Things that go bump in the night

It was a fairly slow Sunday evening in New Eden yesterday. As the US Thanksgiving Day holiday was winding down there were quite a few still with family and friends in the real world, leaving us in space to fen for ourselves.

I was casually doing some scanning in our home wormhole while also watching Sunday Night Football here States-side. Our Alliance was chatting off and on about nothing in particular when I picked up a new Cosmic Anomaly on my scanners. I quickly scanned it down to 100% strength, while our Alliance Leader was kind enough to give me and a fellow member an overview on wormhole identification procedures. It was a great brief talk and I’m sure it cleared things up for us as we continue to learn the ropes of W-space.

An Alliance mate and myself decided to jump through this new WH and found that it dropped us into a Class IV system. We quickly scanned if anyone else was residing in this new system and found it totally devoid of player habitation. We did find, however, roughly 35 other sites. There were 25 Sleeper sites, a.k.a. – Combat sites, and 10 other sites, such as Ladar and Radar where you harvest Gas and Hack containers. The most I had ever seen at a time was 9 sites, most of which were other wormholes, thus this was quite exciting for us.

Being that there was only 2 of us, and that this was a C4 system, we decided to take on one of the weakest Sleeper sites…’weakest’ being a relative term. Typically we can handle most Sleeper sites in our home system solo when flying the right ship, but not tonight. The plan was for me to fly in first with my Drake, which had a fairly decent passive shield setup, and him to follow. He was attempting to run two accounts at once, thus flying two ships at the same time to provide more firepower for our little recon group. This didn’t end up working out, so it was just me in a Drake and he in a Raven.

The site contained 2 heavy hitting Sleeper Battleships. As I flew in with my Drake they immediately started knocking out my shields. The Raven eventually showed up and attempted to remotely repair my shields. Unfortunately for me the shield repair just couldn’t keep up with the Battleship firepower that was baring down on me and as I attempted to warp out to safety I got hung up on a structure and my trusty Drake of 2 months went down in a blaze of glory.

The Raven stuck around for as long as he could, but we were clearly outclassed by this difficult C4 system. I ran back and grabbed my trusty Caracal with which I was able to salvage my wrecked Drake and save about 9 components. I spent the rest of the night flying around buying a new Drake and all it’s proper fittings. Luckily for me I had a large amount of Sleeper loot to sell, so in the end I think I came out even in terms of ISK lost & gained, with the insurance payout and loot sold.

All in all it was a fun evening, though bitter sweet. All this experience is great for such a new pilot like my self and my Alliance mates are such great players for helping me learn the ropes. So for now the Sleepers of the C4 can claim victory, but I guess that’s payback for the past few days I’ve spent obliterating their lesser sites in our home WH. We’ll get them next time!

What will you be doing on Day 1 of Dominion?

Well the interwebs are abuzz today as CCP has officially launched the Website & Trailer for its upcoming free EVE Online Expansion: Dominion.

The trailer was very well done cinematically and the list of changes the site presents are numerous. It seems this expansion has been met with nothing but heated debate from all sides. I am in no way experienced enough to form my own opinions on the changes, since most will not affect me, but it’s hard not to notice when there are pages and pages of debate raging on even with only 5 days left until launch.

I think CCP is handling everything as well as they can. It doesn’t appear they will be pulling a Star Wars Galaxies update, introducing totally game changing updates without informing the players. On the other hand they aren’t giving in totally to a vocal player-base. They’re effectively saying “Hey! We’re the designers of this game and we’re pretty darn good at it too. We understand where you’re coming from, but put a little faith in us to deliver what we think is best for the game. We will continue to keep an open channel of communication and work with you to improve our designs and philosophies and make EVE a better place to be.” Sure there is always room for improvement and I think they’ve taken note of that and will continue to foster their relationship with the players.

So aside from all that, on to the topic of the post:

Personally, I’ll probably still be trying to figure out how it affects me. Thus business as usual…with they occasional planet flyby!

Band of Brothers

I apologize for the lack of posts of late, things have been pretty busy.

On the personal front, I’ve been making some good headway in the job hunt. I even have an offer or two, so that is always good! Hopefully now things will start getting back to normal!

In New Eden I’ve taken the big plunge and joined a Corporation! I’ve read in a number of places that EVE Online is truly only experienced once you’ve found a group of people to share your experience with…and by all accounts I think they were right.

The corporation I joined is full of mature, helpful people who want nothing more than to enjoy the game. The first thing that hit me was how much I truly didn’t know or didn’t learn about the game. I’ve spent nearly 6 months flying solo in Empire space and there is a TON of stuff you never run into. Thankfully, as I’ve said, this group of people has been very patient with me and always happy to answer my seemingly endless supply of basic questions.

We are mainly based out of Wormhole space (W-space or just WH space), so coupled with the fact that I know nearly nothing about Corporations, I know even less about Wormholes. Sure I’ve read many a blog on the subject, so I’m not totally clueless, but just about.

The Corporation is also a part of a larger Alliance, all filled with like-minded people interested in exploiting W-space and helping everyone out. So I couldn’t be happier with my time in New Eden right now. There is so much to experience, everything being totally new to me.

I can hopefully blog further on these new experiences. As I write this I am at a Sleeper site (a spawned Combat Site in W-space). I experienced my first one last night, and have now done 3 others. It’s a great way to spend the time. I’ve also done a wee bit of mining at a Gravametric site, though I need to increase my Ore Processing skills so I can use mining crystals to increase my yield.

The move into W-space was a tricky one. I had lots of stuff I wanted to bring in, namely my newly minted mining Hulk, so I had lots of logistical runs across space. I was eventually convinced that I should leave my expensive Hulk in Empire because the dangers in W-space are enormous. Thus I found myself purchasing a new Covetor and outfitting it with Tier 1 Strip Miners. It gets the job done, but not as well as my trusty Hulk. But it’s better to fly something you can replace than be broke and without a ship.

I have to say that the majority of my time is spent scanning. Luckily for me I invested a little time in my Astrometric skills early on, so I’m not totally in the dark as these are by far some of the most important skills to have in W-space. I am even a few days away from the Tier 2 Covert-Ops ship the Buzzard. It is specifically built for scanning, so I can’t wait until I’m up to speed on that ship.

I was just recently granted access to some storage space at our Corporate POS. Up until that point it’s been a little difficult to manage life in W-space, as I have lots of stuff I want to bring in to help, such as ammo and drones. Plus there was no place for me to stash my ore. But that’s all solved now so I think I can really sink my teeth into this whole Wormhole thing.

The funny thing is that I had never even joined a fleet up until I joined our Corporation. I haven’t been in too many since I joined, but it was a comical state of affairs during my first go at it. Lots & lots of questions. At least I’m starting to get the hang of it and am picking up alot of the acronyms. Our Alliance has a wiki which has been invaluable in getting up to speed. I feels great to be a part of something so organized and professional.

I’ll do my best to continue to blog about my new experiences. I just recently finished up my skills for Hacking (I’ve had the skillbook since day 1 of my time in New Eden) but I have yet to find a Radar site to use my newly bought Codebreaker 1. So just a ton of stuff to learn and experience and to anyone out there new to EVE, do yourself a favor and join a Corporation!

New Eden Community College

I finally decided to send Freddy back to school. The easy part of that in EVE is you simply need to buy your skillbooks and inject them into your neural network…and then train for days to raise their skill level, but the setup is still pretty easy.

Recently I’ve noticed quite a few green checkboxes in my Character Pane Skill List. I’ve always meant to pick up a few skillbooks at a time whenever I’m in or near Jita, but I always tend to forget. So finally the other day I decided I’d bite the bullet and get it done with. So I turned on the trusty auto-pilot after setting a course to an Academic Station in a System near Jita. When I finally got there I noticed quite a few scammers trying to sell the skillbooks at huge prices. Skillbooks in general are sold by the NPC station itself for a set amount of ISK, so I was careful enough not to fall for any tricks.

I set some guidelines first, such as I would not buy any skills over half a million ISK, even with this stipulation there were quite a few skillbooks I could purchase. When all was said and done I had spent roughly 5 million ISK and purchased over 20 skills. I was amazed at the price of some Science skills, I have probably 10 or more skills that I can learn, but each book costs near 30 million ISK. Perhaps someone can explain that one to me!

After I had injected all of my new skills I trained each one to level 1, just so that I would have basic competency in all the new areas. Granted there may be a few that I hardly ever use (like all the rigging skills?) but now I think I have a much more well-rounded skill exposure. Plus I can fit most things that I previously could not, so I felt it was well worth the trip. Freddy just past 6.9 million Skill Points, so I’m making steady progress.

Aside from the rampant skill training I also bought myself a new toy. I purchased a Heron Frigate for scanning. As I mentioned earlier I really enjoyed scanning, but hadn’t a need to really try it out recently. So, I bought and fully fit a Heron just for that purpose because it has a number of modifiers for increasing scan strength. I’m a week or so away from flying it’s Tech II counterpart, the Buzzard, but for now my Trusty ‘Explorer I’ is doing just fine.

I’ve actually been scanning my home system quite a bit recently. I’ve found all kinds of signature sites, such as hacking sites, salvage sites, Pirate rooms, etc.. One site in particular had me go through 3 or 4 heavily guarded Gurista rooms, and when I was finally through cleansing space of their infestation I received a popup saying I had intercepted their last transmission which was sent to another system. What the heck does that mean? I couldn’t find anything in my log or Journal that would have sent me to another system to track the message, so it must have just been for flavor. Perhaps someone knows what this was about and can fill me in.

I’ve also just finished raising a number of rare ore processing skills to level III, which allows me to fit their corresponding Tech I mining crystals to my Hulk fitted Modulated Strip Miner II’s. I will focus on getting the remaining ore processing skills once I’ve decided to finish up the 2 week training of Refining Efficiency V & Metallurgy IV. But for now I feel my mining skills are up to par for what I can reasonably encounter.

Finally I decided to queue up Electronic Upgrades V. I’ve wanted to do this skill for quite awhile and it was a toss up between that and Survey V. The former takes 8 days to train and the latter 4. However there are quite a few skills that rely on EU V, such as Hacking, Covert-ops, etc., whereas only one that relies on Survey V, Archaeology. I would like to get Hacking and Archaeology and then fit their corresponding Codebreaker and Analyzer modules to my new Heron. I’ve already found a few sites where I could have used both those skills. Ah well, I’ll get there in a couple weeks.

In the mean time I’m going to stick to scanning as that is quite enjoyable. I’m also still mission running & mining. I have quite a bit of work since I’ve spent around 150 million ISK in the last two weeks and my bank account is now hovering near zero. I’m still amazed I was able to purchase so much. Let the good times roll I guess, and kids…stay in school!

To Boldly Go

I apologize for the overused, ‘Star Trek’y saying…but my title creativity seems to have left me for the moment.

During my past week in New Eden I spent the time mostly running missions and, when appropriate, mining those mission rooms containing excessive amounts of Veldspar. It was mostly slow going as my newly minted & fitted Hulk crawls along so slowly. It usually takes me longer to get to the asteroid field than it does to fill up my 180,000 m3 hold, such is the life of the miner I guess. Either way with the generated ISK I’ve been able to buy and fully outfit my Hulk & a new Passive Tank Drake. I’ve been eying a new Drake because I’ve been getting close to level III missions and I need something a little tougher than my trusty Caracal. Well, finally on Friday I passed the needed 4.0 corp standing to enable my level III, quality 0 agent. I was pretty excited and jetted to Jita to make my big Drake purchase. Once that was complete I even outfitted it with a cloaking device…because I could and I had an empty slot.

When I returned to my ‘home’ station my new agent simply ignored me. I asked in local if anyone could help me figure out the problem, since I was clearly above the required standing level. Finally someone said “when in doubt, relog” which I did…and which solved the problem. So for all you out there that might be in the same boat, make a note of that.

I’ve run about 5 level III missions so far, and though they are definitely tougher, the rewards in both ISK, loyalty points, loot & salvage don’t seem to be that much higher than my level II’s. Either way they are much more fun and I’ve even become stuck on my latest mission. The Drake handles & tanks marvelously even with my sub-par shield skills. I’m able to outfit it with mostly Tech II modules, but there are still a few lingering Tech I pieces. The problem mission requires me to kill a battleship with a pretty decent tank. Being that the Drake is a missile boat and my missiles skills are even worse than my tanking skills I just don’t have the DPS to bring her down. I can get the BS into structure, but that’s after about 5 reloads and every time I reload the shields fully recharge and it’s game over. Ah well, at least I know my limits and what to work on next!

Now in terms of boldly going somewhere, I also outfitted my Drake with a core probe launcher. When I first began my adventures in New Eden it was a month or two after Apocrypha and the scanning revamp. Some of my first trained skills had to do with scanning, and my first manufacturing job was to produce 80 core scanning probes. So clearly I’ve always enjoyed scanning, I just never had a huge use for it and thus I haven’t scanned in a long time. I’ll even confess that just this week I discovered the true use and power of the directional scanner. Anyways, I figured I’d give it another try with my Drake.

I started in a neighboring system to “Home” and within about 10 minutes I had found a wormhole that was only going to last another day, but had yet to be disturbed by ship traffic. After a minute or two of convincing myself, I finally jumped through not knowing what I’d find on the other side. Once the WH materialized I promptly bookmarked its location and engaged my new cloaking device. I then started scanning again, but I only found a couple of hits initially. Being that I was pretty nervous, and that this was only the second WH I’d ever been in, I decided to only focus on one site and then get back home. After another 5 minutes I had finally locked down a Gravimetric site, a.k.a – mining site. Again, after a little self pep-talk, I warped to within 25km so see what the site held. To my amazement there were some HUGE asteroids made of minerals I’d never heard of. I have no clue what ‘class’ this WH was, but it didn’t matter I guess, I was having a blast. Being that the WH was apparently empty I half intended to run back and grab my new Hulk to do some WH mining, but then I realized that I didn’t have the requisite ore processing skills to fit my Modulated Strip Miner II’s with the necessary crystals. Ah well, another day then I thought. So I warped back to the WH and jumped home.

So it was a fun week, though slow at times. Flying solo can be rewarding, but I have to make sure and keep myself motivated with goals and new experiences. Some day I’m sure I’ll be able to help a Corporation as I feel that is the way truly experience EVE Online!

Slow Return

Though I am still without employment (not for lack of trying!) I am finding a little more time to return to New Eden. One of the things I’ve always liked about EVE was the fact that even if you cannot log in, your character may advance. Since I have been gone for nearly 2 months I queued up my skills for flying a Hulk, and as of last week they all completed! I have passed over 6.5 million Skill Points, and my lowly clone is only able to handle 4.8 million, so I need to rectify that soon.

The one problem I knew was coming, but I chose to ignore anyways, was funding such a behemoth. When I finally logged in I had just over $50 million ISK, peanuts compared to flying and outfitting a Hulk and it’s skills. So I hit the rocks with my trusty ol’ Retriever and after a week of mining and the few Level II missions I was sitting at around $80 million ISK. I guess I’m not the most efficient money making machine, but I get by. I discovered some dusty implants lying in my hangar, imagine my surprise when I saw that their combined market value was $20 million ISK! I was able to sell them last night and that put me over the top for purchasing my ORE Exhumer.

I’ve been reading alot recently about Hi-Sec Hulk suicide gank fleets. This has made me more than uneasy as once I’ve finished outfitting my hulk I am all but broke. Also, since the Hulk is a Tech II ship the insurance coverage is little to nothing. So I’ve decided that I will stick to mining mission rooms. I’ve found quite a few rather large areas that take a good amount of time for this solo miner to clear. I just wish I had another account (I had to cancel my trial account for obvious reasons) because the Hulk is just so slooooow it takes me forever to navigate around from asteroid cluster to asteroid cluster.

Anyways, here is the fit I went with. I chose a pair of Expanded Cargohold II’s over the MLU’s since I’m acting as my own hauler effectively. The tank isn’t anything to write home about, but I would love any help or suggestions.

Next on my skill queue are the prerequisites of Hacking and Archeology, I’m about 8 total days away from them, then hopefully I can try my hand at that. PvP is still a bit of a gray area for me, so hopefully I’ll get to that at some point to.

When (not if!) I am re-employed I’m sure I’ll have much more to report! Thank you again for all the support, the outreach has been tremendous!