Saturday, 22 June 2013

Chillin' (corpses)

POS's are an interesting thing. The bubble is a shield of invulnerability which is much like a bathysphere - you can see the horrific fish of the deep probing around in the nightly abyss but you are safe and warm inside the impervious glass, shining your lights outside.

You can be assured that the only people looking in on you are doing so from weak, cloaky ships which cannot possibly survive the defences you have assiduously piled higher and deeper above and below your crystal ball of tranquility. Thus you can take certain liberties within the overwhelming firepower of your POS defences. Anything larger and cloakier is frankly too expensive to throw away on ganking, for example, let me list the shit I have ganked (and what I have lost doing it).

But first, by way of introduction to the subject, how we come to this topic: last night I pprobed into a C2 wormhole. Cheetah at the POS, idle. Eventually a capsule turns up on d-scan, so i check it out. I discover the capsule is for a pilot not belonging to the POS owner, and is idle outside the POS bubble. I place my scout 10km away from the capsule, in line with a moon, warp TF in his brand new experimental Scythe Fleet Issue to the scout at 30km, lock and pop, and scoot to another planet immediately, having taken shield damage but not being scrammed by the warp dissy.

Highsec Express, One Ticket Please

The key to this behaviour is that POS guns take a certain length of time to lock you, depending on sig radius and gun scan resolution. You can loot wrecks and scoop corpses in a covops before the dissies lock you, alpha stuff with, eg, a Naga, and pod people who are too dumb or alt-like to be given the POS password and must cool their heels outside. (and why no bomber? because bombing a pod is actually harder than alphaing it).

So. To the list of shennanigans;

Sudden Buggery engaged 3 RR Domis under the guns of a deathstar, destroying all three for no loss. They were visitors chilling under the POS gun protection - their mates had set the POS to pussy-mode so they wouldn't get shot.

I dropped a gank Cyclone on a Deimos and a Brutix playing "test my gank" outside their POS. Ganked the Deimos, nearly killed the Brutix as well, before the guns popped me.

Dropped 3 BC's on 2 Tengus and a Drake doing the same, 200km above their POS. Killed a Drake and a Tengu, and scooted 50km up to break dissy. No losses. Again, you may think you are safe but remember, it takes a while for the guns to lock your enemy, you are all being dickheads and your tanks are probably not 100% super-tough, and by the time you are dead they are already well on a steam (1.5km/s) so if your POS takes 30s to kill a Cyclone, it's not going to protect you. Also, I'll gladly exchange a T1 battlecruiser for a shot at 2 Tengus.

Alpha'd various haulers dropping or picking up POS guns, including T2 haulers; you merely need to set up a scout off the hauler's destination and warp a Tornado, naga, etc in at 70km, align out while locking the prey, and hope you alpha him. Never do this in an Orca; I ganked an Orca with my now-defunct alt Sparkletta who was scooping the last of his POS modules, after clloaking a Domi off the POS guns and waiting for him to warp down onto them.

Never store anything in cans outside your POS bubble. You will find some nutcase will drop a gang of RR BS onto your Megathron as you are dicking around with your can full of loot, and then slowboat out of the POS gun range and dissy range while trolol'ing in Local.

Launching probes from a 350km safe atop your POS? Well, you remember that the Tengu dropped into a safespot in system that prompts you to go to the safespot 350km above your POS to launch your combat probes? Yeah, it was all bait and now your Anathema is tackled. Oh, and guess that the rescue party who warps up to save it? They meet a rape gang coming from the K162 which just spawned. Bzzzt. Bit too far from the POS guns. (In this case, I had the POS, and the 350km safespot, saved from a vvisit 9 months earlier. Do not assume no one knows your secrets!)

What have we learned today? POS bubbles are a fun toy. POS guns are not an effective deterrent if you leave someone an angle and a juicy target to have a run at. And that involves doing the maths on, eg, what does it take to gank my ship even if everyone who comes to do it dies? Hulk vs Catalysts are welll known from highsec, yet you see people chilling outside POS bubbles in Hulks all the time.

Friday, 21 June 2013


This evening I downed a Hookbill with the Vigil. With full loki boosts (and probably snakes), double-damp and double nano, he was faster, had a 31km dissy.

I managed one pass and sling-shotted out of range of the dissy prior to enlisting the help of a militia mate to come help complicate his orbit so i could actually get into web and scram range.

So we went in, and the foe, even with his boosts, muffed the trajectory just enough (and I managed to mash the right button at 11km to get a web on) and he was scrammed. He died.

The thing is...the Vigil I fly is a hard counter to a double-damp Hookbill. Base 75km lock range is immune to them within even Loki-boosted dissy range. The 93% kinetic resist gives you plenty of EHP when they opt (naturally) for Scourges. Plus, even with boosts and nanos and snakes, they really are not that much faster that a proper slingshot and overheat lands you hard tackle.

The guy's skill came in the fact he evaded me first pass, and even though three frigs orbiting at 5km/s isn't easy to avoid a screw-up (and usually I just peel off because of this), it wasn't easy to land that overheated web and wear him down.

He also dumped in mjolnirs, so it was very very close, to be honest. So, round 1 to me, but it's not really something I can repeat with this guy again.

Which brings us back to the fact that double-damp, loki-boosted Hookbills are ridiculous and require no skill to make them work. At 5.9km/s and with two damps, plenty of DPS you can sit immune in an orbit around your foe and kill them. Simple. Easy. Repeatable. No real skill.

That's not to say that you can take it for granted that everyone's a shit pilot relying on boosts, implants and borderline broken setups to deliver endless cavalcades of kills. Some people will clue in very quickly that you have ridiculously broken kinetic resists and reload. You might even not have enough tank to survive them.

Certainly, next time, I will be making sure my buddy has a tank on his frigate (he died) and I will think twice against this one guy in using the Vigil. Which leaves you with very few options, really, aside from surprise ECM or Maulus.

(and on that note, getting tackled on warp-in with a Maulus is easily avoided with double-damp. 7km lock range on your tackler is super-bonus escape from hard tackle time!)

The moral of the story? I won by playing a trump, but skilled people in skill-less setups can be tough. Lesson learned.

Thursday, 20 June 2013


Today's theme in combat was drones.

My Maulus (named Cockbag) gets most of its DPS from drones. EFT may say the rail guns do something but the way frig comat is and the way everything goes, they don't really.

Likewise a Dragoon's main DPS is drones. You may see the odd LML or laser Dragoon but mostly they rely on drones.

2 Dragoons vs one Maulus would normally be a little predictable. But the good thing about the Maulus is, two damps. The average Dragoon has around 45km lock range, which you knock down to 24km. So when faced with two Dragoons, the plan is to orbit in to about 40-50km, launch the drones while damping the enemy down to "no locks for j00" and let your drones do their thing. Total immunity because in order to get their drones to attack you, the enemy has to first lock you.

As it turns out, nearly as good in practise as in theory. Got one down to half armour, but they realised they could wash their drones in and out to get aggro against my drones, and then against me when I reset a damp.

So I lost a few drones.

Then later, when a corpie got bounced in a plex by two AFs (Vengeance and Retri) in his Maller, I docked the Maulus up literally to replace the drones lost in that engagement, and dusted off the dual-web Vexor (named Tampon Slinghot) to go save the Maller bacon.

That didn't work, but our friendly AFs stuck around and came in for the scram. I launched...bouncers. Hahaha they thought, and started shooting them. Except we were spiralling away from the bouncers as they realised, a) the Vexor was a bitch, b) wtf happened to my speed, c) I'm 10km away from those Bouncers my roflkets aren't hitting them and I sure as shit aren't going back.

This is when the world of pain started, and they started nomming on my 1600mm plate. To no avail. Nor did the nos/neuting help much. Or the attacks on my 3 hammerheads I got out when a bouncer went tits up.

Kill: Keiko Shikkoken's Vengeance
Kill: thanatos hurrinell's Retribution

This got the old blood pumping as I hadn't really realised that the dual-web Vexor was capable of taking out two AF's in one sitting. Five T1 frigs, yes. But that's different. 

Thus, we swapped a snoozing Maller for two armour AFs.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Dual-prop armour cyclone test-run

I got back from the desert post-Odyssey. Prior to the national broadband network going live in Australia (assuming the Liberals don't nobble it with a retarded fiber-to-the-node cheapass option) my net is acting up, so it took a whole day to patch. It was like being in Nigeria or something.

Anyway. Odyssey is...odd. First thoughts, having not bothered buying any of the changed ships....

The alt-ctrl-shift assignations for probing are changed. Why? I don't know. It annoys the bejeesus out of me. No doubt I will adjust.

The probes launch in a formation. People have been asking for this for ever. The downside? Its not OCD perfect-mans min-maxed probe pattern...but it really is insanely faster than before. This has major benefits for ninja probing - 6 probes into space instantly versus being on scan for a good 2 minutes. Bonus.

Seeing the sigs in space is...cheat-mode for everyone. It has its pros, and its cons. I found a wormhole out of Frerstorn into Amarr hisec. Went there to haul in Amarr ice products, and saw 3 sigs in system. Its like...OK, I guess one is the hole I came from, and at least one more must be a wormhole. So, out go the probes, to join the 15 already on scan in system. Pros: there's at least 3 other numpties aware of the presence of wormholes. Cons: Well, there's 3 other idiots to take into account while snooping about.

Anyway, whilst doing my carebear trade hauling of vital goods, I probe into the other 2 wormholes in Ordoin. In one, a hole camp of Phobos, Cane, large T2 bubble, 50 Tengus on scan and reinforced POCOs. Shit jumping in and out.

Second wormhole was a C2 where a Russian carebear was running anoms in a Legion.

I have a limited selection of ships at the moment, having given them all away. one which I didn't give away was the experimental duap-prop armour Cyclone. Having no options and it being 3:45 a.m. insomnia times, I dusted it off for it's maiden voyage.

I landed within 25km of the guy with the last wave's BS in deep hull. Perfectly timed, as usual. Point, web, TD's and MWD into range. The guy tried to shoot mee, but with the AB on, orbiting and TDing him while my pissy two small neuts tried to clean off his cap, he took 4 minutes to get through the shield. He popped the sleeper BS to clear it's DPS off the field....and the bonus Sleepless Outguard spawns.Crap.

Still, it took a hell of a long time for the combined DPS of the Legion and the Outguard to wear down the buffer on the Cyclone. I warped out in hull and exchanged GFs with the Legion pilot who informed me that I may have lost my ship if he'd had a point. I informed him that had he had a point and not an oversupply of cap rechargers, and the Outguard hadn't spawned (and attacked me), he'd probably have cacked it. He provided a rejoinder that he was faster than me even while webbed, and I reminded him that was my AB, and I had a MWD up my sleeve to keel-haul his arse if he did get out of web range. But that is another trouser-leg of history, perhaps.

The verdict on the maiden voyage of the RSS Reverse Gangbang?  As a scaled-up version of the old dual-prop SFI, it is fairly awesome for a BC and, like all Minmatar ships, is clearly awesome in both shield and armour versions. It may benefit from going single prop and upgrading to medium neuts (it would definitely have helped to cap the T3 out).

Thus, Odyssey is much the same, just more traffic in low-end wormholes, and more people aware that the Expnded Probe launcher I exists and can be used to make money. But the best revelation will be for nullsec dwellers hunting their 8/10's and 9/10's. That's where Odyssey will be making a big impact. Oh, and S199's.