Tuesday, 28 December 2010


So I went and interviewed DurrHurrDurr because he's an attention whore.

Normally I don't interview people, because I'm appallingly bad at it. But in this case he contacted me and pretty much interviewed himself. All I had to do was try to keep up. If anyone else wants an interview, just sent me a briefcase full of ISK and I'll see what I can do.


RA > Ha ha, thanks.

DHD > How are you liking TEST so far broseph?

RA > I seem to remember you masterminded the trolling of OWN a few months back.

DHD > Mhm.

RA > Yeah Test seems a lot more fun and organised than OWN was.

DHD > Oh yeah, OWN was dead weight. The entire thing with OWN actually happened out of boredom. I didn't expect it to take off at all.

RA > I'm still sort of finding my feet in Test, and getting a feel for it

DHD > Ah, that happens. There's a niche for pretty much everyone in TEST.

RA > I don't know much about it really, other than it's connection to Dreddit. TEST sort of popped up on the radar one day from nowhere, and seemed to have a enthusiasm for pulling stunts.

DHD > I can give you a bit of history if you'd like. I joined Dreddit on its second day.

RA > Yeah it's interesting to know how things snowball. TEST seems to be riding a wave right now and going from strength to strength, especially if Fountain works out.

DHD > Well, Dreddit is made up of the readership of reddit.com which is a news aggregator. Back in February someone named Fletcher Hammond made a post on the gaming subreddit about starting up an EVE Online corporation for Reddit. He made it and got about 600 members on the first day. By the second day we had 800 members.

RA > Sweet Jesus! CCP must love you.

DHD > We set up a base of operations in placid and learned how to play by fighting numerous war-decs. We had massive fleets of 50-60 frigates, all Tech1 fitted to fight 2-3 battleships. We got a lot of kills and started expanding a bit into the nearby low/nullsec, mainly Syndicate. Where we got hot dropped and had a Titan cynoed onto a mining fleet by Goons, who then saw us undock in 50-60 Rifters and try to fight their caps. They thought it was hilarious so they blued us.

RA > Ha ha.

DHD > We started doing some ops with them, living closely with them in Syndicate after they lost Cloud Ring, and when TCF invited them up to live in their space, they insisted we come along. So we did, and we got our first taste of player-owned null-sec and sov warfare. When Goons made a deployment a month or so later down to Curse, we went with them. As soon as our corporation was old enough, we became the executors of TEST. If I remember correctly, ARSED and OMFG were our first members. We did a lot of dick-waving in Curse, pushed in the renters there with the goons until they collapsed, and then came back to Deklein. When TCF said they were folding and giving it to goons, they gave us a chunk of Deklein (including Defi4nt's space) for being awesome as hell. We did our first solo deployment down to Curse, which went well. We made a few friends and stuff. However, Fountain is going better than expected so we had to cut it short and come back.

RA > Fair enough. That's pretty good going for a bunch of guys in Rifters. Most new corps get swallowed by High-Sec war-decs and ground down by mercenary corps.

DHD > Mhm, I think we survived because of a give no fucks mentality we've developed. We like PVP, dying, and generally being dicks. And putting our dicks in places.

RA > Admirable pursuits!

DHD > Yeah, it's a fun time. We have a Retarded Shenanigans division, which I run. We reimbursed every cruiser hull and below during Hulkageddon with it.

RA > Oh yeah the next one is up soon.

DHD > Mhm. I don't know if we'll be covering hulls this time though. I'd like to, but donations have fallen off a bit.

RA > Are you afraid at all that TEST might get bogged down in 'serious business' with sov holding and grinding through Fountain?

DHD > Not really. We have an active and involved community. Last time I ran a suicide roam I had 40 or so people show up with minimal advertising 5 minutes before it started. We ended up dying without any kills, and everyone still thought it was fun as hell

RA > Fair enough.

DHD > So we went through a wormhole and dropped a TCU in Esoteria a few hours later. And then our entire fleet died engaging a bunch of carriers on a station. We're pretty unique in that we really strongly encourage community participation. There are usually over 100 people logged into our teamspeak at any given time.

RA > I'll have to try to join up for some of those fleets. There's something very liberating about diving into to a fight with no thought of survival.

DHD > They're pretty fun. They're pretty much called 'DHD is the FC'.

RA > FC'ing is fairly uncommon trade in EVE. How did you get into that?

DHD > I did it back when we were brand new. I'm by no means a good FC. In fact, I'm not that good at all. But no one really gives a shit in TEST unless it's an important op. Home defense is often run by new or inexperienced FCs.

RA > The freedom to fail is important I guess. I think a lot of people myself included are put off the idea of FC'ing by the responsibility of getting everyone blown up.

DHD > Yeah, when your job is to get kills and die it's not so bad.

RA > Well you'll have to excuse my pitiful interview skills but I can't think of anything else to ask.

DHD > Ha ha, that's all right.

RA > I'll head off for now, and grab a coffee.

DHD > Take it easy man.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Test Journalist Please Ignore

So I went and joined TEST.

I had been contacted by a former member from my very first corp, The Wolves of Fenrir, who invited me to join Metanoia.

“Come to Deklien,” he said, “All the Guristas you can eat, and free jump bridges! You can fly a Maelstrom right?”

Turned out, a whole pack of former wolves had already signed up to the TEST wagon. No point resisting the tide I thought, Fate clearly had plans of her own for me. Besides I had gotten into a rut again, and had been searching around for a new direction to take.

Security seemed tighter than my previous alliance. OWN Alliance had accepted my application within all of 5 minutes. The TEST HR department took 3 days. Were they suspicious? I'm a pretty shady character I guess, with links to anarchist free-space captains, free-booting pirates and lowest of the low, internet spaceship journalists.

Well I must have checked out, because God help them they accepted me. I could almost smell those fat juicy Gurista sanctums, but first the rat bastards made me register at multiple authorisation sites. I swear if I have to submit passwords, emails and APIs to just one more time I going to fake a psychotic episode and start shooting blues.

Finally the torture came to an end, and they let me on comms, a two edged sword at best. I'm one of those odd people who can either think or talk, but not both. So every time someone asked me how I was doing, I'd lose it completely and fly smack into a moon. I decided the best course of action would be to adopt an inaudible mutter and respond in non-sequiturs. In a happy coincidence this is my normal speech pattern anyway. It seemed to work. After a while people stopped asking me who the hell I was, and my piloting skills improved dramatically.

So I spent an industrious first day liquidising various assets, and setting up shop in Deklien just in time to receive an alliance mail instructing everyone to move to Cloud Ring instead. Apparently the recent incursions by Goonswarm Federation and company into Fountain had proved so successful, that a full blown invasion was now planned. TEST would therefore be pulling out of it's Curse campaign and joining forces with everyone else to give IT Alliance a damn good thrashing.

This would prove to be some what of a logistical nightmare, since hundreds of pilots in TEST now needed to move their warships all the way to the new base of operations in Cloud Ring. Multiple convoys ran the gauntlet daily, and special thanks goes to Cmdr GAT who organised a lot of them, and helped me extract a Maelstrom from a war-target infested Rens.

Still it wasn't enough, and more drastic action was deemed necessary. The call went out to join a suicide fleet in Sendaya. Full reimbursement would be granted to pilots who signed up. The plan would be to go look for trouble and die in a blaze of glory. This sounded like too much fun to pass up, so I immediately clone jumped to Rens and joined them in a cheap Rifter.

It proved to be a popular event, with over 80 of us forming up in Sendaya. We headed into Curse and surprised the hell out of a couple of small roaming gangs, but our search for a 'good fight' would be denied. Scouts reported a large NCDOT fleet headed our way with triage carrier support. No point fighting those lame bastards our FC decided, and took us back into empire space to suicide gank a jump-freighter for giggles. A suitable target was spotted and the ambush laid.

Being fiendishly clever, I had set up my overview to ignore fleet members and only display potential hostiles. Therefore the fact that I had inadvertently ended up on the wrong side of the gate, and was enthusiastically bumping the wrong freighter entirely eluded me. My erratic behaviour confused two additional fleet members who joined me moments later in opening fire on said freighter and dying in a futile gesture to the Concord SWAT response - good job Aventine!

Mission accomplished, I took the pod express to Cloud Ring, and started fitting the Maelstrom previously rescued from Rens. PNQY-Y was coming out of final reinforcement later that day and it was rumoured that IT Alliance was pulling back out of Catch to defend it. This would be the pivotal battle for Fountain, and Deklein Coalition was deploying a full Call-To-Arms.

In the end it would be a battle that for the most part, I would be absent from - prior real life social engagement and all that. You can read what happened elsewhere. Fiddler's Edge probably has the most coherent account, though there is a particularly entertaining battle report posted on Kugutsumen. Suffice to say IT got stomped.

For me the most out standing aspect of the battle, was the fact that it happened at all. This time last year, 1600 pilots in system would have either resulted in the black screen of death or the server node crashing. Congratulations to CCP then, for making real progress in fighting the lag monster.

In the meantime, this is Rebecca Aventine somewhere in TEST, signing off.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Suddenly Ninjas!

So I went and bought a Noctis.

It only seemed appropriate after covering the great blueprint race in Outer Ring to get my paws on one of these babies and take it for a spin. So I knocked out a few level fours in Dodixie and took it out to hoover up all the loot.

Back when I was much younger capsuleer desperately saving up for my first battlecruiser I did a lot of salvaging, so much so, that I eventually came to loathe the tedious clean up operation that followed a successful combat mission. My salvage Catalyst would run out of cap or cargo space and it always seemed to take forever.

The Noctis on the other hand is an absolute joy to fly.

Anyway I got so carried away with scooping loot, that I completely ignored the anonymous tip off I received in my mail to go cover a war in Fountain. Apparently some obscure little alliance called Goonswarm Federation was invading the space of a bunch of nobodies called IT Alliance. Ridiculous notion, when I've got important wrecks to salvage and missions to run. What were they thinking?

So I warped off in my Dominix eager to break a Serpentis Assault, jumped through the first acceleration gate and got mission hijacked. Normally when a ninja frigate turns up in your mission it's just one of those occupational hazards that a serial mission runner becomes accustomed to. However, I was about halfway through the first room when a Maelstrom, Kronos and Machariel gate crashed me...

Channel Name: Hulk Chat
Channel MOTD: Welcome, counselling is on the house.

P.S. If we melted your Hulk, it only cost us 5 million.

Ivan Sable > Targetted?
Ashley Sky > Welcome to the party line. Yup, those silly NPCs.
Rebecca Aventine > Hello!
Ashley Sky > I'm coming back to take your mission.
Ivan Sable > Can I come? I'm not wearing any pants.
Rebecca Aventine > Go for it.
Ashley Sky > We will join you momentarily.
Ivan Sable > So you're an investigator?
Ashley Sky > Ok ready Ivan?
Ivan Sable > Yeah. What can you tell me by a quick glance at Ashley and I?
Ashley Sky > Ok I warped to the gate again. I'm seriously retarded, my brain doesn't work. It's because I have a destination set and I see yellow.
Ivan Sable > Shhh, you're giving our investigator clues.
Ashley Sky > Ok warp to me now, Becky needs our help.
Rebecca Aventine > Anything at 55km is not aggroed.
Ashley Sky > Roger that, it is now.
Ivan Sable > I'm velcroed to the acceleration gate.
Rebecca Aventine > You're not related to the infamous Ashley clones by any chance?
Ashley Sky > No I'm related to Mary Kate.
Rebecca Aventine > I don't think I've ever been ninjaed this overwhelmingly before.
Ashley Sky > Welcome to the mission, Ivan with the ultimate alpha strike. Call in drones.
Terrus Valkin > SEND IN THE DRONES!
Rebecca Aventine > Fly my pretties!
Terrus Valkin > I'd fly with you Ashley, but my ships are too expensive to risk to your back-stabby personality.
Ashley Sky > So are mine but that doesn't stop me. That thing is running away from us!
Terrus Valkin > After him!
Rebecca Aventine > Last one to the gate buys the drinks.
Ashley Sky > In my hurp-derp I flew 50km away from it. I just got a 7 million bounty ding though, how about you Ivan?
Terrus Valkin > I broke my record the other day, 13 million.
Ivan Sable > Yeah, me too.
Ashley Sky > Welcome to the mission.
HomSupLo > Thank you, thank you.
Ashley Sky > It's already in progress. Press one to join conference.
Terrus Valkin > Have you ever had a friend that always wants to talk to you but constantly keeps coming back to their stereotypically fucked up family life?
Ashley Sky > Ding!
Terrus Valkin > So you're like, "Ugh, I don't want to talk to this person," and they're like, "Hi! I was hoping you'd get on!" And then you're like SUICIDE.
Ashley Sky > Is it a girl?
Terrus Valkin > Yes.
Ashley Sky > Delete your Facebook.
Rebecca Aventine > A Machariel! You're just showing off now.
Ashley Sky > Is that Mach' fast enough to reach those stupid ships out there?
Terrus Valkin > If a guy tries to hit on another guy, does the term 'getting into their panties' still apply?
HomSupLo > Shit, why do I have Gardes?
Ashley Sky > My ship seems to want to fly in the wrong direction.
Rebecca Aventine > Does he wear panties?
Terrus Valkin > No.
HomSupLo > Bad drones!
Terrus Valkin > Would it be politically correct to say 'get into his boxer-briefs'? Because then it would sound like you're wondering what kind of underwear he wears, and that's gay.
Ashley Sky > Hey Ivan, can you fleet HomSupLo and give me fleet command?
Ivan Sable > I have drones in my pants.
Ashley Sky > I'll find us another victim.
HomSupLo > Faction drones called crabs?
Terrus Valkin > My nanobots carry genetic material.
Rebecca Aventine > Well thanks for the assist! I could have been in real trouble there.
Terrus Valkin > I often dole out 'nanite repair paste' to women in need.

I took that as a sign from the Internet gods to go investigate Fountain.

I'd like to say I painstakingly plotted a devious route that would allow me to surreptitiously enter that distant region undetected and avoid any nasty hotspots. The truth is that after a few minutes of starring in bewilderment at the maps, I just hit the autopilot and hoped for the best. It's not a method I'd like to recommend to anyone, but what the hell, it's never failed me.

The route itself was about thirty jumps, twenty through null-sec, through various regions and multiple sovereignties. On paper it looked like a complete nightmare, a one way ticket to planet gate-camp. In the end however, it turned out to be a walk in the park. The back door to Cloud Ring was wide open, one empty system after another, no road blocks, no pursuers, just the occasional cloaked scout or two. And in the very first Fountain system, I stumbled straight into a Deklein Coalition fleet reinforcing an IT Infrastructure Hub in J5A-IX.

Some days even if it was raining interdiction spheres I wouldn't get wet.

Sadly, I had arrived late to the party. Luckily, a member of Wildly Inappropriate directed me to their kill-board, where I was able to peruse the details of the battle I had just missed. It looked pretty one sided. GSF, WI, TEST and TNT had utilised massed Drakes and Stealth Bombers supported by Scimitars to devastating effect against an out numbered opponent. The IT aligned defenders comprised of Blade, Black Star Alliance and Talos Coalition. They had deployed a rather unorthodox response fleet of both shield and armour buffered vessels, but I guess in an emergency you bring what you can.

So moving swiftly on, before the Goon's victory spam made my eyes bleed, I made my way to the core of Fountain and the cluster of systems owned by the Serpentis pirate organisation. Hopefully it will be a good place to base out from, and report on further developments.

In the meantime this is Rebecca Aventine, somewhere in Fountain, signing off.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Night of the Noctis

So I was exploring Syndicate.

It's not the first time I've been in Syndicate. About a year ago I acquired my first jump clone and ventured out in a disposable Tristan on a journey of discovery. Every Stargate was a leap into the unknown. It felt exciting and dangerous, and I practically wet myself every time I saw another ship on the overview. Inevitably I met my end at the first gate-camp I jumped into, but it was an exhilarating introduction to the wild frontier.

15 million skill points later, it doesn't feel so dangerous any more. In fact, at times it's even felt a little dull. Which is why, when I heard of something happening in nearby Outer Ring I jumped at the opportunity to go investigate.

A fellow member of The Scope, had made his way to one of the ORE stations in 4C-B7X in anticipation of the release of the blueprint for the new Noctis class salvage vessel. Apparently the system was filling up with potential customers and already pirates were circling the station, no doubt drooling at the thought of looting said blueprints - valued at a cool 400 million ISK.

There was a couple of hours until downtime, so I plotted a route and set off. Along the way I passed multiple covert-op vessels and T3 cruisers all making the same journey. There wasn't a gate-camp in sight. Getting to Outer Ring felt all too easy, and I suspected the trip back out after downtime would be fraught and tense.

I quickly arrived in 4C-B7X, set up my bookmarks and scouted out the 6-1 station. A few members of Privateers Of Virtue had set up a warp distribution sphere outside the undock point, but were not hindering new arrivals. Meanwhile there was over 80 pilots in local, and more arriving all the time, even as pilots who had already docked logged off. They had come from every corner of the New Eden star cluster, and they all wanted a piece of the Noctis.

The place had a party atmosphere. A few pilots indulged in filling POV's kill-board with rookie ship kill-mails, while others chatted in a jovial manner. In a few hours it would be a different story, but for now there was laughter rather than slaughter.

Returning after downtime I discovered over 200 pilots in local, and the 6-1 station besieged by multiple warp bubbles and pilots from Wildly Inappropriate. However I wasn't the only cloaked observer outside the station. The CEO of Mechanical Eagles, one Tork Norand gave continuous updates of the situation outside the station for those trapped inside.

As I watched, other alliances came to fight for position on the station, including Blade and Hun Reloaded, and in the intervening moments when the station was clear, pilots undocked and made desperate escapes. A few were caught immediately, others almost reached high-sec before hitting a gate-camp. Fortunes were lost and made as the blueprints changed hands.

Enough managed to get out and seed the markets of New Eden however, as after clone jumping to Dodixie I witnessed the new ships already undocking from the Federal Navy station.

Noctis Blockade Runners, I salute you.