Sep 8 2014

One playstyle down the drain

build_t2_drone_damage_amplifierFor the past six months or so, Loreena has been working to get back into industry. To support these efforts, I built a custom industry tool tailored to the size of her operation, which consisted mainly of inventing and building T2 modules and drones. Once she had the logistics and know-how mastered, it started being fun and for the first time in her EVE career, her industry undertaking actually gave a benefit. Nothing transcendental, but enough to keep her motivated.

With the industry overhaul, my biggest fear was that her casual highsec manufacturing venture would not be able to compete with low/null manufacturing. At first though, prices stayed relatively stable and she went on building happily. Then the industry community at large really caught on to the new system.

As it stands, many of the modules Loreena used to build are for sale on market for prices way below those she can offer, for some up to 300k ISK per item. Even buying materials at below market value, she cannot compete with the current prices. In practice, as my casual playstyle does not allow for a life in lowsec (I tried several times, it’s just not fun for me), it means one playstyle less in Loreena’s book.

It’s a shame really, since the new UI works really well and made industry noticeably more fun. I can understand CCP’s desire to attract more people to low and nullsec, but I think that industry is not where it should be applied. So far, any additions to the game designed to make pilots flock to lowsec never really conflicted with my casual playstyle: At worst, I am missing out on some juicy or exciting content, but I can live with that. These new changes however break the pattern, and create a disparity that you can only respond to by moving to lowsec.

I know Loreena and Aeon are only small fish, and perhaps my playstyle is not the norm – but I wonder where CCP being this hell bent on forcing people to low/null will lead us. Loreena and Aeon both still have enough material to have fun, but for a game as friendly to casual gamers as EVE I see this as a bad choice indeed. Especially since they did such a terrific job with the new UI.


Apr 22 2012

Day 2014: Pirate faction mayhem

Over the last few months, both Aeon and Loreena have spent quite some time cleaning up their assets, and taking a closer look at their ships collection. As statisfying as running missions in the Paladin / Kronos duo can be, a little diversity is the key to keeping things interesting. Since Aeon has cross-trained some more race ship skills, he unlocked the unsounded depths of his wallet and went on a few shopping sprees from Rens and Amarr to Jita.

The choice piece of the lot was the Bhaalgorn, which Aeon fittingly called “Bird of Prey”. I never thought he would own one someday, since I always dismissed it because of its PvP-oriented bonuses (namely to energy vampires / destabilizers and webifiers). There is more to a ship than raw numbers however, and the Bhaalgorn is no exception. It reminds me of the Nightmare, which has a similar rough and unbridled power.

Where the Paladin acts as a stationary artillery platform, the Bhaalgorn likes it fast, up close and personal. Get into range with the afterburner, pin your target down with the webifier, replenish your capacitor vampire style while you are at it, and blast them to shreds. It may be that I am imagining things, but I suspect those NPC ships not to be as impervious to energy vampires as they should be. It seems to me that they go down faster when vampirizied – but even if they are indeed immune, it has the advantage of keeping your cap flow maxed out. Between the Nightmare, Bhaalgorn and Paladin, Aeon now has three ships with fundamentally different philosophies to choose from, which is perfect to keep things interesting. Try out some missions with a different ship, and you will often find that it is quite another experience.

To spice things up even further, Aeon has been running some of the starter missions with some new ships as well. As frigate, he chose the Succubus. That thing is evil right to its core, and melts through everything like a hot knife through butter. Very efficient, and fun to fly. Its bigger brother, the cruiser-sized Phantasm, follows the same concept – but with more staying power. The capacitor support of both ships is surprisingly good, offering a lot of leeway in terms of modules and building stable fittings. Their twisted design adds a lot to the fun, even though I can understand that it is not something everyone appreciates.

Running the starter missions was nice for a change, and even if they were not what I would call challenging with the tools and skills at hand, they did feel more alive than the eternal level 4 missions everyone knows by heart now. The storytelling in them was a lot more polished. I think this is where the game could use more depth, something to make our fights more worthwile. I still love EVE as much as the first day, but coming back from a story-driven game like Mass Effect makes the missions in EVE seem hollow, without real purpose. There are no big choices to be made (okay, in The Anomaly you can choose to let the scientist escape in the drone ship, or destroy it), and they have no real consequences. Also, why does my agent never congratulate me on dispatching all enemy ships in missions like The Score, where killing that whole fleet is purely optional? A little recognition of my work would go a long way to make PvE meaningful. I would like my actions in the game to be more than generating ISK with simple cover stories to justify their existence.

Some of the new missions are quite good, like one of my new favorites, Dread Pirate Scarlet. The randomness is a welcome addition, having to think a bit and react to new parameters each time you run the mission is definitely a step in the right direction. We will always need missions like Gone Berserk, which are fun based on the underlying mechanics, but more quality storylines like the starter missions or epic arcs would be great.

For now though I am waiting to see the effects in practice of the new expansion. Focusing on wars and space combat is important for EVE as a game, because a large part of it is player versus player. Of course I have concerns regarding the effects this can have on my PvE playstyle, namely through the more streamlined war features, with the goal to make highsec wars easier. As CCP themselves have stated, the only way to protect yourself against wars is to join an NPC corporation. I will always be loyal to JVC and Sytek, so that will never be an option. I don’t really think it will change that much for us, but being at war constantly would effectively ruin the game for PvE centric pilots.

Of course that’s the ages old debate of PvP players vs PvE players, which is more or less exactly the same kind of useless fight as PC vs Mac. There will never be an optimal solution for either side, and ultimately they need each other. So in fine, my concern is whether CCP will be able to keep both worlds balanced so neither has to cut back. Then again, if all wardecs could be like the last one JVC was in, I would be quite content: the CEO of the one-man corporation that declared war on us did not log on once during the whole week. It was even better than that other CEO who had chosen JVC randomly in the alliances list while drunk. They were so far away fom any of us that we never saw a single war target.

Anyway, to wrap this up, Aeon has once again moved his base of operations because his missioning system was getting too crowded. Trust there to be a good potential for foolishness as soon as your missioning system hits an average of over 30 pilots. Ashokon was reaching peaks of 100 pilots and more, and miners complaining of getting ganked in local is never a good sign. The new system was 19 jumps away, and seems to be quite promising. Aeon and Loreena had to go through Niarja to get there – which is never really fun, especially with pimped mission ships. Getting targeted by tier 3 battlecruisers hovering on the gates always brings a momentary chill, but so far they have been able to get everything to destination in one piece. Loreena had it easiest, she took the Orca to move everything except the Kronos. With a special defense fit, the Orca is probably one of the safest (of the slow) ships to move things around. Transport ships are still the best option in my opinion, but that depends on the size of the cargo of course. Transporting fully fitted ships in the Orca is always a big bonus.

Let’s see how Aeon and Loreena like their new home, but I already like the new agent: the first mission he gave Aeon was Gone Berserk, one of his top 10 favorites ๐Ÿ™‚

On a sidenote, Loreena had to indulge herself a little and went from a natural brunette to a natural blonde (that’s the beauty of modern DNA alteration technology). I think Aeon approves.


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 ๐Ÿ™‚


Jul 9 2010

Planets and the balance of power

Since Tyrannis has even further increased the deity-like power of capsuleers (in the form of planet side resource extraction), I have been wondering at how this change affects the balance of power in an already pretty wretched universe. Not so much in terms of capsuleer to capsuleer power, but more from governments and โ€œnormalโ€ individuals to capsuleers.

Individual capsuleers, corporations and alliances are entirely outside of the control of the four empires, who merely enforce their law through factional armies and indirectly through CONCORD. Even without being able to harness planetary resources, a single capsuleer already possesses more power than a single human should be able to cope with.

As a result, the rift between capsuleers and everyone else is still widening. The people who actually make it all work are less than a side note โ€“ from ship crews to the work teams that take care of installing and running planet side structures. With that kind of resources at their disposal as well total independence, capsuleers are a dangerous and volatile force.

Battles rage all over New Eden, fleet fights involving all ship classes from frigates to super capitals. Those are forces that could easily give any of the four empires trouble. For now these fights originate from power struggles between capsuleer-controlled alliances and corporations and stay within the capsuleer world. How long will wielding such power to use it on the same targets over and over be enough? Someday a capsuleer will decide that his deity status and is not enough โ€“ and he will put his resources in motion for conquest, to crush the last hindrances keeping him from absolute control.

Step by step, CCP are giving capsuleers more power. From a pew-pew spaceship game, EVE Online is slowly but steadily evolving into a full-fledged simulation that puts the power to conquer entire worlds into your hands. Planetary resource extraction is just the beginning: with Dust451 planetary control is right around the corner.

The question is: where will it end?

I am still unsure where I stand regarding the introduction of yet another form of PvP, but for now I am enjoying building colonies to create materials for Loreenaโ€™s small POS. Planets will become a battlefield in the end, I am merely curious as to how it will be handled โ€“ even if I am not eager to get there.

PI productivity tip: there are a lot of actions for which you can simply use a double-click: start resource extraction, select a route destination, open a launchpadโ€™s launch screen and many more. Try it!


Feb 8 2010

The new player’s blues

There is all the reason in EVE Online’s world to have the blues as a new player. You are looking at years of training for that shiny ship you want, and it seems that you will never be able to reach the heights of players that started years before you. While this is mostly true, it will not spoil the game for you – unless you cannot put it out of your head. If you can not, EVE is not for you – or you need to invest a lot of real money to buy an established ingame character. I do not recommend it, for the same reasons than giving a new driver a Ferrari is also a very bad idea.

Nowadays we are used to getting what we want almost immediately. EVE is a lot about patience, so it does not come naturally to sit around waiting for skill X to complete. The thing is, do not wait for it to complete. I can not stress it enough: play the game. In EVE you do not have to kill NPCs by the thousands to advance, it is done for you in the background. Even if you play just two hours per week, your character will learn new tricks on his/her own.

The way I see it, CCP are doing a pretty good job on the new player experience. The tutorials are really good, and the new starter missions are so interesting that even the older players run them. The key is to focus on what you can do with your current skills. If you try to take down older players in PvP it is true that you can succeed, but you will very likely fail. Choose your targets intelligently, be informed about what the different ships can do and which weaknesses you can exploit. Brute force will only work later on in the game, as a new player you have to put your brain into top gear. That is a good thing too, as it will give you the keys to understand how the game works.

Depending on what type of player you are, from the PvP addict to the avid explorer, no matter what your skill level, you will always find enough game content to have fun. Of course you will moan about those 30+ day skills, everybody does once in a while. Personally I have always had enough to do while skills were training – sometimes you just have to switch to something different for a while. Naturally you want what the skill you just started can give you as fast as possible, but you already have all you need to pass the time.

To conclude, in my opinion it all rests on how much you are willing to invest to keep playing the game. Some players I encountered did not find what they were seeking for, spending a lot of time searching for the kick they needed and never really finding it. Remember that it is supposed to be a game, if what you can do as a new player is not enough, faction battleships or capital ships will in all likelihood not fill the craving you have. I may be a special case – I have not been bored of the game yet after three years… There always seems to be something to do, and there is a lot of gratification in the gradual evolution of your character(s).

Tips:

  • For fun’s sake, try to broaden your skills so you can do more stuff even if not well: that way you can try out different things and train up those areas you really like.
  • To get the most out of the skills system, do not use the certificates – they will make you train more than you really need. Use tools like EVEMon to get a bigger picture.
  • Always start with the minimum requirements for that new class of modules or ships you want to try out. You can always train it up further later.
  • Level 5 skills are for noobs. No, really. Train those skills to 5 that will really give you a benefit. Especially early on, only train skills to 5 if they are a requirement for something else. Optimization is for later, and should be targeted at key skills for your playstyle.
  • Relax. Don’t get too involved. If you get too tied up in the game it will end up not being fun anymore.

Note: I am not trying to defend CCP’s skilling system, just to give some leads on how to cope with it. My personal opinion is that while being a great concept, it reeks of artificial lifespan in its current implementation. But that is another story.


Oct 6 2009

The Empire Of The Caring Bears

“There is an empire within EVE Online, larger than anyone dares to admit. Its people live their lives in protected space, accumulating wealth beyond the dreams of mere mortals. They wage invisible regionwide market wars without ever undocking. From their unbeatable officer-fitted vessels, they organize raids against unsuspecting NPC ships, collecting bounties by the score.

With hundreds of thousands of loyalty points in dozens of corporations, they constantly improve their gear. They have hundreds of ships of all sizes in their hangars, all fully fitted. They could not care less about insurance, they almost never lose a ship. Besides, their wallets can take it without so much as sending ripples through them.

Hour upon hour their shiny mining vessels reap the bountiful riches of asteroid belts in all impunity, knowing they are well defended. Industrialists and researchers alike spend and earn the wealth of nations every day.

Who are they? They are the Carebears.”

Hahahaha. I wish.

My question to the ongoing blog PvP regarding carebearism: how does being called a carebear affect you ingame?

My personal answer: The term carebear started out in EVE as being only mildly pejorative (“the real EVE is nullsec!”), but it has evolved into an insult. It is blatantly obvious that many players use the term nowadays as an easy means to infuriate players that see themselves as the “good” carebear type. The solution is just as obvious, and works with every insult known to man: ignore it.

Okay, I spent way too much time on this post already – I have a COSMOS mission waiting for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have fun guys n girls. In the end it is all about the fun. If your fun is blog PvP, by all means – continue. I am enjoying the ride during downtime ๐Ÿ™‚

[EDIT] an old friend ingame gave me an interesting link to an Ultima Online cartoon featuring “Care Bear Land”. Carebears exist since the creation of MMOs, so chances are they will exist in eons to come. So will pirates and griefers in all likelihood, so I think it’s best to get used to the idea and just let things roll ๐Ÿ™‚


Jan 30 2009

New EVE acronym: NVP

A few key excerpts from the most recent dev blog about the upcoming NPC AI upgrades in the Apocrypha expansion:

  • We want to offer our players true PvE challenge, requiring real team effort and proper gang coordination.
  • (NPCs) have comparable player attributes and thus require variations of PvP fits to engage.
  • (NPCs) are going to make logical target choices depending on the most threatening targets available.

Ho-hum. I do not know yet whether to cry for joy or shiver in fear. Are my solo playing days over? *gasp*

A tanker's dream - soon over?

No really, good stuff. I am always up for new challenges, and even though I fear change just like a lot of other players (which are usually terminally prone to forum whining), I am actually really looking forward to this. Of course it is sooo comfortable just to warp into a mission and take out one pocket after the other with your logistic support ships orbiting unmolested… but it does turn into a mindless grind after a while. We do not even have to press F1 through F8 anymore, a simple F1 is enough with weapon grouping. You can even map a key to give your drones the attack order.

By the way, this should be terrific news for all who complain that EVE is becoming way too mainstream and WoW-like (blasphemy!). NPCs with player attributes and a hint of intelligence? Uh-oh. That you need variations of PvP fits to engage? Oh my. Now THAT’s going to give EVE’s learning curve a further leap into the upper reaches of the MMO comparison charts. Just imagine those already inflated egos bragging about how they dispatched that Sleeper spawn with a mining laser and a civilian shield booster.

And I thought Hoborak Moon was a rather tough nut to crack – he just has a slightly better fit than others.

Go on undeterred, guys. I am a carebear at heart, but hell – I wish you would implement these changes in one go. Upgrade all NPCs at once, and let me watch the NVP* fragfest. I will gladly join the thrill!

* NVP: Non-player character versus Player. “‘Cause now we’re the friggin’ prey!” – anonymous


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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.


Oct 10 2007

Surviving on your own

Almost every new pilot in EVE gets the advice to join a nice corporation. It is a legitimate advice, as corporations are one of EVE’s core elements. Joining a corporation can bring a lot of benefits, the most advertised ones being free ships, skillbooks, even ISK to get you started. You also often get assigned a mentor that helps you understand the game. In exchange, most corporations will ask a legitimate small percentage of all your income to support it, which usually ranges from five to twenty percent. Additional obligations can (must not) include anything from learning a specific set of skills to running mining operations for a common goal.

So what if you still decide to go your own way? I did, and I thought sharing my insights could be interesting to some pilots out there.

When I started playing EVE, I got told to join a corporation numerous times. Always having been a lone wolf, I waited to learn a bit more about corporations before I took any action. The bulk of recruiting mails also made me suspicious as to how new players could be so interesting. The bits and pieces I was able to learn made me even more reticent, up to the decision to create my own corporation for accounting purposes between my two characters. I did not feel like becoming a part of something larger, but the main reason was that I did not want to have any duties/obligations at all – or be forced into war by someone else’s decisions. EVE promoted freedom, and I wanted a full taste of it.

Needless to say, I tasted freedom! Getting anywhere was very slow at first – starting with five thousand ISK and no external help whatsoever, I mined in a Burst, ran level one missions for ages, and made some micro-scale market operations. Imagine even modules like an Afterbuner I being out of your reach… many players nearly completely skip this step by enlisting the “help” of a corporation, and I am glad I did not skip it.

I think my progression in EVE was much better adapted to the pace at which you learn skills. By the time I had earned the funds to buy the Rupture for missioning, I also had the skills ready for it. A corporation wants you to evolve fast, because then you start earning your keep that much faster. What you do not have is being a part of a community though, joining in something bigger than you. I do not feel a need for that, so I cannot tell you much about it. I have friends in-game, and we have a lot of fun overall. Most of them are in corporations, but that does not hinder our contact at all. Except maybe my odd comment about how they should join Syrkos Technologies to be freed of their bonds ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today my corporation’s wallet is at 200 Mil, I have a fully rigged battleship, a roid-kicking Hulk, a Mammoth with a jetcan-sized hold, corporation offices on five stations throughout Heimatar and Metropolis, and a healthy manufacturing venture. Not once was I bored, I still have a long way to go, and I look upon the future optimistically as always. If you like freedom, I can only tell you that you can do more than just surviving in EVE on your own.


Jul 16 2007

Frustration, rage and hope

Let me tell you a little story, of a pod pilot who found his little spot in space where he got to feel at home. From Ammold to Emolgranlan and Vullat, even though he had enjoyed his stay he did not really belong.

When he found Oremmulf however, his life changed. There was everything he needed there – from contacts for running missions to plagioclase-laden belts and manufacturing installations. There were a few other miners there, but with a grand total of five including him, there was always enough to mine.

Things suddenly changed however, when he came back after some missioning in Balginia. When he warped to his favorite mining location in his Covetor – now fitted with shiny new plagioclase mining crystals – there was nothing left. A few small veldspar rocks was all, too small to be worth pointing his lasers on.

The balance had been tipped. Oremmulf had been deemed not to be farmed enough, and now there were 9 pod pilots in shiny hulks systematically hacking away at the belts between downtimes. Had they been regular players having fun like himself, he would not have minded – chances would have been that they needed materials for a special venture and be off again after a while.

Not these pilots however, because their pods contain a different kind of entity – one that has been breeded specifically for one single task: mining. In a very real sense they are machines, programmed to do their master’s bidding without conscious thought. And that’s why a rage began to slowly build in our pilot, together with an equal frustration.

It is all a game. It is about having fun, and there is a delicate balance that ensures this. Whoever controls those miner pilots has gone too far, impeding on the realm of the players they “work” for. Before, there was enough to accomodate for everyone – now they just come and take it all. Our pilot knows he must either act, or find a new home.

This is where the frustration comes into play… his rage does not have any means to be channeled into any form of action. Oremmulf is a 0.9 security system, so except bumping there is really not much he can do. Suicide ganking is a remote possibility, but he does not like that idea. It is the helplessness that slowly gnaws away at the fun, the search for a new home that brings new hope but new sacrifices as well.

Only time will tell what will happen when the rage and frustration are finally released, or new hope quenches their fire.