Saturday 25 August 2012

Eve Online: Exploring - advanced tutorial

I'm going to wheel things back a little and continue my series on wormhole life by starting at the beginning. Everything in wormholes stems from exploring, a three dimensional geometry minigame that some players don't mind and some players can't stand. (There's a few who actively like the minigame but not many I suspect. For me, I don't mind the minigame but I actively enjoy the results derived from it).

Most Eve players don't do this exploration stuff and regard it as some kind of mystical voodoo that allows veteran players to suddenly materialise on top of you when you thought you were safe in the middle of nowhere. So before you consider wormhole life you need to be able to say Yes to three questions:

1) Am I competent at the minigame?
2) Am I willing to enjoy or at least tolerate repeating this minigame over and over for as long as I live in w-space?
3) Do I have time to spend half an hour or more doing this before I move on to other activities during many of my play sessions (you can do some things in wormholes, ie anomalies, without exploring first but even that's not recommended).

For the first step, competence, do the in-game tutorial and watch the CCP youtube tutorial.

To make my next point I first have to clear up a myth. Exploration has changed several times in Eve and as a result some people cling to old-fashioned ideas that work very well for them but which are not actually rational. The myth is that certain amounts of probes less than your maximum work better. You'll see people claim that their 5 probe pattern is the best possible set up.

To disprove this myth we'll use set theory which is very similar to exploration. When doing exploration we want the point we are looking for to be inside as many bubbles as possible. Have a look at this Venn diagram:

You see the shaded area? How many circles is it inside? It's not a trick question, the answer is three. Now take a look at another example:

How many circles is the shaded area inside? 2.

Now every time someone insists that their pattern of 5 probes works better than dropping your maximum (which is 8 with Astrometrics V) they are asserting one of two things:

1. That there is a point somewhere that is inside more circles when you have less circles out there for points to be inside. For example somewhere in diagram 2 there is a point that is inside more circles than the shaded area in diagram 1.

2. Or that trigonometry doesn't become more accurate the more vectors you have.

Let's consider that for a moment. Which way is Paris? Point to it. Now imagine we have someone in Capetown, someone in Tokyo and someone in London also pointing to Paris and we can take your vector with theirs and look at the cross section. Which is more accurate? It's evident that the more vectors we have pointing towards our target the more accurate we will be.

So never ever listen to someone who tells you that using 5 probes or seven or three works better than dropping your maximum. Always drop your maximum. (The only exception is if you are hunting people and you don't want them to see your probes and you don't want to spend the time dropping all 8 because you know roughly where they probably are. Even here rushing will sometimes produce worse results).

Next we'll talk about dimensions. I had an epiphany many months after I first started scanning. It sounds really obvious after the fact but it's this:

When plotting a point in three-dimensional space there's only three dimensions that matter.

What this translates to is control your probes by using the arrow keys only, don't click and drag the middle square. If you move the whole thing you can't see how you are moving it in 3 dimensions when you are using a 2 dimensional computer monitor. So drag the arrows so you get the probe cluster centred on the dot, then tilt the view 90 degrees and adjust up or down, tilt back and correct.

Let's take it from the top. Get to a safe, align to a celestial, launch all your probes (usually core, you can use combat with good skills), cloak.

Drag one probe upwards using the arrow. Drag one the same distance down.

Drag one out in front, drag one behind.
Drag one left, drag one right.

If you have an 8th probe (Astrometrics V) place it halfway between the centre probe and one of the others. This gives some useful overlap.

Hit Analyze. See what you get.

Click on any one of the arrows, hold alt and drag them all inwards so they form a neat stack.

Tilt the view so you're looking at one of the arrows on a level, so one end of the arrow points right at you, the other side points directly away on the flat.

Move it by shift dragging the cluster so that it's level with the red dot, the sig. This probe cluster is now, as far as we can tell, at the same height as the sig. We'll go on to correct it in all three dimensions so that it'll be right on the sig.

Tilt the perspective up 90 degrees so you're looking straight down on it relative to where you were before. (So what we've done is change the view so that we're now looking at the two directions that we haven'y yet corrected).

Shift drag the cluster of probes to the red dot.

Tilt back 90 degrees to check the original perspective, the up/downness if you like. See how it's now slightly off on this axis?

Correct it by shift dragging the probe cluster.

Alt drag on any one of the arrow keys to pull the probes apart so we have nice Venn diagram style overlapping circles. Don't go too far or the point won't be inside multiple circles which means we won't get multiple triangulation points. Don't move them too little or you won't get sufficiently different directions for good triangulation (it's not helpful if all your probes tell you the point is West of them).


Scanning has given us a better location on the signature. You can see in the Scanner window that the INE-964 sig now has a signal strength of 38.92% meaning the dot is more accurately located in space. As we've passed the 25% threshhold, the Scanner window also now tells us what type of signature it is - Unknown. In Nullsec this means either a tough pve complex which is quite likely to escalate or a wormhole. In wormhole space Unknown is always a wormhole. You can see in this screenshot I've already collapsed my probes on the point in preparation for narrowing down my search. I've also resized the big blue balls. You do this by putting the mouse cursor on the edge of the blue ball until it turns into directional arrows, then shift dragging them in. I usually drop 2 sizes at a time but that's with fairly good skills (all Vs, no implants). So I've dropped from 8 AU to 2 AU. Try that but if you find that when you condense down you lose the sig next time you hit Analyze you'll need to limit yourself to one size decrease at a time (eg from 8 AU to 4 AU).

Note: if you have a filter on you will lose sigs suddenly as threshholds are passed. For instance if you check all the sig types except Grav then start scanning it will allow you to scan sigs down until they pass the 25% threshhold then realise it's a grav site and filter it. However you don't know this so all you know is that you condensed the big blue balls and the sig stopped showing up - you think you've lost it and expand outwards looking for it. You can waste a lot of time doing this.

Always make filters that include the whole group, never cherry pick within groups when making Scanner window filters.

After we hit analyze, we get over the 75% threshhold and the Scanner window tells us what type of Unknown sig we are locating. It's a wormhole. We don't yet have a warp-in at the signal strength is less that 100% but we're close.

I've resized my balls and re-positioned them. When I hit Analyze I'll have the wormhole.

Now go and try it! There's no final screenshot of a wormhole with 100% sig strength because you have to go and get that for yourself!

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Eve Online: Mittani launches Eve fan site

The Mittani, former Chair of the Eve player council and leader of the Goons, one of its largest alliances, has launched a new website.

It looks like the site aims to challenge the popular Eve News 24 for coverage of current affairs in the game. (Which isn't surprising as Eve News 24 owner Riverini is noted for an anti-Goons bias). It also includes Mittani's Ten Ton Hammer articles no doubt through some legal sleight of hand where they weren't quite copyright to that site. Amusingly the new site has launched with a page of ferocious legalese - no young upstart's going to contribute to this site and be able to walk away with their writing!

Snark aside, it's a beautifully designed site, one of the only fansites, if not the only fansite that's on a parr with CCP's elegant webpages. He also reviews books including one of my favourites - Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. The books show an interest in leadership and psychology although surprisingly The Prince isn't there nor is The Art of War.

I'm sure the site will become part of Eve's complex and murky metagame. After all the recent controversial and game-changing technetium cartel was sparked from a casual tweet by Mittens, imagine the impact he will have as one of the leading interpreters of Eve reality.

It remains to be seen whether this will become a Fox News style travesty of journalism or an earnest well-considered source of otherwise unobtainable information but whatever the level of truthfulness I'm sure the site will be very entertaining. Worth bookmarking if you are interested in Eve.

Saturday 11 August 2012

DUST 514 for dummies

I managed to score some points today. Hurray! And it happened rather by accident.

I was mulling over how to be effective late last night as I fell asleep and I had the bright idea of making a healer. After all, sure it's hard chasing players who are hostile, are shooting you and who don't want you near them but how hard would it be to chase players on your own team and heal them?

As it turns out, still pretty hard. I don't think I managed to find and heal anyone and am not very sure how the medical gun works. Do you aim it like a pistol and shoot your team and it heals them? Perhaps.

However I accidentally landed in someone else's ship after I cloned and found something brilliant. A gun. Just a gun, on a platform someone less clueless is maneuvring. What's more it had infinite ammo so I could just hold the fire button down and scroll around hoping to get some shots on target. I started to get kills. In fact quite a number of kills and kill assists.

What's so great about being a turret gunner in someone else's dropship is that I don't have to pat my head and rub my belly at the same time. Someone competent moves us and figures out canny approaches to the enemy I just look out the side and shoot. Being passively moved by someone is, for me, the answer for the time being. I've upgraded from being utter cannon fodder to being a useful member of a team that is doing something worthwhile.

If you are starting DUST and are as confused as I was, turret gunner is the role to aim for. It's not always possible to find a vehicle, someone else needs to call one and be flying it around. I think too the basic vehicle doesn't have a cloning bay, someone has to buy a more advanced vehicle type from the shop. Look for a spawn point that moves (sounds obvious but took me a while to even figure that out).

On the crest of a wave of confidence I even tried piloting a dropship a few times. I made three attempts. Each time I bounced off a few hills before crashing into the side of something concrete in a big ball of fire. So let me make a little caveat to my advice for clueless newbies: turret gunner is a fabulous role for a new player - unless Stabs is driving!

DUST 514: The virtuoso problem

I downloaded DUST 514 this afternoon and have been trying it out. After several matches during which I failed to hit an opponent I've realised they may have a problem.

One of the great thinkers of our time on games is Jane McGonigal. She has spoken of the virtuoso effect. According to research, 10 000 hours spent doing something is enough to make you a virtuoso at that thing. And most people growing up now will have spent 10 000 hours gaming by the age of 21.

I haven't spent 10 000 hours playing first person shooters. Or console games. So in making a game that's playable by a generation of gaming virtuosos, CCP seem to have made a game that's beyond me.

It's partly the control system. I don't have any muscle memory for which button to press to shoot someone (it's Right 1) so I'm thinking a lot about that not just concentrating on getting my cursor onto a target.

It's partly a hand eye coordination issue. To shoot someone I have to very quickly target a tiny chevron that may well be moving.

But it's mainly that the other people are so good. If they were terrible they'd take ages to accurately target me too so I'd have a good chance of killing them in the age they took to shoot me. But they're brilliant at this and generally if I go anywhere near someone I'm toast.

Now as a large number of Eve players try DUST as our first shooter in years (Doom 1 was the last one I played a lot), we're going to discover we're awful. So bad at it that the game is unplayable. It's also very demoralising to get zero skill points for the match because skill point awards are completely linked to how well you do.

I'm going to persevere at it. I might try the medic. Hopefully I'll have a chance of hitting someone on my own team who isn't trying to avoid me.

Friday 3 August 2012

Eve Online: constructing a POS of Death

Anyone living in a wormhole for more than a day or two needs to put up a POS. By putting something up you are inviting the destructive-minded to try and take it down so let's look at how to defend a POS effectively. This isn't just mean it can be profitable too as when they kill your POS some of the stuff may fall out.

Your first point of decision is POS size.

Large POS  fuel cost 500m/month
Medium POS  fuel cost 250m/month
Small POS fuel cost 125m/month

A large POS gives you room for a Corp Maintenance Hangar, a Ship Maintenance Array (both pretty essential for storage), a couple of other big POS modules plus a ton of defences. Properly set up, scouts will take one look at your POS then tell their team don't bother. A larger POS also gives you a bigger forcefield, a minor defensive advantage.

A medium POS gives you room for the essential storage facilities plus quite a lot of defensive modules. It's a reasonable choice for a base, especially in a class 1 or class 2 hole where it's harder to get decent POS bashers inside. You won't really have room for things like labs or refineries.

A small POS gives you room for not a lot. One viable tactic though is just to put a stronted small POS with storage up then evac if anyone challenges you. You've invested very little. I guess you could offline storage to put some defences online but anyone prepared to have a go at a POS will laugh at a small one, no matter how you defend it.

Caldari POSes give you less grid, more CPU and a -75% bonus to ECM jammer cycle time. Less grid is bad because defences are mostly grid, as is storage. ECM jammers are wonderful and this bonus multiplies them by 4. I picked a Caldari Large POS.

Amarr POSes give you bonuses to lasers and silos. Much as I love lasers just for the Dr Evil pronunciation of the word they're not really all that good. Silos are for moon mining or reacting, the first of which is impossible in w-space, the second of which unlikely.

Gallente POSes give you bonuses to hybrid guns and silos.

Minmatar POSes give you bonuses to projectile guns, probably the best type.

Faction POSes are slightly better but have the disadvantage that they're much more prestigious to kill. You don't want to encourage people to kill your POS. They're also much more expensive - a double disadvantage in that not only does it cost you more but the other guys gain more kill board isk efficiency if they kill it.

POS defensive modules come in two types: e war and modules that shoot people. Of the modules that shoot people missiles stop working if the POS is reinforced and thus should never be used. The other guns are decent, I quite like Minmatar guns. All gun POS modules take the next size up of ammo, in other words a small POS battery takes medium projectile ammo. I just use plain Tech 1 ammo.

POS e war modules are delightful, screwing with attackers is the best way to achieve our goal - defending the POS. Killing someone isn't necessarily as annoying as blueballing them. If someone attacks a POS in a wormhole they are probably either ludicrously space rich or getting full ship reimbursement so although it's inconvenient if you kill them it's not utterly disastrous. But if they're sat there for 10 minutes permajammed they'll want to give up.

The ewar modules I like are warp jammers (which should always be part of any POS defence - you won't kill people if they can just warp off), stasis webifiers (it can be useful to slow boat), neuts and the king of blueballing POS defences: ECM jammers.

Defensive modules must be anchored outside the forcefield. A large POS has a 30km radius shield and a maximum anchor range of 50km. You want to place your modules as far from each other as possible. When someone attacks your POS they will shoot out selected defences one by one. So they will warp in and start shooting and once they've killed one they'll pick a new target, preferably something within optimal range. So your module placement is aiming to deny them good targets within optimal range from one of your other modules.

Put a module in your indy and slowboat out to 49 km. (No point using anything flasher than an unrigged indy, this is a dangerous time). Drop your first defence. Orbit the POS at current range which will be 49km. When you get to about 20-25km from the first module drop another defence of a different type. Keep orbiting around your POS dropping modules. Once you've orbited around the equator orbit around the poles. If you have made a ring of defences around the equator plus a ring north to south around the poles and you still have modules to drop you can drop them 90 degrees off the equator. No module should be near another module.

An efficient attacker will bookmark spots near priority modules in a cloaked cov ops while the task force burns down defences one by one but even that's much more trouble than just being able to warp in and cherry pick which of your defences die first. (And of course your Warp Jammer batteries may stop some ships from warping out).

My POS has [redacted] loads of ECM. If I get attacked by someone like Revenge of the Liquidators I'm quite sure they wouldn't grind down the POS as they would have a small force of elite ships. Even if they fit ECCMs there's so many batteries that they'll not do much plus spider tanking would be very problematic. There are a handful of guns and of course warp jammers so if people come and get permajammed they'll all die. At some point I'll log in and find lots of nice wrecks just outside the shield.

If I were expecting to ambush people who attacked the POS, rather than let the POS do all the work I'd have instead set it up with Neuts and Guns. This is a more aggressive style, potentially leaving them dead in the water for my small gang to attack.

Either form of defence is arguably more viable than just sticking on tons of guns.

Here's a view from inside my POS, showing how spaced out the modules are (they're actually a little to close, about 35 to 39 km from the tower, I was newbier when I set it up).

Once you have your POS modules set up you may wish to place some decloaking cans. There are cans you can anchor in space. Many cov ops will warp to or near the sun to start scanning (which makes some sense as it's the centre of the system) then may warp to your moon from there. Or they may be warping moon by moon. So if you're at Planet V Moon 14 anchor a can where someone will land on it (and hopefully get decloaked and shot) if coming from the Sun or from Planet V Moon 13 or Moon 15. Drop cans to cover warp to within 100, 70 and 50. If they lack a backup explorer a lucky decloak could trap a whole fleet in your wormhole.

In the Management window of the control tower set your POS to shoot anyone with Standing less than 0.1, ie any non-blue. Be careful to blue any alts or friends that may visit your POS.

Stront your POS to come out of reinforced in about 1 day 12 hours. This means that it comes out in their downtime after their way in has closed. If they attacked you at a sociable hour of 7 in the evening on a Saturday they will have to organise a 7am Monday morning POS bash to finish you off.

A pro tip regarding POS defence is that you can offline other modules to put defences online. This is especially useful in a small or a medium pos (although anyone trying to defend a small POS is mad). You can even come back to a trashed POS that has been put into reinforced mode, pull a load of modules out of the corp hangar and spend an afternoon anchoring them for when the bastards come back to finish you off.

Another tip: don't talk. Pretty well every pvper in Eve is to some extent a social engineer. Anything you say will be seen as an opening to extort you, trick you, initimidate you or extract comic whining from you. Anything you say is entertainment. It also allows them to Show Info and start collecting intel and to add you to their watch lists so they know when you log in or out. Don't talk when defending. (Trashing people on a roam is totally different and part of the fun of Eve).

POS defence is a wonderful opportunity for small gang warfare. Prepare defensive warp ins and perches around the POS. As a minimum you should have
- a safe spot outside D scan radius.
- a safe spot just offgrid
- warp ins to your most likely targeted modules (your warp jammer batteries, anything you have only a few of like if you have just 2 neuts).
- warp ins around any currently active wormholes.

Catch them while they're jammed, scrammed and neuted and you get free kills to boost your epeen with.

Lastly in the words of a very wise player: don't anchor what you can't afford to lose.

Eve Online: Intelligence on a target corp

I may have contributed to an assault on Turamarth's wormhole so the least I can do is continue my series of posts about wormhole life with an in-depth analysis on a corp, using their opponents as an example.

They were attacked yesterday by members of Revenge of the Liquidators. So let's have a look at them based on googling, with particular reference to killboards. Once we have gleaned data from that we check their posting history on Evegate and add them to contacts in-game with alerts when they log in.

Revenge of the Liquidators [ROTL] was founded 22.8.09 by Shtuka. No war history, they've never been part of an alliance. 1000 shares (mildly noobish), 21 members, 0.0% tax (possibly a sign of an alt corp). No in-game description (so probably not recruiting and never having newbies, again a sign of an alt corp). Headquarters: Frarn VI Moon 18 (but usually means nothing).

CEO is Niku Aleera. Her only corp is ROTL which she joined 21 minutes after she was made (almost certainly an alt). Her only posts are attempts to buy a supercarrier pilot in the character bazaar. She eventually bought a Nyx pilot from someone in her own corp (possibly her own alt). The sale is suspicious - too cheap. That's perhaps a sign of someone laying a fake trail, people who are doing spying or who otherwise have a dodgy corp history sometimes want the character to have a record of being sold. So let's look at the character she bought: previous corp history Viper-Squadron VS, Digital Fury Corporation (a Hydra alt corp that famously shared Alliance Tournament 9 with their mother corp), LUSH Industries (high sec carebears), Legion of Spoon (part of CVA a famous NRDS nullsec alliance), Exile Corporation, Panda Academy (a Chinese language corp), Middleton and Mercer LLP (who seem to be a SOLAR renter), Pwnswarm, then a couple of corp for just a few days each, then Sierra Research (one person corp), then Xenobytes (the lead corp of null sec alliance, Stain Empire, Russian-speaking).

So you can see why she laundered the character's corp history! Lots of half-arsed attempts to be in nullsec without really coming to much. That is the real history of their CEO. But even Flatdog is almost certainly an alt as the character's only posts are in the Character Bazaar. So let's see what we got - a bitter vet who owns Niku Aleera, nominal CEO, Flatdog, Nyx pilot and likely has a main in a nullsec alliance. Those rather half-baked forays into nullsec make more sense if the player's main character is in an alliance like Goonswarm as does the attempt at laundering her spy's history.

That may be good news. If this war is just something these guys are doing while their mains are bored in nullsec they may lack staying power. On the other hand they can harass you if you give them targets of opportunity but otherwise log off onto their main characters.

Another tidbit - at one point the player posted with the wrong character so we have another one of his alts - Supreme Goddess. She links us back to LUSH Industries again. All three of these characters have only posted in the Character Bazaar so I think we still haven't found his main. While some people don't post on the official forums it seems improbable that someone would post on a rather obscure utility forum but never post anywhere else. Incidentally the CEO of LUSH industries has also only ever posted on Character Bazaar which fits the profile - possibly another one of this player's alts. If so we have another clue. Lane Fox is the name of a failed British CEO, famous in Britain but vanishingly obscure outside this country. I'm guessing that this player may be British. (Watching when the characters log in may help confirm this). Also it's a somewhat Goony naming convention as several of the Goons alt corps have in-joke allusions, eg The Charles Ponzi School of Business. (Edit: I later realised that both the British connection and the Goon connection didn't fit the rest of the pattern when I looked at other corp members. Both are probably red herrings but it's useful to consider all the hints and clues).

Checking Flatdog's recent kills we see a bit of wormhole pvp including a POS bash.

Now let's look at more people in the corp:

Sen Black: clearly a player who's not afraid of a POS shoot either. Interestingly these POS structure kills show a similarly sized gang to the Kronos kill, about 5-6 people. It certainly should be possible to build a POS that stops a gang of this size. The one they killed was apparently only defended by two guns.

Sen is also ex-Xenobytes (Stain Empire). No forum posts so possibly an alt.

KopeLLI. The Kronos is this pilot's only kill this year. Also ex-Xenobytes, his bio suggests he's from Minsk, Belarus. No forum posts.

NuKua. Seems to fly exclusively Amarr, has been quite active recently after a long pvp hiatus. Character was recently bought by Arslan Bek of the Bathing Bay of Space Pirates, a small Russian corp.

Curzon Dax. This character was once a famous Eve scammer. He was even an Eve musician. Character has been sold a few times and recently is ex-Xenobytes.

Summary: this corp is a small handful of bitter vets. They are rich and enjoy the bullying side of the game. They lack tenacity and manpower. A well defended POS should be too much for them unless they call in favours. I half-remember some story about Stain getting a kicking a few months ago, these guys probably bailed after that and are now, in the time-honoured tradition of people who have just had a kicking, looking for someone smaller to bully.

Tur, I think you can wait these guys out if you have a well-defended POS. They will try to kill your POS but the one they killed recently was a rubbish POS with two guns. Drop lots of EWar modules and I doubt they'll even get it into reinforced. There are 21 people in the corp but all the recent kills seem to have been done by the same core group. They like spider tank battleships. Neut modules might do well. If you have these on watch list you'll know when they're coming, nothing will happen without at least one of these five being online.

Virtually all of these characters have been bought on the character bazaar. I now believe the lack of posting history is simply because they're Russian (or similar). I don't think the main guy is a Goon spy, I think he really is someone who's failed over and over again in nullsec and given up each time. Because they're alts they'll probably log in all at the same time so don't expect to catch them solo.

If your POS is too hard a nut for them to crack they may drop their own POS and attempt to wait you out. This will be an important stage of target denial. If you deny them easy kills and pick them off if they try to rat I'm sure they'll give up. If it comes to that stage.

Most likely is that they'll have a go at your POS and if it's too much for them they'll move on, maintaining an Eve history of doing things in a half-arsed way then giving up at the first hint of adversity, a strategy that has served them so well over the years.

I also, having finished my research, don't think they're Goon spies, don't think they read my blog, in fact don't think they even read English language blogs. They're Russians/Belarus. It's more that someone was flying a billion isk Kronos without paying attention, without being aligned and without watching D scan. After getting an easy gank they'll see if there's easy pickings (preferably through social engineering, although they'll definitely try a POS bash if your POS is weak). I don't think they're attacking you because they're looking for a wormhole, they're attacking you because they think you're easy loot.

If you can assemble something to beat a fleet of 5 reasonably good small gang pvpers in recons and battleships I'm sure you could bait them into a fight.

Thursday 2 August 2012

Eve Online: Loose Lips Sink Ships

Today I'm going to discuss Information Security in Eve Online.

First of all, here's how to do it: don't talk.

OK, having got that out of the way I'd like to start picking on today's guinea pig, TurAmarth Elrandir. Tur posted yesterday:

"Then I figured it out... nothing you say here can 'lead back' to a specific wormhole unless you give the name of a system you have a current active hole in, and that info is good for only 24 hours at best..."

Challenge accepted.

First we can simply look for him in People and Places in Eve. Here he is.

We now have his Corp and his Alliance. (Notice that even though I've hidden my character name here I've compromised my avatar's picture and location. It's just so easy to leak intel).

Now let's google his name. The first hit is his blog, then Eve Search which gives an archive of his posts on the official forums, then an old corp's killboard which on investigation had nothing more recent than April but further down the Google page we've got Battleclinic which shows him losing a Mastodon. In J103529 which is a wormhole system because all wormholes systems follow the format J plus 6 numbers. This looks promising. Let's find some details about this wormhole. Static Mapper shows us it's a Class 3 wormhole with a low sec static. We could check that information against information this pilot has discussed on his blog or on the Eve boards but there's something even more basic - let's see if he blogged about losing the Mastodon. Yes, he did. He lost it putting up modules at their POS. In fact we could possibly contact the other pilot involved and ask for or buy intel on which moon the POS is at.

We know where he lives.

OK? So, I hope I've convinced you that we who talk about the game can be found. I'm more careful than Tur but last year when I upset some ninja salvagers they were able to figure out who I was and organise a hunt for me. Every blogger is endlessly compromised.

Next, let's discuss what Turamarth went on to say yesterday:

In the year I have lived full time in holes, I have yet to find ANYONE who knows of ANY mechanic whereby someone could intentionally 'find' a specific W-space system.

I can think of a few. People quite often ask on the Eve Official forums for locations of holes (usually if they've accidentally locked themselves out). And of course they can ask on other Eve forums like Failheap or Kugu or privately on the board of a large nullsec alliance or coalition.

Another method which is sometimes used by the top wormhole pvp corps is called cycling. Suppose you have a class 5 wormhole with a class 3 static. Fly big ships like Orcas or Battleships through the static with the Microwarp Drives turned on a dozen or two times and the hole collapses and a new static is generated. Keep doing this over and over and you're rolling the dice again and again. And eventually it will come up snake eyes for your opponent. (Actually class 3 is probably too low to be worth bothering with this technique. It works best on the higher level wormholes because there are progressively less of each type).

Another method, which Tiger Ears uses a lot, is to keep notes. Quite frequently when reading his blog he'll find a wormhole that he's been to before and taken notes on. If someone notes down "trash these guys when we find their hole" and is constantly exploring wormholes they will find the target eventually.

Of course all this exposure is only dangerous if Eve has players who are vindictive, obsessive and incredibly patient. It has many with the first two qualities but that kind of patience is a minority trait. The reason I felt comfortable exposing Turamarth, who I like, is that I don't believe he's in any danger of being tracked down and wasted. I think there's a quid pro quo too in that if he and his corp move up to a higher stakes form of wormhole existence then they'll need to know this stuff. Hopefully they'll forgive me.

POS bashes are the most unpopular form of pvp in Eve. People can't even be arsed to form up to kick in someone's tech moon pos most of the time. Plus in wormholes you can only bring small ships plus your way in in virtually guaranteed to close before you can put a pos into reinforced mode, wait out the timer, then kill it off. Killing a POS with, say, a fleet of tengu involves persuading at least a dozen people to commit to an op that lasts at least a couple of days most of which is mindnumbingly dull. And for less effort you could conquer a tech moon.

Still it's good to internalise the lesson: if someone with enough resources wants you dead they can get you.

If you graduate to top level wormhole play with someone like Rooks and Kings then kicking in other people's wormhole buildings is very much part of the game - it's the wormhole equivalent of checkmate - and it's good to develop good habits early. And I haven't even mentioned how common it is that researching an Eve character can reveal real life information like real name, phone number and workplace in our increasingly open world. Nobody wants to gank someone then have him order pizzas delivered to your home at 4 in the morning.

Eve Online: Hiding

For the last six months I've been hiding in Eve. And not just in game, I've deliberately maintained a low blogging profile too.

I've been living out in an obscure class 1 wormhole. Class 1 is the smallest class of wormhole: it has the weakest rats, the smallest entrances (hulks, orcas and battleships can't enter but frigates cruisers battlecruisers and haulers can).

I'm now winding down my operations in that hole to graduate to a higher level of wormhole play involving other people. However, like everything wormhole-related, even winding down is a major project that will take considerable time. I'm also going to relax my self-imposed restriction on blogging about it (as I don't want that hole anyway).

Soloing a wormhole has been a very interesting experience that has taught me a lot about the game. Over the next few weeks I'll be talking about hole security, scanning, exploring, raiding nullsec for mag and radar sites, ratting in wormholes, living arrangements and PI.

I'd like to explain a little now about the lack of blogging.

Eve is designed as a game where players destroy other players' stuff. Putting down a structure in space is a bit like building a sandcastle in a sandbox, you're inviting another kid to come kick it over.

So there are two rational ways to handle information when you place a structure in Eve - talk about it because you want to attract people so you can kill them. Or keep quiet so people don't come over and kick your stuff in.

Of course for some bloggers their blog is more important than their Eve assets. Mabrick for example has cheerfully invited the wrath of Goon death squads because it gives him lots of fun stuff to talk about. However I've seen people claim that no one would be deterred from writing simply because The Mittani announced a special operations group tasked with tracking down and trashing pesky writers. They're wrong - I am an example of someone who decided to be a lot more careful while my solo wormhole operation was ongoing. I certainly didn't want to be in a position where I'd have to watch what I said all the time while blogging.

The flipside though is that now that my operation is winding down I have a lot of things stored up. So expect a burst of Eve discussion here. Amongst other things I'll be talking about information security.