Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last one for 2008

Yep, 2008 is leaving us behind, and good riddance! Some good things did happen during the year like my discovery of EVE and its denizens, the awesome shows I got to witness, and the massive generosity of the previously mentioned denizens. But on the personal side 2008 has been an extremely tough one, with the adjustments made to Life Itself as I now am a separated father of two awesome boys soon to be 2 and 3. That part's been a complete bitch. And it is as my boys are sleeping that I type this, being towards the end of an elongated parental weekend. On the 31st I get my shore-leave and go celebrate the coming of 2009 at my sister's place, and I fully expect this party to be rockin', and the hang-over to be just as bad!

So yes, I've been away from EVE for a little bit, and still have a bit to go as I'm unable to play. I did start my leave earlier though; the last few days prior to the holidays were absolutely horrible for an EVE PvPer, doing all sorts of stupid mistakes with gates, docking rings, my ship, ops that got nowhere, ops that took hours to get started; I mean, when you have 20 people in local and you have 4 Xs for a fleet, and a CEO has to blow a fuse to get that number up to 10, you know things are getting slow and minds think more about Santa. So after losing a Stiletto in a particularly stupid way I decided to take a much-needed breather and get my stuff ready for Xmas. As a change of pace I got into some Hellgate London, which I got last summer but barely played because I was doing The PvP (tm), only to find out that on January 31st the online servers will die. Neat. I don't play much online RPGs but this one was gonna be a good change of pace, not that I'd actually subscribe though; I'm poor enough as it is !!!

I don't know if it's realizing that I'm playing on free time and knowing it will end at some point in April, but I'm slowly starting to look at other games, some old and some new, that turn my crank just about as much as EVE does and that do things EVE just can't do for me (read free flight with stick, ludicrous speed and unabated bloodshed). To touch a bit of the subject I'll be talking about soon in my "1 year in EVE" post, one of the things that get me down on EVE is the "EVE skills vs RL skills". In EVE both are needed, but way too much emphasis is put on the former. I've stopped counting the times when people have a perfectly fit advanced ship and just do something that gets me to scratch my head for over a week! More on that later as I said.

So there it is. May 2008 end and 2009 begin with an absolute BANG! Mine will happen in Marieville Qc, and I'm not going by car, and I'm bringing my sleeping bag. If someone shares it with me then all the better !!! :))

Fly dangerous all


Monday, December 22, 2008

Blog Banter: Tribute to an EVE player - Letrange

Banter time! And last one for 2008. This month’s EVE Blog Banter idea comes to us by Roc Wieler of Roc’s Ramblings:

Write a story about a fellow EVE Blogger, or an EVE player whom has inspired you or affected you in some tangible way. After your story, describe why you chose them, and any Holiday wish you have specifically for them.

My great buddy Letrange wrote about one of my possible choices, especially as Queb has been my CEO from Day One in a player Alliance (I joined BOZO when I was 3 weeks old... extremely young to get into 0.0 PvP) and he has been helping me with some part of the game ever since, and giving me well-deserved spankings whenever I f... messed up, giving me pats on the back when I did good (like when I got on 23 killmails on a single op), and supporting me when things got rough, like last week.

But finding The One player who's inspired and helped me the most is pretty easy: it is Letrange himself.

When I first met Robert, then known as "Mage", at the Montreal Virtual World center, he was already one of the most hardcore gamers I had ever met, and getting to hang out with him brought my own hardcoreness to a new level. Granted, he never did go as deep into Red Planet piloting as I did, but he still managed to stay way above an average level. When he invited me to his place to check out the venerable TIE Fighter on his just-as-venerable Pentium 90, our friendship was sealed and we never looked back.

Around the same time, and also with the help of Virtual World, he introduced me to the Battletech universe, and that's when I experienced the awesome generosity of this guy: I inherited his Battletech manual collection because he wasn't using them anymore! He also introduced me to other universes: Heavy Gear, Starfire, Japanese Anime, Honorverse, etc. But somewhere in 1996 he gave me a serious dose of a seriously potent narcotic: Quake. Followed not too long after by another heavy drug: Diablo. That's when I started working towards getting my own gaming rig, an awesome K6-233 with 64mb of RAM and a Voodoo card (and eventually a Voodoo II and a TNT). I've been a Quaker ever since, with the occasional break into sims, RPGs, and sometimes strategy games; Mage got me to know the Space Empires games of course :)

Fast forward to 2007 when Mage became Letrange. I won't go into how I got into EVE because I did this last month! I spent the last part of the year reading up every EVE guide I could find and finally, on January 20th 2008, I phoned Letrange up to tell him the client was installed and Cozmik freshly out of RMS. I had done a part of the tutorial on a noob Caldari character at his place (that character got trashed) and again did only a small part on my own. We got off the phone and into a private eve-voice convo and he told me to proceed to his base: not bad, 5 jumps. There I get treated to more Letrangesque generosity: a Slasher, ACs, ammo, AB, ODs, Gyros, Point, Web... oh shit I can't fit those last three! That's how I learned the "Show Info" feature. "Now you know what to train" says Let, "Now go ratting for a bit, make ISK, buy books, etc". He laughed his head off when I told him the next day that I just learned there was loot in those wrecks!

Anyway, the only time he helped financially with actual ISK was when he told me about salvaging. He linked me an alloyed tritanium bar and told me "View market details"... when I saw 475000 ISK my jaw dropped and he tells me I need the salvaging skill. Quick check of the price: 900k ISK. Big OUCH for a week-old player. He then gave me the ISK to buy the book but boy did that skill pay for itself!

Letrange has written before about the way he helped me with BPCs and the stuff I can manufacture for myself with melted loot out of the 0.0 rats to make sure I'm never out of a ship or modules or ammo, but this in itself did more than that: it gave me a new understanding of the industrial side of EVE that I would never have gotten without experiencing my myself. So all in all Letrange sent me to the School of Hard Knocks, but in EVE that is the best school of all because you learn to fend for yourself.

So I give a big parade ground salute to you Rob. I probably never would have gotten into EVE without you. I wish you all the success in the universe in the jump-starting of AMC, and I did put your name on Santa's list for a new POS tower :))


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'm it ?! Oh noes !!!

Ga'len went and did it. I'm a rock star at heart so gimme that spotlight! And where the hell is my limo ?!?!?! :))

The Rules:

  • Link to the original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share 7 facts about myself in the post - some random, some weird.
  • Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.

So, the 7 facts about me.

  1. I am a... frikkin' loud drummer :)
  2. I'm pure Montrealer so I speak fluent french and english, most of the time in the same sentence
  3. I absolutely love F1 even if it's in financial ruin and Bernie Ecclestone is a complete douchebag
  4. I don't like chocolate... I need it to survive !!!
  5. Back in the VWE Red Planet days I've held 3 World Records, including one on the toughest course. How many people can say that ?!?!
  6. You do not want to meet me on a Quake map. Unless you're [NMP]Bosephus :))
  7. I've done a gig where I was the singer and I had to learn the lyrics of a song (Love Walks In by Van Halen. God I hate the thing now...) on the way to the venue, so in about 30 minutes.

And now, consider yourselves tagged, and if you've been tagged before, consider yourself lucky and give more info :)))

  1. Letrange (now!)
  2. Winterblink (I've got podcast cold turkey btw)
  3. PsycheDiver
  4. Manasi
  5. Kirith Kodachi
  6. xiphos83
  7. Myrhial Arkenath
OK, I may have broken a few rules... that's what makes me a Bozo <:*)

Fly safe... dangerous... just fly dammit !!!


Miracle in New Eden

Extra! Extra! Read all about it !!!

"His Jolliness Santa Claus has been spotted in EVE yesterday as he was flying his un-nerfed Nano Sled. Some reports say the sled is of Amarr design, while others swear it is Gallente. The only thing that is absolutely sure is that a soon-to-be-stricken Curse resident has been given a new lease on life in order to be able to terrorize the 0.0 space lanes in the search of macro ratters and unbelievably stupid ship fittings !!!"

Yep, I am that Curse resident and thanks to two absolutely amazing players, Cozmik will be able to spend the long and cold winter nights finding extremely fun stuff to kill and leading troops to victory (hopefully!). Blackrain McMillan and Ga'len, please rise and take a very well deserved round of applause! You two were the personification of the Christmas spirit yesterday, and I cannot thank you enough for allowing me to stay just a little longer. I have no clue what will happen in April when all that new time runs out, but with weather getting better and online games getting slower as summer approaches it should hurt a lot less if I still have to take a break; yes, finances are this bad. I will be sticking to only Cozmik's account though but that is alright because it will simplify my EVE play time.

The weird thing though is that as happy as I am about being "saved", I was sort of looking forward to flying at Mach 1.2 50 feet off the deck (any faster and the plane wants to rip apart) or showing those Inner Sphere stravags the true might of Clan technology. Well, there's nothing keeping me from doing that once in a while, like after an op that went sour as those can happen, but this entire experience with EVE has given a new insight into it. We're not in this game for the ships or for the ISK, we're in it for the people. Those that are willing to help us go through thick and thin and would hurl themselves into Death's waiting arms for us, as well as those blocking the field expecting us to turn back in fear, but that suddenly become sandwich material - Goonswarm, I salute you and yesterday's hilarious fleet you sent us :))

So now I have some courrier contracts to cancel, some ships to refit, some buy orders to put up and some new stuff to get shipped out to 0.0. Whoever makes Stilettos in the Heimatar region, watch your sell orders closely because I'll be buying quite a few >:)

And to Rebellion Alliance, BoB, Goonswarm, Tenth Legion, White Core, Out Of Order, B.L.A.C.K., and whoever is not either of The Firm or Ushra'Khan, I have only one thing to say:

POINT !!! <:*)

Fly like it's the last time you will


Monday, December 15, 2008

Vast quantities of suck4ge

On my last post in my alliance's forums I mentionned I was writing the post I had been dreading to write for about a week, and now I have to do basically the same post over here and I'm dreading it just as much. As my very first blog post opened, here goes nothing...

Those who know me out of game may know that I am the father of two young boys, Léandre and Timothée, respectively not quite 3 and not quite 2 years old. It is also pretty common knowledge that for just over a year now I've been separated from their mother, and believe me when I tell you it was for the best. But now the financial strain of alimony payments is starting to hit me like a gank-fit battlecruiser fleet on a fail-fit battleship. To those not into PvP, just know that said battleship lives about 3 seconds and you'll have a picture of just how bad things are. So when Real Life stuff like alimony, car payments, various utility bills, and this little thing known as FOOD is becoming harder and harder to pay for, some drastic measures must be taken, and paying 15$ USD a month for an MMO account is not a possibility anymore, let alone two accounts.

An so it is that on Christmas day at 0300 EVEtime (December 24th at 10PM Montreal time... what timing, eh?), Cozmik R5 and Demonia Gardens will have entered the cryogenic freezer for an undetermined period of time. There is just no way around it, unless someone wants to pay for me for an undetermined period of time, which is just not going to happen in this lifetime. I know that some people will say "Well, can't you buy PLEXes and GTCs with ISK?". Just know that I've been in the PvP business basically from the start, and although I have never been in financial trouble in-game thanks to much helpful advice rather than actual ISK donations, I have nowhere near the amount of ISK required to support even a single account in long term. So to but it bluntly in four words: sucks to be me.

So now I have about a week and a half of game time left so I'll do my best to get in on as much action as I can. The worst thing about leaving is that I'm doing so at a time when I'm getting more and more comfortable in the role of FC, and skillwise the ships I can fly are getting faster, better, and deadlier by the minute. I know that it's impossible to train a last skill as the accounts close but worse than that is the feeling of letting people down; as some have said before, Internet Spaceships is SERIOUS BUSINESS !!!

So what will I do during my time away from EVE, you ask? Here's a short list:

  • Flight simulation. I have this awesome Saitek X52 FCS that's begging to be used.

  • Race simulation. I AM SPEED! I need it like I need air to breathe, and crave it like a kid craves chocolate.

  • First-Person Shooters, namely the Quake collection. Thanks once again to Letrange I've been a Quaker since pretty much Day One, and intend to stay that way.

  • MechWarrior4: Mercenaries, with Mektek and NetBattleTech add-ons. Ph34r my triple Ultra AC20 equipped Dire Wolf of Doom, and my long-range Blood Asp of Light Mech Insta-Popping :)

  • Diablo, Hellgate, Elder Scrolls, and various other RPGs of the single-player kind.

  • Play as much drums as humanly possible.

Now, when will I get back to EVE? Frankly, I do not know. I do know that things should fix themselves financially because last week my ex found a job in her field of work, which is Quebec Sign Language if you want to know, and that means the alimony will get a much appreciated drop. But I still want to have my head raised above the financial waters before I get back to an MMO subscription because this is not something I want to have to do every year. One thing is sure, I am not exactly "quitting EVE". I will keep following what's happening in-game and will still read the various blogs and listen to the podcasts as they come out. My alliance even told me they'll keep a seat warm for me and I sincerely hope I won't keep them waiting too long.

So there you go. It's been a great pleasure writing here about my adventures and misadventures, and I may even post once in a while even if what I'll write about will be on subjects completely different from EVE. And then again maybe I'll post something about EVE! I hope I'll be back soon....

To the carebears: Fly safe, watch local, and dock up when reds show up !!!

To the PvPers: Fly with claws out and teeth bared !!!

To the Bozos: Holy Motherf***ing Sh*t I'm gonna miss you guys... le clown est triste... <:*(

This is Cozmik R5, signing off.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Side trip to Musicland

Yep, this update isn't about EVE or any other video game. It's about my true passion, music. More satisfying than any fleet op, any track record, or any fancy flying move, the feeling I get when I'm drumming is something akin to Emperor Palpatine belching out a shower of Force Lightning. Its forms of expression range from the slightest cymbal flourishes of delight to the heaviest pounding beats of pure anger. And unfortunately since the sale of my house last April it's a form of expression I've had to put on the back burner except for those few visits to the local drum shop, some exhibitions on public electronic kits at the Jazz Festival, and one audition for a serious band last August. But apart from that my sticks, and especially my Green Machine, have remained silent for far too long. This will come to an end.

A few weeks ago I was mentioning to one of my co-workers that I have a problem I have to solve: my drums are collecting dust. Hell I even use my throne as my night table! So just after that I went to my Facebook profile page and changed my status to "Benoit has to do something about his drums collecting dust". Well guess what, for once Facebook was extremely useful for something! A couple days later I get a message from one of my friends (a real one whom I don't see enough) where he said simply "Why don't you give them to me?". Well, of course I wouldn't "give" the kit away; I'd rather give away my own heart instead. But after exchanging a few messages, it turns out he was dead serious: he was offering me the chance to set up my kit and play it pretty much whenever the Hell I wanted. On a platinum platter !!! So this weekend I wipe the dust off my drums, pack 'em in the car, and off they'll go to get set up and receive an immense load of love :) Now naturally I'll have to get an agenda so I can schedule practice time, EVE time, kid time, and oh I have to work once in a while too! But man is it gonna be worth it...

Fly hard, play hard, and practice your paradiddles !!!



The Green Machine in its former setting

Monday, December 1, 2008

Very quick update

First of all I want to self-gratz me for my busiest blogging month. Yay me !!!

Second of all I can't wait to get back in game after a weekend with my Twin Terrors, but this come-back will be especially sweet because last week I ended up fighting bronchitis. I feel better now but I still feel like an alien chestbuster is wanting out every time I cough. In the middle of last week though that chestbuster was a Queen for sure! So I spent my last moments in game doing extremely quiet stuff like buying ships and hauling them around. Nothing fancy.

And last of all in this short update, I don't want to whine about the lack of podcast updates but ever since Fanfest (probably one of the culprits) and even after the release of Quantum Rise, none of the EVE related podcasts have been updated. Blinky, Urban, CK and co, Malhnor, Buddha... I miss you guys !!!

And that's it! More stuff to be added when more stuff happens :)

Fly deadlier than a guy nursing his respiratory conduits


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...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Musical side trip to Zappa's Universe


Yesterday was the return to Montreal of Dweezil Zappa and company, playing Frank's music as no else can, because as the ticket stub says: ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!

The only thing remotely related to EVE here would be "Cosmic Debris", but the band didn't play it. Here's my post from the show review forums:

Absolutely amazing! It was my first time at "Le Gezu" even if I'm from around here, and it's basically like having the band in your basement; so much for the neighbors !!!

I was invited buy a buddy of mine who bought almost the last tickets to be sold for the 1st show (before the 2nd one was announced) and we were to be sitting at the very corners of the hall. But by hanging around before the showed started Lady Luck burned away our chance to win a guitar by doing something just as good: a member of the Gezu staff came up to us and asked "where are you guys seated?". Upon seeing our situation he grabbed our tickets and said "here, E2 and E4!". This is FIFTH ROW, DEAD CENTER !!! I wasn't hearing the guitar from the PA, but straight from the amps !!! And needless to say we were blowing away, quite literally. I have no clue when something like this will happen again, if ever.

Thank you very much Dweezil for blasting my eardrums to smithereens. Unfortunately I'm not going to the second show ( Razz to those who are!) so I'll have to wait for your next trip up here.

Music is the BEST !!!!!!

I strongly urge you to visit to see and hear what Frank was all about, and there are tons of video clips from previous ZPZ shows, including two from Montreal when the band came the first time with uber music gods Steve Vai and Terry Bozzio.

And if you are american, please head Frank's call on the intro page.

Fly loud !!!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

9-1-1, how may I save you?

Sorry about the lack of postage, real life has kept me off the 'puter lately; I really needed to go to bed at non-EVE-friendly hours (ie: early) because I've been going forward in my quest to enter the City of Montreal's 9-1-1 service. That means exams and having a brain in a semblance of shape to do them. And now that the first run of exams are done, the biggest part was filling in the paperwork for the security inquiry the police department will do, just to make sure I'm a good guy and only pod people in virtual worlds :))

I did get to play hard last monday when our traditionnal Jihad Monday turned into the Battle of R-MOC. The Jihad fleet was economically successful, as we killed a Sacrilege just after undocking, and I layed one of my best tackles on none other than a Rapier in the aforementioned system. Going head-to-head against a Rapier when flying a Stabber is not conducive to a lengthy live though, but I lasted long enough to take him into armor and when help showed up he got toasted. But then the opposition started to play a running game while we brought in real ships. Things got uglier after that as we discovered we didn't have the firepower to deal with 'em, plus we also discovered that these news enemies are working with our old gate-camping schmucks. Yay.

So there you go, a very short post as I head towards my parental duty weekend. So until next Monday, kill 'em a lot !!!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

What a week...

Yeah, I know. I'm not regular enough with my updates. That's what happens when you're juggling a job you have to get up way too early for, dealing with the ex for parental rights, and playing a MMOG in the middle of all that. Add to that the fact that getting away from a computer for some fresh air is damn fun and the result is I don't play as much as I'd like. Oh well, such is life. that doesn't mean nothing happened though... here's the short, terse version that I'll be developing on in another post as soon as i can:

- On Monday October 6th, I flew in my first full-on op as FC, with much help from veterans Teister and Sygma. In short: Jihad fleet, Ishtar and Zealot killed, fleet death by AAA. Mission accomplished! Of course me being me I over-react when I get asked about the final minutes of the fleet's life by someone who wasn't there but I'll get over it. I was nervous as a virgin on her first night but I can't wait to do it again. THIS is what EVE is all about !!!

- On Tuesday I am violently ill; looking at my computer screen gives me seasickness, went to bed at 8h30 PM. No EVE for me, thx.

- On Wednesday night after I get back from parental duties I get word of a shocking piece of news in Bozo-land: veteran Cerui Tarshiel has dropped roles and will be moving on for an indeterminate amount of time.... o_O Anyone mining in low-sec better start worrying NOW! You'll be missed man, even if we can't understand you half the time :)

- On Thursday morning Cozmik is done training Destroyers V. Next step towards interdictors: Propulsion Jamming V... should be done in 3 weeks o_O It got stretched a bit because when I'm on I train Cozmik to fly Gallente ships. I can now fit a Brutix and with a bit of tweakage of Medium Hybrid turrets I should be able to field some NASTY Jihad ships >:)

And there you go. I could go a lot deeper in a few subjects as you can see but I have to leave for work now and tonite I intend to fly extremely hard, and maybe lead another fleet on a short, victorious war (thanks Mr Weber) !!!

Fly with your dagger between your teeth


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Of roams and RR Battleships

The brain feels a bit better now so here goes with the update. As I mentionned earlier, a lot has happened in Curse since the last big post. The first and most major event was that the alliance moved yet again, with all the repackaging, contracting and cynoing that this implies. The main reason is that the european Bozo players were basically perma-camped because their play time was in the middle of TCF primetime, and because they lived right next door and weren't afraid to show they vastly superior numbers at a time when 80% of the alliance is not even logged in the Euro-Bozos were stuck in station. There are more reasons to the move but I'm not in a position to discuss them here at the moment. Being very active during the move gave me the opportunity to see an impressive lightshow, as the capital ships were jumping back and forth between cyno fields, which I now have the skills to create. When I was on cyno watch duty I got to take a few nice screenshots:

Queb's Nidhoggur

The Anshar

TS's Phoenix

Queb jumping out

But moving isn't all that happened. With a new locale comes new neighbors, and ours have a love for gate camps. That is a good thing because we have a love for BUSTING gate camps! We are usually successful at breaking those camps with minimal losses, though sometimes we do have to call the retreat; we may be crazy but not stupid. On one of those camp-busting ops I was just logging on as the fleet was making it's initial attack on the Onyx that was on the gate, so I hop into my interceptor and fly top speed to the fleet's location. Just as I get out of warp the FC calls for bumps on the Onyx to get him off the gate. So because I had time to set up because I wasn't yet targeting I was able to line myself up perfectly, so not only did I bump him, I PUSHED him 15km away from the gate. The Onyx then proceeded to die a horrible death. R.I.P.

Sometimes the opposition brings heavier firepower though, in the form of remote-repairing Battleships (hereby called RRBSes). Well, that's ok because we have RRBSes of our own! I can't fly one yet because in order to be successful the ships have to be fit right and for that I'd need about 2-3 months of skill training, not to mention a good amount of ISK. I will get there though. So in these gangs my job is to tackle whatever the FC wants me to tackle, whore some killmails, and do my best not to die. Here's a screenie showing how dinky a Stabber is compared to an Apocalypse:

Now you can imagine a Stiletto, which I sometimes do fly on those ops! Speaking of small ships, I'm happy to announce that I've achieved yet another benchmark in my EVE piloting career, and here's the story from the start. A now-ex Bozo buddy (Xanthame left to form a pirate corp... gl hf!) was flying around in his brand new Cheetah which he had just gotten the skills for, and was happily warping around cloaked and saying how cool it was. At the time I was in my Hurricane, ratting away to make ISK and pick up loot and salvage. But then all of a sudden Xanth calls out on Ventrilo "There's a cyno open in Utopia". An open cyno from an enemy corp could mean a single jump freighter or 10+ carriers so I ask him "Is anyone watching it?". His answer: "I don't think so, there's 2 more in local but neutral and not the same corp and this Breacher is just sitting there". My answer: "I'll be right there !!!". So I dock up the Hurricane and get into my cheapest Rifter and head to a gate leading into Utopia. Xanth and I start a fleet together and he then proceeds to get close to the cyno ship so I can warp in on it. And of course during all this time we're expecting anything from freighters to Titans so time is of the essence. As soon as Xanth is in position I jump in Utopia, warp to him, and start pounding on the helpless Breacher, which dies very quickly but the pod docks up in no time. I barely have time to celebrate my FIRST SOLO KILL that one of the neutral pilots undocks, of all things, an Ibis on me... yes, the Caldari noob ship! I'm not sure exactly what was on his mind but he actually attacked my Rifter !!! Of course I blew him up and podded him as he deserved >:)

Before I sign off with a screenie of my killer Rifter, I'd like to wish fellow EVE player, blogger, Godfather of my eldest boy and great buddy Letrange a happy birthday. May your flights be safe and dangerous at the same time :))

Cheapniz, the Rifter of Doom

Monday, September 29, 2008

Advil plz thx bye

Sorry about being a bit out of date but I just wanted to post a little something to proove that I'm alive and survived my comeback to work after vacation... barely. I will be posting a full blog update tomorrow as quite a bit has happened in my EVE world since last time but as I'm writing this my brain is literally running out of cap so I'll dock up before I get podded :))

I'll say it this one time:

Fly safe !!!


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ouch wallet !!!

Well, it is done. I've plopped down my 46 million ISK for the 2 books that will allow me to fly a Sabre. Time to work the trade alts like slaves, run missions like crazy, Ninja-rat in Curse with TCF flying all over the place, and blow ships up to collect insurance !!!

I also have to think up names for my soon-to-be-bought ships. Any suggestions?

Fly mental !!!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And I'm back

Hello everyone!

Yep, after being away for my parental weekend I can finally play decents amount of EVE as I am now on vacation. I still have some duties, like making I'm fed, picking up after myself, and more Dad stuff Wednesday all day and a few hours on Thursday now too. But apart from that I don't have much else to do but game. It sure beats watching TV !!!

So I came back to the game yesterday afternoon (read Monday September 22nd) in the middle of Euro prime time so sure enough my system is camped in with a massive amount of TCF who are extremely eager to pick off stray Bozos. But as if this wasn't bad enough, some guy in an alliance we're "blue" to (you know who you are... jeeez) is asking, even begging, for someone to open a cyno field; look up "EVE terminology" on Google if i just spoke chinese. Anyway, all this as there are about 25 "reds" almost begging for this to happen. You see, the person in question hasn't learned his lesson after being caught with his pants down when his Archon (Amarr carrier) got surprise sexed by 20 plus dreadnoughts, 10-some carriers, a few battleships and some support ships. That battle took apparently something like 30 seconds. And here he was almost ready to have it done to him all over again. Excuse me sir, but if you are so eager to throw away ISK, you might as well give ME a billion. At least I'll do something useful with it, like buy enough interceptors and interdictors (training up for that) to last me a life time, and then give the rest to my trade alt to make it grow and grow and grow. End rant.

On other news, as happy as I am to have a second account with a main that can fly a Megathron and do a good amount of missions, my finances have taken a beating lately with an unexpected trip to the garage to have my car fixed. As I now can feel the waters slowly rising past my chin it looks like I may have to put the second account on ice for a while. I did buy all the necessary skillbooks to have Cozmik be able to fly and fit Gallente ships and hybrid guns so as soon as he's done with Science V (obligatory for Covert Ops and Interdictors) I'll be going slightly off track and in 3 weeks I'll be able to fly a decent Thorax, Brutix and Megathron. it will also give me the financial break in EVE to save up for two very expensive skillbooks, Graviton Physics and Interdictors, priced at 10 million and 36 million respectively. When you think that a Sabre costs roughly 25 million it's downright appalling... oh well.

Alright, enough typing now cuz I feel like I'm at work!

Fly dangerous, and remember that cap ships are NOT penile extensions !!!!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Court, Brain Death, and EVE

Hey there podsters!

Just a short update today as I'm starting to feel the arrival of one of those nasty man-colds (you know, the lethal ones). It did put a crimp on my EVE playing yesterday; I had some overtime to do at work (the "Court" part) and as I deal with literally tons of paper work to enter into the City of Montreal's black hole of a computer system I came back home feeling like a freight train had hit me, and then proceeded to back up just to make sure it had hit me. The result was that I opened EVE to deal with my little menagerie of toons, and just thinking about the little things like having to pick up the stuff from buy orders, putting stuff up for sale and placing new BOs for both trade alts, and chosing what skill to train on the two mains, was doing some nasty things to my already-damaged brain.

And lately, PvP ops with the Bozos have a tendency to start late, as well as taking long to start. I can't blame the Midwest and Pacific players; it's right in their prime-time for them. I guess we have to get more East Coast/East Canada players so OUR prime-time gets more populated, and it's also giving me an incentive to start learning proper FCing. I stepped up to the plate the other night after the O'Regan's pilot meet (being slightly drunk and having talked about the game all night helped) when I got in game because the current FC was literally falling asleep. It was towards the end of the op anyway so other players were getting tired so I said "F*** it, I'll do it". The plan was easy enough: get everyone home in one piece while flying through enemy territory, then escorting a guy who had a Tempest in an another system a few jumps away from home and escort him back. The entire operation happened without any reds getting in our way and I think I did an OK job of getting scouts where I needed them, and knowing the general area like the back of my hand helped quite a bit. After all was said and done most of the fleet went to bed, and the four who stayed (me included) did try to tackle a Drake which cost us two Rifters, but then we didn't have enough DPS to do anything so we called it a night (or morning!).

And as a parting shot, during one of my hauling runs with my Amarr trade alt I had the opportunity to see quite a sight, Mr Cribba's Veldnought, one of the very few capital ships in Hi-sec space. Of course I had my drone cam point his way:

Good thing he's fitting Miner I's instead of Capital Lasers !!! So there you have it. A short post by a player in dire need of Advil and Vitamin C.

Fly dangerous but don't catch colds...


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bye bye Shambler... Hello Makron !!!

Yes, in my typical fashion, I've had my Dominix barely a couple days and in an alignment gone wrong during a level 4 mission, the fat bi4tch got stuck in some asteroids and the Angel Cartel then punished me by sending me home in my pod. Annoying but I could live with it as my ship was insured. I'm sort of used to it; since my first days in EVE, every time I get into a new ship class I manage to lose it in spectacular fashion. So as I proceed to pod my way to Rens to pick up new gear, which I was expecting to be of much lesser quality, my dear buddy Madcoy asks me how much ISK I have in my account... I basically had enough to buy a New Dominix and fit it in pure Tech 1 gear, nothing fancy. He then asks me "Are you sure? look again..."..... and sure enough he had just prooved that Santa Claus DOES EXIST and he lives in Drummondville Qc !!! After receiving the order to go fit out, this was the result:

That's right folks, Demonia has achieved the goal she had set out for as she is the proud owner of Makron, her very first Megathron battleship !!! Needless to say we didn't have too much trouble finishing off those pesky Angels as not only I had a ship that can tank a lot better thanks to more capacitor and more armor hardeners, but this thing put a new definition to the word Gank. Oh boy, does it gank !!! And she wasn't fitted with damage modules yet. I just can't wait to see how she'll do when Demonia can REALLY fly it to the best of its capabilities. I won't be sending her out to join Cozmik in 0.0 quite yet though. I do want to see more IVs and Vs than Is and IIs in her skill tree before that happens. You have to realise that Demonia is extremely young in EVE age to be flying something so big, and it'll take a few weeks, if not months, before she can fit the Remote Repair setup required for spider tanking gang. But when she does, OUCHIES !!! :)

On a side note, one may notice my tendency to name my more important ships with Quake related names, and yesterday at the bar we found the name of my eventual (read 3-4 years from now) Dreadnought. Care to guess what I'll call it? If you know your Quake, you'll figure it out :))

And speaking of bar, yesterday was the bi-weekly meeting of Montreal pod pilots. It's been moved to Saturdays as Fridays are now taken by Carbon Freezer's new guitar lessons. We usually get a small turn-out, but now that we have more people in the EVE MTL channel the information was given much more in advance and finally we had a turn-out of no less than TEN people, coming from different backgrounds, from very new to damn-near ancient SP-wise. Many thanks go out to Crazy Kinux, and also to my great buddy Letrange for making a successful happening come true.

On a finishing note, I've just had more that this is indeed a small world. After not seeing him for about 10 years, as the evening was starting to take off I heard someone yell out "Hey, Red Five ?!?!". It was none other than Paul "Cmdr Vortex" Larivière, a different kind of pod pilot from the good ol' days of the Virtual World center. He was also one of my main adversaries as he was, along with me and a few other pilots, one of the Montreal Master Pilots, and all of us also happened to be known as the Best Pilots in the Whole Damn @#$%@#% World. Like me, Vortex didn't believe in the "Fly safe" mentality, as he was known for pulling some extremely fancy moves to take some racers out in Red Planet Martian Death Race, but my best memories were of us two in 1-on-1 races in the canal called Paingod's Passage, some won by him, some by me, where we would be flying so close together that it felt like formation flying, but in an industrial mining canal at full Double Boost (tm) speed. Man those were the days..... !!!!

So again, awesome night yesterday (even if I'm slightly hung-over) and I pray the next two weeks go by fast for that next meeting.

In the meantime, fly like it's the last day of your life...


Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Way of the Tackler, Part Deux

And I'm back. Before I get back to my tackling subject, I just want to say that yesterday night saw the Baptism of Fire of Demonia's Dominix as I did a Level 4 mission with my Bozo buddy and compatriote Madcoy Flinstone and his alt. I discovered a few things: decent tanking requires some skills, which at 2.7 million SP Demonia just don't have, and hitting frigates with large railguns and low-nav skilled medium drones is quite a pain in the derrière. On the other hand, cruisers and battlecruisers melt in record time; battleships take longer but when I do get better drone skills (read nav-linked heavies) the time will seriously go down. It's great fun though, and with the Bozo High Command in party mode in Las Vegas this weekend will probably see a lot of missioning so my bank account will feel better :) Alright, on to business.

Now that I've shown the world two of my favorite ship setups, let's talk about using them. My favorite job in a fleet is clearly that of a scout/tackler. I don't think I have the subtlety required to be a good Cov-op or Recon scout because I'm the kind of player to shoot first and ask questions later. But being a tackling scout give me the advantage of freedom compared to the other members of the fleet, although I do try not do anything rash without the FC's consent. I do get to see a lot more space, and occasionally someone red to me is careless enough to aggress the lowly Rifter only to find himself webbed, scrammed, jammed, and melting at an alarming rate. It does turn the other way sometimes, but by being very fast you can come out of some extremely hairy situations. Let's go into two of my favorite engagement styles...

The small gang

The idea here is to get some action when it's an odd time like early after the daily downtime or very late when you're feeling insomniac. The idea is to do a small gate camp in a well trafficked system and just be a major pain in the ass until a huge alliance blobs you 10-to-1. Ideally, here is the composition of such a small fleet to be successfull of getting a few kills, using cheap ships to encourage practice:

- ECM boats (Griffin, Blackbird)
- Fast tacklers (Rifter, Vigil, Stabber)
- Damage (Rupture, Thorax, Caracal)

Rule of thumb is everybody should at least have a warp disruptor fitted, and if a gang member can anchor a bubble then all the better. My dream small gang would be to have 6 guys: 1 ECM, 2 tacklers, and 3 damage dealers. Any stray wanderer (even a battleship) would find a nasty end to this small gang. The ships I've given are just examples; of course you can replace some with interceptors, Recons, HACs, etc, but I always believe in destroying more value than I'm actually flying. Enter the second favorite style of PvP.

Jihad warfare

This is simple. Get as many friends as you can. Fit ONLY Tech 1 ships with the cheapest mods you have. Follow the 1-2-3 rule for gang composition. Find a good route to roam (with known ratting spots and enemy bases on the way) and proceed to kill ships that are worth more than your entire fleet! The down side of this, you will most assuredly die, especially if a big alliance decides to drop 5-6 carriers on you. but kill, say, a HAC or battleship or 3, and you can go laughing all the way to the bank! Just make sure you insure your ship before you undock :))

The tactic is to roam basically unscouted, so as to not reveal your arrival (you will get noticed and reported on the enemy channels at some point, that's inevitable). When the gang jumps in each member warps to his/her previously assigned asteroid belt, and the lucky one to land on an enemy ratter/ISK farmer yells out "WARP TO (enter name)!!!" on comms. When you kill a Raven, you're happy. When you kill a Marauder battleship, you're falling off your chair laughing. And when you kill a badly fitted, faction-fitted carrier who doesn't give much of a fight, you talk about it for weeks !!!

How can you not love PvP after that ?!?!?! :))

Kick the tires and light the fires


Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Well, it is now official. Yesterday night, as I was waiting for an op that never happened (the Bozos were thinking more about Vegas than pew-pew, and I don't blame 'em) I had my second training alt buy and fit MY FIRST EVER BATTLESHIP !!! Of course, it will still be a long time before I can fly a BS in PvP as a lot of support skills have to be trained up, and these things aren't exactly cheap to fly. But at roughly 80 million ISK fully fitted and insured, the Dominix is probably the best deal as far as BSes go. But the ship, named "Shambler" after that big white furry eyeless lightning-shooting critter, will still see some action because I've moved Demonia back to hi-sec where she'll be able to do lots of missioning to earn a good deal of ISK, as well as work on getting not only the support skills, but maybe also some advanced hauler skills so she can keep Cozmik well stocked in ships and parts.

It's sort of ironic that it's my second character that gets the biggest ship, but as I knew I was going head-first into PvP when I started the game I knew that Cozmik had to fly the ships he can fly to the best of his abilities. When Coz was the same age Demonia is now (2.6 million SP), he could barely fly a Stabber right, but he could already make a Rifter sing. Same thing happened with battlecruisers; my first Cyclone was barely spaceworthy but the Stabbers were seeing lots of action. I also expect that when Cozmik gets his Tempest (skipping Typhoons cuz I'm just not a missile kinda guy) only then will his Hurricane be something to fear. And there's no way I'm risking getting into a remote-repping BS gang before the skills are ready for the correct fits; I'd only ridicule myself, I'd waste tons of ISK, and it would just be painful!

And there you have it, my first foray into the world of big, bad and (mostly) ugly ships. The exception to "ugly" will come when Demonia as gathered enough ISK to graduate to her target ship from Day One, The Megathron >:)

I'll be posting again fairly soon because I've finally remembered what was missing from the "Tackler" train of thought: small gang composition and Jihad warfare (in absolutely NO WAY related to suicide ganking. That's just wrong!).

Until then, fly dangerous and do make fun TCF, IAC, and all those awesome blobbers !!!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Whoa, that was a long lunch hour !!!

Sorry about that. Real Life sort of "got in the way" there for a bit.

So I didn't have much more to add to my last post, except that, as you can imagine, those fits become much faster and nastier as you fit them with Tech 2 modules. It does make for much more expensive ships (about 7 million ISK for the Rifter, 15 million for the Stabber) but for the role I don't think you can get any better. Now, only time will tell how the Stabber survives the up-coming Nano-Nerf. From what I hear, what the Nerf will do is that in each ship class the range between slowest and fastest will be much reduced. Now, between what was tested on Singularity and what will be applied to Tranquility, everything that we hear will happen is pure speculation. Being mainly a Minmatar flyer, I know that Minnie ships are supposed to be the fastest and I don't see that changing, but maybe it'll mean that my tackling duties will be done in frigates alone, and maybe I'll swap my Stabbers for damage-dealing Ruptures and Thoraxes (yes, I've started cross-training!).

Now speaking of damage, I went on a skillbook shopping spree lately and my alt and I are now at the door step of flying Battleships! My alt can already get into a Megathron if she wants but at not quite 3 million SP she's in dire need of support skills, even though she can fit the large guns. Cozmik probably has better support already but as he is the main PvP guy other skills need to be learned to make what he can already fly much better (read Hurricane) and also needs to start the Covert Ops ship training, for which I still need some till-now not much needed Electronics Upgrades skill training. Stealth is not much my style to start with (in any game I've ever played) but sometimes there's not really any other way to get around. I am really itching to get into a remote-repping Tempest though, but I know that to do the job right I'll need a lot of field training and I'm praying it won't be too expensive... well, relatively :)

Well, that's it for now. Please fly much safer than I do, and if you're one of the old hands flying a capital ship, please don't warp it to an hostile gate... it makes the Baby Jesus cry !!!


Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Way of the Tackler

After writing an e-mail wearing the same subject to my great buddy Letrange, and also because the same buddy has taken a break from the industrial career to get a crash course on PvP, I've decided to carry our conversations, e-mail exchanges and blog comments over here because tackling is one of the things I do best in EVE. It's also something I plan on doing for good while because I love doing it, it's an extreme sport (ship loss rates in my early days were... special), and the required ships to do the task are the cheapest in the fleet so literally, it's the best Bang for the ISK in EVE.

Let's start with the tools of the trade. The first thing you need is a fast ship, and I mean FAST ship. If it goes below 3000 meters a second, forget it you're too slow. So of course the best ships for tackling are the interceptors (especially those with 3-4 mid slots) and fast nano-fitted frigates. Stabbers also make good cruiser-sized tacklers as they are extremely fast; this may change with the upcoming Nano-Nerf but something tells me it won't change much. My frigates of choice are the Rifter and the Stiletto interceptor; I use the first in big gangs where there are more experienced inty pilots (though I'm getting there) or in suicide ops, and the second in mid-sized fleets where the more experienced guys are in bigger and/or specific roled ships. I use Stabbers when it's a bit more important to have a little more DPS, but with good Navigation skills it can not only catch up with frigates, it can tear them to pieces. My most memorable experience was being death-locked with a Malediction interceptor in a fleet battle; I would've taken the ship out on my own but when he was about half-way into structure some help arrived and the inty got BBQed.

The next tools, the Warp Disruptor and the Stasis Webifier, hereafter called Point and Web. I use the Disruptor exclusively because even if it has only 1 point of warp disruption (hence the name) the longer range of 20km (24 for T2, 30 if you're a rich bastard) is a lot more useful than having an extra point with a Scrambler, plus in good fleets there will be multiple tackler, as well as some extra points in some DPS ships. Webs are also very important as they keep the target from moving away from range, though their range is more limited. Unless you fly a Huginn that is, which has a huge bonus to web range; most Huginns fit 2 webs by the way.

Here are my 2 most used ships, which everybody can train while still on the 14-day trial, T1-only Jihad style fits:

[PVP Rifter Basic]

Overdrive Injector System I
Overdrive Injector System I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I

1MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor I
Stasis Webifier I

200mm Light AutoCannon I, EMP S
200mm Light AutoCannon I, EMP S
200mm Light AutoCannon I, EMP S
Rocket Launcher I, Foxfire Rocket

[PVP Stabber Heavy Tackler]

Overdrive Injector System I
Overdrive Injector System I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I

10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor I
Stasis Webifier I

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon I, EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon I, EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon I, EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon I, EMP M
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher I, Hellfire Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher I, Hellfire Assault Missile

Even with the ship size difference, one can notice the similarities: high speed and very close range.

Aight... lunch hour over so I'll have to write Part II later at home :))


Monday, September 1, 2008

Slight deviation from the usual subject

Hey there!

EVE is all fun and stuff, but once in a while it's good to play other games that rock my boat (Q will disagree but oh well!) and that are more physically involving than tackling an opponent. In case you never noticed, I am a Speed Freak. Not just a nanofag in EVE, but everywhere (I do try to stay safe on the road as I don't have the budget to pay for multiple speeding tickets) and in everything I do. It did get expensive when I was aiming to be the fastest Red Planet pilot at the old Virtual World center. These days when I need my speed fix I play rFactor, a racing simulator that handles F1 cars as well as various GT cars, other open wheel series (Indy, Champ Car, Atlantic, etc), WRC rally, Nascar-type ovals (not much for me, thanx), monster trucks, lawnmowers, you name it! You can also download a plethora of tracks, both in existence and fantastic.

Well, one of 'em is MILES ahead, literally. It is both "in existence" and "fantastic".

Enjoy my fastest lap around the Nordschleife !!!

Fly dangerous, baby !!!