Friday, February 27, 2015

Some random updates and mumbling

Finishing with standings

It's done. It took me around a week, but standings grind is done. Sort of. I have done all Cosmos for each trader. Broker fees are down to from 0.30 to 0.32. I have not raised any corp standings because I couldn't wait to gtfo of high sec missioning. I could do the corp grind any time in the future, but for now, it will have to do. It was quite fast this time, just over a week, with full time play during weekend and only some hours on evenings during weekdays. I guess not being so poor and buying most of things of the market helped. God bless you, Cosmos item farmers

One of the most annoying things is inadequate rewards from Cosmos in all races. I did Caldari, Amarr and Gallente. Caldari has most and best rewards, Amarr has similar, but Gallente... it's like Gallente was left for last, and whoever designed Cosmos, said fuck it and just quit half way through. Literally. Gallente has roughly 30 highsec agents, while Caldari has 60. What's up with that?

About recruitment and finding a corp

I planned to do some ninja salvaging and wh stalking before I joined the corp. I couldn't wait and was eager to smartbomb some pods in lowsec, thus I was scouting for some offers and found few interesting ones. I wanted to find something very small gang in lowesec. More I did research, more I was not sure where to join. I got some great offers and met some great people. I decided to go with Better Kept Frozen., however my EU primetime play was not what I expected and thus I moved on. I had Volatile Instability contact me. Had a short talk and it felt right and I'm soon to move in. Let's hope it works out. If not, there are still many great options around.

Funny thing though. When scouting for corps, I have found some "elite" ones. I won't mention names, but the process to apply was ridiculous. Such as answer 30+ questions, do this and that, keep your API active forever for all your accounts. It's a big turn off for me. First, most questions to answer can be googled. Second, why the fuck do I need to keep my full API active? In a god damn lowsec. I know spies and ambushes is a thing, but seriously. Not feeling of having my mails and everything I do visible for some guy. In the end, you spend as much time applying as you spend applying for the real job. And I mean not just random click button apply, but adjusting your cover letter with CV according to position. There is a line I am willing to draw in a video game in terms of effort and privacy. Of course you always want a quality, but there has to be a healthy balance.

Recycling ships

Moving out my fleet out of wormhole and in general collecting spread out ship assets, I ended up with below.

Holy crap. Where do all these ships come from? 6 Megathron Navy Issues? I know I only used one for plex running. I have no idea where other 5 came from. In any case, it's always good do so some cleanup. Sometimes you end up finding things you never knew you had.

CSM Voting

I have done my part. Have you?

I gave my votes to:
1. Steve, because he is awesome asset when it comes to 3rd party tools.
2. Ashterothi, because I like exploration. Even it got updates, it still needs a lot of work. Too bad CCP fucked up some things such as crashing fucking markets. Instead of making unique mods and expand drop tables, they just increased dropping rates for same items. Always taking the easy way out.
3. Borat, because I am solo/small gang player and that is his focus
4. Sabriz, New Order candidate, because highsec pvp had enough nerfbats already.

So these guys get 7 votes from all my accounts. Best of luck to them! I probably shouldn't have put Steve as priority as he probably is going to win anyways, but oh well. At least this year I will have voted.

Skype contacts in a nutshell

And finally, nothing EVE related, but something I still wanted to share. Below picture sums up most of my contacts on skype and facebook. I hope I'm not the only one. Perhaps it's time for a cleanup too.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

COSMOS Ninja Salvaging

During my "adventures" when doing Cosmos, I saw a lot of potential. Potential as in bringing player generated content to a miserable pve that is Cosmos. There are number of thoughts I got and perhaps I will try to do some things later in the future. Let's see. Anyhow, I got quite an interesting encounter with Cosmos runner - Vlad Boreal.

Precious tractor

I was visiting one plex pocket in search for some items that I needed. If you've read my previous post on Cosmos missions, you can imagine how tedious the activity can be. Turns out, however, you CAN have some fun doing Cosmos. At other player's expense, of course. I land in the room and see a beautiful sight.

Someone has been busy. Look at all those wrecks. Look at this mtu, surrounded by all these wrecks. My fingers gets itchy and mtu is quickly converted into wreck. It's one thing to do the same in your standard mission, but to shoot it in the Cosmos plex, it's whole other story. My Ishtar with 4 drone damage amplifiers does the job rather quickly. I loot the stuff and notice Caracal yellow boxing me. I lock him back. Let's see what he does. Will he shoot me? Is he upset about all that stuff I took away? After giving carebear stares for each other, I get a convo request.

Zosius > sup
Vlad Boreal > wtf!!!!!
Zosius > ?
Zosius > so
Zosius > it is legal to kill it

Without even saying hi, Vlad was furious of me destroying his tractor.

Zosius > no you are not
Vlad Boreal > oh yeah baybe
Zosius > concord will kill you if you shoot

He then proceeds to make threats. I guess tractor held special place in his heart. I am in a tight spot. I am legal to be shot at. I try to convince Vlad, that Concord will defend me should he take a shot, but he is confident that flashy yellow skull is free to kill.

Vlad Boreal > anyone can kill you now
Vlad Boreal > noooo
Zosius > nope
Vlad Boreal > anyone can kill you
Zosius > nope
Zosius > you are wrong
Vlad Boreal > nooo i waiting my friends
Zosius > you got friends?
Vlad Boreal > yes 5 drake

Seeing as my deceitful  tactics failed I was in grave danger. I was a trigger away from being killed. To make matters worse, Vlad had 5 friends incoming in their Drakes. Outnumbered, outgunned, I feared I was running out of options. Did I make a grave mistake that finally would end up in my ship exploding? I proceed checking his corp's background.

Intel does no good. His corp obviously is very good at concealing their API information. Once Drake elite force arrives, I am toast. Perhaps I can make my way out with diplomacy?

Zosius > oh shit
Vlad Boreal > please wait
Zosius > dont kill me man
Vlad Boreal > because if think that i will atack you are wrong
Zosius > i give your stuff back
Vlad Boreal > shut up

To deescalate situation I offer to return the loot. Vlad is not interested. Only thing he wants to see is my demise.

Zosius > what are my options now
Zosius > you are full of shit
Zosius > if you attack me concord will kill you
Vlad Boreal > if you realy think thet i not undestund whots going on you are wrong
Vlad Boreal > so kiss mu metal ass
Zosius > what is going on?
Zosius > hey
Zosius > can we be friends instead
Vlad Boreal > what ?

A word - friend, is not found in Vlad's vocabulary. He is furious and doesn't understand how can someone be friends by means of explosion. Despite being confident about Concord, he will not open fire.

Zosius > if we go to station
Zosius > i give your stuff back
Zosius > no need for violance
Vlad Boreal > nope

All my diplomatic requests hit the wall. As seeing he is not interested in diplomatic solutions and neither he is willing to take action in his own hands by trying to avenge his fallen tractor, I change the strategy.

Zosius > nope what
Vlad Boreal > 1 you think thet Im noob
Vlad Boreal > 2.  i dont trust you
Zosius > are you a pro?
Zosius > 2015 player
Vlad Boreal > no
Zosius > you are just too pussy to do anything
Zosius > about your tractor
Vlad Boreal > whahahaha

If he won't do anything against helpless victim, perhaps he will take action against cheeky bastard?

Zosius > Kill: Vlad Boreal (Mobile Tractor Unit)
Zosius > all you do is tlak talk
Vlad Boreal > and sow&
Zosius > im here 10 minutes
Zosius > and you dont do shit
Zosius > such a noob
Zosius > because you know if you shot me
Zosius > concord will get you
Vlad Boreal > hahahahahahahahah
Vlad Boreal > you will kill me
Zosius > of course
Vlad Boreal > not concord
 Zosius > you are a noob
Vlad Boreal > kiss my metall ass
Vlad Boreal > Победа: Santo Trafficante (Maller*)

Seeing as we are getting nowhere and my 15 minute suspect timer is about to expire it's soon time to depart. For some reason he links Santo Trafficante's smartbombing Maller, perhaps to brag on how it died to concord fire with someone whoring on the killmail.

Zosius > watch futurama much?
Zosius > is that your friend
Zosius > that died?
Zosius > be sure to put new tractor unit
Zosius > i will come again to take that juicy loot
Vlad Boreal > hahahaha
Vlad Boreal > i can buy 23 tractor
Zosius > so i will kill 23 tractor
Vlad Boreal > great
Zosius > because you are too afraid to defend
Vlad Boreal > hahahahahaa
Zosius > its sad
Zosius > not funny

I have been as cocky as I could. Unfortunately suspect timer expired, we exchanged few more profanities and I went on my merry way. I have never seen 5 drakes, or any other ship for that matter, on short range scan. Perhaps some other poor bastard got in the way of my execution.

Day of salvation

The very next day, I receive an interesting convo request. It's Vlad! Is he seriously still upset about his tractor? 

Zosius > o/
Zosius > Hello Vlad
Vlad Boreal > hello! I would like to apologize
Zosius > yes?

An apology? This is the first. I couldn't believe what I saw. This must be some trick of sorts.

Vlad Boreal > I was wrong and wrong has reacted to the situation
Vlad Boreal > This game is about life and space, and you just have to enjoy
Zosius > I must say you have over reacted
Vlad Boreal > game
Zosius > for a mobile tractor unit
Zosius > but I am glad you came to your senses

Ladies and gentlemen. If you do not believe in high-sec miracles, you might want to reconsider your beliefs. There is still a light at the end of the tunnel. Carebears of high-sec can still be saved.

Vlad Boreal > just the situation in the country a bit annoying and wanted to relax a bit
Zosius > no problem Vlad
Zosius > apology accepted
Vlad Boreal > sow i hope when my pvp skill is up we will meet in low sektor )
Vlad Boreal > can you give some advice? Laser (Shansі) or guns
Zosius > advise?
Zosius > dont stay in highsec
Zosius > and find a good corp

Bygones were let to be bygones. Vlad was clearly on the right path. Perhaps this encounter will give a taste of blood in his game. He even hoped we would meet in low-sec one day. There's nothing more I could ask. A tear of happiness is shed. He asks for advice as gallant should do, to which I promptly reply that he should find another corp, preferably one where 5 drakes actually do show up.

Friday, February 20, 2015

COSMOS and why they were designed by a sadist, Part 2

The design of Cosmos missions is bad. And I mean bad. I am trying to imagine what could have gone in person's, who did the design, mind. To some things, I just couldn't come up with logical explanation or see any reason behind the decision. It's mostly half ass attempts to prolong your "unique" mission running experience as much as possible. So let's go through some of shitty design choices I ran into when doing the grind. How should I name my encounters? Bullshit is only word that comes to my mind. I normally try not to use much profanity, but this time I will make an exception. Last time I did not have a blog to speak out my mind. Thankfully, I do now.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #1.  Collidable objects

I use 2 accounts to run missions. One is trader alt that does transportation and the other is my pvp alt that does the shooting. First mission I get quite annoyed at is "The Celestial Imperative 4/5". It so happened, that after clearing first room I forgot my drones. No biggie, I will just scoop them with my hauler alt and trade them back. I scoop 4 drones with some effort, but the last one remaining, I can't just get to him. Why? Because there is huge fucking collidable object standing on the gate that blocks route to my drone, which is sitting "inside" of it.

What's the reason for this? Absolutely nothing. Some random "decoration" asset inserted for the mission to look different. There is no integrated base inside or anything. Just big useless rock floating 0m on the gate to get in your way. Brilliant. I watch how my hauler goes at 10-20m/s, making various weird turns, desperately trying to approach the drone. Roughly after 5 minutes it manages to scoop it. A drone that was 5km out originally. Granted, had I not left the drone, I probably would have used gate without much issue and never gave a second thought. But I did and it annoyed the hell out of me.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #2.  Amarr circle jerk agents

Each faction has something called circle agents. It's one time thing that you do a job for numerous agents and they send you to the next one after you are done. Once you complete full circle you get faction standing increase. So far so good. Except for one thing. Amarr circle jerk has this gem:

See the note at the bottom? For some reasons, 2nd agent has 2 missions. One is real that gives faction standings and the other one is fake that doesn't give you shit. If you are unlucky and get "Robotics", the fake mission, you have to go back and start all over again. Does any other faction has an agent with multiple choices? No. All other factions have standard, linear sequence. I have no problem with multiple options. The reason that you do not get any standing for one of them is what's annoying. Why would that be there? What purpose does it serve other than just being annoying? Why only Amarr? Imagine not having this documented and trying to figure out why you did not get faction standings first time.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #3.  Technical bugs - invisible waypoint

Now this shit might be related to my EVE client. I am putting it here, because I never had such issue before and I had it on both traders that did COSMOS, but not pvp accounts that were following then. Bug happened when I accepted some of agent missions. Suddenly all information regarding system name and waypoint disappeared. I had this happen multiple times with no clear logic behind it. Sometimes I accept the job and system name together with waypoint is gone. They still exist, because I can link system name to chat or if I keep my mouse over I can see the name popup. Sometimes it would appear between systems when traveling, sometimes I get UI display names when I select map view and sometimes it will reappear magically when I complete mission. What a load of bullshit. Even more bullshit when 2 my pvp characters had no such issue whatsoever following to the same places and routes.

It's not manually turned off (note that icons are not highlighted). This stuff was very annoying to deal with. Especially since some jobs require you to travel via or to low sec. You set your destination to system? Want to know if it goes via lowsec? You are shit out of luck.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #4.  Unusually long distances between acceleration gates

Some missions have more than few gates. Most rewarding ones have a lot of npc to shoot and up to 5 rooms. Logical. You clear the room, you move to the next one. However to screw with you more and make you waste even more time, they put gates to the next room 200km away. You know, because clicking approach button and flying your ship is so much fun and very engaging experience.

Can you warp? Fuck no. That would be too easy. It's deadspace, so you better have mwd on, or in my case, 100mn ab on my ishtar. Imagine traveling with a battleship that is not fit for cap stable to keep mwd on. Oh boy, what fun would that be.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #5.  Play EVE and make a sandwich at the same time

Here's the question. See picture below and try to guess what I am up to.

a. I am away from computer with my Ishtar just idling after clearing out the field;
b. Waiting for my salvager to come in to salvage those wrecks;
c. Waiting for god damn Drone Matriarch to appear.

If you chose C, congratulations! You are getting a hang of what Cosmos missions are. So it turns out Drone Matriarch is a bit "slow" to put it gently. He takes 20min+ to appear. I have not taken the timer, but I know I did have enough time to google to see if I missed an objective or something. I found post in 2011 asking if this was a bug. I mean, you clear the site and nothing happens for 5 minutes. Is this a bug?

No you stupid. Obviously you need to wait for 30-60 minutes for Drone Matriarch to arrive. He is big, fat and angry, but a bit slow. What does EVE University have to say about this?

"Go make a sandwich or something". Brilliant. This suggestion nails it. One time missions, that has story and are supposed to involve you into amazing EVE universe.  Making sandwiches while waiting for your npc to spawn that you need to kill and loot, that pretty much sums up your standard COSMOS run. Thank god you can buy out most of the items off the market. Too bad if it's not available, too expensive or mandatory to do dirty work yourself. Then your sandwich making skills will increase in proportion to faction standing.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #6.  Trying to collect items from public complexes

There is a lot of waiting time doing most of missions. Sine I buy most items off the market, I probably avoid tens of situations where I would want to pull my hair out. Unfortunately, sometimes I need to visit complexes if items are not available or are very overpriced. Take "Troubles with Outlaws 2/5" for instance. Get 3 miners from this plex. Guristas Maniac will drop them. No problem, I go in with my Ishtar and start shooting everything in sight. Once everything is cleared, including Guristas Maniac wave, I take one miner. Then I wait. I wait and wait. Probably 20-30 minutes I just semi afk orbited and waited for Guristas Maniac wave to respond. No luck. When other waves respawned for third time I said fuck that and went to try other rooms. In one other room I found npc that had Guristas Maniacs. Now I had 2 miners. Perhaps now the initial location will have them respawned? Nope. Don't forget that to enter gates you need to clear room of useless NPC that you do not care about. After one hour, I bought additional miner off the market. After all this, they did not seem to be so overpriced anymore.

When I was waiting, I was googling for more info on how to obtain items. I found this post:

A post in 2006, In fucking 2006. Looks like spawn respawns every hour. Every. Bloody. Hour. To get 3 miners, you need 3 hours, which is what he spent. What has changed since then? Nothing. And that is one spawn for all EVE universe. Perhaps it made sense when EVE had 1000 players, but now? It's ridiculous. No wonder carebears are so agitated when you meet them. Try doing this shit for extended periods of time and see how well you fare.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #7.  Forcing you to learn skills you do not need

As a trader, I do not care about any skills that are not under Trading or Social. All I care is to get broker fees lower and never undock from my trading station. I was approaching to an end with my Caldari standings grind. When I am halfway done with Amarr Cosmos, I can see some differences and discrimination if you would like to call it. Take example as below:

Once I landed on a gate and I couldn't enter. I did not understand what the hell is going on. What's the problem? Turns out, you need a fucking archaeology skill to enter. Because you know... you need to hack the cans. Well, what's wrong with bringing a god damn friend to do hacking for you? No, they have to block my trader from entering and talking to agents. They force me to learn a skill I will never use. It was is a big pain, since I had to relog another char that is in training, pause, train archaeology and then go back to resume it. That is so retarded. It would be the same if you would block my hauler to security missions saying, you can't enter, because you do not have blasters fitted. Also, why the hell does only Amarr have this. Never had to do this crap in Caldari.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #8.  "Storyline" mission without rewards

Some one step missions don't give rewards, despite being named storyline mission. What is the point of that? Who the fuck knows. Take for example "League of my own", Amarr agent. is it marked "Storyline"? Yes. Does it give faction reward? No. Is it required for other agent? No. Does it give nice reward such as bpc? No. Is it annoying and time consuming to do? Fuck yes. So why should I do it? Let me quote EVE wiki:

"Running this mission is considered a bad idea". Well, why create and put this mission to the universe? Because fuck you, that's why.

COSMOS BULLSHIT #9.  Unnecessary long travels

Courier missions or parts send you all over the map. In most cases it's nothing too much. Up to 5 jumps forth and back. Sometimes, they send you on "long trips". It's fine when you can cut it by going through lowsec. This I have no problem with, but then they send you 10+ jumps out, that you have to return later on. For example, Banker's stash. You need to travel 14 systems out, from Sakkikainen to Usi. And that's the fastest route.

There are some that send you on longer runs, but I have not documented and couldn't remember specific ones. After wasting so much time collecting items, waiting for spawns, the last thing what you want to do is to take on long trips just to deliver some stuff. To make matters worse, There are no other agents waiting for you there. In most cases you have to return to where you came back from, which means 20-30 jumps for longer courier missions. There is no pattern or logic found. They could have made it more similar to Epic Arc instead, so you go to location with a purpose.

The purgatory

These are just couple of examples on what situations I run into when doing Cosmos, which are annoying as hell. Multiply those situations by number of missions and you've got yourself one hell of a time when doing them. Combine that with useless rewards that are storyline items(most) and it's really hard to imagine sane people running these for fun or profits. I believe that CCP designed Cosmos to be sort of Purgatory to atone for your sins. A hell, that you must cross should you wish to improve your faction standings. It's designed with one purpose in mind - to inflict pain. It's not for people to spend relaxing evening playing game. It's intended for people who got their BDSM session cancelled and are looking for alternatives.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

COSMOS and why they were designed by a sadist, Part 1

So here I am, evacuated my assets, with nothing left in the wormhole. It's an exciting time of change for me. I only had few corps during my time in Eve, which is 5 years now. Some might say I am/was missing out, but from what I see, I was lucky to meet and fly with a great group of people that made me stick around. Since corp is disbanding, it's time for me to look for new home, but before I do that, I need to take care some of personal agenda first, that is done solo:


I have a lot to say about COSMOS missions and it's not positive. I am not a fan of running missions (security) in general, but I have done some. Most missions are quite straightforward. Go in, kill this, go out. Some you can blitz, some you need to take full waves. However, even the worst missions probably won't be even close with bullshit amount that you have to deal with in your standard Cosmos assignment. 

I have done Cosmos first time around 2-3 years ago. I was grinding standings for my first 3 traders and if I remember correctly, it took me around 2 months to get to 0.28% - 0.30% broker fees. At the time I was quite poor. I could not afford buying most of the stuff off the market, so I needed to obtain them old fashioned way. Granted, I had 4 pvp alts supporting in running missions, but that did not give as huge advantage as you would expect. Later you will see why. I am now embarking Cosmos journey, that I swore "never again". Unfortunately, standings grind is necessary evil for anyone who considers trading. If you have pvp alts, fastest way is to do Cosmos missions, otherwise you are stuck with lvl3 distribution missions and some datacenter agents that you can "buy" your way to better standing. I prefer to just be done with it and forget about it. My goal is 0.3% or lower standing. The good balance, between effort and profit, I found is usually 7(faction)/7(corp) standings. It gives 0.284% of broker fees. Here's the standings table.

COSMOS journey

Since most of information has already been documented by some people of the community (I love you guys), first step was to get proper guides for Caldari, Amarr and Gallente. I found this nice handy Agent toolkit. It seems to contain most of, if not all, information on high-sec agents. It has nice layout in order from lowest to highest level agent, also sorted by the requirements and location. There are few minor nuisances though. Assuming you start with neutral standing, your gain is so high and fast, that you can jump order from lower to higher agents in the same system rather than doing everything in a row, based on level. This way, you don't need to travel long distances and be coming back to same system once you start next level.

I start with tutorials and proceed my way down the list, marking x for complete, z still in progress and - for agents that are called storyline, but doesn't give any standing towards faction whatsoever. Not even Caldari Navy corp. What is the point of keeping them in this list? God knows.

I do some upgrades in my strategy this time. First, now I have isk to spare so I can buy a lot of things off the market to speed up my process. Second, instead of using 4 pvp accounts for overkill, I use 2 trader accounts with 1 pvp account following each. Since there are a lot of waiting, transporting to be done, to maximize my time, I do 2 faction grinds simultaneously. I chose Caldari and Amarr to start with. 

So where is the sadistic part, you ask? Because even with 'deep' ISK pockets and multiple accounts, running Cosmos is a massive pain and time waste. I will write about my experiences in the next part.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Losing my first capital. RIP Large rigs Moros

It's funny how things sometimes turn out. Just the other day I wrote a piece of me being lucky and almost getting rolled out with my dread, but making it back. It looks like universe, or should I say BOB, had other plans in mind.

Evacuating assets

We had a corp meeting recently. The topic was to discuss the future of USYSC. Since activity has dropped significantly, a lot of people leaving the corp and some busy in RL, it's been very quiet in the corp, thus some course of action was necessary. Decision was taken to merge with another WH corp that was run by one of our ex members. It takes a great deal of time and effort to run a corp. If you do not have such dedicated people, corp will go into inactivity mode as it happened to us.

When I moved in, it was my first real WH corp experience. I was very excited and a bit overkilled with the moving in part. I brought in more than 15bil of assets to the wormhole on my first days. Ships for every situation, replacement ships, all assortment of rigs and mods, minerals to build backup ships, blueprints. In other words, I moved my lowsec station to wormhole. A stupid decisions, but I did not know any better. I knew I could lose it all, but never took it seriously and thankfully, it never came to that.

Lately I have been exporting some of my stuff out. Whenever I had good or goodish connection, I would haul my assets to highsec. Repackage everything, ship it off to Jita and stock it or sell it. I've been doing this for a week until I got left with very few ships that I pilot. One ship that I still needed to get out was my first and only dread - Moros. I've been scanning like crazy and with little luck, I got a c5 connection 3 jumps out that had 2 lowsec connections, of which one I chose to park my dread at.

Solo flying out dread like a boss

Connecting systems seems to be fairly inactive. I get into my dread and my remaining 3 alts into covert ops ships with webs. My target is as follows: HOME -> C5s -> C5a -> C5b -> LS. There are only few guys in corp on comms and they are somewhat afk. Screw it. I'm taking it out. What could go wrong with scouts on every entry. Right?

I go ahead with my plan. Warp to c5s, jump, warp to c5a, web. Ok, first stage complete. I jump to c5a, warp to c5b, web and dread is in warp. So far so good. Suddenly I see a proteus decloak on c5b. Holy shit. I start shouting for support on comms. Calling in jammers and anything that can come to aid. There are few guys alive in the corp that are shipping up and starting to head out to assist me. Meanwhile my dread lands on a c5b. I do not jump and instead, try to warp back to c5a. Proteus is not jumping, however Stratios decloaks, jumps in and tackles my dread on the other side before I can warp out. Ok, shit is about to go down.

I run through my options. I could stall time and wait for my corp jammers to arrive, but seeing only few ships on scan I assume my run to another corp is opportunity based and they are not prepared to kill my dread. Yet. I jump Moros through the wormhole while decloaking my tackle Proteus on the other side. Now there is Proteus and Loki. Both of them tackle my Proteus and start shooting. Getting aggro from everyone, I overheat my web and initiate warp with dread which turns out to be 18.200 meters away from me.

Overheated faction web has only 18km range. I desperately try burn to my dread while tackled to oblivion. At 30m/s I slowly approach into range. I am surprised how my dread is not tackled during this time, but I finally land a web and Moros is in warp to lowsec. I get a small relief. Meanwhile my corpmates came and small fight started. I still had to get to Lowsec and get to station so day was not over yet. Once I land on lowsec wormhole I nervously jump in and initiate warp to station. Have they not scanned lowsec entrance yet? Have they been tackled by my team and unable to follow? I raise questions in surprise that my dread warps off safely and is at the station. I shout on comms that Moros is safe and we should bail, however our FC has other thoughts in mind. We are having a pretty good small gang fight so we stick around and try to kill anything.

A small gang brawl

A fight drags on. Both sides unable to kill anyone do to few dps and logi present. Once more and more of our corp members joins in the fight we start to outnumber them. Seeing things going south, Nocturnal Predators Rus decide to upgrade ships. They bring an Archon and a Vindicator.

We can't break anything and they can't break us. Fight came to a stall and only reasonable thing would be to do is to try and get everyone out safely. Instead, my killer instinct remembers a Moros parked in at the lowsec entrance of the wormhole. It still should have enough mass for IN and OUT jumps. A perfect counter for the Archon. I volunteer and FC agrees. Fight continues, while I try to get my dread back.

Pesky Machariel

Getting dread back was it's own adventure. I undock from station with -10 pirate sitting there. I don't think much of him and initiate warp back to wormhole. Except that this pirate quickly swaps for a bumping Machariel. Station is a kickout and soon I find my self 1km out of docking range. You have to be kidding me. Unable to warp, I try to go back to undock. Machariel desperately tries to keep me out of range while I desperately try to get back in safe arms of the station. Local is increasing and from 2 neuts I now have 5.

This is not good. I report this to the fleet and ask if I can get support, meanwhile burning with my Poteus to tackle Machariel and shut his mwd off. While on the way, somehow my Moros manages to dock back up. Sensing an opportunity I try to convo a Machariel pilot. I tell him about fight next door and offer him and his gang to come to assistance. He refuses and tells me he will just let me go. I am not sure if I can trust him, but with my proteus now on grid, I can web warp so it doesn't matter much. I go back.

A glorious death

Finally, after what seemed like eternity, my dread is in warp to the battle. Fight is still on going. Once I land my Moros, I start dishing out pain, that Archon seems to tank without big problem. We try to keep the pressure so he goes low on cap, but events take unexpected turn. One reason my dread and fleet had such hard time killing anybody was that system turned out to be Wolf-Rayet. A system, that gives massive bonuses to armor HP + 86% more and -43% to sig radius. Something that noone happened to notice when fight happened. The unexpected turn of event was that we saw a Moros and a Naglafar on scan. 

I was keeping pressure on the Archon, but he wouldn't drop below 30%. My biggest mistake was not to turn off siege cycle in time. When we spotted enemy dreads, cycle was about to finish and me hesitating for 5 seconds resulted in starting 2nd cycle. After a minute, we had 2 dreads on grid with 3rd one on scan. They made short work of my dread.

We knew Moros was gone. While I was busy dying, fleet was busy slowboating to wormhole for evac. Fast forward a minute and my dread was nothing but a wreck with fleet at the wormhole ready for jump out with exception of Armageddon that was quickly popped after Moros went down. In the end, we managed to kill noone, but did not welp as many ships as could have.

This is EVE

This experience is exactly why I play EVE. What started with transporting dreadnought out of W-Space, turned into ambush, that escalated in to small gang fight, that escalated in small cap fight. Both corps brought what they could and did their best with numbers they had. I was very happy to see my first Moros, that I bought long time ago in my lowsec days, did not end up as a gank victim, but instead, it died in the glorious fire of the battlefield. I could have just kept it at the station, but seeing an opportunity and seizing it is what makes a great story in this unique game.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Luck sometimes favors the stupid

It's been few days since I am back to my home wormhole. It's been rather quiet lately so I decided to do some rolling and scout for new connections.

Not paying attention can cost big

There was an active static which "looked" healthy. I jumped in few battleships and boarded my trusty dread. I am not particularly fond of capitals. Moros I own is the first and only capital I have bought. It even still has large rigs on it. Originally designed for pvp, now it is repurposed for pve activities in wormhole, though lately with my passion for pve I usually sit out my site runs and go do some trading instead or go afk and watch something. While shooting sleepers is a good change of pace, but when it comes to terms of isk, it's just psychologically hard to do something that pays 10th of worth of what you could get updating orders in the same time.

So only job my dread was doing lately was rolling wormholes when most of my corp was afk and no carriers were available. I do my standard procedure and jump in and out 3 Dominixes.  Half asleep warp my Moros in while surfing webs on other screen. I embrace the fact that without proper scouting and with no backup as corp is afk I might die to an ambush. Sometimes I just don't care that much and just solo roll hoping for the best.

Moros lands on the wormhole and jumps in. Only then I notice wormhole wobble, which is normal, however I notice that wobble resembles that of a critical status. I check the info and my fears are confirmed. Wormhole wen't critical and is on verge of collapse.

Well, holy shit. It's obvious wormhole had already some mass decreased. Me not paying attention could have ended up with my dread stranded in the static, without any scanner and no good exit out to k-space.

To make matters more interesting, suddenly a neutral cheetah lands on the wormhole. I still have 1km to burn to 5000m range in order to be able to jump. I overheat my MWD and hope there is no big fleet following. It could take only one cruiser to collapse the wormhole. An unlikely situation for someone to jump through the wormhole that is about to be rolled without eyes on the other side, but it's enough to increase my heart rate.

I am not so much worried about being attacked at this stage. I am still in semi shock by thinking of how this scenario could have developed for the worst. Had wormhole collapsed, cheetah could have tackled me and I could have done nothing about it. I am happy that this time BOB's will was in my favor and I got out safely. I owe him some corpses for a sacrifice. Praised be BOB.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thoughts on friendly fire changes in corps

Yesterday CCP finally announced ETA on friendly fire changes within corporations. Changes are to go live on February 17th. Starting that date, corporations will have an option to turn off friendly fire which means corp mates won't be able to shoot each other unless duel is initiated. This option will be off by default.

Awoxing game

There have been some discussions ongoing about these changes, however I was surprised to learn that initial thought was to remove friendly fire altogether instead of making it a toggle on/off option. Giving corps more control seems only reasonable thing to do.

To be honest, I did not care much about awoxing playstyle. I know some people focus in this activity, but it never appealed for me. Even though I like to be an asshole, joining a corp that don't know any better and killing their Orca and mining fleet (usually) just doesn't get me off. You can, of course, aim for more shiny ships, but to solo kill those, like shiny battleship or a marauder, t1 destroyer might not cut it.

Main reason I don't like awoxing is that you get blacklisted after first awox if corp bothers to report it on the forums. Also your killboard shows you awoxing. Having done that, you are blocked from all decent corps that put minimal effort in their recruitment and do background checks. Then you can only join some miner or very newbie corps that don't know any better. Not to mention your char is a throwaway. God forbid if character is on the same account as your main. By giving your full API you expose yourself. So many disadvantages and so much effort for mediocre kills. You might get a lot of tears, but I am not sure they are worth it. There are many more useful/profitable activities with much more impact that dedicated account can do.

Bigger picture

While I do not do awoxing, I am concerned about the changes. Highsec play has changed dramatically since I first joined EVE. Starting with crimewatch and now with friendly fire changes, I can't help but fear for the future. All "improvements" made may somewhat make sense, but it all adds up to safer environment. Just put all your safeties on and you won't have to worry much about screwing up or being screwed over. CCP might get the opposite effect than what they expect. With no dangers present, people will die out of boredom.

Once changes are live and assuming corps go for maximum security, only way to get at someone will be wardecs and suicide ganking. My biggest fear is that this trend will continue. Imagine if suddenly they implement player corps equivalent to NPC not to be wardecable with 10% tax. As Gevlon names them - friendly corp. Then imagine suddenly they change suicide ganking and forbade -5+ players from docking in highsec stations. These might be extreme examples, but if safety changes continue to be implemented, we might end up being more close to theme park than unforgiving universe. I believe  for each change CCP needs to give something in return. Like being able to shoot the deployables implemented in Rubicon expansion. Stuff like that brings new forms of emergent gameplay.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Trading update: sucking up the losses

Marmite war declaration turned out to be a perfect time for me to visit my wormhole system. I scouted closest highsec connection and went on my way. Before leaving, I have contracted some of the loot to my traders. I had around a billion of loot piled up from ninja salvaging activities. Not bad, that will cover my pos fuel for at least few months.

Trading is boring

Once I'm back home, I log in my trading alts. It's been awhile since my last logon, which was, I believe, around two weeks ago. That's not too long ago, considering that I used to login once a month. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to matter. I take a look at my inventory and I see 65 billion in stock.

God damn it. That usually is a terrible sign. What it normally means is that prices have tanked and I got bunch of loot that I will have to sell it at the loss or keep it long enough for another price fluctuation to happen. I don't have patience to wait long time and I also don't like to have my capital tied up. Not to mention that is only on Jita alt. I got 4 more accounts around the universe and each of them having half as much stock.

I start putting my stuff for sale. Some prices of bigger items like High-grade Slave Epsilon or Core A-Type Large Armor Repairer really tanked. Even though I am quite careful and set multiple buy orders at different price ranges, I ended up with a lot of overpriced stock in just 2 weeks. This is really annoying.

I am all too familiar with this situation. As I wrote before, it's quite hard to do proper semi-afk trading. Swings like this kill your profit. So you either wait it out, which then turns out long term investment or sell at a loss and start over again.

Since I have hundreds of items, I seem to balance out my losses with other profitable deals and still turn out to be ahead. But having in mind my turnover, profit is meager. I need to change my strategy. Sitting with 350billion and only paying for my subs is not a good return of investment. Problem is I am too lazy. I got comfortable to updating my list that I handpicked during long period. I do not feel like sinking in time of finding other opportunities. I feel like I'm in stagnation.

Future plans

Nevertheless, I have taken first steps into shaping my strategy. I am finishing training skills on more trading chars that will be used for more focused tradings, based on material groups. Meaning, some will trade in deadspace mods, some will trade in implants and some will take into high volume goods. Such diversification hopefully will allow me to be better organized and help prioritize time on chars that bring in most profit.

I am still not sure if I should diversify by groups or should I diversify by price/volume. Perhaps try to do research on most profitable items, but that always changes. And time spent for analysis is better time spent updating orders. I have in mind to learn some python programming to help me process some of the data, but that is in the long term goal.

First things first, I need to grind up some standings. Most straight road is to grind some missions and do all COSMOS. Even a though of running missions makes me want to throw up, it's still good change of pace. Plus you earn some isk on the side. Who knows, maybe I will encounter a ninja. But that is all talk. As someone who is living in wormhole, means I will have to yet again abandon my corp activities for some highsec carebearing. I've been lately so busy with real life, that any thought of doing something in EVE worthwhile looks like a massive time sink that really demotivates me to undock and so instead I just spin my ship.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - End of first season

I continue poking various carebears in the system and end up in a mission with Plesk Storm and his Dominix. Without much effort I get aggressed. Pretty standard so far. I swoop under it's guns and start killing off the drones.

Living on the edge

I'm having unusually hard time. I shoot drones as quickly as possible, but my tank is near it's limits. Logi is in warp, but I am not sure if he's gonna make it. My nanite paste is running out and so is armor buffer. It's been going so well, will I have to leave this guy to save my ass? Have I've been sloppy? Fortunately, logi lands just in time when I enter structure. Phew, that was close.

I catch my breath and Dominix seems to be out of drones and I proceed shooting his shields and open convo. I've got all the time now. So lets see if I can get richer.

Plesk Storm > ???
Zosius > 150mil and we call it a day?
Plesk Storm > FO, not 1 time. better kill me.
Zosius > why not
Zosius > you dont want to keep your ship?
Plesk Storm > Don't payng for robbers.

We are off to a bad start. Plesk Storm has interesting view on robbing. I was just helping myself to salvage and loot available for everyone in space. He opened fire, almost killing me and yet, he's the victim.

Zosius > i am not robbing
Zosius > i am just defending myself
Zosius > you are the bad guy
Plesk Storm > )))
Zosius > 100mil. last chance
Zosius > and you can go
Plesk Storm > I havn't
Zosius > oh well
Zosius > too bad for your ship

He wouldn't budge. Looks like not paying is final decision so finish off his ship

Seeing his fit explains a lot. It's no surprise why I had such hard time tanking his drones. 4 damage mods on a Dominix brings out a lot of pain, even for an assault frigate. I also help myself to his pod which was free for the taking.

Plesk Storm > Bad just 1 thing, that you tooked me on mission... But why killed kapsule? More fine?
Zosius > I was well within rights to ensure my safety
Zosius > sanctioned by concord
Plesk Storm > Don't like thiefs and robbers.
Zosius > Salvage is free for anyone to take
Plesk Storm > Your friend shoot me))
Plesk Storm > I understand everything, but not kapsule.
Zosius > no, i defended myself
Zosius > if I am assaulted I can't just watch
Plesk Storm > No, don't tell me)  Enjoy the loot.

Plesk couldn't understand how someone could shoot a defenseless pod. In his mind, he is still innocent in shooting a frigate. Me and concord think otherwise. According to legal system, justice has been served.

Karma is a bitch

Still not feeling to call it a night I check another Dominix in the system. Once I land, I see an interesting sight.

TEARS is a well known tag of an alliance that is home for Ninja Salvaging corp. Looks like there was another ninja in this room who was more unfortunate. I start approaching to salvage the wreck. When I get yellowboxed, I get worried. He might be pvp fit, so I keep my distance. I try to gather some intel by checking his killboard and ask around in ninja channel. I find out that he did not have a scram/pvp fit. Before I decide to make my move, even more strange thing happens.

Dominix is suddenly converted into blue wreck and there's also concord present. What? How? I have hard time understanding what just happened. He didn't fire on me. I still have suspect flag and there was noone else in the area. The only way I could think of on how he got concorded, was that when he locked me, he still had a ninja wreck locked and forgot to switch target to my ship before firing, so he ended up shooting yellow wreck, with his safety off. Too bad I was not focused enough and noticed too late to get on the kill mail. Regardless, it was hilarious. He's got what he deserved. Right?

Last episode - Getting a wardec

My notification feed flashes and I notice that my corp got a wardec. Sigh.

Marmite declared war to us. Again. It's not the first time we get the wardec. It's the third. They declare war to a wormhole corp, coincidentally at the same time when I do ninja work. It is quite funny. I don't know if I can claim credit for the wardec, but I hope I had something to do with this. Me and corpies laugh it off. I love my corp. Instead of complaining for inconvenience to move stuff in highsec, everyone just laughs. It's becoming a tradition.

As for me, it's my cue to end the season. It's been great fun, but one has to be in sync with his environment. You need to give space and time for your food chain to repopulate. Let them forget you and visit again in the future. Wardec brings a great opportunity to move back to wormhole and do other stuff. I will call these series a Season 1. Let my first 2 ninja salvaging entries be a pilot that never developed into full season. I hope you enjoyed the read. I for sure will visit high-sec once again in not so distant future.