Thursday, 31 July 2014

100th Post!

Up to 100 posts!

It's certainly been a while since I started writing. Lets check some stats whilst we're here.
Start date: 22nd July 2013
100th post date: 1st August 2014
Total days writing = 374
Posts per day = 100/374 = 0.26
Posts per month = 0.26 * 30.5 = 8.16

So a rough number of 2 posts a week since I started. Not bad considering I took a few months off here and there. 

In the course of the year I've joined a militia twice, and quit at least once more than that. I've been on both sides of the Amarr/Minmatar conflict, and pirated in Metropolis and Gallente space. 

I've traded as well, making myself comfortably well off. I've dabbled in PI, and even manufacture. I've tried exploring, and even managed to visit a wormhole or two. 

I signed up with one of the more notorious pirate groups in the cluster, and then left again.

I've shot down factions ships in standard issue hulls. 

I went to null to live out of a depot.

I've missioned.

I've mined.

100 posts on what I've been doing.

100 posts on aimless wanderings.

100 rambles about pretty much whatever took my interest at the time. 

And occasionally something useful.

My reputation at the Khanid court has been completely and utterly devastated. My family has thoroughly disowned me in every conceivable way. I've managed to make myself little more than a vagabond, a nameless traveler, weaving a chaotic and erratic path through the stars.

I'm hardly the kataphract I once was. Perhaps I never was much of a soldier.

But it has been fun. More fun than I imagined it could be. And I've learned far more than I ever could have done if I never started writing. 


Enough of this self-congratulatory business. Next, we look at the owners of the wormhole I found myself in. Time to congratulate some other people's achievements!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Wrong Hole

It's easy to get sucked into the cries of the sov null-sec capsuleers. Extremely vocal, they're the ones who tend to grab headlines, and have all the shiniest toys. As a friend once told me: "Whining gets you stuff. That's why humans are on top of the food chain, and all the other animals got nerfed."

Very poignant, and it's tempting to get dragged into whatever boon they're begging for from interstellar developers. But I've said my piece on null, and I have things on my list out there anyway. They'll have to wait their turn for more attention from me.

Right now, I'm intent on finding a sleeper site to run.

So... this is frustrating.

I ended up in a C3 wormhole. You can tell from the colour of the penumbra, this one being a dull, Caldari grey, with some rosy pink splashed in.

This presents a few problems. A quick look on Eve Survival shows that pretty much everything here is beyond my Astero's capabilities. A more rigorous scan of the system revealed only gas sites and two more wormholes.

One led to the Great Wildlands.

The other led to low-sec just outside of Hek.

It's either an unbelievable coincidence, or a sign. Either way, I couldn't run a sleeper site here, and there wasn't even any interesting spacial features to look at (i.e. the black hole on my list).

This place was as dull as the star field around it.

However, there is a more human story to tell here. Clearly there are some people living in this, well, backwater wormhole. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Null-sec: Gold and blood

This post is in response to a blog post made by CSM Sugar Kyle.

Go have a read. And whilst there, bookmark her blog. She's one of the best writers out there, and has a near unmatched passion for New Eden.

The gist of the post is in itself a response to a Twitter conversation about a lack of motivation to take the space owned by the big Null-sec power blocs. She mentions that mechanics are one of the problems. It is a larger, and more complex issue than my feeble experience can cope with... but I do know why I wouldn't storm Null-sec, and she's largely right.

There's not much point in toppling the power blocs in the first place.

If you want to live there, joining the existing groups is easier than taking space from them.

If you don't want to live there, why bother with the structure grind?

And even if you do take it, you've basically locked yourself into a life of constant defense against interlopers. Any trips to other parts of the cluster have to be short, so you can always be on hand to defend your space.

Much worse than that, you're obliged to keep *everyone* out of your space, just in case they do want to attack.

Null-sec is a place where you have to fight hard to get there, fight hard to keep it, and once there, you're basically stuck with the people that helped you get it, wandering around space, rolling in cash, and asking the inevitable question: What now?

To give you an analogy: The Gold Mine

You get a group of friends together to attack a gold mine. It's long, and painful, since there's only one entrance in. You lose a lot of friends along the way, but eventually you get a foothold into a rich seam of gold.

You use that gold to buy bigger weapons, but the further you go into the tunnels, the more concentrated the enemy, and the harder it is to get your guns down the tunnels. In turn, you get more gold, but you start losing more and more friends, replacing them with greedy people only interested in either money or blood. 

If you're stubborn enough, you get the whole gold mine, and all the riches are yours. But now some other people are looking at your wealth, and they'd like a piece of it. You know, from experience, that even just a foothold in the mine makes it easier for those people to buy better weapons, and take more from you.

So you barricade the door, and kill anyone that even takes a sniff. You drill secret tunnels to take your gold to market, using false identities and disguises, since you're terrified of people in the market, so terrified that they'll steal your gold. 

You spend all your time underground, terrified of the world outside your mine. The sun becomes a distant memory.

But getting the mine was an achievement right? Something you and your friends did together right?

But when you look behind you, to see who's in the mine with you, you see very few of your friends. Instead, the majority of your bunk mates are covered in blood, hungry for more. They jealously guard their own shares of gold. Much worse, they expect you to pay them to help defend the gold mine. 

Too late, you realise you've locked yourself in a dark hole, with only digging through more rock in your future. Locked yourself in a hole with murderous mercenaries. People on the other side of the barricade just as jealous, with just as bloody intentions.

Isolation grows.

Soon, despite a steady trickle of fresh recruits to man the barricades, a rot sets in. All the warriors turned miner become caked in dust. Their wealth grows, and grows, but with only ever more expensive weaponry to buy, restlessness increases.

Your followers grow scornful of the weak and poor people out of the mine. Those pathetic sunwalkers could never hope to take the mine they so obviously covet. But still, the barricades are held strong, and held stronger every day by the ever expanding arsenal.

It may take a few years. It may take a few days. But eventually, you'll realize the truth of the mine, and whatever dreams you had of building cities and monuments were actually never the true purpose of the gold mine.

Yes you built a barricade. Yes, the gods handed you ever better tools to make weapons with. You have vast tunnels pouring wealth unimaginable into your wallets, and beautiful engines of destruction dancing to your whim.

But all of this is underground, out of sight. Too dangerous to let the rest of the world see. Better to keep it safe in the dark. Maybe invite some of the sunwalkers to mine for a while, so they become as black-lunged and swollen with gold like the rest of us. Good fodder for the other tunnel dwellers.

Because that's all the gold mine is. That's all you can find there.

Gold... and blood.

Sounds fun right?

CSM Sugar Kyle is right. The mechanics of Null need to change. But competitive mechanics are not what Null needs. Rather Null needs a reason to let the barricades down, and allow both it's own people to get some sun, and allow people to come in and see what wonders they have built.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Future capsuleers

After investigating the single planet in the system that gave our cluster it's name, it was time to leave a message to the capsuleers that would follow.

Despite having written this many blog posts, I am not such a fantastic writer. It takes a good deal of time for me to say anything of interest, and there are reams of deleted words that will never see the light of your monitors.

However, since this is the first step of my farewell voyage aboard the Farewell, I wanted to leave something at least a little poignant.

Aftersome thought, I warped out to one of the distant cans, and burned a respectable distance away from it. I made sure my position was still in sight of the gate, and set up my depot.

Here folows my message:

"For the future capsuleers of New Eden. May our mistakes show you a new way."

Well. That's that.

My next item was to clear a sleeper site. It only seemed fitting that I take a wormhole from the Eve Gate system. 

I found two, one leading back to low-sec, and one into wormhole space. 

I could go back to the militias. I could begin again fighting the 'good' fight for whoever's coin was shiniest. I could answer Benh's frantic emails about the state of our investments. I could do so many things back in that comfortable routine. 

I entered the wormhole.

Unknown space beckoned.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Lords of New Eden

This is a new style of post for me.

When I escaped a gate camp, I wondered if people would enjoy reading about the anonymous capsuleers that make up our cluster. I regret not finding out why the campers were there, or even their names, as I suspect they'd love the notoriety of being fearsome pirates.

With the aim of spreading the notoriety and highlighting the lesser known stories of the cluster, I present to you, the Lords of New Eden:

Easily Excited Holding.

Why are the the rulers of New Eden? Since they have a customs office in orbit around the sole planet in the New Eden system.

I had a look to see if there were any extraction operations in progress on the planet, but could find none. It's purely a flag planted in the New Eden system. Not surprising, since a barren planet this far from any trade hub in a dead end low-sec system is barely worth the industrial used to transport the command center.

However, here they are, the dominant presence of the system holding the Eve Gate. I'm sure the Sisters are seething at their presumption!

They probably won't be holding on to it for very long after this post. Some other entity will probably go and stake their own claim on the spiritual hub of the cluster. However, this record will always remain; once they were the lords of New Eden.

As an aside, anyone looking to set up a more permanent memorial to someone may want to consider putting up their own POCO instead of leaving a can... but then again, that could lead to some seriously tricky moral questions. Best to leave a less contentious depot.

Friday, 25 July 2014

New Eden: Memorials

Floating just off the gate of the jump gate are anchored cans and some mobile depots.

Just as in my youth, the same messages were left by other pilgrims to the clusters greatest landmark.

And why not? The Eve Gate is the closest thing we have to a shrine in New Eden, or at least one that's sacred to capsuleers. making the pilgrimage out to the dead-end system, with one sad solitary, barren planet, is something that most, if not all capsuleers do.

I'd like to think that these are some of the few in-sight containers that don't become inevitable targets, and that they are sacred enough to run the full course of decayed orbit. I like to think that when the anchor finally does run out, they begin to fall towards the Gate itself, to be torn up or pass through to whatever divine realms lie beyond.

Either way, the types of message left haven't changed since I came the last time.

Yes, the usual interstellar graffiti is here. Whoever Talon Kalos was, he was definitely there at some point. Proclamations of affection for a girl named Lauren, publicized for all to see.

But there are also a number of stories here, left spinning in space for those to find.

The top of my overview shows a message to Vile Rat. That's a Goon tale, and one that deserves telling. I was surprised to see it there, along with the other messages to capsuleers passed. It was humbling, to say the least.

I'm not sure why I wanted to write about them. I guess I just wanted to let the people who left them know, that their messages were seen.

The Eve Gate

Approximately 3 light-years out of system, this is the closest one can come to the giant wormhole that dominates our cluster.

Rather than ruin the image with words, I'll only say that the Eve Gate is on the left, with the New Eden systems star on the right.

Worth the trip.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

The Monolith

Whilst the Eve Gate is certainly the main attraction of the little Genesis cul-de-sac, there is another little curious site. Nestled in an off-shoot of the original trail, is a floating black monolith.

I had dropped out of the militia without too much fuss. One less mercenary didn't warrant much fanfare. I may join up with another corp whilst I do my last errands in New Eden, but I doubt I’ll try.

Solo capsuleer to the end really.

The trip from Hek to Genesis was fairly uneventful. Surprisingly there was a rather poor attempt at a gate camp leading into the Eve Gate constellation. Not very competent, they managed to lock my Astero up, but a quick burn back to the gate got me free without even the shields getting scratched.

I think if something like that happens again, I’ll get the names of the capsuleers doing it. Not out of any naming and shaming, but I think they’d enjoy the notoriety. There might be something in that.

Back to the monolith.

The system is Dead End. Clearly our ancestors found nothing of value here, and named the system accordingly.

For my part, I didn't stay long. Low-sec is never really good space to hang around, even if you are flying in cloaked ship. And I was eager to get to my end point. I stuck around long enough to note the pirates hanging around the monolith, and get a snapshot.

The pirates were Blood Raiders, by the way. The bounties were worth about 500k all together. I can’t speculate as to their interest in the monolith, but there's probably a story there. I was already on my way to the Eve Gate before it occurred to me to have a closer look around the system.

I tried to tell myself I would do that next time. But 'next time' wasn't the purpose of this trip.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The ship

(Evidently real life conspires to thwart my grand plans of leaving New Eden in the style I'd like to. Of course I don't think someones out to specifically stop me flying, but this is a little suspicious.)

My first item to tick off the list will be a trip out to the Eve Gate.

It was actually the first landmark I went to visit in New Eden. I took a Rifter out there, feeling very brave at the time as I navigated through the hazards of low sec.

Taking a look at some maps, and checking for ship destruction data, I probably shouldn't have felt as brave as I did.

Experience tends to make a mockery of youth's achievements.

But anyway, it was a good trip, and ironically happened about the time I first joined a militia. My memory is a bit hazy on which militia it was, but I was flying a Rifter at the time. It may have been the Tribal Liberation Force.

All I really remember from those times was flying out to a battle and seeing the Eve Gate on the way back. Oh, and soloing a Rupture. I nearly won, which came as a shock to me at the time.

When I got to the Gate, the entrance was strewn with anchored containers, slowly decaying into the stars. Messages were left on these containers by previous visitors, and I recall a few. Some were the simple "Eric was here" sort of graffiti you find on bathroom stalls across the cluster, and some were actually moving comments left by explorers. One had the unforgettable quote:

"We came. We saw. We squeeed."

I remember cursing that I didn't bring my own message to leave spinning in space for the next few, and vowed I'd come back to leave my temporary mark.

Time to make good on that vow.

For ships, as much as I love the Rifter, it's not suitable for the rigors of this journey. I'll be taking my Astero. Cloaked, and designed for these missions with no seeming end, it should be flexible enough to do whatever needs done.

I'll be carrying most of what I need in the hold. Fortunately I came up with a list of essentials from my camps in null-sec. For this particular trip, I'll be carrying an extra Mobile Depot, to leave the message.

The name of the ship took a great deal of thought. Typically my ship names are sentimental acknowledgments of the dreams I have outside of New Eden. But this time, such things didn't seem to be appropriate. I'd rather it be an acknowledgement of the things I'll leave behind IN New Eden.

I'd also like something similar to Clear Skies. Not an aggressive name to strike fear into the hearts of my enemies, but one that merely wishes for a peaceful journey.

So, when I un-dock for the Eve gate, it'll be in the freshly christened: Farewell.

Shot across the Hek star. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Quitting Eve

Well. It's bee a long time since I've been in space.

Or even in station.

Or written a single word.

My apologies. It turns out moving country is magnitudes more difficult when it's more than just one person. I've done it myself dozens of times before, but my usual exit strategy of "Sell off junk, throw clothes in single bag, get on plane" doesn't take into account my wife's things.

She has a lot of clothes.

I always thought this was just a cliche joke.

She has two, half-meter high boxes of shoes...

Regardless, a lot of the leg work on moving out has been done, and I finally have a little time to get back to New Eden.

These past few months have been quite revealing in terms of how I think about the game. I did a number of workshops at school on Game Design for Classrooms, and I spent a lot of time thinking about Eve... if not actually playing it.

It also brought to light the severe limitations of my writing style. I try to keep in character. Behnid is the author of my New Eden tales, and I but his humble scribe. However, the limitation of that is then when I find a nifty mechanic or un-examined part of the universe, I need to look at it in terms of the character living there.

But the biggest revelation was the realization that I would one day quit Eve, as yesterday's cryptic and over-dramatic blog post eluded to. Not through any dissatisfaction, but eventually life will take over, and even the 20 minute micro hunts of faction warfare will become a struggle. And there're other games I want to play, starting with Eve with swords and magic: Pathfinder MMO.

So, I will be quitting Eve.

At least eventually.

Eve Hermit brought up the idea of how you felt about our game time in his Winning Eve post, and what it would mean if the servers went down tomorrow. Well, I wouldn't say I didn't have fun. But I would feel an incredible loss for the things I hadn't done/seen.

I aim to correct that.

From now on, I will try a different play style, or go look for a new experience in New Eden, as fast as skill point accumulation will allow.

I'd like as many suggestions as you can give me.

The criteria will be quite broad: meeting Eve celebrities in space, seeing curios/unique structures in space, and even testing out the more esoteric and under valued play styles.

My list so far includes:
  • Visit the Eve Gate
  • Duel Rixx Javix
  • Run a sleeper site.
  • See a black hole.
  • See Chribba's Veldnaught
  • See Mittanigrad
  • Duel Jack Dancer in a Breacher.
  • Ninja mine in Low-sec
The only restrictions I ca say would be to keep the suggestions on the more pleasant side of Eve, and keep them achievable by one player. Scam a miner isn't something I want to experience, and ripping apart the CFC is probably a little beyond my budget.

Before anyone can ask for it, I will be using all of my remaining assets to support this new project. Any thing left over will be converted to PLEX, and held for the next PLEX for Good campaign. So no, you can't have my stuff.

Looking forward to your suggestions!

Thursday, 17 July 2014


... bright lights.

Rolling hills, blue skies.

The hum of the propeller. No... the faint scent of the moa racing ahead.

A barren wasteland? Mountains? The thrill of dice clattering to the table top.

Songs being sung through school halls. Piles of paperwork. The sweaty heat of a Sunday afternoon chained to a desk, dreaming of-

... stars.

I awoke in the pod a few days ago. Coughing, and hacking up dried-pod connection fluid, I emerged onto the hangar floor, collapsing as my atrophied limbs failed me.

Disuse had decayed what little muscle I had saved since becoming a capsuleer. Skin hanging like rags around me.

And the dull realization creeping though my gut that I no longer cared. I no longer recognized this body as a part of me. Rather, it was property, to be worn, and discarded when it no longer served it's purpose. The daily grind to maintain this soggy container of my concious seemed hardly worth the effort. Why bother eating? The savage hunger pangs of starvation can be barely recalled when a fresh clone is activated.

I looked back at the pod.

So that was the Sleeper experience.

To fold oneself into the world apart from New Eden. To have fevered dreams of ancient atmosphere craft, and to experienced wild fantasies of swords and sorcery. To revel in the simple pleasure of a well-run school, and the relatively mundane, yet sublime struggles of a normal life.

It was... attractive.

I somehow managed to drag myself to a food prep station, more out of habit than any real desire to feed. A thick salty broth eased some of this body's desperate cries, and over the next few hours, I placed ever more solid chunks of nourishment in my screaming gut. Dogmatic training super-cedes emotion in times like this, and I had been born Khanid, trained as a knight, and had long been taught to keep my body in good health. My body saw to its needs whilst my mind wandered.

I had been gone long this time. Longer than before. The sleeps were coming on more rapidly too. The gap this time just a few months, and the sleep itself nearly as long.

It's difficult to describe the sensation of knowing your end is close. Not even much of an end. More of a tiring slide into suspension. Not even the rigors and passions of youth declining into old age, but simply... stopping.

I dragged myself to the console, pulling up my public log. Readers still came and still commented. Strange how much that still meant, as if the human connection was all that mattered. Perhaps I always felt that way.

I am... reluctant to leave.

Too much I haven't done.

Too much I haven't seen.

So much... but I doubt there's time left.

Eventually, the sleeps would take me. And for all I know the kind, if somber, staff of Doomheim would find the nearest wormhole and release my body to the strange stations scattered beyond easy reach. Perhaps I should just take a shuttle out to the nearest blue star like the poor soul trapped in Geztic.


Now what?

Seems like only one thing to do.