Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Eve Online: Pod Jumping

Lately I've become very accustomed to a game mechanic that can be utilized to jump all over New Eden without having to make the long journey one jump at a time. The term is called "Pod Jumping" and the short version is that you destroy your own pod by self destructing just so you can awaken someplace far away. I live in deep null sec, many  many jumps away from high sec and the major trade hubs. This tactic is very useful for me when I need to quickly inject a new skill, run some errands, etc, before I head back to null.

Jump Clones are great for pod jumping, but if you only use jump clones then you need to wait 19-24 hours to use a jump clone again (depending on skill level). This tactic has no time constraints, but what it lacks in time constraints it makes up for with a bunch of other ones.

There is a laundry list of steps and details you should know about before you just undock and blow yourself up though.


If I knew how to make that flash red and jump out of the page to get your attention more I would, but alas I'm not that smart. If you accidentally forget any other steps, do not forget to update your clone before doing this. If you don't know about updating your clone here's what you need to do.

Dock at a station with a medical facility, it'll have a red cross and medical looking icon as one of the services offered at the station. Click on that icon and select "Update Clone". You'll see a series of options such as "Alpha, Beta, Theta, etc", and they each have an associated price and skillpoint associated with them. Select the SP/ISK combination that is slightly above your skill point level, luckily it will gray out any options that are too low for your skillpoint total, so at least you can't choose one that doesn't meet the minimum requirements. Don't spend too much on a clone though, you're just going to blow it up.

What this means if for XXX,XXX ISK you can upgrade your clone/pod so that if you are destroyed you don't lose any skill points, otherwise you'll be penalized and lose a few weeks of training (trust me it really sucks to find out you lost a few of your level V skills).

If you are a regular PvP player you already know religiously about updating your clone. If PvP is not your thing that's OK and pod jumping can still be very useful for you too. If you simply want to travel to the other side of New Eden, this will come in handy.

When your pod is destroyed, either by someone else or self destructing, you lose any implants that you have plugged into your pretty little head, so either change to a jump clone that doesn't have any implants installed or accept the fact that you're about to lose them. If you use this tactic a lot or participate in PvP a lot, you don't really want to be flying around in a super expensive pod anyways. Why fly a ship worth maybe 5 million isk, but have implants worth 500 million isk? It makes no sense at all, and don't do it.

Alright, back to pod jumping. Your next step after you've ensured that your CLONE IS UPDATED, and that you don't have any implants in that you aren't going to miss is to set your clone to the destination you want to wake up from.  As long as you have access to the station and have items in the hangar, you can set your pod to that station. If your corporation has an office at a station, and you don't have any items, you can still set your clone to that station.

To do so you once again click on the medical facilities icon at a station, and click "Change Location". You'll see a list of "Stations with Medical Facilities" and "Stations with NO Medical Facilities". The reason why they separate these two types is that once you blow up, you will be instantly transported to that station and if they don't have a medical facility at that station you will have no way to upgrade your clone again.


Otherwise, you might undock, get shot by someone and now you've lost a few weeks of skillpoints that you now need to retrain.

Now that you've made sure your clone is updated, you've set the destination you want, you've made sure you don't have any implants in, is to now leave your ship. Right click on your ship and select leave ship. There is no point in blowing up a perfectly good ship, when all you're looking to do is blow up your pod anyways. Next, go ahead and undock.

The preferred way to pod jump is to utilize the self destruct option on your pod instead of having someone else blow you up. If you don't care, then I don't either, but I prefer to handle the deed myself. If you self destruct then there won't be any record of you doing it, no killmail, no trace of it at all. I typically warp to a location in system that is not a gate or a station and push the big red button, but you can do it wherever you want. If you are in high sec, be prepared to have a bunch of people challenge you to a duel if you are on a station, especially one of the trade hubs.

To self destruct either right click on your capacitor or your pod in space and select "Self Destruct". Now you've got a 2 minute warning that you're about to blow up. If you do nothing else, you'll blow up in 2 minutes. If you change your mind and decide that suicide just isn't your thing, you can always click the "Self Destruct" button again, and it will cancel it.

Now that you've blown up your pod, you will awaken wherever you set your clone to be, and as I'm sure you know by now, UPDATE YOUR CLONE.

Congratulations, you've just pod jumped.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Eve Online: Why do I play Eve?

6 more days till I've been playing Eve for 8 months. 

It's crazy to think that it's actually been that long already. I think I initially started this blog (my first one ever), with the purpose to hopefully share my newbie experiences with anyone else that may be new so they could learn from my mistakes and hopefully make the transition easier from a mistake ridden noob that is ready to rage quit, to a stable pilot that isn't completely lost and is able to be a productive member of New Eden.

I still hope that my posts add value to capsuleers out there, but I think I write these post more for me now than for anyone else. I'm thirty-four years old and for most of my life I've been an outgoing extrovert that thrives on social activity and being the center of attention. Over the course of the last five to six years I have transitioned to be more reserved and much more selective with the people I choose to share my life with. I think some people call this "growing up". The bi-product of all this is that I've spent years pushing out all the superficial friendships I have in my life, leaving me with only specific people around that I value. The result is also that I am becoming more and more introverted, which isn't a bad thing.

These are some very common misconceptions about introverts that I'd like to make sure I point out before you start drawing your own conclusions about what that means. I used to associate introvert to a negative personality trait but I no longer see it that way. 

Why am I rambling about all these things on a Eve Blog? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Eve is full of every personality you can possibly imagine. You will find every nationality, stereotype, and social class in the vast number of solar systems across Eve. Eve is more than just a video game for me, it fills a gap I have in my real life with the social interaction it provides. I have no problem making friends in real life and have plenty that I spend my weekends with when time permits, but most of my friends don't have kids and all they do is party like there is no tomorrow on a daily basis. In the end, Eve is still a game and I will shut it off in an instant if something in real life gets in the way.

I wake up around 5:00 am every day, get ready for work, help my son get ready for school, have breakfast and I'm out the door by 6:30. I get off work around 4:00 pm, pick up my son, head home by 5:00 pm (traffic sucks), help the wife make dinner, help the son with homework, watch a little TV and at 8:00 pm my son goes to bed and I either hang out with my wife or log into Eve for 1-2 hours. On weekends I'll stay up late and play but I've still got to wake up early with my son so we can head to hockey practice/games.

I love my family but if it wasn't for Eve, the only social interaction I would really get is with my family every day, since I don't have time to go out and be crazy with my friends. There are days that I find myself not undocking and just hanging out on teamspeak, drinking red wine or sipping whiskey (not together it just depends on my mood what I'm drinking), and catching up with what's going on in the Eve Universe. And sometimes when the conversation gets petty and boring I find myself just sitting quiet for hours, enjoying the silence. People will say "Hey Val, you haven't said anything in a while you still there?", and I usually respond that I'm just hanging out and I'll jump in as soon as the topic changes direction to something I have input on.

The time I do have to socialize with people I don't want to waste it talking about the weather, which celebrity cheated on their significant other, who is in rehab again, or other things that I have no interest in. I don't care about your cat or what you had for breakfast or how you post pictures of yourself daily on facebook so that all your friends will tell you how pretty you are. I like outer space, space ships, politics, economy, subterfuge, and overall I like the feeling of camaraderie that the right group in Eve can provide.

I like that there are consequences for your actions in Eve, and that you don't just respawn and try it again and again with no fear of loss. People react differently and make very different choices when there are potential negative consequences for their actions. You can be a F1 monkey in Eve and have plenty of fun I'm sure, but for intellectual and analytical people, Eve can be so much more.

Anyways, I've rambled on long enough. If you've taken the time to read this long winded blog entry, feel free to share your thoughts on why you play Eve.

Eve Online: Fleet Makeup

It's been a week or so while since I've posted, but mostly because things have been moving forward at a standard pace, with nothing truly exceptional to report on. I'm all settled in my new home now in NPC Null Sec, flying with a good group of pilots, making ISK, killing ships, and bashing POS' on occasion.

I think one of the best moves I could have made for my experience in Eve was to leave my old life and corp and fly with a new group. Not only because I got lucky and landed with a good group, but it allowed me to gain some perspective on how things are done around other corporations. Since I had flown with the same pilots and leaders since the beginning of my career all I knew was what they had taught me.

Many months ago I talked about training to various tech 2 ships and being excited about flying in a Tech 2 Cruiser fleet. Sugar Kyle commented on one of my posts a while back and told me that T2 ships aren't necessarily better, just more specialized. I took her advice to heart but since my old CEO was a HUGE advocate of getting everyone to fly tech 2 cruisers so that we could do T2 cruiser roams I still had to learn the lesson the hard way. We were so new to fighting and PvP that we almost always lost our shiny new toys, costing us tons of ISK.

The greatest thing I've learned from this new group I fly with is that a tech 1 ship can be just as effective, and sometimes more effective that it's T2 counterpart. One of the reasons is that when you are the most expensive ship on the field, you very commonly are called primary and die first, thus negating the benefit you could have brought to your fleet.

Before when I'd lose a ship, it would cost me around 150 million for the ship and all the fittings, now when I lose a ship it typically costs me between 5-20 million depending on what I'm flying. I still have all my shiny expensive ships, but they only undock when we have a very solid fleet composition and they are flying with everyone else's nice shiny toys, and typically in those fleets we know exactly what we are going up against and rarely lose more than a ship or two.

Having a plan and choosing specifically what types of ships will be in your fleet, and how they are fit is also extremely advantageous. We used to throw kitchen sink fleets at people and I can't tell you how ineffective those were in most fights. Everyone would fit different range weapons, different speed ships, and everyone would be buffer tanked but we'd only bring one logi, so when he died, so did everyone else. Now days when a fleet is organized for a specific purpose, everyone needs to fly a specific doctrine not only so that the Fleet commander knows exactly how to command his fleet, but also so we can be more effective in every other way.

There are good fleet doctrines and  bad fleet doctrines, but even a bad fleet doctrine can be more effective than a kitchen sink fleet. If you're reading this and trying to learn more about what type of ships to fly, there isn't a right or wrong answer, because every ship in the game is useful in it's own way. You just need to know how to fit it, and how to fly it, and when to fly it.

Everyone knows rule # 1 in Eve, which is don't fly what you can't afford to lose. I'd also like to add that even if you can afford to lose something expensive, doesn't mean you should be flying it and I don't mean based on your skillpoints. For example, if you have a fleet of T1 frigates, don't bring a T2 logistics ship to support 10 frigates, or a battleship just because it has more HP. Grab something more practical, because you'll just end up dying first if you don't mesh with the rest of your fleet properly.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Eve Online: Killboards


A huge source of arguments, intelligence gathering, stress, gloating, and smack talking. In my old corporation they didn't matter at all to us. The CEO and directors didn't monitor them to make sure that everyone maintained a certain ISK efficiency or anything like that. People still looked at them and asked questions about kills and losses, but nobody was yelling at you for losing ships. Maybe if you lost a billion worth of loot in an Iteron V in high sec, you might get a few extra jabs for being stupid, but we didn't even take those too seriously because the person that lost the ship already has to deal with the loss as well.  Apparently that isn't the norm though, because I've been in a few alliances in my eight months of playing Eve and most of them are pretty serious about their killboards and try to make sure people don't die too much.

This is a strange catch-22 in my opinion. They want you get out there and fight and blow up other ships, but to do so you have to risk your ship, which means that you are going to lose ships too. Since I moved back out to null sec, I have killed around 2-3 billion in ships, and I've only lost one Talwar for about 13 million ISK. I think that's pretty damn good if you ask my opinion, but for some reason people always focus on the negative.

A few days ago a corp mate in his Thorax and me in my Talwar took on a Stabber Fleet Issue (SFI) and we both lost our ships in an EPIC fight. We had the SFI down to about 25% hull before we died, and it was glorious. I was not upset in the slightest from losing my ship, neither was the Thorax. The SFI had 90% overheat damage by the end and thanked us for an awesome fight. He scooped up both of our wrecks, and contracted them back to us for free because he had so much fun with the fight. Nobody was upset at all in the end except the CEO that we lost. Why was he upset? Not so much that we didn't win, but because with the Thorax and Talwar deaths, we had now dropped to 89.9% ISK efficiency on our killboard.

He didn't yell or get angry or anything, but you could hear the heavy sighs and disappointment. I felt like saying "Sorry Dad, I'll try harder next time", but I didn't. I just let it go. When I was a kid I remember always feeling like I was being told what I was doing wrong, and never told when I did something good. Reason is, if you're doing your job right and not making mistakes, then people in authority positions (Parents, Bosses, Teachers), will typically leave you be and you never hear from them. The moment you do something wrong though they become "Johnny on the Spot"  and are there to remind you that you're doing it wrong. This is why I make an active effort to acknowledge the successes my 10 year old son has as well as his mistakes.

So why do killboards matter? Whether you use Battle Clinic or Eve Kill or some other board, why do they matter in the end? I know that some groups won't allow you to join if you don't have a certain number of kills a month or aren't operating at a certain efficiency level, and I'm sure that's because they don't want someone joining their group that can't hold their own. Other than that though, who cares if you die? Ships are meant to be blown up in Eve. You're going to have good days and bad days, good months and bad months, Eve is a game of give and take.  An ex corp mate used to fly sniper fit Cormorants and he'd lose about three or four a day, but he also killed about 40-50 other ships a day. That's a solid trade off in my opinion.

I try not to take Eve too seriously. I enjoy it, it's a lot of fun, but in the end it's still a game. I could shut it off tomorrow, walk away, and New Eden wouldn't even notice I was gone.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Eve Online: Patience

Whether you are setting a trap, camping a gate, or assembling a fleet there is one skill that you must posses that is more necessary that any skill you can train in Eve, and that is patience.

Question: "Do you know the reward for being patient?"
Answer: "Patience"

Two days ago I was in the process of moving some of my stuff from high sec through a wormhole to my new home in null sec. Right when I docked with my first load of stuff, assembled a Talwar just in case of emergencies, the alliance intel channel spotted a Tengu a few systems away. A general call out for extra ships to help bring it down was relayed, although if it was cloaked and nullified, we knew the odds that we wouldn't likely be able to catch it. Someone checked out the guys corporation and his corp used to live in the area about 6 months ago but left a long time ago. Odds are this guy logged off for a few months, and logged back in and was just trying to get the hell out of dodge.

The FC relays over comms that he had eyes on the Tengu was going to check to see if he was nullified by using his Sabre to catch him on a gate. The rest of the gang are still 1-2 jumps away but if the guy is nullified then there is no point in really trying to catch up to him. A few seconds later he announces that the Tengu is NOT nullified and he has the Tengu in his bubble and pointed, but he's trying to run and getting away slowly. The fleet jumps in right as the Tengu gets out of range of his point and we see him warp off and cloak. We figured at this point that he's gone and if he's smart he'll log off for a while and try again later once we've all forgotten about him. There are only two gates out of this system so we split our fleet in half, and jump through the only two exits this system has. We place a Sabre and 2-3 DPS ships in each of the adjacent systems, so no matter which way he goes, he'll have a hard time getting away.

We wait....and we wait... and we wait. We added him to our watchlist so we know he didn't log off. Finally after about twenty minutes, local spikes by one and the gate flashes and he jumps into the system I'm in. Sabre pops his bubble, and the Tengu starts to run for it as he engages his cloak. We rush his location and are able to successfully decloak him. The other 3 guys that were camping the other exit from that system jump into system just as we melt his shields away. If you know anything about shield tanked ships, you know that once you push past the shields, the fight is just about over. We pause for 3-4 seconds for our friends that joined late to get a lock and start attacking so they can get on the killmail, and almost instantly the Tengu is reduced to space dust. With the Sabre's bubble still up grab the pod, lock it up and give him a proper "Welcome back to Eve" greeting.

After we see the killmail we notice the Tengu was PvE fit, and worth about 650 million, the pod however was worth even more than his ship at around 820 million. Also it turns out that one of our corp members has a spy in the guy's alliance intel channel (apparently they know he's a spy but don't kick him from the channel), and decided to post the killmail there just to be funny.

They respond by saying "Yeah, he logged into teamspeak and started screaming like a baby demanding that everyone come and help him, to which we responded "Sure, we're only about 70 jumps away, we'll be right there."". They also then kick him out of their own teamspeak because he won't stop screaming and they are on a fleet op of their own at the moment. We check the Tengu's character sheet five minutes later and he rage quit his corp and logged off. Classic.

So far I like the new guys I'm flying with. The fleet commander appears to know how to do his job, people respect him when he talks, but don't kiss his ass. I think I made a good choice moving to my new home and deciding to leave my old life behind. I can feel the "Eve Spark" returning which is good. It was definitely fading there for a bit.

Topping it off with 1.5 billion in kills on my first day isn't too bad either :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Eve Online: Dotlan

I use this site so much that I thought I'd spend some time writing about some of it's uses and how it can be used for a multitude of functions. Handy for the veteran planner or the newbie looking to learn a few new tricks.


DOTLAN is it's name, and if you ever wanted to know some extra details about systems, alliances, and corporations, this is a site that you need to familiarize yourself with.

On the initial page you've got a series of regional maps and faction warfare maps that you can check out, each of which will take you to a fully interactive overview of that region. Go ahead and click on the regional map Catch and once inside you'll notice all the system names, which alliance owns it (if any), the sov level of that system (1-5), if there are any outposts in that system and what type of services that outpost offers. You can also find Ice Belts, whether or not a system is contested, and which other regions connect to that region.

In the top right corner of the map is a drop down that allows you to change what type of information you want to view on all the systems such as; Sovereignty (which alliance controls the system), Corporation (which specific corporation owns that systems), Security Level, how many belts, planets, moons, if there are any permanent DED complexes in that system, jumps in the last hour/day, ship and pod kills in the last hour/day, NPC kills in the last hour/day.

Let's say for example that you're trying to plan a roam through null sec to go pick a fight (or avoid a fight). I'm going to look at the regional map for Catch and I'm interested in entering Null Sec through HED-GP, and heading down towards Stain. I'm going to check to see which systems in my path have had recent activity lately so that you can steer your roam in that direction, or away from that direction if you think a large gate camp may be present. I'm going to filter by jumps, then by kills, then by NPC kills to gather some initial intelligence on the system.

After filtering by ship/pod kills, I notice that there have been 16/9 kills in WD-VTV in the last hour. That tells me that 16 ships and 9 pods have died in WD-VTV so there is most likely a gate camp there. If I change it to in the last 24 hours I see 227 ships and 93 pods have died in the last 24 hours. Either a large fleet battle took place, or one hell of a gate camp. Now I'm going to click on the WD-VTV system and drill down and get some more specific information on what's been going on.

By clicking on a system you are now presented with tons more information for your viewing pleasure.  Let's focus on kills by clicking on Kills next to the pretty pink heart.  This will now tell me all the ships that have been killed in the last 48 hours in this system, who died, how many were involved, what time they blew up, etc. If you want you can also click on a specific kill that will take you to the actual killmail, showing you specifically who was involved, as well as everything else that comes along with a killmail.

Pretty handy stuff right?! 

Let's head back to the home page and take a look at some of the other elements that Dotlan has to offer. On the right side of your screen you can see the Most Violent Systems for null sec and low sec in the last 3 hours, Top Sovereignty Changes in the last 7 days (who has gained the most or lost the most systems), Alliance Movement showing who has lost or gained the most members in the last 7 days, and the last 5 shiny New Outposts that have been constructed. Each of these stats can be clicked on to bring you to a more complete list if you're interested.

In additional to all of the above, Dotlan also offers a navigational tool, that can help you plan a trip, including ships capable of using jump drives. Simply click on the Navigation tab, input your systems into the jump planner, including any waypoints or systems to avoid and BAM! You're all set.

Last but not least the Faction War tab will take you to a list of all the systems out there involved with faction warfare, who owns it, if it's contested or not, and where you can find it.

Anyways, that sums up my synopsis of Dotlan's EveMaps. Check it out, use it, abuse it, and fly smarter (or more stupid if you prefer). Either way you can plan it better now.