New Toon .01

I liked the look of the new pilot, so decided she would be a keeper.  Meet my new PI Alt.  She is in my corp, had her first neural remap, has a set of +3 implants, a hanger full of skill books, and a training plan of just over a month.  The concept is to get her to rank IV in all the PI skills, and be able to fly basic T1 Fit Iteron IV and Mammoth.  I will use her to gather some of the resources I am either short on or haven’t balanced.  I’ll keep the more complicated installations on my Industry Alt so this one should only need to be logged in once or twice a week.  By the end of the month she should have the following skills:

Gallente Frigate III
Gallente Industrial IV
Minmatar Frigate III
Minmatar Industrial IV
Planetology IV
Interplanetary Consolidation IV
Command Center Upgrades IV
Advanced Planetology IV
Remote Sensing IV
Mechanic III
Survey III
Salvaging I
Shield Upgrades I
Hull Upgrades II
Jury Rigging III
Astronautics Rigging I
Science IV
Targeting III
Long Range Targeting III
Energy Management III
Energy Systems Operation III
Shield Management III
Acceleration Control III
Evasive Maneuvering III
Fuel Conservation III
Afterburner III
High Speed Maneuvering III
Warp Drive Operation III
Infomorph Psychology III
Trade III


On May 6th CCP are celebrating turning 8, and are giving their players a free gift to redeem in game.

Usually these are benign items that cannot be manufactured, with a recent trend towards one trick ponies to encourage players to look at new game features, like the Zephyr (Wormhole Exploration), Primae (Planetary Interaction) and Echelon (Incursions).

Strangely with free gifts, there usually seems to be a mini uproar in game about them not being of much use.  I simply follow the motto of not looking a gift horse in the mouth, and appreciate it for the small token it is.

CCP used to give out these gifts to each pilot in game (so you get up to three on each account), but in more recent times you only get one per active account.  In the blog above, they state the present will be available to “all pilots on active, paid accounts”.  I have three spare slots across my accounts, so I might go fill them today just I case.  It would hint that the gift will have no purpose (like the Apotheosis shuttle), or something they would like people to use / maybe lose a few because they know they have spares.

I had thought my PI installations would only require a couple visits a week, but that was overly optimistic.  Having to move output between planets means I will have to visit at least once every two days.  A more positive miscalculation is the possible value of PI – even in empire.  My current installations (still not optimal) are earning over 3M a day, which adds up over a month.


I just wasted 11 days of training on my Alt – picking up Archaeology IV and V instead of Astrogeology IV and V that I thought I was training.  I only realised when the Exhumers skill refused to inject.  I had a moment of confusion before the penny dropped, and an “Oh fuck” escaped my lips.  I can’t even take solace in the fact he can now use T2 Analyzers – given I don’t use him as a prober.

I moved my PI installations along – it is now spread across 2 systems and 4 planets, and is producing Consumer Electronics and Mechanical Parts.  Robotics will be added shortly, possibly after down time today.  The process will require me to visit one of my planets first, and then move its dual outputs to two other planets.  It is certainly taking a little effort to work out what I need to do to chain the production lines efficiently, but it should be relatively low maintenance once the initial effort comes to pass.

I’ve noticed the resources on the planets I currently do PI on have generally increased over time.  While the initial strong deposits have diminished, other worthwhile pockets tend to develop to replace them.  The upkeep is also not as taxing as I had initially feared.  I basically just let them cycle twice a week.  I have also in some regards stopped investigating what will make me the highest profit, and just been focusing on the more expensive components of POS fuel for personal use.

Sensor Boosters

I attended an open destroyer roam last night, organised via one of the in game channels I sit in.  It was based on NPSI (shoot anyone not in fleet), and was the first time I had done any PVP for a year.

I set up an Artillery based Thrasher, fitted a tracking disruptor and scram (since the call was for mixed EW), loaded up Spiced Wine, Spirits, Tobacco and Exotic Dancers, and headed towards the rallying point.  As evidence of my carebear empire ways, the cheapest jump clone I had available was kitted out with a full set of +3 implants – but I was looking forward to losing it all.

It wasn’t the most polished of events, but given the random rabble of 60 to 70 pilots who were in fleet at any point in time, there truly was nothing to complain about.  It started with the obligatory Conga line as things formed up, was followed by an online gaming radio station, had what appeared to be the entire fleet disconnect on their first jump into 0.0, saw a dozen lost to a very nice bombing run, and accounted for the death of a number of HACs, Battleships, Battlecruisers, Covert Ops, Interceptors and a smattering of other ships (including those unfortunate enough to drop out of fleet at inopportune moments).

I took the opportunity to drop fleet as we passed a low sec area and headed to bed, somewhat disappointed I would have to wake up the next morning and fly all the way back to my home instead of getting the expected POD express trip.

It was worth doing and I had fun – but there was one aspect that detracted from the event.  Many of the other pilots had fitted sensor boosters instead of EW to their mid slots, and almost everything the fleet ran into was alpha’d before I could fire a salvo.


I spent a lot of time in EVE today.  I moved all my trading across to my Alt, and shifted my BPO collection and minerals into the Corp.  (This prompted me to have a look at Corp roles and Container auditing.)  I picked up a set of +4 implants for my Trading Alt, and the Exhumer skill for my other Alt.  I also scanned 70+ planets for resources, setup some new PI networks, and retooled the old to target POS fuel.

At the moment I am concentrating on Robotics and Mechanical Parts.  I should have the spare capacity to also look at Coolant.  It is difficult to judge how much of a dent I will be able to make on a monthly small POS fuel bill.  I’ll start out conservatively, and hope for around 20 to 30 mil.

For each planet I scanned I selected “Show other characters’ networks”.  While it can be difficult to see the command centers, I only noticed installations on one planet.  When I first tried PI there were other player networks everywhere.  I was expecting to at least see lots of abandoned ones – so I wonder if they get cleared up if unused for a period of time, like objects in space.  I can’t recall seeing that written anywhere.


My Industry Alt made use of my Corporations standings, and created a number of jump clones today.  The idea is to have one based around my home with +4 attributes and mid-tier industry implants, plus a couple of clones with cheap implants for Cyno and scouting work.  That will take a little effort to work out what to use, and then jump between then to plug in hardware and shift them around.

If you plan on spending a lot of time in Empire, standings can make quite a difference.  Their importance however is not always obvious when you start the game – to your detriment down the track.  An overview – and a hint at their complexity can be read here:

You can view yours through the Standings tab on your Character Sheet.  You will notice they are divided into Faction, Corporation and Agent Standings, and further split between those that like you, and those that don’t.

Off the top of my head they can impact access to:

. Higher level and better quality mission agents
. Faction Warfare
. The cost of Industry jobs in stations
. Areas of space (if you have negative standings)
. Research Agents for Datacores
. Jump Clones
. Anchoring POS

The most obvious way of grinding standings is running missions.  Successfully running mission for an Agent increases you standing with them, and in turn the quality of their offers and rewards.  This in turn improves your standing gains with the NPC Corporation the agent works for.  Run enough missions of the same level for a corporation (each 16), and you will be offered a Storyline mission.  These in turn impact your NPC Faction standings.  You can read about Storyline missions here:

I find it is very slow and takes an excessive effort to grind standings.

When you gain standings with one faction, you also gain varying amounts of standings with their friends.  Conversely at the same time you lose standings with their enemies.  If you don’t want to be locked out of running missions with opposing factions, or have their NPC Police attack you when entering their space, you need to manage these relationships.  You can offset some of this by training various skills, but I have ended up with a number of mission bases with opposing factions, to try and keep things balanced.

Just as an individual has standings with NPC’s, so do Player Corporations.  Very basically, the Corporation standing is the averaged standings of its players.  The exception is if the player has no standing for that entity, then they are not included in the equation.

Reading back over that it seems too convoluted, but in some ways I like the complexity it can add to the game.  There are three main tips that come to mind –

. Combat missions give higher standing rewards than non-combat missions.

. Do not run missions that directly involve opposing factions / killing of their ships.  The standing hits are much greater than you gain from completing missions, so it can require a huge effort to “atone” for your murderous ways

.  If you don’t plan on a character having worthwhile NPC standings, then never do a mission with them.  (This includes ignoring all tutorial missions.)  My industry alt has no standings at all, aside the one tutorial agent automatically given when you start the game.  This means when she joined my corporation, she did not dilute its standings.

You do haveat least two, possibly three options to fast track standing gains:

. You can use Data Centers to hand over faction tags, and in effect “buy” standings.  Be careful, as these agents can only be used once each.  You can read the details here:

. You can use COSMOS mission areas.  Again there are limitations to how often and even in what order they need to be run.  Again the wiki provides some details:

. I am not sure – but I think the Epic Arc missions provide higher than normal standings increases:

I have used both Data Centers and COSMOS areas to good effect when grinding for standings to anchor a Hi-Sec POS.  The later were also somewhat more interesting to run than the standard missions.


Capital training on my main continues.  Repair Systems V completed, and Capital Repair Systems is in training towards rank III.  That means I will be able to run basic shield and armor tanks, depending on the Capital I am flying.  I have about a fortnight of training to get all of my current Capital skills to rank III.  I will then start on the Capital Emission and Remote Repair skills.  These will take around 9 days each to cover prerequisites and get to rank III.  My current Capital training plan in EVEMon just ticked below 365 days.

I re-opened my third account, and just completed the transfer of my Trading Alt to it.  I used her SP pool (from the removal of the learning skills) to get Hull Upgrades V.  I will spend the first couple weeks getting her into a Covert Ops Frigate.  I need to spend a little time reviewing her assets, training and implants.

To put a frame work around how I use three accounts…

My desktop is an older i7 920, running 32-bit Windows 7, a GeForce GTX 460 and 2 x 24” screens.  I have two EVE clients installed, and run them in Windowed mode.  The main client is run at 1680×1050 with almost maxed settings.  The secondary client is run at 1440×900, with slightly lower settings.  I usually don’t have an issue running the main client and two of the secondary clients at the same time.  If running the three accounts at the one time I will more commonly run two clients on the desktop, and the trade, cyno or scouting alt on my laptop.

A third account

My Trade alt joined my corporation, and I began the restructuring of my industry endeavors.  I cancelled all my personal orders, moved my stock two jumps to a busier system, and set everything up again as Corp orders.

I don’t know why it wasn’t apparent to me before, but your personal and corporation buy and sell orders are not differentiated in any way when viewed through your Wallet > Orders.  That kind of messes up what I had in mind – I might have to repeat this whole exercise and move all the orders off my main on to my Trade alt.

The reason I am holding off doing that however is that I am toying with the idea of re-opening my third account, and moving my Trade Alt over to it.  I just need to work out if my renewed EVE enthusiasm this year will last long enough to justify the expense.  Given both my primary characters can now fly capitals; it does make sense to be able to have them both use the same Cyno alt.  (Listen to me justifying it to myself…)

Oh what the hell, the exchange rate is good at the moment… here comes a 12 month subscription on a 3rd account.  Now to have my Trade Alt quit the corporation…

EVE – a time sink

I spent 4 hours in EVE this afternoon, but for the life of me I can’t really explain why it took so long to do what I did.

My main was situated in The Citadel, picking up the Caldari Dreadnought, Capital Shield Operation, Citadel Torpedoes, Citadel Cruise Missiles, and Capital Hybrid Turret skill books – so I moved him back to my main base.  In the meanwhile I moved my Alt from my temporary mission base to a new mission base, and then repeated the move for my Main.  I picked up some trade buy orders, moved some supplies around, and then noted my afternoon had passed.

EVE can be like that.

Meanwhile I am in the process of moving my PI, Trade and Hauling Alt into my main Corp.  I’ll then move my trading off of my main and onto the corp, allowing both characters to manage it.  I’m also contemplating leaving my buy orders at their current location, but moving the sales efforts a couple systems over.  Certainly not interesting to read about – but such mundane little tweaks and fine tuning reflects a growing understanding of the local markets, and just the sort of complexity that exists around even a simple industrial operation.

* Edit – just noticed this was post number 50.  The blog has so far achieved what I wanted.  I have been playing more regularly, doing more in game, and enjoying myself.

Moving Along

Capital Ships III is done, and I am working now on lots of capital skills to rank 1.  Amarr Dread & Carrier finished, Caldari Carrier and Capital industrial Ships next in queue.  Seems a while since I had added something new to my “able to fly” list.

I have only been making a trading and manufacturing effort in my region for a few weeks now.  My market orders seemed to get on top of the other two main traders in the corner I am operating out of. (They played the .01 ISK war for a day or three, but haven’t updated their orders since.)  Unfortunately after less than a week of peace someone else has arrived, in a new station, with bigger buy orders and a fair bit less margin.  I’ll play the game with them, but will need to keep a close eye on where the prices go.  There is no need to win a price war if there isn’t a profit in it at the end.

I am contemplating being a little more militant.  The other night I spent some time mapping out the POS in a system, looking for anything offline and owned by a small corp.  I might also start checking out the low sec areas near me – although that will require using a different clone.


Capital Ships III is training.  Within about 10 days I should be able to undock the Caldari and Amarr Capitals with basic Capital Armor and Shield tanks, mount appropriate Capital weapons on the Dreads and use siege, plus use fighters and drone control units.   (Nothing flash – just at rank 2 to 3, but a start.)  The Jump skills are already at IV or V (picked up for the Black Ops).  Being able to use remote cap, shield and armor transfers will take a fair bit longer, but all told the main Toon will be a little more effective in Capitals than expected at this early stage.  At least I can be on the lookout now for cheap rides on sale.

I contacted yet another CEO about recruitment – and after one slow but detailed response, I’ve heard nothing more.  Either I’m having a heap of bad luck, or I am coming across as a complete idiot.  Regardless, it has been a rather big waste of time.  I didn’t want to keep playing solo, but I might have to start making plans with that assumption.  (I know there are plenty of corps which will take anyone – but that is not what I wanted.)

I’m revisiting anchoring another high sec POS.  I am thinking about moving one of my alts into my main Corp – but will have to anchor the POS beforehand due to standings.  While I can leave it offline, I spent some time updating my POS fuel spreadsheet today.

A small POS with a couple labs will cost 110-125M a month to run at sell order prices, which is just a silly amount.  I could probably cut that down by 10 to 20% with buy orders – maybe a bit more by travelling further for the fuel, and hope that the prices will drop over time.  I do have around 6 months of fuel in storage too – which might cover whatever I actually want to do anyway.  I might also just double check how long it will take for me to mine the ICE needed, and how much I can use PI to offset the price while still in Empire.


I’ve spent 3 billion ISK over the last couple days – a small amount in the grand scheme of things, but a relatively substantial amount for me.  Some was for income generation, such as the minerals and (arguably) the Occator.

Last night I purchased myself a Rattlesnake and a mostly T2 fit for it.  I must admit this will probably just sit in my hanger, but I remember when they were as rare as hen’s teeth, and much more expensive.  I never thought the day would come when I would have one of my own.

Today I purchased a chunk of the Capital ship skills, including the big ones of Amarr Carrier, Caldari Carrier, Capital Industrial Ships and Capital Ships.  I also picked up about 60-70% of the other related skills – but need to travel further for the remaining ones.  I will be training a chunk of these to level 2/3 over the next few weeks.

I still have ISK reserves, enough to buy and fit out several Capitals – but I am going to have to consider being a little more energetic in my ISK generation, instead of relying on the slow, almost osmosis like approach I tend to follow now.

CCP released a DEV Blog on the new forum security issues.  It won’t placate the haters, but it seemed to take the right tone for me.

Here, gone, here and gone again – the new EVE Forums

When CCP announced that they were replacing their old forums I must admit I cringed inside. It just seemed to be the type of thing CCP would get wrong.  While my insight is more pessimistic than prophetic, it turned out to be accurate.

The new forum had (at least) two very basic but huge security holes in it.  The first was that once you logged in, you could modify the forum browser cookie to assume the identity of any other user, including those with moderator functions.  The second was that you could imbed code in your signature – which opened any person viewing the forums to a myriad of possible attacks. **

There is already a history of hacking and unscrupulous activities perpetrated by EVE players and those who make shady profits from the game, and every other week there is an alliance forum dump made available for public consumption.  CCP should have known that some very smart people would be looking for exploits and put a lot of extra effort into their security.  Instead they made a fundamental mess of things, with amateur mistakes which took minimal effort to find and abuse.

I like EVE.  I like CCP for producing it.  I forgive them for messing up occasionally.  But I have to just shake my head in wonder at why they make it so easy for people to troll and flame them.

** CCP released a dev blog saying the second exploit was not actually available.

Empire Occator

I picked up my Megacyte and Zydrine stocks from Amarr at a reasonable price.  Undocking in a standard hauler with a relatively valuable cargo seemed a touch risky, and knowing I will need to do this on a semi regular basis, I decided to buy an Occator Transport ship.  That only provides a marginal increase in the level of safety, but it seemed worthwhile.

The Occator have gone from around 80 to 100M ISK in price over the last few months.  I wonder if this relates to Hulkageddon?  I couldn’t find any fits I really thought a lot of, so quickly came up with the following:

[Occator, Tank 01 r]

Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Reactive Membrane II
Inertia Stabilizers II
Inertia Stabilizers II
‘Halcyon’ Core Equalizer I

10MN MicroWarpdrive II
Cap Recharger II

Improved Cloaking Device II

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
This is for moving relatively low volume but expensive items (high end minerals etc) through empire space.  I will carry 6 T2 Expanded Cargohold modules for when I need increased carrying capacity (up to 26,850m3).  I went passive modules as this ship is at highest risk upon undocking – and I didn’t want to remember to activate modules every time the ship had a session change.

This fitting…

. Carries 6,250m3
. Has 43.6K EHP
. 12.6s Align Time
. 3au Warp Speed
. Warp Strength of +3

My standard speed Exequror…

. Carries 900m3
. Has 23.4K EHP
. 6.6s Align Time
. 3au Warp Speed
. Warp Strength of +1

My standard Iteron V…

. Carries 38,433m3
. Has 6.9K EHP
. 11.5s Align Time
. 4.5au Warp Speed
. Warp Strength of +0

I assume there are much better fittings for the ship.  I might review when I have some time.

There is a market

Sometimes quiet region’s surprise you.  I put up several hundred million ISK in mineral buy orders, and within hours had almost all of it filled.  Except for the Zydrine and Megacyte – I suspect I am going to have to go further afield for that.  I expanded my manufacturing list, put up a heap of ship buy orders (generally at around 50% of manufacturing cost), and then dragged out the Iteron V and Obelisk to haul everything back to my home station.  So far there seem to only be 2 people particularly active in the same areas I am dabbling in, and no bots.  I am not sure how to explain it, but there is a level of relaxed distraction about doing such things.

Incursion 1.4

Found out why the CEO of that Corp I was interested in did not reply – he is now no longer CEO, and the Corp is having issues and no longer recruiting.  That is literally the 3rd time this year a Corp CEO or Recruiting officer has departed soon after I contacted them.  I didn’t think my introduction EVE mail was all that bad…

My main alt’s skill queue is down to around 12 days.  This is the lowest I think it has ever been, and I am scrapping the bottom of the barrel.  I just have a few rig skills and Starbase Defense Management to get from rank III to IV.  I am contemplating spending 30 days to get him into a Hulk and to be able to mine Ice.  Not because I think he ever will, but just because it’s an easy option.  I could train up his PI skills I guess – otherwise I will have to make the decision on if I start training up other racial ships, or start working on getting his T2 hull skills to rank V.

Within a week my main will be able to sit in the Rorqual, Archon, Revelation, Chimera and Phoenix capital ships.  That is about all he could do however – it would take a couple more months of training before he would be in a position to actually undock, and over a year before he could fly them reasonably…  Those skill books will make a bit of a dent in my bank balance though.  It will be nice to say (maybe later next year) that he can pilot and appropriately fit all ships in game aside from Supers.

Incursion 1.4 was released yesterday.  The obligatory x.x.1 patch is going in tonight.

Patch notes:

Incursion Patch Summary:

Nothing stood out as directly impacting my day to day running around in empire, but I will have to revisit the notes after the Incursion Features site made it sound more impressive than the Patch notes had at first appeared.


I currently have accounts active in three MMO’s.  Aside from EVE, I also play Last Chaos ( ) and Dungeons and Dragons Online ( ).

Last Chaos is a somewhat boring and visually underwhelming game that requires far too much repetitive grinding – but I keep an account because it is simplistic enough for my 5 year old son to navigate around in while I watch.

DDO is prettier and a bit more complicated than LC, but there are pretty much set builds and paths you should follow to achieve what you want in game, and your characters are a lot less effective if you step off those paths.  You are forced to join Guilds or PUGs to progress at the higher levels though, so it really doesn’t suit solo play.  You are also forced to grind quests and Raids for crafting ingredients, but otherwise there are generally enough options to go from 1st to 20th without getting too bored.  Its complexity is in getting the very best mix of equipment, buffs, enhancements and feats for your chosen character – although many of these are mapped out for you on forums and enthusiast websites.

What is interesting – and I have touched on it before in EVE, is the elitism in DDO.  It is a relatively simple game that just about anyone can be effective in with a little effort.  Sure some people carry around a perfect set of named, Green Steel and Elite equipment, but it doesn’t take much more than the ability to read and a silly amount of perseverance to get to this sort of “end game”.  And yet, people seem to have a heightened sense of what achieving that actually means.  If you are in a public raid or questing group, there can be very little patience for newbie questions or mistakes.  At the first sign that not everyone in a group is 100% competent, it is surprising the number of people who quietly drop group.  They don’t’ want the hassle.

Last night I was one of a pair of experienced healers in a Shroud run.  We were beating on Harry during the daily services restart, and lost several fighters while our heals simply lagged out.  Sure enough a number of people in the raid (who did not know us / had not run with the guild before) let loose with snide comments about our level of fail.  It is a pity you can’t exclude people from mass cures…

While EVE has more than its fair share of similar players – on a day to day basis the people you interact with seem more flexible and friendly.  I wonder if it is because the game is hugely complex, and there is no clear blue print to reach a common end game.  You can come up with your own unique skill plans and ship fittings, and be surprisingly effective.   There is also no single “I win” button – but if you think you find it, there will be someone who comes along and teaches you the counter for it.  In EVE, you are pretty much all in the same boat.

QEN 2010 Q4

March / April are generally very busy for me, lots of trips away and more visitors than usual, so my EVE time can be limited.  I’ve made no changes to my PI installations or my current manufacturing targets – and for the last week or two have just been spending 10 minutes a day on each keeping them ticking over.  Over the last couple days I’ve also been doing some hauling, collected and sold some 650+ datacores on my alt, and mineral and buy order ship purchases on my main.

I have been sitting in the recruitment channel of yet another Corp that piped my interest, but while the members in the channel have been good to chat too, I haven’t crossed paths with the CEO, and he hasn’t bothered to answer my EVE mail.  For all the efforts and due diligence put into finding corps which should fit my play style and be a reasonable home, I am getting rather fed up with that fact I don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

The EVE 2010 Q4 Economic Update has been released – available for download here –

Lots of interesting stuff, just a fraction of which includes:

. CCP has proposed that in 2011 there should be a focus on increasing ISK sinks in game in order to curb potential inflation.

. CCP may look to artificially control the price of PLEX in game to limit inflation or sudden deflation.

. Electronic attack ships are still the least flown ship in game (CCP – they are too expensive, too flimsy)

. There are more Titians being piloted than Black Ops (CCP – Black Ops are a great idea, but you haven’t got them right yet.)

. There are almost as many Tengu class strategic cruisers being flown at any one point in time than Lgeions, Lokis and Proteus combined.

. At the end of last year there were some 1,782 Super carriers and 472 Titan’s in game.

. There are records of some 292 Super carriers and 45 Titans being destroyed, plus a further 35 Super carriers and 10 Titans destroyed in build

. The price of Nocxium increased noticeably – due to reduction in supply after drone drops were changed, and with the introduction of the Noctis which needs more of it in its build

. The price of Salvage has dropped noticeably since the introduction of the Noctis

. The price of POS fuel now supplied by PI jumped 552 percent in Q4.  The resultant drop in POS use has seen the price of ICE related fuel products drop.  (The fuel cost is why I no longer run a research POS.  It just wasn’t justified for Solo use.  That is a pity, since it detracted from the interest / enjoyment in the game.