Wednesday, November 26, 2008

EVE Blog Banter: How'd I get here ?!

I may not be part of Crazy Kinux's Blog Pack yet, but this month's installment of the Blog Banter is making me want to tell my own story, which these days is a lot easier on a keyboard as I'm nursing one of the worst colds I've ever had; last time I had it this big I was roommates with Letrange... small world eh?

Like every good Gen-Xer, I got hit in the face by the phenomenon known as Star Wars in 1977. I was 7 years old. Already crazy about planes from having lived near a Canadian Air Force base since age 3, that craziness took on massive proportions the first time I saw capital space ships shooting at each other while fighters were dogfighting all around them. So that got me immediately addicted to Sci-Fi. At around the same time my uncle showed me the new toy he got: a Coleco Telstar console that played a few variants of only one game, Pong. That got me immediately addicted to videogames. Soon after the videogame industry started to crawl out of its crib and it wasn't long before Video Arcades started to grow on every street corner, but I had a slight problem: only a very select few allowed kids my age to go in and play as most of these places carried bar permits. But Casse-Croute De Lyon, a local diner about 5 minutes by foot from my house, was this little place that had 4 or 5 of the big classics like Asteroids, Tempest, and eventually Pac-Man and Donkey Kong as technology got better, and this place did not turn back 10 year-olds. Needless to say I made my parents a bit less rich :)

Fast-forward to 1995 when the Montreal Virtual World Center opened. I was still big on video games but Arcades were slowly dying, games weren't as interesting or as fresh, but VW wasn't you typical Arcade. This was my first taste of multplayer gaming as I was racing 7 other people in the martian canals in Red Planet, or battling 'mechs in Battletech. It was there I met Robert "Mage" Rolland, known in the EVE universe as Letrange. We became fast buddies, he taught me tons of computer gaming knowledge, and once in a while we'd step into each other's universes, which meant sometimes me playing a strategy game or him racing, flying and fragging. When the big MMO thing started, Mage was a bit more attracted to it as he was already into RPGs. I was busy doing the Clan thing in Quake and I was happy with that. Some time passed, the Clan got quiet, I switched from Quake to flight and race sims, and Mage was big into Final Fantasy XI Online. I saw it at his place: cool, but not my thing. Things stay like that for a bit when one day Rob asks me "r3d, do you know of a game called EVE Online?". My answer is "Yeah man, but I know that if I get into that it's gonna be like heroin and crack put together". He then said "Dude, YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE EVE !!!".

I have known of EVE's existence ever since it's been revealed to the world. I've actually held the S&S boxed version in my hands and told my then-girlfriend "THIS, is heroin and crack put together for me" and held off getting it, never even considered it for a long time afterward. When my relationship finally unraveled and knowing I would have more game time all of a sudden, only then did I go to Rob's place and said "OK, show me what this thing's got". I was floored by the complexity of it all. I've flown military aircraft in sims that, even though complex in themselves, are pure examples of simplicity compared to EVE. But the call of space was strong, and now knowing of those regions called 0.0 I knew I had to get in there and prove myself as the hardcore gamer I am. I then proceeded to download and read all the guides I could find, from PvP to mining, from trade to fleet command. Soon after Cozmik R5 was born as a single-minded PvP character, with a few tweaks because he did have to trade and haul on his own at first.

Cozmik was barely 3 weeks old when Letrange brought me in contact with Arancia Detto of the Clown Punchers. When informed that the Bozos are PvP only and asked if I can handle it, my answer was that I am a pure Quake Deathmatcher and I expect nothing else; I only have to get used to this stupidly complex UI! Even my first fleet op with them was a bit of a shock as I was welcomed on their Ventrilo server by one Cerui Tarshiel; he's an Islander so imagine the accent of singer Bjork, make it come from the vocal cords of a burly Viking type guy, and thicken it up a bit... that's how Cerui sounds like. I could barely understand a word he was saying but i had to figure it out if I didn't want to look too much like the noob I was and if I wanted to stay alive. But I listened, I survived, I took a few hits (ratting ship loss anyone?), found ways to make the game more profitable (thanks Madcoy!), and I stuck to my guns.

On January 20th 2009 Cozmik will be 1 year old, and he now has a PvP sister in the form of Demonia Gardens who is even more single-minded as she's making a bee-line towards RR Battleships. There is also two trade alts who make sure ISK is coming in to buy all the fun ships to pew-pew in, one alt who hauls stuff across Empire space, and one suicidal dude whose job it is to poke his nose directly into enemy fleets, lose Reaper and pod, rinse, repeat. I'd love to train those alts to do just a little bit more, but I understand the balance issue of too many trained characters (*cough*SWG*cough*). There have been times where I was just about ready to throw in the towel and go back to FPS and sims, but then a briliant op would make me see the beauty of EVE. And now it's only getting better as my character is becoming more serious SP-wise, and I as a person is starting to learn the trade of Fleet Commanding. And each time I FC I try to remember what it was like a year ago when I was told to do something and wasn't sure how to do it. I always take that into account when I give an order and try to be as clear as possible. And if someone asks me a question I do my best to help as much as Letrange, Cerui, Teister, Quebnaric, Arancia, Madcoy, and many others in and out of Bozo have helped me. Will that make me an FC to the level I expect of myself? It sure can't hurt.

As I am writing this I don't see myself leaving EVE or the Bozos yet. I have passed what I call The Hump (see Letrange's article about that) and now things are getting really interesting. Case in point, yesterday night we were preparing a Frigate gang when one of us comes across a neutral Hyperion and tackled it. We got a fleet going as fast as we could to take it down, and once we engage it we notice something is up as the BS is melting in front of our eyes. In an abrupt surprise the pilot ejects and tells us he prefers to let us have the ship than having it destroyed. FREE BATTLESHIP !!! Stuff like that can only happen in EVE.

Fly hard and never hold back,


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Way of the Tackler, Redux

I got on EVE a bit later than usual yesterday, which is alright because I definitely needed a gaming (and working, as I was home) break and spent most of my day surfing Youtube for music stuff and just plain doing the computer version of watching TV. Things were pretty quiet when my toons woke up in Curse, apart from a short visit by a BoB fleet. But as more and more Bozos were waking up things started to get interesting as the BoB guys were starting to make there way back home.

Queb took over control of our fleet and called for a long-range/tanky BC gang with ECM and tackle support. As I don't have the fully fit Myrmidon required (rigs missing) and my other BC is my ratting ship, and Recons are literally years ahead of me, I decided to fly what I bloody wanted and stuck to my trusty Stiletto, aptly named Still Fast. Much hilarity ensued with comments like "You don't have anything better?", "Wanna buy rigs off me?", "Coz, you fly Ruptures right?", but despite all this I stuck to my dinky, over-engined, nanofiber Formula One spaceship. The point I'm trying to make is I believe in flying cheap as I am not as ISK-independant as most of my more advanced comrades, and me being me I'm into going as fast as bloody well possible, especially when I know my targets will be much slower than me and even if they succeed in shutting off my MWD my size and base speed will give a hard time to the enemy's tracking.

So as we hear about the BoB fleet's location we get underway to try and stop it cold in the VOL-MI system, a major travelling hub in Curse even though it has no stations. We get set up at combat optimals around the contested 8G gate, and in a bizarre FC decision the BoB fleet sends in its Interdictor alone as scout; note that BoB had two Onyxes so they had no shortage of bubblers, but they also had three Rapiers... I would've sent one of those in. Anyway, the Sabre dies a horrible death but it's pod gets away and probably gives intel on us because after much Local smacking, the BoB fleet decided to leave by the other way possible, logging off. I hate this technique.

But our evening was far from over. Soon after this a lone Out of Order Malediction makes his way thru the gate, and I'm informed I have to catch him. And I do, but again I miss the pod as the Malediction had made his way out of our bubble and his pod warped away instantly after the ship died. I get back on the gate just in time to get on a Hound that's coming thru. When he came out of the jump cloak I powered towards him at full speed and then he turned on his cloak. But my momentum was so much that I decloaked him easily and was able to lock him up. Boom goes the bomber. We then get word of a B.L.A.C.K. gang on the other side of the ARG gate in VOL. Q sends me there to investigate and sure enough, an Hyena of theirs is there with me, away from the gate. We throw down the gloves and go at it. I quickly put a point on him (warp disruptor for those not used to the term) but as he's only slightly slower than me it takes some fancy flying to be able to web him. I do succeed but he gets out of web range a few times, so what we have is a good old fashioned dog fight. All the while we're shooting at each other of course and my two 250mm light artillery guns are hurting him a lot more than his light missiles are hurting me. I would have been able to kill him on my own but when our gang got to the gate, which was already 200km behind me, our Falcons were ordered to put jams on him. When I finally kill the Hyena I find myself over 300km away from the gate. What a ride !!! But it's not over yet...

We never engaged the B.L.A.C.K. gang except for that Hyena, but we get word of a Tenth Legion gang coming to us, so we move again to the 8G gate and wait for their arrival. Somewhere in between fights I did manage to catch and pod a shuttle pilot twice; he must really like me now! When the 10th jump in the first ship to make it through is a Crow so guess who's job it is to get him. By now though I have some nice help because a few Bozos assign drones to me as they noticed my proficiency at tackling targets As soon as I lock up that Crow he literally melts under my guns and my assigned drones' firepower. I then get back to the middle of the battle and start following primaries, but Q orders me to pick off pods. I had already gotten one and got two others, and slowly the 10th disengaged.

We then get word of a much bigger B.L.A.C.K. fleet coming so it's then decided that we setup on the VOL gate in 8G. Before they got to us we did get a few more kills, an OWN Taranis, and a 10th Legion Cerberus that we scanned down to one of his safespots. By then we heard the composition of the enemy fleet and Q decides to dock us up in CL-85V (after a another kill or two) and figure out our options, but mine are clear as by then it is 1AM in Montreal and my body screams for sleep. I have yet to read the report from the ensueing battle but reading the killboard we apparently got a slight spanking.

All in all though we had a very good night, and I think I've proven that even interceptors can play a very important role in the midst of much bigger ships that are too busy killing each other. And that battle with the Hyena... damn, I haven't felt that good since the good ol' days of X-Wing vs TIE Fighter! I guess I'll find out what happened after my departure today but for the part that I've been in, it's been awesome !!!

Fly hard, and dance on fire...


Thursday, November 20, 2008

On the road again...

Well here we are again, making virtual boxes and crates and packing our humongous Gallentean moving truck and heading towards a new system. At first we were supposed to move to a new region to fight a bunch of brand new reds (still NPC space because we're only in it for the pew pew!) but after some research it was pretty much decided that most other regions in 0.0 would be either snoozefests or blobfests, so the Clown Punchers will be remaining in Curse and keep playing tag with our usual foes (OWN, BP, RA, TCF, we love you... srsly!), sometimes helped by our very short list of blues. Excuse me if I wait a bit before giving away the new location though; many Bothans would die to get this information :))

All this packing has made me realise something though: I own way too many ships and I collect way too much crap! When I started the PvP thing with the Bozos I was burning up ships on a regular basis and always needed to have some reserves. I remember some nights where I would lose 2 or 3 ships in a single sitting! But as my experience and skills grew I came to lose less and less ships. As you saw earlier this week even my Jihad ships are ultimately unsuccessful at dying in a blaze of glory! Now all my stuff is packed ready to get moved but once we get to destination I will be having a huge yard sale of the accumulated stuff I don't use, either by putting up sell orders, giving stuff away to corpmates, or just plain melting it down for minerals. I had done the same thing with my BS-flying alt and after packing all the important stuff for her return to 0.0 space, I sold enough left-over extra ammo, mods, tags, and minerals to collect about 20 million ISK! If Cozmik was in Hi-sec and did the same thing that number would be in the hundreds.

In other EVE-related news I want to take the opportunity to salute my CEO Quebnaric Deile for almost single-handedly stopping a Jihad fleet with his oh-so-nasty Dominix. Between the time he gave the order to undock to the time we got to the contented gate, an 8-man Jihad-fit fleet was reduced to nothing but wrecks and one stray Deimos running for his life. I think the message here is clear: Do not mess with Q !!!

Alright, back to Real Life and Montreal's bottom-of-the-barrel criminals :))

Fly dangerous


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jihad post updated !!!

Just to make sure everyone sees it as it became HUGE :))


Jihad gone right... or wrong... or... o_O

The purpose of a Jihad is to make a fleet full of Tech 1 frigates and cruisers, all fit with Tech 1 modules, roam to a target (usually another fleet camping a gate or macro ratters), and kill the most expensive ships to win the ISK battle. Most of the time the entire fleet is destroyed when it lands into the arms of a waiting enemy fleet, but not before the enemy loses a HAC or two, or maybe a battleship and a few battlecruisers. When that happens we either pod or medical clone our way home and we fall over laughing.

And once in a Blue Moon something crazy like this happens (sorry to sensitive people, this really is Bozo's killboard):

We expected to die, and what we got instead is the best ISK loss ratio I've ever seen in my short EVE career, let alone FC career. I don't know who was FCing on their side but DAMN !!!

Update attempt #2 (plz don't crash on me)

Here's to hoping Blogspot saves correctly; I'll copy everything to a text file after I'm done just in case. So the fleet was starting to form up at about 0030 evetime with a scheduled departure time of 0100. As this was pretty much my idea and I had volunteered to FC I was finding myself stuck between fitting my ship (a gank Thorax for a slight change of pace), distributing ships and mods to players who had nothing but T2 stuff, answering private convos, and even interviewing a newcomer into our midst (a first for me), all while the Bozos were goofing off on Vent. But by some kind of miracle at 0100 pretty much everybody was ready and only a few minutes later we were jumping out of Jorund.

As we were getting deeper into Curse there wasn't much action but I had a plan and a destination, the Q-GQ system in Wicked Creek. It's no big secret that this is one of our favorite playgrounds and I think you can see why. In our first pass in Q-GQ we got a cloaky Zealot (huh... ok) off the station, and someone on our outbound gate killed a Manticore who should've cloaked; EVE is weird that way! I have the fleet go on a small tour of the Q-GQ constellation and at some point we catch and tackle a Disco-Rokh (a Rokh fitted with a full rack of smartbombs if you want to know), and as we're looting it a lone TCF Badger MkII jumps right into us. He lasted about 3 seconds, including the pod! After we're done with him I decide to take the fleet to the adjoining dead-end constellation in the search for more tasty kills, and our route takes us back to the Q-GQ system, which by now is alerted to our antics. This is where the fun starts.

Jumping straight into an enemy fleet is usually a bad omen as that fleet is already set up at optimals and waiting for you, and your all scattered and hit by surprise. I had the fleet hold cloak as long as it could while I was deciding my first primary. When I call that the ECM (in the form of a single Falcon) has to go, my much-more-experienced CEO reminds me that this Falcon is over 200km away. As I find myself at a loss and time is running out I then delegate the primary-calling to him. The Ishtar is called and the Battle of Q-GQ begins. And then it's the Thorax. And then the Purifier. Then the Jag. The Raptor, Hawk, Moa... and then work starts on the bigger ships. A Falcon dies and is replaced by another, but this one gets jammed by our Blackbird. And it just doesn't stop until the Typhoon finally arrives to meet his fate. And they just could not kill us !!! After a small lull a Raven arrives and we finally get him on the other side of the XQS gate. And believe it or not as we had jumped out someone had brought a Badger in to loot the wrecks so we all jumped back into Q-GQ and our faster elements finally catch him in the 1L-OEK system. WHAT A RUSH !!! We finally get to loot all the wrecks and fill our cargo holds to full capacity, and we decide then to go back home to drop off loot and then go out again.

You'd think we'd stop here? Noooo! I decided to stay docked to write my after-actions report in our forums but another player took over FC duty and brought the same gang, plus/minus a few players, to the exact same system. As I'm finishing off my report they kill another Raven and an Arbitrator, and I rejoin the fleet just in time to get in on a Drake kill. We ended our evening by playing station games with a Moros dreadnought of all things! If we had somehow been able to bump the ship out of dock range we might have gotten him, after a very long time of course, but a dread is a Big Ship and the station in Q-GQ has a huge docking range, so nothing came of it. After about a half-hour of smacking local (which had gone down drastically since the big battle... I wonder why) we called an end to a very successful, or unsuccessful as so little of us died, and headed towards home.

Now, I have very little to no knowledge of low-sec pirating, capital ship and POS warfare, Faction warfare, or the more usual activities in EVE like mining, exploration, missioning or industry. but I doubt very much that any of these things can be as exciting and as satisfying as the 0.0 skirmish warfare we did yesterday night. This ranks way up there as one of my greatest nights of playing EVE :)

!!! Alliance pimp4ge time !!!

If any of this kind of PvP appeals to you, and you are certain that you want NOTHING but PvP action (no POS fueling, no territory holding, no mining ops, maybe a bit of 'plexing to change the pace if a good one is found), then feel free to come by the "Bigtop" channel in-game and talk to anyone there. If I happen to be offline, tell whoever you're talking to that Cozmik sent you :))

Fly cheap, kill rich !!!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Bye Bye Formula One

It's no big secret that I am a Speed Freak of the first order, from my video game experience to my real life addiction to any form of speed or racing, from karting to those crazy nutsoids in the Red Bull Air Races. So to say I'm a fan of Formula One would be quite an understatement. Unfortunately this is a very dark day for Montreal racing fans as the final attempts to appeal to one Bernie Ecclestone (CEO of Formula One Management, hereafter named "Bernie" as he does not deserved to be called "mister") met with complete and utter failure as Bernie wanted garantee deposits the likes of which can only be paid by Arab oil magnates, who ironically will be the ones getting what used to be the Montreal slot in the 2009 calendar.

Before I go into full rant mode let me give you a small picture of where my love for F1 comes from. In 1978, F1 was quite a different beast that it is today, but it was still regarded as The Premier form of motor racing and its cars were so advanced that they were more akin to fighter jets than cars even in those days. After just over a decade of the canadian stop of the F1 circus being shared by two tracks located far from any city that could be called "a city", and one of the two tracks, namely Circuit Mont-Tremblant, was declared too dangerous to hold F1 races, which left only the Mosport track in Ontario, Montreal started to push for a completely new venue located 15 minutes by public transit (literally 30 minutes by foot... I've done it) from Downtown Montreal. Mr Roger Peart of ASN Canada sat down at a drawing board and drew THE track that would become the bane of many an engine and a set of brakes for the next 30 years.

At that time, being only 8 years old, I was not exactly up to speed on everything F1, but one person made me a believer at the very first race held in Montreal, on an extremely cold October day. Mister Gilles Villeneuve. Now HERE is a man who deserves the title! Before this initial win Mr Villeneuve was known to either finish in the top ten, or destroy the car entirely. But from this race he made me want to see more and more, and to see him want to go faster and faster. His epic battle with René Arnoux at the Grand Prix of Dijon, with the Ferrari being clearly much slower as it was not a turbo engine, is the stuff of legend. Unfortunately Gilles's carreer came crashing down in 1982 in Belgium when his front tire came in contact with the rear tire of Jochen Mass, and the Ferrari was sent cartwheeling at over 200kph, ejecting Gilles across the track and into a guardrail. The event brought tears of disbelief to this then-11y-old boy.

Grand Prix '79 mod for rFactor, Gilles Villeneuve leading

But I knew this was part of racing as I had been witness to many accidents, lethal or not, but there was always new pilots who were just as eager to push their cars beyond what they could do: Alain Prost, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell, Gerhardt Berger, Michael Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton... the things these guys can do with 4 wheels, an engine, brakes and a steering wheel are nothing short of an art form, if maybe an extremely dangerous one. But to show their art these masters need a canvas.

Bernie E. as long been the procuror of this canvas, but over the years this canvas is becoming more and more expensive. What used to be a sport that appealed to small teams of car designers like Chapman (Lotus), Tyrell and even Ferrari in the good ol' days has now become a test bed for the big... no... HUGE car companies like Toyota (who dumps in the most money despite their lack of wins), BMW, Mecedes-Benz, Honda, and Ferrari, which is still a "small" company but the amount of cash they dump into F1 is just obscene. And Bernie's solution to the money-pit problem? Dump even more money if you want a race. He doesn't care if a race or track has the stuff or legend or not, if he doesn't have 50 million bucks clean in his pocket by Sunday afternoon, next year's race is forfeit. He doesn't like the toilets at a track? The next year the race is re-scheduled at an brand-spanking new venue that the pilots have never even seen before, and are expected to give everything they got. Now Bernie wants 175 million over 5 years? The answer is easy: FUCK HIM! Let the Arab princes have their own little private race in the middle of the desert where only they and a very select few will be able to go to.

So it is that the Grand Prix du Canada, a race that save for one year in 1987 (sponsor war) has continued to be host to record-breaking crowds despite sometimes extremely bad weather has come to a crashing halt due to one man's love of money. Very Sad. I know there is talk of other race series to replace Formula One, but it just will not be Formula One. The Formula One I had grown to know and love is now dead.

A very sarcastic Thank You Bernie...


Friday, November 14, 2008

Giving props where props are due

Slowly but surely I'm creeping up on my first anniversary of playing EVE Online, and since Day One... actually a bit more than that, one piece of printed document has never left the side of my keyboard, and of course, with a new expansion of EVE comes a new version of this little but oh-so-important document, and I'm talking about Ombey's 2D EVE maps. This document is in my book an absolute "must have", right up there with the EVEmon skill planner and the EVE Fitting Tool, otherwise known as EFT. I could not even conceive how I could lead even a small gang without these maps, even when flying through extremely well-known space. If you don't have them yet go to Ombey's site and download them. Now. That's an order!

Another thing these maps do, apart from making sure I don't get lost in New Eden, is that they are giving me a very serious case of wanderlust. There was recently an article about EVE "tourism" in EON magazine, and fellow blogger Crazy Kinux has also talked about it in his blog; as vast as the New Eden star cluster is, most average players get to see about 50 to 100 systems and maybe 3 to 5 regions. There are over FIVE THOUSAND systems to be seen, some of them with special features like Titan wrecks, ship graveyards, junk depots, rogue drone sprouts, and more, and all of those things look way better than the average gates, stations, or gobs of asteroids we see all the time. One of these days I will have to take a break from PvP action and set a ship's destination for Parts Unknown, probably making as many new enemies as new friends along the way. Some parts of the trip could be long, and some could be dangerous, but that spirit of adventure sings a very fine tune to me, and I hope I get to do it at some point in the future, near or far. Just for fun I've already bookmarked the New Eden system. That's where we're supposed to be coming from so I have to go see it at least once.

So Mr Ombey, thank you very much for the fine maps that you give us. You made my experience in EVE a much better one. Now I just have to make sure I get you some ISK :))

In other EVE news, everybody and their cat are saying how great their Assault Frigates are since Quantum Rise has arrived, and now I'm heading into my parental weekend which means I'll be offline for the entire weekend. AARRGH !!! Oh well, at least I can still post on forums and here on this blog while I'm out. I think I'll be due for a very serious frig gang on Monday when I come back, and I'll even bang the war drums myself and lead the gang if I have to. Hopefully we'll make Curse a very dangerous place to live, unless you're Blue to us, which is very doubtful >:))

So until I can do so on Monday, fly on the edge of your seat !!!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Ahh... that's better !!!

I took fellow blogger Mynxee's adivce and gave some Luv to my blog page, with a little help from my favorite programming Magic User, my great real-life buddy Letrange. I was getting really tired of seeing a narrow column of text and more than half of the screen's real estate put to waste. That's all in the past now. I still need to play with the title image but I'm happy with the result so far. I also played with the gadgets so as to make the page more alive, and I've even been thinking about some kind of advertisement but nothing crazy. I don't have much time to play with it now but when I do I think I'll have chat with blogging guru Crazy Kinux about making sure the ads don't get in the way, and making sure they are EVE-related.

Nothing much happened in game yesterday as this is the start of my Parental Weekend. All I did was move my recently purchased Myrmidon to the Jump Freighter "post office", and play with my trade alts to make sure I can buy more goodies to blow to Kingdom Come. I also got the new version of EFT, and according to it Assault Frigates will be a total blast to fly :))

Anyway, back to the grind...

Flip the bird to the nerf and fly fast !!!


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quantum Rising

And here we are, all EVE clients updated to Quantum Rise, with all its goodies and nerfs; this is officially the last time I will speak about the speed thing because I know there are way worse whiners than me, and all things considered it's not too bad as now the balance between the ships is much better. My now-slower Stiletto at not quite 5000 m/s can now spin circles around any Nano-HAC, which is how it should be. It can also survive hits from cruiser and battleship sized missiles. I haven't tried the afterburner speed-tank yet but I'll probably try it in either my Jaguar or my Wolf after I work on my Assault Ship skill. I've heard good things about assault frigs since the patch so I have to give 'em a try. Another awesome feature of Quantum Rise is the ability to stack weapons onto a single trigger button. This will be especially fun in those ships that have 5 or more of the same weapon, and reloading or switching ammo will be MUCH easier.

But as fresh as we all were with Quantum Rise, I had barely entered the game that I was X-ing up for a roaming fleet. Before we left the system, our station became the theater of many a mock battle to test the changes in speed, damage, and evasiveness that the expansion brought. We came to the realisation that though the speeds have changed a lot, the old tried-and-true setups are still very viable and have not turned ships into death traps. We then proceeded to go haunt our usual suspects but unfortunately we found little in the way of opposition. The only other gang we encountered was a mostly frigate-inty-bomber fleet backed up by two Blackbirds, which proceeded to hit the "Retreat" button when they got a look at our fleet (Drakes, Myrms, Falcons and Rapiers... oh my!). We caught some stray ships as we got deeper into Wicked Creek (if you don't know the Bozos go there, you've been hiding under a rock), namely a half-fitted Caracal (active tanked and no launchers... pure win), an armor-tanked Ishtar (who appeared to be afk) and a Hulk exhumer. We caught nothing else on the way back, and it had gotten so late that I left the fleet mid-way back home, parked the Stiletto at a deep safe and ordered its crew to hit the sack.

So all in all a good roam, if a tad quiet on the enemy's side, but we always have a total blast; we're not called Bozos for nothing! Now I have to get my stuff together and ship a few Myrmidons to my main character as he can now fly 'em half decently, so I'll be part of the big boys, unless of course we're short on tacklers. but as far as new ships go I won't be getting into anything new until a lot of my skills are buffed up. Also, my alt Demonia is getting closer and closer to being able to fit the RR Rail Megathron O Doom; as soon as her Medium Hybrid Turrets V is done, and a smidge of Sharpshooter, I'll be able to learn railgun specialization of all sizes short of capital. So I'd say around Christmas she should be able to actively rejoin the Bozos physically and take part in hopefully many a camp bust >:)

So that's it for now, second post in as many days... let's try to keep the momentum !!!

Fly dangerous ya'll


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Patch, and Tornado update

Hey there!

You're probably like me, anxiously awaiting the restart of the Tranquility server to see all its new features, its changes, and its new bugs that may creep up. Having done some testing on Singularity recently I know that the ominous Speed Nerf is entirely true. Speeds across the board have been reduced drastically, and gone are the days when cruiser-sized vessels (read Vagabond) could go as fast or even faster than regular interceptors. If you still want a speed rush do like me and fly interceptors almost exclusively, or put EVE aside for a few minutes and play the rFactor racing simulator :) But yeah, I'll miss having interceptors that go close to 8 km/s with gang bonuses on, and even faster with a Skirmish Linked command ship.

I was even denied a last Nano-fleet op yesterday. As I was starting to get myself ready to FC (preparing the roaming path and whatnot) some time around 4PM EST (2100 evetime, 5 hours before the patch), Tranquility got hit by a massive data base failure, kicking nearly 33000 players out of the game. It took about 45 minutes for the server to re-open business, but the damage had been done, and a lot of people who had already set skills in preparation for the break stayed out of the game to let CCP do its thing, and I never got the player base needed to start roaming. But we knew there were a few hostiles in the next system over camping the entrance to Curse (2 cruisers died for this info, me included) but we had just enough manpower to bust this camp. But again, bad luck strikes as the player who's to be our main bait and damage dealer got disconnected, and for some reason he never came back. If we had tried to bust the camp without him we would've failed horribly. So I called the mini-op off and we all left as there was less than an hour to go before shutdown.

I did get to do a little interceptor race with a corpmate for posterity's sake: I won the pure speed part, going 7864 m/s in my Claw, and Blackrain McMillan (our gang bonus) won the perma-speed with 7766 m/s without running out of cap. Those speeds will be missed...

In other EVE news, I am proud to announce that Cozmik R5 has now achieved the minimum Skill Points required to become a Bozo !!! HUZZAH !!! We celebrated this at our bi-weekly Montreal Pilot Meet, where we also celebrated the coming of Tech 3 modular ships. That's gonna be funky !!!

And finally a little update on my real-life clone, my tornado Leandre. Yesterday he passed his CT scan like a big boy, without having to be put to sleep. Just that helped a lot as it made things much easier for the hospital staff as well as for us. The whole thing took barely an hour. In general he's doing much better, so I think it may have had something to do with the little cold he caught just after Halloween. I'll give news of the scan when I get 'em.

So there you have it. I'll be seeing you on the other side of Quantum Rise.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When Real Life spanks you in the face

Sorry about the lack of postage, but I have good reason. I'm still in EVE once in a while to make sure the toons are training nicely, and I try to get in on some action whenever I can, but it's already been a while since my last appearance on a kill mail. Some of my Bozo buddies are busy on their side so action is at an all time low since I've signed up with 'em, but my current lack of activity has nothing to do with that.

Two weeks ago, my ex decides to take my eldest son Leandre to a clinic because he's clearly feeling like s***. We've known Leandre has some respiratory problems for a while and it's not quite asthma, but nobody so far has been able to tell us what the problem is. Anyway, as soon as the doctor sees him he orders my ex to hit Montreal Children's Hospital's ER ASAP. As soon as they get there, the staff takes Leandre to the trauma room and he gets oxygen and Ventolin because his O2 saturation just blows chunks. And this is bad enough to get Leandre hopitalized for not only the night, but for FOUR DAYS. This was a week and a half ago, so you can tell of course that my ex and me have to put aside our numerous differences and make sure everything goes cool with my Tornado's health. Cuz this is the weird thing: despite the low O2 saturation count and his heavy breathing, he's happy as a fish in water and totally living up to the nickname I gave him!

So now the next step is next monday's CT scan of his thorax area to try to see just WTF is going on. I hope we can finally put a name on the thing that makes him special.

May you fly safe now my boy, so you can get to fly harder, faster and deadlier than your dad ever hoped to...

Je t'aime Leandre...