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Back In Black – Part 2

Anger. Anger and frustration raged in multi-synaptic circles as the capsuleer held, in a cooler more logical part of her brain, queued commands waiting for the ship link to restore. She always hardwired in an emergency warp maneuver to whichever ship she owned that triggered in event of catastrophic failure, and now she waited to unleash the recovery programs.

The loss of communication with the capsule should have flung the ship randomly through space, though there were a number of concerns the pilot had. She could not recall any scramming frigates in the area. She knew that damage control and the reactive armor hardener were operational and adjusting the defenses to repel more and more damage over time.

Running back through her cyber enhanced memories of ship and target status, the one thing she could not be sure of was if the armor repair systems had been engaged when the anomaly hit. All systems would down power automatically without control, but that process took time, potentially giving the ship a last few precious seconds of active defenses, and a final, singular repair cycle.

If, and only if, it had been active when the anomaly hit. The ship would have warped if it was not scrammed. The ship would have survived if the defenses remained active long enough. If she was moving at a velocity and vector to coast her away from danger.

If. If. If. A terrible word at the best of times. Worse, when you’re a cybernetically enhanced, post human, capable of discreet sensory input at the micro-second range. Worse still, when you’re also locked out of all command systems, and every instinct is screaming for you to act.

Finally, suddenly, information. The capsuleer absorbed a massive packet of backed up data, but immediately looked to the engineering systems. Power was life, all else, detail. The capacitor banks were nearly at full, but most importantly, there were more than three. Three bars were an indicator of direct power feed from her capsule only, a sign of ship and crew death.

Structural warnings had sounded, and the right rear nacelle showed significant damage, though mostly surface. The ship then was operational, and with the nanite repair arrays glowing with heat as they worked with capacity, tore back through space toward the Guristas.

She spared a moment to check on the crew. No injuries had been reported, but several were showing signs of stress and significantly elevated cortisol levels. For follow up later. Oleson, her chief engineer, bless him, had the same heart rate as before the anomaly hit.

Then she focused. Willpower, intent, every mental resource brought to bear. Had it been fueled by anger, murderous would have been a good description. The capsuleer had been spoiled by this ship, and by her standards had become lax. Sloppy. Inefficient.

Almost…. human.

No more. It had nearly cost her ship and crew. As the terrible efficiency of the commands became apparent, the joy it such a close survival dissipated, and a frisson of fear moved through the ship. The crew had never seen her like this, not even at her worst.

And a whisper traveled across the comm net:


Two days later

The capsuleer stood in the manufactory enclave as they spooled up at her mental command. She waited as the hellish glow sputtered before roaring into full life. The power drain from ten of them would draw attention. What she was building would draw more.

She estimated no more than two minutes before a representative from the Sukuvestaa corporation would come running through the door. Already her comms unit was pinging urgent requests. She ignored them. They would want personal confirmation anyway.

As the ambient light traveled through up red spectra into orange, a priority override caused the door behind her to open.

She turned at the sound of a throat being cleared, and with inhuman precision turned and handed a data chip to the Sukuvestaa rep as she walked out the door.

Barely sparing him a glance she said “The order is confirmed”.

The rep called after her “But, but that’s a million units! A million units of Caldari Navy Anti-matter…!”

As she walked the short distance to the docking bay she considered the mans tone and concern.

A million units.

She did not think it too many….


Back In Black – Part 1

“Son of a corpless bankrupt” snarled the capsuleer under her breath.

The slight Achura woman wasn’t one much for displays of emotion, but frustration boiled over when the sub space anomaly hit. She’d head theories about quantum locking due to a buildup of charged particles over multiple warps. The truth of it though was that no one really knew what caused it, and it almost always ended in the loss of a ship.

No modules could be activated, and those already in operation would appear to continue to work – to no discernible affect. Those outside the bubble weren’t affected, and would gleefully rain fire down on the stricken ship.

She had just launched two gecko class super heavy drones when things went awry. Smashing her way through a phalanx of dire pith cruisers, she thought she caught an unusual spike of polarized light from her sensor feed, a precursor to the inevitable and total loss of all external data.

She had had the ship some for time, but had never been quite happy with the synergies between equipment and hull. It was subtly different in a number of ways despite it being nearly identical in shape, and she had just spent a reasonable sum of ISK working to maximize it. This, essentially, was its maiden voyage under her command.

And the ship had performed. Extra-ordinarily well. If the Angel was a scalpel, this was an overgrown chainsaw. Shorter locking range, but higher scan resolution. Slightly slower, but more agile. And with sufficient energy regeneration to power all systems for considerably longer.

The primary difference, apart from the need to restock ammunition with disturbing regularity, was the increased energy release at point of weapon impact. Nearly 50% greater, which more than made up for the lesser amount of drone command frequencies.. Surprising given it sported only one additional hard point.

Raw damage output was considerable, so application for each salvo was the primary consideration. A metastatis rig, tracking computer and a target painter combined to make sure the pain arrived cleanly and with all due prejudice, though even the capsuleer was surprised at one shotting a destroyer orbiting at 15km. Salvador Sarparti, she supposed, was well pleased with his engineers and scientists.

And yet, none of it mattered. Not now, stuck in the grip of the anomaly. Nothing responded. No command, no back door, not even a last, desperate sub-layer comms hack worked . Then all sensors died, leaving the capsuleer staring, helplessly, into the black….


P.S Socket Closed….

P.P.S I thought our internet was very ordinary data access, but my flatmate suggests it is very often down altogether…

Brave New World

Hi All,

Somewhat ironic that I’ve been listening to High Drag and hearing that people are unhappy about the level of communication from CCP when BLAM, two dev blogs and a forewarning of an up coming big reveal in EvE Vegas.

There is a huge sea change and this, coupled with the ongoing CSM meet in Iceland, is probably the reason behind the lack of information flowing from there that, admittedly, we have been rather spoiled with. From a quick run through, these are the big things imho:

1/. CCP Seagull’s statement about placing structures into players hands (stargate construction included) and being as true to the ultimate vision of a sandbox driven by player action as possible. “EVE should be a universe where the infrastructure you build and fight over is as player driven and dynamic as the EVE market is now. ”

2/. Entosis not working quite as intended. Structures back with hitpoints, with an incoming limit to the amount of damage dependant on size. Capitals now having a significant role again (more at Vegas I suspect) over and above just fleet fights.

3/. Citadels now with invul and self repair timers, cutting down on the troll factor (a big concern of mine, especially for the smaller corporation). Damage mitigation means huge supercap fleets aren’t blapping a station in ten minutes flat either.

4/. The move away from just the 6 week release cadence with a move to implement larger expansions. When they’re ready and not to a fixed schedule.

In other words, I suspect CCP has found that a move to one specific method has not quite worked as intended. Instead, we’re now seeing a blended development cycle, taking what is arguably the best of two methods to deliver content. I’d also imagine it would enable them to best manage their time

Six week release method for low hanging fruit and smaller quality of life improvements. Expansions for the jesus features and big stuff. A lot less pressure on the CSM, Devs and CCP as a whole too. Staff burnout must have been a consideration when you’re effectively in a permanent scrum/rush cycle.

Similarly, it appears that CCP have sat down and looked at the original structure grind and new entosis capture methods and taken what is (arguably) the best of both.

Are we seeing a new CCP? I don’t know. But I can tell you this having run a business for seven years: what they’re doing shows vision, addresses customer and staff concerns, is timely, focussed, and down right bloody clever.

Welcome to a brave new world. :)

Fly safe.


ATXIII – Some Interesting Stats

Hi Guys,

CCP Larrikin as posted some graph porn about the alliance tourney. Two really stood out for me. They are:

Warlords of the Deep won this tournament, and while stats don’t show the full picture, they’re pretty damn conclusive. Top remote repper was Maylin Li, who managed to land nearly 100k more rep than either of the next two (PL and camel). Warlords’ Sgt Anti also took the top damage, but what really kills it is that Warlords took out 4 of the top ten places for damage. Both stats together? Huge.

As I said, stats don’t tell the full picture. The most obvious and largest is battlefield control. I’m not entirely sure how they could measure it meaningfully, but you can infer an awful lot from the graphs above. Even with the consideration that other teams were knocked out progressively, you can see that Warlords were able to consistently apply damage and reps throughout the tournament, a sure indication they won nearly every contest.

The next two graphs show just how fast some of the individual pilots were triaging information, making decisions and reacting. Again, Maylin li at Warlords pulls the top spot (and surely MVP for the entire tourney), with Kadesh Princess in second. While none of their pilots were in the top 5, Camel had five pilots in the top twenty, which shows a fantastic level of consistency across their team.

Lastly, team actions per minute:

It should be no surprise that the top two teams here were the top two places. What did surprise me though was the vast difference between these two and the rest. More than 20 actions per minute more than the 10th ranked team, and double (or more) than the 20th.

If I were to take anything away from these stats it is this: more than ships and set ups, more than a timely ban, manual piloting will make a team. It won’t pull out a win for you every time (Camel having an unfortunate DC on day 6 for example), but if you want to control the field and put a serious hurt on the opposition, hitting approach F1 is not going to do it for you.

Here’s an example of the kind of work Warlords put out. From day 2 versus The methodical alliance. Key moments are at 1:15 when a neut hits the scimitar, followed by scram and target painter at about the two minute mark. The vulture is then tackled and neuted, and the two Svipuls are then scrammed and tackled about 2:05. Scimi down at about 2:35.

Ignoring the odd support wing that Methodical brought for a moment, you might have expected that Warlords would have at least lost a bomber given there were two Vargurs and four T3 destroyers fielded against them. But no. A veritable pasting.

There is a much better example, and I’ll link it when I find it (135 matches!), but the initial fleet composition suggested that one team was significantly underpowered by comparison. Due to the excellent screening by that team, the heavier DPS was not able to be applied and the weaker team (on paper) pulled out the win.

For now though – the final. Go here to view: Match starts at 5:55.



Alliance Tourney

Hi All,

Watching day 3 and 4 on twitch TV in an effort to catch up. It’s been a fascinating watch. Massive props to all teams, however there has been some utterly sublime flying. Wow. I’m utterly serious, this is next level stuff. There have been some huge wins, oft times against what you might think going just from the fleet comp in front of you.

Go here to watch —->

Called it regarding the Typhoon Fleet Issue in the tourney. I do like them for a whole raft of reasons. However my single favorite tactic to date – artillery sleipners holding their alpha until their target is turning. Transversal drops, and BOOM! Support or bomber off the field. Fantastic.

i have to also make mention of some of the logi pilots. Superlative piloting that has sometimes pulled out a win against the run of play.

If you haven’t watched any of these, I’d urge you to do so. Go see what those that know what they’re doing, do so well.




Hi All,

There’s something that I’ve been mulling over for some considerable time now about EvE Online. It really is to do why I haven’t been able to walk away from the game despite essentially being on a hiatus from it. Oh, I check the various blogs regularly and I very definitely listen to podcasts while driving all over the frakking show. But log in? Not so much.

I am playing Elder Scrolls Online at the moment too, and will little available spare time between shiftwork and small humans, EvE has suffered. And yet.. I cannot bring myself to unsubscribe, when really I should. And the why of it has been running around for some time.

EvE is different from anything I’ve encountered before or since, and I think it has a lot to do with the harsh and dystopian underpinnings – and the way in which humans band together to overcome it. And more to the point, the way in which we treat each other, our enemies and our friends.

Back 100 years ago New Zealand, though we didn’t know it at the time, forged its national identity at a place far from home on Ottoman shores. The name Gallipoli rings like a massive bell to people in Australia and New Zealand. A place, during World War 1, where we and the Turks paid a terrible cost in human lives.

For all intents and purposes, the allies were an invading force and the Turkish army the defenders. Half a million men were estimated to have died in 8 months of fighting. A tragedy for a small country like ours, and equally so for Turkey.

But it was what happened afterwards, in what I can only describe as a moment of staggering grace, Mustapha Kemal Ataturk issued these words:

“Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”

Gallipoli is now in many ways, sacred ground. In a foreign land, on foreign soil, and all the more remarkable for it.

I was reminded of these thoughts again today, about the EvE Online community and how it reaches out to help. Specifically by Neville Smit and his mention of Broadcast for Reps. And while I must acknowledge it’s not exactly the best form to use even an extremely simplistic war analogy to try and describe a game or its community, I also can’t think of a better way to describe something of the spirit that suffuses EvE Online.

Time and time again, I read and hear about people who go hard out to blow each others ships out of the sky. Who get together and laugh over a beer (or three) at various meet ups and Fanfests. Who go out of their way to support one another both in game and out. Who morn their lost comrades and worthy foes alike. Who fund raise like dervishes for various worthy causes.

And I think to myself that this, more than just the game itself, THIS is EvE.



BB 64 – The Rocketeer

Torpedo! Torpedo! Torpedo!
With the Aegis release we will see missile boats get their own version of the tracking enhancer and the tracking computer. On the forums there have been calls for new ‘missile defence eWar’ to counter these new modules. Is this needed? Are smartbomb ‘firewalls’ enough? Do defender missiles need an overhaul to make them actually worth using? Do we need the missile version of the remote tracking disruptor? Or do we go all Star Trek and have Point-Defence Phaser Banks? Banter on!

Hi all,

There is something about missiles. Something not quite right. They’re a slow delivery weapon system only hitting (only!)¬† supersonic speeds. The other delivery mechanisms for hurt, pain and destruction are, for practical purposes, nearly instantaneous.

Missiles… aren’t. Back in the old days, lobbing a set of cruise missiles out to 225km would mean a wait of somewhere between 20 and 30 seconds before payload delivery. A rokh with railguns will do a darn sight less damage admittedly, but would not give the opponent to warp out. A loooooooooooooooong opportunity to warp out.

Here’s the thing: I don’t mind that they’re comparatively slow (and it’s much better than it used to be), but the sheer fact that¬† 500kg chemical cocktail of hell class exotic explosive still does less damage than a rack of 1400mm artillery cannons just doesn’t fall into line with what missiles are all about.

They’re a guidance system, strapped to a very large bomb. bolted to a rocket. They should, after the agonizing wait to see if they hit, do a considerable amount of damage.

Missiles IMHO should be the king of alpha. Drop the ROF by all means for the larger weapon systems (cruises and torpedoes), but up their alpha to match their true annihilative profile. What a missile catches up to and detonates cleanlyupon, ought to be in a world of hurt.

As to the upcoming changes, I think CCP is in something of a tough spot. Missile boats are already behind the 8 ball in that by the time you compromise your tank for tackle, any other mid slots are going to be very precious indeed. On the other hand rapid light missile launchers with any adjustment to damage application are going to be a nightmare for smaller class ships.

Its also going to be difficult ensuring that the delay that missile damage has in larger fleet battles is balanced correctly. If you’re losing three, four, five or more ships before your DPS finally arrives at target (and that DPS is diminished because of it), where is the tipping point for missile DPS? Too much and it’s hideously overpowered, too little and each missile based fleet needs to factor in significantly more attrition.

In practice, I can see people using the new modules but by far it will be the PvE crew rather than the PvP. PvE can always be tanked for a specific situation or application and risk having a resist hole for example. PvP can do the same, but are far more likely to lose a ship. Those mid and low slots are gold.

In principal, I think the new modules are a good idea but may not go far enough. Additionally, outside rigs, there was no ability to tune for either flight time or damage application, something all other weapon systems had access to (optimal/fall off and tracking).

The question as always is balance. Something the Fozzie-brained amongst us are far better at doing. I expect that CCP will implement as advertised, But if there aren’t balance passes down track, I’ll be very surprised indeed,

Go see for more banters


P.S Moar alpha!


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