The 5 Best T1 Frigates

Tech One Frigates. Cheap, dependable, and capable of greatness. Their loss doesn't sting the wallet like their Pirate or Faction cousins, and yet they can also tackle and solo ships much larger than themselves. Challenge a Frigate against the right opponent and watch the magic happen. We love T1 Frigates for all the potential glory each one represents, the hours and hours of hunting, fine-tuning fits, and hopelessly being caught by those annoyingly linked blobs.

So what are the best T1 Frigates in Eve right now? And why. The following list is my personal opinion based on actual combat experience as a daily (Until the AT and Null Sec campaigns at least) undocker and fighterer in them. Feel free to disagree.

#5: The Merlin
The key to being a good T1 Frigate in my opinion is versatility. As you'll see from this list, most of the Frigates excel at being versatile. Essentially what versatility boils down to is unpredictability and the capacity to fit multiple versions that each fill a certain and distinct role. The Merlin is a good example of this verisimilitude in action. Blaster fitted with tank, mwd fitted with rails, dual webs, the Merlin can be legit fitted in a number of ways that allow it some options when it comes to engagements.

#4: The Tormentor
The Amarr only get one T1 Frigate on this list because, while they are all fun to fly, they simply can't measure up to the top tier Frigates. Mostly this is a result of inherent capacitor issues and even the Tormentor must deal with those. But despite that, this plucky little ship has also benefitted from the recent meta-changes around Beam Lasers. These changes have, once again, given the ship versatility in fittings and options when it comes time to engage. The Tormentor is slow for a Frigate, but it can take a lot of damage for its class.

#3: The Incursus
It is fitting that the Incursus lands squarely in the middle of this list, because this standard bearer is the epitome of the middle-ground. No matter how you decide to fit your Incursus the potential tank is always going to be the foundation around which this ship excels in combat. Blasters or rails, and that one solitary drone, the Incursus' abilities revolve around its defensive capabilities. Which can often be extraordinary and legendary.

#2: The Breacher
The Breacher is probably the least versatile Frigate on this list, but what it lacks in variety it more than makes up for in sheer power. Depending on your fit the Breacher can reach amazing heights in applied damage mixed with a rather potent burst tank. ASBs and recent changes to rocket applications have benefitted the Breacher and made it one of the best Frigates in Eve for combat.

#1: The Tristan
The most versatile T1 Frigate in Eve right now, the Tristan combines everything into one little package. Based around a solid drone bay, the Tristan can choose its engagement window better than any other Frigate. This choice means that no matter how you fit it, and there are a multitude of choices from blasters, rails, and neuts, it is usually the one dictating the engagement. And as any combat pilot will tell you, that is almost always the first key to victory in any fight.

The next five:
The Atron, awesome and unexpected damage application built around speed and a light tank. The Slasher, another example of speed and potential engagement window dominance. The Kestrel, not as versatile as it used to be but still a good choice for combat. The Maulus, unexpected and a viable counter-fit candidate that can surprise you. The Crucifier or the Executioner, I really can't decide between these two. Both are good choices but they each also suffer a bit in certain areas.

Every ship in Eve fills a role. And sometimes those specific roles make a ship a potent and dedicated opponent. For T1 Frigates it is important not only to be strong, well fitted, and flown with ability - it is often just as important to be able to surprise your enemy. This is why I appreciate versatility in my choices of Frigates. Predictability might work for larger or more expensive ships, but cheap T1 Frigates need an extra edge.

What do you think of this list and what Frigates do you rely on for the win?

If We Took Sov, Anyone Can

After a week of preparing and taking and timing and effort in our first 'major' effort to take and secure Sov under the new "Fozzie Sov" rules of engagement, I thought it would be worthwhile to express some of my own thoughts about it. First a quick piece of background for those that think of me as a friendly neighborhood pirate haunting the space lanes of Low Security Space. I did spend three years in zero space, fighting in wars, taking and losing a lot of Dominion Space, and spending countless hours firing Torps at objects that didn't move. I've been in Eve long enough to remember setting up a POS so that we had enough of them in System to keep Sov, which was pre-Dominion.

With the introduction of the new rules this Summer, groups like ours could finally start to consider zero space as more than a monthly roaming ground for easy bling kills. Did it make sense to even consider the possibility of taking some ground for ourselves? These were important questions, especially for my Alliance, as our entire Mission Statement revolves around providing every play-style in Eve to our members. So we started dipping our toes in here and there. We quickly took Sov in various places, learned how to Entosis, how the timers worked and didn't work, how to find the Command Nodes, and most of the details regarding the way things work. These were only the testing grounds.

So we started opening up the Diplo channels and waiting for a good opportunity to present itself, which it did rather quickly during the Alliance Tournament. We decided now was the time to up the testing to another level, and instead of just playing around with timers, actually take and hold some space for as long as we could. The idea here is to see what happens, do we have the numbers, the interest, and the capacity to not only take space - but more important - to hold onto it?

In the process we all learned a lot about the new system. And while I can easily attest to the fact that it is far superior in every way to the old system, it is not without its weirdness and oddities. For those of us that are new to the ways of Fozzie, it can be rather complicated and intimidating. Which is not to say that is a problem, Eve is not for the weak of heart. It is a complicated and intimidating game, and taking someone else's space should not be easy. That doesn't mean that some of the most critical features need to be hidden from you either.

Just yesterday I learned that iHubs are for more than warping to and catching FW ships to explode. Those things actually open! Who knew? In that spirit of learning new things, here are a few suggestions, issues and problems that I've noticed over the past week that could really help things in my humble opinion.

• Sov Transfer
There is no functionality for transferring Sov from one entity to the next. Someone has some space they don't want and you have to come in and go thru the entire ritual of Entosising everything, waiting for timers, and the subsequent mess that goes along with it. This seems weird. In Eve I can give just about anyone anything I want, why can't I just give them my Sov? For a price, for free, for whatever I might have negotiated up-front. It seems like yet another opportunity for game-play in the player's hands.

• Timers
There is a very small window in which you need to set the timers for your newly won system and this function is incredibly important for your defense. So, go ahead, try to find where you do that. Go on. In my humble opinion the functionality of Sov Mangement needs ONE goddamn window, not four or five cleverly hidden windows. It all makes sense eventually, but man is that learning curve rather steep and obtuse. It isn't natural and it can cause some serious grief. It would be rather nice to have a single Sov Management Control Panel.

• Station Management
I wrote an entire post about what happened once we took control of our Capital System and everyone ended up stuck on the docking platform, that was just silly. You shouldn't have to dock and undock over and over again in order to see the button to manage the station. And while that might have been an instance, or lag, it still doesn't make the process of finding that control panel any easier. I had to Google it.

• More Systems
One point of some confusion for us comes from the "next" systems. We are having a difficult time figuring out what benefit taking any additional Sov brings our Alliance. I'd like to point you to a Reddit post from my friend Kaal Kedrum, Constellation Mechanism - Solving the WHY of Aegis-Sov. I pretty much agree with everything he says in this post. We've expended a sizable chunk of effort and resources on securing our Capital and the returns on that are rather obvious, but what about the other systems? Why take them in the first place? And, even more importantly, why defend them?

Our adventure continues. But all in all I think the new Sov mechanics show tremendous potential, both from a sandbox and play-style perspective. They offer the chance for players that might not have considered zero space previously, a chance to try something new and expand their horizons.

It should only be the beginning.

BB66: Time Marches On

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 66th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

The art team has been working on many art assets recently and there has been talk of the "Caldarification" of Eve related art. Recent examples have been the WIP images of the Thrasher class destroyer redesign and the citadel. Do we need to keep the lines between the races designs clear cut or is some blending of more generic sci-fi styling a good thing? Should Matari be flying/floating scrap heaps? Should Gallente be 'all about the bass'? Or is a bit of generic sci-fi styling needed to bring new life to our important internet spaceships even if it leans a bit to Caldari?

Once upon a time the art team decided, in their quest to constantly update the ships we fly, to remove the wings/frills from the vaunted Vagabond. This did not sit well with a certain friendly neighborhood blogger named Rixx. And so he began a campaign to bring this wrong-headed decision to the attention of the art team. On Twitter, on his eve-zine (as The Mittani recently called it), and in-game. Protests were held. Eventually, the art team realized their mistake and quickly rectified it. The Vagabond remains properly frilled.

You might guess, from this story and others, that I take the design of Eve rather serious. Which is the truth, I do. It is, after all, the thing that drew me to Eve in the first place. And after everything, it is the foundation that keeps me in the game. Spaceships being the biggest part of that pie. Spaceships are what Eve is all about. As we've learned from other protests over the years, you do not mess with our ships. We get surly.

One of the most interesting bits about Eve however, is how it continues to evolve and grow. This is something that most of us way back when never considered. Eve didn't die. In fact, it continues to chug along. Now we have more spaceships and more "stuff" than ever in space. And that curve is only going to continue, with more structures soon to be added to player control. It is amazing to watch and be a part of. Eve continues to evolve.

And so, one must consider, does New Eden. As we've seen recently with the Drifters and their attack on the Amarr Empress, things in New Eden are not static. They are also changing, evolving, and moving along a path of their own. This is fantastic and lends an air of authenticity to the universe. It also means that there is growth. The universe is not a static place. Things change.

I am especially a fan of that being reflected most obviously in the changes to Minmatar ships. The MInmatar are getting better at building things. The ships are better. (I digress, but am I the only one who finds it weird that every single Minmatar ship's rust is in the exact same place?)  This makes sense. Minmatar engineers are actually learning, y'know, like real people do. The work is getting better over time. I like that.

Throw into that mix the Sisters of Eve, and the myriad other new comers to the world of ship building. The pirate factions. The growing mix of things that make New Eden tick, and you have yourself a vibrant, complex, and ever-changing world. One in which things are evolving and changing all around you.

Ok, so what does all of that mean? It doesn't mean that the Thrasher WIP model we saw was actually a Thrasher, because it wasn't. That was a step too far. The races need to maintain their unique and visually distinct style, even in the face of ever evolving and cross-pollenating technology. What the art team needs to find is that "next" step for each of the races in Eve. What does an advanced Minmatar ship look like? Whatever it is, it isn't Caldari. That much I know. Spaceships need to maintain that lineage. They can advance, they can change, they can evolve - that is only natural. But Minmatar, Amarr, Gal and Cal need to keep their own unique voices.

As for other things in space like the upcoming Citadels? I personally like the designs I've seen. They don't feel as much Caldari to me as they do "generic" science fiction. A "universal" standard if you will. And I'm ok with that, as long as it fits within the context of how those structures are presented to us within the universe. Which is something we don't know yet. How do they come about? Where do they come from? And how do they get explained to us?

Someone once said, "I don't know what Art is, but I know it when I see it." I feel the same way about new ship designs in Eve. They either ring true or they don't. The new Dominix for example? Perfect. It still looks like a Dominix, only much better. Most of the updates work that way. But when they don't, when they feel out of place, you just know it in your bones.

The art department is batting on a really high average. That is remarkable. But they should always know that we are out here watching them. No one is perfect. And we'll be out here to remind them and help them when they swing and miss.

For other opinions on this subject check out this link.

Dad Lost The Keys

I haven't been posting as much lately because I've been extremely busy, both in real life and in and out of Eve. A large chunk of this time has been preparing, negotiating, and motivating the Alliance for our new operations in Null Sec. We've previously messed around with FozzieSov and, in the wake of the AT and the long Summer months, we've decided to make a more concerted effort to establish a beach-head down in Scalding Pass. For us the region we decided on has nothing to do with its value, strategic importance, or any other "normal" evaluation. We picked simply based on one factor alone, opportunity.

And yesterday A Band Apart secured our first system EVER in Null Space. If everything goes well today we will be taking our second system next door.

When it comes to taking and managing the new Sov Mechanics I can assure you that we are all a bunch of idiots. We have no freaking idea what we are doing. But I can tell you that there has never been a group of players having more fun learning, making mistakes and generally having a blast than our group. We have all learned a lot this past week. And we've had a tremendous amount of fun learning together.

Even though I spent three years in Null Space in the beginning of my career, it is a different beast today. I spent a lot of hours bashing structures back in the day, defending space, putting up POS towers, taking Sov, losing Sov, guarding gates, and engaging in huge battles with thousands of players. But nothing that I've done before compares to what happened this past week. Nothing. And while there are things about FozzieSov that I think can be improved (And I'll be writing about those this coming week) in general I strongly believe that it is the best thing that has happened in Eve for a long, long time.

For me I left Rixx up in Ishomilken so he could continue to pirate in low sec. My other alt bought a Jump Freighter so we could set up a solid cyno chain and get supplies in and out. And I moved Major down to serve as my main PvP character in Null. Up until now Major has been pretty much used to hold the Alliance and help me with bigger projects when I don't want Rixx seen in local. But the entire reason I got him eight months ago was for future Null projects. He was the one Entosising nodes during our last attempts and he will be staying down there for me. That is how I spread my three characters.

So here is a funny story for you about the origin of our Station name, "Dad Lost The Keys".

I spent most of yesterday editing together a new television commercial. During breaks watching the AT, talking on Slack, managing the movement of supplies, negotiating with our new neighbors, getting Cap support set up, and all the hundred other details, I would log on and take care of this or that. This went on all day and into the evening. I made several JF runs, the first one came within a hair's breadth of getting caught. We had great turnout all day as people came and went and it slowly built as we got closer and closer to the timer's coming out.

It was a long, but truly great day. Eventually I made one last JF run and delivered some important supplies. Including an iHub, which is a funny story all its own. It was getting late and I decided it was time to log off for the night. Spend some time with my Wife and maybe get a couple of episodes of Narcos in.

It wasn't long before my phone started buzzing. On Slack and Twitter my Alliance mates were desperate. The station was ours, but no one could dock in it!! So I logged back into Major who was already docked and tried to figure out how to deal with this issue. Comms was hysterical and extremely funny. And it only got worse as we all tried to Google Station Management and discover where CCP hid the management window. Oddsodz even logged into SiSi to check his station there. It was quickly discovered where such a button "should" be, but it was not there. Someone made the joke that I should shut-down and restart, which made me think of something. So I undocked and then docked up again. That worked.

Now Major is the CEO of A Holding Band (A HOL) which is the Executor Corp for ABA. So the first thing I did was transfer the Station to Stay Frosty. Makes sense right? No, no it doesn't make any goddamn sense. Because then he lost the ability to do anything! The window disappeared. At that time no Stay Frosty Directors were in Null.

So, to much more hilarity, I had to log into Rixx up in Ish and make the 40+ jumps back down to Null with him. During the trip I made sure all our member corporations were set blue to Stay Frosty (we normally don't have blues) and that seemed to finally start allowing people to dock, but slowly and strangely. Eventually I made it back down, docked up, and took care of setting things up. At least temporarily.

I will never forget arriving on station and seeing everyone hanging around outside waiting to be let in. Which is why our station is called "Dad Lost The Keys".

I have no idea what the future of this campaign will be. Who knows what might happen next. But I do know that I wouldn't trade what we've managed to accomplish up to this point for anything. It has been a great ride and I can't imagine a better group of people to have taken the journey with than my friends in ABA. Everyone pitched in with enthusiasm and good humor, no matter the task, no matter how far, or how difficult. I can't say enough about my fellow pilots.

We might very well be a bunch of idiots, but we have fun together.

What more could you want?

SOV Head

A Band Apart Sov
And a nice wallpaper to celebrate

Once more into the breach my friends. A Band Apart once more dips its newbie toes into the dark corners of zero space in search of fame and fortune. Already the lessons learned from the last attempt are proving to be extremely helpful and this time we pop in to a situation well planned (sorta) and with some diplomacy (kinda) at our backs. 

Ok seriously, we are learning as we go. It isn't easy to get people out of their comfort zone and get them to start working together to pan and execute an entirely new campaign for which they have relatively no experience at performing. It has been a lot like herding cats in some ways. But in other ways it has been extraordinary and amazing. It is a tremendous amount of work and I honestly have no idea how it will all end - but we are going to go ahead and do it anyway.

My mission for ABA was clear from the beginning, to build an Alliance that had a place for everyone and to provide content for our members. And this is one area that was closed to us in the past. If FozzieSov has done anything it has allowed groups like ours, and others, to actually consider Sov in their plans. So we aim to take advantage as long and as often as we can.

Right now we have no grand schemes, only to learn, experience and have fun doing something different. The future will take care of itself.

We are recruiting across the board, so if you'd like the chance to participate in any of our member Corporations - jump in. We really are a bunch of very pleasant blokes.

Onward and upward.

Eve Ships Over Places

Kronos Over Lost Springs
Click to download various sizes

Ok, so I've created some kind of monster over the past few days. Apparently Eve Ships hovering over different places on Earth really resonates with people. At this point I have so many requests that I will never be able to catch up.

Just so we are clear, I do plan on doing more and hopefully one of your areas will be included. Maybe. I am making a list of all the requests. We'll see what happens.

Nottingham EveNT Wallpaper
Click to embiggen

I don't know why I didn't think of this before. Oh wait, I did. And did again. And I think there are others back in the catalog as well. So it is not a new idea, but that doesn't matter anyway. It's fun.

More coming.

Ragnarok Over Manhattan

Ragnarok Over Manhattan
Click to additional sizes to download

Leviathan Over London
Click to download various sizes!

Ok, and a Leviathan over London.

Avatar over Manhattan: Making Of

Avatar Over Manhattan
Click to download various sizes

Sometimes I do things for no damn good reason. Last week I had posted an image of an Imperial Star Destroyer hovering directly over Manhattan on Twitter, and nothing wrong with that image, but this is Eve! So the idea of that stuck with me and today I had a few minutes and thought, why not?

So I thought I'd share with you how I created the image. First I needed a great shot of New York that included Manhattan Island from a high altitude. And you can't do any better than a great shot from the International Space Station.

Next I needed a Titan. I decided on the Avatar simply for icon value. The Avatar is the single most popular Titan in Eve and it is incredibly distinctive in design. No other reason really. It works well and I've used it before.

So I grabbed a nice big image of the Avatar from Project Jeremy and brought it into Photoshop with the Manhattan image. The next few bits are the usual things I do to start making two images feel like one. This involves removing the Avatar's background obviously, but also giving the edge a slight blur to achieve a "aliasing" feel between two objects. This is important so it doesn't look "cut-out". Next is color correction, the two images were not shot together but they need to feel that way. So make sure both are balanced, and then tweak from there.

I added a shadow and things started to feel pretty good. Originally I had the Titan a bit larger, but then I figured it wasn't just sitting right on top of the island - it seemed better if it was at altitude. So a slightly smaller Titan meant it would all fit into frame, also another plus.

But the image feels lifeless and kinda bland. Sterile. You know what it needs?

Yeah clouds really make it come to life. I also color keyed the image of Manhattan a tiny bit to make the Titan pop, but also to further convey a sense of size between the two objects.

After that it was more color correction and the decision to swing everything over to a nice blue shade to give it even more life. Add a tiny bit of noise to even out the merge and bingo. Save to Flickr.

From start to finish fifteen minutes. Including loading it to Flickr.

PS: There has been some debate as to the effects such an object would have on the City and people below it. If we remove any effects from propulsion and assume it is simply floating there, then the effects would be as close to zero as to not matter. The difference between 2^9kg mass and the Earth's 10^24kg mass. Nothing would happen. Much like hovering a baseball over a bowl of water, to steal Sander's analogy.

Now, in Eve terms, the Titan would be in some trouble. Tritanium is unstable in atmospheric conditions, "The Tritanium in your ship breaks apart in an atmosphere, might not want to do that." So it would be melting, or breaking apart, or whatever. Plus we'd need something to keep it afloat so close to the surface, Earth's gravity is certainly causing a lot of stress on the Titan. Not to mention how it got so close to begin with.

Best not to think about these things.

A Band Apart Needs You


From Piracy to Wormholes to Industry to Null Sov and beyond, our mission is to provide our members superior play-style opportunities within ONE ALLIANCE FAMILY.

Our goal is expansion, growth and eventual domination. To that end our member Corporations are recruiting new blood, future members of our growing family, and leaders in Low Sec, Wormhole Space, and in Null. The limits to our egotistical plans have no limits. We intend to build a force to be reckoned with, built on the back of our unique philosophical self-independent, open platform inter-corporation model. All for one and one for all. 

Our newest Corporation addition, The 57th Overlanders Brigade [.57TH], is currently looking for dedicated pilots.  The 57th, led by Capt Malcolm Reynoldz, will be the foundation around which we build our Null Sec operations. As such they are looking for pilots willing and able to participate, lead, and conquer. Join the in-game channel War Stories: Browncoats Local Chat to talk.

Our regular in-game channels: EVEOGANDA and/or The Frosty Hammer are were you will find players and recruiters hanging out for most of our Corporations.

Stay Frosty is OPEN once more. With over 200 pilots Stay Frosty is one of the largest and most active Pirate Corporations in all of New Eden. We encourage our pilots to fly whatever, whenever and wherever they want, as long as they undock and have fun. We don't hold anyone's feet to the fire, or demand unreasonable things from our pilots. If you laugh in the face of danger, then you are probably staying frosty.

Lucifer's Hammer is our Industrial Corporation, the backbone of our Alliance, and is always looking for active members who can add something special to the corp. Always remember that we treat our Alliance like one giant Corporation, and all pilots are encouraged to play together when possible.

SUPREME MATHEMATICS and New Jovian Exploration Department are our Wormhole Corporations and each offers a slightly different focus. But each is looking for new blood to do whatever it is that people in Wormholes do. Who knows what that is? 

We are just getting started. A Band Apart is barely over a year old and is already 600 members strong, with more room to grow. We provide a great opportunity for any player to be a part of something, and the potential to grab hold and help us move forward in constantly new and interesting directions. All within a family friendly atmosphere built around friendship and spaceships. 

The sky is the limit and in New Eden there is no sky. So consider joining one of our amazing member Corps and putting your time to work helping A Band Apart take its place next to the great and storied Alliances in Eve. That is where we are heading and it would be great to have you along for the ride.

We are Groot.

The Women of A Band Apart Calendar

You knew it would happen.

I present, for your viewing pleasure, some of the gorgeous women
of A Band Apart.

I made the decision to base this series of calendar images from the amazing work of Gil Elvgren, one of the most iconic and famous pin-up Illustrators ever. Gil's work is incredible and provides a great basis for conveying both the beautiful and alluring nature of our female pilots. You can see more of his work at this website.

Elvgren's work was the basis for a lot of WWII bomber nose-art, so you may be familiar with it from there.

I hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed working on them.

Mrs Javix' Journal: Fanfest or Bust

My wife started playing Eve earlier this year after our trip to Fanfest. From time to time she stops by to give her thoughts about the game and the community.

We've just decided for better or worse that we are going to FanFest 2016. Yes, it is probably the worst idea, we really shouldn't continue to rob Peter to pay Paul but life is short and I almost booked us a trip to an all inclusive resort in Mexico instead. Since returning from FanFest this year, I've thought of nothing but going back to Iceland. I loved everything about it. Then as usual things kept happening and stuff kept breaking and lawyers needed money and we should be adults and buckle down and fix our house. But then a friend from high school sends a group email, a friend I visited with not long after FanFest. She has liver disease and needs a transplant, my cousin who has always been a better sister than my biological sister and isn't that much older than me finds out she has a brain tumor and has to have emergency surgery. At 42 my blood sugar and cholesterol have shot through the roof, I am a cancer survivor, so the heart thing is a huge concern.

So fuck buckling down, fuck fixing the house, I want to travel. I'll drink less soda and get my blood sugar under control and Rixx and I will go to Mexico. But then I researched a bunch of resorts and watched videos. Because I have a need to plan and research a lot (it's a sickness for me). I was so excited, skip FanFest next year, let's got to Mexico instead. And then I watched more videos, videos of people who would probably talk to me at the bar because we wouldn't be distracted by our three children. People who would ask what I do for a living and other crap I don't wanna talk about, and after I explained they'd say "oh so you work with computers? The email on my phone isn't working could you take a look?" I was high after our trip to Alabama. I love the beach, I loved taking the boys to the Gulf of Mexico, I loved getting tan and making fun of Rixx's sunburn. Then my tan got itchy and I watched more videos about all inclusive resorts in Mexico, the cold I developed the day we returned turned into bronchitis. Hey, I didn't get sick when we were in Iceland, nor when we returned, and the people at FanFest didn't ask for computer help, and were not likely to talk to me about really dumb meaningless crap I have no interest in discussing with strangers. Hey Fanfest isn't really strangers. So there is my thought process, so we are going to FanFest 2016.

Once I made the decision the other day, still itchy, still coughing from bronchitis, I started looking at hotels more thoroughly and became disappointed rather quickly. It was looking like it would cost more than last year. And after the 1100 mile drive back from Alabama I was not interested in driving to DC to fly to Iceland, I wanted to fly out of our airport and transfer, so that on return Rixx and I weren't stopping every 15 minutes in the middle of the night to change drivers, eat candy, drink soda just so we can make it home alive after returning from Iceland. I am getting too old for this shit. I spent some of last week looking at hotels telling Rixx we can't afford where we stayed last time, I don't like what's left in the way of hotels, I don't know how we can do this. Then I remembered that back in March at FanFest we had asked Roc Weiler where he was staying and he mentioned an apartment. That's it, I will look for apartments, that's a much smarter idea. Thank goodness Reykjavik isn't a huge city. I spent all of Saturday and Sunday reviewing EVERY apartment available during the FanFest time frame.

My issue was I really liked our hotel's location at this year's FanFest. We were next to Nora and just about everything else. I was worried that I couldn't find an affordable place in that area. I don't want to live like I am in college for a week. I work too hard for that anymore. I want to be able to get to bars but make it home quickly before the angry irish drunk in me shows up. I would like to be able to store my precious Skyr in a refrigerator without removing the mini bar items first, and not eat out EVERY day. I managed to narrow it down to four places near where we stayed last year. I found a really practical, clean place that was on a main street, then a clean, cute, kind of strange but nevertheless nice place, a too good to be true swanky place, and a cottage that screamed this is the place for you.

I spent all day asking questions and receiving really pleasant responses from the owners and came home from work to Rixx with a choice of 1. too good to be true swanky OR 2. the place I really wanted but was a tad more money than the other three. Something about the too good to be true swanky place had nagged at me all day. I finally gave in to that gut feeling (after driving Rixx a little more crazy with my rationalizing) and knocked it off the list. I found a really cute cottage that is near everything and we can sort of maybe afford, not really, but Peter won't mind if I rob him again.

Life is short, if you are on the fence about anything take the plunge and do it. Hopefully you are considering taking the plunge to attend FanFest. If you are I can help guide you to some nice rentals that I have thoroughly researched in Reykjavik or even some nice all inclusive resorts in Mexico if you want to go hang out with strangers who probably don't enjoy video games.

The Men of A Band Apart Calendar

Don't ask me how these things get started. But today on our Alliance Slack, Morg made a sarcastic remark about something or other and it led to a long string of...

Well, I think it is best if these speak for themselves.

And don't worry, soon it will be time for the women in ABA to have a turn.

ATXIII Report: Day Two

My goals for the Alliance Tournament were very simple. Win at least one match. That was all I wanted to realistically accomplish.

We did not do that.

To say I am disappointed would be an under-statement. Preparing for participation in the AT takes a huge commitment of time and resources. One of the very first things I had to consider, back when we were thinking about it, was "are we in it to win?" The answer was yes. Last summer I decided to pass on the AT because I did not feel confident we were ready, this year I knew we would be.

And yes, this was our first one. We learned a lot. And next year we will be better experienced because of it. Our pilots will be a year older, more experienced and better trained for a wider variety of ships and potential comps. This is all good. And next year we will begin preparing further ahead of time. These are things that we learned and they will go into making us a much better team next year.

But I still wanted to win at least one match.

Sadly today was not going to be the one. The bane of pirates everywhere is ECM and they brought a lot of it. Even our ships that were fitted with anti-ECM mods AND getting remote ECCM were being jammed. I know, I fitted these ships myself and I know what they had on them. Our Geddon was well fitted against ECM and I had remote ECCM on him the entire time he was alive, and he still got jammed. In the world of Rock, Paper, Scissors that is the AT, their comp was well suited for defeating ours. It really is just as simple as that. Pure bad luck. Bad luck that would have been tough for any of our comps to deal with frankly.

But that is how it goes. We should have won yesterday, but today was just a bad draw. They brought the better comp.

I'm going to stop thinking about it for a few days. The grass needs mowed.

Keep the courage.

PS: It was great fun by the way. I'm not actually mad. This is Eve.


Where to start.

When we landed I felt extremely confident that we had the match. Obviously with a strong stealth bomber support wing their initial damage was going to be very high. But our support wing was very, very good. So I knew we'd clear the bombers in no time. The issue would eventually come down to the two Vindis and two Bargs. If our dps core could survive long enough to take down one of the Vindi's then we'd have control of the match. The rest would simply be avoiding the remaining Vindi's web bonus and using small ships to kill the Rapid Heavy Bargs, not an impossible order.

Right off the bat several things happened that forced our hand. Our Curse, under mwd, was blapped off the field early by the bombers, before we could kill them. And our Logi pilot, extremely skilled but also very nervous, was unable to land reps on our Phobos' in time. In addition, one of our Heretics was working with two off-lined mods, which could not be repaired before the match. They had been working fine in station.

We brought the correct comp to defeat the other team. And we should have won. That is what makes it a tough loss for us. Granted, first time out and nerves were probably an issue for all of us. I know I made a mistake or two myself that I wish I could have back. So you have to know that is going to happen and just deal with it. The same things happen in any fight, you suck it up and move on.

I'm extremely proud of our team, they all fought until the last second. Even with all the mistakes, we had a chance to win right up until the buzzer. You can't ask for more than that. Kudos to Joffy for landing top damage on one of the Vindi's in his Confessor, a tad over 30k deeps on that one kill. And for managing to stay alive. Well done.

Well done to all of our team. We will pick ourselves up and show up tomorrow smarter, wiser and more experienced for what happened today. Despite the loss I remain as confident in our guys as I was this morning. Nothing has changed.

We've been bloodied. Now our backs are against the wall. As usual.

Onward and Upward.

Here is a view from Oddsodz in the heretic:

We Who Are About to Die

Today at 17:40 my Alliance, A Band Apart, will face off against perennial AT competitor G0dfathers for our opening round in the annual Alliance Tournament. Since 2008 I have been a loyal and attentive viewer of almost every single match in the AT, those I miss I've caught on YouTube. In fact, many of those matches I have watched multiple times. As a daily PvPer I find the AT fascinating, the format, the developing meta each year, and just how different it is from actual combat in New Eden. And how similar it can be. For years the AT was the only place to see actual, real, breathing employees of CCP.

This will be the first time I've been able to compete. Despite several close calls over the years, both as an invitee and as a member of a soon to failscade Alliance, the timing just never worked out. Which is just fine, because there is no better way to be in the AT than at the head of an Alliance you created. Among friends, many of whom you have flown with for years. Many of our team members go back a long way with me, all the way back to Syndicate and my first attempt at an Alliance years ago.

Of course we did fly in the NEO and won a very interesting match with Kids with Knives, but that is like the Minor Leagues compared to the AT. Many of our members will be flying in their first AT today and many more have Tournament experience already under their belts. I'm not going to tell you which is which. I also won't be revealing any of our potential comps, not before a match. We have nine fitted and ready to go for this weekend. We've practiced with each of them multiple times, under different circumstances, and feel good about each of them. I fitted 72 ships in Jita this week. Jita is not an easy place for me to get to, I got podded trying to get there the first time. Then I grabbed a bookmark and fitted up a tanky fast aligning Atron. But now I'm stuck in there for the duration.

Having practiced in the Arena on SiSi so much now, you really do get a sense for just how different this is than regular PvP. The arena is a confining space which goes against pretty much every thing you know about outer space. In New Eden, space is your biggest ally, the ability to simply just burn off in a direction and put distance between you and whatever needs distance. In the Arena space is your enemy, pull away too far and you will violate the boundary and lose your ship. And no one wants to be that guy!

I'm going into the Tournament with zero expectations. This is our first time and we are, deservedly, huge underdogs. And we should be. Personally I like being the underdog, no one knows what to expect from you. You are an unknown. I like that. And it only happens once, next year we will be dragging the baggage of whatever happens this year along with us, good or bad. So we should enjoy this moment for all it is worth. No one knows what will happen once you take the field, but I know I am confident in our team. There are few teams out there with more experienced PvPers in them, our guys fight every single day. According to Eve Who we are "obnoxiously active" a term I've always enjoyed.

So let the chips fall where they may. And let's see what fate has in store for us.

Onward and Upward.

Art on the Walls


Drifter Wars Redux

I took the day off yesterday. I hardly tweeted and I tried to keep my mind away from the large knot swelling on my head from the Ban Hammer that hit on Wednesday. So I fitted 60 ships up in Jita and practiced on SiSi for three hours with our AT Team and Circle of Two. I also sent out 250 email blasts, made lunch for the three of us at home right now, took my youngest to music class, had dinner out with the fam, went to the dentist and watched in horror as the hygienist popped one of my caps off while cleaning my teeth, etc. These are what my "taking the day off" days look like.

I tried to not think about it for a minute. I tried to not think about the other mini-games up and running around the community, on lottery sites, and in other places. I tried to not think about the half-dozen or so other games I know are in various stages of development from other members of the community. I tried not to think about my store on Zazzle a few years ago that got removed, even though most of the content was my own original work. And, by the way, I still can't make an account on that site - thank you very much.

Obviously I failed. On Twitter, on Slack, even in-game yesterday, everyone wanted to know what happened. How does this affect their own projects? What does this mean for the seemingly open door policy, one I stood in front of everyone at Fanfest and promoted? I mean, if there is a poster child for a fan working successfully with CCP, it has to be me - right? (See what I did there?)

I don't know what to tell you. There is no doubt that Eve Drifter Wars violated a wide spectrum of Intellectual Property Rights, International Copyrights and Trademarks. This can not be disputed. It also cannot be disputed that other "games" very similar to it have been and continue to be up and running around the Eve Community. It also cannot be argued that nearly all of the graphics used in the game derived directly from a publicly available 3rd party site that CCP endorses, but does not "officially" have an agreement with. And not from within Eve. It also cannot be argued that we mistakenly used two small pieces of music in the game that we did not have the right to use. A mistake we were more than willing to alleviate. But it certainly didn't help our position. The vast majority of the music we used was properly and legally obtained by the way.

This is a tough one. I can honestly and clearly understand CCP's position. Defending their IP is the only way to keep their IP. It is a slippery slope and I completely and totally understand that position. In fact, I support it wholeheartedly. I am the last person that would want to exploit or damage Eve's intellectual rights. For goodness sake. I think that is rather obvious. Everything I do is right up front and public.

On the other hand. Where is the pathway for any potential creator to seek or pursue a legitimate method for bringing such content to the greater community? Is that door open or is that door closed? If you had asked me that question during Fanfest I would have been the first to say it was opening. In fact I did say it. I said it sitting right next to CCP Guard LIVE on EveTv for goodness sake. And in a roundtable sitting next to CCP Spitfire. And in countless conversations during that week.

The game had to be taken down. As much as that hurts to say, it is the truth. Personally I find myself in the position of herald, walking a path that I hope continues to pave the way for others. My own personal and professional relationship with CCP continues. In the continuing spirit of openness I will tell you that more projects are already underway. On Wednesday I spoke on the phone with CCP Spitfire about those projects and about Drifter Wars. So it isn't like the Zazzle store incident when CCP was silent and cold. CCP Manifest worked with us, back and forth on Wednesday, to try and resolve this issue. And Spitfire himself talked with me directly about it. My relationship with CCP continues to be a good one and I have nothing but tremendous respect for the vast majority of people that work there.

That doesn't change the fact that I will continue to strive for more. Or the fact that, as a community, we need a more clearly defined process for pursuing projects like Drifter Wars. Because we do. This won't be the last one, it certainly wasn't the first. So where and how does the next creator need to go, what do they need to do?

I believe there is room in the world for non-monetized passion projects that do nothing but enhance and promote the greater world of the Eve community. I will always believe that. One could argue that this very blog is nothing more than a huge daily exploitation of the Eve IP. It is. And yet, we created a process and a procedure that allows this blog and others like it to exist and thrive. So it can be done.

Something like that needs to happen with "games". Because I have news. It is becoming easier and easier to make them. And more and more people will be. I already know about at least a half dozen in various forms of development. Which means there are at least double that number out there right now.

If Drifter Wars achieves anything, I hope it is to bring this situation to light so that we can work towards a clearly defined solution. If it does that, then it will have been worth it.