Feb 9 2010

Day 1214: Wormholes and T3 Revelation

A few months ago, Aeon trained the Amarr Strategic Cruiser and Amarr Subsystem skills all to level 3. I did not plan to get a strategic cruiser then, I wanted him to have them “just in case”. He was in the Amarr region back then, so all the subsystem skills were selling at the nice NPC prices. I did not bother to check prices of the ships or subsystems themselves on the market as the wallet was looking bleak as usual, and T3 cruisers are renowned for being rich kid’s toys. After a long trip back deep into the Derelik region, he resumed scanning complexes and wormholes, trying to find some rare gems – and components for Loreena’s manufacturing efforts of COSMOS BPCs.

After losing a Zealot to a particularly deadly sleeper site, I tried to come up with a better ship for the task. I let no stone unturned, from destroyers to battleships. All but the strategic cruisers. The conclusion was that the Zealot is definitely in a class of its own: none of the Amarr battlecruisers can match its tank (neither can the Brutix), the Omen Navy Issue cruiser packs a good punch but is too frail, and battleships are too clumsy. Command ships I deemed too expensive to lose in a wormhole, although the Absolution is nearly perfect for the task. So a new Zealot it was, with the same fit as before. It has proven itself over and over, so I went back to exploring.

What ensued was a chain of frustrating experiences. From acceleration gates that did not allow HACs to class 3 wormholes in which most sites are too dangerous for a mere Zealot, it seemed that I was doomed to switching ships for nearly every site I encountered. My local station was beginning to fill with different sized ships again, and the logistics of the whole operation was beginning to get on my nerves. Of course Loreena could have tagged along in the Orca, but she did not seem very enthusiastic – she was busy in the Kador and Amarr regions collecting COSMOS components. Aeon could have used his charm, but I preferred to keep that Joker card for another time. There had to be a solution.

For the time being, I stuck to what I could do with the Zealot while I built up some ISK to buy an Absolution fitted for wormholes. The solution came in the form of a graphical layout and website I built for N.A.G.A. Corporation (www.nagacorporation.net), and which replenished Aeon’s wallet in one strike. I made another EFT session, and as I had dabbled with strategic cruiser fittings before I thought what the heck and made a new one.

The result left me speechless and grinning like a madman. The Legion fitting I had had just whipped together had slightly less DPS than the Zealot, but about 3x the tank. Enough to take just about anything the usual complexes and sleeper sites could throw at the ship. It was even cap stable without a single Capacitor Control Circuit rig, which was the topping of an already juicy pie. As you can imagine, my mind was made up in a few nanoseconds and Aeon was already on his way to Amarr to buy the ship.

My only worry was that I did not know how much these things cost and that I may not be able to get one despite the ISK I had earned. Contracts showed some hulls at about 240 mil which did not seem too bad, but that was without the subsystems. When Aeon arrived in the Amarr Oris station, the hulls were actually selling at a round 200 mil, so I bought one right away. The subsystems cost an average of about 60 mil per unit. I bought everything I needed for the fit on the spot, and after the subsystems, rigs and co had been properly installed and configured I took the time to contemplate the beast.

Damn, that ship is sexy. As many Amarr ships, the base hull has a resemblance to a bug with those mandibles. This particular subsystem configuration makes for a rather compact and bulky shape – fitting for that beast of a tank I think. I christened it “Alea’s Nemesis”, in reference to the main character of my EVE-related short story. Aeon was just as eager as I was to give her a spin, so he undocked, and made the trek back to Derelik.

He took a short detour through gallente space to meet up with another Sytek member who is a Tengu pilot, and was busy dispatching EOM ships. I found out that the tank was more than enough for this mission, but the DPS was severely lacking. Then again, it was a complex-oriented fit with only three turrets so that was to be expected. All in all it was a good test, and the two ships side by side did look extremely good.

Back in Derelik, I took out the Anathema and went lowsec scouting to explore for wormholes and complexes. It was a quiet night, but I found no wormholes. I did find a 3/10 sansha complex however, and that turned out to be exactly what I needed as final test. The last room was one big fleet with about 40 ships all classes combined (frigates to battlecruisers). When they all got into range the tank started to break slowly, but Aeon was killing them fast enough to handle it all effortlessly. Without moving an inch, which is quite decadent compared to the Zealot with which I have learned how to navigate with afterburner to mitigate the incoming DPS.

The one big realization that came to me that night was that these ships are more or less made for complexing, as they fit into almost any acceleration gate where command ships or even HACs are not allowed. I used to use a regular cruiser (Omen Navy Issue or Pilgrim) for those, but this is infinitely more useful. No need for an army of different sized ships anymore, yay!!

Strategic Cruisers come with one big drawback: if you do get caught and your ship is destroyed, you lose one level in one of the ship’s race subsystem skills. So if you trained them all to V, you will have to re-train the one chosen randomly to V. It is not that bad, as they are all 1x skills that do not take too long to train up.

Here is the full fitting for the ship as I use it right now. As you probably guessed, it is made for wormholes and complexes. It uses just a few faction mods and works with all T2 as well:

[Wormholes & Complexes]
Imperial Navy Medium Armor Repairer
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Armor EM Hardener II
Armor Thermic Hardener II
Armor Kinetic Hardener II
Heat Sink II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
10MN Afterburner II
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Heavy Pulse Laser II,Conflagration M
Heavy Pulse Laser II,Conflagration M
Heavy Pulse Laser II,Conflagration M
Salvager II
Core Probe Launcher I,Core Scanner Probe I
Medium Energy Burst Aerator I
Medium Energy Locus Coordinator I
Medium Nanobot Accelerator I
Legion Defensive - Nanobot Injector
Legion Electronics - Dissolution Sequencer
Legion Engineering - Capacitor Regeneration Matrix
Legion Offensive - Liquid Crystal Magnifiers
Legion Propulsion - Chassis Optimization

With this setup, using a better armor repairer will have drastic effects with the nanobot injector subsystem + nanobot accelerator rig combo. With my crappy skills (Strategic Cruiser at 3 and all subsystems at 3), this setup gives me an EFT omni defence rating of 450, 213 DPS and 85.7% EM / 81.4 % TH / 89.3 KIN / 89.1% EX resists. At level V, the defence rating climbs up to 520 with 255 DPS. As an example, fitting an A-Type armor hardener puts the tank at 675 defence rating.

…not bad for a cruiser!

I will have to testdrive the ship in wormholes next, but so far they have proven to be surprisingly elusive over here. Will post an update when I have found one and ground some sleepers to dust.

On a sidenote, if you have COSMOS BPCs you cannot build from, evemail me which ones you have and I’ll make you an offer for them. Alternatively I also offer a manufacturing service for them, Loreena has all the specialty skills at V (Sleeper Tech, Talocan Tech, Takmahl Tech and Yan Jung Tech). Just contact me ingame for details.

Oct 11 2009

Day 1093: Preparing for the storm

In 2 days, AeonOfTime will celebrate his third year in EVE. To be honest, I just realized that and it came as quite a shock. I was not shocked so much by the timespan itself, but by the fact that I found a game that is still fun after playing it regularly for three straight years. The only other game that still tops that is the Civlization series. I also discovered that I am having a lot more fun since both Aeon and Loreena have broken the 40 million skillpoints barrier (she even managed to overtake his 1 month training advance!). I can do more things than ever, and mostly also much better than before.

Aeon is 13 days away from being able to fit every tech II module in the game today (apart from guns and capital modules), which I believe is a major milestone. What really blew me away though is that he is a mere 35 days away from flying every race ship from frigates to battleships. For some obscure reason I had always thought training up the skill tree for a second race would take too much time, and I was giggling manically at the thought of finally being able to hop into ships like the Hyperion or even a Nightmare.

Once the idea had struck, I knew what I wanted. Now after three days of training, Aeon finally has the Gallente Battleship skill trained and I went in search for a Hyperion. Ever since that time I had seen one when undocking in Rens I had wanted to have one. My Harbinger had been dwarfed next to it, and as very few pilots fly them I had been stunned at the sight. To my surprise, the cheapest offer was a local one in the Kador region with 124 million ISK. I was thrilled at the prospect of flying a new ship, so I had Aeon drop what he was doing, namely helping Loreena in a level 4. Needless to say, he will have to make amends for that… He went the 10 jumps in his pod to pick it up, and there it was, in all its glory (hit the screenshot above for a close-up of the beast). He named it “Angus’ Fist”, which seems pretty fitting. It is a reference to Angus Thermopyle, from Stephen Donaldson’s Gap Series novels. Highly recommendable for EVE players!

Aeon has trained some crappy hybrid skills, which should be enough to get an idea of what the ship is capable. I have yet to use the ship in a mission or else, but some of the fittings on battleclinic do have potential. I will have to use the meta 4 guns for starters, but I do not really mind. I have made a small selection of those I found most interesting:

Regretfully gentle’s L4 mission loadout
Mike721’s L4 mission loadout
Vanthropy’s Cheap Fleet PvP loadout

Yes, I have a PvP loadout in here! I am not planning on using the ship for PvP, but I found it to be an interesting fit nonetheless. It has the big advantage of being very cheap for a ship that size. I will post a fitting later matching my skills when I have been able to testdrive it in a few missions. For now it just feels so good flying around in the ship, it is one of the more original ones out there. It is a matter of taste of course, some do not like the midsection, some do not like the paintjob…

“Anthea”, the research POS

Yes, I have dusted off my POS (Player Owned Station) plans of yore. The response from the corp has been very positive on the project, so that is going to be one big step in Aeon’s EVE life. I have held off from one so far because of the running costs, which can be trouble with my ISK flow (it is still far from optimal). However, downgrading my plans helped a lot. A small POS with just one lab and some basic defenses would only cost about 40 mil per month, which should not be too much trouble to organize.

I think it is a nice way to learn the inner workings of a POS, even if almost everyone told me to go for a medium or big tower directly. I am not trying to start a giant research operation, and a small tower costs a lot less to maintain. Even if the initial investment is not that much different at least it gives me a good way to test without going broke within two months. If the venture should turn out to be profitable, a small POS is easy to dismantle and be replaced by something bigger.

Loreena will probably resign as CEO of Sytek and create her own corporation to run the POS. Aeon will take her place as head of the corp, a skillplan for the required corporation management skills is ready. While training skills like Ethnic Relations feels a bit awkward (Aeon’s good looks should be enough!), the requirements are not too steep for a small corporation like ours. The good thing is even Alliance members will be able to use the ME/PE lab slots, which is a good thing.

For now, Aeon needs to rebuild his wallet though…

Maybe some have already wondered about Aeon’s wallet. In his status below I always include his current wallet balance, and it rarely ever went above 60 mil. “Such an old player, hahaha, he’s pulling our collective legs.” Not so! I do round up the sums, but Aeon’s personal wallet is really that “small”. It is Loreena and the corporation that handle all the big ISK.

…I wish it was that big. The all-time high was just a bit above 1 billion before I bought the Paladin, since then it stabilized around 100-300 mil-ish. Nearly everyone ingame will tell you they have billions, but I suspect the truth is that most of them are just paupers like my humble self, or make a way bigger dent in their RL time and/or wallet πŸ™‚

Earning ISK: a matter of time and concentration?

There are no secrets: unless you are rich enough in real life to fund your ingame lifestyle, you have to invest time to make ISK. Whether you are just trading or running missions, these things all take time. Now a lot of players seem to have heaps of time and do not understand how I can be poor in the game. Well, I am often online but as I mentioned before it is mostly to follow up on what’s going on in the corp or the game in general: it is the famous “semi-afk”. Sadly enough, that does not pay very well πŸ™‚

Running level 4 missions is profitable, but even if not all level 4 missions are as time-consuming as Angel Extravaganza, they all require concentration. And that is a realization that came lately: with two small kids, it is virtually impossible to concentrate any lengths of time. That reduces my “active” playtime to not much at all, especially since my gaming philosophy is that EVE is just that, and as such should not overshadow anything real life-related.

In practice, I can run about two big level 4 missions per week nowadays. More than that is pretty rare, because even on weekends I rarely get the occasion to play with the concentration I need. The good thing about traditional games is that you can hit ESC anytime and come back to the game later if something comes up. EVE is a lot more restrictive in that regard, so if I start a level 4 I want to be sure I will be able to run it without interruption. I do not want to have to tell my son or my wife that I cannot help them because I am in the middle of a mission.

All my ship losses come from not having been concentrated enough, and losing a ship like a fully fitted Abaddon or even Oneiros is quite hard to replace with this kind of ISK flow. Even if it is “only” T2 fitted, it can make quite a dent in the wallet. I am very pragmatic in life, so naturally I restricted myself to running dangerous missions only when I can do so in good conditions πŸ™‚

Note that I am not complaining – I am merely sharing some insights into how I play EVE and how that affects me ingame. I still enjoy the game the same way, and at least my wallet ingame reflects my real life wallet πŸ˜€

On a sidenote: Of course there is always the option of finding out how the richest player in EVE did it, and become an EVE billionaire yourself! Invest in this real life money sink (aka “Scam”) and within two days, you can buy two dozens of motherships and at least three titans. Hahahaha, that totally made my day there πŸ˜€

On a sidenote’s sidenote: go read drmgrl808‘s blog, she has a nice natural way of writing down her experiences.

Apr 23 2009

Day 922: Back to the roots voice off style

Aeon realized lately that he had not been faithful to his bloodline, the Vherokior tribe. After all these years, his highest standing is with the Brutor tribe, and even Caldari Navy has better standing than his own family. I do not exactly know why it suddenly became an issue, but I knew he had to do something about it. Of course the Minmatar faction standing was sufficient to access virtually any Vherokior agent including level 4 ones, but Aeon eventually settled for a couple of good quality level 3 agents in Teonusude.

The logistics of running level 4 missions were just too much of a hassle then, so these missions were a welcome worry-free change. Loreena even left her manufacturing ventures and moved out there with him, providing support with Tatonka (Orca). Having mobile corporate hangars and a ship maintenance bay makes a lot of things much easier. Aeon just brought Skullplitter (Absolution) along, as I have really grown fond of this missioning powerhouse. It shrugs everything off that these level 3 missions can throw at it – with the right amount of caution that is. Triggering all waves in The Blockade at once for example stretches its tanking capabilities pretty thin.

Once everything was set up and a number of missions later, the Vherokior tribe standings were already climbing noticeably. For some reason that felt very right, and I think Aeon wants to make them even better than his Brutor tribe standings. One should not let his family down like that to begin with, but then Aeon did not exactly lead a simple life. Since he rescued Loreena from the wormhole collapse in the now defunct Aramea system, he has wandered around pretty much aimlessly. It is time to go back to the roots now, however. With all the recent events in New Eden, I think he just needed some stability. He just cannot fully grasp how Loreena fits into the whole picture yet, even 922 days after he brought her back to Ammold and she eventually joined his operations.

Strange how in this world, any place you stay for a while starts to feel like home – the crowded Lustrevik already seems pretty far away. Teonusude is a nice enough spot, even if the luxurious Vherokior Tribe Treasury station does not really fit Aeon’s idea of a permanent home. Ammold will always stay Aeon’s spiritual home however, the one where it all started. It is even doubly significant, as it is also where it all started anew after his trip to Aramea. He had gone there with death on his mind, but out of the billions that died that day, he rose to live a new life. Loreena made that possible, and in a very real sense, she is all that keeps him alive. Of course he is not directly conscious of the strength of the link between them. Aeon has never bothered with feelings, he usually just shrugs them all off, concentrating on the tasks at hand. Incidentally, that accounts for his occasional puzzlement when he tries to understand how she fits into his life.

I think he is still quite a tortured soul, trying to believe without much success in some kind of divine intervention that made him and Loreena be the only survivors of the cataclysm – but all the while fiercely refusing to accept he could be worth the trouble. His instincts had saved him, but why? All he had wanted back then was to get a sweet kiss from death, yet his very own instincs had betrayed him. Thus is the nature of man, questioning himself and everything, even established certitudes. A rock solid atheist like Aeon suddenly contemplates the existence of “divine intervention”. Mind you, all this confusion is relegated to mere footnotes in his life when he has a task to fulfill. Then his mind becomes a beautiful display of the finer arts a human brain can bring forth. All the training and experience he has gathered so far have made him fearfully efficient in everything he touches.

One could argue that his choices have not always been inspired, and I would tend to agree. However, who can say for himself never to have blundered? The people of New Eden live in a wretched world, eons from the once innocent life on their lost homeworld. What have they all become, and where are they going? It is a question that Aeon contemplates occasionally when he is in a melancholy mood. Is it a pointless question? What can a single pilot achieve to change things? There are those that command millions in battles of interests, harbingers of death for the conquest of one or more pieces of space here and there, bound to be lost and retaken again endlessly. All races confounded, their achievements are great. The universe itself sometimes seems to tremble in their wake. But from a distance, it all sounds hollow and soulless. In Aeon’s eyes, they all lacked a goal – a vision. In the end, no matter how much destruction you sow, something will rise from the ashes and bite you back. So why bother? For money? Fame? Personal gratification? Those are the modern career choices.

Aeon sometimes likes feeling sorry for himself. In those moments, he sometimes gets the impression that his goal in life must be hiding somewhere around the next corner. It would be something beautiful in its simplicity, something that everyone could strive to reach. He had felt that way when he had entered his first wormhole. That proved to be a vain hope however, wormholes now being the same cesspools than so-called civilized space in his eyes. I think Aeon knows he is growing bitter constantly brooding on these matters, so he keeps his mind occupied with other things. Loreena will always be his biggest occupation of course, in part because she can erase all his fears with a single smile.

And there we have the heart of the matter. Aeon is a consummate judge of character, but Loreena remains a mystery to him. From the death of her homeworld and family to all the lows they have lived through together since then, she has taken it all in stride. She picked herself up every time as if she could see something in her future he could not see in his. She seemed to have what he lacked – a goal. Of course they talk a lot with each other, but even though they both seem curious about the other’s deeper thoughts, neither dares break the chemistry. He also often wonders why she stays with him and follows him in all his ventures without ever questioning him about it. He knows it is not merely because she feels she owes him that much for saving her, that is a feeling that usually does not stay for so long. No, there must be something else. With her skills and experience, she could easily reach for the stars. She loved him of course, just as he loved her – but that was not the reason either, he could sense that. Their relationship could be described as unconventional to say the least, hovering between platonic love and carnal passion, but all within the confines of their own minds. There is a mutual unspoken agreement that simply living out their passion would break everything apart – so they were both effectively doomed to live partnerless lives. One might sneer at a setup like that or even laugh at them, but I can guarantee that a look into their eyes and history would make you drop to your knees in sudden understanding and grief.

I like to think nothing is ever set in stone, and things may still take a turn for the better. In the meantime, Aeon and Loreena continue to make their way in New Eden, surviving against all odds – better than many, worse than none other.

Author’s voice-off: “I fear this may sound terribly clichΓ© and cheesy, but it is nice to see these two characters evolve in their own world. Granted, they are merely pawns in a game I play – they cannot exist without me. I hate puppet analogies so I will not go that way, but somehow they are extensions of myself and they live the life I would have liked to live if New Eden was a reality. Even if you do not roleplay as such (or even hate it), as soon as you build a character you start roleplaying simply through the projection you make of yourself in the game. Imagining yourself in your ship, flying through space and even picturing your opponents are all aspects of roleplay. Even though I do not really roleplay in the game, I like to immerse myself in it and give my characters a semblance of life. In a very real sense, that binds my virtual life’s ethics to my real life ones, and sometimes I miss out on some of the shadier aspects of the game. I do not mind though, I have always been true to myself and enjoy the experience a lot more that if I had to jump into a custom built role everytime.

Somehow the term chivalry comes to mind if I had to characterize my way of handling ingame relations. I think this comes from the fact that I love fantasy just as much as science fiction and can relate to chivalry-like ethics pretty naturally. Everything is possible in EVE anyway, so it is good to be able to live this out without any real drawbacks. A healthy dose of paranoia is essential of course however, this is the Internet after all πŸ™‚

I would love to hear about how you see the game!

Comment your thoughts here directly, or give me a link to your blog posts / websites and I will read them and link them here.”

Update 11/05: Added screenshot and Wikipedia links.

Jan 25 2009

Day 834: AeonOfTime’s biggest ship yet

Putting aside the fact that the Orca in EVE Online has none of the aggressive traits of its earth-dwelling sea mammal counterpart, it is indeed good news. When the new ship was announced, I was very enthusiastic about a new ship class that was obviously targeted to gang mining as well as corporation support and transport. Aeon himself already had all the required skills being a part-time miner, but having him fly the ship would have defeated the purpose of gang mining with Loreena. She had zero mining skills to start with, so it was more logical timewise to have her train for it than for a Hulk. To make sure I was not plunging head-on into a fool’s errand, I set up a client to play on the Singularity server and had Aeon testdrive the ship. My first impression was that for an industrial ship, it looked pretty sleek. A short trip outside the station showed that it was slow, which was to be expected… The rest was pure bliss though. I was not able to test everything, but as there were a lot of other pilots on to test the ship the local chatter answered my initial needs for information.

I started Loreena to train all the prerequisites, which incidentally means she can now also fly mining barges, which is a plus. By the time she had all the required skills a few Orcas were available on market, but as usual with new items at prices beyond reason – some even above 1 billion (the BPO price). From then on, it meant waiting. A friend of mine active in capital ships production told me they would eventually settle around 450 mil depending on mineral prices, so I gave it my best shot at patience. I had been mining for quite a while before that, and liquidating some unused assets catapulted Aeon’s wallet up to an all-time record of 1.1 billion, which did not exactly help the patience bit. It was only about finding my breaking point from there.

I observed the price evolution, and the decision was quickly made when I saw one for 630 million ISK. I made a few inter-regional pricechecks and eventually bought the ship right in Lustrevik, next door to Syrkos Technologies‘ headquarters. A trip to Jita would only have saved a few million, so I decided those 20+ jumps were not worth the trouble. Still quite a ways off the 450 mil mark, but it was good enough for me. Besides, having all that ISK in the wallet made me nervous, with all the other shiny stuff I could buy. Incidentally, it made me realize that Heimatar is quite a competitive market compared to Jita. Rens is often cheaper for tech 2 modules than Jita, if not on par with going prices there. Not enough to make a lot of profit, but enough to make it feel good to live in the area and know Jita is not the holy grail.

There was something thrilling about buying something that big after the Abaddon almost a year ago. I logged in Loreena, and checked the price three times to make sure there was the right number of zeroes in it (not that a missing zero would have been an issue). Then the market deliveries window refreshed and there it was, together with some Frozen Food, Frozen Plant Seeds, a bit of Wheat and 70 Tourists that were probably amazed by the huge packaged ship. I did not check if any of the frozen seeds disappeared, but I for one would surely have made myself some popcorn to watch the ship being assembled. For the first time in quite a while, christening the ship felt meaningful, and reminded me of the joy from my first acquisitions. After an albeit impatient solemn moment, Loreena was in space in the “Tatonka” (from the root Native American, meaning “large bull”) and en route to Sytek’s Lustrevik headquarters for a short fitting session. After whipping on a hasty fitting, Loreena warped out to an empty moon and together with a few corp members, we tested the ship’s functions.

Impressive, dr Watson

First off, the ship is huge. As usual in EVE you won’t realize this to its full extent until you see some other ships next to it – even battleships are relatively small compared to the Orca. As a mostly highsec pilot, it is refreshing to have a “heavyweight” ship other than the existing freighters allowed to fly around there. Especially since the Rorqual and all the battle-oriented capital ships are restricted to low- and nullsec. Beyond the mere aesthetic points, what seduced me is primarily the solid mining gang support. A lot of players thinking of buying an Orca crunch numbers like how long they will have to mine to get back the cost of the ship, but I have a much more pragmatic approach: I take decisions by gut. Otherwise I would probably not have bought it, and missed a lot of fun. Friends of the pew-pew will doubtlessly wonder behind which asteroid the fun in this might be hiding, but sitting in a belt with that ship is just awesome. Loreena keeps it within 1.500 metres of Aeon’s Hulk, that way Aeon can move his mined ore directly into the Orca’s corporation hangar without even having to drop a jetcan. Try stealing that ore πŸ™‚

Here is a quick overview of the Orca:

  • 250% tractor beam range bonus (~71 km), 1000 m/s speed
  • 500% survey scanner range bonus
  • 5% cargo bonus per level
  • 3% gang modules bonus per level
  • Transportation: 81.588 m3 with 2 x Expanded Cargohold II and 3x Cargohold Optimization I rigs at my current ICS II
  • Transportation: 40.000 fixed corporation hangar space on top of raw cargo space
  • Transportation: 400.000 m3 for assembled ships with rigs (so up to BC size)
  • Full-fledged command ship, can fit all gang modules
  • Can fit three gang modules out of the box
  • Corporate hangars that can be accessed by up to 10 members simultaneously
  • Fitting and storing / undocking ships in space with the ship maintenance bay
  • Docking/undocking ships in space
  • Not easy to gank (10.750 Shield / 6.900 Armor / 46.000 Structure without skills)
  • Limitation: Ships in ship maintenance bay can only carry charges in their cargohold, no regular cargo
  • Limitation: Maintenance bay can only carry assembled ships

The gang modules make Aeon’s often short mining sessions a lot more profitable (with a theoretical maximum yield bonus of 45 to 50% depending on skills and implants). There are three Mining Foreman modules:

Of course these bonuses are subject to the related Leadership skills and ship bonuses. Loreena currently gets 10.6% from all three with Mining Director V. On Tatonka I use 2 x Laser Optimization and 1 x Field Enhancement as I have no need for the capacitor bonus. I could go for all-out cycle duration, but being able to mine up to 18 kms away without moving around is worth it. What I also like about the ship is that it is not an easily gankable ship. You need a lot of firepower to take one down even without any defensive modules installed. I am not keen on losing the ship though, so following some recommendations I always have a Damage Control II fitted and active. On top of that, as I do not use any survey modules or midslots at all I fitted a permarun Large Shield Booster II. Handy to tank rats… and more.

Of course it all depends on how you use the ship. My case is pobably not very widespread, with only one Hulk in the mining gang πŸ™‚ With a ship like that, I prefer to be safe than sorry. You should not fly around with all your assets in the hold anyway, that is a gank waiting to happen. When I need to transport things I try to keep the total value not too high, and NEVER do it on autopilot. I have been ganked once before that way, it was a lesson well learned – but I digress, back to the topic at hand. Battleclinic has no way to post a fitting for ORE ships, so here it is the old way:

1 x Damage Control II
1 x Power Diagnostic Unit II

3 x Cap Recharger II
1 x Large Shield Booster II

2 x Mining Foreman Link – Laser Optimization
1 x Mining Foreman Link – Mining Laser Field Enhancement

3 x Cargohold Optimization I

Beyond mining

Trust people to use it for everything it is NOT made for, but as a command ship the Orca is not limited to mining tasks alone. You can fit any of the available gang modules, and some players successfully use the ship as missioning support. It has a 75 m3 drone bay, which means it can actively participate in fights if need be, and it’s a great salvager with that 70 km tractor range and increased speed. It can carry all the ammo you will ever need and you can even store ships for different tasks in it to swap around in space. Want to change hardeners for the next room? You do not even have to dock. It is not exactly what I would do with it, but it is always good to think outside of the box… Which is exactly what some pirates did when the Orca was released. As far as I know they used a small glitch that allowed the ship to transport -10 security status characters into highsec, and would warp into belts, undock with ships from the maintenance hangar and gank some unsuspecting miners. That glitch has been fixed since, but it further demonstrates that as boring and repetitive that mining can get, you should always keep your guard up.

Well I think this about wraps the subject for now, I wrote a lot more than I started out for. As always, feel free to comment. I would love to hear how you use your Orca, or what you are planning to do when you eventually get one.

On a sidenote, Aeon really has to train Veldspar Processing sometime soon… 2 years into the game and he still cannot mine Veldspar properly, and that with the current market prices! Chribba, if you hear me, I know – I’m not worthy πŸ™‚ Seeing how fast I can strip a belt on my own now, it is kind of depressing to have to leave all the veldspar asteroids behind. The ship and gunnery skills have gotten a lot of love lately, so I think it is only fair to focus back on mining for a month or two.

I have posted few screenshots of late, so here is a catchup collection!

Aug 28 2008

Day 684: Ready to wreak some havoc

Nothing better than a seasonal break to put a few things back into place. I played through Mass Effect three times, an all-time record for playthroughs of any game I have ever played. There were no precedents at all, even. I started a second character in Morrowind, but stopped playing shortly thereafter. If you like scifi (which is likely if you play EVE…) and RPGs, I can only recommend Mass Effect. It turned my world upside down there for a while, and a game with some girl-girl action can not be all bad, now can it?

But let’s get back to the game at hand. Aeon is only ten days away from Amarr Battleship V, which will help a bit (5% more turret damage and 5% more armor resistances), even if not tremendously considering the time invested (34 days total). However, if I want to take Aeon further into the realm of EVE’s ship goodness it is slowly becoming a must-have. If he ever manages to decide which way he wants to go that is… it merits some thought.

Catching up

News have been scarce of late, but a number of things happened before I took my summer break that are worth noting. Sharon Valer11, an alt of my good friend Serotta Ortot, had joined Sytek for a while – “hiding out” as he used to say, to avoid being flagged as a macrominer. A name with numbers in it and virtually no standing when he bought her, I can’t blame him… But I do blame him for leaving the corp again to create his own πŸ™‚ Sharon’s boobs were a ray of light in the corp, even if none of us were allowed to get near them (sorry, insider joke).

Now Sharon runs her own POS with highsec research slots, I will post some details when she is ready to go public with the research services. Highsec research slots are always a nice commodity, so this may be interesting to a few people I think, myself included. And it is always good to know who you are dealing with, in this case a great friend I know I can trust.

On Aeon’s front I made a few expenses (read “OUCH”) and bought a second Abaddon to be able to manage two different fittings, one with beam lasers and one with pulses including two different rig setups. The pulse setup is my current favorite, it packs a way heavier punch albeit at close range.

PvP, here I come!

Well, not really. I still do not like it, but I wanted to learn a bit more about it to at least have a fighting chance if Aeon has to defend himself or to protect corp buddies in need. I dusted off the Aeonizer, and spent quite a while searching the battleclinic loadouts for PvP setups followed by a heavy-duty EFT session. I ended up with a pretty unorthodox setup for my usual playstyle (sorry, this one’s staying secret for obvious reasons!) and only needed a few testdrives.

I got to make a few sparring sessions with a more experienced corp buddy, and while the fights themselves were all pretty even (I won one, the other two I think he would have won) it showed me that I am not quite as defenseless as I always believed – especially since his char is one year older than Aeon, and he regularly takes PvP courses. I still lack the experience, but I know the key elements now. I am still not going into lowsec/nullsec anytime soon though – not until I have found a way to earn ISK that suits me and my playing time, other than mining πŸ™‚

Wreaking havoc

Yes, that’s definitely what I intend to do. Run some level 4 missions, snoop out some complexes in highsec and blast everything that so much as looks like a red dot in the overview. I have to catch up on my quota of angel ships per month, so I will have to squeeze my agent very hard as long as some level 4 agents are still in highsec – hint at the current forum discussions on how all level 4 agents should be moved to nullsec. A load of horsedung in my opinion, I don’t think CCP will shoot themselves in the foot like that. Add a few more level 4 agents in nullsec, maybe. But not remove them from highsec altogether.

Now that Aeon has Heavy Assault Ships V, I also have to dust off my Zealot again and try to build a fit that works. I currently use the ship for probing (don’t laugh – I have a perfectly sane reason for doing so!), but I have to really put that skill to use. I think some EFT sessions are in order πŸ™‚

LTT design

On the ever-present sidenote, I did a design for the LTT (League of the Tiger and Tentacle) corporation website, which I still have to slice and splice to build the website with. We hang out in the same channel ingame, and when they saw the Sytek website they asked if I could make one for them. They had to wait quite a while to get it, but it’s finally here.

The challenge in these designs is building something attractive that will still work in the ingame browser. That’s why most of the graphical work is done in the header and footer – the content part is simplistic on purpose so that it will still display alright in the browser. You can have a look at the design on my DeviantART page.

If you want one for your own corp, I am open for commissions. Evemail me for a quote – I can do both the design and development. I use a homebrewed, EVE-specific framework built on PHP that the Sytek website runs on. Beyond that, I also provide professional RL web design and development via my france-based company, Mistralys.

Jul 17 2008

Day 652: Grasping the future

It’s that time in my gaming life again, the time where I try to grasp what the future will hold. With all the games I have played, I have noticed a cycle that tends to repeat itself. Like putting heart and soul into playing Civilization at the time, Wing Commander Privateer, Morrowind… the list goes on. Each of these I played exclusively for a while, then abruptly put them aside to switch to something else. Most of these I go back to after a longer pause to relive part of the fun and immerse myself back into the same state of mind – with more or less success.

I have been feeling the end of a cycle on the horizon for a little while now, but I am treading on new ground with EVE, so I am curious as to how this will turn out. Only one other game still beats EVE in terms of longevity: the Civilization series, which I always come back to. EVE is a new kind of beast, one (like other MMOGs) that offers a world beyond the mere game. It is that world that holds me back, that withstands the cycle for the first time. But even if I know now that I do not want to end this adventure yet, there are many issues that make the game side of EVE pretty dull.

26 Million skill points is not much by EVE standards, but it is enough to get a large glimpse of what the game has to offer. To visualize this a bit better, the following is a breakdown of all the things he can currently do in-game:

– Fly frigates, interceptors, industrials, covert ops, force recons, heavy assaults, cruisers, battlecruisers, battleships.
– Run level 1 through 4 missions
– Run complexes and COSMOS missions
– Use his hacking skills to run hacking complexes
– Use his archaeology skills run archaeology complexes
– Use his probing skills to scan down ships, POSs, complexes and co
– Use cloaking devices, even in warp
– Fly a Hulk well and mine anything highsec has to offer
– Manufacture from researched blueprints
– Use research agents
– Unleash hordes of drones (ok, only 5 heh)
– Smite his enemies with laser fire
– Salvage anything of value in his Salvacane
– Wreak havoc in the market (I wish)
– Hoard pretty stuff (Exotic dancers, anyone?)
– Remote repair armor, shields and cap support
– Manage a corporation
– Some stuff that I probably forgot about

Sadly, I have come to realize that with my way of playing the game I have reached a state where further progression does not make much sense. Before you go up in flames, let me explain.

Within six days, I can fly a Command Ship like the Absolution. At first I was thrilled, but asking around and reading up on the ship specs I realized getting one of those would not make much sense considering the investment. The Absolution has a better tank than the Harbinger, but DPS-wise the Harbinger is still superior. And an Absolution is a massive investment (about 260 Mil for the skill, the ship and its fittings). For what would I use a ship like that? Fly a few level 3 missions with it?

An idea was to go for a black ops, until I found out it would even be quicker to train for a mothership. Besides, a black ops is a great ship but why should I invest all that bloody time training for jump drive skills I don’t need otherwise? Same goes for capital ships – that and the fact that a solo playstyle does not fit these ships. They need support, and even if it would be an asset for the corp we would not have much use for one anyway. Need I even mention the steep price?

So I realized that as a mostly solo player who does not like PvP, I am more or less stuck with what I can do now. Even that is a bit depressing, with 20 to 30 day training times that reek of artificial lifespan. It is not my style to go ranting and raving about things I do not like – I very much prefer working around them and stay happy. I cannot help feeling that training times this long are not really necessary though, and make for a cap that once reached pretty much removes the steady joy of completing skills. Somehow that does not seem like something I would want my customers to experience.

As a keynote I would say it may very well be that I expect something of EVE that it was never intended to be, namely a solo multiplayer game. Nonetheless I spent 1.6 years happily soloing it, which makes me think that CCP has created a solid framework that just needs adjusting for long-term players. Anyway I will keep the spirit alive and try to find new ways to play the game πŸ™‚

On a sidenote, I would like to thank all the great players from RMS and of course everyone who joined Syrkos Technologies so far, without them I would probably have stopped playing altogether with the end of this cycle.

Apr 14 2008

Day 548: Belgaraths Hand

This is another good example of how one thing can lead to another. I have been playing around with EFT (Eve Fitting Tool) a lot lately, having first used it to create the new fitting for Pax Nemesis X (which allowed me to finally run level 4 missions). The aim was to find a cheapish fit for a Maller with PvP in mind, one that would not be too expensive to replace. I found out that the Maller can be a very resilient little cruiser, and that my knowledge of PvP is too limited to create any effective setup just like that.

A bit depressed, I started toying around with fittings for the Aeonizer (my Harbinger), and finally ended up doing alternate fittings for Pax Nemesis X. I gaped in shock at the screen when I realized I was still using plain old tech 1 guns now that I have the skills to fit tech 2 ones (and which I spent like eons to get to…!). In that instant I already had a strong intuition that Pax Nemesis X was doomed. The fitting I had used on the ship relied on using the least greedy beam turrets, and was never going to be capable of fitting tech 2 turrets.

I browsed the battleclinic loadouts for a while, and created about six alternate fittings. I disregarded the rigs installed on Pax Nemesis X, as I wanted to have an optimal fit. In the end, I came up with a perma-run setup with eight tech two beam lasers and about the same tank than on Pax Nemesis X. But now I was faced with a new dilemma: replace the rigs on Pax Nemesis X, or buy a new Abaddon? I had the funds to do it, but did not exactly want to “waste” them on buying a second battleship.

After a lot of winding and turning, I asked in my favorite chat channel, and the answer was very clear: “buy a second one, you can always sell the other”. Of course, how come you are sometimes blind to the obvious? There was a reasonable offer for an Abaddon in RensBrutor Tribe Treasury, so Aeon shuttled there and bought it. As I was running out of letters in the alphabet and did not particularly want to name the ship “Pax Nemesis Z”, I came up with something new: “Belgarath’s Hand”. Anyone familiar with David Eddings‘ fantasy books will recognize this instantly. It is a reference to Belgarath the Sorcerer. As I am currently re-reading The Belgariad it seemed fitting πŸ™‚

The new setup has a mix of tech 2 turrets to make the best possible use of the available capacitor and power grid. Of course I would have loved fitting 8 Tachyons, but that requires a way too restrictive fitting. It nevertheless has nearly half as much more DPS than the previous one.

Here’s the detail:

High slots
5x Dual Heavy Beam Laser II
3x Mega Beam Laser II

Medium slots
3x Cap Recharger II
1x X5 Prototype I Engine Enervator

Low slots
1x Damage Control II
1x Large Armor Repairer II
4x Active hardeners depending on mission damage type (EM|TH|KI|EX)

3x Capacitor Control Circuit I

With my current skills, I can run all active modules and the guns indefinitely. I could have swapped the webifier for a fourth cap recharger to replace one more dual heavy beam with a mega beam, but figured it is not worth it. Many BSs in missions get up close and personal, so the webifier is essential if I want to get rid of them in a timely manner. Otherwise it is pretty straightforward now that I look at it. Makes me wonder what took me so long in EFT πŸ™‚

I tested it in several level 4s already, and so far I am very happy I made the change. The added DPS really show, and the tank seems just as solid without the three Auxiliary Nano Pump I rigs I had on Pax Nemesis X. Besides, the Capacitor Control Circuit I rigs allow for a lot more leeway in fittings, so I don’t think I’ll regret it.

The only thing that still makes me frown is that I saw next to no loadouts with beam lasers on battleclinic. They all used pulse lasers, so just to check I created an alternate fitting for the ship with the best large pulse lasers and understood part of the attraction. For one, they are made for close-up encounters, which you end up in unvariably if you fly around at 137 m/s. The second reason is that they use a lot less cap and power. In my test, I was able to fit all eight of the best tech 2 pulses – impossible to do with eight tachyons.

My feelings to that fact were mixed. On second thought, I think I was actually quite angry. “What bloody ship are those turrets supposed to fit on then??” The Abaddon is supposed to be that one big laser doom machine, and it can’t even fit all eight tech 2 turrets? Well actually it can, but don’t expect to be able to fit anything resembling an active tank at the same time. You need Reactor Control Units to even put them all on there, with all skills at level 5 and power-related implants. With the current fit I was able to marry tank and gank, but if you want total gank you will have to trade for vulnerability. Which makes sense, really – except it does not if you compare that to a tech 2 projectile setup…

Anyway, the new setup works like a charm and I don’t need more than that for now πŸ™‚

On the traditional sidenote, this weekend SYTEK hosted its first real joint venture. I got a few interesting missions from my agent (like “The Score“), so we gathered in Isendeldik and even took our junior member along in his faction-fitted Myrmidon. I did the tanking, they did the ganking πŸ™‚ Loreena was there too to provide armor repair services. Compared to soloing missions, the added damage we were dealing made the missions go by pretty fast. It was a very enjoyable experience, and I am eager to see more pilots join us – the more the merrier!

The screenshot shows the 15 total drones we were able to field working on a 1.2 Million bounty Gist Seraphim battleship.

[EDIT 2008-04-14 23:09] Added the missing screenshot, and addendum: The Gist seraphim was already dead. The screenshot shows a Gist Throne.

Mar 10 2008

Day 513: Pax Nemesis succombs to Saboteurs

I won’t keep the suspense hanging for long: Pax Nemesis III (Abaddon) is gone. Last night as Aeon accepted a level 4 mission to intercept some saboteurs, I made the mistake of not checking the damage I had to fit armor hardeners for. But that was not the sole problem – as always, it was really a sum of things that lead to this unfortunate turn of events. But before I explain in detail, let me make a brief summary of what has happened in the last weeks. I was very busy in real life, and did not have the time to write – you can always skip this part and come back to it later if you like.

Quick heads-up
After my level 4 preparation post, I made a trip to nullsec (I have a log entry in the works for that). My good friend Serotta Ortot let me fly his Armageddon there for ratting, and he was using active armor hardeners on it. I was baffled by how effective the setup was, and when I went back to empire I refitted Pax Nemesis III to use an active armor tanking setup. On top of that, Loreena was already within reach of an Exequror, the small brother of the Oneiros. I bought her one, and so it happened that I tried running a level 4 mission again. Aeon was using 4 active mission-specific hardeners, a Damage Control II and a large armor repairer in a permarun setup with eight large beam laser turrets (not the tachyons anymore, they use way too much capacitor). While the DPS was obviously not the same with less powerful turrets, the tank itself seemed impenetrable. At one point, the ship was tanking six battleships and they could not even dent the armor.

Since then, I have run quite a few level 4 missions without any forseeable trouble at all. I ended up tackling them without Loreena, as the tank was good enough to handle anything the missions threw at me.

Pax Nemesis III’s last battle
Probably over-confident in the new tanking setup, I warped Aeon into “Intercept the Saboteurs“. Everything went as planned, and I did not take Loreena along as I had already done the mission alone before. As I mentioned, I use two active hardeners for each of the main mission damage types: Kinetic and Thermal in this case. I must have misread that, because I put in the kinetic hardeners, but left the explosive hardeners on. Once in the mission, the tank was holding nonetheless by pure brute force. Had the Serpentis Megathron not gotten within range, Aeon would have made it. That ship’s blasters started tearing the armor apart slowly, but I was not especially concerned as I was still busy taking out the cruisers to bring down the overall DPS. My drones were dispatching the frigates on their own, so the situation was completely under control.

After a short while, I started to realize that was not entirely the case. Only two cruisers were left, and their DPS was not likely to change much. I switched fire to one of the nearest battleships, a Core Admiral or some such, and even set the drones on him. He died pretty fast, but to my dismay it did not make any difference. I must have been extra sluggish, because only then did I realize it was the Megathron that was the big damage dealer here. HE was the one that was profiting from the thermal weakness in my armor tank. I think by the time I switched targets to take him out, Pax Nemesis III’s armor hitpoints were already down to thirty-five percent. Logically, I aligned the ship for warp, made the drones dock and warped. Warped….? No. “What the HELL?”

Coming out of the comfort of months of level 3 missioning, I still had that last resort escape possibility of warping out in mind. Level four mission bring new dangers with them, including warp scrambling ships. Probably needless to say, but when the ship would not warp, I knew I was done for. I logged Loreena in on the second PC, but she was parked in Rens BTT of all places, four jumps out. There was not way she could be there on time, and my desperate attempts to take out the warp scrambling ships failed at recognizing which ones were scrambling me at all. Panic transformed into dismay, strengthened by my dismissal of thermodynamics as useless a while back. I do not know if overheating could have given me the edge I needed, but it was another drop in the bowl of dismay.

In the end I think the ship put up more than an honorable performance, going down all guns blazing to the last second. The armor repairer managed to put in several cycles, delaying the structural hits long enough for the drones to cut down a few more frigates – but still not the right ones. After that I sat there in my pod, eyeing the surrounding ships with a vengeful look. Had my eyes been fitted with laser turrets, I think I could have destroyed a small planetoid. Except I was more mad at my own sorry self for being so utterly careless, bordering on the plain stupid.

Pax Nemesis “X”
So I sat there in my pod, pondering what to do next. The corp wallet was at sixty million, not enough to buy a new battleship. I noticed the flashy mail icon, and checked the insurance message. The ship was not insured of course, and I was expecting a condescending, mocking note telling me I should have had the ship insured, gna gna gna. To my surprise, the default insurance payout was 79 million. Now that was more like it! 130 million should get me a new battleship, if not an Abaddon. The fittings were another matter… I decided I had to start liquidating some of the assets I had stashed so far.

Loreena cancelled most of the running buy orders to free up another twenty million, and shipped all the salvage and sellable modules to Rens. In the meantime, Aeon was already on his way to the Amarr trade hub, Oris EFA, as buying the ship and turrets was going to be cheaper there. The salvage sales had the effect of finding a fabled hidden treasure – when I had finished selling everything, the corporation wallet was at a new record of 450 million… nearly half a billion! Not only was I going to be able to replace the lost ship, even fittings and rigs were possible πŸ™‚

I spent a good hour with EFT (Eve Fitting Tool) to come up with an improved setup for the ship, laid out for better survivability (I included the complete fitting in the extended part of this log entry if you want to see the details). Once I knew what I wanted, Aeon bought a new Abaddon and promptly christened it “Pax Nemesis X”. Already having gone through three versions of the name, I chose something a little more final. If I ever lose this ship, I will have to change the name. Fitting it was pretty quick, as everything I needed was available on-station, and quite a bit cheaper than Rens too: 202 million for the ship, modules and rigs as compared to about 220 had I bought all that in Rens.

Righteous revenge
Now was the time to finish what I had started, and at the same time test the slightly modified ship setup. Aeon made the twenty jump trip back to the mission system, Isendeldik, and this time Loreena was there too just in case. At warp-in, the cloud of enemy ships was all around at about 4 kilometres. This meant that the Megathron was going to be able to lay down its max DPS instantly, but I had the right hardeners fitted this time. The DPS was still pretty high, but the new tank held on its own. With three Auxiliary Nano Pump I rigs I expected no less. I was able to finish the mission easily, and even though I regretted losing the ship in the first place it could have been worse. As the saying goes, everything that does not kill you makes you stronger…

Anyhow, it was an interesting evening to say the least. Loreena will be Aeon’s wingman from now on when I run level 4 missions, regardless of how well I am prepared. I am NOT going to lose another ship to a mission – not if I can help it, anyway πŸ™‚

Pax Nemesis X fitting

High Slots
8 x Dual Modulated Heavy Energy Beam I

Med Slots
4 x Cap Recharger II

Low Slots
1 x Damage Control II
1 x Capacitor Power Relay II
2 x Armor XX Hardener II, for primary mission damage (XX = Kinetic/EM/Thermal/Explosive)
2 x Armor XX Hardener II, for secondary mission damage
1 x Large ‘Accomodation’ Vestment Reconstructer I

3 x Auxiliary Nano Pump I

Jan 23 2008

Day 466: Level 4 preparations

A while back, I tried running a L4 mission with Pax Nemesis III (Abaddon). My friendly neighborhood’s agent gave me Mordus Headhunters, and I was actually quite happy to get that because the level 3 version has very nice loot. Of course I had no idea that it is one of the hardest level 4 missions around… as you can imagine, it was way too much to handle. I refitted for a better tank after a go at the first room, and barely managed to clear it. When I got to room two, I knew instantly there was no way I could get rid of that fleet on my own.

I ended up cancelling the mission, and went back to the drawing board. Using EVEMon, I created a skill plan that should at least make it possible to survive level 4 missions, and from there go on to finishing them more efficiently. It is split into two parts, the first focussing on my drone skills. As I learned recently, drones are a vital element to level 4 missioning, as they can make a big difference in taking down cruisers and battleships.

My particular situation in fighting Angel Cartel ships with an Amarr setup is really the worst combination you can find, as Angel Cartel ships are highly resistant to EM and thermal damage. Lasers can only do those two damage types, so the Berserker (explosive damage) and Wasp (kinetic damage) drones are what you need to take down cruisers and battleships. The first part of my skillplan aims to give me control over Berserker II drones:

1. Drone Interfacing III and IV
4. Combat Drone Operation II, III and IV
6. Heavy Drone Operation II, III and IV
9. Minmatar Drone Specialization I, II, III and IV
13. Heavy Drone Operation V

Total time: 36 days, 12 hours, 50 minutes, 52 seconds

The second part of the skillplan is for improving my tanking capabilities as well as DPS (Damage Per Second). Here again the fact that I use laser turrets plays a big role in what skills I need. The capacitor is the biggest problem of all, so to be able to fit anything other than capacitor support modules in lows and mids I had to train Weapon Upgrades to V as well as Advanced Weapon Upgrades to IV, and am finishing off with Controlled Bursts V now. Base capacitor skills are of course all maxed out already. Here’s what I want to do:

1. Controlled Bursts V
2. EM Armor Compensation IV
3. Explosive Armor Compensation IV
4. Kinetic Armor Compensation IV
5. Thermic Armor Compensation IV
6. Large Energy Turret IV
7. Rapid Firing V
8. Thermic Armor Compensation V
9. Kinetic Armor Compensation V
10. Explosive Armor Compensation V
11. EM Armor Compensation V

Total time: 59 days, 9 hours, 57 minutes, 25 seconds

This gives me another 10% passive resists bonus for all damage types. The other skills, namely Controlled Bursts, Large Energy Turret and Rapid Firing are all for an increased DPS at hopefully no additional capacitor strain. To be precise, Controlled Bursts decreases the capacitor needs of all turrets by an additional 5%, Rapid Firing decreases the time between shots and Large Energy Turret increases the damage output by another 5%. With my current gunnery skills, that should be enough to open the doors to level 4 missions along with the drones as support.

The Loreena joker card

Beyond that, I watched a nice little fight in Eram lately where a Rupture tanked two missile spamming drakes… with the help of a logistics ship that hovered about 80 kilometres out. If all else fails, I will train Loreena up for a logistics ship like the Oneiros and take her along on level 4 missions. She has to train up the Gallente Spaceship Command tree up to cruisers V, but even so it will only take her 35 days to get there. That leaves enough time for another serious mining venture to pay for the ship πŸ™‚

Detailed fitting

All this only makes sense if you look at my current missioning setup of course, so here is Pax Nemesis’ revealed:

High slots
6 x Tachyon Modulated Energy Beam I.
       – Amarr Navy Multifrequency L
       – Amarr Navy Xray L
2 x medium

Medium slots
[Currently testing new layout]

Low slots
[Currently testing new layout]

2 x Capacitor Control Circuit I
1 x Auxiliary Nano Pump I

I invested quite a bit in the Amarr Navy frequency crystals, and so far they have proven to be worth the money. Unfortunately they take damage and will eventually have to be replaced, but I had my first few cruiser insta-pops with them and once you have tasted that it gets difficult to switch back πŸ™‚

…anyway, the level 4 adventure goes on!

Jan 8 2008

Day 451: Back to basics

After all the mission running, complex running, ratting, trading and moving from A to Z, I had to relax a bit. So I hopped into my speed monster “Naeroth” (Malediction) and made the sixteen-jump trip out to my mining system. I have not mined in a long time, and had not yet seen “Anamoth Lael” (Hulk) in its new Trinity-powered shape. I must say exhumers in general look a hell of a lot better now – they are more angular for one, giving them an air of pure competence and efficiency. I have not witnessed the “Pink paintjob” everyone talks about so far, on mine the colored patches are all orange. My guess is, this is like the color of a solar system’s star having an effect on the hue of the ship itself. I mine in a brown-orange-ish system, so it is possible a blue star would make those patches pink…

Anyway, I like the new Hulk and have rediscovered mining. It is tremendously relaxing, and highly profitable too. It is not like level 3 missions do not pay the bills, but mining is definitely a better time investment. From what I heard, this is different with level 4 missions, but after a failed attempt at them a while back I am waiting to complete my level 4 preparation skillplan (90 days to go) to try that again. The all-time highs in my wallet have always been after mining “lapses”, so I am going to mine for as long as I enjoy it and see what comes of it πŸ™‚

The belt I am mining in is nice and quiet, and has Veldspar, Scordite, Plagioclase and Omber. I made a point of training Omber Processing to be able to use the specialty crystals, and going for level 4 to use the tech II ones. I found that the ore value comparison table at battleclinic is probably wrong about listing Plagioclase at 23 ISK per unit vs 12 ISK for Omber (for the highest value subtypes). Seeing how valuable Isogen (a product of refining Omber) is at the moment, Omber is better value – they must be basing their values on obsolete market data. Even so, it is much better to be able to warp to a belt bookmark with all crystal types in the hold and just mine everything in sight methodically. Aeon still needs to train for Veldspar though, then he will leave nothing behind but the cold void of space. Chribba would probably cringe at hearing that as a miner, I am only training Veldspar processing now πŸ™‚

Loreena has flown in from Domain to help, with a locally bought Mammoth she hauls all the ore back to base. Aeon just flies into a belt and mines to his heart’s content. I use a jetcan to transfer the ore, but as Loreena picks it up directly there is no problem with potential can stealers. The stash of ore is increasing nicely, and I think this time I will wait a while before I refine it all. A courier contract for the refined materials will be a lot more comfortable than the unending hauling trips – if the price is right of course.

Aeon’s wallet being at a new low of about six million ISK, I will have to let him mine for quite a while. I am not sure yet as to what I will invest that money in, but I am sure it will not be cheap. Apart maybe from civilian shield boosters nothing is really cheap in EVE! Although… A friend in-game actually managed to sell two civilian shield boosters for 12 million each, so even those things can be quite expensive… πŸ™‚