In Solitude and friendship
So 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:
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.
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.
You 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.
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.
- and 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