Alrighty. Again, been a bit. Between work and all that, not really a huge amount of personal time, but I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things.

For those of you wondering what Popo's been up to on EVE Online, here's your update.

The Alliance we joined is still somewhat rocky. Members are butting heads, tempers flare occasionally, and everybody seems to know how to do things better than the rest. Yeah, it's human nature. Yeah, it's annoying.

Thing is, though, that it's something we should have seen coming. As much as I'm the Industrial person of the corp, even getting promoted to the Industry Director of the corporation, my corporation is primarily PvP based. The other two corporations are predominantly Industry, though one claims up and down that they do a "bit of everything", which is fine. It's just that their "bit of everything" is primarily industry and PvE.

After a few more arguments and one or two of the other CEOs in the other corporations, I'd had enough. No progress was being made, nothing was agreed on, and the other corporations felt that their way of doing things trumped ours rather than listen or compromise. So, I did the one thing I thought could get me away from the worst of it, get my lots of experience, and allow me to come back and show folks the 'proper' way to PvP and PvE.

I applied to a well known, well established Mercenary Corporation.

To give credit where credit is due, Captain Larraq applied first. I applied second and got into the academy they run to teach newbies and veteran newbies (yes, there are many layers of newb in EVE. Like cakes... or Parfaits). Before I could finalize things, however, we had an alliance meeting and, to put it mildly, tempers frayed once again. This time, though, my CEO's temper was the one fraying.

He kept his cool the entire time and, once the meeting was done, he grabbed the four of us who were the oldest and most experienced in the corporation, myself included. He polled us for opinions, asked for our points of views, and we discussed the best option for our corporation. In the end, we decided to stay in the alliance, but on our terms entirely.

Our terms were simple: The logical way or nothing. The other corporations relied on a tactic called "blobbing" where the fleet is designed not to work as a whole machine, but rather to simply through as many pilots together as possible. There was no skill, no learning of how the ships and how combat worked, it was simply the pilots' task to warp to the target and everyone hose the enemy. Sure, it can be effective, but it is frowned on in many areas of EVE.

I'm not going to go on about any false sense of honor or chivalry. I've done some piracy and raiding. There's little honor among thieves and cutthroats. The fun of a good fight, though. That's why blobbing is frowned on. Two pilots or two fleets pitting skill against skill, that's the key. That's how we operate. That's what we train our pilots to do.

We determined that we would do our own thing, operate within our own corporation, and more or less leave the alliance alone unless needed. So far it's worked completely. We do our own mining operations, we form our own PvP fleets, and we run our own PvE excursions, just like we used to. We determined that our pilots need more combat experience and turned to our unofficial allies out in null security space. After speaking with them, we decided that we would try deployments of our corporation, pilots, and/or squadrons of pilots.

Deployments are simple to understand and manage. A lone pilot, squadron of pilots, or the entire corporation moves to a location away from their home base. This can last for a few days, a week, or even longer. Deploying our pilots to our allies' home systems does two things: trains our pilots in PvP out in null/low sec and strengthens our ties with our friends outside the alliance.

The first deployment is being planned currently. Once it's set up, I'll be going with a few others or perhaps the entire corporation. We'll fight on foreign land or behind enemy lines with our allies both in small and large fleets and learn how to better our skills. It's a win-win scenario.

In the meantime, revenue sources must be made. For me, industry isn't quite making the money I want it to. I can't commit to hours upon hours of mining to build ship after ship. What I can do, however, is hunt.

Certain NPCs, or Rats, drop a type of tag or dogtag. These are then taken and turned into the game's "police" to raise security standings. Too low of a security standing and the police will attack you in high security space. Like all things in EVE, physical items can be sold. These tags net a nice profit as they increase a large amount of standing with the police. Where it took me a month to make not quite 50 million in ISK through industry, it took me a week or two to make half a billion ISK through hunting.

Also, in the process, I made some new enemies. A local corporation and alliance moved in down in Futzchag. Remember Futz? Where the pirates dwell? We've hit them again and again and again. We lose ships, but we kill theirs, too. Where they use advanced and expensive ships, we use cheap and reliable ones. So far, we're in the lead. They refuse to engage us now unless on their terms or at 2 or 3 to 1 odds and we still manage to do well.

This new group pays these pirates monthly rent to avoid being attacked. As far as we're concerned, they're targets.

Some of their number hunt the same NPCs I do for the same reasons. They use expensive "faction" frigates that are considerably more powerful than most other basic frigates in the game. In a little over a week, while hunting for tags, I killed three of their expensive frigates and one cruiser. My ship? An advanced frigate designed for brutal, up close firefights. It's entire design is to get point blank and start ripping, shredding, and tearing at the target.

It's called a Wolf. It's my frigate of choice.

My CEO was surprised when I showed him the faction cruiser I killed. By all rights, he should have killed me in seconds. But between a poor fitting and the poor decision to attack me near a gate in low security space where police guns will attack criminals, he died instead.

The end result? Four solo kills against an enemy alliance in 7-8 days, two kills (the cruiser and one frigate) were in the same day, one after the other. Aside from someone flying a blockade runner to retrieve items here and there, we haven't seen them in the area for days, now.

Turns out I have a knack for using frigates and "knife fighting" tactics. It also turns out I'm fairly effective with the style of fighting, a style my CEO calls "ballsy" after killing the faction cruiser. For the moment, I'm at the top of my corporation's killboard and one of the top ten pilots on the alliance's killboard. So far, so good.

I'll link the kills below. Stay tuned for more later.