I haven't been very active in Eve for the majority of the summer; partly thanks to some RL events and partly (I suspect) due to my bittervet status and my recent disenchantment after the whole Greed is Good debacle.
Only racing - the thing that made me really want to try Eve Online to start with - could manage to bring me back week after week.
Last season, my computer issues coupled with some clashes between my RL and the race schedules kept me somewhat disheartened and uninspired. I can't not show to a race if I possibly can make it, because even on a bad day it's easily the most fun I can have in Eve.
Now... I still have computer issues (biggest issue being not having cash to get me a new one :P) but at least the races have been rescheduled to a day and time that I can come back to racing in. For my part, I couldn't be more grateful to Gyra for the change ;)
Yesterday, Season 2.0 started. The race was... eventful, to say the least. My computer is still crap, I still struggle with system loading times, but my team was united again. Our team. And Quin was on the track. It was just like old times and I loved it. Even though by the end we at Scuderia Dragonstar were sad. But despite on-track setbacks, it felt to me like the races of old. I loved it.
My inspiration seems to be back. I wrote a report and posted it on the NE*RA forums. A blog is hardly the best venue for such a lengthy text, but if you want to know more about KayJay, the Scuderia, and how Quin's famous executioner met its end, that's the place to go.
Amusing factoid: even though I have CQ active and am visually up and walking around in my quarters, when I try to clone-jump across the galaxy it still says I need to be in my pod. (As opposed to having some other ship spinning around in my tabletop holo thingamajig.)
I realise I'm nitpicking because I'm still bitter about recent events, but for a feature which is supposed to make the experience more immersive this seems sort of fail.
At first I didn't take the leaked CCP newsletter thingie seriously. Could be a hoax, could be a joke, could be a lot of things. Then it got confirmed that it was for real. I am depressed and I feel betrayed.
I need some sleep. I've been reading too many threads and blogposts about this. Perhaps tomorrow I'll find some words of my own to express my disappointment.
Right now I'm still giddy about the fact that I finally have legs! I remember going to Fanfest in '07 and being floored by the idea of a full-body experience in Eve, but the bright-eyed noob soon turned into a bitter vet whose words at the mention of Ambulation became "That's all very pretty, but I'm not holding my breath."
I've been waiting so long for this that I don't much care by this point if our quarters are somewhat small and there isn't much to do but walk from couch to balcony and back. I know more will follow, and now this particular snowball is rolling, it'll follow soon.
The sight of my ships at the balcony is impressive, and I don't even fly any big ones. I can only imagine what it's like to walk over there and have a glorious Machariel filling your vision. It's funny to realise for real how tiny my racing interceptors are, compared even to my other frigates. But old habits die hard: I keep trying to spin the ship to see the turrets from the other side ;)
Ship spinning replaced by vegetating in front of a TV screen. I'm not yet quite sure what to think of that, but I have to admit the screen is rather hypnotic, even if it keeps trying to sell me Rifters, of which I already have tons.
I have to say, however, I'm not impressed with the Noble Exchange. Yes, I want extra goodies, but I took one look at the prices and reeled back. Let me quote someone who was involved in a discussion about aurum and prices last night on the DUST514 ingame channel:
[ 2011.06.22 01:58:38 ] Alextrovarius > but i am not shelling out 45 euro's for a stupid eye piece that no one gets to see...
I am going to second that. The prices going on in there for ridiculously small things (like the eye implant) are through the roof. And to top that, these are things which, in good Eve tradition, you can lose if you get podded. So let me see, a month of gameplay or a new skirt: that's not a difficult choice. I'm not even tempted to buy any of the NeX items at those prices, which I imagine defeats the purpose. Perhaps I'm wrong but I assumed these were to be micro-transactions? They look rather macro to me.
So... back to my ship, undock, zoom in really really really close and drool at the new turret goodness. Giddy! :D
Now, if only my Tech 3s would stop flying backwards...
Sixth to dock. Again. And this time none of the Re-Aw members of her roster had shown up. Not a single one.
So she had fleeted with reds, in one of her flashes of temper. She did seem to have a quicker temper whenever she was in her racing clone. But this time she didn't regret it one bit. She'd be damned if she was going to toss aside her personal beliefs plus her racing family and then be made to race alone.
Facing Ciarente wasn't going to be pleasant, but right now it didn't matter one bit how much she liked her CEO. Kayleigh Jamieson-Read was feeling both angry and betrayed, and not one bit repentant.
The official results aren't in, yet, but I managed to jot down my impressions of this race soon after, while things were still fresh in my mind. Follow the link and I hope you find it interesting reading.
The jin-mei groaned. Sixth place. Sixth. She probably hadn't had a result this bad since Season 1 of the previous league. Sixth overall, sixth in her class - barring any time penalties the official results might uncover.
The night before was always one for fretting, worrying about all the tiny details. Spare parts placement, ship tuning, clone jumping... But this time around she had an added worry. She had had to let go of her old team and her new one was apparently leaving her hanging.
None of her pilots had confirmed they would be in Derelik tomorrow. Not a single one of them.
Kayleigh took a deep breath and rubbed her face. Right. It wouldn't be the first time she raced alone. But it would be the first time she felt angry and betrayed while doing so. Bugger the lot of them. She was a big girl. She'd pay for her mistakes - even if that meant an entire season thrown in the garbage - and then in the end no one ever again would tell her who she could race with or not.
Apparently Kay had too much of it. Free time. The sort you spend idly at some bar, sipping the same old drink and dwelling on the past instead of looking toward the future. People were starting to notice.
Hikari had challenged her to find something that would get her blood pumping again. As it turned out, it seemed going planetside and hopping onto unstable two-wheeled vehicles to go really really fast around a track was just the thing. In all fairness, her old friend made it sound exciting. Perhaps it would bring back a fraction of the excitement of epic races long gone. She had agreed to try.
And then there was this amarrian... Nicoletta. Kay remembered her from years ago, back at a time when she actually bothered to chime in on the Summit from time to time. Ms. Mithra had, at the time, invited a group of anti-slavery people to visit her estates and see how things weren't as propaganda painted Amarr slavery to be. Kay hadn't been terribly impressed.
Now here was this woman again, turning up at Daredevil's Lounge, of all places, and reading her well enough to suggest ways to occupy her free time. A visit to her estates had been out of the question - even though the races were on indefinite hold, Kay still had fans and followers and principles to maintain, not to mention she was now a member of Electus Matari, with all that entailed. She would not endorse slavery by doing tourism at a place she knew ran on slavery.
An invitation to go riding horses? Insanity. There was no disputing the fact that Kayleigh was of small stature. To perch a tiny jin-mei on top of a big beast with a mind of its own? It sounded like a disaster waiting to happen, of the kind with the potential to break a neck.
But an invite to dinner? Somewhere a little more neutral? Why not? One could have a civilised talk, perhaps a meaningful discussion with an opponent, yes? There would be no harm in it. And the alternative was to sip the same old drink, at the same old place, missing her wife...
Often, of late, Kayleigh felt she'd lost her spark.
It was the sort of thing she was becoming more aware of in the company of younger pilots, such as Laria, who still had such enthusiasm for just about anything out there in space.
Kayleigh was finding it increasingly difficult to muster a whole lot of verve for the act of undocking. There was no challenge keeping her mind occupied, no excitement keeping her blood pumping, no overarching achievement to aim for.
So when Hikari mentioned learning how to ride a bike and race planetside, the jin-mei instantly took to the idea. Learning a new thing - driving on two weels? Sounded like a challenge! - getting back that rush which came from raw speed, from trying to outrun an opponent... it sounded like just the thing to get her blood racing once again.
One of the ways in which she might stave off the nightmares, she realised, was to go back to frequenting the Daredevil's Lounge.
No, not to drink herself into oblivion and make a fool of herself. The jin-mei figured it might instead be a good idea to avoid being alone in her apartment for long periods of time at night, to keep busy, to see people and fill her mind with random sights and sounds and sensations. Flying in person to Crielere to be there in the flesh would be but a minor inconvenience.
Daredevil's was no longer the loud, boisterous meeting point for fast pilots with quick tempers - and sometimes itchy trigger reflexes - which Kayleigh remembered from the League days. The twins still worked there, and the multiple screens still showed fast action sports, but the general mood was quieter, calmer... slower.
It fitted Kayleigh's current mood. Someone within the corp had pinned the title of "Speedster" on her - she suspected Kalahari had had an influence on that - and Ms Kohiko Sun had taken to calling her Speedy, which she secretly loved. It never failed to bring a smile to the jin-mei's lips. Despite all that, Kayleigh didn't feel fast anymore. She felt rusty and slow. Perhaps even old. You've just turned twenty-five and you're feeling old. That's depressing, Kay.
So far, the plan wasn't turning out too badly. In the past few days Daredevil's had provided her with opportunities to meet some of her newer corp mates face to face. Namely Laria and Adeste.
She wasn't yet quite sure what to think of the younger pilot. For a Gallentean, Laria Raven had seemed too analytical, too stiff, perhaps. And then Kayleigh had bumped into her at the Lounge and her initial perception had gone straight out the hatch, so to speak. The poor girl had already been rather tipsy by the time Kayleigh had entered the scene, and all the racer had seen instead was a vulnerable young lady trying so hard to fit in with all these new people. It was actually rather endearing.
Adeste was a different case altogether. They had been team mates, of a sort, if only for a single race back in... Season three? Was it? Goodness, Kay, you really are getting old if you can't even remember this anymore. Anyway, it had all been part of the protection detail Duty had been hired to keep on the then-defending champion. It all had been a very hush-hush operation. That had been how Kayleigh had come to meet Jude. She only vaguely remembered Adeste from that night, but remember she did. Now, years after the fact, they were going to be corp mates.
Kayleigh would have been intimidated by the civire, had she not spoken to her first via corporate channels. Seeing her in the flesh.. the woman was tall! And yet she had this hilarious easy banter going on with Jude, which made Kayleigh want to burst into fits of giggles. Adeste seemed so expansive, so nice and warm that she had simply cut through any of the jin-mei's walls of shyness and propriety, and made her open up as if they had been friends for years. No mean feat, that.
The thought of Adeste, curled up sleeping on the couch back at Daredevil's made Kayleigh smile. Maybe tonight she'd sleep soundly like that. And perhaps the nightmares would stay away, if only just for one night.
The nightmares were worse when she slept alone. These days she often did, considering she was living in the Republic doing her thing and Nakatre was off in low sec doing her Cartel thing. Being in corporations whose ideals were at odds didn't make for much geographic proximity.
So the nightmares had gradually returned. Bubbles, the tower, alarms, exploding ships, mockery in local comms, but most of all the cold cold feeling of being all alone in a tiny little frigate, the last of her corp in that uncharted system. In those dreams, she always ran out of core probes.
My computer probably could have been the product of Matari ingenuity; it has been assembled out of bits and pieces from many different other computers throughout the years. The keyword here is actually "years," plural and all.
I recently solved some of its issues by replacing my main hard drive which used to be packed to the brim with stuff, being that it was tiny by today's standards. In doing so, however, I also changed operating systems (two birds with one stone, and all that) and now the result is I have a host of other problems centering around insufficient RAM for some things.
I basically had a choice of going to Fanfest or seriously upgrading the rest of my computer. I chose Fanfest <.<
So now I'm going to be stuck for a while with a computer which makes my Eve sessions freeze up randomly from time to time, especially if I'm traveling or shooting things. Kay is not amused that she can not go around speeding :(
The day had come. Intel from just about all over New Eden seemed to agree that Kuvakei was going to make a move on Yulai. Electus Matari had readied response fleets.
After agonising a few moments on what to wear - or what to fly, rather - the jin-mei had picked the longest-range ship she had, in accordance to what Jude was requesting. She had boarded a Nemesis hull, the Requiem. She wasn't quite sure who the requiem would be playing for once the dust would settle, but stealthbombers were ships she felt comfortable in, despite their notorious paper-thin hull, so she undocked with head held high and the will to inflict damage on the Sansha.
Still, she couldn't help feel tiny and vulnerable alongside the other ships in the fleet, composed for the most part by battleship hulls. While the fleet gathered at the rally point Kayleigh took the time to trim down all she could on her interface filters, focusing on the task in an attempt to still her heart beating so fast.
It was silly, really. It was not like she had never been in a fleet before or shot anything before. Yet apparently that flutter in her stomach would still be there each time she prepared to take off with a fleet, no matter if it was her team undocking to race through low-sec or her alliance undocking to kick some proverbial ass.
And of course it didn't help that intel was reporting sightings of war targets already at Yulai. Kayleigh was psyched, determined to prove her worth in this fleet. And then Yulai happened.
Everything had gone well until the moment the fleet had been ordered to jump to the sun in Yulai, following a confirmed sighting of Sansha wormholes. But once the Requiem landed there, everything stopped. Kayleigh couldn't quite figure out if the little stealthbomber had overloaded, if spatial phenomena were interfering with all her sensors or if it was her own brain which was unable to process all that information. The end result, however, was that the Requiem simply sat there.
It sat. Helpless. Instruments seemed to indicate its cloak hadn't even been broken, but neither could the Nemesis move or fire or indeed warp away. Kayleigh had no choice but to watch the battle around her coming in through occasional stills from her camera drones, listening to her fleet mates engaging Sansha, then PIE, then Sansha again... and all the while she just sat there.
After what felt like many agonising hours, the fight was finally over and still her ship was overloaded trying to process information. Kayleigh had to attempt full systems restart twice, before the little frigate finally gave signs of life. By that point the fleet was already getting evac orders. The sun, they said, might go supernova. The CONCORD station, they said, was no more.
Shocked, feeling helpless and useless, Kayleigh rejoined her fleet once traffic control let her through to Ourapheh - she had become rather the expert at harassing gate operators into letting her through, considering all the racing she'd done in her life, and it was coming in handy right then.
She could have slipped off to Alenia, only two jumps off of Yulai, where she might have curled up in her old apartment and try to comfort herself out of the overwhelming wave of uselessness she was feeling right now, but in the end, she had come here with the fleet and she was going to leave with the fleet. Shame or no shame, one didn't leave one's friends to fend for themselves even if the way back home would likely be clear.
She sighed miserably. She could just feel a huge headache coming on.
Once upon a time, back in the days of fierce racing competition and secret racing frigate fittings, someone asked Kay what the fittings on her racing Firetail were. Although she didn't actually say "wouldn't you like to know" she certainly would have made the corresponding face. This one right here.
No, that's not what she looks like on her pilot license new picture. But I have to say it was an incredible amount of fun messing around with Kay's expressions in the new character creation. It's going to be a little strange adapting to a new face after almost 5 years of wearing the original avatar, but on the other hand it was worth it just to feel Kay come a little more alive during the photo shoot, of sorts.
I've been browsing some of the new pics ingame. Wow. There's no other word for it. Some look so real, some are pretty much works of art. I'm loving it :D
Now I just have to re-learn all my friends' faces. It's strange not being able to recognise people in chat windows at a glance.
Blog posts are labelled according to a certain logic, most of it self-explanatory. Note, however:
In-Character: events that would one way or another become common knowledge out there. Fiction: most likely events that are not common knowledge. Do not assume you know this about my character unless you have good reason to. Out-of-Character: mostly ramblings from the player, not to be associated with the character herself.