Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Siege mentality

We may be in the last six months of the Golden Age of wormholes. You know, when POSs were real men and real men were needed to siege POSs.

We have found our way in to a siege, as kind of interested bystanders. As with all things in wormholes which involve sieges of POSs, there has to be a damn good reason, even if the defender has not done a particularly good job of defending their towers. In this case, the attacker's tower screams to me a troll tower to bait out the defender's Dread.

I mean, I basically invented bait POSes with Operation Zebracakes, in the early days of wormholing, back before many people had even figured out they could build caps in wormholes, and certainly before people had figured out that leaving them floating free was a bad idea because people would come looking to troll them out with a POS.

I can tell a good bait tower, and an obvious bait tower. Because obvious bait is obvious, it never works. In this case, 3 online neut batteries is obvious. 21 hardeners is obvious. ECM saturation is obvious. 4 dissy's is obvious. I mean, how obvious does it have to be?

So, having ascertained that the siege was, in fact, just a badly structured trolling exercise, I advised the defenders on what to do next, given they were half in shock at the intrusion and weren't experienced with the whole process.

 There are some strategic philosophies you can use to deter and defeat people who are attempting to evict you.

  1. EHP walls. You need to put as much EHP between them and their objective as possible.This can buy you time in order to defend yourself.
  2. Win by boredom. EHP walls by themselves don't win anything, but you have to remember that structure grinds are terrible gameplay and so the problem for the attacker becomes one of motivating people to continue. How many hours will 30 guys have to put in to maybe snag one dread killmail? Will they persist in doing this?
  3. Deny them a good fight.
  4. Pursue diplomacy.
The specific actions that you should take if being sieged include;
  1. Hardeners, times 21, for your large POS. This will provide a "nominal" 83% omni resist profile (or whatever if the display is borked, max it out). This can put a hundred million EHP in front of your foes. That's hours and hours of grinding and addresses Objective 1 and 2, above. 
  2. Beef up your POS EWAR. This will deter smaller groups from attacking and, if your attacker lacks members at any time, it will prevent them from getting going with a small gang.
  3. Import POS guns, by the dozen. As fucked as it is, you can anchor and online guns even while in a reinforcement period. Dead guns don't prevent this either.Keep jackin guns up until you basically create enough of a PITA the enemy will avoid attacking you anyway.
  4. Evacuate your candy, if safe. If your attackers are motivated by greed at the idea of looting your SMA's, nothing defeats avarice better than removing. 
  5. Import stront. You'll need at least 2 loads of stront if your defences hold.
  6. Import RR ships, even Scythes and Execqurors.
Astute observers will have noticed that all of this should ideally be done before an attack even takes place.

Your biggest threat is getting podded out in your entirety, or trapped out one by one as your foes roll you out of your statics. Once your enemies have 250M EHP in front of them you won't have a great sense of urgency.

Denying a good fight may not prevent you from getting sieged, and it certainly won't resolve your roblems, but it does set a precedent for your enemies for next time. If your CEO says "hey guys want to blow another week and a half grinding through 250M EHP of structures only to have our enemies evac all the shinies and logoff the dread, and you kill almost nothing in this time, and make no money yourself?" your enemy CEO will eventually find things begin falling apart.

That's not to say you shouldn't fight, but don't make it good. Just be pricks. Use the POS guns, use POS ECM and slip alpha nado's out of the shields to snipe at logis you've got neuted/ECM'ed/webbed to hell. The less likely you are to provide them a good fight, the less likely they will stick around or call in batphones.

Diplomacy can take the form of asking your enemies what their objectives are, even if they act like teenagers and Reddit trolls, and even if the information gained is unhelpful. Being polite and decent prevents it turning into a grudge match, wherein your enemies will siege you out just because you are a douchey fuck. You might very well be, but act like a decent person for one week in your life, hey? Just imagine what real adults would say, and say that instead of some whiny self-entitled Q.Q which exposes you as a crybaby carebear neckbeard afraid of losing his toys.

Regarding your toys, if it's too late to deny owning the Dread which they are so pathetically trying to toll out with their oh-so-obvious troll tower, then you have two options. Option 1 is a bonfire. if you have decided to light a match under the thing, make sure your enemies see it happen, and gloat in the insurance payout.

Option 2 is, ten seconds before downtime, change your POS permissions and password and get yourself flung as far from the POS as you can, then log off for as long as it takes to get the siege lifted or, if your POS is going down, for the trap POS to be dismantled. Keep an alt in the hole, and sell the hole to recoup some money. When the new buyer sets up and gets comfy, just log your fucking dread in and siege them out. This, at least, will pay its way.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sensei Ping

If you haven't seen The Middleman, you are missing out, big time. Download it now. Do it. Then you will understand about Sensei Ping.

Sensei Ping is the Angel of bookmarks. When trying to kill a (functionally) unprobeable boosting T3, one way of doing it if he is in-line between two celestials is to drop bookmarks. As you warp back and forth, you drop BM's on either side of him and reduce your d-scan range as you warp back and forth between each ping.

Sure, it starts out at +/- 1 AU, but after a whie, you get down to the ten million klicks, then maybe land something a million off. Then you're under half a million and closer, closer.

Finally you see him flash on the overview at 2500km. Half a dozen bookmarks later (CTRL-B for the shortcut) you land on grid.


Pity we forgot a dictor, he probably almost certainly 100% definitely would have had some sweet implants.

Either way, remote win-button was smashed. PVP is over for the week. Sads.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Sacred Pod Goo

The weekly MATE roam went out a day late this week due to a roast pork shoulder with bourbon cajun glaze. It was Saturday, the day after rather a bit too much bourbon spilled down my neck and not on the pork shoulder, so I wasn't feeling 100%. I had to go have a lie down before putting on the business face and leading a bunch of random guys out of Berta.

The plan was to run a gang of Condors out to some ratting lands, find a few raters, and blob them to death with annoying kitey damping frigates. Move quick, get in, get a few shiny kills, and get out in one piece. Or welp. Welping is always on the cards.

The first stop was a detour past a wormhole where friends of mine had been picking off some victims for the past few hours, and had gone to ground in the hope of luring out a Nighthawk and some Drakes. I offered a bait Svipul, which we would deploy into the C2 and pretend to run sites, and then we would blob. My friends kind of didn't really understand the whole 20 Condors thing, but after a bit of coaching of our Svipul pilot we pushed him ahead like a sheep into a minefield, and he jumped into system just as the Nighthawk and 3 Drakes landed on it, and got engaged by a friendly Tengu, Eagle and Deimos. We pushed the Nighthawk through the hole, bumped him off, and pecked him to death.

Then we exited the other end of the chain into Malukker, and burned out to Kalevala because there was a cluster of people showing in space on the map, and it was all renters and idiots. The beauty of the Condor gang was the speed - in 20 minutes we were 30 jumps down the route and entering the final dog-leg pocket full of ratting kills and fools.

We were being trailed by a few xxDeathxx alts in ceptors, so they ought to have known roughly where we were but as I assured the guys, intel chanels are only as good as the people reading them. Lo and behold, one of our scouts reports cross-jumping a rattler and follows him back, gaining point. We all coalesce like flies round a corpse and begin hounding the Rattler back and forth through gates, as people aren't 100% on bumping. But finally we get the bumps right and the Rattler is pined down, drifting helplessly off gate, mobbed by 20 frigs, tanking us fine.

In this situation as FC you have achieved success. You have created content, especially for the guys who've only been on one or two roams before, who are now plinking away at a faction battleship in a hostile system with all manner of shit on d-scan. Your Rattler is doing his job, staying alive and doubtlessly bleating horribly on comms (maybe signing in and fleeting up for the first time, ever) and his mates are furiously scrolling past luxo-barge Vargurs, Archons, now-obsolete Skynet Thannies, a bunch of cyno frigates, PI haulers, etcetera...searching for something which can help out their mate in the Rattler.

Of course, I am on my batphone, hoping Bob has been good and gives some other friends of mine exits not too far from kalevala. My corp are busy, murdering a Paladin who strangely decided to just come in to our hole in our prime time period and started running sites. So they are too busy, but finally get motivated and turn up 27 jumps away in Branch. Everyone else is 50 jumps away.

The locals begin undocking bombers, and lobbing bombs. I get taken out, but hang around in my pod giving what advice i can, as the Condor fleet eventually takes out a Manticore and a Kitsune and their pods. And such pods - the roam's ISK efficiency is assured as 900M in pod goo gets spilled on the gate before a pair of RLML Cerbs, backed up by a Basilisk and Osprey, come and begin swatting Condors and we all bail before a Flycatcher bubbles us all in. Losses, 130M.

I finished off the roam at that point, as I was out of a ship, and humped 27 jumps back home to my wormhole in a pod.

I'd like to give a shout out to the Redemption Road roams. All public roams, with FC's from all over EVE donating time and ISK to new bros, or bored bittervets, to create content for all. Mostly we run cheap, affordable, noob friendly setups and go null, or at worst lowsec, to take fights, get welped, and green up the boards.  

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Whack-a-mole (in space!)

Here is another thought game for you to play with while considering that CCP is hell-bent on replacing structure grind gameplay with Entosis gameplay, and spreading it to POS-simulants (AKA the new L sized structures).

Lets say you live in a system. The system is for argument's sakes 80 AU across and no two planets are within d-scan of one another, and there are at least 4 planets. We'll also assume you haven't taken advantage of the freedom to anchor some of these at Incursion-created uber deep safes, and there are ten moons with resources.

Let's also assume, to make this easy, that you are in Sov Null, and you have sov space, and it's your ONLY alliance system have an Outpost, a TCU and an I-hub and your space is not upgraded. Entosis links therefore take 10 minutes to work.

You own ten POS-simulants, from labs to intel arrays, whatever, it doesn't matter. Lets also just assume, because it is highly reasonable to do so, you have placed these ten POS-simulants at the ten moons which require moon mining operations.

You are online, and are the only person within a ten minute ride of this system, let's say because your alliance mates are taking CCP Fozzie's cue and engaging in small-gang roaming gameplay via a connection in Thera, and are nuts-deep in Kalevala. 

It is during the prime time, so your structures are vulnerable.

All ten of your structures come under attack simultaneously, and someone also attacks the I-hub, TCU and Outpost with Entosis links.

You have 13 structures to defend, by yourself, being as you are the only person from your alliance in the constellation. You have ten minutes to do so, either via boarding the structure or running an entosis link on the structure yourself to cock block the aggressor.

Do you,
a) choose to defend the Outpost
b) choose to defend the TCU
c) choose to defend the i-hub
d) defend POS #1
e) defend POS #2
f) to m) defend POS #3 to POS #10

Can you see the problem with this? Merely by putting this naff and pathetic mechanism for vulnerability onto POSs, you have exponentially increased the vulnerability of all of your alliance's assets. Because none of your assets defend themselves, and you are the sole defender, you are going to lose at least 8-11 of those assets, depending on how fast you can dock at a station, man the guns, blap the link alt (regardless of the ship flying the Entosis link), undock (if you can), warp to the other objective, dock, repeat, etc,.

Essentially the collection of POSs are undefendable by one person because, without POS guns defending the POS with 4,000 DPS and without at least one hour's boring structure grind in front of them (at least) and with only a ten minute vulnerability timer to overcome, there is literally no way to defend all your structures.

Even if you had two people defending 13 structures, you would still fail the majority of the defences.

If you fail the I-hub, TCU and Outpost, you now have ten more timers to defend throughout your constellation. If you had any other POSs in any other systems, they'd also be on the menu but you possibly have to run gate camps to attend those timers.

So you've got let's say, 8 POSs reinforced. You have 48 hours, and now you've got 2 non-RFed POSs and 3 sov structures. This is looking like a really fun 48 hours, isn't it?

This is the game CCP are creating for sovereignty and structure defenders. It is utterly stupid.

You know why FW is the way it is? Well, for the first year of this system, people fought in gangs and fleets. We had a hell of a lot of fun, killed a hell of a lot of ships. Then the alts started flipping systems, and the meatbods burned out on defending space at a tenth the LP efficiency of worthless warp stabbed cloaky heron alts grinding buttons. So people left, or gave up the FW game entirely, and it turned into a giant farm.

But it wasn't dead, because you ran an alt on the other militia and farmed at tier 5 while pew pewing with your main, who lived in highsec nextdoor.

In sov, there is no farming the winning side with an alt while living in highsec nextdoor and roaming space. In wormholes, there is no plexing one POS while your other ten burn down. There is no highsec. There is no nextdoor. You have your structure, you live in it, and when people try to fuck with you, you fuck back hard (see below).

This is a patently stupid system, forcing people to play a game or lose everything. it forces you to have more than one person online to defend your POS, and each and every one of your POSs, for a four hour block of time.

Forcing people to be present to defend space against meaningless, worthless attacks is worse gameplay than currently, wwhere one person can jack up a giant deathstar which only a massive fleet can destroy. Both are bad, but at least in the current system a lone defender can log out and get some sleep.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The old Switcheroo

We have been dealing with a Wingspan infestation this week.

I believe they had found their way into our hole a few days before it all began with my first ever PI hauler loss - a 6.5M Mammoth. This loss, which was devastating and worthy of ALOD on themittani.com, earned me a trolling via their oh so hilarious Delivery Receipt. if you haven't got one of these yet it's because Wingspan are a bunch of hopeless pussies who can only kill mining barges 50% of the time, but it involves a not very funny faux receipt for delivering you some munitions.

I warned Gigi McQuaid that he ought to be careful trolling people for 6.5M hauler losses.

The camp set in properly the next day, when Analogtom Rotineque set up a stop bubble on our N766 static, with a depot which bravely, and incredibly inaccurately, was named YOUR HOLE IS MINE! ;). That and a couple of cans was supposed to decloak people who warped to the exit without checking d-scan. It is worth noting at this point that one small bubble was the sle interdiction they deployed during the whole camp.

I popped the bubble in my troll Rook, RFed the depot, and set about adding Analogtom Rotineque and his closest associates to watchlist. It took me a few hours, but I soon got the shape of what was in the Mullet Hole - 12 to 16 toons in bombers, 1-2 Stratios, and a Falcon.

Days one and two of the camp passed utterly uneventfully. They kept adding toons to the hole, we went about our business, killing people in our chain, visiting nullsec, murdering ratters, doing PI and ratting our chain as per normal. Not once did they deploy a Dictor or Hictor or a bubble to try catching us as we transited holes. I even brazenly undocked my rolling Blops and rolled holes, noting them logging in 4-8 toons in a rush when the shinies had been noticed. Not a single bite, or even a bomb tossed at me.

They began pinging our POCOs, so I transferred them to an alt corp to avoid notification spam for everyone in corp. This prompted them to reinforce a couple of POCOs while we were asleep. With a timer in front of us, I sent out a mail or two, rallied the corpies and some sly help from the Batphone, and we set out to fight back. You will note that fighting back mosly involved going about our day to day business with 12-16 toons in our hole, and not really getting many engagements.

Well, except for Solvenaria Azionchenkov who was hanging around a RFed depot owned by another Wingspan idiot. I had been camping the depot for 2 hours when he randomly decloaked, so I tossed a bomb at him and he went for me...dying horribly without landing a single blow. Imitating your CEO and his 300M bombers is de rigeur in Wingspan. Solvenaria suicide podded out then logged off, and he hasn't logged in since. i guess at 6 weeks old a 140M bomber represents half your assets and/or a fair chunk of your PLEX you spent, so fuck this game.

So we were hoping for a fight from Wingspan when we went to rep our POCOs. I embarked on a propaganda and psy-ops campaign of forum trolling, trolling Chance over his corp's patheticness, trolling the campers in Local when they logged in, but I kept my greatest and most perfect troll for the hour when our POCOs were due to come out.

You see, POCOs are kind of a bit weird. You can transfer POCOs instantaneously, to whomever you want, and the recipient cannot refuse it. You don't even need to trade them for money. You just give them to someone. So that's what I did with P9 POCO in the Mullet Hole - gave it to Wingspan, and we then immediately attacked and reinforced it.

One of Chances underlings tried a pithy attempt at giving us a Delivery Receipt for the POCO, in an attempt to not feel like a complete cock-target in the exchange. The alleged humour of a Delivery Receipt kind of falls flat when someone's reinforcing your POCO in their wormhole you are camping, and you don't have the ability to prevent it. It kind of reverses the camping and trolling 180 degrees instantly.

Reinforcing their POCO also put a timer on them - put the onus on them to defend their assets. They didn't bother, and instead displayed their true strength and the strength of a bomber doctrine in wormholes (hint: zero), so we created the ultimate troll mail for Wingspan's first and definitely not last POCO lossmail.

The best thing is that whenever Chance is online, it's replacement POCO, which we will be putting up at P9 in J1302553, will get pinged repeatedly. When he goes to live stream his 'hilarious' exploits 'delivering munitions' so he can perpetuate the cult of Wingspan and pretend to know what he's doing in EVE, you will see notifications for POCO attacks popping up.

The moral of this story?

If you are going to troll, you better not try trolling me over a meaningless hauler loss. If I fuck up and helicopter dick my Golem into a deathstar and get tackled, sure, that's worthy of a troll. You'll find my dick whirs at great RPM quite a lot. Does my cock even lift? Yes it does.

But don't make the mistake of thinking being the member of some corp of bomber-flying idiots led by a CSM who couldn't find his arse with an atlas means you get to reinforce my POCOs. If you're worse than us, can't interdict a fart with a cock, then you don't get to troll. You become trolled. 

Monday, 23 March 2015

Structure Grind

By now you've all read the devblog, and watched the keynote address at Fanfest, and watched the speech on Structures. I have spent a few days fomenting about this. I have Likes and I have Dislikes.

Like: Structure Fitting
In Corbexx's questionaire he sent around wormhole dwellers last year, I complained about the process of setting up POSs and posited - why can you not have fitting screens? Why canwe not have an automatically pre-set POS you can just drag and drop modules onto?

Either CCP pulled that idea from the gestalt, took my idea, or they were wondering it themselves, because here we are. Finally! Fuck you Green Anchoring Demon.

What does this mean, in my opinion? Hopefully a variety of racial structure archetypes, like Amarr towers you can armour tank and fit capital reps to. Caldari ECM POSs with more midslots and strong shields you can fit Shield Power Relays to and get stonking passive regen. Active tanked Minmatar towers. Etcetera.

Like: ECM Arrays
I broadly like the idea of intelligence gathering, intelligence disruption, and espionage arrays. Like, seed a structure near a gate and anyone within range disappears from Local, allowing you to seed a small structure into system to later take advantage of its Local delay/removal feature and slip in some tackle to attack nulltards. 

Dislike: Decloaking Arrays
What I really dislike is the idea of structures that disable cloaking in any way, ie; the carebear's friend anti-AFK cloaker array. The idea of this is just plain pandering to crybaby idiots who live in nullsec and can't look after themselves or each other.

I will certainly be trying to agitate against this; but as we've seen before numerous times is if CCP thinks it's a good idea, they do it anyway. Well, the compromise might be that your intelligence arrays have 2 slots and you have 3 functions you can choose from. pick any 2 of Pirate Detection Array. Local, Decloaking. So you can have no AFK cloakers and plenty of rats, or you can have AFk cloakers and plenty of rats, or you can have Local and no AFK cloakers and slum it in the belts. Having local, no AFK cloaking and plenty of rats is highsec.

Dislike: Mooring
I really dislike the idea of mooring (and the corollary which is anything being stored being indestructible). There is a very complex interplay here if someone can, in a wormhole for instance, get up at zero metres on your moored ship cloaked, and the moment you board it he can attack you. Or even within scram range. It's like having a magic superman sight at a k-space station and knowing what your enemy has docked, and will undock in. So all you have to solve now is the equation of tanking the structure defences or ganking the guy before he escapes or gains freedom of manouevre, and it's docking games for wormholes.

Like and Dislike: Loot Pinata RIP
Firstly, let's be honest. Very few sieges result in loot pinata. They all result in self-destruction derbies, where you watch the POS residents fly their ships into pools of gasoline and drop lit matches at their feet. It is exciting, often times hilarious, and the evaporated tears which waft out of the self-immolating carebears are glorious and good for the health.

But you never get much from a siege. The arrays drop a bunch of shit, occasionally it's worth a lot of money, more often than not it's just random crap and it creates headaches in splitting the loot up. Active defenders will torch as much as they can to spite you, so profitability is down. You do occasionally get extreme loot pinata from a defuelled POS, though, but that's a rare treat.

Under the proposed structure system, the contents of the structure which are not moored to the outside will spawn into sekrit caches around planets in the system, and they will stay there as mission journal events the owner can warp to in order to scoop their shit. So, no loot pinata. Senor Looty, RIP.

Is this bad? Well, yes and no. It is hardly going to affect sieges, because anyone who sieges for loot is a dipshit. What it will affect is loot pinata from defuelled structures. What about that? No idea. And assembly arrays, gone will be the days of drops of 300Km3 in ore from a mining POS. Blueprints, also, will I would assume, be completely safe from dropping as loot.

Dislike: Entosis gameplay
This is worthy, and will be, an entire post devoted to the current vs proposed siege mechanics, and how it affects gameplay going forward. But in a nutshell, I am not the only one concerned that the removal of structure grid (the EHP and DPS game) and replacing it with a system which requires merely a single transformative action event (ie; running an entosis link for X minutes) to effect a reinforcement upon the structure, is a Bad Idea.

Wormhole POSs aren't just randomly useful pieces of crap floating around a system that no one cares about in an assault, until the assault is won. These are the bread and butter and skin and bones of wormhole life. The vast majority of wormhole corporations, the majority of members are only online for a short period of time a few days a week. You can't risk having your home stolen in any 5, 15, 30 minute effort when you aren't online.

Like: Mining and Assembly Arrays as Structures
There's something nice about the idea of drilling platforms, extraction arrays and the like. Carebear miner corps in wormholes will be easily identifiable. Assembly structures will be identifiable as such. And they will all have guns, we would hope, and ship maintenance bays, we would hope, and be defensible to varying degrees, we would hope.

Like and Dislike: Launch-for-self POSs
The current POS system is corporation-level stuff, and the interface is arse. Corporation roles make no sense, often don't work properly, and the interface is arse. Did I mention it's arse?

Any improvement in this regard is going to be good. However, the implication was that any structure, or any size, could be launched for self. So. Individual players will possibly be able to own whatevr replaces POSs. This is interesting, as it makes you wonder firstly how individually owned POSs are going to work in k-space. Will they be attackable as mobile depots are? Or will they still fall under the corporate protections of requiring war decs? An interesting idea there.

Secondly, individual POSs in wormholes are set up to prevent thefts by anyone except directors or the CEO, or someone with POS roles who can just reset the passwords. Under a system where you can launch for self, you could truly have individual POSs. Which would then be a pain in the arse to remove if you turned out to be a traitorous cur and needed to be removed from corp. Another interesting set of concepts to grapple with.

Like and Dislike: No Anchoring Restrictions
Got a true old-style deepsafe 100 AU away from the nearest celestial? have you gone out of your way to seek Incursion systems and saved the pin flags farthest from celestials as deepsafes? You have? Good boy.

Go anchor a POS where no one is reasonably going to expect to find it, at a true deepsafe. Excellent.

Now try to find everyone else's POSs which exist 80 AU's away from the nearest celestial. Hmm.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Traitorous Corbexx

There was much ado made about Corbexx going to goons at Fanfest.

Partly, the wormhole community feels a bit ripped off, feeling that they voted and campaigned and collectivised to vote in Corbexx for a second term to go in to bat for them in the CSM and represent them on the CSM. An understandable position, and a defection to the goons by Corbexx could rightly be seen as a betrayal of democratic trust placed in him.

However, let's be honest. The trajectory of EVE has switched to fixing sov null and fixing structures for the next 12-24 months, or however long it will take for Fozzie to "Ishtar" sov and structures and leave them in a functional, but broken, state. You know, like faction warfare.

Another fact about Corbexx, and one I criticised during my aborted campaign, is that he doesn't do anything on the CSm he knows nothing about. So, given the above, it is clear that Corbexx is not only maturing as a EVE politician (in that he does anything to get elected - harsh burn on you voters!) it is only sensible that if youare completely ignorant about sov null, and have to deal with sov null, and representing wormholers on the CSM for 12 more months is going to be a sinecure (if it's not changing, what are you agitating about?), the logical solution is to go to nullsec, learn about sov, and get down to business. The best way is to join goons. Or NC Dot. or Pandemic Legion.

So, my advice is a) trust Corbexx to not sell you out b) trust him to use his brains as he gains experience in sov null c) give him shit for choosing goons.

There's not much more to be said about the CSM except who the fuck voted for Chance Ravinne? It's going to be like watching a kitten run into a combine harvester. Cute, but messy.

I've got my stashes of popcorn.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

The Golem Summoning

It wasn't the most amazeballs battle ever seen in wormholes.

The death of this Golem was amusing because I had been lurking this guy for 6 hours, and he had been sitting in his POS in a Drake for the whole time. the Y683 had gone EOL, and most of our chain out the X877 was falling apart or going EOL so I decided to go for a quick sniff, and warped to the POS. The Drake had velocity, and was coming to a stop - he'd obviously just warped back to POS. Had he seen me on d-scan, jumping hole?

Five minutes later, the guy warps his Drake back to the sole combat site, at zero. i rally the troops, who had all been sitting AFK in the POS doing dick all as everyone seems to do these days, and they soon formed up. I told them to bring whatever, it's only a Drake.

The guy lands in site, then immediately warps back to POS. WTF. So I follow him back and see him approaching his SMA.

"He's approaching his SMA to get into his Golem." I said.

"Bullshit. That never happens."

Out comes the Golem.

"Oh, oh! Well you can eat a bag of humble dicks, my friends, because he just undocked his Golem and...yes...he's warping to site. Jump jump jump, warp to my Astero at zero, I'm going for tackle."


Friday, 13 March 2015

The Games We Play

I previously made a point about the new sov changes that it was moving from an EHP/DPS to a capture the flag mode. This got me thinking. Besides the mechanics of piloting a ship around a grid and pew pewing enemies, the strategic games we play are quite different in EVE.

Consider that sov warfare has evolved to be, in terms of flipping sov, a DPS vs EHP game. The EHP protecting sov forces a rational response from the players, which is to pile on the DPS until the EHP (which represents a time sink) becomes less of a limiting factor. Therefore, whomever accumulates the most DPS and can bring it to bear on a single defensive structure wins most easily - partly because DPS equates to numbers, and numbers equates to defensive and offensive depth.

General nullsec roaming is a game dominated by damage projection and mobility. Slow, tanky ships with close-in weapons rarely see much success because if you roam an area you have a million tacticals, and you kite off your foe while laying down long-range DPS. When the Ishtar got buffed you had a magical uber DPS platform with retarded damage, projection and permarun MWD with low sig. What more do you really want, besides Orthrus gangs?

Lowsec gate piracy is a game of aggression timers, docking or jumping, and the DPS to drop your foe before he can crawl back to gate. You rarely see a gate camper take a fight he can't win or can't deaggress and escape from, unless they suck or get fooled by something like, say, a Nereus.

Highsec station camping wardeccers are playing a very similar game, too, except their targets are limited, usually disorganised and rarely engaged head-on. Gate camping in highsec is also all about the deagression in the face of poor odds, and there's a raft of hulls which suit this sort of game play.

Wormholes, beyond the exertions of flying around a grid, are played out with a game dominated by time and mass. I would also argue that it's also a game of cat and mouse, of intelligence gathering and calculated risk (cloaking and no local forces you to take structured risks, or at least dock up and log off at the first opportunity). Mass dictates the ships you use and places a hard upper limit on the DPS you can field and the EHP you can field. Time simply dictates the life of your chain. Therefore, EVE playing in wormholes evolved to a brawling-centric play style, in the main, dominated by high DPS, highly tanked and relatively immobile ships. Well, till the Ishtar got buffed and everyone could also get mobility plus withering DPS and a respectable tank.

The point of this?

Well, sov warfare is about to change dramatically. The people playing the current sov warfare game have a lot of skill points, ISK, hulls, capitals, supercapitals and even titans (and whole characters) devoted to playing this game. Someone from a womrhole cannot just up stumps and play their game, singly or en masse, without a lot of preparation, some experience and expense. Certainly it's not currently possible, with a few PESKY exceptions, to carve ut sov withut a lot of DPS to chew through EHP.

The people playing the current sov warfare game are staring at a cliff in the middle of the year and keanu Reeves is asleep, nay, dead at the wheel of the bus with his fot on the accelerator and the world is about the end.

Like, if you own a supercap pilot and hull, where are you feasibly going to use it? Or, for that matter, a dread? I-hubs don't need to be flipped, nor SBU's, TCU's. Nada. Nothing needs to be flipped, you just orbit it for 5 to 30 minutes, hope not to get ganked, and then it turns into factional fwarfare to all intents and purposes. Dropping a dread is pointless in a mobile fight dominated by Ishtars, Cerbs, orthrus, Caracal RLML gangs, etcetera. Same, more or less, for carriers, although a few hero triage carriers might drop on field.

So all these people with metric fucktonnes of ISK, treasure, blood and months-long skill trains under their belt are going to have to follow Fozzie's vision, pied piper style, and ship dwn into Svipuls. Except you can't in a supercarrier or titan.

I predict there will be a mass migration to lowsec of all capital classes, and it will become hectic in lowsec. Sov grinding will drive away the apex players, because the apex game can be now achieved with shitty alts and blobs that disappear at the drop of a cyno. Except for taking out cyno jammers (now irrelevant) or moon go POSs (which can be taken with a couple of dreads you shunt through a gate).

This, rightly, culd be the death knell of sov warfare in EVE. It's not going to be the same game, wth the same players, the same ships or the same tactics. It will be interesting to see who plays this game.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

11th March 2015

Yesterday, I got to play EVE properly for the first time in 10 days. I got 15 kills.

Two engagements were of note - the first of the day and the last.

First up, I found my way out to somewhere in the back blocks of Malpais, via a frig hole, in Brothers of Tangra space. Apparently PL's botlord renter alliance is still going strong despite some claiming it was disbanded. Carved up and sold-on to Shadow of xXDEATHXx and others, but a rump still remains. I carved off a chunk of that.

I took my shield buffer Svipul out to have a swing at a Procurer in a medium asteroid cluster. Of course, he magically teleported back to POS by the time I loaded grid at the wormhole (they say Fozzie is pondering delayed Local...like, please, at least let us load into system before we show in Local). I warped about system and as I got bored and left, the defence fleet rallied - a Corax landed 100km off the frigate sized wormhole. I burned out to meet him and he didn't try to escape - it soon became apparent why.

An Atron, Executioner and Malediction landed on the Corax, and thus me. I shot the Corax, then Atron, then Executioner, and noted an Anathema decloaking, whch I also shot....as 10 fighters popped up on grid. Now t made sense - the Corax had been expecting to have 2,000 Skynets worth of DPS, but I blapped him before the fighters could warp. So I finshed off the Anathema and tried to land short point on the Malediction, all while beng chased by angry fighters. Eventually I tired of the game, moved to speed mode, and burned 140km back to my wormhole. 5 + Skynet vs 1, 4 kills.

(interlude of more murders)

RUS Hour today was around 11 p.m. - getting pretty late for an unemployed bum who'd spent the best part of the day plastering his kitchen. It was also brought to me by Hansa Teutonica, a fairly bearish wormhole-dwelling alliance which loses a lot of mining barges. I had shot up a PI hauler earlier in the day and had pencilled hem in for a re-check later but hadn't got around to them.

One thing I've noticed lately s that the serous wormhole miners are moving from the anomalies into the relic sites, because some of them have an ore belt, and since they require probing down in order to get warp-ins, they are kind of like old-school ore belts in wormholes. Hansa Teutonica, I found at 10:52 p.m. WST was onto the caper, so  had to probe the relic site out ninja-style.

I tackled two retrievers in the Astero, and killed one before a Rattlesnake dropped on grid. I had seen the guy flying around in a Brutix, and was hoping to just gank the barges and shoot off, but...it was a Rattlesnake. But, then again, it was a Rattlesnake. I was faced with a problem of Gecko proportons, and had to make a choice. In fact, I moaned to myself "How the fuck am I supposed to do this?"

The answer was to reship TF into my active tanked tackle Loki and keep the Rattler on field. Given the Loki was 2 wormholes away, that was a tall order for an Astero, so I ended up doing drive-by tackles on him, moving into scram range only when he seemed to be wanting to leave. He did me a solid by not having Geckos, but using Hammerheads and Hobs, so i tanked him....barely, and managed to get the Loki in warp by the time my second AAR reload was eaten up. I swapped to the Loki for point....and then a Raven and Brutix got on field.

Time to reship the Astero.

My tackle loki has a Pith C-type large shield booster and cap booster. it was, on overheat, tank about 1200 DPS. I began to feed chillis into everything as i reshipped the Astero to my super sekrit 980 DPS gank loki (believe me, it exists) and trundled back. I kited away from the battleships and the Brutix, which I forced off field due to his reluctance to commit, so when my gank Loki came back to the target hole, I swung back into tackle range of the Raven, and dropped the gank Loki at zero. It went down like a sack of crap, dragging the Brutix back in to the fight in the process, which I dispatched back to POS in hull.

The Raven pilot had had enough and sat out the battle in a pod, but soon enough there was a Drake, Brutix and Rattlesnake vs two Lokis. I had to warp a Loki out and back on top of the Rattlesnake's sentries as we had kited off into optimal and my active Loki was struggling to tank. Drones dispatched I bounced off a planet and landed on the Drake, which I swiftly dealt with. Then I turned my attentions on the Rattlesnake....which tanked both by ships with ease. So I pulled away and exchanged good fights. 45 minutes of solid PVP and 3 kills, baked midslots everywhere and my last 6 cap 400's in the hold.

Of course, a minute later a corpmate signs in and asks why I'm up so late. Because I was obviously waiting for more DPS so i could murder the Rattlesnake....

Monday, 9 March 2015


I certainly could not play as much EVE as I do with my in-laws living in the same city as me.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Factiongty Warchanics

First, the Dev Blog behind this, and a reasonable TL;DR run-down from The Mittani.

The analysis?

Entosis Links
Besides the obvious soon-to-be released capability to 'hack' offline POSs which this opens up the possibilities of (if the Circadian Sleepers don't figure out, from observing sieges and attacking POSs, how to just clean up POS trash) this is a dull and not at all enthralling introduction of a new module to be deployed on alts and shitty noob toons who will be deployed with sov blobs. Because, let's be honest, no one likes being the cyno bitch, so we use cyno alts. No one likes being the link bitch, so we use link alts. Ergo, we will need to train Entosis Alts, or train our cyno alts to also be entosis alts so that when we go to ninja the sov we can light a cyno and call in the actual fleet.

The best part, really, is that playing hide the sausage with Entosis Links will replace structure grinds of sov modules. The old saying "play the game not the man" is reversed here.

Note that you can have multiple links cycling on the one system structure, at this point, from all sides. So you don't need one dedicated Entosis Link alt - bring a bunch, for redundancy's sakes. Similarly, the T2 Entosis link will have an activation proximity of 250km. This is as opposed to the T1 link, which will have a proximity of 25km so that BRAVE and other scrubby scrubs in Atrons get victimised.

This is good news for 10MN MWD Confessor sov snipers who, with proper links, will be able to kite at 200km with a T2 Entosis Link, capping sov in utter impunity. Don't anyone mention this, because we don't want gay kite fag mechanics to bleed from FW to Sov Warfare, no, not at all.

Sov Sabotage
I will also briefly mention that there seems to be an implication that you can use your Entosis link to sabotage station services. Like, say, clone bays, half an hour before a battle. This is interesting. it also, basically, throws open a whole gamut of interesting fight trolling possiblities for wormhole dwellers such as myself - got out, use a 0MN MWD Confessor in a quiet system, and sabotage a bunch of vital services. To get fights, of course.not because there's acres of dullsec with no people living in it and itinerant assholes can fuck everyone's lives over.

Capture the Flag Coming June 2015
This is just the introduction of 'capture the flag' capping mechanics. In fact, this hybridises the whole nullsec sov warfare system down towards a lowsec faction warfare style system. It will work something like this.

First you begin the capture process by taking ten minutes out of your day to begin a sov leeching exercise. If anyone's awake, they will undock a Tornado and blap your Imicus. If not, you succeed.

Once you have "sov lazored" the TCU, ten capture beacons get spawned in the constellation, with a difficulty level (read: Entosis leeching time sink) related to the sov level of the upgrades / indices present.

You and your foe then play whack-a-mole with the capture beacons. if you succeed in capping the ten beacons, the target system goes into Freeport Mode, and allies and foes get to play silly-buggers on undock until they get bored of Jita 4-4 Sim (copyright CCP games 1999-2015) .

Bragging Right Death Knell
The TCU and Ihub and Stations are all becoming independent of one another. You will no longer need a TCU active to anchor an Ihub or Station, and hence the TCU is just a claim of ownership - and the upkeep fees will be zero. The costs are shifted to Ihubs and Stations, meaning that it is basically irrelevant who claims the system as it costs nothing and confers no benefits.

In fact, it is arguable whether or not anyone would even want a flag planted so that everyone knows where your space is. Why not just not have a TCU at all and live secretly and nomadically off Ihubs which don't show up on a map?This really undermines the whole concept of sovereignty at it's most basic level - Ihubs and Stations can become like the Vatican City, really - self-contained entities within the sovereign borders of another state, with their own rules and taxes and conclaves of pedophiles hiding out from the law. Expect to see silly sov-holding alliances formed (sillier than today's at least) to hold title to systems within which others live and work.

The Upside
Sounds good, I suppose. Devolve giant structure grind fights into ten smaller individual conflicts spread out amongst the constellation.Give real benefit for highly upgraded space owned by active corporations and alliances and throw open the vastly underutilised wastelands of renter space to smaller entities who want to leech space or plant a flag.

Give people the ability to go covert and live in stations within systems owned by joke alliances on a map which disintegrates and balkanises into a confusing melange of meaningless shell corporations, alliances and the like.

This will provide more fluid battles, more skirmishing, less utility in just blobbing the utter living fuck out of a station with 80 Titans to flip the timer in 5 minutes, which we can all agree is a Good Thing(tm). Certainly, unless the recent soft nerf to the Ishtar and Bouncer are effective, Ishtar producers can look forward to a profitable second half of 2015 as more and more ishtar skirmish fleets will be deployed.

The Wrinkle
However, the wrinkle in the pie is this - there is an owner-defined vulnerable time called the Prime Time. It is, currently, a 4 hour window which the defender (let's say, a Russian rental empire) sets to coincide with the time during which they are online and active.

So, let's say your Russian botlords have a fully upgraded constelation, number hundreds of players, and are not all just coward instadocking carrier or Mackinaw alts/bots. Their space will be four times as hard (read: long) to make vulnerable. It will then be sixteen times harder to dislodge them due to the leverage of a fully upgraded constellation, because they get time-efficiency benefits essentially, related to their upgrade level. Plus, if your attacker is, say, a US based and dominated alliance, their prime time doesn't overlap at all and so no one will be awake at 4 a.m. to take out the sov of the Russians.

The upside of this, for AU alliances, is the timers are all synched to the Prime Time vulnerability window, so it'll no longer be the case as it has been that the Aussies do the initial RF and the UK-US get the fights. The Antipodean curse is lifted....and replaced with a new one which says that after June, no Aussies will be able to effectively steal meaningful sov. 

The Impact
This has immediate implications for nullsec, right now.

The obvious one is that there's going to be three months in which to grind sov if you want it. After this hits, if your foe has upgraded space you will need to devote huge amounts of time and resources to displodging them due to the time leverage upgraded space confers.

Secondly, it is no longer good enough to upgrade one key dead-end system in a dead-end constellation. The command nodes can spawn anywhere and their difficulty runs off the local system level. hence a fully upgraded dead end surrounded by wasteland space will be easy to flip. Alliances will need to make decisions on upgrading key constellations as bastion space, not just key systems. This will set the tone for any potential warfare because unoccupied, undefended constellations will be more easily defeated and hard to defend.

Thirdly, station services and sabotage attacks will be key - and given the speed at which un-upgraded space can be sabotaged (as little as 15 minutes) I foresee a lot of softening-up attacks. For instance, knocking out the repair or fitting services in stations will be an early goal, to knacker the foe's ability to dock, refit and undock reparired ships indefinitely.

My opinion?

Firstly, the 250km 10MN MWD sov snipers, if no one mentions them, will be hilarious. I think we need to see these come into the game and be abused horribly because kitefags and ships deploying oversized MWD's etc need to be addressed in a general sense, and maybe this is the way to do it - hit the nulltards where it hurts with sabotaged stations caused by uncatchable kitefag Confessors.

Secondly, I like the idea of devolving sov from EHP to time based gameplay. I think the balance will come with the choices about the length of time for a capture event, the handling of the ships and fits abusing the Entosis Links, and the strategic mathematics behind upgrading. This is a better choice than simply putting more EHP in front of a foe and winning via boredom - in fact, it may result in the goals of the exercise being achieved - turn nullsec sov from a machine run by the biggest engines with the biggest horsepwoer into one run by the best PVPers, the best skirmishers and the most dedicated attackers.

However, I think that the Prime Time mechanic really has the possibility of stagnating large areas of nullsec and causing fights and occupancy based entirely on the nationality, hemisphere and language base of the owner. There's nothing an Aussie alliance can do to flip a UK alliance's sov without the game of sov becoming a 2 a.m. shitfest. It's basically that simple, and that stark. Your only option is to maybe snipe a contest that's going on past the initial vulnerability window, once the attacker (working the EU timezone) and defender (EU timezone) get bored and go to bed, and their US timezone allies also go to bed, leaving you, the poor cunts in Australia or Asia, to attempt a ninja capping before the server goes down and the EU wakes up.

I will look forward to seeing what PESKY does, come June.