Monday, June 28, 2010

The fun of computer upgrades

Last week was apparently the time for this oh-so-annoying task. Two weekends ago I was happily settling down in my office chair at home looking forward to the quiet time ahead of me so I decided to take a McLaren Formula One car for a spin around the Nurburgring's Nordschleife. Yes, going balls-out on that track is relaxing to me. But apparently it wasn't relaxing for my computer. I had known for some time that my motherboard had certain issues but I put off its replacement as long as possible. Well this time the crash was hard enough that I got off my lazy ass and spent my afternoon tearing apart my box, putting it back together with a newer, much better quality Asus board, and reinstalling everything from scratch. Not exactly the way I wanted to start a weekend. I also discovered that CPUs don't like getting transplanted so I took to the opportunity to get a better fan along with the thermal compound I needed. By the way, the fucktard engineer who designed the "easy to install" push pins on Socket 775 CPU fans needs to be disembowelled with a rusty spoon. I was sure I was going to break my new motherboard in half before the things finally got secured in their little holes. Yeah, fun.

And as if my own computer headaches weren't enough, CCP had decided to move and upgrade the Tranquility server last week. I had invited my alliance mates to a PvP roam after the scheduled extended downtime, when someone mentioned "Are you sure TQ will be up and running?". I took this with a laugh but unfortunately that question turned out to be prophetic as Downtime turned into a nightmare for anybody who hadn't set a long skill, which is not my case I'm happy to say. CCP has annouced it will give us players a ship and a way to recover lost training. I'm not exactly fond of ORE ships but apparently I will be in possession of one soon!

Computer headaches aside, here is a short run-down of what's been happening in the various games I play. Reinstalling everything and having to download a whole lot of add-ons has the effect that you get to play a lot of different games in a very short time. Here goes.

In EVE Online

Every time I install the EVE client from scratch I feel like taking the next Icelandair flight to Reykjavik and having a friendly chat with the UI designers. To go from the client's default settings to something I am comfortable with like overview settings, window placement, UI color scheme, audio settings and container unlocking takes over an hour, sometimes two. A complete newbie who installs the client for the first time has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA that his client settings are nothing short of COMPLETELY USELESS. Why CCP is not dealing with this while they try to implement new features to the game - breaking a few things that were working here and there of course - is totally beyond me. To CCP Torfi: please grab the T-shirt you were wearing at the AT8 finals and read it; now, either apply what it says or burn that T-shirt.

Apart from that, after the crazy Downtime and the client set-up business, a small Recon gang (Arazu, Pilgrim, Falcon) decided to camp Chaos Central for a couple days. The Arazu first ganked Letrange who was mining away, and the next day the other two made themselves known when Let and I tried to bait the Arazu. That's all good but the worst part was the Arazu pilot's parting shot: an evemail to me with Hall & Oates lyrics. Who the hell said Hulkageddon was bad ?!?! But the intruders have now left and peace has returned to Choas Central, and yesterday's nanoribbon haul will make my wallet happy :)

In rFactor

Next to EVE Online this is my Main Squeeze #2. This is simply the best 40$ USD you can spend on a race game, and the amount of cars and tracks you can add to it is simply mind-boggling, and here's the stuff I got since the box upgrade. The cars: Formula BMW (my 4y old is getting there), F3 Euroseries, CART 1994-1995 (featuring JV's Indy 500 winning ride), Porsche Fabcar, Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 Challenge, and FSOne's brand new 2009 season. The tracks: Nordschleife 2007, Le Mans 1976-1984, Rouen-Les Essarts, Charade, Montreal 2008, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, UK Rally (oh the LOLZ!), F1 1988 track pack featuring the awesome Spa-Francorchamps, and a fantasy track set "somewhere in Switzerland" called Vitus Parc. I still need to download the amazing Grand Prix '79 mod with its track pack, and of course there is still much much more. For the hell of it my 4y old boy Leandre tried to drive the Gallardo on the Montreal track... let's just say I was happy the Lambo is virtual :))

Two years ago I posted a video on YouTube of my Nordschleife run in 5:52.246, but the 2009 F1 cars look like they will be able to destroy that. They may not have as much top speed as the 2007 car I used in the video, but they accelerate like Top Fuel dragsters and brake on a dime leaving 0.09$ change. It will take a lot of practice to get the timing right to brake as late as possible into the trickier parts of the Green Hell. Sorry if I sound obsessed by this track but it's simply the most beautiful and crazy racing track ever created by man. I have to try the real thing before I die.

In Flight Simulator 9

Because my new motherboard doesn't have any USB port issues like the old one, I was now able to reinstall my Saitek X52 joystick/throttle properly. The fun part will be to configure the thing the way I want to because there's just no such thing as flying a sim without having to even touch the keyboard. Of course, downloading aircraft and scenery for FS9 can become a full-time job because there is so much stuff to be found. Scenery-wise the only thing I got was a basic landclass package; no custom airports or terrain meshes yet. As for the aircraft I added so far: Saab Draken (goes like stink, turns like a city bus), BAE Hawk T1, Tu-144 Concordski, MiG-31 Firefox (the one from the Clint Eastwood movie, not the real MiG-31), North American F86 and X-15, and my all-time favorite, DSB's Eurofighter Typhoon. I know I downloaded more but I don't remember which ones, and I know there are TONS I need to get still.

The thing with FS9, or the newer FSX which I need to upgrade to at some point, is that the better add-ons cost money, and believe me they are not cheap. Someone serious about flying can litterally plow thousands of dollars into software alone. But the good thing is that one can make the plain stock FS9 a lot more realistic looking without putting a single penny into it, and once in a while the companies that make the good add-ons make their older stuff free. So it's very important to look around the various flight sim sites to be up to date on what's going on in the world of sims.


These are the main three games I play with some seriousness. I also reinstalled Mechwarrior4:Mercs and Dungeon & Dragons Online. I'm not really sure how long I'll stay in DDO; I really like fantasy settings but I prefer darker themes along the lines of Diablo, but Diablo III is still pretty far away. I really miss the humor-filled Dungeon Runners! So to anyone on DDO's Argonessen server: do you want my stuff? After I've downloaded the MWL maps for Mechwarrior4 I will surely play more of it though. The guys at Mektek are doing an awesome job at keeping this venerable franchise alive, and blowing shit up is never boring :)

In closing, back to EVE Online a bit. A few weeks ago we had recruited semi-celebrity Crazy Kinux, and this weekend we recruited one Lucky Cuss, refered to us by Arancia Detto, formerly of Clown Punchers. Sort of like the way I was when I joined BOZO, Lucky is a 1m SP pure noob who will be receiving The Mother of All Head Crammings in the near future. The good thing is he is asking a lot of questions and he's listening to the advice we're giving him. So with two new recruits the roam I was expecting to have on the crazy Downtime day will have to be done in the very near future not only to teach them the ways of The PvP, but also to make sure none of us veterans get rusty. And that about covers the news!

Until I see you on my overview, fly dangerous


Saturday, June 19, 2010


Go back to sleep !!!

Here she is, finally baptised in fire. As I was pointing out to alliance mate Havegun Willtravel, this ship is as if a Vagabond and a Hurricane had some juicy sex somewhere in wild space and after a short gestation period this thing came out. And it's hungry, and it shits bullets !!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Stanley Cup

Let's be honest. Everybody knows it, all guys love spiff rides. Some are into custom chopper bikes, some are into supersonic rice rockets. Some are into chrome bumpers, some are into carbon fiber bodies. Some are into japanese tuning jobs with neon undersides, and some are into spinning wheels and leopard skin seats.

The same principle applies in EVE. Everyone has their own idea of what is the perfect ship, or what is their ultimate goal in a ship. For some it's officer fitted Titans, for others it's marauders. The boost to faction ships in Dominion have made those very popular, and I for one fell in love with one of the ships. It is now my goal in EVE to work on getting one, but without rushing. Sort of like when someone buys an old Corvette that's been sitting in a barn since the early sixties and needs to bring it back to life, my ship will be worked on with care and time, and will only come out on sunny sunday afternoons for Hi-sec ship meets at the Rens Brutor Tribe Treasury diner. Some people may want to fit it differently but I couldn't care less. As captain James Tiberius Kirk said, this is MY ship.

Brought to you by Earth, Rune, Black and Elder magic :)

[Machariel, Shub Niggurath]
Domination Gyrostabilizer
Domination Gyrostabilizer
True Sansha Power Diagnostic System
True Sansha Power Diagnostic System
True Sansha Power Diagnostic System
True Sansha Power Diagnostic System
Damage Control II

Domination 100MN Afterburner
Caldari Navy Shield Boost Amplifier
Caldari Navy Invulnerability Field
Caldari Navy Invulnerability Field
Gist X-Type X-Large Shield Booster

800mm Repeating Artillery II, Barrage L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Barrage L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Barrage L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Barrage L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Barrage L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Barrage L
800mm Repeating Artillery II, Barrage L
True Sansha Heavy Energy Neutralizer

Large Capacitor Control Circuit II
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

Hammerhead II x5
Warrior II x10
Hobgoblin II x5

I invite everyone to praise it, bash it, or post your own idea of what is YOUR ship. And the first person to tell me what was Shub Niggurath's code name wins a million ISK :)

Fly bling


Monday, June 14, 2010


Well, I may have missed the boat during my first tour of duty at AMC, but It's looking very much like I'll be able to redeem myself a bit, soon™ as the title implies. Back in spring 2009 Apocrypha came out and the industrial heads were going head-first into T3 production, at a time when the market was so nuts over wormhole products that strategic cruisers were more expensive than the average dreadnought. Being on the poor side because of full-time PvP and not being very interested in much of anything else at the time, I put off T3 ships to a much farther future and was content with killing pirates and colony intruders. It wasn't until late 2009 that I hit a big enough PvP burn-out to feel like doing stuff in EVE other than killing other players' ships and pods. Getting into industry is not something that appealed to me, even slightly, but doing a few missions, exploration, and travelling just for the hell of it, all mixed in with a bit of PvP of course, that called to me and I even enjoyed it! So all this mix of activities prepared me better for a second stint in wormhole space better than all the PvP in the world.

And here we are now, a few weeks after settling into Chaos Central and even after what could be considered a huge loss, I'm barely feeling the hit. Instead of buying and fitting a new Sleipnir I just took the one I was using to run missions (which had gotten to be once in a blue moon anyway), took out the myriad of faction modules and replaced then with T2, and voila, Sinister Footwear left Balginia for W-space. That way I can use a ship that was starting to collect dust, spend a minimal amount of ISK to refit it, and still be able to keep the Sleeper salvage that will go into... drum roll please... my first Loki!

Yes I could have gotten one much earlier if I had participated more in W-space ops last year but my legendary lack of patience caused me to want to do something else in order to not get bored, and I got bored anyway. I could also blame other activities like post-separation parenting, flight and race simluation, and lately Mechwarrior4, but I'll just blame myself for being too lazy to make myself a better plan in EVE. I don't usually build or have ships built for me, especially since I've been flying T2 ships almost exclusively; I remember my shock when I first joined AMC and someone lost a ship (don't remember who or which... getting too old!) and said "oh well, I guess I have to build another one". I was like "Huh.... dude... Rens... Amarr... JITA ?!?!". And another part of me was also saying "Huh... spare?!". I guess it's one of the little things that make the difference between an industrialist and a fighter jock :)

So of course, like all my big/expensive ships I get for the first time, this baby will get the Turtle Wax treatment every other day, and will be flown very carefully in relative safety, but yes I'll be keeping the Sleipnir handy just in case I get tired/stupid and lose it to another tourney team! The thing that I find a bummer in EVE though is that those ships make awesome PvP ships, but if you do a lot of PvP you can't make enough ISK to buy 'em, much less lose 'em; rich fucks buying GTCs are rich fucks, and crazies with 5+ accounts need a life. I guess I have to get used to making more ISK than I lose ships; It's easy to say "just use T1 ships for PvP" but when you know how much more fun it is to go faster, tackle easier, hit harder, and all that fun stuff it's even easier to say "screw it, I'll use the Vaga!". I still need a spare or two of those... I guess some Sleepers need to die for a good cause :))

Cheap or expensive, fly the crap out of it


Friday, June 11, 2010

A new padawan

As of yesterday, the cat is out of the bag and pretty much the entire EVE blogging community now knows that Treenara Mazouk, more commonly known as Crazy Kinux, will now be flying for ChaosStorm Corporation. Apparently CK was looking for a new challenge after spending so much time as a pure carebear, and while W-space life is not the same as living in contested space in 0.0, or with a pure PvP-only corp, CK had a good example of the W-space lingo flying left and right as he got acquainted with what we're up to in Chaos Central. To quote him, we were speaking a special dialect of Chinese!

This leads me to the point of this post: what do you need to learn to have a comfortable life in W-space, i.e. "what the frak is CK getting himself into?!" :)

Astrometric skills

In a universe where the "gates" are constantly changing places, having good astrometric skills is a no-brainer, and it's been documented enough by various W-space bloggers like Letrange, the Planet Risk crew, etc. The general idea is 4/4/4/4 in Astrometrics, Astrometric Acquisition, Astrometric Pinpointing and Astrometric Rangefinding. Once you have that finding wormholes and exploration sites will never be an issue again. As I've said before the mechanics of scanning have been well documented before so a quick search on Google should allow anyone to find a good guide.

PvE tanking skills

Sleepers are not your usual belt or mission rats. If a ship isn't tanked properly these guys will chew it up and laugh at it; I wish they would also smack in Local but that's just me! With proper skills the normal combat sites (the ones at 100% on the first scan and/or that can be found using the on-board scanner) are doable in a battlecruiser or tanked HAC in C1 and C2 systems, and maybe a command ship or with a buddy for Radar and Mag sites. Gallente pilots like Treenara have to know that Sleepers love to snack on drones. Direct fire weapons or missiles is the way to go about dealing damage. A newcomer also has to know that Sleepers deal all kinds of damage, and usually lots of it, so active tanks with omni-resists are de rigueur. When you start going into C3 and C4 systems, this is battleship, command ship and strategic cruiser territory, in gang with remote repairs if possible, and C5-C6 is capital ship territory. So yes, my own Sleipnir is a bit overkill for C1 and C2 sites, although there's is no such thing as overkill, but sites die really fast and I switch to my salvager faster, thus more ISKies.

POS operations

No, I'm not talking about the dreary bashing of towers and defences, though that can happen from time to time. W-space has no stations and the only place to live out there is the corp POS. Because there are no personnal hangars W-space life is pretty much communism to the extreme. Of course everyone makes his own ISK by looting and salvaging Sleeper wrecks but this gets put into cans named after the pilots and the contents get hauled to Hi-sec markets on a regular basis. Stuff we leave in the corp hangar can be considered common to everyone depending on roles given out by the directors. The ship maintenance array is nothing but a corp garage. Trust is VERY important and the rule of thumb is to log out in your most valuable ship; If you have an Orca that can hold multiple ships, log out in that.

Another part of POS life that I haven't yet experienced much is the use of the research and manufacture labs; I'll need to sit down with Let and a good glass of Scotch for that one! Basically, when you have a POS that has more labs and defences than a regular Hi-sec station, you just cannot have everything online at the same time. So stuff gets turned on and off depending on need. And last but far from least, my favorite part...

The PvP

Let there be no mistake or misconception: W-space is 0.0. You have no idea how often people forget this little fact, even yours truly when he's tired! So as with 0.0 in K-space, The PvP will happen. Trespassers who may or may not be noob alt scouts for bigger gangs have to be snuffed out. When a bigger gang does "settle in" and harasses, it must be dealt with by a serious gang with a serious FC. When you find a mining or PvE ship "minding his own business" in a neighboring system, it must be taught a lesson. So to do all this you have to get familiar with PvP lingo and the tools of the trade like tackler frigates, interceptors, Cov Ops ships with combat probes, interdictors and mobile warp disruption bubbles, and most importantly comm discipline. OK, killing a lone T1 probing frigate may not sound very complex but when more than 2 people get involved in a fight a leader has to take the reins. And when going up against more than 2 ships primary targets have to be called and fire must be concentrated, and jams must be called.

Another aspect of W-space PvP is called Wormhole Control, or Wormhole-Fu. This is the act of closing unwanted wormholes on purpose, especially when you think that flying around in the neighboring system can be the equivalent of poking a hornet's nest. It takes a good knowledge of wormholes to make sure you do it just right and not become trapped in with the hornets. WH-Fu is also very useful when dealing with an intruder gang as it can not only deprive the gang of possible reinforcements, but it can also trap someone into an ambush with no way out if done right. This tactic is still theoretical so far but I would give good money to have the opportunity to try it. Any volunteers? >:)

Of course like anything in EVE, the best way to learn is by practice and trial and error. Living in a 0.0 environment does help because you can try all sorts of tactics and have a good idea if they work or not. The main important thing about living in W-space is to have the hability to switch from Carebear to Kodiak in the blink of an eye.


To me, W-space is one of the best places to live in EVE. It's calm enough for one to be able to do his own thing, but you have to be on high alert the majority of the time if you don't want to lose, say, a 300 million ISK ship! There are no massive blobfests because the wormholes just can't let anything that big through, but once in a while you do have gang action, and even people who put up their own POSes in your backyard. There is usually sites to run but if not there is always neighboring systems to visit, which may or may not be occupied. Yep, W-space is a fun place :))

All that said, welcome aboard CK, and may your stay in LCSC be a good one!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bad stuff to learn from

This could've been a better week.

 Last Tuesday, in a combination of staying up late, Let being logged, and slight peer pressure (no hard feelings), I managed to get my alliance into a wardec. The only thing that's happened is that the requestee's POS got put in reinforced and may still die, but the people (I use the term loosely) behind the wardec decided to retract it. My guess on the matter: these jokers are wardeccing and then ransoming small corps in hi-sec to pay for their tournament expenses. Yes, this alliance is one of the 64. Maybe the Montreal Habs should start hold-upping banks to get better players to win the Stanley Cup. Ahhh... I love EVE :)

 And yesterday, again after staying up longer than I should have, I lost my Sleipnir "Inca Roads" to a Beyond Virginity gang in a Class 1 wormhole system. I will give them major props though because they managed to wait till I got a bit too comfortable and never used a single probe. Once the Buzzard pilot had a good warp-in I got jumped by a Sacrilege, a Drake and a Rook. Good thing they had more people on the way because they never would've have finished me off. Letrange was still in fleet with me so he decided to come play with us in a stealth bomber. By this time a second Drake and a Tengu had joined the enemy gang to finally break my tank. Before I went down Let and I did manage to kill the Rook; tough job that, as he was fit with Minnie jammers custom-made for me! Let warped out in order to make a second bomb run on the Sacrilege this time but before he came back an Onyx had joined the fun and sealed our fate.

 So yes, getting tired but comfortable can make for a very bad combination. Losing a brand spankin' new command ship isn't exactly cheap but I can live with it. I should have a replacement ready before the end of the weekend.

 Things to learn from:
  • If you're gonna stay up late, don't fly uber-expensive ships into danger. It usually ends in tears; well, not mine... I laugh off my losses :)
  • If you're gonna stay up late, don't make important alliance decisions. This wardec got retracted, but I consider this Beginner's Luck. It could have been MUCH worse. 
  • If you're gonna do sites solo in W-space, for the love of Chuck Yeager check the D-scan like a madman. 
  • If you think you're tired, you ARE tired! Start doing something safer or just log and go to bed.

Here's to hoping my own painful experiences can help others avoid 'em. I fly dangerous so most of you can fly safe :))

R.I.P. Inca Roads, and let's lay down the keel for Sinister Footwear.


Monday, June 7, 2010

The Great Unblocking

Alright, I think I'm cured. Let the electronic ink flow and let's talk about stuff! A few things have been happening lately and much fun was had so here goes, in no particular order.

Chaos Central

As my great buddy and corpmate Letrange has mentioned, ChaosStorm has colonized a W-space system and after the necessary hauling of ships and setting up of POS modules, we can now call this place home. And yes as Letrange has posted on his blog our tower is a sight to behold. This is actually my second stint as a W-space resident. The first time I had left the PvP-hungry Clown Punchers to go help my real-life buddy at the start of Apocrypha, and also to play EVE at a slower rate because I was on a bit of a burn-out. Well burn-out or not, the switch from all-out PvP action to a much quieter alliance proved to be a bit too radical and I was still too interested by The PvP to get settled in W-space to make ISK by the freighter load. It took me getting back to BOZO and a second burn-out to start seeing EVE under a different light. When I left BOZO the second time I started making ISK at a much faster rate because of missioning and exploration, but I still did some PvP, mostly solo roaming in either Low-sec or 0.0, and of course I didn't answer to can-flippers the way most mission runners do by crying and whining in Local; I answered by cramming a Vaga down their throat!

So now here I am back in W-space and I see the experience much differently this time. Doing Sleeper sites is much MUCH more interesting than doing missions not only because of the ISK involved but because it is much more exciting. With the right ship (more on that later) C1 and C2 sites aren't really hard but you have to remember that W-space is a 0.0 environment, and anything can and will happen. To someone like me who thrives on flying dangerously, there is great fun to be had in doing sites in another inhabited system, under the nose of the owners sometimes. Of course flying dangerous does not mean flying stupid, so when enemy probes appear on scan we drop what we're doing and try our best to snuff the prober out of existence. Letrange documented this weekend's kill of a Probe frigate. The funny thing was the cry in Local: "Dude, why?". My answer was short: "Cuz." I don't care if the intruder, or landlord if we're the ones intruding, is a noob or completely peaceful, but I'm NBSI to the core in 0.0 space and if I see it on my overview it goes down or I go down trying.

Inca Roads

No, I'm not talking about the awesome song by maestro Frank Zappa. The song did inspire me for the name of my second Sleipnir. As most people know, spending an appreciable amount of time in W-space gets you rich. Fast. I didn't have quite enough money or skills after only one week to get myself a Loki but I was easily able to buy and fit a second Sleipnir for Sleeper extermination. The first one is still in its mission hub and is basically my trophy for acheivements in EVE, therefore it is fit accordingly with all sorts of faction modules. The new one is much cheaper (OK... a Domination AB and a T2 CCC rig are not!) but let's take the C1 site "Perimeter Camp" for example: by using the Sleipnir I can get the site AND the salvaging done in less time than just killing the Sleepers using the dual-repping Hurricane. Tank is even less of an issue because of the resists, and I use a lot less bullets to get the job done. If I can buy and fit a new command ship after only one week, I guess ISK will no longer be an issue for the foreseeable future.

The tournament

This past weekend was the start of Alliance Tournament VIII, and it's clear that this year the stars of the show are the Pirate Factions' ships. Many teams have fielded a Dramiel or two, some Daredevils, some Gilas (pronounced "Hila" apprently; I did not know that!), some Rattlesnakes, etc. This year the teams also had to make a flagship whose fit would be made public, and the most popular choice by far is the Bhaalgorn, the Blood Raider battleship. And yes the flagships are ridiculously expensive. So far only three teams have fielded their flagships, one of which in a losing cause so ouch wallet! But THE most impressive match so far was the last match of Day One opposing Erebus Alliance and Red Overlord. Erebus was fielding a PL-type bomber squad while ROL brought The Angel Fleet, in the form of 3 Machariels, 3 Dramiels, 3 Daredevils and a Scimitar. The match started and then all Hell broke loose. The bombs shot at the Angel tacklers blew up in empty space because the frigates were too fast, and 137 seconds later it was all over. Pandemic Legion's Minmatar fleet last year was impressive, but ROL's Angel fleet was far beyond impressive.

This is the fourth tournament I have the chance of witnessing and it seems that CCP are getting better and better at delivering a quality event, both in sportsmanship and in media coverage. At one point on Day Two over 20000 people were watching the tournament video stream, and during the North American afternoon the PCU record got shattered when at one point 60453 accounts were logged in. To think that when I started playing anything over 35000 was considered a Big Deal... EVE has really come a long way!

So that's pretty much it with the update. I can't wait for the tournament to pick up again, and for once the finals will be happening while I'm not on parental duty. Maybe we should make it an event with the other Montreal players!

Fly like you own the place, even when you don't