Monday, December 5, 2011

100th Post - Accomplishing a Few Goals

Well first and foremost, writing 100 posts and still having people read them is an accomplishment in itself.

But I did want to share another accomplishment with the readers.

When I decided to restart GWNE from its PI alt purpose to being a corp I actively ran and focused on PvP, I wanted to be in the Top 10k on Battleclinic as a corp. Why?  Because I saw that as representing a level where it would show we actually knew what we were doing.  We had more kills than losses, and overall I thought it would show we were not complete Carebears (despite my many indy related posts here would seem to confirm I am in fact a Carebear).

So it was with great satisfaction that GWNE did in fact crack the Top 10k in corps around Thanksgiving, and as of this writing sits at 8400.

Battleclinic Corp Standing

I wanted to take a few minutes and highlight a few of the more "special" kills to me.

The FirstNoctis go Boom, with Melted Nanos

Always a special spot for my first.  Was even a post here.  It was a classic SB kill on a Noctis salvaging sites alone.  I was disappointed there were no tears in local, but it was a blast and my heart was racing lining up this solo kill.

First Night In LowKill 1  & Kill 2

Again worthy of its own post.  Killing a couple targets and forgetting probes to find way out did a lot to introduce me to my new alliance mates.

First Kill In SyndicateWelcome to Syndicate

This was our first organized effort at a SB roam.  We had probably 3-4 engagements through out the system  and netted several really nice kills, while losing only a SB in return.  That is until the Black Ops dropped us on a gate and evened the score for the night.

First Repeat Kill in under 30 minutesBound & Determined

Guess he really, really, really wanted to finish that site.

And from there its been a blur of kills and losses, but always more kills it seems.

I am proud in my corp in maintaining a solid efficiency and steadily climbed in points on BC.

So I am happy to say I have accomplished 2 goals recently in EVE.  100 posts (and people still reading) and taking GWNE to the Top 10k in corps on BC.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have gotten some enjoyment out of my stories.

Fly Safe,

PI Changes - The Week After

Wow, what a week it has been.

Carebears all over New Eden were somehow taken by surprise with the raising of taxes on PI goods.

Tears flowed as thousands shut the doors on their High Sec PI, lacking even the most basic business sense to pass the increased costs onto their buyers.

On the other end of the spectrum, thousands rushed to get their Gantry BPC's to build their own CO's (or being too lazy to do that, simply bought the early ones at 50-70% over cost in Jita).

Small corps in W-Space cried for DPS and had none (or not enough to chew through the Interbus CO's in a timely manner).

Overall it has been an exciting week of price speculation, price gouging and thrilling tear watching.

Now at the end of that week, 2 of the 3 P3 materials I make have returned to being profitable, even with the 17% Interbus CO Tax.

Gantry supply has stabilized the price of the unit in Jita at a still very profitable level for those making them.

And the payback on installing a CO is far easier to figure.

I wanted to look at the two planet types we run for payback on the PCO

The first is the P1 to P3 planet. It takes 1,280 units of P1 and turns it into 12 units of P3 every hour.

Taxes are 1280 * 500 * 17% *.5 for import, and 12 * 70,000 * 17% for export per hour.

That is almost 200k isk per hour in taxes, or right around 5M per day.

PCO costs about 100M to build and upgrade (yes I know they are selling for 113M in Jita for the Gantry Only).

So I can justify installing a PCO on my 6 Factory Planets in 20 days, assuming I can recoup the full 17% tax at point of sale.

Okay, let's say I can't recoup the whole 17%, but rather just the 10% of High Sec.  That would lower my "savings" to about 3M per day.  Still a healthy 33 day ROI.  I am fairly certain my PCO's are not going to get popped every 30 days.

My second type of planet is an extraction planet with 8 factories.  At full load they produce 320 P1 every hour for a tax of about $27k, or about 650k per day.  Wow, ROI on that is not going to be as pretty.  Good thing I have multiple extraction centers per planet.  At three on a planet though I am still looking at 50-60 day ROI.  Not great, but not bad.

So looking at my totals.

I have 11 planets.  The best case for a POC has 1 Factory and 9 Extraction centers.  At full production would cost my corp over 10M isk a day.  ROI for a PCO is under 10 days.  Not bad.

Worst case has 3 Extraction Centers.  At full production will generate a measly 1.8M Isk a day in taxes.  ROI would be 55 days.  Not great, but still don't see my PCO's going pop every 55 days.

So that is my story of PI and the PCO.  If it helps you figure out your ROI than great.  If it makes you want to find me and shave a big Z in my carebear fur, then that is great too.

Either way,
Fly Safe,

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New PI trades

I see some new trades coming out of the PI changes.

1) Mercs for hire to small WH corps incapable of destroying the Interbus CO's by themselves

2) Mercs for hire to rep WH and Low Sec POCO's in trouble

3) Pirate gangs ransoming WH and Low Sec POCO/PI access.

The first is probably the most interesting in the short term.

With almost 16M effective HP and a recharge rate of about 200HP/sec it is going to be near impossible for the small corp to take out multiple Interbus CO's in short order.  The chance to kill these Carebears as the semi AFK pound these structures should add lots of possible targets to C4 and under systems.

More Caps will be build in WH space to accomplish this possibly.

Man would it be a great time for a group of SB pilots to hire themselves out to help destroy these CO's.  ANd man would it be a great time for these corps to leave behind a few alts to wreck havoc on these WH Carebears for months to come.

Could be a very interesting dynamic.

The second service is already done for POS, but its a natural extension to more vulnerable targets.

The last is just an extension of asset denial to another soft underbelly of industry.

Oh the fun that might soon come to a WH near you due to PI changes.

Fly Safe,

New World PI Prices

Wow, the whine off the forums of HS carebears is piercing.

"PI is no longer viable"

"Taxes are making PI worthless"

"I have a Burr in my fur and no scissors"

"I cant afford my mani/pedi at these profit levels"

So this morning I played a little hookie form work and looked at the numbers for me.

These are based on Worm hole tax rate of 17%.  Lower the doom and gloom by 40% for high sec.

P1 to P3 planet - Import 4 products, 25k each, and export about 930 P3
Tax Increase - 15-16M per run of 930 P3 or about 16k per P3 unit
Ouch, better cancel my massage too.

Really?  That will represent about a 25% increase in the price I need to charge, and guess what, the market has already moved more than that.

Extraction Planet - Raw material to P1
Tax Increase - 84 Isk per unit  (1 Isk to 85 Isk)
So my good s might move from 525 -550 to 600-650 range to compensate

Combine the two factors and P3 goods need to rise 25K per unit to keep my profits the same PAYING the 17% tax.

Well, in the end, after I figure out the best way to destroy 11 Customs Offices, I am going to be pocketing that increase.

Sure, some asshat will inevitably look at his extraction as "free" and the real increase in price will eventually settle around the HS increase of 10% and maybe P3 products will rise from 50k average to 65k.  All good, I make more.

Carebears will eventually figure out how to pass the increase on to other Carebears and the world will rebalance.

The interesting thing will still be Low Sec and the impact of limiting Ninja PI.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ship Poor

They say when you buy a new house and you overspend you are "House Poor".

I guess the EVE Equivalent is when you buy too many ships you are "Ship Poor".

For the first time in a long time I feel poor.  In the last month I have bought a slick Incursion ride (and yet to fly it), I bought my first Carrier and fittings (man those fighters and capital fittings are huge), as well as my mini Jump Freighter (Rorq with cargo rigs).

Sure I "needed" each of these ships, but I think it is more the case of having too much liquid ISK and a desire to "have" things way more than the desire to have a fat wallet.

So now, an opportunity has popped up to acquire an asset that I have been looking for the last few months.  A nice C2 with a Static C2 and Low Sec, perfect PI, and a capital already inside.  The price is right, and the owner is motivated.  But I am lacking the liquid ISK.

It is probably for the better, because if I did, I would be looking at several weeks to move my operations from my C1 to the C2.  All for a "better" situation with statics.

So being Ship Poor and "missing" this opportunity has lead me to reevaluate what my goals really are for the near future in EVE.  The goals of a C2 stem from my goals to build another W-Space corp that would be focused on PVP, mining and PVE within the C2 and Low Sec.  But that is no longer the direction I am headed.  The near future for me is now looking to be in NPC Null.

It is always funny to me how quickly life in EVE can change, based on a few decisions here and there.  The decision to look for people to help mine the C1 leads to moving a combat character to Low Sec.  This leads to some of the most fun in PVP I have had.  Now this group is trying its hand in NPC Null.

As always seems to be the case, I like to be involved in the corps and alliances I have fun in.  So fast forward just a few short months from looking for miners to help with Grav sites in my C1 and almost all of my game time is now dedicated to life in NPC Null.  Not something I planned, but something I have enjoyed.

So I will pass on the "dream starter wormhole" and let that dream settle onto a back burner while I now focus on learning more about Cyno Alts, Logistics in Null Sec, and debating the merits of Blackbirds versus Falcons in small scale Null Sec PVP.

Fly Safe,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Persistence Pays Off - For Us

It began as I logged into Comms while running my Planet Goo business and heard the rumblings of some activity with Stealth Bombers in Null.  So needless to say, the restarting of extractors could wait and I quickly logged on to my combat character in Null.

I guess to start I should mention that I love Stealth Bombers.  I mean I downright Love these little beasts.  I assume it is a side effect of living so long in a Wormhole, where stealth is king, and bombs are Queen.  To top it off, I get great satisfaction watching people in the Stealth Bomber when I know they are going to die, and they don’t yet.

So I log in, jump into the Purifier, and head off for the target system.

As I am warping to the system, I hear on Comms there is a Command Ship in a site with wrecks.  Oh Sweet Lord of Eve, let it be true.

As I hang on the last gate to avoid another +1 spooking the prey, I hear our fleet has grown to 3 Stealth Bombers and a Falcon.  We all figured if it was a trap we were willing to lose 3 SB’s for a shot at a Command Ship, but we were fairly certain this was not a trap.

Our scout lands on grid with the Nighthawk and confirms he is just merrily ratting away.  The order is given to assemble on grid, so I jump and warp to 10km off the lead scout.  Sure enough, the Nighthawk is finishing a site with Fighter escort.  I am sure he felt with Fighters he was more than safe enough to handle the 4 reds in system.

When we confirm all 4 cloakies are in position, the order was given to launch the attack.  With the unknown of where everyone was, we decided against bombs and went straight for the torps. 

The initial volleys hit their target and the shields made no effort to recover.  The Falcon pilot happily reported the target was jammed, and the SB’s proceeded to pound the target into submission, which didn’t take long.  A look at the KB later confirmed the buffer fit.  We waited on grid for any response and covered the SB looting the wreck.  We then warped to safes and warped back in at range to look for the response from his almost 20 friends in local.  Nothing came.

As we waited on grid for something, anything, to happen we received notice on Comms from our scout watching their station that our friend had undocked in a Raven.  “He is aligning towards you” quickly followed. 

With the Command Ship kill already under our belt we were playing with house money at this point so we held on the field and waited for our friend to arrive in another ship.  He did not disappoint as he landed on grid with his Raven about 20km off my position.

I quickly confirmed everyone was in place, and satisfied we were ready, I uncloaked, primed the Warp Disruptor and Torps, and locked the Raven.  Again the Falcon pilot reported the target was jammed.
As the Raven melted, a Manticore uncloaked about 60km off me, locked me and started to launch torps.  About the same time the Fighters reappeared on the scene.  My Neocom screeched at me as my shields melted and armor started to vaporize.  I aligned quickly and hit the warp button to my safe.  I landed and continued to listen to the situation as a drake and another ship landed to aid their friend. 

The order was given to warp to safes, and about that time I suddenly had a fleet of fighters land on me.  I was not happy to see them, but as I warped to a second safe I was happy I had pulled them off the field.  I remembered to cloak this time.

The fog of war played in here as we did not know if we had succeeded in the kill of the raven or not.  As we warped back in at 100km we saw the Raven wreck, but we never did get a Killmail for it.  On the shame.
So we were sure the night was done and the fourth SB on the field was lamenting his bad luck at missing the fight and our scout on the station had left to find other targets.  I guess the target also thought the night was over, because after about 5 to 10 minutes, in warps a Cormorant.

We laughed, got into position and proceeded to dispatch the cormorant in plenty of time before they could “spring the trap” again.  As the Calvary arrived, we were all in warp to safes and laughing in Comms at the persistence of these people.

Now we are sure they have learned their lesson and are not stupid enough to try again to trap our merry little gang of SB’s (which has grown to 5 now), but our scout (now back on their station) reports a Pilgrim undocking.  Say it isn’t so Joe.  Guess Forrest was right, “Stupid is as Stupid Does”.

Sure enough, the Pilgrim lands on grid.  One of our SB’s is fit to hit from almost 80km and we decide to let him fire a couple of volleys from that range and see what happens.  The rest of us closed to within point range.  Nothing happens except the Pilgrim starts to bleed shields. 

Since we are still playing with house money, we decide to go for another kill.  We all uncloak and proceed to pound the Pilgrim.  Sure enough the scout at station reports a fleet of 4 BC’s and a Falcon undocking.  At the same time the Manticore uncloaks again at about 60km off the Pilgrim.

We all hold field long enough to kill the Pilgrim, and start to align to safes.  One of the pilots announces they have the Pod, and three of us hang around just long enough to launch a volley at the pod before hitting warp as his backup finally arrives on the scene.

We throw a few barbs in local about yet another fail trap, and we warp back in at range again.  But alas, the Pilgrim was their final attempt at trapping us.

They get at A for effort, and we get three ships and a Pod, with a fourth ship destroyed but never accounted for on the Killboard.  Not a bad night, for us.

And yes Carebears, I managed to reset my extractor heads too.

Fly Safe,

Thursday, October 20, 2011

POCO - CCP's Latest Idea

In case you live under a rock, don't follow the markets, don't own a POS, or don't do PI, here is the link to the latest from CCP on PI.

I am not going to rehash the details of the Dev Blog, since really if you are too lazy to read it, you are not going to care much about WTF I think of it either, but hey thanks for stopping by.  Before you stop reading I will just say Stealth Bombers are cool toys, but paper thin.

Okay, back to the indy talk.

We have now had 24-48 hours for the news to sink in, for the cost of POS fuels to skyrocket, and for mass hysteria to sink in.

So is turning over the Low Sec, Null Sec and W-Space PI Customs Offices to players a good thing, or a bad thing?

Well that depends a lot on who you ask.

I agree for Low Sec a lot will depend on the strategy the "controlling entities" use.  Are they going to look at this as a way to make some isk? or a way to shut all the ninja PI people out of business.  In an area supposedly still controlled by Concord (they do still have Gate Guns and shit) I find it interesting that they are allowing players to control a tax stream.  I am not sure it fits with the overall "story" of the game.  These areas in Low Sec are still part of one of the big 4 States.  Would Caldari business men really allow a small band of pilots to control a tax stream?  Why would Expert Distribution not jump at the chance to gain this tax stream for themselves?  Sure it sounds great, but I am not sure it fits the "story" of EVE.  Low Sec is where I would worry  the most about the implementation of the POCO.

NPC Null.  Even more fun.  This is an area where there are plenty of bored, pissed off people willing to shoot at anything to pass the time.  Personally, I would not spend much to setup a POCO in NPC Null.  I don't see how they last long in an area like this.

Sov Null.  Already has restrictions on doing PI.  The POCO will just be one more structure that needs to be built and installed to "upgrade" a system for renters and alliances.  Will provide a small boost in income for the major alliances.

W-Space - I think this is one area that will be interesting. Some people have said that not a lot of PI comes out of w-space.  I think they are trying to deter people from competing with their vast W-Space PI empires. I can easily justify the cost of the POCO's to continue to do PI in w-space, but it will increase the "value" of my system to me, which means I am more unwilling to move, and will mean I am more likely to invest in system defenses also.  I see a rise in the number of people/corps entrenching themselves into w-space.  More carriers in C1's, more presence in C2-C4's, more activity.  Either that or a reversal in w-space living like we saw when the price of ABC ores crashed.

The other thing with PI in a WH, if POS fuels continue to remain high, the cost of POS ownership in general will deter people from being in W-space, and put more and more value in w-space systems with proper PI to support a POS at a premium.

Time will tell if this is a good idea or a bad idea, but I am all for something that will:

Drive up PI costs
Deter people from doing PI
Allow me to better "control" access to planets in "my" system
Potentially make small to mid sized fleet battles happen around them

In the end, I think this will drive fuel prices higher (as we are already seeing), and will continue to move PI towards an alliance and corporate level.  I do not want to see PI ever become something that can be a Corp activity, especially the ability to move PI goods in the Customs Office between Corp Members, as I think that would absolutely kill the ability to disrupt PI operations.

Eventually, people will adapt and find ways to make Isk again with PI in areas they don't control.  If the POCO's do not drop any of the goods inside, I think people will eventually grow tired of messing with them for grins and giggles.

The major questions are still if people will look to these new POCO's to be an income source, or a way to lock down system.  I know in W-space, I would use them to lock down the access.

Fly Safe,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chumming the waters

From Wiki
Chumming is the practice of luring animals, usually fish and sharks, by throwing "chum" into the water.  Chum often consists of fish parts and blood, which attract fish, particularly sharks due to their keen sense of smell.

As related to EVE.
Chumming is the practice of luring pilots, usually large gangs, by throwing "chum" into the system.  Chum often consists of stupid pilots in expensive PVE ships or poorly run fleets, which attract large gangs, particularly those who know how to use Dotlan.

I remember a conversation I had in local with a group of pilots doing stupid things in really nice ships.  I basically was trying to get them to realize that their was a direct correlation between them repeatedly getting killed running havens in PVE fit ships and the large number of roaming gangs that came through our pocket every night.  I tried to get them to realize that they were in effect "Chumming the Waters" and drawing these incoming fleets, to the detriment of all in the pocket.  Alas, they could not see the correlation, and eventually they went back to running L4's in high sec since "they could not make any Isk losing ships every night".

With the shear amount of knowledge available to find "chummed systems", it is easy for gangs to see where the action is at and to head out looking for a good fight.

I can jump on DOTLAN and see every system in our area, how much ratting is going on, what times, and if ships have been killed.  A good FC can "sense" the blood in the water and find the action.

Recently, we were involved in a major engagement with probably 20-35 pilots on both sides of the fight.  The aftermath was a large spike in kills in a system.  Within an hour, roaming gangs from across the region were seen roaming our "waters" and resulted in a couple of very nice subcap encounters.

If this type of action is repeated for a week or so, the area will start to become know as a "feeding ground" and will draw fleets in from light-years around. 

Great for PvP, bad for making a productive location for Isk generation.

Just something to think about as you try to balance Isk generation and pew pew fun.

Fly Safe,

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How to See Things Differently

This is not a discussion on the value of having a Positive Mental Attitude, or always seeing the glass "half full"

Its not a dissertation on the merits of Zen and meditation to achieve a more enlightened vision of the world.

I am talking about how you see when you sit down in front of your computer in your mother's basement.

The EVE world is a complicated one, and your portal into it (okay computer screen(s)) can provide a wealth of knowledge, or a web of confusion.  And how you see the world of EVE depends on one of the most important things in the game, your Overview. 

While there are a ton of in-game and RL skills that can determine your success and satisfaction with EVE, one of the most important is knowing how to setup Overviews, and the knowledge of what you want on it.  A mistake in setting up your Overview can lead to failure in combat, and is probably the number one thing you can do to be prepared as a pilot.

Let's look at a few situations.  

1) A small scale fleet encounter in an Asteroid Belt.  Lets say 15 people a side.  You warp in and have a crappy overview tab on.  All the sudden (well actually after about 5 seconds of lag for you computer to load it all)  there are 200 things on your overview with asteroids, friendly ships, enemy ships, NPC Ships, drones, customs offices, planets, stations, beacons.  The FC is calling primaries and you are trying to sort through this massive list to find them.  As you try to target, the list bounces as new friendlies arrive and you target a friendly ship instead.  By the time you get the primary finally targeted you manage to get off one shot before he pops.  You repeat this process a few times before you are finally targeted and start to go down.  Now you know you are going to die, so you scroll down to find something to warp your pod too.  You Pop, there is a station.  You select it and crap your pod is scrammed and you get to ride the white light express back to your medical clone.

2) You are ratting in a quiet system.  All the sudden a red ship appears on your overview.  You quickly call out on Comms "Red Drake on me, warp to Ben Affleck belt 6-2."  To which, someone replies, "System is Blue dude, WTF are you seeing."  And then you realize its just Ungolas, the alliance's local -9 pirate.  Embarrassed you dock up and go back to playing Hello Kitty Island Adventure.

3) You are quietly mining in W-space.  You are diligently pounding the D-Scan button, but you are tired of tall the crap on it and have the use active overview setting checked.  You never see the combat scanners before the Hound uncloaks and bombs you back to High Sec.

All of these situations could have a much different result with proper Overview Settings.

1) You arrive on the scene with a proper PvP overview and see nothing but the enemy fleet laid out in front of you.  You easily follow the FC's commands of primary and deal significant damage to each ship as it melts under you guns.  You find the secondary and already have him targeted, losing no time in switching targets.  

2) You have your overview filters properly set and you see an alliance drake warp into your belt.  You crack a joke on Comms about mouth breathing WOW players, get a few chuckles and continue to make some isk.

3) You see the Combat Probes on D-Scan and are able to get your butt back to the POS in time. 

And in each situation, only a change in your Overview makes all the difference.

So why is it that so many people have neglected such a basic thing as the overview?

1) It is not obvious.  You can get away with having a bad overview probably 95% of the time.  You have time to click the object in space, or do something else to get the Overview the way you want it.  It is seldom a "life or death" situation.

2) It is your overview.  No one else ever sees it.  We share ship setups, we see kill boards of fits, we notice when a pilot doesn't follow orders, or someone shoots the wrong target.  No one but you ever sees your overview.

3) It is boring to work on.  Why spend an hour working on Overview when I can rat, mine, scan, roam, gate camp, play the market, do PI etc etc.  Setting up a good set of Overviews is just boring.

4) It is hard to know what you don't know.  How are you supposed to know you need a drones tab before going into a battle with a carrier?  How are you supposed to know a logistics pilot needs a separate set of Overview settings than a DPS pilot?  Like most things in EVE there is scant information, and how to properly setup Overview Tabs is just another area that people struggle to figure out.

So I encourage everyone, if you do not have a good set of saved Overview Tabs, seek out the information from someone who does.  Get them to explain filters and brackets and tabs and saving and ....

The next time you warp into a fleet encounter you will be happy you spent the time to see things differently.

Fly Safe,

Friday, October 7, 2011

If Dogs Played EVE

I know from being on Comms that a lot of EVE players are also animal lovers, or at least animal toleraters.

So I thought I would take some snapshots of some dogs. and labs to be specific, and discuss what type of players they would be if they played EVE.

First up.

Our Industrialist dog.  His slightly sad look from getting his Tech 2 Rigged Hulk ganked the same week he went 0 for 10 on Falcon invention gives him away.  His ears hang low from being so tired after having to take down his High Sec Pos for the third time on last 6 weeks due to another stinking War Dec.  His keen eyes are still somewhat bright at the thought of Drake prices rising slightly netting him a better profit on his latest mineral haul.

Expert at flying an Orca, Freighter, Hulk and Inty V.

Our Second Dog.

Our PvE dog.  Note the intense stare, the thorough concentration on the spawn coming from his left.  He has obviously read Eve-Survival and knows this is where the action is coming from.  The perked up ears an sign of his attention to the task at hand - shooting a ton of Red Crosses.  He knows all the chain ratting rules.  This dog is a serious force to be reckoned with for sure.

Expert at flying Golum, CNR, Paladin and Damnation

Our Third Dog.

Our Exploration dog.  The thirst to find things, the inquisitive stare, the ears slightly cocked at attention to the slightest sound.  This dog is definitely versed in scanning, hacking, analyzing, salvaging, and probably even running Incursions.  He seeks to find things in systems where other simply fly through.  The challenge of locating that 6/10 plex keeps him scanning from system to system.

Expert at Covert Ops, Tengu and Legion.

Our Final Dog.

Our PvP pilot.  Nuff Said.

Fly Safe,

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time Dilation and Contraction

No I am not talking about CCP's potential answer to Server Lag.

I spent almost 5 hours online last night in several groups of people discussing everything from leadership structures, low versus null ship fittings and tactics, courier contracts and other "exciting" topics. It seemed like no more than an hour or so from 9 to almost 1am.   At 12:45, I gave myself "a few more minutes".  I finally got to bed about 1:50am.

Now force me to spend 5 hours in a meeting discussing my own employers corporate structure, the benefits of our new equipment versus existing, shipping systems, and other "exciting" topics and I am sure it would be a snooze fest and seem like 12 hours.

So game time seems to be very contracted and work time very dilated.  Wonder if CCP can tap into that phenomenon to fix lag?

Fly Safe,
Mick Flaherty

Monday, October 3, 2011

What's in a Stat

It has been said many times that you can manipulate the data to eventually make it say what you want it to say.

PvP stats are no different.

As I ventured into Null with the last alliance, we had an ongoing discussion about PvP stats.  There seemed to be a camp that said "I pay my $15 a month, I make my Isk and if I want to fly x, and do y I will."  For x and y insert Rattlesnake and system defense, Nyx and mining op, Tengu and Ratting, etc etc.

The other camp was more like "We are judged by our Kill Board and if you can't maintain a positive efficiency there is no place for you in this alliance."

Its not hard to figure out who is in each camp, but the discussion (as well as several other events) led to a deep rift in the alliance that never really healed.

Now, my current alliance is facing the same conversation, and the camps are pretty much the same.

The stat everyone focuses on is Efficiency.  So what is Efficiency?  It is simply Isk Destroyed / (Isk Destroyed + Isk Lost).  It is meant to show how good a pilot is in combat, but it is flawed.

Sure in some cases its easy to see how Efficiency accurately reflects the pilot.  A guy that repeatedly gets ganked in High Sec in shiney ships and never kills anything will always be a boat anchor on him, his corp, and his alliance's efficiency.

But pilots can have a great efficiency in a battle and yet the corp and/or alliance can "lose the fight".  Several encounters recently have demonstrated this exact situation.

In one case, I jumped into my trust Cane and warped off to a Gate Camp where we were trying to catch some people jumping in assets for transfer to Null Sec.  We had almost caught a group of them before, but they had slipped the net.

So with much smack talking going on in local, we set up a "better" gate camp, probably 13-15 pilots.  So in jumps a force recon ship (read 150M isk kill), and we all proceed to light him up.  Then the Cyno gets lit and here comes the hot drop.  So we all scatter off the gate like cockroaches when the kitchen light turns on.  But a few of us are bound and determined to take the Force Recon ship down.  I am one of those, figuring my 50M Isk ship is worth losing to kill a 150M ship (75% efficiency for me baby).  Well the issue is a person in a 150M isk ship, a 200M Isk Ship and another 50M isk ship all decided the same thing.  So we lose 4 ships and get 1 kill (well 2 for me as I managed to alpha a stealth bomber on my way down).  End result - Alliance 20% ish Efficiency, Corp about 80% and Personal also about 80%.

So I come away looking "successful" since I maintained the 75% the alliance is looking for.  My corp looks good, but the alliance obviously lost the battle.  Many of the corps fared even better by getting early shots in on the Force Recon before fleeing the field (though without those that stayed behind they would not have).   Obviously some did not, as they lost 200M Isk for 150M destroyed. That is not terrible, but not the 75% we are looking for.

In a second encounter, we were working as a small group attacking a much bigger force in the area. They were not organized and we managed to get into a few skirmishes where we killed a Force Recon, 2 BC's and SB, all while losing only a SB.  Then we made a tactical error and engaged a bait BS on a gate.  Cyno lit, Sabre warps in and bubbles the gate, and we lose a couple Force Recons, BC and couple cruisers.  Since I missed the last encounter, but got in on 3 of the previous kills, I came out with 100%, my corp lost a Cruiser, so again very good 90%+ Efficiency.  But the Alliance came in at around 50% (until an hour or so later we killed 4 more of them with no losses).

So in the end how do we judge an Alliance, a Corp, or a pilot and their "prowess" in combat?  It takes a lot more than simply looking at one stat and saying "they have maintained a 80% combat efficiency, he must be good", and looking more indepth at the kills and loses.

A pilot that only flies in large groups, flies low value ships, gets on a lot of kills, but will never venture into "dangerous" situations might look good on paper, but is he really a good combat pilot?  But you also need to see if the Isk being flown in situations is justified.  Someone who always flies 200-400M isk ships regardless of the situation needs to be looked at too.

So in the end, no one stat is the be all, end all of evaluating PvP, but efficiency might be the best we have currently.

Fly Safe,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Introducing .... The Grog

As you know, my corp joined a new alliance about a month ago. I joined for the PvP action in their Low Sec pipe. I have not been disappointed.

I got some early feedback about this blog and several people told me they would love to try blogging, but stated they didn't want to mess with the organizing side.

So to help them out, as well as try a hand at "reporting" instead of only telling about direct involvement (as I have done here), I asked the Alliance Leadership if I could start an Alliance Blog and they said go for it.

So we held a little contest to name the new blog, and the winner was "The Grog".  The word comes from a combination of Gryphon and Blog, as well as being a nice alcohol reference to a weak drink usually reserved for the crew or common man.  Seemed like a nice theme for our Viking mentality and every-man spirit.

So I hope some of you will jump over to The Grog and check it out.

Fly Safe,

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I never knew I needed to be a Plumber

There are so many aspects of EVE that I love, and the need to balance your time between making Isk and spending Isk is one of the most interesting and one of the ones that gets talked about when nobody will come into your pocket to fight.

In EVE, there are a ton of Isk faucets from which to drink.  True faucets like Mining, Killing Red Crosses (bounties, reward, and loot), Exploration, PI extraction, Moon Mining, Gas Harvesting, R&D Agents all introduce things into the game where there was nothing before. Buying PLEX's also qualifies here, but is a different faucet all together.

"Secondary" ways to make Isk like production, BP market, Invention and reactions (moon goo and PI) add value to something and allow profit (sometimes), but does not introduce things into the game. It messes with the  Isk in the basin, but does not create "something out of nothing".

A last category allows individuals to make a profit, and really doesn't create anything new.  Trading, Scamming, PvP looting, etc all can be great ways to make Isk, but they are more a distribution of Isk and certainly does not add anything to the game (and here I mean item wise, definitely not game content wise, as all of these are fascinating aspects of the game)

As for the Isk sinks, they can be easy to understand (like NPC Corp Taxes, Taxes and fees in general, ship loss), or hard to understand (like Null Sov costs, Office Rentals, Slot fees, POS Fuel, PLEX for Account time).  

At the end of the day, Isk in EVE flows from faucets to sinks.  We just try to tap into our share before it disappears down the drain.

Individuals have their own personal faucets and sinks in their wallet.  This carries over to corporations and alliances as well.

This never-ending flow of Isk is one of the most intriguing aspects of the game.  I am always amazed at how people make their Isk, and also how the spend or lose it.   People spend hours aiming their mining lasers at asteroids, make a ton of Isk, and then buy a fail fit Hulk and lose it to gankers.  Others spend hours running missions, ratting in belts and do everything they can to get the Isk together to buy a 17B ship that needs a second account to offline it, just to say they have it.  Others detest all the ways to make Isk so much they just fund their accounts with PLEX.  Nothing wrong with that if you can afford it.

Personally, I spend almost as much time tweaking my "business" as I do thinking of fittings and tactics and other things I do for PvP fun.  My wife has learned not to ask what I am doing when I have my binder out and I am sitting on the couch madly pounding numbers into the calculator.  She just rolls her eyes and mutters something about "that stupid game".  

Oh, if she only really understood.

Fly Safe,

Monday, September 26, 2011

I feel like the Godfather

I would think that after almost 3 years of game time that nothing in EVE would shock me anymore.

So I am tooling around in a Low Sec area near our "home" with some of my new corp members.  We are doing a little exploration, d-scan, and stealth training.  The basics of finding your way around a w-space system without them know you are there and what not. So after too many empty and inactive wormholes, we finally decided to call it quits for the night.

As we are warping our merry little gang through the 7-8 jumps home, I see that during the course of the outing someone has been trying to get my attention in my public channel, but has since left.  A quick look shows the guy is still online so I open up a private chat.

"Sorry was on an op, did you need something?" I ask ever so politely (starting with "WTF you want" usually does not lead to productive conversations)
"Yeah, I saw you guys come through my system." He replied

Well, he had my attention as I thought he was going to challenge our right to scan there or something.

"I am looking for friends." he followed up.
"Where did you loss them?" I asked. (Man aren't I witty)
"No I need better blues down here, you guys looked like you had a nice force.  You live in this area?" said Lonely Guy. 
"Not really." I lied
"That's too bad.  The pirate group I was paying to put a POS here decided to blow me up today." 
I had to stifle a laugh.  Who the hell in their right mind trusts a pirate corp.
"Wow that sucks" I manage to reply.
"Yeah I was looking to exchange blue status for my POS password for a safe spot in one of these systems." continued Lonely Guy 
Really. a safe spot?  There are no bubbles in Low, and a ton of stations, who the hell needs a POS for a safe spot?
"Well we really just use stations, we don't use POS's."
"What about me hiring you as protection? I really want to do PI, but not if people keep killing my POS."
OMG, the guy thinks he needs a POS for Low Sec PI.
"Well we really just protect our space we consider home, don't really take on protection jobs farther away" 
"I could move to where you are." 
"We would not want to protect a POS" man does he not get it.
"I could join your alliance"
"We don't take 100% indy corps, do you PvP?" I asked, knowing the answer
"And get blown up all the time, no thanks" replied Lonely Guy "I just want protection."
"Sorry can't help you there"
"Well thanks for you time" finished Lonely Guy and promptly closed the channel.

Wow, people coming to me for protection from bad old pirates.  That's something new.

Fly Safe,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tools of the trade

Over the weekend I downloaded the new EveHQ and was playing around with getting it setup.  So far I like some aspects of it better than the tools I have been using and some less.

On the plus side, the asset tracker is awesome.  The ability to quickly see where all your stuff is on all your characters is awesome.  The pricing is way off, and I have not dug in enough to see how to make that more accurate.  Same thing with the ability to quickly see you cash balance for all your characters and corporations.

The POS manager looks good, though I have not had a chance to dig into it in depth.

The ship fittings tool is not the greatest, but it does seem to have a nice cap simulator, as well as a damage analysis that I have not checked out.  I hear the fleet manager is pretty sweet, and I also think there is a way to show what pilots can fly what ships, which would be nice for corp fittings.

Overall, I am sure going to spend a few more afternoons playing around with EveHQ and seeing the depth of what is available.

EveHQ can be found here.

So this got me thinking what other "tools" outside of EVE people use.  It has been said many times EVE is really about "flying spreadsheets" and over time I have used my fair share of tools outside of the game to both be better at the game and save time and effort.

The first tool anyone ever introduced me to was Evemon.  Still one of the most essential tools of the game.  Maximizing training time and focusing skills is essential in EVE and Evemon is essential in doing that.  I remember the days before the skills queue and it was essential to make sure you knew the short and long skills you were training for, when they would end and what time to set the alarm for.  Now with the queue its more about overall planning, attribute resets and seeing if those +4 implants in Null are justified.  If you don't know where to find Evemon, I seriously doubt you play eve enough to be reading this blog.

I used to use Ombey's 2D maps all the time, but I have migrated to Dotlan. I mean who does not want to know the number of jumps, the NPC Kills, the Ship kills and Pod kills in pretty much close to real time.  I mean I can tell you right now as I write this blog that someone is clearing my wormhole of anomolies.  I know I have a K162 into my system, since I did not open the static last night.  I also use Dotlan when planning a roam to see where the botters are ratting, and what systems in the area are hot.  Dotlan also offers navigation tools to see what Jump Cal V will get you in terms of additional systems within range.  It also has many other tools I have yet to explore.  Overall I loved Ombey's maps and still have a paper copy of the area near where I live, but really I use Dotlan for almost all my mapping needs now.

Another "new" tool is Staticmapper.  While not 100% accurate due to allowing user input, it is invaluable to anyone living in W-Space. The amount of time this tool has saved me is probably into the days by now.  To be able to jump into a system with 8-10 signatures and pretty much know the statics is awesome.  Sure I might have missed a few routes through K162's and transient wormholes, but not scanning 8-10 sigs looking for the static is very cool.  

While I hate the static nature of missions and anomolies and wish CCP would do something to randomize the triggers, Eve-Survival is a must have for anyone making a living off PvE.

Need to find a locator agent? Want to find the closest L4 agent for a particular NPC?  A quick trip to will help you there.  I have used it often to find the closest locator agent when a war target has come online.  Worth a glance.

Of course, BattleClinic to see if that Ungolas guy in local talking smack is really THAT good.

And probably the last tool I use on a regular basis is Eve Fitting Tool or EFT.  Invaluable in playing with skills and modules, implants, and boosters, fleet boosts and WH effects to see how they will effect a ships performance.

I used to have a copy of Halada's mining guide, but I have long since lost that.  I recently downloaded Volume 1 of the ISK guide and am wading through those 400 pages of information.  I use Eve-Central to check prices, but have almost no knowledge of the true power of that tool so I will not touch on it.

So those are some of the tools I use (not counting the PI charts and stuff from a number of sites).

I would love to hear the tools others are using on a regular basis.

Fly Safe,

Friday, September 16, 2011

Prince said "Forever and that's a mighty long time"

But I'm here to tell ya, he wasn't dealing with CHON.

So as you probably know from this I had an unwanted, uninvited and frankly undesirable visitor to my w-space retreat.

It was quite fun after the initial "Rawr, we are leet Pvp alliance, Pack up your flying circus and leave" banter to finally get around to killing their POS's.  But alas, they did not take the first hint, and with 6-8 people doing PI, there was more than enough profit to justify erecting a Large POS in my wormhole every time a hole popped out near a trade hub.

So my guests thought it would be great fun to erect a third POS, and to go with all ECM and Harden the crap out of it.  Well all that meant is their 4-6 hours of anchoring and online'n stuff would have to be met with 4-6 hours of throwing ammo out of our BS fleet.  (and at least two hours of listening to Pleco complain that "every damned ECM is jamming me", "how the hell can they all jam me" and "I swear even the incapp'd ones are still jamming me")

Sure enough in the final stages of the POS bash the scanner for the invaders logs in and warps to the POS.  So we start a nice convo in local that basically goes a little something like this.

Valiant Defender (that's me): "Didn't get the first sign this is our system?"
Leet PVP or PI or Whatever (That's them): "Have fun shooting the POS for 6 hours again"
VD (hmm maybe I should have chosen a better name for myself): "We will."
LPVP/PI: "Good cause I am staying here Forever"
VD's Fleetmate: "Sounds like we all win here"
VD: "We are just waiting for the leet PVP portion of your Alliance to come"
LPVP/PI: "Oh its just me, this is a personal thing."
VD: "Damn, that's too bad, we were looking for more fun"
VD: "BTW, offer still stands to sell you the hole if you like it that much"
LPVP/PI: "Why do you think this is about money? Even if you leave we will follow you where ever you go"
VD: "Well it sure can't be about KB for you, I mean over a Bil in POS losses now for you."
LPVP/PI: "You just don't get it do you, I am not going anywhere"
LPVP/PI: "End of Conversation, have fun killing an empty POS"
VD's Fleetmate: "Next time set up a faction tower please."

So sure enough the POS goes pop, and its time to decide what the heck to do to stop this madness.  There is not anyway to kill the PI that is already on the planet, I hate to invest in more BS's and Cap ships to kill their poorly defended and heavily hardened POS's, and I sure the hell was not leaving.

Now one of the things I never check when evaluating systems is the number of moons.  Never been important, and frankly never cared.  Well I guess I got lucky, cause my wormhole home has less than 20 moons. 

So step one was to prevent them from easily anchoring another POS.  If it was indeed just one person with 5 PI accounts and no more DPS than a couple Drakes, the easiest way to accomplish that would be anchoring a tower at every moon.  And with less than 20 to cover it would cost less then building a Dread in a C1 (and would not be a total loss in the fact that it would never get out).

In addition, I decided to make it as time consuming and as much of a hassel to do the PI from safes and get it out of the system.  I figured a Large Bubble on every WH would do the trick.

So after a few days, I had every planet covered, and was happily bubbling all the holes as I found them.

Being on the other side of the world from them, and the fact that they really only needed to run stuff every 3-4 days at most, it was going to be hard to directly interfere with them.  

Well it seems they solved the large bubble by having all the ships slowboat to the wormhole then jump enough times to mass close it and then use the fresh hole to run stuff out.  Figuring I never was on when they were this worked fine for them.

So on to plan B.  I decided to bubble the crap out of the main Customs Offices they were using.  Let them slowboat 80km (40 in and 40 out) each time they needed to get something from a hanger.  And I had the option of offlining them when I needed to use the Office.  

Finally, about 2 weeks after the last POS bash, I logged in during their peak time to find 5 of his characters active.  So I jumped in the SB and immediately started checking the WH, Custom's offices, and pounding D-scan.  Nothing, no sign of anybody.  I know all his ships have cloaks, so I threw Combat Probes and waited for one to logoff, so I could try to catch it during the 1 minute or so it hangs in system.

Sure enough after about 10 minutes one of the toons goes offline and .... nothing.  Nothing on D-Scan, nothing on probes.  I expand the probes to cover any deep safes, and still nothing.  This repeats for another character 5 minutes later.

So I quickly open Planet 1, lo and behold, the Command Centers from our guests are gone.  Planet 2 same. Could it really be?

I log on my character in k-space and quickly find a locator agent.  Search for first character.  Find another agent 4 jumps away and search for second.  Get a random in local to run a third search.  Just in time as soon the last three character's log off.  Again, nothing on D-Scan or probes.

About 8-10 minutes later my suspicions are confirmed as all three location agents return HS locations for my visitors.

So thus ends the saga and one of the most interesting months in w-space that I have had.

Final tally
3 dead POS for them, as well as a new found lack of respect for their "leetness"
Almost 20 new small towers, and about a Dozen new BS's in the hole for me, as well as a shit ton of ammo.

So I probably spent twice as much defending the hole than they spent attacking it, but I am apparently alone again, despite the assurance from my new friends that I would never be alone again. 

As an alliance mate said "Maybe he meant fortnight, and he would follow your corps Killboard".

Who knows, maybe.  But I am kind of sad, I was looking forward to coming up with new ways to harass them.

Fly Safe,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Final Frontier

Last night I crossed into a realm where I have never been before, and no I did not finally leave Mom's basement and go on a date with a girl not somehow distantly related to me.

Before joining the current alliance, I have been a High Sec Miner, High Sec Mission Runner, ran a T2 Manufacturing Corporation, Lived in every class of W-Space, moved to Null, returned to High Sec, Moved back to W-space, moved back to Null and finally returned to High Sec again.

After I joined, I moved to Low Sec.  I was amazed at the relative safety of Low Sec.  The annoying gate guns and GCC timers was new, my near perfect Sec Status took a hit, but all in all it was not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  That said, I would not want to do it without 20-30 of my closest friends.

Now last night, after getting smack talked by a carrier pilot and his friend (while they were docked inside a station) we decided to disband our merry little gang of misfit toys and move some pilots down to a new area we are exploring in NPC Null.  Now I have never lived in NPC Null, but it has always been something I wanted to do, just never seemed to have the opportunity with the right group.  This seemed like a good time to try it out.  So off I went on a 30+ jump trip to get a clone and a ship to NPC Null.

To say the trip was uneventful would be a vast overstatement, in the 31 jumps through Low and NPC Null, we saw 5 ships, which all promptly ran for cover at the site of our posse, and maybe an additional 10-15 in local.  For all those people who think EVE is too crowded, you need to get the hell out of Jita and Motsu.

It was very funny once we got there to see Low Sec pilots in Null for the first time.  

A rat BS in the belts of Low Sec is like a small crumb of cheese to a bunch of hungry mice, and one in our area is quickly reported and shared by all the Sec Grinding pilots striving to stay just enough on Concord "Nice List" to be able to fly through the .5 systems linking our Low Sec area to larger roaming grounds.  The constant typing the Fleet of "BS in Belt 6-1" "Two BS in Belt 7-3" was great.  Though they were quick to learn there is almost a BS in every belt in the land of milk and honey.

So after shooting a few belt rats and renting a couple offices to save the rest of the corp the trouble of 30+ jumps (cause riding the White Light express to null is so much easier), I called it a night and clone jumped back to k-space.

I look forward to having another place to call "home" and starting to experience the last major area I have never experienced - NPC Null Sec.

Fly Safe,

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

We Saw, We Came, They Dropped Carriers on Us

So after a very boring "vacation" back into W-Space (tearing down and setting up POS's is so broken), I finally returned to our Low Sec home.

Nothing much was going on so I jumped into the scanner and set out to try to find a nice wormhole to either find some targets, or find some sites to run to make some isk.  The pipe was very empty, but the third system did have a C3 with a Damnation and Prowler online at their POS.  Watching for a few minutes it was obvious they were afk, probably playing WoT or something.

The fourth system yielded a Radar site and a couple more items I needed during the next Jita run.  I swapped out the scanner for my Cane and with the help of a friend quickly finished off the site.  At this point it looked like a fairly boring night and I was deciding if tweaking my PI setups might be in order.

But alas the wonderful world of PI was going to have to wait.

Someone broke into Comms and announced we had a small group setting up a gate camp in a neighboring Low Sec pipe.  This was quickly followed by additional information that said group had 8-10 reserves in a neighboring system.  Cool it was a bait gate camp.  Time for some fun.

It took the required 15 minutes to get everyone to close WoT and get back into EVE, and to rally.  I was impressed, as we quickly pulled together a 20+ man BC gang.  Usually this takes 30-45 minutes as someone needs a module, a setup posted in Fleet, is 5 jumps from something they need etc etc etc.  My rule of thumb is to allow 2-3 minutes past the desired start time per desired person in the fleet to get the show rolling.  Looking to get a 30 man fleet rolling, better plan to leave an hour past the announced start time.  I assume this is not a linear formula, but maybe it does take a day or two past the start time to launch a 1000 man fleet.

Anyway, the group camping the gate had consolidated their fleet onto one side of the gate and consisted of a scorp, tengu, couple of BS's and BC's.  About 11 total.  So the plan was hatched to engage them at range from the front, while the main force went the long way, waited for them to aggress, and then jumped through and slugged it out. Perfect plan, except their obviously neutral scout saw us coming and they warped off to a station.  Oh well, that still beats the hell out of doing PI.

But the night was far from over.

So we proceeded to play the waiting game and my favorite "chase the bouncing scout" game. (for what it is worth, never choose to be scout if the system you are assigned to scout does not have a station, and you do not have a cloak).  After what seemed like forever, a close call at one of the scout's safes, and endless debate on how to get them to engage I am about ready to call it a night.

"Check, Check, Check has anyone got any torps?"

No wait that's a different story.

"Check, Check, Check the main group is aligning.  Wait.  They are aligning to your gate."

"Burn to optimals, burn to optimals, prepare to engage, Scorp will be primary, BS's Secondary."

Now in a Cane with Autocannons, my optimal is sitting in their copilots seat, so I burned to 10km and hoped to be close to something as it uncloaked.

Gate Flash, followed on Comms "Drake jumped on landing, rest are holding"

"Weapons free, Kill it"  Of course it uncloaks 20km away from me, so I burn towards the Drake and manage to get a few shots in before his hard candy coating cracked to reveal his soft, gooey pod.  Amazed there were no more gate flashes.

"They are holding at zero" came the intel from the other side.  Followed quickly by "They are jumping, everyone is jumping"

"Shoot what uncloaks, but get the Scorp as soon as it decloaks"  "Engage the geddon, get that geddon"  "Scorp has uncloaked, primary is the Scorp"  "Cyno Lit, Cyno Lit" "Carriers on the field" "Burn to the sun, everyone burn to the sun" "Holy Sh*T" "Battle Comms please" "Everyone burn to the sun, warp when your can" "Someone get a safe" "I have a safe" " x up in Fleet Please" "Warp to sun and bounce to safe" ....

So with my heart pounding (far less then stalking a noctis solo in a wormhole, or lining up a T3 kill though) I warped to the sun and proceeded to bounce safes.

Quick analysis showed only one loss.  Well we finished even, BC for a BC, and I experienced my first Hot Drop.  Not a bad night.

But wait there's more ... now how much would you pay.

So we warp back through the group and jump to the other side of the gate to see if they want to play again.  We sit there for 4-5 minutes till we get word that the party is breaking up and the carriers are leaving system.

"Single Drake lingering to scoop drones, just one drake, come on guys get this dude."

So we jump back through, see a single Drake scooping some Ogre II's and proceed to liberate our captured friends from the belly of the beast.  Always bet on Stupid getting you a kill.

So now we decide to call it a night, are all making best speed back home when the stragglers of the group cross jump another unrelated Drake (wow bad timing on his part).  So I quickly turn around just before our rear scout announces he has hero pointed the Drake.  A couple of the stragglers jump back through and force the Drake back to the gate where he jumps right into 4-5 of us landing on the gate.  Easy Kill.

So the night ends with 3 kills (2 due to shear stupidity and one to poor timing), and 3 of our fleet notching their first kills.  So hats off to the three Carebears that can now call themselves a PvP'r.

I only wish every night was this exciting.

Fly Safe,

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Always Bet on Stupid

This is for sure my favorite motto when it comes to PvP.  I don't know how many times after killing someone I sit back and scratch my head and wonder what the heck they were thinking.  Last night was no exception.

I logged in expecting a night of heavy logistics, as I needed to get some stuff moved and I know I have commitments to attend to in the coming nights that will not allow me to get what needs done, done.  So I was a little disappointed listening on Comms that we had found a C5 with several Mag sites and I was not going to be able to participate in the Billion Isk funfest.

But as I am loading up the truck for its 20+ jumps to market, I hear on Comms a small skirmish on the wormhole to the C5.  Disappointed, the nights primary activity is scrubbed and everyone proceeded to go about their "normal" Low Sec lives.  For some this was a jaunt to mining and WoT (seems the two are inseparable now for some), scanning for other WH's, Sec Grinding, and running logistics.

So as I get about 9 jumps out and to my first of several "stops", the normal "chatter" of Comms is broken by a slightly higher than normal pitched voice of one of our regular WH Scouters.

"Check, Check, Guys, Holy F*^K, Guys, Shit I am sweating, Guys there is a group of 3, no 4, shit 5 guys setting up a POS in here.  Holy F*$K its got 9 minutes.  There is a Domi, two navy issue ships, Orca, Bestower, Drake, Cane, Maller, and 5 are manned. Holy Sh*T guys get here now!!".

Now I am pissed.  I mean really pissed, this kind of fun does not come along every night.

Decision time.  I open my Jump Clone list and sure enough the only Clone I have in the area of the soon to be fight is my "PvE/Training" Clone with all 5% implants and  several +5's.  The thought of heading out to a large fight in a Clone worth about a Billion Isk does not excite me, but missing the fight excites me even less.  So I pop out of my ship, stop learning about the intracies of POS Guns, and wake up 9 jumps away, feeling a little smarter and a heck of a lot better at gunnery then I had moments before.

Unfortunately, I was still 2 jumps from my HIC and 5 from the fight.  Off I went.

So final plans are being layed.  The Armageddon Navy Issue is 200km off the POS.  I assume its supposed to be "protection".  The Domi is in closer, and the Bestower and Orca are hanging out right on the POS (Cloaks FTW for the Orca by the way.  Why they had it sitting at the POS during the 30 minutes online time is beyond me.  They were fortunate that we did not find them 10 minutes earlier.)

The decision was made to go after the Domi and See if the Navy Issue would engage.  Not the approach I would have used with multiple HIC's and ECM on the field, but a solid plan.

The party never waits for anyone, and the group jumped in about a minute before I arrived at the wormhole.  As I am screaming through warp towards the fight I hear the Domi is in structure.  At this point the Navy Issue has not even moved.  Our Cyn pilot starts to burn out to him in hopes that he is far from his speakers and the screams of his friends.  As I land on grid, the Domi has just been finished off and the Pod is being popped, Too late to get in on that fun.  As I align to the Navy Issue, our Cyn pilot just gets him locked and pinned as drones appear and the ship starts to move.  I initiate warp and land within range of the Navy Issue.  It did not take long melt under the pressure of the group.  We catch the Pod again and send other w-space explorer back to the comfy confines of the CQ in K-space.

The inevitable local chatter from the shocked owners of the POS ensues of "Where did you come from", "Is this your hole" etc etc.

So the initial scout says in Comms, "Hey everyone, lets leave the grid, everyone warp off to the last planet, and I will warp back in cloaked off the Navy Issue wreck and see if they come out to loot and salvage it."

I laugh in my head and think to myself "no way they are THAT stupid", then I immediately say to myself "always bet on stupid".

So off we go to the last planet, and not 3 minutes pass before a laughing scout comes on Comms, "Warp Warp, the Maller came out to loot the wreck, I have him."  This was quickly followed by a little more worried voice "Cane and Drake in warp, they are on me".

So I land again in the middle of the fight and learn that HIC's with no prop mods are great for gate engagements, but suck in open space.  I will need to adjust my fit.

So the Maller is already half way through Armor, so we finish him off and send another on the white light express back to K-Space.  At this point the Cane and the Drake run in opposite directions.  The drake back towards the POS and the Cane farther out.  The Drake was primary, so we decided to stay on him.

I bounce to the closest planet and back into the scrum.  I manage to get a few shots in before the Drake burns out of range. "Why the hell did I not grab the Rapier I think, but remind myself of the value in my implants and am thankful I am in my HIC.

So finally, with me trailing the fight by 60km, the Drake goes down and the fourth person is given a free, one way trip to the afterlife (about 6 seconds for most capsuleers).

After that we are pretty much convinced that we are done, unless the Orca wanted to try to turn the tide of the battle.  As we prep'd to reship and start hitting the POS, we heard there was a fight back in the Low Sec system we came from, so off we all went back the wormhole.  We sat there on the W-Space side to avoid spiking local, eventually heard we had successfully gotten them to fight on another wormhole in the system. So we all started jumping.  At that point we broke the cardinal rule of W-space of "prober jumps last".  The hole collapsed as we were jumping and one pilot, in a "Drake with no Probes" (parody song anyone) was left behind.

Well turns out the Cane on the second hole was bait, and the pilot tackling him had the good sense to hit D-Scan in time to see the massive incoming fleet from their POS.  We disengaged, and scattered to safety.

The thought of continuing to fight a larger group did not appeal to me.  So I docked up and proceeded to pod back to where I had left off my logistics run.

Turns out the Maller and Drake were their two scanning ships in the wormhole, so while we had stranded one pilot, they were stranded till they could get word out for another scanner to log on and find them another way to get their 4 fallen comrades back into the hole.

The story ended well for the Drake pilot, as he convinced the new "owners" of the system to let him out in exchange for a small fee and not warping to all their combat sites. and killing a single sleeper.

So "Stupid" won the day with an extra Navy Issue kill, because someone had gone afk in a 500m Isk ship, and an additional Maller and Drake kill because someone could not resist trying to "salvage" a little bit from a bad situation.  I will never know what possessed the Maller pilot to try to loot the wreck (of cap boosters)  not 5 minutes after the battle was over, with us having 3 known cloaky ships on the field.  But I thank him for the fun.

So here's to Forrest as he was so right when he said "Stupid is as Stupid Does".

Fly Safe (or smart)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Could "Instant PVP" work in EVE?

I have read with interest the posts regarding WoT and EVE here.

As well as the link in that post to the idea of a "Virtual Combat Simulator" in station when the door in the CQ ever opens.

I also listen on Comms most night to a core of players in the alliance that play WoT while either "fittings spinning" or mining or some other mindless task in EVE.

I am intrigued by the thought of "Instant PVP" within EVE, but in the end I just think no matter what they do, it will never match real PVP for one reason.  Finality.

Sure, CCP could find a way to introduce some "Station Based PVP Simulator", but there does not seem to be a way to make it a substitute for PVP as it is now, because if it ends up like every other "spawn type" combat game, than it has no finality and will become nothing more than a "video game" to me.

If the Simulator  makes you grind combat to get to new tiers, to use better ships and mods, but at no risk to ever losing anything, then whats the point.  The "thrill" of most EVE PVP to me is stalking the T3 running combat site, finding the Covetor mining and getting to him before he sees you.  Being able to use Probes quickly to not spook the prey.  Sure going on roams looking for a like sized fleet and either taking their bait, or engaging them is great, but not the heart of PVP to me.

But the main thing that real PVP has that makes it so great is the finality.  The ship lost is really lost.  Time to make that isk is gone.  It "hurts" to lose that Zealot, that Covetor, the mined ore in the can, the implants, and everything else.  It causes emo rage, tears, people to flip out and do stupid stuff, classic convos and evemails.  It is why we PVP in the first place.

Its also why certain people just will never PVP.  They just can't handle the thought of losing stuff, even if the corp gives them the ships.

I would love to see CCP spend some effort to come up with a class of "realistic" missions, with skills that don't just involve shooting bigger and bigger red crosses.  Have missions where you have to use D-Scan, probing, cloaks, hunting, warp scrambling.  Have missions that you might actually fail if you don't find where the target is in time.  Make more realistic AI fight back.  Role out Sleeper AI to all L4 missions.  Make random triggers, how hard could it be to have spawns be one of 2-3 with different triggers.

There are so many things CCP could do to improve the game play more than adding a zero loss simulated PVP simulator to the game.

Fly Safe,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

200m between success and failure

After all the "fun" I had last week, I finally got a chance to take my recently reconfigured Cloaky Legion out for a spin in the Low Sec pipe.

The third system turned up two wormholes. The first was a C3 and showed no signs of activity.  Upon warping into the second, I immediately saw a Legion on scan with 10-15 wrecks, and no POS in site.  Could my luck really be this good?  I had hoped for maybe a Covetor, or a Drake or two, but a ratting T3 was too good to hope for.

So I got on Comms and called in the brute squad, while I tried to pin down the site he was running.

"Do you have probes this time?" came a question on Comms, man I am never going to live that one down.

So right about the time I think I have the site he is in, the Legion warps off.  Did I decloak, did he see me?  A quick warp to 100km off the site showed that he had simply finished the site.  I quickly checked all the planets and while there was a POS, there was no sign of the pilot in any ship.  Guess he was visiting this hole.

Sure enough in a few minutes a lowly salvager showed up on scan.  I warped back to the site to watch him salvaging the wreck.  Man I hope he was not calling it a night.

I warped back to the wormhole and jumped through to provide the brute squad a warp in for the operation.  Once they were in place I jumped back into the hole and warped back to the site in time to see him finish the last few wrecks.  Soon enough he warped off and disappeared from D-Scan.  It seemed like forever, but eventually the Legion reappeared on scan.  Time to start the hunt.

The second site I tried was the right one.  I bookmarked a wreck, bounced to a planet and arrived 30km from the Legion that was burning away towards a new spawn.  I quickly bookmarked a second wreck, bounced again, and promptly landed in the middle of 4 Sleeper Frigates.  The closest was a mere 6,000m away and closing.  The Legion was almost 35km away, but closing.  I held my breath and prepared to make the best of it if the Sleepers decloaked me.

I started moving towards the Legion as the distance between me and one of the frigates continued to shrink.  5k, 4k, 3k and I was ready to mash the AB and target the legion.  Hopefully I could get within overheated disruptor range before the Legion saw me and was able to react.

The numbers kept creeping down past 2500, past 2300, to around 2200, then mercifully started to creep up again.

The Legion kept closing distance, and in a minute was at about 14km from my ship.

I commanded the Brute Squad to "Jump Jump Jump" (why is it always necessary to say it three time?)

I decloaked, hit the AB, primed the warp disruptors and guns then started to mash the target button for the agonizing delay time.

The Legion turned to warp off, but was caught.  Soon enough the Brute Squad landed and the Legion melted under the combined fire.

A nice kill.  Lucky too.  While we might have had a chance had the Sleeper decloaked me 30 to 35km off the Legion, it was much easier at 15km to execute the attack.

I scoped the nice nights work of loot and high tailed it back to Low Sec and a station.  This ended the successful maiden voyage of my Cloaky Legion.

Fly Safe,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I go Now

It was a very interesting week, to say the least.

It started a little over a week ago, when I logged in to find yet another person had setup a POS in my system.  I am truly amazed at the number of people that cannot figure out I have a POS in this C1.  Sure its over 14AU from the Sun, but really who goes through multiple hours of work without checking every planet.  This is like the 4th time this has happened.  Maybe picking an outer planet for my POS was not such a great idea.  Maybe I should have put it in the middle of the system instead.  Oh well, time to deal with another lazy explorer.

So I quickly find the POS, get the corporation running it and fire off a nice "hey there" evemail requesting that they remove the POS from my system.  I headed off to bed thinking like the last 3 times this would be resolved and the corp would realize their error and move on.

Well I guess my luck had run out on reasonable and lazy both being adjectives to describe my guests.  

While watching the POS the next day, I saw 4 characters log into the POS.  I got one into a conversation that went something like this.

Reasonable Current Occupant (played by me) "Hey there, did you not see my POS in this system?"
Person Too Lazy To Check (played by leet Euro PVP'r) "I don't see no POS, except the one offline."
RCO "Did you check Planet 11?"
PTLTC "Nope"
RCO "Might want to"
PTLTC "I might not"
RCO "Why not?"
PTLTC "I don't care if you do or don't have a POS."
RCO "Okay, I will plan accordingly"
PTLTC "Flyz Safe"

So now what? A quick check shows the corp in question is a decent sized PVP alliance from NPC Null Sec. Not really someone I would expect to be interested in a C1.  In addition, a quick check of planets showed at least 6-7 people already had setup PI on planets.  Now the POS was not my main worry, but the fact that there is no way to really "kill" their PI at this point.  So like it or not, they had the ability to make my life in this hole much less desirable.  On the other hand, I had no desire to simply pack up and leave.

So I asked myself "Should I stay, or should I go now."  

Now when I acquired this hole it came with 4 BS's, but I knew that would not be near enough firepower to take down a Large Control Tower. I also knew that using "hole denial" was unlikely to yield much results, since they were only here for the PI and on the opposite side of the world from me.  They would need to only have access to PI maybe once every few days, and we would have to have almost 23/7 coverage for weeks to make an impact.

So I figured I had a few choices:
 Find 40-50 of my closest buddies in Drakes, 
 Build more Battleships that would be trapped in the system

Well, I had no desire to simply pack up and leave such a nice C1, that generates so much pretty planet goodies.  On the other hand, I did not really like the idea of investing 1B to 1.5B to make a large enough BS fleet to make an impact, unless I knew for sure I could muster the pilots to fly them.  Fortunately for me, most of my alliance and friends are Killboard junkies, always looking for a fix.

So as I was preparing to take the offensive (read shuttling a crap ton of mins into my wormhole), I got a reply from their CEO that basically said "RAWR, we are old and leet PVP corp.  We see no sign this system is yours RAWR.  Pack your flying circus and leave. RAWR."

Well, I like circuses.  Especially flying ones.  Hope they would find my show to their liking.

Have I mentioned I am a DOTLAN junkie?  If not, well "My name is Mick, and I am addicted to using DOTLAN to monitor my wormhole."

Final plans were made to hit the system over the weekend to insure maximum coverage and play time for our pilots.  So the middle of the week turned into a waiting game.  One day DOTLAN showed a ton of jumps during their play time and I was wishing I had a way to check notifications for POS attacks while out of game.    I was relieved when i finally was able to log on and see no notifications.  But I did have a surprise.  They had setup a second POS on the outer planet with mine. (Hey at least they finally flew out to that area).  So now we had double the fun waiting for us.

So POS 1 was very well put together.  12 ECM, 14 Small Arty, couple Warp Distruptors, Couple Webs, and a few hardeners.  Overall a very nice setup and one that would not be a cake walk to take down.  The second POS was weird.  12 Medium Auto, no ecm, no warp, no web, and a ton of hardeners.  While the hardeners would make the shooting time increase a ton, the POS had no real defenses, as the Medium Autos could easily be sniped. 

So as I went to sleep on Wednesday Night, the additional BS's were built and mostly equipped, and the plan was coming together to move in some additional scanners the next night.

Well the best laid plans of mice and capsuleers never seem to go as planned.  

I logged in on Thursday to find POS 1 was now offline, but POS 2 did not have any new defenses.  This opportunity to take down the POS's while poorly defended could not be passed up, so the assault was launched 24 hours early.  And as with any spur of the moment operation, it was a total cluster.  By final count we had over 25 people trying to get ships or pods to the entrance, while the people inside tried to quickly sort out the BS's, ammo, and everything else we thought we had 24 more hours to prepare.  In the end it took only about 2 hours from announcement of the operation, to starting to snipe the Medium Autocannons.

The next 12 hours saw all the weapons on the active POS incap'd, the anchored POS destroyed, and the Online POS reinforced, but not before the corp logged in and onlined every hardener, taking the resists above 80%.  It was grueling to watch the shield tick down so slowly, but it was just a matter of time, since the guests seemed to have neglected to bring any of their leet PVP'rs into the hole.  

The next night, we turned our attention to some other space junk in the system, and took down another offline POS that had been taking up space for a month or so since it went offline.

Other then a few gawkers from High Sec, we saw no activity for the next 2 days.

The final stoke good luck, was the fleeing guests had not left enough fuel in the tower to get it all the way through the reinforcement timer, and the tower, and its umpteen hardeners, all went offline, mercifully sparing us hours of shooting at a tower with 80% resists.

All told, we killed 3 towers and around 50-60 modules.  The C1 is now clear of all space junk (save some warp bubbles that no one seems to remember where we anchored them), and I have a shiny fleet of BS's in the hole.  Maybe we can see if a fleet of 5 Tempests can crush C1 sleeper sites.

Now I just have to decide if I want to move my tower to the inner planets, or just wait for another lazy, unreasonable house guest to arrive.

Fly Safe,