Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pandemic Cohort

So… B-R5RB happened, Pandemic Legion lost between a third and half of their titans (pardon if the numbers aren’t quite right; I don’t know exactly how many they have, but 59 is a lot), and took a drumming to the tune of 4.5 trillion isk.

I have to respect them for escalating.  If there ever was a time to escalate – with the majority of your war assets locked in a station you can’t access – this was it.  And Eve got the massive supercap brawl it always wanted.  Nor did it dissapoint… 21 hours, nearly a thousand capital+ ships gone, the seventy five titans…

It was epic.

But now that it’s over, I admit to feeling a little disappointed.  But I’ll get to that later.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Fall of Titans - Three Takes

I could go over the details of what happened in B-R5RB, but I'm sure the news sites will do that.  Rather, I wanted to bring something different to the table.  A summary of "what it means", if you will, in three parts.  I suspect there's something here for everyone.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Separation Anxiety

With my new job comes a move away from my home of more than three decades, separation of my kids from their beloved grandparents, and a lot of anxiety about having no support structure whatsoever near me.  I’m one of those people who works very hard to keep my home secure, safe, and unchanging.  It unnerves me greatly when I need to change it up in any way.  Suffice to say, I’m going to have a lot on my plate for the next few months, both with making sure the kids are adjusting and making sure I’m adjusting myself.

As such, I've come to the difficult decision that I need to leave my new corp.  I simply won't have the time to dedicate to POS fueling, scanning down holes, and finding fights.  And, without doing those things, ultimately I’d be in it just for the kills, and that’s hardly fair to my wormhole corpmates.

Even before I left Razor, I spent a lot of time with the guys in Repercussus, a Razor corp who does a little bit of everything – null-sec, low-sec pirating, wormhole merc contracts.  I’ve admired their comms culture as well – instead of sitting doing their own thing, they’re always on comms, chatting.  That’s important to me, it turns out.  It’s one of the things I admired about Sky Fighters.  So, mixing the familiar with the variety with the  time I’ll be able to dedicate to Eve moving forward, they seem like the perfect new home.  Back to Razor.  As I said, they’re my null-sec home, and always will be.

But let me say that Sky fighters really is an amazing bunch of folks.  This was not an easy decision, by any stretch.  They’re professional, welcoming, helpful, and tolerant of my WH ignorance.  They form up within 5 minutes for a fight, and nearly 100% of online pilots join PvP fleets, which is a truly remarkable feat.  They all pitch in and help with scanning and escort fleets for haulers, etc.  In fact, that’s the reason I’m leaving; I can’t commit to doing the little things necessary for wormhole life, and I refuse to be one of those people who only does the “fun” stuff and leaves everyone hanging for the real work.

The thing that surprised me with Sky Fighters was the competence and professionalism of the leadership.  They had both an eagerness to do the work and great skill at it… a rare combination.  I'm truly impressed by how well they operated.  They foster a great culture that you can sense with every daily activity.  If you ever need a wormhole mercenary corp, consider Sky Fighters.  You won’t regret it.

Finding a good corporation is more than simply plugging in a few facts and choosing from among the corp that best fulfills those sterile criteria.  Most times, it's more about the nuances, the abstracts, and the unquantifiable that really determine a good fit.  Just look at this situation... changes to RL make one option fit better than the other, even though both are excellent groups of people.  Even if you can think of all those subjective characteristics that augur long-term success with a corporation, the question still it's about which choice is "right".  Rather, it's about what choice is right, right now.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Annoying Thing About Eve

I haven’t had much time to play Eve recently, what with planning the RL move and all.  But as I’ve had less and less time to play, I’ve found that I value that time much, much more.  And I realized something about this game.

There are large parts of this game I do not enjoy.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Big News I Hinted About

So, in this post, I mentioned some big RL news that I’d been occupied with over the last couple months.  I’m happy to say that it’s been resolved, and I can announce it now.

For the past ten months, I’ve been unemployed due to widespread layoffs at my last job.  Sure, it’s given me time to hang out with my kids, but I’ve applied to over 200 jobs of a variety of levels (from entry up to Directors of Marketing).  For the past two months, I’ve been interviewing for one of those Director of Marketing jobs, and I can happily announce that I’ve gotten it.  The long project is over; I was even able to turn it into a promotion.

But, the interesting bit is that it requires me to relocate to about 4 hours away.  I say interesting because, while I’m excited about the opportunity and the title increase, I’m very anxious about giving up “home” and moving elsewhere.  My mother would say it’s because I’m a Cancer (insert “cancer on the body of Eve” joke here) and Cancers hate anything that disrupts their home.  Regardless, I’m very nervous.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Vending Machines

This was an idea I came across (I honestly can’t tell you where) some time ago, that I thought was so good I had to pass it along.

If you live in wormholes, you live out of a POS.  All your ships are based in a ship maintenance array, all your loot, ammo, extra modules, and supplies are stored in a corporate hangar array.  You need to routinely bring in fuel to power it, to the tune of 250 million isk or so a month (for a medium).

You don’t have a repair service handy, so any heat damage on your modules must be repaired by fitting them to a ship and using nanite repair paste.  Hull and armor damage need to be repaired with active modules, either on your own ship or remote modules on a corp mate’s ship.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Constantine. Can't Be Trusted

Just a quick one.  My alt made a deal with Constantine. to buy two Cadmium moons in Indregulle (P8, moons 9 & 10) from them, with some money up front and a monthly fee.  I figured that giving them something to earn - some skin in the game - would make them more inclined to honor the agreement, instead of taking my money and running.

Constantine. is a merc and low-sec pirate corp, and those two activities depend on being considered honorable.  No one's going to contract a merc corp to, say, destroy a competitor's moon if that merc group is going to turn around and take it for themselves.  No one's going to pay a ransom to a group who can't be relied upon to honor it.  So, while it was a risk, I figured it was a limited risk, both for the reputation aspect and the monthly fee I was offering.

Well, they decided to scam me instead of honor the agreement.  It happens, and I walked into it knowing the risk.  Isk can be earned back.  I salute them on a good con.

It seems a bit short-sighted to me.  They made a little isk, but most intelligent pirate and merc groups know reputation is everything in their business.  That's the reason Sky Fighters has a strict "honor agreements" policy.  It's simply good business to stick to them.

But be advised: the corporation Constantine. [eeeee] cannot be trusted.  The specific character who dishonored the agreement is Bodiil, who has an alt named LobiB.  They are currently part of the Ninja Unicorns With Huge Horns alliance.

I wouldn't recommend contracting them as mercs, nor would I expect them to honor any ransom agreement.

No tears, but no tolerance, either.

What Should Null-Sec Be?

A lot of people, including myself (, have given suggestions to improve and correct the problems of null-sec.  Some ideas are good, some are bad, but they all try to bring about the author’s unique vision of what null-sec should be.

But this is trying to do CCP’s job for them.  Ultimately, we’re customers, so let me take a different tack by sharing what I’d like to see null-sec become.

1) No alliance or coalition should be invulnerable.

Null-sec thrives on conflict, politics, and vulnerability.  Every structure can be shot, stolen, or destroyed.  Empires can rise or fall.  But for this to happen, every entity needs to be vulnerable in some way.  We shouldn’t be able to do the equivalent of sitting on Australia in Risk and piling all our armies up on one chokepoint.  No null alliance should have Gallifreyan sky trenches that protect them from attack.  There’s a reason every region in Eve has gates to at two or three other regions.

Right now, mechanics tend to focus attacks on one battle front, with very little happening outside of that front.  I’d like to see that change.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We Don’t Want You Here

I haven’t posted much in the past couple days because of a really big RL opportunity I’m handling.  I’m not ready to say what it is yet, but if things go the way they’re heading, I’ll be losing my EU TZ play time, and that’s a very good thing.

But in the interim, let me talk a little about Eve’s long-term future.  There’s a great article that just posted to TMC by Tubrug1 talking about this very problem.  He tends to focus on mechanic changes, but I’m going to go off on a slightly different tangent.  His is worth a definite read, though.  It’s truly insightful.

In order to survive long-term, Eve must maintain a certain number of players to keep its bills paid.  I don’t much care whether these players pay with PLEX or subscription fees, though others do, because both mean revenue for CCP.  And ultimately, revenue is all that matters to CCP.  Every decision is tempered by whether it will generate additional revenue or not.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bubble Wrap

So, let’s pretend a pilot travels to Jita and decides to buy a medium Domination tower.  Let’s further assume that this pilot spent the last, oh… three years in null-sec, very rarely traveling through high-sec.  When he did, let’s assume he always traveled in PvP ships, and carrier-jumped the majority of the way through empire space.

So, this enterprising – and entirely fictional pilot – decided he wanted to move a tower and a few of the nicer POS modules to the HS static for his wormhole.  Of course, to do it all, he had to use a fully expanded Iteron Mark V…

You see where this is going, don’t you?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lessons: First Impressions

You can’t make a first impression twice.  It’s an old adage, and one that’s absolutely true when it comes to Eve.

After a few days of trying to find the right WH, I finally managed to find a route.  In went my carrier, with all my goodies for WH life.  I had been listening to ops on comms for a few days, and while it definitely helped me gain a feel for how my new corp rolled, it also frustrated me that I couldn’t join in the mayhem.  Listening to them dunk fleet after fleet, while not being there, was frustrating.

But now, I’m here.  So I went on an inaugural roam with my two characters, looking for some trouble. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Unto the Breach

I’m doing something now that I haven’t done for three years: starting over.

I always kept tight control over my assets, so I’m not one to leave things spread across the galaxy.  But last week, I had 36 ships in Tenal and Curse, combining PvE, small-gang, and large fleet purposes.

But I’ve got an inkling wormhole space requires a different set of ships all together.  So my duplicate fits have been sold.  My fleet-fits have all gone via Razor contracts.  My PvE ships (all measly 3 of them, for two characters) are put in mothballs along with my boot carrier.  And each of my small-gang fits have gotten a third degree grilling as to whether they’ll serve me well. 

Jaguar, Cynabal, Rapier… you’re safe.  Gnosis, Hurricane… we need to have a little chat.

Yes, my hangar summary post next year will no doubt look quite different.

The preparation for leaving my current corporation has taken about four days, between arranging cynos, collecting assets in central locations, and shuttling unnecessary ships to Jita to sell.  The last time I changed alliances, I brought all my ships with me.  But back then, I was leaving one null-sec alliance for a more PvP-focused null-sec alliance.  All my fits were PvP (poor excuses, as they turned out, but I didn’t know any better), and I felt comfortable bringing them along.  But now, very few of my ships have probe launchers fit to them.

And I’m finally ready… to wait.  Because, once you’ve collected your assets, you need to find a way into your new home.  It’s not as simple as waiting for a suitable wormhole to empire and making your way there.

If you’re bringing a carrier in, it’s a matter of waiting for an NPC null-sec or low-sec hole, judging how long of a chain of both cynos and wormholes you’re comfortable with, and moving everything into position.  After all, you can’t prepare your cyno alts beforehand, since you don’t know where they’ll need to guide you.

If you’re moving ships one-by-one, you probably want a WH near either a trade hub, or one very close to the system where you gathered your assets. That may prove even harder to find.

It’s frustrating to see so many operations and wormholes going up on the tracker, and being unable to participate.  But scouting a route from k-space system is all but impossible… the odds of finding a single WH system from a single k-space system are infinitesimal.  So I need to wait for my corp mates to find a good route, which I can then follow.

As it turns out, I’ve had plenty of time to make my wormhole purchases and think about how I can make my 1 million m3 of carrier space stretch as far as possible – covering all doctrines, a ratting ship, plenty of probing ships, and a few “fun” roaming ships, all within the mass limit.  I also need plenty of ammo, nanite repair paste, mobile depots, tractor units, and the myriad other things I’ll need to bring to a system with no market and spotty access to empire.  And let’s not forget spare hull, armor, and shield repair modules… no repair facilities in w-space.  It’s a lot of equipment to purchase, and I’m sure I’m forgetting something along the way.

So, for the moment, I’m checking siggy (wormhole tracking program that works well with the in-game browser) on my phone to jump on an available route the moment it opens up, and trying to stay patient.  Fortunately, the character who will be lighting my cynos is coming with me, so both of them can all go through together.  But it’s frustrating to see so much activity and have to sit on the sidelines.

Moving sucks, but based on the routes I’ve seen through w-space, it’ll all be worth it in the end.

If you contemplate making a move to w-space, try not to let yourself judge the experience by the first week’s activity.  Logistics are necessary, even if it’s not your cup of tea.  Give it a little time before you make a judgment.  Once the kills start flowing, it’ll all be worth it.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Change Is the Only Constant

On Saturday, I wrote about some big news coming down the pipeline.  Now that everything’s said and done, I can announce that I’ve decided to leave null-sec and join Sky Fighters, a WH corp.

Granted, it’s big news for me, but you, dear reader, probably don’t care much.  I’ll still be PvPing and writing about PvP, and if anything moving to WH space will allow me to more easily confront a variety of situations… the next WH could take me anywhere in the galaxy, and there could be a fight through every one.  Fraps is ready, and as is my willingness to write about both my successes and failures and the lessons that everyone can take from them.

But, with each post on Target Caller, I try to give something valuable for you to apply to your own Eve time.  With that in mind, I want to give the story behind the change.  Maybe it’ll resonate with you, or maybe it’ll provide some insight that will help with your recruitment and retention efforts.

So let me spin my tale.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Big Break, Big News

Yes, I took a couple weeks off for the big holiday, but that’s over now, and you can continue to expect me to post every couple days, as before.

Over the holiday, I spent a little time killing folks, a little time doing PvE, and a little time clearing my hangar of some ships I simply didn’t use any longer.  All in all, my wallet increased by about 5 billion isk.  Suffice to say, while I was taking a break from writing, I was still very active.

Much of that was actually in support of some big news I’ll have coming in the next day or two.  Yes, I’ll still be writing, and no, I’m not quitting.

In the mean time, I hope everyone had a good holiday, is getting back into the swing of things, and is ready to talk about PvP.