Generate

Plus one.

I spend a good part of the holiday out of the capsule, but I got my time in capsule as well. Spent my share of hours as the scout on a few roams, where we slipped into SOV space and followed the OUCH motto. With the exception of the final few days of the holiday, where I balanced my New Years plans with failed spaceship diplomacy, I had a pretty good time.

Kill more, Die less.

Looking back on the whole of 2015, it was easy to let the summer malaise affect me as well as anyone. I have spent over 5 years playing this game, racked up about 6000 kills to 200 odd losses. Trained lots and lots of newbies. Raised a couple of generations of like minded pilots who pay it forward by training others that null sec is not scary. So I took a break, found fun with some companions, old and new. Spent time with family long neglected. I spent more time out the capsule, perhaps, than I should have as leader of what I believe is a unique training organization. One where the instructors are embedded with students that they don’t expect to keep for more than a few months. One that invests in the other guy without expecting a return on investment.

Don’t get me wrong, I was still involved, in comms, on the forum, but I wasn’t actually flying spaceships. I wasn’t involved in the day-to-day development of new players; I left that to the instructors I trained. But I also wasn’t involved in the day-to-day development of junior instructors and that was neglectful of me.

I came back to New Eden in the Fall and started flying more seriously again. I stayed out of ECM ships for a bit, which is difficult for me, because I find flying the Falcon to be extremely rewarding. Lots of guys were burned out from all of the changes that CCP is making in the game. Lots of our guys were working hard to find content.

Content. I really hate the word. It’s so gamer. In other MMOs, the game designers provide an expansion, it may or may not have a story line to it, but bands of players come together to devour it.

Content is entertainment. Television has content and some of us program our lives to get it in regular doses. Every Wednesday night at 8 PM local, just gotta watch Real Wives of New Eden or some such thing. No one in my circle of regular friends thinks it’s really normal to spend 16 to 20 hours a week in front of a computer playing a video game, but they’ll give up six hours of their lives on a Sunday watching professional football, along with 30 million other Americans. Other than sports, with today’s streaming services and digital video recorders, you don’t have to program your life around entertainment, you can program it in your life.

We always laugh when we hear a distinctive track of 60’s Sci Fi fight music playing in the background when you take a turn to speak on comms, Bren.

We can ignore that people that log in everyday to mission, mine rat, do complexes, explore, do planetary interaction, industry and haul. That Player versus Environment stuff is all Content, just not the preferred Content of steely eyed killers hopped up on caffeine or social-achievers wanting to be part of the next epic war. Content in Eve evolved to strife, conflict and intrigue between players corporations in order to give each other reasons to shoot at one another. Leadership in New Eden evolved to leaders of corporations, alliances and coalitions working with teams of directors and fleet commanders. These people play the Metagame. These people have a Narrative. These people provide content for other people who have learned that they can play something else, watch some TV and wait until they are called to come support the Great Game, where hundreds or thousands of players form up and fight battles of attrition. The largest groups work together to do one thing: Motivate people to log in and play a game that they have all been taught does not have the designed Player versus Environment Content to keep players interested.

Silly buggers. Not the people generating content. The players waiting for it to be served to them on a platter.

What if you could log in and form a 5 man fleet and go find a fight with 6 other guys three jumps away? What stops you from doing it? What’s the problem?

N+1. The other guys are just going to bring more guys, or upship and we won’t be able to win, so we need to wait here in station until we can get more guys.

So New Eden’s Mass Epic Fight culture gets in the way. Six years ago, the players tried to make the fights bigger and the servers couldn’t handle it. The only thing that could have made it more horrible would have been getting a “Loading, please wait” message as you tried to jump into a system with 300 people already on grid. CCP took it as a technical problem, got better servers, ultimately inventing Time Dilation so that a great mass of ships could share the grid.

To what end? To the point where the upper limit of fleets really was never met. Once you can put a few thousand players on grid for one massive battle, it’s no longer a technical problem. It’s a cultural one. As far as I can tell from the blogs and the forums, unless we can fly in 100-1000 man fleets, it’s just not fun anymore, right?

Well, for some anyway. I fly in small gangs.

Don’t get me wrong, there are guys who jump in a ship and go out and look for some fun. Solo pilots and small gang pilots exist, but we aren’t the guys putting Eve Online in the international news. And it’s a shame, because for every one of us quietly playing our game, maybe streaming to get more people interested in Eve, there are 50 complaining on the forum or on social media that Eve is Broken.

I have a pilot in my corporation, logs in a couple of times a month. He says, Hi, jumps in a cruiser and loses it 10 odd jumps down the road. We all stare at the heavens and wonder what the hell he was thinking, but you know what? I never chastise him. Know why?

He’s playing. Not sitting in station waiting. Not sitting in comms playing some other game waiting for someone to tell him it’s time to come play Eve. He plays. He loses his ship. It’s never something that expensive, he buys his own ships. His brothers give him some ribbing about selling him some new ships and tell him, You should go North, not South next time.

When I was new to Open University of Celestial Hardship [0UCH], we didn’t have senior guys to teach us the ropes. We jumped in ships and went out in what are called “micro gangs” nowadays, 2-5 people, half a squad in military parlance. We’d just fly. Sometimes we’d roam. Sometimes we’d camp. Sometimes we’d find something, sometime we wouldn’t. We’d fight, usually die, and if we were lucky, get one kill for the 4 losses. Today, we do the same in a micro gang and take no losses, because we have skill and experience and can choose our fights better. But the end of it all, it was fun.

The biggest complaints I see are about how Eve’s large scale PvP is broken now. I’ve rarely fought in a system with more than 50 people fighting in it. I’ve always had problems with the use of Mass to win a fight. I loved hearing about how Black Legion was flying Slippery Pete Tengus, using Maneuver to battle in large scale, ignoring the archaic Napoleonic Infantry combat prevalent to Eve. Instead, like like Mongolian Cavalry riding just inside of archery range, they ran around sniping brawlers and droneships trapped in their own warp disruptor bubbles. I love how Rooks and Kings perfected the Pipebomb to destroy massive fleets heading home from the big fight.

N+1? For over 2 years I’ve witnessed tons of pilots bemoaning the death of Small Gang PvP. Small gang pvp is dead because people won’t go out with 2-12 pilots anymore, they are afraid of running into 20 pilots. Or if they do find a fight with a dozen pilots, they’re bait. And if they aren’t bait, a third party hotdrops you with capitals. So they sit in station and wait until they have 25 people and then they go out and fly through systems with 12 people in station that don’t come out because, well, there’s 25 people out there.

So let me put on my teacher hat here. CCP is making it so you don’t have to use Mass anymore. You don’t have to wait for someone to hand you Content. Make the fleet. Figure out what you guys are able to fly, taking into account what you can afford to lose and replace, mind you. Figure out what you’re able to take on with what you can get together. Go out looking for it. Plan ahead, see what goes on around you and build a fleet to go fight that thing. Just undock knowing what you can take on and keep it in mind.

If you’re 3 guys in T1 frigates and you catch a smart-bombing Machariel, you might want to just let that one go.

Capsulers old and young, let me tell you something that you should already know. The byline for Eve Online’s PvP game is Player Generated Content.

Last I checked, you’re a player.

Generate.

Play the game.

Minus one.

Farewell Battleclinic

Break Break.

I like to talk. Both my father and mother were great storytellers and as my grandmother would say, apple don’t fall far from tree. One of the advantages of teaching newbies is you get to tell your best stories over and over to new audiences. What’s old hat to you is fresh and exciting to the new guy.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

So several times a year, I get to tell people about the first time I got hotdropped by PL Supers, or the time we deployed to Delve to see if it was a better venue for OUCH.

It wasn’t. And I still have ships in 319-3D, Bren.

Anyway, when you say the same things over and over again, you develop sayings, cliches, tag lines, whatever you want to call them. I’ve got a few.

When I was young in New Eden, I pushed myself up the learning curve as fast as possible, learning as much as I could about how ships and modules worked. I found myself on Battleclinic studying loadouts and Yoz, my BFF and mentor out of the capsule, bopped me on the head and told me to stop.

Dude, he said, Don’t waste your time in Battleclinic loadouts. Things change and those fit don’t get updated. If you want to see good pvp fits, look at the lossmails of good pvpers.

So I started following the losses of 0utbreak [TOXIN]. They were the top pvp corporation on Battleclinic for a long time. It didn’t hurt that I flew against them in Curse. It also didn’t hurt that Yoz and Al flew with them.

So Battleclinic was my first intel tool in Eve. I followed what what 0utbreak pilots lost far more than what they killed. I studied their standardized fits of arguably the best small gang pvpers in Eve and I learned what ships, gangs and fits killed them. And occasionally, I got to tap their brains to see what they really were doing with the fits they flew.

The value of the killboard isn’t in the kills, it’s in the losses.

Over time, I grew up from a noob flying Rifters to a silent killer in the Falcon. I made it into the top 10k. One day, when my rank was about 2100 or so, I noticed that I was one rank below Agony Unleashed’s Azual Skoll.

A lot of people didn’t like BC. They still don’t. In the early days, a ton of false mails were posted and not all of them were deleted; the rankings were not perfect. But as a tool for following personal progress, it worked for me. I liked the format. I liked following the rankings. Was I ever going to be Number One? No. But I got to see a clear progression and history of me and mine.

I watched OUCH go from a 80000+ corporation with more red on the killboard than I want to remember, to the all time rank 192 PvP corporation in Eve. I got to watch Art Of War Alliance grow over a 5 year period, essentially a one corp alliance, finally ranked at 110 (all time, 78 or so for recent activity). When Battleclinic finally shuts down this month, OUCH will have nearly 20 top 10k pilots.

Not bad for a bunch of newbs.

It would have been nice to get into the top 100, but that’s not in the cards. We still have killboards, Zkill and Evekill. But still, I’m going to miss Battleclinic. We’ve lost a little piece of history this month. It’s a shame, but like all things in Eve, things change.

There’s no reason to complain about it, you just adapt and move forward.

So farewell Battleclinic. And thanks for all the fish.

If Logi Wasn’t So Easy

Plus one.

If Logi wasn’t so easy, it wouldn’t be getting nerfed.

I said that to Omega about a week before the last release. I know there’s logistics pilots who are going to start telling me how hard it is to be a logi pilot, cause you’re responsible for other people’s ships and if you fail to do your job people lose their ships and then they blame it on you.

Yeah yeah yeah.

This is the problem: Years ago, the player base asked CCP to make logistics repair better and CCP gave logistics repair better tools which made logistics repair easier. Watchlists. Broadcasts. More ships. Better ships. Now the ships are so good and the tools make life pretty easy for the logistics pilot. So easy that fleets of the same size cannot kill each other unless they can alpha strike past logistics repair, or trick logistic pilots into healing the wrong ship while they kill another.

Nowadays, logistics drives the size of the fleet.

Look, this ain’t my first rodeo. Years ago, in another life, in another challenging, e.g., hard MMO, I was a healer. No one turns away a good, dedicated healer. Not if you want to have an efficient group, anyway.

I quit that game and eventually found Eve Online. I found a corp. I moved to SOV. I moved to low sec. I moved to SOV. I joined OUCH and back in those days, we lost ships every single day. We needed a force multiplier to stay in the fight. We thought about using logistics.

But?

Back then, T1 logistics ships were a joke, dual purposed to mine and space heal. T2 logistics ships were expensive and we were poor. To top it off, a four man gang was pretty big for us, a six man gang was huge.

And lone healer in a gang of four is primary.

Precisely. We turned to ECM because 1 ECM ship could make a difference where we’d need 2 logistics ships just to keep the logistic ships alive. Griffins and Blackbirds cost a fraction of the cost of a Scimitar. That’s how I became an ECM pilot.

See, Logi repairs damage as it is made; ECM stops damage at the source. ECM pilots do what logistics pilots do, only backwards and not as well as logistics pilots. We just we don’t have the same tools that logistics pilots have that make them efficient healers.

An ECM pilot locks up the opposition and tries to jam according to what color the target is. If you don’t have the right color, your chance to jam is drastically lowered, which means, damage is coming through onto your fleet, probably onto you. Typically, if the ship is bigger than a frigate, you do not have 100 percent change to jam them.

You can make it easy and leave the racial jams at home, use multispectral jammers. Of course, multispecs have half the power of racial jams, which means half the effectiveness on chance to jam.

Luck be a lady tonight.

A logistics pilot locks up their own fleet members and repair damage to their ships. They don’t worry about the percentage chance to repair, they just repair. It helps if their friendly targets resists are high, because they get more bang for their buck, since resists are applied only to damage and not repair received.

Couple of years ago, CCP passed out skills to make it harder for the ECM pilot. They’ve always had modules to make it harder to jam pilots: Logistics pilots are the primary users of ECCM modules. And CCP has been balancing ships to make life harder for the ECM pilot. Check out the slow rise in sensor strengths of ships during the past 2 years of balance passes if you don’t believe me.

All of the hazards that logi pilots have to concern themselves with are also the hazards of an ECM pilot. ECM. Neuts. Damps. Being called “Primary.” But ECM pilots do their thing in a ship that is undertanked and pretty slow in comparison to logistic ships.

There are no real tools to make the ECM job easier. We do not have a watchlist that tells us who the other ECM / EWAR pilots are handling, or a method to see incoming damage from it’s source so we know who to jam. Our fleet members cannot broadcast for EWAR support. Beyond a couple of pilots, it is extremely hard to coordinate targeting and jamming the opposing fleet. The most efficient tool for ECM pilots to coordinate jams is voice comms.

Simply put, ECM, and EWAR in general, do not scale with the size of the fleet. It’s why you don’t typically see Falcons or Scorpions in fleets larger than a 12 people.

But logi scales with the size of the fleet and the problem that everyone has with logistics is not that reps are too powerful, but that logistics repair can be coordinated in such a manner that the upper limit of fleet size is unknown. Over the years, logi pilots asked for and got powerful tools, watchlists and broadcasts, and it’s made logi pretty damn powerful.

So now CCP hit logi with a nerfbat and things are going to be harder. And I guess it could be worse: If CCP really wanted to nerf logi, all they’d have to do is get rid of the ability to broadcast for reps.

That would make fleet logistics hard.

Almost as hard as flying fleet ECM.

Minus one.

In It to Win It

Plus one.

My launchers are cycling on the Brutix when the rest of his fleet land on the POCO. FC calls a new primary, Harbinger. The Brutix is going to armor but I switch off my launcher and paint and switch over to the Harb, leaving my damp on the Brutix.

There is only one FC.

The Harby is obviously a softer target or a bigger threat, so I’m not going to argue. He gets a tracking disruptor, which probably ruins his night. He does not last long.

New primary is called: Vexor Navy Issue. The tacklers do their thing to make sure 2 Brutixes and the VNI are controlled. I ask where my TD needs to go and as expected, the FC tells me to neutralize the Stabber Fleet Issue, who is buzzing around trying to figure out how to engage something he can kill.

Then my shields are stripped off and I’m in armor. I’ve come in too close and there’s a flight of Valkyries on me. I tell the FC and prepare to bail, pissed off at myself for not flying aligned. FC acknowledges and I warp to a belt less than an AU away, wave at the rats and warp back in at range.

Too far from the fight and deep in armor, I man up, turn on my MWD and burn in. The Stabber Fleet gets a track. The FC is working on the second Brutix so my torpedoes and paint are on him. The other Brutix throws his drones on me, so I align again and go to warp as the second Brutix disintegrates.

Less than a minute later, we’re finishing off the first Brutix. The SFI pilot, not wanting to fly home alone, or perhaps, guilted by his bros, barrels in to let us scram, web and take him down.

We fielded 2 Stealth Bombers with Tracks, Damps and Paint, 2 Assault Frigates and a Stratios. Yes, we had a Falcon… Art of War Alliance does not have E-Honor.

Kill more, die less.

They had a Harbinger, Vexor Navy Issue, two Brutix and a Stabber Fleet Issue.

Their EHP? Probably about 190k.

Ours? Maybe 60k? I know my SB without a shield extender was at 22 percent armor when I docked up in station.

One of their Brutix pilots accused us of using an exploit: he wanted to know how he was jammed without a jam icon.

Probably the damps.

Yeah. The only exploit we used was our opponents ignorance of the proper application of EWAR.

We’re in it to win it.

Kill more, die less.

That’s what we do.

Minus one.

Kicks and Risks

Plus one.

I didn’t support the Fountain War Kickstarter. Not because of Goonswarm. Not because of The Mittani. Not because I don’t think they got a good enough writer. Not because “he said, she said” RMT scandal. Not because Sion pissed me off, or Rixx made me think.

I don’t hate Goons. They usually don’t affect my day-to-day playstyle. And occasionally, when their actions cause CCP to nerf something that was cool with 3 ships but sucks with 300, I really try not to complain.

Really, truly?

The average member of a SOV superpower looks at a 100 man alliance in NPC space and believes that we are just content. They are part of something powerful, we are not. They are part of the narrative. They are playing in the endgame. They believe that they are, and we who are not must certainly covet that which they are.

I’m not them. I’m not one of the “hundreds of thousands” that look back on this period of time of interstellar conflict with wonder. I didn’t fly in multi hundred man fleets. I don’t fly capitals. I don’t do bloc warfare. Sovereignty has no appeal to me, because I won’t fight for something I don’t believe in.

After the war ended, when TEST fled to Curse to rebuild, and Goonswarm came to Curse essentially to try to finish them off, we happily shot at both sides. With regard to dealing with the Curse locals, DaBigRedBoat told TEST, “You are going to die… Generally speaking they are inbred, space hillbilly-gypsies and they are much better at this game than you are.”

He made my day.

While I enjoy the space drama on the blogs and the super blogs we call news sites, and I might be enticed to buy a book or comic about Eve Online, I’ve not done so yet. I spend an inordinate amount of time reading and writing about Eve Online. And I have other non-Eve related things to read that are important or entertaining.

So I’m not sure why I should should chip in and pay for a book that hasn’t been written yet, telling a story that to me was fighting over who could make the biggest fleet in Eve Online.

Large coalitions fighting over the ownership of income generating moons so that their alliances can afford ship replacement programs to maintain standing navies so they can protect their supercap construction facilities from each other, so they can have supercaps as a deterrent against each other while maintaining the status quo of being impervious to the threat of smaller alliances.

I thought it was about good fights?

Yeah, the story just doesn’t seem as compelling as the hype machine claims. Besides, I’m pretty sure I’ve never even been to Fountain.

Ultimately, it’s a big universe when you travel gate to gate. The story of the Fountain War is not the story of all of us, or even most of us in New Eden. It’s the story of a tiny fraction of us.

Someone else can pay the advance, I’ll buy the book when it’s done.

Maybe.

Minus one.

Then They Came for Me

Plus one.

Somewhere out there, there are logisitics pilots saying to themselves:

First they came for the jammers,

and I did not speak out,

because I did not use ECM.

Then they came for the jump drives,

and I did not speak out,

because I was not a capital pilot.

Then they came for the off grid links,

and I did not speak out,

because I did not have a booster alt.

Then they came for me,

and there was no one left to speak for me.

Minus one.

Improving High Sec II

Plus one.

Couple of years ago, I got in in my head to do L4 missions with my corpmates to encourage some team building and esprit d’corps with the new students. But while running around with 8 guys in cruisers, battlecruisers and battleships in L4s can be fast and fun, it’s not very challenging.

I believe that when L4 missions were created, the developers honestly thought that people would do them in groups. I remember doing L4 missions with my buddy Khorum in battlecruisers. They were challenging for a pair of dudes with only a couple of months in Eve. They are not challenging in an overtanked battlecruiser or battle ship. See, years ago, CCP underestimated the players base. The proliferation of battleships for solo mission running killed team based PvE until the Incursion expansion.

For us, we started doing L4 missions in frigates to increase the difficulty. Doing L4s in frigates requires that you fly your ship. With the addition of logisitics frigates, it evolved into a tool for training healers as well as training shooters to work broadcast for reps in between piloting their ships.

So here we are, a handful of PvP pilots, going into a L4 mission and we catch a Burner: a tough little NPC frigate mission. We know that these burner NPCs are tough, but can take him in T1 frigates After all, it’s a 5v1. We’ll just bring 3 damage dealers and a couple of healers.

How’d that work out for you?

It was hard. Real hard. We fought the Cruor mission. It was like fighting a mini Curse. He neuted hard. He hit hard. I spent probably 5 minutes alternating between not doing enough damage to break his active armor tank, and not to any damage at all, because I was capped out and hoping that the logi could keep me up.

Finally, after a 10 minute fight, this mean little NPC broke my past the reps and put me down. Hard. I was in my pod telling everyone to bail out. He grabbed a second guy and finished him off, too. The logi and one other damage dealer escaped intact. Wow. We spent the next half hour theory crafting on how to beat him, added another pilot, upgraded to T2 ships, one tackler and the rest kiting. In the end, we put him down like the rabid wolf he was.

Probably the best PvE I’ve ever enjoyed in Eve Online, since doing L4s with Khorum as newbs in undertanked BCs. Not the second fight, because we never were in danger during the second fight, since the high resists of my Vengeance made it trivial for the logi to keep me repped, my nosferatu allowing me to keep my scram on him the entire fight, letting the kiting ships deal damage to him at range.

But that first fight, and the theory crafting we had to do to beat him the second time, made it exciting. And the only problem with the final outcome was the reward. 5 million ISK, to divide between 6 people for what ended up as an hours work.

After losing 2 T1 frigates in the process, you probably didn’t break even.

True, but PvE in Eve needs more challenges like this, small ship missions where several players are required in order to complete a mission. The content needs to be challenging enough that you need more than one brain to complete the mission; if it can be completed by one person playing multiple accounts, it’s not hard enough. And if you need to have several real people to complete the mission, then you need to make the reward large enough to compete with solo L4 missioning in an overtanked BC or BS.

So some ship restricted PvE, where multiple players with individual pilot skill and tactics are required to beat it. Where the reward for an hours worth of team work in frigates is worth more than soloing a L4 in a Navy Scorpion.

Burners are a good template to work from. They’re instanced, repeatable and challenging. They just need to be a degree more challenging so they can’t be multi-boxed by a solo player, and rewarding enough to encourage people to run them with friends.

Minus one.

Three More Wishes

Plus one.

Two and a half years ago, I wrote a column where I made 3 wishes for some changes to Eve Online. Just Three Wishes that would have made life in New Eden a little bit better.

I wished for clone bay arrays so that we could remotely set our clones in space that didn’t have cloning facilities. I wished for a shortened jump clone timer. I wished for a medium sized hauler in the 100k to 200k range.

In the end, CCP did away with the need to use cloning facilities and let me set my clone to any station I could dock in. Cool for me, not so cool for wormholers. They didn’t give me the 12 hour clone jump refresh I wanted, but I can work with 19 hours.

I was disappointed with the fleet hanger incorporation to the Transport Ship. I still think there is a need for a hauler, in between the Transport Ship and the Jump Freighter capacities, closer to 200k m3. However, I’ll admit, I own 2 transport ships now and I’ve used them both in the last few months.

You hate them.

They are of limited use to me, but I’ve used them more than my Orca and I haven’t driven a Freighter since the warp speed changes. The only reason why I even keep a Freighter is on the small chance that a wormhole opens from our high sec staging area in Derelik direct to our null sec base in Curse, I’ll move everything I own in high sec to null and never go back.

Right.

Don’t judge me.

Anyway, I started to think about little cool features I’d like to see that wouldn’t be too hard to make happen, another 3 wishes to put on the list.

First, I’d like to see a T1 bomber. I know it’s not realistic, but I can’t help but think it would be awesome. Four new T1 frigate hulls able to fit a bomb launcher, no guns, no cloak. Something that doesn’t take a lot time to train, but something brand new pilot can jump in and be part of a coordinated wave that blows battleships away. Unable to warp cloaked, but able to pack a punch if flown in a group.

I don’t know whether to cheer or be horrified.

Second, I’m a support pilot, specifically EWAR. If it has Tracking Disruption, Target Painters, Sensor Dampers or Electronics Counter-measures, I fly it. I’ve got no reason to fly capitals until the make one that uses ECM. But there’s only one Disruption ship larger than a cruiser class. I’d like to see more three more battleship class EWAR ships, and the Scorpion fixed so it doesn’t get made into vaporware if you show up in one to a fleet fight.

The Caldari did get kind of screwed out of a third combat Battleship.

Finally, along with Force Auxiliaries, we’re going to be getting T2 Logistics Frigates. I guess they are looking for a ship in between T1 logistics frigates and logistics cruisers, capable to keep up with advanced frigate and T3D gangs. I’m not really a fan, since there are better gaps in the logistics line up that would be a better thing to fill.

Battlecruiser class logisitics comes to mind.

I’d rather save my third wish for something I would actually use. We really could use some Black Ops Logistics Ships. Using Strategic Cruisers for logi support in a BOPS gang really doesn’t cut it. The repair ranges are just not long enough to be effective and you shouldn’t have to spend half a billion ISK to fly a substandard logistics ship.

Interesting.

Just three more things I think will make Eve a little more cool.

I figure you’re going to be waiting for quite some time.

Who knows? I got kind of lucky last time.

Minus one.

Improving High Sec

Plus one.

I read a lot of blogs, I read 10 to 15 of them daily. One thing I’ve been noticing is a lot of people seem to have an idea of what CCP should do to fix high sec.

Let’s get the elements of this suggestion that are going to annoy folks out there right now. We have to reduce the viability of players living in high-sec their entire game lives.

Talvorian Dex – Target Caller

Okay, so I’m annoyed. The problem is, the most vocal of pilots in New Eden do not live in high sec. They live in null or low sec, and they PvP, and their suggestions all revolve on one thing:

Lack of people for them to shoot.

Yeah, it seems that there are a lot of folks in null sec and low that can’t find enough people to shoot at. There is just not enough action in the areas where pvp is allowed without restriction.

Lots of people in high sec that we can’t shoot. Make them move to null sec. Make it harder to make a living in high sec and the people there will gravitate to the rewards in low sec and null, where there is opportunity, but at the cost of increased risk.

Like I said, I read a lot of blogs, I don’t often reply on them. I did on Target Caller.

In real life, we see people who are living in war torn, unstable countries moving out for safety and opportunity.

In Eve, if you make high sec life harder, more risky, less stable, less rewarding, the people who Are satisfied with high sec now will not go to low sec or null for more rewards, because they have other options.

They dont have to move out of high sec for more content. They can just play another game.

Emphasis mine.

I am a PvPer. I started my life in New Eden in high sec and 2 months later, I was as a soldier fighting Atlas as a renter in Geminate. I’ve lived in NPC null sec camping bubbles with newbies. I have fought over plexes against the Gallente Federation in the hotspots of Black Rise. I’ve been a pilot in RvB (Blue Republic!) and roamed with Agony Unleashed (Sup Dybbuch!). I’ve sat on a titan dropped on newbies who preached that feeding others with kill mails was fun. I’ve flown interdictors for the most elite pvpers in Eve and been told to fly something more useful and get more kills.

I’ve been a soldier, a fleet commander, a teacher, a director, a diplomat and ultimately the executor of a insignificant hundred man alliance living in NPC space. I can tell you that High sec needs fixing, but not the fixing that PvP-centric null and low sec pilots would prefer.

High sec needs to be safer, which will grow it’s population, so that there is more competition for finite resources, and only then will the more ambitious players migrate to more dangerous space.

Right now, one of those resources is victims for high sec pvpers. More ships are destroyed in high sec than null and low sec combined. If you took away high sec pvp, everyone who wanted to blow stuff up would have to do it in Low or Null. Where people invariably shoot back.

That would increase the population for PvP areas, which is really why everyone who doesnt live peacefully in high sec wants to adjust high sec play.

There are people, the majority of players in Eve Online, who log in and do spaceships in the safety of high sec, chatting it up in NPC corp chat. No comms, no fleets. Soloing in a Navy Faction Battleship or Marauder, shooting red crosses, er, triangles. They love the game as much as any PvPer. They out number us 5 to 1. That they are content with the high sec game as it stands is not a bad thing. But CCP needs to make improvements to retain the carebear, the PvE-centric player, instead of trying to driving them into null or low sec space. Competing with other players in ship to ship combat is not for everyone.

We should all be encouraging CCP to make changes to increase retention. A bigger overall Eve Online population means that CCP has the money to develop cool features that ultimately all of us will enjoy. But if we PvP-centric players, the vocal minority, keep trying to encourage CCP to do something to high sec to make our PvP game better, we’re encouraging CCP to cut off their nose to spite their face.

Open University transitions dozens of carebears to killers every year. But they come to null sec by choice, not because someone is pushing them out here.

Make High sec a theme park. Scary, but generally safe. Make ganking painful for the gankers. Shorten wardecs. Let players pay CONCORD to be left alone. Eventually, some of those people will get bored and find their way out to low sec and null.

After all, we did.

Because ultimately, if you make living in high sec harder, they will just play another game.

Minus one.

Welcome to Curse

Plus one.

The other night I put my Stabber up and got in a Caracal instead. Traffic was light on prime time Eastern USTZ. We caught one frigate and one cruiser in what TuxedoMask calls “The Spider’s Web.”

I miss Tux.

After a couple of hours, I bid my good nights and log out. Of course, 15 minutes later, the fleet meets Zarvox Toral, flying through Curse, looking for a fight in his Vexor.

Now Zarvox had a little fight a few jumps earlier, versus a T1 cruiser, T3 cruiser and an interceptor but for some reason the guys he was skirmishing disengaged. In KQ, he finds a system full of reds and wonders aloud if TEST lives here. He soon realizes that he is in NPC space and the reds on his overview are the locals, A4D to be exact, who seem to be docked up. Resigned to wander, he jumps into CL-85V and with just a couple of neutrals in local, heads into 8G-MQV, which for the uninitiated is Open University of Celestial Hardship’s training system.

He finds reds in local, and couple of Assault Frigates, T3D, and a T1 Frigate on grid, camping on a warp disruptor bubble behind the gate. He aligns out. He notes that half of the people in local are not on his overview. He recalls that the last time he was here, he fought some T1 Frigates and they brought out a Falcon. One of the ships is burning down at him. He turns his ship around and decides to go for it anyway. He warps to the bubble.

As he goes to warp, a Griffin lands in the bubble. Zarvox starts cursing mightly: he knew that these bitches were going to have ECM. He turns his drones to aggressive and tries to target the Griffin before it’s too late, but he doesn’t make it. The frigates have him jammed, scrammed, webbed in short order. The missing pilots in local appear to be flying Recon Ships, with more ECM jams, tracking disruptors and capacitor neutralizers than necessary to take one T1 Cruiser. Zarvox remarks that ECM is terrible and it’s users have no balls.

Now, Zarvox gets his pod out, warps to the sun and lands in a warp disruptor bubble. His assailants land moments later and warp dsrupt his capsule. He starts his self destruct sequence as they cover it with EWAR so they can all share in the mail.

“Art of War Alliance?” he laments, “more like Art of Bitch. My Vexor is probably the most expensive thing they have killed in months.” A few momments later, he self destructs and returns to his home station.

Zarvox Toral is is an Australian and has been playing Eve since 2011. He does solo pvp and he was streaming when he found us.

Pics or it never happened, dude.

I’ve watched the videos of excellent solo and small gang combat pilots over the years. Guys like Kil2, Prometheus Exenthal and Sard Caid (smooches Sard!). All dudes who grew up someplace like Molden Heath or Syndicate. They would come to Curse solo in cruisers, HACs, battlecruisers and sometimes even battle ships and as often as not, leave Curse without them, victim of a small gang. Eventually they just don’t come to visit anymore.

I can recall a conversation several years ago between Prom and Kil2 on the Bring Solo Back podcast. Both of them were adament that Curse was a terrible place to solo pvp.

Don’t go to Curse!

I pretty much agreed with them. When I moved to Curse from Geminate in 6 years ago, it was like being a tough kid from Jersey City suddenly dropped into Compton. I tried to go solo. I ran into gangs. I lost more ships in one months than I had in the previous six. I didn’t even speak the same language as these guys who were shooting at me.

‘Sup, homes? What set you from? OUCH? Never heard of them. Dawg, you in Curse now. You either down or you out, and you definitely ain’t down. Nah son, I don’t believe it. Look at you. Your ship’s not even Faction! You can’t be riding around out here in a hooptie all by yourself. Let me help you out that Kestrel and – Damn! That’s T1 fit! You effed up, son! Maybe you should go back to wherever your punk ass came from?

The Curse culture is small gang. There are guys in Curse who do roam solo, typically in kiting ships, Scyth Fleets, Stabber Fleets, Cynabals and now Orthuses. In frigates, we used to see a lot of Dramiels and Daredevils, which transitioned into Imperial Navy Slicers before almost disappearing entirely. You might find a solo fight in systems where locals undock when they notice strangers loitering in their home system.

Mostly though, you’re going to find small gangs, patrolling space, camping gates, cutting off traffic. In Curse, people tend to travel in packs and fight with partners by their side. This is a direct reflection of Curse as a major travel route to between high sec Derelik and Sovereighty space in the south east. Larger corporations and alliances generally roll through in larger groups. The locals can tell the fleets seeking military targets, in their single ship doctrine fleets with logi support, from those traveling between empire and SOV, in the proverbial kitchen sink fleets. Either fleet will engage a solo target of opportunity. The locals have learned to fleet up to take them on.

Or at least, trip and beat up a fat kid.

Everyone loves a good fight, preferably one that they win. How many people do you know who will pass up the low hanging fruit when it’s there to grab.

Zarvox’s video of our one sided battle was very entertaining, but he has us pegged all wrong. Open University of Celestial Hardship flies mostly frigates. We use EWAR to control the fight in order to beat people flying ships with considerably more tank and firepower than what we fly. Since our EWAR pilots are not alts, when you come at us solo you’re going to be the unlucky recipient of all our collective attention.

I’m still trying to figure out why we’re set red to him. I mean, we didn’t do anything.

Zarvox was one guy in a Tech 1 Cruiser, all by himself, looking for a good fight. Unfortunately, he found Art of War Alliance. He assessed the risks, decided to engage, and was welcomed to to the neighborhood in the usual manner.

See, in Curse, like in Compton, if you know that those guys standing on the corner are giving out ass beatings, you don’t cross the street.

You keep walking, hope they don’t follow you and try, ever so carefully, not to trip over your big balls.

Minus one.