Thursday, 27 December 2012

Ignominy defeated

Reputation in EVE sticks with you like shit to a nappy (diaper for my American readers).

I recently recruited (by which I mean, accepted the application of) a renowned corp Awoxer into the ranks of Sudden Buggery. Involved as we are in Faction Warfare, and having followed his career and indulged in Awoxing myself (on alts) from time to time, and having held a few discussions on EVE-O forums about various things with the guy, I am fairly confident that a career in highsec griefing doesn't preclude you from PVPing in lowsec, or from Factional Warfare.

However, it is hard to forget losing your Kronos to an Awoxer, and thus my dude got Awoxed by a militia member who was in a corp he had done the dirty on about 12 months ago; there was a little diplomatic fracas over this as the incident occurred during a bunker bash, during a SRS BSNS fleet situation, and during a time BUGRY had deployed a couple billion in black ops ships on field. Hardly the time you want to see a militia member going rogue on one of your guys.

In the end, the advantage is with us. Not only does this prove to our guy that his Awoxing has delivered fat dividends of tears - not just a Kronos killmail - but if the former victims and now supposed militia-mates can't put it all behind them - as you should, because being Awoxed is entirely the victim's fault at being shit at recruitment - and continue to Awox my guy, then their corp and alliance will suffer the most.

Indeed, if Khanh'rhh was join join militia I would be tempted to Awox him, but would be loath to do it; after all, revenge is pointless in EVE, and it is destructive in FW. It also shows you got butthurt over imaginary internet spaceships. It also, perversely, only serves to cement the Awoxer's reputation and notoriety. Which, in the end, is what the practise is about.

So. Congrats to Commander Ted, for he struck a rich vein of tears. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Aset Seizure

Aset fell yesterday afternoon (GMT). To say this was an epic struggle is not exaggerating it. It was the Stalingrad of December 2012's Faction Warfare between the Amarr and Minmatar militias.

Pre-Retribution hotfix to FW, when the great farming hordes polluted FW, the whole of upper and most of lower Metropolis lowsec was all Minmatar sovereignty and heavily contested - in essence a great farm for Amarr and Caldari farming alts who were not at all interested in flipping the systems, but would instead tick over complexes for LP's and convert them at stupidly low rates.

When Retribution dropped, a bunch of systems in the lower metro area got flipped by the Amarr, mostly because of the addition of a connection between Kurniainen and Ibrabata, and Eszur and Sisiede (this being, more or less, in line with the ideas promulgated by Pinky Feldman and others).

Ushra'Khan retook isbrabata almost immediately, but as the days wore on, it was clear that we would need more than one lightning strike to dislodge Aset. The strategic importance of Isbrabata as the chokepoint to the Bleak Lands was abundantly clear, but Aset even if it was 'behind' Isbrabata turned out to be equally important.

Military strategy in EVE is similar to normal Military straegy. You have to eliminate the pockets of enemy left behind after an advance, or they can disrupt your rear echelon and paralyse you. Aset has seven gates, to seven Minmatar-controlled systems. The Amarr in Aset, supplied by neutral freighter runs much like Stalingrad was supplied from the air, had plenty of ships to burn and plenty of opportunities to make LP's plexing in the seven systems surrounding Aset. The Minmatar lacked the cohesion and fire to take it, and were constantly sapped by having to decontest the seven systems around Aset. For 2 weeks or more, Aset was basically decontested and the various systems around it fluctuated between 30 and 70% contested.

Ordinarily, this wouldn't be a real problem. We all like good fights, and there were a lot to be had around Aset. Frankly, though, no one likes being AWOXed by cockbags who exploit the mechanics of the game to create shell corporations they flip AWOXer alts in and out of, to assassinate 'fellow' militia members who cannot retaliate or risk getting their corps and alliances boooted from FW. When Ushra'Khan and Iron Oxide both tanked out of FW due to these cockbags (and, admittedly, some ill discipline in people who just opened up on the AWOXers), enough was enough.

We started mobilising a week ago. My preparations for BUGRY's part in the war? Propaganda, and moving a single Maulus, a single Vengeance, a single Crucifier and a half dozen navitas in to Isbrabata.

We began the fight over the weekend. Strategically, we agreed there was no need for good fights for two reasons. One, this was about conquest. Two, we wanted the cockbags out, so we weren't wasting hours of our lives orbiting buttons in the region for virtually no LP gains. So we teabagged into Local with as many numbers as we could, and the Amarr began throwing ships at us.

Here, we began to see the metagame changes which had occured in Retribution come to the fore. Early on, when the bodycount wasn't reaching 250 per 24 hours, the Amarr would use attrition to win plexes. They would leeroy Coercer after Coercer into superior odds, knocking frigates out and knocking destroyers into deep armour. They would redock while people had to jump nextdoor to get repairs, and eventually they would wipe out the forces in the plex, and we'd have to leeroy into them. This favours the defenders.

The addition of a single navitas to one of these fights changed that. Save a Punisher in 20% hull, and rep his armour back up while the guy is getting his next Coercer, and you have saved a loss and a 2.5 minute reship. This preserves your strength in the plex. Soon enough, after frittering away a dozen Coercers for no gains whatsoever, the balance began swinging our favour.

I cannot give a blow-by-blow; it was just too intense a fight and I spent far too much time glued to the computer screen. however, I lost only a single Maulus', a navitas, a Crucifier. BUGRY's losses in the last week were about 56 and of those 21 in the Aset battle; the ISK efficiency was around 90%. For December, the corp has 244 kills already. This attests to the ferocity with which the Amarr defended their key toehold system.

On that note, I will say a bit about our foes. The Amarr militia, save for Cynthia Nezmor and alts, were by and large great opponents. We had huge advantages in most timezones, but Fweddit would come and set our efforts back marginally when they rolled in with their fleets, and we found them very difficult to take. Tengu-boosted shield fleets of 20-40 with 1/4 to 1/3 logi frigates were incredibly tough; Fweddit may be a corp of guys flying cheapfit cheap ships, but clearly there is a lot of skill brewing there, as their fleet discipline was always improving, their logi frigs would land reps well, and we would routinely get teabagged. Good fight, guys, and look forward to fighting you again.

As for the rest? All i can say is we are so glad to see you sulking off back to Siseide and Egghelende, after all your AWOXing was for naught and your shitty smacktalk and false bravado came to nought. Sure, we blobbed you. We blobbed you because we have more friends than you. Maybe that should be your lesson.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Viva la Retribution

It has been a couple of weeks since Retribution dropped. I think this is the best expansion yet. I won't say patch, because this is more like a whole-of-body transplant. I haven't had time to blog, literally because of paying too much EVE.

For a start, the raw numbers of people signed on, resubbing (even Teh Onion & alts, and Khanr'rhh & alts are back) or just regulaarly signing in to do stuff is up. I know that raw numbers of people signing in always goes up around an expansion, but when you top 40K users logged on to the cluster, double a month ago, and everyone's having piles of fun? That's got to be good for the game.

Next, the game is fun. By balancing the various red-headed stepchild ships of EVE, CCP Fozzie has provided the metagame with a huge variety of new toys to play with, fleet concepts to toy with, and exciting ways to get yourself blapped.

Logi frigates, despite my fears about their difficulty in use, are proving to be invaluable, at least in faction warfare. I won't speak of w-space and nullsec, because I haven't played in those realms since the patch, but certainly the logi frigates are finding their niche. With Tengu boosts, a FC with a Siege mindlink, and enough of them, Fweddit is certainly showing that you can make them effective when you deploy large numbers in big blobs.

The T1 logi cruisers are also proving a decisive thing to own. I bought up big, and haven't lost many myself, but certainly the numbers of Augorors seen in EVE must surely be 1,000% more than pre-patch. They are the core of any cruiser gang nowadays in k-space.

On that note, cruisers in general are resurgent. This is awesome, because it takes only a couple of weeks to skill into a cruiser and do it effectively, and be valuable in-game to a corporation in PVE or PVP. I am still disappointed in the Stabber, and the Bellicose seems a rare beast, suffering from atrocious lock-range for a nano cruiser (ie; you are in scram range by the time you lock when they start at 56km). Moas are rare if only because the Thorax does the blaster gank job better, and the Arbitrator is pretty much extinct whereas before it was fearsome (although, famously, apparently you can heroically ruin a BLOPs drop with on).

The frigates are awesome. I have, in the fights around Aset, whored onto so many kills in the Maulus it should be illegal. The Crucifier is now a respectable solo boat, the Breacher a loltanky microcyclone.

There are a few flat spots. As said before, the Stabber is a bit of a fizzer. It isn't really all that. It has in fact, perhaps got worse simply because everything else is better. Well, except at going really fast. The Kestrel isn't so awesome. The new destroyers are a mixed lot. Rocket Talwars are OK, but still anaemic DPS. Coraxes suffer from fitting issues, badly, and are even more pathetic. The Dragoon is cripplingly slow, but otherwise OK. The Algos seems the FOTM halfway through the month.

There are a few issues outstanding for the next expansion or patch. Offgrid boosting, for one. The T3/CS imbalance in links and the whole hand-of-god bullshit OGB mechanism is worth addressing.

Similarly, there needs to be some thought put to the economy. I am sure the price of ships is a stimulus to mining insofar as high mineral prices driven by ship consumption is a driver of mining (and certainly mining barges seem more survivable) and this may be a short-lived burst of consumption driven by mass welping of ships in lowsec (eg, Aset) but prices have been rising solidly for a long while now. I will be interested to see the results of this playing out soon.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Sow, or let lie fallow?

Vard. Lamaa. Ezzara. Roushzar. Avenod.

Considering 4 months ago the Amarr were more or less protrate, squeezed down to one system, and that heavily pressured, it is good to see them resurgent. It is, after all, no fun being in Faction Warfare with no one to fight.

The reasons for the resurgence are manifold. Partly, of course, changes to FW mechanics themselves have caused a mass exodus of Minmatar Plexing Alts. I doubt anyone who is even mildly invested in FW really wanted the giant space farms to continue, and it is prettty clear that their influence on the warzone was actually quite profound - although they didn't actually contribute to capturing anything in the Amarr-Minmatar zone, nor did they really PVP.

There were also piles of Caldari alts keeping Metro deep, deep red, and contributing nothing to PVP - they were like flies you waved away and they would come right back. The Amarr flipped a few systems in Metro, but despite what some forum warriors say about the situation, it was clear that they kept it as a farm. You'd see them in Metro constantly, and they could circle buttons for hours...then exchange their LP's at a bad rate, or indeed, save them up for now, and cash in at Tier 2 or 3.

Either way, changes to the mechanics, the re-entry of Fweddit into the Amarr-Minmatar zone, changes to the plexes and the button location have served to give the Amarr a second wind. The new ships in Retribution have also rebased FW away from flabber blob plus Thrashers Online, into more of a T1 Cruisers Online and T1 Logi Blob - as explained in Does it begin. In the past week, as well, standings issues have knocked several large Minmatar FW alliances out of FW for a few days, which has contributed to a few systems tipping over.

Behind all this, there is some debate about how we arrest an obvious misalignment of minmatar militia efforts from, eg, sitting in their home systems grumbling or avoiding PVP (in some cases), derping wholesale (in other cases), and losing systems.In my view, there are several factors at work.

1) Morale
Morale is pretty low - and getting booted from Militia can hit an alliance hard. It forces you to assess what went wrong, and navel-gazing is never good if you think you are "all that" and more. Losing multiple systems, even if this may be a temporary setback, is going to hit morale in general - so it will be interesting to see how the ancients respond.

3) Tactical misalignment
T1 logi, both frigs and cruisers, and the admixture of T1 and T2 ships within plexes, has changed the tactics you need to use in plexes. Same for the button being closer to the warp-in. Some people are adapting, others are not. The ones who are not are being rolled out of plexes.

2) Strategic paralysis
I think that some of the corners of Minmatar FW are stuck thinking this isn't a game about plexes now. There are many who will not plex at all, and instead mission, because you make more ISK in missions. There are also many who mine in lowsec, and contribute almost nothing to the war effort - not even to the point of supplying minerals to the markets in lowsec (it all goes to printing their own SFIs for sale in Jita).

I heard it told that if we "Field of Dreams" the warzone by making it Tier 4 (by donating millions of LP, which I do not have) then we will get the farmer alts back in, who will help offensive plex enemy systems, and defensive plex.

I don't hold truck with this. Herds of alts worked for Minmatar before, like an unwanted fungal infection that keeps your tuberculosis at bay via a miracle. However, you cannot offensive plex AFK now and due to the position of the buttons, you can barely AFK the defensive plexes now. So, why try to re-attract the plexing alt horde?

Thus, dumping bulk LPs in the hubs isn't going to do much to turn the warzone control back in the favour of Minmatar. Only coordinated offensive plexing in small gangs, or dispersed throughout a whole cluster like a giant protean mob of def-plexing frigates, will actually affect system control.

This requires organisation, which requires experience, skill, social skills (ie; not being a dictatorial, elitist douche who thinks everyone else is a retard), and a coherent tactical and strategic model. Right now, Minmatar doesn't have this warzone-wide. 

We should be leaving the fields to lie fallow and make do with Tier 2 and 3, until we can get reasonable control over whole constellations, such that while the Amarr may plex it up we can respond, stymie their efforts, and deplex. Meanwhile, yes, we will get PVP, and there will be chances to sock it to 40 man Fweddit cruiser fleets. But there's no value existing just to crank things to tier 4, nor to just stick around for the PVP.

Nothing Ventured...

I admit, I do try to gather scalps. First day the Zephyr came out, I performed my first ever suicide gank by downing one at a grav in Hek. So when I saw a Venture mining recently in Frerstorn, I went in for the kill in my Vengeance.

Of course, the guy in the Rapier was ahead of me on this one, having thought to himself "Surely some prosuf PVPer in lowsec will want a Venture killmail. I shall cloak off my alt and fuck him up."

Yes indeed, I should have done this in something a bit cheaper. But a 30M ISK Vengeance loss to put a Venture scalp on my saddlehorn? Worth it.

Saturday, 8 December 2012


I begn a thread some weeks ago discussing the tiercide of Industrial hulls in the Features and Ideas discussion. This mostly stemmed, in actual fact, from the V3 render update of the Stabber and someone mentioning how ugly their Hoarder was and when would it get a new model?

Plus, of course, every man and his donkey is shitpoasting about when are BCs and BSs getting love, etc etc.

So, add a few beers and the above came out. I am pretty chuffed that CCP took at least one idea from it and made the T2 blockade runners immune to cargo scanning. That's awesome. 

Epic Smack Battles of EVE

Smacktalk is always a good way to pass the time in EVE. I enjoy a bit of banter now and then. I will even put up with people commenting anonymously on this blog if they are butthurt, as I can handle people getting pissed off by what I say - friend or foe.

However, I must say, I witnessed a truly epic smack battle of epic proportions early in the week between Cynthia Nezmor and LordTitan, in Aset. LordTitan and Cynthia were both docked, Cynthia because we were obviously "blobbing" hard and he couldn't figure out an angle or gather the numbers or Falcon alts to make a go at us, and LordTitan for an unknown reason - maybe camped in, watever. Either way, something must have happened before I came to Aset to run buttons and hope we could have a fight that wasn't Cynthia and alts and Dan Carter Murray, alts, retards and various mouthbreathers blobbing us. It happens, if you don't like that description of it guys, suck my arse.

Anyway, these two went at it for at least 1.5 hours. It was unbelievable. They went on in the vein of how useless either of them were, and their endurance was titanic, their e-peen injuries shocking, but neither yielded. I wish I could copy-paste it, but I am up at Camp Pew Pew for a week doing my IRL job, and on my ee-PC.

What amazes me is Cynthia aka Caerise or whoever owns that account, gets so worked up. He or they have even come on here carrying on and shitting the place up with anonymous posts, which says to me that I must be getting to them, or they take this game way, way too personally.

This brings me to the crux of their arguments, and basically all that Cynthia's smactalk ever seems to consist of, which is looking at killboard histories. His favourite line? "I have more kills than your entire corp." said to basically everyone. The guy is obviously taking a lend, or is literally retarded. He loses on facts no matter which way you cut the cake.

To be honest, as long as you enjoy what you do, you are winning. If you want to measure your killboard history or stats with people, you have to understand what they do, how they get their kills, etcetera, before you pronounce people a PVP God or a retarded scrub.

To be honest, I don't value station camping. It is a skill, for sure, but especially camping Hek undock in faction warfare isn't very challenging. It is just a rote method, a sensor-boosted Hurricane, and exploiting some truly retarded game mechanics relating to the fact you are at war with Minmatar, can't dock in lowsec FW systems, but they are totally fine with you docking in hisec. Yep. Makes sense to me.

Be as that may, you get whatever kill:death ratio, ISK efficiency you can get doing it. Mostly you end up blatting and ganking shit. I personally can't do it, as I suck at it, but I also don't value that style of PVP very much.

Or you look at wormhole players. Some of the best small-gang PVPers I know are in wormholes - and with reference to the previous post they are well on top of the metagame so they are ahead ofthe curve on many things like, eg, T1 logi. But some of the elite are also behind the game here - but you hardly need to worry about much because you will hardly see blobs of people roaming C5's. It's just not that style of PVP.

Some of the best soloers I know are in Faction Warfare, or in lowsec (Heretics, Tuskers, for example). I am shit at frig work solo - and too busy to derp about in RvB to better myself. But either way, I respect the Heretics and Tuskers, because they never smacktalk, never make an issue of it, always gf in Local. Some even exchange emails and are thoughtful, well-rounded guys.

Contrary to previous post where you may think I don't respect RTSAvalanche, I do. He is very, very good at what he does. Again, I'm not usually one to invest in Loki and legion boosts, and I am too precious about my pretty ships, so I don't pimp the shit out of them. But I respect someone who puts it all on the line, and exploits the game for all he can. The fact he gets so butthurt? Well, sorry mate. But like I said, we'll blob you for the pricey kills. You will usually make better tactical decisions and get out.

So it is a big shame that I actually respect Cynthia, Dan Carter Murray, etc etc, whatever and whoever all their alts are. They may be atrocious PVPers - if you can combat probe some dude's Phantasm and hero tackle it with a Cheetah, then you suck. No two ways out of it. But they nevertheless are cunning, dangerous opponents, and you have to respect them.

Faction warfare is an odd place, because you see the same people and can get killed or kill then 2, 3 or more times in an hour. You get to know people. Which means there will be people you enjoy smactalking with, and people you don't. There will be people who you respect, and can have intelligent conversations with. And then there will be Dan Carter Murray, Cynthia and friends, who think the only way to interact is being childish douches with e-peen problems. 

Does it mean that their smacktalk is ever entertaining? Not yet. It hasn't been witty, funny, grotesquely obscene and hence hilarious, nor thoughtful. Repeating how awesome you are at PVP to someone who spends literally 2/3rd of their time not playing EVE due to working a real job? That's not getting you respect. But carrying on for >1.5 hours like a broken record? That is endurance I can at least raise an eyebrow at, and ready my Cheetah of Doom to catch him fapping at a safespot next time.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Does it begin?

Stabs makes some very cogent points in his post about how Nullsec is on an inevitable trajectory of consolidation. One of the most important for this particular analysis, is point 5, one aspect of which is "It fails for many alliances because their highly egotistical leaders fall out with each other....Most of these alliances have very little concept of the new style of diplomacy that CFC and HBC use - they're mired in early Eve thinking - we are elite, we are unique, we may temporarily set someone blue but ultimately everyone else is an enemy."

Today, with Retribution, we saw the introduction of the poor man's Guardian. The Augoror, today, is as vital to any armour fleet in k-space as the Guardian is to a T3 fleet in w-space. I know this sounds bullshit, but the price difference is what makes this work.

Today, Fweddit came up against Late Night Alliance. They had 46 ships in fleet; a rump of DPS Ruppies, Omens, Vexors, a few oddballs, and one Celestis, numbering about 20-24 cruisers (I didn't keep track). They had a lone Blackbird, about 8 destroyers, a few frigates. And 6 Augorors.

LNA / SWIFT and the elite of Minmatar fielded less than 24 ships (there were 26 in fleet including 2 booster alts, and some people were out of position and not present). This was 2 Guardians, and a backbone of the SFI Blob; majority Stabber Fleet, Omens, and a couple of AF's.

We got owned, hard.

The Fweddit guys perhaps read my previous posts, and fitted ECCMs on their Augorors; they tanked properly (except their tankless gank thrashers); they used their extra mids for EWAR (I had every single type of EWAR on me when I went down), and although their fleet discipline was as per usual, it didn't matter. We couldn't break the reps on a fucking Talwar - all because they deployed 6 Augorors.

Our 2 Guardians were raped, and then we were all raped. No two ways about it.

LNA, dare I say it, are shell shocked. They don't want to fight the Fweddit FC, Almity, because they can't match the numbers. They can't match the numbers because these are, dare I say it, elitist, stuck-up, arrogant bittervets who don't trust fellow Militia as far as they can throw them. Solutions to Fweddit's unbreakable hero RR T1 were discussed, including trying to co-opt the pubbies from Militia channel - though this was basically heresy to the LNA guys.

All props to them, they are awesome PVPers, but just like in nullsec, they really, really need to get with the program. Nullsec was won by TEST (aka Fweddit) and Goons by enlisting in bulk, flying cheap ships, making the game fun for the pubbies, training, mentoring, getting them sorted economically so they can affford their losses and enjoy the game play for what it is, not beat their heads against the wall uselessly trying to make ISK. This beats a -AAA-, Raiden., Black Legion or Morsus Mihi business model hands down because once you teach a scrub how to make enough ISK to fly a Drake, and tell him it doesn't matter, he will eventually pwn the shit out of an elitist Tengu fleet and inflict 100 times the ISK loss. Eventually, the smaller, elite can't afford to keep losing billions, and ship down and lose their edge - and then it's just numbers.

Todayy, I think, with the advent of T1 logi cruisers and frigates, we have seen a major threat to the stranglehold of the Elite in Minmatar militia. You're all nice guys, but if you don't bring in recruits, you're fucked. You'll lose the war to blobs of Mallers and Augorors, Merlins and Bursts and you can do shit all about it.

Sunday, 2 December 2012


Much ado is made about blobbing in faction warfare - pages of Amarr tears flowing on the forum about how blobby Minmatar is. Well, it depends on the time of day - some timezones the Minmatar blob wins, other times the Amarr blob wins.

23.5/7, however, RTSAvalanche is rolling pimped pirate cruisers around Dal, Auga, wherever, with a head full of hideously expensive implants, with two fully tricked-out T3 off grid boosting alts (Legion/Loki or Tengu/Loki). The lameness of engaging a dude who points you with a Republic Fleet warp disruptor at 40km, shuts your MWD off, and blaps you with a rail Vigilant...well, it gets tired pretty fast.

So let me tell a tale of a Gila.

RTS was faffing about a Major in Vard in his Gila. We were a blob - I admit - of 25 odd dudes, half of which were out of position, half of which piled up on the Vard gate. RTS had his alt Gumi Vocaloid in our local, he surely knew we were blobby. It was a 4 AU warp to the acceleration gate, then we had to warp in. We sent in Torrent in his SFI to get tackle, on the off chance we'd actually get to fight the guy, but no one expected the tackle to hold.

RTS was 140km off the warp-in, but Torrent burns up anyway, and maybe RTS was afk or spanking it to porn, who knows. If you've been on 23.5/7 you eventually make a mistake. Torrent gets long point tackle, and we bumrush in. I'm in an SFI and a Scythe Fleet. I get into the plex and RTS is 140km away going 3.5km/s.

We get our own Loki boosts up, and I put EVE's biggest frigate into action, overheating the MWD and burning in faster than anything except the firetails. One overheated scram later, and I've latched on, pulling the Gila up short. I covered 235km at close to 5km/s in that chase.

RTS's mistake was he panicked or got confused as to what the problem facing him was - he put his small neuts onto the Scythe Fleet, and changed drones 3 times, attacking the long-point firetails versus the guy with the scram who was pinning him down for the slower flabbers to catch up and DPS him. He even deployed Ogres, and I thought my Scythe was done for; a large ASB would let me tackle only for a minute, if at all, against that DPS.

But in the end, 2 T3's and a shitload of pimp, and a notorious soloer went down. He put 100M bounty on the Falcon pilot for "faggotry"even though he died, honestly, from a Scythe Fleet with a burned out MWD. So yeah, we blob. But honestly, you can't tackle RTSAvalanche without a blob, because of his implants, T3 boosters and pimp. All props to him for rolling the bling, but crying when you lose it? Pimpslapped.

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Mystical Beast Escapes

My militia is pushing Metropolis hard this week, ahead of the hyperspace bypass that CCP is putting in between Isbrabata and Siseide and Eszur and wherever. It isn't hard to get 25 guys in a fleet shlepping about a timer, and boredom can quicjkly ensue, especially when everyone has been drinking.

It is however not just drunken ornery Militia men whose ears perk up and battlechubbies throb when you spot a Tengu soloing C3's. Tengus like that are invariably pimped carebear chariots, and everyone loves a good pimped T3 kill. It is a mythical creature, like a vodyanoi, a unicorn, a jackalope.

Like fantastical creatures, one must not approach brutishly. One needs to approach them most carefully, silently in fact, with great respect. They frighten easily, and like a yeti or bigfooot, once scared they wwill be gone, forever.

The other part of the equation is just sheer uncaring mathematics. A Cheetah of Doom costs 50-70M, fiitted. For a 3 billion ISK Tengu gank, I will hero tackle them, and die proudly, knowing I will be well on the right side of the ISK war.

This was made abundantly clear to the 25 guys in fleet, who were all in T1, T2 frigates, with a few pimped pirate frigates. Not all of use will make it; we'll be going in hot against a Tengu and 2 sleeper battleships. You may not make it, but you will die gloriously. Keeping point, overheating everything, and dying like champions is the order. Everyone understood, as we circled the wormhole from Eszur like a ravenous school of shark babies. Well, I thought everyone understood it.

I saw the Tengu aligned to planet 6; I got the only other bomber with a point to warp to P6 at zero to tackle him in case the Cheetah of Dom missed the initial tackle. I mean, you have 5 seconds to get point and the guy is aligned - but when he kills a BS you decloak and bump, and it can work. You then die terribly, but its all part of the awesome. So, we have a bomber on backup at the Tengu's pounce.

I get decloaked by a missile, a few seconds too early. I call for the bomber to get ready, as the Tengu bails immediately.I warp to P6 at zero, hoping to land first and get point, hoping the Tengu didn't warp to one of the 23 moons, the POCO.

I land, miss point by half a second, 5km away. And then the bomber decloaks as I've landed on him at zero. I'm flabbergasted. What the fuck was not made abundantly clear? Decloak, get point, hero tackle, die - i certainly will be.

So, the mythical animal melts into the forest and is gone. The magic is broken. It would have been that dude's first loss. If it had been a BUGRY guy, and not a militia scrub, we'd have handed him his first loss, and a fucking good one. Alas, twas not to be.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Fixing Battleships: CIWS

Following on from the previous diatribe, and having had discussions with Alliance and Militia blokes, who all tended to agree with my conclusions that battleships really are just giant punching bags most of the time, the discussions revolved around mechanisms for improving BS performance as a major asset on the battlefield. As discussed before, MJD mobility - akin to a cheat/hax super awesome teleport - isn't addressing the ability to actually defend yourself as a BS or deal damage.

We call these big fat punching bags battleships, but realistically the sniper battlecruisers (aka "tier 3") have BS guns and BS damage, so the actual Battleships in EVE today are essentially tier 3 battlecruisers with a tank, which are far slower, worse on scan resolution. This is totally unlike the battleships of the early 20th century. These vessels were designed around overwhelming offense, packed with the best protection against like-calibre weaponry, and sported secondary weaponry to deal with the support fleet. EVE's battleships are unlike this at all, they are slow, realtively indifferently-protected behemoths which put their entire combat role on one class of weapon system, which is useful mostly against only one class of vessel.

So how do you make battleships in EVE more like battleships should be? Well, they should have Utility, Protection, Defense in Depth, and Overwhelming Offense.

One of the virtues of BS's which I didn't really expound upon, and which Cruack rightly pointed out, was the BS's abundance of slots, giving it much more flexibility than smaller craft. The problem is, that aside from failfitting it with medium guns, there's really not many ways you can utilise the abundance of slots without foregoing actual improvement in ability for niche abilities or degrading combat performance totally.

Take a Tempest, 8 high slots, 6 gun slots. You have 2 utility highs you can put torp/cruise, capacitor warfare, smartbombs, RR's, energy transfers, cloaks into without compromising battle performance overmuch. Same for the Domi, Scorpion, Phoon. But the rest, you get 8 slots and 7 or 8 turret slots and, aside from the neut-torp Rokh, foregoing weaponry to gain utility leads you to basically get a utility BS. ie; instead of gimping your Maelstrom, just shield fit a Tempest if you want utility highs.

Rumour has it CCP is going to split Black Ops battleships into two classes, much like Recons. A covert ops cloakable, cloaky-flying weak EWAR-enhanced one, and a tankier (presumably jump capable) DPS machine. But what does tanky mean these days, when cruisers are going from 12-18K EHP to 24-35K EHP (and Maller, of course, a bait brick at ~50K)? Battlecruiser EHP, leaving aside the tier 3's which rely on range and speed as tank, is between 50K and 80K, with a Drake bricked up to 110K EHP.

Battleships, when not bait brick cynos, are between 80-120K. This is looking fairly light on these days. Active tanks on ASB Maelstroms are pushing 3K or more, and no one bothers with Hyperions and active armour because of this. But we won't get into that debate here, except to say that a 1K active tank is bare minimum, as you can get that out of an XLASB fit cruiser.

I think it shouldn't be hard to buffer a BS to 90K and give it a decent active tank at the same time. This will require CCP to really look into the whole tanking mechanism and balance it. But my prediction? Bricked-up BS tanks will start pushing 180-200K.

Defense in Depth
Battleships of old had a set of main guns (14 to 18 inches) and a set of secondary dual purpose guns (4 to 6 inches). The dual-purpose guns would defend against aircraft and small surface threats (destroyers and the like). Then, when aircraft came to the fore, you stacked on dozens of small-calibre AA guns.

The battleship in EVE has a drone bay as a defence against small threats. These days, people have figured out that the only drones of any real threat to a frigate are Warriors, and they cannot even catch half the interceptor T1 frigates these days. Neuts are another defence, but heavy neut cycle times are too slow and frigate cap recharges too fast to efficiently break a scram unless you get lucky and land a neuting cycle on the scram clicking over. Smartbombs, when large, are OK at clearing off drones, but not clearing off tacklers unless they are attempting to orbit at 500m - and even then, active tanks now exceed the 40DPS of a lone smartbomb comfortably. In fact, an Incursus can tank a flight of Warrior IIs comfortably, so most BS's don't have adequate defense in depth.

Overwhelming offence
Thoraxes are now pushing 700 DPS out, Catalysts do 500. Most cruisers will be between 350 and 450. Tier 3 BC's, 800-1300 DPS. Some battlecruisers are looking weaksauce, eg, the Ferox at 450 DPS is pathetic, and the Prophecy is just a joke. The Cyclone, buffer-gank fit will do 680-720 DPS con habanero, but dual XL-ASB fit you drop to 475-550 DPS and rely on broken tanking and attrition. Battleships sit in the 850-1200 DPS camp. This is good on paper, but as discussed before, applying all that DPS to targets which are getting faster, getting boosts, getting utility isn't so easy. Without rehashing it all, the damage application part of the formula needs looking at, because you have zero chance to hit, eg, a Dramiel or Cynabal, let alone drive it off.

We discussed a few solutions to the above last night, keeping in mind that this is a holistic approach, if you fix a lack of defence in depth you remove the lack of offence via circumventing the poor damage application. You may never have an effective resolution to a pimped boosted Cynabal, but that is a different argument and potentially resolved by a MJD anyway.

My preferred solution would be to look at the high slot philosophy of battleships to solve utility and defense in depth, as tank can be addressed most easily by tweaking raw shield or armour hitpoints and resistance profiles, as well as ship bonuses such as repair amounts, etc. Given this is all midslot and lowslot tradeoffs, the only way to affect defence in depth is to add tank in lowslots for armour BS, or EWAR midslots for armour BS, which leaves shield BS up shit creek due to lack of EWAR capabilities which would be at the expense of tank. Thus we should leave well enough alone and concentrate on high slots.

To my mind, we should visit the Marauder model as standard for battleships; 2 to 4 gun or missile hardpoints with 100% damage bonus, to give you 4 to 8 effective turrets - 4 for a Domi, 6 for a Pest, 8 for top of the line BSs. You would then get between 1 and 4 high slot utility slots to work in your defensive and utility options, which would be broken down into;
  • Capacitor warfare (neuts, nosferatu)
  • Point defense module
  • Remote repair modules
  • Area of effect weaponry
  • Drone buffs
  • Odds and sods (cyno generators, portals and the like)
Point Defense Modules
This I think is the key; a racial-specific module which, unlike a smartbomb, is not area of effect, but is an automated close in defence system. Think CIWS, Iron Dome, etc. Caldari would get some form of rocket-spewing shit, Minmatar would get an autocannon, Amar would get some laser wall, and Gallente some rapid-fire ion blaster module.

The module would act like a flight off drones set to aggressive. When activated, it would respond by attacking the first thing that attacks it, with an activation proximity of 10km and range of 10-15km. It would do around 100 DPS, enough to drop a frigate in 10-30 seconds, or a drone every couple of seconds. A pilot could also lock a target, eg, a tackler, and set the CIWS on it manually. Plus, of course, you could fit more than 1, up to 4, for overwhelming close-in defence. Fitting wise, it would have to be relatively expensive, similar to a smartbomb. After all, you are adding 100 DPS of drone and frigate pwning fire and forget.

Would this replace smartbombs? Not really. This is a mostly defensive weapon, although if you were humping an enemy in a blaster Hype, for instance, you could turn the CIWS on your enemy and add a hundred DPS, but versus one target only, whereas a smartbomb is theoretically an offensive weapon as well, which can hit everything within range.  It would also be effective in highsec BS fights, where you cannot dare set off a smartbomb due to CONCORDOKKEN; it would also potentially have some significant effect on hisec missions as it would be able to deal with tackling frigates quite effectively.

It wouldn't obsolete drones, either. Drones are an OK deterrent for battleships, but as said before, they really are not the ultimate in defense in depth, because most drones can't actually catch the frigates that are tackling you, and they are unresponsive and fickle.  At worst, you'd have Domis with 4 effective large guns, 4 CIWS, Ogre IIs, and DDA's out the arse. Currently it's 1100 DPS, and this would go to 1500 with 4 CIWS. Not much more ridiculous than a gank Talos, and balanced by fitting constraints you can impose on the CIWS.

The end result? Battleships would get 8 weapons of offense, which is plenty, and the ability to fit a defense in depth. Of course, combined with the MJD and a need to scram, your tacklers would be in for a rough ride. But that is the whole point - not being vulnerable to a permatackle kiting Dramiel who can lay low your drones in instants and kite you forever.

This would also be a valuable type off module for a capital ship, to supplement or replace a smartbomb, to destroy minor threats.

Introducing a CIWS for batttleships, and giving all battleships the utility highslot, would address a significant weakness in the capbilities of the ship class at the moment. With the MJD, target breaker, and a CIWS, the battleship would become supremely capable.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Megagay Drive

Call me a luddite curmudgeon, but the Micro Jump Drive seems to be a shit module thrown in to hotfix battleships which, aside from POS bashes and a few rare events, are now more or less totally obsoleted by just about everything. The MJD won't fix anything, and will break more things than it fixes.

The problem, as we should frame the problem in order to investigate the solution, is manifold but in my opinion it comes more down to the signal resolution of battleship weapons than any other facet. I say this because when you are unjammed by ECM, and you get assfucked by a single Legion, without even getting through his shield, you know something is wrong. This is repeatable with every type of strategic cruiser which is not covops fit, and many which are.

Note that in this instance, you aren't even addressing the whole "he's got faction resists!" line of thinking where you get brick Legions or brick Proteii with 150K EHP. You are talking here about the wake limiter sub with and AB fit, resulting in a sig radius that is frankly ridiculously low. Far too low for a battleship to apply its DPS to. Consider an Armageddon with Dual heavy Pulse II's (the smallest BS guns, sig resolution 400m) vs a wake-limited Proteus (168m). The nominal DPS of a gank Geddon (900) is halved even before transversal, tracking, etc. The Proteus suffers no such limitations. Orbit at 500m with webs on the BS, and your DPS doesn't improve. Web down a ow-sig T3 and your BS merely gets close to half of its paper DPS. Add tracking computers out the wazoo, still half.

This is without implants or off-grid boosters affecting the sig radius of the Proteus; you can get your sig down close to 50m with both.

What does this mean? Well, as everything in EVE is getting gankier and tankier (c.f. what's happened to frigates and cruisers) the advantage of a BS tank (100K) over a Frigate tank (used to be 3K, now 7) has halved. The gank discrepancy has halved, too, with Neutron catalysts pushing 700 overheated, 400 with a "tank". This has diluted the BS's preeminence as a tanky battlewagon that can command a small gang situation and take down enemies rapidly. Add to this increasing speeds - usually from off-grid boosting alts but nowadays from speed buffs to cruisers and frigates, and even if your enemy is MWDing about with sig bloat (yay 100% paper DPS!) the transversal/tracking problem comes to the fore, which allows kitey ships to avoid the DPS. Midslot proliferation has seen the Tracking Disruptor become ubiquitous when not replaced by the ASB - a terribly broken module.

So, it comes back to the solution. Do you want brawling battleships, or just sniping battleships (or, lets be honest, tier 3 BCs)? If you want brawling battleships to be able to hold their own versus faster, smaller-sig, TDing kitey enemies what do you do?

You add the Micro Jump Drive. After a 12s spool up, you teleport 100km forward in the direction of travel. You have +1 warp strength and are immune to bubbles. This of course, is fucking awesome, as you can't be help in place by one kitey ceptor.

The tactics are going to be interesting. Already people are waming up blaster Hyperion fleets 110km off gates, jumping to zero from a 100km pounce, and vaping their foes. People are sitting t 100km off gate sniping aligned to a celestial, MJD'ing to 200km just before being pointed, then warping to safety. People are warming up their massively warp-stabbed smartbomb BS, bombing, then clearig gate instantly.

The thing is, this isn't going to actually make battleships better. It will just make a few of them die on gate when they get scrammed (hooray for tackle), and the rest will become uber gay blink kiting punching bags. Get the drop on one, and it's fucked, absolutely fucked, even if it has an MJD. Get into a fight against something smaller than a MWDing battlecruiser, and you are going to suffer the same fate as before.

I wonder what other failure of a module CCP tried to make battleships better? Oh, right. The Target Spectrum Breaker AKA the SSuicide Disco Lottery ECM THat Never Breaks Every Lock.

Good game, CCP. Good game.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Never fear, the Stabber is here

I think CCP has a goal of creating one shit T1 cruiser per race. I think that since the Scythe has become OK, if you fit it a particular way and have all 5 skills, and certainly better than it was, the mantle of Minmatar's Worst Cruiser has to fall elsewhere. This now falls on the shoulders of the Stabber, as the Arby is now the Amarr's least favorite ship.

The virtue with the Stabber is its speed - the highest base of any cruiser and, truth be told, even faster than some AFs. It screams to be made into a cheapass Vagabond, what with uber rate of fire and falloff. My eyes got all goggly at the idea of kitey lolbuckets...and my e-peen got turgid at the looks of the thing. It is damn sexy.

The problem with the Stabber is, pending an update on PG and CPU available, it has a 4/2 gun/missile high slot layout, 4 mids, 4 lows. It can fit prop-point-2 slot shield tank, or plate-EANM-2 buff lowslot tank. You can even make a dualprop version of the vanilla Stabber. Sounds good, right?

You however run into one serious problem: lack of DPS, and tank. You can get 220's and T2 HAMs, and 327 DPS, with 15K buffer from a LSEII - but no DCU due to pathetic CPU. You can get a dualprop setup but DPS is below 280 and 16K buffer. You can shoehorn on an 800 plate, 435's and T2 HAMs for 357 DPS and MWD-web-TD and 16K buffer; hardly a great brawler, hardly a great kiter.

Perhaps the best role is to chase frigates. Duel-web MWD, medium repper, 180's and rockets - 11K EHp and 312DPS cold, but you can get moving at 3400m/s. But given a MSE Merlin will dish 200+ DPS and you'll be webbed yourself or scrammed...really, not much point.

Stabber, I am disappoint.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Lasers and Laziness

If one looks at Sudden Buggery's corp membership history on, it shows the corp peaking at 56 or 58. Mostly a half of this was alts, it being a wormhole corp after all. Then membership descends abruptly, due to Khanh'rhh running his successful campaign to assfuck the corp. The denoument of that saw us with 38 members, a half of which were alts.

The corp now numbers less than 20 members, and most of those are unsubbed, or alts, or both. Realistically, there's 6 active toons between 4 IRL people, with maybe a fifth guy who plays monthly.

I have considered, again, giving up and moving on. That is a whiny post for another day, and certainly it has been very difficult to recruit even noobs into BUGRY. Partly, I suspect, it is because people see the corp activity tailing off, or corp numbers tailing off. Our pub channel is deserted, which is never a good sign, either.

But I mostly want to talk about the reasons people left after the asset theft.

One guy, who took 6 toons, was out of ISK. Somehow living in a C2 with C3, with decent PI, he was unable to make ISK. This is because he used to dual-box carriers in the C4 we used to inhabit, which had better PI. He claims he wants to PVP, but he's always too busy....running 12 toons of PI now. Its a full time job. He even moved back in to the C4 and bought the exact same caps that we built in there nearly 2 years ago, after they had passed through 2 sets of hands via nefarious means. He now runs C4's again and runs his own corp - but now cant be fucked playing.

Another guy took 3 toons on 3 accounts with him. He was the guy pushing for us to join Minmatar in Faction Warfare, and convinced me to do this despite everyone (aside from him) having ships in Amarr. So we took 2 weeks extra to sort that shit out. He claimed he had connections with guys in FW, he could hook us up. He was keen to do PVP. But, like the other guy, swiftly IRL got the better of him, he was sick of the game, it was too hard to log in for an hour and fly to Auga and shoot some dudes and log off. So now he's joined a wormhole alliance...and I've never seen him log on.

My bro quit the game entirely - handing out 45 billion in BPO's (mostly to the wrong people), ships (to the wrong people, though I got all the pimp BS's and some faction goodies), toons (to the wrong people) and ISK (to the right people, thankfully). He'd had it with the game and got fleeced/lost too much with the heist. He is now doing an MBA and moving on with his life.

Three guys, who are IRL friends, stuck with and joined in FW. But they are carebears. Too much a bunch of carebears, despite being up for roaming when I organise it. So the restrictions of FW, and the oddities like permacamps on Hek undock, didn't do well with guys who wanted to just make ISK and accumulate toys. I tried explaining how plexing was better ISK than level 4's, how lowsec wasn't that scary and they could even mine safely, with Rorq boosts, in lowsec, and make 80M/hr. No dice, they quit corp. We still play World of Tanks together, and I'm not bitter.

So, there you have it. We may see a few come back with Retribution, and a few of the unsubbed will re-sub. But aside from my brother and the carebears, it seems that either the asset heist and dramas associated with it lost them their trust in me, or they unreasonably expect from the game something it cannot give: push-button get-candy excitement.

I spend a fair amount of time trolling/trawling EVE-O. In game I interact with people. I form allegiances, join alliances, talk to people on public channels, join comms, join in fleets, FC, do what the FC says, sort my own shit out, and mentor, mentor, mentor. It all comes back round. The guys in my alliance, who are quite new and carebeary, mope about and when I come back from the bush, I make shit happen. I rattle batphones, turn over stones to find PVP, and shit goes down.

The lesson? You can only get something out of EVE if you put something back in. I would like the spare time to rebuild BUGRY, to get it to 10-20 active players again, FW or WH or both. I hope that I can do it - there's a lot of fun to be had, and I intend to have it.

Writ my butt.

We had Mittani call for a dude to kill himself and call for people to grief the dude till he necked himself. He had to resign the CSM leadership.

I just got accused of slander and libel for calling a dude a drama queen crybaby on EVE-O.

My space lawyers have been in touch and told me to drink better quality beer, exercise more, and stop laughing so much.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Derpcat Concept

Midslot proliferation seems to be the outcome of CCP Fozzie's balancing drive and tiercide. Consider the Omen;

[Omen, Derpcat]
1600mm Reinforced Steel Plates II
Reactor Control Unit II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Heat Sink II
Fourier Transform Tracking Program

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
ECCM - Radar II

Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Conflagration M

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I

Hammerhead II x4

This fit does what every attack cruiser should. It is fast (1400m/s), it has respectable tank (35K EHP), decent DPS (450 cold), and thanks to the balancing, it can fit an ECCM to give it 36.8 (42.1OH) sensor strength. This is a significant buff, and mostly because having hardened sensor strength over double what it normally would means it will get jammed quite rarely, even by a Falcon.

This extends across quite a few of the buffed ships. ECCMs or other utility EWAR can be fitted in the midslots of almost anything, but especially cruisers. In small-gang warfare, the days of a Falcon permajamming everything may be coming to an end - because after all, what would you rather put in that midslot with no bonus? A TD. TD's help reduce incoming damage, but only if you aren't facing missile boats and only if you aren't jammed. Damps aren't effective for brawler setups, unbonused ECM is a joke/gamble, and TP's are worthless.

Thus, I can see armour cruiser gangs, with ECCM hardening, becoming incredibly important in FW. You will have your shield-nano gangs which have a chance of just burning away from the enemy and its falcon/BB alt, but for slower armour ships you may as well fit an ECCM and just burn the ECM down.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Musings of an EFT Samurai

Based on EFT 2.16 with Retribution build (the validity of which is of course subject to change), I have a few opinions which I am sure other EFT Warriors will take and meet in the ring. Specific fits would be too bloaty to copy up here.

Logi frigs:
These appear well balanced. You will have 4-6K EHP, every one is able to fit 3 x RR's and can be made to run between 2 to 12 minutes with cap which is plenty for frig combat.
Inquisitor - ECCM for 24 sensor strength, 6.1K EHP and 2m cap life.
Navitas - 4.8K EHP, ECCM for 27 sensor strength, 5m cap life.
Burst - 5.6K EHP MSEII fit, Ladar backup array for 16.6 sensor strength, capstable with small cap booster
Bantam - 6.3K EHP, gravi backup for 22 sensor strength, 2m 42s with small cap booster

Logi cruisers:
Overall these seem good, and I have assumed T1 logi drones because hardly anyone is going to train T2's. The armour T1 logi cruisers come out far in front with an extra 6-8K EHP. MWD fits in all cases are a nightmare and not capstable.

Augoror seems decent; 24K EHP, 4 x T2 Medium RRs, ECCM, AB and utility midslot. Capstable with a cap buddy inbound medium energy transfer. Rep output 277 armour HP/s.

Execquror is excellent. 800 T2 plate, trimarks gives 26.7K EHP, ECCM, AB, utility midslot, capstable with 3 T2 reps. Rep amount 208 armour hp/s + 24/s from T1 med logi drones.

Osprey seems good. 4 x T2 medium reps, capstable with some CPRs, rigs and cap recharger and cap buddy. 18K EHP, so mildly vulnerable to alpha.  277 shield HP/s rep output.

Scythe seems OK, but has too much PG and not enough CPU to fit things easily. 18K EHP with LSE II and Invul II, but 60 PG spare and no productive way to use it. Rep output 208 shield HP/s + 24 HP/s from T1 medium logi drones. This is very much sub-par.

The Scythe and Execquror will struggle to find a place I feel as their rep output is anaemic - you may as well bring another DPS ship.

Example, 6 vs 6 gang of cruisers. If you face 6 x 400 DPS cruisers (which seems the average) that is 2400 DPS. A single T1 logi cruiser repping 242-272 armour hp/s at 70% resists - which would be good for T1 cruisers - is 800-900 DPS tank projected onto the enemy. So you will need 2 logi cruisers - thus the Augoror or Osprey working in tandem - to come close to fully tanking even an average gang of average T1 cruisers.

I would say you would need to team your solo T1 logi with a BB to reduce the DPS on the field enough to make your single logi do its job well in such a scenario. However, midslot proliferation has allowed my EFT-warrioring to get, eg, Omens doing 450DPS with MWD and scram and 35K EHP...and an ECCM. It seems that utility slots are proliferating and tanks are improving as well, and this will lead to a wider variety of EWAR on the field. Since BBs and other dishonour boats are already so popular, this midslot availability really leads me to think ECCM is the preferred choice; after all as a DPS ship you are useless when jammed.

Secondly, since armour has greater base resists, you would be best off rolling an Execquror, which gets the utility mid for, as an example, projected ECCM or remote SeBo or a dampener. The Scythe, being unable to be MWD fit with a cap booster without seriously horrendous CPU issues requiring drastic fitting module bloat, is going to be basically worthless in fast-moving shield gangs, as either it caps out nearly instantly, can't run a MWD and one repper capstable (ie; pointless), or is AB fit and can't maneuver.

This is a sad state of affairs for the Matari pilots hoping to roll Bellicose/Stabber kiting nano gangs on training wheels. You'll have to double-down on a Scimitar to give your gang logi options.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Doctrines 2: Cheapcat Concept

If I may recap, the area of Faction Warfare is mostly small gang PVP, so Doctrines aren't really either neccessary or useful. FW people are split into two types: the ancient veterans like Sasawong, who have as many SPs as Methuselah and can fly anything and likely afford anything; then there are the noobs who are poorer, lower in wet skills (ie; experience) as well as hard skills (ie; SP's), and unable to fly everything. An example of this is a fair few of my current Alliance, who haven't been PVPing solid for 3 years and don't have +90M SPs and the ability to fly every subcap aside from industrials.

Doctrines or Concepts therefore need to be somewhat less restricive than some of the popular ones. They also don't need to work only for 20+ guys like Drakeblob does (I mean, seriously, +20 fleets in FW are rare). However, with the looming introduction of cheap logi cruisers and cheap logi frigates, there's definitely going to be lots of actual small gangs rolling with 1-3+ of these ships, so it is time to discuss a tried and true Sudden Buggery specialty: Remote Rep (Assault) Frigates. I'll call it the Cheapcat Concept.

Cheapcat is based on, firstly, relatively defensive combat. Frigate RR even with the new logi frigates requires more control over the engagement than you would need for Hellcats, RR BS or any other RR (as I discuss on the logi frigate thread). This is because frigates are fragile so going up against a relatively equal group of frigates - kitchen sink or otherwise- you will likely lose people due to buffer overruns even with logi frigs on the field.

The typical shield Cheapcat gang would consist of;
X Merlins fit with MSE, AB, Web, Dissy and Rails, rigged for resists and buffer
X/2 Logi frigates, Preferably Bantams, fit with buffer/resist/AB and ECCM
X/2 EW frigates, either Griffins, Crucifiers or Maulus

Armour Cheapcat gangs would consist of;
X Punishers with MWD, Dissy, Web and 400mm plate with pulses with Scorch
X/2 Navitas with MWD and ECCM
X/2 Cruicifiers or Maulus

The key difference is that the shield frigs really will need AB sig tanking, whereas the tougher armour frigates will be able to shed a bit of shield but really will need the maneuverability to get within range and stop enemy frigs from ganking the logi frigates. The key is also going to be webbing down the enemy frigates to prevent them closing with the logi frigates which will be at less than 24km.

Done right, and in FW plexes, I think that these gang setups with the right ratios will do quite OK. Offensively, it won't be so easy unless you get the drop on an enemy.

Doctrines Part 1

I love the idea of doctrines. Doctrines give an organisation (read: alliance) a template of fittings to make their members (read: idiots) train into to form a coherent and logical fleet configuration. This fleet configuration does several things, and these are in no particular order;
- unifies the performance of the fleet in terms of align time, warp speed, agility, MWD speed, etc
- provides a unified tanking strategy (and yes, mantanking philosophies exist) so a single logi type will work
- unifies the damage method to provide a uniform range envelope, damage type, etcetera
- often also unifies a single type of ECM philosophy
- simplifies the FC's workload because he can take all the above and know what is going to happen when he gives commands
- simplifies the logistics of (nullsec) alliances especially if there's a ship replacement program

Doctrines have funny names like Hellcats, Thundercats, Slowcats, etcetera. They also have their own drawbacks, namely;
- players devolve all fitting knowledge to a uniform fit, and hence don't really actively learn why this fit was chosen for 2 nanos over one and a DCU, for example.
- the philosophies are often heavily predictable, which lends to making the work of spies easier. Know your enemies are rolling Hellcats? You know the doctrine, and what works best against it.
- players must either devote time to fitting in with the FC's pet doctrines with skill training and ISK expenditure, or risk wrath and ire or totally missing out. Primarily this has regularly been Amarr and Gallente toons who haven't trained Guardian or Lachesis. Or, in wormholes, T3 cruisers.

The fighting style of various doctrines (and the metagame behind them) also influences the fleet or gang's preferred place and style of combat. Generally you don't try taking alphafleets on jumping through a gate with AHACs. You don't take on a proper Firewall with Drake blob. Etc. This also requires everyone in fleet to understand the fighting concept they are going for, and I've seen enough people botch this and enough arguments from people who were dense and stubborn and argued about how to run AHACs (eg, the famous Shadoo brainfart) and were just fucking wrong.

Doctrines have their place, especially with limited resources and training and inexperienced players and toons, but they only really come into their own when the third component - player skill, experience, knowledge - is properly addressed. The problem is, you can watch an R&K epic video and see 40 guys vape 120, but getting that right yourself takes commitment from everyone. Plus derptards to shoot, lets be honest.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Truesec or truely null?

Perhaps familiarity breeds contempt, but I got myself stranded in nullsec again today, though like a true gentleman I ensured my fleet got home first, and left my covert cyno Arazu and Panther behind.

I was in 4NBN-9 way out the butthole of Catch. or wherever. It was quiet, I had nabbed a guy in an Abaddon via calculating how long he was taking to do his belts (5 minutes), and once I spotted a freshly tilled belt in farmville (p6 m4), left it 15 and warped the Arazu in to p6 m7. Bingo. Sometimes you really feel like you are on top of your game.

Then, of course, I got myself stuck out in null via a crummy K346 and had two practical choices: HED-GP, or going back via Querious, the only jump I couldn't do via cynoing the panther to the Arazu being to 49-U. Also, it would let me reset some market orders in ED-9LT on the way out. Either way, it was going to be semi-epic. Or so I thought.

When I was in Querious with NEM3SIS we had the 3-F to Efa gate sewn up tighter than a nun's undies. Our quivering carebears deeper in Querious would spot people trying to scuttle to Efa and we'd have bubbles on the Efa gate in 3-F faster than you could blub "CNR!" and we'd get most, if not all. We would then get trowelled by Red Alliance's High Venture Team guys, who were good. But then we got told to fuck off to Delve, and spent 2 months out there tilling the fields and shooting TEST. Eventually, when RA got ejected from the Russian conclave of drone mining, they were graciously allowed to take our sov in Delve.

By this time everyone was aware of the rumblings of drone poo being nerfed and the old oligopoly of the Russians was falling apart. It was fine when you had drone poo sorted. You'd have 2-4 bots in Thannies or even Nyxes in a fully pimped dead-end -1.0 system (and the drone region truesec was low) splatting drones, and a few bots hoovering up the poo. Then you need real people online to collate the poo into gigantic stacks of minerals in a hangar, someone to light a cyno for jump freighter taking it the 3 JF hops in to Lowsec, and then you trade, dump, contract, sell at a stupid price or otherwise launder the poo into ISK, which gets funnelled back up the chain of command and sold to dudes on EBay for roubles to keep the gulag owner in his BMW's and whores.

Or whatever; but this was the ecology, and the moment you take the drone poo out of the equation the whole power structure of the great drone farms falls apart as you don't have a need for 30 JF alts, the ISK flows directly into a toon's account and can't be lost by shuffling goods between toons in stations or POS hangars. And thus, RA ended up in Delve. Then TEST fucked them in the ass with Goons, and that was that.

What is the point of all this political history? Well, I got an Arazu and Panther out down the pipe which, in my day, would have required all the hijinks and safespots I had created way back when...but now? I honestly should have autopiloted it. I cross-jumped one Ishkur and breezed past one guy ratting in a Tengu. The place is deserted.

Now to my point. This is the problem with TEST/Goons, HBC, etcetera at the moment. There is nowhere for the noobs to go in nullsec aside from being a bitch of one of the big organisations. Apparently it's now the Initiative, whoever they are. They certainly aren't farming nor protecting their space, and why would you if there's nowhere to go for good fights? If all your good fights do is attract the bored blobs and you get nutpunched, you may as well cave or go rub nuts with PL in NPC Delve or Stain. But the big blobs are bored because they don't have anyone to nutpunch anymore - but this is because they aren't letting the ecology of nullsec grow the new crop. Maybe its a phase we are going through, as this was all said about the Russian blob before (and now, I guess, they are in w-space now they can't farm with titans).

I think the status quo needs tipping. The babylonians over-irrigated and fucked their land, and their empire fell. Or was it the Mesopotamians? Either way, environmental changes cause the collapse of empires, and the next in line for EVE is the cloud ring mining and upsetting the tech monopolies. Much is said about Goons and the tech monopolies and the evils it produces, but realistically there is an imperative for them to keep supply to make the money, and they have been good market participants, just like the Saudis. Regardless, there is more stagnation and less content and less of a nullsec ecology for three regions that 12 months ago were known as the Thunderdome. I put this down to power concentration, and it will be good for the game to upset the Tech Moon apple cart. Maybe this alone will fuck Goons, or TEST, or AAA.

Finally, my time in Faction Warfare shows the w-space model of shooting farmers and leaving PVPers in their holes is the way to play a game. In an MMO like EVE you need to give your foe a chance to pick himself up. if you win everything, you won't have a game to play. Which is just bad gaming.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Drip Feed

Like all good Trinkets Friend Effects, it begins with a mistake. In this case, it was consciously made: a K162 to null from a C3 which was EONL.

Lacking sec status (I like to stay positive so I don't appear yellow on overviews in w-space in case my Cheetah of Doom gets uncloaked by crap) I take opportunities to go blow up rats in nullsec so I can continue blowing up idiots in lowsec. So, I thought "Fuck it. I'll find my way home if it collapses."

Which it did. So, deploy the probes and scan while ratting, dodging bubble camps and work my way the 35 jumps through nullsec towards lowsec.

Two systems in to my Odyssey, the TF Effect came up with an offline POS in the middle of a besieged system with an I-hub imminently due to come out of RF. So i farmed a few POS mods, sadly no Machariels this time. Onwards.

Eventually, I found an N432 to C5 (empty) and a R943 to C2. Retriever, Loki, Anathema on scan. Two minutes later with the D-scan and I'm at their POS, and the Retriever isn't. The battlechubby begins to get engorged.

Way back in the formative months of wormholes, though i won't say we invnted ninja scanning the proper way, we certainly became extremely adept at ninja scanning. I've never had to resort to Virtues to get people, nor Sisters launchers, and I'm one of the better practitioners of the art. But in the majority of cases, however you learn to do it (and there's a few style differences between my method and the shit on youtube), you want to launch your probes off-scan from anyone who may be likely to see them. Otherwise, well, you've usually got buckleys chance against someone who is doing the proper thing and mashing the d-scan. Which, today, the way people can read w-space guides, is everyone.

However, there is a way I call the Drip Feed. You set your upper rack of modules up like this: cloak - prop - probe. You then go into the solar system map view, press F1, F2, F3, move the probe immediately way outside the solar system. Press F1 again (you will be >2000m from the probe by now) while hitting scan. If you get this down pat, you can have a probe launched and out of d-scan range inside 5 seconds. Not enough to slip it past a real d-scan masher, but enough to slip it past a casual and mildly inattentive miner.

When you have 6 probes launched, you ninja scan as per usual. This time, it worked because the AFK Retriever was off d-scan from the POS, and the POS was off-scan from the launch position.

The moral of the story? Well, aside from d-scanning like a ferret on meth, even if you see a single probe for a single scan, you have to make the decision to get back to POS or take the risk. You can't think you are safe in a small system where "Oh, I will spot someone launching 6 probes".

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Bomber Fallacy

When an FC asks for a DPS ship, what do you bring?

A: 1300 DPS blaster Talos?
B: 850 DPS Vigilant?
C: 750 DPS Deimos?
D: 500 DPS HAM Drake?
E: 550 DPS stealth bomber?

It seems E is a very common answer, and it puzzles me to this day. When I took over my toon from my bro, 4 years ago, TF was based in KP-FQ1 in Stain. The toon could fly Caldari BS, BC, SB's and Minmatar SB's. The CEO of the corp, who taught me precisely nothing about anything, said "The Hound is a good DPS ship?"and I was so noob I said "What is DPS?".

Note, this was when you could fit cruise missiles to bombers, and I'd rate Sanshas from 130km in my hound. Good times. 

The opinion of the metagame hasn't changed much over the years. Bombers are "good DPS ships". So you bring them to knife fights.

The problem with bombers is they have no tank. Yeah, I'm really breaking the news here, but bear with. The thing is, you need some form of tank in order to gank, unless you fly an alpha fleet or can successfully kite, or have overwhelming ECM. Brawling in gangs requires not only pushing out DPS, but tanking it long enough to actually land it. Bombers cannot do this.

My current alliance runs SB/EWAR frig roams. They are fun, but ultimately until our EWAR pilots get better at their job (like, not having a BB on gate at zero so it gets instapopped) we will continue to get cleaned up and lose shitloads of ships. Not that it isn't fun, but its not very effective.

For example, we fought R.E.V.O.L.U.T.I.O.N. in Nagamanen (eg; link). We did OK versus two BC's, only because of the Celestis (having lost the BB within 10s). But soon enough, the bombers started dropping like flies, usually to drones (as staying at 30-50km and aligned is a foreign concept), and we got hung up on a Claymore's tank. How we lost the Rapier and other shit, not entirely sure.

To my mind, a bomber does well for its intended purpose: ambush. Get in, gank shit, and get out. Roaming lowsec with bombers, even with EWAR support, is a mug's game. Yes, it's cheap, yes you bring paper DPS but you bring paper tanks. The way the ASB's are these days, they have it entirely the other way around: you have a ridiculous tank and don't need gank, as by the time the enemy busts your tank, your have whittled him down.

So it is interesting, yet frustrating, when people turn up to the wrong situation with a bomber. Its not a DPS ship, it's an ambush ship. If you aren't ambuhing someone, leave it at home and bring a gank cruiser.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Nerbuff inbound

There has been a LOT of discussion about the upcoming nerf/buff (nerbuff) to heavy missiles, due in EVE Retribution, December 4th. (eg; here)

The discussion inevitably occurs between two types of people: those who think in a linear fashion and can only see the penalties to missiles, and heavy missiles in particular, and those who are lateral thinkers and can see the whole package of missile changes.

Yes, the performance of heavy missiles is going to be lower, roughly 15% less range, less DPS. Yes, TD's will work on missiles now, so you will have the ability to get your range nerfed even harder by a foe. But it is not all doom and gloom.

For a start, the Drake and Tengu are just too powerful. This isn't because of the tank, neccessarily, or the ability to fit oversized AB's to the Tengu to make uber kiting pwnmobiles...for 2 billion ISK plus a billion ISK Loki plus 2.5 billion in implants, mind you. No, it has always been the Heavy Missile which makes the Drake so difficult to take on except in a dual-neut welpcane, a proper buffer-gank Cyclone (yes, I did say buffer), or a faction-booster Cyclone with navy 800's. (discounting, ofc, various faction cruisers, BSs, etc). Or in mobs.

The reason has been, number one, short of actual ECM, there is nothing you could previously do to knock the Drake's DPS out. You could knock its tank out with neuts, but you'd need a massive buffer (aka welpcane) to tank its paltry DPS long enough to survive. This discounted Pilgrims and Curses in the majority of situations. Secondly, you can't knock its DPS out. The Pilgrim or Curse can TD a turret ship (ie; everything else in the game which is currently regularly flown) to utter impotence, but they can't stop the Drake hitting them. Ever. Then you have an Arazu or Lachesis; they can't knock the Drake's range dowwn enough to actually stop it targeting them, and if they can, their DPS is so paltry it hardly matters (try finding a 450 DPS Lachesis). Falcon can't break it's tank, Rook may with the right fit, but its chancy.

Coming with Retribution, and aside from a much needed bufff to damps, you will be able to fit tracking speed disruption scripts to a Curse or Pilgrim and kite a Drake, knowing the explosion velocity of his missiles will be so pathetic you can tank him. Or you put in Optimal range scripts and the range of his missiles is cut to below 20km, and you can sit with utter impunity at range.

What this boils down to is a Drake pilot will need to sacrifice tank or an EWAR module to fit a Tracking Computer II with scripts, to jack the range of their missiles back up to where they were before. They will have to consider dropping a BCU for a TE in the lows, to do the same job. It won't end Drakeblob, but this will reduce the efficacy of the blob significantly - which, in the end, will only help to promite smaller gang warfare.

Secondly, this is a stealth buff to HAM ships. Yes, the HAM performance is now worse, but your Javs will no longer turn your Sac into a total bucket of pus. You can fit TC's in the mids to get extra range from your HAMs, and pack TE's in the lows, and get uber kiting Bellicose. This is going to see TC/TE nano HAM Drakes turn FOTM, big time, as you will theoretically be able to get close to 450 DPS and close to 40km HAM range with Rage (might vary when you actually fit it out), and then kite people at 1500m/s.

Is this a nerf, or a buff? It is neither - it's balancing the battlefield away from super long-range capless EWAR-immune weapon systems mated to a brick-tanked cheap throw-away BC. In short, CCP Fozzie has shown you the way - and it is nano-HAM.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Back at it?

it has been a while since I blogged here, for various reasons.

One, BUGRY got cleaned out by a director, so we lost some stuff and members. Ten, maybe fifteen billion ISK, depending who you ask. Not really a lot. But it caused a bit of blood-letting in the ranks and lots of hurf and blurf, and members went by the wayside.

Then I got busy with IRL stuffs, and also due to above, played EVE rarely.

The remaining few active members in the corp decided we would start factional warfare, which took a month of grinding missions and standings. Finally, we have settled in and here we are. 23 kills a week, 98% ISk efficiency, and lots of fun.

As for this blog? Well, wormholing is either in your blood or not, and it is in mine. So I've been making chaos and ganking people in wormholes anyway - and thus I guess, it is worth restarting the blog, for there is much pontification to be had. But maybe not today, because I'm sick with a weird illness and I need a lie down.

But maybe later, I shall tell you about the Station Bubble Trick, and the gestating plans of Project Bandcamp.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Morning billions

The TF Effect is strong. This mornings, woke up at 6 a.m. due to evil bladder, found someone had respawned our C3 static to a nullsec hole, and probed it down. Jumped out to Deklein into a nest of ratters, who all cleared out.

Hit d-scan: 6 POS, 4 forcefields. One, at the closest planet, had an SMA and no field.

Five minutes for a swap to a throwaway Ferox (which, I shall note here, was stolen), and I candified the sweet, sweet pinata. The candy which fell out?

A faction-fit Machariel, no less.

Not bad ISK/hour. 2 billion for 45 minutes work including mopping up the hardeners.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The Unknown Code

I have been in low-end wormholes since they came out in Apocrypha. I have seen the ups and downs of this segment of w-space, and watched third-hand the growth of the "big end of town" and the "pro" alliances and power blocs and seen their eliteness and, indeed, their elitism grow.

Today's w-space, as anyone who gets on to the EVE-O forum can discover, is dominated by a handful of corporations and alliance who are the undisputed tier one wormhole powers.The majority of these powers farm ISK in high-end w-space and get ridiculously rich via quad-cap escalating C5's, and seek out PVP with one another in what is known as a "Friendly Aggression Pact" or FAP, grown out of GF's on the Failheap Challenge community, and which is by default the inculcated culture of w-space. Or at least how they would like to see it. I'll call it the Unknown Code.

The way the Unknown Code goes, there are a few Commandments.
Thou Shalt Not Farm. You are making enough ISK to afford the shinies to risk in PVP and you should therefore not be risk-averse farmers of wormhole sites who POS up and don't bring the good fights. No one is against everyone getting space-rich, but as the -AAA- "control the C5/C3s constellation" push-back shows, wormholers don't like people presuming they can 'own' a system and extract rents.
Thou Shalt Fight. People may spawn into you and come poking for fights; the more you POS up and log off, the more you blueball your enemies, the more ikely it is that someone will force a fight on you, usually by sieging your POS.
Thou Shalt Not Blue. Given the power creep in high-end WH's where there are more caps per system than anywhere else in EVE (I shit you not) it is increasingly getting to the point where to force a fight, you need allies. But if everyone is an ally, you cannot fight. Hence the FAP; blue today, red tomorrow. See this thread for more infos on how Wormhole Coalitions are held by the community.
Thou Shalt Not (Really) Siege Out. This is less a hard rule than the others, but generally people seem to want to avoid crippling the other denizens of w-space with evictions, which can result in people ending back in k-space bankrupt, which results in people  giving up w-space. Oddly, since you need a siege to start a serious fight, this is kinda a bit wishy-washy.

Today, someone's forum alt complained about the predominance of massive T3 gangs roaming w-space looking to roflstomp a couple of site-running drakes into the ground. This of course, comes into the whole power creep issue going on in wormhole space. Whereas when Zebracakes first went off 45 guys in fleet was unheard of before, now you top 250 a side engagements.

It used to be that you could roll around with 2-4 guys anywhere, finding people in sites, having a bit of a gank here, a fight there, baiting people out and occasionally bagging a Tengu or a shiny Noctis full of loot. You would then have an Operation; find some target to candify, reinforce the POS for a weekend's camping and toast your marshmallows over the flames of their selfdestructing ships. This is getting harder all the time.

Firstly, this is because everyone has a batphone, and as the wormhole community has matured (hah), the relationships have become more entrenched and spiderlike. Of the top tier organisations, there are but a handful we haven't tangled with or worked with in the past.

Secondly, and oddly, it seems that the Powers are still, somehow, interested in being wormhole mercs, after the Narwhals model. This of course ends up with ridiculous, sky-high and extortionate bills being foisted off on people to protect their POSs and farms, justified because the Powers are going to bring 40+ fleets  of tech 3's, to shoot at some dudes. They want their risk covered, so nowadays contracts regularly top 10B ISK. It is getting fairly disproportionate and stupid, as Joes Bazooka rightly points out. It is also odd, because for elitist and elite PVPers, it is fairly tawdry to outnumber your foes 5:1 or more, and if you are worried about Siegeing Out as a Bad Thing, scalping multibillions of ISK is ridiculous. Fuck, they should pay BUGRY for generating the fucking content and events that keep them occupied.

Of course, this blobbing and power-creep drives further rounds of consolidation and convergence; it drives wormhle space into being like nullsec with shinier ships, no local, and a longer build-up than joining a roam on a friday night. The majority of the people joining the Powers these days are fame-seekers who get their jollies by joining the big boys to get in on the big, exciting fights...and while some of them certainly now results in two things.

Firstly, the minimum buy-in for low-end w-space is rapidly approaching T3's for everyone, up from Drake minimum. Even BUGRY is having trouble avoiding this conclusion, and it isn't sitting comfortably with me, because it is going to chop out at least half the membership from even being able to think about participating, and certainly stops them from trying their own hand at PVP diving wormholes. More widely, it will soon flow on to detering anyone from flying anything else, and this will impact on noobs entering w-space.

Secondly, the minimum activity level and dedication required for even low-end w-space is swiftly rising. You can't any longer avoid having 6+ guys in fleet including Falcon alt, maybe a T3 booster alt. This means that, because everyone expects a minimum half dozen T3's to emerge from the shadows, no one in their right mind is going to come out of POS to fight unless they can guarantee their have batphone coverage or some advantage.

This then flows down into needing to force the issue with POS sieges and POCO trolling (a conclusion I came to a while ago, actually). Sadly, as the wormhole coalition thread shows, the way the Powers are going these days, the responses to this swiftly become disproportionate.

Don't get me wrong, the Unknown Code beats nullsec faggoty politics hands-down, as there's no mass embezzlement (except by Phil Exon on Temnava...a ransom they don't advertise in their pub channel), no stupid NAPs, no monopolisation of resources like tech moons. But there is unreasoning elitism and unreasonable expectations and less good fights - just bigger ganks.

My advice, if anyone's listening? Proportionality. If you enjoy PVP, as you all profess to doing, then take a leaf from BUGRY's playbook, and be proportionate. Roll RR AF gangs on lone Drakes; its still effectively a gank, but its a gank which takes effort. Troll POSs, get fights, then leave the residents alone with their smoking stront bays. Stop being mercs - you are the CFC or AAA of w-space - concentrate on the good fights, and leave the exploitative merc work to a new generation of risk-averse blobbers.

Monday, 4 June 2012

D-scan for fun and profit

The humble directional scanner is perhaps the least understood, least utilised, and far and away the greatest tool for PVP and moneymaking known to EVE. Well, it should be, but obviously 90% of people are shit at it, 9% are average, and there's the 1% like me who are guns at it and reap the rewards.

The directional scanner is a barely functional tool. The angle slider is clunky, the angles are arbitrary and can't be customised, you often have no idea in normal overview or solar system map exactly whre your cone of scanning is pointing, and the range is selectable only by typing a number in a dialog box. If CCP improved this part of the UI in any fashion, it would be a revelation for people in k-space as well as w-space. Nevertheless, if you have your shit down, you can get pew pew and bulk wads of ISK.

There are a couple of ways to get bulk ISK. This is only an incomplete list.

Firstly, you have to understand the little tickybox named "Use current overview settings". If you have set up your overview properly for PVP, you should have all the non-essential clutter of space filtered out. This should include a variety of things like POS modules, drones, wrecks, etcetera. Normally you won't see them and don't want them cluttering shit up because it makes it hard to spot threats inbound, such as combat probes or HICtors. No matter what the situation or where you are, always do a d-scan with overview settings off. You'd be amazed what you can find.

In nullsec, you will often find abandoned fighter drones. At 25-30M ISK a piece, if say a nyx has been scared out of a complex by some attack, and the drones don't warp back to the ship before he logs out, often they sit in space for ever. They can be found via combat probing (you have to set up a filter for drones to make this easy) and looted with a hauler. I scooped 12 Einherji last night; 250M ISK.

Nullsec areas where people have been fighting over sov can be awash with goodies aside from fighter drones. It is always worth checking for POS guns orphaned from POSs. Often what will happen is a sov-grind fleet bulldozers their way through a constellation, reinforcing POSs in ten minutes flat, and they ignore the guns entirely. The POS's RF timer is added to some embezzling nullsec warlord's gogledocs excell sheet, the fleet comes back, pops the stick, nd everyone fucks off to go ratting. Some die-hard idiots, being screamed at by the XO not to nick a fucking thing, then spend hours hauling orphaned POS guns. But someone didn't update their bookmarks. Enter the intrepid d-scan professional with a wormhole connection to nullsec; my best haul was 850M of faction guns.

Thirdly, you have to understand that there are several POS modules which are simply too big and too expensive to blow up. This generally includes jump bridges - you need a freighter to haul them around, or a T2 rigged orca at minimum. Because they can cost 150-200M for the module, and 50M in jump fuel to move, and a fuckload of effort and headaches, people generally pop the POS from beneath them and they get left sitting around in space. I know of five, so far, just chilling at moons; I lack the resources to steal them (T2 rigged orcas...ffff) but it's break-even for the first orca and after that, it's gravy. Cyno jammers, cyno beacons and so on are also often worth nicking.

Then of course, you have offline POSs. If you are ntending to be a salvage professional in nullsec, your best pickings will happen about 2-3 weeks after a major shift in sov. People, as I said, are notoriously bad at d-scan. You may have put your foot on 32 systems in 3 weeks, but no ne knows where the POSs are, and they'll de-fuel rapidly, leaving their tasty gizzards for the vultures. My best haul was 1.5Bn in moon goo, nicked literally under the nose of my XO who was ratting in system, then moved to hisec via a wormhole the next day.

So. How do you get 20B ISK in assets? In my case, not much via PVE.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Culling The Herd

BUGRY went from 0 to 55 toons in 4 weeks - which obviously got us on the top 5 growth corps of eve-who and trollled us in a few obvious spais. These were rejected by our vetting process early on; Badubi being the only one who scored a kill, and even that was without actually joining corporation.

So, we settled in for a period of more steady growth, leaning on a few ex-members and friends to join up, and hiring the odd noob while we consolidated the new BUGRY 2.0 and settled in to the wormhole life again.

Inevitably, when you hire 30 meatbods, there's a few casualties you have to accept along the way. Even people joining a new corporation can be struck with family, IRL and work issues and go AFK. But that's fine, we have an IRL-first policy...provided you tell the management that IRL is eating your face.

Aside from that, we went through a bit of a cull of people (mostly ex-Soldiers of Industry toons brought on board by one guy) who just weren't fitting in with the corp, or displaying behaviour which was in keeping with what we actually need.

The main thing, to me, with members of a wormhole corp is that you have to want to work together as part of a team. This means that, for instance, if you are bored to death in the wormhole and too lazy to run sites, probe for ganks, or too stupid and lazy to organise with your corp-mates to force multiply, you will inevitably end up back in k-space doing k-space shit.

We had a few people like this. They ended up costing the corp 25 losses in a week in lowsec, welping ships and being terrible at PVP on average (a few kills were made), solo, in Tama of all places, because "the corp is boring"and "no one is online".

That's not an attitude which will get you far in wormholes. it certainly won't get you far anywhere except in RvB; so we booted these people, and the guys who were never on comms much, never signed in, never sent a mail saying "won't be on much for a month, busy with the 4 kids and the wife".

These are the things we really need to hear from people. IRL is fine; I often go out to the desert for weeks at a time, other guys do similar, but all of us communicate with each other either via mail, a forum post or on comms, and we all know what is happpening. if life eats your face, you need to go deal with shit, but it takes only 2 minutes to write a quick mail.

People who can't put in 2 minutes? They aren't going to do well in w-space. it also shows with who dies, gets trapped in far-off wormholes, and who logs on into rapecages.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Operation Tuts My Barreh

Our plan, like any good plan, did not survive contact with the enemy.

I am an habitual checker of POS's, with a library of wormhole POS bookmarks entering the hundreds, so I get to look at quite a lot of POSs and know which ones are fit well, and which ones are a disaster waiting to happen. Occasionally, more occasionally than some people, I even find the odd POS which has no shields.

I had discovered a C2 with C1/Hisec statics, within which lived a collection of small nooby, alt-ish looking corporations. Some of the POS fits were laughable - hardeners outside shields, ECM only, no scrams. This by itself invites attack; but to see so many corporations living cheek-by-jowl in a wormhole when so many were clearly incapable of survivng? That's unusual, and piqued my interest.

Of further interest was that all the POCOs in the hole were owned by one of the corps, which was a 4 man corp. Generally, you would need to be OCD to pop the Interbus installations with a 4 man fleet. So again, unusual. Something didn't add up. I decided we would poke, and see what we could make happen - often the only way of getting fights in wormholes is to threaten people with losing assets. 8 POCOs, a bunch of shitfit POSs....there would be a fight. Depending on whose alts these were, maybe we'd make Exhale. or HAHA a bit richer, yet again.

Our plan, let it be recorded for posteriors, was to troll the residents with the POCO reinforcing, reinforce some POSs - mostly the smalls, because that's an hour with 10 BS's - and see what we could get. This started Friday night AEST and rolled through 2 days of sporadic tent-setting and quite a bit of Ishtars orbiting small POSs while permajammed, letting their sentries do the work.

Hindsight being 20/20 (and despite the egregious claims of this being "common knowledge" spewed onto the EVE-O forums), the fact Eve Uni turned up and bagged a Legion of ours who took the all-too-obvious bait, and a Sleeper Social Club scanner logged off in-system should have clued us in a bit quicker. But nevertheless, 4 hours before our timers were coming out, it became abundantly clear that this hive of hug-fiends had friends.

Credit where credit is due, they timed it well; I locked myself out in a collapse devoter, respawning the B274, and within 10 minutes it had been infested with 30-40 ships. Again, there's claim and counterclaim but I counted 9 Proteus, 8 Legion, 5 Guardians, 2 ECM armour Tengus, Damnation, 2 Lokis, Deimos, Astarte, Arazu on d-scan inside the hole, and more outside; the parties were Kill It With Fire, Sleeper Social Club, Future Corps, randoms.

We knew the operation had had sadly worked too well. We were clearly outmatched; we had a mixture of BS, Ishtars, tier-3 sniper BCs and nubs in Drakes and Caracals. Our alt-corp siege POS was going to be attacked, rapecaged, and bubbled. We decided to pull the pin. So we instigated warps to safe, loggoffski'd, and went to have a real life until people got bored. Of course, this being EVE, and BUGRY being spread across timezones, people hadn't read the liner notes or were just lazy, so this didn't all go 100% to plan.

However, it wasn't the slaughter you may think. We effected decent escapecage tactics, getting a dozen ships out of the rapecage and through the T2 large bubbles on the highsec. We even tried a few fights on the hisec, to show we were willing, and I now have grudging respect for the ECM Tengus, which realy rained on our parade. We lost a couple of things; a Tornado whose jump through the wormhole caught lag (meh), n orca who didn't understand the escapecage would work and fucked up the timing, and a nub in an honestly terribly fit Drake who didn't check his mail and doubtless got combat probed at a safespot and sent back to highsec.

So...Operation Tuts My Barreh, how did it go? Disappointing. It seems we had found a wormhole of proscribed space, defended by self-righteous white-knight tard-herders and hug-hoarders spoon feeding a "wormhole lite wormhole life" experience onto 'graduates' from EVE Uni. This artificial potted environment is preserved by the much more organised, dedicated wormholers whose e-peen and e-honour demands they defend people who could, if left to fend for themselves, learn quite a few valuable lessons. It is actually quite ironic.

For instance, if you toss your hardeners outside your shield, you are advertising you are a noob. You lose the POS, and ask the experienced mentors what went wrong, and the problem is swiftly described to you and you have gone through the experience with a chafed and raw arsehole, but you won't repeat the mistake. If you never lose the POS, if you in fact never sign in for the whole rapecaging experience, you won't learn anything - you only know how to properly escapecage if you've had a rapecage hapen to you.

This, sadly, is the extent that SSC/Red Circle/Future Corps/AHARM have not actually helped these guys out. Our nubs who turned up, well, I have made it abundantly clear what to do in the future. Only those who are too stupid to learn will make the mistake again - and they will be booted.

So. Life goes on, and the forum smacking gets direly boring.