Monday, June 28, 2010

Goodbye and Hello Mr. Legion

Well I can say the wait was worth the trouble.  T3 cruisers are sweet.

Now, I have to say when I first got in my Legion and try some lower WH anomolies, I was not impressed.  But it was my skills not the ships fault.

I have always been a Caldari PVE type player.  Through my first trip through game and even most of what I have been doing so far on my second stent.

Yes I trained Amarr, but I approached it like a Caldari would.  Massive tank, no speed and long range.  Yes not exactly the formula for success in a T3 Cruiser.

So as you might expect my first experience with a Legion, heading into a fight with 2 Sleeper BS's and a few webbing cruisers did not end well.  Suffice it to say that 2 Sleeper BS's can pretty much take a Legion from half armor to POD in one dual volley.  Fortunetly my 350M armor repper survived.

After a brief lesson on how to effectively fly a cruiser sized ship, the importance of speed and yes navigation skills (what the hell are those, says the Caldari in me), I got back on the Legion horse.  Have to say I am damned proud I did.

This ship is great.  With a tweak of a few skills and setup I now top 600m/s while holding a 25k km orbit.  I am hitting for as much damage as I usually did with a volley of 7 heavy missiles on a drake, in about a third less time.  I have a very healthy fear of webbers now, as well as tracking disruptor (both new fears for a Caldari missile chucker).

I am still learning the best approach to PVE in the Legion, but I can now solo all 0.0 anomolies, and would have no fear in taking on Class 2 WH anomolies solo either.  Class 3 might still be a stretch, but more for not knowing the triggers and beiong afraid of triggering an overwhelming force. 

I am still working on getting all the skills needed to really max out the Legion (like all subs to V, and some remaining gun and armor skills to V), but man am I impressed with the T3 Cruiser. 

Guess my days of warping in and sitting there in a raven and drake are a thing of the past.

Fly Safe,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Aren't Sleepers Fun.

I finally got all my stuff into the Provi pocket and have started to try to get "good" at finding stuff to do.

As of right now, there are not a ton of US TZ players around during my normal playing time so I am usually trying to find some solo or small fleet stuff to do.

My choices start at finding a high end WH (our area seems to get a lot of C5 entrances) to clear the ladar and grav site of rats.  This seems to be safer as there are far fewer roaming gangs in WH space then our pocket.

If a higher end WH is not around then any WH will do and I can then look to "solo" some anom's.

If all else fails its off to run anom's in our pocket or simply rat in belts. (Nice side benefit is my security status is much higher)

So few nights back I get on just as a Corp Op is wrapping up clearing some C5 sites.  I get into the hole and find like 11 ladar and grav sites.  Potential for a very good night.  No one else is interested in running them so I hop in my Raven and Harby (both with tractor and salvager) and head in.  Now most of the low end Ladar and Grav have 4-6 frigs, or 3-4 cruisers, or some combination of sleep rats to kill.  Very easy, especially with dual target painter Raven and Pulse setup Harby.  So I get to a site I am not familiar with.  It is an "Exceptional" grav site.  Quickly check ArcDragon and says its not one of the high end ones with multiple BS's.  To be on the safe side I go ahead and warp to it in a pod to see what it entails.  I see a single lone BS.  No Problem, Right?  Wrong.

I warp the Raven in at range and am insta web'd and scram'd from like 65km away (man I want some Sleeper mods). Still no sweat.  Warp the Harby in closer and start orbiting really fast and close (about 2000 km).  Now my Raven is not full tanked because of the dual Target Painters but I am able to perma run the large Caldari Navy Shield Booster.  Well the BS never changes targets.  It completely ignores the Harby at close range.  About 50% armor on the BS and the ravens shields are starting to struggle.  I throw my 5 hammerhead II's hoping they become sacrifices to the Sleeper and will get some heat off the Raven.  No Luck.

30% armor on the Sleeper and the Raven is now starting to take some armor damage between shield rep cycles.  The Sleeper has given no thought to switching targets.  I align the Raven for the chance to get away and hope for just a second he decided to take a few shots at the drones.

Finally get the Sleeper into Hull and the Raven is taking more and more armor damage.  Cap is also starting to feel the effects of the NOS and I am thinking I really might want to jettison the 20 melted nano's in my cargo for fear of losing that 100M in addition to my ship.

It becomes very apparent that this is going to be a very close race to see who dies first.  I keep wishing for a target change as I have to start feathering the shield booster to try to keep cap above 15% and not completely drain it.

Closer and closer to cutting through the remainder of the Ravens armor and now testing the single digits of Cap, the Sleeper BS gets closer and closer it its end.  Finally I get the death sentence of the Raven in the sweet female voice informing me "the capacitor is empty".  A last volley of Cruise Missiles leaves the launchers, and the Harby sends a pulse of energy streaking across space, and mercifully the Sleeper BS explodes (how is that possible in a vacuum).  I finally catch my breathe.  Final analysis shows 87% structure left on the Raven and no capacitor.   To make matters worse, I could not even salvage the wreck as both toons have Salvaging to IV and I did not have a dedicated salvager in pocket yet with salvage rigs on it.

All the risk, for a few blue tags.

Well thankfully our station has free repairs.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

All Together Again

After dissolving our WH ops, my three toons have all been scattered to the wind.  Hundo first learning PVP and then trying a stent in a C6 Wh corp.  Ian ran Cosmos missions and ran with some L4 PVE types, and Capt. just sat around doing some invention and a little mining.

Well I am finally happy to have them all back in one corp and headed out to null sec.  In addition I am happy to hook up with Star Defender and other I have met during my time blogging.

While i am still getting the parts and pieces together to get all my stuff out to our pocket (null sec logistics do really suck), I am looking forward to being able to bring several toons to the game in the same area.

As part of this endeavor, we will be running WH's in a more nomadic fashion and I look forward to starting to look to solo C3's, as well as continue to fleet C5's.

Hope to be able to start posting a little more regularly, but might not be 100% WH content.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A View on PVP

So here is my two cents on PVP based on High Sec War Decs, Low Sec Roams, Some Null and Some WH experience.  I do not profess or hold myself out to be a good PVP'r.  I can not rattle off ship names and classes, ecm races and types, and many other things.  But I do think I have a feel for what PVP entails. 

In addition I think I have the three main keys to starting into PVP.

1) A willingness to learn from others
2) A willingness to try
3) A willingness to die

With these three things as a basis I think anyone can learn and enjoy PVP.

To be clear, this is also almost entirely from a perspective of small to mid sized fleets (3-15 ships).

To start it might be easier to define what PVP is not.  PVP is not an extension of PVE. It is not a progression from L1 to L4 to C5 anomalies. And most of all it is not Fair. The fact that they brought 8 guys when you brought 3 is not unfair, its smart.

I have seen many people who think they will rock at PVP because their Raven setup "kicks ass" on Level 4's.  They are naive and ripe for failure.  A fleet of 3-4 small ships properly fit and flown by good PVP'rs can easily take out that shiny Raven, leaving you wondering how you just lost your 300M isk setup that crushes L4's.  I have seen Tengu's go down to fleets of ships worth less then 100M total.

PVP is a completely separate aspect of the game and as such requires different skills, both in game and real life, to be successful.

In my opinion there seems to be several "Steps" in learning and being comfortable at PVP, each with a different skill set and scope of knowledge.

Step 1 - T1 Frig - ISK involved $500k-$1M
Pick your race's best frig. Only requirement is at least 3 mids. Requires AB, Warp Scram, Web. Fit highs for best DPS, lows for cap stability and added DPS. NO EWAR. Learn to do 4 things in order. Orbit close and fast (ie get differential speed maxed), warp scram, web, fire. Congrats you are PVP'n now. Principle here is simplicity. You have a role in a fleet (tackler) and you are adding to the fleet's effectiveness. You will get over the jitters of PVP and risk very little. Just remember to always update your Clone after you die.

Step 2 - Cruiser Specialist - Isk Involved $10-20M
Now learn your race's cruisers. There are some awesome EWAR and Support cruisers as well as some decent DPS boats. Key here is to start to find some niche to fill. Blackbird/EWAR, Aurogor/Support etc. You now have to start to expand your skills and worry about others around you. You will have to start to understand primaries and secondaries, optimal ranges. You will have to learn to walk and chew gum. You will die, especially in a Blackbird. Just remember to always update your Clone after you die.

Step 3 - Battlecruiser - Isk Involved $40-50M
Now its time for some bigger toys. Legit DPS. FC'n and making tactical decisions (as a step the FC might be in a Frig for a Frig Swarm, but should probably be at this level of comfort to be able to make decisions about others.) Overall the skills here are understanding opponents, making decisions about primaries, understanding what the opposite side is using and how to counter. Also should really be able to deliver some serious DPS. At this point you might also start to be able to dabble in solo PVP.

Step 4 - BS, Tech 2, Tech 3 etc. Isk Involved - $50M to whatever you can afford to lose.
Here is where the specialization really starts. Falcons, Rooks, Curse, SB's, Zealots, Guardians. Here a role is well defined and you better know what you are doing. You have a task in the fleet, a job to do and people are depending on you with their ships to do it. DPS, EWAR, Support, HIC, Bubbler. The roles must be balanced by a competent FC as it is very easy to have 1B isk plus in play. Here is where enemy knowledge and fleet setup have as much if not more to do with the success of an encounter then individual skills.

I feel I am at the very early stages of Step 3. But no matter where you feel you are, with an open attitude, willingness to try, and willingness to die you can progress.

It is also more fun then watching the paint dry inside the station while a single Red Zealot come looking for you and your corp mates.

Mick Flaherty