Monthly Archives: April 2012

Planning For the Win

NOT planning FTW.

Planning is frequently the difference between winning and losing.  The side that plans better generally wins.  The side with worse planning can usually only win if the side with better planning executes poorly.  I am a fairly compulsive planner in EvE.  I am a firm believer that improvised responses work best when planned in minute detail well in advance complete with contingency and backup plans.

As a result my Hulkageddon shooting has been a bit spotty.  Our success rate on strikes we took the time to set up correctly has been 100%.  Our whiff rate on the other strikes has been pretty brutal.  As such I’ve more or less gone to conducing well planned, rehearsed strikes where we can get an assured kill.  To me, the steps for this in Hulkageddon are:

Good Warp-In – Absolutely critical when your sec status starts dropping.

Known Target Info – Allows you to efficiently allocate resources (catalysts) to the target.

Coordination of Firepower – Getting enough dps on the target in time to make the kill.  It can be a tight window.  Sometimes very tight depending on the system.

I like to guarantee kills.  I don’t want to use 1 Catalyst when I have guys in fleet who can’t solo.  I know that 3/4 of the time you should succeed, especially in 0.5/0.6, but I’ve got guys without the skills to do it, so I’ll send them with one of the highly skilled players to guarantee the kill.  If I see a tanked ship I’ll go after it even harder, with 3 or more.  Does it waste hulls and sec status?  Sure.  I’d rather post the kills than lose ships needlessly.  Again I’m conservative.  I want to take everything into account.  I’m losing a ship no matter what.  I want to get as many kills as possible even if I lose more ships.

Usually how it plays out, our cloaky scout pokes around in the belts and finds something decent.  He then stalks it, checking for shield effects.  If he doesn’t see any he may or may not decloak for a quick passive targeter scan.  He gets in close and lets us know when to warp, depending on how alert the target is we will be positioned near an orca near the belt.  Grab the catalysts, warp to the scout, hijinks ensue.  Time permitting we will all bump the Hulk/Mack around a bit and then shred it to make sure everyone is on the target.  If they start moving it pinches things and we will usually open up within 4km.

Fly dangerous, score kills.

Also how do they find crewmen for Catalysts these days?

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An Abbreviated Day 2

With my new and not so improved final project, and sec starting to weaken my striking power I’ve had to shorten my day 2 of Hulkageddon.  Currently I’m #4 on the Hulkageddon leaderboard, with Poetic and Shootin’ Star of Fancy Hats also ranked, #4 on solo kills with Poetic at #10, #2 in Amarr space, with Poetic and Star at #4 and #5 and generally having a blast.  Loot Gods have been generous, and salvage has as well.  Quite a satisfying event to date.  Some observations / tips:

Shoot the target in a belt, dock at a nearby station, undock in a noob ship.  Clears the belt of CONCORD.

Scan everything in the belt if your scout is scanning everything.  Might tip off targets.  Might show you that the Orca sitting there is loaded down with shield transfers.  Cost us a whiff that one did.

Miners are generally pretty ignorant.  There’s been some flat out DUMB killmails we’ve gotten.  For example: is not how you tank a Mack.  They were on, but I didn’t see his shields go up much in the time it took me to shred that ship. and

If you are gonna use any kind of EWAR, use ECM.  If they are as close as blaster catalysts will get (possibly inside your hull) damps and TDs won’t help you much. 8000 EHP with all skills at 5.  More likely around 7500.  Not a good way to protect a 300 million isk ships amigo. Not bad.  Too bad he was sitting there not moving 4 minutes after another gank, especially when CONCORD had already left the belt.  In his defense he tried to warp off.  I was just 4km away and closing fast when he did.

Happy Hulkageddon Games!

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Not sure what exactly Nosy Gamer (Best Blog not in the Blog Pack) has uncovered here, but it certainly looks like he might have a gem. In this post he distills Sreegs answers to questions on the comments thread for those (like me) who can’t be bothered to wade through the chest-deep trolling on the EvE-O forums.  The part that has my head spinning at the moment is the massive extra chunk on my final assignment for the semester that got emailed out Thursday that I only saw this morning This:

Q.  There was a suggestion at Fan Fest that the confiscated PLEX might be sold to players.  Why not some of these assets as well?

CCP Sreegs:  “One problem I have with this is that we’re seeing patterns of activity where the isk is botted up and in this case we’re printing isk at a rate which it should not be happening at out of thin air.

“At the end of the day though I’m not an economics guy so the assets sit in the banned accounts until or unless someone decides to use them for something.

“I’d considered at one point using them as a reward system but I can’t get over the fact that a lot of this stuff just simply shouldn’t exist and that can’t be good for an economy.”

Q.  I understand that you have reservations about returning ill-gotten goods to the economy, but there’s a sizeable amount of isk in circulation that was created through illicit means as well; and Dr. E. seems to be more worried about the isk at this point.

CCP Sreegs:  “The isk was created to purchase the goods. :)”

The first Q/A talks about the concept of returning some of these assets to the EvE economy, which I think I support to some extent (PLEX for certain) however he raises a good point on his second answer.  The isk was created to purchase the goods, and by way of corollary the goods were generated to absorb the isk.

What makes me think that we need to see some of these items reintroduced is the massive inflation we have seen lately.  Buying power has gone way down.  Let’s say you make 20 million isk an hour in your PvE Efforts.  You used to be able to fully fit an Amarrian BS in 5 hours.  That’s a saturday afternoon.  Now you can’t quite manage the hull.  If you want an Abaddon you need to spend 12 hours just getting the hull.  This is discouraging to people.  They want to fly the big and shiny things.

On the other hand, we have been living in an era of reduced consequences.  With more isk available from Incursions (100+ mill isk/hour was quite feasable for a long time) and low prices, people didn’t care about ships.  They became Jaded and scoffed at the concept of loss.  Now people have to deal with more consequences, they have to be more aware of the results of their actions.  This has resulted in some very fun and interesting battles, but also an attitude of entitlement by many players, where they feel that cheap, impact-limited  pvp was a right, and not an aberration.

By nerfing Incursions down to L4 mission levels (or lower by some accounts) and eliminating “Mining with Guns” CCP has smashed the pillars that held up the high-isk, low-cost economy.  Now isk levels are most likely sinking as income is harder to generate, and prices are skyrocketing as the tonnes of ores that used to flow in from missions and rogue drones has abruptly stopped.

Finally there’s this comment:

Dr. E. seems to be more worried about the isk at this point.

I think that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  I wonder what the long-term fallout will be.  While I happily gank hulks to line Goonswarm pockets.  Hey mittens can I get my 100m payouts in tech?

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Hulkageddon is HERE!

Hulkageddon is barely three hours old.  With three pilots shooting Fancy Hats has 5 kills.  Pickings have been fairly slim, with generally only botters available.  However, something happened that bears more telling.  Our scout spots two Orcas and one hulk in a belt.  Slightly unusual.  Not two Hulks and one Orca.  Two Orcas and one Hulk.  Warping in to investigate he is decloaked by an orca on his warpin spot.  Happens.  He moves off, cloaks, gathers his nerves.  Notices that one Orca is unpiloted.  As he reports this the other Orca pilot poops out a hulk, hops into it and leaves it abandoned.  I scramble off to buy a blackbird.  Fitting to jam the hell out of the hulks to break any locks we position two alts who can fly orcas in the neighborhood.  We all warp in and the alts start spamming dock.  They immediately end up on board as I finish landing.  Well… that was interesting.

For those unfamiliar with the mechanics, a ship that is locked up can only be reboarded by the “owner” who abandoned it.  Bad Hulk pilots occasionally use an Orca as a jetcan.  Ejecting their mining ship, hopping in it and LOCKING THE ORCA to protect it.  Of course they can be jammed, or bumped out of range, but no one would do that would they?  So because these morons weren’t paying attention, Fancy Hats is 1.5 billion richer, friends have cheap rigged ships, and we have tons of loot and salvage.  No good tears though.

By leaving them untargeted they basically hung up a “Steal me” sign.  Which was pretty hilarious for us, I’ll see if the FRAPS is any good.  For now, I’ll report on some other goings on on Day 1.

Killed 3 Macks in 1 Ice belt in the course of 30 minutes.  People just not paying attention I guess.

Smashed 1 Hulk not paying attention in a 0.5 system.  Another one right after we stole his Orca.  Finally got three Macks at once in an ice belt.  That was probably the best of them.  Wrapping up the night with 12 kills and some sloppy whiffs, it’s a scratch crew.  We’ll get ’em sorted.

People continue to not pay attention.  Even with all the warnings, some even in-game and from CCP, ignorance is RAMPANT.  Not only are people mining in nearly completely untanked ships during Hulkageddon, some are upping the ante by mining using methods that expose them to considerable additional danger.  While it resulted in hilarity today (I think I pulled something laughing over the Orca double-steal) it’s amazingly frustrating that there’s EvE players who are this ignorant.

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Stupidity is Expensive

Somehow goons are still scoring fat kills around jitamart.  I simply do not get how people can be ignorant of the event at this point.  The event was published all over the internet, mostly by goons.  Local is spammed to hell, there’s live feed, there simply isn’t an excuse at this point to have anything shiny anywhere near Jita.  And yet as I type this I see a freighter undocking.

If Goons want to indicate that people aren’t safe, I don’t know that they’ve succeeded.  I think they’ve made a strong argument for it, but what they’ve really proven is that a wide segment of the EvE population is TOTALLY oblivious to their surroundings.  Paul Clavet (I believe) posted this gem on situational awareness on his blog My Loot Your Tears.  In it he talks about the combat mindset, the difference between oblivious and passively alert.  Good EvE players maintain some level of situational awareness whenever they play.  They follow enough news sources (forums, blogs, websites, etc) to be aware of what they are likely to see.  They watch chat channels to find out current intel.  They keep their head up, especially when undocked.

However some people go beyond “Condition White”  They go into “Actively Stupid” Local shitting up?  Don’t pay attention, just close it or turn blink off.  Goons spouting shit again?  Fuck it it’s goons they never say anything important.  Map shows 3578 ships destroyed in Jita in the last 24 hours?  Can’t be arsed to bother with it.  When I talk about people who are playing EvE as a single-player game, that’s who I’m talking about.  Every single hauler, freighter, and shiny PvE ship is an avoidable loss.  There was no reason to not know this was coming.  Some people just actively pursue their ignorance.  They don’t want to face the unpleasant facts of their situation so they ignore it until the unpleasantness grows.  Yeah some people got away with stuff, a lot more got whacked.

Stupidity costs isk.  I’m glad the people who read this blog are taking the time to educate themselves somewhat.  I hope that this event drives more people to look at their options in EvE.  Either join the bigger community or GTFO.

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Single Player EvE

Mature Theme Park MMOs start out as largely single-player games where you level through content as fast as you can to the cap, then at the level cap it suddenly turns into a Multiplayer-only experience.  EvE doesn’t force you into this track.  You can join (and possibly even find) productive multiplayer experiences from your first day in EvE.  On the other hand some folks sit in their NPC corps or 1-man tax shelters from the day they start until they give up on the game.

I couldn’t begin to imagine the proportion of these categories among active players, and I doubt they’d make up a major portion of the game, but I also don’t doubt for a second that they make up a bigger portion of the game than new players brought in per month.  This is significant because these people’s contributions to the larger community are practically nonexistent.  They may as well be playing X3.

Events like Hulkageddon shake this tree.  They involve people (admittedly unwillingly) in the larger spectrum of EvE.   Some of them don’t like it, and they leave.  Some of them don’t like it and rage about it on the forums and inspire the more foolish devs to make stupid changes.  Some of them find out that they could have prevented it and it drives their first willing step into the larger EvE community.  Now I’m not naive enough to think that this drives Helicity to do the event, let alone The Mittani, but I also remember when I was a whiny, entitled miner, thinking that EvE owed me a safe and secure space to make my space monies and should otherwise leave me the hell alone.  That attitude is great for X.  It’s bad for EvE.

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Showing Their Sting

Today Goonswarm leadership “leaked” what amounts for a bid to win EvE.  Having extended their military might as far as is profitable then are pressing to more profitable Venues.  The three most revealing are Burn Jita, OTEC and the Death Squad, of lesser importance, but still of note is the leadership shuffle and the Tengu Fleet announcement.

Burn Jita

For anyone living under a rock, or willfully ignorant of what is about to start, Goons are about to launch a 2 (or 3) day hellcamp of Jita. The goal of this camp is to either remind everyone else that they enjoy EvE at the sufferance of the swarm, or that Goons can shut down any system, any time, any where.  Both are pretty startling messages if they pull it off.


OTEC is a concerted effort by Goons, in concert with Burn Jita to dominate the economic sphere of New Eden.  It is the focal point of T2 components, the Spice of New Eden.  Wars are fought over single moons and much scheming and back-stabbing has happened.  Goons wants to make as much as possible before the far-off specter of “Ring Mining” shakes up their hold on New Eden’s gold.  To do this they will form a consortium between themselves and the other major players holding tech moons, restricting or loosening supply in order to profit the most from this death grip on key production resources.

The Death Squad

The Death Squad is a broadside aimed at the metagame.  Anyone who thinks goons will limit themselves to the forums is out of his mind.  Write a blog post about how shitty you think Goons are?  Welcome to the list.  Host a news site with a perceived anti-goon cant?  Expect friends in local.  Your podcast not supportive enough of Papa Mittens during “Suicide gate?” might want to stay docked up.  This is a means to quiet voices set against the goons, either through intimidating them into silence, or by chasing them clear out of the game.

All this combines into one vicious stinger.  Goons are unsheathing their sword and declaring war on EvE.  I’m a little surprised they didn’t use Seleene’s “TotalHellDeath” expansion poster from his speech a few years back.  This represents a bid to display what Goons clearly feel to be their dominance in all aspects of EvE. Even while they do this.  Even while they burn thousands of Tornadoes and countless thrashers, they are creating a new fleet doctrine.  The Tengu swarm.  Expect these ships to be brought to lots of fights and lost in large numbers.  Goons will be the first to tell you they whelp fleets with occasionally hilarious regularity, and they feel they have the wallet and warchest to do it.  I believe them.

The final note is the leadership shuffle.  Goons are taking the most comprehensive, broad-based offensive, economic, metagame, and plenty of military action, and doing it at the same time as 5 leadership moves.  There’s alliances where this would amount to a complete changeover in leadership, and Goons are doing it in the midst of major operations.  Whatever you feel about Goons, Mittens or their method of operations you have to admire their ability to think big.  If they pull this off they will have demonstrated that not only can they control the game in their own territories, but that they can dominate the game at the heart of the highsec “empire” and beyond the bounds of the game itself.

Fly dangerous, and watch yourself.

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Throwing Our (Fancy) Hats Into the Ring

As Poetic Stanziel pointed out yesterday, Fancy Hats is joining in the fray of Hulkageddon.  While I am nowhere NEAR as talented with any artistic tool as Poetic is, I spent a little time coming up with a logo and slogan for us.

Not as great as some of the others out there, but simple and to the point.  Feel free to cut out the text at the bottom and replace it with your own!

I’m not a SiSi. I Just Play There

Using SiSi is a good tool to take concepts and test them without breaking your wallet, shitting up your killboard and making an utter ass of yourself.  So today I grabbed some guys and headed to a nice little area to blow up some hulks, macks, and take a crack and an orca or two.

We tested fits, to see how close to the bone we could cut it.  We tested some mechanics, for example trying to board a ship (in an Orca or in Space) while GCC got us this notice:

23:12:05 Notify You have been involved in illegal activity whilst piloting this ship. CONCORD prohibits you from destroying evidence by changing ships at this time.

Which I thought was interesting since I managed to apparently commit a crime in a pod.

We tested combinations of ships, how they reacted against the various targets out there, and came to some conclusions which I’ve found rather interesting.  I’m going to post some of them to help gankers do their planning.

The biggest challenge I see is keeping activity going.  With 15 minute timers after every attempted gank, and no way around them gankers will have to operate their fleets rather efficiently to maximize kills in a time period.  Using the minimum number of ships to ENSURE a kill, cleaning the battlefield (if they want) and setting up the support team while a secondary or tertiary squad prepares for their attack.

In addition the spawning of Faction Police (much weaker than CONCORD) means attacks must be launched FAST.  You have to move out from wherever you are basing as soon as you get in the ships, and start shooting nearly as soon as you land.  Losing from 0.3 to 0.5 Sec Status per kill means that kills can deplete Sec in a hurry.  A toon with a full 5.0 standing can afford to kill at most 24 ships before he starts losing access to systems.  With my corp targeting 0.7 and below a person with a 5.0 can hit 28.333 ships before having to worry about faction police.  Corelin has a -1.2 right now so he can kill at most 8 targets before we run into problems.  Clearly pre-seccing up will be a BIG part of this last week of pre-hulkageddon prep.  In addition as the event stretches on people might zip out to good ratting spots and pull their sec status up a bit.

Oh and a LOT of destroyers and hulks and macks were hurt in the preparation of this blog.

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But Don’t Worry

Apparently no one noticed I didn’t talk about this years’ Hulkageddon event being a failure. In fact I anticipate it to be the biggest success yet. But this kind of event is getting harder and harder to run and organize. Gankers have to constantly adapt to a tighter and tighter window of opportunity. We do it. Our tools and our tactics constantly adapt. Hell we even hand out help to the miners who DO pay attention. Look at THIS



By and large these are people who are going to show up as griefers for the next month. They are helping the griefed. You will noticed I throw in my .02 isk with poetic stan.  Any miner who googles “When is Hulkageddon V” will find out what is going on.  Finding the best fits for tanking isn’t quite as easy, but gankers aren’t looking for hulks with tanks.  They are looking for people without tanks.  Most will have their scout “Look at” the target.  Shield resist effects?  PASS.  Because there’s always someone else.

What I’m complaining about here, in short, is that there are hundreds and hundreds of people who are paying 0 attention to the game they play, who will be half afk (or completely out of it) in a belt, not moving, and will be shocked to find out there are people going to kill them. Then they race to the forums where the gentler, kinder Devs reward non-emergent gameplay with carebearish rule changes. Heck there’s a litany of them on if you can handle the issues they are having with their format.

My point was, and still is, that CCP is removing emergent gameplay.  They are curtailing the options players have.  They are reducing gankers options to tighter and more optimized fittings, which forces people into a very efficient methodology, and when the recipients of those tactics lose their ships, they don’t respond “Well how can I make sure I don’t lose my ship like that again” they go “CCP MAEK THE BAD MEN GO AWAY” and CCP goes HTFU CCP falls all over themselves to make sure the Carebears, generating no content of their own, contributing nothing to the narrative, improving practically no one’s experience but their own gets their way.  They remove adversity with the power of their whines.

Meanwhile Carebears who do innovate, who do improve their tactics, who pay attention and find ways to succeed in the face of adversity get no credit.  The folk who harden up, team up, head to wormholes, to nullsec, to wherever it is their hard work and efforts lead them to believe they can profit the most; they get more competition.  They get more people chipping away at their margins because now the market doesn’t discriminate against stupidity.  It encourages weak players to continue by not punishing their foolishness.

But don’t worry about that.  Don’t worry about the constant stream of bad ideas from Greyscale, or his growing influence.  Don’t worry about the negative affects on YOUR game that people who treat it like a single player 4X game have when CCP listens to their whines.  Don’t worry about the loss of revenue from more competition and fewer sales especially for those of you building Hulks (864 Exhumers in last years Hulkageddon) Retreivers (676 Mining Barges), BCs or Dessies (I don’t want to think about it.)  Just act smug and talk about my tears.  It’s easier that way.  Maybe CCP will buy all those hulks you built that no one can gank anymore.

I'm using it every time I can