Monday, 27 July 2015

M22 and Packrat Tractor

An ex-alliance mate of mine, from one of the Alliances that Sudden Buggery used to be in before it assploded, contacted me a few days ago. He has a Cunning Plan(tm) to empty C5 Magnetars of krabs by seeding all 50 of them with alt toons and monitoring them for krab infestations. His plan involves batphoning people in all timezones to come and dunk the krabs, generating content, killmails and hopefully Q.Q on the forums.

he contacted me the other day 3 hours before downtime, advising he had a bunch of Russian crustaceans scuttling about their undersea kingdom, clacking pincers and suchlike. he would attempt to get a way in for us, he said, by ninja-probing the E175 C4 static and squirreling a way to k-space. None of this happened, of course, or you would see some Russian cap kills on zkillboard. However, in the attempt to generate an entrance, he rolled into a C4 and noted a Vargur on d-scan. he pasted the d-scan result in chat and we both Q.Q over the fact there's so many bears going un-ganked.

M22 - Vargur 
Tractor - 'Packrat' Mobile tractor unit

Eventually we gave up on establishing a way in, and put it off.

Meanwhile in another wormhole, Boundless Exploration was probing their way out of their C3 and went through a C4 into a second C4 Wolf Rayet system and mentioned having a Vargur and mobile tractor unit on scan, could you guys come over and help gank it?

So I asked if the Vargur was named M22, and whether it was a Packrat tractor?

"How did you know?"

The TF Effect. 

Remember...someone I know is watching you rat.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

They say....

They say the things you own end up owning you. This is very true of EVE. I got pwnt by my loot pile the last few days.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Where is Quonthar Couragesauce?

There's been a bit of hufflepuff on the forums by nerds claiming there's a new Abbaddon imperial Issue coming out due to CCP dropping some RP-heavy lore porn for the LARP brigade. Rather than dress up as high Elf Lord Quonthar Couragesauce and fondling their way through a Furry convention, as per usual, the lore porn afficionadoes took the RP post at it's word and are even arguing with CCP Falcon (killjoy extraordinaire) who has stated, unequivocally, there won't be Imperial issue battleships.

Ha! What would he know?

I admit, I don't much keep up with the lore progression in EVE. I hear there's these Drifter things, and they are aggroing the Amarr navy or something, and this is ust a bit of a cotangent to the story arc that is developing, with rumours the Drifters are going to annihilate the Amarr Empire and Empress Jamyl or something. What do i know? Nuffin'.

However, there's been what could loosely be described as a progression of the Lore and the emergent sandbox mechanisms which have been evolving in parallel. The devolution of NPC control of the whole of EVE to player control has been steady, matched by Lore hoo-hah which sometimes clumsily seeks to explain sordid game balance moves in a LARP-ish way, much like a fat nerd wheezing out his scripted make-believe lines in a forest glen, clad in spandex and heat-set plastic formed Elven War Armour, as a gaggle of dumpy Elf princesses in Walmart-era attire down packets of Cheetos behind Lord Quonthar. Some of the contrivances are trite and forced, like the whole Entosis shit.

No one gives a shit. Fozziesov station laser. Pew pew pew. Less nerd, more nukes.

However, one arc of the Lore has been sown last year and clearly the seeds have lain fallow and un-germinated in the ground ever since. Do you remember when Ghost Sites came out a year or two ago (whenever, I can't fucking remember when, i care so little)? There was a video or trailer or something of some evil gate to the underworld, blah blah, cataclysm.

Well, clearly that went nowhere fast, but those Ghost Sites spawned a bunch of weird tech and weird items, which got bought up by lore nerds or speculators, or (rumour has it) Goons or N3 or PL or maybe CODE or some boogeyman, who has a monopoly on these items because the interpretation of the players, after watching the video, was that we would be able to build our own gates. To Jove space.

Then when all the gates and routes in Jove space disappeared, the lore porn nerds declared "Aha!" and got frothy loins. We would be building star gates to Jove space within weeks. instead, we got Circadian Seekers and Drifters, and then Drifter Wormholes (like Barbican, blah blah), and now there's some shit you can get from the Jove Observatories called Antikythera. Purpose: unknown.

So here we are, mid-2015, with some long and way, way too drawn out lore excursion still plodding along at a terribly glacial pace, with even a war between Amarr and the Drifters not even properly kicking off. Now there's new Drifter content in incursions, because what we really need is even more reason to do Incursions. We need the Lore nerds to mate with the neckbeards of the incursion fraternity, because what EVE needs is what can best be described as the progeny via rape of Cthulhu fucking an infantile and petulant Mothra with autism. Yeah, that'swhat's about to hit TQ and the forums, some ungodly melange of Incursion tards wheezing about Lore and grandstanding like they give a shit about more than ISK/hr and affording trillion ISK ratting Machs. Good for the game it will be!

Also, when the fuck will Quonthar Couragesauce get to see the real shit hit the mithril fan and spread chaos and destruction across the universe?

What about that shit we got from Ghost Sites, Jove Observtories? Will the super sekrit sekrit purpose of all this be revealed this year, or 2017, so that we finally know what it's worth and whether it is even fucking worth going into Barbican and clearing the Drifter Wormhole content in any sense or fashion whatsoever. I mean, no one even talks about them now. One week of people finding them, then zero chatter, zero fucks given, and probably zero content used. I mean, the whole idea of Drifters + Wormholes + should I go = nope, fuck that, not losing my ship to get anonymous, worthless shit i can't use and no one is buying.

My problem with this is that really, no one really cares. Let's assume the Drifters are going to nuke Domain, even one gate in Domain, and people are going to have to club together and build a player owned star gate. Who the fuck has these components we allegedly, reputedly, mythologically may or may not need to build said gate? Who has them, did someone hoard them and are they even subbed anymore? 33% chance they aren't.

How are we supposed to give a shit? Quonthar Couragesauce is blabbering in the shade of his Mythic Oak, holding the Conch of Speaking, and the gamemaster is handing out LARP talismans or whatever, and everyone's standing around waiting for shit to happen.....and it's not.

IMO, CCP needs to get on with it. Burn Domain to the ground, blow up 75% of the gates, make the useless cunts in highsec suffer some actual inconvenience, make it a 20 jump trip from Jita to Amarr, knock out all gates into Niarja (soz CODE) and put the remedy components and stargate shit out in deep zero point zero, forcing the queeflords running incursions to actually go do something risky.

Doubt it. Just more ISK for hisec, more ISk for nullsec krabs, more snooze, more lose.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Committee of Failure

Our best buds at Dura Lexx, content creators extraordinaire, came back for Round 2 versus Dominatrus Atrum Mortis. 50 billion in goodfite losses doesn't deter Dura Lexx, it makes them want to come back again.

This time, it was a bit more of a one sided shooting match. Videos may be posted later, from both sides, but my inexpert scrubby opinion is that it came down to poor discipline, poor target calling and poor strategy. So, really, not much was done right, but I won't put all the blame on DAM's FC's shoulders - PIZZA's guys and EXIT's guys were equally terrible in their own corners of terribleness.

We had been ragerolling to get in to the target C6 for 24 hours; first rolling our X877 C4 static to find a C4 with C6 static to then roll that. That petered out after 6 rolls, so we lucked out last night with a C2 with E545/R474 and even managed an entry to Kamio va a C1. I contacted some diplo people, outlined the plan: roll the R474 to get into the C6. There was interest from EXIT's Au dudes, but no one else seemed to want to undock from Amarr.

Undeterred, I did two rolls last night, went to bed, got up and discovered the chain sill alive somehow but EOL as fuck, went 3 jumps down the EOL chain and rolled it 3 more times, while awaiting DAM to get a chain in. Five 1% chances, no luck.

Then, a chain to Shirshocin was established, but Dura Lexx had critted it, with a cloaked BS on the C5 side. So we would try to run the gauntlet and get into the C6, or as many as we could before Dura Lexx crushed us out or the hole was massed.

Prolapse had to traverse a frigate hole, and we've been labouring under a war dec and some dessie-down welps, so tactical destroyer hulls were short. We came with a bomber, ceptor, slicer, T3 destroyers, Enyos and a Maulus (because EWAR is kinda important). Shoulda brought more Mauluses or just rolled 8 Void bombers I guess.

We formed up in Shirsochin and EXIT came into Local. Fleet formed slowly due to standings issues, but eventually we got our half the rescue fleet on the hole; 20-odd T3's, Guardians and HACs and 8 smaller ships. Isogen 5 and others were holding calmly in Amarr with more T3's.

Suddenly, without warning EXIT decided to move up through the chain, so we started following, with a guy from EXIT calling out in local every time "x up for next wormhole". This was off to a good start. So we had to follow, because no one was listening to anyone really, least of all me.

Inside the hole, someone's mortgage needed to be paid right this minute you fucking motherfuckers, but happily caps were ejected from the SMA before his IRL problems overcame him. However, the cap support wasn't properly marshalled before we got onto the K162 into the C5 leading to the C6 RG. Again, random EXIT retards jumped ahead, and created us a problem in that they would be decloaked and the Abbadon lurking the C5 would see them and crush us out. So I called the jump and warped wing in to the hole. We piled through and snapped the turd dangling off the ass of the Abbadon and crushed the C5; about a dozen T3s missed their entry and had to straggle very slowly out. Bookmarking is hard, I guess, when some dudes keep jumping ahead with no orders and force the issue. Seriously this was fucking apalling.

The new C5 static was probed down and we set up shop and some probers were sent out to try to find their way through the C5 superhighway for a way in. Turns out, no fucking chance.

Dura Lexx dropped their fleet 40km off the static (I guess they use cloaky nullified scanning T3's who'd a thunk it) - 5 dreads, 3 Archons, 2 Vindis, 2 bomb fit Nestors, 5 Typhoon Fleet Issues (bomb fit), 2 Bhaalgorns and some other shit. The Vindicators began burning in toward our subcaps, webbing them for the dreads. We had to fall back away from them (or that was my order) but either way, we began taking losses because someone is always trying to be smart.

Now, your choices are to cede control or fight. If you are going to fight, the cap FC really needs to have eyes on the field in my opinion and decide where to position his caps. You don't tell someone to do something and then complain later that your non-claky warpin wasn't where you wanted it.

The FC has to make a decision, I expect, to drop triage onto the subcaps (why else, really, do you bring carriers?) and dreads,  for blapping purposes, or to drop everything on the caps and shoot the enemy caps. Neither got done; our triage was 80km away from the subcap fleet, at least, and the friendly dreads began priming Vindicators because subcap pilots were whining. We got one, at least, but only via luck.

The slaughter began in earnest as caps wasted time arguing about who to shoot and shit began to fall apart. We really eventually just decided to suicide ourselves on the suggestion of someone or another whining about Bhaalgorns, and our involvement was over. Fresh clones in highsec.

I don't do a lot of cap warfare, so I can't comment definitively, but I'd have thought that if you had 7 dreads to 5, you'd ether take a bet that the subs could win the engagement if either a) the enemy triage was dead b) the enemy Dreads were eliminated, meaning your subcap logi can sustain your guys against enemy subs and triage - and bomb fit TFI's aren't really a threat let's be honest. With numerical dread advantage it's just attrition (plus or minus fitting issues) and you have numbers. So the cap FC should have just primed the enemy triage and got them off the field.

Like I said above, we really ought to have just brought void bombers and cap fucked the enemy capitals, but we didn't. We should have also just pulled out of the whole show when the EXIT dudes showed absolutely no discipline and the Committee of Failure began arguing.

But in the end, it is DAM's fight. DAM should have had someone running the show with an iron fist, not a committee of part-time FCs making bad choices and allowing retards to dictate the timing. If you aren't ready for the fight and someone blows the whole shit show, scream at them to GTFO and respawn the static. But i guess this just shows that Dura lexx are pro and DAM are not.

I won't even get started on the cap fits. 

Monday, 20 July 2015

Shifting Sands

One aspect of the new Fozziesov mechanic is troll fits, allowing solo or small gangs to cap off (entosis) or reinforce objectives in nullsec with impunity. One fit, for instance, is the Scythe Fleet Issue trollceptor;

[Scythe Fleet Issue, Trollceptor]

Capacitor Power Relay II
Capacitor Power Relay II
Damage Control II
Overdrive Injector System II
Overdrive Injector System II

50MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive
Large Peroxide Capacitor Power Cell
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script
Sensor Booster II, Targeting Range Script

Entosis Link II
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M

Medium Auxiliary Thrusters II
Medium Auxiliary Thrusters II
Medium Auxiliary Thrusters I

'Integrated' Hammerhead x2

This bad boy can permarun its MWD at 3.9km/s and has 220km lock range, allowing it to effectively kite around a station being a douche. Only downside is the 200M ISK price tag and vulnerability to, eg, a Maulus breaking its lock with a single sensor damp. Nevertheless, Q.Q has started on the forums about how evil wormholers are unfairly trolling nullsec with fits like this and can somebody please think of the children?

I will note here, this was actually a fit used by a nullsec resident to troll other nullsec residents. So don't blame me.

In case you missed the waahmbulance coming to the wormhole forums, I can confirm that CCP did indeed nerf the number of wormholes from C5 space to nullsec (aka Sort Dragon's nerf). So i don't particularly see what the problem is if wormholers (clearly everyone in wormholes is in fact the fifth major alliance in nullsec) come out and troll a station with this shit. It's 200M ISK.

What the whining really shows is that the meta is beginning to develop. It's been a week, tactics are fresh (aside from a couple of organisations who've been hammering Duality to prepare for Fozziesov) and there are people well and truly behind the bell curve in tactical forethought and preparedness.

One of the side effects of the Sort Dragon nerf is that nullsec logistics just got a whole lot harder. If you have to adapt your tactics swiftly, and it requires an influx of, eg, Scythe Fleet Issue hulls and T2 Entosis links, then getting these assets is now significantly harder. This pushes a lot more work onto the plate of the nullsec logisticians, whose job is now a real nightmare with Space AIDS and nerfed wormhole connectivity.

It makes me wonder - did CCP really take any consideration of the effects on nullsec quality of life when it decided to cave in to Sort Dragon's whiny entitlement? Did CCP sit back and take stock of whether nullsec would empty out even more than it is now, if wormhole logisticians were cut off? After all, as whiny and entitled and vain as everyone who plays this game is, there is a straw that will break the back of nullsec living and cause people to just give up. Impossible logistics, or logistics hich requires a full time day job to barely even complete, is perhaps it.

CCP has to move quickly, I feel, on the capital rebalance. These are not just powerful strategic assets. They are common as muck and the peak ships people strove for years to train into, months to afford, weeks to build, days to fit out (4Km3 logistic hassle). They take days to shunt around space-AIDS EVE. They used to dominate the strategic and tactical world of nullsec warfare but now all you need is 200M ISk and Minmatar Cruiser V and you can kick over the lazy, inept and logistically unprepared. Without a need for capitals that clearly presents itself, players won't play capital toons, maybe explaining a 50% drop in active subs since January 2015.

It's critical, I think, that Galatea sees capital rebalance getting a look-in.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Frig Hole Fun Times #6

Yesterday we found a frigate hole to Providence. Every connection to Providence is greeted with glee, knowing there will be either idiots to gank, fisticuffs to be had, or something dumb to be observed. Plus of course, the inevitable guy posting in Local "Trinkets friend, red in system!" or similar.

The boiz killed a Myrmidon and some haulers before Provibloc / Yulai Federation dropped a bunch of AF's and destroyers on the frigate hole and forced us through. I logged on at that time and jammed a Scythe on the wormhole side and led through a YOLO attack to knock out a Dragoon. This cost us an Enyo, which wasn't bad considering what they had.

We retreated into the wormhole and got repped and assessed the sitch. We had 2 Svipuls, a Jackdaw and a Daredevil. They had a Dragoon, a Tristan, a Vexor, Hurricane, Deimos, Zealot. If we overheated we could gank the Dragoon again, maybe the Tristan, and withdraw. So we tried it, and nearly got the Dragoon down. We retired to POS to sort through our ship stash and rethink the plan.

Then wraith01 signed on, and the plan formed up. I reshipped from the Jackdaw to my Onyx and got wraith01 into his Onyx - we would surprise them by bringing actual tank and DPS through a frig hole.

We returned to the frig hole with 2 gank Onyx, a Harpy, 2 Svipuls and a gank Thrasher. A Scimitar was left on the inside, just in case of cyno and bomber blob.

We bubbled up, jumped out, bubbled the cruisers on the hole and proceeded to punch donuts. The Deimos went down like a sack of crap, followed by the Hurricane, Vexor, Dragoon (again) and pods. The butcher's bill was near a billion ISK due to some shiny-ass bear pods; losses one Thrasher due to a bit of lag.

Later, one of our guys got a mail, relating the internal ructions this rout caused in the midst of Yulai Federation. The poor dears didn't know bubbles reduce your mass by 80% and thought it was quite hilarious camping a frig hole with sentry Ishtars, Zealots, etc etc. What could go wrong in this game of risk-free PVP? So, when blindsided, they accused us of using hax.


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

POD Party

The humble Prospect, with it's covert cloak, decent tank, MWD and utility high for probes, is the perfect gassing ship. You can align out and stab the MWD and burn away from nearly anything that decloaks on you. You can avoid detection, staying cloaked for hours if need be, and slide through bubbles to a wormhole exit, no wuckers.

They are hard to kill, but not in a Bruce Willis way. I've got a few now and then, but not many.

Except today when I came in to a C13 Shattered hole, and saw 8 on scan. Never one to not try probing them out even though the chances of sliding core probes past 8 guys was infinitesmally small, I dropped a set of cores off d-scan, found the anomaly they were closest to and dumped probes. Relic site. Whaaa....? I pulled probes and looked again, then thought, what if they are at an ore site?

Sure enough, there they were - 8 Low Class Prospects clustered around a hunk of Prime Arkonor, mining away. 0 m/s. All within 2km of the rock, and hence unable to cloak.

So we dropped dictors and dessies on them and sent them home in an orgy of podding. A billion ISK of pods and ships.

The weird thing, unlike most C13's, this one was stacked with combat anomalies. You could be making 200M ISk an hour with rail Hecates (and be a lot harder to safely murder) but instead you're sucking Prime Arkonor. Not what I would have been doing.

I can only assume it was to generate a stockpile of the material enough to, lets say, produce 100 blocks of compressed Prime Arkonor. You then go to Amarr, throw it on the market to sell, in 3 to 6 individual sell orders, for 50 times what it's actually worth and run a margin trading scam "buying" it in larger quantities for 500 times what it's worth, thereby turning 8 toons worth of rock sucking into several billion ISK of profit. I mean, I am only assuming that's what was going on, because all other possibilities result in serious brain damage. I await confirmation.

Well, that didn't take long!

I mean, OK, it's pretty basic, nothing more than a list, but wait a few days. New features, coming soon:
Routing algorithm (or possibly a route functionality coming off Dotlan?)
Routing to and from Thera, sorted by distance in, distance out, and time till timer comes due.
Control for EOL status of Thera conections
Integration with Siggy exit finder

Why, it's a veritable New World Order of fight-finding in nullsec, all organised out of game by CREST verified API.

More Marauding Russians

So you may remember our #YOLO into Dura Lexx from last month (here). Well, Dura lexx was at it again, except this time actually for the reals.

EN24 covered the fight in some way here. This coverage is as usual semi-accurate - I am not sure who the correspondent talked to but it wasn't anyone from the AU Timezone. 

There's a wee bit more backstory here from our side of things.

Firstly, let's deal with the Russian side of things, with reference to the previous run-in we had with Dura Lexx and Balcora Gatekeepers. You see, after the last shoddy effort by Balcora, where RLML-armed Tengus and 6-plus Marauders turned up to shoot our light Svipul + Scimitar fleet, and Balcora didn't support us at all, I was instantly suspicious. I heard all kinds of excuses, and they came on here all affronted for their e-peen and e-honour, but it's now pretty clear that we were set up. I'm pretty sure Dura Lexx knew they weren't getting a fight from Shadowfiregirl et al. and cut a deal; draw someone in as a batphone, we will shoot them up, and fuck off. So, we were plied with lies and mistruths, came in good faith, and got stomped, as would happen when soundly betrayed.

So caveat Emptor, dear reader, you have been warned.

However, things were a bit different with DAM.

I got a ping from DAM out of the blue; would I like to help them deal with Dura Lexx's invasion of their C6 Red Giant? They had a way in to the C6 via Thera. We had a cnnection to Thera 7 jumps away and it was slow as FUCK on the weekend, so I got the guys to ship into nullified Protars (drone Proteii), Augoror Navys and Stratios and we went in, ASAP, with a Fagroller for probe escape contingency. We made it in, skirmished on the connection, just as the Russian contingent began signing in and gained hole control.

I hit up a few other organisations and got some guys rage rolling up from a C4 (same maths with an R574 static from C6, you just can't roll caps in), and got Haywire. in via a frigate hole also from a C4, in 12 Svipuls, Confessors and ceptors. We got in a half dozen more toons in ceptors and Jackdaws.  We scuttled into a refuge POS and sorted out a strategy.

Well, we tried. What the EN24 article fails to even cover was the 48 hours prior to this battle, which saw the loss of the first DAM tower; it wasn't defended because of several reasons.

DAM didn't run a single POS gun on their towers. This is not uncommon in C5-C6 space. the reasoning goes like this: your tower is going to be blobbed by dreads, no guns are going to survive, it is therefore pointless having guns on your POS. This is acceptable logic, until you have a POS loaded with ships which is rapecaged to an inch of its life and you cannot clear the bubbles in your off timezone (and Russia's strong TZ). This is fine - if you have some spares.

Remember, you can anchor guns on POSs even if the POS is reinforced. This would have been a Good Thing to Have (tm) when trying to clear off bubbles. A couple of faction large rail guns, deployed suddenly and onlined in 4 minutes, with some cunning stop bubbles jacked up on grid to frustrate direct warping of enemy capitals, and you could have accelerated the destruction of the rapecage in relative safety. Of course, you have to plan ahead and have those guns not in your CHA but inside a hauler in your SMA.

Thus DAM struggled with insufficient numbers of bombers and toons, to get ships out of the rapecage, by trying to blow up T2 large bubbles using bombs. The difficulty was of course, a complete lack of ability to risk losing capsules. Nevertheless, skirmishes went on, cosing a few suicide Jackdaws, etc

The second thing was a lack of coherent strategy on DAM's behalf. I was a reluctant entrant into cap-heavy warfare, and resisted getting lumbered with being FC. Panicked 3 a.m. American comms wasn't helping either, and it was abundantly clear there was very little definitive organisation within DAM in Aussie TZ. Logistics hadn't been sorted; stront, POS guns, ample supplies of bombers, probers, hulls, a list of POS passwords, a clear strategy for fits and tactis, all lacking. So it was a fair compromise to stand down for the night and come back for the first timer in 8 hours, and if that failed, fall back to the next timer, which was coming up during US TZ in 17 hours. Our 50-man fleet of smallish, logi-light, cap-deficient people stood down for 6 hours and set our alarm clocks.

That timer went, and the POS carked it; so we reset for 11 hours to Monday a.m. and reset alarm clocks. To say Catastrophic Overfiew Failure rolled in 2 hours earlier than the timer basically, unluckily for us, saw nearly all of BUGRY and Prolapse. miss the shennanigans, likewise Haywire.; so it's not correct to say that nothing happened AU TZ, it just didn't result in 100 billion ISK killed.

Finally, you will note Balcora Gatekeepers dying alongside their Russian allies; so you can see confirmation of my suspicions that we were set up.

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Corp AFK Policy

I have a rule for new recruits which I think is rather fair - if you join the corporation you have 2 weeks to get your shit into the hole, get your siggy and comms sorted out, get involved in the corporation business, get to now people and help the corporation get fights, ISK, prestige-swelling e-peen, whatever. If you do none of that, you are summarily ejected.

I have taken the position after several years of experience with new recruits failing to make a dent on the corporation, and although i haven't logged the precise numbers or dates against the names, the pattern of failed recruits follows a couple of trajectories.

A fair few join up, and do absolutely nothing. I really wonder about this - most people ask questions of me around the subject of how active we are in a given timezone. They tell a tale of leaving corporations for boredom, lack of things to do, lack of people to play with, or so on. So, I wonder about someone who joins up and does absolutely nothing at all. Were you past corporations also full of this sought-for but never embraced activity you desire in others but never show yourself? Whose fault is it you can't find the content you want? Yours, or your corporations?

Some turn up, log in to comms, say a few words, get a few ships in, sit in POS or maybe do a wee bit of scanning for a few days....then sign out and never come back. I then have to remove their roles, haul their ships out to highsec, contract them back to the person and hope they sign in within 2 weeks to accept the contract. This goes some ways towards explaining why my assets tab is clogged with 325 individual systems full of ships and modules. I have the assets of no less than 60-ish people or more strung throughout New Eden - awaiting their eventual return to game, where they'll get it all returned to them. Some from 4 years ago. I mean, maybe at some point it's kosher to just take it and liquidate it, but I don't get time, and I don't steal people's shit.

A few are probably trying to spy on our comms, or get a mle into our Siggy. You can never tell sometimes, and it's a risk. In this case, dumpstering the toon after an initial 2 weeks of inactivity is wise and a sound security precaution. Again, it is unbelievable to me that you will go through a full API check, an interview, discuss with me specifically how you are prepared for w-space, that it takes work, probing, effort, etc, and then not sign in at all. Sorry. I'm dumping your toon from corp.

A couple don't read the bulletins or welcome mail. I know it's hard to understand for some people, coming from a highsec mission corp or a less organised corp with less history, less institutional knowledge, that corporations can use the Corp Tab and all it's (often, admittedly, shit) functionality. This alsoextends to the welcome mail, many corps don't even have anything in the mail at all, let alone vitally important information including the admonition against joining and going AFK. So, a few got caught out thinking it was cool to hitch their beaten up AFK box trailer with flat tyres to the hotrod of excitement which is Sudden Buggery, and go AFK for 2+ weeks instantly. They come back, get bounced from our POS and sometimes die horribly (it's nasty, seriously) and then come on comms bitching and asking to be let back in. Others just send dirty mails all offended and affronted. I have to remind them of the corp AFK policies.

The reality is that being in a corporation in EVE is a choice.

Some corporations are run by a very small group of friends for their own economic purposes; these are non-recruiting, long-term stable and generally PVE focused. Quite a few exist in wormholes with <30 toons. They tend to go fine until an eviction happens, and then it all falls apart. If you choose a corp of friends alone with no sanctions against inactivity, you shouldn't expect to have someone defend your shit in-game in your absence.

Other corporations are run by personalities who promise the world and drive the edifice forward via sheer chutzah and bullshit. The Pell Helixes of the world.They work on momentum - when it's rolling forward and growing constantly and the leader sounds like he knows what he's doing a bubble of mythological charisma develops, carrying people aloft. The edifice crashed the instant the leader can't juggle the balls anymore. it also carries on with a sort of tobogganistic momentum when the majority of the player group goes AFK - you can still recruit into a zombie corp with 500 members because it looks big, and then the new nerds arrive and no one is around, and it looks fake.

These zombie corps persist because of the bouncy castle factor: it looks like a castle, but it's just full of hot air. Some of these zombie corps still have decent killboards, but nowhere near what you'd expect from 370+ hardcore elite gamers. That's because there aren't 370-odd elite gamer nerds, it's only 10 of them. So of course if you join it's all false advertising, and you might go AFK.

Then there's the real peak PVP corps, and these do trim excess fat, idle layabouts, non-performers and the AFK. You get 300 members worth of PVP out of these 300 member corporations. Quaserknocks Socialbears (QEX, LZHX, HK, SSC, COF, BAERS). If you don't want to be a part of these entities, you shouldn't expect Quazerknocks Socialbears levels of activity; likewise you will be expected to pull your weight or you get ejected.

Therefore it's ironic when people join Sudden Buggery (now about 60 members, down from 98) and send me mails accusing us of being too inactive for them when they, themselves, have not signed onto comms once in 3 weeks, haven't got into Siggy, haven't probed a single wormhole, been online for more than 5 minutes (hint, retards, I can tell due to member list functionality)  or got a single kill, not even a morale TP whore onto a barge kill. mate, you have the balls to accuse us of not suiting your activity expectations? it's a mutual obligation here, a two-way street. 

The difficulty for a recruit who wants activity but cannot provide it himself is that wormhole PVp exists only because everyone is active. There's currently a bad feedback loop of poor inactivity, which drives less people being in chain, which results in less interactions and makes things more boring. This is coupled with the general population malaise of EVE. But in no way does it excuse new recruits from getting involved - at its most basic, if you join a corporation you are saying you are keen to get involved, explicitly or implicitly. Going instantly AFK is telling me, your CEO, to go fuck himself, but thanks for the effort wasted on the recruitment.

Recruitment: two steps forward, seven steps back.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Loot Share Forfeit

BUGRY doesn't have forums at or anything. I can't be fucked organising a DNS, putting in actual effort or caring, and out of game forums don't help organise a corporation too much, i find. But we do have a Facebook group, which is kind of like Nigerian Jabber in the sense that we can ghetto ping for dudes if there's something up.

Maybe ghetto pings aren't as efficient as real jabber pings at getting content. That isn't a problem at the moment because content is lacking, as are numbers. I've been keeping to the regimen of booting inactives from corporation, which has seen numbers go down from 94-odd to about 69-ish in a month. This is harsh, but realistically, better than AHARM with nearly 300 toons and no one around.

Anyway, Primuss found a POS owned by some 4 man Korean corporation which had been siged; almost all guns incapped or anchored. He uncloaked, and checked the shield - 60%. So we began shooting it in 5 bombers, which is what our once mighty Trashcat siege fleet has become - an opportunistic jackal picking over the corpses of other people's kills. We got interrupted by No Vacancies, who dogpiled Mitchellion who was AFK (as you do) bashing. RIP.

I ghetto pinged on nigerian jabber for numbers, of course, but like a tree falling in the forest someone has to be around to hear it. We got one guy ogging in, who denied even having checked the Facebook page. 

So we left it alone for 20 minutes, to let No Vacancies get bored enough, then I deployed the fagrollers and collapsed all the connections, and went back to work, culminating in a glorious POS kill with seven whole people on the mail. Our wild expectations for a dread in the SMA proved fruitless as the motherlode consisted of 2 whole shuttles.

The best part of the whole exercise was that as we were clearing up the incapped guns, a new sig popped and a Russian Tengu jumped in. A few minutes later two Manticores jumped in to join him, so it was 2 siege-fit Oracles and 5 bombers vs Tengu and 2 Manticores - so obviously nothing happens. That's where the TF Effect has to swing into action.

I sent the lads home, waited 5 minutes, and sent in the bait Sigil to scoop the unanchored POS mods. Of course, almost immediately, a manticore uncloaks and starts beating on the Sigil. This does not concern bait Sigils. So i keep trucking for the gun to scoop (nb: I don't even have the cargo capacity to scoop it, due to SPR's in the lows) and wait. Then, like an avatar of the God of Stupid, the Tengu decloaks at 45km and immediately MWD's directly for the Sigil, and begins beating on it with its HAMs.

My Rook which was waiting at the moon nextdoor (convenient how it doesn't appear on d-scan) drops on top of the Tengu and gets point as the second manticore decloaks. Of course, Rook is scrammed, but TF's Patented Bait Rook (tm) is not concerned anout nominally 1,000 DPS on field. Huehuehue, is stronk, tanks like Sigil almost.

Tengu dies to bait Sigil.

Two days later someone checks Facebook and exclaims "What POS siege? Damn, what did i miss out on?"

"Your loot share of the two shuttles is forfeit."

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

The votes are in....

Nullsec 100
Wormholes 0

75% buff to anomaly numbers
Nerf to transient exits from C5's
More combat anomalies
More relic and data sites

I mean...this is the 'let them eat cake' part of the cycle, I think. If your game is dying, then why not make it a giant gravy train of whatever shallow, pointless frenzy of utterly safe trough-snorting greed your few remaining players want to indulge in?

Clearly CCP's arithmetic in these things is to just make nullsec more livable and safe, versus exciting and edgy. Maybe they are right - perhaps if you just cave in the to detente of the Blue Donut, accept that the game is being run by Mittens and Elise Randolf, if you stop worrying whether there can ever be a new group of players moving into nullsec, carving themselves a spot and making it (c.f. BRAVE ditching Fountain and splitting to the established alliances), then who really cares?

If we can all have 8M ISK T2 medium field extender rigs, 200M ISK Rattlesnakes, A-type invuls at 100M ISK, then surely that's a better game to play? Not that it will matter - we'll all be flying X-type fit Wyverns around, dropping them onto those poor misguided wormholers as they bring their poverty-fit Atrons out to interrupt the important business of accumulating 100B ISk before we quit.

I don't know what's worse - safe, blue donut nullsec, or Incursions. Worse for the game, I mean. this is all based on my opinion. I could be wrong. But the game really started to suffer terribly when incursions came along because you just quit playing with real people, submit yourself to a few hors a month of grinding your teeth listening to neckbearded man children wheeze incessantly at you about poor DPS application and ISK/hr ratios, and then you go back to real content. Except you don't, because you're now addicted to utterly safe 100M ISK per hour ear-rape money. You're a fucking whore to laziness and ego-defeating Incursion grinding. You tell yourself it's only to afford the carrier, or the set of T2 rigs for your dread. it's all good, they'll be covered by the alliance SRP, it's worth the pain. just grit your teeth and put up with these mongoloids for another 16 hours this month, you can do it.

Yeah. That's fun as fuck. Except fuck incursions, lets go to nullsec. You don't have to be limited by the number of hubs and sanctums and havens, not like before. Now twice as many of your alts can farm the same shit for hours on end. True, it's no longer so easy with ISKtars, but Gilas and Rattlers are just as cheap. It'll be all gravy. Just hit your ratting quotas, pay your tax, and the corp's rental bill will be easily met. Fucking amazeballs. The CEO even said in his latest whiny email, CTA's will be down 30% in the coming months, and it's just got safer - Quaserknocks Social Whores won't be dipping into your ratting sphere and shitting up intel so much, and you'll have twice as many green beacons to hide amongst. Gravy, man. Total gravy. X-type Wyverns all the way, man.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

CREST API Sov Timers

How fucking retarded is CCP?

They're putting sov timers on the API, so you can check via an out of game API scalping widget where in Nullsec there is a sov timer. So, if there's a problem with wormhole crawlspaces now, imagine teaming a sov timer API scalper with EVE Scout's Thera tracker, or Siggy's Exit Finder applicability. You'll have a widget which can tell you the shortest route, k-space or otherwise, to go to any and every sov timer you care to attend, to kill anyone who may care to attend.

Seriously, these people are absolutely fucking incredible.

Death throes or fairytale torpor?

Kills in wormhole space are tracking lower than average, over the past week, by about 25% for Sudden Buggery, plus many other w-space entities. This can be normalised versus the overall decrease in maximum concurrent server logins.

Take a minute to familiarise yourself with Chribba's handy EVE Offline, and play around with the sliders on the TQ login history. These are the facts, and as any scientist will tell you, you have to first have the facts n your possession and clear of any biases or interpretations, before you can analyse the fact according to your hypotheses. So unless anyone argues with such basic primary information being submitted as facts, we'll take it as given and move on to the analysis phase.

The above shows 2015 is trending to be the lowest number of subscriptions in six years. 2008 had a yearly average of 33K, it's 31K for 2015 so far. It is therefore reasonable to say that subscriptions are down, people are playing the game less. This meshes with the anecdote, above, that we are experiencing less killboard activity this week, even though compared to 2010, wormhole kills are up, general ratting activity is way up, and populations (until recently at least) are way up in w-space. At least, until this week.

Now. Why are subs lower? That's the million dollar a month question for CCP, isn't it? There's several main theories.

This gets trotted out every year to explain either Eviction Season in wormholes (which no one can agree whether it's summer or winter), War Seasonin nullsec, or fuck knows what in lowsec. However, there's very little actual seasnality in logins that can be gained from looking at the graphs. There's always a Christmas Lull, but beyond that, not much really changes week to week or season to season in any discernible pattern.

However, a 25% drop in subs within 6 months, as a coherent trend, hasn't been seen before in any year. So something more must be up. 

 An article on posited that EVE was 'holding it's breath' for the sov changes. This is a typical response to low logins; people are waiting to see what the patch will bring, and for large patches like sov, want to avoid wasting their time ahead of the change. This is probably a reasonable theory; the change from DPS and EHP to attention-occupancy based sov grinding is about as massive a change as could ever hit EVE.

It is a huge, basic change to the way you do sov warfare, because it changes how the people in the game spend their hours - passively pressing F1 on a station by the hundreds, or squatting capture points in smaller gangs waiting for skirmish warfare.

In other words, if the game is going to fundamentally change the time sink mechanism, do you continue to invest hours beating up passive objects now, ahead of the change? Only if you percieve it as having strategic value or you have some competitive edge now, which you won't have later. The reverse is also true; do you go on holiday from the game now and come back when the conditions better suit your skills, your group's abilities, versus beating your head against EHP walls and getting welped by PL's wormhole elitism.

Of course, there's always the theory that a death in concurrent ogins is due to people just giving up on the game. it's a horribly time-inefficient way of getting content, lets be honest. My corp is good at finding small-scale content. I trim dead wood from the ranks regularly, but even so, there's been a lot of churn. I went through my notifications - 170 toons have joined BUGRY in the past year, and 100 have either been booted, left, or gone AFK and been trimmed. Quite a lot of the latter. The reasons are opaque to me in the main (they are AFK, and can't respond) but it's clear that formerly active players are just...petering out. Whatever the reason, people are either busy or just get bored, even in a corp that has content. Well, a corp where a few people do the content creation and the majority POS spin and do fuck all.

Regardless, it's a lack of engagement in the game which causes exodus. Getting welped by ishtar blobs, you get over it and stop fighting the Ishtar blobs, or whatever. You move down the pecking order and pick on people you can pick on. By itself, imbalanced shit like that doesn't really cause subs to lapse.

Systemic game play problems
This is obviously an interesitng theory as to why subscriptions are down - are systemic imbalances in the metagame environment contributing to people leaving the game? No, i don't think so.

It might take a few weeks for the new meta to emerge after the latest ineffective ishtar nerf and the belated and mostly ineffectual attempt to buff missile doctrines, but you're still mostly fucked using Minmatar ships and mostly fucked in Amarr ships. But that's not going to cause people to quit; newbros are clearly not training Minmatar because they research the shit out of the meta on Reddit (and elsewhere), or join an alliance as a grunt and get told to train this or that. If something is the meta, there's enough social pressure within the game, and/or enough basic mathematical logic available to players, to influence skilling and shipping and training.

People dont quit playing the game if the ishtar gets nerfed, despite the threats. After all, the drone dominant meta of today is unchanged from this latest attempt. Gilas are still OP as fuck. Rattlers are still the most cost-effective OP as fuck BS out of a range of BS which are shitty useless punching bags. VNI's are still OP as fuck. Etcetera. Besides, the downtrend in subs was in train for 6 months, the latest Ishtar nerf has nothing to do with it.

The Old Guard Problem
However, more broadly, there are systemic imbalances which do contribute to people realising the game is actually a waste of their time and/or money. These imbalances are at the core of the game, and are cultural.

Take the post from a few days ago about PL. Got me 600 hits on this shitrag of a blog because, I believe, it lays out what the real score is with nullsec wormhole warfare, and warfare via the crawlspaces of New Eden. It's a ttactic available to all nullsec alliances, but because a couple of them do it and do it really well, it suddenly becomes a problem.

I was about the only person in NC Dot (when i was in NC Dot) which actively sought out wormhole content. That included finding S199's to Goon space and tagging along with their second-rate FCs to get Cynabal fleets welped by the then-newish Ishtar doctrine. I tried, I really tried, to ntegrate wormholes into NC Dot, but no one respected my opinion or gave a shit; the old farts in NC Dot just wanted to duke it out on undock in their titans with doomsdays, lolol, and it was all about the Eu TZ anyway. So you don't see people complain about NC Dot coming through wrmholes and being a nuisance.

This is the key here - there's only a few alliances in nullsec which are mastering the game. Goons, PL and BL. Let's be honest. N3 is a far second place. They've got money and chutzpah, but who cares? Everyone else are just targets to farm.

The key difference between good null alliances and bad is the IT infrastructure, and organisation. That's what the previous post was really about - here's PL, with decent organisation, exploiting a wormhole underworld, to wage war all across New Eden (and here's the nerf). But the take-home isn't the tactic itself. it is the fact that, finaly, someone's realised that with proper organisation and resources and a leader capable of organising fleets to exploit it, an alliance can wage war.

That's what, eg, Triumvirate lacks. The complaints on the forums centred around, basically, how they are disorganised and incapable of mounting a resistance. Maybe they should get organised.

Same goes for BRAVE and the implosion of HERO; they could be exploiting wormhole content to mesh in with nullsec, but they don't have the IT infrastructure to do that.

This then devolves back onto a systemic culture problem with the game, and one beyond the devs to address. How do you level the playing field of a game where a few old organisations have organisational and logistical and IT advantages far, far in advance of any newer group which comes up? Like, how is a new upstart organisation supposed to cut it out in nullsec?

PL (and here, lets just say any of the Old Guard) has jabber. If you don't have jabber, how do you form a CTA?
PL has Siggy. Obviously, you need Siggy, and a working knowledge of wormhole rolling, to defend yourself or minimise risks of wormhole rape train underground railroading.
PL has their d-scan parser info tool. If you use that tool, odds are that if your d-scan result contains a capital ship result, a little red ight goes off in PL's NORAD bunker and alts get logged in to check. (hint: don't use their d-scan parser in nullsec, idiots, what were you thinking?)
There's tools for routing, which let you use jump bridge networks and gates to get from A to B most efficiently.
There's forums, doctrines, fitting tool analysis widgets, probability analysis of DPS efficiency of fleet comps versus other fleet comps, there's working groups and elite fitting teams working on their doctrines.
They also have incalculable resources from moons, which they've been running for years, and years. Plus of course rental empires they've been milking for years. They can outspend you, et alone outfight you, cap blobs and supercap blobs aside.

nowadays, you can't even say they are elitists. Pandemic Horde is their newest noob harvesting foray. it used to be Sniggwaffe or Waffles. They've been recruiting cannon fodder for years, deploying the meatshields and maintaining an inner circle of elite anciens in the peak PVP corps. Others have imitated them. But PH is a direct ploy to defang and weaken BRAVE via sucking their noob recruits away. So you can't even escape the aggregation as a noob.

So, it is a reasonable argument to ask - is power concentrating too much into too few groups? Is Fozziesov really going to make a difference? Or has the game become too old, and the organisations in the game too well-resources inside and outside the game, to maintain interest for people who don't want to go to the major nullsec entities?

If you don't, what kind of game is it, being in BRAVE and being 'farmed' by PL for killboard padding?

I don't know what's causing this drop in numbers, but we'll have to hope that it's mostly patchitis ahead of full fozziesov, because if it's not, the reasons for the dying member counts are not going away.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Terror From Beyond

Come Aegis, there is to be a change (read: reduction) in the spawning of nullsec connections into wormholes, and a reduction in lifetime. This is being played as a super-mysterious ooga-booga Lore thing by CCP Fozzie who isn't commenting on increases or decreases in wormhole lifespan or spawn rate or chance.

This is somewhat hypocritical. Some time ago CCP was quite happy to tell us they were increasing the number of N944 low-low connections to "improve connectivity" between lowsec regions, provide content, etcetera.

This may seem rather an academic change, but as comments on the Reddit thread show, the HK-PL axis has proved rather effective at exploiting the C5 superhighway to both raid out of C5's for nullbear tears and capital kills, but to come from nullsec, through wormholes, and back out to nullsec to do the same.

I am specifically including PL and HK in the same boat. They will deny they are allies, and indeed they probably aren't in the sense that HK doesn't do nullbear grinding. But neither really does PL; they just squat in NPC null or lowsec, rent out swags of the map for dank ISK, run strategic moon mining operations, and make a nuisance of themselves.

Nevertheless, Noobman from Hard Knocks has several super toons in Pandemic Legion and FC's for PL. There is ample evidence that PL and HK work together quite often, and of course, shoot each other now and then. That's HK being HK, and wormholers being wormholers, blue one day and shooting the next.

It's no great leap of conspiracy (indeed, it's not a conspiracy at all) to consider that there's a lot of information flow from HK to PL and vice versa. This probably if not almost certainly includes sharing intel about viable chains between wherever PL is, and wherever PL wants to be. In fact, let's be generous toward PL and say that they probably use other sources of intel like that, too. Either they share siggy, or we can resort to screencaps of Siggy / Tripwire chains, to share routing info. Worst case scenario, you just use Thera, and a bit of elbow grease on your own end to make chains yourself.

Taking the above reasonably presumption that PL and HK share info from time to time, and that PL isn't stuck with their head up their arse, you can see the context forming for these changes to wormhole connectivity into nullsec. Consider this comment on the Reddit post about the Aegis patch notes;

Rwol:that's silly and you know it.
we had to fight this in etherium many times. this was not new information.
let's say we know pl has a wormhole to us, and let's be generous in say we know the region it is in. which we don't because there's nearby regions as well.
do we roll each and every wormhole? do you know how fucking many that would be?
the closest actual counter i could figure would be a wormhole constellation of our own that we could contain and monitor, but again, other regions.
your way of dropping on people is incredibly asymmetric in the effort required to deal with it. you are not stupid. this should not be news to you.
"Elise Randolf: It's a mechanic that /severely/ limits the doctrines the attacker can take, can be countered with the exact same amount of effort, and scales linearly."
you say that like it matters.
  1. you don't fight people straight up. we successfully fought you off either to victory or a stalemate when it was just pl, which is why you stopped doing it in favor of ganking us when we were dispersed or in the middle of fighting someone else.
  2. in order to counter you, we have to be countering you every time we go out because it is impossible for any group to shut down a region's wormhole traffic. which in turn, makes us easier for the people we actually want to fight (not pl) to counter us. so rather than actually fight what we want to fight, we have to be ready to fight you. every single time.
  3. this requires everyone everywhere to be ready to fight a 50-100 man pl t3 fleet with maybe 5 minutes notice depending on pl's exit wormhole. this is not ok.
you aren't stupid, so do us the courtesy of not assuming we are.
pl abused this shit into the ground. your t3s killing capitals on every corner of the fucking map, while cool, is fucking horrific for anyone to deal with and has no actual goddamn counter other than "don't do anything unless you can fight a pl t3 fleet with zero notice".
you, as an alliance, are a strong part of the reason why the phoebe changes were put into eve in the first fucking place.
put aside the lies about third party bullshit when were fighting xix and realize that we, as an alliance, had to be permanently ready to fight (or blueball) pl at a moment's notice even though pl has no presence anywhere near us.
you successfully subverting phoebe jump changes is cute but you did it too well and it looks like it is going to be shut the fuck down.
  This is pure and simple a complaint that PL does exactly what Hard Knocks and many other C5-dwelling corps do - use C5's more as a stage for nullsec excursions to gank ratting carriers (and/or their support fleets). We sure as fuck try to emulate this, but we lack the numbers, concentration spans, professionalism, dedication, resources, chutzpah and decent pilots to pull off what HK does.

The frustration of Rwol is very real, because how do you deal with this threat? It arrives without much warning in your system or constellation, it is locally overwhelming, and strategically impossible to counter. It is guerilla warfare and murder via ephemeral, basically unnavigable dark crawlspaces which exit, forever mutating and shifting, underneath the firmament of nullsec (and indeed New Eden as a whole). There sre few, if any, controls you can put in place, especially if it's a frigate hole.

The nerf is allegedly coming because the presence of wormholes runs counter to the disaggregation philosophy of CCP, and goes against the Phoebe capital mobility nerfs. Rwol lays the blame for this at the feet of PL, and here I also include hard Knocks. But is it warranted?

Yes and no, maybe.

Yes, PL, HK and many others don't have their heads up their arses about wormholes like Rwol and a lot of nullsec entities do. When Phoebe dropped we did see a larger proportion of nullsec dwellers utilising wormholes to run logistics. However, that's died off recently, so it's not exactly universal that nullsec alliances manage their wormhole content properly. Most just treat it as a scary place where dragons lurk and death awaits, and don't venture in at all. That they get outflanked and outplayed by PL, HK and BL in this arena is no shock, is it? ignore it at your peril.

No, it's not strictly balanced or reasonable. There are too many nullsec to C5 connections, but very few viable S199 null-null. Therefore HK can use a C5 base to raid nullsec with impunity and make it efficient because nearly every C5 has a Z142 or K162 to nullsec. if not that C5, the C5 it's connected to. That's a fact, and it does make C5 space a kind of nullsec underground railroad.

Maybe it's warranted to reduce this, but will it stop it? Not necessarily. There's still Thera, which is an unsinkable douche-canoe stroke aircraft carrier and due to Eve Scout, everyone knows where it exits (or should). Wormholers wanting to gank carriers can do the same from a C2 with E545/N062, or C3 with K346. hell, you could even use a Z060 C1 if you wanted. HK can adapt if C5 space gets cut off. PL can adapt. What it WILL do is make the content harder to access and make carebears in nullsec more secure. Bueno?

But in the end, if this is a nerf directed at PL and HK, it's also a handout to the lazy shitheel nullsec alliance XO's who don't actively support wormhole content, who don't have an alliance Siggy / Tripwire account, who don't manage their risk, who don't prep their sheeple and aspergers-inflicted fucktard ratters and who don't respond to the threat appropriately. Yes, HK, PL and BL use wormholes. No, their dominance isn't miraculous or exploitative - it's the general cock-targetry of everyone else which is the problem.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Projectile Rework

This is a bit of a broad based analysis of the current problems in the game with projectiles, and hence, with Minmatar ships in general.

I came to this via a round-about way which basically started with me looking at my hangar a few months ago and noticing something striking - for someone who used to fly almost exclusively Minmatar ships, I had only 6 out of 40 individual ship types in my hangar which were Minmatar and ever used at all. These were the Typhoon (used for ratting), the Svipul, the Scythe, the Scimitar, the Loki and the Mammoth (used for PVP). I had no Minmatar HACs, no minmatar AF's, no minmatar destroyers, no Minmatar combat cruisers, no battlecruisers, nada.

I realised - holy shit, minmatar suck balls. Donkey balls. Drone meta is dominant, and projectiles suck in terms of projection (zero-tacking arty) and gank (blasters outperform in brawling). The idea of kitey AC ships fighting nobly in falloff has been squashed by T3 Destroyers which can basically take on multiple T1 cruisers at a time, easily, and by Drone meta because, well, drones.

Things have maybe changed since that snapshot. We've got a Cyclone fit which, with T2 rigs and logi support, stacks up well for ISK vs effectiveness, and is somewhat useful. it maybe hasn't shone yet on the killboards, but that's tactical versus fitting. But basically, without the Scythe, Loki, Svipul and Typhoon, Minmatar is dead to me.

The Loki...there's a couple of fits we use but it's a niche thing related to heavy tackle scouting, but we prefer the Astero because of frig holes existing and cheapness. For cruiser tackle, we prefer our lachesis because of Null blasters and double the point range. So the Loki is rarely used. The phoon is only on the cards because of our ratting maths in C4s favouring it over the Rattlesnake. Barely.

So I basically used to fly Minmatar a lot but now it's all just the Svipul and the Scythe, without which we have almost no use for anything.

I won't get into the nitty gritty of every single Mnmatar hull and why they suck, but a brief TL;DR review of some key problems is warranted;
T1 Frigates - the Burst is only used in Harpy blobs. Rifter sucks due to the Garmur being around, if not the Slicer. Breacher is good, and I occasionally gank with the Vigil. But you can't make very many arty fits work efficiently.

Cruiser-wise, Ruppies are outclassed by everything, find it impossible to fit decently mobile high-DPS arty Rupture gangs, and due to PG there is never ever an option for arty Stabber. Bellicose is mediocre even as an EWAR cruiser due to inefficient slot layout.

Battlecruiser wise the Cane has been nerfed heavily and is just above the Drake. Post-nerf PG constraints have now done away with the Welpcanes of the past. AC Canes lack damage projection, because nowadays falloff means lost DPS. Drones don't suffer lost DPS. The Cyclone makes a shit Fleet boat outside of our niche use, and a shit solo shield tanker because it can't fit enough to realistically tank anything it will encounter. I Lachesis can tank twice as much as the Cyclone because it has so many mids.

Battleship-wise we've just seen the pest get a ROF bonus for another 12.5% effective DPS, which raises it from abysmal to shitty. I mean, armour BS meta you may as well use Baltecs, Apocs, etc, or even Scorch-wielding Abbadons which will outrange the Pest, out-DpS it and so on. Forgrt Arty fits.
Maelstromssuffer in Arty fit use not only because they suffer from a useless bonus to shield rep (forget it in fleet combat) but are slower and less maneuverable than Tornadoes. The phoon makes a better armour fleet ship than the Pest because of utility mids, drones and the interchangeability of missile systems without a lot of fiddling the fit.

What's the set of consistent themes here?

Artillery costs too much powergrid. It is instructive that our Sacrilige doctrine (since retired because it sucks) had RLML's and HAMs. You would fit a depot and take a set of launchers and ammo such that you could refit from HAMs to RLML's if you had to go into a Wolf-Rayet, whereupon you'd gain 600 DPS and damage projection. Try creating a fit with a projectile boat where you can refit from ACs to Artillery - it's impossible.

If Artillery was more of a weapon choice than a fitting choice, this would free up Minmatar ships to focus not on a choice of low rate-of-fire hail mary alpha fleets (where you better hope you hit cause your cycle time sucks and tracking sucks) where you fit up a ship and it lacks any tank and also lacks any gank, or a subpar medium-DPS AC choice where you are forced to fight in falloff while being hunted by drones. Or, soon, where your shit DPS and tracking problems compete with buffed missiles with better than Arty DPS and better than Arty projection.

Tracking and falloff are penalties.
They are not advantages. There is no advantage to fighting deep in falloff. It requires a lot more skills versus missiles and drones to make any turret based weapon system effective, especially in a game where kite meta is king. I'm not even going to get into debating tracking formulae here, because what works for projectiles also works for lasers and hybrids.

Slow reload times.
Lasers? 2 seconds once your cycle is over. Hybrids? 5 seconds. Projectiles? Good luck, buddy.
Arguably some flexibility could be regained if you even moved projectiles to a 7.5 second or 5 second reload cycle. After all, we got the 5 second Hybrid reload time because apparently it sucks as Galente when you begin to be kited by anything and are using Void, so you need to be able to relaod fast.

Isn't that kind of the problem faced by projectiles now? You might need to reload your EMP to Carb lead to deal with a kiter. Good luck, buddy, on waiting the ten seconds. Let's leave missiles at 10 seconds and give Minmatar the flexibility the Lore demands, let alone the meta demands. 

Limited or no damage choices.
It's EM or Explosive. Let's be honest. You are as locked to a damage choice with projectiles as you are with hybrids or lasers. There's literally no other choice.

Projectile ammo comes in many different flavours, and everything except EMP and Fusion are shit. The problem is that range tends to conflate with reduced DPS and an increase in thermal and kinetic content. This means that you can and often do take a double-whammy to effective DPS if you are daft enough to not load fusion or EMP. Secondly, because AC optimal is so short anyway, the EMP and Fusion penalties here are mostly irrelevant - you're choosing the damage based on your foe's weakest resist, not your range. You control your range, and choose EM for shields and Fusion for Amarr and Gallente ships. Job done.

Take a 425mm Rupture versus a bog standard Drake.
Range Ammo: 60% optimal, 5% tracking. 5.28 + 15.5km.
Carb lead. 8 Kinetic, 2 Explosive. Ruppy 149 DPS, Drake 112K EHP.
Nuclear. 2 kinetic, 8 Explosive. Ruppy 149DPS vs Drake 123K EHP.
Proton M. 6 EM, 4 Kinetic. Ruppy 149 DPS vs Drake 85K EHP.

Tracking Ammo: 20% Tracking Bonus. 3.3 + 15km.
Ti Sabot. 12 Kinetic, 4 Explosive. Ruppy 239DPS vs Drake 113K EHP.
Depleted Uranium.4 Kinetic, 6 Thermal, 6 Explosive. Ruppy 239 DPS vs Drake 104K EHP.

Short Range Ammo: 50% optimal Penalty. 1.65 + 15km. 
EMP. 18 EM, 2 Kinetic, 4 Explosive. Ruppy 358 DPS, Drake  82K EHP.
Fusion. 20 Explosive, 4 Kinetic. Ruppy 358 DPS, Drake 123K EHP.
Phased Plasma. 4 Kinetic, 20 Thermal. Ruppy 358 DPS vs Drake 91K EHP.

Now, not much surprise there that the EM damage ammo does the most DPS and the Drake resists it the worst. However, that also ignores the fact that a 50% optimal penalty on AC's with already terrible Optimals isn't much of a penalty.

Your choices are about nothing anyway. If you were going to, for instance, kite a Drake beyond HAM range with an AC Ruppy at 16km, your Proton ammo would have an effective 75 DPS, and your EM ammo an effective 175 DPS. it's doubtful you'd crack the Drake with Proton at 17km since it has a 155 HP/s tank. In fact, you couldn't crack it with proton at 6km. EMP at 17km might get it to crack eventually, but you are right on the bleeding edge of your end of falloff. Either way you can't go for the tracking ammo because at 17km your effective DPS is about 120 and recharge is 227.

Thus you can see that even using Fusion vs a Drake, you are better off than any other ammo type bar EMP and Phased plasma, at any range. Against armour ships with a nominal explosive hole, you are just as well served going with Fusion as you are with Nuclear, even accounting for falloff. Its the same percentage explosive damage and  140% more base damage. The same is true of EMP vs Mallers with a high EM resist - not that you get a long-range EM choice.

The ammo damage types need to be rethought. Projectiles need a long-range EM-heavy choice and a short-range Kinetic heavy "choice". Thus, arguably, Phased Plasma should be 50/50 EM-Thermal and move to a long-range ammo type, and Proton replace it as a short-range ammo with 60/40 Them-Kin.