Banter 16: Known unknowns

This is my response to Eve Blog Banter #16 by CrazyKinux.

Its quite hard for me to think way back about what I wish I knew that I know now. Primarily because a lot of what I learned early on is no longer applicable in the game. However, I’ll give it a shot.


Players from beta had an advantage in this regard. While all the regions – and the galaxy in general – was completely different, players from beta already had corporations and coalitions planned for May 2003 when the game launched. They knew heading out en-masse to 0.0 would be the most profitable venture, and they knew that isk was king.

On the one hand I wish I knew this as well, especially since I spent the first few months of my time just mining, because missions were completely crap, and there weren’t any rats worth killing. The only real alternative was trading, and it wasn’t quite what I envisioned when I was reading a preview for the game. But on the other hand, if I had ventured out into 0.0 to mine and make it rich, its doubtful I would ever have met the group of people that I did, and that matters more to me than any money (virtual or real).

Charisma doesn’t matter

To be fair, there’s a whole load of skills now that use charisma, but its still a second thought to most pilots. I pumped everything into charisma when I started. This was before the more recent addition of every race/bloodline starting with the same base attributes. I was under the mistaken impression that a higher skill in Empathy would allow me to ‘barter’ in a way and subsequently buy NPC goods at lower prices and sell high. This mistaken idea is partly what lead me to re-roll to Minmatar; something I have never regretted.

At the time there was a few trade skills and one or two social skills. I’m not sure leadership even existed, but don’t quote me on that. So having loads of charisma made you totally gimped.

Check zeros

This happens to everyone at some point. Its late, you’re in the arse-end of nowhere, you need to go to bed before you fall asleep on your keyboard and end up with ‘QWERTY head’ syndrome. To achieve this, you need to get back to your personal/corp HQ ASAP. Shuttle time then!

Except that shuttle cost 10-100x what it should have, and checking the transaction log, it shows you bought it from ‘Joe King’. That’s isk you ain’t getting back.

Check zeros. Count them. Do this if you are feeling even slightly weary or tired. If you deal in large amounts of isk for orders or whatever, count them even if you’re awake.


That’s my three for personal stuff. I want to add a little something about trust though.

Its a common misconception that you cannot trust anyone in Eve. This is patently untrue. Yes, there are many many instances in the press and on the forums pointing to abuse of or complete failure of trust. This is more to do with mass media and sensationalism. If there was a news post about “largest e-bank in Eve doesn’t scam anyone, you’re money is still safe”, it would be forgotten… Actually, I lie, people would take their money out pretty fast, assuming something dodgy was going on… But that all feeds from the notion that we can’t trust each other.

I was there for Morbor. This was the first (that I’m aware of) pyramid scheme scam in Eve. I actually made some money out of it, since I sent a small amount and got decent returns to entice me into ‘investing’ more, which of course I never did, because I’m not a chump. Lots of people were though, and he disappeared with over a billion isk at a time when a billion was a hell of a lot.

Anyway, I’m rambling, which I tend to: you may have noticed.

The point is, most people are trustworthy in Eve. Use common sense when dealing with anyone though. Contracts in local are scams – not always true, but rule of thumb. Give other pilots money by all means, but do so under the assumption that you’ll never see that isk again – much like the ‘only fly what you can afford to replace’ rule for ships. Also, if someone gives you isk, its a bribe. Always. *waves to Tyrrax*

Go live in low-sec

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I’ve had some stuff to deal with in meatspace that’s unlikely to subside just yet, but we’ll see.

I want to state first, that I am aware that this will not apply to miners for the most part – generic asteroid belts in low-sec are completely bonkered: Much more risk, and less reward than sitting in a comfy 0.8. The balance is totally out of whack with that one, so I’m saying right now that I won’t try to apply this to miners.

Go live in low-sec for more varied gameplay. At first it may not be obvious. Its a well-known fact that the agents in low-sec dish out better rewards and isk, but what else is there to do? Well, for a start, the exploration sites are much richer, and if wormholes float your boat, there’s a much higher chance of you getting a decent class 3 than if you were grinding away in Dodixie or wherever.

Also, there’s better static complexes. You don’t need anything amazing to run a 2-3/10. I lived in a nice little 0.2 system for about 18 months, and there were 2 static complexes within two jumps that respawned roughly every 1h 40m. Just casually running these in an assault frig or interdictor netted me about 100-200m a week for virtually zero effort – and you could make a whole load more if you were dedicated. Yes, there were other people wanting to do the same. Yes, you had to be quick off the mark after DT to establish respawn times. Yes, you could (and will) get shot at: so shoot back!

“But there pirates, and probers, and loot thieves – oh my!” This is a complaint I hear a lot. For the most part, pirates can be avoided in day-to-day life. Unless they get bored, 90% of them will be camping chokepoints into/out of low-sec, which is why Amamake, Bosena, Hagilur, and whatever non-Minmatar equivalents have such a bad name for it. In some cases its unavoidable. Taking Amamake as an example: its loaded with agents. The pirates know this as well as any learned mission runner, which is why its garnered the nickname of ‘Amagankme’. As a rule, I advise against such ‘honeypot’ systems, since you are near-guaranteed to get jumped on by ne’er-do-wells at various points when you are totally unprepared for it.

So, what else was there? Ah yes, loot thieves. You have them in high-sec as well, they just nick your salvage rather than your loot. That’s (probably) about 50% of the loot value for the entire mission anyway. If someone does that in low-sec, shoot the bastards. Simple.

That leaves us with probers, which are a bit like loot thieves with teeth – they don’t want your loot or wrecks, they want your shiny faction or t2 mods once they’ve blown you up and (optionally) made you cry. Rarely they will ransom you like run-of-the-mill pirates, and frequently they have prober-alts who are very good at finding you for their mains to kill. Directional scanner is your friend, for obvious reasons.

So the risk is high sometimes, and you will at somepoint lose your ship. You aren’t flying anything you can’t afford to replace anyway though… Right? Its good practice to assume (at least a nagging feeling in the back of your mind) that you’ll lose your ship on each mission – it cushions the blow if you do, and reassures you if you don’t. If you can afford to lose your boat in high-sec, you can afford to lose it in low-sec as well. The difference is you might lose it in an actual fight rather than to some really poor AI. I know I’d rather be beaten by someone who thinks and analyses rather than targets and sets to orbit. Its embarrassing.


Preparation is half the battle. Scope out the local inhabitants. If there’s good agents in the system, check out who runs missions based on their standings, then ask them if there’s an alternate-local channel where friendlies can chat. It might not seem like much, but if you can coordinate a group of mission runners who actually pay attention to local and their scanners, you can sometimes catch the probers at their own game – setting traps and scanning them down as well. If there isn’t such a channel, make one yourself, and slowly bring people in that you know are there to make isk (without killing other peeps) like you.

Once you have this channel, you can use it for passing intel, as well as forming up impromptu fleets when running missions if you’re unsure. This allows you all to warp to member (A) should they suddenly start screaming that there’s a prober on their tail – which of course they’ll have an incling off because they’re using the directional scanner.

Intel is so important in this situation. In low-sec you can suddenly find yourself with many hostiles in local very quickly. This is usually a cyno hot-dropping a fleet for some purpose. Make sure everyone in your channel broadcasts something like “friendly cyno” when they are bringing one or more things in so the rest of the inhabitants don’t get spooked.

Take a PVP ship. This one throws people sometimes. You need something PVPable in the area, so when the time comes you’re ready to hop ship into something that you know will do a whole lot better than that shiny mission ship. If you explore as well, chances are you can very easily re-purpose that covert ops frig you use to probe out pirates. I’d advise having a support ship, and a damage dealer. What sort of support is up to you, and may well be worth discussing with your local group.

For the more seasoned players – and this is not really something I advise, I just find it fun to do – Park a carrier in another station in the system: Ideally one with no agents. Its unlikely to be ‘tube-tanked’ by any pirates because they see no logical reason for their carebear prey to be going there. In addition, make a jump clone there if possible. This is fantastic sneaky-ops, because when they think they have you pinned in station, you can hop to the other station, jump in something big and scare the bejesus out of them. They’ve already checked if you’re in station, and they haven’t seen you leave local, so they know you haven’t logged. Lots of fun!

There’s plenty more tips and hints I’m sure. Leave a comment if you can think of any, and if you want more specific advice, see this guide by my friend Mori; From Carebear to Werebear.

What’s in a name?

Back in early January, I planned to revamp and relaunch my blog: The one you’re looking at now. As part of that, I was researching various domain names. I wanted something simple to remember, easy to type, and vaguely Eve-related.

Initially, I found that had expired from its previous owner in December. Being the noob that I was (and arguably still am), I waited a little while in the hopes it would get deleted. After a couple of weeks I started researching the admin and ‘pendingDelete’ periods and calculated that the domain would become available at some point on 28th February.

Not really wanting to wait all that long to relaunch – I had things I wanted to blog about! – I went with an old favourite,, because both my main characters are Minmatarts if I’m being totally honest. It also happens to be the name of my super-old webcomic about Eve that I started building at the very beginning of 2004: Minmatarts.

Minmatarts logo

Logo for the titular Minmatarts webcomic way back in 2004

I checked up on yesterday. At midday it was still pending. 2pm still pending. Then I had to go out and run some errands in town before the shops shut. 5pm, status: OK. ‘Ah well’ thinks I, you snooze you lose, and at least I wasn’t hanging on it all that time before starting my blog: That would have made me grumpy and at the same time been a stupid mistake to make.

I decided to check it out; see what the new owners were up to… Domain reseller. They don’t even intend to do anything with it other than sell it. That’s just depressing.

I investigated further, out of idle curiosity, to see how much they wanted for this ‘valuable commodity’. They don’t, but you can enter a bid to buy it from them… for a minimum bid of $1000. Bastards.

Long story short: I don’t so much care that I didn’t get the Minmatar domain name, but it makes me sad that it won’t be used properly – by someone in the Eve community.