Showing posts with label Things to do. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Things to do. Show all posts

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Tinker, Tailor,Soldier, Zombie Skill Point Alt

OK so the rationale of this post is to close off the final in Eve 'project' I started (The Farmer Needs an Alt). It still gets a bit of traffic still  so there is some idle interest out there, but the lack of an outcome would leaves the reader hanging in suspense. Feel free to skip the background, and jump to the outcome if you want to avoid my usual tourettic rants.


So in March this year, CCP decided to poison the well with its Citadel release. While there were many great ways citadels could have been implemented for the benefit for all, CCP decided to play to the in-crowd at the expense of the main percentage of play-styles. Be compliant or be taxed  was the message delivered to the plebs with more of the same to come for the foreseeable future. It was a hard message but just to be sure it was received and understood it was further reinforced when CCP's Skill Point skunk works announced dailies were to become a thing. So log on everyday, bother a belt rat and tickle the in-crowds ego by playing with their citadels like a good little capsuleer or face the consequences. 

While you can only admire CCP's belief that they could pull that off (and maybe in financial terms they have), but the reality dawning on them is there are more engaging experiences than being virtually waterboarded to subsidise the entertainment of a few. This is of course a completely personal view and others who have expressed a view have said Eve has never been better. I don't doubt that is their experience, but player activity is down and this is following longer term trend (see below). No Incarna pitchforks here, just the silence of the lambs as players vote with their feet. 

Bye bye
As a side note it appears Sion is agitating for a player revolt. This coming from the podcast he participated in that was discussing his article on his (and the Imperium's) website. Yeah a bit circular isn't it. However the article is not the worst thing ever penned and there are some interesting details. The underlying meat of  the story about CCP using Eve as cash cow is neither surprising or exceptional though. While there may have been player sensitivities in the past about it, CCP have ensured the very same vocal activist set of players have had their mouths filled with gold over preceding years or they have just moved on as life dictates. So there will be no Incarna style riot. More an individual and continual flight to the suburbs than a collective torching of the city neighbourhood.

Anyway, March 24th was the day I called it a day. It was also the day in 1765 that Great Britain passed the Quartering Act on the American colonies - one of the tools of oppression associated with the American revolution. It felt appropriate. However, the drop the mic moment was somewhat undermined by the fact I inexplicably had a six month sub that would expire on the 3rd of August. What to do with 133 days?


Meet Lab Otomy.

Mr L Otomy

Lab Otomy is known as just 'it' to the friends it doesn't have (why do capsuleers have to have a gender?). It is my zombie SP alt. It too was created on March 24th and has been accruing SP ever since. As I write 125 days later, it has got 7.5 million SP - or rather it would have if I hadn't drained its brains of 1 million SP. I sold the SP for over 1.2 billion ISK. I then bought a PLEX for just over 900 million and have enough left to buy an extractor for around 200 million. 

I haven't been hugely optimal about this but it is looking like I will get around 3 extractions a month. I have maxed two attributes (Perception and Willpower). I selected those because I happened to have a couple of implants lying around that would further boost those particular attributes. I know I could get better prices if I could be bothered to shop around and not go for the quick sale/buy. I could have also focused on some trading skills to eek out the margins too. Set up costs were largely covered by using skill books I already had spare on my other characters, and since no ship is needed, you only have to sub the zombie long enough for it to hit the 6 million SP mark when you can cash in enough SP to get a Plex. From that point on it should be sustainable.

The dependency you will have will be the price of PLEX. If it rises and the cost of SP stays the same then you will not earn enough to buy a PLEX. However , I suspect there may be an element of self correction however. The people who buy SP are the ones who want to be able to do something right now. It is therefore likely they are funding the purchase of SP by selling PLEX. If I and other zombie SP farmers can't afford PLEX then obviously we won't buy them bring a downward pressure on the price of PLEX. Similarly we won't be producing SP which in turn puts an upward pressure on price of SP. So it should balance out. That's the theory, but time will tell.

The other thing to note is that the profit margin is small but it will scale up reasonably quickly and be cross financing. An army of zombie SP alts will bring economies of scale and clearly some people are already doing this. I am quite content with the one. It proves the principle and if I choose to continue with it, it only takes about 20 minutes of my spare time a month for no other cost. 


With the sensible bit over, you will probably want to avoid this bit too if you are rant (dressed up as a profound insight) averse... 

The introduction of PLEX and the commodification of SP both represent business design decisions by CCP rather than pure game design decisions. Whatever you may feel about them, they along with other business decisions have been been successful as CCP are making more money per player than has historically been the case and the Eve markets for both SP and Plex have been vibrant. 

So the business brains at CCP have delivered and one way or another their changes have embraced the entire player base directly or indirectly. Kudos to them, they have earnt their wages and you can't blame CCP for wanting to make money. 

Sadly, you cannot say the same about the purely game design decisions CCP Devs have been making. While they may have pleased some, they have patently failed to deliver as player activity continues to dwindle. To the extent to which I care, I would imagine there is not a little tension between the business and game design cliques within CCP at the moment. The appalling tacky SP dallies experiment that made a thousand and one Facebook games look good might possibly be an expression of that tension as it would likely have to have been a joint enterprise between the two perspectives. 

If I were a CCP business bod, I would be spitting feathers when you consider how Tiancity have managed actually increase player activity this year by using innovative SP promotions  alongside their other marketing activities on Serenity - the Chinese instance of Eve. Admittedly the Chinese haven't been hit over the head with the full consequences of the Citadel release yet so that might change.

Serenity says Ni Hao

Anyhow, I have now staggered into unsubstantiated speculation so lets draw a line there. But what I do know now is what my relationship to Eve is now. I no longer play Eve: The Game. No spaceships or planets cross my path or any other Sci Fi concepts for that matter. What I do play now is Eve: The Business. For juggling with Skill Points and PLEX is the extent of my engagement and these are just business concepts pretty much independent of any spaceship context - but for only 20 minutes a month at zero cost if I remember to log on.

Sod it, one more piece of speculation and then I am done. It is the nature of game devs to want nerf vaguely (in game) rewarding activities - especially ones suited to solo casual players. Ore refining, datacore farming etc etc are a couple of indicative examples. "Balance!" or "It should be more engaging" are the reasons usually cited. It is nonsense of course. The real intent is to coerce players into nullsec and join the sexy alliances. It doesn't generally work but inadvertently has kept the game fresh I suppose. When it comes to SP farming however the discussion might be a little different. It will be the underperforming Game Devs verses smug Business Bods facing each other across the table. When it comes to delivery, who might you imagine would have the upper hand? I would love to be a fly on the wall watching that internal meta game but then again there are genuinely more rewarding and better things to do.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Farmer needs an Alt

After spending months opening a new account building a wormhole viable Orca pilot I caught myself cancelling the subscription. This isn't quite as dramatic as it sounds and that certainly isn't the intent. In truth the sub doesn't expire until the beginning of August. It is however one consequence of the confounding of Luobote by CCP and their pesky citadel menace. I just don't need the Orca, the cyno alts or the rest of the menagerie required to set up a wormhole operation now. Luobote will work out the rest of his days in Garoun Investment Bank and maybe one day subvert it into a worker's cooperative. He will make an occasional outing I am sure.

However, what to do with the Orca account until August? Despite my lack of enthusiasm about SP trading, for better or worse it is now a major part of the game. It would be dumb not to take advantage of CCP's gift. So while I won't be doing too  much with the Orca pilot, the fact that he does now have 9 million SP means there are other options.  The account also has two unused character slots. I can't quite bring myself to drain the Orca pilots brain just yet so I have set up one of the other characters as an SP farm instead By August it should be clear whether this is as profitable as it appears to be. Setting up the character was fun. I went with the zombie look because after his maiden flight to Jita he is never going to have to do anything again other than just exist and be occasionally milked.

He doesn't say very much so only expect to hear a few grunts on social media.  Alongside of this, I had been taking a more ISK liquid position with my traders because of the other upcoming changes. So I used some of that cash to buy some plex, converted it to Aurum and bought some extractors while they are on offer pretty much as Gevlon described. Once the zombie has accrued enough SP I will start sucking SP and we'll see whether it is sustainable and self Plexing.

To speed the process along I have remapped the zombie to favour two attributes and focussed training skills that use those attributes. The choice of the skills was based on the implants I already had in stock and these give a further boost. 

So now I just sit and wait. In a way it is sad that this approach (if viable) is more rational than fighting alone against the odds in a wormhole but unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately depending on you perspective) I don't make the rules. CCP does. (And the CSM if you choose to be fooled by the hype that is.)

Monday, 21 March 2016

A bit of this and that

In theory, it was going to be a very busy weekend. Busy in real life that is, so I hadn't planned on doing anything much in Eve. But like stacked dominoes, one by one the really important things I was just had to do somehow melted away. Not all at once however, which meant there was always the threat of having to do something useful hanging over me like Damocles sword. So in the end I got to play quite a bit of Eve but with the threat of having to drop it at any moment I ended up doing a lot of bits and pieces.

Let's start with Luobote. I have barely done anything with him over the last month or so. You might remember he was looking for a wormhole to live in. I thought I had found one until it became clear there was a sleeping predator there who had been in the same hole for years. After that I docked him up and with the changes to the game coming up, I am not sure what I will be doing next with him now. That said, he did reach a bit of a milestone and he can now fly a ninja Prospect and huff gas. Whether he will actually ever do that remains to be seen. I have stopped his training for now and will take a view after whatever Fanfest.

Where I have been active is with my old main. She has more SP than Luobote. After a complex journey, she ended up being my main trader and hauler. However she has half trained quite a lot of other things too. Again because of the forthcoming game changes I had decided to sell of my stock and take a more ISK liquid position. I have kept going with PI though because demand is good presumably due to budding citadel builders stocking up. So a sizable proportion of the weekend was shuttling loads of PI about.

However, that still left me with my spare time, so I decided to try out the Gurista Hunt event. My alt used to do HiSec missions originally in a Caracal. I've always like the Klingon look of the Caracal (or is it Romulan?). Because of this my alt has decent missile skills and shield tanking. I wondered if the Caracal's big cousin, the Cerberus, would be suitable. I was aware that JonnyPew had used a Cerberus for Hisec Combat sites in the past and checking his YouTube sight it turns out a Cerberus does just fine. I've no idea what his fit is but the one I used had no bling in it and used assault missiles.

The event itself was rather disappointing. The last time I shot an NPC was when they were red crosses. That seems the only real change. NPC's sit there pretty much a wait for you kill them. Spawn again and again. Move down an acceleration gate, rinse and repeat with the volume slightly turned up. Kill the boss but don't get a damsel in distress this time. Actually, in hisec all you get is a Bantam Skin (why?), some Gurista clothes, quafe Zero, some Gurista Ammo and a "compact TEBS". The prices of all but the latter have collapsed since the world+dog all have them now. I got seven "compact TEBS" before it got monotonous. Quite what they are for I have no idea.  It should have been eight but early on a Stratios nipped in and snaffled a container after I finished a site which was entertaining. I was pleased with how the Cerberus stood up although most people seemed to be using Gila's. While I don't regret having a go at the event, I am not sure I will use the Cerberus again. I  have enough damsels already.

To wrap things up I started a couple invention runs and collected about 6 months worth of farmed data cores I forgotten about. So on reflection, it looked like a well organised weekend in Eve but it was far from that.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

An Anarcho Syndicalist in #tweetfleet

So it has been an interesting couple of days . For those of you afflicted by my tweets in #tweetfleet you can now relax as normal service is now resumed. However the whole story behind what motivated me to do that, and the things I learnt from doing might be interesting to some of you. It certainly surprised me.

I'll try and get the motivation for doing this out the way quite quickly because that is straight forward. I have come to loathe the CSM and haven't been shy about saying it. It should be torched for the reasons I laid out in Crossing Zebras back in January. It is only my opinion and I hadn't told people to vote or not vote or indeed shove a list of endorsements down anyone's throat for them to blindly follow. If turkeys want to vote for Christmas that is entirely their choice and one I respect. I'll just enjoy the "I told you so" meal later was my thinking. However it didn't work out that way.

Of all the Eve fora, Twitter is probably the most light hearted as well as being informative. It is the one I engage in most. When the CSM election started, there was naturally a lot of noise and even some excitement about it. But the tone quickly changed to one of calling people dumb and negative for not voting. Even CCP got in on the act. To be fair, much of it was tongue in cheek but the case for not voting is genuine and most people won't vote. Calling the majority of the playerbase dumb, is well just dumb. It was a voice that needed to be heard and I arrogantly decided to try and convey it.

Many will know I am an ingame carebear. Some might know I role play a closet anarcho-syndicalist . I won't bore you with why but if  someone accuses me of being pro or anti some group or other they are rather missing the point. I am anti ALL groups. Happy to work with people but never to work for people. While we are both refuseniks in our own way, when someone compares me with Gevlon, as has happened on a couple of times, we really are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Anyway, I mention this because this became the basis behind my anti CSM tweetrage. For those that missed them I give you a selection below:

You get the picture. Not exactly Marx's dialectic but he didn't have to contend with a limit of 142 characters. What then happened was interesting. What started as a grumpy guy sperging turned into more of a social observation. Most people ignored me initially for it was the utterings of a madman and hoping I would go away eventually. I expected this and I also expected to lose followers. But the opposite happened and I gained some. Nothing spectacular but more people were switched on than were switched off.

As I ploughed on people started to challenge me both seriously and in fun.  But they were almost entirely from a very select group - CSM candidates and non aligned ones at that. Now they obviously have a vested interest. They are struggling to pick up scraps of non block votes. But the only counter argument they could put of any merit was that a non vote was vote for the blocks. But STV guarantees the Imperium and PL are going to get seats regardless so point is moot. But interestingly it was a popular view yet no one is campaigning in the manner I briefly did to appeal to the anti block vote. In fact most of the candidates seem to be talking to each other in the #CSM slack channel rather than campaigning to the electorate. I am really not sure where this complacency comes from. At no point did anyone defend the CSM as an institution or address the contrived points I was making. So most people just don't care (and will likely not vote) or they agree (and will likely not vote). No one is selling the CSM.

Step in CCP...
Hmm.. so why didn't they do that this year? CCP Guard comes to the rescue!

Not an overwhelming response and unfortunately it turns out people are more interested in a pencils and pens than the CSM!

Then things really got weird... or should it be desperate?

So much for putting the case for the CSM as an institution then. There was nothing for it then but to do CCP's and the CSM candidates job for them. I went for the jugular.
You will notice that CCP Fozzie deleted the message I retweeted. That particular tweet had been an extremely provocative message that directly undermined the role, work and purpose of the current CSM. The CSM complained bitterly about it yet it remained. Up until yesterday that is, when my stupid little campaign allowed him the opportunity him to reflect and delete it to replace it with this:
At little victory and my work is now done. The CSM has hope if attitudes change. But the onus is on you candidates. If I can achieve something - (a little something but something the CSM never achieved) with just 4 days ranting why can't you? Stop talking to each other get out the and make a fuss. Fight for your game and win the respect of your peers.

Finally, a shoutout to Nosy Gamer who was almost the only person to tackle me full on and do it with humour. Vive La Revolution!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Ups and Downs

As in life, in Eve you have good days and bad days. This is how it should be. If everything was perfect all of the time it would be like living in "The Truman Show". It would get stale quickly. This post should be considered in that context. Not every day has to be a good day and I have been lucky to have had an extended run of the good. But lately, I seem to have that feeling where I am the only sober person at the party. You could argue the opposite could be true and it is me that is drunk and everyone else is sober I suppose. Either way, I feel somewhat disconnected from Eve lately.

This isn't a whine about CCP specifically. Other tiresome and disappointing Eve related factors that I won't bore with you play a part. However, it is fair to say the Skill Point trading fest we have been through over the last couple of days hasn't helped if only because it has given me cause to reflect. But first to cover off the introduction of Skill Point trading. It has  has clearly been popular. If I had needed the ISK there was a killing to be made. It was astonishing what people were paying for Skill Extractors and the Plex volumes to fund this binge were not trivial if other peoples estimates are correct.

I don't know the exact Plex figures and I don't know how long the party will continue, so I can only speculate on the potential long term impact on the Eve economy. The price of Plex will be interesting though. There will be more PLEX in the economy which should in theory lead to a downward trend in price. But there is another aspect to PLEX's intrinsic value that has irrevocably changed. PLEX at its more basic level provided game time. In the past, game time was the only way to acquire skill points other than buying a character from the Bazaar. Not now though. So assuming the maths work out, you could choose to buy just one months game time plus 2 months worth of skills from the market instead. Those who Plexed just to train alts might not be doing so in the future. So possibly a reduced demand for PLEX in addition to surplus introduced by this weeks rush to get/sell skills. To be honest, I don't know how the maths actually do work out, but even if it is only notional, the intrinsic value of a PLEX has been debased by this change. If that has any real value effect at all, it wont be a positive one assuming CCP don't intervene into the market.

Meanwhile, in a bittersweet moment my two characters in training both reached level V on the respective skills they had been training for three weeks. In the past, it was a significant moment. Now it is just a notch on the bedpost that can be simply resolved by throwing ISK at the problem. It is a de-motivational feeling but I accept this is probably a minority view.

As to the future, we were given another citadels dev blog by CCP. This talked about rigs and modules for the most part but also went into details around fuelling the beasts. I am excited about these in general. But what really grates is that the medium citadels won't have market services. So essentially solo players and small corps are being explicitly excluded from this game-play aspect for reasons unknown. CCP have never justified it and the CSM member I spoke to about it never got back to me. Either they don't know, aren't allowed to say, choose not to say or are being ignored by CCP.

Sort of related to this was a translation of an interview given by CCP Seagul on Reddit. It was a very good interview and she is a fascinating person. But when she says "My role is much more making sure the players have the tools to make what they want with" well the aspiration is being selective when it comes to citadel markets. Some players will have a better toolset than others. And that is perhaps that is why I have this hopefully temporary lack of engagement. I am beginning to feel I am playing Eve despite the game and not because of it. I don't want it to be easier or harder. But I don't want to be forced or at least constrained into a particular play-style just like every other game either.

Anyway, enough of the negative, more positively I have found a new ship to play with! Vets will of course scorn it as they did my love affair with the Echelon. If you have been following, a week or so back after my ganking misfortune I ended up buying a heap of Prowlers. The more I think about it the more I think it was a buy sale put up as a sell sale. But no one has ever contacted me about it. Anyway, I am still selling these things selectively at different markets. That means ferrying them from Jita and then flying back. On the return leg I can buy something I can fly and make a quick profit in Jita. This has included things like Astero's, Zephyr's, Leopards and so on. It was then I came across a Primae.

Originally issued exclusively in 2010 way before my time. It is bonkers like the Echelon but actually useful. Well a little bit useful. But it only cost 7m ISK. I was going to sell it but since I am still perfecting my PI colony knowledge before I head into a wormhole. I thought I could use it for its intended purpose such as it is. It has a PI hold and a Command Centre Hold as well as a cargo hold. It only has four low slots. Because some opportunist is bound to think of it as a killboard trophy due to its rarity I put hardeners and tungsten plates on it so that it might hold out until Concord arrives. But it is not worth much and won't carry much, so if it explodes it won't be the worst that ever happened. In its favour, it is quite nippy and saves me dragging out the Orca. As long as I keep finding little gems like the Primea hidden away in Eve there is a good chance I will keep on playing it.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Thera Local Chat

Just a quick one. My good friends at Eve Scout have decided to provide another new service to the community and frankly this is too good not to share.

As you probably know, Eve Scout/Signal Cartel currently hunt down and publish the wormhole links to Thera. They are politically neutral and it is resource used by many across New Eden. This of course means traversing the expanse of New Eden can be a lot quicker, and Thera itself is quite a special place. I regard it as my second home.

In its own way, Thera local chat exemplifies this. Unlike wormhole chat in general which is typically silent (although I tend to ignore that tradition myself), Thera chat has its own scammers and rogues like any trade hub but there are also the occasional celebrities and power blocs passing through.

Anyway, you don't have to take my word for it now because Eve Scout have decided to put Thera Local Chat online. You can find it on their website here. A warning though, it will probably not be suitable for work. This is true especially now because Wingspan are up to no good in Thera currently. So check it out and give a donation to Eve Scout while you are there.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Every cloud...

I like to pretend I know what I am doing. That I have a plan and an objective. But sometimes I do wonder. The key thing I was planning on this weekend was to make some ISK. In an earlier post I described why and how I was going to do that. But then Eve happened. 

Flying my alt hauler/trader I was dipping into Lowsec from Hisec I got ganked by a gate camp. Lowsec has seemed more populated recently so perhaps I could have chosen my route with more care. But I would like to think it was them getting smarter rather than an error on my part. I've lost count of the number of gate camps I have cruised past in a blockade runner. For some reason, I wasn't able to cloak, I got instalocked and proceeded to die. PvP is a binary thing with a blockade runner. You slip past or you don't. The truth is actually I don't know why I failed this time but until there is a pattern I don't intend to put too much thought into it. I can improve the align time though so for you shipfitters out there I am now going to be running with this fit:

Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Damage Control II

50MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints II
Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints II

Feel free to laugh. According to EFT, this gives me an align time of about 3.3 seconds which is a slight improvement on what I had before plus has the option of the MWD Cloak trick if I come across a Null/Wormhole bubble. There are a lot less hit points with this fit but if you are in the position of relying on hitpoints you are likely already dead as I found out. The Damage Contol unit is there for any smartbomb damage which has happened to me a couple of times in the past. There is scope to add a core probe scanner or festival launcher as appropriate.

All of this however is minor detail and inconvenience. The big picture was I was supposed to be making ISK and now I was down one blockade runner. Fortunately, I hadn't been entirely stupid and had unloaded the cargo before going to Lowsec but it still wasn't an auspicious start. 

So I need to buy a BR and originally aim to go to Jita to buy one thinking it would be the cheapest. It isn't. Not by a long way. But Amarr is. Too cheap infact. Someone is dumping them it seems. I need to get there fast. I really don't why but I decide too look at local Leopard prices because I heard they were fast somewhere. They are cheap too compared to Jita. I buy one. So now I am down some more ISK and still don't have a blockade runner. 

The journey to Amarr was quick and uneventful and I buy a lot of Prowlers. Mainly because they are cheap but I also need to have more in hand if I get ganked again. I then contracted Red Frog to carry them to Jita for 17million ISK (more expense!) and flew to Jita in the Leopard. I am beginning to think this could all go horribly wrong at this point so while waiting for the cargo to be delivered, I reluctantly sell the Leopard for a very good profit. The Prowlers duly arrive and I sell 4 of them in quick succession making a profit of nearly 50 million on each sale - basically the cost of 2 Prowlers I continued to sell more for a few hours and I ended up well ahead of where I planned to be.

All good things come to an end  and eventually, other traders caught on and the price dived. Having made the profit I needed I helped the price crash. It would be rude not to, So all in all a strange weekend, I got the right result I needed but it is hard to be smug because I couldn't have imagined I would have achieved it the way that I did. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Flotsam and Jetsam

It started as a light clean up of bits and pieces across the map. That was the idea anyway. I had splurged some ISK on some 'things' and my wallet was broadcasting for reps. It was time to top it up again by liquidating a few assets I have accumulated. You know, those really essential things I had to buy for a reason I cannot now remember. My Eve life seems to mirror my real life. I know exactly where everything is - or at least I do until Mrs Kong gets her mitts on them, but they aren't exactly in a reasonable place. "Where is the sun lotion?" "I left it in China darling" sort of thing. Now I have the Orca  it was time for it to earn its keep. In other words, scoop up my stuff and then flog it. 

Life in the Orca is slow compared with the other more nimbler things I fly. You get time to look at the scenery as you travel which is no bad thing. Eve is beautiful. You can have too much of a good thing though. Gawping at Caroline's Star for too long makes the tinfoil too strong to handle and  I convinced myself there is a letter-box in Caroline's Star now. No one else seems to share be delusion though so I guess I will have to live with my madness. Anyhow, here is a screenshot of my delusion:

Moving on... and then there are planets. They are also stunning, especially near a gate or a station but they tend to be the embarrassing relative we like to ignore in Eve. Apart from navigation, bombardment (yeah, quite), parking a POS (soon to be RIP) and planetary interaction (PI), you can safely ignore them. You can't hide behind them and there are no local effects for example. It's a bit of a shame in a way. And that is when I got diverted off plan. 

For reasons I thought were sensible at the time, I decided to move my PI colonies to a different location. I originally set them up ages ago and after a few months forgot about them. They were slightly profitable but the income was not sufficient to invest a lot of time in compared with some of the other things I was doing at the time. Now if and or when I set up a wormhole, PI would be a useful line as it is more profitable there and if organised properly should be a good passive income stream. Time to take PI seriously I decided. First problem. I had completely forgotten how to do it. After several youtubes and blogs later, I figured out how to open planet view. Progress Second problem. What to make. This is somewhat easier if you ever read Foo's Eve blog. He does the spreadsheets so you don't have to bless him. Third problem, choosing the right  planet with reasonable POCO tax is very time consuming. PI really is horrible So there went my weekend, and I have succeeded in scattering my worldly goods even further across New Eden. But at least I enjoyed the view and know where my new productive colonies are now residing. But that might not be entirely helpful.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Yay Orca

This is not my comfort zone. I am going to actually talk about a spaceship for once. So for balance:
“Nearly one-quarter of all orcas captured for display during the late sixties and early seventies showed signs of bullet wounds. Royal Canadian fighter pilots used to bomb orcas during practice runs, and in 1960, private fishing lodges on Vancouver Island persuaded the Canadian government to install a machine gun at Campbell River to cull the orca population.” ― David Kirby, Death at SeaWorld: Shamu and the Dark Side of Killer Whales in Captivity
It was something like this sentence I had in the back of my mind when way back god knows when I started training to be a Orca pilot. Basic training only takes 2 or 3 weeks. This by all accounts allows you to become a black and yellow pinata ripe for the beating by those Hisec bad boys and girls. Its an expensive pinata too. 700 million ISK expensive. So to narrow the odds I have done a whole load more training.  This allows me to fly the following fit for travelling:

[Orca, Travel]
Reinforced Bulkheads II
Damage Control II

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
500MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Improved Cloaking Device II
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]

Large Transverse Bulkhead II
Large Transverse Bulkhead II
Large Transverse Bulkhead II

This is basically Gevlon Goblin's hauler fit plus the addition of an Improved Cloaking Device II. The cloakiness is something I will need in the future and having that skill will allow the pilot to fly other things if required. If you discount the Gallente Target Management Skills and the Medium Drone Skills then I am at Mastery III and about 20 days away from Mastery IV. I am never sure that means much but the Shield Tanking and Navigation Skills are good.

Of course if I was solely intending on using the Orca as a hauler then there are probably better alternatives. Although for now that is precisely what it will be doing, in the future I am hoping it will have a more fruitful role in wormholes (hence the cloak). For the moment it will be doing the short  paper round collecting bits and pieces from my fulfilled orders around Hisec for example. I will avoid the interhub and low/nullsec runs and use either Prowlers or Tengus for that, or Redfrog for the bulky stuff.

Well I said I would avoid the inter trade hub runs... but first I had to get it out of Jita. Jita was of course being Jita. That was fun. Remember this was a new character so I hadn't set up the overview or anything. Being bombarded with achieved opportunities, windows all over the place, camera shudder, explosions and no insta warp was a tad distracting and possibly not the best idea I ever had. Once I had loaded SaraShawa while on the hoof and remembered to turn on the Adaptive Invulnerability Field and then remembered to pulse the Microwarp Drive, my heartbeat returned to clinically responsible levels. The Orca aligns and warps in around 10 seconds if you use the MWD trick - much better than the 50 seconds which seem an eternity without the MWD.

Anyway, I somehow managed to arrive at my destination without completely embarrassing myself so another step on the journey. Hopefully I can avoid the Royal Canadian Air Force as I travel in future.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

New Track: The Learning Cliff

Over the holiday break I had a bit of spare time so took the opportunity to make a new Eve related music track. I decided to make it a bit of an old school EDM number to reflect the age of the game. I borrowed a few Aura clips naturally. I called it the Learning Cliff so I guess in a way the music represents that journey. Anyway, it was good to be able to get the chance to make this. Time is such a short commodity right now. If you have the time you can give it a listen if you want :-)

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Year of Taking it Seriously

This is probably my last substantial post for this year. It gets stupid busy at Kong Towers over the festive period and I will be going on vacation straight after. So I will wish you all a pre-emptive "Happy New Year". May you reach your goals, or at least have fun trying to attain them.

I suppose that makes this an appropriate time to reflect on the year. If there was a way of generically characterising this year, it would be the year I took Eve  a little more seriously. While I still play on the margins of the game, I have made the effort to get involved in it and understand it a bit more. Before, I did a little bit of trading because that was the only thing I had success at. This year I took a stab at exploration. I learnt to fly Astero's, Interceptors, Covops, Orca and now the Stratios. This along with the cloaky Prowlers and Tengus mean there aren't many places if any in New Eden where I can't travel with a reasonable expectation of success. This is a pretty liberating feeling in itself.

I also learnt that I am not suited to being in a Corp. This despite joining the nicest Corp in Eve - Signal Cartel. The hierarchical design of Corps/Alliances in Eve just doesn't work for me. I prefer to collaborate rather than be led. Fortunately, the Eve community (yes, I can confirm there is one) is broader than the game and it has been an unexpected pleasure to get to know so many people this year and this has filled the void that is in the game. I wonder just how many people play Eve without ever communicating with anyone. That was essentially me before this year.

Of course it wouldn't be Eve if there weren't any frustrations. Eve has been going through a big transition and we have not reached the end yet. Often there have been proposed changes that have would have had a pretty horrendous impact on what I was seeking to do. Some of these have been subsequently reversed or at least put on hold. But it is clear that making long term plans is a bad idea right now so I am going with short term objectives instead and I have put my more hair brained schemes on ice until we see how citadels play out. I also stopped dual training once the future ability to pay for SP was announced. While I intensely loath the idea and I am completely unpersuaded by the reasoning behind this change, I would be mad not to take advantage of it if that possibility exists.

Looking forward, CCP have still not given us any real insight into what is happening in Q2 next year. So either nothing is happening and a lot of developers are twiddling their thumbs or something big is coming along. Something they don't want to share with the CSM it seems and you do have to wonder what future that institution has next year. I wrote about that some time ago and current events only reinforce my view on that. 

What will CCP be doing next year? It is not unreasonable to suspect their focus will be Valkyrie, but I expect they will be looking to capitalise on the publicity and attempt to attract more players to Eve. It is (almost) baseless speculation on my part but I would expect Eve will be moving to the Free to Play Model. Those with subscriptions would become the Pay to Advance/Pay to Win whales. CCP clearly has to do something to extend the playerbase and free to play is a proven model. The PVE events and SP changes seem to hint at that this could be the direction of travel. They are certainly not inconsistent if CCP chooses this path . The marginalisation of the CSM by some members of CCP, seemingly with senior support (they haven't spoken up in support of the CSM's role since before Eve Vegas ad they are the one's paying the bills) would seem a tactical choice to manage the introduction of something potentially controversial change. The perceived lack of trust is a convenient back story. Just to be clear, this is certainly fanciful thinking on my part but the Q2 silence is beguiling.

Anyway, I have had a great time this year and looking forward to what next year brings be it good or bad. Have a good holiday folks and if I don't get the chance to write again, I will see you in the New Year.  Fly Safe o7

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Bits of This and That

Just grabbing a couple of minutes. The Christmas tree is now installed and Kong family members have been ordered to try an not make it look like a triffid this year. We shall see.

In Eve, I took a bit of a right turn. Then a left. Now I am turning right again. I had a minor flirtation with embracing PvP as I described on Crossing Zebra's. The whole experience made me think about what I wanted to do and the ISK I would need to do it. So I was looking at some ships to trade since I just sold a Dramiel I noticed a couple of cheap Stratios hulls nearby so I bought them. It was then I realised I was only a day away from being able to fly them in skill terms so this weekend I took the decision to train for them. I'll give it a go, but whether the Stratios will take over from the Astero or the Explorocepter as my go to ship will have to be considered. It is nice to have the decision though.

On that point, we have the new Frostbite release. Ive not tried the PVE stuff. It is not really my thing for reasons I may drone on and on about in the future (think Free to Play). However, the release still has plenty on things for me to digest. Exploration sites are better balanced so Data Sites will be worth the effort hopefully. The probe scanner window is iterating in the right direction but the probe spheres still  burn my retinas as they did on SISI.

The other big thing is the change to grid size. I have spent some time checking and changing instawarp bookmarks in various places over the weekend. That has allowed me to enjoy the graphical changes. Eve is looking so beautiful right now. Doing that made me a feel little nostalgic about Caroline's Star.

Caroline's Star one year one

Anyway, got to dash, The Christmas tree has just attacked someone.

Friday, 4 December 2015

Testing of Solace

For those of you using the new launcher, you may have noticed a new server on the list of test servers - Solace. Solace is or will be a major hardware upgrade for Eve Online. If you want any proof that Eve isn't being left to wither on the vine then look no further than this investment CCP is making. 

Full details, and only CCP would provide such details to its player base can be found here and here. Anyway, tonight (Friday) CCP announced a mass test of the hardware that is currently located in Iceland. As I write there are 900+ logged on the server and for good reason. It isn't like a normal mass test. You don't even have to have a live subbed account to take part. So what is the big deal.

When you log on, take a look at your character. The first thing you will notice are your skill points.

Yes they are maxed out. Every skill is trained to level V. There is nothing you cannot fly. Suddenly I feel a little underdressed in my little Astero. Fortunately, there is a dev hack that allows you to teleport to a few key systems in New Eden which was just as well because I was mired in a wormhole. One click of the link and I find myself outside Jita 4-4. But not the Jita 4-4 we all know and love. More like a post apocalyptic version of Jita. A Jita that looked like this:

Yes that is a lot of dead Titans. It was carnage. There was only one thing to do. Buy myself a Titan and join in. In Solace world, an Avatar costs 999999 ISK. The festival launchers, snowballs and fireworks cost more than the ship. I like this world.

So shipped and armed, I set forth:

It was a blast although the size of the ships made the snowballs and fireworks look inconsequential with doomsdays blasting right, left and centre. Bigger fireworks and snowballs needed CCP. I travelled back to Thera after a bit before finally being melted back in Jita. 

So I have flown a Titan. But the truth is it is slow and ponderous. If you added TIDI onto the mix it would be a frustrating experience. Flying a Titan was an ambition of sorts but I actually prefer the Astero. At least I now know and I enjoyed the experience of being a kid in a candy store. 

I understand CCP will be running another test like this when they move the hardware to London. For more details see this dev post

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

CCP Twitch

Just a quick one today. If you are stuck for something to do you could do worse than watching the CCP Twitch stream. CCP have been producing a daily show which is has covered a refreshingly diverse range of subjects.

My favourite so far has been the Happy Little Spaceships with CCP Jorg where he designs a spaceship on the fly and shows some concept art.

More surreal is the Does it FAT? #baking Starcakes with CCP Falcon and CCP Logibro #cake. What can I say. Watch it and learn about the pitfalls of making puff pastry.

For a full list of what has been aired so far, look here. I think CCP have been doing this as a trial to see whether there is sufficient interest. I hope it takes off and something more permanent happens in the future.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Dull Housekeeping Yawn Post

If there is one thing worse than a blogger talking about blogging, it is a blogger talking about the techy side of blogging. Unfortunately, this is about both. I promise not to do it again. I just want to establish a few basic principles in the light of the odd noises floating around the Everati.  Feel free to make your excuses and walk off at this point. If you are still here, take a deep breath, hold your nose and let's get it this out of the way.

Firstly some house keeping.

1) Domain Name

Has changed. Apparently, people read my scribbles on occasion. Prompted by Jason Quixos, I thought out to at least try and have the appearance of being  professional and have formalised the domain name to The old link still works for you luddites but it was a always bit of a mouthful.

2) Boring Techy Bit: 

The site is fully IPv6 for those that do that thing (Welcome Azerbaijan!) . My ISP does it natively so I know it works. 

Also the site now has a partial SSL certificate provided by CloudFlare. You can't have an "HTTPS" address with a custom domain in Blogger so this is the best I can provide given that it is free. Essentially, traffic is encrypted between your browser and the CloudFlare server. From the CloudFlare to Google it is treated as normal HTTP. So if your ISP or public WIFI connection is being 'monitored' you have a degree of protection that you wouldn't normally have. Not perfect but better than nothing. We will see how it goes. 

Now onto some basic principles:

3) Purpose of Blog.

Hasn't changed. It remains simple really. I am a solo player. I rarely get to talk to people in game and the outside world thinks I am deranged when I attempt to explain Eve. This is just a place I can vent about the highs and lows of my journey in Eve. Feel free to join in the conversation. 

In principle, I like to avoid calling out specific individuals or groups. I will always give mentions to those who have done something impressive like Katia Sae. And what an achievement that was!

I also try to avoid discussing areas of the game where there is no personal impact. Balancing Capital ships for example. There will always be exceptions I guess but these are my starting points. In terms of in game politics, the only view I hold is mine and that tends to be anti establishment. However, I am not aligned to anyone and I am not against anyone. Solo players get shot at by everyone afterall. If that changes I will be very clear about it.

4) Declaration of Interest: 

Tinfoil is the raw material of Eve debate. So here are my skeletons: 
  • This blog is a registered Eve Online Fansite. I get a media account as a perk. However, I have subbed an additional account on that basis, I think it is important  that I am not totally beholden to CCP and can speak as an active paying customer.
  • I occasionally contribute articles to Crossing Zebras. My arrangement with them is that I receive no ISK or any other remuneration for anything they may choose to publish. 
  • I occasionally donate ISK to in game groups who contribute to the Eve community

5) Monetization

I don't do it. It is a game, not a job. I also don't want to be obliged to write about 'popular' topics just to drive up income (or indeed be forced to play in a certain way to be able to write about some unfortunate Titan) . Sometimes I just want to write about subjects that interest me - such as Eve in China or making music etc, rather than something that is clicktastic. 

There will be no advertising here and I won't be selling any books. The same applies to the noises I put on SoundCloud (which can be downloaded freely) and Youtube. So just to be clear, any 'creative' work I have ever done for any other group has been for free and because I regard them as decent guys who contribute to the Eve community. This is not to judge those who do monetize. So long as it is within CCP's T&C's it is fine by me. But it is not the way I choose to roll.

Ok. Glad that is done with. Anyone know of a decent unoccupied C2 wormhole?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

In Other News

Eve. You know? The game? Yeah, I actually played some. Space ships and stuff. To recap, I have been looking for a wormhole for some time and sorting out my characters to support the operation. I thought I had found a wormhole that looked promising. It was C2 with a lowsec static, one abandoned POS and abandoned POCO's. Traffic was low and the last kill had been early in the month. My main had been parked there for ages. I am not sure why I was holding back but I had a gut feeling. 

It was more procrastinaion than a desire to do any research but I took another look at the killboard to try and counter the negative vibe I was getting. Looking back a number of years, I suddenly noticed a name that had cropped up three times. The odds of a player finding the same wormhole over a 5 year period and killing someone seemed a bit long. The player's most recent kill was for a different corp in nullsec so they were unlikely to be an ongoing threat. I was in full detective mode by now however. I decided to look up the corp the player had been a member of when they had been killing people in the wormhole. That was illuminating. It was only a small corp but one of the current members had killed someone quite recently and there had been a whole chain of kills by the corp for the hole I was in over many years. My conclusion was this was wormhole was contnuously parked with a hunter from a single player corp. 

Presumably he/she switched the alts when they were sufficiently trained and only played the wormhole character when not doing something else. Either way, I was not alone. A hunter had been in that wormhole for years and was still acive. I was in the pixel space equivilent of a lobster pot. Now knowing you are in a trap can be used to your advantage. But it is not as if things aren't complicated enough already. So I resisted the opportunity destroy my non PVP credibility by hunting the hunter. My search for a wormhole goes on. What I will say is this exactly why I enjoy travelling in wormholes. There is a history and a mystery to them all. The cost of finding that out can at times be expensive. 

I also had another quick stint on the SISI server last night. The probe map has changed again. The probe spheres are now a lot brighter. Not sure why that has changed as I didn't think that as a problem before. They definately give your retinas a sun tan now.

And in other, other news, my Eve Online laptop bag finally arrived! If you have been following, I bought it from Tiancity, CCP's partner for the Chinese instance of Eve Online. A combination of friends and relatives and relatives of friends have acted as couriers. The bag cost about 35 pounds but it is not cheap and nasty looking which was a primary worry. It is well made and nicely detailed with Eve logos both on the outside and on the lining inside. It is also a limited edition. Number 120 of 800 (I think). Why CCP can't do anything like this in the west is still beyond me. I know they are setting something up in the US but the goods on display and EveVegas looked pricey and a bit over-thought. An Eve selfie stick would work for me. And anyway, shipping costs from the US will probably make the proposition a bit too expensive for us yokels living in the uncivilised world

Monday, 16 November 2015

Progress. Slow Progress. But Definitely Progress

Slowly but surely my demented plans are coming together. For now, Luobote is leading a sedentary life in a C2 wormhole. I have been looking for a base for operations for some time. The perfect wormhole doesn't exist. It is always compromise between accessibility and previous history. The killboard for this hole suggests the last time someone exploded was last month. It only has one static to lowsec so the traffic should mostly be light. I have been sitting and watching to get a feel of the place. 

There are signs of previous occupation. An offline POS run by one solo corp and POCO's set up by another. Both corps appear defunct. In fact, the POS corp's demise looks a bit like a rage quit. His/her fully laden hauler and webbing alt both got taken out over a year ago and they never retuned. The POCO Corp on doesn't look active at all. I will need to form a view about what to do about them. I don't do PVP but then again I have put a few NPC's to the sword. I have always thought of abandoned assets as space litter and players who have left the game as effectively NPC's. Bad for the environment and it would be rude not to do something about it. It is where I differ from Signal Cartel's Credo. But on the other hand, bashing the offending structures will be a pain to organise and will mess up my virginal killboard. So for now I wait and may offer to purchase in the unlikely event they are still playing but somehow mislaid their wormhole and now just want to get rid. The wormhole does seem to have potential at least.

Training for my other alts is coming together. It been a long drag but my Orca pilot can now fly an Orca. That is half the battle. The other half is to be able to tank it so I can haul in Hisec and more importantly for my purposes, train the things to make it a useful aid in Wormholes. I am only days away from achieving the Hisec side of the equation so that will be the next major milestone. Hurrah. The other Alt I am training is learning to fly a cloaky nullified Tengu. It can already fly a Prowler but bubbles are a thing in WH Space so it adds a bit more security and gives options for tackling the harder PVE sites in the future. Currently it is working through the Level V's needed for the subsystems. What I train next will largely depend on the POCO/POS conundrum. I am thinking Oracle but I am open to suggestions. My final alt is my main hauler and trader I spoke about in my last post. As always she just gets down to task in hand. All in all it is all looking rather positive.

Quite when this will all finally come together I am not sure. It is like cooking a complex meal. So many dishes to coordinate and make ready at the same time. Bad analogy. I am a terrible cook.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Spiced Wine and Long Limbed Roes

The shocking weekend news put a dampener on things. My thoughts go out to you guys. 24 hour news channels speak a lot but tell you little. I decided to seek comfort by tidying up some Eve odds and ends. 

My second and ultimately successful attempt to make Eve work was when I gave up on my main. Luobote has had a troubled life. Up until recently he was a jack of all trades and master of none. He was an ISK disaster zone. A man with weapon skills but has never harmed anything other than bothering asteroids and low level NPC's. So I abandoned him as a difficult child and went to work on my alt. She is a much more focussed individual. ISK first and fun later. For most of my time in Eve I have concentrated on her journey to the extent that she has more SP than Luobote.

There have been some missteps along the way and today was the day to cover up some of the evidence scattered across the universe. Early in her Eve career she took a fancy to hauling NPC goods between NPC stations. It was easy but dull ISK and done in a Mammoth. It was all good formative stuff that came to an end once I could fly Blockade Runners and station trade. I still have the Mammoth although it is now more set up as a battle Mammoth to give gankers something to digest. Never had the need to use it though but maybe one day.. But the trail of debris left about New Eden had to be cleared up sometime. 

This is where the Spiced Wine and Long-Limbed Roes come in. These were my main hauling items. 
If you check on Eve Central you can buy Spiced Wine for 1,452 and sell it for 1,708. Multiply it up and it becomes a useful figure but it takes time. Ideally, you need a Jump Freighter to make serious ISK but you might also want a life. Anyway, I had pile of the stuff all over the place. These were the result of purchases that were either too large, or at a dodgy Low Sec station. Low Sec doesn't intimidate me the way it did then so I spent about 2 hours hoovering it all up and selling again without incident. I have some closure on that part of my Eve life now but it is good to know the old ISK making ways are still around if the need arose. And it was comforting.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Window Control + Buzzard Divorce

I confess defeat. I have been trying to learn to love the Buzzard. For the last month or so I have been using it trying to make the relationship work as I wander about New Eden. But yesterday I snapped out of denial and jumped back into an Astero. Reasons? Primarily, I couldn't get a fit that didn't involve off lining something. I am no theory crafter so maybe I was missing something. But If you don't have confidence in what you are flying then you aren't likely to use it to best advantage when you are facing a challenge. And yesterdays challenge was Parallax. Actually it was more than that. It was how I fundamentally interact with Eve.

A few posts ago I talked about the new launcher. I still think it is a great change, addition even, to the game. The downside was I somehow messed up all my settings (Overview, mod buttons, window placement etc). I haven't managed to fully restore everything in a way I was comfortable with. I am not particularly OCD about these things but some semblance of order is helpful when you need to react quickly in tight situations. So it needed to be resolved. And then there is the Parallax release.

On first looks, the Parallax release doesn't offer much to the way I play. But the new Probe Scanning interface is huge for me. The addition of assigning a hot key to DSCAN is also massive. DScan is the dead man's handle in wormholes. Fail to click it and can quickly find yourself becoming the victim of someone who did click it. Problem is, you can only click one thing at a time. It becomes a tough choice if you are in the middle of a hacking mini game. Not a problem now.

Probe Scanning has had a difficult transition with the 3D Map. While it hasn't been a case of going back to the drawing board, it has undergone a number of iterations since its first unusable incarnation. It now has a dedicated map window and the UI has been refreshed. Anyway, the plan was to head off to Thera and adjust my environment as I travelled.

So I undock and use the ingame browser to call up EveScout. Except I couldn't because I had lost my bookmarks. So I spent 30 mins putting putting new bookmarks back for things like Tripwire. The future of the in game browser is limited I understand. CCP hate maintaining it and there is always a security risk with it being ingame. It is understandable but it is had to imagine life without it on my laptop. Anyway, minimising the browser became a problem for me because I keep it as a bar at the top of the screen. But this now overlays where the scanning probe map automatically minimises to. Not a big deal, but it further limits my view of Space.

Anyway, such procrastination resulted in me entering the wrong wormhole. The Thera link had expired and I ended up in a C2. Going onto full paranoid alert when your screen is a mess is not good for your heart. Once I got a tactical safe I began scanning in earnest. My scanning skills were recently maxed to level V so finding things doesn't take long. The new scanning map takes some getting used to. I am sure this is due to the familiarity I had with the old system. If I put that to one side I think I will like the new interface over time. It is certainly responsive and you can filter out things that used to get in the way. There is probably another iteration needed  - the wormhole markers seem very dark for example, but it is really usable with the DAcan representation being a nice touch. It will help new players understand what DScan is actually doing (or not doing).

After scanning down the system, I found two juicy looking Relic sites. However, Tripwire indicated a some Russian on Russian action had happened ten minutes before I had entered the system. Paranoia kicked in and I assumed the victor had seen me enter and the sites were still being watched. So I left it at that. I will concentrate on the rest of the window arrangement in a quieter location. I need to train my fingers to hit DScan while doing the mini-game at the same time too.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Launch Control

It has been really hard  get some quality Eve time recently. It has not been for the want of trying but Mrs Kong has plans (for plans read directives). Some of these plans appear to involve strange things called vacations. The primary purpose of these things seem to require separation from the laptop, travelling somewhere, and then to photograph the random destination from every possible angle and orifice. Once you have done that you can return home again. Strange indeed. Anyway, now the objective has been successfully completed and the world is now presumably a better place, I can now be reunited with my laptop. What to do?

First task was an important one. Attach a Signal Cartel sticker to the laptop. It was a bit trickier than I imagined, you need Level V Fingernails,  but the laptop now looks glorious (in my eyes at least - thanks Mynxee!).

Next task was to log onto Eve. What is normally routine exercise turned into my own pixel vacation. I chose to install the new Eve Launcher that is currently in beta. What it didn't seem to do is import my current settings but it did give the impression that it should. Maybe that was due to the particular build or just my error I don't know. In a way it was good that it didn't because it made me experiment. Overview settings aren't a big deal for me as I use the SaraShawa Overview Pack with only a couple of tweaks. So the focus was on window arrangement and graphics settings.

This is important because what you can do is launch more that one account immediately and attach different profiles to the accounts. So four hauling I might want low graphics, while for exploring I might want higher graphics. Running two or more accounts, you might want to optimise for performance. All this is possible and it works really well.

But there is more. If you want to log onto the test server Singularity (SISI) (there is a mass test for brain in the box tonight by the way) it is just a click on the drop-down box You are presented with the same options as you would get with Tranquillity. Simples. I hadn't logged onto SISI before so I gave it a try. There was about 120 other players on at the time. I didn't see one of them. Hek was deserted. Now I have a lot of fondness for Hek and seeing it empty like that was a tad weird. But SISI will be a great place to experiment in future so I won't be a stranger there. 

So I have only used the beta launcher briefly but it seems stable and is definitely intuitive. I am a huge fan. I would hate to return to the old one.  Take the journey, try it!