Friday, July 31, 2015

An Unkindness of Ravens

The move is on. The C4 Wormhole with C2 and C4 statics that has been the home of Sudden Buggery for over a year now is being abandoned, for the most part, in search of statics that may provide better ISK and PvP opportunities. Ideally, we would be looking for a C4 with C2 and C3 statics with a Black Hole effect. Unfortunately, in all of New Eden, there are but two such systems. Shortly after finding one of those systems and seeding a scanning alt into it, plans were put in motion to evict the current residents. They were well dug in, with two faction towers credibly defended, but our chances of finding the other system like it was minimal, so we decided to go for it anyway.

Because of the Black Hole effect, our tried and true Raven POS Bashing doctrine was adjusted slightly for better application of damage and we moved the lion's share of our assets from our old home to staging systems in HiSec. Just two days before the siege was set to begin, Bob smiled on us again, connecting us to the only other C4 Black Hole system with the statics we wanted just two jumps from the one we were about to siege. A little research showed this system to be far less of a bastion and an enemy who operated in a similar TZ to our mob of rascals, so the decision to change direction ever so slightly was an easy one.

The day before our assault a home base was established with an emphasis on eWar. I won't go into the details of it, but it's a handful for any prospective assault. It mattered not however, as our target didn't have a single pilot log in before or during the siege on the tower.

So the siege went without a hitch. The Trashcat™ doctrine once again proved itself more than capable of overcoming overwhelming DPS and eWar and the tower was reinforced in short order. With the hard work done and a 36 hour timer set we went about incapacitating all of the surrounding defences to make the final assault somehwat simpler.With that job complete, our Russian friends finally logged in.

My dealing with Russians in my day to day life has been limited. From what I can recall, they seem like nice people, nothing overtly belligerent about them. But when it comes to EVE I see a very different animal. In all of the POS Sieges I've taken part in against Russians, and there have been quite a number, not once have they ever even attempted diplomacy. At first I thought language was the barrier, but their very amusing tirades of abuse in local chat put that to rest. I put myself in their position and I'd at least want to know why my sand castle was being kicked over. From there, all kinds of opportunities open up. The last siege we conducted saw the previous occupant moving out with everything he owned in tact and the POCOs and two Archons were the cost of that withdrawal. We know the Russians here have at least one Archon, so such a trade would again be acceptable but no, that wouldn't do, would it?

It what can only be described as a last act of defiance, with barely a word being uttered, they boarded a Rorqual from their Ship Maintenance Array and set it to self destruct. No one cares about the Rorqual anyway. We don't mine and they're something of a white elephant these days, but it could have been a useful bargaining chip.

Oh well, we shall see what the future holds. It looks like we'll just be blowing up an empty husk of a tower come Sunday morning, but I'm fine with that too.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Scourge of Wormholes

Anyone who has spent any time in low class wormholes has seen it. It is the scourge of Wormhole space and the crowning achievement of the risk averse PvP pilot. I speak of course of the testicularly challenged men and women of New Eden who choose to sit on a HiSec exit with a Heavy Interdictor, snaring whatever prey happen to jump in. They of course are after the low hanging fruit. Haulers, Explorers, nothing that can actually defend itself or provide a good fight. Should the unthinkable happen one just needs to jump out to HiSec and the protection of Concord so their precious Interdictor and killboard are saved from the disgrace of a loss mail.

It never used to be a problem. To be fair, it's not a problem now to anyone with some common sense, but it is not in the spirit of PvP combat. I know as someone who regularly smart bombs mostly defenseless explorers back to HiSec that might come off as a little hypocritical, but I am still putting myself at risk. A little effort would bring my plan undone in a heartbeat and there's no HiSec for me to safely jump to. I understand no one wants to lose their vessel, but it's important to remember that it's really just pixels and - I really can't stress this enough - no one gives a damn about how your killboard looks but you. Seriously, get over it. Before the jump distance changes on Wormholes this sort of sighting was rare. Even an Orca would land within the 5 kilometer radius to jump back out again, so there was absolutely no danger when jumping into a Wormhole. Now a Tech 1 Industrial will often land 8 km's off the aperture, easily allowing the camping Onyx the opportunity to relieve you of your vessel.

So, in the spirit of eliminating such risk averse tactics from W-Space, I got to thinking. Perhaps some subtle changes are in order?

I think the most obvious solution is a weapons discharge timer. After all, you can't re-ship from your Ship Maintenance Array until a minute has passed, why couldn't the same be said of a Wormhole? I'm not suggesting it to be just for HiSec connections either; personally I'd be open to it being the case for all wormhole connections. If you're going to take part in a fight, you should commit to it.

I would also like to see an increase in the distance you spawn from a wormhole when jumping through. Nothing too significant; indeed you could achieve the same effect by reducing the jump range from 5,000 metres to 2,500 metres, the purpose to make withdrawing from a fight just a little more challenging but certainly not impossible. It makes sense, doesn't it? Star Gates and Acceleration Gates all require you to be within 2,500 metres, I'm not reinventing the wheel here or anything.

Not only would such an action rid HiSec connections of people who have no place calling themselves PvP pilots, it would dramatically change combat in W-Space and certainly make people re-think their doctrines. Frankly, I'd settle for it only happening on HiSec connectors, but I'm curious as to how others might address it. Call me crazy.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

System Effects be damned. Again.

I've written about system effects before. It still astonishes me how people just ignore the massive benefits or drawbacks that can accompany certain systems, and tonight's escapade was another shining example of that.

Today had been a pretty good day, not a lot of PvP happening but I got a lot of shit done. EVE can be job-like at times but at least Bob saw fit to reward my hard work and devotion on this occasion.

Whilst I had been shuffling masses of ships around HiSec in preparation for a siege, I noticed Hard Knocks had surprised some guys from Oruze Cruze who were trying to run my sites. I don't think they caught them, but they did knock off all of their MTU's and drove them out of my system whilst I was indisposed. Cheers Lazer Hawks, I owe you one. Upon getting my chores done I came home to update my chain and see what was what. Just the lone Relic site in system, but I was connected close to Jita so I was bound to find an explorer stumbling in at some point. Bob delivered, and a sacrifice was made in His honour.

Although satisfied with the result, the chain needed scanning and oh boy, did Bob deliver. I had a K162 connection from a C4 Wolf Rayet system that I hadn't had the opportunity to fully explore, so I jumped in and hit D-Scan. Popping up I saw an active POS but also a Vargur and a 'Packrat' Mobile Tractor Unit. No wrecks yet, but why else would someone have a spendy MTU out if they weren't about to kill some sleepers? I immediately alerted the guys on comms and got to finding my quarry. With only three combat sites in system it didn't take long. Fortune smiled on us as most of the guys were only a handful of jumps away, making best speed in whatever was handy, bearing in mind the system effect bonus to armour and small gun damage. The fleet very swiftly gathered on the entry as we waited for the Vargur to finish the site. Class 4 sites can dish out a significant amount of damage and we were without logistics support, so going in early would've been foolhardy.

Our quarry finished off the sleepers and started salvaging the wrecks gathered around him. Now was the time. I called the fleet to jump and hold cloak as I warped to within tackle range. Just before uncloaking I called them to warp on me at 0, then uncloaked and went for tackle. Tackle never happened as he immediately entered Bastion and locked up my tackle Astero. I had my repairers overheated in preparation for the Smart bomb I had seen him using so effectively on the Sleepers, but the Smart Bombing never came. It turns out he had refit for salvaging and pulled his Mobile Depot back in already. Well, by now his fate was sealed as the small gang landed and applied neuting pressure. The kill mail will show that despite the system effect, he still tanked pretty strong. In a Pulsar we'd have been there all day. But it wasn't a Pulsar, it was a Wolf Rayet, and he lost his Vargur, his pod and I got a Gecko to throw on the pile of other Geckos I'm afraid to use.

Bob is kind. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What, me exploit?

Playing in the AUTZ has it's ups and downs. For PvP, it's mostly downs as the herd has been thinned out by neckbeards passing out at their keyboard whilst drool pools around their mouse. Of course, there's also RUS hour, as we call it; those hours just after downtime when our non ransom paying friends in Russia log in to stare at you until you fucking cry. On the flip side, it's also a good time to harvest your surrounding W-Space regions for ISK as you're far less likely to be dropped on by a marauding gang of...well...people like me. >_>

It was the PvE endeavours that led me to a profitable discovery recently. I had just dispatched a hapless Magnate pilot from system with Disco Inferno and down time was fast approaching. I thought as it was mere minutes away, I may as well re-ship and finish the Relic site he had started on. So this I did, getting through all but one can before the server closed down. Fifteen minutes later I log in after the restart and immediately warp in to the Relic site that I assumed was now gone, only to find it fully repopulated with cans to hack. Odd. This shall require further testing.

There has been a Barren Gas site in my home system for the past couple of days that I can never seem to finish. I get most of the way through the C50 and a new signature spawns so I go off to investigate, then down time comes around and I don't get the chance to finish it. Being the completionist I am, I went back to it again last night, started on the C50 again and scanned it to find 3,000 units. Again. Moreover, the sleeper rats are respawning after each downtime, despite being destroyed the previous day.

So here's my tip folks. Run everything you can until it's about to despawn. Leave that last wave of rats in the combat site, huff all but a few units of Gas from the cloud and hack all but one or two of your least valuable Relic cans. Then come back after down time and have another crack to double your ISK.

I have no idea if this was intended by CCP but I certainly doubt it was, so you'd better make the most of it whilst you can. Nerf bat will be incoming.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Dominate me, baby.

The new Dominix skin has made it to Singularity and damn girl, you sexeh. No longer is it the much maligned space potato or basketball boot of old. It's now far more sleek yet somehow menacing at the same time. Of particular note is the drone bay at the back, a very nice touch to such a dedicated drone vessel.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What explosion?

The move to my new Class 3 Red Giant Wormhole has been tremendous. Not only is the ISK flow outstanding for a lone operator, the bonuses in system make it just glorious for my Smart Bombing Proteus. I mean, I loved it before I was in a Red Giant system, now it's a downright infatuation.

Times gone by without the boost of the Red Giant effect roughly half of the Asteros I attacked
would get away in deep structure. All it took was a hardener or two, or perhaps a plate. More and more explorers see the value in the dual rep fit, it tanks very hard and can even defend itself quite capably against similarly sized vessels. The 58% bonus to damage and range has put that to rest, with this particular sacrifice going pop on the second volley of bombs.

Comfortable in the knowledge of the effectiveness of my favourite weapon I sat a lone figure in my system with just a solitary Data site occupying my scan results. I positioned myself about 180 kilometres from the closest warpable object whilst flying my other character in Sudden Buggery, popping a bunch of Prospects detailed in an earlier post.

Not long after that engagement I saw probes on D-Scan. With no new signatures in system they must have come from the HiSec connector. So I waited patiently and was soon rewarded with two Asteros from the same Corporation landing in my Data site. I'd dearly love to get a double header here but the cans were very well spaced apart, making the opportunity unlikely. Resigned to just getting one of them, I aligned to the older of the two characters and entered warp. Upon landing I was decloaked by the can he was hacking and just one volley from my smart bombs relieved him of his vessel. I immediately aligned back to my jump spot and the second volley sent his conciousness back to HiSec. I ignored the scoop and warped to my pounce, cloaking en route. Amazingly, the second Astero was still hacking another can, apparently oblivious to what had happened to his counterpart. I immediately warped to him, again getting decloaked by the can he was hacking and exacting an identical result.

Arse Tear Oh!

The Loot Fairy smiled upon me with both Sisters Probe launchers dropping, easily eclipsing the value of the Data site's contents. Moreover, I have some fresh corpses for Bob, too. =]

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Proof of Bob

There exists in New Eden, in both known and Wormhole space, Heretics and non believers who deny the existence of Bob. Today, I put this discussion to rest.

With the latest round of Sovereignty changes all inactive Territorial Claim Units have been reclaimed by CCP. As these structures double as Sacred Altars to Bob in Wormhole regions, this is a serious affront to Bob and all whom worship him. Countless corpses have been sacrificed at our Altar followed by the recitation of the prayer; to remove such a sacrosanct place of worship is the clearest indication yet that those who follow Bob are under direct assault from CCP.

As a final gesture to Bob, dozens of collected corpses and shuttles were sacrificed only moments before down time. The prayer was said one last time at this holiest of places and we bid our final farewells amongst the shrapnel of bombs and cleansing light of our star.

Bob does not always see fit to reward us for our sacrifices, but surely such a statement of our devotion would not go unanswered? Indeed, Bob saw fit to provide us the content we so deeply desire and, as is increasingly the case, via a low mass wormhole the following day.

A devoted scout of Bob identified a mining fleet of eight Prospects, presumably extracting gas, from a Wolf-Rayet Shattered Wormhole system. Further inspection established that they were in fact mining Pristine Arkonor, presumably oblivious to the imminent danger thanks to the good grace of Bob. The team formed up in our best ships to deal with such a target and warped to the rock being so industriously mined by all eight ships. Bubbles went up and, although scattering to all directions, every last Prospect and their pilot was systematically hunted down, relieved of their vessel and their conciousness so that their now soulless husk could be offered to Bob, in His glory.

Bob's Sacrifice

By no means was this a great hunt or even a win against the odds. It was far more valuable than that. It was the clearest indication yet of how He favours His chosen people. Hail Bob.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Small gang content is what W-Space is all about. In such situations, pilot ability and communication are as much a weapon as the ship you are flying. You don't have to be Sun Tzu to know that. As such, we are always on the lookout for such an opportunity. Sudden Buggery frequently bite off far more than they can chew, such is our desire for that sort of content. Sometimes it goes great, sometimes it goes bad. But it's just pixels and it's always entertaining. If you can't deal with losing a few ships here and there you probably don't belong in Sudden Buggery and certainly don't belong in W-Space.

Sunday morning we get word of a Stratios poking about in our chain belonging to a pilot from Wingspan TT. They're a corporation who've gained some notoriety thanks to their CEO Chance Ravinne's YouTube Channel. I'm not going to link it but if you like to watch someone cloaky camp a system in a stealth bomber whilst he muses about whether or not the Retriever he could disengage at any moment is bait or need tips on how to track down and murder Mobile Tractor Units in NullSec, he's your guy.

Knowing the Modus Operandi of Wingspan such as we do, we knew they wouldn't engage anything that posed a threat, so we deployed the trusty bait Sigil with it's crazy shield regeneration. Upon our bait pilot jumping out to HiSec we were told of a further three Wingspan pilots in local, presumably cloaked on the HiSec waiting for their scout to find a defenseless mule. So our bait warps off to station, then back to the HiSec to jump in and hopefully be tackled. Fighting on a HiSec is never favourable as your enemy can withdraw far too easily, but it was the situation we found ourselves in and maybe, just maybe, our quarry were of a similar mind that perhaps they could kill a ship or two before being forced to withdraw.

The Sigil jumps in and is immediately engaged by the Stratios waiting within. Wormhole fire behind the Sigil saw two more Stratios and a Falcon [lol] follow through. With the hook implanted our fleet composition of a Lachesis, Stratios, Orthrus and a Scythe entered warp. The Falcon was of course called primary but as we were landing he was already jumping out to HiSec. You know where this is going, right? Yep, the three Stratios' all jumped out also, without us even doing so much a a yellow box.

Three Stratios and a Falcon vs a Stratios, Lachesis, Orthrus and a Scythe and your first instinct is to run like Forrest Gump. I'm just glad your members can legally marry now.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Content HO?

It's moments like this that really bring a smile to my face. I was alerted to a thread on the EVE Reddit page by a friend that looks like this...
Wall of text incoming. On July 1st, I returned to my wormhole (J213411, a C3 Red Giant with a high-sec static) after a week of absence, and noticed a new medium POS. Noticing also that the previous inhabitants had packed up and left, I began to dig. Boy did I find something! The new POS had been put up by a corp called Boundless Exploration, an Australian TZ corp with 7 members (of which, several must be alts). Digging deeper into zkillboard yielded some additional information, and pointed me towards the CEO's blog... Detailed in said blog is the story of how their seven man group managed to extort two Archons and a number of structures off of the previous inhabitants only 4 days ago at the time of posting. Having warped to the moon the POS was anchored around while digging, I noticed two Ship Maintenance Arrays. Just the right amount to hold his two newly acquired Archons! Can you believe it? After I found all of this out, I sat back to contemplate the +3bil in assets in that one wormhole... with only seven people in corp. This is where my story turns tragic. Everyone who I know in game wants nothing to do with this content. Either can't do it, or don't really feel like it. So, I'm throwing this out there to all four people who will read this. Get in gear and blow it all up. Current High-Sec entrance is Komo, but I'f you're even remotely interested, ask for the current Static location, and you'll get it. Please make this happen.
TL;DR +3Bil in assets are only one medium POS bash away.

This was of course in relation to the recent eviction I blogged about earlier. What I'm trying to work out is if the guy who posted the thread was the one evicted [although he claims he isn't] or just a squatter calling my system his. Without a single online tower or even a POCO in your possesion I'm not sure how you come to claim a W-Space system, but whatever, have your delusions for all I care.

Most amusing is the level of detective work he's done. Killboard research, Corporation research, even reading my blog, although apparently selectively, finally coming to the conclusion that I'm a ripe target that'll just roll over. Quite the detective indeed.

Whilst I can't know who the mystery stalker is yet, I have my suspicions. Most notably is the Astero pilot I popped during the eviction, the old owners confirming he had been squatting in system for some time. I haven't seen him since but I'll be on the look out, regardless. I do love me some good old fashioned huntin'.

But really, here's hoping for a siege. They're great content drivers and I'll gladly lose those two Archons in a good fight, it's not like they cost me anything. So if you need an entry system, just ask. No need for the cloak and dagger, I'm very accommodating like that. =]

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hole Control

The move to my new home is now largely complete, save for a few more ships I'll need. The step up from a Class 2 to a Class 3 has been much greater than I had expected, but I'm quickly finding it to be a very profitable and positive move. In a Class 2 system most combat anomalies would net you roughly 20m ISK in Data Libraries, so it takes quite a bit of Sleeper farming to turn that into a good income. If it takes ten minutes per site you're looking at 120m ISK per hour if you've got the sites to run. The Data and Relic sites are nominally better at best, so you really have to extract all you can from a Class 2 system to cover fuel costs and declare it profitable. That includes Gas harvesting and Planetary resources, even ore if that's your thing.

It's still early days, but it looks like things will be different in the Class 3. So far I've made 200m from one Relic site, 100m from a Data site and the combat anomalies are paying 45-50m each. They're significantly tougher to do, of course, and it took me a while to best configure the Rattlesnake to best deal with the incoming DPS, but in the end I was able to maintain >1.2K DPS and a passive recharge approaching 700 HP per second.

C3 Rattler

Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Shield Power Relay II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Shield Recharger II
Shield Recharger II
Pithum C-Type EM Ward Amplifier
Pithum C-Type Thermic Dissipation Amplifier
Pithum C-Type Kinetic Deflection Amplifier

Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II
Rapid Heavy Missile Launcher II
Drone Link Augmentor II

Core Defense Field Purger II
Core Defense Field Purger II
Core Defense Field Purger II

Garde II x2
Vespa EC-600 x5
Hobgoblin II x5
Bouncer II x2

The Rapid Heavy Missile launchers might seem like an odd choice for PvE because of their long reload, but with so many mid and low power slots, not to mention rigs, being consumed by tank, the application of Cruise Missiles or Torpedoes is woeful. Moreover, they add over 400 DPS to your damage output without the need for Ballistic Control Systems. If you know your spawns well enough, you can time a reload to coincide with when you're going to need to get a damaging Sleeper off the field quickly and with faction missiles and good skills, they still hit beyond 60 km's, which is usually well within the spawn range of the Sleepers in a C3 anomaly.

That setup allows me to clear anomalies in under ten minutes, effectively doubling my ISK efficiency compared with a Class 2 system. Moreover, the Rattlesnake is very cheap to buy or replace, despite being a massive gank target for roaming W-Space gangs. Which is exactly why hole control is so important.

Whilst field testing this fit yesterday I had an alt parked on my only way in or out of system, from HiSec. He was cloaked with probes out and every known signature was ignored so the moment a new one popped up, it would be populated on the scanning window. Such a level of paranoia undoubtedly saved my Rattlesnake yesterday as, when I was half way through a site of only four in system, a new signature suddenly appeared. I immediately pulled my sentries in and got safe with the Rattlesnake whilst I probed out the new signature. It turns out it was a wormhole from a C4 connector and, after watching it for a while, I saw the Lachesis that spawned it disappear back through it once he realised his quarry had made safe. Shortly after, all manner of rolling Battleships came through that same wormhole, collapsing it as they went on with their hunting.

The D-Scan invulnerability and point range bonuses of this ship make it the perfect scout for catching unaware ratting ships with low levels of paranoia. Set up right, they can sustain a mighty amount of damage until their fleet lands on grid and your goose is cooked.

But once again, healthy levels of paranoia won the day.