Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Microgangs. Whut?

We have all seen corporate recruitment spiels on the EVE-O forums about corporations being "small gang PVP". Whatever that is, it depends on the eye of the beholder, but the general consensus at which everyone is comfortable calling a gang small is around 6-8.

of course, reducto absurdum advocates have found the gap between small gang and solo PVP (in a non-lowsec "solo" PVP meta where you need a GTFO Falcon and a link alt for true solo PVP) and they have filled it with the concept of the "micro gang".

What a micro gang is, to me, is a way of advertising the fact that you would do small gang PVP but lack the numbers. This is therefore a concept created by people who lack the ability to organically organise a corporation into anything much at all, or are having a hard time recruiting, or their 80-man corp is composed entirely of AFK toons who've un-subbed but they haven't booted them because it looks bad to have a corp of 12 toons and makes recruitment more difficult.

These are essentially zombie corporations where the survivors of an apocalypse of lapsed subscriptions keep the shell of the reputation shambling around. They probably get recruits every now and then based on their reputation, earned long ago with deeds and members long since passed and dead and subbed off. People join them, find out it's not as advertised, and quit again.

Examples of small and micro-gang zombie corporations are;

R3d Fire who is beating the micro-gang drum fairly hard right now (basically it's Tim nering and alt, and itinerants who seem to log on once a week). Average gang size is about 4 - probably the upper limit of "micro-gang".

Adhocracy - 291 toons but only 34 showing up on killboards in any month, and firmly a small gang PVP corp judging by the average involved being around about 8. Lot of corpses there, shuffling around, propped up by 250-odd dead toons and dead accounts.

There are many more.

While I think that the idea of micro gangs is naff and useless in the majority of applications - it's like a small gang where half of you signed off or went AFK - the term does hit its stride in a few cases where, for example, you have a very constricted entry and limited mass to bring through the hole and you still want to take the fight.

One example of a real micro-gang engagement i can recall seeing was Isogen 5 vs Krannon of Sherwood. iso 5 brought a pair of Moros, a Naglfar a Bhaalgorn and a Loki in against Krannon's escalation fleet, wiped the floor and Zoidberged out of there.

That's a micro gang because the choice was for Iso 5 to drop a shitload of T3's and Logi onto the same target, or to roll in with 3 dreads and absolutely minimal support, in a one-way trip through a single hole. It's the ultimate YOLO.

Calling yourself micro-gang when you've got 3 cruisers and are hunting any given low-class system through the usual set of wormholes is taking a bit of a lend. You fly 4 cruisers because tht's all you can field due to numbers. Or small gang wise, you fly 8 because that's all you've got. You don't make a choice to leave behind 20 toons and other players and restrict yourself in any way and not blob the fuck out of your foes - we all would, if we could, let's be honest.

So that's my take on micro-gang meta - a euphemism for zombie corps and small corps without enough members. And on that measure, Sudden Buggery is a small to medium gang corporation.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Missile Debalance Module

Do you ever watch someone about to do something really, really stupid? Then they change their mind and do something really really stupid but also really pointless at the same time?

That's CCP with the new Missile Guidance Modules.

You are welcome to delve deeply into the threadnaught if you so wish, but I warn you, there's a lot of hirsute necks quoting formulas at each other and getting wildly different results because, apparently, math is hard. They then argue back and forth like whiny tards for pages.

I put my 2c in there, which is basically pointing out that these modules are going to unbalance the game in so many ways it is ridiculous. We saw this with the proliferation of drone buff modules resulting in increasing one-way bets on drones, the end result of which was Skynet carriers becoming out of control to the point where all you needed to defend your home against everyone forever was a Garmur with faction point - the Firbolgs would do the rest with intense speed, unbelievable tracking, and 2,100 DPS. The IShtar became god mode ridiculous, outclassing every other ship in the game, and the Gila and Rattlesnake became stupid stronk.

There is a genuine risk of the God Mode baton being passed to the ships with existing range bonuses to missiles  - Talwar, Jackdaw, Orthrus, Cerberus, Barghest - or existing application buffs, which is the Typhoon.

One thing I continually harp on about, while trying to herd by alliance's training queue decisions and purchasing habits for ships, is damage projection being king.

Take the following scenario with two friendly ships (black dots) shooting an enemy ship (red).

The enemy ship's weapon range is the red circle, which you don't want to get within because you cannot tank it. This is a common kiting situation for small gang (aka "microgang"), and for dealing with large, powerful, immobile and dangerous foes (such as carriers and battleships).

Short range guns (orange) mean that if you are separated in space and one of you gets tackled, you cannot assist your friend without spending time motoring toward him and getting within the enemy's weapon range. In a game where, for example, you have 60K EHP and are suffering 500 DPS, 30 seconds of travel to get within range and apply your own DPS will probably see one of you die. If ou then get tackled by your enemy, your second ship may die too.

Using long range weapons (green), even if slightly less powerful, means firstly, you can shoot the enemy beyond his own weapon range, to weaken him even if he is going to eventually run you down and get tackle. Additionally, the second ship can also add it's DPS to the fight without taking damage, even if the first ship is tackled. Finally, if the first ship dies, the second ship gets to fire at the foe as the foe closes on it, which may weaken it enough to prevail.

Of course, yes, in a game of hypothetical rock-paper-scissors-lizard-spock, you can say "but what if the foe can tank your ships" etc, like a Sleipnir. Well, having kitey, long range projection allows one or both ships to escape even if they cannot win.

Thus, the issue which will arise with the missile guidance computers is going to be HAM Orthrus with 650 DPS to 70-80km. Just add a paint and web ship like all good anano gangs do, and shit is going to get skwerly. Or even damage buffed HML Cerberus, 580 DPS to the edge of the grid.

Remember, the above diagram is not scaled. If you are looking at long range turret ships, like Instacanes, you are looking at 50km effective optimal with pissweak damage, beyond which you're hoping for wrecking shots. Most Instacanes fall off the perch at 80km.

With the missile modules, Cerbs and Orthrus will fire to 150km plus with no falloff and uniform, predictable damage. Also, remember, damage application will increase overall due to a four-way buff. They will also, if tackled or under threat at short range, have no tracking issues. Thus the damage projection equations which are consuming so much time on the forums are, to my mind, almost secondary to the real problem for gang and fleet combat, which is ensuring damage projection for missiles doesn't get out of control because it will come with a commensurate buff to application in the same package.

The real kicker is also if you do use a set of ships with absolute dominance in damage projection, which can out-range every opponent, they don't need tank. When people figure out how to fight without tank, at extreme range, you end up with Slippery Pete doctrines. it's only a matter of time before this comes to missile boats as well in some form.

Caveat emptor.

A Game of Sieges

This weekend seems to have been one of evictions, or at leastextortions. In the end it seems Dura Lexx hasn't evicted Balcora; they were just in it to get a fight, which is fine. None of this forces me to resile from the previous position that it's terrible manners to invite people along and then leave them strung out to die and not bring a serious effort. Either way, PoVar got a slew of kills, knocked over a POS and is no doubt off to terrorise another bunch of hapless morons.

The second siege is still ongoing - Arctic Light and their bizarre friends in Nosferatu Security Foundation versus Mind Collapse / Maythorn / POS Party / friends who are defending Mind Collapse's C4 pulsar.

This one seems a bit more SRS BSNS; Arctic Light brought, I am told, 16-20 Rattlesnakes and 8 Basilisks (plus unknown support, but presumably some Huginns or Rapiers). nosferatu came later, and probably isn't bringing much to any PVP situation. After all, they only ever shoot relic hunters (rarely) or incapped POSs. I'd hate to actually look them up on a KB and see them shooting ships - it would mean they got out of their POS forcefield.

We got an invite to attend some timers last night AU TZ to defend Mind Collapse's weakest couple of RF'ed towers. It ran into a dinner date I had planned, and some nights herding BUGRY is like herding very pouty POSsiege averse cats. Plus, we had done our siege for the weekend, and done our Pulsar suicide YOLO for the weekend, and in the end it seemed like the timer went uncontested anyway because it was boiling down to 15+ per side Rattlers + Machariels + Scorpion navy Issues (whut) + 10+ Basilisks a side + trash. We weren't needed for that mexican standoff aside from time zone suitability.

But back to our siege. One of my guys ran a PI hole for himself on an alt; C2 with Z647/B27, decent planets no effects. He caught the Dick Virus infection a few months ago and has been murdering explorers, sometimes at the rate of 5 a day, ever since. Eventually his thinking got around to how cool it would be for him to live in a C3 Red Giant, but he needed to find one with a highsec static (to better lure in itinerant explorers) and decent PI.

We found one last week, and inserted an alt. The POS was decently, if oddly, defended. Six neuts online sort of says "here be dragons" anti-capital POS. It also kind of nobbles the defences for other purposes. Either way, with low numbers in any timezone now I expelled non-performing corporations from the Alliance - not that they ever did anything with the alliance anyway - we had to fall back to cruise Ravens and our sekrit Trashcat doctrine, and thus we warped in at 230km and prepared to spend hours spider tanking while tossing missiles down range.

Luckily, it seems the locals fucked up the aggression settings, so it never shot back.We RFed the stick (no hardeners, cheers) and swapped to oracles, nibbling away at the online guns over the next 36 hours before the guy signed in and started evaccing assets. Even early a.m., we started interdicting the holes (a bit late possibly) and set about making his gun repping efforts dicey.

When I signed in, he convoed me, and we got him on our comms. Thankfully decency and commonsense prevailed on both sides, and within short order half the POCOs and half the capitals in system were transferred over and a couple of hours of beating up on the POS were avoided.

So we will see what happens in Mind Collapse's C4, but I honestly think it's got so escalated and ridiculous that a diplomatic solution might be on the horizon. But that depends on who has the ego and boredom to pursue further cycles of sieging and repping, and whether or not Arctic Light and their bitchboy POS bash enthusiast backup really want the hole, or just want a fight.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Marauding Russians

I am happy to batphone when I need more warm bodies to take a fight - not to blob the shit out of sme poor shmuck. I am also happy to respond to batphones in the same way. However, there's always a risk you will be given bad information, by bad people, and get into a bad situation.

Sometimes, though, you do feel a little like the fall guy.

To my mind, the least courtesy you can show when people turn up to help defend your wormhole from marauding Russians (literally 5 Marauders) is to put in a decent and put your own ships on the line.

What we had last night was the second night of batphones from Balcora Gatekeepers alliance (basically, Astral Inferno and scrubby friends of theirs) being extorted/evicted from their C4 Pulsar by Dura Lexx. Dura Lexx had a smallish fleet (10-14) centred around a core of 5-6 very blinged Marauders. They had RFed a medium POS, and the timer came out quite late in our timezone, and early RUs Hour timezone - so a good time for Russians, not so good for US-AU people.

Nevertheless, we formed a fleet around LSE Svipuls, bosting Tengu and 4 Scimitars. The theory was, based on intel recieved from Balcora, and the previous night's fight, they would drop the Marauders, which had ASB's. A Marauder in bastion is a closed system - beyond Nos energy, no tank comes in and you have what yu've got, which is obviously a lot. But it's a finite pool of cap boosters, at a finite rate of tanking, for a finite pool of hitpoints. So you just burn through it, and hence, the key is essentially to remain alive long enough.

So we rolled 10 Svipuls, 4 Scimi's, a Worm, 2 Curses. Balcora agreed to drop some DPS and logi n field too and had 10 guys in fleet, and promises of a Bastion bomber wing coming in the Q003 they had opened into Bastion space.

The problem wasn't that Dura Lexx had a surprise log-in group of Osprey and Basilisk (again, irrelevant to a bastioned marauder), it was that our supposed allies in this fight didn't drop nto grid wih anything serious. Like, one bomber, ne cane and one Falcon - because ECM works n marauders so well.

I got the distinct impression that they were fuckheads, and/or this was an elaborate trap (after all the Russians were rolling RLML Tengus, suspiciously), or we were just supposed to deal with their problems without them getting their hands dirty.

Regardless, I didn't see a concerted input from Balcora. If they had put ten DPS ships on field - decent ones, with decent tank, not paper thin useless bombers and ECM bats which just die like flies to Marauders - the Vargur would have died, and if you can crack the Vargur you can easily crack the Golems. Instead, we lost a few Svipuls, a Curse, and our logi.

I tell you this, dear readers, because two things are clear: Balcora Gatekeepers cannot be trusted to pull their weight, and Balcora Gatekeepers cannot defend themselves. Do with those facts what you will.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Bewitching DPS

RIP Enyo doctrine

1650 DPS in C4 Wolf-Rayets. About 2K in C6's / C13's. You can pull 900 with 125mm rails.

Tank is OK. OK enough for Augoror + Hecate ratting gangs.

The hurfing and blurfing on the forums is centred around the obsolescence of assault frigates. Realistically, our Enyo + Execquror gangs are now basically cactused by the T3D's, which bring better flexibility and EWAR capabilities.

There's also a lot of cocern about the raw DPS. In nullsec and in non-FW lowsec it won't be so bad, due to 800 DPS being at ball-touching ranges. In wormholes where you can drop a gank gang at zero (or close enough to zero) on an enemy with surprise, however, it's going to be the choice du jour for ganking. It will also obviously be a great way of squatting FW complexes like a toad, although you probably will run away from Vexors in mediums due to the neuting and drones and your larger sig radius.

Is it balanced? Well, that depends if you are talking Svipul-ishtar balanced or osprey navy-Jackdaw balanced. I guess time will tell, but my instinct is to say....broadly, yes. Niche gank ship.

Transcendental retardation

Join prolapse. they said.

Get wormhole PVP they said.

Become part of a barely not even "elite" wormhole alliance, become one of the brotherhood, enjoy gaming with other tragic space nerds in as stress-free and dramafree environment as you can, away from the crazy doctrines and ego-defeating giant blobs of nullsec, in an environment where individual pilot skills and dedication can shine through, where ever member of the gang is vital and every member pulls their weight.

Get told it's Burn Amarr.

Get told not to fly your freighter to Amarr.

Do it anyway.

Predictable results.

Get called a retarded shitcunt and you can fuck off out of alliance.

I mean...standards have to be upheld, and no one shall ever put up with a guy joining alliance and dunking a 4.8 billion ISK spaceship within hours of doing so.

You see...that is something even semi-competent industrialists don't do.
#1, it had more than a billion ISK worth of shit in a cargo-expanded un-tanked Providence. You don't even do that on a normal day, as it's a goddamn suicide gank risk on a normal day.
#2 - It's Burn Amarr. Few people join actual wormhole PVP alliances to PVP when they don't have a fucking clue about larger meta-game events like this. It's not been going for 4 days or nothin' either.
#3 - He was told on comms not to do it and did it anyway.

So, that's how you dunk the biggest fucking loss on the alliance killboard. It's also how you run up against standard of conduct. In my book, this is one: do not fucking lose freighters. Full stop.

if you can afford to blow that much shit in a freighter being a fucking shitcunt retard it should be done on an alt. Which is to say, an anonymous shitlord toon you can deny owning.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Tiercide and the passive tanking design flaw

This time, module tiercide is occurring on shield power relays, shield rechargers and shield flux coils.

There are continuing issues with these three modules, because you only ever use the shield power relays (SPR's).In essence, the way passive tanking works is to create as large a pool of hitpoints as possible, then create a reasonably large recharge rate, and have decent EHP per second tank.

Therefore, the key is to distinguish between raw hitpoints per second (RHP) and effective hitpoints per second (EHP). You can have high EHP/s and RHP, or both can be low (ie; a piss-poor passive tank).

The influence of sig radius on passive tanks is also of concern, obviously, given the sig radius drawback of rigs, and is mentioned in passing in reference to T3 destroyers which get a sig bonus. You may have decent EHP/s tank, but if your sig radius is gigantic (as it will be) you cop larger weapon damage a lot and low raw hitpoints risk being alpha'd off.

There are therefore six module types which can create good passive tanks, if you include power diagnostics, all types of resistance amplifiers, and shield extenders.

Extenders (and extender rigs) just increase raw hitpoints. Pretty obvious. You use this to increase buffer and hitpoint pool, and keep recharge rate constant, thus increasing RHP and EHP tank.

Power diagnostics can be used to help with passive tanking, given they increase shield hitpoints and recharge, but also because their capacitor bonuses offset negatives gained from SPR's. For large enough pools of shield hitpoints, PDS's themselves can effectively replace SPR's. PDS's can therefore have a massive effect on the efficiency of buffer tanked ships - say, Rattlesnakes and the like.

Resistance modifying modules and rigs, obviously, increase resistance in the shield. So, for a given pool of shield hitpoints, with a fixed recharge rate of X hp/s, if you increase the shield resistance enough the effective hitpoints per second becomes an efficient EHP passive tank for a low RHP.

Rechargers give you a smaller, flat percentage bonus to shield recharge rate (ie; reduces the recharge time and hence, your pool of shield hitpoints regenerates faster) but you are giving up a midslot which could be used to increase hitpoints via a shield extender, increase effective hitpoints via better resists thereby making a smaller recharge rate more effective than it otherwise would, or fit utility modules (scram, web, etc).

Purger rigs are worth a mention, as they increase recharge rate at the expense of signature radius. This is nominally not a problem outside of, sometimes, Pulsar wormholes, where you stack extra sig radius onto your ship. For small ships it's worth considering the sig radius with passive fits might end up being so gigantic it counteracts the benefits entirely - especially with MWD's on. 

Shield flux coils nerf your overall buffer but increase recharge rate.So you lose raw and effective hitpoints, but gain back recharge rate. The nett result is a nett benefit to recharge rate.

Shield power relays nerf your capacitor recharge rate (ie; make it slower to regen) but increase shield recharge rate (shorten).

Now, the whole passive tanking philosophy is one of trade-offs. The only real modules to use, unfortunately, are the SPR's, PDS's, extenders and extender rigs, and resistance modifiers.

The reason you don't use a recharger in almost any fit which isn't utterly CPU constrained, is that you are trading off either a resist buff or hitpoint buff in order to get higher recharge per second. here's why;
Assume you have 10,000 raw hitpoints and 600s recharge, with 0% across the board resists, and are deciding on an invul field (eg; 30% resist bonus for simplicity's sakes) or a recharger with 15% resist bonus. The passive tank raw is 16 hp/s. With 30% resists the effective hitpoint tank goes to 20.8. 15% recharge bonus goes to 19.6. Therefore you will choose better resists to give a better EHP tank with a lower RHP tank. 

Thereafter, the choice between a recharger and extra extenders is never made in favour of a recharger, which is pretty obvious because the recharger merely adds small amounts of RHP and smaller EHP/s, whereas an extender would add more RHP and even more EHP....and because you already have a recharge rate, the extra raw hitpoints also therefore increase the RHP and EHP per second passive tank. 

The reason you don't use a set of flux coils instead of SPR's is the nerf to raw hitpoints (ie; buffer). Nominally, yes, you are 10% better off using a T2 flux coil because the recharge rate bonus is so much higher, and compensates for the loss in buffer. However, as shown above, RHP/s tank is nearly meaningless, and SFC's also work counter to adding any buffer in the mids, excpet on small EHP ships with oversized extenders (LSE Svipul).

For example, if you have added extenders and resists in the mids (and obviously forsworn rechargers because they are not as efficient as adding more extenders or resists) why would you work against that choice by adding flux coils?

These are the reasons why passive tanking in all situations relies exclusively on SPR's, extenders, resists and shoe-ins from the DCU and occasionally the PDS. Capacitor stability is an issue, but you can get around that with passive resistance modules versus invuls, or by adding a small or medium nosferatu in a utility high.

This is tried and tested in eleven years of EVE, and yet CCP seems to think that in tierciding these modules, there's any use at all for rechargers and flux coils. The problem is purely mechanical insofar as the mechanism of creating a passive tank is simply: add buffer, then add resists, then add recharge. You don't ever choose to reduce buffer at any point.

Therefore, flux coils need to change, and rechargers can be discarded. I'm yet to see a fit where a recharger actually makes sense except perhaps a rattlesnake fit up to take on weak rats - ie; you can sacrifice midslot resists and extenders for a low buffer, high recharge setup and devote lows to DPS buffs. A pretty narrow and dangerous choice to make.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Admiral Ahab Scientific Method Espauldron

Sudden Buggery, and I, take our medals very seriously.

For instance, anyone who get trapped in nullsec and manages to hump it home in a ship without probes, gate to gate, gets the Medallion du Creek Le Merde, forever commemorating their bravery "For expeditious retreat from deep oh-point-oh and deep doo-doo. The golden wings of the eagle represent the streak of luck the recipient had in avoiding Mr Bubbles."

Every person on an orca kill gets the Nishin Maru Employee of the Month award. it can be very expensive for the corporation, at 5M ISK a pop, to kill an orca. Sometimes 75M in medals. But it's worth it because everyone enjoys the prestige not only from the delicious killmail but from the bling on their e-chest.

If you die because your child comes into your room and takes control of your computer and undocks you in lowsec, resulting in you being killed and podded, you get the Flight Commander Wiggles Merit Badge so that all may know your kids are secretly out to kill you.

Likewise, if you are too busy gloating about a killmail to realise you are a suspect and hence get bumped off station and murdered, you get the ignominous Dead Gloat Roundell.

other fuckups may earn you the Dresden Tubgirl Medallion, if you kill yourself with your own bomb, or the Doctor Botter's Patented AFK Deathwish if you die while autopiloting through lowsec.

Of course, some are for extreme gallantry, such as sacrificing your ship to save the life of your brazenly balls-out CEO as he does something amazingly stupid. Your loss of a ship, in saving the life of the CEO, earns you the Pedobear Distraction Star.

Today, finally, I got to award the previously un-awardable Admiral Ahab Scientific Method Espauldron, the most prized of all medals in Sudden Buggery. This is for killing the most rare of beasts, which is the Rorqual.

Today, I awarded this to Miskoranda. Like any tale in EVE, there's always a bit of a lead-in of unfortunate or unlikely events which results in unlikely kills.

It began late last night. I was alone, just me and my two toons, with shitty statics, full of Mind Collapse and various other people I didn't particularly want to tangle with solo. So I set about rolling the statics and K162's in the Mullet Hole using patented faggy rolling legions. Cloaky, nullified 100MN higgsed T3's is the neckbeard's choice in rolling stock. So I rolled Miskoranda out into a C4 because I fucked up and the mass of the hole was a bit skwerly. It had a H900 and X877 static, so i probed my way into the X877 and it, too, had X-H connections. It was 11:25 p.m. so I said fuck this for a joke and went to bed.

Logged on this morning and in the C4 I was stuck in there's 2 Tengus, Rattlesnake and Vargur bearing it up. I had the H900, so figured, fuck it I have to tryto get these boys, and jumped the C5. Probed it out, got a D792 to hisec 2 jumps from Amarr, and rang the batphone (being as the statics from the Mullet Hole were shit, the rest of Prolapse was shit out of luck). Maythorn picked up, and burned 7 jumps with a fairly kitchen sink fleet. We tried for the Vargur, et al., and failed, so I said "ets try nullsec."

It exited in 97-M96 in Branch. The sole ishtar in system basically insta-POSed, so we went nextdoor and shotgunned the Hubs. Being in cruisers, we missed a Gila by a bee's dick. I started beating up a tractor unit and then Humang said "uh...a Rorqual landed at station. I think it's off station."

"Yeah, it'll be in dock range."

"Uh...no. i think you should get over here."

So I did, and handily whored the killmail.

I've been trying for a Rorq kill for years. Literally it has become my great white whale. I've been 2500m away from pointing a Roqual at one stage, but until now, never got to even shot anything at one.

Admiral Ahab Scientific Method Espauldron unlocked.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Squashed squad warps

They are at it again. This time, Fozzie has fingered CCP Larrikin to be the fall guy for proposing the idea that you will soon not be able to fleet or wing or squad warp to probe results, bookmarks, or (if you are a nerdbear) some mission objective. (le source du jour)

This is a fairly huge nerf to the way a lot of people play this game. Some people will not be able to survive this change. There are already people threatening to quit playing, it's that bad. (j/k, people threaten to ragequit over every change).

I'm not talking about the small gang guys - often you have a scout or hero tackle or some brave Garmur pilot being a kitefag cunthole on grid getting tackle ahead of your gang. In this scenario, people can just pile through the gate / wormhole whatever and warp themselves to the brave and likely suicidal soul. So you'll still be able to go YOLOceptor a carrier in nullsec and have your gang straggle onto grid, versus what happens now, which is everyone either gets cold warped off the gate / hole by the FC or aligns first.

However, there are some implications beyond the fact that multi-corp alliances in wormhole space will table flip or merge corps to avoid ridiculous BM propagation times (apparently related to the number of BM's you have in your library. so I wonder if my 2400 POS Bm's are holding us all back?) and the inability for people to push gang members around systems even at the squad level, which is how someone who has the bookmarks herds around people who don't. This just got stupidly harder. Thanks CCP.

Some more subtle implications:

Slippery Petes will find it really hard to exist in a battlefield where their FC can't yank them about the field like a flock of evil albatross. Likewise, bombers (the supposed and avowed target of the nerf).

Similarly, nano fleets will suffer badly, because a good nanofleet relies in part on being pushed around a collection of bookmarks off the gate or celestial, or being warped en-masse to a set range off a tackle ship.

I mean, i can see why CCP is doing this. Remember how i said that this is a uge nerf to the way a lot of people play this game? What i mean is the way people play this game is very passive. They POS spin and await a few intrepid scouts to find them content. They station spin and await a ping on jabber. They hump a BLOPs pig in a staging system and await one of several baits to get bitten, and then up goes the cyno, in comes the Jabber ping, a scout speaks up on comms, and they hop through, get in fleet, etc etc.

The passivity doesn't end there in a game dominated by big fleets with fleet warps; you get dragged gate to gate by someone else's mouse clicks. You get warped from A to B to C, you press F1, you broadcast. You get your shiny killmails or wake up in station, job done, game layed. Yawn. Boring. You learn nothing, you do fuck all, you experience very little and you exist in this really rather boring passive fluffy void of experience, letting it all happen to you.

So, yes, CCP should be working to improve the gaming experience. I can see how the wormhole community will be hit hard. Certain half-deaf, half-blind entirely passive people in my alliance will struggle as I tell them where to go. They'll have to read siggy, grok it's knowledge, parse the route, get to the correct system in the correct ship in their own time and not fuck up. They'll have to have fleet window open to catch the "WWW" from the scout as he decloaks his hero tackle.

They will land on grid piecemeal (no socialised warp speed in squad now). The defenders, n grid, might have the advantage.
They will have to sort their watchlists. They will have to learn to fly properly, not just land on grid and sit still, passively, expecting the situation to be locked down and the enemy half fucked.

Then again, less enemies will escape. Without squad warps, enemy FC's and squad commanders won't be able to attempt an emergency GTFO squad or fleet warp which will clear grid off instantly, saving the whole fleet in one mouse click. People will have to be paying attention to save their own dumb arses. Considering how dumb a lot of those arses can be, there's going to be ships assploded a lot.

But yes. BL and HK are going to have to find a new way of doing Slippery Petes. I'm sure they'll figure it out.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Pilfercats Strike Again

There is nothing more frustrating in EVE, and a worse time sink, than anchoring and onlining a large POS with 40 EWAR batteries, 30 guns and internal gumf. That is a good three to four hours work.

Unanchoring goes a lot faster, thankfully. However the process if fraught with danger, as the lads at YOLO factor found out yesterday when they were trying to jack down their large Caldari tower. It had about the above amount of gear on it when we found it, and it was all offlined besides 2 small artillery batteries. There was a lone SMA and a lone CHA.

We didn't think much of this discovery until, whilst passing through to buy catalyst silo's for my new project (more on that in a later post), I noticed 4 Iterons on d-scan. So I went to check the situation and discovered two of the Iterons outside of the POS unanchoring and scooping the guns. Well, mostly unanchoring.

Initially I just deployed the Pilfercat and started stealing the guns as they unanchored them. They didn't seem to notice a Prowler popping up on grid 10km from them for a few seconds at a time as, like a thieving little piranha, I stole 6 small beams in a drive-by fashion. Mostly full, and with the enemies clearly oblivious to everything, I dropped the prowler at POS and came back in the 10MN Worm, murdering two of the Iterons.

We then went about our normal business for a good 5 hours, until passing through to go buy a whole new large Blood tower for myself from Jita (ironically with a similar fit to theirs, cheers for the guns), I noticed more Iterons on scan. They had successfully scooped the remainder of the guns and were working on their last cluster of EWAR. I murdered two more Iterons and we stole another 12 EWAR batteries.

06:21 Trinkets friend> Thanks for the guns, guys!
06:21 Vulkan Vuld> fuck you


Friday, 5 June 2015

Meet the Buggers #2 - Erik Bear Man

The second in my random series of biopics about my corp members is about Erik Mercade.

He started playing EVE  in February, and did a bit of research on how to make money, what ships to fly, what he wanted to do. He came into the game with a pretty good vision of how he wanted to play it, which is always a good thing, considering EVE is such a gritty sandbox. Often newbros can get woefully distracted by the plethora of options, then get confused, then get disillusioned as they waste time and skill training doing things which they never really get good at or complete.

Erik came to BUGRY with basic frig skills, barely any cruiser skills, and we got him straight into the Newbro Experience - flying Mauluses into battle, trying not to die, and got him straightened up on a path toward the Gila, Execquror and Enyo.

Within the first week, he was involved in a capital gank in nullsec, flying his maulus into battle and not even knowing what a sensor damp really did, or how to pilot the ship. Going from a couple of weeks of hisec exploration to 80 people on grid and 100km of bubbles in one go was it; he was hooked.

The thing about EVE, being an MMO, is that it occurs in the real world. The real world is as full of surreal tales as EVE.

Yesterday on comms, Erik suddenly pipes up "Holy shit, there's a brown bear looking in my window."
"No shit. There's a young bear looking in my window. it's like, 5 feet away."
"Holy shit!"
"I'm just...going to...close the window...with my foot."

I started recording, cheerfully advising him that at least we'd have his death screams on comms as the bear ate his legs off. We're tight like that in BUGRY.

The next night, the guys from Animal Control in the town where he lives in north-western United States come around to ask questions. They apparently then drank some beer. And then one of them tried to sign Erik up to life insurance via his brother's insurance company.

I guess this makes sense. If you are being stalked by bears, it's probably worth at least considering life insurance.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Innovations in hole rolling

The Higgs rig has certainly been a nonevent in the battleship arena for us. There is almost no valid reason to toss a Higgs rig on a battleship. To my mind, people mistake the risk factors of rolling a wormhole.

I lost a rolling panther last month, to a personal fuckup related to a phone call, a corp admin/corp roles event distracting me, and having been at the task of probing myself out of a K346 hole for 2.5 hours while being chased by BRAVE. No matter, I've still got 4 more of these paperweights clogging up my inventory. The risk of a rolling BLOPs is it's shininess, because it addresses all the real risk factors.

The real risk factor of rolling is being spotted, either by a scout lurking the hole, or on d-scan.  That's it. End of story.

Nothing can prevent you being heard jjumping a hole by someone cloaked on the hole.

A Panther addresses at least part of this by being cloaked for the majority of it's run back to the hole. A Higgs battleship exacerbates this by being on d-scan a long time, swinging in the breeze, moving very slowly. A web on you, and you're fucked.

The next risk factor is being caught with double-tap after you jump home. A Panther also help address this risk factor by being able to cloak-MWD and move at 1200m/s under cloak, once you jump home. You can also cloak-MJD and escape, perhaps. Higgs BS, not so much.

However, Higgs cruisers are becoming a big thing. We are (or should be) all aware of the rolling HICtor mechanics, with double-bubble or indeed up to hexabubble HIC fits used to drop the outbound mass and maximise the inbound mass during rolling so that you properly collapse the hole. Higgs rigs allow cruisers, such as the Maller, to simulate this but also to pack enough mass that they become efficient hole rollers by themselves.

For example, you can quite easily get a Higgs Maller to around 124Kt in mass with a 100MN prop mod and a Higgs rig. This is just shy of the 150Kt of a BS under propulsion module. Without the prop mod the Higgs Maller is 28-30Kt depending on whether you plate it or not. Thus, you can do around 150kt total mass damage with a cold-hot pass or if you go hot-hot 250kt, so with 8 cruisers you'll get the mass of the hole crushed. With shitty enough disposable alts on hand,  in a cruiser that costs around 12M ISK, you can get to a position where you can just throw these fuckers through hostile holes and not give a shit if they die in a fire.

The ultimate is of course the Fagroller T3, which is a cloaky nullified T3 with an oversized prop mod and a Higgs rig. They cost about 450M ISK and do the same mass damage as a Higgs Maller and you can probe your way out of dodge if you fuck up.You are cloaked, nullified...what more do you want?

Of course, there's nothing wrong with rolling in vanilla T1 battleships. They are plenty fine and efficient as they are, they are just a bit riskier. The question is of course whether you can afford the extra risk, or maybe want the rare fight that rolling brings, or whether losing a ship ever would cause you to quit EVE and Q.Q on the forums.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Altar of Bob Podcast

Altar of Bob Podcast - Episode 1

Please to be listening, if you have a spare hour, to myself, Zechariah Brag (aka Billy Hardcore), Kidden Fremen (CEO Lazerhawks), Keten Kellick (CEO Incertae Sedis), Bitwiser (CEO Wormhole Clown Car), Gunner GZR (NOMEX) talk about the different classes of wormhole space, war stories, etcetera, and a wandering discussion of the proposed upcoming Citadels.

Monday, 1 June 2015

My Monster

So, last night I was escorting an Orca out a connection to highsec, orbiting at 500m with double webs ready, when a smartbombing Proteus had a crack at my Hyena, dropping me to 60% shield.

This amuses me, as my fans are now multiplying and the Master is in the sights of his students. It is also, obviously, coming to the time when the creator realises, Frankenstein style, that the monster has been created and won't be stopped.