Yay, we made it to Alliance Tournament XV!

Unbeknownst to me the small alliance our corp Holy Cookie is part of had applied for a spot in Alliance Tournament XV (AT XV). And lo and behold, we were granted entry to the feeder round, where 56 teams would be fighting for 32 of the total 64 spots in the tournament proper.

When our team captain sent an alliance-wide EVE mail asking who wanted to participate I didn’t jump at the opportunity right away. Too much responsibility, too much obligation to attend the trainings I thought.

Luckily Lakisa talked some sense into me. I’ve played EVE on and off for more than 11 years now, and I followed almost every AT with interest and sometimes much excitement. Why the heck would I voluntarily pass up the chance to fight in an AT myself at least once?

So I signed up and was accepted to the team. Soon we started our training.

The training as well as the feeder round itself takes place on the special event server Thunderdome. Every pilot there has all existing skills at Level 5.

AllSkills
So this is the max. Should only take me about 23 years on TQ, give or take…

This gave Lakisa the oppurtunity to train with us a couple of times. Just like me she had a blast, which I’m really happy about.

Most of us decided to train in ships they have good skills on TQ for right from the start though, since the tournament proper takes place there. I’m really glad that at almost 120 million SP I have pretty good skills for a lot of ships, including all Battlecruisers and Command BCs as well as all fleet boosting skills at level 5.

For about three weeks we fought lots of competing teams and tried different doctrines with mixed results. During the final week before feeder round we started to feel pretty comfortable though, and everyone had by then made his or her personal stupid mistakes, to hopefully not make them during the real matches.

Our first fight was scheduled for Saturday, June 10th, 18:30 EVE time. We gathered on Teamspeak two hours early, so nobody would be late to the party. There was lots of supposedly relaxed talking, but you could tell everybody was nervous. With good reason too, because the 28 teams winning their first fight would directly qualify for the AT, while the 28 losing teams would have to duke it out over three elimination rounds on Sunday. Only 4 of those 28 would qualify for the AT.

After the ship banning phase was over and our captain and our FC had decided on which doctrine we were going to fly, they announced who the other eight pilots going into the fight with them would be. I was really happy that I was one of them. Since I’d flown a Tengu with fleet boosts and ECM pretty often in training it was decided that I should pilot one of our two Blackbirds. This made me pretty nervous, because it’s such a vital role and can be more easily fucked up than “just” shooting at the right target with the right ammo.

About 5 minutes before the fight we were teleported to our warp-in spot by CCP Logibro. When told to do so we warped to the arena at our preassigned ranges. Our opponents, an alliance called senseless intentions, came in a setup we thought we could very well beat, but still tension was at it’s maximum now.

The countdown came, and the game was on. Our training efforts had paid off, everyone was on the ball and did their jobs, communication was clear and quick, and the enemy ships went down one by one. I was jammed two times during the fight, the first time by ECM drones they sent against me, the second time by my own Blackbird buddy. Well, shit happens. Fortunately by then we had as good as won. In the end we won 100:1 points, the one point for them being one point we didn’t actually field as our ships only cost 99 points total.

SaltFarmersWin
Salt Farmers, that’s us. We farm salt, apparently.

And with that we were qualified for Alliance Tournament XV. Yay us!

We will continue our training and prepare as best we can for it. Without a doubt it will be a lot harder right off the bat, what with fighting on TQ (with TQ skills and TQ funds). I seriously doubt we will field a flagship worth tens of billions, as many other alliances will surely do. Maybe our status as one of the unknown underdogs might help us out a bit. We’ll see.

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We be Pirates, arrrr!

About six weeks ago my girlfriend and I joined the EVE Online corporation Holy Cookie, a corp of about 50 fellow germans living in the lowsec region of Black Rise.

This is our second try playing this awesome game together. The first time around, which was Lakisas first time playing EVE ever (Lakisa being her Character’s name, not her real name, obviously), we joined Noir. Academy, a subsidiary of Noir. for new or returning pilots to learn the ropes. Noir. is an old and venerable mercenary corp, now part of the Mercenary Coalition.

It wasn’t actually bad in MC, and the timing was pretty good insofar that we could participate in World War Bee (also dubbed The Casino War) on the side I wanted to fight on (I have nothing against Goons in general, but I oppose The Mittani and everything he stands for). But at the end of the day huge fleet fights aren’t that much fun in our humble opinion, especially if you can’t or aren’t allowed to fly doctrine ships, being forced to meander along in a Vigil or whatnot, providing support no one really needs.

Also, while the jokes about EVE’s infamous learning curve are a bit exaggerated, it is indeed a game that takes a while to master. Being forced to do this in massive fleets, feeling like the proverbial fifth wheel, while listening to FCs and scouts who don’t speak your native language (and sometimes not their own native language either, their English more or less heavily accented), was more often than not just not very fun.

So we took a break from EVE after WWB was over. Yet somehow we still wanted to continue playing this game, and when Lakisa looked over my shoulder one day this March and saw me doing a couple level 4 missions in my Marauder just for fun, she didn’t hesitate long to patch up her client and log in again too.

Long story short, this time we looked for a corp that does mainly PvP, is not too big, and speaks german as their main language. It didn’t take long to find Holy Cookie.

They are a great bunch, we felt at home pretty much right from the start. There’s always PvP to be had in Black Rise and Placid.

AHAC-Fleet
Roaming our turf in Heavy Assault Cruisers

The only (minor) gripe we have is that Cookie quit Faction Warfare a while ago, now just shooting pretty much everything that moves. Which makes us…pirates. We don’t really label ourselves pirates, but in everyone else’s eyes we most definitely are.

I started playing EVE in December 2005, and in my eyes pirates always were the bad guys. I lost my first fully loaded Mammoth hauler to a pilot from The Establishment, a pirate corp very effectively harassing mainly Providence and Catch at the time. I didn’t like that one bit, even when I realized that my own bad piloting had led to me being caught.

Anyway, now we’re pirates ourselves. And to be honest, it’s pretty great. We fight just for the sake of fighting, it’s always fast, always exciting. Not much “maintenance” is needed. Grab a ship, undock and fight. All in all quite the contrast to shooting POS shields for hours over the ownership of some R64 moon or other, or F1-monkeying away in the clash of big fleets in 10% time dilation.

And much to my surprise, more often than not our targets are also out for a fight. That we kill someone just ratting, mining or hauling is, believe it or not, relatively rare. Good times.

ARRRRRRRR!

What I’m going to write about

I’m a gamer. Always have been.

My first memory about gaming is me bugging my mom to throw money into the Pole Position arcade at our local mall. That I constantly lost because I thought the gear making the higher pitched sound must be the faster one didn’t bother me really. I guess I was about 7 years old, if that.

2011-09-02polepositionarcadedone001
Ah, the memories…

I grew older, and so did gaming. At age 9 I got my own Atari 2600, at age 14 a Commodore Amiga 500 (I skipped the C64, I could play that at friends’ places to my heart’s content). Game Boy, Sega Game Gear and SNES came somewhere in between.

In 1995 I regularly played my first PC games with some buddies on 286 and 386 machines at our local computer club. Doom was already around, and while the machines couldn’t handle it very well, we had a blast with local multiplayer.

What made me want my own PC badly though was the demo for a little game called Warcraft 2. I would play that at the club for hours, and at night dream about building sentry towers.

tower1
By 1995’s standards the graphics were incredibly detailed, I kid you not.

Fast forward to 2001. The Internet had become a thing, I had my first job, and I read something about a game called Ultima Online. It had a monthly subscription, but the box price was low and included the first month, so I tried it out.

It was, at the time, what I had always dreamt about. A game world that existed at all times, with or without me contributing, but if I chose to contribute I could leave a mark on that world, as could others. And I felt free of any constraints put in place by the game’s designers. It felt as if I could do whatever I wanted to. I loved it.

Since then I have played quite a lot of MMORPGs (which stands for Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game by the way). Some of them I liked more than others, in some I felt truly at home for a while (sometimes for years). In each and every one of them I had adventures, experiences and memorable moments that I cherish, although they’re “just games”.

I will primarily write about those here. Current stuff, maybe sometimes old stuff too. At the moment my main game is EVE Online (as the site’s header image suggests), with a side dose of Final Fantasy XIV. My girlfriend plays both together with me, which is great. I also own a PS3 and PS4, but console games always have been more of a sideline activity.

I might also write about other topics that interest me, like music, movies, TV shows, travelling, American Football, maybe even about food.

Disclaimer: English isn’t my native language, so there might be mistakes. If some meaning is completely lost due to that, feel free to point it out to me. I won’t take offense. 🙂

So…yet another gaming-blog?

Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: every now and then you do or experience stuff that fascinates, thrills, delights you enough to make you remember it and actively think about it for quite some time, and you keep thinking “man, I should write this down, if only to still be able to remember it many years from now”.

Yet you never do it. Your memories are good enough, why write it down? And surely nobody else would be interested in reading your ramblings. Why would they be? And besides, you already have so much to do and so little time.

But the thought lingers. Sometimes even turns to sadness, because memories do fade. You’re disappointed with yourself for taking the lazy route instead of doing something, creating something.

So here I am, typing my very first blog post. I don’t know where this road will ultimately lead, but right now it feels really good taking the first steps.