A beginner gets lost in EVE online

EVE Online Beginner

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. 🙂

——————————————————————————————————————

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

Advertisements

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


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 2.2 – Money making, money money making

Typical trade hub congestionPolice Mech: “Maxi Foyle, I am placing you under arrest for the purchase, transportation and illegal trading of human slaves.”

Maxi Foyle: “No!  NO!  You’ve got it all wrong!  Look, here on the paper work…”

Police Mech: “The time for lying is over Mr Foyle, please come with me.”

Maxi Foyle: “No, seriously!  Look!  These are Freed Slaves, they’re free!  They’re not illegal like normal Slaves are.  They’re freed from the clutches of their evil Amarrian Slave Overlords.  I’m helping to free them!”

Police Mech: “In that case….why are they locked in your cargo hanger?”

Maxi Foyle: “Oh, well, I bought them off this guy for dead cheap, and now I’m trying to sell them for a profit.”

Police Mech: “Mr Foyle, that sounds very much like slavery to me.”

Maxi Foyle: “No!  Wait.  Huh…oh yeah, I guess it does now you mention it.  But look, the important thing is it’s legal.  I don’t make the rules, I just play the game!  These slaves are freed slaves, so they’re legal.”

Police Mech: “In that case you won’t mind me setting them free then?”

Maxi Foyle: “NO!  They cost me a million ISK!  Look, just let me sell them on for a little profit and they’ll be on their way to freedom.”

Police Mech: “What if the next buyer wants to enslave them?”

Maxi Foyle: “Look!  I don’t know!  I’m just trying to make a living here!  I’ve never done anything illegal in my life!”

Police Mech: “This criminal record for possession of illegal substances says otherwise…”

Maxi Foyle: That….!   But that was just mission loot!  I didn’t even know it was illegal!  Look, do YOU want to buy these slaves and set them free?”

Police Mech: “Err, no.”  

Maxi Foyle: “Fine then, can I get on with my very legal trading business then?”

Police Mech: “Fine.  But we’re watching you, Mr Foyle.  One little slip and BANG!  We’ll be right back in this office arresting you so fast your head will literally detach from your shoulders and spin off into space.  Literally.”

Maxi Foyle: “Whatever.”

Most of my game time in the last week has looked like thisHello!  Welcome back.  Time to tell you how Maxi’s been getting on on the trading floor of the Amarr trade hub.  Every EVEer is no doubt talking about the new Inferno update but Maxi Foyle works at his own pace, prefers talking about himself, and most disabling of all we can’t actually log into EVE to try it out because the update is so popular the ‘Universe is full’ and I will have to wait in a queue.  Which now I think about it might be what happens when babies gestate for 9 months.

Anyway, trading:

I have a little confession to make about market trading in EVE:  I didn’t really understand it when I first read about it.  What with Maxi’s background in hauling, I thought trading was like hauling without moving between stations.  I thought it would involve finding people who are selling items for cheap, buying them, and then selling them to a buyer who is willing to pay more.  And then of course I started perusing the buy and sell listings of the Amarr trade hub’s items and realised this couldn’t possibly work because all the sell listings were for more ISK than the buy listings.  Whilst rereading the kind of helpful guide I’d found everything finally clicked into place:  You’re not looking for the right listings, you’re placing listings that should make you money.  Then sitting back and hoping someone will bite.

My own stupidity expertly hurdled, the second obstacle was my general disbelief that people would actually sell stuff to me so far below the regional average, and then other people buy the same stuff back at hugely inflated prices.  But fair play, it works!  Maxi Foyle’s 8 million ISK has now become 40 million ISK, although almost all of that is tied up in buy orders and stock I’m trying to shift, I could pack in the trading game now and walk away with 30 million immediately.  Still small change by EVE standards but the more ISK we have the more we can invest and the quicker we should be able to earn our billions.

Trading is another one of those things that just amazes me about EVE.  Here is a living, breathing, player-led economy that can be played for profit in a way that just couldn’t be simulated, and which doesn’t really exist to my knowledge in any other game.  Plus as addictive and engrossing as the trading is, it’s just another tiny part of the EVE universe.  Focusing solely on trading is like playing a completely different game.

The best thing about trading is the fact it can earn you money while you’re not logged in, which feels like the EVE way to do things.  It’s immensely satisfying to come home from work and find your bank balance has shot up another 3 million ISK because some moron needed 10 Stasis Webifiers so badly they paid 300,000 ISK a piece for them.  In fact the only problems with it are all the other buggers trying to out bid your buy and sell orders, and the fact you therefore have to check in at the trade hub regularly to tinker with your orders to make sure they’re still competitive.  The smart thing to do is to train an alt to do this stuff, but as explained above I’m not that smart, and Maxi just doesn’t do wealth sharing.

Trading: Like hauling but......no, no, nothing like haulingExciting as it’s been these last few days, this trading life can’t go on forever or Maxi will never get to null-sec, so we’re going to set a target after which we’ll set off for null-sec and the RPS Holdings corporation:  100 million ISK

Hopefully a week more trading will get us there, but I’m currently formulating a little alternative plan that might even speed things up in that regard.  I’ll save that juicy little titbit for next time.

fly safe o7


Maxi Foyle, Space Relapser

Something was missing.

It was almost a year ago to the day that Maxi Foyle, Space Pioneer of Aerodynamics, quit EVE Online.  Maxi entered EVE Online’s sandbox universe at the beginning of last year with a mission, a dream of galactic conquest, adventure and money making.  In the space of 2 short months he found his feet, found a Corporation, mined and hauled his way into money, bagged his first kill, lost his Corporation only to witness the birth of a new, tighter, friendlier one, grew a small following of EVE veterans on this very blog and then…. and then…. he bottled it.  For every goal achieved 3 more sprung up in its place.  With each discovery came the glimpse of yet another, ever further out of reach.  Maxi Foyle looked into the infinite abyss of EVE Online and was terrified by what he saw.  The time it would require to do everything he wanted to do, the emotional toil of working with and against other human players, the cost and the regular periods of bum-numbing boredom were too much.  I couldn’t afford the time or the money to get any more embroiled in my undeniable love of EVE Online.  Maxi quit.  I quit.

Not my pic, sorryI went on to pastures new.  Played lots of the other unique and wonderful PC games that came out in 2011 and before.  I got lost in Skyrim‘s mountains, caught up in Human Revolution‘s conspiracies, rebuilt Bastion‘s bastion and rekindled a love for point and click adventures with Gemini Rue and the Blackwell games.  I wrote about them too.  I wrote so much on my blog that some of my writing spilt over onto popular gaming website Beefjack.com.  My gaming life was good.

But something was missing.

At first I thought I just missed MMOs.  The human interaction, the character building and the complex systems to wrap your head around make them so much deeper than your average singleplayer game.  I tried Lord of the Rings Online, but it was too twee, grinding and old fashioned.  I tried Star Wars: The Old Republic, the new MMO in town.  It was a pleasant, enjoyable RPG to play through but the human side was lacking.  Groups and guilds were hard to come by.  Beyond the well written storylines there was no exploring to be done, no accidental discoveries or true adventure to be had.

I thought it may be a good dose of Sci-Fi that I was missing so delved into Alistair Reynold’s excellent novels but their talk of starships, technology and galactic politics only made things worse.

Something was definitely missing.

News stories popped up from time to time of goings on in EVE Online.  I read with curiosity about game updates (both popular and unpopular), player riots, an exodus of subscribers and the foolish words and subsequent banning of an influential Corporation leader.  They felt like news stories from a country I used to live in, gossip from a job I used to do, not a game I used to play.  I found myself  looking up fellow EVE bloggers at quiet times to catch up with their ongoing travails in EVE.  E-mails would notify me someone had commented on this very blog from time to time, dragging me back to approve the comment and have a little reread of my time.  “Sad that you quit”, one said “But I understand it oh so well, I quit too.”.  Yeah, it was the right thing to do, I’d think, the game was a bit boring, I’m happier playing Battlefield 3 I’m sure.  

But something was still missing.

Then 3 things happened:

One quiet day, without knowing how I got there, I found myself checking the subscription price for EVE Online and read with intrigue that the price for UK residents like myself was coming down.  I chose not to subscribe….yet, but downloaded the game client anyway!  Some part of my brain just took over.  What’s the harm, it said, just download it you don’t have to play it.  And so EVE Online was once again on my hard drive, hidden in the start menu folder marked ‘Games’.  Watching and waiting.

Then a good friend asked me what the best game ever was.  A ridiculous question but one I couldn’t help trying to answer.  “Deus Ex because of the freedom to complete each task and the way it reacts to your actions, no wait, Skyrim because it’s such a well made open-world, oh but Grim Fandango made me cry and….”.  I reeled off a list of 5 or 10 games I couldn’t choose between but to my surprise in amongst this rambling list was EVE Online.  “No other game mimics real life so well.  The player led economy, the politics of working for and dealing with real people.  The cunning, treachery and nastiness that AI just can’t recreate.  This is a game where a real person, with huge influence within the game, can be voted into a position of  power in the design of the actual game in real life through votes made by in game characters played by real life forumites.  He can then lose that real life power by hounding a suicidal player in a real life meeting of game players that has impacted on his in game persona being banned from the game with fallout across the game and the real world through this and his reaction.”  I think my friend’s reaction was “Huh!?”, but the point remained.  EVE had found quite a profound place in my gaming life.  I held it on a pedestal even though I kept telling myself I didn’t want to play it.

Then the third and final thing happened: Another comment on this blog.  I couldn’t believe people were still reading it and rushed to see what vile criticism/pleasant feedback they’d left.

It was neither.

It was the same mysterious reader who’d previously commented to say they had quit EVE too.  Only this time they had a different message:  “BTW, I have resubbed to EVE again and have joined RPS Holdings.  Join us if you ever get interested again.”

This was too much.  I knew what had been missing, but had been afraid to admit it.  I had to go back.  I had to return to EVE Online.

Again, a stolen picSo, here I am.  Standing before the vast cryostasis tank that holds Maxi Foyle, SpaceCapsuleer, drone expert, bumbling PvPer, nervous hauler, violent thug with a science degree and genetic roots in a ginger minority, in a deep cryogenic sleep.  It’s been a year of earth time since I stepped foot in EVE Online.  Veritable millennia for Maxi in game time.  Rise and shine, Mr. Foyle.  Rise and Shine.  Time to wake up and smell the space coffee.

Computer!  Defrost Maxi Foyle.

BEEP!  Error!  Out of credits!  Please purchase PLEX time to reanimate your corpse.

Oh bollocks, forgot about that!  Ok, ok, I’ll be right back… see you next post


Space Jaunting: Part 2 – Last Day – Resigned to failure

Hello, you join us today on a sad day in Maxi Foyle’s EVE life.  It’s a sad day because it is his last day with his current corporation and perhaps his last day in EVE.  You see, Maxi Foyle, Space Resigner, feels he’s reached the Event Horizon of EVE Online.  The new gameplay mechanics, the exploration and adventure, the excitement of working with (and against) other humans all had Maxi tumbling into the EVE online lifestyle in a big way, but recently things have become a bit stale.  The time required to learn each new skill, to get each new ship, to do each new money making industrial enterprise gets longer and longer, and more and more expensive.  Over the last week or so Maxi’s started feeling he has seen all he’s likely to see from EVE for the near future, and with each goal he acheives each new goal seems further and further to grind before reaching it.

What does this all mean?  I’m afraid it means, for the time being, there will be no more Space Jaunting blog.  The time and effort required to play this amazing, deep, all encompassing game is more than I can afford at the moment.  So rather than force my way through and write less and less exciting posts I’m going to draw a line under it here and keep this blog as it was intended: as a slightly silly journey of a total beginner in the world of EVE online.

It’s been incredibly fun, certainly some of my all-time favourite gaming moments have occured in this game.  The stupid thing about me saying it’s getting less fun is that I’m forgetting some of the greatest escapades have happened when I least expected them to.  So often I’ve signed on just for 10 minutes to say hello to the corp and update my skill queue, and then 3 hours and a PvP skirmish, or a stupidly difficult mission later I’m only just logging off.  If I get the time back I will continue with EVE and I will make sure you all hear about Maxi Foyle’s new adventures, but for now this is goodbye.

o7 fly safe

P.S. I’ve enjoyed writing about EVE so much I’m going to keep posting about other games in the form of reviews and articles over on http://asreviewedelsewhereontheinternet.wordpress.com/, including a proper review of EVE Online very soon, so please check it out if you enjoyed this.