Friday, 28 May 2010

Introducing Our New CEO

The duel for the right to sit in the CEO chair of Greenbeard's Freebooters is over.

Greenbeard, the corporation founder had challenged Seismic Stan, the current CEO, to a series of duels. The first round involved three pre-fitted frigates for each pilot and resulted in three kills for Greenbeard versus only one for Seismic Stan. Rebecca Aventine, EVE: Privateer, was on scene to report as it happened: Round One Report.

This meant that Seismic Stan had only two cruisers to prepare which needed to withstand consecutive punishment from Greenbeard's two surviving rifters then two cruisers. Once again, our intrepid local reporter was on hand to give us the full 'impartial' story. See the Round Two Report to find out who won.

However, the story doesn't quite end there. Once the duel was finished and the victor was apparent, a certain space journalist put aside her notepad as a foolish jubilant challenge was issued by an over-confident and mildly drunk Freebooter CEO. She broke rank from the assembled fleet of observers and sidled over to the victor in her Celestis, where she proceeded to warp-scramble and destroy the duel winner.

It's the sort of behaviour you'd expect from the likes of Long Jack or any other member of the Freebooters, but not a respected member of The Scope. This was certainly an unexpected turn of events and so much for journalistic integrity. Nonetheless, rules is rules, and therefore I present to you the new CEO of Greenbeard's Freebooters, Rebecca Aventine:

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Meat Salvage

"It's a comet or a piece of a space glacier? I don't know, I'm a medical student not an astrogeologist.", Ellareaux said as he watched a large, golden chunk of ice being hauled away from the docked cruiser and across the loading bay.

The thick-set greying woman beside him smiled as she guided him to fall in behind the entourage of medtechs moving the amber ice-block along with grav-clamps.

"With bits of metal and machinery fused to it? Hardly. What you are looking at is the essence of what makes our medical facilities here sustainable."

"I'm not sure I'm with you Doctor Skeele. I thought you said this was a salvage team." he indicated to the medtechs.

"Indeed they are, young man. However, if you are to be a medical practitioner of any ability in the future, you need to hone your investigative instincts. Look deeper."

They followed the ice and it's escorts through an archway and into a well-lit chamber. Ellareaux watched, still puzzled, as the medtechs began to make use of the equipment banks arrayed around the edges of the chamber. They busied themselves scanning the ice object and taking samples. One technician studied a screen for a moment then announced, "Amniotic suspension confirmed, trace neurotoxins detected."

Dr. Skeele beamed with satisfaction and said simply "Proceed."

Ellareaux felt his skin tingle as a sterility field was engaged, compounding his growing excitement as realisation dawned on him, "It's a capsuleer! A real-life pod-pilot!"

"Well, mostly right. It's actually a real dead pod-pilot."

"But I thought they lived forever, that they couldn't die."

Dr. Skeele sighed, "This really is your first trip off-planet, isn't it? Capsuleers are indeed immortals of sorts, but they are not immune to death. Far from it, in fact you could say that death is part of their lifestyle, just something of an inconvenience. Their consciousness is simply transferred to a new body."

The technicians were now applying an assortment of heat-torches and laser-cutters as they whittled away at the frozen amniotic fluid and shattered capsule wreckage. Dr Skeele continued,

"Do you know what the primary cause of death amongst pod-pilots is? In fact almost the only cause of death."

Ellareaux watched two technicians carefully remove a large buckled metal plate from the ice, and pondered the vague shadow of a body encased beneath.

"If this is an example of how they all die, I'd have to say either hypothermia or asphyxia due to exposure to space."

"A reasonable assumption, but incorrect. As soon as the structural integrity of a pod-pilot's capsule is compromised, a highly-toxic neurotransmitter is administered by the pod life-support systems. This serves to facilitate the consciousness transfer and shut down all synaptic activity as it does so."

Ellareaux's brow furrowed, "So they're all poisoned? Effectively the cause of death is assisted suicide."

"Exactly. Irrespective of the forces that result in a capsule's destruction, the occupant's cause of death is always the same. Toxin-induced neurogenic shutdown."

The medical student considered this as the thaw continued. The ice covering the corpse had now been reduced to the thickness of no more than a few centimetres and the body was hovering, held in place by a gravity displacement field. Still locked in the semi-foetal ball caused by decerebrate flexion at the moment of death, Ellareaux could make out that the deceased was a woman, tattooed and with a reddish hue to her hair. Dr Skeele frowned at Ellareax's apparently compassionate expression.

"Do not mourn for her." she said in harsh tones, "This woman is no more dead than you or I. She is out there somewhere." a dismissive skyward hand wave. " She simply had no further use for this body and has discarded it like you might a pair of shoes." She began to put on an apron that a medtech had just handed her.

Already fearing he knew the answer, Ellereaux inquired through gritted teeth, "So what use is the cadaver to you?"

The doctor paused for a moment and looked incredulously at the medical student, "Isn't it obvious? We're going to harvest her organs. In most cases, the corpse is rarely more than a few months old, and is perfectly preserved as the amniotic suspension freezes almost instantly on decompression."

Ellereaux blanched at Dr. Skeele's enthusiasm for the impending vivsection. She idly calibrated a neutron scalpel, then looked up at him.

"Oh don't look like that, the resources to grow replacement organs aren't as readily available in low-security systems as they are in the heart of the Empire. We learn to use what resources are available. Now take a breath and grab your instruments. I'll take the pulmonary and cardio-vascular systems, you start on the hepatic and gastro-intestinal."

And with that, the flesh harvest began.

Monday, 24 May 2010

EVE Sports: Rookie-ship Bushkazi

Tired of hearing about great combats but never getting involved? Ever wondered what the attraction of player-versus-player combat is but can't justify the ship loss? Intrigued by the upcoming EVE Tournament and wonder how you can get some action? Or maybe you just want to spruce up your existing PvP with some unnecessary and elaborate rules.

You need an EVE-Sport. Read on.

It's a strange boiling pot of creativity, comedy and plagiarism that brings about good ideas and the Old Pond Pub provides just such a boiling pot of strangeness. Several conversations have taken place over the last couple of weeks that have led me to write this post, so all due credit to the contributions of the Old Pond Think Tank. Basically, I was looking for a way to make PvP an attractive proposition to combat-shy or new players and I also wanted to organise a bit of local fun.

This essentially spawned into two concepts; Rookie-ship Bushkazi and The Indy Cannonball Run. I'll be covering Rookie-ship Bushkazi in this post and will save The Indy Cannonball Run for a later blogpost.

Rookie-ship Bushkazi

First of all, credit for the original inspiration must go to Flashfresh, Persephone Astrid, The Bastards and apparently Afghanistan. What follows are rules adapted from The Bastards' original concept as detailed on Flashfresh - The Pirate's blog. They are essentially a simplified, (mostly) non-lethal interpretation of the original rules. The twist comes from Kinroi Alari's peculiar obsession with using Rookie-ships in every aspect of EVE.

In an nutshell, Rookie-ship Bushkazi is a non-lethal EVE-sport wherein competitors vie to tractor a cargo container into their goal-zone. It should be good fun and gives players an opportunity to experiment with player-versus-player combat mechanics without too much fear (this is EVE - there's no such thing as a safe lunch...or something).

The following set of rules is just a guideline and obviously can be changed by mutual agreement to suit all competitors.


  • Each team comprises 3 pilots, each in a suitably fitted rookie ship (ie. an Ibis, an Impairor, a Reaper or a Velator).
  • No team may have more than one of each ship type.
  • Each pilot may have an unlimited number of rookie ships prepared in accordance with the fitting guidelines.
  • Each ship may be only fitted with Meta 0 or civilian modules.
  • Offensive weaponry modules are not permitted (meaning: turrets, launchers and smartbombs).
  • Drones are permitted (tech I only) and are the only permitted means of inflicting damage.
  • Use of tractor beams, webifiers/scramblers and Electronic Warfare is encouraged.
  • It is advisable to have a referee to assist with the selection and preparation of a location and to adjudicate the match when in progress.
  • The referee can be in any ship he/she deems to be appropriate to the task and has no fitting restrictions (recommended: a fast sniper-fit ship ranged to cover the arena length, with ECM, web/scram, tractor and weapons to control play and administer penalties).
  • Three secure cargo containers should be deployed (requires skill: Anchoring 1) in a straight line with 50km spacing.
  • The central container should be named 'Centre Spot' and is accessible only to the referee. This container can be used to store items to be used as the 'ball'. Use of items that are impossible for competitors to store in their cargo is advisable to deter cheating.
  • The two remaining containers are 'goal' containers and should be named and passworded by the competing teams. The containers are used to store 'ball' items that have been successfully recovered.
  • Each container should be passworded by the appropriate team to prevent the illegal removal of goal items by opponents.
  • The referee should be informed of the passwords (via EVEmail or private conversation).
  • The referee initiates 'kick-off' by ejecting an item selected from the Centre-Spot container. It's appearance on the field of play signifies that the round is in session.
  • The competing teams must use tractor beams to move the 'ball' container from the centre of the field to within transferrable distance of their team's 'goal' container. Successful transfer of the 'ball' into the 'goal' ends the round and players must assemble for a subsequent 'kick-off'.
  • Play continues for 15 minutes, until one side is depleted of eligible ships or until aggression timers expire. In high-sec, CONCORD may assist in bring play to an end.
  • Drones may be used to attack and destroy ships and other drones, but drones may not be used to attack pods or containers.
  • Pilots whose ships have been destroyed may return to the field as soon as they are in an eligible ship.
  • Play continues irrespective of ship destruction.
  • Recommended penalty for transgressions: destruction of offenders ship and automatic 'ball' possession given to other side in a 10km safety zone.
  • The final score is confirmed by the referee determining the number of 'balls' successfully recovered to the team 'goal' containers.

There are four possible locations in which a match can be conducted; Null-sec, Wormhole space, Low-sec and High-sec. The potential hazards differ in each location These should be considered in choosing a location and appropriate steps should be taken.

Null-Sec: This presents a travel risk for those not already situated in an appropriate null-sec system. The logistics of access to appropriate ships and equipment may be difficult. There is a risk of 'pitch-invasion' from uninvited guests.

The arena location should be selected and prepared with caution and the referee should be prepared to make use of the directional scanner throughout proceedings.

Wormhole-Space: Similar risks to null-sec, but reduced travel/logistical concerns. Risk of poorly-timed wormhole collapse.

Low-sec: Low-sec may easier for many high-sec inhabitants to travel to, but many of the null-sec risks still apply. Participation without 'can-flipping' (see high-sec advice below) will result in loss of security standings.

Hi-sec: CONCORD does not sanction any aggressive actions in high security space, including Electronic Warfare. Therefore in order to avoid CONCORD intervention, all competitors must 'can-flip'. This is an unfortunate and complicated necessity of playing Rookie-ship Bushkazi in high-security space. In order to avoid confusion, the following method is recommended:
  • Each competitor carries in his cargo a stack of a low-value, low-volume items (minimum of one per competitor) ideally separated into stacks of 1.
  • Immediately prior to the commencement of a match, the referee will prompt the participants gather at the centre-spot and eject their items.
  • Each participant should take one item from each of 5 ejected containers (excluding their own). This will create a 15 minute aggression timer, preventing CONCORD intervention.
  • All competitors should ensure that every participant is now aggressed (flashing red in overview).
  • The referee should get confirmation that aggression is active from all participants before commencing play.

These rules are a work in progress, but are a flexible enough framework for people to amend them according to their needs. The advantage is that the costs for entry are so low, everyone can have a go.

The only preparation required is the gathering of the Rookie-ships, which can be done easily enough by docking with any station in your pod. Obviously access to an industrial ship would aid in transporting your ships to the agreed arena system. Also a stockpile of low-cost modules and drones is a bit of a requirement.

I understand that The Bastards aim to host competitions in the future, so this 'Rookie-ship class' will be good practice for getting teams together for entry into their their high-end 'Formula 1' Bushkazi (they use frigates, destroyers and cruisers).

We'll be organising a few play-testing sessions in the OLD POND PUB in the near future, so we'll be generating stacks of Rookie-ships for that purpose. If anyone else tries these rules out, I'd be grateful for some feedback.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Pirattitude: Sar'duakar of T-Wrecks Interviewed

In recent weeks the harshness of New Eden and it's impact on new players has come under scrutiny. In previous Freebooted interviews we've discussed some of the ways to participate in the world of EVE whilst avoiding the brutal asymmetric player-versus-player combat that is one of EVE's defining characteristics. But the violent and lawless underbelly that is low-security space intrigues me.

Being a low-sec dwelling industrialist and missioner who occasionally PvPs, I wanted to make contact with some of the more aggressive locals to gain a better understanding of their play-style. I wanted to learn about their approach to EVE to offer an interesting counterpoint to previous posts.

The thing about low-sec is you only have to drop your guard for a moment for someone to pop up and punish you. Well, it's not really an advantage, but it is how it works. Complacency, stupidy and ignorance are what the pirates thrive on. And lately they're all something I've learned to specialise in so drawing someone out wasn't going to be a problem.

A foolhardy solo industrial run into a system crawling with a known pirate organisation called T-Wrecks unsurprisingly resulted in me going home in an egg. After the customary moment of resigned annoyance, I realised this was the interview opportunity I'd been waiting for and invited my assailant to the OLD POND PUB channel.

After his initial bemusement at the invite (his opening statement was a curt "Why?"), he relaxed and agreed to an interview. Local war correspondent Rebecca Aventine was in the Old Pond Pub at the time and sidled over to join the interview too.

Seismic Stan: Sar'duakar, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule terrorising the Derelik inhabitants to talk to me. To start with, can you tell us a bit about your corp T-Wrecks and what part you play in it?

Sar'duakar: T-Wrecks: straight-forward pirates. Nothing more, nothing less. We ruin other player's days and have fun doing it. As for my self, I'm just a regular scurvy deckhand, beefing up the killboard.

Seismic Stan:
What does it take to be a successful member of T-Wrecks?

Sar'duakar: I dont think there is a check list for success in corp. Obviously arse helmets need not apply, but as long as you can have a laugh with us, be able to hold your own financially and dont mind the long haul in both skills and learning whats right and wrong then your pretty much there.

Seismic Stan: Do you keep abreast of local politics in EVE? Do you have any thoughts on the CVA/AAA/New Providence situation?

Sar'duakar: We dont do much in Provi to be honest. The times we've jumped into the region and local either empties, or the locals hug the stations like a bunch of girls made us not bother with it much. We hardly see any -A- or AAAC for that matter. Personally, not interested. Although I do watch various killboards just to see who lost an expensive toy; faction battleships, MOM's, Titans etc. We see more Curse residents than Provi.

Rebecca Aventine: I've heard SF [Star Fraction] and U'K [Ushra'khan] will come out for a fight when some of the others dock up at the first sign of trouble.

Sar'duakar: We've run into Star Fraction once or twice, same as U'K. SF are too keen to hotdrop, so we only engage when we are sure the odds are stacked in our favour. Eve is becoming a hotdrop nation in low sec nowadays. Seems the only way people can win.

Seismic Stan: So you're based in the Irshah system of the Derelik region. Who would you say are the key players in the surrounding area at the moment?

Sar'duakar: I'm not going to say T-wrecks as there are more pirates here than just us. We might kill them a few, they might kill us a few. I wouldnt say there is a dominant force though. Equally split would be my best guess. 0utbreak, Aegis Cartel, WarMongers. There are others that I know to watch, but thinking of them off the top of my head ain't happening.

Seismic Stan: T-Wrecks recently declared war on an entire alliance. How successful was your war effort against TREAD?

Sar'duakar: War effort? More like chasing ghosts.

Seismic Stan: So there were never any combat engagements?

Sar'duakar: 40 kills, 5 losses on a war-dec that spread nearly a month.

Seismic Stan: What did TREAD do to draw the attention of T-Wrecks?

Sar'duakar: That's an answer I cant give. it seems there is a past between TREAD and T-Wrecks from before I joined. Never asked, never been told the reason to be honest with you.

Seismic Stan: Intriguing. Perhaps somebody will enlighten us after reading this interview. You said something before the interview that suggested that there is belief that TREADs withdrawal from the region was as a result of the T-Wrecks war-dec.

Sar'duakar: Some of us think so, others are unsure. We know they joined another alliance, but the exact reasons are unknown. I dare say we, as a corp, would like to think it's because of us it happened.

Seismic Stan: Have you had much dealing with the Important Internet Spaceship League? They're an alliance that have recently moved into Nakah and seem to looking to fill the void left by TREADs departure.

Sar'duakar: [With them] being new to the area, we have yet to see any sizable gangs from IISL. There has been the odd gank but nothing to write home about. Time will tell.

Seismic Stan: The PvP-centric way that you play clearly requires knowledge and funding to be successful, how did you achieve those?

Sar'duakar: I'm a five-year-old character, so I've been about a bit. Lived in 0.0 most of my eve career, so a lot of my pvp experiance is from that. In terms of funding, I've been a good boy and PvE'd, I did a 4 month stint in the drone lands just carebearing which created a massive isk pool.
And on the other end of the scale, I've also taken that which did not belong to me. Its no secret, an old corp I was in handed me 5 caps, or should I say I walked off with them. Up until that point, I'd played by the rules and kept my respect. Trouble is, when directors start treating you like something stuck to the bottom of their shoe, things become "tempting". I'm basically your "cross me, reap what you sow" kind of guy. And that's what happened.

Seismic Stan: So whose capital ships were they?

Sar'duakar: FC.UK. They disbanded not long after I did it and merged into Pandemic Legion. Just happens FC.UK was a Pandemic alt corp anyway.

Seismic Stan: So there's no love lost between you and Pandemic Legion?

Sar'duakar: Not at all. I'd gladly slap Pandemic. But the "Elite PvP Alliance" in EVE is the same as all the other big alliances. We are gods, but when you see 20-30-40 people on a kill mail, makes you wonder where the skill went. I'm all for 1v1 but that's a rarity in EVE.

Seismic Stan: So would you and the rest of T-Wrecks honour a 1v1, or would it be wise for your opponent to expect the unexpected?

Sar'duakar: I cant talk for the rest of T-Wrecks, But I would unless I know otherwise. I think to get a 1v1 these days it's got to be force. Catching someone in a belt for example, or just roaming through 0.0.

Seismic Stan: Right, so pre-arranged duels wouldn't be your thing.

Sar'duakar: Not pre-arranged, no. Not my idea of 1v1. If say Player-X jumps into local in a Crow for example, and I'm in a Taranis and get asked for a 1v1, I'd honour it. Unless I can see he's got ten mates two systems back..

Seismic Stan: It is said that "if you get a fair fight in EVE, someone did something wrong." What advice could you give other pirates to keep the deck stacked in their favour?

Fight dirty. Outnumber, outgun and outsmart. Scouts are your best weapon. Getting to know what are the flavor bait ships aswell like Prophecys and plated Abaddons.

Seismic Stan: Have you, or T-Wrecks as a corp, ever met your match?

Sar'duakar: All is fair in PvP. Win some, lose some. One thing about T-wrecks is we dont lose much though. As a corp, we are normally all logged on in the same time frame, so its not always to gank just one of us.
We do lose ships just like everyone else though. Stupid mistakes, out classed and out gunned. No excuses.

Seismic Stan: What has been your most impressive of most amusing kill?

In terms of isk, a Rorqual that undocked at our station. He walked straight into a gang waiting for him, Was taking a while to break him though so we undocked a Dread just to finish it. In terms of impressive though, its got to be a bait Tengu. Pilot was from a corp called Sense of Serendipity. Tengu was basically fit to hold myself and Bane down and keep us jammed until a Cyno went up.
Unfortunately for him, he never jammed us, and his cyno alt left it too long to fire up and let my Tempest lock him and 1 volley the cyno ship. Rest is just wreckage :)

Seismic Stan:
Have you ever been close to an 'emoragequit' moment?

Never. I make mistakes just like anyone else. Hardly worth getting all sissy cry baby over. I just pick my bottom lip up and carry on. Eve gives me great enjoyment, satisfaction and an escape from real life.

Seismic Stan: You are currently operating in the low-sec region of Derelik, is low-sec your first choice of location? What are your thoughts on the criticism that low-sec often comes in for with regard to risk versus reward?

Sar'duakar: I've been all over eve. Tried most forms of career except building. I needed to find a path in eve that suited my play style and time I have available. Piracy provided just that. No alarm clock op's, No POS warfare, No logging in to find my station has changed hands, no trudging through Empire lag reading dribble in local from people who think they are "experienced". But its true - risk vs reward - if you're willing to take the chance, you might come up trumps. In the first week of joining T-wrecks I accumulated a billion isk from loot and tech II salvage.

Seismic Stan: I recently watched several of T-Wrecks conduct a gate-camp. Although there wasn't a huge amount of action in the 15mins I watched, was it a profitable and/or enjoyable past-time?

Sar'duakar: The camp was profitable. If you kill stuff, dont loose your ship and make back your ammo + change its always profitable. in the 30 minutes T-wrecks was there, 10 ships popped. From Tech I Cruisers up to tech II HACs. Nothing was lost on our side, so was all good.

Seismic Stan: Recently, I also witnessed T-Wrecks pounce on the tail end of a AAA-Citizens fleet as they assaulted a CVA POS. It was a confident move given the numbers they had nearby and the possibility of their capital fleet engaging. Can you tell us how that cam about? Was it opportunism or a planned ambush?

Sar'duakar: Piracy isnt planned. It's opportunism all the time. You can circle back to Risk vs Reward with this I suppose.

Seismic Stan: If you could only have one ship in EVE, what would it be and why?

Sar'duakar: I honestly dont know. I try and vary my ships all the time, so I dont make myself a huge target. I might be out in my Machariel for a few hours, then switch down to a Vagabond.If I dont present myself as a possible "pay check" too often, things generally work out well.

Seismic Stan: What are your hopes for the future of EVE? Are there any upcoming expansions or changes that you're particularly looking forward to?

Sar'duakar: I'm hoping piracy does get looked at and improved. For once it would be nice for us Outlaws to get a nice new toy designed for us. Carebears got their Orca, Marauder's, 0.0 got Titans and Supercarriers. We pirates just get the same old crap served for yesterdays dinner.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Give Peace a Chance...

I've never professed to be good at the combat aspect of EVE, but I'm more than happy to give it a go. Even so it's been a bit of a humbling few days for me, having lost nearly a quarter-of-a-billion isk in ships and fittings. Although I'll readily admit that every case was as a result of my own complacency or foolhardiness.

The last couple of interviews I've conducted have featured pilots who avoid player-versus-player combat. Both Sevidra and Mark726 prefer to play EVE in such a way as to avoid direct conflict and after the week I've just had, I'm starting to agree with them.

I suppose I can at least take solace in the knowledge that I selflessly brought enjoyment and satisfaction to these pilots:
  • Kayden Drake (Point of No Return) killed my Kestrel. I was asking for it as Long Jack and I launched an unprovoked suicide attack on his Sleipnir. In tech I fitted frigates.
  • ComradeGranite (T-Wrecks) mercilessly mugged my Mammoth with an Onyx. Despite seeing that the delivery I intended to collect was in a system with only one station and several active (and locally renowned) pirates, I brazenly took the chance and was made to pay.
  • Greenbeard (Greenbeard's Freebooters) destroyed two Kestrels and a Merlin. The frigate stage of the Freebooter's CEO Duel was a bit of a disaster for me. Although it was closer than the current 3 kills to 1 ratio suggests.
  • Silas Sanyasi (Agony Unleashed) instapopped my Manticore with his Tempest's artillery as I unsurprisingly botched an attempt to solo an entire fleet attacking a Paxton Federation station in Providence.
  • Jupacha (The Marauding Asha'men) crushed my Caracal with a Drake whilst I was absent-mindedly pootling about in an anomaly. My subsequent revenge attack in a Raven didn't go well either. In local chat afterwards, we agreed that he was lucky that I was rubbish at PvP. He certainly didn't need his four friends.
If you need any further proof, my Battleclinic record is here.

So I'm hanging up my combat jacket and amputating my trigger-finger. What I need is a fun non-combat ship. In Mark's interview he showed us the loadout he uses for Professor Science, his buzzard explorer vessel, but I've already got one of those. I'd love to see some more suggestions, either in the comments below or as a meme. Let's get creative and come up with a fleet of non-combat ship fits that the PvP-shy New Eden population can use.

What's your fight-dodging ship of choice? A ninja-salvaging industrial? A mining battleship?

Most comical fail-fit wins.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Elite Explorer: EVE Travel's Mark726 Interviewed

EVE Online.

To those of us who play, it means many things. It is a platform of tools that allows us to do as we please within a wonderfully realised sci-fi setting. Within New Eden, there is a wealth of opportunity to fight, explore, build, trade and any other pursuit you can dream up. It's also a sophisticated communications platform that allows us to network and meet with friends or spy on enemies.

In short, Its a freeform, darwinian gaming experience unlike any other - the 'sandbox with mines in it'.

Or is it? Is this all a case of "Emperor's New Clothes"? A recent series of blogs by Tobold, a long-time MMO player and blogger, seems to suggest that EVE is an experience only for the hardcore PvPer with every non-PvP activity being dull. His largely negative coverage understandably triggered a significant response from the typically articulate EVE player-base. However, the question remains, is there any place in New Eden for those not seeking combat?

Mark726, author of the brilliantly written EVE Travel blog, has clearly made a success of avoiding combat, enjoying the process and then writing about it. So I thought I'd ask him a few questions for the benefit of other would-be explorers.

Seismic Stan: Mark, Eve Travel is a superb concept, what led you to it?

Mark726: Well, as happens from time to time, I got bored doing the same old things in game, and decided to take a little road trip to see what was out there. To do that, I needed to figure out where I should actually visit. After a few google searches came up fairly empty, I realized that no one had actually put together a comprehensive list of landmarks in New Eden (or even tried to, as far as I can tell). People would point out sites here and there as they came across them, or mentioned some of the big ones, but there was no list of all of them. Once I realized that, the idea for EVE Travel kind of just fell into place.

S: What is involved in each expedition? How do you prepare?

M: The first step is trying to figure out where exactly to go. Google searches and searching the forums help a lot to find possible leads, as do the in-game news items. I currently have a list of about 50 possible sites sitting in a list on my notepad in game, and it just keeps growing as I hear of or find more sites. After that, I figure out what site I want to visit for the day, and check the maps to see how deep into low or null sec I'll have to venture. From there, I take off in Professor Science. If I'm going into high sec space, obviously little prep work is needed from there. Even in low sec space, as long as I'm quick off the bat engaging the Professor's cloak, I won't run into any problems. It's null sec where things really get interesting. Keeping an eye on local, and doing a two step warp (from gate to planet, then to gate) to avoid bubbles as much as possible really keeps me on my toes.

S: What resources do you use to aid your exploration? Can you recommend any useful sites or software to the uninitiated explorer?

M: Your biggest friend will be anything that gives you in depth maps of the cluster. I use EVE Strategic Maps, but Dotlan or any of the other online maps [eg. Ombeve] will serve just as well.

S: Is there anywhere that you won't or can't explore in New Eden?

M: I don't feel constrained by anything, if that's what you mean. I tend to shy away from the deep null-sec spots that I've come across, but that's really only because of a lack of time than anything else. But if there's something interesting out there that I think people should know about, I'll head out and see it regardless of where it is.

S: What ship do you use in your travels? Have you ever used any others?

M: I principally use my Buzzard-class covops ship, Professor Science. Occasionally I'll bring out my Drake-class ship, Legacy, if I'm going somewhere in high sec, but I tend to keep to the Professor because of its high speed, even in high sec space.

Professor Science - Buzzard - Caldari Covert Ops Frigate

High Slots
1 x Coverts Ops Cloaking Device II
1 x Sisters Core Probe Launcher
1 x Salvager II

Medium Slots
1 x 1MN Microwarpdrive I
2 x Small Shield Extender II
1 x Codebreaker II
1 x Analyzer II

Low Slots
1 x Micro Auxilliary Power Core I
1 x Inertial Stablizers II

2 x Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade

S: As I recall from your blog, Professor Science wasn't your first Buzzard-class covops exploration frigate. What happened to it's predecessor and how did you feel about it?

M: Heh, I'm actually onto the third iteration of the Professor, unfortunately. The first Professor was killed coming back from seeing the Steve Memorial in C9N-CC. That loss was basically my fault. The system connecting that area of null sec space was HED-GP, which is apparently a pretty heavily camped system most of the time. Strangely, when I was outbound the system was pretty empty. On my way back, seeing as how it was the last jump until entering high sec space, I let my guard down and jumped directly to the gate. I got caught up in a bubble, decloaked, and killed, all within a few moments.

The second loss was fairly similar. This time I was a little more careful, but I didn't have anything to get me out of range in time. Drones quickly swooped down on me and decloaked me, and I was blown up shortly thereafter.

In retrospect, I really should have been more careful. I really should have realized that ESPECIALLY because HED was a direct link from null sec to high sec that it would be a heavily camped system. So while I wasn't thrilled that I lost my ship and pod there, in retrospect it gave me a great example of what not to do while on my next journey. And the second time around helped me really tune up my fitting even more, and prompted me to put a MWD on the Professor. Since then, I've taken a few trips into null sec space, and haven't been killed yet, so I guess its working.

S: Although Tobold admits to an anti-PvP bias in his MMO preferences, at least he gave it a try. What is your viewpoint of the opinion that EVE universe does not adequately cater for those who do not wish to participate in PvP?

M: It's true that PvP isn't entirely avoidable in EVE, but there are plenty of things to keep yourself busy and PvP risks to a minimum. Recently, there's been a fascinating post by one of the CCP storyline writers on the mysteries behind the Sleepers, for example, and their links to the early history of New Eden. It's stuff like there, where you have to go into those dangerous PvE areas, and work with others (instead of fighting them) to put all the pieces of this puzzle together. It's indepth and complicated things like this, where you have to work together with others to discover something new, where EVE really shines, I think.

S: What advice would you offer to any new player that was thinking of taking up exploring?

M: If you're serious about it, train up your skills. A covops ship and Sisters scanning probes/probe launchers will be your best friends. And be patient. Not every system will have something worth looking into, especially in high sec, but if you're persistent and keep at it, you'll find something (and get really great scanning practice while you're at it).

S: Would you say that exploring in EVE has enough depth to make it an attractive primary pursuit for a player? How could it be improved?

M: Between exploration, escalations, and the like, I think there's enough to keep you busy as a primary pursuit. I'd actually love to see escalations brought not just to anomalies/plexes, but to the other exploration sites as well. An escalation to a higher radar site, I think, would be really interesting (and hopefully valuable), as well as adding a little more dynamics to exploration. Anything that CCP can do to make the missions more immersive or tied into the storyline, I think, would be great.

S: Do you enjoy any other aspects of EVE?

M: The social aspect, by far. There's a great community both in game and in things like the tweetfleet, and they are a major reason I've stayed in the game as long as I have. But in terms of gameplay, I also do some missions, but I mostly focus on exploration.

S: Are there any other important questions I have forgotten to ask or anything else you'd like to add?

M: If anyone runs into any sites that they think deserve some recognition, please let me know!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Sansha's Sleepers: An Unholy Alliance?

Following news that CCP are re-introducing live events into New Eden, they also tantalisingly hint in this developers blog that they will involve "interactive storylines", the first of which has already begun "in-game across all sectors of space and through other out-of-game mediums" and involves "one of New Eden's oldest and most insidious threats".

It is interesting to note that the screenshot associated with this announcement seems to show a wormhole directly above a planet. The first cryptic clues to the mystery can be found in files on this EVE-Files page.

Those files are "leaked" CONCORD documents which detail Project Ishaeka, which is concerned with investigating recent unusual Sansha's Nation activity and communications. As well as listing potential sites of interest in the Stain and Pure Blind regions there is suggesting Sansha's Nation's increased interests in wormhole space.

Some key points from those files are as follows;

Report ID:Ishaeka-0001

States it's subject to be "Report on increased Sansha's Nation communications throughout Gallente Quarter, Stain Region" and makes mention of "Operation Ishaeka, Planetary Reconnaissance and Communication Interception".

It makes mention of the following planets in Stain, Gallente Quarter, V-H3VO Constellation as having been investigated;


And the following systems to be pending investigation;


Control HQ is in U2-BJ2.

Subsequent information details communications activity on and around planets at those various sites.

Report ID:Ishaeka-0015

Mentions an ISD article about a mysterious attack on a Ducia Foundry Team and an apparently related Sansha's Nation fleet of 20 Nightmare-class battleships emerging from a wormhole in X-7OMU and dispersing in multiple directions. The wormhole, now collapsed, was a V911, origin J235456.

Report ID:Ishaeka-0016

References "an abducted Ducia Foundary crew" and mentions "examples of clone-jackings carried out in New Eden".

It goes on to describe the Sleeper culture as "...likely an 'upload' society. Facing a possible demographic catastrophe due to widespread plague, the Sleeper Empire evacuated the physical realm by means of vast data networks to contain their intelligences in a sea of virtual reality."

[Is reference to plague suggestive of Jovian plague? Is there a relationship between Jovian technology and Sleeper technology?]

It goes on to state "Now, it seems likely that these bodies, abducted by their Guardians, might be somewhow used to reenter the physical world, giving their consciousnesses a vessel to integrate with our world once more."

[Are Sansha's Nation bodysnatching for the Sleepers?]

Report ID:Ishaeka-0017

Makes further mention of "...third party factions at work inside w-space, besides the Sleepers or the Capsuleers."

In reference to Sansha's Nation activities in wormhole space, "It might even be possible that this faction is in some way communicating with the Sleepers.".

[Sansha's Nation are part machine, so I suppose they're more likely to have compatible USB ports.]

It also states there will be "No new coverage. Media Block in effect. Media Block with ISD negotiated."

[So does this mean we can't trust ISD reports any more? Will there be possible misinformation in the future?]

Report ID:Ishaeka-0018

Discusses a "Confirmed direct leak of classified material to Intergalactic Summit" and the relationship between the Sansha's Nation null-sec activity and their subsequent invasion of the Fram system in Heimatar.

The document also reinterates the "Media Block in effect".


Bearing in mind the Evelopedia description of Sansha's Nation describes them as "melded man and machine to create unquestioning cybernetic slaves", they would be the perfect conduits for Sleeper AI to 'evolve' into New Eden, creating a hybrid super-race.

So, Sansha's Nation getting a Sleeper upgrade? Fear the PvE.

The Fight for the Freebooters: Round 1

Although a few days later than originally scheduled, the first part of the Freebooter's duel for CEO status took place last night.

Our heated pre-combat discussions were witnessed by Rebecca Aventine, a local war correspondent who has been visiting the Old Pond Pub channel to sample the 'local colour' of Derelik low-sec. Rebecca very graciously took the time from her regular investigations of New Providence activity to report on the private war between Greenbeard and myself.

Her superbly written and detailed account of the duel, Pistols at Dawn, can be found on her new blog EVE: Privateer.

Rebecca has got a nose for a good story and may well be on hand to report first hand on some interesting developments in New Providence very soon.

Keep watching that space.

Monday, 10 May 2010

A Social Experiment: the Old Pond Pub

"Mos Eisley spaceport: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
- Obi-wan Kenobi, Star Wars

With the low-sec regions north of Providence now relatively unpoliced after the TREAD exodus, things in the Derelik region have settled into a new routine. It's fairly quiet, with small roaming gangs and gate-camps, explorers blasting through, industrialists trying to slip by unnoticed and the occasional fleet scaring the bejesus out of the locals before moving on to environs more suited.

Occasionally there is a brief exchange in local, but often cut short by one party's departure from system. I often see the same pilots popping up in local, with little more than a "o/", then they're gone.

So we've opened the OLD POND PUB to encourage locals, passersby or even distant friends to pop in for a chat. I've put up secure can advertisements at the local gates and have been spreading the word. I'm hoping we'll get some colourful characters in, perhaps having the opportunity to chat to some of the local gankers, or maybe a couple of traders will strike some deals. The battle-weary pilots of Providence might find some quiet relief from their null-sec duties.

It'd be great to get some EVE celebrities in for a guest appearance and maybe a CSM candidate Q&A session. It's an open invite, so feel free to stop by if you're in the vicinity of Assah, in Derelik. Or even if you're not.

Join the OLD POND PUB channel, your local hive of scum and villainy.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

The Path No Longer Trodden

It is a sad thing to report the collapse of an alliance and I've left it long enough now for it to almost be old news, so this is more of an obituary and a tribute.

TREAD alliance has been disbanded.

My association with TREAD alliance was brief and as such I had little time to learn all that I would have liked. It was Greenbeard's Freebooters' first experience of alliance life and we were grateful for the opportunity to have participated in the final weeks of TREAD's existence. We met a great crowd who were accommodating and instructive.

The following is an account of TREADs passage through EVE history. It is purely my interpretation of events, through research and discussion with various parties.

The Story of TREAD

Prior to the formation of the TREAD Alliance in YC-110 (January 2008), the founding corporation, 1st Steps Academy [1SA], had been suffering repeated declarations of war due to their position as a training organisation for new players. Opportunistic and more established corporations saw 1SA as easy pickings and 1SA retreated to low-security space where ironically they could continue their operations with more freedom.

It was in the low-security regions on the outskirts of Providence that 1SA formed TREAD, subscribing to the 'Not Red, Don't Shoot' [NRDS] rules of engagement supported by the nearby Curatores Veritatis Alliance [CVA]. TREAD began to gather other corporations with similar philosophies under their banner and they were soon able to participate in pro-CVA combat operations, with CVA diplomats suggesting that TREAD's support and involvement would be rewarded with CVA-supported 'holder' status.

During the following year TREAD grew in strength, registering several modest victories and spreading into new territory to expand their industry. Their fortunes ebbed and flowed, with increasing enemy activity forcing them to regroup briefly in the then CVA-protected null-sec system of G-5EN2.

However, despite general progress being made, by early YC-111 (Feb 2009) TREADs failure to be recognised by the CVA as potential holders lead to internal divisions and ultimately the departure of many disgruntled corporations, some of whom joined existing Providence holders, the Libertatis Fidelitas Alliance [LFA].

With their numbers depleted, the remaining core comprising mainly 1SA and the Bene Gesserit Chapterhouse [BG], took the opportunity to rebuild and restructure. There were a few bumps in the road, but the next year saw TREAD develop into an alliance with several large member corporations and a more effective council-based leadership structure, allowing representation from each contributing organisation.

At this point they began to achieve one of their primary goals and became capable of fielding a respectable fleet including capitals and TREAD pilots would often bolster CVA fleets. Despite their continued support of CVA, TREAD were not considered viable sovereignty holders at the time. The nearest station system, G-5EN2, was given by the CVA to the Ammatar Free Corps [AFC]. This was seen by some as a snub, but even if it was, it turned out to be a fortunate one.

It was shortly after this point in time that the LFA invaded Against All Authorities [-A-] territory, triggering the Invasion of Providence. G-5EN2 fell to Ushra'khan and ultimately the CVA and almost all CVA-sponsored holders were routed from the region of Providence.

The sudden change in the local geo-political climate was an opportunity for TREAD, with a number of options open to them. The opportunity to finally obtain sovereignty through negotiation or force was there, but many thought that TREAD was not ready for such an endeavour. The issue of continued loyalty to the CVA was also now a subject of much speculation. Some wanted to support allies heading north to fight against the Southern Coalition on a new front on the far side of New Eden. Industrialists with established interests in the local regions were less inclined to uproot, preferring to stay in the Derelik region and keep a low profile.

Ultimately, I believe it was this vacuum of choice that resulted in TREADs demise, with the alliance leadership realising that members' interests were too diverse to arrive at any quorum. Those individuals who had the impetus to drive forward were also aware that there were many who were failing to contribute.

Following the dissolution of TREAD, many corporations headed north to join Fidelas Contans [FCON], another previously Providence-based alliance that was overlooked by the CVA. There they aim to find a new home and make new allies. I wish them luck. A few ex-Treadies remain scattered around the Derelik region, along with ourselves, but Derelik is that little bit less friendly these days.

I would like to extend special thanks to all those who made our brief TREAD membership an enjoyable one. To the President, Ivan Zhuk, for accepting us and for the history lessons, to Ilie for his raw enthusiasm and blunt honesty, to Celebrain for his measured and understanding manner, to Yvella for the "how to float around in a Stealth bomber for hours" training, to Cladi Gerash, Darton Rue and Corrybasler for all the POS advice and assistance, to all the Fleet Commanders I've not mentioned for their continued attention to our survival and enjoyment and to all the others that worked tirelessly behind the scenes. Legends, one and all.

It was appreciated by all, I am sure, all the hard work and effort that was required to run TREAD.

Thank you all and tread bravely on.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

A Woman in EVE?!

For some time I have been meaning to start an interview series of blogposts. rather than just speaking with the CEOs, Alliance leaders and CSM candidates of EVE, it is my hope to give voice to a varied array of players from every echelon of EVE life.

In a coincidental and serendipitous moment, I had the good fortune to be contacted in-game by Sevidra who, it soon became clear, represents the very zeitgeist of EVE culture at the moment. She is indeed a 'she' and is also new to EVE, so I couldn't resist asking to interview her in the wake of the Women of EVE Blog Banter and also Tobold's controversial and very public blog about being a new player in EVE.

So on with the inquisition:

Seismic Stan: Sevidra, thank you for taking the time to speak with me. First off, what kind of gaming background do you come from?

Sevidra: Well, I've played a lot of games over a long time. In MMO terms, I've played most of them - City of H/V, WoW, LOTRO, Asheron's Call, EverQuest (I, not II), Entropia, and so on. In single-person game terms, I've also been all over the map. I played the Heavy Gear and Mechwarrior series. I've played Oblivion (and Daggerfall, even when it crashed, literally every 30 seconds, on my machine), Hexen and Half-Life, Fallout, many of the Sim- games (including 'The Sims' and its spinoffs), every Civ game I've found... the list goes on. In addition, I've been a pencil-and-paper gamer for ages.

Seismic Stan: In a recent Blog Banter, many EVE bloggers have suggested that CCPs marketing is very male-centric. Despite this you are playing EVE, what attracted you to the universe of New Eden?

Sevidra: Partially my husband. He was looking for a game in which he could get intelligent, skill-based (not game-mechanic or loot-based) pvp combat. I myself am more of a pve player, so it's definitely a step I might not normally take. The trailers and ads are very much aimed at a pvp, killer-achiever type crowd. People who like to 'be the best', or 'be the strongest' - honestly, it kind of reminded me of the recent Army ads in the USA. Not my cup of tea, normally.

Seismic Stan: But still you came. What expectations did you have when logging in for the first time? Can you tell us how that first session went and what your first impressions of EVE were?

Sevidra: I was nervous. I was honestly terrified that I'd be facing gankers, even in the newbie areas. So many pvp games suffer from griefers! The desire to leave your mark on the population (which is part of what causes griefers to do what they do) is what the EVE ads seem to be aimed at. Logging in, though, I was impressed with the tutorial. I got a lot of free stuff in the first couple of days. All of it was _useful_ stuff.

The newbie missions gave me a lot of the skills I needed, and helped me sort out how to do things. Heck, I even taught my husband how to scan, after having done the missions he hadn't had the patience to bother with. I really enjoyed those. I wish the scanning had given me something a bit more nifty and unique, but it was fun anyway.

I like to collect stuff. I'm one of those players who had every gun in Fallout, as well as hoards of ammunition and all the junk for the workshop. There's a lot to collect in EVE! So that's definitely been a high point so far.

Usually, the biggest draw to a game for me is exploration. My two favorite MMO's so far have been Asheron's Call and Entropia. The worlds were immense. There was always something new to find, some place to explore, some new items to see or locate. I'm a touch worried about that here, because most of the exploration seems to be discouraged by people 'defending their territory', or just plain ganking folks. And I certainly am not strong enough to go into a wormhole yet. So we'll see ...

Seismic Stan: You are not alone in your concerns. Tobold, a prominent blogger in the wider MMO world, has also recently started playing EVE. A few of his EVE-related posts compare and contrast EVE to the more traditional WoW-type MMOs. He suggested that EVE's game design encourages "bullying" and promotes an unfair gaming environment. What are your thoughts on this?

Sevidra: Hum. In certain ways, he's right. From what I've seen, CCP does not police its population in any real sense. So scams and other means of taking advantage of stupidity (or even ignorance in some cases) are definitely encouraged. I've seen a higher degree of paranoia - and with good reason - here than in any other game I've played.

....and I've played Paranoia.

Seismic Stan: What have you enjoyed the most about your EVE experience so far?

Sevidra: The fact that even a new person can make money, and the tutorial missions. I've found a little group of folks who weren't as paranoid, who were willing to walk me through things and hang around, and who have been helping me out. That's been really important. Honestly, as an explorer, there hasn't been a huge amount to keep me here, but I'm still here for my husband and the folks I've met. I have hope that I'll get to explore and really get excited eventually.

I kind of consider it to be the 'grind period' you get in so many MMO's before you can really go anywhere. The only game that didn't have that was AC, way back in the beginning... and that was an extroardinary situation.

Seismic Stan: What has frustrated you the most? What what you like to see changed or introduced?

Sevidra: There's a lot that's boring, and a lot of real nastiness on the part of some of the players. I'd like to see more that's unique and fun to explore, and to feel safer with the idea of exploring things in general. I'd love to have an invulnerable ship that couldn't see players or their stations (so it couldn't be abused for scouting), and just go romping around seeing the sights of New Eden.

Seismic Stan: I like this 'invulnerable ship' idea. It could perhaps work as a more immersive version of the world map, enabling an extra level of depth beyond the solar system map. It could include collectable data and reference material, a bit like Warhammer Online's Tome of Knowledge. Maybe accessible from in-station as part of the upcoming Incarna interface. Perhaps it's worth submitting a proposal to the CSM in the Assembly Hall section of the EVE forums.

Have you heard of the Council of Stellar Management (CSM)? It is a player-elected body than has the opportunity to communicate directly with developers to address issues and suggest changes to EVE Online. Did you know that elections have recently opened. Historically, new players have been under-represented in the voting, which is a shame. Would you/have you/are you going to vote? Who for? Why?

Sevidra: I saw the incitement to vote on the opening screen of the game. I didn't know what they did or why I should bother voting for them. What do I know? What if I vote for someone and they turn out to be an idiot (or worse, someone who supports scamming and griefing, and will push for those to be even more widely available)? I don't feel I have enough information to vote for or against any of them.

Seismic Stan: It really is a great system that allows players to have a real say in the development of the game. There's a very helpful vote-matching site here that helps you narrow down candidates that would best represent your interests. Go here to view candidates and vote.

Moving on, what are your future plans within EVE? What do you hope to get out of your experience?

Sevidra: A collection of one of everything in the universe would be nice (Yes, I'm like that). Real exploration would be nice. But since I don't expect to actually get that here, I'll just keep playing other games for it, and play EVE to collect. If EVE ever wanted to really become my first choice in gaming it would have to make _real_ exploration (where the final goal isn't stuff or territory or anything, but knowledge and experience - and maybe screenshots of it) a serious possibility.

Seismic Stan: Well it's been great interviewing you and I think your answers just go to prove that new players are often an underestimated force. I'm glad you are enjoying your EVE experience and not being overwhelmed by it. Subsequent to our in-game meeting I was concerned that an anonymous post from an apparently disillusioned female EVE player on the 'EVEquality: Rise of the Female Gamer' article might have been you. If it wasn't I hope she is still reading (and playing) and maybe your comments might help.

Anyway, that just about rounds the interview off I think, is there anything you'd like to add?

Sevidra: I actually read that blog post you were talking about, since it was in the News on the first page on logging in [to the EVE client]. I was tempted to answer it, but there was something about having to have your own blog and post five others after you... so in the end, I didn't bother.

It's not just _women_ EVE needs, I think. It's Explorers and Socializers. EVE needs more content that isn't dangerous, places to go to play around and not be afraid. It needs sights that are unique, reasons to visit new systems you've never been to before (and a method to do that without being instakilled by pvp'ers in big ships). And they need to advertise it! If they do that, more women will show up (along with more explorers and achievers).

Seismic Stan: I agree that more could be done to market EVE to a different audience and perhaps Incarna will offer a lot in that regard. However, I think part of EVE's individuality is in the fact that you are never entirely safe and the possibility of real loss makes gain all the more satisfying and tangible. I would be wary of diluting what makes EVE unique.

With regard to exploring, I think it is certainly possible to explore just about everywhere with the minimum of risk if the right preparations are made. High-sec is clearly pretty safe and low-sec in an agile frigate is pretty do-able if you keep moving. It's only null-sec and it's interdictor bubbles that present a real navigational hazard for the unwary. Mark726 of EVE Travel manages to visit all sorts of strange corners of New Eden without too much hassle. Maybe he could provide some guidance to other would-be explorers as to how it's done...

Monday, 3 May 2010

Freebooters CEO Duel

Greenbeard, the egocentric narcissist that founded Greenbeard's Freebooters, has returned to the spacelanes of New Eden after several months of apparent cabbage-worrying. The first thing he did was challenge yours truly for the CEOship of our corporation. So the gauntlet has been cast down and picked up.

We've agreed to a rather complicated but entertaining duel system. We'll each pre-fit three frigates and two cruisers, all tech I (meta I modules only). Firstly, we'll fight with the frigates, progressing onto the cruisers only when all frigates have been destroyed. When a ship is destroyed, it's pilot must return as quickly as possible in his next ship choice whilst the winner has to remain on the field with whatever damage he has sustained.

This creates some interesting strategic considerations when planning your 'ship stable'. How do you load out your ships to play to your strengths, exploit your opponent's weaknesses and still have the versatility to spring some surprises? All this whilst attempting to predict the composition of your oppoenent's squad and match your ship loadouts to counter his.

We still need to agree on some of the finer points like warp-in distances, combat initiation and the like, so any suggestions from the PvP community would be welcome. In any case, the duel is pencilled in for Wednesday and then the battle for control of the Freebooters will commence.

May the best Minmatar win.

Posted by ShoZu