Monday, December 26, 2016

Stranger Things

No, not the TV show. But this is one of the stranger things I've seen in Eve. In the endless pursuit of satisfying Bob's demands for tributes one comes to expect exploration frigates for the most part. There was, of course, the Nestor recently and whilst unexpected, it is at least purposed for the task. Imagine my surprise when D-Scan returned a Noctis, however.

I've seen an exploration Noctis once before and by seen, I mean vapourized. But we just happened to catch it on a Wormhole, not see it in it's un-natural habitat, scanning for sites. Now at least I have a screen shot to verify this rare beast exists, dropping into my system from HiSec and proceeding to burn 100+ km's off the connection, uncloaked, whilst probing the system.

I dispatched him, of course, and Bob was pleased. Another frozen husk to throw on His Holy pile.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Best Laid Plans

My tenants have expressed an interest in conducting research, invention and manufacturing in the Class 1 Wormhole we occupy and, like the good Landlord, I thought it was high time I install a Raitaru so they may conduct their business. The trickiest part of the new Citadel structures is their anchoring timer. Twenty four hours seems like a life time when you're putting down a one billion ISK structure so it's wise to take certain precautions. In keeping with that I waited until all transient connections and the static had de-spawned and made a point of not warping to the new HiSec connection, just to keep it unspawned also. I then went about cleaning system. All Relic, Data, Gas and Combat sites cleared leaving just one signature in system, deterring any would be explorers from looking or sticking around too long.

Roughly one minute prior to Downtime I anchored the Raitaru 1,000 kilometres from my existing Astrahus, the docking bays facing each other directly. Now I just have to hope that no new connections spawn in the next 24 hours.

Whilst the chances of that happening were slim, it does happen. Alas, quite the opposite happened to me. Shortly after downtime I had transient connections from a Class 5, Class 6 and NullSec, followed shortly after by a Class 3 also. The chances of requiring a defence fleet have suddenly sky rocketed. It was an eventuality I was prepared for so Siggy was updated with all relevant connections and a mail was sent to the defenders. Gear up.

But nothing came of it. Despite a lot of activity in system over Christmas eve not a single person showed up to coat hanger the deployment. I'm just going to hazard a guess that people haven't got their overviews updated with these structures yet and it went un-noticed on D-Scan. Either way, it went off without a hitch and now I have another structure to defend.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Getting the Band Back Together

The usual suspects are coming together. It seems like all of the old crew are coalescing to reform the next iteration of the Prolapse Alliance. Trigger Warnings is that new iteration and I'm climbing aboard for the luls and gudfights. We're getting the band back together.

It begs the question, of course. What is the catalyst for the recent burst in activity in EVE Online? New players and old are returning out of the clear blue sky. I'm sure Alpha clones are playing a part but that's most likely just helping to seed the player base for the future, not bring back bitter vets into activity. Could you seriously come back to the game with 100 million skill points and just stick to T1 cruisers and below? No, me either. I'd re-sub.

I've really only been back playing seriously for a week but the difference is tangible. In all areas of space there is increased player activity. Even the barrens of wormhole space have seen an up tick. More explorers, more ratters and, as expected, more hunters. I think the big changes are in NullSec and LowSec, however. The changes to Carriers and Rorquals have been an amazing shift. In days gone by a ratting Carrier wasn't easy to find and was even harder to catch. Rorqual kills rarely happened at all because they so rarely left a POS, Dreadnaughts were an easy kill for a group of sub caps. Now Carriers are way too powerful to not use for ratting, the ISK per hour potential is enormous. The same goes for Rorquals. You can mine more efficiently than ever before and the Panic Module means surviving a hot drop is a reality. Dreadnaughts can be one man wrecking machines in the right hands. I've already seen that with Bomber's Bar this week. Ratting carriers everywhere, Rorquals in space and hunters keen to try their luck.

Well played CCP, you've breathed new life into our game.

The Ethics of EVE

Ethical behaviour in EVE is largely accepted as being purely optional. There are those who take pride in their high ethical standards, even build successful business models upon it, and there are those who will corrupt your naivety in any way they can. I've been at both ends of the spectrum and I won't pretend I'm something I'm not. Generally speaking, if I'm generous to another player that isn't known to me, it's because I can see that they're new to the game and I don't want them to be deterred from playing. I really like to give advice when I can and encourage new players to try all aspects of the game; it's a large part of the reason that I write this blog.

It's not always how I saw it, of course. In my very early days of EVE I was a HiSec griefer, mercilessly attacking soft targets with my friends and reveling in it. In fairness, I was a new player myself so I didn't perceive any advantage over my quarry, I just saw them as sheep and I was the wolf. Then there were those times in LowSec when my friends and I would bump capitals away from the docking rings of stations, demand a ransom and then destroy their vessel regardless. Again, I justified it because our targets were from powerful NullSec blocs and a few billion extorted from their ISK train was only good for the game as a whole. Those on the rough end of the stick would invariably recover from their loss. Then there was the time I infiltrated an industrial corporation who had just moved into a low class wormhole. After only a couple of weeks I cleaned out everything they had in system and pulled down their tower. In more recent times I've coordinated HiSec ganks in and around Osmon on shiney PvE Marauders and Tengus. My point is, I've done some bad shit. Nothing particularly heinous, but I'm no angel either.

I've been on the receiving end of some low ethical standards too. I lived to tell the tale and most of the time you only have yourself to blame. Maybe you were too lazy, too trusting or just too stupid. You get gamed, you move on and get on with life.

The one that stays with me was an ANZAC Day roam shortly after the Tier 3 Battlecruisers were released. ANZAC Day is pretty sacred in Australia, especially as an ex-serviceman, and a roam through LowSec with about seventy other Aussies to celebrate the day promised a lot. It was also my first real introduction to Northern Coalition. They had infiltrated the fleet with the express purpose of intercepting it. I don't have a problem with that, we were after a good fight, but Northern Coalition had zero interest in a good fight. Our swarm of Battlecruisers was met by several Heavy Interdictors, webbing Lokis and more Archons and Abaddon Battleships than I could count. It was a turkey shoot. As I recall, our combined DPS managed to kill two sub-caps before we were defeated or withdrew. Worst of all, the fleet was less than an hour old. Now a similar thing seems to be happening with Pandemic Legion and Bomber's Bar. Twice this week they've infiltrated the fleet, waited for an opportune moment and used their spy as a warp in for smart bombing ships to kill the bombers.

To be clear, it's not the loss of a bunch of Bombers that anyone cares about. The great thing about Bombers Bar is that you can throw caution to the wind and the worst case scenario is that you lose a fitted bomber worth maybe 70 or 80 million ISK. What I hate seeing in this scenario is the endangerment of the public roam. They are a great content generator for the EVE Universe and they will survive the likes of Pandemic Legion. I do worry that those sort of tactics drive away players from trying content they might not otherwise have access to, however. For Pandemic Legion all it will achieve is to see their members black listed from a source of content they could otherwise enjoy. Sure, they'll have a belly laugh about how they bombed the bombers, maybe even dine out on the anger a little, but really they're just damaging their game.

Be a cunt, don't be a cunt, I don't really care. But don't fuck with public content generators, that's just bad for the game and in turn, bad for you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Never Not Nestor

In my efforts to appease the insatiable lust that Bob has for sacrifices I have seen some unusual choices by capsuleers looking to quickly hack Relic sites. Everything from a Svipul to a Curse and even a Noctis once, so I shouldn't be surprised when I see a Nestor jump into my system from HiSec, should I? I mean, it gets bonuses to hacking, after all. Still, I was pretty damn surprised to see it first land on my HiSec entry and then jump in, warp off and cloak up.

I keep a skeleton crew in my Astrahus because my activity levels have been low in recent times so coming up with a good counter to the Nestor wasn't easy with the choices I had on hand. I settled on the Triple rep Myrmidon in the end, with some back up from a neuting Vexor to off set the active armour tank my target is probably sporting.

Dutifully, after a few minutes of sitting cloaked and probably surmising the coast was clear, the Nestor pilot began probing. Fortunately he knew what he was doing and didn't take all night to scan the six signatures in system and soon enough I had his position resolved at a Relic site, attempting to hack a can. I used my Astero to get in nice and close, called the Myrmidon in on top of the target and sent the Astero back to base to re-ship into the Vexor, if needed. Tackle went smoothly enough but I was making little headway through the Nestor's shields. Surely it's not shield tanked? Unsure that I had the cap boosters on hand to survive the engagement I called in the Vexor for some additional drone damage and neuting and it really was the factor that decided the fight. There's every chance I'd have run out of capacitor without it. The Nestor popped, the pod escaped and I surveyed the results.
One and a half billion ISK, not bad at all. As usual the loot fairy flipped me the bird but what she left behind wasn't all bad. I got three Geckos out of the deal and a Dead Space X-Type shield boost amplifier, I probably shouldn't bitch too loud. You have to question the use of a Nestor for such a job though, don't you? For less than a tenth of the cost an Astero will do the task just as well and with a whole lot better chance of escape. Herr Jefferson was a good sport about it, regardless. I hope to see him again sometime. :)

Back in the Service of Bob

Way back when Pirate Faction Data and Relic sites started appearing in W-space I used to spread Bob's love to all who would stumble upon the Class 2 Wormhole I called home. Using Night Fever as an instrument of His Divine Will, all visitors were bathed is His Holy Electromagnetic Glory and their frozen husks offered as tribute at the true centre of that system's star. Following the offering, a recitation of the Prayer of Bob would follow and, in keeping with tradition, Bob would soon see fit to lead another into my place of worship for ritualistic sacrifice. They were the halcyon days of low class wormhole systems.

With the passage of time however, the greed of the explorer waned, fewer and fewer chose to make a sacrifice to Bob and as a Blood Priest of the Almighty, I was left with little to do. With my attention being drawn elsewhere and the lion's share of explorers I encountered merely trying to bait Bob's Holy Instrument, I reluctantly decided to withdraw from active ministry.

Over the last twelve months much has changed in New Eden, most notably in regards to Alpha Clone States. It has seen an influx of old and new characters returning to active duty and, in keeping with finding ways to financially support active duty, explorers are returning to Anoikis. Although still not in active ministry, Bob is surely trying to tempt me. Over the last several days I have seen numerous incursions into my region and, for old time's sake, I have seen fit to demonstrate the power of Bob's love and the kill marks are racking up. But already it seems some have taken note.

Several pilots have fallen victim in recent days, none of them of note, all of them I suspect to be Alphas. Until today. A K162 connection from a Class 2 wormhole occupied by The Glory Holers may make for some interesting content. Before too long an Anathema is on scan and I patiently lay in wait for him, wondering if his greed will get the better of him. Before long he lands in the only Relic site in system and goes to work. Reflexively I align to his position and hit warp, getting de-cloaked as I land and immediately unleashing Bob's Divine Wind. As I align to a celestial and see D-Scan is clear, his ship and very soon his pod, explode in glorious fashion and Bob is pleased.

Reciting the prayer I clean up the mess and deposit the frozen husk in the depot atop my Astrahus Citadel. As a devotee of Bob's good work I need no proof of his existence, but for the heretics that remain unconvinced I present to you exhibit A. Just moments after the clean up a Drake is in system, probing and warping about. My suspicion level is high but the pilot gives no indication of being bait. Emboldened by Bob's deliverance I throw caution to the wind and engage regardless. I know there is another Anathema in system, probably watching the Drake, perhaps even coordinating with it, so I do my best to counter the prospect of a brick bait Drake by engaging with my Rook and applying additional damage from a Nemesis. It's very unlike me to dual box, but I leave my destiny in Bob's hands.

I get a nice warp in on the Drake, apply tackle and cycle my two Caldari jams alternately, keeping him perma jammed for the most part. Meanwhile my Nemesis is unleashing Torpedoes on the target whilst keeping him painted, giving my Rook's Heavy Assault Missiles every chance to land for maximum effect. Appropriately the Drake is significantly well tanked, but his fate appears sealed. As he hits low armour the Anathema I had seen briefly on D-Scan earlier appears at very close range but I won't be distracted from my target just yet. I lock him to switch tackle as the opportunity arises and have my Nemesis switch his target painter to the smaller target. The Drake soon explodes and I turn my attention and drones to the Anathema that now has my Rook tackled. As expected, D-Scan is now filling with all manner of hostile vessels no doubt coming to prosecute my Rook. Unequipped to jam out the Anathema and make my escape I decided that I will, at the very least, take him with me. I align the Nemesis out but leave him on grid for as long as possible to help kill the surprisingly durable little frigate and it does eventually explode but not before back up tackle has arrived and my Rook succumbs to the overwhelming firepower focused upon it.

On closer examination of the Anathema it's clear what his purpose was. Fitted with a 400mm armour plate and specifically tanked to resist electromagnetic damage, this explorer was designed to resist Night Fever. It might have worked too, except that the pilot was from the same Corporation of the previous Anathema I had vapourized. Both Wingspan and That Cloaky Bastard have made far better fists of it and missed out, I wasn't about to fall for a somewhat ham fisted attempt. Not that I don't appreciate the effort though, I really do. Good fights, see you on the flip side. =]

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Bar Hound

On the way back to my HiSec staging area after yesterday's first day out with Bomber's Bar I take a gate and see a suspect Orca being attacked by a pair of Proteii [that's plural for Proteus :P] from Vendetta Mercenary Group. I seem to recall them being HiSec WarDec griefers but this Orca is flashing yellow, I can't ignore that. I set my kite up at 30 km's, damp his scan resolution so he can't send his drones after me and send my Nova Rage torpedoes to assist in the take down. I can only assume the Proteii were of the cloaky variety because they didn't seem to be doing a whole lot of damage and my little Hound that somehow survived the smart bombing debacle of earlier in the day had himself another billion ISK kill. I really must do this Bomber's Bar thing more often, it's getting me nice kills just by undocking!

Day two in Bomber's Bar and I'm joining a fleet that's been going for several hours with limited success. En route to the rally point, some twenty odd jumps through High and LowSec regions, the comms are electric as they try to take down a Rorqual being supported by a SubCap fleet. Despite losing six or eight bombers spirits are high as they've taken some high value targets down in the process, coming out in front of the ISK war to the tune of about a billion ISK. As they fall back to staging some pilots drop fleet, but already more are joining. It's a living, breathing animal with an insatiable blood lust and I'm just a little bit inspired to be a part of it.

With the element of surprise gone the connection to that particular region of NullSec is to be rolled away and a new one sought out. Bob was unkind during the rolling process, taking our scouts to several sparsely populated regions but we eventually hit pay dirt. The fleet of around forty Black Ops, Recons and Bombers laid in wait whilst the hunters did what they do best, simultaneously stumbling upon Carriers grinding for ISK. One group made warp before tackle could be laid but the second target was not so lucky. Sitting 350 km's from a POS forcefield with his fighters engaged at long range we jumped through the wormhole into Curse, waited for the bridge and jumped on our target. Now, I've been on a lot of Carrier kills in my time, but I've never seen one succumb to SubCaps so quickly before. I landed perhaps two, maybe three volleys, before this one popped, but I guess that's what happens when you don't take tanking seriously. A 2.5b ISK Nidhoggur is a pretty decent start.

The fleet quickly looted what there was of value and reformed not having to wait long before another scout finds a pair of Nidhoggurs engaged in ratting. Cyno up, through the bridge and finally the chance came to sling some focused void bombs at a target. His shield buffer was significant and the Falcons did a fine job of keeping the fighters off our backs. Eventually he succumbed however, quickly exploding once his shields were breached. With attention switching to his friend D-Scan began to light up, a rescue fleet was inbound. The call was made to clear the bubble and align out, the fleet comprised a large number of small ships that would tear through our bomber horde in short order if allowed to. As I had been preparing to make another bomb run I was well clear but I could see some of our number being positively pedestrian in their efforts to clear the warp bubble. That lack of urgency cost a few of them their ships, a Rapier and a pair of Bombers if I recall correctly, but it mattered not, the ISK war was, once again, well in hand.

Two Nidhoggurs and an Orca down for about six billion ISK, I think I like it at the bar. :)

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Time to hit the bar.

With a week off from work before the Solstice I thought it was high time, after six years or so in the Eve Universe, that I hook up with Bomber's Bar. It's not something I can usually do as they operate well outside of my time zone but with little else to do with my days this week I could at least waste one day as a bomb lemming. I missed out on the shenanigans in M-O but 10% TiDi would've done my fucking head in anyway, so it's a blessing in disguise. Nonetheless, Bomber's Bar got some great publicity out of it having bombed a Machariel and Cerberus fleet to dust and as the public roam fleet coalesced it became clear I was going to be a part of a very large fleet.

Something like seventy bombers and various Black Ops, Recons and Blockade Runners formed up in HiSec whilst the hunters went looking for content. I was quickly reminded of my brief forays into NullSec as we sat waiting for a target to present itself for almost ninety minutes. Comms was rapidly deteriorating into bad jokes and piss pulling until a frantic voice called "Check check!". Comms went silent as the hunter called the target, a Rhea class Jump freighter well off a gate with a Widow escort. It smelled like bait but with 70+ bombers in fleet, who the fuck cares? The Cyno went up, a bridge was established and we all fell through the apeture onto our target. With the Rhea called primary and the Widow out of lock range the damage on the freighter was tremendous but the cavalry was landing. A Cynabal and a Hurricane were horribly under equipped and quickly called primary, driven off almost as quickly as they arrived so damage was resumed on the Rhea. It gloriously exploded and the pilot was liberated of about ten billion ISK worth of ship and loot. Meanwhile, our Arazu had managed to keep the Widow in place and when attention was turned to him he was dusted in efficient style. Two and a half billion more there to the kitty.

Much guffawing and slapping of backs ensued and I had to admit, I had a pretty big smile on my dial. Not so much for the kills themselves, but for the excited enthusiasm from some of the new breed who had never participated in such a take down. Some of them professed to literally shaking and one could barely form words. I do miss that feeling.

The fleet reformed on the BLOPS bridger and our hunter soon had another target. A Rorqual sitting about ten kilometres off of an outpost. With a devil may care attitude we immediately jumped on it, bumping as best we could and applying damage. It quickly activated its panic module and it was about this time we realised we had tackled a Rorqual in Pandemic Legion's main staging system. Oops.

A moment later a cyno is lit and no less than three Titans and a Supercarrier were on the field. Miraculously we all got out, but the fun wasn't over. Clearly outgunned we proceeded to make pests of ourselves, first nailing a Sabre on a Jump Bridge and then making another run on the Rorqual. Another Sabre landed and was quickly dispatched, but not before he got some bubbles down and the Titans landed again. A few of our number got caught but the casualties were light.

Cloaking up and reforming on the BLOPS again I got interrupted by my wife and warped off to a safe. Turns out she saved my little Hound as one of the fleet members had played turncoat, dropped fleet and provided a warp in for the Titans right on top of our BLOPS ships and bombers. I return to my desk to see my fleet mates scrambling to escape but very few did, brought undone by a Pandemic Legion turn coat.

The fleet was officially over, but the ISK war was easily won. If you can fly a bomber, do yourself a favour, hook up with Bomber's Bar and throw caution to the wind. Join the "Bombers Bar" in game channel and the "Bombers Bar ML" mailing list. You won't regret it.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I've created a Monster.

Of my Citadel tenants there is one who has displayed a potential blood lust, lamenting with me about missed opportunities to persecute explorers fitted with warp core stabilizers. We've all been there. You bookmark a system and lay in wait like a good trap door spider, see a potential victim wander in, set up a warp in for tackle, uncloak at point blank range and scram your target, only to see it align and warp away. Which is why Night Fever works so efficiently.

So I shared my fit with my tenant, not really expecting anything to come of it. It is, after all, a significant investment for a very specialized purpose. Some days later, logging in to check on my little empire, I'm greeted with excitement and a kill mail...

Wingspan had a crack at the explorer just before hand and were brought undone by the warp core stabilizers, so they get a consolation prize and appear on the kill mail too, but let's hope this is just the first of many sacrifices made to Bob by the latest scourge of the Universe and Blood Priest of Bob, Zebuhla.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fit for Porpoise

With the update to Singularity curiosity got the better of me so I logged in to look at the newest addition to the ORE fleet of boosting vessels, the Porpoise. It's a ship that should be of particular interest to wormhole residents not just for its boosting properties, but because it can take advantage of frigate sized wormholes and the ores and ices that lay within.

The new feature of interest however, is the range bonus it receives to medium remote shield transporters.They can stretch their effectiveness to well beyond thirty kilometers and when your boosts have a range of about twenty five, it's perfectly suited for keeping your mosquito mining fleet alive.

Used in a shattered wormhole system that only allows the passage of frigates and destroyers it adds a layer of survivability to otherwise low hanging fruit. Of course, the ship laying down the shield reps had better have survivability itself or it's all for nothing. In keeping with that thought, I came up with this.

Set up as a mining fleet booster and logistics platform it's actually pretty durable. With the afterburner going it's able to maintain a capacitor level of around 40% as long as you have cap booster charges. Importantly, it has 64,000 EHP with which to sustain incoming fire. With a flight of five medium drones it's not totally unable to defend itself either, put a drone damage amplifier on there and the DPS goes up to over 200. Enough to make any frigate take note. It's still going to fall, make no mistake, but coupled with a pair of well tanked Procurers it could be a hell of a job and the outlay of ISK required will not be so steep as to make it an unacceptable risk.

I'm quite certain that someone enterprising is already developing a bait version of this ship with some sort of absurd shield recharge tank; I'm looking at you, Trinkets. You take the bait and suddenly a swarm of small shield tanked ships are upon you, getting combat boosts from the bait you've bitten, just to rub some salt in the wound. Should make for some pretty decent lol-mails. =]

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Fitting Title

There's a lot of significant change coming to Eve next month and I'm yet to find a single instance where CCP might have over reached. Alpha Clone states promise to bring more people to the universe, off grid boosts will be a thing of the past, industrialists will get their buildy buildings, Rorquals can no longer hide impervious to raiders and it would seem the days of the Eve Fitting Tool and the Python Fitting Assistant are numbered. The in game fitting window is nothing short of brilliant, allowing a pilot to experiment with all manner of fittings for ships they fly and even ones they can't. Citadels get the treatment, too. It's beautifully designed and, from my rather cursory examination of it, not at all buggy.

It's not going to mean those other fitting tools won't have a use, of course. They can, after all, be used out of game and this one cannot. It certainly makes your average Joe far less reliant on out of game tools though.

Anyway, it's on Singularity now so do yourself a favour and check it out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Miner Problem

The recent DevBlog regarding the various changes to mining makes for some interesting reading. As a reasonably enthusiastic miner in my early days I have pretty well developed skills in mining that I haven't taken serious advantage of in years, so it's fair to say the changes have got me intrigued. And I really like the direction that CCP are taking, too. It's clear CCP want to bring the risk back to mining as the mining barge and exhumer overhaul of the past made under used mining platforms virtually invulnerable and far more effective at extracting resources. It effectively killed the annual Hulkageddon event as no one bothered to use a Hulk anymore with the Skiff being only marginally less efficient but next to ungankable in HiSec space. As someone who reveled in blapping unsuspecting Hulks mining AFK in HiSec regions, this was a massive disappointment.

There's an awful lot covered in the DevBlog but one thing caught my eye in particular. The Porpoise. The name gives it away as a smaller version of the Orca and, in keeping with ORE design, the Primae hull was an obvious choice. The fact they have given it the sort of mass that it can traverse a frigate sized wormhole is telling. Now those lucrative shattered wormhole systems that spawn NullSec ice and ore will have a dedicated hauler/booster to assist in a mining operation. I wrote about this conundrum some time ago, finding a solution in the form of an unscannable, off grid Command Destroyer, but with offgrid links no longer being a thing, the Porpoise is a timely addition. I suspect Noobman, the Wormhole representative CSM, had a fair bit to do with this addition and I'm pretty happy I gave him my vote now.

The bonuses of the ship are interesting. Much like an Orca, only slightly less effective in the boosting role, but with the interesting addition of a 400% bonus to the range of medium remote shield boosters. A decent sized fleet of shield tanked Prospect or Endurance frigates, backed up with Shield links and remote shield reps, would be a tough nut to crack for a small gang. Moreover, the Porpoise itself looks to have a pretty capable tank, enabling the remote reps to stay on the field long enough to allow the fleet members to escape as you'll no doubt see yourself called primary. Of course, in an Orca that'd be the sort of loss you couldn't possibly countenance, but the Porpoise is going to have a value of around sixty million ISK, so a degree of risk is certainly worth it for the occasional loss you might sustain.

Now, I love what CCP are trying to do here. A well organised mining outfit could see itself as very defendable. The sheer amount of Drone DPS would make any small gang nervous. Indeed, if it became popular enough you might see Wormholers fitting smart bombs in their utility high slots to deal with the drone threat effectively; but there's the rub. Will it be popular?

That question can best be answered by examining the nature of the lion's share of miners. It's far from being scientific, but my experience has been that they are rarely wolves in sheep's clothing, they're just sheep. I can count on one finger the amount of times I've lost a ship to a mining fleet and it was only because we were in Brave Newbies space, horribly outnumbered and they knew we were coming and had time to have Rapier tackle on the field for when we inevitably dropped in on their mining operation. RIP Confessor. Every other time I've caught a group of miners with their pants down it's resulted in their demise.

I truly hope I'm wrong. I think it'd be great for the game if we saw large groups of miners venturing into dangerous space with nothing more than their mining lasers and enormous balls, I just can't see it happening. Even so, the Porpoise is a great addition for Wormholers in particular and will make fuel production without the reliance of K-Space an actual reality, as opposed to the purely theoretical one it has been, to date.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Dirty Deeds

There's been a decent amount of concern over on the Eve Forums that the F2P option will fill the server not with new players, but with existing players making HiSec travel even more dangerous with a swag of ganking alts that cost them nothing to train. It's a fair argument too, when you look at the capabilities of a Gallente Alpha Clone in a gank Catalyst destroyer.

In the past I've organised a few gank ops in and around Osmon with my Corporation mates targeting Marauders and other Faction Battleships. For the most part we weren't too fussy and didn't scan our targets to see if they were using expensive modules, we just wanted to piss in someone's cornflakes. Of course, being HiSec, we got our fair share of very shiney kill mails and made the experience ISK positive very comfortably. I don't recall the exact numbers, but I seem to remember the initial outlay for about thirty fitted gank Cataylsts cost about 300 million ISK and the returns were several times that number, not to mention the "luls" that you just can't put a number on.

It's also fair to assume that HiSec suicide ganking isn't typically the domain of people new to the Eve universe, so the concerns being voiced are certainly justified. New players, bless their unjaded, idealistic souls, are ignorant to the the cunty tactics that are employed every day in New Eden.

That said, does it make any difference at all to a bitter vet if the game is F2P?  Unlikely. We still have skills we want to train, advancements we want to make and to be able to enjoy those skills to the best of our abilities. What F2P does enable is those players who, for whatever reason, aren't able to maintain a subscription, maintain a useful presence.

More importantly, it's an entirely legitimate way to make a living. In a previous posts I wrote about ratting as a good option for an Alpha Clone player, but suicide ganking, if you can manage good target selection, would do the job just fine. Anyone with the intent could easily make enough ISK to buy a PLEX every month. If it has to be at the expense of another player then so be it, I say. Just think of it as an Eve Survival Tax. If you want Eve to survive, you need these guys to subscribe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

You Jammy Bastard

Continuing on with the theme of useful Alpha Clone pilots, I'm turning my attention to eWar. Specifically, ECM and Sensor Damps as Tracking Disruptors and Target Painters aren't even nearly as widely used. You could make an argument for an Arbitrator as a Energy Neutralizing loadout, but it'll be fragile as fuck and get primaried off the field in nothing flat. At least with ECM or Damps you can actually force your quarry to disengage almost instantly and use range to your advantage.

The frigate options are probably not worth discussing at length, it's not rocket science how to fit them and they're very squishy in a fire fight, so yeah, I'll leave that to your imagination. When it comes to the Cruiser hull options of the Blackbird and Celestis however, things are looking up.

The Blackbird has long been the go-to poverty pack, throw away eWar boat of Eve and is as hated today as it's ever been, consistently seeing it called primary the moment it appears. Frankly, if you're rocking ECM, expect to be shot at and probably trolled in local. That's your lot in life. The key is to surviving the initial contact long enough to land your jams and disrupt their own eWar so your DPS boats can deal some damage. Sometimes it goes great, sometimes not. But even with a shitty Alpha clone pilot, you can be that guy. That really, really annoying guy.

Compared to a max skilled Falcon pilot, it's not terribly impressive. Your range is only about 36km's but you have a whopping 41km's of falloff to retreat into. But where it's really let down compared to a well skilled pilot is in the jam strength, roughly one third the strength of a Falcon, depending on how you fit it. Which of course means you have to overheat your jams before landing and pick on Tech 1 ships for the most part. You'll need a fair degree of good fortune to jam out anything Tech II or Tech III, so know your limits. With the prop mod off you can keep your jams going for about seven minutes which is probably about 6 minutes longer than you'll live, so you may as well just keep that MWD running and pull as much range as you can. The 23K or so of EHP you have might just buy you an extra minute, you never know, right?

The Celestis, I think, is a better option. Not only are they not so universally despised as the ECM Ships, they've got a full wing of medium drones to send out and deal a little damage. In much the same style as the Blackbird above, the guns are for decoration more than anything, a little self defence from a tackle frigate that gets too close, that's about it. The value is in the damps though and the whole fit is geared around putting as much sensor disruption on the field as possible.

Sensor damps are so useful in so many roles and it's a big reason why I prefer them to ECM, other than the obvious one of not being reflexively shot at by literally everyone. Do you have a problem with a kiting Orthrus? Damps. Falcon jamming everyone from 50km's? Damps. Logistics wing staying out of reach? Damps. Pretty much anything? Damps. Damps. Damps. Jack of all trades eWar and with a useful, if not impressive, 29K of EHP.

Now I'm not going to pretend these are good options, they're serviceable, at best. The point is to give your F2P members a sense of value to the fleet. Give them a taste of what PvP is like, pretty soon they'll get the hunger to fly some of the shiney shit you take on roams and before you know it you've got a useful guy in your Corporation that was just making up the numbers before. It's what you want, it's what CCP wants and hell, isn't more people to shoot at what we all want?

Monday, September 5, 2016

Turning Shit into Clay

I'm a big fan of Eve going free to play. They've got a tremendous mechanism in place to sustain their income over and above that of subscriptions and considering how many of the long term players can sustain themselves without paying a subscription, anything that brings more people to the universe is a good thing.

If you've been reading my blog a while you know I play World of Warships quite a lot, too. My affection for it has a lot to do with my time in the Navy but had it not been free to play I probably would never have tried it. Since being cast under its spell I've spent money on it for several premium ships and I'll continue to do so as long as War Gaming continue to deliver a great product. There are those in the community that are proud of the fact that they haven't spent a dollar on it and I understand there are circumstances where it might be difficult for some, but really, I see them as free loaders. If the developer has made something you enjoy, the honourable thing to do would be to reward them for it. That said, it's a reality in World of Warships and it will no doubt be a reality in Eve, too. The question is, how do you get the most out of your F2P members?

In PvP scenarios, five million skill points doesn't give you a lot of options. Whilst you may have the skills to fly a Navy Cruiser, you're far from efficient in it and a liability to your fleet. Being able to put out enough DPS, apply it to your target efficiently, sustain the incoming damage and manage your capacitor levels just isn't effective in a cruiser hull with only the five million skills points in the captain's skull. So what use are they?

A well put together fleet has several arms. You have your scouts, followed by your damage dealers who are ably backed up by the logistics wing; but all of those are jobs for well skilled pilots. What remains is fast tackle and eWar. I'll save the eWar discussion for another time as it's significantly more involved than fast tackle. So let's talk Tier 1 interceptors.

Survivability isn't high on the agenda here. It's more about landing on the target your scout has found, tackling it so it can't warp away and lasting long enoough for the heavy hitters to land on field, secure secondary tackle and maybe just warp out before being popped. You can't disregard tank, of course, but with limited skill points to play with it's more about speed and evasive maneuvering. As your survival rate isn't high, you must keep the fittings very cost effective also.

The obvious choice, for me at least, is the Condor. It has long been one of my favourite T1 frigates for it's outrageous speed and ability to apply its damage at long ranges. It is the poor man's interceptor and, I believe, fills the role as Alpha Tackle better than any other race.

Very fast, able to reach 4,400 m/s with overheat, able to apply [miserly] damage to target whilst kiting, a 24 km point, and nimble enough to chase down almost anything that isn't an Interceptor. You could of course swap out the Thermal Amplifier for a Target Painter, but it's a drain on Capacitor and you really don't want your foot off the throttle in this ship. Importantly, it's also entirely disposable, you could have a hundred of these occupying your shared ships hangar and not even give a damn. Now the several Alpha clone pilots in your fleet are no longer a liability, but an integral part of the success of your gang. Keep pilots engaged with roles like that and you never know, they might even pony up for a subscription.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Alpha Rat

With the introduction of Alpha Clone States in November I got to thinking how one might utilize the limited skills available to the best effect. The obvious choices are exploration frigates going for that dank Relic site loot or Ventures filling HiSec mining belts, but I'm talking about maximum results on minimum skills. I think, all things considered, that living can best be made by ratting.

Probably some of the lowest risk, highest earning potential with ratting comes from either HiSec DED sites or Class 1 Wormhole Sleeper sites. The HiSec ones can be a bit hit and miss but the loot drops can be outrageously good. In Guristas infested areas the Scout Outpost is rated as a 4/10 but can easily be handled in a Tier 1 cruiser and if it drops a C-Type Invulnerability field, well, that's several hundred million ISK for about 5 minutes work. The wormhole sites are less lucrative but a lot more reliable. Each site in a Class 1 wormhole will pay out + or - 25 Million ISK and it's relatively low risk, albeit much more dangerous than HiSec.

Having established your method of F2P Eve ISK farming, how best to execute it? I initially thought a Caldari Navy Caracal with meta Heavy Missile Launchers would be the best option. With a passive tank and great reach it could kite high damage NPCs and act much like a passive drake, admittedly with less damage potential. Which is where I stalled. Even with three Ballistic Controls and Faction missiles the DPS was a miserly 270. That'd be OK for HiSec I suppose, but it won't cut it in W-Space if you're solo. The Navy Vexor was another strong contender but being limited to medium faction drones, especially considering the Sleeper's affinity for munching on them, makes it a HiSec only option also. Which drew me to the Omen Navy Issue.

Now, I know what you're thinking, it looks pricey. And yeah, it is a bit on the spendy side, but not outrageously so. The faction beam lasers can be swapped out for the Meta 3 or 4 versions as needed and the same applies to the hardeners. But really, when you look at the stats of this ship with the clone that will be flying it, it needs all the help it can get.

The Important Stuff

Tank DPS: 115
Gun DPS: 316
Drone DPS: 100
Speed: 751 m/s
Capacitor: 44% stable

If you're not comfortable taking this into a high risk area it'll run level 3 combat missions comfortably too, not to mention the random pirate and drones sites that pop up in HiSec. But if you've got big balls and you know how to maintain a little hole security, I'm very confident it'll handle almost all Class 1 wormhole sites too, with the obvious exception of the Phased Catalyst Node and its litany of Sirius gun batteries. So if you see your corporation filling up with F2P scrubs that are bitching about their inability to earn enough income to buy the odd skill injector, maybe put them onto the Navy Omen, provided they were smart enough to select the chosen people for their preferred race.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Don't even try to be the good guy.

My activity of late, both in the blogosphere and in the EVE Universe has left much to be desired. I tried to find my Mojo again, I really did, but it just felt more like a job than entertainment. I guess that's what being a bitter vet is, isn't it? I can't really explain it, I love and hate this game all at the same time; it's like a drug habit I can't kick.

When I set up my little PI Farm in the Class 1 Wormhole the writing was on the wall. I knew that the daily log in to reset my extractions wouldn't last and, sure enough, I'm resetting every fortnight now. But that doesn't really pay the PLEX bill and my stash will exhaust itself in a little over a year without an income. I'm sure as hell not going to rat for it so I thought I may as well play Land Lord for a while.

This is probably one of the most convenient aspects of the Citadels. Allowing select individuals or corporations to come and go as they please makes life in W-Space more appealing to the casual player. If they could find someone with an open port, or at least negotiate docking rights, a mutually benefical arrangement could be made. I'm not the first to think of this, of course. There was the failed Oasis project recently that had promised much but probably over reached in the end. That individual made his Citadel a free port and really, if that's what you want, you need just go set up in Thera. At least those stations won't get exploded.

So I've taken a different tack. I've offered up docking rights and low tax PI in my system for pretty much anyone that wants it. I'm being selective about who gets the rights to dock, I really don't want PvP entities in there making life a misery for the industry or sleeper farming bears, they are a potential source of my income, after all. So  advertised in the Science & Industry sub forum and soon had a small Industrial Corporation setting up shop. Obligingly they're taking full advantage of the ample PI resources in system and I'm seeing a nice trickle of tax income flowing in. It won't make me rich, but with a few more people extracting it'll go a long way to making my subscription ISK neutral. As such, I've been canvassing pilots on the forums that have been asking for PI advice, you know, trying to be the good guy for a change, only to be met by this...

Now, I get that there are a lot of scams getting about and one has to be cautious, but what can I possibly have to gain from this? You have a HiSec static and secure storage and somehow it's a trap? I think Tisisan from Hard Knocks summed it up best.
"If you let billions of isk of PI stack up in a system with a HS static, youre an idiot. Honestly, its a really low risk offer given the cost of PI infrastructure (compared to site running, t3 production, other WH isk making stuff). Just don't be a lazy ****. Take the 2 minutes to scan out the HS and move your crap out every few days.
You know what IS risky? Setting up as solo citadel, investing a bil or two on pocos, with limited characters when you dont know jack about operating in wormhole space. Oh, and being a condescending **** to people trying to help you is a good way to get on the eviction list if you do actually move in to a hole solo."
I couldn't have said it any better. :) Oh, and if you want to take me up on the offer, join the in game channel "The Farm." [note the period at the end]

As an aside, I took Night Fever out for the first time in ages a few days ago. I didn't really intend to go hunting and was just idling 100 km's off of a connection when I noticed an Astero and Probes on D-Scan. I had all of the anomalies scanned out so I thought "Why the hell not?"

Dutifully, the little Astero scanned for a while, his ship appearing on scan every so often but never in an anomaly. So I waited, cloaked, 100km off of a Wormhole.

Next thing I know the Astero is on grid with me, coming out of warp very close to my position. How close? About 2,600 metres, that's how close. I quickly realised I wasn't imagining things, uncloaked, smashed F1 to F5 and the inevitable happened...

Bob is good.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Multi Boxing is Hard

With a day off from work tomorrow I had some free hours to invest in the service of Bob post down time. Clearly Bob was pleased by this turn of events and immediately gifted me an Astero in our home system. What a splendid start to the evening! I moved on down the chain searching for more post down time activity and stumbled upon a C4 with a few active pilots shuttling goods around in a pair of Occators. The first instinct was to set up camp on the Lava planet customs office but it soon became evident that it wasn't PI goods they were moving, it was equipment from a pair of POS to their newly anchored Astrahus Citadel.

The POS towers and the Citadel were parked quite close together however, so setting up a drag bubble would be impossible without being spotted. Moreover, the Occators weren't moving simultaneously, with one idling on the undock of the Citadel as the other ferried goods back and forth. We surmised that the pilot was multiboxing both characters so we took a punt and set up a trap anyway, about 600 kilometres off of the Citadel, in full view of one of the Occators. Our Devoter then warped in, popped his bubble and waited. Several minutes passed as I watched over the other Occator idling in his POS and we were pretty close to calling it off when, unbelievably, the Occator began picking up speed. Sure enough, he was heading straight for our poorly concealed trap.

Yes, that really just happened. I mean, I can understand someone not checking D-Scan, but this guy was on grid with us on his other character. A second monitor could be a sound investment, lest people might think you're as dumb as a box of hammers.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

In for a penny...

It seems the transients that have been lurking in my C1 PI Farm have called it a day since losing their POCO and defence fleet. It's been several days since there's been any sign of the Falcon that would occasionally uncloak to combat probe the system and considering how frequently he'd been probing up until this point, I'd say it's a fair assumption. The lack of a watch list leaves a fair degree of uncertainty of course, but I'm not losing sleep over it.

With the system seemingly secure some of my new Corpmates in Low-Class have expressed an interest in putting their PI farmers in system too. I've got fourteen planets to extract from, there's plenty to go around, so it's probably high time I bit the bullet and put up an Astrahus Citadel.

I thought I had it all figured out, anchor it about five minutes before downtime and no one would have the opportunity to interrupt it the following day but CCP, in their ultimate wisdom, have apparently closed that little loophole so a more conventional approach was needed. I began the anchoring process in US TZ Prime Time, when the glut of my new Corp mates would be online and also coinciding with a free Sunday morning for me or anyone else in the AU TZ. Moreover, I closed my only connection [to HiSec] and left it scanned but unspawned whilst I cleared every site from system bar the ore sites. I did this to discourage any would be explorers from poking around too much and stumbling upon my still anchoring station. It's not unheard of to go without transient connections for a few days at a time, with any luck a defence fleet would be entirely redundant.

Now, I've had loads of experience with setting up POS towers. I've assembled and destroyed all manner of set ups, had a highly memorable siege against La Division Bleu's large tower when they had at least three characters manning their weapons and even killed three Revelations, an Archon and a Bhaalgorn with a small tower in one memorable assault in LowSec, but these structures are utterly foreign to me. Fortunately, I was ably assisted by Kalseth with a fitting that was promised to be the Citadel version of a Dickstar. In the event of an assault on my Citadel it was unlikely that I'd have a character immediately available with the required fighter skills, so the prospect of a station that was going to be an utter nuisance to reinforce was an appealing one. In case you're curious, it looks something like this. ==>

Fighters are up to you. I'll probably load mine up with a mixture of Templars and Firbolgs but only because I've got quite a lot of them lying about.

For the purpose, it's quite ideal. I can set standings so that my out of corporation characters and friends  have secure access, it's significantly more formiddable than a small or medium tower, dramatically more defendable and, considering I really have no use for a market, refining or a clone bay, costs me nothing to run. Considering I'm such a tight wad that I used to mine my own ice for fuel, that's a significant ISK and time saver. Not to mention the amount of nanite paste I'll save...

Epistaxis is now in business and other than the outrageously long anchoring time, I can confidently say I'm very pleased with the result. Well played, CCP. This is a big step forward in player owned star bases.

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Struggle for J105837

I've been quiet for a couple of weeks but not through lack of activity. The C1 PI Farm that my alts occupy has a pesky Customs Office located at planet one that I need gone. Trouble is, the owners like it just where it is and have kept a scan alt in system despite leaving the system unoccupied for quite some time. I found this out the hard way when I left some Combat Recons to grind away at it whilst I was AFK. They scanned their way in and halted my little party in its tracks.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I conclude a more dedicated effort is required. As such, I get some friends together and we reinforce the POCO in short order with a kitchen sink fleet. No effort is made to interrupt us but I suspect that we were operating well outside of their normal time zone. Accordingly, the timer for the destruction would be 6am. Great. I have a fat chance of getting my AU bros out of bed that early so I logged in alone in a bomber and pecked away at it to see what sort of response I would get. For a while nothing happened and then a Proteus appeared on D-Scan. I cloaked and moved off of my position to see him land close to me moments later. So clearly he had a scout. 

By this time I had joined No Vacancies and managed to get a few of their guys together to have another crack. They have an active US TZ contingent so even if there was a bad timer for me, it was likely it would work for everyone else. Again, the reinforcement went smoothly enough and this time I was rewarded with a 4am timer. Yay! Undeterred, I left my new corporation mates all the details and the promise of a good fight and looked forward to logging in to see some kill board activity. Alas, nothing transpired. I'm told only one of my corporation members logged in and, coupled with a demonstrable lack of activity from fellow corporation members in general, decided No Vacancies, who clearly have vacancies, was no place for me.

Unable to get a reinforcement timer to suit but determined to remove this customs office I thought to engage some Mercenaries for the job. Most that I spoke with either couldn't be arsed or didn't do wormholes, until I spoke to Low-Class.

Low-Class were very accommodating, inviting me onto their TS3 for a briefing. Their rates were spectacularly good seemingly more concerned with getting a good fight than they were in ISK. So plans were laid and we were soon working on the POCO for a third time. As per fucking usual it was a shit timer, this time at 2:30am, absolutely no chance I'd be there for that, but Low-Class were more than happy to proceed.

Judging by the kill reports a good fight was had. Half a billion in ISK was lost by my Mercs but they inflicted over 1.2 Billion in losses upon the enemy. More importantly, the POCO was finally destroyed too. I'll reimburse the losses to my hired help, it's well worth it for the service provided, but something tells me this isn't over yet. Even this morning, as I erected a new POCO on the planet, I spotted combat probes from their scan alt. I think they were expecting me to drop it at 0. ;)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Curse the lack of Curse!

Having a NullSec static is a new experience for me, as a Wormholer. I mean, sure you get transients and those delightful Q003 connections, but with a static you come across new and interesting things more often.

I had only just logged in and got on comms when I heard someone call out the presence of a Tengu on our NullSec static in our home system. I expected he was a cloaky prober that would just jump and warp away when someone tried to tackle him so didn't make a move immediately but it soon became clear the Tengu was there for a fight. We were disorganised and unprepared but #YOLO so a few pilots tumbled through the Wormhole into NullSec to continue the chase. Obligingly, the Tengu didn't try to escape, instead pointing and firing on a fleet mate until he was forced to withdraw, and then my late arriving Cerberus until I was forced to withdraw. My 700+ DPS Cerberus had put him into very low shield but I was very suspicious he was bait tanking me to get me off the connection, so I played it cautious until reinforcements arrived. I've tangled with enough bait tanked Tengus to know my buffer tanked Cerberus can't hope to crack it without help.

Help soon arrived but it was light on eWar. The speculation was that it was a dual ancillary shield booster fit and that eventually he would run out of charges and die. Well, the speculation was wrong and when a Gila joined the Tengu we soon lost a Sabre and a Cerberus. The Gila was driven off and soon replaced by a Dominix which was quickly primaried whilst maintaining tackle on the uber tanked Tengu. With the neuting Dominix gone attention was once again focused on the Tengu until the Dominix pilot returned in his Gila. Once again, DPS was focused on the new arrival and he was dispatched before he could cause any headaches and, once again, we refocused on the Tengu. Try as we might, his tank just would not break. Heavily webbed down, scrammed and being bombarded with all kinds of damage types he just kept on boosting.

Finally someone brought the neuts, our Bhaalgorn landing on field and sealing the Tengus fate. The kill mail does make for some interesting reading...

As interesting as the fit is, the pod mail deserves a lot of the credit. We know he had skirmish links so I'm going to assume there were Siege links in system too, combined with the High Grade Crystal set and a pretty shiney Deadspace fit, it would certainly account for the damage he sustained.

The whole engagement dragged on for about 45 minutes with the Tengu tanking almost half a million hit points of damage before finally succumbing. Despite being very slow to get neuts on the field it was a pretty ISK positive engagement however, costing us about 350 Million ISK for about 3.5 Billion in kills, not to mention the important lesson that comes from not having a neuting ship in your gang. Always bring a Curse people. Always.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Space Presents!

After a somewhat eventful evening of scouting our chain and catching out a Skiff, Venture, Hyena, Astero and a Heron, I was heading back to our Astrahus when I noticed a POS that had a forcefield up only minutes earlier, now did not. I resolved it's location just to make sure it wasn't a fly swatter set up and was pleased to see it anchored about 300,000 km's from their Astrahus Citadel with no pilots visible. So we formed up and joked about the Archon that would inevitably drop from the Ship Maintenance Array and moved into position. The SMA went pop soon enough and the rest of the structures around it, including a Capital Ship Assembly Array followed suit. And guess what? An Archon dropped. :S

Sadly, it was completely unfit. Even worse, we were in a Class 4 Wormhole with no way of getting it out. The only logical solution was to self destruct the ship and collect the insurance and pretty soon I had a 519 million ISK insurance credit in my wallet. Beats the shit out of ratting, hey? To sweeten the deal, a heap of capital components worth several hundred million ISK dropped from the Capital Assembly Array and a steady flow of Deep Space Transports got all the goodies home just in case we are taken with the urge to build Capitals of our own.

Would've been nice to siege out their Citadel with it, but hey, half a billion ISK is half a billion ISK.

Friday, May 27, 2016

How to Svipul

Tonight we had a welcome connection come in from a Class 2 wormhole which gave us great access to a market hub and, as usually happens, we were quick to start exploiting it. I thought it best to keep one set of eyes on the only POS in system as I know when people start using my system as a thoroughfare, I like to ruin their day. Just as I was returning to system I notice a flurry of activity with 4 pilots logging in at the POS. Three of them were corporation members, one, oddly enough was from another corporation and had a standing of -10.0, not something you see a lot of in W-Space.

We continued exploiting their system for its connection for a while whilst we formed up for a NullSec roam and really just as the roam was beginning, the -10.0 pilot reshipped to a Svipul and began anchoring a bubble on our connection. As I watched him with my cloaked alt I redirected the roam to come and deal with this pesky Svipul and initial tackle went smoothly enough. Our interceptors were able to maintain point consistently without taking significant damage whilst the DPS landed to try and finish off the Svipul. The only problem however, was the Svipul maintaining in excess of 2,400 meters per second even whilst scrammed. As such, our DPS ships were unable to land adequate damage before he'd scoot out of range and repair his shields. Over and over we'd break contact, warp to an interceptor, start applying DPS, only for him to sail out of range after only two or three volleys. Clearly some significant webbing was going to be needed.

Frustrated by our inability to slow his progress and with the Svipul now a good couple of thousand kilometres from where he started, I returned to our home and reshipped into an Artillery fit Huginn. With its high alpha damage and webs stretching to over 50 kilometres it should seal the fate of the Speed Racer Svipul. Soon enough I was landing on grid and with both webs applied my second volley dispatched the ship with a satisfying crack. It's now you want to see the kill mail and find out how this damn thing maintained such speed and tank under constant pressure from several vessels. The simple answer is that the Svipul is still broken, but judge for yourself.

Without links you're looking at around 1,500 meters per second in defensive mode. With links you can only maintain 2,400 meters per second with overheat and he was travelling at that speed for a considerable time so he was almost certainly in propulsion mode. That accounts for the 2,400 meters per second and overheated with links, it goes up to 3,400 meters per second. To add insult to injury, not only was he rocking an over sized propulsion modification, but also an over sized shield booster. All of that and just the one fitting modification required, the sort not uncommon on many frigates and destroyers without anything even approaching the sort of speed, tank and damage of the Svipul. So, presumably without links, this Svipul could not only tank our combined incoming DPS comfortably, but out run all but our most dedicated Interceptors.

Which is why I think this ship is still in need of attention. I'll admit when it was new I abused its power too, but this is a pretty stark example of how it's not been hit quite hard enough with the nerf bat. The fact he was able to maintain what he was doing without off grid links shows how over powered it is currently. Off grid links are apparently going, but that still won't address this glaring problem, albeit one seen more in LowSec space than Wormholes, I'm tipping.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Gift from Bob

Since returning to EVE I've been flattered by many "welcome back!" comments both privately and publicly. It reminds me that it's the community of EVE that is the driving force, the glue that holds the game together and, friend or foe, those relationships are what makes the game. There is one relationship which naturally trumps those however, and that is my personal relationship with Bob.

Bob has been very good to me over the years, especially when I was in His service, delivering His holy electro-magnetic cleanse to those who would trespass upon His domain without paying the appropriate respect. Since my return I have seen His favour in small ways but I have also felt His wrath. Today, it pleases me to announce they I am in His good graces once more.

Like most evenings, it is my habit to scan my connections and see what Bob has planned for me. With only one K162 connection to a Class 2 wormhole, I wasn't full of hope. Upon hitting D-Scan and seeing nothing but a Phoenix Dreadnaught in range, my mood instantly changed. I quickly had his position, about thirty kilometres from a Customs Office, delivering waves of Guristas Torpedoes upon it. I knew exactly what to do.

Having joined No Vacancies just 24 hours earlier I immediately hailed all that I could. My HiSec connection was critically end of life but the promise of a Dreadnaught kill is a great motivator. A rather ad-hoc fleet quickly coalesced and burned the almost twenty jumps to my HiSec entry. Unknown to me, whilst the fleet was coming together, the leadership of No Vacancies were bringing in some assistance to prop up our numbers.

With the fleet assembled we made our move. I provided initial warp in for the Sabre and quickly returned to my POS to re-ship into something more capable than an Astero. Light on neuting power, a shield Stratios was the best I could muster and on returning to the fleet the assault was well and truly underway.

The shield boosting of the Phoenix was handling the incoming damage comfortably. Our lack of neuting power meant this assault could drag on for quite a while until I heard of reinforcements arriving. It wasn't just anyone though. It was Wingspan. Is this a bad joke? Is Bob mocking me? How do I refrain from opening fire? Alas, there was no time to ponder, the extra damage output would be welcome and they were soon in fleet, delivering torpedoes to our stricken target. The Phoenix was now running dry on capacitor as the boosting was stopping and once it dipped into armour it was over quickly.

The Loot Fairy, as always, said "Fuck you, Bex", but I care not for her insolence. Bob was clearly pleased and the Phoenix pilot, now without a Dreadnaught, was also without his Slave pod. Wait, what? Yes, you read right, the shield tanked Dreadnaught pilot had a 700 million ISK Slave set in his head. Go figure.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

There's Always a Catch...

With my alts all settled in the Class 1 PI Farm and the AFK Laserchesis dispatching all of the dead sticks in system there was only one structure left. The POCO on planet 1 was owned by the Nosferatu Security Foundation, a long standing Wormhole group and notably active PvP group. Obligingly, they had set the tax rate at 0% so it wasn't a matter of urgency to remove it, more of a case of "I'll get around to it one day". Today seemed like a good day; I had no incoming connections, my static HiSec was closed and I have the day off work. So I park the Laserchesis and a Curse on the POCO and set them to work. Meanwhile, I'm getting on with my day hoping they're not discovered.

The only problem, of course, is that Nosferatu are getting notifications that their structure is under attack. I'm punting on the fact that they don't have an alt of their own in system ready to scan their guys in to defend a POCO in a C1 system.

I lost the best. I return from the shower to see my Laserchesis explode and my Curse well tackled. I barely even had time to lock up a bomber, never mind bring some damage to bear, before it too was destroyed. Bubbled to all hell, the pods popped too and I found myself back in HiSec. Oh well.

Before long I was hailed by one of their senior members offering an arrangement to basically rent the system. I suppose bears might be tempted to take that offer, but I'm not. I'd much rather see a siege happen and bring a whole lot of content to my corner of New Eden. I can't honestly say how I'd fare but I have enough willing friends to at least make a fun fight of it.

But I knew there had to be a catch. You don't just stumble on a perfect PI farm unoccupied and with virtually no POCOs  without there being a catch. But that's OK, things could get very interesting, very soon.

EDIT: It's been bugging the hell out of me how I know of these guys and it finally came to me. They are the same cowards who used to reflexively collapse transient connections to their home system with nullified, cloaked Proteii [that's plural for Proteus, don't ya know?] the instant one spawned in order to avoid a fight. They are as high on the bravery table as the guys you used to find camping HiSec statics with interdictors and never moving off of it for fear of getting into a fight with something more dangerous than an exploration frigate. Suffice to say, I don't expect much to come of this, but if something does come of it, I'll have no shortage of volunteers willing to come to the fight.

Astrahus Interruptus

It's kind of hazardous putting up a Citadel still. It seems everyone is pretty keen to get that unique notch in their belt and the drop mechanics in Wormholes make it a particularly appealing target, with 100% of the contents dropping. So it was no surprise that when an Industrial Corporation were discovered erecting an Astrahus Citadel in their Class 3 Wormhole system there would be plenty of volunteers in the Wormhole PvP Channel willing to come along for the assault. Absent of the notch myself, I went along too.

Our fleet was a little rag tag, comprised mostly of Stratios Cruisers and Stealth Bombers, but the system looked all but undefended and a cursory look at the killboard of the Astrahus owners gave little indication that there would be much resistance. I arrived early and kept eyes on the target as our fleet coalesced. 

It turns out we weren't the only ones interested in taking a crack at the Citadel, however. Just 15 minutes before the timer ended a dozen Confessors and a half dozen Deacon logistics frigates show up, sitting at a perch a few hundred kilometres from the station. Overload This were feeling diplomatic and arrangements were made to combine forces in destroying the station, albeit in different fleets.

Without question it's the most uneasy I've felt in any fleet. Hostiles on grid, in range and everyone with a finger on the trigger, it was the classic Mexican stand off. Things were very tense on comms too, a few people got very itchy trigger fingers and Archduke Franz Ferdinand very nearly took a bullet, if you get my meaning. I mean, how would you feel if your overview looked like this...

We held our collective nerve and finished the job. Overload This  dishonoured the  impromptu armistice, destroying a couple of ships as the fleet withdrew, but I was suspicious they would and had well and truly kept my distance. My Nemesis wasn't exactly cut out for Confessors with logistics support anyway. =]

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Popping the Cherry

I just can't seem to get a quiet moment. With the working week over I had resolved myself to finish setting up my PI network. For the last twenty minutes I've been scrawling plans to try and avoid bottle necks and over extraction and, as is my habit, I pause all of that to hit D-Scan once in a while. Sure enough I see a new signature and an Astero with Sisters probes out.


Better go hunting.

I need to act quickly as there's just the one Data site that an Astero might be interested in so I get some eyes on it and sure enough, there he is. Nef Nardieu has a pretty average history so it wouldn't look like bait outwardly, but he's slow boating between cans which is quite odd indeed. Spider senses are tingling but I'm thirsty for blood too, so I say "Fuck it, I'll bite".

With Night Fever resting on her laurels somewhere in HiSec and a pretty small selection of ships to choose from I get myself a nice warp in with the eyes and drop my dual repped Enyo on the Astero. No sooner have I scrammed him than a scram is returned. OK, maybe this is bait... Better check D-Scan.

Oh yeah, he's bait alright. I'm all in now, I'm going to at least take this Astero with me and win the ISK war. I overheat my blasters and get into a nice tight orbit, the Confessor lands and the name of Hero Nardieu instantly tips me off that he's an alt of the Astero pilot. Multi-boxing isn't easy, it's especially not easy with small ships that require micro management, so I was feeling pretty confident despite the odds. I bait tanked as long as I could with just the one repper but when I hit the armour alarm I fired off the ancillary repairer and turned off the Tech II one when my armour was almost fully restored. By now the Astero was dipping into low armour and I had to turn off my over heat for fear of burning out my guns. He succumbed moments later and in my haste to punish him for trying to bait me, I tried to tackle his pod instead of the Confessor. Alas, the pod escaped and moments later so did the Confessor, just as I was cycling my scrambler.

I offer a "gf" in local and none is returned. What's the Universe coming to, these days?

Friday, May 20, 2016

The State of Play

EVE Online is a pretty lonely place if you let it be. Idling away in your own corporation, mining rocks or shooting NPC's whilst you grind out enough ISK to subscribe your account or buy the next shiney thing you can fly is no way to play the game. You'll soon get disenfranchised and disinterested, your activity will plummet and before long you'll have let your account unsubscribe as you pursue other interests. I don't think this is a revelation, but we've all seen those players. They're out there, trying to make EVE the single player game that it clearly is not.

Thankfully, most of the player base know this, congealing themselves into groups of like minded individuals, some small, some unbelievably massive and volatile. To keep these groups successful the leaders have to be content creators for their members, whether that be a mining operation or a Null Sec roam, group interaction has to be created if it is to coalesce reliably and turn into something more. A key ingredient is of course recruitment because, as a leader, if you can't recruit you have nothing to lead. It is quite literally the oxygen of any successful, long term corporation. You can survive on a core group of players for a while, but without recruitment it will certainly wilt and die before too long.

A similar thing happened with Sudden Buggery, to an extent. We had a very good, active core group of veterans; recruits came and went. Some for longer than others, occasionally finding a diamond in the rough; sometimes finding the most annoying voice you've ever bared witness to. However, at some point the recruiting effort waned, then some core members grew less active or had real life commitments intrude on their EVE time and, before you know it, we're packing up shop. In the process of withdrawing we had some blap Phoenix Dreadnaughts that needed to die, so we called in Drop Bears to help us with that. The first time didn't pan out so well for the BAERS, but the next time around they died gloriously, in Bob's honour. As BAERS are an AU TZ Wormhole Corporation they seemed like a good option to move to. Arrangements were made upon leaving Sudden Buggery and applications were sent. Said applications then went totally unanswered which was quite surprising considering we had been actively pursued initially. After a week or more of uncertainty I said "screw it" and pulled the plug on EVE entirely for a few months, pouring my time into World of Warships instead, but all the while keeping a keen eye on the going ons of the EVE Universe knowing full well I'd be back.

So I'm back. A somewhat jaded wormholer looking to find that most elusive of groups, an AU TZ active Wormhole corporation. My first thoughts had been Haywire; we've done several operations together and they're a great group of guys, many of whom I spent time with in my heady CFC days. Thank fuck that insanity ended quickly. Null Sec just isn't my bag, baby. Unfortunately however, Haywire had been subject to yet another DURA LEXX invasion and, as it was told to me, they well and truly had their donuts punched. Evicted from their home they hooked up with No Vacancies, a large Wormhole group with, until Haywire came along, only a small AU TZ contingent. So I suppose that's an option to explore, isn't it? They've got in excess of 200 members, allowing for alts that's probably less than 100 actual meat bods, then allowing for time zones maybe a dozen active around down time? That would suit me, small gang engagements are by far the most fun, so I guess an application is in order.

First impressions were good, their public channel was active and one of their recruiters directed me to their online application form. So I completed it and went back to setting up my alts in their PI farm. Now, I know when you've just re-opened recruiting the glut of applications may get overwhelming and that's certainly a good problem to have, but a week has passed and I've not heard "boo" from NVACA. APIs need to be checked, corp history has to be examined, that's understood. But not a single word in a week? Something is amiss. You naturally start asking questions and the answers aren't encouraging. I'm not the only one who has been stone walled, which I suppose is good, it's clearly nothing personal, but it brings into doubt whether or not you've made the right choice. I've no interest in throwing my hat in with a group that is largely inactive, after all. More concerning to me however, as I alluded to earlier, is that it shows a distinct lack of leadership. Without leadership, the content creators of any corporation, you may as well just be idling in your own corporation and keep an eye on the Wormhole PvP channel for when danger calls. But I'm not giving up on them yet, all of this could have a perfectly logical explanation, even if the indications so far aren't confidence building.

Hell, if things don't improve I may find myself in LowSec...