Friday, February 29, 2008

I can't fit a Kestrel!

An intra-alliance T1 frigate tourney is being planned for the next weekend. So there I was, cleaning the dust off the wings of my little Kessie that's been sitting in my hangar for a few months, untouched. The very little ship that carried me from the safe embrace of empire into the gaping maws of deep 0.0 space (with lots of teeth at the low security systems) when I joined the alliance.

Baring the Hello Kitty hull, I then realized belatedly with horror that I couldn't, for the life of me, fit it properly. When I sauntered through my ship hangar, I noticed that a ballistic control fell off the powergrid, I couldn't shove 4 launchers onto the Kitty's wings, and any attempts at fitting a microwarpdrive caused the computer systems to die. I had even just taught my neural networks advanced weapon upgrades up to level 2!

Looks like I have to train up my Energy Management skills so I can use Micro Auxilliary Power Cores. Only then can I slap some slightly decent named mods on there, and even then it will be a very tight fit. Missiles, with their lack of tracking issues, can be truly devastating to fast little ships, so I plan on fitting the little thing for DPS and running away when necessary. I'm fairly good at slipping away, and who would want to shoot a girl anyway......

I, with my 11m skillpoints, can't fit a T1 frigate. I am feeling like a noobie all over again...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Lowsec Pirating vs 0.0 Fleet Battles

Lately there has been an uproar in our alliance about whether our pvpers should be allowed to live in lowsec and pirate all they want. There have been certain individuals who live down in Amarr space in a dead-end 0.4 system, and killing everyone who enters that system almost every moment of the day. I have spent time myself in that system learning how to pvp as a newbie, but I never lived there for long as it bored me. It is an excellent place to get new pvpers’ feet wet, and unlike highly pirated systems near Jita, one won’t be so easily wiped out by say, a Triumvirate gang with capital support.

Here comes the drama: A certain pirate considers himself elite as he tops the kills and scores on the killboard from his endeavours in this very system he claims as his ancestral grounds. He would rarely ever show up for 0.0 defense or offense ops, claiming that there are few that he would fly with, and indignantly flaming anyone who questions his continual efforts in lowsec. When asked about his loyalties, he claimed that as he is not taking anything from the corp, he should not be expected to contribute.

(I am somewhat embarrassed to say that I used to like this guy IRL. He was the very same person who asked me what I was doing mission-grinding in empire when I’m in a 0.0 corp.)

Understandly, the majority of the alliance is highly annoyed with this behavior and against it, because it takes away talented pvpers from our 0.0 fighting force. It also makes our killboard look bad – imagine how easy it is to take space from a 0.0 alliance that had most of their kills in low security space! Of course the pirates themselves are against it, because lowsec ganking is easy and frequent. Who wants to work for targets when they come to you en masse? 0.0 fights are difficult to find and risky – a roaming gang could hunt for hours and die in 5 minutes.
For me, that only gives me an immense sense of achievement when we come out tops in a 0.0 fleet engagement. If we capsize, then it was a good learning experience for us. We are a null-sec alliance. Lowsec is a good ‘happy pill’ spot, but what’s the point of joining a 0.0 alliance when all you do is stay in 0.4?

Perhaps this is a direct reflection of my personality, but my current goal in Eve is to lock as many red icons on my overview as possible, hit F1-F8, in 0.0 space. Bonus if I get to call primaries in a 20v20 fleet battle. It’s highly addictive, and much healthier than resorting to those little red pills, or killing an unwary noob exploring low security space in his first shiny cruiser.

Yeah, I know what the dear reader must be thinking. I'm a little fiery. I think the men like it. ;) Oh did I mention that among the few female players in Eve, many of them are highly accomplished killers? Talk about hot chicks with guns...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Elusive Gamer Female, Ambulation, and Introduction (Not in That Order)

Welcome to my little rant spot about EVE-Online, a Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) RPG that I am currently addicted to, just like how my friends are addicted to watching Grey’s Anatomy and Sex and The City (oh so passé now).

First, let me identify myself without giving too much away – I like a little mystery. I am a 20-some female who plays Eve on a regular basis. (I'm a geek yep, and being an engineer doesn't help.) My main is a Caldari pilot who is nearly 8 months old. I used to run missions in empire and currently live deep in 0.0 space with the Rule of Three alliance. I have acquired a taste for fleets and pew pew fairly regularly, but also make a decent amount of isk from ratting and other activities to sustain my ship collection. And just because I am a gamer doesn’t mean I don’t engage in other “non-geeky” activities either: shopping, cooking, designing, parties, recreational sports…all those fun stuff are high on my hobby list. I’m not crazy about EVE to the extent as to attend Fanfests in icy Reykjavik, but I would totally crash a corp/alliance party in Vegas if they held one in the summer!

I’ve gone through some of the flurry of blogs out there in the EVE blogosphere – I excel at being a slacker at work and finding ways to procrastinate on my spreadsheets and projects and bosses. After reading a well-written
blog post by Bitteroldnoob, an MC pilot who writes for the EVE Tribune (another one of my favorite procrastinating tools), regarding the dearth of female pilots in EVE, I came up with the idea of portraying my adventures in EVE from a female perspective. Especially since all the men at CCP are wondering why more women won’t fit themselves into shiny spaceships. It’s like beer, guys. It’s an acquired taste that not many females find palatable. Why is that so?

“As of October 2006 the average age of an EVE Player was 27 of which 95% male, and 5% female.” – EVE Wiki

CCP’s Petursson: “Women Don’t Want to Be Spaceships”

Alright, let’s hear from yours truly, a female EVE gamer, about why I play and what I don’t like about the game as a lady.

- Wars, infiltrations, and consequences of pvp. Such mirrors of real life economy.
- Tight-knit corporations and alliances bring some “nationalistic” sense into the game. Being able to contribute to part of a group with similar interests. A well-developed corp and alliance interface (recruiting, war decs, corp wallets, etc etc etc.)
- Making isk via trading, ratting, mining, stocks, and many other means.
- The intelligent tactics that are involved in 0.0 fleet battles.
- The highly amusing shock factor on TS/Vent when a female voice is present.

That said, the downfalls:
- Cannot alter the look of ships, especially the Caldari ships that are… asymmetrical at best. Also, very phalic-shaped ships (Rokh, Wyvern, etc).
- Choice and customizability of avatars is just appalling, and rather crude.
- Yeah you have good graphics on Trinity, but the graphics are all very male-oriented.
- Lack of interaction with things other than ships. Ambulation and planet-interaction is an improvement.
- Nearly vertical learning curve that appeal most to the mathematically-inclined.
- Few women want to deal with the harsh realities of pvp as a way of life. (I’m special.)

How do we fix that so more ladies will keep the men of EVE occupied?

Ambulation and The Ladies

Looks like CCP Olafsson has some of those suggestions down pat for an ambitious Ambulation expansion, partly aimed at incorporating more female gamers, coming late in 2008. (Full article
here) I, along with the 4.999% of the rest of the ladies (and frankly, everyone else in EVE), will be trembling in anticipation. Let’s look at some of the tasty morsels:

- Socializing, eating/drinking, and playing poker in bars
- Getting fat as a result of that
- Plastic surgeons to change your nose. Michael Jackson’s nose anyone?
- Tailors and their shops. Now we can finally own a wardrobe!!!
- Corps can now own halls in stations and design their own rooms
- Personal shops
- EVE Voice will make me sound Caldari. Wonder how those guys playing Matari female pilots will sound.
- “Since pod-pilots are essentially nearly naked and submerged in goo as they fly, it's important they groom before they get off the ship. And make no mistake, stations have a firm "no pants, no service" policy. As such, players will have these mobile quarters where they can prepare themselves before they get off their ship.”

Uhh… I hadn’t realized that I was flying naked all of the time. That might be rather distracting in pvp situations when I eject in my pod.

I can’t wait til we have mini-games and all that in stations… plastic surgeons and tailors? Looks like I might have to train my alt in that! If those features are indeed what they claim, then I believe we will see a greater influx of female gamers. Heck, I may even stop pvp’ing, but my corp wouldn’t be too pleased.

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