Sep 24 2011

Day 1763: The nomad reawakens

Is it safe to jump through? Sure, you first.

After an excursion into Planetary Interaction that was both fun and utterly unprofitable, I realized Aeon had become way too sedentarized. Stuck in the same system and surrounding area for months on end to be able to move PI materials to market, the monotony started to get to me. As a result, I logged in less often because I knew that if I did, it would only be to update extractors and ferry stuff around. Yes, that kind of activity can be fun depending on your enthusiasm – but it is usually just as boring as it sounds. It took an email request from one of my corp members to get me interested again – I logged on, and a few conversations later I was hooked again. It’s like logging into a website like DeviantART or even Facebook: if you want to avoid being sucked in, avoid logging in. There is no such thing as just logging in for that “quick peek”.

I knew my Planetary Interaction cycle was over. I needed to do something fun again, and after a good hot bath (my secret concentration weapon) I knew I had to take Aeon and Loreena back to their roots. Aeon has always been a nomad at heart, going where the cosmic winds take him. Loreena was uprooted from her previous life by her homeworld’s destruction, and has been a nomad since as well. I had to cut all ties to things that make you stay in one place in the game, the most notorious being a POS. I had moved Aeon to Chidah for the POS, but after its destruction by a roaming gang (due to my inactivity it had gone offline) I knew I would not set up a new one. It is always a bad thing if a GAME you play becomes as much a chore as your everyday job. In my opinion that is specifically an area in which CCP have blundered, but that’s another story. So for Aeon and Loreena to become true nomads again, I decided to let all this go. No more POS, no more PI, no more manufacturing.

Loreena sold her entire BPO collection for 2 billion (thanks again, DD!), which helped in funding better fittings for the few ships Aeon and Loreena would take along. Aeon needed only Sparhawk’s Wrath (his Paladin), Loreena provided support as always with Tatonka (her Orca). She transports all commonly needed modules with it, as well as a few ships: “Naeroth’s Razor” (her Proteus), “Repair-O-Tron” (her Oneiros), “Sentinel” (her Guardian) and a shuttle. No need for a fixed base of operations: between the two of them, they can master any task they might get.

Quite an installation.

As chance would have it, the evening I started looking for a place to go to, one of Sytek’s members mentioned missioning together sometime. So far I had turned down most offers because I was simply too far away from everyone and lacked the time to get started. The satellite connection at home did not help either, but I wanted some action and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. On a whim, Aeon flew ahead in a shuttle while Loreena packed everything and followed. It was a 32-jump trek from Chidah to the Genesis region, but with the shuttle it was a breeze. On site I could borrow a fully fitted Apocalypse, and we set out to kill some Blood Raiders. Flying in a fleet felt good, and the next day Aeon flew back to move Sparhawk’s Wrath over.

Loreena has access to some agents in the area, so we are going to stay a while – until the need to move surfaces again. I have rarely had something as liberating as cutting off all ties as I did. It put the fun back into the game, because it became a game again – a place without duties, with good friends and interesting things to do. Granted, EVE is not a fun game per se. That’s also its strong point however, and one that I have come to appreciate, within certain limits. This brings me to something I had been meaning to do for a while as well: resume my original lowsec / nullsec sightseeing tours 🙂

Aug 8 2011

New character portraits

While the new portrait editor is all kinds of awesome, I think some of the characters lack the depth they had before. This is especially true in Aeon’s case: the old portrait was more expressive than what can be achieved with the new editor. One thing that really bugged me was the fact that I can’t have him open his eyes more – his race template does not offer enough leeway here. Difficult not to make him seem sleepy!

Nevertheless I am quite happy how they both turned out (even if Aeon looks like a monkey with the Captain’s Quarters renderer and Loreena is way too angular). As usual I did not use much makeup or additional decorations like piercings or the like, because both characters are very simple and it would not fit their style. I think they will not get anything from the NEX store either – the default choice of attire is more than enough for their needs 🙂

Aeon lost his front tattoo, the same one was available after the tattoo update of the editor, but it does not render the same – so I chose to go on without it. Maybe in the future they will add some more options, but for now they look good enough to me.

Apr 20 2010

The Ships of EVE

Federation Navy CometWhen I had the idea to integrate a preview of EVE ships in my blog gimmick ShipsQuickinfo, I had a look at what is out there, and very quickly realized that would not cut it. So I did what I always do, which is to overdo it outrageously. A single view of a ship is not enough in my eyes: to get a good idea of the ship you are looking at in a static image, you need more than one angle. I decided I would need three views: front, side and rear.

What ensued was a screenshotting session that lasted about a month on and off. Using the ingame preview window, I made three separate screenshots for every ship in the game – excluding the ones I did not have access to, namely the tournament prize ships and private/test CCP ships. Needless to say, post-processing was the biggest part. I had to rename all the screenshots, then manually edit each one to remove the labels the game adds. After that I was able to automate the rest with Photoshop batch processing.

Now that I am done there are 245 ships total, so 735 individual screenshots for the three views per ship. I am really happy with the result, as the blog gimmick is a lot more useful with the screenshots. Plus, they are unique – and that’s what I was aiming for. But the screenshots bundle offers a lot more possibilities, and I am eager to try out a few ideas.

To see how I use the screenshots in my blog, click on any of the following ship names:

Federation Navy Comet
Gold Magnate

This gimmick is free to use for your site, the libraries are open source. You can download it from the ShipsQuickinfo project page.

And finally, the eye candy 🙂 These are the 245 ships:

UPDATE: I have uploaded a much larger version on my DeviantART page.

The Ships of EVE

Note that the complete screenshots package is for sale for ingame currency. The format is a DVD with all 6 GB of post-processed screenshots as layered PSD files in 1632 x 1020 resolution. Contact me ingame or via email for details and pricing.

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 (, 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.

Jun 14 2009

Drone Hive under construction

“What the hell?!”

Those were my exact words when I had a look at a 1/10 Drone complex in my missioning system lately. Somehow I never checked out any drone complexes since I started the game, as everybody kept saying that they are completely useless. No interesting loot, no bounties, you name it. Well, I’m glad I checked one out even if pretty late into the game. I’ll let you judge for yourself, I took a few screenshots of the main room in the complex (they are pretty dark, full view is recommended).

And I added two new unrelated screens as well:

I think I’ll have to take a closer look at stuff that like this that everyone else seems to dismiss 🙂

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 🙂

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 🙂 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 🙂 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!

Oct 29 2007

Day 380: Moving again

I have been asking myself for a while what to do with my second character, Loreena Syrkos, and have found her skillset to be fit for manufacturing – at least fitter than Aeon’s. Unfortunately, she has next to no standing with anyone as I have not played with her much. The only standing she has is the derived standing through my corporation. The idea is to get her standings up a bit more through Aeon’s missioning, but then I have to make sure he runs missions for the corporation she uses for her manufacturing. I then started a two-day search for an NPC corporation and station that would fit my needs:

– Have some decent corp standings
– Have at least one level 3 agent Aeon can run missions with
– Always have free manufacturing slots
– Not be too far away from Rens for hauling the stuff to sell
– Not be too high sec, 0.6 or preferably 0.5
– Have all services in-system if not in-station
– Be quiet 🙂

In the end, I decided to work for the Republic Parliament corporation which has two systems fitting the criteria and some agents within direct reach. In a three-day operation, I also used to occasion to collect all my leftover assets and move them to the new system. Moving the minerals I had stashed away was the biggest part of the chore, with Aeon and Loreena both hauling in unison. In the end, I was more than satisfied with having everything in one system. Only exception: my mining operation – that is still way out, and will stay there unless a deadly virus suddenly eradicates macrominers.

Back to Loreena’s role: Aeon made a trip to Amarr space recently to buy some Amarr-specific blueprints, and now she has a healthy little selection of ships and modules to manufacture. With Aeon helping to provide the necessary salvage components, I was even able to build my first self-provided rig – a Salvage Tackle I. I have gotten used to salvaging my missions, and recently refitted Crimson Skies as a “Salvacane”: 2000 m2 cargo space and 4 x Salvager I + 4 x Small Tractor Beam I. I know it hurts to defile such a fine ship that way, but it is just perfect for the job. Ultimately I would like to fit three Salvage Tackle rigs to make it a specialized Salvager.

The only problem with manufacturing is that you will not be able to make any real profits against the competition with pristine blueprints, because then you will use up more materials than the pros who have done material research on them. When you start looking for ME research slots in highsec though, be prepared for an average of 25 days wait for the next free slots. Fortunately, making friends helps. Someone from my regular chat channel is in a corporation of the Zzz alliance, a group of science and manufacturing enthusiasts. If you follow EVE news a bit, you may have heard of them lately as a mercenary corp wardecced them. Anyway, I gave him a set of blueprints, and for a small fee he is doing the ME research on them for me. A very handy exchange in my opinion, as both parties reap the benefits.

Now I am waiting for the research to be finished, and in the meantime Loreena is working on a skillplan dedicated to manufacturing, with Production Efficiency V first on the list (5% material waste reduction per level). Then I will try to crash a few market parties! Using my set of game utilities, I had a look at what my current stock is worth, and was quite surprised to see that I have about 230 Mil worth of salvage and materials in my hangar. That should help to build a few things alright 🙂

On a sidenote, I have not done any advanced calculations to find out how many manufacturing runs I will need to make good on my investment (blueprint prices and research costs). In fact, I do not even care. I have a feeling I would not have started this venture otherwise, and now that the money is gone, I do not miss it. I look forward to the manufacturing part, even if it ends up being only for myself and my friends. As always, fun takes precedence 🙂

And here’s for some eyecandy:

May 18 2007

Day 216: Back to basics

I have switched back to Crimson Skies (Hurricane) for missions. Somehow it is a lot more fun, also through the fact that it has 6800 shield HP vs the Aeonizer’s (Harbinger) 5900 and thus can take quite a bit more damage. I was worried by the loss of the lasers damage bonus, but never even noticed it. I know it’s a big step backwards to the shocking “lasers on a Hurricane?!” effect, but to hell with it 🙂

I am not entirely pigheaded either, so I replaced one of the Cap Recharger IIs with an active shield hardener to see if that does anything. Okay, it does… to the point that I did not need my shield booster at all. This test made me see in a new light what everybody keeps telling me about specialization, only I still do not like it. Opening the fitting screen before each mission, swapping modules (and drones) for the mission’s damage types… I am too darn lazy for that. It damages the fun of just launching into the adventure without thinking.

Here’s a thought: the fitting screen should be able to store fitting schemes. Four of them should be enough, so that I just have to choose a fitting scheme before I jump into a mission and the modules are swapped automagically. As this probably will not happen tomorrow, the only realistic current solution would be to have one ship for each mission type, and only have to switch ships. On second thought, not realistic. At least not until I have found that steady source of billions of ISK per week.

“So”, I thought to myself. Where to go from here? Back to basics is always a good thing, so I tried to look at the whole picture. My current sub-optimal ship setup gets me through level 2 missions quite easily even disregarding everybody’s insistent counselling. However, I want to try and run some level 3 missions – so I think I will have to start listening before I do that if I want to keep my sorry pod’s hull safe.

In light of all this my current plan looks like this:

  • Continue specializing for battlecruisers (fly what you are good at flying)
  • Skill up in core capacitor and shield skills (an armor tank is much better with a good skill-based shield tank)
  • Skill up to make the most of my lasers (go for medium laser specialization)
  • Start using shield hardeners on Crimson Skies (and prepare for swapping frenzy)
  • Skill up for better drones (I love those buggers)
  • Try out other crystals even if it means less range (compensated by the hardeners)
  • Concentrate on the skills I have

Only when I have that working will I go back to the Aeonizer and put together an armor tank, as that requires quite a few skills I either do not have or only at a low level. Aeon’s skills are scattered enough already, I need to focus on those he has now.

Will I really start being reasonable? Knowing myself a little, this plan can change again in the next few hours for the sake of fun. What I do know is that if I should be able to survive level 3 missions without all the specialization stuff, you can be sure Crimson Skies will be happily frying bogies with lasers!

Loreena to the rescue?

On a sidenote (lol), I realized I never mention Loreena Syrkos’ progress much, but she is starting to be an important vector for my corporation. She is the one who processes all the mission loot (having the Scrapmetal Processing skill) and uses that for manufacturing. Between Aeon’s mining runs and the reprocessed loot, I only have to buy a few materials like Isogen or Nocxium from time to time. The last manufacturing run was 10 Mammoths, and the sales made a welcome contribution to the Syrkos Corporation’s funds 🙂 Just this morning, I started a 20 Mammoths manufacturing run… note me if you want one, special blog reader’s price.

Here is a short summary of her char (vs Aeon in brackets):

Skillpoints: 7.200.000 (7.900.000)
Level V skills: 16 (12)
Level IV skills: 9 (23)
Total skills: 39 (68)
Wealth: 2.000.000
Training: Minmatar Frigate V

The frightening part is that she is closing the skillpoints gap – they were a bit over a million skillpoints apart when I started her char, and she has brought that down to about 700.000 skillpoints. It probably has to do with the fact that I chose her attributes specifically for her tasks, and she only trained skills so far that required those attributes. For the Minmatar Frigate skill she reassuringly takes longer than Aeon.

I want to get her standings up to make manufacturing easier, but even courier-only agents have the odd kill mission here and there – so she is currently training for a frigate to take care of those. Actually, she is 10 days away from an assault frigate like the Jaguar, so that will give me an interesting insight into how those behave in a fight. She will only get the skills she needs for that, so she is the essence of specialization 🙂

Okay, enough chatter. It is waffle time – fresh, hot and covered with Nutella. No standard pilot rations here!

Apr 14 2007

Day 182: Missioning again

Ah, it’s good to be back missioning again – especially since I got to run a fair share of missions I had never gotten before, like “The Damsel in Distress” or “Gone Berserk“. A welcome change, and a perfect test for the Aeonizer (Harbinger). Speaking of which, I am still not entirely convinced by its defensive capabilities. A good benchmark ist the “Human Cattle” mission, which was always quite long but never dangerous with Crimson Skies (Hurricane) once I got to know it. With the Aeonizer, enemies are dispatched faster but I really have to make sure I do not get too close because those shields are gone very fast.

I actually had to do some armor repairs lately, which I never had to do on Crimson Skies. I feel a lot safer in the Hurricane, so I am continuing to level up key shield skills to balance out the difference. I cannot stop thinking about the fact that these new skills actually make the Hurricane a lot better too, so the Harbinger will never be as good. Ideally, I would want a Hurricane with laser specialization 🙂

Nah, I think in the future I will train some projectile turret skills to make the most of the Harbinger and the Hurricane, and switch between them depending on the missions.

Jan 30 2007

Discovering station styles

Having moved around a bit lately, I have discovered a few new station types I had not seen yet – and started to wonder what other marvels the designer team at CCP still have in store.

Vullat Imperial Armaments StationVullat Genolution Biohazard Containment StationVullat Genolution Biohazard Containment StationExplosion Storyboard