The Hunting Is Good

imagesMan it has been a while since I have posted here and for that I am truly ashamed. It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. The new corp is finally up and running and recruiting has gone really well so far! A couple of real-life friends and a good number of people from in-game have joined the Faux.Pas ranks and we’re out to have some fun! I’m really happy with the way things are going so far and can’t wait to see what the next few weeks are going to be like. For now it has quieted down a little. Almost all of our members are on vacations, or have recently moved, or have some other excuse for not being on a lot at the moment. So while I wait for everyone to get settled at our new home, I have been heading out for some hunting.

The killboard is starting to fill out nicely. On a roam with Azx we came across a Coercer who was drooling at the chance to take down two little frigates ratting in his system. We had split up to cover more belts faster, and as luck would have it, I managed to pick the belt he was in. The fight was fast and brutal, we locked each other down and I released my light drones while his first volley of laser-fire obliterated my shields! His second volley did less damage but still took me down to a few bars of armor. As my warning klaxons wailed my tracking disruptor finally started taking his turrets out of the fight. If there is one thing I know about Coercer’s it’s that they have no tank. Even my three little drones manage to quickly eat through his armor and his ship exploded just as Azx made it into the fray.

Trinity8A few days later I was out flying solo. I have to say I am loving my Arbitrator these days. It has the dps to take out clone rats, but allows me to do it in a way where I can move well away from the warp in point of the belt. So if someone does scan me down they end up a good 40-50 km away from me giving me time to assess whether or not I want to engage. Unfortunately for a Moa I came across that day, he was not that far from the warp in point. I had never really fought a Moa before. A solid turret boat, I wasn’t too concerned, but there is always a little apprehension when engaging a target you’re not familiar with. Needless to say I had no reason to worry. A relatively new pilot and a very poor fit means an easy kill. But not much loot to be had unfortunately. Luckily the transporter clone tags have gone back up in value and are currently hovering around the 47 million mark. My personal wallet continues to climb and I’m actually nearing the first billion I’ve ever had all to myself!

Later that same day I could not believe what my d-scanner was telling me. I was looking for rats in a 0.2 security system that was empty except for one other pilot in local. The only ship on my scanner? A Retriever. A lone mining barge. It must be unpiloted in a POS tower somewhere. But when I scan it to a 5 degree band at a planet with a belt, I can’t help but hope he’s mining. So I punch my warp drive and land 10 km away from the Retriever. He’s not aligned, has no drones, and isn’t moving. This guy is about to learn a lesson in afk-mining in lo-sec. My drones spill forth and obliterate the miner. I even rammed his ship just to make sure if he was warp stabilized he wouldn’t get away. Not an impressive kill, but the minerals he has on him is a solid couple of million which I won’t argue with. Not a bad day really, two kills and about 200 million in tags. I’ll take it!

The latest entry on the killboard is the most interesting, since I actually wasn’t involved in the kill. The day after finding the miner I find another one. But this one has a Corax escort with him. That’s fine with me, I’m pretty sure I can kill them both if one doesn’t warp away. I hesitate attacking as two new locals show up in channel. My trap sense is tingling, but I’m far enough away from these guys that I can call the drones out to attack and keep my distance to see what happens. Sure enough two Vexors arrive on the scene, but they aren’t there to help the miner and his friend. Both cruisers engage the Corax as the miner somehow makes his escape. The destroyer dies and I recall my drones while taunting the Vexors to give chase. I know I can’t take two Vexors, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun with them first. I’m not sure why this one ended up on the killboard though. I did damage the Corax, but I didn’t post it to the board. Eh what can you do.

All in all things are going great and I’m excited every time I log into the game again! It’s a great feeling. I was really worried about leaving the wormhole corp and how it would affect my relationships with those players, but they’ve all been really supportive and I’m having a lot more fun in game now than I have in a long time. Here’s to the future and some epic fights to come!

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.

Pillage the Village!

Summer Fridays get me home in time to log on with the corpmates for once. Finally I might be able to get something done! Like setup my PI? No, it still didn’t happen. Instead Snow finds a class 2 wormhole next door to our HQ system. Her scouting report shows two towers in the wormhole, but both are offline. No one appears to be in the system and the nine anomalies floating there are ripe for the taking. It’s finally time to pillage someone else’s wormhole for once!

The corp gets started without me. Neither of my Harbingers have managed to make it to the HQ yet, and on top of that neither of them are fit yet. So that comes first. I cruise around for a while buying gear and getting ready for some sleeper slapping. Once in the wormhole it’s business as usual for us. The C2 sleepers are pathetically easy compared to the C3 ships we’re used to. We clean up all the anomalies in about an hour and a half. Our Noctis team reports just shy of 200 million isk brought in. Not too shabby.

We toy with the idea of suckling the gas from the ladar sites found in the C2, but the wormhole just isn’t stable enough for another fleet of big ships to come through, so we decide against it. I’m immediately back in my Pilgrim. My bloodlust is high. Two near kills in as many days has me practically foaming at the mouth. I need to get a kill, today is my day.

I roam around for a while, Snow and Oz are also prowling about but not in anything too robust. Snow is helping me by scouting in her covert ops ship. Oz is in a Purifier, which without the bombs is less lethal, but the added dps from his torpedoes will certainly tip the scale in our favor if I happen to lock down say…a Myrmidon?

I find a Myrmidon sitting at a gate a few jumps from our HQ. He’s sitting on a hi-sec gate. Not entirely sure what he’s trying to accomplish. I can’t engage him here though. The damage I would take from those gate guns will tear me apart in no time. Against a frigate maybe, but I would not be able to break through the Myrmidon’s tank before being destroyed, even with Oz’s help. So I decide to keep looking.

Oz reports that he has found a Coercer. A Coercer autopiloting through lo-sec. What?! Who does that? A character less than a month old that’s who. Silly noobs. When will they ever learn, well maybe never, I should probably give him a lesson on what happens when you autopilot through lo-sec. Oz is tracking the ship and I move to intercept. I’m coming from a different side of the lo-sec chain but I have a good idea of where he’s going. After a dock up, the Coercer starts heading back, exactly the way he came. This is almost too easy. I know which gate he’s heading to next and warp to 10km of it, so I can pick up his ship. The autopilot is going to dump him 15km from the gate, which gives me plenty of time to lock him down and destroy him before he can reach it.

Sure enough he arrives. I haven’t bothered cloaking, he obviously isn’t going to notice a ship on his d-scan at this point. I have also aligned to the sun, I’m going to need to make a quick get away before the gate guns can chime in. My drones are already out and I lock the destroyer down. He never changes course, never speeds up, doesn’t do a thing but explode as my drones tear through the last of his structure. And it’s a good thing too! I’m at 14% armor at this point. I warp out and let Snow pick up the loot.

Oz and Snow feel guilty for killing a new player who obviously didn’t know what he was doing. Snow even scoops the 9.5 million isk worth of loot, AND FLIES IT BACK TO THE PILOT IN HI-SEC!!! Who does that?! Well it turns out in a quintessential sandbox moment, Snow was killed in lo-sec under fairly similar conditions a few years ago. The pilot who blew her up, returned her stuff to make the blow of losing a ship at that stage of the game a little easier to bare. She is now completing the circle and doing the same for someone else. Where else but Eve do you see this kind of thing happen?! I love it. Although I’m less a fan of giving up 10 million isk to make a player feel better but oh well.

I have a kill under my belt in the lo-sec chain, finally. It was cheesy and lame, but I won’t turn down an easy kill. Eve is a harsh place, and the only way to learn how to navigate through it is by learning lessons like these. Hopefully the pilot took something useful from the kill, although as Snow talked to him it seems like he was probably just being lazy more than anything. Either way I log off for the night to get some rest, excited to get back into it tomorrow.

Fitting Theory – Coercer Faction Warfare Gank Ship

As I sit down to write another post about my Eve experiences from last night, it occurs to me that it will be another boring post about not catching anyone during a lo-sec roam. So I’ve decided to try something new! One thing I spend a lot of time doing as a Eve player is thinking about ships. Thinking about how to fit them, how to fly them, what I should or shouldn’t engage with them and so on. I figured this is probably pretty common for many pilots in New Eden, so why not post my ramblings about ship fittings on the blog? Well this week is the first in what may or may not become a series. I guess we’ll have to see how well they are accepted!

A few weeks ago Oz and I were inspecting our static to lo-sec. It had dropped us off somewhere in the Caldari war zone. As we cruised through the systems we noticed a pattern start to develop. In a lot of the backwater war systems we would come across pilots operating alone or in very small groups. Most of these lone wolf pilots were piloting frigates, and almost all of them could be found in a “minor” FW complex. Unfortunately the ships we were in at the moment couldn’t enter the acceleration gates to engage them. So we returned to the HQ to brainstorm on how we might be able to catch one of these “button-buzzers.”

We know we’re going to be up against mostly speed fitted frigates, usually alone. We also know that we have a little bit of time (maybe up to 15 seconds) to engage the target once we’re through the acceleration gate. This is due to the frigates orbiting the FW button at high speeds to avoid being destroyed by the npc ships protecting it. Without the use of interceptors, how could we lock down the frigate to keep it from fleeing from about 40km away?

I decided that we couldn’t! Maybe we should fit something with a big gun, and a lot of speed instead. Thus was born the FW-Frigate-Ganking-Glass-Cannon (or F2G2C for short). The idea is basically to fit a destroyer with as much damage output as possible at about 20-25km. Ideally you would be in a fleet of two or three of these. The fleet would activate the acceleration gate. Immediately upon landing in the site, the fleet would engage their MWDs and rocket towards the target as fast as possible. Lock and fire! We haven’t had a chance to test this yet but I’m hoping to make it’s debut in the very near future.

[Coercer, FW Gank]

Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Reactor Control Unit II
Overdrive Injector System II

Limited 1MN MicroWarpdrive I

Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S
Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch S

EFT Breakdown:
Alpha Strike: 588
Max Velocity:  1828 m/s
Optimal Range: 19.4 km

Our static wormholes seem to leave us near factional warfare systems a lot. Any suggestions for a good fit  you use to pick off the button buzzers would be greatly appreciated!