Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Good With the Bad

Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?
--Douglas Adams

In EVE Online PvP you have to learn to take the good with the bad.  The problem that the human psyche has with this concept is that the good mostly feels normal while the bad stands out like a sore thumb.  The following events took place over the course of about three days, and left me absolutely reeling from a string of losses.

Gearing up for a weekend roam with the boys, we couldn't help but notice something a bit odd.  Having read about it later, it all makes perfect sense now, but at the time all we saw were the numbers is Bosena Bosnia local swelling to over 50 and decided that it would be in our best interest to not be anywhere near it.  So our plans changed for the weekend roam and we instead decided to wander very far afield and head towards some old stomping grounds back in Placid.  The roam was mostly unexciting until near the end, when we saw a marked up tick in in the number of ships exploding, some of them being our own.

I'll go ahead and toss out that I was having some dropped connections all throughout this roam.  (That's called foreshadowing kids.)  Now, clearly part of the problem had been on my end, because not everyone was getting disconnected, but at the same time I noticed a strange pattern emerging.  One of the other members of the gang, who I happen to have on my contact list, was also having connection issues.  I saw several times the notification that he had logged out only seconds before my client got extremely laggy followed shortly by my own connection dropping.  I can only assume that high connections on the weekends were occasionally causing high latency and that the weakest links (in this case myself and the fellow on my contact list) were getting purged.  While this had happened a handful of times during the roam, usually right as I was trying to jump through a gate, it had only really caused me to have to catch back up a couple of jumps when I came back on.

Moving along to the things exploding in rapid succession, our merry gang was now in Aeschee.  We had noticed a few Tuskers in local and had a Rifter, Dramiel and Hurricane on scan.  Spending a bit of time getting 100% with probes only to have the target move while we were in warp, we finally managed to land a point on the Rifter.  Turns out, he wasn't one of the Tuskers, but in fact, fellow blogger Toterra from Scram Web.  Of course, after a recent post, maybe he was with the Tuskers after all.

Oh well, a few moments later we managed to get another 100% lock on the Hurricane.  Although he moved again while we were in warp, he didn't move far enough.  As soon as he was out of warp, our prober still had a 100% hit on his location, so within ten seconds we were back in warp and managed to catch him.  I imagine that things just happened a little too fast for him, because none of his backup arrived before his ship exploded and the Tuskers had soon left local.

Feeling pretty good about our BC kill in a gang consisting of nothing larger than an Assault Frigate, we moved on.  We didn't have to go far to spot another Hurricane, this time ratting in a Plex, and surely easy prey.  Our gang landing at, and quickly activating, the acceleration gate this is where things get a bit foggy on the details for me.  Not because of all the brain cells lost to alcohol, oh no, but because my connection chose this moment to once again drop.

I quickly tried to log back in, but once I made it to the "Entering Game as" screen, I progressed no further.  Giving things a moment to try to resolve themselves, I exited the client and tried again only to sit staring at the same message for several minutes a second time.  I eventually decided that I had surely disappeared in space by now, and that a reset internet router might just be the cure for what ailed me.  Sure enough, restarting my router finally allowed me to log back into the game.  I, however, was not exactly prepared for what greeted me.

Expecting to be floating somewhere in space, or to be in warp back to the plex, I was a bit puzzled to be back in a station.  Back in a station over 40 jumps away from my gang, no less.  Ah, but of course, I had been podded.  Take just a moment for this to sink in.  It had certainly taken it several moments for it sink in for me.  This was the first pod I had ever lost in lowsec.  Not on my first week when I had no idea what I was doing, but four months of Piracy later.

It would seem that, while I was unable to reenter the game, my Ship and Capsule were not having those same issues.  Checking the lossmails, my pod exploded a full ten minutes after my ship.  Both deciding to just sit defenselessly in space as I reset my internet connection.  I actually sent a convo to the player who had destroyed me to see if he could shed any light on the situation.  He said that my ship had warped away, but then come back, at least twice.  He even added that he wasn't going to pod me, but then he saw my bounty.

NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!eleven!!!!!! MY BOUNTY!!!! Gone...Who says the bounty system doesn't work?  I considered sending a petition, but then dismissed the notion quickly.  I didn't really want to wait around to be told that their logs show nothing, and precious moments were being lost to my skill training while I had no implants in my head.  Heading off to Rens, I picked up another set of Attribute enhancing and skill Hardwiring implants.  Being set back around 150misk, I decided to just log out in Rens and worry about shuttling my way back to lowsec another day.

Normally, this run of bad luck would be enough, but not for your Friendly Neighborhood FNG.  Logging back in on Monday, it would seem that movement orders had come down from on high.  Our forums were filled with logistics info on Carrier runs, Jump Freighter movement times, and all sorts of things about when and how to move your stuff.  I decided to go with a slightly different approach.  A much more costly approach.

Having gotten a couple of Jump Clones since moving to Molden Heath, I opted to keep the dozen or so ships I had in place, buy another half dozen ships in Jita, and move those to our new base in the Placid region.  My logic was that I'd be able to get myself up and running this way much faster than waiting on contracts and all that jazz.  Just being able to get into a Rocket Vengeance, I thought it the perfect time to go pick some up and try them out.  Having never flown one before, I looked to some more experienced members of the Cartel for advice and was soon staring at some impressive numbers in EFT.  Some of those impressive numbers were coming from Deadspace modules in place of my usual Small Armor Repairer IIs, and I was surprised to find they could be picked up for as little as 5misk in Jita.  Having loaded up a simple Tech I Industrial with five such fitted ships, I began making my way through the twenty or so jumps to lowsec.  Then disaster struck.

While still in the "safety" of highsec, my jump cloak dissolved around me and my ship began the agonizingly slow process of aligning.  I then saw not one, but two red flashy pilots land on the gate I was at.  A pair of artillery Ruptures made quick work of my poor industrial, and I warped away my pod to ensure it wasn't lost as well.  I came back a moment later to see just which of the Neutral alts on the gate was now scooping my loot, wished the members of Shadow Cartel good luck on the loot drops, and went back through the gate to head back towards Jita.

Now, I don't begrudge those guys their Highsec gank, but let me just say it's not for me.  While it can be extremely profitable, it just doesn't feel very challenging and I'm not a fan.  It wasn't a huge loss, less than 100misk, and the added 30 jumps on my trip were actually far more of an inconvenience.  Finally making it into lowsec with some new ships, I was determined to redeem myself with some PvP.  I was not to be successful.

Seeing four in system and determining one of them to be a Hawk in a plex, I took a moment to look over the information of the pilots in local.  None of them seemed particularly threatening, so I decided to get the inaugural flight of my Rocket Vengeance off to a violent start.  During my warp, I noticed the addition of another pilot in local, this one not so defenseless as the others.  With his -10.0 sec status it didn't take long for me to realize that the Hurricane now on my D-scan was him, surely looking to have his way with the Plexing Hawk.

Landing on the acceleration gate, I was greeted by the Hurricane, belonging to just who I had thought.  A number of things passed through my mind at this point.  First, if he's Artillery fit, I've got him at 3km, am entirely under his guns and will have him scrammed.  Second, his Drones are practically a non-issue since he has such a small drone bay and no bonuses to them.  Third, if he's packing Energy Neutralizers I've got a cap booster fitted.  With Rage Rockets loaded, I decided to throw caution to the wind and tried to solo a Battlecruiser.

With my target locked and orbited I began taking chunks out of his shields and was pleasantly surprised to see him not doing much damage to my own.  Seeing his drones come out, I quickly started locking them only to notice that they were light ECMs.  So this was his plan then, eh?  Be able to break scram long enough to MWD out to range, we'll just see about that.  I opened fire on the drones, pleased to see they had missed their first jam cycle against me.  Just as the first was ready to pop, I clicked to select the next drone, but nothing happened.

It would seem my fight was being interrupted by the notification that Down Time would be occurring in one hour.  As soon as I clicked "ok" on the notification, my mouse instantly changed from the little EVE Online arrow to the Spinning Circle of Doom(patent pending) that occurs anytime my Windows system is busy thinking about...well, whatever my computer daydreams about I suppose.  Clicking again quickly greeted me with the notice that CCP.exe has stopped responding.  Not having the time to let it try to sort itself out, I hit the close now option and hoped I could log back in before exploding.  Sadly, it was not to be.  The salt in the wound being the killmail where it had taken a paltry 2,101 damage.  I had never even turned on my Armor Reps.  So my AF, capable of tanking 276dps was instead laid low without even trying to fight back.

OK, now that that's all out of the way.  I just want to say to CCP, "I get it.  The game is going to have bugs and lag and all that.  It can never be perfect, because perfection would mean the game had stopped changing. What I want to know is, why does the bad stuff never happen to the other guy I'm in a fight with?"  That is all.



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