Monthly Archives: April 2014

Did it.

The T2 LT is sitting in my garage, very prettily if I say so myself now I have spruced her up with a bit of permanent camo. I haven’t yet taken her out for a spin however, as I needed to be getting on.

One the whole I am very happy to have managed to see how the missions. I thought it would be possible, and indeed it was – but if the requirements had been much stiffer then the chances of me getting the tank would have reduced fairly rapidly. I am also very glad I decided, right at the start, to try and get a certain number of wins in both categories. While they got a little out of whack, this slow plugging away did mean that at the end I wasn’t faced by a mountain of light/spg games to play. For that I am very thankful, as I do not excel at either.

I will try to keep playing some lights and arties however. In particular I am very intrigued by the ELC AMX, and I have just had my first great game in it. I cannot wait to get the top gun. Also I have had unexpected fun on the Bishop. I doubt I will be able to play these tanks every session, but perhaps 3 times a week will be possible.

Mostly though I am glad to out from under the Tier IV restriction. I want to push a bit through the remaining low-tier Japanese tanks, but I haven’t wanted to waste precious battle time on battles that would never count towards the mission.

Still, a good end-result for the weekend.


Got afflicted by the common cold earlier in the week, though thankfully that seems to be passing. Had some very pleasant family diversions over Easter that impacted gaming somewhat, as indeed did the cold, but still managed to do a fair bit – just not all that I had hoped. The fact gaming whilst having a cold meant I was not always in the best frame of mind has meant at times some great frustrations.

World of Tanks

I will be very glad when I have completed the April missions. Almost there! I have just 10 qualifying victories to go with light tanks and SPGs, and about eight to go with mediums, heavies, and TDs. I am aiming to complete them this weekend. I would have said tomorrow, but this evening has mostly been taken up with problems associated with my Sky box. The light/SPG missions I must admit are beginning to get a bit wearing. Both lights and SPGs suffer from the reality they are rarely able to exert as much influence on the battlefield as the other three classes – SPGs because they are too random, and lights because they are too fragile. Part of this comes no doubt from my own general inexperience at both classes, but also because I think Tier IV scout tanks must be one of the least influential tanks in the game. It is not all doom and gloom, however. I have managed some very successful matches, and I have also started to play the ELC AMX. It is not properly upgraded yet – which does make it a bit tricky – and its crew is not yet even at 100%. Both those situations are temporary however, and I can see myself really enjoying this unique little vehicle as time goes by. I am also now most of the way to unlocking the Chaffee on the M5 Stuart. I will persevere with that grind even once the missions are complete, since I am now so relatively close. My M5A1 Stuart crew is also getting nicely into its 1st crew skill, ready for sometime transferring to a higher-tier light. Finally I am enjoying the Bishop, and really starting to appreciate the very high shell arc of British SPGs. I am very much looking forward to the FV304, another unique vehicle. I have also managed to get the Ace Tanker medal on the Crusader (replay), which was quite satisfying.

The concentration on the missions has meant I have played far fewer higher-tier games (I can see the impact of this in my stats). Once I have the mission done I am going to have to get more serious again with my bigger grinds. I am also going to have to nail into a Tier V and Tier VI respectively I wish to push up. So many options!

Crusader Kings II

I could write a very long post about my play session in Crusader Kings II. Much has happened, but in a way what I would mostly write about is something that mostly has not directly involved me. At the end of my previous session I was beginning to eye the four counties in the duchy of Ulster, all independent. In one of these – Tyrone –  I manufactured an easy claim to, and conquered it as it was the only one without allies. Then the earl of Tyrconnel died, and about eight claimants to the throne spread themselves around every other Irish court, mine included. I went to war to install the claimant in the court (under the mistaken impression he would become my vassal – I had misunderstood a game mechanic). This was the start of the Tyrconnel Wars, as I named them in my head.

You see, once I had smashed the Tyrconnel army and taken the holding, and installed my own man, another Irish count declared war against Tyrconnel with his favourite. Tyrconnel didn’t have an army to defend itself. A second Irish lord did so at the same time, and after one’s claimant was installed the other promptly fell to and ousted him installing yet another. This went on for, I think, five or so six goes, and in the process largely exhausted the armies of the various counties of Ulster. This allowed me fairly easy conquests of the other two Ulster counties, after which I proclaimed the duchy of Ulster (really the Petty Kingship), and then persuaded the latest Tyrconnel claimant to swear fealty to me. Along the way, however I had gotten into a war with the Earl of Desmond – the south-westernmost province of Ireland. He had a claimant to the county of Ulster, and had declared war whilst I was sieging the holdings. After I overthrew the previous holder, the war carried over to me. I marched down to that end of the island and subdued him, but since I had no claim could not take the territory.

After all this I declared the Kingdom of Ireland, which is more or less where I left the game. However, it was just fascinating watching – and taking part – of this very turbulent 10-15 year period of history. Along the way my King has acquired the epithet “The Just”. The great love of his life alas died young, so he remarried for a third time to a Princess from Denmark. The two appear to get along reasonably well. Meanwhile the heir is now a grown man, with children of his own, and looks like he will be a competent ruler when his turn comes.

Whilst King of Ireland there are still four provinces I do not control. Connaught I think will most likely voluntarily swear fealty, but it appears that Munster will not. The wars of Irish unification are not over yet, and I am going to try to get them all done with during King Sean’s reign. That would be fitting, and a fitting journey for a man who came to power by killing his cruel and capricious father, but is now known throughout the world as a kind and just ruler, and as a scholar, the man who tamed his irascible people and brought them into the twelve century!

Or something like that 🙂

Kerbal Space Program

KSP is one of those really neat games where you can “play” it without actually logging in. By that I mean I spent plenty of moments this week thining about the re-design of my interplanetary rocket. I am trying to decide whether to go for another un-manned mission, or whether to send Jebidiah out again to possibly get stranded on an alien world. I am also toying with several different rocket designs. At some point I will move from the theoretical and into the construction, but probably not this week.

EVE Online

EVE was very much on the backburner this week, and was the game that suffered most from the limitations on my time. I did get some Distribution missions done on the sly. Not earning great isk of course, but doing well enough in the standings gain for a particular corporation I will likely do again at points. I also started what will likely be a slow laborious process of locating and selling off scattered assets. Largely these are bits and pieces of mission loot lurking around.

Once again though EVE is going to take a backseat this weekend, a decision made easier by Burn Jita (though in all honesty I would not expect to be particularly troubled by BJ3 on the whole, unless some Goons get very lost). It is depressing though. I checked Dotlan today about 1400. Burn Jita 3 appears not to have stared early, but right on downtime. From roughly 20-30 ship kills/hour and 20 pod kills/hour, give a take a few, for the days prior, between DT and 1300 there were about 250 ship kills 60 pod kills. Between 1300 and 1400 about 570 ship kills 150 pod kills, and this is where it so far looks to be stabilising, and perhaps now dropping as the EU timezone signs off (I am writing this at midnight). Sometimes I look at my fellow hi-sec dwellers and shake my head.

Otherwise I am engaged in that other EVE activity – trying to work out how the hell the devs are going to try and break the game in the forthcoming expansion. I would say improve it – and they might well! I mean, it has been known to happen – but six years of watching CCP allows me to exhibit a certain distrust of CCPs follow-through. 🙂

The latest EVE Devblog, Building Better Worlds, continues to reverberate. There is no doubt great changes are coming to EVE, and I am not sure it even possible to overstate how game-shaking these changes have the potential to be (depending on lot on the specifics, which CCP has so far failed to provide). Another announcement this week shows the second side of EVE Online, with the dates for the third iteration of Burn Jita. To which I must rather admit to shrugging my shoulders. Goons (et al) are off to do it again.

I should explain this. When I first subbed in EVE there was a thing going on called Jihadswarm. It was a Goon-organised suicide ganking campaign against Hulks. Indeed it was the forerunner of what later became Hulkageddon, and it was itself preceded by other hi-sec gank campaigns from groups like MoO back in the early days of EVE. Of course, it was a much smaller operation back then – the game was smaller for one thing, and so were the Goons.

We are now six years later – and Goons are still organising suicide ganking campaigns in hi-sec. Some things never change.

Another of the things that never change is also the way so many players do not pay attention to what is going on in the game. Lots of folk will get caught out, and lose their ships, cargoes, pods, and iskies in Burn Jita. It happened in Jihadswarm, it happened in all the Hulkageddons, and it will happen now once again in Burn Jita 3.


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.