Thursday, May 25, 2017

Rattle and Um...?

When a scout calls out that he's found ten Rattlesnakes, three Nestors and a Damnation in a C5 Sleeper site there is an instant up tick of activity on comms. When the scout calls out that the connection is via a frigate hole there is a few moments of confused silence.

This conundrum faced us this evening, in the depths of the AU TZ and without strong representation online. Pings went out over Discord to get as many able hands on deck as possible whilst we speculated just how we might contend with this high DPS blob of Faction Battleships. A little research showed that this particular multi boxer had fallen foul of raiders before, but judging by the Dreadnaughts on the battle report, that raiding party wasn't faced with the problem we are. It was speculated that kiting Beam Laser Confessors with Logistics support would do the job but the numbers online meant we were unlikely to out perform their remote repair abilities. Sure, we could throw in a couple of Kitsune's and jam out the Nestors, but that's two pilots that aren't in a Deacon or a Confessor to provide the fatal blow.

In the end we settled on a bombing run. We would warp in a Sabre at zero that would be very unlikely to get out alive and fire two salvos of bombs from the nine Stealth Bombers we could muster for the assault. Any more than eight bombers at once and the bombs are rendered ineffective, so one squad of seven and another of two would make their runs about seven seconds apart. Once the bombs were fired all bombers would align out to a celestial of their choosing and continue firing torpedoes at the predetermined target. In this case we decided that a Rattlesnake kill was positively ghetto, so we picked out a Nestor to be the centre of our attention. With the plan laid out we moved into position and ordered the Sabre through to his inevitable demise.

The bombers jumped through  moments after the Sabre and initiated warp to their bombing bookmark as the Sabre was landing among the Battleships. Now alerted, the target quickly engaged the sacrificial tackle and dispatched him as the bombers were uncloaking and dropping their bombs. I aligned also, uncloaked and locked my target, painting the Nestor and releasing my torpedoes but holding fire on the bomb launcher as I slowly counted to seven. Bombs away! I immediately aligned out as the first wave of bombs exploded, sending our target Nestor into about 40% armour. The last two bombs hit and our nine bombers stayed on grid as long as they weren't yellow boxed. I was, unfortunately, high on the target list and was quickly in low armour, forcing me off the field after only two or three volleys, but enough of our pilots were able to remain on grid to finish the Nestor and make their escape without loss.

The bubble expired and the fleet warped off, in their haste leaving eleven Geckos floating in the void. As luck would have it, we had targeted the pilot that was salvaging and storing all of the blue loot too, turning what may have been a 1.5 Billion ISK loss into about 3.7 Billion according to zKillboard. All told, we got away with around 1.4 Billion ISK in loot & Geckos for the loss of a Sabre, a satisfactory trade I think you'll agree. ;)





Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Obsessive Compulsive D-Scan

I'll admit it, I have mild OCD, and not just in regards to D-Scan. In my personal life I'm a bit of a neat freak. My office desk is always well squared away and I have to suppress my rage when someone leaves a coffee cup or some other arbitrary item where it's not meant to be. I'm not the sort of guy who checks if the oven is off or the door is locked over and over again, I just like things to be right. As a compulsive D-Scanner, I have the same issues in W-Space. It annoys me when I see secure containers left floating in a POS or Mobile Depots or Warp Bubbles just left to de-spawn with time. So you can imagine my annoyance at seeing Eve-Scout Enclave Rescue Containers scattered all around Anoikis.

I mean, I get the premise. They're like the St Bernard dogs of W-Space, helping clumsy explorers to scan their way out of a system they were unprepared to enter. It's a noble cause but there's nothing noble about W-Space. At least, not in my experience. Which is why I take it upon myself to find these containers and blow them to dust. Giving clumsy explorers an easy way out of my hunting domain is bad for business, not to mention the annoying twitch I develop when I see them on D-Scan.

Imagine my delight then when I spotted an Imicus probing in a nearby system that belonged to Eve-Scout Enclave, just after I had blown the moth balls off of Night Fever. As the saying goes, prior preparation prevents poor performance. I had already scanned all of the exploration sites so it was only a matter of re-shipping into Night Fever and laying in wait.

Just before down time he obliged me. I savoured the moment and allowed him to get to the last can before bathing the space trash leaving transient in Bob's Holy Fire. Scooping his lifeless husk, I warped to a safe for down time.

Logging in immediately after a very short down time I was pretty close to just heading home and calling it a night until I noticed probes on scan again. So again I laid in wait with my forelegs on the trip wires, a trapdoor spider awaiting it's next meal. Sure enough, another Imicus lands and to my amusement, it is also from the Eve-Scout Enclave. Another cleansing was had and another corpse for ritualistic sacrifice was collected for Bob's glory.


I feel like that's a win for the good guys... or the bad guys, it depends on your perspective I suppose. At least they won't be leaving their cans in that system today.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!

Our current siege in coming to an end with the target Corporation removing all the assets they could and no longer attempting to defend their system. It means the arduous work of cleaning out a swathe of control towers and customs offices is ahead of us so this evening was dedicated to that cause. With everything of import reinforced we were working on an undefended Gallente tower when an activation on our NullSec connection triggered excited calls on comms and the fleet redeploying to the connection. It was a pair of Dominix class Battleships looking to roll the connection away as some of our number had been poking about in there earlier. We were able to destroy one whilst the other escaped, but the NullSec connection remained intact. With no hint of the conflict escalating, we returned to our work.

I didn't have an ideal ship for POS Bashing on hand, so I brought my Artillery fit Sleipnir along to provide those dank shield boosts for our Rattlesnakes. For the better part of an hour we continued our work unmolested and undisturbed. We were in a pretty lazy mood, as POS bashing tends to do to you, so we didn't notice the Flycatcher until it landed amongst our fleet. It immeidately started dropping bubbles on the Rattlesnakes that were about 20 kilometres from me. With an optimal range of about 50 kilometres I immediately began burning away so he wouldn't be able to get under my guns, and that's when the Stealth Bombers uncloaked. D-Scan showed a Vindicator, Megathron, Brutix and Stratios also inbound and whilst the FC was calling primaries and other members were scrambling into Basilisks, I decided the best thing I could do would be to clear the Bomber DPS from the field in short order. In the space of half a dozen volleys three bombers went pop, two were forced to withdraw and the active tanked Flycatcher also got alpha'd off the field. Switching fire now to the Stratios it was soon in low armour and withdrawing but the Rattlesnakes were having a hard time with the combined DPS of the Vindicator, Megathron and Brutix. Soon our first Rattlesnake was destroyed and a second was in low armour, then structure and then the Basilisk shield reps landed. With hardeners and reps overheated the two Basilisk were just able to out repair the combined incoming damage, had there been bombers on the field it would've ended very differently.

With the survivability of the gang secured the aggressors dropped like dominoes, their active tanks being horribly inadequate to deal with the incoming fire. All told, it was a 1.9 Billion ISK group of kills for the loss of one 600m ISK Rattlenake. Not a bad trade and a nice initiation for my brand new Sleipnir, bagging herself four kill marks in the process. Gotta love those 720mm Howitzers.  =]


What is my friendship worth?

There's a saying in EVE that "The best ship is the friendship." It seems at odds with a game that is infamous for the sort of skullduggery that would land a person behind bars in the real world. As a community, we practically celebrate it. There was the giant ponzi scheme a couple of years ago that saw an ISK investment service run away with trillions all the way down to the common corporation thief who perhaps gets more roles than he should have and makes off with a few billion in ships and BPO's. It's not like CCP discourage this behaviour either, their 'Causality' trailer from way back in 2003 is testament to that. Then of course there are the ever present scams that proliferate the HiSec trade hubs, catching out unsuspecting or far too trusting noobs and vets and liberating them of their ISK.


It's all treated like it's good sport, but when does the line get crossed?

Well, I believe this is a prime example of taking it a step too far. The tl;dr version is that this individual, who has a long history of underhanded behaviour, decided he would try to infiltrate a LowSec PvP Cartel who famously fly Alliance Tournament ships from day to day. The scarcity of these ships puts an enormous value on them, many of them worth hundreds of billions of ISK. Over a period of around one and a half years he gained their trust and earned their friendship, all the while knowing he would betray both of those things when the opportunity came up. The opportunity came and he took it, discarding what seems like must've been a genuine friendship for virtual currency. The victims of the theft in this instance took it very well, despite one of them losing a prized possession with over 400 killmarks on it. As one of them stated in the Reddit thread...

"I'm more sad about losing our friendship and future fun together than some spacepixels."

So what value, if any, do you place on the friendship of those you game with. Personally, I don't think there's a number for which I'd betray a friend. To be able to do so and sleep at night seems somewhat sociopathic, but I'm interested to hear from others out there. Could you betray an online friendship for virtual currency?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Crumbling Alliance?

The battle for J120455 rages on despite an early victory for the group calling themselves Wormhole NATO. Despite publicaly declaring on Reddit that they had halted an eviction, the truth was quite far from the claim. Holesale, as the invasion force, had already secured the destruction of two Astrahus Citadels before the loss of their own Fortizar and whilst that was a grievous loss, the mission remains unchanged and assets remain in system.

Our target, perhaps confident in their new friends, proceeded to reinforce the Astrahus and two Raitaru Citadels Holesale still had in system. However, there would be no mistakes with the reinforcement timer this time. With a strong turnout present, some thirty pilots converged on the Astrahus to defend the timer. Learning from mistakes made in the past the fleet had moved from the HAM Armour doctrine that was overwhelmed last time around for a more mobile, high alpha damage fleet consisting of Gilas, Hurricane Fleet Issue Battlecruisers, a handful of Basilisk Logisitics cruisers and four Sleipnir Command ships. The hope was that the high alpha damage output of the fleet would be able to overcome a fleet of greater numbers by destroying ships before their logistics cruisers could save them.


Inviting the fight, we left an entrance wide open in system. It was watched, of course, and we had prior knowledge of what was heading our way. As it turns out, what was heading our way was a pretty decent counter to what we were fielding. A fleet of HAM Cerberus Heavy Assault Cruisers backed up by a seven strong wing of Scimitar Logisitics cruisers and a couple of Bifrost Command Destroyers. Those destroyers were there to split our logistics wing from our fleet and would be a high priority when they landed on the field of battle.

Surprisingly, the 130 - odd man fleet that engaged us last time was not to be seen. I don't know if it's because this fledgling alliance is already falling apart, but only Of Sound Mind made it to the party. As they entered system they immediately kited off the NullSec connection to around 80 km's range and dropped a bubble on the connection. Their hope was that we would warp to the Wormhole at range and get dragged into their bubble and their optimal range. It would be a catastrophic error to fall for such an obvious ploy and our FC was equal to the task, using a cloaked scout to get a more favourable warp in on the enemy fleet. What followed can be seen below.


The Battle report doesn't show about five of the Scimitars and three of the four Nightmare Battleships that took their place in the battle and even though we were slightly outnumbered, it was ultimately a pretty evenly matched contest. Our logistics chain deserve most of the credit with our fleet only losing the webbing Huginn, but not before he had sustained over 200,000 damage. The Of Sound Mind fleet probably lost the fight chiefly because they were unable to maintain the range required to avoid the incoming damage, had they been able to it may have been a very different result. At Holesale it has lifted spirits and steeled the resolve of all of those involved, any time you can inflict five billion ISK of damage for the loss of just one ship is a boost for morale. So the battle rages on and there will no doubt be more to report in the very near future.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Evictions

My two mains have recently joined up with Holesale for some wormhole mercenary work and so far it's been a lot of fun. It's only been two weeks and in that time we've saved a C3 Alliance from a Jaded eviction, laid siege to a C2 we wanted for our own use & general skullduggery in the nether regions. I'll freely admit I did scant homework on the corporation I was joining but so far the leadership seem very active at creating content and poking a few bears here and there, so there's always something to do.

Had I done my homework I'd have still joined. It seems Holesale have gained a reputation amongst a certain fraternity in Anoikis who have taken to call themselves NATO [Native Anoikis Treaty Organisation]. NATO have taken it upon themselves to be the rescuers of W-Space, freely offering to defend PvP Alliances in low class systems from the menace that is Holesale, or apparently anyone else for that matter. Their train of thought is that evicting low class dwelling PvP organisations is bad for W-Space as it reduces the opportunities for small gang PvP that we all crave. At face value you could perhaps nod agreement at that, but you're not really thinking it through if you do.

Evictions create content. Allow me to give you some examples. A month ago my toons were in Alpha state, content to be untrained whilst the residents of my C1 wormhole conducted their PI operations and I had a steady trickle of ISK coming in. I had no intention of re-subbing anytime soon. I can say in hindsight that what transpired in my system was a blessing in disguise, dragging me from the complacent ether I was suspended in back to the cold, harsh reality of W-Space. I was informed by one of my tenants that a tower had been erected in system; when he then told me it belonged to Nosferatu Security Foundation I knew exactly what was about to transpire. I was prepared, of course, I only had a few Tech 1 Alpha clone fit ships in station and next to no assets. I was sure an eviction was only a matter of time, but the situation did cause me to resub my accounts with the PLEX I had left in HiSec so I could safely navigate my way out. That has led me to Holesale and suddenly I'm active in W-Space again, creating content or being the victim of it.

Then take the most recent conflict. Holesale leadership wanted to take control of a C2 system with a NullSec static for Black Ops. The fleet gathered, laid siege to system and two Astrahus Citadels were destroyed virtually unopposed, spraying almost 100 Billion ISK of ships and modules into space. A great haul, but there was more work to be done. A Fortizar was deployed to build some Capital class vessels so we could finish off the Death Star POS in system but those being laid siege to were allowed to make their escape. Pretty soon Bat Phones were ringing and our fleet was substantially outnumbered; our Fortizar was successfully sieged for three days straight, leading to the most recent battle you can see here.


Whilst the battle and the Fortizar was lost, good fights were had by all, content was created and we all live to fight another day. So how does one make a forum post like this, acting like they're are the heroes that W-Space needs, when in reality they're offering a service that is entirely redundant? The fact is, Holesale aren't just in the business of evicting people, we also save people from eviction. You just have to have the ISK to pay for the service.

Evictions create content. If you're a PvP Alliance and you get evicted from your system do you just wither and die? Disperse into HiSec and mine Veldspar? Or do you man the fuck up, assemble your forces and push back into the wild unknown? Of course you go back, even if it's just to say "Fuck You" to those that evicted you, because you know one day your time will come. You know one day you'll get your revenge, and you know that will be the sweetest victory you have ever tasted.

That's why I can't make sense of the "White Knights" that feel like they have an obligation to stifle content, but sometimes people just need to have a bad guy in their life to blame for all of the shitty things that happen to them. Hell, it's what got Trump elected. But that's OK; I'm quite comfortable being the bad guy, or at least part of the bad guy problem. Being universally disliked is pretty easy for someone who has spent twenty years selling second hand cars, this should be no different.



Friday, May 5, 2017

Bob's Reach is Infinite

As a Blood Priest of Bob the almighty there is no respite from service. There are countless heretics that do not know or even denounce His word and my duties as a Blood Priest do not cease when working on my less conspicuous characters.

Whilst working on my HiSec logistics on some non-combat characters I was surprised to see someone in local giving praise to a false prophet. I of course took the opportunity to correct this slight against Bob.


But this particular heathen would not be silenced, not only denying the undeniable, but also throwing down the gauntlet, choosing trial by fire to prove his point. Blood priests are all too familiar with such slights against the Almighty and even on a lesser character I would not be dissuaded from enforcing the Law of Bob.

I dutifully reshipped into a Tristan in full Quafe livery to defend the ideals of the Father of Anoikis and made my way to the rally point at the sun. Equipped with three energy neutralizers, an armour tank and tackle to manage range control I warped to the sun to see what gift Bob had brought me, so far from his natural habitat.

The fit is untested and, in hindsight, capacitor management was a handful. In future I'd probably drop two of the neuts for a pair of Nosferatu, but there was scant time for second guessing the fit.



I arrive at my destination to find a non compliant Moa fit with rail guns. I call him on his bluff and send him a duel invitation that he dutifully accepts and combat commences. Initially he enjoyed the range buffer he had, quickly dispatching the shields of my little frigate and sending his Acolyte drones after me, too. It hurt, no question, but three volleys were all he could land before I set an optimal orbit, applied tackle and outpaced the tracking of his guns. His two drones soon dispatched it was just a matter of wearing him down from there, pulsing my neuts from time to time to maintain my own capacitor until he finally succumbed. May Bob be with him.

Not a combat fit, no. But if I learned anything from my early days griefing industrialists in HiSec, it's that they seldom have a clue how to get the most out of their ship.

By his own admission that loss cost him about two thirds of his net worth and, as sad as that is, I'm not about to let the guy struggle to survive because he did not know of Bob. My fellow Blood Priests and I all donated to his cause so that he might bounce back and spread the good word.

Praise Bob!