CCP Cyber Monday Sale – DLC Packs

CCP is again offering their DLC Packs at 50% off for the next 48 hours as part of their Cyber Monday Sale.  (Maybe 47hrs as I post this.)

https://www.eveonline.com/article/pin8c3/cyber-monday-sale

You can buy these only one time each per account.  At 50% off they are particularly good value.

The biggest one – the Galaxy Pack, is $50 USD and includes 1,100 PLEX, 90 Days Omega Time, 5 Skill Extractors, 2 Multi-Pilot Training Certificates and some skins and clothing.

 

Environmental Vandal Part 3

The POCO was to come out of reinforcement in line with a school music concert my son was playing in. The concert was meant to go for an hour, and I thought if we got out of there quickly, I might get home with time to spare. I warned the Ally of my predicament, suggesting I could be late.

The School’s auditorium is rather nice – but for some reason the air-conditioning wasn’t turned on for the first half of the concert. It was stiflingly uncomfortable. My Daughter didn’t cope well with this and was quickly squirming, fidgeting and complaining loudly. She was hard work. 120 odd kids between grade 5 and year 7 then took their turns on stage. It was fair to say there was a wide range of proficiencies, but almost all of them were loud. By the end of the concert – which went much closer to two hours instead of one, my head was sore, and it was very close to the time the POCO became vulnerable.

I tried to make a quick escape – but we got waylaid by one parent, then immediately after by another. I finally pushed us through the doors, but then was immediately called back by my wife. She had somehow found my son’s Trumpet tutor.

By the time I finally got home I had a nasty headache and had missed the start of any battle over the POCO. I felt very uncomfortable at the thought people (just trying to be nice) had been delayed by me – or worse, might have tried to intervene and lost assets.

I logged in to find no War targets in system. Amongst the handful of pilots there, one was an ally pilot and another was a pilot who had a flashing suspect tag. I warped over to the POCO to find the suspect pilot parked – repping its shields. To my embarrassment I had not actually prepared for the eventuality of repairing the POCO. I had assumed there would be a fight. It had only been that day that I had looked at what I had to do to get a POCO out of reinforcement (get the shields above 25%), and grabbed a token 5 (overpriced) T2 Medium Shield Transfer Drones for the PVP ship I was expecting to fight in.

The suspect pilot was a friend of the Ally pilot in system, who had come over to help. In the end there were some combat ships on the POCO and a couple logistic ships. The shield was repped back up over 25% and the POCO made safe without contest.

The following day the CEO of the attacking Corp initiated a short conversation. He had noticed the link to this blog on my characters bio. He questioned my environmental credentials with running my EVE client for so long each day, and my sanity for spending so much time protecting an unimportant POCO.

He remarked that the POCO had come out at 2am local time for him, and he hadn’t wished to be awake to contest it. He indicated there would be no further effort against the POCO and that he would get what he needed from an owner who had stopped playing.

I suspect he also thought a different owner who wasn’t so illogical in their behaviour.

While the War Dec ran its course I halted hostile actions, and saw none in return.

I’m aware this might well seem like an anti-climactic and boring encounter – but that is fine by me. I don’t play EVE for high drama. What makes it so interesting to me is both the impact real life has on the game, and the choices you have.

Do you do anything?

How much effort to you put into it?

If you defend, what ships do you risk?

How do you fit your ships?

How and when do you move them?

What tactics do you use?

How do you react emotionally to the situation?

How do you motivate yourself?

There is just this large myriad of decisions that you make. As a solo player, while you are reacting to other players, all these decisions and their consequences are on you.

An F1 Null Sec grunt will more than likely have the tactics and timings of the war decided by others, their asset logistics covered by someone else, their ship type and fit mandated and possibly available on contract, and their losses covered if they follow the rules. I don’t say this in a dismissive way – they can experience EVE on a grandiose level with thousands of other pilots in duels that matter in the EVE political sense. It is just that, while playing the same game, our experiences can be very different.

This diversion has helped spark a little more interest in the game, and I am motivated to make some changes to how I am currently playing. I cringe at the thought of CCP exclaiming how this proves their point about PVP keeping people interested. It is instead the myriad of choices you have in the game, and it is the interactions (of all types) you have with other pilots that keeps the game interesting.

Environmental Vandal Part 2

I did not have suitable combat ships in my hanger to fight a War Dec with. I had previously worked out fittings and tactics for POCO defence and take downs, but they assumed I had two or three active accounts.

Soon after getting the Dec, I headed over to Jita and put together several hulls, the fittings in part reflecting what I knew the aggressors had previously flown. I then moved them one by one across several regions to stage near my POCO.

During this effort I passed the CEO of the Aggressor Corp flying in an Orca, but I did not notice anyone else in the area.

I managed to shift in some supporting supplies, move an Alt, and swap into a more appropriate clone before finally logging off in space, all before the war went live.

I was only able to log in half a day after the war had become active. I was greeted with one War Target in system, evenly spaced notifications from hours earlier showing one of my POCO was under attack, then a message saying that it had been reinforced an hour or two earlier. Oddly the attack had taken a rather long amount of time – suggesting only one ship might have been involved. It seemed unlikely anyone would have the stamina to stay and watch the attack for that long. With DSCAN showing an interesting hit I warped over to have a look. There – idling next to the POCO, was a War Target’s Oracle. Shortly thereafter they had been podded while AFK.

I assume they hadn’t seen my movements earlier, expected from my lack of presence and killboard activity that I was an absent player, and took the calculated risk to do an AFK takedown of the POCO. I can’t say I blame them. Not long after the pilot reappeared in local, so it was likely they had been close to returning to their EVE client. A bit of bad luck on their behalf.

Nothing was said, and the system soon cleared.

My highly detailed plan was to stay logged into the system for most of each day during the War Dec. While I expected to be AFK most of the time, I would glance at the game client when I had the opportunity to. If attacks resumed or War Targets entered the system, I’d go see what mischief I could cause. I expected the likely answer would be none, but my targets were not to know if I was about to pounce or was away doing the school run.

(I was surprised at how often I did indeed interact with the game client – and wasn’t AFK as much as I expected.)

Not long into my camping I received an unexpected message. An old eagle-eyed friend passing by noticed the reinforced POCO and offered their help. (How the hell do people see these things!?) Shortly after I had an Ally join the war.

I found that both incredibly cool and somewhat awkward.

The awkward bit was that I could not logically or economically justify defending the POCO – yet they were willing to put their own ISK at risk to do it anyway.

The cool aspect was that people would come forward to offer to help in that way. EVE is such a contradiction. You see so many loud examples of poor behaviour, that you forget how many helpful and decent players there are.

I continued to camp the system while waiting through the day and a half reinforcement count down. I only noticed one quick visit from the War Dec Corp – an in and out of a Stiletto if I remember correctly. Otherwise I was left alone – literally at times – for hours.

I have thought – and I presume mentioned here – that EVE seems to have become less and less friendly over the years. That may not be as accurate as I thought.

I had a good opportunity to really watch the system I was camping.  The out of the way backwater had a surprising amount of banter in local between pilots who were obviously familiar with each other. There was the occasional visit from suspicious looking characters, but for the most part the system housed pilots with no interest in hassling others. It was very much like I remembered and was why I liked living there.

When I moved from this system, I settled in one much closer to Amarr. The local chat was noticeably quieter and less friendly, and the visits from suspicious looking characters was more frequent.

I then moved from that system to my current home. This is close to Jita and is very convenient. The local chat however is almost always quiet. (This is despite it carrying 3 to 6 times more pilots than my last two homes.) I don’t know any of the locals.  Questions and hails go unanswered. No one says a word – likely so as not to draw attention to themselves. There are also frequent visits from suspicious looking characters. If something is said in local it tends to be either malevolent or are the tears of a victim.

It is obvious in hindsight – but the convenience of having the trade hubs nearby has diminished the volume and quality of interactions I was having with other EVE players.

After this is over, I am going to move a PI Alt back into the area.  I will also get my Main further away from Jita more often.

Environmental Vandal Part 1

As I remarked – my Alliance received a War Dec the other day. Unusually I was online so saw it immediately.

At the time I had just started mining in a belt in a Porpoise – to check out the Mining Ledger and Activity Tracker.

My initial thought was someone saw what I was doing and decided to War Dec the foolish miner. (Does anyone else mine in a Porpoise?) Or maybe it was triggered by my recent blog post on War Dec’s?

I headed off to DOTLAN, EVE Who, zKillboard and Google, and soon had a picture of a Corp who in recent times operated roughly around where my Player Owned Custom Offices are located. I figured that was the likely target.

The Corp had 8 members. There were 4 pilot with birth dates between 2009 and 2012, and 4 between 2014 and 2017. Most of the older pilots appeared to have long periods of time absent from the game, so they were not newbies, but probably did not have SP totals in line with their ages. All but one had Killboard histories with a background in Faction Warfare and had flown for up to a year or so together across a couple Corporations. It showed they can and did fight.

Their Killboards did not really look like they went out of their way to grief people, with most of their kills and losses in Low Sec. In amongst that were a spattering of PVE losses. The most of them I could find together on a kill was 4. They were often flying and killing smaller sized ships, which would make it less likely someone was dual boxing multiple accounts. I hazarded a guess there were probably at least 4 players behind the corp.

Last of all I did a quick check if the main pilots were active on social media / forums and took notes of the ships they seemed to prefer to fly and how they fit them.

Offline Intel – right or wrong – done.

The reality of playing a solo Carebear in EVE is that much of what you can do comes down to caution, being unnoticed, or is at the grace of others. On the face of it my gut feeling was there probably wasn’t much I could do against the aggressors. There were more of them, they had experience, and I didn’t expect them to make many foolish mistakes I might be able to capitalise on.

There was also the economic reality of what I would be trying to defend. I had four POCO I didn’t use. (I wasn’t alone in that – few others used them either.) I earnt less than 2M ISK across all of them a month and defending them would be throwing good ISK after bad.

The smart thing would have been to offer to sell them. I might have recouped some ISK. That was problematic however for two reasons. First, there were possibly some blue corps still using them at 0% tax (I’ve since increased that to 0.1% to allow me to track use better) so it didn’t seem right to abandon them. Second, with recent changes to the game, if I did not have any structures in space, no one would be able to War Dec me.

On that – I’ve been rabbiting away on this blog for coming up to 8 years, and I have always thought it was fair if I said something people disagreed with here, they could come grief me in game if they really wanted too. I believe the POCO are now the cheapest option to allow that – at around 100M ISK each. I think the next option I would have is a Raitaru at over 600M ISK. That’s a lot more to offer up.

So – in the end “content” won over common sense, and I decided I would invest some time and ISK into the War Dec.

There can be only one – the failed experiment

About a year ago I was well into stripping and biomassing most of my Alts. I had two goals.

The first was to cut back on the money I was spending on subscriptions. This wasn’t because I couldn’t afford it – but instead I just didn’t think I logged my Alts in enough to warrant the cost.

The second was to try and play EVE with just the one character – a true Hermit. I thought it might simplify and help invigorate my game.

There was a third reason that I may have remarked on at the time. I thought the cleanup would be part of the cathartic process of moving towards the inevitable cessation of playing EVE.

The reality of the change however was that I ended up playing EVE less than what I might otherwise have this year.

There were benefits from the change. It was less hassle not having to manage multiple training queues and the myriad of clones with different implants. It was cheaper not having the ISK cost and effort to buy the extra skill books and equipment for the Alts (or to double or triple up on ship skins). It was also good not having to update as many fitted ships each time CCP changed how things worked. It was refreshing in that sense – it made the game seem a little less of a chore.

On the negative side it usually made it slower to get projects done, and some aspects of play end up being riskier. It was doable, and I could certainly successfully play EVE Solo without alts, but I had not factored in one aspect of having competent Alts.

Alts made the game more fun for me. They gave me more options and flexibility about how I tackled goals and made it easier to multitask. They gave me the chance to try some functions of EVE that are not really designed for solo play, but you can sort of get away with it by using Alts.

While the overall failure of my experiment was already apparent to me, it has been reinforced during this War Dec. I’ve spent on average more than 16 hours a day logged in since it opened and have lost count of the number of times I’ve thought, “crap, I could really do with a second account right about now.”

Thanks to several good deals and sales from CCP, my main character still has 528 days to go on its subscription. I am going to keep an eye on any black Friday sales by CCP (not that they have historically been on subs) and will resub an Alt account for a year. It will cost a fortune to buy the skill injectors to get a couple Alts up to speed quickly, but I feel reducing my ISK balance is likely to be a good thing.

I need:

. A Hauler / Market / Industry Alt
. A Covert Ops / Scanning / Scout Alt
. An Alt who can fly logistics and participate in a structure bash

I currently have 4 Alts across 3 accounts. Three have not been used in over a year, and the fourth was only undocked a few days ago for use as a scout during the War Dec.

One is an untrained price check alt on an Alpha account that is unused.

One has 8M SP that mostly covers the first requirement. It is on a separate Alpha account. Eyeballing their current skills, I think I could round them out reasonably with around an extra 2M SP, at a cost of ~4B ISK.

One has 5M SP that mostly covers the second requirement. It is on the wrong account however (with my main), and it has the added complication that I hate its name. I think I will probably create a new Covert Ops Alt from scratch. I think I can get that workable for around 10B ISK.

The last Alt is EVEHermit, which has around 5M SP from memory. It is also on the wrong account (with my main). While technically it covers some of the third requirement, I think I will create a new Alt from scratch and give it around 30M SP. That will cost ~60B ISK.

I will have to outlay more for extra skill books, implants and ships. A first rough guess this will cost me around 80B ISK in total to do this. I’ll see if I get what I am looking for within that budget. There is plenty more in the bank if I need to polish the Alts off further. It is best not to contemplate just how much ISK I have lost in this remove then re-add Alt experiment.  At the moment I figure I am still here for 500+ days, I might as well make it as enjoyable for myself as I can.

(I don’t want to buy these alts off the market – I want them to be focused and have clean skins / history.)

The War Dec continues. There might not be all that much to report on if it fizzles out this weekend. I am mindful however that the American’s wake up in 12+ hours to their Thanks Giving Holidays, so there still might be something more to respond to.

Fashion faux pas?

I’m sitting in the system where my POCO are located, watching over them during the War Dec.  I’m keeping an eye on the various pilots coming and going – when I noticed this fellow.  My main is on the left, and a pilot named Daddy Deep is on the right.  I can safely say based on character age that I was here first.  They do say mimicry is a form of flattery.  I made a jaunty quip about a fashion faux pas in local, but I was not responded to.

Contact Cleanup

The thing about idling in EVE is that it tends to end up becoming doing stuff in EVE. Today I sorted and consolidated my in-game Contacts. While I try to keep a short and sharp contact list, it had become quite a mess over the years.

I keep my Contacts in four basic categories.

Friends and Alts

Don’t Attack

Dangerous

Site Thieves

I organise these using Labels.

The first category is obvious, and I generally reciprocally use the Buddy list so I know when my friends are online. Having said that –all my Real-Life Friends have stopped playing long ago.

An obvious tip – having your Alts in your buddy list is a good idea. You can argue you should know when they are online – but if you are in a busy station transferring assets to them, or creating a contract for them, you are less likely to select the wrong pilot by mistake if they have the red/green buddy light.

While I am disinclined to attack other players, I do on occasion wander through Wormhole / Low Sec / Null Sec space and on rare occasion shoot things. I have a small number of groups and individuals in the second category “Don’t Attack” – such as EVE-Scout Enclave (Signal Cartel’s Alliance) that I have flagged to avoid attacking by mistake.

The third category – Dangerous – would cover a large proportion of the EVE player base. However, I flag the really obvious culprits to be weary of in Hi-Sec, such as Code.

 

The last category – “Site Thieves” – is where I flag explorers who contest sites you are already running. I am old school polite and leave an exploration site that is already being run. When someone else isn’t so polite, I flag them, so I know to go out of my way to return the favour in future.

I use other categories at times – I had one for aggressive groups in Syndicate when I lived there, and the same again for Genesis Low Sec, but I generally remove them after I have moved away.  With how pilots and their organisations keep moving around, the value of these lists quickly diminish over time.

 

I get to operate with 3 sets of standings – Personal, Corp and Alliance. This is both useful – and a bit of a pain to keep in sync.

My personal pilot’s standings are generally those I want to keep regardless if I am in a different Corp or Alliance.

For the most part my Corporation standings are a duplication of the “Don’t Attack” and “Dangerous” contacts of my main pilot. That means I don’t have to maintain standings for any alts that I place in my Corporation. There is also a separate standings category for diplomatic or economic relationships at the Corporation level. Even as a hermit player, I have ended up with a handful of corporations I have relationships with. Some were non-aggression pacts when I lived in Low Sec, now most relate to blue standings for low tax access to my Player Owned Customer Offices.

Last of all I also have my Alliance standings. In the past I have had an Alt Corp in the Alliance, so this was a useful way of sharing standings across multiple pilots.  As of now there are very few standings against it.

Today I went though all these standings. I removed those no longer applicable or for players or organisations that were no longer active or closed. I shifted contacts between labels and personal / corporation / alliance as appropriate. Even after duplicating some, I ended up with less than half as many contacts as I had before.

While going through the contacts I often found I could not for the life of me remember why I had added some. This is one area I wish CCP worked on – to give better note keeping or audit options for standings. I seem to remember you once could leave a note on a contact add / change, although it was difficult to find it later. That might have been removed once they added the option to use Labels.

I did keep tripping up over the right click menu. I would often add a contact to my personal list from the Corp or Alliance interface, then immediately delete it by selecting “Remove from Contacts” instead of “Remove Corporation Contact” or “Remove Alliance Contact”.

Let’s see how I go maintaining the currently neatly sorted, labelled and categorised Contact list.