Wednesday, September 11, 2013

One Change I Don't Like

I really, really don't like that the new probing system is really getting to the point of "launch probes, press button, find shit".

Now don't get me wrong.  I love the new scanning system compared the one some of remember where you had to set BM's in system, the "Comb" probe took like 15 minutes each cycle (back when Acquisition skill 10% was significant) and were not guaranteed to be successful. That system sucked ass.

But now, you open the Probe Screen, launch 8 probes in a decent configuration, everything stays centered unless you mess up the controls, and every signature has a giant Red sphere on the screen before you even scan.  So much for the need to scan 5-6 planets in a big system for the 1-2 sigs.  Now you know the planets right away.

I don't know, maybe this is all just "when i was a kid, we use to walk uphill in the snow to school both ways", but I liked scanning when it took some RL skills and was not just a rinse repeat mini game for rewards.  Really now there is almost no challenge to or RL skill in finding sites.  It is just a repeat of steps over and over that has removed some of the "prestege" of being a really good scanner that was valued in W-Space.

Oh well, at least I don't need a T1 Industrial to carry around 40 different types of 4 different probes and spend an hour in every single system.  But I do think CCP has now made it too easy.

Fly Safe,

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

One Change I Like

There have been a lot of changes to W-Space since I have left and most are "no big deal", but there are two that stick out as either awesome, or pretty crappy to me.

First, the awesome one.  Ore belts are now considered Cosmic Anomalies and don't require probes to scan down. This is so sweet.  I mean so so so so sweet.

It makes jumping into systems and seeing mining ships on scan damn near giddy.  Three times now I have warped into a K162 Wormhole and seen multiple Retrievers on scan, opened the probe scanner and seen the ore field already for warp in.  No probes, no worries about spooking them, and no having to try to figure out where they are and where a safe spot to launch the probes might be.

Simply warp to the Ore field at range, look at the target, pick an asteroid for a warp in and go get the stealth bomber.

The first time was early on in the move in and the only PvP ship I had was my covert, interdiction nullified, scanning Legion.  There was also a couple of manned T3's in the POS, So I decided that the risk was not worth the reward.

The second time however I was more prepared and immediately went back for my Hound.

So after getting the Hound, I warped to the bookmarked Asteroid at 50km to make sure I didn't land on the wrong side of the target and to line up the initial target and uncloak to make sure I was not going to end up out of position to warp out if needed.

I landed about 40km away from the target and proceeded to work my way in closer.  I did not have all the asteroid on my overview and about 28km off the target I decloaked unintentionally. Fortunately for me the pilot was pretty much asleep at the wheel and I turned on the prop mod and burned into the 24km range for the point.  I started my orbit at 20km and proceeded to dispatch the target in short order.

I missed the pod and started to warp back the WH in case he had friends on the way in to exact any sort of revenge.  Good thing for me he did not, as I got hung up on not one, not two, but three asteroids trying to get the hell out of dodge.  Nothing line a 3 minute escape warp for leaving the scene of the crime quickly.

Safely back at the WH, I paused and D-Scanned looking for a response.  Seeing none, I warped to the POS and kept an eye on the Capsule as it sat in the POS till the combat timer finished and promptly logged off.

With their system clear, I went back to scanning for a K-Space exit.

I had forgotten how much fun it is to stalk people in W-Space that probably have no idea you are there.

Fast forward to last night and we had a K162 connecting to us from another C5.  You would think someone living in a C5 would be better at making sure they are alone before running a mining op.  There were only 3 Sigs in the system and the K162 to our space was their Static.  I would think that they would have placed a scout on the WH to listen for activations.  But they didnt't and that was good for me.

I like hunting in K162's a lot for the reason that there is no "New Sig" to alert them to a potential danger, though with most of these people it probably doesn't matter.

Anyway, I enter the C5, and I see 3 Venture and 2 Retrievers on scan.  There is one Ore field and so off i warp to it.  Sure enough, there is one of the retrievers chewing through a Hed rock.  I bookmark the rock and warp back to the hole to get my Hound.  I get to the SMA and for the life of me I cannot find my Hound, so I jump in a corpmate's hound and thankfully it has a point on it.

After changing ships, I warp back to the static WH, jump through and warp off to Planet 1 quickly to get off the WH asap.  I then remember that the target is in the K162 and not the static.  Worse, I have not been through the static yet so it has not been scanned, and there is no bookmark for the way back.  Ugh

Well no fear, I log in another alt, get him in a drake, and fly to the static WH to rescue myself from myself.

Five minutes later, I am warping the Hound to the correct wormhole.

Finally back in the system with the targets, I warp to planet 4, since I saw that had the clearest path to the target (who says an old dog can't learn new tricks) and would reduce the chance of repeating my mistakes of the previous encounter.

As I land 40km off the target I notice there is one huge Veldspar rock kinda sorta in the way of a clean approach.  So I start to burn up to get a better approach.  As I am climbing a second Retriever lands almost right on top of the first.  Looks like I get to attempt a twofer.  Not 30 seconds latter a Helios lands and my first reaction is to think that he would have been of a lot more use sitting on the WH than putzing around the Ore Site, but then I fear he may have a point and be able to hold me down till the Caracal and Proteus at the POS can get on field.

It took what seemed like an eternity (real life TiDi?) for the Helios to finally get tired of goofing off and warp off.  With him off the field I continued my approach and trying to get both targets within 24km.  The plan was to target both Retrievers, point the second and DPS the first and hope that the first was asleep enough to die before he warped off.  I slinked in closer and closer till I had both targets in range.  Time to let the torps fly.

I aligned to the WH Back, uncloaked, locked up both targets, pointed number 2 and started unleashing the fury on number 1.  Sure enough, he was 90% asleep and the 15 minutes it seemed to take for him to die were not enough for him to wake up and realize he was being killed.(again RL TiDi it seems).

Onto Target 2. I enter a 20km orbit around target 2 and got 2 volleys off before the friendly Proteus landed on the field.  Time to exit stage right (this time cleanly) and made my way back to the WH.  I jumped through and took up orbit at 20km around the WH.

While all this was going on, I also managed to roll our static WH in preparation for running some sites.  This is important to the story.

About 5 minutes pass and I am starting to get itchy to jump through again and see what is going on.  But my sense of time is horrible in these situations and I didn't want to get to the WH and then find I still had 2 minutes till I could jump.  So I waited and waited.  About this time I noticed that someone else had logged in and loaded or corp comms.

Well the night before one of my dogs had tried to kill me, but that is a story for another time.  One of the things he did though during this assassination attempt was to get onto the computer desk, get my headset and chew the crap out of it.  Thus I was playing around with the new headset and trying to make sure it was all working correctly.  Well in the middle of all this testing there was the ever so distinctive sound of a wormhole activation.

Eagerly I wait for the decloak, and much to my surprise it is a Inty Mark V.  WTF?  First thought is bait. Second thought is WTF, third thought is get within range and kill it.  Then against all figuring, it warps off. Now I am really confused.  After about 15 seconds it hits me, THE STATIC.

I mash the warp button for the old static BM and curse that it took so long to think about that.  I land after an million years in warp (damn that TiDi again) and I land just in time to see him warp off back the WH.  The good thing for me is I learned all about Interjections from School House Rocks. RATS!!!

As I turned and warped back to the K162, I yell on comms for our other pilot to warp the K162 in any combat ship he has.  I then landed at about the same time as the Inty V.  I jump with him and I am greeted on the other side by an Ares and a Hawk.  Reluctantly I just burn back to the WH, sit on it and take a few pot shots at the Inty V before the other two lock me up and start to DPS me.  I jump back through and take up station again 20km off the WH.

Over the next 90 minutes we play some WH cat and mouse games while I help trouble shoot our new comms and discuss the finer points of not poking the neighbors before a scheduled combat site operation.

Oh well, guess next time I will make sure the hole is ready to roll before I poke the natives.

In the end I am very happy with the change of Ore sites to Anoms, and not needing probes.  It looks like it will provide some more PvP opportunities in W-Space.

Fly Safe,

Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's Always Good to Know the Situation

As part of our move to The Great Wildlands, one of the things we hoped to accomplish was gaining some passive income for the new Alliance to help fund some programs.  This meant liberating some moons from people far less deserving of them than we are, at least in our minds.

One of the dangers of NPC Null is that typically it is surrounded by Sov Null, and these days it seems people in Sov Null are very very very very bored.

So after we took one of these moons from a far less deserving corp, we got a visit from a larger entity that politely tested our ability to set Stront Timers.  Fortunately for us, they did not make me manage the Stront and it was properly timed for us to defend and/or rep.

So off we went in our 25-30 man POS rep'n gang and with the anticipated zero resistance, we set about rep'n the tower with like 15 Scimi's.  Needless to say, repping a tower is only slightly less fun than killing a tower, so comms quickly deteriorated into a discussion of our favorite Gif's, YouTube clips and other assorted garbage that usually fills structure shoots, structure repairs and sitting on squirrels.

About 90% of the way through the operation scouts reported a small 5 to 10 man T1 cruiser gang roaming the area.  We all thought "no way they jump into a system with 20-25 people", but as seems the case more often than not "always bet on stupid".

So sure enough their scout jumps in and the FC sends a couple of bait ships to the gate to see if their main fleet will jump through and engage.  Seems the PvP Gods were on our side that night, as sure enough a small group does jump through and engages the bait on the gate.

So in warps 15 Scimi and the rest of the DPS ships.  Needless to say the cruisers ran for the hills and sadly I think most escaped since we really were not set up for a gate fight.  But we did kill three and got a good message on EVE-Kill from one of the pilots.

To be fair, they did manage to kill our two bait thrashers on the gate since it was a long jump.

I guess the morale of the story is don't jump into system with a group doing a POS rep and not expect 15 Scimi to show up.

Fly Safe,

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Market Manipulation - Goon Style

Having been in the CFC for almost 18 months, I left with one overwhelming feeling towards the Goons.  And that is that they understand the meta game better than just about anyone else.  It is sick.

One of the major areas I always felt that they kinda "used" the CFC was in their market manipulations.  I cannot believe they did not use their power to get 30k minions to do stuff at the drop of a hat to their personal gains.

I saw again and again the same situation play out and each time I thought "those geniuses in Goons just made another Trillion Isk".

It pretty simple really.

Let's just look at one example recently - Ice Belt Changes.

So while monitoring Sisi the Goons realize that there is a change to Ice Belts.  They announce in their super secret rooms to "start buying Ice products".  I am sure they already have some stocks and they start adding to them.

Soon there is a Jabber Ping "Hey Guys, Ice Belts are changing in the next patch, buy buy buy." and the word spreads like wildfire, every CFC alliance Forum is filled with threads suggesting how much the guys in alliance are buying and how much they stand to make by the "Goon's Predictions".

Price in all the major hubs skyrocket as supplies are quickly snatched up by 30k minions of the CFC.

Soon the Dev Blog comes out with the reality of the changes.

Prices slowly return to normal levels.  I think the Goons laugh their asses off as they sold their supply to their 30k minions and everyone of their friends they told.  And in the end 30k minions are now sitting on a shit ton of isotopes wondering when they are going to hit 2k and they can double their Isk (while in reality the price is going to stay at 600 and they lost 40%).

It just happened "again" with the latest Ice Interdiction announcement.  Caldari Isotopes and FB went up 40% in hours and slowly over three days went back to about what they were before.  And that was just the announcement, they haven't even undocked a ship to kill Ice Miners yet.

It is pure genius.

And still the minions hang on every word from the goons on what to buy next.

Damn they are good.

Fly Safe,

Theft, Deceit and Scamming - An EvE Subculture

One of the many things I love about EvE is the total allowance of the "dark side" of people and human interaction.  You are allowed, and even encouraged in some cases, to do bad things to people and their stuff.

In no other game I have ever played is as much time and effort spent to make sure people are not going to screw you over.

I have always said every person has "their price", the point at which the Isk sitting in front of them to snatch overcomes their reluctance to be seen as a bad person.

For most of us, EvE is an anonymous game.  I could pass guys on the street that I have played the game with for years and not realize it.  In an instance we can create a new pilot and assume a completely separate identity.  Corps and Alliances spend massive time on trying to get spies into enemy corps for intel, while at the same time trying to prevent spies into theirs.  Some corps/alliances are good at keeping spies out, and some suck ass (yeah I'm pointing at you Space Monkeys and FA).

I have noticed that over time, as I have more Isk of my own, and longer term relationships with my corp, that my own thoughts on the matter have changed a little.

When I first joined EvE, a Fraternity Brother of mine got me into the game and we joined a new Mining Corp based in Ruvas.  I wanted to be a trader.  I thought that would be so cool.  I had no idea how I was ever going to be able to afford the Daytrading Skill Book.  It seemed nearly impossible to make that much Isk, and then to spend it on one skill.  I mean 12.5M Isk, who the hell could afford that?

One day I noticed a specific trade that was way out of balance between the ass end of High Sec and Jita.  I figured the numbers and I could make about 30M for a 100M investment.  And it was ONLY 24 jumps, one way.  Of course I had nowhere near that kind of Isk, and I said as much in Corp Chat.  At some point, one of the senior members said he would fund the project for half the profit.  I was amazed someone would risk 100m of their Isk on someone they hardly knew (I had been in corp about 3 weeks).  So I took his offer, was amazed when he sent the Isk to my wallet, sweated bullets every jump back to Jita, scared to death someone was going to gank my 100M Isk haul.  Eventually I sent the 100M back (after thinking long and hard about just stealing it) and I became better friends with the guy.  It didn't take long for me to realize the 100M really was nothing to a guy that had been in EvE for over a year.  But it was my first "test".

Since then I have been a spy, Awoxer, and even a thief.  I have also been taken advantage of, and tricked.

When I had finally made my first Billions by becoming a ratting fiend in a Golem, I eventually sold the character to finance another project (those that know me know I am a "shiny quarter" kind of player, always onto a new project).  After I sold the pilot, I needed some Isk and decided to sell the Golem, but I could not get the fittings off without scrapping the rigs, so I traded it to an ex corp mate I trusted to take off the modules for me.  Bad move and Goodbye Golem and about 2.5B.  Guess our "friendship" was really not worth that much to him.

Later, towards the end of my Capital Component BPO research endeavor, the same Fraternity Brother I that had gotten me into the game got me to invest some of my BPO in one of his corpmates "businesses" making Cap BPC Packs.  Turns out my Fraternity Brother was AFK and had given control of his pilots to one of his corpmates who did an excellent job pretending to be him.  Bye bye about 8B in BPO's.

But the story I really want to tell now that I can, is the story of my heist.  And I will do that in another post soon(tm).

Fly Safe, and Trust No One.

Monday, August 26, 2013

W-Space Capital Escalations - An Isk Printer?

So we moved to a C5 with a C2 Static for a number of reasons.

1) So Solo people could farm the C2 anoms for Isk

2) So the really "bad" people with C5 statics would be less inclined to invade us


3) To be able to run Capital Escalations for boatloads of Isk

With the thought of either leaving Sov Null, or at the very least wanting to find a source of income out side ratting in Null, we set out to establish ourselves in a C5 wormhole to run Capital Escalations.  I was enticed with the notion of a group making 3-4B in a night running sites.  Well as with most things in EVE the results have not lived up to the expectation.

Sure there is serious Isk in running Capital Escalations.  I mean SERIOUS Isk. 2-3B in a hour with the right group is doable.  But so is 500m.  And sure 500M sounds great, till you realize that it takes 8-10 pilots to run a C5 Capital Escalation properly.  Then all the sudden 500M - fuel tax / 8 = 50-55m in an hour.  You can get that in Null Sec anoms running two pilots in a Vindi and Carrier throwing fighters in a 20 minute tick.

And as with all things W-Space, one does not simply fall out of bed and start running Capital Escalations.

First you have to have someone log in and see if CCP has made your wormhole into a Swiss Cheese full of K162's.  Then you have the inevitable guy that needs to be scanned in from High Sec cause he went on a logi run for a Skill Book 3 days ago and has yet to get back in.  Then you have someone that is always late and with Capital Escalations, you don't (you sometimes can't) run without a full team.

So backing up a second, what exactly is a "Capital Escalation".

It seems that CCP decided when WH space came out that they didn't want to have people running C5 and C6 anomolies in Capital Ships, so they made it so the first and second Carrier and Dread into a combat site will spawn additional Battleships, up to 8 it seems.  So that is a total of 32 potential Battleships.  And Sure if you were not smart and warped the whole fleet in at once that would hurt.  Alot.

Well as with most things CCP does to deter pilots from doing something, some pilots will learn how to profit from them.  Sure enough Wormhole Capital Escalations are no different.  The key is to simply figure out how to run the site with staggered capitals to maintain "control" of the site (read DPS and Neuts) enough to not lose ships.

So doing our research we settled on the "tested" method that uses the following ships:

1) Lead Archon
2) Lead Dread
3) Loki
4) Armor Booster
5) Web Booster
6) Second Carrier
7) Second (and third and fourth) Dread
8) Noctis
9) Scanner

In truth, you can run with only one carrier and one dread, but it seriously limits the Isk and only reduces the pilots needed by 2. So half the Isk and still 7 pilots.

As you can imagine, these pilots are not your "run of the mill" 13m SP tengu pilots raking in Isk, or better yet a 14 day old pilot orbiting a FW target making sick Isk.  This is a very High Risk endeavor with seriously skilled pilots.  I would EXPECT the Isk to be about the best in the game.  And it can be.

So far in the month we have run sites, we have had a couple "close calls", a couple cancellations due to people not showing up and too many wormholes, and a couple really good nights.

I guess overall, to me, the jury is still out on if Capital Escalations are an Isk printing machine, or just another illusion of easy money.  Sure the Isk in the hour you are running can be awesome.  Especially if you are the lower skilled pilot flying the Noctis, or prober.  But to take a highly skilled Dread Pilot to do PvE seems extreme and I am not sure they could not make similar Isk doing other things.  Start to figure in the "non-revenue" time scanning, doing logi, getting ready, closing WH's etc etc and the Isk per hour invested goes down quite quickly.  Especially versus logging in, undocking and flying to the closest Hub in a Vindi.

The biggest advantage I see is that it is about the best Isk a "Group" can make actively.  With other PvE the Isk each guy makes decreases the bigger the group it seems.  Like in ratting, the best Isk is solo, as two guys ratting never seem to make what the guys would make apart.  At least with Capital Escalations, you are on comms with 6-10 other pilots and having fun, versus just sitting in comms listening to each other chain sites.

And that social aspect is why we play MMO's isn't it?

Friday, August 23, 2013

I find myself back in W-Space

Its been a long 20 months since my last post, and a lot has happened.  I have so many stories related to my time in the CFC that I can finally tell now since I am no longer in the CFC and don't have to worry about the potential negative ramifications.  I plan on telling some of these stories in time, but first the main news that caused me to want to restart the blog again.

"I have moved back to W-Space"

Well not full time, and not with all my pilots, but with enough of them to make a significant portion of my time spent in the warm comfort of an environment with no local and one where everyday presents a different opportunity to find some fun and make some Isk.

The Isk.

Ohhh the Isk.

In the end that is what brought me, and some of my corp mates, back to W-space with a collection of our more seasoned Isk making alts.  As we looked to depart the CFC (and really even before that as a way to make Isk while on deployment and waiting for the jabber pings), we looked more and more into running Capital Escalations in a C5 for our primary source of income for our PvE pilots.  We found that a C5 wormhole presented the best of both worlds for making some Isk for our pilots.  More seasoned PvE pilots could run with the Combat site team, while lower skilled pilots could run Gas Sites when they were available.

So with some scanning and the eventual help from a Broker (thanks William Wormhole), we settled into a C5 with a C2 static.  So far it has been ideal.

I hope to over the next few weeks post about some of the "fun" that I have had in the last 20 months, as well as some of the things I am amazed at in WH space now.

Feels good to be back and able to tell some stories.  I can only hope some of you out there will come back and make this stupid blog a part of your EvE reads.