Monday, 29 December 2014

I'm not dead, I promise.

So it's been like a month and a half since I last wrote anything here.

I kind of burnt out of Eve recently. After joining Black Legion, fleets have kind of been limited to when Elo wants to run a fleet, so my daily need to log in has been diminished. 

After about a month of only logging in for CTAs, I let my subs lapse (needing money for Christmas presents was also a contributing factor).

I'm currently looking for a new home in Eve, and will start writing more regularly.

See you soon.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Skill Creep

So, the majority of view points, arguments and opinions regarding the new jump changes have been thoroughly discussed - in dozens of Reddit threads, 372 pages (at the time of writing) of official Eve forum thread and I'm sure across all the various Alliance, Corporation and other voice comms and forums.

I've obviously also been thinking about these changes, and on the whole I'm supportive. I tweeted that CCP would lose 6 subscriptions from me, but have since reconsidered my position. 

Before I get onto the main topic of this blog, I'd like to point out which part of the changes I have contention with.

The jump fatigue issue is the killer. For me, and for all the people I've spoken to (or at least those who know what they're talking about), these changes are a little bit stupid are go way beyond the means needed to achieve the same goal.

Jump fatigue is planned to have compounding effects, meaning that it's theoretically possible for a pilot to become completely useless for a pretty long amount of time (in terms of capital piloting). It means that in theory, if I want to use my capital pilot for capital things, I can only do so once per day. From a business point of view, that seems a bit excessive.

Any way, the long term result of these changes is that less people will use, or want to use, capital ships - and to some extent, Black Ops. 

So, what does a medium to long term pilot have to aim for?

Traditionally, pilots train skills in the following order:

Basic skills - basic T1 mods, frigates and maybe cruisers
Support skills - fitting and tanking skills
Medium skills - T2 weapon systems, battlecruisers and battleships
Advanced skills - HACs, some cruiser Vs, the majority of T2 weapons systems and some obscure others
Capital skills - Baby's first carrier or dreadnaught

I have no figures to back this up, but I'd imagine that the vast majority of pilots are already at the Medium and Advanced skill levels. Historically, Eve has a very hard time recruiting new players and retaining them past the Basic skills level, and those that do can get to at least the Medium skills level fairly quickly. 

Those of us who have been around for a year or two are slowly running out of skills to train. We've probably already trained all the skills that are important, and already trained into the ships that we are interested in flying or that we've been asked to fly by the people will fly with. If we don't want to train it on our main, we roll a new alt to train it (such as an industry alt, a market alt, a hauling alt etc.)

We have no interest in training for three weeks to get a skill that we don;t really want from IV to V.

The current natural progression once most of us have reached this point is to train into a carrier or a dreadnought - or both. I know that, personally, I have reached the point where I'm training at least three of my six characters into some sort of jump-drive enabled ship. With these new changes, no-ones going to want to do this so what's left to train? Once people no longer have things to train, it's much more likely that they'll stop subbing that character.

And what about those of us who have a capital alt that can fly both a carrier and a dreadnought? Or, god forbid own, multiples of these vessels? A move op for 2 dreads and 2 carriers is now going to take me days (almost a week) rather than hours. Days. Just to move four ships. Can you imagine the WoW crowd being happy if it took them weeks to move a super duper piece of armour or an awesome sword across the map?

I think not.

If fatigue was replaced with a static cool down timer, even one that scaled would be better. For example, the first time you jump you get a 6 minute cooldown on jumping out, the next time you jump, it's 10 minutes, the next is 18 minutes etc etc you get my point. This would solve the issue of large groups of capitals (and to some extent subcapitals) moving completely across the universe in trivial amounts of time. It wouldn't discourage people from totally avoiding training for capitals, and it wouldn't stop massive PR events like Asakai and B-R from happening again (and thus increasing CCP revenue massively - albeit short term).

I'm not going to get into the difficulties of logistics and actual content generation with these changes other than to quote CCP Grayscale when asked how these changes were going to create content.

"Ask your leaders, not us"

Well, CCP Grayscale. I've asked them. They haven't the foggiest.


Friday, 19 September 2014

What does NRDS really mean?

I thought I'd share this conversation with the public, because it made me laugh. Names are redacted to protect the innocent.

Background: Two of our pilots VikingOne and VikingTwo were out in lowsec and killed a Pilgrim that had lit a cyno.

A few minutes later, a director of our corp had a conversation that went as follows:

-----

[01:45:47] Mr Viking > syup

[01:46:31] Mr Pubbie > Am I or Pubbie2 set red to you?

[01:46:49] Mr Viking > nope :)

[01:47:16] Mr Pubbie > Just wanted to say that VikingOne and VikingTwo broke your posted NRDS policy and agressed me on a station wihle I was cynoing a friend in.

[01:47:37] Mr Pubbie > In a Scythe Fleet and a Falcon, respectively

[01:48:48] Mr Viking > Aha! i see, do you have any notifications/log of them agressing?

[01:48:54] Mr Viking > its ur word against theres see

[01:49:07] Mr Viking > Also, do you have any suggest punishment for them?

[01:50:05] Mr Pubbie > While I cannot suggest punishment, I do have a combat log.

[01:50:13] Mr Viking > there transgressions must be punished in the eyes of the golden emporess

[01:51:03] Mr Pubbie > If you give me a moment to get the logs screencapped

[01:51:09] Mr Pubbie > I'll share the links with you

[01:51:16] Mr Viking > awesome thanks

[01:51:58] Mr Pubbie > I did return fire, because I was agressed, so you will see Valkyries on the log as well.

[01:52:11] Mr Viking > i see i see

[01:53:26] Mr Pubbie > VikingOne's Falcon did not show on the logs because I was never jammed, but he was on field as well.

[01:53:29] Mr Viking > and you claimed they agressed first? do you have any open standing warrents for arrest or bounties on you from our lord and savouir, the golden emporess

[01:53:47] Mr Pubbie > No, I do not. I have no bounty nor do I have a warrant.

[01:55:52] Mr Pubbie > http://i.imgur.com/axl2c0V.png

[01:56:00] Mr Pubbie > That is my notification log.

[01:56:50] Mr Viking > i see

[01:57:42] Mr Viking > we will make them self destruct 50 coerers at the sun to apease for there crimes and to please the golden emporess

[01:58:11] Mr Viking > also whats NRDS? i saw you mention it earler

[01:59:12] Mr Pubbie > In your bio, it states that you are a member of NRDS.

[02:00:02] Mr Pubbie > http://imgur.com/nBPfi8D This is the other half of the combat log.

[02:01:20] Mr Viking > yeah, Northern Rover Dog Society, its a society or the protection of a rare breed of snow dogs. but i take it thats not wat it means in this universe?

[02:02:19] Mr Pubbie > NRDS in this universe is generally taken to mean, "Not Red Don't Shoot." in the rules of engagement, if you are not marked as an enemy, you do not agress unless you are foes.

[02:03:36] Mr Viking > Aha! yes then this is indeed a un justiefed act. we will deal with matters accordingly

[02:07:24] Mr Pubbie > It's appreciated. Normally I wouldn't complain, as I am capable of defending myself in these matters and neutralized the threat his ship generated to my own, but from what I understood of your rules of engagement, they breached your policy.

[02:07:38] Mr Pubbie > I simply wished to bring their error to your attention.

[02:08:31] Mr Pubbie > Thank you for taking the time to sort this issue out. Hopefully our next meeting is more jobial.


[02:08:51] Mr Viking > indeed! thank you for your time, i will take care of this further

Thursday, 4 September 2014

To kill a Rattingbird.

It happened a couple of weeks ago now, but I forget to write about it then and I've just remembered.

I'm quite a lazy Eve player in terms of content. I'm not one of those that will go out of their way to find content, and prefer it to land right in my lap. It's one of the reasons I don't really like planned roams originating in wormhole space. The holes are too random for my liking, and it often ends up being an hour of endless jumps and no killmails to show for it, before culminating in being blobbed by 200 Ishtars or dropped by supers.

Sometimes, however, I'll take the initiative and scan out a WH chain because I'm bored and I find scanning quite therapeutic. I was doing this a few weeks ago when something interesting happened.

I was in a C2 about five or six connections away from our home and I had just finished scanning that hole's high sec static connection. I warped to it to bookmark and as I loaded grid noticed a Rattlesnake perched about 130km above the wormhole. He didn't have drones deployed but he was burning away from the hole, but only at default max speed rather than with some kind of prop mod. 

I spoke up on comms and people started to form. Due to the time of day, we only had a couple of people actually logged in, but we mustered a couple of Ishtar's and other such things. They started to move into position as I burned my Helios slowly towards him. I was tabbing backwards and forwards between tabs as I was moving a DPS character and when I tabbed back into the scout, the Rattlesnake had gone.

I swore loudly and started D-Scanning. My first though was that he'd warped back down to the HS hole and jumped away. My first D-Scan showed that he was still in system though. I started narrowing down and it took me a while to realise that he was actually still above me. He'd burnt so far that he'd gone off grid. At this point, I had a mind freeze and started logging in another scouting alt with combat probes. What I should have done was continue to burn in the same direction. I would eventually have gotten on grid with him as my cloaked Helios is much, much faster than his slow boating battleship.

However, by the time I realised this, my combat prober was already en-route and upon jumping into the system, I launched my probes and moved them way off to the far edges of the map screen. Once there, I re-positioned them to where my Helios roughly was, made the scan sphere quite small and scanned.

It actually took me two scans to find him at 100%, as I recently lost my Sister's launcher and wasn't using Sister's Combat Probes. That character doing the scanner also isn't the best at doing so. Two scan passes is normally one too many, but this time Odin was with us and I doubt the guy even saw them. I got close, called the guys to jump in and hold cloak whilst de-cloaking myself and getting tackle. 

Everybody warped to me and secondary points were called. Unfortunately, the downsides of dual boxing showed themselves and I lost the Helios to a single Gecko because I failed to notice I was being attacked while I manoeuvred the other character and started to apply DPS. Despite their being multiple people with multiple points, somehow, the Rattlesnake warped off in low armour. 

Apparently, the person who had the secondary point had been neuted out (you will see how many neuts the Rattlesnake had [none]) and it was probably a case of leaving an MWD on. Somehow, everyone else had also drifted out of point range. 

I was quite angry. Luckily, we had probes in the water and an Interdictor in system so he was fairly easy to re-scan and remove from the gene pool.

What was quite funny was the fact that upon his original warp out, he'd left all his drones behind. So when we caught him the second time, all he had to fight us with were a flight of salvage drones. 

After he died, I was minded to abandon my own drones, scoop his, launch them and salvage his own wreck with them. I didn't because it would have taken too long so we left the wreck as tribute to very dumb Rattlesnake pilots running Relic and Data sites in a C2 battleships everywhere.

https://zkillboard.com/kill/40888833/

Oh, he had a 1.2b pod as well...

https://zkillboard.com/kill/40888841/

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A quick guide to Recon

Today on Reddit, someone posted a topic looking for a Recon guide, as he'd recently trained into them, but wanted some tips on how to fit and fly them.

Recons are one of my favorite ship classes, despite my aversion to flying expensive ships. I gave this dude quite an extensive reply and I thought it'd be a waste not to post it here as well. 

This isn't the be all and end all guide to Recon ships, but it's a good place to start. You'll notice, however, that it doesn't include the Pilgrim. This is because in it's current state, the Pilgrim sucks complete and utter balls. The only thing it's good for is killing active tanked turret based ships, and even then, the Arazu does a much better job.

Falcon:

Never ever ever use T2 jams. Always use the meta 4 ones. You swap out the jams based on what you will be fighting, carrying spare ones in your cargo. If you don't know what you're fighting, have one (or more) of each race. The background of this ship you're trying to jam equals the color of the jammer you should be using.

[Falcon, X-L ASB Falcon]
Damage Control II
Signal Distortion Amplifier II
Signal Distortion Amplifier II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Large Shield Extender II
Warp Disruptor II
BZ-5 Neutralizing Spatial Destabilizer ECM
'Umbra' White Noise ECM
Enfeebling Phase Inversion ECM I
X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 400
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Antimatter Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Plutonium Charge S
150mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Plutonium Charge S
Medium Particle Dispersion Augmentor I
Medium Particle Dispersion Augmentor I
Warrior II x2

This is the fit I use primarily. It doesn't have a great amount of jams, but the ones it does have are strong. It has an XL-ASB which means it can tank any kind of tackle for long enough to get away. The DPS is anaemic but, again, can deal with tackle quite well.

[Falcon, Paper Falcon]
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Signal Distortion Amplifier II
Signal Distortion Amplifier II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
BZ-5 Neutralizing Spatial Destabilizer ECM
BZ-5 Neutralizing Spatial Destabilizer ECM
BZ-5 Neutralizing Spatial Destabilizer ECM
BZ-5 Neutralizing Spatial Destabilizer ECM
BZ-5 Neutralizing Spatial Destabilizer ECM
BZ-5 Neutralizing Spatial Destabilizer ECM
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Antimatter Charge M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Antimatter Charge M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Antimatter Charge M
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Medium Particle Dispersion Projector I
Medium Particle Dispersion Augmentor I
Warrior II x2

This is a fairly standard falcon. You can swap out the lows for more armour tank (I've seen lots of different variations such as a MAR, MAAR, DCII, EANM etc) with the main focus being that all your mids are filled with jams and a prop mod.

The normal fit for the high slots is rail guns, as the hull has a bonus to these, but you can also fit smartbombs which are useful for the drones that will almost always be directed at you. If using smartbombs, be careful of you cap. No cap means you can't kite or jam, which is basically death.

Rapier:

Basically, you web things. From far away. Federation Navy Webs are absolutely totally worth the expense. It's an effective solo boat in the right circumstances.

[Rapier, Combat Prober]
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Overdrive Injector System II
Overdrive Injector System II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Stasis Webifier II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
720mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor M
720mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor M
Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher, Core Scanner Probe I
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Valkyrie II x4

This is the fit I use for actual recon work. It has a probe launcher so that it can combat scan, a web and a point to hold a target and just enough tank and just enough speed to be able to survive until the rest of my fleet turns up.

[Rapier, Fleet Webs]
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Overdrive Injector System II
Overdrive Injector System II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Federation Navy Stasis Webifier
Federation Navy Stasis Webifier
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Valkyrie II x4

This fit is basically the same, except for double webs and no probe launcher. Downgrade the artillery to 650mm and you can fit three of them. The DPS is still pretty bad but it's better than nothing.

[Rapier, Armor Rapier]
Damage Control II
800mm Reinforced Steel Plates II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Federation Navy Stasis Webifier
Federation Navy Stasis Webifier
Federation Navy Stasis Webifier
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M
650mm Artillery Cannon II, EMP M
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Valkyrie II x4

A semi-decent armor fit utilising both the bonuses that the Rapier gets (target painters and webs). It's a bit slow, but if you're in an armour gang, you'll still be faster than every one else. Always use the Meta 4 Target Painter, for the same reason as using the Meta 4 jams - they have the same fitting stats, the same bonuses, but they use less cap when activating.
There's another slightly tankier (1600mm plate) version, which uses a 10mn afterburner. But I think it's fucking awful, so I'm not going to post it.

Arazu:

This ship points things, and damps them. Once again, always use the Meta 4 damps (Phased Muon something something). When using damps, I find that I almost exclusively use Targeting Range Dampening Scripts, rather the Scan Res ones. Scan res scripts can be useful in large fights where enemy logi have to change targets a lot, but outside of that, they're a bit useless.

[Arazu, Self Rep]
Medium Armor Repairer II
800mm Reinforced Steel Plates II
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Medium Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 800
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Warp Disruptor II
Warp Disruptor II
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Spike M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Spike M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Spike M
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Hammerhead II x4
Navy Cap Booster 800 x13

This isn't a bad small gang or solo armor fit. You have a cap booster and a MAR to keep yourself alive (briefly). You point one or two ships with your bonused points (48km on this at all V, before fleet boosts) and damp them so that they can't lock you back. This is a most hilarious thing to do, and whilst your DPS is pretty shit, there's nothing they can do about it. You keep them at range, and slowly kill them.

[Arazu, Damps]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Steel Plates II
Adaptive Nano Plating II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Phased Muon Sensor Disruptor I, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Warp Disruptor II
Warp Scrambler II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher, Core Scanner Probe I
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
Medium Inverted Signal Field Projector I
Medium Inverted Signal Field Projector I
Hammerhead II x4

This is a bit less tanky but has more damps (and they are stronger). Three damps on most ships means they can't lock past the end of their nose. It relies on drones for DPS, and is designed to be used in a fleet rather than solo.

Shield fitting an Arazu is a complete waste of a ship, although fits do exist. Your mids are really really important for damps and points.

[Arazu, Super Point]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Signal Amplifier II
Signal Amplifier II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Warp Disruptor II
Warp Disruptor II
Warp Disruptor II
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Antimatter Charge M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Antimatter Charge M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Antimatter Charge M
Medium Targeting System Subcontroller I
Medium Targeting System Subcontroller I

This is a hilarious fit that I've used twice. The tactic is to stay cloaked until your fleet starts winning, and then decloak and point four things before they can warp off. It makes people really mad.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Updates and new ideas.

So, I'm trying to get back into writing more regular blog posts. One of the ways I can do that is to write about a few random things rather than writing about a specific piece of content. I get rather bored of other people's blogs that outline and analyze, for example, the latest patch notes, or go off on some random rant about how this ship needs rebalancing.

If you read my blog in any kind of regular way, you'll know I have a pretty short attention span, and get bored of projects and ideas far too quickly for me to actually follow through with them, or even start them in some cases (T3 manufacturing).

One of my new ideas is a new set of inforgraphics. When I was in Test, I created about a dozen different infographics based on an already existing template. The ones I did about PI were probably the best received, and are still very relevant today, especially given the latest Hyperion announcement that PI will no longer require Sov in order to drop a Command Center. That particular infographic needs a bit of updating, and I'm really hoping I can find the originals to tweak.

I really enjoy making infographics. I like breaking a pretty complex system down into well designed steps and explanations that are easy on the eye and aren't 8+n pages of text with a couple of tables and maybe a screenshot.

I think there's also a niche market in producing these, and if I can find the will power to complete a whole set, they could be widely used and well regarded. That's good for me, and it's good for the user.

I have a couple of ideas that I might get on with in the next few weeks, but if anyone reading this has any thoughts on what they'd like to see, be sure to let me know.

-----

It's been a while since I've written an update on what I'm doing in Eve so here goes.

I few months ago, I wrote about a goal I set myself which was to have 100b by the end of the year.. That goal is pretty unachievable given my current playstyle of not wanting to grind or put super serious time into anything. I've reduced that goal to one of making sure my month to month balance is of an upward trend. I don't PLEX my accounts, so this should be pretty achievable, I just have to make sure what I make is more that what I spend or lose in explosions.

I'll be making a crude spreadsheet that'll update weekly, including liquid ISK, ship assets and module assets (and any other assets), and I'll try to post that up on here at least once a week, possibly with a breakdown of how much ISK I earnt doing what activites.

Character wise, this is what I'm up to with each at the moment:

Main: My main character is a jack of all trades, master of none. I'm currently working on some drone skills, and after that some armor skills that I've neglected. Most of the skills I'm training on this character are rounding out things I never got round to training to V. Eventually, I'll train him into a dreadnaught, as he's good on the gunnery, navigation and other support skills, but has none of the prerequisites for flying a capital ship.

Carrier/Dread Pilot: This pilot continues to train into a perfect Naglfar. She can already fly a pretty good Carrier (2 races) and her dread skill are almost done, although the skills that are left are very long. (2 x 19d skills to finish gunnery supports, 54 days for Capital Ships V, 46 days for Minmatar Dreadnaught V). She then has a couple of drone skills for the carrier skillset before I decide her next step. It'll probably be into a Black Ops or Marauder.

Secondary PVP: This character is on constant catch up to my main. He started out as a pure ECM character and can fly an impeccable Falcon, but more recently I've been training him to be a more general PVP character so that I can use my main as a booster and fight with this character.

Scout: This character is specialised into flying subcaps that are Battlecruiser or less. He has no large weapon skills, although he can sit in T1 Battleship hulls because it's useful sometimes. He's currently finishing his last cruiser V, and after that will be training the couple of small weapon skills (Light Missiles, Rockets, Torpedoes). He can now fly a good interdictor and has almost perfect scanning skills. I'm debating whether to buy a set of expensive scanning implants for him, but Interdictors and expensive pods don't go very well together.

Industry: This guy is currently finishing up all the skills required for Reverse Invention, Research and the manufacture of T2 and T3 items. This is in anticipation of the hinted changes to this type of industry coming this year, and I'll hopefully be well placed to take advantage of whatever they turn out to be. I'm not going to max those skills, because it's a waste of SP due to the fact that I don;t really have the patience for industry right now. I've purchased a couple of BPCs and BPOs which I've turned a profit on, but since Crius, the tools I used to work out what was profitable to make are no longer very accurate. I'm considering maxing out the refining and compression skills, but I'd need a POS to make decent money, and that's too much time and money investment right now. This character would sell for quite a lot if I were to offer him for sale, but I;ve grown rather attached and his role as an out of alliance hauler is actually rather useful. One day I'll get round to buying and using a Jump Freighter he can use perfectly.

Carrier/Logi: I dropped this guy out of corp just before I had a week off work with the idea that, due to the fact he is a perfect subcap logi pilot, I'd run incursions all week and make bank. I did run some, and it was tedious. It is good for when I have an hour or two to spare and nothing is happening in corp, but recently incursions have been a bit wierd and keep moving, so he's sat making no money at all right now.

My PI farm has ground to a halt due to one of the pilots being the incursion pilot and me being too lazy to log the other in and restart their chains. I should pick it back up, and I'm toying with using the industry character to use low level PI, turn it into high level PI and then turn it into sov structures or POS stuff.

Friday, 8 August 2014

With friends like these...


As some of you who know me, or read this blog regularly might know, I'm part of a small-ish corp which forms one half of a small wormhole alliance called Odin's Call.

We're both PVP centric corps but we aren't big enough to compete with the T3 wielding mega alliances that also dwell in the mysterious space of wormholes.

Apparently though, we do have friends.

A few days ago, one of our members was contacted by a friend, who had a friend who was in a corp who had joined a carebear C5 alliance. (Read that again, just to make sure you know how tenous our link is to this story).

After moving in to the Alliance wormhole, there was some drama and they were reset, had their tower reinforced, some stuff stolen and an almost-awox on a Moros. The static was being camped, so they couldn't even extract quietly and get on with their lives.

The friend of a friend of our guy asked if we wouldn't mind coming along to help them out. We, never ones to miss some PVP no matter what the course, said yes.

Last night, we formed up an untried doctrine designed to counter the likely fleet that the hostiles would field. Our Alliance partners Space came along as did a few more friends of friends. The form up was in Amarr and suddenly we had 30+ pilots in fleet. I was flying a command ship (due to my awesome boosting skills) and was in the fleet command position and during the form up I was consistenly being asked to invite this guy to fleet, and then this guy, oh, and these two guys. By the time we actually rolled about we were at about fifty pilots. Suprisingly, most of them were flying the fleet comp that we had asked for.

Due to some black smoke and mirrors, we located an entrance into the target wormhole despite the locals having been rage rolling all day, at one point even rolling in the 0ne Percent home wormhole itself (we were thoroughly unprepared to exploit it at that point). We moved quickly and jumped through. On the hole were a couple of T3s, an Onyx and a Garmur.

I was flying a shield Heretic (in an armor fleet) on an alt and quickly bubbled the bad guys. I then made a mad dash for the Garmur, landing a scram and unloading my rapid light missiles into him. The rest of the fleet took a Legion as their primary and took it down. I was pretty smug as the Garmur exploded, thinking I'd got a solo kill (which is very rare for me) until I looked at the killmail and found that over half the fleet has whored on it, or had been ignoring the primary completely. I still got top damage though.

With control of the hole, we debated what to do. We hadn't expected such an easy fight and with the speed that the hostiles ran away, we could safely conclude they wouldn't even attempt to fight us.

One of the primary reasons for us being there was so that the corp we were helping could extract their assets and a couple of dreadnaughts. One of whom, was only half fit until their POS came out of reinforce. The other dread said he would willingly use it in anger and so pur plan was formed.

We warped to one of the hostile POS and started the unfanging grind (by which I mean incapacitating all of the offensive modules). Our CEO, Berolt - a lawyer by profession - started negotiations.

Our normal tactic for this is to make an initial low to mid ranging offer, with the threat that the price increases for after the first tower is reinforced and increasing further for every subsequent tower. It's a tactic that works quite well for us, as within minutes, ISK was safely deposited in our account and our fleet withdrew. The first, however, asked how much it would cost for us to change our allegience and help evict the corp we were helping. The price was high.

As an aside, we had a reasonable number of logistics on grid with us, who were twitching their fingers ready to rep against the damage the POS would put out. As it happens, they weren't needed in the slightest as for the whole 20-30 minutes we were there, the POS didn't aggress us at all.

After paying us to leave them alone, the hostiles even asked if we had a mercenary post  on the forums where they could post their experiance with us and give feedback on how honorable we are.

We don't. Maybe we should...

At this point, some of re-shipped into POSrepys (a witty take on the T1 logistics ship, the Osprey, fit for pure repping power) and started to repair the shields of the friendly POS that had now come out reinforce. This took a while, but eventually, the HP ticked to over 50% and things were able to be re-onlined and the evactuation/extraction started.

I have to comment on this process and say that they made the extraction incredibly hard. The connection they had was pretty favourable; out to a lowsec system one jump away from high sec. Instead of doing what most people would have done and fill an indy to the brim, shuttle it out to a station, return to POS and repeat, they fiddled around with expensive modules and tried to do the whole thing in one run. I got quite impatient several times and pointed this out, but was apparently ignored.

Eventually, however, they were eventually ready. One of the dreadnaughts jumped through the afore mentioned chain, collapsing it and the other went out of a direct NS that had spawned while we had control of the system. We scanned out the new static, which lucky had a C1 connection itself, which luckily had a HS static itself, which luckily was four jumps from Jita.

After ensuring that all the corps had all the bookmarks, we went home.

At some point in all the above (probably just before we went to defang), I was sat on a connecting hole in my Interdictor, uncloaked and pretending to scout. I glanced over to that screen and was suprised to see myself being shot at by a Flycatcher and a Tengu. I informed the rest of the fleet and fleet warped them to myself (with the other character sat in the FC position). I let myself get to low shields before jumping through the wormhole. I immediatly burnt back to 0 and waited. Sure enough, the hostiles followed and I bubbled them. I'd re-gened a bit of shield in this time and safely took a couple of volleys before jumping back through to my original side.

The hostiles, however, were now stuck in my bubble and were polarised and I had cleverly given my fleet enough time to burn through the hostile bubble on the original side and jump through the wormhole to tackle the bad guys. The Flycatcher got away, but the Tengu was tackled and was vainly attempting to burn out of tackle range (versus a Stiletto I might add). The fleet killed him fairly promptly. I was pretty proud of my interdictor tactics.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Hook, Line and Sinker

A couple of days ago, we were fucking around in our chain when one of our scouts found something curious.

He'd seen a Thorax and a Catalyst on D-Scan and was narrowing down their exact location. Normally, it only takes a couple of minutes to determine whether ships the ships are on a narrow angle scan with or without a Forcefield. With a forcefield, they are probably in a POS, without means they are floating in space. Normally.

What our scout found was that these two ships were indeed at a POS, but they were not inside the forcefield.

He got on grid with the tower to see it online, and all the defences online - but with no forcefield surrounding it. This can happen sometimes and is the default state of a POS tower until you put a password in - at which point the forcefield appears and flings any non authorized ship out into space at rather high speed.

A few of us had shipped into Bombers in order to shoot the offline POS mods that were first reported, and I was travelling down the chain in a pod, willing to try my luck and free the two ships just floating.

The scout bookmarked the two hulls, and I warped to the first one. As I landed, I spammed right click and hit board. So far, so good. I clicked the sun and clicked warp and suddenly a pop up appears. It's telling me i have too much cargo. I right click, I select the 8000 units of Veldspar and click Jettison. I hit warp again but as soon as my ship starts to move, it explodes.

I warp my pod away. With the character I have cloaked on grid, I notice that my new wreck is moving, and I start to pay a lot more attention to the POS setup.

There are very specific modules on this POS defence. A couple of hardeners to even out the resists, as well as a very, very tanky Dark Blood tower. Everything else is designed to kill small ships. Two batteries of multiple small lasers (about 15-20 lasers in each battery) and a couple of webifiers/warp scramblers are positioned so that one cannot get transversal to both batteries, with a Mobile Tractor Unit nestled out of sight in the middle.

A couple of bait SMAs and CHAs sit in open view, next to a couple of anchored cans names "Loot" and "Sleeper Salvage".

The ships themselves are fit with as many expanded cargo holds as possible, filled with Veldspar and then the expanded cargo holds are removed, meaning that the ship cannot warp away and sits there until it explodes.
 
Pilots that see no forcefield and assume the POS is offline go to scoop the free "Loot" or "Salvage" or to blow up the CHA/SMA on the offchance they'll drop something nice suddenly find themselves pointed, webbed and under the fire of a large number of powerful POS guns. As soon as they explode, their wreck is being tractored to the Mobile Tractor Unit, where the loot is deposited.

The POS owner will check to see what died today, log in, empty the Tractor Unit and reset the trap.

I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

I even went back for the Catalyst, thinking that if I concentrated, I could probably get it out in time. I neglected to remember that you can only Jettison cargo once every two minutes. I died again.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Drop the dreads...

This AAR is from my perspective. Because I'm writing it, and I'm the best.

I logged on after work to hear a group of our guys out on an interceptor roam. They were out of a direct NS hole to Venal, which is an NPC region.

They were riling up the locals and a small gang of 8 guys shipped up to fight them with a couple of Cynabals, a Myrmidon, Tengu, Deimos and a couple of other things.

We ran back to HH and reshipped into Ferox Fleet. I took a Talos because I'm special. It took a little while for the Logi to get sorted due to a couple of mod issues and Berolt got shouty.

We eventually got moving (partly spurred by me getting bored and going solo). Me and GMan were designated as bait and we went into their system and started calling them rude names. The rest of the fleet was holding one jump out.

The hostiles didn't really seem interested. They were playing undock games, fairly successfully.

I was playing with a Deimos and a Falcon (who I kept volleying into half shields before he had to re-dock) on one of the undocks when it was called to pull out and go home. As I warped off, one of the locals started mouthing off saying I was running away so I told him he was a plant and to come fight me on the BV- gate. He told me to go to the other gate. We moved our cloaky eyes over there and low and behold, there was a fleet sat there waiting for me. Our fleet turned around and warped back and I jumped through to see what was up. Their fleet was on the other side and as we jumped, they jumped as well.

Berolt used an awesome analogy of burglars inside your house, and you outside. We all laughed. (Some of us were just being polite)

They grew some cajones and jumped back into us and we started to brawl. Their Falcon went down like a sack of shit and we started working on their BCs. Minus did a good job calling targets and our Logi were outstanding in keeping up reps. Suddenly, they popped a cyno and a Chimera appeared on grid (to rep their breaking armor Myrmidons apparently). He did one cycle of Triage before he realised we were still breaking their ships with good target swapping and overheat cycles. A couple of support ships came in - another Falcon, a Rapier and a sniping Naga. GMan flying the Caracal Navy Issue did some pro solo PVP and burnt out to kill them whilst the rest of the fleet kept the pressure on the baddies with our awesome blasters. 

Eventually, their fleet realized that they were all dying and they started to extract. Most of their battleships got out (some were very low structure), and they had too many ships for us to point while we were maintaining two points on the carrier (just in case).

Meanwhile, I was logging in my Naglfar and we were sorting out cynos. We cyno'd in and I jumped. I mashed all the buttons whilst locking the Carrier. I got off a single volley before I realized I wasn't in Siege. As soon as I hit the Siege button, the Chimera exploded. Apparently he'd initiated self-destruct and we hadn't noticed. By this time, his friends had deserted him. 

We hung around and looted what we could while we waited for the cyno and the siege cycle to end. It took us a while to sort out an exit cyno, so I warped the dread to the NPC station and docked up. Eventually, the cyno got sorted and as I undocked so did a Sabre. All the adrenaline finally got to Minus and he went check-check-check-crazy. Everyone else remained calm and we extracted the dread. 

Me and Minus had both already logged in alts and were burning to pick up the capital sized loot that remained. 

The rest of the fleet extracted back to home hole.

We killed 3b of things and only lost a single Interceptor in the very first engagement. Killboard green.

Despite only shooting the carrier with a single un-sieged volley, I still managed to get top damage:

Image

Battle Report: https://zkillboard.com/related/30001290/201408011800/

Exeq Navy Issue was not, in fact, on our side. Fuck knows what happened to that Enyo...

Monday, 21 July 2014

Drugs are bad, m'kay?

Let me start with a statement that will be on your lips by the end of this blog post: "You're not very good at this game."

You're right, I'm not. I'm better than some, but I completely suck at solo PVP, mostly suck at small gang PVP, suck hard at large fleet PVP and I'm only passable in PVE.

Last night was a prime example of me being sucky.

There's a chat channel for wormhole people called "bobisgreat". It's where all the cool cats from wormhole life hang out and trash talk each other. It's kind of like The Mittani's Smoking Room (or whatever that jabber channel was called...) - but for wormholes.

Every now and again, they run a big PVP fleet with some kind of theme. These fleets pull together a decent number of pilots from most of the big WH groups, and go out and about with a decent fleet that generally isn't the WH norm of shiny Strategic Cruisers.

Last nights fleet was a Gila/Rattlesnake/Recon fleet comp. About fifty Gilas, half a dozen Rattlesnakes and about twenty Recon ships (Huginn and Lachesis).

The subcap fleet was supported by a pair of triage Chimeras who were staged within jump range of our target regions, Providence and Catch.

A kind benefactor (I'm actually not sure who) donated a metric fuck ton of these Faction hulls and gave them out like candy. I got a free Gila hull and it cost me about 100m to fit it. As I was fitting and filling the cargo with spare drones, a mobile depot, nanite repair paste and other related neccessities, I decided I'd buy some drugs. I have very little experience with boosters in Eve (other than a very complicated spreadsheet) so I asked in corp chat which drug I should buy. My CEO advised some X-Instinct and told me I should grab him one as well while I was there. 

The roam had a staging point for it's start and, as is typical for any kind of inter corp/alliance, we didn't leave that staging point (Amarr) until about forty minutes after the advertised time. It was then a twenty minute burn through dozens of High Sec systems to Keberz, the NS/HS border system into Catch.

We landed on the gate and waited another ten minutes for the slow warping Rattlesnakes to arrive and then our scout jumped through to see what was up.

"Not good" came back the reports. About 60 Ishtars were setup at range around the bubbled gate, with Bouncers deployed. For the uneducated, jumping into 60 Ishtars, at range, with drones deployed at their optimal range is basically suicide for any fleet, let alone a Gila fleet with no subcap logisitcs.

It was decided that we'd burn another twenty jumps thorugh High Sec to another Null Sec entrance.

It's at this point, some thoughts started circulating in my head:

  • This is a group of people who live in wormholes...

  • They primarily travel around Eve via wormholes...

  • Why has nobody found a good wormhole exit/entrance so that we don't have to spend ninety minutes moving through High Sec gates?

In addition to the laborious High Sec travelling, I was being hit with a warning message, followed by a question (to which there was only one correct answer) at, what felt like, every other gates

You see, standard boosters are "contraband" in High Sec, and at certain points, you are asked by the local "Customs" whether you'd like these drugs to be confiscated or not. If you choose "Yes", you're drugs are taken and you've wasted your money. If you choose "No" you get to keep your drugs but get a standings hit and a small fine (about 50,000 ISK per unit). Your choice in this dialogue is not remembered for each subsequent gate.

We finally got to the system we were heading for, Y-MPWL; which is another HS/NS entrance, but this time into Providence.

We sat and waited on the gate for our Rattlesnakes (again). With us, were a couple of neutral ships (unengageable because High Sec). On the otherside of the gate, it was reported that there was a small camp consisting of a couple of frigates and cruisers. We jumped through and inexplicably, they hadn't already seen the 70 man gang about to jump into them and fucked off, but instead a few of them got caught and exploded rather quickly.

Providence is Sovereign Null Sec, meaning that the locals (if they choose to) can put up Cyno Jammers, which is obviously not good if your fleet is relying on triage carriers for its survival. In order to check whether the system is jamme dor not, normal practice is to take your cyno ship, make sure your Liquid Ozone fuel for cynos) is split into stacks not big enough for the cyno to actually use and then try and light a cyno. You get an error message telling you the system is jammed before you get a message telling you that you don't have enough fuel for the cyno (because they are in split stacks). This does not work well if you are in a Recon ship and forget that Recon ships get a bonus to how much fuel is consumed for a cyno, and the stack you thought was split into small enough piles, is actually enough for a cyno. This is why we sat in this system on a gate doing nothing for five minutes.

We eventually left and moved four systems deeper, to 9UY4-H.

We jumped through into that system and someone decided it would be a good idea to setup a Mobile Warp Disruptor (Medium) on the gate. Within a few minutes, a hostile fleet arrived to see us off (perhaps spurred on by the reports of us not having any Logistics). They arrived in Prophecies and Myrmidons and other assorted things not really suited to brawl Gilas. The Triage carriers were dropped and our fleet suffered minmal losses and the hostile fleet, making liberal usage of the new Medium Micro Jump Drive, fled. We stayed on the gate while the carriers came out of Triage, during which time we killed a couple of people who were stupid enough to warp to the bubbled gate or unlucky enough to jump into us.

After a few minutes, and after seeing some combat probes on grid and a couple of Stealth Bombers coming into system, I realised that we were probably about to be bombed. In normal circumstances, afterburning, heavily tanked, low signature cruiser hulls are not an easy bomb target. In this circumstance, those cruiser hulls were slowboating rather close to the two carriers, with no prop mods on. I decided that anchoring on the FC might not be healthy for the survival of my ship and started orbiting at 10km (prop mod on). I advised the rest of my corp to do the same as well as mentioning it casually in the fleet chat.

Literally thirty seconds later, we were bombed. In NS bombing terms, it was a rather tame effort. A single squad with a mix of void and damage bombs. It capped a lot of people out, but didn't have enough damage to kill anything. The FC decided that we should all move to a safe spot, which we duly did, until I pointed out that being in a safe didn't mean that the bombers couldn't bomb us. We went back to the gate.

During this time, we were waiting on a response from the hostile locals and waiting to see what they'd bring to fight us. After about fifteen minutes of the various FC (there were multiple) trying to decide on a course of action, and us being bombed twice more (but this time by a double vector squad who actually killed some  things), local spiked by about 100 and scouts reported a Battleship fleet incoming. The call was made to jump through the gate and for the carriers to jump out to their LS staging.

"Cool."
"Cyno up."
"Jump to cyno."
"Why can't we jump?"
"I don't see the cyno."
"Is the cyno in fleet?"
"The cyno isn't in fleet"
"Why isn't the cyno in fleet?"
"Hold on, joining fleet. "
"In Fleet."
"Still can't see the cyno."
"Rebroadcast the cyno."
"Where's that option?"
"*garbled explanation*"
"Do you see it now?"
"No"
"Carriers tackled."

The subcaps burnt back to the gate and jumped through and shit went South.

The battleship fleet was much bigger than ours. They had their own subcap logi (and lots of it). They had their own bubblers. They had dreadnaughts.

I was actually a little late to respond to the order to jump back through, by about 10 seconds or so. As I loaded grid, one of our Triage carriers exploded. I had the time to launch a flight of drones and command them to attack a Guardian before the extraction order was given. Most people tried (and mostly failed) to burn out of the bubbles and warp off, some people went down fighting. Personally, I just burnt back to the gate and waited out by aggression timer before jumping out. That is one of the biggest perks of having a name that starts smack bang in the middle of the alphabet - you often get the chance to run away.

I didn't even have chance to consume by drugs.

Some other people had the same idea, so I waited about 30 seconds before I warped, knowing that they'd be the ones to be caught in any kind of camp in the four jumps back to the High Sec system.

Uneventfully, I made it to the High Sec and a quick look at our mapping tool showed that it was about 38 jumps of High Sec back to the nearest entrance into our wormhole chain. I hit Autopilot, smugged a bit that I now had a free Gila and tabbed out to launch my League of Legends client. Once logged in, I tabbed back to Eve to be greeted with a warning message in the middle of the screen. Glancing down to the module UI, I saw that I was warped, jammed, and taking damage.

Back up to the message and skim reading. Something about drugs. Oh, this message again. I just clicked "No" as I had a dozen times on the way here. It was at this point I realised that I had been on Autopilot and was 15km from the gate. Shit.

Shit.

I piped up on comms.

"Guys, I'm tackled at a gate..."

"What gate? I thought you got out to HS..."

"It's a HS gate."

"Wot..."

"I have drugs and I was on autopilot..."

"AHAHAHAHA"

Various attempts were made to get out of this sticky situation. To the soundtrack of my corp laughing at me, I first attempted to consume the drugs to get rid of all the evidence. Apparently CCP doesn't want anyone to overdose and it's only possible to consume one drug of the same type at a time, which was annoying because I only had two units.

To the soundtrack of my corp laughing at me, I attemped to jettison the cargo. This resulted in another message popping up. I didn't really read it and just clicked OK. I wish I'd read it because it might have given me some clue on how to pacify the Customs NPCs who now had my Gila into about half shields.

To the soundtrack of my corp laughing at me, I even tried ejecting. I should have known that it wouldn't work, and when I got back in, the ship was down into half armor. As I was entering structure, I noticed that only the icon showing that I was jammed was still present for some reason, and I tried to initiate warp. Nope.

Boom.

Goodbye free Gila. May you rest in pieces.

At least it's not on the killboards...





*I'd like to point out that this isn't a jab at the guys who organised and ran the fleet last night. You did an excellent job considering that you guys don't FC big fleets very often, don't have experiance in dealing with bombers (or avoiding them altogether), don't normally drop caps other than in wormholes and other contributory factors.