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Friday, November 28, 2008

Thrasher FTW

I logged on later than I wanted to and decided that the time was too short to get together a good force to go after that last escalation complex. Besides I had a Wolf to replace - that was going to eat into the isk I made from the previous stage but no wipe it out luckily.

So off I go to Rens. Meanwhile I get a whole bunch of stuff contracted to my hauling alt. While the previous escalations had been happening I had been looting and dropping stuff in stations. So while I was busy getting the new wolf (same as the old wolf - I like that fit) my alt was busy hauling things to my main high sec base for eventual sale and melting. Wow have wolves appreciated in price. I did a check to see about the skills for inventing and manufacturing one since paying the "popularity tax" does not particularly interest me in the long run. I've got all the skills to invent and just need to get frigate construction to level 5 (ooo only rank 2, not too bad) to be able to manufacture the Wolf. I'll need to get those 3 science skills to 4 though.

Once I get some of the skills up to be able to fly battleships without embarrassing myself I think I'll take a bit of a side trip to invention land and run up those skills so I'm able to invent and build any T2 ship I can fly. That would be nice. The idea is to take a bit of a break and go mission solidly for a while before going to 0.0 to learn about PvP down there. Build up the Iskies.

Anyways so after some purchases in Rens and some heading over to my high sec base to check out the rig situation (sweet - if I get that stuff out of low sec I'll only need to buy fried interface circuits for the two rigs I want). While this was going on, my CEO asked if I could move some Barrage M for the corp. I said no problem. So he contracted me the ammo. I must teach this guy about courier contracts and how to make multiple of them when cargo space is an issue. Look I'm a fairly trustworthy guy, but not all New Eden residence are quite so honest. Learning how to setup and use courier contracts should be part and parcel of any CEO's lexicon of skills. 10k isk is cheap insurance that things are kept above board (the broker price of making most contracts).

So down I go to low sec to pick up my blockade runner and more loot (including the last salvage I need) in my Shiny new Wolf. Once there I jump into the Prowler and head off to get the salvage baked into rigs. That done, and the ammo moved to a low sec jump off spot (thank you hauling alt) I move the Ammo to the corp office. Then its on my way into Asghed with my shiny new rigs.

As I get into station I notice that there is an open minor FW plex. So I ask the other militia pilots in system if anyone is running it or if they want me to take it. I get no initial answer so after popping the rigs in the Wolf, I grab Killit, my trusty and lethal Thrasher. So I charge the plex and once I'm in there sure enough there's an Amarr Thrasher sitting on the button, having just chased off the fellow militia member in his Rifter.

So in I go and after two gun passes the Amarr thrasher flees with barely enough structure left to hold his ship together. I then clean up the last few rats and go sit on the button. So eventually, a 2nd Matari Militia Thrasher pilot and the Rifter pilot re-shiped into a Griffin arrive and come help run down the plex (we're offensive plexing in an Amarr system). While we are running things down the local count slowly goes up with Amarr pilots. Total enemy count ends up being 5 Amarr pilots. Consisting of 2 Thrashers, a Coercer and two Punishers. But they are slow to get organized and we run down the plex while that is going on.

Just after the plex finishes in they come and the fight is on. During the initial phases we manage to get a kill on the Destroyer pilot that I had initial put into structure (obviously got some repairs done at station while he was busy calling for help). This turns out to be the best fit of the 3 Amarr destroyers although only tech 1. So although I didn't know it I actually got rid of the worst threat to my force early (sorry Jodie but an autocannon fit Thrasher just isn't much of a threat to a artillery equipped Thrasher in the hands of a pilot who knows how to use it). However my Griffin pilot has to warp out and I give the order for the other Thrasher pilot to warp out.

By this point I'm alone with 1 Punisher, 1 Thrasher and 1 Coercer. A bit of jousting ensues and I learn that Jodie's Thrasher has a heck of a tank on it, but just doesn't have the range and Jodie warps out. Then the Griffin gets back in and manages to lockup the Coercer and the Punisher, I go in and start pounding on the Punisher. Jodie warps back in rather close to that fight and the poor Griffin can't get away in time (I'll mention that in lessons learned). Unable to switch locks to Jodie in time the Griffin goes down just as I finish killing the Punisher. BTW the other Punisher either never came in or warped off rather early - I've lost track of it and it never shows up on any of the kill mails so this was actually a 3 v 4 fight.

The poor Griffin pilot got podded (lag or Jodie just being on the ball - hard to tell). Then some jousting between myself and the Thrasher and the Coercer. It is soon apparent though that neither sides remaining pilots are stupid so that is inconsequential and the Thrasher loots two wrecks and they both warp off. Here is the killboard summary of the figh.

Lessons learned:
  1. MWD on a Griffin even at the expense of an ECM slot. Look, if the Griffin pilot had managed to maintain his distance he probably never would have lost his ship. Maybe not for fleet fights but for plex fights mobility is crucial.
  2. Point and Web on an artillery equiped Thrasher = bad. I'll say it again: This is one of those cases where the mantra "All PvP ships should have a point" is plain wrong. If you are fighting an arty Thrasher in web and point range you've already lost.
  3. Close range destroyers are fairly good against most frigates since most of those are also fit for close range, but are useless against long range boats.
  4. Get on voice coms even if you don't have a mike.
All in all I liked that fight (course I got 2 kills in it). Has to be chocked up as a loss for the Matari side due to the fact we should have gotten out of there with no losses and we did loose the pod but on the flip side we did get the Plex and I did salvage and loot everything there (gave all of it to the pilot that lost his ship and pod).

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wolf go poof - or NPC smartbombs hurt

Due to my father un-installing his Vista and re-installing XP, my time was limited last night. The joys of being the family computer tech.

When I finally got home I did make it in time to get to the escalation. Took a while but cargo2000 came along to help. It turns out that so long as you get to the site in time the rats do re-spawn after down time and we did get another True Sansha. No luck on an expensive drop but at least we know the rats re-spawn over downtime and it does not affect the ability of the site to continue the escalation.

The next step was (after an internet search) the last one. Unfortunately, being unable to read Chinese, I did not catch that the NPC station puts off a rather violent smart bomb. It one-shot-ed my wolf. Ouch.

I decided to dock up for the evening and we'll see about going back tonight.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

That Banter Thing

I'm not part of the blog banter but what the heck - it's a good subject.

"What drew us into EVE, what keeps us playing the game and what brought us back if we've ever left?"

The draw:

I tend to be a two MMO player. One main one and one I "dabble" in. Back in the days before I had an internet conection I had played MPBT on the Genie network (think Guild Wars with mechs and EGA graphics, but no PvP and you'll be close enough) and learnt a valuable lesson about waiting for the internet to make things cheaper. Much later I started playing FFXI, wich I played For 3 and a half years. This alone qualifies me as a hardcore MMO player. Much later I had dabbled in WoW, CoH/V, Guild Wars, EQ2, Vanguard, AoC, TR, the public beta of Ragnarok OL.

Then I noticed a little game I'd heard some buz about but hadn't realy thought about except to note that it looked like it took the Elite familiy of games and brougth it to the MMO world. Then I found out that the client was free online and only the montly cost was charged. My what a progressive thinking company I thought. So I had to try it.

Now bearing in mind, that in all the games I've played I really like crafting. Add this to the fact that one of the major reasons I never abandoned FFXI for any other MMO was that I could get all the jobs with one character in FFXI and I find the artificial restrictions of the rest of the MMOs offensive. Also FFXI allows you to maintain multiple LS (guild/chat channels) and most MMOs restrict you to a single guild channel. The last nagging problem was that if I met any players locally the odds were we were on different servers. I find the sharding to be a stumbling block to the potential of MMOs. I appreciated Guild War's attempt to remedy this but the lack of an evolved crafting system killed that one off for me.

Then I downloaded EvE Online. A week in I knew that my Tarutaru Red Mage was in deep trouble. It took a year but eventually I could no longer justify keeping my FFXI account on life support. This was actually a very tough decision because of the way that FFXI handles accounts. With most other MMOs if you cancel the account (as opposed to delete the character) you can re-activate it at a later date with all your progress intact. Not so FFXI. I knew that 3-6 months later the Character would be deleted and there would be a very small chance of revival in the future. In fact this EvE blog is not my first MMO blog - Strangeone's was.

That last post in Strangeone's blog prety solidly explains why I quit FFXI for EvE. Don't get me wrong, I'd go back to FFXI from time to time - in between trying out other MMOs from time to time if it wasn't for their account policy. It's still solidly in 2nd place on the list of MMOs I like. But EvE took over first place entirely.

The keep:
  1. To paraphrase that political quote that keeps popping up whenever the economy in the real world goes bad: "It's the economy, stupid". Look, I'm a crafter in MMOs. Nothing, absolutely nothing else out there has the breadth and depth of EvE's in game economy. I've looked. In fact what killed Age of Conan for me by level 13 was the fact there was no crafting till level 20.
  2. No other game seemlessly integrates the newbies with the grizzled old veterans. This may loose us new players (very consistently) but at the end of the day everyone can contribute to an op one way or another. The veteran players have more options, but everyone can contribute. All fleets need scouts and tacklers so there will always be a place for low SP players.
  3. Single shard. Any eve player you meet in the real world is someone you can run into in game. And vis-versa. You can even go to the pub with them and exchange stories, lies and advice. You may get the occasional strange look, but what's better? Going to the pub with friends to discuss the football game where you talk about the accomplishments of other people playing a game. Or going to the pub to discuss the accomplishments YOU achieved playing a game.
  4. Evolving. Even in the short time I've been playing (not yet 2 years), one can't help but admire the dedication to improving the game that CCP evidences.
  5. Scale. Pushing the limit trying to get to the 1000 player fleet fight level. Over 5000 solar systems. The lowly tech 1 scout frigate which can cost as little as 100k modules and ammo inlcucde all the way up to the titan class ships which sell for 10's of billions.
  6. No other game has seen the evolution of in-game banks and stock markets.
  7. No other game has players manipulating the New York Times for the purpose of pushing forward an in-game agenda.
  8. In no other game is the PvP as pervasive and realistic. There are no "drop you in an even fight" situations in eve. No pre-arranges you bring 10 guys, I'll bring 10 guys and we'll play capture the flag. Intelligence and reconnaissance mean something in this game. The pre-battle phase is just as important as the battle and the post-battle phase in EvE.
  9. We have spies, we have scams, we have great characters and heroes and villains. Honorable pirates and scum that would lower property value in the poorest slum in Calcuta. These are just the players. Sometimes the NPCs have a tough time competing with the egos and personalities that play the game. At one point a gm or dev had unceremoneously moved all high sec drednaughts to low sec including the Veldnaught. Such is the upstanding reputation of Chribba that soon thereafter the veldnaught was restored to the Amarr system and formal rules covering the dreadnaughts build in high sec were published.
  10. I could go on but you get the point.
The call back:

Well I never left so can't answer that one yet.


Escalation is the term used when a combat exploration complex sends you on an expedition. As I mentioned yesterday, that Provisional Sansha Outpost I got the day before yesterday escalated. "Things" however got "busy" as they say. So I logged on tonight and with 43 minutes left on the next leg, jumped in my trusty Wolf.

Off I went to the first location Eszur. This site I soloed myself. But it took me enormous amounts of time and T2 ammunition to kill the T2 rats. I get lucky and one of the pilots agrees to help me out having never done an escalation before. I also get lucky in that I find the trigger item for the next leg and kill it to get the next leg.

The next leg is all the way over in Molten Heath low sec 15 jumps away. I set our destination and, after picking up some loot, head for a pit stop in Rens along the way. Normaly my Wolf is buffer plated (a nice 400mm plate stuffed in there), which with the resists provides a nice tank for those PvP situation this wolf is actualy kitted out to handle. however the rats tend to chew the plate to shreds so I decided for the next one I'd use a repper instead of the plate. So I drop off the loot grab a T2 repper and go on my way repping as I go with the plate still in place because of the current damage from the first step of the escalation.

A quick pit stop in Teonusude to switch out the plate for the repper and put the AB back and it was on to the 2nd escalation. We land at the gate, which is occupied and proceed to start killing the mobs. This is when I notice that one of the mobs is a True Sansha! After killing a few more mobs we kill it and loot it before finishing off the mobs. This is where I get a low-grade slave alpha implant as the best drop from that one. We continue killing, warp in the plex, more killing and get the next stage of the escalation.

We make our way to another spot in Molten Heath and find ANOTHER True sansha. This time I almost buy it as two of the frigates at the warp in point were of the warp scrambling type. Some quick "kill the T2 frigates frist" followed by some great DPS from our AFs and I manage to survive with 40% structure left. Ok that was close. More NPC deaths follow and we get a low-grade slave epsilon implant.

At this point, being late in the evening (and having gone thru the proverbial boatload of ammo) I decide to call it short before going into the dead space and trigger the next escalation. If I'm lucky the rats at the gate will re-spawn overnight and be available to kill tomorow (oh please let there be an other True Sansha). Then I check the market for the two implants. OMG. I'm able to sell off both implant for a combined value of 95mil and split the take with Jim who came along for this little jaunt. Yes I know that if I put it up for sale the Epsilon would go for more but you never know when something as pricy as that will go and keeping track of when who you owe what to a month or so later was not a great idea. So I sold the implants and split the take 47 mil each after taxes.

Those True Sansha realy made the evening worth wile and gave a definite boost to both our wallets. As I commented: well you'll be able to buy yourself two more AF for this evening's work. So far this line of plexes has escalated 3 times. Hopefully it will keep going.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Knowing when to fold em

As you have been noticing lately I've been pushing hard to get plexes done and have been doing a little exploration on the side in order to help fund my activities. It all came together yesterday. I started off by logging in and running some scans. Noted that there were some FW plexes in Asghed. Then scanned some more and got a Mag and an unknown hit from the exploration side of things. I decide (since the system is un-contested - all that hard work over the weekend for naught) to do the exploration stuff first. So I track down the sites and manage to get both a Mag site and a combat site nailed down.

I switch to my wolf and tear off to the mag site with the rocket launcher switched for a salvager and the point switched for an Analyzer. As I'm working on the plex some fellow militia come in system and pop a plex and run it. Which is cool. So I finish off the mag site and salvage up the wrecks in my now contested system.

Then it's off to the combat plex - a Provisional Sancha Outpost. For this I had re-fitted my wolf back to full on combat spec. This is a PvP fit wolf which means buffer instead of active tanked. But I figure I'll be fine. Sure enough I manage to get thru all the mobs with about 40% armor left. Not only that but I get an escallation! At this point I figure - finish the salvage and I'll be romping around low sec for the rest of the evening.

Well I get salvaging and as I'm half way thru the second room, who should come in system but D'Arth. This is the Amarr pilot I had solo killed in the past. Checking the scanner he's in a Sentinel. I think to myself [Ok, he should see me in system. He'll be leaving soon]. But no he sticks arround and soon he pops open an unrestricted plex and obviously goes in to start running it. [Ye're kidding me]. So I dump intel into corp chat: "Got a solo plexer running an un-restricted in Asghed - he will be decontesting the system if he finishes it off. 20min till he does so. I will engage in a minute or two". I finish off the last two wrecks from the plex and gun my little Probe for the station and switch to Killit, my T2 armed Thrasher (not to mention the specific ship that has killed this guy once before).

Warp to the plex. Still no NPCs since it's an un-restricted and sure enough he's on the button. Not wasting any time I charge in MWD blazing and open fire as soon as my targeting is in range. Strangelly he looks like he's not backing down as he launches drones. But sure enough after getting a little too close I manage to open up the range and kill him. Then manage to get his pod in to structure. By this point I'm sure that as my guns cycle he'll get out but no! he sticks arround! [he must be suiciding] I think. Sure enough as my guns cycle arround he gets erased from existence as seven 250mm Tremor rounds shred his smoking pod. Just as this happens an entire matari fleet arrives in system in answer to my intel. We all settle in to run the plex and the boys proceed to kill all the NPCs who come in.

After running plex timer down and pushing the system more into contested I switch back to my salvaging Probe with once again plenty of juicy wrecks to work with. It's getting to the point where I may rig this little Probe for salvaging. Seriously. This ship is the Matari Jeep. Half way thru the salvage op, I get the call to ship up to a cruiser and join the fleet. Knowing my CEO if he's calling for that, there's a reason, I bookmark the next wreck (which happend to be D'Arth's Sentinel) and tear for my Rupture. Just as I undock I hear the FC give the orders to charge into Tararan and go for the war targets running a medium plex there.

As I order my crew to pour on the warp, I charge straight thru the gate and go for the plex. I get in there and imediately put points tackle and guns on the nearest (and at that point only remaining) war target at the warp in point and get in on another kill. Once again we run down the timer and once that's done I split back to Asghed to go and finish off my salvaging of the previous fight (forgot to bookmark one of the wrecks in Tararan).

To ad the final insult to injury I manage to salvage some T2 salvage from D'Arth's Sentinel wreck. Before hitting the sack I do a final scan of Asghed and confirm that indeed there are no FW plexes left to find there. Busy night - got 34 armor plates out of it amongst other stuff including the T2 modules and salvage from D'Arth's kill.

The interesting thing is that most people would have figured D'Arth would have had a prety good chance against me with his fit. The problem with his logic is that a) the Thrasher does not depend on cap for survival and b) I fly a tracking fit thrasher, not a gank fit Thrasher. Look, I'm getting autocannon level tracking out of artillery. Tracking disruptors realy realy don't scare me. I don't expect to get ANY kills flying solo in this boat. If I am it's because you're not running away when you see me start tearing your ship appart. It's purpose in life is to run offensive minor plexes solo and be good enough to chase off any 1-3 Amarr pilots that may interfeer with that job. It's fit for that and it does a REALY good job of it. Bigger gangs I'll be running away from or teaming up with other Matari pilots. But if you're solo up against it you better have a plan to deal with it's advantages, cuz dude I shouldn't have gotten that kill, you should have run. Twice.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some exploration

Well my ability to get online this weekend was kind of "spotty". So instead of just joining fleets only to bow out 15min later, I decided to do a bit of exploration in the local system.

Over the weekend I managed to find 2 Radar plexes and a generic combat plex. A 5/10 Rogue Drone combat plex. After doing a quick trip to high sec to get my hacking module and archeology module, I came back and went after the radar sites.

Wouldn't you know it? a BPC for the Amarr module Data Interface and an Amarr Encryption Methods skill book. Course I already have both the skill and the interface so personally this does not mean much. Some random decryptors, datacores and components to make Amarr data interfaces were also found. Note that unlike my fellow blogger Mynxee, in my case it's my main that's able to both explore to find these plexes and has the skills to hack the cans as well.

Then of course I bring my wolf - replacing the normal scram with a the apropriate module (a Codebreaker I). Low sec will have up to BC sized rats in Radar plexes so an AF is fine for that (just remember - use an AB instead of MWD for any non-FW plexes).

Now the 5/10 made me cry. I've duo'ed one of those with myself in a BC and a fellow pilot in a BS and you get about 100mil+ in overseers boxes and minerals. But no one was available to help out. So I did the first room and that was it. It was gone by the next day... I hope someone else ran it. Even if it was the Amarr.

The Prowler is proving itself an excelent low sec blockade runner. Love that ship.

Went to the Montreal Meet, only 6 of us this evening but it was a good meet. I didn't last long but that was more due to still having this cold I'm fighting.

Got in on 2 good pirate killmails - a Sleipnir and an Absolution.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Took a break

I took a break this evening and went out and saw the new James Bond flick. Just got on enough to start my alt down the certificates road. First objective: getting Basic Core, Defense, Navigation and combat skills (gunnery, missiles, drones, EW).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A "relaxing" night of plexing

As I headed out to the dock and my collection of ships, I informed the crew of my Cheetah that it was time to do some scanning and see what the Amarr had left in the way of occupation complexes. As per my habit, I drop a multispec probe right on exit from the station. Since it's impossible to cloak up so close to a station there is no harm in dropping a multispec probe before moving off and cloaking up. I wave a quick hello to my CEO who happens to be on his way out of the system and settle down to wait for the results (175 seconds later).

Sure enough I confirm the presence of at least one Amarr complex in the system. I'm about to start running down the planets with the on-board scanner when I notice a war target in system. So I do a directional scan. It's an Amarr Navy Slicer!!! Unfortunately It jumps before I can nail it's location, neu bastien does an immediate 180 and orders me to jump arround looking. Although we don't find the the war target, I do find six open Amarr complexes one system over.

We decide to go run these plexes down. Since it's three medium and three major complexes, this calls for speed tanking. I go and grab my Republic Fleet Firetail. This ship realy is quite the sweet little ship. We settle in to running these plexes and we are eventualy joined by a friendly Vigil pilot. We're on the 2nd to last plex when a pirate AF comes in to play with myself and the Vigil. Since neither of us is realy in a ship that can take on a Retribution, we simply stay out of his way. About 5 mintutes of playing "Dodge the pirate" and we get a call from neu to come into the other remaining plex as it's nearing it's end. We do so and the pirate leaves system probably disgusted we wouln't play (we could taste his fustration and it was sweet). The last two plexes fall and we head back to the first system to run down any plexes that were there.

We find a minor Amarr complex and I radio ahead to the station containing my spare ships to wake up the destroyer crew and prep my Thrasher for action. Once in there the Amarr NPC scum rapidly fall to the masive firepower the Thrasher can bring to bear. Tech 2 artillery cannons are your friends. Once that one is done it's back to the Cheetah both to confirm that there are no complexes left in the system and to hunt down the next system

We find one in another nearby system. It is another Major Amarr complex. This time I head back and grab a T1 equiped Vigil. This turned out to be a good choice as eventualy a pirate Rapier came in to play. By this time my CEO had logged and the Vigil pilot had been replaced by a friendly Retribution pilot. When the rapier uncloaked to come and play with us I had managed to keep away from him in my Vigil. But the Retribution was not so lucky. He ended up caught so I charged back in with my Vigil to tackle and attack the Rapier.

I lost my Vigil but the Rapier was chassed off by the firepower and tank of the Retribution. In retrospect I should have ordered the Retribution to go on the offensive the moment he was attacked joined in a little slower. But overall it's better for me to lose a cheap Vigil than for him to loose his Retribution. We end up finishing the plex. After 8 plexes in the evening I dock up and call it a night.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tackling and the FC blowing a fuse

First of all let's understand the role of the fast tackle. A fast tackle, when not in an interceptor (I really should train for those one day), should be a MWD equipped frigate with a disruptor and a web. Even in this day and age of the speed nerf. Your purpose is to get a point on what ever the FC calls as primary first. When you're not in a fleet fight (i.e. the squadron/wing/whatever just landed on a lone or a few enemy ships), there are certain things you need to be aware of.

First is as first tackle you will be primaried by the alert enemy. Since if he kills you he may be able to warp away. And he should be looking to warp away post haste if he sees the numbers he's up against. So the odds are you'll be loosing your ships prety regularely in such situation.

Second your job is to get the first point long enough for a 2nd ship to get point so you can get out of dodge. This is the part that will usually end up loosing you your ship.

So there I was last night, we were in a plex and got the call that a flashy pirate had landed on the accel gate. I warp out to a relatively close object and then warp back to the plex and land on the gate and proceed to get a point on the Drake. We know it's bait but we figure we're enough to take what the pirates are bringing (being over 10 in local). Sure enough 2 BS drop in on the fight and I'm slowly being eaten away as I wait for someone else to call point so I can warp out. I wait in veign. I warn the FC that he's about to loose point on the primary and call point down as I get my pod out.

Sure enough the Drake warps off as I'm warping in my pod towards a new ship. The fleet had failed to ensure a secondary point on the primary. This is when our FC blows a fuse and calls everyone to get out of the fight and rally in Kourm at the Kamela gate. After a little talking to, and being in a new ship we go in to try again. Once again (This time in a Vigil) I get first point on the designated primary and hear the follow up points before I'm killed, I try to get away but am unable to do it in time. Another frigate down. This time however the fight goes much better and although we don't get the Drake, we do get a Megathron and a Raven. Unfortunately I don't get back in time to get in on any of the KM.

The point here is that I was flying a frigate as first tackle. I fully expect to loose ships. I fit my ships in consequence. These ships have un-named T1 fittings only. They are fully insured. My net loss for one of these shis is arround 140k isk. My income ability as a 23mil SP industrialist is such that there is no way I can loose enough of these to run out of ships or isk. In fact I tend to build my own since that's even cheaper than buying it off the market (for me - I have a full set of reserched BPOs for any frigate build I might want). The bigger ships are more work but frigates I can make batches of 10-20 (all modules and ammo included) overnight. Flight times and re-shipping times and the general ease of survivability of frigates in low sec mean that I've never lost more than 4 frigates in an engagement. So I don't need to worry about replacement issues with these ships.

Flying like I do, however, I'll usualy have to warp off sometime after getting first point. Usualy cuz some batch of drones is chewing on my exhaust ports. Some times I make it out, sometimes I don't. In either case someone else has to get "second point" after I do.

Some may argue that it would be better to fly in an interceptor. I agree - but a) can't fly one yet and b) flying like I do I'm available for fleet ops MUCH more often than someone flying T2 (unless their pockets are REALY deep). Most of the people that do fly T2 equiped ships on a regular basis end up spending an in-ordinate amount of time running missions or attending to their income streams. When I'm not in a fleet, I'm usualy scanning plexes or running them solo in offensive territory.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Little action, Lota plexing, *sigh* another fail dessy

Yesterday was one of those "all over the place" type of nights. Started off in some random station I had docked up at in my Vigil. I made my way to Asghed and wasn't seeing much so decided to x up. A quick invite from Wei and I was in the fleet, once again armed with my trusty Vigil I made my way over to the Kamela/Lamaa area. Once again we were using the local plexing to hopefully generate some fights.

Early on I managed to get tackle on a Tristan that went down rather quickly (suicidal the dude). After some un-eventful plexing in Kamela we have a flashy pirate at a planet so the cov-ops calls warp to 0 and I get a beautiful first tackle on the Hurricane. Once I hear second tackle gets on it and as I see my vigil start to take damage, I warp out and manage to keep my ship alive. Once again I'm amused that my Vigil seems to be highly survivable.

Not having a lot of other action at one point I am with a few other pilots playing station games with Dake Darkstalker (well known to the regulars for being a good Amarr pilot). Just in time to have a disconnect. Not good. Sure enough when I log back on I'm in my pod. Blink Blink. Sorry for the lack of action there Dake.

At this point I jump one system over and get in a reserve rifter (these low sec caches of frigates are darned handy). And we continue on. At this point, we hear that there is a magnate over in the Tararan area (genericaly) and some other running plexes. So I head on over with a small strike group to see what we can do over there. After chasing off some Amarr from one system, we get the call from a cov-ops in Sifilar that someone is running minor plexes. I put a burn on in my Rifter while the 3 other pilots keep playing footsy with some cagey war targets in the Tararan area, since I'm the only ship in our little squadron that can handle minor plexes at this point.

Get in Arzad on the Sifilar gate and have the cov-ops localize which plex the WT is in. Once he does I warp in and burn for the specific plex and go right in. I barely have time to align to my prey when he simply decamps leaving me alone in the plex with the NPCs. I give chase to one of the gates but he gets away. I decide to go and switch to my plex running Thrasher.

Once in my T2 armed Thrasher, I head back to the two minors and after a few initial "issues" proceed to work on the plexes starting with the one that the WT had been working on. Once I was settled in and doing the first plexe comfortably, I had the cov-ops shake loose and go plex hunting nearby. While I'm running the first plex he uncovers a pastel of plexes next door in Arzad. It seems to be pirate and WT active. The FC takes note of this and starts making plans to come our way when their current plexes finish up.

I'm in my 2nd Minor plex (having cleaned it up) when one then two war targets show up in system. And at one point I see a Vengeance on scan. Well that's not getting in. Then a Catalyst. That however is getting in. So I sit on the button hoping for some action and praying he has the usual fail fit dessy. Sure enough he warps in and starts motering towards me. I target and start firing at him. Once he starts aproaching my optimal I start motoring away at full MWD to keep the range open. Sure enough I burn thru all his shields and he hasn't even scrached my paint. At this point he gives up and warps away and I calmly go back to the button and contiue finishing the plex.

Here we see the diference between a KM whoring pilot and an objective focused pilot. Look, destroyers are long range gunboats. Period. Any other fit is just asking for trouble. The Catalyst had fit for close range PvP (as evidenced by my pristine shield). I had fit for long range combat. I know the chances of a kill solo are very slim but that I would be in control of the fight. Sure enough I didn't get a kill. But my objective in FW is to close plexes and get the points. If we'd had a tackle at the warp-in point that catalyst was dead. We didn't so I did the next best thing. Drove him off and capped the plex. I will repeat myself. Destroyers are long range combat ships. Full stop. Other ships in gang are responsible for tackle you are responsible for killing what they tackle - at a nice long range. Don't fit a destroyer for close range combat. Fit it for range.

Anyways the fleet as a whole then proceeded to try and get some action in Arzad. We almost got some but too many of our pilots jumped in local too quickly and we spooked the WT/Pirates away and proceeded to run the plexes. For this I switched over to my Wolf. Didn't get any PvP action for the rest of the night but I'm liking the wolf's DPS.

Fly safe guys and remember AC/Blaster/Pulse armed dessies are fail fits. The ships are just not maneuverable enough to fly with those.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Darned cold

This weekend I was fighting a rather bad cold. So I wasn't actually on EvE as much as I should have been. But this didn't stop me from getting a 2nd solo kill (same guy same sort of circumstances but since it was a Minor plex he was at an even greater disadvantage since I could kill the rats by one-shotting them.

Speaking of plex combat we ran into a rather pickley situation. At one point as part of an offensive plex running group, I had managed to grab aggro. Then as we were running it some Amarr come in to bust up the fun. What ensued was rather annoying from my point of view since my job was to keep my distance and the NPC's off my fellow pilots. This I managed to do without problem. However the rest of my fellow pilots then proceeded to demonstrate how NOT to go up against a Griffin, a Crucifier and eventually a Punisher. The boys keeps screwing up their coordination coming in in dribs and drabs and not coordinating with each other. End result? after about 10minutes of loosing ships we end up having to abandon the plex (well they all lost their ships and I was left with abandoning the field).

Good work by the Amarr flying defensively exactly how you are supposed to. Griffin on the button (able to ecm any ships that warp in while not being in too much danger personally). Punisher at the warp in and Crucifier at optimal from the warp in point. It was, as they say, a turkey shoot. We need to get better gangs than this.

Sunday was mainly ship displacement day. Moving ships arround to make up for the losses, running some plexes in my general area of operations. I've come to some conclusions about plexing and FW in general. It's been my observation that we've got two types of pilots running arround in FW. You've got your plex specialists who tend to run the plexes but have problems doing PvP then you've got your roaming gangs which tend to go out hunting equaly large gangs of Amarr. I think what we need is to organize specific plex running squadrons so that when a force goes into a plex the squadron commander can take over the fight inside the plex. We also need to get better at PvP combat within plexes. We need to come up with some procedures for dispersing combat strength and concentrating it without having the FC micro manage that level of it.

Observation: Griffins are VERY powerful in minor plexes. They are a great force multiplier. I think we may need to come up with a specific fit for a thrasher to take care of them. 50-70km combat zone with ECCM. We'll have to see.

I also need to think about switching my Rifter builds up a bit. AB/Scram combo is MUCH more powerful than it previously was and can compete very well with the MWD/Disruptor/Web that used to be the sin qua non of pvp fits. The MWD Vigil is still insanely fast (a T1 version is hitting 4.7km/s), so those will probably stay as is. We'll see how this works out.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Solo Kill!!!

Today is a great day in my training as a PvP pilot. Today I managed to get my first solo kill. Some will argue it wasn't much of one but for two things. First of all it was in an offensive plex so I had 12 NPC cruisers and frigates trying to kill me at the same time. Two if he had managed to slap a web on me when I was vulnerable it would have gone poorly for me. So it was a rightous kill.

I started the day off moving ships arround. After about an hour of this I decide to find out what plexes are in the area. I manage to find 4 of em. So I solo the 3 minors. Then a WT comes into system and opens up the BC one. I warp into it to find out what he's in. Turns out he was in a crucifier. which cloaked as soon as I got on grid with the NPCs.

Ok I see his game. He'll uncloak and run the clock down when I'm not arround but cloak up when I am arround. Well time to change that up. I head back to station and switch to a disposable dessy and warp back to the plex, sure enough he cloaks up but I proceed to speed/distance tank the NPCs. Seeing me occupied he uncloaks to run the plex down some more but I proceed to burn towards him but at an angle to avoid the npcs. Sure enough I get close enough to target him and prevent him cloaking up and proceed to lay into him. I think he tried to get a web on me but it was for naught and he got killed. I didn't get the pod but was well satisfied with my first solo kill.

The rest of the battle for that plex got rather wild and wooly with an onyx and various and assorted interceptors. Unfortunately due to a DC and good piloting by the Onyx pilot when I re-logged I got killed and podded. I made it back and forces built until we forced the Amarr out of the system and ran the plex down. Then later on they apeared in force (a BC heavy fleet with 19 pilots) and took a regular sized plex. But with the 3 minors and a BC major we of course kept it in contested.

Overall a good morning.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Getting ships together

I've had this wolf hull up in high sec for what seems like ages now. I had bought it back when I had first gotten the skill to fly assault frigates. But I had been unhappy with the various fits I had observed and come up with. So, in a container it sat for many a month.

With Quantum Rise, however, there are some changes in the mechanics of warp scramblers. A scrambler will now turn off an MWD. Also, signature now has much more of an impact in missile combat than speed. So I've finally found a fit I like. After spending a good part of last night running around getting salvage from the market and grabbing modules from various places, I now have a decent wolf fit. We'll see how it performs in combat. May it last longer than most of my combat ships (not likely I know).

One of the advantages of having a nice big BPO collection is that I'm relatively independent from the module/ammo/hull market for T1 equipment. Not you'll note from the mineral market, but definitly from the T1 market. As a rule of thumb, I tend to use pure T1 modules in T1 ships if they are intended to be used and lost. This keeps my expenses down to a very reasonable level. T2 modules go into T2 ships as a rule of thumb. Rigs of course are a different story, I don't realy bother with T2 rigs since they are WAY over priced. The way rigs are structured, they are only realy worth it for larger/more expensive ships. I realy hope one day we get sized rigs.

I know a lot of people tend to go for T2 modules in T1 ships, and indeed I do do this some times. However the truth is the T2 hulls tend to be more survivable than the T1 files. I prefer to put the expensive modules in a more survivable hull. But that's me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Minor changes

I decided to change the font to a sans-serif font for most of the blog. I also decided to darken the background a bit.


Well it seems everyone and his was trying out Assault Frigates last night. It was not one of my better nights PvP wise. The evening started off with me finding a plex which I was going to run with my arty rupture. By the time I got there though an Amarr AF had gotten in the plex. I think: is fine, hopefully he'll get over confident and I'll be able to keep the range open since I'm an MWD ruppy and he's probably trying out AB so I should be able to keep the range open.

I open up the range, take care of the NPC's and charge into a 30km orbit around the button which he's sitting on (why he didn't get maneuveable I have no idea) but as I'm finaly getting in range a 2nd rupture comes in. First mistake of the evening: not orbiting close enough to get solid hits on the AF. When I see that the ruppy drops a flight of T2 drones I know he's T2 armed so once the drones start plinking me I get out of dodge (lost 2 drones in that fight but T1 drones are cheap).

Being unable to raise a friendly force near to come help, they take the plex. I switch to a cov-ops as people filter to the area. As we bounce arround the system we eventualy pair up and get a decent fleet going if a tad light on the DPS. Plenty of AF and Inties to go arround though. Eventualy we run into a bunch of Amarr that are ready to fight. Sure enough we get an Armageddon, that rupture I tangled with briefly and 3 frigates (2 inties and a Rifter). The battle goes back and forth. At this point I'm in a cov-ops. After the first phase of the battle I loose the cov-ops to my own stupidity (was too close to a wreck the rupture evidently wanted to loot and he warped right on top of me, de-cloaking me. Needless to say I went down in a ball of flames.

The second phase of the fight saw me makeing more mistakes - In a AC ruppy this time I had forgot to re-set my orbit distance so after getting close to the Armageddon, I started motering away and proceeded to take massive blasts of laser death with no traversal to help. Poof goes the rupture. Not a big loss that one it was T1 and insured but still the mistake was costly. I ended the fight in a Vigil, getting back just in time to see the geddon go down.

Not my best performance to date. Since I've got a salvage capable probe in system I proceed to start salvage operations and it being late leave the fleet saying FS. Just about all the wrecks had the good loot taken, but that wasn't a problem as there were plenty of T2 wrecks (6 of em - 5 from our fight and 1 from a previous battle with these guys). The salvage out of the T2 wrecks and the 10 melted capacitors from the Armaggedon were sufficient to pay for the hull and the cloak of my next cov-ops with a bit left over. I'm going to have to see if I've got enough salvage on hand for the two scanning rigs. Overall a cheaper lesson than I deserve, that points out the value of salvaging T2 wrecks after a battle.

Still I find it interesting that there was a preponderance of assault frigates this evening. Many many more than I've seen on a typical night. I suspect we'll see the AF prices climb as stocks are depleted, but AF seem to be the roaming ship of choice at the moment. We'll see how long that lasts. Incidentaly a T2 fit Rupture is a thing to fear, the Armageddon did not have the massive impact on the fight that it usually does, but the rupture got many excelent kills and was a full blown T2 plated AC ruppy. You'll notice that he got in on 4 of the kills against our group.

Props to the Amarr for bringing the fight btw. The honors were about even: Isk losses on both sides of the same order of magnitude, they got the plex earlier and we held the field and I got the salvage. I just wish I hadn't made all those mistakes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Certificates & a frigate buff

After finally getting on the server last night, I was able to to try out the changes brought to Tranquility (TQ - The main and, for most of the world, only server). The first thing I did was get all my current certificates - 72 of them, and immediately spot a hole in my basic core skills. Said hole would only take 3 hours to fill, so I lined that up and proceeded to get my cov-ops cloak in my Prowler.

After the changes my prowler feels a little more sluggish than it used to be. I removed the MWD at one point and it felt much quicker. I think we'll be finding that the mass addition of an AB or an MWD now that nanofibers can't compensate for ship mass to be a factor in being able to warp quickly. As I was practicing in high sec, I noticed an annoying feature that I'm going to have to see if it translates over to the cov-ops. If you de-cloak just before a jump you've got like 15 seconds to wait on the other side before you should move or your cloak won't re-engage for a few seconds. I don't know if this is new or something I just hadn't noticed. It should make cloaky ships with bad pilots more vulnerable.

Since to-warp speed is no longer as important as it used to be for the prowler and the nanofiber is like 75% of an OD +75% IS in it's non-ab/mwd base speed effect, I think I'll replace the IS with a 2nd Nano. The two low friction nozzle joints will still allow for nibleness. This will have the nice effect of increasing my speed under cloak without impacting my cargo space.

The mobility modules

Looks like the trinity of mobility modules looks like this:
OD - Max speed at the cost of cargo space (and effectively cost maneuverability since it will take longer to get to 75% point since accell is un-affected)
IS - Maneuverability at the cost of signature. (orbit tighter at same speed, get to warp faster)
Nano - Speed boost and maneuverability boost at the cost of structure. (I don't hull tank so...)

What combo you use will depend on the combination of slots you want to use and effects you want with stacking penalties taken into account.

Initial impressions of what the changes mean

Looks like the frigates are still heavily affected but the cruisers and BS much less so. Effectively this is a frigate boost (and all frigate pilots cheered). Destroyers just became more important than the were previously, mainly due to frigates getting a boost. I have yet to check it out but apparently the AF just became MUCH more viable than they used to be. The stabber is still rather fast for a cruiser (reports that it can reach above 3k reliably under mwd)

I'm going to have to mix in some scrams with my disruptors on my frigates. A fleet will want a mix of both. Smartbombing BS and Cruisers just became the vogue - an MWD BS or Cruiser will probably fit a SmtBm or two to take care of scrambling frigates. We'll probably see the revival of arty/disruptor vs ac/scram on the minmatar frigate side. The wolf got a boost because it can be setup as an AC/Scram and forget about the web entirely and basicaly go after MWD cruisers and BS. Mind you this is all crystal balling. We'll have to see how things shake out over the next few weeks.

RRBS gangs will of course rule for the people with the skills to use them properly. ECM as the counter to this type of gang will remain unchanged, but we may see more ECM frigates in gang with the mobility advantages they now enjoy.

Certificates for my alt

I had been working on a "get everything to 4 then buy new skills" plan for my alt. I think I'm going to change that to: work on the certificates and see how that progresses since he got a grand total of 4 certificates (yea he was rather specialized as a hauler alt). This will allow me to realy see the utility of this system for newbies since my alt realy is a specialized hauler alt with very specific skill sets for that job).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Some thoughts on Dev Blogs

The slew of Dev Blogs out of CCP lately got me thinking. The biggest problem I have with the Dev Blogs (and it's a small one) is that they are so irregular. We can go almost a month without a Dev Blog, then as per the run-up to the Quantum Rise expansion, we get the flurry of Dev blogs we got. I really wish they would put them out a bit more regularly. Once a week would be nice.

I will state that I think that part of the communication issues we've had with CCP over the last year an a half are probably due to rapid growth they have seen over the last few years. I've been noticing new names in the Dev Blogs and on the forums. CCP has always been more open than other developers about what they are doing and where they are going. More to the point about how they are going to get here.

Just look at some of the footage of the pannels that were held at this year's fan fest. It was like computer geek porn. Progress on the server structure, migrating to 64bit code. Changing the networking layer. I also think that after the baptism by forum fire that Zuluparc went thru the newer developers are finaly finding their feet. I'm also glad to see that CCP can still hold fast to modifications to the game in the face of voiciferous objections from the nano-vested interests.

Best quote from fanfest I've seen so far (I'm paraphrasing from the keynote speech): "EvE's learning cliff".

Part of the cliff is that EvE is a sand box game. So although you can learn the mechanics in a straightforward maner, there is the fact that you're up against people who've been pushing the limits of what's possible within the game. This is the skiing equivalent of letting the 200km/h speed racers thru on the beginner slope. Not only do the newbies in EvE have to handle unfamiliar equipment and learn how to use it (snowplow anyone?), they have to dodge the speed racers at the same time. So of course they occasionaly get run over (and we loose another prospective player). The other is that eve is not a "follow the path" game. There is no path. There are no goals except those you set yourself and the goals that the other players have set themselves.

There is the phenomenon of "setting un-realistic goals early on". Since the game is by nature like a sandbox, it's a bit like when kids in the sand box say "I'm going to be a doctor" they when they get in school and realize how much work it is only a few of them make it into the medical profession. Except in EvE a lot of them can't change their initial expectations and quit the game saying "but it won't let me be a doctor". This is untrue, they should be saying "I'm to lasy to learn how to become a doctor". The thing here is that EvE does not try to do your thinking for you. It just gives you plenty of rope. Whether you build a rope bridge between yourself and your objective or you hang yourself in some strange and creative of way is entirely up to you.

The update

Well, although I didn't clue in to the correct update start time (happened at 2:00 eve time instead of 11:00 eve time as normal), at least my main has a long skill in. My alt on the other hand didn't get switched in time. Ah well.

So now that we're going through the EvE withdrawl symptoms without a forum, how are you all handleing it?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Get ready

Looks like the Tuesday patch will be a 24h patch. The withdrawal symptoms evidenced on the forums should be fierce. Remember to set a "Long Skill". After working on some medium projectile specialization skills early this evening I intend to set Minmatar BS 4 as my skill to work on - it's got 7 days left to go.

The cov-ops cloak for my Prowler has been purchased and will replace the current, much lower quality, cloak. I'll be loosing the inherent WCS bonus but with the ability to warp cloaked, I do believe this ship will be chuck full of win.

The plan at this point is to get the specializations to 4 then take a bit of a break and get some skills up for invention. I'd like to be able to invent and build the guns I'll be putting in my ships. Since they will be the large part of my offense in the next stint, it behooves me to be able to manufacture them.

I'm also looking forward to the March update since the new content will be exploration related.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Another meet

As is our habit, the Montreal pod pilots got together once again on a Saturday evening. We actually had 8 pilots this time. So a good turn out. We actually had a new pilot show up out of the blue. She used to fly with BRUCE before they melted. Nice to see another pilot join us. One of her in game acquaintances pointed her to our forum post.

The rest of the weekend was kind of uneventful. Managed to get some some plexes run with the CEO of my corp. I didn't join any fleets this weekend as my presence online was a little too intermittent to justify joining a fleet. I did of course manage to build up a new rupture for use in regular sized plexes. This one is an Arty build, not a AC build. The intention is to use it when medium plexes pop and I can't find other pilots arround to help out. It's not intended to be a PvP ship, it's more PvE for use against offensive plexes.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It figures

What have I been doing? Mining. Every so often one needs to go replenish the coffers. Whether mineral or currency coffers, it's the same thing. My alt is like 10 days from completing his current plan. I decided to do things a little differently for my alt since I had the time to do it. Namely, after getting him to the point where he can fly a rigged Iteron V, getting all his initial skills to level 4. Once I do that, I'll get the rank 3 learning skills and drag them to level 4. Then I do believe it'll be time to get all the skills necessary to fly the Execuror and the Osprey to their full T1 capacity.

For myself. I'll be getting Medium Projectile 5 soon. This will mean about 2 weeks of skilling up Medium Autocannon Specialization and Medium Artillery Specialization to level 4. The question is what to do then. I think I may take a bit of a diversion and go acquire some e-war skills and the ability to fly the caldari ships. One of the reasons we've won certain fights against the pirates in the latest set of skirmishes, has been effective use of e-war. Neither side has been making use of logistics outside of RR battleships.

Now for the Irony part: Quantum Rise is supposed to be the Industrial Update. It figures I would be doing PvP when that came in. Irony thy name is EvE. Although I must say that it only looks like about half the expansion is realy carebear related. The rest is the speed adjustments (which affect the PvP'er WAY more than the industrialists - our ships were always very slow), and the server upgrades (which affect everyone in eve - Carebear and Combat pilot equally).

Friday, November 7, 2008


This is a reminder to all EvE players to get out and vote for your CSM candidate of choice. The first session was a little rocky but in a good way. Support the noble experiment that is the CSM. As much as I end up having to vote 3 times between october and december (Federal election, EvE election, Provincial Election), at least the EvE elections don't cost us more taxes.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

6 days till Quantum Rise

Well this was predictable. CCP does not do updates right before a tournament so the tournament at fanfest can go thru without recent changes affecting it. Looks like that's the date for the speed changes. You have less than one week to enjoy your nano rigs. I'm looking forward to the announcements at fanfest.

Lost two stabbers last night. But again they were fully insured and T1 equipped so it's not hurting as much as the T2 equiped BS killmail I did get on. Once again I'm not flying expensive T2 ships when my fleet role is mainly followon tackle. One of two thing tends to happen to such ships. Either they survive and you get on many kill mails or they get chewed up rather quickly. It's realy all down to luck. We tend to get killed by people trying to get away more often than not. If the enemy is trying to stay and fight it's a different story.

I suddenly realized that I mentioned a pilot by name in my last post without explaining who he is. MirrorGod is a pilot that is a member of Heritic Nation. He was part of the Minmatar Militia and was one of our more popular FCs while he flew with us. Some members have taken his turn to piracy as a bit of a betrayal. Personaly I don't, he was a pirate before FW, he'll be a pirate after FW. He was a decent FC while in the Militia, he'll be good after. This animosity and the fact that he and his pirate buddies tend to fly in Kourmonen and Huola a lot have resulted in some very predictable things happening.

1) He knows he's going to get primaried.
2) He knows that he will get attacked by militia pilots even when we know he's got backup.
3) His tanking skills are excelent.

Basicly you can tell what's going to happen, he flies as bait for any pirate op. We know it. They know it. Some times it works, sometimes it doesn't. Last night they did a better job of getting the pirate numbers in space up. However we could tell what they were flying and compare this to what we had. So I lost a Stabber to MirrrorGod but on the other hand, the Typhoon I was fighting with got out so I consider that a fair trade. We spent the rest of the night dodging his bigger fleet.

Repeated fights with these pirates has honed our judgement of when to engage and when not to. The pirates tend to have the tonnage advantage over us. But we tend to have numbers and ship maneuverability over theirs. They tend to go for DPS, we tend to prefer more EW support. They tend to use more neutral alt scouts, we tend to use more frigate/inty pilots so the scouting is about as good between the two fleets. I suspect we are not great financially for them due to the number of T1 ships we tend to fly and since we tend to take out T2 fitted BS on a semi-regular basis. Continued conflict with these guys is inevitable since they don't shy away from fighting FW ships and they base themselves in systems with occupancy.

The Amarr seem to have lost more of their pilots proportionately (or those that are left fight in different time zones). This means that any large fleet actions tend to be against the pirates these days. We'll see how the next few weeks go after any changes on the 11th.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

After the famine, the feast

Well, I'd been diligently running plexes and stuff for the last week. Any PvP was kind of incidental to the objective of trying to swing system occupation in Matari favor. Had some interesting skirmishes, but when enough pilots gravitated to the skirmish the Amarr went away and we were usually able to finish plexes in peace.

Last night I decide to join up with the Kourm fleet in hopes of some action. Probably pirate related but what the heck.... Ooooo boy did THAT work out. Most kill mails I've been on without loosing the ship ever in a single session.

First there was one side of the Kourmonen/Auga gate. Then there was the other side. By some miracle we were able to survive the Carrier hot drop with only 2 BS casualties. We didnt' get MirrorGod nor the Thanatos but hey, it was a good running battle. The pirates came in two separate waves and sundry others showed up now and then while we were trying to get the rest of the pirates to engage.

The biggest problem I have with the fight (and it wasn't much of one) was that it was pirates instead of war targets. But hey we had a good fight and with the tonnage that came at us when we got engaged it was a close run thing at the start. The inital primary of the engagment was of course MirrorGod. But when the rest of his buddies and the carrier flew in to support him we switched and someone managed to tackle the Falcon. At that point it was warp to the Falcon. The enemy BS also warped to the Falcon and we were able to kill most of the pirates over 150km from the carrier witch definitly helped. MirrorGod and the Thanatos pilot stayed on the gate for the entire duration of the fight while we wiped out thier buddies.

The pirate's vent server musta been "interesting" during that screw up.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Factional Warfare

I've been flying this factional warfare thing for a while now. And I'd like to go over the aspects of it's features and rate them.

1) Offensive Plexing

This is by far the best of the new mechanics so far. When in enemy territory you can concentrate on certain systems but when they run out of plexes all the other enemy systems that are not contested will also have plexes and they are useful for pushing the systems more and more into contested and they are all useful for getting standing. The biggest problem with them is the problem with all plexing: totally un-intelligent rats. There is no way two frigates should be able to run down an un-restricted plex but that is exactly what we are able to do.

2) Defensive Plexing

This is marred by the fact that once you run out of plexes in contested systems, you are reduced to running timers down in other defensive systems and get absolutely no rewards (ya can't shoot the rats and you get no standing for running these). Having to run 3 hours of defensive plexing in the hope that one of them will re-spawn in a constested system is BORING IN THE EXTREEM. Either some minimal reward for running defensive plexes in un-contested system or a different spawning mechanims is needed to repair this. As it is I must give the mechanics of defensive plexing a failing grade. If they somehow fix the NPC behaviour so that 2 frigates are unable to run all offensive plexes, then they should think about setting minimum force levels for running down plex timers. Something like anything can get in can run down a minor plex, Cruisers and T2 frigates can run down a medium plex, Battlecruisers are needed to run down a large plex and BS are needed to run down an un-restricted plex.

3) Control bunker

Welp - I've never seen a vulnerable one. I suspect this is due to the broken nature of plex spawning. There is some weird mechanic that advantages people who can run plexes just after downtime. Since my usual hours of play tend to be between 22:00 and 04:00 eve time this means that there is very little putting systems into vulnerable happening at in this time zone. So I can't comment on it. Since I've been playing FW for over 2 month I'd have to say this qualifies as fail again. CCP needs to run some analysis on when systems are going into vulnerable. I suspect they will be grouped temporaly. And I suspect the distribution will NOT match the server population. Should this be the case, the mechanics of plex spawing should be revised.

4) Ranks

Prety pictures - the faction standing boost when you get promoted is worth it, but other wise they are just prety pictures.

5) Rewards

The financial rewards (or stuff that can be turned into financial rewards) prety much suck. This has the effect that most pilots can only fly FW 1/2 to 1/3 of the time they are in faction warfare. The rewards need to be brought up to the level of missions in order for the pilots to be able to keep flying more often. I realize that FW came pre-nerfed but this needs to be implemented.

6) Consequences

Again the lack of consequences (other than ship loss) to FW means it's just about pew pew. Which is fine, and a great learning tool for pilots un-familiar with combat. But after a while it gets prety repetitive and since there is no consequence to loss of system control for the pilots it makes for a very wishy washy feel to the whole mechanic. Some refinements are definitly needed.

Conclusion: An interesting tool to learn Pew Pew. It's biggest advantage is that you don't have the sec-status worrys of the typical anti-pirate campaign (only about 1/3 of all pirates are -5 sec status or below from what I've observed) and you dont' have to go Pirate to get some action. But until the rewards are tweeked and consequences thrown in at best it's only a training tool. The inability of alliances to retain corporations while letting those corporations go do FW means it's a disapointing training tool as well.

We'll have to see if upcoming patches repair/improve this situation, but for now that's what I see.