Life in a Wormhole: For Want of a Nail #eveonline

It's early in the morning, and after last night's hauling run, I'm in a mood for a shufti and some alone time in a fast ship.

The class 2 system we're connected to is the same as last night -- the one where a group of our pilots beat up sleepers for their lunch money and then got out of when the local traffic spiked -- and a quick check of the local system activity indicates that the heavy traffic they spotted wasn't a fluke. In the six hours hours since we logged out, the number of wormhole jumps per hour has stayed in the mid to high 20s. I'd thought I might hit a few sleeper sites or do some gas mining, but this info changes my mind.

The previous evening, while scanning for an entrance for Berke, I'd located another inbound connection into the class 2 system from another class 2, and I suspect that that's where the traffic is coming from, so I warp to that wormhole and jump through to take stock of the situation and see how bad it is. After all, a lot of traffic from unarmed haulers carrying out unrefined ore isn't really that bad.

It doesn't take me long to figure out the traffic is not from unarmed haulers and that the situation is, in fact, pretty bad. A little poking around and a little research reveals that the eastern European corporation in this new 'hole are very dangerous people to have as neighbors, with bloody PvP record. I check to see who's online at the moment -- our wormhole is never empty, thanks to what amounts to world-wide membership, but there are times when a lot more people are on than others.

Right now, it's me and three other guys.

"Cabbage," I say. "We need to close our wormhole connection. Right now."

"Bad neighbors?"

"Bad neighbors," I confirm. "They're two systems over, but they're using the hell out of the class 2 system we're both hooked up to. More to the point, it looks like a lot more of them are on right now than there are of us."

"Gotcha," he says. "Let's do it. Can you guys get your Orca on if I bring something to play bodyguard?"

"Sure," I say, electronically prodding Berke to get online. Cabbage is another Orca pilot, but we have those -- his cloaked up Tengu strategic cruiser seems like a more valuable addition to the party.

"Need me for anything?" Shan asks. He's a fairly new pilot, but nevertheless always willing to offer assistance.

"Not at the moment," I tell him. "Just keep an ear open if I scream like a little girl."

"Copy that."

Meanwhile, I jump back to the home system and set up a cloaked scanner alt character on the far side of the wormhole, to watch for a spike in local activity. The weird thing is that while the local traffic has been high in the wormhole we share with the other corp, I haven't seen any other pilots since logging on, so I'm wary of a sudden population spike.

Once that's done, I jump back to the tower and ponder what ship to grab, but settle on a battlship to help Berke with the collapse, and we both warp out to the wormhole, where Cabbage has cloaked up.

"Jump one," I mutter into comms and check the far side of the hole with my scanning alt. "Off we go."

Berke lights his afterburner and jumps through the wormhole.

Three guys decloak on the far side, some of them only a few thousand meters from my cloaked alt's location. Worse: only one of them is a ship that can fly cloaked (a Cheetah-class covert-ops frigate) so the others must have been sitting there already, probably for the better part of an hour. Waiting. All three ships start burning toward the wormhole.

Berke doesn't panic, but waits out the session change timer so that he can jump as soon as he drops his jump-cloak. The Monolith fades into view, pivots and lets the wormhole slurp it back into our home system.

Right then, a Drake-class battlecruiser decloaks on OUR side of the wormhole. This keeps getting better and better.

Ty starts locking him, but I'm in a battleship and the big guns aren't tracking well on the smaller target. Also, it's a Drake, so it's going to take awhile to kill the thing anyway. Time to consider options.

Berke arrives back in the home system and tries to warp, but the Drake locks him and scrambles his warp drive.

He what?

He scrambles the warp drive. After the long haul the night before, Berke didn't refit his Warp Core Stabilizers, and we forgot to do it this morning in the rush to get the hole closed.

A Loki-class strategic cruiser and the Cheetah jump through the wormhole. Both get warp disruptors on Berke as well and start shooting. (The Cheetah Cov-ops even has guns on -- sure sign this is a pretty warlike corp -- that's like strapping a minigun to an ultralight.)

I jump back to the tower and start yelling for help. Unbeknownst to me, Cab has had his connection to the game cut off, so he's out of the fight. Ty jumps into a blackbird (Pro tip: Blackbirds and other ECM ships are more valuable as hole-collapsing bodyguards; bring one if you can. Hell, bring two.) and warps back to 50km off the wormhole. I lock and jam the Loki, then I lock the Cheetah because both it and the Drake's flight of light drones are on me and chewing through the blackbird's meager shields much faster than I'd like.

This is where I screw up.

(Yes, here: up to this point, I don't think most people could take issue with the way we handled the hole collapse, in terms of security; we were out maneuvered (who camps an unused wormhole for over an hour?), but we didn't actually screw anything up too badly.)

Anyway: the Blackbird is somewhat fragile, the Cheetah has switched its warp disruptor to Ty so I can't warp out, and the Drake already has drones on me, so I think:

"Jamming the Drake will do no good, now."

(Which is so stupid in hindsight I don't even want to write it down.)

Since I already have my minmatar-specific jammer on the Loki (which is working quite effectively), I engage all the my other "racial" jammers on the (minmatar-made) Cheetah, hoping that even without the bonus for Minmatar systems, I will get a lucky jam.

Those of you who can do basic addition and subtraction will see my mistake.

  1. I had jammed the Loki, which takes one of the warp jams off the Orca.

  2. The Cheetah was jamming me now, which takes another of the warp jams off the Orca.

  3. If I had jammed the Drake, the Orca (which was already aligned to warp and moving at max speed by this point) would have entered warp almost instantly and gotten out.

(Also, if you're any good at math, you've noticed that I said three ships decloaked on the far side of the wormhole, but only two came through.)

Shan, who heard me shouting, lands on the hole in his Hurricane and opens fire, and Cabbage returns from his forced warp-out. I'm just about caught up on the fight and realizing I need to jam the DRAKE when the wormhole flares again. Two Cynabal-class crusiers jump in, moving like the sharks they are, followed by the Manticore-class stealth bomber that had been waiting on the other side of the hole to (a) stop anyone who tried to get away on that side and (b) provide the Cynabal pilots with a warp-in to a location I imagine they didn't have a bookmark to. (Given the timing, I imagine they scrambled over from their home system when their corpmates said the fight was on.)

The Cynabals lock and warp scramble Shan. Cabbage calls for everyone who can get out to get out.  I get my lucky Jam on the Cheetah and get the blackbird out with about a third of  my armor left. Shan's 'cane goes down, but he escapes in his pod, a few seconds later Berke is also escapes the ambush, albeit in his pod, not the Orca.

And that was the fight. Afterwards, we sent Shan some replacement funds for the ship because... well, frankly, he jumped in, no questions asked, and started shooting. That's a hell of a thing, really. That's someone you want in your home system with you.

In hindsight, I panicked a bit and jammed the wrong ships, or (rather) didn't jam the right ships. If I'd gotten the Drake offline for just a second, Berke would have got out, and on balance the Orca is a hell of a lot more expensive than a Blackbird, so that should have been my priority. If I'd picked one of the other Blackbirds -- say, the one with two Minmatar-specific and two Caldari-specific jammers -- I'd have gotten out, simply because I would have had the right options to jam everything from the get-go. If I'd sicced Shan on the Cheetah, that might have tipped it by driving off my harasser and letting me focus. If we'd all been on voice chat instead of trying to coordinate via chat window, we might have gotten organized better and gotten out. If we'd had the Warp Stabs on the Orca, of course.

If if if.

For want of a Nail...

Life in a Wormhole: The Refuelening #eveonline

"You know what you should do while you're out in that market system?" Gor asks Berke.  It's the next evening, and while Shan, Em, CB, Wil, and a few other Walrus pilots are shooting sleepers in the system next door, I'm scanning that same system for the highsec connection that will get Berke home, and Gor is poking around our tower and doing maths.

"Fill up the ship with tower fuel?" Berke replies. "Yeah, I'm already checking prices. Can you tell me how much I need to get?"

Gor calculates the figures for five weeks' worth of fuel, and we pass the hat around for ISK to send over to Berke for the essentials. We make most of our tower fuel inside the home system, thanks to robot-run 'colonies' we've installed on the local planets, but there are a few key ingredients that simply cannot be had inside a wormhole, and they are critical, heavy, and fairly pricey.

"The good news is, I got the fuel," Berke comments about a half-hour later. "The bad news is, I can't fit it all in the Orca."

"Are you sure?" asks Gor (one of the other qualified Orca pilots in our corps), "I was able to get that much back last time."

"Your fitting's a bit different than mine," comments Berke.

"Ahh," says Gor, "right. Warp Stabilizers."


There is a long, long pause.

"I suppose," he mutters, "I could take the stabs off and put on some cargo expanders."

"You could." Gor's voice remains neutral.

"Just for this."

"Of course."

Berke is very attached to his Warp Core Stabilizers.

Another twenty minutes pass.

"Yeah," he says. "It still won't fit."

"You're kidding."

"I picked up thirty-one Giant Secure Containers," he adds, "and even packing stuff in there, it won't all fit."

"How much have you got left?"

He tells us, and I do a quick calculation. "Leave it for me and I'll come get it in the Mammoth. Just need to tweak the cargohold."

I jump into the hauler and jump through the bookmarked wormholes into high security space, waving to the sleeper-shooting fleet as I fly past, heading to the market as Berke starts back in the opposite direction, figuring (correctly) that my there-and-back will take about as long as his single trip, considering how far it is.

Eventually, many many eye-numbing jumps later, we're ready to jump back into the wormhole and come home.

"System still clear?" I ask.

"Yup," replies Em. "You're clear."

We lumber nimbly through the connections (shut up -- you can too), clear the final jump, and warp back to the tower.

Normally, that many jumps would be enough to cash us in for the night, but Berke is determined to get the entire fuel run complete, and that includes unloading all of the thirty-one packing containers, individually, plus the Mammoth, and getting their contents into our fuel storage hangar.

I'm not going to lie to you, Marge: that's a lot of clicking and dragging.

While we're doing that, the sleeper-killers start seeing a serious spike in traffic in the wormhole next door, and opt to pull up stakes and come home. Eventually we're done, our obsessive-compulsive Orca pilot has everything squared away to his satisfaction, I've delivered the sundries that we and the Walrus pilots asked us to pick up,  and we log for the night, too tired even to put our ship fittings back to normal.

Life in a Wormhole: Orca Recon #eveonline

We've had a number of good sleeper-running evenings lately, but tonight Em is taking off early, and while Wil and CB are game for some shooting, the local system is barren and the neighboring system is potentially hot, with many towers on d-scan and active pilots flying around in cloaky ships. We spot a couple scanning frigates (even one in our system for a few minutes, though he might have come in from an inbound connection from a class 4), a couple strategic cruisers, and... a Falcon-class force recon. The sleeper anomalies present don't make the risk worth the reward, and we don't like our chances trying to hunt down the easily-cloaked neighbors, so we follow Em's lead and make it an early night.

The annoying wormhole connection is still up when I check in the following day. It's wobbly and old, but by my calculations there's still a good three hours left before it's likely to fold on its own, so I talk Berke into pulling out the Monolith to crash it. We've done a lot of hole collapsing in the past and have it down to a pretty quick process that rarely causes us too much stress.

What I failed to count on, however, was that hole had (apparently) seen a fair amount of traffic the night before -- I suspect that the Helios-class covops ship we spotted in our system last night was scouting a route to known space for some kind of beefy hauler that came through after we logged out, and after that kind of use, the very first trip through the wormhole with the Orca is enough to destabilize it somewhat -- not critically, but early enough into our process that I'm left wondering how much mass the jittery thing can withstand. Did we just barely destabilize it, or are we well into the end-game of the hole collapse? There's just no way to tell.

Well, there is one way to tell: keep going. Berke is a veteran hole-crasher, and isn't too stressed by the hole's stress -- if it strands him on the wrong side he'll "just scan a way out". Bold words, considering that our neighboring system only connects to low security known and additional class 2 wormhole space.

Nevertheless, we continue with the collapsing plan and manage to attract St. Murphy during our next pass: as I jump back into our home system with a battleship meant to help the orca with the process, the hole vanishes, leaving Berke on the wrong side.

Berke rolls up his sleeves and starts shoving money where his mouth is. Probes go out, the Monolith cloaks up so he can scan in relative security, and a few minutes later he has an exit to Lowsec.

The Orca Wormhole Explorer: It's Slow, but at least it's also Very Expensive.

At this point, he could keep looking for the system's persistent class-2 connection to see if it has a different (better) connection to known space, but he opts to pull in his probes and at least check out the exit he's already found, first.

His navcomp puts him in familiar regions of Gallente space when he jumps through the wormhole, with two jumpgates separating him from the safety of high-security space. A bit more research shows him that the systems he has to get through are relatively unoccupied; only a few registered pilots are active in the systems, with no incidents of violence reported in the last 24 hours.

"Should I go for it?" he asks Gor and CB.

"Have you got Warp Stabilizers on?" asks Gor.

"This is me, of course I do." Another check of the map. "In fact, I have more Warp Stabs on than there are enemy pilots in at least this first system."

"Then I'd go for it."

He does. As predicted, there are few pilots around, and his only face-to-face encounter comes in the form of a very startled-looking Bestower-class hauler. Within a few minutes, he's reached high security space and from there heads to the nearest major trading hub to dock up and log for the evening.


Star Wars: The Old Republic -- The Question of PvP

A few days ago, Fogsong wrote:
Star Wars: The Old Republic. My LoTRO guild is debating whether to go with a Player vs Player (PvP) server or Player vs Environment (PvE) server. We are caught on the horns of dilemma – we want to be able to quest and experience the story but also [want to] have a strong and active PvP experience. We have gleaned everything we can about Warzones, Huttball, open world PvP on the various planets (Alderaan, Illum and vague mention of others). I don’t have any experience with MMO’s beyond LoTRO so I find it hard to decipher what everyone is talking about regarding PvP or why the pluses/minuses are important.

So – question – have you decided how you are going to start out with SWTOR (Faction, class and server type)? And if you have, would you be willing to share your thoughts?

Would I be willing to share my thoughts?

I think we all know the answer to that...

George Lucas enjoys a number of hobbies, one of which involves methodically excising joy from my childhood memories, and another of which centers on the practice of claiming that Star Wars was always essentially a series of stories aimed at five-year-olds.

Which even an actual five-year-old will tell you is complete bullshit.

In New Hope, a ship is boarded, gunfire exchanged, and rebel soldiers are left stacked in the hallway like cordwood. Guys get strangled to death. The protagonist's family is executed, their charred bodies left to claw at Tatooine's pitiless sky. A genial old man lops off a guy's arm for starting a bar fight. HAN SHOOTS FIRST. A princess gets tortured by a droid specifically designed for that express purpose. A planet with billions of people on it is blown up. A kind old grandpa figure gets cut down after he lowers his weapon.

And a space station with tens of thousands of people on it is blown up... by the good guy.

Yes, George: Nick Jr. should pick this shit up for adaptation immediately.

The point I'm trying to make here is that Star Wars is a pretty violent story that pivots on a fulcrum built entirely on conflict between the Empire (nee Sith) and Republic. In my opinion, any game based on Star Wars needs to reflect that reality and, for an MMO, that means putting a lot of thought into Player Versus Player conflicts.

I haven't looked too hard at all the (hours of) press on this subject, but let's take care of that right now and take look at what Star Wars: The Old Republic is offering.

First off, it looks like there are three server types:
Player-vs-Environment (PvE) servers can be considered representative of the standard play style and rule set. The focus on PvE servers is on experiencing the story and working with friends against the non-player enemies in the game world.

Player-vs-Player (PvP) servers have a slightly different rule set as PvE servers. On a PvP server, players may be attacked by other players from the opposing faction in more areas of the game world.

Role-Playing (RP) servers use the standard PvE rule set, but are identified as great places for players who enjoy acting out their characters in the game world to congregate and find other like-minded players.

My immediate reactions:

  • That's really just two server types.

  • It's a damn shame (and kind of a headscratcher) why they didn't make any PvP RP servers.

Okay, beyond that, I'll say that this breakdown looks a lot like the way WoW does it (no surprise there: BioWare modeled a lot of WoW's successful structures) -- the PvE servers are going to restrict their PvP options to instanced mini-games (more on those in a minute) and (I would guess) 1 on 1 duels.

Conversely, the PvP servers will allow 'open world' PvP to occur, in addition to the instanced mini-games. The way they word the description is interesting: "players may be attacked by other players from the opposing faction in more areas of the game world."  I can't really find anything that definitively states what "more areas" means -- some folks who really hate open-world PvP predict you'll get ganked anywhere outside of the starting areas. Other folks seem to think that it'll be "non-civilized" places. No one official has actually said, as near as I can tell, but I imagine it'll be a lot like WoW: open PvP outside of the starter zones, with certain areas (Coruscant, most bars) made safe(r) by patrolling them with many dangerous NPC guards who shoot any rabble-rousers if they start trouble.

What do I think?
Well, let's compare this set up to some of the games I've played, from least to most PvP-centric.

  • Wizard 101 only has arena duels, accessible from a single static location. The duels have no effect on the storyline in the game as a whole, and there is no threat of PvP anywhere in the actual game world. Winner: Star Wars. (Though the duels can be entertaining.)

  • City of Heroes has really pathetic arenas accessible in a few static locations and some interesting but cut-off zones that allow PvP, neither of which allow you to influence anything that's going on anywhere else in the game world. Advantage: Star Wars. Barely.

  • WoW does basically what Star Wars does, so call it a wash... except WoW has RP-PvP servers for the guys who want to monologue when they turn you into a sheep.

  • Lord of the Rings Online allows impromptu 1 on 1 duels, and has a PvP-only zone where you fight players running "Monster" characters (orcs, shamans, wargs, giant spiders, et cetera). Successfully holding these lands gives the entire server's "Hero" player population XP and damage boosts, or gives the monsters boosts if the Ettenmoors are held by Sauron's forces, so while you're not affecting the overall storyline, you are affecting the whole "world". Advantage? I'm going with LotRO in regards to the way it lets you affect the world, but with Star Wars for making the PvP more accessible with the minigames.

  • EVE Online lets you attack people pretty much wherever you like, provided you're prepared to deal with the consequences. PvP has huge impact on the game world both at micro- and macro-levels;  you can literally take another guy's stuff away, permanently, or in fact take hundreds if not thousands of guys' stuff away. IF (and that's a big if) you're into that, there is no comparable experience in MMOs: it makes your losses sting more and makes the stuff you manage to hold onto that much more precious. Near death experiences have that affect. Advantage: EVE, provided it's not something you'd flat out hate.

What am I Doing?
Like Fogsong, I'm going where my LotRO kinship is going. In this case, that means that the players I know will be playing their Republic characters on a PvE RP server, and their Empire characters on a PvP server. I look forward to experiencing the differences first-hand.

Wait... What about those mini-games?

Right! What about them? What's going on there?

War Zones
War Zones are specifically tailored for team versus team combat, and players will experience fierce battles between the Republic and Empire, evoking memories of the famous Star Wars ground conflicts. This week we announced that the first War Zone will be located in the majestic mountains of Alderaan. Players will join their allegiance’s fight for control of several important areas. Over time we’ll reveal more information about the Player versus Player experiences in The Old Republic.

Basically, that sounds like fun: sort of WoW's Arathi Basin with controllable turrets; instances you can sign up for, get queued into, and then fight. The major pros are that it is quite convenient and keeps matches even.  The cons are that it's basically a mini-game with (outside the ability to earn gear that's good for PvP) no influence on the outside world. I want my victories (and losses) on Alderaan to resonate through the rest of the world - to have some kind of impact. Maybe that's EVE spoiling me a bit, but it is what it is.

On the face of it, though, the Alderaan battlezone seems like fun and (unlike the capture-the-flag, Bloodbowl-with-lightsabers joke that is the Huttball "war zone") is something I could see my guys participating in from a roleplay point of view.

(Seriously, though: why the hell would a jedi ever sign up to play Huttball? Anyway...)

I've also heard good things about one of the other war zones, and rumors of a ship combat one, which both makes me happy (ship fights in Star Wars!) and sad (how ephemeral must the premise be if you can just "hit space and respawn" when you get your whole frakking ship blown up?)

All in all, I think the warzones will add some fun stuff to do in the game -- it's nice to queue up for 20 minutes of quick violence whenever you want. With that said, I would like the PvP to have more bite than it does in most WoW regions (which is SW:TOR's strongest model): at the very least, I'd like to see something like what LotRO does with the Ettenmoors, where you affect the 'outside' world when your side is winning; but my pie-in-the-sky dream on a PvP server would be able to take over "control points" on a given planet (or in a given system) and seriously bottleneck access for the opposite faction (see: the control points in LotRO's Annuminas area).

What Are You Going to Be Playing?
In traditional MMOs, I tend to make a tank first, then ranged DPS, then support. On the Republic side, that looks like a Trooper, a Jedi Consular, and probably a Smuggler or Scoundrel or whatever they're called. I'm not 100% sure what I'll do on the Empire side, but since it'll be on a PvP server, I suspect an Imperial Agent will be my first option (so I have stealth options for getting around the world), a bounty hunter, and one of the melee sith guys if I decide I hate myself that much.

But I reserve the right to change my mind based on which classes get the coolest companions, because this is a BioWare game, and ultimately that's the part I'm really going to be into.

Life in a Wormhole: "What Do I Need to Bring?" #eveonline

We're back to talking about living in a wormhole for the first time, the way we did with the ship fitting post. It's a topic that's come up with our potential new members/old friends, and it's a question I've been asked in the comments a couple times, so I'm going to try to answer it without making a huge guide.

Note: Some of the things I mention won't be things you need to worry about, because you're joining someone else in a wormhole that's already been settled. Fine. Don't fret; just skip that part and move on.

So, the Question:

"I'm moving into a wormhole. What do I need?"

I'm going to answer this as though talking to someone moving into a c1 or c2, aiming (mostly) to just shoot sleepers and have some fun of the type I tend to describe on this blog. I don't mine much, I don't make tech 3 cruisers, I don't make boosters, I don't run a mercenary PvP corp. You should already know this about me.

1. Reading Material

I did a lot of reading on wormhole living before I took even my preliminary test-plunge (living out of an Orca for a week), and then I re-read that material after I got into the wormhole as well. Here are the reference documents I found particularly helpful:

  • A Guide to Everything Wormhole: The best possible reference I could hope for. The author assumes a larger corporation in a "deeper" wormhole, so some of his comments about battleships being a 'must have' aren't really true for me, but almost all of the general  info has proven invaluable.

  • Living in a Wormhole, from the Eve University Wiki. This page covers the basics, and covers them quite well.

  • The Wurmhole Bible. Tongue in Cheek, but no less valuable for that.

  • Killing in the Hole, a Guide to wormhole PvP. Good information on the basic mechanics of how wormholes work and how not to paint yourself into a corner when the time comes to heat the guns up.

  • Tiger Ears - an online journal of a pilot in wormhole space. Penny is a PvP enthusiast, and I find the posts incredibly educational, entertaining, and interesting. Sometimes, the post shows me something I need to watch out for when dealing with potential predators in our wormhole; sometimes they give me an idea about something I can try when it comes time to blow up a vagrant in our system; and sometimes they're yet another tip about how to improve my scanning skills. In all cases, they're a bright spot in my GReader stream.

  • Dude, where's my wormhole? - A post by Penny's "fearless leader", Finn, on how to manually and purposefully collapse a wormhole you'd rather not have in your system. Situational, but no less valuable for that.

  • Finally, for scanning and exploration, I made heavy use of the Wormhole Systems Database to tell me about whatever system I find myself and Wormnav to give me an idea of the level of recent activity in both our wormhole and any connecting systems (it helps to know if there's been a lot of violence in a system I'm about to explore, and the direct links to EVE killboards is invaluable.

2. Skills

Note, this is just for your main character.

  • At a minimum, have Astrometics to level 4 and Astrometric Rangefinding, Astrometric Pinpointing and Astrometric Acquisition to level 3 each.

  • All the skills and support skills necessary to fly an appropriate PvE ship without getting blown up in a Sleeper site. In a C2, that means a battlecruiser, very likely shield-tanked and able to withstand AT LEAST 350dps of Omni damage (preferably 420), while still able to put out about 200 dps, minimum.  If you don't want to bring a battlecruiser, bring something comparable or better.

    • For even a new pilot, this means that if there is a skill - any skill at all - that affects your effectiveness in your chosen ship, the very least of those skills should be at least a 3, and many of not most should be 4 or 5. New pilots should then improve from there.

  • Most if not all all the regulars should have Anchoring to level 3, which lets you anchor any POS equipment. Also, as soon as you can bear it, at least one of you should also continue to train Anchoring to 5 to get:

  • Starbase Defense Management. This lets you take control of the tower guns directly, rather than letting them randomly (and stupidly) select targets.

Less-critical but good-to-have skills include:

  • Salvaging, Hacking, and Archaeology, all at least 4.

  • Gas Mining at 5, which will let you make great money from Ladar sites.

  • Some kind of industrial ship skill at 4.

  • Some skill set that lets you contribute in PvP, whether that's as a dedicated tackler, ECM, remote repair, or whatever.


  • Take five days out of your training queue and train a scanning alt. Their job is to sit in a tech1 scanning frigate and to never log on... until something goes wrong and you're stranded outside your wormhole. Then you wait out whatever stranded you, log them in, and scan down the entrance that will get you back in. They need:

    • Astrometics to level 4 and Astrometric RangefindingAstrometric Pinpointing and Astrometric Acquisition to level 3 each.

    • An appropriately fitted, cloakable, tech1 scanning ship.

3. POS Tower

As I mentioned here, you're better off avoiding small and medium towers in favor of a regular sized tower, simply because it lets you mount an effective defense/discouragement. For some good albeit dated info on POSes, check out A Guide to Player-Owned Structures, and related to that, download My POS, which is both a sort of Fitting Tool for your POS, and helps you calculate how much fuel you'll need, and how much that fuel will cost to buy.

4. Tower Modules

At a minimum, that means:

  • A Corporation Hangar Array

  • Ship Maintenance Bay

  • Defensive POS Modules

    • Shield hardeners, enough to get your shields resistances up around the mid 40s to mid 50s, with sufficient offline backups that you could online them and dial the resists up even higher if need be.

    • 3 to 4 ECM modules of each of the four types online, with some offline modules ready to be brought online if needed.

    • A couple Warp Scramblers (Disruptors take too much power grid and give you range you don't really need.)

    • At least one Energy Neutralizing Battery, because it makes people cry.

  • Offensive POS Modules

    • In a C2, I think that means at least 4 medium long-range guns (meaning, for example, Artillery, not Autocannons) and 4 small long-range guns, with at least that many identical guns, also loaded, Anchored, but not online.

Note: All this necessary only if you intend to move into the system semi-permanently. If you're just doing a little short-term sleeper salvaging, you might be able to just forget the POS and use a cloaky Orca as a mini/mobile-POS.

5. Fuel for POS

In practice, try to keep at least 20 days of fuel in the tower, twice that on hand for refuels, and start talking about how and when you'll do refuels when you get within two weeks of running out on your BACKUP supply (meaning: roughly 5 weeks before you'd actually run out).

And don't forget the Strontium.

6. Ships

I already talked about this, but in brief:

  • A PvE battlecruiser or something comparable. Drakes and Hurricanes are easy. Myrmidons are easy if you don't mind going with weird guns. Harbingers and laser-boats in general are hard. Passive-regen shield tanks are easy to make work; armor-repair tanks are REALLY DIFFICULT.

    • Put a damn probe launcher on it.

  • Whatever you like flying best for PvP. Probably with a backup.

  • Ship Modules: mostly for making refitting tweaks for various specialized activities. These might include:

    • A dozen probe launchers

    • A half-dozen prototype cloaking modules

    • A half-dozen remote armor and hull repair modules that you can strap on temporarily to fix up any ships or drones that get dinged up.

    • A half-dozen analyzers, salvagers, and codebreakers.

    • Other stuff that I've forgotten, like warp core stabilizers and cargo bay expanders.

  • Scanning Ships (T1 and T2)

    • Two rigs that boost your scan strength

    • Probe launcher (expanded, if you can fit it) and an appropriate cloaking device.

    • Whatever else you want. I usually fit mine out with an analyzer, codebreaker, and a Warp Disruptor (for emergencies).

  • Mining Ships, if that's something you do.

  • Gas Harvesting Ships, which I've already talked about.

  • A dedicated salvaging ship, typically a destroyer. I use 3 tractor beams, 3 salvagers, a cloak, a probe launcher, as many salvaging rigs as I can fit, and a microwarpdrive to get around. Season to taste. (If you don't mind investing (and, thus, risking) more ISK, you may want to bring in a Noctis, but that's a pricey ship to risk until you feel like you have a handle on Wormhole living.)

  • Something big enough to haul POS fuel in. Ideally, you want a Deep Space Transport, but a "level 4" tech1 industrial with a couple warp core stabilizers on will work if you're careful. (Put a probe launcher and cloak on the damned thing in case you get stranded somewhere.)

For the Advanced Class:

  • An Orca and a Battleship, both with afterburners or MWDs on, so you can collapse wormholes when you want to and control access to your hole more effectively.

7. Skill Books

Don't go crazy here, but pick up whatever you think you're training toward now, so you can start in on it as soon as the skill opens up. Yes. Do that. But don't go crazy.

Oh yeah, while I'm thinking of it: get yourself into a cheap clone with +3 skill wires at most.

8. Ammo/Drones/Consumables

  • At least 100,000 rounds of short-range, high-damage ammo of the appropriate size for your Offensive POS Modules. (Yes: long-range guns firing short range ammo -- the best combination of reach and damage for a POS.)

  • 100,000 rounds of whatever ammo type(s) your PvE ship will require. Sleepers fight at either 15 kilometers, moving really fast, or 55+ kilometers, moving pretty slow. Bring appropriate ammo.

  • Probably at about half that much, again, for your PvP ship. (Use logic here: a single bomber doesn't need 50 thousand torpedoes handy.)

  • Small, fast drones are good, but they pop quick. Don't send them out until the sleepers are in nice and close, so you can recall them quickly. For distant targets, STRONGLY consider sentry drones, if you have the means to fly a full flight of them, but if not, Valkyries move fast and hit pretty hard. Heavy drones should be reserved for those rare solo battleship spawns.

  • At least a 100 core probes and 100 combat probes, NOT COUNTING the ones already in your scanning ships and loaded into the probe launchers that are on your ships. If you want, splurge on Sisters probes in your main scanning ship -- they help.

  • 10 Janitors.

9. Planetary Interaction Command Centers

Pick the ones appropriate for the planets in your system. If you manage it right (and get lucky with a system that has the right resources), you can mitigate a significant portion of your fuel costs by making everything but the "Ice-related" fuels inside the wormhole. Don't ignore this part.

10. A Willingness to Risk Losing a Lot of ISK on an Iffy Venture

You will, and I'm not joking, need to soak a LOT of cash into this endeavor to start the first one up. Go back and read my posts about our first set up. There is a lot of time and effort involved, but there is also a lot of money involved.

Our initial outlay was roughly 1.5 billion isk, not counting the 0.5 billion (at least) we spent on crap we didn't need and ships we never flew.

Fuel will run you anywhere from 200 million to 450 million a month, even with perfect PI. 200 million is probably the BEST case.

Will you make enough money to (eventually) pay for the fuel? Yes. Totally. You can do that in one or two good nights.

Will you make enough to pay back all those initial expenses?


Probably? If you're careful and rash in the appropriate ratio? Yes.


Probably maybe.

You'll just have to see.

What Did I Forget?

I have no idea; check the comments.


Life in a Wormhole: It's a Gas, Gas, Gas #eveonline

It's been a few days since our Proteus kill, and we're done messing around in the home system for a little while -- Planetary Interaction colonies have been set up by Bre and Berke, and in addition Berke is taking a bullet for the team and setting his Leadership-focused training queue on hold for a few weeks so he can train up the ability to control and fire the Tower guns. It requires a lot of very boring module-anchoring skills as a prerequisite, but being the guy who pulls the trigger on the Death Star does afford you a certain rock-star status, and it's that admittedly faint hope that steels his resolve. While he pokes at the controls for our tower, I go looking for trouble.

Scouting the connected C2 shows me 11 towers on d-scan, all owned by a capable PvP corp. Normally, that would be something of a red flag, but the corp looks more like a corpse, with virtually no activity of any kind in the past few months. Given that no one seems to be home, our pilots decide to do a little Sleeper shooting, with Bre, Ty, CB, and Ichiban in combat ships, Em flying overwatch in her cloaked-up Falcon-class force recon cruiser, and Shan sweeping up the mess in a cloak-equipped Thrasher-class destroyer. It's a good sized group, geared to expect trouble, but we find none: six sites are cleared inside an hour, netting the group 135 million in loot.

Bre's not quite ready to be done just because everyone else is wrapping up, however. After some wheedling, she talks Ty into revisiting the system in cruisers fitted out for Gas Harvesting.

Space. Where the skies are full of money.

Gas Harvesters are kind of tricky -- in higher-level wormholes, that damage can be pretty severe, so cheap(ish) battlecruisers like the Ferox or Prophecy (both of which have more than enough room for the harvester modules and a good, high-resist tank) are often used, but in a C2 the sleepers are relatively weak, so we use plain old cruisers, which give us enough tank to weather sleeper frigate attacks when they materialize.

That's assuming we bother with the frigates. We are being particularly lazy about the harvesting tonight, in fact: we can fill up our cargo hold to the brim in about the it takes for the Sleepers to wake up, so when their frigates warp in, we simply warp away, return to the tower, dump off our load, and proceed to the next anomaly, leaving the old, Sleeper-invested cloud behind, incomplete. Since it's not our system and we're only doing this for an hour, we don't really care: for our purposes, this is the most efficient way to run the sites.

We've been spending a fair amount of time on these kinds of zen-like activities lately, but there's a good reason -- sixty million good reasons, actually; all collected in about an hour.

And now, money made, sleepers riled, and ships intact, it's time for bed.

I don't fly Battlecruisers for gas harvesting, but for those looking for gas cloud mining fits suitable for a C1 or C2:
[Thorax: Calrissian]
Expanded Cargohold II
Expanded Cargohold II
Expanded Cargohold II
Expanded Cargohold II
Co-Processor II

Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Magnetometric ECCM Scanning Array I

Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II

Medium Cargohold Optimization I
Medium Cargohold Optimization I
Medium Cargohold Optimization I

Vespa EC-600 x5

This Thorax build is fragile, but gets the job done. The hold fills in about 5 minutes with Gas Cloud Harvesting V (or 12 minutes if your skill is 4 and you're using tech1 modules), and the ECCM modules make it a bit harder for an enemy ship to scan you down, meaning you may get a bit more warning.

If you don't want to train to level 5, however, you may want to go for a slightly different ship. This Vexor fitting assumes a level 4 skill, fills up the cargo bay in about 14 minutes, fits enough drones and tank that you might be able to just kill any sleeper frigates that bother you, and leaves you with with ECM drones to sic on an ambusher while you escape.
[Vexor, Tibana]
Co-Processor I
Expanded Cargohold II
Expanded Cargohold II
Expanded Cargohold II

Medium Shield Extender II
Medium Shield Extender II
Heat Dissipation Amplifier II

Gas Cloud Harvester I
Gas Cloud Harvester I
Gas Cloud Harvester I
Gas Cloud Harvester I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Cargohold Optimization I
Medium Cargohold Optimization I

Hammerhead I x5
Hobgoblin I x5
Hornet EC-300 x5

Focus on the gas types that end in 50 an 72, by the way: in the low-end wormholes, nothing else is really worth the time.


Life (in a Wormhole) Goes on... #eveonline

So I'm still playing Eve.

I'm still enjoying playing Eve, more importantly.

But I think I'm going to slow down from posting daily reports for a little while. There are a couple reasons.

Gotta Play if I'm Going to Write About It

My play schedule on EVE will (I suspect) get a bit less regular for awhile. Honestly, it already has -- I've only been online for more than a few minutes twice in the last week -- and even though the actual play reports are time-shifted a couple of weeks, I still need to to actually play if I'm going to... you know... report on it.

I'm totally enjoying the time I'm spending when I play - don't get me wrong - but I know it's going to continue in the current pattern.

Got Other Writing to Do

I'm lucky in that I know my own mental malfunctions well enough to make use of them. I'm obsessed with Eve? I need to make sure I'm getting some writing done? Solution: Write about Eve. It's not the best writing ever, because I'm basically just keeping a diary, but I've put at least a thousand if not two or three thousand words down every single day for the last three months, which is a good way to get myself back into the habit after the arrival of Stormaggedon the  Schedule-Wrecking Baby.

"Foolish humans: You think you can string together a coherent thought in MY presence?!?"

Anyway, I believe I'm now firmly back in the writing habit, as they say, and there's some other writing I need to get done. (Specifically, losing the two "big mid-point climax" chapters the current novel much killed my desire to write that story for a long while, and I need to suck it up, rewrite the stuff I lost, and move the fuck on.)

Got Other Games to Play

One of the reasons I didn't play a lot of EVE this weekend specifically was because I was playing Wizard 101 with my daughter, and you know what? I loved it. I loved playing it with her and as an added bonus I just plain like playing it even when Kaylee isn't. It's a good game I happen to be paying a monthly, family-wife subscription on, so it makes sense to spend some time on it.

Also, I don't know if you heard, but LotRO has a new release out, and I'm looking forward to spending play-time with my wife, instead of kind of... near my wife, while she does something else entirely. LotRO is a thing that makes that happen.

Light side, dark side... I'm the guy with the gun.

Plus, come the end of the year, Star Wars: The Old Republic is coming out, and damned if I'm not going to jump into that bad boy with both feet and a mighty war whoop. What BioWare is doing with this property is renewing my faith in gaming, people.

Speaking of which...

Got Other Other Games to Play

Time was when a man could schedule a weekly game night in his house and people would show up and BY GUM play games! Aliens got shot! Scholarly elves got foot-long chunks of wood stuck in their posteriors! Sexy, extra-polite dwarf ladies wooed Full-contact Ninepin players! I remember those days fondly.

Dimly. Very dimly, but fondly.

The holidays (and don't kid yourself: we're basically at the start of the holiday season) are the WORST POSSIBLE TIME to get that practice starting again, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try, so that (if nothing else) we can get rolling properly in the new year.

I Repeat: Still Love EVE

I do. I really, really do. Just not going to write about it every day, right now. This may disappoint some; it will definitely relieve others.

I mean, I've been doing this for three solid months, now. I think that's good for now.

At least until I have another good story to tell.

Until then, those of you who know how to find me in the game can still find me, and if not, leave a comment here. I'm not leaving wormhole life anytime soon (if ever), so if nothing else I'll always be able to talk about that; it's my favorite part of the game, and possibly my favorite part of any game I've played -- controlling exactly what you want your game to be? That's good stuff.

The best part about flying is knowing you can do your own thing if you want.


Life in a Wormhole: "How do I shot teh Sleepers?" #eveonline

Those of you who don't really play EVE and just read this stuff to see what I got blown up this week might want to either skip this post, or just read the bits that aren't in text-blocks.

This post is a bit of a departure from my normal day-in-the-life post series in two ways.

First, it's intended as something of a guide, which isn't something I normally do (or really feel that qualified to do).

Second, it's not time-shifted; unlike my regular posts, which recount events that have already gone past, this particular post exists due to the fact that we have some new players in EVE who are thinking about joining us in Wormhole Misadventures, and are trying to figure out what kind of ships they need to train for RIGHT NOW.

(Related: the ships I list below will, in general, not be the leet tech2 and tech3 hulls that are so popular in wormholes -- this guide is written for the newcomer to a lower-class wormhole like a class 1 or class 2, and as such, you're not going to see me cover good fittings for a Tengu Strategic Cruiser.)

So, this post is about what kind of ships, VERY SPECIFICALLY, to bring in a wormhole as a relatively new player and (again, very specifically) how to fit them so you don't immediately explode.

"Probes Going Out"

In a minute, I'm going to get into the ship category everyone wants to know about: PvE or "Sleeper-shooting" ships, but I want to make this point very clear: this is NOT the most important category of ship for life in a wormhole. That distinction goes, without doubt, to your dedicated scanning ship. If you can't scan, you're dead. If you can't scan reasonably well, in fact, you have no goddamn business in a wormhole, and I'm not talking about your character's skills; YOU, the player, must be able to competently manipulate the scanning interface, and that means you need to practice. You can't just sit on your ass until your corpmates do the work and hand you some bookmarks; you're not a tapeworm, for fuck's sake: Get scanning.

Seriously: if you can't scan, you shouldn't be in a wormhole. You're a danger to yourself and a dead fucking albatross to everyone around you.

I'll talk more about scanning ships in a later post.

I Run Level Four Missions, I Know How to Shoot NPCs

With all due respect: No, you don't. When it comes to Sleepers, you are a rank amateur, and if you bring in the stuff you are used to flying in New Eden missions, you will lose that shiny ship in a few minutes. In known space, you will fight npc opponents who are generally vulnerable to specific types of damage, and who do specific types of damage, so fighting them (and fitting your ships to deal with them) is relatively simple: shoot them where they're weak, defend yourself against their best attacks, and you're fine. Only the Sansha forces in Incursions -- the toughest NPC opponents in New Eden -- don't work this way.

And of course Sleepers don't work that way. They hit you with every kind of damage type, which means you can't leave any defensive holes, and they hit you HARD, which means your defenses have to be both all-inclusive AND strong. Further, they don't have any real defensive holes*, and they both self-repair and remote rep their allies, which means that while you have to gimp your damage a bit to get your defenses up to snuff, you can't hinder your offense too much or you just won't be able to kill the frakking things.

So, we're talking about cheap reasonably affordable ships that can take a pretty good pounding (tanking around 350dps with mediocre skills) and dish out a reasonable pounding in return.

It might be nice to think that you can jump into a cruiser with a big thick tank on and go poking around in wormholes, but the fact of the matter is, there's really very few tech 1 ships in this class that can survive a sleeper assault.

The trick is working out a balancing act between resists and recovery. Your tank needs to recover fast, and it needs to sport some pretty powerful resistances to all damage types, and unless the ship already comes with some good solid resists right out of the box, you'll have to spend so much fitting space getting the resists to up par that you won't have the room to get the Recovery where it needs to be. This is a real problem on cruisers, because they have fewer fitting slots to work with, compared to their big battlecruiser brothers, and at this point the only tech1 cruiser I've been able work out that can survive in a sleeper combat situation is the Caldari's Moa-class cruiser.

(Yes, the Amarr have a cruiser with a bonus to armor resists, but it doesn't have enough fitting space to give you a sustainable omni-damage tank. The Moa is your only tech1 cruiser option.)

[Moa, I Just Want to Come See a Wormhole and Not Die]
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II

'Malkuth' Standard Missile Launcher I, Piranha Light Missile
'Malkuth' Standard Missile Launcher I, Piranha Light Missile
425mm Medium Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Depleted Uranium M
425mm Medium Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Depleted Uranium M
425mm Medium Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Depleted Uranium M
425mm Medium Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Depleted Uranium M

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin II x3

The thing with the Moa is its really remarkable baseline shield resists and a pretty good slot layout for a tank. This sucker is TOUGH: with a well-skilled pilot, it can easily ignore anything a class2 wormhole can bring to bear. What this ship isn't is mean; it's damage is mediocre, trending to weak -- it probably couldn't solo even the easiest of the class1 sites, but that's not the point -- it's a stopgap kind of ship that lets you come visit your wormholing buddies, and since it's Caldari, you're probably training to one of the great workhorses of Wormhole living, the Drake battlecruiser. In the meantime, your job is going to be killing the close-range frigates that are orbiting your buddies and annoying them with energy draining.

(Note, though, that this Moa build doesn't use Caldari railguns, but Minmatar projectile weapons -- sorry, but you can't maintain that amazing tank without using guns that don't hit your capacitor. Them's the breaks. You might as well train for Projectiles anyway: they're pretty much better than Rails and Blasters in every respect.)

As an added bonus, if you *do* happen to fly one of these as a training-wheels-on wormhole ship, you can retask the thing later for other non-combat things when your skills improve; the Moa makes a fine-if-not-great gas cloud harvester (and can basically just ignore the piddly little sleeper frigates that show up in class 2 gas clouds), or with even less tweaking can be used to salvage Sleeper wrecks WHILE your buddies are still in combat, making it one of the few cheap(ish) salvaging ships that won't explode the moment a sleeper sneezes in their direction.

So talk to me about Battlecruisers

Battlecruisers come in two Tiers. The first tier battlecruisers look cooler (and are good for PvP). The 2nd tier battlecruisers are better for killing sleepers. That's just how it works. The only Sleeper-killing tier1 battlecruiser exception is the (again, Caldari) Ferox, thanks to the shield resist bonuses that it shares with its big brother the Drake.

[Ferox, "I fly Caldari But I don't like Missiles

Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Dual 150mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Uranium Charge M
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Hybrid Burst Aerator I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin II x5

The damage on this ship isn't bad, the tank is adequate (new pilots can put another field purger rig on for more tank), but it's still kind of a head-scratcher, because if you can fly this, you can (or almost can) fly a Drake... and to be honest, you probably SHOULD. Still, if you want to save 10+ million isk on putting a ship together, and your rails skills are good, this works.

Since we're already talking about Caldari, let's talk very briefly about the Drake: Shield resists built into the ship. Tons of fitting slots for a shield tank. Weapons that don't use capacitor power. Relatively inexpensive. Actually symmetrical. The Drake's only downside is that they're so goddamn common - they're the Toyota Corolla of Wormholes - but they're common for a reason.

[Drake, The Drake is Not Always Bait]
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Ballistic Control System II

Invulnerability Field II
Target Painter II
Invulnerability Field II
Shield Recharger II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II

XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
XR-3200 Heavy Missile Bay, Scourge Heavy Missile
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin I x5

The nice thing about this is that you can downgrade pretty much every tech2 module on this thing to some kind of tech1, 'named' module, and it can still tank most stuff in a class 2, which means if you can fly at Drake AT all, and fit anything kind of in the basic neighborhood of this fitting, you can survive well-enough (be ready to warp out just in case), and keep getting stronger and stronger as you continue to skill up.

That's nice, but what if I don't fly Caldari ships?

Well, every tier2 battlecruiser can tank a class two sleeper anomaly, but you might not always like how I get there. Let's look at the options from the least objectionable to the most WTF.

[Hurricane, Passivecane (WH)]
Gyrostabilizer II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Damage Control II

Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II

650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
650mm Medium Prototype I Siege Cannon, Fusion M
Small Remote Armor Repair System I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hobgoblin II x4
Hammerhead II x1

The Hurricane is an excellent wormhole-running ship, and as an added bonus you can take a second one and fit it out for PvP -- just don't get the two mixed up, cuz they will each suck at the other's job. Although the 'cane is running one additional Invulnerability Field, it's capacitor life is still about the same, thanks to... I dunno. Better cap regen than the Drake? Maybe? Maybe it's just that awesome.

In any case, the tank is solid, the ship looks cool as hell, and the artillery cannons make really big booming noises. As usual, one utility high goes to an emergency "OMG all my buddies are dead and I need to scan a way out of here NOW" probe launcher, with the second utility slot going to a remote armor repper you can use between anomalies to repair your drones -- hell of a lot cheaper than replacing them all the time.

What if you fly Gallente?

That means flying the Myrmidon, which would typically mean sporting an armor-repping tank, but it's damn hard to make an armor-repping build work, thanks to the balancing act of Resist/Repair, so what I typically suggest is a shield-tanked version, using minmatar artillery cannons (since the ship doesn't give you a damage bonus to any particular kind of guns anyway).

[Myrmidon, Minbari Artillery]
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, Fusion M
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hammerhead II x5
Hobgoblin II x5
Hornet EC-300 x5
Light Armor Maintenance Bot I x5
Warrior II x5

This is a tight fit, so if you may need to tweak this a bit to make it work, but it's a solid, solid ship. Yes, I'm putting artillery cannons on yet another ship, but frankly projectile weapons are, pound for pound, better than both railguns and blasters, so as a Gallente pilot, you should continue training them.

Don't blame me -- Gallente guns are just fucking broken. That's how it is right now, and how it has been for a long, long time.

Now with that said, it's actually not impossible to make an armor-tanked version work (something you won't find me saying very often), and CB has been known to roll out in this guy, which can compete with the shield-Myrm in tank+dps pretty much point for point, though the ratios are different:

[Myrmidon, RAILS, BITCHES]
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Armor Thermic Hardener II
Armor Kinetic Hardener II
Armor Explosive Hardener II

Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II

200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M
200mm Prototype I Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge M

Medium Nanobot Accelerator I
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Hammerhead II x5
Hobgoblin II x5
Ogre I x2
Hammerhead II x2
Hobgoblin II x1

Somehow - and damned if I know how - it's even cap-stable. Just remember to switch to Uranium ammo when you're going after frigates.

Finally, the Amarr.

Dear god, the Amarr...

Armor tanked, by preference, but with incredibly intensive power requirements, which make armor reppers difficult at the best of times, and pretty much impossible when you have to tank every kind of damage at once.

Nope: have to go shields. Luckily, the Harbinger doesn't really have any armor-tanking bonuses, so he doesn't seem to mind:

[Harbinger: Attitude Adjuster]
Damage Control II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II

Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Focused Modal Medium Laser I, Multifrequency M
Small Remote Armor Repair System I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I
Medium Core Defence Field Purger I

Hammerhead II x5

I tried my best to come up with a Harby armor fit that actually worked, but there's just no way to do it and keep your guns firing for more than about 3 minutes, even assuming PERFECT Amarr piloting skills. That's not enough.

Y U No Battleships?

These guidelines are built under the assumption that you're (a) a fairly new pilot and (b) in a class 2 or class 1 wormhole. Battleships require more training, yes, (especially if you want to fly more than one race's ships) but more importantly if you put Battleship sized guns on your Battleship (as you should) you won't be able to hit most of the sleeper ships that are commonly found in a smaller wormhole -- they're too fast, and too small for those big guns to track.

Listen, I'm a drone-control freak and I don't care who knows it. Just give me something I can fly.

... Fine.

[Dominix, What I dont' Even...]
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II

650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon I, EMP M
Drone Link Augmentor I

Large Core Defence Field Purger I
Large Core Defence Field Purger I
Large Core Defence Field Purger I

Ogre II x5
Hammerhead II x5
Bouncer II x5
Warrior II x5

Yeah... that's a shield-tanked Dominix, mounting cruiser-scale minmatar artillery cannons because they don't use up the capacitor and they can actually hit what you're shooting at. It's wrong on so many levels it makes me hang my head in shame.

But it works.

Now let's never speak of it again.

In Conclusion...

If you're looking at these fittings and thinking "I can't fly that", then you need to train up until you can. Yes, seriously. If you have some extra isk, you can cut some corners by buying more expensive named modules on the market -- lower requirements with the same output -- but ultimately, you need to get the skills; in the long run, there's no substitute. This is what you need to survive Sleepers in a Wormhole.

Surviving the other players is a whole different problem.


Life in a Wormhole: "The Drake is Always Bait" #eveonline

It's morning in the home system (at least for me -- some folks are already into their evenings), and Bre and Em (from Walrus) are up to no good.

"Get in your bomber," they jabber in unison.

"But I don't know --"

"There are bookmarks," they counter. "Get them. Get in the bomber. Come here."

"But I --"

"Do that later."

"What ab--"

"Do that later too."


It turns out the pair of miscreants are in the next system over, stalking a pair of strategic cruisers (Tengu and Proteus) while they engage an anomaly full of sleepers. Now, stealth bombers (constructed largely of wet tissue paper and malice) will do little to the nimble, tough, tech3 cruisers, but they WILL do quite a number on the Cormorant-class destroyer visible on d-scan (and no doubt set up to loot and salvage the sleeper wrecks once the shooting is done). The current plan seems to be to nail down exactly which anomaly the two ships are in, wait until they leave their salvager buddy to do his work, and blow up the more fragile ship with shiny Torpedoes of Education.

It is not to be.

Once I'm in system, I quickly locate the correct anomaly and warp, cloaked, to somewhere near their location, but by the time I arrive, the ships are gone.

"Did they see you?"

"I don't see how."

"Well, something spooked them."

"I think you're right..."

The ship that spooked them is apparently not us, but an Astarte-class command ship that has appeared on d-scan. Unlike the Tengu, Proteus, and Cormorant (all members of a corporation active in known highsec space), the Astarte is definitely a member of the corporation that actually lives in this wormhole -- someone who defends their territory when they see it being poached.

Also, it looks like the pilot in question is very good at it, because less than a minute later we see that both the Cormorant and Proteus pilots have fled the system, and the Tengu pilot is begging for mercy in the local channel.

"This is our HOME," is the only response from the Astarte pilot, and the Tengu is replaced on d-scan with an escape pod.

"Damn," murmurs Em. "That guy's good."

I agree, happy to be invisible flies on the wall during the exchange.

"Do you think we could take him?" asks Bre, because that's how her mind works.

"Actually..." says Em.

Miscreants, the both of them.

The three of us jump back to our home system, still cloaked and (hopefully) undetected. Em quickly switches into a Falcon-class force recon cruiser and jumps back into the other system to keep an eye on things while the rest of us reship. Bre refits her sleeper-shooting Drake a bit, to give her a way to scramble a target's warp engines while still being a viable anomaly-clearing ship, and I jump into a less-subtle ship; a Hurricane-class battlecruiser fit purely for PvP. Our basic plan is to send Bre in to hit another anomaly in the system to attract the Astarte pilot's ire, then drop on him with the Falcon and Hurricane once he's started punching the tarbaby.

"The only problem," Em comments, "is the fact that Bre's in a Drake."

"Yeah," I agree. Drake battlecruisers are incredibly tough ships and, as such, they are often used as bait ships meant to lure attackers into committing to a fight before allies descend en masse, since they can usually survive until help comes. We are basically using the most obvious bait ship in the game... as bait. "We'll just have to see if he bites."

Understand: unlike the previous situation, this isn't about educating some tourist from high-sec about the dangers of wormhole life -- this is about trying to out-play someone who is clearly good at what they do, and possibly finding out that he has friends in there that will turn the tables on us.

Just as we're about to move, CB logs in, and I'm quick to recruit him for the cause, using my best diplomatic turns of phrase.

"Hey!" I shout. "You wanna play bait in your biggest ship, and maybe blow up?"

"I am intrigued by your proposal. Please continue."

CB agrees readily enough...
"... Sure, whatever."

And now we are not just using a bait-drake, but a bait-drake with a Dominix battleship.

"Now it looks less like bait and more like some kind of incompetent site-running."

"... which it kind of is."

"... which it kind of is. Perfect!"

Bre and CB jump through to the other system, pick a fairly easy anomaly to warp into, and set about taking apart Sleepers as slowly and enticingly as possible. Meanwhile, Ty, Shan, and Cabbage lurk on the far side of the wormhole in pointy ships while Em watches over the two bait ships in her cloaked Falcon. We offer what advice we can.

"Try to look more helpless."

"Shut your reppers off! Take more damage!"

"Let the sleepers kill some of your drones."

Try as we might, it looks as though the local pilot decided that a Tengu kill was enough for the day and logged off -- we have no contacts on d-scan at any point during the anomaly-clearing, and twenty minutes later (they really did try to go as slowly as they could) there is nothing left to shoot.

"Well..." I say. "No ship fight, but at least we get some loot."

"You want me to go back and get a salvager?" CB asks.

"Might as well," I reply. "Maybe he'll finally try to shoot you if you're in something super-fragile."

"Great," CB mutters. "On my way."

CB warps out of the site, leaving Bre alone in her Drake to guard the inert Sleeper wrecks and watch a depressingly empty d-scan.

"Proteus on d-scan," announces Em.

"Yeah, very funny," I reply. "Are you serious?"

"He's serious," says Bre. "He's not on d-scan -- he's five feet in front of me."

Bre apparently watched as a Proteus strategic cruiser (a local, not one of the ships run off early) decloaked right next to her and started a target lock. Veteran of more than a few gate camp counter-attacks, she plays dumb with her attacker, letting the ship get the first lock and only targeting him after the Proteus has established a warp engine scramble and started shooting.

"Astarte on d-scan," announces Em. "Here he comes."

"I have the Proteus locked," adds Bre. "Proteus is scrambled."

Ty, Shan, and Cabbage jump through the wormhole and initiate warp to Bre while CB gets back into a combat ship back at our tower.

Later, I learn that the Astarte pilot landed next to Bre, targeted her, took a good look around, noticed our trio of attack ships coming in, and warped back out before he could also be locked down.

The Astarte pilot takes stock of the situation.

-- it worked, because by the time Ty landed, the only enemy on-grid was the Proteus.

"500 million isk ship," observes Em. "I'll take it."

We agree. Ty, Cab, Bree, and Shan tear into the Proteus, CB joining them about a minute later. The explosion is very pretty, and marks both Shan and CB's first PvP kills since starting EVE -- not a bad way to start.

To his credit, the Proteus pilot does not beg for mercy. In fact, the only message from the locals comes from the Astarte pilot.

"That," he says in the local channel. "Was a nice ambush. Well played. Biggest loss I think I've ever taken, and the the first kill I've had in almost a year. Not bad."

"Nice job on the tengu, earlier," we reply.

"Thanks," he says.

There is a few minutes of silence while most of us leave the system, then:

"Man... bait-drake. You got me with a bait Drake."

"Don't worry," we assure him, "we won't tell anyone."

Life in a Wormhole: Attitude Adjustments for "Fun" and "Profit" #eveonline

I log in the next morning and am told to proceed immediately to our "staging tower" in the system and to avoid engaging the locals.

Bwah? I think. Are we retreating? Did we lose? Did I miss it?

Nothing like that. It turns out that when the locals logged in and found themselves unable to leave their tower or access any of their gear, they suddenly became very interested in Diplomatic Negotiations.

(Luckily, we had their Teamspeak server password, so it was easy to start a conversation with them.)

So, after a bit of wrangling, the corp essentially paid us to leave them alone, to the tune of 4 billion isk worth of Pilot License Extensions (PLEX).

"One way or the other, they've learned a painful lesson," the fleet commander comments, "and this way we don't have to waste all weekend blowing their tower up. Win-win."

What a pity. I was really hoping to shoot inanimate objects for another two days. Oh, wait... no I wasn't.

Bre heads out in her stealth bomber and starts barreling through known space toward our current entrance into the home system before it collapses of old age, to see if she can find a different connection that isn't 37 jumps away. Meanwhile, Ty stays with the small battleship fleet that's escorting the Orca in the process of disassembling our staging tower and moving it out of the hole.

Scouts range throughout the low security systems between our exit and the relative security of highsec and, after a bit of wrangling, manage to find us a route that avoids a fairly angry-looking gate camp. We exit the hole in good order.

Meanwhile, Bre has found us a more useful route home, and only (!) an hour later, we can put both the bomber and Typhoon away until they're needed.

Which won't be soon, as our fellows in Walrus are looking to use their unexpected free time to shoot some sleepers. I'm inclined to as well, and join in for four or five sites. They're ready to continue, but I'm ready for a break and... maybe a nap. My toddler copilot got me up kind of early this morning.

"Man... I have spent a LOT on ships in the last week," mutters CB when I log back in. He's been training for Interdictor-class ships, and picking up a couple fun-but-pricey interceptor frigates as they become available.

"Sounds like you need to SHOOT SOME SLEEPERS." I give him the hardest virtual nudge I can, since he still hasn't joined us in our new home, thanks to a serious bout of illness.

"Yeah, yeah... where's the current exit?"

I tell him and, knowing it's not that far away even for a slow-ass ship like the Orca, convince Berke to head that way as well to help CB move all his stuff in one go. It takes a bit of finessing, but between the Orca's ship hangar, CB's Iteron IV hauler, and Ty flying out in his pod to pilot the Dominix battleship back, we make it work and a few hours later CB is up to his elbows in Secure Containers, unpacking stuff from cardboard boxes labeled "Comics", "JPGs of your Mom", "Damsels", and "More Damsels".

I leave him to it and join Bre in a brief but profitable bit of Gas Harvesting -- it's not the most exciting target to shoot, but floating inside a vast gas cloud can be kind of restful, and that's pretty much what I need at the end of a long, long day.


Life in a Wormhole: Really, Truly, Doing it Wrong #eveonline

I've mentioned the alliance's pending group operation a couple times, alluding to the fact that the corporation that they've targeted deserves to have their tower destroyed and their frozen corpses ejected from wormhole space.

Now, I'm not much of a wormhole (or any other kind of) elitist, but the fact of the matter is, if you make a serious mistake in EVE, someone is going to take advantage of that mistake, and (within the context of the game) they are right to do so; in EVE, what might be considered bannable griefing activities in other games is the sort of behavior you can (and should) expect from your fellow players, and in some cases the people doing such things believe they are doing you a favor -- once you are burned a couple times, the theory is you will either learn... or leave. And either way, the net skill of the playerbase as a whole improves.

(I don't wholly agree with this, to be honest -- I think this attitude sours a lot of new players on a game they might otherwise really enjoy -- the current playerbase does more to destroy the chance a new player will stay than anything that may or may not be wrong with EVE. But I digress.)

Whether or not you agree with this attitude 100% of the time, you will eventually encounter a situation where you just stare at the screen, open-mouthed, and then shake your head and mutter "well, clearly, this guy needs to get his crap blown up."

I examined the facts surrounding the corp that our new alliance has singled out, and found myself in exactly that situation. Let's review the sorts of things that will eventually (probably sooner rather than later) make you a target in wormhole space.

  • Don't be an easy target. I've discussed how to make your tower a less appealing target before. It's not hard to do -- in fact, it's hard NOT to do it; you really have to go out of your way to put up a tower with few defenses.

  • Don't advertise your wealth and possessions. I talked about that as well.

  • Don't over-share. This may seem like kind of a funny thing for someone blogging about his every experience in EVE to say, but I've taken what I consider to be sufficiently paranoid steps to protect key pieces of information, simply because I don't want every potential attacker to have too much intel.

So, with these guidelines in mind, let's review the target corporation for the current alliance op.

  • Owns a single tower with four medium-sized guns and no other offensive modules online.

  • Has, anchored and online, no less than FOUR ship hangars and FOUR corporate storage arrays, as well as two other modules that can be used for general ship storage, implying a really staggering amount of gear stored within the tower's forcefield.

  • Named the corporation "We Make Incredibly Expensive Tech Three Ships in a Wormhole" (I'm paraphrasing, but I'm NOT exaggerating.)

  • Has all the arrays necessary for making the promised tech-three ships online within the aforementioned, poorly-defended tower.

  • Invited a complete stranger into their password-protected corporate voice-comms channel less than 5 minutes after said stranger started a random conversation with them.

  • Told that stranger, within the next ten minutes:

    1. That they have only five 'real' players in the corp, and that the rest of the characters in the membership roster are just alts.

    2. What times (and timezones) those five players are active.

    3. That they have no allies.

    4. That they have a Billion-isk original blueprint stored inside their tower.

    5. That they have at least three billion-isk ships stored inside their towers... and then link their fitting to this stranger.

    6. That their membership is woefully inexperienced in both wormhole living and in PvP activities in general.

Seriously? There's a point at which you need to blow a guy's stuff up and say "Come back when you've figured out what you did wrong."

It is at least partly for this reason that I've agreed to participate in this tower-bash op.

I logged out the night before in what I'd assumed would be a pretty good system in terms of being able to easily travel to wherever the rally point was set on the day of the operation -- I selected the capital of Amarr space not because I especially like the Amarr (quite the contrary) but because Amarr space makes up a majority of Empire space and, as a result, wormholes will connect somewhere in Amarr space a majority of the time.

Not this time, however.

I log about a half-hour before the time when the fleet will move as one into the target wormhole and ask for the rally system. I'm given the name, check it in my navcomp, and tell the fleet that I'm on my way as fast as I can.

"No rush: you've got at least thirty minutes before we head out."

"Yeah... I'm 28 jumps from you guys, and I'm in a Typhoon."

"Oh. Yeah. You better hurry."

The alliance is an international bunch, and every rally time is different. In this case, it falls roughly during my lunch hour, and since I don't want to be left behind and find myself forced to sneak into the system later that evening when everyone is already busy with the assault, I've brought a slow-but-functional laptop with me today, and pilot my ship while I'll chew on a sandwich and soda. I can't be on voice comms, and the sound is off to avoid disturbing my fellow deli patrons, so my trip is eerily devoid of the sounds I associate with EVE.

I'm still five jumps away when the fleet commander announces the gate where everyone should form up and prepare to move.

I'm three jumps out from the rally system when the target system (five jumps further along, deep in lowsec space) is announced and they start moving, and I reset my navcomp to that locale, knowing I'm unlikely to catch up until the last moment, if then.

The fleet moves, and I monitor their progress even as I try to catch up to them. There are a few points when we're in the same system for a moment, but I'm frustratingly unable to narrow the gap, and the fact that I'm moving alone has attracted the attention of several local pirates who HAD been traveling the opposite direction, but who turned a prompt 180 and set off in pursuit of my lone Typhoon.

The fleet reaches the target system and aligns to the wormhole as a group while I'm in warp to the final gate -- they will be on the wormhole by the time I jump through the gate, and my pursuers are within d-scan range, behind me.

I jump through the gate, select one of my fleetmates at random, and try to warp to their location, but the navcomp tells me they are not in-system with me -- they've already jumped through the wormhole. I try another, then another, but get the same response.

"This is Ty, I am on the gate. I have reds on my six, and I need a warp-in."

"Use the bookmark."

"He can't. We didn't wait for him."

"I was not ready the rally point," I type. "I do not have a warp-in."

Silence. Seconds tick by.

"Ty. I'm out. I'm at the wormhole. Warp to me."

I start my warp, wondering if my part of the op is going to be over before it's truly begun. The gate behind me flashes. Flashes again. One, two, threefourfive. Oh good.

The reds decloak. An interceptor races to get into range for a lock, but by luck, the gate dropped him too far away. I'm gone.

"Thanks, man," I tell to my warp-in target when I land. "You just saved my ass."

"De nada, bro," he says. "Thanks for coming."

It isn't until I jump through the wormhole that I realize I was talking to the fleet commander.

Obviously, I can't stick around once I'm on-site; lunch hour is over, and I wish the rest of the fleet good hunting and tell them I'll be back on when I can. I'm thanked (again) for making the effort to get on-site -- everyone is very understanding of my time constraints -- for some, it is already tomorrow morning; for others, it is past midnight.

By the time I get back, the alliance has set up a tower of their own in the system (equipped with a ship maintenance array for quick refits, a half-dozen ammo containers, and all the various sundries that an invading army needs), has a small PvP fleet guarding the entry points to the system, and has JUST taken down the last gun surrounding the tower. I've arrived just in time to join in on the assault of the tower force field itself.

No defenders have arrived -- the fleet command have scheduled the initial attack to coincide with the tower owner's downtime (conveniently shared by the corporation's CEO) -- and the tower assault itself is completely drama free. We beat the tower down (I wave to Liss and Cabbage from Walrus, who are both in the fleet as logistics pilots, and give Bre a warp-in when she shows up a bit later in a torpedo-toting bomber), and in a few hours push the tower into its invulnerable but largely offline "reinforced mode", in which the tower runs purely on its limited strontium fuel supply before it can be well and truly destroyed. Another half-hour after that, and the fleet has erected a 'cage' of warp-disruption bubbles around the tower as well. We're done for the night.

For all intents and purposes, the assault is in a holding pattern; either the defending corporation will try to buy their way out of their 'problem' when they come online, or they will try to tough it out and we will resume the assault in a few days when the strontium runs out.

For now, though, there's little to do, so I help out with what I can, make sure I'm where I need to be, and make it an early evening. Unexpected, but that's another reason I wanted to come along -- to understand what an operation like this was like.

The answer: like the military. Hurry up, then wait.


Life in a Wormhole: Silence Broken Only by Soothing Gunfire #eveonline

Our constellation of wormhole systems is far simpler today than it was yesterday, for which I'm grateful. A short bit of scanning reveals we are connected to a class 2 system with connections to nullsec and class 5 wormhole space, both of which I leave well alone. The system itself has been abandoned by its occupants (the skeleton of a tower and its defenses still floating around a distant moon) and there are no other connections inbound into the system except ours, so it's also going to be much quieter here than yesterday, which will provide a nice break for my adrenal glands.

Gor and Wil and I hit a few sites, and I get to show off the fancy little trick for destroying Perimeter Hangars in one-third the time. Gor is a fan, Wil a bit less so, since being up close and personal hurts a bit more when the Sleepers select you as primary -- we need to get Wil into a tougher ship than the Harbinger he's flying.

Aside from that, the combat goes smoothly, and only the first site picked on Wil too much. Within a few minutes we have a nice pile of wrecks to salvage, which Gor and his Noctis set into with gusto.

We loot the loot, as one does.

While the other pilots handle that, and with our evening coming to a close, I decide to pop my head out into Nullsec just to see where we are, and find the exit comes out somewhere in the Gurista Pirate-controlled areas of the Venal region. Knowing that, I ask Gor to come back over to the wormhole (after he's safely parked the Noctis) and check the exit as well -- we spent some time in Venal a few months ago, working on the Gurista's epic story arc, and I'm curious how close we are to the mission hub. Gor can tell more easily than I can, because he left one of his ship's parked there, and it looks like we're only a handful of jumps away.

Will we do anything with that information? No; it's just kinda neat.

As I mentioned, there is an alliance-wide op tomorrow, and though we are only trial members, we've been invited to the shananigans.

I've decided to participate, and wrap up the evening by slipping Ty out of our lowsec exit in his Typhoon (cunningly named Ty's Phoon) and heading to a central rendezvous location. On a whim, I take our loot along to sell, since I'm headed toward civilization anyway; our evening of Sleeper shooting nets us 95 million isk, which should help defray the cost of any potential ship losses on the op tomorrow.

Not that I'm planning to lose a ship, but... you know.

Good to be prepared.