Tuesday, March 31, 2009

EVE on a different gear

And yes, signs of life from the Cozmik one :))

I've been slowly re-adjusting my gaming pace lately and so far the gaming has been good, both in and out of EVE, and I'm finding more time to do some real-life stuff that's not necessarily boring and tedious like house chores, but more like seeing people, playing music and whatnot. I've also taken to playing completely different games when times are slow in New Eden, mostly Quake Live because it's easy to get in and out but even then I don't play it a lot. The two games that have a tendency to draw me in to the point of losing sense of time, apart from EVE, are the rFactor racing simulator and the now-defunct-and-now-offline-only Hellgate London. Driving at Ludicrous Speed will always make my blood boil and the mix of FPS and RPG and blowing hordes of demons to smithereens is great fun.

Back to EVE, I've been slowly getting accustomed to the new content that came with the Apocrypha expansion with some old and new buddies in AMC. I am of course part of the combat wing but the slower pace of the W-space ops and the less frequent PvP is a welcome change, though I do miss the actual fighting once in a while. Pure PvP 100% of the time was a great way to learn to play this game quickly but there were times when I didn't feel like going through 3-4 regions to get some kills, or camping a system cloaked to annoy the Red Victim of the Month. Those ops were just the death of me. I was always more comfortable in either Jihad ops, or as a scout/tackler for some bigger gangs, and towards the end in some BC gangs. I was always amazed at the way the Bozo brass was able to use a fleet like a fine-tuned instrument, but what impresses me more is the relentlessness these guys have. Man for man this alliance is one of the toughest in EVE. But I digress.

W-space is special to say the least. I mean, systems that give you awesome shield and capacitor bonuses?! The first time I got into one of those I though my tiny interceptor had just taken a hit, until I saw the amount of shields I was supposed to have. It was like God had become my fleet booster! And the Sleepers... yes, CCP really hit the nail on the head with those. They rep up, switch targets, change positions, attempt to flee, and on top of that they are extremely tough unless you have a lot of firepower, but once they notice a particular is doing a lot of damage, like say a gank-fit Hurricane, take a guess what happens: you suddenly become Primary and these awakened buggers hit HARD! The loot and salvage these things give is nothing to sneeze at though. Instead of the modules like regular rats the Sleepers wrecks have what is called Blue Loot, which are redeemable at Creodron stations all over New Eden and replace the usual bounty, and quite a bounty it is! Add to that the fact that the salvage goes into the recipes for Tech 3 production and it's easy to see that a W-space is a very profitable affair. The main thing about W-space though, and the one I hope to explore the most: W-space is 0.0 space but it gives a feeling of false security. Some members of AMC have found out the hard way by getting ganked while mining gas clouds or attempting to solo ancient sites. For others it was the other way around when a gang of would-be attackers landed at a site only to find a Broadsword's bubble up and a decloaking Falcon jamming everybody; 2 Thoraxes and a Stabber got out of W-space the fast way :)

So now Cozmik is training up for his own Broadsword (I was on this before the aforementionned incident), and after that I'll be buffing up my exploration skills so I don't get caught with my pants down out there, and also to contribute to finding doors into W-space. I can't wait to have the Broadsword though; it will easily tank the Sleepers and it will be a very nasty surprise to some attackers, although there are good chances that it will get the Primary tag and not only from the rats :))

Fly dangerous


PS: on the Blog Banter this month I have only this to say: BoB is dead, Goons are evil, BoB is now KenZoku.... they're all targets anyway !!! :)))

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Late to the party but made it !!!

Hello folks !!!

Well, after a much eventful return from my parental weekend and some good times at the EVE Montreal Pilots meet, I finally made it into Apocrypha and all its brand new goodies, which I don't think it's necessary for me to go to great lengths to explain because everybody and his/her cat as talked about it to some extent and have had much more time to experiment with the new features and travel destinations. I will give a few thoughts on a few things I've seen that I really like:
  • The skill queue: Oh my God was it about time! As I've written before I still wish they would have implemented a full-on queue especially since they killed off ghost training but I can very well live with the current system. I know CCP wants people to play instead of just train but with ghost training being dead I don't see someone paying a subscription and not playing until he/she gets into his/her Nyx for example. But not worrying about missed training time or getting up in the wee hours of the morning like I did for my Interceptor skill will be totally awesome.
  • Speaking of skills, I absolutely love the fact that you can now see the remaining training time for the skills in a single glance without having to even right-click. Thanks very much CCP !!!
  • The Sleepers: finally we have NPC adversaries worthy of that name! They rep up, they switch "primaries", they hit hard and they're tough as nails! It's not quite PvP-like yet but it's getting there. I'm still waiting for NPC gangs to roam 0.0 space with warp disruption, tackling and ECM/E-War elements. Now THAT would be The Shit !!!
  • Wormhole space: CCP has some very devious minds to think up something like that! Space that has amazing resources but that not only is 0.0 space but also has exits leading to uncertain and possibly very dangerous destinations... what a wake-up call for would-be carebears!

I did get one chance to be on a W-space expedition that all-in-all turned out well, given that the fleet was able to get back home with cargoholds full of stuff, and with the minimal losses of a Merlin to Sleeper NPCs (and very quick at that) and my own T1-fit Thorax to self-destruction because it was getting late and I didn't want to hang around for 2 hours for the next wormhole to be found; no more super-late ops for me, remember?. The net ISK loss for a fully insured T1 ship is ridiculous so in 4 minutes I was back in Everyshore. I still have to ask if someone picked up my frozen carcass :) It was a good thing that we entered W-space from an empty system and that it lead to one of the "easy" systems, but it's very possible that at some point a fleet's entry through a wormhole will be spotted by less-than-friendly elements and that on the other side the fleet will have to deal with more than just Sleepers... oh well, this is why this game is so great !!!

On another note, Cozmik has now reached another benchmark in his career: 15 million skill points! I still have much learning to do but fitting ships with AWU V is a much easier job. Now I have to fill up a few holes I may have, like in drones, missiles, tanking and exploration skills, but now that we have the queue those dinky 1-2 hour skills will be taken care of shortly.

So now it's back to work and hopefully I'll see you soon in-game :)

Fly dangerous,


Monday, March 9, 2009

Last one before wormholes and stuff

Blogging... great lunch hour activity :)

Hi there! I'm not exactly what you'd call "back" but with having not much choice but to log in because of stuff to haul, stuff to trade (making sure I'm not out of ISK when I REALLY get back), and just hanging out on channels with people I got to know and with zero pressure for PvP ops, I still have a foot firmly stuck in EVE, but I admit I've been getting a lot more sleep than I've ever had in the past year. This does wonders in breaking the funk I was getting in!

So as I'm writing this everybody and their cats have been preparing for the arrival of Apocrypha, the newest expansion that will bring many changes in the way we play the game, and new stuff to make players' eyes flash with ISK signs. The only downside I see so far is that this is my parental week and at the boys' place is only my old computer with EVE Classic and a very damaged Windows install. So yeah, I won't be able to see Apocrypha until I get behind my gaming rig.

Back to Apocrypha. One thing I'd really be interested in knowing is how many scan probes will be going off in the first hour after Tranquility is restarted. Something tells me this is going to be the biggest scanning op in the entire history of New Eden! Also something to be given some thought, in more populated systems the same wormhole will be scanned down by various people, and I'm pretty sure that some particularly nasty fights will be starting in W-space not only against the so-called sleeper rats, but also between people wanting to get the Tech 3 stuff first. The first few weeks starting this Wednesday should be extremely interesting as most of EVE start going on a rush for the virtual Klondike. And to make things even more interesting, there are chances that ships will become locked in W-space until a new wormhole can be scanned down, which will lead to... God knows where! Could be a few jumps away from the player's starting point in normal space (aka K-space), or clear across the galaxy, or even yet another W-space system. Exploration fleets will be in for quite a treat, and I'm pretty sure that a lot of people will have to do the Logoffski in unexplored space if they want to get some real-life zzz's. It'll be some time before a) my new alliance is ready to start operations and b) I commit myself to more than casual game play, but more than any other expansions in the 1-year-something I've been in the game this one will surely make things a lot more interesting for everybody, from complete newbies to well-established (or resurrected in the case of KenZoku!) alliances. Even though I'm not as active as before I'm happy to say I'll be active enough to see this.

In other news, my break from EVE has given me a chance to reconnect with my passion with hands-on piloting, as in with a steering wheel or a flight control system. I haven't done much of the flight sims but I've been pushing the crap out of my Lamborghini Gallardo, my Toyota Atlantics, my modern F1s and my 1979 vintage F1s, which are a complete bitch to drive but are so rewarding when you finally get it right! But again, I'm showing moderation in my play time and I'm really proud of that. One thing that really caught my eye (or ear as I heard about it on a podcast) is the upcoming Jumpgate Evolution MMO. Will this thing knock off EVE as far as space MMOs go? Nah, don't think so. Does it look like a complete blast to play? Oh Hell yeah !!! Being the hands-on piloting freak that I am, and also with the massive X-wing vs TIE experience I had amassed back in the late '90s (God I'm ancient) I'm going to HAVE to try this game out when it comes out. I did download the client for the first Jumpgate before I went on Dad Week so I'll probably do the 2-week trial for that one when I get back. I'll do my best not to get sucked in before the new game comes out.

So there you go. You have proof that I'm not dead and/or completely burnt-out! I hope all of you have remembered to set a super-massively-long skill in case the extended downtime gets, well, extended, or if like last time for Quantum Rise Tranquility blows up mere hours before the downtime. I think I'm covered as my current skill will take until St.Patrick's day to get done :)

Everyone fly safe and see you on the other side of Apocrypha !!!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Many partings

Well, here is the blog post I've been dreading to write just as much as the one in December when my finances were at an all-time low just before what I think were the worst holidays I've ever had. But this time it's not about finances keeping me from paying an MMOG subscription. It's not about me losing interest in PvP. It's not even about me wanting to play games other than EVE. Far from that.

I need a break.

I'm not talking about a short 1-2 week break because I've been staying up late on ops and stuff. I need a major break from anything related to computer gaming. I still don't know how some people manage having tons of stuff to do in and out of a game, any game, and still have time for real life stuff like taking care of a home, kids, and activities that don't require people to sit countless hours in front of a computer screen getting a massive dose of pixel radiation. I've tried agendas, doing chores before playing, etc. But I always end up playing way too much for my own good and I've stopped counting the times I've gone to bed in the wee hours of the morning at times when I'm supposed to be getting up for work 2-3 hours later. In short, I need a self-imposed form of therapy because these days, just watching the EVE game UI is making me want to punch a hole right through my screen, but that would get expensive and messy.

So tonight after I get home I will be dropping my corporation roles and turning off EVE for a good while, and I don't know exactly when I'll come back to it but I HAVE to disconnect. Technically my character will still be alive and kicking as I'll keep the account going so I'll still get some training done. But 4-hour plus ops? Or staying online from the time I get home at 5h15PM until 2AM the next morning? Not for a very long time thanks very much.

And what do I plan to do? Last time I wrote this kind of post I talked about all the games that I hadn't played in a long time, but this time around I see things differently. I need to put aside gaming and get back into music in a serious way. I need to see friends and family that I haven't seen in much too long. When the weather will permit I need to get on my bike and get back into shape and see some sights. And last and most important, I need to give even more time to the two boys I dearly love and who need their dad to be present as they're growing up.

As I've said in December, I will probably keep this blog going, if maybe a tad less regularly, because while it started by being about my parallel life in EVE, this blog is really about me, Benoit. It's the first time I really pour my thoughts out for everyone to see but regardless of what anyone thinks about them I find it to be an excellent form of pressure valve.

So as I go back to the Clown Punchers forums to see the effects of the little A-bomb I dropped in there this morning, I'd like to thank all the readers and bloggers that have come by my site over the past year, and I wish all of you the best, in or out of game.

To the Bozos: I know some of you may be angry at me for doing this at such a time but believe me, this is something I need to do. It has been a total honor to have learned the ropes of PvP with you guys. I don't think I could have learned from a better bunch of people, and I promise that I will apply all that knowledge if/when I do get back to the game. Will we be red to each other next time we meet? Most assuredly. Will I flee from you if I meet you in local somewhere in New Eden? Hell no! I will meet you in combat to the best of my abilities. But that said, losing against the likes of Bozo would be better than winning against alliances who flee from fights even when they have the advantage of numbers and home turf. So I wish you guys success in all your endeavors, and do continue to spread chaos wherever your fleets go.

May you fly safe, smart and deadly...