Feb 26, 2015

Recent EVE Character Portraits

I'm continuing to work my way through the Eve character portrait queue. In the last few weeks, Real Life and the considerable attention that Signal Cartel has required since launch have cut into the amount of time I have had to work on these. Fortunately, things are leveling out and I'm back on track with getting current commissions done.

Thinking ahead to real life commitments in the year ahead, I have simplified the portrait service to offer only ink and watercolor sketches for new commissions. These are a lot faster and easier to do than more formal portraits, so hopefully that translates into faster turnaround time for everyone who orders a portrait going forward.

Here are the most recent portraits completed:

Marc Scaurus

Makoto Priano

If you'd like a portrait of your character, check out the info in the Gallery tab above and then get in touch via EVEmail or regular email.

By the way, if you're doing creative EVE-related things, there is a creatives channel on the Tweetfleet Slack. Go and share your work there!

Feb 25, 2015

CSM X Thoughts

I voted my slates for two accounts this morning, both exactly the same. It was not particularly difficult to choose 14 candidates. It was MUCH more difficult to prioritize them.

My primary focus in game these days is corp management, new player assistance, and community building. CSM X candidates who focus on those things got preference on my slate. However, some other things factored into my choices as well, such as:
  • Stand-out incumbents doing good work deserve to continue doing that work and are also important in terms of continuity from one term to the next. 
  • While I could not care less about sov mechanics, it is an important topic that the CSM will be addressing this year and I have clear opinions about who I prefer to see leading the CSM side of that discussion. 
  • Fresh voices and perspectives are important; I prefer that each council have no more than 25% incumbent carry-over. 
  • Candidates with large voting blocks behind them potentially shouldn't even appear on my ballot but other factors may influence me to include them.
  • Candidate affiliation with a particular corp or alliance doesn't matter to me; I assess candidates based on their likely expertise, their campaign discussions, and how they have conducted themselves during their campaigns, not on who they play with. 
  • Loyalty to friends and colleagues factors in somewhat, but less than you might imagine. 
I'm not going to share my specific slate. Voting a slate of candidates is a highly personal and complicated choice with such a large field of quality candidates. It's practically a moving target right up until you cast that vote. However, as a way of supporting and endorsing them, the candidates I voted for are listed below in alphabetical order with a brief comment about what I think they bring to the party.
  • Ashterothi (lore, communications)
  • Bam Stoker (community advocate)
  • Cagali Cagali (new bros, life in null sec)
  • Chance Ravinne (fresh new player perspective, community support)
  • corbexx (wormholes)
  • Endie (sov) 
  • June Ting (new players)
  • Khador Vess (new players, exploration, diverse experience)
  • Manfred Sideous (sov)
  • Mike Azariah (new players, high sec)
  • Psianh Auvyander (mercs, new player training, community) 
  • Steve Ronuken (third party tools)
  • Sugar Kyle (CSM MVP of all time)
  • Xander Phoena (communications)
I encourage everyone to inform themselves about candidates and vote their own preferences and interests, prioritizing candidates in a way that makes personal sense to themselves. Many bloggers have published endorsements and suggested slates. Check out the following links for a plethora of information about candidates:

And finally, VOTE HERE!

Feb 11, 2015

Musings on the Explorer's Way

Opening the doors to Signal Cartel on January 30 was more like opening a small floodgate. Every day, I log in to find new applications and new faces in Corp chat. We are 85 already! Who knew there were so many pilots out there--both old and new--infected by wanderlust and compelled by the idea of finding something interesting out there among the stars?

Exploration tends to be a solo journey. Many who have joined us are in the habit of flying alone and continue to do so. Others enjoy self-organizing into ad-hoc groups to pursue shared objectives. Everyone seems happy to be able to chat with other like-minded souls in the Alliance channel. And many are stepping up in extraordinary ways to support our rookie explorers and help them hit the ground running. It is a lovely thing to see both rookies and veterans alike sharing ideas and inspiring each other with their adventures and discoveries both large and small.

Listening to our members talk about their activities, I am struck by how--just like any other career in New Eden--exploration is as nuanced as the individuals who embrace it. Some are content to wander the stars unfettered by an agenda. Others are intent on earning ISK through exploration sites or finding items of value abandoned by other players. Still others are interested in mapping the universe or otherwise wandering for personal reasons or profit. And at least a few are seeking empirical evidence related to Caroline's Star, the Circadian Sleepers, Thera, and other lore-related mysteries. Despite these various nuances, dedicated explorers seem to share two things: a rugged sense of independence and delight in discovery.

Exploration has given me the time and opportunity to notice and appreciate a New Eden filled with interesting stories, intriguing mysteries, and beautiful things just waiting for me to discover them. When I was a pirate, my focus was solely on the hunt for "targets of opportunity". All my attention was centered on ship fittings, logistics to replace lost ships, combat tactics, and the output of a constantly spammed directional scanner. It was a predator's tunnel-vision perspective from which I rarely looked up to wonder about a nebula, a landmark, or New Eden backstories. I rarely sought out the unknown path just because it was there. Now, I look up. I wonder. And I seek.

Violent Wormhole in Thera

My approach to exploration is relatively stress-free and uncomplicated. When not attending to corp duties or helping rookies find their feet, I wander randomly from Thera in search of low sec, null sec, and C1/C2 hacking sites. I often take side trips to landmarks or simply to see what this system or that looks like or see what others are doing there. Although the discovery angle of exploration is a reward in itself, ISK opportunities tend to be modest (although there have been one or two rather significant finds). That's okay by me as I have few assets to maintain: probably fewer than 10 ships, all frigates, perhaps 5 of which are fitted. Although I explore in more dangerous areas of space, I aim to "fly clever" (as we explorers like to say). Maintaining situational awareness is a big part of that and I can thank my time as a low sec pirate for honing those skills such that my ships are not much at risk and thus rarely need replacing.

Exploration is not the play-style for everyone. Many pilots will prefer a faster pace of life, more profitable pursuits, PvP-oriented activities, or grander objectives. New Eden is a more interesting place because of them. But explorers are on a different, more personal journey. We are the lone wolves among the stars, thinking for ourselves, charting our own course, marching to the beat of our own drum. We find our adventures, friends, and riches where we find them. As New Eden evolves around us, so will opportunities also continue to evolve for our kind to seek, discover, and profit on our own terms.

Want to know more about Signal Cartel? Click here.

Feb 2, 2015


My brain cells have finally recovered from the crazy, intense weekend that ensued after the public launch of Signal Cartel last Friday evening (EST). I admit that I wasn't sure how our unusual corp credo would resonate with capsuleers. Prior to launch, I wondered if we'd even get 10 new members over the weekend.

Turns out...that credo resonated with a lot of folks. New member and famed explorer Katia Sae talked about how it resonated with her in her blog post "Can't stop the Signal". We have heard a similar response from new members and it is delightful! We now stand at 36 members, some extremely experienced and even well-known explorers and quite a few very new players. This is not a lot compared to the join rate of larger entities such as BRAVE, RvB, or EVE University. But it is a lot for a new corp that had 6 members at public launch and that is still in the process of getting all its ducks in a row in terms of policies, programs, resources, and so forth. So to say I am thrilled is a wee bit of an understatement!

At any given time from Friday through Sunday evening, Alliance chat was zooming by at the speed of a runaway train while I was in mentoring convos with rookies who had just joined, responding on Twitter, updating permissions on our corp's private subreddit, clarifying and adding corp bulletins and other information sources as the need to revealed itself, resolving various issues with Signal Cartel leadership, processing apps, personally welcoming new members...and on and on. But it wasn't just me doing all the work, so some shout-outs are in order.

First, a huge thanks to my two EvE-Scout partners, G8keeper and Johnny Splunk! Without their original vision, none of this would have happened. I am very grateful that they approached me about joining forces to make Signal Cartel a reality. Two nicer people you could not hope to meet or work with! Thanks to G8keeper for organizing and overseeing our ship replacement and exploration loot buy-back programs which I am sure will be well-used by members. And thanks to Johnny Splunk for the genius behind the EvE-Scout Web site, our Signal Cartel pages, the coding for our Application Form, and making requested feature changes on the fly to improve our recruiters' quality of life and clarify the requirements to apply. By the way, have you followed @eve_scout on Twitter yet?

A million thanks to our lead recruiters Helios Anduath and Ashoka Maurya for being on the ball the entire weekend fielding questions from prospects, processing apps, answering rookie questions in private convos, and more. A special thanks to Helios for somehow managing to have brain bandwidth to write a great instructional guide for members on consistently formatting corp bookmarks for wormholes in Thera.

A big shout-out and thank you to every single one of our new members for coming onboard to share our vision of an explorer's life in New Eden! Special thanks to all of our experienced players who so patiently answered questions and helped others in Alliance chat. It was a wonderful thing to observe the intelligent, civil, helpful discourse in that channel all weekend. We have somehow managed to attract an amazing number of knowledgeable, good-humored, and well-spoken people who are keen to actively contribute to logistics, mentoring, and more. What a foundation to begin with! Warms this old pirate's heart, it does!

Many of us in Signal Cartel who were engaged in handling the influx of new folks were as a result not out scouting signatures in Thera. A big thank you to our friends in Furtherance. and our affiliated EvE-Scout scouts who took up the slack and helped keep the sig data on EvE-Scout up to date.

And finally a huge shout-out to #tweetfleet for Tweets, reTweets, and sharing of information about Signal Cartel in your channels and on your blogs. It was seen and people responded, so many, many thanks for your support and positive encouragement.

Hopefully I've not missed anyone...if I have, call me out and I'll update my post!