Monday, 29 September 2008

The face behind the 'toon

Yesterday was my birthday. I don't ask for stuff, mainly because I feel I owe people for it.

However, I have something for you, whomever you are; you strange people who seem to enjoy reading this blog.

Yarr >=3

Sunday, 28 September 2008

'You chose poverty when you chose piracy.'

My sec has been dropping like a rock snce I decided to spend some time chilling out in Decon. The guys are fun to hang out with, so even the slow times are fun. And my Combat Log isn't depressing me anymore. I took a look at it an hour ago and before the latest cluster of kills - including three podmails in a row, somehow - there is a long gap of inactivity spanning 127 days.

A hundred and twenty-seven days.

That's roughly four months. The most recent kill other than the Doom Armada series is from just before I left Atrocitas. Granted, three of the weeks I was in Righteous Indignation with Tygris Alliance, I was out of the country and lacking proper access to Eve (installed on my WoW-addict kid brother's computer so I could pop in to say 'hi' while my bro was at work). That still leaves over three months of relative inactivity.

I can correlate those four months to a few specifics ingame and in Life:
- The steady decrease in my wallet, as Tygris paid no recompense for losses, nor shared loot from kills equally (there being so many people on each kill that it wouldn't have made much of an impression, anyway).
- Loss of self-confidence in Real Life (depression and general head-fuckedness; it happens and it's over now, thank god)
- Not being with a group that made me feel confident about doing things ingame.

Whenever I would complain of not actually being able to afford to lose ships, the CEO of UnSec was fond of telling me that I'd chosen ingame poverty when I'd selected piracy as a profession. But I can look at the chart of my Eve lifetime and see that it's the reverse which is more accurate.

I'd had my share of losses, and I did pay for my first bs with a complex piece of artwork, but my time in Atrocitas was very good to me up until the end when the dynamic began to change and I was already well into my Real Life slump. You'll all get a chuckle out of this: I was in enough of a state, mentally, that I did agonise a bit over the moral implications of pirating - the reactions I started getting to my increasingly low sec status made me wonder why it was such a big deal to everyone else.

When I joined a nullsec alliance, I was under the impression that it would boost me up again, but instead everything slowly ground to a halt; I suffered some losses which were enormously expensive to me, with no compensation from corp or alliance, and eked by on selling rigs in highsec and the charity of some close friends. I was able to support myself a bit on Syndicate rats, but then Tygris policies changed, relegating the entire alliance to three systems for NPC-hunting, and that cut off both the meagre ISK flow and the slow sec-climb I'd been keen on at the time. The impression I got from my few forays into alliance ops was that we were nothing more than DPS sponges, to kill or be killed, and if we died then it was just too bad and we needed to have another combat-worthy ship ready to go immediately. There was no sense of group cohesion or caring for your wingman, no patience with the questions I asked as I attempted to settle in, and the result was that I had no confidence in the CEOs, the FCs, or the alliance and allies as a whole.

UnSec was, at the start, a refreshing change - back to lowsec and freedom to profit from others' losses, with the intention to guerrilla-warfare a bunch of nearby-nullsec blobbers in our spare time... but nobody was ever on in the right places, at the right times. We can blame Summer Slump for this, in part. But it never improved, the CEO went a bit batshit when the Dev Blog regarding speed nerfs went out, and over time everything just slowly dribbled halfheartedly through the rotors in a semi-liquid slurry.

And now? Now, I can think about buying a certain tech-2 cruiser I've been eyeing up, and the skillbooks to go with her. I can fly my battleship without worrying if I can afford to replace her, and the idea of taking on larger ships with a gang of cruisers doesn't leave me asking what our chances are. I haven't lost a single ship since I joined Hellcats and returned to what I know best, where I started.

Perhaps my former CEO wasn't so successful with piracy; perhaps he was just expressing his feelings in that black-or-white way of his, where everything is in extremes and absolutes. If it wasn't so easy to live off of piracy in Eve, it wouldn't be an ingame career choice to begin with, nor so common an occurrence.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The kind of stuff they would arrest people for in the Real World

Earlier today, someone attempted to invite me to a fleet whilst I was afk. I couldn't place the name, but I knew I'd seen the corp around somewhere in the last week or so. I asked around, but nobody knew.

I should have checked our killboards.

He convo'd me again later this evening.
[ 2008.09.25 21:48:54 ] Shae Tiann > Hello?
[ 2008.09.25 21:48:56 ] Scyrusx > hello
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:07 ] Scyrusx > im not sure how i ended up talking to you lol
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:23 ] Shae Tiann > you tried to invite me to a fleet earlier when I was afk ^_^
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:40 ] Scyrusx > oh thats because you podded me u crazy sob
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:43 ] Scyrusx > lol
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:45 ] Shae Tiann > what?
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:47 ] Scyrusx > im gonna kill you
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:50 ] Scyrusx > for podding me
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:51 ] Shae Tiann > lol
[ 2008.09.25 21:49:54 ] Scyrusx > yyeeeeaaa
[ 2008.09.25 21:50:06 ] Shae Tiann > not podded someone in ages...
[ 2008.09.25 21:50:11 ] Scyrusx > lol
[ 2008.09.25 21:50:22 ] Shae Tiann > I'm an innocent lil carebear, me...
[ 2008.09.25 21:50:32 ] Scyrusx >
2008.09.23 23:45:00
Victim: Scyrusx
Corp: Manufact Co.
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Capsule
System: Siseide
Security: 0.3
Damage Taken: 398

Involved parties:

Name: Mynxee (laid the final blow)...
[ 2008.09.25 21:50:39 ] Scyrusx > a crew member of yours
[ 2008.09.25 21:50:43 ] Shae Tiann > oh, was that you? ^__^
[ 2008.09.25 21:50:51 ] Shae Tiann > that's my ceo
[ 2008.09.25 21:51:00 ] Scyrusx > lol
[ 2008.09.25 21:51:07 ] Scyrusx > for some reason i have kill rights on you
[ 2008.09.25 21:51:27 ] Shae Tiann > yeah, I had a warp scram on you
[ 2008.09.25 21:51:45 ] Shae Tiann > :>
[ 2008.09.25 21:51:46 ] Scyrusx > oh, well if you see my abbadon just be worried :)
[ 2008.09.25 21:51:54 ] Scyrusx > ttfn
[ 2008.09.25 21:51:57 ] Shae Tiann > fair enough :)

Yes, that would indeed be the second hate-convo (not hate-mail, mind you; nobody's ever sent me hate-mail) I have ever received. It is also the first ingame death-threat I've ever been issued.


I feel like I've passed some sort of benchmark test of Eve Online bastardry. He lost an Omen that night for sitting out in a belt in lowsec with known pirates at large in the system. Now he states a desire to avenge his own idiocy, and I sat there and laughed my arse off for ten minutes.

Scyrus, m' dear, in all sincerity, I wish you the best of luck. Come visit Decon when you feel up to it. You have all the time in the world: your killrights are only valid for a limited time, but I'm an outlaw. Just make certain you ask for 1v1 before jumping in, or you'll lose that shiny battleship before you get your chance for revenge.

(Oh, btw, it's spelled 'Abaddon')

Fun with Capital Ships

'IAC and ex-Etheral Dawn in here? Man, we're gonna have to scrub the system down.'
I was semi-afk working on an art commission and doing my standard semi-afk thing of listening to comms and checking out the neutrals in Local. My bio contains the line 'While you're reading my bio, I'm checking out your standings and employment history', and it's true. I'd spotted the aforementioned characters at a glance - I have friends who left IAC, and my earliest encounter with other players was being insulted by Yal XianKun, ceo of AIAA. Not that I would need an excuse to shoot someone, but the ex-ED guy would have been the icing.

It was a slowish night, after the excitement of the previous night's run. I'd logged in just as the guys had decided to surprise a freighter friend with their carriers, then scored a tasty kill as a Fleet Issue Mega jumped through after the hauler (there's some debate about whether it had been intending to try for the freighter, or just happened to be coming through at the same time). The ex-ED guy disappeared from the system, and the IAC pilot docked up in something small and logged as well. The guys were goofing around outside the station shooting each other.
'Hey Shae, undock! Bring your hyperion out!'


'I wanna test my damage.'

'What are you flying?'

'I'm flying a Phoenix. ...It's an interceptor.'

'You lie like a rug.'
I went back to my artwork, grumbling about nu-metallers who couldn't appreciate Courtney Love references in advertising. The silliness outside continued until I saw the IAC pilot log in, then leave the station.
'Oceandragon's undocked, guys, he's undocked.'

'Ohhh, come on, baby... YES!! Oh my god, he's in a Nidhoggur! Get it!'

'He's still under invuln. Come on, come on, come onnn... Point!'


'Ohhh, baby!'
Vent flooded with laughter and comments about how seriously, seriously bad the guy's timing had been. I dropped my graphics tablet, brought Uninvited Ghost online and skipped outside to join the party. The carrier was still in line from the undock as I locked him up, spun up the blasters and dropped my own point. I glanced at the sentry guns, then thought, Fuck it, and released the drones, too.
'Bump him, Shae!'
Hurr, hurr, hurr, kinkeh. The Hyperion's drive chugged up with agonising deliberation as I aimed for the carrier's broad side; it smacked against the Nidhoggur's hull at just shy of top speed, bouncing the larger ship further out of dock-range. I slapped a web on the target and watched as the carrier's armour and then hull melted in little more than a minute.

We missed the pod - not for lack of trying - and he wasn't actually carrying much, but the whole thing had been Darwinian Law in action. He couldn't have missed that most of the people in the system were undocked; we speculated that he must have been kicking himself for not having an instawarp point, or maybe he'd just frozen in shock when he'd seen what was outside the station. Who knows?

Nothing personal, Oceandragon, but you just happen to look good on our killboards ^_^

Oh, yeah: I didn't lose a single drone to sentry fire, either.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

The View from Amamake

... is full of people who would merrily kill you.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Mynxee's already bloggled about this, but I thought I should make a record of my own. This blog needs something other than random babble for once, anyway ^_^

I was feeling rather bummed out from all that time spent playing highsec hauler, so Mynxee suggested we go for a little roam. I say 'little'; the full route turned out to be something like thirty-five jumps. But what the hey, I needed a little action and a change of pace. I had two hours before I needed to log for the night, so I clonejumped back to Ladistier for a cruiser. After a little conference with Mynxee, we realised we had enough ECM birds between us to choke a substantially larger vessel, so I brought Sugar with her classic gank fitting, and away we went.

The first few systems out were quiet, and we took time to grab safespots and I took a few pictures (I'm like this in RL, too). The few people we did see were either docked or not viable targets (meaning bigger and scarier than we were); I spotted a couple of old war-targets from the early Arzi days. We'd been going for maybe an hour or so when Mynxee noticed we were close to Amamake.
'Hey, that's where some of the guys seem to get a lot of action. Wanna see if we get some kills?'
I have heard things about Amamake. I know people who have pirated there and people who have died there; most of them were the same.

I also feel that the old curiosity killed the cat line is a better reference to Schrodinger's theoretical experiment than to a hapless feline poking its nose somewhere it oughtn't.
'Eh, sure. Why not?'
So we jumped into Amamake and popped the lid off the theoretical box. What was the worst that could happen?

The first thing I noticed was a Local population of forty-five. Yikes. The second thing that registered was that we'd materialised in the midst of a moderately-sized gatecamp of primarily positive-sec pilots. Oh, crap. Mynxee had lag, and my jumpcloak timer was ticking down as I scanned for a safer place to warp to.

Then I noticed how small the place was, and how many stations there were. Bloody hell!

Tick... tick... tick...

If I didn't want to get squished on that gate, I'd have to find a safespot fast; Mynxee had a little more time than I did. I spotted a planet I'd fallen roughly in line with; crossing my fingers, I punched Warp and waited tensely to see if it worked. Either they were slow on the uptake or their locktime blew goats - only a Malediction flashed briefly yellow before I was gone.

Mynxee's voice came over the comms.
'You're being followed.'
Hmm, a taste of my own medicine; it wasn't that long ago I was doing the same thing to others in Kor-Azor. I was already picking my next warp-point, this time with my Places tab open and ready to take bookmarks. Did they have enough stations in here? Jeez! Removing them from my overview helped a bit, but as we bounced from point to point, we landed a little too close to some of those stations for comfort. With an eye on the directional scanner, we kept moving. Two ships worried me particularly: a Deimos and a Thorax which kept showing up on shortrange scans, clearly warping from planet to planet in hopes of trapping one of us.

A Magnetometric Quest probe was dropped in the water. I should really have been more concerned than I was at the time, but I've only used Quests to find deadspace complexes and was preoccupied looking for the more obvious Snoops and Spooks. At one point, Mynxee suggested warping from belt to belt to see what would happen. I was ready to go along if only because it would answer the question of whether the cat would die (btw, Mynxee, I was never the smart, sensible one in school - I was the one who spent all her time reading or drawing because everything else was boring and my classmates were shallow).

We made the mistake of lingering too long, too often in one particular spot while we debated our options, and as I started to warp to the next safespot, a Falcon showed up practically on top of us. I was already gone, Mynxee managed to get out, and we agreed Amamake was too small for that sort of tomfoolery. We headed through an apparently clear gate into Siseide and breathed a sigh of relief.

Eight in Local, mostly carebearing types with a habit of sitting in belts chatting. We ricocheted around the system for a bit, making safes and being friendly with the locals, and at one point I called into my headset,
'Hey! Wensley is in here!'
We gave a hail and hello and chattered some more whilst looking for something tasty on the Local buffet.

As I was making another safe, Mynxee asked,
'What's a Tormentor?'

'Um, Amarr frigate.'

'There's one in a belt here. That Omen is here, too. Fight going on.'

'Need a hand?'

'He's going down.'
A cackle echoed over comms as I warped in to keep the cruiser from running as its shields crumpled. The already-popped frigate pilot continued to recruit in Local, to our amusement. Sugar's shields took a beating from a determined frigate rat who didn't know when to quit, before I caved and put it out of my misery.

I was still watching the scanner warily, and at one point I thought, That Deimos looks familiar. And that Thorax, too. Huh... Maybe they were just passing through? No joy: they stayed around, and in space. I started checking for probes but came up with nothing, and nothing, and nothing again. And they were still there.

Mynxee ganged up Wensley in case he needed help with the Cynabal he was tracking, and we continued searching the system for targets. We really were in there too long.

It was deja-vu. I warped off to my next spot and started to run up the directional again when Mynxee said,
'There's an Arazu here.'
The recon had her scrammed and damped in short order, and for a mad instant I considered warping back; if I could lock and sic the Vespas on him before he could kill my sensors, we stood a reasonable chance of taking the Arazu out. I was realigning when Myxnee said the Deimos had arrived, and that decided the issue for me.I like a good fight, but that was a suicide run; the boys from Amamake had tracked us down, and I was next on the hit-list.

It was tempting to stick around and see how long it would take them to catch me, but by then it was edging on one in the morning and I had initially intended to log half an hour earlier. My Global timer had run down without being noticed, and Mynxee was lining up to pod-streak the long run home. In the end, I followed her out of the system, chased by a bit of rude commentary from the Arazu pilot.
[ 2008.09.24 00:15:46 ] Van Steiza > When a man talks dirty to a woman, it's sexual harassment. When a woman talks dirty to a man, it's $3.95 a minute.
Most charming, indeed.

There were a few 'eek!' moments on the way back. One gatecamp I jumped into I was certain would munch my Thorax like a Mars bar, but didn't, in the end, seem interested.
[ 2008.09.24 00:30:35 ] Shae Tiann > ooooh shinies!
[ 2008.09.24 00:30:36 ] Mynxee > gogogogogo girl!
[ 2008.09.24 00:31:01 ] Mynxee > oooh the strong silent types.
[ 2008.09.24 00:31:15 ] Kuger > kiss me
[ 2008.09.24 00:31:18 ] Shae Tiann > prrrr
[ 2008.09.24 00:31:24 ] Triksterism > YOU WHORE KUGER
[ 2008.09.24 00:31:50 ] Triksterism > ITS OVER :(
You meet all different sorts out in the spacelanes late at night. I scooped a clutch of Ogres that had been left on their lonesome near a gate, at which point I discovered what a LOLkillmail I'd have been: somehow, I'd slapped a frigate-sized microwarpdrive on Sugar rather than a more appropriate cruiser-sized module o__O

I'd love to know what sick mind created a system like Amamake. Penirgman is bad enough for stations, and that's in highsec and rather on the large side; a place like that in lowsec is already a deathtrap without being fully within a ship's scan radius.

Will I go back? Probably, with perhaps a little more preparation, now that I know what to expect from the system. Will I die there? I think I used up one of my remaining lives in there already, so there's now a one-in-eight chance of somebody getting lucky. Will I have fun? Of course I will; it's not every day I get my dreadlocks ruffled like that ^_^

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

The Logistics Grind

It's now been three days of sitting in the same bloody station whilst overseeing my hauler buddy's moving of stuff into Decon. Lordy, it's enough to drive you mad. I reached the point last night where I could no longer bear to run fits through EFT and simply logged off in favour of spending time with my Significant Other (who reads this occasionally even though he no longer plays Eve, bless you, sweetie).

The logistics of moving is probably the most tedious part of Eve. It never gets easier, nor faster. There are methods to simplify the process, but those have their own hangups.

I'm a bit of a pack-rat, in the 'I want to have enough spare modules to outfit a replacement ship quickly' sense. Trouble is, I've had that mentality since I started, and maybe 2/3 of my stuff will never actually be used anymore, as my skills have improved and thus the ship loadouts upgraded. With the last system-move when I was in UnSec, I gave nearly everything into my best friend's keeping, to be stored in a single system in highsec a few jumps from my lowsec base, so that bits can be brought down as needed. It simplifies things quite a bit, but now my mate has a hangar with nearly 400 different types of modules, drones and ammo. That's right: different types. Everything is repackaged and stacked. There's enough stuff rattling around in there to fit out several dozen low-end cheap frigates and cruisers, and maybe a spare battlecruiser.

Why the bloody hell do I have so much stuff?

And the funny part was that, after going through the stacks, my hauler buddy still had to make a trip to Oursulaert to obtain a bunch of parts, because my fitting lists have upgraded again!

So three days spent working out new, upgraded fits, parsing through what I already have, then cramming it into a hyperextended hauler and waiting for Decon to not be scarily busy. And I'm left with aching eyes, a headache, and a cruiser which doesn't have a point because for some reason I forgot to pack it. D'oh.
(Special thankies to Mynxee who just now loaned me a spare point ^_^)

Long, long hours spent in tedium, watching DG3N having fun in Local, wishing I had a ready, useable ship other than the battleship... it's like being under house-arrest under Mum's orders until your room is clean. It's worse than moving in Real Life, because it's not like you can stuff everything in bin-bags and toss it in the back of your mate's Land Rover to be sorted out later; it's all very precise, specific, and everything needs to fit together into combat-worthy ships at the far end.


The least fun part of Eve, and yet the most necessary if I don't want to be in a similar position to the one I was in with Tygris, where my unfitted ships were in one system and my cans of gear and ammo in another, several jumps away through Lower Syndicate. In the name of fun, do we put ourselves through such torment and tribulation.

But it's worth it in the end, as I breathe a sigh of relief that I won't have to run logistics for the next wee while... at least, not until I lose the ships I just had brought in.

Friday, 19 September 2008

I kan has ISK?

Looks like I'll be hopping on the Sad Pirate Fundraising wagon for a bit here. Alas, my only sources of fundage in-game are through ransom, selling off hawt lootz, and my best friend's running missions for level three agents in Gallente space. I've never willingly fit a mining laser to a ship, and have no head for the market, so the routes most pirates seem to have their closest pals manage are all rather closed for me.

No, I'm not asking for ISK. I'm offering a service in exchange for it.

Get your head out of the gutter, you should be ashamed!

I've been using Photoshop for nearly nine years (omfg now I feel old). I've been making forum avatars and sigs since then, and people from UnSec requested a few not too long ago.

So... if anyone would like a forum sig, drop me an evemail or convo. I've noticed most people charging from 40 mil up to a hundred, so I'll start there and say costs are negotiable. I have a few examples of previous work up here, here and here.

Edit: Ah, yes, as Mynxee just said, I can do banners for blogs and websites, as well - the one on here is obviously my work, I did an announcement banner for Atrocitas to use on the Eve forums, and designed my own website (though that required a bit of elabourate coding I had to pass on to a friend to manage).

Monday, 15 September 2008

ISK-Farmers Are People, Too

I can tell there'll be a few voices crying, 'Foul!' over that title. Let me point you towards this article. It's what you get when you type isk farmer into Google search and hit I'm feeling lucky. It's a nice relief to me: I never saw that when it was first published, and I did just find it five minutes ago as I was looking for a way to avoid having to repeat what everyone probably already knows. After a skim through it, I can see that it contains nearly everything I've learned through personal experience, however there's not much more than a single line regarding the mission-running farmers I'm accustomed to and can spot from five systems distant (slight exaggeration).

I think it's quite amusing the way they detail how to go about farmer-hunting. A guy from Enuma Elish apparently - according to the corp rep who showed up an hour later to ask why we'd popped his corpmate's mega - mistook me for an isk farmer when Atrocitas first moved into Arzi. Considering I was already on my way to Outlaw and had just acquired a 25mil bounty, we were all a bit sceptical about his motives.

*gets giggles from reading back through the chatlogs of the incident*

AAAaanyway... ^__^

Arzi was crazy with farmers when we moved in. There were literally hundreds of them. A few were definitely macros and they disappeared quickly after we started shooting them, but most were real people being paid to run hauler missions back and forth 23/7. I honestly don't know if the alliance that was in residence when we moved in was letting them run in exchange for protection fees the way they were doing for all the other carebears in there, or if they were just crappy at shooting them. But we settled in and got busy, and the farmers were anything but silent.
[15:21:53] be ture > shit
[15:22:37] erentukas > genocid:)
[15:23:03] Shae Tiann > ... what the hell are you guys doing out there?
[15:23:20] Creesch > smartbombing
[15:23:20] Phelaen > smartbombing
[15:29:16] erentukas > killer still outside?
[15:29:53] be ture > yes
[15:30:28] be ture > Oh, God
[15:36:20] erentukas > mada....

And they weren't all in haulers, either. I lost a myrm when we went after a raven in a mission and he called in a neuting scorpion for backup. They were ballsy, bumping us with shuttles and noobships if we were sitting outside; if someone was flashy, they would shoot, too. Well, they learned to only shoot the red ones after the first few errors...
[22:35:28] Shae Tiann > evening, c
[22:36:58 ] (notify) C stone: You have foolishly engaged in criminal activity within sight of sentry guns and must suffer the consequences.
[22:36:58 ] (combat) C stone [0T66](Impairor) lightly hits you, doing 2.4 damage.
[22:37:15] Shae Tiann > ...well, that was silly of you

A lot of our sec went because we were killing them before they could loot wrecks - theirs or someone else's, they didn't seem to care which. Some, like 'be ture', 'Bwotau Zhao' and a few others, were fun targets and fought back well. Others were just meat on a hook and would return the most outlandish insults in exchange for their popped haulers. We got to know them and could identify one worker's set from another's based on the way they were named, the race of the characters, 'birth' times, and how often we scanned out 'AHYAMAHA' flying SHASENG's Bestower. Some were Japanese, some were Korean, a couple were from Singapore; most were Chinese. Every so often, one of us managed to get them talking and they were quite happy to describe the production-grind-style life they were used to. They were interested in knowing where we were from, what we did when we weren't playing Eve, if we would give their mission loot back or take money to leave them alone.

And we were costing them. Every time you steal a farmer's ore, pop his wrecks and cut his missions short with the aid of a well-placed missile, you are interfering in their job. You are costing them a lot of real-world money and making them a workforce liability by taking their stuff and hurting their agent standings. I'm not saying this to make people feel badly for griefing them; I'm telling it like it is. I could say something about how the gameplaying industry fits into East Asian society, but I don't know enough about it to make suppositions like that; if you start making generalisations, you end up on the edge of prejudicial stereotyping, which is something I have a raging aversion to :p It's an industry that may well stem back to the first days of online gaming - earning and selling ingame money for real-world cash. Supplying the demand, because nobody likes being skint; and while you can't do much about that in Real Life when you're stuck in a rut, it's a much smaller felony to remedy the situation in a virtual world. There isn't much that can be done to stop the practice, either - it's not considered a crime in the Real World, the perpetrators live on the other side of the planet, and the only measures that could possibly bring a halt to it would also ruin gameplay for the people who continue to play legitimately. All they can do is enforce measures to discourage player endorsement of farming, relying on the word of players to point out the farmers and banning accounts which receive inordinately large amounts of ingame currency for no apparent ingame reason. It does nothing at all about the source of the issue, since they just make new accounts, get new ISPs, rinse and repeat.

There's nothing that can be done about the hundreds of workers who rely upon the game currency industry for food and housing without applying far more severe consequences than any police force would see as reasonable. If we were to make OOG currecy trading a criminal offense, it would raise all sorts of issues about international trade, the limits of the world market, and who, exactly has jurisdiction over what happens on the internet. There are places in the world where certain actions which may be wholly legal in a game would be considered vastly more heinous; do they have the right to prosecute a member of their nation for doing something in a virtual environment? Or to enforce their own laws into a game which is published and run from another country and culture where virtual actions aren't taken as seriously?

Do we really want to go there just now, when the games industry is still considered a niche market, despite being bigger than Hollywood by now? I'm not going to outline the potential consequences of that; chances are, I'd only hit the less severe ones. We all know how members of the government can fuss over games content and propriety; what do YOU think would happen if they suddenly realised they could have a LOT more control over that than they thought they did? Or worse, that they could be making money from it?

As much as we might not like to admit it, ISK farmers are people, and they're not going anywhere.

... So shoot away! >=3

Saturday, 13 September 2008

'Why didn't you tell me there was a fight going on?' Or, 'Why we need voice comms'

I blooded my arazu yesterday. That I came narrowly close to not doing so, or narrowly close to losing it, and was relatively useless in the gang we were in is not lost on me.

Why so? We weren't on comms.

It was someone else's gang, they invited us in. Fair does, I'm always up for a run with good pilots. Mynxee was successfully baited - it was a very good bait trap set by a group of what I'm guessing to be either Dead Parrot Shoppe alts or isk farmers (not all farmers are clueless about pvp, after being preyed upon so much by players) - and lost her ship. So we went hunting. The rest of the gang was on their comms; Mynx and I weren't. She was alright, she just had to follow their lead. But I was in the recon, and from past experience, staying with the fleet leads quickly to a popped t2 cloaker - I've lost a keres and nemesis from sitting among Tygris fleets and getting trapped in bubbles.

So I held a bit apart, trying for range. As a result, I was left feeling rather like the last gooseberry on the branch and not really having much of a clue as to what was going on. At one point, I was all alone in a system with the gang we were hunting, the rest of the gang having gone into the next system and the gate was nowhere near a warpable object. Then the gang came back, and I watched them return to our base system. Not being in warp range, I had to hit the closest planet and come back at 0. I jump in and find myself in the middle of I firefight I didn't know was occurring.

[ 2008.09.12 16:07:58 ] Shae Tiann > oh holy fuck
[ 2008.09.12 16:08:15 ] Shae Tiann > what dio you want me on?
[ 2008.09.12 16:08:46 ] Shae Tiann > O\m at bad range
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:29 ] Mynxee > /emote grins
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:41 ] Shae Tiann > talk about a heart attack
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:42 ] Shae Tiann > christ
[ 2008.09.12 16:09:50 ] Shae Tiann > we need vent or something

Yeah, I was a little panicked, having materialised less than 9km from an enemy domi. I don't usually have such bad typos :p Finding myself in the middle of a fight I didn't know about really did scare the crap out of me.

Again, I don't like being in a ranged ship in the middle of a fight; I warped to the nearest marker and came back at 50 in time to snaffle in on the last raven kill as the rest of the targets ran.

Voice comms are essential in group combat situations. It's nice to know what's going on, where to go, who to primary... and a recon that isn't being used as a recon might just as well be another flimsy (albeit bloody expensive) cruiser. And I remember how fast my first celestis went down: I hadn't even had that thing in space for half an hour. I could easily have been sitting in that one system for the next hour if our gang hadn't come back through, because I had no idea where it was... or even how many people were in it by that point!

Not only that: it's not possible to type instructions - certainly not clear, concise instructions - when you're in the middle of a fight. I know a few people who are good at this, but that's due to having spent too many months playing without a microphone, and even then we've given them a hard time about it (right, Matth? -_^). Taking attention from the controls long enough to tap out orders, much less read the responses, is a fast way to die, and slows down communication within a fleet critically. In order to be effective as a fighting force, players need the speed and immediacy of verbal communication from FC to members - and from members to FC. Having been on the intel side and ordered to shut the fuck up by the FC when I'm trying to relay info they're not apparently reading in the channel is neither the best way to keep your scout in the fleet nor the best way to keep the fleet alive (yes, I did tell the Huzzah FC that I hoped they got their arses shot off before I left). There's a vast difference between 'Comms Silence' (i.e. no unnecessary chatter) and 'Nobody talks but the FC'. One works. One doesn't. Personally, I could do with a little nonessential chatter in my gang comms - it boosts cameraderie and makes everyone feel like a valued part of the team, rather than just tools to absorb dps. The best fleets are where everyone is relaxed having a good time, and feel free to broadcast laughter and comments over the channel.

But that may just be me - I didn't last long in nullsec because it was too serious and miliant for my lackadaisical piratical sensibilities. We're in it to have fun; where's the fun in being told to be a good little fleet drone and stfu? It's nice to hear the voices of the people you fly with; it's nice to get the feeling that you can trust them to watch your back as you're watching theirs.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Moobs Don't Count

The buzz around the Hellcats recruitment post is both highly amusing and alarming. The thread's been up for 5 days, and responses are everywhere from amused to supportive to cynical (can't tell if the guy accusing us of misandrogy is trying to be inflammatory or if he just needs to brush up his reading comprehension; big words look impressive, but if you don't know how to use them, it's counterproductive).

It does rather raise the question of what consitutes gender equality and discrimination in a game environment. My own take on this situation is that it isn't so much the constituency of the corp that defines misandrogy or misogyny; it's the constituency of the targets. Hellcats is rather a perpetual Girls' Night Out (when we say we're gonna paint the system red, it will be red!), and our targets may be male or female 'toons, and male or female players. If we were to deliberately go in search of only male targets, we could be accused of discrimination; that 95% of our targets will be guys in RL is just a result of the game conditions.

Let me say this: I have met true misogynists. I mean the sort whose own mothers have restraining orders against them, the ones who refer to their mates' girlfriends as 'bits of fluff' and who will go flying into the face of the nearest random woman after a few drinks in the pub, loudly proclaiming women to be the cause of all the world's ills (one particular individual claimed it was because the wives of the great mass murderers of the world simply didn't put out enough). The sort whose family jewels I have come within a handsbreadth of rearranging with the aid of my boots in exchange for all of the aforementioned offenses.

How can any group in a game environment such as Eve be accused of misogyny or misandrogy, compared to that?

And even outside the forums, the general reaction from guys is, 'What if I get a voice-altering program and run my Vent through that?' The amount of guys stating intent to infiltrate the corp is embarrassing. What if a bunch of guys suddenly said, 'We're going to create a corp for guys only! No girls!'? There may be a couple complaints of discrimination, true, but on the whole the women of Eve would be far more likely to respond, 'Well, if that's your attitude, we'd rather not be in a corp with you to begin with!' Kinda reminds me of that old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon:

Would a guy really want to be along for a Girls' Night? Not that it would hurt much - the preconceptions some guys seem to have are outrageous and would benefit from a little education, but those particular individuals are also the sort that most women wouldn't want to have along simply for their sheer disruptive potential (there's one in every corp, and no, there are no exceptions for us ladies, either - we're all human, and quite capable of annoying the piss out of everyone else around us). But why the implied eagerness to infiltrate the corp? Unless he actually enjoys hearing about how a woman's PMT is particularly painful this month, or listening in on hours-long rants against current fashion disasters, I can't see why a guy would want to be along for that particular ride.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

'Get out of our system'

I've never felt so alone.

Curled up in my poor old Helios, safed and cloaked after scouting a friend's hauler in and out for the smaller bits of my gear, the local reds get pissed off at me for simply being there.

I've done nothing to them, apart from the war Atrocitas was hired for months ago. I stay docked, or drift around cloaked watching. Just watching. I tried to collect intel, but there was no reason to collect it: UnSec is dying, the ceo's reply to my leaving notice was that he simply can't be bothered to log in anymore, and slowly people are moving out. I may well be the last person in here; I don't know. Every day there are fewer and fewer friendlies around. It's mostly me alone in a system full of red.

I was actually rather starting to like them. I think my problem is that I'm just too willing to be friendly with people... certainly more so inclined than they are towards me. Not such a great attribute in a world where anyone you don't know is a potential target or potential trouble. I was diplomat for Atrocitas, and I'd like to think I did a good job of moderating the boys' Shoot-First-Apologise-Later urges with the need for a modicum of security, but I'm not a diplomat anymore - just some random outlaw who's not noticed the welcome mat was rolled up.

Getting a carrier in here to lift my ships out could be problematical. As with most pirates, they'll pop the cyno ship in a trice, and cheerfully throw everything they've got if it means a carrier on the killboards.

I never feel wholly safe anymore - hell, I got paranoid around the friends a corpmate called around when we went to check out the Eve Gate - but occasionally I need a reminder that I'm stationed in an openly hostile area. It's easy to get too comfortable, sometimes.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Eve Midlife Crisis

I've got two pale hands up against the windowpane
I'm shaking with the heat of my need again
Starts in my feet, reverbs up to my brain
There's nothing I can do to revert the gain.

Eve has gone offline for an 'upgrade' to what I shall henceforth be referring to as 'Carebear Eve'. Why? Because it appears the new generation of devs are attempting to crack down on the behaviour (i.e. griefing, camping, suiciding, all other forms of potential ingame bastardry) that the first generation wholeheartedly encouraged. I'm not going into the nanonerf issue, since I only recently started flying inties. My own issue is with the rest of it. I had intended for a while to try to bring my sec back up, but under the new rules, that will be even more difficult than it was before. Not only that, but the consequences of - heaven forbid - having fun are becoming far more serious than the situation warrants. Soon, the threat of someone petitioning a griefer may actually be taken seriously.

So I'm saying Fuck it.

My sec was wrecked months ago by killing isk farmers and backing up alliance-mates (well alright, there were more than a few gatecamps and a couple runs against Omega Alliance, Nex Eternus and Glauxian Brothers in there, too). If such activity will now be penalised more than ever, then I'm going to just let it drop. After a few chats with Mynxee and Sicks, I've decided to join the Hellcats. In preparation, I have my best friend setting up a bunch of waster pirating cruisers which she'll bring down for me once I'm settled in my new home.

I'm looking down to the street below
There's nothing in the way they move to show
They, too, know what I know
They, too, hunger for the beast below

This is rather a large step for me. I'm fond of saying I couldn't solo my way out of a wet paper sack, and normally I steer clear of fights where I'm outclassed. Why? Hell if I know. I used to be a lot ballsier, when I was a nubbin; logging in and yelling 'Wait for meeee!' if there was an op starting up. And even a few months ago in Atrocitas, before everything began to quiet down for the summer, I had a grand old time shooting people up. It's like I've hit Eve Middle-Age early or something; I've not been on a killmail since my first week with Tygris. I think part of that I can chalk up to the people I was flying with being generally poor company. Atrocitas was largely a joy to fly in, and having the right people in a gang could mean the best night out on the constellation for a week, even if nothing died and the antipirates chased us out of their territory. Tygris, alongside Huzzah and ExM, were much more a raw collection of strangers, and the fun was missing.

Where'd the happy laughing pirate go to? I've just been feeling so tired with it all the last few months; there were days when I just didn't feel like logging in at all and wondered why I bothered.

I'm going to start soloing. I have open in EFT just now a gankrax setup proposed to me by a friend. Maybe I could take something down before it takes me down - there's no armour-repper on this baby, whom I'm naming Sugar. If I teamed up with another cruiser pirate, I could run a slight variation which I'm fitting to a second gankrax I'll be naming Spice. I want my damn game back, and the only way to find it is to go back to basics. No t2. No reppers. I had an amazing efficiency with Atrocitas because I was flying whatever a 1.5-mil SP Gallente pilot can fit and jumping in headfirst into situations I really shouldn't have, without losing very much. Time to try again, and be prepared to die.

Listening to the radio, I feel so out of place
There's a certain something missing that the treble can't erase
I know you can tell just by looking at my face
A word about my weakness: I'm totally addicted to bass

- Puretone

Just been watching a vid of one of the older fights in Irmalin. Brings good memories of when Atrox took the fight there along with former Ground Zeero peeps... good times.