In a trio of posts, CPP Diagoras has revealed the birth and death statistics for supercapitals in EVE in 2011. The population explosion (net births over deaths) is far worse than I had imagined:

Rixiu: How many titans and supercarriers are built per month?
CCP Diagoras: 2011 average was 137 supercarriers and 31 titans built per month, total of 1,646 supercarriers and 370 titans.
Della Monk: A titan every day? Goddamn. How often are they blown up?
CCP Diagoras: 86 titans destroyed in 2011, 269 supercarriers.
Rixiu: Damn. That’s insanely low. Supercap proliferation indeed. How many are there in the game total? Must be over 1000 titans by now and 2-3k supercarriers. That’s insane.
CCP Diagoras: Not counting ones that are in capital maintenance arrays (I wouldn’t expect that to be many) – 3,385 supercarriers and 847 titans.

Now, it’s worth remembering that supercaps were rebalanced near the end of 2011, with significant changes to them (and to logoffski mechanics in general) that may, it is to be hoped, increase their death rate. However, it’s unclear (to me; presumably the cap people know) how the changes affected their rates of manufacture and of being put into harm’s way, so the effect on net supercapital populations in 2012 is beyond my ability to predict.

Based on 2011 stats, though, we’re looking at a game population of supercarriers increasing by 1377 a year, and a game population of titans increasing by 284 a year. For determinedly subcap pilots like me, it’s a worrisome trend. Subcaps are enormously important in large support fleets when capitals are on the field, it’s true, but individual subcap pilots don’t get to have much impact in those battles. I worry that EVE may see the day when most subcap hulls now extant will be as irrelevant to important fights as most tier one frigates and cruisers are now. It doesn’t matter if the hull is useful (and most are, in the right role in the right situation); it only matters if the pilots around you think you’re not in the best hull for the job. And if the supercaps keep proliferating, we’re going to see the day (mark my words) that the minimum standard for a 0.0 fleet is going to be a Dreadnaught, which will be regarded as being about as disposable as a Drake is today.

Nope, it wasn’t me or Marlenus that got this awesome kill:

2012.01.14 12:50:00

Victim: Long Stroker
Corp: FP Council of Trust
Alliance: None
Faction: None
Destroyed: Nemesis
System: Tolle
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 1250

Involved parties:

Name: Zedrik Cayne (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.1
Corp: Standards and Practices
Alliance: None
Faction: None
Ship: Iteron Mark V
Weapon: Medium Pulse Laser II
Damage Done: 1250

Destroyed items:

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Overdrive Injector System II, Qty: 2
Mjolnir Torpedo, Qty: 22
Mjolnir Torpedo, Qty: 1352 (Cargo)

Dropped items:

Stasis Webifier I
‘Arbalest’ Siege Missile Launcher, Qty: 3
Warp Disruptor I
1MN MicroWarpdrive II
Target Painter I
Mjolnir Torpedo, Qty: 11

That’s old Ironfleet friend Zedrik Cayne, who goes all the way back to the days when Ironfleet was in TEARS Alliance with the Suddenly Ninja boys. Apparently he’s still tearing up the spaceways in his own outfit, Standards and Practices.

This kill, though, came to my attention when the 0.0 alliance I’m in got a war declaration from Standards and Practices. I couldn’t stand the curiosity; I simply had to track down the info on which of our lovable chuckleheads had managed to irritate Zed so badly. Turns out it’s all on his blog and a forum thread. TL;DR version: They got butthurt about losing the nemesis and a few other things, declared war on Zed, and then boldly ran away — which is to say, they all dropped corp and joined up with one of our member corps, while their CEO stayed behind just long enough to taunt Zed with the supposed impossibility of his following them to 0.0.

They don’t know Zedrik the way we know Zedrik. This should be funny!

It was another quiet night in alliance coms, so I went up to high sec to get some fittings. Took the Bantam of Doom to check a few belts along the way.

First guy I found was a 2008 character mining in a Ferox. Six mining lasers were shining and he was flying T1 drones, so I gave him a try. But his drone skills were too good, it was flee or pop. So I fled.

Then I found a young feller in a mining Osprey. Yay, these I can kill!

Unfortunately, as I approached his can, he warped off. So, of course, I flipped it. And he came back in a Mammoth. Surely he won’t…?

He did.

2011.12.29 06:43:00

Victim: Harvey Katelo
Corp: School of Applied Knowledge
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Mammoth
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 1918

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 4.00
Corp: Steel Fleet
Alliance: Important Internet Spaceship League
Faction: None
Ship: Bantam
Weapon: 200mm AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 1918

Destroyed items:

Expanded Cargohold II, Qty: 2
Rich Plagioclase, Qty: 1544 (Cargo)
Small Tractor Beam I
Survey Scanner I
10MN Afterburner I
Salvager I

Dropped items:

Expanded Cargohold II, Qty: 2

Jim Bridger, here. I don’t fly with Ironfleet any more, but Marlenus wants to hear about it if and when I get up to any of our old tricks.

So, you remember The Bantam Of Doom?

Well, it’s Christmas. My alliance doesn’t have a lot going on. So I got in the Bantam of Doom and went patrolling the belts.

Found a guy (it felt like one guy) flying two Retriever mining barges and a Hoarder hauler. All characters in NPC corps, so they could not help each other. Mining into jet cans.

There’s no story. Just, I flipped some ore into an Ironfleet can. I waited. After about five minutes, the hauler guy took my ore and went flashy red. It was the last thing he ever did:

2011.12.25 22:52

Victim: Claire Ronuken
Corp: Pator Tech School
Alliance: None
Faction: None
Destroyed: Hoarder
System: Hageken
Security: 0.6
Damage Taken: 1503

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 4.6
Corp: Steel Fleet
Alliance: Important Internet Spaceship League
Faction: None
Ship: Bantam
Weapon: 200mm AutoCannon II
Damage Done: 1503

Destroyed items:

Expanded Cargohold I, Qty: 2
Small Tractor Beam I
Civilian Shield Booster I
10MN Afterburner I

Dropped items:

Expanded Cargohold I
Small Shield Extender I
Azure Plagioclase, Qty: 7889 (Cargo)

However, one of the Retriever pilots, fellow name of Ceenara, called me a “bitcch”.

This guy never says the word “EVE” but it’s obvious what game he’s talking about. And he’s dead right — there are strong practical reasons why you shouldn’t let your alliance trash your coms with language that demeans and excludes and offends an unknowable but real percentage of your members:

I play an online game where the most commonly-heard phrase for “destroying the enemy” is “raping their faces.” Usage notes: “we really raped face last night”, “we caught them by surprise and raped their faces”, “who’s online and ready to go rape some face?”

By no particular coincidence, the voices you hear in your headset when you play this game are overwhelmingly male.

The politics of managing voice coms for a group so large are intricate. The more people using coms, the more social cohesion you have and the better your gaming group will fight together. But if coms are shitted up in ways that make various groups feel unwelcome (gays, women, ethnic minorities) these people will not use coms and may not stay in your group. So when your people start using “gay” as a derisive adjective, calling the folks who aren’t combat-oriented “Jews” because they are busy earning in-game currency, throwing around words such as “cunt” and “bitches” like the unsupervised 14-year-old-boys many of them are, or using “rape” as a laudatory verb of victorious combat, it’s important to push back.

That’s from ErosBlog, which is emphatically NOT a link that’s safe to click at most workplaces.

Alternative post title: Fuck Me Asshat

Sometimes jet-can miners lose ore. As readers of this blog know, that can be painful, especially if they have poor impulse control or an anger management problem.

One very old-fashioned and somewhat inefficient solution to this problem is to anchor giant secure containers in the belts, and mine into those. (It’s inefficient because they are expensive, small in volume, and difficult to anchor in numbers due to minimum spacing requirements.)

The steps involved in doing this correctly are:

1) Anchor the can or cans.

2) Set a password on the can or cans.

3) Mine into the can or cans.

Fail any of these steps, and you may lose stuff. For example, fail at step 1 and I’ll scoop your cans.

Failing step two is rare, but it does happen. Interestingly, taking ore from an anchored can with no password does not appear to trigger a criminal flag. It can, however, trigger smacky emails from members of Iron Society [IRONS]:


From: Murthrox
Sent: 2011.11.25 18:31
To: Marlenus,

Fuck you asshat

While Murthrox was mailing me in anger, I was busy hauling ore. The ore I couldn’t fit in my Crane stayed there in an Ironfleet can.

I had some important stuff to do (like catching up on my Jester) so I watched the Ironfleet can for awhile in my stealth bomber. Murthrox docked his Retriever and came back in a Vagabond, then went from can to can setting passwords. (I checked, later. Good boy, you can learn from experience!)

The the Vagabond went away again. I was still catching up on blogs, so I watched for quite a long while. Finally, Murthrox came back in the Retriever. Sadly, he went to another part of his canstellation and resumed mining without showing any interest in the Ironfleet can. So, then and only then, I went back to get the rest of the ore.

In all the pain of the last couple of years as CCP seemed increasingly to lose its way chasing monacles for use in locked empty rooms, it’s been easy to post a lot of shit on the forums (and I’ve done my share of that). Less easy has been to maintain empathy for the devs who may have shared the pain, but could not say so. Here’s CCP Grayscale, apologizing because (or at least explaining why) he didn’t pay enough attention to the forum objections during the big round of nerfing the better anomalies out of most of sovereign nullsec:

I’ve been increasingly withdrawn from the forums for the last year or two. It’s a pretty draining experience reading page after page after page of angry posts, about all kinds of topics but all ultimately driven by the same core concerns of abandonment and neglect, and agreeing with those concerns, and not being able to do much of anything about it. As a result, I’ve been avoiding listening to the forums and focusing on doing the best work I can, but the former occasionally precludes the latter. On the bright side, it feels like the mood on the forums has been improving hugely in the last month or two…

Indeed it has. Progress is on the horizon, prosperity is just around the corner. Hope is in the air. Welcome back.

So today in the very first belt I found two Osprey mining cruisers and a Cormorant destroyer, all in the same corp, all mining into a common jet can.

This might have been a trap. But I took it at face value as some new players trying to get organized. Three against my combat Crane could be devastating, but — without actually checking the player ages — I went for it, and put the loose ore into my cargo hold and an Ironfleet container.

One of the Ospreys immediately warped away. Uh oh, that puts a sharp time limit on this operation. The other Osprey did nothing, except to scoop his Tech I combat drones.

But the destroyer? He opened fire.

It has been true for as long as I have been playing this game: destroyers and heavy missiles do not mix.

2011.11.13 18:26:00

Victim: John Mi
Corp: Silver Nation Academy.
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Cormorant
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.5
Damage Taken: 2195

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 2195

Name: Guristas Wrecker / Guristas
Damage Done: 0

Destroyed items:

Uranium Charge S, Qty: 293 (Cargo)
Thorn Rocket, Qty: 41 (Cargo)
EMP S, Qty: 618 (Cargo)
Type-D Altered SS Reinforced Bulkheads
‘Langour’ Drive Disruptor I
Solid Pyroxeres, Qty: 492 (Cargo)
1MN Afterburner I
Uranium Charge S, Qty: 15
200mm Light Carbine Repeating Cannon I, Qty: 2
Medium Shield Booster I

Dropped items:

Survey Scanner I (Cargo)
Thorn Rocket, Qty: 59 (Cargo)
‘Limos’ Rocket Launcher I (Cargo)
150mm Carbide Railgun I
EMP S, Qty: 186
Fleeting Warp Disruptor I
Dual Diode Mining Laser I, Qty: 2
Dual Modal Pulse Laser I, Qty: 2
Multifrequency S, Qty: 2

The chaos fit is notable, but the character is less than four days old, so it’s understandable. All characters involved were younger than a week.

After the Cormorant popped, the second Osprey pilot warped out too, so there was never any flashy red aggro from either mining destroyer. Of course they were free to shoot at me (and would have got away with it, my Crane only having one point) but they did not try it.

I spent a little bit of time watching the Ironfleet ore can in my stealth bomber, but no joy. My cormy pilot eventually logged, and although the two Osprey pilots came back and resumed mining, they showed no interest in the Ironfleet can.

Interestingly, one of them came back in a Cormorant, and was mining with two lasers. The other came back in his Osprey … mining with one laser. This looked to me like an effort to get revenge, so I tried to oblige. I went back in my Crane. Sadly, all I got was a couple thousand more cubic meters of ore and this comment in local:

[18:58:44] Ken Vortag > эй ты лошок вали нах отсюда

Blowing up the truly young EVE player (rara avis though he be) is never my priority. Too much like taking candy from babies. And I never put any effort into pursuing them. But if I find one when I’m out on routine salvage patrol, I’ll give them a chance to be idiots, and shoot if they turn flashy red. It’s not the funnest part of my job, but it’s part of what I do.

So today I found an 18-day old player in an NPC corp, in a Retriever mining barge, flying two Hornet I drones and “guarding” 100,000 Concentrated Veldspar in a jet can.

You know what happened: I relocated the ore. The barge pilot did not (for a change) sic his drones on me, but he went flashy red anyway. I assume he attempted to remove ore from the Ironfleet can. Whether he noticed the can flip, I have no idea.

But he flashied, I shootied:

2011.11.06 17:44:00

Victim: Filan Rin
Corp: Science and Trade Institute
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Retriever
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.5
Damage Taken: 1912

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 1912

Destroyed items:

Survey Scanner II
Concentrated Veldspar, Qty: 19999 (Cargo)
Medium Liquid Cooled Electronics I, Qty: 3
Strip Miner I
Hornet I, Qty: 3 (Drone Bay)

Dropped items:

Quantum Co-Processor I
Strip Miner I

It was worth doing, if only for the 100k units of shiny Veldspar.

The pilot logged immediately, which always makes me feel bad. I’m here to play, not drive people out of the game. But I can’t make people learn the essential HTFU skills…

It’s been slow since I got back into Eve. I’ve been doing a bit of exploring, diving into wormholes looking for excitement, checking local belts for hostility-crippled miners, visiting mission runners in their missions, all the usual stuff. But the pickings have been slim. Most everybody mines in a secure fashion, and anybody who cares about mission salvage has an alt in a Noctis, so there just isn’t as much for a hard-working salvager to do as there used to be. This is not a whine; it was true before I left the game and I’m well aware that I need a new program to keep myself entertained. All this exploratory nosing-about is with an eye toward finding it.

So far, I haven’t. But I get bits of old-fashioned fun along the way.

Today when I popped out my probes to survey the system, just with a general eye toward finding out who might be in space and have cans that needed salvaging, I quickly popped up a little gravimetrics site with a Covetor mining barge in it. A Covetor? Really? Who flies a Covetor these days? If you can fly a Covetor, you’re just days away from flying a Hulk. I haven’t seen Covetors in large numbers since Hulks got cheap. And when was the last time I killed one? Jim Bridger caught one in a Rifter back in 2008, but me? I can’t remember, but the last one I can find in my archives is this one from 2007.

But, here he was. With a jetcan out. He named it “Giant Secure Container” … a trick even more stale than jet-can mining in a Covetor. And get this, he was flying two Civilian Mining Drones (WTF? Never seen those in actual use before) and three Hornet I combat drones. Is this some kind of ridiculous bait?

It gets better. Pilot’s name is Bady Ast, a member of YasTec [YAST] “for 7 years and 8 days.” Wow, birthdate? August 9, 2003! Old enough to know better, that’s for sure!

No matter. I bookmarked his jetcan and went for my trusty Crane. Maybe surprise and the arrogance of age will buy me the hostile reaction I’m looking for. If, as I suspect, this is an old old character who has spent most of the last seven years not playing, maybe there are nuances to jet can mining he has not yet encountered.

So there I was, coming out of warp next to a jet can half full of golden omber and kernite. As usual, I took what I could and transferred the rest to an Ironfleet can.

I’ll give Bady Ast some credit, he pays more attention than the average miner. In fact, he was locking me up before I finished manipulating the ore. Could this be a live one?

Sure enough! As soon as he had me locked, those three Hornets started buzzing me, and Bady was flashing red. So of course I did the usual routine, and started shooting the Covetor.

Interestingly, right when I got through the shields, Bady Ast dropped offline. I though it might be a lame (or really really obsolete and these-days ineffective) logoffski tactic, but he came back online while I was still shooting armor — really, as fast as it’s possible to get back in the game, I’d say. So I’m guessing it was an internet interruption.

So then the inevitable happened:

2011.11.03 23:44:00

Victim: Bady Ast
Corp: YasTec
Alliance: Unknown
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: Covetor
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.5
Damage Taken: 3637

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.3
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 3637

Destroyed items:

Kernite, Qty: 1514 (Cargo)
Residual Survey Scanner I
Modulated Strip Miner II, Qty: 3
Expanded Cargohold II
Hammerhead I (Drone Bay)

Dropped items:

Expanded Cargohold II

Just my bad luck none of the strip miners dropped!

Bady warped away with the alacrity of someone who expects to come right back in another ship, so I docked myself, and jumped in a stealth bomber to go back and observe.

And here is where I probably misplayed the encounter. Shortly after I got back, another character showed up in a Harbinger battle cruiser. And when the Harby pilot got there, she went straight for the Ironfleet ore can.

My natural assumption was that she was an alt of Bady’s. And I didn’t want to give that ore back, because a flashy Harby would be a bit of a challenge for the bomber I was in. So I uncloaked, blew the can, and recloaked.

A moment later, here comes Bady in a Megathron, still flashy red.

And sorely was I tempted. Bombers have a pretty good chance at soloing your average battleship. But the Mega has a huge drone bay, and with the wrong drones, there’s no hope at all. And Bady is old, my friends. Those Hornet Is made it look like he has no skills, but they actually did a surprising amount of damage to my Crane’s shields. If this guy has actually been skilling since 2003, my usual “I can get away with this crazed scheme because skillpoints” plan goes right out the window.

Too, the Harby was still there. And last time I checked (it was a long time ago, true) high-sec aggression mechanics allowed a neutral third party to rep without consequence. I wouldn’t expect repping capability to be fitted on a Harby, but then I wouldn’t expect to find a Covetor jet can mining, either. Just one more chaotic variable, but it was enough to quash my temptation. I shrugged and docked.

It was — maybe — a mistake. The Harby pilot engaged me in conversation, said kind words about this blog, and says that after I left, the ‘Thron popped — get this — three Ogre Is and two Wasp Is. I considered going back, but by then, the relevant aggression timers had run out, and it was getting on toward my mealtime.

(The Harby Pilot, it turns out, is a reader of this blog, and has her own blog called A Scientist’s Life In Eve. I haven’t mentioned her EVE name here, because I can’t see where she used it on her blog, and I’m therefore not sure she’d like them to be associated.)