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My name is Hallan Turrek. This is my blog.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Guide: Securing High Value Items

We could have had it all,
Rolling in the deep,
You had my heart inside of your hands,
And you played it to the beat.
Adele - Rolling In The Deep

Every time I see someone with a huge but avoidable loss it bothers me. There are some pretty deliberate ways you can avoid big losses. But going into the ins and outs of not losing your officer fit Golem is not something I'm interested in. You know what does interest me though? High value cargo. This guide is going to go over some of the basics of securing high value cargo inside what should be secure space. Here's some simple rules.

Rule Number One: If you're moving high value cargo anywhere, don't tell anyone until you're done.

Rule Number Two: Don't move high value cargo during a war dec, on any character that anyone has active killrights on, or on any character that's got an aggression timer to pretty much anything.

Rule Number Three: You're not paranoid, you're protecting your investment.


The Basics:

People can scan your cargo without you ever knowing. A passive targeter will hide their target lock until they activate something on you. The cargo/ship scanner is not something that'll show up either. They can be sensor boosted to pretty much instantly lock anything short of a light drone, and in a fair number of cases, they'll manage to get a scan off on a cov-ops ship. Always assume your cargo is being broadcasted down the line to a fleet of battleships that's wondering if it's worth killing you or not. One day it will be.

I'm aware that there are methods to put couriers into cans and make their contents a mystery, but that's a beacon to anyone who's looking for a nice juicy cargo to snatch. They'll know you're hiding something for a reason and gank you for the hell of it.

Research:

First of all, here's a tip that'll save you a lot of trouble. You don't need to put a blueprint into a POS to research it. The Scientific Networking skill will allow you(at level 1) to place the blueprint in the corporate hangar(you will need an office there for this to work) at a station in the same system as the POS.

You can then run the research remotely, without ever exposing the blueprint to any danger(except the danger of someone stealing it out of the corporate hangar in the station). Additional levels in that skill only allow you to be further away from the BPO and POS when you initiate the research, while they'll always have to be in the same system.

In addition, invention, or anything that requires you to have items on hand, will require you to drop those off in the proper modules inside the POS first. You can still leave the BPOs in the station though.

Sweating the Small Stuff: Moving small items through high sec.

So now that is out of the way. Lets assume you need to move a Drake BPO x systems to where your corp's High Sec POS is. The path is all high sec. A large number of people will just throw it in a shuttle, set it on autopilot, and forget about it. These people are stupid. Unfortunately a good portion of the time, this works... which breeds a sort of complacency.

More paranoid folk will always warp to 0. This is better, but still not as effective as you think. Even more paranoid folk will take a cov-ops frigate, throw on the cov-ops cloak, fit it for max maneuverability and always warp to 0. These can still be smartbombed (smartbombs work in high sec, in case you thought it did not).

What to do then? Well, there is another ship in eve that warps cloaked, and has the ability to fit if not an impressive tank, then at least a decent one. Those are force recons. Most force recons can fit a decent if not impressive shield tank if they're not fit out for combat. This makes it incredibly unlikely for you to die to smartbomber. Outside of a T3 ship, which is pretty damn expensive, the Force Recon is the best suited ship for this job.

But even with all this, if your cargo is valuable enough, suiciders will come for you. You can solve that problem by breaking up loads into smaller parts. Yes you expose yourself to more jumps and therefore more danger, but if you take all these steps together, you become an unlikely target. There are, after all, plenty of folks autopiloting in shuttles. They're an easier target than you.

So what if your cargo is incredibly valuable, but you can't break it into smaller parts? If you want to go further down the paranoia path, only take the item a few jumps a day, and log in at different parts of the day to get it done. Sure it's time consuming, but think about how much work you'd need to do ingame to get enough money to pay for another one of what you're moving. Is it worth it to be paranoid?

So that's the small stuff. What if you need to move something big?

Big Problems: Moving big items through high sec.

You'll find things to a bit less complicated from here on out. Your options for large items are a lot less numerous. It goes in this order: Orca>Jump Freighter>Freighter>Cloaky Transport Ship>Warp Stabbed Transport>Regular Industrial.

Lets ignore the regular industrial and warp stabbed transport. The cloaky transport shouldn't be used for more than medium cost loads, as it's still pretty low on HP(works the same as the Force Recon's earlier). The Freighter is sometimes the ONLY thing you can use to move something, because sometimes things are just too big to use anything else. If this is the case, be careful of high population systems, break your cargo up if you can... and if you just can't: Only move a few systems a day. Always warp to 0 and never use autopilot. If it looks like you're about to land on something you don't want to be landing in, log out.

Sometimes you get lucky and you can use a Jump Freighter, which can jump from High Sec into Low Sec. You can cover a lot of ground jumping into empty low-sec systems with a station, then docking and moving the cyno further towards where you need to go. Then the Jump Freighter can go straight from low-sec to high sec via gates and complete the journey. Jump Freighters, when properly used, are impossible to catch. That is only if you follow the rules I stated at the start of the guide though.

The Orca is special. Stick a 100mn MWD on it, put a cloak on if you really want. After you hit align(starting from 0 speed) turn the MWD on and off. When it finishes cycling, you'll be in warp. What's so special about all that? It has a corporate hangar that'll fit up to 40k m3, and space for 400k of assembled ships as well. You can't cargo scan a corporate hangar. You can have an insanely valuable item inside, and no one has to know. On top of that, you can actually fit it out with an impressive-ish tank. And remember, if time/skill points isn't a factor, you can use these much safer methods to move small items as well.

So that's that. Opinions are welcome, as are any things I've left out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CSM and Plex for Good

"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence
Simon and Garfunkle - The Sound of Silence

I was going to go into full on campaign mode for my candidate of choice, but I think I covered everything pretty well here.

That said, get out and vote. I don't care who you vote for, just vote. This is your game, and you like to complain, so vote and make your voice heard. If you're not sure, there's the vote matching tool.

No matter what, vote now.

Then, after you vote, take a look at the Plex for Good Program. It's a way to donate ingame money to help real people. You buy a plex ingame, with ingame currency, and then you:

  • Contract your PLEX to the "CCP PLEX for Good" character, and please make sure the character is in the "C C P" corporation and that the name is spelled correctly to avoid scams.
  • Contracts will be accepted within 24 hours of submission, though usually sooner than that.
That's the official bits from CCP. According to the page, anyone who attempts a scam involving this will get dealt with harshly by CCP. This will be open until March 31st(2011, to anyone looking back at the archives).

This program has raised 63,000 dollars in the past, and I think we can raise even more this time. Make your isk work for the people of Japan. Donate a Plex today!

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Blog Banner, Lost in Eve, and Eve News Now

What do y'all think? I like it, but your opinions are welcome.

Also head on over to Lost In Eve and check out the two Debates+Lost In Conversation Episode. I guested again over there. Lemme know what you think.

Check out my Eve News Now

Edit: And if anyone is wondering, no this isn't this week's update. I gotta CSM oriented thing I'll have up before the end of the week.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Money For Nothing, Isk for Free.

Is there something else I should know?
Something hidden down below the level of your conversation?
Well he turned away before the answer,
Though I yelled aloud he refused to hear,
It became too clear.
Bob Seger - Ship of Fools

I'm sure you folks've seen the recent expose on isk sellers, on Eve News 24. I've always been amazed that people actually do this thing. CCP Games has taken steps in the past to create a method to buy isk, and it's called PLEX. You go and buy a game time code, and sell it ingame. There's a scam free system set up to do this.

And yet someone's made almost 300,000 dollars off of CCP's game. Now, some of this can be chalked up to new players. These can be excused as ignorant. In that vein, some of the blame is on CCP. There should be better information available to the new player about PLEX. The game should have a prominent message when you log in for the first time about this whole deal. Sure some people wouldn't read it, but you don't gotta feel guilty about those that are ignorant because they've chosen to be.

But that's another matter altogether. I browsed the client list and found that a huge number of them had bought isk more than once. One guy, Icarantus, bought over 6,000 dollars in isk. I'm not sure of the exchange rate over at iskbank, but if you bought GTC's with that and that's a bit over 100 billion.

So I'm left seriously asking myself, what in the hell did this guy need 100 billion isk for exactly? And why was it so important that he save himself a few hundred dollars and take the risk of buying it illegally? Some of these other guys are going to be alright. They're in the hole for 100 million, or 5 billion. You can fix that kind of negative wallet balance. Eventually, and through hard work(or buying GTC's, you idiot) you can bring that back from the brink. But 100 billion? What the fucking fuck?

Now of course we're not discussing the real life information of these users. It's a good thing too, because that itself would be breaking the EULA. But these people bought isk, and it's for the community's good to see them pay for it. Making a public spectacle of these people, and displaying their names prominently will make it less likely for people to buy isk from the isk sellers in the first place.

But I'm always left aghast at the stupidity of people. Is there a fix for stupid? I doubt it, but better information is a good start. As long as people buy isk, the isk sellers will be breaking into accounts. They will be macro missioning, macro mining, macro ratting and just macroing in general.

There is no real life counterpart to this. Drugs work in the other direction, with the buyer willing to do anything illegal to get his fix, while isk sellers are willing to do anything illegal to have the product they need to sell. It's backwards, but I have a distinct feeling that if CCP cracks down hard on every single person on that list, and publicizes that fact, we'll be a bit further on the road to recovery.

So what you're going to say here is: "Well CCP gets money from each and every one of those subscribers, so it's in their best interest to slap them on the wrist,". Yes and no. This one leak shows 300,000 dollars that CCP didn't make because of real money trading. If this was WOW, or some of the other games, you'd be absolutely right. Real money trading is an annoyance, but it's not taking any money out of Blizzards pocket. CCP on the other hands has the PLEX system, a legal way to buy isk.

"So what" you say. "It's still more profitable to just let the accounts stay right?" Wrong bucko. 300,000 dollars is equivalent to almost 1700 accounts a year. That's just one leak in a veritable flood of real money trading. I hear a figure upwards of 6 million dollars being thrown around pretty regularly as a guestimate of how much money CCP loses a year to this.

Now sure, banning those accounts that bought the isk is a bad idea, you should crack down on those the old fashioned way, with negative isk balances. But the people who're doing the botting? Surely there aren't more than 33k accounts(6 million dollars a year worth) out there doing this, right? Even if there are, you ban them all and get that money back in PLEX. If there are more than that many accounts, it starts to become a real question of profit.

But you know what? CCP needs to learn to tell the truth. Look, I appreciate you want to look tough, but this?

We are aware of the evenews24 situation and the leaked list being discussed here. At this time we cannot comment on the information in focus but we would like to use this opportunity to remind everyone that buying ISK for real money is a violation of our EULA and anyone doing so risks getting the ISK removed and punitive action against their accounts, including possible permanent bans.

Shut up. It's possible CCP is actually dumb enough to perma ban someone for buying isk, but I doubt it(because, ironically, I have a certain amount of faith in CCP). Hey CCP, you want to be good at your job? Outline clear and exact punishments or shut up. "risks getting the isk removed"? "possible permanent bans?". I'm shaking in my boots, really.

What it should have said?

We are aware of the evenews24 situation and the leaked list being discussed here. At this time we cannot comment on the information in focus but we would like to use this opportunity to remind everyone that buying ISK for real money is a violation of our EULA and anyone doing so will have the isk and/or items removed from their account. We will also subtract an additional one billion isk from your wallet, regardless of your current balance.
That's clear, concise, and to the point, yeah? Say you're going to do that, and then do that thing you said you'd do. Ban the ISK sellers as you find them, permanently. Change your policies to be a lot less lenient on Macros(no more one day bans because you're afraid of catching regular players in the sweeps).

That isn't to say that your super secret RMT taskforce can't keep doing what it's doing. I know and you know what's going on here. You send your own folks in, buy a little isk, track the accounts that sell it to you, track the accounts they've ever gotten money from, do a little database searching to see if they traded items in space and all that rigamarole. You're doing that legwork, and I get it, you can't always crack down on people outright. It risks the investigation. But when someone reports a bunch of macro'ers in DRF space, and you give them one day bans, we know you're not trying at all.

The responsibility lies with both the playerbase and CCP and communication is the key.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Am

Roller coasters
Holy roller
I got shot down
In Southern California
Leroy - Good Time

This week, I'm going to take a bit of time to talk about my favorite subject in EVE.

Me.

There's all sorts of stuff I have been doing and stuff I should be doing, and maybe some stuff I could be doing. Lets start with the Lost In Conversation Podcast this week. Check it out.

It's me and Jayne, Jade, and Laedy talking about null-sec and Aralis. I think we do a good job of covering the how and why's of everything.

Some of the people that follow my blog may not know that I've been mirroring my posts on Eve News 24, but my last four regular blog posts have been part of a column I run over there called "Ramblings of a Madman,". The name seemed to fit, but I mostly came up with it on a whim.

I'm still producing the Eve News Now segments, which are a fixture in a couple of places in EVE, from the Lost in Eve Podcast to EN24. I'm doing my best to get my name out there as much as I possibly can because I love me.

In EVE, I've opened a second account and use the character Jenny Heet to maintain my pair of POS. I don't have a lot of plans really for that account, but I might as well train SOMETHING. Still working out the kinks. I might commit another charactor on the account to science and industry sooner or later, but I'm still unsure. Right now I'm just training the alt to do PI, since it won't be leaving the system of the POS, I can use it to make some POS fuel. I'm already doing that on Hallan, and so far I've got about 10 million fernite carbide on hand. That's a lot of fernite carbide, since it sells for over 100 per unit.

I try to get out at least once a month to get some PvP done, and I've attended a few CTA's that resulted in no KM's for myself. I've never been all that obsessed with KM's anyhow, so that's not such a big deal. I did get to take a roam into the Drone Russian's space a couple of weeks back and come back with a dozen or so kills, which was fun.

Now, there are some things I need from you, and here they are.

I know some of you are graphic designers, and I need a new banner. amerrylifeandashortone.blogspot.com has had the same banner for almost 3 years now. Suffice to say, despite Shae's beautiful artwork, I think it deserves an update. Use my portrait and the same general theme(and keep the blue colors). Ideally sticking a manticore and a rifter in there would be good. Is that too specific? I dunno. Same size as the current banner, maybe a bit taller if you want. Mail me ingame at "Hallan Turrek" and I'll take a look at it. I'm paying 50 million for any images I use. Once I pay you ingame isk for them, they're mine to do with as I wish. I will certainly mention you in a post here, so that's something else.

Speaking of: I'd also like some work on an ENN logo. My video editor isn't a graphic design kinda guy, so I'd like some stuff to stick in there for him. This one gets 25 million if I use it.

Oh and one more thing from you. If you've got a news story that's not being covered by EN24, send it to me. I'll look into it and post. I've got author rights over there, I can post my own news articles. With all this self love, I don't always have time to do the research. Send me the leads and I'll get started. Again, just mail "Hallan Turrek" ingame.

Other than that, lets look at some numbers... on average about a thousand people will look at an update on this blog. About 2-3k more will see an update on EN24 when I mirror posts there. About 1500-2000 people(this should grow as well) will view my ENN video on youtube, and another 5,000 or so will hear my ENN segment on Lost in Eve. Assuming some of those people are redundant, lets call it 10,000 unique people who hear from me once a week.

Now lets talk efame: If 500,000 people play eve, 10k works out to roughly 2% of the population. Or Roughly 1/50. Now that's not a lot, truely. But, whenever we're dealing with high numbers of people, there's a good chance someone will recognize me. If 1000 people are in jita, we can call that 20 people. That's significant, if still not much.

Not nearly enough people know me. I've got some work to do.