Monday, April 29, 2013

Eve Online: T2 Fleet

As you probably know if you've been reading my blogs, our alliance has been talking about moving to null sec in a month or so. There are a lot of political changes taking place in Null sec right so we're waiting for the dust to settle before we set up to rent a system from someone, plus we want to give our corp members time to prepare for the move. There are two primary corps in our alliance but we might as well be one corporation the way we all work together on a daily basis. Technically there is a 3rd corporation in our alliance, but they live on the other side of the planet and we don't talk with them much.

Right now almost everyone is making sure they have either a T2 Frigate or T2 Cruiser to be able to fleet up with in case of emergencies or random Low/Null sec roams. Right now the only T2 frigates I can fly are the Stealth Bomber, Covert Ops Scanning Ship, and the Electronic Warfare ship. I can fit my stealth bomber the way I need to, but I am need about another week to make those skills more developed to be efficient. After I have my stealth bomber sufficiently effective I'll be moving on to a T2 cruiser. I've got about 30 days of training to sit in either a T2 Logistics, T2 Recon, or T3 Strategic Cruiser. I know that flying a strategic cruiser is just awesome, but I'd probably have to add an additional month of training to not lose a ridiculous amount of ISK buying the ship, fitting it, and then find out I can't fly it well and get popped.

That leaves me with either a T2 Logi , T2 Force Recon or the T2 Combat Recon ship. I'm not overly concerned with being a "fighter" per se and dealing lots of DPS, I actually enjoy helping out the fleet more, but I do want to be able to hold my own if necessary. If I only focus on the short team, I think I'd choose the T2 Logi, which is in line for my long term goal of flying a T2 command ship which is about 90 days away from me.  If I train for the T2 logi, then the 30 days spent will also be taken out of the 90 days I need for the command ship, bringing it down to about 60 days leftover.

This is a huge commitment though since it's going to pretty much decide my future in Eve Online for a very long time. My alt is currently training up to fly a Freighter and eventually a Jump Freighter, so luckily I have that path already figured out and I'm comfortable with it. Choosing to NOT be a combat pilot and to be a support pilot on my main character seems like a much bigger decision. In the event that people are not around I won't be as effective by myself.

If we do end up moving out to Null Sec, I'd like to be able to go ratting on the belts by myself to make some ISK. My alt is also a miner so I can always make ISK that way, but it's not as fun. I've still got another week before I set my training queue so maybe something will transpire over the course of the next few days that helps make this choice more clear.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Eve Online: Creating Alts

A few weeks ago when we were living in the wormhole I realized that there are lots of time when people are just sitting around looking for something to do. If you have Ladar sites people are harvesting gas, people are killing sleepers, people are mining the grav sites, etc. My primary character could barely fly a venture to do mining, but in my downtime when we weren't doing anything else I decided I'd rather mine a little ore than do absolutely nothing at all. 

The problem was I didn't want to stop training for stealth bombers and future plans to take a few weeks to be able to fly mining barges. So I decided to create a new character with their primary purpose being to be a miner and hauler. Both of these are things that I want, but I don't want to take the time out of my primary characters training queue to accomplish them. 

Mining (in my opinion) is pretty boring, but there are definitely times that I'm just hanging out chatting with my corp mates on team speak and we're not really doing much, and it's the perfect brainless activity to kill time. Plus we have 5-6 miners in our corp that fly Exhumers and Orca's so I find that mining can be pretty profitable if done right. Right now I'm only flying a Mining Barge but it's LIGHT YEARS better than a Venture. On average with my Retriever I  make $450,000 ISK for one cycle of the strip miners, and that's with high sec ore. Low sec, null sec, and wormhole ore are much more profitable than that. 

There are rumors that we may attempt to move out to Null Sec in the upcoming months by paying rent in a system. If that is true, we'll need some steady income from many different sources to survive out there. I personally don't think we should attempt to move into Null Sec for at least another month or two, we have too many noobs (including me) that need time to tighten up their skills or we'll just get stomped on our there. 

The point of this article was initially to talk about why you may create an alt and the type of alt you should create, so I'll see if I can get back on track now that I've rambled a while. 

If you can afford to plex an alt account, I do recommend it. It's much better to have two specialized characters than one character that can do a bunch of things, but only decently. When trying to decide what type of alt to create, stay away from making the exact same type of character. There are fighters, miners, haulers, refiners, manufacturers, inventors, traders, and explorers, logistic pilots, plus lots more careers out there. Try to choose an alt that will compliment your style of play on your primary. My primary is a Fighter/Logi support, and my alt is a Miner/Hauler (he'll probably learn how to refine too). 

If after a few months or even years you decide that you don't want to pay for two characters anymore you can always sell them on the Character Bazaar to someone else. I've heard the average value is about 400 million ISK for every 1 million skill points. So if you sell a character with 8 million SP, you can make yourself  about 3 billion in ISK "IF" you focused your character properly and didn't train skills all over the place. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Eve Online: Damn you low sec mission agent

So all of the veterans out there are going to probably laugh because they're either smarter than me, or they've made the same mistake. I'll share my stupid mistake in the hopes that I can stop at least one pilot from making the same mistake.

Currently I'm working on mission running trying to earn some extra ISK, LP, and standings with an NPC corporation so that I can better level missions and in turn make more ISK, LP, and standings. Declining a mission once (an no more than once every 4 hours for a specific agent) doesn't hurt your standings at all. If you decline more than 1 mission for an agent within a 4 hour time frame then you piss off the agent and lose standings.

Yesterday I was running level 3 missions in my Brutix, doing just fine not needing any support, and the next mission offered to me tells me that it will lead me to low sec to complete the mission. I paused, started thinking to myself that I probably shouldn't take the mission because someone is probably camping the gate waiting for stupid people to accept these missions so they can pop them on the other side. (Side Note: I go to low sec and null sec all the time when the need arises, but since leaving the wormhole I do live in High Sec again for now)

I decide that I'm feeling frisky and to risk going into low sec to complete the mission. The rewards were about 1 million ISK and 1800 LP I think. I read the stats of the mission online and one of the NPC's are known to drop 1 faction mod about 50% of the time. Faction mods can sell for anywhere between 5 million ISK to hundreds of millions of ISK, but on average people have been reporting about 20-30 million ISK faction mod drops. I figured with all the other loot, plus the hopefully dropped faction mod, it was worth the risk. I fly my Brutix over the low sec entrance and immediately on the other side are two Tech 3 cruisers just chilling waiting for me. A Loki and a Proteus. I know before I ever uncloak that I'm dead and there isn't much I can do about it but either get lucky and jump away or MAYBE take one of them with me.

Sure enough they insta-lock me, web me, and warp scram me. I'm a sitting duck. I launch my T2 Drones and focus fire all my DPS on the Loki. I've got an omni-tank and two medium repair II reppers, totally fit for PvE not PvP. They light me up like a Christmas tree, but I did manage to get the Loki down to about 30% armor before getting popped. They insta-lock my pod and I wake up back in a station. I think I could have taken the Loki or at least forced him to warp away (I didn't have any tackling gear on me), if there hadn't been two of them, but alas I lost about 140 million with my Brutix and my about 90 million with my pod.

I'm not bothered by the loss of ISK, ship, or implants. I am bothered that I still have an "Accepted" mission to fulfill. My options are;

1. Do the exact same thing again and expect different results (definition of insane)
2. See if any of my corp mates will join me to gate crash the Loki and Proteus
3. Wait until non-peak hours and try again when the gate won't likely be camped.
4. Have someone scout ahead in a fast ship to make sure that I don't get jumped again.
5. Fail the mission and take the standing hit

I'm not a big fan of giving up, so #5 is out of the question for now. None of my corp mates are up fleeting up and trying to take them down (lame), so # 2 is out. I'm not going to throw away another ship so #1 is out. I decide to wait until non peak hours and try again. This morning I woke up, logged on and let everyone know that I'm going to try again. The CEO offers to fly scout and cloak for me so that I can see if I'll be ganked on the other side. Definitely a big help knowing that I won't be ganked.

I jump in, blitz the mission, and get out with all my parts intact, no sign of any pirates the whole time.

Lesson of the story??? Don't take the Low Sec missions unless you're ready and able to handle yourself at PvP, if you do take the mission, get yourself a scout at the bare minimum, but fleet up if you can (it's more fun).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Eve Online: Time to leave the WH

If you've been following my blog at all, you'll know that I've been gaming for about 2 months now. About a month ago, our corp moved into a C4 wormhole to try and make some of this legendary ISK that they hold. Either we're really stupid or it's a little more complicated than "Move to wormhole, set up POS, do some planetary interaction, kill sleepers, and mine"

Some lessons we've learned from living in the wormhole:

1. Wormhole Class- If your corp contains a large number of noobs (like me), and you are set on going into a wormhole, stick to the C1-C3 variety and only the ones that have an exit to known space. It doesn't matter if it's a high sec, low sec, or null sec static exit, just make sure you have one. We lived in a C4 with a static C4. The problem we commonly faced was 3-4 hours of scanning to find our way out of our wormhole. Our C4 would link to a  C4, which may link to a C5, then a C4, then a C3, then a C1, then an exit to known space. THIS IS A SERIOUS PAIN IN THE ASS FOR MANY REASONS. Sure, we mined lots of ore, killed lots of sleepers, etc ,but if we wanted the ISK from those gains, we had to load up some ships, go to high sec and sell our stuff, and then hope we didn't get attacked along the way in other people's wormholes, or have a wormhole collapse on accident and not be able to make it back to the wormhole for days. 

2. Mining- Not sure what is truth or myth about how frequently sites respawn, so I'll just describe our own experience. LOTS of money can be made mining "when" there is a Grav site to mine from. We initially were told to not completely mine the site so that it would respawn, but then it disappeared anyways. Then we decided to mine it all the way down, and it's been over a week and no new grav site. All the miners in the corp were initially drooling from the rare ore and the vast amounts of it, are now they are bored out of their skulls watching paint dry in the wormhole with nothing to mine.

3. Sleeper sites- These vary in difficultly, but I learned you can look up the type of site online by googling the site name such as "Frontier Command Post" and they will tell you what types of ships to expect, how many, how much DPS to expect, and recommended fleet size to be effective. General rule of thumb, sleepers can drop extremely valuable loot, and nano-ribbons from salvage are very valuable. Just expect to take lots of damage, expect to get warp scrammed and webbed, neutted, and generally get pounded hard to earn this ISK. C1-C3 sites can be solo'd much easier than the C4-C6 sites. 

4. Collapsing wormholes- Either on purpose or on their own, wormholes collapse. Each type of wormhole has a set time and mass until it collapses. You can't change how quickly the clock counts down, but you can collapse a wormhole by putting too much mass through it. Know the mass limit, what the warning messages are for how much more mass it can take, and accept that if you are purposely collapsing a wormhole there is a 50/50 chance you'll get stuck on the wrong side when it collapses. When that does happen you can either scan your way out or self destruct (not recommended if you have a bunch of implants or if your ship is worth a lot of ISK.

5. Death- You will die. Accept it now and plan for it. Bring spare ships and for heaven's sake don't bring all your faction mods into the wormhole, if you do, kiss them goodbye. You will lose ships, accept it now and you won't be as upset when it happens. 

6. Stealth- If you can't use a cloaking device, don't move into a wormhole until you can. Even a prototype cloaking device is fine, but if you can't hide, you're dead. 

7. Scanner Probes- If you aren't any good at scanning, don't move into the wormhole until you are. I like to use the Sisters of Eve Expanded Probe launcher and sisters of eve probes. They add a little more bonuses to your scanning efforts. Once you've launched your probes, turn on your cloaking device and scan while you're cloaked. If you forget to cloak, you're probably going to get popped. 

8. Trust- Although you need to have some level of trust with your corp mates, overall you shouldn't trust anyone. Unless you know them in real life and have the ability to knock on their door for stealing a few billion  in loot from your hangar, and even then, I probably wouldn't trust them. 

9. Belongings- First off, don't bring what you can't afford to lose to the wormhole, because you probably will lose it. Second, bring enough that you don't have to run back to high sec every time your ship gets blown up. Have a few extra ships on hand, but not so many that you would be broke if the POS got blown up. Leave the Navy issue ships out of the wormhole and all your faction mods out of the wormhole too. 

10. NBSI - NOT BLUE SHOOT IT. Period. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eve Online: Online Resources Part 1

As I’m sure you've figured out by now there are lots of sites out there all about Eve. I thought I'd take a moment to compile a list of some of the sites I've been using lately as they have been great sources of information. There are hundreds of sites out there but here are the most visited by myself. I'm labeling this blog Part 1, as I expect that I'll be adding another blog or editing this one in the future to include more sites that I've come to commonly visit.

At this point, I'm not even sure how many people are reading my ramblings, but I don't mind. I still enjoy writing them.

You should already know about this site, but for the sake of forgetting the obvious I figured I'd add it. This is where you can download the game to play :)

This is a corporation inside Eve Online that has taken the time to put together A LOT of information regarding the game. You can visit the site and just read the materials, or they do have a corporation you can join if you're interested.

There are many blogs out there with varying opinions of the Eve universe, but I've taken the time to read all of this blog and have found lots of interesting and useful bits of information regarding conduct and expectations in Eve. A lot of good stories and summaries of events that he and his group participate in.

If you're going to be doing Planetary Interaction, this site is a must. You can search for any system in the Eve universe and find out what kind of planets are in that system and what resources can be made from the system.

Take the time to set up an account with the Battle Clinic. If you want to find good information about players, kill reports, corporations, this is a good place to see some valuable intel.

Ok, this might seem too obvious, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyways. There are thousands of "how to" videos as well as "check out this awesome battle" footage. Don't forget to check You Tube if you need to try and figure out how to do something (had to do this to learn how to use scanner probes properly)

There are many more out there, and I'm not going to go through and list them all (I do have to do real life stuff at some point) but the point is that you should take the time visit lots of Eve sites, take in people's personal experience and use it. It's like listening to your grandfather tell stories from his life. He has lots of useful information and lots of crazy stories and trying to figure out which is which can be difficult and fun

Eve Online : Deciding what skills to focus on

With so many paths to choose from and so many ways to enjoy Eve Online, one of the biggest challenges is deciding what skills to spend the time training. I've covered before and stick by that training the CORE skills is still a good idea, because the benefits they provide will help you with whatever path you choose. To figure out what the CORE skills are, open your player toon and then click on Certificates. The Core Certificates are integral to all paths (with maybe the exception of someone that only does business trading) so you can't choose wrong there.

Aside from Core skills, there are so many paths available to you to choose from as I'm sure you know by now. There is no way to get all the skills faster with the exception of adding implants to reduce your training time. I highly recommend you find or earn the ISK to buy basic implants because over time the time you save will add up. My one point of advice that I would like to ensure that you get out of this article if nothing else is to pick a goal and to try and stick to it for a bit. If you want to be a miner, focus on mining skills. If you want to earn ISK through planetary interaction, focus on PI skills. If you want to run Logistics in a fleet, stick to it. Picking to earn one mining skill here, another PI skill there, and maybe a remote repper skill here, will make you horrible at all three and not very good at anything. The same applies for what type of ship you should be flying.

Initially I trained up Frigates to level 3, then went to destroyers level 3, then cruisers level 3, then battle-cruisers level 3. Looking back on this decision I wish I would have gotten good at one thing first before I spread myself all over the place. Granted it's nice that I can fly a battle-cruiser when I need to and a Frigate when I need to, but I can only fly each of them decently, and not great. It doesn't take very long to train these skills up to level 3 (typically less than a day for each skill to level 3), but those are precious days in the beginning. Since then I have decided that I want to be a stealth bomber pilot. The reason I chose stealth bombers is because it's at the frigate level plus the skills that I gain to fly (and fit properly) the Tech 2 advanced frigates will carry over in the future to cruisers, battle-cruisers, etc.

Being able to fit a ship well is way more important than just flying the more expensive ships. Granted I could spend 3 days and be sitting in a battleship, but I wouldn't be able to properly fit and fly it for months, which would result in me losing lots of battleships, all of which cost much more than frigates. Losing a stealth bomber will cost about 30 million for the ship, and probably another 10-15 million for the fittings. Losing a battleship costs about 80-180 million for the ship, plus another 30-50 million for the proper fittings. I'd rather make a 40 million ISK mistake than a 200 million ISK mistake.

People are commonly in a rush to get into a battleship, but then find that they don't have the skills to put whatever they want onto it and the result is having to put lots of CPU, Power grid, or capacitor modules to be able to fit it or stay cap stable, which means they weren't able to fit the proper armor, weapons, or shield to help keep the ship alive when the DPS starts coming. If they had taken the time to get their core skills up, then they would have been able to have a little more CPU, PG, and Cap to play with, resulting in them being able to fit armor or shield modules on their ship. And once they fit the armor or shield mods, they'll notice they ALSO take more CPU, PG, and Capacitor and are back to square one at not being able to fit everything they want onto their ship. Flying a battleship with T1 drones and medium turrets is a joke, and you have no right even be in that ship. Step down, get back in the battle-cruiser, cruiser, destroyer or frigate and fit it properly. You'll stay alive longer and be more useful to your team.

One of the major reasons I like Eve Online is the team play aspect. With a good corp there are lots of organized joint operations that are fun to participate in. Even an advanced frigate pilot can find a very useful place in a corp, and be responsible for helping out in a big way on many missions. A 1 month character flying a battleship is as good as dead on a mission and only really offers themselves up as cannon fodder, useful but not as useful as flying an advanced frigate and flying it well. The time will come when you can move into cruisers, battle-cruisers, or battleships and by the time you get there you'll be able to bring a lot more to the table.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a super bad idea to spend 2-3 days being able to fly cruisers and battle-cruisers early on, just don't spend too much time on them until you have a solid foundation. I know a player that rushed to be able to fly a Tech 3 Proteus but didn't take the time to ensure that he can deal or receive lots of DPS.  He definitely is able to offer a good assistance on missions but compared to a skilled Proteus pilot he is probably only able to provide half the help that he could be. Take the time to train skills to level 4 or 5 (5 is not always a good idea, it depends on the time to train versus what you get in return)

To sum up; be a great miner, or manufacturer, or pilot, or explorer, or logistics but don't try to be everything, because the result will be that you're not that good at anything and you will get frustrated with the game and quit.

Cheers, and fly safe.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Eve Online: Finding your place in this universe

Ok, I'm into my 2nd month of playing Eve now and it definitely has not lost its luster, quite the opposite actually. The longer I play, the more I discover is possible, and the more I want to play. Albert Einstein said it best "The more I learn, the more I realize I don't know".

I've joined up with a good group of people in a Corp and things are going good so far.  Membership consits of about 20 members ranging from a few veterans with years of playing, a few with 9 month characters, and the rest at about 2-3 months of playing under their belt. Everyone in the corp with the exception of 2 or 3 are between the ages of 25-45, which is great since I fall smack dab in the middle of that range. Our corporation recently decided that we would move out to Wormhole Space and set up a POS and attempt to make a living there. Wormholes come in 6 different classifications from C1-C6. The lower the number the less dangerous it is to live there when it comes to NPC's killing you, but the more likely you'll end up with your wormhole connecting to some place that will attract a lot of people coming in and out of your home (which you don't want).

Right now we have two POS's (player owned stations) in two different wormholes. We have one of them set up in a C2 wormhole and one in a C4. Only some of the players are living in the C4 since it's much more difficult to get in and out of it since it doesn't connect to any High Sec system directly.

Up until now I've been doing mostly mission running out and earning ISK, occasionally fleeting up with some corp mates and tackling level 4 missions and I'll run in with a Noctis and clean up the salvage for everyone and then we all split the loot. I'm not able to do a lot of DPS (damage per second) right now, unless I fly my Talos, which requires me to have a logistics ship nearby to help me repair if things get too rough. Mission running can earn between 10k in ISK up to a million in ISK for a single mission, add in Salvage and you can earn around 50-100 million in ISK (as a group) on a level 4, per mission. Not bad ISK at all, but nothing compared to potential wormhole money.

Killing sleepers in wormholes can be very profitable. If you add up hacking, or analyzing, plus loot and salvage materials, you can easily earn 500 million ISK in a few hours of killing sleepers (and then split among the group). Some of our guys can do most of the killing without any help, but they allow us noobs to tag along and learn the ropes by getting a few kills here and there. I mostly focus on killing the frigates as fast as I can so that they don't warp scram our fleet. I should point out that sleepers are much harder than running missions in High Sec. They don't hold back at all, use any and all available tactics, and they hit like a ton of bricks. Tough sleepers are only part of the danger in wormholes though.

Another HUGE danger of living in a wormhole is someone else coming in to kill you. There are two things that are needed to survive in wormhole space. A Probe launcher and a cloaking device. Both of which take up high slots on your ship, hence why we set up some POS' so we can have multiple ships on site incase we need to perform a different function. One moment you'll be killing sleepers and the next you have a fleet of ships uncloaking 30km from you and stealing all the loot you've been collecting. There is no CONCORD in wormhole space and nobody will come to save you or get revenge for you if you are attacked. You have to be able to fend for yourself or die. If you aren't familiar with Directional Scanner, figure it out and get good at it before you ever bother trying to live in wormhole space.

I haven't lost any ships to gankers yet, but members of our corp have. Right now I'm training up to be a stealth bomber pilot (13 more days, plus a few more days to fit it properly). A few more guys in our corp are doing the same. Soon we'll have 4 stealth bombers and be able to run some pretty awesome covert ops missions.

All in all, I love living in wormhole space. Highsec was fun for the first month to learn the basics, but if you can find a good group of people that you can semi-trust (ultimately you shouldn't trust anyone fully), then I definitely recommend giving wormhole space a try.

Unfortunately with all my Eve playing, I've been drawing what's commonly referred to as "Wife Aggro" by spending too much time on the game, so I've had to cut back a little bit and tend to more real life concerns. In the end, it's just a game, but it's an awesome game.