Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Enemy of Myself is My Friend

How to get corporations to join your Alliance in EVE Online (an exhaustive list) in order of decreasing lameness:

  • Make a funny promo video
  • Plead like a child in Recruitment
  • Pathetically stalk successful Alliances trying to join them
  • Spam any other corp which spams in Recruitment with Alliance spam requests
  • Spam any CEO you see in Amarr or Jita Local
  • Create 6 corporations of your own, stocked with alts, and make them apply to your shitty alliance
  • Stalk evewho.com for new Delta members list, seeking growing corps which are unaligned
  • Know some other corp and merge into an alliance
  • Siege their wormhole POS

Friday, 29 August 2014

D-d-d-DDOS-denied

Every POS in w-space has a weakness. Every single one. The skill comes in finding it, exploiting it, and getting it knocked out safely and efficiently. Efficiency here relates as much to the time sink as it does anything else, because lets face it, POS bashes in wormhole space are super-quality gaming.

Sudden Buggery and Swift Angels have decided to live in a C4. We staked a few out as soon as we heard there were going to be twin statics. our dream hole, our unicorn, our Eleanor was a C4 Wolf-Rayet with C2 and C4 statics. I describe this static pairing as the Mullet Hole; Business out the Front, Party Out The back.We staked out a C4 W-R with existing X877, and a effect-less C4 with N766. The latter dropped an additional X877 static, and had better PI than the former which ended up being X877/C247. So we chose the effectless hole.

It is currently occupied by a 19 man corp, 10 of which are mining alts less than a month old, who we sent to hisec en masse a day before we kicked off our assault. They live in a Sansha Large POS with a boatload of hardeners and a boatload of guns and ECMs, but only one scram.

Faced with a POS like this, your options narrow down in a direct assault, and eventually you have to drop Ravens at 200km, these days with the odd Golem for un-jammableness. Either that or bring 30 dudes, which we can struggle to get unless the stars, wives and girlfriends all line up.

We all dusted off our Ravens, many like mine having moldered under a spare offcut of cat-pee stained carpet in a station ever since T3's came out and people stopped flying Drakes (which used to get vaped by gank Torp Ravens). Now we had a reason, we refit them to shoot the grid (more or less) and we would use a bit of poor planning on behalf of our foes (who left a whole side off their POS undefended) to sit outside dissy range and park logi 70km behind us, utterly impregnable, and t would be golden.

We even scored a lucky connection via the N766, direct to Rens, on go night. We went shopping in pure luxury, got a dozen Ravens and a half dozen logi in, set up our POSs, began repping up our POS shields ahead of any possible counterattack late at night while we slumbered, and we were set to reconvene immediately after downtime. I even wrangled it with the wife, stocking up QT's all week beforehand and we alll gave up on the weekly MATE roam out of Stacmon. We organised a guest FC for the roam and everything. Every goddamn box was ticked, from warp bubbles to faction cruise missiles x 100K. Everything to the minute detail.

With a projected 20-24 toons on grid, the POS's ECM would be diluted. We had 4 Golems ready to go, capable of tanking the entire DPS of the POS each, immune to the ECm, ready to blap shit. It was actually exciting, seeing a whole heap of people come together for a common purpose.

We should have done a fucking promo video, for Christ's sakes.

Then, as per the week before, the EVE cluster got a DDOS attack right after downtime and the US and Australia couldn't connect.

Surprise gone, siege impossible, 75% of the fleet unable to even get the launcher to fly. The stars, wives and girlfriends alignment, all the arrangements of favours and babysitting, promises to go out Saturday, back rub debts, all for nought.

What a pisser.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Swischeesoikis

I really do think CCP Fozzie is the biggest suppurating cunthole of a GM to ever get inflicted on EVE Online. I can say that here because the ISD in their clubfooted, jackbooted way won't step in and quash discussion or lock this thread.

Very little of what Fozzie does even closely approaches what I would consider logical in terms of rebalance or adding decent content. We have adjusted to EVE being Ishtars Online, and now we have to adjust to the way wormholes have been rejiggered...by which I mean had the crooked cock of Fozzie shoved so far up their arses they cough sperm.

Frigate wormholes
Not only are these useless and pointless because you could already take frigates through every other fucking wormhole in EVE that has existed since Apocrypha, they are everywhere. I mean, everywhere. An allied corp lives in a C2 with B274/Z647 and pre-hyperion they had 3 wormholes a day on average. First day after Hyperion? 7 wormholes, 4 of which are frigate only wormholes. Other reports from at least another 4 separate corporations/individuals report the same issues.

I mean, we were told by Fozzie the fuckhead that we would get them. I don't know why we did, but we did. No one asked for them. We certainly didn't ask for a minimum of 2 of them per motherfucking wormhole system, and Bob alone knows how many others exist between k-space and j-space.

We were told we'd get more transient wormholes, too. I thought this was a good thing. I mean, I was thinking "Ok, we get on average a transient every 3-4 days in our wormhole. If they double it, I can live with that. It means more connectivity, to and from k-space, and between j-space."

What we got, unasked for, was a rat-warren of fucking frigate sized wormholes everywhere, to everywhere, all at once.

The second problem, a problem I overlooked because i hardly gave these things any attention, is their K162 side is the same as any other K162. This means that, for instance, if you approach a k162 in lets say a 2 billion ISK Tengu you only know it's a frigate sized wormhole when you go to jump through, and can't, and then 30 guys in AFs pile through and you are toast.

Then of course, the frigate wormholes have a 5M kg jumpable mass limit, which is a propless Destroyer or a double-bubble HICtor or lower. They also appear capable of taking up to 100 frigates one way, or 50 round trip. Which hardly deals with swarm tactics, but certainly enables the katamari-like growth of bigger and bigger entities and disincentivises smaller entities from w-space. 

Their mass regeneration is also a problem, because they become effectively immune to closure. This has severe ramifications for farmers and siegers.

Jump distance
This came out not as severe as intended, but it also seems it maybe got discarded. Everything, including pods, seems capable of landing up to 9km off the wormhole. Orcas 13km+. But...where's the difference in mass when pods can jump through and end up at 80% of the distance an Orca can achieve? it's a weird goddamn bell curve to fit to mass vs jump distance on that front.

Possibly, and I think this is what happened, Fozzie McFuckbat stuck his hand up his own arse and decided he would just stop everything spawning within jump range, and put everything on the same spawn table. just further out.

Good work, asshole. Really shaking shit up here.

Sure, there's positives and negatives to all of this.

Positives
  1. More transients gives more chances for interaction
  2. Frigate sized wormholes give additional opportunities for emergent gameplay
  3. This shakes up the standard doctrines and status quo
  4. Uncloseable wormholes discourage farmville neckbearding
  5. Greater spawn range for everything results in greater risk, aka PVP
Negatives
  1. Two frigate wormholes per wormhole results in a mindfuck situation where you never get any control over your own wormhole
  2. Transients are drowning out everything when every system has 4 to 7 wormholes in it. When half of them are frigate sized, you have a problem. 
  3. Why even have fucking statics, because you can get anywhere any time via a frigate hole. just bring 30 friends!
  4. Rage rolling is laborious and more risky. But why bother rolling your static, you've got 2 frigate wormholes up your arse. 
  5. Farming is now ridiculously risky if you become vulnerable to frigates
  6. You are mad to go exploring in a cloaky T3 in case you run into a K162 and can't jump through

Monday, 18 August 2014

Jewish Bullshit Ninja

This is a post in and of itself, the purpose of which is to lead into a more recent event I feel compelled to discuss, but not without a bit of groundwork.

Back in the formative months of Sudden Buggery, we came into dispute with some corp we shared a wormhole with. Mostly it revolved around their CEO who was stealing and siphoning off from his own corp, and when we clubbed in on sites, ours too. He said he was a former Mossad agent living in California, drove an RX-8 and went drifting in it to pick up the bitches, and partied hard. Had an ego bigger than a really, really big thing. Lets go with iceberg. He knew Krav Maga, and could shoot some outrageous score with his Desert Eagle .50 cal. Blah blah. Total fucking douche canoe. I called him the Jewish Bullshit Ninja.

One of the BUGRY members dossed with one of the members of that corp, IRL. So one day, we log in to find a request to help him move out ships from the other corp's POS. Lots of ships. Soon, their Chimera. This was back in the days when capitals in womholes were SRS SHNIZ and super-rare.

Soon it became apparent that this was a heist, that the mole wanted to "collect his back pay", etc. So we moved out all their ships, logged out in the Chimera and told the other guys to move the fuck out. Stuff got stolen. It turned out the roommates were in cahoots.

The Jewish Bullshit Ninja struck back by claiming that the toon in his corp had his account hacked. CCP of course takes a dim view of this, and put pressure on the duo of dastardly roommates, threatening life bans, blah blah, and the other guy caved and admitted he and his roommate used to log in and update one another's skill queues. He ought to have just doubled down and said he hated the Jewish Bullshit Ninja, did it alll himself, and fuck him in particular. But he was just weak inside, like a fucking moshii icecream cake.

Anyway, time passed, and about 6-8 weeks later, one of my mates complains to me his Orca is gone. missing, stolen or something. He petitions the loss, and it turns out the Orca he got from me as spoils I got from the heist, was "stolen property" gained illegally via an account hack. The 718M he paid me for it was meaningless, and a penalty it seems not to accept stolen goods.

I fixed up the guy his 718M, and checked my assets, and sure enough all the stolen gear I'd got save for the jewish Bullshit ninja's pimped-out Phantasm, had been reversed out of my hangar(s) and returned to the jewish Bullshit Ninja. Yeah, and that included it turns out, a bunch of ships which weren't his.

So, more petitions ensue, and the GM's got petulant, and finished with a line more or less like "the issue is at an end. We have spent weeks reversing these transactions and trades of items stolen by a hacked account." So that was that.

The month-long bans finished, the dust settled, and life went on.

The point of this? Well, corp heists are a fact of life in EVE, and especially wormhole life. But of course, account hacks are a serious breach of the EULA and all that jazz. There's a fine tradition of spying thieving, and bastardry to uphold, but not if you are illegally doing it.

There's some mutterings on gamer forums and blog sites about how in-game assets are beginning to be treated similarly to IRL assets. It's strange to consider it, but in a way, real world laws do get applied to EVE. Or in the very least, real world principles such as the daft idea of hunting down each Mjolnir Rocket nicked from some douchebag egomaniac/kleptomaniac and every orca, and taking it under real world legal principles.

Which is odd, when you think about it - in a universe when CCP can create content randomly and magically restore ships lost from exploits or server glitches and shit like that, it has always pzzled me as to why they felt the need to actually and forensically track down every single item stolen. I mean, OK, you need to verify the story.

But then you go a step further. Rather than restoring it to the person via fiat and magic wand waving, you impose the penalty of not trading in stolen goods on unknowing customers and fourth and fifth parties, by reversing transactions (but not the money paid) leaving the end customer of an Orca out 718M (3 PLEX at the time) and no one the wiser. Not even a mail to the guy saying "We took your Orca because it was stolen via account hack."It just disappears, leaving the guy in space in a fucking pod.

So, what's the moral of this story? Either I'm getting a ban for discussing a CCP moderation decision (you're welcome to give me another holiday on this one, dear readers) 6 years after the fact, or it is that if we are moving to real legal oversight of gaming, CCP needs to be logical and consistent, and hear evidence from both sides, and pursue a juddicial style jjudgement process. Arguably, the kind of GM decisions you used to get years ago were crazy, fickle and murderously obtuse. Precedent didn't transfer even from one to another GM, and consistency was a cause for bitter, uproarious laughter.

It seems better now, more consistent, more purposeful and focused - but often still down to individual GM's and their whims, or your connection to various powerful gaming entities.


As I will detail in a future blog, I may have cause to enmesh myself in a similar case in very, very recent times, and I'm going to be interested to see what's changed, and what remains a bizarre exercise in Kafkaesque bureaucratic parody.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

DYOR Only Goes So Far

It is haard being a small 3 man corporation just starting out in wormhole space. Lets imagine a scenario like this;

You read on Gamespot or something about the battle of B-R5RB. You haven't heard of EVE, but suddenly you're engrossed in the involved, arcane, twisted irreality of the universe, where giant nations (literally) of gamer geeks wage interstellar war. A universe where being the biggest giant douche in a rack of flaccid vagina-washing apparatus is lauded; where YOLO and snark and griefing and scams are par for the course. The gaming man's game. Suddenly, GTA4 and Watchdogs look shallow; WoW looks like cartoons for kids, and World of Tanks is something you play in your spare time.

You delve deeper, because after all you are possibly a bit aspie or just OCD or a min-max D&D player who strives not for the perfection of a precisely crafted persona in a half-orc Bard, writing your own battle ballads and singing them falsetto at the table as you roll your D20, witth your family history noted down to three generations on your mother's side, as you quest to find out who your father was. No. You are the type of gamer who looks on a character sheet as an exercise in mathematical precision, a well-oiled machine of probabilities and likelihoods, a cat's cradle of skills, feats and attributes to make you the Half-Giant Barbarian wielding the twin two-handed +4 Defenders of doom. This is the guy who plays EVE.

Or maybe imagine a guy who just gets into it with a fat credit card. Either way, you realise you need to have some in-game character skills to perform well. You can trade real-life money for this, by buying a toon. You know where the money is - Incursions, Nullsec, Wormholes.

Here we can differentiate the aspie OCD min-maxer newbro into three subspecies.

On the one hand, you have the guys who stick to running Incursions. Generally slovenly recluses with zero self esteem and hearing problems, these people put up with literally the most soul-destroying ISK generating activity in the game, and are happy perpetuating the lamest  form of min-maxing available to people, all in the safety of highsec. I mean, lets be honest, if you can put up with DTF's FC's for more than 4 hours you have a mental problem.

Then we move to the nullsec farmers. You've bought a toon, you join a ratting corp (or at worst, a nullsec mining corp) and move out to BOT or NA or Goon renter space, thinking this is dangerous, thrilling and will get you involved in the big blue donut. The people who choose this lifestyle are naïve bumpkins with self-confidence issues, who prefer to test the waters before taking risks. They know that Nullsec is essentially safe, they read the how-to guides and did their research. But they didn't calculate the boredom factor, and end up doing the same crap for months on end, with the occasional frigghtened dash for POS or station when reds or neutrals come past. Harmless, but gormless.

The third type are the brazen, machismo-laden balls-out type, who think they know things by reading a guide. These people think they are "all that and a bag of chips" and move to wormholes, forming a corp with themselves and friends and/or alts. They buy a starter pack wormhole, say a C1 or C2. They jack up a POS, get down to living the life of an inveterate expert at the game. They are, after all, geniuses according to the IQ test they took on Facebook, and they got straight A's in schoool. Shit, son, we're living in the big leagues.

Problem is, they put 24 cruise missile batteries on their POS and then some douche in a Proteus starts shooting it, and he's not dying. So better cruise out the front in the Tengu. Oh whoops.

This is all just rampant speculation of course. I don't know for a fact this guy bought his toon, or has assburgers syndrome, but the fact remains 24 cruise missile batteries aren't worth shit. You can tank that shit in a buffer Proteus for 20 minutes.

DYOR only goes so far. Lesson learned.

The Unknown Monuments

According to the heathen Ceadeus, demon of chaos, defiler of the inner sanctums "roleplaying is fucking gay".

So here goes.

Within Anoikis, the mysterious and deadly realms of space accessible only via wormhole connectionss, monolithic altars litter secret locales in the unknown depths of space.


 
The above is an image of the frozen corpse of a blood sacrifice victim given to Bob at the monolithic altar at the "Eye of Bob" in J235321 during YC114.


Rumour has it that strange sects, worshippers of Bob the Wormhole God, carry out blood sacrifice at the foot of these dark, secret altars.

It is the sacred duty of the Unknown Monument Archaeology Division [CDEUS] to study, document and preserve these enigmatic edifices for the sake of New Eden, and monitor them for frozen blood sacrifice activities.

If you see one of these dark monoliths, and you do not worship Bob, we request that you leave them alone, out of respect for those that do. Rumour has it that the blood cults of Bob fiercely protect these altars from desecration.

When these dark, evil cults of Bob the Wormhole God gather, they mutter dark incantations, the likes of which will curdle your blood. One of these chants is captured below, from the shipboard logs of an unlucky explorer whose wreck was found orbiting the dark altar at the heart of the sun in J235321.

Trinkets friend > Almighty Bob! 
We your humble disciples give unto you this sacrifice of a corpse in your name! 
May our weapons strike true! 
may our foes be afflicted with butt herpes! 
May Orcas doubletap themselves before us!
Long we may gank in Your Everlasting Glory!
Hail Bob! Hail Bob! Hail
<recording ends>

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Stop! Thief!


Theft, or the threat of it, frames and drives corporate decisions in the wormhole community.

This starts with recruitment checks, which often include full API checks, interviews, trial periods in trial corporations, ad nauseum. None of this really makes you 100% safe from a corp theft. It cannot stop someone playing the long game, it just reduces the likelihood of amateurish attempts at stealing all the shinies.

The next level of defence is compartmentalisation, both within any single POS and by having multiple POSs, all structured via access grantable roles such as Corporate Starbase Config, and Starbase Management. Each level of restriction allows an extra SMA and component array (or Personal Hangar Array, with its own risks and limitations) within each POS. Depending on how you structure the corporate divisions, you can have 3 component arrays and up to 21 individuals at each POS. But everyone can access everyone else's ships, and steal them. Especially if you opt for the XL SMA and not three individual SMA's.

The third level of defense, to stop out of time zone thieves, is a double-edged sword. There's threat as well as promise in having someone who plays out of your TZ even by a few hours (ie; Eastern Australia vs Western Australia). On the one hand, they can protect your assets while you sleep. On the other hand, they can steal all your shit while you sleep.

Anyway, on to the tale.

Yesterday was a day of frustrations IRL; the shockabsorbers on my car needed replacing and I am poor-ish (#whitepeopleproblems levels of poor) so I am working on the piece of shit myself, and swapping them over required literally blood-draining efforts with an angle grinder and swearing. Then there was my main job, which I won't go into, except to say it involves Madagascar,  gold, and $1.5M of stolen money.

So i came on to EVE last night in a bit of a mood, and slaked my thirst for blood via getting a Wormhole Holder's Tengu, total bill 2.1B ISK. Sadly, did not whore onto that one as I was chasing his mate on the other side of a wormhole, and we failed to bag both. Fucking 100MN Tengus.

So, the SWIFT guys went to bed and I stayed up, being in W.A., for a few hours more, hunting off down the chain. When that proved fruitless, and Perth internet denied me a legit Stratios who uncloaked within 1km of me and I couldn't lock him for 7 seconds before he warped, I went home.

I noticed a legion on d-scan at home, and thought "Ohoho, bingo!". i tracked it to the B274 but it jumpped out to highsec. I jumped out and it turned out to be someone from SWIFT, jumping to highsec. I jumped home and was about to log when the guy jumped back in, in his pod, and warped off to one of the SWIFT POS's. I was immediately suspicious.

You see, Satheera Ishkari has been absent from the game for about 6 months. He re-subs and rolls around with us in, if I recall correctly, a bomber. He was always flying bombers. It's day 2 of him rejoining EVE, and here he is in a Legion the name of which was familiar, and i begin to think was actually someone else's neut Legion. He isn't on comms, he is absent from the shared intel channels, and this is about 20 minutes after everyone else has gone to bed in the East.

I swap my toons on the hole, as only TF can fly an Orca. I figure, OK, not 100% sure this is a theft we are interrupting, but fuck it. I'll reimburse if he did in fact own that Legion. Besides, Satheera sounds like a pedo on comms and I've never liked him, so this will be a worthwhile expense of ISK if blue on blue action gets sanctioned.

Sure enough, back he comes in a Loki which I know isn't his. I holler on comms for a corpie who is playing PI mogul on his alt in another wormhole, and get him to log his BUGRY toon in (the traitorous cur, how dare he make ISK). I explain the situation and bang the Orca out and in the B, and cloak it inside.

Satheera comes back, again in a pod, and goes to the POS. I begin anchoring a small bubble and we camp, ready to gank him.  He comes back in a Proteus which isn't his, and the bubble onlines after he jumps out. I follow with the Orca and it goes critical on his heels. He seems a bit surprised, as he just sits there as I do a U-turn, light the 100MN and slam him out.

He only now gets in the intel channel, asks why we are rolling the B, and then logs off, relogging in his alt. So, we roll the O477 and begin work on the new B274. Unluckily for him, his alt is a scrubby tard in a Probe, and we have reshippped into ceptor and Sabre. He doubletaps himself while innocently asking in the intel channel why we are rolling the hole, secure in the knowledge that we won't kill him because he's blue.

Wrong, buddy.  We send Elsom Skor back to hisec, and sacrifice his corpse at the foot of the Altar of Bob in the Eye of Bob. I draft an email explaining the sitch and head to bed.

Satheera represents the third kind of risk of thieves - someone who has just come back from a break, and may or may not want to restart playing with your corp. In fact, when people go long-term AFK, I reassign their roles and they start at the bottom of the ladder when they come back, for this very reason. But like I said, if you play the Long Game, there's not much that can be done except register some comments on evewho.com and C&P on the forums, for the next CEO to google up. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Prosecuting War - Preparing the Ground

No, this won't be a discussion of our war from Pursuit of Happiness - child rapists, according to commentary on evewho.com. Though, that's a worthy discussion in and of itself.

The doubling of statics in C4's has shaken the apples from the orchard and then upset the apple cart. Hue hue hue. I am having fun letting C4 neckbeards expose themselves as horrible carebears. But the argument about safe ratting vs PVP game is for another day.

Suffice to say, we are looking for a C4 (pref. Wolf Rayet) with an N766 static or X877, in the hope it spawns one of the other, or at worst a C247 to C3. Ideally, a W-R with X877/N766 pair is the shit. Short of going onto SiSi and getting into one and noting down the J# we need to hedge our bets by seeding alts into likely holes that meet that criterion.

Contrary to the forum Q.Q, we did find a C4 W-R with X877, a likely candidate for our ideal hole. LadyTsunade even discovered a 10 man corp moving in to it, and seeded an alt whilst interdicting their POS setup logistics (Bestower with 20 medium laser batteries and stront).

So we are faced with a little dilemma, and a strategic set off choices, to prepare the hole for an invasion even as much as two weeks in advance.

Step one is obviously to frustrate these guys in their attempts to finish off their deathstar, as much as possible. We've added them to watch list, we have alts inside, and there's a very good likelihood of an Orca kill or at least more Bestower kills as they attempt to top up the strontium and get EWAR and dissy's (and ammo) into their POS. Long-term this may not be achievable, but we also aren't sure it will spawn a second static that we want.

In concert with that, I spent an hour yesterday probing down every one of the 45 gas sites in that hole and warping to it to begin their timers. Same with the 6 combat anomalies. The aim of this is twofold. Most importantly, you don't want 45 signatures to scan down and refresh each downtime, or when you want to find your way from the hole. This obviously works both ways because the foe also gets a break on finding an exit. 

Primarily, though, I just started a 72 hour timer on about 1.5 billion in gas and 1.5 billion in combat, data and relic sites. These are going to disappear, and the residents are going to be sitting there in an increasingly barren wormhole, wondering where is the money? Their POS is going to cost them 350M to run over the course of the next two weeks before we know if we want to move in, and I sure as fuck am not going to let them recoup that in site running.

Third step will be to contact the POCO owners and see about them jacking the taxes to 100% and have them come out in our prime time. This forces the foe to siege them out, which gives us an opportunity to pod out the residents. Or at least make them spend hours on flipping the damn things and finish them off when we can get in there and interdict the effort.

Finally, if after the 26th the wormhole looks like a candidate to move in to, the ten man corp which is moving in there this week will be sick of the whole thing and will either capitulate, or be unable to defend itself adequately.

If the hole proves useless to us, maybe after two weeks of softening up and scorched earth, we'll just siege them for the hell of it.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Trial, Error and EFT

The shakeup in wormhole effects has restarted debate on fittings for use in wormholes with effects.  Mostly this has revolved around the Cataclysmic effect rebalance, for two reasons.

One, it is a point of interest for all EFTwarriors and PYFAnatics (yeah, I coined that there). It's interesting and vital to sort out how to respond to the changing landscape.

Two, we live in a C2 Cat var and there were vague discussions about building capitals because, a week ago, we had more or less decided that we were growing a lawn, may as well put up the white picket fence around our home. The rebalance of wormhole effects killed that off instantly seeing how Cats will now be an inimical environment to capitals, and any cap-transfer rep doctrines.

Which brings us to doctrine discussion. Again.

A Doctrine, in EVE, is a fitting philosophy, with a set of ship types and classes, which are designed around a type of warfare. Ael Ra is right, and wrong, in saying a doctrine has a set purpose and cannot be used outside of that purpose. He's right because the doctrine has a specific capability and work well with specific types of battles - eg; Ishtarblob vs Foxcats is common, and neither setup does particularly well at brawling, but you can do it. It's down to the FC to structure the fight so that you don't get hard tackled in your Ishtars or bombed to death fruitlessly in your Foxcats. In this way, a doctrine has it's strengths and weaknesses, and it requires people to know what they are doing.

A doctrine is more than just "RR Domi". What's your tackle, beyond honour? What's your EWAR, beyond neuts? These questions, and their answers, need to be worked out. 

The next level down is that a true doctrine requires the EFTwarriors and numbers men to work out the fittings of ALL the ships associated with the doctrine. This is equal parts strategy, tactics, PYFA numbers (IMHO EFT is lagging PYFA at the moment), and skilling and cost. Cheapness is a doctrine in itself - just look at goons, or the Fatcat meta-0 Tristan doctrine GalMil used so devastatingly last year.

For wormholes, where SRP is never a thing, cost should not be an issue. Traditionally, wormhole mass limits place a theoretical size on a 'roaming' gang, and therefore wormhole doctrines develop around DPS per tonne, tank per tonne. Cost is a secondary concern, as is skilling your organisation's members into something. This leaves fittings, ship types and fleet composition flapping in the breeze, and in wormholes this is rarely ever hammered out. To give you an example, SWIFT's 'doctrine' is "armour" - and that's it.

One thing NC Dot and Nulli do well, aside from being rich elitists, is have a definite set of skilling and capabilities. They also do their PYFAnaticism to the nth degree, considering signature, damage projection, resist profiles, mobility, cost, skilling, etcetera.

Some of the larger elite wormhole organisations obviously have taken things a step further than SWIFT. There's obviously a preference for HAM Legions, Legions and armour ECM Tengus and Guardians.

Consider this battle report. All of the Hard Knocks Guardians have the same fit, more or less. Of the four legion lost, two hadd essentially the same HAM-Damp fit and the other two had the same Neut-Scanner fit.  Having never been into the inner circle in Hard Knocks, it is no surprise that theres a restricted set of fits. it's a doctrine. They have a reason for demanding and enforcing a limited degree of lateral movement on their fittings, formed by trial, error, and EFT.

The point of all this?

Firstly, discipline and uniformity of fittings helps an FC know what he has in his sleeves, what his gang or fleet is capable of, and what his ships can do. Having someone come along with, eg, a Geddon packing torps when your FC has in his mind "Geddon. 4 heavy neuts, cap injection, ship scanner" fucks everything up.

Second, to get that discipline in people following a doctrine, whether it is simple like "If I call for a legion, fly either HAM legions, Neut Legion" or complex and nuanced like some of the NC Dot doctrines and fleet comps (down to specific SRP-able boosting Lokis), requires organisational discipline. This forces players to give up training, eg, refinery gayness 5, and knuckle down on the basics.

Thirdly, removing the cutlery from the kitchen sink simplifies your logistics choices, and your logistics fits. The Guardians, above, are the typical Ironclad fit typified by RnK. But every logistic choice your organisation makes has to, without fail, ahve a proper logistic ship fit which is, without fail, the one to use. You can't fuck this up. Logistics ships must function, and function well, or everyone dies.

Finally, it provides you with opportunities to grow and learn as a player, and get more from EVE. Dying in a terribly fit ship without learning why you died, if the fit was to blame, is the worst thing. But you have to die to learn - even if all you learn is get to PYFA and figure out why your fit is shit.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Interesting times

So.

We interrupted a wormhole heist.

Somehow this has resulted in me ending up in a Nidhoggur stuck in some C5 hole, full of DST's I can't fly, surrounded by foes (mostly who have no ships), after looting a whole POS to the ground, emptying out corp wallets, murdering Orcas, all after we killed some Armageddon by me tackling it in the Nereus, someone soloing a Naglfar and befriending its owner, the thief.

Yeah. Interesting times.

Stay tuned for another tale from the deep unknown, when our moles have a chance to sober up and get interviewed.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Hyperion

Be careful what you wish for is the adage most appropos to the proposed changes coming in Hyperion.

I'm a regular troll/reader of features and ideas, though often of course i don't comment on stuff i have no interest in. Like all the industry rebalancing in Crius. Whatever. However, the proposed changes to wormholes I am of course intensely interested in - so here we go.

Small-ship wormholes: 5 Stars
As i have stated on the Wormholes forum, there'is a lot of misguided opposition to these which is predicated not upon the idea itself, but people's individual game play styles, elitist bullshit, hidebound indoctrination (the whole armour tanks for wormholes crap) and bling factor pimplants in 2.5B ISK pods.

None of this addresses gameplay issues which may arise from introducing these wormholes. The mass allowance, lifetime, destinations and inbound habitats of the wormholes have nothng to do with individual player's inabilities to train Frigate 5, small weapon specialisation 4 and buy a fucking AF In fact, i think there should be more of these things, available to more places including K-K as well as J-K  varieties - especially lowsec.

This is because, for a start, there's nothing at all wrong with assymetrical fights. if you can't figure out how to build an AF doctrine, ceptor doctrine and bring logi frigates, then you lose out and are vulnerable to others. This creates an opportunity for emergent gameplay, including collapse HICs traversing them, etcetera, and hence it's a good move.

K162 Spawn Change: 5 Stars
This is self-evidently awesome for getting pew pew. Bueno.

Mass-Jump Spawn Equation; 0 Stars
Fighting on a highsec connection is about as lame as station games. Every so often a Stabber gets a solid bump on someone fucking around on your B274 and skittles him 15km off the hole, but usually they jump in, tank till they get scurred, and jump out. Repeatedly.

Currently, there's little emergent gameplay (aka tactical options) to be found in addressing wormhole brawling on highsec. You either mass the hole, cloak orcas, or just ignore them. This is bad, boring lame. This change ought to address the 80%+ safety margin of closely spawning on wormholes as it currently exists. There is nothing wrong, per se, with making cruisers spawn on average outside jump range.

However, the ranges and equations presented, where caps can be up to 40km off the hole, is anti emergent gameplay, because it will actively discourage pushing large ships (orcas, caps, freighters) through wormholes. i mean, OK, arguably rolling C5 holes can be achieved too easily, but that's because we play a game. Games have rules. When they are understood and fixed, games become enjoyable because you compete with others to exploit the rules (legally) and gain advantage. Changing the rules drastically not only forces you to rethink the game, but actually in a way destroys the game. People have been playing C5 cap shit for years. The game is proposed to be destroyed and replaced by a new game - of course people will make a decision not to play this new game. new players will step forward and play the new game. If the new game is functional.

People don't play games which are unplayable. in my view, the proposed mass-jump spawn mechanics are unplayable. Reasons;
  • Why don't caps cynoing in for lightyears of travel randomly spawn up to 40km away from cynos? Because nullsec CSM and people would Q.Q too much. The same physics and theories ought to reasonably apply. Ergo, this change is idosyncratic to wormholes and penalises cap warfare unduly.
  • It is physically impossible for capitals to get back to hole. Ever. Even on a good spawn. At best an orca takes a minute. More if you hull rig the shit out of it. Carriers, dreads or freighters slowboating 40km? Forget about it.
  • The solution, requiring Rapier webs, a pounce, a second webbing,and same on the other side, exposes a capital to too much risk. 
  • People will stop rolling holes, end of story. Currently if you are good you can ninja-roll a C5 connection if you have a scout and good intel, and disappear yourself before anyone can respond, because it takes 10s. This allows small groups to roll away from the big groups (like SSC, LZHX, AHARM, HK) and cntinue playing a game. Being hell camped for 24hrs connected to a big group means people will just sign out. Being signed out is bad gameplay. 
  • As pointed out, BS will now instantly spawn at ranges allowing smartbombs. Emergent gameplay for C6 Red Giant fights, agreed. Terrible for shipping down and small gangs being camped by larger gangs. 
  • Cloaking is now easier, for everything, including orcas and capitals. You won't get decloaked easily if you start 40km away from the hole. But is this good gameplay? 
  • Dreads will spawn, potentially, at optimal blapping ranges. Good gameplay? Possibly not.
  • Inability to safely jump orcas and caps will prevent rockspidering wormholes to collapse for PVP opportunities. 
It seems this is "under review". I hope so. it's a shitty idea, but CCP loves shitty ideas (even Chitsa is now ignoring the fact he put it in the hat as CSM, it's that shitty) and when CCP deciddes on something they rarely change their mind.

The benefits (no hisec gay) are outweighed by the drawbacks (no ragerolling, no controlling wormhole mass to trap, etc etc). However, it can be tweaked. If capitals and orcas only spawn within jump range 5% of the time, say, it might add that element of risk. Or make it equally risky for everything, regardless of mass. Or make doubletap time dependent on mass, say 2 minutes for frigs and 10 minutes for capitals. That would be equallly interesting and far more emergently gameable.

Dual Static C4's: 5 Stars
Fuck yeah, screw the neckbeard yokels, your hole is about to be busted open.

 Wormhole Effect Changes: 2 Stars
This is an incredibly complex set of changes, which even i am yet to get my head around. This does mean CCP also has no idea what their changes are going to do. I mean, CCP Fozzie is proposing it, and we know what he's capable of (c.f. Ishtars) and we know what wormhole effectscan do at the C4+ level (AHARm magnetar exploit). So we should expect a few exploits and windbacks in 6 to 11 billionty months. here's my take on it:

Magnetar
A favorite because of the extra DPS, which favours gank and brawling, and uber-fast ISK-efficient farming. The changes to TP's are more going to affect farming rates in C5 and C6 space than balance PVP. If you want to do damage in a Magnetar, you bring tracking Dreads, Tornados, or Enyos (small weapon tracking is ridiculous as it is). TP nerf is meaningless. So, mostly unchanged except Q.Q  for the C5 farmers.

Pulsar
CCP is adding a neut buff and Nos buff (think: Bhaalgorn) to help people crack triage Chimeras and/or Phoenix in the C5 and C6 Pulsars. The effects are significant but essentially meaningless otherwise, unless you latch on to an active tanked pimp Tengu in a C2-3-4 and can blap his cap.

Red Giant
What the fuck, who cares about bomb damage? So you might be able to fully cap escalate a site and rain bombs on the Sleepers and bomb them off the field (wait for the video). Otherwise a worthless change. 0/5 Stars.

Cataclysmic
Cat vars are getting a peculiar set of changes, again to address the C5 and C6 level gameplay factors. There's more local capacitor, which is holding back solo Tengu site runners currently, who also suffer the nerf to local reps. So more capacitor to farm solo = more residents, in theory. The changes to remote capacitor transmitters are skewed to heavily affect capital modules versus subcap modules. This will be meaningless for most Guardian pairings, but may be an extremely adverse effect on Archons cap chaining. This is a complex issue - if the nerf is too severe you won't be able to keep a web-TP loki capped up in a C5 site. You may not even be able to cap chain capitals in C2's decently, which affects people's build decisions on trapped caps. Time will tell, and will require a lot of EFTwarrioring. TBA/5 stars.

Wolf Rayet
Again, this is mostly directed at the C5 and C6 level, in that resists are more important for capital-level fights and landing triage reps on field. Doubling the buffer of a Proteus in a C6 isn't going to really affect the damage taken, it just prevents blapping.

but the buff to small weapon damage? Which it seems most WR bears are unaware of? OMG, 684 DPS C3 / 1,023 DPS C6 Enyos with 15K EHP buffers and sigs the size of small peas? Fucking whut. Shit is about to get REAL. 11/5 Stars.

Black Hole
This is contentious, too, and again a complex problem for the ugly step-child of wormhole space. I lived in a C4 BH for a year, found it fun, especially facing 100MN Tengus, Cynabals and Dramiels.

Now it will become an über missile Caldari fag hole. 100MN Tengus, 100MN HAM Legions, Orthrus, Barghest, Nano torp Ravens spewing torps 100km with über explosion velocity.

Gank citadel cruise Phoenixes farming sleepers solo with über buffed Citadel Cruise with actual decent missile parameters. Golems of Doom, solo farming C4's and C5's forever. What could go wrong? Blap Phoenixes everywhere, for a start. 3/5 Stars

Monday, 4 August 2014

Operation Hufflepuff

oOsen had spotted a strange thing a couple of weeks ago - some corp moving a whole bunch of carriers around their newly onlined POS in a C3 with U210. Capitals + smallish corp + wormhole = siege.

oOsen jams an alt in there on his second account, to monitor them and provide us a warp in, which promptly runs out of sub which he cannot immediately afford to re-sub (IRL issues) and we pencil it in, and I take the reins of planning (see eg; Siege Logistics), including coining a name for the operation, which is Hufflepuff.

BUGRY used to do this stuff on a fortnightly or monthly basis. We had perhaps too much success, towards the end, in attracting fights. It also takes a toll, even monthly, burning through POS shields or even POCOs to troll fights. But you need to provide some incentive to get people out of their POS and shoot them.

The target corporation was Theories of Advent Chaos - they had 21 toons in their alliance, had a passably active killboard, mostly in nullsec, and appeared to have bought the hole when they moved out of nullsec, possibly because they disagreed with gay marriage (everyone's getting gay married out there). We had been told there were at least 2 Chimera, 1 Archon, Rorqual and a Moros in the hole. They had the POCOs, and hadn't bashed them, so a trade was more or less confirmed. They had a large Minmatar tower wwith full-retard hardeners which we used the IGB POS tool to calculate at 280M EHP.

Using my years of experience at being a horrible troll, I set to work doing everything in my power to cause Theories of Advent Chaos to get their capitals out of the POS. The recipe began with adding a Medium Gallente Dampstar on a Friday. We waited - they signed in, and out. We never saw them at the POS.

When the Dampstar failed to elicit a response, I got my alt in a cap stable Omen to begin poking their POCOs. This failed.

The escalation phase consisted of putting a small warp bubble 100km off every POCO in line with their POS; one in every combat site in the system, one at the sun. One between the bait POS and the enemy POS. One bubble everywhere, basically. it was only 50M, a week's wworth of fuel for the bait tower was going to cost more than that.

This also failed.

Third phase escalation was to actually reinforce the POCOs, revealing the link between the alt corp and BUGRY and SWIFT. This was Saturday, we waited till they were about to sign on, and got down to business. They signed on, signed off, and no response. We hadn't even seen them at the POS.

So we were faced with a dilemma. There was no way in hell we were going to crack the Dullstar in a human time frame. Like, seriously fuck that shit. They were clearly not going to fight. We could stick around for the POCOs, but it wasn't guaranteed they would drop caps to defend what was, essentially, a 5 minute job for a dread to flip back in our off time. We were, it seemed, snookered by no-fighty lazy cowards. The decision was made to avoid more bad gameplay, and pull out. This was achieved in about 2 hours, though we did leave 36 small bubbles in their system.

However, Dex Stratos and I had not seen a single one of them on d-scan at their POS, even as they signed in or out which was weird. We hedged our bets and I left my alt in there in a cloaky hauler, on the milllion to one chance they had become trapped out and the XLSMA at the Dullstar miraculously could be shot in a month when the POS ran out of juice.

The CEO of Theories of Advent Chaos emailed us and said if we let him back in, we could buy the hole - POCO infrastructure and capitalss - off him.

If we let him back in. The key phrase. So we waited, and a week later, sure enough the POS defuelled and the pinata got whacked. Yes, that's us on the front page of zkillboard all week.

Sadly, coitus interuptus happened before we could board the caps or get them inside our own POS. gorgon Empire had found their way in to the hole from Nullsec and caught the slow antelopes on the POS. They jacked up their own POS, took the Chimeras, then seem to have realised they were rather out of their depth. Nulltards in a C3 with U210 with known caps in a gunless large tower, hours left on their entrance, with vutures circling? Decisions were made to get insurance.

So, in the end, Hufflepuff saw 12.8 billion ISK killed for a measley 600M lost, and a bit of extra waiting around.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Vital Piece of Victory

We had roughly planned out our Nightmare bait, with some parts hammered out in fine detail, such as the fit which (with LG crystals and Standard Blue Pill) would tank 3100 DPS. We have a strategy to leverage off the ultimate baitmare when we did finally deploy it into a C3. It involved a shield logi, preferably Basilisks, a (roughly) known foe, having good hole control, intel, and most certainly not fighting in a Wolf-Rayet.

Instead, what began as an attempt to bait out a Russian dominix (which promptly logged out) in a C3 W-R with K346 static to nullsec (choked off from credible threats due to an Incursion), K162 to C3 (also a K346 W-R connecting to shit-ass null), a K162 to C2 exiting 3j from jita, and a K162 to C4 which appeared benign enough (a Tengu AFKing at POS) ended up with Ceadeus and myself deciding to helicopter-dick W-R sites in out Nightmares.

I had inherited my 'Mare off my brother when he quit. it was his show pony PVE boat, weighed down with thick gold chains and a $ symbol the size of a fucking hubcap. 100MN X-type MWD? Check. B-type XL shield booster? Check. Full Navy lows? Check. B-type Invul? Check. It has sat in Amo for 3 years gathering moondust that leaks under the velour protective coating which these kind of special crowning glories represent. Hundreds of hours invested by Vengal Seyhan (before he sold the toon) and a few lucky inheritances....this was practically a family treasure.

The recent rebalance of the Nightmare however, forced me to pull the covers off the old girl, and i looked under the hood last month, stuck it into PYFA and came up with my fit. I dragged off the majority of the pimp, as a B-type invul could basically nearly replace the thing by itself. The sinks and TE's were too much for what would probably die under a Rugby team scrum of DPS Proteuses and unbreakable 6 Guardian reps. The MWD was supposed to come off and be replaced with a Domination 100MN AB I had from a Panther I deconstructed.

I say supposed to, because on the third of the 4 sites in the aforementioned C3 W-R I chuckled into comms andd explained I made boo-boo and had left it on; the Domi AB was still in Hek in it's wrapping. I was informed that Ceadeus had forgotten Navy 800's and his pills, it's all G. So I give him 10 Navy 800's to help him past the sleeper neuting and we stuff our snouts in the trough.

No matter, one site to go. 2 'Mares and an Orthrus were blazing through the Sleepers.

So, we warp in to site 4 and the Orthrus bounces off, apparently out of missiles or something. Nek minnit fire on the K162 to C4. Keres and Sabre. I am at 98% warp speed (thanks, webby Sleeper frigs you fucking cunts) when Ceadeus' Nightmare slides off grid smoothly as a jelly dong into a German lady and the Sabre and Keres land and the bubble goes up on top of me. I'm scrammed. 2 more fires on the C4.



We're fucked, you are thinking. Shield tanking Nightmare in a C3 WR, pants-down, separated by an 8 AU warp, our Orthrus compadre enroute to our POS in the home C2, tackled hard and in a bubble, MWD inoperative. Pause.

Wait a minute. There's a reason I haven't lost a ship PVEing in a wormhole since 2009.

We are not unprepared. For a start, I had my alt on the C4 and could hear the fire on the hole, and importantly, called it instantly. Secondly, even with sleeper aggro, in a C3 W-R, the Nightmare isn't going down easily. It all depends what we are up against.

First order of business is screaming like little girls on comms as I decloak my alt sitting on the hole. Second, Ceadeus warps back to site instantly. I call the Keres primary, needing to get myself moving ASAP, and Ceadeus will be landing at 24km or so, and that's perfect range.

An Eos and a Legion decloak and attempt to warp - my alt is 300m away from scramming the Eos. Both warp in on the bubblefucked Nightmare. The wormhole fires again and its a Vexor Navy Issue, which I scram down instantly. This has fatefully split the enemy gang. 

Our mate swaps from his Orthrus, sadly, and returns in a Tengu. The Keres gets blapped almost instantly, as the Sabre bounces out to a celestial and aligns back, ready to banzai bubble us again. The Eos and legion land and begin landing some DPS on me, as the VNI on the C4 deploys drones and gets stuck in to the Loki holding him there. My shield alarms on two active tanked ships go off simultaneously. I'm busy overheating invuls and getting the A-type Large on the Loki cycling (its 9 minute cap stable, I don't return to this screen for 3 minutes till the cap alarm goes off).

Back at the action, with the scram off my Nightmare I get under way, which is the second objective. I note on comms if I had had the Domi AB I'd be laughing this off right now. We've (vaguely) been discussing the blappitude swagger of the Nightmare with Scorch so Ceadeaus and I begin pulling out to 50km. The Eos and Legion landed on the eddge of the bubble, close to the Tengu of Admiral Synergy. A 1.5B active tanked fit...again, in a W-R. So of the 4 toons on our side, all are active shield tankers in a C3 W-R.





We also ppick the Legion. Well, Ceadeus and Admiral call the Legion primary. I fail at this and shoot the Eos, the cap alarm from the Loki and shield alarms making me focus elsewhere. I jump the Loki back into the C4 as Admiral announced he's 30% cap. 10% cap, then cap dead. He even, bravely, declares he's going to die soon unless the Legion is dead, and "Oh shit, this is a Wolf-Rayet. Why did I bring the Tengu. I'm in armour."

"The Eos is nearly dead." I say. "Swap DPS to the Eos, blap him." and we duly do; the VNI follows my Loki back into the C4 and an ishtar crosses into the C3. Admiral is in 10% Armour with no DCU, but gets a shield boost off, and recovers.

When the Ishtar lands, we blap it back to the C4 inside 10 seconds, and then begin munching the other half of the Legion's stonking armour tank. But that's the end of that, soon enough, and we hold the field, and our steaming balls, our adrenal glands steaming. Holy shitballs.

Looking back on it, the vital piece for victory was having the Loki on that hole, and using it. The foresight to station a scout on a wormhole is no good at all if you don't use that scout as a backstop to halt an enemy (even one!) who is coming to blap your pimped Nightmares you shouldn't have been running in a C3 W-R to begin with. The key here was to hold on to something as long as possible - I'd wanted to snag the Eos but anything is good. I was expecting a couple of Guardians, I would have snaggged one of them and split their logi or denied them logi at all. But keeping 750 DPS of VNI off the field was in the end enough for a nail-biting escape for our Tengu.

Of course, we could have done a lot of things better. But we learned one thing for sure - Nightmares are crap at PVE. 

The butcher's bill.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Thunderdome

This week's MATE roam went off with a bang. We had been promised carnage, and an unintelligible battle report of utter carnage is what we got.

To interpret that, you have to know that Bam Stroker #YOLO his Chimera at the sun in Tama. The MATE roam, consisting of a drawer full of cutlery warped to zero and the fleet got disbanded.

Some clown from Sudden Buggery and some other clown from Sudden Buggery in his alt, did pack a cyno onto a Prophecy - of course - and #YOLO in a Moros. Which surprised the hell out of everyone except 2 people. Then the smartbomb rack on the Prophecy went off and the murdering began.

Top belt in Tama had been confirmed as a bad place to hotdrop a Moros, so Bex knew the risks, but I nearly got him out save for a cyno cycle ending just before s siege sycle, some stront issues, and a fuckup in stabbing F2 instead of F1.

Alas, eventually someone in Snuff Box had got their cats herded and dropped in a gang of Absolutions and Guardians. At zero. Because they are that pro. If more of us had been alive, we'd have bagged the Guardians and done a lot better at it. But that's not what THUNDERDOME is all about. Instead, someone let their Absoluton come to a stop 3km from the Moros and it got blapped.

The MATE roam is an AU TZ public roam organised via Redemption Road which Andiedeath and I co-FC every Friday, leaving from Stacmon just after downtime. All are welcome, either to participate or bring an opposing force, hotdrop us or donate prizes.

Thanks to Bam Stroker from NC for the Chimera, sorry the Moros blapped you so fast.

Thanks to Apex Bex. Any donations of ISK toward the uninsured portion of his Moros would be appreciated, cause that was a great hour's entertainment for many a person, and you never know, it might happen again.

And thanks to Snuff Box for #YOLO at zero. Wish we'd have actually been throwing a tarp on your Absolution gang, muy bueno.