A beginner gets lost in EVE online

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One Hundred Light Years of Solitude

MineDear Maximus Foyle esq.,

I hope this note finds you well.  I have some exciting news I wish to share with you in person, please contact me directly to arrange a time and place to meet.

Yours Gratefully,

Dave, the Alt

—————————————————————————————————————–

Dave,

Go away.

MF

—————————————————————————————————————–

Dear Maximus Foyle esq.,

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my last message.  As I stated I have news I really feel you would like to hear in person.  I have tried calling the number you left me but it disconnects saying “the ship you are trying to contact is no longer operational”, I pray nothing has happened to your beloved Retriever?  Please contact me as soon as you get this message I have news of the utmost importance and urgency.  Please Maximus, call me.

Yours patiently,

Dave, the Alt

—————————————————————————————————————–

Dave,

1. My name is Maxi.

2. I told you not to contact me until you have a earned a billion ISK.

3. GO AWAY

MF

—————————————————————————————————————–

Dearest Maxi,

Once again I must thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to respond to my message.  I had hoped to share this news with you in person but you have rather beaten me to it:  We HAVE earned a billion ISK.  You are a billionaire:

Estimated worth (Balance+stock+escrow) = 1,057,129,022 ISK

Yours excitedly,

Dave, the Alt

—————————————————————————————————————–

Dave,

Send champagne, then make it 2 billion.

MF

P.S. 🙂

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Lasers!A long standing theme to this blog, and probably most EVE player’s thoughts, is what we want to achieve.  Achieve today, achieve next week, achieve this year.  Is there an ultimate goal?  Do you need one?  Certainly, Maxi’s goal is to survive in null-sec and I know he’s a long way from doing that yet but I don’t yet know how to judge when he’s made it.  I’m hoping I’ll just know.  How we turn Maxi into an all conquering null-sec survivor is equally unclear at times, yes there are many skills to learn both from ingame skill books and actual old fashioned learning the ins and outs of EVE Online.  But what do we do in the meantime?  Other players seem to have very set roles, people fall into Industrial endeavours judging success by profit and loss, others live for PvP and draw satisfaction from their killsheets.  What do I do?  I still don’t know, I’m basically roleplaying Maxi Foyle, and Maxi Foyle is a bumbling idiot with the attention span of a space goldfish.  Over our few months of game time we have become a jack of mining, planetary interaction, trading, exploring, missioning, PvPing.  We are master of absolutely none.

One overriding concern for all players, as in real life, is how to keep the ISK flowing.  Without ISK no lifestyle can be pursued but through Dave the Alt’s trading Maxi now has an ever growing pile of ISK to draw from that far outweighs anything he can earn through more proactive ventures.  In fact, Dave’s total would be a few hundred million above 1billion ISK if he wasn’t forever sending Maxi pocket money for new ships and their inevitable replacements.  And the total is growing exponentially, the more Dave has to invest the quicker he earns more ISK.  It will peak at some point, there are only so many players to buy from and sell to, but so far the total is only heading in one direction and it’s getting quicker all the time.

This all sounds marvellous, I know, but it’s actually hit Maxi in a funny way.  One of his primary drives, earning ISK, has been taken away.  Like a pauper winning the lottery he has been a bit lost.  Initially he threw money at ships to blow up and random donations to anyone who sounded remotely like they needed it.  All before a restless ennui set in where none of the more industrial pursuits he enjoyed seemed worthwhile.

2014.01.02.21.29.04Luckily Maxi’s amazing new Corporation has come to the rescue.  Tucked away in the remote Solitude campus of EVE University, Maxi has stumbled across a real frontier-town-like community on the edge of hi-sec/low-sec space.  The only real constant here is the industrial goals of a few current and ex-Unistas who’ve set up their own Corporations or manufacturing enterprises within the Uni, life is then loosely focused on supporting them through mining, processing and manufacturing with and for them plus dealing with the issues having such a community on the edge of low-sec space cut-off from Empire (the largest region of his-sec space) brings.  For instance, last time I logged on to update Maxi’s skill queue we were urgently rushed to the Standing Fleet and informed a corpmates POS was under attack and a quick reaction force was being assembled to shoo the attackers away.  Throwing together a tackle frigate Maxi rushed to catch up with the fleet orbiting the stargate to the low-sec system where the POS was located.  He kept an eye on the gate ready to tackle anything that came through whilst the fleet commander made use of local for gathering intelligence from a local corporation and recruiting their help in defending the POS, despite the fact we have (and continue) to fight each other in normal circumstances.  It turns out in low-sec your enemy’s enemy can be your friend at times.  We jumped to the system when a small enemy force was reported to have jumped in via another gate and we managed to blow up a Tornado in the battle for territory and successfully scared the rest of them away.  For that evening at least.

Equally, life isn’t all industry, even manufacturers have to let their hair down, and there’s a few lost souls like Maxi who have just drifted to this part of EVE space all of whom enjoy blowing up ships as much as the next man.  One of the great things the Solitude campus has is a Free For All (FFA) bookmark in their home system for players to meet up and brawl.  There are all kinds of rules in the Uni about who and where you can fight other corporations, but blowing up fellow Unistas in consenting duels is very much allowed and an awful lot of fun.  In the 4 tussles we’ve had so far Maxi has gained 2 killsheets and learned a lot.  In fact after writing this we’re going to log on and see if anyone can be talked into another duel or 2 to keep practising our PvP skills.

Another key element of life here is keeping contact with the wider universe by scanning down wormholes that provide direct, safe links back to hi-sec space and the valuable trade hubs we rely on to buy reasonably priced ships and the manufacturers need to make a fair profit from their creations.  To that end Maxi’s skill queue has once again changed direction, learning how to fly T2 frigates like his shiny new Helios covert ops frigate, plus a basic understanding of the scanning and probing required to find wormholes and war targets should we get to scout for any future fleet operations.

Any left over time has been spent grinding missions for the Federal Intelligence Office corporation as they have conveniently local lvl 3 and 4 mission agents, but with no lvl 2 agents around we’re having to endlessly repeat lvl1 missions to get there.  The skill queue is now back on drones as well, finally learning how to deploy sentry guns happened last night, T2 drones will follow in the next couple of days, all of which is in preparation for flying a Dominix into those level 4s when we finally grind enough standing.  Because of course it doesn’t matter how much money Dave the Alt makes, there are always bigger ships to buy and fly, and if that ain’t a good enough goal to keep us going for the meantime, I don’t know what is.

Can asteroids really orbit a planet like that without crashing into the sea?This is now the longest single EVE session I’ve enjoyed and I was thinking about it the other day, I’ve really GOT IT this time, I’ve really settled in to the groove.  I think previously I’ve either gone too full on into EVE, feeling the pressure of a small corporation needing me logged on every night, or not delved deep enough, staying corporation and low-sec free and generally running out of interest.  This time I’ve found a corporation/community that’s big enough to not notice the few nights a week I can’t log on, but small enough that I am getting to know everyone and feel a genuinely useful extra head to bring to fleets and projects and general life on the frontier of hi-sec space.  The Solitude community is transitory, the old hands have mostly only been here a matter of months rather than years and a number of them are openly trying to earn the ‘Graduate’ title from the Uni before going on to bigger things.  There are new capsuleers arriving every week as well and I can see Maxi is going to have to take a more active role in training and supporting new players to move on to the ‘Sophomore’ and ‘Graduate’ Uni titles himself.  The aim was to move on to the null-sec campus but the longer we spend in Solitude, the more Maxi wants to stay.  At least until we’ve made a difference here.  Hmm, something to think about before the next update.

It’s taken me 2 days to write this post and Dave’s estimated worth, according to the excellent N.E.A.T. app has grown to 1,185,082,722ISK.  Ironically after so many hundreds of hours of playtime and months of skill queuing it’s Maxi’s alt Dave who has mastered a skill, not Maxi himself.  If anyone was interested in learning how Dave make’s hundreds of millions of ISK a week without leaving a station do get in touch here or in game, happy to talk people through it or maybe dedicate a blog post if there’s enough interest.

In the meantime, fly safe o7

Solitude home

In Solitude and friendship

Myrmidon sneaks through a blue wormholeSo a couple of weeks have passed since we last caught up with Maxi Foyle, Space Null Prober, but an awful lot has changed in that short time.  Despite a week away doing the whole Christmas thing Maxi’s found time for an eventful 2 weeks involving, in no particular order: finding a new Corporation; moving house; losing his much adored mining barge, followed by his brave null-sec proof cloaking Atron; getting on a killsheet; and accidentally (read: drunkenly) spending 40 million+ on a Cruiser with fittings.  I say no particular order but that happens to be the exact chronological order in which those things happened.  So without further ado, let me explain:

Emerging from an asteroid1. Corporation

So you may remember Maxi was looking for a patient null-sec corporation to take him under their wing and show him the bright lights of null-sec and how not to blow up too much in it.  Well, yeah, about that…  Initial searches on the web and the in game Corporation adverts only found null-sec Corps expecting certain levels of Skill Points, Experience or ISK that Maxi just couldn’t match.  One Corporation’s name kept coming up though, and not for the first time, it rang bells from when we first started playing many eons ago.  EVE University.  EVE University is the go-to newbie corporation, they willingly take on new players, give them free ships, free skill books, tutor led lessons in everything from trade to fitting to PvP dogfighting.  It’s a great idea and another testament to EVE that this sort of player run faction exists, acting like an extension of the in game tutorials and an argument against the assumption that EVE is just a place for crooks, scammers and gankers.

Maxi had always steered clear of EVE University because he’d been to University once before and there are only so many Asda price Gins and Tesco Value beans on toasts one man can endure in a lifetime.  Plus it sounded too basic, too much like redoing the tutorials from the start of the game.  What he needed to learn he could get from the (really excellent) UniWiki instead.  What he didn’t realise was the Uni doesn’t just cater for day old capsuleers, it also has low-sec and null-sec campuses that teach more experienced players how things are done out there.  In fact they won’t even allow new Unistas into low and null campuses until they’ve cut their teeth in the rest of the Uni for a couple of weeks.

And so, as you may be guessing, Maxi Foyle, Space UnderGraduate, has joined EVE University and spent the last couple of weeks cutting his teeth!  It seemed inevitable given all Corp searches and local conversations led to EVE Uni, that Maxi would have to graduate from it before he could even hope to one day call himself an EVE Veteran and now finally, following the really quite epic application process (they interview you and everything!) he is a Unista, as we Uni goers are known.

LASERS!2. Moving House

Because he likes to do things differently and is keen to get to grips with low and null sec life as soon as possible Maxi headed out to the Solitude campus which we now call home.  Project Solitude was apparently born from what was once a potential Uni home that became a separate endeavour entirely (the main campus is now in Aldrat, on the other side of the universe) .  Solitude is an island of hi-sec space sandwiched between swathes of low-sec and null-sec areas and the Uni set up a campus here as a staging post for more adventurous Unistas to experience living in a remote part of the universe cut-off from the rest of hi-sec.  It also makes it a great place to go into low security areas for high paying missions, lucrative mining, PvP fighting and just generally get your ships blown up.

The first obstacle to moving house to Solitude is its remoteness.  In fact that is it’s second third and fourth obstacle as well.  Getting there required 40 jumps through low and null sec space, something we nervously managed using Maxi’s Atron and cloak trick from the last blog post.  We made it through unscathed thanks to some very paranoid warping via celestials and hammering the directional scan button to look for lurking gate camps.  Having arrived we quickly realised what they meant by remote.  There is nothing resembling a trade hub in Solitude so purchasing useful items like ships, skills and modifications is a lot harder (and more expensive!) than the hi-sec space we were used to.  Baulking at the prices of Vexors and Retrievers, Maxi decided to risk sneaking his own through low sec as well, seeing as the first trip hadn’t gone so bad.  

There's a point when there's nothing you can do but press screenshotYou can probably guess what happened next.  In true comedy style we first tried to fit a Retriever with a cloaking device to do the cloak trick, not banking on the fact that it is both far too slow to reach warp speed in one microwarpdrive cycle and has such a small capacitor it can’t warp between most stargates without stopping to recharge, let alone run microwarpdrives, cloaking devices and warp all at the same time.  Maxi being Maxi, he didn’t let this stand in the way of his brazen attempt to sneak one of the largest, clumsiest and weakest vessels in the game through low-sec space.  As with all great tragedies fate let us get 37 jumps along our 40 jump route before a big red pirate appeared on our overview at a gate.  We jumped through in time, but then noticed the pirate reappear the other side as we accelerated to warp speed and leapt across the next system (in 2 short hops, thanks to the Retriever’s rubbish capacitor).  And of course after jumping through the next gate (2 jumps from our destination!) we were locked, scrambled and stuck on the other side of the gate, torn apart by T2 Heavy Pulse Lasers.  Hopefully the combat drones we launched at least gave them a surprise.  Maxi escaped in his pod to fight another day having learned a valuable lesson: low-sec is as dangerous as everyone says it is, and your new home is surrounded by it.

Mining again3. New beginnnings

It’s great to be back in a corporation again, the game changes fundamentally when you have a group of like minded individuals on your chat channel discussing plans, projects and general news every time you log in.  The Solitude campus has it’s own separate chat channel, Uni forum and everything so it feels like a nice little community within the grander (2000+ members) University itself.  Life in Solitude mainly revolves around:

  • scanning for wormholes and letting everyone know when a connection to hi-sec space is found (someone found one last night, finally allowing Maxi to move the rest of his stuff to Solitude without incident)
  • mining, manufacturing and generally being industrial.  There seem to be periodic projects to manufacture some massive item, like a Capital Ship, which gets everyone on board contributing materials and manufacturing time and skills to meet the greater objective.  It sounds exciting but they’re still in discussions as to what to do next.
  • watching out for nasty gankers.  This seems to be a part of life on the edge of low-sec space, corporations will try and extort ISK from miners and blow up anyone who doesn’t pay (and some of those that do pay).  It was mildly amusing at first but been a bit annoying now I’ve logged in a couple of times to mine and had to find something else to do as they were in system.
  • Tackling like a proand finally, going on roams into low security space to find somebody kind enough to blow our ships up for us.  I went along on one of these last week when an impromptu message popped up on chat asking if anyone wanted to go on a roam.  I kitted my only frigate at the time, the plucky Atron that got us to Solitude in the first place, with a warp scrambler and set out to be the fast tackle in our little fleet.  It was exciting, so so exciting, I’ll probably go into more detail in another post as this one’s getting on a bit but my word PvP in EVE is so much fun.  And I’m getting better at it.  Our Fleet Commander gave really clear instructions so I was just about able to do my job despite nerves literally causing sweat to pour down my brow.  We managed to pop the Oracle Battlecrusier of an infamous PvP corp before his Corp mates finished us off, and I am there on the killsheet!  I cannot describe how bloodthirstily pleased Maxi is about this.

In his excitement following the aftermath of our first taste of PvP since rejoining EVE Maxi went about putting together a PvP Cruiser fit he found on the internet, replacing T1 suggestions with the shiniest T2 mods he could fit, and accidentally spent the 50 million ISK Dave the Alt had given him to replace his Retriever on a beefy Thorax.  Luckily the Uni has lent us a Retriever for the time being so hopefully Maxi can mine enough to replace it before he gets ganked.

And that, I think, will do for the latest update.  There was a lot to get through!  Coming up, Maxi is currently working on the last couple of skills to fly a Covert Ops frigate, his very first T2 ship, which he can use to properly sneak around low-sec on his own and do some scanning to find useful wormholes and such like to aid the campus’ cause.  We’ve also got some nice, cheap, T1 tackle frigates built up and ready to fly if more PvP opportunities arise.  Finally Maxi is trying his damndest to be self-sufficient in Solitude without relying on Dave the Alt for handouts when he loses a ship so mining has been back on the agenda and it’s actually not that boring when you have a corporation to chat with whilst you mine, plus the local thugs keep you on your toes.  All good fun.

Thanks for reading, until next time, fly safe o7

Null / Void

Spacedust

We’re going.  We’re going, we’re going, we’re going.

But…

We’re going!

2 and half years after starting his great EVE adventure (ignoring some galaxy-sized time gaps) Maxi Foyle, Space Null Avoider, is finally going to null-sec and he’s going right now.  We have no Corporation to meet, no mission to run, no trade to haul, we’re just going because we can.  Months of mining, trading, ratting and missioning were nought but procrastination really, let’s be honest.  It was the first goal on Maxi’s list, but the last to get done.  It’s time he went.

A wee null-sec recap for the uninitiated: EVE Online’s universe is split into hundreds of solar systems connected by stargates.  As capsuleers pootle from one system to the next each one has a security rating from 0.0, 0.1, 0.2…up to 1.0.  In high security (hi-sec) space (0.6-1.0) systems are patrolled by CONCORD, the galactic police force.  Attack another player here without permission and CONCORD will come rushing in and pop your shiny spaceship before you can say “Arrrr” (because I’m assuming you’re a pirate if you’re doing this) thus keeping a vague level of safety and security in an otherwise hostile universe (this doesn’t stop the suicide gankers, mind).

Lo-sec (0.1-0.5) has greatly reduced CONCORD presence, only visible around stargates and stations, who will stand idly by whilst players blast chunks out of each other as long as you are out of turret range.

Me, My Myrmidon and IAnd finally null-sec (0.0) has no security presence at all.  No security presence means players can do whatever the hell they like and no one (no non-players, anyway) can do anything to stop them.  This, brilliantly, makes null-sec far and away the most dangerous place in the EVE universe.  It is its wild west.  It’s the scene of sweeping gang warfare as Alliances battle for control over systems, resources and stations (which are almost all owned by player run corporations, so even docking can be impossible in most systems).  This perpetual state of warfare means anyone unknown, regardless of standings, will be podded without question.  Any tourists caught up in the collateral damage shouldn’t have been there in the first place.  And this is why Maxi has never been.  To get a handle on what to expect I’ve read articles and forum posts like this, this and this.  It sounds like a whole other game.

Null-sec is the thing that is always there, always baiting you and waiting for you when you’re playing EVE.  “You haven’t been to null-sec yet” is the thought I’ve had most when playing and writing about this game.  Null-sec was why I wanted to get into EVE in the first place, but it’s become this incredibly scary thing in the time I’ve been enjoying the easy hi-sec life.  It’s turned Maxi Foyle soft, and we need to put it right.

So.

Here’s the plan: We’ve got a cheap frigate, so as not to be too disappointed if it gets destroyed.  Nothing fancy but it needed to be fast.  Gallente’s fastest (standard) frigate?  The mighty Atron of course.  That’ll do nicely.  Next, I need a way to not die the moment I arrive, and maybe, just maybe, I’ve found the very key: The Cloak Trick.  It’s not a party trick involving people’s medieval clothing, it’s a supposedly fool-proof method of aligning to a destination whilst cloaked and then almost instantaneously jump to that destination when you de-cloak (which you have to do to activate warp).  This is essential because it only takes a moment for someone to lock and warp-scramble you, disabling your ability to jump away from the danger they pose.  I’m not worried about Maxi defending himself, fighting is for another day, we just want to get in, look around and get out.  All being well we can do that without anyone locking on to our fragile little ship.

The Moldy ApronMaxi has been practising the cloak trick jumping around hi-sec in our trusty Atron, the Moldy Apron, kitted out with speed enhancing rigs, a cloak device and a micro-warpdrive (giving us a top speed of 3560 m/s).  Think he’s got the hang of it now.  Next we need a route.  Using the maps handy statistics options I’ve started scouring for systems with no ships destroyed in the last hour, as few active players as possible and as few ships destroyed in the last 24 hours as well.  Systems on the border of null and hi-sec seem to be the worst, probably due to gate campers waiting for unsuspecting carebears to jump through to null, or try and jump out with precious loot.  Checking again now one system has 18 kills in an hour.  In an HOUR!  Think we’ll avoid that one.

OK.  Here’s a promising one.  Ten jumps, a gentle curve through low-sec systems before the final jump to null.  No kills in the last hour.  6 active capsuleers in the entry system.  That’s the route.  Now’s the time.

Maxi!  Unto the breach, dear friend!

The route

Undocked our first task is getting to lo-sec.  We practice cloak-tricking out way from stargate to stargate, probably much to the bemusement of anyone who notices our overly cautious commute.

En route

Now things get interesting.  We’re into low-sec, getting off the beaten track.  Stargates are no longer ringed by CONCORD Battleships and the steady flow of haulers and missioners dies down to a trickle.  The chatter on local ends.  The sky looks blacker.

Onwards Maxi, onwards.

Null gate

And so we reach the threshold.  Here’s our entrance to null-sec.  One last jump.  There’s a mere 4 other people on local, a tiny amount compared to the hustle and bustle of the Amarr trading hub I’ve called home for the last week.  The scanner doesn’t pick up any of them near the gate.  That’s good, they’re not sat here scouting for anyone entering null-sec and reporting back to a Corp of gate campers on the other side.  Or if they are they’re not being so blatant as to sit at the gate, anyway.  Oh god.  Here goes.  Jump.

Null-sec

There it is.  The sky is darker, isn’t it?  Or am I going mad.  No time to ponder.  We hit the scanner, nothing nearby.  We check local, there’s 6 people here.  Too many.  Too risky.  Let’s go deeper.  This time Maxi traverses the system by cloak-trick jumping to a random asteroid field, and following more scanning and checking, jumping again to the next gate.  Making a straight jump from gate to gate is apparently the perfect way to get caught in warp bubbles and picked off by waiting pirates lurking by their trap.  We make it the next gate.  It’s all going well.  Jump.

Warp-bubbles

Oh, hello!  Speak of the devil, what do we have here?  Jumping into the next system the gate is surrounded by warp bubbles.  Easily avoided when you can see them, but jumping to this gate from the other side of the system could prove tricky.  There’s 7 local residents showing.  Possibly lurking just out of sight of these bubbles.  Let’s keep moving.  We carefully skip across the system via a couple of planets to avoid the bubbles and jump again.  How deep can we go?

Can you see me?

This is better.  1 other pilot in this system, who promptly disappears from local when we arrive.  Did we scare them off?  Can they hide from local?  Better keep scanning.  We jump around to see some sights, I don’t like hanging around the gates too long.  Even tucked away behind a random planet I feel the need to cloak, in case someone is looking for us.  You can just about make out the cloaked Moldy Apron in the shot above.

Big ratsMade itThat other capsuleer reappears on local.  Perhaps they did run and feel it’s safer to return now.  Perhaps they’ve come back tooled up for a fight.  Better tread carefully.  We hop to a couple of asteroid belts (making sure we warp 100k from them so we’re not warping into the middle of any potential hornet’s nests).  EVERY belt has rats in it.  Big rats at that.  Schools of Battlecruisers and Battleships patrol, ready for a fight.  Their bounty’s are a million ISK and rising.  No wonder people say null-sec ratting is so profitable.  Could I sneak my Myrmidon in to take these guys on?  Time to stop daydreaming, that pilot could be hunting us as we speak, it’s time to go.  We jump to the gate and are through.  Still no sign of anything on scanner the otherside.  Lets just go, the sooner we’re out the better.  Jump straight to the gate, Maxi.

Oh, balls.

Blowing bubbles

Balls.  Balls.  Balls.  Forgot about the warp bubbles surrounding that gate.  We’re ripped out of warp on our way across system.  We’re 200k from the gate, a huge gap if those 6 pilots are sat here waiting for me.  Too late to cloak, we hit the microwarpdrive and watch our approach to the precious stargate tease up to our top speed 3500+ m/s.  There’s no lock yet, and we’re eating up the space but my god this is tense, any moment we could be locked.  Stupid idiot, why didn’t we jump via some planets again.  Come on!  I start hammering the jump button long before we’re in range, as if it might push the ship that little bit faster.  A quick scan, there’s some stuff here but I’m too paniked to even register whether it’s ships or just those warp-bubbles.  COME ON!

Jumping.  Those beautiful words appear.  The screen swings out to look down the apex of the gate and WOOOSH we’re through the gate.  No locks.  No shots.  No need to panic.  My heart returns to a mere double it’s resting rate.  One more system to (relative) low-sec safety.

Fisticuffs

We make a very cautious hop across the system, there’s more pilots here than last time, and as we warp to our exit gate it becomes clear why.  A full blown scrap is taking place around the gate, green lasers spew out of wibbly, warp-scrambled ships.  We leap through the middle, like a mouse scuttling through the legs of warring cats, and jump through the gate scar free.  That was a stroke of luck, that fight might have been started by some unwitting traveller jumping to the gate moments before me.  If I’d left any earlier that could have been Maxi scrambled on the edge of null-sec.

Phew, that was fun.  Maxi’s alive but no more fond of null-sec than he was before.  I think a few more visits are needed to settle into the heightened level of tension it brings.  In the meantime we dock at the nearest station for a well earned drink.  See you when the hangover’s warn off.

The end

Fly safe o7

It’s been a long time, we shouldna left you

Dave's bought an Amarr shuttle to fit in with the local architecture

Another thing I noticed about EVE is the writing and buttons are really small, like really small, I keep missing text boxes when I go to click on them.  Perhaps I need a bigger monitor?  I’ll put it on the Christmas list.  And what’s this ISIS, it looks cool….(Excuse me.).…oh it visualises what ships you can and can’t control.  Cool.  Controls are much as I remember.  Right click here, hotkey there.  All coming back to me….(Ahem, I said excuse me!  What are you doing?)….I could swear Maxi bought a Myrmidon but there’s none in the hanger here, and an awful lot of money in his wallet ….(HEY!  STOP!  What are you doing?!)….err, sorry, excuse me a second readers.

What do you want?

What the hell are you doing?

I’m blogging….about EVE Online.

Yes, but, I mean, it’s been 18 bloody months!  Where the hell have you been?

Does it matter…

Yes it matters!  You just upped and left!  No calls, no postcards!  

Well…um, sorry about that.  Who are you anyway?

I’m Dave.  Dave the Alt.

Dave

OH!  Dave!  Hi Dave, how have you been?  I’m glad you’re here actually, I was wondering why there’s so little money in this wallet, you should have earned billions of ISK by now.

I was frozen out of that wallet and all trading stations when your subscription ran out, I’ve been living on the streets….

There aren’t any streets in space.

…I’m only alive because one of those freed slaves took pity on me and let me share their cardboard box on the Amarr trade warehouse floor.

Eww.  Were they nice?

Yes, lovely, we have 3 kids now.

Bloody hell!  No wonder you look so tired.

It’s ok, though, because you’re back now.  You are back now, aren’t you?

Yes I am!

And you’ll definitely stay this time?

Without doubt!

Can I have my old job back?

What are your skills?

Trade.

And are you experienced?

Exceptionally, I have a degree in econo…..

Fine!  And can you tell me about a time when you had to deliver a difficult message to a person or group?

Err, I, um, didn’t know this was an interview.

And what would you consider to be your proudest professional achievement?

Well, there was a time when…wait, are you even listening to me?

Great.  You’re hired!  Glad to have you back on board Dave.  One question..

Yes?

…where is Maxi Foyle?  This blog is meant to be about him after all.

I thought he went into null-sec with you?

Nope, we never got to null-sec in the end.  I remember getting in Queen Maggie to fly to null-sec….he couldn’t get hold of the corporation we were after but I said we should just go to null-sec anyway and then….and then…..screaming….running…..a ginger-mohicaned blur disappeared into a……space pub!  That’s it.  He ran away and hid in a pub instead.

Oh.  Do you think he’s still there?

I would bet my last 100 million ISK on it, but you need it to trade.  Here.  You trade.  I’ll go find Maxi.

Ok.  See you!

In a bit.

Sorry about that readers, where were we?  I’m back in EVE.  That’s some relevant news.  The itch had to be scratched.  I think all the Rubicon news and adverts probably triggered it, not that I’ve ever been deep enough to even notice many of the ‘expansions’ that have come and gone, more that it reminded me there’s another universe parallel to my own that I haven’t visited for a while.  Talking of Rubicon, I do like the look of those new ships they’ve introduced (http://www.eveonline.com/rubicon/features/soe-ships/) they looks proper sci-fi to my eyes, none of this modern grimdark nonsense, more a 70s British TV series version of Sci fi instead.  Ooh, and they’re Covert Ops and Drones focussed, I always wanted to get into Covert Ops.  Will have to look at getting one when the price settles down.

soe-cruiser-big

I’ve been reading through Maxi Foyle, Space Drifter’s, past travails as I prepared to kick start his blog again and, do you know what?  I’m pleasantly surprised how far he’s come.  At the time I always felt like he was failing, like he hadn’t really got the EVE Universe.  He always seemed to be scraping by on minimum wage, scratching together a few thousand ISK here and there from hi-sec mining or level 1 or 2 mission agents.  His only real corporation ripped him off.  His only killsheet is an Atron.  A fucking Atron!  At any moment I expected bailiffs to arrive and kick him out of the rather fancy Captains’ Quarters he seemed to have in every station in the galaxy.  But dammit, in only a few months of playing time he got a corporation, beat a vet in PvP, earned over 100mil ISK (with a little help from Dave the Alt), ransacked level 4 missions, and profited from some dare-devil low-sec hauling.  And all in his original skin, no clones defrosted yet thankyouverymuch.

So to give Maxi a little confidence boost when I drag him out of whatever alcohol and drug induced hovel he’s found himself in let me run down the many goals we set over the last 2 stretches of EVE time:

1.  Survive in Null-Sec space – Err. Hmm, ok, haven’t quite acheived goal number 1 yet but… we’ve only had 3 years, come on!  We’ll…come back to that one.

2.  Build up a small fortune: 10,000,000ISK – Well and truly smashed!  Dave is currently reinvesting 100million ISK, whilst Maxi’s wallet has a Myrmidon + fittings shaped 70million ISK spilling out of it.  Minted.

3.  Join a human corporation – Done.  But then undone.  Think this needs to be re-established as a top priority.  Painfully the corp I previously planned to join, RPS Holdings, has since disbanded and looking up old corp-mates they’re all in less noob friendly setups nowadays.  Hmm.

4. Own and run a mining barge – Done!  It’s not quite the Covetor I previously, um, coveted but Maxi spent as much time in the Feisty Pigeon, his rusty hulled Retriever, as anything else in the game.

5.  Get together about 50 million ISK: 20 million ISK  for the ship + 5 million for each strip mining laser and some left over for insurance, because I’m not even leaving the hangar without insurance on this thing  – Yes, alright, I don’t enjoy mining that much.  The Retriever will do nicely.

6.  Learn the 26 skills necessary to pilot the thing!  (This will involve millions of ISK too) – Equally unnecessary in a Covetor-less future.

7. Get some proper PvP kills on his killsheet – Not even attempted this one yet.

So Maxi’s mission statement is clear: He needs a null-sec based, newbie-welcoming, PvP focussed corporation for pleasant walks and candlelit dinners.

Let the search begin.  o7

Space Jaunting 2.5 – A little application is what you need

Hello!

Our new Vexor, and some Space Party RingsWe’re going to make a slight change of tack with this post.  I do sometimes try and make this a sort of beginner’s guide to EVE along with all the stories and silliness, and although I’m sure you could pick up maybe 2 tips if you sifted through all the wandering prose and poorly transcribed dialogue (everyone just speaks too fast for me to write it down!), today let’s take a moment to talk about the helpful apps, gadgets, bits and bobs that aid EVE playing no end.  Partly as an aid to newer players like myself, but also so all you experienced know-it-alls can point out I should be using other gadgets instead.

My favourite discovery of the last few weeks has been all the EVE based Android apps I never knew existed.  They’ve probably been there for ages but I didn’t have an android phone last time I played. Best of the bunch is Aura, a character monitor, skill queue reminder, market order watcher and all round database of EVE goodies making it ideal for checking up on your characters when you’re far away from your computer.  The majority of train journeys, lunch breaks and boring conversations in the last few weeks have had me reaching for Aura to check whether we’ve made any money off our trade orders or how many skills Maxi needs to fly a Covert Ops frigate.  Of course the main setback is you can’t tinker with your skill queues or orders (that’s not a complaint, that would be cheating) so you just have to watch stoney faced as every other trader beats your order price by 0.01 ISK and wait until home time to set your orders straight, but it’s still addictive as hell to check up on all things EVE related.

Talking of cheating, EVE Trade Finder searches EVE Central for profitable trades and, err, tells you where they are.  Cheating!  Luckily EVE Central always seems to be slightly but crucially out of date so any cheating haulers hopefully miss out on any good routes.

So, um, yeah that’s all the useful android apps I’ve found.  Have I missed any?  I’ve seen there’s a few like Aura but I can’t see if they’re any better or not.  If anyone knows feel free to comment.

There’s also one very useful PC based application I’ve become reacquainted with since my return: EveMon, BattleClinic’s ever useful skill planner.  Now Dave the Alt is (relatively) up to speed with all the useful trade skills there are, Maxi’s skill training as begun again in earnest.  He’s training everything Myrmidon related at the moment, he’s got the essentials to fly one now but there’s about a month’s worth of ‘recommended’ skills according to EveMon that sound like a good idea to get trained in as well.  It’s great how easy it is to formulate a training plan on EveMon, but just a bit galling when in the space of 10 minutes you’ve planned the next year’s worth of training.  The planning is fun, the actual implementation slightly tedious, just another way that EVE reflects real life.

And the one thing I still struggle with a bit is ship fitting.  I mean, I am in the luxurious position of having my own fittings expert in the shape of Serpentine Logic who is always quick to advise on a good setup whenever I mention a new ship I’m getting.  But to plan my own I still struggle.  Battleclinic is good, sure, but it doesn’t know what skills I do and don’t have so won’t know what fittings I can actually equip.  Plus a couple of times I’ve bought the ingredients I can for a new fit only to find the one thing I can’t equip makes the difference between having enough CPU to equip everything or not.  I have yet to find an app that can work out a fit based on your current skills, but I guess that would be cheating too.  I just need to get the hang of working out DPS before I’ve bought everything, not after.

Ouch!Oh, and after all Maxi’s refusals to fly another Vexor, EVE only went and gifted us one in their 9 year celebrations.  Thanks EVE!  Vexor acquisition solved.  While I’ve been tinkering with apps and Dave the Alt has been trade training, Maxi Foyle has been running level 2 missions in his new Vexor, Queen Maggie, to earn enough standing to try a Myrmidon on some level 3s.  Now he’s back on training and their combined wealth is over 200 million ISK I think now’s the time to send that Corp application to RPS Holdings and get some nullsec PvP action under his belt.  I’ll let you know how he gets on next time.

Fly safe o7

That's Maxi, right in the centre there

Space Jaunting 2.4 – Alternative Solutions

Hi!  You join me just in time, I was just about to introduce Maxi to the new Alt.  I managed to find a Gallente capsuleer fresh out of university with a good mind for trade, so have employed him to run the money side of things while Maxi’s off blowing stuff up and getting blown up.  He’s a bit posh and jowly, but we didn’t hire him for his appearance, he’s here to make Maxi lots of money.  Oh, and I’m not at liberty to tell you his name just in case we’re ever in need of an anonymous alt while Maxi has to lie low following some amazing escapade/embarrassing defeat, so for the purposes of this blog he shall be known as Dave the Alt.

And here he is.  Maxi, meet Dave the Alt.

Dave the anonymous AltDave the Alt: “Good day to you sir, please accept my sincere delight at meeting my new employer.”

Maxi Foyle: “Yeah, hi.  So you’re the new guy?  What experience have you got?”

Dave the Alt: “Oh, I’ve trained for 5 years at university, am level 4 in Trade and level 3, soon to be level 4, in Retail, Mr….”

Maxi Foyle: “Ok, well, here’s skillbooks in accounting and broker relations, get those in your brain and then stop holding up my training queue!  Here’s the keys to my quarters in Amarr, there’s the market, see you later.”

Dave the Alt: “Wait!  But…sir, Mr….  What about… how do I get hold of the HR department?  Where’s the 100 million ISK the man I spoke to on the phone said I would be investing.  How do I book holiday?  I’ve got a wedding to go to in….”

Maxi Foyle: “I’m the HR department, and the cleaner, and your boss and the whole bloody company, you work for me.  You don’t get holiday, not unless this guy goes on holiday and forgets to update your training queue…”

Me: “Hi.”

Maxi Foyle: “…and I spent most of that 100 million ISK on a Myrmidon so you’ve got 30 million ISK to get investing.  And that’s all there is to it.”

Dave the Alt: “Um, ok.  When should I contact you?  What IS your name?  Do you need daily updates?  Do I just keep investing the money I make you?”

Maxi Foyle: “You don’t need to keep contacting me, I trust you, and if you do a runner, I’ll kill you.  Just call me when you’ve made….oooh…..a billion.  I’ll see you then, we’ll celebrate.  OH!  And if the police come by asking after me and mentioning slaves, just tell them you never met anyone by my name and you don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Dave the Alt: “Ok, but what is your name?”

Maxi Foyle: “Not important.”

Dave the Alt: “But how will I know when to lie to the police when they come round asking for you?  I don’t know who YOU are!”

Maxi Foyle: “Oh, right.  Ok.  I’m Maxi.  Maxi Foyle, Space…. oh wait we stopped putting that after my name cause it got boring.  Just call me Maxi.  And forget my name if the police stop by, ok?  See you in a billion.”

Dave the Alt: “But…where will you be?”

Maxi Foyle: “I’ll be blowing shit up.  Laters!”

The starting systems have gotten a lot prettier since Maxi's dayI think I might join him.  Fly safe o7

Space Jaunting 2.3 – Post Traumatic Space Disorder

It turns out it takes quite a long time to recover your full cognitive abilities when waking from a long cryogenic sleep. Your memory is the last thing to return. Your oldest and most deeply rooted memories return quickly, but it takes a good week or 2 to recover the most recent memories, experienced just before entering the deep freeze.

Maxi Foyle’s final memories returned to him at approximately 2:47am last night. I know this because he awoke at that time by launching himself out of a deep sleep into a fully, bolt upright seated position and shouted “CRIMPLES!” at 194 decibels before proceeding to sob unrelentingly into his spaceship covered duvet for 4 hours. He’s still not himself now.

Crimples, long time readers will remember, was Maxi’s Cruiser class drone boat and his pride and joy.  She was a Vexor gifted to Maxi by the generous Serpentine Logic, an Eve veteran and philanthropist, and she was marvellous.  Her final days were something I never got round to blogging about last time round, being as it happened mere days before we knocked EVE on the head for the last year.  So as a form of therapy, and a way to bring closure to Maxi, I will recount her last days:

Crimples and the fiery, molten planet in which she was forged.  Possibly.In loving memory of Crimples, shoe-shaped ship and loving partner to Maximus Foyle, esq.

I think when we last updated you on Maxi’s escapades last year we’d mentioned that he’d jumped Corporation after being scammed into providing free mining labour by his old Corp, LPT.  The new Corp, LP Manufacturing, was great and contained all the best members of LPT.  The only issue was after moving to a new home in the Domain region we soon found ourselves in a turf war with a local Alliance, I assume because we’d moved into their patch, but I never did get any confirmation on why we were at war. Either way, it was a chance for Maxi to try out his freshly learned PvP skills, so when I logged in one Saturday morning to be told something BIG was going down I immediately volunteered Maxi and his best ship, Crimples, to help out.

My memory is a little hazy on exactly why we were doing what we were doing that day but I’m pretty sure the call to arms was because we had located our main rival Corporation’s home station and our Corp’s leaders had come up with a plan to lure our rival’s leaders, and hopefully best ships, away from the base so we could then hit it en masse and rack up a few killsheets with our rivals’ names on them.

As a relative noob in a relatively weak ship Maxi was tasked with kitting Crimples out with a tackling fit and loitering casually in a neighbouring system while we waited for the Go! command from the Corp.  So we went and hid in a random asteroid belt in the designated system and watched the local channel for any enemy names.  I remember seeing one as they left their home to head to what might have been our fake meeting for them and excitedly telling everyone on our channel.

“Thanks Maxi, we’ve seen him,” was the reply.

The tension was amazing and I wished I’d invested in a microphoned headset so I could join in the team speak rather than wait for occassional updates in the chat window.

Eventually the order came.  GO GO GO!  Maxi jumped into system and warped to the target base.  The fight had already started, most of my Corps was already there in their Battlecrusiers and Battleships.  We numbered 15 or 20, but the enemy seemed to have just as many ships and more were pouring out of the station.  It didn’t look good but I didn’t know what good was meant to look like in these situations.  Training kicked in, I selected a Battleship one of my corpmates had locked and started hitting them with disruptors, neutralisers and webifiers in the hope it would give my corpmate the edge in destroying them.  We emptyed Crimples’ drone bay in the vain hope the tech 1 hobgoblins and hammerheads she housed could be any use as well.

Amazingly the fight seemed to be going ok.  No one had attacked Crimples yet and our target was getting hammered by our corpmates.  It felt strange playing such a peripheral part in the unfolding drama.  Tackling makes you feel like the scrawny kid at school who follows the bully around and stands at the back squawking “Yeah” whenever the bully beats someone up.  But at least it wasn’t giving us the attention that Crimples undoubtedly couldn’t handle from the much bigger ships tussling in front of her.

The elation didn’t last long though.  Almost as soon as I thought “This is going ok, you know” 4 ships peeled away from the main fight and made a beeline for my slowly orbiting position, setting off warnings and auto-locking as they targeted Maxi’s ship.  At first I redirected Crimples’ remaining drones to distract them but they ignored the drones and continued straight for us.  As I dithered about whether to warp out and look like a coward or sit tight and hope a better armed corpmate came to my protection, they disrupted Crimples warp drive and left us stranded at the edge of an ever expanding space ruck.  As they started to pummel holes in Crimples shields and armour Maxi diverted all capacitor energy to armour tanking and speed.  I kept a pleading eye on the effects notices, praying that warp disruptor logo would disappear for long enough to make our retreat, but it never came to pass.

Crimples exploded in a suprisingly oxygen rich fireball of metal, technology, ISK, hopes and dreams.  Maxi escaped in a capsule, at least avoiding the ignominy of being replaced by a clone and losing 10s of millions of ISK worth of implants.

The worst thing is I don’t remember whether the mission was much of a success or not.  We definitely got some kills but I seem to remember the general feeling being we’d screwed up.  I guess that’s a sign of how Real Life was getting in the way of even the most exciting EVE adventures at the time, I wasn’t paying much attention.

Mining, because I've run out of Crimples picsSo that is the story of Crimples.

Back to the present, I’ve talked to Maxi about getting a new Vexor but he said it wouldn’t be the same, he’d feel like he was cheating on Crimples.  I also suggested a cunning plan of getting a Vexor blueprint and building a new one with our own bare hands in honour of Crimples (and selling the others we made for a profit) but the only way to make it profitable was to do all the mineral collecting ourselves which would take about 3000 weeks of mining.

So instead we’ve been looking to bigger and better things.  In amongst Maxi’s growing buy and sell listings a purchase order for one Battlecruiser skill popped up and got fulfilled a couple of days ago so Maxi can now pilot the next class of a ship up from Cruisers.  He’s got his heart set on a Myrmidon, to take advantage of all those drone skills he learned, but we’ll need about 60 million ISK for the ship alone, nevermind fittings, so it’ll be a minute before he’s rolling in that beauty.

In the meantime Maxi’s wealth has grown to 90 million ISK worth of stock and buy orders so we’re well on our way to target.  It’s been so profitable and so easy that I’ve made the decision to actually train an alt to continue trading when Maxi heads off to null-sec.  I just couldn’t bring myself to leave the trading life behind.  It’s annoying because I’ve wasted time and money training Maxi in trading skills, which we’ll now have to do again with the alt, but it’ll pay off in the long run.  Maxi’s accepted sharing wealth with an alt on the promise that they’re working for him, so I can get to work on the alt this week.  It might delay hitting our 100 million target while I move stock and funds over and train the new guy up, but we’ll soon have Maxi freed up to go on to newer and more exciting things.

Until next time, fly safe o7

Fly safe, old friend