Sunday, 31 August 2008

Girls and Guys and Games

Theres been a little something ticking over in my head for a while, after the mention by Mynxee that she is starting up a female only pirate corporation, and thats of cross-genered characters.

I don't think theres a single man out there who hasnt made a female alt in some way or another in any game where you have the option of genders (not necessarily in Eve since all your are is a portrait, but maybe Ambulation will change that) with the argument that 'If im going to be staring at a character for hours at a time, I'd rather stare at something pleasing to the eye than a man's backside' - does the same apply to females?

I know in my more juvenile moments, I've made female characters in games like World of Warcraft and Star Wars Galaxies because some of the secondary requirements in those games are getting a character that looked good, and typically the female characters had better wardrobes than the men. I've picked female characters in fighting games because their 'ready stance' was frequently rather, ahem... bouncy and all the other reasons why someone picks a female avatar over a male one - but does the same apply for Females - do they go for the big buff male characters (or the gangly thin ones if thats their thing) because they like the look of em... or do they exclusively go for female characters ?

All of the women I knew who played World of Warcraft all went for female characters exclusively, and it seems that none of them wanted to play male characters at all. As with all games though, my sample size of people I was in regular contact with was only in the half dozen figure, so I can't say that its a decent sample to get a good idea, so im hoping the global pull of the Eve Blog pack can get me some more answers (even though it seems that theres even a lower female population playing Eve than WoW)

Saturday, 30 August 2008

In a change to our irregularly scheduled posting...

... Something for the new guys out there.

There has been a few 'new to eve' guys join our corp recently, and whilst most of them joined slap-bang in the middle of the Criminal Element war (I know, dont take on unknown newbies during wars as they are probably spies, but these were friends of existing members), they couldn't do too much except fly frigates and tackle during excursions, so they spent a lot of time training skills when we were preparing to jump out of station, and flying when they could.

Most of them fall into the new player trap of 'bigger is better' and 'I have the skill to fly this ship, so I'll get in it' only to find that what they actually posess, if they dont have the correct support skills, is a few million tonnes of scrap metal.

I've made reference to a post originally by F'nog on the Eve Online Forums which details some very useful skills that all pilots should see about investing in, which will help fit tech 2 equipment, and bolster their basic skills at flying their prized buckets of scrap metal so hopefully they dont turn to scrap quite as quick.

Take a look and see if theres any other skills you would reccomend to looking into training.

Firstly - Basic 'all ship' skills:

Electronics (more CPU)
Engineering (more Powergrid)
Energy Management (more Cap)
Energy Systems Operation (Higher cap regen)
Long Range Targeting (target farther)
Signature Analysis (target quicker)
Targeting (target more things)
Energy Grid Upgrades (some very useful modules such as cap rechargers)
Repair Systems (don't have to pay to repair ships)

Defensive skills (priority on the specific type you tank with, but should invest in all due to the benefits if you lose your primary means of defence)

Shield Management (more shields)
Shield Operations (regenerate shield quicker)
Mechanic (more structure)
Hull Upgrades (more armor)

Movement skills - Not particularly important for a mission runner if they know what they are doing (and keep aligned, so do you dont have to turn from combat) but very useful in PVP

Navigation (fly faster)
Evasive Maneuvering (turn quicker)
Spaceship Command (turn quicker)
Warp Drive Ops (warp farther) - This is more useful for general day to day, not really combat-critical.
Acceleration Control (go faster w/AB/MWD)
Afterburner (go faster)
Fuel Conservation (use less cap)
High Speed Maneuvering (use MWDs) - currently almost a necessity in any form of PVP, not useful as much for the mission runners due to deadspace issues preventing use of MWD's

Drones Skills - Most ships can use drones to a greater or lesser extent, the ability to deploy 5 drones is always a bonus.

Drones (use drones)
Scout Drone Ops (use combat drones)

Combat skills (depending on your choice of weapon)

Gunnery/Missile Launcher Ops
All Support Gunnery/Missile skills (this is a catch all, theres a LOT of support skills, some are more useful than others early in the game)
Weapons Upgrades (improved CPU use)
Advanced Weapons Upgrades (improved powergrid use) - Not a priority for me, I've yet to find a ship which struggles with powergrid after Engineering 5, as long as you're fitting ship specific modules.

Add to that, your ship skill of choice to at least level 3 that the skill requires (i.e. so you get 3/5 of the bonus that your ship gets from its mother skill, levels 4 and 5 are where the training time starts to get fairly large) and you should have plenty to be getting on with.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The end of the war post

The end of the war caught us by suprise more than anything - it was 3-4 days before the renewal date that it was formally cancelled by Criminal Element.

Soon after, they seemed to join back up with Blackguard Coalition (where some of their members came from, and which they had links to, and who we suspected were funding the operation overall, because theres no way a 14 man corp could generate enough cash to fund the ship kills we had made when they spent all their time station camping us) and were gone just as quick as they had appeared.

I have to congratulate them in a way, they were civil during their losses, and they didnt mind to lose some very expensive ships (one, that wasnt our kill, but went to friends of ours who they wardecced as well was rated at around 2 billion isk, a very well fitted Machariel battleship) but we as a corp were always prepared for the long haul, having been in many wars of attrition in our time meaning we tire the opponents out by having them station camp us all day, strike fast when the opportunity arises, and do what we can to keep normal operations up at all times when we can.

As for me, it gave me a chance to bring the Navy Raven out of its dock, and continue to use it on missions, instead of a cheaper, more replaceable battleship or battlecruiser, and the added speed in completing the missions has been a refreshing change over the last few days. I've been spending the majority of the time getting my blueprints researched, training up the 'Research project management' skill to allow me to get more datacores for future invention use, and now 'all' I need to do is work on my production skills, as well as improve the science skills to high enough degree where I would be happy to use them - which is looking to be around 75 days of training or thereabouts - which is a long time to train when you aren't getting any more combat skill improvements.

As I've said before, the Eve universe is definately not for the short-term gain minded, it takes weeks of planning to get anything off the ground, at least anything thats worth putting the time in.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

The building blocks of manufacturing - minerals

One question that I've been wondering about for a few days now i'm looking into manufacturing as an income stream - where do people get their minerals from ?

As far as I see it, theres 4 main ways of getting them:

1) Mining for yourself
2) Placing speculative buy orders at lower than sellers rates
3) Buying at sellers rates
4) Reprocessing item drops from missions

At the moment, i'm mainly doing 4) at the moment, I've been stockpiling minerals for a while, but as I'm trying to get away from doing missions as my main form of income, thats going to dry up if this goes well. 1) is a very slow option, and I can't imagine it will get enough solo to be able to cope with demand for materials in a high volume manufacturing setup - but when starting up, it's a great way of getting minerals, but I'd be wanting to work towards a Hulk ASAP, which is now a bit lower on my plans.

At the moment, I am doing number 2) - I have placed orders for about 80 million isk worth of materials at a major mission hub, hoping to get some of the unwanted minerals that mission runners get - problem is after getting about 0.1% of the materials in after a day, I realised a critical flaw in my plan - anyone who has bothered to train up refining enough to make it worth more than selling the mods themselves directly is probably stockpiling the materials themselves for their own use, and as such won't be selling the ground down items.

I may have to begin instead to place buy orders for the parts that are common mission drops instead and then reprocess them myself - problem with this of course is that because of the large number of individual items, I'm going to need a lot more training in my trade disciplines to be able to get enough orders out there to make it work - and then its a matter of managing all those orders to ensure that I'm competitive with the market rate so people will actually sell to me as well.

Ultimately, it seems the easiest way is to just buy minerals at the sellers rates, which are usually around 10% higher than the buyers rates, which directly relates to a 10% loss in potential profits. Is there anyone out there who does a lot of manufacture who uses this approach ? It seems self-defeating, especially with Tech 1 manufacture, where the profit margins are already razor thin in the first place.

Monday, 18 August 2008

Moving into production - continued

My industrial side has been well and truly let loose over the last few days. I'm going hell for leather to see about getting production started before the new year. I know its only August, but I worked out my training schedule, and uninterrupted (i.e. no more combat side of me gains) would be going until early November, and then theres things such as fitting in the time to actually research BPs and copy them, carrying out the invention on them etc as well as actually gathering the datacores needed and such, that all adds to the time that isnt exclusively waiting for that good old 'skill training completed' announcement.

I have identified 4 types of datacores I will need, with my chosen R&D corp (Core Complexion Inc) being able to supply 2 of the types - thankfully both the expensive ones I need, therefore I hope to get my Research Project management skill (still require to train Research V) up to at least level 3 so I can simultaneously use 4 R&D agents, selling off the excess datacores to fund the ones I need to buy features heavily in my plans - unless theres a major market blip and the expensive ones become the cheap ones of course, and well, that could be a bit of an issue.

I have bought the Data Interfaces I need (thankfully they are just the module data interfaces, so they set me back less than 10 million each) and I have trained level 1 in all of the appropriate skills needed, working from now on the higher level 3's and 4's i've got planned - I dont want to start researching and inventing until at least level 4 encryption and level 3 of the research skill (since level 3 is needed for manufacturing anyway)

I still need to rustle up the cash for the research project management skill (40 million isk - eep) as well as the blueprint for the cloaking device prototype (think that could be around 100 million, but haven't looked in too great a deal, cant afford it anyway at the moment, and its far enough back on my plans that it gives me some time to get the cash together)

I'm hoping that this eventually gives me a diferent income stream than what I've currently got, as missioning becomes very boring very quickly when everything becomes a walk in the park, and I don't have time to spend with all of the waiting around and baiting targets to move away from docking distance that is involved in PVP. I hope that a simple 'log in, set things away, come back in a few days, sell on the market' approach could be great to get income in so I can spend what time I do have enjoying myself and not letting the worry about how I'm going to fund my next ship loss be the overriding factor in the combat I take part in.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Getting into production

I've just spent 100 million Isk or thereabouts buying all of the appropriate research and production books for my future plans for Tech 2 production - currently looking at Drones and Cloaking devices as my main focus of tech 2 production.

Now I'm staring at weeks (perhaps months if I want to get the most out of the skills) of skill training ahead of me to get the the skills needed, and millions of Isk worth of saving up for a good mineral stockpile to make everything I need, get the blueprints needed, and buy things that I cant get easily (i.e. moon minerals etc) just so I can dabble in something to see if it provides a new insight into the game, as simply running missions all the time is boring.

At the moment, theres no solid plans within the corp to move into 0.0 space, though discussions are ongoing with alliances to see about getting involved with what they do to give us the much sought after 0.0 access we have craved for so long.

You can say what you want about Eve, but one things for certain, its the sort of system where you can easily chop and change from task to task in... that in itself makes it different to the rest, but it's incredibly frustrating to see a skill plan in front of you for weeks at a time until you think 'yes, I'm now ready to give this a go and be competitive'

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Ship of choice

Question for all of those pilots out there in outerspace land - what type of ship do you prefer to fly ?

I'm not necessarily asking about a specific model, but more specifically, a category of ships - now I know each of the 4 races has a significantly different method of piloting their ships, so it may not be as easy a question as 'I like interceptors' for instance, but anyway, unless you want to be very specific, theres no need to be.

Personally, i'm a fan of small, fast ships - my PVP ships of choice would be anything frigate sized, either tech 1 or tech 2 varient, but at the moment I'm the most competent with the Caldari side of things, able to access all tech 2 frigates from their fleet, with Gallente frigates on the horizon, and Minmatar lagging behind (but on the other hand, I love the Rifter, though it doesnt seem to love me much based on the number I've lost)

I've recently been playing up to my drone combat strengths and started using a Vexor in the corp war, but thats only because there isn't a suitable drone frigate available at Tech 1. I do want to start working eventually on the Tech 2 cruisers and battlecruisers side of things, but I want to ensure I can properly field Tech 2 frigates for at least 2 races (including relevant Tech 2 weapon systems) before I move on and get bogged down in 'alternative routes' once more.

I am annoyed at just how easy it is to lose a tech 1 frigate in combat, and if the tech 2 varients are just as paper-thin then there could be a large cost to hit me even with the cheap individual price of each ship, if they die much faster than tech 2 cruisers and battlecruisers, it can mean a greater price overall.

The War - Week 3

Yesterday, we found that the war is again going to continue for another week. Our friendship with a local anti pirate corporation has not managed to diminish Criminal Element's resolve, even though we have achieved exceptional success in kills vs losses value.

Our simple 'hit and run' tactics are working well - gathering up a few systems out and then rushing in to engage as they bring their pilots to bear against our ships - of course this is counteracted by our opponents who almost blankly refuse to leave docking distance of a station, so as soon as they are attacked, they run with their tails between their legs - so much for the mighty wardeccing group who hoped for an easy few kills against a missionrunning corporation.

I must thank our associates however who have brought some much needed PVP experience to the table (faction warfare made us lose a significant number of our PVP minded members) as whilst we have 4-5 members who have a lot of experience fighting the various wars we have been a part of, the majority are simply mission runners caught up in game of politics that they would prefer to have no part of, instead training their skills and running missions until they get a few more months of piloting experience under their collective belts to allow them to participate more actively in the wars.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

EEE Pc 901 Continued

Work up early to ensure I didn't miss the delivery guy so I could give my new toy a go as soon as I got it... but as per usual, I had to wait because he took forever to get here (ok... it was just after 10am, but when you wake up at 7.30 on a Saturday because the delivery is anytime between 8am and 6pm every minute seems to take forever)

Unpacked the EEE from its box and went ahead and carried out the installation tasks required, spent the next hour removing all of the dross thats installed by default, and then go around to Eve.

Im happy to say, that Eve works, I wouldnt say it was brilliant (the smaller screen makes everything very cramped, and when youre out in space, theres a noticable framerate drop) but it does mean that if push comes to shove, I've now got a fully mobile eve client that I can hold in the palm of my hand, so I can log in, change skills, maybe do some missions (not tried yet) but definately do travelling around, trading and mining.

Theres a photo comparison above of my main laptop (HP dv9000) vs the EEE 901 so you can see just how small it is... that tiny 10" screen has almost the same resoultion as my office laptop from work (1024x600 vs 1024x768) and although its small and cramped, everything is very visible.

Friday, 8 August 2008

10 Million skill points

Just a quick note for anyone whos interested, I've passed a milestone today, as of a few minutes ago, I broached the 10 million skillpoint marker.

It pales in comparison to some of my corpmates (35 and 64 million skillpoints they announced yesterday) but I'm happy enough as I am, even though I do occasionally kick myself that I didn't keep on training skills during my break, as I worked out that with my current skill training rate, I would have gained around 15 million additional skillpoints in my year out.

As you can see, my skillpoints are fairly clumped up to one end - drones as main offence with missiles as secondary, as well as shields and utility skills in the engineering/electronics category being high value skills for me, this betrays my joint Caldari / Gallante training background, with both a Raven and a Dominix being my weapon of choice for level 4 missions.

Considering that we are primary an industrial based corp (though its expanded to missions most of the time, with occasional PVP) it goes to show just how much my industrial side is lacking in skills as well, something I need to work on over the coming year.

Hope this has proved a usedul insight into the pilot side of me, and feel free to ask any questions, otherwise, fly safe and look after yourselves out there.

EEEPc 701 vs 901

Not sure how many people have heard of these little wonder machines from Asus, but I've been a proud owner of a 4gb EEEPc 701 now for a few months (i'm actually writing this post on it now) but try as I might, even though some people have managed to get eve running on one, i've been unable to manage it (think the in built processor on the linux model, which is hard to overclock, isnt up to scratch, it always crashed on the character select screen) whereas those who installed Windows on their machine, which had an option to do software based overclocking, worked well enough)

So I decided to splash out today on a 901 model with larger resolution, a faster processor (1.6ghz vs 900mhz) and windows pre-installed with a hope to get eve working on a truly mobile system (I've got a big HP laptop i'm using with a 19" screen which is sort of mobile, but I wouldn't want to try and cart it around with me too far)

With luck it will be here tomorrow, so i'll write about it if it works - or if it doesn't.

Just for anyone interested too, the war is still ongoing, but we have secured assistance from a PVP focused anti-pirate corporation who have counter wardecced Criminal Element, there haven't been many skirmishes yet (their war only activated yesterday) but we are all hopeful that with a fair bit of pvp experience on our side, we can bring the pirates to their knees.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

War - An Update

Just finished from a pitched battle of our corp vs Criminal Element, where we emerged victorius - so far today we have killed 3 Tech 2 cruisters - 1 HAC and 2 Recons.

Kills vs Losses as follows to date:

Kills (Us vs Criminal Element)


Losses (Criminal Element vs Us)

3x Rifter

Seems their highest success rate seems to be ganking our mining craft, but since the majority of our losses were recoverable through insurance, we arent particularly down cash wise, whereas killing 3 Tech 2 ships of theirs puts a significant dent in their wallet.

Our greatest loss was the above mentioned falcon, which was a shame, it was sacrificed to give a few more seconds to get the people in so we could get enough scrambling and webbing on their 2 Recons to prevent them getting away.

I dont think that we have lost any pods yet, could be wrong, but we have definately podded one of their pilots, so hopefully a major loss of Isk in implants too, but we will never know.