May 182011

I’m an idiot pilot.

Ok, maybe “idiot” is too strong a word. “Inattentive” and “complacent” would be more accurate.

I was running level 2 missions in Melmaniel, and swapping my Myrmidon‘s mission fitting for salvaging gear to round up the loot before turning in (yes, I know Myrmidons are overkill for level 2, but it’s all that was nearby). Missions had been in random complexes so I felt fairly safe: Mel was nearly empty to begin with, and I’d run about five prior without incident.

During a run to Costolle I was briefly chased by Misaniovent, of Invicta, while coming out of a station. I warped away before he got a lock on me, but I saw him popping in and out of the system for awhile. While looting the last mission, I noticed he’d been in the system for a long time, and it briefly crossed my mind he might be hunting for me. In true ADD fashion, that thought came and went too quickly to “stick” and act on, and I paid for it.

Suddenly, he appeared in the mission area and started targeting. I returned targeting, flipped on my armor reppers, and tried to warp to my safe spot.

Too late.

He got a lock, warp-scrambled me, and started shooting. My reppers held out briefly, but I’d replaced two of my energized plating modules for cargo expanders (unnecessarily, as it turned out), and I had no weapons; just three each of tractor beams and salvagers.

He got through shields, armor, and into structure before hailing me, paraphrased below.

Misaniovent: “Pay me 40 million and you can keep your Myrmidon.”

Me (quickly adding up the replacement cost): “Deal.”

Mis: “Pay now.”

(The corp wallet is quickly robbed, and far too much money changes hands)

Mis: “You have 15 seconds before I continue firing.”

I warped away, tail between my legs (and on fire).

Mis: “Fly safe.”

I kept the channel open.

Me: “You spent all that time hunting for me?”

Mis: “Not all of it. I had nothing else to do. I thought I was too late, because it looked like you were done there.”

Me: “Almost. I thought I’d put a warp stabilizer on this thing. If so, I might have escaped.”

Mis: “Stabs are bad! You’re better off staying aware of your surroundings, and watching your scanner for probes.”

I didn’t know why stabs were bad, because I had only ever used them on industrials while hauling cargo. Imagine my surprise at the -50% targeting range penalty, per stabilizer. :-O

Now, I have scan probes set to be displayed in my overview, but I never saw them listed before he jumped me. I’m not sure if the number of wrecks pushed them off the visible portion of the list, or if I needed to manually scan for them, or what. Guess I have some research to do.

Also, and I have no idea what this means, the symbol for the Gallente Major Stronghold complex, 8 AU away, also strobed red while Misaniovent was attacking me. Was the complex hostile toward me as well, or was it hostile to him because I have good standing with the Gallente? *headscratch*


So, what lessons did I learn from this?

1. Pay attention to your surroundings and any changes in local behavior.

Misaniovent had not been hanging out in Melmaniel until after he made his first attempt to nail me, then appeared in local and stayed there a long time before attacking. This should have been the first clue, but I ignored the alarm bell in the back of my mind.

2. Mission-generated dungeons are NOT safe spots.

Being inside one doesn’t hide you from scanner probes, and since you’re not moving around much within a “room”, it makes it easer to scan you down.

3. Add scan probes to your overview, if they’re not already.

And make sure you can see them in your list. Also, if there’s another method for knowing you’re being scanned for, I’d love someone to tell it to me.

4. Don’t use an expensive, unarmed combat vessel for salvaging.

Get a cheap cargo cruiser, like an Exequror, and fit it with the minimum Tech 1 gear needed for salvaging: two tractors, two salvagers, afterburner or MWD.

5. Keep a cheat sheet of the replacement cost of your ships and fittings.

This will help you decide quickly whether paying the ransom is worth it, although most professional pirates will know what a reasonable ransom is for a given ship.

Nov 172006

Last weekend I drove up to Port Austin, MI to play the classic Dungeons & Dragons adventure Ravenloft with a group of friends from Bay City and Caro. We stayed in a VERY cool beach house owned by the mother of one of the players; the main part of the house is round, with the main kitchen/dining room facing the bluff that sits about 20' above Lake Huron, and extending all the way up through the second floor to the skylights. I really wish I'd had a camera with me to take some pics of the place, it rocks. We played at the curving kitchen island that extended at least 12' end-to-end, making it FAR too easy to eat and drink more junk food than you could shake a 5 lb. bag of M&Ms at (yeah, we had that too). The weather cooperated perfectly all weekend: heavy clouds, howling wind, and lashing rain that blew straight off the lake at the house. It didn't start to break up until I left Sunday morning.

The adventure was fun: we got started Friday evening with the preliminaries, then dug into the full adventure Saturday around noon, playing until around midnight. I, the gay atheist, played a paladin: a holy warrior of God. Ahh, smell the irony… I have to admit, by about 9:30pm Saturday I was having a nap attack, and was pretty much just phoning it in. I perked back up around 11 and we moved up from the basement family room back to the kitchen for the final push through the castle and battle with Strahd. We were all pretty much burned out by then, and we kind of rushed through the last of it, but that was fine. None of us are the hardcore gamers we were in our teens and twenties.

This week I decided to take a step in cutting back on my gaming, and left my EVE corporation Phoenix Propulsion Labs. They're a great bunch of folks, and really welcomed me, but my heart just wasn't in it, and I have too many games and activities pulling me in too many different directions. My career skills have stagnated, I don't do anything creative anymore and, as exemplified by my non-participation in the National Novel Writing Month contest, I really have nothing to say. So, I stripped my ships, sorted all my gear back into the corporate hangar, sent my reserve cash to the CEO, said my farewells, cancelled the account, and uninstalled the game completely. As for my other games: I really only play DDO once a week with the Bay City/Caro crew, since the game is so weighted against solo play beyond 2nd level, and I've cut back on my City of Heroes time. I still enjoy playing, because it's easy to jump in, play a bit, and jump back out without having to spend hours to accomplish anything, but it really ends up being the same thing over and over.

I've decided to apply to the Apple store at Somerset, part time, after the holidays. I really wanna get Mac knowledge and experience, and I can use the extra money to finance my 24" iMac. Last night I even bought a Mac book to start learning. I haven't been this eager to learn new technology since I first started with firewalls. Hell, maybe it will start a new career path because, in true ADD fashion, I'm bored with the current one. Six years in the same IT field is an eternity for me.

Tonight we're going to see Casino Royale with mrimp and odysseyseven. Almost all reviews, professional and personal, say it's awesome; one of the best Bond movies yet, and Daniel Craig makes the best Bond since Connery. Saturday, brokenbryan is visiting for the rest of the weekend. It'll be good to see him again.

And that's the week in review. Here's Tom with the weather

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Oct 052006

This weekend our buddy Jimmy drove up from Ohio and hung out Friday night and Saturday. We finally made our inaugural trip to IKEA on Saturday, long after everyone else. It was worth the trip, and we managed to spend ONLY $100, not including the meatball lunch. So jummi…

Sunday we hit the Renaissance Festival for the last day of the season, and it was unfortunately a bit of a letdown. While the weather was great and the crowds were heavy, our friends we normally attend these things with were pretty worn out from the previous day's drunken RenFest activities. Two of them even left early, without warning. Disappointed and bored, we left around 3:30. It was a good thing we got there when we did (~11am), because when we left the parking field was nearly full, and the line of cars waiting to get in stretched about two miles down Dixie Highway. My red leather breastplate, black kilt, and sandals got a lot of attention, almost more than I could deal with comfortably. Granted, it was less Medieval and more Roman(ish), but hey, the Romans used to rule Medievia! I just claimed I never got the memo that we were moving back to Rome.

Monday night [info]mrimp and [info]odysseyseven were over for baked chicken, wild rice, and apple crisp, then watched Heroes while the food coma worked itself out. I'm starting to dig that show; it's interesting, intense, and not afraid to get a bit gruesome. It's also so far avoided the corny cliches that seem to attack any show about superpowers. It's only been two episodes, granted, but it's off to a good start. I do agree with [info]lucifyr's partner that all the male characters are whiners. Not an Apollo or Helo in the bunch so far.

In my virtual lives I've joined an established corporation in EVE: Phoenix Propulsion Labs. They seem like a decent bunch so far, and I spent a couple hours last night in a mining operation near one of their stations. Not terribly exciting but hey, it's mining. Hopefully I'll soon get the Mining Barges skill so I can dig out the asteroids faster. It was kind of funny last night to see me mining in a cruiser next to three barges. Kind of the equivalent of using a shovel to assist three backhoes. I'm trying to get my skills trained up so I can get out of the Logistics division in time for the big new expansion, which will include true exploration. I like the idea of snooping through the uncharted outer regions, finding new things to exploit, er, explore.

City of Heroes is going ok, but my interest has waned a bit. Again. Right now our bases are missing due to some database error, which has yet to be sorted out. They better have it restored before the Halloween event, and Issue 8 is released. Lots of good stuff coming up.

Friday is the BSG premiere party at our place, so if any devoted fans want to come watch it on our personal IMAX, let me know. We can all go "Oh shit!" together with each new mindblowing plot twist.

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