Camping Expectations

This post is in effect a reply to a recent comment.

I used to operate my holiday camps out of Low Sec. I could find quiet corners where if I was patient I would be able to undock and get Carebear type stuff done.

Over time with game changes to resources, faction warfare and population movements (some out of Sov Null) I found it more and more difficult to find these sorts of Low Sec backwaters. When I did it would not be long before an active pirate group moved in, and I’d have to move out.

There are two aspects to the decision to have to run away.

The first is that I play a solo game. When a group regularly has 2 or 3 half competent and active players online in the area I am trying to operate from, most of what I do can be countered. It doesn’t matter how many Skill Points I have or how expensive the ships are that I am flying.

The second is the somewhat fluid tipping point on the danger level in the area. I will operate in space that through careful play I can mitigate most of the danger. You might lose ships occasionally through mistakes, inattention, skilled opponents or bad luck – but that’s ok. I don’t want to operate in space where I will inevitably lose ships regardless what I do.

This isn’t just a simple case of being risk averse. It is at the core of how I play the game.

As I have commented, I now find my camps are located in NPC Null Sec. It is in many ways poorer from a resource point of view, but there are quiet backwaters where a Carebear can still find moments of peace.

I do see risks to this sort of game play.

The first have been the changes to capital jump ranges. I used to be able to pack my camp into a carrier, and move it across a region or two at fairly short notice. Now it can require 3 or more jumps just to get across a region, with even longer travel inevitably putting you through carefully watched and hunted chokepoint systems. Now I have to rely on suitable wormholes to move in and out, which in NPC Null Sec are not reliable.

The second is the outcome of World War Bee. When Major Sov holders lose their space they regularly end up in places like Low Sec or NPC Null to regroup, reorganise and rebuild. Even if they don’t pick the poor and quiet systems I operate out of, they can displace other groups who then might. In the long run they will move on again – assuming the Sov mechanics encourage them to. The jury seems to be out on that.

The third are Citadels. As I have harped on, I don’t see them having the huge economic impact some fear, but I do certainly see them being used in dangerous backwaters to make them more habitable for small Corporations and Alliances. This will particularly be in those areas with few stations – the areas I historically get to operate in.

The more vibrant and busy all space is, the worse off it is for my particular style of play. I’ll have to cope that on the chin for the greater good.

NPC Null V Low Sec for the Solo Carebear

I like to have some sort of base outside of Hi-Sec with a couple Jump Clones and a collection of suitable ships that I can visit when I want to. I enjoy the challenge of staying alive in that sort of harsher environment, and being able to experience the different content available there.

Historically that location would be in Low-Sec. In recent years however I have struggled to find a Low Sec area that was quiet enough to allow me to regularly undock and mine, rat or run exploration sites. Between Faction Warfare, changes to Exploration, the movement of large groups from Null to Low, and the rise of large organised pirate alliances, even out of the way Low-Sec systems are much busier than they used to be.

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Recently I’ve operated out of a NPC Null Sec constellation instead. While it requires patience, I do have the place to myself at times and I am able to undock and “get things done” on a semi regular basis. Having been there for a while now I’ve decided overall, NPC Null Sec is actually a rather poorer cousin to Low Sec.

. Generally, it seems like there are less stations
. Generally, it is a fair bit more difficult to access Hi-Sec
. The market tends to be poorer
. There are a lot less anomalies
. There are a lot less wormholes
. There are less exploration combat sites
. While content can be more rewarding, it can take noticeably longer to run
. You can access similar mining options in Low Sec through Anomalies
. There are no tag rats
. You have to contend with bubbles and bombs (not much of an issue)
. In Low Sec other Carebears tend to be less likely to attack you due to security loss

The positives – aside being more quiet, include that Pirates seem to hunt you for much longer and more persistently in Low Sec, and there is a lot less competition for on overview resources in NPC Null Sec.

Throwing down the Gauntlet

I’ve had a couple multi-regional sessions searching for Blood Raider Gauntlet sites, both with 40+ Hi-Sec jumps, and both only resulting in a few sites found. I’ve had more luck just finding them in my home system when I happen to undock.

Almost every site I’ve run has ended up being contested, which is not really the way I like to do PVE. The Zealot I set up a week ago however has worked out well. It has no problem tanking, no problem quickly taking down the rats, and so far, no problem beating the drone boats (mainly Gila and Ishtar) to the Blood Battlecruiser kill for the loot. Lasers for the win.

While it has been running the normal sites haven’t been hammered as much, so I’ve been able to run more of those than usual.

I expect CCP’s statistics should show this PVE event has been a success.

I’ll get back to the Caldari Epic Arc once the event wraps up.

Meanwhile I plonked an Alt down into another low sec area, to make bookmarks and flag the local pirates as negative contacts. On and off I’ve tried finding some quiet low-sec backwater where I can do a little mining or run sites for something different. I’ve only spent a few hours there but I suspect it will be too busy. In fact – Low-Sec as a whole has been much busier over the last year or so. I only need a semi reliable 10 minutes here and there of peace to get something done, but that doesn’t look promising.

I’ve even done some half AFK mining this week.

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I continue to keep myself amused.

The Low Down

I’m in the process of abandoning my Low Sec home. (A process that is taking an age due to a lack of suitable wormholes to exit via.)

When I first moved in Easily Excited was the main pirate group in the area. While they would actively hunt you and salt systems by always leaving someone AFK in them day after day, it was quiet enough at times to undock and do something.

Lately they have been replaced by Surely You’re Joking. Reading chatter and trolling in local it appears as if there is some current bad blood between them. (Apparently in part around a corporation moving from EE to SYJ.) SYJ tends to be more numerous in my time zone, and while they still hunt and post scouts, they also often run sites or mine ice. As a result I wasn’t finding many opportunities to do anything.

I haven’t given up on the Low Sec notion. I enjoy the stories and image portrayed by The Nosy Gamer too much for that. The reality is however as a solo player I have to adapt and fit around what other players are doing.

So I am back to the drawing board looking for a different place where I can fairly regularly get 10 minutes at a time to undock unmolested in Low Sec.

I think I’ll give Genesis a miss this time round, and Faction Warfare space is just too busy. I do like Molden Heath – from its quiet statistics in Dotlan, to how it has been when I have occasionally visited. It just really isn’t useful if I want to store my Capitals there as well.

At the moment I am thinking Kor-Azor. It links to multiple regions and has multiple entrance points. My initial scouting suggests it is under the sway of Easily Excited. They seem to camp the more obvious entrance systems heavily, but some of the systems off the main pipes seem extra quiet.  (Probably because of the camping.)

It might also work as a place to store my capitals. I can reach Syndicate after the capital nerf in 3 or 4 jumps in one direction and Providence in 3 or 4 jumps in another direction. I’m not sure why that is particularly important, but since I have lived in both it seems comforting to think I can return.

The problem with Kor-Azor, particularly with the camping, is that there doesn’t seem to be a cluster of quiet systems to work in and around, instead just a couple here and there.

More research is required.

Under, off, over the Radar

My wife has started her new job. She leaves the house before the kids get up, and gets home after they have had tea. I find myself the full time stay at home parent, who also happens to have a busy paying job. I’m not sure EVE will get much of a look in during the week.

I scheduled for a long session in game on Saturday, and actually managed to achieve it. I started by logging in my Low Sec Scout, but the system I am basing out of was once again awash with Pirates. It has been the same since Kronos – far more pirate gate camps, far more pirates out hunting. It is just not feasible to do any carebearing, so I move my focus elsewhere.

Next I log in my Island Scout and go looking for access to Hi-Sec. There are only 4 wormholes in the constellation, but luckily one is to Hi-Sec. It is some 20+ odd jumps from where I base my supplies, but I make use of it anyway. I ferry in one of my Gila, a Gas guzzling Venture, and a PVE Stabber Fleet Issue I wanted to test out. While there I picked up a contract purchase and brought back a Pilgrim I wasn’t using.

I had one stumbling block – I couldn’t work out how to get a bookmark from my out of Corp Alt to my main that didn’t involve a Contract. I ended up moving the Alt into my main Corp and putting it in a Corporation bookmark folder.

The moving of ships took quite some time, so while manually flying 100+ combined jumps I looked at my PI Alts. I remarked the other day about two pilots at war, one in a station, the other outside trying to goad them into undocking. It turned out the war was against the Corporation I have blue standings with in my old home system. I had originally witnessed an Ally to the defending Corp goading one of the aggressors. Later, I witnessed an Ally to the aggressors trying to goad the defenders to undock. The irony was not lost on me.

We had both remarked that we could call on each other for help if our POCO were in danger – but they didn’t send me a message. That was probably lucky for me as I am not really in a position to log in.

Coinciding with them losing their POCO someone offered to buy my four. I expect, unless unusually fortuitous, it is probably from the person behind the takeover of my blue’s POCO. Given I don’t use them, can’t defend them, and they generate very little income; it’s prompted me to sell them. I’ve spoken to the blue and offered it to them first. They will look at it after their war is finished. If the wars move to me I’ll lose them for no ISK, but that’s a minor price for doing the right thing by another player. (I am really not suited to this game!)

I emptied my planets and cleared the installations so, if I ever felt inclined I could set up new planets closer to my new home. I think I have remarked before, my dabbling in POCO would last simply as long as it took for someone else to notice I had them and take them off me. Once I sell (or lose) them, any further PI I do is at the mercy of finding planets with reasonable tax rates. It’s the price of solo play. I finished off my session with yet more hauling, moving my PI supplies to my new home and closing the old corporate hanger.

No EVE time for me

Work has been hellishly busy. I’d like to say this is because of new customers or new projects, but instead it has been fighting fires and fixing mistakes caused by the offshore resources management have decided to use.

I’m barely managing one half reasonable play session a week at the moment.

Last weekend my Low-Sec scout found a useful wormhole to Hi-Sec, so I managed to move in some supplies, a Salvaging Destroyer and Venture between constant interruptions from work and family. This rather piddling result took some 10 hours.

This weekend I’ve been testing a few fits and doing some PVE. I’ve been playing around with a lot of Hawk fits for a while now – and while I have decided on a PVP fit I will leave in Low-Sec, I decided to give up on PVE fits. It is just too slow when compared to the Retribution when working through sites. I also decided on what I would do with the extra high slot on my Viators – which are getting Core Probe Launchers.

I probably shouldn’t be admitting it – but in the earlier years of my EVE playing I would be feeling rather grumpy and frustrated by now at my limited game time. I’d be throwing out “nose off to spite face” comments such as it is pointless to play the game in such circumstances. Now I accept it is not EVE’s fault, and try to appreciate whatever free time I do manage to wrestle from my busy life, and don’t dwell on it. It helps that I don’t have to feel guilt about letting down a Corp.

I was bemused by the Kronos 1.4 patch. The notes on the update were sparse, yet it required a 229MB download.

I was also bemused to see my name mentioned in Amarr local recently. Apparently I was paid out several 100 million ISK by one of the duplication scammers. I had the Window’s helpdesk call me for the 350th time recently, and I asked the person why they were using the same old scam, and couldn’t they come up with something more original each time they called. They just hung up. I wonder the same thing about EVE scams. In the grand scheme of things there isn’t as much variety as there should be.

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.