The Great Purge

The “Tiericide” movement from CCP has given me final cause to take a hard look at my hangar. To be blunt: it was needlessly overfilled. My personal hangar had well over 80 ships last month, and I regularly flew approximately ten of them. Worse yet, more than half the hangar wasn’t even assembled ships — much less have fittings.

So, I rolled up my sleeves and opened my ledger books. I asked myself some pointed questions: What ships had the most use? Which ones posted a profitable ROI (hull and fitting cost compared to mission/ratting/mining profits over time)? Which did I have level 5 skills to fly? What were the price histories over the past few years – did any stand out as increasing substantially due to more than simple inflation? What were the more costly ships to operate? How many duplicates of ships did I have that never undocked?

And lastly, which ships did I enjoy the most?

Once I gathered the information and started forming an order to my most preferred ships, I cross referenced my skills for both the ship itself and the corresponding fit equipment (or, in many cases, proposed fits as they weren’t even assembled). Granted, I could fly each and every one of the ships I owned. But as we all know in EVE, “just because you can fly something doesn’t mean you should.”

With the “sell” list finalized, I proceeded to shift into market mode over the next few days. Moving ships to where buy orders were sometimes stupidly high, placing attractive sell orders in trade hubs (mostly Amarr), and watching the market closely was my M.O. until the last order cleared.

The profits were then split between filling my wallet and stocking up on the ships I previously identified as the most used for the purposes of spares and backups. I’d much rather have a stockpile of 5 or more ships that I frequently fly in the event I lose several. This gives me the opportunity to buy over time at the best prices, rather than after I’ve run out and I find myself at the mercy of whatever the market is charging at the time.

After all was said and done, my total inventory had decreased by over 30 percent. The number of different ships found in my hanger decreased by almost half the total I had when I started ‘The Great Purge.’ It was also liberating on several fronts: I had less skills (and less diverse skills) that I wanted or needed to plan over time. I also have a much more refined arsenal of ships from which to choose now, tailored to more specific purposes. And, I was able to convert far more of my overall assets from capital to liquid in this process.

Cash, as they say, is king.

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Re-animated

*cough, cough*

Wow, the dust around here is lethal.

I can’t say I had forgotten about the office here, but I certainly neglected it as I was seemingly too busy running mining operations or day trading on the markets or hunting down rats.

It’s easy to lose yourself in freedom.

With the coming (and now entering) of the Second Decade, I think it best I update these pages again. I have been keeping “analog entries” (read: paper journals) of ideas and notes through this time. Perhaps the time is right to release some of that information out across the network.

I have collected several of my own thoughts on the following:

  • Mining
  • Ratting
  • Trading
  • Comparison of the above three as revenue streams
  • Ship fitting
  • EVE’s metagame

I plan to start organizing these notes and publishing series of posts on each, perhaps eventually combining some into e-books.

Until then, safe skies.

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Looking for nothing

Highsec space is getting crowded.

Not that highsec wasn’t crowded before now. It’s always been crowded. I’m just noticing it more; it’s starting to grate on me a bit more, too.

Several areas of nullsec are the same way. The borders to null from Empire space are rife with predators. Large pockets of null are now so colonized and organized they may as well be labeled Empire space 2.0, for that matter.

So I’ve been watching the traffic logs on the system maps, mostly while running errands for the Sisters of Eve. Their missions, whilst labeled a “grave threat” to modern society, are hardly challenging or unique. Rogue drones are rather common in many sectors, despite what the Sisters may believe. But the pay is stellar and gives me something to occupy my time while making notes on traffic patterns – or a specific lack thereof.

Several systems have recurringly appeared devoid of activity on the traffic logs as well as my own scanners for the better part of a week’s study. Obviously I will continue to watch and notate my findings for a month or more before packing up the needed supplies for an extended stay in my hopeful region of choice.

Forgive me if I don’t tell you my intended waypoints — I don’t want people following me there.

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Agent’s respite

I walked into the agent’s office and tossed the file down on his desk. “The Blockade” label on the folder still mocked me.

He and I both knew the mission was completed well before I walked in. Hell, he knew it before I even docked in the station would be my guess. I can only surmise the flood of comms from the miners and merchants at the gate station that were expressing their glee at finally being able to undock without becoming fodder for the army of Sanshas Nation. Now the civvies only had to wade through the 60+ wrecks I left behind in the wake of my one-man’s war.

We both also knew the measly reward, even added to Concord’s generous bounty payouts, wouldn’t begin to financially cover my losses. “Your intel was shit, this time around,” I started.

“Now Zakk, these sorts of things happen all the time when dealing with insurgents like…”

The agent’s sentence trailed off sharply when I kicked his thin, metal desk into his sagging gut, pushing him back against the wall and pinning him there under the weight of my boot.

“Your intel was shit.”

“I dealt with no less than four reinforcement waves of the bastards, all of which seemed to have just as many destroyers and cruisers as the last. For an unorganized, ‘insurgent’ remnant of a corporation, these Sansha certainly seemed to have their act together. Far more so than you, at present.”

I was livid. It wasn’t so much the financial loss of both my Navy issue Augoror and my standard Harbringer, and whatever hardware from them I wasn’t able to recover. Nor was it the astronomical repair costs to my Abbadon, with its now chasm-like holes ripped all the way through the hull. It was the growing suspicion the worm before me had set me up.

 “I lost more than $100 million ISK worth of gear out there.”

“The standard rate of completion only applies here, regardless of loss to …” The agent suddenly found himself without airflow as I pushed the desk farther into his stomach. Concord be damned, I thought. If this agent pops like a dreamy bubble then it was the same risk I ran in taking his lies at face value before accepting this suicide run of a mission.

 “Think of all the lives you saved out there,” he stammered, face turning red to blue.

“Damn them,” I replied. “The only important lives that are saved right now are mine …” I finally took my boot off the desk and the agent gasped at air for the first time in several minutes.

“… and yours.”

I picked up the credit receipt from his desk – a formality since I had already noted the funds were transferred to my account. Turning for the door, I heard a faint “wait – I have another mission for you.”

“Find another dog,” I gritted over my shoulder as I walked out, not bothering to look back.

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Another photo

Capture of one of my Succubus ships – named Acts 9:18

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Find your groove

To me, it is important to find your groove. One of the biggest (wonderful) problems, however, is distraction. Great universes like New Eden are designed to have lots to do and see, and it’s often far too easy to get sidetracked. Getting pulled off course is part of the joy of life here, but doesn’t necessarily make for a productive session in-world.

Not that all the ships and clones I’ve been chewing through are productive to a growing wallet, either. But I’m seeing loss as growing in this case. And, I’m finding my groove…

I’ve spent the past two nights in lowsec. Actually, I’ve forced myself to stay in several 0.3 systems with no stations just to see how long I can survive. The ratting and loot (and bounties) are great here, but I can’t carry loot home if I’m blasted back to a vat of goo. But, I’m learning. I’ve actually survived more traps (and avoided probably double again) the ones that have snared me.

And to be sure, I’ve been running rig- and augmentation-free the past few nights.

It’s even more warming to the heart to know the players that have wiped me got little more than the satisfaction of the kill, because what they’ve looted from my little Hooptie was worth squat.

My corp-mate joined me tonite in his first full venture into lowsec. I explained to him the importance of scouring the map statistics prior to jumping in, and of using the directional scan and monitoring the local comms once in-system. We ratted about a dozen Blood Raiders, avoided a few pirates, and I was able to run interference from a local Billy Badass long enough for my bud to jump out with his ship (and loot) still intact.

I know we’re asking for more trouble in lowsec than in null (to a point) because so many pirates like to comb the lowsec areas for the learners like us. But that’s really the whole point of us choosing lowsec by that same token – to get that needed skillset cranked. So, it’s a symbiotic relationship with the predators – for now.

If you want to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.

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Never bet it all

I lost a ship today.

Yes, losing ships is a part of EVE. That’s why we have escape pods, why we have insurance, and why we have clones.

But I didn’t just lose any ship. I lost a ship.

Granted it’s a ship I normally sell on the market for about 30,000 ISK. I say “sell,” because I manufacture them myself from materials that I mine myself on occasion. So my out of pocket expense is essentially nothing – just time. Even still, I had premium insurance on it. So, in effect I made about 30,000 ISK.

The problem lies in the rigs I had in it. Unsalvagable rigs, which totalled about 3 million ISK from my experimenting to make the ship the best it could be. And finally, I was only able to salvage two turrets from the wreck, losing the one middle slot and three low slot items.

You already see where I’m going with this.

Every time you undock, consider your ship lost. Because it’s always a possibility, even in highsec. In fact, even if you’re not running missions, or in the faction wars, or even war dec’ed you can still get popped somewhere by someone.

Yet there are less obvious lessons here. Consider carefully what you fly, and why. Frigates, battleships, command ships or industrials? What is your escape plan? What do you do if you’re caught in a web? What is your cargo? How close are your allies? Have you checked the statistics on the map of ships and pods lost in your area and/or path?

What are your strategies for survival and recovering from loss?

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I keep forgetting my camera

With all the new updates and improvements in Dominion, one of my favorites is the new planet graphics. I keep getting so wrapped up in-game, however, that I forget to grab decent screenshots of all the eye candy. Here’s one to hold you over until I remember my camera…

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Focus, Grasshopper

In starting my own, first corporation in New Eden, I’m reminded of several things. The first of which was the complexity of everything – and I mean everything.

But, more to the point is the need for focus. Some members want the corporation to focus on pvp, or nullsec exploration, or manufacturing, or mission running, or even bounty hunting. Then I get asked “What else should we focus on?”

<sigh>

I appreciate their enthusiasm. Even admire it. But, the old adage rings truer still in EVE – “Jack of all trades, master of none.” The same ideal holds true from character development to forming a successful corporation. The division of time, money and resources in following multiple paths of advancement will lead to even less than the sum of their parts.

The trick, if there really is one, is to do just one thing well. In fact, it’s hard enough to garner the time and resources to do one thing well enough in New Eden. The issue of diminishing returns in skill advancement makes for a very long pursuit of even one path.

My thoughts on corporation development is for most of the members to pursue the same path and common goal. Pool the resources. Even if all members are doing the same thing (say, for example mining), division of tasks and areas works well. If all members (or most) are mining, then members can mine in different systems and for different ore to pool a very large pile of wealth.

So, the moral of this story is to enjoy what you do, enjoy the time in which you do it, and you will enjoy it even more if you limit yourself a tad.

As Caine would say, “I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions. “

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