Monday, November 11, 2013

Fast Travel in MMOs

My least favorite convenience item that exists in games is "fast travel." I'm probably in the minority of MMO gamers with that statement. The pro argument for fast travel is you spend less time getting to where you want to be and more time doing things at that place. The problem I have with fast travel is it just makes the virtual world you're in shrink.

WoW is a perfect example of world shrinking. Back when I played during vanilla, getting from point A to point B was often difficult. Some of my favorite moments in that game were me deciding to go through zones that were a much higher level than me and having to dodge mobs. I would be in my 30s and run from Tirisfal Glades to Hillsbrad Foothills by way of Western Plaguelands, or going from Arathi to the Badlands. The dungeon/raid finder and getting mounts earlier and flying mounts have really made the world seem a lot smaller. I remember on my first 60, I didn't have quite enough gold to buy an epic mount and my guild leader gave me the difference (300 gold, not an insignificant sum in those days.) I bought it in Brill and ran down the road to the bulwark and back and I felt so fast.

The world of EVE feels a lot bigger nowadays than WoW and I'm fine with that. I like that there are a couple elements of fast travel but they're either not open to everyone (jump bridges) or they're not really reliable methods of travel (wormholes.) I'm glad autopilot forces people two slowboat those last few kilometers. I would be fine with they removed autopilot from the game, although I'm sure there are some gate campers out there who wouldn't be fine with that. I also like that there is no shared bank and inventory management is a key part of the game. If you want something from Jita, you have to go to Jita and get it. It can be annoying if you need to go pew pew something but you don't have a particular mod, but that's part of the game.

Friday, November 1, 2013


I have no time to play EVE right now but I certainly have time to read and talk about it. Something I've wanted to do for a while is talk about the other blogs I read and why I read them. A blog post about bloggers; how very meta! I'll probably do a few more like this as I think of them.

Gevlon Goblin, for those of you who have never heard of him, has a blog at I've been reading his blog for a long time, back from my WoW days. I initially started reading it when I went on a quest to find blogs about making money on the auction house. He had some pretty good ideas about how the markets worked and I used some of his techniques to run my glyph business that made me quite a bit of money with very little effort.

Probably because of his interest in in-game economies, he stopped playing WoW and started playing EVE. This is a reasonable decision for anyone who is interested in seeing a living, breathing "fake" economy in action. I didn't start playing EVE until after he switched but his blog probably was a small reason why I started playing EVE as well (another blogger who influenced my decision to play EVE was Wilhelm from The Ancient Gaming Noob.)

The comments on his blog are some of my favorite to read, mainly because the people who comment on his posts vehemently disagree with amost everything he writes. This is mainly because of Gevlon's "I'm always right and everyone else is wrong" attitude. People don't like to be called stupid (or "morons and slackers") so they're certainly going to argue with people who do so on a regular basis. You can tell when he writes something that makes sense or isn't very controversial because those posts rarely have many comments.
A big point of contention between Gevlon and his critics is his use of ISK efficiency as an end-all-be-all metric to determine how good someone is at PVP. He has spent a lot of time suicide ganking miners in highsec using catalysts so his efficiency is pretty high. He likes to compare his KB stats to those of huge corporations saying "I'm just as good as them, look at all the ISK I've destroyed!" He mocks people who look for "good fights" despite never having engaged in any himself. He finds the idea of solo frigate-on-frigate combat stupid. His latest project is a corporation where people solo gank (or dual box gank) miners and then attempt to teach the miners afterwards the ways they could've prevented being ganked. Every day the footnotes of his post contain "anti tears" from miners who said, "Thank you for killing me! Now I know I should tank my mining ship!"

Personally, I don't agree with a lot of what he says. One of his criticisms is people who play games "for fun" and he says since fun isn't a measurable metric, he doesn't use it to rate activities. Not taking having fun in consideration for people who are playing a game sounds pretty stupid to me. What's the point of playing a game if you're not having fun? Take high-end raiding in WoW for an example. The top guilds in the world spend a lot of time working and practicing at trying to get first kills in dungeons. They probably spend a lot more time preparing and practicing for raiding that a lot of people spend at their actual jobs where they get paid actual money. However, why do they do it? It's because they find the activity fun. If they didn't, they would quit and go do something else. In my limited hardcore raiding in WoW, I was having fun, even if it was frustrating or a lot of work. If I didn't have fun doing it, I wouldn't have done it in the first place.

Check his blog out if you're looking for something to put you in a confrontational mood.

Friday, October 18, 2013

But I'm Not Dead Yet!

Everytime I try to start a blog, real life steps in the way and says, "YOU SHALL NOT POST!!!" I apologize in advance because this entry is only going to briefly mention EVE and I'm sure all zero or one of you who read this probably have it classified as an "EVE Blog."

I have great ideas (or maybe they're not-so-great) that I can't wait to write about, I just haven't had the time to sit down and do so. As luck would have it though, my new job has me sitting at a computer 9+ hours a day so I'll be able to squeak in and get some writing done in my downtime.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to actually fly around and shoot stuff lately. I'd say it sucks because we have a war on, but I live in low-sec which makes wars utterly pointless. Instead of reds to shoot at, I see flashy reds instead. Whoopie. In high wars make some sense since you can't just go shooting people willy-nilly and in null you're fighting over space. Oh well. So, I log in, update my queues, read my mail, update my orders and that's it.

My trader/miner alt can fly a freighter now, so there's that. Also, my main (this character) is beefing up drone skills which I discovered were sorely lacking. Drones are still a bit confusing for me. I mean, I understand what they do and how to use them, I just... don't. When I do the limited amount of PVE I do, I often fly a Drake and I often forget to launch the drones and when I do launch them I often forget to scoop them back up. I wish the interface were a little better.

I'm not going to lie, the limited gaming time I have had lately has been spent playing GTA V. If you haven't played it, I can describe it as GTA IV but better. Normally I complain about the lack of new ideas and the endless swarm of sequels being pushed upon the gamer community, but if a sequel is incredibly well-done (and GTA V certainly is) I'm all for it.

Speaking of poorly-made sequels, the newest Madden game is the 25th(!!!) version of said franchise. I've played a couple from the last few years and they don't have any detectable difference to me. That does not a good sequel make. I also probably won't need a new NBA2K game for a while since the Jordan one was so much fun and the last one I played (last years, I believe) added a "feature" that really pissed me off. Said feature was having to.. do something, I never figured out what... in order to unlock players to play in the streetball mode with. What players, you might ask? Any of the ones anyone might give a shit about, from Lebron to John Wall. The most fun I had playing NBA2K11 was 2v2 or 3v3 with some buddies, and the game basically said "now you have to play a bunch of games in a mode you don't care about to be able to play the mode you do." Not cool, 2K Sports, not cool at all. Why do I need to earn a currency in my non-mmo game to unlock CORE GAME FEATURES?

Anyways, that's all I have right now. I promise the next post will be marginally better and marginally more EVE-related, but I have some non-EVE stuff I want to talk about too so be prepared.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Gambling and Scamming - Part 2

I apologize it took so long to finish this article. GTA V came out and, well, you know how that goes.

Last time we talked about scams that people run in EVE. This time we're going to talk about legit gambling websites that are run by members of the EVE community. ISK-gambling sites have a lot in common with their real-money counterparts. Since I live in the US, I'm not legally allowed to use those sites, but

One thing the legit gambling websites have in common is they use an in-game corporation to transfer ISK to and from your character to their site. You send ISK to the corporation, then a person or an API read transfers the credit into your account on the site. Later, after you've won, you cashout on the site and the same corporation transfers the money into your wallet.

There are people who believe these sites are a scam. I don't have any information that definitively proves that they're *not* scams, but based on my experiences using them, I'm pretty sure they're legit. They operate like casinos; they use a mathematical edge to generate a profit. I guess if you think playing Blackjack or slot machines in a casino are a "scam," then you would call these sites a scam

EVE Bet is a sports betting website. You can bet on Football, Baseball, Soccer, etc. They use other bookmaking sites to set their odds and just like real-life sports betting, those odds are set when you make your bet, despite the line on the game changing. I've put a but of ISK onto EVE Bet but I'm not really a sports betting kind of guy, so I don't really do much with it. I'll put a million here or there on a game, if I'm feeling lucky.

EOH Poker is a website devoted to playing poker with ISK. It operates on the same principle as every other poker site on the internet such as PokerStars or Full Tilt. They have ring games where ISK is converted to tokens (one token is 100,000 ISK) and they have tournaments you buy into by giving ISK in-game to a "banker" who starts the tournament and pays out the winners. This is my favorite gambling site because the players are mostly bad and I've won several hundred million ISK on the site with limited playtime.

Evealopalous has raffles and lotteries. Eveopolous has a low ISK barrier for entry (tickets to raffles and lotteries only cost 10k ISK. They also have a section called the grid where you purchase squares on a grid that contain money, squares to more expensive grids, or nothing. Once all the prizes are gone on the grid (multiple people can buy tickets on the same grid) it resets and pays all the winners out.

Somer Blink is a lottery site that has instant lotteries (called blinks) on ships and high-ticket items. Blink is probably the most addictive site of the bunch. A blink works thusly: Someone starts a blink by choosing the item they want to play for and buying the first ticket. Most blinks have either eight or sixteen tickets. Once all the tickets are sold, a number is drawn and a winner is chosen. Items can either be converted into Blink credit or contracted to you in Jita. Blink is incredibly well-run, credit is added to your account almost instantly and prizes are contracted within a few minutes. You also have the option of having larger items shipped to any highsec system for free.

Go ahead and check them out, they're a lot of fun. Play responsibly!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gambling and Scamming - Part 1

Anyone who knows me knows I enjoy gambling. I've worked as a poker dealer off and on for a few years including dealing at the prestigious World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. I've gambled in casinos all over the country since I turned 21. I've paid my fair share of idiot tax by buying more scratch-offs and lottery tickets than I'd like to admit. One of the many reasons EVE is such an appealing game to me is its ties to gambling. I'm not just referring to the gambling EVE sites, I'm talking about the game itself. Every time you undock your ship it's a gamble that you're going to lose it, especially if you're a noob like myself.

This is the first part of two posts I'll be writing on the subject of scamming and gambling in EVE. The first part will be about scams and the second part will be about legitimate ISK gambling websites.

Unlike most MMOs, scamming is legal in EVE. This means if you can con someone into giving you ISK, it's yours to do with as you wish. The exploits of scammers are known even outside the game. The scammer in that article would have gotten away with it had he not decided to try to convert the stolen ISK into real-world currency, a definite violation of CCP's rules. One of the most popular scams is a technique called "ISK Doubling."

ISK Doublers can be found in all of the major trade hubs. Jita is the biggest and therefore has the most doublers. It's a lot like Mos Eisley on Tatooine. You won't find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Basically, ISK doubling works like this. A doubler advertises their "services" with an ad.
Joeblow Doubler: I've made billions of ISK through trading and I want to help everyone! I'm quitting the game and I have lots of ISK to give away. Send me one of the following amounts and I'll send you double your money back in return!
10mil -100mil = 2x, 200mil-300mil = 3x 500-1000mil = 4x! Read my bio for more rules and information.
So how does the doubler get you? First of all, they put rules in their bio that a person could easily screw up. "Any amount not listed will be considered a donation." "Each character must be at least two weeks old." "Each character can only send ISK three times." "Each amount must be double the previous amount sent." "Check out my wallet API and you can see it's legit!" The list goes on and on.

Oftentimes, a doubler will actually double small amounts. I've sent 1mil ISK to a person claiming to triple ISK and they sent 3mil back to me. However, once a person sends them an amount they decide is high enough, they won't send any more back and just keep the money. I've noticed a lot of doublers are very recently made characters. I'm sure they run the scam for a few days then delete the character and start over.

One of the most infamous doublers goes by the name Erotica 1. Many posts have been made on the EVE-O Forums and elsewhere complaining about her deeds, however she has a small army of loyal followers who jump into any thread defending her as a legit businesswoman. Erotica 1 is also a supporter of the New Order and many of her exploits are chronicled there.

Anyone with half a brain should be able to tell that doubling is a complete and total scam, and yet it appears that lots of people fall for it all the time. If people didn't fall for it then there wouldn't be so many doublers hanging out in Jita. If the doubler was really doing what they said, they'd run out of ISK rather quickly. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There are several other popular scams out there other than doubling that everyone should be wary of.

  • Setting up an overpriced sell order for a item then setting up a buy order for the item at a higher price in a different station. When the person buys the item, the scammer immediately cancels the buy order leaving the victim with an item they have to sell at a loss to get any money back.
  • Posting a buy contract stating they want to buy something like two PLEX for 1.2 billion ISK, which is a good price to be paying for two PLEX. However, the actual contract only gives 1.2 million ISK. Even though the word "million" appears in the contract and not "billion" a person in a hurry could easily make the mistake of accepting one of these contracts.
  • This scam is the opposite of the previous one. A person says they're selling a ship (a Republic Fleet Firetail is the most common one I see) for only 1 million ISK. They then link three contracts. The first two are completed contracts showing a Firetail was indeed sold for 1 million ISK. The last contract linked is selling the Firetail for 1 billion ISK. Once again, this scam preys on a person being in a hurry and acting quickly.
  • Setting up a contract claiming to sell a ship with all of its modules for a specific fit included in the contract, however the contract only contains the modules and not the ship itself.
  • Selling an item with a similar name to a more expensive item. My favorite example of this is when CCP released a new battlecruiser known as a Gnosis. People were selling one unit of the ore Gneiss and saying the contract was for a Gnosis. In case you didn't know, a unit of Gneiss is worth a hell of a lot less than a Gnosis.
There are many other scams out there. Listing all of them is out of the scope of this post However, there are a few simple things you can do to help protect yourself against scamming.
  • Never send someone you don't know any money
  • Avoid contracts as much as possible, use the market instead.
  • Use a legit market aggregator to check prices. I like
Next up I'll be talking about the legit EVE gambling sites that exist.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My First Ransom (not really)

I was ransomed for the very first time ever last night and it wasn't as exciting as I had hoped.

My current favorite ship is the humble Merlin. I spent some time yesterday playing around with fits and came up with one I liked. I bought several of them in Jita and had my alt ferry them up to our home base in Hevrice. I had to go back and get some different powergrid mods because I made a miscalculation in how much power I needed. Once that was done, I was ready to rock. Here's my fit:

[Merlin, Merlin 1.2]
Micro K-Exhaust Core Augmentation
Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Warp Disruptor II
1MN Afterburner II
Medium Shield Extender II

Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S

Small Processor Overclocking Unit I
Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Core Defense Field Extender I

When I go frigate roaming I have a policy of pretty much engaging any other frigate. Since I'm a noob, I don't possess the ability to instantly know what ships I should be fighting and which ones I should be giving a miss. If you're by yourself in a plex, I'll jump in and engage. This will oftentimes lead to me getting the piss kicked out of me, but everytime that happens, I learn something. Eventually, I'll learn enough to maybe not keep getting the piss kicked out of me (maybe.)

So on this particular night, I scanned a plex and saw a Condor. Now, for those of you who are experienced in such matters, you will probably look at my fit above, see the same Condor, and decide to go find something else. But, I was instituting my shoot anything policy and I jumped into the plex. I get point, I close, and he turns on his MWD, point, and sensor disruptor and begins the slow, boring process of kiting me into oblivion.

He's circling me plinking my shields with light missiles and meanwhile i'm periodically trying to either get out of his point range or get close enough to web him. As this is going on, I realize it's going to take forever for this guy to kill me and I'm wondering if he's even going to be able to kill me at all. My shields get around the 60% mark and I put in a call for some help from the corp.

Estria Del > back and forth, back and forth
Joffy Aulx-Gao > Huh?
Estria Del > i'm in ladister getting kited very slowly by a condor
Joffy Aulx-Gao > Nooooo
Joffy Aulx-Gao > You're in what?
Estria Del > merlin
Gwendolyn MacDougall > is that a long way from hev area?
Joffy Aulx-Gao > 3j
Gwendolyn MacDougall > I don't think I've gone to ladister before.
Joffy Aulx-Gao > Jov, Aescee, Ladi
Estria Del > in the small
Estria Del > fyi

So now it was a race against this guy's ability to kill my shields. Joffy and Gwendolyn were on their way. While they were doing so, I had the following conversation with the guy in local:

DIAM0ND SHARK > Zilot Deninard money or your live! =P
Estria Del > haha
Estria Del > this is exciting
Estria Del > so.... what?
DIAM0ND SHARK > do you pay ?
Estria Del > how much?
Estria Del > hmmm
Estria Del > lemme do some math here

I'm flying a Merlin worth about 15M or so and I'm also flying an empty pod. There was no way in hell I was going to pay this guy. Especially since once he got my shields to 33%, they basically stopped going down. He just wasn't doing enough damage to kill me. I started to think that he'd run out of ammo before I ran out of shields. Not long after though, Joffy and Gwendolyn showed up to chase the guy off. He was none-too-pleased with me at this point.

DIAM0ND SHARK > you have no honor! =P
Estria Del > you should've killed me faster
Estria Del > bock bock

Neither Joffy nor Gwendolyn were able to catch him, but we all got away safely.


An epilogue to this story comes this morning when I get back online when I wake up after the downtime. Another Frostie killed him a couple of times.

My non-death was avenged! Yarr!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Right Place at the Right Time

I lost my most expensive ship to date the other night due to a stupid mistake on my part. It was a T2 fitted Drake Navy Issue worth around ~220mil isk. There was a fight about to happen in low between some Frosties and some Tuskers. I was listening on comms and it sounded as if we were going to engage. However, at the last second the decision to not engage was called as I had just entered warp. The whole thing could've turned out different if I had said, "hey, I'm bringing a Drake" on comms. But alas, I said nothing at all, warped in, got pointed and slowly died to the five Tuskers.


I was following the cardinal rule of EVE however: Don't undock in something you can't afford to lose. 220mil isk is a big hit, but not devastating. Now if I do that 4 or 5 more times, that might put a damper on things. I only used my DNI for level IIIs anyways, and I've grown tired of grinding rep, so it was just sitting in a hangar anyways. Oh well, you live, you learn.

However, as luck would have it, sometimes when the EVE gods taketh away, they also giveith. I have a habit of logging in when I wake up in the mornings before I start my day and staying logged in throughout the day. That way when I'm home, if I decide I need to check my mail or look up something on the market or just generally see what's going on, I don't have to log in, I'm already there.

It was just a few minutes after uptime when I logged in and immediately was hit with this convo in corp:

[11:23:15] Joffy Aulx-Gao > Estria Del can you use probes?
[11:25:03] Joffy Aulx-Gao > It's important
[11:25:32] Estria Del > yes
[11:25:42] Estria Del > i have a buzzard right here
[11:26:31] Joffy Aulx-Gao > Can you probe some Cyclops in Adirain?
[11:27:10] Joffy Aulx-Gao > 20 of them idle in space
[11:27:10] Estria Del > omw

I was still half asleep but I scrambled together to get my Buzzard. I was only 4 jumps away from Adirain but as I left the station I realized I had a Sisters Core Launcher equipped and not an expanded launcher. So I scrambled back to base. Shit, no expanded launcher in my bay. I check my assets and notice I had one in Ran, one jump away. So I zip over and refit. For the record, expanded launchers take a LOT more cpu than core launchers.

I'm afraid I'm taking too long at this point. I've wasted precious minutes but at least I'm on my way. I drop into the system, launch my probes and cloak up in a safe to scan. I'm not the best prober in the world, I've not been doing it for very long and I only started when Odyssey came out. However, after a couple minutes I manage to get a lock on the drones. I call in Joffy who has a Bustard waiting to scoop the drones up. I'm sitting cloaked fervently hitting d-scan and Joffy is keeping watch in his ship as his alt scoops up the loot. I'm nervous that the carrier that lost the drones is going to show up at any moment. It takes him a couple trips because these drones are pretty big at 5k m3 each. However, he manages to get them all scooped up and I sigh with relief as I head back to base.

Joffy gets in touch with the carrier pilot and finds out what happened. He had the drones out when downtime happened and didn't know where they were when he logged back in. After some negotiation, he sells the drones back to the carrier pilot and we get to pocket the loot. My cut was 200mil isk, not too bad for thirty or so minutes of work.

I have two Buzzards so now, after learning how much CPU expanded launchers use, I'm going to fit one for exploration and one for ship scanning. One is named Lana Kane and one is named Sterling Archer.