Looking back over a thousand posts on EVE Online

2nd December 2011 – 5.03 pm

My first post about EVE Online is short, in the spirit of my journal at the time, merely reporting that I am giving the game a go. It somehow garners zero interest from the community. It is soon followed by first impressions, four days later, a fairly straightforward post about the basics of EVE Online, naturally including my first tentative experiences and, naturally, my first ship loss. My trial fortnight ends and I consider subscribing. Space has me hooked, but I don't quite have the time to invest, it seems, as I am still playing World of Warcraft and City of Villains.

Of course, I subscribe, after only a short delay, and get back in to space. I am still pootling around in missions, and will be for quite a while longer, just enjoying the sci-fi setting and spaceships, upgrading from frigates to cruisers to battlecruisers. My journal is now filling up quickly with almost all EVE Online-related posts, although it is still dotted with experiences from other games and life around me. There is also an interesting look at being the victim of a can-flipper and my initial attitude towards it. Looking back, I would say my frustration is more at a lack of clear education about the laws of high-sec and Concord, and what are considered good practices. Being thrown in to a new world, particularly one where others have lived for years already, is much akin to entering a new society and not knowing their local customs. It is difficult to learn how to behave and what to expect, and when situations go completely against expectations there will be frustration. I would say the post is still valid as an indication of how newbies will perceive the game if they are not given firmer guidelines on behaviours to watch out for and how to avoid them.

Being in the NPC corporation becomes tiring, if only for the inane chatter in its communication channel. I want to find a corporation but never find joining a group of strangers easily, so take the easy way out as usual, and create my own corporation. The chatter's gone, but it isn't really the ideal result, and I keep on looking for a corporation where I might fit in. I apply to join an actual corporation within a few weeks, but a couple of weeks after that I'm still not in a corporation. My lack of employment is sorted out within a week, getting in to a corporation at last, and one that will introduce me to PvP. And it does, but not quite as I planned. Instead, I ignore an autopilot warning that I am entering low-sec in my Drake fitted with cargo hold expanders and hauling modules and ammunition to my new base of operations. I jump in to a gate camp and promptly lose the Drake, all my fittings, and my current clone. Welcome to PvP! I take it better than being can-flipped, perhaps because I realise pretty quickly that I only had myself to blame.

The new corporation roams low-sec, with me along for the ride. I seem to enjoy it, and it's certainly a new experience. I am nervous about making mistakes, which is understandable but a bit silly, but try my best to get involved. But just as I'm getting more comfortable, and only a couple of months after joining, the corporation gets an offer to move to null-sec space, which I feel is too big a jump for me and I leave. I still didn't have much experience with PvP and null-sec still seemed big and scary at the time. I think I made the right choice, as I probably wouldn't have get as involved as necessary had I made the move.

I return to Caldari space and pick up mission-running, but ponder my options for my future in space. I decide to become an industrialist, learning about blueprints, getting a gift from Kirith Kodachi, and entering manufacturing with missiles. I also get the attention of a certain other capsuleer with an invitation to join a new corporation. I join Kename Fin's corporation and start living the life of an industrialist, which seems to suit me, even if, like most other parts of New Eden, I don't fully understand it. Never the less, I take the natural path of making standard modules before moving on to consider invention and manufacture of Tech II modules.

The Apocrypha expansion gets rolled out with little fanfare from me. I remember thinking that wormhole space would be out-of-bounds for me, in much the same way null-sec felt, and that the new Tech III cruisers were sufficiently out of my reach if only because I still couldn't afford Tech II ships! The expansion didn't seem particularly exciting. If I only knew. Manufacturing continues, I start research whilst continuing to increase my standings with Core Complexion, Inc., which nets me my first datacores. But some members of the corporation want to brave w-space. I suppress my shrinking violet tendencies and volunteer to help, and three months after Apocrypha hits I go on my first sortie in to w-space. Ah, so much to learn, like the mass limits of wormholes, as we can't cram a Charon through a connection to a class 2 w-space system, but the corporation gets set-up anyway. And so my w-space adventure begins.

Our first w-space PvP encounter happens a week after entering w-space, a day after I first woke up in w-space. We are ambushed in a system connecting to our own, a warp bubble dragging us short of the wormhole home and trapping everyone. Well, everyone but me, where I luckily end up on an edge with a clear line to a planet. I manage to manoeuvre and warp out and back, avoiding the bubble this time, and get home safely. My colleagues aren't so lucky. W-space, it seems, is dangerous, even if Sleepers are not. It is still early in my w-space adventure, so I am continuing to spend more time out in empire space, continuing with invention, although it seems that the first w-space system we inhabited is torn down pretty quickly. A second w-space system is located by scouts, probably Mick and Riyu, both very keen to exploit the riches to be found in w-space, and we move in.

We were still mainly industrialists when moving in to w-space, and we lose some exhumers to an ambush in a gravimetric site. It's all still quite new to us and we don't quite know how to react. Pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back mining. But a corporation theft causes us a little too much damage and we make a temporary withdrawal to empire space again. It is only a few weeks before I am back in w-space, which I interestingly refer to as 'where I belong'. Not for long, though. At least, not in that particular system, as it runs dry and the call is made to dismantle the tower and move on. I don't think we've quite worked out the idea behind getting a decent static wormhole yet, although we move deeper in to w-space once we work this out, setting up in our first class 4 system.

We are adapting to w-space, there is no doubt. We understand we'll be ganked, but rather than sitting back or hiding we come up with a plan to make a cruiser death squad, a squadron of cheap and disposable ships that will shoot back but probably lose, hopefully encouraging our aggressors to feel suitably manly and let them move on instead of stalking us. Meanwhile, we are slowly drifting towards the dark side. I find some miners, although I don't think about shooting them, and we are more curious about other pilots in w-space than scared in to hiding. We also move even deeper in to w-space, setting up in a C4 with a static wormhole to a second C4, putting us at least two systems away from k-space.

Curiously enough, once you have the tools at your disposal there grows an itch to use them. It is only a couple of days after getting my Manticore that I lob a bomb at an interceptor sitting on a wormhole. Somehow I get away too, although the interceptor easily survives the blast. And so it begins. Still, I have time to reflect on a year with DSGE (which later becomes Wormhole Engineers) before I get some action, which doesn't quite come when we steal a tower, although I get to act scary in my Onyx heavy interdictor. Entering the nexus of w-space is an interesting distraction, but it isn't until I find a rather oblivious miner, and return to catch him mining before I engage with the full intent of destroying a ship. I don't manage the kill, not having my ship suitably configured, but it's a good start.

After my first thrill of the hunt I am back a week later, taking the Onyx our to brutally slaughter some innocent miners and claim their ore as my own. There's no going back now, I can taste their blood. We get poked in our home system, teaching us to trust no one, but we also hit others in their systems, including interrupting Sleeper combat to down a combat ships. We don't restrict ourselves to soft targets, we'll hit anything viable. A Drake battlecruiser, an Orca industrial command ship with suitably relaxed colleagues, the first of many salvagers, a Raven dawdling outside its tower, an expensive Machariel faction battleship, as well as taking out a formidable Nighthawk and Drake pairing. The more enthusiastic members of the corporation even get us tackling a Nidhoggur carrier.

We get hit ourselves too. I lose an Onyx and my pod, amongst other carnage, in a retaliatory strike for the first salvager we kill. An attempted ambush backfires when we find the targets to be more numerous and better prepared than us, although that doesn't stop us taking our best shot. Some communication issues prevent us getting our first strategic cruiser kill, ending up with some losses instead, and I still have to learn not to bite on obvious bait. Some Drakes are tougher than we give them credit for, I lose a Legion learning never to go back once you've tipped your hand, we get successfully counter-ambushed, and counter-counter-ambushed, as well as various other losses. The biggest loss was when our Sleeper fleet was caught in action, although the size of the loss was more because of the hostiles denying access to our system for a while, even if the ISK loss of the Golem and Tengu was substantial in itself. We shook them off after a short while, and returned to continue our operations as normal.

It's not all been plain-sailing. I'm not terribly social, hence being comfortable in the small fleet conditions of w-space, but I can still produce some frisson with other pilots. Moving to the C5 system looked like providing greater opportunities for us, and it did, but I couldn't get on with a larger group, getting frustrated with having nothing to do initially. The frustrations continue as logistics continue, but I get some perspective and settle down. Even so, changing operational conditions are not what I agreed to on joining the corporation and don't feel up to the change, so I end up sulking. My solution is to strike out on my own, even if I don't have a solid plan, and thankfully I am saved by Fin, who is of the same mind. We take to scanning from high-sec empire space to look for a new w-space system to occupy, before the corporation stumbles across an off-line tower in a suitable system and we get a lovely gift of a new home.

Along the way I get a whole bunch of new and exciting ships. The Crane transport ship with it's Lai Dai paint job, which I lose stupidly in surprisingly quick time. Skill training for the Guardian logistics ship takes me close enough to gain the command ship skills, and I pick up another ship based mostly on looks, the Damnation. Naturally, I also end up training for the Guardian, and although I never pictured myself in a healing role I pick it up and become quite proficient, although I imagine that's more because of Fin's continued tutelage than my own inclination. Incidental skill training gets me sat in a Manticore stealth bomber, even though I am still not considering any kind of career in PvP. I must have got the bug, though, because, inspired by EVE Monkey, I train for and buy an Onyx heavy interdictor, even if I have trouble bringing it in to w-space initially. A Malediction interceptor is added to the hangar, mostly because it's cheap, and on the other end of the spectrum I get a gorgeous Tengu strategic cruiser, cross-training to a Legion later on, and a Widow black ops ship becomes my first battleship, followed later by a Golem marauder as my skill training progresses. My wallet progresses too, and I buy more utility ships, like a Falcon recon ship, a Curse recon ship and no doubt some others that don't merit individual entries.

Apart from my collection of ships helping me pop Noctis after Noctis after Noctis, hauler after hauler after hauler, as well as plenty of ore miners and gas harvesters, and even picking up the occasional ransom, either by ransoming the ship or popping the ship and ransoming the pod, I have had some adventures worth highlighting either for their unusual circumstances, amusing incidents, or because they made what I consider to be a great story. Continuing with miners, an early sortie in the Onyx bagged me several miners in one go, followed half-an-hour later by their hauler trying to recover the ore. Surprising some gas harvesters introduces the cliffhanger in to my writing. I present cliffhanger and cliffhanger again when I feel the narrative device will work, if only to reduce the size of individual posts. I take it upon myself to bomb a Bhaalgorn solo, when it is surrounded by friends, and give us all a scare. We catch a Curse caught in the middle of its own chase, move on to get our first strategic cruiser kill, and profit when being in the right system at the right time spots an active tower's force field going off-line.

An improbable chain of w-space connections gets me drawing schematics, an allied pilot gets a lucky escape from w-space after a wormhole collapses on him, and I sneak up on a safe spot outside a bubbled tower. Manticore versus Manticore sees the Manticore win when a bomb is loosed at the fleeing ship, we chase down a Caracal cruiser not expecting to be caught so far from a wormhole, and don't even limit ourselves to w-space when we pop a Retribution in low-sec. Running protection saves an Orca by popping a Proteus, my search for wormhole colours gets me podded by a Revelation dreadnought, and my exploration evolves from scanning to shooting when I buy a covert Tengu. I lose that first scanning Tengu to an angry tower in an impulsive popping of an Imicus, but its replacement has me stumbling in to Titans in null-sec when I pause to take a look around. I nearly pop another Orca that has to call on friends to survive, because Orcas are tempting targets. I don't always fall for traps, occasionally managing to spot obvious bait. And operational security means that when I wake up to intruders in the home system I can shadow them and deny the intruders any profit. I even recover the corpses, even if it means relying on manual control.

And as Btek points out, on top of my adventures and stories I occasionally wax informative. On a meta level I describe my writing process with my anatomy of a post. I felt we had enough jargon out in w-space to create a w-space glossary that I promoted to be a static page instead of a regular post. I tried to encapsulate what it takes to hunt in w-space, which didn't get much attention probably because it was incorporated in a narrative rather than broken down in to discrete steps. Undeterred, I answer questions and try to explain the directional scanner's role in hunting, with diagrams, as well as learning my lesson to create a step-by-step guide on how to perform a blanket scan of a system, recently followed-up with a more detailed guide on how to scan the Penny Ibramovic way. I plagiarise my glorious leader to focus on how to collapse a wormhole, but my magnificent octopus took months to compile, a comprehensive guide to wormhole colours, which I later embellish with a table of wormhole types when I realised most other sites contain some confusion on the subject.

  1. One Response to “Looking back over a thousand posts on EVE Online”

  2. I wrote my thousandth post based on the feedback I received, with a plan to add plenty of links later to tie everything together. I think the post turned out okay, if maybe a little unfocussed. Then I sat down to trawl through my archives to find relevant posts detailing firsts, interesting changes, or good stories and, after copying a dozen or so links, realised I was doubling my effort by copying the links without any narrative. I ought to add context as I go, I told myself, as I'll have to do it anyway later on.

    I started adding context to the links I was copying, even going back to the first collection of links after a while to write the introductory paragraph. I was going to take a break but knew that I didn't really want to stop half-way through my archives and have to find my position again and pick up where I left off, so on I continued.

    By the time I had skimmed across a thousand posts I had a mighty collection of over a hundred links, all of them already brought together by my added text, and I could no longer simply integrate it in to the draft of my thousandth post. Either I abandoned the post describing the evolution of my journal, or I had to go through my archives again with the aim of finding a whole new bunch of links that would illustrate what I had written earlier. Neither approach really appealed to me.

    Of course, there was a third option. Well, a third and a fourth. I initially slapped the draft text at the head of what was now quite a full retrospective of my life in EVE Online, but both posts were rather lengthy by themselves. On top of that, the seam between the two posts was jarring. Despite ostensibly supposed to be the foundation and furnishings of the same post, their being written individually at different times quite obviously showed. The best option was to publish them as two posts, and as it was such a data dump I would do so over two days.

    The result is the thousandth post of yesterday and this huge collection of links today. At least it means my reflection on a thousand posts is actually a reflection on a thousand posts, as otherwise it would have had to be self-referential in order to fulfil its own criteria.

    By pjharvey on Dec 2, 2011

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