Thursday, December 30, 2010

POS bash-o-rama

It's not every day that you find fruit as ripe for the picking as my alliance mates found on Christmas day. While flying around in low-sec, one of my alliance mates found that a corporation had set up two POSs on valuable moons. Of course, they had anchored dozens of modules around the POSs in an arrangement that definitely made it look like they knew what they were doing. Numerous guns and other defensive modules deployed to keep out bad guys.

Unfortunately, there was one problem. Apparently, whoever was setting these up ran out of time when they got to onlining the modules. I'm guessing that the missus was calling from the front hall that it was time to go to a Christmas get-together or something. Whatever it was, there they sat: 2 faction large towers worth billions, surrounded by a bristling array of various turrets that could defend neither the towers nor themselves because they were offline.

If this strikes you a bit like the Maginot Line prior to WWII, you'd be right on target, and the call went out on Christmas day that we needed to put together our own little opportunistic Blitzkrieg attack. While turnout was understandably sparse on Christmas, we got the word out to start bringing battleships and other support vessels out to low-sec in preparation for the assault.

That assault came on Boxing Day, as we formed our fleet and headed out. We'd kept eyes on the targets pretty much around the clock, and since nothing had changed by the time our fleet formed up, out we went for a little POS bashing. There were a few moments when we thought we might be getting set up for an ambush, but in general things went very smoothly. No owners showed up that day, and no white knights flew in to the rescue which meant we were able to put the towers into reinforced mode in about 2 hours each. After reinforcing each tower, we incapacitated the guns just to make it harder for the owners to make the tower defensible when we came back.

Two days later it was time for the towers to come out of reinforced mode, and we formed up our fleet once again to go take them down once and for all. As you can imagine, we had a lot more concern about encountering resistance this time around as the corp had almost two days to get word of the attack and pull together a defence. In addition, we were concerned that a larger fleet might drop by to kick us out and take over the operation.

With scouts watching all the necessary gates, our fleet moved out and approached the first tower. After aligning to a safe location to help ensure a speedy getaway in case of emergency, the command went out to open up on the tower. Those first few moments were pretty tense, but after a while it became clear that we would not meet resistance that day either. After about another 2 hours per tower, they were gone, and we received two lovely kill mails with the details. We then popped all the silos and offlined and scooped up all the modules that we could. After that, we had to send out the repair crew to fix all the guns we had incapacitated so we could put them to use. All in all, a very successful operation.

As I've said many times, the things I really enjoy about Eve involve groups of people coming together to accomplish something, and this was a really big operation for me. It was lots of fun, and has really given me a taste for getting more involved in PvP. I know it's just Internet spaceships, but because Eve is such a merciless environment where all your actions have "real" consequences, it really gets your blood pumping when you are out there in space knowing that at any second a capital fleet could hot drop on you and really ruin your day. World of Warcraft can give you a similar sense of accomplishment when your raid finally downs a tough boss, but you will never get the fear in WoW that you get in Eve. How worked up can you get about wasting a flask or having to spend an extra 25G for a repair bill?

Anyway, it was great fun and I look forward to more alliance operations in the future. And to the owner of the POSs we took down, I'm really sorry if we ruined your Christmas holiday. I hope the party was fun though!

Monday, December 6, 2010

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm launches tonight

That's right, I'm excited about a WOW expansion, have already bought the digital download and will be playing it starting tonight at midnight PST. Feel free to abuse me as much as you like. Note: I will be playing Eve until that time though, so do I get some real MMO gamer points for that?!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

My new toon

As I mentioned a little while ago, I started a new character. His name is Tel Radic, and he's a Caldari capsuleer. He's joined my corporation, Phoenix Propulsion Labs, and has finished all the starter profession missions, plus part of the Epic storyline.

I was wondering what I should do with this character, and even got some suggestions from readers (Thanks, folks!). Now that I've been tasked with POS maintenance for my corp, I've decided what he will be learning first. His first order of business will be to get qualified to fly an Iteron V. Right now my main toon, Radd Trigon, is tending POSs using a Bestower. Only being able to carry 14.6k m3 of cargo makes moving fuel and materials around very inefficient.

Getting an alt out there the skills to fly the Itty 5 will make a big difference. In addition, this will also free up my main to spend more time doing things that are more useful for the corporation, like running missions, doing builds, and mining.

After I get him set up for POS tending, I think I'm going to train him to fly an Orca, complete with all the leadership skills to give mad mining bonuses. This will allow me to do some efficient mining solo. Mining is something that I enjoy, especially since high sec mining is pretty low stress.

After Itty V and Orca, I'm still not sure. Fortunately, the Orca training should keep me busy for at least 6 months, so I've got some time to think about it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wow, this is really amazing...

I am fairly certain that if you are reading this blog post, you've already read the official Eve Online Dev Blog (surely I'm well down toward the bottom of the pile of Eve blogs!). However, if for some reason you have not seen the Dev Blog post entitled Celebrating the Creative Player II, go check it out here:

The character creator demo videos are amazing, and I expect a lot of new players might spend a good while playing with their character before saving and jumping into the actual game. In addition, the "Raise the Flag" videos are unbelievably good. Watch all four, as they give you a bit of a feel of the mentality and character of each race. They are actually quite stirring, and I found myself getting patriotic watching the Amarr video (which is strange because a) being Amarr has almost no impact on me except that I use lasers and run out of cap, and b) the Amarr are a bunch of bastards!)

Do youself a favor and click all the links.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

POS tending for fun and profit (but mostly profit...)

Okay, I spent my first night tending the POSs for my corporation. It took considerably longer than I expected and I'm still not quite done, but we do have quite a few POSs to take care of so maybe I'm not surprised. In addition, my character can't fly the Itty V, so moving stuff takes longer than I would like.

Anyway, I did manage to accomplish the following last night:
  • Visit each POS and document in a Google Docs spreadsheet (I would have done it Office Web Apps document, but it wasn't my choice!) how much of each fuel type was loaded into the tower.
  • Inventory all the fuel at each of the stations we have in the area to make sure we are ready when refueling time comes around.
  • Checked the status of the moon mining and reaction silos to make sure the output silos were not full and the input silos where not empty. Turns out that several of the harvesters and reactors were sitting idle because of a full or empty silo.
  • Checked the Corporate Hangar Array (if there is one) at each POS to determine if there is anything in there that needs to be moved to the main stations.
Anyway, we have quite a few POSs in the system and I am not the fastest person, so this several hours to get done. I still have a few POSs to check the silos on as well.

I would like to do a bit of analysis on these things so I could figure out roughly how long each POS can go before I need to visit it. I even checked the API documentation to see if there was a way for me to see information about a corporation's POSs from outside Eve but unfortunately this info is not available.

Anyway, I have a bit more POS checking and straightening up tonight and I will be in good shape. Oh, and I think I found a good job for my alt!

Monday, November 29, 2010

New responsibilities

Well, as part of my plan to jump back into Eve with both feet, I have asked for extra responsibility in the corporation. As I have probably said, it is important for me to feel that I'm really contributing to the overall success of the corporation. As such, I'm very excited to be able to help out in keeping our POSs fueled and busy mining those sweet moon minerals.

I've done a little learning about this and will be talking to our current POS tender soon to make sure I fully understand this responsibility, and then I will be on my own.

Oh, and I'm sure those of you who have had to do this for your corps will tell me that it is a huge pain in the butt, and I'm sure that's true. However, it is something that is important for the corporation and I'm happy to help out.

BTW, feel free to ask me if I feel the same way six months from now...

I finally did it...

I have to interrupt my review of past activities to let you know that I finally did it: I created an alt on a second account. I guess I just wanted to be one of the cool kids!

Yesterday, I signed up for a second account, taking advantage of the 3 months for the price of 2 offer that CCP is running now. I created a new Caldari capsuleer named Tel Radic. Tel is busy running through the storyline missions for each of the professions and getting trained up on basic skills. My goal is to have him ready to fly a Badger Mark II by this evening so he can at least be a hauler alt. Other than that, I'm not sure exactly what this toon's function is going to be, so I'm open to suggestion.

So, readers: here is the question: Now that I have a second character, what the heck should I do with him?!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welcome Back, Part 2

In the previous installment, I explained how I got out of Eve for awhile. Now I'll explain how I got back into the game.

While I was out, I mentioned that I was playing a fair amount of WoW. In addition, I was trying out some new games, such as Pirates of the Burning Sea and Lord of the Rings Online. I really liked the concept of both games, and played them pretty extensively for a month or so each. LOTRO in particular was really cool in the way that it wove the game around the story of The Lord of the Rings, but each game left me feeling like something was missing. After awhile I just stopped playing PotBS, and really slowed down on LOTRO.

It was at this time I started getting the Eve itch again. Even with all the negative feelings I'd been having about the game when I stopped playing, there was something about it that made me want to come back. As I'm writing this I just realized what it is: teamwork.

The games that I love are those games that require teamwork, especially with the same group of people over the long haul. World of Warcraft has it in the endgame raiding content: you have to pull together once or twice a week with the same group of people to accomplish something that is hard to do, could not be done on your own, and requires teamwork. Eve Online is the same in that for most people, working with your corpmates is the way that you really get ahead in the game.

After being out of the game for several months, I decided to check out my corporation's forums to see what they were up to. I read up on the comings and goings of the various corp members and the activities that they were up to. Seeing that some of my corpmates were spending time with other folks out in 0.0 doing PvP, I decided that that was the itch that I needed to scratch. I reactivated my account, hopped in a shuttle and headed out to our 0.0 station.

Once I reached the station (which was quite exciting for me as I'd never really been out there before), I clone jumped back to high sec to pick up some skillbooks. While I was there, things changed dramatically (as they often do in Eve).

Basically, my alliance decided that being in 0.0 was not working out, and opted to vacate our null-sec station, which they did during a time when I was not logged in. Fortunately, I had nothing out in that station but a clone and an Amarr shuttle. By the time I logged on again, the station was vacated, and my poor clone was stranded in 0.0. I suppose at some point I might clone jump out there, hop in my shuttle and try to make it back to low sec. In the meantime, if you happen to see my clone in your station, say hi to him for me.

Anyway, I was now back in high-sec and getting back into the swing of things. I was out of the wormhole which was awesome, and I was running some missions for standing and chatting on corp chat and things were getting back to normal. In addition, the corporation decided to move its primary base of operations back into high sec for awhile which was great news for me.
Finally, we had some corp mining ops pop up and participating in those really helped cement things for me: I was officially back in Eve. I realize that mining might be the least exciting thing to do in the game, but there is something really cool about your whole corporation out there in a belt, tearing down asteroids in a mammoth mining operation.

And that's how I got back into Eve after my absence. In my final installment, I fill you in on what I've been doing recently...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Welcome Back, Part 1

Wow, that was a long break! It's been forever since I posted here, but I'm back, at least for a while. My voluminous following must be wondering what I've been up to. Am I still playing Eve? Am I still in the same corporation? What have I been doing in game? Sit back and all your questions will soon be answered.

Long story long, here's what happened. Many months ago (maybe 10 or so), the corporation decided to make a big push into wormhole space. I went along, and got myself trained up to Amarr battleships to help kill sleepers. We had corp members that would scan down the various anomalies and we'd get together every so often to go kill sleepers every few days. That was pretty fun, because it required teamwork to bring down the sleepers. We'd also did a fair amount of mining in the wormhole which was very lucrative, and the corp was able to get into T3 production which was cool too.

The downside for me was that I spent most of my time stuck in the wormhole with not much to do most of the time. My scanning skills are not great, and I'm not very good at scanning to start with, so there were many nights where I was basically stranded in the WH, spinning in the POS. When we got together and mined or ran sites, it was great, but that was not often enough to keep my interest.

Compounding that was the nature of the WH exit. I was part of the build crew for the corp, so I needed to get out of the WH once a week to do my builds. But as you know, the WH exit jumps around, and I would often find myself coming out of the WH with 35 jumps to the system where we do our builds. Ugh!!! I spent significant time every week travelling to and from the wormhole which is not my idea of a fun gameplay style.

After a while of this, I began to hate the wormhole with a burning passion, but since that was where our corporation was operating, I felt I had to be in there. It was at this time that I started to lose interest in the game. After a while of this, I talked to one of the corp leaders that I was going to back off playing as much, and was going to take a pseudo-vacation from Eve. The plan was to move to our build station, and hop on once a week to update my skill queue and put in builds. I did this for about a month or so, and while I wasn't playing the game too much, I was still contributing to the corporation which I liked.

Around this time, I had gotten back into World of Warcraft more heavily, and started raiding Icecrown Citadel with my guild's 25 man group. I was enjoying this quite a bit, and was not missing Eve too much. When I had to cancel the credit card that was paying for my Eve subscription because of a little fraud situation (don't ask...), CCP couldn't get paid and my Eve account went inactive. I figured that since I wasn't really playing all that much, I'd just leave it as is, and it was the end of an era.

In my next post, I'll explain how I got back into Eve, and what I've been up to more recently.