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 worked...it 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.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Small Blazes

Inferno has come upon us. I have been out in the desert, doing what I do (geology) for 2 weeks, so you kind of can see why I have been inactive. My impressions so far:

The inventory system is a total shamozzle. I know Khanh'rhh and others say it will take just a little bit of adaptation and it really is better and no going back...but that is ignoring the minute-long load times on our SMA's, the list of every single POS gun on our POS getting in the way of everything, and some frankly fucking useless options for filtering the piles of crap you have lying about. The shift-click wasn't mentioned in the dev notes, and on this alone, i find CCP failed on selling the whole new system to us. All I heard was "fucking japanese motherfuckers!" and then we got fucked.

Why change something when it isn't broken and everything is working just fine? I have no idea, but there is a llot of frustrating things in this latest dispansion (disaster/expansion) which I hope get fixed over the next few weeks and months, before we do it all again. But enough of the bad, on with the good:

Missile effects.
ZOMG. As a fan of the macross anime from way back in my childhood, the Drake now kinda looks a bit like this. Bombs are now pretty - even when you are the target. Especially when you are; how else do you get to see it so up close and personal? Torpedoes, sadly, are a bit of a letdown.

It is yet to be seen whether this will create lag in large Drake blob fights. I haven't been in one, and likely won't be in one soon.

The Tormentor
This shit is off the fucking wall now. It has gone from a crappy-ass, useless, unloved bucket of crap mining frigate into a seriously punchy, tanky Amarr death prawn. 127DPS, capstable with a neut, with 4890 EHP (in Pyfa)? Back the fuck up, girlfriends. You can even swap the neut for an RR and take these bad boys along on a RR roam. For the next couple of weeks, Rifter pilots will be making mistakes - serious, glaring mistakes - in spottingg these things idling in a belt.

I'm keen to see the other shitty mining frigates and the shitty mining cruisers get worked over. I just hope that in the process of tiercide CCP gives the races a bit of variety; there's not much point having 5 laser-bonused Amarr frigates. Especially when there should be a T1 Khanid missile frigate. 

Adaptive armour hardener
I think people made an assumption that these are useless for PVP. The complaint has been that it changes too slowly to save your arse in PVP. However, in a situation, say, where you are being hit by a uniform damage type and you are recieving RR, this module will definitely swing your tank into favour. I'm thinking, for example, RR BS versus Tengu fleets. Assuming you can actually tank and not get alphaéd.

The new ECM module
I don't know this will help very much. Maybe it will break locks on a bunch of ships trying to alpha you - but will that be enough to save you? Given I killed a doubly-stabbed Mammoth loaded with 3 ECm modules with a Helios (bumping ftw) there is not too many situations where you will jam out all your foes instantly, and escape. Especially not if you face interceptors. It is just a glorified ECM burst.

The new shield boosters
I think these will revolutionise Minmatar active tanks; you won't need to give up so many midslots to tank + cap booster + shield booster. This will possibly result in people flying the Cyclone more, and it being effective without needing a faction booster. yet to try them out (fuck paying the prices nowadays). It will be interesting to see the results pan out. 

That's my first impressions. Overall, minus the fucking UI, Inferno has some interesting things to toy with. Shame it released the same week as Diablo 3. But at least if i'm going to get SMA lag, its not in a single player game!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The TF Effect

Luck, as much as anything, is a key ingredient of enjoying EVE Online. It could be finding the Officer rat in the belt and getting a 3Bn module, or escaping death by bomb with 2% of hull remaining; if you get a lucky break now and then you can feel justifiably exhilarated and this leads to an enjoyable game experience. Some games have nothing to do with luck, and can be dreadfully boring. Think tic-tac-toe; you can win this game every time if you start. Of course, luck can be bad too, and youcan get frustrated with outcomes in a game, but we won't dwell on that here.

When I play EVE, the guys I play with describe what is known as the Trinkets Friend Effect. Generaly this involves some bullshitly implausible event happening to or around me in game - and which almost never happens to anyone else. It also happens to me frequently enough that, well, it gets noticed.

For example, a few nights back I found a guy mining a C3 in a hulk. This isn't unusual, and others find them. It took a bit of skill and dedication to probe him out. Now, usually when we get a point on a hulk (or noctis, or gassing ship) we do it with a covops frigate. Often the guys are AFK and only wake up when the shield alarm goes off, and they call in the cavalry. Then, of course, we rock-paper-rapefleet their cavalry and there's vast amounts of chuckling and killmails.

This time, as I warped in my covops I screamed jihad (literally, I did, on comms) which someone interpreted to mean jump through and warp to Trinkets friend. Anyway, the gambit was blown. The hulk woke up to find an onyx, loki, legion, bomber, brutix and Ishkur around him. No way, absolutely no way anyone would reship into a 2 billion ISK Rattlesnake and warp at zero on the rapefleet. No way?

Cue the TF Effect.

But, that is but a small portion of improbability occurring regularly. Last night we were roaming around, and found some dudes doing a lowsec plex in a Cynabal and Drake. We lacked cloaky tackle so we warped our Legion and Loki in ASAP and barrelled through the gate. Missed them by a second. So as we are finishing their Angel Minor Annex and getting ass loot drops, I probe aound. I find a Z971 transient to C1. Its a C1 with Z060 to nullsec; this is about as horrible a wormhole to go roaming into as you could find. The Z971 has enough mass to let in and out about 7-8 cruisers before it collapses. But anyway, in goes the Cheetah of Doom (tm).

I find a shitfit small caldari POS and a dude in a Drake. 6 medium AC's, 6 small ACs, no dissys. So we try baiting him out with an Onyx (-15KT). Onyx warps to POS and pings the guns to generate a mail for the owner. Time passes. "Guns either have no ammo or the dude's fucked the settings up."

OK. The TF Effect is starting to bite. We begin a ransom convo, demanding 100M ISK to leave his utterly defenceless POS alone and tell himhow to set it up properly. He prevaricates and insists he's got ammo in the guns and is no doubt furiously fiddling with settings. We up the ante with a Loki, a Legion and a Tornado (64Kt through the hole, shit's getting dicey). He pays up the 100M ISK and we leave - its nearly midnight and we need to go to bed.

So, we jump the Loki and Legion out, and the hole is stage 2. I tell the Onyx pilot to go out light with his bubble up, and then the tornado can go out. He fails to do this, and the hole collapses. Ruh roh, we've got a Tornado with no probes and a Cheetah in a C1 with a nullsec exit we don't have probed out. I desperately need to get to bed, so I decide to give it a probe and see f I can ping an exit - if not, we'll have to try again tomorrow and risk a massive haul home from nullsec - we are up shit creek, sans paddle at this point.

I drop probes. 34 sigs. I set them at 4 AU round the sun, ping an Unknown to a wormhole first scan. I finish probing it out in under 30s. Warp to it. It's a K162 to hisec, leads to Nourvikaiken, 1 jump from Jita. It has a sig ID different from those present before downtime. I mention this to the local residents, who say, and I quote "I scanned the hole 15 minutes ago and it wasn't there. How lucky are you?"

The TF Effect. Getting me ot of shit creek since 2007.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Rule #1

I am always amused, reading through corporate recruitment threads, about how much effort some CEO's put into the architecture of bureaucracy for a corporation in an MMORPG. The active letter of that abbreviation being G for Game.

When I had enough of BUGRY 1.0, I went to nullsec and joined Obstergo, which was a similarly laid-back devil-may-care flying fool kind of corp; competent pilots, low dramas, PVP oriented, light touch management. Of course, Obstergo was just one corp in NEM3SIS. a sov holding alliance, and as these things go, sov holding alliances attract empire builders. Empire builders, in a business management sense, are terribly keen on inventing roles, responsibilities, committees, subcommittees, management and representative councils, et fucking cetera. NEM3SIS. was no different, having a management council, a representative council, and a three-tiered system of Fleet Commanders autorised to take out roams, fleets and drop capitals. It was all very complicated and I didn't give a shit, I was there for the good fights not the long times.

I have no problem with CEO's in EVE having a few rules for the corporations. You need rules; total anarchy is of course, not a corporation. You need a common purpose to bind you together, and rules to determine how you will be bound together. Even something as simple as the CEO setting a tax rate (or not) will determine the behaviour of members and is a de-facto rule (ie; you'll pay 10% tax, and I will embezzle shit). Beyond the basics, there are corporations which invent arcane, baroque rules, titular structures, even dispute resolution systems, at day dot, and then begin recruiting people who want to fit the corporation  structure. To each his own, of course; if you like being ruled by Nazis you join these kind of corps. You also probably like being spanked on you bottom and being caled slave, but w/e girlfriend.

As CEO, aside from ultimate responsibility for making sure there's shit to do, I also have to decide in a roundabout way how to run the corp, how it will be run, and what the ties that bind will be. This involves setting some rules. The first rule, and most important, of Sudden Buggery the corporation is that if you get tackled in a wormhole whilst doing PVE, no one is to help you out.

This may sound harsh, but for a start, you didn't spam d-scan enough. You fucked up, deal with the consequences. Secondly, reacting to an "omg I'm pointed" on comms generally results in a half-assed disorganised rush to help, with people straggling in to be picked off one by one. It escalates what should ideally be a cheapass drake being lost into a billion or multibillion ISK loss of multiple ships, as the guy tackling you is rarely alone.

For example, last night I found a hulk mining. I had to ninja-launch combats within d-scan range of him, twice, to probe him down, and then I tackle him with a Cheetah. As usual, the cavalry came along to help - surely a Rattlesnake can take out a pesky Cheetah, right? Well, not if the Cheetah has a significant rapefleet backing it up. End result, 2B ISK Rattler loss compounded atop a 300M Hulk loss. Yawata's pod was 512M and Halle's was 62M. Total was around 2.9Bn ISK versus 360M if Rule #1 had been adhered to.

So, yeah, there's rules for a reason. Sudden Buggery, however, will always have practical, sensible rules designed to prevent derp and maximise fun.