Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Waiting Game

It's been a few days since I last wrote. I have barely logged on in Eve. This is more down to adjusting back to normality after the vacation than anything else. Work and other RL pressures taking priority in the main. Consequently, I have let the dual training lapse so only my main is playing Skills Queue Online. I am a bit reluctant to resume as I am suffering a minor crisis in confidence in what I was aiming to achieve. 

It was the "o7" show's announcement on fleet warp that finally made me doubt the wisdom of continuing. If I have understood it correctly, Essentially the fleet composition can only warp to a point that can be mutually seen be that another ship in the fleet or a celestial. For a single player this is problematic. While I was thinking of using two accounts to move my assets about for example, it now looks like I would need three to include a scout (that could easily be burned) to achieve the same thing. The details have not been finalised but it is clear the agenda behind this is coming from the Null Sec CSM's so I am not hopeful that it will be resolved in a way that is useful to me. The noises coming from some of them suggest they want to go further. 

So when other announcements are taken into consideration, the general mood music is that there will be more game wide changes which will likely be disruptive to the things I want to achieve. Untested and dubious assumptions are never a great basis for a plan and I know what I am not going to do is to sub or grind three accounts. Life is too short and time is precious. It therefore follows with the uncertainty around the changes, I am not going to open a second account for the moment. At least until there is some stability and I can be confident that whatever I chose t do won't be nerfed. In the same way the dual training has also fallen by the wayside for now. 

While it is a bit disappointing, it was probably inevitable. The changes to null are big and clearly haven't been impacted on the rest of the game enough. Strangely, as an outside observer with no skin in the game, some of the changes seem obviously detrimental to null and none of them seem to improve its playability. Perhaps that is a topic for another day. Time will tell. In the meantime, it is a waiting game for me and I will spend the money and time saved on something else. CCP's loss is my gain,  but I will continue the exploration and ISK accumulation activities. There are plenty of other ways to have fun in Eve with just one account.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Returning Home

As with most vacations that involve flight, there is always the anti climax and frustration that comes with waiting for the flight home. However, Santorini has been fantastic. I finally confessed my hidden agenda (Thera) once it was clear everyone else was having fun. Otherwise apart from the odd tweet, Eve Online was out of my mind. Finding a decent WIFI connection on this island is a task in itself and there is just too much to do. This mostly involved the consumption of food and getting sunburned if the complaints of my body are to be believed.

We went on the obligatory tours – Akrotiri is amazing. The Pompeii of the Aegean but much older. 3500 years old to be imprecise. Many questions remain about the site. Only 3 percent has been uncovered. The Linear A language has yet to be deciphered so the name of the site is not even known. But what is clear is this was no minor civilization. The architecture is significant.

We also went to the epicenter of the original explosion. The local claim is that it was of the magnitude of 40 nuclear bombs whatever that means. Lets just say it was big. The caldera is ample evidence of that and dust from Thera has been found as far away as Greenland, Iceland (naturally) and California. The epicenter is still active and there are a couple of domes where the magma has breached the surface. There is a third one out of site under the sea. It is the one the locals worry about because it is where all the recent earthquakes have emanated from. There are hot springs and the landscape looks more like Mars than Earth. The abiding impression I have is the staggering beauty that resulted from such complete and utter destruction.

Finally, you can't got to Santorini and not see the sunset at Oia. It is magnificent but also reveals the human condition. The world plus dog goes there to see it. We spoke more mandarin than Greek while there. But what is also apparent is that there is an awful lot of people who don't know that the sun travels from east to west during the course of the day. People would choose a site to watch the sunset based on where the sun currently was – not where it was going to be. Surprising, funny when watching people desperately scurrying to re-position themselves at the last minute, but fundamentally a bit sad that we have become so detached from our environment. The early inhabitants of Thera would certainly have been all too aware of their environment. In the ruins of Akrotiri, no bodies or gold was found. This was because they were knew what was coming and made an orderly evacuation.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Every Action has a Consequence

Every action has a consequence. It is a key tenet of Karma so a bit like Eve. Expanding on this, karma theory suggests a good act will result in a correspondingly good outcome. I did something bad and something correspondingly bad happened. On this empirical evidence I can now confidently state that Karma is real just like Eve.
You see I am going on vacation next week. What could be so bad about that? Well, the holiday destination decision making process in the Kong family is a tricky one. Competing cultures and expectations laced with an unclear definition of what a vacation should actually be makes it a fraught undertaking. It has to be somewhere hot but not hot. Quiet but lively, cheap but not tacky, and so on,  and so forth. Positions get polarized between somewhere you can relax and read a book to the number of photo opportunities per second. Tempers get frayed and lengthy negotiations then have to be undertaken in a manner that would have solved the Greek debt crisis years ago. Not good.
This year looked like it was going to be a repeat of the standard routine. Queen Kong opened the bidding. "Greece" she says provocatively. I play my hand. "Not the mainland. Too hot." Now Queen Kong doesn't like hot and she starts recalculating dates for more amenable weather. The clock is ticking and I have to act fast. "But the Greek islands are more bearable" "Erm... which one?" she asks. "How about Santorini?" I say innocently. The interweb is quizzed for pictures of Santorini and suitably rustic images are returned. The Queen declares herself satisfied and I make a hasty booking before minds are changed.
Now the lore hounds amongst you will know that there is more to Santorini than meets the eye. The ancient name for Santorini was Thera. It was the site of an enormous volcanic explosion.  It  is also linked as the possible site of Atlantis as well as the garden of Eden. More realistically it is a place that isn't so far from where the real Antikythera mechanism was discovered. Shamefully, I neglect to reveal the relationship to the Queen. However, when we wet to Rome she was not entirely impressed in how the kids and I had climbed the Pantheon in Assassins Creed. So the decision to keep quiet was based on previous form.
So it was looking like an excellent result for me. But then Karma had to kick in. In my haste to book the holiday, I choose one of those grubby little airlines that charge for luggage. They charge even more if you forget to specify the luggage at time of booking. I, of course, forgot to book the luggage required. Then they throw in a nasty website that doesn't work when you want to change something. Thus leaving you no option other than to hang on the telephone for nearly an hour before they consider your call is worth answering. They then charge a further ridiculous sum for not using the website. During this time the queen has ample opportunity to scold me for my carelessness. Time I had planned to be playing Eve. That's Karma for you.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Pawn to King 4. Progress Update #1

The vague scheme in my head is becoming a bit more solid. The preparatory objectives where simply
  • Research what needs to be done
  • Get ISK to fund the project
  • Learn Skills to be able to do the project

This is to be achieved by using my main and two alt characters only. Dual training on two of the characters.

Research what needs be done

This is turning out to be a lot harder than I imagined. There is plenty of advice for how not be a new player. Then there is a lot information showing  experienced players doing amazing things. There is however an implied knowledge you need to understand what they are doing. But the leap you need to make between the two is opaque. I still enjoy the challenge though.

Setting up a corp

What is clear is I will need a corp to be able to get some things done. I have now set one up for my trader alt. I really resent having to do this. Even more now I have experienced the corp interface. I understand it has been improved recently so it must have been appalling before. I know why CCP insists on this. Because... wardecs. I doubt I will provide more than a couple of minutes content for a wardeccer and it will provide zero content for me apart from a dull administrative burden. Not the best mechanic in Eve then. I have trained a variety of corporation management skills and will be leveling these up over the coming months

Mobility and Jump Clones

The other thing I have established I will need is a lot of mobility. This means I can spend less time on travelling and more on time on the fun things So I have maxed out the jump clones on my main. To do this I briefly joined the excellent Estel Arador Corp Services who run a free jump clone service. Their coverage is astonishing. So within a matter if minutes I had established all my clones in a single region. The only thing to consider when using this service is whether it is under a wardec. Yes that really useful mechanic again. Anyway I have spent time equipping and dispersing the jump clones across New Eden. For now I have given them a either my Lore Ambulance Chaser Vigil or Explorer Travelceptor to be getting on with. I will get extra jump clones for the other alts once things really get moving.

Getting ISK

I have not used my explorer to do this and relied on my trader. Exploration can be a bit hit and miss. Wonderfully productive at times or a big explosion at others. Great fun but time consuming. Besides with the vacation season coming up, margins get more looser with less active players so there is more scope for profit. I have changed a lot of lines and dumped a lot of old stock. It has worked well and I am ahead of my initial target amount. However it will slow down over the coming months as the market adjusts to my presence and I stop dumping old stock. We shall see but looking good so far.


There are two things I am trying to do here. Firstly to train into new areas  - Corp Management for example. The other thing is to be able to share the workload across the characters I have. So if one of them is stuck in a wormhole, the other two can cover elsewhere for example. Now having two objectives while training skills is probably not the best way to go. It does stretch things out a bit but I can't really see another way of doing this short of trading a character for ISK. I would not feel much satisfaction in doing that however. Working with someone else's creation would defeat the point of what I am trying to do and I would not have learnt anything. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Problem with Eve Veterans is....

I don't understand them. This isn't a rant about bitter vets. I find them rather adorable. Trapped within their experience in the same way a new player is trapped but with their respective inexperience. No, I am talking about the nice or at least the helpful sort. I am not ranting about these either. This is just an observation. Generally, when I speak with them the experience is mutually frustrating. They will deliver sage and detailed advice that I find completely unhelpful and misses the point. From their perspective, I ask questions that appear completely illogical and/or dumb. 

In my bones I know the issue lies with me. I know I view problems in a different way from the majority of of people. That doesn't mean I am special or intellectually superior in any way. While not in the majority, there are many people solve problems the way I do. In practical terms I am just as likely to come up with the wrong or right answer as anyone else and in an everyday sense it makes little difference. But fundamentally I do not think in a logical way.

When approaching a problem I first think of concepts. So far so average. But it is only a a cursory thought because I quickly move onto the relationship that a concept has with other concepts. These are far more important to me because they define purpose and better describe the concept and complexity.

I'm losing you aren't I. A simple example.

Task: Find somewhere to live. 

Most people will think house or apartment. So do I. They will then think of the number of bedrooms etc,. I won't. At least not at that point. I will be thinking of shops, electricity, gas, telephone, cinema, schools, buses, trains, work location, neighbourhood, landscape, etc and their relationship to the house. Here I will be using past experiences of different unrelated scenarios to make the links. If that all lines up and seems viable then I might just be interested in what is inside the house on a basic level.  This of course makes me an infuriating person to buy a house with. Telling your partner you don't like the once in a lifetime bargain mansion because I won't be able to park my car at the station does not generally get a sympathetic response.

The upside to my madness is I can get a sense of the bigger picture quite quickly in most areas of life. However, the solutions I might come up with often appear unconventional and will not necessarily be the established way of doing things. It will make perfect sense to me because I have seen them applied in different areas but communicating the mental leap as a logical process defies explanation. The downside is that perspective isn't always useful and can deflect from getting the immediate task done. Project managers always struggle with me.

And this is what I find in Eve. Veterans know how to get today's task done and the ships and fits to do it with. It is tried, tested and it works. The good ones will willingly share that information with you. But that isn't a question I will ever ask - although the phrasing of my question might give that impression.
A post Carnyx Astero. This is not an Echelon
 A recent example was when I came across the Echelon hull. It was a gift hull in the past with some benefits appropriate for exploration but limited in many other ways. Quirky to say the least. But I could imagine a particular scenario where it could be used in a niche way alongside the regular tools for the job like the Astero I use. I tried to test my thinking on a friendly forum but made the mistake of assuming they were following my thought process. Unsurprisingly, the advice I got back (with one notable exception) was to forget the Echelon and use an Astero.

An Echelon. This is not an Astero
So a generic solution to a point problem. Not wrong, but not helpful either. Disheartened I left it there. I assumed they ithought I had never heard of, understood or even used an Astero before. What I was really asking was about exploration in the widest possible sense. At least that was what I thought I was asking. Why else would anyone ask about the Echelon without that context? goes my thinking. But like I said, this is my challenge. There is nothing wrong with Vets but unfortunately I will never understand them.