Friday, July 13, 2012

It All Happened So Quickly

When people claim Eve's combat is slow paced, they are speaking out of ignorance. Maybe they've seen a video on youtube or even played the trial for awhile. But everyone I know who has experienced PvP combat in Eve never says it is slow, dull, or easy.

I should note that PvP is Eve is not fair. And the fights that I am talking about are when the odds are against you.

Information pours in faster than you can process it, often paralyzing unseasoned pilots. Every After Action Review I conduct typically has me pointing out some obvious choice I should have made, but I was too overwhelmed at the time to identify and make it.

Some times I choose the wrong strategy: fleeing instead of fighting.

Other times there are tactical errors: like in this recent fight

I had the gang split on a gate with the Stabber and the Vengeance on my side. I pulled range from the gate, but fearing that the Stabber wouldn't follow me, I didn't overheat my MWD. 

ERROR: If the Stabber didn't want to fight, he would have jumped through the gate. Not maximizing my speed allowed him to catch and scram me quickly.

I finished off the Stabber, but then the rest of the gang showed up. I did not think they had as many as they did, but the majority of the incoming damage came from the Stabber, Vengeance, an Ishtar, and a Manticore.

ERROR: I failed to spot, lock, and shoot the Manticore immediately. His torpedo damage was immense, and all I had to do was sic my drones on the fragile frigate. Instead, I was shooting the Vengeance.

Removing the Manticore would have eliminated a significant portion of DPS. Would my Hurricane have survived? Doubtful. Even if I managed to kill the Vengeance after the Manticore, the other Assault Frigates would have likely caught up with me. But I would have had a better fight!

I was flying a shield Hurricane (low tank, but speedy) with big guns that have low tracking; this means I need to minimize transversal by flying directly away from my targets, hoping they chase after me in a straight line. 

I'm going to enumerate some of the decisions I had to make.

  • Jumped into system with Isktar activating gate. Stabber and Vengeance waiting to jump. I had at most 20 seconds to decide how to proceed. Do I go back through the gate? Do I start kiting and fight? Do I try warping?
  • Choosing to fight, I have to decide the direction to fly. What is my position relative to the enemies, the gate, and possible warp destinations?
  • What is my primary target?
  • Choosing to shoot the Stabber and burn toward a moon, do I activate my MWD? Do I overheat?
  • Turn on Damage Control. 
  • Lock the Stabber.
  • Overheat and turn on guns.
  • I have 2 energy neutralizers. Do I active them? On whom?
  • Launch drones. Engage which target?
  • Pay attention to my distance and transversal. Adjust accordingly.
  • What is my next target? (Based on ship class, potential threat, distance, etc.)
  • Could I warp? (i.e. Am I pointed? Could I kill the ships that are disrupting my warp drives?)
  • Am I scrammed? (Could I activate my MWD to pull range?)

There is too much to discern and decide. This is why it is folly for a pilot to spend his or her early Eve career running missions to accumulate wealth. The pilot learns nothing about actual Eve combat and gets frustrated when they lose expensive ships regularly. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Think I'm Getting Worse

After Saturday's less than superb performance, I was ready to start Sunday anew. I toss my shield Rupture over my shoulder and head into our neighbors' pocket to see what they're up to.

I was welcomed by a lone Wolf Assault Frigate whom I greeted with bullets. All I did was burn toward a celestial with an overheated MWD; he chased me at low transversal but quickly reversed when I ripped through his armor. He wasn't too keen on being kited and managed to escape (at 3200 m/s) when in deep structure. Too bad--that kill would have really lifted my spirits.

I went farther into the pocket, passing a small camp on one of the gates. They tried chasing me around system for a bit and then gave up. A Vagabond came out to pursue (and keep tabs on me), but I gave him the run around, and darted back to the entry system.

When the initial gang stopped chasing me, I figured they'd be waiting to gank me at my only exit. But after an hour or so of being a pest, I also assumed they'd get bored and either roam or dock up. Not so.

I was at the edge of the HIC bubble and chanced a getaway. I waited until the Stilettos orbited away and made a break for it. I was too busy spamming warp and hoping to fall off out of disruptor range that I didn't even think to shoot the Stilettos. One of the interceptor pilots was the Wolf from earlier, and he likely would have flown right at me again. I could have potentially killed both Stilettos and warped out!

I need to think of these things before I die.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Busy Day

I lost three Battlecruisers yesterday.

A Hookbill was poking around right when I logged in. I undocked in a Cyclone, and was gonna fight it once I knew if he had friends or not. Then one of my brethren came outside in a Drake, and the Hookbill warped off.

The Drake warped to the gate, following the interloper, jumped through, and reported a Hookbill and Sabre. I was fairly sure there were more, but decided to fight anyway. When I jumped through, the frigate and interdictor were dancing around us, at about 30-60 km, and I couldn't catch them.

Plus one in system. A Hurricane shows up on scan. If that's all they have, then this shouldn't be too terrible. Hurricane lands right in front of me, and I open fire.

Some points on the video:

  • I managed my capacitor fairly well during the fight; one my in injects was completely neuted away before I used it, but other than that, I think my timing was good.
  • I burnt my guns out because I was too busy watching my cap/shields. I died shortly afterwards, but it still shouldn't have happened.
  • I should have called the Hurricane primary from the beginning. Because if I had, it would have died, and I likely would have lived. For whatever reason, my Drake fleetmate decided to shoot the Sabre until I explicitly said otherwise. The Hurricane didn't die either: he launched ECM drones and managed to warp off when he was in deep structure. I was the only casualty.

My Drake friend logged, so I went out alone in a shield Hurricane. And of course along my route I get caught by a Stiletto interceptor. He doesn't shoot me at all, so he is just pinning me down until his fleet arrives. I try a few times to slingshot him into neut range, but it doesn't happen. I jump back home with the Stiletto very close behind.

Eventually his fleet shows themselves: the Hookbill from earlier, a Drake, and a Stabber Fleet Issue. They are sitting at our station, and I undock in a kiting Rupture to see if I can take out the Stiletto or Hookbill from afar. I warp around system a bit, but when I get good positioning on the frigates, the Stiletto is well-piloted. He approaches me at an angle, and too fast for my guns. So before I get tackled I warp back to station; doesn't look like I'll get to pick any of them off.

(It is possible that the Stiletto would simply hold at range with a point while the Hookbill came close at a very low-transversal vector, letting me blast it into debris. But once again I was afraid of the SFI, and once again we will see that it is not the kind of fit that makes the SFI really shine. I should just assume that enemy SFIs are fit like baby Vagabonds, and not a real threat.)

I tell them in local that it is just me here (everyone else is AFK). They aren't interested in station games, so they leave.

But then some people wake up. We get a little fleet together, composed of me in an armor Hurricane, a Drake, and a Rupture.

We quickly pursue them to the out-gate, isolating their Drake. We are too slow to hold tackle on it, so he warps off. But they know we are looking for a fight now.

We jump into them on the other side of the gate and start shooting. Our Drake was tanking for some time before we could follow him, but we manage to kill a Brutix, his juicy pod, and that SFI.

You can hear me at the end of the video excitedly shooting their Talos. I burnt out one of my webs and MWD, so he pulls range, and blows me up. "damnit."

I think I did well in that fight, other than burning out my modules. If I had the second web and my MWD, could I have kept the Talos pinned down such that his guns would have trouble tracking me? I have no idea.

A while later, Eebsy and I go out in armor battlecruisers to christen his new boat, and die to a gang because we had no maneuverability and no fast tackle. We tried to catch the Curse that came through first, but it was too fast even when I had use of my MWD. A few minutes later, the rest of the fleet finished us off.

Even though I lost 150mil+ ISK in ships and modules, it still was good fun, and I had some good fights.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Destroyer Denouement

Now that I am in a fresh Thrasher (part 1), Eebsy and I depart toward a different section of Syndicate.

When we get there, we find a Tengu and a Legion: both Tech3 Strategic Cruisers, both completely out of our engagement envelope.

We double back, and I ask, "How badly do you want a fight? Do you want to blow up?" Eebs exclaims positively, and I know exactly where to go.

Syndicate is split into halves by a single system that also connects to the only high-sec entrance. It is camped 90% of the time and is always active. Even if it is not, lower Syndicate is very busy during the US timezones. We march south.

The system right before FD- has two pilots in local that have belonged to NPC corps for several years. It is very likely that they are cloaked, scouting alts for whatever is on the other side of the gate.

I tell Eebs to hold as I jump in.

"Sabre, Enyo, Rifter, Thrasher, Stiletto." That fleet that is actually not terrible for us to engage.

My initial plan was to reapproach the gate, hopefully getting a few to shoot at me. Then, depending on who shot, didn't shoot, or jumped, I'd tell Eebs to come through or I'd jump back to him. I didn't notice right away that they were 265 km from the gate, but they soon warp directly to it.

The Rifter jumped out (possibly on accident), and a Retribution Assault Frigate on Eebs' side lands and begins to scram him. I tell Eebs to jump and call the Sabre as primary target.

We kill the Sabre right before Eebs blows up, and I quickly switch to the Thrasher--I know how thin they can be, and there is no way I could catch that Stiletto nor kill the Enyo before I die.
Your group of 200mm AutoCannon II is well aimed at Melissa Blick (Thrasher) 'Stallman Collapses!' <AGONY>, inflicting 440.4 damage.
My final shot takes away half of the Thrasher's armor. If I got off another two or three, then the destroyer would have been space rubble.

I wish Agony "gf", and we take the Pod Express home. Killing a Sabre Interdictor for two destroyers is nice trade (73 mil vs. 30 mil).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tackling a Talos

The Star Map displays vacant and derelict systems in upper Syndicate (a common, unfortunate state for the past few weeks); only one or two dabs of activity. I glance through my hangar, pondering what ship to use in tonight's high jinks.

I initially thought I would go out alone, but my friend and corpmate expresses interest in spaceship violence. I undock in a Thrasher, and he, in a Coercer--both cheap tech 1 destroyers.

I've been favoring Destroyers over Assault Frigates for my roams lately. The destroyer isn't quite as tiny (signature) nor as nimble as an AF, and it lacks the nice tech 2 shield/armor/structure resistances, but it can do as much if not more damage than an AF at 30% of the ISK cost.

Eebsy and I set out toward our destination and find the system seemingly empty. There are a few people docked up, and some wrecks at an asteroid belt. As I am leaving, I sight a Hound stealth bomber on my scanner, and thus suspect he is ratting in it. We feign ignorance and wait in the empty system next door. After a few minutes, we decide to go back for the Hound.

Local chat displays one fewer pilot in system when we return, which leads me to believe that the Hound moved on. I warp to the only other gate.

To my surprise, I see a Talos on scan. I narrow him to a belt and tell my friend to be ready for when I get tackle. I warp to the belt, and the battlecruiser is already 90 km from me. I begin to fly in his direction, minding my transversal velocity. He doesn't run, but instead locks me and begins firing. A Talos is a glass cannon--they are fast for battlecruisers, but also lacking in hitpoints; they fit battleship-size guns (one class up), and thus can be very devastating. I adjust my vector to fly at about a 45 degree angle to his, to keep my transversal velocity high (to evade his shots).
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle hits you, doing 1834.7 damage.
Well it worked for awhile.
That one lucky shot eliminated all my shields--my primary defense. I'm still about 45 km from him. We are moving at nearly the same pace: ~1800 m/s. He slows down to about 1500 m/s, which leads me to believe he's turned off the overheat on his MWD. I turn on mine to close distance.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle barely scratches you, causing 184.8 damage.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle barely scratches you, causing 365.5 damage.

He's starting to get some glancing blows against my armor, but he's dropped to 200 m/s, likely burnt out his MWD.
You have started trying to warp scramble Skrunkle (Talos)
I land a scram on him, but he wasn't trying to get away to begin with. His tactic was to kite me in hopes that I flew directly at him with 0 transversal, allowing his guns to do full damage. With him tackled, I call in Eebsy.

But then: sadness.

Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle barely scratches you, causing 568.4 damage.
Ship stopping.
I sling past him briefly in an elliptical orbit since my MWD was still on. He gets another lucky shot that blasts through my hull completely.

We offer 'gf' to each other in local, and I warp my pod away. Eebs had entered system when I requested, and is in warp toward my wreck. Without a MWD, the Talos pilot is likely concerned with my cohort, so he leaves the belt. Eebs examines the wreck and surprisingly finds most of my modules intact! We head home so that I can fit up another Thrasher with all my damaged goods.

The night is still young.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DVIG Recruitment

My Corporation, Deep Void Industrial Group, has begun a recruitment drive for industrial/mining pilots. As you may know, we are based in EF-F36 in Syndicate. This is an entry system to a very quiet constellation. Our alliance, TABOO, is allied with another alliance in the pocket, AL3XANDER. Between all the corporations in the coalition, we have 23/7 occupation of the area.

Deep Void in particular is a US TZ corp (00:00 to 04:00 Eve time), but will also satisfy early morning AUS players.

If you are a miner that wants to get into some juicier ores, or wants to begin PvPing all that we ask is that:
  • You can fly mining barges (at least Retriever).
  • You can watch intel channels and avoid silly losses.

We take in new PvP pilots regularly and have support/mentoring available. We try to promote a friendly and family environment. We have a good laugh about very silly mistakes (like lighting a cyno 600 km from a station), but we are much more interested in positive criticism and crafting good players. We run Newbie Training events.

Currently we have a few players doing industry for the whole coalition and are nowhere close to meeting demand. We have a wide selection of Cruisers and Battlecruisers that we manufacture and which are quickly purchased. Right now our bottleneck is mineral supply, and the corp will gladly purchase ore that you mine. We even organize mining fleets with the appropriate support vessels. We have plans to do Invention for common T2 modules, but one step at a time :)

If Industry isn't your thing, we are always looking for combat pilots interested in solo or small gang PvP. We have very light requirements:
  • 2.5 million Skill Points.
  • Willingness to lose ships.
  • TeamSpeak 3. 
As general newbie training advice: Aim for T2 guns on the cruiser or battlecruiser of your choice.

Please contact Phox Jorkarzul, Hasugo Numani, or Arorcyn Garnak with questions or applications. Join Deep Void Public in-game channel if you want to chat.

DVIG's killboard, if you are curious.

(If you looking to start your Eve career, I can offer you an extended 21-day trial.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Tactical Error

Several players were itching for a fight last night, so we mustered up a rag-tag fleet of two Hurricanes, an Armageddon, Thrasher, Brutix, Nemesis stealth bomber, Falcon, and a Blackbird. The FC heard dated reports of a couple people running a complex about six jumps from our home system. I reported that the Star Map shows no activity in the system or adjacent ones, but the FC insisted we go after them.

While we were heading toward our destination, there was an enemy fleet of Drakes and Harbingers near us. The FC decided to ignore them and press on.

When our scout got into the system and reported it as empty (surprise), I gave some new possible destinations to the Fleet Commander. For those wondering, the Star Map can display a myriad of statistics, one of which is Average Pilots in Space in the last 30 Minutes.

Our scout found three people in our target system running a complex. We didn't have probes to scan them down, so we paused hoping for a chance to gank them. Unfortunately for one pilot, he jumped into us with a cargo full of Deadspace modules while we were waiting on the gate.

Our marauding band of pirates moved on, looking for more fights. It is a bit late at this point, and a few people drop, leaving us with 2 'canes, 'geddon, Brutix, Falcon, and Blackbird. Our scout informs us that the Drake/Harbinger gang we found earlier is in our next system; and they have more people.

Eventually they warp to the gate and begin to jump into us. I consciously make a terrible decision, opting to load close range ammo in my Hurricane and stay relatively near the gate in order to maximize my damage. This is bad because I'm supposed to be a kiting ship. I have shields, but they wouldn't win any awards.

One of the Harbingers spawns 8500 meters from me, locks me up and puts web/scram on me. I am unable to use my MWD to pull range and thus quickly die.

They have 4 Drakes, 3 Harbingers, and a Falcon; easily dispatching the rest of our fleet. GFs in local, and we head home. Luckily our Falcon pilot made it out alive.

Lessons learned:

  • Do not willingly opt for a brawl when you are a skirmish/kiting ship. Derp.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Smothering Urge to Run Away

I'm at bit pissed at myself.

I was a mere three jumps into my first solo roam in a Cyclone battlecruiser, and I run into a tiny little gang on a gate: Vagabond, Stabber Fleet Issue, Jaguar, and Stiletto.

The overwhelming thought in my mind was to GTFO. I should have been thinking about killing them. I was mostly worried about the SFI, as I know they can kill Cyclones solo.

As I am burning back to the gate, the Vagabond rams right into me to bump me away. The Vagabond. A ship that should never get within 10 km of me. Right then and there I should have scrammed him and smoked him; they are paper-thin. Instead I leave my MWD overheat on, desperately trying to get to the gate.

Photo from Corelin at Mad Haberdashers
When I jump through, I'm followed by the SFI who appears 24 km from me. "Great," I think, "I should be able to warp off since the SFI only has a Warp Scrambler (max range ~10 km)." As I am aligning, I get pointed. "wtf? He has a Warp Disruptor?" That signaled to me that the SFI is not fit as a close-range armor fun-machine, but instead a poorly-fit baby-Vagabond. Meaning: shields and wants to kite me.

This part is a little blurry as I am managing the overheat on my MWD, two cap boosters, and a shield booster. But I think I went for the SFI, trying to scram him, and then I mismanage modules, doubt myself, and head back to the gate.

More ships keep coming in. A Talos. I jump again. Now a Tengu. Somewhere in there I burnt out my MWD.

My calvary finally gets into system, but without a MWD, I'm a sitting duck. I hold my jumpcloak as long as possible, but it wears off, and I go down. Looking at the killmail, I forgot I had ECM drones too. /facepalm

There are only about three rescue pilots (they aren't fleeted...), and when they see all the additional ships that have arrived to kill me, my friends decide to go home. The invaders follow them.

I ask about a fleet and fighting them, but no one seems interested. Instead we undock two carriers and scare them off. My buddy manages to kill a Daredevil, which is a pretty nice trade.

I'm less-than-impressed with my alliance's show of force rather than camping the out-gate and fighting these interlopers. After a few minutes, I grab a Thrasher and head out alone again, but don't find anything to shoot at.

Lessons learned:

  • When camped, take a moment. 
  • Look for opportunities to fight; not all hope is lost.
  • I need to set autoreload on my cap boosters.
  • Remember what my ship is supposed to do and supposed to fight. In this case, I am looking to kill kiting ships that get into my scrambler range, which is exactly what happened multiple times, and I did not capitalize on it.
  • Lock things even if I can't fight them right away.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mining Party Crasher

I'm alone in a shield Rupture, looking for some fun in the sun. I dispatch a Thrasher without issue and find a ratting Myrmidon that I try to catch about six times before he's fed up and logs off.

The star map shows a bit of activity in a dead-end constellation about 10 jumps from me. When I get there, there is some chatter in local about missioning and salvaging, and I suspect these guys were doing an exploration site or mission, and I just missed them (not that I would be able to scan them down anyway).

Directional scan shows about four Hulks, a Retriever, Mammoth, and Drake. "Definitely at a POS tower," I resolve. I point d-scan at the belts anyway, and to my complete surprise they are at a belt! Holy crap a mining operation!

I warp to the asteroid belt to land about 40 km away from the closest Hulk. I dodge some rocks, lock and point the mining Exhumer, and kill it as the Drake starts to fire at me. The rest of them warp off, but I wouldn't be able to tank the Drake anyway.

I burn away, scanning the stations to see how safe they are. I notice a Hulk at one of the stations and warp there. He is sitting outside, but I dock up quick to repair my shields. When I undock, the Hulk is right next to me. I switch ammo and overheat my guns; this guy should enter station when he starts taking damage. But he seems to be AFK, so I get another Hulk kill.

The Drake comes to the station too late to save his friend, and I dock when my aggression timer finishes. I'm feeling pretty good right about now, and think, "If these guys are dumb enough to mine in Syndicate and not dock up when a neutral enters system, then I doubt this Drake pilot is that much of a threat."

I let him shoot me a few times just to see how much damage he is packing--it is quite a lot. Shield Ruptures are not that tanky, but I figured the cruiser definitely had a good run, and podding myself would be an easy way home. I open fire on the Drake, and we have a good brawl, but I expectantly blow up.

Since this Drake seems to be their only active defense, I grab my Stabber Fleet Issue and head back to their system. The SFI has an extraordinarily small signature radius which lets it dodge damage from cruiser-or-larger guns. It is typically fit with an active armor tank to maintain its small signature and speed. It has enough mid-slots to fit both a Microwarp Drive (MWD) and Afterburner (AB), AKA "dual-prop[ulsion]". The MWD provides a 500% velocity bonus at the cost of increased signature. It is used to get in close to the target. Once there, an AB can provide a noticeable increase of velocity at no signature penalty. ABs are very good at mitigating missile damage--the damage of the Drake.

When I get back to VLGD-R, they are all docked up. The Drake pilot eventually undocks in a Raven battleship which I am excited about because I should have no trouble tanking the even large missiles of the Raven. I tried to pull him away from the station so that his friends don't undock once I engage, but he doesn't seem interested.

Slowly more battleships and battlecruisers dock and redock at the station. Their final composition is two Drakes, a Myrmidon, and a Megathon. My plan to to warp around and get them separated enough that I could kill one before the others got too close. I'm looking to isolate one between 60km and 140km. After 150km, they can warp to their fleetmate.

I warp back and forth between the sun and the station, but other than slowly fly out to try to intercept me, they aren't that interested in chasing. I call them out in local, and that seems to work. They follow me to the sun, but either some of them don't warp, or they all warp to the same distance--I can't get them into the position I want.

There is some more warping back and forth, and they eventually get the idea to anchor a bubble between the station and sun. I easily avoid it, and even try to shoot it down, but the Myrmidon was guarding it, and I was afraid he'd point me when I got too close. They all go back to the station or a distant bookmark about 250km from it.

At this point another pilot undocks in a Thrasher. He doesn't seem to be aware of this dance that is going on, and he goes to the bubble and sits there. So I intentionally warp to it, kill him, and warp away before they all land on me.

I warp back to my bookmark above the station to see what they are doing. There is a Drake sitting on the Thrasher wreck, and the rest are at the undock or the 250km bookmark.

I'm going to attempt to use the bubble against them. I warp to the wreck and burn away from the other ships, putting the bubble between them and me. The Drake webs and scrams me, and my overheated AB is pulling range, but here is where I messed up. I think my scram fell off the Drake, so he can use his MWD to catch back up. When I saw him gaining range again, I gave up, and thought I couldn't pull range. I took my drugs and turned on my guns.

Everyone else was caught in the bubble and slowly making their way toward us. There was some minor mismanagement of my cap booster, but I nearly took out all the Drake's shields before I went down. Without shields, the Drake would have died quickly, and then I would have put my attention on the Myrmidon. I like to think that I was really close to killing all four of them :)

We danced around in system for about an hour before the final showdown. It was a lot of fun for me, definitely learned some things. Afterwards, I receive a convo request:

Hasugo Numani > hey
Moridin Nae'blis > I salute you sir
Moridin Nae'blis > thats a pretty tough ship you had there
Hasugo Numani > yeah, i was trying to split you guys up
Hasugo Numani > tiny sig, battleships don't hurt it :)
Moridin Nae'blis > frustrated the shit outta me i tell ya lol
Hasugo Numani > haha
Moridin Nae'blis > well GF, im off to bed
Hasugo Numani > gn
Hasugo Numani > gf
Moridin Nae'blis > o7

Friday, April 27, 2012

Campsites Abound

This post isn't going to be anything too exciting, but there are pictures! I installed Irfanview at the suggestion of Kdansky, and it captured a few screenshots of my night.

I'm on a little solo roam with a Rupture cruiser; nothing too fancy. I head toward FD- because there is some activity on the Star Map. I jump into 10 in local with some nasty stuff flying around system.

I figure that they are camping the PF- gate, so I decide to venture to lower Syndicate via X-B instead.

Welcome party in X-BV98
Well, my hunch was dead wrong. I hopped right into another gate camp. I burn back only taking minimal damage...

Minor flesh wound
I warp to the station and repair, setting my destination to A-SJ8X instead; I'll stay in upper Syndicate tonight.

Along the way I spot a Cruor frigate on scan and at a station. I warp in a distance to survey. I never fought a Cruor before, but it has damage, neutralizer, and web bonuses. He heads right toward me at over 2000 m/s and his friend undocks in a Myrmidon, which spooks me to warping off.

I resolve to try to fight the frigate anyway, but when I jump back into the system, they are docked up and don't want to play anymore.

When I reach A-S, there are 7 in local. Nothing on scan, so I dock to see who is inside. When I undock, there is a Sensor Boosted Drake to lock me up and prevent my escape. I dock and redock about 20 times, thinking they'd get bored, but I've unfortunately created a perverse game of Whack-a-Mole for them. They bring out a few more ships:

They know I'm going to continue to play station games with them, so they bring out some more firepower in attempts to alpha me right into my pod.

When I see the second Oracle on the field, I conclude that it is time to log off (and write this post!).

I should have went for that Cruor; it is worth over 3x my Rupture, and I think I would have had a good chance kiting it. Instead I got camped in.

In Lucky News, a corpmate found a Snake Delta implant from a belt rat. So... congrats to him /spiteful

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Top Griefer

"Griefing", "trolling", "grinding", and "zerging" all seem to be defined differently to different people, but according to our kill boards, killing industrial vessels = "griefing".

Last night I snagged another.

I would rather call them Opportunistic kills since I'm not trying to torment players; I just want to capitalize on their mistakes.

I was heading to Empire space to buy a few skill books when I noticed this Retriever on scan. I take a moment to find him at the only asteroid belt around a planet. He evades my first warp in, but there is a cargo can by a cluster of 'roids--the guy is obviously can mining. I bookmark the can's location for later.

Meanwhile he's reshipped into a Tengu to scare me off. I was already going to leave system to make him come back out in the mining barge, but if he thinks he's shooed me away, then all the better.

I jump into TXW to wait at a location I have 300 km from the gate. Rote Kapelle has returned from their "vacation", and there are about 10 pilots in system. My presence stirs them into action: first a Cynabal appears, then a Legion, and then a Damnation. I'm in a Thrasher; I'm certainly not going to fight any of that.

The Cynabal warps to the gate, and we have a staring contest for a few minutes. I'm spamming scan to make sure I don't get probed out. The pirate cruiser eventually leaves, and I decide it is time to catch that Retriever.

I warp back to the gate, jump through, and immediately initiate warp to the cargo can I bookmarked earlier. My scanner displays the Retriever, and I come out of warp right on top of the guy. He isn't aligned, and thus is unable to warp off before I lock and point him. A couple volleys and he explodes. I try to get the pod for a ransom, but he gets his egg away.

Too bad it wasn't a Hulk.

Rote then jumps into the system with the Cynabal and a Vexor. I dock up for a bit to do some chores while they taunt me to come out. They eventually leave, and I finish my trek to get the skillbooks.

On my way home, there is a Drake sitting on a gate. I warp to an on-grid location just to monitor him while I make a little report in our intel channel. He warps away, and I continue homeward. Once docked, I slip into something a little more comfortable: a Stabber Fleet Issue. I head back out with the intention of killing the Caldari battlecruiser.

He is no longer in the system I originally reported, so I pick an adjacent system and head to the gate. Oh, he is here. Along with 8 of his friends. A lovely little gate camp. Good thing I didn't find him alone--he is likely tanked like a brick to ensure his cronies would arrive in time to save him.

I pulse my MWD and re-approach the gate; half the fleet aggresses, and my capacitor is gone by the time I jump through. I initiate warp toward another gate as three of them follow me. I'm not worried about getting away since my SFI is quite nimble. I report the gate camp and just head home.

When I think back now, I may have been able to string them out by warping around. Maybe even jump into another system to isolate them further. Perhaps I could have fought one alone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Newbie Frigate Night

We had recruited a few new guys who have little to no experience in PvP. They seemed a bit hesitant to take the plunge into null, so we decided to coax them into coming to Syndicate with a corp-sponsored Frigate teaching-tutorial-roam-thing.

In general, new PvP players have skewed expectations about the regular environment in low and null. There aren't 50 people in every system waiting to gank you as soon as you jump. There aren't bubble deathtraps everywhere. Nullsec is actually quite spacious--most of the time you can be in system all by yourself. However, 1% of the time players will jump into a camp or warp into a drag bubble, so they need to take precautions and be mindful. In essence: don't let your guard down.

For the event, we prepared a few T1 frigate hulls and grabbed the appropriate fittings from Jita. We spent about 30 minutes putzing around in a safe system while people were joining fleet, playing cat-and-mouse with dscan and calling target locations, shooting each other, and just making sure everyone was comfortable.

Then I suggested we do something more formal, so I was elected to FC a roam. We had 2 Rifters, 2 Punishers, a Tristan, an Incursus, a Nemesis stealth bomber, and a covert Loki (which I know is not a t1 frig, but he insisted). The Loki scouted while we went around Outer Ring and back through upper Syndicate.

We spotted a Scythe and Cynabal from Rote; and while I'm sure we could kill the Scythe, the Cynabal would pick us off while we were running from it. We went all the way to PF- (I was hoping for a gate camp), but our scout found only a ratting Myrmidon.

I didn't really want to engage the Myrm since its drones are pretty nasty to frigates, but it was getting late, and the Myrm obliged without even knowing.

"Myrm on your gate. Myrm jumping."

We point the battlecruiser and get started on drones. I was the first to engage, so I was the first to feel his wrath. A Drake from Rote appeared on dscan and landed 100 km from the gate. Without knowing how the Drake would behave, we called to disengage. Lost three t1 frigates in total.

It would have been awesome if we killed the Myrmidon, but everyone had a really good time regardless. Some of our new players said that was "awesome," and everyone agreed that we should do more roams.

Great Success :-)

On a side note, I am not getting any better at remembering Fraps or even screenshots while this stuff goes on, but one day, I promise you, I will have proper media to illustrate explosions, confetti, and other fun bits.

Friday, April 20, 2012

I feel like a nomad

This will be our third move in Syndicate. zzz... We are getting pretty good at it though. A few people have Transport ships to courier belongings to stations. Some of the other guys in the Alliance have carriers to jump fitted ships.

The Alliance is doing some "restructuring" too, essentially consolidating the number of corporations. There will be an EU TZ corp and a US/Aus TZ corp.

We've joined a coalition of alliances in the EF-F36 pocket, which has me pretty excited. It is a dead-end constellation with a station for research and manufacturing. Thus we can "bear" it up to our hearts' content, mine what we need, and manufacture a lot of ships. Hell, I may even train mining since it will become quite lucrative. (I'm hoping it will be meditative for the nights where I don't feel like thinking.)

CEO is trying to convince a full-fledged Industrial corporation to join us, which will help out immensely. Depending on if that happens and if they have T2 Invention covered, I may spin up one of my Invention alts to assist the war effort.

We may have a home.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Lovely Deimos

An Iteron IV jaunts through 5-F with seemingly reckless abandon. It piques the pirate in me and another corpmate, so we deviate from our minor PvE tasks and give chase. The Industrial is heading back to low sec.

I hesitate briefly on the gate while my comrade catches up--I am in a Thrasher destroyer; he, in a Manticore stealth bomber. Our pause puts enough distance between the hauler and us, and we don't catch it during the two short jumps.

We pass a motionless Deimos acting as a sentry on the regional gate; I suspect he is scouting for the Iteron. When we fail to keep up with the Industrial vessel, we turn our attention to the Heavy Assault Cruiser.

A Deimos can be an awesome ship, easily dispatching a destroyer and stealth bomber. So we decide to ship up. The plan is quite simple: I will grab my brawling armor Hurricane battlecruiser and jump through the regional gate, waiting on the other side for the Deimos. My partner will use a Tengu to scare the Deimos, force him through the gate, and into my waiting arms. My long point and dual webs should keep the cruiser tackled while the Tengu bounces back to the gate and jumps through to assist further.

I jump past the Deimos and get in position near the center of the gate. Regional gates are very large, and thus the jump spawn location can be far from other spawn locations; I want have the highest likelihood of being in point range.

After a few minutes, the Tengu is reconfigured and heading back toward the Deimos. He lands about 40 km from the gate and begins launching missiles at the HAC. If the Deimos engages on the Tengu side, I will jump back through and assist. But he behaves exactly as predicted and actives the jump gate toward low sec.

He holds cloak as he knows he's been had. He spawns about 24 km from me, and fails to burn away. I point him and eventually toss two stasis webifiers on him, slowing him to about 10% of his regular speed. With the webs, my AutoCannons are tearing away his armor.

His pod is ejected from the burning wreckage before our Tengu can even get through the gate. I warp off to evade gate gun fire.

"Is he.. is he hull tanked...?" I ask over comms. A curious fit--it appears to have a single Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II. Oh well.

The Tengu isn't on the killmail because when the Deimos used the gate, his session data was cleared along with all reported damage he had received and their sources.

Friday, April 6, 2012


The worst part about losing ships is moving replacement hulls to my home station. It is such a logistical burden to have to find cheap ships and to get them to where I can fit them.

And thanks to all the upcoming expansion changes and player-events, ship prices are increasing steadily. CCP's constant fight against botters has reduced some mineral supply. They are removing drone alloy drops from NPC drone pirates, and removing meta0 item drops from all other pirate wrecks--both significant, if not the majority, sources of some minerals. The Goon's Burn Jita victory celebration is in a few weeks, and they are coinciding it with Hulkaggedon V (participants suicide gank as many Hulk mining exhumers as they can in order to win prizes). The mineral supply is already shrinking, and speculators are snatching up stockpiles in order to profit.

I definitely think the drop changes are good, as it allows mining and other income activities to compete with Incursions. Nevertheless, it hurts my immediate bottom line.

The Alliance stocks popular hulls and modules, reselling them to us for only a slight mark-up. I wanted two Hurricanes, and asked for a price: 92 million. Yikes. A quick glance at the Syndicate market shows two Hurricanes 6 jumps away for 34 million each. All I gotta do is move them to 5-F.

I enlist a corpmate, who excitedly brings a cloaky Tengu to scout for me. I'm traveling in just my pod and will be flying the 'canes back "naked".

First Hurricane rests neatly in my hangar. Our first trip saw no problems.

However, our second journey seems to have caught the attention of the locals. The battlecruisers were at the GRNJ-3 station, a dead-end system in a dead-end constellation. When we jump into EF-F36, we find two Harbinger battlecruisers and a Malediction interceptor watching our out-gate into P-NUWP.

The gate between the red circled systems is camped.
If I had guns, we maybe could beat them up (even though Harbingers hurt). But I don't have any modules, and our Tengu has covert ops offensive subsystem, so he isn't bringing any big punches. There is no way I'd be able to jump through the gate and not get tackled by the Malediction.

I amuse myself while we try to find some more pilots. I am warping around to bookmarks in EF while the enemies try to scan me down. I narrow my directional scanner to about 6 AU. When I see scan probes, I warp to a different bookmark. ::smirk::

We muster up a Manticore stealth bomber and a tank-n-gank Proteus T3 cruiser. I catch sight of an enemy Tengu on dscan, so they are bringing a bit more firepower. Once our fleet is on the P-N side of the gate, I warp to 0 and plan to jump immediately, baiting the 2 battlecruisers and whatever else they have.

Unfortunately they seem to have gotten bored or scared, because by the time I land on the gate, they've all warped off. The guys are upset that they didn't get a fight, but my rescue is a success!

Now I have a few more Hurricanes to blow up >:)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tonight We Dine in Wormholes

Even though we're living in Syndicate now, we occasionally will run through our old low sec systems in Placid just to see if we can get a fight.

A corpmate spots a couple Drakes running a mission or exploration complex in a low security system a few jumps from our station in 5-FGQI. No one has scan probes fitted to a combat ship, so I am asked to bring along my Probe since I seem to have a knack for flash scanning. I can't fly Tech2 Covert Ops or Recon ships, so I'm stuck with the Tech1 frigate which has the unfortunate attribute of being unable to warp while cloaked.

Low-sec systems in Placid
Our fleet comprises of a Tengu T3 cruiser, a Brutix battlecruiser, a Harbinger cattlebruiser, a Scorpion battleship, and me in the mighty Probe frigate. We position ourselves in Aunsou on the gate to their system (Cumemare), and I'm asked to jump in to see if I can scan them down. Our Tengu, who originally spotted them, reports that they're gone now--we missed them.

Our Tengu jumps out of Cumemare. I stay here cloaked, monitoring the system and the gate for any activity. A Vagabond heavy assault cruiser shows up on my directional scanner and lands on the Aunsou gate. He holds for a moment while a Wolf assault frigate lands right behind him. They linger for a moment before warping off.

Now a Zealot heavy assault cruiser arrives on the gate. He jumps through into the waiting arms of our fleet. He foolishly attacked one of our fleet members, so he is unable to use the gate for 60 seconds. He blows up and gets his pod away.

Zealot HAC
The Vagabond and Wolf are back on the gate. Vaga is piloting away and seems to be making bookmarks. Our Tengu jumps through to see if he can bait the Vaga. He doesn't bite, but somewhere in here we catch sight of a cloaky Pilgrim Recon cruiser who is in the same corporation as the Vagabond. We have the numbers on them, so we aren't too worried, but more intel is always good.

Vaga is just flying around the gate, doesn't seem too keen on jumping through. He eventually warps off, with his Pilgrim friend to follow. They leave system.

My fleet gets caught up trying to catch some other people in Aunsou, but I'm still scouting around Cumemare, to see if anyone comes out to play. I see a Wolf and Retribution, both Assault Frigates, on my directional scanner and try to locate them. They are in the middle of space somewhere, not at any cosmic anomaly that I've picked up. So I warp away, launch my scan probes out of their range, and try to get a reading.

Wormhole leading to unknown space
First scan only gets about 30% on both ships. Second scan misses them. They seem to have left system. I investigate further, and they were right on top of an Unstable Wormhole! I resolve the signature 100% and bookmark the location. The fleet is excited about fighting some unknown wormhole dwellers, so they all warp to the hole.

I'm the unlucky scout, so they decide to make me enter and see what's on the other side. I jump in, and to my surprise there is a Vagabond, Pilgrim, Wolf, and Retribution all on the hole. Ha! I prime the fleet for the eventual jump in, shed my jump cloak, and activate the wormhole to jump back into known-space.

They all follow.

We tackle and primary the Vagabond while jamming one of the Pilgrims. We are beating them pretty good, but our ignorance of wormhole mechanics is our disadvantage. Unlike jumpgates, wormholes do not have a 60 second aggression lock-out: players can jump through the wormhole whenever they want (but not more than twice in 4 minutes). So they all jump back into their hole, and we are cautious to go in after them--we don't know if any more are waiting for us.

So they send me back in. Once inside, I move away and immediately cloak. No one that I can see is on grid with me, but soon that Vagabond lands on the hole, launches drones, and tries to comb me out. If an object comes within 2500 meters of a cloaked ship, the cloak will deactivate. It is likely that the Pilgrim, hiding with a cloak of his own, saw me jump through and alerted his friends.

A bunch more arrive, and they all orbit the hole, trying to bump me out of cloak. Vaga, Pilgrim, Wolf, Retribution, and now a Firetail frigate. The Firetail comes within 3000 meters, but changes his vector and orbits away.

After a few minutes of trying to find me, they give up and decide to have another go at a brawl. I warn my fleet that they are jumping through. No problem for our guys, and the wormholers leave once again with their tails between their legs. Still no losses for either side.

We are fed up with this game, so we decide to head home. I inform them that there is now a Tengu waiting at the hole with the rest of them, and that seals the deal. Everyone warps off, and a couple of us dock up since it's getting late.

But I'm still in the wormhole.

The enemy fleet jumps in to Cumemare to find us gone, and returns home, warping away to whatever base they have set up (they appeared to be warping to the middle of nowhere, so it is possible that they came through a 2nd wormhole). The Vagabond is still on the portal; I think he can smell me.

I drop cloak and warp to a planet to bounce back to the wormhole. As I am warping, I see a Mobile Warp Disruption Field on my scanner--they are trying to catch me in a bubble! Luckily I warped before the bubble was anchored, so I land right at my destination and hop through, wishing the void "gf".

The Vagabond follows, but he is too slow to lock my tiny frigate, and home I go.

It turns out that the Zealot we killed earlier belonged to this same group of pilots, and he likely forgot about the 60 second aggression rule on gates. Had he not shot at anyone, he would have jumped back through and lived.

It was fun to be cloaked up and watching all this transpire. I might have to look into Covert Ops and Recons soon.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

To Syndicate!

Several weeks ago, our corp joined some old friends under a new banner: TABOO alliance. We have moved into Syndicate, an NPC-owned region of null space. Syndicate is known for its PvP and is home to quite a few famous alliances: Agony Unleashed and Rote Kapelle to name a few.

Azual, a member of Agony, has a nice write-up of Syndicate:
Syndicate is NPC nullsec. This means that it has all the mechanics of nullsec (bubbles, bombs, no gate guns etc) but no player alliance can take sovereignty - all stations are NPC owned and open to anyone (and in Syndicate, there are a lot of stations!). It's effectively a cross between lowsec and nullsec, with the ease of access of the former combined with the mechanics of the latter.
I'm having fun when we play with bubbles--I'm not so terrified of them anymore. We are already being mentioned in a battlereport thead. We do small gang roams too (my latest was a suicide mission into Delve which I'm not too pleased about). But the nicest thing about null-sec is not worrying about security status! Pop and pod to my heart's content. Awesome.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Another Questionable Exploit

Another gray area example related to yesterday's post:

CCP Guard says:
Evading Concord is dodgy business. The GMs will make the call on whether this is an exploit or not, until then I'm locking the thread.
Uh huh.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Web Exploits

Yesterday Garmon attacked and killed a jump freighter while it was warping off a station just after undocking. His vessel (which was later retrieved by Pandemic Leagion) has 3 webs and no warp disruption. Curious, a thread popped up on Failheap asking about "web warp denial". It appears that a slow ship initiating warp while undocking from a station can be prevented from both warping and cancelling the warp (disallowing them to redock).

EVE News picked up the event, labeling it an exploit and testing it on Singularity.

it works on the principle that when you undock a ship, it is moving much faster than your maximum speed (especially in a freighter) if you hit warp, your ship tries to align while slowing down too (it is ESSENTIAL that your ship has to change alignment, [instant undock] will always work) this is when you slap it with triple webs.

once the triple webs hit, under normal conditions your top speed is reduced to 1.1m/s. But your speed is still like 100/200ms as in the kickout from the undock, you won’t be able to stop the warp, you cannot dock Either.

You never reach warp because your speed never reaches that low, you can’t eject, you cant [disconnect] because you are trying to initiate warp, you are ALWAYS going to die, we tested ALL of this just now.
 Garmon defended himself in the FHC thread:
This has been in the game for a very long time, for as long as I can remember, I died to it two years ago and I petitioned it incase it was a bug or an intended mechanic, it was the latter, I am 100% sure that a lot of people has been doing the same thing over the years, I don't think it's exploiting since CCP is aware of it, just bad game design I think
Well, with the thread and EVE News article explaining how to replicate this "intended mechanic", pirates came out in droves to see what they could catch. All the buzz and activity alerted CCP, and they made a pretty clear decision:
It has come to our attention that some players are making use of a broken game mechanic involving web modules preventing people from warping, for the purpose of killing them.  This is a clear exploit and anyone found abusing this will be dealt with accordingly.  Exploiting may result in a permanent suspension from the game. Our Game Design team will be working to deploy a fix for this issue in the near future.
This seems to be very typical of CCP: gray areas of the mechanic-exploit spectrum are interpreted by GMs differently, without ever asking/alerting game designers or managers. Then years later, someone with authority hears about it and either condemns or approves those involved.

EVE is all about clever use of game mechanics. I would label this as an exploit, but why is it OK to employ webs to let ships enter warp faster? Bumping ships out of POS force fields? Suicide ganking? Contract scamming? Ninja looting + Orca ship swapping? Cloaked MWD warp trick?

Some of those actions are exploitative, but nonetheless avoidable. Don't shoot at the loot thief, and he won't come back with a Tengu. Don't transport 3 billion ISK in an Iteron IV (or use a scout). What about having instant undock bookmarks from low sec stations, or stopping your jump freighter after undocking and then initiating warp? Do those qualify as preventive measures against the exploiter?

I guess not for CCP. Seems a bit arbitrary.

(This reminded me of another clever use of webs. A few months ago, Tiger Ears had a good post about pinning down two hulks with a single web and single point. Begin reading after the first image.)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Thorax in a Mission

Another quick kill. I wish this guy put up more of a fight, but he was less than a month old. When I saw "Thorax" on my scanner, my eyes lit up, and I forgot to check his Employment History.

Thorax isn't a terrible ship, but it is a Tech 1 cruiser, which are pretty much the red-headed step-children of EVE. Faction cruisers (like my Stabber Fleet Issue) are better, but no where near the capabilities of Battlecruisers, pirate cruisers, and Tech 3 Strategic cruisers.

I found the Thorax in an empty system with a bunch of wrecks in the middle of nowhere. I went back to Gare to pick up my scanning ship, stayed near the gate uncloaked while landing a 100% reading on my first analysis. Recalled probes, warped home, and sat in my Stabber. The seat was still warm.

I warped to the bookmark I made of the Thorax's signature, and landed near an Acceleration gate. These gates are one-way entrances into little pockets of space called Deadspace. Players can only get there using the gates, but they can leave at any time by warping out the conventional way. Each pocket of space is called a "room". The first room of this mission was clear of anything hostile, so I approached the next Acceleration gate to enter the second room.

I land about 20 km from the cruiser, who is casually shooting the rats for his mission. My microwarp drive closes the distance very quickly, and even if he were paying attention to his overview, I doubt he had enough time to align and warp.

I launch my drones to add some firepower, but it's overkill. The SFI moves too fast for his long-range railguns to track. At least he saves his pod.

He could have seen my probes when I was scanning him. He could have been watching directional scanner with short range to indicate when I entered his mission deadspace. He could have been pre-aligned and ready to warp at the first sign of danger.

I have a video because I actually remembered to start the recording, but it isn't all that impressive.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Clean Kill

Myrmidon bouncing around Gare. He's in the middle of space, 8 AU from the gate toward a planet cluster. Swap to a scan ship. 100% on first scan. Tell corpmate the location; he warps in and snags him. I arrive to offer some bullets and get the killmail.

So clean. So professional.

This is why "safe" spots aren't really safe ;D

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Bad Habits

Grinding Security Status is painfully slow. The gains are awarded based on the highest bounty NPC killed in a system every 15 minutes. But each system has its own 15 minute counter. If a player wants to be efficient about it, they typically fit a Stealth Bomber, plot a loop through null/low sec, and pop a single battleship NPC in each system.

Gare is along a nice loop through Placid and Syndicate: we see a decent amount of traffic.

Every now and again we find evidence of Stealth Bombers killing battleship rats. Some of them make a habit out of it, continuously warping to the same asteroid belt over and over, killing the respawned battleship over and over.

When you become predictable, you die.

The amazing part of this story is that we passed each other at a belt. I had intel that he was frequenting a particular location, so when I saw him in system, I immediately warped there. The pack of mobs had either been killed or despawned, so there was no battleship for this Hound to kill. He entered warp to another belt when I landed--he definitely saw me. And yet he still decided it was safe to fight rats.

I land a few km from him. He's locked by the rats, preventing his cloak. Fight is over. I scram him no problem and make quick work of the fragile frigate. 

Too predictable; ignored danger. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Fool's Errand

Not everyone in EVE is a hardened, soulless griefer. Many people don't play all that intelligently, and their mistakes can be exploited.

Several nights ago, I'm idling in station in our home system, just monitoring traffic. If I notice someone hanging around a bit longer than they should, I pop my head outside and see if they are at an asteroid belt or cosmic signature.

I have some scouting bookmarks in the system which let me quickly scan popular destinations with minimal warping. I pick up an Iteron Mark IV industrial ship on my directional scanner, pin-pointing him at a collection of stations and planets. A few seconds later he disappears from my eye, so I widen the angle back out to 360 degrees. He's still in range, and I infer that he is warping to the jump gate which is in my periphery.

I immediately warp to the gate and jump through, hoping to snag him when he jumps into the system.

When you enter a system through a jump gate, your ship appears at a location 15 km away from a random point on the gate model. If you imagine a sphere enveloping the gate (it's really closer to an ellipsoid), ships spawn on some random point on the surface. For small gates, the diameter is usually close to 30 km. For larger gates (gates between regions), the diameter can be higher.

I move to shed the jump cloak, pre-overheat my warp scrambler, and turn on my damage control. Gate flashes, and he appears 28 km from me. I approach with a MicroWarp Drive propulsion module, and begin locking him. I need to get about 10 km away to be in range of my overheated scrambler. I can't burn the distance in time, and he warps off.

Oh well. I go back to my system and dock up.

Thirty minutes later he is back. I undock, spot him on scan: Iteron Mark IV. I don't believe it.

I jump through the gate, this time getting in a better position right near the center of the gate. Flash. He's only about 12 km from me, and by the time I lock, I'm in range of my scram.

Your security status has been lowered.

I make quick work of the Iteron in my Stabber Fleet Issue, and I'm tanking the gate guns with my armor repairers. I immediately begin targeting the escape pod, acquiring a lock before he warps. A quick ping with my guns, and he wakes up in a cloning vat.

I inspect the wreck: nothing of value. I leave it there and warp to a spot in the middle of nowhere to wait out my Criminal Countdown and inspect the kill mails. Worthless 1.7 mil Iteron, but what do we have here: a 300 mil clone. Not a bad way to pad my efficiency stats, ha!

A few minutes later I get a conversation request from him. I accept.

He says nothing. I send a "hello". This is his reply:
Jamie TaoLei > yes gee thanks you kiled me haluling Pl mats you destroyed my +5 implants im at odds with my own corp im in ty you gave me a reason to quit spending 15$ a month
Right after that, he asks to add me as a friend contact. Seems a bit crazy to me, but I don't care what he does. We talk for the next hour, and he tells me how awful his life is, how he is "giving up on EVE", and all sorts of depressing nonsense. The character is from 2007, yet I managed to "destroy all his wealth". I'm pretty sure he was trying to scam me into sending him ISK, which I certainly did not do.

But forget the tears, this guy made some major mistakes. Ignore that he was transporting things in a hauler without a cloak. He:

  1. Saw me try to catch him 30 minutes ago.
  2. Didn't fit Warp Core Stabilizers.
  3. Didn't warp his pod off when he had plenty of time to do so (I lock a pod in 7.5 seconds, but they align and warp near-instantly).
Those are some pretty bad choices. A fool and his money are soon parted.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


No one reads this, but I'm still here!

Past couple months I set up three secondary characters to do Tech2 Invention and Manufacturing in order to make ISK. I bought a couple PLEX to active the accounts and fund the initial capital (and even won a third from SOMER Blink). My original intention was to get the ball rolling and log in with the characters about twice a month and collect a check. This was far from reality.

I had a small tower set up in high sec, and established the Copy, Invent, & Manufacture pipeline--from blueprint to item took about 3 days. But in order to maximize my profits, I was logging in every day for an hour or more. I had to run to Jita to buy more materials daily, and then I had to monitor my sell orders constantly just to fight in undercutting wars. It was a real nuisance and was taking significant time away from pew pew.

I closed up shop after 2 months or so. I made back the money I spent on PLEX and even turned a billion in profit. It was good to see how Invention and industry work, so I'm glad I did it, but never again.

My current money making scheme is to do Incursions. I have an extra character on a friend's account which he barely uses, yet still pays for. He is trained for level 4 missions, so after some minor skilling and refitting, I get him into HQ Incursion fleets as a sniper. HQ fleets aren't the milk and honey you hear about in tales--they make between 35 and 50 mil an hour. And then there are all the annoying people in fleet. So yeah; with my bank, I'm shelving the HQs, training the character into a Nightmare, and waiting to run Vanguards, which will be more profitable and hopefully less irritating.

And HQ sites are terribly boring. This is "fun":

Hasugo's skill plan took a bit of a detour. Since I like flying nimble ships, I decided to max some of my Navigation skills. I couldn't fit some basic t2 modules like webs and medium neuts, so I trained the respective skills. Since gate guns hurt, I trained relevant Hurricane skills to 4 so that I can be more effective in our tiny gangs.

During one of these fights, I was beating the piss out of another 'cane, a Daredevil, and a Zealot 3v1. I stupidly switched targets from the Hurricane to the Daredevil mid-fight, and thus ended up dying just as my fleet landed, but I fell in love with the Hurricane. Both the 'cane and DD were in structure when I popped, so I could have walked away the victor in a 3v1 (the Zealot warped as soon my fleet entered the system) if I hadn't switched targets.

After that awesome fight, I decided to train Battlecruiser to level 5, adding an amazing 50 DPS to my Hurricane. I'm also taking advantage of Cruiser 5 with a Stabber Fleet Issue. Vagabond is likely up next when I decide to work on Heavy Assault Cruiser. I'm still interested in the Cynabal, it's just taking a little longer :P

The SFI is fun to fly; I like the dual-propulsion modules. I also get to use an active armor tank with it, and thus I spent some time on my drug skills. I can pop an Exile booster in a pinch.

All-in-all I'm having fun and think this is the best MMO on the market. Every now and then there are quiet nights (like tonight) that appear uneventful. But as I said before, even some simple cat and mouse is exciting--we tried to catch a Viator through several gates, but no luck.

Ship loses don't phase me much anymore, but the adrenalin still pumps when locking someone up.

I gotta remember to run Fraps too. It's really helpful for After Action Review.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


A fun part of EVE is when patience and improvisation pay off.

A stealth bomber had been frequenting our system, popping NPC battleships in asteroid belts and moving on. He was doing this to raise his security status, and we've become aware of his patterns.

A friend and I fleet up and pass the time by running some sites (dynamic spawns of NPCs that need to be scanned down by probes), when we notice another visitor: a Thorax cruiser. He isn't just passing by; I pinpoint him to a belt with growing wrecks.

I'm in an armor Hurricane battlecruiser, which isn't the speediest of boats. I enter warp and land about 60 km from him. My overheated point (warp disruptor) reaches 28 km, and he definitely has time to warp away--but he stays. I get close enough to disrupt his warp drive, but he is a bit faster than I. He launches some drones and begins kiting me at about 30 km. I have some drones of my own and send them toward him.

He either just realizes that he can warp, or he doesn't like his chances, but he warps with only his shields missing, leaving his poor drones behind. During this time, our stealth bombing interloper enters the system, and my friend has him located at a belt. I race over to assist, but the tiny frigate pops before I arrive.

This is local chat:

StealthBomber > took you long enough
StealthBomber > gf
Friend > took close
StealthBomber > ?
Friend > was hunting the cane
StealthBomber > ah
StealthBomber > got my sec up tho... all that matters ... was a good ship ... did its job
Friend > think [he's] with the thorax
ThoraxCruiser > the cane and I just crossed paths in one of the belts

Friend > did not think I would catch you

No need to alert the Thorax that we are together, my friend pretends that he was actually hunting me. Gotta love misinformation.

I sit in space idly waiting for my criminal flag to wear off, when our Thorax reappears on the directional scanner. And he's at a belt! He either bought our story or has some of the biggest cahones around.

My cloaky friend snags him no problem, and I arrive just in time to sneak in a shot or two on the killmail. His pod whisks away, but we stick to our story:

Friend > luck cane
Friend > lucky cane... should have gunned you held the thorax
Hasugo Numani > skin of my teeth :)
Hasugo Numani > 10% structure
Friend > could nt over burn much more lol

Maybe we'll see the Thorax again.

Monday, January 16, 2012


A lot of the events in EVE that I found to be remarkable and intriguing (e.g. being chased, acting as bait, any combat) are becoming quite ordinary and part of my usual play sessions. I will however tell a humorous but tragic tale of a Phantasm.

I had been killing some NPC pirate mobs (ratting) to pass the time in our home system and was sitting outside a station to repair my armor when a friend of ours logs in and undocks from the same station. He is in a Phantasm cruiser and drifts well past the undock point, and I think nothing of it. All of a sudden he opens fire and blows away my shields and armor in two volleys. I dock just in time to change my pants.

I pipe up in local, "whoa, I thought we were friends :(" He apologizes and explains that he's under the influence of some substance. So naturally we fleet up. A third pirate in a Loki joins our squad, and we set out for some PvP.

I in my Rupture cruiser and the lit pilot in his Phantasm are sitting on a gate, waiting to jump into the next system to bounce on whatever poor soul the Loki catches. A new pilot enters local and the gate flashes, indicating that someone has jumped into our little ambush. It's a Caracal cruiser that decides to take its chances by returning to the gate it just came from (When you use a gate, you spawn at some point on the other side approximately 15 kilometers from it, but must be 2500 meters away in order to activate it.)

We open fire, a clear criminal act, and evaporate the Caldari cruiser's shields in the few seconds it takes the hull to approach the gate. But alas, he jumps back through, no doubt shaken. We can no longer sit on the gate as the gate guns are shooting at us for our actions, and we warp to a point 200 km away (outside of the 150 km gun range).

The Loki can't find anyone actively ratting, so he asks me to come and bait. I jump into the system, warp to a belt, and begin killing rats. The Loki is covertly configured and sits cloaked like a guardian angel.

A minute or two passes and the Phantasm pilot, left unsupervised in the adjacent solar system, cries out on voice chat. He has tried to shoot someone at the gate again, but the gate guns are tearing him apart. His 150 mil+ pirate faction cruiser explodes, "well that was embarrassing."

Out of combat ships nearby, the Phantasm says good-bye and leaves fleet. Poor guy.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


I was misinformed on the range of station guns. They have 150 kilometer range, in fact. 150. One-hundred, fifty.  Yep.

And then like a moron, I lost my pod.

There isn't much of a story to tell other than playing cat and mouse with this guy. He lands at 100 km from the station, burns out to 130k. I come out to greet him and aggress since I thought the sentry gun range was 100 km (NB: It is 150 km). I die very quickly to what I originally thought was this Thrasher, grab the first thing I can  find to warp away (the station that is at 130 km), spam the warp button, and lose my expensive egg as I am just sitting there (a warp target needs to be at least 150 km away).

Not my proudest nor cheapest nights of EVE.