The wrong way

Talvorian Dex wrote a post on the Target Caller blog giving an overview of what Newbies should know about EVE.

Point 6 was that there was no right way to play EVE, but there was a wrong way. The wrong way was to try to do it solo.

I shouldn’t really argue this point since my very own blog byline is “Focused on playing EVE the wrong way”, but I think this view can catch out and ostracise a small but otherwise viable group of players.

So for those who want or need to fall into the dreaded category of solo EVE players, here are some thoughts.

. The argument that EVE is an MMO so you shouldn’t play solo makes no sense. It is impossible to play EVE in total isolation from your fellow players. The moment you undock – someone else has the opportunity to interact with you. When you mine or rat or do exploration, you are competing for resources against other players. When you do almost anything on the market, you are interacting with other players. You are part of this MMO if you fly solo or in a 20,000 man coalition.

. Not everyone is suited to being a member of an EVE Player corporation. You may not find the social aspects of the game comfortable or enjoyable, or you might not be able to meet the requirements of the type of Corporation you would find value in. If your EVE time is restricted, you might not appreciate having your training time, ISK expenditures, and in game activities dictated to by others.

. While not all aspects of the game are open to you flying solo, most are. The Executive Producer of EVE (CCP Seagull) has stated numerous times that she supports varied and interesting solo and small group play styles.

. Statistically you are less likely to stick around playing EVE solo than in a player corporation. It doesn’t mean it is impossible, it just means you have to work harder at the game. There are many well-known and successful solo EVE players.

So there is a place for you here.

Once here I think there are three key aspects of being a successful solo player in EVE.

. First, embrace the fact that while you might fly solo, you are not playing the game alone.

. Second, be aware of the community. Follow CCP on Facebook and Twitter, read the DEV blogs, find yourself a number of Fan sites to read, and if your fortitude is strong enough, follow the News sites or forums. I can’t see how you would last long term in the game if you did not keep yourself informed about what was going on. It makes the game much richer.

. Third, maintain a long and ever updated list of goals and things to do in game. The previous suggestion helps you do that. Aimlessness kills your EVE experience.

I think it is as simple as that.

Icon changes

One of the changes expected to arrive with Rhea is an updated UI.

My neocomm bar tends to be fairly small and sorted differently on various alts, so I can struggle a bit at times with finding the right icon to use. I figured the new ones might make it easier, but I hadn’t really got clear picture in my mind of the before and after.

Drackarn has done a great job showing some side by side images in this blog post here, which gives me hope that it will be a step forward.

I’m not a fan of the highlighted tabs, or the limitation of the color schemes. CCP – I know you don’t like seeing screen captures of the garish colours some players use for their client, but maybe you should just embrace the individuality, and accept it is after all a sandpit game. Don’t take away the sliders.

A rite of passage

Is it my imagination or does there seem to have been an uptick in the number of blog posts and news articles about EVE players being out and about interacting with spaceship violence? It has been good to see.

(You won’t find any of that here though.)

My main finished training Jump Drive Calibration V. I missed the occasion as with the new skill queue I had lined up a couple months of training and wasn’t paying it any attention. It seems to be one of those rite of passage skills.

He is now training up Outpost construction. I don’t have any reason to be training it, and it is highly unlikely I will ever use it, but it amuses me.

I have basically completed researching my BPO collection – some 733 of them. I have a dozen odd blueprint jobs still running, but everything will be done within the week and nothing is waiting. I haven’t got everything to ME 10 / TE 10 – where it had no benefit or to get from TE 9 to TE 10 would take more than a fortnight for an insignificant improvement, but everything is where I want it to be. Overall it took less time than expected.

I am now sitting down to look closely at the 553 BPO I was gifted. As TurAmarth ElRandir mentioned recently, it is not always easy to know how best to deal with gifted wealth from a departing player. I had put it aside for six months to facilitate its easy return incase AD changed his mind. With that anniversary recently passing I will merge the collection with my own, update any research on them as required, and list anything I might be missing.

I should remark on the fact the gift has certainly impacted my game in a positive way. I used it to fuel the POS I am using for my BP research. I would not have done that otherwise – and unexpectedly it gave me the excuse to log in daily to keep the jobs turning over, and I have enjoyed the POS investigations and overall process more than I expected. It has also left me to be a little freer with my own ISK, and I’ve spent considerable time looking at ship hulls I might not have bothered with, such as the Rorqual, Widow and Garmur. That has been its biggest lesson actually – to be freer with my ISK. You gain more enjoyment from the game by spending your ISK (within reason) than just watching it accumulate in the bank.

Right now I am using it to revisit invention and T2 manufacturing, and I am in the early stages of planning to build my first capital hull. I feel guilty that I am not making more of it, but I have obviously been extremely busy in RL and I appreciate that I am still managing to play at all.

My effort to review all my ship hulls and their fittings is progressing slowly but surely. Some were already in the right spot, some require days of EFT and in space testing. All my Orca’s now carry Hull tanks, which makes them a lot more robust. I have a couple of Falcon’s sitting in the Corporate Hangers with a new fit – the 18th version since I started to use them. I still have a lot of work in that area, but it is something suited to my limited and sporadic game time.

I do still interact with space. I am generally clearing all exploration content from my home system once every other day, or will do the occasional mission or the like to test a ship fitting. Just last night I cheekily moved 400M ISK worth of fittings out of Jita in my hauling Exequror so I can test out fitting variations on an Arazu.

It is all keeping me amused and interested.

(And if you do decide to return AD, I should be able to return the gift in one form or another!)

Day to Day

It is 4 months since my wife changed jobs. We used to both work four days a week and share all the running around required for the kid’s activities, Kinder, school and what not. Her new job is full time and requires long commutes, so it has been up to me to juggle my work with being a full time Dad Monday to Friday. Things are going ok, but life now runs at a whole new level of hectic.

Arguably I don’t have time to be playing EVE, but I still log in. However in game I have had to simplify and condense what I do, and out of game I have not been able to do as much of the peripheral stuff such as keeping up with blogs, new sites and forums.

This isn’t a “woe is me” rant. It is an acknowledgement of how EVE currently has to sit within my life.

It has been easy to leave time in my schedule for EVE. Obviously I appreciate the distraction and proper downtime it provides, but there is more to it than that. While I have long since lost that real childlike excitement and enthusiasm over EVE, I am feeling rather comfortable about where it seems to be heading. I really have to dip my hat to CCP Seagull. Under her guidance as Senior Producer and now Executive Producer for EVE Online, she seems to have pointed the game in a better direction. Changes seem more responsive with a good balance of fixes, improvements, shakeups and brand new items. I want to be around to enjoy the ride, even if for the meantime it will be from my quiet little Hi-Sec system.

I think I am about half way through this level of busyness. When my daughter starts school next year it will remove 6 Kinder pickup and drop offs from my schedule, and further leave the house kid free for around 6 hours each day. That will make it easier for me to keep on top of my work, which should mean less late nights catching up, which should mean a bit more time again for EVE.

EVE o7 Ep 2

Old news already, but the second episode of EVE o7 has been shown today. I wasn’t able to watch it live as it played in the middle of my kid’s morning routine and school run. You can watch it yourself here:

(It starts 7+ minutes in.)

There were two main bits of new information released. The first is that they are working towards removing the requirement and cost of upgrading your clone as your SP increases. They view this as a disincentive for older players to risk their pods. They are also looking to remove the related risk of losing SP when you get podded.

They gave a rather clear indication that they have further plans to look at how Skill points and Clones work in general. I don’t mind how skill points work at the moment, and I hope they don’t dumb it down too much, but I would love to see some flexibility with Clones. As I have remarked on before, being able to store more than one in a station and being able to move inactive jump clones around in a ship would be excellent.

The second tidbit was that they are releasing a new type of wormhole space. One system in particular will be called Thera – the first named wormhole. It will be the largest system in the game by far, with its own unique nebuela, landmark sites for game lore buffs, static connections to K-Space, random connections to Wormhole space, and multiple NPC stations with all the normal services. (It will be interesting to see if you can Clone jump to it.) They are hoping it turns into the lawless version of Jita. You won’t be able to use Capitals in the system or anchor POS. Certainly interesting.

(I have visions of how I felt visiting Dysa for the first time, when I mistakenly purchased a mining barge there and had to collect and fly it out in an industrial. There were pirates all over the place, a carrier sitting on undock repairing itself, and the whole visit left a lasting impression.)

Phoebe arrived

Having played the game for so long there is a chance I might come across a little nonchalant about EVE at times. That did not stop me however staying up extra late last night to wait for the servers to return after the expansion was deployed and to run through some of the items I had highlighted in the patch notes.

First thing I looked at was the separation of the Directional Scanner and Probe windows. I’m not sure yet where I am going to place these on my overview, but I am delighted by this improvement. A real benefit for maintaining situational awareness and gathering intel.



The updated sensor overlay is also excellent. I was pleased to be able to quickly add or remove the Anomalies, Landmarks and Signatures from my overview. Overall another change which helps with situational awareness and intel.



I ran my first invention jobs for quite some time. The interface works well for this and just by hovering your mouse over the various areas on the screen you get tool tips to highlight all your options and the impact they have. I have been waiting for the invention updates, so plan to spend a bit of time looking at the area again using the related supplies gifted to me 6 months ago.



I also like that you can increase or decrease the Material or Time Efficiency on the Manufacturing tab to see the impact of any research you might attempt. The arrow indicators added to numeric fields in the interface is also very nice.



The “Used With” tab on the Show Info window isn’t a bad addition. It would not be useful adding something like that to Tritanium or Salvage, but I would like to see it added to some of the more obscure industry ingredients you can manufacture from.



I looked at the multi-sell window, but have not started to use it as yet. (I noted a few remarks on possible bugs, so I will wait.) It is however a great quality of life improvement for the game, and looks good.



I was paid out around 230M ISK for the industry ingredients that were removed from the game. I purchased the Small, Medium and Large Higgs Anchor BPO to add to my collection. The industry window compact mode will be useful when I am on my laptop. I didn’t really notice any change to the nebulae lightness in my home region. The new icon for the hull repairers is nice, particularly since I hull tank a number of my ships. I also like the differentiation of the normal and covert Cyno modules.

The list of things I want to look at goes on –the skill queue, the mission objective guidance system, the new overview state of always show and more.

Add the huge impact of the jump range and fatigue nerf, and Phoebe seems to be one of the more memorable updates for quite a while.


Once the decision had been made on where to store my Capitals, it was time to move Cyno ships into position. I have Cyno Buses set up to make this process easier – a concept I flagged back at the end of 2012 – Basically it is a hauler (in this case a Wreathe) that carries all the parts and fuel required to fit out three adaptable Cyno frigates, ready to be moved any time you needed them.

I like how preparations made almost 2 years ago can reward you today in EVE.

Unless you just want a station ornament, having Capitals while playing a solo game means you must have two accounts. (I suspect after Phoebe is released you might even need three.) I’ve shown how the characters on my two accounts are split before:

Account 1
Main with Capital
Industry / Trade
Scout / Cyno

Account 2
Main Alt with Capital
Industry / Trade
Scout / Cyno

This allows me to dual box with as much flexibility as having two accounts offers.

I logged in my Cyno Alt on Account 2, grabbed a Cyno Bus, and flew it into my new Capital home. I made a few bookmarks around the system, setup and fueled a couple Cyno Frigates, and researched the pilots in local and checked the recent killboard history for the system.

I then logged in my Cyno Alt on Account 1. Because this character had moved into my Corporation they now had access to Jump Clones. I figured I would set one of those up first so when they opened a Cyno it would be in a clone without implants. I flew 25+ jumps to the nearest available station and went to install a Jump Clone – but the Toon did not have the required skill. The skill was on the market, so I purchased it and flew a dozen jumps to collect. I then had to switch to my main, pause their training, switch back and train the skill to Rank I, pause the training, switch back to my main and restart their training, then switch back to the Alt. I then flew the alt 25+ jumps back to the Home system, parked, then jumped back to the fresh clone. I then flew that clone 25+ jumps back to the Home system to pick up a Cyno Bus.

I don’t mind saying that felt like a hassle. Doesn’t matter, the preparations were done. I then tried to board the Cyno Bus but was stopped with a message saying the character did not have the required skill. Double checking, not only could the character not fly a Minmatar Industrial, but it couldn’t use a Cynosural Field either. My Cyno Alt wasn’t a Cyno alt after all; I had somehow forgotten to train it.

Thankfully 5 of my 6 characters are able to use Cyno’s, so I resorted to using my Industry / Trade alt instead.

All that was left was to swap and change between my two accounts and move the Capitals.

I’m not a big fan of the 10 minute Cyno cycle. I can pick out quiet systems to use at quiet times, but I am basically left relying on luck not to lose my Cyno ships. I don’t want a riskless game, but I would prefer being able to mitigate the danger a little better than that.

The new system is not a quiet one, and it is not uncommon to find Cyno ships on the killboards. It was particularly busy when I was there as it was the weekend, and I expect more Capital jumps than usual were going on.


The new home – A Gallente Research Station with an excellent docking range of 40km.


My Main sitting in his Archon waiting to move.


Waiting down the 10 minute timer.


I did not capture images of the jumps – I was focused instead on getting every step of the process right.

Ensure capital and cyno pilots in fleet
Undock Cyno ship
Instawarp to undock bookmark
Check d-scan
Warp back to Cyno bookmark
Check d-scan
Undock Capital
Jump to Cyno
Spam Dock
Watch Cyno ship for 10 minutes, ready to warp off if ship destroyed or dock as soon as the Cyno stops.

The process went smoothly and I now have both Carriers and my Rorqual safely docked together in the same station. In reality the Capitals were undocked for barely 5 seconds, and were pretty much invulnerable the entire time.  All the time spent was in the preparations.  It still doesn’t mean the process doesn’t get your heart going, particularly from that risk the Capital bounces off the station and out  of dock range on jump in.  Even the Cyno ships were unmolested.

I am not really in the range of any place I might use these ships solo after the jump range nerf hits, so they will be mothballed until we see any follow up changes made to jump ranges, or I decide to try and spend some time in Providence again.