At least there is plenty to blog about

More bits and bobs from my blogging scrapbook.

. A while back I tried to purchase a small stockpile of structure fighters. I found very few on the market, and most of those remaining were at substantial mark ups. I had the same issue with some of the Structure fittings. Throughout this year I keep coming across items in much lower supply than I would have expected, and so at much higher prices. Today I noticed Orca hulls were selling for over 900M in Jita. Something doesn’t feel quite right about the situation.

. I have started to listen to the Hellmar/ Falcon / Goodfella interview. Their tone hasn’t been as gun-ho as I had feared. Wilhelm Arcturus said it well in his post on the podcast:

“.. This could be a watershed moment for the game .. Or it might have been the online equivalent of a late night drunken dorm room discussion in college, a metaphorical circle jerk of “wouldn’t it be great..” .. How seriously should we take this interview?”

. The thread for feedback on the Blackout changes broke the Forum. It hit a hard limit of 10,000 responses and a second thread had to be opened. CCP Falcon said the feedback was polarising – it was either loved or hated. Doesn’t that make them a little nervous? It does me.

. Speaking of me – the vibe I got from some of the earlier podcast answers was disquieting. There was the touch dismissive “we will see who survives and who doesn’t” response, mixed in with “we get lots of newer players trying the game”. The impression was if they could just work out how to get the newer players to stay, it wouldn’t matter if unhappy veterans go.

. One aspect I have not liked from the feedback is the suggestion that they would like to push the blackout to Low Sec as well. Why would you go to Low Sec then? You might as well be in Wormholes or Null Sec. I would much prefer a clear differentiation between each area of space. Something like Hi-Sec with Concord and Local, Low-Sec with Local and security loss, NPC Null Sec with Local, Null Sec with no-local unless installed by residents, WH space with no local.  Of course that might just be my risk averse side speaking.  I wouldn’t bother entering a Low Sec with no Local.

. Speaking of risk averse, they were asked if they plan on catering a bit for those so included in this chaos approach. The awkward response suggested that they thought the players would actually be more adaptive than what people suspect and would just keep playing.  Again the feeling I got was if they did not adapt, oh well, the new version of the game might attract a better type of player.

. The Nosy Gamer did another interesting post regards average user numbers and NPC kills since the blackout. Well worth a read. We need to see the impact over a longer period of time, but the initial change seems massive:

. I’ve been logging in 6 or 7 pilots a day in High Sec. I undock each pilot, go kill exactly the number of NPC’s required to get their free SP, then dock and log off. I suspect this is proving to CCP the success of their blackout.

. It is very early days on this year or two of chaos. At the moment it all feels like a gamble. The game has stagnated. CCP are going to make the game great again, or break it trying. I don’t want them to fail – but I fear the outcome.  Is this chaos extremely well thought out, considered and planned?  If CCP stuff this up, I don’t think any backpedalling will heal the fatal wounds they could inflict.  I sure hope they get it right.

Swinging sticks

The latest Dev-Blog is out – detailing large increases to in-game sales taxes and broker fees.

The maximum taxation you will pay in NPC Stations with no standings or trading skills has increased from 5 to 10 percentage points. That is not a subtle difference.

The degree this will impact you will of course vary. Your trade skill effectiveness will increase (by almost 19%), but overall at a minimum you will pay an extra 2.25 percentage points taxation in NPC structures (from 3 to 5.25, up 75%) and an extra 1.25 percentage points taxation in player owned structures (from 1 to 2.25, up 125%).

The feedback thread on this is interesting.

Just what is CCP trying to achieve?

Some point out that the biggest percentage point impact will be on alpha and low skill characters, however I don’t really buy that argument. Technically it is correct – but what is a couple percentage points on the price of a standard T1 frigate?

It will impact traders. It will impact players when they buy and sell items worth hundreds of millions. It will impact those buying and selling PLEX in volume.

Are they trying to push more of us to use Citadels instead of NPC stations for our market sales and purchases? How did that work out last time? If it did work this time, wouldn’t that risk giving more money to the Perimeter cartels?

Personally, I never sell out of a Citadel, and I never buy unless I am docked there. This won’t change my mind.  In fact, the cries to change or remove the asset safety mechanism see me even less inclined to do so.

Is this just an effort to take more ISK out of the game?

Do we have our next weekly “Ooo Chaos” change?

Who knows?  CCP didn’t think it important enough to provide context.

Elgato Stream Deck – Initial Impression

I have long been a fan of customisable macro keys – for my gaming and productivity.

I currently use Corsair’s (now no longer produced) K95 keyboard with 18 programmable keys. I also have an old Nostromo Gamepad (the newer models of which are the Razer Orbweaver and Tartarus product lines.)

I’ve generally found keyboard shortcuts to be useful while playing EVE. This may be in part because mouse travel time can become an issue when running multiple clients at 3000×1800. One of my favourite uses of Macro keys is for salvaging. I like to set up 4 keys to activate Tractor Beams on F1, F2, F3 and F4, and a second row of 4 keys to activate Salvagers on Alt F1, Alt F2, Alt F3, Alt F4. It is simple but speeds up the workflow and saves a bit of finger contortion.

One downside of having so many macro keys is that you can’t see what each one has been programmed to do. This becomes more of an issue if you run different profiles for different games and applications.

Elgato ( ) – a company with a background in AV tuner and capture cards and now owned by Corsair, produce a number of programmable control pads with LCD keys. Their initial focus was on streamers and media content creators, but the devices can be configured to run hotkeys.

For the interest of it, I recently purchased the Elgato Stream Deck to play with.

This has 15 (5×3) LCD Keys.


The keypad has a fixed USB2 cord which was acceptably long and was able to reach my PC case sitting behind my screens.

The keypad feels solid. It comes with a stand which is a touch fiddly but allows the pad to sit at multiple different angles. The whole thing did not subsequently move when placed on my XL mouse mat.

You download and use Stream Deck Software to configure the device. It has some quirks – as all such keyboard / mouse configuration software seems to have, but I found it easy to work out.

While the colour and resolution of the LCD keys is fine for what it is, the contoured plastic covering over the keys distorts the edge of the image. If you are not looking straight down on the keys, the edge of writing and icons can be obscured. That makes the viewing angle extra important.

I am not a big fan of how the buttons feel to press. It is non-mechanical and each a mini screen, so I wasn’t expecting much. I find you need to be a little more deliberate / firm in pressing the keys than I would have expected, else it occasionally doesn’t register.

There are some quirks too.  The keystrokes don’t seem to be sent or registered by windows as quickly as my normal keyboard. There can be a perceivable gab between pressing a key and a resulting action, just long enough that you sometimes double press thinking maybe the first time wasn’t picked up. There were also some keystrokes that would work on my keyboard but did something else through the Stream Deck. For example, moving forward and backwards through locked targets in EVE worked fine on my keyboard, but the same keystrokes via the Stream Deck cycled through three different and odd actions.

Last of all it took a fair effort to find suitable icons to set up the device cohesively. In the old days you could find plenty of large free icon repositories online. Now most “free” sites give you a limited sample then ask you to subscribe or pay. It took a bit of trial and error to find icons that looked good (often needing to be a little smaller so they sat back from the edge) and had enough range to cover all the commands you wanted to use them with. In the end I grabbed most from:

It probably sounds like I am not happy with the stream deck – but that is not the case.

I still have plenty of trial and error to go, but the Stream Deck does really help with workflow. I also very much like being able to graphically label the keys, which makes it more useful than the standard G# macro keys.

Currently I am using two folders of 14 keys for EVE.

The first is while generally navigating. I can trigger a D-Scan, jump focus to the Overview Window and move forward or backwards through the tabs, set my speed to 0 or 100%, recall my drones, open the system map and do a probe scan, open my cargo hold, open the save location dialog, or open the fitting, market or people and places windows.

The second is setup for mining or salvaging. I have the F1 through F4 and Alt F1 through Alt F4 keys, I can trigger a D-Scan, stop my ship, recall my drones, or run a 30, 60 or 90 second count down when I want to halt a strip miner cycle early.

It is positioned on my desk in a way that makes it fairly natural and easy to move too and from. All told so far, I suspect I will end up using it all the time.

Next I need to add folders for Dungeon and Dragons Online and World of Warships, and to try and ignore the ads for the 32 button Stream Deck XL which is being released in Australia in a couple of weeks…


There is a two hour interview with..

CCP Hellmar – CEO
CCP Falcon – EVE Community Manager
CCP Goodfella – EVE Brand Manager

.. on Talking Stations.


I have not listen to it yet (and may not bother), but there is a summary of what was said on Reddit:


This is a lazy blog post, but here is a summary (or more of a vibe) of the summary..

There have been a record number of log-ins since Blackout (I really hope CCP are not so stupid as to be including all those 60 second logins to collect skill points); people who said they would unsub have not; they are aiming to do weekly chaos changes to the game for the next 18 months to really shake things up / change culture; some changes will be liked, some with be hated; resource depletion, asset safety, asset storage volumes, asset upkeep all being considered; get back to Empire if you can’t handle it.

(I wonder if now it is someone else’s company, Hilmar Pétursson feels more courageous (and / or reckless)?)

Brave.  Stupid.  I’m not sure which.

I wonder if it will give the solo casual player more or less options in the long run?  I will sit back in Empire and wait and see what happens..

What’s in a name

I am pretty sure I have written about this before – but I found a mostly finished post in my blog drafts, so you get to see it (possibly again).

When I created my new Alts a little while ago, I had to go through the process of finding new names in a game that has been operating for some 16 years. I try to put a little effort into doing this – but from the myriad of crap pilot names I see in local, not everyone bothers.

I try to find something somewhat easy to say that doesn’t sound too stupid. I also generally use male characters for those that are combat orientated, and female characters for those in Industry and Trade. The exception are scouts and explorers, who can be either.

I guess that makes me sound sexist. The men go out and kill things, the women stay at home in support.

The actual reason for this is a little more nuanced. First, I am disinclined to misrepresent myself. I am male, so the pilots I am more likely to use when fleeting with others are also male. Second, I was conditioned from my earliest tabletop role-playing groups decades ago not to play female characters. This was because they inevitably were used in undesirable plot hooks.

The source of many of my EVE Pilot names come from my old Tabletop RPG characters. I pull out all my old character sheets and books to look for inspiration. I had a pilot called Tombrack, who was also a Hobbit Rogue I played in High School. My newer alt Ardaven is a variation of the name used by one of my NPCs in a Rolemaster campaign I ran back during Uni.

Sometimes the names relate to people I know. For example, I’ve used or slightly varied the names of both of my children.

The name Elmis was the merging of a password I used at the time with the word remiss (lax, careless, inattentive). It was simple, meaningless, inoffensive and (at the time) unique. Since then there have been a couple commercial entities with that name, and several other EVE players now use it as a first name.

Some names are more detailed. Looking at my main Industry Alt – Ilesha Rose.

Ilesha was an Office Manager I worked with 15 or more years ago. She was a young, fit and attractive woman, proud of her rough bogan edges.

( )

She was adamant she would never be in a committed relationship or have kids – and maintained or rotated through several FBs at a time.

( )

We always got on well – probably as I was one of the few males in the office who never tried to hit on her. I suspected there was a sad story behind why she controlled her relationships like she did. When she moved on, she went to work for a company that built huge industrial vehicles. When I was creating the Industrial Alt – I thought of her.

The surname was a homage to the fictitious Flower-class Corvette HMS Compass Rose. When I was in my early Teenage years my father gave me a small collection of books he had kept from when he was my age. Included was the classic World War II based Novel “The Cruel Sea”, by Nicholas Monsarrat, which followed in part the story of the HMS Compass Rose. I’d always been interested in ships since then – both those on water and in space.

Other ship and Alt names have been drawn from other authors from that little collection of books – Douglas Reeman, Douglas Badder, or the classic W.E Johns series about the fictional pilot James Bigglesworth. They all gave input into names that had a little more meaning than pilot asdf_005.

Kill for Skills

The next phase of the great EVE Skill Point giveaway has started.

It is not in the agency window as I had assumed it would be. Instead it is just on your UI.

You log in, undock, kill a NPC and get skill points.

The challenge refreshes / resets after each daily downtime until August 21st.

(Maybe it gets more complicated later?)

You can run it on every pilot on each account you have, so can triple up on the rewards.

Apparently, the number of Skill Points you get is random between 10, 25 and 50K. I only saw 10K on all my pilots.

The feedback thread is here:

In summary:

It is not fair older players get the same points.
It is not fair everyone won’t get the same number of points.
It is not fair it is a random number of points.
It is not fair it is so easy.
It is not fair.
CCP is so desperate.
Sack the person who came up with this idea.
Dumbest event ever.
Thank you CCP (occasionally)
You are all a bunch of whiners (occasionally)
If you have 20 to 200 accounts, you will make a huge killing on this.


As with most situations where I feel too many EVE players complain too much, I am now compelled to support the initiative. I am having to log in my 7 pilots and run the kills of skills challenge on each of them.

This has highlighted the fact some of my Alts have no PVE ships (or skills). I’ve been kept busy yesterday and today in Pyfa, running around in space collecting cheap T1 frigates and burning through small amounts of unallocated SP so that each pilot can participate.

(To be frank I might skip one or two of the pilots.  Sanity and all.)

44 to 19 and other bits and bobs

. I’ve collected the week of free Skill Points and Boosters. When it started I had 44 days of training to achieve Fighters V. At this point I should have had around 38 days left, but after applying the free points and using the boosters my training time is down to 19 days. A worthwhile “Freebie”.

. CCP is having a small “Share your EVE Battlestation” contest on its Social Media Platforms.

I entered a current photo of my home setup.  There were some extra impressive entries so this won’t win – but it keeps me amused anyway.

I think since I’ve last posted a photo I’ve..

  • Added a Steelseries XL RGB QcK Prism mouse mat.  A bit gimmicky, but it is of a nice thickness and texture, works well having both keyboard and mouse together, and I like being able to colour match everything
  • Went through an expensive process to replace my mouse.  Tried a Corsair Scimitar Pro but did not like how the side keys felt under hand.  Then tried a Steelseries Rival 500, but kept mistakenly pressing some of the side keys.  In the end settled on a Steelseries Rival 310, which I am happy with
  • Installed a Boss-tab Flex Arm Twist Tablet Holder.  The idea was to get my iPad out from under piles of paper and magazines and into a position I would be reminded to use it.  That has worked out really well.
  • Removed the last mechanical hard drives from my PC.  I had a couple 4TB Western Digital Black Mechanical Hard Drives, but the drive cradles in my Corsair case were a bit flimsy and they would start annoyingly vibrating after a while.  I am now using only M.2 and SATA SSDs.


. There have been a number of long but interesting articles about why the Blackout won’t fix Null Sec stagnation.  They mostly focus on changes needed to Capitals and their Super variants.  Worth a read:


. While most people happy about the Null Sec Blackouts seem to be focused on fights being easier to find, I wonder if part of the goal is to reduce the ISK being generated in Null Sec?  NoizyGamer had a very interesting look at the NPC kill volume the weekend before the Null Sec blackout, and the weekend after.


. Senior Community Manager CCP Falcon seems to be a particularly strong supporter of removing Local.  He has rallied an echo chamber of supporters every time he has spoken on the topic – while quietly alienating other parts of the community he is meant to be managing.

Down to 0

I used up all the unallocated skill points on my main pilot Elmis.

They allowed me to pick up all the Capital Weapon Specialization skills to rank 3.

That moved me to having 445 of the 446 skills currently in game. The exception as mentioned, is the unused Astronautic Engineering.

Another thing ticked off.

The next logical step is to ensure I can use all modules and charges in game.

I picked up the ability to use T2 Siege modules and have 44 days of training left to use T2 Fighters, and an additional 33 days to fit T2 Triage Modules.

I think that is it – 74 days of training to cover everything. (I suspect there will be some obscure things that I have not considered.)

At that point Skill Points will have very little impact on my Main Pilot. It will mostly just be covering off mastery certificates and making the skill list look neater by making sure everything ends up at Rank 4 or 5. That last goal – getting all the new Hull and Capital skills from rank 3 to rank 4, will take some 300 days.

Interestingly my 275M SP is only around half of the maximum Skill Points you can train, which is somewhere up around 500M. That means with a little more care, you could get to the point of flying and using everything in the game with less than half the possible SP trainable.

Then I logged in after downtime and caught the start of the Season of Skillpoints event.

I got a further 275,000 SP on my Main Pilot. That dropped me from 41 to 35 days of training for T2 Fighters.

Skill point Explosion

What do you do if you are CCP and are trialing Blackout – one of the bigger changes made to EVE in some time?

You collect before and after data and carefully monitor the reaction and behaviour of the players to the changes.

It also seems if you are CCP, soon after Blackout begins you kick off the Season of Skills. This is a series of events to encourage people to subscribe and to log in daily to get extra skill points. It is the sort of thing which will skew some of the statistics that CCP should be looking closely at.

It must never have crossed their minds.

An overview of the events can be seen here:

From a law perspective, CCP is giving you extra Skill points so you can better respond to the threats posed by the Drifters, Triglavians and the Blackout.


The first part – announced on the 15th, and expiring on the 17th, is a bonus with 3-month Omega subscriptions:

If you get a 3-month subscription, for $1 more you get three months of Multi-pilot training on that account. (It is limited to once only for each account.)

It should be noted that you do not get Multi-pilot training certificates (which could be sold on the market). Instead training for a second pilot is immediately activated on that account – so you will have to log in and manually start the second queue. Ideally you might want three months of training planned and lined up in that queue.

I grabbed two of these deals for my two Omega accounts. (I actually had training I wanted to do for an Alt on each of them, so this was fortuitous.)

The second phase of the Event is a week of getting bonus Skill Points if you log in each day between July 17 and 25th. Alpha pilots will be able to claim up to 200K SP, and Omega 650K. There will also apparently be Cerebral Accelerators.

The third phase runs between the 24th July and 21st of August and gives you between 10K and 50K SP for killing NPCs. I presume the exact rules will be shown via the Agency or the like.

The fourth and final phase will be between August 23rd and 26th. Log on each day and get more Skill points, up to 75K for Alpha pilots, and 250K for Omega.

I will likely log in for most of these. I guess that will make me part of the proof of the roaring success of the blackout – even though I am unlikely to visit Null Sec in that time period.

I’m just not sure what to think about it all.

Inflation, Economics and the Lack of Light

I’ve been moving old ships around. As a precaution I do a quick review of their fit and its value before I undock. I am finding many of the faction modules I’ve been using have dramatically increased in price over the last year or two. Some so much so I’ve had to remove them and go for cheaper options, otherwise I make myself far too much of a gank target.

I wonder at the cause of this inflation. Is it a reduction in module supply? Is there more competition for the original supply? Is it – as I’ve read elsewhere, related to there being so many super rich players willing to mindlessly pay a premium to pimp their ship hulls?

As announced, Local disappeared in Null after Downtime on Friday. went into private mode for a while as acknowledgement of the change. It was back to normal by this morning. With more impact, went black and is not showing any information. It will return after Monday’s downtime, but they are looking to implement an hour delay in future before displaying API sourced kills, making it less of an immediate intel source.

Well organised corporations and alliances will adjust and even benefit. The disorganised and more casual player will suffer. For solo Null Sec players there will likely be a big shift in the risk verse reward equation. The risks increase with limited options for them to mitigate it.

Interestingly not all hunters are crowing. One remarked on a recent roam that covered 60 Null Sec Systems, where they saw only 9 other players. If they entered an empty system, they could immediately see that and move on. Now they will have to scan / probe every system they travel through, including the dozens and dozens that have no targets. I guess you need to be careful what you wish for. That does open the opportunity for solo players to still ninja resources from quiet systems.

What I am not sure about – does NPC Null Sec still have Local?

What I am sure about – this change has caused the strongest and most angry PVP verse PVE player hate that I have seen in a long while. I am reading comment after comment about how much better off the game will be if people who don’t focus on PVP get up and leave.

I wonder at the lack of basic economic common sense.

It is hard to get people to subscribe and stay subscribed to EVE.  In the long run an overall reduction in subscription numbers hurts the game. It doesn’t matter if in the eyes of those remaining it becomes a better game. Less subscribers means the game becomes less economically viable. Lose too many subscribers, and you lose the game.

People who PLEX accounts are in fact financially contributing to the game. This is because someone has had to pay for those PLEX for them to be available. Once the PLEX is spent, it stops being deferred or unearned revenue. That has a positive impact on CCP’s balance sheet.

So – even if you are philosophically opposed to the concept of a Carebear, most Omega Carebear accounts contribute financially.

They also contribute by giving PVP players extra targets. If players struggle to hunt these extra players, then the solution is not to get rid of them, but to campaign for balanced game rules that give both the hunters and prey choice and fun.

There are some areas where I feel CCP has managed to get this reasonably right.

When I haul goods, I am a target. However, there are a wide range of skill training, hull, fitting and tactical choices I can make to impact the risk verse reward equation. I can choose between volume and tank and speed and value of what I haul.

It is the same when I mine. I have real choice between where I mine, what I mine, the yield I achieve – against the cost of the hull, its tank and its capacity.

I am not that enamoured with the simplistic idea to just turn off Local in Null as an experiment to see how it goes.  I’m still hoping CCP has additional development ready to be released to suggest they put more thought in to it.

As with Hauling and Mining – I would prefer a situation where there is real choice for both Prey and Hunters in Null.  Have Local turned off – but give the defenders / prey choices.  Have anchored and vulnerable to attack infrastructure that turns Local back on.  Give it more than just a fuel cost.   Have a system with Local spawn fewer and less profitable combat sites and smaller and less profitable asteroid belts.  Allow attackers to hack these structures to remove their names from local.  Create new pulse or probe equipment that temporarily shows the number of pilots in local – while also telling everyone else in system that they are there.

These are just thoughtless ideas and I am not suggesting at their balance or suitability as a solution.  The idea however goes back to giving all types of players choice.  Instead what we have ended up with so far seems unnecessarily toxic and damaging to the game.  It doesn’t feel like it needed to be that way.

Kikimora – PVE Thoughts

Last year I looked at what sort of PVE hull the Triglavian T1 Frigate Damavik made.

It was a fun zerging ship, but overly expensive to buy and operate, and very lightly tanked.

This time I am reviewing the Triglavian T1 Destroyer Kikimora, to see what sort of PVE hull it makes.

The fit is pretty much the same as the Damavik, but it has a 2-3-4 slot layout instead of the Frigate’s 3-3-3. This means it dropped the Core Probe Launcher (making it a little less flexible) but picked up an Armor resistance module (making it a little tougher).

[Kikimora, PVE Play]

Damage Control II
Coreli A-Type Small Armor Repairer
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Entropic Radiation Sink II

1MN Afterburner II
Sensor Booster II
Small Cap Battery II

Light Entropic Disintegrator II, Occult S
Salvager II

Small Capacitor Control Circuit II
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I

It is very much like the Damavik – except the EHP is better (7.0K vs 3.4K), the DPS is higher (675 vs 434), and it is a little slower (947 vs 1,201ms). It is also around the same price as I have it fitted, currently ~200M ISK.

It really zerged High Sec Combat Anomalies and Level 2 missions – and did so more comfortably and a bit faster than the Damavik. The Disintegrator had no issues with tracking, and it was nice not having to use Drones to get its full DPS. The spool time also mattered less as its base damage was enough to one shot more rats.

It is also a nice looking ship.

Overall it was an even more plausible PVE ship than the Damavik, and very quick to go through appropriate content. I would keep it over the Damavik. However – I can’t go past the cost. It is an expensive loss to an easy suicide gank, and the bounty revenue is mostly swallowed up by the ammo cost. It is really a tool for low level PVE content zerging.


In October 2016 I decided I wasn’t really playing EVE or making use of my multiple accounts or pilots.

To simplify things, and as a step towards quitting the game, I decided to move close to Jita, amalgamate and sell off lots of my assets, and go back to a single account and fly a single pilot. Become a real, proper hermit.

At the time I had some 475M Skill points across my accounts and pilots. I stripped / extracted the maximum skill points I could off all my Alts, and bio-massed most of them.

Some of my Alts had skills that my Main pilot did not. Some of those I did not want to lose access to – so I used some of the extracted skill points to inject and train them up on my Main. This was a costly conversion of only 150K injected for every 500K extracted. Everything else I sold.

By the end of November 2016, I was left with a main pilot with a couple million more SP than he would overwise have had, a couple Alts with a wide range of skills but very low skill ranks, and enough ISK to purchase and fit multiple Titans.

In November 2018 I had to admit the solo pilot game was a failed experiment. I had found the game much less enjoyable without having a second account and some half competent Alts to muck around with. The relatively healthy bank balance had added nothing to my game, and even though I was enjoying playing less now, I still had not got to the point where I was ready to quit.

So, I decided I would use all the ISK I had gained from extracting skill points back at the end of 2016 to buy Skill Injectors and set up a party of new alts. I introduced them back in January of this year.

I was very fortunate that CCP was giving out Absolute Injection Augmentor Boosters during the 2018 Christmas celebrations. These allowed me to use Skill Point injectors without the normal loss for diminishing returns for higher SP pilots. That made a huge difference.

In the end I spent all the ISK I had gained from the skill extractions, and as of now am sitting on 375M Skill points spread two paid accounts and 7 pilots. As I remarked before, it has been a very expensive failed experiment (to the tune of losing 100+M Skill Points).

Of the 375M Skill points I have, 17M were yet to be allocated to skills. (Most of these were on my Main Pilot – Elmis).

I find having too much ISK, and too many unallocated Skill points is a negative to my game play. There is less motivation to undock and do things that might earn you ISK, and you lose some of that anticipation and reward from training new skills when you can just instantly train them if you want.

So – I have been trying to work out what to do with those unallocated points. As I remarked in a recent post, my Main pilot can fly every hull, fit every module, and perform every in-game action that I need them too. As there really wasn’t anything I needed to train, I went looking for what might amuse me.


Some of the only ships I can’t fly in game are Titans. I investigated what prerequisites I needed for the hulls, and any of their specialised modules. One of those covered the skill required to get into a Flag Cruiser, so I added that as well.

I then went and spent the following:

Skill Books:

Amarr Titan, 6B ISK
Caldari Titan, 6B ISK
Gallente Titan, 6B ISK
Minmatar Titan, 6B ISK
Fleet Command, 35M
Flag Cruisers, 65M
Spatial Phenomena Generation, 200M
Burst Projector Operation, 20M
Doomsday Operation, 250M
Doomsday Rapid Firing, 250M


Skill Points:

Capital Ships from IV to V, 2.95M SP
Amarr Titan to III, 0.13M SP
Caldari Titan to III, 0.13M SP
Gallente Titan to III, 0.13M SP
Minmatar Titan to III, 0.13M SP
Wing Command from IV to V, 1.68M SP
Fleet Command to III, 0.10M SP
Flag Cruisers to III, 0.06M SP
Spatial Phenomena Generation to III, 0.08M SP
Burst Projector Operation to III, 0.06M SP
Doomsday Operation to III, 0.11M SP
Doomsday Rapid Firing to III, 0.11M SP

The result was my Main pilot Elmis can now fly all the ship hulls in game. It is highly unlikely he will ever fly a Titan, but technically he can.

I then looked for all the skills Elmis was missing, and spent more on some of the low remaining fruit:

Skill Books:

Sovereignty, 500M
Triglavian Quantum Engineering, 52M
Triglavian Encyrption Methods, 59M

Skill Points:

Sovereignty to III, 0.06M SP
Mass Reactions from IV to V, 0.42M SP
Advanced Mass Reactions to III, 0.06M SP
Triglavian Quantum Engineering to III, 0.04M SP
Triglavian Encyrption Methods to III, 0.03M SP

I think that leaves a total of 9 in game skills he does not have. 8 are specialization skills for T2 Capital Weapons. 1 is the Science skill Astronautic Engineering, which is not used, not sold by NPCs, and is a rare collectable selling for 40+B ISK the last time I checked. That one I won’t worry about.

It will take around 12M Skill points to get all 8 missing specializations. I think I have around 10M left unallocated. I don’t want so many unallocated skill points, but I am not sure being able to use T2 Capital weapons amuses me enough. I will have to think about it.

I will say that none of this feels like an achievement. While I can sort of justify in my own mind the extraction and reallocation of Skill Points and ISK, there is an underlying sense that my Main pilot is tainted. Less pure. In the end however, it is up to me to play the game in whatever way I find fun or amusing. I also don’t mind the idea that the old Alts I had developed and trained for so many years have ended up supporting my Main pilot one last time.

Oh look – some wreckage


I wrote the other day that I did not think much of the reaction of some of the Null Sec leaders to their Drifter invasion. They seemed to want to lash out and damage the game and other players instead of – at least publicly, being constructive in their feedback and lobbying.

Mike Azariah went a little further.

It is fascinating that it is even possible for them to do it – but probably doesn’t speak well of them from a personality point of view.

What I might not have been clear on is that I agree with many of their concerns and complaints.

On one hand I don’t mind that CCP introduces new things as a back story, and that players need to work things out for themselves. The Drifter invasion however seems to reduce player against player interactions in Null Sec and sounds tedious and unrewarding.

Like the Triglavian invasion, the Drifter invasions are changing over time, but CCP has just ramped that up even further:

At some point soon, CCP will be switching local chat in all Null Sec over to delayed mode. It will operate as Local does in Wormhole space. The back story is that CONCORD’s resources are stretched due to the invasions and they are having to turn it off.

We don’t know if it is temporary, or a trial to becoming permanent, or if CCP will be releasing new tools or Upwell structures to allow Null Sec residents to combat this change.

The feedback is about what I would have expected.

There are some very unhappy people, and some very happy people goading them and gloating over the impact.

It turns out CCP has encouraged player verse player interactions – it just happened to be on the forums where the consequences are lost good will and subscriptions.

If I was in Null Sec I would not like that change – but then I am not the sort of player CCP seems to favour.

My god I hope you know what you are doing CCP.

Meanwhile, I think I might get the hell away from Jita.

Keeping Up

A week ago, I wrote about how I purchased the $5USD Starter Pack for both of my accounts.

This was not in response to or a judgement on if the pack was a good idea or not. My purchase was a small pro CCP action within a larger anti CCP maelstrom. It was a minor example of putting my money where my mouth is.

Wilhelm Arcturus looked logically at the value this Pack had for players:

In short, a new pilot with less than 5M Skill points would have to use 2 Large Skill Injectors to get 1M SP. With a current going rate of 996M ISK each for the injectors, the Starter Pack can be worth 2B ISK to them.

Due to diminishing returns, a veteran player with more than 80M Skill Points would have to use 6.6 Large Skill Injectors to get 1M SP. For them the Starter Pack can be worth 6.6B ISK. A notable bargain.

ISK and Skill points are easily defined and measured, and it is a valid – startling – comparison.

It is also a comparison that I don’t think matters as much as it seems.

I did not apply the Starter Pack Skill Points to my main pilot. 1M SP went to my Industry Alt, who has 22.6M SP. The conversion worked out to be 2.5B ISK of value. The second 1M SP went to my Industry Support Alt. They have 15.8M SP, so again the conversion worked out to be 2.5B ISK. I ended up with 5B ISK of value for my $10USD spend.

Did I mess up? Would it have been smarter to apply the Skill Points to my Main Pilot on one of my accounts? On paper the value would have been 9.1B ISK instead of 5B ISK.

In my situation 1M SP on my Main Pilot does not have much value. They were born in 2006 and have been actively training the entire time since. They can fly every hull, fit every module, perform every in-game action that I need them too. Aside distractions such as the Triglavian skills, for years now most of my training choices have come down to turning bits of my Ship Tree Gold ..

.. or finishing off a skill category ..


Little of that has really enhanced my game in a discernible way.

That is not to say it would have no value to another 2006 pilot. 1M SP might have a tangible and immediate value, particularly when it comes to getting into Capital hulls and T2 Capital modules a couple weeks quicker than standard training allows. That might be the difference between joining a once off in game Operation or not.

Generally however, there will be a bigger impact from that 1M SP for a new player over an old one. Adding 1M SP to a new pilot with 1M SP increases their skill points by 100%. Adding 1M SP to my main increases their points by less than 0.4%.

That is the quandary about measuring value. Value is subjective and personal.

Giving 2M SP to my Industry Pilots should give me some value – however I have not yet spent any of the points. Both those pilots do everything I need them to be able to do. The skill points are there to be able to respond quickly to any unexpected future needs. The value will come later.

At this point, I’ve spent $10USD (around $15AUD) on a few Frigate skins I don’t particularly like.

There is one another aspect to this I find interesting, and I mention it as it explains in part why I am OK with veteran players also having access to the Pack, even if the value is not as impactful.

The idiom “keeping up with the Jones” refers to comparing yourself against the perceived social and economic benchmark set by your neighbour.

I wonder at the focus newer players have and are encouraged to have – in comparing themselves to the Jones – the veteran players. It is unhealthy.

If you started a fresh pilot as of today and wanted it to have the same number of Skill Points as my main does, you would need to use 1,520 Skill Injectors. That would cost 1.5 Trillion ISK. Your 1M starter pack skill points – to me or to you – overall makes little difference to that gulf.

Here was my reality.  The most fun I’ve had in EVE was when my Skill Points were south of 50M. When I was having to scrounge for ISK, when I sat up late watching a skill train finish so I could try out some new hull or module, when my choices in game really mattered to my game.  ISK and Skill Points are not the be all and end all in EVE, nor is trying to keep up with the Jones.  Your focus needs to be on finding and having fun – in whatever individual way that works for you personally.

The on paper value difference highlighted by Wilhelm Arcturus is real, however I don’t think it is as important as players having fun.  I can see how a Starter Pack could help a new player find fun a bit quicker.  I think that is a good thing.  I can also see how a (purchase once only, contained 1M SP) Starter Pack could help a Veteran find some fun.  Frankly I think that was a good thing too.

We hate you and you and you

CCP recently introduced Triglavian invasions into High Sec.  Unlike Incursions, which you can pretty much ignore if you want too, the Triglavians appear to occasionally Station and Gate camp, leading to travelling player kills showing up on the killboards.

I noted many examples of Null Sec players crowing about this.

CCP then introduced Drifter invasions into Null Sec.  These also Camp systems, but in addition are reinforcing large numbers of structures.

I noted many examples of High Sec players crowing about this.

Because the mechanics of these Invasions have been unclear and changing, I’ve delayed making a judgement on them.  I had wondered how I would feel if my Azbel was reinforced by NPCs, and what if anything I could do about it as a casual solo player.  In the meanwhile I’ve held off getting negative standings with the Triglavians, and for the most part stopped playing in and through impacted systems.

Currently various Null Sec groups are having to return to their homes to defend against seemingly quite widespread invasions.  Understandably, many don’t appear happy.  Some are very, very unhappy.

They want to cause pain, and are coming after High Sec (and CCP).

To quote ..

“This new Drifter invasion has been neither engaging and challenging PvE”

..has caused significant stresses within nullsec empires

..this forced exercise in monotony brings longer-term player retention back into the limelight

It may well reach a point where these players simply decide that the game is beyond unplayable, and leave forever the nullsec groups are unable to .. deploy against each other, they will instead extract content from high sec

The major power blocs will be forming a cartel to enact an embargo of raw materials into High Security space


It is vaguely like the gaming version of family violence. I’d prefer to have said that differently, so as not to downplay such a serious topic, but the mindset, lack of respect, anger, desire for retribution goes beyond just the standard bullying.  It is throwing around weight, power, spite, frustration.

It is fascinating – in the best and worst ways.

My personal view?  I think what CCP is doing is intriguing but dangerous, and requires a deft balancing act to get right.