Monday, August 31, 2009

Eve Blog Banter #11: Introducing the T3 Strategic Mining Barge

This month's banter comes to us from Joe Brusati a long time reader of CrazyKinux's Musing, who asks the following: CCP states that T3 Strategic Cruisers are just the start for the T3 line-up. In future Eve expansions what would you like to see as the next T3 ship type. Please be specific on details about what role this ship would play, cost of manufacturing, and the different modules that would be available for it, and of course you must give your T3 ship a name!

CCP Announces New T3 Option for Carebear Corps: The Strategic Mining Barge

With the introduction of T3 ships, CCP provided a new toy for the pew pew set: strategic cruisers that can be pieced together like Lego building blocks. However, CCP have realized that it's not the PvPers or mission runners that build the T3 cruisers. No, it's the carebear production corporations that do. And after doing all that hard work, they can't even use high tech ships they just built. Is this fair?! I don't think so, and neither does CCP, apparently. Or at least that's the impression I get from planned introduction of the new T3 Strategic Mining Barge.
With the introduction the new T3 Strategic Mining Barge, the carebears will finally have a T3 ship to call their own. The SMB will be capable of operating in extreme conditions in 0.0 or W-space on high-risk mining operations, or on extended solo mining ops in Empire.

The SMB will be able to fit many of the same defensive and utility modules that their more combat-minded brethren can. However, the Strategic Mining Barge will be optimized for fitting specialized high-tech mining and gas harvesting modules. For instance, the Enhanced Nanotech Strip Mining Array, based on advanced sleeper-inspired nanotechnology. This array is capable of turn one ore type into another by unleashing tiny nanobots to tear down and rebuild an asteroid at an atomic level. Staring at a Veldspar asteroid outside Korsicki and wish it was Mercoxit? Unleash your nanobots to rearrange those atoms and mine what you want, where you want!

The Phase Shift Cargo Expander Array will dramatically increase your ability to store ore or other cargo. The Cargo Expander Array uses one of the first practical applications of string theory to "shift" cargo into another dimension, leaving room for more of the valuable ore that you are mining. No more jet-canning with the T3 Strategic Mining Barge!

While CCP has yet to name all the races' versions of this new ship, it has been leaked that the Amarr version of the ship will be called the Journeyman. As far as price is concerned, as with most carebear corporations, the T3 SMB cost is measured in time to build rather than ISK. A typical carebear corporation with access to worm hole space will be able to construct the SMB in around 2 to 3 weeks.

Radd Trigon, 3 month old noob miner for carebear corporation Phoenix Propulsion Labs, had this to say about the new ship class: "I am very excited about the possibility of flying the Journeyman! It will be exciting to have such high-tech gear sitting idle while I'm alt-tabbed out watching CCP trailers and reading COAD!"

Other Posts for Blog Banter #11:

A Mule in EvE - ‘Thor’ the Minmatar T3 ~ Banter #11
One Man and His Spaceship - Blog Banter 11 - The many heads of the Hydra
Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah - Strategic Capitals
Achernar - Strategic Battlecruisers: the Spiders
Kyle Langdon's Journey in EVE - Strategic.... EVE Blog Banter #11
The Captain's Log - Blog Banter 11: Increasing our knowledge of the universe
Deaf Plasma's EVE Musings - Eve Blog Banter #11 - a ship called Starfury
More to come...

What to do with those 2 extra characters?

Over on Massively, they have posted an interesting article on how to make use of the two extra character slots on your single account. As I mentioned in my Altaholics Anonymous post, most people don't use alts in Eve the way you would in another MMO. However, Brendan Drain posts some good ideas on how not to let those 2 extra slots go to waste. Read the article, One Account is Good Enough, here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Eve news sources

One good thing about WoW was that there was a pretty constrant stream of WoW related news and information coming out on a regular basis. WoW Insider ( provided many articles every day on WoW topics. When I played WoW, WoW Insider was on my daily rotation of web sites to read.

Now that I've switched to Eve, I find that the sources for Eve-related information are much more scarce. I read which covers MMOs in general and which has some Eve information, usually something each day. In addition, the dev blog ( can provide some interesting reading. Unfortunately, that's about all I know of for providing Eve news.

Anyone out there know of any good Eve news sources? Please post them in the comments...

Altaholics Anonymous

I've noticed that it is very uncommon to have a traditional alt in Eve, unlike in WoW or many other MMOs out there. For instance, in WoW, I had a main (level 80 dwarf priest), and tons of alts (a 73 human mage, a 69 gnome death knight, a 20 night elf shaman, etc.). In Eve, I did create one alt, but I never play her. I created her during one of Eve University's numerous war decs to avoid station spinning. As soon as I could stop playing her I did.

Obviously (at least its obvious to me), the main reason that people do not play more than one character on an account is the skill training system. You can only have one character on an account training skills at a time. When faced with the decision of having an alt taking up valuable training time for Energy Grid II or working on Amarr Battleship II for your main, it is an easy choice. The skills for your main will always trump the skills for your alt.

So having multiple characters on one account does not seem to be common. However, I'm amazed at how many people in this game multibox (i.e., have more than one account and login in and play more than one character at the same time). In WoW, this is done, but it is fairly uncommon. In my guild in WoW of over 100 active players, only one person that I know of multiboxed. In Eve, it seems over half my corporation are multiboxers. In fact, there is one person in my corporation (who shall remain nameless) who has 4 accounts and 4 characters in the game. Whenever one comes online, you can expect the rest to follow!

In some ways, Eve is well suited to multiboxing. Of course, for certain play styles in the game, multiboxing is not going to work (I think, but I really don't know). For instance, I am guessing that certain types of PvP encounters would be difficult when you are trying to control 2 or 3 different ships. On the other hand, multiboxing is perfect if you are a miner. You can have one character mine and the other character haul, reducing the time it takes to gather ore and get it to a station. In addition, neither of these two tasks requires a huge investment of concentration to accomplish, so it's easy to control both pilots.

Whereas I was a bit of an altaholic in WoW, I am happy with my single character in Eve. This is for a number of reasons (the single skill training queue being a big one). But the biggest reason is that Eve does not limit your choice of play styles based on character class. When you can do anything with the character you are already playing, there is no reason to play an alt. In Eve a miner doesn't have to reroll a new toon to get into PvP; just have him train some new skills.

Anyway, it seems that alts are fairly prominent in Eve, but in the multibox sense, not in the single account/multiple toons sense. We know that CCP boasts 300,000 active accounts. I wonder how many actual human beings are represented by those accounts. I think we might be surprised by the answer!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wow! A mention on PODDED!

I was listening to PODDED last night in my car and I was shocked to hear a mention of my little blog toward the end of the podcast! Hooray!!!

I'll say it again (and not just to get another mention): PODDED is a really good time and I highly recommend it. I must warn you: if you are offended by 2 guys drinking beer, talking about Eve, and occasionally using adult language, PODDED is not for you. All the rest of you get over to or search on iTunes to check it out. Oh, and Dillon and Warchilde, I'd love to give you a review on iTunes but I listen to you on a Zune!

Jack of all trades, master of none?

In some MMOs (WOW and just about every other major MMO except Eve, I'm looking at you!), the decisions you make when you create your character dramatically impact what path you will take in the game. If you choose to play a warrior class, you will not be able to heal, for instance. If you are a mage, you can't pick up a sword and duke it out in melee combat.

Eve is different, as I'm sure you know. You can train any skill and (eventually) fly any ship in the game, no matter what decisions you make when you create your character. You can become a PvPer, miner, industrialist, market player, pirate, explorer, mission runner, etc. no matter what kind of character you start as. In fact, if you have enough time, you could become all of the above assuming you have enough money to train the appropriate skills.

This is both a blessing and a curse. For a new player, you can jump into the game and start training one set of skills for one play style, then find out you don't like it and change without too much of a penalty. This is a definite plus since new players (myself included) have absolutely no idea what you can do in the game let alone what play style they are going to enjoy. The downside is that the plethora of options can make it difficult to decide what skills to train next.

For a more experienced player, the biggest problem comes in the old saying "Jack of all trades, master of none". It is very easy to get yourself into this position in Eve, where you try to train skills to support 2, 3, or more play styles that don't really complement each other (think pirate/miner). Unless you have a huge amount of time, you are never going to become really good at either role.

I guess the question is: does it matter? I'm asking because I'm looking at my EveMon training plan and it is quite a jack of all trades extravaganza. I have trained tons of mining, up to exhumers and would even love to fly an Orca. However, I'm also actively pursuing battleships and want to fly a combat capital ship as well. Does this make sense, or would I be better off focusing on one play style (i.e., mining) and get really good at it?

I'm not just asking a rhetorical question here. I'm really open to suggestions. Please post a comment and let me know what you think.

Outfitting my battle cruiser tonight

Well, thanks to having all the qualifications for Cruiser done, I was able to train very quickly for Battle Cruisers in just a few hours. Tonight, I'm going to pick up my shiny new BC at one of our stations and get it fitted out. I am hopeful that I will be able to fully load it up with lasers, and really put out a ton of DPS with this thing.

I'm not sure about using it for solo missions or not as I don't want to really risk having it blow up. Back when I was flying my Coercer (the Amarr destroyer), I was going through those things like water. I must have lost at least 4 or 5 of those things. It should be pretty useful for group mission running as a pure DPSer.

I can't wait: it is always exciting to get a new ship!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Eve raid night!

Most raiding guilds in World of Warcraft have scheduled at least one raid night per week, and often two. These raid nights are scheduled to occur every week and usually last for two to four hours, and are the time when the raiders in the guild run one of the large instanced dungeons in the game.

If you aren't familiar with WOW, raids require either 10 or 25 players, and the composition of the group is very important to the success of the overall raid. Each player has a role, and you cannot easily substitute different players for certain key roles (main tank, main healer, etc.). What this means is that if you are a raider in the guild, you are making a pretty strong commitment to be there for whenever the guild is raiding.

For some reason, from my experience talking to other Eve players, listening to Eve podcasts, and reading Eve blogs, Eve does not seem to have the concept of a "raid night". There does not seem to be a specific night where a corp or an alliance gets together to do a big task that requires a lot of manpower. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad thing. I think that instituting something like a raid night in a corporation could actually be very good for the overall health of the corp.

On raid night, the corporation could have everyone (who is available anyway) get together to work as a team on a task. For some corps that could just be a huge ore, ice, or gas mining jamboree. For other corporations, it could be putting together PvP gangs and running around looking for targets of opportunity to kill. Whatever the corp decides to do, it would probably be useful to get people together on Ventrilo or TeamSpeak, working toward a common goal.

In fact, because Eve is a bit more flexible about roles than WOW, raid night is probably even easier to pull off in Eve than in WOW. For example, if your Orca pilot can't make it to a mining raid night, you don't have to cancel the entire operation. This is not the case in WOW, where if the main tank or other key player can't make it, you might have to scrap the whole run.

Anyway, I strongly advocate the institution of Eve corporate raid night. If you are in a corporation that has something like raid night, please let me know. I'd be very interested in how it is working out for you...

What I love about Eve #3: EBANK Collapse

I guess I don't actually love the fact that EBANK has lost 1.2 trillion (!) ISK, although since my corp and I don't use their services, this doesn't impact me. But what I do love about Eve is that it provides an environment where someone could set up something like EBANK and have enough people deposit enough cash that you could lose that much money. Try that with a guild bank in WOW!

Anyway, I am cheering for EBANK to recover just because I think the concept is cool. I guess maybe it's my MBA background, but I was always interested in finance and banking, and the fact that Eve allows you to do these sorts of activities is awesome.

Good luck to all those pilots and corporations who have deposited money with EBANK. I hope that you eventually get your money back.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lesson learned

I learned a valuable lesson about missions last night, and this is this: Don't take every mission that's offered to you.

Here's the situation: I accepted a mission without really reading the mission text (we all do that, right?). Then I went out to perform the mission. It turns out that the mission was for a corp in the Amarr faction, and required me to kill lots of Minmatar rats. The mission was going to give me lots of standing with the Amarr and several corporations, but at the expense of losing standing with the Minmatar. Unfortunately, in my corp (and I'm guessing in other corps), we try to have high standing with all the major factions.

When I think of it, the only real reason I run the missions is for standing (and salvage), and raising standing with one corp or faction while losing it with another is hardly a good tradeoff. Therefore, sometimes it is better to decline a mission than to take it. Lesson learned.

Here, then, are two suggestions:
  1. Read the text of the mission to find out who you will be killing, and
  2. Don't take missions that require you to kill NPCs in the major factions.

Oops! Disabled my hit counter...

Not that it's a big deal, but I accidentally deleted the HTML for SiteMeter (, the hit counter that I use to see if anyone's reading my blog. Now I won't know about the million hits I got last night.

Retiring my tag line...

Now that I've been playing the game for a bit, I think I will still be posting topics that are interesting to new players, but I am going to take the focus off exclusively catering to new players (was it ever really that way?)

Anyway, I'm removing the tagline and am not sure I'm going to replace it. If I do, it will be something like "The random scribblings of a newish Eve player as he tries to figure out how to get ahead and have a good time in the wild and wooly world of Internet spaceships". Or something like that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Status Report - 8/24/09

I guess I could give you all an update on where I stand after my hiatus...

Radd Trigon Status Report for 08/24/2009

Skill Points: 5.1 million
Skills in Queue: Science V (3 days to go)
Skills at Level 5: 6
ISK Balance: 4.7 million (Hey, we're a socialist corp, so I'm not supposed to have much cash!)
Currently Flying: Omen cruiser
EVEMon Training Plan: Battle Cruiser then Battleship interspersed with PPL requirements
Corporation: Phoenix Propulsion Labs

Summary: Finished getting qualified for Amarr cruisers. Did a fair amount of mining with the corp. Ran tons of L1 missions with the local NPC corp. Now have moved my personal base of operations to a new system where I have access to a Level 2 agent.

Why do I like mining anyway?!

As many of you know, I have decided to make mining my primary "career" in Eve, at least for the time being. I have spent many weeks training up skills to help me be a more effective miner, including Astrogeology, Mining, Industry, and Mining Barges to 5 in order to be able to fly an Exhumer. However, the question remains: "Why do you like mining?!" with the subtext that it has got to be the most boring thing in the game to do.

I guess the short answer is that it is easy. It doesn't take a huge amount of effort or concentration to do it reasonably well. In high sec, especially in a fleet operation where someone is hauling for you, you can go mine all night long while watching TV, talking to the family, or even reading a book or newspaper, checking in every minute or two to move ore out of your cargo hold. Even if you go AFK and are gone for a long time, nothing bad is likely to happen to except that your mining lasers will shut down when your cargo hold fills. Not a big deal.

In addition, mining is something that is highly valued, especially by a production corporation such as PPL. Without raw materials, a production corporation is pretty much a social club, so the folks who are willing to put in the time mining are highly valued. Whether it's mining ice to power your POSs or mining asteroids for ore, miners are what make production possible, and are a valuable link in the supply chain.

And don't think that mining is always mind-numbingly boring either. If you are doing jet can mining with a large fleet and don't have an Orca or two to drop your ore into, mining can actually keep you pretty busy (even if the activity is not that exciting). Popping new cans, renaming them, tractoring them to the the hauler, hauling back to the station, etc. can keep you very much occupied if there are lots of miners working a belt. In addition, mining in low or null sec or in a worm hole can be exciting when you need to be ready to warp out at the drop of a hat.

Anyway, yes, it is not as exciting as forming a gang and going on a mission hunting bad guys, or firing up your scanning gear and discovering new belts and wormholes, but mining has an allure all its own. I compare it to fishing in WOW: something to do that doesn't require a lot of attention, with the difference being that in Eve you actually have something worth having when you're done.

Training Battle Cruisers

Hey! What do you know?! In my corporation, if you are qualified to fly a cruiser, you are pretty close to being able to fly a battle cruiser too. Since this is the case, and since flying a battle cruiser is cool, I'm going to take part of a day and train up to get BC qualified.

Now, I am no guru on battle cruisers, they seem to be similar to destroyers but bigger. They carry tons of guns but don't have much tank. I guess you just need to make sure you kill whatever you're shooting at before it can shoot at you and everything will be fine.

I am going to be very careful with this thing. The reason I say this is that when I was flying my Coercer (the Amarr destroyer), I had a hard time keeping my ship in one piece. This was not as big a problem when I was financing my own ships and they were cheap. Now that PPL is footing the bill for my BC, I absolutely don't want to have to get more than one of these things, unless I have a darn good reason for getting blown up!

Anyway, pretty soon you will see Radd Trigon flying around at least some of the time in a shiny new battle cruiser. If you do, say hi!

What I love about Eve #2: The Butterfly Effect

I know this has been out there for a while and if you are reading my little blog, you've probably already seen it, but CCP recently released a video called The Butterfly Effect that sums up the second thing I really love about Eve. You can see the video on YouTube at

What happens in the video is perhaps a bit out there, but the fact is that little things can have big impacts in this game. However, it also works in reverse: huge events in which you are not in the least bit involved can have a way of becoming very personal and can impact you in a big way. I will be posting about one such instance in a future post. Until then, if you haven't checked out the video, do so, as it is very entertaining.

The standings grind

My corp recently moved to a new location, and as part of that move, we need to gain standing with a new NPC corporation. This means running missions, and because my standing is low with these guys, I can only take on Level 1 missions. Of course, they are very easy to complete (I've been running hard level 2 missions successfully for a while), so not successfully completing the missions is not a problem. What is the problem is how little your standing increases for each completed Level 1 mission. I know I turned in missions yesterday that didn't even move my standing on the standings page because of rounding! Ugh...

Anyway, one way to beat this is to find someone in your corp who has a higher standing and who can do higher level missions and group up. Make sure they share the cash and standing increase when they turn in the completed mission. I did this yesterday with one of my corp mates (Thanks, Sil!), and it was just what I needed to get me qualified for a Level 2 agent. Another thing to remember is that if you look around, you may find a lower quality agent of a higher level. An invaluable resource for locating agents that you can work for is As you start turning in harder missions, your standing increases faster, so getting into Level 2s and Level 3s is really important to getting the standings grind over as quickly as possible.

Anyway, hopefully now that I'm running L2s I will start to make some real progress with these guys. But it was quite the slog to get to this point, and one that I hope to not have to do again soon...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What I love about Eve #1: Options, options, options

One thing that I really love about Eve is that there are very few things that you can't do. You have so many options for things to do. In fact, there are so many options that it can paralyze you as a new player, and I think this is part of the difficulty of getting started in this game.

Eve is different that many (most?) MMOs in that you start as a blank slate and there is nothing keeping you from going into any play style no matter how you begin. In WOW, if you start as a warrior, you will be a DPSer or tank, period. If you're a mage, you pew pew from a distance, period. There is no changing your role after this initial decision.

In Eve, your initial decision of race, etc., only really impacts the type of ship you will be flying at the beginning of the game. Beyond that, you can decide what you will do, i.e., you have options. You can mine, PvP, be a pirate, be a builder, explore worm holes, etc. There's nothing you can't choose to do because of your initial character decision.

Right now, I am trying to figure out what I want to focus on, and I have a bit of analysis paralysis myself. There are so many choices, it really is difficult to decide what to focus on. Up to this point I have focused on mining, but I would also like to consider some other roles, including:

  • Exploration - finding worm holes, etc.
  • PvP - getting qualified to fly a battleship and then a dreadnought
  • Production - get qualified to build stuff to be sold on the market

The cool thing is that in the end, I will eventually be able to do all these things, but the question is which to do first. And having this choice is one of things I love about Eve.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yes, you can fly it, but...

I learned a valuable lesson not too long ago: just because you can fly something doesn't mean you can fly it well! My story is as follows...

I had been training to be able to fly the big mining ships (the Mack and the Hulk), and running missions to earn a few ISK and grind out standing. I was running the Level 1s in my frigate and destroyer, and things were going okay. Then I reached Level 2s. I really started to have trouble with these to the point that it wasn't even fun and was sometimes even impossible to finish these missions on my own.

Therefore, I decided I had to get a cruiser if I wanted to keep running missions, so I got hands on the Amarr Cruiser and Medium Energy Turret skill books and started training. As soon as I could, I trained these skills and jumped into my brand new Omen ready to fit it out.

Let me tell you, it was a rude awakening! I could barely fit anything on that ship! Because my various skills were so low, I couldn't fit the armor I wanted, and I could only get 2 turrets online at a time because of power grid limitations (I think, I'm no expert!)

Anyway, I figured I'd try to use EveMon and the Battleclinic load outs to figure out what skills I should train and how I should fit the ship, but that didn't help either. Every one of the loadouts there that I found is loaded with Tech II and/or high end faction stuff that requires tons more skills than I need. As great as EveMon is, this capability is not well suited for the beginner. I needed something else.

Fortunately, my corporation, Phoenix Propulsion Labs (, has a solution. They have developed a very cool application on their web site for members that lays out "qualifications" to fly various classes of ships. In fact, because it is a socialist corporation where you are going to be given a ship by the corp rather than pay for it yourself, these qualifications for the ship are pretty much mandatory. You typically won't get your hands on a ship that you aren't qualified to fly (although they apparently made an exception for me with the Omen and we see how that worked out!)

Anyway, these qualifications don't mean you are going to be the best pilot of the particular class of ship, but you will be able to fit it out in a way that won't totally suck, and you should be able to hold your own in a fight with those skills.

I don't know if other corporations have anything as sophisticated as the qualification application, but I'm guessing they have something like a system of recommendations to help new pilots. Of course, my corporation's system is best! :-)

Anyway, I am now Amarr Cruiser qualified and am having a much better time piloting my Omen. I am now using the qualification requirements to train to be able to fly an Amarr battleship next.

If you would like to know more about PPL's qualification system (or anything else for that matter), feel free to convo me in game at Radd Trigon, drop by the "SHOP@PPL" channel, or post a comment on this blog.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Check out the Podded Podcast

Regularly produced Eve podcasts are hard to find these days. My not so recent post about the Drone Bay returning turns out to have been a bit of a false alarm, although I'm sure they have the best of intentions, and when it comes out again I fully expect that it will be great. Warp Drive Active is pretty spotty these days as well, but well worth a listen when it does come out.

The podcast I've been listening to a lot recently, and which comes out regularly enough to keep you satisfied is the Podded podcast ( It apparently is two British guys sitting around a table together, slowly getting drunk and talking about Eve once a week. It is really a lot of fun to listen to, and because both hosts, Dillon Arklight and Warchilde, have a tendency to ramble as the beer flows, the podcasts usually end up being pretty long. Definitely check it out if you, like me, enjoy listening to podcasts about our favorite game.

I'm Back!!!

Alright! I'll admit it: I fizzled out big time on the blogging front. I was going like gangbusters to start and then just stopped. I am sorry about doing that.

Anyway, I've decided to get back to it, but with more realistic goals. I am not going to be posting everyday, but I will try to post at least a few times a week. In addition, I'm will be focusing on stuff that our corporation is up to and just the stuff I think is cool in the game.

I will say this: I really like the corporation that I'm in as they are a bunch of really great people who take the game seriously, but not too seriously. I also love this game for the grand scope of things, and how everything is interconnected. I'm going to be talking about all of this in future posts.

Anyway, I'm back and will be more active than I've been recently, but probably less active than I was right at the beginning. Hopefully, you'll find something interesting in what I write...