*tap* *tap*

Is this thing on?

Anybody there?

No?

Thought not.

Well, talking to oneself is a sign of madness. Casting one’s thoughts into an uncaring  internet is situation normal for bloggers.  So, an update.

It’s been 3 1/2 months since my last optimism filled post. Things didn’t work out quite as planned. Real life yet again intervened, and crippled my play time. Since then, the real-life concerns have slackened somewhat – but the desire to play Eve has not returned. I had three fun filled weeks settling in with Agony Unleashed before the break. I enjoyed them a lot. As ever with MMOs, it’s the people that make the game, and AU (like Eve-Uni) has some of the best. But, since my enforced break, I’ve not had the desire to log in, and I figure that when that’s the case, it’s probably time to move on, for now at least.

Luckily, for the undecided online gamer, this is a boom time. More and more games are offering free trials, and free-to-play. I’ve since tried Global Agenda, APB, LOTRO and DDO. None of them particularly grabbed me. They were all fun in their own way for a little, but there wasn’t that instant hook that kept me engaged and online for more time than I had, and made me want to keep coming back for more.

Then I read this article over at Massively. Like the author,  Anarchy Online was my first MMO. And I loved it. Really, only the gated content and the lack of easy assistance to progress in the Shadowlands caused me to quit in the first place. That was 6 years ago. So, why not, I thought. Why not give it another go?

You can now create a “froob” account. Free-to-play the basic game and its first booster pack, Notum Wars, but with still a massive amount of content to experience. So, I joined the ranks of the froobs.

The game was immediately familiar, and yet simultaneously confusing. It felt like returning to a city in which you used to live. The streets are in the same places, the buildings look the same – but the shops, bars, people and fashions are all entirely different. I remembered much of what I was seeing. But I had definitely forgotten quite how confusing the game can be. The help screens are minimal but annoyingly persistent (you seem able to turn them all off, but not tell one of them to never re-appear). The interface is cluttered and complicated. The game certainly isn’t inclined to hold your hand. It’s massively complicated, and makes no apology for this. Oh, and it’s looking pretty ugly. The graphics are those of a 2001 game, and boy does it show. Especially the character models.

But… it’s still as compelling as it once was. The community, though it must be smaller, is still vibrant and friendly. After you get the hang of it, the complexity is a boon not a badness. There’s always something to do, somewhere to see. And the world is gloriously well realised. Everyone always mentions the music, and with good reason. AO’s soundtrack is not just a superb piece of game music, it’s a superb piece of cinematic composition. I’d rate the soundtrack alongside anything that Williams, Elfman or Zimmer have produced. After a little while playing the game, you cease to notice the dated visuals, and become immersed in all that Rubi-ka has to offer.

One thing, though. The camera. Dear God, I hate that camera. It’s rubbish.

A few days into my return, and I was hankering to see some of the stuff that I couldn’t access. Not that I’d run out of things to do, far from it, but I hate missing out. So, an upgrade to the expansions that I was missing. And, well, if I was going to do that, well why not reactivate my old account. Once that was done, I couldn’t really go without re-joining the clan that I created – a clan that has prospered over the last 6 years.

So, I’m back in AO. The adventures of “Ailish”, “Psia” and “Chart” (amongst others) will continue. First Light is a truly wonderful home to have returned to, with a leadership team who have retained (and developed) the family feel that the clan was originally designed to engender. It feels good to be back.

And you never know… I might even get back to regular blogging!

The battle against ennui

Posted: July 13, 2010 in Eve Uni, Psia, PvP, Updates

It’s been a while hasn’t it?

My lack of activity here is somewhat analogous with my lack of activity in game.  There’s a bunch of reasons for my absence. My real life work has been very busy over the past few months, culminating in the announcement that I’m to be made redundant (along with all my colleagues) near the end of the year.  My family life plays an increasingly large part, my daughter sleeps less, and requires more looking after than she did before. And coming to the end of her first year of life, we’re getting out and about more and my social life is showing signs of recovery.

Eve-wise, I found that what little time I spent in game was becoming filed with firefighting to try and keep up to date with my Uni jobs. Eve mails to be replied to, Events to be organised and diplomatic convos to be had; the MMObligation was becoming too much for me. So, I resigned my posts in the Uni, and have taken some time to use Eve as a break from the pressures of everyday life. The trouble is, I’m goal driven, and without a firm goal my Eve time has become a little aimless (and not much fun). I’ve been logging on, spending some hours chatting to friends outside the Uni, perhaps running a few missions on my alt, and then logging off again. Nice enough, but not exactly exciting.

So, it was time for a change.

I have applied to join a PvP corp based in 0.0 and been accepted as a trial member. This is a step into the unknown for me. I’ve been to 0.0 a couple of times as a tourist; but the idea of living there is entirely alien to me. It’s not entirely outside my comfort zone; I’ve PvPed a fair amount, and the corp in question has a number of old uni friends within their ranks. But from the safe confines of empire and the uni, it’s very much into the unknown.

So, now there are the logistics to sort. I’ve posted my goodbyes to the Uni forums, dropped roles, and sometime this afternoon or evening, I’ll drop corp and apply in game for my new corp. Then there’s the great move – getting all my ships over to my new home; making a ton of bookmarks; and getting to know my new corpmates.

I feel a new optimism and enthusiasm for the game, and am looking forward to the new challenges that it will offer. After all, a change is most definitely as good as a rest.

Well, well, those Funcom guys have been more than a little busy. Secret World info is positively streaming out in the wake of GDC. Ysharros has a great round up of the key points – and in addition, there’s the new trailer and an interview with Ragnar over at Gametrailers.com

I have to say… I’m still pretty excited about this game. I know that its Funcom, and that they don’t have the best track record for delivering bug free games at launch. But I also know from my time in Anarchy online that their community commitment is second to none, and I see nothing that makes me believe that TSW will be any different. I was hoping for some indication of a release date, or a beta date… but nothing yet. I’m guessing it’ll be aimed for the end of this year, will miss its date and arrive sometime Q1 next year.

However it pans out… I’m very much looking forwards to it.

Happy Birthday E-Uni

Posted: March 15, 2010 in Eve Uni

Happy Birthday to us… lalalalala

http://www.eveonline.com/ingameboard.asp?a=topic&threadID=1285016

Welcome to the sixteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

The third Blog Banter of 2010 comes to us from ChainTrap of the Into the unknown with gun and camera EVE Blog. He asks us: “Eve University turns six years old on March 15th; six years spent helping the new pilots of New Eden gain experience and understanding in a supportive environment. Eve is clearly a complicated game, with a ton to learn, so much that you never stop learning. So, the question is; What do you wish that someone had taken the time to tell you when you were first starting out? Or what have you learned in the interim that you’d like to share with the wider Eve community?”

Yup – this one’s mine. And so I must participate. And so I shall…

This is going to come across like an advert. Mainly because it is.

I first played Eve in 2003, in the beta. I enjoyed myself mining, and, ummmm, mining. I mined some minerals, and then mined some more minerals. I then got bored, and wandered off to kill some more stuff in Anarchy Online.

The second time I played Eve was about a year later. I mined a bit more, got bored, confused and quit. The same with the third and fourth times (2006/2007). The problem was never the game itself, more it was getting to grips with the mechanics, and working out what to do. The much vaunted “learning curve”.

The last time I started to play, was little over a year ago. A vastly improved new player experience helped, but still, it was hard going, especially when I lost the new player help channel. Until I found Eve University.

Supportive. Enthusiastic. Generous.

Here was a corp that offered the answers to my n00b questions without the need to put up with the name calling in the NPC corp channels (really, guys, there are only so many ascii penises that you can see in a day before they become somewhat tedious). Every player in the university was there to learn. Every question answered (not always correctly at first, but then we are all learning). All this and free ships!

Not all things are perfect within the Uni. It was daunting at first to be in a channel with so many others, all keen to help, and seemingly much more knowledgeable than I – but I was soon allocated a mentor, who helped with some one on one tuition. The rules can seem harsh – and indeed they are harsh (no missioning, mining, flying about during war seems to be the one most struggle with) – but once you understand the reasons behind them they make sense. Many of the mechanisms in the Uni are less than perfect – but take a step back and admire the achievement… a nuturing home for learning, in a cut-throat winner takes all game, that’s existed purely voluntarily for 6 years; hell, most guilds in other games barely last 6 months, and they aren’t trying to swim against the tide of the game itself.

The uni is what it is. But without it, there’d be one less player of Eve. One less blogger. And I bet I’m not alone.

So, my one piece of advice to the new player in Eve?

Join Eve University. Stay for a short time, or stay for a while; but give yourself a chance to get to grips with Eve in a corp that genuinely wants to help. It costs you nothing, and the rewards are near limitless.

Thank you for reading.

Disclaimer:

As Eve University Events Manager, I am biased. I am writing from an entirely slanted point of view; am part of the management; and so if there is a problem, I’m part of it. But… you should still join.

Post script:

I almost forgot… to join, go to http://www.eve-ivy.com/ and click “Apply to Eve University” and follow the instructions. You’ll not regret it.

List of Participants

  1. CrazyKinux: The Three Pillars of Wisdom
  2. The Elitist: Helping the new guy/gal
  3. Hands Off, My Loots: Nothing Needed
  4. Rantuket: Blog Banter 16
  5. EVE Opportunist: Nooby Cluey
  6. Into the Unknown With Gun and Camera: EVE University
  7. Zero Kelvin: We’re the young ones!
  8. I am Keith Neilson: Set Your Destination
  9. Prano’s Journey: Just Like the Very First Time
  10. A Merry Life and a Short One: No Seriously
  11. Yarrbear Tales: Nublet 101
  12. A Mule In EVE: If I only knew
  13. The Planet Risk Show: Dared to be Bold
  14. Diary of a Space Jockey: WTH did I get myself into?!
  15. EVOGANDA: Why?
  16. A Memoir From Space: 16th Blog Banter
  17. Death’s Sweetest Kiss: Who What When Where Why How??
  18. Freebooted: Beyond the Shortcuts
  19. Learning to Fly: Noobing
  20. Caldari Outcast: My First Blog Banter Post!
  21. Roc’s Ramblings: Financial Survival
  22. Diary of a Pod Pilot: Free Knowledge Inside
  23. Nullsec Carebear: I could’ve been less of an idiot
  24. Facepalm’s Ramblings: Something Smells Fishy
  25. Kirith Darkblade: Do you wish to know more?
  26. Autopilot Disabled: I’m still starting…
  27. Finders & Keepers: Relax
  28. Confounded Capsuleer: What have you got to loose?
  29. Clan Oriana: Sixteen
  30. Flashfresh: EVE Blog Banter #16
  31. Rettic’s The Chronofile: You Make EVE
  32. Diary of a Bored Spaceman: Past Imperfect
  33. Chocolate Heaven: Known Unknowns
  34. Victoria Aut Mors: Blog Banter #16
  35. Where the frack is my ship: If I knew then what I know now…

Well, the results are in, and I’m very proud to announce that I came third. Hooray!

The full list of winners is here... special congratulations to Lea at Wench with a Wrench, and Petter Martensson at Don’t fear the Mutant, for their first and second places.

For CrazyKinux’s benefit, my e-mail is chaintrap@gmail.com

Written as an entry for Crazykinux’s Blog Banter Special Edition: Why we love Eve Online contest. I hope that this illustrates amply why I love Eve. Without further ado, the entry:

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

“…This is The Scope, and you’re listening to New Eden Today, with Jaqueline DeVries. Our top story this hour… as President Jacus Roden sets out his agenda to combat the “lurking corruption within the Gallente Federation”, a former Exotic Dancer claims that President Roden has had shady dealings with the notorious pleasure hub and casino owner, Kruul. Lindy Lovelips, now an “actress”, claims that Roden confessed his interest in the fellow to her, during a chance encounter…”

All the same, I thought, as I tuned out the latest report on yet another scumbag looking to lead. These politicians are a grimy bunch, for sure. Word is that this one’s a capsuleer. Not that that means anything, these days. It’s not like morality and long life sit well together. Immorality, and immortality. Better bedfellows by far. Still, some of us try to stay clean, to stay true to our word. Lies aren’t good for business, in the main. Not good at all.

I cast my eyes across the screen array, adjusting a buy order and a pair of sell orders. 0.01 isk. Again. The human mind struggles to comprehend more than a thousand of anything, they say. My augmented capsule-brain struggles to comprehend as little as 0.01 isk. Still, of such fractions are my profits made. Of such fractions is my empire made. I started with naught but a stipend from the university. A few small jobs later, I had the makings of my first mill. A couple of investments and a bit of margin trading, and my first bill approached. Now, who knows. Austin Enterprises has plenty, plenty enough for me. The markets of Dodixie, Rens, Hek and Jita have been kind.

The chirrup of an incoming convo focussed my mind. Arthur Miller. Bound to be a pseudonym. I answered nonetheless.

“Mr Austin, sorry to bother you. I was told that you could help. I need a ship and some modules quickly, and the markets have failed me.”

Straight to the point. It’s a good trait in business, bad in politics. I already liked this Miller.

“And what exactly are you looking for, Mr Miller?”

“A Pilgrim. I’ll link the fit I want.”

I scanned the info on the screen. Pricey, but easily sourced. Miller was in a hurry, and people in a hurry mean profit. Big profit.

“250 million isk, Mr Miller. And I’ll have it contracted to you at the hub of your choice within the hour.”

The Pilgrim Force Recon

“Thank you, Mr Austin. Hek, if you would.”

“My pleasure, Mr Miller. Austin Enterprises pride ourselves on our promptness. Have a nice day.”

A nice day? With a Pilgrim fit like that, I was certain that he would. Someone else, however, was going to have a rotten old day.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

“…and reports continue to flood in of unwarranted and lethal attacks on miners across New Eden, in what is being termed Hulkageddon. It seems that this “event” is being driven by several bands of notorious pirates, who seem to have stopped fighting one another, long enough to turn their malevolent eyes on the industrialists. For more analysis, we go to our piracy correspondent, Leo Theoronis… Leo, what do you have for us?..”

I flicked off the transmissions, as I approached the end of the warp. A fatty procurer and a slowbie retriever were already credited to me for Hulkageddon, but I was after bigger fish. Tommy the Cat is my name, and cats like fish. Yeah, fish! Mineral stuffed fish. Or something. Hey, don’t look at my metaphor funny! But big fish were my aim, so I’d set my sights on a Mackinaw. A big, lumbering exhumer, specialised for Ice ops, a Mack would look good on my killboard. Hence trawling the ice fields. These soft-as-butter mining pansies wouldn’t know what hit ’em!

I’d picked a Mack up on directional as soon as I’d jumped into the system. Pilot name ClaudiusV. Local told me that there were a few other in system with us, but I was banking on them being too chicken-livered to get in my way. The T-Cat’s got a rep, ya know. I figure a bounty of 20mil tells ’em all they need to know about the Cat. Cat’s on the prowl, and you keep outta his way, ya know!

As the warp shadows faded, I saw my fish. Hanging there, chewing ice like some space-stalled bottom feeder. Lovely Mack, the Cat’s got a present for you. I gunned the engines, turning my ‘rax towards him, and closed with a burn of the microwarpdrive. And ordered the ship’s ‘puter to get a lock. My hybrids heated up, ready to fry my fishie.

And then it all went dark. It took me a moment to see it. Hidden there between me and the ice. Silent, deadly. Pilgrim. I didn’t need to look to see what had happened. Neuts. Lots of them. And a ‘grim sat on my behind. Me? The Cat. Dead. In. The. Water.

Fish had a friend, you see. T-Cat had no friend. And soon, T-Cat had no ‘rax no more, neither. Torn to itty bitty space bits by the ‘grim’s Warriors. Damn drones. Damn cloaked ship. Damn.

But hey, ya know, plenty more fish in the sea.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

“…as State Executor Heth of the Caldari State responded to the attacks. “This continued violence against Caldari State interests will not be tolerated. Already we have dispatched forces to calm the unrest, and prevent it from spreading. Early information points to the action of Federation agitators stirring trouble, yet again. Lest we forget the actions of the Gallente at Malkalen…”

I stifled the urge to vomit, as Tibus Heth spewed his venom across the ether. A distasteful man, with hateful bigoted blood coursing through every one of his veins. As God is my witness, so I would open those veins and let his foul putrescence spill. But for now, his State is an ally to us; and the glory of the Empire was built upon the swallowing of the bile induced by such as he. Amarr Victor, may God send us victory. And may the lady be by his side. I know that one day there will be a reckoning, a weighing of the lady, Jamyl Sarum, and the faith. But for now, she is Empress, and God walks with her.

I roused myself from my interstellar theological musings, and pulled my focus back to the present. I had a job to do, and it was imperative that I have my wits fully about me. Miller needed to know what I had discovered, and delay would render the information valueless. I checked that the subspace transmissions were appropriately circuitously routed, and engaged the secure channel to him.

“Acturus, report”, Miller’s familiar style. To the point.

“Well, Mr Miller, it seems that the time is right. Our corporation will leave the alliance at exactly 18:00 tomorrow evening. At that time the TCU will go offline. That will leave the system open for you to move in.”

“Excellent, Acturus, excellent. How long will it take the alliance to move to secure the area?”

“I expect them to have their advance party in system within an hour or so, and then a main force to follow a couple of hours later. If you appear opportunistic and weak then they will commit a large proportion of their Caps to the field, in the hope that overwhelming force can be applied. They won’t want to let you take a foothold.”

“You’re sure they won’t suspect anything?”

“Absolutely. I already have the argument set up, our leaving will be seen as a fit of pique, not as a political powerplay. I will make sure that there are no jammers left in system. Have faith, Mr Miller; God will see us victorious.”

“Your God, Arcturus. Not mine. Still, I trust that all will be well. I shall see you when all this is over.”

“Just be sure that you honour our agreement, Miller. It would not do to cross us.”

“Have faith, Arcturus. Goodbye.”

I shook my head slightly as the communication was cut. A deal with the Devil in the name of God. May we be preserved…

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

“…and in other news, Rassus Ratchet was crowned winner of the latest ISRC series, after a clean sweep of the last 4 races. The Minmatar pilots was “overjoyed and ecstatic to have shown all New Eden my racing prowess” and stated his intent to defend his title in the next series. In entertainment news…”

I shut the thing up. I have a soft spot for racing, but could care less which talentless synth-breasted harpy had won “Molden Heath’s got talent”. The Scope broadcasts kept me entertained during these times, but it was inevitable that they’d play some of the winner’s performance, and I feared for the cleanliness of my pod fluid.

Almost time. I was waiting for their fleet to assemble. They’d realised that we’d made a move on the system pretty quickly, and as Arcturus has said, their advance party had arrived pretty quickly. They’d cleared the system of our pilots; some of my friends were back at their med clones, where conveniently they had proper ships waiting for them. Their SBUs were online and they were gathering forces to reclaim the system. I understood that Arcturus’ argument had gone exactly to plan. They’d not suspected a thing.

So here I was, sat at a deep safe spot, all cloaked and waiting. the word would come, and then we’d rain hell down on them. And about time too, this lot had been a thorn in our side for eighteen months. We’d been losing. Pretty badly. Well, this’d show them.

And there was the word. Barking through my comms, goading me to action. I engaged my warp drive, heading for the spot just above the station that I had been assigned. The fleet interface crackled to life, as my fellows joined me. The station was clear as we arrived, and I kicked the cyno generator into action. I saw a number of my comrades de-cloak and begin their field generation too.

The next five minutes felt as an eternity, as I sat helplessly watching events unfold around me. The enemy arrived, alerted by the lighting of so many beacons, but we were already too many for them. Our bombers and the fighters from the newly arrived carriers ripped into their hulls. We lost a couple of the recons, but we had a fortnight’s supply of them from the trade hubs. The blue ice that Claudius had mined fuelled the Erebus that now jumped through my cynosaural field. I cheered every one of our ships that arrived; I cheered every one of theirs that was destroyed; and I cheered for our plan was working. I was as a child, the Miller-cool act dropped in the excitement of the moment.

After 5 minutes, my field collapsed, and control of the Pilgrim was returned to me. I drifted it away from the fleet, and re-engaged the cloak. I was going to watch the endgame.

Sure enough, the plan worked. They were outgunned, out-flown, and most of all out-thought. They lost 5 cap ships that evening. We lost none. They lost the system, and we gained it. Total victory.

As I turned for home, I let my mind wander. It dreamed of the next plan, and of the next victory.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

“Cromeaux Inc. – Who would you like to be today? Cromeaux are New Eden’s foremost suppliers of high quality clones. When it’s your mind in the balance, settle for nothing less! Our cloning facilities have been designed from the ground up with quality in mind, and we offer premium cloning services. Wouldn’t you like the opportunity to be whomever you’d like. A trader? A pilot for a major alliance? A racing pilot? Even a pirate or a spy? You owe it to yourself to take care of your mind, and offer it the opportunities it deserves. Gain immortality and the chance to realise your dreams with a Cromeaux clone. Who would you like to be today?”

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Please take a few moments out to read the other entries, all listed at:

http://www.crazykinux.com/2010/02/why-we-love-eve-online-contest-list-of.html

Paying for half a game?

Posted: January 20, 2010 in MMO Concepts

This is not (very much of) a whine.

This is not (very much of) a complaint.

This post is the crystalisation of some thoughts that have been sloshing around my head in a saturated solution of ponder.

And I’m sure that Veterans of Eve have heard this a million times, so apologies for that… but I want to share, and this is my blog.

There’s a lot to love about Eve. There’s a lot that I actively love about Eve. And foremost amongst the things that I love is the skill system. You set a skill to train, and at the end of the allotted training time, it’s done. You can do a bunch of stuff, or nothing at all, during the training time… but it will still train. As long as you log in every so often to update your training queue, your toon will continue to develop. This is patently brilliant. Instead of needing to constantly grind for xp, you can leave your character development running and go and actually play the bits of the game that you enjoy. Sure, this wouldn’t cut it in other games. How can you waggle your e-peen sprint to level cap, if you can go no faster than others? How to wear the casual colours of “gamer with a life” if you are as well trained as the next man? For all of Eve’s much vaunted metagame, there are other games where the progression meta is as strong as our capatalistic politic meta. These games would lose something with our skill training system.

But there is a problem with the skill training paradigm in Eve. That problem is the matter of alts.

Eve is a big game. It is said that were you to train every skill in the game it would take decades to do. Even with the best implants to speed training and all the learning skills trained (and learning skills, there’s a rant for another day); you are still looking at a time investment longer than the servers will be around. Even for players who have been in the game from the moment that the servers came online 7 years ago, they’d have to have run multiple characters on multiple accounts to have trained all the skills available. To even reach a reasonable standard in combat takes all the training on a single character for a decent amount of time.

Now we have a lot of options in Eve, that’s the beauty of the game – combat, exploration, trading, mining, industry, invention, and so on and so forth. But the game is about specialisation, and so it’s important to find one thing that you’d like to do, and specialise. Want to do something else? Well, you can stop training your current speciality and train into a new one. But be prepared for a pretty long haul. By far the best plan to see the majority that the game has to offer, is to skill up an alt in the chosen profession. And here we hit the snag.

Alts can only train, if they are the only character on that account training.

So – despite having 3 character slots on my account. I can only train one of them at a time. The result? I have a main account and a secondary account. My main account has the character that I play day to day; Psia. My secondary account has a couple of characters who take turns learning stuff. One of them is designed for mission running and flogging the loot afterwards. The other is designed to haul. But I’m paying 2 monthly subscriptions for the privilege. I didn’t have to pay twice to have a hunter, a priest and druid on my WoW account, so why should I have to pay twice with Eve?

What possible reason is there for this? As long as you can only ever play one toon on any given account at any given time, what’s the problem with having all 3 character slots train at once? There are more than 3 things that I’d like to try in the game, but the long training times mean that it’s going to take me a very long time to try even half of them. Where’s the harm in letting me train more than one character at a time, so that I can at least try more than one or two things.

I’m sure that I’m not alone amongst Eve players in having multiple accounts. And that rationalising them would lose CCP $15 per month. But I’d probably not rationalise them. I’d probably keep the second account for the fleeting opportunities afforded by being able to run two clients at once. But I’d be able to see much more of the game. I’d be able to train an alt specifically to fly capital ships, and experience the massive battles in space. I’d be able to train an invention alt and have him try to invent from BPCs. I’d get to experience those bits of the game from which I am currently barred, because I don’t have enough time to skill my characters.

Other games have recognised the desire of players to chop and change for variety- dual spec in WoW being a perfect example. Almost every other game allows for alts of some shape or form, and none of them face the player with a choice between developing their main or their alt in the way that Eve does. And few games have as much to do as Eve does, or as much that requires specialism. Currently, it feels as if I’m paying a full subscription for half a game. So c’mon CCP – let me train my alts at the same time as my main!

An interview with Azmodeus Valar

Posted: January 12, 2010 in Eve Uni, Interview

The new year is a time for new things, fresh shiny ideas that have never been attempted before. So in that spirit, I’m going to offer a series of interviews with the Directors of Eve University… oh… I started that already…

Oh, well, there goes my neat link piece. Instead, let’s just get on with the next interview, shall we? Without further ado, I present to you, Azmodeus Valar – Director of Logistics.

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions for us. Let’s get straight on.

So, you are Eve University Director of Logistics, what does that mean exactly?

It means I’m in charge of the industrial side of the Uni. That involves overseeing four separate divisons: Hangars, Production, Research, and Mining. Except for Mining, each has its manager who works under me. The hangar division is in charge of keeping our corporate hangers nicely sorted and stocked for all of our students. This includes the free modules and skillbooks students use, and also items for special events, replacement ships, etc… Based upon the needs identified by the hangar department, the production department uses our extensive blueprint library to build every module, ship, and round of ammo used by the uni. Research is in charge of overseeing student use of the research jobs at the POS, and delivering jobs and maintaining the research wallet. In the past, the mining division would be in charge of conducting uni mining ops and overseeing the mining loaner fleet. Currently, it is primarily concerned with overseeing the mining loaner fleet, but its duties will be expanding with some changes this Spring. I also run the BYOM ship program, catalog and maintain the Uni’s logistical reserves and blueprints, and run the Uni freighter project. I’m sure I’m leaving something out, but thats a decent summary.

And before you joined the University, what path did you follow?

I originally started my eve career in a small low-sec corporation of friends. However, after most of the group fell inactive, I needed to set a new course for my life. I joined Eve University hoping to explore some other areas of the game, and share what little I’d learned with other pilots.

What’s the best part of your job as Director? And the worst?

The best part of my job is dealing with the students and managers. I have a top-notch group of managers who work in my department, and their dedication constantly amazes me. They are always willing to spend time helping the Uni, and the talents they bring are amazing. The students are also a great pleasure to deal with, as it constantly reminds me how important that t1 frig is to a new player, and puts my job in perspective. Unfortunately, the worst part of my job is also due to the students, or at least a very small subsection of them. Thefts are a particular pain to deal with. We keep backstocks of many modules so we can quickly replace what is stolen, but those backstocks have to be replenished. The system works great at meeting the continual gradual depletion from student use, but theft but big demand spikes that require someone to spend some significant time replenishing our stocks.

What is it that the Logistics department offers students?

A lot of what the Logistics Department does is behind the scenes, and its really hard to comprehend the full extent of it. The most visible parts to the students would be the corporate hangers, BYOM ship program, freighter program, research services, and mining loaner fleet. People don’t understand that while their t1 fitted frigate with modules isn’t much in isk, when aggregated across the entire Uni, especially during wartime, it leads to large numbers of modules, ammo, and drones that have to be requisitioned from production, built (which involves pulling BPOs and minerals, and restocking mineral supplies as needed), moved into our logistics hangar, and distributed to the public hangars as needed.

And is there anything that you don’t offer that you’d like to be able to?

To be honest, there are a large number of services I wish we could offer. I would love to have locked blueprints students could produce or invent from as needed, multiple industrial pos for students to use, a stock of discounted t2 items for students, etc… However, things such as isk, and especially flawed corp mechanics make some of these ideas currently impossible or highly risky.

When I was a new student, fresh from the tutorials, I found the whole production/research/logistics side of Eve terribly intimidating (and if I’m honest, I still do!). Where would you advise a new player to begin their industrial journey?

The easiest way to get into industry would be to attend one of the beginning industry classes that are periodically held in the University. These will help players know the basics, and supply them with a t1 BPC to play with (supplied by the logistics department). After that, its a matter of research and perseverance. The industrial side of Eve usually requires someone to understand the market, identify a need, and work to fulfill that need. A basic item like ammo is usually a decent introduction to production, even if only for your own use.

Can the Logistics department help me make iskies out of my industrial skills? How?

If you decide to make production, we have a variety of services to help you. We can loan you the mining ship you use to get ore, or the industrial ship you use to haul it. We offer freighters at a discount for players who need to haul larger amounts. We’re going to expand into refining into the near future. The research division can walk you through getting a blueprint researched for use, or I can loan players a BPC if they just want to try it out. Our staff are always great at answering questions, or you can just convo me if you need anything.

Do you prefer mining, research, production or stock-taking yourself?

I started as hangar manager, so that always will have a special place in my heart, but to be honest, its not the most thrilling work. I like invention personally, as it incorporates a bit of all sections.

Given a free choice of role in a combat fleet, what would chose to do?

I tend to fly damage dealers when in Uni fleets, as we have been weak in that area during some big wars in the past, and its fun to melt someone’s face off. Cap ships are my next step, as I have everything needed, and just need an excuse to use it now.

And what’s your favourite ship, and why?

My favorite ship is probably the taranis. Its fast, strong, and can put out amazing damage for a frigate. Its what an assault frigate should have been, mislabeled as an interceptor. It can get close and melt almost any other interceptor, but does require some judgment when picking targets. Small ships are always fun because they just seem more responsive. Don’t get me wrong, melting an enemy BS in a Mega or Abaddon is nice, but doesn’t have the quick feel of a taranis in combat.

What change do you hope to see come to Eve in the not-too-distant future?

I would love to see Corporate titles and roles completely overhauled, along with the Science&Industry interface. These are two areas that could use substantial work, with a few very small changes making my life so much easier.

Are you planning to play Dust 514?

I’ll probably give Dust514 a chance, but can’t see myself becoming too active in a Dust corporation. I just don’t have the time to do that with another organization.

Would you like to see it interact with the industrial side of the game in any way, as it is intended to do with the conquest aspects?

I would like to see some interaction, but for that interaction to be limited in strategic effect. Eve’s mining and industrial sides have seen very few improvements in the last few years, and really need to be revamped and set straight before attempting to balance its integration with Dust.

When you aren’t playing Eve, what other games (online or offline) do you play?

I honestly play a little of everything. I’m playing Assassin’s Creed II, Brutal Legend, and Mass Effect 1 (prepping for 2 to be released later this month) right now. I tend to like FPS, strategy games, RTS, and RPGs. Other online games are hard to fit into my schedule, as they would interfere with eve. My fiance also likes video games, so I end up playing some of the “cuter” types of games with her.

Any forthcoming MMOs that you’ll try out?

I might give Star Trek a try, but I’m waiting to see some more details.

Back to Eve, where do you see your Eve-self in a year’s time?

It’s really hard to say. I can’t see Azmodeus leaving the Uni anytime soon, but I do have some other personas experimenting with other aspects of the game.

How can the students get involved with the Logistics department, if it’s a part of the game that interests them?

It really depends on which division they want to be involved with. Volunteering to be a hangar officer (when those positions are open) is always a good start, as it helps build trust for some of the more security sensitive positions in the hangar department or research. Mining just involves leadership. Step up, lead some mining fleets, and you could be the next mining manager before too long.

And a last few questions:

Beer or Coffee?

Liquor

Pirates or Ninjas?

Ninjas

Dogs with hats or flying monkeys?

Dogs with Hats

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

I think that more or less covers it. If any students have questions for me, or need to get some support from my department, they are welcome to send me a forum PM or convo me. Irjuna Valar is my industrial char in the Uni (strangely Azmodeus Valar has almost no industrial related skills, despite being Logistics Director), and you can convo me on that character as well.

Thanks very much for your time… it’s much appreciated.

Anytime. Thanks for doing this.

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As a side note, but still E-Uni related, apparently we reached 1400 active players in the corp the other day. 1400! That’s a lot of people!

Welcome to the fourteenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to crazykinux@gmail.com. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

The first banter of 2010 comes to us from the EVE Blog Father, CrazyKinux himself, who asks the following:
As we begin another year in New Eden, ask yourselves “What Now?” What will I attempt next? What haven’t I done so far in EVE? Was it out fear, funds, or knowledge? Have I always wanted to start my own corporation, but have never dared doing so? Is there a fledging mercenary waiting to come out of its shell? Or maybe an Industrialist? What steps and objectives will I set myself to accomplish in order to reach my ultimate goal for this year? EVE is what you make of it. So, what is it going to be for you?

So… what now? What next?

Well, the big things are not in doubt, nor in need of a change. I continue to have lots of fun with Eve University, I’ve found the right blend of responsibility and relaxation to fit with my play time and commitment levels. My duties with the Ivy League Navy, and as a Diplomat, continue to give me the organisational role that I seem to need to truly enjoy social games; but are light enough time commitments to enable a decent game/life balance. I’m making new friends all the time, and solidifying older friendships into something worthwhile. Honestly, to move on from the uni this year would mean that my attitude or circumstance has changed considerably from where I am now.

There is an area where I have a goal, however. An area where I have been a slacker, not taken my opportunities and have resolved to do something about it.

Money.

Yup, iskies. moolah. dosh.

Thus far i have taken a relaxed approach to the matter of making money. I’ve breezed through my Eve career, bought a couple of plex to fund myself and not worried too much about making vast quantities of isk. But, I’m paying for 2 accounts, and I’m not sure that this is sustainable, or desirable. So, my goal for this year is to fund at least one account through the use of isk to buy plex. My alt can now fly a decently fitted Raven, and has access to L4 missions. I have a second alt who is training trade skills, hauler skills and transport skills, who will sell on the loot. The intent is to get Psia into something to support my raven alt in missions, and make them go a lot faster. Whether that should be more DD, or RR in a logistics boat, I’m not sure.

By the middle of this year, say the beginning of July, I’d like to be making more than I’m spending, consistently week on week. By the third quarter, say the beginning of October, I want to be funding my alt account with plex.

So that’s it. My aim for the year. Make money. Easy, huh? Well, we’ll see… but certainly it’s a new aspect of Eve for me to experiment with, and I’m quite looking forward to it.

If you enjoyed this post, or even if you didn’t, be sure to check out the other participants in Blog Banter XIV!