Out

I finally moved the last of my stuff out of Syndicate. They had been clogging up my inventory list and annoying me, but each time I thought I should do something about them I would read an EVE news item about some active war going on in the region.

In the end the extraction was uneventful. I had hoped to find some wormhole to make the process a little safer, possibly quicker, but had no luck. I initially struggled with the scanning interface, which had changed again since I last used it. It was worthwhile practice in the end.

There are still some items that I re-listed on the market. If they don’t sell I will trash them.

On the plus side – the thing which triggered my exit, the long delays and blank screens on undocking, didn’t seem to be as bad any more.

Shattered

I’ve been a little bit busier in EVE since my decision to move back to one account.

I started by looking closely at my Industry Alt, Ilesha Rose.

For a year or two now Ilesha has done nothing aside hold my Corporation / Alliance, and on rare occasion sell some loot on the market. I started by handing over the reins of my Corp from Ilesha to my Main Character, Elmis.

Elmis is able to do everything in game that Ilesha can, aside creating an Alliance. I don’t need this ability, and I don’t expect I will ever create an Alliance again – but the symbolism of losing this felt oddly wrong. In part I tend to view my Main EVE Character as the sum of all of my EVE characters. I could have just left Ilesha unsubscribed with the skills, but there is more to this whole process than just saving a few dollars each month. There is an aspect of cleansing to it, and in my mind it seems unlikely that I will use that Alt again.

So with that admittedly not entirely justifiable mindset, I extracted 34M SP from Ilesha. I used what was required to upskill Elmis to Empire Control V – allowing him to create Alliances, then sold the rest on the market.

What was left of Ilesha is an each-way bet. She can still fly and basic fit a lot of ships and can do some trading. Many of her more technical skills are only a Skill Injector or three away from being available again if I need.

Ilesha, and a second Scout/Cyno Alt I haven’t used for years, then cleaned out most of their hangers and both left Corporation. For the moment I will leave them dormant.

The next order of business was to downsize my NPC Null Sec home. I had Clone jumped my Main Alt Jack down to Syndicate a week before, and was logging him in once every day or two to scan down the constellation looking for Wormholes. I had remarked that the area had gotten a lot busier during the Casino / Anti Goon war, but with that over it seems to have become much quieter again.

I had no real luck with my scanning until today (Sunday). I found a single Wormhole in the back of the Constellation to a C3 Shattered system.

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After having a look around I scanned down the 15 Signatures available, finding two Wormholes to Low-Sec, both quiet systems, both next door to Hi-Sec, and both (just) under 20 jumps from my Hi-Sec home. This gave me the choice of two equal routes to move most of my gear out:

NPC Null (Station) > NPC Null > NPC Null > Shattered Wormhole > Low Sec > Hi-Sec > Hi-Sec > Hi-Sec (Station)

To make it slightly more difficult to catch me doing the same thing over and over – I used both Low Sec routes, running them over and over again with both Characters until my Null Sec home was left with a single jump clone and a ship for Elmis to run about in when he wants.

Unlike Ilesha, I do expect I will use Jack again at times. I downsized his hangers a bit, but he still has a couple Command ships waiting to test out the changes to gang links in November.

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A few hundred Mil ISK worth of NPC Null loot and spares making its way back to home base.

Taking bat and ball

I’m in my 40’s now and am well versed in how dishonest and untrustworthy people can be. This is of particular note when it involves money, power, idealism or the news media. Convert this seemingly common sense but possibly conspiracist view into EVE, and you often find all these elements combined.

Although I am not in a position to know how factual or fanciful much of it is, reading about what is (or is not) going on in EVE at the moment around the war against the Imperium is fascinating.  From the staid maps and timer lists, to the commercial quality propaganda, and the personal blogs in between.

Even though it is huge news, I haven’t remarked on it a great deal here as I was expecting it to have fizzled out by now. I assumed the Imperium would have either paid or fought their way out of the mess. They are up against a somewhat loose coalition with some key members not known for sticking at long term grind gameplay. I figured all the Imperium had to do was consolidate, then bring big numbers to battles day after day for a few weeks. They have done that in the past. They didn’t even have to win – just ensure each battle took many hours, and do enough damage to the attackers to make it hurt. In the meanwhile, they would keep a sharp eye out for mistakes or openings, and cheaply roll back hard fought advances whenever the opportunity arose. I thought they would easily outlast their opponents in such a war.

Instead the Imperium’s allies were systematically steamrolled and the Imperium forces moved out of home promising the mightiest vengeance for a lost war that they don’t seem to have properly fought, or technically lost yet.

Gelvon suggests it is because they are actually weak.

http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/the-long-march-to-deklein-angels.html

Maybe, but I’m not convinced.

The Mittani – figurehead of the Goonswarm Alliance and Imperium Coalition released a War Update a couple of days back.

https://www.themittani.com/features/war-update-forging-goonhammer

I know it is propaganda, but it reads like a well-spoken toddler’s space tantrum.

In one way a sizeable Imperium on a long coordinated and sustained hunt for retribution would generate a lot of game content for some time to come.  Much more game content than if they had remained ensconced in their space.

Part of me is even hoping we are being trolled – as I presumed with the twitter suggestion yesterday that Goon’s were told not to attend EVE Fanfest or be kicked from the Alliance. Maybe there will be some big battles coming after all. Or maybe not.

Did the Imperium just view the situation as unwinnable given the array of forces against them? This approach allows them to retain much of their combative infrastructure for when their enemies disperse?

I get some impression that they might be rushing (a little too quickly) into a self-proclaimed defeated underdog status, just so they can again arise from the ashes in all the Goon obnoxiousness possible.

Then you have plenty of references to their many pilots who have not gone through such trials before. Maybe they did not have faith that they could. Maybe they hope this will cleanse and galvanize those who remain.

It will also be interesting to see who and how many try filling the space apparently left by the Imperium, and just how long they remain. If the Imperium with their numbers and coordination don’t feel like they can defend Sov, won’t the new owners be in exactly the same position?

I don’t know what I am talking about – but it doesn’t’ really matter. It is this sort of drama and conjecture that keeps me playing EVE. It is this sort of story that Solo players need to pay attention to and enjoy. Appreciate when – like I mentioned the other day, the big wars impact on your quiet little backwaters. Appreciate if you want, the opportunity to go look at things for yourself like Jakob Anedalle has.

http://evechecklist.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/the-fizzles-not-in-sov.html

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.

Shifts in Space

While I don’t tend to remark on it, I do listen to what goes on in the greater world of EVE Null Sec politics. It is of course full of propaganda that you have to take with a grain of salt, but within that are the more personal dramas and stories that remind you why this game is great.

I’ve been noticing that certain tone of voice in some of those people who are losing their space homes. It comes with the hint of disorientation, melancholy and powerlessness. I don’t delight in that – but I am familiar with it. I’ve gone through that process a number of times myself.

Of course it is just a game and it doesn’t matter – but it does. If it didn’t, we probably wouldn’t have played the game for so many years.

Aside all the stories big and small, I also follow what goes on in EVE Null Sec as it can directly impact on my solo game.

As reported on various EVE sites and blogs, Space Monkey Alliance is leaving the Imperium and moving to Outer Ring to rebuild.

https://tagn.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/sma-leaves-the-imperium/

I was going to say that you do not go to Outer Ring to rebuild – it only has 7 NPC stations across 3 systems. You are too easily camped and harassed. With the arrival of Citadels however in a bit over a fortnight, the region could be made far more habitable. It might be interesting to see how it pans out.

As I have mentioned, I have a home (I should probably call it more of a camp) in NPC Null. It is not in Outer Ring, but it is in a bordering constellation in Syndicate and I occasionally visit parts of the region. I wouldn’t expect all 2,000+ Space Moneys to move there, but between those who do and those who would come to hunt them, the freedom I have to get stuff done in space will likely be impacted.

I expect I am going to have to be even more patient for a while.

Chaos

Linked in with my previous post, Gevlon very publically makes a stand for what he believes in. I don’t view him as representing the majority in game, but I generally find interest in his posts.

He has a very dim view of the impact Citadels will have on the High Sec market and wealth distribution in game, and has announced he will stop playing in a month.

http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com.au/2016/03/i-need-suggestion-for-new-mmo-and-you.html

The figures he quotes about possible tax incomes are horrendous, and I know it is plausible that a handful of powerful entities will anchor a new Jita, new Amarr, new Rens and what not next door to these traditional trading hubs. I just truly can’t believe a noteworthy number of risk averse Carebears will actually move to use them exclusively.

Even if there is some unexpected rush of enthusiasm, I think it is inevitable that it will end up costing players much more than the few percent of taxes that they might save. I cannot see my risk averse Carebear brethren making Gevlon’s nightmare come true.

If Gevlon does finish up his EVE experiment, lots of respect to him for what he has achieved. He has made lots of players think about topics in different ways, and generated a lot of in game content. I think he’s been good for the game with the sense of chaos he brings to it.

If his version of the future does hold true, I agree it won’t be good for the game. I would expect however it could be addressed by changes in tax rates.

What isn’t so easy to change – as Gevlon has been trying, is the entrenched stability of the few in game super powers. At the moment they make the game less dynamic and nullify the notion of a true sandpit.

I think the outcome of the current anti Imperium/CFC war will be more telling on the future of the game than Citadels. Will it grind down, destroy and reshape the alliances of old, and bring forth a new landscape? Or will it fizzle out quickly as some of the major players are again paid off or walk away as soon as they get the hint of hard work or boredom?

I fear from the overzealous propaganda and the rush for big battles such as todays Easter War in J-GAMP and M-OEE8, that the so called Allies are hoping for a headshot, and are not likely to be in this for the long haul.  I don’t see the Imperium as dying from a headshot.  Dozens of them maybe, dozens and dozens, but do their enemies have that much stamina and ammunition?

856 Days

It has been a busy couple of days in EVE, between PVE, revisiting ship fittings and asset sales. I figured I would round this off with some time in Null Sec. I started with the usual scan down of the constellation using my Alt. He currently does this in a Falcon, which might leave the locals uneasy.

To my surprise I actually found a Null to Hi-Sec Wormhole. The other side was to the ass end of the known Empire, but beggars can’t be choosers. I clone jumped my main down and basically started the process of moving out loot and a pile of combat ships I picked up off contract but which I decided I really wasn’t going to use.

There were a few of the local alliance members around, including one trying to PVE. He seemed to get spooked as I made my way through the system with my second PVP ship and left. Otherwise it was relatively quiet.

It is however never safe following a predictable pattern – and sure enough when moving my third or fourth ship out of station I had a run in with one of the locals.

I did the normal check – 3 people in local, all of them in station.  I assume it is because I play EVE from Australia and response times are slower, but once again between the time I clicked on undock and the overview loaded another player had undocked and activated a ship module.

In this case the overview was blank for a while, then the overview windows loaded but the image remained blank. I could see someone had undocked with me – so the first thing I did was selected my out gate and clicked on warp. The screen then loaded and I had a strange blue or green cyno type thing next to me, which I assumed was a jump field generator.

Sure enough this deposited me 100km off the station with a Pontifex. Given I was in a PVP fit Stabber and with nothing else to do, I figured this was an appropriate time to fight. I started by trying to lock the Command Destroyer, only to find myself almost immediately warping off to my out gate. Rather disappointingly it seems being jumped did not cancel my warp.

Thinking no worse of the local (who as I have remarked don’t seem particularly blood thirsty unless you make yourself an obvious target), I continued with my ship extractions. (The pilot had logged or moved on.)

The next ship was a Svipul. As I landed on my out Wormhole I found a Probe sitting on it with a 6-year-old toon. I waited for them to jump back to Empire space or Warp off, but they seemed AFK. I targeted them – but they still did not move, so fired one volley of artillery and destroyed the ship. The pod then followed.

(Meanwhile in my Captain’s quarters the housekeeper updated the “Days since the last unnecessary killing of another player” sign, crossing out 856 and putting in 0.)

Did I suddenly see the red mist of the killer instinct? After all these years am I about to become fascinated with PVP? No – my only thought in both encounters was a mild interest to see what the kill marks looked like. For the life of me however I couldn’t find it on the Svipul. Maybe I did something wrong?

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I finished my session off by moving a Stratios into Null, which I had been wanting to do for a while, along with some of the ship fittings I had been missing. I still need a couple Covert Ops, possibly a Gila, and all the Carrier gear, but it was impractical to use the wormhole to collect those in a timely manner.  EVE game time success.