Saturday, July 29, 2006

17 Free MMORPG Trials

If you've ever wondered what it was like to play an MMORPG (or another if you're already playing one) well now's you chance. FilePlanet has put together a collection of Massively Multiplayer Game Trials - 17 in all.

Some of these are the usual big one: World of Warcraft, Dungeons & Dragons, Star War Galaxies, Everquest, and of course EVE Online. I might try WoW and DDO to see what they're like now and how much has changed since the BETA trials I did a few months ago. Well it only seems to be a few months ago to me.

But whatever you decide to do, if you've never played EVE Online, do yourself a favor and go through the 14-day trial! You'll be happy you've joined the greatest MMO Community in the universe.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I'm now qualified to pilot Gallente Battleships

After about a week of training the last 2 skills I needed, I now have the PPL qualifications to pilot Gallente Battleships. That's no small feat let me tell you! Just to give you an idea, this is the current list of skills that was needed to be trained to various levels.

Acceleration Control
Controlled Bursts
Cruise Missiles
Defender Missiles
Drone Interfacing
Energy Grid Upgrades
Energy Management
Energy Pulse Weapons
Energy Systems Operation
Evasive Maneuvering
FoF Missiles
Fuel Conservation
Gallente Battleship
Gallente Cruiser
Gallente Frigate
Heavy Drone Operation
High Speed Maneuvering

Hull Upgrades
Large Hybrid Turret
Long Range Targeting
Missile Launcher Operation
Motion Prediction
Rapid Firing
Repair Systems
Shield Management
Shield Operation
Shield Upgrades
Signature Analysis
Spaceship Command
Surgical Strike
Tactical Shield Manipulation
TargetingScout Drone Operation
Trajectory Analysis
Warp Drive Operation
Weapon Upgrades

It's a pretty exhaustive list as you can see, and quite a few of these skills need to be at level 4 or even 5. So there's a lot of time invested in training all these skills.

And Phoenix Propulsion Labs has a list of required skills for numerous qualification categories. Which is why I use these lists to plan my skill queue instead, and rarely use ECM or EVEMon anymore. The next qualification that I'm training is "Drone Commander" and "Long Range Ballistics Commander". For the former, I've completed the "Drone Operator" and "Drone Supervisor" qualifications, as for the later, I've completed the "Trainee Long Range Ballistics Operator", the "Long Range Ballistics Operator" and also the " Long Range Ballistics Supervisor". As you can see these are all combat oriented qualification, as I'm trying to become proficient as a Phalanx pilot.

The only thing that I can't train though is experience, that'll only come with time and practice. We'll just have to get out there and train with Phalanx Command.

Time to roll-up my sleeves and get to work. I'll let you know how things go.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Skyland Episodes 1 & 2, and lastest poll

A few weeks back, I ran a poll to know if any of you would be interested in buying the Skyland animation series if it ever came on DVD. Well it seems that quite a lot of you would, so you'll be happy to hear that the series is being released in France this fall, though there is no news on the North-American market or elsewhere. Guess we'll just have to wait for that. If you have any news on it, please let me know.

Back to the poll results now. So here are the results after running the poll over a 2 weeks period:

    • What the hell is Skyland? - 13% (2)
    • Maybe, if the price is right - 13% (2)
    • Maybe, if the rest of the series is as good - 13% (2)
    • Most likely - 13% (2)
    • Definitely - 50% (8)
Looks like this would be a hot item! I do realize that I did not have the choice to say that you would not be buying the DVD series at all. What can I say, this whole polling thing is new to me! I will next time I promise.

Finally, I've had quite a lot of emails and posts asking me where one could get the first two episodes of the series. As I mentioned in this post a few months back, Nicktoons had made available the initial two episodes. But for some reason, they removed them. Lucky for me (and you), I downloaded both back then. And so, I was able to email them using Pando to a few of you. But, the demand has been so great that it no longer is convenient for me to use that utility.

Last week I came across, a great site that offer online storage. And so over the week-end I uploaded both episodes, and you can now download them yourselves! One thing though, I've to subscribed to the service ($5/month) in order to be able to upload the episodes which are about 130Mb each. The five bucks a month gives me 5Gb of space and 20Gb of bandwidth monthly. As write this, I have no clue as to how quickly I'll go though that. We''l just have to see. So here are the two links:

Please let me know if you run into any trouble trying to download either of them. You can also drop me a comment or an email to say thanks and Hi!

Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Getting my wings to fly a Dominix

A brand new DominixFlying towards a stargateClose-upIsn't she beuatiful!
The 4 screenshots above were taken after I picked up my Dominix, which was build by our Manufacture & Production division, a few systems out from our headquarter in Badivefi. Man what a beautiful ship she is.

I've had a Dominix Blue Print Copy (BPC) for a few months now, but never actually requested that one be built. I neither had the skills ready to fly one, nor the rank to do so within my corp, PPL. But I wanted to, man did I want to.

So after joining Phalanx Division, I worked on my required skills in order to qualify for Gallente Battleships. You see, the Labs is an amazing corporation with an amazing set of people, dedicated to EVE. A stroll through our site will quickly convince you of the professionalism and dedication that's involved. And that's only part of the story. PPL members have their own dedicated website, which is used for all internal matters, including character development.

Because, in order to qualify for specific duties, you have to meet the corps minimum skill sets and level. In the case of being approved to pilot a Gallente Battleship, there are 45 skills required, at various level. Now that doesn't mean that you can't fly a Gallente Battleship if you don't have all theses skills, but in order to fly them with efficiency, you need the right skill set. And PPL's Board expects nothing else, hence, you better meet the requirements.
As most EVE pilots, I used to use EVE skill tools (EVEMon and ECM) on a daily basis in order to navigate the complexities of EVE Online's multitude of skill books. But that is no longer required. I simply look at what I'd like to do, or pilot, or control, and complete the list of skills that are required by PPL. There are qualifications for manufacturing, drones, science, Tech I and Tech II (over 30 Qualification categories in all).

In addition to Gallente Battleship training, I'm also looking to complete Drone training up to the level of a Drone Commander. But before I get there, I still have to complete my BS training, and that means training 2 more skills: Surgical Strikes and Large Hybrid Turret - the last 2 of 45 skills! I have a few days still remaining.

It's almost overwhelming to pilot such a ship for someone who has always in cruisers. How the hell do I set-up that ship? I've looked at dozens of threads on the EVE forums, trying to find the right 'Dominix set-up'. No small task, believe me.

Anyways, until I've completed those two last skill training, I'll continue flying my Vexor (with the new set-up). That should give me enough time to continue my research on the Dominix set-up, and find a good one that will match both the ship's capabilities, and my style of piloting.

I'll keep you posted, but if you've got any suggestions on a good set-up, then please post a comment to let me know.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Upgrading to a VX922 19 inch LCD

After years of nagging Stephanie about getting a new monitor to replace the old and venerable IBM G17, I finally got the ok! About a week and a half ago I brought home a Viewsonic VX922 which I got for a only $325. I say only, because since February of this year, I've had a Best Buy ad scotch-taped in my cubicle at work, and the price tag was $549. So by waiting 5 months I saved $225 for the same monitor, the same pleasure. Here it is on my desk.

Viewsonic VX922
Now if I could only change that ugly beige phone, my mind would be at ease. But Stephanie will have none of it!

Sitting down in front of that monitor for the first time, and logging into EVE Online was a memorable experience that literally brought tears to my eyes, well almost. And since then I've enjoyed bigger space vistas, bigger ships, bigger explosion all rendered in under 2ms! Can you ask for more?

So what are you looking at when you sit down to play? Let me know!

A Vexor set-up for security missions

As most you know, I've been running a lot of missions these past few weeks, both for fun (isn't that the purpose of gaming) and also as per our corporate directives to increase our standings with the Khanid.

There are quite a few ships which I'm skilled enough to pilot, but I always tend to come back to my good old Vexor. I've gone through a few of them now having lost some to missions where the darn NPC pirates had the upper hand, or (usually) through unwanted PVP. But you learn and adapt (or die). Which is a great part of the fun I find in EVE.

I don't know how many hours I've spent with my ships in stations, reading through the EVE Forums, chatting with corp mates, trying different set-ups. Some poor, some fun. In some cases I'll go for speed and maneuverability, in others for a good tanking. Don't know what tanking is? You've tanked your ship when she's able to take a beating for a long time before Armor and Structure go. So you usually load up on Armor, Shield and Hull, and hardeners (Shield or Armor).

Vexor in combat

I've recently come up with a set-up (see above) for my Vexor which seems to be working very well for my current level 3 missions. I send out my Hammerhead II drones off to a target and stay at a range of about 22 km shouting down the rats. I can take a lot of beating before my shields go down (if I recall correctly they're at 3200 points! Yes that's on a Vexor!). If any rats get close, I'll shoot them down with the
Dual 180mm Gallium Machine Guns, once they get with a good range (about 8500m).

Here's my current Vexor set-up:
High slots
2x 720mm Howitzer Artillery I
2x Dual 180mm Gallium Machine Gun
1x Micro 'Notos' Explosive Charge I

Medium slots
1x Medium Shield Extender I
1x Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
1x Shield Boost Amplifier I

Low slots
2x Type-D Power Core Modification: Reaction Control
1x Reactor Control Unit I
1x 800mm Reinforced Steel Plates I

5x Hammerheads II

Now, eventually, I'd like to come up with the right set-up for PVP, though I'm far from ready for that. Having recently joined the Phalanx Division within PPL's Military Division, I'll get there pretty soon (more on that later).

Finally, here's a screenshot of a recent mission. Lots of action eh!

Vexor in combat

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

EVE TV, what a blast!

I hope you had a chance to see some of the PVP competition that was broadcasted live on the net. Not TV per say, but close enough in my book and was damn nice to see all those CCP interviews in addition.

I must say I was really impressed with the quality and professionalism of the broadcast. But then again, this is CCP. I really hope that we will be able to download the complete broadcast (bit torrent please) since I missed most of it. What I did see though really got me into it.

Except for a few bumps here and there in the beginning, thing mostly went well.

A few gaming news site are noticing as it's being reported over at ArsTechnica,, VirginWorlds and Slashdot.

If you're curious, then book you calendar for this Friday through Sunday and tune in to EVE TV to watch the rest of the competition - it runs from 15:00 to 21:00 GMT.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Happy Birthday to the Escapist!

The Escapist Magazine is one year old today. Long life to this great magazine and its growing community.

When I first came upon the Escapist, I was like a kid walking into a candy store for the first time.

This was game journalism at its best - the subjects were interesting, thought provoking, controversial. I've read every issue since then and I truly feel that I'm learning something new every time I done reading an issue.

On this momentous occasion, they've revamped their look and that of the Lounge (forums) and added a login/account feature - which I quickly registered for.

I strongly encourage that you give it a good read, and browse the old issues. There a tons of great article on everything related to the gaming industry - where gaming is heading, RMT, the industry's past present and future, on EVE Online (multiple issues), on Blizzard (a recent issue was solely dedicated to the venerable developer), and much more.

Head over to the new site and enjoy!

The Escapist is published by the Themis Group.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Back after a short break

I took a 3 weeks break from EVE and from gaming in general. I was on vacation the last week of June, and then with the heat wave we got the first week of July it was too hot to play. But with the wall-mounted A/C unit that got installed last Thursday, I'm back in business.

Played a lot over the week-end, doing missions in and around Badivefi. Which is what I plan on doing once we've completed some mining ops after the 12th.

So more updates coming in the next few days. I want to rap up the current survey, update you on my current skill path (going Drone crazy), my promotion to Ensign within Phoenix Propulsion Labs the upcoming 4th issue of EON (which I should get this week), and other goodies.

Until then, fly safe and enjoy the summer!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

EON #004 - Table of Content

Table of Content - EON 004
  • Page 6 --- E-ON Upfront (News)
  • 16 ---- Post Cards from the edge (Screen shots)
  • 18 ---- In Crowd: Kari Gunnarsson (CCP Employee Interview)
  • 20 ---- In Character: Shamis Orzoz (Player Character Interview)
  • 22 ---- Chronicles: Biomass by Fran Macjus
  • 24 ---- The History of new Eden - Part 2
  • 32 ---- In Character: Maggot (Player Character Interview)
  • 34 ---- Cover Story: Holy Trinity
  • 38 ---- Lord of the Files
  • 42 ---- Career Path
  • 47 ---- In Character: Jade Constantine (Player Character Interview)
  • 48 ---- Testflight: Interdictors (Flycatcher, Sabre, Heretic, Eris)
  • 56 ---- Chronicle: The Problem Solver by Tom Czerniawski
  • 58 ---- In Crowd: Noah Ward (CCP Employee Interview)
  • 60 ---- Insider's Guide: Piracy (Player Guide)
  • 68 ---- Insider's Guide: Attributes and Skills (Player Guide)
  • 74 ---- Teh Funnies (EVE Humour)