Monday, October 27, 2008

Thoughts on The Orca

The Orca has been available on the test server for a few days and I’ve spent some time getting to know the preliminary version of the latest ship in the Eve Universe. I’ve looked forward to getting my hands on this ship since it was first rumored to be on the way. Having flown it, I’m even more excited!


My comments about the Orca will be made in this context. I’m primarily a miner. My second character, Kaye Carson, was originally cast as a hauler and can fly Gallente industrials, transports and freighters. Recently, Kaye has moved up to fly command ships with 2 mining command links and a shield link. Both of us can salvage.

A typical scenario when we are flying alone is for Kaye to be in a fully rigged Ity V sitting next to my Hulk. I like to mine for about an hour at a time while I deal with my corp email box, then I’ll run missions with students or Kaye will shift to Eos & provide mining bonuses to a student fleet. Often, we’ll work with students to mine mission ore. Most of our mining is in Empire and in systems with refining capabilities.

Selected Orca Characteristics

• Approximately 78k m3 cargo (2x T2 Expanders, 3X T1 Cargo rigs

• 30k m3 Corporate hangar
o Configurable by pilot to allow/deny access to pilots in the fleet
o Carries same divisions/structure/access as Corp station hangars
o Can not be accessed by freighters in space

• 400k m3 Ship Maintenance hangar
o Carries only assembled ships
o Ships may have only ammo/scripts/crystals in their cargo holds
o Allows refits in space

• 3/3/2 Hi/Med/Low slot layout

• 50 m3 drone bay with 25 bandwidth

• 75km tractor

Skill Requirements

• Industrial Command Ships I (new skill)
• Mining Barge V
• Spaceship Command V
• Mining Foreman III (Per devs, will be changed to Mining Director I)
• Industry V

Overall Impressions

I like the ship model, but I’m not sure of the scale. It appears to be about the same volume as a Domi, about 6-8 times bigger than a Catalyst and about 25% the size of an Obelisk. This seems to be a bit small. It could use some Hulk-like moving parts and perhaps a lighter main color, but those are just nits.

Ship flight is sluggish, but appears reasonable and in line with other ships. Warp initiation is about 10-12 seconds slower than a plated Dominix and about 10-12 seconds faster than an Obelisk.

The Ship Maintenance hangar can carry 2 Hulks. Since I don’t rig my Hulks, I’m more likely to carry a Hulk disassembled in the Corp Hangar and fill the Ship Hangar with an Ity V, a CovOps, an interceptor, a salvage destroyer and an assault frigate (all rigged) when I go on expeditions.

Currently, only one command link can be used, but the devs have acknowledged this bug & indicated that the design spec is for three. This implies the need for one additional high slot to allow the fit of 3 command links and a tractor. I think the additional top slot is a necessary change and support the call for it. I'll probably run 2 mining command links, a tractor and a salvager.

You can follow the debate on the Eve Online forums about the specifics of the ship stats. There are those that feel that it needs to compress ore (I disagree), that it needs an additional mid slot and an additional low slot (I’ll never turn them down, but I don’t think the ship is broken because of the current mid/low layout), that the ship is a jack of all trades, but master of none and therefore useless (I disagree) and many other opinions.

Required Skills

Most of the forum debate on the skill subject revolves around the requirement for Mining Barge V to fly a ship that can’t fit mining lasers. I think this argument has merit. The devs have indicated that skill requirement will be adjusted to Mining Director I.

My recommended required skills would be:
• Industrial Command Ship I (new skill)
• Industry V
• Command Ship II
• Transports IV
• Mining Director I

At first, that appears to be a reduction of the skills required, but imbedded in the requirements are Battlecruiser V, Spaceship Command V, Leadership V and Mining Foreman V. The skillset that I’m suggesting appears appropriate for a ship designed to be a hybrid of a command ship, a transport and an upsized industrial. And before the post is made, yes, I realize that I’m suggesting a T2 ship skill (Command Ships) for a T1 ship. So? Orca is a mining command ship. It will run multiple command links. It gives bonuses for each of those multiple command links. Why shouldn’t a ship whose primary purpose is a command ship require command ship skills?

Using the Orca

When I’m mining alone, the Orca will allow Dee to get Kaye’s command ship bonuses without jet can mining. The capacity is appropriate for the amount of time that I generally spend mining with just my characters. Launch Hulk, launch Orca, fleet warp to belt, mine until full & then warp back to the station. Minimal threat from can flippers. Adequate drone capacity for rat defense. Just about perfect for individual and small group miners!

In support of larger Uni mining ops (particularly mining mission space with 40km+ distance from the warp in point to the rocks), the Orca will serve as the logistical nexus in the belt. Cans will be tractored to one location that doubles as the warp in point for the haulers. No more tractor relays or hauler slow boating. Centralized rat looting & salvage. Surge storage capacity if haulers are scarce or if the haul requires a system jump. What’s not to like?

Others can comment on the Orca’s use as a ship transport or mini-freighter or any other such role. I’m looking at it as “a vessel to help meet the demands of New Eden's industry and provide a flexible platform from which mining operations can be more easily managed.”

It looks pretty good, too!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Profile on CrazyKinux

My profile was released on CrazyKinux's site today:

Dee Carson's Profile

Crazy's blog pack is a great idea and the synergies are already being seen, with many of the items in the blog pack being picked up at providing additional exposure. (Shout out to James Egan!)

Keep those cards & letters coming! :p

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I couldn't help myself....

The current war was retracted a few hours ago, which means I probably won't have any more fun like last night...

I was generally just casting about in my Falcon, running down contact reports. We have a medium sized fleet (50+) out but they were not having any luck either...

I'll let Silentbrick's after action report pick up from there:

AAR - 10/25/08 "Battle for Josameto Gate"
There was no fleet for this one. Basically Dee Carson (falcon) and Saphion (Crow) spotted a WT hanging around Josameto and New Caldari. I undocked and started up the pipe as the fleet was off in Amarr space, but when I got two jumps out they said he was gone. So back to station. I dock up, 2 minutes later, they say he's back so I undock and begin racing up the pipe ( I use the term 'race' loosely as Ravens do not exactly leave a dust cloud in their wake).

The target was hiding a bit, but as chance would have it, reappeared on the Josameto gate in New Caldari right as I landed on the other side. Saphion announced he was engaged, Dee uncloaked and jammed him as Saphion called a point and I hopped through the gate and uncloaked within 15km of him.

As I engaged with cruises and heavy neuts, the target tried to crawl to the gate and de-aggro to jump through, however his Ishtar was nano-tanked and nano tanks while sitting still tend to be eggshells. (I've never seen someone's armor vanish like that. It didn't go down, it was simply gone and he was 40% into structure. (Yay, Caldari Navy Devastators!) Poor Ishtar vanished under the hammering explosions of our missiles and then Saphion called a point on the pod and killed it just as my first cruise missile launched.

So, tally is 1 dead poly'd, nano'd Ishtar and his pod. And we lost some missiles.


Though why Dee jammed the pod....I dunno. Maybe to ensure he'd have 3 headed kids.

Excellent Teamwork, as any one of us couldn't have done it alone. Saphion and Dee couldn't have killed him and since he'd of run from me, I couldn't have killed him without their holding him down and jamming him. Fast response and good teamwork over solo flying any day!


My response?

Multiple choice:

A. His left eyeball wasn't done yet.
B. It was a reflex action. See flashy, jam flashy.
C. I'm a killmail whore
D. All of the above



We have a saying in the Uni... Real Life > EVE and that was the case for me this past week. My wife's 83 year old father cracked a rib working cattle on their farm in Central Texas, so I spent several days there playing ranch hand. He's mending well and most of my soreness is gone! Returning to my rural roots was interesting, and there is much to be said for that life style, but a fast internet connection is not one of those characteristics!

I did conclude that yearling bulls & Uni nOObs have a lot in common. In small groups, they are pretty cute, but if you put 50 or so of them together in a confined space, they can be a force to be wary of!

War, again...
Merc corp with no current contracts seeks "fun". Finds opportunity to inventory station lights when Uni fleet of 50+ makes 25 jump trip to camp them in station.

Silent, Saphion & I did have a fun kill last night that I'll share more about later. Rapid response, tactical flexibility and teamwork ftw!

Free Willie! AKA Orca Released!
The long rumored Orca has been released on Sisi. I'm flying one now and will publish a full report in a couple of days. I want to have some hands on with it before I publish anything substantial, but first impressions are that it will be a valuable addition to my mining fleet.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eve Blog Pack Profiles

Members of the EVE Blog Pack are going to be coordinating and posting profiles of the members over the course of the coming weeks and months, as part of an effort to cross-polinate between our blogs!

Here is the first profile.

Name/Handle: Colonel Roc Wieler

Blog URL: Roc's Ramblings at

Faction: Minmatar Republic

Started EVE: 2006

What brought me here:
My love for science fiction has been something inspired in me since I first Star Wars at the theatre as a kid. I loved the richness of the mythology, the vastness of the universe; the true sense of wonder. So naturally, I played Star Wars Galaxies the day it came out. Played dedicated for five years. The last two years though, I noticed the game was continually being dumbed down. I hate dumbed down. I enjoy depth. Someone mentioned EVE Online to me, and well, been here ever since. Even gave up Star Wars for it, my childhood love.

I am a Fleet Commander for the Tribal Liberation Force, as well as recently promoted to Fleet Commander in my corp, Freeform Industries. I do missions every now and then, but my real passion is the market. Both my alts are out of the box traders, and I really enjoy the cutthroat nature of doing business. I've never mined, never even opened research or industry, and have never managed a corp. One step at a time.

What keeps me playing:
Ironically, there are two things. The first is that you don't need to be here 23/7 for fear of missing out on some huge event. That flexibility combined with real time skill training (as opposed to mindless grinding) makes it great for me. During the week, I'm a casual player, and that's just fine. The second reason I've already mentioned indirectly. Depth. Vastness. Mythology. EVE Online is so comprehensive that I am STILL catching up on my reading, just to absorb myself deeper into this universe we call home.

What I write:
My personal blog is all in character (with occasional exception). My approach to writing is a little different than most I am told. I tend to merge real life happenings with ingame happenings, with a bit of complete fantasy mixed in to throw you off. So far, it's been fun. I am also a columnist over at and hope to also get an article or two into EON Magazine. That would be something.

Other Interests:
I am also a co-developer for Capsuleer, the definitive iPhone application for EVE Online. I enjoy making 3D wallpapers as well, and have contributed some to the EVE Online galleries.

What you should know about EVE:
It's intimidating when you start; overwhelming actually. It's like learning a new Operating System and learning how to live in a completely new universe all at the same time. But stick with it, seriously. The rewards are worth it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Co-Operative Mining Guide

One of the new students who was participating in a quick & dirty little mining op with me Thursday night has been reading through the mining information on our internal forums and asked why the Co-Operative Mining Guide that I authored for Eve University was not on my blog....

Erm... Well... MetaDog ate my only copy? I'm working on a Sanskrit translation? It was in my alt's cargo hold when she was ganked in BWF?

Not buying any of that, are you...

The simple reason is that I didn't think about it until asked.

So, here it is:

Eve University Co-Operative Mining Guide

This version is more than a year old and needs to be tweaked just a bit, but 99% of the information conveyed is still valid.

The purpose of the document is to show how to take all of the wonderful theory in Halada's Guide and put it into practice. More hands on & less numbers. As such, it is not intended to stand alone, but to be viewed in concert with the other more technical resources available.

I'll put updating this on my To Do list. If I can find the last page...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Have a rest! Sit a spell!"

Growing up in the Panhandle of Texas and spending summers at my grandparents, I heard that phrase often uttered by Granny to friends, family and strangers who appeared at the door. It was an expression of welcome and hospitality designed to reassure the listener that their visit was a highpoint of the day and not an interruption.

So, to those of you who may find your way here today through the Eve Blog Pack mention in the Eve Online newsletter, "Have a rest! Sit a spell!"

The collection of blogs that CrazyKinux has assembled is a cross-section of Eve. Some of us wear 'white hats'. Some wear various shades of gray. Some only demonstrably black.

Some of us freely cross the line between talking about Eve as a player to looking at it from an external perspective. Others speak only in the voice of the character that lives inside the Eve Universe because, after all, interwebs spaceships are serious business!

Whatever your Eve profession, perspective or preference, I think you'll find at least one member of the Eve Blog Pack that provides information, entertainment or commentary that suits you. I know I have!

So, as Granny would say, "Don't be a stranger! Come see us soon!"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Haiduken War Video

I started playing around with Fraps before the war, aiming toward a new recruiting video.

Although I did get lots of footage, frapsing has not become second nature, as I missed lots of opportunities. I need to update my pre-combat check list to include loading Fraps and my firing point procedures to include F9 right after F1-F8!

In any event, here is my first effort: This version is much higher quality than the YouTube one.


Brothers in Arms - Dire Straits
The Bug - Mary Chapin-Carpenter
Fast as You - Dwight Yoakam
We'll Meet Again - Johnny Cash
Beer For My Horses - Toby Keith / Willie Nelson

Tools used:

Video Studio 9
Free MP3 WMA converter
Paint Shop Pro

The Poster at the end is a prototype that I stole... erm.. borrowed from Melissa Dawn. It's obvious that Melissa is a professional and I am just a rank amateur.

For a first effort, I'm pretty pleased. Take a look & let me know what you think!

Haiduken War Ends

Our war ended as Haiduken withdrew the war dec a few days into the second week.

Lately, Uni wars had a very discernible pattern. Our opponents generally don't do any research before they engage us. As a result, when they discover that they will be outmanned 23/7 by large fleets of fearless students in cheap ships, they turn the war into a demonstration of their interceptor flying abilities, refusing to engage and turning local into a smack fest. No fun for Uni staff, no fun for the students and the students don't learn anything.

This war was totally different. Props to Broadcast & the Haiduken pilots. They continued to engage with ships of all sizes, our students had lots of fun, new FC's and new combat pilots emerged. Local smack was minimial and after almost every engagement, "GF" was exchanged in local.

And at the end, Haiduken joined us in a conga line outside a Poinen station. :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Butt-kickings = Learning Opportunities

Our current war is generally going well for Eve University. We have more than held our own and both new pilots and new FC's have been blooded.

Sometimes, the best lessons are learned from getting an old fashioned butt-kicking. Case in point:

The Battle In Obanen

Our opponents had been fielding lots of 'ceptors, nano'ed cruisers and other slippery ships. These present challenges for Uni fleets and new FC's because they allow the OPFOR to control the engagement. Difficult to lock and engage in Empire, such flight demonstration teams are not significant threats as long as pilots pay attention, stay with the fleet and have the dicispline to not get drawn away from support. Our pilots adapted by choosing smaller, specialized ships with gang support to capture and engage.

No matter the venue, combat is about the constant dance of action and reaction. Seeing our changes, our opponents chose to bring the big shiny ships this time. One of our new FC's had the fleet in Obanen when our opponents surged spider repping battleships into our force. What's more they supported this force with out of corp, neutral remote repping logisitics ships. Our FC fought well, but you can't send kittens against wildcats and expect them to win everytime. Our fleet was rocked:

What was interesting, was seeing how the students learned from the encounter. Moving from questioning "Can they do that? They can use an out of corp, neutral to rep them during battle?" to acceptance "Wow, I didn't know that! So that's why the logistics ship turned flashy...." to internalization of the lesson "So, when the logistics ship goes flashy, we should just kill it, too."

Payback in Korsiki

It's really great to see learning put into action, isn't it?

The logistics ship and the primary Dominix went down within seconds of each other.

And that, ladies & gentlemen, is what Eve University is all about. Learning. The pilots involved will forever be on the lookout for 'neutral' logistics ships and ready to deal with their intervention. Mission accomplished!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Uni Goes To War!

War decs are interesting for Eve University.

On the one hand, they disrupt normal class schedules, teaching activities, mining & missioning, trading and all of our intramural events.

On the other hand, our students get to learn how to FC (Anyone who wants the chair and can raise a fleet is welcome to try their hand. Many times, senior members fly as ordinary squad members, allowing budding FC's full control.), participate in real combat ops and raise a tall, frosty mug of warbeer in salute to fallen comrades & foes.

We fly the same way in every war. Our fleets are large (How can they not be? All those who don't want to fly combat leave Uni during wars as we prohibit all other activities. These folks are welcomed back as soon as hostilities cease.) We fly lots of cheap frigates & cruisers with tons of EW. We teach our pilots to fly and fight as a team, not as a collection of individuals.

Every group that decs us has spies inside the Uni. Our open recruiting policy assures this. It doesn't bother us. To be restrictive in our recruiting policies would be at odds with our purpose.

And, we generally hold up our end of the bargin.