Doh scammed

Ugh just got scammed out of a ME 1 PE 1 Naglfar BPO. My fault for being stupid and greedy.

I’ve been researching a couple of Naglfar BPOs thinking I might as well get some use out of my research slots as well as make use of my ISK that’s just sitting around. So finally I decide to sell them off because I didn’t want to hold on to them for too long. Put up a contract for 2.7 billion and while I was sitting around, I got a convo request from someone called Yummy Yummy Yummy.

Normally I don’t even open up Jita local and ignore all chat requests, but for some reason I decided to open this one. He offered me 5 PLEX for the BPO, which obviously was worth more than 2.7 billion. My first (and correct) instinct was to tell him to just sell the PLEX and buy the contract. However I guess my greed got the better of my brain and I said sure. I thought I checked the trade carefully, but long story short I ended up with 5 plastic wraps renamed as PLEX.

Sigh, not a good day. Looks like my Naglfar BPO investment will end up as a loss.

Moral of the story : never ever ever ever accept any trade unless it’s in a contract, and even then check very carefully. Another lesson relearned.

Random Schadenfreude

I’ve joined my new (old) corp with both Noork and Yannie, only to find that the alliance has been war-decced by Marmite, Gevlon’s Jita-camping friends. At the same time, some Goons are attacking some alliance assets in Syndicate, resulting in the Syndicate players also having a hard time undocking. The corp policy is not to undock for any kind of PVE activity while under a high-sec wardec, which I have no problems with as it makes a whole lot of sense. So I’m basically just updating orders and skill training and watching people complain in corp chat that they can’t mission to make their subscription due to the wardec. Kek.

A couple of days ago I was driving home from grocery shopping with the wife and kid. As I was moving off from a 4-way intersection after the light turned green, a grey BMW suddenly cut around in front of me and sped off. Within 10 seconds I heard police sirens and made way for a police car which magically materialized from nowhere and promptly pulled the grey BMW over at a side lot. My only thought? CONCORDOKKEN’ED!

Last week in Marvel Puzzle Quest, there was a week-long event called Thick as Thieves which consisted of a main event and a sub-event every day. You could do repeatable PVE missions in both the main and sub-event with points that reset every 8 hours, with the winners in each sub-event getting covers for Wolverine (Patch) and the winners in the main-event getting covers for a new character, Daredevil. This event was also the first time the developers introduced a scaling system for enemy levels. As players completed missions, the levels of enemy NPCs would increase, from level 17 up to a maximum of 230. The scaling affected all sub-events and the main event as well and did not reset with a new sub-event. So a lot of players wound up facing all level 230 enemies after the first sub-event because they grinded the repeatable missions like crazy. However, it was discovered and even posted in the forums that “tanking”, or intentionally losing missions, would decrease the levels of the enemies. So my wife and I would just do the PVE missions every 8 hours, and in between use our characters to enter battle, retreat, etc. This way our opponents stayed at minimum level all the time and it was really easy for us to finish all the missions. We managed to place either 1 or 2 for almost all the sub-events and in the end my wife finished 1st in the main event, while I placed top 10 because I ran out of time (wasted it doing the sub-event even though I was clearly already in 1st place).

The funniest part was the shit-storm that hit the forums after that where so many players complained about losing to scrubs with low-level characters (you can see the rosters of other players). There were rampant accusations of cheating and unbalanced missions, normally also accompanied by the comment “and I refuse to tank missions”. The best part was when the player who eventually ended up number 2, losing to my wife, posted about how he was overtaken in the last minute by “someone who was probably using money to buy boosts because otherwise it’s impossible they could have gained points so fast”. When my wife read that she literally danced a jig of joy in the middle of the room. We had already maxed out our Wolverine covers and didn’t particularly want Daredevil, but decided in the end to reach top placement just to annoy all the people who were too dumb to tank. Seriously why in the world would you fight level 230 enemies when you can keep them down at <30 just by taking a half hour during the day when you're not playing to just enter battle, retreat repeatedly.

Hooray

Well Rubicon 1.1 dropped yesterday and did not completely crash the game, so another resounding success by CCP I suppose. I think the changes that are relevant to me are the nerfing of target painters and requiring Omnidirectional Tracking Links to be scripted just like Targeting Computers. I can live with the target painter change and the OTLs were frankly pretty overpowered to begin with, especially in combination with Garde IIs. I don’t think there’s much of an issue with them being scripted as you don’t need that much tracking at range anyway, and Garde II tracking is decent by itself.

However the best news is that EVEHQ finally updated and fixed a bug in their reports that left out the summary total in transaction trading reports. So now I can finally stop copying and pasting the list into Excel just to get a sum of the profits. From Jan 1-29 I currently have 4.2 billion ISK profit, but unfortunately PLEX prices didn’t go down from the PLEX sale.

Another plus side is that I finally got cleared through recruitment for my old corp, now I have to find a good time to plan my wormhole deployment. The new mobile microjump structure actually sounds pretty good in terms of allowing me to use sub-BS class sentry ships, since they would let me ping-pong Myrmidons between two such structures and hence let the sentries easily hit Sleeper frigates. Also immunity to warp disruptors, yum.

Nothing much to say about the capital slugfest in BR-5RB, except that every time I see the system name I just think “BRB” which is probably a good predictor of what is going to happen to all those lost capitals. I find it amusing that Gevlon thinks all big fights should be done with capitals though, I don’t think he has ever grown out of the “Big Ship Syndrome” that most new players start with and thinks that Titans are the be-all-end-all ship that everyone should aspire to. Probably because he hasn’t actually done anything requiring combat such as missions or incursions and instead spent all his time hauling and trading (or ganking).

Still in recruitment limbo

Finally got my recruitment chat done with the corp. It’s primarily an Aussie corp so that might explain the difficulty in finding people. However if I go into wormholing I’m prepared to solo or dual-box already anyway so I won’t wilt from lack of people in my time-zone anyway. Supposedly there is quite a lot of activity down in Syndicate with the alliance in US time zones, I might actually try that out too. Hopefully my application will get cleared in the next few days, after which I can start on the wormhole project.

In the meantime, I’m training T2 heavy assault missiles so I can try the HAMgu for wormhole sites. I’ve slowed down my trading activities too, updating orders mostly once a day instead of twice. I’m still on track to make more than 4 billion ISK in January despite very limited activity, so it’s still good.

On a totally random note, I find it absolutely incredible that there are actually people who will spend their time doing public courier contracts. Man, that is the very definition of sweatshop work… even mining is more fun than that >.<

Most of my time has been spent playing Marvel Puzzle Quest, which very surprisingly my wife has really taken to despite knowing next to nothing about comics and superheros. She's definitely an Achiever though and will rabidly farm for things. She also has much better luck than me and pulls so many more useful characters from the random recruitment tokens.

Assassin's Creed : Black Flag is also getting some playtime from me, at about 29% story completion now. Nice graphics, very nicely done ship fighting and has all sorts of lists to tick off, which really float my boat (har har har).

Pit stop

I previously mentioned that I was applying to rejoin my previous corp. However, the process has turned out to be a long wait. They are not currently recruiting actually, but the fact that I was a previous member lets me rejoin. After filling in the 3 page long application form (again) and resending character API keys, now I’m just waiting for a recruitment chat. Unfortunately I haven’t been logging on to EVE all that much and during the times when I am on, no recruitment officer was available in the recruitment channel. Now they have said that recruitment is on hold due to a new wardec.

Kinda reminds me again of why I prefer solo play… I’m slightly regretting reapplying at this moment. Part of it was that in their due diligence of examining character APIs, the recruitment officer reminded me about my loss of a 3 billion ISK Bestower. Yes yes, I know it happened, in fact I did put a post of it up in the forums telling everyone how it happened you know. I know he was just trying to help and remind me not to do stupid stuff, but yet it felt a little bit like nagging and patronizing. That’s one thing I definitely like about being solo, at least after doing something dumb and losing an expensive ship you don’t get nagged about it afterwards.

On a separate note, I am completely flabberghasted at how so many EVE players seem to think that EVE has a great community. I can only conclude that either I completely do not understand the meaning of the word “community” or this is the most spectacular display of in-group bias I have ever seen. “We may scam, grief, gank, AWOX and verbally abuse everyone, but we’re a great community”. Just look at the EVE forums.

Gee I wonder

I normally don’t participate in Blog Banters, but this one kinda intrigued me mostly because it ties in to something I was already thinking about. I belong firmly in the camp that EVE has peaked long ago and there will not be any significant increase in subscribers unless something major is done. Why? To me the answer is obvious and simple : the current playerbase.

Over the years, EVE has collected and distilled the scum of the internet into one convenient location. EVE’s reputation as a harsh, no-holds-barred game has naturally attracted (and retained) only 2 kinds of player, the griefer or the people that accept the presence of griefers and are able to deal with them. In my case, I am pretty anti-social and so I tend not to have any dealings with them at all if I can help it. Other games also have asshats, but EVE is pretty unique in that asshattery is not only allowed, it is actually EXPECTED and the game mechanics themselves serve to protect griefers.

Troy Wexler’s story is such a typical one that it serves as a perfect case study. I can just imagine an entire corp thinking “yeah if we work together we can fight them off!” especially if they have been taken in by EVE’s “you can make a difference” marketing. But any experienced player knows that trying to fight back against high-sec griefers that shoot MTUs or can flip or steal mission items is just a lose-lose situation. Even if you succeed in refitting to a PVP ship and killing them, it means nothing and will just encourage them to reship and come back in a neverending cycle of badgering and annoyance. CONCORD in high-sec does nothing except help blow up random newbies, the only defense against gankers is to not be there.

Thus anyone who comes into the game thinking they are going to be a white knight, and hunt pirates, or tries to fight back will eventually be driven into frustration by griefers that know how to exploit high-sec mechanics for their own protection much better than their victims. EVE will never be a “social” game that a group of friends can jump into, because it’s so easy for a small group to be completely shut down by random griefer corps.

There are other reasons too, mainly being time commitment. I can sort of see the expense argument too, since EVE has such a long time frame and really does become much more playable with multiple accounts that it really seems to lock you in to paying multiple $15 subscriptions for extended times. Unlike other MMOs, you can’t just unsub when you’re not playing much only to resub later because of the feeling that you’re wasting skill point training time. Of course I’ve only ever given CCP one payment of $15 and have been PLEXing both accounts ever since, but it’s pretty obvious that most people do pay with RL cash for at least one of their accounts.

It’s such a pity too because at it’s heart EVE is such a complex, deep and beautiful game. It’s pretty well balanced and has interesting gameplay strategies too involving different classes of ships and tactics. Too bad it all lies behind a great wall of gankers and griefers, all shouting that they want the sandbox to remain the way it is, i.e. they have all the power to go around kicking in sandcastles without any consequences whatsoever. I can’t remember where I read it now, but someone also made an interesting comment that another problem is that the existing playerbase has been given proof multiple times that if they kick and scream enough, CCP will cave in to them because EVE is their golden goose. Much like a screaming spoilt 2 year old, the EVE community now uses any excuse to violently oppose any change that would lessen their ability to abuse newcomers to the game.

Well that worked… sort of

I’ve not been doing all that much in EVE recently, being partially distracted by Marvel Puzzle Quest which my wife is also playing. The good part is that while I’ve been playing that, I also took the opportunity to do some mining with both characters in Retrievers. Not particularly profitable with each full ore hold of Solid Pyroxeres being worth only something like 3.7 million unprocessed, but I like having a stockpile of minerals around when I want to build stuff, like the Drake I recently baked.

However last night my Iron Man got whooped and had to rest a bit to recover health, so my wife shooed me off to go do other things. Well, guess it’s time to put my wormhole day-tripping plan into action…

My Buzzard, Laserbeak, undocks and starts putzing around looking for a wormhole. In my favourite dead end system, 2 jumps from my base, I find 2 K162s into unknown space. I kinda forgot to try to guess the class of the wormhole from the colors, but decide to grit my teeth and jump into one of them. Here goes nothing!

Ok, I ended up alone, which is always a relief. Opening an in-game browser to wormnav shows that it’s a cataclysmic C1, with some activity in the past few hours so it’s not unoccupied. There’s nothing on dscan so first thing is to bookmark the wormhole (woot! didn’t forget this step!) and then make a safe spot. Once in the safe, I start scanning. My dscan skills are extremely rudimentary, which needs to be corrected soon, but so far I haven’t seen any ships and the system seems quiet. There are 2 combat anomalies and an ore site, and 2 unknowns which turn out to be another wormhole and a data site. Hmm… data site… and Laserbeak has hacking stuff fitted.

Now at this point maybe I should have gone to look at the other K162 to check out the situation, but I’m lazy. Laserbeak is right there to hack the cans, once I clear out the defending Sleepers. The site is called Unsecured Perimeter Information Center and looks to have a fair number of cruiser NPCs, so not quite a cakewalk? Time for Noork to bring the Drake over. I’ve refitted it by dropping a passive thermal shield amplifier and putting on a target painter, so the tank is reduced to about 400 with fleet boosts, but I figure the heavy missiles need some help in hitting frigates.

While Noork starts making his way, I warp the Buzzard over to the entry N110 hole at 100km just to make sure an ambush hasn’t materialised. Shortly after Noork jumps into the system, I see a pod appear on dscan shortly before appearing at the N110. Hmm, so there are people in here… but why a pod? Did he get killed by Sleepers or are there defenders? Still haven’t seen any ships on dscan, although I didn’t exactly make an extensive survey of the system to find out where the towers are etc.

Anyway, I decide to go for it and jump the Drake through. Warping in to the data site, I see a buttload of Sleepers and am immediately neuted by 1 frigate and 3 cruisers. Someone obviously triggered the site already, including the first reinforcement wave.

Creepy crawly... squish it!

Creepy crawly… squish it!

I was a bit alarmed to see my capacitor vanishing quickly, and pretty soon it’s totally dry which means both adaptive invulnerability fields stop running. Thankfully the tank seems to hold at around 50-60% shields, and the target painter helps a lot in killing stuff. I didn’t launch my Hobgoblin IIs as I figured they would be instantly eaten. After killing all the neuting ships things obviously got easier and I decided to plonk down a mobile depot to refit to salvage drones and see if I could get a first step on salvaging. I was hoping that the Sleepers would not disturb the salvage drones since they don’t attack and cause aggro, but no luck and I had to pull them back pretty quickly.

No hardeners, no problem

No hardeners, no problem

I wonder what that pretty blue pulsar-looking thing in the background is. After killing everything, I then refit to 4 salvagers and 2 tractor beams and go to work on the wrecks. I didn’t bring a mobile tractor unit due to how much space it took up, but man it’s been a long time since I did manual salvaging with no tractor bonuses and it proves to be a real pain even with the salvage drones helping.

At this point I notice that an Arazu has appeared on dscan. Uh oh. My Drake is aligned to my safe, so I’m keeping an eye out. Of course being a cloaky recon he could suddenly appear next to me but I should be able to warp off before being targeted… I think. A short while later, the Arazu disappers but is replaced by a Pilgrim. I’m getting more nervous here as it’s becoming more evident that someone is awake. My Buzzard, which has been keeping watch on the hole, suddenly sees a Hurricane land on it. Yikes, looks like they’re looking for me.

Feeling alarmed, I pull the drones back and start spamming dscan on the Drake. The Pilgrim disappears and is replaced by a Prophecy battlecruiser and Maelstrom battleship. Uh oh, big guns coming, warp warp warp! In my haste I leave my dear salvage drones behind, poor things. However, upon reaching my safe spot I realise I have another problem, that being my Drake has no cloak. So I can’t just sit at my safe spot since I’ll get probed out. I didn’t even remember to bring a cloak so that I could refit to it, although I was also loathe to drop a mobile depot and wait 45 seconds for it to go online since it’s easily probe-able as well. I warped my Buzzard 100 km off the data site and began bouncing the Drake madly between planets thinking what to do. I had a moment of panic where I forgot what my exit bookmark was called and thought that they had collapsed the exit hole using the Maelstrom. Obviously they couldn’t do that, this being a C1 which doesn’t allow battleships to enter back in, but yeah I don’t think well under stress. After realizing my exit was still there, and watching dscan a bit on the Buzzard, things seemed to calm down a bit.

At this point I made another mistake, and decided to warp back to the site in my Drake to pick up my salvage drones and finish up the last few wrecks. I knew it was a bad idea even while I was doing it, kinda like when I decided to move 3 billion ISK in goods from Jita to Amarr in a Bestower, but yeah… in Keroro Platoon we leave no drone behind! Fortunately I actually managed to pick up all 5 drones and finish salvaging with no incidents, after which I immediately bolted to the exit hole and jumped through. Success!

Meanwhile I had warped the Buzzard to the exit hole to scout first, and while the Drake jumped through I warped the Buzzard back to the data site at 0 to hack the data cans. The Buzzard obviously had a Covert Ops cloak, so I thought I should be safe. I think you can probably guess what happened…

While setting my Drake to jump back to my base, I suddenly heard a target lock sound through my earphones and the sound of weapons fire. After a second of “huh?” I switched back to the Buzzard and saw to my dismay that I was decloaked and there was a Hurricane pointing me. I sat there for another salvo before realizing that he didn’t have a web on me. Aligning to my safe spot and hitting my 1MN AB, I actually managed to make it to 10km away before his drones blew up my Buzzard. Not sure if I would have made it if I had been a bit quicker thinking or had overheated the AB. In any case, at least my pod got out safely.

So that turned out to be 16.5 million ISK in loot, mostly from 3 melted nanoribbons, in exchange for about a 30 million ISK Buzzard. Not particularly productive, but I think I did learn a lot of things from my first wormhole adventure.

1) I need to do a proper recon of the system before doing anything. This includes checking towers, etc. If it’s occupied or has signs of recent activity, forget about it.

2) If I see a ship appear on dscan, I should gtfo. No exceptions, and no doing stupid stuff like “one more wreck” or “just need to pick up my drones”.

3) Might need to revise my Drake fit a bit, or maybe choose a different ship. I got neuted out pretty quickly, so maybe change to fully passive tank instead of 2 invuls. DPS from heavy missiles was decent against frigates, might get more from HAMs but HAMs have pitiful range and the Drake has no prop mods. Salvaging is also still a pain, but I’m not sure how to improve this. Maybe bring a MTU despite the 150 m3 volume, it seems to be worth it. Also BRING A CLOAK, seems more useful than a core probe launcher in that utility slot (the probe can be refit using the mobile depot).

4) I need to make tactical warp ins for any site I’m doing, rather than warp to 0.