Friday, 18 November 2011

The Battlefield

Inevitably, for a fight to occur between two entities (gangs, solo pilots), they must both be present at the same gridspace as it were. Depending where this is, one side or the other will have an advantage. So, let's look at them:

#1 - Stargates

Probably the most common location for a fight due to stargates being chokepoints of travel, we'll be looking at these first. They have two special features about them compared to "plain" space.

Number 1, if you're in low sec, the sentry guns will open fire on anyone foolish enough to shoot someone they shouldn't within 150km of the stargate, dealing roughly 350 (omni) DPS, swapping targets at least every 30 seconds. Due to frigates generally having little tank, this means that the fleet with frigate elements in it which is hunting neutrals is at a disadvantage - their frigates are of limited use. It is for this reason one doesn't see frigates in pirate gangs often, but occasionally in FW or just neutral gangs. These sentry guns can whittle away at larger ships, forcing them off the field.

Number 2, this one applies to all security space - stargates allow a relatively "safe" avenue of retreat. If your gang is getting beaten badly, you can immediately start deaggressing (often called deaggroing) by turning off all offensive modules, calling in drones and waiting 60 seconds for your session change to run out. At the end of this time, if you are within range of the stargate (2500m), you can jump through. Thus, fights on stargates often result in significantly less casualties for the losing side.

Moving onto stations..

#2 - Stations

Simply put, from my point of view as a PvPer, stations are an absolutely horrible place to fight on. One can deaggro on them much like on stargates, except there is no possibility of hounding them on the other side since (as of yet) people are invulnerable once docked. Adding to the problem, many stations have absolutely huge docking radiuses of up to 40km, making it almost impossible to bump vulnerable ships out of docking radius before they can dock. Due to this, stationgames are common and are made worse with such lame tactics as using Orcas to scoop up ships which would otherwise be lost, using Carriers to do the same as well as provide remote reps. Whilst such despicable tactics are used on stargates as well (Heretics used to do this ridiculously often in Amamake before PL moved in), this is much less common than the amount that goes on with stations.

Oh yeah, there are station guns as well in low sec which follow the same rules as stargates - enjoy!

Next, asteroid belts...

#3 - Asteroid Belts


Ah, Asteroid Belts. Many a fight I've had in them, with them providing some fairly unique challenges. Kiting ships should be very wary here as one can easily get stuck in asteroids if using approach/orbit instead of manual flying (another reason not to use them), leaving them easy prey for cunning close range brawlers. In some very close fights, the presence of belt rats can make all the difference - some of my corpmates have won fights with only minuscule amounts of structure intact due to the fact that the resident belt rats chose to go for their targets rather than them. 


And finally, deadspace..

#4 - Exploration/Faction Warfare Plexes/Mission Sites


One might think that these are mostly useless for PvPing, but in reality they can make a huge, huge difference to the outcome of any fight. All three of these types of "sites" share common features, such as the fact that they generally have acceleration gates. For those of you not in the know, these are perhaps the most amazing structures for solo vs gang situations. By warping to one of these sites at range, you can land up to 100km from the acceleration gate. Hardly amazing by itself but if someone tackles you at this range and their gang warps to them, they will always land at the acceleration gate and not next to their tackler who you can now destroy whilst their gang watches from 100km or more away, unable to provide immediate backup. Same deal if they probe you down - they will always land at the acceleration gate. Whilst this is not completely foolproof (if they figure out where you warped to 100km from, they can land ontop of you so you must burn away from where you land, preferably to somewhere not between the acceleration gate and a celestial), it is a godsend.

Oh yeah and if you use the acceleration gate, Faction Warfare (and some exploration sites) will limit the hull size of what ships are allowed in, as well as telling you exactly where they'll land, allowing you to setup at your optimal (either 0 in a brawler or at range in a kiter), ready to engage. You can also get the FW rats to help you if your standings are high enough and some of them can be truly devastating (corpmate lost a Stabber Fleet Issue to a Hookbill because the Caldari FW rats inside the plex kept him perma-jammed)

Those are the 4 main types of space which are interesting. "Normal" space - safe spots, planets etc. offer no inherent strategic example and thus won't be covered here.

Next post will be discussing Alts - Boosting Alts, Falcon Alts and simple Scouting Alts with my opinions, facts etc.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

New Ships \o/

So, new ships coming out, blasters being rebalanced (in theory at least) as well as frigates - looks like a good time for Eve!

Azual over at The Altruist has written a blogpost about the alpha changes leaked from SiSi here. Expect another blogpost from me with my thoughts on these ships in the next few days. Until then, stay classy Eve Online.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Turn up the heat

"Turn on, turn on the ignition
Everybody
 Come on, come on and turn on the ignition"
 

-- (Ignition, tobyMac) 

As many pilots will tell you, "unlocking" the ability to overheat your modules by training for Thermodynamics is probably the best bang for your buck you can get in terms of the training time. I agree - overheating often makes or breaks a fight.

Now, how to use it? Simple, one can either:

A) Right click on the module (or group of guns/launchers) you want to overheat and toggle heat on
B) Click the little green border on the top of the module (or group of guns/launchers) you want to overheat
C) Bind overheating to a hotkey and using that

Of course, one can simply overheat the entire rack, but often this is detrimental - you normally only want to overheat a few modules at a time as the fight progresses. By overheating more modules, you generate more heat which spills over to adjacent modules (found in the fitting window), eventually causing them to burn out - even passive modules.

Now, as for when to overheat and when not to overheat, I have a few rules:

#1 - Always, always overheat anything useful in a frigate fight straight off the bat.

Why? Frigate fights often last less than one minute which is generally when modules tend to burn out. 

#2 - When warping in to tackle something, have your Warp Scrambler/Disruptor pre-heated AS WELL AS your propulsion mod.

Why? Quite often, you land just outside your tackle range and you have to burn into tackle range.

#3 - When attempting to gank someone and get out before his gang lands, overheat offensive modules and get ready to run.

Pretty self explanatory, you need to do the maximum amount of damage in the least amount of time.

#4 - When attempting to break an active tank, overheat any energy neutralizers you have rather than the guns.

Why? Most of the time, an active tanked ship is capable of tanking another ship of the same ship class as long as it has capacitor. By overheating the neutralizers, you are able to disrupt their capacitor. Once you see their tank starting to drop, stop heating your neutralizers and start heating your guns.  

There are other things to consider with overheating. For example, the way you fit your modules makes a noticeable different to how long you can overheat your modules. Remember, heat from an overheated module spreads to adjacent modules and "wraps" around the rack, ie. an overheated weapon in high slot 1 damages whatever module is in high slot 8.

Complicating this matter however is module hp. Each module can absorb a different amount of heat damage. Typically in my experience, passive modules can absorb more heat damage than active modules.

So, as an example I played around with my standard AC Shield Hurricane fit in EFT to show the differences in heat management by playing around with module placement.

AC Hurricane with Optimal Module Placement:




AC Hurricane with Non-Optimal Module Placement:



So, what's the difference? Well, with the optimal module setup, you can overheat the MWD for an extra 5 seconds, whilst at the same time overheat the Warp Disruptor for an extra 10 seconds - that's two extra cycles. The guns can be overheated for another cycle as well.


Well, that might not seem like much to you, but there are fights where every advantage counts! For example, today my Hawk popped with the Dramiel in half structure - not bad when he had to call in his friend in an Ishkur to assist!

The results are even more dramatic with active armor tanks - you can overheat the Hardeners for ages, but the actual Armor Repairers burn out fast so optimal placement is a godsend.

Next time we visit the seedy underbelly of New Eden and delve into the world of narcotics.

P.S. I haven't forgotten about trying to show examples of manual piloting, however there are fairly few videos out there that really show it off. I suggest watching Drake 3.0 by Endless Subversion if you're interested in this, as it contains a large amount of manual kiting/piloting as he flies a 100MN AB Tengu against large gangs.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Moving the Right Way

"Move and show me what you can do
When you step into the circle and shake like we do
Move when you just can't take it
 And move if you just feel like breaking it"


-- (Move, Thousand Foot Klutch) 

Controlling the movement of your ship is critical in Eve for successful combat, from frigates to supercapitals. First of all however, I will state the most important lesson to be learnt:

If in combat, you rely on the orbit button, you are doing it WRONG!

Now that I've got that out of the way, here's the right way of doing it:

Manual piloting is the best way of flying your ship, ie. double clicking in space to where you want to go.

In addition, in most situations, orbiting is simply the wrong thing to do. I see this all the time - blaster boats that orbit @ 500m then complain about Blasters being "useless" since they can't track. If you want to maximize your outgoing DPS, use keep at range instead. If you want to minimise incoming DPS, use a tight orbit (against turrets, with missiles you want to have a wider orbit to achieve maximum speed or alternate between approaching and pulling away whilst staying in your optimal).

An excellent example of the wrong use of orbit is in an ex-Tusker's PvP video - Anxiir's Highly Addictive video. Fast forward to Anxiir's Cruor vs Hawk fight. Anxiir's Cruor has a 90% web fitted and dual neuts, meaning that the Hawk is moving very, very slowly (I seem to recall <50m/s). However, Anxiir is unable to track him and thus dies without actually landing a single shot, despite being in his optimal the entire fight! Why? Well, his Cruor has Conflagration loaded (close range T2 ammo so tracking penalty), which isn't helping, however he foolishly decides to orbit at 500m - this has the double effect of being hit harder with the Hawk's rockets than he should have (he wasn't able to get up to top speed) and of increasing the Hawk's transversal massively, even with him webbed down to a very low speed!

Now, let's look at some scenarios:

1) You're in a frigate who landed on top off an armor Battlecruiser and are then webbed. Using "Orbit @ 500m" will see you die - the medium guns on the enemy BC will be able to track you without a problem. However, by using manual piloting to maintain as tight an orbit as possible, the BC will still not be able to track you.

2) You're in an Interceptor and need to keep a Zealot (long) tackled until your Rapier can get webs on him. By using orbit, you leave yourself open to him "juking" you off his tail, or worse still - him coming to a complete stop and then blasting off in another direction with an overheated MWD which will result in him achieving fantastic shots against you. By manually piloting, you can stay on his tail whilst maximizing your transversal through keeping your course at least 15 degrees from his (with you being faster, this is possible). If he tries to pull away with a sudden manoveur, you're already ready to get back on his tail and should be able to survive.

3) You're in an Shield BC fighting 2 Armor BCs. Using orbit at 20km, they can easily spread out so that they are 15-20km apart and thus you will inevitably run into overheated web/scrambler range of the one you are not orbiting. This seems to happen frequently with people I fight and is so easy to work around.

These are just a few choice scenarios and I haven't even touched all the benefits of manual piloting rather than relying on orbiting, such as keeping point on an enemy whilst still staying aligned so you can warp off/burn off if another enemy lands.

Until next time, fly dangerous.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Location, Location, Location

There are many factors affecting the "quality" of your PvP. Some of them are pretty obvious, such as skillpoints, whilst others such as your choice of corporation are less so. Another fairly interesting point is where you are based at (currently).

For example, most PvPers advocate settling down in a region so that you learn the locals - who likes to play station games, who likes to whip out Carriers and Falcons when they are losing etc. so that you get used to their antics and can just adjust your playstyle accordingly, knowing who to engage and steer clear of.. However, they fail to realise that the reverse is true - the longer you stay in a region, the more the locals get to know about you and they will also adapt in return.

Case in point, the Tuskers are based in Hevrice, in Gallente low sec. We've been here for over 2 years and every local knows of us. Whilst in some ways this is helpful - most gangs will come to Hevrice for fights, knowing that we do not enjoy docking games, use ECM or Carrier support, in other ways this is unhelpful - our reputation as good PvPers means that some gangs turn and run when we approach. When asked why, we're often told that 1 Tusker = 2 "normal" PvPers. This makes us proud (understandably) but also sad at the same timesince we're all about the good fights and we just missed one. :(

At the same time however, they may reship specifically for us. It's no secret that most of our gangs are Shield BCs and thus Recons in particular are a serious threat. Saying that, even they do not guarantee success, even when they also have sentry guns as well as more numbers on their side, as shown here.

This extends even to individual players. I'm fairly well known in the Gallente low sec area and increasingly I've found it harder to get 1v1s or even 1v2s. Whilst I'm not complaining (more people coming to kill me means more potential kills for me!), this does mean I am increasingly having to withdraw from fights or call in corpmates to help me (1 Shield Hurricane vs Arazu/Hurricane/Hurricane/Hurricane/Hurricane/Falcon/Rapier is not something I can deal with unfortunately). Molden Heath was a perfect example of that - when I visited there the first time in February, I got into a ton of fights over a two week period. When I came back in May with the rest of the Tuskers, we didn't get nearly as many since people had learnt to recognise me, most of the local PvPers only coming out when they had a trap ready (which is fine for me). If not, they would stay docked or run away (not fine for me).

Of course, the actual selection of the Region, and indeed the system is crucial. Many PvP and pirate outfits live in PvP "hotspots". Whilst this makes sense at some level (PvP on "demand" when you undock), in reality it actually often leads to reduced kills since most members of the corporation will just stay in their home system and not roam, reasoning that "If I roam, I'll miss out on an epic kill in Amamake with the rest of the guys!".

In fact, there are some alliances out there that have almost perpetual gatecamps set up, who run at the first sign of an enemy gang - P I R A T E S I'm looking at you. Check out their killboard then compare it to The Tuskers. They have more members (174 vs 81), but we happen to have significantly more kills than them. Why? We roam since Hevrice itself is not that exciting - however we do have excellent PvP opportunities nearby - the German pirate blue train in Ouelletta, Old Man Star, Gallente militia in Old Man Star, Caldari militia in Enaluri etc.

As for the Region, it really varies region to region. As a rule of thumb, I find faction warfare space has more PvP, but the gangs are typically larger than the rest of low sec. Saying that, faction warfare space is choked full of T1 Battlecruisers and Frigates, whereas the rest of low sec tends to fly more "pimped" ships such as Faction Battleships since there are smaller gangs out and about. A system based in Faction Warfare space, but with easy access to non-FW space would be ideal personally, or the other way around.

Null sec has not been mentioned here since I have never lived in 0.0, although I have roamed into it a fair few times. I would suggest sticking to living in low sec with easy access to 0.0 if you do want to PvP in 0.0, the logistics in low sec is far easier and you can quickly pop into 0.0 if you wish to. NPC 0.0 tends to have smaller gangs than Sov 0.0, but again it really varies on a case by a case basis. I found Great Wildlands to be much better for solo PvPers than Syndicate, which has more lame Dramiel/Falcon/Sabre gatecamps in it.

Final word on location - don't live in the ass end of nowhere such as in Aridia - find a decent spot where you can hit 4-5 "hotspots" within 10j. This will allow for easy roaming and might encourage gangs to divert towards you. Before you know it, you could be forming your own "hotspot", as is the case with Hevrice now.

Fly dangerous.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Placeholder

I'm going to be busy for the next few days, so here's something to tide you over until I get back - a Battle Report from a few days ago.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Flying with the Wolfpack

As I've alluded to previously, it is important that the corporation you're in is the correct match for you. For me, joining The Tuskers meant that I was in a group of people who had first hand experience of the realities of solo and small gang PvP in Eve Online.

If you want to become good (or even excellent) at solo and small gang PvP, join a corporation that specializes in it and by specializes, I mean only flies <10 gangs when there are only <10 pilots on. The feedback and ideas you get during and after engaging enemy gangs with a few gangmates is truly invaluable, this is one of the reasons I like to write After Action Reports (AARs) after major fleet fights such as this one recently - they give you a real chance to examine what went wrong and how you can prevent it from happening again.

Corporations that are willing to set upper limits to fleet sizes are truly rare but will typically encounter much more PvP than corps that only fly larger gangs, simply because more enemy fleets will engage them. The majority of gang fights are consensual - both gangs scout each other out and move to engage each other. If you find yourself having to titan bridge to get fights, this should be an indicator that your gangs are getting too large for the optimal amount of pewpew available in your local area.

Now, how to find such corporations? Most of them do not openly recruit, instead recruiting through word of mouth. Thus, your best chance of finding such a corporation is to ask decent PvPers you know of any corporations they respect and then chat to their recruiters about policies etc. whilst flying in gangs with them to make sure they are "the real deal" - there are a ton of corporations (even pirates!) that advertise they are all about small gang PvP and good fights which actually translates to hours of gatecamping then docking when a challenging fight comes along.

Having a good look at killboards is the best way to figure out what kind of gangs they fly in - generally you want at least 10-15 kills a day, with most of them being in small gangs (<10 or so) or solo.

Most of these corporations typically recruit in batches - for example The Tuskers keep recruitment open until we feel we have met our target goal (X total members typically) then we close recruitment again. However, we recognize that people are looking for corporations throughout the year and keep recruitment open for a select few - typically those with references within the corporation.

A useful starting point for these corporations is below:

  • The Tuskers - we're currently recruiting after all! Mostly fly <5, with the vast majority of our kills in <10 fleets. 
  • Shadow Cartel - gangs are typically on the small side <10), with organized fleets being much larger (<30) 
  • PODLA - infamous for their nano Drakes, these guys are the real deal. 
Even if you don't feel like changing corporations to further your PvP, you should consider joining such corporations public channels - often a hub of activity related to PvP, ranging from the latest FOTM to new fittings and tactics etc. "The Tuskers Public Channel" is ours and plays host to some fantastic discussions regarding anything from solo frigate fittings to solo Battleships.

P.S. It was my birthday yesterday, hence the delay for this post. Any gifts would be appreciated - I am currently space poor after a string of investments and any donors will receive their 15 minutes of fame on this blog.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Just a Number...

One of the most common questions I'm asked is how much SP do I have. For some, there seems to be an idea that a player requires a certain fixed value of skillpoints after which one can successfully "solo" with, typically around 30M or so.

In reality, nothing can be further from the truth. Several Tuskers and indeed, other PvPers I've flown with have started PvPing with naught but a few thousand skillpoints on them. The key however, is to ensure that you get maximum bang for your buck.

Choose a ship class that you want to solo in. If you're just starting out, I suggest T1 frigates. All races have viable fits, but I suggest either the Punisher, which can have a relatively large tank, requiring less micromanagement than other frigates, or the standard - the Rifter, which is the most well rounded T1 frigate currently in the game.

Next, decide upon a fit. I suggest consulting Failheap Challenge for fits rather than Battleclinic, which tends to be bloated and have some truly terrible popular fits on it. Now, train all supporting skills related to that ship to Level IV, with the exception being Gunnery - training for T2 turrets is crucial for the long range ammunition which will then become available - Barrage/Null/Scorch.

At this point, based off skillpoints alone, you should lose most fights with similarly fitted ships since most players will have more skillpoints than you. In reality, skillpoints matter fair less than people think - it's fairly rare that I have a close fight to structure for example in 1v1s. This is due to other factors coming into play such as actual PvP experience, with solo and small gang experience being much, much more important than large gang experience.

For this reason, budding PvPers can often kill a few tacklers of larger enemy gangs in their frigates - they are often looked down upon for their low skillpoints and "cheap" T1 frigates so the tacklers get complacent and slip up, often helped by the fact that they've had almost no solo PvP experience to speak of, meaning that they're not used to what to do when they have no gang backing them.

Beyond that, skillpoints do start to matter more - however only for the options they provide. Some gangs for example cannot be kited and instead must be brawled down, such as gangs featuring heavy Recon support.  Battlecruisers require more skillpoints just to fit T2 guns, but the key is to ensure that you only fly ships once you can fly them competently - all IVs and T2 guns typically. This is the standard that I expect from anyone participating in my fleets as an side note.

As for the people asking, I currently have just under 45M (Eveboard link is here, password is "tuskersbro"). As you can see, most of my skillpoints are in support - Drones, Navigation etc. for which I have almost all Vs. For 1v1 encounters, they are most of the time pretty overkill, but really come in handy when engaging larger gangs solo!

The amount of ships I can fly well is actually fairly limited compared to similiarly SP players - I can only competently fly Amarr up to Battleships and Minmatar up to Battlecruisers (Arazu aside), with no missile skills whatsoever.

Interestingly enough, around about 30M skillpoints, you should have nearly all support skills trained to V, after which it's a fairly easy train to get into ships and fly them well. However, since you can only fly a single ship at a time, beyond that skillpoints have a fairly diminishing role - my Recon V is completely useless when I'm flying an Battlecruiser, same with Logistics V. For this reason, many older pilots ask what to train next, looking for anything to train, most of the time it never being used (Capitals for example)

So, how many skillpoints do you have?

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Credentials

I was originally planning on writing an single blogpost or two about the tips & tricks of solo PvP , but after chatting with a few people ingame I've been...encouraged to write a series of blogposts, covering the entire range of solo and small gang PvP, right from the very basics to the highest levels of solo and small gang PvP in Eve Online going on, in all gang formats I've seen - Armor Brawler, Black Ops operations, Shield Nano, with logistics, without logistics etc.

So, to begin this enormous topic, where to start? Simple, my credentials so that you, as the reader are able to judge, for yourself, whether or not I have the experience to actually write about this subject without writing effectively bullshit.


Friday, 5 August 2011

Rusty as Hell II

So, onto the next 2 losses. They are slightly better than the previous losses, although they still make me facepalm!

Number 5 - I hate Falcons (and Dramiels!)

With the majority of my ships back in Hevrice, I decided to go on a roam to Syndicate, specifically through TXW (Rote Kapelle home system) in my Shield Harbinger. Whilst it was fairly dead, a few jumps out I found a decently sized gatecamp for me to try my luck on with my alt - an Arazu, Brutix, Daredevil, Drake and a Sabre. Unfortunately, by the time my main arrived on the scene they had docked up.

Moving on, I found an Dramiel + Sabre camping a gate. Whilst they refused to go for me, I decided to hang around, unfortunately this would prove to be my undoing. The Dramiel suddenly was raring to go for me and I was happy to oblige, deliberately getting caught in a bubble. Whilst I was making slow but steady progress through his tank with the combination of my drones + guns, assisted by my small neut.....suddenly Falcon!

I managed to set my drones on him before he acquired a lock and jammed me, but his medium EMP smartbomb soon dispatched them, whereas he was keeping me perma-jammed and the Dramiel was whittling through my tank. Commenting in local at how low they were going, the Falcon pilot gleefully replied that he was fit with all Amarr jammers, just for me.

Ruining good fights, the dreaded Falcon
With no chance of getting my ship out, I initiated self destruct. Whilst I am normally loath to do so, the use of Falcon was abhorrent - practically any other ship I would have been content to battle to the death, satisfied that I could at least do something.

In the end, I managed to self destruct successfully and leave the system in my pod. Unfortunately, my way out was barred by another gatecamp just one system over. Deciding to double back and leave that way, I jumped back in and was greeted by the sight of the Dramiel and Sabre sitting on the gate, with the Sabre bubbling the gate. Consigned to my fate, I tried to burn back to the gate but was effectively one volleyed by the Sabre. Bye bye Low Grade Snakes :(

Number 4 - Hero Myrmidon + Bad Awareness = Death!

When Valgore, a fellow Tusker reported a Vagabond sitting on a wormhole one jump away from Hevrice, I grabbed my Myrmidon and checked it out, with Valgore in his Shield Hurricane. Once I was on the scene, his alt slipped into the wormhole and started checking it out, finding a Tengu running sites along with an salvaging Noctis. With no way to get into the wormhole without the Vagabond giving warning, we were forming up to go in for the kill when we discovered Angor Mau, ex-Tusker and CEO of Lucifer's Hammer had already slain the Vagabond and departed!

The Myrmidon, one of my favorite ships for brawling
 Moving into position anyway, we hoped that the inhabitants would come out to investigate. Eventually they did, with a Blackbird, 2 Drakes, 2 Hurricanes and a Ferox. After about 5 minutes of trying to drag them off the wormhole and thus prevent them from running when they were in danger, I finally managed to scramble the Ferox 40km from his friends and he went down.

With the Blackbird present, there was no way we could hope to combat them directly. Me and Valgore decided to change fittings - I would replace my second Capacitor Booster for a midslot ECCM module whereas he would replace a Nanofibre in his lows for a lowslot ECCM backup array.

Refitted, we headed back out, waking up another Tusker Tsubutai who tagged along with his Shield Hurricane, Our eyes inside the wormhole revealed they were camping with the Blackbird, Cerberus, 4 Drakes and a Hurricane, whilst at the same time a Chimera was sitting inside their POS. When me and Valgore jumped in, they scattered back to their POS before we could secure points. In any case, we were better prepared this time and setup a drag bubble on grid with the wormhole, setup to grab any of them that warped to the wormhole from their POS.

Whilst it was onlining, their Cerberus warped in at 100 and tried to snipe down Valgore's Hurricane. I bounced off a planet and attempted to land ontop of him, unfortunately that failed to work and he managed to warp off.

After hanging around the bubble for a while, our eyes on their POS reported them warping to planet 1, which if they warped to the wormhole from, would not drag them into our bubble. Getting ready for a rumble, they all landed at 0 to the wormhole and us - 4 Drakes and a Myrmidon. Valgore was soon forced to jump through, followed by Tsubutai. As I hoped, with only me on the field, they decided to focus fire and I was soon tanking all 5 of their Battlecruisers, forced to rely on careful micro management of modules as well as popping my Exile pill.

One by one, I ground through them, in which case they jumped back to our side where the rest of our fleet was waiting, Tsubutai and Valgore in Hurricanes along with Arc in his Malediction for fast tackle. As they ping-ponged back to either side to escape, we kept them boxed in and eventually killed 3 of their Drakes and their Myrmidon with no losses of our own, with our own Brutix joining in at the end.

Whilst looting up, we spied several more Battlecruisers on scan, as well as a Hurricane or two, but they weren't at our target's POS. Soon, a Drake landed 30km off us, the new arrivals corporation name revealed - Aquila INC,  a fairly well known roaming wormhole corporation specializing in nano BCs.

Interested to see what would happen, we started giving chase to the Drake. As predicted, he started kiting us as the rest of his gang landed and an Arazu decloaked. Suddenly, it was a good old 4 v 5 fleet fight (Arc had gone AFK), with them having recon support. Their warpin was fairly bad and we managed to tackle both of their Hurricanes before they could open up distance, scrambling them both with my Myrmidon and Rael's Brutix.

Carving through their first Hurricane, he went down fairly quickly. The second followed him quickly after, but Rael's Brutix finally succumbed to their incoming DPS, which took a while as the Hurricane I had tackled decided to try and scare me off rather than aim for Rael.

Just as Rael popped, I was in half structure with my low slots overheated. Grabbing their Arazu who drifted into my scrambler range for some reason, we popped him very quickly.

Realising the battle was lost, they tried to clear off but we grabbed another Drake who went down nicely to our DPS with returned Arc's help, with the other Drake escaping. 4 kills for 1 loss in a 4v5, not bad!

Scooping the new loot, we hanged around, hoping the residents would reship and come back in for Round 3. After a while, it was clear that they wouldn't, just as another Aquila INC Hurricane appeared 200km off the wormhole. Arc went to tackle him and we tried to pin him down. Eventually, I managed to almost tackle him 70km off the wormhole just as their reshipped gang arrived - 6 Drakes along with the Hurricane already on the field.

With us having only 4 combat ships, 1 of which couldn't contribute meaningful DPS (Arc's Malediction), I gave the order to retreat as I burnt back to the wormhole with my overheated MWD whilst tanking their 7 Battlecruisers. Focusing on my capacitor and tank as the Hurricane neutted me, I stopped paying attention to my mids and my MWD burnt out as I was 12km off the wormhole. Immediately I started slowing and popped just 300m outside jump range. Everyone else made it out.

Thankfully, the Arazu loot was enough to replace our losses, with a little bit extra for all those involved. Still, was a great fight!

The rest of my losses weren't anything special, therefore I am considering just skipping them and heading back to normal content. For example, I've had some Evemails asking me to discuss my tactics, ship fittings etc. which I think could be quite useful for the majority of players out there. What do you think? Reply in the comment section below, or send me an Evemail ingame.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Rusty as Hell

Since coming back to Eve properly around July 17th, I have suffered 10 ship losses. Whilst the circumstances surrounding each ship loss aren't particularly facepalm worthy, together they represent what happens when you stop playing Eve for a while - you get rusty fast.

So, going through the losses incurred in and around Molden Heath (the first 5), let's see what happened:

Number 10 - The first one always hurts the most

The Beast

This Harbinger was the original one I purchased when I first visited Molden Heath back in February, surviving dozens of fights. I was chasing a single Hatchery Drake running a mission into a deadend system. When I tried to leave, I found him barring my way, with the rest of his gang - a Hurricane, Sentinel and a Dramiel sitting on the other side of the stargate. Attempting to split them up, I jumped into the rest of their gang after the Drake aggroed me on one side, burnt back to the gate forcing the Dramiel to jump into the other side with the Drake before attempting to burn off and gun down the Sentinel whilst outpacing the Hurricane and warping off before the Dramiel could jump back in and pin me down. Whilst in theory this should have worked, I neglected two crucial facts, namely

a) Without the gangbonuses of my alt sitting in the next system, I was only slightly faster than the Hurricane and Sentinel
b) The Sentinel's Tracking Disruptor made it tricky to kill him.

In the end, I put the Sentinel in half armor before the Dramiel managed to scramble me 50km off the stargate, at which point I inevitably popped.

Number 9 - The ONI that could (have)

Without my shield Harbinger, I decided to go roaming in my Omen Navy Issue instead. In this ship, I managed to grab initial point on a Thanatos in Bosena which was camping stargates before losing it to an untimely disconnect whilst warping to the Bosena station at 100km. When I relogged, a Falcon decloaked 5km off me and webbed & scrambled me whilst local spiked. Fortunately he appeared not to have an Amarr jammer and I was able to apply my lasers, energy neutralizer and set my drones on him intermittently. Unfortunately, his jammers kept him alive - by the time his gang landed and made mincemeat of me he was in low armor.

Number 8 - Armor outruns shield, what?!

Not to be deterred (much!), I started roaming in my last Myrmidon. Finding a Gunpoint Diplomacy neutral Hurricane sitting on a stargate, I was hoping he would engage me, seeing as I could not initiate hostilities without taking sentry gun fire. Unfortunately, he decided to jump through and warp to a station. After giving him a few minutes to get his backup to arrive (another Hurricane I had spotted earlier), it was still clear that he wasn't willing to engage. As I made to leave the system, he finally made his move and followed me to the stargate.

Interested to see why he had a sudden change of heart, I jumped through the stargate once aggressed and came across his backup - the afore mentioned corpmate in a Hurricane, with another in a Tempest. Fearing the Tempest's heavy energy neutralizers and their effect on my armor repairers, I burnt back to the stargate and jumped through, but not before taking significant armor damage. At this point, I decided to try burning away from the stargate and hopefully outrunning the enemy gang. To make matters worse, once again my gangbonuses were in the system with the Tempest and thus, eventually I popped 300km off the stargate, but not before burning out most of my modules and going through most of my cap booster charges.

Number 7 - The power of Electronic Attack Ships

Often, Ewar such as Remote Sensor Dampeners and Tracking Disruptors are called ineffective. In reality, in small gang situations, they are often times incredibly effective, especially in small gang PvP. Roaming around in my brawler Crusader whilst my alt secured logistics to move ships back to Hevrice from Atlar as the Molden Heath campaign wrapped up, I found a Vexor in top belt in Bosena. Warping in, I was amused to see him attempt to kite me with medium railguns and deploying Hammerhead IIs. Easily getting him scrambled, with my Afterburner I had no difficulty remaining untouched by either his drones or his guns. After settling into a steady orbit, a Keres uncloaked 30km from me.

Rarely seen, the Gallente Electronic Attack Ship

Abandoning the Vexor, I sensed an easy kill and closed in on the Keres. Unfortunately, he spotted me and damped me down to a lock range of 6km, hardly ideal. At the same time, a Vagabond and a Thrasher landed. Burning away with my Afterburner fit Crusader, I found myself unable to catch the Keres, who was MWD fit. However, at the same time I was able to outrun the Vagabond and the Thrasher. Burning away, I hoped that I could manage to drive the Keres out of capacitor, as Remote Sensor Dampeners as well as the MWD would use up capacitor by the bucket.

After a few minutes of this I kept trying to manually burn to catch the Keres out, using such manoveurs as the slingshot. Unfortunately, the combination of his bonused Warp Disruptor range, his Sensor Dampeners and superior speed allowed him to keep me at a comfortable range and eventually I got lax and the Vagabond managed to warp to his Keres friend and run me down with his overheated MWD before I could respond. I reshipped to an Armor Hurricane, but their gang scattered just as I was about to scramble the Vagabond.

Number 6 -  The Scary Celestis

With the majority of my ships back in Hevrice courtesy of my alt and a bored freighter, all that was left was to head down there with my main. Grabbing my anti-frigate Celestis, I started roaming the 47 jumps back without my alt. The first jump out, I spotted an Damnation and Maelstrom running a mission. Without a prober, I decided to move on. A few more jumps out, I spotted a Rattlesnake in a safe spot near a stargate, with no other celestials on scan and only a single other person in local, who appeared to be a carebear.

Purchasing probes and a probe launcher from a nearby station, I refitted my Celestis, probed him down and swapped fittings back to full combat. Landing ontop of him, I was relieved to find him still there and started making my way through his considerable shield buffer, jokingly wondering if I could break his passive shield tank with my measily 200 DPS. After a minute or so of no response, the Rattlesnake pilot appeared to return to his screen and deployed drones which proceeded to bloody me and forcing me to run away with my tail tucked between my legs.

Continuing along the roam, it was dreadfully empty until I finally came to Amamake. Unfortunately, none of the Faction Warfare frigates would engage me and I somehow escaped a 20 man FW frigate fleet in my armor tanked Celestis. Eventually, I decided to suicide my ship into a Tengu and 2 Slicers, hoping to lure one into overheated web range, which occured, however the Tengu managed to annihilate me before I could finish off the Slicer.

Well, at least the trip back to Hevrice was made quicker - only 10 jumps via high sec in my pod!

Feel free to reply in the comments section with what happened when you came back to Eve and the dreadful, dreadful mistakes you made

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Status Update

Apologies for the lack of posts, Eve suddenly got complicated. In particular:

1) Incarna prevented me from PvPing, by annoyingly causing my clients to freeze for several seconds or crash entirely.

2) RL drama reared its head

And finally,

3) Once these issues were sorted out, I found out that I am silly rusty at the moment - losing ships in silly situations where I wouldn't have a few months ago.

My next post will examine these losses, just wanted to give you guys a heads up about why I haven't been posting.

Oh, also Kirith Darkblade is back, the man with his Rifter plan.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Back in Black

Exams over, I'm finally back in the sack!

ACDC - Back in Black by filipivan

Watch this space for upcoming developments, including one that a few people have asked for. Let's just say that I've finally found a way I can record fights in a decent quality without my FPS going <10.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

On Hiatus

RL is flaring up - I have exams starting within a month and thus will be cutting back on Eve in order to focus on studying. This will also extend to this blog - don't expect to see any new posts for the next couple of months.

In the meantime, last night I helped down an Archon and a Nidhoggur whilst setting up our HQ for our next campaign - Molden Heath, Resurgence. 

The original FC of the fleet who lured it out (accidentally) has written up a fairly accurate report here, which I have pasted below (with minor edits in order to make more sense):

We still had a respectable fleet up and Lee wanted to take his new falcon for a spin. I didn't check his fit beforehand (more on this later) and we heard tell of a camp near muttokon. We headed out with 3 canes, 2 drakes, 2 rifters and a falcon and sure enough, there were a brutix, mael and myrm on gate. The fleet held while I went to spike it but unfortunately the mael and brutix warped off before I landed so I was forced to take potshots at the myrm, baitdrake style. His friend jumped through in a drake and opened up on me so I pointed him and the game was on.

We jumped in and warped to me with the falcon staying hidden to try and lure them into escalating with their entire fleet before revealing the futility of it. Sure enough, they landed their fleet back on us and it was game on. However they had a surprise in store, the moment the battle got underway an archon landed. Things started badly with a gank fit brutix getting in cael's face while we couldn't get a jam (no gal jammers) but fortunately it's massive lack of tank meant that it got popped between repair cycles and Cael got free. While he was recovering his shields I set him with the task of finding me a fleet to deal with my archon so I could focus on FCing.

Back on the field they had a Harbinger, Myrmidon, Drake, Maelstrom, Harbinger and Raven escorting their Archon but were struggling to really apply their dps. The Harbinger got out of rep range and a Rifter kept it there while we smashed it down. The first of Cael's volunteers landed on grid and I was pleased to see it was Suleiman Shouaa, a local cane pilot with a LOT of skill points, experience and dps. He wasn't on comms with us and the extent of our communication was him saying "that mael is arty fit, warn the rifters, I'm gonna kill it" before soloing it in about 30 seconds flat. They weren't getting anywhere as they were tied to the Archon's rep range and we were nanoing so they did what anyone would and warped in a second Carrier, this one a Nidhoggur.

We split our points between the carriers and the Xs in our intel channels started rolling in. Vanderie,  a member of Gunpoint Diplomacy took over and we were quickly able to finish off the support in the form of a Myrmidon, Raven, Blackbird and Drake. Unfortunately the carriers decided they were committed and their support kept returning and our Falcon was sitting exactly 100k off an aligned point. A stabber fleet landed on him at 0 and 2 shotted his completely untanked hull, sending our shiny new falcon to its grave. Seconds later Sulei hulksmashed the SFI but still, .

The entire op was getting pretty messy by this point and the Teamspeak Server decided to crash on us which probably contributed to the death of a weird active tanked pest which was sitting within neut range of the carriers. It wasn't ours though but still, things weren't going perfectly. Gunpoint had cynoed in a carrier of their own (which got promptly jammed) but they didn't have enough Liquid Ozone to bring in some dreads and the Carriers weren't going down. They could have probably still logged out at this point despite us having 20 guys on the field. They continued to try and bring in support but there was just too much and all that they achieved was letting me headshot a Falcon.

We were very slowly breaking the Archon's tank while we hit the Nidhoggur with jams and neuts but it was painstaking work. People were bringing in alts, fuel, spare ammo and boosters to try and keep the damage up and eventually a cyno was lit up for two executioners dreadnoughts. Both carriers instantly started self destructing but we were able to kill the archon about 15 seconds before it finished its timer, with the Nidhoggur pulling it off successfully.

Archon goes boom!

The Battle Report is found here and is correct as far as I am aware.

The only incorrect parts of the above report is regarding me - I wasn't contacted by anyone to help them kill the Archon, I was actually stalking them and planning on killing them when I found them engaging the Archon & its support on the gate. Funny how things work eh?

See you in two months.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Eve Online - Spreadsheets Online

After reading fellow Tusker Kishin Hattori's latest blogpost, announcing the opening of his second blog tracking his wallet balance month by month, I decided to do some beancounting myself. Being a lazy fellow, I decided to let the killboard do the majority of the work for me and thus have tracked The Tuskers' kills/losses since January 2010, taken directly from our killboard here. Below are my findings:

Blue line shows the number of kills, the red line shows the amount of ISK destroyed by these kills
Interestingly, the number of kills we get per month has actually decreased, whilst the actual ISK destroyed has increased. What does this mean?

Well, one way of interpreting it is that we're killing less "newbie" ships such as ratting Cruisers, Destroyers and Frigates and instead focusing on our competition which fly more expensive ships such as Battlecruisers, Battleships, Recons etc. Instead of killing the ratters, we are now increasingly able to extract a successful ransom from them - ransoms are not included in these graphs although we do have internal data backing this up.

There is also a noticeable slump in both the number of kills and their corresponding value in ISK round about October and November. Personally, this is due to university starting up again, meaning less time available for pewpew compared to the mostly carefree days in Summer.

Now, let's have a look at losses.

The blue line shows the number of losses, whilst the red line shows the amount of ISK lost
Again, the two lines show a direct correlation as one would expect. Comparing this to the graph of kills above, it is clear that generally, the more kills we get, the more losses we take. This seems rather obvious and becomes crystal clear once you fly in a gang with us - we don't retreat willingly and often engage against the odds, getting a couple of kills against larger gangs and then withdrawing before going back in for another Round.

At the beginning of the data set, the number of ships lost decreases whilst the ISK lost remains fairly constant - this is mainly due to losing more frigates than is normally typical in January 2010, which did not hold true for February 2010.

And now for the final statistic - Efficiency. Often tooted as the statistic by 0.0 players who engage in fleets of 100+ on a regular basis, for small gang pilots it can vary dramatically depending on your luck. Of course, with a corporation as a whole, one would expect it to stabilise around a given figure, for example The Bastards typically hover around 45%-50%, meaning they kill less than they lose. For The Tuskers, here's what it looks like:

Blue line is..efficiency?
 As you can see, it appears to fluctuate. However, take note of the scale on the y-axis, ranging from 60% to 90%. If you take the scale as 0% to 100% (all possible values), it does actually appear to settle around, never being lower than 70% and never being higher than 90%, respectable for the amount of traps we spring daily, both knowingly and unknowingly.

So, conclusions?

Numbers are just numbers, your efficiency has no bearing on how much fun you're having. Personally, I've hovered between 90% and 96% efficiency, with no correlation to how much fun I was having on a daily basis, out roaming either solo or with a gang of Tuskers or out of corp friends. Just enjoy the game!

Monday, 11 April 2011

AAR - Artillery Fleet

Whenever the Tuskers have a roam scheduled, standard practice is to write an After Action Report (AAR) afterwards, detailing what happened. Whilst these are typically long winded (when written by me anyway), my latest AAR is actually fairly short and thus suitable to a blog format. This has been posted elsewhere so apologies if you've already read it before, but it's a pretty good representation of what we in The Tuskers get up to on these roams.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Molden Heath - Conclusion

So, my little holiday to Molden Heath finished almost two months ago. Apologies for the late writeup, but here are the closing numbers!

Ship Class - Kills/Losses (Only relevant ones listed):
Assault Frigate - 2/0
Battlecruiser - 24/2
Battleship - 15/0
Capsule - 10/0 
Command Ship - 2/0 
Covert Ops - 2/0
Cruiser - 5/0
Destroyer - 5/0
Exhumer - 3/0 
Frigate - 19/1
Heavy Assault Ship - 9/0
Industrial - 3/0
Interceptor - 3/0
Mining Barge - 1/0
Recon Ship - 4/0
Strategic Cruiser - 3/0

 Or visually

Click on the pie for a full screen!

Interestingly, Battlecruisers, Battleships and Frigates made up the vast majority of my kills - this is due to the amount of gangs passing through Molden Heath that typically operate with these ships. T2 Ships were also encountered quite often - Heavy Assault Cruisers and Recon Ships in particular.

As for efficiency:

Killed - 9.95B
Lost - 0.14B

Therefore, overall efficiency is 98.99% for the entirety of my stay in Molden Heath!

There are some excellent fights that happened that I never got a killmail for, such as fighting a solo Macheriel in my Myrmidon. After various warpins, I managed to get under his guns and get him webbed and scrambled. Unfortunately, I burnt out my web and he managed to land solid hits again. Therefore, I was forced to disengage, chosing to live another day.

Much thanks go to those I fought with and against - Gunpoint Dipolomacy, The Hatchery, The Nightshift, Blood Money Cartel and Twisted Inc. without which I wouldn't have had such a blast.

Now that's wrapped up, I have a question for my readers. I can either write a few posts about ships, discussing fittings, tactics etc. or I can keep writing up Battlereports. Which one would you refer? Dropping comments below would be much appreciated!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Join the Family!

We, the Tuskers, have just finished our campaign to Black Rise (more on that in the upcoming posts) and are now focused on extensive recruitment before our next campaign, such that in the future we can maintain a strong presence both in our home system of Hevrice and in our campaign HQ.

Do you want this emblem? Click here to apply for one!

However, the aim of this recruitment drive is different from most done by other corporations - rather than seeking more members to increase the size of our gangs, we are seeking more members so we have more gangs out and about at the same time. At the time of writing, The Tuskers are ranked, on Battleclinic #9 for corporations (lifetime kills) and #2 for corporations (recent kills).

What does this mean exactly? It means that we are active! But we're looking to become more active!

Whilst I could go on and on about us, instead I'll refer you to the following links
Whilst most of our requirements are fairly common for most corporations(mains only, voice comms mandatory etc.), there are a few that are particular to us, which are:
  • Honoring the Tusker Code
  • 5 solo kills, 2 of them above class
  • Full API required
Honoring the Code is hopefully fairly obvious, the solo kills are there such that we are assured that each Tusker has the ability to go out and find fights when it's quiet - you would be surprised by how many "elite" PvPers cannot fulfill this requirement!

The Full API is required for us to conduct a vigorous background check and is deleted after the application process has ended - we don't monitor our members.

So, there it is. Apply today!

    Thursday, 17 March 2011

    Molden Heath - Tastes like....victory

    Logging on a few hours later, I carried on back towards Oddedulf along the Molden Heath loop. With it only being 3 jumps away, I popped a pizza in the oven, figuring I would be docked in the 20 minutes it would take for it to cook.

    Jumping into Heild, local was at 10, with no ships on scan. Warping to the sun at range, there was still nothing on scan. A closer look at local revealed several members of the same alliance in local. With the only location still off scan being the Bosena stargate, my outgate, I warped my alt at range to see what the situation was like before committing my Battlecruiser.

    Sure enough, they had a small, neutral gang sitting there composed of a Drake, Incursus, Jaguar, Wolf and a Vagabond. Warping my alt off, I noticed local spiking with another gang jumping in, either from Bosena or Aedald. With nothing appearing on scan in Aedald and the new arrivals going criminal judging by local, I warped my main to the stargate at 50 to see what was going on.

    As I warped in, through my directional scanner I could see the composition of the new gang - Armageddon, Curse, Cynabal, Drake, Stabber Fleet Issue, Tempest and Zealot - this was going to get interesting!

    Landing 50km off the main brawl, I started locking up the GCC gang whilst moving in, not wanting to have sentries against me as well. With their Drake in low shields, I burnt towards him but alas he warped off before I could secure point. With both sides locked, I could tell the neutral gang was getting thrashed. A matter of seconds later, their Vagabond got exploded, with their Incursus already down. They started warping off, leaving the field whilst I remained behind.

    Burning off, I could see the entire flashy gang going for me, with their Cynabal in the lead keeping me pointed! Overheating my MWD for a single cycle, I put distance between the majority of their gang and me whilst lighting up the Cynabal. With them realising they couldn't catch up, they let their MWDs turn off and waited until the Cynabal got 150km from them and they could warp to him. Whilst this was a smart decision, the speed at which the Cynabal and me were travelling meant that everytime they warped to him, by the time they landed we were 50km or more off.

    Meanwhile, the Cynabal was getting torn up keeping me tackled. Once he slipped into low shields, I overheated my Heavy Pulses, MWD and Warp Disruptor and brought him down when he was 20km from me, his final resting place 300km from the stargate.

    The Cynabal, Faction Cruiser with extreme speed

    With his wreck 20km off me, with their Stabber Fleet Issue rapidly approaching with the rest of them 80-90km off, I was about to engage the Stabber when my alarm went off - pizza ready!

    Warping off, I docked and hurried to get my pizza. Returning to my laptop with my food, I posted the killmail before digging in. When it processed, I could hardly believe that Cynabal had a Republic Fleet Warp Disruptor and it had dropped, the module being worth 150M or so!

    Angry, I quickly repaired my damaged modules whilst getting a warpin with the alt. Whilst most of their gang was no longer on the stargate, they were still in local with a Zealot sitting ontop of the Cynabal wreck. Bookmarking it and then warping my alt off to my main, I fleet warped him to the wreck at 10km.

    Landing 20km off the Zealot, I quickly warp disrupted him and started chewing through him whilst he did the same. Unfortunately, he was armor tanked and not shield like I had hoped - I can kill an shield Zealot in mere seconds with my Harbinger whilst armor takes significantly longer. Kiting him was fairly simple - I was both faster and more agile, whilst him with an armor tank was only scratching my tank:
    [ 20:16:47 ] Focused Medium Pulse Laser II belonging to Motty 007 hits you, doing 342.6 damage.
    [ 20:16:49 ] Focused Medium Pulse Laser II belonging to Motty 007 hits you, doing 316.3 damage.
    [ 20:16:49 ] Your group of Heavy Pulse Laser II hits Motty 007 [SCONE](Zealot), doing 528.9 damage.
    [ 20:16:51 ] Focused Medium Pulse Laser II belonging to Motty 007 hits you, doing 349.1 damage.
    [ 20:16:52 ] Your group of Heavy Pulse Laser II hits Motty 007 [SCONE](Zealot), doing 519.4 damage.
    [ 20:16:52 ] Focused Medium Pulse Laser II belonging to Motty 007 heavily hits you, inflicting 441.6 damage.
    [ 20:16:54 ] Focused Medium Pulse Laser II belonging to Motty 007 barely scratches you, causing 211.4 damage.
    [ 20:16:55 ] Your group of Heavy Pulse Laser II is well aimed at Motty 007 [SCONE](Zealot), inflicting 631.4 damage.
    With the Zealot at half armor, his gang finally arrived. Luckily, due to me pulling range they were still 30km off and thus for the most part out of weapon range.
    [ 20:17:52 ] Dual Heavy Pulse Laser II belonging to Rain Al'Thor misses you completely.
    With their Curse closing in on me, I finally finished off the Zealot. With the Curse neutralizing my capacitor and warp disrupting me, I didn't even try to fire on him in order to conserve capacitor for my one chance at freedom - a single overheated MWD cycle to try and burn fair enough away.

    Whilst the Curse held onto me, their longer range ships had finally started landing, including an Artillery Maelstrom, who well, hurt.
    [ 20:17:58 ] Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile belonging to Jack Dant hits you, doing 1548.4 damage.
    [ 20:18:00 ] 1400mm Howitzer Artillery II belonging to Pere Madeleine hits you, doing 4260.9 damage.
    [ 20:18:04 ] Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile belonging to Jack Dant hits you, doing 972.6 damage.
    Entering low armor, my shields gone from the constant pecking of the Zealot, my MWD finally finished it's cycle, allowing me to punch it! Entering low structure, I was jammed by a swarm of ECM drones, confusing me as I thought I had died since I was unable to lock anything. But no, I still had a sliver of structure left, my capacitor empty as I hammered the warp button and......
    [ 20:18:04 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:05 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:05 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:05 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:05 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:05 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:05 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:06 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:06 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:06 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:06 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:06 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:07 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:07 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:07 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:07 ] 220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II belonging to CraftyCroc misses you completely.
    [ 20:18:07 ] Dual Heavy Pulse Laser II belonging to Rain Al'Thor misses you completely.
    [ 20:18:07 ] Mega Pulse Laser II belonging to Rain Al'Thor misses you completely.
    [ 20:18:07 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:07 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:08 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:08 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:08 ] External factors are preventing your warp drive from responding to this command.
    [ 20:18:08 ] Warrior II belonging to Jack Dant misses you completely.
    [ 20:18:08 ] Warrior II belonging to Jack Dant misses you completely.
    [ 20:18:08 ] Warrior II belonging to Jack Dant misses you completely.
    [ 20:18:08 ] Warrior II belonging to Jack Dant misses you completely.
    [ 20:18:08 ] Warrior II belonging to Jack Dant misses you completely.
    [ 20:18:08 ] You cannot do that while warping.
    And then

    Close one!
    I didn't even have enough capacitor to make the warp to the Customs Office I was aiming for, instead landing in a shallow spot 1.5AU from the stargate I escaped from. On D-Scan you can see what their gang had.

    Docking up, I finished my pizza whilst I followed two trains of thought - how close I was to dying, whilst the second was - Who looted that fricking Warp Disruptor??!

    Monday, 28 February 2011

    Molden Heath - Mixed Bag

    One of the staples of any hangar I keep is my shield Harbinger, with its unique combination of agility, damage, range and speed. A direct competitor to my shield Harbinger is the shield Hurricane, possibly the most commonly sighted solo ship in all of New Eden. And in Molden Heath, they were a plenty. Therefore, it made sense to seek them out and see what magic I could do.

    Harbinger, Amarr Battlecruiser, possibly my favorite ship in New Eden

    Doing another loop around Molden Heath, this time I departed Oddedulf, jumping into Bosena first. After a few minutes, I found a shield Hurricane to engage. Unfortunately, when he entered structure a Falcon decloaked and jammed me. Cursing, I could only watch as the Hurricane warped off and the Falcon cloaked up. Amusingly, I managed to decloak the Falcon but he jammed me before I could kill him.

    No matter, soon enough I found a Hurricane missioning who had no such backup. He went poof nicely.

    Moving on, the systems passed through in a flash and soon I was in Egbinger, home of Wensley of Rifter Drifter. After lingering around for a few minutes setting up safe spots, I spotted a Macheriel running a mission. Cracking out the probes with my alt, I warped my main in but the Angel Battleship pilot was on his toes and warped off, already pre-aligned before I got out of warp. Catching sight of a Blood Money Cartel gang consisting of Ishkur, Pilgrim, Thrasher and a Vengeance, I waited patiently at the sun for them to come after me. After a few minutes of them staying in the safe spot, I took the initiative and probed them out with my alt.

    Dropping out of warp, due to their movement I landed 50km off the Thrasher. Before I could close range, they warped off. Surprised at their reluctance to engage me, I began to head out, before catching sight of a Myrmidon sitting on a station. Warping in, I was dismayed to find out he was neutral; I would not be able to engage him first without sentry guns opening fire on me.

    A quick look in local whilst waiting for him to open fire first revealed that he had two corpmates in system with him. Still waiting for him to engage, I had a quick look through his killboard history which revealed he liked to fly shield Myrmidons sporting Blasters. After a few more minutes of sitting on station with no attention from him, I felt unloved and warped to the sun at 50.

    Finally, he warped in, landing 30km off. Pointing him before he could leave was trivial and soon I was handily kiting him. Chewing through his shields were taking a while however and before they were halfway gone a second Myrmidon and a Hurricane landed 50km off. Continuing to pour fire onto the Myrmidon I was already engaging, I was forced to switch to manual flying to stay out of overheated web range of the 3 Battlecruisers whilst still firing on the first Myrmidon. Whilst I was able to keep out of their weapon systems' optimal, their drones were starting to chew through my not so large shield buffer. With me entering low shields, the Myrmidon finally entered structure. Unfortunately, he managed to get out of my overheated point range just as he hit half structure. With me entering armor, I warped off.

    Docking up and repairing, I spotted a small gang of frigates in Muttokon with my alt. Jumping in with my main, I noticed the gate flashing behind me as a Hurricane, Rifter and Typhoon decloaked, the pilots who I had just fought!

    Typhoon, Minmatar Battleship. Fast, deadly, a real beast on the battlefield. 
    Reviewing the situation, I was lucky enough that the Rifter had not decloaked within scramble range of me. Overheating my MWD, I started burning off the stargate, the gang following behind me. By now, my aggression to them had run out and I was unable to fire on the Rifter without sentry guns interfering until he engaged me first, which he was wisely careful not to do. The Hurricane was kind enough to fire on me and I started laying into him with overheated Heavy Pulse Laser IIs.

    Soon enough I had the Hurricane in half structure, however I had forgotten to stop overheating my guns and they burnt out. I could only watch as my Valkyrie IIs attempted to finish him off, but it was clear they were not up to the task so once again I was forced to warp off.

    Evading the gang as I left, I docked up in Aedald and repaired my heat damage. I started heading back and met up with Wensley who had just logged on, but I was forced to leave early due to RL before we could get into a scrap.

    Hardly the introduction to Molden Heath that I wanted for Rend, but it could only get better from here on in...

    Sunday, 20 February 2011

    Molden Heath - Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do

    After killing the guys in the wormhole with my Myrmidon, I docked up and ate dinner. Undocking, I spotted a Maelstrom and Raven on scan. Further refinement using my directional scanner yielded their approximate location, within 30 seconds my Myrmidon was in warp to their mission courtesy of my alt having refitted with 2 Warp Disruptors in order to catch them both.

    Dropping out of warp ontop of an acceleration gate, I activated it and landed 90km off them, with a few rats remaining in the mission.

    Raven, Caldari Battleship famous for mission running
    Overheating my middle rack of modules, I burnt towards them. Suprisingly, they let me get in point range and I had them both pointed quick enough. Settling into a tight orbit around the Maelstrom in order to reduce his turret DPS, I started pounding away at him with Republic Fleet EMP M as well as my set of Thermal Drones. His shield took a few minutes to go through and his armor lasted long enough for me to swap to Explosive Drones + Fusion, but eventually he popped.

    Gliding up to the Raven, I started working through his considerable shield tank, but eventually he fell also. Docking up, I dropped off my loot, refilled on cap boosters and waited out my GCC. Just before it finished expiring, through my alt I spotted a neutral gang of 3 Vagabonds and a Rapier in Bosena, excellent prey for my Myrmidon. At the same time however, I was convoe'd by a member of Gunpoint Diplomacy and asked if I would help them kill the same gang. "Of course" I replied, more pewpew is always welcome.

    Undocking, I made my way to the Bosena stargate and met up with the rest of the gang whilst connecting to their TeamSpeak server. In total we had Armageddon, Blackbird, Hurricane. my Myrmidon and two Tempests. Definitely overkill for such a small gang we were facing.

    After a very long game of cat and mouse, eventually they slipped up and my alt secured us a warpin ontop of them. With the Heavy Neutralizers fitted to our Battleships, we caught and killed one Vagabond whilst the rest warped to the high security stargate. Following behind them, we are delighted to find them shooting a neutral Rapier on the stargate who had apparently fired back. The opposing gang warped off whilst the neutral Rapier was dispatched quickly.

    Whilst looting the field, a Tristan autopilotted to the stargate and he promptly felt our wrath.

    Poor, poor Tristan.
    Heading back to Oddedulf, a Drake and Omen were spotted belt-ratting. Unfortunately, they kept warping to another belt as we landed. Putting a ship in each belt, we caught them and they were also eliminated. Rather unusual fit for an Omen.

    After quickly suicide ganking a Hulk in neighbouring high security, I logged off for the night, eager for more pewpew the following day.

    The next post will contain some actual good fights!

    Thursday, 10 February 2011

    Molden Heath - Gunpoint Diplomacy

    Before I moved to Molden Heath, I had no idea how many bloggers lived in this tiny section of Eve. Well, now that I'm here, I can tell you there's quite a few! Most of them seem to be members of Gunpoint Diplomacy.

    Whilst some of their blogs are well known, such as Wensley's Rifter Drifter, others are slightly trickier to find. I figured I would do them a service and link them all together. So, without further ado, I present to you the bloggers of Molden Heath!

    Molden Heath - Fear the Myrmidon

    Logging on the next day, I elected to finish the Molden Heath loop. The route itself was void of targets, but allowed me to make safe spots along the way, which would prove useful later on.

    Finally, one jump from my destination (Oddelulf), I spotted a Hurricane on D-Scan in a deep safe. A quick look at local revealed a single pilot with Global Criminal Countdown (GCC), indicating she had been engaged in unlawful combat recently. A quick glance through her bio revealed her to be a member of Gunpoint Diplomacy, members of which I had seen in Oddelulf yesterday.

    Super serious spaceship commander

    Dropping probes with my alt, I soon had a solid hit. Fleet warping my Myrmidon in at 0, I landed 2km from him. Applying my web & scrambler on him, I released my thermal drones on the stricken Hurricane, whilst swapping to Republic Fleet EMP M ammunition with my 220m Vulcan Autocannons, since a quick glance through the pilot's killboard history revealed her to favor the Shield Hurricane.

    In the meantime, the pilot opened up with a rack of  425mm AutoCannon IIs as well as a pair of energy neutralizers, but unfortunately for her my armor reppers were keeping up with the incoming DPS, whilst the neutralizers' effects were being negated through the use of careful capacitor injection. Soon enough, the shield Hurricane exploded. Exchanging good fights in local, I kept moving and docked up in my temporary home station.

    Undocking a short while later, I spied a Drake on D-Scan. Narrowing him down to the high security stargate, I warped in at 50km, whereas he was hugging at the stargate. After a few minutes where I attempted to ease him away from the stargate, he opened fire and started burning at me!

    Disengaging, I dragged him away from the stargate. In order to keep his attention whilst doing this, I only turned on my Kinetic Hardener, leaving my armor repairers untouched, thereby giving him the impression I was crumbling from his fire. Once he was far enough away, I doubled back and applied my scrambler and web, releasing a stream of Thermal Drones as well as opening up with Republic Fleet EMP. At the same time, I activated my armor repairers and immediately repaired all my damaged armor. However, he was not alone. The stargate started flashing multiple times as local climbed by 6.

    As the hostiles decloaked, their gang was revealed: 2 more Drakes, 3 Hurricanes as well as a Scimitar who immediately repped original Drake to full shields. Deciding this was slightly too much for my Myrmidon to take solo, I started burning away with an overheated MWD.

    Scimitar, Minmatar Logistics Cruiser. Capable of keeping its gang alive under heavy fire


    Unfortunately, whilst I was faster than the Drakes, the Hurricanes were significantly faster then my slow armor Myrmidon. At the same time, all 6 Battlecruisers opened up on mine. Overheating my lows and mids, I kept burning away. Through careful use of my overheated web, I eventually managed to warp off, slowing each Hurricane down as they approached me, allowing me to pull enough range to warp off. As I warped off, it was evident that I was too distracted whilst fleeing to keep an eye on my lows, as they were all burnt out. Oops!

    Docking up, I repaired my mids and waited for the neutral gang to leave local. To pass the time, I sent my alt to check out the wormhole I had probed down yesterday, expecting it to be closed as nearly 18 hours had passed. Luckily, it was still present, albeit with a time limitation of < 4 hours left. Sending the alt in, I was amazed to find a mining operation going on, with a Damnation, Hulk, Mammoth and Retriever happily mining away.

    Refitting my Myrmidon by replacing the Web with a Warp Disruptor, I positioned him on the entrance to the wormhole, jumped in and fleet warped him with my alt to the jetcan the Hulk was mining out of. My warp in was excellent: I landed within 2km of the Hulk, the Retriever and the Mammoth, with the Damnation 60km off. Scrambling the Hulk, I warp disrupted the Retriever. Putting my autocannons and drones on the Mammoth, I hoped to pop him before he warped off, but alas he managed to slip away.

    Swapping target to the Retriever, in a few seconds he disintegrated, followed quickly by the Hulk. During this time, the Damnation had closed range on me. Moving towards him, I disrupted him and then placed my scrambler on him, preventing him from escaping.

    Damnation, famous for its incredible armor tank
    With the Damnation firmly tackled, I opened fire on him with all I had - 220m Vulcan Autocannons and Drones. Unfortunately, it seemed the Command Ship had a fairly tough tank, with me hardly making any leeway through it. Whilst this was hardly unexpected, it was disapponting all the same. A quick look at directional scan revealed that one of the pilots had reshipped to a Loki. Narrowing down the range, it was blatantly obvious that he was in warp back to the Damnation, a fact I could exploit.

    Typically set up for kiting, the Loki, Minmatar Strategic Cruiser packs a fearsome punch.
    Knowing that a Loki would most likely be fit for range, I aligned towards the POS he was warping from. A few seconds later, he dropped out of warp 20km off. Overheating my MWD and warp scrambler, I managed to grab him before he could start burning away from me. Swapping ammunition from RF Phased Plasma M to RF Fusion M and Thermal Drones to Explosive Drones, I started carving through his shield. Whilst it was evident that he also had a tough tank, I was clearly carving through it much quicker then I was carving through the Damnation. Satisfied I had made the right decision to swap targets, I had another look at directional scan and found that another one of the pilots from earlier had reshipped, this time into a Tengu!

    With incredible range, damage and tank, the Tengu is not to be taken lightly
    Overheating my guns, I hoped to bring the Loki down before the Tengu could arrive. Presently, with just the Damnation and the Loki on the field, my tank was holding, although I had to guzzle cap booster 800 charges in order to keep my armor repairers running. With the added DPS of the Tengu, it was incredibly likely they would be able to overcome my tank.

    Which is exactly what happened. Overheating my hardener and armor repairers, I was barely tanking them, with damage bleeding into structure. At the same time, my capacitor booster charges were running out. Thankfully, the Loki finally exploded with me having a single capacitor booster charge in my cargo hold. Scooping up the loot, I made my escape, leaving the field incredibly damaged. The Damnation landed on my exit wormhole back to Molden Heath before me, but was unwilling to jump into Molden Heath after me, allowing me to warp off, fairly damaged.

    Structure damage, out of cap boosters, wise time to disengage
    Dropping off loot, repairing my modules and replenishing my capacitor boosters in my station took but a few minutes, whilst my alt attempted to locate the hostiles inside the wormhole. Not content with what I had already killed, I needed to kill that Damnation and Tengu.

    After spending nearly 30 minutes looking for the Tengu that kept disappearing and reappearing on scan, I finally narrowed him down to a planet. Warping my main back to the planet, I landed 25km off him and immediately pointed him. Closing range, I focused my scrambler on him also and started laying into him with both drones and guns. Whilst it was clear that he was tanked fairly well, it was also clear that I was capable of breaking him, albeit slowly. At the same time, my armor repairers were keeping up with the damage he was putting out, although barely. As the Tengu approached 70% shields, the Damnation landed 20km off me. Swapping my warp disruptor to him, I kept pounding on the Tengu.

    After what seemed like hours of shooting, he finally popped, however not without a price: I was almost out of cap bosters after having to be forced to keep my armor repairers running at full throttle in order to keep up with the incoming DPS. Swapping over the Damnation, I glided up to him and placed my scrambler on him, taking off my warp disruptor to conserve capacitor. What followed was a true testimont to his tank, it took a full 8 minutes to kill him, due in part to him shooting my drones when it was clear to him that he could not break me solo.

    However, this was strictly *not* true as in order to tank him, I was forced to permarun a single repairer, which required me to use up my capacitor boosters. By the time he died, I was out of capacitor boosters and had been relying on natural capacitor recharge to keep my armor repairer going, a tricky task. However, he did finally explode.

    Looting and salvaging the wrecks with my alt produced little in the way of loot - less then 30M all told. However, what I had done finally struck me - I had effectively soloed a Command Ship and 2 Strategic Cruisers in my Myrmidon, without using Exile pills as I had none in Molden Heath. 

    Battle report as shown on the Tusker killboard


    Stay tuned for more Myrmidon shenanigans as I explore how far I can push this majestic ship before I would reach its limit.

    As a side note, I still haven't found a reliable drug supplier in Molden Heath who sells Standard Exile pills. If you manufacture them or have some to sell, hit me up ingame and we'll talk business.