Wednesday, January 30, 2013


or~ Change is The Only Constant in The Verse… 

I have EvE block. It’s much like writers block, only specific to EvE. By this I mean I still spend an inordinate amount of time thinking, reading, talking, etc., etc. about EvE… but I have not been PLAYING much at all.

There have been a few outside influences that have affected my OL time… got a new job after 14 months, one liking muchly I am so it is drawing a lot of my attention, but that’s OK and as it should be… I have been focusing more on my house, dottir and housefrau (LadyAggro, the wife), again all as it should be… yet…

I find myself, in that special quiet “me” time after dinner, after Lego’s or TV, after ‘brush teeth’ and ‘where’s blanky?’ and  ‘HUGZ!’ and ‘Get-to-bed-dammit-or-Ima-get-yer-FATHER!’ … and later, after the wife has shut down her laptop and headed off to do same (only with somewhat less drama)… I find myself reading blogs, tweets and running down EvE related links halfheartedly at best… and then I realize its halfpast really late and I haven’t even logged on once. So I log on and… nothing. I don’t even ship spin… AND in addition to HBHI’s joining “Surely You’re Joking” [HAHA] Alliance I have recently had several personal “Ah HAH!” moments…

(1) I crossed the skill line for Heavy Interdictors and got me a Broadsword! AMAZING EHP,  vurra nice DPS and IT BLOWS BUBBLES!!!
(2) I got a replacement Talwar, the new Minnie Missile Dessie which I like a lot… I even ran a few L2s innit just for the LULZ… it tanks well for a Dessie and Blaps the fuk outta NPC Frigs and even makes quick work of NPC Cruisers… does have trubble w/ blobs of Frigs AND Cruisers, but it’s a Dessie, not a Duck.
(3) I (bought the books, sheesh, and) crossed the skill line for Freighters! Now if I only had a Fenrir… =\
(4) and, I finally replaced my Long Lost Loki… the one I DIAFed in whence Leroying in to AI’s defense when he was kilt in Mab’s Domi back when Mab was moving into the hole w/ us.

I had not bought one since as I had the figure of 600M ISK rooted in my brain as the cost to replace her… until I glanced at the hulls in Jita and was reminded that the ‘hull’ is only 200M, it’s the subsystems that bring her up to 600M (and keep you from assembling her) and I HAVE moar than a full spare set of SUBS, so I bought a hull and while it is not the exact fit I want, it will do till I can afford the few other SUBS I need to swap out.

The corp bought me the Broadsword back before we went over to the Dark Side, became a Padawon Learner Corp and joined with SYJ [HAHA] Alliance… I was gonna bring her to the party and we were going to try and coordinate a two pronged strike on the hole camp… but… we ransomed, took a knee and joined em first…  so meh.  And I owe the corp one now…  =\

And yet, with all this I find myself having to pull my attention away from re-running every episode of ‘Mad Men’ back to back on Netflix… though with our Mrs. Reynolds (Christina Hendricks) in those tight dresses and nuclear bra’s (as Joan P. Harris née Holloway) this is not too hard to imagine…   sigh…

So… where was I?  Oh yea…  The last ‘thing’ I did ingame was a few night back when I ran scout/webwarp for Mab and then running those few L2’s in the Talwar… which I even switched out to my Trusty Duck when the Tally got blobbed cause I dint read the MishRep and triggered all waves… yuch. I warped the Tally out with her ass on fire then I warped the Duck back in to ‘0’ and sat there like a fat dumb pillbox dealing out her painfully slow DPS while never going once below 50% shields…

That’s it. That’s all I’ve done… and what’s worse is the WHOLE rest of the corp is moving into the SYJ C6 (in the med POS we are “allowed” to live in) as fast as they can. AI and Strigon have already run sites and started making C6 ISK… Mikey has already been out mining… Mab, as his last post told you, has been busy (using our CEO’s Obelisk, AI has some RL stuff going on that is gonna hamper his OL time for a while) so Mab has been doing Haulage for Corp to consolidating all our otherworldly goods back to the HQ afore he joins em in the new hole… and under the new… rules.

Hey… I think that’s it. It’s the whole living under other’s rules thing that got my panties inna bunch! Other’s ideas of what we can and can’t do… where we can and can’t live… and how, and in what POS… and… and… CRAP. I am actually sorta working this out AS I TYPE… It’s like I popped the hood on Tur’s brain, and we all lean in to gaze in wonder… that it works at all…  =\    “Look there, see that?”… “He got AUTHORITY ISSUES.”  “Yup, it’s gunking up all the works, slowing ervything down…” Yup, thas the problem allright.” “’Thority Issues.”


Now, don’t’ get me wrong, I am the one who has pushed hardest and longest for something like this. I WANT us to be in a good Anoikis Alliance… I WANT us to up our game… I WANT us to have more people we can trust and rely on. People who can call on us and know we will come (if RL lets us)… I just also want FULL AUTONOMY for my Corp... IE: I want no interference or limitations on our freedom to choose our own way… and I think I am starting to realize… that THAT shit dunt go hand in hand now do eet? For us to HAVE on the one hand, we must GIVE on the other… this is called compromise and I DON’T WANNA compromise… I WANT it all my way and I WANT IT NOW…    by the gods, when in hell did I become Veruca Salt??

My Boss said they’ve setup a Medium POS real quick and I am to plan and setup some reasonable defenses and some Industry Mods for it… An EFFIN Med POS simply AINT worth the time and effort I’ll tell you for nothing! “Reasonable Defenses”  on a Med POS?  Inna C6 wormhole?? a C6 Wormhole where other Anoikis corps actually can jump IN CAPITOLS???  HA HA… Plus I really don’t wanna go in and do all that work JUST to take it all back down when they (IE SOMEONE ELSE) decides that we “pass muster” and are “approved” and can be trusted in a REAL treefort of our very own.

Well...    Obviously SOMEONE needs a ‘tude adjustment! …  and I’m beginning to think it might be me.

I just soooo dunt wanna WAIT for someone else to see what I already KNOW is true. Yet… I am possibly the most adamant of the three HBHI Directors that we should never make ANYONE else a Corp Director, for the sake of security… and that’s all the SYJ Leadership is doing. Protecting their own… I just HATE having to knuckle under to other’s ways and rules… chafes my ass it does. And yet… when I have thought on the lengths we go to, to keep HBHI safe from sedition, thievery, the Tonto’s of the ‘verse and inner rot… I can fully understand their position… just dunt wanna put up with it as I KNOW “we” are trustworthy! … Ahhhhgh.

I think my subconscious is waiting until I can go in and setup our real home… either good ol ‘Serenity Station’ or possibly, a Domination POS (strangely also named “Serenity”, go figger huh?) so as to not waste my time and go though the ignoble knee taking while the pack circles and sniffs to see if they are gonna let us run with them… hence I sit in hisec… ship not spinning while I watch Christina Hendricks incredible figure sway across the screen…

Guess it’s time to get off my ass… quit watching hers… and get back in the game.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stand and Deliver...

or~ Gunboat Recruitment?

[Heads up, 3,900+ word post follows... told ya my Muse hates me...] 

Mab did a nice short on some of the fun we have been having of late… and, TBH, I have withheld posting on said ‘fun’ until things settled down a bit… or we lost Serenity… whichever came first.

So what is this “fun” I am talking about? For the first time since we started livin in holes, we got seriously camped. We have been camped many a time afore… by a solo PvPer, and by small gangs lookin for that particular flavor of pewage one can only get in holes. This was different… for the first time we had people in the hole who slowly and methodically ramped up the heat, brought in more forces, worked to maintain hole control, etc., etc.

It all started as a normal small gang camp… we had a few ships killed in the hole, not ours, starting with a Cormorant, Arbitrator, Megathron and x2 PODs killed on 01.02.115. Then we had our first losses to the same group, a mixed corp/same Alliance gang, five days later. On 01.06.115 we lost a Talos and a Drake; then five more days pass and on 01.11.115 we lost a POD trying to slip past their hole camp; two days later on 01.13.115 we lost a Talwar and a Corax; then 2 more days and on 01.15.115 we lost, as Mab wrote up and videoed, my Jag and his Ishkur and both our PODs AND they destroyed the HBHI POCO on Planet 1 and started bashing the POCO on P3.

Carebear along with me as I tell you of the thing they did that Mab got peeved about, not pissed off or all “U mad bro?” just really irritated... Something I had not yet seen in our soft spoken Industrialist. Mab is nothing if not a quiet, easy going, logical and very down to Uurth guy, a real joy to fly with and spend time with, but it seems that their transgression… the thing they did what burned his ass, was the attacks on the POCOs.

That hit him right where Industrialists live and for the first time I heard in Mab’s voice, not the tenor of a man doing his just duty, unpleasant though it may be, but I heard an… ‘eagerness’… a taint of the ol ‘Get Some’ spirit that I had never heard afore from Mabrick. They had crossed a line and I knew my friend was gonna Leroy in to those guys bashin’ that POCO where HE had HIS PI ores & products stored… no matter what. Now, while I am not ‘good’ at PvP, I WANT to be good at it… so I am always eager to reship and warp in on em IF there is any chance in Hel that we can get some even if we DIAF doing so. So Mab and I reshipped and… well, he did a very nice little EvE Guide (with movie) on, "How to DIAF" (Do It And Fail).

(Here’s a funny… The fact that they had previously ATTACKED, without provocation or warning, and DESTROYED multiple Space Ships, with the attendant loss of ships, mods, cargo and the uncounted horrible loss of life…  there are ALWAYS crew members, injured or trapped behind sealed airlocks who never make it to the escape pods… But does that fire up our Manager of Industry? Oh no, that’s cost of doing business in Anoikis, in Negative Sec… but to attack the POCOs, where the fruits of his labors are stored… well, HERE is where we Draw the LINE!!! HERE! THIS FAR! NO FARTHER!!  LOL.)

So, starting on the sixth, we lost 6 ships and 3 PODs to these guys “Surely You’re Joking” [HAHA] Alliance, while inflicting horrendous damage on, well, nothing really…. They are an Alliance of 14 corps with 530 members who state upfront that they are… WormholeSpace Mercenaries “Hire us to murder the people you hate.” and you may take it from us, they are as good as their word. How good you ask? Well… once we realized this was not your usual small gang camp we did the usual increased Intel gathering/watch listing/who-the-hell-are-they-and-why-are-they-doing-this’ing shit… We were, of course, worried that they might be working on ‘contract’ as twere, cause if they were then we had unknowingly to us, pissed in somebody’s Wheaties, and well, then it would be all personal an shit… but if they were just, you know, playing EvE, well, that we could understand.

Mab, of course, was concerned about the whole ‘Goons v him’ thing which does carry some weight but personally I dint put that much stock innt as while Goons can ‘afford’ any Merc corp in New Eden, w/ 170 corps and a 9k man Alliance, they are far better served putting their own guys on it than paying someone else to play the game for them. Other than that we have simply not made a ‘lot’ of enemies and none we can think of who would go to that length just to oust us… we’re pretty sure we simply have not had that big an impact on the rest of EvE, but you never know.

So we did what you do in time of war… I upgraded the POS DefCon stance, offlined everything that could be offlined, moved ships n mods n ammo around to prep for the POS going into reinforced. You see when a POS goes into reinforced any Structure or mod that uses CPU goes off line (missiles use CPU hence missiles suck on POSes) and is inaccessible until the POS comes out of reinforced. So our primary storage, a SSA (Ship Assy Array) will go offline… locking up all the ammo and mods. So you prep by having a decent stock of GSC’s in the POS (Giant Secure Cans)…

[NOTE: Do NOT use Jet cans… when you log off you will log back on to NO CANS and all that was in them Gone Forever Clementine… I say this cause I read once of some guys who did just that when they realized, during a bash on their spike, that they were gonna lose access to all their ammo… effin noobs]

You MUST anchor GSCs inside the POS and fill them with ammo, mods, fuel and Stront so you can still get to them after reinforced. Thankfully the SMAs (Ship Maint Arrays) don’t use CPU and so you will have still access to all your ships and be able to refit as needed. Then I took a look at our def mods, started running double-checks on the ammo loadouts in the POS Guns and brought as many more Def mods online as I could…   then we called for help.

We do have a few friends in New Eden, and some as are fairly skilled and quite good at the pew pew game. We huddled over TS discussing reinforcements to bolster defenses, tactics, ship & fits, etc. (I even fitted out a Heavy Neut Bait Phoon I must admit I was dying to try out…) Then as our intel grew and we realized this was not just the 57 man Corp (Inquisition FiS Division, CEO’ed by none other than SynCaine the blogger of “Hardcore Casual”) aggressing us, but instead it was thier Alliance… a 500 man Alliance… a 500 man Wormhole Merc Alliance with a decent kill record… and that sorta changed things. 

For their part they kept ramping up the heat, we woke one day to find bubbles all over the place… several at every POCO, hell one even in sight, and range, of the POS guns… So we ran a ‘PopOp’… brought our Chimera, my Nado and some T3 tackle/DPS flying CAP (Combat Air Patrol) and popped all but a few smalls before we had to lose people to Reality. Then Strigon and I went out, I in my Talwar and he in his Corax… and with the odds and ships now in their favor, we got jumped and killed. Basically during this period we did make what attempts we felt we ‘could’ make to fight back, but in the end we are a small corp alone in a wormhole… and they are a middlin’ large Alliance with far greater assets and manpower than we, even w/ friends, could hope to bring to bear.

We kept waiting for a ransom request or some smack talk either in convo or local or what have you from the campers but na-da. So we decided to open a dialog if possible and ended up w/ our Illustrious CEO in convo w/ the guys on the hole camp. They had really ramped things up. Mab and I had been podded back to hisec, they knew this of course, and that decreases the forces they have to deal with from inside and gives them gank shots at us if we try and come back in. They had a very decent W-space mixed T3/DPS fleet on the hole, multiple bubbles, and were using many probes as cloak breakers (added that one to my tactics book right then and there)…

Anyhoo… there was some back-n-forth, none of it smack which was nice and all in all quite professional (for EvE)… we had talked some moar and they had opined that they felt our POS, the ships they had seen plus POCOs were worth on the low side at least 10B ISK… this was very close (considering we are talking billions here) to what it’s all actually worth and that led to a figure “on a piece of paper slid across the desk and glanced at…" which, TBH we dint have in corp plus all our wallets combined, period. Not then and to PLEX it would have been… prohibitive… talks continue and we began to feel an agreement could be reached, but...

(1) we have never heard of these guys and have no idea of their reputation;
(2) its EvE and lying and deceit is all but required;
(3) there is NO WAY to PROVE that ALL your corpmates, Allies, alts  and OOC chars have actually left the hole, period and;
(4) even if you ‘play’ the honorable game, leaving a logged off cloaky alt inside for a month or two and then “Surprise! We accidentally found you again! Aint that FUN!?!” Is well within the bounds of this game…

Then one of their guys said this:
“Capt. NameWithheld > correct, we will leave and help you patch up some of your security holes.  ...not with manpower but with some debriefing and talking things over.” Very interesting and high level not the usual griefer trolling… then: 
“TheyHidMyName > Would going through Chribba make you feel better?” Hmmm, now that I could buy into as screwing Chribba means screwing yourself in EvE “IF” you are actually trying to build a rep as an Honorable Merc Corp/Alliance… and additionally it was mentioned that: 
Capt. NameWithheld > let it be known that we did not ‘accidentally find you’” 
This was a reference to the fact that Mab is a blogger in the EvE blogshere... I personally found this very interesting as the majority of the corp members involved in our hole were from SynCaine’s corp… then there was this pic sent as ‘proof’… 
Capt. NameWithheld > We have also been watching you for longer than you may realize.
Capt. NameWithheld > (pic link no longer working, glad I saved the pic…) This pic is interesting for two reasons…

Firstly it has Mabrick and Strigon listed as “bloggers” giving moar credence to the “…did not accidentally find you…” statement above but that we were in fact ‘targeted’ due to Mabrick’s… and Strigon’s (LOL, if you only knew Strigon that is a real belly laugh…) bloggin activities.

[An aside, this gives me cause to pause as evidentially “I” am either unknown to this group, hard to understand as Mab and I do post sorta back-n-forth about similar subjects, each other and we both comment on each other’s posts quite a bit, etc., etc.; or my bloggin is of no consequence to them… hmm… or, they just missed me completely and their intel gathering and analysis is… lacking, shall we say?]

And Secondly this pic points out is something which makes me wonder if they felt we were so slack we dint see the kills they made in our hole on the SAME DAY, 01.02.115, that that pic was taken…? Again, the Intel Analysis Group was a little slow on the 2+2=4 there. I mean EVERYONE who lives in holes knows or learns early that there are a few things you ALWAYS do when the buxom, blond Ensign assigned as your valet rolls over and nudges you awake for your duty shift…

(1) make sure your cloak is up;
(2) mash DScan and see what’s seeable out there w/i 14.3 AU of you;
(3) check Comms to see if anyone else is up;
(4) check on any activity in the hole since you were last logged on (IE Dotlan, My EVE, EVE EYE, ZAM and my new fav, "", etc., etc. to see if there were any Player/NPC kills or POD kills in the hole over midwatch. 

When we logged in on 01.02.115, each of us knew within minutes at most that there had been x3 ships and x2 PODs killed in our hole… we also knew exactly when and exactly who was involved, the ships involved and the names/corps/Alliances of both the killers and their prey. We discussed it, and responded in the normal way you can to cloakies in the hole… remained as alert as possible, live by the cloak, make adjustments where needed, and get on with life in the hole… Standard Operating Procedures even when there are no kills the night afore… because you can NEVER ever be really SURE there is no one else in the hole with you… ever… It is Anoikis, It is EvE.

Anyhoo… so we wind up with our CEO inna Nose Bleed Convo w/ someone in the SYJ Alliance leadership. There is a LOT of back-n-forth but we finally reach an agreement inside HBHI that is offered and accepted by SYJ Alliance…  yea, we ransomed. We’re a small corp alone in a hole up against a middling large Merc Alliance. Not a lot of choices there. The ransom allowed us to, in effect, remain viable in our own homehole… they have the assets, manpower, wherewithal and most importantly, the desire, to continue ops until they took us down, plain and simple.

So we had a Gentleman’s Agreement on the table, payment and force withdrawal assurance details were being worked out, a Cease Fire (on the Structures in our hole ONLY, lol) was ordered and even though there was no Cease Fire order on us, we went unmolested about our business and they even gave us a heads up on new sigs popping up in our hole, but that was not just them bein all warm-n-fuzzy, they dint want us mistaking an attack from another source as a break in the accord.

So.. we of course were deep in discussions internally about this and our corp security going-it-alone as ‘twere… and we decided we need to up our game again. We decided to move out of the C3, sell it, the POCOs and the Chimera (offers anyone? The PI in this hole is simply AMAZING, ask Mab and the Chimera has very low lights and was gently used…)(oh and we replaced the POCO on Planet 1… well, we couldn’t let all the Ore and PI Products just go to waste now could Mab?.. I mean we?).   =]

So, we’re going to base out of our HQ in Empire and make plans and preparations for our return to Anoikis. We need to build up ICE prods and fuels, we need to rebuild the corp wallet (for a corp our size, they dint let us off easy…), and we are looking at a faction spike and mebbe faction mods this time. We realized that back in the ol C2 we had it a little better than in the C3…
(1) we were in a much moar active Alliance…
(2) we shared our hole with an Allied corp that also had a well defended POS and…
(3) the C2 was significantly smaller than the C3… and thence much easier to overwatch and control.

We could DScan the WHOLE system from anywhere except the very edges. We had TWO POSes in cross support of each other and two corps also in support of each other. This does not double your effective defenses… it is more geometric than linear.

We agreed that alone HBHI is simply too vulnerable as we are ATM… some changes are in order. So we took down Serenity once again and in a stroke of sheer effin luck had THREE U210s in a row that lead to 1 hop out lowsec systems. ONE hop out to Hisec THREE times. This NEVER happens… Oh we do get 1 hop to Hi holes but mixed in you get 4 Lows to Hi, and 1 Low to 2 Null to 1 Low to Hi and the ever popular 4 Lows to 10 nulls to 3 lows to Hi… sheesh. We full well expected to have to roll the hole, possibly many times, to get everything out, but we’ve done it before. This, however, was moving out the Easy Way.

As most know a trip or even two trips by an industrial through your system may not get noticed… but 4 guys, in four Heavy Haulers (Mastodon, Mammoth, Itty 5, etc.) making MULTIPLE runs as fast as possible from your station to… “Hey! The LOWSEC gate!?!?” “WOO HOO!!! Boys we got Meat on the Table!!!” is the usual reaction followed by a response, on the third or at most fourth run, of “Spike in Local!” and gate camps springin’ up like Daisies inna cow turd.

But… not this time. It was weird man… warping back-n-forth (<- I’m wearin’ that saying out this post aint I?) over and over waiting on the inevitable campers… and… no show. We just kept on a'warping. Finally we knew we were getting close to crit’ing the hole (reaching the holes ‘Critical Mass’ warning), we had made a huge number of jumps and even made an Orca run once, we knew we had to be close… so I jumped one Phoon out… still there, podded back and jumped my Navy Phoon out… still there, podded back and jumped my Mastodon out… still there, podded back and jumped a Mammoth out… still there, podded back and jumped a Wreath out… still there, podded back and jumped my Prowler out… still there… huh. No go…

So I brought my Mastodon BACK in hoping to close it on an inside jump so I dint have to make what would probably be a historic 48 Hisec to 3 Lowsec to 5 Nullsec to 1 Lowsec run back to the new U210… Then I made we-lost-count number of trips in the Mast… out and back… the end guess was nine… 18 back-n-forths (<- there it is again!!) and this was AFTER gods only knows how many other runs that day… it was the Hole That Will Never Close.

Then, out of frustration as I member it, Mab took the Orca off contract and brought it back in… nope, still there… so he loaded up again and jumped out… still there, sheesh. He parked and ‘tracted the Orca back to Strigon and AI said that’s it… Once Mab was back in AI took “Closer” his Fully Plated MWD Domi that has no purpose in life other than to be as big and fat as possible… he went out… still there and came back in… pop.  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. Finally! 

Mab’s latest post is about the sheer butt (and mind) numbing drudge work  of hours of warping back-n-forth moving that much STUFF out, 3 jumps to the first Hisec station and 3 jumps back for another load. I say three jumps because; 1-Hole; 2-Low gate to Hi; and usually 1 more hop to the second Hisec system out with the first station we could stage everything out of… but THIS move, as butt numbing as it was… was sheer joy to me after the last move we did… Mab ever does one of those with us and he’ll learn a whole new meaning of Numb Butt with the added spice of PuckerFactor… sheesh. 

Also, we learned after the agreement went into effect that they were not on contract but they had picked us because we were a ‘small corp with one POS alone in a wormhole’… we were being used for a “Training Op”. The reference to us being targeted because of Mab I believe is because the intel from his blog pointed up the salient facts… small corp alone in a hole. The ONLY thing that would make us a more tempting target would have been a crap fit POS.

Them as follow me might recall a series of posts between me and Stabs over at “StabbedUp” on this IntelSec or Intelligence Security and Blogging in Holes. Starting with his “EVE Online: Hiding” post he and I did a bit of the ol back-n-forth. He did a total of four posts that coincided with a small gang camp in our hole and followed the course and outcome of that from an IntelSec and IntelRep perspective.

One thing this very good series of posts did make clear was… once you have someone’s NAME… an intelligent person can have a whole ‘VERSE of info available for the browsing. If Intelligence Security is a topic you have any interest in I highly suggest you read “Hiding” linked above then “Eve Online: Loose LipsSink Ships” and  “Eve Online:Intelligence on a target corp”… Stabs did a credible job of running down some of the ways Intel can be gathered on anyone in the game as long as you know their NAME…

As far as I am concerned, bloggin does not effectively open us to any moar griefing and targeting than anyone else in EvE. As a matter of fact, as we are a Wormhole corp and spend the vast majority of our time in Anoikis… where Locator Agents respond by saying they can’t find you anywhere… and where the most you can get location-wise is the J# of the last hole I was in or the hole I lost a ship in. Stabs was able to determine what our home hole was by simply looking over the killboards… where we get the most kills and losses is most likely home.

That said, finding a given wormhole is problematic at best. I am not saying it ‘can’t’ be done… there are methods available to them as know the Tao of Holes, they are not sure fire and by no means quick and there are counters we who live in holes can take if we get wind that we are being sought… but, I am of the belief it could be done, just not quickly or easily is all. Which begs the question… who wants to find you BAD enough to go the expense and time needed?

We were told, …we did not ‘accidentally’ find you”… and one of the services SYJ offers is a “Wormhole Locator Service. Tell us who you want to find, and we'll find them and get you an entrance. Simple as that.” I can’t help but wonder if part of that training op was a task to find a particular person in Anoikis… a particular Mabrick mebbe? Hmmmm… I find this very interesting and want to know more… and you know, there is a way we could learn a lot more about this service, and about this Anoikis Merc Alliance…

yes, there surely is a way…   =]

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Saturday, January 19, 2013

BB 44: In the Local Newz...

or~ You Can Warp, But You Can’t Hide!

CONCORD Traffic Control. The Owners of Local.
Blog Banter 44: Is There Anybody Out There?

A conversation, led by the literary pugilist Poetic Stanziel and fiction champion Rhavas, has been rumbling in the bowels of the blogosphere for a few days now. Due to popular demand, for posterity and for the attentions of CCP Sisyphus of Team Pulmonary Embolism Player Experience, I have been asked to envelop this discussion into a Blog Banter. The community has spoken and so Drackarn has provided the following question:

"The local chat channel provides EVE players with an instant source of intel of who is in the system. With a quick glance you can tell who is in system and what your standings are to them. War targets, hated enemies, friends and corp mates all stand out clearly. Is this right?" 

"Should we have access to this intel for free with no work or effort? Should the Local chat channel even exist? Should normal space be more like wormhole space where the Local channel appears empty until someone speaks?" 


Get yer high-waters on.. I’ma wade out into waters I have muddled in afore…

I recently received a comment on an older post of mine.. Rhavas it seems had found much in it to his liking and asked if it was ok to use the pic he had already stolen and posted on THE INTERNET!!! … umm, yea ok… (wow, somebody actually asked… AND attrib’ed me too… How can this be? An honest man, in EVE!?!? …say ‘taint so!)    =]

Anyhoo, this naturally led to me reading his very thought provoking (and BTW also his 100th) post and thence to following links to many good words on the same topic by Poetic, Hermit, Mary Titor (now on my blogroll) and my good friend Scientist, and… your humble host, moi.… since then my corpmate Mabrick has weighed in, Tigerears has added her Ms Pennysworth's to the discussion… and more and more bloggers have vigorously applied their grey matter to this grey area… Seems we may have had our first ever “Grass Roots Blog Banter” in progress… and as you can see, Stan even jumped in and made it official.  =]

(Ok, ready? doubt it…)
A Little Background on “Local” as I understands it...
The technology infrastructure for “local” as it exists now is based on (1) the Neocom and (2) Stargates & Stations.

The "Neocom" is an instantaneous FTL communications system allowing connectivity between Stargates that are able to ‘reach’ each other (IE in ‘range’, meaning the one’s they can send/receive to/from) and all the Stations in a given system. This is the “Local Communication Link” or, LCL [acronym mine] usually just  called “local”.

As each gate and station crew (the ever affable Docking Manager Scotty) handles Traffic Control and records the Approach; Landing; Fight Plan Transmittal or Docking Request; Request for Jump Clearance; Jump; Jump Landing; Request for Warp Clearance or Undock Clearance and Warpout for EACH and EVERY ship that passes through them, and because LCL allows instantaneous updates of these records to ALL gates in range and ALL Stations inside each system, and because all ships 'have to be connected to the LCL' in order to use the gates and stations, therefore all ships share these updates and hence have ‘prefect intel’ on the ships that enter and leave a given system. The Capsuleers (and NPC Crews) can also use the LCL to communicate with anyone in the system.

In Anoikis, W-space, just jumping thru a wormhole does not post yer pic and name up for all to see… why? No GATES… Naturally occurring wormholes are not Neocom networked so once you jump through, you are cut off from Empire LCL.

La Grande Image…
Rhavas kicked all of this off with the statement that he is …not entirely certain that “Local is broken”. As to the ‘broken’ part I say no (the over use of ‘broken’ in a statement about an EvE mechanic one does not “like” T’s me off.. I RAIL against this abuse of language as it is not ‘broken’… I can ‘use’ it just fine), but it just may be, however ‘UNBALANCED’ at the least it is perceived that way by a vocal segment of New Eden. OK, so not broken per se, but possibly unbalanced… okay, to ‘splain…

The whole 'Local' issue is (for me also tied into the AFK Cloaky, Cyno, and Blob Hotdrop issues)… is as always, really about the universal PvE (risk adverse) player vs. PvP (risk inclined) player thing and the game mechanics that help or hinder each in their preferred gameplay…

It is based in the methodologies, mechanics, strategies and tactics of ‘safety’ in EvE and the methodologies, mechanics, strategies and tactics of ‘aggression’ in EvE…  boiled down, it is the EvE version of “hide and seek”… but instead of “TAG yer IT!” and a reset, the one found and tagged gets assploded, with a attendant cost in ISK and time, and may also possibly win a free POD express trip to their clonehome… so… 

Motives and Motivations...
One of the things I find absolutely fascinating about EvE is that players who are Miners and Industry types (not botters or RMTers) some of whom really are deeply dyed-in-the-wool PvP adverse people, all still find the size and openness of the market economy and the complexity and challenge of being a successful Industry player in EvE fulfilling enough to make it worth their limited play time to play EvE ‘their way’ even though it is such a well known and blatant gankers paradise.

Now while I am quite sure that a really huge number of mining Chars etc. are alts and ISKchars for null and lowsec PvP mains, and another large segment are ISKchars/bots for non-players or RMTers, them as ‘game the game’ but don't PLAY the game. I believe if you subtract them (the ISKbots, RMTbots and ISKchars)… and from my time in EvE, on the forums, following blogs and just gut feeling, I'd say 1/3 or less of mining Chars are full time real EvE Miners who’s main playstyle and ingame enjoyment IS Mining and Industry.

But NONE of them… not a gods blessed ONE is going to be lured into low or null to ultimately be targets for the Greiferbears. Aint gonna happen, the Holy Balance Sheets have Calculated and Decreed. ONLY if they are as safe as in Hisec… not MORE safe, just AS SAFE, and by this I mean as “profitable” as hisec... then and ONLY then will you see more non-Alliance mining move into lo and null… a few very salient points from Hermit …

…(the ubiquitous ‘they’) think local makes it too easy for people to avoid PVP.” and…

…is it likely to increase, leave unchanged, or decrease the average population of impacted systems?” This last point is important. ”Make each system a nirvana for Pirates and you get, well, just Pirates."

The converse is true too…Make each system a nirvana for Miners and you get, well, Miners and Industrialists and Market Mavens, and Mission Runners and… oh, wait…” “A nirvana for Miners?” you cry! Yea… make it as safe as Hisec and it’s just more hisec, make it SAFER than Hisec and the majority of carebears will eventually move there.

And no matter how much ‘bettah’ ores you put in lo and null, as long as a decent wage can be earned and a fulfilling time can be played, miners and Indy types will STAY in safer space… “OK, you say with ebil grin, “So keep slowly reducing the profits in Hi and slowly increasing them in low!” you chuckle… “Slowly wean them off the Great Teat of  Hisec and let them come down sit at the Big Peoples Table and feast in the Land of Plenty!” uh huh…

Change things until Hi is (still as safe but) no longer ‘profitable’, Lo and Null possible revenues notwithstanding and all you will is break their enjoyment in the game and their will-to-play… you will drive them out of the game. Change things so the Holy Balance Sheet Says, “Not Worth Undocking”… and they’ll simply unsub and play some other, more enjoyable and fulfilling game.

Carebears are NOT IN IT FOR Greiferbears ENJOYMENT. They are in it for the exact same reason Griefers are, for their own personal enjoyment of the game and what they get out of it in THEIR chosen playstyle. How many Greiferbears would rage quit if CCP ever made EvE a PvP optional game? uh huh.. and how fast? Riiiight… Well, take away the Carebears “enjoyment” and they will leave just as quickly and in greater numbers.

OK, so if you follow me and IF you can accept and understand that we each play the game only so long as it’s WORTH it to us as individuals. And as individuals we each have different ways of enjoying our time in EvE, then.

Back to Main Topic…

How would changes to ‘local’ affect Grieferbears griefin and Carebears bearing?

As I see it, not much at all really. It is the DESIRE to do a thing, not the ABILITY to do a thing that drives each of us. If you don’t really WANT to do it (no matter what IT is) then you simply won’t, no matter the incentive. And if you DO really want to do “it”, and “it” is no longer cost effective or fun… well, there’s always Tanks.

So, ‘You’ want more players in Lo & Null? Simple, give them a reason to WANT to go to Lo & Null. But to do THAT, you have to understand their way of thinking, thier way of playing the game, what drives them and what motivates them and what they WANT out of the game… but as long as your only thought is of YOUR desire to SHOOTZ them… there will never be a carrot big enough or juicy enough to lure them anywhere… because you can’t offer them anything they want.

It’s really quite easy… leave and never come back and they’ll come down in droves… but as long you are there, camping the gates ‘tween Hi and Lo and as long as what YOU want, to assplode them, is directly opposed to what THEY want, to maximize their mining yield and ROI without losing ships, getting PODDED and LOLed at… then you’ll never see any change at all.

Make enough changes so they have little choice BUT to mine in Lo & Null… and they’ll go play Tanks.

"Tur, you make it seem hopeless… like Hisec will always be Paris or New York or London… Bright Lights, Broadway, Banks, Cops, Crowds and Wall Street… Quafe N Hookers Baby!!! and Null will always be vast, cold, lonely deserts populated by treacherous and vile hordes, gathering together around scattered oases, tribes of thieves and assassins held together by their shared ebil natures… and Lo will forever be… the slums of New Eden, a no-man’s land roamed by loners and small gangs of petty thugs, errant highwaymen and poor pirates who find neither home nor peace in the ‘Cities of Light’ or the ‘Deserts of Darkness’… is this all we have to look forward to?” 

Yea… pretty much sums it up.   =\

[You may have noticed that I left out Anoikis (IE W-space, IE wormholes…), that was on purpose. We who choose to live on the other side of the sky are just-fine-thank-you-very-much. We have need only of Empires markets and the great bags of ISK they freely give for our rare and richly valued wares, so we can fill our wallets with ISK and our POS bellies with the finest ships and food and luxuries…]    =P

Now understand there still IS a ‘local’ channel… it does exist but we have what is called ‘delayed local’… as long as you don’t talk, you don’t show up in it. The ships, POSes, POCOs and PI Structures are all Neocom linked and so there is a network, it just doesn’t include the entrances and exits and cannot connect to Empire LCL.

So, in Empire only, LCL gives us:

(1) Accurate intel on the number and names of the ‘pilots’ who are insystem and Real Time updates as pilots  enter and leave systems; with a pilots name, you can do a quick records search and get detailed info on the pilot, his current and past activities, current and past corps and Alliances, etc.

(2) And not much else really… huh. Granted it seems that’s enough to cause a Monsoon inna Mug for some…

From LCL we know WHO (numbers and names) is in a system with us and we get Real Time updates, IE the ever popular “Local Spike!” when a fleet jumps in together and local immediately logs the increased number of pilots, the same occurs in reverse when a fleet jumps out and the faces/names ripple away from local.

In my corp, when we scan down the static losec hole, the first scout thru holds cloak and FIRST BM’s the return and SECOND checks local… reports #in-local; system name; #of-jumps to Hi and #of-jumps to closest trade hub…

Then he is ready to break jump cloak and either jump back or cloak up and go scouting or whatever. Normally he will recloak and continue static scouting/data collection… Pull up the Star Map and check the System History for ship/pod kills, jumps, pilots ‘in space’ and pilots ‘docked in station’ looking for patterns indicating ganks, camps, fac war, etc.

I find it very interesting that NO ONE has brought up the System Statistics available in the OV. The #of ships kills; #of pod kills; #of pilots in space; #of pilots docked; #of jumps, etc., etc. All of which MUST be the historical data collected from all gates & stations as pilots ships jump, travel and assplode (PODs too) all of which is captured by multiple redundant computer systems at each gate & station throughout New Eden (except in Anoikis)...

I personally live in a hole, so local is meh to me, but I do feel that it should be altered or modified through a set of skills and mods that gives them as live in Empire control of local or control of access to it AND a way to counter being visible on it...

Ms Penny of Tigerears has brought up what is, I feel, a very salient point… The Ship’s Transponder (an integral part of the above postulated technology that handles automatic connections, IFF and background data transmissions to/from the LCL providing CONCORD with the ability to handle ‘Traffic Control’ which WOULD be needed at the gates and stations throughout New Eden… plus, of course, their vaunted and amazing response times for criminal acts.

And I quote: “Transponder information couldn't be hidden without eventual Concord involvement, and would be difficult to hide anyway. Want to dock? You need an active transponder. What to use a stargate? You need an active transponder. This is how the list of pilots can be built and maintained in each system. Every ship that undocks is known; every ship that jumps from one system to another is known and tracked. The lack of hardware pushing ships to w-space is also how local doesn't work there. 

This backs up my postulation above as regards the tech and lore behind the how and why of Local.

And I REALLY like her following postulation so much that..

again I quote directly: “maybe this is how local can be successfully transformed. High-sec has active Concord involvement. The traffic control information is relayed publicly, for safety and information, so is free to all. Low-sec could have a delay, maybe updating once every thirty seconds—or maybe having a base delay of thirty seconds that scales upwards as the security status of the system drops—just because the equipment isn't as high a standard as in high-sec. Stargates and stations build up a log of all entries and exits, and ping the log occasionally.

This is again backed by current lore and the virtuality we live in…
> 1.0 to .0.5 CONCROD response times follow a pattern that stipulates a ‘perfect’ level of intel

> 0.6 to 0.9 CONCORD response times are degraded… noticeably.. as if communications and intel was not as effective and timely.

> Null… well, all CONCORD knows about null is that you did something... they are relegated to just keeping records of your bad acts… (your security status…

> Anoikis, they don’t even know you exist.

All of this is directly tied to communications and intel. This ties in so closely with my idea’s it’s scary… Go Ms Penny! Maybe, local should be a direct reflection of CONCORD involvement, intel gathering, accuracy and response times.

(told ya you weren’t ready…)   So WhatinhelldowedonowFFS??...

I dunt know, Ima jus the messenger, I jus points out the stuff I see… Ima no fix eet…

I have no idea if (1) there is anything to FIX per se but (B) there are a LOT of good ideas out there and… we have this really great GAME and it has all this great STUFF innit and it is a BLAST to play and mess with and talk about and blog about and moan about and bich about and… and… and…  Ima pick a few ideas I have had, read and like and Ima edit, play with and post for your edification...

‘Local Cloak’ – Poetic Stanziel – “Local Cloaking - Bringing Mining Back to Lowsec

The idea is a low slot mod that ‘hides’ you from local but not Dscan. In other words no change to the Client or server, the change is based on the module effects.


Personally I REALLY like this one. It makes sense, it feels right scientifically, it changes the mechanic of “Perfect Local Intel” to something right between what it is now and “No-Local” as we have in holes. It adds new elements to both Strategy & Tactics and Gameplay & Immersion.

I prefer a server change removing local from the system as a whole and basing it on your ships attributes  alone. Your ship would have a ‘Base Neocom Range’ (Comms Range), scaled same as all attributes… shortest for POD, then upscaling for shuttles, then Noob ships, then Frigs, etc., etc. … hitting the max base range of 14.35 AU probably at the Cruiser/BC class… same base max range as Dscan but can be altered/affected by Modules. Reports the same info as now only for ships that are WITHIN your Comms Range. Additional modules/skills to augment/counter this.

Module classification: ‘Intelwar Module’; shares Ewar bonuses.

Augment: (Increase Ships Local Comms Range & Strength [You See More])
> Low slot mods (+skills): “Neocom Antenna Multiplexor”: increase Comms range in increments to +100% of base, stacking & CPU penalties;
> Mid slot mods (+skills): “Neocom Signal Booster”: significantly increase Comms range to max of +200%, and enhanced data; IE ship types/pull INFO/range and bearing, fit ONE only w/ High CAP cost;
> No Hi slot Mods for Comms Augmentation.

Counter: (Decrease Ships Local Comms Signal & Response [You are Harder to See])
> Low slot mods (+skills): “Neocom Signal Distortion Amplifier”: Passive Jam Comms; jamming strength in increments to -50% of base and % chance to jam based on ship attributes and skills; stacking & CPU penalties;
> Mid slot mods (+skills): “Neocom Multiband Jammer”: Active Jam Comms; jamming strength and % chance to jam based on ship attributes and skills; significantly increase Comms Jam strength and % chance to jam to max of -100%; fit ONE only w/ High CAP cost;
> No Hi slot Mods for Comms Jamming.

And, Ima copy my own comment w/ attribute!! Taken directly (then edited) from a response on Poetics ‘Local Cloak’ post: 

The ONLY reason the Cloak works and is BALANCED in W-space is because there is NO Cyno in W-space. The issue is not cloaks… its Cynos. But NOBODY wants to talk about how out of balance they are.

Cyno Counter:
I wanna see a “Cyno Jump Disruptor”… Lo/Null only POS Mod, can be Anchored and Onlined in any Lrg POS in any Lo/Null system. When ON this module ‘disrupts’ any active cyno jump or jump bridge that crosses the system the module is in. Any and all ships, passing through a system with a “Cyno Jump Disruptor” online, are forced out of warp back into normal space randomly (all together w/ Fleet status maintained) ‘somewhere’ in the system roughly along their line of warp...

There is a one minute reset on ALL the ships that were forced out of warp… because being FORCED out of a warp tunnel shuts all computer systems DOWN and it takes at least one minute for them to reboot plus (…it feels like someone reached up through your anus, out through your mouth, grabbed the top of your heard… and yanked you head out you ass…) for the crew AND Capsuleer, it hurts like hell, gives everyone onboard a pounding migraine and severe grommet pain… and one really weird side effect… a full minute of projectile diarrhea…   (hence the burning ‘grommet’ pain)   =\

For a full 60 seconds your whole shitty fleet just drifts, aimless, non-responsive and stinking in space… inside a system… possibly a hostile system… full of clean, hostile ships… with clean Combat Probes already in the air… Ping!    Ping!    Ping!    Ping! 

NOW let’s see how many Titan Fleets or Cap Fleets or even Subcap Fleets wanna risk jumping across ANY systems not under their control? Imagine the possibilities!!! Imagine the FUN!!! Imagine the Typhoon of Tears, the Monsoon of Moaning, the utter and implacable RAGE from CFC and HBC that anyone DARES to even suggest screwing with the ‘perfectly balanced mechanic’ of Cynos and Jump Bridges… their private highways through the ether…

OK, ok… that last part, the CJD, was mainly just for fun and ‘cause my muse wouldn’t effin let go of my brain for a few… (was funny though…) But really… to sum up:

(1) Local is not BROKEN, it is, IMHO however unbalanced in favor of the aggressor as it stands now.

(2) As a game mechanic and in Lore there is good sound technological basis for the way the mechanic works ATM.

(3) So we have a working mechanic with a good basis in tech & lore. Let us focus on BALANCING it as regards Aggressor vs. Defender while at the same time creating more immersion, depth and most importantly, ‘control’ for the players through new Mods & Skills that allows us to modify, IE increase or decrease, our personal use of, and exposure to and on, the Neocom Local Celestial Link.

There’s gotta be something between this… and Local.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


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