Friday, 30 August 2013

The Orca Escapement

Today one of your guys who was camping a C3 reported in with the fine news that he had an orca bubbled 5km off its exit in a fit of excitement. I was in Jita shopping on an alt at the time, and immediately downed tools and began burning the 9 jumps towards the entry system. Whale blood in the water attracts sharks.

Sadly, the Orca's cries reverberated through the cold depths of space, and a Megathron, Armageddon, Falcon and a Rook turned up and made the situation rather....untenable. The Orca wallowed its way to safety and we retired, bruised but un-beaten.

I retruend to the home wormhole directly, so as to allow me to complete my shopping. The other fellow spent his time probing enroute home, and found his way in to a C2 Black Hole with O477. He probed in to the O477 and upon jumping through, saw a Nightmare, Proteus, loki, Ferox and Noctis on scan and plenty of wrecks.

The locals, probably having an alt on the hole, scuttled back into their POS and deployed a bomber to snoop into the C2. My corpmate postulated in Alliance chat that they'd probably drop an Orca on the O477 to collapse it so they could continue doing sites. no sooner had the thought been evinced than this came to pass; an Orca on the hole.

Not one to be blue-balled twice, and having finished my shopping, I spat an Exequror Navy Issue from the SMA for my alt and hopped in my trusty "Top Damage Dealer" Augoror navy and burned for the entry with precipitous haste. 7 jumps were completed in <5 minutes and as I was warping to the K162 into the C2, the Orca landed and jumped into said hole.

Our team consisted of a Clegion (c. 200 DPS) a Falcon (ZOMG Jamz!) a Flycatcher (Bubbles) and the DPS wing: Nexecq (820) and Naugoror (570). So basically it was an EWAR squad (in place and cloaked on the connection) and all the DPS still enroute.

They had a Proteus, Loki, Ferox and Orca, and possibly a Nightmare in the POS, which was off scan. This, we had discussed, was going to be epic.

"Should I de-cloak now, or wait for the next pass?"
"Go now." says I "Next pass may not happen."

I jump through from hisec and squad warp to the O477. As I'm landing, bubbles are up in the C3, Falcon is transiting into the C3, and the Clegion is decloaking to lay its "DPS" on the Proteus.

I push through, damn the bookmarks. If this goes south, in a bubble, I'll be heading home via the Hisec Express.

I decloak and we primary the Proteus, whose tank goes nowhere fast. The Ferox arrives, and we burn it down in seconds (Ferox). We send him to hisec immediately, as the bubbles will expire imminently and we cannot afford for him to reship. This duly happens, and the Orca uses the bubble expiry to escape.

Our Falcon pilot is suffering terribly at the hands of drones and has to jump out. What was a walk in the park turns nasty. They primary the Navy Execquror which is no surprise if you consider its DPS, though I guess that it was more to do with it being Gallente. Its still very rare in w-space so I doubt they saw it as the prime threat.

There's a short race; all my DPS and the legion's weak flailing burning down a 100K+ EHP Proteus, versus a Proteus with serious DPS burning down a relatively weak Navy Execquror. The Falcon is double-tapped for 2.5 minutes, and the Proteus gets capped; the Loki is doing most of the DPS right now and I overheat the Execquror to finish the Proteus off and receive holy Falcon jams to keep my alt alive in the last 10 seconds. In the process of just winning the race, I burn the guns due to dual-boxing.

Somehow the Loki switches DPS to the Legion. I pod the Proteus pilot back to hisec - again, no reships please - and I check d-scan. What I see I initially mistake for a Revelation, but I blurt it out anyway: Redeemer!

He lands at 70km and my Exequror is in 20% armour. Knowing this will be a sniper Redeemer, I warp my crippled Nexeq off the hole to a planet, and bounce back.

For some reason, so does the Redeemer, and gets caught it a bubble. The Loki is webbed to fuckery now, and slowly wilting but I point up the Redeemer and shoot it, figuring it's got to be pimped to over a billion. The NAugoror blows it up in seconds - I hardly had time to jump the Nexeq to safety (cursing the lack of hisec BM now its guns were fried) before the Redeemer was raped.

We then burned down the Loki and exchanged GF's and scooped the loot.

Forgot to scoop the corpses sadly.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Social engineering

Sometimes the most enjoyable kills are the ones you don't get.

I found my way in to a C1 via our static C2. There's a shitload of POS's on scan, a whole lot of small towers. one force field, and a Prophecy. I check wormnav; ratting regularly every couple of hours for the past week. Seems that they are active, so I d-scan the POS down.

The POS is defenceless. Just a stick and a bubble, an SMA, a CHA and the Prophecy, which is piloted. It's a Tribal band corporation, and my corp has a low opinion of nullbears in wormholes, especially Tribal band guys. The pilot is a 2005 toon, so it's odd to see him in a Prophecy, but his corp history suggests a long absence from game in 2007. So perhaps a bit of a nullbear, maybe a bit noobish, maybe not 130M skillpoints.

I watch him for a minute. Then the usual plan in this situation kicks in.

Faced with a pilot in a ship in a POS with no guns, what do you do? You shoot it.

We shoot it.

Then our bait pilot in the Ruppy notices a corpse on scan, inside the POS shield. I suggest that said corpse is owned by a dude who suicide podded himself back to hisec and is enroute back to this wormhole to drop off another ship.

The bait pilot convos him. Claims that he's stuck, and hey, can i get a bookmark out?

The guy appears soon after in an Itty V; he even says he's been convoed by his higher ups out in dullsec, who've been landing mails from this wormhole since the POS is under attack. This gives us chuckles.

We swiftly get our man to drop fleet (which consists, to whit, of a Rapier, 2 Proteus, a Sabre and said Rupture) in case Dude tries a fleet invite on him. Our Man has a cheap clone in case Dude is laying a tarp. This is Tribal Band, if I were them i'd be hot-footing a gang toward the wormhole to get some peu-peu ASAP. Shit could get messy - we hope.

Dude and Our Man strike up a conversation about how Our Man is a bit of a nub (2005 toon, but hey, Dude's mate in the Prophecy? it is known, Kaleesi) and let his probes expire. Now he needs out and wasn't trying to start anything with this attack on a POS. i mean, one Rupture vs a POS? Not happening.

The conversation turns to ISK. Our Man says 25; the Dude demands 40. Our man refuses. Dude insists. Our man says fuck this, starts self destruct. Dude drops his demands to 35. Our Man raises it to 30. Dude accepts.

We confer quickly; I say you have to demand a BM at planet 5, it's the closest planet to to our hole. It will give our Sabre the best chance of warping onto him and bubbling him up. Our Man agrees, and we all murmur assent (while chuckling), and we slide the demands over.

Dude stores his Itty V and warps out to the wormhole (which we haven't scanned, for once). I decide to pull the triggger and we shunt the Sabre in just off the the wrong angle. Curses.

Dude warps back to POS and misses getting caught in the bubble by a gnat's nadger. Curses!

High and mighty protestations of innocence by Our Man do not convince Dude that the interdiction sphere half eclipsing the small tower is anything to do with us. Pleas fall on deaf ears, so we bid adieu and fade back into the night.

Honestly? This sort of game is one which is the bread and butter of MMO's. The ganking, the killboards, it all falls away behind a good stalking, a good bit of mental chess, subterfuge and deception and blatant, balls-out trolling.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Wormholes for Noobs

There are innumerable posts from noobs asking what is the best ship for w-space, what can a nooob do in w-space, etc etc. For example.

This is of course, not a simple question nor is it a simple answer, given the near infinite variables of how skilled is your noob, what race ships, what class wormhole, and if it is solo or not. However, there are a few things for noobs in wormholes which are totally independent of anything.

For a start, we have gas huffing. The Venture has enough sucking power to huff down a good portion of C1 and C2 site gas before the sleepers spawn. The ship takes about a week to get to level 4, and a week for gas harvester II's. You can huff gas in all classes of wormhole which you can find; even a noob can huff C320 for megabucks.

Secondly, we have ore anomalies. Very dangerous, and requiring tight d-scan discipline, but otherwise lucrative even if you have to haul your shit to hisec. ABC ores are still good ISK for solo explorers or noob residents.

Thereafter, if you are a noob, you had best find yourself a corp in a C1 or a C1. It won't be easy, but a properly fit out Caracal or a Drake in a C1 is sufficient to do the sites. They make you plenty of ISK. When you have your T2 tanking skills, you can move up to C2 sites.

C3's, yu will need to do these as a group. RR Domi's, RR Ravens, Drake Blob or armour cruisers (4-6) plus Augorors (2) or the equivalent Caracals and Ospreys, and you'll be able to complete C3 sites efficiently as a small gang. RR Assault Frigs are also a good way to go here, if you can sort the method out (RR Ishkurs/Vengeance/Retri) and especially if you are raiding magnetar or Wolf-Rayet space.

C4 and C5 anoms aren't the place for noobs, except as salvage or security detail.

PVP wise the noob's job is best fulfilled by plugging ECM or logi roles in the fleet if it is a typical AHAC/T3 or kitchen sink gank fleet. ECM is not quickly mastered to full effectiveness but a decent Celestis fit can easily damp out enemy Falcons, logi's or snipers. BB's are good Falcon jammers and if you're going for TP's, you'll choose the Vigil hands down.

T1 Logi is swiftly trained (Cruiser 4, RR skills, cap skills will take a month or 6 weeks) and relatively easily mastered. Scythes are fearsomely effective solo logi boats for their price, Exequrors will be exceptionally valuable for an armour T3 fleet (at 90% resists, your rep power is magnified wildly) and a decent Augoror pair will anchor a small gang's effectiveness - especially if it includes ECM boats like Falcons, etc.

In the realm of BS PVP if you can do it, the Armageddon I think is the most effective way for a noob to get into WH PVP fleets. Even a noob can get into a brick-plated neut monster Geddon in a month (Amarrr BS 4, meta-4 neuts, smartbombs, metalevel tank with EANM II's, heavy drones). One Geddon landed in range of enemy logi or laser DPS will monster the enemy, hands down. 

If there's no need for logi or ECM, then gank is the key. Assuming you've got a bit of ISK behind you, the best place to be as a noob is Navy Faction Cruisers. You can get excellent gank and tank out of these ships, and supreme gang for your buck. 

I think that while wormholes are a hard place to live, challenging logistically and mentally, there's so many video guides and walkthroughs of the whole environment that it isn't as hard as noobs may think. It does take practise and habit forming to progress to a decent level, but as I have shown, there are roles to fill for noobs in almost all w-space.

Sure, you won't be able to do much in C5 space right from the get-go, but there aren't many C5 corps who'll even consider someone who can't or won't fly a T3. Still, you do need to work your way up to things.

The Bubble Danger

Bubbles are a danger as much to your friends as they are to your enemies.

When we jumped in our static we noticed some smacktalk in Russian, an Onyx, Retribution, Hookbill on scan toward a wormhole, Drake, Claymore, Cane and Tengu at a POS.

We probed them down and discovered the Onyx, Retri and Hookbill on  a B274 hisec. The rest were at a POS, buttoned up and active.

We decided to shoot them. When you fight on a hisec wormhole, people can easily escape. Thus, you need a way of getting people off the wormhole. The Onyx gave us the angle, we just needed to set up a trap.

The trap was a Procurer we warped to the hole; the Retri had lleft just before, but the Onyx and Hoookbill started shooting the Procurer as it slowboated toward the hole, it's 57K HP slowly whittling away.

As expected, the Onyx and Hookbill pilots blurted on comms something like "lol, a Procurer warped into the bubble!". The Drake and the Retri came back, but the Retri chose to double down in a Legion.

Both landed within 3km of my alt's cloaky Proteus. I too had warped from the vicinity of their POS and landed at the edge of the Onyx's bubble, exactly where they would. Webs, scrams, DPS, and it was all done.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Safe Safespot Safety Procedure

We have two of the ladyfolk in alliance - yeah, exciting I know - one of which is comfortable with PVP and the other who plays the game for sociability and fits more into the builder/crafter/hoarder classification. She PVP's, but its not the driver for her gaming enjoyment.

The latter fine lady, confronted with wardecs and instructions to safe up, asked a question of Alliance - how safe is a safe spot? Specifically, she's seen some of our probe adepts do what must appear to be wizardly feats of combat probing and ninja probing, and wants to know how safe is a sfespot with adept probers about? How fast, and how easy, can you be probed down at your safe. all depends. Part of the issue is your sig radius. Some ships are easier to probe than others. I am more concerned about d-scan discipline in a BC, BS or, god forbid, a capital than I am in a Vengeance on AB.

Secondly, the distance you are away from your nearest celestial, and the vector towards it, will determine how swiftly someone can just dump probes on you splash-style and return a useful hit. See, for instance, nullbears complaining aboout on-grid probing when they set their sniper fleets 200km off a gate.
If you have set a safespot <1 AU away from a celestial someone can drop probes, squeeze them to 1-2 AU and get you at 50-100% first go just by dropping probes (more likely in a sig-bloated Drake than an armour frig, for example). If it's <0.25 Au, say an off-gate safe, they can insta-deploy 8 probes and get you inside 8 seconds.

If however you are between 4 and 14 AU and not in line with a celestial, they have to d-scan a vector to you (>10s), get a distance to you (~10+ s), launch probes (preferably off your d-scan; may require them warping off and back = +2 minutes), then position the probes and drop them.

if your safespot is >14 AU away from all celestials, they have to drop probes and just start scanning. That is if they eveen know you are there.

In all cases, if you are aligned to a moon or at worst a planet/gate, and are watching d-scan regularly, you should be able to spot their probes even if they get a ninja probe on you. And if they do, if you are aligned they can't get a point before you hit warp (unless you are distracted).

If you see probes, warp to the moon, spawn 2-3 more safes, delete your old safe, repeat.

The reason I align to moons is that if someone is sneaking up on you in a cloaky at your safespot they will see where you are aligned. People automatically assume that you'll be aligned to the planet and will warp there or position a HICtor there to catch you. But you'll actually warp to a moon, and avoid being caught. This is especially true if you have a planet with 23 moons - in fact, at planets with shitloads of moons it is often better than being a safespot because you can be off the moon's initial grid and they won't deploy probes...just keep derping about trying to find a needle in the haystack.

There is a small risk that if you are aligned someone will warp in front of you (at 100) and decloak-bump you and ruin your alignment and instawarp. it does work, so realign to a different celestial cluster every 2-3 minutes. Pulsing your MWD or AB is also advisable to avoid being keelhauled by cloaky bombers.

So, what have we learned?
- drop safes as far from celestials as possible
- drop safes not directly in line between two celestials if possible
- align to moons (even if its got a hostile POS you can land and GTFO 99% of the time)
- realign to a different planet/moon cluster every so often
- always be aligned!
- no AFKing or smacktalking or browsing

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Panic Stations

War. It has come to this.

Irreconcilable differences between the great alliance of Acquisition of Empire and the hitherto unknown corporate entity known as Pod Repo have built up over the seconds, minutes and hours until no other option is left but war!

Actually, no, it isn't that terrible and dramatic.

AOE is a fairly loose alliance. It has three corporations which sit in wormholes, and a bunch of guys who print ISK in Incursions. Compared to some Alliances I have been in, the number of people in Alliance channel and the total lack of Alliance channel chit-chat is actually quite remarkable.People go about their business and corporations do their things, and every so often someone sends out a mail inviting everyone to come blow up this or that thing, but otherwise it's no dictators and dickheads lording it over everyone and telling everyone how to shit without their pants on.

AOE's admins sent out a mail, as most do, when the notification of the wardec dropped. As usual, it was an Idiot's Guide To Wardecs So Long You Will Never Finish It. And if you do, you will not get the whole import of the wisdom buried within the Wall Of Text.

When I'd go on a recruitment bender, or certain people would join or leave with their 12 alts, we'd pop up to the fastest growing/shrinking list on EVE WHO. This would gain you attention, often a wardec because they figure either they can extract tears (your corp is failing, lets grief it into extinction) or your corp is full of nubs (lets farm easy kills).

Due to my winning personality and penchant for d-scanning up shield-less POSs in hisec and throwing down the gauntlet, when I ran Sudden Buggery we had a lot of wardecs. I mean, a LOT. We would often go back-to-back or three or four at a time versus 2 man alt corps to farm BPC's, BPO's or faction guns off idle POSs in hisec. Sometimes, the corp would be an alt corp of someone big, and we'd cop a counter-dec or the corp would insta-join an alliance and we would have surprise hundreds of people to shoot at.

Generally when we were targeted, I would send round the mail. it wasn't your typical mail as far as these things go. My patented war dec solution for when you didn't want to fight?

  1. Move to Lowsec
  2. Move to Solitude
  3. Set JC's in NPC null and spend a week ratting
  4. Button up inside your wormhole
  5. Set one JC top of the map, one JC bottom of the map let them camp you in station for 4 hours then JC 56 jumps away
Wardeccers like Pod Repo do what they do for easy kills, with neutral logi (though less since Retribution), booster alts shlepping about, and camping high-traffic gates for pimped ships or industrialists going about their business being ignorant. Deccing incursion corps is also a thing, because it really puts a spanner in the works of Incursion income (you get War Cooties and no one logi's you).

They do not dec you to disband your corp or alliance at great cost and effort. Cost and effort is required to chase people who have a corporation +6 standing to Federal navy Academy and can spawn level 4s in Solitude hisec. They do not go 35 jumps to the arse end of Aridia to chase down a lone cloaky ratting Tengu. They never go through camped lowsec systems to chase down a corp no matter whether or not their locator agents show everyone in the corp is faffing about in Upt.

 It is all well and good saying to your guys not to go about their business, to dock up and wait to be bailed out, to leave their shinies docked, etc etc. It doesn't address the objectives of griefer or small wardec corps, which is to be a pain in the arse and get kills by getting in the way of your day-to-day.

Taking your day-to-day out to Solitude and getting on with it invalidates their whole business model; they don't get kills, they don't get tears, they just get a boring and dangerous 35 jump one way trip to watch you dock up and jump clone out to Stain.

It is, frankly, the most hilarious way to wash off a dec.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Do Black Holes really suck?

It seems that a recent CSM meeting must have been rather productive as far as a tick list of issues being worked on which are of concern to wormhole dwellers. Not only are we being asked what is wrong with wormhole space, we are being asked for ideas on how to fix Black Holes.

To really address this question, firstly you must understand the politics of w-space. The big alliances, with the vocal forum alts and the voting power to elect CSm Members including Chitsa Jason, inhabit C5 and C6 space. Well, now that TALUN is no more, this is the case, because TALUN used to inhabit all classes of wormhole space. Now it's the big boys and the scrubs in low-ends.

The big boys, with their 3 day farmable C5 escalations (assuming you don't blap all the Sleepers so the anomaly stays for its 72 hours) make a king's ransom off blue poo. The tradeoff for this is that some C5's and C6's are Black Hole systems. Given the majority of C5 and C6 space connects to C5 and C6 space, the effects of the various oddball systems are the most pronounced and most severe.

Given there's a limited number of C5 and C6 systems, and it is "mostly" inhabited (or at least expunged regularly of campers or itinerants by people who expel small corps nd alliances with dreads for shits and/or giggles), the fact that Black Hole effects at C5 or C6 severity are a nett penalty is of course a concern.

However, this is a bias in the debate; it is true that if you are running an armour gang (as is de rigeur) and you jump willy-nilly into a Pulsar, the locals will have an advantage. The same holds for low-end w-space Black Holes, up to C4 intensity. If a resident corp wants to defend their turf in C1 through C4 Black Holes, they can gain an edge against interlopers by refitting their ships and adjusting their tactics and gang compositions.

The bias also comes from the inability of the larger wormhole alliances to move in to Black Hole C5/6's and exploit the effects as they do in every other of the oddball Effect systems to make shitloads more ISK a shitload easier. Magnetar? Alpha Nags. Wolf-Rayet? Archons, Thanny and Moros escalation (or even this). Pulsar? Chimera of Winzors. Cats? LOL-RRchons. Red Giant? Insta-ISK smartbombing. Etcetera. C6 Black Hole? No chance.

The problem, as I have said, is that at the magnitude of the penalties and the only real nett benefit being speed, this doesn't facilitate farming. it also, at C5/6 levels, hinders PVP.

lets make no bones about this. I lived in a C4 Black Hole for 18 months. We fought more times than the killboard would suggest; we broke off using damps, or just warped away when, for example, a Cynabal hit orbit and shot out of point range. We had our ships refit, we had our method of farming down, we made a fuckload of ISK and came to know the dangers, the penalties, and benefits of Black Hole life. We turned the penalty to a benefit by designing fits, working at the problem and considering the holistic approach to combat. it helped that we had three EFT warrior and theory-crafting wizards at the time.

It can be done. Up to C4. At C5 and C6 levels, the tables turn. Yes, you can fight, but there's no benefit respeccing to deal with the lock range, weapon range and inertia penalties, compared to just flying a convetional fit and dealing with it like your enemies.

For example, a powerful ship is the dual-web armour Loki. You'll fit it with an AB and sig tank. In a C5 Black Hole you will get to around 2km/s; lock range will be just a bit more than web range and well, well beyond weapon range. Your whole combat starts with range control, getting the enemy off the hole, then circling in to actually attain a lock, get the webs on, and circle in to start ripping him a new one. Problem is, to gain an advantage with almost no falloff and an optimal of fuck all, you really need to be dangerously close. it's balls to the wall combat.

Alternatively, you do what we used to; snipe. Your average Naga will have a 60-90km optimal and decent lock range that won't be cut to much below this. Add an Arazu to damp off the enemy's lock range even more than it normally is, and you're set. Aside from the Loki going in for hero tackle, you are fine.

The problem is, no one wants to fight like this, nor can you realistically do so in Black Holes on the average day. For wormhole brawls and ganks, it's balls rubbing brawling in C5's. Fast tackle and frigs begin to really feel the lock range and drone control range issues, logi gets forced in to neut range.

The debate raging right now on EVE-O is framed around changing things. My opinions stand; there's more penalties than benefits. But as someone else said - it doesn't need to be all candy to be interesting.

The debate about the boost to local reps is rubbing up against Pulsar and Wolf-Rayet C5 and C6's. The same could be said of most of the proposed changes floated by others on the Black Hole thread; they are all way, way more exploitable than people seem willing to admit. Any bonus put in to the Black Hole redesign will need to be fully gamed on SiSi before being let loose on TQ because what's on TQ is and has been horribly exploited before (right, AHARM?) and is being right now.

Thus, i'd rather see the whole weapon range penalty removed and the inbuilt damp effect and speed kept. No point having long range missiles and kiting forever if you can't point at range, let alone lock at range. Sure, it'll be Arazu's and Lachesis all the way down, but you just SeBo that shit off.

Otherwise, I fear, if the big alliances get their way, Black Holes will become valuable farmvilles just like C5 and C6 Pulsar, Wolf Rayet and Cataclysmic wormholes.

I await developments.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Fixing C4's

There comes a time every month or two when C4 wormholes are brought up on EVE-O.

There's two flavours to these threads - one is "how do I make money?" and the other one is "why do they suck?" or a variety thereof.

Like anything in EVE, the "C4's Suck" gestalt is founded upon kernels of truth mixed in with sticky dough of bullshit. The kernels of truth are as follows;

The ISK is worse than C5's. But this is true of anything except C5's and maybe Incursions. You cannot escalate in C1 through C4 space, but that doesn't mean C4's are worthless if you do them right. They are not a fountain of blue poo, nor are they a fountain of nanoribbons like C1 sites can be. They are OK.

C4 anomalies are harder than C3's. This is true. The Sleepers are tougher, more numerous and RR themselves more effectively and more often than in C3's. They also scram in one of the sites, so it isn't all gravy. However, properly fit RR Tengus can turn C4 sites over very fast (3 minutes for 5 guys).BUGRY lived in a C4 Black Hole with N766 and we rolled Armour BS fleets with a Thanny or 2 Guards and the worst part were the turrets because of the gay tracking, but if you can tank them fine you smash the Sleepers and GTFO.

The logistics suck because they never get K-space connections. This is in fact the biggest drawback, especially for C4-C4's. Without a k-space connection you rely on the k-space connection of your static. If you have, eg, a N766 to C2 space you will get K-space all the time. You will get highsec on average every third day. it is no worse than living in a C2 with A239/D382 statics.

The worse holes for this are the C4's with X877 to C4 statics, because you risk falling into the linear C5 chain problem of C4 to C4 to C4 and its C4's all the way down. Or, best case, C4 to C3 to hisec.

However, the logistics aren't as bad as, for example, the C2's with E545 to null and N060 to C5; here you rely entirely on inbound K162's from Hisec. Or a C3 with K346, same deal but there's less K162's inbound.

There's no pew pew. This is partly true. Again, it depends on your static. We chose the N766 because of the static going to C2 space with it's branching chains which can literally go on forever. With an X877 you may not get much further than a C5 chain. This restricts the number of systems you can access for pew pew.

There's better choices. This may be true. If you want to run C3 sites, you go to a C5 with C3 static (if you can handle it), or a C2 with B274/0477 pair. If you want to run C4's, same choices or C5 or C2s. But, there are worse choices such as C1's with Z060 to nullsec, C1's with C6 statics, etcetera.

So, not the best or the easiest choice. But that doesn't mean they are worthless. They are quiet; if you organise yourselves and crack how to do them efficiently the X877 can deliver buttloads of C4 ISK in your static without dozens of visitors trolling in from hisec or lowsec.

Ultimately, though, they are the ghetto of w-space. They need a little something-something, and I've always said they need to be the C2's of the middle-ground; reconfigure them to connect one up and one down. eg; pair an X877 with an N766, or a C5/C1, or C6/C2 statics. Turn C4's into the conduit system of w-space, linking people of high and low classes together and turning them into a VERY well travelled, dangerous location.

Then the PVP will roll in, because you can harass the elite and murder the nubs and have double the chance of a decent logistical chain.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

OGB Nerf - Crymageddon

CCP has finally - after at least 2 years of calls - begin winding up to swing the nerf bat on the off-grid boosters. About time, I say.

I have been a critic of the whole mechanic almost from the start - and certainly after they began to really proliferate in 2011. Prior to this they were unusual but not unknown; it took a fairly long while for the benefits to sink in and the alt toons to really get trained up. Which, ironically enough, was a defence of the whole practise because apparently "it takes a lot of effort to train an alt up to fly a cloaky Loki booster".

Yeah, load it into EVE-Mon and pay the sub. Terribly skillful and hard.

It is also terribly hard to win fights "against larger gangs" when you have, for example, a 34km point range in a double-damp Hookbill orbiting a poor shlub in a Punisher or a Merlin who cannot even target you or run you down because you go 50% faster than him.

There is no equalising in the fights I've seen. Against larger gangs, or gangs against fleets, Loki links have allowed people to stay at range and pick enemies off with virtual impunity, all with no risk.

The changes as they stand now are a good step. Firstly, no total invulnerability inside a POS shield. The tears about this are hilarious in their entitled whininess. Given the abuse of OGB's is in the main a highsec or lowsec thing, due to the difficulty of ninjaing up a POS in sov space and roaming with a cloaky nullified T3 booster (uh, not much), this complaint is precious.

Just sit at a safe spot, aligned. Or at a station on undock, hugging it like a pansy. Dock if anything locks you. Deal with it.

If you can stick up a POS, make sure it has defences. A couple of ECM's, a dissy, and 4 small beams or arties will be enough to deter casual gankers.

It's going to be lowsec, because who aside from some of the prol337 highsec wardeccing corps would bother humping standings to get a POS in highsec? You may fear being alpha'd by a Tornado gang but, really, if you are too dumb and inattentive to notice local spike with 4 or 5 extras and they happen to be in Tornadoes and they happen to land on your grid with the booster, who is more than 500m outside the shield and can't scoot in before you lose the Loki...just buy a fucking Claymore. Also, pay more attention.

If you ARE in highsec, you can deal with it, too. There's some whine from incursion bears that the loss of bulk benefits and the reductions in resists already sloughed in will make their lives harder. Given they shouldn't be worried about the nerf to Tengu links, since this is highsec and who's going to gank Tengu boosters, I wonder if they are taking into account the greater combat ability and tankiness of the command ships? Probably haven't realised the Vulture will have actual DPS as will the Damnation, allowing them to come into an Incursion cash-machine and punch the time clock for stupid ISK. You win some, you lose some.

What interests me is the nerf to Info Warfare subs and benefits. I hadn't considered that a 35% target painter effectiveness buff was over the top. Perhaps it was - I mean, it might make a Ceptor actually able to be hit by something. it might make blap dreads in C5's with TPing Rapier/Huginns able to alpha the Sleepers. But I doubt it.

Of more concern is the buff to sensor resolution which comes with the info mindlink now; this is a buff to instalock gatecamps. Yes, it will also help relocking a Falcon after you get teabagged but that's not open to abuse. We will just have to hope Fozzie has done his maths properly on remote sensor boosted Gnosis with info mindlinks.