Friday, 30 December 2016

PI update

I'm currently on holiday, logging in only to keep the PI ticking over, and use the occassional wormhole to sell product in Jita. By the time I'm back from holiday, I should have the money I need to try setting up my own wormhole, something I'll post more on in due course.

As PI is my primary income stream, I have a strong incentive to think critically about my PI setup, and how it could be improved.

All my PI skills are at IV, and I'm running each of my planets with 3 advanced factories and 6 basic factories. This is the standard setup for single world P2 production. From what I can see on the forums, even with perfect skills this does not change much - the extra CPU and PG simply lets you add more extractor heads to take better advantage of poorer planets.

This approach is very easy to manage, but there are problems. On small, rich worlds (which use very little PG for links), my skills already allow me to harvest more P0 than I can use, and I actually place my extractor heads inefficiently to prevent myself from running out of storage. But on large worlds the extra link costs reduce the extractor heads to below what I need to keep up with my factories. Getting my skills to V would fix this, but it's a long train for a marginal benefit.

I'm also forced to harvest resources that can be converted to P2 on a single planet, and those may not be the best resources that planet has to offer.

So, I'm wondering about a P1 & factory planet approach. The idea is that I harvest a single resource on each planet and convert it to P1 before shipping it to a factory planet for conversion to P2-3.

This is MASSIVELY more efficient because the Extractor Control Units are very PG intensive (PG is the limiting factor for resource extraction planets), and you need one for each resource type you want to harvest. By dropping from two resources per planet to one, I can harvest more total P0, even before I take into account the missing P2 factories. Four such planets can then feed into a P2-3 factory planet, which would do no extracting at all.

The question, though, is whether the added efficiency of the P1 planets is enough to outweigh the loss of production of the fifth planet (which extracts nothing). This is something that ultimately I will need to try. When I do, I'll report back with the results.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Bringing the rain

In business, a rainmaker is a person who brings in new business and wins new accounts almost by magic, since it is often not readily apparent how this new business activity is caused.

There are some pilots in the Tuskers who seem to generate content for the corp as if by magic. Me? I'm not that guy. I fly solo, and that's pretty much how I like it. But every now and then I get the chance to pay it back a little.

We're connected to a C2 with a high sec static, and we've been hauling through it all day. We've tangled with the residents, but with several other wormholes connecting to this system, I figure there's more content to be had.

I sit my Manticore behind the high sec hole. I'm about 10 km directly across from the sun, and the idea is that when a hauler comes in from high sec, I drop cloak, align to the sun, and start my attack run. If all goes well, the hauler dies in a volley or two.

If all does not go well, however, I'm pre-aligned to the sun for a warp out. And if I can't warp out for any reason, I can jump through the wormhole because my direction of travel will take me right through it.

It's not a hauler that jumps in on me, however, it's a Hurricane Fleet Issue. I can't take him out fast enough to stop him jumping back to high security space, so I remain cloaked and wait to see what he's up to. As it turns out, he wants to drop probes and then cloak up.

I wait patiently for him to scan down the system. Satisfied, he de-cloaks and warps to an anomaly. I follow him, sensing an opportunity.

Sure enough, he's decided to run the site, so I work the intel channels and a makeshift fleet forms up in Chaos. Moving as fast as I can under my cloak, I maneuver such that the HFI is directly between my ship and the wormhole leading to Chaos. He's mwd fit, so he's zipping around at about 600m/s. Judging it as best I can, I call for tackle.

"Warp to Taurean at 20. Taurean at 20."

Our Sabre jumps into the C2 and immediately enters warp. Because the HFI is moving around so much, it's not a direct hit, but he's still caught in the bubble. The rest of the gang jumps in.

The HFI starts to mwd out of the bubble so I de-cloak and overheat my warp disruptor. Unless he or the Sleepers take me out, he's not going anywhere. All I need to do is hold long enough for the heavy tackle to arrive.

And arrive they do. I'm still not taking any aggro, so I stay on grid to keep my torpedoes and my target painter running. He doesn't last long. And there must be something about w-space that makes it hard for people to get their pod away, because we get that too.


This kill was not about a cunning plan, or a hard fight, or an amazing killmail. It was just long hours of roaming, decent coms discipline and good teamwork making a fairly simple plan come together smoothly.

But as I say, it's nice to occassionally provide some content for the pilots that work so hard to find kills for the rest of us.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Lions and Tigers and Interdictors, oh my!

Interdictor pilots are a little different from the rest of us. They fly ships made of wet tissue paper, and yet hold down the largest ships you can find in New Eden, tackling entire fleets all at once.

Here's what EveUni says about them:

Interdictor pilots will have poor Kill/Death ratios. You will be called primary in every engagement with the enemy. You will be the number one threat to any enemy fleet.

Pretty much. Which is why it takes a certain kind of someone to fly an Interdictor. They belong to the 'tackle something and see what happens' school of flying.

This weekend we had a perfect example. Someone had tackled a Gnosis just off a gate in null sec. They were struggling with breaking the tank, and they were pretty sure there was some kind of response fleet coming, so the call went out for some dps.

Already in my Manticore, I went to help. A few of us arrived at around the same time, and we all opened fire. As we ground him down, the Gnosis lit a cyno.

The world went crazy, and several things happened at once. In no particular order, the Gnosis exploded, FOUR carriers landed on us, and our Interdictor threw up a bubble.

Sitting at 50km, and able to immediately cloak up, I was reasonably safe. However, for the Gila stuck in the bubble with four carriers, things looked very, very grim.

After some fancy flying, and a great deal of heat damage to his prop mod, our Gila managed to extract himself from the bubble and warp out. As we flew back to Chaos, we were all having a laugh while the Gila pilot berated the Interdictor pilot on coms. Why had he thrown up a bubble? We couldn't take on four carriers with our little gang!

"Yes", our Interdictor calmly replied, "But if there had only been one carrier we would have killed it, and I would have been a hero."

And THAT is the attitude that makes you an Interdictor pilot. He saw a cyno and had no idea what was coming, but he was absolutely certain that he wanted to tackle it.


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Baiting the trap

Saturday had been a disappointment. We had no high sec connection, and our C5 chain was a dead end. Our null sec exit was either completely dead, or far too hot for us to handle - who undocks two carriers and a host of support ships to chase a single cruiser around? And then camps the hole so we can't roll it? They must have been even more bored than we were.

So when Sunday brought us a high sec connection through a C2, there was a rush to move loot out and ships in.

I was shifting some PI product when I saw a Proteus on the high sec hole. I don't think he had jumped in; I think I accidentally de-cloaked him when I landed on grid. He was no threat to me on the way out, but some Tuskers were already heading back, so I reported the Proteus on our intel channels.

Tuskers being Tuskers, this immediately sparked a conversation about finding and ganking him. Looking at the wormhole's killboard, we could see that this guy specialized in blapping noobs who came through the high sec entrance. And with a cloaky fit, we needed to convince him to come to us.

So a tackle DST was prepared. These ships are amazing bait because they can absorb so much punishment when fit for tank and tackle, but still look like they are hauling a treasure trove of ships or loot. The DST jumped in from high sec, and started drifting towards the next wormhole in the chain, as if someone had hit 'align' instead of 'warp' and then wandered off for a sandwich.

At first there was no response. In fact, I passed out DST as I made my way back from the markets to Chaos. After 5 min or so, I felt that the trap had failed - at this point nobody could be so foolish as to think the DST was not bait. Right?

I was assured that this was not the case; this guy ganked noobs for sport; he expected his victims to do stupid things. And, as if on queue, the Proteus jumped in.

There was a problem, though. Rather than coming alone, the Proteus had brought a friend in a Hyperion. Either he suspected a trap or, more likely, he wanted help breaking the DST's tank.

As I had passed the Tuskers waiting in the next system, I knew that we had an ONI, a Slepnir, and a Stratios for DPS. More than enough to deal with the Proteus, but was it enough to take on the Hyperion as well? Grabbing my Manticore, I went to join the fight.

The Occator had pointed the Proteus about 40km off the hole. As soon as we jumped in, the Hyperion started burning for high sec. We threw a point on him and started taking down the Proteus, who went down agonizingly slowly. But he did go down, in the end, and thanks to a Sabre bubble we got his pod as well.

Turning our attention to the Hyperion, we knew it would be a close thing. My torpedoes, not terribly effective against the Proteus, were paying dividends now. Sadly, it was not enough - his friend had bought him the time he needed to reach the high sec wormhole and jump to safety.

Then, bizarrely, a completely unrelated Blackbird lands in the Sabre bubble. We race to land point, but we are so far out of position from chasing Hyperion that we don't quite catch it. Ce la vie.


I can't believe that worked. But I'm glad it did.

Obviously, I wish we had managed to catch one or both of the battleships that were blundering around, but it's important to recognize that we set a trap to catch a cloaky Proteus, and that's exactly what we achieved.

One of the things I like about the Manticore for w-space work, though, is the extra midslot. While the damage that I was applying to the Proteus was anemic, I was able to hit him with a target painter that almost certainly boosted the damage of the Slepnir, and possibly the ONI as well. And while I do need to improve my TP skills (so many skills to train...), it's not something that my Purifier could have done without dropping the Warp Disruptor.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Yoiul Cerebral Accelerators - BRCA redux?

There are several posts that I want to write, but this one is the most time sensitive, so I'm getting it out first.

You may remember that I looked at Blood Raider Cerebral Accelerators in an earlier post to determine whether or not purchasing them off the market (instead of a skill injector) was worthwhile. And it absolutely was, for almost all characters.

It is therefore tempting to assume that the same is true of the Yoiul Cerebral Accelerators, but the supply of YCA is much lower than the supply of BRCA (at least at the moment - more may be coming). This means that, as of this morning, the cost of buying a YCA in Jita is 6.24% of the cost of a skill injector. Not as good as the BRCA, but still below the break point for many players.

However, with a little patience you buy skill injectors for significantly less than the market price (thanks, in no small part, to the recent supply of BRCA), as long as you are not trying to buy in bulk. Using that figure, the cost of a YCA is 8% of the cost of a skill injector. While still technically a 'win' for many players, the cost savings may not be so high as to justify the hassle of trying to log in at the right times each day, especially over the holidays. Clearly, characters with high levels of skill points benefit the most, but they are also the least likely to feel the need to rush training anyway.

Your mileage may vary, but at these prices I'm not stocking up.

A word of warning. The description of the YCA is different from how I remember the BCA being described. There is an implication that any given character can only benefit from a YCA once. I won't know for certain until I try and take my second YCA in two days time. You may want to hold off buying in bulk until the limitations are a little clearer.

And yes, I am feeling smug about training Biology V now.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Wand'rin' Star

Do I know where hell is?
Hell is in hello.
Heaven is goodbye for ever, it's time for me to go.
I was born under a wandrin' star.
A wandrin', wandrin' star.

- Lee Marvin

I've always been a wanderer in Eve. If I spend too long in any one place, I start to get itchy feet. I hate going over the same ground endlessly, which is probably why I've never made the transition to null sec. Before life forced me to quit Eve, I had been planning a long road trip around New Eden, looking for who knows what.

I don't travel for the sake of travel, though. Some players have made it their goal to visit every system in New Eden. You might think that would appeal to me, but it doesn't. I prefer to take my time, to quietly explore each system slowly, rather blaze though while ticking boxes. If I never make it to some systems, that doesn't bother me.

It's not terribly surprising, then, that I've taken to wormhole life like a fish to water. The lack of local means that you get to see the real system instead of the system that knows it is being visited. You can watch the battleships running anomalies, and the Nocti salvaging wrecks. You can see the explorers running sites. And sometimes you even get to blow them up.

It's reached the point that I avoid leaving w-space. If I'm not making a supply run, or rushing to bring dps to a Tusker fleet, I don't seem to visit k-space anymore.

Visit. Huh. I suppose that's true. K-space is just a place I visit now. It's w-space that feels like home.

I am so grateful to the Tuskers for this opportunity. I'd been interested in w-space the last time I was playing, but the logistics seemed so daunting that I doubt I would have made the transition on my own. Now, I wonder about long solo roams and whether I should consider starting a hole of my own.

As I've mentioned in a previous post, w-space forces to you to play reactively, dealing with what you are given rather than executing elaborate plans. To miss-quote Forrest Gump, "Wormhole life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." What I fly, and what I do, depends on what connections are available that day, and I am slowly learning each unique wormhole environment.

C1-C2 wormholes, for example, are perfect for making a little bit of cash by running exploration sites (in an Astero), or earning a few kills by camping them (in an Astero). This is because the exploration sites are often undefended, so you don't need to bring a combat ship to clear them. That makes them easy to run, and it makes the people running them easy to kill. My Astero now carries a mobile depot with an array of different modules so that I can fit for scanning, exploration, and combat without returning to Chaos, as the situation requires.

At the other end of the spectrum, C5-C6 wormholes are run by groups in high end ships. Hunting in these wormholes probably means a stealth bomber looking to pick off an industrial ship making a supply run. I've not yet managed a kill of this kind, as I've been too focused on trying to make some ISK. Perhaps this weekend will give me an opportunity.

I've also learned that wormhole chains don't necessarily end just because you've hit k-space. A quick scan of the k-space system often reveals another wormhole, and so the chain continues.

All told, though, wormhole space slows everything down. A null sec roam might generate a dozen kills or more in an evening, while fleet actions in w-space are far less common. Each fight takes more preparation, and even moving from one system to another can take 15 minutes or more as you scan down the next wormhole.

But it's all part of what makes the play-style so unique. It's not for everyone, and perhaps at some point I will become bored and want to move back to the faster pace of k-space, but right now this suits me perfectly.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Bearing around

My play time for the rest of the month is going to be a little more limited. In part it's because I'm away for a couple of weeks over the holidays, but even before then I've got loads of Christmas functions to attend. A pleasant distraction, to be sure, but still one that prevents me from logging in as often as I would like.

I purchased the last modules I needed for my Secret Santa, and the fully fitted [redacted] is now sitting in my hanger. I need to wrap it, and put it in the corp Christmas Hanger with the other presents. But the hard part is over.

When the opportunity arises, I've been trying to run exploration sites. While PI is my regular income stream, exploration has become my 'need cash now' activity. Having finally paid for the Secret Santa gift, I want to put together some seed money for a project in the new year.

If things work out, I should be able to sustain myself and my pvp at the faction cruiser level, which seems to be where the Tusker are flying right now. While it's crazy how fast your definition of 'expensive' adjusts, you still need to be able to find the ISK before you can fly the ship.

It is not my intention to be coy about this project; I'm simply following my own rule about posting what I've done rather than what I intend to do. I doubt any readers of this blog will be surprised by what I'm aiming at, but there are enough things that could stop the project from getting off the ground that I don't feel ready to post specifics.

Monday, 12 December 2016

The Epochs of Eve

I started playing Eve in 2011, when the game was already seven years old. So when the 'bittervets' talk, in game and through blogs and forums, about 'the way things were' there is a sense of being left out. Of having missed part of the story. In many ways, I will always be a newcomer to Eve, standing on the shoulders of those who came before me.

I will never know what is was like to play Eve when stations could be destroyed, when you could put other players in your cargo hold, all ships were T1, battleships were the largest ship you could fly, or Band of Brothers ruled null sec with an iron grip.

Of course, time does not stand still, and new players today will have missed many of the experiences that I take for granted. They will never know what was like to play before tiericide, T3 destroyers, or microjump drives, or while off grid boosting was still possible.

And soon, they won't ever have needed to bash a POS.

Player owned stations are on the way out. CCP has said so explicitly, and that's probably a good thing, overall. But it will mark the end of another epoch in Eve.

Having taken player owned stations for granted for all of my Eve career, I did not want to miss their passing. Accordingly, I spent Saturday solo bashing a POS.

It was a long, boring process, but I'm really glad I did it. That experience binds me to all those other players who, over the many long years, have had to clear out POSes from their patch of space.

I also have a project in mind - which I will probably post more on in the future - that will have me put up a POS, at least for a while. That's another experience I want to have before its gone forever.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Tuskers v P-A-T-R-I-O-T-S

They came looking for us.

Two battleships - a Machariel and an Armageddon - as well as a couple of lighter vessels (including two Blackbirds) were camping the k-space side of our null sec static. This was a major hazard to navigation, and a response was required.

Going in to the fight, we knew it would be pretty bloody. When battleships support each other, many of their weaknesses disappear, and there is no better class of sub-capital for fighting on a fixed point, such as a wormhole or a gate. On top of that, well, Blackbirds.

Forming up, the initial plan was to throw up a bubble and then fight on the wormhole. This way, our heavily tanked cruisers could try to jump back through the hole and save themselves if they got into trouble. That worked for about the first 15 seconds.

The battleships started burning away from the hole, and out of the bubble. Using their excellent range, they forced us to follow them to keep the pressure up, while they screened the more vulnerable support ships.

With their battleships absorbing massive amounts of damage, and with their Blackbirds constantly trying to jam us, their Gila was wreaking havoc on the heavy tackle went sent in to keep the Machariel locked down.

The Machariel was called as primary, and thanks to the ECM I suspect most of us had to rely on our drones to finally take him own. A real strength of the Gila, there. With their screen of battleships broken, we were able to get through to one of the Blackbirds. When their Gila and Hurricane tried to patch the hole, they went down too.

With the brawl quickly turning into a route, the Armageddon and remaining Blackbird warped away. You can read the battle summary here, and while we came out ahead in ships lost and ISK destroyed, it was a hard fight with the enemy out classing us in terms of ships and support, and having the luxury of choosing when and where they fought.

This fight was a great example of why I need to get into a battleship at some point. Being able to sit our own battleship on the hole to provide supporting fire would have been a huge help.

The PATRIOTS decided they were not finished, though, and brought in two carriers to camp our wormhole.

Calling for reinforcements, we sallied forth a second time. Bubbling their Archon, we started working on grinding through his tank as we all tried not to die to fighters.

This second fight was about 180km off the hole, so by staying aligned to the hole I could warp out if I started taking damage, and then warp back to the fleet. I had just done this for the second time when our Scimitar pilot flagged up that I had come out of warp too far away for effective reps. Have I mentioned how awesome our Scimitar pilots are? So on the ball.

Accordingly, I turned and burned towards the Scimitar. At the same time, the Archon, who realised that he was going down if nothing changed, lit a cyno. Three super-capitals landed on grid, along with a number of support ships.

The FC immediately ordered us out, and I started spamming 'warp' as soon as I heard the order. But I was temporarily unaligned, and with my mwd in mid cycle my alignment time was poor. I was also very easy to lock. As everyone else was leaving grid, their Stiletto landed a warp disruptor on me.

I immediately overheated my mwd and tried burning back towards the hole (which is where I had been trying to warp to), but with three super-carriers on grid and no other targets for them, I was never going to make it.

I didn't.


The PATRIOTS puzzle me. First, they brought battleships to a cruiser fight. When that didn't work, they brought carriers to a cruiser fight. And when that didn't work, they brought super-carriers to a cruiser fight.

I just don't see the fun in that. And I kinda assume that fun was the point. After all, this was not a rescue mission. We hadn't trapped a Roqual at a belt, or a ratting carrier. In those circumstances, bringing the cavalry makes sense. You are making a point of protecting your own.

But these guys came looking for a fight. And then escalated to the point that there was no fight any more. Other than catching me before I could warp off, the fight simply evaporated once the super-carriers landed.

On a more personal note, though, I think I'm getting better at flying this Gila. As much as I hate any loss, I do recognize that if the cyno had gone up 10 seconds later, I'd have been near the Scimitar, mwd off, and realigned. I would have warped away with everyone else. Sometimes the timing just doesn't work out.

That does not mean there is no room for improvement, though. Clearly, I chose my warp-in poorly. While you sometimes can't help this, I was warping around on grid, so if I had been a little less hasty in getting back to the fight, I could have looked at the vector lines of my fleet mates. If I had done that, I could have chosen my warp in to take into consideration the movement of the fleet while I was in warp. Essentially, I could have warped to the leading edge of the fleet instead of what turned out to be the trailing edge, forcing me to play catchup.

But I felt a lot more confident about holding range in both fights, and I had a better sense of when I was in danger and when I was not. While I will undoubtedly mess up many, many more times, some of the basic elements of fleet work are coming more smoothly than they were.

Now that I've said that, of course, I won't be surprised when I screw up something incredibly basic in my next engagement. Because that's how I seem to roll.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Approach recklessly

Our null sec static led directly to a system with a Citadel going into vulnerability, so we decided to try and provoke a fight by bashing it.

Because of the force multiplying powers of the Citadel, the doctrine for the evening was heavy shield dps backed up a Scimitar, so I chose to fly a Gila. The locals quickly formed up, and the two fleets began engaging.

The locals played things well, and played them cautiously. It must have been clear to them that we were not set up to bash the Citadel efficiently, so all they needed to do was keep us busy enough that we either gave up or the vulnerability timer closed. Between their caution, and their Scimitar, we were not able to force a decisive engagement.

So the call came down to 'approach recklessly'. Not the clearest of commands, to be sure, but we understood the general intention; get close enough to lock them down.

Fleet fights are a funny thing. You are often asked to do things that will probably get you killed. This makes you want to hang back a little; after all, while the first guy to break cloak/get close/whatever will probably die, the third or forth guy to do that have a much higher chance of surviving. But if enough people hang back, the whole things starts to unravel and you have a much higher chance of everybody going home in a pod.

What is true of fleets in Eve is equally true in the real world military, which is why the penalties for disobeying orders are so draconian. The commander has to know that when he orders an advance, everyone starts moving immediately.

And, of course, insufficient enthusiasm in obeying the FC's commands has its own risks.

So I immediately turned and burned directly towards the enemy. Actually, that's not quite true; I burned it at a slight angle to make sure I had at least some transversal. Closing into about 20km - knife fighting range for a Tusker fleet - I began hammering the ships called as primary.

As fleet maneuvers went, this one was very successful; we destroyed roughly a dozen assorted cruisers and battlecrusiers. This kind of brawling comes at a cost, however, and in this case the cost was two Gilas (including mine) and a Phantasm.

Mine was not a quick loss. Our Scimitar kept me up as long as he could, meaning I absorbed 57k worth of damage, or nearly twice my EHP. Hungry for the 'almost there' kill, it kept the enemy on the field long enough for them to all be locked down. But destroying them took more time than I had.

Reshipping, we went back to bash the Citadel, but the locals were no longer interested. Instead, a larger predator arrived: Lazerhawks.

They outnumbered us heavily, at least initially, and had four Scimitars to our one. Calling for reinforcements, we managed to get a second Scimitar on the field, and some more dps. Unfortunately,  the fight started in earnest before we could link up with all of those reinforcements.

This second fight really underscored some of the weaknesses of the Gila fit I'm in. While a fantastic ship, the Gila only has about a 40km range on it's RLML, whereas my ONI or Oracle comfortably projects dps out to 60km, which is where I tend to like fighting while in fleet. True, the drones can get out to about 60km, but you have significant travel time issues, and that's only half your dps any way.

The other issue is the RLML. Because of the number of enemy Scimitars, there was a lot of target switching going on. This really hurts when you have a 45 second reload time, plus travel time on both of your weapon systems.

Lazerhawks managed to drive us off the grid in our first exchange through sheer weight of numbers. Although it cost them dearly, by throwing a sufficient number of Sabres at us they managed to take out a Naga, and then my Gila when I was called primary. Again, our Scimitars did amazing work, letting me tank 67k worth of damage, but with four enemy Scimitars on the field we couldn't break their dps or heavy tackle fast enough to save me.

Reshipping took me a while because I had to wait until there was a clear run to our wormhole. Out of cash, I couldn't buy another Gila from corp contracts, so I jumped into my Osprey Navy Issue. By the time I caught back up with the fleet, it was over. Our FC managed to draw them into Chaos, and then into a connecting C5, which separated them long enough for us to kill two of their Scimitars. Without their massive logi advantage, my corp mates rolled them up.


This was my first time flying the Gila in combat, and I really liked it (I have a fondness for tanky ships). I think I need to fly more cautiously, though, and avoid being lured in too close by the relatively short range on the RLML. I may look at dropping some of the 'solo' fittings to see if I can come up with more of a dedicated fleet fit.

Although the Tuskers have a selection of ships (including the Gila) available on corp contracts at a reduced price, there is no true ship replacement program. Losing two Gilas in an evening was expensive, so I've dropped below 10 mil ISK. Fortunately, I now have revenue streams in place (such as PI) to help me bounce back, but it does mean flying cautiously for the next few days, until I can afford another Gila, and have a bit more of a cash buffer.

Monday, 5 December 2016

On the road

I've just spent several days traveling for work, including part of the weekend. That's meant that I've not been as active as I would have been otherwise. In fact, my killboard is completely bare.

I did get online yesterday, but it was one of those days where nothing seemed to go quite right. I was one step behind an industrial collecting PI products, the Relic sites I camped went unvisited, and when I finally set myself up to tackle a Rattlesnake, it turns out the wormhole had closed sometime after I entered the system, so backup could not reach me.

After extracting myself from that sticky situation, I logged off for the day. I'm slowly learning to take the hint on those days where Eve decides not to cooperate. I've still got one more module to buy for the Secret Santa, so I'd like to avoid foolish losses.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Secret Santa

For the second year in a row, the Tuskers are running a Secret Santa. 

The way it works is very simple. You tell the organizer if you want to sign up, and after the sign-up deadline the organizer secretly assigns a name to each participant. Once you are assigned a name, your job is to buy and fit a ship for that player (so something they can actually fly), and give that ship to the organizer.

Then, on the agreed day, everyone gets together and the organizer hands out the ships. Because this is all done through the organizer, you don't know who bought you your ship (unless they tell you, of course). You then all sit around laughing at the crazy fits for a while. And because we're pirates, we'll spend most of January trying to get kills in these ships.

I don't normally like Secret Santas, but this sounded awesome. My initial thought was to bling out a Gnosis, because that's just funny. What do you get a pilot that can fly everything? Why, a ship that everyone can fly, of course!

However, when I started going through my pilot's killboards, it was very clear that he had a favorite ship, so I ended up purchasing that instead. After working out a fit, it was going to cost (much) more than I actually had, so I've been bringing in modules as fast as my PI and exploration will allow. I just have a couple of hundred mil worth of mods left, which should be doable by our 21st December deadline.

And if I'm really pushed for time I could sell my Pilgrim, but I want to avoid that if I can.

What I didn't consider is that I can't actually fly the ship I bought, so I can't fit it either. Fortunately, the organizer of our little Secret Santa can, so they have agreed to fit it before handing it out.

A word of caution, though. While the idea is to treat someone the ship that they would probably never buy for themselves, last year we had a few 800 mil frigates that simply never got used because nobody wants that lossmail. So a certain amount of moderation is required. Hopefully I get the balance right - I went with x4 the cost of my pilot's regular fit. I figured that I'd still fly an 80 mil T1 frigate (even if I'd never actually spend that much on one for myself), so scaling that up to larger ships seemed reasonable.

Is anyone else doing something similar?