Wednesday, 30 July 2008

...or not

This evening was my first spell 'on duty' for the war effort.

It wasn't quite what I was expecting. I asked for a few pointers in the militia channel but I guess people were busy typing their x's and didn't notice.

I spent a while listening in on the conversations about war targets in distant system x, and war targets in even more distant system y although it didn't appear much came of any of the reports.

Eventually someone mentioned that there were some targets in a system close enough to be reachable before bed time so I headed on over. Local showed 1 red star and a handful of purple, it was also packed with a bunch of 'non-combatants' although it looked like Concord felt differently!

So I flew to the 'plex, nothing but a few NPC battleships (on our side!), did a quick tour of the stations expecting a small group of friendlies sat outside waiting for the target to come out. Nothing.

So then I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself. I did a quick couple of tours around the surrounding systems. Nothing.

Closest I got to a fight was a flashy pirate that warped into the 'plex just as I warped out. Probably for the best though!

Hopefully things will pick up and they'll be some slightly more talkative people around next time...

Monday, 28 July 2008

Into the fray

I finally bit the bullet today and signed up for Factional Warfare.

Of course, nothing it ever quite as simple and straightforward as that, and I'm left waiting on timers again!

I'm really very new to PvP in Eve, obviously I've been shot at and killed plenty of times, but I've never actually entered into combat with another capsuleer voluntarily. Factional Warfare was (apparently) designed for people just like me, so I thought I'd give it a go.

I wanted the option to pull out of it later on if I find that it's not quite my cup of tea, but I didn't want my employment history to reflect my fickle nature so I created my own corp and signed that up. I've got about 16 hours of the 24 left, so I should be able to enter into my first pew pew sometime tomorrow. I really have no idea what to expect but I'm quite excited.

Most of all, I'm hoping I might find some like-minded pilots to join forces with somewhere down the line. My little crew has slowly dwindled and I'm the only regular player left so things have been a bit lonely recently!

So, Amarr scum, quake in your pods for MalphasWats will be bringing his guns to bear in a system near you!

Send in the clones!

The hero always gets the girl.

I've been running missions for what seems like forever in an effort to grind my standing with Republic Fleet up to 8.0. I want to be able to use jump clones so that I can set myself up to explore 0.0 space and still be able to pop back to run missions or maybe get involved in Faction Warfare.

I read up a fair bit on the subject but the information I could find was a little ambiguous: In some places it said you needed 8.0 personal standing
and 8.0 corporate standing, and in other places it said 8.0 personal or corporate. A very subtle difference and since much of the documentation was a few years old, and was mostly conjecture posted before jumpclones were even implemented, I was a bit stuck.

I figured I could just ask on the forums, but I'm allergic to MMPORG forums and I didn't want to come out in a case of The Rage. I took the other option instead: just bloody try it, once upon a time, someone else would have done the same.

Well, I finally made it to 8.0 personal standing, so I was able to try Hypothesis 1: since getting 8.0 personal
and corporate would mean just creating a 1 man corp, setting up your jumpclones then rejoining your old corp, it seems pretty pointless to require both at 8.0, much more sensible for it to be or.

The result: Hurrah! You just need a personal standing at 8.0
or a corp standing at 8.0 to use jumpclones.

I figured that with jumpclones set up, I'd be able to send one off into the 0.0 void and have a wander about. I actually did a bit of scouting and found an area that looks like it might be a good '0.0 starting area'.

Of course, what I really need is to be a member of a corporation that actually has some presence in 0.0 space (or just presence in the game! my current corp has only 3 people in it, 2 of which are me!). Pretty much all of the commentaries I've read about 0.0 is that you don't last long on your own but we'll see, exploring is all just part of the adventure.

Last week in skill training

Informorph Psychology I & II

Shield Upgrades IV

Assault Ships V (ongoing)

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Spider Drones

They codenamed it Angel Extravaganza, which I thought was a little glib but as long as I get paid they can call it Happy Fun Clown Time for all I care.

I headed to the station hangar bay where the new Mordant Core was being fitted ready. The 150mm Light Autocannon II sat on the hangar floor gave me the clue that things weren't going to schedule.

A couple heated exchanges with the shipyard foreman and a few hours cooling my heels later and the new Mordant Core glided into space its spotless armour plating gleaming in the light from the system's star.

I plugged the co-ordinates I'd been given by Ornljorn and activated the warp drive.

Intel was pretty good this time, and they were sending exactly the wrong types of ship at me. The Mordant Core excels at taking out cruisers supported by handfuls of frigates and the odd battlecruiser and that was exactly what they sent. Not a good day for the Angel Cartel!

I'd been tasked with taking out an Angel commander by the name of Terzam Tazzon and I was pretty deep within the Angel deadspace complex before my scanners found his Battlecruiser. I was still a good 70Km from his ship when his 2 spider drones intercepted me. Drones don't usually cause a problem for my trio of light autocannons but these packed an extra punch: webifiers.

Now for missions such as these, the Mordant Core is kitted out to deal with stasis webifiers but with 2 fast drones both interferring with my engines they were able to sit just on the edge of my weapon range. Close up, my high-tech guns make short work of anything I point them at but if I can't get them close, they miss. A lot.

It took 5 full magazines of ammo to take out the first spider drone, by which time my shields were nearly depleted and my capacitor was heading the same way. I made a 'tactical withdrawal' to let my systems recover before heading back into the complex to finish the job.

With only 1 webifier left, I made short work of the last spider drone before shredding Terzam's ship to scrap.
All in, a very successful maiden voyage for the new Mordant Core.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Plans within plans

I don't know if it's obvious, but I've kind of got a 2 voices thing going on. I thought it might be nice to be able to post in and out of character so I picked 2 different fonts to use for me and him.

I realised fairly early on when I started Eve back in 2003 that it wasn't the kind of MMPORG where you could just log on and just sort of bumble your way through, following the golden exclamation marks. You really needed to have a plan.

Working with my little group of buddies, we had a fairly simple plan: make enough isk to buy us all a nice cruiser each. Now back in 2003 that was actually a fairly tall order, there were no agents to offer missions, NPCs had insultingly small bounties and a small number of people had a fairly solid hold on the markets.

A few corporations began offering BYOM deals. You rock up with the materials required to build your cruiser, hand them over, pay a small administration fee and they built you a cruiser.

We took delivery of our very first cruiser, a Minmatar Rupture, after much chipping at space-rocks and exchanging of currency. I was the lucky ducky that got to fly it and from memory, it lasted all of about 4 hours. On pretty much its maiden voyage it was struck down by gate campers in Eifer. We were devastated, and needless to say, I went to the end of the line for the next cruiser!

From that day on, I had a fairly unshakable view of pirates in eve: griefers.

A pretty extreme view, of which oddly I have only very recently corrected myself on.

It's not all my fault of course; I have a pretty high MMPORG pedegree. I started my online gaming career in the world of Ultima Online, before all the Felucca / Trammell bullshit when flashy red people meant you would be dead soon. Similarly to Eve, if someone killed you, they could loot your corpse and take your stuff. Unlike Eve, there wasn't really much of a deterrant.

In Ultima Online, Pirates were PKers, Can flippers were Noto-PKers and 0.0 space was anywhere outside of a town. The biggest difference between the two was that for the most part, PKers were almost entirely cockpouches. They didn't just kill you, they taunted you, and if you were stupid enough to rise to a Noto-PKer, you got killed over and over until your criminal timer ran out (there was nowhere to hide from this, town guards were of no help if you had a flag).

So from pretty early on in my online gaming career another player killing me was someone who was getting their enjoyment from making me miserable.

It wasn't ever a problem in WoW, because that had a big red 'I want other people to kill me repeatedly' button, and even if you pressed it, all you ever lost was the time it took to run back to your corpse to get your stuff that was untouchable to anyone else.

Coming back to Eve raised this issue almost immediately for me and very nearly stopped me from bothering.

It was just a few days after I re-activated my original account. I was slowly settling back into things by doing a little bit of tradegoods ferrying. It was always a bit of a fetish for me after my long-behind-me days of Frontier: Elite II, buying stuff for 5 galactic credits at station x, shipping them to station y and selling it for 8 galactic credits each, who could resist!

I had found a very nice looking route that would net me a cool few million but meant the small risk of a 0.4 system. I figured it was time to start taking the risk, spent half my wallet on the cargo and set off. On Autopilot.

You see, before I came back to Eve, 'Warp to 0' hadn't been invented yet, so flying around with the autopilot made no difference if you were sat in front of your computer. It just meant you didn't have to keep clicking, you just had to pay attention. I hadn't quite realised that 'Warp to 0' actually meant you could insta-jump at a gate and I bumbled into a gate pirate. Pop, oops, arse.

I actually cancelled my account at that point. I was annoyed that someone else was enjoying the game entirely at my expense. After about another 2 days, I logged on again - I still had a month left to play so I set myself a small goal: If I couldn't build my wallet up to 20 million isk by the time my subscription ran out, there wasn't much point in carrying on, there would always be gate pirates and stupidity if it took me more than a month to recover from each one Eve Online wasn't really going to be much fun for me any more.

Obviously I suceeded, I actually hit about 50 million by the time I had to re-activate my account and I did so gladly. I also had a very nice little bonus when I realised that the Domination Overdrive module I had sat on an old hauler from before everything changed and was about to destroy because I couldn't sell on the market was actually worth over 60 million if I sold it through a contract.

It took a little longer to get over my 'All pirates are griefers' ignorance, but at least I learnt some simple lessons (the hard way).

A Series of Mistakes

I have a theory.

It's a pretty good theory.

Life, particularly life as a capsuleer in New Eden, is a series of mistakes, a chain of bad choices.

I'm pretty convinced I can see where the most recent chain started and it ended with the demise of the Mordant Core.

I'm not usually one for anthropomorphication but I really did like that little ship.
The chain started with the incorrect choice to spend the first part of my cycle running errands. I needed more ammo, had to move some stuff around, check some prices. Y'know, donkey work that needs doing from time to time. If I'd gone right out and started shooting stuff for people, I probably wouldn't have been around when I was given this particular mission.

On the face of it, it looked fairly straightforward: go here, shoot this, steal these documents. No problem, that's that the Mordant Core is all about but then there's the bad choices.

To cut to the chase of what could end up being a very long and boring story I should have gone for the defiler first, it would have cut the transit time between targets right down and it would have taken more damage out of the equation.

I've grown complacent over the last few days - I very nearly lost the Mordant Core twice last cycle and it was mostly because I wasn't paying attention. They say you learn even the simplest of lessons the hard way in New Eden and I wouldn't argue. I had plenty of time to think about my complacency, my lesson learnt on the long trip to Rens to pick up a shiny new Jaguar Assault Ship to once again fly under the banner of the Mordant Core.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

The Blockade

I've been working for the Republic Fleet since I first got my Capsuleer status approved. They're not bad to work for, the pay isn't overly insulting and they don't ask too many questions; It's not as if I have anything to hide, my behaviour has been exemplary since day one, I just don't like people asking stupid questions.
"I just received a transmission from reliable sources"
Ha! 'reliable sources', I've heard that one before and I didn't buy it that time. Of course, I said nothing to old
Ornljor, he's a nice enough guy but he is pretty straight down the line, 'You can count on me'.

I made my way to the hangar where Mordant Core was waiting silently, almost menacingly. Her systems lit up at my touch as my pod slid into place, engines roaring to life. 'Steady' I thought, 'no rush'. I fired up my 'net interface, a new model comms unit I had installed just a few weeks ago. I had my own 'reliable sources'.

From what I could see, the Angel Cartel weren't putting much effort into whatever it was they were doing: you move fleets of ships and ordinance around, people notice. From what I could see, the biggest threat was going to come from a stasis tower that had gone 'missing' from a poorly guarded deadspace area a few systems over.

So, all that was left was to point the sleek, gleaming shape of the Mordant Core at the co-ordinates and activate the warp drive.

'Yeah, just what I thought, few frigates and a stasis tower, nothin to it'.

I'd like to think I handled it gracefully. I'd like to think that the metric fuckload of hurt that was visited upon the Mordant Core didn't leave me with the kind of look you see in old cartoon vidcasts. I'd like to, but I'd only be fooling myself.

I didn't realise until it was too late that they weren't your average run of the mill Angel Cartel cannon fodder. I was facing down 4 elite frigates and 4 elite destroyers.

I got out but only just. Not a happy bunny.

Thing is, if I don't complete the mission, I'll never live it down. I have a spotless record with the Fleet but you fail one mission and they really make you pay for it.

Gonna need a bigger boat.

Next up is In Awe, it's certainly bigger but that really just makes it easier to hit. I launched again, determined not to let what should have been a simple mission get out of control. I ready all my systems as I feel the warp drive spinning down, no need to rush, the sequences are burned into my muscle memory, just relax and let the ship do her thing.

It goes better, the frigates go down without putting too much strain on my shield generators but by this time the Angels are well and truly onto me, they've got re-enforcements coming and this is really turning out to be a bad day.

Gonna need a bigger boat.

I have a bigger boat, but it's not my favourite ship. It's a Maelstrom class Battleship and it's as slow as a spacecow.

I spent the next hour and a half strafing in and out of the deadspace pocket whilst the Angels sent ship after ship. The pounding was overwhelming and a freak sensor glitch nearly lost me my ship! This was not going well but eventually, I got a lucky shot in and killed their Fleet Commander. The resulting chaos forced the Angel Cartel to withdraw and re-think their assault.

I've no doubt they'll be back but next time, I'll get better intel and I'll be ready for them.


I figured the best way to start off this blog was with a fairly standard introduction. My name is MalphasWats and I am a Pod Pilot in the universe of New Eden...

I was inspired by the EVE Online Blog Pack, put together by CrazyKinux. I've been reading all about the various adventures of various Pod Pilots throughout the universe (some I even recognise the names of) and figured it might be interesting to keep my own blog.

I first joined the ranks of pilots in 09 June 2003, New Eden was a different place then; my first million isk came slow and hard, endlessly chipping away at floating spacerocks with a civillian mining laser. I can remember being overjoyed at getting my first Probe and finally being able to fit a second mining laser! Ah heady days.

I played Eve with a small group of friends whilst we waited for Starwars Galaxies to be released. Naive times. After SWG failed us horribly, our little group shifted between City of Heroes and a short spell back in Eve whilst we waited for World of Warcraft. Wow stole us for a good while, but I got out before it could consume me whole.

I went cold turkey from MMPORGS for quite some time, spending afternoons shooting glowy twirlly shapes on my Xbox 360 but I couldn't get over the vague feeling that there was something missing.

Every month or so, my inbox would be graced with a newsletter from Eve Online. It didn't feel like they were begging me to come back as so many of the SWG newsletters had. Eventually in February of 2008 I gave in to my urge and returned.

My how things had changed.

New ships, a new graphics. A whole swathe of new features that had been mere glints in the developers' eyes when I had last stepped into my pod. When I'd last played, cloaking devices hadn't quite been released yet but were promised in the next patch and here were shiny new covert ops ships, entirely dedicated to this clandestine technology.

My delight turned to dismay as I realised that it was all so complicated! I could barely remember how to get out of the station, let alone fly complicated combat manuvers. How did I ever remember all of this? Am I just too old to play this sort of stuff now?

It's surprising how fast it all comes back though, once you start to immerse yourself in the world!

I quickly realised that my carefully trained character, nearly 5 years old, was not the future of my Eve Career. I started a new trial account and quickly realised that with the changes to character creation since I last played, I effectively started off with combat skills almost as advanced as the mish mash of cross trained this and multi-specced that.

MalphasWats was born into New Eden, a newbie in a veteran's re-newbified hands and this is his blog.