Monday, September 30, 2013

Fight Night!

Image from flickr user rockfingrz Photography

Aideron Robotics fielded a sizeable fleet last night consisting of 14 pilots. We captured one plex but the emphasis was on finding a fight and boy howdy, we got a couple of nice ones! I finished the night with 4 kills and 1 loss, though obviously my part in the kills was very minor) and one nail-biting encounter. The fleet was put together by Marcel and others to make best use of our numbers.

I *wish* I'd recorded last nights actions and in future I will do so, so hopefully I can post interesting bits here (with the permission of those involved).

Round One

Our first fight was with some familiar faces. We were in an FW plex, waiting for them to come to us. A Stabber sat on the gate outside and we bounced to him, taking him down. I was lucky and struck the final blow, which was a nice bonus.  A few minutes, and some smack talk later, our two fleets met and we took out another five ships but lost seven of ours, including me. I managed to get another final blow on of them before I was taken out.

We re-shipped into cruisers: Vexor, Blackbird, Exequror, Thorax, but I stayed in my trusty cheap Derptron. I don't yet have the skills to effectively fly those ships and this turned out to lead to some unexpected fun. We jumped back into Fliet looking for a followup to the first fight. We went into a medium plex (which allowed all of our ships in) and taunted them in Local chat.  They sent a ship out of to scan us and declined -- we were too strong for them.

Round Two

So we looked for another fight, and boy did we find one. A pilot in Local chat was bragging that he owned the system and was sitting at the sun. I'm told to warp there and report. "There's a Damnation here at 20km".  I'm wondering what kind of ship that is when "WHOAH!" come the responses, filling me with confidence that I'm utterly safe.

"What should I do?" I ask.
"Does he have you locked?"
"OK. lock him and point him......fleet, warp to Vic!"

So I lock a ship whose name I've never heard of (not a good sign) and dive in to attack it! To my surprise, I easily lock and point him (prevent him from warping away). I open up with my 2 peashooters and actually make a good dent in his shields. The fleet arrives and joins in and we have him down to half armor (I think?) when his buddies arrive.

It turns out that a Damnation is known to be a "cyno-bait" ship. Its job is to draw attention to itself, then  open a jump point (a "cyno") and its fleet-mates can jump directly there.  And here they come! Vindicator, Megathron, Abaddon, Legion, Loki, Armaggedon, Ares, Tempest, Archon: we lose five ships quickly to a swarm of battleships (and a carrier!) that far outclass us.  When the Ares arrived the small ships (i.e me and a couple of others) were ordered to attack it and while doing that the order came to bug out. I survived the whole thing having been either too small to bother killing or too small for battleships to hit.

Checking my combat logs afterwards I found that I'd done about 1000 HP damage to the Damnation
The guys were pretty stoked about the size of the ships we'd stirred up and though they agreed we didn't stand a chance against them, it was a fun fight and a good introduction for our new recruits to show that we find Good Fights.

On the way back to Yvangier, however, Marcel got podded by a smart-bomber. It looks like podding is what this guy enjoys!

Other Stuff

I was sent out ahead of the fleet a couple of times tonight; it's nice to be relied on. I did make one mistake -- when asked if there was a medium plex available I said there wasn't, but I was looking in the wrong place. The overview didn't show one, but there was an "un-popped" medium in system. When I heard Marcel order the fleet to a medium plex that he was going to pop, I assumed he had jumped in after me and was seeing the same plex. Turns out he wasn't -- he was back in the previous system and talking about a medium plex in there.  I delayed things by a minute or so, but that wasn't a big deal.  I'll remember to look at the Probe Scanner instead of the overview next time and report from that list.

My plan to squeeze in a level of hacking and another of archaeology, to aid in exploration, will have to wait. I'm training Weapons Upgrades V and it is due to complete just a few hours before next week's fleet. That will give me time to squeeze in a couple of advanced skills that may see me able to fly a more powerful ship before we undock Sunday night. I heard one of the guys mention he'd come back with 2 billion in loot from his last exploration run through low-sec so I may ask to tag along on one of his fishing trips!

I had planned to spend some of my loyalty points to buy datacores but have been advised to save them instead. The usual activity is to accrue LP until we fall into Tier 1. LP are handed out in small amounts, less datacores get bought (because the price is fixed, regardless of your Tier status) and the price of datacores will increase. We, the Gallente Federation, are close to Tier 1 and since I don't really need the ISK I'm going to hang on to my LP for now. I do have a lot of exploration loot up for sale and I'll keep an eye on how that sells. So far, not great.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How I Learned To Love Exploration

From flickr user Thomas Hawk

A short while ago I wrote a post explaining what I didn't like about the exploration game in Eve. This is the process wherein you use probes to locate data/relic sites, then hack them to release treasure into space, which you then pick up as quickly as you can.

Last night I had another go at it and had a MUCH better experience. In short, I ran 3 sites in about 2 hours and came away with about 60M ISK. If my hacking strength was higher I'd have doubled that.  My ship was under-equipped and my skills aren't strong (Astro 3, Hacking 2, Archeology 2), but I was still able to get a great return.

What Changed? 

The main change was that I flew in sparsely populated low-sec systems. The sites were more lucrative and were untouched; nobody had taken anything from them. The cargo scanner showed me valuable content in every tower.

The most important change, though, was that I found at the Eve Uni Odyssey Exploration page (scroll to the bottom), which explained which treasures, as shown by the cargo scanner, would be in which container types. This made all the difference! I copied the information from the "Relic Sites" and "Data Sites" into a note in the Eve client and before each hack I repeat to myself what container I needed to pick up when the cans spewed into space.  I missed only one drop across 3 sites (though I exploded a few when I was unsuccessful in my hack)

The main thought I came away with was this: why didn't the game itself tell me this?! I don't remember being shown a cargo scanner during the tutorial, nor a description of what treasure are in what containers.  Does CCP intend for us to guess containers and probably not collect every treasure? Or learn it ourselves by watching the inventory change as each can is picked up?

It is very frustrating to know that a valuable item flew into space and you didn't collect it. You feel like the game screwed you over and there's nothing you could have done differently.

If CCP want to make this a feature that new players can use as easily as mining, they need to give cargo scanners to players during the tutorial AND force the player to use them, so they understand it. Secondly, have the cargo scanner say what type of container the detected treasure could be found in. I understand that some (like T1/T2 salvage) can be in more than one type of container; list all those container types so the player knows what to aim for.

Also, CCP, don't forget that some players (i.e me) are scared of lowsec. I thought I'd get gate camped and blown up just by setting foot in there.  Can you change the sites so that cargo scanners will always show something when used on high sec exploration sites? Seed them with cheap crap, but if it shows up on the cargo scanner, instead of the scanner showing nothing at all, the player will learn the technique and be able to use it later in low sec.  If they high-sec player uses the cargo scanner and sees NOTHING in the towers they'll think "Well, that module is useless." instead of "The tower contains nothing of value". Either way, they are not being encouraged to keep exploring.

Will I Continue?

Yes! I'm making excellent (for me, anyway) money with relatively weak skills. I'll add rigs that boost my hack strength and study hacking/archaeology to Level 4. I have switched to a Core Probe scanner and taken the prototype cloak off the ship (duh -- that reduced scan strength by 50%, even when offline). I made safes bookmarks in each system I visited.

[Update: 9/30/2013] The cloak should not have affected my ability to scan cosmic signatures; it should only have slowed down the process by 50%. But I'm pretty sure that while the cloaking device was fitted, even when offline, I couldn't get above 50%. When I docked, removed the cloak and undocked, I was able to get that same signature to 100%.  I'll try again and try to confirm what was happening. I'd much prefer to have a cloak, but it seemed that I needed to remove it to be able explore.

[Later update:] I was wrong, you can use probes while cloaked. The only drawback is that each scan takes twice as long as it would if you no cloak fitted. I must have been scanning a signature that was beyond what my probe skills could handle.

Friday, September 27, 2013

More Venture Plexing

I finished my previous Eve session a few jumps from home, so I decided to slow-boat it back, taking some detours. I'm in my cloaky Venture and I wanted to find more wrecks in plexes.  I moved carefully between systems, using d-scan on gates before jumping to them and between that and the cloaking I was able to avoid a lot of situations. I also captured 2 small offensive plexes in Rakapas (Black Rise) and also a defensive plex that I shouldn't have bothered with. I did find a couple of wrecks here and there, but nothing exciting. The best find was an unlooted ship near a gate which yielded 3.4M in contents. I also found out that 2 Hobgoblin Is *can* kill a Caldari Navy ship that defends a plex, but with my crap lock range (about 8.2km) it takes a while and I had to give chase and re-lock several times. Luckily my Venture fit had no trouble with the incoming damage.

Faction Warfare Scoring

It's taking me an awfully long time to get my head around the scoring system of faction warfare. I understand plexes but the last piece that has, I think, fallen into place is the "contested" level. You can see this number, between 0 and 100% per star, in the Faction Warfare screen in a space station.  I *think* that we are trying to drive this number to 100% in Caldari systems and keep it near 0% in Gallente systems (I'm on the Gallente team). Each plex you capture shifts the balance slightly (around 0.7%) and you can see this under the eve menu in the Faction Warfare screen

I think it would be nice to include some text on the plex-capture notification that said something like "As a result of your actions [System X] has moved from 20% contested to 20.7% contested." That would give me a sense of the impact my actions had, outside of just giving me loyalty points.  ALSO an explanation of how the loyalty points were calculated, showing the multipliers/tier levels that were used. That would teach me how the system works and also give an incentive to shift those multipliers in my faction's favour.


Two notable events happened during my roam. I was still in gate cloak and about 10km away from it when a massive fleet arrived from elsewhere in the system.  "Jump, you flashy bastards..." I muttered as they just sat there....not jumping. My gate cloak ran out and before I thought to turn my cloak back on, somebody locks me!

"I'm. So. Dead." I think to myself and wait for the rain of ammo.  Which doesn't come. At least two ships have me locked. Under pressure, (and it actually FEELS like pressure doesn't it?!) I reach for anything in the overview and activate it. Oh joy, I picked SAME stargate that is now 20km away, and told my ship to jump through it. The Venture lazily turns around and the hamster in the engine runs as fast as it can. Now I'm very slowly heading CLOSER to the red/orange death-fleet.  Instead of chosing a different destination and trying to warp out, seemingly frozen with fascination at how badly this has gone, I let it play out. It takes about 30 seconds for me to casually saunter into the jump shots were fired and I landed without incident on the other side. I cloaked up and sat for a few minutes to wonder what the heck just happened!

 I'm going to check my log files tonight to see if it names the ship that locked me. I'm genuinely interested to know how come they didn't fire.

The other event was at the Rakapas gate in Pyne. When I arrived there I found a couple of wrecks so I headed towards them. During the couple of minutes it took to reach them there were at least four arrivals of ships hostile to each other and it was really interesting to sit on my perch about 70km off the gate and just watch.  Ships came and went in small groups, a large pirate group in system came to the gate and left and there were several fights. I was able to salvage one more ship before heading back to Yvangier.

Lessons Learned

  • You can turn your cloak on very soon after landing at a gate
  • Plexing solo is pretty easy: Find a celestial (object you can warp to, i.e planet/asteroid belt) within d-scan distance of several plexes. Find one that is unoccupied and jump in. Move close the boundary (10k for novice, 20k for small, 30k medium), open d-scan and wait. If someone appears on scan, cloak up. Uncloak when they leave. If you're lucky you'll see some combat among other ships and get to loot/salvage them as well.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A Busy Night in New Eden

Long post today, so here's the tl;dr --
I returned to an activity that I keep hoping will cough up huge rewards for very little effort and found that it's not as easy as the youtube videos make it look: Salvage. Specifically, I wanted to loot and/or salvage elite wrecks, which contain T2 components. Then I tried to find level 3/4 mission runners, without success. I also gave exploration another try, without much success. At the end of the night I rejoined my corp for some plexing and made more LP/ISK in ten minutes than I did in ninety minutes of salvage efforts.

Salvagers at work on USS Oklahoma, 1942
From flickr user Kernon01

Salvage / Exploration

First step was to add a cloak to my Imicus. I spent some time running around buying and moving components. I should add another small salvage tackle to this.

[Imicus, Imicus Scan AND Salvage]
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Co-Processor I
Co-Processor I

1MN Microwarpdrive I
Data Analyzer I
Cargo Scanner I
Relic Analyzer I

Prototype Cloaking Device I
Salvager I
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Combat Scanner Probe I

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
[empty rig slot]

Hobgoblin I x4
Salvage Drone I x4

I added the cloak so that I could go into low-sec or null-sec, make a safe spot and sit there, cloaked, while I scan the system.  I'm using the very CPU hungry (220!) Expanded Probe Launcher because I want to able to scan for ships and drones as well as cosmic anomalies.

On the theory that data/relic sites would be more plentiful and untouched in low-traffic system I went to two nearby high-sec systems (I chickened out on the low-sec route) and ran three sites. They yielded mostly crap, but I got two decryptors and the total take was about 2 million ISK. I missed out on a 3M ISK drop by, I think, focusing on the wrong kind of canister. I'm going to keep trying it, especially in low-traffic low-sec systems, but only after I learn the cloak/MWD trick for getting past gate camps.

Plex Wrex

There's a salvaging guide that got me fired up a few weeks back and the system of Heydelies is a perfect place to try the techniques it describes. Focus on Elite Wrecks, which are destroyed ships that had T2 components on board. Most Faction Warfare fighters don't bother salvaging -- some don't even bother looting, and I dream of finding a field of yummy wrecks that I can pick through and get Space Rich.
So I flew to a safe spot in Heyd and d-scanned the three existing plexes. One was occupied, but no wrecks, one was empty, and the third....2 elite wrecks, 3 regular wrecks! And 4 occupants. Damn, I'll have to wait them out. 
While waiting I contemplate my options. Ideally, I would be left alone in a plex with wrecks (Dr Seuss on line 2), but of course you can't expect that. What I think will work best is to nip into a plex, bookmark a wreck, then come back in 15/20 minutes, when the plex is gone. The wrecks it contained will now be floating in deep space and you're almost guaranteed to not be discovered. This is something I'll try later. Remember to write down the identifier of the plex so you don't confused it for a new plex of the same type when you come back later.
So, I keep watching the crew of scumbags that are sitting on my wrecks...Tristan...Kestrel...Atron...Navitas. Hmm, this looks familiar. A new ship shows up. Name of "High Drag Podcast!" It's Kyle! Hah! They're my corp!
I get on comms and ask if it's ok if I salvage the wrecks, get the all-clear and give it a try. The result wasn't as lucrative as I thought and took a MUCH longer time than would be safe in hostile space. I think this was a medium plex and one of the wrecks must have been a larger/more complex class. It took about 5 minutes on that using only one salvager and four salvage drones.
Here's the kicker though: I looted two Caldari Navy ships, the two NPCs that defended the plex, and each dropped a 2.6M Navy dogtag. I made more from those tags than all the salvaging, and it took mere seconds.  Add to that the approximately 10000 loyalty points I picked up for the three plexes we completed, and salvaging looks like a mug's game.
The bottom line is that salvaging is a gamble and I'm doing it for fun, to scratch an itch that MAY one day lead me to a field of juicy T2 wrecks that only I can locate. That's going to be a fun time!

Back To Shooting

I dropped my salvage/loot back at base and re-shipped into an Atron. The fighting in Heyd was slim tonight so we went to Old Man Star, where we found a doozy of a fight. By this time our fleet was eight strong so we scared off quite a few potential fights. But for our final fight a Stabber (cruiser) arrived and sat on the gate for a while. He jumped in and we attacked. He was quickly joined by at least three more cruisers and we lost three thrashers. I wasn't attacked or pointed, probably because I was not the juiciest target in the room and was able to warp out cleanly when the order came.
It was a busy couple of hours, made some ISK, scratched my exploring itch (including a couple of ideas that didn't pan out) and had a good time chatting with my corpmates, one of whom sent me a nice gift afterwards -- thanks!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Getting Podded for the First Time

From flickr user Ben Schumin

It had to happen eventually; my luck with always getting my capsule out of fights finally ran out and I got podded. It didn't feel like such a big deal, though and I got into the free noobship they gave me and headed back to our base.  I think I might have done some business, maybe even flown outside before realizing I had NOT upgraded my clone after getting podded!

Rule One...No, Rule Zero of Eve is to immediately upgrade your clone when you've been podded. The body you're now inhabiting is the previous clone you'd set up, so your new backup is a basic grade zero piece of crap clone with only 900K skill points.  If your new body got killed (not podded, just regular old "killed") you'd lose up to a maximum of 2M skill points, which could be very inconvenient. end up in a 900K skill point body and any skills you had over that limit would disappear...

The mechanics of Eve are quite generous in how they handle "death" (i.e when your capsule is blown up). You wake up in a new body with all your skills intact, though you lose any implants you had installed. You just need to remember to upgrade the new backup clone -- the game does NOT do that for you.

Counting myself lucky to have not gotten killed, I was dumb enough to DO IT AGAIN ON THE SAME DAY! Got podded, woke up in the new body with plenty of room for skill points, thought "glad I remembered to upgrade this clone!" and I left the station AND jumped into the next system before I realized "Oh shit, I didn't upgrade again!"


My record is now 8 kills and 14 losses and there were a couple of interesting kills this weekend.

Sentinel kill: I was jumping to a plex and this Sentinel had just got there before me. As I tried to enter the plex (I still run away from any ship since I'm flying a pretty small one myself) he locked and started shooting. I returned fire and waited for my corpmate to arrived. He got there after I had been blown up and I re-shipped and headed back out to the fight. My corpmate finished him off quickly. No biggie. Checking the kill mail later on though, look at that ship! Valued at 73 million, it took only 1500 points of damage to kill it! Why did he lock me and start shooting? He must have known his ship was delicate and not really built for combat.

The rest of the fights were pretty standard, though I felt more pangs of loss on one of them that I usually did. I had looted/salvaged about 4M ISK of stuff and was hoping to survive the night when we got attacked and blown up.  Generally speaking it is unlikely that I'm going to survive enough fights in an Atron to get salvage/loot back to base.  I noted that losing 4M ISK hurts a lot less now than it did when I was making ISK by trading and manufacturing. Making 1M ISK profit was a Big Big Deal for me then, but now it seems very easy to come by.

One other incident: while I was salvaging that stuff I didn't notice that the plex timer was running out. I went WAY outside the boundary to pick up some baubles and threw away thousands of Loyalty Points. This was Not Smart.

Being A Scout

I was asked to fly ahead of our small fleet and make sure a gate was clear. It felt great to be trusted to do this, and even better when there was actual incidents to report. The fleet waited as I handled the appearance and disappearance of two ships through the gate, and an odd incident where a Condor arrived at the gate, saw me, locked me, STARTED SHOOTING and promptly got taken out by the gate guns! Eventually there was a break in traffic and our fleet passed through without incidence.

Lessons Learned

  • Watch the timer on the plex. Make sure you're inside the boundary (novice=10km, small=20km, medium=30km) when it hits zero.
  • Atron is unlikely to survive a night's fighting. Think less about salvage/loot.
  • Soloing plexes while cloaked is easier than fighting, but less intense.
  • Gate guns are your friend. This may be a fun way to pick up loot/salvage! Locking someone is NOT an aggressive act, but may panic them into shooting back at you! Gate guns fire => Free Stuff!

Plexing in my Cloaked Venture

It was a busy weekend! The most profitable event was taking my Cloaked Venture into a medium plex, solo and capturing it! That bit of sneakin' around got me 25000 loyalty points, which will be worth at least 25 million ISK when I cash it in. That's excellent return on a fit that cost about 2.5 million.

Here's what I did.

1) Find a system with a medium plex in it. You'll want one in which the defender has already been destroyed, so you don't have to kill it yourself. Why? This fit has no weapons! I'm going to try taking 2 hobgoblins on my next attempt, but I don't expect them to be able to take out the defender. [Later update: hobgoblin I drones can kill the NPC defender, but it's difficult. With a short lock range of 8K, you'll keep losing your lock and the drones will go idle.]

2) Warp to a planet that is near the plex, anything within 14 AU, so you can use d-scan to detect when the plex is empty.

3) D-Scan the plex on a 5 degree angle.  When you see the plex is empty, warp in. Remember to warp to 10km, not 0km, and activate the acceleration gate as soon as you can. This is a known way to almost always get into a plex even if there are enemies on the gate and they target you.

4) Once inside the plex, assuming the defender ship is already dead, fly close to the boundary. In a novice plex the boundary is 10km. In a small plex the boundary is 20km and in a medium it is 30 km. Aim for 1 or 2 km inside that. This distance is measure from the beacon, not from the timer.

5) You should also change your d-scan to 360 degrees and about 3 million KM radius. Hit the "Scan" button every five seconds.

6) Your job now is to stay UN-cloaked while there is nobody around, thus counting down the timer. If you see anybody on d-scan, which you're hitting every 5 seconds, immediately cloak up.  You will become invisible and the timer will stop counting down. Continue to d-scan. If they disappear then they were *probably* looking for a fight, saw the empty plex and moved on. Uncloak and continue the countdown. If they come in, just wait; they'll probably leave.

7) If they enter the plex: relax :) You're totally safe UNLESS something passes less than 2km for you. This is very unlikely to happen so just sit still and watch. This weekend I saw interesting fights from my invisible vantage point and when the victors left I nipped down and looted/salvaged the wrecks. I still haven't been able to find a T2 wreck to salvage. Soon though!

8) MAKE SURE you are uncloaked when the timer counts down to 0 and that you are within the distance of the scoring boundary.

Keep in mind that with a Prototype Cloaking Device I you have to wait thirty seconds after de-cloaking to re-cloak. If you screw this up and someone new shows up, warp away! Also keep in mind that you CANNOT cloak if someone is targeting you.

[Update from the future: Nov 1st 2013]

I've used this technique a lot and wanted to add a comment about something you have no control over. What if enemy ships come in and run the plex? In my experience this is very rare! Believe it or not, most people flying into plexes are looking for fights. The most frequent outcome of an intrusion is that they'll wait for a minute, then leave. Or if they DO settle in to run the plex, someone will come along and fight them. There is then a chance that the newcomer will win and then leave.

The bottom line is that almost all the time, you can wait a short while and have the plex back to yourself.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Sneaking Around

Photo from flickr user Chaotic Good01

An invisible man can rule the world. Nobody will see him come, nobody will see him go. 
  -- The Invisible Man, 1933

I did a bit of logistical reshuffling last night, moving some supplies around and building my Cloaky Venture, as mentioned in an earlier post. The fit mostly matches the Johnny Pew suggestion from his video. It cost about 2.5 Million for this.

[Venture, Low Sec Salvage]
Warp Core Stabilizer I

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

Salvager I
Salvager I
Prototype Cloaking Device I

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

Salvage Drone I x2

A Venture has +2 warp corp stability built right in, and the addition of a another stabilizer means it will take a least 4 point of disruption to stop you. The shield mods in the mid slots bring me up to about 1500 HP, weak by most standards, but enough to survive a couple of volleys, by which time you should be running away anyway. No weapons, because we couldn't deter anyone even if we tried!

The main purpose of this fit is to be invisible when needed and to pick up valuable salvage. The only stuff worth putting time into are "Elite" wrecks   I think what I need to do is create "perch" bookmarks near gates in systems that see a lot of PvP combat, such a Heydelies. I hover there, invisible, using d-scan to see what ships and wrecks are at those gates. Eventually the gangs will leave, probably taking loot from the ships they killed, but NOT salvaging the wrecks. When they're gone I swoop in and salvage. It sounds like I'll be waiting a while, so an alternative might be to just keep roaming around low-sec looking for wrecks near gates and in faction warfare plexes. D-Scan will tell me if there are Elite wrecks in system.

Last night was a trial run and there were no elite wrecks available. I decided to enter a medium plex that was currently empty, and it was darned interesting.  After I arrived and cloaked up, two war targets arrived and it felt pretty cool that they couldn't see me. Shortly after that an allied fleet composed mainly of Ventures(?!) arrived and blew them up! They left and I got to put my plan into action; I turned off the cloak and looted the wrecks. I didn't find anything good, but I was glad to be able to put the ship through its paces.

More Gallente militia arrived, including a corp mate of mine who knew I was there and the timer counted down to 0 without further incident. I decloaked with 8 seconds left, collect 8750 loyalty points and warped out.

I want to see how quickly the cloak turns on: if I'm roaming and run into a gate camp, can I turn on the cloak before they can target me?

Meta Game - why am I doing this? Am I winning Eve?

When I posted this fit in my corp forum and asked for suggestions I got a good question back -- why am I doing this? Do I want ISK, or just for fun?  They suggested that getting ISK was easier if I ran plexes to earn LP and sell items purchased with LP, or hunted Clone Soldier rats for their tags (discussed earlier). Fun? Well, fun is fun and if you don't mind putting time into something that earns less than other activities, that's OK too.

I think the answer is "for the fun of it", and learning to use modules I haven't used and seeing how it changes the "feel" of the game.  ISK? Well, the thing is I have more ISK than I can sensibly use. I can buy ships that I'm not qualified to fly, or fit properly, but I still have the urge to get more ISK. Why? I think I want to see that I'm profitably using the expensive stuff I've bought. That would validate my decisions, showing I'd chosen the right items to buy, used them properly and got more money as a result. That may change later, but I guess it feels like the wallet balance is my "score" in the game. My balance has been dropping a lot lately, but the value of my assets is huge, about 50% more than my cash.

I am going to try to broaden my horizons a bit and measure my success as doing new and more difficult things in the game, not just watching the ISK count. Heck, I could throw in $20, the price of a cheap dinner out and have a big pile of cash (over 500M ISK); that wouldn't impress anyone or increase my fun in the game.  I should plan on getting in more ships and doing more activities in the game. And I'm doing the most basic thing I can for the corp; I should make sure I'm learning what I need to do in order to do other, more useful things too.  When I listen on fleet chat it's scary how much they all seem to know about other ships, and their ability to make instant decisions on fights is very impressive. That's going to take a while to learn.

But it's all been fun so far!

Friday, September 20, 2013

"We have three frigates, but one of 'ems Vic"

Despite the title, it was a great night! That phrase was, of course, followed by "no offense" and "none taken" back from me, it was just part of assessing our capabilities for handling an interesting development.

Four Aideron pilot had joined with some QCATS to scoot around Heydelies and Fliet looking for GoodFights. We found some likely targets in a novice plex (only frigates can enter) but many of our fleet were cruisers, so we sat on the entrance gate and waited for them to come out.  They didn't come out, but more of their allies arrived and entered the plex before we could stop them. And more of OUR allies arrived and sat on the gate. I'd never seen a situation like this, with ships piling up on either side, but no fight starting. Smack was talked in Local, trying to goad them into coming out, but they didn't take the bait.  The question about sending our frigates in to attack was raised but with only 3 frigates and one being very green, that wasn't an option.

After five minutes or so the whole thing just defused. A new small plex opened so we all went into that. A fight started on the entrance gate and we all bounced out and returned to the gate to join in. And that's where I got on my first PROPER kill!

First Proper Kill!

[KILL MAIL] I'm very happy with how this played out, because I actually Made A Decision; this wasn't a point-n-click kill. A Caracal arrived just after I did, landing at 70km for us. Three of us burn towards it and it begins to move away. I hear the other two say its getting away, though I notice I'm catching up to it, albeit slowly. They give up the chase and my first thought is to keep going and chase the guy. I quickly have a second thought: "If you catch him, he'll kill you." and I figure that he's trying to split us up.

I also turn around and head back to the acceleration gate.  Luckily for me the Caracal turns and flies into our gang. I give the command to orbit him, turn on damage control (I remember this time!) and begin to close on him. He's already engaged by two of our pilots, at about half shield when I get into scram range. He's already pointed but I scram him anyway and when I get close enough I activate the guns. It takes about 45 seconds to bring him down and 2 other pilots join in too....I'm not sure why the Caracal decided to engage us; he was clearly outnumbered.

Luckily for me he didn't target me at all, though he did a lot of damage to a couple of our pilots. My shield was barely scraped; sometimes its nice to be not important enough to kill!

Other Activities

I've bought 4 Ventures and cloaks to give my cloaky salvage idea a try, but I got turned on to a different plan by a corpmate.  It's safer, easier and faster to make ISK by hunting pirates in the asteroid belts and collecting security status tags. Watch this Johnny Pew video that shows what to do. I hope I can fly a fit that can take them on. [Later update: this is on hold: clone soldiers pirates are badasses! Instead I'm using my cloaked venture to run Faction Warfare plexes, hiding when anyone enters the plex, and uncloaking when they leave.]

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Missed it by *that* much!

From flickr user neeravbhatt


It was a fun night! Five members of Aideron Robotics jumped into frigates and looked for a fight in Heydelies.  The first encounter was with what everyone agreed was an interestingly fit Atron, flying solo. It took out me and another fast tackler before succumbing to our weight of numbers. And if you're counting ISK expenditure, this 15M Atron only took a few million worth of our ships with it.  I'm credited with being on this kill, but I don't know why. I did no damage and was unable to warp scramble him. Maybe I distracted him by exploding in an interesting way?

I've been blown up in what feels like the same way a few times now. The target will web or scram me so I can't use my MWD to get close to them, then pull away and start shooting. My guns are very short range so I can't do any damage. Perhaps I should switch to afterburners instead? I've had no reason so far to need the MWD since we mostly fight in plexes and I don't need to do long, fast dashes across space. The consensus on this forum post is to stick with MWD if your role is fast tackle; you need to be able to pin down someone who is trying to run away. And I guess I'm taking a hit for my colleagues in their more expensive ships, which makes sense; when the enemy has me pointed he can't also point them.

I zipped back to base to re-ship and asked the corp for a new ship to be put in my hangar.  I fumbled with the contract interface and the delay meant that I missed the next fight. The Atron pilot came back in a 66M ISK Imperial Navy Slicer and leaped into the teeth of our 5 man gang. Was he drunk? Or brave? Overconfident, perhaps?  Whatever the source of his bravado it didn't help him and he went down fast [Update: he had been damaged badly in a fight with QCATS pilots. Still doesn't explain why he entered a plex...perhaps didn't remember to check if it was occupied?]. The oohs and aahs rang loudly as we picked through his loot and examined the kill report. His microwarp drive alone was valued at 31 million isk! It's odd, because his kill record is pretty darn strong.

It was very nice to hear encouragement from my corpmates to get there quickly so I could get in on the kill; unfortunately my window of opportunity closed as I was reaching the acceleration to the novice plex where all this went down.  And had I gotten there earlier I'd have encountered the Slicer OUTSIDE the plex, alone, and surely gotten chewed up and spat out.

To cap off what was a fun night the loot division resulted in a windfall for me!  Those carrying the loot asked how it should be divided up and the boss said split it between those that got killed. My hanger has about 27M ISK of new shinies in it :)  Thanks guys!

Low-Sec Salvaging

In extra-curricular activities I'm thinking about running around in a cloaked Venture (because it has +2 warp core stability baked right in to the ship) like this. The shields will, hopefully let me survive an initial attack and the extra stabilizers mean it'll take a lot of effort to pin me down.

I got the idea from this Johnny Pew video.

[Venture, Low Sec Salvage]
Warp Core Stabilizer I

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

Salvager I
Salvager I
Prototype Cloaking Device I

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

Salvage Drone I x2

I also tried my luck in a Velator (free noob ship) with just 2 salvagers attached (no other modules at all), but didn't find any wrecks to try it on!  I got chased from a gate back to my home station and actually survived it! Still, I think the cloak will be a better idea.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quick On Our Feet...and First Kill Assist!

Last night was a quiet one, only a few corp members logged on.  I asked if anyone wanted to go out plexing and two others did, so off we went. One quickly had to log out and attend to Real Life, so it was just me and my buddy in his Tristan.

Good Advice in EVE

We had an eventful night that mostly involved running away! The first event was a quick death. Halfway through warping to a plex, my friend calls out "Stop!" but it was too late. I arrive in the jaws of a couple of destroyers and they make short work of me. I re-ship and join "Just-In-Time-Eh Tris" in a different plex.

We're counting down a medium plex when a group of 15 neutrals appear on d-scan.  We quickly bug out, jump twice and arrive at a safe.  This is the part I'm happiest with; an orderly, quick retreat saved our bacon (unlike my experience a couple of nights ago).  While I sit at the safe my Tristan-piloting friend flies back in to a nearby planet to d-scan the fleet, determining how many of them could come after us in a small or novice plex. The numbers are high, so we keep waiting and they eventually leave.

This repeats itself a couple of times, though in smaller groups of twos and threes, but in the end we took two plexes and picked up about 10000 loyalty points.

I just went to check the kill boards to get a link to my death, and whaddaya know, I helped get a kill! My warp scrambler hit this Incursus and and ally finished him off. I also inflicted a tiny amount of damage, fearsome warrior that I am.

Exploration in Eve - not for me

(I posted this as a comment on Inner Sanctum, thought it was worth posting here too, slightly edited)

I'm a new player (5 weeks in the game), and flitted around many of the features in Eve, eager to try as much as I could. I guess I'm the intended target audience for the exploration feature, which invites you to discover, using probes, Data Sites and Relic Sites in which valuable items might be found.

I became disenchanted very quickly with Exploration, which I had read that CCP wanted to be a viable alternative to mining for new players.

Well, with mining I can make a steady few million per hour AND be AFK by using a Venture with two mining lasers in 0.9 or 1.0 systems (no rats). A quick glance at the screen from across the room every ten minutes or so keeps me informed and I can easily fly the ship back to the station, drop off the ore and head back out to repeat. Dull, but I can play with my kid, talk to my wife and make ISK at a steady, predictable rate.

Exploration requires my full attention, so it needs to be either more fun or more profitable. Instead, I found it frustrating. The process of finding and probing a cosmic signature that *isn't* Another Bloody Wormhole OR a combat site takes a while. Then I have to hope someone hasn't been here recently and cleaned out the treasures. And if the treasure is still there I need to play the hacking game, which feels very un-Eve...didn't I earn this treasure by scanning the site down? THEN comes the random can chasing where you hope you pick the right ones. I used cargo scanners but they often told me there was nothing inside. Was that a bug or was the game literally telling me there was nothing worth having in there?

I can't remember finding anything particularly valuable in around five sites (all in highsec), at which point I gave up. I can get similar, or better salvage/loot by running a mission and at least I get the pleasure of combat out of that.

Anyone wanna buy some Carbon?

[Update: Thanks to Kelleris for linking to me.]

[Further update 9/24/2013:] I saw a video by youtuber PodExpress about the changes to Exploration that, in his opinion, killed exploration.

In a nutshell, here's the problem: when you find an exploration site, you'd like to know it is chock full of treasures to be found because you're the first one there. A site that someone else has already found and partly looted USED TO despawn after a short time.  So a "used" exploration site would disappear and not waste your time.

CCP made a change that made exploration sites remain alive until ALL the treasure has been taken. The effect of this is that explorers who have found the site before you will have taken the good stuff and left the crap behind for you to find (they use cargo scanners to identify which cans are worth hacking). But you can't tell this until you have spent time probe-scanning the site down and going to it.  I'm still going to give it a try, now that I'm in low-sec and can use cloaks, but I'm going to look for systems with very little traffic in them, and hope I'm the first to find the sites.

[Final update: Sep 30 2013] I've written another post after finding more information outside of the game that makes exploration much better for me.  I've posted to the official forums and hope CCP will change the game along the lines I've suggested. A couple of small changes could make this MUCH more accessible for new players.

Monday, September 16, 2013

How Not To Plex

Here Comes an Incursus...I wonder if it will be my friend?

Damn it, I was warping out! I was warping out! And then I changed my mind and stopped my ship just to make sure the incoming Incursus, coming in to the novice plex I was soloing, was actually there to attack me.

Seeing he was neutral, and so likely to be a pirate, I ran off. I actually got away, I did, but I warped to the Sun and Mr Incursus followed me...yes I warped to 0, why do you ask?  I had been fumbling with menus trying to find my corps 0km dock, which gave him the time to arrive at the sun and target me.

I tried to warp away again but had already been scrammed, webbed and smacked upside the head.  I actually managed to lock him and take 2/3rds of his shields, but of course an Incursus is armor-tanked so I knew this wasn't an even fight at all.

[Update: he got killed soon after getting me]

Lessons learned: 

Soloing a plex is do-able in any ship, but warp out immediately if someone is coming in. I was using d-scan, saw him coming and didn't leave quickly.

Keep your align on your escape route. I kept clicking on the beacon to get the camera to look down so I could check the timer countdown on the button. When the Incursus arrived I was too addled to re-align properly and just picked the sun as my target, which took time to align up.

If you get away, warp again in case you are being followed. Practice warping to a safe if you have them, and doing it quickly. The "cascading menus that are all the same color and go off screen if you're too close to the edge" will stop this from working if you're not careful.

Fleet Up!

I had a fun weekend of fleet activities, most plexing. There was also a fleet operation consisting of about 50 ships on Saturday night, though its frustrating to be on the losing side. It was a valuable experience to get time in a fleet and try and keep up with the lingo and commands.

Notable events: I undocked and without knowing how, I got blown up almost immediately.  I had heard of insta-undock bookmarks but had not started using them. NOW I use them! There was a Loki picking off Gallente militia members (i.e me) as we undocked.  Talking to Kyle about it, he directed me to our collection of corporate bookmarks which contained an instant undock and a 0km dock bookmark, which would allow much safer ingress and egress to our station.

On Saturday one of my corpmates said he was plexing and I asked if I could come along. He agreed, but quickly diverted us to join a fleet that needed fast tackle ships. A fast tackle's job is (a) be a fast ship and (b) hit an enemy ship with a device that pins them down and stops them escaping, so they can be eliminated from the fight.  We joined a group, which moved on and joined a larger fleet that was "poco bashing", that is, destroying Player Owned Customs Offices that are involved in planetary mining and were, obviously, owned by the opposition.  After about 15 minutes of unopposed attack, the enemy fleet showed up to defend themselves.

A single Ares appeared on the grid and all fast tackle was sent to chase it off. We responded and to my surprise (but I'm sure to nobody else's) it moved away faster than we could chase. Turns out that the Ares is the faster, cooler big brother of the Atron we were flying.

A few minutes later the enemy fleet appeared but did not close in. Instead, the Ares came forward again and we were ordered to "push it off". This is where I started to wonder: why? What could one ship do by itself that it is worth sending all the fast tackle off to chase it?

I swung passed it once but I don't think I managed to even lock it, though I tried. I wish I'd recorded the fights so I could re-watch; it can happen so quickly that you're not sure what you did or didn't do. Our fast tackle leader was killed and over comms he told us to get out of the area. I picked a random direction and went in a straight line for a few seconds and suddenly BANG BANG! I'm in my capsule and I head back to Nenna to re-ship. I continue to listen in to our frustrated fleet commander trying to marshall his forces. Attention seemed to be mostly on the repair ships that were too far away from too many of our ships that needed help, and he was also angry that 9 out of 10 fast tackles were dead. Someone pointed out to him that it wasn't our fault; the enemy "primaried" us, meaning all the damage-dealing specialists in their fleet specifically targetted us when we followed the Ares. We were led into a trap and it worked.

The Sunday night roam under Marcel was more rewarding and felt a lot safer. About a dozen of us roamed around looking for plexes to capture and for fights.  I, unfortunately, did not survive the first surprise attack outside a plex, but I did smack some bullets into enemies in the next fight inside. The target didn't get killed though, so no kill-mail for me, just a couple of hundred loyalty points. It's really nice that after each kill someone asked if I'd managed to get on it. Nope, not yet, but we're getting closer!

In non-fleeting activity I wanted to try picking up lost tech 2 drones, as was my wont in high-sec, so I looked around for a place to buy an Imicus, probe launcher, probes etc to building a cheap scanning ship. Most of the stuff I needed was at Ichoriya, a high-sec system that was under Caldari control. I should have flown over first to see if I'd be able to move around there (I forgot that I already knew NO, there's a militia defense that will attack you), but I didn't. I bought the stuff (a few million, I bought extras) and flew over, got the "we keeel you!" warning and headed for the station anyway. It turns out that if you move quickly enough, you can get in and out, but my corpmates later advised me not to risk it any more.

In trade news I finally sold a set of 5 Federation Navy Garde sentry drones for 7M EACH! They'd been on the market for a few weeks and they finally sold yesterday, just after a set of Warrior II drones that I found floating in space. I'd picked those up with the Imicus that I managed to get out of Ichoriya. I need a cloaking device to be safe, though. My last Faint Epsilon scrambler at Arnon sold for 2.9M.

Friday, September 13, 2013


Before I switched corps to Aideron Robotics, I was flying about looking for lost T2 drones. This is a fun and profitable way to pass the time in Eve: it takes about 5 minutes to pick up 2.5M worth of Tech 2 drones, if there are any around.  For a change of pace I scanned down a cosmic signature and it turned out to be a DED 4/10 "Serpentis Phi Outpost". This is a more difficult kind of room to fight in so I switched to my Algos and entered the room.

The was already a ship ahead of me, clearing pirates like there's no tomorrow.  I managed to kill 3 or 4 rats, salvaged them and followed to the next room. He'd made short work of this room too; I killed a few and the room was done.

He messages me: "do you want these wrecks and loot? You need them more than me." He has checked my pilot history and sees I'm only a 1 month old player. "Sure, thanks!" I say, and wait for the wrecks to turn blue. 30 seconds go by....and he has left the room with the wrecks still yellow (i.e he still "owns" them. I could salvage them, but not take the stuff inside without being flagged as a suspect).

I open up a chat window with him and ask if he could please abandon the wrecks so I can loot them. "How do I do that?" comes the reply.

First alarm bell: I checked his pilot history...5 does a pilot with 5 years experience not know how to abandon wrecks?

I say "You need to right-click on a wreck and choose the 'Abandon all wrecks' command"

He says "OK I'll find a rat, kill him, and do that"....hmmm....that's not right. He can't just kill and abandon any random pirate, he needs to come back and abandon the wrecks in this room.  I wait a bit; maybe there's a way I don't know about. The wrecks here stay yellow and I'm worrying that new players will soon show up and start salvaging.

"I think you need to come back here and abandon these wrecks" I say.  I assume that since this is a cosmic signature, he would have scanned the room down, bookmarked it and could come back easily.

Second alarm bell: He says "Can you fleet me so I can warp to you? I can't jump back in there otherwise".

Hmmm...doesn't that mean he could blast me....yep, as I add him to a fleet the game warns me that fleet members can shoot me without any punishment. (Edit: Nope, I was safe, since he was in a different corporation.) Unfortunately I clicked past this warning too quickly to read it carefully.

So I'm waiting. My heart rate increases...what have I done!? He's taking a long, long time getting he bringing friends along to get on the killmail?

I start flying away from the wrecks, in case that might help put some distance between us.

He arrives.  I turn on my adaptive shield and watch him.

*bing* The wrecks turn eyes pop open! Wow! Maybe it's for real!

I watch him some you go, scoot, move along, thank you :)  He begins to move but doesn't warp....then he warps - gone!

He messages me "Sorry about being a bit rusty, I'm just coming back to the game after a long break". "No problem, thanks again for the wrecks!" I say. I offer to give him a portion of the loot if there's anything valuable in there, but he declines.

The total take was about 4M ISK in loot and salvage. I flagged him as in excellent standing and went on my way.

Change of Scene - New Corp in Lowsec

A corp called Aideron Robotics welcomed their newest member last night -- me! They posted in the forum and what they offered sounded good. They have about 90 members, run fleet operations twice a week and provide ships. And I got a nice one-on-one lesson in basic plexing from Kyle Yanowski of the High Drag podcast. We captured a novice plex that nobody showed up to contest, so that was nice and easy.

I left all my stuff back at Arnon, and my orders will either be completed or just drift out of competition. I still need to set up my medical clone near the new home base, since I'm going to be getting blown up a lot.

I might install Fraps and see about recording my first experiences in big fleet fights.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Forward with Faction Warfare

As I was tidying up my buy/sell order prices for the millionth time, I received a chat request. I was 99% sure it would be another "join my corp" conversation that I'd probably ignore, but this person started with exactly what I wanted to hear.  "We make argh million ISK per hour running faction warfare plexes". And given what I said in my last post, that I wanted to try combat without being the only target on the field, I couldn't really say no, could I?

It's a small corp called Brave Little Bandits. They're based at Arnon, which suits me since that is where I'm based too. I looked over their suggested Incursus fit and, with the exception of a few requirements, I think I can fly it well enough to participate.  I needed to study Hull Upgrades to Level 4 so that I could learn the four skills that will make the armor more effective. I've set up buy orders to obtain the modules required, since I've got a feeling I'll be getting blown up a lot, since my job will be to orbit the enemy vessels at Very Close Range.

While that is going on, my trade in XR-3200 missile bays is going pretty well and also in Faint Epsilon Warp Scramblers. I've set up buy orders on them and those are being filled at a good rate.

I completed manufacturing a bunch of antimatter ammo and that's now selling pretty steadily at Arnon. There's a price spike happening at the moment; it was 23 ISK a couple of weeks ago and now running around 30, which suits me just fine :)

Tip o' the cap to the pilot who joined me in taking out a Serpentis Hidden Hideaway and graciously abandoned the wrecks. I got lucky and found a Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler in one of them! About 2M ISK right there.

Sisters of Eve arc completed

I completed the Sisters of Eve Epic Arc, "The Blood Stained Stars". Best find: a 12.5M ISK laser turret, now for sale in Amarr space somewhere. When I picked it up I zipped back to the station ASAP and put up a sell order immediately. Too nervous to fly around with that in my cargo!

As for the arc itself, it was mostly easy until it came to Dagan on mission 49. Having read a lot of reports about how tough he was and that you needed at least 100-110 DPS, I hoped my Algos would be able to deliver. My 150 DPS included the ship itself, but if I got too close I'd be under attack. I considered asking in local for assistance, but in the end decided to try it alone first.

I sent in my 5 Hobgoblin I drones to start the fight and they were tanked by Dagan. They didn't get shot at, but they weren't able to take down his shields for long.  I'm using 75mm Compressed Coil guns with Shadow Faction Iron ammo and had a 12km optimal range, so I orbited at 12km and started shooting. That did the trick! Dagan was dead in 5 min and hit me with nothing more than a target painter.

Probing game is working again!

Having joined a FW corp, I had visions of being swarmed by Caldari militia whenever I undocked, but of course Concord is out there all the time and would shoot such ruffians as they showed up.  So I undocked my swiss army knife ship this morning and went out to test the fixes to the probing system that CCP released this morning. Hooray! The red dots are back! I picked up 10 lost Hobgoblin IIs and re-docked.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Trade and Epic Arc

I'm not doing much that is notable right now. I'm about 2/3rds through the Sisters arc. I note that Antimatter is much more expensive at Hek than Arnon, so when my factory job is done I'll probably take it there to sell.  The Sister's missions themselves are easy; I'm probably doing it much later than the game allowed for, so my Algos with 5 drones and a lot of drone skills are making easy work of all the tasks.

Trade is going well too; I'm finding that there's plenty of business to be done using buy orders to acquire stuff at much less than it would cost me to buy from a seller, or manufacture it myself. The downside is that you have to wait for the goods to come to you at at whatever rate the rest of the population wants to sell them at. But it's reasonably quick, especially if you buy lots of different things. I'm doing ammo (several kinds), salvagers, a type of heavy missile launcher and a few other things.

One thing I'm wondering about, though, when should I start to try PvP through faction warfare?  From what I understand, beginning players should expect to lose for a long time and just be happy if they land a few hits.  So why would I want to do it? I could use cheap ships and equipment, but it's still throwing away a million ISK or so every the experience of getting killing in 30 seconds really worth that?  It would seem the best course of action is to join a group so you're not the only target. You'll make some shots and get fleet experience AND be safer than you would alone.

But more training first, and I gotta finish this long, long series of cabbage quests first.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Missions Shmissions

I spent an evening or two investigating level 2 security and distribution missions. Conclusion: Meh.


My standing with the Sisters of Eve was high enough to try a harder challenge.  The level 1 security missions are now easily done in an Imicus equipped with Hobgoblin I drones, so I wanted to see if I could do level 2 missions. Short answer: yes, especially if I added a remote armor repair system to my ship so I could heal my drones without needed to retreat to a station.  Long answer: Yes, but its still not really worth it. The rewards are low and the loot/salvage not great. Maybe 500K total per mission?

I also spent to time in Arnon and Ignebaener locating level 4 mission runners and sniffing around their loot. I was excited; this was where the Good Stuff was! Sadly it wasn't as quick, safe or lucrative as I'd hoped. Of the 5 or so battleships I found doing missions, 3 of them were in the midst of the mission itself (a lvl 4 missions takes a LONG time to run) and I got shot at by some scarily huge pirate ships. I was able to salvage a couple of wrecks and found the usual kinds of stuff, though with more Armor Plates (100K each) than usual.

Overall, for the time required to find these guys and the patience needed to wait for them to finish the fight and move on, its not something I want to put much effort into. I have two variations more to try: scan them down and bookmark them to visit later (like 5 hours later) and see if anything got left behind, and secondly I read that low-sec ninja salvaging with a focus on "Elite" wrecks is what you really want to do.


What has worked nicely in the last couple of days is hunting for lost drones and station trading, plus some hauling. While being sent hither and yon for the Sisters of Eve, and also on the long haul to my friend's system for PvP, I picked up some items that are now selling well. I have 33 open orders and doing well with ammo, ship modules and some weapons.

The hunting of lost drones is particularly lucrative: with just a few minutes effort I've found dozens of Tech 2 and even named drones. One memorable find was twenty-four Hobgoblin IIs!  That must have been a helluva fight; perhaps a group of level 4 mission runners got killed or fled?

I'm studying along two lines at the moment: Tech 2 and Drone skills. My main fighting tactics involve launching drones and using long-range guns ("kiting"). I can fly five drones (4 in the Imicus) and have some good drone damage multipliers, though my control range needs to be better, especially in the Algos, where I can target at 44km, but only control drones at 35km. I'm studying tech 2 skills so I can be better prepared to do some faction warfare in a kiting Tristan.

Ships Used

Imicus, Algos

[Imicus, Imicus Scan AND Salvage]
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Co-Processor I
[empty low slot]

1MN Microwarpdrive I
Data Analyzer I /OFFLINE
Cargo Scanner I
Relic Analyzer I /OFFLINE

Small Remote Armor Repair System I
Salvager I
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

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

Hobgoblin I x4
Salvage Drone I x4

[Algos, Missioning]
Drone Damage Amplifier I
[empty low slot]
[empty low slot]

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

75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Iron Charge S
Small Remote Armor Repair System I

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

Hobgoblin I x5
Hammerhead I x2
Salvage Drone I x3

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bang Bang We're Dead - Our First PvP

My buddy organized our first attempt at a fleet PvP and I think it went well, for a certain definition of "well" :)  We knew we'd be outgunned and almost certainly die, but the first fight was over very quickly. The second went better, though we lost one ship. The group that killed us invited us to join them if we wanted to learn more about PvP.

The long version now: I was sent a spec for a Incursus tackle, based on the Eve Uni fit. My job was to orbit very close (800m) to an enemy ship and "point" them, that is, use a warp scrambler on them so they couldn't escape.  As it turns out, there was no fear that they'd try that :)  We entered a "novice plex", a cosmic anomaly that can only be entered via an acceleration gate, and that gate only allows frigates through. But those frigates can be "faction frigates" and also can be equipped with Tech 2 modules.  I can't use Tech 2 modules yet, though I've since changed my training queue to start working on it.

We orbited an object that our fleet leader jettisoned so that we'd be moving when an enemy arrived. It didn't take long, though we had to wait to be sure they were "pirates" and not genuine plexers whom we did not need to fight and might want to ignore us.

But this was a group of 3 condors, fast-moving, and they locked and started shooting right away. We'd practiced what we were supposed to do; I *think* I sent to the "orbit" command, but I didn't use my Microwarp Drive, so my speed stayed a bit slow.  I took a couple of big hits (300+ damage on each salvo), activated my scrambler ("Haha, got you now, Huge Shooty Thing!") and my guns. Checking the logs later, I fired 9 shots but none of them hit. It is possible that I was targetting someone else instead of who I was orbiting!

The hits kept coming.  At about 30% armor I tried to bug out, but the "warp to 0m" command was missing from the safe spot bookmark! That was because I was scrambled, I'm told.  It was over in about 40 seconds and I managed to warp out to our safe spot. None of us got podded.  We rebuilt our ships (I'd brought 5 Incursii) and tried again in a different place but didn't meet anyone to fight. Had a nice chat with a guy in a quiet system who offered to 3 vs 1 us, but we passed.

We returned to the novice plex and at the acceleration gate we ran into the same group that splatted us before!  They had someone new along with them and the fighting started outside the plex. This time I survived; combat logs show they only fired on me twice, and I'd activated my MWD. I fired once and did not connect.  I tried to warp out again as the fight went south, but was told something was interfering. A few seconds of "uh-oh" was followed by the welcome sound of "Warping..." as our fleet leader had managed to get us out of there even though he'd lost his ship.

Overall it was a fun, TENSE, game to play.  I'm going to sign up for faction warfare and try it for real, though I'm going to wait until I can field some Tech 2 modules. The Dual Rep Incursus is very hard to kill, I'm told.