Tuesday, 21 June 2016

And they're gone...


I had a night off last night. Really, I got home after the late shift (for my work that means 1815hrs finish instead of 1552hrs) and I did two things on the computer and then turned it off. Nothing else for the night, I even put the phone into Do Not Disturb mode and ignored that.

It was delightful, I slept so well betwene 2100hrs and 2145hrs which was when the youngest awoke with "teething pains". He didn't settle again until 0348 hours the next morning. It was NOT fun.

So picture me firing up the EVE Launcher this evening to find that it's asking me to login. Wait what.

Where are all my preset logins, where are my characters. Has my EVE Launcher suffered amnesia?

The answer is Yes.


So there was an update to the launcher that killed all my account settings. Do you know how long it took me to setup and get working fifteen accounts.

A long time. A REALLY LONG TIME.

So this is my chore for the evening, setting up my launcher again so I can login do some stuff then logoff as I promised the "ball n' chain" I'd help out with something this evening in RL.

Better get started...

Sunday, 19 June 2016

A surprise in High Sec

I've been taking advantage of the 10,000 free XP for killing one NPC every 22 hours on characters who aren't my mains and so do not have an active skill queue. 

Killing a single high sec NPC every day is not hard and after a little bit of playing with fits for Amarrian frigates I've found a cheap and simple pulse laser fit Executioner. The fit is based on the one I use as a runabout in Curse except it isn't an Interceptor and there isn't a T2 module or rig in sight. 

It works and has allowed me to get at least 150,000 per character over the past fortnight (a few nights I've been busy and not able to login til late or at all). That's great thank you very much CCP :)

I move between a couple of systems in high sec and in the last week I've noticed that someone has built an Astrahus so I decided to go have a look:

As funny as it sounds this is the first one I've actually seen in space myself, all others have been screenshots given to me by others. It's quite the looker and as I approached I was allowed to tether then dock.

Thanks Dark Void Ventures for building and running this as a Freeport in one of my systems so much nicer to look at than a POS and nice not to get shot at.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Teasing the Rorqual Changes to Come

Yes I'm a little behind with this news but a few recent conversations reminded me to post this.

Within the details of Day 2 for FanFest 2016 was this little gem:

The Rorqual will be rebalanced later this year. It will receive AoE links, a defensive superweapon, and brand new, powerful excavator superdrones. Details and further information can be expected later this year.

Area of Effect links, A defensive SUPERWEAPON and Superdrones, Awesome. The Super drones do look fantastic and I've also seen/heard mention of being able to use the Rorqual as a Jump Bridge but no matter how much I search my log files and my internet history I cannot find corroboration so I can't say more than that.

Still have six Rorquals, hopefully I'll be able to sell five in a few months when these changes go live. :)


Seems the Rorqual change(s) have been pushed further again. Annoying but I'd much rather they spent the time getting things almost perfect or working first time rather than have to suffer through patch after patch.

Still, bugger.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Investigating "Socket was Closed"

Since late February/early March I've found myself plagued by "socket was closed" whenever I try to play EVE Online, other games seem unaffected and I certainly have no issues with World of Warships. 

It's been a major issue as the usual symptoms means I cannot login more than one character at a time without disconnections, usually a random character, and when you're doing JF runs it plays havoc with whats going on as you don't know if your cyno character is online or has disappeared let alone if your JF pilot is sitting on the undock with a bumper nearby (although rare, I always jumped when I knew the locals OR local was empty). 

Thankfully you can reconnect to a disconnected cyno if its still active, but a few times I've lost connection as I've jumped and it certainly raised the blood pressure as I scrambled to relogin a disconnected character.

Diagnosing the Home Network

I have some familiarity with network connectivity investigation so the first thing I did was ensure that my computer and it's network connection were not at fault. 

My PC is connected via a 10m CAT6 cable to my routers 100/1000 port but I also have a wireless card built into my motherboard, this meant I could test both wired and WiFi connections. I first replaced the CAT6 cable, no change, I then tested WiFi, again no change to socket disconnections. The disconnections occurred at much the same frequency whether I was wired or wireless. As far as I'm concerned no issues there.

The Router Configuration

Next was to check the router configuration and to test my network in a semi-isolation mode. I was able to speak to one of the Network Administrators at my work who provided me with feedback on my router configuration and extra suggested things that I could look into that I had not considered.

The check of the router configuration yielded nothing of consequence, I did turn off features that had no need of (i.e. QOS, Guest Wireless, old port forwarding rules) and then I turned off or disconnected all devices on my network but my computer and then tried EVE Online. It looked promising but logging during the logging in of a second character the socket was closed on the Character Selection screen. Closing and reloading with a different character still resulted in a socket disconnection, just appearing to be at a random time.

One thing I did learn for certain is that home grade network equipment really is shockingly bad from a management features and point of view, I'll be looking to invest in a commercial grade router and switch in the near future to replace the piece of sh!t router I use now. 

Calling the ISP for the First Time

At this point I was confident that the issue lay outside of my network and so I called my ISP. 

I called them again because I couldn't get through and then again, again and again. Every time I called it said the delay to speak to someone was "greater than an hour" and even with the call back option I really didn't have the time at night to wait. I emailed and called over the course of two more days and eventually managed to get an email back from a Level 1 Support person.

I explained the problem and was told that they'd look into the issue, a few more minutes on hold and I was told my "connection had been reset". Wow, really what does that mean. I eventually managed to get the L1SP to explain that what he'd done is reset my ADSL connection at the local exchange. Turns out my ISP has space in the exchange of the Australian Communications company (Telstra) and he'd reset the connection as they usually find this works.

I wasn't happy with this, he wasn't investigating at all in my eyes, but a reset was worth seeing if it worked. I left it 24 hours then tested and found that it hadn't fixed the issue because when I loaded EVE Online the next night the very first thing that happened to me was a socket disconnection at the loading screen of the first character I loaded.

Network Diagnostics

To say I was a little pissed off would be right. I wasn't ready to go orbital but so far nothing pointed to an issue I could get fixed. I was sure the issue was outside my network so I needed to do some network diagnostics.

I could have used external utilities but the new EVE Launcher has some basic tools built in and I thought it was a good idea to use these as I could provide them to CCP saying I used their own tools to get the results.

So I clicked on the menu icon in the Launcher and selected the Network Diagnostics menu item.

EVE Launcher Network Diagnostics
I ran the Basic, Traceroute and Download test tests over several days at roughly the same time of night (~8pm) (the results seemed to be fairly consistent with little variation in the actual results):

Pinging dm794883twbxj.cloudfront.net [] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=18ms TTL=55
Reply from bytes=32 time=17ms TTL=55
Reply from bytes=32 time=17ms TTL=55
Reply from bytes=32 time=17ms TTL=55

Pinging client.eveonline.com [] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time=346ms TTL=239
Reply from bytes=32 time=362ms TTL=239
Reply from bytes=32 time=350ms TTL=239
Reply from bytes=32 time=345ms TTL=239

Wow. A large difference in ping times there, what about the Traceroute:

Tracing route to client.eveonline.com []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  [MY ROUTER] 
  2    11 ms    14 ms    13 ms  [ISP SWITCH #1] 
  3    19 ms    16 ms    17 ms  [ISP SWITCH #2] 
  4    17 ms    30 ms    18 ms  [ISP SWITCH #3]  
  5   173 ms   173 ms   225 ms  [ISP SWITCH #4] 
  6   177 ms   176 ms   176 ms  sjo-b21-link.telia.net [] 
  7   250 ms   250 ms   250 ms  ash-bb4-link.telia.net [] 
  8   323 ms   322 ms   322 ms  ldn-bb2-link.telia.net [] 
  9   323 ms   323 ms   322 ms  ldn-b1-link.telia.net [] 
 10   361 ms   367 ms   363 ms  ccp-ic-316224-ldn-b1.c.telia.net [] 
 11   355 ms   348 ms   354 ms  srv202-c.ccp.cc [] 

Beejesus! Look at those pings, they match what we've seen with the ping. Seems we're okay on my ISP's switches until the last one when it seems to go absolutely haywire and increases by at least a ten times. Telia seems that my ping times are terrible in their network so lets pass this on to my ISP and see if they can do anything.

Calling the ISP for the Second Time

I found out that I no longer had a case open with my ISP and it had been closed as resolved after the last contact I had with them. So I called them and gave up when I was told the wait time was, again, "greater than one hour". So I emailed them to create a new ticket and included the results of my diagnostics along with all the symptoms and details I had.

I was very surprised when I got an email 24 hours later from, what I later found out, was a fellow EVE player who happened to work in Support for my ISP. 

Over the course of a few days I answered questions, provided information and waited. I did find out:
"... it seems that a lot of people (all over the world) are getting routed through TeliaSonera - and according to some Forum posts they are "Known game killers"."
and my traffic was being routed through the US to the EVE Online servers in London and this routing was unfortunately not under the control of my ISP.

I was impressed with the help I got this time from my ISP, no solution but the person I was speaking to was at least trying and he asked me to try a few more things that my ISP Network Operations Centre people wanted because they could find no issue with EVE Online and me.

So I went back to searching the EVE Online Forums (:shudder:) as well as Google.


Whilst searching the forums I found a thread and a link to a Reddit post that gave me some good information. I did find another user who posted Ping Plotter output that showed he had the same ISP as me and his results were a close match with me.

I did find one piece of information popping up whenever I searched was the suggestion to change the port number that EVE Online uses from 26000 to 3724. At this point I was looking for ANYTHING that might work so I tried it.

For one whole week after I changed the Port Number I did not have a single socket disconnection on any character, even when multiple characters were open at the same time. It was joyous, I could finally get into the backlog of things I could not do previously. Jumps were made, sometimes mulitple jumps to/from the same cyno in one cycle. Cargo was delivered, goods were bought, moved and then used to construct new things.

Oh it was joyous.

Then it stopped working. Just stopped. It was like a switch, it was working when I went to bed but when I logged in the next day it no longer worked. New Eden is a fickle Mistress and her husband must have found out I was using her because the pain returned.

Reaching the Fifth Stage of Anger

I reached out again to my ISP as well as trying to think of solutions or things I could try but it was obvious this was out of my control. So I continued playing, limiting my play time to what I knew I could do and then only doing JF runs once a week when I know it would be safest.

Well I thought it would be safest, two weeks ago I lost a freighter in high sec to a socket disconnection, a failure to emergency warp and an inability to login again in time to save my freighter. 

This was the last straw.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Bringing out the Big Boy

I've been ratting in the local belts. I'd like to say its for the ISK but its not, it's relaxing and something to do as I'm waiting on other things to be ready for my attention.
I logged in recently to see blog friend Acki furiously typing an asteroid belt location in Local. It took me a couple of seconds to realize he was calling for support not because he was tackled (which is laughable, Acki wouldn't need help) but because he had an Officer spawn.
Alas I was not able to help him, I was in undocking a Scimitar, as he killed the Officer spawn but he did make an interesting comment that his Machariel was able to solo kill this rat, if taking heavy damage.

Fitting On A Budget

I asked to have a look at the fit, after all I use a Gila for ratting and a chance to upgrade to something with some more firepower that will kill rats quick is something I'd like to see. The fit was not unsurprising in lack of bling, I really was considering something that had faction or deadspace modules but it was not, it was a relatively cheap T2 fit:
[Machariel, Rattler]
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Reactor Control Unit II
Large Armor Repairer II
Armor Explosive Hardener II

500MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive
Sensor Booster II
Sensor Booster II
Tracking Computer II
Tracking Computer II

1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
1400mm Howitzer Artillery II, Republic Fleet Fusion L
Drone Link Augmentor II

Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Large Trimark Armor Pump I
Bouncer II x5
The hull is what this ship is built on and it's a very good hull and all the bonuses the hull give are to Large Projectile Turrets thus why we're using the 1400mm Howitzers. It's also a great time to buy a Machariel as the price has dipped under 400m and this is half the cost it used to be when I started.

A faction battleship, from Jita, for under 500m excluding ammunition.

Playing To Bonuses

Warp speed and acceleration aren't wonderful, useful yes-ish as they do help moving between belts but it's those Large Projectile Turret bonuses that will make our Battleship one nasty mofo (to NPC rats at least):

The higher your Gallente and Minmatar Battleship skills the better you will be but I've found Level 4 is more than enough for the rats in Curse.

Not really much more I can say about the bonuses that they don't say themselves; Extra damage and rate of fire are just what we need with Howitzers. The RoF is still a pain in the arse (40s base) but with the hull and decent (Level 4 specialization and Level 5 Gunnery Support skills, which you should have as a minimum honestly) then you're looking at a 18/20 second RoF.

RoF is one thing but getting the extra 5% per level damage adds to the punch, with anything sub-Battleship sized is a one shot kill from one or two guns but Battleship NPC's will lose between 50% and 75% health per salvo. You'll be unlucky if you need more than two, three at the most, salvos for any ship but a Faction or Officer spawn.

How She Goes

She goes very well. I named her Litany of Fury after a Warhammer 40,000 ship I read about recently and she's been full of fury when I've used her.

Cruiser and Frigates are one shot kills, so annoying to deal with that I've actually grouped my guns into two groups of two and three single groups. That way i can just press F1-F5 to shoot my guns and use the singles for small stuff and the large to large.

Looking at my wallet I was averaging 18m per tick (~15 minutes) of ratting. Sure it ain't huge but its free money and can be used to buy better things. I've used her in sites as well, nothing overly dangerous but the simple ones and she does very well there too.

What we have here is a solid ship with a good fit that turns this ship into a great ratter. Change the armour hardener to whatever your rats do as primary damage and you'll have a ship that should work anywhere in New Eden.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

First Milestone Memories Part 2

I make no secret of the fact I enjoy mining in EVE Online. I find the logistics and time spent actually mining relaxing. People scoff or laugh at me for this but we all find joy in different aspects, just so happens Mining/Production is mine.

Mining Fleet Assemble

It took me about 8 months to get an Orca and I used that became a huge support to my mining in high sec. It was very profitable, I could easily make a billion ISK every couple of days but in late 2011 I was starting to find my feet in null sec and I did not fancy moving an Orca into Null sec via gates. I'd moved to Providence and the ores and ice available there was far richer than what I was used to.

Getting an Orca into Providence was possible but I really didn't want to do it but I saw the opportunity to really upgrade my mining fleet and I set my sights on the Rorqual.

Thar She Blows! Except she doesn't, if you're a miner this is the "ship to have"
Designed to support and sustain large-scale mining operations in null sec (like other non-Freighter capital ships it cannot go into high sec) the Rorqual and it's special Industrial Core module allow ores and ice to be compressed to save space and allow these to be transported easier and in high quantities.

The Rorqual is unique among Capital Ships in that when the Industrial Core is active it causes the ship to transform into a static facility. 

If you're using the Rorqual, you will activate the Industrial Core and you certainly don't want to be doing this in open space. So the normal habitat that a Rorqual's would be found is safely within a POS.

I always was safe in a POS, never did I leave with red's in system or visit a belt to collect ore but I did once have a scare after activating the Industrial Module. I would usually activate the Industrial Core after I had stopped but one day I didn't and I didn't notice myself, slowly, inching out of the POS over the course of my fleet. When I finally DID check on my Rorqual it was 70km off the POS in transformed mode and totally defenseless. Suffice to say that day on I made sure I was not moving when I activated the core.

I did have issue within some people who would warp their Rorqual to collect Ore or Ice products from cans in space but only because they were painting a big target on the rest of us, they only had to be caught once and it would result in a lot of camping of our pocket. They never were in Providence but I did take pleasure in seeing the killmail of the Rorqual several months later after they left.

Preparation and Training

Originally I was to get my Main character as the Rorqual pilot but this very quickly had to be revised when I did not join my other alts in the same corporation. 

Assembly of the Rorqual would take nearly 3 weeks (20 days 19 hours to be precise) so I didn't have time to rush and waste training points, I was able to plan what I needed (thanks to EVE Mon) and then stick to the plan. So I trained two characters almost side-by-side to use the Rorqual. One, with the best Jump skills would move it to it's new Providence home and the other would actually be using it.

Both characters were able to fly the ship within hours of each other on the 9th September 2011 and then the training diverged. I can't remember exactly what my main started training but the Rorqual pilot started with getting all support skills (Spaceship Command, Industrial Core and Support base skills) to Level 4 minimum, he would get Level 5 eventually but my plan was Level 4 everything then start Level 5.

It took a long time to get the skills to Level 4 which required at least 6 days training just for Level 4 (with optimum mapping). Level 5 skills were 30+ days and I literary forgot about them so I didn't stew in EVEMon watching what they were doing.. Still at least I didn't have to do the Warfare skills, I already had them at 5 after months of previous training.


I was ready to use (that have the basic skills needed) the Rorqual from September 2011 but it wasn't until mid-October 2011 that we started assembly. I had no characters that could make the ship at the time (I have 3 now that can build Rorqual's) but I had a friend who could and he assembled it for me.

I spent a lot of enjoyable time mining (with my Orca) the minerals to create the components needed, then I had to move those to high sec and then to the low sec system of Iesa where we made the ship.

Each one is 10,000m3 and I needed three escorted Freighter trips to move it all
On the 13th November 2011 it was finally assembled and delivered.

I remember getting my main into the station and seeing the ship for the first time. I was smitten, she was beautiful and I undocked her immediately so I could see her in space.

New Home

Once assembled I packed the fit inside the ship, added fuel for jumping and setup a cyno in my new home.
This was well before jump engines were nerfed so I was able to make the journey in one jump, it would be two now but I'd have to travel through the Hive of Scum and Villainy known as Mai. And we don't travel through there unless we, no we don't travel through there at all. Period.
So I jumped, arrived docked and gave the ship to my new pilot. I fit the ship and undocked and started work. Where I was in Providence gave me several good mining systems within a short distance and this included Ice and Ore.

Times were very good for me at first as I was usually alone during my game-time and I only had to watch out for reds (enemies) and I'd safe up if any did come past. But over time more people were online when i was and we had regular camps from visiting reds that made mining quite frustrating, of course we never let them know that, but when times were lean in Providence I was able to continue with my Orca in high sec.

New Opportunities

I can remember Arkonor and Bisot sites that you had to scan down provided so much ore for my infant Manufacturing empire.

The Ore Arrays in the systems I had access to gave us a couple of different types of ore belts and I will never forget that 200,000m3 Spodumain asteroid that was always left until everything else was mined out. It was truly massive (at least a titan or two in size) and something that always was present, most people ignored it and if it was the only rock left it was left alone.

Eventually I learnt to mine Mercoxit, so much Mercoxit in fact that to this day I still have Morphite I mined in Providence that I use in my production runs when needed.

It was common at the time to share your boosts with, trusted, others in the same corporation/alliance in Providence and I was no different. Others charged a small fee (to cover fuel costs for the Industrial Core) but I never did as I'd always mine enough in 30 minutes to cover fuel for several days but everyone was welcome to join.

Never would they be able to access my POS but they would have access to my boosts and anti-NPC security (a cruiser I used to deal with rats that was kept near any active fleet). I can remember running fleets with only my characters active or at times ten or fifteen members. It was always different and there was always someone to speak to and pass the time, plus the extra eyes on Local were always welcome.

Expanding my Empire

The Rorqual allowed me to harvest what Providence had and through this and fund my burgeoning Empire. The Reaction Towers I had later in my time in Providence would never have been possible had I not had the ISK available to risk thanks to my Rorqual.

I'd mine ores and ice and then either refine and use what they gave me or I shipped them out for sale in the trade hubs. Dark Glitter for a period in 2012 was a massive profit for me, I could mine 10,000 blocks a week quite easily with the Rorqual and then I'd compress them and use a Jump Freighter to move them to high sec and then off to the trade hubs.

A lot of my initial income came from doing this and without the Orca it would have not been as profitable as it was. Without the Rorqual I think it would be fair to say I would not be where I am, a Net Worth of over six hundred billion in assets and ISK.
When Ice fields were changed in 2013 (Odyssey release) I had been been stockpiling Ice blocks like a madman. Most friends and fellow miners had a few hundred to a couple of thousand at the time Ice fields were changed I had a tad over 40,000 blocks in one system in Providence. After Odyssey was released I moved these to Jita and sold them for an extremely good profit (a couple of billion if memory serves), after all each ice field had a finite amount of Dark Glitter now but someone still needed a lot of it.

After Providence

I still love my Rorqual and she moved to Curse with me when I left Providence. She doesn't often have a run these days, passive income from Towers and Manufacturing has been more than enough for my activities but I have done mining just because I enjoy it. I really do.

I've been hopeful for changes to the Rorqual for a couple of years now, we've had some information but nothing confirmed but shes still my second favourite ship I own and I'm still proud I created her from scratch myself (with a little help to assemble).

Saturday, 21 May 2016

First Milestone Memories Part 1

When I first started EVE Online I had very little experience with the different types of ship and what their pros and cons were. I used to look in the Market Browser at the different ships and decide what I wanted to fly.

First Cruiser 

I can remember my first cruiser was an Arbitrator and I loved the idea of being a support ship with drones. 

Arrrr... it's the Arbitrator
I didn't use it that often, I was not one for the Pirate Life as my friends were but I did secure two kills in the ship and it still lives in my hanger to this day used rarely for ratting.

First Battleship

The Abaddon was the first battleship I truly loved for it's looks as well as it's abilities. Armageddon's and Apocalypses were fun but the Abaddon was the whole show.

Brooding... the Abaddon sits waiting for prey
Bex used to run around in the Abaddon. It is a beautiful ship to look at but it was also an excellent mission runner for me when I moved into my first wormhole (before I was educated) and I learn the difference between Beam and Pulse Lasers thanks to this ship. 

I lost my first Abaddon whilst trying to close a wormhole, Bex managed to pass through a critical wormhole in his Abaddon and I got stuck in the Great Wildlands. My (for the time) "blinged out" Abaddon did not make it back to high sec, I was killed two jumps from safety by a gate camp a minute before DT. Still, I petitioned the loss and was refunded what I lost.

First Transport Ship

A toss up between the Providence and the Orca.

Not at all Cockroach like
I bought the Providence (which I nicknamed "the Roach" as I think it bares a little resemblance to a cockroach) from my then Alliance Leader for 750m ISK and I still have her to this day. She has moved tens of millions of cubic meters of cargo, she's survived ganks and recovered loot I can no longer remember.

Then it was the Orca.

All your Ore (or Ice) are belong to me
At the time I was mining (a lot) in high sec and the boosts and cargo capacity was something I wanted, I can remember buying the Orca in Amarr two weeks before I could fly it. Two weeks of staring at the ship in the Ship list and getting excited as I watched my skill queue slowly tick down. I've since expanded my fleet to have four Orca's (two of which I built) but I still have Willy ... but he has not had an outing for quite some time.

First Carrier

When I used to look at the Ships on the Market it was the Archon that I used to stare at the longest. She wasn't special, she was a line carrier ship, but I loved the look and the idea of her and what she could do.

Drones, Drones, Drones, Fighters, Drones, Drones, Drones
I'd been playing for nearly 2 years when I got my first Archon I used to ship spin her for no other reason that I could. The character was not well trained (Fighters III if memory serves and Spaceship Command and Support Skills all at II or III) but she was mine and I got to take her out for a POS defense in a little know system called Mai.

I can still remember that day, the POS we were defending died as I totally focused on killing the enemy rather than repair the damage but still. I got on three kill mails and my love for the Archon sky rocketed.

I still have Metropolis, when I lived in Providence she was a regular defending me in the ice belt from rats and it was a short jump to Mai or Curse from there. I could never sell her nor fit a Triage module recently when all Triage fitted carriers were converted to Force Auxiliary's.

First Jump Freighter

I purchased my first Jump Freighter, an Ark, off contract in exchange for 13 PLEX. At the time I was trading in PLEX and had a nice surplus but could not find a cheap enough Ark in Jita or Amarr. So I found a contract and offered the seller 13 PLEX which they accepted.

Arc De Triomphe and her Sister Ships
Still have her to this day, and her sisters (as seen above) and she's the most oft used vessel access my characters.