The CSM 9 vote is slowly coming to a close. I finally made my vote this evening. My vote list was dominated by non-block candidates - we shall see how it looks when all said is done. However, with 14 votes beyond the first five or so I was mostly filling in names with only cursory expectation. My top votes (in no particular order) went to Steve Ronuken, Ali Aras, Sugar Kyle and Mike Azariah.

In elections I generally hold to the rule that if you don’t vote, you lose your moral right to complain. EVE Online is not precisely a democracy, but nevertheless I think the same principle holds true.

Given that CCP appear to be making revolutionary changes to industry, one of the most basic and fundamental parts of EVE. Indeed I am tempted to say that industry is the most fundamental part of the game.

Anyway, now I have voted, I probably should take the next step and make my views known a little more often. After all, those that do not speak can never be heard…

I have ended up doing rather less gaming than expected this last week, mostly for good reasons and enjoying the rather nice weather we have had the last week. The one particular consequence of this is that I haven’t managed to play any Crusader Kings II this week, which is a bit of a shame. As can be seen, also for the first time in a long while I actually did some writing in the form of the poem I posted a couple of days ago.

World of Tanks

Well over half-way to getting the T2 LT now. I have gone through some spells of horrible luck though – including one evening which began on an 11-game losing streak. I have not managed to achieve all I wished however, and I still have a fair bit to go on getting the tanks. With a bit of luck I am hoping to break the back of it this coming week, which will be very much welcome.

Last weekend I ended up purchasing the Bishop and Pz Sfl IVc, and took advantage of the x5 experience multipliers to boost my way through some of the early grinding. I also played a few games in the Churchill I, T49, and Crusader to do the same. With the 50% discount on Tier V tanks this weekend I am thinking of getting two more Tier V tanks that I have now unlocked. I have been thinking the ELC AMX and the AT 2, but we shall see.

The concentration on the light tanks, and the generally lower win rates I have in them, does mean that I have not progressed so much on my primary grinds. Those will have to wait until after the T2 LT mission is complete before I get serious about them again.

Kerbal Space Program

I have landed on a body not in the Kerbin planetary system. As mentioned last week I redesigned the launcher vehicle for my first interplanetary rocket. I used a Rockomax based launcher, and this was sufficient to get me into orbit … just. Literally the last little drop of fuel took my periapsis above the space border. The interplanetary vehicle itself was successful, though not without fault. I had four nuclear engines on the rocket, but one of them appeared not to be working properly. Some problem with it feeding fuel. This meant that the fuel distribution in the craft got wildly out of kilter, and also at some point the rocket just stopped working, causing the craft to spin. I eventually got around this by turning this rocket off, as well as its opposite, meaning I was running on 2 out of 4 rockets. I also re-distributed the fuel, and all went well again. I set up an encounter with Duna, and in the course of the flight refined this and managed to get an encounter with Ike. Given I had neglected to put parachutes I decided to do a landing on Ike, which I succeeded.

All in all a very successful trip. Forgetting parachutes on the lander is a pain though, because I easily have enough fuel left on the lander to get back into Ike orbit and transfer to Duna. I suppose I could still turn my probe into an impactor and do some further science on the descent, but I am fairly sure I do not have sufficient fuel left over from the transfer to manage a powered landing.

EVE Online

Not yet voted in the CSM, but will be doing that this weekend. So far I will be putting Steve Ronuken, Ali Aras, Sugar Kyle, Mike Azariah, and James Argent high up on my list (not necessarily in that order). I may not complete a full ballot.

Otherwise I have been reading up on the devblogs. My chosen area to go back into will be underdoing fairly substantial change, but the looks of things. Hoewever, given we have only 2/6 devblogs yet I don’t want to comment overmuch because it is impossible to see how it will all link up as yet. Meanwhile I have been pottering about, and generally just enjoying being back in New Eden. My EVE playing this coming week is likely to be a bit reduced however as I want to concentrate on getting the tank missions done.

A Sonnet to a morning scene

The sun shines faintly, the sky is leaden grey
Dead trees stand in lines but do not sway
The birds no longer sing the breaking dawn
Their bodies lie still, brittle and forlorn
The stale summer air is a chilling breeze
In the stream brackish water starts to freeze
Once-proud buildings – statements – that once stood straight
Now huddle, dismayed, at their broken state
Perhaps elsewhere there is a shoot of green
But if there is, it is as yet unseen
A hope I have searched for, as yet unfound
Yet my hope, though denied, is still unbound
Though flesh fails and soon I pass away
Life renews and children will once more play

Getting back into EVE proceeds full pace. Admittedly this weekend I am not in the game very much – the Anniversary missions in World of Tanks have rather tempted me, but one of the great things about EVE is that certain things can be setup to run when one is out of game – market orders, research, and most basic of all, skill training. However, since I am going to be writing more about EVE in the future, it seems like a good place to take stock of my characters in EVE.

Back when I used to play more regularly I had three accounts. Currently I have re-activated two. I do not intend to re-active the third account long-term, but I do intend to move the primary character off that account onto my other accounts – but that may take a few months whilst I arrange things. Anyway, here is my character list.

Account #1

Primary Main - My first EVE character. He currently has 102.5 million skill points, plus about 800k un-assigned. I always figured I would leave un-used until I found a skill I really needed to train right that instant. I started him off as a miner – then moved into industry and some trading, with mission running on the side. In time he also developed skills in exploration and PI. There are plenty of games in his resume of course – in particular he can still only mostly fly ships of his native race. However, once I have completed my current Catch-up/Summer Expansion skill plan I want to diversify.

stnylan – Jita Alt. This character sits, if not in Jita, then in a system in The Forge. Good enough for Jita Alt purposes. Otherwise he is the only character whom I care to name. Actually, I took the name to prevent anyone else nabbing stnylan.

Account #2

Secondary Main – This character was created purely to support my primary character. At first that meant being a hauler to support mining ops. Then it was to be an Orca, and in due course a freighter pilot. Then another character that could do research, and also a source of extra build slots. The another PI character. Along the way I also turned him into my primary invention character, to the extent he now has all the regular Invention skills at 5. He currently has something like 72 million skill points, and is not currently training.

First Alt – Originally designed as a research alt to stay at my then-corp’s POS whilst I jaunted around elsewhere. That remains his primary purpose, though in time I also turned him into a PI alt and a salvage alt. He currently has almost 9 million skill points, and is training up a few skills in preparation for being moved onto account #1 to make space on this account for the character from my third account.

Second Alt – Originally another research alt, albeit one with very limited pretensions. He was used for copying blueprints for corp sales to help support my then corp. He subsequently became another PI alt. I have never quite gotten around to finish his research training, but I will probably do so when First Alt’s training schedule is complete. Currently he has just under 4 million skill points.

Account #3

Alternate Main – This character was actually created before Secondary Main iirc. From the outset this was going to be my pvp character, and I created him with the intention of getting in a FW corp (which was then a very new thing). I did so … and discovered two things. To put into context, this was only just after a year since my breakdown, I was still on medication, only recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and only just getting back to work. Joining a very active FW corp was, looking back, setting me up to fail on the social front. Similarly I also discovered that ship pvp had a tendency to provoke my panic attacks. The second of these things delayed me starting to play World of Tanks by at least six months, and the first was a major consideration before I joined the QSF community. I should say I did have fun in my FW corp whilst I was able to stay there, but eventually I left. Since then he has kicked around the cluster a bit. I have never gotten back into pvp, though I came close a couple of times. He has been steadily training – I believe he has 80-90 million skill points, but I am not currently in a position to check.

Also on this account were two further low-skill alts, which I used to keep an eye on other market hubs.

At some point in the next few months I will re-active this account. By then I would have moved First Alt onto Account #1, and whilst I will take advantage of the extra training time by about day 20 I will move Alternate Main onto Account #2. I would expect him to do most training on that account, as Secondary Main and Second Alt are mostly well set for their supporting roles as is.

So that is a very brief overview of my characters, what they can do, and what I intend to do with them over the next few months. As always, every plan is subject to revision, especially if CCP throws in a curveball or two.

One of the “problems” of World of Tanks is its tank class system: light, medium, heavy, tank destroyer, and artillery. There are times when there are tanks that just do not fit, and the Valentine is one tank that refuses to be so ordered. Indeed it is one of a number of light tanks which basically do not fit. In reality the Valentine it not a light tank – it is a heavy tank in a very small package (the wiki calls it a pocket-heavy, which is a rather nice way of putting it).

To see what I mean, conjure up what one thinks of when one thinks of a light tank. Well, to me a light tank usually means high speed and slight armour, plus generally small size. Firepower is more optional, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Then look at the Valentine. To be sure it is a small tank, but it is somewhat the opposite of fast with a top speed of only 24 km/h. It also has some of the best armour at Tier IV – 60mm all around.

The light-heavy concept, which would be a light infantry tank in British tank doctrine of the start of the war (which is what the Valentine is) has two major problems when translated to World of Tanks. The first is the lack of mobility is greatly limiting. It means that you have to commit yourself to a particular area of the battlefield, and only in the longer battles will you move out from that. It also makes it much more difficult to gauge when to turn back to defend base, for example. This can also make it tough at times to actually see kills through when the enemy starts to withdraw. The second is that the armour is only so good. At Tier IV you will sometimes get penned by the better guns, but with reasonable angling you are going to bounce a lot of shots even so. At Tier V this because very much a dicier proposition, and at Tier VI any bounces are likely to be ricochets to due hitting an over-angled side or something similar. In some respects though the real weakness is against the derp brigade, especially the howitzers the KV-1, M4 Sherman, Hetzer, Stug III, Panzer IV, and others. Against those relatively high-damage high-pen HE shells the armour of the Valentine is just not very effective. One saving grace is that the Valentine as regular, not scout, matchmaking.

These two same flaws also apply to that other well-known light-heavy – the AMX 40. Unlike that much-despised vehicle however the Valentien has saving grace in its weaponry. There are two very viable guns for the Valentine. You have a QF 6-pdr better penetration, less alpha, and higher rate of fire; and a 75mm with less penetration, more alpha, and less rate of fire. Personally I preferred the 6-pdr, as the difference in penetration for standard rounds (110 vs 91) and premium rounds (180 vs 144) make it much more effective at applying damage to higher tier, more heavily armoured targets. This probably also reflects a self-limitation in my approach to the Valentine – a determination to do so some damage. The higher penetration makes that a lot more likely. If I were truly a good player, I would probably go for the extra alpha and be better at aiming for weakspots.

I have had good successes in the Valentine. In 30 matches played I have won 17, lost 12, and drawn 1. Along the way I have killed 29 enemy tanks. I have also achieved the Ace Tanker award and two High Calibre medals.

Overall I have enjoyed this tank, but I will not be keeping it. The playstyle is very similar to both the Valentine II and the Matilda. Frankly, the Matilda does it better with the same matchmaking. In comparison the Valentine II has a far worse gun, but only sees Tier IV matches, and is a premium. So I will sell this on and put the crew into the Crusader.

So the blog has been very quiet this last week. There has not been very much reason for this, other than generally being busy at home, and busy at work. Oh, and I have totally gotten out of the habit of writing which doesn’t help anything.

World of Tanks

My tanking this last week has been totally dominated by the April missions to get the T2 LT. This has meant I have played a lot of Tier IV light tanks. Indeed out of the 89 games I have played this last week 41 have been split between the T-80, the M5 Stuart, the M5A1 Stuart, and the Covenanter. This has had some benefits. The first has been lots of practice in scout tanking – to admittedly variable success. It does been I am slowly grinding out the Chaffee, as well as getting the crews of the T-80 and both Stuarts further trained (38 games between just those three). Both the T-80 and the M5A1 are about to 100%, and the M5 is in the mid-90s. I have also managed to get the Ace Tanker on the T-80. Indeed, having got it once I soon got it again in another match. Personally though I think the first of those matches was the most impressive, with probably some of my best ammo selection ever in game (tip – when facing Tier V heavies in a T-80, use premium ammo).

In other tanks I have played a few games on the GW Panther, but I am finding this mostly an exercise in frustration at the moment, though not one without high spots. In comparison I have absolutely stunk in playing the Alecto. I cannot get that tank right, almost no matter what I try. I finished eliting the M4A3E8 Sherman, and otherwise continue my grinds. I have been concentrating on the T29 this week, which continues very nicely. I have also gotten in some games in the IS-4, including this game which probably counts as my best Tier X game so far – despite a couple of absolute terrible shots at the end. Although hardly the best stats, what I liked about it was what I achieved. Lakeville Encounter, north start. Pretty much the entire team charged off into the town, as did I initially. Pretty soon though I reversed course and guarded the valley. First one, and then enemy T-62As came by, joined by a WT-E100, but I managed to hold them off long enough for support to arrive and stop their flanking move. Helped, I must admit, by the WT player who apparently couldn’t aim properly.

My concentration on the missions is so far working – I am very much on schedule. I am also intending to try and get some benefit this weekend from the Anniversary missions.

Kerbal Space Program

I mucked around with building a new rocket for an interplanetary probe mission. It was not successful – not enough oomph to get into orbit. I am going to redesign the launch vehicle because my interplanetary design I do want to test. Basically I need bigger rockets – fortunately I was still using the FT-series rockets so I have plenty of potential to upgrade.

To keep things ticking along however I sent another mission to Minmus using my now proven design, which was another success. I am considering amending that design to try and grab one of these Near Kerbin Objects that have been added in the Asteroid Redirect mission update.

Crusader Kings II

My second king was called the Cruel, possibly quite aptly. He certainly became fairly loathed. He did manage though to expand Tara’s reach in Ireland, by forming the Duchy of Leinster as well. Eventually he had something like three murder plots against him, and the one that succeeded was led by his own son and heir.

Which meant I got a Kinslayer as my ruler – a new experience. In many respects the son is a very capable ruler, in particular with absolutely stellar Stewardship. On the downside when he inherited he was heirless, or rather his heirs were his nephews who were of another dynasty. His ever loving sister, deciding her sons are better than brothers, has a plot for his death. So far he is still alive. Fortunately he and his wife managed to tolerate each other long enough to beget an heir a few years into his reign as well (it appeared that they generally disliked each other). That was actually the start of things looking up – the Pope absolved him of his Kinslaying (apparently removing Daddy wasn’t all bad), a further county was added to realm, and a new town has been founded in Dublin province. Oh, and his wife died of an illness, which mostly allowed him to marry the daughter of the Holy Roman Empire. Just before I stopped playing another child was apparently on the way.

Unfortunately I did miss a dynastic possibility of expanded in Desmond province, but I have managed to get a cadet branch of my dynasty to inherit the Duchy of Orkney.

The Kingdom of England so far has had a very interesting history. I started with William the Conqueror in charge. Eventually he fell to one of Harold II’s sons, one Godwine, who had been sheltering at my court. He in turn was later ousted by his brother, one Magnus, who also had been sheltering in my court. He in turn was challenged – but defeated – an attempt by another brother to seize the throne. I get the feeling that England’s dynastic complications might run on for quite a bit.

Otherwise the first Crusade against Jerusalem has just been called. I am basically going to ignore it at the moment. I think I am next intending to expand into Ulster.

EVE Online

I am still very much enjoying my return to EVE Online. A large part of my EVE activities this last week has been researching CSM candidates, plus yet more changed game mechanics and refreshing myself on other mechanics. I think this is going to last a while.

My activities though are starting to have more direction. For example, last night I started some courier missions on one of my characters that wants to be able to use a particular research agent. It will be a bit of a grind that, but courier missions have the advantage of being things I can walk away from (by pressing the dock button) very easily if Melian wakes up.

I really hope to write a couple of EVE posts in the next week.

Managed quite a bit of gaming over the last week, despite various health troubles. Getting some sense of how playing both World of Tanks and EVE is going to work.

World of Tanks

There is a chance this month to get the Tier II premium T2 LT tank for completing a series of missions. I am going to try to do this, and it appears to be achievable. It does require playing rather more SPGs and light tanks than I have been doing recently, but this is not perhaps a bad thing. It has meant some frustrating, and some enjoyable games so far on my GW Panther. Also some more practice with scouting.

Otherwise I have now had my first game on the Panther II. That was a disappointing loss. I have also managed a few more games on the IS-4. I am still getting used to the higher level of competition there. I really am going to try to play at least one game in it a day, however, as I figure playing Tier X is just a good way to improve overall. I am also have good success in training up a crew on the VK3601H for the VK4502 Ausf. A. My ordinary grinds though have already been somewhat disrupted by trying to fulfil the missions for the T2 LT, and this is likely to continue throughout the month.

World of Warplanes

Played some with my friend on Monday. On the whole not the most successful evening. Mostly I am just credit-grinding for the last piece of equipment for the Bristol 146 – and in the process also researching the Spitfire Mk I.

Kerbal Space Program

Well, the Asteroid Redirect Mission update has been launched. Certainly something to consider doing in the future. However, one of the great things about this update is that it is now possible to speed up time whilst in the Space Centre, and also in the Tracking Centre. A very great quality of life improvement.

I got Keldos back to Kerbin safely from the top of Minmus. Actually I happened to land him safely on the southern ice-cap, which was quite fun. I also made a simple design change to my current rocket series (by adding a probe control module on top of an empty command module) and rescued Jebidiah from where he had been stranded on the Mün. I put the launcher down just 2.6km away, which meant a relatively easy ride using the jetpack. This was, however, the second attempt. The first attempt … well, I forgot to extend solar panels so the batteries powering the probe module went dead. The inert probe is now leaving Kerbin orbit to spend a long time floating in an orbit somewhere between Kerbin and Eve.

I am undecided whether to next attempt to get an asteroid, or whether to do an interplanetary probe. I am leaning towards the latter. Or maybe even do something like purposefully strand Jebidiah on the surface of Laythe or something.

EVE Online

Still very much in re-orientation mode. I have spent some time mining, some more time missioning, but mostly just travelling around picking up bits and pieces. I wish to get back into T1 industrial activity, but I am unsure of where I want to setup my market. For certainty not one of the big market hubs, but somewhere a little quieter.

Another aspect of this is going to have to be re-organising my production spreadsheet. The “Spreadsheets in Space” meme does have a certain truth to it. Having cast around some of the other resources, I still think my old spreadsheet generally fits my purposes best, but it does require updating. In particular ship BPOs have a set of extra mineral requirements. While this may seem like “work”, it is in fact going to be a good way to get a better handle on what things are and are not profitable right now. Also of course there are some more modules in the game, and a handful of new destroyers and a new frigate. I have picked up some BPOs for those, and I will need to see if there are any others I require.

I also am going to go around and try and pick up some of the random stuff I have lurking around so many places. There is quite a bit of isk tied up in some stations that I might as well realise.

Crusader Kings II

With both Sons of Abraham and Rajas of India acquired and installed, it was time to start up a game. I have started up a game in 1066, William the Conqueror start, as the ruler of Dublin. A nice place to try and get a handle on this marvellously complex game. So far I have inherited Leinster from my father, claimed and conquered a third, and have just laid claim to a fourth. Along the way I am now on my second ruler.

This is very much a training game, as I am not sure yet who I want to try on to first try and play through to the end.

 

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