Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wormhole Skills

Before you move into a wormhole, you want to make sure you have the skills that you'll need. Once you're in wormhole space, you're on your own, with only your own resources and that of your corp to help you out. It can be a very lonely and boring place if you don't have the necessary skills trained up. Some of the necessary skills will depend on what you want to do in the wormhole. Other skills are needed by everyone.

The most important skills you should have no matter what you plan to do in the hole are the scanning skills. You should have:
  • Astrometrics (at least 4)
  • Astrometric Rangefinding
  • Astrometric Pinpointing
  • Astrometric Acquisition
  • Covert Ops
Everyone in a wormhole should be able to scan and be good at it. Use the time you spend in empire to practice your scanning. It will give you something to do while you wait for those skills to train. Practice scanning down cosmic signatures. Once you can fit a cloak, fly into a low sec system and practice scanning there. The signatures are a little more difficult to find than in high sec.

I recommend training all of the scanning skills (including covert ops) to at least 4. You will spend a LOT of time scanning in the wormhole, it's best to be as efficient as possible.

Here are some other skills you'll want:
  • Salvaging (at least 3) - Salvaging is something even a relatively new character can do in the hole. I highly recommend fitting salvaging rigs on your ship if you don't have salvaging 5.
  • Gas Cloud Harvesting - You can make a TON of ISK gas harvesting in the wormholes. This is also something a relatively new character can do. The ladar sites are also among the easiest to clear (kill the sleepers).
  • Hacking
  • Archaeology
  • Mining
  • Astrogeology
  • Cloaking 4 - to use covert ops cloak & warp cloaked. This is a must-have for scanning, scouting, and general survival. Stealth and reconnaissance are everything in the wormhole.
If you're interested in doing PI, then you'll want the following skills. If you're used to doing PI in empire, you'll shit a brick when you see the planets in wormhole space.
  • Command Center Upgrades - for a better PI command center
  • Interplanetary Consolidation - to be able to do PI on more planets
  • Planetology - to improve PI scanning resolution
Those skills will get you started. You'll be able to scan and make some money from mining and gas harvesting.

In addition, you'll want to work up your combat skills. To what degree will depend on what you want to do. You can clear the easier ladar and gravimetric sites solo in a decently tanked battlecruiser. If you want to do the more difficult sites or the combat sites, you'll need even better combat skills. The ships you'll be looking at for the magnetometric, radar, and combat sites will be strategic cruisers (T3), battlecruisers, battleships, and logistics cruisers. Check with your corp before you move into the hole to see what kind of ships they use for these sites. Once you know what ship(s) you want to fly, create a skill training plan using EveMon. If you don't know how to do that, this guide will help you.

A couple other skills you will find useful are:
  • Anchoring - this will allow you to help your corp put up and take down PoS's. Also allows you to anchor GSC's to keep your stuff in.
  • Starbase Defense Management - this will allow you to man the PoS guns.
This is by no means an exhaustive guide, but it will give you a good start. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

Fly smart.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

EVE: A Future Vision

This is 31 flavors of awesome.

Down the Rabbit Hole

I'm very pleased to announce the launch of Series Two of EVE A to Z! In Series Two we will explore the depths of wormhole space. EVE can be overwhelming to the new player, and venturing into the wormholes even more so. EVE A to Z maintains our commitment to being "noob-friendly".

Thank you to Andrea Dolas for our beautiful new banner! She's an exceptionally talented web and graphic designer. Check out her site and keep her in mind if you ever need any web sites, banners, icons, whatever.

Stay tuned for guides on how to survive and thrive in wormhole space. You don't have to be a veteran to do it.

Fly smart.

Friday, March 18, 2011

EVE A to Z - Now With Enhanced Graphics!

Long-time readers will notice an improvement of the images on this blog. For the most part, all illustrations in the posts are in-game screenshots taken by yours truly. I recently got my new custom-built computer up and running. Among the many sick features this computer has is a totally kick-ass NVDIA video card. I can now run EVE with maximum possible settings.

I will try to only use new screenshots from now on, because you can really tell the difference, especially when you blow them up. I remember when I first started playing EVE (on a laptop), the planets all looked like single-colored spheres. Some of the stations and stargates never rendered, just leaving empty space. Even now, I occasionally see a station or stargate for the first time, and I'm still very much enjoying the fully-rendered planets.

I've been told I have a gift for screen shots, so please take the time to look at the images in full size. I made a commitment to myself to include a lot of high quality images in this blog and to use my own screen shots as much as possible. This new graphics card is going to be a big help.

Fly smart.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This Month in EON: INCARNA

This is the first in a new series of articles. I have begun reading the excellent EVE magazine, EON. It seems to me that there aren't a lot of people reading this, or at least there aren't among the podcasters and bloggers I keep up with. There was a lot of information about Incarna in the latest issue that would answer many of the questions people have. To all the Chicken Littles out there running around like chickens with their heads caught off screaming "The sky is falling!", I say, read EON and have an informed opinion for once.

Each issue of EON I will choose one article to write about. I'm not going to give you all the goodies--the point of this is to get you to read the magazine and be a more informed gamer, after all. However, I will give the highlights of an article of my choice.

This time I've chosen to write about the article "One Small Step For Evekind." When it comes to the Incarna expansion, there is a whole slew of misinformation, speculation and fear-mongering out there. Let's combat that with some real information, shall we? If, after reading this article in EON, you still want to run around saying the sky is falling, at least you'll have an informed opinion.

Here are just a few of the highlights from this article:
  • The tutorials will incorporate some aspects of Incarna. New players will start out at the social hub of a station and begin learning about the game from there.
  • CCP Zulu says a main theme of Incarna is "Risky Business." There will be a lot of new business opportunities, complete with shady dealings in dimly-lit settings. Smuggling, contraband, trading, black market, handling stolen goods and other activities that need to be done "off the grid". Having the profession of smuggler will be a very real possibility.
  • According to CCP Zulu, "Current gameplay functionality that is available in space will still be available in space...." This should be music to the ears for those worried that "their Eve" is going away.
  • Also, if something must be done out of ship, then CCP is going to do their best to make sure it's worthwhile (aka profitable).
  • There will be lots of opportunities for gambling. Not only will there be a whole host of in-station minigames to play and bet on, but it will also be possible to bet on things like fleet battles. This will also necessitate player "bookies" to run this process. It will be up to each player to figure out which bookie he can trust, and there are a lot of possibilities here. I could definitely see a niche for well-known, trusted, and respected players who can act as a reliable bookie.
  • One of the minigames you will be able to play and bet on is a version of the game Slay which is called SecWars. This will be similar to Slay, except instead of peasants and knights it will have soldiers and mechs.
  • Later versions of Incarna will add card games, parlour games, and perhaps even a version of the out-of-print EVE collectible card game.
  • You also may be able to plan alliance and corporation ops in a large war room.
  • You could run a casino, bar, or gaming parlour
  • Stations will have "establishments" that you can rent. These will be large areas that you can turn into whatever you want. They'll be big enough to facilitate 40-60 people. They can be made into bars, huge apartments, etc. CCP is already working on various race-specific embellishments like bar tables and gaming tables.
All in all, it seems to me there's a lot to look forward to, and nothing to be scared of. CCP know's what they're doing. They're not going to cannibalize the EVE we all know and love for Incarna. Incarna will add to and enhance current EVE game play; it's not going to replace it.

Personally, I'm totally excited and stoked for Incarna! I can't wait to open up Lex's Bar. I hope I will see you all there. First drink's on the house.

Fly smart.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Man Behind the Curtain

Who is Lex Starwalker?

Those of you who've been following this blog for a while may have noticed that I don't often talk about myself. The main reason is that I want this blog to have CONTENT. That is to say, I want it to have content that people find interesting. I doubt a lot of personal information about yours truly would interest very many of my readers. I also know that there is a lot of me in this blog. Like any writer, a lot of my identity goes into what I write. The clues are there for those who look for them. Follow the trail of bread crumbs and you will meet the man behind the curtain....

This blog isn't the place for me to ramble on about myself, especially those parts of my life that have nothing to do with EVE. I want people to read the blog, after all.

In my first post I made a commitment to keep up on this blog and post at least once a week. I've exceeded that goal, however, since the beginning of the year, the blog isn't quite where I want it to be. The main reason is that RL has been demanding more from me, and it's hard to find time to blog as much as I'd like to.

For any who are interested, here's what's been keeping me from blogging as much as I'd like:

1) School. I've gone back to school. Not because one degree isn't enough, but because I want a degree with good job prospects (which is rare these days). I've never regretted getting my BA in Anthropology, but there's not much work out there unless you've got a PhD, and even then there's a lot of competition for positions that pay you a pittance. So I'm going back to school for nursing. I'm currently getting all my prereqs for the program. The program I'm going for requires a 4.0 GPA among many other things, so school is very intense as you can imagine, and it comes first.

2) Fiancee. This should actually be number 1. Keeping her happy is always my top priority and comes before school, work, EVE, everything. We're hoping to get married within a few weeks.

3) My novel. Yes folks, I'm writing a novel. Actually, it's already written; I'm editing and revising it now. Within a few weeks it will be ready to start sending out to publishers and agents. I will also be serializing it on my own website. It's an urban fantasy. I'm looking for alpha and beta readers, so if you're a writer, editor, or informed reader and you'd like to give constructive criticism, let me know.

I'm ready to get started on series two of the blog. I've already got a few posts and guides planned. I moved into a wormhole a few months ago, and in series two I'll be showing you what I've learned. I will follow series one's precedent of writing guides for the newbie, only this series will be for the newbie to wormholes. My web designer is working on a new banner for series two, and it will be ready very soon. I've been waiting on that to start dropping the new content.

I've been getting a lot of traffic on the blog, but I want to branch out and reach new people. This blog will always be new player friendly, but more and more I'll be posting on things that more veteran players will be interested in as well.

Thank you to all my readers for continuing to visit the blog. If you have any questions or requests/suggestions for guides, don't hesitate to let me know.

Now I've got to get back to my chemistry homework.

Fly smart.