Saturday, January 31, 2009

Having a blast!

Our first set of students starts tomorrow and we have been having some great fun in the 'soft opening' phase! Lots of explosions! Some ours, some theirs, but lots of fun and everyone involved (including yours truly!) is learning about how much different 0.0 combat is from Empire.

The other really fun thing is to see how many talented artists that we have. I'm including a few samples of what great sigs our guys have built for our internal forums. m0rd0 was kind enough to give me permission to steal the base image of his sig as a new banner for this site. Hope you enjoy these as much as I do:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Incoming! BLU-82D The Drama Bomb!

Mynxee proposes Topic 2 in her ongoing discussion round table:

The Corp Drama Bomb

So I ask you, dear readers, to ponder the corp drama bomb. What IS the most common cause? Are drama bombs inevitable due to the nature of life in New Eden? Are there early warning signs? Are some corps more prone to drama bombs than others, and if so, why? Can corps avoid the drama bomb and if so, how? How can a corp best recover from a drama bomb? Have you experienced a drama bomb that blew up your corp and if so, what did you learn from that experience?

OK--the floor's open. Share your own thoughts, opinions, experiences, and ideas

Ah, yes! The dreaded, despised, demoralizing, but inevitable, drama bomb. Sustenance to forum trolls and laxative to the tightest 4th points of contact in the Universe! Nothing compares to the deliciousness of the well played drama bomb.

Having experienced my share of drama bombs during my tenure of leadership at Eve University, I'll share a few observations about leadership responses.

First of all, recognize that, just as in real life, interpersonal conflict is inevitable. No matter how tight your group, no matter how long you've know each other or how much you care for one another, at some point there will arise an issue that upsets the apple cart. Knowing that such conflict is coming, how are you planning on dealing with it? Having any kind of plan forces you to think ahead of time, rather than just reacting. Planning also lets you examine alternatives without the time crunch of crisis.

Secondly, unlike real life for most of us, EVE puts you in an environment where many of the people that you interact with don't share your same native language, idioms, culture and values. Slang terms for innocuous items in your culture (say a British slang term for cigarettes) may be inflammatory to someone from another country who hears or reads a comment out of context. Not to mention the inherent communication problems that arise when a native German speaker tries to translate his thoughts on the fly to English and pass them to a native Spanish speaker who is mentally going from English to Spanish. The EVE universe has so many built in opportunities to mis-communicate, it's crazy! You must communicate simply, clearly and as often as possible in order to defuse the drama bomb.

Thirdly, just as in real live, recognize that everyone's position, feelings, outlook and attitudes contains a kernel of truth. Trying to find as many of those kernels from the same species as possible in any contentious situation helps everyone to see things from the other persons point of view.

Finally, again mirroring real life, decisions made in anger and haste rarely turn out well for anyone involved. Particularly when dealing with forum posts, I invoke the One Hour Rule. I compose my response and save the draft. I come back to it an hour later and if it still seems reasonable, I post it. Sometimes, just taking a breath can turn a drama bomb into a drama hand grenade. Still unpleasant, to be sure, but less likely to take out the whole group.

tldr version:

- Have a plan
- Communicate
- Shut up & listen
- Anger & the 'enter' key rarely work well together

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Startup fun....

Seppuku Warriors is getting off to a quick start.

There are lots of things to think about when you get ready to spin up a new 'open to the public' group.

Some are infrastructure related: Website. Killboard. Voice Com server. API tools. We are very lucky to have m0rd0 as one of our founders. He's an IT wizzard and had many of these items sorted before the rest of us were done making the list!

Some are communication related: Seppuku Warriors FAQ

Some are vanity, like all the cool artwork that folks have put together for sigs and banners.

Some are logistical. Like how to get a crapton of 'stuff' from Korsiki to Stacmon, not just for yourself, but for the new guys, too. Freighter/Orca alt FTW!

The sense of anticipation is growing and we've started accepting applications for the limited number of slots that will be made available at first. As a management team, we want to start small for lots of reasons and control our growth as we go forward.

If you are interested, the FAQ should answer your questions. If I missed something, post a comment here, PM me on the SW homepage, convo me in game or Eve Mail me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

An All-Star Line Up...

Seppuku Warriors' PvP Instructors

One of the reasons I was excited about helping Sabre start Seppuku Warriors was the vision of including acknowledged PvP experts as a part of our cadre of instructors.

I think these fit the bill:

Sir Molle(EVOL) - CEO and Leader Of The Band of Brothers Alliance
KOTH Fluf(SHIVA) - CEO, NC Senior FC and Ex Leader of Morsus Mihi, VC and FA
Rooman(ANZAC) - CEO and Leader Of Southern Cross Alliance
00Tricky(RKK) - Director of Reikoku and GBC Senior FC

There are a couple of other folks that have yet to confirm, and of course our founders have chops of their own, but these name should be enough to tweak the interest level.

Obviously, these pilots will be represented by alts. No one could expect otherwise, but the key idea is that these guys are setting aside the political positions of their mains in order to teach small gang PvP to less experienced pilots.

Could it be that even the Big Guys still like to blow stuff up?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Solo in 0.0... Oh My!

As a recon pilot, one of the things that I need in my bag of tricks is a bunch of bookmarks. When I go to a new FOB or execute a PCS (like moving from Korsiki to Stacmon), one of the first things I do is take an interceptor and a CovOps frigate & start making those bookmarks. Multiple safespots, station spots, undock spots, snipes for the belts, gates & stations. It's a PITA. But it's all a part of preparing the battlefield.

I aslo like to have bookmarks in the nearby systems where I expect to be active, so last night, I chinched up tight, took an extra wrap on my rope hand, boarded my Buzzard & headed off for 0.0.


Now, I've been in 0.0 a fair amount of time with Uni fleets in many different roles. So I've been alone in a system before, but it's always been with 40-50 of my mates right behind me as a security blanket. Not this time.

I fully expected to lose my ship (and stripped it of all the 'good stuff' before setting out) and perhaps to wake up back in Korsiki, but I had work to do, so off I went.

It was interesting. From an observational perspective, there were far fewer pilots than I expected. Most systems had only a few. And it was quiet. Not much banter in local, even in the more populated systems. The belts were.... Amazing. That's the only word that I can use. As a miner, you get a sense of the size of the rocks. How big they should look when you are in mining range. That perception caused my first 'OH NOES!' moment of the trip. I warped into the first belt at 100 just to take a quick look. I dropped out of warp with an Eos on the overview and a veld rock that made me think I had mis-clicked and warped to the belt at zero. I was waiting for my cloak to drop and my ship to go 'poof'. Nothing happens. I regain enough composure to notice that the EOS is 75km from me, swap to my mining tab & see that the veld rock that I tought I was on top of was really 135km away. It was a moon! Clearly, no one mines much veld out here! ;)

From a personal persepective, it felt different... In Empire, travel is routine during peacetime and during wartime Uni intel is so good that I always knew where any nearby WT was before I undocked. So, I felt relatively safe.

This was different. At one point, I was alone in a system, making an OP bookmark on a gate at 150+ km. Multiple gate fires and all of a sudden I'm looking at 20+ red flashies right in front of me! O_O

The feelings called back to my first days in EVE when I had figured out that there were players that would shoot me and my little Merlin just because they could. It felt dangerous!

It was the most fun I'd had in a long time!

After a couple of hours of roaming, it was time to head back through low sec to our base. On the way, one pilot, who had seen me several times, and I had this exchange:

Pilot: "Carson, I don't know your new corp."
Me: "You will."


Friday, January 16, 2009

Time to blow up stuff...

What do you do when your maxed out as a miner? When those fangs that used to come out only for war decs now seem to itch all the time? When, like Bill, you struggle to control the blood lust? When, at the same time, you are conflicted by the desire to continue to teach and be of service to the EVE Community?

For me, the answer is help my friend Sabre A (yes, that Sabre A!) start a brand new PvP training corp: Seppuku Warriors.

Our vision is simple: we intend to teach pilots how to blow stuff up.

At this point, I cannot disclose the names of all of the pilots who will be serving as instructors, but I can tell you that our staff will include some of the most recognizable, experienced and respected PvP pilots in the game, from all sides of the current galactic conflict. If you are a student, you will be learning from the best.

Seppuku Warriors FAQ

See you soon!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Discussion #1: ECM Countermeasures

From my favorite Lady Pirate:

Discussion #1: ECM Countermeasures

The core question is how to deal with OPFOR ECM ships. As a dedicated Falcon pilot, I'll take a swing at providing some insight.

I'll start with this: Fitting all your ships with ECCM gives me the win before I undock. Just don't.

Make sure you understand your goal. Do you want to kill me or is it enough to make me disengage so that you can kill my mates? Tactics always are a function of objectives.

Killing me usually means I've made a mistake. I decloaked too early in the engagement or too close. I didn't hold back that last jammer as a hole card. I wasn't moving and aligned to a 'Get Out Of Dodge' spot. If I've played the situation right, you are going to have to be very lucky to be able to drop a tackler on me. Falcons range tank and jam tank and have to have cap to live. Denied those three items, a Falcon goes 'pop' pretty darn fast.

Making me disengage is easier, because I have to honor the threat. If you have lots of points on the primary & secondary, send your interceptors my way. Warrior II's assigned to a Taranis are a nightmare. Counter-jamming with your own Falcon turns the engagement into a roll of the dice and I'll bounce out and back to force a re-roll if I'm unlucky. And if you have a Curse, you'll make me move quickly and often. Every time I'm forced to disengage, you open a window for your team to kill my mates.

Unless another Falcon uncloaks when I have to leave... ;)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Here A POS, There A POS, Everywhere a POS!

When I stepped down from Eve University, one of the items I had on my list was to drop my own research POS. I had a number of BPO's that I bought in the past and used the 2Know POS to research them up a bit, so at least two battleship BPO's could immediately produce BPC's for sale. I read a number of the POS Guides that my fellow bloggers have produced and began my own checklist.

I looked at my standings to the Caldari State and thought that I'd be able to drop in Korsiki. What I didn't know then, was that the standings that count are not the skill adjusted (6.15 or so, as I recall), but the raw standings (5.88 at the time).

The thing that surprised me the most was how many inactive POS towers there are in space. Since they are still anchored, they can only be removed by their owner, but even in their inactive state, they prevent another POS from being dropped. In many systems that I surveyed, the majority of the moons were covered by inactive towers. Bummer...

But, at the end of the day, I found a spot where I could drop my small tower & 2 labs. I rolled a research alt and we've started cranking out BPC's to cover the fuel bill while researching a second set of BPO's up to an acceptable level so they can be copied, too.

I also discovered a great use for all those random loyalty points: charters. At 5 LP / charter these are a great value and, unlike many of the other LP redemptions, you don't have to add cash or other items to get what you want.

With all of the research copy slots full of my own work, I'm considering what to do with the invention slots. Renting them out would be an option, but I don't really want to let other people in to CACL, so they may sit idle for now.

The numbers indicate that I should recover my POS investment in about 2-3 months, but that's only because I already had BPO's ready to copy. If you are contemplating dropping your own POS for a similar use, be sure you include the cost of BPO's and the fuel cost for the time required to research them to a marketable level, along with the POS hardware cost in your isk needs. All of a sudden, that 200k-300k isk investment becomes 1.5B to 2.5B isk. And that, my friends, is a different kettle of fish! ;)

Monday, January 12, 2009

RL Update: Back Home and Thank you!

My Father-In-Law has returned home and so have I. He continues to improve on a daily basis and the familial focus has moved beyond the immediate to the long term as we seek to find the courses of action that provide him with a satisfying lifestyle without putting him at risk. Your thoughts and prayers were (and continue to be) greatly appreciated by all of the family.

The LT has a new assignment in Iraq as the platoon leader for the Brigade 6's personal security detail. He will also get promoted to 1st Lt in a few days. Rumors swirl that their deployment will be cut short of the 15 month standard. My advice to daughter and wife has been to plan for 15 months unless and until he deplanes in CONUS with the rest of 4BCT 1CAV.

I'll post a separate EVE update later today and will only tease with this: