Friday, 30 April 2010

Tusker Interview #6

Well, no posts for about a week, apologies. That thing called "Real Life" has thrown a curve ball as it sometimes has the habit of doing. The positive of this is that this evening I decided I was going to do something rather outrageous and completely out of character in the near future in real life to attempt counterbalance said curve ball!

Anyways, enough of that. Romeo Blakstorms latest Tusker interview is up. It's another recommended read. This time he interviews Kishin Hattori a fellow Rifter enthusiast. The interview took place only a few days after Kishin joined The Tuskers and I'm sure if interviewed now his answers might be a bit different in some areas.

You can read the interview here

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Spring has Sprung

Casiella Truza of Ecpiltic Rift posted a few days back about their in game plans in the near future taking them through Spring 2010. He asked the community if they had any interesting projects coming up.

Jumping on the bandwagon, this is what Kirith and my second account characters have lined up:

As I worked out this morning has another 118 days to go before setting foot into a Rupture. The Rupture will be nicely fitted out and have all the necesary skills to fly it well and I am very much looking forward to the day I fly cruisers, and especially battlecruisers.

Why so long? a lot of corp mates have asked. Well, of course I could fly it quicker than that but I have some rules that I am following you see. I am determined that I do not lose sight of my long term goal of flying a max skill Rifter. When I say max skill I mean literally every skill that is publically available and affects a Rifter I will have at 5 at the plans conclusion. This includes all of the support skills. Not only then will I fly a fairly overpowered Rifter, but loads of those skills will naturally benefit a host of other ships. But I digressed a bit, so back to the subject of why so long. Every skill towards the Rupture I am taking to least level 4, once I have that skill to 4 I do another Rifter skill to level 5 and interleave them. Eg.

- Combat Drone Operation, train levels 1-4.
- Fuel Conservation, train level 5.
- Drone Interfacing, train levels 1-4.

You get the idea. Now the shortest of my Rifter plan skills as they are all train to level 5's from 4 is currently 7 days 22 hours and they get longer from there.

There are two distinct sections of skills for the Rupture, Drones & Cruiser specifics like medium guns. Once Kirith completes training the Drone skills, a quick stint of Gallente Frigate 1-5 will be trained to give my a bit of fun as I plan to buy a Dramiel to mess around with.

The alts
My alts are still doing a comfortable job of station trading generating a nice income stream on their basic bog standard 5 orders. Bringing in an average of 8-10m isk per day for 30 minutes of time spent updating orders.

In 12 days my "afk miner" will be in a Hulk.
Plus 33 days an alt will be behind the wheel of a Charon Freighter
Plus 55 days the other alt will be a properly skilled Covops pilots

Kirith, Dramiel & Rupture
Alts, Hulk, Charon, Covops

How about you, anything interesting planned?

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

EVE Blog Banter #17: The Female of the Species

Welcome to the seventeenth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

What could CCP Games do to attract and maintain a higher percentage of women to the game. Will Incarna do the trick? Can anything else be done in the mean time? Can we the players do our part to share the game we love with our counterparts, with our sisters or daughters, with the Ladies in our lives? What could be added to the game to make it more attractive to them? Should anything be changed? Is the game at fault, or its player base to blame?



CK you really do ask the greater community the easy questions sometimes don't you.

I have broken the "mighty paragraph" down into its constituent parts to attempt to answer it. My answers are based on my own involvement with female players of MMO's and may not of course be fair view of your average female MMO player. I am also a former long-time WoW player and much of the context I use will using that as a comparative.

What can CCP do to attract and maintain higher percentage of women?
Hmm, I'm not sure that both parts of this question fit together because there is the possibility that they adversely affect the other rather than compliment each other. You see if by the process of attracting female players there are changes to the game as we know it those changes "girlify" the game then CCP may succeed in raising the percentage by virtue of losing male players. I can bet my bottom dollar this won't be acceptable to them. So, anyway where was I?

Oh yes, how do CCP attract more female players? I think if I knew the absolute guaranteed answer to this I would be knocking on CCP's door and demanding a percentage cut of the new players they gain. I can only offer up my main suggestion, which is that CCP alter their....

EVE is marketed with imagery surrounding it's superb graphics, these images typically show ships, battles, explosions and destruction with a pretty backdrop. These typically are not the aspect of the game that the women I know look for in an MMO. Of course take these out and how do you grab the attention in your marketing? Find a way of presenting industry, trade and production. If we have to have some 'plosions and battles represented, how about concentrating on the "healer" and support roles of Logistics, Carriers and the like? The women I know have always preferred the support & healer roles along with maxing standings, crafting and trade skills. Also promoting that you do not have to grind your way through levels and progress in real time even when you are not online should receive some love.

A quote from a female friend who trialed EVE:

"It really only appears to be aimed at blokes who want to 'blow shit up'" & "It's geared to fighting and I don't think that's what most women look for in a game"

As for how CCP can keep their newly acquired and highly treasured female players, I think this will take care of itself. The game is very robust and has massive scope that is likely to "hook" them from very early on and drag them to the keep net. Of course EVE isn't for everyone, so there will always be natural wasteage.

Will Incarna Help?
Probably, though with the lack detail released at the moment I cannot add so much context to this. In my opinion (Dons Kevlar Helmet) women are more interested in vanity, and being able to create a visually pleasing to them incarnation will be something that I expect to be very important to them, especially so in the interaction between players. I expect that us males can only sit back and adore some of the creations that they will model. Though of course that assumes there will be player input into creation of the incarnation along with it's external appearance. Whereas I anticipate most GIRL's (Guy In Real Life) avatars will probably end up slutty incarnations of some sort, at least for male players in their tweens.

Can CCP do anything else in mean time?
Of course, changes to marketing. Raising the games profile to a female audience. And building a solid way for sexual harassment in game to be handled will show that CCP care and are serious about its female gamers. A dramatic shift in population male:female is bound to spark off the heap of immature folk we have amongst us in game.

What can the existing players do?
Existing players can do a lot when around female players. This applies to both new and veteran players alike. Practically foaming at the mouth and drooling over them like some slack jawed beast is not going to endear them to you or the game is it? Not treating the female of the species like a complete idiot when they are playing is also a sure-fire way to piss them off big time. Sure they are a noob but we were all one once, remember. Interlacing sexual inuendo around them really pisses them off and is a sure way not to be spoken to again too.

What could be added?
More Epic Arcs with worthwhile rewards. The Entry level SOE Epic Arc is great for getting new players out into the blackness of space. Make more of them, but how about Arcs that are not just about blowing stuff up? Industrial and Exploration Arcs would be a superb hook I beleive.

Raise the profile of trading and add more detail to the tutorials surrounding areas like the market where you have for example the mystical and not well explained "Price History" Tab. I'm an accountant IRL and yes I understand it, but it would greatly benenfit from a better explanation.

Demonstrate the cycle of EVE and how everything links in the cycle of life, for example:

Miner>Ore>Sell Ore>Industrialist Buy Ore>Build Product>Sell Product>PVP Pilot Buy Product>PVP Action>New Ship Required>Return to Start

Should anything change?
In my opinion it doesn't need to, players are players ultimately whether male or female. Sat at my desk in control of my Pod/Ship I don't know (or care) if the person I shoot at who is sat at their desk is male or female.

Of course from CCP's perspective if they can access this untapped market then they can invest more RL isk into the game and potentially make it even better for us all!

Is the game at fault
Maybe, EVE is lets face it for the most part about the PVP. It's what makes the cycle of life quoted above turn over and keep the game, economy etc rolling. The women gamers I know are typically not into destruction. They are into support and creation.

Is the player base at fault?
I think the only fault here is a bunch of men trying to get/force/coerce their *Insert Female Relation Here* to try and EVE and sometimes push too much. All they will tell their friends is going to be *Bloke* tried to get me to play his computer game last night, I won't be doing that again. Be there to help them and give gentle support when they might need it.

As my ex-wife, MMO player said:

"It normally takes a man to get the woman into a game like EVE"

And I this I beleive is where better marketing, raising the profile etc will tip the balance and open up a host of womens eyes to the wonder of EVE. This is the obstacle for CCP to overcome.

Apologies if I have offended anyone in the content of this post. As I said at the start I am sure it is not representative of everyone but is based on personal experience.

A selection of some other participants in this Blog Banter so far include:
- Freebooted: The Rise of the Female Gamer
- Flashfresh: Women in my Spaceship, is she from Mars?
- Wench with a Wrench: Where are all the Wenches?
- A Merry Life and a Short One: You'd Rather be Playing SIMS Right?
- Sweet Little Bad Girl: EVE vs Women

For the most recent posts, check my feed on my right hand navigation.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Tusker Interview #5

Another in Romeo Blakstorms' series of excellent interviews with fellow Tusker pilots is available here, I recommend you head over and get to know Mr Snypes.

You should know that Mr Snypes has the some of the hottest crew on his ships in all of New Eden!

Saturday, 17 April 2010


I have a couple of blog posts lined up but they are not finished yet, and I don't really want to post them until they are complete.

Whilst contemplating subject matter and topics for future posts I wanted to throw out to the readership the opportunity for you to tell me what you would like to see in print, or perhaps anything you would like me to answer. Post your ideas as comments or send Kirith Darkblade an in game eve-mail.

On a separate note, after my recent spate of ship losses I have for the last few days gone back to my roots, where I cut my teeth as a pirate to my Heimatar/Metropolis jump clone. It's been nice to fly around some quieter space and get reacquainted with some old faces and indeed to meet some new ones too.

It also seems that I can't keep a low profile anymore, as lots of people are reading this on their Iphones or the net and greet me in local. Don't get me wrong thats great and its good opportunity for either a polite conversation or even impromtu roams with fellow piratical sorts. I do however always feel rather guilty about talking to them on one hand whilst systematically hunting and destroying them with the other. So I guess the moral to the story is that even if we are having a nice chat, then unless we are fleeted up you are still fair game and no hard feelings!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Republic Fleet Firetail

Is a fun but expensive ship for what it is. This is my conclusion after having owned one for the last month. I don't know if I will replace it once I lose it, I suspect however that I probably will as I can be a sucker fun having something different to fly.

I have been running with a fit that differs from any other that I have seen, every loss mail for a Firetail that I have seen runs some variation that has a Medium Shield Extender in the mids. I don't really like shield buffer/passive recharge setups on small ships. That's not to say that there is anything wrong with them but I like to feel like there is at least something I can do when watching my tank being depleted, be that through cycling an armour rep, shield booster etc. At least then I feel like I have thrown everything to the wall to try and save the ship should it go down.

This is the fit that I have been using on "Private Pile", my Republic Fleet Firetail:

2x 150mm Light AutoCannon II (Republic Fleet Phased Plasma S)
Rocket Launcher II (Foxfire Rage Rocket)

1MN Afterburner II
Stasis Webifier II
Warp Scrambler II
Small Capacitor Booster II (Cap Booster 150)

Small Armor Repairer II
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Damage Control II

2x Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Trimark Armor Pump I


Effective HP: 5,237
Tank Ability: 40.28 DPS
Damage Profile - (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
Shield Resists - EM: 12.50%, Ex: 56.25%, Ki: 47.50%, Th: 30.00%
Armor Resists - EM: 66.00%, Ex: 23.50%, Ki: 36.25%, Th: 44.75%

Capacitor: Stable at 46.18%

Volley Damage: 301.07
DPS: 119.45

The main downside is that it has pretty low DPS for my liking, however it looks really cool in my opinion and I have fun flying it. It also has the added bonus that people always expect you to be shield tanked and usually shoot you with the least optimal damage type!

Friday, 9 April 2010

What's in your Hangar?

This is the question asked at EVOGANDA

The question has two parts to all intents and purposes:

Q1. Do you follow a naming convention, if so what is it?

A1. Yes, I like to try and follow themes. Occasionally I'll throw in a wildcard but I tend to follow a theme. I started naming my ships after Dangermouse characters but soon found that I ran out, I'm currently naming ships after well known cartoon characters and thinking of naming them after Pokemon next for a laugh. I need to keep themes with plenty of names as I do tend to get through rather a lot of ships due to the nature of the piracy beast.

Q2. What's in your hangar right now?

A2. Lots of ships

Betty Boop - Rifter (Artillery fit), plus two un-named spares.
Calvin - Rifter (Gank fit)
George of the Jungle - Thrasher (Armour tank), plus un-named spare.
Grape Ape - Jaguar (Gang fit), plus un-named spare.
Green Giant - Rifter (Artillery fit).
Grimm - Rifter (Gank fit), plus fourteen un-named spares.
Hagar the Horrible - Jaguar (Solo fit), plus un-named spare.
Heckle & Jeckle - Rifter (Cookie Cutter), plus two un-named spares.
Hello Kitty - Thrasher (Shield Tank).
Hobbes - Rifter (Gank fit).
Homer Simpson - Wolf.
Huckleberry Hound - Thrasher (Shield tank), plus two un-named spares.
Imperial Navy Slicer - Un-named as I can't actually fly it.
Private Pile - Republic Fleet Firetail.
The Grinch - Thrasher (Artillery fit), plus un-named spare.

These are spread amongst three hangars with the majority being at home base. All my ships including spares are fully fitted and rigged.

I hate to fly a ship when I don't have a spare of the same fitting. Hopefully another Wolf will be in my hangar soon.

So, what's in your hangar?

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Tusker Interview #4

Another of Romeo Blakstorms' superb interviews has been posted today. This time CEO of The Tuskers Ka Jolo goes under the spotlight.

Read all about it here

Monday, 5 April 2010

EVE Uni Q & A on Piracy

Mynxee posts a link in her recent blog post to a recent EVE university Q&A on Piracy. EVE Uni interviewed:

Ka Jolo - The Tuskers
Mynxee - NOIR
Sard Caid - Gunpoint Diplomacy
Verone - VETO

Link to download here

I have just spent a very worthwhile few hours listening to the Q&A, greatly enjoying it. If you can spare the time I recommend you give it a listen.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Decimating a Wormhole Mining Gang

Last night something happened which went so well we couldn't have asked for more.

In a system near to Hevrice a prober found four wormholes. Then across vent you hear something which surely cannot be true...

Prober> Err, guys. I have three Hulks mining in a wormhole
Other> No wai!
Prober> Way!
Other> No wai!
Other> You're joking right?
Prober> No wai!

(Above transcript fictional for poor attempt at humor, but you get the idea)

Immediately everyone starts burning back to base to get in the most useful ships, and once the gang composition is complete there are ten of us waiting at the wormhole entrance. The key component of the master plan being two Arazus each with three points. They take up positions after some sneaky manouvering, and just as they are about to decloak and engage points a Mastodon (T2 Hauler) arrives at the scene. The Arazus decloak and spread their points around while the rest of us make best speed across 50AU. A Drake appears on scene too as we land, which is primaried and destroyed in fairly short order. Once he's down we leisurely work our way through the rest to make sure everyone whores onto the killmails. All bar one of the enemy pilots manages to get their Pods out, the one we snag declines the ransom opportunity and is swiftly despatched. Cleaning up the scene of devastation we loot the wrecks, salvage all the wrecks (mmm T2 salvage) and steal the ore too. Nobody will ever know we were there right? A superbly orchestrated operation.

A Tale of Two Pods

Both mine.

It was one of those times when you wonder if the world is conspiring to take you down a peg or three. I am fortunate in so much as I don't fly with expensive implants or perhaps the urge to "ragelog" would have been greater, but a couple of days ago I had an evening where everything I touched or did seemed to go horribly wrong.

The culmination of the fail-cascade was me being podded twice within an hour of each other. First I engaged a Claw in my Rifter and lost, I got the message that my Pod was warping and then watched it get destroyed. Landing in a fresh clone some 50 low-sec jumps away I renewed my clone, plugged in some cheap +1's jumped into a Thrasher and set off back to Hevrice. I had gotten to the Heimatar Faction Warfare area. I was warping out to the next gate as a Punisher snagged me just as a Faction Warfare gang landed on the same gate and made very short work of my ship and pod. Waking again in Aralgrund I decided I was going to take the "safer" short route across high-sec in my Reaper after renewing another clone and plugging in some more +1's. This trip was fortunately uneventful, though the Faction police managed to relinquish my Reaper of shields, armour & a chunk of hull before I got back to Hevrice.

Thinking back to why this happened, I conclude that I have become guilty of complacency. I seem to have become overconfident in my abilities and have paid the price. I hope now that I fully appreciate the lesson I have received. Confidence is a good thing, Over-Confidence only sets you up for a fall.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

March 2010 Character Review

This month has seemed to run along quite slowly, I'm not entirely sure why as it's been an interesting one.

I've now been able to upgrade my secondary jump clones implants to +2's so I don't feel frustrated jumping into it and losing training time and I've started taking a peek at some hardwiring, dang they can be pricy! As we stand, there are 308 days remaining in my Rifter plan. As per last month I have continued to diversify from the Rifter plan. The Thrasher plan has been completed and I can now fly Thrasher nicely with all relevant skills at least to IV. I also picked up and trained Assault Ships which also is now at IV.

The next goal is the Dramiel once I have my Drone skills done in a couple of months, followed by Rupture and then on to the Hurricane. As I am relucant to let go of the Rifter plan I will be interleaving skills from these other plans by doing for example one Rifter skill, one Drone skill, one Rifter skill etc. Yes I am fully aware that I am delaying flying the bigger ships, but I feel that if I put down the Rifter plan it will never get finished.

Increasing Kirith's SP's this month by 1.5 million the most significant gains have been to Mechanic, Gunnery, Spaceship Command and making a start on Drones. Drones V completes tomorrow.

After spending practically the Darkblade family's net worth this month on restocking the hangar with Thrashers, Rifters and a smattering of T2 frigs cash resources have bounced back nicely, especially after my recent good fortune on the market recently, even to the extend that I bought a Jaguar for Kirith hangar in Aralgrund.

I am making use of all my alt slots, the four non-training alts are station trading on their basic 5 buy/sell orders and my Miner alt is chugged away towards a Hulk in just over a month. Trade alts total income generated so far 253m ISK.

Updated Battleclinic stats:
- The Tuskers are ranked 39th, up one place on last month.
- Kirith has 411 kills for 72 losses, My busiest month ever for both kills and losses.
- Assets destroyed soars to a total of just under 8bn this month.