Here we go...

Back in Eve after a year away.

Back in Faction Warfare.

Back in space.

Feels good.



Nice and simple: if you haven't voted, you should. Vote for whoever, but no matter what, vote.

Here's how I voted. On the off chance you see the game through kind of the same lens as me, you might find "why" marginally useful information.

  1. Mike Azariah (incumbent). I'm not a high-sec carebear, but I respect people who work hard on things they commit to. Mike was an edge-case winner last year and, this year, he's been endorsed by literally every CSM incumbent who worked with him during the year. "Workhorse." "Well-spoken." "Great rapport with CCP." The only incumbent who gets more glowing recommendations is...
  2. Ali Aras (incumbent). The only reason Mike is listed as 1 and Ali is listed as two is that I don't want Mike to get my vote only if Ali didn't need it. (I don't think Ali will need all the votes she'll get, by the way - but just in case...)  With that said, if you want to see Ali get one of the Top Two positions that guarantee she goes to Iceland every time there's a summit, and so move her to your #1 position, I can totally see your point. She's great, she's done good work, and she's exactly the sort of person I hope will lead the new CSM.
  3. Sugar Kyle. I see Sugar as the ultimate embodiment of lowsec. She does pirate pvp, market stuff, POS stuff, manufacturing, research, and even has an alt in Faction Warfare. Lowsec needs a good rep on the CSM, and I think Sugar's it.
  4. Gorski Car. Despite being in PL, Gorski actually seems to play eve about like me (solo, small gang, with a mix of low- and null-sec flying), and sees most of the main issues the same way.
  5. Steve Ronuken. This year (and maybe last year) the CSM needs a good CREST third-party developer as a member, and Steve's the best one on the docket.
  6. Mangala Solaris (incumbent). I like Mang. I like what he does for the game. I like the platform he's working from this year (more tools for casual-friendly content creators), and I think he's gotten steadily better at being a CSM and communicating with the wider player base over the year. I want to see him keep that going, though I very much doubt he'll need my vote, since he's got RvB behind him.
  7. Jayne Fillon. The only thing better than having a casual-friendly content creator on the CSM is having two on the CSM, and that's what Jayne is.
  8. DNSBlack. The guy has a real commitment to the game AND to keeping CCP honest about favoritism and its own policies. He's real-world qualifications in this arena are top-notch, and I think he'll pull the CSM and CCP up by main force if he can get on the CSM.
  9. James Arget (incumbent). Fiiiiiine, wormholers: you can have a guy on the CSM, but it has to be someone who actually gets involved and cares about more than his weird corner of the univer-- oh. James? Yeah. James is perfect for that. Good call.
  10. DJFunkyBacon. I've recently come to the not-so-shocking realization a Faction Warfare candidate is not really a 'lowsec' candidate. That said, what this guy lacks in all-around lowsec knowledge I think he'll make up for in good community communication, which will be even more important.
  11. Xander Phoena. I don't care for his style of play, but I like his focus on communication. With Jester stepping down, I think he can be the next 'guy talking from inside the system.' We'll see.
  12. Matias Otero. This guy doesn't need my help. If my vote goes unused THIS far down, it's going to fall all the way to #14 anyway, so who cares? Call it a bit of moral support for a guy who, if elected, will take a big flag over to Iceland that says "REMEMBER THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN."
  13. mynnna (incumbent). Also will not need my vote. At all. Whatever. He's fucking smart as hell and does good work, and I needed a #13.
  14. Psychotic Monk. Yes, if everyone else on my list is either totally in or so far out I can't help them, then fine, throw vote at the guy who represents high-sec ganking people. Sure. At least he's not the minerbumping idiot.


Frozen (corpse)

(With apologies to  Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez.)

Do you want to fly a spaceship?
Come on, undock, let's go!
We're gonna do a roam again
Come on login
It's time to go explode!

We used to shoot red crosses
But now we're not
And I'm going to show you why!

Do you want to fly a spaceship?
You don't have to sit in station...
Let's go fly...

Do you want to fly a spaceship?
Or gank some carebears in nullsec?
I think some kind of pew is overdue
I'm looking forward to
The next high sec wardec!

Right now I'm roaming Placid
But these empty skies
Guess I'll go check Black Rise...
(warp-jump warp-jump warp-jump warp-jump)

Come on guys, I know you're in there
(Ninth faction warfare plex today)
They say you're not real soldiers
I'd hoped you'd be bolder.
Why not engage?

There's no one else in Local
It's just you and me
What are you gonna do?

Don't you want to fight a spaceship?

Okay, bye...

Shopping this image took three times longer than coming up with the lyrics.


Assume the Answer is Yes.

I've been at something of loose ends in Eve for awhile. I enjoy Faction Warfare (a whole bunch), but I'm a leeeettle sick of the people in my region, and I'm not quite ready to switch back over the Cal/Gal warzone. Also (and believe me, this matters), while I'm enjoying the opportunity to improve my solo PvP, faction war's simply not as enjoyable without a group of pilots to fly with at least some of the time, and most of the guys I shot things with in 2013 are currently on a break, or decided they couldn't take any more standings hits.

Since January, I've been getting my social fix in the game by jumping into public roams, mainly RvB Ganked, a tiny bit of Spectre Fleet, and the stuff organized by Greygal's "Redemption Roams," which I think of as a quieter, smaller, calmer alternative to the Ganked roams - they were definitely the roams I've enjoyed the most in the last few months, mostly because of the people involved.

One of the topics of conversation in the last couple months of RR roams has been the NEO II tournament, because the pilots on the roam were also fielding a mixed-bag team of pilots from all over New Eden for NEO II.

They had fun and, while they didn't go that far in the tournament, got a lot of compliments from their opponents. The whole thing whet their appetite for more.

The problem is, the next big event is the Alliance Tournament this summer, and for the Alliance Tournament, all teams have to represent, well, an Alliance. Obviously.

And these guy I'm flying with weren't in an Alliance.

Note the past tense.

After some consideration, Greygal decided to form up an Alliance under which 'our' pilots could gather for good times, good explosions, and (down the road a ways, still) a run in the next Alliance Tournament.

To reflect the goal of "positive, fun stuff, all the time" they named the alliance Affirmative., with the Alliance ticker of YES.

That is correct: in over a decade, no one has ever thought to claim the alliance ticker YES. Until now.

In the weeks since their creation, I've seen scheduled sight-seeing roams out to Titanomachy and Eve Gate, group play-throughs of the Angel epic arc (with the Guristas coming soon), a half dozen scheduled null roams, "PvP Skirmish Survival 101" sessions on Sisi, and a bunch of other stuff on the horizon (wormhole diving and pvp mining ops are two off the top of my head).

All in all, a good thing, and something I'm glad to be part of.

Well... sort of part of.

See, I'm in faction warfare. I can't be in faction warfare and also be in an alliance, unless that Alliance is also in faction warfare, and that's not what they're interested in - I enjoy it, but I'll freely admit it limits people's options.

So I put my alts in the alliance, and lived somewhat vicariously through their access to alliance comms. When possible, I brought Ty along, and for all intents and purposes, all my characters were considered part of the alliance.

But it still felt like tagging along instead of really joining in.

Ultimately, I knew I'd want move into YES, but I had all these little niggling to-dos with Faction Warfare that keep me from pulling the trigger.

Then, a few nights ago, while trying to take care of some of those things, I realized that one things I was doing for the war was actually undoing things I'd achieved on another personal project in which I was more invested. That simply would not do.

So, after almost two years of watching for flashy orange targets on my overview, I've mustered out of Faction Warfare. (And cashed out a couple of one-time-only "tag" missions to get (barely) back into the nominal good graces of the Amarr law enforcement. Thank you, Diplomacy V.)

As soon as that was done, I applied to Affirmative.

So, what now?
Well, there are a few things I'm not doing.

I'm not moving, for one. Also, I don't intend to stop roaming my current stomping grounds, though I might broaden my patterns a bit - I have easy means of fixing any damage my security status might sustain if I shoot a few now-neutral targets (and there are more than a few guys in Minmatar FW I'd like to blow up, to be honest), so the PvP will continue as normal. I will probably take more time for null-sec roams to see what kind of trouble I can get into.

I've also got a few 'standings related' projects I want to work on, one of which I've already begun.

And, of course, there's all the stuff that YES is doing that I now feel I can jump into with both feet.

So... combat mining? Wormhole raids? Tournament training and theory wankery? Gurista epic arc fleet-run? Incursions?

Assume the answer is Yes.



Everyone has ships in Eve they'd rather not fight.

Usually, it's not a binary switch, but a sliding scale, with something like a Punisher up around a 9.5, and a link-boosted Cynabal looking for new and exciting ways to get rated in negative numbers.

Obviously, it also depends on what I'm flying: I like the look of a brick-tanked lowsec Heretic a lot better in a dual-rep Incursus than I do in a double-tracking-disruptor Condor.

Everyone has ships in Eve they'd rather fight in.

I like interceptors. I'm terrible at them, but I like flying them. I like the speed, I like the responsiveness, and I like the pricetag. If interceptors aren't called for, I'm most likely to go for something similar in whatever class of ship is more appropriate.

Really, fast ships in general appeal to me. (This is a trend that's carried over through pretty much every game I've ever played where 'who I'm controlling' is something I get to pick. As I am already slow and lumbering in real life, I do not want a slow and lumbering avatar, exponentially increasing my response time.)

But I have to be careful with my ship selection, or I'm going to be bored.

See, for fast, non-interceptor frigates, there really isn't a much better option than the Imperial Navy Slicer. It's fast, it has great damage projection and, if you win the positioning battle, you'll score solo kills without taking much, if any, damage. I love this ship.

And I almost never fly it.

Same thing goes for Hookbills and Comets. And Condors. And Crows. And Daredevils. And Dramiels. And Crucifiers.

Why? Approachability. I like these ships because they're pretty damn good at what they do. The problem is, people know they're good, and pilots generally don't like taking fights with ships they think will have the advantage.

If you're flying a ship that most people see as 'always having the advantage', it doesn't matter how good you are at PvP - you won't get fights (unless your targets do something that tips the scale massively in their favor - hello booster-alts).

So what's a pilot to do? Instead of flying those awesome ships all the time, you need to liberally mix in stuff that isn't as good, with a more limited list of viable targets, but which you think will still give you a solid chance in the right situation.

In other words, you fly "approachable" ships that look like they're high on the "I'd fight that" scale, which in reality are pretty good. Examples for Faction War include flying things like Tormentors (which were bad for so long and still uncommon enough that people don't realize they're quite good), Breachers (similar story), maybe Stabbers (ditto), and so on - stuff that's 'bad' that really isn't bad if you narrow your menu of targets a bit.

Not Punishers, though: that's going too far.
There's such as thing as being "too approachable," Punisher pilot.
You're trying too hard.
All of which brings me to the Rifter.
Hello, sexy.
Now, before the frigate changes in Crucible, I would have been laughed at for suggesting the Rifter was anything like an attractive target: it was the king of frigates, with only the Merlin really standing out as a semi-viable substitute.

But when the frigate balance changes came and all frigates got tweaked to function roughly on the Rifter's level, the Rifter itself became...

Well, it didn't become anything - it stayed the same, which mean it was now sort of "second (or third, or fourth) best at everything" - never the best choice, no matter what you were doing. Worse, it had basically the same bonuses as another ship in the same empire (the Slasher), which did pretty much everything it did, better, and was still something people would fight.

I still tried to fly them, sometimes, and while I could certainly get fights (even Punishers would take a shot at a Rifter, which is like having the fat kid in fifth grade push you around on the playground), but usually (except for the Punisher fights) it didn't go well.

But this week, with Rubicon 1.3, CCP gave the Rifter a makeover, trading its plain-jane, tracking-bonus jumper for a sexy little falloff-range outfit that I just can't keep my hands off. I did a bit of number crunching and managed to come up with two or three fits that (still testing!) I like quite a lot: play it right, and you've now got a surprisingly fast ship that can hit you (well... "hit" you) from out around long-point range and still stay clear of your big, sweaty man-arms.

Sort of like a rusty, not-quite-as-good Imperial Navy Slicer.

Not quite as good, yes. But you know what the Rifter has that Slicer doesn't?

A friendly, welcoming smile that says
"Go ahead and ask for my number, I might say yes!"

Is the King of Frigates Back on the Throne?

In a word: No.

But you know what? We don't want a king on the throne - that's boring.

What we want is a throne war, with dozens of candidates vying for supremacy, no clear forerunner, and a clever but often-dismissed Imp doing his best in a family that hates him, and lots of gratuitous sexposition.

Hmm? What? Oh, right. Sorry.

Man I wish Game of Thrones was back on. Anyway. Rifters!

You have not suddenly found your next pwn-machine. Most of your fights will look like this:

Or this...

And you will definitely experience some of this:

BUT, you will get more fights.

And you will have a chance.

And you'll have fun.

Which is really the point.

Screenshot: Electric Blue

The last screenshot for awhile. I don't think I need to explain why I like this one.


Want to join an alliance. Want to shoot oranges all day. What do?

Some of you may know that I'm active in Faction Warfare. At the same time, there's a great group of folks who've formed up an alliance of like-minded goods, and I'd like to join the picnic.

The problem: I can't join that alliance and stay in Faction Warfare - either I leave FW, or drag the whole alliance into it (which is a non-starter for about a hundred reasons).

Allow me to illustrate my conflict by listing off the reasons I dig the FW environment:
  1. Basically instant-on action. Most of the folks I've flown with in the past, while awesome, are pretty inactive right now, because of [insert new hotness game here, or children], so the fact that I can login, undock, and roam around lowsec without backup is appealing. I might not find anything or I might get dunked, but realistically I can make something happen most nights.
  2. I make money to fund my PvP. In general, PvP doesn't pay the bills. FW is the exception. Minmatar is getting stomped right now, but even at Tier 1 warzone control, I still make twice the LP per mission as an average highsec mission runner (and my mission takes 10 minutes, including travel time... and I can chain four or five of them).
  3. I love interceptors, but... I like flying lots of different ships, but flying in Null (sort of the only other place I can live with regular PvP options and no POS tower), I feel like I always need to be in an interceptor to keep from getting creamed if I stop paying attention for ten seconds (or my kids try to eat a bug) and I forget to use a tac and end up in a bubble.
  4. I like not going flashy just to get a fight (and being a highsec wardeccer makes me throw up in my mouth a little). Yes, I could stay right where I live right now, drop Faction Warfare, and keep hunting other pilots, but (a) I'll be flashy red in a few days time and (b) I'd lose the best income option I have, and will need to replace that with... I dunno. Exploration on my scanner-alt or something.

So, basically what I have right now is a situation where I can log in, grab a fast ship, and either make bank or start hunting within a couple minutes, without needing to become a filthy criminal in the process.

I would like to join this alliance (which is forming for reasons/activities that don't address my day to day play), but I'm honestly not sure what I would *do* once I leave FW - what would adequately provide the same options.



Screenshot: A Hole in the Sky

Maybe I like wormholes.

Maybe I've got about a hundred screenshots of them.

Maybe I just like seeing a rift in space and time torn in the fabric of Amarr space.

Mostly that last one.


Screenshot: I don't know what you're doing, but...

... seriously, that can't be OSHA-approved scaffolding.

I'd believe the game's label of Containment Field more
if there weren't air quotes around it.


Screenshot: Fleet Warp

Not much to say about this screenshot except "Seriously, click to embiggen."

I like my solo time, but fleet roams can be pretty epic.


Screenshot: Hurricane

Somewhere during the first four or five months of playing eve, I discovered the Hurricane, and basically couldn't get enough of flying the damned thing.

I don't like it as much now, in terms of looks. It's one of the few ships that I don't think look better with the V3 skins. It's too smooth now. Not enough interesting features.

But back then? Oh yeah.

I have another screenshot that shows me that the first ship I took into a wormhole was a Hurricane, which is important, but I thought I'd provide a different bonus shot:

The Hurricane in its natural environment: Hull Breach Fire.


How many times we gotta shock you, Monkey?

I sincerely believe the Eve playerbase has gotten more welcoming to new players in the last few years - more helpful, more supportive.

But that doesn't mean it's not still Eve - and it doesn't mean you get to be stupid and not pay a price.

This story - about a new player who spends 44 billion isk (1300 bucks, and I mean real money this time, since he just paid for the whole thing with PLEX) just leaves my mouth hanging open. Especially page two.

The page where, after losing the ship to gankers, he buys/builds the whole $1300 thing AGAIN, puts another 400 bucks worth of PLEX in the cargo hold, and hands it off to an in-game stranger (sorry: a Goonswarm 'recruiter') to 'transport safely.'

Some people simply aren't meant to play Eve. Pity it cost this guy three thousand bucks to figure it out.

But... seriously?

It cost this guy THREE THOUSAND BUCKS to figure it out.

Time for the Jesus facepalm.

Remember, kids: Mistakes are meant for learning, not repeating.