Rambling Review and the Fail Cascade

I apologize for the lack of posting lately. December turned out to be a whirlwind in real life and some things just didn’t make the time cut. I need to be better about writing posts ahead of time and/or breaking up my long posts into smaller, more manageable chunks. There have been many good guides for fledgling bloggers such as myself, I just need to follow them better. Since it’s been over a month since my last post, I figured I’d do a quick round-up review of December and then touch on where I’m headed.

Much has happened since I eventually found my way out of W-space. Upon my not-so-graceful exit I found myself practically broke and thus resolved myself to the monotony of running missions. But as I was still wallowing in self pity, I received a very generous gift of ISK from a member of the group who “helped” me out of W-space earlier. Again I apologize that is has taken me so long to thank you for your help!! As I’ve said in the past, one of the things I find so amazing in EVE is that so many people are willing to help you, even after they hunt you down and kill you. It’s a very strange dynamic, but I think it speaks volumes about the people that play EVE as I’ve never found this in any other MMO.

I used the generous ISK gift to replace my modest implants and to purchase and refit a new Drake. I was feeling pretty good at this point and jumped back to my home Wormhole to take on some Sleepers and mingle with the Alliance. Little did I know that I was in for an even nastier surprise than I had in my previous stint lost in space.

I spent a few days running easy combat sites solo and doing some mining, I was amazed at the bounties of W-space. You can quickly generate income if you have the right sites and a good amount of time. I was beginning to understand how Wormspace can be so profitable.

On the start of the third day I did my usual routine of scanning down any new anomalies in the system. I found that our daily Class 4 connection had decayed so I quickly searched for the new wormhole. I scanned it down and jumped through, making sure to take all the necessary precautions that I learned in my extended stay in W-space. Upon arriving on the other side, I found the new system to be completely devoid of player occupation. It had an abundance of combat, mining & gas sites and only one other connecting wormhole. I decided, since our system was completely empty of such sites, that I would return in my Drake and battle some sleepers. The next 3 hours would turn into one of the largest fail cascades I’ve ever had. (Fail Cascade = mistake after mistake after mistake, etc.)

One of the cardinal rules for flying through W-space is to always have a Probe Launcher fitted to your ship, NO exceptions. You would think, that after just spending over a week lost in W-space that I would take my hard earned lessons to heart…oh how easily one forgets. It only takes an instant, one simpl mistake, and it’s all over. Wormspace is completely unforgiving.

The mistake that started my fail cascade began when I returned to grab my newly minted Drake. Upon arrival I realized that my Drake had a small tractor beam fitted instead of a probe launcher. Now, instead of simply following the basic rules of W-space survival and fitting a probe launcher, I had a thought. It’s funny how you can take such a bad idea and very quickly convince yourself that ‘Hey, this might actually work!’. It’s at this moment that I wish I had someone around to slap me, but alas there was no one to save me from myself.

I decided against fitting a probe launcher and to instead keep my tractor beam. The train-of-thought I used to convince myself this wasn’t such a bad idea was simple: 1) The wormhole system was unoccupied. 2) The system opening had just spawned. And finally 3) The tractor beam will help speed things up. So off I went.

My second mistake were the assumptions I made above. Just because the WH you’re in isn’t occupied doesn’t mean any connecting WH’s are not as well. If you are going to be conducting operations in an empty system, be sure and check any and all connecting systems to see if you might eventually have company.

My third mistake came from not being completely thorough in my scanning. As it turned out, I had made all the appropriate bookmarks, except for the one that truly mattered…the way back home.

As you can see, a series of simple, mental errors can lead up to a climactic fail of epic proportions.

Upon arriving in the unoccupied C4 system I quickly warped to the nearest and easiest combat site and began engaging the resident Sleepers. Roughly half way through the site I realized my fatal error of not bookmarking my way home. I figured it would be no big deal, someone is surely in our home system that can come save me. Again, another faulty assumption as our system was currently empty and the majority of my Alliance mates were not online. As the reality of what might happen began to sink in (i.e. – I’d be stuck in a wormhole again, except this time without a probe launcher to find my way out, leaving only self-destruction) I picked up a Tier II Covert-Ops ship on scan. One of the only things I had been doing right this whole time was checking my Directional scanner constantly (the other was making numerous safe-spot bookmarks throughout the system). The ship was only on scan for a couple seconds before he cloaked up. Turns out the only other connecting wormhole was indeed occupied. At this point I wasn’t sure if the player was hostile or not, but regardless I quickly warped to one of my safe spots.

About this time an Alliance mate had logged and was gracious enough to help me out…the only problem being that he was in empire over 25 jumps away from our WH entrance. He quickly began his journey to rescue me all the while instructing me to keep moving in the wormhole, never stand still. Roughly an hour had passed and my savior was just about to enter our wormhole when I picked up the Covert-Ops ship again on my D-scanner. I still had nothing to worry about, or so I thought, because last time he had only come and gone. This time, however, he quickly launched Combat Probes and began the process of scanning me down. My anxiety began to rise quite quickly. My Alliance mate still had to scan down the entrance to the system I was in before he could help me escape. That last part took nearly 45 minutes, all the while I was playing Cat & Mouse with my stalker.

When the entrance to my current system was finally found there was yet another mistake. As soon as my Alliance mate jumped through to the system, he instructed me to engage my warp drive and warp to him. In a situation like this, impulse reactions typically do not end well. The proper thing for us to do would have been to survey the entrance/exit WH and make sure no one was waiting on either side. In this case we were both so focused on escaped we missed this crucial step. As soon as my warp drive activated, he shouted out “Abort! Abort! Abort!” but it was too late. It turned out that while I had been attempting to avoid my stalker, he had been amassing a support fleet. When I finally landed on the WH exit, their trap was sprung. Waiting for me were a number of Battleships, Assault Ships and a Heavy Interdictor.

As I jumped through the WH to our home system I found myself in the HIC’s warp bubble. I began taking damage and thought I might be able to escape if I jumped back through to the neighboring system and warped to a safe spot. This almost worked, however my poor Drake is like driving a Lincoln Continental…big, fat & slow. As I jumped through I quickly attempted to engaged my warp drive, but the Covert-Ops pilot from earlier had followed me through and almost instantly had me locked and jammed. At this point the timer for my to return to my home system was over 3 minutes, so I knew I was done for. The attacking fleet jumped in system and finished me off, however the HIC pilot had stayed on the other side of the WH. I was able to get my pod out to a safe spot, but it really didn’t matter at this point considering I had no ship and no way of getting home. I figured I’d give it one last shot after waiting for about 15 minutes. I was hoping our attackers had left, but this wasn’t the case. As I warped back to the exit and jumped through again I was jammed in the warp interdiction sphere and was eventually popped. The only silver lining was that since our attackers were so focused on me and my Drake, that my Alliance mate was able to get safely out of trouble and back home…though just barely.

So here I was again in an Empire Clone Vat Bay, not 2 days since my last visit. My only saving grace was that I had spent those 2 days amassing some WH minerals and salvage that luckily covered my loss. However I was quite disheartened over the whole experience because it seems the only thing I’m good at in EVE is dying. At this point I almost felt like giving up and going back to playing Solitaire, but that wouldn’t make for an exciting Blog now would it. Ultimately experiences like this only tend to build character and make you that much more aware of your decisions and the consequences that may result.

One of the other points I tried to take away from this fiasco was simply a reiteration of something I’ve said before, that so much success in EVE comes from playing and interacting in a group. It’s no secret that EVE is a very difficult game to fly solo in and remain engaged with. Ultimately, as with anything, it’s up to you to make the choice and put forth the effort to engage with yours peers and find those group interactions. Up until that point I had taken the solo approach to EVE, as I typically do with any MMO, and found how difficult accomplishments come. Thus I’ve tried to make a much for conscientious and concerted effort to find and engage in group play. Damn, I’m starting to go off the deep end now, rambling on about the meaning of social interaction, please somebody stop me! In short, I died, it sucked, I don’t want it to happen again, the end.

This was all in the first two weeks of December. Since then I’ve been mission running en force in Empire. I ran my first Level 4 mission just before Christmas and was amazed at the rewards you can reap! I was also part of a successful Alliance POS bash against a small group of encroaching players in our wormhole system, getting in on my very first killmail! The whole experience completely reiterated the point I was attempting to make earlier. Finally, I finished training to fly an Orca and Caldari Battleships, the problem now is that I simply can’t afford either…so it’s back to running missions. (Tip: running Lvl4 missions in a Drake will literally take hours and hours to complete, persistence is a virtue)

As for where I’m headed, I’ve queued up some longer missile skills to compliment me flying a Battleship, after which I want to get into Gunnery and Amarr ships. So it’s quite the extended plan considering I have nearly 10 million skillpoints and they’re all effectively wrapped up in Science & Industry.

Again I apologize for the extended absence and appreciate the patience with my wall-of-text rambles. That’s just par for the course I guess. Fly safe and we’ll see you out there!

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Home Sweet Home

Well, I’m happy to say I’m again flying in familiar space. No longer am I trapped within the confines of endless Wormholes having no way out. I’d like to say I found my own way out, that I scanned down an exit and flew home in victory, alas I cannot. Things ended about as quickly as they began. Thanks to fellow blogger Iambeastx I was sent packing to the clone vats in Jita. Here is his recount of my demise.

The day began just like the previous 4. I was in a Class 5 Wormhole with a single, static connection to another Class 5. I’ve been searching for days to find a connection close to home so that I could escape my prison of W-space. I found the newly spawned C5 connection and warped on through. I spent about 30 minutes scanning down sites in this new WH, finding two connections to Null space and another to a C5. I jumped into the C5 as I wanted to avoid Null space at all cost, plus both exits where 55+ jumps away from Jita. Upon landing in this new C5 I quickly found a new Class 6 connection and proceeded to jump.

As Iambeastx will attest, I am still pretty green to W-space as I failed to pick up his fleets’ Combat Probes. When this journey first began I would watch my Directional Scanner religiously, but as time wore on I began to lax more and more. I was now only checking it every 5 – 10 minutes, which is a big, big mistake. I was abruptly awakened by a familiar sound, though one I hadn’t heard in days. It was the sound of being targeted, I knew right away there was no way out. My Overview  immediately showed a fleet of pilots and I was quickly locked, jammed and obliterated.  I’m not sure I could have escaped even if I did detect my stalkers in time, but at least this should be another good lesson.

They say “That which doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”, and also “Ignorance is Bliss”. Well EVE Online prescribes pretty heavily to the School of Hard Knocks and each lesson you learn in New Eden is usually a painful and costly one.

I’ve known all along that if I met a gruesome fate inside these wormholes that it would be a costly one. This didn’t really sink in until I was sitting in the Clone Bays in Jita. Now, I am a pretty meager Capsuleer, so my bank account is pretty small. I’ve also only ever been killed once before and never have I had my pod exploded. Here comes EVE’s ‘Tough Love’, I now remembered that when you’re pod goes pop, so do all your implants and skill points if you don’t have an adequate clone. Luckily for me my clone was properly up to date, however I barely had enough ISK to replace my trusty Drake and refit it with reasonable modules. They always say “Only fly what you can afford to replace” and I was able to, however I was not able to replace my implants. Luckily I had a few laying around from my earlier missions, but they are pretty basic. Granted the implants I did have were nothing special, but every little bit of attribute augmentation helps.

So there you have it. My Space Odyssey didn’t quite end as I had hoped, but it was still an invaluable experience that taught me plenty about how to survive in W-space. Now that I am back in Empire I will start the slow process of rebuilding my bank account and replacing my implants and picking up a few new skills. It looks like I will have to resort to mission running, but that’s okay, I’m just happy to finally be home!

And Beast, the bill’s in the mail!

Fly Safe!

Keep on truckin’

So it’s been a fairly slow few days for me in Eve. I’ve found a good amount of time to play, but for the most part I spend it sitting in an asteroid belt. It’s a great way to keep the bank account growing as I wait for my Hulk.

Yet I decided I should try running a few missions to increase my standings and security status. Unfortunately for me I’m currently in Gallante space and the majority of my good Agents are back in Caldari space. Regardless I decided to give it a shot.

I just recently purchased my first combat cruiser, a Caracal. I fitted her with a decent loadout found on BattleClinic and headed out to my only level II Agent in the system, quality -17.

My first experience with a level II mission was a great one. It was a simple ‘seek & destroy’ type, heavy on the destroy. When all was said and done it had taken me a good part of half an hour to clear the pirates, roughly 40 of them. My Caracal, ‘Hammer I’, performed marvelously! With barely a scratch on her I decided to pick up the pieces and then head back to retrieve my salvaging Destroyer.

The entire experience netted me just shy of 750k ISK, not included the salvage, which was heavy. Pretty good for about an hours worth of work. Nothing compared to what I can generate when I’m solely focused on mining, but still good. Plus it was a helluva lot more fun!

As I’ve been examining my training path (there’s lots to think about while you mine on endlessly) I’ve discovered that I’m roughly 30 days from my mining Hulk.

Mining Hulk Training

Mining Hulk Training

I’m also about 30 days away from flying a stealth bomber.

Stealth Bomber Training

Stealth Bomber Training

Since I’ve been attempting to join a very good Corporation as of late, if they feel I’d be more useful to them flying a bomber than flying a Hulk, it will be easy for me to switch over.

Either way it’s pretty much more of the same. I’ll continue to suck on those asteroids and hopefully get distracted from time to time. Feel free to say Hi if you’re flying by…

EVEntually I'll figure this out – Part II

Let me continue my ramblings from Part I.

So on the eve of my first night in New Eden I ended up docked at the State War Academy’s station. I had no clue as to what region or solar system I was in, all I knew was that I could click on something in my overview, and then head towards it. My first few feeble attempts at this went something along the lines of: Select item in overview, click on ship speed to increase to maximum and then wait till I got there.

Now that you’ve stopped laughing, it’s clear that it didn’t take me long to figure out that couldn’t possibly be the right way to move from point A to point B. I had read the tutorials, but clearly I needed to read again. This time I was warping in style, however I always left myself a good distance away at which I proceeded to crawl close enough until I could actually dock.

When I docked at the station for the first time it was a little overwhelming to figure out everything I could do. There were various service buttons on the right, followed by agent and guest lists. (I eventually figured out that ‘guests’ where simply other players that were also docked at the station) I clicked through many of the service buttons but most just succeeded in confusing me even more.

I had read some about the ‘Market’ and wanted to explore that a bit more. I had been using Auctioneer in WoW for awhile, but the built-in feature set of EVE’s Market was amazing! I had read this was one of EVE’s strong points and sure enough it was pretty satisfying to see such a robust player run economy and tool set to match. I believe the first thing I purchased was a mining laser. (Regardless that all ships start out with a Civilian Mining Laser) I remember my mantra, when in doubt right-click, and soon enough I had the confirmation dialog to purchase my new fangled toy. ‘Confirm’. Now what? Oh right! I have to go pick up my purchase. I vaguely remember my ‘Wallet’ had a transaction log, so I opened that up and found the location. 32 jumps away?!? Again, I had to facepalm. EVEntually I’ll figure this out. I adjusted my mantra with the preface: ‘Pay Attention’.

Even though my new laser was 32 jumps away I figured it’d be good for me to saddle up and see what a long trip in EVE is all about. So I set the pick-up station as my destination and turned on the trusty auto-pilot. That trip took foreeeeeeverrrrrr. Ugh. I quickly learned that the auto-pilot isn’t quite so trusty after all.

During the trip I saw a number of ships pop up on the overview that had little skulls on their icon and were highlighted yellow. I never knew what that meant and after reading how prevalent ganking is in EVE I was a little worried. Well, here I am 6 weeks later and still have yet to even see any PvP action. (knock on wood) I’m sure there will be plenty in the future.

So after playing with the market and trying to buy some skills I was quickly broke. (One of the good things about the initial tutorial missions is that you get a hefty chunk of ISK along the way) I read that mining was a great way to make some cash, thus my initial purchase of a mining laser. Once I was back in my ‘home’ system I wanted to find a ‘roid and start “sucking”. My first hurdle was getting asteroid belts to show up on the overview. My second hurdle was finding a belt that actually had asteroids. I spent the better part of two hours jumping around until I finally found a nice mining spot. I had visions of dollar signs in my eyes and was eager to get started. I found a ‘roid, targeted it and click my trusty mining laser. And *pause for effect* waited. Wow. Now I was really bogged down. The mining process was slooooooow and after 2 or 3 cycles my little ship was full. How on earth was I ever to turn on profit on this? I wasn’t expecting to print ISK right out of the gates, but I had hoped I could make a meager living which I could then afford those 5 million ISK learning skillbooks I needed. Ah well, perhaps I’ll try some missions.

I headed my way back to home base and selected one of the agents. Just by clicking on them they offered a mission. I was hoping to get a feel for all the agents first before I decided on who to start with so I clicked decline. Sure enough, said agent was no longer my friend and wouldn’t offer me any further missions. That was pretty frustrating and seemingly a basic design flaw. Oh well I thought, let me just grab another one. “Head out to X and kill Y” On my way.

Before I left for my mission I remembered that during my previous research I had seen a mention of ‘salvaging’. I wasn’t quite sure what it was, but it looked just like ‘roid sucking, but on ship wrecks. Now I’d read a number of mining guides and newbie guides, the majority of which stated that asteroid farming was the means to successful beginning career. However it was a much smaller guide that actually saved the day for me. I can’t find the original post any longer, but it had outlined the basics of salvaging. I had picked up a civilian salvager from the tutorials (I think?) so I strapped that on and was off on my mission.

Being that this was my first experience of actual combat (aside from the new player creation rat that shows up) hilarity ensued. I won’t bore you with the details, but you can probably imagine what a truly frantic newbie looks like in EVE faced with a few giant red dots on the screen as he’s screaming at his ship to turn around (which didn’t even matter) all the while mashing the arrows keys left and right to no avail. *Facepalm* It may have looked like a monkey humping a football, but soon enough the rats were dead. Alrighty, let’s test out this salvager.

This time I knew what to expect from the salvaging process since it seemed to closely resemble mining. Target, click and wait. After what seemed like forever I finally had a few successful salvages. I looked in my cargo hold and saw some loot. Not bad I thought, how much do these puppies actually sell for? I quickly learned that you could right-click the item and ‘View Market Details’. 120.00 ISK. *Moan* 98.00 ISK. *Grunt*. How am I ever going to make any money here? 250,000.000. *Snort* What? Was that a comma?? Sweet Baby Jesus, Eureka! I had somehow managed to salvage an alloyed titanium bar. Now we’re talking! Needless to say I haven’t sucked on a ‘roid since. (Except for that one mission where I saw a few Kernite ‘roids and knew they were selling for around 300 ISK ea. I mined 6000 units and somehow managed to lose every last one of them on the market a week later. After listing the minerals 3 separate times it just up and vanished like a fart in the wind. To this day there is no record that I ever had the Kernite to begin with. I even opened a ticket about it. Yet again another facepalm. Mining just doesn’t seem to be in the stars for me.)

After a couple days in newbie space I figured I’d move onto greener pastures. By this time I had a Badger for hauling. I was able to pack up all of my spacely belongings and complete the move in two full trips. I opened the map and slowly found a system about 14 jumps away that had everything I needed. I mainly wanted a system with plenty of agents for my salvaging purposes. So off I went into the wild black yonder. My home system if farily quiet and has everything I hoped it would. I’m still there today running missions and salvaging to my hearts content. There is a Caldari Navy Assembly plant one jump away that is usually packed with capsuleers and market items. The system also has a local Research station with all the skillbooks I ever (hopefully) need.

So that, as they say, is a wrap. Please forgive the ramblings and random tangents. Clearly I had my fair share of facepalms during my first few days in space. I feel a little more stable now and I’m trying to dabble in industry. I bought my first BPO (Blue Print Original) the other night and put it in at 450 degrees for 3 days to bake. We’ll see.

Now that my initial thoughts are down on paper I’ll try and post more regularly on my comings and goings in EVE. I have been looking for a good Corporation to join that wouldn’t mind taking a newbie under their wing, I promise not to be too annoying with my basic questions. There are a number of great Corporations and CEO’s in my Blogroll, so if you’re looking for some interesting EVE blogs I’d recommend them. All in all, I’m having a blast. I’d like to post the picture of ‘Where you’ve been in EVE’, so I’ll try and snag a screenshot of that tonight.

In closing, let me go back to that little incident in Part I where I had to wait a full day to actually re-create my character of choice. Have no fear, 24 hours later Freddy Facepalm was born. Please feel free to shoot me (figuratively speaking of course!) a message in game if you ever see me heading past…probably in the wrong direction.

Freddy Facepalm
Freddy Facepalm