Friday, April 29, 2016

How Are You Earning Your ISK?

I'm finding myself in an odd situation recently. I'll be the first to admit that I have limitations on my in-game knowledge, and I'm certainly prone to failure from time to time.

First, it was the PLEX investment that resulted in a whopping 6.7 billion isk loss. Then it was PLEXing my account for six months... at 1.1 bil each exactly two weeks before it dropped to around 950 million (I deem that another billion or so down the drain). Then there was the highly ill-advised and overly optimistic 3 billion isk loss on eve-bet. Penguins, Penguins... you underperformed on me...

All tolled, I'm down about 10 billion in the past month or so. This has - as you can imagine - thrown into sharp relief my need to earn some more isk.

So, I've started inventorying the means available to me.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Ship in Every Citadel

Sure, the title of this post wasn't the tagline of Empress Catiz' coronation celebration, but given the timing between the conclusion of the Amarr Succession Trials and the release of the Citadel expansion, it might as well have been. If you're curious about the lore implications of Catiz Tash-Murkon's ascension to the throne, check out the CZ article by Tarek Raimo. It's very good and informative.

Citadels are coming in about half a day, and with them are coming widespread capital rebalances. What was two is becoming three, with fighter damage and logistics being split up into Carriers and Force Auxiliaries respectively. I still hate that awful name, by the way. It's terrible and doesn't really apply. In my mind, auxiliaries have one of two meanings: either allied forces you don't rely upon, but use to "mop up" or a reserve force you keep until you identify where along a battle line you need some help. They should have called them triage and been done with it.

But, I digress. I won't waste your time talking about the detailed effects these changes will have on capital warfare, more because I honestly don't know than because of personal restraint. I'm not a very experienced capital pilot, and couldn't say how it'll affect the meta. I do predict that the new capital modules will provide some local repping power to offset the danger presented by the new doomsday weapons, and I generally expect more caps to die in engagements than in the past. But I'm not putting any money on it.

Upon first glance, it may not appear as if there's a lot in the Citadel expansion that directly affects subcap PvP. After all, we aren't getting ship rebalances, new ships (which, honestly, we don't really need), or the desperately warranted assault frigate rebalance we've all been asking for. And, generally, I get it. Subcaps have gotten a lot of attention, and it's time to let them sit for a while until all of the ramifications of the whirlwind of changes settles down.

But it'd be a mistake to believe this expansion won't affect subcap pilots.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Let's Take a Moment to Appreciate What This Means

So, after the death of Empress Jamyl Sarum, the Amarr finally have a new empress, Catiz Tash-Murkon. Glory be, God’s will be done, etc. etc. Roleplayers are going all googly-eyed over the change in the guard, and all that. Good for you guys!

I’m sure that’s probably your reaction. After all, the Empress of Amarr has little to no consequence on your gameplay. That Tash-Murkon and not Kor-Azor won doesn’t change the price of PLEX in Jita. So anyone can be forgiven for caring little about the avatar who keeps the throne warm. One NPC is like any other.

But let’s consider, for a moment, how truly special it is about how we got there.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Traitorous or Sensible?

What does the timing of their departure say about the corporations and pilots abandoning the CFC right now?

That was the question I started contemplating over the weekend, and it led to an uncharacteristic ambiguity on my part. I've said before that I highly pride my tendency to look at a situation and come to a conclusion. Talking endlessly around every topic without ever giving your position is the sign of a weak will.

But I honestly don't know what to make of these departures. Looking at Dotlan, you can see dozens of corporations and pilots fleeing the sinking ship of the CFC in droves. Consider all of the "former corporations" between February 1 and April 15 for SMA. Or between March 1 and April 15 for FCON, TNT, or LAWN. And if you look at the pilot counts alone, you can see individual pilots cutting bait and running for the door.

Money Badger Coalition sources would argue these are awakenings of those blinded by the propaganda of the CFC for all these years. CFC alliances would argue this is shedding dead weight as ratters and fair-weather friends leave. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Certainly - if you can take anything from Circle of Two's switching of sides, some PvPers and formerly content organizations are disenchanted with what the CFC has become. At the same time, large numbers of these corporation are joining other alliances well-known for being renters or other ratting-focused alliances. There are definitely a lot of useless members - from a sov defense sense - leaving for stability and safety.

But I can see support for both viewing each group as both a traitor abandoning the CFC in its time of need and as a rational decision made as the result of leaks from Goonswarm leadership about the depth of contempt for their allies.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


Ever since I started this blog in mid-July 2013, I’ve noticed that I’ve gotten a lot more attention in-game. I’ve been pretty transparent about who my main is, and I’m willing to talk to anyone who convo’s me while I’m flying around. My wife jokes and says I’m space famous, even though I know I’m not. Far from it.

On one or two occasions, people have tried to use what they know about me against me, typically by trying to lure me into situations where they can blob me given my well-known dislike of links and hot-dropping. Fortunately, I’m usually pretty savvy in those situations and can typically smell a trap. It’s also ridiculously hard for one or two pilots to catch someone floating through low-sec – or even null-sec – if they think something’s fishy and don’t want to engage, even in a destroyer or cruiser.

More often than not, being well-known gets me more fights. People want to kill pilots they know. I admit – without shame – to thinking the same thing about Rixx Javix, again as a result of his easygoing nature and aversion to links.  It’s safe to say that being known for disliking links has more often given me more engagements than it’s cost me ships.

A lot of times, as I’m roaming, people will comment in local or convo me with opinions about Target Caller. Usually, it’s positive.  I’ve actually found that Eve players are quite courteous – if they don’t have anything nice to say, they just stay quiet, or mention that they recognize the name without any opinion about WHY they recognize it.

And that’s all well and good. I’m always happy to talk to folks, engage people in conversations, and hear their Eve stories.

Yesterday, though, something happened that I can honestly say I’ve never experienced before.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Circle Closes

The noose is certainly tightening around the CFC. Tenal and Fade are completely overrun. Vale and Pure Blind are operationally out of the CFC’s control. Even Branch – far in the corner and away from everything, is on fire, with a quarter of it already taken. Deklein hasn’t been hit yet and likely won’t be attacked until more CFC allies abandon the cause, but it’s being isolated steadily. Very soon, GSF won’t have a reliable allied supply route. Not that they really need it, being in Saranen and all.

I’ve spoken before about how the myth of the CFC – the idea that combining into a coalition would provide protection and ensure longevity – is gone. While Dominion Sov certainly benefitted from the blog, FozzieSov depends on the weakest link. He who cannot protect his space is doomed to lose it.

And over the years, all of the poachings of decent corps from member alliances by Goonswarm, the increasing reliance on coalition-wide content generation and essential capabilities, and the increasing reliance on ratting as a primary sov alliance’s activity has resulted in the non-Goonswarm members of the CFC being weak.

On this blog, I talk a lot about eschewing the easy path in favor of the meaningful path. I don’t use links because I feel they give you an advantage renders victory hollow, I don’t hurf and blurf about killing a single ship with 10 friends. I’ve argued that you need to take fights that are marginal; anyone can kill an Iteron with a Tornado, but can you kill a Sleipnir with a Curse? The only way you learn, in my opinion, is to put yourself in danger and fight your way out of it. The only victories worth celebrating are the ones where you fly brilliantly, or pull off an unlikely kill despite overwhelming odds.

Let’s compare that to the CFC of the past couple years. Alliances avoiding running their own deployments because towing the line with the coalition is easier. Indeed, the CFC skyteam (read, Goonswarm skyteam) was complaining that FCON was trying to do its own thing instead of folding into the benevolent, protective embrace of the CFC by deploying to Saranen. Time and again, alliance leadership has elected to lean on the CFC infrastructure instead of developing its own infrastructure.

How’s that working for you?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Though Much is Lost...

My favorite novel is The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay. Not "one of" my favorite, and not "a good book". My single, favorite novel of all time. It’s a fantasy story that is very, very light on fantasy – limited to a young boy who can see what’s happening around his family members, specifically when they’re in danger.

The novel itself is a parallel of the Moorish kingdoms at the dawn of the Spanish Reconquista. It’s a tale of the lesser kingdoms of Al-Rassan as they struggle with the fact of their waning power in comparison to the strength of three successor kingdoms of Esperana, specifically the kingdom of Valledo. To top it off, Al-Rassan follows the religion of Ashar, whereas the kingdoms of Esperana worship Jad, the god of the sun. Added into the mix is the Kindath, a religion of wanderers hated by both.

Pretty basic stuff, right? You’ve got surrogate cultures representing Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, and a setting that closely mirrors the Spanish and Moorish kingdoms when the tide turns on the Iberian Peninsula. You can find the same thing anywhere, right?

The difference comes in the way Kay presents his five main characters, weaving compelling and heart-wrenching characterizations that you, as a reader, can really relate to. For, even though each has a religion and a nationality, throughout the story, Kay offers compelling reasons for each character to feel torn in their loyalties. I’ve never read a story that better conveys the sense of confusion and uncertainty when one culture gives way to another.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Eve of the Battle of VFK

Today, in approximately five hours, will be a hugely significant battle in the nascent World War Bee - the conflict that has been brewing for quite some time. All accounts suggest that it could be the largest battle in Eve history.

For those of you who are new to null politics or just looking at a map, VFK doesn't seem to be that critical. It's the only system reinforced in Deklein, far behind the front, and almost impossible for the allies to use as a forward base even if they win today. But, numbers and facts don't matter here.

For, VFK was the long-time capital of this iteration of Goonswarm Federation, changed only as a result of FozzieSov and jump changes last year. In the same way that Rome was still important to the Roman Empire even after the capital was moved, should VFK fall, it would be a watershed moment in the course of Eve history.  It would symbolize the loss of the most important relic in the Goon religion. Down would come "RIP Vile Rat", almost certainly to be replaced with a taunt against the CFC itself.

From a military strategy perspective, though, it's a gutsy move, whether it was intended to be or not.