Thursday, 3 May 2012

The TF Effect

Luck, as much as anything, is a key ingredient of enjoying EVE Online. It could be finding the Officer rat in the belt and getting a 3Bn module, or escaping death by bomb with 2% of hull remaining; if you get a lucky break now and then you can feel justifiably exhilarated and this leads to an enjoyable game experience. Some games have nothing to do with luck, and can be dreadfully boring. Think tic-tac-toe; you can win this game every time if you start. Of course, luck can be bad too, and youcan get frustrated with outcomes in a game, but we won't dwell on that here.

When I play EVE, the guys I play with describe what is known as the Trinkets Friend Effect. Generaly this involves some bullshitly implausible event happening to or around me in game - and which almost never happens to anyone else. It also happens to me frequently enough that, well, it gets noticed.

For example, a few nights back I found a guy mining a C3 in a hulk. This isn't unusual, and others find them. It took a bit of skill and dedication to probe him out. Now, usually when we get a point on a hulk (or noctis, or gassing ship) we do it with a covops frigate. Often the guys are AFK and only wake up when the shield alarm goes off, and they call in the cavalry. Then, of course, we rock-paper-rapefleet their cavalry and there's vast amounts of chuckling and killmails.

This time, as I warped in my covops I screamed jihad (literally, I did, on comms) which someone interpreted to mean jump through and warp to Trinkets friend. Anyway, the gambit was blown. The hulk woke up to find an onyx, loki, legion, bomber, brutix and Ishkur around him. No way, absolutely no way anyone would reship into a 2 billion ISK Rattlesnake and warp at zero on the rapefleet. No way?

Cue the TF Effect.

But, that is but a small portion of improbability occurring regularly. Last night we were roaming around, and found some dudes doing a lowsec plex in a Cynabal and Drake. We lacked cloaky tackle so we warped our Legion and Loki in ASAP and barrelled through the gate. Missed them by a second. So as we are finishing their Angel Minor Annex and getting ass loot drops, I probe aound. I find a Z971 transient to C1. Its a C1 with Z060 to nullsec; this is about as horrible a wormhole to go roaming into as you could find. The Z971 has enough mass to let in and out about 7-8 cruisers before it collapses. But anyway, in goes the Cheetah of Doom (tm).

I find a shitfit small caldari POS and a dude in a Drake. 6 medium AC's, 6 small ACs, no dissys. So we try baiting him out with an Onyx (-15KT). Onyx warps to POS and pings the guns to generate a mail for the owner. Time passes. "Guns either have no ammo or the dude's fucked the settings up."

OK. The TF Effect is starting to bite. We begin a ransom convo, demanding 100M ISK to leave his utterly defenceless POS alone and tell himhow to set it up properly. He prevaricates and insists he's got ammo in the guns and is no doubt furiously fiddling with settings. We up the ante with a Loki, a Legion and a Tornado (64Kt through the hole, shit's getting dicey). He pays up the 100M ISK and we leave - its nearly midnight and we need to go to bed.

So, we jump the Loki and Legion out, and the hole is stage 2. I tell the Onyx pilot to go out light with his bubble up, and then the tornado can go out. He fails to do this, and the hole collapses. Ruh roh, we've got a Tornado with no probes and a Cheetah in a C1 with a nullsec exit we don't have probed out. I desperately need to get to bed, so I decide to give it a probe and see f I can ping an exit - if not, we'll have to try again tomorrow and risk a massive haul home from nullsec - we are up shit creek, sans paddle at this point.

I drop probes. 34 sigs. I set them at 4 AU round the sun, ping an Unknown to a wormhole first scan. I finish probing it out in under 30s. Warp to it. It's a K162 to hisec, leads to Nourvikaiken, 1 jump from Jita. It has a sig ID different from those present before downtime. I mention this to the local residents, who say, and I quote "I scanned the hole 15 minutes ago and it wasn't there. How lucky are you?"

The TF Effect. Getting me ot of shit creek since 2007.


  1. You left out the bit where after mentioning that the first sig you looked at was a WH, I said it likely leads straight to high sec, one jump from Jita, only for the fucking thing to do exactly that!

  2. For the record: you can't win tick-tack-toe even if you start, not unless the opponents makes a mistake. Otherwise it's always a draw.


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