Evening Time, Holidays Wind Down

Mike sipped his spiced tea and looked out at the night sky from the front porch of the lodge the family had rented for the holidays.  He thought back and tried to remember when they had celebrated in a house and shook his head.  Tanta always loved the season and invited everyone she could to come celebrate.  Family, friends, students current and past, all might come to share in the event.

A lot of the cooking was done by family, each taking turns in the kitchen and turning out a meal, snacks, cookies (Mikes favourite to make)((and eat)).  Those who did not earn a spot in the kitchen helped in other ways, decorations, cleaning, various events and games  . . . the things that tied an extended family together.  They might visit the nearby city and the students would put on a dance recital for a church, hospital, or jail.  (In the last case Ruis or one of the other younger men or women would accompany and keep a firm eye out for anything untoward.)  Tanta was charitable but not foolish.

Free had arrived with her tech, Cory, and was absorbed into the hustle and bustle until she too was part of the family.  She picked up where she left off training the young ladies who might want to defend themselves better and Cory made himself handy wiring and recording and keeping things running smoothly for the touring shows.

The mealtimes were noisy and raucous and almost always delicious.  For Mike and his extended family  the holidays were almost a month long event and while he occasionally left to do his Bus runs he tried to be present as often as possible.  Just because he was there less than usual did not mean that he did not pay attention, though.

The tea had almost cooled to that perfect temperature and he stared up at stars wondering how many of them he had visited.  He heard the door close behind him but no footsteps of a person moving closer.  He smiled “So, what brings you out here, Free?”

“How do you . . . ”  She chopped off the sentence and thought for a moment. “Oh.”

“Yeah, A lack of data sometimes means something as well.  Just because you are not told something does not mean you will not hear it.  How bad is she?”

The long pause confirmed his fears.  ‘They do not know for sure.  But how do you know it is anything at all?”

Mike blinked back tears, still trying to focus on the stars but now they were balls of light, not points.  “A few of the new faces . . . I was not introduced which is odd, so I ran face searches.  Doctors and nurses.  If it was something simple that money could fix then I would be in the loop.  If it was something that required a donor then you would be out on the hunt for a donor,  voluntary or otherwise.  As we are both here . . .”  He shrugged, spilling  a bit of the tea.  Cursing softly he set the cup down and wished for something a bit stronger than tea.

Free handed him the bottle.  “Rum?”

Mike took the bottle and sipped from it slowly, then passed it back.  ‘Thank you.  Has she been making a lot of excuses and reasons for you to be around, lately?”

She stepped up to stand beside him and nodded.

Mike smiled.  “So she decided, then.”

“Decided what?”  Free asked.  At times talking to Mike was difficult as his mind kept jumping subjects.  It all connected, for him, but there were a lot of steps skipped.

Mike shrugged again, “Not my place to say, yet, not my place.  But I am glad Cory could make it.  He seems to fit in nicely.”  He blinked and wiped at his eyes.  “I spent billions over the last month and yet if I could help her . . . if my money could do anything.”

Free laid a hand on his arm and said softer than she had ever spoken before.  “She knows.”

Mike snorted, “Of course she knows, she be Tanta.  And she ain’t dead, yet, she ain’t.  Come on, let’s go inside before they start another round of rumours about you and me.”  He took the bottle back, had a larger swig and gave the stars one last loving look before leading Free back into the noise of the house party.



*pic credit to Rixx Javix

A small scare before Christmas.  My mother had a few ‘small heart attacks’.  She is fine now (after surgery) but I consider it a shot across the family bows.

CCP once had roadmaps . . . we could see the general path that they had in mind.Now I feel like we just hop from one thought to the next but never see the steps between.  As a former teacher I used to insist that you show your work.

I hope the holidays were good for you and yours.  One of my promises to myself is to write a bit more.  Mainly Eve but a bit of Elder Scrolls will pop up from time to time.

fly it like you won it,




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Holidays OOC

Gaming companies make a thing about some holidays.  Well the companies that do community engagement do.  Some just add some skins, others a bonus or two and maybe a time limited effect.  Now as you know the main two games that I play (these days) are Eve and Elder Scrolls Online.  One sci fi and one fantasy.

Eve first.  It did a bit of all of the above.  EveVegas was just before Halloween and they announced some new stuff including a modification to how the loot fairy will be working for a week or so . . . everything drops.  Needless to say this has caused a marked increase in pvp kills and probably a marked decrease in shipping (logistics) by those who pay attention to the news.  There has been free sp for making kills and some ‘show up, win a gift’ just for logging in.  All nice, I guess.  But I miss Bloody Omir and an actual event.  Trick or treat would be a possibility for explorers.Invasion of Blood Raiders.  Something.  But something LIVE.  (A guy can dream.)

Elder Scrolls Online.  Halloween in a fantasy setting?  They bring out some time limited achievements, skins for characters, special mounts.  Double exp if you complete a small quest. That sort of thing.  Lots of grind for the achievement and I will readily admit I decided that I wanted the damn hat and title and am doing a bit of grind as I play.  Also nothing ‘Live’ but see, the thing is?  I have not seen a live event in ESO.

Eve spoiled me in a lot of ways as to what a game CAN be, CAN do.  Live events, interaction with the gms or game team.  Lore advanced manually.  I value that far more than a new skin or a minor rule change for a limited time.

In ESO I meet folks and maybe work with them for a mission or two but there is no long term connection.  In Eve?  Trust is given carefully but, as a result, relationships form.  There are folks I have known for YEARS in Eve.  Not corp mates just people who keep in touch in spite of me playing very different than they do.

Holidays, to get back to the topic at hand, are about relationships.  Halloween trick or treating is a neighbourhood thing.  Thanksgiving is family.  Remembrance day?  History of our people. More than anything I want the holiday events to be about connections made, maintained, strengthened.

fly it like you won it



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“Where the hell have you been? ” Scottys voice was a mix of exasperation and relief. “People have been looking for you.”

Mike looked mildly surprised. “Same old same old. Oh a few detours now and agin. Someone wanted help with a pirate, checking some industry, chased a few leads . . . who would be looking for me, anyways?”

Scotty shook his head and grinned. “Coffee? ”

“Always. Of course I did have some light reading to while away the time. Latest meeting minutes from the powers that be came out.”

Scotty changed their path slightly. “Not coffee, then. Something a bit stronger if you are going to talk my ear off.”

Soon they were at a table in a mid class pub. A half empty pitcher and the remains of the food before them. “Usual stakes?” Mike asked as they set their comms face down between them.

“First to pick up buys drinks and food. If it is me, for the pair of us, if it is you . . . ”

“The bar, agreed.” Mike leaned back. “So the minutes came out and already folks wiser than I have parsed, collated, dissected, and dismissed them.”

“So now it is your turn?”

Mike nodded. “Funny thing, I still take the minutes personally. So I read them like they are important to me and mine. I was a bit surprised when the opening salvos hit me so hard though. Usually the first meet and greet is pure fluff. Instead, the opening lines are home work for the next season will be allocated. 80% new pilot retention and 20% vet stagnation.”

Scottys comm buzzed quietly, he glanced towards it and his hand twitched but he did not touch it. They grinned at each other and Mike were filed their drinks and then waved the pitcher at a waitress who nodded from across the pub. “Why the focus on new pilots?”

Mike grimaced. “It is a dirty little secret of pilots that a lot of us do not make it past the first day. Not so much burnout as spontaneous combustion. Hard to keep pilots out there if they quit before they can even get started. So I suppose that makes sense.

CCP Burger brings up the four main focus points for CCP:
1. Stop the bleeding
2. Fix the stupid
3. Excite and teach
4. Incentivize return

I am not sure I agree with the order, I prefer to fix stupidity first.”

Scotty shrugged. “If they leave too fast it won’t matter if you did. Keep them and then mkeep it work for them. Like I first aid. Keeping the patient alive comes first, making them comfortable, second”

“I will take your word for it. So they batted around some of the stupid to show what they meant. Things like taking the mining laser out of the rookie ships because some new pilots get confused by it. Or removing the non ammo oriented civilian weapons because they set up bad habits.” Mike shook his head. “I see what they are trying to do but I despair at the examples that they tossed up.”

Scotty tore eyes from the comm, again buzzing, “Why?”

“Well the rookie ship is meant to do everything, but poorly. It gives incentive to grow, to move on. If they add ammo? It will crash said ammo market as the new folks strip and sell their free ships. Remove the miner and they have no starting actions unless th mining career agent hands one out right at the start. Now I do get that civ devices are lousy when it comes to capsuleer usage but what will replace them, and how?” Mike frowned at his glass, empty again.

Scotty refilled both their glasses and then nodded. “Code law, 99 bugs, fix one and now you have 103 bugs.”

“What they said next had a measure of sense until you thought about it.”

In essence, CCP wants to create a purpose for players in the first 15 minutes of gameplay, and then as the player keeps playing they will be in a tutorial that merges into general gameplay.

Sounds all well and good until you realize that it is a big universe and there is no one ooverriding purpose. We all become pilots for our own reasons. Or we did, once.” Mike looked off into the distance and sighed. “I don’t want to see the sandbox get a railroad.”

The main concern here from the CSM is that the default channels for assistance are toxic and getting the new player into an actual group is better to be done as fast as possible.
CCP Burger says that another point to consider is how to do the handover from the tutorial to player groups. Fleets organized by Greygal (Greetings!) were brought up as an example and that they had the highest retention rate CCP has ever seen.

“So they talked about two very different ways the new pilot gets started. Rookie help channel and Greygals fleets. Now you know I try to be involved with both of them but they be apples and oranges. Greys fleets are small, personal and dammit, fun. Rookie help chat is throwing all the rookies into a box and sometimes having a moderator. The rest of time? Folks like Corporal, addalee, Leucas, myself and others do our best to help but with no tools to eliminate the few toxics that seem to think that Rookie chat is a good place to troll. More ISDs or hand out minor mod power to a few trusted folks would go a long way.”

*zzz zzz zzz*

Mike grinned and waved for another pitcher. “Whoever it is, they iz persistent. So . . . ”

“No, so that was the first day?”

Mike roared with laughter. “That was the first session.”



yeah this may take a couple more posts. I am doing this on a tablet while travelling so I cannot link the minutes or some of the other links like jjns audio version of the minutes

May when I get back home

But for now? Fly it like you won it and managed to get into a redemption road fleet with grey.


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Mike left the lecture hall leaving behind the questions new capsuleers always wanted to ask (but never listened to the answers).  The Dean, as always, was there to thank him and try to talk him into another engagement sometime soon.

Mike begged off of committing right away and looked about trying to make a diplomatic exit.  Then the question was asked . . .

“Who taught you, Mr Azariah?”

Mike paused before answering.  “Everybody, I suppose.  I read a lot and talk to folks and damn if they are not willing to talk back.  I ask questions and collect the answers then tend to check things out for myself.  That way may not be best for everyone but it seems to have worked for me.  There WERE schools back in the day.  Good ones, too.  I deeply regret never managing to get into an Agony Unleashed pvp class.  I did do some work with Open University of Celestial Harknocks  (OUCH). Eve Uni also runs and has for a very long time, classes on various parts of aspects of being a Capsuleer and not all the classes are limited to members only.  They have let me drop in, now and again, to toss in my two isk worth.”

“But there are problems,” Mike said, warming to the subject. “Too popular or not known.  Both ends of that spectrum can be death to a school.  Too popular and you have either classes that are too big or lineups and resentment. Too small and it just seems to be a waste of time for all those mentoring.”

The dean shrugged.  “Both of your problems are more attitudinal than actual.  Small lets you claim elite or personal status.  Large makes you an institution.”

“Yes,”  Mike nodded.  “But then a lot of lifes issues can be seen as ‘attitudinal’ if looked at through the proper lens.  It should never stop folks from trying, though.  I met with the admin of a new school a couple of days back.  There was no problem with attitude, there.  She had a new take on things that I found refreshing.”


We are the content of this game and for the game to continue and grow we need better quality pilots.”  {Note I am paraphrasing here because I was scribbling notes and talking and I am not a reporter.}

We need more GFs in local, more chatter.  Battles that are not a bling Loki vs a Frigate just because someone has the isk to do so.  We need better quality pilots who can do more than just hit F1 on command.

Starting with a mentoring program but slightly larger goals of setting up a single system RvB arrangement for a forever war in hisec.”

If something like this takes off?  It will be the new Agony Unleashed and I would like to see that.  If it sounds like something you are interested in helping with or learning from?  Well ask and I will point you in the right direction.


“So will this school be stealing you away from us?”

Mike laughed.  “I readily admit I would be better suited as a student than a teacher in those classes.  Oh I know a bit here and there but I ain’t no pvp pro.  Don’t you worry, I will be comin ’round lecturin for you just same as I always have.”


Schools in Eve are a good way to increase retention and have decent pilots to fly with and against.  We have a wicked learning curve and maybe we should have a few mentors helping with the ascent.

I would like to see CCP support some of these schools but I know that they are afrais of being called on favouritism or aiding and abetting a scam school from getting up and running off with all the assets.  So it is up to us.

If I can help?  I do

fly it like you won it



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That is how many years I gave been playing Eve. Today marks the starting date for Mike Azariah oh so long ago. There are lots of players older than I, some of them still play, others have fallen by the wayside or left in disgust.

I am, as I have said before, a stubborn old man. I stick with things and work to either get better at it is make it better. So the point of this blog post? A few snapshots from over the years and thoughts on how Eve is changing every day.

What got me into Eve was a PCgamer article, you know the one, the Guiding Hand Social Club assassination/betrayal. But it was not the betrayal that captured my imagination. It was the single shard, the idea that what you did in a game could have consequences and everyone was sin the same damn game. If you did something it was not ‘big fish in a small pond’ . . . we were all in the same body of water, sharks, whales and guppies (and krill). The game has a history and you could be part of it. (or a victim of it)

Think about that for a second. Consider that there is a monument in Iceland with some of our character names on it. One server, one shared history. To me that means something. Did then, still does.

In was there, that day

People in Eve. I cannot explain how lucky I consider myself to have friends whom I have never met. I don’t think some of you will ever understand how cool it is to be greeted like a long lost brother by people you have never seen, face to face, when finally you DO meet them at a player event. My wife gets it, a little, she and I had a serious talk about Eve Vegas, yesterday. Our budget cannot handle the trip but she still brought it up as it is my 60th birthday on that weekend. Thing is? Next year is our 30th wedding anniversary and we want to do something special about that, too. Like I said, stubborn old man.

IF Eve Vegas has asked for player speakers/presenters. . . . the answer might have been different but they did not and that is that. There will be other chances . . . . Damn

This blog is my way of processing and sharing bits of Eve Online. Sometimes thing happen in game that make me laugh or scratch my head and I have to just talk them out, see what you think. (If you bother to comment, did i mention that I love comments?) Today had a fun little tidbit that is right up my alley.

Grief counselling?  Hell no, a party and an explanation of what happened and why.  Letting them know that this is a game where you will lose ships, bodies, and even cookies if you are fool enough to bring them.  We do need more of a focus on TALKING to the new players.  I know the GMs do this now and again but they are busy and with the numbers Hilmar claims come into the game every week?  yeah some are gonna be missed.

I like the ISD, honestly.  They do a lot of hard work and get a lot of grief for doing what needs to be done.  But we almost need a Rookie Chat dedicated moderation team, ISD or otherwise.  Griefing and trolling in there makes for a VERY bad first impression.  You want to keep new players?  Welcome them and make them feel at home (shoot them later).

Community . . . That is what Eve is and every damn time I see someone from the dev community team or player community leave it is like losing a family member.   I wish nothing but the best for folks like CCP Guard, Logibro, Leeloo, Pokethulhu, and others I fail to name off the top of my head.  But I do miss them.  You see it is not just the players . . . the devs themselves become part of the family.  I admire the front facing devs like Falcon, Rise and Fozzie for being able to put up with us.  We can be toxic and nasty and even I have been known to screw up and disappoint them, one way or another.  (don’t ask but Falcon, I am truly sorry).  As an aside, how many other games can you rattle off names of developers?

I have had trips to Iceland, Been to Eve Vegas twice, even had Cruisers of Eve stop in my home town and walked some of them half to death.

11 years?  Yeah, I am just getting started.

fly it like you won it


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Hammering in the Goals

So Hammer is up to level 28 and still trying to finish Elsewyr.  Oh the main plot there is done but now I have set my sites upon the Title Saviour of Elsewyr and THAT is going to take some doing.

Not that I am not close.  I have one more Boss to hunt done (some bird called Wily) One more quest to complete.  And then it is just the Jigsaw of the the missing mural which will send me all over looking for missing pieces.  I find the distractions of Dragons and harvesting crafting materials along the way. As I said, previously, taking the shrines to travel is all well and fine but walking/riding means you see so much more of the landscape and find so many little hidden views and opportunities.

One question is if/when I finish the Elsewyr content to my satisfaction where will i go next?

So many choices

hammer it like it was a nail



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Eve Online is full of stories.  I tripped across this tweet

Andrew Groen @ PAX!
I’m going to be telling some stories from the history of EVE Online at 3:30 on Sunday at PAX West so please come by if you can make it! It’s always extremely fun getting to explain this apeshit video game for a crowd of newcomers. Join us!


1:37 PM · Aug 30, 2019Twitter for iPhone

and this one

Den of Geek News!
#EVEOnline is more than just an online game. It’s a way of life for the thousands of players who populate New Eden. We explore why this community of gamers is unlike any other: denofgeek.com/us/games/pc-ga

and they got me thinking.

A dangerous practice, I know.

Eve is a game with many many stories.  From wars that may or may not have started of an insult to a players real life girlfriend to losing a player in the Benghazi raid.  Charities like Plex for Good, Broadcast for Reps, hell even my Operation Magic School Bus which has roots in Operation halibut and The Angel Project.

We have many betrayals and legends within the game and yet it always seems to come down to the same ‘known tales’.  It is like summarising all of the Norse myths into ‘Watch Thor’.  (side note, the original Norse myths are not for family content unless your families are vikings)

Eve IS different than most games because we are all in the same game, not an rp server or a pvp shard.  It all happens in the same game.  I saw a blog of Gamergirlconfessions but I doubt we will cross paths even though we both play ESO and as such we are far more unlikely to build stories and legends in that game.

Bottom line?

If someone asks you about Eve please tell other stories.  Oh sure mention B-R5 but tell YOUR stories, your hopes and dreams for the game and the fact that this game lets you have those hopes and dreams and they might even be possible.

fly it like you won it


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No, not Empire of Man, End of Month.  I stole this from bloggers I read and respect and it seemed like a good way to end the Blaugust challenge.  I have managed, for the whole month, to do a post a day.  Not huge ones and some were in need of editing but there ya go.  Waaay too much Mike and games.

So what did I play?


Eve, still running Operation Magic School Bus.  Trying to decide if I want to do a fund raiser before the Christmas holidays because I tend to hand out a LOT of stuff then.  I am doing the various events as they come along but I really need to take a day or three and go on some roams with folks.  I miss small gang stuff.

ESO.  Hammer just hit level 25 and is still going strong.  Just upgraded his armor when I realised, last night, that he was walking about in stuff 11 levels below his own.  I have one major run left in Elsewyr and then it will be just more here and there errands.  It is interesting, trying to see all the places, do all the things in a zone before moving on.  I am not normally a completionist but this character seems to encourage that thought pattern.  But Public Dungeons are rough unless a bunch of other folks are running them as well.  I have had my head handed to me a few times in Orccrest but that is all part of the game.  Oh and I still have not met the prophet though somehow levelling up I have a Bow from him.


I do not mention tablet/phone gaming very often but I do do it.  Pokemon Go for the phone and currently I play Warlords of Aternum and Smashing Four on the tablet.  Oddly in the tablet games I have fallen into clans that are serious about getting things done.  If you do not pull your weight you may be booted.  Seeing as I do like the games I have been accepted and advanced in ranks.  I am not the best at the games but I am consistent.  I prefer the tactical games . . . ones that have some decisions tom make and not just upgrade your base varieties.  Pokemon I play to share with my daughter.  If you ever get the damn make a friend quest?  add me Friend code . . . 4067 3419 2783


In real life I continue to work on breaking a cement wall in my front yard and keep the gardens going.  Matter of fact I will be outside doing that as soon as I finish this post.  There is something satisfying about swinging a 20 lb hammer and shattering a 6 inch concrete wall.  And something humbling when you hit is hard and nothing happens except your muscles hurt.

I am looking forward to seeing what the CSM talk about in the coming week.  I will absolutely be writing a post covering the high lights.  Hell I might even have another post in the line for tomorrow.

But for those of you who have stuck it out with me for the whole month of posts?  Thank you.

fly it like you won it


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Room Names


CCP is, apparently, changing facilities and will be wanting to name the new meeting rooms.  So they are asking for player input and we have narrowed it down to ship names.  These are some of my thoughts.


HMS Terror was a specialized warship and a newly developed bomb vessel constructed for the Royal Navy in 1813. She participated in several battles of the War of 1812, including the Battle of Baltimore with the bombardment of Fort McHenry. She was converted into a polar exploration ship two decades later, and participated in George Back‘s Arctic expedition of 1836–1837, the Ross expedition of 1839 to 1843, and Sir John Franklin‘s ill-fated attempt to force the Northwest Passage in 1845, during which she was lost with all hands along with HMS Erebus.


The only ship that truly looks like its namesake and has fulfilled a number of tasks over the years. I flew a jamming Scorpion in the early Incursion fleets, before we knew the ‘best way’ to fight them. The willingness to experiment, to solve and to grow. THAT is the fun part. Following a set path already beaten flat by others? Not for me.


This ship holds a special meaning for me as I have lost two of them to wife aggro, over the years. I am now afraid to fly them as they seem to cause the ‘honey, can you come here a moment?’ call that ends in a wreckage and a floating corpse upon my return. Gorgeous ships and a mission runners dream but just not something I dare fly anymore.


A ship that was requested/designed by the community and accepted with all the hazards that went with flying a ship carrying ship with no weapons of its own. Used by the incursion communities as well as Operation Magic School Bus its utilitarian design shows that it is all about getting its specific job done.

The fun thing about Eve is that a Lot of ships have special memories for me.  Skiffs that I took in the death race.  The famous battle Hulks and Procurers,  Ganking Catalysts and salvage Catalysts.  Rifter, the iconic ship of Eve, and a ton of others.  Feel free to go over to here and voice your opinion.

fly it like you won it


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Vegas Announcement


Well, yesterday CCP dropped the news that next year they would not be doing an Eve Vegas. I have a few thoughts about this and seeing as I am doing a post a day for the month I figured I might as well not them down for you.

I have been to Eve Vegas twice. Oh I wanted to go a lot more but I am a man of limited means and the usual family obligations. The things that leaves me go to that over, say Fanfest in Iceland were that I could get there relatively cheaply. VEGAS WANTS YOU TO VISIT. And there were things for those who came with me to experience aside from a bunch of nerds getting drunk, together.

My wife and I did the Grand Canyon before one Eve Vegas and she went to see Donnie and Marie. The second time I brought my daughter down and she hit some of the shows and had a nice time as well. Vegas is MADE for doing things and distracting yourself. It is a vacation destination.

For the past year or two I have been mentally tossing around another Eve Vegas talk as a kind of sequel to the one I gave in 2017 (look up Winning in Eve on youtube) This one would have been on the subject of longevity. I’d still like to give that talk but I would make a few changes. Oh hush, I am not saying that the game is dying, just that some of the decisions . . .well, they break traditions that help bind us together.

But . . .it is not like we have been doing Eve Vegas forever. It was a Goon event before CCP took it over and I bet that they will be fine with having a smaller more personal time of it once again. Just I doubt this old independent would be invited to talk to them.

San Diego? I guess Disney Land is close enough. Would Eve players want to do the Star Wars experience? (Hell yes, in my case)

Bottom line for me is I am sorry to see the big Eve Vegas end. I really wish CCP had asked for player speakers for this year but if they did? I missed that.

But we can still play the game.

fly it like you won it


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