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.