Saturday, 31 January 2015

Some unnatural dedication....

That smaller bubble there in the foreground? I'm in it somewhere after warping to this particular moon (27 of 32) and not getting decloaked. Very rucky!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Drone Buff-Debuff Idiocy

The upcoming rebalance to small projectiles is hopefully just the tip of the iceberg in rebalancing of projectile weapons in general, but this will go no way towards refactoring the balance between drones, turrets (of all kinds) and missiles.

The problem with drones is that their weaknesses (abandonment of sentries, delayed damage application of mobile drones) are insignificant compared to their strengths at the moment in a post drone buff modules EVE.

You remember that time, a few years ago, when the only drone buff modules were the Omnidirectional Tracking Computer and the Drone Link Augmenter (DLA)? Yeah, good times, it was all Hurricanes, Harbingers and Drakes, the odd Brutix (hybrids sucked) and HACs were Zealots, Munnins and Vagabonds. Ahhh....nostalgia for an era when it wasn't Gilas, Ishtars, Myrms, Rattlers, Domis, Worms....Deimos, Eagles, etc.

The problem isn't, as CCP Fozzie keeps saying with his 'metrics', that there are no drawbacks to drone boats from their use of drones. There are, the drawbacks exist, but they are outweighed by the buffs to drones to such an extent that drone power creep...well it hasn't crept, it has rocketed forward.

The three major mistakes which have allowed this power creep are primarily a game mechanic one you may not have realised, and two ship based ones.

Firstly, the Guristas ships got uber drones. Not only are their drones 500% more powerful in the DPS department, but also in the tank department. The ships themselves are also incredibly powerful, with stonking shield tanks countermanded (slightly) by somewhat limited fitting capacity. Limited by comparison to, eg, a Deimos which is the most luxobarge fitting out there. But suffice to sayyou can get 65K EHP and 820 DPS out of a Gila. Is this a cruiser or a battleship?

The supposed drawback of the drones is completely eliminated by the EHP buff given to them. Killing a Rattlesnake's Geckos is almost an exercise in futility. When we've engaged them, the whole gang can be consumed with an attempt to blap the Gecko and wipe out 1000 DPS of threat, and often fails. Trying to blap a Gila's hammerheads is even more futile, and we won't even get into the Worm.

So that's the Guristas ship problem - uber drones which are (practically) unkillable and (practically) immune to EWAR. More on this later.

The second ship based problem is obviously the Ishtar, and you should all be familiar with why - uber range, uber tracking sentries coupled with a perma-MWD cruiser hull with a low sig and 2300m/s maneuverability creates a huge problem. You can't attack a gang of Ishtars drones, you can't EWAR the ship (it's drones are likely assigned), you can't easily catch the ship, it can perfectly hit you across any field of engagement at reasonable range (Lachesis point range, basically)  and you can't run the ishtar down (practically speaking) because if you MWD around in range of the sentries, you're toast. Fun times!

The third, but most important problem relates to drones and their practical immunity to EWAR. They can be affected by it, but to all intents and purposes the only one vulnerable to ECM is the Gecko because so few can be fielded. For example, a sole Rattler gets one Gecko which has a lower sensor strength than the controlling ship, so you ECM the drone and it is in fact better than ECMing the Rattler itself, because even if the Rattler's lock is broken it's Gecko keeps shooting.

beyond this edge case, the power of drone meta comes back to the immunity of the drones to any EWAR directed onto the ship. This stands opposed to the fact you put rigs on your ship, put modules on your ship in low, high and mid slots all of which remotely buff your drones (and in the case of Skynet carriers, drones assigned to other people!).

The problem with this from a balance perspective is that this is a measure with no practical countermeasure (especially Skynet). There has been a proliferation of drone buff modules and no debuff module. The buff modules work on the drones even when the host ship is ECM'd, off grid, out of control range of it's own drones, everything. This means the power of drones only ever goes up, be it tracking, optimal, DPS, speed, hitpoints, etcetera. This is the basic but generally unacknowledged theoretical basis behind the drone doctrine - that you get a solid one way bet on drones and your power cannot be pegged back.

Let's take a ship known to be a useless punching bag unless you really pick and choose your targets, one you almost never see - the Pilgrim. It gets horrendously powerful neuts, a middling tank (lol by today's meta), and tracking disruptors (remote debuff). Against turret ships with active (non-ASB) tanks, it is lethal. Like, say, nothing flown today.

Against anything flown today, which generally are ASB shield ships, missile-tossing Tengus, and drone boats, it is a victim waiting to happen. Lets say it gets ahold of a Gila. Its neuts do not turn off the drones, it's DPS is unspectacular (enough, certainly to wear an opponent down one it's neuted out) and it's TD's generally useless versus the Hammerheads.

I argue we will not see the death of Drone meta until there is a way to break a ship's connection with it's drones, or until there is a way of applying the debuff to the hull and have that spread to the drones, or until there's a projected drone debuff module itself.

In a way it's ridiculous that debuffs projected against the hull do not affect the drones already. You have midslot tracking computers to buff turrets, and TD's to debuff them. You then get Omni links to buff drones, but nothing to debuff them. The Omnis are an active midslot module which magically project tracking to the drones but somehow nothing can be done to interrupt that tenuous telecommunication link to the drones - including ECMing the mothership?

CCP needs to look at this problem. As i said, it's a one way bet and it's always going to win, so why wouldn't you go for drone meta? Good luck, Fozzie, with trying to make projectiles look sexy with 25% more optimal added to 1.5km for medium AC's when cruiser hulls like the Gila and Ishtar exist.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Logistics Run

The constrictions of our war with Deadly Fingertips mean that one has to go through some unfortunate gymnastics to do the daily milk run. Yesterday the milk run saw me come out in Genesis and required a run to Amarr with 1.4B in loot, PI and various other crap. Of course, it's utter stupidity to take that to a trade hub during a war with a toon in corporation, so I set a waypoint on the autopilot to meet one of my alts 2 jumps out of Amarr. The route took me through two lowsec systems - Beke and Vecamia.

The EVE map, and specifically the distribution of low security systems, is I believe intentionally evil, with the shortcuts between market hubs and regions (or, really, regions as CCP did not mandate where the hubs would form) in almost all cases constricted by lowsec interfaces. There are often famous places to go to die to gate camps, and the habitat of a particularly unappealing type of "PVP" done by (generally speaking) cowards with no real skill at fighting anything. Rancer, Aunenen, Gonditsa, Amamake, Vecamia. One gets to know them quite well after a while and avoids them.

But not today, for i took my Prowler for a spin and passed through, noting as I sprinted through Local with jazz hands style cloaking, Beke was being camped by a Gnosis, and Vecamia by a Damnation. So, my fabulous exchange with my alt complete and 1.4B in loot sold onto market and ISK transferred to the proper beneficiaries, I did a u-turn and came back via Vecamia (same Damnation) and Beke (same Gnosis).

I chivvied the lads into action, and undocked my Sigil, reasoning that the Nereus was a well known quantity and wanted to guarantee some kills. So out we came, and i jumped into Beke and pantomimed trying to get off gate from the Gnosis I somehow hadnt noticed. The guy duly obliged in his piracy, and paid the price.

Flush with success, we trotted 8 jumps down the road to Vecamia, and I docked TF up and boarded my Chimera, just in case I needed to assign some fighters, because for some strange reason I happen to have one lying around there. Coincidence? You tell me.

So, in jumps the Sigil, and the elite PVPer in the Damnation chomps down hard on the bait, including a dose of neuting, which I combat by not pointing him till the last moment and running a small nos on overheat and pressing the point immediately the nos cycles. He assplodes moments before attempting to jump to hisec with a suspect timer. Womp womp.

He accuses us of blobbing. I find this amusing. It seems that blobbing now consists of deploying a bait hauler, encouraging someone to attack it because he has a hugely tanked command ship and is preying on defenceless haulers, and then killing him while he tries to chicken out of his aggression and/or (usually) would have RR on field to attempt to assist him.

The Chimera stays docked. But one day, there will be a reckoning.

Friday, 23 January 2015

The batphone brawl

Prolapse. runs a batphone doctrine of Enyo (+/- Vengeance, Wolf) and Execqurors (+/- Augorors). We use this because it is a solid fleet comp, for a host of reasons mostly related to sig tanking, and it is fast to move 23 jumps out of our C4, through K-space, and often one or two wormholes deep into the alimentary canal of Anoikis, to attend potential shooting matches and ganks.

Time is often of the essence, because batphone opportunities often dissappear - ratters finally notice the new sig and wormhole, or run through their available ratting content, people dock theirSkynet War Libraries, or just wave off stalking the bait put before them.

In this case, we came 8 jumps total, to rendezvous with Montgomery Black in a lowsec system, and jump into a C3. Lodestone was lurking a verge of collapse highsec, where a Devoter was apparently interdicting logistics. He knew of four or at most five other pilots, and he and Mont had two toons. Lode would get tackle and we'd come in via a C3-C3 connection and drop on the Devoter's mates when the gig was up. The target was a C3 Black Hole.

We brought 2 Augorors, 1 Execquror, a Vengeance, a Hound, and 5 Enyos. Lode was in a pimp tengu, Mont had a Proteus and his corpmates were >8j out with Astarte and Ashimmu. The plan was clear, so as Lode decloaked we jumped from lowsec into the first C3....and discovered Montgomery Black lacked a bookmark from that C3 to the target.

Lode was already committed, brawling the Devoter on the VOC highsec and expecting a pair of lokis, a Legion and a Hyperion any moment. Shit was about to go down and we lacked the bookmarks. A hurried probing later, we finally found the correct hole, and Mont led us in, via a 58 AU warp, as Lode got ECM droned and his tank began to fail. We landed the Augorors with cap transfers but it took 5s to slough onto grid and I'd barely completed locking when he assploded. We were on field and shit had got real.

The following battle lasted about 25-30 minutes and went in 3 stages, basically. Firstly the foe tried bailing, and spread themselves out. Wraith01 basically soloed Xiana Zen's Legion while everyone else pinned the two Lokis and the Hyperion down 30km apart from one another, and took Trethard's Loki out. The Falcon made a nuisance of himself, which contributed to a few AF's getting deep in hull, but eventually Vincent in the Hound managed to stuff enough torps up his tailpipe to make him pop

Then we began chewing on the other Loki as a Domi landed, had all it's drones raped to death, and bailed. We got at least 2 Geckos down and several flights of Valkyries. A Proteus turned up, and did nothing much. Without the ECM, our logi's were doing well, and we were hoping to get everything killed ASAP, when a Guardian landed. We were told our Astarte and Ashimmu were coming, but they got deeply lost (again, bookmarks were an issue), so without them we lacked the DPS to really push shit over before the second Guardian landed. And we also lacked the neuts to cripple them.

The final phase of the battle, we had the Astarte, Ashimmu had just turned up, but the enemy had 2 RR Domis and 2 Guardians. So we made a call to blaze off and kill the Drake, which was easily accomplished, and then the enemy fielded enough sentry drones to blap one of our Augorors, so then we bailed, with my Vengeance heavily tackled and a dead loss.

leaving aside the Tengu, Prolapse lost...well, almost nothing. To be honest, the Tengu went down only because of those missed BM's, which you get when someone's flying at 4 a.m.. Our foes reported that they were midway moving into their new C5, and were caught flat-footed themselves, hence the trickling of ships onto field.

Pity i didn't have FRAPS running!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Air Crash investigations

Last night we lost an Execquror and a Vexor Navy, not so much to enemy action, but to avoidable mistakes made by various people prior to engaging with the enemy.

Firstly, intel mistakes were made, where our scout communicated (on noisy comms commandeered by two guys playing Battlefield) only part of the intel picture. This included the ship comps, pilots, and tactical situation, but not the fact the target hole was a C4 Wolf Rayet hole, which tends to put rather a different slant on a mixed fleet compsuch as Legion, Caracal and Cerberus (plus later, Orthrus).

Our grunts, thus misinformed, chose the wrong ships with the wrong weapons. Some, indeed, appear to have internalised that it was a W-R but didn't realise it was a shield debuff, hence the VNI. Thus, shipping choices were malformed and contributed to poor performance.

Our FC (yeah, me) had just signed on and so the gang was formed in haste and put into battle before the correct checks and cud chewing had been dne.  Frankly if this hadn't been a W-R it would have gone significantly better, but RLML Cerbs in a C4 Wolf Rayet are a different kettle of fish by about 200% DPS - going from annoying kiting shits to deadly kiting shits.

One thing about being an experienced player is that you can see the play happening as it's underway, and can adapt. This of course happens faster, and importantly, ahead of schedule when your intel is correct. Nevertheless, even though the Exec got blapped almost instantly, the remainder of the gang disengaged and withdrew fine. Kiting off a wormhole is dandy if people follow, so the smacktalk was unjustified.

At the end of the day, it comes down to a set-piece move which works when all the holes in the swiss cheese line up against your opponents. Our opponents, being resident in a C4 W-R, have chosen  set of plays which work fine in and of themselves, but aren't very flexible when properly approached.

The RLML Cerb and Orthrus rely entirely on their range, extreme DPS and damage application from RLMLs in W-R. The pitch to kite off the hole and keep a tanky tackle legion close in while the kiting ships do DPS is fine versus shield fit VNI's (anything would be fine, honestly). But as with anything, this all cuts both ways, and the key is to field the right ships, and have your tactics down. Had we fielded the right ships and fits, things would have gone significantly different.

Suffice to say, this has prompted a review of what we all fly, and why. Light bulbs are going on as people begin to understand that there is no such thing as just picking a ship from your SMA and warping to a hole, dumb and blind. There's a reason for our ships, our fits, and the way we go about things.

This is what sets apart the good organisations from the bad, in my experience, and what makes EVE PVP so much more than other games. it is complicated, yes, but when you grok it, when you internalise what's going on, you begin to experience the rewards. Not only is PVP about personal skills (piloting, positioning, reacting, and self initiative) it is also about organisational discipline on the behalf of the individuals (shipping, fitting, skilling into the doctrine) and organisational coherence - getting the intel chain right, having reasonable FCs, and having the support network and processes in place.

This, importantly, includes gorily going through the bad experiences in a frank and open way, to identify the errors and mistakes, and rectify them. It is like an air crash investigation, where you identify the cause of the crash and take measures to eliminate the causative factors.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Was R3P0-Z a bridge too far?

You may recall, and have read on EVE News 24 about <PESKY> taking R3P0-Z.

Well, the dream is over. That dream was to go to nullsec, exploit the nascent jump fatigue disruption to the era of instant teleportation and the nulltard alliance's and Blue Donut punchers' inability to adjust to the new facts and the new strategic and tactical constrictions placed upon capital warfare.

The rise and exit of PESKY has been related to me by one ex-member and he's confirmed the alliance (which was only ever formed because they had successfully achieved a system flip) has moved out in one hectic hauling operation of five JF jumps, stripping down their POSs and operations to nothing.

The objective of PESKY was relayed to me as "let's just see if we can do this". Fourteen guys and 38 toons took on the Russian hordes, resulting in the Russians hiring PL to do their dirty work, at great ISK and prestige cost.

So yes, PESKY has been routed. But they were very much like the paratroopers in Arnhem in 1944 - surrounded by an empire of Russians on all sides, shooting wildly from their bunkers, knee deep in drek and bullet casings, teeth gritted and supplied by infrequent wormhole logistics. They held them off but eventually attrition wore them down and it's over.

This included their brief moon goo mining empire, reputedly netting them 30B a month in moon poo - which it must be noted is a significant impost on Shadow of xXDeathXx's income for the brief period of the interregnum. Likewise, losses from the disruption of ratting and botting and renters was put at a conservative 30B a month in lost income for the renter overlords - let alone the personal income damage suffered by the individuals. So we could easily tot up a cool 60B in damage on PESKY's scorecard right there.

The killboard also tells a salient tale of what a small group of skilled (but by no means super-elite) people can do if they are all on-song, on-message and willing to give it a go. 14 meatbods can only do so mucch damage, but it was a fairly good whack of damage, including a supercarrier, bunches of capitals, and hundreds of subcaps. Not bad for fighting outnumbered 2 or 5 to one.

It also vindicates CCP's vision with the jump changes. True, nullsec is readjusting to the changes, as we knew it would. But to say it's back to how it was pre-Phoebe, is wrongheaded. These type of guerilla raids, even if they are a Bridge Too far in this case, show the inherent weakness of the 'long grass' nullsec coalitions - the horde mentality and blob mechanics which incentivise lazy players and venal, bloated overlords forming gigantic region-wide domains (see Cobalt Edge right now - full XWX with a few strategic NC Dot bastions).

EVE needs to see more of the kind of organisations like PESKY getting out there, blitzing into a region, shitting on everything in sight and pulling a quick fade when the swollen monolithic juggernaut rolls over and flails at them.

There is another lesson, too. Maybe 14 guys is too few for the monotonous mechanics of sov grinding, or defending said sov. Prolapse had to decline a few diplomatic overtures, partly because it was honestly a bit late to make a difference, and a bit difficult to defend someone else's POS by exiting a C4 and getting all the way out to Outer Passage. Not very feasible on short notice.

But there's nothing wrong with trying, if you can gain booty and treasure and tears.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Operation Man Code (or, missed fights)

...AKA a Missed Fight, episode 1.

This all began with a connection to J121006 (C4 Pulsar) and spotting a shittily set-up medium tower owned by retards. Sometimes the spidey-senses start tingling and you know you're onto capital C Content the moment you read a corp bio and look around, put your nose to the air and smell idiots. Plus, this Seven of Nine corporation's neighbours were known to me from a C2 Red Giant. So there was a nest, it was full of deformed wasps with mental handicaps, and so we set about beating it with sticks.

We RF'ed the POS, and one of the owners signed on. Chatlog (condensed and abridged) below;
---------------------------------------------------------------  Channel ID:      -66394998
  Channel Name:    Group Chat (MRS IVANA HUMPALOT, Rudolf Miller)
  Listener:        Trinkets friend
  Session started: 2015.01.14 12:57:13
Trinkets friend > o/ I hear you have a problem
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > just hiding from code and now I cant get home
Trinkets friend > That sounds like a bit of a pickle.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > I am just asking to fly back to my POs
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > code are really dicks
Trinkets friend > We are disinclined to help you on account of it will be a formative lesson for you
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > people who cant fight there own level of skill
Trinkets friend > We have all manner of noobs in our corp
Trinkets friend > One guy is 2 weeks old as of yesterday. He's died a bunch of times.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > I am sure you do, lol 2007? look around big man, oldest in ours is 6 months
Trinkets friend > So I don't see why I should be swayed by your claims that we are picking on unskilled people. This is a learning opportunity.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > dying is fine, but i am just asking to let me fly back in a POD
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > nothing else
Trinkets friend > Well, you have me there. When I was 6 months old wormholes didn't exist and I had to haul from Jita uphill both ways and I didn't go into a C4
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > not sure what all the C numbers mean, just a place to hide for a few weeks till this code thing blows over
Trinkets friend > Ah, but if we let you in, we would be committing a strategic idiocy. One thing all my years of expertise have told me is don't believe everyone's sob story, and don't lose hole control.

MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > OMG, really , you cant be this slow
Trinkets friend > I am not. I understand what you are saying, and I am saying no.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > look at any kill board thingy you can
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > and another code dick, lol. I will just add you to the list of people in the game that cant be a man ever and help out
Trinkets friend > If you want advice dealing with CODE, I can give you plenty of that. One piece is do not go up to C4 space to hide out if you cannot hack the level of skill and expertise present here.
Trinkets friend > Mate, one thing you're getting wrong is that I am helping you out. Not by letting you back in to defend your POS. That's asking me to be fucking dumb.

MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > I doubt you advice is worth much as your actions show you to be of lower level of a human, but ty
Trinkets friend > I'm helping you out by exposing you to the realities of w-space and EVE gameplay in it, which is damn cut-throat.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > lol, I noticed you did not seem to mess with the bigger guys, just the smaller ones
Trinkets friend > Like your friends in J121006?
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > seems to me once again, the players do not seem to like a chalenge, only what they know is something or one that cant fight back
Trinkets friend > On the contrary, this is all designed to get a fight from your mates. But it's going to be on our temrs, not theirs.

MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > lol, I will have my mighty 6 month ceo fly his best cruiser after you, lol.
look at our war history. lol look at my kills or any kills. MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > OMG your funny as fuck now, is everyone so paranoid, lol. 

Trinkets friend > The way you talk, I'm amazed you have any.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > lol see much of a co op thing there?

Trinkets friend > No, just whining.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > miners. indy. lol. 

Trinkets friend > So go mine in nullsec, idiot.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > Trinkets friend small man that can not fightan even fight
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > you are truly like code, just grivers. just people that can not fight a chalenge, but think the game is about killing small people

Trinkets friend > So your escape from CODE idea seems to have failed, then.
sadly so 

Trinkets friend > What's your next plan? Begging in Jita? Unsubbing for 6 months?
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > well hopefully I can find anothe small place with no locater things to hold out. these guys were very nice, said stay here just dont take the blue loot
Trinkets friend > it's called lowsec, you dolt. Go to Airidia, deep-ass lowsec. Or go to nullsec, mine out there, it's safe as fuck.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > locaters do not work in low sec?
Trinkets friend > They work, but CODE doesn't chase anyone 20+ jumps to the arse end of lowsec.
Trinkets friend > Find your way to Solitude.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > lol, they went from jita to amarr for us, because we would not pay them there 1 billion minning permit
Trinkets friend > Be aware of local, always mine in an ore anomaly, off the warp-in.

Trinkets friend > Mate, jita to Amarr is the ONLY place they go. I know this because I've been playing the game longer than you. Stop being a dense piece of ass lint.

MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > 5 weeks od decs so far
Trinkets friend > So quit corp. Job done. Your corp is a piece of shit, get your amazeballs CEo to start a new corp. Better yet, find a better CEO, one who knows wtf he's doing. You can only blame yourself, mate, for being a shithead in a shit corp with a shit CEO
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > wow, talks like a man also, lol, sorry unlike you  my life is more then this game, so i doubt I will put 5 years into it, like having a husband and kids takes time
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > this from a child that gets his kicks from killing a POD, lol
Trinkets friend > I'm 38 years old.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > OMG that is even worse, no wife maybe?
Trinkets friend > Nope, got one of them.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > what you play 10 hours a day? 12?
Trinkets friend > 23
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > wow, so the comp is better then her? lol
Trinkets friend > It's fine, mate. Tears sustain me.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > hopefully she has a side man to take care of real life while you live in here
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > I i am laughing my butt off at you
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > at least code has some sort of hounor here and there
Trinkets friend > Good, then at least this is an enjoyable experience for you. Right?
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > it is, I hate it your a dick, but the sad state of you life is funny
Trinkets friend > So, who taught you guys to set up a POS? Dr Seuss?
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > to say anyone in the game is a loser ( they have to live here ) like you, sorry we dont have the time to invest you do, life takes that time.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > POS set up? well we are learning and dont have a lot of stuff
Trinkets friend > No, really? Soon to be have less stuff.
MRS IVANA HUMPALOT > lol, thats ok, i would reather lose it then know i needed a break from a man with no life. I thought you might be normal, like I said I notice you cant fight any real targets or threats, so you went for the nobodies
Trinkets friend > You know an awful lot about me, for having just met me. Are you psychic? You should be able to figure out where your wormhole entrance is then.

So, our tear tanks replenished, we set in for a 23 hour reinforce (stront is hard to come by, it seems) and watched the batphone assemble. Their neighbors and co-tenants in J121006 were Astral Inferno, and our reinforcement of IVANA's POS prompted them to beef up their defences on their large Caldari....with 600M in faction laser guns and EWAR.

We also got to see who their batphone was; Skeleton Crew and a few other disastrous blow-ins and try-hards straggled in, put up small refuge POSs and generally dicked about in bombers, asteros and the like. it seems Operation Man Code was afoot, and a good fight could be had with a bit more trolling, regular combat probing of their hole every 1-2 hours to keep them paranoid, etc.

Come H-hour we assembled a 14 man fleet based around one Rattlesnake, a couple of Gilas, VNI's and 2 Basis for logi. I had 16 toons confirmed online inside J121006, and we left the C247 static open, but mass reduced, expressly to actually get a fight. Skeleton Crew brought a gang of 10-12, with 4 Gilas, 1 basi, 1 osprey, a Loki, Maulus and assorted crap to the C3 static in addition to the 16 toons inside, who were in (as best we could tell) 2 Osprey, Falcon, 2 Myrmidons, Tengu, 4 Drakes, 2 Maulus and a billion little fucks in probers, bombers, etc.

We faced off across a critted C247, outnumbered up to 2:1 with our own batphone consisting of 1 Sabre and 1 Loki in the lowsec off the C3. We brought them in, and I made the call to #YOLO the fleet out to meet the Skeleton Crew gang.

The decision was to get a fight, and kill the cavalry outside the hole, versus button up and not get a fight inside the hole. I was getting the impression that even with local superiority in numbers inside J121006, access to (presumably) innumerable battleships, logi reships, whatever these clowns wanted, they hadn't brought a fight and therefore would not.

So we jumped, cruisers first, and one of our Basilisks ended up trapped inside the C4 with the other outside in the C3, sitting in the middle of a 10 man gang with logi support. That was sub-optimal to say the least, so we bailed to the lowsec and the Skeleton Crew guys let everything else warp off bar the Basilisk because obviously their orders were to primary the logi...not to actually bubble up and point all the things.

So, a fucking good fight was missed by a shit roll of the dice on jumping the hole. However, karma came and paid a visit later, with Shadoo Cartel hot-dropping us as we left...confusing the Skeleton Crew gang for being backup for our Drake, resulting in a ganked Gila and Loki.

In the end, had our two Basilisks got through, I am convinced we would have rinsed them. Maybe next time.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Operation Interruptus

This tales comes via a friend, an habitual abuser of the Dick Virus class of Proteus, domiciled in J233555. It seems J233555 is perhaps one of the deadliest wormholes in EVE for the humble Heron.

Anyway, this is the tale as related to me.

Delta Blues was out attending a friend's batphone when he noticed an Orca and a Prospect on d-scan in his home wormhole. He checked the static and other wormholes, assuming they were transiting,  and then finally found them both at an ore site. The supplied image is below.

Events transpired as below.

Apex Bex came back 14 jumps from the operation, jumped in the wormhole and went to POS. he hopped in his Proteus named Night Fever, and warped it to the belt. He let off a salvo of bombs, severely damaging the Prospect. The Prospect pilot immediately boarded the Orca before the second salvo (which, coincidentally, blew up the empty Prospect).

The Orca launched his EC-600's....which instantly vaporised from the smartbombs, preventing an escape. Delta Blues reshipped to a Drake, and began whaling on the Orca. He then decides he's fucked, and ejects his Probe, in order to GTFO; sadly this dies instantly to the smartbombs as well.


So that's how you get a free Orca.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

"Buzzard Go Home"

First, the good news. Whilst on our way to Operation man Code, we called in some friends to provide a bit of logi and went down towards the target, via our chain, which included an entry in each of the four empires, with the Caldari exit in a C2 Wolf Rayet.

Our destination was a C4 Pulsar where we'd been stront checking idiots (more on this later), which explains our fits....mostly. We numbered 9 in fleet - 2 Rattlesnakes, a VNI, Onyx, Sleip, Naga, Jag, Basilisk and Osprey because "I thought it was too risky to bring a Basi", and the obligatory armour tanked Sacrilege piloted by Wraith "I don't have shield ships" 01. We were going in versus an entrenched enemy with 15 online confirmed, from 5 corps, so batphone was expected. not that my dudes knew, but let's be honest, a fight is a fight and we had stronk fleet and Rattlesnakes are dirt cheap. 

In scouting the C2 Wolf-Rayet the locals had a swing at my Buzzard as I went to highsec, with a Crow, Onyx, Myrmidon and Proteus. I guess the name of one of their Drakes, "Go Home Buzzard" clued me in to the fact I was interrupting their money making scheme. The locals were full of vim and vigor, so we deployed Procurer bait, which they didn't take. Time wore on for 10, 15 minutes and they assembled quite the gang on the highsec (plus we assumed, 20 lachesis we couldn't see on d-scan). Their fleet, to our knowledge, included 2 x Myrmidon, 2 x Sacrilege, Drake, Drake Navy issue, Oneiros, Eos, Onyx, Proteus.  They were happy to camp the highsec, so we had to go to them, so we recalled the procurer baits, uneaten, not even nibbled upon.

Instead of taking the bait, the guys in the C2 W-R sent Yousuck Younoob through to us in a Corax  about 30s before our Procurer reships were back on grid. He died, but they now had +/- 10%, our fleet comp.As soon as our VNI boated through our bubble, I called "#YOLO" and we jumped.

I wing warped us to the highsec, bubbled by the enemy Onyx, and we landed. I primed the Drakes, to remove ~800 DPS from the field ASAP, and knowing one Oneiros circling the B274 wasn't going to prop them up. The Drakes were pushed out in seconds once the Geckos from the Rattlers began aplhaing their shields. I was slightly distracted by our Naga blowing up, but the bleating on comms was almost nil. It wasn't to be saved anyway, being a sniper fit.

Then I noticed a Rook land at the edge of the bubble, and a Legion decloaked. Smesmod was reporting a significant amount of DPS from the Proteus, and eventually had to bail to highsec. I called the Oneiros prime, to rid us of his logi, and split my DPS; cruise on the Oneiros and Gecko on the Proteus. The former jumped, and the latter disappeared as the Rook landed a few jams before hoofing it, no one actually having shot at him. Next the Legion, to rid us of any potential neuting. I initially assumed he jumped because one minute he was there, the next he was not.

While I was searching for a new primary, Wraith reported a Sacrilege suffering heavily, so we called prime on that - it assploded. Next was the other Sac, Myrms (one jumped), then the Eos, as the Rook came back with an Ishtar. The Rook got aplha'd by our Sleipnir but we didn't get point on the Ishtar so he buggered off in deep structure, which left nothing on field bar the Onyx, which wasn't doing much at all.

The slaughter.

We found it odd that these guys didn't all manage to jump. perhaps our DPS was too stronk. They were mostly in active tanked ships. No doubt an element of confusion and some dualboxing erros. But at least they brought a fight.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Credit Card Damage

I am pretty sure that Ness Shaishi bought his Onyx with a PLEX. That is a juicy Onyx. in fact, it's juicier than a maiden's pussy after she stumbles out of the brambles, deep in the forest, to the side of a stream and finds Chris Hemsworth loofahing his six pack with a baby sloth.

I think that, based on evidence presented thus far, Ness Shaishi buys ships with PLEX. He exchanges his real-world time for money, and avoids wasting his game time grinding to afford in-game toys, and thus he is in essence exchanging mundane tasks in the real world for experiences in-game which would otherwise be unavailable to him with a toon that cannot even put a T2 hardener or missile launcher upon an Onyx.

Which is kind of bizarre, given the requirements for flying an Onyx reads like a laundry list of shit a noob wouldn't train to save his life, but hey - who are we to argue with the choices of someone playing the game and exploring all the many and varied ways of content creation, destruction and experiences available?

Certainly, the bulk of $15 bought Ness Shaishi a lesson in d-scan (not learned yet) and Protars. We must only hope that his thirst for exploration is undiminished by this setback.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Demise of the Skynet War Library

This tale is tangentially related to the upcoming changes to bomber and fighter bomber scan res nerf, aka the Skynet Nerf.

EVE is a game that, apparently, is played by risk-averse middle-aged men with cryptorchidism - you take the absolute least-risk way of doing something, and then take even less risks, resulting in limp-wristed game play such as Skynet carriers.

You don't see too many Skynet carriers deployed in low-class wormholes, but they are there. Care Park was the owner of one of these lame sissies who PVPs with 13 fighters assigned to a ceptor.

Admiral Synergy, of Awakened Ones, found his way in there and saw them flipping POCOs. He began fighting them on the B274, and got a cloaky scout deployed a few klicks off the Skynet carrier. Sleeper Social Club supplied the stunt cock Ishtar blob, and being an untanked fucktard wagon it went down quick smart.

The best part? The library of expensive skillbooks in the cargo hold would make many school stations jealous. We also all like to put our drake BPO's in our Skynet carriers. Even better, fly a 3.5 billion ISK pod.

All in all, 8 billion ISK is a good shot to the nonexistant undescended cojones for being a risk-averse douche tard. That's a lot of PI and humping C1 anomalies for that idiot.

So, as you complain about the nerf to fighter and fighter bomber scan res, just realise - it's to nerf Skynet supers and Skynet carriers. If it takes the assigned fighters four times as long to begin applying their DPS, then it means it is 25% as lame to fight a ceptor with assigned fighters.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Lachesis Will Blot Out Sun

The mooted changes to Combat Recons will usher in a new era of roaming wormholes, just like the original buff to HACs made it Ishtars Online inside of 2 weeks. But I think the combat recon changes will cause this to happen instantly, because the competitive advantage is instant and obvious.

CCP seems to have some pretty strong and steely resolve to make this happen. I can see why. Combat Recons have been a relatively underutilised solo ship, because they are relatively weak and have sissy DPS - especially at any range that they need to work at to keep themselves alive with their pissy tanks.

Solo Rook is like a strange sexual pecadillo. You're interested in it, you have a desire to do it deep down in your groinal regions, but if anyone found out you'd bought a Rook and kitted it out with an ASB or an AAR and were thinking of soloing....boy, instant pariah. The only recon which has historically gone solo is the Curse, really.

So they did need a buff, and considering the fantstic* job CCP did with buffing the HACs (*Ishtar), just adding more DPS and tank wasn't going to cut it.

The Recons needed a niche, and apparently that niche is d-scan immunity. I can see the concept - a fleet needs a scout to monitor the enemy's movement, like a float plane launched from a battleship was used in World War II. So you give Combat Recons d-scan immunity and they can fulfil that role almost as well as a cloaked ship! Kind of like the Force Recons, really...

There is nothing wrong, per se with d-scan immunity. The d-scan inhibitor deployable does the job in a spacky and clumsy way. The Combat Recons can still be combat probed down, CCP's way of saying "We are committed to not going full Ishtar twice in 12 months." Golf clap, guys. Golf clap.

Given EVE is compartmentalised, basically, into four PVP game styles based on security status, there's four arguments going on as to whether or not d-scan immunity is a Good Thind, or completely OP and imbalanced bullshit.

Highsec wars, the CR's will be fine. There will be a few gate camping assclown brigades, fisting each other like gay marionette troupes on the Niarja gate or Perimeter gate, fiddle dee dee how many cocks can one suck, waiting for the War Target to land, and then bam, it's Rooks and Curses everywhere, zomg. This I approve of.

Lowsec and especially faction warfare, as pointed ut in the forum, will be Medium complexes permacamped by Curses and Rooks. OMG, someone combat probes the medium installation, the game is up! Countermeasure works fine, mostly because you can stick your combats over the top of the pin in the solar system map and recon the situation ahead of time. You can of course just drive your own Rook or Curse into mediums and surprise buttsex people.

Nullsec, especially fleet fights, it's a little so-so on whether d-scan immunity really fits the floatplane meta. There is such a thing as a cloaky nullified Tengu to perform the recon capability for fleets, and guess what? it can pack combat probes and shiz, too! So the floatplanes of the nullsec fleets are never going to be CR's.

What CR d-scan immunity really allows is for a fleet to field EWAR which gets under-reported by scouts. As you bounce around system or pass through, they report only DPS and logi, not the CR's.  Again, it's already more or less a job done by existing hulls. Right now you can use a Falcon for that job, but you might get spotted jumping a gate. It will be the same deal with CR's - your fleet will just keep its aces up it's sleeve until you get on grid.

For small gang roaming in low or null, the CRs will be surprise additions on grid. If you field 20% CR's, your foe will see, for example, 10 guys blob into Local, and will see 6 Ishtars and 2 Scimi's on d-scan as you warp in, but wont see the 2 Huginns until you're on grid. Likewise, they won't see the Rooks you keep at your off-grid safe ready to pounce down to the gate for an engagement.

However, the big deal is w-space. Lachesis will be the go-to ship for tackling carebears. The advantage is instantly apparent to anyone with half a brain cell - you can pile through a newly minted wormhole and if the foe hasn't seen the sig pop, you can leisurely spend as long as you need scanning for him in his site, and warp in and get point. It just becomes a question of tanking the rats and the enemy long enough for the DPS and backup point (let's say a friction extension Proteus with 73km RF dissy and a ceptor).

Secondly, you can idle at POS in your Lachs and Curses, your Rooks and Huginns and interlopers will not even know you are there. True, you could do the same with your cloakies, but to reship for a fight you have to warp back to POS and would then show on d-scan. Therefore, as a scout checking a wormhole, you really do need to lay eyes on each POS. Remember, I'm selling my 1800 bookmarks for wormhole POSs once you all work this shit out. The price, however, just went up.

Of course, the cure for all of this is combat probes. People used to have to have a set of combats deployed at 64 AU across a system to monitor their surroundings while they ratted. Those days have returned - but also for scouts. You may have checked the POS's and the system may appear empty, bt you really do need to wash the system with combats, just to be sure. You'll never get a CR pilot. it's laughable to think that without d-scan to guide you to his position for a ninja probe effort, that you'll get him. CCP really has no idea.

The effects? Well, certainly the guys in my corp who rat C2's solo are going to lose ships. Our C4 ratting fleet is solid enough and nasty enough that I welcome a Lachesis dropping 50km off us. we'll see how the new tank goes on it. But there's going to be a massive rush for a month, and it could really severely impact on the PVE numbers. A 5 second decloak delay is all that saves quite a few people even now.

I just hope they give the d-scan immunity to EWAR frigates, too.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Smell of Burning Ass

Polletjepikhaar. He is a phenomenon by himself, a renowned feature of Jita +/- 5 jumps wormhole space - nearly always in a bomber, circling a B274 or a N110 cloaked, waiting for a hapless foe to stumple through.

Someone like Junkstress Warden, my new newbro, with his badger full of Crucifier hulls.

Ordinarily I wouldn't really bother with dear brother Polletjepikhaar, knowing he will just jump to highsec and GTFO any real fight. I have tangled with him once or twice with the Nereus, but he isn't silly enough to take the bait off hole - why do you need to get >5km off a hole in a bomber, after all?

I also desperately need him to fuck off from that particular wormhole as we are expecting a Tayra and a Gila to be coming back - the former because we saw it leave, the latter because we saw his pod leave after we murdered his last Gila and some Covetors

Knowing he will be within 5km of the B274 and therefore vulnerable to the Dick Virus, I decide to take some measures to remove him from the equation. It's just a matter of luck, and we'd already sacrificed 6 corpses to Bob today, so we were due a bit, and Bob delivered.

It's not every day you get to nerd it up but that's a killmail I am sure quite a few people will appreciate. Almost a faux celebrity vs faux celebrity deathmatch of wormhole nerds. 

Poor Junkstress, down 20M of cheap throwaway frigates. That's after losing one shooting a Tengu earlier in the day. But his sacrifice was not in vain, and another trip to jita saw him in a Crucifier again for our next victim, in his oddly and unneccessarily expensive Stratios.

So we thank you, brother Polletjepikhaar, for fighting the good fight and wish you luck in the future.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Meet the Buggers Season 1

I think that any blog about a corporation in EVE is incomplete, perhaps, without a bit on an expose of its members. I will thus endeavour to bring to life some of the personalities of Sudden Buggery. We are after all playing an MMO; a corp is more than the sum of its parts or the personalities behind its leader or leaders. It is a collective of nerdy gentlemen with an interest in exploration, PVP and being douches. These are their very abridged stories.

First up, one of my newest recruits, Junkstress Warden. As of this date he's been in-game a week. He came into the corp public channel (Beggars Bowl, feel free to join, I only temp kick people during sensitive intel events) and said he was looking to join a corp. He was 4 days old.

I am one of the few CEOs of wormhole corps who hires (if that's the right word) utter noobs. But i don't just hire any noob; you have to show a certain mental attitude, a certain drive, and a certain rat-cunning to make it past the first interview as a <1 week old toon.

The first thing I noticed about junkstress was the age. The second thing was that he had, at the time, a 2M ISk bounty. That's an achievement at 4 days of age, make no mistake. So I asked him why and he said "I've been ninja salvaging since day 1 and some dude put a bounty on me."

I have a soft spot for ninja salvagers. Back in the day, as I transitioned out of PVE and ratting and just fumbling about the game dying to rats every week as my brother left me to it and gave me a few pointers here and there, one day I learned about d-scan. I hit d-scan in Gulfonodi and noticed a million wrecks. I wanted those wrecks, I knew there was a shitload of ISK, so i asked "How does I salvage everyone else's wrecks?" and the answer was probing, and ninja salvaging.

Within a week i'd killed 2 Navy megathrons in my Cyclone, and 3 months later people were warning each other when i came to Gulfonodi or Penirgman or Motsu, look ut for TF, he's going to come into your mission in a fucking Merlin, and he's going to steal your fucking shit, and if you shoot him, he'll fuck your shit up.

So, of course, I hired Junkstress. Like any good ball of putty, he's a malleable plaything I can teach how to be more evil, more douchey, more of a bastard and more profitable. From 20M a day, he's now at 20M an hour. He's scouting POSs, learning d-scan, learning probing, bookmarks, wormholes, laying aste to POCO's, sitting on a hisec for 5M an hour and saving everyone's bacon with timely intel that saves us from 15 Proteii. All in 3 days.

The thing is this. Being a noob, you are very, very useful. Its just up to your CEO and corpmates to find a use for a tool which is more a ball of dough than a finely honed dagger or a wicked war axe.