Returning to New Eden, a second attempt about nine month later ...

Well, I tried. But for some reason, it didn't last. And now I am trying again. Don't know if anybody is actually still reading this, but if you are: you will hear from me again. Soon.

Now ... how to move those 30b worth of assets to the new staging system.What a nightmare ..

UPDATE: And thanks to my friends in S-B-A, I managed to get into some nice fights the moment I arrived at our new home. Thanks guys, it is good to be back.


Returning to New Eden

After spending days, weeks and months doing anything but playing Eve I have returned to New Eden.

For those that are interested to know what I did - well, basically I had saved up quite a lot of overtime to take 12 weeks off of work and do this:

But let us talk about Eve.

As I said, I have returned. And doing that I also decided that it would be good idea to record some solo pvp action in order to make a second episode of my commentary show.

So .. here you go. Let me know what you think, The audio quality should be much better when compared to the first episode, but the video quality took a hit. The reason for that is that the footage was recorded by my streaming software and not by FRAPS. I will check into a good compromise for later episodes .. for now this should be ok.

Cheers, see you in New Eden.



Summer break 2014

Just a quick one ... I will be away from Eve for the next few months. I am working on some changes regarding my career and won't have time for any gaming. If you happen to be around near Kiel in Northern Germany you might meet me at a local wake-boarding cable park.

All the best, see you in September or October.



About those guys camping the Kamela/Sosala gate ... yeah, they have not learned their lesson well

Just a quick one .. while I am actually working on episode 2, dubbed 'Archons on fire' right now, I could not resist showing you this one as well.

Remember the gate camp I wrote about earlier this month? Well, they decided to come back. Enjoy :)




I don't always overestimate my opponent, but when I do ...

There is one particular mistake that I repeatedly make when it comes to fighting other players in New Eden. I don’t do it all the time, but it is safe to say that, excluding actual tactical errors such as burning out modules or messing up an approach vector, it is one of the most common things that I do wrong.

I am talking about overestimating my opponents. Despite knowing better I always assume that whoever I am about to engage will be prepared for me. He will know instinctively if he is either outmatched or in a good position to kill me. He will know what my ship is capable of, will know what my tactical goals are and, of course, will know how to counter them perfectly.

In a way, this is a good thing. It is one of the primary reasons why my heart rate still goes through the roof every time I engage in a solo or small gang situations. This doesn't happen in big fleet battles anymore – those are exciting too, but in a different, more detached sort of way. But this is topic for another day.

As I said: in a way, this is a good thing. Assuming your opponents will be prepared for you forces you to think ahead, to make plans for their attempts to counter your moves, to adapt. It challenges you to know at least as much about their capabilities and probable tactical moves as they (allegedly!) know about yours. What is their lowest natural resist hole? Should I go for this particular hole or rather use the second lowest resist to bypass his resistance rigs? What are his capabilities to project damage, both in general and specifically considering what I am flying? The list goes on.

For a while, I have tried to get myself into a different state of mind. To convince myself that not everybody out there could possibly have a perfect take on any potential tactical situation and/pr understanding of all facets of the game. And even if so: everybody makes mistakes, everybody has moments in which he doesn't pay attention. It happens to you, why shouldn't it happen to them? After all, you understand all this in real life, why can’t you just transfer this understanding to a game environment? Sometimes, those voices in my head are going of in weird directions. Again, not the point I am trying to make :)

I really cannot tell you why, but for some reason it is quite hard to get from understanding this to actually changing how I feel and react. Oh, I know perfectly well that all of the above is true. Of course not every opponent I engage matches this idolized description. Of course there is a good chance that they will be surprised if you engage them, that they will need a few seconds to get their act together, that they will make mistakes.  And still, despite knowing all this, I regularly experience the exact opposite just before I order my ship to engage. I start to worry, to think that the plan I have made will simply not work because he will know what I am about to do, to doubt that my ship will actually be able to achieve what I want it to do.

So I have come to terms with my shortcomings in this particular area. I simply ignore what my brain is yelling at me during those last moments before a fight. I remind myself that I have actually done this - meaning engaging other players - successfully before. Not once, not twice, but multiple times. And even if I lose this time it will still be a learning experience, not to mention the adrenalin rush that comes regardless of whether or not you win or you lose. Don’t overthink this, just put your plans in motion and follow through. Hit warp, focus, engage. Well, I try to, at least.

What happened the other day perfectly proves that in reality, most opponents are of course not perfectly prepared when you engage them, especially when you strike at their weakest link.

I had come home early from work, and since the weather had decided to simulate what we here call ‘summer’ for this day in March, I knew that I would only play for about an hour before going out for a long run around the lake.

Only two other people were online in both corp and alliance, and besides that my contact list was empty. A few old friends and acquaintances from my days in R1DER where online, but they were about 20 jumps away in Adirain and thus not able to join me for a quick roam.

I dealt with some logistics first, fitted a few ships at my station post in Kamela, bought a few more specialized ships and respective fittings (a Falcon, an Arazu and a Rapier) and finally got into one of the five rail Harpies that had been delivered by Black Frog earlier this week.

Before I could actually undocked, ypsiloon had logged in and was telling me about some Russian Minmatar pilots camping the Kamela gate in Sosala just next door. Having fought those guys before, we knew that they regularly fielded frigates and destroyers and figured that two nano Omen Navy Issues would be just the thing to burn a few of them down while they tried to get under our guns. So we got into a comfortable position just within our optimal range of 40km next to the Sosala gate in Kamela and waited for them to jump into us. Again, we had seen them switch the side of the gate they were camping a few times before, and it would only be a matter of time before they would come to us.

However, this time they did not. Might be that they had cloaky eyes on us as we had on them, might be that they had changed tactics. After about 20 minutes, Yps reported that next to the small gang of frigates and destroyers, a Tornada had now joined their little fleet and was sitting apart from the blob 50 or 60km off the gate. 

Those things have no real tank, right? Maybe even none at all. We should be able to kill it before his friends would be able to get on top of us, shouldn't we? Which of course they would do ... with all those frigs around, they would get under our guns, scram/web us and slowly peck away at our tanks. But even if, we should get out of this ahead ISK-wise. 

We reshipped to brawling cruisers, specifically a blaster-fitted Moa and a blaster-fitted Thorax. Including drones and heat, those two ships put out more then 1200 DPS ... enought to get the job done before our certain demise.

With our cloaky scout providing a warp-in right next to the Tornado, we began to travel the long way around. Kamela, Kourmonen, Huola, Roushzar, Labapi, Asghed, Sosan, Oyonata, Sahtogas, Tannakan, Anka. Ten jumps to get into position on the Sosala gate in Anka. 

While we were on our way, Yps reported another change on the field - a Talos had now taken position right next to our prey and was apparently trying to protect the Tornado. This didn't change our plans at all - we would still be able to burn down the Tornado, only now our chances of getting out alive had dropped even more. 

Yps made sure that his scout was less then 10km away from the Tornada before we jumped into Sosala. Side by side, we entered warp and landed just next to the Tornado and the Talos only moments later. 

The Tornado .. melted. There is just no other word for it. And while my own instincts told me to warp off since this would be the only small window of opportunity we would have to escape, Yps calmly said 'lock the Talos next' and proceeded to engage. 

Without thinking and trusting my fleet mate, I started to lock the Talos, stopped aligning out and started to approach him. The Tornado exploded, and we began to work on the Talos. It too didn't have a chance, and then there were two battlecruiser wrecks  floating next to us.

Again my instincts told me to get clear, and again Yps went down a more aggressive path by asking 'which one is next?'. Experience took over, finally replacing the misconception that we were actually the underdogs here. We had killed both of them with almost no damage to our buffer tanks so far. Two frigs were in range, but one was burning out again and the other one was taking heavy damage, not able to keep up enough angular velocity against both of us to mitigate all of the incoming fire. Another one down.

Looking at the overview, I realized that the remaining forces had taken up position way outside of long point range. Aligning out, we briefly waited for them to engage again, then warped clear. Op success.

The moral of the story is an easy one: when you fight, fight to win. Don't convince yourself that there is a limit of what you can achieve. Devise a plan, go in there and deal with what is actually happening, not with what you thought would happen. Evaluate. Adapt. Change. Win.

I doubt that this single encounter will completely change how I approach combat in Eve. In fact, I take all the fights I can get despite overestimating my opponents as described above. But I have once again learned that you can actually achieve great things if you allow yourself to approach an engagement with an open mind opposed to a predetermined perception of how things will develop.

Enough ramblings for today. See you in the warzone.



PS. And here is a video of the fight itself. Enjoy.


Being nice in Eve - why HTFU is not always the correct answer

Not counting the first two years of my Eve career, I have almost exclusively spent my time in New Eden by doing some form of piracy. And my definition of the term is rather simple: go out there and shoot other people's internet spaceships, be it for the thrill of the hunt, for the fun of the kill, for the loot or for the ransom.

And while I neither give nor expect any form of mercy in this strangely alluring game, I have my own version of e-honor. Specifically, I have this need to both educate and reimburse my victims when it becomes obvious that they have no clue whatsoever what just happened to them, why it did and what they could have done to prevent it.

The thing is - and yes, this is pure rationalization for my behavior - that there are always people in Eve who have just started. Maybe they heard of a big supercap fight in Nullsec, maybe a friend told them to try it out, maybe they stumbled across some sort of Eve video on Youtube.

The specific reason doesn't matter. They created an account and a character, logged in and started the tutorial missions. They mined, they fought NPCs, they did some invention and industry.

And then, one, two or three days later, they got into their first destroyer or even cruiser. With (almost) no skill points, no clue about fittings and no idea that carrying all (!) their in-game assets within the cargo hold of their active ship might not be the best idea of their young Eve career.

And suddenly, while they are happily shooting that really tough belt rat, they are confronted with the harsh reality that is Eve. Non-consensual pvp. People shooting at you just because they can.

Chances are that they did not even realize what happened. A warning sound signaling low shield, tank and structure hitpoints, an animation of their pod being ejected and then their corpse floating in open space. A station, a new pod, no ship.

For us, this is just one kill out of many. And for most of us it is something we forget about within five minutes. There was no good fight, there was no interesting loot, it was just a helpless newbie in a cheap ship with cheap modules. Moving on.

For them, it is a severe setback. All gone. They have to start again. And what is even worse: they don't know what they did wrong. What can they do so it will not happen again?

Happened to all of us, HTFU, right?

No, not really. It is my believe that quite a few of those people just rage-quit and never come back. And there are two reasons why being nice to newbies you just killed makes sense.

The first reason is more or less self-serving: we all want new players to stay in Eve, to stay subscribed, to keep the virtual universe alive. And if for nothing else then just for the small chance that they will some day undock with a blingy T3 and warp to the nearest lowsec belt again without having a clue :)

The second reason is of a more social aspect. Most people like to be generous and noble when it does not cost them anything of (subjectively perceived) value. In other words: I take more satisfaction from helping another player instead of crushing him when it doesn't cost me anything. For me, this includes two things.

  • Helpful advice. This actually doesn't cost me anything but the time to write it down. 
  • Reimbursement. 10 million for a T1 cruiser with civilian modules? Or even only 5 million for a T1 destroyer with meta 1 modules? That is less then I pay for repairing my ship between fights on a busy night in Amamake. There is no impact on my way of playing Eve whatsoever. So the question here becomes why NOT be generous and help him out financially?

All of this regularly results in mails like the one below:

If only one out of ten players decides to stick around, I am happy. If only one out of ten players replies with something like 'Oh, yeah, thanks, I would indeed like to know how that happened and how I can prevent this sort of thing ...', I am glad.

And being happy and glad is a major aspect of gaming, don't you think? :)

So what are your thoughts on the subject?



PS. Of course all of the above could also be explained by my need for social validation. As in: you do nice things not because you want to be nice, but because you like the social response from your peer group because of your actions. All true. But that alone is not reason enough not to do it.


Amarr Victor - my first four weeks in the warzone

Warning - this is a rather long post. The TL;DR version would be something like: I immensely enjoy being back in lowsec, faction warfare spiced up with some acts of piracy is exactly what I want from Eve right now.


After about four weeks ago - or has it been even longer - I have relocated most if not all of my assets into known space. I had only spent a few days on evaluating possible lowsec corporations before I joined up with the guys from S-B-A ... I was a bit torn between joining a pure pirate gang and becoming a member of the (Amarrian) militia, but in the end my curiosity regarding faction warfare took priority over any concerns that being blue to a sizable part of the warzone population would result in fewer targets to shoot at.

Due to my success in station trading, I had a little bit of ISK available to me to go on a shopping spree in Jita. After spending about 2.5 billion, this is the current state of my home base right next to Kamela. I am still missing a some experimental ships that I would like to toy with such as an arty Cynabel, a dual-rep Deimos and a few rail Harpies, but generally speaking I am happy with what I have at my disposal.

During the last weeks, I had ample opportunity to get to know my new home turf. I have roamed the warzone alone and with others, with anything from T1 frigs to T3 cruisers, with corp mates, militia folks and pirates living next door. I have fought solo war targets, pirate gangs and unsuspecting ratters. I have managed to get a glimpse at the complex web of relationships between the different parts of both militias, the pirate corporations sharing this part of space with us and the regular visitors from both high and null sec. And I have had my first engagement against a capital ship.

In short : I have experienced enough to give you some small insight into what can be expected from faction warfare. And this is just that ... a recollection of a few selected battle, encounters and moments in the Amarr-Minmatar warzone.

The first week - getting to know the playing field

The very first thing I did after my initial batch of ships had been delivered by Black Frog was to take out my Omen Navy Issue for a spin. I simply love that ship ... it is hands down one of the best kiting cruisers out there when you want to stay below 100m ISK. For an even small budget, a shield-tanked Thorax with railguns does an adequate job imitating it.

After undocking, I made my way into Sosala, into Anka, into Tannakan. Nothing out there, local was empty all the time. Nothing unusual for 1400 Eve time, but I had hoped to find at least one war target, pirate or ratter/miner/mission runner before finishing my trip. I decided not to take the long way around but instead to head towards Sosan and loop back towards Kamela by way of Huola and Kourmonen. At the very least I expected to see some activity  in Huola, it being the staging system for a majority of the Minmatar militia.

Before actually getting there I came across some activity in Sosan. A Thorax and an Enyo showed up on the direction scanner, and from what little information I could gather by following their movements with it, it seemed that the Enyo was hunting the Thorax. Each time the Thorax appeared at a belt, the Enyo was there shortly after it.

The names of the pilots in local meant nothing to me. One was flashy, the others weren't.. Another bit of information supporting the idea of a pirate hunting a ratter. I tried to catch the Thorax at a belt only to watch it warp of the second I landed. Repeat once, repeat twice, always one step behind. But at least now I had actually been on grid with my prey and had been able to match a player to the ship. It was actually the flashy pilot in the Thorax. Which was both good and bad .. good because I now knew I could engage him on a gate or at a station as well, bad because it now looked more like a trap than anything else. I couldn't say precisely why, I  just had this feeling that something was wrong about the whole situation.

He bounced from belt to belt and finally came to a halt at a station. I warped there myself at 100km to see if he could be made to burn out towards me away from both the safety and the threat posed by the docking ring.

When I landed, the Enyo was there as well, sitting right next to him. Not shooting. I waited, and after a few moments the Thorax started to burn towards me. 2km/sec, possibly a shield fit. I briefly looked at his guns - rails. Well, here it was, the previously mentioned railgun Thorax. On 20km or closer this would actually be able to put out more damage than I was, so the game plan was to keep him at maximum point range to fully use the potential of my scorch-powered heavy pulse lasers.

As it turned out, they were just waiting for me. The moment I had entered point range of the Thorax, the Enyo overheated its MWD and tried to get close. A Vexor undocked and turned into the direction of the fight as well. Confident in my ability to escape the long point of the Thorax, I stayed long enough to see if maybe I could manage to kill the Thorax before his friends would be able to help him. Sadly, his buffer tank was able to withstand me long enough, and not wanting to take my chances against all three of them I warped off.

A few jumps later, I arrived in Huola. While there were rather a lot war targets in system, nobody seemed to be out in space to play. All plexes were empty and I was about to leave system when a lonely Hurricane was detected by my d-scan. Warping to a safe spot next to the sun, I started to check the most probable locations: gates, stations, plexes and belts. I quickly found him outside a small plex and warped to the plex at 30 while considering my options. An arty-fitted Hurricane would be able to outdamage me inside point range while a autocannon fit shouldn't be much of a threat. And even a nano-fit would not be able to dictate range, so if necessary I could always disengage and flee.

After initiating the fight by closing to overheated point range, it quickly became obvious that his autocannon-fitted Cane wasn't able to touch me. I even got a bit cocky and tried out how close I could go before the incoming damage would actually threaten to overwhelm my tank. As it turned out, anything farther away than 16km was easily tankable - an important piece of information to have for future encounters.

Feeling good about myself, I went home after the fight.

The second week - a carrier on fire

I had just logged on and joined comms when I was told by a corpmate to get into something heavy and make my way into Kourmonen as quickly as humanly possible. Some people had caught a single carrier at a gate and were asking a resident pirate group with whom my new corp mates has friendly relations for help. They formed up with T3s and logistics to answer the call, and within minutes I was sitting in my AHAC Legion, in warp to my first encounter with a capital ship.

Local peaked at over 200 people, and the node supporting Kourm and the surrounding systems was apparently not able to support this kind of load. TiDi averaged around 50%, and while we started to apply our damage to the trapped capital we were anxiously waiting for enemy reinforcements to arrive. They did not, and the carrier went down.

Our FC tried to get us into a favorable position to engage the outlaw fleets that had joined the fray a few minutes after the carrier kill, but without any real success. When a much bigger battleship fleet of the Minmatar militia was spotted on their way to the battlefield, we disengaged and went home, happy with what we had achieved.

Leaving the fleet and changing back to militia comms, we decided that it was still early enough to head out again, this time with smaller ships, aimed at fighting some war targets or random lowsec travelers. Fast tackle was slightly underrepresented in our impromptu gathering of ships (read: we had none), so I hopped into one of my fleet 'ceptors and headed towards the highsec gate in Bosboger, our first stop.

What followed was a seemingly endless stream of incoming ships. Initially just travelers and individual militia pilots coming through the gate, then more and more organized gangs of people trying to chase us away. Point primary, call for dps, wait for secondary point to be called. Reapply point, check range. Tracking disrupter still on the biggest threat? Check range again, don't get caught. Gate flash, local spike, more Minnies incoming ...... no darling, I can't tell you when this will be over, don't interrupt me now, I have internet pixels to shoot at. ADRENALIN :)

We fought, we killed and sometimes we fled .. only to be back a minute later to catch stragglers or to engage a larger fleet from a more beneficial position. Bos, Gulm, Lulm, 'Make ... somewhere there was always another target coming in, always more to shoot at. Did I mention the adrenalin?

Looking at the killboard entries, all of this lasted for about 1.5 hours. When we finally headed home, I realized that I had just had more pvp in one evening than I had in w-space within an entire month. Imagine that.

The third week - yes, it is probably a trap, but who cares

After realizing how much fun it was flying the Omen Navy Issue on my solo roams through the warzone, I wanted to check out other kiting platforms. The Thorax, the Stabber, the Caracal. I bought a few of each of those, had them shipped to Kamela and jumped into a shield-tanked AC Stabber as soon as I had it fitted.

Since Bosboger had been so much fun the last time I had been there and considering it had been one of my staging posts during my time with the Black Rebel Rifter Club, I felt comfortable heading out there again. Local was full of war targets and void of anything even remotely friendly, and checking d-scan showed a Talwar and an Executioner at a medium plex at the far side of the solar system.

Confident that my shield buffer would allow me to survive a brawl against both ships while I focused my dps on the Talwar, I activated the gate, overheated my guns and engaged. As expected, the Talwar died before they were able to do much to my shields.

The frigate fled, and after exchanging a few friendly words in local I warped of to a safe spot near the plex, hoping they would reship for more pew-pew. Only a minute later a lonely Tornado attack battlecruiser appeared on scan, again located at the medium plex. This had to be trap, but since there was nothing else visible on the 360 scan there was a small chance that my little ship could be able to get under his guns and brawl him down before his friends would arrive.

No guts, no glory. Warp drive active, everything overheated, let's just hope he is actually sitting at the plex at zero. If not, I should have enough time to warp out again before he can blap me from his perch.

As expected, he had friends. Two, three, four ... I don't really remember. But also as expected, I was indeed able to get under his guns and bring him down before they caught up with me. Op success, Tornado down. Stabber too, but my plan worked and I came out ahead ISK-wise.

The fourth week - catching a Cynabal

Hunting war targets with small gangs of fleet 'ceptors and kiting destroyers was a regular thing for my new corp and alliance mates, and so I found myself again sitting in one of my Crows, this time in a fleet about six or seven people strong. We had found and killed the odd frigate, destroyer or cruiser during the first 30 minutes of our roam, but nothing to write home about.

I had become comfortable in my role as the forward scout, always flying +1 or +2 ahead of our fleet, checking local, d-scan and overview for potential targets. Jumping into Arzad I was initially disappointed .. local was almost deserted, no war targets and only two neutrals. Strike that, two pirates. And a lonely Cynabel on scan, apparently sitting either inside or outside the medium plex about 5.5 AU away from the gate.

Already in warp to the plex, I informed our fleet about what I had found. Comms fell silent, and the anticipated rush of adrenalin sent my heartbeat into overdrive. I landed. He was here, 20km away from me, drones out and already locking me up. But then again so did I. After activating my point and my TD I manually directed my ship into an orbit of approx. 30km and waited for my fleet to arrive. His first two volleys were able to hit me (quite hard), but soon the only thing he could do was to observe his guns in their futile attempt to track me.

In case I haven't mentioned it: I love my little Interceptor :)


So this is it. A few impressions of my first four weeks in faction warfare. One of the most exciting times I had in Eve so far, and as far as I have been told by corp mates this is what I can expect from the future as well. Good times ahead.