Friday, March 26, 2010

Empire Grind

I made a comment on another’s blog post not too long back about visiting empire after being out in the darkest parts of space. For her, she lives in a wormhole system. For me, I was used to life in nullsec. They are two totally different worlds yet the same in many ways.

We, in 0.0, have the luxury of stargates for travel and local comms to tell us who’s in system whereas in a wormhole, they don’t. However, what we both share is the lack of populated systems. We share the fact that if a person isn’t blue, they are an enemy. If you see such persons on your overview, then its run, die, or kill. You live out of a corporation constructed outpost or a POS. You rely on your logistics teams to provide the supplies you need to survive because (unless you have an active market hub for your neck of the woods) most of the things just can’t be bought locally. In essence, it’s a place where the only rules are the ones you make and enforce.

And then you go to empire. There, you will see so many neutrals, it’ll make your head spin. I still find it a bit discomforting to arrive at a stargate and see 20 neutral ships just hovering around it. I go to Jita and I want to scream death at the myriad of pilots, my fingers hovering over my weapons systems. I have to consciously force myself to relax, reminding myself that attacking any of those pilots would bring certain, senseless destruction to my hard earned ship.

It’s a whole other world, empire is. And if you never leave it, you’ll never truly live.

But here I am, living in empire once more….. albeit temporarily. Well, since I’m here, might as well earn some isk right?

So yesterday I sat down and went over my standings with the various factions and NPC corporations. The corporation I’ve joined up with puts an emphasis on running missions for Kaakaliota (forgive me if I spelled that wrong). Why exactly, I’m not sure other than there being some high level agent in their home system. However, looking at my standings, it was going to take some effort before that agent would even consider giving me work. I mean, my standings with the Caldari, the main faction for the corporation, were a piss poor -3.87 (even with diplomacy 3). So needless to say, the best agent I could get was a level 1, quality -13. It actually felt pretty demeaning.

For a moment, I nearly just said screw it and go track down one of my old level 4 agents with Federation Customs. In the end though, I chose to suck it up and headed for the low level agent’s office.

Looking at me, I guess the all too prim and uptight Caldari woman could tell I was no fresh pilot straight out of the academy. Either that or she was sure I’d throw in the towel if she gave me what’s considered to be a very difficult mission for that level. This very first mission she handed me was code named World’s Collide. All I could do was just nod my head and smile and pretend like I cared as she briefed me on the mission’s objectives. To sum it up, two pirate factions battling over a small bit of turf, and some poor sobs got caught in the middle. So that’s where I come in. I guess they decided that sending me in to pull their sorry asses out was better than them endangering the life of someone they actually gave a damn about. Oh…and their reports said only a frigate sized vessel would be able to access the warp gates. Insert rolling eyeballs here.

In all truth, that was just fine with me.

Notifying my associate of my given task, I instructed him to pull the Ishkur out of storage and have it assembled and geared up asap. To his credit, that man certainly knows how to get things done. With a proper loadout already in the fittings computer, it was a quick breeze to get it all complete and I was on my way in no time. Props Mr. Associate!

Now last time I’d run level one missions for an agent, I was a lot younger in terms of my pilot’s license. I could remember the days of battling my way through this or that mission in my trusty little Incursus, hoping that if shit hit the fan too hard, I’d be able to make it out in one piece. Now, I dived into the mission head first, confidence flowing strongly through my veins. And for good reason.

Arriving at the scene, immediately the Gurista ships locked on and started to burn towards me. All I could do was smile as I engaged my own sub-warp drives and burned towards them in return. I can only imagine what they were thinking, seeing this crazy lone frigate careening towards them as if playing the old children’s game of chicken that we used to play on our bicycles when I was young. What they didn’t know was that this lone frigate had a whole load of friends with her in the hold.

As soon as I reached my ship’s targeting range, I quickly locked on and gave the command that sealed their death sentences. Immediately, five small hobgoblin II’s launched from the drone bay with nothing but destruction programmed into their little computer brains. I seriously don’t think I’ve ever seen ships turned to debris so fast. Literally, like 10 ships, one pass, and a trail of carnage left in my wake.

The Angel ships had also locked onto me from way over on their side of the field, but I could care less. I burned to the gate and after entering the initiation sequence, warped to the next pocket. There too, more Guristas attacked and more Guristas died in vain. Rinse and repeat.

So through the final gate I went and yet again, the explosions of Gurista ships lit up the blackness of space. I barely paid any attention to them as I flew to the incapacitated ship and immediately began the transfer sequence to pull the stranded pilots out. Once that was complete, I looked around and realized there wasn’t even anything left. My drones sat there idly staring at me as if to say they were depressed it was already over. I could do nothing but laugh as I recalled them to the ship and warped away, course set for the agent’s station.

And so it was for the next umpteen dozen missions I completed that evening. I think I spent more time flying to and from the mission sites than I did actually doing the missions. By the time I settled down for the night on my cozy little cot, I believe I was able to pull my rankings with the Caldari up to about 2.07 and my standing with the particular corp up to about 1.40. Not bad at all for a single night’s work I dare say.


Arrhidaeus said...

You have much more self-discipline than I do; I'd have left them in a heartbeat if it meant running Level I missions.

While I've never lived in 0.0 or WH space, I will say that I'm also not psychologically prepared for high-sec. I mean, there are people auto-piloting, and mining, and... I can't shoot them?! Oh but they must have such tasty loot in them! Granted, CONCORD also doesn't like me very much, so I tend to go there as little as possible.

Selina said...

If the corp was purely about missioning or industry, yeah. I probably wouldn't have joined. However, they don't just blab the lines "we have 0.0 access" (which i always found comical) rather they actually have a decent presense in an NPC nullsec region. Soon I will join them there but for now, I'm blitzing through missions to get up to lvl 4s to help out my RL roommate who is new to Eve. And Kaalakiota just happens to be the ones he's working with due to the corp's suggestion. Even with my negative standings, I can blitz through them a lot faster than he can and get him into level 4s faster than him doing it alone.

But soon, soon he will succumb to his desire for PVP. I just gotta get him through those initial jitters of possibly losing a ship...which looking at my killboard (insert completely innocent grin here) you didn't fear from early on. Kudos for that.