Today, the guns are silent. Or at least as quiet as it ever gets in New Eden. With the release of the new Carbon character creator, the regular Eve Online shenanigans were briefly set aside in favor of generating new, frequently hilarious character portraits. As more and more members of the Gentlemens’ Agreement finalized their new avatars, a few insights emerged.
More people are roleplayers than they care to admit.
Even if they don’t talk ‘in character’ over comms, a lot of players on our Mumble, at least, were concerned with getting the right ‘look’ for their character. In a game where everyone is represented by a few dozen otherwise indistinguishable ship models, the Character Portrait is where we express our individuality (or love of Conan O’Brian). Players were upset that they could no longer hood their Amarr. Sunglasses were being discussed. Portraits replaced silhouettes as drugged out hippies, distinguished captains, and more emerged from the Carbon process.
For my part, I had some ideas regarding Kivas’ picture. I had generated her prior portrait without any thought towards character history; indeed, until I began this blog and needed filler while I ground out the last of Caldari Battleship 5; I hadn’t really given much thought to a backstory. What emerged onto these pages late that night was, admittedly, a blatant ripoff of “The Ship Who Sang” by Anne McCaffery with a bit of an Orwellian overtone.

My first stop was the clothes, rather than the face. I wanted an outfit that was simple and utilitarian. Kiva doesn’t enjoy having to ‘drive the meat-puppet’; she doesn’t load her storage bays down with an extensive wardrobe. Sturdy, long-wearing clothes with plenty of pockets was the look I had in mind. Given the limited options, I decided on a scheme of greys to convey a drab, metallic feel. Serious without being excessively somber; cold and no-nonsense. I also saw the palette as indicative of Kiva’s morality; in that she’s utterly amoral. Not a villain (though every character is the hero of their own tale); but unfettered by human concerns. Enlightened self-interest and complete ruthlessness hand-in-hand. She is the mind of a warship in a human body, and nothing less than Battleship Grey would do. The pattern even looks vaguely like a Scorpion hull texture.
When I did the hair, I started with an indifferent-looking scruffy black hairstyle. But after coming through the Eyes, I went back and changed to the shaved, bleached-white mowhawk. While the seriously life-threatening genetic defects have been repaired in her medical clones, she considers her human body nothing more than life-support for her brain; so “minor annoyances” like being blind haven’t been worth the ISK to correct. The hairstyle I then chose for her is both practical (pod goo in long hair?) and draws a highlight to the eyes. Makeup selection followed the same ‘not caring’ approach; none.
Physically, Kiva’s average. Conceived with life-threatening congenital deformities; she was essentially raised inside a hydrostatic capsule; and only after becoming an independent Pod Pilot was she able to afford a genetic overhaul of her medical clones. She’s not an impressive physical specimen; no ex-Matar Colonel who can bench-press a Rifter here. On the other hand, muscle-building chemicals and electrode stims inside the pod have kept her from becoming emaciated. I kept her face relatively young; she’s only been an independent pod pilot for a couple years and the weight of life in New Eden has yet to show its toll on her.

Buried in the patch notes was a line that had me ‘squee’ing like a fangirl at a Justin Bieber concert: The Widow’s ECM Strength bonus now applies to ECM Burst modules as well as targeted ECM Jammers. This means that the ‘Cetus’ ECM Shockwave I had sitting in my hangar is capable of pumping out a multispectrum pulse of sufficient strength to disrupt any conventional (t1/t2) ship sensor suite within its range. A handy defense against close-in frigates and drones. I’ve replaced the point and web I had fitted for ambush work (lurking at tripwire bubbles) with my Meta 4 ECM Burst and a T2 Afterburner.