Sunday, 11 September 2011

This should be interesting...

From: Kelduum Revaan
Sent: 2011.09.11 01:25
To: Ivy League

Morning Maniac, then CEO of EVE University created the Ivy League alliance on September 17th 2006.

At that time, things were very different - there were next to no rules, certainly no SOP, and the Uni had been at war for about 2 months since it left The Big Blue and evacuated Geminate.

So, in honour of this, we're going to do something a little different...

For one Month, starting at downtime on September 18th and running until downtime on October 16th, E-UNI will be running with No Wartime Standard Operating Procedures at ALL.

During this time, members may run missions, haul, mine, and do anything they would normally be able to do during peacetime, whether there is a war or not.

If for some reason there is no war, then we will look into declaring one...

It's time to make a point and for everyone to see how bad it used to be, back when we had 4-5 pages of killboard losses per day from a couple of hundred E-UNI members.

You have just over a week to prepare, and when it starts there will be a poll for changing back to regular SOP - in the event we get over 50% of the membership voting for going back to normal, we will swap back.

Of course, theres nothing at all stopping you from following the SOP yourselves, but nobody will be policing it.

Kelduum Revaan

Saturday, 10 September 2011

FCing the Soft Side

Just a quick post to give some linkage and copypasta on an important topic in EVE, at least if you want to do PvP. At some stage, sooner or later, you're probably going to want to lead fleets. Even if you don't, there comes a time when people in your corp will presume a certain level of competency from that guy ie: you, and you may just find leadership thrust upon you when the FC and his second inexplicably both get disconnected at the same time.

The following is copypasta from Agony Unleashed's wiki, a portion of which they have kindly left open to the public. I'm guessing at least part of their operational motive is that the more people that can pvp well, the more fun they can have blowing us all up, so why not just teach everyone to pvp?

The text is perhaps liable to be updated, so here is a link to the wiki article. I have to also thank Madbullogna from EVE Uni for pointing the article out in the first place.

Original text by Bamar

I think a lot of times we talk a lot about tactics and procedures around FCing without really talking about the "soft" skills around it. How do you deal with people while FCing, how to phrase things, etc. This post is an attempt to lay out some of the things that I do and work for me. Keep in mind that everyone is different, and my way of doing things isn't necessarily the only way. This should be a reference point, not a bible.

Confidence - You might not always do the right thing, but you always know the right thing to do. Being an FC is all about making calculated risks based off of incomplete information. Whenever you make a mistake it's probably because of one of the below. The one uniting theme though is that they're all mistakes. They're all things that you can recognize and fix. Don't get down on yourself over mistakes, just fix them and make yourself better.

* You made the right move, it just didn't work out - In any reasonably close fight there's some chance that you'll lose. If you go into a fight knowing that there's a chance you'll lose, and you lose in the way you expected then that's just part of the game. These explanations tend to be the most comforting but the least satisfying. Even if you FC perfectly there's still a chance you'll lose, and if there isn't then you're not taking close enough fights. Sometimes you gamble, sometimes you lose.
* You didn't know as much as you should have - For new FCs you're going to have incomplete knowledge for a while, sometimes that missing knowledge will bite you in the ass. Didn't know that the Eris is an interdictor? Whoops, so much for that fleet. Mistakes coming from ignorance tend to be the most aggravating, but are also the easiest to fix. Read up on the area that you're weak on and make sure you don't make the same mistake again.
* You didn't think far enough ahead - Another common one for newer FCs. As an FC you always need to be thinking ahead. Sometimes it's one step ahead, sometimes it's six, but either way you need to be able to predict your opponents and respond accordingly. Sometimes your opponent does something you don't expect and you pay for it. Maybe you fall for bait, maybe they come in at range when you expected them to come short. Either way you need to look at why you thought what you did, why you were wrong, and think about how you'll identify it in the future. This is where the big nebulous "experience" comes in. A lot of these decisions just become ingrained habit/instinct after you deal with the same situation dozens of times. You won't entirely know why you think someone will do what they do, you just know that they will.
* You made a mistake - You're just human, sometimes you goof up and do something stupid. Sometimes you'll realize how stupid your instruction was before it even leaves your lips, but you still say it anyway. As long as you know how dumb you were there's not much to do but kick yourself and vow never to do it again.
* You didn't do anything - The absolute worst mistake an FC can make is doing nothing. Any action is better than no action. If the only thing you can think to do is monumentally stupid then be monumentally stupid, it's better than being silent. Mistakes tend to kill ships, silence kills entire fleets. These are the most demoralizing losses too. These are fights were you kill nothing and lose 20. NEVER STOP TALKING. If you go down or warp off grid then call on your backup FC, otherwise you should always be giving orders. If what you're doing isn't working then try something else, but never stop. This seems to be another common one with newer FCs, you freeze up because you're afraid of making the wrong decision and end up making the worst of all. This is also the only error that will actually keep you from being an FC. You can be an inexperienced FC, you can be a reckless FC, you can even be an unknowledgeable FC, but you can NOT be an FC who freezes or goes silent.

Take responsibility - If you mess up then admit you messed up. You don't need to go on and on about it, but sometimes a simple "whoops, that didn't go quite how I expected it to" will lead to far less bitching down the line. When you mess up as an FC you'll know it, and everyone else in the fleet will know it. Trying to pretend like it wasn't your fault will only lower others' opinions of you. They'll either think that you're incompetent and don't realize that you skrewed up, or you'll think that you're too proud to admit it. In the end if you make a mistake, acknowledge it, learn from it, then move on. At first this might seem directly opposed to the prior point, but in reality it's a balancing act. If you have full confidence in your abilities then admiting a mistake isn't a big deal. You were doing the right thing, but you didn't have the right information, or something totally random happened, or whatever. Ultimately your decision-making process is always valid, it just might have had the wrong inputs (either lack of scouting, lack of experience, whatever). While you might make mistakes you are always in control, and it's important to not undermine yourself with self-effacing humor, which can be tempting especially as a newer FC. Saying something like "I'll probably get bored and suicide us" is way better than saying something like "We'll probably get wiped out." As an FC you should always be in control of things, and it's important to portray that in the way you talk about yourself. You might do stupid or wrong things from time to time, but it's always a conscious decision, not something that happened to you.

Optimism - Always look on the brighter side. It's easy to get down on yourself as an FC, it happens to all of us. Sometimes a brutal fight just gets you down, and that's fine, but when talking to your fleet you need to be the eternal optimist. Sure you just got wiped out, but you learned something from it. Sure you lost a bunch of ships, but hey, look at that crazy-expensive Dramiel we killed. Sure you might have flown a frig blob into smartbomb destruction, but damn if it wasn't freaking hilarious. There is ALWAYS a bright side, and it's your job to focus on it. It's fine if you're pissed off that they just dropped 5:1 odds on you, but your job as FC is to brush it off and laugh at it. Sure you shouldn't just make stuff up to cover up for a horrible fight, but you can fix what went wrong and then focus on the future. Constructive criticism and optimism are always valuable, moping and whining never are. Remind your fleet members what's awsome about EVE and they'll keep coming back. Dwell in what you hate about EVE and you'll make them all bittervets.

Yelling- Quite simply don't. I can count the number of times I've yelled at someone in a fleet over the past 5 years on one hand, and none of them were Agony members. Rather than freaking out at someone for making a mistake think about why they made that mistake. 99% of the time it's for one of the following reasons.

* They just don't know - Luckily the easiest to fix, just explain to them what they did wrong, why it was wrong, and what to do differently. Even experienced players can have surprising gaps in their knowledge, and even if you're telling them what they already know it can be helpful to newer people in the fleet to understand what went wrong and why. It's almost always best to try to educate on the first mistake.
* They weren't paying close enough attention - Another very common one. People sometimes have things going on in the background, they got distracted during a quiet moment, or whatever. Even the best PvPers sometimes get distracted and do stupid things. If someone in a key position seems to be distracted either shift other people to compensate or simply ask them if they'd like to stop doing such a central role (or remind them to wake up).
* They simply screwed up - Sometimes people just make silly mistakes. Whether it's bombing themselves or losing a ratting Nightmare/Thanatos (ahem...), sometimes people just do things that they know are stupid and have no excuse for. With experienced players they'll almost always feel dumb enough on their own and really don't need you harping on them about it. If they're less experienced then this will likely fall under #1 or #2 and be an opportunity for learning.
* They just don't care - This should never be the case for an Agony member (and if it is then you should bring it up with their mentor/director), but it can come up when dealing with allies or students. As long as they're not being disruptive it's usually best to just ignore them. Ultimately if they don't care there's not much you can do to make them care. Just put them in a role where they won't cause any damage and let them go on not caring.
* They're an asshole - Sometimes people are just assholes. In my experience this is actually a surprisingly small group. Most people will respond well as long as you find the right way to approach them. Sometimes though things just don't work out and it's time to deal with them the hard way. Generally I find that an icy threat works much better than animated ranting. The important thing is the never lose control. Keep it so that you're the voice of reason trying to watch out for the fleet, and they're the douche who's keeping that from happening. An annoyed "X, please try to keep comms clear, we're trying to PvP here" will likely work better than "Goddamnit X, shut the hell up, god you're such an idiot." When you get to this point the person in question is a lost-cause, your main objective is to keep everyone else in the fleet on your side, so keep your cool. In the end you always have the "my way or the highway" card. If all else fails just boot them from the fleet and keep things moving.

In the end the old adage "Speak softly but carry a big stick" applies. First try to educate, then remind, and finally punish if you need to, but yelling doesn't fit in anywhere in the process. The only times I've yelled as FC has been to clear comms because I couldn't find someone to mute them quickly. It might feel good to yell at some people, but in the end it doesn't help anything.

The not-really-a-question question - When you actually sit down and look at it the vast majority of your time spent as an FC isn't giving orders, it's asking questions. Really the only direct orders you should be giving are fleet movement and target calling, everything else is questions of some sort or another. The trick is that there are a lot of things kind of in the middle that could be phrased as orders or questions. "Bamar, check EC-P8R" for example could also be phrased as "Bamar, could you check out EC-P8R for us?" The second phrasing accomplishes everything that the first does, but has two side benefits.

* It requires a response. Granted, most experienced PvPers will acknowledge the first one and the second one equally, but by asking the question you remove any uncertainty. If they hear you they'll respond, and if they don't then they won't.
* It strikes a better tone. Giving people the (illusion of) choice tends to make them happier to follow. Especially as a new FC flying with experienced members a lot of times tone can be tricky. How do you give orders to people you know know far more about PvP than you? By asking them to do things rather than telling them you come across as more collaberative and less of a know it all. It's not a huge deal in the end, but it can help a lot with some people.

The hurry-the-hell-up question - Similar to the not-really-a-question question, this one is about setting the right tone. Inevitably while running a fleet you'll hit a spot where one of your scouts or skirmishers is hunting someone down. They're probably all caught up in directional scanner and probes and god knows what else, and probably aren't paying a lot of attention to the clock. It's your job as FC to keep them to a reasonable time frame. It's probably not worthwhile to keep a 50 man gang waiting for a cov-ops to probe down a Kestrel, and it's up to you to make this judgement call. When you're starting to hit the point where you think it's time to move on it's time to ask probably one of my most common questions, "So... how's it coming?" This question is important for a few different reasons.

* It's non-accusatory - Asking something like "have you found him yet?" can come off as assigning blame to the scout for not finding him yet. In reality they're almost always doing the best they can (see section on yelling), and giving them the impression that you're blaming them is only going to piss them off or distract them.
* It gives you an update - While working scouts tend to be tight-lipped. They're busy and the last thing on their mind is continually giving updates to the FC. Asking how it's going every once in a while gives you a better idea of how long it will likely take, and lets you adjust accordingly. Maybe you go roam a couple jumps while they're probing, maybe you tell them to just forget about it, but either way you have more information to make your decision.
* It gives them a little kick in the ass - By no means the chief reason to ask (and if you overuse it it will bite you in the ass), but sometimes scouts just need a little reminder of "hey, you've got a couple dozen guys waiting for you." This tends to work best when you're waiting on a warp-in because it will turn a "I'll spend another 60 seconds getting the perfect spot" into "I'm close enough, just warp to me now." A lot of cov-ops pilots are perfectionists, and left to their own devices will spend more time to get a more perfect spot. In reality you don't need a perfect spot, you just need a good enough spot, and giving them a little reminder of the time constraints will help you get what you want in a more timely fashion. Again though, if you overuse it in this way you will piss people off, so think of it as a useful side-effect, not a purpose in itself.

Aggression - How much aggression is good for an FC? How aggressive should a new FC be? There isn't any single right answer to this question, so I'll give three.

* Aggression is good - You don't really learn anything from a fight you don't take. If you're not sure it's probably better to take the fight, let it go sideways, then learn from it. Obviously this doesn't mean you should just suicide in, but if you could go either way on the fight then take it. For one thing people tend to underestimate their capabilities more than overestimate, so chances are if you think it's a dead-even fight you probably have a slight advantage. Additionally even if it is iffy then that's the sort of fight that will actually test you and provide you with a challenge which will make you better. Finally if it is a charlie-foxtrot then at least you'll know it was, be able to look at why you thought it was an even fight and learn from it. In the end the worst-case is that you learned something and will be a better FC in the future. By never taking iffy fights you're freezing yourself at a certain level of competency, and keeping yourself from advancing beyond that.
* Aggression is personal - Different FCs FC differently. Some people like to plan out every detail of a fight before they ever engage in it. By definition they'll be less aggressive because they don't like engaging in fights that they don't fully understand. Personally I tend to prefer to just jump right into a fight then rely on my ability to adapt better than my opponent in the heat of the battle. Neither approach is inherently better than the other, it's about what fits your personality best. The more cautious approach tends to work best for heavier gangs, and especially for capital warfare, while the second is more suited to hit and run tactics where you can engage and disengage at will.
* Aggression is bad - Sometimes aggression can be used as a crutch to keep from actually thinking things through. It's usually not a good idea to suicide a T1 fleet just to suicide it. You don't really learn anything in the process and it's just an empty fight. Sure, sometimes you're just freaking bored and don't care, but as an FC you should always be purely rational. Once you have a lot of experience you can go off of instinct a lot more but at no point should you not really be thinking/caring about what will happen. Your aggression should always be calculated, never reckless. It should be the last step in your decision-making process, not a replacement for it.

Notice that none of these issues relate to fear. Fear should never enter into the equation. A fight is either a good fight or a bad fight, and you should act accordingly. You shouldn't be nervous about getting people killed, because they're certainly going to be killed. Your job isn't to keep everyone from getting blown up, your job is to get into good fights and win. Good fights never occur without any losses on your side (ok, sometimes they do, but it's rare), and it's very hard to win if you're afraid of losing ships. Again, FCing should be purely rational, fear of losing ships shouldn't enter into the equation. Sometimes the best play is to lose a few ships, while it sucks it's just reality, and trying to avoid this reality is only going to cause more pain in the long-run.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011


So, I haven't been playing at all. The last round of dramalanches from CCP left a sour taste in my mouth and I went off and played WoW for a month or two. Seems I missed a bit of drama in the Uni too. so that's another plus to an extended leave of absence.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Shitstorm dreadnaught, CCP, and communicating with your customers.

I've been a bit busy with work the past few days. Since Incarna basically, so I haven't been able to really get into the nitty gritty of the current drama ongoing with CCP.

Highlights that I have caught so far are the volte face on "power up" MT controversy and the Jita siege that is as far as I know still happening as I write. Nice way to show a bit of protest in the latter I guess.

The whole thing, and CCP in general sort of confuses me. I've played plenty of other MMOs and CCP is by far the worst communicator in recent years of the large corps. Their devblogs are a great idea, but half of them are only mildly more interesting than watching paint dry, a quarter are so full of techno babble as to be incomprehensible to all but the most interested of fellow coders and the others seem to be so poorly written and executed as to have me suspecting that they're actually the work of a professional troll and that the entire game is some kind of meta-level psych experiment to see just how far you can fuck something up before alienating your fans.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Is... uninpspiring. I don't mind it, I just don't think they should have released it until it was a bit more expansive. It feels like a tech demo, which is fine and dandy, but that's all there is going to be for a long time. I honestly doubt we'll get to interact in our avatars until next year, so releasing this now is premature. But it is pretty, I guess.

Not a whole lot of interest in the patch otherwise. The new turrets are neat, they could renamed the release Eyecandya between the turrets and Captains Quarters.

I've only scanned the release notes briefly but one thing stuck out, there are going to be some unhappy pilots who can't make themselves unprobeable. Well, it's not as if it was the only, or even a common, use for T3s anyway. Suck it up people.

I can't wait to get a $45 monocle for pennies once the scamming starts on the new store purchases though.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Argh! My Caracal!

Took a breeze down Rezbroko way looking for some action tonight. Found some, but was on the recieving end rather than dishing out some mass destruction of my own.
I was hunting a flashy RF Firetail in and out of the belts and flyby'd a Vagabond a time or two. That really should have been my cue to leave, but I wanted that Firetail!
I had the Firetail pinpointed on a belt and hit warp. When I get there however, the Vagabond was waiting at 2k. Got scrammed before I could warp and that was that. T2 Vulcan ACs are going to kick the shit out of a Caracal on a bad day and he wasn't having a bad day.
Kudos to Ridlaw Az.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

And here we go again...

So, another DDOS attack is underway as we speak, but CCP seem to have learned a little something since yesterday since the game is still up. I'm currently sitting in 'Drat.
Lots of people on Mumble can't get online though, so I'm guessing that CCP has blocked large swathes of ips from even connecting to the login server.
Sucks to be you (maybe).

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lulzsec vs CCP

So... someone has an axe to grind with CCP allegedly.

There was a DDOS attack, or a SQL injection, depending on who you talk to a few hours ago. I'm guessing that it's over by now, but that CCP is keeping things turned off for the moment, checking over their backsides to make sure nothing was left behind in the initial crash.

Boo! I had plans to get a few wolfpacks roaming tonight. Hopefully the game will be back up tomorrow since I'm off for the day and the weather is nasty here in Ireland.

Insert gratutious comic here:

Sunday, 12 June 2011

First FC in a long while.

So, a few of us were bored and decided to head out. I ended up as FC, more or less by default than anything else, thought there was only five of us so it was quite informal.
Didn't see much action until we hit Evati, where the Bastards drew us in and hit, taking a Vexor out. It was... interesting. I haven't FC'd or really pvp'd at all since last year. Met an ex-Unista and got to say hello after him and his crew finished blowing up part of my fleet. :D

Thursday, 9 June 2011

DUST 514

So an interesting interview was published by rockpapershotgun today, you can find the full article here and thanks also to Kelduum Revann for linking it over at EVE Uni forums or I wouldn't have read it.

I'm not sure what to think of their plans. I did find the following part interesting.

If you look at Modern Warfare or games like that, you see players dedicating enormous amounts of time, and what we’re offering players is that they’re not just going to be endlessly fighting the same battle and moving up and down some abstract leaderboard and unlocking gear. You’re actually going to be part of a universe. It’s not just another battle. It’s actually your planet and this bugger over here is trying to take it. You didn’t just spend the last two weeks moving up to position 58 and unlocking this gear. You spent it investing in this space! And these other guys over here, if you lose, they’re going to lose! And they’re not even involved, they just happened to be there. So there’s more at stake. I think it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of player it is going to attract. We were really interested in this idea. We thought, this is the kind of game that I’d like to play. We feel that there’s got to be other people out there too.

This really is the kind of game that I'd like to play. The experience of shooters on consoles has always been less than overwhelming for me so it'll be interesting to see just how different this one will be.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I need a plan!

So, I have a re-map coming up, which is good since my stats on Nevore are a little wishy-washy right now. If you don't play EVE none of this is going to make much sense by the by, all I can say is, get it and play it!

I'm trying to draw up a list of ships that I want to fly, and more importantly races sinces there's a few in every race that I like the look of. That's not really practical though, so a continued focus on Minmatar and Caldari is probably the best thing. Looking down the list of things I want to be able to do now throws up a pretty long list however: Fly SBs well, partake in WHs at the highest level, fly combat BS well, fly force recon well aaaand, that's about it really. If I could do all of those I'd be a happy man.

So, a Raven, a Drake, a Hound/Manticore and a Falcon/Rapier.

Time to get into evemon and eft and see what I can come up with.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Imperian Age/Apocrypha Tour

Being in the Uni has a lot of perks. Skillbook reimbursements, free ship hulls during wartime and of course the friendly learning environment are all brilliant of course, but one thing that stands out is the events that the corp organizes for us all.

Last night we had a lore tour through some of the more interesting areas around Metropolis and was courtesy of the inestimable Rhavas who writes over at Interstellar Privateer and Mark 726 of EVE Travel, both of whos blogs I can now heartily recommend after giving them a read. We also had a handful of boats from the Corporation of Noble Sentiments along and an ILN escort since we'd be plunging in and out of lowsec.

Quoting from Ravas' AAR here,

We visited:

* Barkrik (The Hyperbole Nexus)
* Crielere (The Crielere Project)
* Malkalen (Ishukone Station, home of the Malkalen Incident)
* Sarum Prime III (The Mekhios Graveyard)
* Vitrauze (The first wormhole)
* Yulai (Concord Bureau & Yulai Graveyard)
* Seyllin (Seyllin I Shattered Planet)

We also briefly discussed the Titan at Luminaire, the graveyard at T-IPZB, the shuttle in Geztic, and the Traumark Installation in Saminer.

I had hoped to get some pictures taken, alas I was for but I did get to snap one at the tail end. This is Seyllin 1, a planet that was shattered, if I was following along properly, when the Empress of Amarr activated a super-weapon that somehow used isogen-5 isotopes to rip/bend space-time. A major consequence of this desperate action, which had been forced due to the heavy losses the Minmatar Elder fleet was inflicting on the Empire, was the creation of the wormholes that lead to w-space

Not a great shot since I was in a hurry to keep moving, but you can see the planet, the debris and the Uni/TORAH fleet to the right. I've not dabbled in PI but apparently this is a dead planet. No factories or whatever it is they use can be set up on it, and presumably the same can be said for all of the shattered planets. Interestingly, Rhavas or Mark726, can't remember which, said they crunched the numbers from the planets information and apparently it has a very low mass to volume ratio, such that it has an almost neglible gravity well. You could literally take off from the planets surface with nothing more than a standard jet engine.

The whole tour was full of interesting little tidbits like that, another one is that all the Shattered Planets orbit a particular class of blue star. So presumably there's some interaction between those stars and isogen-5? I don't know, but I do love lore and I've never really immersed myself in EVEs. My plan, when I get the time, is to re-trace the tours footsteps and take some new pictures of everything that I missed.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Where have all the cowboys C1 wormholes gone?

So... I resubbed, and have been back in game for about a week. I decided I wanted to go wormholing and though I'd go it alone, at least to try. To Hek then, where a shiny new Drake was purchased along with the required explody and shieldy things to make it work, and of course the skillbook to, you know, actually train Battlecruisers, since I'd never bothered previously.

Easy peasy, I thought. The next part should be even easier, since I actually like scanning and exploring. Drake into the parking lot (after getting her cherry popped against some evil scum Gallente Navy :D) and out comes the Heron. Oh the anticipation! Not one signature did I find, but five! Lords of Kobol, two of them are WHs, I'm going to be rich!

No. Not nearly. A C3 and a C4. Now I'm told that a C3 is maybe, just maybe doable in a Drake with omni-V skills, but I ain't got them.

To date, I've scanned down 11 WHs, all of which have been either over and above my capabilities or were occupied, or both.

Woe is me, and my poor Drake, whos talents are squandered hunting mission rats instead of ridding the universe of Sleeper scum.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The reappearance of Nevore.

I was going to attempt a probably lame RP post but I decided to spare us all that.
Suffice it to say, I'm playing EVE again after a brief involuntary departure. RL can be a bitch.

I'm at a bit of a loss. CCP were kind enough to send out some "Free 5 days of game time" codes which was duly taken advantage of and although I have literally no idea anymore what I want to do in the game, I once again wish to play.

Regrettably, Nevore was ousted from E-UNI, presumably for being inactive which is perfectly understandable.

It does however raise the question of whether or not to go back. If he'd still been in the corp when I resubbed I'd have stayed on, but I'm mulling over a change in direction. My last activities had centred around roaming in nullsec and getting killed, which was quite enjoyable, even the dying part.

The siren call of faction warfare is beckoning me... And what's that I see on the horizon? Ahh, a flag of black, a pure white skull emblazoned upon it...

Decisions, decisions...