Archival: RJ's Bar 'n Grill Menu

RJ's Eve Drink Menu
Click to embiggen

Another tid-bit from Summer of Incarna is this drink menu featuring loads of community in-jokes and references. This was 2011 and the beginning of Twitter Hats as well. Enjoy the flashback.

Eveoganda Films

Eveoganda Films now has its own page here.

That page doesn't include all of my Eve videos, but it does include the better ones. I didn't start out to make my own videos. In fact, for years I avoided it for several reasons. When I started playing Eve I was surrounded by productions, real ones that paid a lot of money and I wasn't all that interested in doing more for free. I did throw a few together here and there to support various efforts, but nothing serious. And by serious I mean effort. I doubt most of my videos could be labeled "serious". Although "Greatness" (Which really kicked off a trend didn't it?) is probably the most serious.

That all changed with the closing of my agency business and the arrival of "Dumb Ways to Die". That video has to be one of the most bizarre Eve videos ever made and the chance to work with Sindel was one I couldn't pass up. What it did show me was that I could come up with ideas that could be executed that didn't tread over already well-worn ground. In order for something to interest me it has to be challenging, interesting and new. I oculd certainly spend my time making another PvP video, but why bother when others are doing so many truly good ones? That doesn't interest me.

Mostly I use Eve videos as training ground, a chance to practice something that I don't get the chance to practice in real life. That's what spawned "Stay Frosty Opening Credits", one night as my wife and I were watching True Detective I wondered aloud about the opening credits. And went to work.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying I've recently started to think about doing more with Eve video. Both from a humorous and more serious perspective. I am currently working on a massive new project that isn't like anything else that has ever been tried in the annals of fan made video. And I'm also working on a short film script that I'm very excited about, that is based in the Eve universe. That one may or may not ever come to fruition, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to try. I strongly believe that Eve is the perfect place for such projects, it is a living universe that is crying out with great stories waiting to be told. From a wide variety of perspectives.

I create for myself first. To achieve some specific personal goal, to overcome some challenge I've set for myself, or to learn or expand upon my own skills. This is no different than what I've always done in every other aspect of my life. When I was young people kept telling me that I couldn't. Even today I run into that attitude everywhere I go. That attitude is keeping me from finding regular employment. There is no room in this world for a jack of all trades, master of them all. The world demands that we focus on something and looks askance at anyone stupid enough to try everything. You can't be a writer AND an Art Director, much less an Editor and a Illustrator! Or an Animator and a Designer. For goodness sake man, focus on something!

Nope. I won't. Deal with it.

Eve Valkyrie #1: Review


Superstar writer Brian Wood tells the origin of Rán, founder of the Valkyrie—the deadliest space-fighter pilots in the EVE universe!

This series leads into EVE: Valkyrie, one of the most hotly anticipated video games of all time, a groundbreaking virtual reality space-dogfighting shooter from the creators of EVE Online.

Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to receive an advanced copy of issue number one of the Dark Horse Eve: Valkyrie comic series for review. The issue hits the stands on October 14th and is the first issue in a planned mini-series that sets up the launch story for the Eve: Valkyrie video game.

This kind of convergence is right up my alley. As a video game enthusiast, former comic-book writer/artist, and Eve super fan, not to mention a fan of all things science-fiction - this book manages to hit all of my buttons. At the same time, given my long history with these genres, I also have to admit to some hesitation when it comes to tie-in products. To say they can often be a mixed bag is being kind to some of the more horrible examples that have been fostered on us in the past.

I need not have worried. The story of Ran as told here by Brian Wood and gorgeously illustrated by Eduardo Fransico is well told and compelling hero building. And while it might adhere a little to tightly to the hero's journey at times, the glimpses into real world life in the universe of New Eden makes it well worth the trip down that well-worn path. The tale behind why someone would choose the hard and dangerous path of becoming a pilot in a universe like Eve's can make for an interesting story, and Ran's journey here does not disappoint. I won't give away anything in this review, but her story manages to impart meaning and feeling into her choices - something that I found surprising and welcome.

Another challenge in stories like these is the depiction of space battles in static frames. Many artists over the years have approached this challenge with many different solutions, but I like the choices made here. Eduardo's art is clean and often graphically simple, but it compliments the story and adds clarity to what can often be a confusing and complicated environment. There are moments here that any player in Eve, or reader of science-fiction in general, will appreciate.

I also think the cover by Borkur Eirikssen is gorgeous and would make an awesome poster. Although the one for issue #3 looks even better.

It will be interesting to watch this story develop over the remaining issues. Right now it is hard to tell exactly how much more back-story there will be, or what the reveals might be down the road. The first issue certainly does a good job of setting the story up and giving the reader reasons to care. Ran is the central character, not only of this narrative, but of Valkyrie itself - so this is important groundwork.

I could wish for a bit more meat when it comes to the depiction of hardware environments, some of the art feels a tad rushed and minimal in places. But that is a small complaint. There are several moments that should give any Eve player a moment of recognition, and any potential Valkyrie player enough to satisfy their own curiosity.

I give Eve: Valkyrie 8.75/10 and I'll be sure to pick these issues up myself. Having played around with Valkyrie earlier this year in Iceland I couldn't be more excited to finally get my hands on the full game when it is released, so these issues help to fill the void until then.

You can pre-order issues 1-3 now over on TFAW.

Mmorg Article about Stay Frosty

SF Bare Knuckles Wallpaper

Over on today is an excellent article by Steven Messner about the origin of Stay Frosty, I highly recommend it.

Steven and I spoke for over an hour the other day about the incidents that led to me forming the greatest pirate corporation ever. And it was a great experience, I haven't thought about those days in a long time. I actually had to go back and re-read some of my old posts just to make sure I got all the facts straight. It is important to realize that he wasn't writing a documentary about the experience, his articles in those features tend towards the more dramatic. But, even so, he managed to get almost all of it down accurately. Which, given all the context, is not an easy task.

It has been over two and a half years since I was forced to leave that other corporation. In that time Stay Frosty has grown to well over 220+ players and crawled our way into the highest ranks of the killboards, all while managing to not give a damn about what other people think of us. And focusing on fun above all else. We undock. We fight. And that's just about it. We don't yell at people for doing stupid things like attacking Procurers with their Atrons (which I did the other night, lol, I died). We help each other, we fly alone or together, and we shoot all the things.

And we have a great time doing it.

It isn't for everyone. It isn't supposed to be. Some people stay forever and some come and go. Which only means we have a lot of friends around New Eden. Except for those few who choose to cross us, but we've really had surprisingly few of those over the years.

As always, Stay Frosty is OPEN recruitment. That means all apps get accepted. It is a sink or swim corporation. You either love it, or you don't.

Either way, we make no apologies.

Join us in-game at EVEOGANDA or The Frosty Hammer channels. Our alliance A Band Apart has a corporation just like Stay Frosty that does other things, like Wormholes, Industry, Missioning, and New Player Training. We are seriously pretty awesome.

Frigate POSTERS!!

Coming Soon™

The second line of ship posters is coming soon from QMx, CCP and your friendly neighborhood pirate blogger. I've heard rumors that QMx will be offering more affordable international shipping options, so let's keep our fingers crossed.

Obviously I will let you all know when they are ready for ordering, although you can join the QMx mailing list if you want.


Micro Jump Drive Dessies

Introducing New Destroyers
Four new Tech II Destroyers that favor defense and speed and can fit the powerful and versatile area-of-affect Micro Jump Field Generators, which microjump you and any ships nearby far from your current location.

This is all the information we've been given yet on these new Destroyer Class Ships that will be popping up in "Winter". Or Summer if you live south of the equator, which some people seem to. Like Australians.

So will these be new new ships, or variations of current Dessie models? I wonder. I sure hope they are new new, that would be so much better. I'm all for new models and maybe CCP will use some of those awesome concept pieces we saw back when Destroyers were first announced. Either way, new or variation, these new ships are kinda funky.

Ever since the Titan Doomsday went from area of effect to targeted, the concept of AoE weapons has kind of been on the poo-poo list. Other than those nasty smart-bombs we don't have much to choose from when it comes to them in-game. This is an interesting concept however, an area of effect that affects nearby ships.  So let's think about this for a second and see what we can come up with. If you notice the description says "any" nearby ship, so it might be safe to assume your fleet mates and any bad guys that happen to be around will be getting the blink shuttle to 150k from your current position? If so I immediately see this as an interesting way to remove certain ships from certain situations. I mean, bait ships are going to have to be careful aren't they? It would suck to be baiting on a gate, for example, and find yourself surrounded by these guys waiting on backup to arrive, and then suddenly find yourself 150k away from the gate.

I assume anyone currently scrammed is going to miss out. Which means leaving people behind when you run off. Also a bit of confusing decision making that will need to be made under stress. So "any" ship means ships bigger than you? So exactly how does this work? I can imagine the cap demands are going to be HUGE. Or should be. Is it based on anything other than distance? What I mean is, will every ship within range be affected no matter how large? That seems a tad over-powered doesn't it?

And what is the recharge time? So many questions and so few answers.

Despite my inherent dislike for "run-away" mechanics, I think I like the general idea of this. Its up to me to get a scram on you, plus I can see this mechanic having just as many offensive pluses as I can defensive. Which you can't say about WCS for example. Or ECM really.

So until we know more, count me in the like camp for now.

Eve Propaganda

If you missed it, be sure to check out this article over on Rock Paper Shotgun about Eve Propaganda.  I was honored to be asked to participate and enjoyed talking with Steven about my experiences with in and out of game propaganda mechanics.

Unleash The Big Boys

As far as I'm concerned personally my "Propaganda" days essentially ended when I left Null Sec politics. I say "essentially" because it would be hard to quantify my efforts since those days. In many ways propaganda is specifically an expression of politic will, the intention of which is to affect and effect both the minds and outcomes of both internal and external audiences. To that end, my post-Null efforts, in bringing back the Vagabond Frills or in generating attention for bad modules (as examples), are not specifically expressing a political will. They are, for all intents and purposes, more advocacy projects than propaganda.

Certainly I still create pieces that are pro-corp/alliance, but those are primarily about recruitment and creating a community within both groups. These are borderline propaganda, but not typically what one thinks of when they think of it.

Either way, excellent article and I enjoyed participating. Eve is a fascinating place and there is room for so many different kinds of expression within its sandbox.

Real Life

Please note that the following doesn't have much to do with Eve. So if you'd rather not read any further I won't hold it against you. I just know that many of my long-time readers, friends and associates might like to know more about the other parts of my life.

I haven't played much Eve these past two weeks for good reason. On the good news side, work has picked up lately and that is a welcome thing. But work, other than a few days where I was out-of-town, isn't the reason Eve suffers. As many of you know our oldest remaining (at home) son suffers from... well we do not have an actual diagnosis. It could be anything, but generally speaking they place him somewhere within the Autism Spectrum. But that doesn't really mean anything, he doesn't display classic Autistic symptoms. Real diagnosis is difficult given his age, many mental problems don't fully manifest until you are much older. So that can be a big challenge. For the past two weeks the results have been rapidly escalating yet again.

These escalations have resulted in him having to be hospitalized three times previously. The first time this happened took as all by surprise, this was the event that triggered the dissolution of Lucifer's Hammer and me joining the Tuskers, if you remember that. Since then we've sadly become more accustomed to them. So yes, this past week he has had to be hospitalized yet again. This time, due to his increasing size and age, we just barely avoided more "adult" consequences. So he may end up spending more time away from home this time, so he can get more intensive therapies.

To add insult to injury last week my wife's dad had a mild stroke and the power company decided to turn off our power without warning. Her Dad is doing fine now and the power is back on, but still those were a bit more than we could handle. In fact, they all happened on the exact same day.

Needless to say, in context, Eve sorta took a back seat there. If you've made it this far then I want to assure you that my various projects will continue, this blog, my commissions, Stay Frosty and ABA, and everything else. Obviously real life always comes first and sometimes real life is bigger than everything else in your life. This is normal and it happens even to me.

They say what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger. If so, then my wife and I must be the strongest people I know.

And you know what? In so many ways, we are.

Keep the courage.

Eve Just Keeps Rocking!

CCP Seagull sits in front of my posters and says some things.

Ok, she did warn us in the last video that things would be churning along. So we should have been prepared. But, I must admit, some of these things have taken even me by surprise.

• New Exploration Frigate that can find Ice Belts. Pretty cool. More things to shoot at.

• New Destroyers that use a area of effect MJD that jumps the ships nearby also? Whoa, that is pretty weird. And potentially awesome new gameplay. I think I like it.

• RUST!! 'Nuff said. This one I saw at Fanfest and have been waiting for, but still I love the idea.

• KILLMARKS!! My personal favorite thing ever, next to WCS being limited to Indy and Trans ships. (Finger's crossed)

• New Explosions!

• Missile Disruptors!! (Been a long time, but these are a welcome addition.)

• Falloff for neuts and RR, makes sense to me!

You can read all about these and more for yourself over at the brand new Update Site, which is awesome.

I'm just getting back to normal here at the Eveoganda World Headquarters, we had a week from Hell last week. So I'm sure I'll have more about all of this in the coming days and weeks.

The next person that tells me Eve is dying gets a boot to the head.

Why I Play Eve

Be sure to check out and enter to win some great prizes in their launch contest!!

Months ago I created a "cartoon" version of Rixx to use for this video, I had heard about Adobe's new Character Animator program and wanted to try it. I had to wait until it was released of course, so today I finally got around to upgrading my software and set about learning the new system. This is why I created the video, well that and to try and win a Playstation 4!! (Duh!)

As always I strive to create Eve videos that aren't like other Eve videos and I think this one qualifies. I've never seen anything quite like it before. I didn't know the first thing about Character Animator this morning, although I've obviously worked on animation before. I tried to keep the options simplified, so as not to overly challenge myself the first time out. This is why Rixx's arms don't move. I'll probably keep working on the model and try something even more challenging with it next time. Better to set your sights to something you can accomplish rather than becoming frustrated.

Anyway. I hope you enjoy it.

Why I play Eve by Rixx Javix

I play Eve for the pew pew
To explode ships flown by you
I can search all night
For the elusive good fight
No matter how many I shoot
I only do it for the loot
I may be a solo and small gang snob
But eventually I always get killed by a blob
A gate camp, or a posse
Makes it difficult for me to Stay Frosty
Despite my PvP hi-jinks
I never have to use links
And despite my many faults
I never scout with alts
Sometimes you get away
To fight again another day
Or run away from my jabs
Using those goddamn warp core stabs
I am a Pirate gent
Who is only providing content
It doesn’t matter how skilled
I cannot be killed
When you try I only chortle
Because you see, I am immortal
This is why I play
Why I undock every day
To take from you and strip
You of your internet spaceship

Thank you. Thank you very much.

Crew Needed

Crew Call:Amarr
Click for additional sizes

From June 2010, a filler page I created for EON Magazine. I miss EON. 

Ship Crews: What Have We Learned?

Do Capsuleers fly their ships alone suspended in their pods? Do they employ small skeleton human crews to man their ships? Do robots, or clones, or some combination of highly advanced technological solutions aid them in their flights? Is the death toll from 30,000 ship losses a day too much for the population of the universe to handle? What is the deal with ship crews in Eve?

The truth is, no one really knows. The evidence among the lore is contradictory and often vague in my humble opinion. We know for a fact that NPC ships in New Eden have crews and that the survival rate depends greatly on how those ships are destroyed. We know that ships contain Escape Pods for the crew to use. And we know that Capsuleer ships have to contain room for a Pod for us to use. After those "facts" the rest is open to some interpretation. It seems rather likely, based on what information is available, that larger ships do have crew even with one of us immortals driving.

The way each of us chooses to deal with the rest of this knowledge seems to break down into clearly defined ways in which we personally choose to deal with Eve itself. There are those that see Eve has a harsh, dark and unforgiving place who choose to believe that their crew dies each time a ship explodes. And the other end of the spectrum chooses to believe that most have a way of surviving the loss of their ship. And then an entire spectrum of faith that lies in-between. Including a wide group that chooses to believe that technology should provide a way to avoid the entire issue.

This reminds me of a debate my friends and I had back when Star Trek TNG premiered, and introduced the idea of the Enterprise crew consisting of entire families. What the heck do so many people actually DO on a Starship? A sufficiently advanced culture with AI, holodecks, instant food machines, teleporters, and every thing else - shouldn't need much in the way of crew. So why lug around so many people who are simply going to be put into harms way every episode? For anyone even remotely knowledgeable about science-fiction it isn't difficult to imagine a starship that doesn't even need humans in the first place. Much less hundreds if not thousands of them.

So it isn't a huge stretch to imagine a single Capsuleer piloting a Battleship alone floating in their pod goo. It could work. It could be as simple as clouds of nanobots flying around fixing, cleaning, and dealing with the ships needs. Heck, nanobots could just create anything needed from material on-board. Simple and clean, and no need for humans to die. Of course the lore itself seems to indicate humans are involved in some capacity, so these extra-tech concepts are not based on established knowledge.

It may be entirely possible that humans NEED work in the world of Eve. With trillions of mouths to feed, perhaps the universe is simply teeming with desperate technicians, mechanics, and astro-navigators hungry for any kind of work. No matter how dangerous it might be. That can also be true.

I suggest that the way we imagine the answer to the question of ship crews has more to do with us individually than it does with Eve. I choose to imagine a more romantic version of space travel, one popularized in science-fiction through the ages - of a ship's Captain and his loyal crew. I do so not based on any evidence, but simply because I like that version. It helps to pass the time and I also find it gives Eve more life than the alternatives. When my alt is flying her Providence across 47 jumps, it helps to imagine the passengers and crew and their adventures inside the city-sized behemoth that is that amazing transport ship. It adds and doesn't detract from my experience. I've been enjoying such flights of fancy since I first started playing Eve.

You might choose another way. And you may very well enjoy your version of the "truth" just as much as I enjoy mine. We are all correct. Our version of faith, for lack of a better term, is just as valid as any other. Because we take it all on faith when it comes right down to it. Faith in the mechanics of game-play, faith in the history of Eve, and faith in our own imaginations to fill in the cracks and explore this wondrous universe that CCP has gifted us with.

In the final analysis I choose to believe that we all have a bit of the truth within us. And, in many ways, I hope that this question never gets answered. The answers I find in my imagination, and in those of my fellow players, are a much more powerful and engaging truth - than any facts could be.

Flights of fancy. Isn't that really the heart of Eve?

The Ship Crew Debate

Way back in 2010 I wrote a post called "The Pod Captain Debate" in which I proposed a compromise position regarding the issue of how exactly we pilot our ships. For as long as Eve has been around this debate regarding how we actually fly our ships and how many crew members does it take to make that happen has raged around the community. There are lore experts, there are charts, and there are those that believe we float in our pod and don't need no stinking crew - even in Capital Ships.

Look, it doesn't really matter. The game is the game. One could argue, and be right, that we should drop the whole issue and move on. It really doesn't matter in the context of the real world, or in the context of playing Eve. Not even a little bit. I get that. But "letting go" isn't really in the DNA of space nerds, is it?

So let us move past the silly logic of being reasonable and try to figure this thing out. I used an image from the Discovery Channel show "Deadliest Catch" for a reason. Let's assume that of the hundreds of ships going out every day into the Alaskan waters to find crab suddenly have to deal with New Eden levels of danger. An already dangerous job suddenly turns into Eve levels of destruction. In the current scenario that most people cling to, this means that the vast majority of ships going out each day simply do not return. And of those, about 75% of the crew members perish. Now let us imagine the social, political, and economic impact that such devastation would cause around the world. I suggest that rather quickly, people would stop signing up to go out there. In fact, the outcry of such levels of death would be incredible. The entire industry would shut down until we figured out what the heck was happening.

If every crew member serving on spaceships in Eve dies, no matter what the specific numbers might be, people would stop serving on ships. Period. People are not stupid. Not that stupid.

So what we are left with is two choices. Either the vast majority, like in Alaskan fishing today, survive - or we fly our ships alone in our pods. The lone pod option has problems. For one thing it doesn't address the thousands of NPC ship explosions each and every day. Thousands. There are nearly 30,000 ship losses a day in New Eden on average. I suggest that it is ludicrous to assume a high mortality rate among those ships. I don't care how big the universe is, or how many people there are, no one is signing up to serve in a death trap.

So ships must have crews, even if those numbers are mitigated by a demi-god flying it. And those ships must have a means of increasing the odds of survival for those crews serving on them. A process that is more or less stable, predictable, and reliable. A crew member has to feel they have a good shot at living to serve again, to go home to their family, and be able to spend the money they've made. Just like real people do today.

Let me suggest a solution based on perception. As Capsuleers we perceive the universe in a special way, as immortals we are different than the average Joe. This is to be expected. We have a lot to deal with. Information is flowing to us, thru us, and must be dealt with quickly. We don't have time, or the need, to add to that mountain of data. Hence we just ignore those things that do not matter to us. Such as eating, such as shopping for toiletries, and such as the survival of our crew members. We don't have to worry, because it is taken care of. We have more important things to deal with.

I believe that even in our pods, we need crew. A small crew of tightly knit men and women that serve with us because of the benefits doing so bring to them. The fame and fortune and social elevation that such duty imparts to their lives. Yes, it is extremely dangerous. And sometimes one of them does not make it back alive. But it is rare. I believe that in the moments before a ship explodes that each crew member has the chance to escape the ship and be jettisoned into space along with us. That such data does not appear on our overviews because why would it? It has no direct impact on our decision making process, we have a pod to get safe. Just like they do. Although theirs is more like the one C3PO and R2D2 use in the opening of Star Wars. At least that is how I choose to imagine it.

This is the only solution that makes sense. Space is dangerous, no doubt about it. But it cannot function if it is fatal. Period.

In the final analysis it truly doesn't matter. But in my mind, when I am playing Eve, this is how things work. My crew has been with me, for the most part, a very long time. I trust them and they trust me. I've made them, the survivors at least, very very wealthy. And they keep me alive, my ships functioning, and those long hours in space bearable. It is, for all of us, a win-win situation.

You can choose to live in a universe where everyone on board a ship dies horribly every time one is lost, or you can choose to imagine the vast majority of them slipping out of danger in their escape pods. For me, I choose to believe the only thing that makes any sense.

PS: interesting lore about Escape Pods

Comet Cut-Away

Click to embiggen!
This amazing cut-away of the Fed Navy Comet popped up on Tweetfleet just now.

I am a huge space nerd for cut-away schematics, so first of all let me say WOOO-HOOO! Please more of these in conveniently large poster formats, thank you very much. Nicely done, I like the style choices (please proof-read there is a typo!) and it looks amazing. Well done.

I've had a long-term cut-away project in mind based around the "bridge" of the Rifter for the past few years. I have some sketches already done and it is just one of those projects that I never seem to have time to get around to. I notice that this Comet generally avoids the issue of "bridge" and side-steps it a bit with the "Capsule Access" paragraph. The copy is general science-fiction verbiage that doesn't really tell us much, and the drawing is a tad unclear on specifics. I'll go out on a limb here and assume that is the Pod in there. We do know that Comets do come with crew members, so it is unclear where they hang out. Even though this piece says a crew of "one", that may be new doctrine, but it isn't what we've been led to believe up to this point. It is always hard to know what is real lore and what is hearsay. Again, I am overthinking it obviously. But that is what I do. A cut-away invites this sort of debate, it is the entire purpose.

Another thing that bothers me is the rail system for the internal drone repair. It seems a tad "steampunk" to me. I'd think a rail system would only limit access to a confined and predictable path. Obviously autonomous and modular repair drones, working together in flocks, skimming along the interior surfaces would be a much better solution. I mean even today we are making great strides with drone flock programming, I just saw a video the other day with a flock of drones building a bridge by themselves. Pretty amazing stuff. Heck, if not clouds of nanobots. This is the future after all.

Nit-picking is fun. Don't get me wrong, I love it. I'm a huge fan of the Comet and this just makes me very happy. I want to know more, like what those pipes under the back-end do exactly. And why is the lower front panels exposed? What purpose does the "police" light actually serve?  And yes, I spend way to much time thinking about these things.

Trust me, I've drawn this ship many times. I know it very well.

I hope we get more of these.

BB67: CCP Underpants

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 67th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

I am CCP X
There has been a catastophic accident in the CCP Offices in the style of the Robbie Coltrane movie "The Pope Must Die". A leftover open bottle of Brennivin hidden behind a filing cabinet from the last Christmas party has mutated and released fumes affecting several senior CCP staff. CCP Chair is now the CEO and CCP Cub is Executive Producer assisted by CCP Kitteh. In a freak accident your player account has just been upgraded to a senior CCP staffer leading a development team! With CCP now led by an inanimate object supported by a very young child and a fluffy cat, there is nothing to stop this from happening!

You are now CCP -Insert Your CCP Name Here- and have a team of developers eagerly awaiting your commands. So CCP X, what are you going to have your team work on?

Introducing CCP Underpants!

Let us not kid ourselves, my very first act will be to create the ultimate spaceship with infinite EHP and ludicrous Deeps, with which I shall fly around the universe wrecking untold havoc completely solo and without links! I will do this for several days of carnage and hilarity, during which I shall outline my master plan to all my new found minions.

This spaceship will probably look like Serenity to start with. And then maybe it morphs into other iconic science-fiction ships at the push of a button. I dunno, I suppose I would tire of this tomfoolery eventually? Who are we kidding! I would not tire of this until a whole bunch of people on a list somewhere lost their ships!! lolz.

Should I be serious now?

Ok, fine. I figure this Chair dictatorship is not long for this world, so let's assume I have five days or so before the Icelandic Police show up. So here is my semi-serious five day plan.

• WCS now only work on Industrial and Transport ships. Duh.

• Jita no longer has a local channel. That should fix that.

• Links have to be on grid. Double Duh.

• Recons still don't show up on scan... unless they are inside a plex! Muhahaha.

• Speaking of plex, we'll add a BC Class plex to make things fun again.

• We'd clean house and remove about 35% of the stations in New Eden and have High Sec lose about 25% of its Systems to low sec. Oh and Low Sec gets asteroids made of Unobtanium, which I just invented, which is needed to make T3 Cruisers now.

• Let's clean up the database too! Any Corps/Alliance that have been dead for more than, say five years, will be removed from the DB. So someone else can use those names now.

• T3 Link Cruisers operated by an alt character only come in PINK! (I know I said I'd be serious, I am.)

• Link ships and Logistics ships now show up on killmails. (Somehow we'd make that retro-active, that should be funny.)

• Any ship active on a gate for longer than ten minutes explodes, hmm, same for bubbles.

• Entosis links only work on BC/BS class ships.

Oh man, here are the Cops.

Ok maybe I wasn't that serious, but there are some good ideas in there.

And no, my CCP name would not really be CCP Underpants.

Although that is a good one. Launch

Eve Online Community Television launched today!

Now we have a dedicated home for all those incredible, amazing and wonderful Eve videos. So get on over there and enter to win the Launch Competition with some great prizes available.

Announcing Vagrant Skies: ABA's New Player Corporation

Vagrant Skies Wallpaper
A new thing needs a new wallpaper!


A Band Apart has many different Corporations.  We of course have Stay Frosty, which is the largest LowSec Pirate Corporation in EvE, and Lucifer's Hammer who is our Industry Wing.  There are WormHole Corps., in Supreme Mathematics and New Jovian Exploration Department, both specializing in their own brand of WH Life.  And don't forget about Voodoo Children who dabble in a bit of everything, or our new Null Sec based Corporation, the 57th Overlanders Brigade.  Every single Corporation in the Alliance adds something new and different, giving us another piece in our journey to build the best Alliance in New Eden. However, we noticed that there was one major thing we were missing.  While every single one of our existing Corporations is very welcoming of any player no matter their age or experience level, for some things it just wasn't practical for a truly New Player.  The New Player, with no experience in how the game works or functions, and typically low in Skill Points, can only do so much in a more highly specialized Corporation. 

So what does this mean?  Yes that's right, we are announcing a Dedicated Newbie Corps.:

Vagrant Skies

Vagrant Skies is a Newbie Friendly Corporation whose Core Purpose is to help all of it's Members learn what EvE has to offer, the mechanics and skills necessary to succeed within the game, and to equip them with the knowledge that will help them to be successful on whatever path they choose to pursue within EvE.  They are an All-Inclusive group that is dedicated to helping All Players regardless of skill level or play-style find their passion and place within the game.  As a Proud Member of A Band Apart they don’t restrict what people can or cannot do.  This means that they don't 'require' you to do anything that you don't want to do.  They don’t limit you, they actively encourage people to get slightly out of their comfort zone and to try new things!  If you are wanting to try something, but aren't sure how to do it, they are here to help you out. 

Once Members become familiar with the game, discover some new things to do and begin to find what they enjoy doing within EvE, they will be more than welcome to transfer to one of our more specialized Corporations if that's what they'd like to do.  They are also VERY welcome to stick with Vagrant Skies as either as a new Mentor, so they can teach other players what they've learned, or just to stay around the new friends they've made in the Corporation, or just to enjoy the laid back, do-what-you-want environment that the Corporation has.  No matter their reason, we'd absolutely love to keep them with us!  Also, don't forget that just because we are Newbie Focused, we are absolutely welcoming to Vets as well.  If you want to learn about a new play-style, wish to impart your hard-learned knowledge onto other players, or just want a place where you won't be judged for what you do in the game or how much-or how little-you are able to play, then Vagrant Skies might just be the place for you!

We'd love to hear from you, chat with you, and have you join us in our little venture.  You can reach us in our Public Channel, 'Vagrancy Encouraged'.

Juli Marelle,
CEO of Vagrant Skies

What they aren't saying is how hard they've been working to get this new corporation up and running. Argos and Nix have been at this for months and I'm very excited about the dedication and commitment they've been putting into this. I've wanted a New Player Corporation in ABA since day one, but finding the right people to run such a thing has been a challenge. Luckily, we had those inside of our alliance willing to accept the challenge and not only take it on, but to exceed even my own high expectations. I expect great things from the crew behind Vagrant Skies and I encourage anyone to consider joining the team there. Not only will you get the full attention of the leadership in corp, but you'll also become a member of A Band Apart.

I hope to see you in space soon.

7 Years of Eve

Tomorrow, September 21st, will mark seven years since I undocked for the very first time in Todaki and began my journey in Eve Online.

I'm struggling a bit with what to say. I've started and deleted several times already. How to encompass all that has happened in those years? Not only in-game but out of game, here in these pages, in the community, and out here in the real world? Maybe, just maybe, it is an impossible task. Perhaps I shouldn't try. I should be clever and find a new approach to help illuminate the impossible.

I still remember that very first day. My oldest, who at the time was only fourteen years old, called me to his room to show me something on his computer. The first thing I saw was a Rookie ship floating inside a station, gently rocking back and forth. "This is a game called Eve Online, I just signed up for a free trial," he explained. I sat down next to him, "What does it do?" I asked. He proceeded to undock his new Rookie ship and the universe opened up right there on his computer screen. "It's an MMO, thousands of star systems, hundreds of spaceships, you can pretty much do whatever you want." I watched for a few brief moments and then started asking questions. We both did. He had only downloaded it a few moments before. About ten minutes later I knew all I needed to know, it worked on the Mac, the company that made it was based in Iceland (which would give me the inspiration for my character name), and it didn't cost much to play. I raced downstairs to my studio, the same place I'm sitting right now writing these words, and download it myself. Rixx Javix, named for the Capital of Iceland, was born.

I hadn't read anything about Eve before that moment. I was aware of MMOs, but had never played one. I had grown up playing video games, from Pong all the way up on just about every platform imaginable. So gaming wasn't new to me. But I had never seen anything like Eve. From the moment I saw that ship floating in station, I knew it was something I needed to be doing. I had no other plans, or even the merest hint, of anything else when I started.

And here I am, seven years later. Eve has seen me thru some devastating and life-changing events. Eve has, in many ways, become an integral part of my every day life. Intertwined in ways I could not have imagined back then on day one. I've traveled to Iceland for Fanfest, my wife plays alongside me now, I'm creating artwork in partnership with CCP, and I've made friends with hundreds perhaps thousands of fellow players in this great community of ours. All of which has happened rather by accident. I never started with any plans, and I certainly never intended for it to become what it has become. All I ever wanted was to play the game, explore the universe, and become as good at it as I could.

And yet, here we are. I am Super Fan. I have written millions of words about Eve. I've created hundreds and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pieces of art based on Eve. Hundreds of Alliance logos, Podcast logos, Banners, Blog Headers, Twitter Hats and Frills, the list goes on and on. And in so doing I have probably talked with and interacted directly with more players from across the vast expanse of Eve than anyone else. I've created and produced over fifteen different player events in-game. My wife and I are planning to start a real world player event next year. We will be going back to Fanfest this year. There is not a region or a place in New Eden that I have not been, except Thera, I still haven't been there. I've been in 16 different Corporations and numerous Alliances. Over two years ago I started a small pirate group called Stay Frosty that has grown to over 200 players strong and founded A Band Apart alliance that currently has nearly 600 players and recently participated in its first Alliance Tournament.

Ok, catch my breath time. I promised myself I wouldn't start listing things. It is difficult to write an anniversary post without looking back and wondering over the path you've taken. But where is this all going?

I honestly don't know. I have ideas and I have plans, I always do. But I couldn't tell you where things are headed for certain. I'd like to see Stay Frosty and ABA continue to thrive and eventually dominate New Eden in one way or another. Exactly what that means we will have to wait and see. I'm excited about where things are going. Eve is better now than ever, and in many important ways I am too.

It might shock you to know that for almost the entire past seven years I've been struggling with severe depression. I lost the business I had started and ran successfully for eleven years back in 2012. I'm still, ten years later, knee deep in one of the worst divorces you can imagine. I'm happily re-married and my wife is incredible, supportive and amazing. She even recently started playing Eve with me. But these past few years have been difficult. Trying to find my way professionally after the loss of my agency has been a struggle. My oldest, who introduced me to Eve seven years ago, ran off and got married instead of going to college. I haven't heard from him in over a year. And there isn't a month that goes by when we don't worry about how we will manage to keep our home.

And trust me, that is only the barest of scratches on the surface. But things are turning around little by little. And the future is a little bit brighter. We forge ahead each day with new determination. In all of those challenges, Eve has remained an illuminating bright-spot. A constant in a sea of uncertainty. The place where it doesn't matter, where you can die and try again, fail and succeed all at the same time. Where I find strength and courage and inspiration every single day.

I play Eve, write about Eve, draw pictures about Eve, run corporations and alliances in Eve, and do all the things I do in Eve for survival. Eve keeps me sane. It keeps me away from the abyss, from the edge, and lets me explore life in ways that I could not have dreamed of. And Eve has opened my eyes to new possibilities in ways I could not have imagined.

It remains so much more than just a game to me. Seven years into this journey and I can no longer separate Eve from real life. They are one and the same.

I feel like an explorer that has been wandering the vast desert for the past seven years, and now I'm rising up into the mountains, looking back briefly to see my tracks far below me in the sand. What a journey that was. But I'm still alive. Still kicking. Still banging my head against some mad bugger's wall. It didn't kill me.

It only made me stronger.

PS: Having read over this again, it sounded kind of depressing. I didn't mean for it to come out that way. In fact it isn't, the story is an extremely positive and uplifting one. That is how I intended it. Life is a challenging place to be and I have always pushed hard at boundaries and my own personal limits, both personally and professionally. I took a huge chance once in my career, quit my job and planted my own flag. It went insanely well for over a decade before it fell apart, both personally and professionally. But I wouldn't change a moment. Even though the end turned out to be devastating in many ways, it also burned my former life into ashes. Now I'm just tying to build a new one. And it is going very well, despite the former's annoying habit of trying to kill me.

Releases and Expansions

On the o7 Show yesterday and in a blog you can read here, CCP Seagull announced a change in the release schedule that we've become accustomed to. Essentially the same 5-6 week release schedule will continue, but larger and more connected updates will be collected into more formal expansions that will be launched whenever the heck they are ready. In addition Seagull promised to show up more often and talk to us about these things in videos and in more frequent blogs. More Seagull is always a good thing.

I was always torn over the rapid schedule of the mini-expansions. The constant iteration and development cycle was a welcome change from the previous quarterly schedule, but it also had its downsides. I believe the implementation of the mini-expansion concept probably had as much to do with internal CCP development changes and new leadership as anything else. And that side of things can't be overlooked. As a sea change, the rapid cycles probably did more to energize CCP than it did the player base. And in so many ways, that has to be counted as a huge success story for Seagull's reign as Executive Producer.

On the other hand, the rapid pace made it difficult to wrap your head around changes before new changes were being introduced. I remember a few instances when I was just getting around to being comfortable with something, and then it changed again. And if that is happening to me, I can only imagine it must be worse for other players. The cadence made it difficult for any single expansion to "mean" anything important. All you had to do was wait a bit and it might change under your feet again. It got so rapid fire that we, as a community, began to wonder why they still had names. Who had time to remember their names?

And so now we have what we probably should have had to begin with, a more hybrid approach to future releases. The iteration mini-releases will continue but now, every so often, we'll get a more "major" expansion that will introduce bigger and more inter-connected progress. It seems Citadels will be the first of these. I can imagine that Star Gates will be one down the road. Once more this will give players "destination" moments to look forward to and remember. As well as, one would hope, the opportunity for CCP to make hay on them ahead of time. Goodness knows the PR machine could use the opportunity to do so in the media.

It would be great to say this is the best of both worlds, and I hope that we can say that down the road. It would appear that this is the right path. Only time will tell. But you can put me down as being on-board and hopeful that this is the right approach. Constant updates and larger progressive releases will help to re-establish some impetus to the expansion model and impact interest in Eve Online moving forward.

Fingers crossed.