Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flying With Friends I

Null sec malaise has found me again. While I deeply enjoy null sec and I’m probably not going to leave any time soon, sometimes I just need a break from it. When I feel the malaise coming one of two things will happen. Either I’ll go off and play some other fun game for a while or find some friends who are doing something different in game. Last night I did the latter.

One of my new co-hosts, Marc Scaurus of the Tuskers, and his former Ransoms And Roams co-host, Professor Terror of Sinner., took me out for some low sec shenanigans. Our visible fleet composition consisted of two drakes and a talos. Thanks to the wonders of dual boxing we also had a scout and some secret sauce to add some flavor to the night.

The night was pretty quiet according to Marc and Terror and I’m inclined to agree with them on this one. There just wasn’t much legit activity going on in the surrounding areas. We didn’t come across any real roaming fleets or gate camps. Still there was a little bit of action to be had.

My first encounter in the area was with a Incursus off the station that my loaner drake had been deposited in. This would also be my first mistake of the night. Not thinking, I undocked without loading ammo into my guns while in station. When I undocked, the Incursus yellow boxed me as soon as they could in an attempt to bait me into agressing them. When I tried to shoot them... I couldn’t. I couldn’t shoot them because the person that loaned me the drake put Heavy Assault Missiles in the cargo hold instead of Heavy Missiles.... Marc. So unable to shoot, I simply docked back up. Professor Terror did manage to swoop in and make short work of him while I searched for ammo.

My second encounter of the evening was with a gnat of a Jaguar pilot. That’s exactly how he flew, like a gnat. In range for a couple of seconds and as soon as you line up a good hit, he’s off 70K away. We screwed around with him for a little bit, but then the guy that was in the Incursus was back and this time he was in a Iskur! I’m not sure what he was thinking.

While we did end up with the killmail, the fight went on a bit longer than I would have imagined. The three of us shot at him for a good minute and a half or so. I think someone might have been splitting DPS on the Jaguar. Plus we were on a gate, so our drones were dropping pretty fast. I wish I had fraps going because I would have loved to see his transversal.

After that, we did a bit more roaming around trying to find something else to kill. We popped over next door to get more drones and while we were waiting on a gate, an auto piloting Iteron appeared. Marc is so busy on his scout he didn’t even notice. I end up getting the ship webbed and scrammed before I get on comms and alert him there is an industrial ship to shoot.

Obviously the guy is afk. We get his pod and we attempt to hold it for ransom. I open the convo, but when I do Marc tells me the Jaguar is coming back and to just pop the pod. We pop the pod and go chasing after this Jaguar, again. About 10 minutes later, I get a standings notification with this little gem:
Wolf Aus has set their standing to terrible towards you.
nice one slut nice bounty for you and your fagot munching wanker
I have never laughed so hard in my life. I’m not sure why he was so angry. He didn’t have any cargo worth anything. He didn’t have implants in. Plus, if he’s baller enough to go through low sec on auto pilot iteron... well then you get what you get, Sir. You may suck it. Maybe he had come a bunch of jumps and I sent him back to his starting point. Ouch.

Something surprisingly fun happened. Marc decided to do a little experiment and started tweeting about he , Terror and I roaming around Mara. A few minutes later tweetfleeter @Zievarrenna shows up in local. He’s in a Merlin and Marc asks if he wants to 1v1. So Marc gets a rifter together to 1v1 and I jump in to a reaper to watch. I got it all on fraps, but TL;DR Marc wins. As fun as that was, it wasn’t the best part of the night.

The best part of the night was a fight that resulted in no kill mails. Marc found what was obviously a bait drake in one of the systems. By this time the fleet comp changed to a Drake, Tornado & Talon. He scouted out the rest of the fleet which appeared to be a hurricane and a falcon. We weighted the odds and figured that with out DPS we should be able to get the drake down provided we followed the game plan.

We were going to rush the drake and get him down. As soon as we were locked and shooting the drake we would release drones, but not aggress them to the drake. Instead we were going to wait to the falcon warped in and have the drone aggress that ship since the falcon was going to jam us all out and drones will continue to attack even if you’re jammed.

So everything is going according to plan. We’re pounding this drake down. The DPS is so good that he’s bleeding structure when the hurricane land and he’s half way in to structure by the time the falcon lands. Then something both amazing and horrifying happened. All three of us lost point. The Falcon was able to jam out all three us enough long enough for the drake to warp out. We were in three different races of ship and the falcon was able to reset the entire board. On top of that, an orcale dropped in which was the worst thing that could happen so an emergency GTFO was called.

Evening writing this I get that excited feeling or “pvp rush.” It was just fun. There was no kill mail, but hell yea that was a good fight. We “gf-ed” and all that in local and the drake pilot apparently pooped a little. It was hands down the highlight of the evening.

I think I might stay out in low sec for the rest of the week. It’s a different kind of atmosphere. A different kind of pvp. Plus if a couple of listeners or tweetfleeters come down to play, it would be really cool. Apparently Kirith Kodachi wants to shoot at me. It was nice surprise to have @Zievarrenna come down. Apparently there are others in RvB that want to come play. Party in Mara!


Monday, February 27, 2012

[Happy Monday] United Technologies of CreoDron

The Story
Normally on Happy Monday, I do some fiction writing. Well, I should say in the past I’ve occasionally released a fiction piece on Monday. Happy Monday is supposed to be a weekly feature of the blog, but I suck at doing the weekly blog thing. I do hope to keep this particular feature steady in the future. In keeping with that hope (and with commitment I made last year), I present you fiction of the audio kind.

Last December, I wrote a blog post detailing an ambitious idea. The idea was to take the power of the Eve community and use it for some kind of crazy, fun role-play project. After finding an old CreoDron ad that I had written; I had my project. I was going to turn the ad in to a type of United Colors of Bennington spoof which morphed the ad in to a “United Technologies of CreoDron” advertising campaign.

The campaign caught on better than I expected. 13 capsuleers lent their voices to make this project a success. The best vocal contribution came from Kirith Kodatchi who voiced several different readings including something a little Yoda-ish & some strange cocktail of Scottish, Irish and Canadian. The best surprise came from Rixx Javix who created an absolutely astounding background to go along with the campaign.

I want to give a big thank you to all the Eve Online Community members who pitched in with their talents. All of you are what make this game and this community great. The you for sharing some of the best talent this side of the Eve Gate.

Awesome People Roll Call
Adhar Khorin
Kirith Kodatchi
Mean Harri
Mord Fiddle
Nina Arens
Pastrick B.
Rixx Javix
Skylah Fairchilde

Friday, February 24, 2012

If It Makes You Happy...

I had one of those serious “Murphy’s Law” periods of time though with the powers of “Dawin’s Law” on my side I was able to overcome and eventually evolve.  When I look back at the almost ruins of my gaming habit, the podcast, my blog and everything else I’ve done; I can safely and enthusiastically say that I evolved the fuck out it.

Now before asking me what I’m on and then requesting a sample; I should probably start from the beginning.  New Year’s Eve, my computer decided to blow up.  My heat sink was on the fritz and lead to two capacitors on my motherboard popping.  The end result was a dead motherboard and no functioning computer at all.

The pro of this, was I met some interesting people on my journey to fix my computer (as well as finding other things non-computer related to occupy my time with) and I learned how to build my own PC.  The con of this, was that I had to take an extended break from Eve and all my other gaming plus put the podcast in to hiatus.  It was hard.  For a long time I was down about the whole thing even though I knew it was all temporary.

After a few weeks of experiencing “outside” (still overrated), going out with friends, going out on dates (totally forgot how awesome doing that was); I was able to finally get back in to the swing of things… or so I thought.  Yes I had my computer back, but life wasn’t really done with me yet.

The next couple of months were really difficult and took me to some dark places.   There was the x-ray with a mysterious dark spot that thankfully went away for a close family member.  The multiple surgeries that sought to prevent blindness for another close family member.  The suicide and the widow & two young children it left behind.  Then the loss of my dearest friend & companion Mister Alexander Pendleton the III hit me like a freight train the day before a Ford Ram hit my Mustang like a smaller freight train.  Things were bad and starting the podcast up again or returning to Eve didn’t seem like the right thing to do.

I was ready to quit everything, but then I talked to my mom.  It was a simple conversation, but she asked me how the podcast was going.  She doesn’t listen to it (Thank everything in the known universe), but she does have it book marked on her iPad and loves to show it to people.  I told her I had closed it down while my PC was out, but I was thinking of ending it all together.  Her response was, “But I thought you liked doing the podcast.  You’re also so happy when you talk about it.  Why give that up?”

I couldn’t think of a reason.  Yes, Stan left Voices and I left Tech4, but that wasn’t a reason to close it down.  Down two co-hosts in less that a year looks awful, but that wasn’t a reason either.  Haters hating and slow growth on listenership wasn’t a good enough reason to give up either.

Bottom line, it’s hard to give up something you’re passionate about.  I have a deep enjoyment for Eve.  I’ll share my Eve experiences and my podcast will anyone who will listen including my friends, family, dates, the associates at Fry’s and anyone else who will stand still long enough to listen.  I enjoy the company of other Eve players that share my enthusiasm for the game.  I enjoy putting effort in to things that enrich my gaming experience and creating something that I and others can enjoy and appreciate it. 

It’s been a bumpy ride and there will be more bumps in the road as time goes on.  Life constantly changes and brings challenges and obstacles your way.  That’s why it’s so important to find joy in the things you do and to embrace things that bring joy your way.  Voices from the Void, And Knowing, talking to my co-hosts and the listeners, playing this game and Eve Online as a whole bring me joy.  Thank you for sharing in that joy with me.

That said, the gears are back in motion.  I have a “plan” set for the blog to increase my writing activity.  The podcast had gotten a facelift or twelve and will continue to evolve.  I’ve even been discussing some contests and features with my new co-hosts for after CSM7.  All I ask is that you excuse the mess, as we all progress. 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Assult Frigates: All the Power & Utility, but Total Lack of Skill

This weekend I took a break from my “favorite ship to loose” and checked out the new and improved Assault Frigates.  In the Crucible 1.1 patch all frigates received healthy stat boost.  Across the board a new role bonus of 50% reduction in MicroWarpdrive signature radius penalty was added and each ship also received an additional fitting slot, additional CPU and a new bonus specifically chosen to add to the strength of each ship.

For my test runs I chose to stick with my Win-Matar roots and picked up a Wolf and Jaguar.  Big surprise I know.  I could have gone the Gallente route, but… eh. 

The life of my Jag was short and not so sweet, but I had a really good time in it.  It’s 4 mid slots make it a great tackling platform and even allow for a little bit of tank.  Since we had a bubbler in the fleet with us, I choose to go for a scrambler instead of a warp disruptor.  After hearing about Gal Fed’s new noctis fleet doctrine, I fit a salvager to my empty top slot.  Other than those two things it’s a pretty standard fit.

Our fleet’s target area was Tribute.  W.I. has made it a pretty standard practice on those long boring nights to take a little fleet out somewhere in the area of J-GAMP or M-OEE8 to play with NC. and friends.  The nights usually turn out with a few “odds and ends” kills and then a skirmish with a home defense fleet. 

I guess this is about the time I say I didn’t get one kill in this ship.  While I feel that the end result is completely bogus… it is what it is.  In this particular fleet fight, we were sitting on the station with a bubble hoping that some of the miners or mission runners would warp to the station in the panic of seeing the reds jump in.  This did not happen.  However, slowly but surly some frigates started to un dock.  “Oh goody!” We thought.  “Maybe they’ll bring out a fleet comp close to ours!”

Nope.  Our fleet comp was drake x2, hurricane, cynabal, blackbird, scimitar x2, jaguar, saber, dramiel and rifter.  They undocked a Dominix, Drake x3, Oracle x2, etc, etc.  I won’t bother to list the rest, because you can see where I’m going with this.  They took down a drake, the cynabal and my jaguar before the FC called a retreat.  Our fleet did manage to take down a Omen, Thrasher x2 and Merlin when the FC decided that the drake was not the best primary to call in the first place.  Of course, this realization happened after my ship was blow to bits.  Oh wells.

So after my crushing defeat in the Jag, I did what any other slightly inebriated Eve Online pilot would do.  I made myself another drink and I re-shipped!  This time I would flip the script a little and go for a wolf. 

I was a little anxious about taking the wolf out.  It only has two mid slots and with its five low slots, it has to be armor tanked and minimizes the amount of DPS mods you can pack on.  However, from a medium sized fleet perspective, when you have two scimitars and you’re in a frigate… its fine to be armor tanked.  Also, your primary directive is to tackle and you’re not meant for DPS so phooey on your DPS mods.  Unfortunately, this also means that you’ll probably be one of the first ones to die right behind the saber pilot.

Three had lost their ships in the first engagement.  Two of us were lucky enough to be podded back to VFK where we could easily re-ship.  One of the pods escaped and rather then jump back to VFK the fleet just took a small high sec pit shop for bio breaks and a hull acquisition.  We were also lucky to bring a couple of additions to our fleet including a falcon, tengu and another drake.  The cynabal pilot opted for a rifter in this round.

Once we get back together, we push off and things were going well-ish.  On our way back to J-GAMP we came across a Drake and a Sabre that we made short work of.  Why we were going back to J-GAMP when we didn’t have significant additional numbers and we knew what they were packing… I’ll never know.  Still things stayed in our favor at least for a little while.  During our second tour of the system we happened to come across thiscomedy Talos kill mail.  Half fit ships for the win.

Feeling good about our victories we decided to call it a nice and head back to our base of operation.  Lucky for us, there was a great big welcome party in E-OGL4 just waiting to see us off on our merry little way.  Again… not even sure why were out there.  It’s not like the fleet of Drake x4, Armageddon x2, Apocalypse, etc, etc was a total surprise.  I do have to give it up for the logi pilots.  They kept me alive a lot longer than I ever planned or expected.

Overall, I had a good time playing around in assault frigates.  They’re a nice thrill that’s easy on the wallet and a good value for the utility and DPS.  I’d like a chance to take out an assault frigate again, but I’ll need to work on my GTFO skills and get back in to practice with tackling mechanics.  I think being a logi pilot has made me a little lazy. 

Note:  I would link the battle reports, but they are all fucked up on  I’ll have to see if I can find something better.