A Lesson In Vigilance

I log onto Eve to find the home system quiet again. A ladar has presented itself and I decide to test out one of those new mining frigates. Snow has managed to harvest one cloud already and I’m left with a simple 5,000 unit C-28 for myself. The frigate performs marvelously. I just have enough time to restring my guitar before the cloud is put to bed and I begin searching for new ways to get into trouble.

Venture

I’m not too excited about our static. We’re in Caldari faction warfare and these systems are hot. Especially during the weekend peak hours. There are large roaming gangs of ships and they have no problem making a pit stop to pop you’re ship if they think you have anything even remotely valuable on you. I decide to use my Oracle and try to pop a few rats for some security gain.

I roam from system to system looking for rats while also trying to avoid gates. In order to use a gate you need to get close, and the Oracle likes to stay far away from everything. A well setup gate camp on and this ship is toast. I’m starting to get nervous with all the activity and decide to jump to a non-contested system in the hopes that it’s less busy. Of course as I emerge on the other side of the gate, I’m greeted by a Tornado 155 km off the gate with a Helios pumping up it’s scan resolution.

This is a pickle, two sniper ships separated by 155 km of empty space. I’m not confident enough in my damage output to want to engage him. The gate guns are also tantalizingly close and I’m not familiar enough with how they decide who to shoot when two ships are in combat. The sniper Oracle is fit specifically to have high agility to get out of situations like this. I bank on my fit, and align to warp as quickly as possible. The Tornado locks me and lets loose a volley which vaporizes my shields and takes a quarter of my armor with them. It feels like ages, but the Oracle finally enters the warp bubble and I reach the safety of a local station.

After a quick repair I’m back in the home system and thinking of how I can grab myself a sniping Tornado. I decide the Purif-i-core is the perfect ship. The cloak will allow me to get through his blockade while also sneaking up on his position. Assuming that is he’s still sitting in the same spot. I make my way back there and sure enough he’s there. I warp around a little to get myself as close as possible. I set my orbit distance and begin a slow stealthy approach. The whole while I’m still very worried about the gate guns. My Purifier hull won’t last long against those guns and I’m not sure if engaging him will bring about their wrath. He has a red background and white skull, whatever that means. The fucker shot my ship, I don’t see why the police would mind if I return the favor.

sniper killersJust then a fucking shit storm arrives. At least 30-50 ships jump through the gate. They warp off in quick succession but surprisingly the Tornado fires off a couple shots. I can’t believe he’s engaging anything with this many potential hostiles in system. Why are you not running away!? Surely he’s at his keyboard. I can see the howitzers launching projectiles down range. I don’t know what this guy is doing but I know what is about to happen. I reverse thrusters and put as much distance between me and the Tornado as I can before the whole roaming fleet warps into his position.

Sure enough all hell rains down on the Tornado. It’s far from a fair fight, and farther still from one the Tornado should have been in. I’m not sure what his screen was showing him, but as soon as more than two ships came through that gate I would have been out of there. A lesson in vigilance and thinking ahead. Especially while camping a gate, you have all the time in the world to develop a plan for scenarios like a blob coming through your gate. Oh well. I didn’t get a kill but I saw some hilarious shit go down.

dead sniperOn top of that kudos to the ‘Help’ channel in Eve. I spoke with a few very helpful guys from that channel while I was getting ready to attack the sniper. The information they gave me on kill rights in lo-sec and how gate guns work was very helpful. I’m going to attempt to summarize what I learned at the bottom of the post here:

  • Lo-sec Gate Guns will not engage you unless you attack a pod (I don’t know if this is true. I know I’ve definitely been shot when I attacked someone’s ship before, maybe this was changed in recent updates).
  • Anyone can attack someone who has a suspect flag on them. I’m not entirely sure what the flag looks like. I was told it was a blinking yellow background with skull or a red skull with solid red background. I have to look into this further.
  • Suspect Flag

    “Only applicable in Empire space, the Suspect Flag allows any other player to attack you without penalty for the duration of the timer. CONCORD will not spawn to defend you, gate guns will not defend you, and the attacker will not receive a reduction in Security Status. The Suspect flag lasts for 15 minutes, and actions that will activate the flag differ depending on the Security Status of the star-system.

    In high security space, you can acquire a suspect flag by stealing from a container or wreck, and by assisting (either by weapons, remote repair or drones) other players in possession of a Suspect or Criminal Flag, or players who have Outlaw status (-5 Security Status or lower). You can also be given a Suspect flag if a player activates a kill-right on you (see page about kill rights).

    In low security space, targeting a player’s ship (not their capsule) with any offensive module, including Smartbombs and other non-targeted weapons, will provoke a Suspect flag. Stealing from a container will also provoke the flag, though assisting outlaw players in low security space will not.”

     

Worst Timing Ever

I logged onto Eve this morning because I’m done with work for over a week, and I can’t think of a better way to spend my time, other than maybe taking care of that giant pile of laundry in my bedroom. I find the home system quiet. Our grav site is gone, so the mining fun is over for now. I’ll have to remind Oz to put his fancy mining lasers back on the Hulk. I had to downgrade due to my lack of industrial skills.

I head out to our C4 connection because it’s the only thing of any interest at the moment. The system is empty with a fleet of Orcas floating in the only active tower. I decide collapsing the wormhole might be a good idea since no one seems to be home and hole is out of d-scan range of the tower. I run through all my calculations and get to work grabbing the Apocalypse (aka fatty) out of the hangar. The first three passes go off without a hitch but the fourth wasn’t so lucky.

Apoc on FireJust as I entered warp one of the known pilots from the system logs on. Hmm, well maybe they’ll fiddle with a ship fit or something before looking for trouble. No, no they don’t do that. As my battleship emerges from the wormhole an Onyx is sitting on the other side waiting. Well fuck. Here we go. I jump back through to the home system side and begin aligning towards safety.

Not surprisingly a large bubble appears around the wormhole and I punch the afterburner to at least give myself a chance at escaping. My turrets can’t hit the orbiting Oynx even with a web on it. I’m generally surprised, I have an afterburner on, am webbing him, he’s only going 97m/s or so. I should be able to out run him. Except for whatever reason the Apocalypse decided not to align towards my tower. That’s cool. Why would I want to be moving?

palmfacepanda

So now finally my ship starts pulling away and the lasers are finding their mark on the slowed Oynx. In fact it looks like I might actually have a shot at getting out of this mess. Oh wait a Falcon. Ok yeah this isn’t going to happen. Just as I was approaching the edge of the bubble the Falcon adds his warp scrambling insurance to the fray. I’m a dead duck and all I can hope for is to some how zig zag my pod out of the bubble. But that doesn’t seem to happen either. I lose the ship and the pod plus a healthy dose of implants. At least they had a good sense of humor about it.

Laundry TimeOh well, maybe next time the stupid will stay at the tower and I can manage to align my ship properly to get out of a situation like that again. Until then, laundry :c

Fitting Theory – Sleeper Slapping Zealot

The other day I hit the googles to try to find a ship fitting that I could use to run anomalies in a class 3 wormhole by myself. I also wanted something that cost less than a Legion, which although great, is an expensive ship to be tooling around w-space in. After a bit of research I stumbled upon RiotRick’s Zealot fitting.

At first glance I was pretty skeptical about the ship’s ability to withstand the sleeper’s dps. To be honest I’m still a little skeptical although he does provide a little video showing off the fit in action. This fit is really starting to grow on me, and it’s not simply because it costs a quarter of what a Legion does. This fit utilizes a very uncommon form of tanking that I intend to do a lot more research on. The idea is to make a ship with a relatively small signature radius that is fast enough to mitigate a substantial amount of damage from equal sized ships. This fit clocks in with a signature radius of about 125 which is pretty small considering the punch you can pack with it.

5x Focused Medium Pulse Laser II (Conflagration M)

10MN Afterburner II
Large Capacitor Battery II
Dread Guristas Stasis Webifier

2x Khanid Navy Medium Armor Repairer
800mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
2x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Heat Sink II
Capacitor Power Relay II

2x Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

DPS: 410
EHP: 25,800
Tank: 316
(Values from Eve-HQ)

It should be noted this is not a speed tank, not in the traditional sense anyway. Speed tanking is basically getting a ship to go so fast that you are out running the tracking speed of the enemy ship’s turrets. Sig tanking, as I like to call it, is rather getting the ship to go fast enough, that it’s small signature radius makes it very hard to do maximum damage on. Indeed the few times I’ve flown the ship so far have been hair raising since it looks like most of the enemy rounds are hitting my ship. They are in fact registering hits, but the damage is greatly reduced. So much so that a single armor repair unit can hold off the damage nicely.

There are a few short comings with the ship. You have to be very careful flying it around sleeper battleships. One wrong turn or drop in velocity and a BS round can punch an enormous hole in your otherwise weak armor. Remember this fit is actively tanked. It’s all about reducing incoming damage and repairing the rest. If the battleships time a turret round with missile while you make a reverse turn, you are in for a world of hurt. I generally am keeping away from anomalies with multiple battleships for the time being. At least until I upgrade the repair units from the T2 variants to the faction.

All in all it’s a great fit for fun ship when in w-space. It will never match the PVE supremacy of the Drake, but for an Amarr ship coming in under 300 million isk it does a surprisingly good job.

Wanted Dead or Alive; But Mostly Dead

Another milestone has been reached in my Eve career. Today my friends, Vultirnus had the first bounty placed on his head. That’s right, old Vult is now a wanted criminal. All because he blew up a Heron, can you believe it!? The bounty is probably more than the cost of the ship. Seems like I picked on someone who’s a little touchy about getting their frigates blown up.

It was an interesting day to say the least. I logged in and scanned down our home system. Nothing too much new to worry about. We had a null-sec connection that was still critical from my collapsing efforts yesterday. Our static, and a new connection to a class 1 wormhole. That deserves some attention. I warp into the C1 and start poking around. There are a few derelict towers and one active tower, but no ships or pilots to be seen. That’s fine with me as I also find a ladar and grav site as well as four anomalies. I decide to scan the system down since I’m alone and would like as much free intel as I can get.

The C1 has its hi-sec static connection and a connection to a C2. I scope out the C2 just to make sure that no hostile pilots are buzzing around before I start pillaging the C1 for it’s isk. As everything is quiet I grab my new sleeper slapping Zealot and head into the C1 to “relieve” the C1 inhabitants of their anomalies. I pull in about 120 million isk in about 45 minutes. Not a bad operation for a lone pilot in a hostile system.

That’s when things start getting weird. Industrial ships start popping up on my directional scanner. Only for a second or so at a time. I have all the signatures in the system bookmarked. I have no idea where these ships are coming from or where they’re going. Just then Azx logs in. We get into some cloaky ships and head into the C2 to see if we can shed some light on what is going on. The industrial ghosts continue to haunt us for a while, long enough for me to log off to attend to some real life obligations. Azx continues to monitor the situation and determines the ships are now dismantling a tower in the C2.

sniper spotI get back online as soon as I can. Ok I could have gotten on earlier, but Wolverine was on tv and well, I like Wolverine. Anyway I get on in time to join up with Snow and Azx and try to ambush these industrial ships moving cargo from the POS to a hi-sec wormhole. After much observing we get a good handle on their operation and get ready to take down the next ship we see. Sadly at this point a Bestower, Vexor, and Orca have made it through the wormhole and the hole has gone critical for mass. But a pilot continues to come back in just a pod to move more ships out of the system. Eventually I attempt to grab a Buzzard as it runs to the wormhole but was not able to lock it down fast enough to manage a kill.

So as it stands our ambush was unsuccessful. We didn’t manage to catch any enemy ships and we’ve now given away our intentions. Then some other ships start popping up on the scanner and then disappearing. We have no idea what is going on. Pilots are all over this system, but apparently just alts of the other pilot we saw. Finally I have an idea. All of the ships still in system appear to be frigates which are a pain in the ass to catch. Unless you have two sensor boosters with scan resolution scripts. Something my sniper Oracle just happens to have fitted. As I fly back to our home system to grab the Oracle the Buzzard shows up on the hi-sec wormhole along with a Heron.

philippe frenchI’m flying as fast as I can to get back to the C2. The Buzzard jumps through but the Heron remains on the hole. Snow is parked cloaked by the hole watching and Azx is in a Tengu out of scan range aligned to the hole ready to jump in if I need the help. Finally I arrive at the C2 and warp to 70km off the hole. The Heron is locked in less than a second and vaporizes as eight large tachyon lasers melt through the ship’s structure. The pilot probably didn’t even realize I was on grid before he died. The pod ejects and I’m able to lock that and destroy it as well.

We didn’t manage to make a big isk kill, but at least we got a corpse out of it. Then to my amazement, a notification pops up on my screen. Wouldn’t you know it, the Heron pilot put a 20 million isk bounty on my head! A badge of honor as I see it. The corp enjoys a good laugh over it, and I decide to initiate a new practice in my Eve playing. I open up my mailbox, and type out the following to my latest victim:

new mail

Hey every blog needs it’s visits. Seems like a good way to keep things light hearted; and maybe rub it in a little.

Fitting Theory – Dragoon PVP Fit: Journey Through My Fitting Process

I thought I would try something a little different here. I’m at work right now and my computer is processing some big chunks of data, so I have a little time to think about this new Amarrian destroyer and how it might be utilized for pvp. But instead of just posting a fit and how it works I thought I would kind of spell out my thought process and how I come up with fits most of the time.

So let’s start out with the ship itself. I always like to read through the description and the bonuses to get an idea for how the developer’s think the ship should work. It also helps to weed out possible conflicts with fit designs. The Dragoon says it’s a destroyer built to deal a lot of damage but has a really weak tank. It also gets the following bonuses:

  • 10% bonus to drone hitpoints and damage per level
  • 20% bonus to energy vampire and energy neutralizer transfer range per level
  • 25% bonus to drone microwarpdrive speed

So obviously what jumps out at us first is that this is a drone attack boat. Great! That makes some of our decisions a little easier. But let’s focus on this second bonus, the one to vamp and neut ranges. With these bonuses, assuming we have maxed our associated skills, we could neut or vamp out to about 13km.

Now let’s look at our fitting potential. We have 3 turret hard points and 3 launcher hardpoints available to us. With all the slots filled and hobgoblin II’s buzzing we can max out dps roughly around 400. Which is equivalent to the Coercer dps output if you really go all out on dps. The problem is we can’t get that same level of dps with the Dragoon and fit all the neuts and vamps would like (because who doesn’t like fitting those!?).

So when we look at it, we have a ship designed for dps output with a weak tank, that actually gives bonuses to things we can’t use if we want to have the same dps as the other standard destroyer available to Amarr. Between the weak tank, and the apparent lack of dps I’m already worried about flying one of these, but let’s delve a little deeper and see if we can figure something else out.

Let’s forget all about turrets and missiles for now. Let’s assume we run heavy neuts and vamps and just use drones for damage. Our dps would drop to roughly 250. Not great, but not as bad as it could be maybe but how are we going to mitigate incoming damage. Most of our low slots are already used up for drone damage amplifiers? Speed tanking might be a good option. We don’t have room for armor, but our neut range bonuses will let us get out of range for most people’s autocannons and webifiers (albeit with some fancy flying). That might work, but if we mix the two ideas together a little we end up with a few missile launchers (weapons independent of speed to hit) and drones with a speed tank.

[Dragoon, pvp]

3x Light Missile Launcher II (Mjolnir Fury Light Missile)
3x Small Energy Neutralizer II

Faint Warp Disruptor I
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

2x Drone Damage Amplifier II
Small Armor Repairer II
Co-Processor II

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Auxiliary Thrusters I

5x Acolyte II
5x Warrior SW-300
5x Hobgoblin II

What we end up with is still far from great. Especially if you start to compare the stats to other empire’s dps and tanking abilities. I can only really see this ship in a small gang scenario acting as an anti-frigate vessel. In solo pvp I would rather be in a Punisher or Coercer to be perfectly honest.

A Harsh Introduction

So here’s the situation. I have just gotten home from work and only had a few hours before running all the way back uptown to catch the midnight (actually the 12:05, damn 12:01 was sold out) viewing of The Hobbit (it was awesome by the way, although to be fair I’m heavily bias towards rowdy dwarves). I’m convinced though to make the most of my time in-game and immediately get to work.

It doesn’t look like anyone has scanned since I did so yesterday, so that seems like a good place to start. Four signatures doesn’t take long, and I’m left with two ladar sites and two wormholes. One hole is the same static as yesterday. It must be on its way out pretty soon. The second is an unknown K162 which leads to more w-space. This hole is noisy as heck though, and I thankfully check the info on it before jumping through. The hole is at critical mass. Apparently whoever is on the other side attempted to collapse it but didn’t want to risk the last jump through to finish the job. Sloppy. Oh well, they seem to not want me to poke around and I’m content to leave them be. I have plenty of other things on my plate.

I run some necessary PI around to keep my grunts manufacturing their precious rocket fuel and coolant. Shortly after that I commandeer Oz’s gas suckling ship and zip off to the first ladar site. The harvesting goes well, I manage to finish the entire site with only minor complications from a small fleet of sleeper frigates. On to the second one and its pair of sleeper cruisers. Just as I settle into a cloud with the gas guzzler again, a ship pops up on my directional scanner. A Venture! The new mining frigate is a welcome break from the tedious gas sucking task at hand and I immediately head back to the tower to grab the Oracle. I assume the ship came through the static that’s about to close and head in that direction. Except the static is already closed.

venture sceneThis is a monkey wrench. I have a hidden U210 hole and a new hole that this intruder has come through. I don’t like unknowns but as a set of core probes come up on the overview I determine the Venture has opened a new K162 which led him here and he’s looking to steal some gas. I zip back to the tower and grab my Anathema with sister’s combat probes ready. Directional scanning puts the Venture somewhere below the solar plane, and I start scanning for his ship. Oddly the Venture seems oblivious to all my ship swapping and the fact that a host of combat probes are now flying around the solar system. I begin to wonder if this guy is a total n00b or bait.

Either way I quickly lock down the ship’s location, hoping that he’s in a safespot and unable to escape back through the wormhole he came through. I decide to use the Pilgrim, since, well, I fucking love the Pilgrim. The Oracle would probably be a better choice, able to one shot the ship. But this is my first fight in over a month and the Pilgrim just feels right. I enter warp and check my scanner every second. If the pilot is concerned about my presence, he doesn’t seem to show it. His probes are still out in the system and he hasn’t moved. That “it’s a trap” feeling is starting to set in. In a big way too, but there’s nothing I can do now, I’m in warp and I’m going to land right on the bastard.

venture ageThe cloak sheds upon arrival as I’m within 1km of the ship and the adjoining wormhole. I lock onto the ship and launch a fleet of light drones. It’s over quickly. The pilot never moved, and in fact his pod didn’t either. That blew up pretty easily as well. Another corpse for the collection! The loot is sparse. Very sparse. Oh good god this guy is like seven days old. I am that asshole in Eve.

Sweet.

venture pilotIt’ll be a good learning experience for him. If nothing else he has learned to fear the wormhole, and that is always a good lesson. The 255k isk loss shouldn’t set even a brand new player back much. Especially one in a corp with an alliance. The wormhole leads to hi-sec, conveniently very close to Amarr. This has turned out to be a handy little ambush I put together. With all quiet in system once again I turn my attention back to gas guzzling for a while longer before running off to my movie. Nothing like a little blood letting to get the evening off on the right foot.

A Little Flash Goes a Long Way

I don’t know if I’m the only fly fisherman on Eve. I think the chances are not very good. Both hobbies require a lot of patience, at times extreme solitude, and our query is never a guarantee.  I tie my own flies, and there is a material a lot of fishermen use to help the fly catch the fish’s attention. It comes in all shapes and sizes, but it is generally referred to as flash. Flash is reflective material that bounces light all over the place in the water and is generally thought to help fish pick out the fly in turbid water or just grab the fish’s attention in clear water.

This latest update for Eve has thrown a lot of flash into the game, and although I loved where Eve was visually before, it is even better now. The new targeting reticles, explosions and GUI additions to the game are awesome. I’m especially a fan of the tracking feature that has been added, although the location for that button is very strange to me. Basically if you open your directional scanner and turn tracking on, whenever you highlight an item in your overview, the camera will pan to point in that direction. I think it’s a great little addition.

We also received a nice helping of new ships. In general I have been very pleased with the way the ship balancing efforts of CCP have been going. Doing away with the tier system is definitely a step in the right direction and these new destroyers that were just released are awesome! I am very excited to give a try at the new Amarr drone destroyer. Which is funny really, I never pictured myself being a drone boat kind of guy (whatever kind of guy that is…). I liked Amarr because of their lasers and thick armor. Not to mention their over zealous fluff. But I gotta say, the drones are a lot of fun to play with and dedicated drone boats can give enemy pilots a hard time. You can be fast and far away and still doing damage. It’s a lot of fun. Also for anyone interested there’s a pretty cool article on the concepts behind the new ship designs.

Anyway Vultirnus hasn’t been too exciting to write about lately. Mostly getting the PI running smoothly again. Keeping up with fuel needs of the corp and that sort of thing. I’m in the process of trying to get my security status up, especially with a few of the lamer empires. I don’t know what those Galls and Minnies have against me! Exciting news that I can’t remember if I shared or not, I’m finally officially a jump freighter pilot. Although I can’t afford a jump freighter :(. You’ll be excited to learn that I’m holding a special event! If you donate an Ark to me, you’ll get a special thank you eve-mail from Vultirnus himself! It’s a great deal. You should do it. Now.

Worth a try. Oh well, back to collapsing wormholes and popping rats.

Awaken

Vultirnus realized he was conscience before fully awakening. His eyesight still eluded him, but sounds began drifting in and out of his mind like a swelling tide. At first the sounds were unfamiliar to him. Distant metallic voices and the distinct pinging sound of metal under tension. He opened his eyes but the light from inside his quarters immediately blinded him. 

“How long had it been? Where am I?” 

Memories slowly began slithering their way into focus. An explosion. The terror of feeling his pod eject into the empty void. Then, nothing. He slowly reached to the back of his head. The implants augmenting his brain were still intact. His pod must have escaped whatever carnage befell his ship safely. But how he ended up in his quarters in the Shuria system he could not recall. He picked up the nearby dataslat. Months had passed since he was last awake. How could that be? Vultirnus slowly dressed and made his way to the door of his quarters. 

“Looks like I have some catching up to do. But first I need a drink.”

Good lord I’ve been gone a while. Too long, but that’s how Eve seems to go for me. At times this game can feel like a second job. A second job that doesn’t seem to pay the bills even though I can be rolling in Isk (although that never seems to happen). Sometimes you just need to step away for a while.

Getting back into things it doesn’t seem like I have missed all that much. Our corp is still in w-space. We are still making isk, and I see a long list of kills and deaths in our corporation menu. Well at least someone has been having some fun. It looks like the Europeans aren’t getting on any time soon. I’m home sick (for 3 days now) and decide this is as good a time as any to brush the cobwebs off of my control panel and get back into the swing of things. At least new expansions haven’t come out. Last time I stepped away from the game I practically had to relearn how to play.

This time I manage to get my PI up and running again in a few minutes. I find my scan boat right where I left it and start scoping out what’s around the neighborhood. Doesn’t look like much. Some ladar, a few rocks, and not much else. Still best to go slow. I’m rusty, and space is dangerous. I also need a new Pilgrim. At least there is some focus. I head out our static and begin my journey back into the wonders of Eve!