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Awox – fun or, well, it’s fun – admit it.

4 Dec

AWOX

There is a long history of Awoxing in Eve, it’s one of the many things that stir up controversy. Some say, usually the ones doing the Awoxing, that it’s a legitimate part of the game, a way of making isk and having fun. Others, usually the ones who have been affecting in a negative way by this, claim that it is unfair, against the spirit of the game, and generally a pain in the ass. I’ve been on both sides of the Awox situation and, even when it’s been me on the receiving end, I can’t say that there’s anything unfair about it. So, this is my story of when I changed things around, when I became the Awoxer.

Awoxing is basically becoming friendly with someone and then taking advantage of them. This often comes in the form or joining a corporation or alliance and then harming them while they are blue, and friendly towards you. There are many reasons why you might want to do this, isk (always a good one), boredom (hell, it’s something to do), lols (the reaction from the aggrieved can be hilarious) and, in my case, revenge.

I’d had a fun little brawl in high sec, which I lost, but as far as I was concerned it was nothing more than a good fight. Me in a Brutix, fighting a Hyperion and a Talos and after I got my ass kicked I was looking forward to a friendly conversation over how the fight went. The Talos pilot was all good with this, as most Eve players are, and we chatted for a while. The Hyperion pilot, however, decided that his victory was worth smack-talking in local. He mocked me, mocked my skills, mocked my social life and mocked the legitimacy of my birth. What he wouldn’t do, however, was come out and fight one to one in equal ships. You all know this sort of person, brave in talking but not so brave when it comes to a chance of losing his ship.

I started considering my options and began checking out the characters history. He was CEO of a corp with about 20 members but there was a lot of chopping and changing in his history and lots of new corps being formed with very, very similar names. A few minutes spent looking into war histories and kill boards made me realise that any time the corp was war decced they disbanded and started something new. So, deccing them would be a bit pointless. Bounty on him? Possible but too impersonal. A gank when he and his corp were mining? Another possibility but limited and the CEO himself didn’t seem to be much of a miner so it would be the rest of the corp that suffered rather then him and that wasn’t really my goal.

Initially I dismissed an Awox because, well because I never thought it would work. But, with most of the other options discarded I opened a conversation with the CEO, complimenting him on his ship fit and his victory. Once I had pandered to his ego for a while I started asking about his corp and whether it was a real hassle being the CEO or worth the satisfaction he got out of it. It took me an entire 20 minutes to get an invite to his corp which sets the scene for some of the things that are going to be described.

My initial plan was to stick with the corp just long enough to get into a mission with the CEO and by that time I knew he bought plex so he could afford the best faction fit battleships. A simple plan, not overly subtle, but get him into a mission, attack and then bring in a friend for RR if required. Basic, but effective. However nothing is ever as simple as you would like it to be. The first issue was that the CEO, and the majority of the corp, tended to be on at different times than I was. So going missioning with them was a problem. My second option was to hit one of their mining fleets, the kind of fleets that have multiple Orcas, a freighter for hauling (a freighter that was foolishly in the corp rather than an npc corp) and a comfortable number of barges. But again, this was made tricky by the time zones.

So, I bided my time, waiting for the perfect moment when I could do maximum damage. While getting more and more bored with the corp I went back to my normal occupation of high sec ninja and low sec piracy – an interesting mix for those internet types who are still debating the merits of both sides. And yes, that argument still rages, although not on the front pages anymore. One of my ninja acts earned me the kill of a Navy Domi and a ransom of 150 million. When he heard about this the CEO demanded that the money be given back because his corp only did honourable combat – he must have conveniently forgot the way we met. But, still trying to maintain my cover as being amiable and easy going, I instantly agreed and after a few minutes said I had returned the isk. I didn’t of course, and the CEO was too arrogant to bother checking.

Then, disaster struck. Overnight the CEO made a decision to move his corp into Null Sec and join a large alliance, which was known for inviting corps to join them and bring their most expensive kit down. And yes, as is blatantly obvious to everyone, well nearly everyone, this alliance then turns on the corp and rips them apart. But, this made no difference to me and I knew that my time had run out and I had to act. I may not get everything out of the Awox that I desired, but better to get something rather than nothing. This was my first Awox attempt and I didn’t want to mess it up completely.

Quietly cursing my bad luck I hit the corp as they were taking down their pos – their fully faction pos I may add. A few kills and much confusion and rage in the corp chat later, I had scooped a couple of arrays worth about 150 million in total and I was sitting outside the main corp station waiting for victims, sorry, I mean targets to come out and vent their anger on me. Sadly, after a few small losses, they decided that discretion was the better part of valor and the majority of corp logged off, saying that they would be back when I got bored of being a dick.

After a lot of anger and even more cursing in corp chat, the CEO “calmly” advised me that he would be raising this matter with CCP. My refusing to dock or leave the corp was obviously an exploit which would get me kicked from the game and never allowed to play Eve again. He would make it his life goal to ensure that I never stalked the dark skies of Eve again. I’m sure you can imagine how seriously I took this.

I took myself away from station, jumped into a cloaky ships which was sitting in an alt’s Orca hangar and left the game for the night. Next morning I came back and had a quick glance at the screen to see what was going on. I warp to the corp pos and find to my dismay that it had been removed overnight. The corp knew my time zone and had made the smart decision of moving as quickly as possible while I was likely to be afk. Well, it was almost a smart decision. The CEO was sitting in system somewhere, I assumed in station, and the Serpentis Control Tower was in the process of being unanchored, twenty minutes to go and it would be ready to be scooped.

My first thought was TRAP! They’re trying to lure me in and then will appear on top of me in an act of righteous vengeance. But the only member of the corp online was the CEO. Okay, possibly they’ve all logged off at the tower and will drop in on me just as the tower unanchors. Or maybe the CEO is sitting nearby in a cloaky ship, waiting to strike me down with a grin of victory on his face when I try to get the tower.

Pondering my options, I sat cloaked in space just waiting to see what would happen next. With the tower having less than five minutes to go, there is a message in the corp chat channel from the CEO.

“You there or are you still AFK?”

Surprisingly enough I didn’t answer this and the next thing I see is the CEO turning up at the pos in an Iteron V. Still there was no-one else from Corp online, still there was no sign of it being a trap, still there was nothing to suggest that this could end any way other than badly for the CEO.

With second left I set my alt in warp to the tower, I uncloaked my Loki and I popped the hauler. Unfortunately the pod escaped, but I was good with what was going on. The tower was scooped by my alt who promptly got out of the area and I cloaked up again near the tower, or where the tower used to be, and waited, just in case the CEO came back ready to fight.

While I’m sitting there, a big cheesy grin on my face and the happy dance building up within me, Corp Chat starts again. The CEO is not a happy man, not a happy man at all. Initially, he screams yet again that I am breaking the rules of the game and that I will be reported to CCP. Keeping everything polite, I advise him that he is, of course, perfectly within his rights to do so but I don’t think that he would get much joy out of doing that.

These words may just have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. After a number of racial and sexual slurs, he calls me a dirty Awoxer and requests that I remove myself from his corp immediately and go give my mother some much needed sexual attention. I thank him for his concern and advice but politely refuse. After a few more insults and slurs, he goes quiet and I think that he may be pondering his next move. And what would that next move be? Quite an unexpected one really.

I receive corp notification that the CEO has resigned his position and left corp and that I have been made the new CEO.

Yes, you read that right but my initial reaction was exactly the same, that couldn’t be correct . But it was, I went from being a dirty Awoxer who never really had a chance to do maximum damage to bring the controller of the corp that I had tried to harm. So, time to remove roles from every corp member, set tax rate to 100%, empty the wallet, take everything out of the corp office in the high sec system and then I saw that we had another office in the null station that we were moving to. Well, we did have that, until I spotted it and closed it.

Other corp members are starting to log on now and as you can imagine they are quite confused by what’s happened. To add to this confusion I say that the CEO had left the corp to me and when I logged on only a few minutes ago I saw that it had been emptied and I could only guess that the previous CEO had done this. “Does anyone know what the hell is going on?” I ask in an innocent voice.

Over the next couple of days I close the corp down, make about 240 million isk from bounties before players realise that the rates have changed, and a few million more from the POCOs that the corp had. Most people have left the corp and I decide it’s time for a fresh start. I close the corp and move on to new things.

Now, I’m not an experienced Awoxer, far from it. This was my first time. And for a first time having the CEO throw his toys out of the pram and pass over his corp to me, totally screwing everyone else in the corp and, just to make it that bit sweeter, not having logged in since, I think I did pretty well.

A decent amount of isk made, although not as much as I had been hoping for, lots of laughs, and a story that is going to get me a lot of beer from my real life Eve mates as I tell it in the pub.

Awoxing is fun!

So, you think you know how a BPO works.

22 Feb

This is an EVE ONLINE related post – sorry if it doesn’t make any sense to you.

*****

The lab was running at full speed with dozens of technicians scurrying around, computers whirring silently and assorted unidentified but very impressive looking machines doing whatever it is that they’re meant to be doing and doing it well. Perian stood just inside one of the sliding glass doors and looked around all the activity with a sense of well being and satisfaction.

If he was going to be completely honest with himself he understood a fraction of what was going on here but he did know enough to realise that things were running smoothly. Feeling quite content with life, he wandered over to his personal terminal and started pulling up the details of labs schedule for the next few weeks. As soon as he pulled up the rota he realised that there was something wrong but before he could figure out what it was a shrill voice cut through the background noise of the lab and scrapped across his nerves like a rusty nail across a blackboard.

“Uncle Perian,” the irritating voice called out. “Uncle Perian, just the man I wanted to see!”

Forcing a smile onto his face, Perian slowly spun the chair around and looked up at the scrawny figure in the pristine white lab coat.

“Beaker,” he said, calling his nephew by the nickname that had been with him for as long as he could remember. “I wasn’t expecting to see you here today. I thought you’d be over at the drone factory.”

“I was, but I saw that you’d docked here and though I’d come across and catch up with you. So, I’ve done my share of the deal, it’s time for you to come through with yours. When do I get to go and fly the Daredevil?”

“Come on now, Beaker,” Perian replied with a tired smile. “The deal was that you get the Daredevil when the labs are up and running, which I agree they are. But also only when you’d clocked enough hours in the Haulers. And you’re not even close to that yet.”

For a moment Beaker looked like nothing more and nothing less than a petulant child and Perian was sure that there was going to be a temper tantrum, but thankfully, the frown lifted from the youth’s forehead as he saw what his uncle was looking at on the terminal.

“I was going to tell you about that.” Beaker said, all disappointment forgotten, for the moment at least. “Auto’s really screwed up this time, hasn’t he?”

Spinning the chair around again so he could see the monitor, Perian wanted to agree with his nephew but he certainly wasn’t going to say so out loud.

“Computer,” he said in the flat tone of voice that he’d found worked best with getting the programmed system to follow commands. “Get me Automatic J on a vid link. Low priority.”

In less than a minute the holographic projector whirred into life and Perian found himself looking at Auto.

“Yah, what is it?” Auto asked in his slightly Slavic accent.

“I’ve got the lab schedule up in front of me,” Perian said. “It looks like you’ve booked some network time to work on that Particle Accelerator Blueprint you picked up. From what it says here you’ve got the mainframe and a team of three techies for the next four days.”

“And?”

“And,” answered Perian, trying very hard not to let his frustration show. “And I’m not sure why you need this? The accelerator blueprint is a pretty basic one, why are you spending so much time on it?”

“But you said that if we ever get any blueprint programs we should let the lab guys see them straight away!” Auto was making no attempt to hide his growing confusion and anger. “And this is what I’m doing. I give the blueprint to them and they make it better. Just like you said.”

Perian took a slow breath and knew that he’d have to explain how blueprints work to Auto, again. This had to be the fifth time, at least.

“When we get a blueprint from one of the big producers,” he said in his calmest voice,” it’s pretty shoddy work. All they care about is getting the basic information into the program and then selling as many of them as we can. So we need to work on these blueprints when we get them, making sure that all the rough edges are off, making sure that they’re fine tuned to work in our manufacturing plants and making certain that there are no mistakes, deliberate or accidental, in them. This is a time consuming process and, like you said, we have to give it over the lab workers to get it right.”

“Which is just what I’ve done,” interrupted Auto.

“Yes, however, I’ve also said that there are limits to what ever the best technicians can do with blueprint. You’ve set up the computers and the crew to spend four days trying to improve this blueprint. Four days. It would take less than twelve hours to get this accelerator blueprint to the best we could possibly get it. But because you’ve told the computers to work on it for four days, that’s what they’re going to do. So they’re going to be offline to the rest of us for that time. Three and a half days wasted.”

“And how am I meant to know this?” yelled Auto. “I’m not a geek, I work for a living!”

“I’ve told you over and over again,” Perian yelled back, his attempts to control his temper forgotten about now. “You look to see what resources the blueprint uses and then you simply calculate what percentage of Davior’s Hypothesis is going to work in their case. All you have to do is use the revolving equations that Matheson Woo laid down when he expanded the principles of Newton’s Third Law to cover the pressures of Worm Hole . . . . ”

Perian took a deep breath and rubbed at his temples while he tried to calm down.

“Okay,” he said after a moment. “You’ve got a point. It’s not always easy to tell what to do for best with the blueprints. So, how about this. I set up a program in the mainframe’s open access systems. That program will give you a guesstimate, a rough idea of how long you should give to any blueprint. It won’t be 100% accurate, but at least it will give you a good idea of how much of our labs’ resources to dedicate to this. All I ask is that you consult the program before you start working on any Blueprint. You do that for me and I’ll stop nagging you about this.”

“Fine, fine, whatever you say,” snapped Auto. And just before he broke the connection he could be heard to mutter, “Bloody key hitting geek!”

Perian leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He couldn’t help but wonder where it had all gone wrong for him. He had started his career working freelance for the Federation Navy, doing all the jobs that they were either unable or unwilling to openly admit to. How did he end up spending most of his time in the labs or factories of TEMOE?

“So,” he heard Beaker say from behind him. “About that Daredevil.”

Eve part two

8 Jul

The feeling that washed over Mariah as the freighter moved into Warp and sped away from the station would be indescribable to anyone who hadn’t experienced it for themselves. How can you try to put into words the sensation of being at once part of the entire universe around you, and at the same time being so separate from it that you slip through it without the laws of physics affecting you?

She revelled in the security of the vast ship surrounding her, protecting her, being part of her. Every time she let her mind wander like this, she couldn’t help but wonder if this was what it was like to be in the womb. But no, in the womb you were just a passenger, integral to the carrying unit perhaps, but with no control over it. In the pod you were in control of everything. Every scanner, every hull plate, every cargo hold. Everything belonged to her, was part of her.

Even the crew that scurried around the huge ship were part of Mariah. She could get a vague sense of their emotions, she could almost hear their thoughts, and they were as much under her control as rest of the freighter was.

The sheer joy of life made her laugh out loud as the Obelisk broke out of normal space and into the nurturing tunnel of Warp Space. This was what it was all about, this is why she had given up so much to become a capsuleer. This sensation was the thing that she had given up her mortality for.

All too quickly, the ship shook itself as it entered normal space once more. Mariah went through those few moments where she thought her stomach was going to turn itself inside out before she got control over herself and did a routine check of all her ship systems. All was normal, exactly as she thought it would be, but that would never stop her making those checks. In space, the slightest problems could turn out to be disastrous and there was no point in taking risks that you didn’t have to.

The Jump Gate that she was slowly turning towards flared into life and a ship appeared only a few kilometres away from Mariah. The frigate was tiny compared to the incredibly bulk of the freighter, but it’s smooth lines and bristling weapons gave it a feeling of danger, gave it the look of a predator. Mariah shivered as she felt sensors sweep over her and for a moment she panicked.

Was this the start of a pirate attack? She knew she should have employed back-up for this run, but she’d done it so often with no problems that she got overly confident.

Again the Jump Gate activated, and again and again and again. Within minutes, there were dozens of different ships all around Mariah and she knew there was nothing she could do. There was no way that help would arrive in time to save her, there was no chance that she could escape the pirates.

Just as she was about the send out that useless distress cry, the first of the ships vanished in the blink of an eye. She felt the freighter around her shiver slightly as the frigate sped past her in warp and then all the others followed suit. It took only moments for Martha to be completely alone in space once again, staring blankly out at the quiet jump gate.

Within the freighter, the crew went about their business, completely oblivious to what had happened. Chemicals and protein soup washed through Mariah’s pod as she tried to calm down, to make sense of what she had just seen, but all around her life went on as normal. Drones moved huge cargo containers around to ensure that everything was secured in place, workers did the thousands of jobs that were essential to the smooth running of any large ship, and automated systems scanned and checked everything over and over again. Mariah was the only thing in the ship not doing exactly what it was meant to be doing.

“The station,” she muttered to herself as realisation struck her. “They’ve gone to the station.”

Not for one moment did she consider going back to help because there was simply nothing she could do. The pirate fleet would be at the station by now, there was no way she could warn them. The freighter had no combat ability at all, and even if it did, Mariah wasn’t a fighter. It would be suicide.

Maybe she should go back, maybe she should try to help, but she had her own people to worry about. Everyone inside the ship relied on her for their welfare, for their jobs, for their very lives and that was a responsibility she took very seriously. No, there was nothing she could do.

Gathering her senses and trying to calm herself Mariah turned her attention and the freighter back towards the jump gate and started the next stage of her journey. She knew she was doing the right thing, the only thing, but she couldn’t help but think that she should have done more.

Eve – Part One

2 Jul

The factory shook as the massive freighter dropped into warp space, barely moving far enough away from the structure to avoid tearing it to pieces in the slip stream of its journey. Most of the thousands of people employed in this vast structure, hovering in space miles above the planet below, ignored the departure of the ship. They’d simply seen it too many times to be impressed by it any more. But not Jacob, he was different. Every time that he watched one of those unbelievably huge spaceships vanish in the blink of an eye, he couldn’t help but stare in wonder at it.

“One day,” he always whispered to himself. “One day I’ll be piloting one of those.”

The people working around Jacob just smiled and shook their heads. They’d heard it all before and there wasn’t a single one of them who hadn’t thought the same thing at some point or other. But people grow out of their foolish dreams, or at least most of them do. When they first came to work on the production lines that day in and day out churned out hull plates and drive engines to feed the constant hunger for new ships, everyone thought that it was just a matter of time before they somehow made it off this hunk of floating metal and signed up aboard a ship.

Very few of the workers seriously imagined that they would ever be flying them, but what must it be like to just be aboard one of those majestic machine? Every day seeing new systems, new planets. Spending your life in the depths of space, never sure what you would experience next? Surely it had to be better that punching a button on a machine and shift plates of metal across the factory floor! But then, anything would be better than that.

Turning away from the viewing port, Jacob focussed his attention back on the job at hand. It was up to him to watch over all the hull plates that came out of this part of the factory and make sure there were no imperfections in them. True, his work was double checked by computers and automated systems, but the human eye sometimes caught things that even the most advanced viewing systems could miss. The fact that he had such a responsible job was always a source of great pride to him, if he didn’t do his job properly, then he was putting dozens, possibly hundreds of people at risk. The hull plates that he made were shipped across the system and were used in the Capital ships that ruled space. He couldn’t afford to let the people who relied upon his skills and talents down.

Deep down, in some part of his soul which was locked up tight, Jacob knew that he was just another cog in a vast and faceless machine, but he would never let himself admit to that. The only way he could face himself in the mirror in the mornings was by telling himself that he was needed, that he was essential. That he was important. There had to be something different about him, he couldn’t be just like the hundreds of people around him, doing almost identical jobs, wearing almost identical boiler-suits, having almost identical thoughts. He was special, he was different and one day he would prove it.

Once more, the assembly array shook and Jacob assumed that another ship had arrived. He didn’t think one was due about now, but it wasn’t as though he was kept informed of any changes to shipping schedules that may be happening. Moments later, sirens started to wail and an automated voice rang out through the speaker systems.

“Key personnel make your way to your designated stations. We are under attack. This is not a drill. Key personnel make your way to your designated stations.”

At the same moment, Jacob could see the force field that surrounded the dozen structures in the floating factory flare into life. The shimmering energy made it difficult to see what was going on outside the viewing screen, but he could just make out the brief flash of a ship dropping out of warp. And then another, and another and another. More and more ships appeared around the station, too many for him to account, and although they were too distant for Jacob to make out what they were, there was no doubt in his mind that these were not friendly traders.

The alarms grew louder and lights dimmed as the station shook over and over again. All around him people were panicking. What were they meant to do, where were they meant to go? This couldn’t be happening to them, could it? Why would anyone want to attack a peaceful trading factory? What did anyone have to gain by this?

Escape pods. Yes, that was it. Make your way to the escape pod. Jacob turned and started pushing his way through the frightened workers. How many escape pods would there be on a station this size, surely not enough for everyone? But he had to make it, he had to survive. He was special, he couldn’t die here, not like this, not before he had a chance to prove his worth.

People were clawing and fighting as more and more of them realised that they had to escape. Only the first few to the pods would make it out of the station and, if the attacking fleet were to break through the shields, then there would be no chance of surviving. All thoughts of friendship and humanity were lost as the worker struggled to flee. People were pushed to the ground and trampled, men and women lashed out at each other in their fear and desperation. The only thought was of escape.

And then the security doors at the entrance to this section of the factory crashed down, quickly and efficiently removing any way of escape. Jacob had seen these doors a thousand times but never really thought about them, they were just part of the scenery. He had never asked himself why they were there, he had never wondered at just how sturdy they looked. But now they were all he could think about.

Some of the trapped workers hammered on the doors, begging, demanding to be released. Others looked around hopelessly for some other way out of the factory. But most just stared blankly at the doors, unable to take in what had just happened.

“What now?” whispered a woman standing to Jacob’s right. “What the hell do we do now?”

No-one answered.