Category Archives: PvP

World of Tanks: Finding What I Like

So I have gone back to WoT because it’s a fun game and it lends itself to short sessions or binges, depending on my stress level and how much of my own incompetence i can put up with.  I like this game, it’s fun, there’s as much depth as you want to put into it.

I’ve bounced around a bit.  The German TD line has long been a favorite, the artistry of their long guns, and the occasional silliness of the Derp gun on the Hetzer leans into my sweet spot of mixing art and brutality.  I repurchased my Hetzer because… it’s a good, fun experience with the ability to utterly dominate if you play smart.  I’m not talking brilliant, I’m talking smart.  Currently I’m up to the Jadgpanther II which is a very nice vehicle but… just lacks something so far.  Like the top tier gun…  Still working on it.  I loved the Marder II.  It’s murder.  The Hetzer is great fun, and might be the best Tier IV vehicle.  the Stug is also good but without the dominance of the Hetzer.  The JgPz IV is an awful, awful grind.  The Jagdpanther on the other hand is a joy.  There’s so many options with that vehicle and it can play the sniper role then turn it around and go crazy with good rate of fire, damage, and pen.

The Russian heavy line is crazy fun.  I got the glory day of the KV-1 Derp Gun.  You could go crazy and alpha half the enemy team with near misses.  The KV2 is now a higher tier vehicle that gets worse matchmaking and has a terrible turret.  I have the KV-85 which is a hoot, and leads into the IS line which has a lot of agile, powerful tanks that play like heavy-mediums from what I’ve seen.

I’m working into the French Heavy Line.  So far I’m stuck on the B1.  This tank just doesn’t like me.  It’s a plodder and I want to get into the more graceful tanks the french get later on.

The Americans have a really good heavy line with the superlative T29, and to get into it you can go the route of the M4A3E2 which is just a silly, silly vehicle.  It’s on the slow side for a medium, but still plays like a medium.  It has the firepower of a medium, but on the good side of it, and it has the armor of a good heavy.  I bounce shots off this thing with even the Jagdpanther II without good aiming.  It also has the solid M4 Sherman and the utterly dreadful M3 Lee.  Seriously this tank is so bad it should be thrown out.

The American Light line features speed and size.  VERY tall tanks with blazing speed and minuscule guns even by light standards.  I like playing them but it takes patience.  You can’t just race in you have to move intelligently.  Not my best line but a fun line.

The American TD line is a bit silly.  A lot of them are built on light or fast medium hulls.  This, combined with their light armor gives them blazing speed.  They also feature turrets and some crazy guns for their tiers.  They also tend to blow up on a sneeze and with open turrets they get eaten alive by artillery.

Right now the order I tend to play in on any given day is T29, T67, KV-85, Hetzer (gotta Hetz) B1 (ugh).

Doffing the Fancy Hat

So if I’m coming back to EvE I’m doing EvE-lite.  I do not have the time or inclination to run a corp or take any sort of leadership role in any alliance or even corporation.  I want to PvP but I don’t want to spend forever waiting.  I want to jump into a community and have things ready for me.  Right now FW is waving a big flag even if Caldari (my normal faction) is a hot mess but right now I don’t mind winning or losing, I mind wasting three hours of my life when I’m newly married, busy at work and generally very limited on my gaming time.

So I’m looking at all kinds of nasty frigates and AFs and Ewar frigates.  I’ve got an app in for a corp and we will see where I go once the Fancy Hat is gone.


So a lot of people in the media have been talking about the $300 battle.  This is both true, and disingenuous.  If I were to throw down 300k in cash on Plex, and convert them into ISK, assuming I managed to not crash the market, I would have enough ISK to buy the ships that were lost in the battle.  I could not, however, take the ships that were lost in the battle, and sell them for ISK, convert them back to PLEX, and sell them for real money.  The mechanisms and rules of the game don’t allow it.  I could probably sell some of them for real money, I think we all know or at least believe this to be the case.

Today I heard NPR’s Marketplace interview The Mittani.  Mittens does a good job selling the concept of the $300k battle.  He mentions that there were people who spent money out of the game to buy ships in game.  Now this is not necessarily accusing people of RMT, although he certainly implies a degree of condescension towards the practice of using real money in any way to buy ships, by specifying that he knew that people on the losing side had done this.  I think no one even vaguely familiar with Goons would be in any way surprised to find that there were several people in goons who’d PLEXed for ships; and there’s nothing wrong with this.  Hell I’ll be doing so later this month.

The Mittani and CCP both have become victims of their propaganda, and the long-term prejudices of MMOs.  RMT is bad.  This is a very simple, and generally true statement, but not all RMT is bad.  EvE has a lot of grinds and the game allows you to buy game time, sell it to other players, and buy whatever they want with the proceeds.  This does far less damage to the economy than wholesale, unregulated third party RMT.  It does permit “Wallet Warriors” to bling out there ships and do a hell of a lot, but due to the incremental increases in capabilities offered, it doesn’t give massive, overwhelming advantages to people using this (beyond the ability to bring the bling time and again, but frankly that’s just wealth redistribution against the wrong enemies).  The only time the advantage does get truly oppressive is when it is played out on the macro scale.  Were PL to drop a truly mammoth amount of cash to replace their whole fleet, only more so, and bring in other folks to do the same to tilt the balance, it would certainly be possible to do so, but… well… I doubt how sustainable it would be for them (if they can sustain it, more power to them, maybe they can fund some better expansions).  This is the trap of the prejudices of the MMO industry.

EvE has built this article of faith that everything is worth money.  That the money in game is directly tied to real money.  The connection is tenuous, it goes only in one direction, and it can very quickly change, so that this battle, that today represented roughly $300k in a very indirect way, will next year represent a much smaller figure, and in a few more years represent an even smaller figure.  The wars of EvE have a context, and the context isn’t the wealth destroyed, but the bonds broken.  The creation and destruction of alliances and coalitions, the betrayals, and the battles.  Not the almighty dollar.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can


Thanks to some considerable success at work I’ll soon be coming into a good chunk of money, part of which I plan on using to buy plex.  BTW thanks PL for dropping the value of PLEX.  I hope you will consider my need to make isk before you whelp your next fleet of Titans.

Seriously though, I should have about as much isk as I have ever had, finally giving in and briefly being a wallet warrior.  There’s quite a few things I plan on buying, and I’d like to throw out the list to see what suggestions I can get from the peanut gallery.  So here we go

  1. Naglfar – Always been my favorite dread just for the aesthetics.  The fact that it’s total FOTM adds considerably to my desire to pull the trigger
  2. Black Ops BS – Leaning towards the Panther, but entertaining the thought of a Sin.  Anyone care to advise me on which hangar queen is most desirable?
  3. Fittings for 1 and 2.  Honestly I’ve been looking at a lot of Nag fits and it almost seems like you want 2 or 3 full sets of fittings depending on what you are doing, is that correct or am I just seeing the most fail killmails.
  4. A solid warchest of money to engage in arbitrage.  I have never really figured out a good income stream for EvE, but this seems like something I can do before work, and that I can do more or less on my own.  I’ve tried missions, incursions, and while I can do them, it just doesn’t seem that good.  I know there’s not a lot of great routes still out there but it seems like eve-central can make even humble old me do a decent job on trading.
  5. ALL THE T1 CRUISERS.  Seriously I’m about ready to fit up 10 from each race, load them into a carrier and jump them into lowsec.  Even if I lose them in job lots I can just start over if I’m making a decent amount of money on #4.
  6. The alliance shopping list.  Every alliance has one, I figure as long as I’m hitting the candy aisle I can pick up the veggies.

I’m mainly looking for opinions on 1-4.  I could in theory drop into any dread but the Phoenix because… fuck the Phoenix.  I *like* the nag, it’s powerful, versatile, and most importantly: Vertical.  I could be sold on the Rev (I figure being the toughest guy in a small gang has its advantages) and ditto on the Moros (still versatile, and who doesn’t like stupidly large damage numbers) but I’m leaning nag.

For BLOPS, there seem to be a lot of choices.  The Panther has the Minmatar advantages of speed, and a total lack of Cap dependency, The Sin gives you a swiss army knife if you go gunless in the highs, or a solid beatstick if you shield tank it, and throw down with guns and damage mods, The redeemer has the tank and I always love firin’ mah lazors.  Ripard’s Widow fit looks like the FOTM and a good one at that.

Obviously fittings are important.  Both of the above ships will be the first I’ve had in their respective categories.  I’m trying to avoid my tradition of losing the first ship in any given category within a week, which has held true for everything except carriers and command ships.  Seriously.  I need to not be losing these.

Finally money making.  I am terribad at this.  It’s embarrassing.  The most success I ever had was manufacturing T3s.  This required a lot of moving parts, and while I was quite good at it, and made boatloads of money, a lot of my profit came because I was freeloading on someone else’s POS for R&D and manufacturing.  Not really an option at the moment.  I also had a couple embarrassments when it came to transportation.  Most of these were “You left the epoxy in Jitamart asshat” but one of them was of the “Hey the gankers figured out your schedule asshat” variety.  I actually own a researched Archon BPO, and I could probably be doing copies of that just on the side, but without the component BPCs I’m not hardly making a lot of money on that end, even with them I’m not sure about the profitability of the beast these days.

So I throw it to you long-suffering readers.  I should have a good load of isk.  What to do with it?

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

The Issue With Numbers

So we had another big battle, this time in HED.  The good news:  Numbers were great and the node didn’t crash.  The bad news:  Soul Crushing Lag.

Solving this problem has to happen.  I see three ways to do it, and I think all three should be implemented.

First I’m going to do the inane thing and talk about why real life battles don’t turn into the Command & Conquer blob of Mammoth Tanks overrunning the objectives.

First: there’s logistics.  EvE doesn’t worry too much about these, but in real life the supply “tail” behind a potent force in the field, or even a not-very-potent force is often as large, or larger, than the force actually in the field.  All the fuelers, armorers, maintenance, admin, command, supply, cooks, and medical personnel represent a much smaller wedge than in EvE.

Second: In real life you have to worry about area of effect weapons.  Especially if you are against us.  Whether it’s DPICM, JDAM, or any of the menu of cluster munitions NATO forces can use, putting a bunch of tanks within a 300m area… not smart.  Clustering infantry in the open?  The gunners are drooling.  Even the insurgents came up with some innovative ways to punish allied forces when they got too predictable.  EvE has smartbombs, but these only work well up to a certain point.  Really all they do is murder support, and even Battleships can usually escape to wreak havoc.  Not to mention the server lag caused by these tactics.

Third:  Economy of Force, there’s always competing objectives.  There’s a need to protect your own supply lines, your centers of power, strategic terrain that threatens your forces, if you stack up your entire force, the enemy can do massive damage to your own forces and or infrastructure without even engaging your combat elements.

One of these (Logistics/Divisional Wedge) doesn’t really apply in EvE.  Almost any nullbear can fly something useful in a fleet and isn’t busy running munitions, fuel, other supplies etc to the front.  Back in the dark ages you used to have to warp off grid to the logi tower where all the logis hugged up and topped up your armor and sent you back in.  Yes this was a thing.  Even that rudimentary tail has been eliminated (thankfully, I can’t IMAGINE how dull that must have been).

We’ll replace that one with hardware/software upgrades that bring CCP closer to being able to handle battles like this.  This won’t actually fix the problem, because as soon as it happens more players will fight in these battles and the problem comes right back, but we can keep running on the wheel a bit here.  This is also probably the most straightforward leg of the solution.

Area of Effect weapons that threaten overly concentrated fleets.  Whether it’s better smartbombs, nukes a la Battlestar Galactica, Dr. Device, or something similar, the solution to the blob is a weapon aimed at the blob.  Hell let titans script their doomsdays.  Maybe not the full grid demolishing AoE, but a smaller, more concentrated (say 20km) area of death.  Like 200k of damage death. Oh you have your whole fleet anchored up on one guy?  STBY brah.  Oh 20 carriers in one little cluster?  The titans just salvo’d them into structure for the support to finish off.  Good luck.  Sure this will cause spikes of lag on the server, but it will make FCs think twice about bringing every asshole who can only anchor up and F1.  It might force them to bring in fleets in waves.  They might find entirely different ways of operating.

Finally:  Competing objectives.  Make it possible for defenders to force additional objectives in that system or neighboring systems.  For example the TCU, IHUB and Station all have to be down at the same time, and all run on the same timers, rather than in sequence.  Or if you take a system in a constellation, you can only do it once a week/month, whatever, BUT you can take as many as you want as long as they come out of reinforced within 24 hours of each other.  Something to incentivize spreading out.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can


Howdy Neighbor (Bring my Killing Shotgun)

So I go to bed having decided to work with JIHADASQUAD in Khanid, and wake up with a new neighbor over in Delve.  TEST Alliance. Which more and more seems to be determined to turn into Dreddit and pals.  I think it’s safe to say nearly anyone paying any attention expected TEST to git while the gittin’s good.  I don’t think Aridia was that high on anyone’s list.  The constellation they have chosen is traditionally infested with Russians.  There will probably be some skirmishing and bickering with them and the other Aridia locals.

And by that I mean these guys will take every chance to beat up on the sick and feeble parts of TEST.  TEST can roam the area and probably put out multiple fleets the locals can’t handle.  But can they be everywhere?  Can they save themselves from their more moronic members running around like… well… morons and getting themselves killed.  Possibly in shiny caps and whatnot.

So on to Khanid, and welcome to our new neighbors.  You might want to dig in a bit.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Sooo… What happened?

So for those of us living insulated lives in Empire, or even the less interested parts of Nullsec, there’s a lot of Schadenfreude regarding Z9PP.  There’s lots of facts, there’s lots of conjecture, and there’s lots of butthurt.  I want to talk about what this means for the war.  Moreover I want to talk about what it COULD have meant.

Over 100 carriers and some Blap Dreads were trapped on the field, apparently more or less doomed “Eventually” to an ugly death.  I doubt that even skating to downtime would have saved them depending on when the last bubbles dropped and how fast CFC logged back in.

Reinforcements were apparently almost entirely in CFC’s favor.  This is an ugly situation for Test to be in.  CFC had the ability to slowly start eliminating Test carriers and once that got started the snowball likely would have been fast.  Test was in trouble and they knew it.

At this point the bit of blind screaming luck that can change the course of empires shows up.  Namely the hand of a CCP engineer.  We’ll call him CCP Johnny


Johnny is in a hurry, and rather than moving other systems off the server in question, he moves the IMPORTANT system.  Johnny is probably related to Tuxford but that’s not important now.  The result is the system goes down long enough that the carriers get to log off, and stay off long enough to GTFO.  Test got out of a major crisis with very little actual harm.  Here’s how I see things happening with 4 paths of outcomes.

First off let’s assume that somehow Test manages to get away somehow.  Coasting to DT, PL coming up with something amazing even for PL (Yes I can read Kugu, I’ve read the AAR there, it’s good) CFC completely falling apart, whatever.  HUGE morale boost for Test.  MASSIVE.  Getting their balls into the bear trap then pulling them out even remotely intact would give them something to chestbeat about for a while.  Seriously, it would be an amazing bit of leadership for them.  The odds of this are REALLY low I’d think, but possible.

Second let’s go the other way.  Test’s fleet is utterly whelped and the CFC turns out to be completely right, the fleet turns out to be the skyscraper that breaks the camel’s back, neck, legs and spleen.  Morale crashes through the floor so fast the floor doesn’t even notice and Test is thrown WAY back in the campaign even as Goons morale soars.  Goons get to move the line in Fountain, moons, stations, whatever they want, as far as they can and start to build Sov time towards expanding the all-important jump bridge network.  The war isn’t over, but the momentum would be entirely in Goon’s hands.

Next we’ll look at a Test whelp that is mostly handled by the SRP fund.  Test manages to handle most of the critical losses, and keeps their fleet in the field.  This is rather more likely, even if I think it would be a huge strain on their resources.  Goons morale still soars, but without the catastrophic crash to Test morale CFC cannot grab the momentum with both hands and seize control of the warzone.

Now we’ll look at Test getting beaten, but not whelped.  This would require Test to lose a significant number of ships, yet still hold together well enough to GTFO even as their losses begin to cascade as fewer and fewer reps are available to land on any remaining ships.  Once the carriers started popping the popping was going to keep going.  Accelerating and finally outright snowballing.  This would have been bad, but far less of a strain than being crushed and even if the SRP fund is marginal it should be able to absorb the loss.  This also would have given Test a “Bloody but unbroken” chance to wave the banner.

What we have instead is a thoroughly unsatisfying disaster.  CFC has been robbed of the chance to really dig their claws into an utter victory.  They most likely would have finished it off, but even if they had failed they’d know for sure what happened.  They wouldn’t be left with this frustrating, infuriating sense of being robbed.  Test on the other hand has scored a “victory” that they cannot trumpet, that they cannot celebrate, that they can only acknowledge (but probably not humbly) The glass is half full (of carriers actually) but it is ungarnished, simple and stark.  They got their carriers, but they also have no answers.  They cannot prove their SRP is healthy, they cannot chestbeat about their impossible victory, or even snatching a draw from the teeth of a crushing defeat.  They cannot commiserate about a tough loss against long odds.  They can only sprint back to safety and marvel at their stunning escape.

Goons will be mad.  They will continue to strike.  They will attempt to hammer Test again, and try to draw their slowcats into another fight where they can hit them again like they did this time.  Test will attempt to come up with a better method of extracting this fleet, and of defending it.  Test morale will be down, but more “funky” than depressed.  They know their best fleet got beaten, and only the invisible hand of fate saved it.  CFC morale will be up, edgy and angry knowing that a deserved victory was snatched from them, and possibly a victory far beyond merely what was on the field.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Special Delivery

Delivering Damage is huge in games these days.  EvE, your theme park of choice, Warmahordes, Warhammer (40k) you can have the most unbelievably killy bits on the field, but if you can’t deliver them to a range at which they can do damage… you are sucking.

I’m going to talk about a few examples.  The old Megathron was a good example of poor damage delivery.  It could be built into a true monster, but all too often it could be kited and picked apart because it was soooo sluggish and soooo hard to handle for the average pilot.  Not to say you couldn’t accomplish awesome with it, but it was hard.  Harder than it needed to be IMNSHO.

Melee DPS in The Secret World.  One of the most fun Theme Parks out there, Melee DPS was completely useless in endgame because you could barely keep up with the boss, and godforbid you actually caught him because he’d nuke you the fuck down in two seconds.  PAINFUL.  Bad Gameplay design too.

Warmahordes is all about damage delivery.  You have to figure out the perfect way to get troops into the fight intact as many of the attacks are nearly impossible to live through and the game is designed to be incredibly lethal.  Figuring out the perfect way to deliver your melee monsters across the field was the be-all end-all of the game.  Makes for some very interesting strategies.

Warhammer Fantasy focuses on how to deliver damage as well, however things are a bit different in Fantasy.  The field tends to be much more crowded, and the targets are less distinct.  The goal then becomes getting your damage intact, through your screens and the enemy’s screens without it getting crippled or destroyed.  All this on a field replete with Chariots, Artillery, Mages, and Mayhem.  One of the reasons I really love Fantasy is the complexity of the situation.

EvE has made damage delivery quite an art itself.  You want to be as close as possible to make sure the target is tackled hard and in optimal, BUT if you get too close you lose tracking and can’t hit at all.  Range control becomes a huge issue, getting to set up the target the way you want it, whether it be sensor damps, webs, tracking disruptors, you name it.  Fleets handle things differently, depending on warpins and maneuvering to achieve the range the fleet comp is set up for, but whichever side gets to dictate range to allow them to deliver damage their way has a crushing advantage.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can


So after a calamitous day at work I needed to unwind.  First we set up a very unwieldy gank operation in Niarja that yielded…. Bupkis.  Then, more and more corp members kept logging in.  I realized we had enough for a fleet so I started getting guys moving to our staging system, picking up our kitchen sink ships and getting organized.  Then I saw Thryson of Bondage Goat Zombie hop on.

We have a bit of a history with BGZ.  Amazingly it’s even a friendly one.  When Fancy Hats were in S I L E N T. we had friends in BGZ who would come along and cause trouble with us, or pick fights and invite us in for the fun.  It worked pretty well up until S I L E N T. fell apart.  I recently noticed BGZ tooling around Ami so I have been talking with BGZ.  I convoed him last night about our upcoming roam:  BOOM doubled our fleet size.  Formup took a while as we wanted to be mostly T1 with a Rapier and a Onieros as support.  Even getting into AMI was fun.  A catalyst, an Ashimmu and a Stabber were all popped very quickly as the fleet started to coalesce.

The fleet finally got moving rather later than I’d hoped.  I wanted to ‘splode more ships so I hung on as long as I could.  Heading to Antem we found nothing other than an Omen Navy Issue that had the bad luck to land in our fleet and jump through without even forcing us to split our fleet.  We set ourselves up to head for Old Man Star for more blood.  The way down proved somewhat fruitful.  We tagged an Itty V that was in the wrong place at the wrong time, then lucked into a Tengu that just wasn’t paying attention and tore him apart.

Nearing Old Man Star we found a hostile T3 BC fleet with a Scimi and some fast stuff.  We jumped through them into OMS and let them jump in.  Sadly I managed to NOT have my overview showing attack battlecruisers somehow.  Sigh.  We nailed the firetail, but couldn’t get anything else and we lost the Onieros, a Cane, a Blackbird and an Incursus.  I’m sure we’d have nabbed one of the T3s if I’d, ya know… seen it and been able to call it primary, still our fleet was a pretty healthy success, especially for Fancy Hats which ended up down a Hurricane and a Blackbird.  Somehow I managed to get on a Rapier killmail even though I’m almost certain I was out of the system by the time it popped, and don’t remember shooting a Rapier in the first place….

It was a nice, fun impromptu fleet.  We got to blow things up, work with new people, and most importantly:  Blow things up.

Fly dangerous.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Shaving it Close

A recent “Feature” of changes discovered by some intrepid explorers and confirmed by numerous POS bashers and gankers is that SMAs, and large containers are simply not dropping big cargo.  Fozzie says (and I quote)

I think I can clarify a few things.

When it changed to its current behavior that change was made intentionally for performance reasons. Therefore it is not a “bug”, but that doesn’t mean it will always stay the way it is now either.
When something is considered “working as intended” that doesn’t mean we’re happy with every aspect of the design, but it does mean that there is a reason for the status quo.

We are aware of the significant downsides to the current mechanic and we’re not married to the current design for SMA destruction but we can’t promise anything specific about it at this time.

The GMs were not mistaken in their communication on this issue.

So let me take a look to see how this is playing out economically.  Traditionally, successful POS bashes could offer a wealth of loot to the victor, ditto for big freighter ganks.  Wealth was destroyed, but it was also redistributed.  Now I’m not talking about wealth redistribution in a political sense, but in a military sense, that is, to the victors go the spoils.  This keeps a large amount of goods in circulation and, while there is upward pressure on prices due to increased demand to replace destroyed goods, it is somewhat counteracted by the spoils of war being collected.  Pretty good for players not currently having POS towers blown up.

Now the victors get the parking place on the moon, some loot from the small end of the table, and not a lot else.  No shiny ships, no big packages of items, just… siftings of the debris.  Not exactly inspiring loot to be honest.  So what is happening?  Goods are being destroyed.  That is: removed from the economy.  Permanently.  Even as the demand increases a bit because both sides will have expended ships, POS modules, and munitions in the destruction of the towers.  This increases prices, and does so at a sharper rate.  This means more rewards for people mining, manufacturing, and trading.

Fozzie has said this isn’t the end-state.  He sees tweaking happening, but I don’t think we will end up back where we started.  I think CCP wants to see how much they can limit the loot drop without completely removing the incentive part of WH clearance for fun and profit.   He wants things to be destroyed more.  He wants there to be less reward for the shooters, and more for the miners, manufacturers and traders.  He wants them to play more, to profit more, and to create more (and, incidentally, to plant more sticks to get blown up.)  THIS, however requires people to want to blow the sticks up, so there will be some adjustments made to see just how little candy the piñatas can drop before people stop whacking them with sticks.  I suspect loot will drop a little more, and little more, until he sees a better mix of people bashing, and third parties profiting and playing more.  I’m not sure how they will measure this, but I clearly see CCPs profit motive in reducing the profitability to the players of bashing POS towers and ganking freighters.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can