Operation Passive Income update.

For those of you watching the market on reactions, you all know that it’s wobbly as hell right now. For those who don’t, fullerides, my reaction of choice, has crashed, burned, died, been buried, exhumed, used as draino and forgotten in an unmarked septic tank. And by that I mean it dropped from 1600 per unit to 800 per unit, breaking my expected profit over its knee.

So, having moved to a significantly more stable reactant, things have been going well. Said reactant uses much less isk in moon goo per hour, so I can haul around weeks of reaction inputs without fear. Course, I can now haul everything without fear up to a bil thanks to “Krayt Dragon Bait”:

Awesome freighter, my origonal plan to keep her in the newbie corp disintigrated when I initiated warp to a gate, had a pleasant conversation, made a sandwich, met a girl, took a sailing trip around the world, lived life as I wanted and met death as an old friend as I entered warp. So, now she’s in my altcorp so I can web through the 40j round trips my exits tend to be.

On that note:

Awwww yeah.

Anyway, since I’ve talked to a few people who have fallen right off my “How rich are you” scale, loaning me bils and saying “pay it back whenever, with however much you think is reasonable, yes, of course I trust you, it’s only a bil or two”, my PoS fields have expanded to eight, soon upgrading to ten.

No, I’m not giving you their names.

http://www.staticmapper.com (shameless link again) has been invaluable for me to determine who or what’s in my hole: If there are two jumps, I’ve usually got a k162, if there are ten jumps and sleeper kills, someone did my sites while I was asleep, and if there are 40 jumps, then a null WH opened and they used my hole as a shortcut >.>

Essentially, if I don’t activate my static wormhole I see little to no traffic, but when I do open the wormhole, traffic comes in, tries to run a site, messes up a spawn and leaves after killing one sleeper.

For fear and intimidation purposes, I’ve anchored a large ship assembly array and called it “wut r siz restrictionz lulz?” For those who don’t get the joke, the array will let me build battleships in an area that does not allow battleships to enter usually, giving me a leg up on any would-be attackers.

Having eight poses has opened up an opportunity for me, and by that I’m not referring to using Nightmares as a throwaway ship; I mean spelling out amusing words and phrases with my towers 😛

So far, I’ve tried Princess Bride quotes, Monty Python quotes, and various other humerous suggestions by my friends and/or people waiting for a sliver of an opportunity to back-stab me ad take all that I have. The crowning suggestion has been, so far:

For those who, again, don’t get the joke, it’s fairly funny 😛

Curse you, social interaction!

Over the last few weeks, every route we scan is either lowsec, nullsec, ends in a C4 or goes through an occupied wormhole. Usually, I scan a route, and the last WH I find is usually a c1-c3. If it’s unoccupied, i’m dissapointed, because without fail every occupied wormhole C3 or lower either has a connection to a smaller wormhole or a direct highsec exit.

Usually, my policy is to scan the highsec, run 3-4 itty’s to safety, refine all the ore and contract to freighter alt, grab supplies within the nearest system and pop back through before the WH inhabitants know I’ve been there.

You know, like James Bond. If he flew spaceships and likes to haul things from point A to point B over and over.

Unfortunately, with the recent CCRES attack bringing things to a head, we need wormholes to stay open much longer than 4-5 minutes, and most C2 and C3 dwellers don’t like that. While most people don’t care what their paved roads think, some of these paved roads take offence to being called paved roads and resort to controlled demolitions and acts of terrorism, by which I mean closing a route.

For those of you who have ceaselessly wondered what the hell “closing a WH” means every single time I’ve mentioned it in these last months, it basically means shoving enough ships through a wormhole to collapse it before its 24 or 16 hour mark. See, every wormhole has a mass limit and jump limit. No ship with mass bigger than the jump limit can jump, and once the total mass shoved through exceeds the mass limit, the wormhole implodes. Combine this with the fact that wormholes leave you with a cloak after jumping, and you have a recurring uncomfortable scenario where you’re all standing on one side of a wormhole talking to Frank on the other side in a ship with bricks taped to it, then the WH collapses with no sign of Frank, causing 20-30 seconds of panic, cause the ship with bricks strapped to it was pretty expensive, until he decloaks and warps to PoS with everyone else.

Essentially, closing a WH is a dick move. It’s like cutting off a diving bell’s oxygen line back in those old movies, and the boat has to keep tying rocks to more lines and throwing them overboard, hoping one will sink near the diving bell but not over in “lowsec reef”.

Metaphors aside, in spirit of protecting our once-a-week route to buying new supplies, I’ve started announcing our presence in local and politely asking if we could move industrials through.

(I usually do this AFTER we’ve gotten the compressed ABC out)

This way, one of three scenarios happens.
1. No-one’s home and we move along
2. They immediately close the WH, giving us a new static C2 in whatever hole connected to their C2 initially.
3. They agree, but put up warp bubbles and gank us as we try to fly though.

That third reason is why I haul the ABC out before I ask >.>

Anyrate, WH space is no longer the unexplored frontier it once was and politics and diplomacy are rearing their ugly heads again, unless there’s some sort of sneaky way to get PoS defenses into your wormhole without alerting the denizens of the wormholes you’re using as stepping stones that doesn’t involve using an effing cloaky hauler with 10k m3 per trip. In life, I take very few risks and nearly always take win-win scenarios, hence why in game, I’m usually the one to suggest the crazy and audacious shit that gets stuff done faster, like using Itty Vs to haul out several bil worth of ore instead of taking four times as long in a safe, cloaky hauler. Or using the rorqual to close an occupied wormhole that could spit t3 ships at us at any second. Or various other things that I’ve forgotten that I remember thinking:

“Hmm.. I should do this buuuut there’s a risky, quicker way over there. Onward!”

Fly risky, cause it’s a game and the ramifications are much less severe than risks in life.

No Country For Old Men

He seems like a nice man.

It was a harrowing end of the week.

I awoke Friday morning to an email to the effect of:

The POS has been attacked, and is sitting in reinforced. Somebody said they have a plan?

As it so often happens, the full story is slightly more complex, but only slightly. While pulling some ore from one of our remaining grav sites, a couple of our miners had gotten surprised by a handful of hostiles. Both were melted pretty quickly and sent packing back to empire by way of a swift podding. The band of hostiles, who had entered the system though a new K162, proceeded then to our POS and after about 3 hours, sent it into reinforced mode.

Getting two pilots killed certainly left us down in terms of raw staff manning the WH, and at present I’m certainly not flying anything with firepower enough to repel anything save a starter frigate. We had no real eyes on the system, although the senior pilots had moved some of their ships to safe areas and logged the characters off. Blake and I, both still at work, started to muse about our possibilities via gChat. We decided that there were only a handful of viable scenarios.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Disconnection

The universe is built around liars. From petty to grandose to smooth to unskilled to cunning, liars permiate the entire structure of our petty little universe. Some excell at twisting the truth as you would silk or string, winding it around misconceptions and misinformation to the point that others would swear to their honesty at knife or gunpoint. Others make themselves appear inept, and orchestrate careful slipups on their part, subtly convincing their contacts that they know more than they actually do, while maintaning the veil of idiocy that allows them to ask probing questions without appearing probing, or prompting pity from others while never giving it themselves unless to maintain the facade of a bumbling fool.

John Darman, born on Gisleres II to Gallente parents, living a simple life of learning until being chosen to operate the communications console of a Hulk-class mining barge, was discovering that the capsuleer currently in charge of his life and the thousands of others operating every facet of his ship was a terrible liar indeed, if the chatlogs scrolling past his head had anything to say about it, as threats of fleets numbering in the thousands and of connections to huge corporations beyond the fathom of the pirate’s imaginations scrolled past John’s eyes.

And if the readouts blinking red on the console next to him projecting information regarding the ship’s shields (gone), its armor status (almost unrepairable), its structure (50%), and its capacitor(dry), which according to Jim in engineering was about as stable as a Brutor on every booster in existance BEFORE the fleet currently working out ransom demands had appeared on Dan’s console, and judging from the dumfounded terror on Dan’s face, was a well equipped fleet indeed, especially since the ship’s sole frigate-sized shield booster, able to impede one small ship on a good day, had burnt out.

Looking back to his logs, John’s own fear became steadly greater as the words in front of him, communicated through the capsuleer’s brain and the computers circuitry, conveyed negotiation after negotiation between his Amarrian capsuleer, who by this point had convinced John that his superiors had selected him more for his religious fervor and less his tactical space combat prowess, and the pirates who currently had them dead in space.

At this point, the wheeling and dealing from the business-minded end of the negotiating table (not his side, which had so far quoted scripture five times, pleaded six and offered, from what John knew, insulting amounts of ISK) came to a screeching halt. After a few seconds that seemed like hours, a single line appeared, blinking, on John’s console, waiting for him to send it through to the capsuleer’s brain for his response.

“You are out of time. Pay us the 75 million, or your ship is forfeit”

With heavy fingers, and mindful of the last communication officer’s fate when he failed to promptly report all incoming transmissions, John sent the message. After a distressingly short period of consideration, his commander’s response appeared on his screen, softly blinking a nice shade of green, contrasting the severity of the message and its effect on John’s future well-being.

“As for generations the Amarrian people have stood strong and unyielding in the face of opposition, I stand tall against my fate. You shall have no quarter nor ISK from me”

This…. was not good. While the destruction of his ship would be a mild inconvenience to the capsuleer, John’s early termination of life would put quite a dampener on his long-term plans. He reached over and grabbed Dan, shaking him out of his stupor and pointing towards the readout.

“Dan, stay here, watch this console, and make sure NO-ONE pushes the transmit button. I’ll be right back.”

Getting up from his console, John sprinted down the ship’s hallways, vaulting over various impediments and sidestepping around other people with other tasks, convinced that their role in the ship’s well being was much more important than a paltry communication’s officer’s task, whatever it may be. He shoved past all of them, vaulted over a cursing tech repairing a panel which had apparently caught fire, and slammed into a medical bay, currently three fourths of the way full with casualties from the recent attack. Looking through the sea of faces of people he had seen in the mess hall and hallways, he spotted Kim, or, given her full title, Kimuran Haston, Head Overseer of Capsule Medical Status and Connections. A few more vaults and sprinting and he was at her terminal.

“Kim, it’s an emergency, I need you to knock him out. We are all going to die in however long it takes a small fleet to burn through our remaining structure. I think I can stop this, but I need him out of the picture for the next five minutes”

The appalled look on her face from the first sentence vanished as she took in the rest of his statment and his current exhaustion. She typed furiously, overriding the medical barriers (Not that hard to do when the system is currently in an emergency state) and altering the capsule’s breathable mucus support solid/fluid to include a healthy section of ether, blanking their commander’s mind for a good ten minutes.

While Kim did the unthinkable from her standards, John had sprinted back to his console and was doing his own unthinkable act as he returned to his terminal, wiping the unsent command and sent a few concise messages to the attacking fleet, promising the money and apologizing for his earlier rudeness. He then sent a private channel request to an old friend of his he met in a marketing class on Gisleres II, a self-described “lazy bastard” who had, quite frankly, unfathomable good luck trading on some space station in Caldari space despite almost failing the market class he had attended with John.

After a minute or two, in which a small crowd had gathered around John’s terminal, the private channel opened and a friendly greeting appeared on John’s screen. Grimacing, John sent a significantly less carefree message back.

“Max, buddy, I’m in a pile of trouble and I need financial assistance or me and two thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine other innocent people are going to die in the next five minutes. I’m calling in that term paper favor.”

“The term paper favor? You mean that paper you wrote for me, that if I hadn’t used, wouldn’t have gotten me the connections I needed for the startup cash to get me where I am today? Dude, how much?”


“75 bil? Jeez, man, who did you piss off, the friggin Amarrian Empire?”

“no, no, I need 75 mil. Send it to Baron Stranivar”

“Oh. Well, that is SIGNIFICANTLY more reasonable. ISK sent, but isn’t that the asshole dude that keeps posting scripture in the local channels?”

“I don’t know and I honestly don’t care. Thanks, bud”

Closing the channel, John wiped the log and turned to the personal information manager, who nodded at him. Returning to the pirate channel, he selected the name of the man who had made the initial demand.

“Send it to Hardar Arganor”

Another nod.

Relaying the message that the ISK had been sent to the hostile fleet, John watched as the enemy ships hung in space, no doubt debating whether to kill them anyway or leave them be.
Then, a ship warped away, Its engines igniting a cooling blue as it was propelled away. Another followed, and the lines of text and readouts on Dan’s console slowly faded from red to green, and Dan carefully initiated emergency warp procedure, standard procedure when the capsuleer in command is unexpectedly disconnected or unable to command the ship. A message sent to Kim, the logs wiped and rewritten to make it appear that the pilots had believed the capsuleer’s threats of an incoming fleet, and everyone returned to their posts just as a status check, the first ping in the last ten minutes to come from the capsule nestled somewhere inside the ship, queried the ship status and was told that all was well.

Intro To WSpace 101 (And Myself)

Well, it certainly has been an interesting couple of weeks for me in regards to online gaming.

Ahem, right. First things first. My name is JB, and I am a recent transplant into our humble corporation. To continue:

Yeah, that's the stuff.

I was, in the past, a huge PC gamer. I’m going to unfortunately date myself somewhat here, but my gaming beginnings as a kid (on the PC anyway, my console beginnings were on the old Atari 2600) were back in the Doom era, which I ran (a relative term) on a 33Mhz 486SX with a 4Mb RAM upgrade. It came with 2Mb. And I believe a 54Mb hard drive that chattered like a pair of wind up teeth when in use. A lovely 5.25″ drive (for which disks seemed to always be corrupt) and a 3.5″ drive rounded out the presentation, along with a blaring (certainly not blazing) 2800 baud modem and Prodigy pre-installed. Did I mention it was a Packard Bell?

I’ve always had an affinity for the science fiction genre, both in and outside of gaming. StarControl II was an obsession early on, moving to X-Wing, then TIE Fighter, Privateer, Wing Commander, and finally Freespace, where the spaceship-shooting-an-invading-force-in-the-face-repeatedly genre seemed to die. There, of course, has been Egosoft’s X series, with its fun(?) interface as well as hours and hours of repeated poor battle mechanics. But, as I’ve aged, I have, like the opposite of any good cheese, gotten mellower. The concept of a game where I could hop on for a few hours, do something that felt like useful progress, hop off, and not be too terribly concerned with it appealed to me. So, last year I tried EVE. Read the rest of this entry »