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My name is Hallan Turrek. This is my blog.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Low Sec: I Wanna Talk to You

He said I'm going to buy this place and see it go
Stand here beside my baby watch the orange glow
Some'll laugh and some just sit and cry
But you just sit down there and you wonder why
So I'm going to buy a gun and start a war
If you can tell me something worth fighting for
And I'm going to buy this place, that's what I said
Blame it upon a rush of blood to the head
Coldplay - A Rush of Blood to the Head

I can feel that little creeping fear in the back of my spine. The thing that makes you rise off the edge of your chair and immediately you know, even though it's over, that was a good fight. That's the fun of an unsure ending. It's been a while. More on that later.

'Fore I get started on the blog banter, and before you get bored with this mighty long post: Mynxee's doing some things with some people in some place at some time. I honestly have no idea what's going on, but it pertains to low-sec, and Mynxee is involved. That usually means you should listen. You should listen, I sometimes just hum the national anthem or something.

Now the blogfather CrazyKinux has sent me a mail with the next blog banter. I'm not against the banter concept. I like community building events... I just have a problem with being expected to link other people's blogs, good or not. The ones I read are on the far right, those are the blogs I know for a fact are good. There are other good ones I do not read, either for lack of time or my not knowing about them. I'm still going to answer the blog banters, but my jumping through hoops has ended.

That said, lets jump through another hoop!

If you're completely fresh to blogging, let me sum it up quickly: A blog banter is where a bunch of bloggers answer a simple question. CrazyKinux runs ours.

This month topic comes to us from @ZoneGhost who a few month ago asked "Is Low Sec the forgotten part of EVE Online?" Is it? I'd like us to explore this even further. Is Low Sec being treated differently by CCP Games than Null Sec (Zero-Zero) or Empire space is? Can one successfully make a living in these unsecured systems where neither Alliance nor Concord roam to enforce their laws? What's needed? Or is everything fine as it is?

The truth about pirates is that they operate under terrible and restrictive rules that CCP has created to discourage PvP in Empire Space, including low-sec.

So what do you do about a part of the playerbase that has chosen a difficult lifestyle? It's nearly impossible to do anything without having to take account of about 5 different rules at a time. The penalty for the playstyle is being completely cut off from another playstyle. Living by your own rules in reality means living by more rules than anyone else when it comes to simple ship to ship combat.

What do you do when a part of the playerbase willingly takes on these penalties and tries to have fun with them? Ignore them. In essence it's the only logical solution to someone who's strapped for resources for development.

You've chosen the lifestyle that is the most difficult in EVE and you did so willingly. You're the least likely person to leave the game. You are the least likely then, to get anything you actually want.

High Sec is the refuge of the people who take the easy way out. Imagine how many carebears would stop playing if they had to do level 4 missions in lowsec. Yes, as a solution to low secs problems, that would be a big deal. More people, more killing, more fun.

Carebears wouldn't play anymore though. Large swaths of Eve players would simple pack their shit and go home. So is it easier to give low sec what they want, if they're already willing to put up with shit as it is, or keep the status quo on that point? If you're CCP, what would you decide?

That decision is easy, and we all know what CCP's going to do. So lets just say this now: Any change to low sec that penalizes high sec will probably not happen. I'd go even further and say that any changes to low sec that make high sec significantly less good in comparison are pretty unlikely to happen.

So I guess to answer the first question: Of course CCP is treating low-sec differently than the rest of EVE. It would be irresponsible from a business standpoint to treat low sec equally.

Next up, can I make a living as a pirate? I think myself and numerous others will tell you wholeheartedly, yes you can. It's a simple life that profits, but a good one. Use cheap ships and cheap fits. Have some fun. Any number of pirate bloggers out there can explain just how much money they've made over time, and I know that when I pirated I had a blast and made money. Not much mind you, certainly not enough for a plex in a month, but the income was not negative.

Lastly, the question of "What can be changed, or is everything find as it is,". Yes things can be changed. Things that don't require even that much thought. Stuff that doesn't require intense coding like having rats work for you or some bullshit like that.
  1. Shorten GCC to 5 minutes instead of 15.
  2. Gate guns don't shoot at you unless you fire at someone in front of them. Warping in and out clears their Aggro.
  3. Gate guns should have tracking that isn't perfect.
  4. Gate guns should have a range of 100k instead of 150k.
  5. Make low sec mining more profitable than high sec mining. For the love of god. Carebears already think this is the case. So no harm no foul in making the logical both true and logical.
  6. Add yet more combat agents in low sec, with higher quality.
  7. Cap the quality of agents in high sec at 5.
  8. Allow an annual amnesty like the neural remap: once a year you can clear your sec status completely.
  9. Delays in local chat should reflect the security status of the system. .4 being 15 secs, with an additional 15 seconds after that for each .1 to null-sec, which would have W-Space like local. If that's too complicated, make it all like w-space.
  10. Create new pirate gates that can only be activated if you personally have a certain standing with the controlling pirate corp. This allows shortcuts and smuggler routes in low sec. This is my favorite idea I just came up with.
It's so good in fact that I'll just stop listing there. Man it's easy for me to impress myself.

This shit is simple. A bunch of little things that together could make low-sec a heck of a lot of fun.

That said, lets get back to the fun I had a bit earlier tonight. After reading this blog banter question, I knew I had to go out and experience some low sec, before I went ranting about it.

So I hopped onto my alt Bonn Mott, and flew down to my low sec base, picked up my Rifter and decided to take a look at Eifer. It didn't take long at all for the Jokers Wild to find a thrasher in a belt on scan. A quick look up and I confirmed his age as 2 years. More than enough to skill up a thrasher to kill my Rifter alt, but I decided to give it a go anyway. I warped down on top of him, and locked him up. His autocannons stripped away huge parts of my shield, but I wasn't too worried. My armor would be the real test. He on the other hand was shield boosting his ass off.

I pulled into a tight orbit and waited. Soon enough my shields were gone and he got his teeth into my armor. I was still doing pretty good, eventually beating his shield boosting and I started to nibble on his armor a bit too. Eventually my armor was completely stripped away. Then he stopped shooting. I could've taken this opportunity to run, it was obvious this guy wasn't just some random newb, and could fly his ship. I decided that meant the kill would be even sweeter, and kept firing. Finally taking out the last of his armor.

As I burned into his structure, he started to fire again, and it hurt. My armor rep wasn't able to do much to help... so I just fired and hoped. I got him to 30% structure before I died. Another volley might've done it. Two would have.

It was disappointing, but I told him good fight and moved on. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?

A conversation later, and I found out he'd run out of ammo mid fight, and had to reload. It almost killed him, and if this alt had overheating, it would have. Next time.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's Your Greatest Escape Story?

Oh right, a Muninn. Hey Lag. Ok, a Dramiel has me tackled and I'm at half armor.

I should interject here and say that if not for my own stupidity, I wouldn't have ended up in the situation in the first place.

This was back during my time in Noir., the good old days, which weren't too long ago. We're fighting some Legiunea Romana and we're camping them into a system. Sorry, let me be clear, camping them into their own systems. The camp is going good, but they finally bring in enough people and organize them properly to drive us off for a while. I'm hanging back, still watching in my stealth bomber. I see a Dramiel Micro Warping in a tight orbit of the gate.

"Hey Alek," I said, knowing he wouldn't pay attention till I gave him actual intel, "There's a Dramiel on the gate just MWDing around,"

"Really?" He'd answered. I knew he'd fit a bomb launcher for this particular excercise, and I also knew enough about it that he wouldn't kill it in one bomb... and I didn't have one.

"I can target paint it while you bomb it," I'd said without thinking. It sounded good right?

"Yeah, ok, you ready?" He'd said without hesitation.

"Yup," I answered just as quickly.



It was at this point that I recognized a few things. On the field were a number of ships, but the ones that worried me the most... or I guess more accurately should have worried me the most were the Muninn and the target Dramiel. I let my mind wander for a few minutes I guess... cause on top of the expected risk of being decloaked for almost fifteen seconds, I completely failed to tracking disrupt the Muninn.

Oh right, a Muninn. Hey Lag. Ok, a Dramiel has me tackled and I'm at half armor.

We're been here before, right?

So the Muninn puts another volley into me before I make his guns useless, but I've got a Dramiel on my ass and he ain't letting go. I already had him targeted, so I just threw on a target range dampening script after aligning out and spammed the warp button.

And away I went. No fuss, no fanfair, no armor and almost no structure, but alive.

I'll take it. What's your best escape?

Monday, September 20, 2010

State of The Blog

Light from the sun can take millions of years to get to the surface, but once its there it only takes 8 minutes to get to Earth. I don't have a point here, except to say to guys waiting on their wives to get ready, "It could be worse"

This first bit isn't directed at the majority of you. This is directed at the rather small minority of folks that sent me a ingame mail on Friday asking for an update. Take a good long look at the first bit of writing, right below the banner.

I used to do updates on Monday, Wednsday and Friday. That kind of schedule got to be too much once I took over a leadership role in Noir., and I quit doing it. I have made an update every week since I started blogging. You're guaranteed one Wednesday(ish) and that's it. I'm not going to bitch anyone out... just sayin'. Anything more than one a week is extra.

Since the Stealth Bomber Guide has about doubled my regular traffic, I've been trying to get a few posts in a week, just to make sure the traffic sticks around. So far I've got a whole month of a solid bump, so I'd say it's not going away.

But I do have some extra time since leaving Noir., and I'm enjoying that free time.

However I've spent the last four months paying for game time with ingame isk, and I've just about drained my account dry. Fortunately I now have a job, and will do my ingame self the favor of repaying the debt by buying a couple of sixty day time codes and selling them.

Once I get back to having money, I'm going to step up my search for a new home. I've got a corp in the northern coalition that I've zero'd in on, and I'm probably gonna put an application in by next weekend. Time to see what it's like to be part of a huge coalition.

Edit: Oh and one more thing I meant to include. Back when the chinese blogger accounts were spamming my blog with links, I got tired of going back to old posts and finding their crap. I also got annoyed that I missed genuine comments from people who were late to the party.

So I put a system in place that forces me to read and approve comments on any post older than seven days. So if you post to one, and it says it's awaiting moderation, I'll see it in one or two days and read it. I might not post back, but I will read it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Why Does it Work Like That?

The tendency to whining and complaining may be taken as the surest sign symptom of little souls and inferior intellects.
Lord Jeffrey

I would like to start this rant with a simple proclamation: In the wide world of CCP petition responses, I've gotten the better end of things more often than not.

That said, in this case, I'm more bothered by the original mechanic not working as intended than anything else.

You see, I went down to 0.0 for a trip to play around with some story ideas, been a while since I did any fiction and I felt like trying for some inspiration ingame. So I went to a very hot system, the home station of the Society of Concious Thought. I figured once I undocked I'd be dealing with some pretty fucked up shit, but I was ready to have a bit of fun while dying. Sure enough I undock into a Crow, Stilleto and Curse. Man am I fucked, right?

So I get ready to burn out and see how far I get before my cap gets neuted or see if I can somehow get aligned and slip away... when my game crashes. Full on shuts down. Windows error message comes up.

So at this point, I'm thinking to myself, "Well darn, that sucks, but at least I've emergency warped away, I'll just log back in and land whereever I crashed at," No bubbles up, so it's nothing more than a delay of what was going to happen anyway.

I try repeatedly to get my game running again, but the lag from the start up screen is unbearable. Nothing works. I sit there for a few minutes, and give my computer the three finger salute. Sure enough windows says two Eve clients are running. I end both tasks and try again.

Now despite all this, nothing else is actually running.

I think most people can figure as to where this story ends. I log back in to my pod, a million kilometers away from what I can only assume is my wreck. I then emergency warp back into combat, and then I warp myself away. Then I take a moment to savor the irony.

Dozens, if not hundreds of people have escaped death at my hands by abusing the game and logging off. I genuinely crash and still die.

I've seen the mechanic at work. In log offs, the target is completely unlockable from the moment he starts to initiate the emergency warp.

But apparently that's only in the case of deliberate log offs. Now if you crash, there's nothing that can be done about it.

The petition I made said explicitly that in reply. I didn't bother escalating it since I most likely would've died anyway, and I don't think it should work ever, even in my case.

But it does bother me to know that the mechanic only protects those who abuse it. As for those that it's meant for, well... those people may or may not find it useful.

I've defended CCP on this very point to corp mates frustrated at how the mechanic works. I could totally see where they were coming from, since it's supposed to protect people when they crash.

Only it doesn't, so tear it the fuck down.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things Not Yet Done

Why is the path unclear?
When we know home is near...
Once More With Feeling - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

So, there are different play styles in Eve. Different avenues of play, as it were. You could spend years doing just one thing, or be like me and never spend to long(six months as a pirate and a year as a merc aren't that long in the grand scheme of things) on one thing.

What kind of play styles are there?

There's the wardeccing playstyle... which is normally played fast and loose(unlike how it was done in my time in Noir.). Where people try to get as much out of some high sec alliance/corp as possible. But the basics are simple, declare war and try to kill the target's assets.

Or the full carebear play style, mining, mission running, salvaging, production, transport or trading. Done from the safety of high sec, the depths of wormhole space, Amamake or null sec, it's all the same. You're just waiting to eventually be someone else's victim.

The null sec alliance members... people who have hours upon hours of pos shooting to look forwards to. And CTAs or roaming gangs that aren't always that much fun. Or the occasional giant mega death battle. Where none of your modules work and you die before the grid loads. Fun.

Maybe you've taken to the pirate lifestyle, one of the most free ways to fly, but the game puts heavy penalties on you for doing so. Go out, find people and kill them, but avoid the law and the bigger fish while you do so. Can be a lot of fun with the right people.

Or the non-traditional PvPers... the ninja salvagers, scammers and suicide gankers. Looking for victims in and endless sea of smaller fish. There's plenty of fish in the sea, and if they like it, why not?

Not many people fall into neat little categories. Most people spill into one or all of them at one point.

But I look back at my time in Eve so far, and realize something important. I've done most of this. I've done highsec war decs, I've done piracy, I've been part of a null sec alliance, I've done my own share of carebearing and preyed on the carebears of high sec and beyond.

So what does that leave me?

Well, it required a closer look, but there are a couple of things I haven't done, in regards to my play styles. Most importantly, I think is that I've yet to be part of a huge null sec alliance. Sure, I was part of Noir., and they hold a nice chunk of null sec, but I rose to the top rather quickly there. I've got a hankering, oddly enough, to be just another soldier in someone else's war machine. Maybe it won't be fun, but I'm tired of missing the experience.

I want to join a big ole' null sec alliance. Given that my first option of Pandemic Legion is surprisingly tough to get into, I'm going to have to look around a bit harder for a second option.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Ninja Probing a Populated System

For the World Is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky
Star Trek: The Original Series

So, you saw in my Monday post that I've started Ninja Salvaging. Currently I'm operating in a system that's between two level 4 hubs, and has no stations. So most if not all of it's inhabitants are running missions. But even then, how do you pick mission runners out of the hundreds of people in a mission hub? With 10 or more people sitting on a gate or station, and a constant influx and exit of people, you can't really do a scan and ignore like you can in low population systems. What's the trick here?

Well, I don't know how other people do it, but I gave this some thought and came up with a solution.

First of all, you set your probes up in this pattern:

Notice how it's almost a normal scan pattern, but in this case, the probes are spread out more, so the center cross section is tiny. Now, move your probes so that the planet/station/gate is in the very center of your probes, like in the above picture.

Here's another view that may help ya out:

See how the bubbles rise above the planet, but the planet itself isn't inside the radius? That's what you want. Now you just run a scan. If it turns up something, take note of the ID number, and keep looking for it. If this doesn't work, move your probes to the other plane of the solar system. In this case, we scanned below the planet. Lets scan above as well.

Bam. It's slightly more complicated, but it does the job. I'm sure lifetime ninja salvagers have their secret ways to do this a bit better, but this is working pretty well for me, so I'm cool with it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One Foxfire Rocket

  1. Started with a Free Piece of Tritanium. Value: 2.5 isk.
  2. Traded Trit for a Foxfire Rocket. Value : 3 isk.
  3. Traded Foxfire Rocket to Az'kari for a Raven with 2 CCC rigs and 1 Core Defence Operational Solidifier Rig. Value : Approximately 75 million isk.
  4. Traded Rigged Raven to Eriskegal for Rigged and Fitted Geddon. Value: Aproximately 85 Million isk.
  5. Traded Rigged and Fitted Geddon to Oerlikon Llama for unfit Hulk. Value: About 130 million isk.
  6. Traded Hulk to Jude Quinn for 5 Fed Navy Comets. Value: 150 Million isk.
  7. Traded 5 Fed Navy Comets to Ephia for Cynabal. Value 265 million isk.
This was fun, but I just don't have the attention to give this that it needs. I'll be settling for a Cynabal. Thanks guys.


Suck On It, Trebek

'Cause little Willy, Willy won't go home
But you can't push Willy round
Willy won't go, try tellin' everybody but, oh no
Little Willy, Willy won't go home
Sweet - Little Willy

I'm going to try to shake things up just a bit, and have a bit of fun at the same time. I'm sure you guys've heard of the one red paperclip. I remember a couple of years ago someone tried something similar in eve, but I cannot recall much about it, or how far they got. This means they failed. You may disagree with that assumption, but I've made a bar graph that seems to indicate I'm correct.

I on the other hand, would like to succeed. The paperclip guy wanted a house. I want a Fully Fitted Phoenix(alliteration HO!). So first thing I did was some leg work. I docked in a station with no ship. I got a noob ship and a piece of tritanium. I believe that free is about as low cost as something can get... and if you believe I'm wrong, I'll refer you again to the graph above.

So I took the tritanium to someone who was buying a few hundred for about 6 isk. I sold it for start up isk and turned it into a Foxfire Rocket. So now I'm working with a single Foxfire Rocket. From now on I'll only be doing trades... and I'll try to update each week sometime on or near the weekend. This will be my update for this week, and here's how you can participate.

Start a private contract with Hallan Turrek asking for a Foxfire rocket and giving me something worth more than that. It can be anything, but it just has to be worth more. At the end of the week, I'll accept the best offer, or go out looking for someone else, if you guys can't come up with anything.

I'll keep a running tally of names of who I make trades with, and keep a post updated with that information.

If you don't know how to make a contract requesting a particular item, mail me with what you want to trade, and I'll set up the contract. Lets get trading!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mission Tourism

So, will you please say hello
To the folks that I know
Tell them I won't be long
They'll be happy to know
That as you saw me go
I was singing this song
Vera Lynn - We'll Meet Again

So, I decided to delve into Ninja salvaging over the last week. I figured it was good to do something new and different, to keep things fresh. I outfitted a ship that is faaar to expensive for it's job, but I think it does it pretty well. I like to set minimums for ships I'm going to use, and then try to meet them in EFT. For the Ninja Salvager, I decided I wanted this:

  1. A cloak.
  2. An Expanded Probe Launcher.
  3. At least 4 Salvagers.
  4. Afterburner.
  5. Cap Stability.

Now this turned out to be more difficult than I originally thought, as that expanded probe launcher takes up a lot of CPU that you need for other things. Eventually I figured a destroyer wasn't going to work. So I took the next logical step, and looked into an Interdictor. Turns out that works fine:

[Heretic, MissionTourist]
Co-Processor II
Co-Processor II
Co-Processor II

1MN Afterburner II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

Salvager I
Salvager I
Salvager I
Salvager I
Prototype Cloaking Device I
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

So I had my ship. Pretty fast, meets all my criteria. Now to test it out.

You'd be surprised, from how the blogs seem to highlight the angry people, just how many people out there do not care in the slightest that you're in their missions. Most of these don't salvage at all, some don't have player ships on the overview, and some are AFK. Regardless, the vast majority of the people you meet won't care, or won't notice you.

But not everybody. There's always one or two guys that think it's worth their time to "disrupt" you. Blowing up wrecks, warping in and out of the mission(which made my cloak pretty useful), locking you up and hoping you try to steal from them... which is beyond stupid on their part. The list goes on. It's enough to make me hang around just for the disruption it causes to you.

The most fun I had was when I busted a mission of some Swedes(at least I think they were Swedes). For some reason, they were running a level 4 with 2 Domi's, 2 Hurricanes, and a Prophecy. At least one of the BC's was salvager fit, but I digress. So I come out of warp on the acceleration gate while just the one Domi has gone into the mission. The rest are sitting outside, scared I suppose of the 8 rats inside.


So I burn off, and cloak up, waiting for the rest of the guys to burn through. They wait until I'm off the overview before they go, but that's alright. I decloak, and go through as well. Coming down inside the mission, I was amazed at a couple of things. First, there were only 8 rats, as I said earlier. Second, only one of them was dead. As soon as they saw me inside, they all warped away. I guess they assumed I'd have to do the same, but I just cloaked, and waited for them to come back, which they did. When I decloaked, they had a message for me:

gumha3 > hallo bums kommer til randers så skal du få fuck up hallan turrek

After this was all over, I did some digging. Kommer is a swedish word, so I looked for a translator. The result was garbled... but I'm guessing it means roughly "Hello! I'm about to blow you up if you don't get out Hallan Turrek!" So my reply of "Hallan Turrek > Love you too." wasn't that far off base.

You have no idea how long it took these guys to kill the rats. I had enough time to run up to each rat before they finished it off, and get a cycle of salvagers off before they even got the wreck tractored. I was even waiting for a decloak delay during some of that, until they got wise and started keeping me locked. After the first 4 cruisers were salvaged by me, they started to blow up the wrecks before I could get to them. Which didn't matter, cause they only blew up the 3 frigate wrecks. The battleship wreck I salvaged first.

Once we were done, I said my goodbyes...

Hallan Turrek > Thanks for the salvage. ;)

... and burned out of their targeting range. Then I cloaked and went to look what they'd said in local. When I got back, they were gone, but I had a little message saying I'd been set to terrible standing by Mr. Gumha3. Too bad I suppose.

So after a couple of hours of mission tourism, I've got one pissed off Russian guy, a bunch of pissed off Swedes and about 20 million isk in salvage. Not to shabby.

Edit: Apparently they were Danish with bad grammar.

Special thanks to Marius for the literal translation:

Hello bum, comes to randers then you'll have fuck up hallan turrek

And Tralk for a good idea of what he was trying to say.

"Hey bum, come to Randers then you'll get beaten up"

Still funny to me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Jita Local Experience

So uh, are you experienced?
Have you ever been experienced?
Well, I have.
Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced

So I spent a part of monday In Jita... but I didn't have a whole lot to do there. I decided that since I was going to hang out for a couple of hours, I'd better do something to keep myself interested.

So I started to catalog scam types. In the two hours there, I came across 4 different local scams.

First of all were the plethora of "send me isk and I'll send some back". We've all seen these before, and they always make me chuckle.

Second was the Caldari Navy Invulnerability field that wasn't. It's just a normal Invulnerability Field on contract, where they changed the writing of the linked contract. Nothing too spectacular.

Third was the minimum bid scam. This one was new to me, so it took a bit of looking at the contract 'fore I recognized it. Basically you put up something expensive(but not that expensive) on contract with no buyout and a 1 million isk minimum bid. Then, using a friend or another account, make a bid of 1 billion isk. Now go to local, advertise a 1 million isk minimum bid on that item. Wait for someone not to count zeros, and make a billion isk bid on the item. Profit.

Fourth and finally, the Plex scam. Simply say you're paying 2 billion for 5 plexes, when you're really paying 2 million. Hope someone is greedy and gives you 5 plexes for 2 million isk.

The same contracts went up for about 2 hours yesterday, and no one bit. I doubt my constantly calling them scams to keep myself occupied was actually helping at all, they probably just have a low success rate. A fun experiance though.