Category Archives: PvP

Lowsec Ratting

So ratting in Lowsec has proven to be a decent bit of isk with an indecent amount of risk.  The new tags are highly lucrative.  I’m dropping off about 100 mill for a couple hours of work as I type this.  It is definitely not for the faint of heart.  You HAVE to go into lowsec, the rats you fight against are quite tough, and the toughest of them not only take a while to kill but tackle you and do quite respectable damage on their own.  While you are in lowsec.  That’s a fun thought.

It offers plenty of opportunities.  If you know what you are doing and build the right ship you can make a great amount of isk pretty fast.  It also offers new life to what I like to call Proxy mining.  You can tool around for long hours, hunting these rats, killing them, or you can find something suitably cloaky, find an area where OTHER people hunt rats, wait till they are well and truly engaged (ideally with something that tackles them itself) and wallop them.  Thus you can avoid the hazard of killing rats, and go straight to collecting the tags from some poor sap who probably isn’t quite up to handling the rat AND you.

This method of money making doesn’t have a ton of appeal, but it is fun.  It leads to a fair amount of cash, as well as some chances at a fight.  It’s actually amazingly good at repairing your sec status as the rats themselves offer a HUGE boost to sec.  It also encourages people to seek out new space.  The best places to do this kind of ratting are nearly deserted, as you will be trolling asteroid belts anyone can head to.  Many of the rats can be killed by a straight forward Cruiser or BC, The toughest ones will require something a little beefier to kill.  Personally I like my pilgrim for where I rat.  Being cloaky helps a lot, being tough helps a lot.  Being something people generally don’t want to catch too bad helps too.

Fly dangerous, score kills.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Hold What You Got

Ok, so the big CFC / HBC 2.0 showdown is here.  It’s here and it’s ugly.  Goons were initially looking at a badly divided HBC, with weak leadership, confused allies, and unmotivated members.  They had been having it all their way in Delve and were hooting over the fracturing of the once proud coalition.  They invaded Fountain and found that PL was backing TEST, that TEST had its motivation, and that their doctrines were not all they were cooked up to be against what TEST had developed.  Then TEST started gathering allies.  As it turns out CFC and Goons especially have built quite the list of enemies over the years (whodathunkit) and that many of these people were champing at the bit to take a crack at them.

So CFC invades, and manages to cut a lot of the “fat” out of Fountain.  They capture several systems, whelp and kill several fleets, and generally make at least a decent showing of things.  Goons don’t so much steamroll their enemies as smother them.  What they didn’t expect and what I didn’t expect was that TEST would hold out so firmly.  TEST managed to pry back the clawing fingers of CFC, helped by a rather lackluster showing by many CFC alliances, and a tremendous showing in both Fountain and back in the North by alliances working with and for HBC 2.o.

So TEST has decided where their fortress will be and is busy piling up the corpses of CFC ships and pods.  CFC is keeping the pressure up as best as they can, but it seems that some of the larger battles are involving a lot of CFC and very little of TEST.  THIS fight didn’t exactly make TEST break a sweat.  In fact they seem to have missed it altogether.  This is a very bad sign for Goons, and a very good sign for TEST.  Goons win by smothering, by making the fighting so not-fun for their enemies that they stop showing up.  TEST doesn’t have to show up, the gleeful hordes eager to shatter the goon narrative are doing the heavy lifting for them in entire battles.

This isn’t to understate TEST’s achievements, or the road ahead for them.  Goons don’t give up, Goons know how to win by losing, how to grind away at both the enemies capability and will to fight, and you can bet that things are in motion.  There’s rumors that they’ve bribed Elo Knight on Reddit right now to basically go somewhere else and fight.  Goons aren’t going to fight this whole war in space.  Currently they are taking a pounding in the Meta arena, where they are traditionally strong.  I doubt this will continue, whether it’s Elo or whoever, they will find a crack, drive a wedge into it and start pulling, TEST has to keep the momentum, and marshal their strength to be ready to fight themselves when the later onslaughts begin.

Finally TEST deserves enormous credit.  Even 2 weeks ago it looked like HBC was dead and TEST would stand practically on their own, Booda and the TEST diplos deserve ENORMOUS credit for their work ensuring PL would work with them, coordinating with Pizza, 401k, and BL to get CFC stuck in its own beehive of enemies.

TL;DR:

TEST have teamed up with friends old and new and shoved goons down in the mud, they need to kick them while they are down and watch their back while they do it because goons can backstab from anywhere.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

 

What Makes EvE Matter

So I had a little discussion with a couple of friends who have quit EvE for one reason or another.  Some feel that they aren’t that great (You’re wrong buddy.  Yes you.)  Some just don’t have the time/money, but one of the comments really cut to the core of what makes EvE matter to me.  The comment had to do with two things that broke EvE.  Travel time and devastating losses.  Travel Time does matter in EvE.  Sometimes it is REALLY painful as well, but it makes strategy and tactics at the operational and strategic level possible.  If you can instantly move then operational tactics and strategic operations are kind of useless.  I don’t like moving freighters any more than the next guy but that’s what it is.

Devastating losses make EvE’s metagame “Real” without the prospect of a tough loss, achievements pale.  A huge success is only possible where a real setback can occur.  Without the possibility of some sort of setback, what have you really achieved?  To give you an example, let’s look at a raid in a more “traditional” MMO.  There’s considerable cachet to getting a “World First” kill, that is nailing his head to the wall before anyone else on your server.  It’s a binary set, either you got him first or you didn’t.  Ok cool, there’s something at stake, you can lose that run and lose out the e-honor.  Now lets look 3 months down the road when people are pugging things.  If you wipe on a raid you have to restart the fight.  You incur a repair bill.  If your party is bad enough you go home with whatever you managed to get on the previous bosses.  Unless you have a REALLY terrible group you killed a couple of bosses, and quite possibly got some loot.  That’s the size of your “Defeat”

EvE puts a price tag on defeat.  If you live in empire you can lose what you fly.  You can go out there, get hammered, blow up your ship, pod, everything in space.  It can be rough.  The first T3 I lost also cost me a headset.  I’ve lost faction BS, nearly lost a Cap ship.  Literally lost one in my assets window once for a couple months… these losses are part of EvE.  For my money you cannot play the game to its fullest without standing in harms way electronically.  This is because standing in harms way is where you put your enemy in harms way.  You can only win big by putting ships at risk, and those victories are priceless.  My old laptop still has a picture from my first PvP kill against poor Bezelebub.  I still get a huge rush from pvp and it forms a real emotional watershed.  Imagine the feeling of a world-first kill, only you can get it several nights a week, even on your own.

Other games let you risk assets, but not to the extent that EvE does.  If you want to conquer empires you have to put one at risk.  Take your stuff to null, get chased out and lose it all sometime, feel the impending terror of a full evac, feel the grinding defeat of a Goons offensive, and feel the triumph of pulling off a great trap, or even just soloing a player that should be much better than you.  It’s not the same when you can respawn with all your gear, pay a tiny fee and get back to the killing.  Battlegrounds where you can kill and die a dozen times just aren’t the same.  Browser games where you can be chased out of an area, but not lose anything permanent, other than time just aren’t the same.  I said it before, I’ll say it again, to win an empire, you have to risk an empire.  To kill a ship you have to risk a ship.  If you are smart you can minimize the risk, but you still have to put it out there.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Armageddon is coming

So I’ve been fiddling with the new ‘Geddon since patch day, trying to find something I like and I think I’ve found it.  The ‘Geddon received some changes in Odyssey, which is kind of like saying rifles have changed since the Civil War.  Instead of being a close range brawling, DPS oriented gankboat of a battleship, it is now a utility boat, offering good DPS with drones and missiles, a fantastic neuting bonus, and a bit of fitting problems.  Here’s what I came up with.

[Armageddon, mini bhaal]

2x Heavy Unstable Power Fluctuator I
5x Torpedo Launcher II (Scourge Javelin Torpedo)

Prototype 100MN Microwarpdrive I
Heavy Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I (Navy Cap Booster 400)
Stasis Webifier II
Warp Disruptor II

2x 1600mm Reinforced Steel Plates II
2x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Damage Control II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Co-Processor II

Large Processor Overclocking Unit I
2x Large Trimark Armor Pump I

5x Ogre II

CCP did the ship a favor when they let it fit missiles.  Torps have received enough upgrades that I actually like them quite a bit now, especially if you can get a couple of these ships together to combine their webs on a target.  In addition, without a weapon bonus there’s a lot of incentive to fit Torps or Projectiles, allowing the ship to focus its cap on maneuver and cap warfare.   This gives it a nice advantage that it can do both of its jobs at once, and take an absolute pounding while doing it.

With Javelins it hits for 812 damage out to 25km, with Rage torps it hits for up to 990 overloaded.  It also provides very good neuting if you pulse the MWD, allowing it to operate for as long as you can keep up with the cap booster.  It won’t be the easiest ship to fly, but with 126k ehp, good damage, and good neuting it will certainly not be a fun ship to fly against either.  The one weakness of the fit is the EXP hole.  I’ve looked at fitting other pieces to patch it, but I think with a buffer this big I’ll just let it ride.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Mittani, Mistakes, Mountains, Molehills

Ok I wasn’t going to hare in on this.  I really, really wasn’t.  I don’t have much regard for Gevlon outside of the world of making (absolute fucktons) of money.  The man is a sharp shark of a market warrior and his considerable mental gifts are very well focused on his primary goal of making piles of isk.

He is not remotely aware of the history of EvE, the power structures of the major alliances, or the motivations of anyone who doesn’t permanently have their wallet open to chortle over.  Let me get to some details here.  Recently our gobliny friend posted an op-ed claiming that the Mittani had made his first and last mistake during his declaration of war.

News flash:  If it’s a mistake it has a lot of people who made the decision and it is FAR from the Goon’s first mistake.

Goons have a history of two things.  Doing something that looks fantastically stupid and turning it into something brilliant; like abandoning all their Sov to kill BoB.  This move had every pundit in the game laughing as they expected the Bees to get stomped, and find themselves completely homeless, hopeless, and friendless.  Only it worked.  BoB collapsed (with help) and the Goons found their strategy, and their spymaster, vindicated.

They also have a history of stupidly squandering success.  For example forgetting to pay sov bills.  For virtually all their sov.  Yeah, goons did that once.  It was a *bit* of a mistake.

Goons are also a TOUGH alliance.  Their connection to this game (like that of TEST) has nothing to do with EvE, but instead through a massive community entirely outside of the game.  If by some disaster Goons get crushed they won’t disintegrate like BoB, -A-, or so many alliances tied to EvE by only EvE.  The worst the could conceivably happen would be some coalition members drop out.  Some drop in activity.  They won’t failcascade any more than they have the numerous times they’ve been chased out of various areas of EvE.

Let’s talk a bit about why Goons are so successful.  They have a leader who makes statements, they have a leadership council that makes decisions.  I’m guessing these guys would measure up pretty well to a professional military staff.  I should know, I’ve been on one.  They look at measurable facts, they develop doctrine for each situation, they plan logistics and have replacement ships ready both on their own and through the  efforts of coalition members.

That’s the reason for this deployment in actuality; and the players know it.  They need a new source of income to support their mammoth SRP.  OTEC isn’t exactly controlling the T2 market like they used to.  Diversifying their income flow is an absolute necessity and grabbing the moons of Fountain will get them R64 and R32 moons that will allow them to continue an SRP program that includes not only regular BS, but T3s, Fleet BS, and Capitals.  You can’t replace them on the budget they are looking for so they approached their members, and their Coalition mates, and said “You want the largesse to continue?  You want the gravy train?  This is how we get it, show the fuck up.”  That isn’t a mistake.  That’s a straightforward decision.  TEST has been reeling, suffering from leadership crises and the shattering of HBC.  Now the non-surprise of PL coming to visit WITH CFC and AGAINST their former Coalition mates, TEST, not to mention the grinding battles launched when CFC deployed two of their “squads” to the south.

Now the CFC is coming with bells on.  They have their super fleet, they have their Coalition lined up like good little ducklings, they have a clear and simple motivation of self interest in expanding their available resources.  They might have to fight, and fight hard, but The Mittani & Co have had years to infiltrate TEST.  Their counters will be picked up and dealt with, the leadership council of CFC will provide a constant flow of guidance and resources while TEST’s scratch team will struggle to keep pace.

The one thing that CFC needs from this, ironically, is good fights.  Recently they’ve taken a bit of a pounding in their own turf from 401k and BL.  Always being on the defensive is no fun, it doesn’t make people happy, it doesn’t satisfy them and it doesn’t seem like you are achieving much.  Taking the offensive is usually far more popular with the legions.  It gets them moving, they can see systems flip, they can see the disruption in their enemies, they can brag about their effectiveness with far more emphasis on real achievements that everyone can see.  This can forge the newly shrunk Goonswarm and show them that they really are the hard core of the CFC, that they can compete, that they can measure up by their own metrics with their coalition members.

Gevlon would have you believe the greed will turn off the rank and file.  It’s their greed that feeds the need for this campaign.  They would have you feel that the CFC wave will crash against Fortress Fountain and withdraw, shattering Goons.  Goons don’t shatter.  Reverses strengthen them because of their shared culture, sense of persecution, and strong sense of community.  Goons can be defeated, they can lose, they can be chased to lowsec, but it won’t happen while they are on the offensive.  It will happen when they are on the defensive.  When they get pounded after being inactive too long, after being off the offensive long enough for the rot to set in.

Gevlon knows his stuff in his arena.  This isn’t his arena.  This isn’t close to his arena.  This isn’t within screaming distance of his arena.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Good Planning, bad execution, good luck

So I decided to take a run at some tag hunting in lowsec.  The new Tags 4 Sec appealed to me, and the prices did so even more.  I rolled out into low and started bouncing belts in a PvP Hurricane, figuring it was about as good a ship to do this as any.  I saw some core scanner probes wandering around, but never any combat scanners so I figured that the occasional local bump wasn’t anything too crazy.  Then Mr. Arazu showed up, turned off my MWD and started to pew me with drones.  I returned fire and threw my own worthless EC-300s at him.  Seriously I don’t think they’ve had a jam cycle hit since the Aliens replaced Obama with a clone.

The Arazu went down satisfyingly fast, but not before I noticed a Mega and a Domi on short scan.  I attempted to get into warp but JUST missed escaping.  That would have absolutely made my day tbh.  I opened up on the mega, and threw drones at him and FINALLY got a ECM cycle.  Which did me no good as the Domi also had me on lockdown so I got bumped, molested, and eventually popped.  I was a little surprised that the domi didn’t have a smartbomb or three to nab pods, but it was the good kind of surprise.  I’ll trade a ‘Cane for an Arazu most days anyway.  Nearly escaping was nice.  Losing the ‘Cane wasn’t ideal, but I’ll take it as the price for not paying close enough attention to local while ratting in lowsec.

http://tfhc.eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=18147782

Fly dangerous, score kills.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Apparently I’m Not Awful at this game

So I found a cache of ships from when my friend Sefiea left the game.  He gave me ALL his stuff.  I’d rather have him back.  One thing the man could do was fly.  He managed to save a Thanny with some incredible bumps during a really nasty battle we lost back in the day.  He also could fit a ship.  He came up with a Raven fit, which, slightly modified, makes for some really good post-Odyssey killing as it turns out.

I was ferrying one from Sefiea’s home in deep Lowsec to Empire, being careful to avoid Aunenenenenenenenen as it’s a good place to die.  When I was nearly home free I encountered a Lachesis, who chose not to engage.  He must have called his friends because a thrasher on the other gate locked me up before I jumped through, and his buddy in a rupture followed me.  He had a friend in a ruppie and another in an SFI just waiting for a tasty bit of fowl to munch on.  What they got was SCREAMING TORPEDO DEATH!  Foolishly taking on gate guns they aggressed me and I nabbed the nearest target, the Ruppie, figuring that the SFI would want no part of torpedo range.  The ruppie couldn’t get out of overheated web range and popped to several salvos of Torpedoes supported by the gate guns fire.  I went to hit the other ruppie when I noticed the SFI had closed to within 3km.  Well then.  Point. Web. Torps. Gate guns.  Killmail.

Honestly if I saw a lone raven wandering lowsec I’d aggress it with three cruisers most of the time.  I wouldn’t close to spitting distance though.  Especially in a SFI that had tinfoil for EHP.  Three bricks might have worn me down, skirmishers at range would have gotten away.  Skirmishers in close were lucky to let the last Ruppy run like hell.  I learned a couple things.

  1. I’m not as bad at this game as I feel like I am sometimes
  2. Ravens are underrated in small gangs
  3. The best enemies are dumb enemies.  These guys made a bunch of mistakes
  4. Check D-scan before deciding to loot or scoot.  There were a lot of flashies in local but I bet I could have still looted.
  5. ECM drones only work against me.  Never for me.  FUCK those little bastards suck.  Still I didn’t really need the extra DPS.
  6. Play into people’s mistakes.  As soon as I saw that the SFI was on approach, I stopped.  So did he.  MWD + Stopped + Torps = WHOMP.  The first shot hit for <200.  The last two for more than 2100.  Each.

Very fun and very satisfying little fight.  Glad I messed up and flew a solo BS unscouted.

Fly dangerous, score kills.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

The People You Meet in a Fleet

There’s a couple people that seem to show up in nearly every fleet.  These people are as much a part of the fleet as comms, a destination, and a fleet comp.  Without it the fleet just isn’t right.

The Warrior – This guy shows up, buckles on his armor, picks up his sword, and goes to battle.  He doesn’t complain much, he doesn’t talk much.  In fact the only thing he does much is shoot shoot shoot.  He’s exciting as a Sunday morning at IHOP but he fills out the squads.  He doesn’t do anything exceptional, good or bad.

The Knife Fighter – A guy who really knows how to dogfight.  He manually pilots all the time, gets top damage even when flying logi and always seems to be on top of the situation, scoring that key tackle on a bad guy, flashing the skills that separate the men from the boys.  He’s what warriors try to be.

The Shadow Broker – Somehow this guy knows everything.  Seriously.  That hostile fleet that the scout just turned up?  TSB reported it in fleet command three jumps ago.  Complete with fleetcomp, enemy FC, and what they have ready to hotdrop.  Speaking of the hotdrop his scout tackled one of their carriers at a safe 2 jumps from where the fleet is now so you’d better burn quick.  Probably a spy but he gets fights so zero fucks are given.

The Talker – This guy likes to talk.  All the time.  Even during battlecomms.  He’ll tell you about his pizza.  He’ll tell you about his beer.  He’ll tell you about his burps and farts, or just let you listen in.  He’s never said anything even remotely interesting but he sure has said a lot.

The Quiet Guy – This guy doesn’t say anything.  Ever.  He fell behind?  He’ll catch up.  He got tackled 1j behind the fleet?  He’ll make it through.  He got popped, podded and left fleet?  He’ll leave a message in fleet and log out.  Everyone is pretty sure this guy is a serial killer just waiting to snap.

The Helper – The FC’s friend.  This guy does it all.  Closed your map?  Guy’s got it bookmarked.  Need a logi?  He’s got 4 spares to hand out.  Getting the fleet organized while telling people what’s going on?  No problem he’s all over it!  He’s also the guy that buys the first round at all the meetups.  He might be terrible, in the fleet itself but he’s the grease that eases things along.

The FC – Johnny on the spot.  Good or bad he bears the responsibility.  He stands tall and does what he can to make the fun happen.  Sometimes he wins.  Sometimes he loses.  Sometimes it rains.  He sucks it up and moves on.

The Healer – Last, and certainly not least is the guy that always flies logi.  He’s a close cousin of the helper and the quiet guy.  He probably doesn’t own a weapon, may not have a single T2 gun but he’s welcome in every single fleet because even before the call goes out for logi, he’s shipping one up and ready to roll out and lay on the love (and new layer of armor) because that’s who he is.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Fate and Fear, Entropy and Responsibility

So one of my friends asked me to write a bit about “Fate” and how it (doesn’t) control us.  I’m not going to get into the theological part of it, I’m going to talk about it as it touches EvE.

In EvE we play the part of immortals.  We assume the mantle of responsibility for our actions in a way no other MMO really lets us.  Our successes and failures are directly related to our own choices.  What we choose to learn, to do, who we choose to fly with and against.  All of these factors control our success in EvE.  Nothing is really “fated” or “Inevitable” in this game save entropy.  Things will fall apart, but it’s not fate, it’s just the natural order of EvE.  The coalitions of today will fall apart, and new ones, probably stronger ones, will take their place, only to fall in turn.

Fate simply doesn’t work in EvE.  It might be inevitable that you lose a ship, but that’s because EvE is a chaotic game that encourages and is driven by destruction, that is, the invisible hand of fate doesn’t exist.  The invisible fist of Darwin is our weapon of choice.  The difference is fate doesn’t care, fate acts without a guiding hand upon it, the fist of Darwin knows, it researches, it plans, it clenches and it strikes.

Fate is usually used in some sense to absolve people of responsibility.  That is:  if something was fated then there’s no point taking precautions to avoid it.  If X is fated to happen, why worry about it.  If X should be taken care of by others, why should I try to prevent it.  I’ve advocated against this stance a lot, and sadly I’ve seen CCP bend its knee to the believers rather more often than I’m comfortable with.  For example miners, rather than protecting themselves, simply whined a whole lot and got the meta changed, so that the assumption was that non-combat ships dedicated to mining should have battlecruiser-class defenses inherent to them.

What makes this game amazing, what makes it different, and what makes it worth playing even with all the pain and heartache is that we can EXPERIENCE these things, we can have the soaring joy, the crushing despair, the victories snatched from defeat because we create the content, because we are responsible, not because a wizard handed us a better sword.  WE won those victories, WE lost them, the huge explosions are connected to OUR ships, not some random NPC, and they are caused or prevented by our actions.  Fate is a stupid excuse.  It reduces your enjoyment of the game, it makes your life harder.  Don’t cave in to “Fate.”  Take charge, you are potentially awesome, don’t whine, win.

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can

Roamin’ Rusty’ Roamin’

So The Fancy Hats is in business again.  That’s always good for some fun.  We went on a little roam from Ami to Goniditsa looking for a fight, a gank, or just some fun.

There was so much rust on our fleet that we should have flown straight Minmatar to hide it.  Jaysus it was ugly.  It actually looked like it would be relatively smooth at first!  We got to Amdonen, met up, aligned, warped, I jump, fleet holds.  No hostiles, move on.  Then the misalignments starts, but really what’s the worst that could happen with a blackbird being left behind.  We moved on, bouncing gate to gate, then we catch an Itty V jumped behind me into the fleet.  Of course we only have 2 points in the 4 ships due to some fittings issues, and the one guy with a point where the itty jumped to is on the wrong side of the gate and has a green gumball.  Well crap.  So on we go, with a weird semi-cloaky Loki giving us an interesting chase for a couple systems, unfortunately we couldn’t catch him and of course taking sentry guns, even briefly, in a T1 cruiser is a bit of a strain.

We end up in Gonditsa with no targets.  We also remembered that Gondi was probably not the best place to go for a fight because the warp to the gate was something like 149 AU.  Also about the distance that a Stabber can go without QUITE losing all its cap.  We landed, chased an Algos through and logged.

We were rusty, our ship fits were good, but not polished, our tactics were fine, but our execution and adjustments to the current game mechanics were downright poor.  Clearly my time in null has ground the edge from my instincts, and my friends time away from the game has blunted them as well.  Fortunately I have a solution.

MOAR PEW PEW!  YARRRRR!

I'm using it every time I can

I’m using it every time I can