Monday, December 30, 2013

Roamin', Roamin', Roamin'

From flickr user Jim Surkamp

We did something a little different last night and went roaming, flying from system to system looking for fights. When I signed in the fleet was already up and running in Kedama and heading outwards. I asked what I should bring and was surprised to be asked for a "long point Atron", a fit we don't fly much. This is a fast tackle ship that can switch off the warp engines of a target at 24km away, but can't switch off the microwarp drive. So the target still has a chance to burn away...except that I have an MWD too and can chase them, keeping them in range and unable to flee, while the rest of our fleet applies damage and blows their ship up.

I'd never flown this role before, and my ship wasn't fit exactly to corp standards, but I have to say it was great fun! To be able to scram someone from that far away was like magic! Within seconds of arriving at the fleet in Kedama a Condor appeared. I quickly pointed him and chased, and he was dead very quickly. I easily got on another 8 kills in the ninety minutes and didn't die. You can see the complete results at this site between 2013-12-30 between 02:53 and 04:22

Our fleet felt like a quickly moving snake, sliding through these systems and catching a lot of ships unawares. This was quite a different atmosphere than what we've done for the last few months, sitting in a plex, orbiting the button and waiting. We also fought a lot of neutrals and my security status has slid to -1.9. A couple more of these and I won't be able to enter 1.0 security systems unless I go kill some pirates first.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My First Experience as Fleet Commander

Captain Sheridan of Babylon 5 FC'ing, like I did :)

When I signed in last night our CEO asked me to take our small fleet of four pilots out in cheap Atrons and "just see what happens, get some fights, get blown up." We had free ships to hand out to people so I was encouraged to take fights and get some FC experience.

My first opportunity to get some glory was *just* missed as we undocked alongside a war target Manticore (stealth bomber) and Imicus. Our small ships could have probably taken them on, since Manticores are often fit for Faction Warfare missions running, not PvP combat. But I was too slow in remembering what a Manticore was, so they got away.

The rest of the night, about 3 hours, was very smooth. Luckily for me our targets appeared one at a time and our pilots were very quick to pin down targets of opportunity. They reported their location and we'd all just warp there and kill the ship. The first to go was a neutral Merlin in plex, then an Incursus, Ishkur (plus pod), another Incursus and a Harpy. The last was particularly satisfying for me as we'd encountered this Harpy a couple of times hovering 80-100km off several gates. He was reported as being on short scan outside a medium plex and I had a quick idea to have our pilots warp to a random distance between 20km and 100km short of the medium plex. I figured there was a chance one of our pilots would land close enough to point him...and they did!

I mostly emulated what I'd seen other FCs do on a slow night. Put most of the fleet in one plex and one or two pilots in the other available plexes, and be ready to warp to them and assist. When no plexes were available we went to a neighbouring system and did the same thing there instead. We capped about a dozen of them and lost on average one ship in each encounter.

Thanks to Marcel for pushing me into the FC chair on a nice slow night and to the pilots who made my job very easy with their initiative and understanding.
--
In other news I finally got my Epithal to the Customs Offices and liberated some of my valuable factory production. I got a shipload of Toxic Metals to Yvangier.  I'm also setting up what I hope will be a very profitable production run of an item that sells for far higher than its production cost.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Money's All Spent

From flickr user Profound Whatever

Money

I went on a bit of spending tear over the last few weeks, spending more than half of my wallet balance setting up my own ship supply chain. I made a Google Docs spreadsheet to track my inventory of the components used in four of our fits and noted an approximate price and best-priced source for each component. I could have tried to automate that part, but decided not to. I mainly stuck with Jita, but if a cheaper source was available close to our Yvangier base of operations I bought the supplies there and ferried it over myself.

I also set up buy orders for many of the parts: I have Procurement III so I can place these orders within 10 jumps of my current location. These buy orders usually sit ignored but I've picked up some bargains too: ENAM IIs for 250K instead of 900K for example. But mostly, even if I'm the top buyer, the orders are not filled quickly so this method shouldn't be relied on if you need the parts urgently.

I also spent a lot of acquiring datacores, which I have not yet sold. Most have been shipped to Jita and I'm waiting for either a price spike or for me to run out money, forcing a sale!


Fleet

We had a really good fleet last night and rampaged through Heydieles and surrounding systems for a while. I was in a Navitas and Exequror and did some good things, though I still messed up a couple of times. I've *just* now realized a common mistake I make: I lock a target and turn on the reppers WITHOUT first checking which of my current targets are selected.  As a logi pilot you always have the other logi and the FC pre-locked, so I have often started repping the other logi (who don't need it) instead of the poor bastard who needs armor! Now that I know how I keep falling into this mistake I hope I can avoid it.

I also discovered that you can turn off a particular armor repairer by clicking the icon that appears under the target, rather than trying to remember which of your three reppers is pointed at which target.

The best fight was against five Tech 2 ships (Pilgrim, Stabber Fleet, Arazu, Pilgrim, Arazu) - those are some pricey ships and we sliced 'em up good :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oddball Fleet: Exequrors

This was written by Phyridean, a fellow Aideron pilot. I wasn't able to join this fleet, but the battle report is fun and I wanted to share.  This took place last week.

The fighting Exeq is fit as follows:

[Exequror, Sudden Explosions]
Capacitor Power Relay II
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
800mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Sensor Booster II
Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

Medium Remote Armor Repairer II
Medium Remote Armor Repairer II
Medium Remote Armor Repairer II

Medium Remote Repair Augmentor I
Medium Anti-Explosive Pump I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Sprinkle with Drones to taste.
-------
First, we helped some guys bash an ihub. Good times. Then we moved on to the main event.

We had five Execs, three Atrons in various tackle fits. The execs were 4x sudden restoration with combat drones, 1x Sudden Explosions (what I'm calling your fit above--it's good for an FC).

We headed first to Tama, with KnotHeather providing +1 scouting. On jumping into tama, we were presented with a neutral vexor and omen on the gate. Since we had the reps, we engaged the Vexor. The plethora of webs helped immensely in this regard, and he went down. The Omen got away.

At this point, we needed to change up some drones, so we went back to Notoras, refit, and came back to Tama.

We warped to a medium plex gate, and were ready to go in when a cynabal landed on us. We ate him for breakfast, poor guy.

Just after the cynabal went down, two Vigilants warped onto us, one after the other. I called 'the vigilant' primary, so we had some split DPS initially, but we were able to take the first vigilant down. During this fight, we lost all three Atrons (Opeth, KnotHeather, and Manboy) and Yoyo's Exeq. We switched DPS to the second Vigilant, and as he was deep into structure, an Augoror landed and got reps on him. We were breaking the reps slowly when a Falcon uncloaked and jammed me, losing our last point on the Vigilant. He warped out in 7% structure.

We flew back to Yvangier to reship, came back to Tama, and captured a medium plex with 18 neutrals and 1 war target in local who seemed pretty butthurt about our reps.

After the capture, we set destination to Yvangier. Investigating some plexes in Heyd, one of our pilots noticed that one of the Dust Districts had lit up. Our Atrons warped in and KnotHeather got her first FW tackle ever, on a Cormorant. We killed the cormorant  while a WT Crow sat at 250km, regretting saying in local, "what are u going to do bro rep me to death?".

Yes. Yes we are. And we did.

My Friends Are Here


Our assault on Heydieles began again yesterday morning, and I had the honour of starting the fleet. Our main fleet commanders FCs weren't going to arrive for a while so I thought I'd try and get something started before they arrived so they'd have some pilots to work with. Setting up the fleet was easy, though I had trouble find where to set the Message of the Day (MOTD). I advertised the fleet to the Gallente Militia channel in-game and seven pilots joined in about fifteen minutes, and luckily one knew more about actual FC'ing, so I turned the fleet over to him. I stayed with the fleet for a couple of hours.

It started slowly, with us taking plexes without resistance, but the enemy soon came out to play (see Dec 22nd to 23rd). We had up to 25 in fleet and were able to control the system, running the contested status up to 27% (started at 5%) at 10PM EST. I checked again early this morning and Heydieles was at 43%! That is a FINE day's work!

I flew logi (repair ships) most of the time, but deployed a single Hobgoblin II drone, assigned to the Fleet Commander so I could get on the kill mails :) I also enjoyed interacting with the new pilots that joined us: some new to faction warfare and others new to Eve itself. I was them only 4 months ago! One guy had been in a PvP corp that saw very little action and was blown away by how many fights we got into, and won, in just a couple of hours!

Blogger Kirith Kodachi is in our corp and wrote today about limited engagement timers: worth a read if you want to avoid falling prey to station games! I was one of the two logi that got killed in this fight.

But the BEST story comes from an incident that I missed. One of our pilots was killed, then his pod held for ransom. While the attackers pressured him to pay up he played for time and then said:

"My friends are here."

And the Aideron ships burst out of warp, pinned down the bad guys and blew them up! Hence my choice of graphic today :)  (Yes those are the psychotic amoral Reavers from the Firefly movie -- what's your point?)

Friday, December 20, 2013

First Time For Everything

Me in a Maulus with a busted overview

It was an unsettling night of firsts for me, though it turned out to be very successful AND I didn't lose any ships, which is a nice bonus.  I flew both a Maulus (e-war frigate) and an Exequror (cruiser repair) for the first time AND did it with a broken overview.

A couple of weeks ago I installed the test version of Eve, the one that lets you connect to their "Singularity" server where you can test ships and generally mess around.  It was odd that the default directory that this wanted to install in was the same folder my regular Eve client sat in, so I changed the test installation folder and let it go to work. From that point on the overview in my regular Eve client seemed to revert to its default factory settings BUT not every time I ran it, just sometimes! How weird is that?!  Last night it was totally nuts, having no tabs except a "Default", with neutral ships having no background color, so after the night's fleet action I uninstalled the Eve test client, rebuilt the overview and hopefully put the issue to bed. No more test clients for me!

The first encounter we had was a quick skirmish with a Vexor sitting on an acceleration gate. Our Maulus-heavy fleet encountered him and tried to take him down but several of his buddies showed up, killed one of us and chased us off. It was, as mentioned before, my first time in the Maulus and I was pleased to be able both use it and get out with half structure remaining.  We reshipped into cruisers and joined up with QCATS - our fleet of 18 ships, including me in a borrowed Exequror. For the loss of only one ship we killed nine of theirs: Condor, 2 Exeqs, 2 Harbinger, Maller, Oracle, Curse, Brutix. (see here on 2013-12-20 in Abune).

I tried to record video, but thanks to the Big Reset mentioned above, the Eve client was running DirectX 11 and my video recorder only works in DX9.

I've also made a spreadsheet to manually track the ship modules which I own that can be used to build our corporate ships. We pay a markup to our logistics guy, to make the effort of keeping us supplied worthwhile and I wondered how easy/worthwhile it would be to bypass that. There's only a 2M ISK savings on the Tristan, but a more substantial saving on the Algos. PushX.net will ship from Jita straight to my hanger for 7.3M ISK for up to 9000m3...I think I can make that work. Imagine having all the components for multiple ships just delivered straight to you from Jita without having to undock! Buy, ship, assemble, put up on contract, collect the money -- easy :) Hmm...on first look it looks like hard going. A 1B ISK investment buys me 65 completely fitted and delivered Algoses. Selling them at 2M less than our current offer yields about 90M profit. That's not nothing, but it's a lot of clicks to get those contracts up. If I buy less of them, the efficiency of the shipping costs falls and eats into profits even more.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Zao Amadeus takes on two Thrashers in a Fed Navy Comet

This is a fun video!  Zao is known as a pilot that can fly most of the ships in Eve and fly them well. He does regular live streams, so tune in when you can.

Retail Therapy

From flickr user Amit Chattopadhyay

After a couple of hours wrestling with the abomination that is iTunes on Windows 8 (albums only shown as tiles without enough room to read the whole name, "Find" function that doesn't work, invisible process for transferring songs to devices) I did some shopping in Eve. A couple of weeks back I had assembled the parts I needed to make a couple of my own ships that complied with fleet doctrine. This saved me a few million on the corp contract cost, and left ships for those who needed them more than I did.

So this time I went a bit bigger, spending about 200M ISK overall. I think I bought enough parts to fit out 15 copies of our three most commonly used fits: an Atron, a Tristan and an Algos.

I made a spreadsheet (wouldn't be Eve Online without spreadsheets, right?) to keep track of the components used, some of which are used by more than one fit. I used eve-central.com to determine where would be the best place to buy each component; I mostly stuck with Jita, Algogille and Dodixie but made a side trip in a case where the cost and quantity justified it. I used pushx.net to ship from Jita and I did the shopping and transport myself from Algogille. I tell ya, the trip BACK,with 60M ISK worth of stuff, felt a lot more dangerous than the trip out! I haven't been to Dodixie yet, but will go soon. I have all the Tristan hulls, and most of the Atrons, but no spare Algos hulls yet, so I'll have to sort that out sometime soon.

I also set up some buy orders that will, hopefully, acquire these components at an even lower price than I just paid, though I've actually been trying this for a few weeks without success. I've placed the order AT the trade hubs this time, so perhaps they'll get more attention.

I estimate that this will save about 80M ISK on the ships I'll make myself, versus buying them from corp contracts.  The question that kept nagging at me in the two hours or so I spent doing it was "Is this really worth it? Or should you go out and run plexes/data-sites and make the extra money to buy the ships on contract?" In the end, though, I'm glad I did it and will be able to do it again more smoothly next time. I had a new experience, though a bit of a mundane one, and tested my organizational abilities. I don't think I missed any components, and I also had time to stop at Caslemon and purchase another round of datacores and get them shipped to Jita.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Faction Warfare Guide Series: Missions



Subsparx, though a misguided lost soul who fights for the Caldari, has produced an excellent guide to a part of faction warfare that I haven't tried yet: running missions.  You will be sent deep into enemy territory to achieve an objective, usually killing one or more targets. I recommend you watch this video. When the Gallente next reach tier 3 or 4 I hope to be able to try this.  I also see an opportunity I didn't know about before; if you see a beacon in your current system that has a FW mission name, warp to it and see if there are any good wrecks to loot. FW mission runners don't care about looting their wrecks and may not even be adequately armed to fight you if you attack them.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Video added to earlier post

I've added the promised video showing the successful defense of Heydieles on November 29th. We lost the system a week later, but the fights on 11/29 were a lot of fun.

Last nights fleet was mainly focused on plexing in Heyd again. We had about 13 people in fleet and scored some great kills: slicing up this T2 frigate fleet from General Tso's Alliance was fun.

One of our pilots had a Really Bad Day in Eve. He got suicide-ganked TWICE, first losing an expensive mining vessel, then losing a cargo of datacores. He fought well in the evening's fleet though, acting as Hero Tackle in one of our fights. I directed his attention to PushX.Net and hope that will make his life a bit easier when it comes to moving valuable cargo around.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Faction War update on themittani.com

Raktak Takrak has written a good summary of the events in Caldari vs Gallente faction warfare of the past few weeks. It's nice to see our actions in Heydieles described as "heroic" even though we ultimately lost control of the system. Hopefully we can get it back soon.

Accidental Bait

Fishing Lures from flickr user Chau kar

We took a fleet of about 10 ships out last night. We ran two plexes in Heyd without incident; in fact, for about 15 minutes there was nobody in Heydieles except us! That's *really* strange and I'm quite sure it's the first time that has happened. I should have jumped in my Epithal and liberated the contents of my factories, which are starting to fill their respective POCOs.

On our way to answer a call for help in Ladistier we ran into 2 Stabber Fleet Issues at a gate. We tried to goad them into opening fire on us, which they did, but the gate guns didn't seem to bother them much. They took out one of our two Navitas repair ships and when I tried to repair it (I was the second of our two repair ships) they got me too. We were unable to bring either of them down and when three more SFIs turned up, the rest of the fleet scattered.

The FC decided to reship into cruisers and take the fight. When we re-entered the system to look for our targets we noticed there were 102 people in local....Brave Newbies had arrived! We sent a scout to see where they were; he reported a cloud of BN ships with no enemies in sight, then they started posted their kills in local. They included a Rhea, which drew whistles of approval from our fleet.

We reshipped into smaller vessels and returned to Heyd; here's where I accidentally became bait (and forgot to video the damned fight again, sorry!). We entered a plex that already contained  a Condor. We suspected it was an Old Man Gang pilot that would keep his distance and try and tempt someone to chase him and, once separated from the pack, kill him.  Tonight, that was me!

It wasn't on purpose; I was totally set to orbit the button like usual but the FC says "Vic, burn in the opposite direction"....odd, but I do it. He was setting a few things up so I didn't think to question the order. After a short interval he says "What are you doing out there!?" as the Condor burns towards me. I drop drones, lock the Condor, and engage as my fleet-mates burn towards me to try and help. I wish I'd recorded the fight because its all a blur. I was scrammed early so I could not get away quickly, but I did try and burn away in a straight line and let my drones do the fighting. His damage on me was erratic; two or three big hits interspersed with small hits. My group were able to catch him, point him and attack hard....he went down when I was at about half structure.

So why was I ordered to burn off? The FC thought I was still in a Navitas...which was destroyed in the run-in with the Stabbers! And I'd been in an Algos after that, and was now in a Tristan. There's a lot to keep track of when you're an FC :) No harm done; I still miss steps in one ship, let alone tracking ten of them!

Heydieles was at about 15% contested when I logged out, so we're making progress towards recapturing the system. I also dealt with my factories...4 of them are humming along quite nicely though I have not been able to pick up their output for a couple of weeks. Then I went ratting in the asteroid belts, found and ran a data site (12M in loot) and logged out.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Begun, the Clone War has


Clone Soldiers - from flickr user HJ Media Studios

I only had time for a brief sortie in Eve yesterday. I started with a corp fleet plexing in Ladistier, but we didn't have the numbers to take on the experienced enemy pilots we encountered. We did take a couple of plexes, though and before logging off I decided to take a cheap Tristan through a set of asteroid belts and kill the local pirates in order to improve my security status.

The first couple of times I tried this I was found by other players who were hunting for pilots like me, and quickly finished off. I've started hitting d-scan a LOT more often now, and also flying this cheaper Tristan fit.

[Tristan, DerpTris]
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I
Drone Damage Amplifier I

Limited 1MN Afterburner I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Anode Light Ion Particle Cannon I, Tungsten Charge S
Anode Light Ion Particle Cannon I, Tungsten Charge S
Small Remote Armor Repair System I

[empty rig slot]
[empty rig slot]
[empty rig slot]


Hobgoblin II x5


The main damage is, of course, the Hobgoblin II drones. I keep away from the enemy and let the drones do the fighting, only closing in to add some blaster damage if necessary. I have a variation where I use railguns instead.  I have Scout Drone V and Drone Interfacing IV, so the drones deal decent damage. The remote repairer is for healing damaged drones, but I usually don't stay out long enough to make use of it. The scrambler is....well, pretty useless. In the unlikely case I get into a fight with another pilot that tries to escape, I could pin him down. But against rats this is a wasted module. The web is handy for slowing rats down and letting the drones increase their damage. I've used this fit to take out a Serpentis battleship.

The tradeoff with flying a cheap ship like this is that it is relatively slow in killing your targets, so you need to use d-scan frequently to make sure nobody is coming to get you. 

In the last belt I checked I found my first Clone Soldier! These are especially tough belt rats (mine was a "trainer", the easiest of the four types) that drop a valuable tag which you can use to raise your security status. I kept at least 30km from him during the 5 minute fight and luckily nobody else came to the belt while we were there. In retrospect I could have returned to the station and got a more powerful ship, if I wanted to risk getting caught. I think that anyone coming to find fights in a belt is likely to be in a group that is well-equipped enough to handle whatever I can dish out, so I might as well stick to my cheap ship and just focus on running away if someone arrives.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Financial Weapons

This was a fun little incident that closed out my night of Eve yesterday. I had purchased a large number of rigs that weren't available at our current station. Well, there WERE a few, but instead of costing the normal 100-200K, they were listed at 1M each. Obviously someone trying to catch buyers who were desperate.

I listed mine for 175K, used a few on ships I was building and thought no more of it. At the end of the night I noticed my wallet balance was 10M higher than at last check. Sweet! What did I sell?

10 of these rigs....for 1M each! The buyer had accidentally clicked on the crazy-expensive listing and bought ten of them. The way Eve works is that in case of mistakes like this the sale goes to the cheapest offer (i.e me) at the price the buyer was willing to pay (ie 1M instead of 175K).

I chuckled and decided to offer a large refund to the buyer, assuming it was a member of my corp building their own ships, who had made a simple mistake.

I didn't recognize the buyer's name so I double-clicked on it see his corp and alliance...WAR TARGET! F*ck that guy! I'll use your money to buy the ship WITH WHICH I KEEEL YOU!

How I Made My First Billion ISK in Eve Online

Bwahahaha!

There are many "first billion" stories in Eve; this is mine.

August 8th 2013 was my first day in Eve and I hit my first "wallet balance" billion ISK (not counting assets) about four months later. My first two months were spent doing solo play: missions, manufacturing, trade and the other stuff you can read in early blog postings. This made some money, but nothing serious. I also got a 250M ISK kick-start by sharing a plex the friend who got me to play Eve.

The serious money started when I joined Aideron Robotics and started earning Faction Warfare loyalty points. We were in Tier 3 at the time, so the LP flowed thick and fast. Over the next two months I earned about 350K LP by running plexes. I was told it was best not to spend it until we had dropped to Tier 1, which everyone was sure was coming soon, especially as TEST joined FW.

The reason behind this thinking is simply supply and demand. When the LP is flowing like wine, most people spend it right away, buying and reselling items from the LP store, and their prices drop. When we hit Tier 1 and people are earning a lot less LP, they buy and resell less LP store items and their prices go up again. I watched the datacore market and decided (right or wrong) that Electronic Engineering and Gallentean Starship were the most valuable. When the price of both went above 150K I started cashing in LP, buying thousands of these datacores.

I shipped them to Jita, where the highest prices are found, using Push Industries,and sold them through an alt. I had to do this because my main character cannot go to Jita; it's in Caldari space. My alt put the datacores up on sell orders, asking nearly 200K per Gallentean Starship...and got it! I sent the money back to my main character and, hey presto, billionaire!

Next time the Gallente rise to Tier 3 or even Tier 4 I'll be plexing even more and aiming for even more LP!

In regular Eve-play news, I helped plex Ladistier up to 22% contested, but sadly this morning it was back down to 1%: we don't have consistent timezone coverage to hold our gains. I got on two Thrasher kills of the same pilot that were rather fun. After that I ran three data sites (16M ISK) and went belt ratting. Unfortunately I shot at a wreck that wasn't mine, just for kicks and was surprised to lose a big chunk of security standings. I'm only -1.6, a carebear by many standards, but it's surprisingly easy to push this number down. Remember that if it gets below -5 you can be attacked anywhere, making trips to high-sec more difficult than they need to be.  I also built several Tristans that match with our corporate fit, which saves money versus buying them from our kind industrialist :)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Heydieles has fallen

From flickr user Pedro Vezini

The Caldari militia put overwhelming numbers in the field today and captured Heydieles. Congratulations to them for their tenacity! We look forward to taking it back again.

Later Update: I'm told Heyd was at only 60% contested the previous night, so the Caldari worked very quickly and steadily to capture it.

Our evacuation to a nearby system went smoothly, with only some of the expected hassling from Old Man Gang who were, I'm sure, very happy to kick us in the butt as we left. I got caught in by a large smart bomb in an Imicus at a jump gate, and it also killed my pod.  OK, NOW I'm seeing a pattern. Remember a few days ago I lost a set of +2 implants by getting podded two days after installing them? Well, this time I only had a single cheap implant but I guess it was enough to invite the Curse Of the Self-Podding Implant to strike again! I've now been podded twice, within a day or two after putting in implants.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Heydieles Vulnerable Defense Part 17 of Eleventy Hundred

Fighting the Many-Headed Caldari Dragon

From any point, on any world it is possible to look into multitudes of galaxies and find an arrangement of stars which reads "F*ck you" in whatever language you care to name. This means something important, but buggered if I know what.
  -- Roland "Soup" Nozl, Street Astronomer



This blog entry covers my activity from about November 29th to December 4th. I was on vacation and was either deeply immersed in playing Eve or couldn't actually get the time to play it. But boy howdy, what an exciting time!

This surge in Caldari militia activity in Heydieles may have started with a plea from Old Man Gang in the public Eve forums on November 26th asking for help in taking Heydieles. (Side note: when I bring a lot of pilots to an engagement it's "making good use of available resources". When you do it, it's "a blob.")

The post was met with relief and laughter, of course, from our side, especially since the response in the forums seemed very weak. We assumed this meant they were on their last legs, that their morale was broken and they'd soon be leaving the area. Wrong! The attacks from OMG and their allies stepped us in the next few days, pushing the contested status to 60%...70%...80%...90%...

On 11/29 Heydieles went vulnerable again as our allies in Dust lost ground. Our immediate concern was to defend the iHub while getting the system out of vulnerable. We ran a couple of plexes but the status didn't change as the Dust percentage continued to drop. We called for help and received some (thanks Wise Human Swords!), though, frustratingly, we got no help from forces in Eha. Our fleet numbered around 50.

The Caldari militia (mostly OMG? Not sure) set up an ihub bashing fleet and began hitting their attack. This was it! We saw up to 109 people in Local. It took us a while but we managed to assemble a strong force and we hit their fleet hard. We were so focused on the attack that our FC didn't seem to notice that Heyd actually drop OUT of vulnerable before we warped to the hub! There was a second skirmish at the hub too and then we hit back at some of their infrastructure. Enemy-controlled POCOs were attacked and sent into reinforcement timers. Our allies in Prima Gallicus set their Dust players the task of taking Heyd back to 12.5% and within a few hours they had done so. Heydieles was now out of immediate danger, but still at 95% or higher. No time to relax.

With this much blood in the water it no surprise that the sharks came out. There were two pirate fleets in system: one was know to be working with OMG, but the others were the real deal. They set up at the ihub and, according to our scouts, killed a lot of OMG ships that continued to trickle into the hub in small groups, seemingly unaware that they were being chomped as they arrived.

Our FC (was it Crosi?) noticed a battleship fleet outside a plex and upon scouting it it turned out to be Goonswarm. We flew at it hard and cut it to pieces...that was a fun fight :) I survived long enough in my Atron to get on five kills, though my security status took a hit. I'm only at -1.5 right now, but I can see how easily you fall and how hard it is to raise it up again.

There was a strange incident where six condors, ostensibly flown by GalMil pilots, entered our plex and started attacking us! All six had similar names "RugedBanana", "RigidBanana" etc. Our FC paused a few seconds to make sure this wasn't an "overview-screwup" and gave clearance to attack. We did so, confused as to what the hell this was about...the conclusion was it was some kind of scam to sell kill rights, or just awoxers having fun.

Once more great credit falls to our ship-wranglers, especially lockefox, who kept up a steady supply of ready-to-fly ships on contract. He also brought new POCOs in when we destroyed the two we had attacked earlier.

Heydieles was, for two days, the most dangerous system in Eve, with over 800 ship kills registered. Our corp killed 809 ships in November, almost double our previous record of 440 kills just the previous month. We have 111 in just the first four days of December too.

Defensive plexing has continued for the last few days and Heyd is currently in the range of 40-50% contested....well, that was true for a while. Now, on Dec 4th, it is nearly 90%. This is hard, repetitive work and we need to get more Militia pilots in space during the hours we in the US evening time zone are not available. We have some European allies, but need even more coverage.

In non-combat news I'm refining my Planetary Interaction setup, with four factories at work. I sold my first batch of Chiral Structures for 10M ISK, which pays for much of the infrastructure in one fell swoop. I've done a little belt-ratting in Indregulle, which has dozens of asteroid belts, and ran a couple of data sites, which seem to be getting harder to find. I also sold another batch of data cores and have finally achieved a wallet balance of one BILLION isk!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Allied Defense of Heydieles

Heydieles was once more taken to the edge of capture by the forces of Old Man Gang yesterday morning. We had a small defense fleet but any plex we occupied was swarmed by OMG forces too numerous for us to take on. We ran from three fights this way. The fleet decided to do a short roam instead, just to stay occupied and maybe do some damage elsewhere. I got on a Corax kill before making a mistake and engaging a Cormorant on the wrong side of a jump gate; my fleet was trapped on the other side waiting for an aggro timer to clear.

I returned to Heydieles and was asked by my CEO to contact Stay Frosty and ask for their help. They agreed to do so and our fleet grew to 25 pilots. We were ably FC'd by Bugrat Warhead of Prima Gallicus and after a few jokes about French accents we kicked the shit out of an OMG gang. Really, it was beautiful.We lost four ships to their ten (or more?) and it felt seriously good to take control again. I was flying a logi ship, the Navitas, and repped three people during the fight. The next fight, in my Tristan, petered out into a draw but I got on an Incursus and Condor kill. The pattern seems to be that we can take the novice and small plexes but OMG brings too much firepower to the medium plexes for us to handle. As Russian midnight approached the OMG forces dissipated and we brought Heyd down to around 74% contested.

In non-combat news I've got four factories set up in planetary interaction and, though my first couple of attempts were uuuuugly, I think I've got the hang of it. If my math is right I should make about 100M ISK and month from this, provided I pay attention to keeping them busy. It would help if those pesky Russians would stop blowing us up :)

I'm going to try and fix my video recording software so I can show you more of the exciting combat we get into.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Random Things


Here is a video with some interesting moments that I haven't included in other videos. In the first segment I'm introduced to gate guns and the consequences of attacking neutrals; unfortunately mentioned a bit late :) . In the second those same neutrals have reshipped and come to fight us in a plex. In the third we encounter some Eve Uni members who run into us at a planet after we've skirmished with someone else and in the fourth we encounter a Merlin at a gate and he picks me as his target.

Among the most frustrating losses I've had in Eve is where I respond to someone who is excitedly trying to reassemble a scattered fleet to jump to them and help attack someone. This usually ends in failure, as some of the fleet responds and some don't, and those that do just trickle in one at a time and get killed.  If you're the one calling for help, please try and honestly consider whether you might really win if help reaches you, or if you're just getting your friends killed.  Instead, ask people what they can bring, how quickly they can get there, and possibly where they can stage so they all reach you at the same time.  It might be difficult to stay together enough to do that while you're in a losing battle, but it's better than just hoping your buddies will reach you and be helpful.



As a bonus, watch for the many times I do NOT have my ship's weapons activated. This is due to tunnel-vision on my part where I'm so focused on doing something that I forget to do something else. In our ships we usually have several things to keep track of: drones, guns, scram, web and sometimes a neutralizer. I often forget about one or more of these. If you are looking for one good reason to record your Eve Online combats, this is it! Watch your videos and see where you made mistakes.

Nov 18th 2013
It's the night before the Rubicon expansion hits, so I'm doing a couple of random things before logging off. I ran a level 2 security mission in a derp Tristan, just to see what happened. It went fine, though I lost a drone. I also bought a bunch of skillbooks and trained Planetary Interaction skills. Its an area of the game I haven't touched and I wanted to give it a try. I also sold another load of data/relic site loot for a tidy amount of ISKies.

Nov 24th 2013
I'm on vacation but have taken my laptop with me to play a little Eve when I can. Heydelies was at 99.8% contested this morning but has been pushed back down to 80% or so this evening. But when the US timezone pilots sign off, things will be looking dicey for us.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Flying Logi

From flickr user Jerry Bowley

Last night's combat was a bit different for me; I flew logi! That means I flew a repair ship whose job is to repair the armor of our fighting ships during combat, trying to keep them alive longer so we had more chance of winning. I was under the guidance of Huard Catanach and using our new Mumble voice software we were able to set up a voice channel for just the two of us to talk on. Huard was a good teacher and we repped our way through several fights during which both of us got killed (see 13-11-20).

Being in a repair ship frequently makes you the first ship to be targeted. Our FC knew this was the case, though, and we did the best we could. At the very least we distracted the enemy so our DPS guys could attack them while they were busy with us.

Another corpmate, Serenalen, hosted a class for Aideron Robotics pilots on logistics. If you're interested in logi, you should really watch it!

It's actually less pressure, I found, than fighting in a DPS ship.  You have only one job: repair people. You are expected to not leave the fight and if you die nobody is surprised; it meant you stayed till the last, nobly giving up getting on killmails in return for free ships. As the non-lead logi guy, I didn't even have to steer...I just ordered my ship to follow Huard and he made sure we stayed at the right range from the fleet.

There was one unexpected moment: one of our pilots came late to the fleet because he'd been out flying Very Very Fast in his interceptor, reveling in its new speed after the Rubicon update. Our FC jokingly targeted him and fired, forgetting that we'd all assigned drones to him. His shield melted quickly and Huard and I had to rep his armor while the drones were called off.

Heydieles is almost 60% contested, so we need to step up to the plate again and get that number back down!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Highs and Lows

By flickr user michael heiss

Yesterday was a pretty odd one for me, though I actually hope to have more like it! Lets start with the highs...290 MILLION ISK! Aw yeah, space bucks baby. I cashed in 100,000 loyalty points and bought Gallentean Starship data cores, which are riding high in value right now. I contracted them to a corporation which buys them at Jita prices and pocketed a cool 190M ISK in profit. Sadly, they're not taking that particular data core any more, since everyone and his brother has been trying to sell them. So I will look for other opportunities.

Later on, while my corp was busy with moving large items long distances I decided to try some belt ratting. I'd successfully done some between plexes a couple of nights ago. This is, in case you don't know, where you warp to asteroid belts and look for NPC pirates (the "red cross" kind, not neutral players) to fight. You get a boost in security status for killing them, plus a little bounty and loot.  Unfortunately I got lazy and didn't check d-scan often enough...I got jumped by a gang of four neutral players and got killed.....and podded! I did give the command to warp out after my ship blew up, but perhaps they had fast lockers? I was flying a cheap Tristan that I put together, which I'm pretty happy with. I will make more copies and go roaming in belts, though I'll avoid systems with a lot of people in them. Heyd had 15 in local when this happened.

Worst part of that fight: I had a set of +2 skill implants that a friend had given me just two days ago! Sorry mate :(

The fight, despite their numerical advantage lasted longer than I thought it would, and had I noticed them earlier and either run away or kept my range, I might have gotten one of them. Despite a late start to my attack, I brought one of them down to low armor very quickly. I'll switch the prop mod to afterburner, though.

I switched into an exploration ship, wanting to finish the night on a good note. But despite scanning about a dozen cosmic sigs in eight systems...nothing. I suspect exploration is getting quite popular in our area.

Our home system of Heydieles is around 20% contested and we continue to plex it and the surrounding systems.

Funny mistake: we had finished running a plex and people were warping out to the next one. I decided to wait a bit and see if anyone left drones so I could rescue them and get karma. Sure enough, some fool left drones behind...get on comms "Who left their drones? I'll get them for you."...nobody...nobody. "Come on, someone did, they're right h....oh shit they're mine." Yep, my own drones, still out. Herpaderp.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Heydieles is stable!


Wow, what a mad ride!  Heydieles was *this* close to slipping from our grasp on Saturday morning, but by Tuesday night we made it a safe as it can possibly be. 0% contested, 100% stable in Gallente Militia control. I was there for the last plex and made the video above. My thanks to Tennar for bringing the fireworks!

A medal was created and given to all members of Aideron Robotics to commemorate the occasion.

But our victory does not come not only from our tenacity. After all we've been as persistent as we could for the past few weeks and were still losing ground to Old Man Gang and their allies. It seems that an internal dispute at OMG caused one of their 5 corporations to depart, taking some of their best pilots with them. I'd like to think that the pressure we were applying had something to do with it, but who knows?

As a bonus we also wrested control of OMG's current home system of Fliet from the Caldari. Our next campaign will be to help stabilize the systems around Heydieles.

Monday, November 11, 2013

How to "Slide" into a plex

How to slide into a plex

I have spent most of the last month in Eve fighting in faction warfare plexes (short for "complex", not to be confused with the "plex" that gets turned into 30 days of game time).  We get new members in our corporation or in our nightly militia fleets that don't know what it means when the Fleet Commander tells them to "slide in" to a plex. Those players are very much at risk for getting caught and killed at the entrances into plexes, where enemy ships and pirates lie in wait.

I hope this video will be a handy shortcut for those who have to give the same explanation over and over again :)

It's worth noting that this technique does not always work! Ask any faction warfare fleet for stories about when sliding didn't work, and you'll hear 'em.  If your has to do a big turn to go into the plex, that's a drawback and sometimes the enemy may have sensor boosted ship that can lock more quickly. But 99% of the time, this method will work. Remember to click "Activate Gate" repeatedly!!

More information the "slide", aka "Hans Slide" can be found at this forum posting, wherein the discussion over whether its a bug or a feature can be found.

The Successful Defense of Heydelies


We suffer a DDOS attack on our Teamspeak server
just as a huge Old Man Gang fleet engages us.

It's been a few days since I've posted because my spare time is going into playing Eve. We are successfully defending Heydelies but it has been a hard fight with large swings of fortune. As of today things look very good so I'm going to make a series of posts about what I've seen.

My last post was on November 7th and I reported Heyd down at 60% contested. We were gradually pushed back and that number rose and rose...on the morning of the 9th Heyd actually hit 100%. It was vulnerable! Had the Caldari militia decided to bash the i-hub during that very brief window, we would have lost. Luckily for us the Gallente players in the Dust 514 game made a push and took Heyd out of vulnerable, making it *barely* safe. We began de-plexing.

The work was very difficult. Old Man Gang are the main alliance that we fight and they have some seriously good pilots that appear to need no sleep.  The high levels of fighting (nice post, Kirith!) have attracted pirates too. Two of our pilots, Baynex and Ashterothi put in long, long hours of fleet command and rallied other Gallente Militia members to fight in Heydelies. Lockefox has greatly improved our supply of ships and components. We focused on plexing as best we could and....

At time of writing Heydelies is 25% contested. If take about 40 more plexes, unopposed, the system will be stable. Following the "broken windows" theory, we want Heydelies to be an unattractive target for the Caldari. If we keep it stable that sends a signal that the system is occupied, patrolled, secure and not worth attacking.

We don't know if OMG have had enough, have spent all the ISK they want to spend or are just resting this weekend. We'll find out soon enough.

[Update Nov 13:] The word on the grapevine is that internal strife in OMG caused one of their five corporations to leave, taking some strong pilots with them.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Grind Continues

From wikipedia

The grind for control of Heydelies continues. I hadn't thought to look up our enemy, Old Man Gang, but their persistence in fighting us prompted the thought "I oughta know who these guys are". OMG is an alliance of five corporations with about 200 pilots, compared to our 80.

This isn't going to be easy.

Heydelies fluctuates around 60-70% contested each day as OMG and us, with the help of people who join our nightly fleets, run plexes. We are bringing in more ships and getting better at re-shipping to take each fight with more appropriate equipment.  There's not much more to say other than this is the difficult, grinding face of faction warfare. You need to organize as close to round-the-clock presence in system as you can, refine your tactics, have ships available for purchase, make sure the right ships are on the field and everyone knows how to fly them. Rinse and repeat.

[Next Day Update - Nov 7th 2013]

Last night was quite successful; OMG were not out in large numbers and we ran a lot of plexes in Heyd AND in OMG's current home system of Fliet. We had Fliet at 44% contested and Heyd down in the low 60% range. We also had good numbers in our defense fleet; enough to be working in two systems at once.

Our supply chain is strengthening and we've developed some tools to watch our stock of components for all our doctrine ship fits so we can more easily re-ship and also sell replacement ships to visitors who are helping us defend Heyd.. The market in Heyd is well-stocked and continues to fill up and we're seeing repeat visitors each night to participate in our fleet.

Hope springs eternal, and all that.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fortress Heydelies


What an EPIC weekend! If you've been following my posts you'll remember that we were quickly losing control of Heydelies. On Friday night it was in the 80% range and we brought it down a little by plexing. We realized that if our corporation was the only one defending it, and we were only on in force for a few hours at night, we'd lose the system.

I woke up on Saturday morning and logged in to see where things stood....99.6! We were ONE plex away from the system going vulnerable. (side note: Once the system was vulnerable the enemy would have to attack a structure called the "i-hub", which takes a lot of firepower. The TEST ihub bashing fleet is about fifty strong, mostly battleships, and it takes about 10-15 minutes to do its work.)  I got onto our corp Google Hangout and notified the group. Luckily Marcel (CEO) was online and he advised me to notify the Gallente Militia, start a fleet and generally get things moving.

9:12 AM -- Heyd 99.6%, Dust at 1.1%

I wasn't able to actually fly due to family commitments but I got into the Gal Mil channel and alerted the troops: Paskis Robinson, Terhiss and Sharel Lennelluc were the first three to join the defense fleet and I wanted to thank them for stepping up so quickly. The system actually went vulnerable while we were getting set up! Each plex captured changes the contested status by about 0.7% and you need to capture about 150 plexes to go from zero to hero, or the other way.

9:21 AM -- Heyd 98.7%, Dust 3.3%

In case you didn't know, CCP make a first-person shooter called Dust 514. It is free to play on the Sony PS3 console only (for now). Not only is it set in the Eve universe but the two games actually affect each other. As the Gallente Dust players strengthened their hold on Heydelies in Dust 514, it takes away some Caldari control in Eve.

9:31 AM -- Heyd 97.7%, Dust 5.5%. Our defense fleet now has 5 members. Paskis and Terhiss are in the general militia channel urging pilots to join and defend Heydelies.

I asked during the weekend why Heydelies was so important; I'd heard the odd comment about it being a big deal but I'd never asked why. After all, the Caldari are conquering a lot of systems at the moment and we're not teaming up hard to defend them. The reply surprised me: its partially for strategic reasons (it connects with six other systems) but mostly to do with how difficult it was to take Heydelies back in March 2013, then we lost it in April and just regained it on October 14th. As a player its nice to know the history of a system and participate in the evolving story.

The Dust level increased to 12.5%, it's maximum allowed value, and stayed there.

Around 11AM one of our directors, Ashterothi, logged in and began a marathon session of FC'ing and diplomacy. He negotiated with a Europe-based corporation in a neighboring system to come and help us and also set up a temporary truce with a nearby pirate gang. Pirates are usually in faction warfare systems to look for fights with members of either side.  Ash was on for twelve hours and by Saturday night Heyd was down to about 65% and our fleet numbered between 20 and 30. This allowed us to also deplex neighboring systems a little, just to keep them out of vulnerable status.

We found the Test Alliance i-hub bashing fleet on Saturday night and teamed up with several other Gal Mil corps to try and attack it. We chased them across several system to the Aldranette area, but they dispersed and avoided a battle. They had flipped at least three systems into their control that day. They had spies in our fleet that threw some fapping noises at us over comms too, which was funny, lets face it.

The fighting continued the next day, again with Ash doing a lot, but not all, of the fleet commanding. It was less intense on Sunday, possibly because word had gotten around the Caldari FW community that Heyd was well defended and they should try elsewhere.

As you can see from the killboards it was a busy weekend (13-11-02 to 13-11-03) but what it doesn't show are the new associations we made. We know our friendly neighbors better now, we demonstrated our commitment to defending our home system and we got several applications to join Aideron Robotics, which is always nice. And we showed a a lot of younger players how to fight!

When I signed off last night Heyd was around 40% contested.

Funniest moment: A fleet member returned to station for repairs and was confronted by a battleship. The battleship locked him and opened fire....and was melted by the station guns!  I wish I could find the kill mail; the battleship was worth 480 MILLION ISK! The fleet member got a couple of shots in so he's the only player on the kill mail. 

While searching for the kill, I found this one instead: our CEO and the CEO of Old Man Gang, our perennial enemy, shared a kill together. Gotta be a story here, or maybe just a three-way fight with an interesting outcome.

Lessons Learned

Whew! Where to start?  

  • My ideas about plexing in cloaked ships neglect the big impact that visibility has. 
  • A gang of five ships can dissuade most attackers, especially if you have a repair ship. 
  • Make your fleet public and regularly advertise it in the militia channel.  
  • Try and have replacement ships ready to buy. 
  • Take your fights INSIDE plexes, not on gates. The defender's advantage is very useful.
  • Everyone should have ships ready for small or large engagements. It took a little too long to get a big fleet together to chase Test's ihub fleet.
  • Commandante Chongo is a one-man Tristan army! What this guy did with a single Tristan threw us into confusion. Hats off to you, sir, and may your pod lines clog and cause you unseemly discomfort.
My video recording software, Overwolf, had the hiccups and I wasn't able to record anything.

Friday, November 1, 2013

In Defense of Cloaked Plexing

My favourite solo plexing ship

Our home system of Heydelies was heavily plexed by the Caldari, taking it from 30% contested up to 70%. This meant that our prime task was to defend our home system by plexing it ourselves, which we did last night. I started our fleet and advertised it (we got some non-Aideron people to join, thanks guys!) and three of us headed out. I decided to use my cloaked Venture instead of an expensive Tristan because I had a suspicion it would be more useful and it turned out I was right.

[Venture, Cloaked Plexing]
[empty low slot]

Medium Shield Extender I
Adaptive Invulnerability Field I
Limited 1MN Afterburner I

150mm Railgun I, Uranium Charge S
150mm Railgun I, Uranium Charge S
Prototype Cloaking Device I

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I
[empty rig slot]


Hobgoblin II x2

(You could put a drone damage amplifier in the low, or whatever you like. And remember that the Venture has a role bonus of +2 Warp Stability built right in - it takes at least 3 points to warp scramble it. The guns/drones are there for taken out the NPC rat if you're offensive plexing. If you're purely defensive plexing you don't need the drones or guns.)

Over the next couple of hours I ran a novice plex, did ten minutes in a medium and ten minutes in a small, all solo. I also provided intel on enemy movements in a plex that was outside d-scan range for the main fleet. My fourteen corpmates handled the fights and had a blast! I think this contribution makes a good case for having a cheap cloaked ship in any plexing fleet. If your aim is to run as many plexes as possible then you want to have ships in all available plexes simultaneously. If you're a small fleet with plexing as your main goal, you might want to ALL go cloaked. A group of three or four cloaked Ventures could plex a system much faster than three or four fighting frigates.

A cloaked ship is a very safe way to have just one pilot be able to either run a plex completely or run down the timer. BUT if you're just using plexes to find Good Fights, a cloaked ship is just one less set of guns and is a liability.

Non-cloaked ships have to be ready to fight, flee or be present in numbers high enough to take a fight. But a single cloaked ship watching d-scan (see my guide from an earlier post) can just cloak up if someone shows up. They probably know you're in there since they will have d-scanned before jumping in, but if they can't find you then you can just wait until they leave. 

I've done this a lot and very rarely have the newcomers stayed to actually run the plex. Most of the time they're looking for a fight and, not getting one from you, they leave. Or someone else comes in a few minutes later and blaps them, then they leave.

Culture

This is where things get interesting, in a sociological way. There is a bias against cloaking! It's not outright hostility but I've heard hesitation from others in my corp when I suggest doing plexes cloaked, with the sense that it's "not the done thing". I get the feeling that in low-sec and faction warfare you're expected to to fight, or flee, but not hide. An answer along the lines of "we're here to fight together" has come up a couple of times when I've proposed it, even if our stated aim that night was to run plexes. I can understand that position, but fighting is not the only way to have fun in Eve. It can also slow down the process of taking plexes. 

It might be an interesting subject for someone to find out where this attitude came from how prevalent it is, and how it survives in a game where the full exploitation of every available game mechanic is encouraged. "If the game allows it, I'll do it" applies to cloaking too, doesn't it?

A cloaked ship is not invulnerable and I'll tell you what makes me nervous when I'm hidden: ships in wide orbits. You can spook a cloaked ship by having your gang orbit the button at different ranges. Go round a couple of times at 5/10/15/20/25/30 km if you think there's a cloaked ship in there. He can't move fast, can't recloak for 30 seconds (if he's using the cheap cloak) and can't target you if he decloaks. He'll probably decide to warp out. You only have to go round a couple of times to "sweep" the system, then return to orbiting at your optimals as usual.

In conclusion, my takeaway message from this post is that plexing fleets should consider using cheap cloaked ships more often, especially if you're a small fleet. It's an easy, cheap, safe way to run more plexes per hour and give you intel on enemy movements.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

I Been Searchin'

From flickr user Sarah Reid

Mo' Money Mo' Better

This is a slightly longer entry because it covers two days of activity.

The main theme in my Eve-mind for the past couple of days has been money. I bought 4 new ships from the corp and they'll very well equipped. 2 Algos and 2 Tristans cost me 70M ISK which is about 20% of my wallet balance.  I can lose ships pretty quickly -- my last Algos died in seconds as I responded to a corpmate's call for help in a plex, but I didn't know he was about to die while facing 4 enemy ships, who then chomped me up. I should've asked :-)

I can't afford to lose ships that quickly so I'm moving in several directions to fix this.

I'm trying to assemble my own ships, build some of my own components and buy others with cheap buy orders. Our corp has a regular delivery service from high-sec to our low-sec base, so I need to engage in some supply-chain work and spreadsheeting to get this done. This is the part of the game that detractors describe as Having A Job, but a kind corpmate helped me move some ships I bought through high-sec -- thanks Oreb!

[Later-That-Day Update] A great discussion took place on the Aideron forums (private, sorry!) and we'll soon have a new system in place for making ships available to new players. I'll stay away from making my own ships, which looked like a pretty time consuming activity anyway, and use the new system)

I'm also selling more of the assets that I have piling up. Evemon says I have a lot of valuable stuff, some of which I've tried to sell using sell orders. I'll need to lower those prices. Our corp has an agreement with another corp that will buy decryptors and I've contacted them and will see what price they're offering.

Lastly I will need to start using my 300K Loyalty Points. I use this site to see what the LP-to-ISK ratio is on various items, then I'll try buying/selling them.

Scout + 1

After buying my shiny new expensive ships we ran a couple of defensive plexes and, finding no fights, we decided to roam a little. This turned into a "Run Away!" session as we encountered a 15 ship Caldari fleet that chased our eight ships hard. Good FC'ing by Kirith Kodachi kept us all alive and hidden through six systems, though we all had a scare when we were at a safe and the Caldari showed up in our overviews! Luckily they were just warping to a gate and were on the same flight line as us. The safe wasn't totally-safe, but it was good enough.

Then I got picked to be our +1 for the flight back to Heydelies!  I'd done the occasional "look through the gate and tell us what's there", but never been a +1 before. If you don't know, the scout's job is to be one jump ahead of the fleet and report what hostile ships are at the next stop. I did OK and reported what I saw though I forgot to mention the number of war targets in Local a couple of times. Nobody died, so that's a victory! Next time, though, I want to have a cheaper Tristan ready for this kind of roam. I think I can have a ship that provides 90% of the DPS and HP for half the cost.

No Exploration For You

My last activity is something I'd been looking forward to for a few days. My corpmates were out participating in an Eve event, Nightmare In New Eden. They gleefully reported on comms that most of the fleet were attacking each other instead of the designated target, and since I wanted to NOT lose my new ships over something like this, I went out looking for a new exploration pipe. I'd noticed a chain of low-sec systems with very low traffic here in Essence, from Obalyu to Isenan. Three of them looked promising and with visions of unsullied cosmic signatures piled high, I flew out there. Sadly it was a bust. There were, at most, two sigs in some systems with others being totally empty. This must be where high-sec carebears come and dip their toes in low-sec so I crossed it off my list.

Tidbits Learned


  • The quickest way to give the "Warp To" command is to hold down the S key on your keyboard and, while keeping it pressed, click on a celestial in the overview. This is faster than using the radial menu ("planet view" mode is on top, really?!) or right-clicking and finding the warp command there.
  • Use a shuttle to fly through dangerous areas. It enters warp very quickly and takes a long time to get locked. If you're moving blueprints or valuable small items and can't cloak, this is another option.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dumb Ways To Die


It's weekends like that which make me think I've learned nothing about this game. I got killed three times in stupid ways, plus one more near miss. I have a couple of them on video which I'll share with you above. To my generous corpmates who gave me an Algos and Tristan -- sorry I got 'em blowed up!

Mistakes Were Made

The first mistake was a near miss -- while undocking I saw a flashy orange Thrasher docking. I was mindful to NOT change course and get to the corp insta-undock bookmark, but I didn't know that initiating warp breaks your "undock invulnerability". In the time it took for the warp to kick in I got locked and took a volley from a 280mm Howitzer II up the date. I was in an Imicus not fitted for combat: shield gone, armor gone, structure tickled a bit. I think the better bet would have been to re-dock as soon as I saw the Thrasher.

 I continued the journey -- it was into highsec to move stuff around -- and hit my second minor fail. I'd not noticed was that I'd set my destination six jumps away and not noticed that it took me through Caldari space.  On reaching Yashunen I get the "enemy of the Caldari people" warning but I was not intercepted. I think the faction police will only reach you if you hang around.  I fixed this for future occurrences by adding the system to my "avoid" list, and letting the autopilot plot my return journey worked fine.

The first loss was a the rookie error of not watching d-scan while plexing. We had just defended a plex and most of the fleet had warped to another plex. I stayed behind to pick up drones, which I heard someone say they'd left behind. I had stopped watching d-scan when three enemy ships arrived. I quickly picked a celestial and tried to warp out but my ship was almost stationary and I was scrammed, then melted in a few seconds. I suspect they'd been d-scanning our plex and when everyone BUT me left, they saw an opportunity.

My next loss was five minutes later to the same gang! I had jumped into another ship like the one I just lost and headed back to Heyd to join my corpmates in a plex. They told me there was a small gang on the gate but I always use the Hans Slide method to safely enter a plex (warp to 10km, while arriving you select acceleration gate in the overview and click "Activate Gate" repeatedly in your Selected Item window). But it didn't work! My ship landed and did a slow u-turn to try and enter the plex, but I lost my ship. It's possible that I didn't click the Activate Gate button fast enough.

The last loss was a strange one. We had just killed a 412M ISK Vagabond that had been hanging around our plex gates all night, a very satisfying chase and kill, when the Deimos that was 100 km away locked me. I had turned away from the gate to loot the Vagabond as our FC requested; I was only 6km from it. I turned back as the blows landed and reached 0 km on the gate as I entered structure. I'm confused about why the gate didn't actually get me out of there...it just did this slow smear of a move as I got turned to wreckage. It's in the video above. The Deimos that got me, and was actually on the Vagabond kill too, had previously piloted a Jaguar that we caught and killed.

Good Times

The good news is that our effort to hold Heydelies seems to be working well! It got as high as 75% contested, but we ran a lot of plexes and also I noticed the Dust 514 factor in our system went from -12.5% to +12.5%. So that was a big change in our favour!  The system is around 50% contested now and since we successfully moved our base of operations to Heyd it should be even easier to hold it.

Our corporation is having it killingest month ever, though our efficiency is down a bit. I think that's an acceptable trade-off. It means we're out there fighting for plexes against whatever comes and it's mostly cheaper ships like frigates and destroyers. Also we also have a lot of new, or new-to-Faction-Warfare, members that might still be finding their feet. And me, finding new ways to mess up!

Lessons Learned

  • When everyone leaves the plex except you, that may be an invitation for sharks to come and eat you. Watch d-scan! You'll get plenty of warning and plenty of time to leave.
  • It's so easy to freeze when you're under attack. Try and break out of it and do something different.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Taking the Algos Destroyer out for a spin


My very generous corpmates gave me a Tristan and Algos last night to take into Heydelies for some plexing. The system we captured a short while ago has been aggressively plexed by the Caldari and their allies and stood at 45% contested. If they continue at this pace they'll recapture Heyd by next week!  We decided to try and roll the clock back a little ways. When the dust settled we had managed to take two plexes.

Our first attempt nearly ended in instant failure. We got this Merlin, but a well-known Eve video streamer called Hershman showed up (4h31m here and again at 4h40m, where he tries to lock me! Luckily I was running away at the time! He also talks to our Ashterothi at 4h45m) in a powerful 465 DPS Enyo and broke us up. We ran and re-docked, switching into Algos destroyers. I said on comms that I was nervous about losing this, the most expensive ship I'd flown, and Ash told me he'd blow it up if I kept saying that :) It's about 17M ISK, which is small beans to a corp.

Hershman was gone by the time we got back to Heydelies, but we found a gang of four and caught them at the Heyd gate next door in Abune. Kyle had gotten them to aggress, which (I think?) kept them from jumping through to Heyd . It was a satisfying, but quick, fight -- lots of Hobgoblin IIs can make short work of an Incursus, Thrasher, Thrasher and Merlin.  I picked up all the loot (26M ISK) and dropped it in a corporate hanger (I promise!).

I lucked out at found 2 data sites and a relic site in our home system and they yielded about 30M in loot.

Antimatter

In trade news, I've found that creating a region-wide buy order for Antimatter Charge S results in a LOT of Antimatter coming your way! Most of it comes to 2 or 3 systems so it is easy to create a sell order at that system and make an almost-instant 50% profit without having to undock. How? You need the Marketing skill, and Daytrading too, which allows you to change order prices so you can follow the market as needed.