Refueling

Plus one.

I connect. Unsurprisingly there is not a lot of urgent or important mail to read. Information? Yes, but nothing world shattering that requires my attention. I have been keeping in touch via mail and forum, so I’m not entirely out of the loop. I join voice chat, say hello to some corpies and visitors. I feel like I have been away for a very long time, but it’s only a few weeks.

It’s summer and summer is usually a quiet time. From what I can tell, it’s been very quiet. Everyone seems to be biding their time, waiting for Aegis to be deployed.

AJ tells me we have new neighbors. A small corp has moved into the area, into a system that we claim in the sovereignty by occupation model that occurs naturally in NPC space. Rumor has it they want to talk to a diplo about getting positive standings. He jokes that we should have them talk to KT, whose idea of diplomacy typically starts and ends with torpedoes.

I make a note of the corp name and mull over an appropriate response.

My Neocom flashes: We have a low fuel warning on one of the POS. So I get out of my Griffin and get in a Crane. Dig through the hanger and find fuel. After the first trip, I remember how long this is going to take flying a Blockade Runner.

There’s a neutral Wreathe on the undock when I return to station, going to warp. I dock up, grab a Flycatcher and go hunting. 2 gates to choose from. Of course, I choose poorly and he’s off and down the pipe.

He is probably someone you know, flying incognito.

Back to base, I get in a Bustard named Terrible Ship. While I do like the size of the Fleet Hanger, I can’t stand how she handles. I am absolutely horrified with how long it takes to get into warp. It’s awful. I remember to pulse a cycle on my MWD to bump speed up and shorten my time to warp.

Terrible as it is, it makes short work of refueling the POS. I top off a second POS before I head back to the barn and park the Transport ship for another six months.

More corpmates and blues log into comms. I give them an update on what is keeping me from being around more. I link them my Jackdaw fit, a ship I built 2 weeks ago but have not yet flown in combat. 2 weeks ago, I was patroling our space solo, looking for action that never came. Today, I am doing household chores, and it’s quiet in space. Damn quiet.

Maybe you should start up your PI again?

Three hours pass quickly while I talk and listen to my friends. Omega gets me up on my soapbox for a time, and we laugh: everyone knows that they can get me to stay later if the conversation is interesting enough. And I remember for the second time in as many weeks that it’s always the people I miss when I am out of the capsule. My people.

It’s never really been about the spaceships.

Minus one.

The Mind is Willing

Plus one.

I’ve been out of the capsule for too long.  My body aches.  I feel as though I cannot get used to sitting in chairs.  Standing erect. Walking about.

Fighting gravity.

Last night, I returned to the capsule.  Revelled in the beauty of space. Relaxed in the illusion weightlessness.

Comms buzz in the background.  My corpmates asking how I’ve been.  I tell them the truth.

Not my best, I say, but I am alive.  In time, I should recover.

I’m trying not to complain, but I know that I fail.

I’m considering saying my good nights, when an alert rolls across my screen. A request for support from our allies.  Torpedo bombers.  I have a few.  I switch channels, jump into a ship named DNSBLACK’s Hound, undock and warp directly toward friendly territory.

When I land, there is a friendly Vexor on the gate.  I jump.  Mostly blue system.  A neutral Sleipner lands on the gate.  He jumps out while I am still under gate cloak.

I report my findings to the FC.  There is laughter in comms.  I smile and warp to Miss Teri and make sure I am in range of the Black Ops battleship that the fleet is staged around.

We wait.  The Sleipner pilot engages the Vexor.  The Vexor pilot lights the cyno.

The bridge opens but I am slow.  5 pilots vanish almost as one.  Then I find myself back in my home system.  Sleipner is moving away, but he is pointed.

Lock.  Approach.  Engage propulsion module.   Apply EWAR.  Shoot.
Explosive torpedoes.

Boom.

I cloak up and set an orbit about the Vexor.  Inside of torpedo range, of course.  We wait.  The cyno shuts down.

Mutual thanks are offered and accepted.   I’ve got to go to bed, I say. We chat a minute about the perils of getting old.  I smile.  Some of the ones complaining are younger than me.

I warp to station and dock up, switch back to comms with my brothers. Tell them to put a fork in me, I’m done.  The body is still sore.

Some is fun held at my expense.  Something about getting old and wearing girdles?

You knew that was coming.

I laugh and say my farewells.    I am gone for the night.

But?

But just for the night.

Minus one.

The New Sovereignty Diet

Plus one.

SOV changes are coming this summer. Lot’s of people are complaining that there’s not going to be enough risk for attackers, since they are presuming that one guy with an Entosis fit interceptor can effectively reinforce systems by himself and defenders will be running around from system to system trying to fend off interceptor pilots that they can’t catch.

I don’t think I buy it.

The reason why you don’t buy it is because while they are right, they are also very wrong. 20 interceptor pilots can potentially cause havoc to a large alliance’s ability to hold a region of space. They can threaten a lot of space. If 250 pilots of a 1000 man alliance are online are trying to cover 50 systems, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough because all 1000 members of that alliance, under current SOV strategies, are going to be based in one or two staging systems instead of spread out throughout their SOV.

In other words, they don’t live in the SOV they hold.

And that’s the point. If SOV holders don’t evolve, then everything that these critics are saying is true.

But there’s no reason to think that they won’t evolve. Because while 20 interceptor pilots can threaten a lot of space, they cannot take and hold it. A corp that can field a few dozen guys during prime time can hold a system. An alliance that can field a couple of hundred guys during prime time can hold a whole constellation. Granted, they might have to have pilots who can do more than just anchor up, press F1 and link meme’s in chat. The SOV changes mean that systems won’t be held by holding corporations anymore and the rats rented out. Systems are going to become the responsibility of military corporations living in their systems, with the numbers to defend their system or constellation.

In the end, systems are going to be defended by people playing the game, not by people bored with Eve, playing some other game, waiting for a Jabber ping to summon them.

Play Eve Now!

Since Dominion, SOV has evolved into an All You Can Eat Buffet. Corporations got fat, they formed alliances, they took more space. The best of them grew into mega alliances and coalitions. They took more and more space. Buffering themselves with renters and coalition members and alliance corporations, they’ve stuffed their faces full of moon goo and anomalies, and got fatter and fatter.

The likes of Goonswarm and Northern Coalition have made huge plates where they eat until they’re tired, take their naps and come back for more.

And no one touches their plate while they are gone.

Stand by people, it’s time to lose some weight. This summer, CCP’s gonna make you eat what you take, and if you don’t eat it all, someone’s coming to clear your plate. Spread yourself too thin, leave crucial territory to people who don’t log into the game, you’re going to lose territory faster than you can imagine. Alliances that spread responsibilities of constellation defense by active corporations, with good communication networks, competent FCs and players who can act independently of a 200 or 2000 ship fleet are going to do well.

When the dust settles, I believe regions will be held by coalitions, not alliances. Friendly neighbors holding territory. Just watch, the days of a single powerful alliance holding several regions are coming to an end.

I can’t wait.

Me neither.

Minus one.

Hobojamming in High Sec

Plus one.

With the launch of Phoebe, CCP removed the ability of a single Interdictor from locking a capital or several capital ships in a null sec station. This “hobojamming” technique was deemed too powerful, since it allowed a single player to disrupt larger groups all too well.

You’ve got that look on your face again.

Specifically, CCP Fozzie said:

Another of the many mechanics that we’re looking at for Phoebe is he so-called “hobojamming” mechanic. This is the mechanic where an interdictor pilot can undock from a station, drop a bubble to block capital ships from leaving the station and then immediately redock before being locked.

In general we like to have lots of good methods for disrupting larger groups, but this “undock-bubble-dock-repeat” mechanic doesn’t provide enough risk to the dictor pilot to be properly balanced.

So after Phoebe if a player in an interdictor docks in a station that shares a grid with some of his warp disruptor probes, those probes owned by the docking pilot will be automatically destroyed.

We believe that this change provide us the best solution to to keeping the station-camping gameplay balanced while avoiding breaking other aspects of interdictor gameplay.

In order to disrupt large SOV alliances, the “irrelevant” residents of my corner of NPC null sec gate camp, station camp, blow up random cynos, and basically do what we do to impede SOV holders from moving between high sec and null.  We really don’t like letting one guy move their stuff for them. With the hobojamming mechanic, one pilot could hold a carrier or jump freighter on a dock for as long as they had warp disruption bubbles in the station.

Some people thought it was unfair, because the interdictor pilot was able to do this solo with minimal risk.  I suppose that one lowly interdictor pilot keeping a multi-billion ship trapped in a station, preventing them from continuing on their way could suck if you’re the capital pilot.  You basically had to have some friends come out in attack battlecruisers or two available to alpha the dictor to stop him.  But then that’s only if the ‘dictor pilot let their invulnerabilty end before they redocked.

Session timer for the win. 

Supposedly this could force a jump freighter or carrier pilot to bring friends to escort their capital from point A to point D.    Highly inconvenient for someone doing solo logisitics to be locked down by another player also playing solo.

I remembered this today and I wondered, if by using the hobojamming mechanic, the interdictor pilot was not under enough risk while trapping a carrier or jump freighter in a station, how does that compare to a Typhoon or Machariel pilot, bumping a freighter on a gate for hours at a time?

Way I see it, if the capital pilot is solo, the interdictor pilot could bubble them forever. If the freighter is solo, a bumping pilot can hold them forever.  Due to game mechanics, neither the interdictor or bumping ship are vulnerable to attack, the interdictor due to the the session timer on undocking, the bumping ship due to high speed, EHP and/or CONCORD.

Now, we’ve been told that in order to handle a threat, the pilot under duress requires friends to come help them.

CCP Falcon said:

If you want your haulage to be safer, bring the guns. If you don’t have any guns, sacrifice some of your profit margin and hire someone who has them to escort you.

But since Phoebe, the expectation for a pilot to bring friends to protect them while they do housekeeping logistics functions is only placed upon the pilots in high sec.

Use subcapitals to support capitals in null sec?

Crazy, I know.  Jump capable capital pilots don’t need friends.

They just need cyno alts.

In reality, the high sec freighter or null sec capital pilot, is playing solo. But it’s not solo-ship-exploding-pvp solo, which makes it bad. According to CCP, the only good solo play needs to have some threat of players exploding other players spaceships.

Now the bumping pilot or interdictor pilot is also playing solo, but it’s cool solo pvp, because their might be some sort of player loss at the end of it.  But wait, since the interdictor pilot is interfering with the non-combat solo play of capital movement, it’s not cool.

In the end, we have a pilot in duress in null sec get a boost from CCP to allow SOV pilots to play their game, but the pilot in duress in high sec gets his time wasted until the bumper pilot enough guys get online to nuke his ship.

In general, we like to have lots of good methods for disrupting larger groups, but this “bumping” mechanic doesn’t provide enough risk to the bumping pilot to be properly balanced.

Unlike CCP, I don’t think bumping freighters in high sec is very balanced. Why they don’t see it for what it is, and apply consistent criteria when they make the rules, I just don’t know.

Why do you care Bren?  You live in null sec.

I think it’s because I live free in null sec that I recognize how wrong the bumping mechanic is.

Minus one.

Happy People

Plus one.

So I was coming off a bad weekend where everything conspired to keep me from undocking.

That busy?

That busy. Anyway, Monday rolls around and I decide to check my Eve Mail while I am out of the capsule. Evemail is hard to use on my mobile. Hate it.

No one loves me, at least, no one I know has messaged me, but there’s one note in my inbox, from a stranger:

Are you still ridiculing people in team speak to make yourself look schmarter?

I’m at a loss: I have no idea who this guy is or why he is writing me. A quick look at his employment history shows he was in OUCH for a short time some 15 months ago. I search through our archive of Student folders and see that he was indeed in OUCH and completed the first few modules. Try as I might, I can’t remember him. I try to shrug it off and continue on my merry way, blissfully unaware of why I got this random mail.

To be honest, it started to bug me.

See, I try very hard not to do things to upset people I fly with. I don’t share with my opponents, I only share with my teammates. Knowledge and killmails. The fact that this guy is writing me over a year after leaving OUCH seems kind of unhealthy to me.

I usually avoid providing negative feedback to new students. I don’t pick on on new students for kicks, I have to know you before I tell you that you’re being stupid, so that you know that I’m telling you that you’re stupid, with love.

You’re a hugger, Bren.

There is a long post on the OUCH forum explaining the difference between being friendly with students and maintaining a professional detachment with students. We’re not friends, I tell them, because making friends takes time. Corp chat is a terrible place to make friends, so get in team speak and let us get to know you.

Lately, very little bit of my free time in Eve is spent making things explode. Most of it is spent coaching a new player or a OPS pilot, or making diplomatic exchanges in the interest of our security. I’ve got a couple of side projects in the development stage to fill up what other time I have. So really, I don’t know why I am letting this guy get in my head.

Wait. I know why. It’s because I AM working hard and I’m not getting the instant gratification that we all crave, and now some clown from a year and a half ago is making me question if I’m the good guy that I claim to be.

/sigh

I log in game, I’m talking to my homies, trying to get my Eve on and I remark to the gang that I got this stupid mail that ruined my day today. Miss Teri speaks up.

From this guy, he asks, linking a name in chat.

Yeah, how’d you know?

He sent me a note too.

Well, who is he?

My notes say he was kicked for being an ass.

So long story short, over a year ago on Day One of a Marmite War Dec, Miss Teri noticed a student in high sec flying around in a Venture. On the first few days of a wardec, we don’t let students do any PvE, they are only allowed to fly in student fit tacklers and scout war targets.

He’s not in TS. I try to talk to the student in chat, and he did not respond. We jump in interceptors and fly to the system he is mining in. We find him mining AFK in a ice or gas pocket. We bump him, lock him up, strip away his shields and he finally wakes up and warps away. Comes back in a combat ship. Locks us up.

Really?

Well, despite being blood thirsty pirates, we didn’t take his ship from him. In corp chat, we tell him to dock up and get into Teamspeak. He complied.

And?

I pointed out that if we were war targets, we would have taken his ship. He explained that he was mining because didn’t expect anyone would notice or catch him. I explained that mining during a wardec was against the rules. He defended his position that the rules were stupid because they prevent him from making ISK. I explained to him that his position was irrelevant.

I guess I wasn’t nice. I may have hurt his inner child.

Eve is a game of grudges. So many people hold so many other people in contempt because of past slights, fights over nothing important. One of my pilots doesn’t like Eve Uni because they held him in a queue for three weeks and then told him that he was too old to join them. After a blue-on-blue incident, where we reset Eve Uni to neutral, it took over a year to get OUCH pilots to talk anything but negatively about them.

You’re from Eve Univiersity? Heretic! Burn him!

I’ve tried very hard not to hate the other guy in the spaceship that is shooting at me, or I am shooting at. Adversaries and opponents, not enemies. I’ve taken a page from the book of my life and applied it in Eve. My fellow pilots in Open Unversity of Celestial Hardship seem to agree.

This attitude has allowed OUCH to become best friends with Appetite 4 Destruction, despite a 2 year enemity where we shot each other every single day. It’s allowed A4D to make peace with Dirt Nap Squad, despite bad blood between them going back before Art of War Alliance was founded, almost six years ago.

Yesterday’s enemy is today’s friend.

So the incident with the AFK Venture pilot? I learned from it. We don’t talk to people when they aren’t responsive and they break the rules. We just expel them. Nothing personal. I don’t hold him in contempt: I don’t even know him. He’s so far back in my rear view mirror that I didn’t know he was there.

But I have a piece of advice for my former student:

Keep looking forward buddy, you’ll be a happier person.

Minus one.

The First Step

Plus one.

TuxedoMask got me thinking.

Uh oh. We’re in trouble now.

He was just… expressing frustration… with having too many ships in his hanger. As usual, I found myself in agreement with him.

Sounds like a First World Problem to me.

/sigh

When you are young in Eve, there is a tendency to want to be able to fly different stuff. Smart pilots learn to concentrate their training to their native factions ships for at least the first year before diversifying into another faction ships.

Veterans don’t help. We direct our new pilots into the best ship following the current fleet doctrine or meta, which changes periodically. I recall training for a very long time in order to be able to fly Minmatar hulls, only to find myself flying mostly Caldari ships, now for the past 3 years.

But now you can fly Everything.

Not quite, but I do have around 90 fitted ships in my hanger. Frigates and Destroyers. Cruisers and Assault Frigates. Battle Cruisers and Recons. Strategic Cruisers and Battleships.

No carrier, Bren?

If you’re going to pay for them, I’ll fly them. Otherwise, not going to happen.

Now some of my ships are ready replacements, in case I lose a ship and need to get back in one in a hurry. Some of them are specialty ships, like my Prober Rapier, my Heavy Tackle Armageddon or my Null Taxi Tengu.

Don’t forget your Null Salvaging Blackbird.

Yeah, I kind of love that ship.

Some of them are keepsakes, like my lucky White Gold Rifter, or my beautiful Ashimu Mk II. But for PvP, I fly pretty much the same handful of ships 90 percent of the time. Falcons or Griffins. Harpys or Jaguars. Manticores or Nemesis.

Scanning my hanger leads to lots of questions: Do really I need 3 HAM fit Caracals? Multiples of every non-Minmatar interceptor? Cruisers of every color? A half dozen combat fit battle cruisers that I never fly?

I complained to my corpmates that when they changed the Blackbird hull, it made the Blackbird, Rook and Falcon icons in my hanger hard for me to pick out. I pass over them because I’m wired to see the old shape, and the new shape is easily mistaken for a Kestrel. I filter for “Recon Ships” to find my Falcon now and try not to get in my Rook.

Why do you have Kestrels in your hanger?

Probably for the same reason I have a half dozen fitted Rifters. I wanted to fly them, built a few, lost one and then moved on to something else. To be honest, my last Kestrel loss was probably 3 years ago. I really have no idea the last time I flew one.

And there’s the hard part for me. How to make sense of the ships I don’t fly, but I keep around just in case. Once, when I was in band camp, I think, I went on a battle cruiser roam in a Drake. Long time ago. I keep my BC’s “just in case” I need one. Or six. But really, I can’t think of a reason to have a Kestrel available when I have stacks of Merlins and Rifters which fill the same purpose. That I also rarely fly.

Don’t get me wrong, as a director of a corporation whose main focus is training new players, having frigates available is not a bad thing.

That’s what the corp hanger is for, Bren.

Yeah, you’re right.

/sigh

Guess the Operations pilots are going to be happy when you finally hold your garage sale, huh?

Well, it’s one thing to admit you have a problem. It’s another to actually do something about it.

Minus one.

For What You Believe In

Plus one.

I went to Fanfest in April. I met people. It was cool. I went back home. Summer happened. We went outside more. Less playtime for most of us. Less traffic through our home systems. Things slowed down.

Searching for action, I took people out Roaming. It killed some time. We gained training value moving fleets hither and yon, jumping through gates, looking for trouble.

Roaming PvP has always has bothered me for some reason. Growing up, I was never one to go out with my friends looking to see what trouble we could get into. I’ve always looked to go someplace, party like a rockstar, have a blast and make it back in one piece.  So deep down, I guess I question the logic in going on PvP roams in the first place.  Too random.  So in the end, the summertime roams left me with a question that has been heavy on my mind for these past six months.

And that is?

What are we fighting for?

I’ve spent more than the past few months mulling this over, working on this post, trying to find a honest answer that question, at least from my point of view.

Honor? There are no universal codes of honor that everyone follows in life let alone in New Eden. Honor is a personal thing and while I consider myself an honorable person, and I might show courtesy to my opponents, I certainly don’t fight for honor. I definitely don’t expect the random players that my corpmates help out of their ships to agree with my point of view.

Achievement? After a while, a killmail is just a killmail. I’m not in any danger of being the top pilot on any killboard. If Art of War Alliance or OUCH ever reach the top 100 on Battleclinic, I will be proud, but I’m not driven by killboard statistics.

Wealth? I’ve accumulated enough personal wealth in game to fly what I want, when I want, where I want. I’m not rich, there are people with trillions in ISK and I am definitely not one of them. But I’ve more ships in my hangers than I have time to fly. So much stuff that I can’t find things. I threaten to fire sale every week. I’m certainly not fighting for money.

Resources? I’ve a home in NPC null sec where I can do all of those things that people do living in Sovereignty null sec or wormhole space. I’ve lived in both and admittedly, living in NPC null sec it’s not as lucrative as either. I’m not fighting for resources.

Entertainment? I’ll admit, I get a huge rush when the right sized gang comes into our training system and our tactical plan is sound enough to send them running away in their pods. I love when well trained young players in T1 frigates beat the tar out of veterans in shinier ships. Still, I’m just as content sitting in voice comms for hours, talking with my corpmates while we are all just docked up in station.

I’m not an action junky. If I was, I’d play a much faster paced game. I play Eve for mental exercise. I play for the mental stimulation that you get from developing strategy, tactics and teamwork as part of a complex universe. I play Eve because this is a challenge. In the little corner of the universe where I live, doing all of these things, not fighting can be just as good as fighting.

In Curse, I fight to train others how to live and thrive in null sec space. My view of OUCH instructors is that of martial artists, or professional soldiers, continuously training, building expertise in military skills, passing along what they know to others.

But?

But experienced martial artists do not go out seeking fights, and professional soldiers fight for a purpose, not for pleasure.

And there’s the root of my problem. Five years in and I still don’t have a full grasp of what we’re all fighting for, I just know we’re all not fighting for the same reasons. As an independent small gang pvper, I’m sad to say I don’t play Eve right because I simply can’t fight just for entertainment. I need a purpose, a goal, an objective.

I’ve famously said that Eve Online is a role-playing game, and everyone is role-playing the same asshole. The principle of Not Blue Shoot It that makes this true enough: if real life was like Eve, we’d walk out the front door only to be punched right in the face by our next door neighbor, He’d kick our ass, toss us back inside the house and as he ran off, he’d give us a shout:

“Good fight!”

However you cache it, if your rules of engagement are “attack anything that moves”, you’re a pirate.

Yarr.

My corp interdicts traffic though our training system, we destroy people’s ships loot them. Very pirate-like, in the truest sense. But since we live in NPC null, we don’t take security hits and we get to use mobile warp disruptors.

Effing camper.

Well, the typical New Eden roaming gang doesn’t appeal to me. Randomly flying around, looking and hoping to run into another right sized group of pilots and fight them for entertainment? That’s just not me.

Everyone likes explosions.

I like my explosions to have some purpose I guess. I work to afford my losses, and work is time, and I just don’t feel like giving that time away to entertain just anyone.

Taking that random roam and catching some carebear ratting in some backwater system doesn’t thrill me. Oh, I like a good hunt just as well as the next guy, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes, the realization that this poor slob, just playing his game in his sandbox, didn’t ask me to come kick his castle down tonight.

It’s kind of like finding a fat kid sitting on his porch eating a ham sandwich. In Eve, you kick the crap out of him, take his sandwich and tell him he’s got no right to eat on his porch.  Noob.

But this is Eve.

I know, I know. But it still seems wrong.

See, deep down inside, I’m a role player.  I’m playing Bren Genzan of Open University of Celestial Hardship. I’ll admit that I am playing a stylized and perhaps Over-Exaggerated-Me: what would I be like if I was an immortal space pilot in a future vast universe? I’ve developed in my role over the last five years, from pilot and wingman, to fleet commander and pirate, to leader and teacher, to lobbyist and diplomat.

To be honest, I’m so much cooler online.

Eve is real.

Why fight then? I suppose that I fight to defend my home in Curse, to support my corporation and allies. I train students and instructors to that end. The people that come to my house and try to harm me and mine, I deal with harshly. I am ruthless in the protection of my friends and companions. I do not fight fair: I use every advantage that I can to defeat my opponents and minimize losses.

Kill more, die less.

I am surrounded by good people. Together, we live in null sec and help pilots, young and old, to develop the confidence to live in New Eden doing the things they want to do, whether that’s solo or in group, PvE or PvP, hardcore or casual.

In reality, our content is people and relationships, not fights and explosions. That’s good enough for me anyway.  Because in the end, you fight for what you believe in.   Whether that’s the militia, sovereignty, your corpmates and friends, or just an adrenalin rush is up to you.  Just seems to me that if Eve really was real, we’d draw lines in the sand, divvy up territory and learn to live in peace with our neighbors.

Big Blue Donut anyone?

Nah, there’ll always be some clown named Vladmir or something, trying to steal a little beach front property.

Minus one.

The Value of Red

Plus one.

I saw a post on Taking Wing that I started to comment on, but you know what happens?

mhizzing said:

I am a believer that the active killboard speaks volumes more than a green one. If it is active and green, that’s great. But if I am looking at a killboard and I do not see any losses whatsoever, I can only assume that 1) you are better at PvP than anyone I have ever known or seen in New Eden, or 2) you’re sticking to combat within a comfort zone.

In light of this, I find it extremely… shallow, to use the killboard as any serious measure of performance. I still do it even though I write these words, though. Once again it’s hard to give up something that is so simple to compare with.

Kills and losses are a sign of activity, that is all. I commented once on Jester’s Trek that if a pilot was really all about going out and getting a good fight, they’d have an efficiency of about 50 percent.

This makes Brave Newbies some of the few honest people in Eve.

Sometimes you’ll win and sometimes you’ll lose. Sometimes you’d find someone better than you, sometimes you’d find someone worse.  Sometimes you’d get ganked by a gang, sometimes you’re part of the blob.

Sometimes they are exactly as good as you and it’s a coin flip on who wins.

High efficiency comes with choosing your fights, which is what all players end up doing over time.  If you don’t want to lose your ship everyday, you learn to mitigate risk.  You fight in gangs or fleets, use EWAR and logisitics, fight in durable, high performance ships, use various tactics to fight from a position of strength. It’s inevitable.

We learn to fight from a comfort zone because winning is more fun than losing.

In Open University of Celestial Hardship, red on the killboard is not frowned upon so long as pilots and fleet commanders get training value from the losses.  If someone posts a string of solo frigate losses, we’ll end up pulling that string to figure out what that pilot is trying to do and help them get past the problem. We post an After Action Report and debrief every engagement that goes bad. We collectively strive to be better pilots by learning from each others mistakes.  We’re extremely efficient.

Kill more, die less.

The value on the killboard is not the kills, it’s the losses.  But only if you value the loss. If you don’t care about the loss, if you discount it, if you don’t talk to someone about it, don’t analyze it, then you’re probably not going to learn from it.

Minus one.

Ugly Duckling

Plus one.

I’ve got, shall we say, an idiosyncrasy.   I very rarely fly “the best ship” in a given situation.  When the Rifter was King of Frigates, I flew a Merlin.

Dual weapon systems and all.

Case and point, before the cruiser rebalance, I flew Stabbers instead of Ruptures.  Don’t mistake me, as a small gang damage dealer, the Rupture was superior.  Higher DPS.  More Drones.  Better tank.  But the Stabber was fast, and I flew it like a big Rifter in a heavy tackler role.

To be honest, I just liked the Stabber. The Rupture never appealed to me.

So I’ll admit that there’s a part of me that chooses a ship based totally on how it looks.  Offer me a Maller or an Omen and I’ll take the Omen almost every time.

Blackbird?

Not quite the ugliest ship the Caldari built, the Osprey and old Moa were both worse.  But there is nothing pretty about the Blackbird hull.  It’s just a ship.  Nothing to write home about.  The Blackbird, Rook and Falcon  are ships flown purely for their utility.

Well, as a Falcon pilot, you should be pleased that the hull is getting a face lift with Rhea.

You would think so.

But?

I think I like the old one better.

Minus one.

Rejected

Plus one.

A couple of weeks ago, on a Thursday, I checked the forum and noticed that one of the instructors was kind enough to post a warning: OUCH had been wardec’d. Marmite Collective. I checked the calender. Sure enough, it’s been about a year. We had less than 24 hours before the war commenced.

I sprang into action.

I don’t recall you doing anything special.

Yeah, you’re right. I chilled.

A few hours later, I checked the forum. Jak had initiated our war plans. He posted a warning to the corp on the forum and when I got in game, I found that he had sent our a warning Eve mail. He even put a warning in our corp chat MoTD, with a link to the Forum.

Put your mission boats and mining barges up, treat high sec as null sec until further notice. Don’t make yourself a target.

Now, last year, we put away the Mackinaws and got in our Rifters, scouted out the bad guys, figured what they were doing, where they were hunting. Then we told everyone that they could go back to their regularly scheduled activities so long as they avoided the systems where they would end up on the killboards.

Pretty simple. I believe one student lost a mining barge.

So imagine my surprise when 8 hours into the wardec, one of the students says in corp chat, What the hell, we’re wardec’d? I just lost my freighter.

Are you effing kidding me?

That’s what I said. Before he could reply, MT kicked him from corp. I took a deep breath and remarked to my corpmates that I just don’t understand.

Communications is key. Everyone in the corp gets the initial CONCORD notification. They get the commencement notification from CONCORD, too. We send out a corpmail, post on the forum, warn in the message of the day. We can do everything right and still someone will not read the memo.

Then Syko pipes up. He says, That guy was online when Jak passed the word. He knew what was going on.

What you talking about, Willis?

My corpmate informs me that our young freighter pilot was online, in Teamspeak with our Director of Operations earlier in the day. He was told not to fly anything bigger than a frigate during the wardec. He was told not to fly along the major trade routes trying to get blown up. He was told to make the wardec worthless.

He asked questions. He received answers. Training was conducted.

And less than 24 hours later, he innocently lost a 1.4 billion ISK freighter between Jita and wherever he thought was a safe place to park.

You know, sometimes people give you advice that they are just not qualified to give. Priests give marriage advice. Bartenders give stock tips. Gamers tell you how to pick up women.

Truth is, we take bad advice all the time.

But good advice?

Yeah. We slap that away like Lebron blocks shots.

Minus one.