UPDATE: The Rixx Store


Launched in December 2016, the Rixx Javix Store was intended as an experiment and an example. An experiment to see firsthand what the demand might be for a store offering items "almost" Eve related. I call them Almost Eve Related because I obviously can't use any Eve IP on them. So I'm stuck hovering around the edges, picking up common community sayings, plastering Alliance logos on things, and generally trying to be as creative as possible without tipping over into being sued land. It was also intended as an example to certain people at CCP of how well a player-run store front could be run. Y'know, if the guy running it knew what he was doing and also happened to be extremely creative. And didn't use slave labor. Unless they have slaves in Canada, which is where the items are made.

The other intention, which I mentioned above, was to give Alliance's in Eve a place to sell gear to their members. A few years back CCP finally gave Alliance's the right to make products with their logos on them. So this seemed like a service that a bunch of Alliances would be interested in having. Not everyone wants to go to the trouble of not only running a store, but also creating all the material for one. After nine months I'd say this part of the experiment is still open to debate. A Band Apart, Mercenary Coalition, FCON, BOSS, and Bastion have taken advantage of the idea. And I've sold a lot of gear to players in those groups. Bastion being the most active of the bunch. We also sell Crossing Zebras gear, which has sold exactly ONE item in nine months. (The Eve-NT version of this idea was taken down by CCP.)

Right now some of you are thinking this is yet another example of Rixx trying to make money from the Eve community. As always, you are wrong. What you don't know is that the commission is set at the lowest possible percentage on all items being sold, and zero on most of the Alliance gear being offered. (With a few exceptions due to the artwork on those items, with those also set at the lowest possible percentage that isn't zero.) I knew from the beginning that I wouldn't be selling a lot of items and I certainly wasn't expecting to make bank on this idea. I'm not an idiot. It does make a nice bit of pocket change each month, I'm not going to lie. But more in the area of a nice dinner out with the family, rather than the monthly payment on a car.

Believe it or not the satisfaction for me is seeing all the shirts and stickers and other items that players send me pictures of. During the AT a lot of our pilots in ABA would put on their shirts to play our matches, or to support our team. That is the kind of payment I was looking for when I started the store. It's a lot of fun and I enjoy it. It also helps knowing that it probably irks certain people to no end. lol.

I think you will be surprised at how well the store is doing, I know I am. We've been told over and over again that the community won't support Eve merchandise. That the numbers are not there. And, admittedly I'm not selling Eve IP, but even so the Rixx Store has sold 1,245 items in nine months. That average out to about 138 a month, or almost 5 a day. On average of course. For example, three shirts were sold today. That also includes items like stickers, which are a big seller. And other items like phone cases, etc.

I wonder how many items the actual Eve Store has sold in the past nine months?

Oh, and as a side note, in nine months we've had zero returns.


Steel City Eve


The 2nd Annual Steel City Eve player meet was held this past Saturday at our house! Once again we had a great crowd of about 15-20 players from even further away than last year! Technically we even had a Goon from England, although he lives nearby now. But one player drove in from Austin, Texas. Others drove in from New Jersey, Chicago, New York, Virginia and all around the Pittsburgh area. It doesn't really matter where they came from, it's just astonishing to me that anyone would want to come hang out at my house for the day. And help me celebrate my birthday! Honestly I can't think of a better way to celebrate than with your friends and family. And so many of my Eve friends do feel like family. Although I did have actual family there, my Son and his wife also came and spent the day with us.

Swag Bags!
It rained for about an hour in the afternoon, but everyone took it in stride and we sat inside watching Alliance Tournament replays and talking about Eve. After the rain left it was smooth sailing the rest of the way and we went strong until around 11:30 Saturday night. 

My wife and I decided this year that we wouldn't ask CCP for any swag, since we haven't exactly been seeing eye to eye on things lately, so we made all of the swag ourselves. Everyone got a nice printed poster of my SOE illustration, some hand-etched shot glasses, an Eve Koozie, a Spaceship sticker, and a Spaceship vinyl decal, plus a few other random items that varied from bag to bag.

Our event is about hanging out and having a good time together. We drank, told funny stories, ate some food I cooked on the grill, and had fun. I posted a bunch of photos over on my Facebook page, so I'm not going to post them here.

We are going to do this again next year and if you are reading this I hope you'll consider coming out and joining us. I know it will never get to be as large as some of the other player meets and I don't really want it to frankly. I prefer the smaller more intimate event that we have going. But there is always room for you.

I'd like to thank each of our guests for attending. You are all awesome and you didn't lose any of our cats. Which was a plus. Seriously though, thanks for being there and I hope you enjoyed yourselves.

We did.



2nd Annual Steel City Eve Tomorrow!


Goodie bags are made and getting ready to be filled tonight. Tomorrow is the 2nd Annual Steel City Eve player meet right here at my house! We're expecting somewhere around 20 players to show up tomorrow for a great day of drinking, eating, and talking about our favorite spaceship game. Players are coming in from as far away as Texas, Chicago, Virginia, New Jersey, New York and all around the PA area to attend.

This year we decided to just have the darn thing at our house and make it more personal. In that spirit Liz and I are making all the swag ourselves, which is pretty awesome. (I hope) And we'll be cooking food for everyone and opening our home to all our friends. Which, in my humble opinion, is anyone that plays Eve. Even if we happen to fight in-game, out here in the real world we are all friends.

If you are coming we can't wait to see you tomorrow. If you are not coming... well maybe next year. It is around the same time every year, cause it is also my birthday(!), so put August 19th on your calendar now so you'll remember.

Time to get back to work.

Pictures soon.



The Aftermath

Our amazing run in Alliance Tournament XV has come to an end. Congratulations are due to both LAZERHAWKS and BRAVE for excellent fights, well played. In both cases we gave as good as we got and both matches could have easily gone either way. But well deserved by both teams. I'm not taking anything away from either one. In the AT the matches often hinge on the smallest decisions, a mounting pile of critical errors, or razor thin margins. That is, after all, what we call a good fight. And both were good fights.

But I want to take a moment and talk about our team. I want to personally thank each of our pilots who came out for practice after practice for months leading up to this AT. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of each of you and how thankful I am for your dedication and commitment to A Band Apart. These pilots right here deserve all the credit for our incredible run this year.


A very special thank you to our team Captain Jose Zampano. Jose agreed to take on the mantle of Team Captain for last year's AT Team and this year's. It is a lot of responsibility and all of us in ABA are lucky to have him as our Captain. I hope he will lead us to yet another run at glory next year.

I could seriously point at any pilot in that picture and tell you something truly amazing about them. Most importantly I will tell you that I'm proud to fly with them and would gladly sacrifice my ship for any of them. I'm also more than happy to keep pouring a hundred billion isk at them until we win this damn thing!! lol.

One thing I want our team to know. Top 16 last year and Top 12 this year sound very similar. They are not. Our competition this year was much, much better. Slyce, Hard Knocks and Volta are solid teams. But the truly important thing that one extra win does is break you into the final 8 undefeated teams, which on its own terms is a big deal. (We were one of the final 8 undefeated teams!) For us however, it is even more important because both of the teams we lost to - are still in the Tournament and going on to the final weekend. And while it sucks huge hairy balls to lose, at least we have that knowledge to get us thru until next year. We are a much better team than you probably realize right now. But we still have much ahead of us.

To everyone in A Band Apart that supported us this year, thank you as well. Your donations of isk or equipment or time or support mean a tremendous amount to our success. It might sound trite, but it does take everyone in the Alliance to make a winning team. So thank you as well.

And to anyone else reading this post, maybe now is a good time to consider joining A Band Apart. We are a rather unique Alliance with member Corporations that cater to just about any playstyle you might enjoy, all built around the largest pirate group in all of Eve - Stay Frosty. And that doesn't even begin to tell the whole story, from our amazing Wormhole Corporations, Industry, Rookie training, and much, much more. If you are looking for a home in Eve, I can think of no better people to shack up with than ours.

And who knows, you may very well be a part of the team that wins this damn tournament next year!

I can promise you this, we are going to give it all we have.

Onward and upward.




3rd Weekend


The astute reader will notice that this is my own betting bracket from the Alliance Tournament. As I've said before I made my bets the day before the AT started and I haven't changed a single thing since then. (Tbh I did change two matches that no longer had either of my original teams in them, but that was in the losers bracket)  There are eight teams left undefeated and we happen to be one of them.

Tomorrow we face Lazerhawks. I don't know much about them, although I do know they often bump into our own WH operations from time to time. We've also practiced against them once or twice. Once for sure. This isn't a grudge match as far as I know, just two teams trying to prove themselves that happen to bump up against each other along the way. I'm sure it will be a good fight and well played. And we are not taking them lightly or anything stupid like that. I'm sure they are not taking us lightly either. I wish them the best of luck. But, of course, I hope we win.

For our Alliance a win tomorrow means we will go further into the AT than we ever have before. A loss tomorrow also means the same thing. Either way we go further. That is a HUGE accomplishment and the fulfillment of everything I had hoped for this year. The only thing I really wanted from our team was to make a better showing than our Top 16 finish (#14 overall) from last year. And no matter what happens tomorrow, we've already accomplished that.

Everything after that is gravy. But what tempting gravy it is. Getting this far, especially without a loss yet, is intoxicating. You can't help but look at the brackets and start thinking about what if scenarios. What if we win both matches this weekend? Can you imagine? Can your brain even comprehend an ABA vs Tuskers final? Mine can't. The human brain is a mysterious thing, I keep telling it to stop thinking past tomorrow's match. But it doesn't listen.

Seriously though, one match at a time. We have a determined foe to face tomorrow and, if we manage to win that one, another determined foe on Sunday. If we manage to escape those fights with another weekend ahead of us, then that will be... something to deal with later.

Who knows what will happen next? No one. That's why we fight the damn things.

Onward and upward to glory.




Whoa ABA!


So today this happened.

In case you live under a rock and missed it, today we won our third match in a row and defeated We Form Volta (last year's third place winner) and move on to the next weekend undefeated. We are now one of the eight remaining undefeated teams left in the Alliance Tournament. Whoa.

Before the match I think about 31% of voters picked us to win. Which has been about our average during all three of our matches so far this year.

I could not possibly be more proud of our pilots and our FC than I am. I am not surprised however. We've all been practicing hard and for a long time, so I fully expected us to fly well today. We've known all along that if we were going to do well in the AT we needed to do it by out executing the other teams. And so far we've managed to do just that in each of our matches. So, while I am extremely proud of our pilots, I'm also not at all surprised. Just ask Apothne, I told him a few weeks ago we'd be making a solid run at the final four this year. And I still believe that.

I have to admit that I was more than a little disappointed that I didn't fly today. Don't get me wrong when I say that, we have a deep bench and everyone deserves a chance to fly in the tournament. However, from a personal perspective, I also want to fly in every match. I've spent a good part of three years training skills specific to the AT and a large chunk of personal time training for it. Like anyone else, I just want to be out there in the mix with my teammates. But while I am the Alliance Executor and the CEO of Stay Frosty, I am also not the boss of our AT Team. That honor belongs to Jose Zampano, who has been kicking ass as our Fleet Commander this year. Jose makes the rosters out for each match. And I'm fine with that. In fact, I set it up that way before last year's AT. And Jose has taken the ball and done an exceedingly excellent job of running with it. It has been a real treat for me watching that happen.

How far will we go? I honestly have no idea. The AT is often such a rock, paper, scissors tournament and luck certainly plays a role. As we continue to move forward it doesn't get any easier and the pressure only continues to mount. This is the furthest we've gone in three tries, so this is all new territory for our team. That is both exciting and terrifying at the exact same time. However, if I know our pilots as well as I think I do - we should continue to excel.

I filled out this Alliance Tournament bracket before the first weekend and I haven't touched it since then. I decided I'd make my predictions before the AT and let them ride to see how well I'd do. I also predicted we would end up in the finals against Tuskers. And, believe it or not, that Tuskers would end up winning. If you are curious I'm 59-37 so far, which is respectable. I'd do better if I changed some predictions obviously. But that ain't bad.

One match at a time. We have Lazerhawks to contend with next. Everything after that is not worth thinking about.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy the sweet taste of victory. For as long as it might last.





September 21



On September 21st I will have been playing Eve relatively non-stop for ten years. I popped out of a station in Todaki and haven't stopped since. There isn't a region of Eve that I haven't been in, and there really isn't anything that I haven't tried. I haven't technically been in Faction Warfare, but I consider myself an active participant in it. Some may argue that point. But whatever. The only real goal remaining, that I have yet to achieve, is a Top 4 finish in the Alliance Tournament. That has always been my goal and I hope to achieve it either this year or next.

My other personal goal all along was to train Rixx to the maximum sub-cap PvP skills you can have in the game. I recently finished training all of the Leadership skills to go along with all of the Shield, Armor, Drone, Missile, Electronic, Engineering and other support skills he already has trained. The only thing remaining in Ship skills is the Loki and Black Ops V. After those two are finished I won't have any more sub-cap ships (PvP) to train. I finished Marauder V earlier this year. I'm somewhere around 165m skill points and my current train is 195 days. It ends with Black Ops V.

It has helped that along the way CCP has added some additional ships to train, so that may or may not happen again. If it does, like Command Destroyers, I'll pop those into the train. If not... well I'm not sure. My thinking right now is that I will stop training Rixx and leave him with max sub-cap skills, and move on to another character to train. Only coming back to his training when a new ship class or something else warrants it. That is my thinking right now at least. I have half a year to figure that one out. There isn't much call for Caps in my version of low sec. And even if there is I have a couple of other characters that can be trained into them.

So what do I have to look forward to going forward? For the past two years my real life situation has dictated a very strange relationship with playing Eve. Despite what many people seem to think, I really haven't been playing that much. I've been running the Corporation and Alliance from Slack for the most part. Which says a tremendous amount about the people playing, our Directors and leaders, and their commitment to our ideals. Right now I'm focused on the Alliance Tournament, but afterwards I'm really looking forward to a much more relaxed playing experience again. Thanks to recent turn-arounds in my personal life, the pressure to "make money" with my personal time is finally abated. I can stop chasing extra work and relationships hoping that they will turn into something. That includes dealing with CCP, or not dealing with CCP, whichever way we are looking at that today.

I remain excited about Eve and ABA and Stay Frosty and primarily the relationships and friendships that I have both in-game and out. I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon. I've often said that I will probably be the last person to turn out the lights when the servers shut down and I see no reason that might change.

I plan on being around annoying people for another decade or two. Where the road leads is all part of the grand adventure we are all a part of.

Let's find out.