Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A bunch of failures


Sudden Buggery for the same period got as many kills as at least half those so-called elite wormhole corps and alliance, often (eg Adhocracy ) more of them in wormholes, and killed more than KICK by a factor of 6.

I mean, OK, so this is a list compiled by a very biased set of so-called elite dickheads, but it's clear that there's quite a few corps and alliances on there which prove the point that it's not all in a name. In fact, if I may be so bold, the name of KICK and ADHC and most of the rest is meaningless. Just a bunch of hot air and irrational fear backed up by C5 ISK and shiny toys deployed en masse.

What a bunch of fucking carebears.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Temporary Nuisance

Sieges are a weekend sport. it is very rude to ask anyone to siege a POS on a Monday morning, let alone a large POS when no one is on very much.

Nevertheless, after devoting a whole morning cleaning my house top to bottom, dishes, laundry the whole shooting match, I sign on to comms and see a small conclave of people in channel and hear the news; a large tower has been jacked up in our wormhole while everyone was asleep, the fellow unemployed bums in corp inform me.

It's a corp of nubs and alts...but still...

It's a shittily fit POS with 8 Medium laser batteries and 8 smalls, and apparently the settings were borked, so it doesn't shoot you. There's 4 ECM's and 4 more guns sitting unanchored in the POS. But...still...

You don't survive sieges which are for real by assuming every derpy dick-filled shit corp is not a front for a serious effort. You take no chances.

We aren't sure, but we suspect we were being trolled to some degree by a new member of one of the corporations in our loose coalition of like-minded corporations. There were some very interesting coincidences, a few too many, such as him signing on and off within moments of the interlopers, him having to "close down his other TS client"and the like. I've been knocking back a few apps this week because I feel I'm attracting a bit of attention of the wrong sort.

Anyway, we sorted that out, and whilst the rest of the guys were faffing about on forums and Facebook deciding what to do, I just dropped my Typhoon on the offending POS, signed in my siege alt for the first time in six months, and began RFing guns. Within a few hours, it had coalesced to a ten man fleet and resulted in incapped guns and an RFed shtick.

Apparently all it takes is a bit of initiative. I've got a lot of respect for the guys I fly with, but balls-outness and get-shit-doneishness is often lacking. Decision paralysis could have resulted in an escalating situation, but soon enough it was gaining momentum like a dung beetle collecting shit on a cliff face.

With RF'ed guns, the tower was going to come down. They'd been offered ultimatums, apparently, and been rejected. They couldn't unanchor it as soon as the hull on a gun got breached. The next step was to get the shield to 49% so they couldn't jack up more guns. Then, of course, test the stront.

Third step in this situation is risk mitigation. I evacced my railgu (c.f. expensive Eagle simulant), a couple of unneeded T2 cruisers, and a stash of BP's and minerals looted from the offline POS last week. I trimmed down a few other ships, too, because if this was just the toehold of an eviction, odds are you'll be podded out by a determined enemy so there's no point having 30 ships because reships aint happening in a rapecage.

In the end, the 95% certainty we had that the situation was under control was proven correct. The risks were mitigated, the temporary nuisance dealt with, and the killmails harvested.

Prime maximus corporation can ask any time for an empty wormhole. Guess they need to check d-scan.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

That escalated quickly!

Ship choice gets you fights.

So I mixed it up yesterday night. We had rolled the O477 and B274 and spent a good 3 hours trawling around for fights, eventually settling for welping some AF's in Null due to me fucking up my overview settings. So I went to Hek, got another Enyo, and as I was jumping in the B274 I stabbed d-scan and noticed a tractor unit or two.

I've had Raven Navy issues aggro my Nereus before, and that resulted in fails due to too much DPS (well, after 35 minutes when the guy twigged he should change to EM). So, since then, i've seeded my POS with a Burst, to either rep the Nereus against a Navy Raven or similar, or rep and escalate via aggro spreading. Last night, the second option came through.

I probed down a Drake, doing a drone mission. Ordinarily nothing much to do, as drones don't drop loot and it's impossible to farm a suspect timer. But eventually the guy drops a tractor to yoink a can, so I attack. After 5 minutes, he shoots me, so Nereus vs Drake battle starts. I didn't get it on Fraps because I knew this was going to either result in a stalemate, or a ransom.

The guy had 5 salvage drones, and I had my 6 Hob II's. After 10 minutes of 500m orbiting and Nos'ing his cap out, the drones and popgun start getting his shield down past 75%, so i think his shield alarm prompted him to begin shooting my drones. This allowed me to get an angle to bring TF in, so I head back to POS and undock the Burst.

So, dude in Drake shoots drone, Burst reps drone, guy eventually gets the shits and shoots the Burst. Bazinga, aggro is spread. Warp Burst back to POS and undock the active tank Loki. Get back to site and utilise the limited engagement timer, and we've got the Drake down to 30% shields...

...when in comes a neutral Sentinel. Obviously a mate of the Drake, who's been crying in his intel channels. So the Sentinel attacks the Loki. No problem, I'm tanking anaemic Drake DPS and I've got a cap booster.

So i get my corpmate to take over Burst duty. Sentinel and Drake decide that the Burst is a PITA, so the Sentinel attacks Izrid in the Burst.

Enter a fucking Megathron. Shit's just got real. So, there I am, running a 400M ISK deadspace fit active tank Loki off cap boosters and spit, vs Drake, Mega and neuting motherfucking Sentinel. Izrid hoofs it back to POS and grabs his Sentinel. I unwisely decide to drop point on the Drake with my alt, in order to mayhaps run the Burst to keep my loki up.

But then the allies hear about these shennanigans and reship to Scythes. Izrid gets on grid as I'm 10% shield, cap booster reloading and cap dead, and he neuts the other Sentinel flat. At least the point's dropped, allowing me a possible GTFO option. We take the Sentinel down, and the Drake (unpointed due to dead cap on my part) and Mega bail; Mega to sun and Drake to gate.

So we follow the Mega to the sun and murder him.

All in all, a proper hisec aggro escalation which would not have happened without the Burst. And, yes, i really need to get an Omen or something cheaper to bring in vs a Drake in a situation like that, because damn, that was close to a Loki loss to carebears.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

90% Welps

Knowing people is a key component of extracting enjoyment from EVE. It baffles me that there are people who play an MMO just to do missions and acquire the shinies and not explore the multiplayer aspect. Multiplayer games became a thing with Quake, Descent, Counterstrike and Half Life because of PVP and player interactions.

True, most games are multiplayer these days, just like most card games are not Solitaire. So it is interesting, as an aside, that you may be a friendless nerd in your basement Fortress of Solitude, doing your nerdy shit, and not realising that you really should make contacts because it will increase your enjoyment of the game you pay money for.

Aspies, I guess.

First thing I did yesterday when I logged in was spot some interlopers on d-scan. When they were dead, I had my second coffee and probed out the hole.

Getting back on topic, we've had a lot of Transient wormholes the last few days, and yesterday it was a lowsec K162 which led me out to Gusandall and a "Hey TF!"in local the moment I jumped out.

So I ended up taking the HRAPE guys out for a wee roam up from Gusandall to Auga, bagging a couple of shiny kills. Of interest was the Corax vs Breacher, because we all realise how shit the Corax is, so I was amazeballs that I won by 30% structure while mistakenly shoosting Kinetic (always a bad choice vs Breacher). or won at all. Seriously, the Corax needs a buff, severely, but here's my fit:

[Corax, Whoreaxe]

Damage Control II
Co-Processor II

1MN Microwarpdrive I
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster
Warp Disruptor II
Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field I

Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Javelin Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Javelin Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Javelin Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Javelin Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Javelin Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Javelin Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Scourge Javelin Rocket

Small Rocket Fuel Cache Partition I
Small Rocket Fuel Cache Partition I
Small Rocket Fuel Cache Partition I

The key is that, firstly, you're a Corax. You run away. Second, the fuel cache rigs give your Javs 32km range; use the range to surprise buttsex people who, like the Breacher, think they can web you down and get to range (+15km) to escape your rockets while their drones finish you off. Sorry, son, not happening.

Anyway, second digression done, the HRAPE guys told me there was a guy who lives in Gusandall by the name of Daemon Gr who would "undock anything on anything and try to gank it".

So, 4-5 hours after they all sign out, Archieteuthis Rex reports a Vigilant on the hole in lowsec. So of course, out comes SS Planet Dollaz, and I begin baiting. Problem is, he's not taking the bait at the POCO, so I dock up under the theory he will do docking games.

So, plan B. I dock with him, and when I undocked, he shot. I docked, and undocked again after 20s, expecting he'd be docked. No, he was in fact, attempting to tank the station guns and was halfway through armour. So I of course start shooting, and he re-aggroes. Hammertime.

I went down, but due to the re-aggro, so did the Vigilant. Womp womp, I'll welp for 90% ISK efficiency and earn 13.9M bounties for all in fleet any day of the week.

Then we found a way to nullsec and actually managed to murder 3 of 4 NA miners in a belt. 

All in all a productive day....just don't tell the wife.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

How to make 2.7 billion in 3 hours

  1. Respawn O477 and scan its K346
  2. Discover 13 Einherji abandoned by nullbear Thanny pilot instadocking.
  3. Combat probe and steal said Einherji (300M)
  4. See step 1.
You can also go and shoot a couple of tractors, troll them in Local, have a small gang of them camp your wormhole to trap your solo Moa in nullsec, and then slaughter them with Sudden Buggery surprise cloaky fleet of doom. 
  1. Respawn O477 
  2. Discover offline POS with pinata
  3. Blow up the Ship Maintenance Array (1.1B)
  4. Blow up the Corporate hangar Array (1.3B)
#SWAG achieved.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Vale CCP's Online Vampire LARP

According to the Guardian, there's an acrimonious tale of CCP mismanaging it'sWorld of Darknes (WoD) aka MMO Twilight Online.

Reading over it, the general timing of the various disasters meshes quite well with the in-EVE experience of a game that floundered through Incarna. Whilst the WoD perspective was one of EVE poching, and CCP interference and CCP mismanagement (which is probably true; let's be honest, many of us are mature men who've worked in for-profit companies where the workers can see the management has their heads up their arses) and misallocation of resources, the reality is that WoD was sucking a hell of a lot of money and time away from EVE.

Lets not mince about here. CCP is in the business of making MMO's for money, and right now it's only MMO which is working is EVE. it makes money on EVE, how much I am not privy to nor do I care researching (go nerds, nerd it). However badly managed and allegedly botched the WoD execution and build was, the money came from people like me paying our EVE subscriptions and playing EVE.

When EVE began to suffer post-Apopcrypha, with the changes to Sov in Tyrannis and the PI clickfest farmville in space of Dominion, with retarded spacebarbies clothing during Incarna, and mediocre war mechanics (since multiply patched to death) in Crucible, culminating with a move toward actual work on the game during Inferno and finally Retribution...yeah, it was clear that energy was being sucked out of CCP and EVE to go on Carbon(tm) and other shit associated with WoD.

To my mind, Retribution was when CCP Fozzie somehow got it through to Hilmar and company up top that spaceships were the key. Or maybe because WoD was dying a slow, shitty death CCp realised they couldn't afford to keep ploughing millions of dollars per annum from EVE into Twilight Online.

Money and time and a small team of devs seemed to grasp the bull by the horn and make changes to ships more than one per expension. I mean, seriously, the amount of rebalancing which went on pre-Retribution was ridiculous. It was seven years of shitty half-baked T1 and T2 ships which were terribly turdful.

However, you need to have the clear vision to deliver a product. You also need clear vision to make an awesome product and to iterate upon it in a coherent, consistent manner. It is clear that you cannot have clear vision trying to run 3 separate franchises from an ice-bunker in Iceland. It - sadly for Twilight Online fans - probably was good for EVE that WoD failed. It was a gigantic parasite upon the finances and management expertise (howevermuch Veigar and co actually have) and was sucking the impetus out of EVE. Maybe a sign of overly controlling icelandic executives, but entirely understandable.

However, the concerning this is that, right now, I feel that Fozzie has outlived his usefulness. The new medium MJD's and the fucking mordus ships aren't as much of a shitstorm of terrible as they will be simply because they are rare. Hardly any MMJD's have been built, they can't be deployed. It took 3-6 months for solid doctrines to be developed by the Null blocs before dualprop Foxcats came on the scene. It will take equally long to develop medium MJD doctrines, deploy them in force, and show Fozzie and CCP how the game can be broken.

It's nice to constantly change the game for the better. Inferno showed that you can do that by revitalising the game, by "rebalancing". However, Inferno wasn't so much a rebalance as a total reboot of the T1 ships. Rubicon and Kronos especially, I hope, is not showing that "rebalancing"is apparently a process of pandering to the worst elements of EVE gameplay and reinforcing a metagame of links, kiting, running away from fights and docking up.

If CCp has cut off the dead weight of WoD and Dust514, and devotes itself entirely to milking the cash cow, it needs to address the current imbalances in the game rather than ostrich neck it like saying "Battleships are really taking off so we see nothing wrong with the Ishtar". Fuck, Ishtars are totally OP. Drone tracking is beyond ridiculous and everybody knows it.

EVE is not a game of meaningless engagements like Counterstrike. People avoid fights and avoid risk precisely because of the real pain a ship loss can cause, financially if you PLEX, and time-wise if you rat (or karma wise if you scam or run ISK doubling, fie upon thee). This lends to sentry IShtar meta perfectly, and the responsibility is on CCP to realise an abuse early enough (or even beforehand) and get onto it. Perhaps they consider the MJD's are the counter to Ishtars which Ishtars are to the mythical dominance of Battleships.

Either way, how CCP responds by rebalancing things which are weak (AC's and arty, missiles) versus things which are strong (Drone boats) will show if CCP can manage a game now it hasn't got distractions and sinks upon management, time and money. More spacebarbies clothes in the New Eden store and ship paint isn't really showing the way here, is all I'm saying.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Bounties and Killrights

The bounty system is kind of nonfunctional. It is in essence a butthurt register - if you don't like someone, you place a bounty upon them, and when they get killed by anther player, he makes some money. Ideally this should encourage bounty hunting, but in reality, the majority of bounties are so pathetically low that it doesn't even encourage suicide ganking. The other limit is that only a percentage of the bounty gets paid out, so unless the maths are spectacularly fortuitious (billion ISK bounty on a guy in a shuttle hauling PLEX) you only get a fraction of the pool, especially in company with friends because it is split.

So the whole Retribution expansion should have been named Petulance. There's absolutely no point in putting a bounty on someone other than to register your displeasure.

So, last night a guy in a Mackinaw registered his displeasure with me for destroying his ship. I mean, OK, so maybe he got bumped 25km away from his tractor and maybe I was in the process of destroying it with me Nereus, but he did have a ship scanner, he did not have to sic his drones onto me while in scram range, and he could have done what everyone else does, which is warp off and back to the tractor at zero and scoop it. So he died, got podded, and eventually lost the tractor too.

This earned me a 10M ISK bounty, which you are all free to collect, and merely loses this guy 10M more ISK when you think about it.

The other thing is killrights. I earned a killright against myself for attempting to suicide a guy's Wreathe in highsec. I failed due to forgetting a scram in my rush, which is irrelevant anyway. He put my right out for 30M ISK - so he earns 30M ISK if anyone activates it.

In this case, it is an interesting bit of game theory at play. On the one hand, any self-respecting spacefiend will just buy off a killright (earning the previous victim a bit of ISK) and blow up a shuttle, extinguishing it. An active killright is potentially a problem for you if you transit the market hubs and pipes in something non-cloaky, fat, and expensive. Marmites or the general public may see your killright and pay to kill you.

The interesting dynamic is this. Lets say I'm actually happy to have killrights on my head, because it makes highsec exciting. I mean, here I am tooling about in a hauler, shooting Tractors and looting wrecks and flipping cans just to get aggro I can then use in a structured fashion to enter engagements of my choosing, and farm awesome killmails (and one day, FRAPS the results and make a YouTube channel). I'm not really held back by a killright - in fact, if the right is cheap enough, I may pay multiple times to trigger it, to spawn a suspect timer so I can get a fight.

So it becomes kind of a mini-game and a psychological shadow-boxing game. If you set the right too high, the guy with the right won't buy it out, and neither will Marmites. But then again, some people expressly set their rights open at 1B ISK hoping to get a big payout from someone who mistakenly clicks yes on a 1B ISK right.

Then all depends what you fly. Undock in a Vindicator on station with a 250M ISK killright and you're more likely to get it activated. Dock up immediately and undock a shuttle and it's gone - and someone's made 250M ISK. Gamed.

Then again again...again...250M ISK or it seems, even 30M, when you primarily fly frigs and haulers around (esp. a Nereus) sees no one activate it, resulting in the holder of the right not making much money, and the recipient not getting much pew pew.

All in all, I would definitely suggest opening conversations with the right holder if possible and negotiating a value for the killright on your head which suits both parties. It is, in some way, in the interest of the right holder to get the right activated multiple times without the recipient being killed; he gets paid multiple times. The recipient gets multiple engagements in hisec (and, i guess, lowsec), and gets pew pew.

I doubt this will be a common occurrence. Most holders of killrights are also nursing a hulk loss and inflamed buttocks. They're just as likely to Q.Q as to collaborate with a ganker to farm ISK on the killright.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

I tip my hat to you, sir.

Today's tally of kills was a Heron, a Tayra, a Legion and a Tormentor. These are all dutifully recorded in the online annals of EVE Online's killboards and can be viewed by anyone who wishes to see that I did, in fact, club together with spacefriends to destroy the pixels and database entries of imaginary spaceships of anonymous, unknown other gamers.

There are, however, many other events which happen in EVE which are not recorded in a killboard. This is one of them.

It started with a poke into a C3 off a C2 off Lossa. I saw 3 Dominix and a Noctis on scan, and called the loose coalition I work with (informally called the Nereus Appreciation / Destruction Society or NADS), into the C2 to lurk on the O477 into the C3.

I went in and d-scanned, confirming the Domi's were running relic or data sites. I launched probes and, amidst the million distractions of dualboxing a herd of cats into the target hole and answering the questions with "No, I have no idea who they are." and so on, tried to pin them down to a distance and bearing so I could ninja probe.

For some reason, and I seriously have no fucking idea, I coulddn't get them below 30 degrees. At 15 or lower, they just disappeared. This made me frustrated, and the Domi's finished their third relic/data and warped out. The Noctis came in and I had to pull the trigger on the combats, getting him on the 2nd scan.

So I warp in just as he finished the last wreck, and called in the cloaky Tengu with the 3 point scram, because we figure this is a stabbed Noctis. So we decloak, and begin shooting, with 5 points of scram on the guy.

The plan is to hold him there long enough to let his buddies in the Dominixes reship to something to take a cloaky Loki and a Tengu, at which point we drop the Legion, Fleetcane, Railgu and maybe the flying wing of 2 Prots and 2 Guards if they get here in time. 

He asks for a ransom - generally respected by BUGRY - and I open bidding at 500M. He says they didn't get that much, which is clearly BS. But to get some cash before the technicalities result in his death, I drop to 200M. He agrees. Huehuehue.

From our point of view, we like that the negotiations have started, and the passage of time is encouraging. Negotiation means he's stalling, and stalling means a possible fight, and also gives the Flying Wing time to get the next 5 jumps in to the target chain. Huehuehue.

Time passes, so I highlight the fact my wallet isn't flashing. Within 10s it does flash. We of course don't let him go, though I keep my part of the bargain and unlock him. Pity he's only paid me 200M, not the guy in the Tengu. Huehuehue.

At this point both my clients crash. D:

While I'm CTRL-ALT-DEL to get to Task manager to murder my frozen clients, restart the launcher and log both clients back in, I'm thinking "jesus fuck, I bet they'll be dropping Domis and Prots on us by now like we hoped and I'll log back in to a bubble and I'll be raped to death by sspace dildos or something"

No. But the Noctis did escape.

You see, he had merely been stalling for time, paying small ransoms, to online his 3 stabs. He'd strung us along as much as possible to online his second and third stab so he could break the tackle.

Well played, sir. Well played. I tip my hat to you. My hat which is 100M ISK richer, I do declare, but it is still a hat-tip. 

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Build Team

I have begun training a second toon on TF's account to get him into a Buzzard because of a fortuitous series of events which allowed me to see a disaster unfolding in extreme slow-motion.

It began with leaving the C3/lowsec hole I'd found (the one with the Astero and Nestor) because of a near-SNAFU with internet pproblems and being outside the hole nnearly saw the corp trapped out. So I pulled the pin on that and we regrouped (by which I mean, apparently set about not being a corp anymore) in hisec and began randomly banging about checking holes in hisec.

I found a C1 with 35 anomalies in it, inhabited ostensibly by Aussies. This, i thought, will be a good place to camp for a while and maybe interrupt them mid-farming. At least, I figured, I might be in for some action in my own timezone, now that rat kills and ship kills will no longer show on the API. So i find their POS, warp-spawn all the cosmic signals (12 gas, radar, mag sites) and log off.

I log in in the afternoon and see a few tengus and a mmetric fuckton of haulers I suspect were going to a K162 to C2. Nothing eventuates and they disappear. I think no more about it. 

The next day I sign on and do a d-scan and, hello, new POS and forcefield! I hunt it down (oddly, it's at the moon I logged off at....) and see who it is - some newish corp. They have jacked up a decent large POS with a decent set of noisemakers attached to it...and a large ship assembly. It bears watching.

Life goes on for a day, and I log off my alt in the hole before it disappears, and log back in on day 3. Now there's 2 Megathron at the POS with no, wait, guns begin appearing as the guy who's built them in the C1 is fitting them at his POS. Which now has an XL assembly array.

The shoe has dropped. Corp #2 is gearing up to siege corp #1. The only question is, are they making a dread or a carrier? Maybe both?

This puts a timetable on what I need to do. I have a fair idea of when the capital will be cooked, and then 40 hours later more or less, the target POS will come out of RF. The target POS, incidentally, has about 2.5B in faction guns on it.

So the plan is to let the interlopers siege out the residents, kill them at the vinegar stroke, finish off their target POS, rep the pimp batteries and steal all the things, then (if we can get the guy to eject from his dread perhaps?) turn around and evict the interlopers.

Fallback position if we miss the initial siege is to jack up our own siege POS and force the same issue on our timetable.

This is C1 living at its finest.