Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Return of Greenbeard

[Removed at the request of the author]

The Naming of the Beasts

Having recently centralised and streamlined my hangar contents, I thought I might belatedly respond to Evoganda's 'What's In Your Hangar' meme.

Although I don't really have a strict naming convention for my ships, I always prefix them with SSS, as in Seismic Stan's Ship. well if it's good enough for Her Majesty and the United States...

SSS Wabbit (Buzzard): So named 'cos it's got big bunny ears and it amuses me that it'll tempt other pilots to quote Elmer Fudd.

SSS Iron Grieve II (Drake): I fitted and named the Iron Grieve for a corpmate and I liked the name. A grieve is a plate of medieval armour which I think the Drake resembles.

SSS Blackrun (Tengu): Purchased after a skiing holiday and named after the toughest slopes.

SSS Zhuk (Raven): TREAD Alliance approved fleet fit as recommended by President Ivan Zhuk.

SSS Elemental Flame (Kestrel): Tech II fitted and renamed after the U'K Stabber pilot that was it's first victim.

SSS Dropsy (Manticore): Cos it drops bombs.I'm not sure why I chose a fish-related diesease though.

SSS Mr. Ee (Retriever): Mr. Ee was the BBC Micro version of the arcade classic Mr. Do and it was all about digging. If ever I got into mining (which I won't) I would use my expert knowledge of ancient digging games to name all my ships; Repton, Dig-dug, Boulderdash. I could do this all day.

This is by no means a complete list, but as it was originally uploaded from an iPhone app which limited me to 1000 characters, I feel I've already cheated by adding a bit more, so we'll leave it at that.

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Meeting the New Neighbours

The tumultuous nature of all things Providence continues to entertain and surprise many who dare flirt with her fickle nature. Perhaps I was a little hasty in my previous assumption that "the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy".

Further to the above-linked post regarding the incursions of AAA Citizens corporation The Black Aces into space frequented by my new alliance TREAD, the plot has indeed thickened. After publishing that particular post, it was pointed out to me that the article had made it onto Ga'len's ProviWar feed and subsequently an ominous blog comment was made by Hawkcrest, the CEO of The Black Aces. I note that the message has now been removed, and not by me, but the essence of his message was "Nice story despite some inaccuracies and by the way, we will be coming back so get off our moon." Which was rather worrying for a four-man corp, alliance members or not.

The next time I logged into EVE, I found I had received an message from Hawkcrest inviting me to contact him in-game. I was intrigued that he'd taken the time, although I suspected some kind of ultimatum delivered via gunboat diplomacy. After a few days of time-zone related misses, I finally caught up with him.


Channel ID: -9773034
Channel Name: Private Chat (Hawkcrest)
Listener: Seismic Stan
Session started: 2010.04.20 16:29:44

Hawkcrest > Sup Stan.

Seismic Stan > Hiya.

Seismic Stan > Finally caught up with you.

Hawkcrest > nods

Seismic Stan > What can I do for you?

Hawkcrest > I have to say I enjoyed your story.

Seismic Stan > Heh, I enjoyed watching. I've not seen many larger scale PvP conflicts so it was fun to write about. I hope there weren't too many inaccuracies - I meant to write about it on the night, but it took me nearly a week to get around to it.

Hawkcrest > You have been in the game a long time for not seeing large scale conflict.

Seismic Stan > Heh, I've been in hiding.

Seismic Stan > My account wasn't active for the entire time.

Hawkcrest > Noting that your Freebooters seem to be in flux based on your writing. How open would you fellas be to joining a Larger corp with a bit more development and oportunity to fight in large scale battles on a regular basis?

Seismic Stan > Well, the Freebooters are essentially me and one other at the moment. The other two members are a bit AWOL. It was in joining TREAD that we hoped to find such things.

Hawkcrest > I am aware, as I said I read your blog and I'd like the chance to utilize your talents, if your open to this discussion.

Hawkcrest > Well tread has been in decline for many years.

Hawkcrest > <---used to FC most of providence. 

> IMHO tread was kept down by CVA.

Seismic Stan > Well I am intrigued, and it is flattering.

Hawkcrest > they were a great bunch of guys. Black Aces almost absorbed them once.

Seismic Stan > They still are, and I've joined at an interesting time where the CVA influence has been removed, so maybe the decline is over and TREAD will be able to grow.

Hawkcrest > the CVA influence was removed because of Black Aces, and other corps like us

Seismic Stan > I'm aware of that. Interesting times.

Hawkcrest > So in a manner of speaking we have freed Tread of thier slave bonds to CVA ;-) They should be thanking us.

Seismic Stan > You could look at it like that I suppose. You said that my corp are in a state of flux. I would say that all of TREAD, Providence and the surrounding regions are also in a state of flux. I haven't got the authority to be a diplomat and since you're technically the enemy I'm not sure exactly what I should and shouldn't be saying...

Hawkcrest > My interest is in speaking with you and your fellow freebooter. The rest of Tread isnt my concern atm. Having read your story, I belive you have something to offer Black Aces and at the same time I'm positive we have something to offer you.

Seismic Stan > We've only recently got involved in Alliance stuff and we joined TREAD as they'd been accommodating to us previously. I wouldn't be prepared to turncoat on them. But that doesn't necessarily rule out having some kind of meaningful relationship with you folks.

Hawkcrest > Im not asking you to turncoat on tread if you join the Aces, you should consider it seeking gainful employment. As we are all corporations in EVE and we have much to offer you that tread cannot. Black Aces has no ill will toward Tread.
I have asked their alliance diplomat to offer Tread the same thing to the entire alliance that I'm offering you....however my interest in you is that you're a blogger and I'm interested in developing corp propaganda. You obviously would play a key role within the corporation if you were to join us as I have other projects that may work with your talents.

Seismic Stan > Us Freebooters are bit haphazard in our playstyle. I'm already feeling a little pressured by alliance life insomuch as things are expected of you. We only play casually and I wouldn't really want "gainful employment". Eve has a nasty tendency to become a great consumer of time if you let it.

Hawkcrest > See that still works hand-in-hand with our corporation's play style. We believe real life comes first. Where are you from Seismic?

Seismic Stan > UK. As in Britain as opposed to Ushra'Khan. ;)

Hawkcrest > I'm aware.

Seismic Stan > I've been very careful to keep my blogging separate from my in-game decisions. Although I've discussed security with the TREAD leadership I will write as I please. Interestingly, they've also asked me to do some writing in an Alliance newsletter/propaganda regard. But I'm just not sure how much more time I'll have to devote to it. I'm struggling with finding time to write for this blog.

Hawkcrest > I'd like to speak voice with you Seismic, would you be willing to dload TS3? Get on comms so I can excite you a bit, I'm fairly positive once you have had a chance to meet the guys, you will be appropriately motivated. I know what I'm trying to get across but you will need to forgive my American education.

So it turned out that The enemy of my enemy was actually decent bloke who wanted to recruit me. It was all very flattering and felt I should investigate further. Both out of genuine curiosity and some machievellian need to play both ends against the middle. I was a little wary, but I joined the Black Aces Teamspeak 3 server.

Once I'd logged in, I was moved to the 'CEOs Office' channel where I was privy to the closing stages of a discussion between Hawkcrest and the CEO of another AAA-Citizens Corp. I'd love to say that my journalistic instincts kicked in and I gathered lots of juicy information, but to be honest, most of what they were talking about went straight over my head. And I'm fairly sure they wouldn't have continued to discuss anything sensitive with me in the channel.

Hawkcrest and I chatted for several minutes about the politics of CVA-ruled Providence, the subsequent unheavals and the part that he and the Black Aces had played in it all. It was interesting to note that, as he had alluded to in the earlier chatlog, Hawkcrest had previously been a Fleet Commander allied to the CVA. We then moved onto the benefits of allegiance to Against All Authorities and the truth behind the engagement I had witnessed and blogged about in the previous post. Apparently, the Black Aces fleet was simply bait, designed to provoke a CVA response which would then have been dealt with by a nearby Against All Authorities Super-capital fleet. There was no CVA response, which is a bit of a shame as I'm sure the resultant multi-fleet mash-up would have been spectacular to behold.

In an effort to further illustrate to me the benefits of The Black Aces, Hawkcrest moved us into an active channel where a myriad of colourful accents greeted me. They were predominantly English, although one confusingly claimed to be a Welsh Englishman, or an English Welshman, I can't quite recall. It was a potentially intimidating situation for me, but they were a likeable and friendly bunch and were most welcoming, so thank you for that fellas.

Eventually, other duties brought my visit to an end but I promised I would give their offer some thought.

That was a week ago and a period of careful consideration and reflection has since ensued. Finally, I decided I was proud of my seven year unbroken membership of Greenbeard's Freebooters. Hawkcrest wasn't offering alliance membership, he wanted myself and whatever other Freebooters who were interested to join the admittedly much bigger and more dynamic Black Aces corporation. As a small corp made up exclusively of real-life friends of over two decades, Greenbeard's Freebooters is pretty sacrosanct to me and whatever future adventures I have in EVE, it will always be as a Freebooter.

I also felt that I owed it to my new alliance to pitch in and help raise their profile. It didn't sit well with me that I could simply use TREAD as a stepping stone to greater things and showing some loyalty was of more value. Hawkcrest and the Black Aces could only respect that, surely.

It is my hope that, despite my decision I will somehow be able to negotiate a way that I can continue to inhabit the area that I do without being blown to smithereens constantly. Whether that is an achievable goal remains to be seen, especially as the age of NRDS seems to be over.

In any case, if there's another blogger out there who is looking for a new challenge or a change of pace, The Black Aces are looking for someone with a flair for writing to assist with 'propaganda'. Could be a good gig.

However, this tale doesn't end here. There is another twist that turns everything on it's head. Full story coming soon...

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

EVEquality: The Rise of the Female Gamer

Welcome to the seventeenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

What could CCP Games do to attract and maintain a higher percentage of women to the game. Will Incarna do the trick? Can anything else be done in the mean time? Can we the players do our part to share the game we love with our counterparts, with our sisters or daughters, with the Ladies in our lives? What could be added to the game to make it more attractive to them? Should anything be changed? Is the game at fault, or its player base to blame?

Talk about ask the impossible; where generations of men have repeatedly and embarrassingly failed, we are asked to provide the solution to attracting women. It took me thirty-four years to get married, so you're asking the wrong guy. Crazy Kinux certainly has a lot of faith in the Bloggers of EVE.

However, in attempting to answer the impossible question, I want to examine two aspects of the female conundrum in relation to EVE, those being the neurological and the sociological. It will be impossible to discuss this without making some generalisations, so although a lot of the statements to follow will apply to many, they will not apply to all. A further thing to bear in mind that I am by no means an expert in the above fields, being neither a neurologist nor a sociologist, although my career does benefit from me having a grounding in both.

It would be no revelation to say that women are wired differently. Their behaviour, reactions and tastes tend to be wildly different to those of men. However, perhaps in understanding the wiring there might be some clues that may help us on our quest.

It's significant that even in early development, girls tend to have better communication skills. Some texts even go as far as to suggest that women have an extra speech centre and there is certainly a consensus on the fact that there is greater neuronal activity between the areas of the brain concerned with speech and empathy. In most people, the left half of the brain is concerned with logical processes whereas the right is the source of creativity and empathy. The female corpus callosum (the relay connecting the two hemispheres) is broader, suggesting a more effective conduit.

Psychologically, the female thought process tends to be less direct. Whereas the male brain function favours focusing on a single task to the exclusion of all others, there is evidence to show that women have the ability to multitask more effectively. It is a subject for debate as to whether 'nurture or nature' is the greater influence on this, but lifestyle and culture certainly has an impact on behavioural patterns of both genders.

This leads me onto the cultural phenomenon of the female gamer. As modern 'western' society evolved throughout the twentieth century, through women's suffrage to the roles they played in during the Second World War, more and more women eschewed the traditional homemaker role. This has resulted in less enforcement of stereotypes. Women fulfill roles in the workplace that were traditionally male. They have excelled in positions of authority and organisation and are capable of competing in the physical arena too.

This has had an effect on family life. Role-models for our children are no longer restricted to the alpha-male and the housewife. Parents are less rigid in insisting on dolls and tea-sets for the girls and guns and tanks for the boys. People see the value in encouraging interests and pursuits that help to develop skills that would be useful in later life. The greatest symbol of this gender unity is in the continued embrace of digital entertainment. The computer game is no longer solely the domain of the geeky fifteen-year-old boy. The girls are playing too, they're just not playing EVE. Why?

As much as women have embraced the masculine world, they've still got that wiring that makes them different. The have the option to participate in every aspect of previously male-dominated society, but they will still have the feminine instincts that drive them to choose differently. However, taking into account neurological and sociological factors discussed earlier; acute communication and empathy skills and the ability to multitask, surely you have an individual with the ideal characteristics to thrive in a gaming environment like EVE.

One problem is that, although EVE itself has evolved since it's inception in 2003, I think it's age is significant. Seven years in the videogame industry is an epoch and it's a real testament to the vision and tenacity of the CCP team. However even as forward-thinking as they were, I suspect the target market that they were originally aiming at was more the fifteen-year-old boy (or his grown-up equivalent). The EVE universe is the stuff of boyhood fantasies inspired by the likes of Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry. EVE is always going to be a tough sell to the fairer sex.

Another potential hurdle is in accessibility. The nature of EVE requires a fair amount of dedication even from those with the most casual of playstyles. This is a factor that has most likely contributed to the current subscriber numbers. Women tend to manage their time differently to men and it would be interesting to find out what percentage are likely to find EVEs demands conducive to the maintenance of their normal lifestyle. How about EVE-related promotional mini-games for browsers, PDAs and cellphones? They could link into the EVE universe in the same way that DUST-514 will, allowing players to tinker with the market in a trading mini-game for example. Perhaps they could customise their Incarna avatar on their iPhone for later synchronisation with their EVE client.

Through CCPs dedication to the growth of their product and excellent communication with EVE's playerbase, the community of New Eden has developed as a grand social and economic experiment, evolving to be the best at what it does - awards don't lie. The sheer variety of gameplay options now available provides a myriad of aspects that could attract the female gamer. I believe CCP have this well in hand in focusing on the communication and social portions of the game. The introduction of EveGate may well be a key factor, embracing the existing community and providing additional tools for them.

The focus in EVE has been very much on the masculine pursuits of competition and destruction. In the same way that emergent social behaviours developed central market hubs and combat bottlenecks, if the implementation of Incarna allows for the similar development of social centres, then perhaps women (or indeed the men) who want to try something that doesn't involve elves will stop by. Something akin to Second Life in space might prove quite popular. If these social hubs are combined with the market, I can envisage an intergalactic shopping centre which might be a popular concept for some. Just as long as there are giant screens showing re-runs of Alliance Tournaments for the guys.

Although I'm sure it will contribute, it is difficult to divine how successful Incarna will be at furthering the social aspect of the game given the lack of details, but I hope they are careful not to replicate the cold sterility that exists in the New Eden universe as a whole. This is not a criticism, the bleak emptiness and stark beauty of EVE is a visually arresting, but there is a sense of detachment that is derived from the current focus on inanimate and characterless ships. Something more vibrant and organic would be refreshing.

Greater customisability of ship appearance and environments would be an attractive feature which might appeal to the lady gamer. Who doesn't want to pimp their ride? The technology is certainly there as visible weapon models and Tech III ships have shown and being restricted to one skin per ship classification is so last decade. So how about the ability to add custom decals, corp/alliance logos, bodykits, spotlights and so on. Things dont have to have a direct impact on the gameplay mechanics to be enjoyable.

Ultimately, I think that as society's stance on videogaming culture continues to change, so will EVEs player-base. As long as CCP continues to do what they do well and do not over-extend their resources in an effort to please all of the people all of the time, the future is bright. The organic shift in public perception will bring a wider audience as long as the product continues to be excellent. The concept of EVE is infinitely expandable and, although not gender-specific, I look forward to the gamer cross-pollenation that will be caused by DUST-514.

There is potentially a fascinating parallel between the historical development of modern western culture and the emergent behaviour of New Eden culture. In centuries past society was shaped by the rule of men and only relatively recently has the ascendency of women fundamentally changing our world. It will be very interesting to see how the rise of the female gamer will impact
on the Universe of EVE.

Other Responses to Blog Banter #17:

  1. The Ladies of New Eden
  2. Is EVE a man's world?
  3. Sorry, No Pink Spaceships Here Please
  4. EVE Blog Banter: Chicks 'N Ships
  5. Eve Blog Banter: The Girls Who Fly Spaceships
  6. It’s not about fluffy bloody Kittens people!
  7. Space Boobies Are Bad, m'kay?
  8. Special Blog Banter: I Like Girls
  9. Special Edition or making Eve More Casual
  10. I wish my wife played EVE
  11. Is there something special about women?
  12. CK's Blog Banter
  13. The Female of the Species
  14. EVE Online Can Appeal to Women By Adding Casual Content
  15. Blog Banter: The Ladies
  16. Women Who Want EVE
  17. Tech 2 stilettos
  18. New Eden doesn't need to change for Eve – Adam needs to get over himself
  19. EVE Online and… women (sorta)
  20. Think Outside the Spaceship
  21. EVE's monthly banter - Women, women, women
  22. Girls Just Wanna Have... Guns!
  23. Draco Horizons (Blog) <-- Needs to add intro (with links) and list of participants
  24. Don’t change Eve for me!
  25. Where Are Teh Laydeez of EVE?
  26. Where Are All The Wenches?
  27. EVEquality: The Rise of the Female Gamer
  28. Women? In MY SPACESHIP? Is she from Mars as well?
  29. Blog Banter: Captain Kirk Hates Eve
  30. The Female of the Species
  31. The Ladies of New Eden
  32. EVE and the X by X Genetic Succession Unit
  33. Sociability V
  34. Girl on Girls in Space
  35. What women want (in Eve)
  36. Time Is On Our Side
  37. Roc Appeal <-- Needs to add intro (with links) and list of participants
  38. Women in EVE
  39. Getting In Touch With Our Feminine Side
  40. It's a woman's world (they just don't know it yet!) <-- Needs to add link to the Banter in the intro
  41. Women in EVE – Can it be done? <-- Needs to add intro (with links) and list of participants
  42. You'd Rather Be Playing The Sims, Right?
  43. Blog Banter #17 – Women in Eve

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

The Enemy of My Enemy is ...

... apparently still my enemy. And probably yours too, such is the nature of EVE.

The winds of change are blowing across the null-sec sea that is Providence, causing ripples into the low-sec regions around it's edge.

Whilst the Providence 'Not Red Don't Shoot' rulebook is busy being rewritten or torn-up and pulped by Ushra'khan and allies, the influx of new organisations has resulted in some new, aggressive denizens in the adjoining region of Derelik, home to the TREAD Alliance.

Last week, a sudden spike of 'reds' in the local channel alerted those TREAD pilots in the area. After some investigation, it became apparent that a capital fleet was amassing at a Player Owned Starbase belonging to The Black Aces, a corporation who are members of the AAA Citizens alliance. It is my understanding that this AAA Citizens [AAA-C] is an alliance that is subservient to Against All Authorities [-A-], the mega-Alliance who was the heavyweight driving force behind the Providence Invasion. I'm guessing AAA-C's purpose is as a proving ground for corps prior to acceptance into -A- proper. Or perhaps they are the less military, industrial backbone of -A-, I'm not sure. Whoever they are, they arrived recently, seem to have interests in Derelik and are capable of mounting a capital fleet to support those interests. Bad news for us locals.

Being curious and new to these low-sec alliance shenanigans, I felt it would be enlightening to investigate. So I jumped into a Manticore stealth bomber and warped, cloaked, to the reported POS site at 100 kilometres. Unwittingly, my arrival immediately uncloaked a fellow TREAD alliance pilot who was already observing.

Oops. So much for the the stealth. There's a lesson to be learned there.

I made my apologies and we both recloaked, moved away from the warp-in point and continued to observe. The hostile fleet comprised at least four capitals and a host of battleships and battlecruisers. Very soon they all warped away and I docked up, but barely moments later reports came in that they were assaulting a Curatores Verititis Alliance (CVA) POS in system.

It turned out that the POS was owned by the Ammatar Free Corps (AFC), who were still licking their wounds from the loss of ownership of the station in neighbouring G-5EN2. I like the AFC, it was some of their members who encouraged myself and my fellow Freebooters to move to the area. So with an eye to sticking up for some allies, I enquired in local security channels to see if any kind of defence was being mounted. Surprisingly, it seemed as if the AFC had decided not to contest. They must have been expecting the attack, as the POS had previously been put into reinforced mode and had just come out again.

However, a TREAD pilot named Yvella informed me that he was watching the assault in a stealth bomber and wanted some more bombers in order to attempt to pick off a straggler or two when the enemy fleet departed. This sounded like fun and the only way I could give the bad guys a poke in the eye, so I fleeted up with Yvella and warped to his position. Well, 10km away - I've learnt my lesson.

What followed was over an hour of floating in space, cloaked and patiently watching a capital/battleship fleet pound away at an unloved POS. I joined Yvella in the Alliance Ventrilo channel where I had the opportunity to wring some knowledge from what was clearly an experienced EVE player. His observations on the behaviour of the fleet before us suggested that they were in fact an undisciplined and inexperienced fleet, which made me optimistic about future TREAD fleets.

Eventually, as the number of remaining structures dwinded, many of the ships started to warp out. They were leaving a few at a time, which was good news for us and supported Yvella's observation of poor discipline. As we started to drift closer, still invisible, the number of reds dwindled to less than ten, then five. We knew we'd need wait until there was only one or two left. Twitching with anticipation, I waited for the order from Yvella when suddenly the number of reds started to increase. Damn.

Then it became apparent that shots were being fired. These weren't the same reds! Someone else had been watching and had jumped onto the stragglers first. It was a corp called T-Wrecks, an apparently competent and efficient pirate corporation who had recently declared war on TREAD. Whilst Yvella and I retreated to a safe distance, T-Wrecks quickly despatched their victims and were gone. It had been a narrow escape for us.

Subsequently, a brave AAA-C Drake battlecruiser returned allowing Yvella and others to quickly descended upon the poor unfortunate. Annoyingly I was back at station about to jump into an industrial with the intention of grabbing an abandoned Moon Harvesting Array. I flew back to the POS site in my Manticore, but missed the kill. A short time later we took a Megathron into structure, but the returning AAA-C fleet forced us to withdraw.


The story should end there, but the next day in the local security channel, Corrybasler, a member of AFC, was asking if anyone wanted to set up a POS at the site where theirs had stood. He said he'd prefer to see a good moon go to allies rather than enemies. From previous conversations with the same individual in this channel, I'd always found him to be a bit difficult and critical, being intolerant of any absent or inaccurate information given. He was the kind to not suffer fools I think, so I was reluctant to open a dialogue with him.

However I did have a small POS sitting in my local hangar, having packed it up to avoid the brunt of the -A-/U'K aggressions. You might think it a foolhardy decision, but as nobody else seemed interested (probably for good reason), I volunteered. During the next couple of hours, Corrybasler couldn't have been more helpful, giving me advice on POS setups and explaining the basics of moon harvesting. Whilst we chatted I enquired as to the reason AFC hadn't defended their POS. It seems that a lot of their players have been so demoralised by recent events, they rarely log in. That's a shame and I hope they bounce back.

So now I have a moon harvesting POS, albeit on a small tower in fairly hostile territory. It remains to be seen whether it'll stay alive for long enough for me to justify upgrading it or whether TREAD can defend it if attacked by AAA-C again. After I finished setting up the POS, I noticed I had been heckled in local by AAA-C scouts.

[22:43:45] Telera > dang another pos to pop
[22:44:23] Telera > a small on top of it
[22:44:27] Telera > come on

[23:33:56] Schniff > MORE GUNS!
[23:34:31] Schniff > 2
[23:34:32] Schniff > 1
[23:34:36] Schniff > anchored!
[23:35:24] Schniff > what a waste of space on that pos
[23:35:44] Schniff > how about you just give me the money, such a waste of isk

It would've been unnerving had I noticed at the time, but hopefully my lack of reply was interpreted as steely stoicism and will give them pause before they come and hammer my POS. They have yet to make good on their threats, so perhaps it worked.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Come On In, The Low-Sec Water's Fine

As much as I have claimed to be a "low-sec dweller" for some time now, the truth was I had really been a denizen of high security space with frequent day-visits to the low security region of Derelik. I suppose the truth distortion was due to the knowledge that I really should stop moping around doing high-sec missions and just take the plunge, but I'd always convince myself I just needed to learn skill 'x'/have 'y' amount of isk/be flying 'z' ship.

Well finally I can look you in the eye and say "I'm a low-sec dweller". I've even got some attribute-boosting implants on one of my low-sec clones. I still pop back to Empire space to mission if cash reserves look like they're running low or to get a good deal at one of the major trade hubs, but ultimately I hope to establish a low-sec revenue stream to minimise the need for that.

It turns out, those reasons I kept giving myself that were stopping my progress into low-sec never really existed. The truth was that I needed to feel a degree of security before moving my assets out there, and that security has been provided by membership of an alliance. Whenever possible, I've tried to involve myself in alliance affairs, hopping in on a fleet bound for Providence or scrambling to assist an alliance-mate under attack.

Rather than just being a visitor to the area, I now feel at home. After a while behavioural patterns become apparent. Pilot names, both allied and enemy, appear regularly in local and the natural ebb and flow of the local traffic becomes measurable. The most likely areas for gatecamps soon become clear and are thus more easily avoided. High-sec is starting to seem like a grey, sanitised and event-free no-fun zone.

High-sec. Why would anyone even want to live there? It's boring.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Alliance Life

Put simply, it's a game-changer.

After years of our small corp of four playing in an environment full of players that were either indifferent or hostile and where the game experience was often a lonely one despite the server population, our membership of TREAD has changed all that.

I've had to do a LOT of reading in the last few days, just trying to get to grips with alliance organisation, figuring out who is who and understanding the wider political and astro-geographical issues affecting TREAD. All of a sudden we've got access to a host of knowledgeable players who can give advice on everything from a ship choice and fitting suitable for a particular fleet op to the most appropriate POS arrangement for moon mining.

Particular thanks have to be given to Ivan Zhuk, Yvella and Cladi Gerash, all of whom have taken the time in these first few days to be welcoming and to explain things that they might take for granted. I was especially impressed with Yvella's Alt-X revelation - if you don't know what it does, try it in space. Very useful for emergency navigation.

There is so much to blog about, but it's a struggle to balance the doing of the thing with the blogging of the thing. Pre-alliance it was easy to manage my EVE time and I could choose my own pace, blogging at my leisure. Now the drums are banging louder and quicker and I don't want to miss anything. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it, I've just introduced another ball to juggle. I certainly don't regret it - it's all very exciting.

It all makes me wonder why we never joined an alliance before, but then if I think about the decisions and events that led up to this point and it makes sense. Having only really played alongside real-life friends, we at Greenbeard's Freebooters had developed a fairly insular style of play, one that suited us but created barriers to interacting with the wider EVE community. However, always looking for new challenges, we wanted to participate in low security space. Thus a little research showed that the CVA-friendly low-sec areas around Providence operated a Not Red Don't Shoot (NRDS) policy enforced by local militias. This seemed to be fairly unique in New Eden, where most other non-high security space is classified as the more aggressive Not Blue Shoot It (NBSI) variety. Very unwelcoming to outsiders looking to explore other aspects of the universe.

The increased danger but with a player-provided safety net that allowed us to continue to operate as a neutral corporation suited us perfectly, so we set up shop in the Derelik region. However, with my discovery of the colourful resource that is the blogging community, suddenly a more vivid picture of the 0.0 Alliance-versus-Alliance 'endgame' was clear. And I wanted in. Over time, our residence in the area protected by the TREAD alliance allowed us to participate in the occasional community fleet and our progression to becoming full members was a natural evolution.

However, it seems we've joined the TREAD alliance at a very interesting time. Everything seems to be in a state of flux with the alliance leadership standing at a crossroads overlooking the battlefields of Providence. Many of the local space-holding 0.0 alliance allies have been decimated or are licking their wounds and the political conundrum being discussed on the forums is delicious. But that is one for another post.