Shore Leave

It’s been a busy week, so my time in EVE has fallen off a little. I’ve been able to log on for about an hour during the evenings to check skills and do a little ratting.

The other night I decided to explore the systems around my home base a little. Being that I have rarely ventured far from home it was good to get out a little. Upon arriving in one dead-end system I noticed a funny icon on my overview that I wasn’t very familiar with. It was titled ‘Datacenter Outpost’, so I decided to ‘warp to 50km’ and see what was up.

Upon arrival the location was just like any other; a few barren asteroids and some outpost structures, but what caught my eye were three Caldari Frigates, Merlins to be exact. I checked my overview and sure enough they were all named ships. Being the newb that I am, I wasn’t sure if they were Players or NPCs. Their overview icon had a funny ‘text bubble’ next to it, ah la Sunday morning cartoons. I had seen this once before on a ship directly underneath one of the outposts in the new player area. However I had never figured out it’s meaning, I always assumed it was a Player with some odd status.

I inspected a little more and found that when I targeted the ship the ‘Selected Item’ UI displayed a new button: ‘Begin Conversation’. Thus I deduced that this must be an NPC of some sorts. When I initiated the conversation I found they were mission givers. “Cool” I thought, maybe they are special spawns or whatnot. Either way I accepted each mission they had to offer; ended up being two delivery missions and one combat & collection mission.

The delivery chores sent me much farther than normal. For the first I had to jump 9 gates away to delivery some medicine of some sort. The second saw me jumping through 13 gates to pickup a forged graduation certificate. Once I returned with the fake the mission giver sent me another 14 jumps away to present it to yet another NPC, which spawned a final mission. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of the delivery missions, lots of jumping and tedium at times.

However my third and final mission had me puzzled. It was a quest to acquire 10 unites of Gurista Copper Tags for the NPC. Now I have come across plenty of Navy tags and such, but only a few Gurista tags. I have never really known what they are good for. I checked the market for the one Dread Gurista Copper tag I had, it was selling for around 2,000 ISK, thus I figured they were junk. If they were this cheap I’d simply buy the 10 I needed and call it good. Yet when I checked the prices for the standard Gurista Copper tags I found a much different story. They were selling from anywhere between 1.5 and 3 million ISK. Um…what am I missing here? The mission reward for turning in the tags was a single 125mm cannon, plus 7,000 ISK if completed within 6 hours. Why would I ever do that when I could sell the tags for around 30 million if I had them?

The mission suggested I check out local asteroid belts for pirates and acquire the tags that way. I spent a good 3 hours over the next couple nights doing just that, finding a good number of pirates but never a single tag. Not one. How would I be able to complete the mission within 6 hours…or ever for that matter? It just seemed odd to me, I’m still a bit puzzled. I would have thought the drop rate to be a little better. Oh well, at least I discovered that mission NPCs can be in space as well. Perhaps that tidbit of info was in the tutorial? If not it should be, along with a brief descriptions of the overview icons and their sub-icons. I found a little bit of that by looking at the overview settings, but it would have been easier if they just explained it a bit more forwardly. Who am I to whine though, ultimately it was a good couple nights.

While doing all this ratting I’ve been training mainly Science skills. The industrial part of EVE appeals to me, though as many have told me, it’s alot more work than you think. I’ve gotten all my Learning skills to IV or V and only 2 of the Advanced Learning skills to III, so I’m happy with that. I should be striving towards mining barges and hulks I guess, but I’m currently training Caldari Frigate V. Thirteen days of training is nothing to sneeze at, it’s by far the longest skill I have available to train, but that’s a good thing though, since I’ll be heading away for a little while. I have to admit that those Battleships are quite appealing, we’ll have to see I guess.

Back to real life, Mrs. Facepalm & I are heading to the tropics for some R & R, thus I won’t be around for the next two weeks or so. It should be a wonderful time filled with lots of sun, sand and the best kinds of drinks…free! We’re doing the all-inclusive thing, all you can eat & drink. “Another margarita Sir?” Why yes please, keep ’em coming! “How about another steak?” Absolutely! And bring me a few more of those appetizers as well. Ah, can’t wait!

Take care while I’m gone and save some pirates for me when I get back! Cheers!

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