January 2011 marked my return to EvE. I'd decided to give it another try after failing to find anything of interest back in 2007.
It's safe to say that I've found enough in the game to hold my interest on the second try.
For all intents and purposes, Eve has been the only MMO I've played this year. Kate and I did a bit of Star Wars when it came out, but that proved disappointing and frustrating. We have lifetime memberships with LotRO, but we can't seem to arrange our schedules to play together right now, so that means more solo stuff, and I don't normally play LotRO if I'm playing by myself. (Frankly, if my option for the evening doesn't involve Kate, I'm going to pick a game we aren't playing together.)
So what's my second year of really playing Eve been like? Pretty darned good.
Back in January, I was still actively living in a wormhole that was part of Talocan United. I was heading out into known space on the weekends for casual roams, and making pretty good money on the side by scouting out and selling unoccupied wormholes. Reading about some of the stuff going on then reminds me of the intra-alliance drama that was doing its damndest to keep me from enjoying the game. Whoopee. We also had to defend our wormhole from a pack of cloaky attackers from Surely You're Joking, though I didn't write about that until (most of) February.
(Also, I see a post back then detailing how much I hate Low Security space. In retrospect, that's funny.)
Outside the game, February and March was swallowed up quite a bit by Mass Effect 3, which I wrote about at some length.
March/April saw the return of cloaky ships from SYJ stalking the wormhole. At this point, I was pretty much done with getting targets painted on our backs because of trouble the alliance had borrowed, so we excused ourselves from the wormhole and the alliance and moved to a new wormhole. I wanted something more accessible from known space, with a good connection to higher-end wormhole space, and very friendly to passive income projects via Planetary Interaction. I threw quite a bit of ISK toward acquiring a system that met all my requirements, and managed to make that investment back well inside the first month in our new home.
We were not entirely willing to settle with something so simple, however, and spent a good month kind of puttering around high sec incursions and trying out membership in a class-6-based wormhole corp that seemed like a fun group of guys if you stood way back and squinted a lot. Didn't work out.
Ultimately, we all ended up in the wormhole I'd set up. Of course, as soon as we all got set up, we picked up a stalker for about two months in the form of a cloaked-up bomber/scanning-alt duo we could never quite track down or evict. Not as much fun as it sounds, but it did teach us some good lessons when it comes to covering our less-skilled alts while they run planetary interaction tasks.
June saw me still restless with life in the wormhole. I spent a lot of time doing exploration in nullsec, roaming with Agony Empire, and generally just looking for something I could really engage with as soon as I logged in. Probably the tension of knowing a cloaked up bomber was hanging around in our home system put a damper on life in the wormhole, especially since he knew our membership list well enough to know if we were setting up an ambush. Pretty much everyone was lying low, or sitting in space, cloaked up and scanning repeatedly. Life in a foxhole is exhausting.
This search for a new direction culminated in Ty leaving the wormhole corporation and forming a new corp with the express purpose of checking out Faction Warfare without making life impossible for everyone in the 'normal' corp. CB came along with me. That was just about seven months ago now.
My time with Faction War has bracketed all the really big changes CCP has implemented with that part of the game. I wasn't one of the folks who made stupid amounts of money off the (easily exploitable) first revision -- I made enough to pay for all the little ships I was blowing up, which I suppose was what they'd intended -- and I applauded the fixes that came in later and killed most of the truly parasitic levels of farming while promoting more fun PvP.
As a bonus, after a lot of research and a few missteps, I found some really fun people to fly with in Faction Warfare (though, weirdly, I've flown with them less since my corporation joined their alliance), which helped immensely.
About that: Right around the end of November, our little Faction Warfare corporation (now strengthened by several of the main pilots from the wormhole, plus some new guys we've recruited) joined Ushra'Khan, who can best be summed up as rp-light pro-Minmatar. Oldest alliance in the game, parenthetically.
A week later, I wrote on Google+:
I've killed as many ships in the 8 days since bringing my corp into Ushra'Khan as I did in the 192 days I was part of "Eve's biggest wormhole alliance." Is that a 24:1 fun ratio? Feels like it.
Another comparison. 163 kills since starting my FW corp (177 days membership), 41 kills with my WH corp (472 days membership). That a 3.9:1 kill ratio and a 1:2.6 time ratio. Works out to roughly a 10:1 "activity" (read: fun) ratio.
Conclusion: Faction Warfare was a good move for me.
To update those numbers a bit: even with spending most of November and half of December away from the game, Ty's averaged just a bit over one ship killed per day since joining Faction Warfare. I don't care much about the kill tally, except where it reflects the danger I've been in and (by extension) the fun I've had.
I like to have fun. And when I say "fun", what I really mean is danger. For in danger, I find excitement, adventure, and ultimately fun.
Maybe it's an odd way to quantify it, but I find myself agreeing with Rixx on this point (and several others) in his most recent post.
Where am I now?
Ty's been working on rounding out his sub-capital ship skills. I like having options, and I don't like having my options limited, so (especially in the last six months) I've really focused on being able to fly every class and faction of ship, fitted properly. This has meant a LOT of support skill training, and training to operate all the tech2 versions of all weapons systems that would fit on Battlecruiser-sized or smaller ships. At this point, I can fly virtually any sub-battleship hull, fit with tech2 modules from top to bottom, and I have battleship options regardless of the type of ships being fielded.
My current plans going forward are finishing the Battleship-sized weapons I don't already have trained properly, as well as tech2 Heavy and Sentry Drones. That should take me to midsummer, give or take, and then we'll just have to see.
Meanwhile, Bre's been in the wormhole, and I've been at loose ends with her training for awhile now, because I don't want to train her just the same as Ty and she's already maxed out at the sub-capital stuff he doesn't fly very much. So: she's now training for Capital ships. I'm excited about this, because it's not something I'm doing with Ty at this point, and really gives her a purpose. Soon, I'll have a bonafide carrier alt. That's just a weird thing to say.
Otherwise, I've been spreading the training love around a bit with my other characters. Berke's got his leadership and other support skills as high as I need them, so I trained up a solid wormhole defender to bodyguard all our planetary interaction pilots, and finally trained up a Market alt and (more importantly) figured out how to run them properly and turn an actual profit.
What I've Done
I thought I'd found my version of the end game with wormholes. Turns out that the end game changes as you change -- the game is so big and has so many different facets of play that it feels like I'm playing different-but-interconnected games, depending who I log in. Solo pvp. Small gang pvp. Fleet pvp. Solo and group PvE. Market trading. Manufacturing and other industry. Exploration.
Still no mining spreadsheets, though. There's a mercy.