Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As TAPS began to play.
The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.
They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here 'neath the sand.
I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.
Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,
Thanks for what you've given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore.
- C W Johnson

It's a quiet weekend in terms of EVE. With folks training for PI on one end of New Eden and others now about to fly interceptors. I am at peace today when I log in to check the tasks that need care and feeding. There is quiet in my mind as I catch up on the torrent of alliance mail.

Today I raise a beer to all those who have fought and died for what they believe in. I teach my sons to shake the hands of the soldiers at the parade and thank them for there service. I explain to them how war is not good, but those who fight them do so for the greater good of all.

So to all the Men and Women that place them self in harms way for the sake of country. I thank you for all that I have to call goodness in my world. May you see as rich a life as I have been afforded as a result of your service.



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ZombiNutz gets some PvP time!

After what seems like forever last night I was able to log in and take ZombiNutz out for a walk in the wide wild world. I jumped on Vent and strained to remember what I had set as my push to talk button. The dust on my headset mic was thick and needed some clearing before anyone could make out what I was saying. I found a fleet that was training defensive tactics in my 0.0 home system of 6-OQJV and strapped in with "oppsi" my anti frigate Caracal.

We did some fleet based station defensive training at first. With the focus being on fleet response times and folks knowing what to do when an order was given. Our FC took the time to explain what we were trying to achieve and gave everyone plenty of slack to learn the ropes. A large orange fleet came over the intel comms headed our way. Local spiked and we were all told to safe up. The FC then explained why we safe up when there is a blob serge. Essentially so we can all re-group and get focused on defending the system. It turned out that the fleet coming through was too great to engage and not interested in attacking the system. So we stood down while they passed and decided to re-ship for some gate camp training. I had a T1 tackle rifter dropped into my hanger from the alliance (thanks you very much) and after a quick upgrade of the scram and web from my ratting spoils. I was undocked and ready for some fun.

The FC set up scouts inside the fleet then we began to follow direction and move as directed out to our objective gates. We paused at the gate from 6-OQJV to learn a few basic formations for de-cloaking and tackling etc with a HIC bubble. Our FC was clear in his instruction and once again took the time to explain the tactics and mechanics of each "formation". The fleet started to gel and we moved out of home system for a real world test in the pipe.

Forward scouts were extended outside the end of the system we were about to jump into. Intel channels checked and then the fleet hopped. We all held cloak until given the orders to align to the next gate. Scouts were sent through before the fleet was warped to the next gate. On landing we were told to execute a position and then establish another. The fleet complied without too much more from the FC and we settled in. Scouts and intel ticked the comings and goings of the systems around us but it was quiet. To keep things moving our FC asked a nearby cloaky to give us a little test of our de-cloaking methods. He would jump through de-cloak and then re-cloak with us trying to find him before he left the bubble. We did this a few times and about 50% of the time we managed to de-cloak. The FC was happy that a group of Noobs were starting to shape up.

The group was getting rowdy and the FC did a good job of keeping us hungry but focused for a little bit longer. The hour was getting late and we had spent a lot of time drilling. Thus far we would have caught a few covert ops at our camp, but alas they were blues and not Kill Mail material. The FC then decide it was time to put us to the test. Scouts were sent off the pipe into a pocket held by the reds. The comms got excited and once again out FC got us back on track and we moved.

As we landed on the target gate we established our camp with less than 5 spoken words. We all listened to the scouts as they reported back and watched the intel channels. News came of a solo raven in the next system, followed by him landing on the far side of our gate. We all focused and the gate flashed. GO TIME! The red did what he should holding cloak and calling for Backup. Our FC noted this to us as expected and good behavior. The gate cloak timer seemed to take forever and the silence on vent was thick and tense. The raven broke cloak 13KM off me and I followed my training in case he had a cloak fitted. I cooked my scram and web and called point out the same time as our 'ceptor did. I then cooked my guns and rocket settling into a night tight orbit. With 15 of us laying into the raven it melted swiftly. (NO KM link allowed but I am sure you can figure out where to find it).

We held gate for a little longer and our FC calmed us down from kill frenzy rabble into an oiled machine once again. The he gave orders to pack up and align three times before the fleet warped. Some folks lost drones and the FC politely reminded them to follow orders and quit crying. We landed on station and docked to assess the backup. Sadly nothing came so, with it being late, we moved back to our home system for the night. The FC gave us all an "Atta boy" before we disband
So this was my first gate camp and fleet opp with Zombinutz inside the alliance. The FC did a great job both getting us ready in a short time for our ops and keeping us focused and moving. It was also a ton of fun and seemed very easy as we went about our business. It felt like I had done it a hundred times. The commands were easy to follow and clear. I'd go as far as saying they made sense and were delivered from someone I trusted. Odd considering it was my first trip out and I'd "known" the FC for all of 2 hours.

Looking forward to the next run! I tell you this fleet 0.0 PvP stuff could be taking up a LOT of my time. Why rat when you can fleet up and do some good in keeping our little pocket of Provi safe eh?



Monday, May 24, 2010

Disgruntled EVE blog reader! Post GOD DAMNIT!

So with my EVE playtime diminished my EVE fix comes in the form of reading the blogs of the EVE community. Yet I find myself disappointed in the selection and have a few gripes (Fancy that, I have a gripe) with some of my regular sources. So at the sake of my reputation taking a mud bath (like I have a reputation) and some flames I shall now...


The blog pack save a few regular posters seems filled with pixel based tumble weeds and place holders these days. I am sorry but since the “expansion” the pack has been diluted and lacking. I started to blog about EVE shortly after discovering the pack via capsuleers on my iPhone. The quality and frequency of the posts were inspiring and a great read for a new pilot. So if you are a blog pack member and happen to read this blog. Get your thumb out of your ass and post something damn it. CK needs to get back from vacation and cull the pack IMO.

Another huge disappointment is that I’ve read more about World of Warcraft in the last month on than I had in the 4 years I actually played WoW. I love as a source of fresh blogs to follow about our beloved EVE. However sadly I find that of late it has become which makes me sad. I’ll prolly get booted from the sites pages for this, but guys how about some actual checks that the blogs being added are ACTUALLY about EVE eh?

So people please get your blog on and write me something to read! At this point I’d take a blog about the eating habits of an EVE player over the dust bunnies of the blog pack or another freaking story about a gnome rogue zerging some freaking battle ground!




R&D agents, the carebear ranch, and PvP.

Unfortunately my planet side schedule has still been busy with family fun in the sun and some new habitat module shopping. Which means the old habitat is being primed for repackaging and sale. This creates a ton of extra production runs and research jobs for me in the real world. So as a result EVE time is limited.

In game I recently started into T2 production with all its skills and exciting new materials and sub components. Inventing this and that also has some costs to it and offsetting those costs with R&D agents has become a perfect use of my current drive by gaming schedule.

The concept of R&D is simple enough. You find a friendly NPC corporation with R&D agents. You train to the same level skill as the research available for that agent. Then you start to research with that agent earning so many RP a day based on the quality of that agent. To add some sugar once a day you get to run a quick mission for that agent to get twice the RP for that day. Simple stuff and even a level 2 Quality 0 agent can see you with 1-2 datacores a day with 10 minutes invested time.

Yet I find myself biting into a rotten raisin in my R&D agent cookies people. See the part about a “friendly NPC corporation” brings a little more to bear on the types of research you can do with the agent. They are limited to about 2-3 skills or areas of research. These areas are dramatically affected by the race of the agent and the factions they are bed buddies with. Meaning that if the minmartar centric NPC corporations are none so fond of my work with the Caldari Navy I can kiss goodbye any free rocket science datacores. That is unless I am willing to grind level 1 missions to win back there love. So yes it pisses me off that the R&D agent system is a rotting pool of racism!

Even with this things are picking up speed. The 1MN AB II has been a good success for the carebear ranch folks. The profits are good and zombi’s box of goodies waiting for the jump Freighter to null is healthy. The next batches of BPCs out of the copy house are rifters and kestrels which soon will be invented into wolf/jaguars and Manticore. This is good as Zombi will be able to fly them both shortly AND the R&D agents I do have can help with the starship datacores for the stealth bombers.

Sadly PvP is suffering badly at the hands of my current real life schedule. I’ve contemplated lowsec solo roams to keep things moving, but honestly by the time I jump back to empire, pod over to my nearest cache of fitted hulls, and warp to lowsec life tears me away. To make matters worse my bloody learning implants made the run to null with me. So unless I want to waste days or buy another set of learning implants. The best thing for Zombi right now is to warm a bench and read his books on PEW PEW.



Monday, May 17, 2010

Real life ganks and other stuff.

A little snippit that is far too common in The Stig Hut:

ZombiNutz> Wife Gank.
Noah Vale> Align and warp!!!

It’s been another spotty week for EVE for me with no time to really settle into any PvP work in Providence. I am still seeing 30 minute windows between work and the family. So poor old ZombiNutz will have to be content to read the kill mails and train for interceptors for now.

On the other side of the coin the builders have started down the long road to T2 production. Currently skilling for the most part, but also making our first component runs for 1MN AB II. While modest little items in terms of price, I use them in a large number of the fits I fly. Also now that I’ve dropped ~30M ISK in skill books and BPO’s the profit on them is near 60%. While not great I can live with spending 20M ISK and making 65M ISK back. All without having to mine until my eyes bleed or at all if I want to slightly reduce the profit. So the 30 minute play times are not all bad in the long haul.

It looks like Wednesday night fights have stalled before they began. With Astral going 100% pirate he seems to have lost interest in the event. With my spotty play time over the last few weeks I have not been able to field a frigate on a Wednesday either. While I’d still be keen to honor any 1 v 1 frigate fight requests that come my way. I am not so sure fight club will be talked about again.

I sure hope this week allows me a little more concurrent game time to take part in providence fun. If not I am going to hop back to empire and burn some rifters in lowsec for grins. I am sure I can find someone to shoot at in 30 mins.



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Heroes and Villains – Surviving the insignificance of YOU in EVE.

While still young by standards as a pilot in EVE it does not take much to realize that there are no clear lines of light and darkness to guide my path. As a willing and able new recruit to the wars of New Eden it is clear that no side is better than the other. Even if they all make claims to be the “good” side or the “right” side struggling against tyranny or for carebear rights or cheaper beer or whatever.

It becomes very clear early on that EVE is not about YOU being the Hero or the Villain. For many this dent to the ego is a fast track to end subscription button. This sense of being a small speck in grand scheme of it all requires one to shed the “me” mentality. So what can we do to make a difference in EVE and fill our ego meter?

To answer this I must first consider my position in the EVE big picture. To say I am at this stage just another number in a pool of three hundred thousand other like numbers would not be far from the truth. While not self glorifying or heroic in any way this position is not insignificant. See taking a number in EVE is not like taking a number at the deli line to be discarded and forgotten once you have your hot salami and Swiss cheese. This number we are granted allows us to provide influence for as long as we hold it. This influence can be measured in basic terms as our worth in skill points multiplied by our drive or ambition to use said skill points.

To make a difference in EVE you must choose to do something. It’s that simple as every action small or grand will affect another or others in EVE. Will they know it was your actions at work, perhaps yes or perhaps no. Weather they choose to react in turn with a counter action or simply continue down the path of their own choices might in turn shape your next decision. The entertainment value of these choices is the net rewards of our influence in EVE on a VERY simple level.

For me some of my choices have lead one of my characters to the wars in 0.0 as nothing more than a member of a small corporation who has joined with an alliance in Providence. I cannot tell you what effects my choice has had yet. I cannot say that I yet understand why I am here. Yet there is a sense of influence and worth from arriving here for me. This worth is that I am fighting for something and my influence is combined to a greater good even if I am not dictating what that is.

In turn my other characters now contribute to the effort as well. The ships I build are now a little more than just a means to make ISK. The stuff I haul is not just rocks and market gains. Yet in reality I am still just another number in a war. A war over a few systems someone else chose to fight for but somehow it helps me charge my ego.

Anyhow, just a perspective on one role we can play in EVE and how that role can bring worth to the ego. There are many ways one can influence New Eden and I hope a new player who might read this can set aside the “me” and become part of the “we” that makes all our egos flourish.



Monday, May 10, 2010

Tick BLOODY Tock!

Ever feel like there are not enough hours in the day? This past week the sensation of Chronophobia has been paramount. Life was moving along at a 10AU/s constant with work, family, and EVE each trying to get me to exit warp and spend some quality time.

It’s not that I was not online or in-game. In fact this past week has seen as many hours logged as any other, perhaps a few more. My play hours have always been a little scattered but this past week fragmented and a sunder might be a better term. So hence it was very hard to settle into any kind of task when I could not commit to more than 30 minutes of play time at a whack during peak hours. So 0.0 had to wait.

I have been busy chasing down skill books for select T2 production runs, copying BPOs for invention, and grinding at some standings for a future POS. A hauler Alt has been getting some work moving stuff around un-seen while wars rage as well. Just as buying and centralizing those assets takes a time and are perfect tasks for scattered weeks.

So all is not lost to the blur of time this week and I should be doing my first T2 invention and production before the week is out. Likewise 12 rifters, 5 Caracals, and 2 drakes with PvP fittings and ammo should be staged for a JF to 0.0 this week as well. Meaning that soon as time allows there should be some more exciting stuff to blog about in 0.0.

This raises a question for the 0.0 (or any EVE) players:

How do you juggle life and EVE to accommodate the 0.0 ops that take a few hours of focused time or more?



Thursday, May 6, 2010

Entering Null with a Smile and a Grenade.

No! I am not going to state that I am a NULL veteran yet, not by a green mile. I've spent all of 4 hours down there learning the rules of both the area and the alliance.This post is not to spout the glory of my kills or sing gate camp kumbaya songs.

Let's start with getting to Null for me. I had tried to slip down the pipe twice in one of my fleet of rifters. Try number one was prime time for the reds and I found myself in a gate bubble and dead. The second try I had placed myself in station the last Lowsec system before 0.0 12 hours before downtime. Once again in a rifter I hit the pipe 45 mins after downtime. Missed the bubble but found a crow and his buddies. I shot back but melted before I could break tackle.

I eventually made it down in a TGV fleet of 6 where we had little trouble in the pipe. We did get jumped by a rifter and a raven in Lowsec who got a tackle on out CEOs scorpion. We rallied and popped them both but in the process lost the bosses BS. The boss being the boss, he scouted in his pod the rest of the way. One of our drakes got trapped alone and we were given the order to move the rest of us down the pipe. Felt bad leaving a corpie to die, but orders are orders and he made it out with his pod.

So now I am in 0.0 with jump clones activated, a Caracal, and a box of missiles aka a smile and a grenade. So after reviewing the market and finding another box of missiles. I came to the revelation that I am sure many do when they get off the boat. There is no skipping over to Jita for some cheap hulls and mods in Null. At least the Caracal can take down the rats so I can make cash and stock pile any named mods that drop.

So now I am playing the supply chain game. Trucking hulls, mods, ammo, and other creature comforts down to the Jump Freighter staging spot to contract. The war makes the freighter service a little less frequent. I get the risks and plan to tip well. Once I get some care packages from the carebear ranch. I am looking forward to some fleet work for the alliance as well as some other ops with the corp.

I'll say this in closing that running missions. Even if you are trying to run level 3's in a rifter (I have, takes forever). The fights against real people are way faster and much more dynamic than any mission I have ever ran. There is no real way to prepare for it other than fleeting up yourself and throwing a hull into the middle. With every fight I learn a little more. every kill and death it comes a little easier. I have a long way to go before I can say with any confidence that I am a PvP pilot. Yet I can tell you it's a sh1t ton of fun.



Monday, May 3, 2010

Where in the Universe is EVE SOB - May 2010

It is time for this month’s “Where in the Universe is EVE SOB” post where every month I summarize where I am at in EVE. I also throw in some real world stuff and the top CNN headline of the day for a historical WTF was the world doing back then element.

Where am I?

It is odd to think that a whole month has passed all ready. It's been a busy month for me in and out of EVE. Inside EVE has been a lot of the same for SonOfBraben and some big changes for Zombinutz.

I took a crack at the blog banter this month as well. It was around why more Women don't play EVE and what could be done to change this. A slew of entries came in topping off at 80 before the deadline hit. A lot of folks took the same tact that I did. stating that it not so much about what needs to change, but more about good marketing and find the right Women to play eve. My Entry is here.

How’s building stuff doing?

SonOfBraben and Sister Janice are chugging away at the Hermit carebear ranch. Missioning has slowed down a bit and the focus has been around hauling stuff around for ZombiNutz and putting some BPO's in to copy as we start to look at some T2 production. The POS is still a steady goal that we are chugging towards and we are making more stuff than we are mining. So really there has been very little change here and I don't expect this to change for a while.

How’s shooting stuff doing?

On the other hand there is Zombinutz who is most certainly in harms way now. He joined Top Gear Ventures who in turn signed on with LEGIO to head out to 0.0 for some fun. I spent the bulk of the month getting to know my new corp. and it's people. I spent a lot of time running missions with them to raise standings towards jump clones. In the end I went back to the Caldari navy for mine but also put a decent dent in Fed navy and S.O.E standings.

I've made one run at getting down to NULL and found out some valuable tips on moving about down there. I did die in a bubble camp a few hops from a "safe" system but it was a good learning experience.

I spent some time soloing around lowsec as well. It's really not that scary of a place at all. I am still to find any kills out there, but no losses either.

Astral Dominix and I had a fun 1 Vs 1 frigate fight in which I ended up winning. We liked it so much that we decided to throw an invite to all for T1 frigate duels on Wednesday nights. More to come there as the action heats up.

What Skills am I training?

SonOfBraben: Finished out core improved. Now it's the long road to T2 production and advanced manufacturing skills. I have 2 plans in the mix for this depending on the short and long term needs. The first one covers the skills that I will need to make a lot of the frigate based T2 mods for Zombinutz. The second includes all T2 production skills plus a ton of the more advanced lab/manufacture/trade skills. As combined they add up to 247 days there is a good chance I'll be on this for a while. The first round of skills is only 4 days off. So life is not so bad there.

Zombinutz has spent the entire month training nothing but frigate skills. Any and all skills to make him fly faster, lock faster, shoot faster, shoot further, and last longer. A lot of simple skills in this space are now at level 4 and he is starting to actually feel dangerous in a rifter. I still have a ways to go but this month is all about heading to the T2 frigates. Jaguar in 18 days, 'ceptor in 27days, Stealth Bomber (fitted) in 34days. After that I'll slog out HAMs to T2 for the Drake.

In that pesky real world:

It's spring here in North Eastern USA and with May comes May Flies. They are horrid little black flies that swarm your head and bite the living sh!t out of you. Aside from that I am biking with my sons and working on the lawn and garden with my wife. Work is steady and still allows me a few days a week to work and play EVE at the same time.

My 2008 Subaru Impreza is in the repair bay getting some body work done after I bumped a Nissan Sentra off a ramp camp last month. I would get it fitted in T2 but it seems my clone lost some SP and I can not longer fly a T2 Subaru Impreza. (wink Wink)

CNN headline for Today:

Make sure you are good to your mother this May. Even scum have a mother who loves them.

Cheers and Fly Grumpy.