Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Freighters, WTF?

Our battlegroup has been redeploying, and rather than move all my ships and supplies myself, I tried a courier contract. A day later, however, no one had picked up the contract. That's probably normal, but it surprised me. I expected a faster response. I've put out courier contracts before through my trading/hauling alt, and they were always completed within hours.

Granted, those hauls were between trading hubs, which meant that the freighter pilots had a pretty good chance of finding a reverse haul, so they didn't have to deadhead with an empty cargo hold. It would be a revenue trip both ways. Also, since they base out of the trade hubs, they didn't have to travel to the pickup point. But to make up for that, I offered a rate more than five times what I had previously offered. I guess that wasn't attractive, or nobody was looking for hauls in those regions. One more mystery of EVE that I don't understand.

Anyway, I had long ago trained my alt on all the prerequisites for the Freighter skill, so 67.5M ISK and an hour's training later, I bought a freighter and started the long, slow, flight to the pickup point. God, these things are slow, and there's little you can do to change that, since Freighters don't have any fitting slots. But I knew that.

In addition to being unable to fit modules, I also knew that freighters were limited in other ways. They can't open their cargo areas in space to jettison or scoop up cargo (except, apparently, when looting the wrecks of other freighters), and despite their huge size, their cargo bay wouldn't be able to carry assembled ships (no cargo bay can).

I was ready with the workaround for that last problem. You see, while a freighter can't directly carry an assembled ship, it can carrier a courier package that contains an assembled ship, so I contracted my alt to carry my assembled ships. The rest of my stuff I just station traded to my alt and dumped it in the cargohold. Or at least that was the plan. It didn't quite work out.

What I'd missed was that freighters can't carry cargo containers (except the 120000 cubic meter non-expanding General Freight Container). The idea is apparently to prevent freighter pilots from increasing their hauling capacity by filling the hold with hundreds of containers.

The problem is that I use containers a lot in stations to keep things organized. Whenever I buy a brace of ships for PvP, I also buy all the fittings and pack them into containers. Then if I want to move three unassembled Caracals to another station in my Orca, I just grab three containers of fittings to go with them. This avoids having piles of fittings lying around, and it keeps me from having to search for parts when fitting out a new ship.

I'm not sure why CCP doesn't want to have magic expanding freight containers in freighters, but couldn't they just have turned off the magic? Why ruin our ability to organize our storage? This doesn't even accomplish what they want, since there's a workaround. It's the same as for assembled ships: Courier packages can contain anything, including magic expanding cargo containers, so I just put them in a courier contract to my alt.

Still, what kind of freighter can't contain freight containers? WTF?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

War Diary - 2010.10.23 0322

The Uni is at war. We were coming out of a faildec when another corp declared war. They had a fair number of members and looked like they might bring a fight.

Real life has been keeping me pretty busy lately, so I haven't had much time for getting into fleets. Besides, my ILN squadron had been posted to the ass-end of nowhere (a.k.a. Amarr space) and none of the war targets are going to make it all the way out here. Not much chance of getting in on the war.

However, I noticed in the Uni Forums that Sto Lo and Ceregor had announced a givaway of a Loki strategic cruiser hull for whoever gets the final blow on the first war target of the new war. That seemed like a good way for me to contribute to the war if I couldn't get in a fleet.

Since those guys had the damage dealers covered, I figured I could take care of the rest of the fleet combat triad--the tacklers and EWAR pilots. I wanted to encourage each to stay with what they were already doing, so I announced that I was giving away an interceptor to the first T1 frigate tackler on each of the first 5 war target kills, and an electronic attack ship to the first T1 EWAR frigate or cruiser on each of the first five kills.

(I couldn't figure out anything to help out the scouts. They are already flying T2 frigates, and those are in fact the best ships for the job they do. I suppose I could give them a replacement ship, but really, how often does a scout lose one of their fast, invisible ships? Besides, we don't even talk about the scouts, so to whom would I give a prize?)

That was two days ago, and the new war targets have done nothing. The killboard stands at 0-0. I should have known this would happen, it usually does. Now I'm a little worried it's going to look like I planned it this way, bragging in the forum about how magnanimous I was, while knowing full well there was a good chance I wouldn't have to pay off.

But I honestly expected a few kills. I've actually started my alt in Jita stockpiling these ships, so winners wouldn't have to wait for me to get a good price. I have about a dozen hulls handy and ready for fast shipping.

Somebody kill something, dammit!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'm a Winner!

Hey, I just won 10 million ISK in The Ancient Gaming Noob's Screenshot Contest for this picture:

This was tricky to get. The frigates are absurdly small compared to the Orca, so I had to cheat the perspective by having them much closer to the camera position. This meant that if I wanted to change the location of the camera--e.g. to change the angle on the statue--the composition broke and all the ships had to be moved into position again.

There should have been a Raven battleship in the composition to make it just a little more balanced, but the Uni was at war, so I couldn't get it out there for the shot.

Just as we finished, some idiot flew out and tried to nail us with a medium smart bomb. (Frackin' Jita, it's always something!) The frigates and the Iteron got away clean. The Orca has a hideous align time, so it took some damage before it warped away, but with 110,000 EHP, a medium smart bomb couldn't really hurt it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

War Diary - 2010.10.09 2313

[Posting delayed for security purposes.]

Finally got out on another roam with the squadron. This time we were a battlecruiser fleet.

In our first attempt at finding action, we found an Armageddon battleship hanging out at a gate. We warped off to a belt, hoping to encourage an attack, but he just hung around while our scout reported that other members of his fleet were massing on the opposite side of the gate. Eventually, that fleet got so large it would be hopeless to take them on, so the FC decided it was time for us to leave. They chased us all the way to hisec without incident.

Later, in another part of space, we ran into some flashies who seemed interested. They turned out to have a Thanatos carrier with them, so we hid in a safe spot for a while and then moved off. They followed us for a few jumps, and this time the FC decided we should stop and ambush their lead element, which turned out to be an Absolution command ship.

We primaried it, but it jumped back, so we primaried a Drake battlecruiser instead. It was out of range of my HAMS, so I lit off the MWD to close. I picked an orbit and started firing. As I was doing this, a couple more bars of the overview went flashy. Then again a few seconds later, a few more flashy ships showed up, making the total about 7 or 8, including the Thanatos. That's when the FC ordered us to scatter. I picked a planet off my Bugout tab and spammed warp. In the main view, there was flashing red everywhere. I could see the "External forces..." message telling me that I was pointed, and there was an EWAR icon on the overview. I reported the point in TS, and the FC responded, "Sorry Ork."

Well, nothing for it but to keep spamming the Warp button. At least my pod should escape. Click click click click click click click click click click click and suddenly I was warping away!

I still had the MWD running from closing to the target, and I had apparently run out of range of the ships that had tackled me. I've never put an MWD on a BC before, always preferring to fit maximum tank and gank. But since we were in a small gang, I decided to fit an MWD to get better control over the decision to engage. I guess it worked.

Lesson learned, me: You got to respect the MWD.

Lesson learned, them: You can't use battleships to tackle battlecruisers.

War Diary - 2010.10.08 0116

[Posting delayed for security purposes.]

EVE University is at war.

Before war was declared, our squadron was deployed to the far reaches of empire space for a little bit of small-gang activity. Fun and games in small numbers.

When the wardec came, command decided to keep us out here. We continue to patrol, but we have not encountered war targets. If they came our way in force, they could crush our small fleet. That probably won't happen because they don't know we're out here, and since they don't know our names, they probably won't do a locate search on any of us. Just to be safe, I'm delaying publication of this blog entry until after the war, or maybe until after we leave.

Small gang operations are a new experience for me. Up until now, most of my PvP has been in Uni fleets, which are fairly safe in empire space. The typical Uni blob is so huge that the biggest problem is finding enemies that don't run when local spikes. However, I've been spending some time solo ratting in losec recently, and there have been some nasty surprises. My ratting fit is not really suitable for PvP, so my plan is usually to run or hide. I haven't always been successful.

I'm learning a few things. First of all, I don't have much in the way of ships, fittings, or skills for cruiser-level PvP. Other than some Gallente frigate fits, most of my PvP skills are oriented around Drake fighting. The only Cruiser I fly regularly is the Navy Caracal I use for running low-level missions really fast. I can fit a Caracal for PvP in theory, and that's what I've had to do, but it's not really in the same league as a bare-knuckle brawler like a Thorax.

Second, I'm really learning to appreciate the directional scanner. In Uni blobs, the FC and scouts are responsible for intelligence on the enemy. There's little I could learn that they don't already know. But out in a small gang, it pays to know who's nearby.

Third, this is a lot more fun. In a Uni blob, I'm just along because the ships don't fly themselves. It's a lot like being a gun operator on a surface navy vessel--I just shoot when command tells me to. Here, I'm liable to have some decisions to make.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ths stuff I buy...

The corp I'm in, EVE University, has been at war for about a week now. I've been busy in real life, so I've just barely logged in to check my email. On the other hand, my trading alt has been doing fairly well in Jita, although station trading is a crazy life.

With a year in New Eden, I'm used to shopping for hulls and modules for the limited number of types of ships I fly, so every once in a while I'm amazed by the stuff I end up trading. My current inventory includes, among other things, 25 concussion bombs for stealth bombers I don't fly, 4 drone control units for carriers I may never fly, a Basilisk and an Arazu (whatever those are) , 6 Thoraxes, 1 Hulk, and 39 Skiff exhumers.

It's those 39 exhumers I worry about most. They cost me a billion ISK. That may not be much to some players, but I've never spent that much before. I hope I make a profit...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

EVE is different...

In what other MMOG would you expect to get a quarterly economic newsletter written by someone with a PhD. in Environmental and Resource Economics?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In Which I Choose EVE University

This blog has some catching up to do. I've actually been flying spaceships in EVE for about six months now. After a few months on my own, I decided to join EVE University, which is a game corporation (that would be a clan or guild in other MMORPGs) dedicated to teaching people how to play EVE. I want to learn PvP and fleet operations, and the Uni seems a lot more organized than many of the other corporations when it comes to that sort of thing. Of course, they'd have to be, with 1300 members, most of whom are nubes like me.

Actually, my sense that they are more organized than other corporations cold be something of an illusion because EVE University, being an educational institution, puts a lot of information about themselves in their wiki, including guides, policies, and even their warfighting doctrine.

Nevertheless, it was the fact that they even have a warfighting doctrine that attracted me to the Uni. It would be a good place to learn EVE ship-to-ship combat. It would be a good place to learn how to think like an EVE capsuleer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Welcome to New Eden

I was trapped for months on a horrifying medieval world called Evony, where I ruled three great cities and commanded an army a million strong.

Despite this successes, my faith was suffering. I soon came to believe the god-creators of Evony had become indifferent to its inhabitants. Despirited, I set out to find a world still cared for by its makers.

The world I found was EVE.

EVE is a dark universe, in turns beautiful, inspiring, and frightening. But it may also be a place where I can find the comfort of good friends, and the thrill of good battle. Perhaps here I will find my home. Perhaps here I will discover my true heritage, and seek my true destiny.