Friday, 28 November 2014

The ultimate terror weapon

Sudden Buggery is not just a corp name. It's a philosophy, a way of life, and a fragrance.

I may have mentioned the Dick Virus smartbombing proteus which I have deployed to murder relic running frigates. It has been a resounding success for myself and for the alt of one of my members, who has his own wormhole he inhabits.

Last night, at 11 p.m. WST, i was stalking a Buzzard in a relic site in our C2 when a Sukuvestaa heron hopped in a C4 and went to the sun and began probing. I blew him up in one salvo of bombs and cloaked up 2,458m from his wreck and corpse. Within a minute, there was another fire on the same wormhole and a Buzzard came through. he warped to the sun to loot his compadre's wreck. Within five seconds of decloaking to scoop, he was dead.

That's a billion ISK killed in 5 minutes. It's superfluous to say, but I will mention, the other guy in the Buzzard stayed cloaked and I went to bed with a masive grin on my ugly mug.

With such a steady supply of corpses, we have installed an Altar of Bob in the C2 my henchman inhabits. Consider this before you go running relics and data sites in C1, C2 or C3 space.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

I do confess...

The new Confessor is being built before our very eyes, on SiSi. We are seeing the item put into the database. The model gets released. Then the item is available for purchase, and people can sit in the ship and show info and share screencaps and videos. It's kind of cool to see the development work going on, live, on the test server.

Still, no feedback thread on the forums, and no live stats published, so it's a little awkward to give and take and share feedback on the thing.

My impressions of the Confessor, based on these images:
Confessor Traits 
Confessor Base Stats
Confessor Fitting Screen

Base stats are a wee bit lower than a Coercer, out of the box. A bit less armour hitpoints, shield hitpoints, a bit more capacitor. Significantly less scan resolution (325mm base, vs 525mm). Less optimal and falloff range than a Coercer. A touch more CPU at all 5's, and same powergrid. A smidge larger sig, a little faster.

The mode bonuses are interesting and will make this a very skill-intensive (meatbod skills) ship to fly about. It needs to be discussed as three separate ships, really, and you get to choose which ship to fly. I think the old adage "You live or die at the fitting screen" will apply to the T3 destroyers here, just like always, except maybe a bit more than usual.

For instance, you can load it up with beams and try to exploit 120km sniping mode, and use the maneuver mode to get to that range. But you will therefore be gimped in Defensive mode. Or you can try to make a brawler with stronk tank, but it won't necessarily be the optimal fit for maneuver mode or snipe mode. Therefore, you really will probably choose your preferred mode of engagement at the fitting screen, and this will be the doctrine. You will however get the ability to engage the other modes if it, if you aren't the primary, you can enter Sniper mode and dish better DPS. But you're going to have your low slots locked in, so sniper mode won't be perfectly exploited to the nth degree.

This then means you need to fit for your purpose and fly to exploit your primary mode - you aren't going to have a Veritech Fighter style weapon able to undergo a transformation from fighter to mech to hybrid mode and fight awesomely like that. No Macross for j00.

This kind of undermines the whole concept slightly, but there's no way around it really, except perhaps depots at safespots and the like. Which, again, is a fitting screen decision, and any ship can depot up and refit for hard countering a known enemy. So I guess think of it as, choose a preferred mode, fit for that mode, get a bit of flexibility in two other modes....load spare fittings into your hold to ensure your lossmail looks stupid.

Defensive mode promises to be interesting, and for wormholers, probably the preferred mode. The stats are Coercer-like at ~246 DPS and ~13K EHP. However, given the fitting room of 5 low slots, and the ability to avoid blowing your CPU and PG on energized membranes by opting for Deadspace resistance platings, you should be able to make a stronk tank in Defensive mode. Maybe 80% omni resists and 40m sig (~22m in C6 Wolf Rayet?).

The above image of a fitting screen apparently does not account for the defensive mode 33% bonus to resists - so I guess, we should add a third to each of those numbers and come out at 77% EM, 93% Thermal, 90% Kinetic, 88% Explosive. With a 400mm plate, that should see around 28-29K EHP with all 5 skills...and a 33% smaller sig radius, so reasonably tanky versus other frigs and dessies and quite a slippery opponent versus cruiser weapons and drones. Battleships, as usual, are fucked if they get tackled.

Finally, this kind of resist profile means that if you can get reps landed, your reps are going to be very efficient. All you need for frig wormholes is a tanky frigate logi ship, which you don't have.

Sniper mode seems to basically replace the lost Coercer hull traits and then some. Remember, a Coercer gets a role bonus of 50% Optimal. The Confessor gets 66.6%, so a smidge more Optimal than a 1.2M ISK hull. This would see a typical Sniper mode Confessor with Small Focused Beam Laser II's hit out to 44.5km versus 40.5 kilometres with Aurora S (which no one uses).pulse fit you compare the Coercer with Small Focused Pulse II and Scorch S at 16.9km optimal with 18.9km Optimal for a Confessor. Not really much of a benefit.

In Sniper mode, the Confessor gets back some of the lost scan res (750mm vs native 550mm) of the Coercer, and gets double the sensor strength. Because as we know, when you are running a sniping Cormorant fleet, you always lose to a Falcon.

This mode seems to be a waste, frankly. You give up stronk tank to become a shitty slightly lower EHP Coercer which is harder to jam, and does basically the same job as a Coercer - which is to say, it is a shitty sniper destroyer, full stop. Lets assume your Confessor with no pimp costs you 120M ISK. You do exactly the same job as a Coercer (18M ISK) but 16% better, but 50% worse than a Cormorant (21M ISK).Yep, that's worthwhile.

In Speed Mode, your base 1148m/s MWD speedgoes up to a respectable 1900m/s. This is cool - you can go as fast as a shield fit Coercer or indeed a man-tanked bulkhead and bulky rigged Coercer, which gets the same EHP as you do because you aren't in Defensive mode. The inertia bonus is good - you can probably GTFO from whatever wouldn't catch you anyway, and maybe slingshot the odd T1 destroyer or nanoed up Cruiser. Actually, no you won't because let's face facts, a Nano Ishtar is going to keel-haul you, do triple the DPS, get double your tank (if not more) and you can't kill his 480 DPS Hobgoblins, which can still catch you.

Tank mode is fine. But I remain extremely underwhelmed by a T3 tactical destroyer in which two of its 3 modes are basically fucking useless, or replace the stats of the T1 version which you lose out of the box for some Because Of Reasons bullshit.

Realistically, Defensive Mode is fine. It isn't OP, it will merely give you the ability to pick a few fights against larger ships than wou would be able to take in a T1 or T2 destroyer, outlast and tank a few cruisers, maybe with logi you'd be a force to be reckoned with.

But Sniper mode is a waste of time - forgoing 60 percent of your tank to gain literally no range and 5% less nett chance of being jammed by a Falcon. Speed mode you can overhaul and tackle other Destroyers which are, right now, sig-bloated, slow, tankless punching bags with less slots for tank and utility than T1 tackle frigates - and these days, not much more DPS than some pirate frigates. But you can't escape any HAC, or indeed quite a few battleships.

So. If you favour brawling in Destroyers, the Confessor and its ilk are going to be awesome for that, if you bring logi. But don't fool yourselves - there's fuck all chance of having amazing nano sniper gangs with these bonuses. You'll have underwhelming T1 destroyers in 2 of the 3 modes, and you'd better hope your mode cooldown lets you get into Defensivve mode when the Vexor Navy or Ishtar get ahold of you.

The fix?
Sniper mode should give a 100% bonus to Optimal. You'd see optimal with Scorch S of 22.6km, and Aurora S of 56km.

Sniper mode should increase Scan Res 100%, and DPS 33%. Let's be honest, you give up the tank, you want more gank. What the fuck is wrong with 350 DPS sniping Confessors? Not much to my mind.

Speed mode should increase speed 100%, and decrease cap use significantly. The fit featured above has 56 seconds of capacitor, even considering the gun cap bonus and better base capacitor of the hull. Take out the RR in the high, you probably have 1m 40s capacitor. True, that fit has a cap booster, but that's one person's  fitting choice, not everyone's cup of tea. Last time I looked, frigates and cruisers could all MWD around for longer than that, and Ishtars can go forever. This ship needs that luxury, badly, or it will cap out and go dead.

Maybe just scrap sniper mode altogether. It's a shtick of the Cormorant anyway, which is outclassed by the Talwar for nano kitey shit. What we need is either a logistics mode, or EWAR mode.

Imagine EWAR mode - 66% effectiveness of Tracking Disruptors. 66% more neuting. 66% greater web range for the Minnie one. 66% more disruptor range, or damp power, for the Gallente. 66% grater jam strenggth for a T3 Caldari dickboat.

How's that for an idea, CCP? It's clear there's a lot of work left to make these T3 Destroyers worthwhile.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


I always wanted to work in a newspaper, writing headlines a mile tall, so for the announced IS Boxer nerf, I'd have gone, as above, with NERD NERF NAZIS!

There has been quite a bit of debate on the issue for the past 12 months (including some contributions from myself). I congratulate CCP for finally biting the bullet and deciding to cancel this idiocy. It is amusing to me that it won't be retrospective bans. CCP knows who is abusing this. So does everyone else.

In fact, the mooted changes to ship cloaking, which rightly gathered so much outrage and were reversed, were aimed squarely at guys like Unimatrix, who can alpha carriers on jump bridges, and who terrorise a whole region and affect the dynamics of nullsec sov warfare and fleet warfare. Solo.

It is interesting to speculate that maybe this ban is coming about because CCP is IS Boxed into a corner on stealth bombers. They need to nerf cloaking, to nerf the Unimatrix guys and their perfect bombing runs. But they can't nerf cloaking or everyone with a cloak and a bomber is fucked. So their only option is the nuclear option.

Or, another way of looking at it is the PLEX prices. PLEX at a billion is ridiculous, to anyone who supports an account. Demand from IS Boxers may indeed be driving the prices up. it's either that or lack of supply from people who hate grinding ISK and don't mind dropping $15 - but at a billion for $15, it actually makes sense. So i can't see it as a supply problem, neccessarily, therefore it must be a demand imbalance.

Did PLEX hitting a billion trigger a rethink? I would think not, but you never know. Apparently there has been a surge in new subs after the new EVE IS Real video got released - maybe we can speculate that the new sub money allowed CCP to make financially motivated or constrained decisions to move on IS Boxer now. They may indeed have the luxury of doing that if they picked up a couple of thousand new subs - and looked around and thought - will these new guys hate having their ice belts ganked by Borg and company?

It's only taken 3 years of complaints. I remember when people began to abuse IS Boxer. Admiral Hayes in the Minnie-Amarr FW zone was a chronic IS Boxer abuser - he'd roll 3 toons in Hookbills or gank Merlins or Moas, and while it was impressive what he could gank as a unit of perfectly synchronised ships, it was pretty fucked that one guy in 3 ships would regulaarly blaze through 6 to 9 guys in 6 to 9 ships, simply because one guy's perfect synched DPS multiplies his effectiveness 300% versus 6 guys who have to communicate amongst themselves, are spread out across space, and have to react to a well-oiled machine. But what could you do? (I'm petitioning you, you cunt, Jan 1st).

The next memorable IS Boxers I encountered were mostly the ice miners. Borg and friends, found in ice belts with like, 8 toons in Mackinaws. Then 12. Then 24. Now it is 40 Skiffs and 20 security oracles, an Orca and even a Charon to haul the loot. It had started to get ridiculous. (Yep, you too, cockbag. Jan 1st)

We started seeing small-time IS Boxers appear 12 months ago. Gangs of 3 to 6 toons in highsec, named Blahblah001 to 006, are now reasonably common, all sitting in a belt sucking the same roid in perfect unison. I don't particularly care about these guys, they supply the raw materials in a time effective manner. (you get a pass, Jan 1st)

We also began seeing small squads, usually 4 to 8, of Ishtars in nullec. It's sometimes hard to tell if they are just AFKtars, but every so often there is Fuckbag001 to 008, blazing down Sanctums in 3 seconds flat, like a perfect school of fish. (Up against the wall, January 1st).

The most ridiculous shit is the guys in highsec with 20 toons who can now, with perfect synchronicity, alpha freighters on gates. I really question a game company that cannot see this as wrong on so many levels. Yes, suicide ganking is hilarious god fun. Yes, you should be able to suicidde gank freighters in highsec if you get your shit together. But no, having one person playing a game and ruining other people's game experience due to a technological fillip? Fuck that shit. Freighter owners can't IS Box anoms with 20 Talos's for 2 hours to afford 20 new Talos. It takes weeks of grinding and hauling to afford a replacement freighter, as a solo player playing a single toon. 

It was becoming egregious when people figured out how to PVE C5's in Ishtars. Versimilllidude001 to 024, your days are numbered mate. Lords Servants, as much as I respect your ability to fly YOLO phoenix, behaviour like this won't be tolerated.

In fact, if you had a grudge or wanted to deploy the nuclear option, you could go onto some multiboxing forums or IS Boxing forums, and pick and choose who to petition. 

I think that when the ability to get IS Boxers banned becomes available, my rule of thumb will be use in PVP. Like i said, i don't particularly care if people want to run 6 accounts to suck roids in highsec. it's shit work, shit ISK, and doesn't do a whole lot of harm. But dropping 17 Gilas onto ratting Drakes, blazing ice belts in 5 minutes, and shit like that? Fuck that.

Good job, CCP. Finally.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Delicious lossmails

Last night, after a good bit of PVE in C2 relic and data sites  (125M ISK in 1.25 hours = better than listening to incursion bears) we rolled the holes, and I was tasked with investigating the X877.

Upon jumping in to J163217, I saw a Drake and a Magnate on scan, who then disappeared. Two forcefields, C247 and P060 statics. Logically there was only one explanation, since the Drake could not possibly be soloing C4 content aside from ore or gas and there were no sleeper wrecks on scan - he was in his statics, ratting.

Having probed the hole out, we had C247 (EOL), P060 (EOL), K162 to C2 or C3, and a K162 to C5. The key here is the new nebulae which make it difficult to distinguish C2's from C3's sometimes.

We found the Magnate and the Drake through the K162 to C3 (J132525) in a relic. Tackled the Drake with my Astero, hero tanking it until backup point arrived. We then noticed a Rattlesnake on scan for a couple of seconds. When it didn't come to help the Drake (who died) we surmised the Rattlesnake was collapsing a hole. We went to ground and began searching for it's entrance; the Magnate got bubbled and ganked in the intervening C3 system.

We found the Rattler's connection, to a C5, when it was mass reduced. We reshipped the Sac to a Stratios and began signing on alts, ets. I moved a cloaky Loki up to the C5 with the Stratios, and began reshipping the Astero into an Execquror. not ideal, because of the Loki's active shield tank, but better than nothing. Another guy turned up in an Arazu, and we kept the non-cloaky DPS Prot back in J163217.

The Rattler (we presume) came back in a Caracal to scope out the sitrep in J132525. he sat on the hole, then jumped home. He came back in 5 minutes for another gecko at the hole, no doubt wondering if his Rattlesnake was safe enough coming to have a gander. We jumped him then, pushing the Stratios, Devoter and Loki through into the C5 after him. He spawned just outside the Devoter's bubble and GTFO'd.

I found the POS, and we saw the locals reship into 2 Rattlesnakes, Caracal. The Caracal and a Rattler warped to the hole and we pounced, and began the shoosting. We had a fifth guy sing in about this time and begin moving down the chain in his Onyx, beating our Execquror reships to the C5 hole. He jumped the onyx in, without bubbling up to preserve mass, and our Devoter - beaten up by Geckos, jumped out, again without bubbles up, and the hole collapsed.

Here things began to get a bit crazy. No logi, 5 ships, only one active tanked. The only active tanked ship was my Loki, and we had only 2 ships with probes in a MM267 static C5. Plus did I mention this was a C5 Black Hole? Uber missile Rattlers, and uber Geckos.

Nevertheless, we began the shoosting, cleaning up the Caracal and his pod, and beginning to chew on the Geckos. Our Stratios got beaten down almost instantly, I presume due to MWDing and blowing his sig up so the Geckos could actually track him.

As the minutes of shooting ticked by, it was becoming apparent that the Geckos and sentries of the Rattlesnakes were....fairly weak, as long as you were not blowing up your sig. However, the same was true of all the drones; we had a lot of problems landing blows on the Geckos with any drones. Black Holes may have changed but they were still up to their old tricks, making drones go so fast they orbited outside their optimals, or went so fast they couldn't orbit, or go so fast they couldn't track. Likewise, my Loki's autocannons were having problems tracking the sentries, which made drone control a PITA.

We began to bleed ships eventually, though, due to erosion of oour buffer tanks and the Rattlers deployed depots and refit stabs; one got out in half armour before we could blap it's depot. The Rattler refit at the POS and came back, neut fit with a dissy. This was enough for our HIC pilot to get caught, with low capacitor (infinipoint + 3 active hardeners + MWD ftw) and was unable to coast out of dissy range in time.

However, our Stratios ppilot had been put on 'find the exit' duty and came back with a D792 to highsec. I kept my Loki on field, tackling the Rattlesnakes as best I could (cap injector ftw) and tanking the drones as best i could, as our buffer ships went out to highsec and repaired. Pity, though, as it was maire, Solitude, so no batphone coverage and 28 jumps of low and null back home. Sadly, also, our Stratios pilot had to log off, so we lost 600 DPS of our own.

Nevertheless, we brought our ships back in and hung around, with Arazu long point keeping the Rattlers on field until they deployed a Drake. We waited for him to stray 30km away from his Rattler friends and their neuts (the only real threat to the Loki and it's Pith C-type LSB), and we went in for the kill. Stalemated, we went out to Maire, and called it even.

So, we lost an Onyx. But with 3 Rattlesnakes and a Drake on the lossmail, that's not a bad way to die. Content was created - the engagement lasted a good 15 minutes from go to whoa.

Learning outcomes? If we were to pitch into that battle again, better mass management from the HICs, to keep the connection up for more pile-ins. Not bringing two HICs - there's far and away enough tackle from one HIC. Thirdly, we're now investigating hybrid buffer-active tanked HICs. Better positioning of the HIC, too; being caught flat-footed at 0m on the Rattlesnake was it's downfall.

In the end, the old doctrine of the Black Hole is still as strong as ever. The missile buffs are nice, but effectively just counteract the problems vs faster opponents, resulting in net nothing. This then devolves back to tracking buffed AB or dualprop fits with damps, webs and TP's.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Frig hole failures

We found a Raven and Merlin sitting on a wormhole, baiting obviously. We were 3 connections away, bored, and one of the connections was a frigate hole. We thought, fuck it, #YOLO, and brought 2 Enyos and 2 Hawks, mostly because we didn't have 4 Hawks. Also, mainly, because we didn't neccessarily want to drop 4 HICs onto something unscouted and baity.

It turned out to indeed be a trap, and we had yoloed into the hard counter for our fleet, randomly, which was RLML Caracals and other frigs. Outnumbered 7 to 4, we copped a few losses.

Analysing this, of course, we really do need to have 12 guys online at the same time, aand this solves alll problems. There wasn't really much else you can do versus more than a couple of enemies with 4 members via a frig hole, which is the big limitation with these things. It's possible we could have taken down one or two things using Vengeances, due to having sufficient buffer to survive long enough to drop a Caracal or two, but there's no logi option you can bring through a frig hole that isn't suicide or useless when deployed in less than 4 or 5 at a time (hence the 12 guys).

Besides HICs, which are a 300-350M buy-in, there's not really much which can tank anything of substance, in a brawl. This really does drive home how mad the upcoming Shattered frig holes are going to be - it wasn't much of a fight in a Hawkbeing shot by a RLML Caracal. You do fine till the missiles land when your booster is nearly about to cycle, and you vape. That's going to be even more of a thing with C6 WR effect.

No one should be looking forward to this.

At least our losses were small. We await the Confessor stats and add a month or two after release, and might have the funds to buy them. It better be tanky!

I mean, OK, we YOLOéd it and so be it. Played ur hand, it was unfrotunate we were facing the hard counter and not HAM Drakes or Proteuses or something, and so be it. But if you are only ever going to be facing your hard counters, then yeah, waste of time having to burn 24 jumps home in a shuttle.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Fixing Battleships....Again

Two years ago, almost to the day, I wrote a post Fixing Battleships - CIWS.

Sadly, not much has really gone on in the world of battleships in EVE online in two years.

The issue is resurfacing on a EVE-O forum post, and it's attached explanatory notes. This document, though 37 pages long, is worth a read as a fairly good document on the 'state-of-play'of Combat Battlecruisers and Battleships. I think they've done a very good job on describing the ships, their roles, and their flaws.

I disagree about the Cyclone, I think it's basically a useless turd herder now, weak DPS and weak tank if you go for a PVP fit and weaker if you try PVPing in it. At 80M fit, you should save your cookies and buy a Loki instead. I mean, it used to field near 70K EHP buffer and 724 DPS. I flew it all the time into battle until 2012, and had a 90:1 kill to death ratio in it. Now i don't even own one - too slow to kite, and too little damage projection. 424 missile DPS with HML's is crap.

But aside from that, yes, BS are in a parlous state. Today's game is drone meta. It's Ishtars online, a ship which can perma-run a MWD, drop drones with 90km optimals, and has a pissy small sig and speeds of 2300m/s. Try facing off against that in a Cyclone with fucked lock range, 1200m/s speed, and inability to fit any form of tank. Yeah, you can see why it's all Ishtars all the time. Other combat BC's get the same treatment except niche brawling uses in wormholes, where they are still outclassed but can at least get tackle occasionally in hole brawls, if you don''t bring DPS brick Proteus or Tengus, etc.

Battleships are in a worse position, as you can see. Some are so rarely used as to be forgettable. I haven't seen a Scorpion navy Issue in the wild in 2 years or more - it's now Rattlesnakes Online in hisec. Raven Navy Issues likewise, a rare bird these days. I do get that people will gravitate toward the most efficient ship, as soon as the EVE Gestalt figures it out, but again it's drone meta. Drone meta suits the afk missioner with the Rattler, because the tank is 230K, so even buffer fit you struggle to lose it afk missioning.

In the past two years we have seen the Armageddon turned from a forgettable, cheap structure grinding F1 AFK boat into the poor man's Bhaalgorn. Domis are still useful, both in wormhole PVE and in Sovnull and other uses, thanks to the utility highs for RR spider tanking, or neuts. It hasn't much changed, it's still a viable thing. Malestroms aren't worthwhile thanks to Tengus being nearly as cheap over the past year, and easier to faction fit for ridiculous shield tanks - and we are talking both the rail Tengu fleets of null, as well as epic link-drug-deadspace solo vid making helicopter dick fits. Both are roles fillable by the Maelstrom, and the Malestrom is not worthwhile because of being a battleship - 1500 sig vs 150, half the speed, a qurter the agility, slower warp velocity.

But even sig radius and agility aren't the only pproblem - this can be resolved by positioning and tactics in may cases. The problem is when you do get tackled.  When you are tackled, or brawling, the problem i shall say again, is the large gun tracking and gun resolution. It is the sluggishness of BS, both into and out of warp (5+ seconds to slide onto and off grid, let alone warp velocity), and microwarpdriving around. It is the poor align times, countermanded somewhat by MJD's. The MWD capacitor usebuff was somewhat useful. i mean, cool - you can now run it more than 3 cycles without capping out. Whoopee. Miles and miles away from miracle permarun which ishtars and others get for free - and at the cost of a fantastically bloated sig radius.

Make no mistake, doctrines these days are built on getting maximum DPS projection (hence Rail moas vs blaster Moas), with maximum maneuverability, lowest sig radius and highest tank. All the BS fulfil in this role, besides a few notable exceptions, is damage projection and tank - but the raw EHP comes with a shocking counter of abysmal sig radius, near nil maneuverability, and DPS is destroyed by the tracking and application problems of large weapons.

Again, we need to look at BS hulls as having slot utility, and bring in the CIWS concept, to provide them with the commanding near-field defence that they deserve against small threats. Either that or vastly better fitting, capability of fitting permarun propulsion or close to it, utility slots out the wazoo and lower sig radius.

We also need Gallente and Minmatar disruption role BS. of course, the way this goes, the Gallente will get the webs and the Minmatar get TP's, which shafts Minnies. But right now it would be a good way of treating the Tempest and the Domi. Or roll it into the Navy Faction roles.

We will still see Ishtars, Rattlers, etcetera for the forseeable future until these ships lose their godly tanks and god drones, and when the Geckos start running out. But don't hold your breath - CCP isn't going to address battleships soon. It has more pressing matters to attend to, like putting more smaller ships with high tanks, high DPS, high mmaneuverability, low sigs into the game to exploit frigate sized holes - the T3 Destroyers.

Tackle success

Sometimes it pays to tackle the Retriever with the Nereus - his mate in the Myrmidon comes in from nextdoor when you shoot the Retriever until its shield alarms go off. Then you can drop a bubble, and get attacked by the myrmidon's drones...coming back for the second and third bubble can be a bit hairy.

My Nereus did OK somehow. :P

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

My bitches!

Some months ago, you may recall, i prevented a corp thief from stealing all of SEFEM's shit from their POS. As I had done such a sterling service for them, for free, I demanded payment of an Iteron full of hookers.

It was late, but yesterday a mysterious alt I never heard of sent me a contract for a Badger loaded to the gills with 1,000 exotic dancers, in Jita 4-4.

Warm and fuzzies for a job well done.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

One second too late

We had just rolled our N766 static when we got a batphone; one of your collleagues had been stalking a wormhole for a Noctis (details on this are fuzzy) and was watching a guy's POS, with a couple of Domis, the Noctis and a Machariel logged in. he was waiting to maybe gank the Noctis as it finished a site. They possibly new he was there, or were just bored and OCD, and were repositioning guns around the POS.

Then, suddenly, the shield goes down, leaving the innards exposed; an SMA, a capital ship assembly, various other shit, with the Domis and other ships just sitting there, exposed and awkward. He can't solo them in his Tengu, everyone is many, many jumps away, and  suddenly the POS begins re-onlining. The Domis and Machariel and Noctis log out.

Our contact thus comes onto comms and gives us a desto - he was giving everyone 20 minutes to get to the desto before he was going to pop the SMA and see what the loot fairy says about how rich he'll be. He needs people to help scoop the loot and ships.

So we probe our way to hisec in record time and I jjust set off ASAP, 10j through hisec. The shoiting begins, and then the looting, but I'm the only one who can fly the Legion which is ejected. With 1 minute to go, I jump into the connecting C2 wormhole and get warp-ins to the )477 and then to the POS. I land on grid with the Legion with 1 second to go on the shield onlining, and attempt to board it. It says some crap about cannot board for the next 3 seconds. my pod is brushed away as the bubble goes up, and we all laugh and moan in comic despair at how close we were to complete looting.

Still, 1.4B in ships, and 1.3B in goodies from the arrays.

POS interfaces - maybe offlining a POS needs a big red safety button, just like the safety switch on your guns in highsec?

Poor guy.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Aw yiss

So, after months of crying salty tears of despair over how terrible my game was performing on my shitty old computer, today i doubled down and bought a decent gaming system.

I may be able to play at 15fps...or even more!

nebulae in ore sites, sleeper sites and the like might not cause my fps to drop to....10. Or less! Unless I zoom out.

It's a practical measure. I'm sure the wife will accept it. I even made sure to keep the case reasonable looking without bizarre LED lights and all the shit.

So. Coming soon, more youtube videos of shennanigans in w-space and outside, now i might be able to record a decent video without my system wanting to crap its pants.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Shattered Space

OK, so you can all read about Thera and the shattered wormholes.

i honestly think CCP is overestimating how many people will really want to live in the Jita of j-space, once the initial rush wears off. I think the lack of Local won't be a problem; spambots will mean that there's enough white noise from scams and bullcrap that you can go about your business in complete safety precisely because there's 1,000 people 0.01íng each other on the market.

Yeah, we really needed that.

The 25 C6 Wolf-Rayet frigate holes....I really just can't even. Its such a bad idea. I mmean, OK, we in SWIFT BUGRY have a solid Enyo doctrine, but it relies more or less on Execqurors for reps. Inquisitors just don't cut the mustard unless you have large - very large  - gangs. 4 guys at a time gangs, it's just going to be ganks, ganks, and getting podded out in HIC bubbles.

No one will sign up for that.

The other holes, with wormhole ice? Cool. Maybe we will kill a few Orcas and Mackinaws. Maybe we don't. Maybe we just don't care to live from Orcas and depots.

This is a great 101 extra, dead, systems to chain up with k-space and j-space. More nullsec, dead systems to go through to find someone in a system on the other side of it, idling at a POS and bait them out with a Nereus. Maybe a few you will farm for sleeper goo, but...yay?

If Fozzie and Greyscale made 5 of the frig holes W-R, 5 Pulsar, 5 Red Giant, 5 Cataclysmic, 5 Magnetar and 5 Black Holes, then yeah, there would be some fascinating and interesting possibilities to explore and fantastic PVP to get into in frigs, destroyers and HICs. I hope they wise up and do this. I don't think we need a blunt, obvious carrot dangled in front of us with W-R systems alone.

We are big boys. If we cant play with big toys, then at least give us some cool ones, not a box of chocolates all of the same flavour.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

A comment

Unlimited skill queue. Where have you been all this time?

I think that the financial claws being sunk into CCP the last year or two of stagnant to declining subscriber numbers are starting to bite. No longer is the game almost wilfully being kept cryptic, obtuse and impenetrable. The company is finally realising that sometimes making people play the game is counterproductive to people actually wanting to play - for example, I set 45 days of skills when the unlimited queue came out. I now roll through 2 or 3 days skills without having to sign on at 11 p.m. after signing out at 10 p.m. because i realised i forgot to update my skills queue and it would run out at night. Like, every fucking week.

I am in the category of "goes away for weeks at a time" and I hate having to sometimes plan out to have a 3 week long skillup my sleeve in case i get called out bush for 2 weeks of drilling or opal prospecting. I end up training irrelevant shit just to unlock a turret skill that's 3 weeks long.

i can see a lot of people would just give up. You pay for a service, and it turns into Candy Crush or one of those fucking fremium apps (or, even, World of Tanks where you get double rewards for one victory each 24 hours, thereby encouraging you to log in and hopefully double down on some gold ammo).

Fuck that noise. If youre paying or PLEXing the game, train as much as you want!


Monday, 10 November 2014


I admit, I work entirely on third-hand received wisdom in all my deliberations about Thera. in this way, i keep my analysis accurate compared to real-world news sites and commentators, because getting your facts straight is clearly something that lefty commie pinkos do.

So, we have heard about a new wormhole system called Thera. It has many stations, k-space statics, no local, sleeper sites, and is reputedly big. Like, hundreds of AU's across. Also;

Debate of course started up on the forums and in various public fora and channels. There was the obvious connection with docking camping (aka nullsec Jita), counters to Tornados 100km off the undock in a system with no Local (duh). People claiming it would be controlled by one entity alone. Comparisons made to the phoebe Freeport Republic or whatever it is. How the wormholes would be bubbled to hell and back; the market wwould be shit, or not shit, or how it would be a Tortuga style clearing house.

I do wonder whether this is kind of a dry run for several things.

Turd Destroyer reckons this is a dry run for nixing Local from Nullsec. This is an interesting idea, however the data may be a little skewed, simply because it will be one system. Indeed, it won't be hard for, example, Siggy to have a "where is Thera?" function added; the database will more than likely be able to find connections to and from Thera's k-space connections and be able to display it. So it will actually - depending on the will and programming nous of EVE's players - be possible for Thera and any other of these hybrid systems to be easily findable.

Therefore, Tera will be an artificial pressure cooker system. OK, even after the novelty of it wears off and you stop getting gangs of people making a pilgrimage there to pew pew in the (rumoured) 1,000 AU diameter system, and activity and visitations and massive gang battles tail will still be a known, limited space which everyone knows about. Therefore, as a dry run for a no-Local nullsec it might not be very accurate - but i guess it will at least be a proof of concept.

I personally reckon it is a tie-in with CCP Greyscale's desire to redo POSs into being more like Outposts. my greatest concern wwith docking in a system with no Local isn't being blapped on undock - it's being unable to know when someone is around and interact with them. An MMO where you never encounter anyone else is calledCandy Crush for fucks sakes. Right now, in wormholes, you can lurk a POS knowing that someone is going to go there and sit in the bubble. If they dock up and disappear from space, and cannot d-scan you, then they can't even see your bait, and can't see you in Local, so...why?

The other thing to note is that Thera will have multiple kk-space statics. How many? Well, it's got to have more than two. I suspect at least one highsec, one lowsec, one nullsec. Otherwise, what's the point? if you make it twin B274 it becomes gaylord domain camping. Twin K346 becomes poorly accessible. Twin U210 and it's going to be Vigilant and Sabre camps. However, six statics spread over 1,000 AU's with six station, six we're talking Thunderdome.

Which of course brings me to the whole Thunderdome Deployable idea, which is just...really? REALLY? Even considering this is just blatant stupidity. Here we have Fozzie pretending there's a Lore reason for Thera (ahaha), and yet the CSM devoted a bunch of time debating Thunderdome deployables, as if it was actually a good idea. What a crock of shit. Seriously, can people not fing fights? Do you need some implausible mechanism like a Thunderdome, in order to get people to have PVP? Is it so hard for people to just undock a fucking ship, go to lowsec, and give it a try? The days of triple-OGB boosted Cynabals, Dramiels and 100MN Tengus are long gone.

Yet here we are, with 'management' actively considering Thunderdome deployables....or maybe the way this played out is "Here you go, have Thera instead! You can access it from a couple of highsec systems, it's like a wormhole but you can dock in a station and buy an exhorbitantly priced imicus and probes and get yourself out of Thera any time if you forget to BM or some clown rolls the entrance behind you with combat orcas."

Finally, the only reason Fozzie has had to make Thera so large (reputedly, of course) is to have the tyranny of distance work against one organisation gaining utter dominance within Thera. Put 1,000 AU's between any two of the Statics, I guess the theory goes, and it will be practically impossible to control all statics. But we will see - just add more manpower and GB's 300 AU's deep in system, and you might dominate a little. Let's see if Hard Knockss takes the opportunity to save on POS fuel and just moves in, to continue killing nullbear carriers day in and day out via the nullsec statics. It's perfect for them.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Pillaging of Deversant K.V.N

I found my way into J142114 via a frigate hole from a C3, and I only really jumped in order to get off scan and out of local - and visibly out - because i was lurking a Relic site in the C3 for a salvage Buzzard, so I wanted to make sure he saw me leave.

I spent a good ten minutes lurking the Relic site's last can before ALT-TAB over to TF's client and did a perfunctory d-scan, because that's what you do....oh my god, 4 Retriever's, Skiff, Drake, Drake Miasmos and Tractor. In a belt.

So I hollered on comms; it has been said in a girly fashion, like an excited squee, and got the gang together...such that it was. We had five players. Well, no, it was soon enough four, because someone came back from AFK, heard it there was pew pew, and then went silent immediately. IRL, I guess.

We brought in a Heretic, my Astero, an Enyo and a Vengeance. The heretic got a warp in on top of the Retties and Skiff, and bubbled up. Soon he was drowning in drones, and the Enyo and Vengeance landed to get backup points. I kept my range, and dropped a Bouncer II from the Astero. 47 whopping DPS, yeah baby.

The cloud of drones and lack of logi forced the Heretic off three times, and the Retties started getting away one by one. So I came in and got two scrams...just as one of the pilots reshipped and warped back with a Daredevil - bad news for all of us, I was thinking. He cooked in at 4.5km/s from the MTU 100km above us, and we exchanged scrams and webs...and he promptly did no DPS to me at all and died swiftly.

The last two Retrievers on the field got out of the last bubble just as a Drake landed from a reship. So we went in and got scram, and took him to pieces. A Tengu landed at the MTU, followed by a second Drake. Then a third Drake came and landed next to the first as he was dying, so we cooked #1 and started baking #2. Merely running at the Tengu got him off field, to be replaced by a Raven.

Then the reports began coming in - Heretic, 7% armour. Enyo, 5% armour. Vengeance,, 7% armour. Astero...98% hull, and 5 cycles of the small AAR left. ordinarily not a problem versus a Raven and two crappy Drakes, but there were 15 drones following me around at a fast clip and I was twin scram and web fit. Get too close and it was all going badly. So I gave the order to pull out, and we scuttled home with no losses and 2 kills. Schweddy armpits, though.

Later that night, I came back through the chain (all EOL) and lo and behold, Drake, Drake, 2 Retrievers, Tengu. This time, my corp was asleep, mainly, and the inbound into the C3 evaporated behind me as I murdered an Anathema who was uncloaked 70km off it. So i probed my way out to the lowsec, in Vaaralen and consulted my batphone. Someone could get to Ahtila, and would bring some AFs. We chose hawks, because with enough local tank we could have kept fighting, and as we know, Hawks are boss tank. So, back we came and dropped on the Retties. Same toons, different lossmails.

We were hoping they would rage undock the Drakes and Raven against us, but alas, no. There was to be no rage undocking. So we went up to their POS, and began shooting their torpedo batteries. We didn't even need the ASB's on the Hawks to tank the guns, it was actually quite pathetic. Razumov came out in a gank Atron, presumably thinking his POS was doing it's job, and we blapped him.

Then, the magic of wormholes; we exited into Bamiette, took a couple of wormholes, and saved 28 jumps home to the new hisec exit. Winning!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Of Proteus, Astero and Proteus

Yesterday was a busy one.

We connected to a C2 vis a had 15 nullsec-type relic and data sites, which is an inordinate bounty in anyne's book. So I grabbed an Anathema and did my first ever hacking since the minigame. Thank fuck, is all i will say, about the removal of what was known as loot spew, or as I knew it, loot bukkake. I also realised that a dedicated hacking toon or hacking ship is definitely required, my choice du jour being a pimped out T2 rigged Sukuvestaa heron, with a toon which has pimped as fuck hacking skills and nothing else.

Why not a T3, Astero, etc? Well, all i will say is that there was another Astero humping a Guristas something-something yesterday who was extremely lucky we connected to that hole only via a frigate hole, otherwise he would have caught a visit from the Dick Virus (my cloaky nullified smartbomber) and got podded.

Once i had made my eyes melt from my face doing all that work, I went to look at my haul; 45M ISK for 3 hours solid, dangerous can fondling. What the fuck? Then I realised - the names and types of all the decyrptors had been changed in the patch, so the new ones resolved a 0 hold price. I had 55 decryptors of 12 different types. So....winning?

Can frottage done, I began hunting, swapping my badly fit archaeological Anathema for my Astero of Doom. I found my way through another frigate hole, an E004, into a C1. Inside was a Gnosis doing the combat anoms. I had a new corpie coming towards the hole, but he was 15 jumps out and not really much use, as he too was in an Astero. I chewed the cud for a good 5 minutes on how to take this guy out. He was armour tanked and using HAMs and Hammerhead I's. Eventually, I settled for just bringing my Phobos through the frigate holes to maintain tackle, provide neuting, and get the pod with the bubble - the Astero would drop its Hobgoblins and orbit at 45km outside of Javelin range. Given my fit, this meant the Phobos brought absolutely zero DPS, so the Astero had to do all the heavy lifting.

Fifteen minutes later, I had a new corpse to throw onto the Altar of Bob. This was actually a very satisfying fight, but still frustrating to have to go through so many shenanigans because of frigate holes.

Later on, out our N766, we interdicted a guy moving in to his own wormhole corp. Got some good bumps off the hole, and popped his Drake. Poor guy was in corp less than a day, and we sent him back to hisec.So, I can confirm that people are moving back in to wormholes - just not that guy, not yesterday.

Barely an hour later, after some logistical runs of our own, I went back out for a quick sniff around. An hour before downtime is an awkward time for me most evenings, as the wife gets home from work and I have to provide hugs, listen to the daily gossip, and discuss dinner etcetera. Today, this all got pusshed into the background due to SRS BSNS - I'd found a Golem and two Tengu running C4's.

We formed the rape fleet fairly quickly, as downtime was coming, these guys were murdering rats very fucking fast, and we could field some logi, so we would go in head first amidst the third wave BS rats, and I would likely burn my Astero.

When we landed, of course the Golem was fucked. The Tengus booked it instantly, despite my calls to tackle them first (Golem being in bastion, it was self-tackled basically). However, i maintained a long point with my Protar, and followed one of them 80km away from the Golem as my Astero dipped into 5% armour, small AAR buckling and smoking from the overheating it was getting, Golem missiles, two BS rats and a TP on it. Then, finally, the rats switched off and Guardian reps landed, so I booked it after the Tengu and got webs on.

Golem and pod.
Tengu and pod.
Tractor unit.

I'm liking my Protar (sentry Proteus). But not as much as I like my Astero.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Caveat Ratus

The full patch notes for Phoebe make interesting reading, in conjunction with the CSM notes (which ate a bunch of my day yesterday).

Wormhole dwellers may have noted the price of nanoribbons spiked recently, and quite sharply. This was due to the announcement that build and material costs for hulls and subsystems have increased. What happened, essentially, is that the old system ran entirely on Random Number Generator. You began an invention on a subsystem and sometimes you got the one you wanted, sometimes you got a crappy one like the Gravitational Capacitor. Therefore there is a huge amount of BPCs for subs which are not popular; prices for these subs have kept at or below the build cost because they just don't move and the relative value of the BPC's for them is zero. The popular and vital subsystems keep a good profit margin and the BPC's themselves are worth trading.

After Phoebe, not only does the material cost go up (by up to 35%) but suddenly when inventing, you have the ability to choose not to invent a subsystem that is worthless, hard to turn over, or just unprofitable.

So what has happened with MNR's is the canny producers have realised that they are sitting on a massive stockpile of BPC's for subsystems at the old build cost; post-patch these will be rewritten to require vastly more material input and the supply of these BPC's will tail off until market equilibrium is reached between inventors and producers, and consumption. True, the price of the unpopular subs won't ever attract a premium, but there's a 35% profit margin relative to the incoming new costs just by having these subs lying around now.

So there was a bit of a buying frenzy; it is logical that if you can build now before the price increase, you will do so to lock in the profits. This requires an inordinate amount of nanoribbons, and the market got cleaned out within hours. Hopefully the build time for these things wasn't too slow, because it is an interesting question to ponder whether the production capacity exists to churn out thousands upon thousands of subsystem BPCs within the 7 days before the patch drops.

Secondly, hull costs have gone up. This saw a bout of speculation on hulls themselves, and prices have risen from 135-145M a pop to 155-175M a pop, depending on the market hub. Yours truly was involved in this, and has made a modest profit. Given consumption of MNR's post-Phoebe will be up about 15-20%, and given MNR's are also more pricey by about 30%, in the short term I see hull prices going significantly higher (say, 245-275M). Add in 200-250M of subs, and the buy-in for a T3 is now going to be closer to 450-550M before rigs and crap.

The doubling of low-end blue poo (data libraries) prices is a good step towards addressing the reality of C2 life toward the perception. What happens is that everyone sees wormholers having pitched battles involving 40 capitals and resulting in 200-500Bn ISK in killmails, on a monthly basis. This is C5 level ISK, and C5 level pimp and C5 level rare fights. But the perception bleeds downwards so that there is a perception - including in the mind of CCP Greyscale if one reads the CSM 9 minutes - that C1-2-3 residents are rolling in ISK, and that ratting these wormholes is inordinately rewarding.

The work of Corbexx in proving ISK/hr of wormhole PVE to CCP Greyscale and presenting the facts to him and Fozzie has proven my line of the past four years - C2 ISK is shit. C1 has always been better because you can get more MNR's from certain frigate-heavy sites, which you churn through stupidly fast in the right ship(s). Tractor units make this even better, but I could achieve 80-100M ISK/hr in C1's (at MNR prices of 5M; less recently).

Clearly the moment Fozzie and Greyscale actually looked at facts, not perceptions, they realised it was in fact shit. It is also clear that w-space got beaten down, despite their blithe assurances to the contrary due to "metrics", so a buff was required. This came about via doubling blue poo income for low-end Sleeper rats.

All up, this is great news. I have known, but rarely said, that C2 data and relic sites were great sources of ISK. This is because the right sites have fuckloads of frigate rats to kill, so you get decent MNR drops. Now, with blue poo doubling, you can rat for an hour and clear 120M IS in the Habitation Coils and Transponder Farm - provably.

Increase MNR prices in the next 8 weeks to about 5M ISK, and it seems I shall be lucratively farming in a cheap-ass Tengu for the forseeable future. This is also good news for newbros, and daytrippers. Well, unless you're connected to me, in which case, caveat ratus.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Keeping a clean killboard

Today we got a batphone from some friends who said "2 Rattlesnakes doing sites in a C4 Pulsar, accessible only via a crit hole".

The entry system was 6 from our exit.

Count me in. I went to Amarr, dropped off my Enyo and fit up a Blarpy in record time, and in we went. Tengu, 4 Blarpy, bait Prospect (yeah, he brought it along), Hawk and Dram with 2 Scythes, versus two Rattlers with RR and cap transfers. Plus we may not get out again. But #YOLO.

The targets were some nubsticles, who had 2 kills and 6 losses between them. Our plan, to break their tanks, was to bump the two ships apart, breaking the RR chain and cap chain, and hope to hell the Rattlers didn't drop either Geckos or Acolytes on the frigs. The Scythes were probably fine, and you could easily disengage one or both if the Geckos went for them.

In the end, it mattered not. We dropped in, spread points, pushed the two fatties apart and...they ejected and warped their pods out. So we stopped one of our guys from madly trying to get a killmail he was dead set on getting, and we boarded our new prizes.

Of course, only one of us was going back the way we came. We evacced 4 frigs, and then I jumped the Rattler I'd stolen, and crushed the n766 we came in via. The remainder got out the new N766, which coincidentally exited a few jumps from the last. Bueno.

The Rattler I nicked was T2 rigged, Pith X-type XL shield booster, RF TP, and worth about 900M, the other a bit less. So we all made about 200M, and the victims avoided having a couple of billion ISK in losses splashed across zkillboard.

A fair exchange, I think.