Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sibling Rivalry

Let me tell you a story of two brothers. The older of the two formed a Corporation a few years ago, built it up, settled a C4 Wormhole system and created a large asset base from which to enjoy his little slice of the Eve Universe. However, a year or so ago duty called and the older brother had to leave for Marine training and left the corporation in the hands of his most trusted Eve friend and probably closest living relative, his brother. In his absence his brother and his right hand man proceeded to strip the absentee of his roles and all of his assets. Cheers bro? Now, I don't have a brother, but if I did I could see something like that happening. No doubt the perpetrator thought it was pretty damn funny, too. The victim, whilst a good sport about it all, made it quite clear to his younger sibling that his time would come.

Today was that day, and Holesale were the executors.

The older brother advised our leadership that his sibling rival had just deployed a Fortizar to house their many capital ships in the C4, a Fortizar he was confident was paid for with borrowed funds, no less. On hand for the anchoring timer would be a Thanatos, Chimera and the little brother's pride and joy Nidhoggur, and it was right in the middle of the dead zone for active members, that being the AU TZ. As such, the fleet we formed was less than ideal. Minimal logistics, very little tackle and everyone else in DPS. Our go-to doctrine of late has been the Sleipnir/Hurricane Fleet Issue Artillery one and it would serve us well once again, but with only a dozen or so of us, it would take a while to grind down even one Carrier, never mind three.

Landing on the Fortizar as it became vulnerable we were promptly engaged by the trio of carriers. Our swarm of drones was barely able to pause the Fortizar timer and for at least half an hour we played de-fanging games, killing off wave after wave of fighters. To be sure, the carriers had some early success, popping a few of the lighter tanked ships in fleet, but the tip of the spear remained impervious to the incoming assault and eventually we had the fighters all but subdued. Focus first turned to the younger brother and his prized Nidhoggur, one he was very boastful of because of its collection of kill marks. But without a support fleet there was little he could do to stem the tide of artillery and Carriers being largely buffer fit these days, he was facing an inevitable end. Once dispatched he was sent back to HiSec via the express route and the Thanatos, also shield tanked, was next on the menu. The Chimera followed soon after and the Fortizar was the big fat cherry on top of the cake. Twenty Billion ISK destroyed for less than 1 billion in losses. Not a bad day at the office and justice for a jilted older brother.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Brain Drain

So I want to talk about implants. From scanning to boosting to fitting to skilling and performance, there's few aspects of the EVE Universe that aren't directly affected by their use. Both of my main characters are now beyond 150 million skill points so their need for fitting implants has long since waned. That's not to say there aren't instances where I could put a 5% powergrid or CPU implant to use, but I greatly prefer not to.

Of course there are some go-to clones for certain jobs. I have a mid grade slave clone for armour fleets and several boosting clones with mindlink implants to maximise my boosting effects, there's even a mid grade crystal clone somewhere that I've almost never used. Indeed, when shield slave sets happen I'll probably have one of those, too. The reality is however, that I almost only ever have a couple of +5 training implants in. In my early days, sure, I used 3% CPU implants all the time but since fitting isn't really an issue any more I avoid creating ship fits that would require it. I simply can't be assed constantly swapping clones to suit the ship I need to fly at that moment. So when it was suggested to me that I shouldn't ever fly my capitals without a full set of Genolutions in, I balked. If I can't fit it or fly it without Genolutions I simply won't fit it or fly it. I've lost a handful of capitals over the journey and I can't think of a single instance where those implants would've made any difference to the outcome. They were always situations that saw me heavily outnumbered or under supported, and the most recent one is a shining example.

I log on most mornings to reset my PI network. As I'm now a part of a predominantly US TZ Corporation, it's their prime time. I jump on TeamSpeak as I'm bringing up my networks and suddenly get hailed by the FC on duty asking if I had a Dreadnaught on hand with High Angle Weapons. As I had just recently acquired a Phoenix in that very configuration I replied in the affirmative. I was quickly advised to get in fleet and undock. Now, I don't normally like to get into a fight with zero intel, but I'm a good soldier and ISK isn't an issue so I did as I was asked. My lumbering behemoth shifted free of its tethers, slowly meandering into space from the confines of the Fortizar that was its home. Still weary from sleep, I immediately saw via D-Scan that a fight was underway. The tag of the enemy ships was familiar but didn't immediately strike me until just after I had activated warp. It was Lazerhawks. I didn't cancel warp however, I put faith in my FC that he knew what he was doing and the Moros that was beside me entered warp with my Phoenix alongside.

Landing on the field we were badly positioned. Alarm bells are already ringing in my head. I wasn't going to enter siege with their fleet and my supporting fleet over sixty kilometres away, I couldn't even hit targets at that range. Instead I aligned back to my Fortizar and advised the FC of our poor warp in. I warped back to the Fortizar and, with 20/20 hindsight, can safely say that's where I should have stayed. But again, being the good soldier I asked if I was still needed and a rather alarmed voice came back in the affirmative and that I should warp to zero. Make no mistake, my gut was telling me this was a gratuitous mistake, the tone of the voices on TeamSpeak told the tale of a battle that wasn't going well and even with High Angle Weapons, if I was unsupported I would have little chance of survival. But I followed orders, landed on field, entered siege and went to work.

Well, within about half a siege cycle my support fleet was dead or had fled. I was alone on field with a Moros some fifty kilometres away and a swathe of Sleipnirs and Scimitars, all with nefarious intent. It was clear how this was going to end unless a minor miracle somehow coalesced to save us. Despite my Corporation mates best efforts, such a save never came. We had just moved into our new home and were still dealing with the logistical nightmare of having enough doctrine ships on hand. So first the Moros went down and then the fleet converged on my Phoenix and whilst I was able to deal with the incoming DPS without difficulty, I was burning through cap charges to do it. I could've carried far more charges it's true to say, but I still had a job to get to, so the death of my Dreadnaught wasn't just inevitable, it was timely.

Which brings me to my point. No amount of Genolutions or any other implant for that matter would've changed my fate and in regards to Capital losses, it has always been that way in my experience. I can certainly see the benefit in regards to sub caps, the extra buffer that can be manipulated is vital to catch repairs in time but, in Wormhole space at least, I won't be flying implant dependant capitals any time soon. But I'm curious to hear your input, especially in regards to capital ships. I've had little to do with Force Auxiliaries and I can certainly understand how implants for capacitor management may be invaluable, but are they absolutely vital?