Tuesday, 21 June 2016

And they're gone...

Plans


I had a night off last night. Really, I got home after the late shift (for my work that means 1815hrs finish instead of 1552hrs) and I did two things on the computer and then turned it off. Nothing else for the night, I even put the phone into Do Not Disturb mode and ignored that.

It was delightful, I slept so well betwene 2100hrs and 2145hrs which was when the youngest awoke with "teething pains". He didn't settle again until 0348 hours the next morning. It was NOT fun.

So picture me firing up the EVE Launcher this evening to find that it's asking me to login. Wait what.

Where are all my preset logins, where are my characters. Has my EVE Launcher suffered amnesia?

The answer is Yes.

#$#!#@$@

So there was an update to the launcher that killed all my account settings. Do you know how long it took me to setup and get working fifteen accounts.

A long time. A REALLY LONG TIME.

So this is my chore for the evening, setting up my launcher again so I can login do some stuff then logoff as I promised the "ball n' chain" I'd help out with something this evening in RL.

Better get started...


Sunday, 19 June 2016

A surprise in High Sec

I've been taking advantage of the 10,000 free XP for killing one NPC every 22 hours on characters who aren't my mains and so do not have an active skill queue. 

Killing a single high sec NPC every day is not hard and after a little bit of playing with fits for Amarrian frigates I've found a cheap and simple pulse laser fit Executioner. The fit is based on the one I use as a runabout in Curse except it isn't an Interceptor and there isn't a T2 module or rig in sight. 

It works and has allowed me to get at least 150,000 per character over the past fortnight (a few nights I've been busy and not able to login til late or at all). That's great thank you very much CCP :)

I move between a couple of systems in high sec and in the last week I've noticed that someone has built an Astrahus so I decided to go have a look:









As funny as it sounds this is the first one I've actually seen in space myself, all others have been screenshots given to me by others. It's quite the looker and as I approached I was allowed to tether then dock.

Thanks Dark Void Ventures for building and running this as a Freeport in one of my systems so much nicer to look at than a POS and nice not to get shot at.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Teasing the Rorqual Changes to Come

Yes I'm a little behind with this news but a few recent conversations reminded me to post this.

Within the details of Day 2 for FanFest 2016 was this little gem:

The Rorqual will be rebalanced later this year. It will receive AoE links, a defensive superweapon, and brand new, powerful excavator superdrones. Details and further information can be expected later this year.

Area of Effect links, A defensive SUPERWEAPON and Superdrones, Awesome. The Super drones do look fantastic and I've also seen/heard mention of being able to use the Rorqual as a Jump Bridge but no matter how much I search my log files and my internet history I cannot find corroboration so I can't say more than that.

Still have six Rorquals, hopefully I'll be able to sell five in a few months when these changes go live. :)

*UPDATE*

Seems the Rorqual change(s) have been pushed further again. Annoying but I'd much rather they spent the time getting things almost perfect or working first time rather than have to suffer through patch after patch.

Still, bugger.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Investigating "Socket was Closed"

Since late February/early March I've found myself plagued by "socket was closed" whenever I try to play EVE Online, other games seem unaffected and I certainly have no issues with World of Warships. 

It's been a major issue as the usual symptoms means I cannot login more than one character at a time without disconnections, usually a random character, and when you're doing JF runs it plays havoc with whats going on as you don't know if your cyno character is online or has disappeared let alone if your JF pilot is sitting on the undock with a bumper nearby (although rare, I always jumped when I knew the locals OR local was empty). 

Thankfully you can reconnect to a disconnected cyno if its still active, but a few times I've lost connection as I've jumped and it certainly raised the blood pressure as I scrambled to relogin a disconnected character.

Diagnosing the Home Network


I have some familiarity with network connectivity investigation so the first thing I did was ensure that my computer and it's network connection were not at fault. 


My PC is connected via a 10m CAT6 cable to my routers 100/1000 port but I also have a wireless card built into my motherboard, this meant I could test both wired and WiFi connections. I first replaced the CAT6 cable, no change, I then tested WiFi, again no change to socket disconnections. The disconnections occurred at much the same frequency whether I was wired or wireless. As far as I'm concerned no issues there.

The Router Configuration


Next was to check the router configuration and to test my network in a semi-isolation mode. I was able to speak to one of the Network Administrators at my work who provided me with feedback on my router configuration and extra suggested things that I could look into that I had not considered.

The check of the router configuration yielded nothing of consequence, I did turn off features that had no need of (i.e. QOS, Guest Wireless, old port forwarding rules) and then I turned off or disconnected all devices on my network but my computer and then tried EVE Online. It looked promising but logging during the logging in of a second character the socket was closed on the Character Selection screen. Closing and reloading with a different character still resulted in a socket disconnection, just appearing to be at a random time.

One thing I did learn for certain is that home grade network equipment really is shockingly bad from a management features and point of view, I'll be looking to invest in a commercial grade router and switch in the near future to replace the piece of sh!t router I use now. 

Calling the ISP for the First Time


At this point I was confident that the issue lay outside of my network and so I called my ISP. 

I called them again because I couldn't get through and then again, again and again. Every time I called it said the delay to speak to someone was "greater than an hour" and even with the call back option I really didn't have the time at night to wait. I emailed and called over the course of two more days and eventually managed to get an email back from a Level 1 Support person.


I explained the problem and was told that they'd look into the issue, a few more minutes on hold and I was told my "connection had been reset". Wow, really what does that mean. I eventually managed to get the L1SP to explain that what he'd done is reset my ADSL connection at the local exchange. Turns out my ISP has space in the exchange of the Australian Communications company (Telstra) and he'd reset the connection as they usually find this works.

I wasn't happy with this, he wasn't investigating at all in my eyes, but a reset was worth seeing if it worked. I left it 24 hours then tested and found that it hadn't fixed the issue because when I loaded EVE Online the next night the very first thing that happened to me was a socket disconnection at the loading screen of the first character I loaded.


Network Diagnostics


To say I was a little pissed off would be right. I wasn't ready to go orbital but so far nothing pointed to an issue I could get fixed. I was sure the issue was outside my network so I needed to do some network diagnostics.

I could have used external utilities but the new EVE Launcher has some basic tools built in and I thought it was a good idea to use these as I could provide them to CCP saying I used their own tools to get the results.

So I clicked on the menu icon in the Launcher and selected the Network Diagnostics menu item.

EVE Launcher Network Diagnostics
I ran the Basic, Traceroute and Download test tests over several days at roughly the same time of night (~8pm) (the results seemed to be fairly consistent with little variation in the actual results):

Pinging dm794883twbxj.cloudfront.net [52.84.206.22] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 52.84.206.22: bytes=32 time=18ms TTL=55
Reply from 52.84.206.22: bytes=32 time=17ms TTL=55
Reply from 52.84.206.22: bytes=32 time=17ms TTL=55
Reply from 52.84.206.22: bytes=32 time=17ms TTL=55

Pinging client.eveonline.com [87.237.34.202] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 87.237.34.202: bytes=32 time=346ms TTL=239
Reply from 87.237.34.202: bytes=32 time=362ms TTL=239
Reply from 87.237.34.202: bytes=32 time=350ms TTL=239
Reply from 87.237.34.202: bytes=32 time=345ms TTL=239

Wow. A large difference in ping times there, what about the Traceroute:

Tracing route to client.eveonline.com [87.237.34.202]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  [MY ROUTER] 
  2    11 ms    14 ms    13 ms  [ISP SWITCH #1] 
  3    19 ms    16 ms    17 ms  [ISP SWITCH #2] 
  4    17 ms    30 ms    18 ms  [ISP SWITCH #3]  
  5   173 ms   173 ms   225 ms  [ISP SWITCH #4] 
  6   177 ms   176 ms   176 ms  sjo-b21-link.telia.net [62.115.33.97] 
  7   250 ms   250 ms   250 ms  ash-bb4-link.telia.net [80.91.245.70] 
  8   323 ms   322 ms   322 ms  ldn-bb2-link.telia.net [62.115.141.95] 
  9   323 ms   323 ms   322 ms  ldn-b1-link.telia.net [62.115.113.227] 
 10   361 ms   367 ms   363 ms  ccp-ic-316224-ldn-b1.c.telia.net [62.115.144.151] 
 11   355 ms   348 ms   354 ms  srv202-c.ccp.cc [87.237.34.202] 

Beejesus! Look at those pings, they match what we've seen with the ping. Seems we're okay on my ISP's switches until the last one when it seems to go absolutely haywire and increases by at least a ten times. Telia seems that my ping times are terrible in their network so lets pass this on to my ISP and see if they can do anything.

Calling the ISP for the Second Time


I found out that I no longer had a case open with my ISP and it had been closed as resolved after the last contact I had with them. So I called them and gave up when I was told the wait time was, again, "greater than one hour". So I emailed them to create a new ticket and included the results of my diagnostics along with all the symptoms and details I had.

I was very surprised when I got an email 24 hours later from, what I later found out, was a fellow EVE player who happened to work in Support for my ISP. 


Over the course of a few days I answered questions, provided information and waited. I did find out:
"... it seems that a lot of people (all over the world) are getting routed through TeliaSonera - and according to some Forum posts they are "Known game killers"."
and my traffic was being routed through the US to the EVE Online servers in London and this routing was unfortunately not under the control of my ISP.


I was impressed with the help I got this time from my ISP, no solution but the person I was speaking to was at least trying and he asked me to try a few more things that my ISP Network Operations Centre people wanted because they could find no issue with EVE Online and me.

So I went back to searching the EVE Online Forums (:shudder:) as well as Google.

Epiphany


Whilst searching the forums I found a thread and a link to a Reddit post that gave me some good information. I did find another user who posted Ping Plotter output that showed he had the same ISP as me and his results were a close match with me.

I did find one piece of information popping up whenever I searched was the suggestion to change the port number that EVE Online uses from 26000 to 3724. At this point I was looking for ANYTHING that might work so I tried it.

For one whole week after I changed the Port Number I did not have a single socket disconnection on any character, even when multiple characters were open at the same time. It was joyous, I could finally get into the backlog of things I could not do previously. Jumps were made, sometimes mulitple jumps to/from the same cyno in one cycle. Cargo was delivered, goods were bought, moved and then used to construct new things.

Oh it was joyous.


Then it stopped working. Just stopped. It was like a switch, it was working when I went to bed but when I logged in the next day it no longer worked. New Eden is a fickle Mistress and her husband must have found out I was using her because the pain returned.

Reaching the Fifth Stage of Anger


I reached out again to my ISP as well as trying to think of solutions or things I could try but it was obvious this was out of my control. So I continued playing, limiting my play time to what I knew I could do and then only doing JF runs once a week when I know it would be safest.

Well I thought it would be safest, two weeks ago I lost a freighter in high sec to a socket disconnection, a failure to emergency warp and an inability to login again in time to save my freighter. 

This was the last straw.


Monday, 13 June 2016

Bringing out the Big Boy

I've been ratting in the local belts. I'd like to say its for the ISK but its not, it's relaxing and something to do as I'm waiting on other things to be ready for my attention.
I logged in recently to see blog friend Acki furiously typing an asteroid belt location in Local. It took me a couple of seconds to realize he was calling for support not because he was tackled (which is laughable, Acki wouldn't need help) but because he had an Officer spawn.
Alas I was not able to help him, I was in undocking a Scimitar, as he killed the Officer spawn but he did make an interesting comment that his Machariel was able to solo kill this rat, if taking heavy damage.

Fitting On A Budget


I asked to have a look at the fit, after all I use a Gila for ratting and a chance to upgrade to something with some more firepower that will kill rats quick is something I'd like to see. The fit was not unsurprising in lack of bling, I really was considering something that had faction or deadspace modules but it was not, it was a relatively cheap T2 fit:
[Machariel, Rattler]
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Reactor Control Unit II
Large Armor Repairer II
Armor Explosive Hardener II

500MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive
Sensor Booster II
Sensor Booster II
Tracking Computer II
Tracking Computer II

1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
Drone Link Augmentor II

Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Bouncer II x5
The hull is what this ship is built on and it's a very good hull and all the bonuses the hull give are to Large Projectile Turrets thus why we're using the 1400mm Howitzers. It's also a great time to buy a Machariel as the price has dipped under 400m and this is half the cost it used to be when I started.


A faction battleship, from Jita, for under 500m excluding ammunition.


Playing To Bonuses


Warp speed and acceleration aren't wonderful, useful yes-ish as they do help moving between belts but it's those Large Projectile Turret bonuses that will make our Battleship one nasty mofo (to NPC rats at least):


The higher your Gallente and Minmatar Battleship skills the better you will be but I've found Level 4 is more than enough for the rats in Curse.

Not really much more I can say about the bonuses that they don't say themselves; Extra damage and rate of fire are just what we need with Howitzers. The RoF is still a pain in the arse (40s base) but with the hull and decent (Level 4 specialization and Level 5 Gunnery Support skills, which you should have as a minimum honestly) then you're looking at a 18/20 second RoF.

RoF is one thing but getting the extra 5% per level damage adds to the punch, with anything sub-Battleship sized is a one shot kill from one or two guns but Battleship NPC's will lose between 50% and 75% health per salvo. You'll be unlucky if you need more than two, three at the most, salvos for any ship but a Faction or Officer spawn.

How She Goes


She goes very well. I named her Litany of Fury after a Warhammer 40,000 ship I read about recently and she's been full of fury when I've used her.

Cruiser and Frigates are one shot kills, so annoying to deal with that I've actually grouped my guns into two groups of two and three single groups. That way i can just press F1-F5 to shoot my guns and use the singles for small stuff and the large to large.

Looking at my wallet I was averaging 18m per tick (~15 minutes) of ratting. Sure it ain't huge but its free money and can be used to buy better things. I've used her in sites as well, nothing overly dangerous but the simple ones and she does very well there too.

What we have here is a solid ship with a good fit that turns this ship into a great ratter. Change the armour hardener to whatever your rats do as primary damage and you'll have a ship that should work anywhere in New Eden.





Sunday, 12 June 2016

First Milestone Memories Part 2

I make no secret of the fact I enjoy mining in EVE Online. I find the logistics and time spent actually mining relaxing. People scoff or laugh at me for this but we all find joy in different aspects, just so happens Mining/Production is mine.

Mining Fleet Assemble


It took me about 8 months to get an Orca and I used that became a huge support to my mining in high sec. It was very profitable, I could easily make a billion ISK every couple of days but in late 2011 I was starting to find my feet in null sec and I did not fancy moving an Orca into Null sec via gates. I'd moved to Providence and the ores and ice available there was far richer than what I was used to.

Getting an Orca into Providence was possible but I really didn't want to do it but I saw the opportunity to really upgrade my mining fleet and I set my sights on the Rorqual.

Thar She Blows! Except she doesn't, if you're a miner this is the "ship to have"
Designed to support and sustain large-scale mining operations in null sec (like other non-Freighter capital ships it cannot go into high sec) the Rorqual and it's special Industrial Core module allow ores and ice to be compressed to save space and allow these to be transported easier and in high quantities.

The Rorqual is unique among Capital Ships in that when the Industrial Core is active it causes the ship to transform into a static facility. 


If you're using the Rorqual, you will activate the Industrial Core and you certainly don't want to be doing this in open space. So the normal habitat that a Rorqual's would be found is safely within a POS.

I always was safe in a POS, never did I leave with red's in system or visit a belt to collect ore but I did once have a scare after activating the Industrial Module. I would usually activate the Industrial Core after I had stopped but one day I didn't and I didn't notice myself, slowly, inching out of the POS over the course of my fleet. When I finally DID check on my Rorqual it was 70km off the POS in transformed mode and totally defenseless. Suffice to say that day on I made sure I was not moving when I activated the core.

I did have issue within some people who would warp their Rorqual to collect Ore or Ice products from cans in space but only because they were painting a big target on the rest of us, they only had to be caught once and it would result in a lot of camping of our pocket. They never were in Providence but I did take pleasure in seeing the killmail of the Rorqual several months later after they left.

Preparation and Training


Originally I was to get my Main character as the Rorqual pilot but this very quickly had to be revised when I did not join my other alts in the same corporation. 

Assembly of the Rorqual would take nearly 3 weeks (20 days 19 hours to be precise) so I didn't have time to rush and waste training points, I was able to plan what I needed (thanks to EVE Mon) and then stick to the plan. So I trained two characters almost side-by-side to use the Rorqual. One, with the best Jump skills would move it to it's new Providence home and the other would actually be using it.

Both characters were able to fly the ship within hours of each other on the 9th September 2011 and then the training diverged. I can't remember exactly what my main started training but the Rorqual pilot started with getting all support skills (Spaceship Command, Industrial Core and Support base skills) to Level 4 minimum, he would get Level 5 eventually but my plan was Level 4 everything then start Level 5.

It took a long time to get the skills to Level 4 which required at least 6 days training just for Level 4 (with optimum mapping). Level 5 skills were 30+ days and I literary forgot about them so I didn't stew in EVEMon watching what they were doing.. Still at least I didn't have to do the Warfare skills, I already had them at 5 after months of previous training.

Production


I was ready to use (that have the basic skills needed) the Rorqual from September 2011 but it wasn't until mid-October 2011 that we started assembly. I had no characters that could make the ship at the time (I have 3 now that can build Rorqual's) but I had a friend who could and he assembled it for me.

I spent a lot of enjoyable time mining (with my Orca) the minerals to create the components needed, then I had to move those to high sec and then to the low sec system of Iesa where we made the ship.

Each one is 10,000m3 and I needed three escorted Freighter trips to move it all
On the 13th November 2011 it was finally assembled and delivered.

I remember getting my main into the station and seeing the ship for the first time. I was smitten, she was beautiful and I undocked her immediately so I could see her in space.

New Home


Once assembled I packed the fit inside the ship, added fuel for jumping and setup a cyno in my new home.
This was well before jump engines were nerfed so I was able to make the journey in one jump, it would be two now but I'd have to travel through the Hive of Scum and Villainy known as Mai. And we don't travel through there unless we, no we don't travel through there at all. Period.
So I jumped, arrived docked and gave the ship to my new pilot. I fit the ship and undocked and started work. Where I was in Providence gave me several good mining systems within a short distance and this included Ice and Ore.

Times were very good for me at first as I was usually alone during my game-time and I only had to watch out for reds (enemies) and I'd safe up if any did come past. But over time more people were online when i was and we had regular camps from visiting reds that made mining quite frustrating, of course we never let them know that, but when times were lean in Providence I was able to continue with my Orca in high sec.

New Opportunities


I can remember Arkonor and Bisot sites that you had to scan down provided so much ore for my infant Manufacturing empire.

The Ore Arrays in the systems I had access to gave us a couple of different types of ore belts and I will never forget that 200,000m3 Spodumain asteroid that was always left until everything else was mined out. It was truly massive (at least a titan or two in size) and something that always was present, most people ignored it and if it was the only rock left it was left alone.

Eventually I learnt to mine Mercoxit, so much Mercoxit in fact that to this day I still have Morphite I mined in Providence that I use in my production runs when needed.

It was common at the time to share your boosts with, trusted, others in the same corporation/alliance in Providence and I was no different. Others charged a small fee (to cover fuel costs for the Industrial Core) but I never did as I'd always mine enough in 30 minutes to cover fuel for several days but everyone was welcome to join.

Never would they be able to access my POS but they would have access to my boosts and anti-NPC security (a cruiser I used to deal with rats that was kept near any active fleet). I can remember running fleets with only my characters active or at times ten or fifteen members. It was always different and there was always someone to speak to and pass the time, plus the extra eyes on Local were always welcome.

Expanding my Empire


The Rorqual allowed me to harvest what Providence had and through this and fund my burgeoning Empire. The Reaction Towers I had later in my time in Providence would never have been possible had I not had the ISK available to risk thanks to my Rorqual.

I'd mine ores and ice and then either refine and use what they gave me or I shipped them out for sale in the trade hubs. Dark Glitter for a period in 2012 was a massive profit for me, I could mine 10,000 blocks a week quite easily with the Rorqual and then I'd compress them and use a Jump Freighter to move them to high sec and then off to the trade hubs.

A lot of my initial income came from doing this and without the Orca it would have not been as profitable as it was. Without the Rorqual I think it would be fair to say I would not be where I am, a Net Worth of over six hundred billion in assets and ISK.
When Ice fields were changed in 2013 (Odyssey release) I had been been stockpiling Ice blocks like a madman. Most friends and fellow miners had a few hundred to a couple of thousand at the time Ice fields were changed I had a tad over 40,000 blocks in one system in Providence. After Odyssey was released I moved these to Jita and sold them for an extremely good profit (a couple of billion if memory serves), after all each ice field had a finite amount of Dark Glitter now but someone still needed a lot of it.

After Providence


I still love my Rorqual and she moved to Curse with me when I left Providence. She doesn't often have a run these days, passive income from Towers and Manufacturing has been more than enough for my activities but I have done mining just because I enjoy it. I really do.

I've been hopeful for changes to the Rorqual for a couple of years now, we've had some information but nothing confirmed but shes still my second favourite ship I own and I'm still proud I created her from scratch myself (with a little help to assemble).

Saturday, 21 May 2016

First Milestone Memories Part 1

When I first started EVE Online I had very little experience with the different types of ship and what their pros and cons were. I used to look in the Market Browser at the different ships and decide what I wanted to fly.

First Cruiser 


I can remember my first cruiser was an Arbitrator and I loved the idea of being a support ship with drones. 

Arrrr... it's the Arbitrator
I didn't use it that often, I was not one for the Pirate Life as my friends were but I did secure two kills in the ship and it still lives in my hanger to this day used rarely for ratting.

First Battleship


The Abaddon was the first battleship I truly loved for it's looks as well as it's abilities. Armageddon's and Apocalypses were fun but the Abaddon was the whole show.

Brooding... the Abaddon sits waiting for prey
Bex used to run around in the Abaddon. It is a beautiful ship to look at but it was also an excellent mission runner for me when I moved into my first wormhole (before I was educated) and I learn the difference between Beam and Pulse Lasers thanks to this ship. 

I lost my first Abaddon whilst trying to close a wormhole, Bex managed to pass through a critical wormhole in his Abaddon and I got stuck in the Great Wildlands. My (for the time) "blinged out" Abaddon did not make it back to high sec, I was killed two jumps from safety by a gate camp a minute before DT. Still, I petitioned the loss and was refunded what I lost.

First Transport Ship


A toss up between the Providence and the Orca.

Not at all Cockroach like
I bought the Providence (which I nicknamed "the Roach" as I think it bares a little resemblance to a cockroach) from my then Alliance Leader for 750m ISK and I still have her to this day. She has moved tens of millions of cubic meters of cargo, she's survived ganks and recovered loot I can no longer remember.

Then it was the Orca.

All your Ore (or Ice) are belong to me
At the time I was mining (a lot) in high sec and the boosts and cargo capacity was something I wanted, I can remember buying the Orca in Amarr two weeks before I could fly it. Two weeks of staring at the ship in the Ship list and getting excited as I watched my skill queue slowly tick down. I've since expanded my fleet to have four Orca's (two of which I built) but I still have Willy ... but he has not had an outing for quite some time.

First Carrier


When I used to look at the Ships on the Market it was the Archon that I used to stare at the longest. She wasn't special, she was a line carrier ship, but I loved the look and the idea of her and what she could do.

Drones, Drones, Drones, Fighters, Drones, Drones, Drones
I'd been playing for nearly 2 years when I got my first Archon I used to ship spin her for no other reason that I could. The character was not well trained (Fighters III if memory serves and Spaceship Command and Support Skills all at II or III) but she was mine and I got to take her out for a POS defense in a little know system called Mai.

I can still remember that day, the POS we were defending died as I totally focused on killing the enemy rather than repair the damage but still. I got on three kill mails and my love for the Archon sky rocketed.

I still have Metropolis, when I lived in Providence she was a regular defending me in the ice belt from rats and it was a short jump to Mai or Curse from there. I could never sell her nor fit a Triage module recently when all Triage fitted carriers were converted to Force Auxiliary's.

First Jump Freighter


I purchased my first Jump Freighter, an Ark, off contract in exchange for 13 PLEX. At the time I was trading in PLEX and had a nice surplus but could not find a cheap enough Ark in Jita or Amarr. So I found a contract and offered the seller 13 PLEX which they accepted.

Arc De Triomphe and her Sister Ships
Still have her to this day, and her sisters (as seen above) and she's the most oft used vessel access my characters. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

He shoots

... he scores! :)


Successfully managed to login my mining fleet and actually do mining. Not a single, touch wood, socket was closed error during the process.

Update to follow on what I've found out/done to get to this point.

So happy that I seem to have made progress though.

Friday, 29 April 2016

CSM 11 has been elected

Two members of CSM 10 have retained their seats with the rest placed by new faces. Except the faces may be new but the names, and who they represent, will be mostly familiar to long time players.

Interestingly this CSM election has had the 3rd lowest voter turnout, not really surprised at that as either:

  • You don't know who to vote for and end up not voting
  • Don't know what the CSM is about and don't really care
  • Don't bother to vote because it's a waste of time
  • People are encouraged with offer of free PLEX or something to vote


There was a fifth reason but I can't remember but again, people don't bother voting. Just look at the groups who have gotten in, the majority seem to be part of the larger blocs or the "bully" alliances.

In my case it was #3, the CSM in my opinion is just bunch of egotistical and self-serving individuals who want to forward THEIR cause over the COLLECTIVE. Sure there are some who did or do work for the CSM to make the game better but they are very much the minority.

TheMittani.com has a decent puff piece on the CSM 11 election results. 

I should say I don't personally know any of the elected but based on reputation (and some have very poor reputations) the only one I'd vote for myself would be Steve Rounken. He has done a lot of good for the game (and not just recipes in CSM Minutes), not just his own interests but his fuzzwork.co.uk website and all the tools and advice he provides on the forms.

As Mr Slant says in Night Watch:

Avé! Bossa Nova! Similis Bossa Seneca!

Thursday, 28 April 2016

First patch for EVE:Citadel

Has been released and I'm updating as I type. The patch notes however have me scratching my head and wondering if the CCP Staff still have lingering hangovers from FanFest.

The very first defect fix listed under Game play has me wondering if anyone in CCP's QA department either plays the game or is maintaining a Test Plan of things they need to test in every release.
  • Force Auxiliary ships will now appear on directional-scan and probe-scan results as intended.
Really. You'd think this would be up there high on, at least, regression testing to make sure that things that used to work still work and that new things added (such as ships) work as they should be expected.

Reading thought the rest of the Patch Notes I can see the expected fixes for things missing, incorrect or weren't quite right when released. However four of the five items listed under Game play defect fixes has me shaking my head in amazement that this wasn't picked up, either on Sisi OR in internal testing.

And who wants to create contracts from a Corporation Hanger... pffft only newbies or carebears do that, not like people use Corporation Hangers much now do they.

I mean seriously, not being able to jump clone into/from seems like a major thing people would want to do, granted to/from Thera is a special case but then again Thera is SPECIAL because it's the only wormhole location you CAN jump to/from.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Want To Buy

I really need to find somewhere I can buy a backbone. Really I do.
 
I activated plex on my accounts last night for another 30 days of playing other games. Really I know I shouldn't have but I could not leave them at a mid-point with cargo that needs to be in a trade hub plus I need to maintain towers and well all kinds of other shit that I really, really should be able to ignore.
 
Still no response to my petition but I'm not bothered, really not at all...
 
So, anyone know where I can buy a backbone, ideally one made of steel or something that won't break.
 

Monday, 18 April 2016

In Between

My jump freighter pilots are currently, stuck, in a mid-point system as one has had their account expire and the other I can't be bothered to login as he can't do anything anyway.
 
Sound bitter do I. Not really, I'm fine. It's not like you have to login to play EVE Online anyway is it.
 

Wanted: One working socket for my Kingdom!

 
I signed up to Discord last week at the urging of my CEO and, as he said, they've been able to speak to me more in a week of that than the past 6 months in-game. Whilst I appreciate Discord and actually am liking it I'm still unable to do much of anything within EVE Online.
 
I tried to jump out two JF's of material on Sunday and managed to get to my first mid-point before my second mid-point cyno character kept closing as he was logging in. The only way I was able to get him to the character selection screen was to close all other clients..
 
Yay I was able to login. Well no, I need the others logged in too in order to do things except as soon as you login another character the "dice of fate are rolled" and you either lose one at a time or all your characters that are logged in.
 
Back to the start I go, do not collect 200 ISK.
 
I gave up in the end and just quit EVE whilst swearing loudly enough my youngest son came and told me to stop saying naughty words. At which point I loaded World of Warships, an online game that I have no issues with connecting to or playing, and spending an enjoyable 40 minutes pummeling enemy ships in my North Carolina.
 
Got my first Citadel on the notoriously-hard-to-citadel Tirpitz at 17km. At the end of my 40 minutes I found I had enough XP (thanks to a 3x XP bonus for first win of the day per ship) to unlock the Tier 9 Iowa class battleship which made me very, very happy.
 

Reaching Out

 
I got frustrated on Thursday or Friday (I can't remember) enough that I decided to do something that I normally would stop myself doing but I needed to do something seeing as CCP Support weren't exactly talkative to me.
 
So I sent CCP Falcon a message on Reddit enquiring how to escalate a support ticket as I hadn't had a response in 7 days and I really needed some help.
 
Kudos to the Gentleman, he responded and whilst he didn't commit to help or promise anything his quick response was enough that I'm not longer stressing about this. I'm annoyed and want it fixed, yes. But I'm no longer stressing about it or letting it bother me.
 
It's out of my control and, after CCP Falcon said so, that Support are dealing with some major issues at the moment that are taking up their time I'm content to sit back and let things take their course. I'm still updating the ticket every couple of days with research I've done and on Friday I spent some time getting to see how Logging worked in the EVE client.
 
Was that a mistake that was. I eventually got to bed around 3am after staring at so many log entries that I swear I was dreaming about get-resource calls in my sleep :)
 
That said, I was able to replicate the disconnections whilst running in Logging mode and I uploaded 6MB of log data to my ticket for someone (hopefully) to check out.
 

Ending with a Laugh

 
NosyGamer posted a funny this morning. He's off to Iceland for Fanfest but before he left he visited r/eve on Reddit. Oh boy what a mistake, as he so well puts it:
The EVE Online sub-reddit is capable of sucking the enjoyment of EVE out of a person faster than an officer-fit Bhaalgorn can drain the capacitor from an Atron.

 
It does occasionally provide entertainment or decent information but it is a horrible place full of trolls, idiots and even more trolls. Since they started the Propaganda tagging with the World War Bee stuff I've avoided the place and I think my IQ went up by at least a few points :)

Friday, 15 April 2016

So Long and Thanks For All The Goblin's

I was not a fan but I did appreciate his ability to drive conflict, write clearly and on point and to generate content. Unfortunately he's decided to liquidate his in-game assets and quit EVE Online.

One thing I tried never to do was read the comments on his posts, much like YouTube, the comments could be hate filled and full of trolls. But kudos to the man he dealt with the hate and trolls as if it was water off a ducks back.

He will be missed, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but he will be.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

7 Days

My support petition for help with "the socket was closed" has been open for 7 days and has not been acknowledged or answered by CCP.
 
24 hours left before I have to choose to renew or cancel my subscriptions.
 
Really I don't think I'll have any impact if I do close them but I'm really disappointed in the lack of communication.
 
My day job is working as a Help Desk Officer and it's a point of pride that I will triage or acknowledge any tickets I get within 24 hours at the latest. , yet here I am 7 days later and still in limbo. It's enough to make one sad.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Progress

Socket Issues

 
Seems my socket closure issue is still a mystery but I have made some progress. My ISP completed and investigation, and even "refreshed" my connection at the exchange (whatever that means) and as a result I managed to get some good play time over the weekend.
 
CCP haven't even acknowledged my support ticket and I don't expect that for a few more days :\
 
I did late Sunday night get issues but I noticed these occurred when I was doing other internet stuff (web browsing, YouTube video watching) and it may be that this points to a possible packet loss issue.
 

Logistics

 
I moved 26 billion in products from null sec to high sec over the weekend via a combination of Jump Freighters and Deep Space Transports. A convenient WH made the trip a little safer but I was still on high alert around Niarja/Uedama areas. I was lucky there wasn't much on but still, I did see a few suspicious ships that could have been scanning me.
 
I was in the middle of moving input materials back to null sec when I received a late request to take a 210,000m3 courier. Fortunately he asked nicely so I back tracked and was able to accommodate the request. It was a good thing too as he reminded me that I'd missed a stack of skill books I needed to bring in.

 

Undock, Get Free Skill Points

 
Fellow blogger EVE Hermit posted a couple of days ago something I found interesting. CCP have announced, after the release of Citadels, that Daily Bonus will be introduced. The bonus will be 10,000 free SP for the first NPC kill a character (NOT account, but character) makes every 22 hours.
 
EVE Hermit comments well on this and I find myself agreeing with him, it's a good idea. Get people out of stations and ship spinning and give them a reason to undock. At least undocked "something else might happen" to entertain you.
 
I'm not sure of the SP reward though, with Skill Injectors only just released and having a big impact on characters free SP for doing very little (potentially 300,000 SP per month) per character) seems more trouble than it could be worth.
 
Time will tell but it's a good idea. I know a few of my characters who will be undocking every day for this, one hasn't undocked in three years, four months and 17 days (as of right now) :)

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Nearing the End of the Tether

I still can't play EVE Online for more than a couple of minutes and it's not by choice. Whenever I login, even a single character, I get disconnected at random with "Socket was Closed". It's a little better than it was but I can't do anything aside the basics such as checking hangers, jump cloning or just spinning ships at the moment.
 
I have been able to keep towers up to date and functioning but its been more luck than anything. I had to update towers Sunday but I disconnected mid-warp to my first tower and then again after landing at the second tower.
 
There is no pattern I can discern but I've now escalated the issue to my ISP to see if there is something they can see/fix. Unfortunately where I used to proclaim how good their support was I now find myself on hold for an hour at a time to just speak to someone...
 
Still, speak to ISP then raise ticket with CCP.
 
If I can't get any traction on this by next Friday I'm going to terminate my accounts. I can't keep paying for a game I can't play.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Sockets, Sockets, Sockets

Socket was Closed

 
I've been getting seriously pissed off with EVE Online the past fortnight and all thanks to one of the most annoying error messages I've ever seen.
 
Socket was closed.
 
That's the message. It would appear seemingly at random when I was trying to login or doing things in EVE Online. So much has this appeared that I could not do anything but the most basic operations.
 
I wasn't even able to run my normal scheduled JF'ing in and out of null sec. Courier contracts came very close to expiring because I could not login more than one or two characters at a time without:
 
Socket was closed.
 
I persevered and eventually I've been able to get done what I needed, some contracts came close to expiring though. And moving through high sec in a freighter was so painful that for three days I didn't even login to EVE.
 

Cause

 
Other games I've had zero problems with. World of Warships has worked without issue, so has Steam and about five or ten other heavy bandwidth using applications.
 
Honestly no idea what the problem has been. It's never been the same character doing the same actions so I really can't reproduce the issue, I just know it happens when the dialog box appears.
 
I've had people suggest corrupt installation or asset downloads to others saying its a ping/route/ISP issue. I've done a fair bit of diagnostics and spoken to both my ISP and several experienced network engineers friends to no avail.
 
I have reinstalled, twice, and cleared cache and temp files. I've setup network monitoring and even swapped my ADSL router out for another brand (I keep spares so it didn't cost me anything but time). My ISP reported no problems, and I even pushed for Level 2/3 assistance which they allowed me to speak to, no blocks or throttling of traffic found to any of EVE Online servers.
 
I'm at a loss to cause, things have settled down a little but I'm still expecting to get the error message appear whenever I login.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

But I don't want to... *throws arms in air*

One of the most annoying interruptions to my real life is about to hit. Today I'm heading off, for only two days fortunately, to my in-laws for Easter. I'm not a religious person but they are and my wife "pretends" to be somewhat like them when we're at their house. It's a pain in the arse especially as I'd like a steak tonight for dinner but i'll only get Fish or Chicken.

*sigh*

Still, I've got my iPad loaded with drafts of posts I'm working on and I'll be able to do something of use at least during this trip. Of course, should I be seen using the iPad there will be "stern faces" and "comments" but I'm used to that.

I really wish I could spend some more time playing with the Carrier changes on SiSi. RocketX did an excellent video on the changes that Trinkets Friend has posted, go watch that if you haven't and you'll see why I'm wishing I could stay home and continue playing with that.

Have a good weekend all, enjoy as much chocolate as you can and try not to throw up on the keyboard :)

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Free Skillpoints due to Upgrade Woes

CCP have been upgrading their back end systems in February and we had a really good devblog from CCP DeNormalized, CCP Quant and CCP Gun Show. Even better we had CCP Seagull herself present a video that detailed the changes that happened and apologized for the unscheduled downtime which she then used to announce 200,000 free skillpoints would be given to all active and in-training characters.

The video can be viewed here. Two videos in six months from the Exective Producer. Wow, aren't we lucky :)

The devblog however was about ten times better than the video in terms of nerd information and I really enjoyed reading it and finding out more about how the back end systems of EVE Online are setup and work. The graphs were especially nice and I think at least one squeal of delight escaped my lips as I digested them.

The skillpoints were a nice present, I would have been happy just to know the problems were fixed but CCP do have great Customer Service these days. I've put mine to good use, Amarr Frieghter V on four characters is now that little bit closer. Fleet of Ark's is going to be a reality.

EVElopedia is dead, long live the EVElopedia

This is old news, I'm still catching up, but on the 25th February CCP announced that they would be shutting down the EVElopedia and suggested people:

[use] the amazing (and far more up to date) player run wikis out there such as the EVE University Wiki and the Brave Newbies Wiki

They did provide a download, of some of the content, for a few days but as of the 29th February the EVElopedia has gone.

I'm in two minds about this, I'm happy we have possible replacements through 3rd parties but I'm pissed off that CCP is handing off such a major resource without so much as consultation with the community. I believe that CCP should be maintaining this and 3rd parties add to it, either via their own sites or via content added to the EVElopedia.

After all the details for everything come from the game, are stored in the database used by the game and thus are created and maintained by CCP. Now this changes how do updates happen, what about errors and corrections can we really trust these 3rd party sites to be accurate and not be modified to benefit others?

Actually I'm not in two minds, I think this is a stupid decision. CCP should be hosting this and if its very labour/time intensive to maintain why don't they just export the in-game database details direct to the website. After all the website is just a web version of what is in the game.

Details, Details, Details

CCP have released a couple of updates, not to mention major ones on Singularity, recently and there were minor things fixed but checking the details I noticed one underlying commonality. Changes were made that were not intended and screwed up other functionality in EVE than those intended.

A major change recently has been to fuel blocks BPO's. They've changed their names (rather than being racial they are now named after the isotope used) and had a small amount of strontium, 20 units per run, added to the requirements. It's not a huge change and finally means we have a use for the no doubt millions of m3 strontium that is sitting in hangers around New Eden.

Unfortunately CCP's QA department missed something in these changes, for some reason the amount of strontium used in Triage modules has now changed to 375 base with a 25 unit per level of skill instead of having the size of the strontium changed (from it's current 3m3 size). It's a mistake, CCP Ytterbium has said so:


But why did this happen? It's not the first time changes have happened that should not have, 99% of the time it's good and things work but then we get simple mistakes like that. QA is hard (I should know, I was a Test Analyst in my day job for 11 years) but its the simple mistakes that cost the most in goodwill and acceptance.

As the original reddit poster said, this change was serious as if people didn't check they could easily find themselves running out of strontium mid-battle and this could affect the outcome of battles when it should not have.

Friday, 11 March 2016

In need of a Socket Wrench

I've had a pretty poor week in EVE, I mentioned previously that I'd been having connection issues with our old friend "Socket was closed". Well after I posted it's like EVE read my blog and decided that I needed a bigger dose of errors.

It has been very odd in the pattern I've experienced. My cyno characters had issues every time I logged them in and had them idle for 5 minutes or longer. My main character experienced disconnections at very inconvenient times, once in the middle of a cyno jump but fortunately I was able to terminate the process and login again in less than a minute so I wasn't in any real danger.

But very inconvenient.

The past 24 hours have been better, I even managed to stay logged in with 3 characters for an afternoon as I did RL and EVE stuff. Not a single disconnection. So it looks like things are on the up and I've already had my launcher issues for this release and fortunately managed to fix that with a reinstall.


Going, Going, Gong.

That was a terrible pun, I'm sorry but it had to be done and yes, EVE does indeed have sound.

The patch notes for the latest release on Tuesday 8th March don't make mention of the change but introduced was a noise, categorized as a "dong", when a target lock is lost. Check the patch notes and you'll see nothing for the sound but there is mention of a graphical change:
The UI bracket is now animated when an enemy target is destroyed.
It's been mentioned a lot on Reddit and I'd agree it is a most annoying and distracting noise and there has been something of a current to get it changed, added as specific sound option or just plain removed.

Seems CCP is in a phase of listening to feedback and this appeared (overnight for me) on the Official Forums:


All Hail The Mob.... Community!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Rorqual News Sighted!

I was reading the CSMX Summit Two minutes and on Page 20, the Capital Ship changes, the following paragraph appeared:


What is this sorcery, is CCP acknowledging there is a capital ship called the Rorqual! I do believe they are. Huzzah!

Drone Miners eh, well that fits with what people have been guessing is coming. People have wanted large mining drones/fighters for the Rorqual since it came out. Be interesting to see this.

An invulnerability button too, that locks a fleet in place, prevents them taking damage until help arrives. Interesting, I wonder if it could apply to only mining vessels or if combat ships would be protected too. Would be a great way of trapping an attacking fleet with a small bait one and then dropping a larger one on them.

Ah, the possibilities.

I'm most happy the Rorqual was mentioned with positive information. Last years minutes were lacking information but at least this year we get a paragraph. Perhaps next year we'll get two!

I like my Rorqual, and the other six I own. No I don't use them all for mining, I bought the others at various excellent prices over the past year. I'm holding onto them in a couple of locations ready for sale on contract when they get good again.

Final Thought(s) on the Watchlist change

I've been pondering the Watchlist changes at some length, I've spoke to various friends and one of the most interesting conversations I had with Bex gave me reason to consider the changes not from a gameplay point of view but a software design one.

With Great Power


People argue that the Watchlist is a powerful intelligence tool, it can be but it has to be used the right way. The introduction of tags or labels really increased the power but knowing someone is online is not the most useful of intelligence.

With the coming change the Mercenary, The Pirate and the Intelligence Assets of major alliances lose a way of tracking pilots of their targets. 

If you see them online in your watchlist then you instantly know they know they are watching you, because you're in their watchlist. Paranoia +50!

Brings back all kinds of "watching me, watching you, watching me" jokes. *shudder*


What Could They Have Done


As-is the watch list is a very useful tool in both gameplay positive and negative ways (probably more negative depending on whom you speak to) but it was poster StainGuy in a Reddit thread who (shockingly) provided, surprisingly excellent, constructive feedback on how it could be changed.

The new method can't be stopped and I doubt any major changes will take place before it appears in-game however I firmly believe that the watchlist should work based on a delay. The closer you are to a target, the sooner you see they are online and consequently the further you are from them the longer your notification takes to appear.

So you're in the same system, well that will be a waste of time as you could see them in local but with 5 jumps you'd find out within a minute or two. Get ten jumps or more then it starts increasing so if you're 50+ jumps away it could take up to 60 minutes before you see them online.

In a wormhole, well it should only work if you're in the same system but still delayed by a few minutes. After all no beacons to show local in a wormhole so no need to tell everyone someone is in the same system as you by having a pseudo-local instant notification system.

The Future?


The Watchlist is a feature people like and dislike, i think it will remain but its form will forever be altered. However I think the form is being altered not because it has to be from a gameplay perspective but from a software engineering one.

The time has come to change a feature and which would you rather spend time on, new features or old, buggy ones? With the exception of one developer I worked with every developer wants to do new things not fix old things they didn't design.

So comes the Watchlist, someone has been tasked to update it and they've taking the quick and easy route. I can't blame them but long term I feel it's shortchanging us, the players, we're getting a reduction in functionality in order for something to be updated but nowhere near the functionality we had before.

Why do this?


Two reasons come to mind, this is a short term solution (that in true EVE style will likely remain long term until someone notices it in ten years :)) or there is a lot of code for this functionality that is hard to maintain, no longer is efficent and needs to be updated. 

That's where I'd lay my bet, the code is old and needs to be changed in the modules (for whatever reason: CREST, BIAB etc..).

It's a shame, we're being shortchanged with this.






Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Good Guy CCP

EVE is experiencing some issues with stability at the moment, one of my characters keeps getting booted from the game saying "socket was closed". None of the others have issues but this one can't remain logged in for more than 10 minutes at a time.

It's a pain in the backside as I have things I want to do with this character. I was planning to use a quiet afternoon to get some mining done but I have to reschedule that I guess.

Grrr...

That said one thing that I have found out is that something is happening with towers and their use of fuel. I went to do my weekly fuel top up and found that I had more fuel in the towers than I was expecting. 

Even my out-of-game monitoring application was reporting the fuel to be far more than it should have been given normal usage. So I asked in the Help channel:
Grymwulf > they also most likely set it not to use fuel during the 'issues' to avoid people filing tickets due to offline poses that they couldn't refuel due to server issues
And there is the probable reason. It's nice to see CCP being proactive, I'm sure they've done this before but I hadn't even considered this myself and was assuming my towers would continue normally. 

Of course, database offline nothing can update, fuel can't be used.

Thanks CCP. It might be virtual fuel, but at least I don't have to worry about it for a few days extra now.