Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blog Banter #61 - Origin State

Blog Banter #61 - Origin State

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 61st edition and last of 2014! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page


"What would we encourage ALL new players to do in their first month to get them to subscribe long term, if we had to give out one set of advice for everyone (which we do if we're giving general advice)?"


The problem with generic advice is that it is well, generic. It's hard to give a set of "one size fits all" directions in any game much less the sandbox/sandpit that is EVE. You could give a "one size fits most" sort of advice such as join a corp, don't mine or get into PvP.

But what if you like playing solo? Or like mining and the building that goes along with it? What if you get more thrills shooting red crosses instead of red boxes?

My advice is even more basic.

Try Everything.

Give Mining a go. Do some missions. Explore. Get ships blown up. If you like it then keep at it until you don't. Don't like it? Try something else until you find your niche. There are as many playstyles as there are players.

EVE isn't about min-maxing your character for one task. The skill system prevents that. You can only apply so many skill points to one activity and you can get by in that activity without perfect skills. Once you advance to, say, perfect mining skills (or frigates, manufacturing etc) you're not done advancing. Higher SP characters aren't necessarily better than an newer player  but they are likely to be experts in more areas of the game than the new player. So take advantage of the fact that you have no limit to the things one character can do given enough time.

The second piece of advice I would give to all new players is to use the resources available. And the best resources are other players. Ask questions of veteran players. Join a corp if that suits you. Lurk in public channels. Read the assorted wiki pages out there. Read blogs. Just by listening to or reading about other players exploits and blunders you can learn about whole new aspects of the game. Personally, I don't think I would have trained into stealth bombers if I hadn't seen JonnyPew's guide to hunting explorers. Eve if you prefer to play solo it's great to see what others are doing and open doors to new ways to play.

So, get on out there. Explore New Eden. Explore the game. Find what suits you and don't let anyone tell you you're "doing it wrong"

Fly Safe out there!

Saturday, November 22, 2014


... is a virtue. Turns out the saying is true. I suppose "Good things come to those who wait" would be applicable here as well.

I log on and find 3 null-sec type data and relic site in our wormhole. Not bad. I could go for some more loot. I do see probes in the system on D-scan though. Hmm, with 4 connecting wormholes today I might want to wait until things cool down a bit before running sites. Then I see an Astero.

Let's see if 3 relic and data sites are enough bait for him. I fly to each site and find him in one of them. I bookmark a nearby asteroid to where he was hacking and bounce out of the site and back in about 15km off of him. I'm in my own Astero but this one fit for PvP rather than exploration. He seems engrossed in hacking so I decloak and spam the lock button while trying to get a bump off. He warps off. Damn that 5 second targeting delay.

15 minutes later...

The Astero is back. I find him at a second site. Bounce off a bookmark and try again. Same result.

30 minutes later....

Once again my friend is paying a visit. This time to the third site. To hell with the 5 second delay. I'm grabbing my Nemesis. I grab the stealth bomber from the POS and decide against staying scannable to refit to rockets and stick with the torpedo load out. I warp to a safe then bouce back to a bookmark inside the site. He's sitting 15 km off of me. Decloak. Lock. Point. Double Paint. Torps away. He melts in one volley. Quick lesson there. Don't sit still while hacking,

Also, don't stick around when someone is trying to kill you. He was patient. I was more so.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Luck or Lack Thereof

Just something I've noticed in my wormhole adventures. If I'm the only one in a WH I find plenty of targets that I can't tackle on my own. However, if I'm with a gang no targets are found.

Today I was finishing off the last site (huffing gas) in our C1. I hear the WH jump noise from the picket I set up and I pull my venture out of the site. Checking the picket I see an Onyx followed by a Loki and an Ishtar. The Onyx bubbles and they sit there. And they wait. I'm sitting about 40km of the hole at this point.

If the rest of the boys were on at the time we might have risked a fight. But I sure wasn't going to send my Stratios in there to die alone. So, They sit there. And I sit there. And we wait. Aboyt 45 minutes pass and they leave back out the static.

But not before sending a Helios in. No probes were ever launched so I suspect the scout is still in here. If they come back around I hope we'll have some more pilots available. The next few days could get interesting.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Hunting the Hunters

Turns out the PI Epithal is not our only house guest. We also have a couple Manticore pilots hanging out in our wormhole as well. They've been in here for 4 days.

A couple days back when running a combat site in my Drake one of them pops up and tries to kill me somehow. Not sure what their plan was as a passive tank Drake can pretty much tank a single stealth bomber all day long. I lock them up and send in my drones and a volley of heavy missiles. They go down to 25% structure before getting out. It's a shame I don't have a point on my site running drake. I may have to fix that in the future.

Anyways, my picket picks them up leaving through the hi-sec static and I thought that was that. But, the next day, I see them briefly on d-scan. I wasn't running sites as I was getting a pile of traffic from the 5 (!) wormhole connections coming into our home. So, I decide to stay cloaked up and see what I could catch.

With a data site available I decide to wait in there and see if one of the scanning ships coming in and out of our system decides to run the site and if that draws out the Manticore.

My plan to use strangers as bait works out. An Imicus and a Magnate run the site and a Manticore decloaks and start firing torps at them. I slowboat to briefly to the Manticore to get inside scram range and decloak my PvP fit Astero. Locked. Scramed. Turn on afterburner, Orbit at 7km. Sic my drones on them. He goes down fast and barely dents my shields. He manages to get his pod away.

So, why are missiles still hitting me? Oh, looks like in my excitement I didn't notice it wasn't just one manticore but two. Get that guy locked up. Scrammed and he joins his friend in a pod. This one did get me into armor but nothing a single cycle of my ancillary repper couldn't solve.

They managed to get their pods back out to high sec before I could track them down.


So, I loot and salvage their wrecks making me about 12 mil richer. Not a terrible payout for 30 seconds of work. I almost felt bad using strangers as bait but I didn't get even a simple thanks for coming to their rescue (albeit for entirely selfish reasons).

Fast forward to later in the night and I briefly see a familiar sight on d-scan. Looks like my Manticore friend is back again.

I guess they want to go to round 3?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A House Guest

We've been in our wormhole for 3 days now and I have noticed something interesting. Two of the customs offices are owned by the same 2 man corporation. The picket on our static found the CEO of the same corporation coming through in an Epithal. I quickly added him to my watchlist and found the Epithal briefly on D-scan. Then he logs offs.

Around the same time the next day my watchlist pings me that he came online. I hurried over to one of the customs offices in hopes that I could catch him. I don't think he made a PI run to the outside world today since I just caught him on d-scan just before he logged again.

So, turns out that we have a long term guest (or are we the guests?) camping in our hole doing PI. It should be fun to see if I can catch him over the coming days.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blog Banter # 60 - Measuring Success

Blog Banter # 60 - Measuring Success
Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 60th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

* * * * *

Jakob Anedalle of Jakob's EveChecklist blog asks:

With Phoebe about to land, CSM Minutes now out, and more of CCP Seagull's vision from Eve Vegas it appears CCP has a bold roadmap, is making big changes, and is willing to take a hit in the short term to see it through.

Long term, what do you see as the measurable signs that will tell us that they've succeed?
What do you see as the outcome that we'll see as players?
Is it concurrent player count or something else?

Get writing!


What is success? That is a tough question for any field much less a recreational game. Do we measure it by fun and enjoyment? Do we measure it by financial success for CCP? Money? Logins? Subscriptions? Or all of the above?

Above all CCP is a business and I think we would be remiss in not looking at the financial side of this first. CCP makes its money from subscriptions and account services. The easy answer is to say their success can be measured by an increase in subscriptions. The cynic in me would say that concurrent logins aren't a concern to CCP as long as the subscriptions keep coming in.

That does ignore the fact that video game developers aren't just business oriented. They are also artists. They care about their creation and want to see people enjoy it. It's a careful balance of getting people to enjoy what you have created and still putting food on the table for their families. So, the basic measure of success is people playing the game and enjoying it. Focus on attracting players and the money will come of its own accord.

So, what brings people to EVE and what keeps them here once they come? In a world with many many MMOs what makes people play EVE instead of WoW, SWTOR, LotRO, Guild Wars 2 or any of the multitudes of other products out there?

The easy answer is because of the sandbox. In EVE you have the freedom to create, explore and destroy however you want. I'd like to go one step further. The biggest draw to EVE are the stories. I don't mean the lore but rather the player driven stories. Sure they're not always written down. They don't have an author or creative team. But they feel very much real because they are created when the dreams and aspirations of real people intersect while flying around in internet spaceships. We regale each other with stories over vent, forums, chats and physical meetups. Stories of what we saw. What we built. What we destroyed. Who we killed and who we got away from. Stories of giant battles and stories of lurking on the edges of space. Politics and Economics.

This is how CCP can succeed. Create more tools. More props. More scenes. Then let the players create their stories. How do we know if they have succeeded? We'll know because we will hear more stories. More buzz. More excitement. More people curious of this crazy game where crazy things happen. Things that just don't happen in any other game.

A New Home

After wandering around Anoikis for a bit over a week I finally found what I had been searching for. An empty C1.

The corp has been planning on doing a camping trip into a wormhole for a while now. We finally got all our ducks in a row and was ready to take that next step. All we needed was a camp site. Well, we found one. It's not the prettiest one but it'll do.

Now to get going and set up a tower. Debating on whether to do it myself or wait until the corpmates get on again. Working with the others would be safer but I'm too excited (impatient) to wait.

Monday, November 3, 2014

When Empty Space Isn't Empty

So, the Corp has decided to do a camping trip this month in a C1 to get used to wormhole life. The upcoming buff to low end wormhole loot and the addition of null-sec data and relic sites should also make this somewhat profitable.

This brings me to last night. I often roam wormholes in my stealth bomber to see if I can jump anyone. In the course of doing so I most often find abandoned wormholes. Now, I'm in my Helios looking for a suitable camping site for the corp and all I find are occupied holes.

Is this bad luck on my part or have people started moving into wormholes again with the announced Phoebe changes?

Either way, I'm 20 hops deep down the rabbit hole in some random C5 hoping to get a connection back down to lower class space.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Fit for ISK: Deep Space Exploration Helios

This is my first try at what will hopefully be a series of fitting posts. The focus is going to be on PvE fittings. How to get your ships to make ISK for you as safely as EVE will allow.

First up is deep space exploration of data and relic sites. Aside from trading and manufacturing the idea of exploring unknown space drew me into this game. The best tool I have found for the job are the Covert Ops exploration frigates. Since this is a ship I use to make ISK with it has to be good at what it does, survivable and relatively cheap. Here is my Helios fit:

Core Probe Launcher I (Core Scanner Probes x8)
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Data Analyzer I
Relic Analyzer I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Cargo Scanner II
Scan Rangefinding Array I

Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Warp Core Stabilizer I
Warp Core Stabilizer I

Small Emission Scope Sharpener I
Small Memetic Algorithm Bank I

The fit itself is pretty simple.

High Slots: The Core Probe Launcher is to scan down the sites. I am using the basic launcher because for relic and data sites you don't need the combat probes from the expanded launcher. I avoided the Sisters of Eve launcher and probes because frankly they are very expensive and the basic launcher and probes get the job done just fine for our purposes. The Covert Ops cloak is your only "tank". The best way to not get this ship blown up is to never be seen.

Mid Slots: The Data and Relic Analyzers are your money makers. These allow you to engage in the hacking mini-game to get the loot in Data and Relic containers. If you have the skills to get the Tech 2 analyzers then by all means fit them. If you are serious about exploring as a profession then they are excellent investments in skill training and additional costs. The Microwarpdrive is there to quickly move from can to can within the site minimizing the amount of time spent scanable and killable. The next two items are nice but not strictly needed. The Cargo Scanner lets you see what is in the various hackable containers and then prioritize which to hack first. This allows you to get the most valuable loot first in case you have to leave the site. The Scan array is a nice little boost to your scan strength and helps you find sites a bit quicker.

Low Slots: The Warp Core Stabilizers are there to hopefully escape a potential ganker. If they only have a single point or scram fitted you can just warp away. If they have multiple scrams you're likely dead and you can't fit 4 stabs anyways. The nanofiber is there to boost agility and get into warp faster. Another option is to replace the stabs with a full rack of nanofibers and give up the ability to ignore scrams in exchange for faster warp off time. Either is viable. The Helios is a nimble ship and you may be able to outrun and escape many threats if you spot them quickly enough.

Rigs: These two rigs provide extra coherency (health) for your analyzer viruses. This gives you that little bit of boost needed for especially hard hacks and can help reduce the number of failed hacks you suffer. Now many people use the Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrades to boost scan strength. I find that extra scan strength to be unneeded for relic and data sites. If you also plan on using your Covops to scout as well you may want to grab the extra scan strength these rigs provide. The rig slots are very much up to personal preference as I realize that many people use the same ship for multiple roles and rigs can't be swapped out without destroying them.

There you have it. A relitively cheap and non-skill intensive fit capable of doing any relic and data site in the game not protected by sleepers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Exploring the Backyard.

Wormholes aren't just useful to explore but also make a great way to get deeper into K-Space. Taking out my Helios I decide to go on a bit of a jaunt. I find a wormhole in my local area and decide to follow it to Null-Sec to see if I can ninja a few relic sites. I pop up deep in the backwoods of CFC territory.

Anyone around? No? Time to get down to the business of stealing their sites.

Bouncing from system to system I find a half dozen relic sites and a couple data sites and quickly fill my cargo hold with salvage and datacores in a little over an hour. The estimated value was 170 mil. I can likely get more than that by turning the salvage into rigs and using the datacores to fuel invention. Hopping back through the wormhole and I'm home, safe and sound.

Compared to wormhole exploration, deep null sec feels positively safe.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Day Trip

The other night I decided to take a break from my usual routine. Well, mostly take a break. There are chores to be done. Update market orders, Haul my PI, start up invention and production lines. With all the busy work out of the way I decided to do some wormhole roaming. Should I take out my Nemesis? No, it's time to dust of the old Venture and do some gas huffing.

Reading Von Keigei's Guide to Mining Gas (Mostly) Safely I refitted my trusty mining frigate and went out into the uncharted space. The first system out of High Sec is a C2 with about 15 sites up. The only thing I see when scouting out the system is a dead stick and a couple of mobile depots. Seems abandoned enough for my purposes. I find a gas site and start harvesting. Bailing out after 15 minutes or so before the sleepers come to defend their resources.

Back in my safe spot, I start scanning down more sites and think about how much I want the rest of that gas. Quick check on Eve Survival and I figure my Drake can handle the sleepers (I hope). In comes my battle cruiser. It's first time I've fought sleepers and things go well. The sleepers hit way above their frigate weight class but the Drake tanks like a boss so I clear the rats with ease and start salvaging. My Venture comes back in a clears the site. Same thing happens with my Drake clearing the sentries in an Ordinary Perimeter Reservoir site and I clear the gas out of that as well.

At about this time, Tripwire is telling me I have 5 minutes or before my entry wormhole collapses so I pack up and get back to high sec.

All told my haul was maybe 20-25 million ISK. Not terrible but not great either. The pay off of the expedition was doing something different and something, to me, very EVE like: Venturing into the unknown (pun intended).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Home Again

The wardecc finally wore down and safe life is back to normal. The most important part of this is that the POS is back up. It's funny how one can attached to things in a game about virtual spaceships.

Last week Sugar Kyle put up this post wherein she asks what does having a POS mean to you. Since we had, at the time, taken ours down it got me thinking. Why do we have this? Why does it seem like such a loss that some random merc corp pushed us to taking it down?

The easy answer is that having the POS means more efficient manufacturing and research. Getting every edge possible in those fields is important in the small margin world of manufacturing. This is doubly true since margins have decreased in the weeks since Crius was launched.

The main reason we have a POS though is because it IS home. It's a tiny slice of New Eden that is ours. We control that little space in that bubble completely. It ends up being the focus of almost everything our corp does. Even the little chores to keep it fueled (ice mining, PI and such) brings the corp together. It gives us a place to collaborate and help one another on our individual projects. Sure, we could do all that in an NPC station but it just wouldn't feel as unique and personal.

I think things like this are what make EVE compelling. In a game that is advertised as a sandbox it's nice to have your own castle.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Wardecc and an Opportunity

Well, half-way through my first Wardecc. It has certainly been less exciting than I had hoped. The day prior to the decc going live a couple of us got excited, loaded for bear and bought several dozen PvP fitted ships between us. Added the war target to our watch lists and waited for targets of opportunity.

That was last weekend.

Since then, I've barely seen our targets online at all. One dropped corp even. We're the industrialists. We should be the ones cowering in station and not the big bad High Sec PvP corp. We haven't even gotten a chance to try out our Procurer bait fleet doctrine. New Eden can be a strange place.

Turns out our target did log in long enough to take a contract to "protect" an indy corp in the midst of a POCO war with a Low Sec corp. Seems like a poor hire but not my ISK. The Low Secc-ers did reach out to us for intel which we were glad to give and got to talking. The one's we've talked to seem pretty relaxed and friendly. They seem to do a bit of everything and that sort of aligns with our Corp's mentality. Quite frankly it's just nice to chat with people from outside the Corp and get an idea of the larger world. The fact that there may be an opportunity here is an added bonus.

You see, I had been toying with the idea of direct sales of ships. I will admit that I stole the idea from Eve-Uni's PYOS program. Imitation is the best form of flattery, right? The issue is finding customers. Word of mouth seems to be an important part of this game. Especially in the case of contract sales. From the initial conversations they certainly seem interested in our manufacturing capabilities.

They are also all on board to work together to fight our mutual enemy. Which is how I found myself sitting in the station the war target's CEO signed off from in a bait fit Battle Nereus and a Blackbird as a backup as I write this. We just missed the target before he signed off but hopefully seeing a "helpless" indy target in station with him will make him a bit reckless.

So, lesson for today. MMOs like WoW will give you content all day. In EVE you make your own. Keep an eye out for opportunities because no one else will do it for you.

Opportunity Costs

I have always made the assumption that the concept of opportunity costs was one that people inherently understood and incorporated in their behavior. Playing online games has disabused me of that notion.

Now, most people understand the concept on an intellectual level even if they have not seen a definition. Formally opportunity cost is, in economic terms, the opportunities forgone in the choice of one expenditure over others. Informally, it is the cost of not being able to do A if you choose to do B instead.

Now why has online gaming made me think that people do not in fact apply this to their behavior? Well, it started back when I played WoW right after Lich King came out. My main was a blacksmith and I was looking to make some extra gold with that skill. Since the expansion had just come out there was a high demand for the crafted starter plate PvP gear. By comparison, not many people had advanced their blacksmithing skill high enough to craft said gear. So, the price was rather high in the marketplace. I made a tidy profit by buying raw ore from miners sending it over to my alt that could smelt ore and getting the refined metal bars over to my blacksmith to craft the gear where I could easily sell at a 100% markup. At some point, as more blacksmiths entered the market and more people were moving beyond the starter PvP gear, the price dropped but I was still making a profit. Eventually, the price of the gear became less than the price of the metal bars it took to create the gear. Considerably less. Complaining about this in guild chat, one guildmate replied "Well, they might be mining the ore themselves and that is why they can still make a profit."

This is where opportunity cost comes in. Sure, by mining their own ore and refining it then crafting gear they are not strictly losing gold like I would have if I had continued crafting those items. However, the idea that the ore they mined was free is quite false. At that point in the marketplace they could have just sold the ore/metal bars for more than they were selling the PvP gear. In fact, they were actually destroying the wealth they could have been making by crafting. As a big believer in rational markets this drove me crazy.

Fast forward many years to me starting to play EVE. Naturally, as a person that professionally deals with markets and business on a financial level, I was drawn to the rather deep and extensive player run economy of EVE Online. Looking to make some ISK doing manufacturing, since I like the concept of building things, I started to run the numbers on various manufactured goods. I found that many of the popular ships and modules were being made at a loss. This is even calculating with perfect material efficiency.

It turns out that EVE has a similar saying to WoW in that "The minerals I mine are free." This idea is still false in EVE for the same reasons I gave in my WoW example. It doesn't matter how much the raw materials cost you to acquire. The only way to determine profitability is to value them at the price you could sell them at. If more people take that mindset we would be well on our way to a more rational market place.

(As an aside, Eve Cost, is a fantastic tool to gauge profitability of all your industry activities. I highly recommend it.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


What is this? Who are you? What am I doing here?

These are questions that I assume that one reading this blog has. I will try and answer these as best as possible, introduce myself and then move on to (what I hope are) more interesting topics.

What is this? 

Well, in short, this is a blog about my, roughly, day to day adventures in EVE Online. My particular interests are in markets and industry. I expect that most of the content will center around the economy in general. I take no responsibility for any off-topic posts. So, you have been warned.

Who are you?

In real life, I am an accountant and financial analyst. So, clearly, in my free time I have decided to do essentially the same thing. But in space.

What am I doing here?

That is entirely up to you. Ideally, you'll be entertained at least somewhat but I make no promises.