Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last days of Apocrypha


Here we are, only a few days to go before Dominion hits, with the brand-spankin' new planet graphics, the long awaited changes to the user interface, namely the new fleet finder, the much improved eve-mail window, and a completely new in-game web browser codenamed Moondoggie. No longer will surfing to in-game sites feel like being back in 1998 in the days of the 56kbps V90 fax-modem, and viewing external sites will work more often than not, as long as no pluggins are involved; at launch these will not be activated but only time will tell what will happen. Apparently the new browser allows for some new and improved in-game sites but as my web programming skills are about as good as my dad's drumming skills (ha!) I'll have to wait to see them.

The biggest change in Dominion will be the new sovereignty system which will put an end to the ridiculous POS warfare. This may be the most important change to the game mechanics in this patch but it will only directly affect the sov-holding alliances in deeper Null-sec. It may cause the roaming gangs to find more ratters and miners in the upgraded systems though, and I can think of a bunch of people who will be more than happy about that! But the changes that will affect me most as a Minmatar character will be the revamp of the projectile weapons. Something tells me I'll be flying Hurricanes a lot! Also, after I've finished polishing up my exploration skills I will be completing the training of the T2 Large Artillery, and some time in early 2010 I'll be able to field a true Sniper BS which will now possess a fearsome alpha-strike. I've heard somewhere that stationary ships don't react well to 1400's, well they will react even less well >:)

Speaking of flying Hurricanes, I've been flying one of mine a lot lately. It's based on a fit Letrange gave me when I was still in AMC and wanted to solo some of the lower class W-space anomalies, but now that rigs are almost given away I was able to improve on the design and it now has a faster rate of fire, better tracking on the 425mm AC's, and better repair amount from the twin repping modules. So effectively this Hurricane is a damage sponge. If it helps anyone, here's the fit from EFT:

[Hurricane, Damage sponge]
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Damage Control II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Armor Repairer II

Y-S8 Hydrocarbon I Afterburners
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
425mm AutoCannon II, Barrage M
Salvager I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Projectile Burst Aerator I
Medium Projectile Metastasis Adjuster I
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I

Warrior II x5

Some people may see some improvements to be made (and if you do, by all means post a comment) but so far it's been working great for me. I guess you could say it's proof that I needed a bit of a PvP break if I've been flying it so much, and yes, the change of pace is good. Making ISK is good too! You see, I've been boosting standings for another new feature that will arrive in Dominion: enter the Pirate Speed Boat missions :)

In an effort to bring missions closer to actual PvP, there will now be some missions to be flown in fast frigates through some dangerous territory; Syndicate and Venal on one side of the map, Curse and Great Wildlands on the other. So in short, in order to complete some of the missions a pilot will have to fly through Cry Havoc blobs or systems filled with cock-swinging BOZOs, not to mention all the other alliances looking for ways to frag you! I already have one of my Claws sitting in Molden Heath; I debated bringing a Taranis for this (and I still might) but in the term "speed boat" is a word that the Taranis is not too familiar with. The Claw isn't a slouch on damage when used right, but anyway the goal seems to be to get from Point A to Point B fast and alive. If there's only a slight chance to get a PvP kill while in the middle of a mission, count me in!

On the corp front, I've apparently recruited a second newbie as my buddy Si Gong has convinced one of his friends to get a trial account. I wasn't around very long because all this happened as I was getting ready to log last night, but it was long enough to have him in Rens to drop his application, have his Velator take a few pot shots at my 'Cane (biggest shot was 4 hp :)), and then blowing the crap out of ship just to show him that it's no big deal. I also gave him the obligatory ISK boost, but it was Si Gong who was going to make sure the money got well spent on the correct skill books, and maybe a slightly better ship. Now that I can do them I may take 'em on an L4 mission or two.

So here we are, finally the last leg of the pre-patch slow-down, and next Tuesday will probably see a rush of action that hasn't been seen since last March. Just remember to set a long skill just in case CCP has to fight the computer gods. I'm on the longest of my exploration skills (Salvaging V) so I'm cool :)

Fly like Gilles Villeneuve


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The storm after the calm

After a relaxing trip in W-space, here's a slightly more action-filled trip in Branch space, courtesy of CCP. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Unknown Space

I'll say at least one thing positive about the Russians... they make awesome vids. Enjoy!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Aggressing the aggressor

Yesterday I had something funny happen to me as I was "ratting" in Low-sec Derelik; you see what I tend to do from time to time is go into Low-sec and look for possible targets by baiting them to aggress my interceptor as I chew on rats. FYI, a Taranis makes mince meat of even the Low-sec battleship spawns, and yes, I'm one of those weirdos who actually enjoy ratting once in a while just to blow shit up. Doing it in an interceptor in potentially hostile space adds a little spice though. I have to watch the directionnal scanner constantly and pay attention to Local because surprises can be nasty, but I believe in flying dangerous so that's part of the game. If you can't handle that go back to your 50-man blob, but I digress.

So I'm happily munching away on some Sansha zombies in an unoccupied system with no one but me in Local, no stations, a single POS with no ships out, and barely any traffic when suddenly Local pipes up with one person entering the system. I start d-scanning like mad and quickly find out the new arrival is in an Iteron Mk III. Tasty target but he's out of the system before I have time to do anything about it, and I'm not exactly equiped to tank gate guns. Oh well, back to "ratting". Not too long after this though the same guy comes back in the system, in a Tristan this time. Hmm... maybe he wants to play now so I stay put at my belt after another dead Sansha spawn to make my position obvious. It could be a trap, he could have buddies... yeah I know all that but The Force was telling me he's solo. Turned out I had to wait to find out because he left again. But not for long.

A few spawns later he comes back into the system, and this time a few seconds later he lands about 30km from me, and just watches me salvage my wreck. As soon as that's done I flip on the MWD and start the inward spiral, but as soon as my 'Ranis move an inch the Tristan pilot aggresses. Good of him to protect my security status, and in the next instant he finds himself scrammed, webbed and inside my ship's pain zone. Sure he turns on neuts on me, but my Warriors are eating him alive and every time the cap goes up ever so slightly I get off a shot that delivers about 300 HP damage. Barely a minute into the fight the Tristan goes kablooey, and the pod high-tails it towards the gate.

My only comment: "Bad idea... GF!"

His reply: "I need bigger cap boosters"

My reply: "You need a better ship!"

I think he thought he could neut me to death, but I also think he forgot what 2 Warrior IIs could do to a slightly tanked T1 frigate if left unattended. And the funny thing is, when he agressed me I was below 50% shields from the previous Sansha encounter so he even had a head start. And the whole time I was 100% confident in my ship and what it could do. The structure got a very slight hit and I didn't even get to see it smoke! So all in all, even if it's only a T1 frigate kill with an interceptor, the whole thing was very exciting. Some time before that fight though I thought I was going to have a bigger challenge when some 3-month old player and his Myrmidon came into the system, but he never came within sight of me. He was very talkative though so we chatted about EVE, PvP, Life, The Universe, and Everything. I'm sure a good challenge will come :)

On other news, I have bought the first replacement of my big ships as I bought a new Tempest; as it will most likely be used more in PvE it will be fit accordingly, but after getting the ship and T2 pretty much everything on it my wallet is hurting so I'll wait a bit before the rigs go on. There have been a few occasions where I've missed the ships I left in Curse, but still, I don't regret my decision. Anyway, if I would've use my old Deimos for our little HAC roam the other day I would have lost it horribly to Cry Havoc. Better to lose a T2-fit Thorax :)) Next big replacement will be the Broadsword.

And on the training front things are moving along smoothly. Si Gong is learning more and more every day and is starting to really get into the universe. Because it's my parental week I haven't done much with him as far as PvP goes, but I did show him what a wormhole was, and even warped us to a Sleeper anomaly. We weren't equipped to take 'em on so we boogied out of there before they took their first coffees :)

And that's it until next post!

Fly your head off


Friday, November 13, 2009

OMG, corp expansion!

Well, it’s finally done. My corp is officially a 2-man affair now that my buddy Si Gong has embraced the Dark Side and subscribed to EVE Online. Now of course the fun part will be to set up some kind of curriculum to teach him the ropes now that we can think in the long term. The first thing he needs to do is get re-acquainted with the superb and flawless UI called the Neocom. Taking a 3-week long break after playing only 2 weeks of EVE… some things tend to get forgotten. I was happy to find out that he had kept his skill queue full of good stuff and it restarted as soon as the subscription came into effect. The learning bonus for newbies is a great thing because it allowed him to skip skills that can wait a little bit and doing the main category skills and of course the all-important learning skills. At 600k SP he can fly a decently fit destroyer for missions (though some tanking skills will be in order) and he can fit throw-away PvP frigs without a problem, tackle gear and all. And now that we’re in the same corp we can actually practice tactics without CONCORD dropping donuts on us, but being put into the teacher’s seat I notice that it’s simply impossible to learn to play EVE by oneself; yes the tutorials are better than when I got on over a year and a half ago, but some things are just never mentioned and the only way to find out about ‘em is either by reading tons of guides (and getting lucky) or being told about them. I really enjoy teaching the game though. It makes you appreciate everything you find great about it, and even though I do get to tell about the bad aspects of the game its depth never ceases to amaze.

The main lessons yesterday were some very basic ones, but very important ones at the same time. At some point during the evening Si Gong wondered about the ability to start training for bigger ships (ie : cruisers). Now there’s a double-edged sword and a half. Sure he has Gallente Frigate IV but at such an early age rushing into cruisers and bigger mods would be a recipe for financial disaster. And anyway, it’s much better to be able to field a nasty frigate than some half-assed cruiser any day of the week, and that got the point home. Add to that the fact that cruisers cost millions of ISK instead of a few hundred thousands, especially when the income is coming in very slowly… yep, he got the picture. The next lesson was also linked to ISK and the market : Si Gong was noticing that even after just 2 weeks of play his ships and items were starting to get pretty spread out across Gal space. At least he doesn’t have a fleet of 20 ships yet, but I did tell him that people usually don’t have stuff lying all over New Eden. Probably over this weekend we’ll go pick up some of his ships and bring them to D94 HQ in Rens. So even though we’re only two guys we’ll try to work as a corp should.

So now in the upcoming weeks I'll be doing my best to show what EVE has to offer in both PvP and PvE (I don't think we'll go mining though!), and even give some background story to remove some of the Greek I seem to speak sometimes as I explain things in more detail than someone new to EVE can handle. But I think I have a good student so one thing is sure: fun will be had :)

Fly dangerous, and recruit new players!


Democracy FTW

Vote now!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cozmik’s other games

It’s been a while since I’ve done an out-of-topic blog post, but with the recent events I’ve talked a few times about the fact that I play games that have absolutely nothing to do with EVE, so I decided to write about them.

I grew up next to a Canadian Air Force base so plane geek since Day One. I’ve been interested in video games pretty much since Pong came out (yes, I’m that old), and in 1977 a certain movie had about the same effect on me as a sledgehammer has on italian crystalware. So since then I’ve been a Sci-Fi geek. Around the same time we had a local hero tearing up tracks in F1, so I became a racing geek. Fast-forward a few years later to about 1984. I was in high school at the time and I got hit by two particular freight trains : Dungeons & Dragons and Lord of the Rings… thank you sirs Gygax and Tolkien, I’m a fantasy geek now! So over the years the games that interested me were always close to those 4 major interests. Here are the main ones I play and why I love ‘em. Enjoy!

Flight Simulator 2004

Ever since I’ve started this blog I’ve been preaching about flying dangerously, and where better to do it than in a real world setting! My love of flying doesn’t just come from proximity to an airport full of jet fighters. There’s a branch of my family that produced a few bush pilots based out of the St.Lawrence river’s North Coast region. Out of my father’s uncles and cousins to be bitten by the flying bug, one of them, Lucien, was known to be the barn-storming nutcase. On a dare, he once flew under the power lines near his home of Sept-Iles :) While I myself never took the full flying lessons, I do love the crazy stunts that are only possible on a simulator, like landing too big a plane on too small a runway, flying under bridges, and of course my favorite, flying at rock-scraping level in the Grand Canyon in nothing less than a Eurofighter Typhoon, never going below 500 knots. Yes, it’s doable. Yes, I’ve crashed a few times learning the canyon, and yes, my settings are set to full realism except for fuel; running out would just suck :) I haven’t updated to the newer FSX because at first my computer wasn’t strong enough to run it. Now I could but there’s still so much fun to be had with the older one. The amount of stuff you can download, such as aircraft, scenery, terrain, tools, etc, is just mindboggling. And if you’re really serious you could spend A LOT of money because the better downloads are not free. Examples : Ultimate Terrain, the best terrain replacement package for FS2004, is 30$ USD for Canada/Alaska, and 35$ USD for USA. Some of the more realistic aircraft are close to 100$ and are meant for those hardcore simmers who build the realistic cockpits. And from there, the sky’s the limit, litterally!

Dangerous: the only way to fly !!!


From the skies to the pavement. This racing simulator is probably the most bang for the buck you can find in any kind of game, any genre, single-player, multi-player or MMO. All you need to do is download the full game that’s locked in demo mode, register it for 40$ USD, and from there you can install almost any track you can think of, plus some you can only dream about, and any racing series you can think of. You like F1? Almost every year is there from the 1950’s to present time (GP79 is just nuts!) is available. You prefer endurance LeMans-style racing? Covered. Not so sure about that « turning right » thing? There be stock cars. Drifting sideways on a mountain gravel road? Of course! 5y-old friendly? Karting? Lawnmower racing? Yep, all there! This game has a very active community and there are racing leagues for anyone from day-old noobs to grizzled old veterans, some of which are actually race car drivers. Yes this is another one where you could go nuts with money and build a realistic cockpit, and the better racing leagues have actual entry fees and pro purses. But even just by myself alone on a track, say the 20 mile long Nordschleife, this simulator is all fun!

Somewhere in Switzerland... in an alternate dimension

Dungeon Runners

This one I’m a little bit sad to talk about. Before last Sunday I hadn’t logged in in a few weeks but it was long enough to get a really bad news : the game will die on New Year’s Eve, This is the second RPG to give me this surprise after I come back to it; Hellgate London was the first. But let’s do what the devs did and put sadness aside a minute; see, with the final update the devs put in a huge bomb in the middle of Townston (the game’s town of course) with a timer that’s set to go off at 23:59 on December 31st! This is the kind of dark humor Dungeon Runners was known for. It takes a little bit from Diablo, a little bit from WoW, and adds just enough goofiness to make it really funny. I mean, where else could you smite thine enemies with a Gargantuesque Pizza Cutter of the Malcontent Rhinoceros? I’m making the name up but I’ve seen even better ones… the Pizza Cutter IS a usable two-handed melee weapon though! The same thing goes for the armor, the quests, the universe, and everything. I haven’t been to Pwnston, the PvP town, yet, but I will have to pay a visit before that bomb goes off. The price was really good : I wanted an RPG just for the fun of running around and beating stuff up and came across this. It’s a free-to-play game with a monthly subscription of 5$ if you want premium membership. On the website they advertise the boxed game at 20$ which gives you 6 months of membership, but last July I found this box at an EB Games store for 5$. 5$, 6 months, the price was right so I jumped in. Too bad it’s gonna end soon because this game is a riot!

Me, my Bling Gnome, and the denizens of Townston


In 1995 I discovered the Battletech universe when I started hanging out at Montreal’s Virtual World center, and met someone you may know as Letrange. I went to his place and he showed me Mechwarrior II, and it was love at first sight… with the game of course! I’ve followed the franchise ever since, seen the ups and downs of FASA Industries and FASA Interactive, the Microsoft take-over, up to the current stuff being developped over at which is very promising. I have yet to re-install Mech4: Mercenaries with the Mektek 3 and Net Battletech mods since my hard drive failure last summer but this should be done fairly soon because last week’s announcement at Mektek was enough to make me yell « Seyla! » :) A few months ago Mektek took in the Assault Tech 1 devellopment team; AT1 is an effort to remake Mechwarrior II from scratch using modern-day graphics. On October 27th, the Open Beta for AT1 was released. Mektek also received the go-ahead to re-release Mechwarrior4: Mercenaries with the Mektek mod included, as a free game. And on Youtube there's a video of what would be the next Mechwarrior game, this time set in the 3025/Succession Wars timeline, and the graphics are just jaw-dropping with urban fighting, buildings collapsing, dangling wires from blown-off 'mech limbs, the works. Oh, and an Atlas :) Clearly, the Battletech universe is far from dead!

Quake Live

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning the game franchise that opened me the door to multiplayer gaming. I don’t log in very often so to say my Quaking is rusty would be the understatement of the century, but the fact that you can now play one of the best ever deathmatch games through your web browser is just amazing. Explaining this game to a neophyte couldn’t be simpler : point gun, find target to shoot. If it moves, shoot it. if it doesn’t move, shoot it some more. I don’t care how complex the newer games get, or how much prettier, there’s just nothing like pure deathmatch. Not even EVE PvP !!! Oh, did I offend someone? Wanna deathmatch? C ya on Q3DM6 >:)

Fly what you love