked. After 5 minutes, he left the system, and I warped back to finish up the Gurista battleship that I was working on.

Mistake. This solo pilot was skilled enough to check which belts we were working on, and he returned while I was en warp. I landed right on top of his ship (some nano-cruiser, I had no idea since I was a nub), and was immediately scrambled. Now normally this would be the end of the said Raven pilot when his backup arrived, except for a caveat…

Back story: Insurgency was set to orange at that time as we were not allowed to engage each other in Tribute, home of Morsus Mihi. Which was all fine and dandy for this hunter who found us in Venal (not Tribute), except that for some reason, all four of us had the mistaken notion that Insurgency was not permitted to engage us in Venal.

Absolutely sure that FD had committed a diplomatic transgression (recall we were all nubs), I told him in an outraged and haughty tone to hold fire and that any shootings will be recorded and passed on to alliance leaders of Insurgency. Our belief was so firm that one of us actually rang up the leader of our alliance for “Insurgency breaking their pact with MM and attacking us”. During the delay in confirming this, I told FD to drop the point on me, “immediately, or it would be reported to alliance leadership”. He did, and I warped back to my safe spot and cloaked. We then moved a few systems and he followed, but never aggressed us again and left us alone.

This proves that epic lying through the teeth works best when one has no idea that one is lying. Also proves how little the average grunt knows about alliance territory and politics, and that orange is a confusing color.

Unfortunately, we had somehow stumbled deeper into hostile territory in our escape flight, beyond the home system of Insurgency. By that time it was just Brainstem and I (the rest got blown up), cloaked in two ravens, sitting in extremely ‘hot’ space where red gangs (Phoenix, Phalanx, Insurgency, etc.) passed by every 10 minutes. We had no idea what to do and didn’t want to lose our isk-making ships. So we sat, and asked for help from the alliance. And we sat while they formed up an impromptu fleet of 40 (amazing now that I think about it) to rescue the damsel in distress… and sat while they traveled some 20 jumps to our location.

By then, Insurgency had wised up about the Venal/Tribute mistake and gotten wind of our incoming fleet. They figured something was up and formed up a fleet of their own in short order, then patrolled the area even more vigilantly. Our friendly fleet did not wish to engage and told us to move quickly to their locale so we could be escorted home.

I hesitated to leave the safety of my cloak, while Brainstem was already on his way to the next system. He hollered at me to come with him quickly, and I decloaked and warped… just as the entire hostile fleet landed on the exit gate I was on. I jumped.

Like a game of chess, one knows with a sinking feeling that one has committed a final move for the opponent to claim checkmate. That did me in; I had missed the tiny window of opportunity to escape and no cloak was going to save me from their angry swarm of vagabonds, who promptly decloaked my battleship and blew it to smithereens. Surprisingly, my pod got out safely. With a sigh of relief for my implants, I met up with my alliance mates and made it back home.

That’s probably not the kind of excitement that a noob can ever encounter in a typical day of carebearing.

The lone survivor of that road trip was Brainstem. The rest of us all got blown up, but we had a great laugh about it afterwards and were gifted with new ravens from our corp leader. This new Raven, named Chocolate Chip, was my trusty ratting steed in Cobalt Edge, Venal, and Branch for a long, long time until it was eventually stolen in the Great Escape from Branch.

***


Fly safe, dear friends and foes in the North.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Top Dog

There are many obvious career paths a pod pilot can follow in New Eden. One can take the path of little risk and high payout by finding ultra-rare ores to mine, prowling routes between trade hubs, building shiny ships for discerning combat pilots, investing in IPOs, diligently drawing out Tech II blueprints on paper, and so on. The more blood-thirsty pilots can partake in skirmishing, battleship and capital ship slugfests, pirating, griefing, lurking in cloaked ships, etc., resulting in (usually) little monetary gain but a great sense of satisfaction and an awesome killboard profile for many pvpers.

Eve is renowned for its glorious combat, ranging from hunting a quarry in a belt to downing massive titan-class supercapitals. It may be possible to not have a leader in a small sized gang of 3-5 people, but anything more than that and the efficiency of the gang goes down rapidly. I have seen pirate gangs fall prey to a single anti-pirate simply due to a lack of coordination. Fleet commanders are the generals in Eve; they organize a group of pilots to stay on a task that involves killing. Without them, large-scale warfare would be more madness than it already is.

Fleet commanders are perhaps one of the most respected positions that a pod pilot can attain in the universe, and the position is often the quickest path up any leadership positions. Many online celebrities and alliance leaders have been FCs at some point. I can name quite a few off the top of my head, such as SirMolle, TWD, xxAngelxx, Suas, Agmar (I had orders to fluff Game-Over), SuperTwinky69, Ernest G (curb your tantrum Ernest, stop swearing your lungs out at deaf people)… There are many, many more legendary FCs out there in the depths of 0.0 and lowsec, each with a powerful personality. Some are bold and cunning foxes, some ooze calmness and confidence, some are hotheads and a complete riot (Evil Thug, anyone?).

But anyone who has taken up the role of fleet commanding will tell you that it is no walk in the park, and certainly not as glorious as it appears outwardly. It can be a dirty job, collecting intel from spies and scouts; it can be a tiresome job, when morale and numbers are low; it can be highly stressful, when fighting outnumbered or when a friendly titan goes down. Many, many people, new and old players alike, wish to be an FC at some point. I applaud these people for wanting to step up, and we all know that almost anyone who has fought can become an FC. However, what are the qualities that distinguish the truly spectacular commanders from the mediocre ones that are forgotten in history?

1) Patience and quick reflexes. Although these may sound like contradictory entities, they really are not. A patient FC will be able to gather sufficient intel from his scouts, have enough numbers in his fleet, and can wait for his enemies to make the first mistake. Executing a move without thought will often get a fleet waylaid, just like a game of chess. However, when the situation warrants urgency, any hesitation will also get the entire fleet slaughtered.

2) Fleet discipline. This includes self-discipline. While drunk/stoned FCs are fun to roam with, or so they claim, internet spaceship is serious business and most people would not enjoy losing ships on someone else’s whims. FCs who can keep a cool head in battle and call targets are usually the most successful and popular ones. Combat comms should also be dedicated to only the FC and scout – which is one reason why the phrase “STFU” is so commonly used, as many people lack the discipline to respond to “break, break” or cannot, for bloody god’s sake, stop telling others that his ship is going down. This also ties in with patience; sometimes waiting is just a necessary evil, and going AFK while waiting in space is an almost sure-fire way to be killed.

3) PVP prowess. Any decent FC worth his salt will have sufficient knowledge of pvp under his belt. These include but are not limited to:
- the gate dance and the laws of aggression (especially in lowsec with sentry guns);
- knowing ship names like the back of your hand. Sorry newbies, but you really do need this in order to understand how to call targets based on ship types;
- an understanding of forward and rear scouts’ roles;
- how to use the scanner;
- the tactics involved in laying traps;
- the methods of evasion in case sh*t-hits-the-fan or “o-sh*t-its-a-trap”;
- extra tidbits such as spider tanking (remote repping), drone aggression, fighter/doomsday lag, etc. Hugely important in capital ship warfare.

Additionally, FC should have the ability to fly cloaked or tanked ships, especially in large and important sieges (km whores need not apply). Flying fragile ships that are likely to get primaried is a big no-no.

For the reasons stated above, I do not recommend pilots who are completely new to pvp to start commanding fleets at the get-go. Instead, get someone experienced to show you the ropes, fly with them on a few ops to get the hang of things, and try leading gangs after that. You will quickly learn being a fleet commander is not as easy as it seems, and don’t let the armchair generals and railbirds tell you otherwise.

And when you get your first battlefield full of yellow wrecks, the rush that comes over you will get you hooked, like cocaine.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Escape Artist, Another Titan in Paradise, and a Podcast

Along with everyone else in the alliance, I’ve been taking a much-needed hiatus from blob warfare, and going on casual roaming gangs instead. Having -finally- taken the time to train up Caldari Cruiser V, I’ve received more than one “HAX” comment when I was spotted in something other than a crow (Thanks “Mr El Paso Jackal”)…

That’s right, after a year of messing around, yours truly can now fly a Cerberus! I’m liking my Lionness very much despite all the malignant comments about the missile HAC. Many people consider the ship no better than a Drake but I beg to differ; my first cerb has survived far more encounters than my big fat heavy drakes, which I used to fly as n00b dps ships until I decided zooming around in a gistii crow was more entertaining (tally: 3 speeding tickets so far). Pilot ability comes into play as well – don’t expect to survive long with up-close-and-personal styles like autocannon vagabonds or blaster megathrons. I fly it like a slippery escape artist and I'm not ashamed of it: lots of manual piloting, toggling my mwd, staying at range from the battlefield, and keeping alignment towards celestial objects. The cerb is really not meant as a heavy assault missile boat with its missile range bonus; use the Sacrilege if you really want to use HAMs. Fit a scripted sensor booster and nano-faggotry modules however, and enter this scene: a haggle of angry homeless dudes (read: vagabonds) are bawling and running at you with the speed of Olympic sprinters, asking for spare change, and you run away while throwing big rocks at them with perfect aim from across the road. A fine addition to any nano gangs. Viva la nanocerb!

Just don’t count on seeing me much in empire with it. Word from CCP is, factional warfare is limited to individuals and corporations not affiliated with any alliances, in order to keep large 0.0 alliances from taking over low sec. Fair enough and a good move to keep it friendly to newer players looking to get their feet wet with pvp.

Also, things seem to be rather hot in the Drone Regions, which comes as a big surprise to many players. Almost 60 capitals were killed in a big fight between Atlas/Smashkill/FIX and Solar Fleet/Goons/ED/Legion of Death, including a dead Erebus flown by the Goon pilot Deadtear. Props to Smashkill and friends – few expected such concerted war efforts from them.

A friend asked me if I’d like to start up an Eve podcast series with him. I’m quite open to this idea, considering that he would be handling most of the technical details and such, but I simply wonder how long I can maintain the podcast. First of all, I’ll be returning to Asia and traveling extensively in the month of July and August with my family, and they’ve always hated my gaming habits. I don’t even know if I can explain the concept of a game podcast to them without being chased out of the house. I’m also planning on hanging out with a lot of old, old friends of mine from high school years. Secondly, living in Midwest America has increased my affinity for summers exponentially, so I doubt I’ll be gaming much while the sun is out. And while Internet spaceships is serious business, shopping is definitely much more serious for me.

Who knows, we’ll see… If things move along as planned we may be recording our first episode this weekend. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

You Saw a What Crash into a WHAT?

That's right, a Nyx-class mothership was kamikazed into the Ishukone Headquarters in Malkalen, Caldari space... Leaving a flaming wreck and "hundreds of thousands" of dead people behind...

Federation Delegation Arrives in Malkalen Malkalen
For the first time since the end of the Gallente-Caldari War, a procession of Federation Navy warships entered Caldari Space, only this time flying a banner of peace. Met by Ishukone Watch ships at the Border Zone, civilian and military ships alike paused to watch the majestic Nyx-class super carrier and her escorts as it traveled to Malkalen. "I've never seen one in person before," admitted one Caldari Navy officer, who preferred to remain anonymous. "That's one impressive looking ship. Not as impressive as one of our own Wyverns, of course. But impressive." The Caldari Navy harbors a great deal of respect for Admiral Alexander Noir, the pilot of the Nyx and the last living veteran of the war. He has since become a spokesman for improving the relationship between the two nations, undoubtedly selected for this summit because of his years of advocating peace. "We wouldn't let just anyone fly a capital ship into the heart of our space," stated Caldari Navy Fleet Admiral Morda Engsten. "Admiral Noir has done more to bridge our differences with the Federation than anyone else. We are honored to have him, as with the entire delegation." Federation Economic Minister Wadis Chene and the members of her team left the carrier in a shuttle and docked at Ishukone Headquarters Station moments ago, where she was welcomed aboard by Otro Gariushi.

Economic Summit Underway Malkalen
To the enthusiastic applause of all in attendance, including the hundreds of reporters and camera drones present, Federation Economic Minister Wadis Chene and Ishukone CEO Otro Gariushi began the session with an embrace. The emotional welcoming was symbolic of the two nations' efforts to reduce racial tensions and strengthen economic ties. Also in attendance were various guests from Ishukone, all of whom expressed interest in meeting with Federation delegates in advance. Following the handshakes, the summit commenced with a question and answer session with Otro Gariushi and Wadis Chene. Both officials expressed deep regret at the recent escalations in ethnic violence, conceded mutual blame for its origins, and accepted responsibility in taking the necessary steps to prevent it from happening again.

BREAKING NEWS: EXPLOSIONS REPORTED, CONTACT WITH ISHUKONE HEADQUARTERS STATION LOST Malkalen - ** This is a breaking news flash ** Eyewitnesses have reported a massive explosion at Ishukone Headquarters Station in Malkalen, the site of the economic summit between the Federation and Caldari State, where a general evacuation order was issued moments ago. Contact with the station, including reporters onboard, has been lost. Scope News has released recorded footage of the event taken from outside the station before the explosion was reported. We are still trying to get information and will continue to provide coverage of this event.

UPDATE: FEDERATION NYX RAMS ISHUKONE HEADQUARTERS STATION Malkalen - ** Breaking News Update** A Nyx-class supercarrier that was part of the Malkalen Economic Summit delegation has collided with Ishukone Corporate Headquarters. The calamity occurred shortly after a general evacuation order was issued on the station during the summit. Preliminary estimates place the death toll in the "hundreds of thousands". Although unconfirmed at this time, the collision appears to have been deliberate. Eyewitnesses report that the supercarrier’s escorts were engaged and destroyed shortly after the impact by Caldari Navy and Ishukone Watch warships. We are continuing to monitor this story will provide details as soon as they become available.

UPDATE: LOCAL BROADCAST AUDIO CONFIRMS NYX COLLISION WAS DELIBERATE
MALKALEN – Logs from the Local subspace channel in the Malkalen System obtained by the media have confirmed that the Nyx supercarrier piloted by Admiral Alexander Noir of the Federation Navy was deliberately piloted into Ishukone Headquarters station. This attack occurred during an Economic Summit hosted by Ishukone CEO Otro Gariushi and included representatives from the Federation government. Partial transcripts of the local reveal Admiral Noir’s final words, just before impact: "I have obligation to my beloved Federation to settle accounts with this hateful race, these cursed Caldarians. For my entire life, I have mourned for Hueromont, wishing, praying, willing for the day when I could strike back on behalf of those souls who perished. Fate has bestowed upon me this grand opportunity, this great day, to take vengeance for all those who gave their lives for the Federation, the true guardian of our precious Gallentean race . . . may you rest in peace now, brave souls of Hueromont, and you, kindred spirits of Nouvelle Rouvenor, knowing that I will take back what was stolen from you . . . Curse you, Caldari . . . may I take as many of you with me that I can!" The Federation has not issued a statement as of this time. Search and rescue efforts are underway to reach survivors onboard, where numerous fires are still burning throughout. The scale of damage to the station is catastrophic, with the death count estimated to reach into the hundreds of thousands.

No kidding! This is exciting... ahem, dire... news for the Caldari empire. As a nosey civilian, I abandoned all thoughts of pvp, and headed out to Malkalen last night for some touristy pictures. Sadly you can still dock at the station, but it's still a pretty graphic job done by CCP. I had always thought the RP and storyline were sorely lacking in Eve, but factional warfare (done right) is an excellent first step.



Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blaze of Glory for All

When I first started this blog, I had no idea that it’d turn into an alliance warfare/politics blog like it seems to be for the last few posts. My apologies if my gentle readers were expecting something lighter to read.

Alliance news: Kudos to the Coalition for successfully taking over Branch – both sides fought hard for it, much fun to be had when the node gods chased away the lag monsters. To summarize the war: Insurgency got overpowered by the NAPtrain. The natural bitterness from losing Branch is starting to turn into hate and some action is planned – don’t ask, I won’t elaborate until the time has come. Hopefully, I won’t have to shoot too many friends, but if we meet in space as reds, pew pew will happen. You can always lambaste/castigate/brag about shooting me in my chill channel afterwards. I will still lub you. ^_^

I’ll admit that I lost my usual calm and the “it’s just a game” attitude when home space got locked down (got to be the most massive and prolonged station camp in the game – perma-camp maxed at about 400ish over the weekend, been there since Friday of last week, broken only for approximately an hour in total). I was stuck at a POS coming out of reinforced with no other safe POSes in system. Panic attack!!! After much fretting about my assets stuck in station (my BIG mistake: Putting used Amarr crystals in containers – you cannot contract damaged items!), I managed to run for it with 10 minutes left on the timer, when a combined friendly fleet came from Venal to attempt to break the camp. Thank you, fearless Phalanx pilots! All is now good... Time to roam. Now if only someone will be my luggage delivery boy

And with this, a new chapter begins for Insurgency.

Also, Darknesss, CEO of D00M, has announced the dissolution of Triumvirate over CAOD, citing tiredness amongst its pilots and internal problems. Rather than having to go in a whimper, he has decided to close shop while the going is still decent. A very wise move by Darknesss; he has my utmost respect. My salutations to Tri - I have fought against and with you, and you are a bunch of excellent pvpers, regardless of what the forum trolls and your enemies may say. God speed your nano ships.

On a completely different topic, I’ve resisted reading about the Council of Stellar Management (CSM) for a bit, simply due to plain laziness and my preconception that CSM is going to be a barking dog with no bite. A corp mate of mine asked in corp chat for us to vote for him a few days ago, but he did not have anything to document his campaign, or even a campaign! Well, I do like you, but isn’t CSM theoretically about the greater good of the entire player-base rather than just an alliance, let alone a corp? At the very least, inform the players why they should vote for you. Anyway, I decided to grudgingly take a look at all of the candidates, and came up with a few who had really well-written responses to issues at hand to deliver to CCP when the time came. These people came to mind:

- Hardin (CVA)
- Gritt Pebbledasher (PURE.)
- Omber Zombie (Frontier Technologies)
- Verone (Veto Corp)

Do check out EveMag: Special Issue for an interview of all the candidates who are running for the Council. I didn’t read through them all, but some candidates struck me as though they only ran for the sake of going to Iceland once a year for free. If you are going to vote, choose wisely and cast your misconceptions aside – some Goonswarm candidates are surprisingly eloquent, thoughtful, and well-educated.

Oh, and if you like the ambient music in Eve, you may want to check out some excellent work that a gentleman from Denmark has created as a freelance musician for Eve. Just make sure you play it in Winamp or something, because the lag monster will attack you in fleet situations if you turn audio on ingame.

P.S.: I didn’t quite like how neon-pink the old layout was, and also decided to design my own banner. I hope you like the new look!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Noob's Journey

Browsing through my oldest pvp exploits made me realize that it’s been a little over 10 months since I first started to play Eve, and the journey has been rather entertaining. When I listened to the excellent Drone Bay hosts talk about tips for new players, it made me feel that I wasted a lot of time as an ignorant noob. I couldn’t agree more when they talk about the importance of finding the right corporation. For the newer players out there who read my blog, I hope you can shape your own Eve experience through the tales of my noobdom…

In The Beginning
I started in an asteroid belt with a powerful Ibis (did you know it had a drone bay?) in the system of Todaki, at the School of Applied Knowledge. After a few days of doing tutorials and L1 missions from agents who had attitude problems, I was told to find a group of players to play with. So I joined my first corp located in Amarr space of all places, which promptly fell apart on me after 2 weeks when it was wardecc’d by a single pirate flying his “T2 ships and shit”, quoted verbatim from the CEO who was, on hindsight, a bit of a corp-hopper and probably new to Eve. Not a good combination.

Weeks flew by and I found myself mission-grinding in Caldari
space, basing my operations out of a corp located in Nonni. I trained up for mining barges and building, but found little joy in shooting rocks. The corp mining ops, which lined the wallets of the directors, helped a lot in instilling the fear of mining into me. I started flying caracals and drakes (quack quack), and it made mission-running so much easier.

One day I jumped into Passari, one of the most infamous spot in low sec space, to pick up a courier mission. That very moment, as I loaded to a grid of red flashies, was the first time I saw how pvp could be like. My heart was thumping as I sped away from the gate in a shuttle, while local was abuzz with sightings of a Triumvirate Nyx, no less.

I didn’t like those guys. Who were they to try to blow a harmless noob up?
(I do enjoy blowing noobs up now. How else will they learn?)

Yarr?
It wasn’t until 3 months or so into the game when I had my first taste of blood, pirating with my new 0.0 corp mates from Rule of Three. My first kill was a drake that a corp mate had scanned down in a belt in Mara, and I still remember how much “shakies” I got. We ended up pirating mostly in Mai, a dead-end lowsec system in Amarr space. This was where I trained in the basics of pvp and scanning, but targets were few and far between as the system was almost constantly camped by us at the time. My current disdain of pirating was based on the premise of Mai being boring as hell, with the occasional hauler, swarms of noobships, and the very rare battleship with crap T1 or mining fits. Anti-pirate gangs were rare as well. Granted, I have great respect for true roaming pirates, such as the likes of
Kane Rizzel and LordChaos (ok, anti-pie, but whateva), but Mai just felt like a wading pool for me.

With my newly acquired negative security status, I managed to get 2 rigged crows Concordokkened 1 jump out of Jita, me being an immensely idiotic noob. I almost gave up on Eve as the swarm of fellow noobs descended upon my wreck…

In fact, I did stop playing for a few months, due to RL workload.

The Great Wild West, The Train, and The Baptism of Blood
I finally ventured up the Tribute pipe to the alliance’s 0.0 home in the Drone Regions. Everything was new to me then: the gleaming asteroid belts, the triple battleship rat spawns, the concept of not-blue-shoot-it, and keeping an eye on local at all times. I fattened up my wallet through ratting and trading high-end minerals. During this time, there was a
push against Band of Brothers in the south and members of the NAPtrain were pressured to aid in the invasion, so off we went, and I got one of my first blob experience (wasn’t overly fun, but not bad) flying under some talented, albeit bad-tempered, Coalition fleet commanders. I also led my first roaming gang into Providence as a trainee, and the results were very satisfactory. I ended up leading most alliance ops, which culminated in a successful large battleship slugfest to cement my spot as an alliance FC…

The Naughty Pvpers' Paradise
Unfortunately, that single battle was the last good fight that Ro3 saw. I was tired of dealing with carebears and their reluctance to engage in pew pew, and having to go 30 odd jumps to find noteworthy targets. Also, there were many internal problems including corp thefts and drama bombs. Eventually I saw that the corp was about to fail catastrophically and made it out for greener pastures. Why pay for a game that I no longer enjoyed and was giving me grief on a daily basis?

I joined the dark side. Insurgency was a most refreshing change of scenery. I was surrounded by a vibrant market (compared to my old home, not Jita), talented pvpers and FCs, and had a lot of fun flying around with alliance mates. Things escalated quickly – a month after I joined, the NAPtrain attacked over a dysprosium moon, bringing in about 10 alliances to wipe us out. I’ve learnt a lot about POS and capital warfare since then, and though the Northern Coalition has made fairly successful inroads into our space, I have to say that Insurgency has held up very well considering the massive odds leveled against our fleets. Whether Insurgency gets ousted out of Branch remains to be seen, but I personally wouldn’t mind returning to the roots of skirmishing in Gurista NPC space. And finally, we catch a glimpse of
how BoB must have felt during the Coalition’s assault on Delve.

And this is where I am right now. I’m happily nested amongst a group of dedicated 0.0 pvpers, and while I’m not very optimistic about the way the War is going for us, I still see many opportunities for Insurgency to turn into a formidable 0.0 alliance. I foresee myself staying with them for many more months to come…


Did you make it past the bulldozer?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Rise and Fall of Empires

Disclaimer: It took me a full weekend to gather my thoughts for this entry as events unfolded, so this entry is a bit long. Also, please do not take offense to the alliances mentioned in this passage; my only intention is to use them as case studies. Any opinions/alignments expressed herein are solely mine and not of my alliance's.

***

Watching the collapse of the once-powerful Mercernary Coalition unfold in
Period Basis made me feel somewhat moody, much like watching a James Bond movie with a poignant ending (Casino Royale, anyone?). Tortuga, respected as some of the most powerful alliances in the game, had fallen to internal strife long before Band of Brothers' ambush. BRUCE, yet another power bloc in the regions of Syndicate/Cloud Ring (my geography is a bit murky there), saw its alliance leader and executor corp FOOM leave for empire.

Which made me wonder: How does an alliance avoid or prolong the seemingly inevitable "failure cascade"?

军争之难者,以迂为直,以患为利。

"In armed struggle, the difficulty is turning the circuitous into the direct, and turning adversity into advantage." - Sun Tzu,
The Art of War

The general Sun Tzu wrote one of the most renowned manuals in Chinese history: "
The Art of War (孙子兵法)", which describes military strategies with impeccable logic. Eve, with its characteristic massive territorial warfare and in-depth corp/alliance management, offers such a realistic model of skirmishes and wars that it would be pure folly for any fleet commander to ignore the principles and tactics of warfare. Survival of 0.0 alliances often depends heavily upon the battles that were won and lost.

Take a look at the (in)famous Band of Brothers, for example. When the Northern Coalition and its bandwagon attacked Delve, BoB gave up system after system in Cloud Ring, Period Basis, Querious to the NAPtrain. However, they held on to their home system in Delve with an iron grip, and after 2 months of relentless sieging, the fatigued NNC went home. And now BoB, alive and kicking, is back with a vengeance: it has renewed its invasion into Period Basis, reclaiming most of its old territory - it won't be long until BoB took back the rest as well.

I have great admiration for BoB in this regard. In my mind they have successfully used these strategies to turn the tidal wave of annihilation levelled against them and propel themselves to greatness:

1) Firm leadership. Charisma is a bonus, but unnecessary.
The best leaders lead by example, flying their biggest, baddest ships into the fray and expect their followers to do the same. In this regard I approve of Triumvirate's culture of ridiculing and kicking players who bring crap-fitted T1 ships (i.e. quality over quantity). SirMolle, arguably the most powerful leader in Eve, is an excellent capital fleet commander as well. From what I heard, he rules BoB with an iron fist and gives them direction. This adheres to the principle that democracy is anarchy in battle-minded Eve, as soldiers who are allowed to act on a mind of their own often derail the killing machine.

Now, that does not mean that leaders should not listen to their grunts. In contrast, someone who can balance sympathy and firmness without turning into a power thirsty maniac will find themselves with a loyal following. An alliance charter helps immensely in laying out sensible ground rules for its pilots. In Insurgency, pirates and empire ganks are frowned upon and anyone found breaking this will be kicked out. [Rant mode ON] I love this as I've always had a gripe with people who hide in empire when their 0.0 alliance needs them. FFS (for the lack of a better term), leave the corp to do your pirating, then come back when you are ready to help with space-holding again. We used to have pirates in Rule of Three who only lived in low sec. These players would do well to join a pirating alliance or the Privateers, rather than leeching off the 0.0 alliance, or being part of it "in spirit" just for the sake of blue standings. [/Rant]

It has been proven again and again that without a strong leader who is willing to police his ranks, even the most organized alliance will fall apart: when the
visionary Seleene departed for real life, no-one else was able to step up like the way he did and as a result, MC's internal cohesion was destroyed by aggressive parties from within.

2) Propaganda and espionage.
Morale is one of the most, if not THE most, important aspect in an alliance. A drop in the morale of troops can quickly snowball and lead to disastrous consequences. As such, the best wars are won not by force, but by subtlety and spies who can manipulate the morale of enemies from within. There is little doubt that BoB has an extensive network of spies in each alliance, giving them valuable intel about the movements of an enemy force. And by spreading discord amongst these enemies, they can execute ambushes with great morale devastation of the enemy, such as the controversial doomsday that was set off in an MC pos, whose password has been retrieved from the ex-MC titan pilot, Krall Amarr (for an epic scam on this traitor, see
here). The fighting will of Tortugan pilots was eroded, and PB fell without resistance. However, one must be careful with the excessive use of flamboyant propaganda, as the tactic can easily backfire, such as the vociferous Goonswarm forum threadnoughts that angered much of the player base and gave GS a dubious rep.

3) Wars.
A battle-hardened army is far more valuable than a swarm of n00bs or big expensive toys that have never been baptized in blood. 0.0 entities must always be ready for war, unless you are in some far off corner of the galaxy that nobody wants to attack. Even so, there is nothing to stop equally isolated neighbors to attack space held by an alliance seen as easy pickings. Living with too many blues around is a sure way to get pvpers bailing by the dozens. Who wants to go 30 jumps just to gank some ratter? And can you tell I'm not a big fan of the NAPtrain style of playing?

This also ties in to the constant tug-of-war between carebears and pvpers (a topic that I was planning to talk about but got distracted). Alliances must be able to balance the tension between the two factions, i.e. there should be a clear rule as to how much the carebears are allowed to carebear, and how much they must donate to the war chest. Or even better, do not let them into the alliance at all. Rather, adopt a feudal system where industrialists must pay rent to continue operating out of that space. In times of war, these renters are responsible for their own survival and become meat shields if they fail. This has worked extremely well in BoB's favor and many alliances are quickly adopting this system.

From my own experience, a lack in any one of these three inter-related aspects will result in a degradation of the quality of an alliance. Many seasoned 0.0 players in an alliance are able to spot a failure cascade from a mile away and leave before the time comes to fold. It is up to the leader to correct any minor mistakes before they balloon into major issues, and sometimes harsh actions are needed. As a small-time FC, I admire all of them for the time and passion they put into the game. These are the very people who shoulder the responsibility of directing others, and the consequences, should they fail, strike fear into the hearts of the less brave and ambitious. To be at the helm of an alliance and to lead with continued success is a heavy sceptre to wield for any individual.


In other news: Interceptors have to be one of the most fun ships to fly out in 0.0 with a gang. Hats off to Sir Fintroll of PURE Alliance for getting on three of my crow killmails. I enjoyed one excellent tango with the skilled gentleman, but the rapiers piled on me the second time round. I look forward to playing with his brave little faction crow some time soon again.

P.S.: If anyone can point me in the direction of adding Eve logos and linkages like those on
CrazyKinux's awesome blog, I'd appreciate it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Murphy's Law and Killmail "Whoring" Don't Mix

"I never had a slice of bread, Particularly large and wide, That did not fall upon the floor, And always on the buttered side." - Norwalk paper, 1841

I can only mentally exclaim "What the...!!" and shake my fist when I perused the Battleclinic killboard at work (slac..um.. multitasking as usual). I had logged off early last night to catch some sleep after staying up late the night before to take care of some Coalition stragglers. Anyway, last night was a boring gate camp, and someone else had looted the faction fitted rapier that we killed an hour ago. So I figure I'd get some beauty sleep instead. As you know, my goal this year is to get capital ship kills. Guess what? Barely 30 minutes after I had logged, the roaming gang I had been in netted not one, but TWO carrier kills. Good job boys, but... ARGH!!!!

That really makes me hate having to be at work... C'mon, don't deny me my capital kills...

P.S.: And I missed a fricking
TITAN kill when I took a nap. *emoragequit* I tell ya.
P.P.S.: And it rained after I washed my car.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Brave New World (North)

Northern Coalition bandwagon count:
Razor, Morsus Mihi, PURE, Stella Polar, Majesta Empire, Mostly Harmless, IRON, Atlas, Firmus Ixion?, who else did I miss… et al.
vs.
Insurgency


Whelp! I give up blogging about battle frontline news, since it’s worse than trying to keep track of a hot potato. Entities come and go, titans multiply themselves by 8 or 9, bandwagons fill up and roll over,
epic e-drama ensues… Why do people watch TV when Eve is full of soap operas and cost less too, if you have fewer than 10 alts? If you live in empire then well… I hope you enjoy the seclusion.

There has been
wild speculations of Triumvirate planning blue standings with Insurgency to repel the efforts of the Coalition to oust us out of Branch. Who knows if that will even happen? If it does, however, and Tri decides to throw their supercaps into the warzone, I can guarantee lots of fun times (or lag) for all parties involved. It will be a good way for Tri to show that they are still a premier PVP alliance despite the internal strife. Imagine a new universe with four PVP superpowers working with each other: Band of Brothers, Mercenary Coalition, Insurgency, and Triumvirate. The Axis of “Evil”. One can certainly dream!

When the dust settles, it will be a completely different world up in the North end of the universe. Will Insurgency fall as Phoenix Allianz/RARE did? Will the Northern Coalition bandwagon, complete with everyone and their kitchen sinks and meat shield and dronelets, steamroll the “evil” power blocs or spill and run over everyone when it hits a stray pebble on the road? Truth to be told, I enjoy being on the dark side, fighting outnumbered against a disorganized blob. You may argue with me all you want, but when you throw the entire Northern Coalition of twenty plus alliances together along with FCs who speak only Russian or German or English, it is a recipe for failure at best. I’ve fought on both sides, and I can safely claim that the lack of organization when the Coalition was defending Phoenix space was appalling and made fleet work almost more boring than mining.

And that is why I am enjoying myself so much right now. Fantastic pew pew everyday – why did I deny myself of that by living in the drone regions? I apologize to my Ro3 friends who have joined the “good” guys, some of whom I have shot and podded (and vice versa) but still keep in touch with. It’s all good fun.

Hail… Long live Insurgency!


In other news: You may feel highly displeased as an empire dweller to find out that
CCP has taken out NPC sale orders for shuttles, but you will be very pleased as an investor/trader/manufacturer. Just pray that you don’t get podded in your +5 implants…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Is that smoke coming out of the Z-K node server?!?!"

Node crash party, anyone? (For a detailed battle report and discussion, see here.)


Barring the failed blob attack by Morsus Mihi/Pure/Majesta Empire last weekend, they brought in an even bigger blob of 700-800 ships last night, comprising of pretty much everyone in the North save for Triumvirate. I knew something was up when I tried to log my main and alt in for a quick skill change before dinner and I was greeted with the black screen of death for over 30 minutes. So I logged my empire alt on and checked the map. 'Lo and behold, a huge red angry spot in Z-K showing about 470 players in system. Complaints of lag rose from empire space even.


This could bode well or really badly for Insurgency. If the node crashes, that's the end of the story. We will get overrun simply because they will have more trying to log in, and hence a higher success rate. I figure that I will bring my battleship out anyway for some fun. I don't build or buy ships that I can't frontline. Save Picasso artpieces for the museum gallery.


Was partway through making dinner when station finally loaded, switched into my Rokh to join the carnage. Turns out that our friendly neighbors, RAZOR Alliance, had anchored a small POS in one of our station systems earlier in the day. After diplomatic requests by our alliance leadership for RAZOR to remove their POS, they responded by replacing it with a faction deathstar. At that point, a decision was made to set them to -10, as they were previously blue. This seemed preplanned to me; everyone had been postulating that RAZOR would reset Insurgency like the other alliances in the NAPfest power bloc (i.e. set everyone blue so we can hug each other), and this seemed like the perfect excuse. There was insider intel floating around that RAZOR had planned this op for some time.

They quickly set up a gate camp in BKG, one of the neighboring systems to our own carrier camp in Z-K. As the evening goes on, local in BKG was reported to rise to 500+, including party crashers from Mostly Harmless (wait... you don't want us to buy titans from you anymore?), MM, Pure, ME, Stella Polar, Atlas, RoadKill, + everyone and his dog. Phalanx Alliance managed to "discourage" a 100man Hydra gang from joining them by the traditional method of ganking them on their way. No disrespect to Hydra FCs, but you simply do not logoffski a 100man fleet that has been aggressed. (
Ask the Russians, they know how to do it properly.)


Razor and MH split off to attack Insurgency in Z-K, at this point with 250 and multiple capital ships in fleet, from a backdoor system, in what is presumably called a pincer attack. Unfortunately when they warped to the BKG gate, they suffered the same problems as the fellas trying to jump in: Lag from grid loading. Local was at approximately 300 with 100 in our fleet. Someone commented about how BoB must've been enjoying a turkey shoot like this from defending Delve. As my luck always goes, I got instapopped in my Rokh (by warping into a bubble, cheers!), and promptly switched into my trusty crow. By this time the battle was almost over - the remnants of support chased down fleeing enemy battleships as the Coalition suffered massive losses and pulled out, after a 5 hour slug(lag)fest. I was surprised at how MM, so good at playing the lag game, fell into the trap themselves.





I didn't manage to get any good loot from the battlefield. =(


However, I did get about 40 kills this night, mostly from a bubble camp after the battle was over and when hostiles were trying to log back on, only to warp smack into the bubble. Being the killmail whore that I am, I fitted a sensor booster on my crow to send the poor sods back home more quickly. All in all, my kills far outweighed my expensive Rokh loss. One of the best gate camps I've ever been in, and I even stayed up til 2am to net some more kills at the risk of passing out at my desk at work the next day.


A glance at the star map (number of ships destroyed in the last 24 hours) showed a huge, blistering angry red pimple in Z-K, with over 480 ships destroyed that night. Ooh, perhaps some of my ships will sell faster?


I'm having the best time of my life in Eve!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shall We Dance?

Today I’d like to share some handy tips and tricks that I have learnt on my journeys through 0.0 space. I’d like to warn the dear reader though: nothing teaches you faster about your mistakes than getting your ass ganked and podded. A fleet commander can learn all the theory he/she wants, but as a Chinese idiom goes… it’s “just talking about soldiers on a piece of paper”. Or a paper tiger, if you will. A frequent 0.0 dweller who has experienced fleet battles will understand the power of a well-executed gate dance.

Consider each stargate to be a choke point: if the enemy wishes to leave (without logoffski or cloaking) he will have to leave via the humble stargate. As such, stargates are one of the most common battlefields in Eve, as shown by the ever popular “gate camps with a campfire”. You are bound to catch someone coming in or out if it is a busy system in a pipeline – just take a look at how Morsus Mihi camps the Tribute entrance 23/7 near the black hole (Jita).



The law of the stargate is closely linked to the aggression timer. For the uninitiated, aggression timer is a 1 minute cooldown period where you cannot jump through any stargates. It is caused by the following actions:

- You aggress, i.e. shoot, at someone
- Your light or heavy dictor drops a bubble and an enemy tries to warp out of the bubble

Consider the following scenario. You see a hostile ship on your overview near a stargate. If you are:

1) solo hunting: See if the bugger jumps through the gate – if he does and you have a nanofag fast locker, jump after him and wait for him to decloak. If he doesn’t aggress, tough luck – trying to warp scram him will only make him jump through and leave a frustrated you behind. You could try bumping and webbing the poor fella, but warp to 0 makes that fairly difficult these days.

2) in a small gang without a dictor: Slightly better luck, but still a tough partner. Hopefully you have enough tacklers to camp both sides of the gate. Get an inty of some sort to jump before him into the next system, and get one of the other tacklers on the same side to “push him through”, i.e. warp scram him and make him jump. Then, get the inty to point the fella when he decloaks. Webbers are paramount in any gang for this reason.

3) in a large fleet with dictors: Win. An inevitable end for the victim if he lands on a stargate, when properly executed. Get your dictor pilot to jump through and drop a bubble on the gate. Then, get half of your fleet to jump through. Proceed as per point 2) and you will have a tasty meal, unless the bugger is in a recon or cov ops. If so, try to decloak him with drones and fast little inties when he appears on the overview.

Good luck traveler – may we dance when I see you in space?

In other news: I am so impressed by LordChaos' hax Abaddon, that I plan to finish up training Caldari Cruiser V and all the goodies that lead to the Falcon/Cerb/Onyx, then proceed to cross-train Amarr Battleships and T2 lasers. You can see his videos of pwnage here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

New Home, New Plans

Just joined the Insurgency alliance and moved to Branch within the last week or so. At the risk of sounding like a Drone Regions bumpkin, all I can say is Wow!! It’s like moving from Springfield to Chicago. You can buy stuff from people around the corner, there are specialty shops set up by master carebears (alts I say…), and you get shot by random, angry people. Local and alliance chat are always buzzing with drunken humor. The entire place is filled with highly talented FCs and pvpers. Sure, there's your share of assholes, but I'm amazed by how helpful people were (being a girl helps). Did I already mention my fantastic shopping experience? It’s an awesome feeling despite knowing only a few in the alliance thus far – maybe I’m a city gal after all!

The only problem is that I can’t fly a proper fleet BS. Fo’ shizzle. I can fit a sniper Raven with cruise launchers and T2 armor tank, and I have a 80% success rate of running away from POS fire, but I get laughed at. I’d be lucky if I could target the primaries and secondaries in time, fire off a volley, and watch as 30 seconds later the missiles hit space dust. That, and I’ve been working on my support and leadership skills, so I haven’t had time to look into buffing my main for better ships. My belief is that if you can’t fit a ship properly with T2 mods, then it’s really not worth flying them.

I foresee staying in 0.0 pvp alliances for a long time to come (just my playing style), so I’m starting training for a full T2 fit battleship. The problem is, my main is Caldari and you know the saying for Caldari pvp success rates. The only viable Caldari BS platform for pvp is the Rokh. Scorpions get primaried so fast that it’s not even funny, especially in a laggy battle. Ravens… well… I personally hate flying them for fleet ops, but that’s all I can fly properly at the moment.

The problem is that Rokhs must have been designed by a male engineer who was half-Caldari and half-Gallente. First of all, it’s actually symmetrical in shape (and phallic-shaped as usual. Gawd CCP needs to incorporate some women into their ship design team!) Secondly, it’s built on a hybrid turret weapon system. I have a decent amount of skillpoints in missile launcher systems, but my gunnery absolutely stinks. Someone tell me if I’m missing anything in my planned training tree for a sniper Rokh:

- Gunnery V
- Large Hybrid Turret V (and all prerequisites)
- Large Railgun Specialization III/IV
- Trajectory Analysis IV
- Motion Prediction IV
- Caldari Battleship IV
- Blaster specialization for later

Total training time: 90 days

It would take me a good 3 months just to train up the T2 large railguns and basic gunnery support skills. Then I’d need to train up Caldari Battleship V, which takes another month or so. I could just train the gunnery skills first and slap on T1 best named guns for the time being...


Sigh… In comparison, I could get a Rorqual in 66 days. Or a badass T2 fit Apocalypse in 130 days. That, and I wanted to train up for the Nighthawk/Falcon, which follows a completely different training path. I could pimp my main for industry and my alt as a pure pvp character, but I am greedy and want all the killmails on my main…

What to do? Choices, choices…


Edit: OMG I just got publicly flamed on Vent for flying the only raven in fleet. TWICE! x_x That's worse than flying a drake. Guess Rokh is the way to go!

 
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