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...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Process of Elimination

Op Success? The Laserchesis did its job, I just don't know that it was terribly efficient, taking over nine hours to complete, but at least it remained undetected. I failed to allow for passive shield regeneration in my calculations so 14,500,000 hit points turned into 16,824,260 hit points but it's not like I was camping the keyboard whilst it was underway so it hardly matters. Judging by a few sites that disappeared through the day and a static connection from a class 4 wormhole I certainly had visitors too, so I'll call that a win. That said, this evening I used a Naga to solo a tower down whilst I was watching a movie. More time efficient, less lazy. But, you know...

Two towers down, four to go. Only problem is one of them is Minmatar so the Laserchesis will be next to useless against it. I guess I'll be busting out the Naga again for that one... or perhaps an AFK Curse with a flight of Vespas...

In other developments, no less than thirteen shiney new POCOs have been erected and I lament a weekend of clicks ahead as I set up Wetware Mainframe networks across six characters. Still, with Wetware Mainframes selling at over 3 million ISK a pop, it's a pretty lucrative market. Profit's not a dirty word, after all.

Fly dangerous o7

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Dead Sticks a go-go

Am I OCD if I just have to get rid of all of these dead sticks in my new wormhole system? There's six small towers cluttering up my D-Scan and it just won't do. The only speed bump in the way of cleaning up this mess is that I'm inherently lazy and you just know how popular an idea it is to float with your friends to shoot at dead sticks for a few hours, right? So I need a plan, preferably a plan that won't get me podded out of system.

I tooled around with the idea of some low skill, empty pod Coercers just pumping away, hoping no one stumbled upon them. I even thought about hauling in an Armageddon for maximum cap stable AFK DPS but I know the chances of those tactics remaining undiscovered for several hours is minimal at best. Time to start thinking outside of the box.

  • D-Scan invulnerability
  • Cap Stability
  • No reloading
  • Drones

And it was on this day that the Laserchesis was born. This abomination puts out about 460 DPS and is unscannable by combat probes. Moreover, it won't show up on anyone's D-Scan either. The only way I can be discovered is if some asshat stumbles upon the tower or combat probes the Hammerheads I have floating around me. Sure, there's a risk, but I think it's a small one plus I have Bob on my side. I've set this ugly plan in motion and I'm heading to work now. I wonder what awaits me when I get home...

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Back in town!

My brief hiatus is at an end. For the last couple of weeks I've been searching for a cozy little Class 1 wormhole to house my PI alts whilst I venture off into the obsidian wilderness with some like minded hunters. Who that ends up being I'll not disclose just yet, it's early days in the vetting process for both parties and I've no idea if they'll even want me.

The hunt for a suitable Class 1 Wormhole has been a trial. Initially I thought I'd just buy one, they're not very good ISK farms and residents come and go, but the only opportunities of note had LowSec or Null statics and my alts aren't trained into blockade runners. It had to be a HiSec static. So the last few days have seen me diving down holes from HiSec and exploring chains for suitable systems. One C2 looked the goods and the occupants weren't opposed to having a tennant but when I learned they already had almost twenty pilots harvesting their planets I knew pickings would be slim. So I continued my hunt, stumbling upon an unoccupied C2 with a HiSec/C1 static and the right planet arrangement. Perfect. It was late so I logged off in system and resolved to move the Orca laden with POS materials in the morning. You know where this leads, right? I log in the next morning, literally seven hours later, and there's an online tower in system.


Bob hates me. It's been too long since I've offered him any sacrifices. I promptly rage quit and shuffle off to work with the intent to start over that evening. Upon logging in again a new Z647 to a C1 has spawned so I take the aperture through and see a rare sight indeed. No force fields, only one POCO and an N110 static to HiSec space. I quickly warp around system to double check it's unoccupied and sure enough, no force fields spotted. Moreover, there are fourteen planets and all but one have no POCOs anchored on them. The one that does has a 0% tax rate! There's even four Lava planets. It just seems too good to be true. I get the feeling there's a couple of dreadnaughts logged off in system ready to blap anything that gets erected but the killboard isn't indicative of such scurrilous behaviour so I drop everything and get a tower up.

Save for a few details my new home is settled and although I only have a skeleton crew within, an opportunity for some PvP wasn't far away. The only thing that even resembled a combat vessel was one of the three Asteros and whilst idling at a safe spot another Astero was spotted on D-Scan. It was soon located at a Relic site and a quick review of the pilot's killboard showed he was no mug, clearly capable of defending himself. Still, even with only alts on hand, I couldn't let such a transgression of my newly acquired sovereign space go untested. With my most capable alt in a dual rep Astero I tackled the offending pilot, only to quickly have the scram returned. OK then, this is really happening! D-Scan was clear and what played out over the next twenty minutes was one of the most frustrating, key smashing engagements I've ever been in. We both recognised early on that we wouldn't be able to break each other's tank quickly so attention turned to drones. For the longest time it was a war of light drone attrition, until we were both left with only a handful each. I had well and truly had enough of this fiasco now so I warped in my other alt in another Astero and set him up to kite at 30 km's. He was without tank, really just adding five more Hobgoblins to the mix, and this was enough for my quarry to decide to bail. He was afterburner fit and thereby able to evade my tackle whilst keeping my MWD switched off long enough to enter warp. Thank fuck that's over. At least I've got his Hobgoblins to replenish my stocks.

Before long I'll have some actual combat vessels in system to better deal with such incursions but hopefully the more entertaining tales will come from my mains, not my alts, as they dive a little deeper into the swarthy unknown.