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.