Friday, December 31, 2010

My Predictions for 2011

For the first time I will attempt to predict the future in the MMO world.  And for not the first time, I will undoubtedly make a fool of myself on the blog.  But since that has never stopped me in the past, on with the predictions.

New games:

Although a lot of new MMOs are scheduled for release, I'll only make predictions about 2 games that I hope to play in 2011, Star Wars: The Old Republic and RIFT.  First, SWTOR.  As much as I would like to go out on a limb and predict the game will not launch in 2011, I just don't want to look like that big a fool.  Then again, I want to play this game, so picking an earlier date may just be wishful thinking.  So I will predict a 2011 Q4 launch for the game.  If I have to pick a month, I'll pick December.

I have greater hopes for RIFT.  I predict that they will make their announced launch date of Q1 2011 and will do very well, ending the year with between 300-400 thousand subscribers.

Existing games:

Eve Online - I will predict that not only will I finally get to walk around in stations with Incarna, but that during the month Incarna is released the peak concurrent user mark will once again break and will hit over 67,000 concurrent accounts.  According to Eve-Offline, the current mark is 60,453.

Other predictions for Eve Online is that the game will end the year with between 380-400 thousand active accounts and that the Sansha invasions introduced in Incursion will no longer be active.

EverQuest 2 - EQ2 will continue to lose players throughout the year, especially to RIFT.  By the end of the year, talk will again begin about the need for another round of server mergers.  In the meantime, EverQuest 2 Extended will do well, but the F2P service will still remain separate from the subscription service.

Star Wars: Galaxies - I'm going to go off on a limb and predict no server merges in 2011.  I am also going to go out on a limb and predict SW:G will not go F2P in 2011.  I think that SOE is saving its Star Wars love for Clone Wars Adventures.

Player multi-media:

One thing I really love is when games turn into true virtual worlds that spill over outside the computer screen.  I think that 2011 will prove to be a banner year in this regard for my favorite game.  In Eve, Incarna will give New Eden's film makers something new: avatars.  No longer will player-made videos be restricted to ships and still photos of players.  I predict a flood of new Eve videos will flood YouTube and that by the end of the year bloggers will be making up lists of best videos of 2011.

Also in Eve, I expect the podcast community to grow.  Lately the number of podcasts has grown (I currently have 7 in my feed) and I will predict that by the end of 2011 I'll be able to not only list 10 Eve podcasts on the blog, but get some flak for leaving someone out.  Hopefully that is not just wishful thinking.

That is all my predictions.  I could make more if I actually got into the world more, but New Eden has been such a good place to be that I haven't really wandered around too much.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Podcast Thoughts

Regular visitors to The Nosy Gamer may have noticed a little rearranging I've done to the site layout.  I've put all the Eve-related sites on the right hand side and all other subjects on the left.  I've also put the podcasts on the top of each column.  Part of the reason is to remind me when I need to plug in my iPod and iPad to update the podcasts I keep on them.  And after listening to a few this week, I have a couple of observations.

First, the Notalotofnews Newshour.  I was listening to episode 28 and I thought to myself, this format sounds familiar.  Then I listened a little more, and I thought, "Yivvits and mrbubbles".  It could be.  Has anyone seen Erin and Yivvits in the same room?  I'm two episodes behind right now and really need to listen some more.

Next is Broadcasts from the Ninveah.  First, Kirith is a carrier (and super-carrier) pilot, but for some reason the show notes on his site are occasionally stealthed.  That kind of thing should be reserved for cloaky freaks like me.  And on episode 30 (which has the stealth notes) he titled the show "Canadian Bacon" but never apologized for Brian Adams.  False advertising?

Finally is the case of The RIFT Podcast.  With the incredible access that Ari and Desi have to not only the community management staff but to the developers (Scott Hartsman twice!), I've wondered if the pair were either in the pockets of Trion or were using Jedi mind tricks.  At this point, I'm leaning toward the latter.  Ari wrote a post about the reservations and concerns she has about RIFT following the beta that I give far more credence to that those posted by Keen.  And on an appearance on Shut Up! We're Talking Episode 75, I think Ari let loose about the MMO industry in a more relaxed way that when she is hosting her own podcast.  I know want to go back and listen to Karen when she appeared on RIFT Podcast Episode 12.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Risk for the iPad

I've been having fun with the English/Bulgarian version of the BidBox Vocabulary Trainer, but I decided to get a non-educational game for those days when I just want to relax on the train.  EA is holding a sale on its iPad game apps so I purchased Risk for $3.99 yesterday.  I played through the tutorial version and the play was good.  I liked the feature that allows you (and more importantly the AI) to continuously attack, thus saving a lot of dice rolls.  I think the graphics are good and I didn't notice any sound, although one review on the games web page says it has sound.

For $3.99, I think the game is worth it.  I can't spend two hours every day on the train trying to learn Bulgarian.  I should, but my brain hurts too much.

NOTE: I have no business association with this game.  If you purchase it, I do not get a dime.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why I Don't Buy PLEX

One of the main ways that CCP fights companies engaging in selling isk in Eve Online is through the sale of PLEX.  PLEX, or Pilot's License EXtention, is good for paying for 30 days of subscription for the game.  The item can be traded on the market for isk, thus not only allowing people to purchase isk for cash legally, but also allowing other players to basically pay their subscriptions with in-game currency.  A nice solution to an ugly problem.

But would I ever take advantage of purchasing isk with real life money?  I can't see myself doing that.  Why?  Not for moral reasons, since buying isk is sanctioned by CCP.  Instead, I wouldn't buy isk because of the way I play games.  When I play games, I always find the journey more enjoyable than what I find at the end.  In Eve, a major part of the journey is making the isk to do all the things I want to do.  So for me, buying isk is the equivalent of the offline leveling offered in Age of Conan.

Let me give a current example.  One of my current goals is to purchase and fly an Orca.  Now, I could just go ahead and purchase 2 PLEX for $34.99 and then have enough isk to buy an Orca and have enough to spare to fit it out properly.  Or, I could figure out how to pay for one using completely in-game play.  Right now my quest for an Orca has led me into planetary interaction and gearing up to do level 4 missions.  As part of doing missions, I started investigating invention in order to produce tech 2 drones.  And once I figure out making drones, I will have the knowledge to make larger items like Cheetahs and Prowlers.

Some players don't want to go through all the time and effort to get their ship.  For them, paying $35 gets them past all the work and they can do what they really want to do.  But for me, overcoming all the obstacles and learning more about New Eden is much more satisfying.  And since Eve is a sandbox, I'll play the way I want to.

Monday, December 27, 2010

After Action Report: The Viper's Pit

Christmas Eve promised to be a glorious day for Khumaak Flying Circus with the launch of Harm's Way, the corporation's first Maelstrom.  But just hours before the scheduled launch of the Matari-designed battleship, KHU suffered the worst losses in its history.  Below is the after action report on the fateful battle.

While searching for gravimetric sites in the Hotrardik system, I discovered a staging ground for the Angel Cartel located appoximately half-way between the first and second planets.  I transferred from the Traffic Copter (a Cheetah) to a Rupture-class cruiser and proceeded to warp into the site.  I was immediately attacked, webbed and destroyed before I could align and warp out of the area.

The decision was made to form up a punative expedition made up of my flying the Hurricane-class battlecruiser Good Times and Wandering Rose to provide back-up in the Cyclone-class battlecruiser Windswept Path.  The first insertion did not go well as Good Times was primaried by the Angel Cartel fleet and quickly punished the Hurricane, with the ship down to 1/4 armor before making its escape with no losses inflicted upon the Cartel forces.  After repairing the damages, a second attempt was made with Windswept Path jumping in ahead to draw the Cartel's fire.  While the Cartel focused on the Cyclone, I warped in and destroyed the stasis tower.  Then both ships warped out, with Windswept Path down to half-armor.

After repairing the Cyclone, a third insertion was made into the Cartel staging area, with Good Times again being primaried by the Cartel fleet.  This time, a Cartel cruiser was destroyed, but at the cost of Good Times.

With the loss of half of the corporation's battlecruiser strength, all thoughts were abandoned of carrying out punitive actions against the Angel Cartel forces in Hotrardik.  The priority was to minimize the losses suffered by the corp.  The problem then became salvaging as much as possible from the wreck of Good Times as possible.  Returning to the site in Traffic Copter proved that attempting to cloak to the wreck was impossible, as there were too many ships located between the warp-in point and the wreck.  The decision was then made to attempt to draw the Cartel ships away from the warp-in point and the wreck.

The first two attempts proved that Windswept Path as fitted could not do the job.  The ship was too slow and thus too easy to hit.  This led to the decision to fit the ship with an afterburner.  The afterburner was designed to accomplish two goals: make Windswept Path harder to hit and allow the battlecruiser to travel farther away from the wreck, hopefully drawing the Cartel ships with it.

After the first solo insertion of Windswept Path proved the concept feasible, the decision was made to commence hit-and-run tactics against the Cartel fleet.  Sensors indicated that the Cartel forces had no armor repping ships or facilities and the plan was to continue driving toward a location (which just happened to be aligned to a planet) to draw the Cartel towards that point in space.  With a tech II shield repper, I was able to regenerate my shields in the time it took to warp away from the assembly site and then return.  By keeping the pressure up, I not only accomplished the mission of drawing the Cartel away from the wreck, but succeeded in destroying two more cruisers.

If Windswept Path had been able to tank the damage, the operation would have turned back to the offensive.  However, after 6 warp-ins, the Angel fleet, even with its losses, was still too much to handle in a straight up fight.  So on the 7th warp-in, I surprised the Cartel commander and flew straight for the wreck of Good Times, salvaging 5 650mm Artillery Cannon II, 1 'Malkuth' Assault Missile Launcher I, 1 Gyrostabilizer II, 1 Large Shield Extender II, 1 Shield Power Relay II, 1 Power Diagnostic System II, 13 Warrior I drones, 4598 Bloodclaw Light Missiles and 8339 rounds of Titanium Sabot M.  The success of the salvage operation turned a potential significant financial setback into a wake-up call costing a few million isk lost and hours of wasted time.

What went wrong:  This operation was marked with a high degree of overconfidence.  The first failure in the operation was the lack of proper scouting of the target.  Despite the fact a covert ops ship was present on the scene, the first insertion into the site was conducted by a Rupture, which quickly died.  And instead of my sticking around in my pod to gain an accurate assessment of the Angel Cartel forces, I immediately flew off to raise the stakes.

The second failure was not heeding the warning signs once the battlecruisers took the field.  Each battlecruiser received significant damage on each of the first two warp-ins and only managed to destroy the stasis tower.  That should have been a sign of trouble.  If after the first two warp-ins the attack was halted, the loss of the Rupture was something that could be easily absorbed by the corp.  Losing a Hurricane hurt, even with getting the salvage.

What went right:
  The recovery operation succeeded in drawing the Cartel away from the wreck, turning a disaster into a painful reminder to never underestimate an opponent.  Using hit-and-run tactics with a high operational tempo along with speed modules to make the ship faster than the opponent, I was able to outmaneuver the Cartel forces.

Lessons learned:  Over the past few months, running missions for agents for Minmatar-based corporations has led to a level of not only overconfidence, but slackness as Khumaak Flying Circus was provided with intelligence and did not have to obtain its own in regards to the Angel Cartel.  Now that KHU is beginning to conduct combat operations independent of the agents, the corporation's members need to go back to the intelligence-gathering activities that were in place when the corporation was first founded.

Another practice that needs to stop is not putting propulsion modules on the corporation's fighting ships.  While frigates and cruisers standardly fit afterburners, the practice was to not fit propulsion mods on battlecruisers. This operation showed the benefit of the afterburners and all combat ships from this point forward will fit either afterburners or microwarp drives.

The Khumaak Flying Circus is a Vherokior corporation.  In this operation, we encountered failure when we acted like the Brutor and tried to slug it out with the Cartel.  We succeeded when we remembered out roots and used speed and cunning to accomplish the task at hand.  Something to remember in our operations going forward.

Chief Operations Officer
Khumaak Flying Circus

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope you have a Merry Christmas, wherever you are.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

RIFT Beta NDA Drops and the First Impressions

With Trion dropping the NDA on the RIFT beta, the first reports are starting to circulate across the MMO blogosphere.  Here is a short roundup.

The RIFT had RIFT's Executive Producer Scott Hartsman on to answer a few questions about the betas and why the sudden dropping of the NDA.

Karen Bryan at - "RIFT isn't perfect, and there's a lot that might feel all-to-familiar, but the rift invasions and the soul system address the two biggest problems in MMOs today: lack of player interaction and the limitations of the holy trinity in groups." 

Karen is a veteran EQ2 player and guild leader and may be better known for co-hosting the Shut Up, We're Talking podcast.  Her's was an opinion I was looking forward to reading. has come out with a lot of stories covering RIFT yesterday.

Tipa at West Karana - "I want to tell why this makes me feel like I felt when playing EverQuest, even though it really is nothing like EQ."

Syp at Bio Break - "The answers are 'Yes, although not perfect” and “Most definitely'." 

Keen - "Rift is an all-around good game.  That’s something that needs to be said up front since I will be delivering a few harsh truths to you as you read on.  Look at what has released over the past five plus years and you won’t find much better."

Kill Ten Rats - "Rift MMO feels like a polished Warhammer Online with more dynamic public quests. I am going to get it."

Blagpuss on Hardcore Casual - "What Trion have done, very professionally and successfully, is cherry-pick lots of things from other MMOs and synthesized them smoothly and convincingly into a coherent whole. Warhammer crossed with WoW is a pretty fair description, but I spotted a large dollop of EQ2 in there and a soupcon of Vanguard, while other people claimed to see strong ressemblences to Aion."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I Got My Pew-Pew Back

I had a little time to play Eve last night so I thought I would practice my exploration skills and maybe find a site to mine in.  I didn't find any asteroids, but I did find a site that wouldn't accept cruiser sized ships.  What a perfect excuse to pull out my Jaguar.  I hadn't flown it since my half-baked attempt to catch pirates during Hulkageddon 3 and I still had the ship outfitted for PvP.  So I threw in a couple of T2 shield extenders and a T2 shield booster and went off to fight the Angel Cartel.

I have to say I had fun fighting the rats for a change.  I think the reason is that I fit all of my mission ships with artillery and just kite the rats.  That is a much safer route that fitting autocannons and getting up close and personal.  But last night I flew my autocannon fitted assault frigate into a site and got into a dog fight.  At one point with my shields almost gone and my cap not much better, I hit the afterburners and put some distance between myself and three Angel fighters who were doggedly trying to follow.  But I got a breather and was able to double-back and not only destroy the three ships but a couple others that spawned as I killed the third one.

Sure, the salvage plus the bounties on the rats maybe came out to be 1.2 million isk.  But that wasn't the point.  I had fun shooting things again.  Autocannons make life so much more interesting.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eve Cinema Trailer

Since I live outside Chicago, I have a chance to see the Eve trailer appearing in select markets across the United States.  But after seeing the clip on YouTube, I'm glad I didn't make the 30 minute trip to the nearest theater.  I think the trailer was, to use a technical term, meh.  I'll let you judge for yourself.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Unexpected Goodies

Sunday did not start out well.  I did not feel well and waking up to do planetary interaction was not what I wanted to do.  So after determining that I needed to change the PI harvesting cycle from early morning to late at night, I logged into the game for 20 minutes and went back to bed for 5 hours.  I didn't even sleep that late when recovering from jet lag.

Once I finally woke up, I decided to do a little light activity while watching football.  Making bookmarks does not have to be as stressful as I made it last weekend.  So I just relaxed and created observation bookmarks at the asteroid belts in the high-sec system I do most of my planetary interaction activity in.  Why?  Because the mining is pretty decent in that system and by using bookmarks I can speed up the time it takes to start mining.  Instead of warping to the entry point of an asteroid belt and then having to slow boat to the asteroids, a miner can warp to the bookmark, see where the asteroids are, and then warp to the asteroid.  A great time saver.

The best part of creating bookmarks in high sec is that I don't have to sneak around.  Just warp to the entry point of a belt and then hit the micro-warp drive until I reach 150 km away from the belt and then make a bookmark.  Easy.  The next time I do this in high sec I'm going to use something that can fight back, since I could have picked up a little spare isk by shooting all the rats that came out to chase me.

I was feeling a bit better after I ate dinner so I decided to brush up on my exploration skills instead of watching the Patriots-Packers game.  I'm glad I did.  I found two sites in the system, a magnetometric and a combat site.  The magnetometric site turned out to be an old Angel Cartel ship graveyard and I got about 2-3 million isk in salvage from it.  But the pleasant surprise I received was in the combat site.  After clearing out the Angel Cartel ships I found Jaspet and Hemorphite.  I hit the jackpot!

Okay, for me it was the jackpot.  Two types of low-sec ore in a .6 security system?  And more importantly for my industrial plans, two types of ore that produce zydrine, which is very important for some of the production I want to get into to.  One thousand units of zydrine will go a long way.  And the 22,000 units of nocxium I can refine from the ore is even more welcome, since I was beginning to run low.

One other thing I should mention.  Last night was the first time I had mined outside of a mission in months.  But I still remembered to bring a Mammoth along to not only hold the ore, but to salvage all the rats that made the mistake of attacking my Covetor.  A tractor beam and salvager brought in enough salvage and loot to pay for the hemorphite mining crystals and Hemorphite Processing skill book I had to buy before going out on the mining op.  And how did I get my hemorphite processing skill up to level 3 so I could use the mining crystals?  Some unused skill points from the learning skills point refund last week.  Sometimes things just happen right.  Now if I just didn't feel so miserable while being so happy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Getting Serious About Production

I actually got home from work at a decent hour last night and had some time to fly around New Eden for a bit.  I still don't feel like shooting anything, so I decided to work on my industrial plans.  I like to make my own ammunition so I picked up a blueprint so I could make some shells for my new Maelstrom I plan on undocking for the first time Christmas Eve.

The next things I did were a step up in my involvement in production.  That is because I began to copy blueprints in order to make T2 drones and ships.  Right now I'm making copies of the Warrior I, Probe and Wreathe blueprints.  The drones to add to the dps of my Maelstrom and other combat ships and the Probe and Wreathe blueprints with an eye on making Cheetahs and Prowlers.  It may not make economic sense, but I just want to fly around in ships I've made myself and I think I'm at the point I can seriously try.

I also picked up a Mammoth blueprint.  While making a Mastodon is tempting, what I really plan on doing is seeing if a market exists for the hauler.  I love the ship and if all else fails I can have backups in the corp hanger.

On the hauling side of the business, I spent a lot of the skill points Rosewalker received from the elimination of the training skills to train Mining Foreman and Mining Barge both up to V.  That means Rosewalker is less than 90 minutes away from being able to fly an Orca while Wandering Rose can fly one now.  Now I just need to get the money for a capital industrial ship while also buying things to conduct T2 production.  Sounds like I need to do some more research to figure out the best way to proceed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why Didn't You Shoot The Pirate?

I receive a lot of questions at work.  "How do I do this?"  "Can I do that?"  "How long will it take you to do xyz?"  The one question I never thought I'd get asked was: "why didn't you shoot the pirate?  I have a co-worker who is interested in Eve Online and he read Monday's post on my adventures making bookmarks this past weekend.  He wanted to know why I just didn't kill the pirate I encountered.

The short answer is that I don't equip guns on my Cheetah.  The Cheetah is a covert ops ship and does sneaky recce stuff very well.  Combat?  Not so well.  The Cheetah has 3 high slots, and after fitting a cloak and a probe launcher, what you have left is just enough to either irritate someone or have them laugh at you if they are in anything tougher than a pod.

Now, what my friend doesn't know is that Eve has another class of cloaky ship I could have flown: the stealth bomber.  But I don't own one yet.  Why?  Because I don't have the spare cash lying around to buy one right now.  I just bought a Maelstrom that I'll unwrap and start flying on Christmas Eve, which is when my skill plan has Rosewalker finishing Minmatar Battleship IV.  I always seem to have more pressing needs that picking up a fun ship like the Hound.

A more important reason is that for making bookmarks, the Cheetah is just a better ship for the task.  Since I like to make close observation points while traveling cloaked, the Cheetah's greater sub-warp speed (a base of 381 m/s compared to the Hound's 284 m/s) lets me create more bookmarks in the same amount of time.  The Cheetah also has a slightly larger cargo hold, which, combined with the fact that I'm not carrying any ammunition, gives me the option to pick up some courier contracts while I'm out and about (I carried out 2 over the weekend).  And the Cheetah's greater warp speed allows me to not only keep ahead of any roaming gangs I may encounter, but allows me to get to the area of operations faster as well as spend less time completing courier missions.

So that's why I didn't shoot the pirate.  Not because I'm a big carebear.  Really.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Part Of The Reason For The Delay in Deploying Incursion Part 2

CCP had to delay the release of the second incursion patch from today to tomorrow.  CCP Red Button posted one of the reasons yesterday on the forums.

Thought I'd post some pictures of Stuff™ that happened today for those interrested.

Burned bladecenter
Burned blade 1
burned blade 2

As you can see we had a decent bonfire burning in our datacenter today. While not the primary reason for the delayed patch tomorrow this was definitely a pretty big contributing factor. This morning we had an alarm triggered on a powersupply in one of the bladecenters containing the Singularity testcluster. When reseating the powersupply which is part of a routine troubleshooting procedure before replacing with a spare part it somehow mysteriously, even magically (cause yet undetermined, and this is the first time we have this happen) managed to cause an internal short circuit in the bladecenter, completely fry one of the blades and seriously singe a few of the others. As you can imagine this caused us to immediately pull the bladecenter out of service and thus shutting down our primary public test server while we were juggling hamsters between cages to make Stuff™ work again.

Having Singularity, which is our primary staging server, shut down for several hours on the day before a big deployment is far from ideal, in fact it is critical as we use every hour right up until the last minute to test, retest and test again that everything is working. So add this to other issues that we were dealing with today and the prudent thing to do was to delay the patch and have a second dress rehearsal tomorrow, this time hopefully without incident.

Oh and by the way, the hamsters are still alive if somewhat visibly shaken.

Vote For Best Eve GM/Dev/Forum Mod

Trader Gandry has started a thread on the Eve Online forums asking players to vote for their favorite GM, dev, or forum moderator and is throwing in a prize for participating.
We all ( meaning us forumscouts) have seen plenty of replies, threadlocks and random bantering of Devs, GM's and forummods.

Some are received better than others but in general most also understand that leading a herd of sheep takes a well disciplined but also fun Herder.

Therefor I would like to make a little appreciation contest for your favourite GM, Dev, Forum Moderator.

1 vote per character and explenation as of why is optional.

Voting will end December 31st 2010 at midnight EVE-time.

The winning GM, Dev, Forum Moderator voters will then go into a pool and I will ask Chribba to do a random draw and the winner will receive 250 mill ISK from me.
This thread has the potential to become an epic thread.  Already I have seen links to a thread in which CCP Prism X nerfed a poster and another in which CCP Lemur performed some extraordinary customer service.  I can't wait to see what other gems come out of the thread.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Bookmarks Are Your Friends

I posted Friday that I was tired of shooting things and wanted to do something different.  So what did I do?  I ventured into low-sec and set up bookmarks in three systems.  That's right; I left the safety of high-sec and didn't even look to shoot anything.  Have I lost my carebear mind?

Not really.  If I have a low-sec system populated with bookmarks, I feel a lot safer than traveling into one without the preparation.  While I was in Eve University, the faculty began an in-depth study of bookmarks and were in the process of developing a class when I left.  I'm impressed with the current Bookmarks article on the Eve University Wiki and wish I had read it before embarking on this weekend's adventure.  But I think the Uni training I did remember came in handy.

Most of the benchmarks I set up were observation bookmarks.  Because the Khumaak Flying Circus has a strong stealth identity, I set my observation bookmarks up a bit differently than advised by Eve Uni.  Instead of setting up my bookmarks off-grid, I set my bookmarks up on-grid, but over 150 km from the object under observation.  I prefer eyes-on observation instead of relying on the directional scanner.  I want to not only see what ships are present, but their flight paths and, more importantly, whether the capsuleers under observation are flashy or not. 

The two most important types of targets to keep under observation are jump gates and stations.  Jump gates because gate camps are one of the most dangerous events a small hauling corp can face.  Stations because a station camp is something to be avoided at all cost.  Because I have a lot more experience working around gate camps than station camps, I'd like to avoid them.

However, sometimes the pirate's station camp is inside the station.  I encountered that Sunday when a pirate undocked in a Damnation right after I undocked in my Cheetah.  That is why I also set up instant warp-out bookmarks.  The instant warp-out bookmark gives a capsuleer the ability to quickly warp away from a station and away from trouble.  Since I plan to move transport ships into these stations as part of my hauling business, anything that reduces the time they are vulnerable is welcome.

I mentioned before that I feel much safer in systems with bookmarks than those without.  So how do I approach a system in which I have no bookmarks?  First, I always use a covert ops ship to do the initial insertion into a low-sec system.  Next, I use the 30 seconds of cloak you have when jumping into a system to see who is around.  If I spot another ship, especially a flashy pirate like happened to me on Saturday, I open up the pod saver tab on my overview and warp to a planet.  If I'm alone, I have the option of staying at the gate and slowboating to a point in space to create my first bookmark in the system.  In either case, once I start moving around to other objects to create other observation points, I like to make bookmarks along the way.  The Eve Uni Wiki gives instructions on how to make mid-point and unaligned safe spots.

From a selfish perspective, I hope that the vast majority of carebears keep their fear of low-sec space.  Why?  Because I believe that a lot of the small packages I see as courier contracts are made by players afraid to risk their own ships in low-sec.  Also, I notice that those stations offering blueprint copying services in low-sec or in high-sec systems surrounded by low-sec are a lot less crowded than those in easily accessible high-sec stations.

As a big carebear myself, I understand the fear in those carebear hearts.  When I jumped into that first low-sec system on Saturday and saw that pirate waiting to lock me down and pod me, it took all my Eve University training and experience ghosting about the Hed constellation to keep from panicking and get away.  But I'll admit that once I was safe my hands were shaking for at least 5 minutes because of the adrenaline rush caused by the encounter.  But there is profit to be made from going where others fear to tread.  As CCP so eloquently put it, "Dare to be bold pilot."

Friday, December 10, 2010

All Pew-Pewed Out

Lately I just haven't felt like shooting things.  I discovered the problem is not just in Eve Online.  I tried to get into shooting up robots in Perpetuum and I just couldn't get excited.  I hopped into World of Warcraft and just wanted to harvest and make things.  The only time I got excited was when a mob dropped some wool so I could make some 8-slot bags.  Go figure.

Fortunately Eve offers more than shooting things.  I'm looking into new types of things to manufacture.  Next week when we get our skill points back from our learning skills I plan on Production Efficiency V.  I've mentioned I'm thinking of getting into constructing industrial ships to go along with running a hauling business.  I'm also thinking about drone production, since I have a real bad habit of warping and leaving my drones behind.

I also have plan to have Rosewalker fly around all cloaked up and doing sneaky stuff.  I've got a couple of low-sec systems in mind that really need bookmarks made in them so I can try to haul stuff through them.  I also need to get back into exploration.  Using probes is a perishable skill and I need the practice.

Of course, I may feel like shooting things again once I train up Minmatar Battleship to IV so I can fly a either a Tempest or a Maelstrom.  Flying something actually designed to do level 4 missions might get me out of my funk.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

First Private Corporation Enters Space

To players of Eve Online, private corporations play a leading role in space flight.  Perpetuum takes it one step further and corporations dominate the landscape.  And why not?  The history of science fiction is replete with space-going entrepreneurs, from Isaac Asimov's Hober Mallow in Foundation to Klaus Hauptman in David Weber's Honor Harrington novels.

Yesterday real life inched further towards science fiction with Space Exploration Technologies' (SpaceX) successful orbital mission placing a pressurized capsule into space.  The SpaceX's plans are more like planetary interaction launches than a flight of Rifters, but it is a start.

The flight was broadcast live via webcam and I have included the link to YouTube below.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Perpetuum: An Offer I Couldn't Refuse

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the nice marketing folks at Avatar Creations about a new game.


We at Avatar Creations have found our way over to Nosy Gamer.
In recognition of your readership, we would like to invite you to
check out our recently launched science fiction sandbox MMO,

We're letting a few select members of the MMO community have free
early access memberships, and we would like to offer you the chance to
come and check out the game with the first of the players.

Please feel free to share any thoughts you have about our game with
your readership, or with us so that we may further improve the game.
The following access code can be used immediately to enter the early
access period.

We look forward to seeing you in-game!

Barna Buza
Perpetuum Press Coordinator

"A few select members"?  If they picked me, the list must not have been that exclusive.

I didn't take advantage of the offer immediately because I was busy in real life as well as setting up planetary interaction colonies.  But I decided to see if the game would allow me in after the 25 November launch, and sure enough the code was still good.  So I have a free account until the 6 January.  I may do their bidding and write about the game.  After all, how can I resist looking at a game that people are saying is an Eve clone?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Operation Smile: This Is War

CCP recommended another player-made video on its YouTube channel last week.  The video is one player's idea of what an Eve trailer should look like.  He used previously published CCP trailers that used the Trinity 2 graphics engineCrazykinux's comparison of the old and new graphics engines explains why that was a good choice.

After watching this, I immediately downloaded it and put it on my iPad.  I think after watching, you'll understand why.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Station Cash: Should I Thank or Curse It?

I saw a post on EQ2Wire this weekend that opened up an old wound.  Smokejumper, the Senior Producer for Everquest 2, let loose the secret that the main EQ2 team had been (and still are) making all the Station Cash Marketplace items and not a dedicated team as SOE had previously maintained when the Station Cash items were first introduced.

Hmm ... let me think.  Did the diversion of resources perhaps impact how fast the Sentinel's Fate expansion was produced?  I think so.  So part of the reason for the delay from November 2009 to February 2010 for the release was that the dev team just wasn't as big as was busy making appearance items and other items for sale.

Now, I was never one of those players who opposed the introduction of the marketplace and SOE selling items that way.  After all, if that kept EQ2 running, I was happy.  I would never quit the game because of Station Cash.

At least, I never thought I would.  But with this news (and yes, I believed SOE about a dedicated SC team), I may have to ammend that statement.  Why?  Let's look at last year's timeline.
June 2009 - Brenlo announces at SOE Fan Faire that Sentinel's Fate would launch in February 2010 instead of November 2009. 

8 August 2009 - I download Eve Online and make a trial account.  Rosewalker becomes a capsuleer.

11 August 2009 - Eve is so good I subscribe.

10 September 2009 - Eve is so good I get a second account.  Wandering Rose is born.

19 September 2009 - Finish getting all my crafting alts to level 80.  Now have a max level crafter for each crafting profession.

10 October 2009 - In EQ2, my level 80 ranger gets her 200th AA point and is basically finished development.

17 October 2009 - Rosewalker joins Eve University.

2 November 2010 - I cancel my Station Access account.
Looking back, once I reached all of my objectives in EQ2, I then went full-bore into Eve.  Would I have done so if I new a new adventure was awaiting me in a few weeks?  Probably not, because I would have been studying for the new expansion and making preparations in-game.  Also, when you have 3+ years invested in a character, letting go is hard.  I still occasionally think about logging back into EQ2, but I just don't want to spend the money on the new expansion when I know I have to do things in New Eden.

So should I be happy that SOE's Station Cash scheme helped push me out the door into the wonderful world of New Eden, or should I curse Station Cash for leading me to abandon characters I had spent so much time developing?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Operation Smile: Chribba

With Monday's announcement that Hulkageddon 4 will occur in February 2011, all thoughts go out to the poor miners.  But some miners are more equal than others.  Take the most famous miner of all: Chribba.  Owner of Unity Station in Providence since October, the man with the largest super-cap mining fleet in New Eden is perhaps best known for his dreadnaught, The Veldnaught, that still flies around the Amar system.

But there is a dark side to Chribba, which was captured in this secretly recorded video.  Never, ever get between Chribba and veldspar.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A New Game

I have had an iPod touch since May, but I had never downloaded a game from the App Store before.  Now that I have an iPad, I decided I really needed to get some apps for it.  So what was the first one I downloaded?  A game of course.  But I had to buy something a bit useful as well.  So I purchased the BidBod Vocabulary Trainer, English-Bulgarian version for $4.99.  Here is the description off of the sales page.

Learn the most common 1,000 words in Bulgarian.

Being able to utilize two languages sharpens your mental skills and has positive benefits on your everyday life.

Whether you're a novice or an expert you'll enjoy playing the BidBox Vocabulary Training game.

This game let's you build your vocabulary with just a few words at a time. You'll repeat the same words until you can confidently identify and select 15 correct answers in 30 seconds. This system permanently places the association of each word to its English counter part into your long term memory. It is a very natural way to learn a new language.

Vocabulary is the cornerstone of every language. The 1,000 words in this program represent the majority of written words used.

Dedicate just a few minutes a day and you'll learn to recognize the majority of Bulgarian words in just a few weeks.

I'm not really sure how well the game will help me learn.  From playing it up to stage 8, I think I can safely say that this is not a primary way to learn a foreign language.  But I can see where this game can help supplement my study of Bulgarian.  And it looks like the app is made for 33 languages.

NOTE: I have no business association with this game.  If you purchase it, I do not get a dime.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Incursion Is Going To Be Role Playing Fun

I don't know just how crazy Pandemic Legion really is, but if this post concerning the latest Sansha invasion into Oruse is any indication, the Intergalatic Summit is going to get even more crazy than it usually is.

The PL Ministry of Communication intercepted this message from an anonymous source. It appears the GalNet center was "politely asked not to publish" this report, and instead a different recreation of events was being authored. Pandemic Legion has decided not to heed the warnings and would like the free information to flow.

**Start of secure transmission **
The population of Oruse was spared today in what may prove to be a dramatic change in the fight against the Sansha heathens. Various Empires, aware of their inability to save their people, decided to go private. Pandemic Legion, fresh off their latest successful contract against Northern Coalition forces, were contracted to counter the Sansha forces attempting to abduct Orusian settlers.

Upon report of the intrusion, Pandemic Legion forces mobilized quickly to fight off the attack. The Nation was commanded by Citizen Astur in a Wyvern Class Supercarrier, showing how little faith they had in him. Settlers on Oruse's second moon were under attack and the Empires were nowhere to be seen. As the first settler was being abducted, a one-hundred man Pandemic Legion Capital Fleet entered system. Within minutes the entire Sansha fleet, over one-hundred-and-fifty ships including Astru's Wyvern, was reduced to mere wreckage. All settlers were returned planetside, and all are accounted for without serious injury.

In a sad attempt to save face, Citizen Astur claimed to have captured tens-of-thousands of settlers. However, upon inspection the Oruse solar-system, nobody has been reported missing and only one woman is injured. Thank you, Pandemic Legion. The people of Oruse II owe you a debt of gratitude.

** End of transmission **
** Secure line terminated **

The Pandemic Legion Ministry of Mercenary Contracts has no comment on which Empire put us on retainer. We can, however, confirm that Loyalty Point compensation was large enough to ensure that, assuming the same rate is granted, on the next attack we will drop whatever we're doing to fight off the Sansha heathens.

My First Steps In Incursion

I logged into Eve last night wondering what Incursion would look like.  I can say I like it so far.  First, the update.  I really like the fact I didn't have to log in to each of my clients to do the update, which is good since I have the game installed on 3 computers.  Since I only have 2 accounts, that allowed me to get the installations over with faster.

The third computer I have the game installed on is my laptop and that was the one I was most interested in logging into last night.  That is because I wanted to test out the multi-monitor support and the new window re-sizing feature.  The only problem I really encountered is that I could not get the Fixed mode to use up all of the monitor except for the tool bar.  I just realized I failed to test to see if I can get the full screen to show up on my big screen TV instead of my laptop monitor if I choose Full Screen mode.  So that is the last test I have to run.  But otherwise, I like the changes to the sizing of the windows.

I tried to do my planetary interaction on my laptop while looking at the big screen TV.  I was able to nicely stretch the game window so that my colony was on the TV while all the menu boxes were on my laptop screen.  That part worked well.  And the PI graphics really look good on a 61" screen TV.  There were only two issues.  The first was the font was still too small from looking at the screen from my couch.  The second is that I need a mouse for my laptop if I want to try PI on my laptop again.  Otherwise I was pleased.

Some of the new graphics for the item icons are nice.  Over my last few game sessions I spent my non-PI time consolidating  all of my stuff.  I am finally completely out of Aldrat and only have 2 industrial ships and some unprocessed ore left in the general area.  The icons came in handy because I didn't realize I had faction ammo until I started moving things into my cargo holds.  The little green symbol really did show up.

The only other thing I noticed last night was that ships in fleets don't jump around as much when doing fleet jumps.  When I do my moving I have two characters flying industrials to cut down on time.  And while the graphics now look smoother, I had some problems clicking on the jump button to warp through gates.  I think something changed just a little and I'll have to get used to the new timing, because I was a lot smoother jumping my two man fleets through gates in Tyrannis.