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.