Reflections on CCI

By Gergoran Moussou

On September 11, 2019, I became the ninth person to complete the requirements of the Cross-Campus Initiative after around four months of participation in events around the various campuses.

Like most people who join EVE University, I started at HSC. The most popular activities there, mining and mission running, were what I had been doing solo after finishing the Career Agent missions, so it was a fairly easy transition. The community was quite helpful for getting started. Even though I was unable to pull any L4 missions (and still lack the standings for the agents in Amygnon, since almost all of my solo missions at HSC were with Roden Shipyards). They gave me some good tips on how to do those activities and what ships I should train into for those activities, most notably when I was running L3 missions in a Drake and someone suggested that I train into a Dominix and then a Rattlesnake. Even when I didn’t have a ship which could help clear missions faster, people were glad to let me come along and salvage. However, the general focus of the campus meant that I was mostly on my own for what became my preferred activity: PVP. At this time, E-Uni rarely had PVP fleets scheduled, so most of my PVP was solo roams through nearby Low-Sec space (I had no victories). The first war after this year’s wardec changes was an incentive to do this more: T1 frigates are much more expendable than the Gila which I was using to run missions, so I spent more time outside of High-Sec since P I R A T rarely leaves High-Sec. Eventually, because I was spending most of my time in Low-Sec, for both PVP and exploration (since I found it very lucrative to dive into wormholes in the area), I decided to move to the Low-Sec Campus. My core impression of HSC’s community is that it’s full of people who like to do their own thing while enjoying each other’s company in voice communications, but will generally welcome you to join in if you want to join in on what they are doing.

When I arrived at LSC, I had in mind that it wouldn’t be a long-term stay and that after a while, I would check out a different area of space, either NSC or WHC. However, it quickly became a campus that I was reluctant to move away from. I joined during a golden age for the campus. The incredible work that Urban Oxide, the campus manager put into the campus made it easy to do everything out of there. The community was smaller than HSC, but hugely active and eager to do stuff together. No matter when I logged in (some days, my work schedule made EUTZ more convenient, others, USTZ, and I often did both a couple of weeks into my stay at LSC when I began several weeks of unemployment), there were people eager to do stuff. Usually, that stuff to do involved roaming around in small ships (mainly T1 and navy frigates) to find fights, so I found plenty of fights. One experience which I found at LSC, which I did not experience at all at HSC was interacting with the neighbors. When I was at HSC, I didn’t pay attention to who the neighbors were at all. Because LSC has more interactions with other players (often involving the exchange of ordnance), I kept track of who else roamed CalGal, both to consider what I might be up against and because some of them ended up becoming my friends. Even now that I have moved to a different campus, I keep my medical clone here and generally stage my fleets from here because it is a more convenient location than any other campus for roaming CalGal.

After a few weeks at LSC, I ended up at my current home, the Wormhole Campus. The first thing that I noticed was that there was significantly less room for doing stuff as individuals than the other campuses. I arrived at an unusual moment: after finally applying to WHC after weeks of procrastination, my first visit ended up being to defend some structures which got reinforced in the same weekend that I applied, before I was actually accepted. This mostly involved sitting docked in the Astrahus with a lot of other people waiting in a Retribution in case someone ended up showing up for the timer (fortunately, this didn’t happen, but that was an incredibly boring three hours). After this, I had the opportunity to do a more normal WHC activity, PVE harvesting, because Bacon (WHC’s C3 static) connected to a system with a Low-Sec static to Eugales (LSC’s home system). They formed up a harvester, so I refit one of my Confessors (since it was a Wolf-Rayet system) and joined them for it, making more ISK per hour during that than any other PVE activity that I had done to that point before logging off. I got accepted to the campus that evening, while I was on the way to the staging system for a non-Uni fleet, so as soon as I got back, I moved my scanning Anathema and the aforementioned Wolf-Rayet Confessor into my new home. More than any other campus, things are unpredictable due to the nature of wormholes, so while I have called this my home, there aren’t often any planned events and I therefore didn’t count anything at WHC toward the requirements for CCI. Some days, I’ve been in multiple intense PVP events, I’ve also spend fairly long periods without seeing much PVP in the WHC chain. Some days, we’ve rolled into great systems for PVE (the two main requirements being a small number of connections and a large number of combat anomalies), other times we’ve ended up with systems that either had no PVE content or were too dangerous for it. The main thing that it doesn’t have which LSC has is accessible solo content: as someone who hasn’t trained into any sort of cloaky combat ship yet, I can’t really hunt the chain yet in something which can engage targets that I might find. For this reason, I keep a stock of ships at LSC for use when I feel like solo-roaming. However, the teamwork-focused nature of wormhole living has made the WHC community into an extremely close-knit one.

In addition to the three campuses which I’ve used as my primary home, I’ve done stuff at a few other campuses. The first campus which I checked out was the Null-Sec Campus. I went over for a visit a week or two after moving into HSC and got set up with a ratting ship. Unfortunately, my early visits to NSC ended up being a false start: while I ended up appearing on a killmail for the first time, I got the impression that people there generally flew ships which I couldn’t fly yet (having barely trained into cruisers at the time), so I stayed away from NSC for a while. However, I later ended up returning for some scheduled roams and mining operations. I found the roams to be quite enjoyable as a change of scenery from my usual areas of Placid and Black Rise, while the mining operations gave me some great ISK. My experience of the Amarr Mining Campus has been a pretty good one. I’ve participated in a couple of mining operations on my primary character and many more on my alt which I keep at AMC (sometimes I mine while doing something on my main, sometimes I mine while sitting docked up on my main because of stuff going on in the chain, sometime I mine while not logged into my main, but there’s always something to mine, preferably ice). The community down there is fairly laid-back and relaxed, so when I’m down there, I generally enjoy the social aspect of the campus. I’ve often found amusement in how the mindset of the other miners down there differs from mine with regard to PVP. It was even funnier when the opposite occurred one time and I went on a rather long explanation to some people in WHC’s Mumble channel about which ores are the best to mine and why, despite there being almost no mining of anything other than gas at WHC (although I try to mine some ice whenever we get a shattered system near enough to be worthwhile). The last campus which I really participated in (aside from a couple of visits on my own over the months before I made my way over there) was Project Solitude. Again, like the other campuses in High-Sec space, this is a fairly laid-back community, but the isolated nature has its own appeal which I particularly like. I’m working on setting up some things to do in this location specifically to take advantage of that isolation.

Both times when I changed my primary campus, it took a bit over a week to get fully situated at the new campus. The first time, it was mainly for financial reasons. After moving to LSC and dedicating most of my game-play time to PVP, I ended up both making significantly less ISK and losing a lot more ships, so whenever I saw HSC mission fleets scheduled, I flew over because I hadn’t yet figured out how to make much ISK in Low-Sec. The transition from LSC to WHC was more because I felt overwhelmed by how much more demanding wormhole living is at first and I hadn’t gotten used to the idea that content might be different from day to day yet. Unfortunately, LSC’s golden age concluded soon after I got myself fully situated at WHC (the campus manager stepping down for real-life reasons and the assistant manager leaving E-Uni resulted in a lot of services being suspended and player engagement at LSC dropping significantly).

Finally, I noticed when adding myself to the wiki page for CCI medalists that I had directly interacted with the majority of previous medalists in earning it. Esca Sinak, the last person before me, does not interact with me very often but was in the first fleet that I scheduled and has processed many of my SRP requests. Psychotic Fickity was one of the first people who I remember encountering after joining E-Uni and being introduced to people in Mumble, and ran the first few events that I participated in. Penelore was no longer involved with FCC by the time that I started taking fleets out, but her alt which remained in E-Uni for a few weeks after that was in my first fleet and talking with her in LSC Mumble gave me a lot of informal advice on how to run fleets. She was also one of the people who most strongly encouraged me to head over to WHC. Mike Kingswell is a common fixture at any HSC event that I’ve logged in for during EUTZ hours, particularly when I’ve shown up for the monthly shared can (otherwise known as Mike’s Bounty Mining) and was very helpful when I first posted a fleet on the calendar, suggesting a good route (which I ended up following for the most part). Budda Sereda left E-Uni before I joined, but he still participates in FCC Slack and I’ve gotten some helpful feedback from him.

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INTERVIEW SERIES: NEW FLEET COMMANDERS

Interview with: Ky Hanomaa
by Gergoran Moussou

Image result for EVE ONLINE FLEET CARACAL

Jumping into a fleet can be a daunting though highly entertaining endeavor for a new player.  It can be an even more daunting prospect for new fleet commanders upon whose shoulders rest the success of the mission, the ships employed, and in some cases the capsuleers themselves. Eve University, a premier teaching corporation within the New Eden universe, provides opportunities to learn the aspects of fleet dynamics.  Recently staff writer Gergoran Moussou was able to sit down in virtual space and talk to one of our first-time fleet commanders, Ky Hanomaa, about his experience.

GM: Your first fleet was a kitchen sink frigate Noobs on Patrol fleet, correct? Why did you pick that instead of a doctrine such as BLAP Merlins?

KH: I just enjoy picking my own stuff and not being restricted to doctrine when running with small numbers. On top of that, I don’t need to coordinate with Logi.

 GM: Prior to that, you had a fair bit of experience with PVP. Did it feel any different jumping the gate to the first fight as FC than it did when as a scout or another role?

KH: Not really, the only thing that was different was actually ‘preparing’ the fleet and the expectations that might be tied to running an official fleet as opposed to an AdHoc fleet, which kind of did put a slight bit of pressure on me in the beginning. That stuff usually vanishes after the first engagement as kills are the ultimate icebreakers. Or just having something to shoot at, no matter how small it is.

 GM: How did you feel about your performance as FC afterwards?

KH: The first fleet was a little starved for content and we did run into the issue of a few people engaging a non-flashy target on a gate without having a proper rundown on bouncing. The feedback I received after the fleet was positive however and I was able to reflect on all mistakes I made during the fleet.

GM: What kind of adjustment to your FC style did you make in response to the feedback?

 KH: Actually include gate-gun mechanics and bouncing during the newbro-speech as well as being more open to take fights that might cost me a few ships, and most importantly, make sure I have at least one experienced scout.

GM: I think that might have actually been the fleet when I lost my Kestrel to gate guns even though I knew better. Do you remember what your newbro speech focused on?

KH: I actually struggle to remember, but I certainly said that I wasn’t going to take non-flashy targets on gates since we didn’t have the proper set-up to do so. Probably basic movement commands and broadcasts.

GM: I think I remember what happened with the gate guns now. Wasn’t it that there was a miscommunication and a flashy jumped at the same time as another ship with orange -5 standings?

KH: Yes, the scouts reported a ‘red’ Hecate and an ‘orange’ Republic Fleet Firetail. The Hecate was flashy, so I called to tackle it, but it got away. About three of our guys ended up aggressing the Firetail which turned out to have negative standings with the Uni.

GM: How did you plan your route, did it take long to plan it?

KH: Not really, as my time roaming solo around the area gave me a good idea of which systems regularly offer content during each respective TZ. I was also fortunate to have guys in the vanguard that I could detach to check out systems that weren’t directly on the route while our scouts went to +1.

GM: You’ve staged fleets out of both HSC and LSC. Which campus do you prefer to stage out of, and are there any other campuses out of which you would like to stage fleets?

KH: I liked the flexibility the LSC Market in Archavoinet offered, but with that gone now, I’ll stage from HSC because it turns out that it makes it easier for the newbros as well, of which I appear to get plenty. As for the future, I might consider staging from NSC once I get a good idea of how fleet engagements work in Null as opposed to Low. My NoP Fleets will still stage from HSC, though.

GM: Do you have any advice for people who are thinking about taking out their first fleets?

 KH: Try to attend as many fleets as possible and fill each of the roles a bunch of times – especially scout. It will make it far easier to detect and understand any issues especially newbros could have in these positions. Which in turn helps approaching and solving said issues as swiftly as possible to resume the fleet. It will also give you knowledge about different ship types and understanding what is engageable and what is not.

GM: You might be the most experienced scout who I’ve flown with in the Uni. How much did that help you?

KH: I generally know how much time the scouts need, when to basically ‘give up’ a system and move on as well as evaluating which targets call for vanguard and when a minor spike in local (by the vanguard) is acceptable. I’m also able to give my scouts direct feedback and help them improve and become more efficient in their own scouting-game.

GM: What kind of ships do you like flying? What is your favorite ship to fly in general (solo or fleet, PVP or otherwise), and why?

KH: For PvP, especially solo, I like flying kitey ships. The Imperial Navy Slicer is probably my favorite, followed by the Retribution. I’ve also tried the Garmur, although I find missiles kind of weird and the Garmur a little too pricey. I also like to fly bombers, be it in small gangs or Blops fleets, as the cloak paired with the NullSec Blackout make for really interesting engagements. I generally dislike brawling, as sitting beside each other trying to simply out-dps and/or out-rep your opponent just feels less accomplishing in my opinion. This might be interesting in larger fleet engagements, but when I fly solo I like to try and outmaneuver my opponents and get as much as I can without being caught.

GM: What doctrines are you interested in trying to FC? And which ones have you enjoyed flying? You’ve mentioned Blops, but what else?

KH: I honestly haven’t thought about it much, as the sole reason for me to FC was to provide PvP content for the newbros.   Since I don’t enjoy larger engagements and prefer the Hit-and-Run-Style I would be semi-interested in trying out a kitey doctrine. I also plan on starting to hunt for Blops Fleets under Bomber’s Bar or Spectre Fleet to get the fundamental experiences needed to eventually FC said fleets in a few years. Both of these kind of doctrines are hard to run with the Uni, as they either require you to have enough SP or good manual piloting skills, so I’m not really sure as to whether there’s much sense running them. 

Thank you Ky for being our first New Fleet Commander Interview! Keep doing what you are doing!

Make Magic 14 Work for you

By: Gergoran Moussou

Are you wondering what to do with those free skill points handed out recently by CCP or what to do with all those skill points you are racking up by killing NPCs?   CCP recently referenced Eve University’s WIKI article on the “Magic 14” as a good place for these points. The Magic 14 is the foundation of any well-skilled character, though it will take a while to max them out, but since the free skill points can’t cover everything, it’s a good idea to have some pointers on how to prioritize those skills. While my specific examples discuss how skills would be prioritized on a character with Omega Clone status, the same core concepts apply to Alpha characters, that one should consider which skills provide benefit while flying one’s intended ships.

The first thing to consider is what you plan on doing with your character and what kind of ships you plan on flying for those activities. Regardless of activity, the optimal ships have basic requirements beyond the Magic 14.  But the Magic 14 do form the foundational basis for piloting and surviving in New Eden.  

For exploration, one of my primary ways to earn the ISK which I spend on ships to use in PVP, the main ship options beyond the basic T1 exploration frigates are T2 covert ops frigates and the Sisters of EVE line of ships, specifically the Astero and Stratios. To sit in the Sisters of EVE line, a character needs Amarr and Gallente skills for the relevant hull size, either frigate or cruiser (and cruiser requires Frigate III of the same empire anyway), so an exploration-focused character needs to mix the Magic 14 in with the basic prerequisites. Aside from better scanning probe strength at Covert Ops IV and V and faster scanning probe speed, the SOE ships either outperform or equal the T2 frigates in PVE exploration activities (while their difficulties in CPU make combat probing impractical). The biggest advantage is that they can engage in combat (many people can attest to the Astero being a capable J-Space hunter ship). While Covert Ops frigates do have weapon bonuses, I would never bother putting a rocket launcher on one of my Anathemas. It just doesn’t have enough durability for it to be worthwhile and an exploration fit already takes up two of the three high slots with the cloak and probe launcher. SOE ships solve both of these problems: Amarr hull skill and ample low slots provide good armor tank for durability and a substantial drone bay allows for combat engagements without spending high slots on weapons (with Gallente hull skill making these some of the most effective drone ships of their hull size). This combat bonus allows an explorer in a SOE ship to take on sites which a T1 or Covert Ops pilot would have to ignore, while also providing a chance at fighting back if unfriendly local players show up.

Because the SOE ships are armor-tanked, the priority skills from the Magic 14 for exploration are Mechanics and Hull Upgrades. Furthermore, their limited CPU means that CPU Management is the next one down. Because the only modules on a standard Astero fit which are likely to use a decent amount of capacitor are the propulsion and repair modules, an explorer does not need to prioritize the capacitor skills until later (with the Stratios’s additional high slots and bonus to energy turrets, which consume the most capacitor of any weapon type), but anyone who has ever run out of capacitor due to a long warp can attest to Warp Drive Operation being a useful skill. Furthermore, there are two other skills which an explorer absolutely needs: Cloaking IV allows equipping a module which is absolutely necessary when flying an exploration ship other than the T1 frigates, while Drones V allows the Astero to use its combat potential. Drones V is such a useful skill across so many ship types that it barely stops short of being as versatile and foundational as the Magic 14, but for ships which use drones as their primary weapon, it is absolutely essential (even for the Guristas line, while the limit of two makes it less important, enough support skills require Drones V that it is essential for those ships as well).

Similarly, combat pilots should consider what ships they plan on flying and how they plan on flying those ships in order to prioritize the Magic 14. Consider a doctrine ship like the E-Uni BLAP Caracal, the backbone of many high-sec mission fleets and ISK-positive QRF fleets defending against war targets. It is a buffer-tanked RLML Caracal, similar to many other corporations’ doctrines for the same ship. A skill plan specifically for this doctrine or a similar one does not generally need much training in capacitor skills because its modules aside from the propulsion module do not use much capacitor. However, if a doctrine uses the Caracal as a newbro ship for people who have not yet trained into the Cerberus, its Tech II counterpart, some Magic 14 skills which are fairly unimportant with the Caracal become essential. Alongside Capacitor Management and Energy Grid Upgrades, which are prerequisites for the Heavy Assault Cruisers skill, Hull Upgrades is essential for the Cerberus because of the Assault Damage Control modules, which drastically increase HACs’ durability if used properly.

One cautionary example about not prioritizing the Magic 14 enough is the mining alt that I recently deployed at E-Uni’s Amarr Mining Campus. In that character’s first mining operation, I had the skills to yield more ore than my main character, simultaneously flying an identical Procurer on the same moon belt, I had trained almost nothing but mining and industry skills on this character at that point and did not realize until I undocked the Procurer that I could not put its T1 shield tank modules online yet (a problem which I immediately adjusted my skillqueue to fix). This same problem repeated itself just over a week later when I undocked my first Industrial Command Ship, a Porpoise, and noticed that while I made sure to ask for Tech I shield tank from the AMC staff selling it to me this time, I forgot to train the Hull Upgrades skill at all, so I was unable to put my Reinforced Bulkheads II module online until the second or third time that I dropped off ore from that first moon extraction and it took a couple more days to make use of the Damage Control II in its other low slot.

A final consideration in prioritizing skills within the Magic 14 is that T2 ships are often much harder to fit, especially since they tend not to be worth the added expense over a T1 hull without T2 modules, which take up more fitting space than T1. The first ship that I ever trained specifically for was the Vengeance, the close-range-focused Amarr assault frigate. I put together a decent fit and bought the modules for it. While I set up a skill plan such that I could use all T2 modules before I trained the T2 ship skill, but when I first tried flying the ship, I noticed that I had neither the CPU nor the power grid to run all four Rocket Launcher II’s, so I needed to train the relevant skills up from IV to V.

In short, most people have some idea of what ships they want their characters to fly. While the Magic 14 are unique in that they benefit all ships, they do not benefit all ships equally. Therefore, while all skill plans should eventually cover the Magic 14, some skills deserve higher priority than others depending on the intended ships. While most of this is with regard to the hard attributes of the ship such as what kind of tanking and weapons it uses, softer aspects such as that an exploration ship is probably going to make frequent long warps are also important considerations.

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Eve North

Pictured: Dairek Alamari [E-Uni], John Silverfox [E-Uni], Zaenis Desef [G4NKS], Professor Academiac [E-Uni]

AFTER ACTION REPORT!

It was strange… and for many, unexplored space. It beckoned. It was out there, waiting. Unistas answered the call, gearing up and intentionally traveling for an encounter on a level previously unexperienced. These brave Unistas; some veterans, some new bros, boarded their various craft and landed on grid near the mighty CN Tower in Toronto, Ontario. They fought the blazing heat of the summer star in the frozen lands of the north known as Canada for the op properly named “Eve North”. The following Eve University players are known to have been spotted in local: Dairek Alamari, John Silverfox, Minerva W Metis, Professor Academiac, Mhzentul Lafarius, and Knicpaw.

So, what is it that these Unistas think makes Eve Online one of the most popular MMO games around? Is it the fact that they belong to a popular and long-standing entity inside the game that encourages Friendship and comradery? ( Yes, Eve University, this means you!) “A genuine moment of happiness when you’d spot an E-Uni logo; when you’d see a familiar name tag; or recognize a familiar voice from E-Uni comms. These were people that I spent countless hours of my life having fun with. Capsuleers with whom I’d shared laughs, intense fleet fights and strat ops, silly Internet spaceship arguments, and heated debates throughout the years. They are friends that I’ve never really got to truly know, and then suddenly got to finally meet with them in person! It was euphoric!” Quote by Professor Academiac

Yes, Eve Online players will happily hunt people down in all areas of space even taking down a newbro in a wormhole only to turn around and invite him to join Eve University then chase you down in real world space and try to drink you under the table. CCP hosted both an Axe throwing event and a pub crawl on Friday, a curious conjunction of activities. (Our intelligence operatives are a bit fuzzy on the details regarding the pub crawl but the general assessment is that around 200 Eve players went in and 200 came out having had a great deal of fun, though what transpired in pub-space is still a bit hazy.)

As Alamari so well stated, at the end of the day the game is about the people who play it. “Eve North was a surreal and incredible experience. Witnessing 500 players put aside their in game conflicts, and politics to come together sharing stories, interests, food and the occasional argument was nothing short of amazing. This event also gave me the privilege of actually meeting some great individuals who I spend time talking with everyday. These are memories I will have forever.”

What was Eve North? It was a gathering of real-world people, players and developers, to share some time together in formal and informal settings June 21-23, 2019 talking about the game that tens upon tens of thousands of people play every day. The event provided a series of workshops touching on many aspects of the game focusing on improvements to be made including hints at what we have seen develop in the weeks since of smarter NPC’s and bots being hammered. The evenings provided opportunities for UNI folks to share dinner and not a few drinks with not only alumni of Eve University but members of other alliances. And of course there was always the “after party”. Unistas headed to what was generously described as a “shady divehole” proving perfectly comfortable to wormhole divers such as Alamari as they enjoyed drinks and the music of the cover band playing homage to CCP Guard and Permaband. Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the response of the uninitiated Uber driver to his passenger’s frank discussion of the virtue of bombs, missiles and torpedoes.

Have we mentioned yet, the great adventure of our brave Unistas in their valiant hunt for a Mining permit? They scouted high! They Scouted low and behind stray plants ( foreign objects unknown to these capsuleers), in their quest to find the Mining permit guy ( They were unaware of the guys name)! We are glad to announce they found him and even took a moment to pose for a picture, to mark this mission complete. Thank you Zaenis Desef. Your contribution to this experience will forever be marked by the Mining permits and a photo op!

Upon returning from this newly explored space in the universe what did these Unistas carry back to Eve space with them? “It was a weirdly great experience for a new player who knew little to nothing about Eve and the New Eden Universe…I love the social aspect of Eve.” Said Minerva W Metis . So do we Minerva, so do we. Fly Safe! Fly Dangerously! But Fly!

Special thanks to John Silverfox, Dairek Alamari, Professor Academiac, and Minerva W Metis for sharing their experience with us.

Also, a big thanks to the Alumni of Eve University who stopped by to say Hi and share stories with the current Unistas during Eve North!



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