No Jita Price checking for me

I have two scouting alts. Both are trained in flying a Covert Ops and using Probes.

The primary Scout flies a Cheetah, and with current fit has a probe strength of 133 for Core and 68 for Combat.

The secondary Scout flies a Helios and has a lot less Skill points. Their current probe strength is 110 for Core and 53 for Combat.

There are practical benefits to having alts to use just for scouting.

Living in a Hi-Sec Island and also in Low-Sec introduces logistic issues. How do you move in supplies and ship out loot? Both Alts are able to scan down wormholes looking for convent links in and out of those bases. They can do this while I am busy on my Main, or it might be while I am deciding on which location I am going to base myself out of for the day.

My scout in Low-Sec tends to be logged off in space, so they can be used to check if a station is clear for my Main to safely undock.

Sometimes they will be used to scout unsafe routes, or to sit cloaked off gates watching who is passing. Sometimes they will be logged in for hours just getting an idea of who lives in and passes through a system. This is particularly useful when you are moving capital ships. Sometimes they might do minor shopping trips where they can happily wait out gate camps. If you are a PVP player hunting for targets, they have even more uses.

Having said all this – their key utility is not so much from the reconnaissance they do, but in that they release your Main character from the chore. That means you can do something more productive, or more enjoyable on your primary character.

Yesterday I moved my Primary Scout Alt out of my Hi-Sec Island home, through Low Sec, and to a Trade hub. I updated the fit on their Cheetah, grabbed rigs and tank for my Procurer, and then flew them into my new Low Sec Home.

I then logged into my Secondary Scout Alt, which was sitting in Jita acting as a price check alt. I adjusted the fit on their Helios; then flew them to my Hi-Sec Island home (again via Low Sec).

The scouts didn’t get much use when I lived only in Hi-Sec, but they will be in space much more now.

Oh – I forgot the required mining crystals and a propulsion mod option for the Procurer. I need to be much better organised.

Unpleasant wake up

I’ve not felt particularly well this week, including an unpleasant 2am intrusion on my slumber from a rather painful Migraine.

(I can hear your chorus of sympathy from here – it sounds somewhat like my wives, which tends to be in the nature of “will you die quieter”.)

I have managed to dabble a little in EVE. In my last update the new Low Sec home consisted of an Exploration Ship, an Unfitted Mining Barge, a Covert Ops and a Stealth Bomber. My Main had one jump clone in the area, and my Main Alt had two.

I undocked my Alt during a short session and scanned down two wormholes, one being an end of life Hi-Sec connection. While the location was not particularly convenient, such connections are not common enough for me to just ignore. I roused up the Main and brought in a hauler loaded with a collection of mining gear. I realised I had actually left the tanking and rig modules behind, so I set off back through the hole to collect them. Inconveniently it closed shortly afterwards.

I then did a lot of flying around to create a new jump clone for my Main, move it to Jita to plug in suitable implants for low sec exploration, then over to my staging system to grab another stealth bomber, then I flew it into my low sec home.

When I got there I realised I forgot to bring the barge’s tank or rigs again.

So now I have 4 clones across two characters, an exploration ship, a hauler, a still unfitted mining barge, one covert ops and two stealth bombers all moved in.

The area is much more workable than the last. I should be able to actually make use of the space. There are however still plenty of explorers moving through the area, and a number of pirates. One of those obviously sits on relic and data sites in hope of catching explorers.

So I have a Low-Sec home and a Hi-Sec island home, both suited to having readily available short bursts of content. I still have to decide if I want to move my central storage hub to somewhere closer to Jita, and where my Industry should be based out of. I also have to move my two scouts around – one from the Hi-Sec island into the Low-Sec home, and the other from Jita to the Hi-Sec island. It is useful being able to scout for suitable transport links to and from those areas without having to jump clone in one of my mains.

The low down

Last week was very busy and I had few opportunities to log into EVE. On the weekend my wife and I left our kids with their Grandparents, and had a couple nights away to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary.

This would normally be a great opportunity to get some uninterrupted EVE time in. No, before you say anything, just let me explain. I awake at around 6am, so my wife actively encourages me to quietly play EVE or some other such activity on my laptop while she sleeps in. (This is the sort of thinking which helps a marriage last.)

The only problem was the mobile internet access was dismal. I literally had to hang the access point out the window to manage to get even the weakest of signals. I did log in and check over some ship fittings, but I couldn’t undock. As such today was the first time since my last post that I spent any time pottering around in space.

I’ve had to give up on my original Genesis Low Sec home – it was just too busy to do much in. I spent a lot of time looking at the stats in Dotlan, trying to pick a better area deeper into Low Sec. After reconnaissance of various spots I ended up back in Genesis, but in a different constellation. I moved my gear out of the old home and into a staging system. I’ve got a few ships into the new location, but it will take me a while to get everything in I want. It will probably require a convenient wormhole or two, or possibly stocking up and jumping in one of my carriers. Today I spent time moving a second Jump Clone into the area for my Main Alt. While I prefer my solo play, I was thinking the logistics of living further away from Hi-Sec would be easier if I was in a Player Corp.

Love Me Two Times

So I am back to only running two EVE accounts. Does this make me less of an EVE player?

Account 1
Main (145M SP)
Secondary Industry Alt (13M SP)
Secondary Scout Alt (4M SP)

Account 2
Main Alt (136M SP)
Primary Industry Alt (42M SP)
Primary Scout Alt (21M SP)

This seems to allow the optimum pairings.

There are three main negatives for me. The first is a lack of Price check alts. I’ve moved the secondary scout into Jita in the short term, but I expect she will end up in either my Low Sec home or Hi-Sec Island home. The second is that I can’t move both my Capitals at the same time now, although I am not currently using them anyway. Third is the loss of the extra training queue. My Main Alt will likely fall further behind in the SP tally. There is of course always PLEX to open up dual training when required.

I just finished the last step this evening. I updated all the API’s for EVEMon, EFT, JEveAssets, pyfa and so on.

Still a tad grumpy at myself for having lost the EveHermit toon. Still no response to the Petition either.


*Edit* CCP did respond, and without me asking refunded one of the transfer fees. That was unexpected.  Apparently they are more forgiving of stupidity out of the game than in!

Saving money wrong

I had a moment of stupidity on the weekend which I shouldn’t really admit to. My subscription on the third account is just about to run out. I only had one last step to finalise my move to two accounts, and that was one last character transfer.

I organised that on the weekend. The emails came through showing my credit card had been charged and an email each from the source and target accounts. I glanced at them and realised I had transferred the wrong character. I have no idea how I made the mistake. I lodged a petition feeling rather foolish – but CCP did not respond and the transfer went through.

I was now in a bit of a bind – I am running out of time on the third account to get the proper transfer done. So I had to biomass the moved character, and after it went, initiate the transfer again for the right character. CCP still hasn’t responded to the petition (maybe you shouldn’t transfer characters on the weekend), so I assume my money is lost.

Annoyingly I had to get rid of my EveHermit toon. I had wanted to leave it on the unsubscribed account – and had spent $20USD moving it there. Then I spent a further $20USD moving it again by mistake, then having to immediately Biomass it. As I said, I shouldn’t really admit to such stupidity.

Day 10 – No sugar and no spice

I’ve done enough hauling, Hi-Sec exploration and mining of late, so I clone jumped back to my Loki. It was time to traipse through wormholes again.



I’m in Hirizan, Genesis, not far from where I have a cache of assets. I ignore them and scan down the two signatures in system. Both are K162 Wormholes, both look like C1 or C2. I pick one.


J151348 – C2

I exit the wormhole in a shimmering bubble. There are lots more Warp Disruption bubbles on scan, along with a Velator, Drake, and 9 Signatures.

I make a safe and launch probes. While I work a Stratios appeared on scan and stays there. With no probes launched and a lack of cloaking, I presume it is a local and is sitting at a POS. After a while the Velator dropped off scan. I probe down 2 new wormholes out of the 8 signatures. A C1, and a C4 or C5.

The Stratios goes off scan as I go to check out the C1.


J113434 – C1

There are five Haulers, a Thrasher, Loki and Hurricane on scan – along with some 14 POS and 2 Force Fields. I use D-Scan to find the ships in the two active POS, all unmanned. I checked the remaining POS for anything of value anchored around them, but find nothing. There are three new wormholes in amongst the 9 signatures, A C1 (End of life) and two Null.


JPL-RA, Greater Wildlands

The first Null connection drops me not far from the infamous E01-IK. Someone passes through the system while I am there, but it is otherwise quiet enough for me to shot some rats, just because I can. There is only one wormhole in this system – the one I came through. I return.


1TG7-W, Insmother

Pretty sure I’ve never been in this region before. It looks quiet. I shoot more rats while checking for other wormholes. I find one to a C5, but I don’t feel like visiting. Given the statistics suggest not many people are about, I decide to jump through a few systems. I find no one else.


R959-U – Insmother
4 signatures, no wormholes


6BJH-3 – Insmother
0 signatures


5-2PQU – Insmother
2 signatures, no wormholes


7-JT09 – Insmother
1 Signature, no wormholes


2JT-3Q – Insmother
2 Signatures, one C3 wormhole, which I take


J110121 – C3
A less than detailed check finds 8 POS, 3 Force Fields, 2 Mobile Depots, 2 Imicus and 1 Noctis. It looks like yet another quiet system, but thoughts of further exploration are put aside as Real Life calls.

I return after a long break, finding an extra Buzzard on scan, but otherwise still no life. There’s only 1 Wormhole when I scanned down the 5 signatures, leading to somewhere in Minmatar space.


Heild – Molden Heath

I scan down an extra C3 wormhole, but I’ve got a niggling headache so I decide I might make a run for Hi-Sec and dock up. I jump to the next system.


Bosena – Molden Heath

The infamous home of Sugar Kyle’s Low Sec Market ( ). I wave quietly from the cockpit of my Loki, but it doesn’t appear that she is home. I note there are a lot of people moving about this area – a few obvious pirates, but mostly explorers. I jump out of Low Sec.


Teonusude – Molden Heath

The system is oddly full of pilots. I dock up and rest my head.

The last couple forays into the unknown have been sedate. So much so I forgot to be anxious when moving between systems. I am certainly getting to see systems I would not otherwise have probably ever visited. The ratting did highlight the DPS on this ship is still a bit substandard. I might revisit the fitting again.  I did not remark – but I did spend a bit of time in each system looking for offline POS and where each ship was.



Latest Trip Count – 11 sessions, 40 Empire Systems, 74 Wormholes, 13 Null Systems, 8 Low Sec System, 1 kill

Day 9 – No one home

(This particular session happened some time ago.)

It is the last day of my holidays and I am planning to leave my main logged in all day to help EVE break out of its plateaued average user count. (I’m ignoring the fact there were already 48K online.)

My Loki was still in the Low Sec system of New Eden. There’s another young Capsuleer in system with me but he appears to be cloaked. Then I remember to change D-Scan from 5 to 360 degrees and see he is actually in a shuttle.

I launch probes to look for the single signature in system. A couple sweeps later and I am sitting off a Wormhole to unknown space. It seems unnecessary but I check the local pilot’s killboard for any Wormhole history, but there is none. I suspect the shuttle is probably not a scout. I suspect I probably didn’t really need to check. I step through the hole.



There are three towers and one force field on scan. I am in warp to a Customs Office when my daughter arrives. It is going to be a long day of interruptions. I slow boat off the POCO in a random direction and walk away from EVE for 20 minutes.

The system is a C1 with a Low Sec Static. There has been no recent activity and no ships are on scan. The two offline POS in range have lots of modules around them, but nothing you would loot. The other POS is at a Planet III, which has 11 moons. D-Scan shows it up on Moon 10. I started my D-Scan check at Moon 1. I must remember to start from the highest moon instead. I bounce off another moon before warping to the POS. It is called ATLANTIS. Unique.

There are another 2 Planets outside of D-Scan range. The first – Planet V, has two more POS without force fields – or modules. Planet VI has no moons, but I bounce off it to make a safe.

Back at the safe I launch probes – only to realise there is a mobile deport on scan. I swap my core probes for combat probes and 3 sweeps later I have its location. It has 24 days left of life, and is for a pilot not apparently associated with the hole. For interest sake I see how long it takes to put it into reinforce mode. 6 volleys of my 220mm it seems. I don’t envision being back in 48 hours to finish off the job – it was just for the amusement value.

I return to my safe to scan, but am interrupted by my 4 year old daughter (gee this was an old post, she is now 5), asking me to draw the crafting layout for a breastplate in Minecraft, because she had forgotten. Drawing done I start scanning. I find the inbound wormhole and 3 gas sites.

Ok – nowhere further to go. This was a short trip.

I return back to New Eden and jump across to the system of Promised Land.


Promised Land, Genesis

There are 3 signatures with two wormholes. Using, Penny suggests one is to a C2, and the other a C3. I check out the C2.



There is nothing on scan and no recent activity. Warping around I find a POS with 20+ warp disruption bubbles anchored around it and a piloted Astero within its shield. It is in a lazy orbit.

I then go AFK for almost an hour to (my notes say) chat to my wife and have a shower. When I return the Astero is still piloted and still circling the control tower.

I move off and scan down the 5 signatures in system, two Gas sites I ignore, the inbound hole, a C2, and a C3. Not wanting to change my pattern, I go check out the C2.



There is no activity in the system as I warp around to find one online POS on Planet III Moon 1, and an offline POS around Planet IX. (I don’t pin point it as there are no modules in space worth looting.)

I scan down the 7 signatures. Two gas and one data site are ignored, which leaves the inbound, what looks like an end of life C6, a C1 and Hi-Sec (looks like Domain) holes. I check out the Hi-Sec hole first.


Horir, Domain

There is only one signature in this system, so I return back the way I came. Next I try the C1.



There is a POS to search out and 10 signatures to scan. The POS is on a planet with 21 moons. I start searching from Moon 1 and don’t find it until Moon 21. That’s what happens when you fail to take your own advice. The POS is packed full of resistance mods and no weaponry at all. A form of Dickstar. The owning Corp has 28 members, but none appear to be around.

Probing flushes out four gas sites, 2 data, and 4 wormholes. The inbound from the C2, one that looks to be a C1, and two to Hi-Sec, one I expect Minmatar space, the other Lonetreck.


Vorsk, Metroplois

I was right with the first Hi-Sec hole being to Minmatar space. There is only the one signature in this very busy system, and I just stepped through it. I return after waiting a bit of time for polarisation to clear and check out the second Hi-Sec hole.


Isseras, Loneteck

Again I was right with the location. I’m only 4 jumps from Jita but have nothing I need to buy. There is again only one signature in this, again, very busy system. I return after allowing polarisation to clear and go check out the C1 hole.



There are several online POS in system with a couple of ships around them. The Ship name formats look familiar, and when I look closer I realise I have a safe spot bookmarked in the system. I’ve been here before, back in 2012. While Dotlan reports recent activity, I don’t notice anyone sitting in a ship or flying about. This has been a particularly quiet run through Wormhole space.

There are only two signatures, the inbound and an outbound to Hi-Sec, which I step through.


Rayeret, Kador

This system is actually on the border with Genesis, and close to my low sec home. I want to rest up, but there are no stations here. I use a gate.


Hirizan, Genesis

I dock up and go offline.


With interruptions this session took several hours.  The actual scanning part of these trips is relatively swift, but checking out POS and for piloted ships really adds to the time you spend in each system.



Latest Trip Count – 10 sessions, Visited 39 Empire Systems, 71 Wormholes, 4 Null Systems,6 Low Sec System; 1 kill

Storm clouds and a moment of cool

Sugar Kyle remarked on there being a lot of negativity about EVE going around at the moment:

I would agree with her.

I hope this blog isn’t coming across as overly gloomy, or being considered to be in the naysayers camp. I am in a pretty happy place when it comes to EVE, and I have been for quite a while. The last time I remember feeling a strong pessimism towards the game was with Incarna and the static picture of the door. I hope even my negative observations are taken in the right context.

I did remark a number of times that I was somewhat disappointed at the lack of a real wow announcement at Fanfest. Part of that view was selfish. It has been a while since I’ve felt that “I can’t wait” excitement with a change to EVE. Part of that wish was altruistic. I was getting the vibe that players in general probably needed such a boost.

When I get some time I plan to watch the Fanfest presentations I missed on Youtube.  I might pick up the more positive vibe that the attendees seemed to have:


The other day I remarked on TurAmarth at a Carbon Based Life writing an open letter to CCP, asking where Non Null-Sec players fit into the future of EVE. I remarked myself in a post here that I thought it was important that CCP throw the poor old Solo player a bone occasionally.

TurAmarth was answered by none other than CCP Seagull herself, Senior Producer of EVE Online. You can read the full reply here:

He was justifiably quite chuffed. I thought it was very cool.

Man with a Van

The Industry updates have been delayed by 6 weeks. They should now be delivered with the Crius release in late July. That is probably a good thing. I read some of the feedback threads and the myriad of special exceptions and cases in how Industry is run was mind boggling. Best to minimise the number of mistakes in such a big change.

CCP Seagull also remarks on the change of release schedule, the benefits, and how it was now possible to delay one aspect of the release without holding up everything else.

I cannot emphasis enough the importance of reading Dev Blogs if you are a Solo EVE player. You cannot rely on your Corp mates or Leadership to filter out the important bits, or to tell you what adjustments you need to make. Even more importantly – these changes can often directly drive your activities in game. Aimlessness helps kill Solo play.

Now – you would think after my recent foray into the EVE-Haul-it business that I would have had enough of moving things, but I have a thought niggling away at the back of my mind. Maybe I should move my home system?

My current location is no longer the quiet backwater it once was, and at 16 jumps from Jita it becomes a hassle to just do a quick shopping trip. There are some systems in Kador and Tash-Murkon that are slightly off the beaten path, and cut 3 to 5 jumps off that distance from Jita. I might even consider areas in Domain, although dabbling in the regional market is far more difficult. There are also some systems in the Bleak Lands which while only a jump or two closer to Jita, allow the option to step into Low Sec when I want to play around with manufacturing there.

Maybe I subconsciously enjoyed the slow pace of flying a freighter..

Warp Drive Active

Regular commenters will have put one and one together and understood the source of the generous in-game gift I remarked on the other day. You can understand why it was received with sadness.

It has taken me a couple of days to get my head around it. I tend to be self-contained and self-sufficient, so (justifiably) I am not usually the target of generosity. In fact I make an effort not to have to rely on others, so I feel a fair measure of awkwardness when I am on the receiving end of kindness or assistance.

(There are so many reasons why I play this game Solo..)

When I cast aside my complicated thoughts, I am left with just an overriding appreciation at the thoughtfulness of the gesture.

My first objective is to consolidate the gift into the one location. This has a number of benefits:

. It allows me to understand what’s there
. It makes it easier for me to coordinate any projects it generates
. It is easier to separate it from my normal monthly reports
. If the pilot decides to re-sub one day, it is easier to return

(And to be completely honest, I have a thing for having everything in its place and neat..)

To that end I shuffled around my corporate hangers to free up a division and renamed an unused wallet. Then I set about collecting everything.

The process resulted in me breaking the record for the most hours logged in at one sitting (14 hours), and the most hours spent logged in over 24 hours (18 hours). I have made (literally) hundreds of jumps in Haulers of all descriptions, T1, T2, Orca’s, Freighters, my tanked Exequors and even a few Noctis. Balancing volumes, values, empty outbound AFK trips and manually flown returns. I haven’t quite finished, but I am nearly there.

There is something inherently interesting about getting a glimpse into how another player lived. There was admiration at the scale of operation a solo player is capable of; familiarisation with the OCD necessary to collect, research and sort so many Blueprints and their copies; and a slight unease when wondering why one person would own quite so many Amarrian Haulers.

As an aside – with all my travels backwards and forwards, I actually saw 4 different Covert Research sites in the space of a few hours. However every time I did so I was in a hauler.

I am going to have plenty to try when the Industry changes go live. As I mentioned the gift will also fund solo expeditions and experiments that I would not have otherwise been able to justify. The first will likely be a few months’ worth of POS fuel to allow me to fully check out that aspect of the Industry update.

I purchased one of these to help with the move.

Only to find one of these in the collection.  I had plenty of time admiring both of them in space.

In space and an unexpected legacy

The extortionist has been hanging around the home system. There hasn’t been any follow up on the inane local banter, but his continued presence ensures a little more care is taken.

I’ve run around doing some hauling – collecting all the Isotopes I purchased to soften the impact of the proposed 50% increase in Capital Jump costs.

I remarked a while ago that I needed to get my Jump Clones sorted for my Main Alt. I managed to start that process with the first of his PVP clones done. This involved a trip to Jita and back. For all the options you have on what and where you plug things in, there were relatively few that made economic sense. I ended up with +2 attribute implants across slots 1 to 5, plus

EE-602 – +2% CPU (for fitting)
SS-902 – +2% All Turret Damage
Siege Warfare Mindlink (Boosts shield based Warfare Links)

Unless you were particularly skilled, or flew in particularly skilled gangs, it seemed the cost increase between each tier of skill hardwire implant quickly made them too exorbitant for the average pilot to use.

I also purchased a Sleipnir for use with this clone, and gave it a basic fit.

[Sleipnir, Basic PVP Boost]
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Co-Processor II

10MN Afterburner II
Warp Disruptor II
Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 150
Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 150
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Skirmish Warfare Link – Interdiction Maneuvers II
Siege Warfare Link – Shield Harmonizing II
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M

Medium Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer II
Medium Anti-Explosive Screen Reinforcer II

Hobgoblin II x5

With implants and related boosts it has 59K EHP, short term active tank of 1604dps, and does 729dps.

Last of all I had an unexpected and substantial in-game gift. It came from a player that was mothballing their clones with no solid expectation of returning. Knowing they won’t be in the game brings a sense of loss. I’ll be storing it in a way that facilitates its easy return should they ever decide to play again. In the short term it will be the source of plenty of blog posts once the industry changes go live. In the long term it will fund expeditions and in game experiments I might not have otherwise been able to justify. I hope as custodian of this legacy that it generates plenty of in game content.

Do you belong here?

Obviously the focus of this blog is on playing EVE Solo. This approach tends to be maligned – including at times by CCP. If you take it personally it can be rather disheartening.

Luckily for me I’m stubborn and objectionable, so despite the slurs, I continue to play the game how I want to, and get a lot of enjoyment out of doing so.

I know through reading other blogs and the comments here that a lot of other people also play EVE the same way. They do this for a wide variety of very valid reasons.

This year during Fanfest I was hoping for something new to do in the game that was accessible to the solo player. I’m not talking about something focused on us – just something we could access. Aside exploring the use of the T2 Prospector frigate, there wasn’t much. In fact, there were a couple of slides and comments from CCP which pointedly classed Solo players as not likely to stay around, not being involved in the world, and not really adding content to it.


TurAmarth at a Carbon Based Life was prompted to write an open letter to CCP asking where Non Null-Sec players fit into their vision for the future, if at all.


Ripard Teg also posted about one of the more interesting slides I saw during Fanfest. It suggested that of the new players that subscribed, 50% left the game after a short period of time. I’m guessing 1 to 3 months. Of those who subscribed for longer, 80% follow a solo pattern of play, and 20% joined groups and had a diverse experience within the game.

CCP did not say specifically, but the indication was that the Solo players tended not to stay long term. I’ll guess than means for 3 to 12 months. The players who had a diverse experience in the game tended to become long term players – I’m guessing again at more than 12 months.

So CCP are keeping 10% of new subscribers for a year or more, and it appears this is where a lot of their development efforts are directed. Their solution to increase this retention level is to try and get more Solo players to join groups.

The obvious question is – why not look at supporting solo play and keeping these players around for longer? I am not suggesting some utopic theme park where solo players are left alone. I am talking about encouraging this solo group to be more diverse. Given them more in game options, and access to more content. Think about solo play when you add new functionality to the game – look to scale it so that it is accessible at different levels by solo / small group / corporation / alliance and coalitions. Think about all the ways you can encourage (instead of force) interaction between all these player groups.

This is not about changing the development of EVE to concentrate on Solo play. This is leaving room for solo play in your general development.

What approach would end up with more long term subscriptions?

Make all or Break all

During Fanfest CCP remarked that they would like players to be able to build and destroy every asset in game. This is not a new thing.

If my views in the previous post are correct, less than half of EVE players salivate at the thought, while more than half shift uncomfortably.

I want to start off by saying that I believe this could actually be a worthwhile addition to the game. I am not expecting some destructive free for all where I need to worry about PL destroying my Hi-Sec Station, or the Goons locking out every Stargate into Jita. I presume the full mechanics will only be available in this new space we have been promised, with limited or watered down influences through current space.

If you want to stake a claim for yourself in this new environment, you will have to accept the new rules.

Let’s start simple, and assume it will be a version of Null-Sec where gates and stations have to be made by players, wormholes access it, and capital ships can jump in and out. With that premise, who will populate this new world where everything needs to be built, and everything can be destroyed?

As a solo, casual player – it is out of my reach. I might be able to visit, assuming I can slip in and out, but I doubt I would be able to afford or defend any sort of permanent claim.

What about the Hi-Sec / Carebear Corporations who might suddenly have access to space not under the iron grip of the current coalitions? Assuming they can afford the price of admission, I would expect some groups to make a move. These will mostly be the builders I discussed in my last post. What happens when they have their new sandcastle kicked over and lose everything? Would there be a second sandcastle, or a third? I don’t think this new world is for them.

What about the Low-Sec inhabitance and Pirate groups? They would be more capable of fighting, but will they want to be tied down to defending an asset floating in space? Would they want to fight a long, grinding war of attrition against much larger forces? Currently they can park in NPC stations that no one can force them out of. They might visit and dabble in this new world order, but I don’t think this is for them either.

What about the Faction Warfare pilots? Unless there is some NPC mechanic where factions support or reward them for staking claims to new systems, I presume they will just be amongst the groups who only visit.

What about the Wormholers? They would have the resources, experience, tenacity and fight to stake claims in unexplored territory. But how are they going to go without the protective structure provided by wormhole access rules? How will they manage against the current Null-Sec blobs? Again they might visit and dabble, but I don’t think this is for them.

What about the NPC Null-Sec inhabitance? Well – again, they might dabble, but they are in NPC Null-Sec because they don’t want the hassle of system ownership and its defense, or they are not strong enough to be in Null-Sec.

So, this wild and totally player driven space will likely only be for the current Null-Sec inhabitance. Some will be controlled by Alpha breakers, who rent the space out. Some will be controlled by Alpha builders in huge coalitions. If we are really lucky, we might end up with some Providence style areas on the fringes, mostly worthless and allowed because it amuses the others.

I would expect the hurdles that keep current players out of Null-Sec will be even higher in this new space. Everything you move in and plant can be destroyed. Nothing is safe. There would be very few groups of builders who could confidently defend themselves.

To be honest it doesn’t make much sense for CCP to go this way with new space. Even with small changes they could really mix things up – not allowing Capitals to jump in and out for example, or having it so that wormholes never open there. This was more an exercise in thinking who would really make permanent use of space where nothing was safe. The answer is probably not that many could.

Make or Break

(I apologise in advance for my amateur and unsubstantiated psychology.)

Simplistically, I feel people in EVE tend to be either builders or breakers. I know there are variations, but most fall into having a long term preference towards either accumulation or destruction.

When you consider the activities and population spread of players, there are likely to be more builders (by a fair margin) in EVE than breakers.

Obviously the builders are more likely to be labelled Carebears or prey, while the breakers are more likely to be labelled PVP’ers or hunters.

These two groups tend to complain about each other.

Generally it takes longer to build something in EVE than it takes to break it. What that means is that when a builder suffers loss, it can seem to them that the effort of the breaker was disproportionately small in comparison to their own.

Meanwhile in many ways the game is easier for a smart builder than it is for a smart breaker. This leaves some breakers frustrated that their targets can avoid them and remain out of reach.

I think EVE works best when there is a balance between these two groups. Breakers challenge builders, making success more rewarding. Remove breakers, and you end up with a stale game. Builders give breakers something to, well, break. Remove builders –by allowing their sandcastles to be kicked over too easily and too frequently and you end up with a more hostile and dynamic game – but with I strongly suspect less than half the players.

I often smile to myself when I see people from each group wanting to eradicate the other, without any apparent comprehension of the synergy between themselves, and how it helps make EVE what it is.


] xx > tsk tsk
] xx > miners without a license…. what´s this?
] xx > do you know how dangerous it is to mine without the mandatory license?

It is unusual to see any talk in local of my home system, so I noticed when lines started to flow in the chat window. The pilot then posted links to a couple of recent mining barge kills.

I did a quick check of his and his Corp’s killboard and war history. They were indeed War-Dec’ing Mining Corps in the area, and getting the occasional barge kill. They also lost plenty of ships and did not appear to be that much of a threat.

] xx > this is what happens….
] Me > Does that actually work for you xx?
] xx > yes it does
] Me > wow – people are more stupid than I realised
] xx > I either get isk or killmails, both of them good enough for me 🙂

He then linked to a catalyst kill mail of his, destroyed by Concord, suggested we needed to be fearful of him suicide ganking. I had already seen his kill history, and noticed that while Concord had killed him numerous times this year, he didn’t seem to be especially successful at it.

I tried to alluded to that without being overly blunt, but he forged on in

] xx > you´ve been warned, don´t cry when you get blown up 🙂
] Me > u almost make me want to mine

He then indicated he would be afk for a while, and when he returned he would reward anyone stupid enough to still be here with a war. I suggested he could feel free to war Dec my Alliance, but it unfortunately didn’t happen. It would have been nice helping my Carebear brothers by taking up some of the time and resources this extortionist.

Fanfest from afar 4

I managed to watch the first 3 segments from the Saturday fanfest live stream before having to go to bed after midnight.

Coaching Them Up in New Eden
Making EVE Valkyrie a Full Game
More Sand in the Box for DUST 514

As with yesterday, that was all that fell into my time zone and availability. I was reminded again while watching these just how much information can be imparted, and even the importance of seeing the nuances in delivery yourself. In hindsight I probably should have paid for the Twitch stream, just to watch some of the segments for myself later. I’ll have to wait for them to reach YouTube.

The first session was interesting, and talked about EVE performance monitoring and where they think they will get substantial improvements from targeted code rewrites. (I do a lot of performance monitoring and tuning as part of my job.)

The EVE Valkyrie panel was an equal part interesting, and an equal part worrying. VR development is markedly different than anything else, and the process has been one of new discoveries for them. They used the example of standard MMO maps with straight forward primary and secondary paths with set chokepoints, and noted that does not really apply to VR. It was interesting, but I got the (strong) impression they had something that visually worked, but were struggling to find the right balance and mechanics to have a game people would want to play thousands of times over.

The last session I watched was on DUST514, and might have been even more worrying for those who play. They discussed sandbox areas and freeform roaming and resource gathering with NPC interactions and the like. The sort of things I might blow the cobwebs off my own Dust account for and try, since I didn’t like the fact there was no real training ground to get started in. But it was all talk, and nice ideas, but it seemed clear there were no concrete plans behind any of them. The presenter did remark on who doesn’t like killing Australians – which got some laughs. I’m not sure what we ever did to him.

So I once again slept through the panels I was interested in, The Industry one, CCP Presents, Deploying pluggable space things etc.

Big congrats to Sugar Kyle and Mike Azariah  for getting onto CSM9. Great to see.

The initial feedback from attendees was that this was a better than average fanfest that they really enjoyed – but I guess you had to be there. I was really hoping for something dynamically new to look forward to in the immediate future, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t get it. **

(** I am not hugely disappointed or bitter or angry.  I look forward to plenty of the up and coming changes.  I was just hoping for one of those “I can’t wait” features.  It’s been too long since the last one.)

Fanfest from afar 3

I’ve been reading through the blogs and EVE New sites for details of what was announced on the second day of Fanfest, particularly the Keynote. What I’ve been looking for are things that might impact my play style for better or worse, and new things to look forward to in game.

The goal of more frequent releases means a steady flow of changes in the game to adjust to. (I often spend a lot of time in game adapting to these.) We almost have that already with the regular major point releases, and I think it could work out ok. It requires CCP to have long term goals, disciplined development, and careful reiteration, which I think over the last couple years they have proven they are capable of.

Freighters and Jump Freighters will be rebalanced, including having the ability to fit rigs. While I don’t fly either hull type at the moment, I do like that they will get rig slots. That should have been done a long time ago.

Transports and Blockade Runners are also being improved. I have a number of such ships in my various hangers, so I expect I’ll need to review their fittings. With the various flexible T1 Industrials available, the Transport in particular is rarely flown.

With the previously mentioned mining hull changes (more fittings to be reworked), the last of the Industry hull related changes will be the addition of a T2 Venture, called the Prospect. This will be able to fit a Covert Ops Cloaking device, have 10K m3 Ore bay, and improved mining capabilities. CCP also mentioned that they would be making more Null sec ores available in Low Sec. (I presume in small volume). Depending on the hull cost, it seems like it could be perfect for Ninja mining. I’ve been saying for a long time that if you want to encourage Carebears out of Hi-Sec you need to give them the appropriate tools and the appropriate rewards for it. This is in line with what I was thinking. Now that it is on the horizon though I have the sudden fear – even realisation, it probably won’t modify the game style of many players.

There will be 3 new Pirate Faction ships – a Frigate, Cruiser and Battleship for Mordus Legion. I presume after time and rebalancing they will end up in the price brackets and with the usage pattern of the other Pirate combat hulls. The ships look interesting.

Garmur Frigate

Orthus Cruiser

Barghest Battleship

The Condor, Moa and Typhoon are getting hull redesigns. Each looks an improvement over the old. You shouldn’t underestimate the effect visuals have. I’ve been flying a skinned Caracal Nugoeihuvi Edition around Hi-Sec Anoms the last week just because I like the look of it.

I thought I also saw reference to the Orca and Rorqual to be rebalanced down the track to encourage them into the belts (encourage or forced), Stealth Bombers (interesting ships but very hard to fit at times), Recons (my favorite hull type) and T3. I can’t find where I saw that however – so don’t know how far into the future this work is.

Throw in some expected performance improvements, the already announced Industry changes, sound changes and different looking space assets, new ship skins, and I think that just about sums up the short term for EVE.

I am not trying to be negative here – and I would have missed plenty of what was announced, but there really doesn’t seem to be any game changing wow in any of this.

Dracken did remark here –

..that the future should involve ship customisation (work in progress), Corporation and Alliance overhaul (next), POS, Stations and Starbases, Sovereignity and Warfare, Stargate construction and control, and finally new space, new rules, new worlds.

I think some of those areas are well overdue to be re-worked. CCP also suggest it all sets the groundwork for future additions to the game. That is all well and good – but after years of iteration behind us, we now have years of iteration in front of us before anything really new will be available.

Oh well, it could have been worse, I could have been a Dust fan.

Fanfest from afar 2

I’m meant to be elbows deep in database reorgs at the moment, but I am stuck waiting for the overnight processing to complete, so figured I’d blog.

I managed to watch the first three segments of the Friday Fanfest live stream last night

From Evidence to Bans
New Player Experience Vision
DUST 514 Keynote

I then had to go to bed. This morning, in between getting breakfast for my kids I got to watch around half of

EVE of Destruction

As you can see – I slept through the more interesting stuff. The security team presentation was interesting as always. I think one of the key bits for me was that they do not have valid or up to date contact information for a surprisingly large percentage of players. The vision of the new Player Experience was actually more interesting than expected. If you play across multiple areas / professions of EVE, you are more likely to stay longer term. Only 5 to 10% of new players who pay for some length of subscription time end up playing that way. I’m a fan of the tool tip improvements CCP have been making, and expanding on that while also giving new players clearer direction on what is possible without enforced structure could work out well. I was surprised that CCP Rise was so enthused by it. Last of all the DUST keynote wasn’t about DUST at all – instead saying they are on the way to developing EVE Legion, or DUST for the PC. I get the impression the DUST Console players were less than pleased.

Last of all the wresting segment this morning – which I had already written off as lame, was actually half entertaining.

Damn – looks like the process queues are empty, so time for me to get to work.

I’ll blog more later, but I think Dracken is doing a great job posting about being on the ground at fanfest:

Ugleb is another person who is doing a good job giving an overview of the announcements.

Keeping In Touch

I had a phone call the other day from an x-colleague. It’s been more than a decade since we last worked together, but he always makes a point of calling a couple times a year for a chat. I guess you could call it networking, but I think he’s just the type who makes an effort to maintain acquaintances.

I’ve been working in IT for 20 years now. It is a job where you generally don’t leave a lasting, tangible legacy of your work. The IT related systems you administer or play a part in creating almost always end up obsolete, updated, replaced, or disappear as companies close. You don’t end up with something physical that you helped build or design. In many ways the only thing that remains after a long career in IT are the human connections that you manage to maintain.

EVE is a little bit like that. Once you close down your accounts and walk away there will be nothing tangible left. You might have an account name or three on a monument in Iceland, and if you were particularly devious or charismatic there might be references to you in a source book, wiki page or comic.

For most of us however the only residue legacy of our time in EVE will be any friendships that spread to outside of the game and continued after you dock for the last time. This is one area where I have to admit Solo / Hermit play probably doesn’t turn out so well.

Fanfest from afar

So Fanfest 2014 is up and running and I’ve been reading blog posts coming out of Reykjavik and caught bits and pieces on CCP’s Twitch Channel. I’m a touch envious of those in attendance, although if I was to be honest with myself, I’m not sure I would enjoy being there. I dislike travelling, crowds, hype, and frankly even just being out of my comfort zone.

I’m a hermit for a reason.

I thought seriously about using a PLEX to purchase the CCP Fanfest HD Stream package, but in the end my schedule this weekend and time zone differences meant I wouldn’t be able to make the most of it. I’ll have to wait for sessions to hit Youtube and the flurry of Dev Blogs and Media releases post Fanfest.

I was disappointed to hear 2 of the 6 new hulls suggested at were indeed Alliance Tournament prize ships. Frankly those are not new hulls. They are not even exciting, aside for a few rich collectors and the handful of Alliances in with a serious chance of winning the Tournament.

There hasn’t seemed to be anything too exciting raised so far.  I am not trying to be negative, but at the back of my mind I’ve been feeling that EVE has had too much iteration over the last few years, and not enough new “wow” moments.  I’ve been hoping CCP announce something this year which really get people enthused.  (And Dust and Valkyrie announcements are not what I am talking about.)