Thursday, 31 January 2013

Out of timezone

The Amarr-Minmatar faction warfare zone is currently being dominated by the Amarr, for several reasons. What those reasons are is, of course, up for conjecture, but here's mine;

Fweddit and the US timezone. I have, in previous posts, mentioned how the Minmatar militia was going to have trouble dealing with T1 logi, as it brings entry-level hero tanking for gangs; this has panned out. So, too, the arrmour tanking T1 cruiser doctrines are a mainstay of Fweddit. However, we do take them on from time to time - the problem being that in the US timezone, Minnie militia is dominated by guys whose game revolves around camping the Kamela to Kourmonen gate with 30-40 ships straight from the cutlery drawer, and no FC.

IFW and company are avowedly lazy and won't go more than 3 jumps from Huola without a definite promise of something to gank. They are also quite used to flying as a chaotic rabble, and act as one great organic machine of chaos, which doesn't need an FC, especially while camping a gate. They will get their game face on - but not against Fweddit's 20-50 man armour cruiser fleet. To be fair to IFW and company, it does take organisation to face off against that fleet, and reshipping from kitchen sink to AHAC doctrine takes time, which could be better spent avoiding the fight.

Nevertheless, at least half the actively PVPing semi-organised forces of the Minmatar in the US timezone spend their night camping a single gate, blobbing and ganking. Skilful? No. Contributing to the warzne as a whole? Fuck no. A fun way to spend time with your mates? Absolutely. This has, however, seen Fweddit and the Amarr's organised plexing fleet dominate the warzone elsewhere - and they are organised, with squads of 6-8 hitting the targeted systems hard while the Minmatar is reduced to soloers and skirmishing, and gets run out of plexes and the systems get wound up.

Then, of course, in the EU timezone, Minmatar dominates, and at least in Essin in the AU timezone, we repair the damage. But until the US timezone presence gets further than Kamela, in an organised fashion, I think we will not roll the Amarr back.

Dealing with Fweddit is, ironically, up to Fweddit. I've previously said on the forums to Pinky Feldman, who complains a lot about booster alts and blobbing, that Fweddit is the prime practitioner of these practises. No one sane is going to take on 8km/s Stiletto's to break off the tackle and harass the armour blob. No one is going to take on a 40 man fleet with 12 Augorors. And thus, it is up to Fweddit to split up, move around in smaller gangs of 6-12, and get the fights - maybe even without their boosters. Until then, they will not get the fights they want.

We are hoping for a US timezone presence to turn up in Essin; several options are mooted, and some small corps have joined. This willl really solidify the constellation and help control the US timezone plexing. We will also see how this push on Kamela alters things - it is, oddly, IFW and company doing the pushing, so it is anyone's guess what they will do once the Kam/Kourm gate camp is pointless. Maybe move to the Otelen gate? For some of the laziest people in FW, taking Kamela seems a little counter-productive. 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A super time!

I would like to say that "I was there!" but I wasn't in Asakari whoring on supers and titans as CFC and Goons duked it out over a meaningless small Caldari tower. I did manage to get nextdoor into Okkamon and shoot down a pirate Rupture and farm his 3B ISK podmail in the company of others.

I did get "soloed" on the way home by a remote sensor boosted Legion who shot my Malediction on gate and podded me before the Malediction even finished blowing up. But hey, you get that with 350ms ping sometimes, here in the ass-end of the world (aka, Perth, Australia).

But I can say I was there for my first ever super killmail in Kamela.

The backstory is Lazy Worms is at war with a militia corp which has a POS in kamela. I care not about the war, nor any POS's in the faction warfare zone, but when I heard there was a super kill in the offing, of course i dropped trews and scuttled off to help. We were told to bring HICtors and armour BS, and when Shadow Cartel promised to drop on it and not shoot at us as well, we knew there was a good chance of pulling the kill off. I was, aside from Ivan Joukov, the only logi pilot out of a 40+ man armour BS fleet which formed in Arzad. This was laughable, of course, as the Nyx DPS would have murdered us one by one. So the FC called for more logi, and we derped on the Tzvi gate as our logi for 30 guys was me, in an Augoror, and ivan in a Guardian. Nevertheless, Shadow Cartel dropped the fleet when we were milling around trying to organise extra logi, so we all said "YOLO!" and we went in.

It wasn't much of a fight. Most of these things never are. Supers, as shown in my previous post, are either hotdropped to gank carriers or dreads, and escape due to not being able to be tackled by anything but HICtors, or die to overwhelmingly bad decisions and counter-drops.

In this case, it was Shadow Cartel and militia, with plenty of HICs, and the inevitable PL hotdrop.

We were lucky to lose nothing. Our in cyno for the dreads got bumped on warp-in, probably off the POS shield, so our dreads landed 40km away. Being gank dreads, 40km was too far for all but a Nag, who sieged up while the rest agonised over warping to safes or cynoing out when we heard PL was enroute. The backbone of the Militia logi (ie; me and Ivan) capped dreads as fas as we could, and they cleared the field a minute before PL dropped in. The single nag tanked the Nyx as much as he could, and saved his cap for the out cyno, and escaped with moments to spare and 10% structure.

It was good fun. Nothing epic, but now I've added a nyx to my belt.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

A reason to use Berserkers

Berserkers move faster than Ogres.

Thus, when you aggro a bait ruppy on station and get hotdropped by 2 supers and 2 carriers, it helps get them back in faster to get your aggro timer down faster, so you can accept the ransom demand (for 1B ISK) and send 1M ISK, and then dock with 5% structure left.

I am Trinkets friend's gaping anus. :D

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Why, overview? Why?

Shooting your own militia is obviously a Bad Thing. unless, of course, you are Cynthia Nezmor, who cycles her alts in and out of, eg, Blobcats to exploit the corp standings mechanics in otder to AWOX wthout consequences.

It doesn't help when new corps and players join the Militia and appear as neutrals on overview, and vice versa, resulting in blue-on-blue action. It trashes your standings and CCP seems not to acknowledge it; it seems that losing 1.0 Minmatar standing is just something you should shrug off and say "meh".

Given the time it takes to grind it back up, this is shoddy customer service. I would hate to have to FRAPs every fight to prove it - but considering it is about 5 to 6 hours of hardcore grinding to repair one AWOX by mistake, it may have to come to that.

Sometimes, EVE can be incredibly dumb and frustrating. That's not including the players.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Isbrabata Burns

There is a lot of talk within FW circles about burn-out - mostly burn-out caused by having to defensively plex your space for no appreciable gains, versus PVPing or offensively plexing for reasonable gains.

EVE is already a very, very intricate way to waste shitloads of your life. You play games, of course, to enjoy the puzzle, the challlenge, or in MMO's for crafter-types or builder-types or acquisitor-types, you play an MMO like EVE to get the shinies, build the shinies, or forge magic weapons (eg; Republic Fleet Warp Disruptor 5-run BPCs).

Of course, the PVPers are those who don't see farmer-type activities as a means to an end, neccessarily, and resent imposition of FW plex button orbiting in the defensive as detracting from PVP. These are often the same people who then complain about FW farmers who do invest the mind-numbingly boring effort into offensive plexing and never PVPing, because they see their precious systems wound up and close to vulnerable, and then it's an imposition on them to defplex it.

From my observations in the past 3 weeks, this is precisely the position Ushra'Khan alliance and hangers-on found themselves in the Isbrabata pocket. True, a hell of a lot of the plex wind-up was caused by Cynthia Nezmor and 5 alts. merdaneth, Taoist Dragon and others make cogent points that it is simply one dude leveraging 5 toons worth of plexing against 5 other dudes who don't want to indulge in such pathetic shennanigans. FW sov is thus reduced to a boredom or toon-hour game where the guy with the most time to waste makes the most progress. Put simply, U'K were outplexed.

This led to the whole pocket being wound up to 40-50%, and Swift Angels tried to keep it under control with AU TZ evening deplex fleets, which weren't matched in the US or EU timezone. It worked for 2 weeks, and progress was made, but we got sick of defplexing for zero rewards, and refocused towards more exciting shit, like a T1 Hauler Thunderdome, etc. And then shit got skwerly and here we are.

Nearly five months in to faction warfare, we have gone from the Amarr keeping only Sahtogas to owning half the map, and Minmatar being reduced and worn out. It shows the better organisation of the Amarr militia, their hunger for conquest, their strength with the Fweddit blob, and the prowess of their multi-boxing mega-farmer and alleged PVP ace, Cynthia Nezmor, et al. Minmatar are sick and tired of the situation, and arguably, held too much of the map and are too fractured and disorganised.

However, this is a pendulum. It is swinging against us, which compresses our pilots into smaller and smaller pockets. We are losing corps and members, but soon we will get organised and excited again and the AU and EU timezones will begin to carry the battle.

Remember, when Retribution launched, the entirety of metro was contested to the hilt by the Amarr and Caldari farmers. They didn't flip the systems because there was no point and they could keep farming LP's like motherfuckers, in vulnerable systems, till forever. Yes, we owned nearly the wwhole map but Minmatar wasn't defending anything (there being no point). Thus, the pendulum is swinging and we are seeing what Minmatar actually wants to defend and needs to defend, and has the manpower to defend.

Finally, it is clear to me that the Aset pocket was probably a bridge too far for the Amarr; there isn't the EU and AU presence to defend and deplex the whole 8-system pocket. It will be a giant field of plump wheat for our Scythe Fleets, and we can farm and till and hoe them down. This also forces them to do more defplexing - so we will see how much of that they can achieve.

In the end, though, FW is a plexing game with PVP thrown in. Misunderstand that, or drop the ball, and your system will get flipped. Isbrabate may be burned - but it is merely from burn-out.

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Stupidity is the act of repeating a failed activity in the expectation of a different outcome.

Since Sudden Buggery 3.0 (FW Edition) started, with a "less worrying about killmails and shit" ethos, I have recruited quite a few noobs into corp. I have allways done this - and I am proud to say, my noobs have learned a lot and gone on to do great and wonderful things, without having to resort to EVE-Uni. In fact, often 'graduates' of Sudden Buggery are the anthithesis of EVE-Uni. And that makes me proud.

There are however, noobs, and noob's noobs.I've had to let a guy go from corp because of being the latter. Allow me to expound;

The Noob
A noob is a guy who is new to the game, who just doesn't know his arse from his elbow, internets spaceships-wise. He is unfamiliar with what ships do, how to fly them, how to fit them up, what skills to train, how to align out so you minimise your risk, what is a threat, what isnot, what is D-scan, etcetera. This is none of his fault - you can't become and instant expert, and I was a noob at one time. I lost a Caracal in Resbroko to some pirate, I was bouncing off roids and being a derptard and suddenly I'm raped to death, with a fit that looked like a smashed crab jammed in a whore's vagina.

But, a noob is not an idiot. He learns, adapts, asks questions, and absorbs the gameplaay and game skills he needs to be effective. This may take some time - maybe 3-6 months, lets be fair. The learning curve in EVE is steep and continual, but you get most of it done fairly early on, so you should be seeing progress with your noobs after a week or two.

The Noob's Noob
Keeping in mind the above, that the game is difficult to pick up, there is a problem when depsite clear instructions to research fittings and modify them in certain ways, your guy seems inacapable of taking the hints. Similarly, although for a noob FW sounds fun and exciting (and is, these days) it is a dangerous situation, even in hisec. So, when people consistently ignore directions to avoid Hek or camped pipes, or how to fit their ships, and the diffference between warp and align, you begin to wonder.

In the case of Hober Malloe, this was an over-reliance on Reactor Control I's and a propensity to dual-tanking. It was flying a battlecruiser around in lowsec when, in today's FW, there really is no point. Not being in comms. Not plexing, and mining (which in BUGRY is basically a no-no on your main; \i do have a miner/trader alt, everyone needs one). Dying too much. Undocking your BC after you lost a Tormentor, and dying fruitlessly because of butthurt.

So, I have pushed young Hober Malloe out of BUGRY for mutual benefit. He has lost at least 300M in ships in 2 weeks, and you don't make that by mining in highsec itinerantly. He has no idea how to fit a ship, and needs a lot of help in that regard which I cannot bother giving him. He has a giant target on his back. And, frankly, he accounts for 30% of our losses, alone.

This is a guy who needs EVE-Uni, or RvB, or just a stint with a carebear corp, to really begin learning, without churning through a ship per day.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Drugs are bad, m'kay?

I know a drug dealer in EVE - finally.

I like the idea of drugs in EVE. In one way, drugs in EVE is an acknowledgment by CCP that drugs exist, they may be bad (and are, indeed, illegal in game), but you can't ignore them. I like the fact you have a game where, aside from callously murdering one another in highsec let alone other more "PVP" focused security zones, you can buy and use drugs that have benefits, and side effects. It is a nuanced take on the morality of pharmecutical recreation in a gaming and entertasinment world which is, by and large, OK with ultraviolence and gore, but very much not OK with moral crime and substance abuse.

I haven't used drugs in EVE, mostly because they generally benefit active tanks, and these days, active tank means dual MASB merlins or Harpy/Hawks + pill + Tengu + crystals, or go home. Active armour you need drugs + implants + faction or deadspace pimp + Legion.

That doesn't mean I am against people using drugs, they can provide an edge, but it isn't clear that there is much you really can do with drugs that you can't do more certainly with off-grid boosting, in the minimum, or Crystals. These are more permanent investments, and especially a good OGB alt, a power multiplier well beyond what even a strong pill can get you.

The drug market in EVE is, quiet handily, as opaque and secretive as the IRL drugs market. I have looked in to manufacturing drugs myself, after coming into possession of bulk gas in nullsec. I couldn't find the precursors, the blueprints, anything; the Lore is silent, the path obfuscated and secretive. No doubt it is also lucrative.

I have had other people in BUGRY express interests in the same vein. It is always amusing, now, to ask leading questions which the enthusiastic would-be Pablo Escobar must answer in order to find out exactly how little progress he can make towards cooking his own drugs. Inevitable disappointment causes schadenfreunde in Trinkets friend; after all misery loves company, and the best company to having your drug kingpin ambitions crushed is mirth.

That being said, there are only a handful of people actually making drugs in EVE. Knowing them is part of the solution. But part of me wonders what would happpen if the drug czars unsubbed their accounts? I certainly found dead-ends in knowledge about how to go about cooking the drugs, even though I looted some drug BPCs from a POS once, so I've got massive headstarts on a few things.

Perhaps drugs could become a lost art in EVE, if a few strategic players drop the game. Perhaps it actually isn't too hard to figure out - if you don't get interrupted by PVP and can devote enough time to actually tracking this info down.

Maybe I should interview the guy I know, get an idea of what it's like being a drug dealer.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Dust - swept under the carpet

Dust has been such a disappointment.

This is a typical CCP clusterfuck on launch - a premature ejaculation of Incarna proportions into the EVE Universe. They have proven that it is possible from a technical perspective to make PS3 users chat in chat channels with guys playing an MMO. And that's about it.

Sudden Buggery has tried to start a Dust arm. We have 4 guys in corp who also have PS3's, and have installed the Dust beta. But the ability of Dust to interact with the EVE universe, and vice-versa, is zero.

The problem is the segregation of the two plaforms in all but the tactical strike mechanism and the chat. Chat is fine, to a point. Yes you can chat on EVE Voice, or by an On-Screen Keyboard on the PS3. But about what?

Try to organise support from an EVE player - no point. The Dust guys cannot find where they are going ahead of time, and EVE players cannot either. Nor can we write contracts for the Dust mercs to attack certain systems. It is totally pointless.

Second, if a beacon pops up you need special ammo and skills just to bombard stuff. The ammo is hard to find and not available in lowsec. Then, if you do try bombarding stuff, you are present at a beacon which is available for warp-to by anyone in EVE - which means your destroyer is going to get ganked by a Dramiel instantly. That's if you have the ammo. Which no one does.

Not that it's a problem - you'll never see a beacon spawned for bombardment, because the Dust guys can't communicate with you, and your corp mates will often be 20 jumps away in Gallente space, and unable to really tell you where they are, not that you'd want to fly there, or have ammo to assist them if you were stupid enough to want to go there.

This is a real problem, and an immediate critical concern for CCP.

The problem is like how Incursions turned out - or, better exaample, perhaps - the micro jump drive or target spectrum breaker. What i mean is, like anything on the Internet or in cyberspace, a culture grows very quickly, and forms a momentum, which the masses subscribe to and when it reaches critical mass, it becomes the overwhelming de rigeur inculturated way that it works, for ever and ever.

Dust and EVE risk falling immediately into an obsolescence and dissociated state of no one giving a shit about using the feature. Much like Incarna. It also risks a culture of apathy growing up immediately, which will take a lot of game-breaking budging to shift the EVE players and Dust players to actually communicate, coordinate and integrate with one another. This is similar to how incursions turned into a giant ISk-printing elitist fuckfest of farming and turned a cool feature into a blathering gay pile of shit.

Dust - within 24 hours - is teetering on the edge. Warfare and Tactics chat is almost devoid of Dust topics. No one in EVE cares, because they don't need to care - we cannot see if any Dust is going on in our lowsec systems. If you do care, you are wasting your time because trying to push your militia's agenda forward is impossible. Trying to grow a Dust arm for your corp is worthless.

Dust players are flocking to Dust-only corps. Which are not visible in their base systems, meaning you cannot talk to them, and why would you bother? There's no point in interacting, ISK wise or fun wise, because if you tried to organise to give tactical bombardment support, you can't tell where the Dust guys will go for their next match.

CCP moves far too slowly in their implementations to be able to address this. They will fuck about for a month - by then, no one will give a fuck, and if you suddenly can do contracts or direct the war, no one will bother because it's too hard and Dust guys can't give a fuck.Everyone is already moving on from the feature, because it's not a feature.

So, it seems like a great idea, launched far too early just to show Sony or shareholders the technical achievements, but because of the human component of the game, and how the internet structures and moderates its behaviours, the games will forever run in tandem but never meaningfully interact.

I could be wrong. But I can't give a fuck about Dust anymore.

Tonight, though, is T1 hauler Thunderdome. Hopefully a video of that coming up.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Dust514 begins...

I admit, one of the coolest and most innovative things to happen in computer gaming - ever - has grabbed very little of my attention. Tonight, as I write this, it is when the Dust514 open beta is hooked in to EVE Online's server.

It will of course fuck everything up and cause a 2 month cascade of bugs and bullshit and patches galore and get in the way of my pew pew. This is, of course, to be expected.

It is a wild idea - fusing one of the world's greatest MMO's, in the midst of a stellar resurgence after a few years of limping zombie-mode from Incarna to Incursion to Inflation, to an as-yet unlaunched console FPS. It is daring, breathtaking, and awesome.

One of the things FPSs lack, to me, is a purpose for doing what you do, aside from the basic mechanistic purpose of playing a game. I mean, people do Sudoku and play Chess, in order to play a game. People play Counterstrike or Dragon Age to play a game. But can you feel part of a greater, bigger, ongoing struggle in part of a vast, complicated, mature and forever expanding online game? No. Metal Gear can't do it. Black Ops can't do it. Halo can't do it.

No console game, in Multiplayer mode, is anything except matchplay, even if you have buddies and clans or guilds. It is basically World of Tanks on a PS3 or XBox Live. Sign on, sign up, shoot, die, repeat ad infinitum.

Regardless of graphics or weaponry or game balance or theme or behaviour or physics engine, Dust514 will bring the console gamer into a universe where the Gods rain fire down from above, if you call. And the Gods will pay you, often extravagantly and handsomely, for doing things related to often amazingly tawdry real-life shit. Like, someone will see a dude doing PI and will hire you to blow up his shit because the guy is a bag of half-sucked dicks.

You will, as a console gamer, get the ability to participate in factional warfare in EVE - initially at least - and become an increasingly important part of it and a vital tool for the war effort. You can feel part of a great machine, or part of an established EVE Corporation (Sudden Buggery already has members in the Dust514 beta), you will be on their comms, in many cases EVE players anyway, or their spouses who don't want to play "spreadsheets in space". You will see real progress with your character, and see it means something in EVE and Dust. Compare this to the current FPS games, and you'll hook in a whole bunch of console gamers who don't want to get into MMO's, or can't play more than a few hours.

The Dust514 guys will begin to bog down the warzone for the capsuleers, which will change the tactics of FW sov capture, defence, griefing, guerilla warfare, you name it. This will be an interesting thing as it develops over the next couple of weeks - I certainly, as I said, have not devoted much thought to this. I don't think I am alone. But now, I have to put a bit of brain-time to it, see what we can do to roflstomp the Amarr, how to defend our shit. Work out how the Sudden Buggery ethos can translate to Dust514 and go about building up a meta-corporation of BLOPs professionals.

Bring on the great experiment!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Mistake not the fun

Wormholes stay in your blood. You are either a w-bro, or you are not. You can remove a w-bro from the wormhole, and he will forever be probing for womhole fights and offline towers to pinata - though both of those are harder to get nowadays. Nevertheless, persistence paid off last night, in Ardar.

I found my way in to a C1 Wolf-Rayet with J244 static. D-scan was loaded with wrecks, and there were 2 Tornados, 2 Drakes and a Myrmidon on scan when i jumped in. Within a minute, a Myrmidon was hugging the lowsec hole, drones out, to try to be threatening towards my Cheetah. Immediately, I began rattling the batphone - though for some odd reason yesterday was super-quiet and the phone more or less rang out. I got a single shield SFI and my Scythe, and considered the options such as kiting them, etc, but really, we needed more gank.

Suddenly, it seemed everyone in Europe put down their croissants, bagels, cappucinos and got back to computer. BC's were assembled, and the plan was to jump in a couple of Drakes, engage the Myrm, and draw the others to the WH, probably forcing the Myrm out to lowsec to be murdered.

We'd taken a little too long, so the Myrm jumped out to check the state of local in Ardar, and I immediately pulled the trigger;we could force him through, doubletapped, and kill him. So we did, except I was first to decloak off the hole and died from poor piloting and wanting to whore-drone the Myrm with my Scythe. First mistake. Oh well, a Scythe is cheap.

Then the two Tornados arrived 100km off the hole and began blapping people. I warped my Cheetah to their POS, and back at 100. Pointed the first Tornado, and held tackle under the fire of the second until the SFI had ganked it - but to be honest, could have probably soloed it. Arty nados vs Cheetah of Doom? No chance.

The second mistake was trying to duelbox too much, and warping to the POS and getting a bullshit decloak by the gun cluster, costing me the Cheetah. Frustrating.

We then played wormhole games with the guys, losing a Talos and waxing a Hurricane. We could have got them, but repairs in station took too long and people were out of position when they derped their tornados through in an attempt to crit the hole on us.

It was also a strange set of circumstances; we saw a guy warp off the hole, but he wasn't in Local. It wasn't an exploit or haxx, because he was in one guy's Local list but not everyone's. Secondly, after jumping out of the WH fight, I warped to station and had an aggression timer, so couldn't dock. This is equally weird and worrying, because you shouldn't pick up aggression flags in wormholes to prevent you docking. So, petitioned that shit (no doubt, to be ignored).

In the end, it was a fun fight, even though we didn't mop the floor. I lost 2 ships, both to mistakes associated with dualboxing. But the militia guys who turned up got 45 minutes of skirmishing on the hole, and enjoyed it, even if we lost a few things. And in the end, getting tackle on a Tornado with the Cheetah is about as good as it gets, for me. 

Friday, 4 January 2013

I Sinned

I havve a semi-secret 1100 DPS Sin fit. I bought one, just because (though, tbh, it is a few days before T2 sentires unlock the power of win). I have used it a couple of times. This morning was one of them.

I have been doing level 4's in lowsec. I use a Cyclone for DPS, because I'm a cheapass. I use an alt with a Scythe for reps. Again, because I'm cheapass. I mean, it is theoretically dangerous to mission in lowsec; people will attempt to probe you out and gank you. Or so I've heard - a week of missions and I've never even been tried. Not sure why - but maybe they think Cyclone and Scythe is too low on the risk-reward scale.

Vargur, Loki, Osprey, Claw, however, is definitely on the high-risk, high-reward end of the scale, with bonus T2 BS killmail allure. So, although I was humping tags to my mission hub to convert to a Republic Fleet Tracking Enhancer in my Cheetah, when I hit d-scan and saw the gang on d-scan and saw mission wrecks, I pulled a U-turn and drip-fed combat probes into space, because the Vargur was on scan from every celestial. I mentioned this in Intel, and got a bite. Fleet was formed, consisting initially of Malediction to sprint for point, Megathron and Neut Phoon (and Cheetah).

It seems, fortuitously, I was not the only person enamoured with the idea of a Vargur kill. I ninja probed like a relatively bad boss, and got the Vargur on the second ping. Pulled my probes, warped to the site at 100km, and saved the ping to BM's. And they were gone - but I noticed there were still 5 combat probes on scan - the Vargur maybe missed mine but the other guy certainly derped and had scared it off.

So we bunkered down to wait. I swapped the Malediction for a Sin, and cloaked in the site while the Vargur was docked. Time passed and a corpie who'd been recently podded and ganked by pirates was convinced to undock a Vexor and get on gate.

The Loki and Osprey came to the site and cloaked off the Angel gate in Worlds Collide. The Claw came in and went in to kite. Then the Vargur undocks and warps in, and the trap was sprung. To be fair, he absolutely raped my Sin, leaving me with 2% shield as I was aligning for the nearest planet, before our ECM drones automagically jammed him. There was no way we were busting his tank - but that's why we brought the neut phoon. Finally, he popped.

Weirdly, the Loki and Osprey didn't uncloak - it may have been enough if the Osprey was repping him, to at least pop my Sin. I think, next time, I will fit an XL ASB to the Sin, at the expense of a portal generator. This will give me a reasonable burst tank. The DPS was spot on, considering I swapped to ECM drones when my tank was fucked. With sentries and an XL booster, I would be sweet to be dishing 1100 DPS and tanking 650-ish.

The other thing I will do, aside from selling the loot, is never pimp my Vargur that much. I make do with a Dread Guristas large and a Gisti C-type amplifier. I don't even have RF gyros (which, I admit, would be a reasonable investment).

I think I will stick to the poverty fit mission setup. It isn't quite as efficient as other options could be, but if you are in lowsec doing level 4's, you will eventually get bounced and killed. Losing 120M of ships is nothing like losing a 4 billion Vargur.

Blob? Just add Militia.

The batphone is a mystical thing. You are involved in defensive plexing to keep contestation of a few key systems down (and earn average LP) and then, suddenly, you get a convo.

You are in FW. We have a connection to Minmatar lowsec. That means you are up for shit, right?


Thanatos is mentioned. The ears certainly perk up and the humdrum mundanity of deplexing for iffy ISK/hr falls to the wayside.

Within 5 seconds you are warping out of your complex, you are reshipping to shield battlecruisers, comms details are swapped via convoes, people are loading up on ammo, signing off comms, logging in to the new one - fleet invites fly like french letters and people are given a destination: Hrokkur.

12 jumps? Nothing. We burn hard, four jumps of lowsec and then from Hek to Teonusude. Gatecamped systems are passed by. Logi is sorted...sort of. One scimi, one guardian. I push my alt ahead hard in the Cheetah of Doom, so we can scan ur way in and avoid exposing ourselves with a decloak from the 2 scouts on the inside.

I scan the entrance within 1:20. Peachy. We pile up in Teon, except for the Militia guys, who are more comfortable jumping blind into lowsec. They all stack up in Hrokkur. We ignore a Tornado ratting the belts, even though I could get a warp-in. It isn't even mentioned on comms.

Dwntime is approaching and the calculation is how much force do we need to assemble in case the guy is triage fit and turles up? 20 in fleet, T3's and battlecruisers, 2 logis and 1 Cheetah, and ECM armour Tengu. We take a gamble when the fleet is 1 jump out and they finish salvaging - I'm ready to die in a fire pointing a Thanny way too early to ensure we get it. But we opt to let them start another site, and it pays off.

We stack up on the hole, waiting for one last straggler. Then we gank. It wasn't remotely fair; we are mildly disappointed at this. I offer that, of course, when Militia is involved, blob is inevitable.

Then, like mist in the desert sun, the fleet disbands when it hits highsec. The Thanatos and BS are dead, perhaps ignobly considering what we brought, but 20 minutes before downtime you can't take chances. People exchange intel channels, promising that if the batphone rings, it will be picked up.

Thursday, 3 January 2013


Some dude, who was a military philosopher who I cannot quite remember (and google fails me) said once, something along the lines of "the study of maps informs upon the conduct of war".

It seems that our foes in the Amarr are greater students of maps than the nebulous clique of minds which are shambolically "running" the war for the Minmatar. 

Dal is a critical system in the topography of the Amarr-Minmatar faction warfare battlefield. Given the free lunch given to them by the exclusion of Egghelende from FW contestation, resulting in it being a de facto unsinkable aircraft carrier (the Midway of the warzone, in essence) and the Amarr control of Siseide, this leaves only Dal and Gulmorogod to be taken to cut off the Heimatar pocket from the rump of Metropolis.

Gulmorogod is a vital system in the Heimatar region, connecting Bosboger with Metropolis via Egmar. It was being heavily pushed last week in concert with Dal, but the proximity of Gulmorogod to Bosboger and Amamake makes it a difficult ask. Dal, however, is nextdoor to Siseide, Amamake, and abutts Hofjaldgund - which is in essence now a useless backwater system, as it has no stations.

Thus we can tease out the strategy of the Amarr, and see the paucity of the Minmatar strategy which is bankrupt if Dal falls - which at the time of writing seems more or less guaranteed.

In the past week we have seen Minmatar flip Halmah, Iesa, approach the tipping point with Ezzara.

These are all irrelevant actions compared to battling for Dal to keep it, and shows how little individual alliance XO's and corporation CEO's actually pay attention to what they are doing towards a greater war effort. We have seen hours of people's game time spent and wasted flipping isolated systems deep inside enemy territory, for no appreciable gain, at the expense of a coordinated defence of Dal and Gulmorogod.

Don't get me wrong; it is not goingg to be the end of the world to lose Dal. But it is certainly a very peculiar situation. We fought, and the Amarr fought so hard for Aset precisely because of its strategic value (and the fact that douchenozzles inhabited it). Now, we seem adrift and bereft of leadership, and are about to let a critical system be flipped while mobs of people faff about uselessly tipping isolated systems over in the back blocks of Amarr territory, only to lose them almost daily.

So. I wonder whether this is just the Christmas and New Years break? I hope so. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

LP's or SP's?

There is a lot of noise made about how many LP's you can make in FW. Tsobai Hashimoto nerdgasmed about the actual reality of LP versus ISK equivalence on the EVE-O forums. His analysis (though of course likely time-dependant and situation dependant, and not 100% exhaustive as to every item) is pretty much spot on, especially when I compare to the anecdotal evidence I've collected from my corp members and alliance members.

Minmatar is awash with Loyalty Points, but they are not readily fungible; you must make a decision in the LP store as to how to redeem them, and this choice affects the ISK rate per LP you get from the LP's. In many cases, they are Stupidity Points and can end up costing you ISK.

Looking at the price of datacores alone led Tsobai Hashimoto to the above conclusion; but even without looking at that, the price of the biggest bulk items in the FW store, which are most readily consumed (ie; ammo) shows a vast difference in behaviour. The price of RF ammo in the past 12 months has dropped, in some cases from 1200/per to 550.

This has some interesting implications, especially for the Caldari right now, and for people (like myself) with bulk Khanid Navy LPs. I am not across the differential in price at the moment between Caldari datacores and Minmatar, but in a little while the price of all Caldari T2 and T3 technology will begin to be affected by the current dominance of the warzone by the Gallente militia and the low tier of the Caldari warzone control (and hence, the LP rate for pplexes); likewise as the few good things in the Khanid LP store are Caldari faction ammo, this impacts upon the LP/ISK conversion ratio for running, eg, level 4's out of Palas.

There is also likely to be a squeeze on LP's from the Gallente standpoint, as there are so few places to go to earn LP's. However, the high tier of the Gallente warzone control will be the controlling factor here, as they can release a few systems then spawn buttloads of missions to create ridiculous LP payouts.

The conclusion? The healthier FW warzone is doubtless the Amarr-Militia warzone at the moment, where we are within a tier of one another, and actively swapping territory every few days. The price differential, as above, is caused primarily by the number of people active in each militia, not the warzone control. Yes, LPs per complex are higher for the Minmatar, but we have a larger sink of LP's in maintaining level 5 systems, and less places to go solo cap offensive mediums.