Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Woohoo !!!

Well, I've got something to look for when I get back behind MY computer (I've been on my ex's for a week) as both my favorite podcasts have released new episodes... YAY !!! My thanx to Winterblink and Urban Mongral for proving they don't quite suck as much as Urban says they do, and to Silicon Buddha for again showing what a steady podcasting (podding?) machine he is. o7 to you three !!!

Apart from that? Well, being able to log on very sporadically makes for a very quiet time in EVE, and a very bad cold sure didn't help things, but I was still able to net about 30 million ISK with almost zero effort. If you have a spare character slot and don't get to mine/rat/build much, make a noob trade alt. It's worth it ;) I don't remember exactly where I got the Minmatar Vherokior build for my beautiful Cassy Winds but I remember not having too much trouble finding trade guides on Google when I started noticing that Cozmik would need more ISK and quick. It took me too long to figure out the way a market works (Letrange and Madcoy, stop laughing NOW!) but when I did figure it out I never ran out of ISK. Flying smart also helped so even when I lost say my first T2-ladden cruisers or battlecruisers the only downside I saw was getting replacements back out to 0.0 space.

And that's it! Hope to see you again from behind my real machine >:))

Fly unexpectedly


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Update in and out of EVE

Well, this update has taken longer than expected. I thought I'd be able to do one during my week of Dad Duty but apparently my son Leandre's health had objections against it. Yep, much like it had happened on that faithful day Dweezil Zappa came to town, Leandre got hit by his respiratory bug and Tuesday night of last week we hit Montreal Children's Hospital and when the staff noticed his 39.4C fever and his 88% O2 saturation level, all Hell broke loose all over again and we spent the rest of the week there. Leandre is all better now (except for a bad cold which the entire family has... I should really say the entire city) and hopefully my next Dad Week will be much easier. This shouldn't be too hard, but this is winter in Quebec so we never know.

So my last post was written on the very day we went to the hospital, and since then, even after I got back, I haven't played much EVE but a few things did happen. I got a bit more settled into our new base of operations by fitting all my important ships so they're ready to go on the fly, including my two Taranis interceptors... well, only one now. The first one was lost in a major engagement in enemy territory. Even though the battle was a bit lopsided because of the other fleet's numbers, we still won the ISK battle :) Another things that was part of getting comfy in the new system was making a humongous amount of bookmarks all over the system for ratting and tactical purposes, but as I mainly fly interceptors this is actually fun to do because if something happens, like say, a stray Rokh coming in the system, I'm ready to tackle at the first notice.

The thing that was less fun about the move though was that our new system does not have manufacturing services in both it's stations so I had to figure something out quick. I didn't want to set up shop in a neighboring system that could potentially become enemy territory at any moment so I had only once option: to send all my minerals and BPO/BPC collection to a Hi-sec system not too far from the door to 0.0 Curse in Doril. So after a quick check of the Derelik map everything points to the Maspah system, two jumps away from Berta, better known as the last truck stop before Low-sec and 0.0. So now all Cozmik has to do is hop into his Cheetah, dodge gatecamps, and go start jobs like say a few Thoraxes, or a BC or two. It's a bit inconvenient but at least I'll still be able to move my ships and mods safely to Berta and from there our Jump Freighter pilots will take them to the base faster than you can say "cyno"! I think my little industry thing will remain in this system for a while because the biggest thing I have to move the minerals around is my noob alt's Bestower, which carries just over 11000 cubed meters of stuff; I really should get some T2 cargo expanders but I always prefer to spend my ISK on pew-pew toys for Cozmik. Anyway, I hope I don't have to do this much hauling in a long time!

And apart from EVE things have been pretty busy too. Just before heading into my Dad Week a little Texan company called id Software sent me an e-mail with something I had almost forgot: my key for Quake Live Beta !!! So yeah, here and there I've gone back to fragging, filing in bug reports, and getting back in touch with some old clanmates and enemies as well. I think the rust is coming off well because in 8 complete matches I've already won one, on a Free-for-all server with about 12 people on.

But the best part is in real life. Most of you already know I'm a drummer, but i've never really mentioned that I can play a mean power chord if I set my mind to it. Around the holidays EVE buddy Carbon Freezer needed help to shop for his first guitar (he's a cellist branching out), a very sweet Jackson Soloist, and also on Christmas my niece Jade got a guitar too, and of course Uncle Coz showed up at New Year's and tuned the thing and played it to death. With all that sudden guitar playing the itch became a heroin shot and I knew I had to do something about it. Back before we had to sell the house I was already thinking of transforming my drum room into a true-blue studio with the full sound system, guitars, basses, keyboards, computers, effects, the whole bit. This isn't possible at the moment but it's looking like it might happen at my sister's place as I will soon move my drums there. And to scratch the guitar itch? I know I'm not exactly Steve Vai or Jimi Hendrix so I didn't want to spend too much money, but I knew I wanted something better than a noob axe.

Enter Spidey:

In technical terms, this is an Ibanez RG420EG. In reality, this is my 4th baby :) After trying a huge range of guitars I don't think this one can be beat in bang-for-the-buck. Some may find it looks gimmicky but when you've tried it and compared it to others you know right away that it's anything but. And as a bonus, a friend of mine who's a sound engineer is giving me the Guitar Rig 3 software, so I won't have to spend oodles of cash on amps and pedals. All this may mean that it's possible that I'll be seen a bit less in EVE, but as I've once said to Letrange, music is greater than all, except my two boys of course. There is no way I could live without it, and being able to create it makes it even better. Also, I once put music aside to get deep into video games, so I feel this is the chance to redeem myself and get back in touch with my creative side.

So there you have it, just about a week-and-a-half in the life of Cozmik, full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and these days a lot of coughing :)

Fly hard


PS: Oh yes. To all you podcasters and DJs who can't pronounce the name of the upcoming expansion, follow me: A... PO... CRY... PHA. It's not that hard so please quit destroying it !!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Skill queue: about f@#%ing time !!!

I've been in EVE for just over a year now but there is one thing that the game was missing from the start and that I still can't believe it's taken more than 5 years to be looked at: there was no skill queue-ing, so if you didn't time your stuff correctly, or your skill ended either during downtime or the wee hours of the morning, or if you plain forgot, YOU WERE GETTING ROYALLY SCREWED! This will change with Apocrypha in March, and about damn time too.

Details here.

The part that got me floored is where it says that CCP didn't implement a training queue because they were afraid players would become less active... pardon the expression but Bullshit! It was one of the reasons why a lot of potential players just gave up the game; everyone admits it, EVE doesn't have a learning curve but a learning cliff. It's super easy to forget you have to keep training stuff up when you're new at this. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone to have done this: you have a short skill that's finishing but you're caught up in some op or chat or something and like the majority of players the sound is off and you're listening to what's happening on Ventrilo or to some sweet relaxing music like Death Metal or Frank Zappa. Miss that pop-up window saying "Notify: the training of Minmatar Cruiser III is complete", get on a big fat roam of 30+ systems and you've just missed a few hours of training time. Or worse, having to get up in the middle of the night (on a working week of course) when an important skill turns to level V so you can start the important one (specialization anyone?), thereby missing precious sleep and having to go to work all smashed up.

Now, even though my title says "about f@#%ing time" I still don't get the 24-hour skill stacking limit. I understand that the queue will handle skills that are to start in the next 24 hours, but will CCP really lose a number of players from a skill queue? Did I play less when I was training Cruiser V? Or when I was training Medium Projectile Turrets V for the second time because of the second worst noob error (the first worst is covered in the last post)? Hell no! If I could queue up all the support skills for tanking, drones, gunnery, and maybe even some industrial I would play just as much because I'd spend less time fretting over my skill training ending at impossible hours (I'm lucky like that) and I'd just spend time getting better not only in official skills, but also in unofficial ones like being a better tackler, bubbler, damage dealer or FC.

So CCP, thank you for revising your position on a skill queue, but I still say you're holding back too much. You will not lose players if you make training easier... you'll get more !!!

Fly hard and don't forget that skill at 4AM...


Friday, February 6, 2009

Too big too fast: recipe for rage-quitting

Yesterday evening we got treated to a perfect example of exactly "What not to do when you're new in EVE". As we were fooling around with some straggling reds in our new home system, we got together a small gang of frigates, interceptors, bombers, and even Velators in what was probably the loosest gate camp ever. As we were trying to tackle a Thrasher just after we had killed a Kestrel, a pilot sitting in the neighboring system called that an Incursus followed by a Rokh were going to jump into us. In comes the first one, who warps off almost as soon as he decloaks, but as he's aligning we get the second gate activation so we all stand ready to tackle the decloaking battleship. When this happens of course we call for every able pilot to bring DPS to our gate but then we notice something. We're not just killing the Rokh, we're tearing it to pieces. And it's not because we had tons of DPS on it; the highest damage ship was a Taranis with just over 9000 HP, followed by my experimental Gank Claw at 6000-something, and 2 bombers with just a bit less than me. In all the Rokh tanked just under 40000 HP of damage. That's it. And this on a ship that when fit and skilled right is supposed to tank more than ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND hit points. When we saw the killmail we had our answer: this ship was piloted was a brand-spankin' new pilot who had made a beeline for battleships and could barely fit the mods on it, and you can forget about support skills...

After the dust had settled one of our guys got into a private convo with the now dispossessed and podded pilot who was saying things like "why did you have to kill me?", "I put all my money into this ship...", and "I was on my way to meet my buddy so I could apply for his corp...". The entire episode brought back many memories of a former Bozo pilot who was obsessed with his Apocalypse, lost it mere minutes after undocking, and then rage-quitted the game by deleting his character. I don't know yet if the Rokh pilot will or has done that, but from what I got of the convo the possibility is very strong. Let's look at the three comments one by one and let's dissect them:

"Why did you have to kill me?": we now know that either the Incursus had nothing to do with the Rokh, or if he did he was a very very bad scout. The ship died because the pilot is in a noob corp and trespassing the space of an alliance with NBSI policy, and in 0.0 space to boot. Question answered.

"I put all my money into this ship...": in EVE Online this is the single worst thing any pilot can do. Even if I had just enough money to buy, fit and rig a carrier or a dreadnought, I wouldn't for this simple reason: NO SHIP IS INDESTRUCTIBLE. Fly something in PvP and eventually you will lose it. That simple. The rule of "fly what you can afford to lose" is there for a reason, and it applies to all ships, regardless of how a pilot is skilled. I know at least one pilot who is skilled enough to fly Ragnarok titans, but I don't see him running to Mr Chribba to buy one. That said, even if the Rokh was uninsured (which seems likely in this case), the basic amount of money the pilot will receive should be enough to keep him well supplied in Kestrels, Condors, and maybe even Caracals. Serves the pilot well.

"I was on my way to meet my buddy so I could apply for his corp...": when I heard that one I nearly fell out of my chair. What sort of "buddy" is someone who lets another someone who's supposed to be his friend fly solo in enemy territory of lawless expanses of space? This one made me seriously think that the preceding Incursus had nothing to do with the Rokh. If the BS pilot just got a few vague orders of "meet us in XYZ system and put in your application" by some unknown corp/alliance in-game then he was stupid to follow them blindly. If on the other hand the "buddy" is actually someone he knows personnally, then it's one of two things: The Rokh pilot was badly misinformed, or the "buddy" forgot to mention a few things about 0.0 space.

Message to mentors of new pilots: TELL YOUR RECRUIT TO READ, READ, AND READ SOME MORE !!! There are countless guides on how to start a young character in EVE and if you follow them something this bad should not happen. Noob error happens and we all learn from it, but it should never be something of this magnitude.

Message to new pilots: FOR THE LOVE OF JEMINI H. CRICKET, FLY ONLY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE !!! This rule is not only for your early days, it is a mantra that you should follow during your entire career in EVE.

Now you all understand why my 13+mil SP character cannot fly battleships or T2 cruisers, right? Right.

Fly dangerous, but cheap


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sorting mods and ships, aka the down side of moving

Well it's finally done, the Clown Punchers have changed residence in an effort to annoy and disrupt some newer alliances in Curse. It shouldn't be a secret too long but I'll still keep my mouth shut for now about the location. The main move was done on Tuesday Feb. 2nd in what was one of the most fluid and efficient dance of capital ships, and again as one of the cyno pilots I got treated to quite a light show. In all, over 100 million cubed meters of courrier contracts and rigged ships (close to 400 of 'em) got moved in just under 2.5 hours. After we were done a Bozo member was mentionning that each time we do this we have more stuff to move, but we also take less time moving it :) One might think that sitting in a montionless cyno ship for 2 hours plus may be boring as hell but a move like this is anything but. A massive fleet had to be assembled to make sure that all systems between and surrounding the point of departure and destination were constantly watched, and also to have firepower enough to deter any would-be intruder. The destination cyno went down a few times to such intruders, but while there were a few neutrals and reds to come visit 5E nobody got close to the station and the only thing that slowed down that side of the jumps was the refueling of my ship.

Now that the main move is done there will be a few more moves to be made for people who didn't get the chance to pack and contract their stuff, but nothing as serious as the main one. The fun part of course is that all of our belongings which were neatly stored in station containers clearly labeled with what's in them is now a massive jumble in the personnal hangar and items window. Because I was playing Dad yesterday (more on that later) I didn't get to log on to fix this so I'll be quite busy tonite when I do log on. I will finally have the opportunity to assemble and fit, and also hopefully use, my first Taranis. And after this will come a major step in Cozmik's career: the training for Remote-Repair Battleships, namely the Tempest. Having very average missile skills will cause me to skip the Typhoon entirely, but after discussing it with a variety of player from corpmates to the Montreal pilots, and of course with Letrange, I have come to the conclusion the my best path will be to train towards the Bozo-fit RR Tempest (which is pretty damn advanced skillwise) and include all the support skills that will make the Tempest very efficent. there are other ships I could train for relatively fast but once the Tempest is trained to its fullest the rest will be peanuts, apart from cap ships of course, which I feel absolutely no rush of getting myself into. I'll also probably buy myself a nice present at that point, like a Maelstrom that I'll keep in hi-sec pretty much as a trophy, at least until I can replace them easily. The player in me also wants to get some faction ships (a Dramiel and a Fleet Stabber in particular) but I have to roll in bigger ISK before I go that far.

And now out of EVE, this week will mark the strat of a new schedule in parental duties. Starting this Friday, Feb. 6th (my youngest boy's Timothée's 2nd Bday) my ex and I will be trading entire weeks of parenting. So tonight before I log onto EVE I have to pack my stuff for my week and then I'll only be back on the 13th, except for a few skill changes and some market juggling with my trade alt. Now that my ex has a full-time job this will be a lot better than being in and out every 2-3-4 days. There are also some longer-term plans but they're still very hypothetical so I'll keep quiet about 'em for now.

So until next time, I'll do my best to watch what's happening in EVE (BoB meltdown anyone?!) and I'll do my best to watch as many Tourney matches as I can, which should be possible because there's supposed to be crappy weather this weekend in Montreal, plus my boys absolutely love watching stuff on YouTube so EVE-TV should be right up their alley :)

Fly dangerous, and if you're in Curse, hope you're blue to Bozo, which is pretty unlikely >:)


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

On the road again...

No, this post has nothing to do with Willie Nelson :) Apparently some old friends of the Bozos are coming back to terrorize Curse so in an effort to maximize the terrorizing, the Clown Punchers are in the process of relocating he HQ, not telling where until everything is done. So that means packing gobs of modules, minerals and ships, and training Contracting III because I keep too much stuff! And now that everything is packed and contracted all I have left is a few interceptors at our destination, and a Cheetah, Rifter and cyno Thrasher as I'll be one of the crazy volunteers to spend a couple hours motionless is space. I have to wait until the contracts get delivered to enjoy my two brand-spankin' new Taranis interceptors. Even with the T1 blasters I'll be fitting at first this thing is a beast. Can't wait to melt an unsuspecting cruiser :))

And out of EVE something great has arrived by e-mail yesterday: after many months of waiting I have finally received my Quake Live Beta access key \o/ So far I haven't had the chance to play it a lot, but I noticed that my Firefox did crash on exiting a Clan Arena map just before I had to leave for work. It's amazing to see how far Quake has come since its early beginnings in 1996. Now, all you need is a web browser, a small plug-in download, and off you go fraggin' in the glory of the Q3A engine. So even though this is an EVE blog, I'll probably give some updates on what's happening in the Quake universe. And yes, I have tested Qlive with the EVE client running and everything held up great so this will become the ultimate "what to do out of EVE when things are slow" activity.

Stay tuned for bigger updates, and fly deadly