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 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.


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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


From flickr user lovelornpoets

Most of last night's activities involved plexing in quiet systems, trying to rack up LP before we drop into Tier 1, which everyone assumes will happen soon.  I took my cloaked Imicus out to two systems that were under Caldari control but showed little traffic. I used this ship because I was also hoping to find plentiful cosmic signatures that might yield data or relic sites.

It went pretty smoothly, though there were surprisingly few cosmic signatures to be had and I didn't run any sites. Instead I got about 40K LP from three plexes and had some nice conversations with three of my corpmates.

I tested the Imicus and it's 4 hobgoblins against the NPC that defends a medium plex. I was getting beaten up pretty badly -- I flew too close while trying to use my gun as well. Next time I'll just kite and let the drones do their work.  Kyle came in with an Algos and cleared the NPCs for me.  I also got interrupted by a Bantam that visited us at least six times during our plexing: he'd arrive and just warp out again. I could never be sure if he hadn't refit to carry guns so didn't engage and usually cloaked up till he left. There were also visits from an Incursus and Condor(?) but they didn't stay.

When you're running plexes in a quiet system you have a lot of time to just talk, if you want to, with people. One of my corpmates is in the Air Force, just returned from a year in Afghanistan. I'd hadn't met anyone who had served there so we talked about that for a while, and where he sees his career going. Another corp mate (who made it into a small plex with 4 seconds to go!) had played the Mass Effect games on the XBox with as much intensity as I had and we talked about that too.  It turns out that my guides to exploration (here and here) had given him the impetus to try it and he was doing well at it too! That was very gratifying to hear and I'm going to set up a "best posts" section to make my best advice easy to find.


I've got a good set of trade skills that I find very useful now: Marketing, Procurement and Day Trading all trained to level 3. It means that I can create AND edit buy and sell orders up to 10 jumps away. That means I can amass cheap goods through region-wide buy orders. How cheap? In my experience it's usually less than the manufacturing price of the item.  Then I can create sell orders AT the stations where those goods are piling up WITHOUT having to fly there myself. If there is a particular system I want to acquire the goods at, I can create a buy order just for that place instead.

I simply pull up the asset list (Alt+T), find the stuff, right-click and sell it at the price I want.  There are some items, admittedly not fast selling, that I buy for 4-6K and sell for 100K. They arrive steadily all day so I consider that an investment for the future; I could sell them where they are for whatever price I can get, or I could make an effort and move them myself to a system where they sell very well.

Ship Used

[Imicus, Data and Relic Sites]
Warp Core Stabilizer I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Damage Control I

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

Prototype Cloaking Device I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
75mm 'Scout' Accelerator Cannon, Iridium Charge S

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
[empty rig slot]

Monday, October 21, 2013

Aideron vs TEST Alliance, I-Hub bash in Ladistier

You can watch this without music, if you prefer.

Last night saw several first time experiences for me, all enjoyable and I didn't get blown up while doing them! It was my first hub bash, my first time using Hobgoblin IIs and my first Tristan fight.

Our group of 15 pilots formed part of an 80-strong fleet that flipped the ihub in Ladistier (Story at We brought 7 9 Taloses and 2 Oracles, among other ships, and the hub went down very quickly. At the end of the video above you can see the last few seconds of that action. We weren't confronted by any enemy activity at all.

The main fight of the night for us was an encounter with TEST Alliance, famed in song and story. Our scout spotted this group and we chased them from Ladistier to Sujarento where they were waiting for us at the gate. We remained cloaked while Marcel called targets, then a quick countdown and off we went!

We lost five ships in the encounter but took out way more of them, plus two pods. You can see the outcome on the killboard -- see 13-10-21 from 02:46 to 02:50 at Sujarento.

The fight was very easy on me; I was only targeted briefly and since I was able to send my drones to each target as it was called I got on six kills! But I only contributed a few hundred damage to each. My Light Electron Blasters were simply too short ranged to hit the targets, which got destroyed quickly as they were primaried. The next time we go out for a roaming fleet I will switch to railguns, and assign my drones to the FC (as we'd been told to do, but I forgot to do!) and focus on using the guns/scram/web properly.

After the fight we docked up and counted the loot: over 70 million ISK! Well....some of it must have been ours, from the five ships we lost, but it was a good haul. We then discussed the fight and what we did wrong, which I think is an excellent time to have that discussion, while it is fresh in everyone's mind.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Kill His Face

Some swearing in this video - NSFW

It was a fun night of combat in Ladistier, spiced up with some salty language. After the previous night's emphasis on space trucking I wanted to help with the plexing and the pew-pew so I got in an Atron (big help, huh?) and joined the thirty-five member fleet led by X Gallentius, to whom I offer congratulations on passing 10000 kills!

We were in Ladistier and ran a couple of plexes without getting a fight, though we did chase a couple of targets. There was a couple of speed-boosted ships that sat on the plex gate that we tried to snag a few times, without success.

The video above comes from a successful pursuit of a couple of ships that were seen going between Ladistier and Old Man Star. There are a couple of things to note for myself: firstly I again failed to turn on damage control and secondly I'm not sure why the Prophecy (kill mail here) didn't return fire. I'm assuming its because he was jammed and was therefore unable to lock anyone, but if I'm misinterpreting something please leave a comment below. Also I might have taken a big chance by opening fire against FC's orders -- was he not sure if the gate guns were going to open fire on us?

The best bit of the fight came afterwards when a friendly Tristan started shooting at fleet members (see 2:30 in the video). A guy who sounded like he knew the perpetrator, and was pretty mad at him, urged to "kill him, kill him, kill his face." This drew some laughs -- the poetry of aggression perhaps doesn't cross the language barrier very well -- but the guy was taken down and the FC remarked later that he'd get on comms with him and explain why he was killed, which I thought was very diplomatic of him.  It was odd that the "kill his face" guy, who sounded so eager to get this done, immediately urged us not to kill the pod.

We returned to Ladistier and kept plexing. A huge TEST Alliance fleet was seen entering the system: 17 Mallers and a bunch of other cruisers. FC considered reshipping to take the fight but we didn't have the numbers. There were some non-fleet militia in the medium plex with us and they stayed behind when we left. It must have been a huge, though brief, surprise to have 30 cruisers land on them! Here's one of those kill mails -- poor Anna Ashington is a new player, or alt, and our FC is actually on this killmail with some ECM.

Speaking of TEST Alliance and their entry into faction warfare, I asked the fleet what was the collective opinion of TEST's PvP abilities. A chorus of "sucks!" was heard though I can't remember what follow-up reasons were given.

I bugged out to Yvangier and re-shipped into my cloaky Imicus, ran a data and relic site (~20M total), docked up and logged out. My corpmate has picked up all my ships and supplies from my old home base, but it hasn't been delivered yet.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Community Spotlight on Aura & Aideron

Congratulations to our corp CEO Marcel for being recognized in CCP's Community Spotlight! If you haven't used Aura on your Android device, you should give it a try.

Moving Stuff

Paperwork by luxomedia

I finally set aside some time to go back to Arnon, my old home base and sell/repackage stuff in order to get it moved to my new home base. I also stripped various ships and got them ready for shipping too. My corporation, Aideron Robotics has a very kind member who will move stuff for free so I set up the contracts for what needed to move.

I have also buffed my skills in Marketing, Procurement and Day Trading so that I will be able to create buy and sell orders remotely, as well as change the prices on those orders. I don't fancy flying around picking up stuff from all over the place, but its a pretty quick operation to set up buy/sell orders.

After getting that organized I headed back to Yvangier and ran a data site and a relic site on the way. The data site yielded 13.3M, the relic site 1.7M. A pattern is is better than relic!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Heydelies is Liberated!!

My video of some this weekend's fighting

Heydelies is free (see 10-14-2013, 07:55) from the corporate jackboot of the hated Caldari! Its people will now be forced to party 24 hours a day, Gallente-style!

Big Picture

Report on

When I joined Aideron Robotics a month ago, I was told that reclaiming Heyd was our goal. We plexed, we fought, but whatever gains we made each night were rolled back by the next day, as players in other time zones undid our work.  But thanks to a concerted push (as reported on, Heyd has been reclaimed and Old Man Star is on its way to being under our control too.

Congratulations from this blog to Aideron Robotics and everyone involved in this effort! I think our ability to quickly co-ordinate effort on our shared Teamspeak server is a big help in this.

Little Picture

I spent the past couple of nights with the corp plexing, naturally, as we tried to reclaim Heydelies.  On the first night I was using up my last couple of Atrons and not doing much damage.

But on the second night I was able to produce longer videos of these fights (still at low res, sorry :( ) thanks to the great support of our logistics (repair) ships. You may notice in the video that I'm on my overview pod saver tab AND about to Warp Out until I notice that the logi's reps are tanking me! Therefore I was able to be the main damage dealer on Anslo's Stabber, which I locked because it was the closest target to me when we entered the plex. Frigates, including me, were supposed to take out their frigates and I forgot that a Stabber is a cruiser! But I used my scram, neut and web correctly (eventually), though I forgot to turn on Damage Control for at least one of these fights.

On Friday night the FC handed out "Attrition Thrashers" and two waves went out. They were intended to be lost, but at 1M ISK a piece we did FAR more damage to the enemy. A second wave was sent, followed by a derptron (cheap Atrons, same idea) fleet from Aideron. After taking out a Stabber Fleet Issue (73M) and a Hurricane (61M - see video), among other things, the Caldari retreated and did not re-emerge.

Other Stuff

During a short downtime I found a couple of data sites and scored 21.5M and 15M ISK of loot -- not bad for 20 minutes work with no enemies in sight! I've also studied Marketing III which allows me to set up sell orders up to 10 jumps away. That covers 99% of my stuff, so I have started selling the big piles of ammo I've been accumulating with buy orders in Arnon. I have also created buy orders for some the equipment we commonly use in Aideron ships, just to see if that works. 

Honestly though, the hands-down best way to make money is to run data sites. It usually yields 10-20M ISK per site (in low-sec; I haven't tried nullsec) and there are very seldom any other players around if you pick a low-traffic system. There are also no NPCs (except in wormholes) so you don't need to worry about combat.

[Late update: On Sunday night I stayed away from the fighting; it was late and I'd been out. So I just explored and found only a couple of data sites, for a total yield of about 15M. It would have been more if I hadn't failed a difficult hack on a juicy tower.

I found a relic site in high-sec (0.5) and decided to run it, just to see what I'd find. I shouldn't have bothered, and never will again. Three towers yielded 24000 ISK of T1 salvage. That's not a typo - twenty four thousand ISK. What a joke! CCP should buff the yield of these sites if they want high-sec players to take an interest in exploration.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Are My T2 Guns Cursed?!

From flickr user Lettuce

I was very happy today because I'd finally finished training the skills that would let me fit T2 guns. I decided to start the night with an experiment, putting a couple of T2 blasters on my Venture and testing how they'd do against the NPCs that defend plexes. I set out to find one, but instead found a slight change of pace - an almost empty system with a novice and a medium plex.

I checked the medium plex and it contained only two wrecks -- no NPC to kill. The timer was at 28 minutes, so I settled in for a long wait; but hey, I can wait that long for 25000 LP.  The system was, as I mentioned, *almost* empty. There was a fellow militia member having a terse chat with a non-militia player flagged as a suspect. The suspect had killed the militia guy and was ribbing him about it. Militia Guy didn't see the funny side. Suspect left the system. Milita guy must've gone off to re-ship.

I said nothing in local and from my perch 28km off the beacon I watched the timer count down. War targets came and went but nobody came to the plex I was in. I kept hitting d-scan anyway, out of habit, and around the 7 minute mark a Merlin showed up on d-scan. I didn't put two and two together (obviously it was Militia Guy) and cloaked up as is my usual practice. Militia Guy appears a few seconds later and settles into a spot 40km away from me. I decide to stay cloaked out of habit and anyway, I'd done the "work" of running the clock from 28 minutes down to this point.

The timer counts down and with 10 seconds to go I decloak. The following conversation ensues, with name changed to protect the lying whiner. Cracka Crack is a war target elsewhere in system.

[ 2013.10.12 01:59:23 ] ***** > wow
[ 2013.10.12 01:59:25 ] Message > Site has been captured.
[ 2013.10.12 01:59:33 ] Vic Vorlon > hi :)
[ 2013.10.12 01:59:34 ] ***** > what a douche
[ 2013.10.12 01:59:38 ] Vic Vorlon > huh?
[ 2013.10.12 01:59:45 ] ***** > I spent the last 20 minutes capping that
[ 2013.10.12 01:59:51 ] ***** > you come for 7 seconds and get 12.5k lp
[ 2013.10.12 01:59:52 ] Vic Vorlon > No, I did
[ 2013.10.12 02:00:02 ] cracka crack > haha i hear qq
[ 2013.10.12 02:00:02 ] Vic Vorlon > I was here from 25 min down to 7, when you arrived
[ 2013.10.12 02:00:17 ] cracka crack > go cry like a bitch to your corp or kill him for it
[ 2013.10.12 02:00:38 ] Vic Vorlon > thx cracka :)

Did you catch that? Militia Guy assumed that I had just warped into the medium with seven seconds to go, and *he* claimed to have been there for twenty minutes! If that's actually what I'd done, then I'd have been blameless, since you can't see the timer from outside the plex; it would just have been a coincidence if I'd arrived at that moment. Also he didn't notice that I was 40km away, i.e 20km off the beacon, so I must have been there already: you can't just appear 20km off the beacon. And it also meant he wasn't watching d-scan since if I *had* flown in he'd have seen me coming and could have blubbed about it some more.

Also I didn't catch him complaining that I didn't come and run the novice with him and split the LP over there, hmm? Dude, we coulda been plex buddies!

I warped out at this point to go do fleet stuff with the corp and my damned net connection dropped. I tried to join the fleet activity but suffered two more dropouts and gave it up. Bad karma, bad luck, cursed guns?

That's the first time I've been yelled at in Eve, and the first time I've had random net dropouts. T2 guns? You be the judge. And I still haven't fired the damned things.

TEST are coming to faction warfare

Approaching Storm by Jason Lacey

When I connected to Eve last night one of our corp directors told us we'd better start collecting as much LP as we can, because Test Alliance are leaving nullsec and joining the Caldari Faction Warfare effort. While the comments in that thread are mostly derisive, writing Test off as a spent force, it's still got 41 corporations and over 4600 members. They'll be based in Tamo, which is 18 jumps from our home base. Still, they'll probably spread out and be active near us, and if our director was worried about it then I am too.

I got in my cloaked Venture and went out to run plexes. I knew I'd have to take out the NPC defender, so I refit it to be as aggressive as I could make with what I had in my hanger. I ended up being able to apply 50 DPS, which it turns out was enough to handle the NPC in both a novice and a small plex. I had found a system with very few people in it and luckily nobody turned up to disturb me, so I got 27500 LP, though it took a while to bring down the NPC defenders.

Replacing/Changing the Cloaky Venture

BUT I realized I don't need to use the Venture for this any more. I had two reasons for using it: firstly I had one lying around and secondly it has +2 warp stability built in. I thought this would help me escape from being pointed. But it turns out that nobody has tried to do this, and the combat drawbacks of the warp-stabbed Venture are too annoying to ignore: it's slow, has short lock range and the capacitor empties quickly. It took one to two minutes to bring down the NPC defenders and I ran out of capacitor a couple of times. I'd have preferred to run a medium plex, but I doubted I could take down an NPC cruiser.

I'd like to have better combat facilities while still being able to cloak. It turns out that watching d-scan and just cloaking is a very effective way to stay and the warp stabilizers were never needed.  So I'll be looking to set up an Incursus for the purpose.   I had some trouble getting an Incursus fit I liked, so I may try just changing the Venture fit instead? I've used afterburner instead of microwarp drive, railguns instead of blasters and added a couple of protection rigs.

[Venture, Cloaked Plexing]
Drone Damage Amplifier I

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

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

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

Hobgoblin I x2

That does 43 DPS and fights at a range of 16 km and is cap stable. I might give this a spin.

Scout and Explorer

While running the plexes I listened on comms as one of our most experienced PvPers was taken on his FIRST exploration mission. This is the same player who got surprised by the difficulty of a level 4 mission a few days ago. It struck me that there are people playing this game in a totally different way than I have, going for years in PvP and never running a mission or exploring.  These two players paired up in an interesting way: the explorer would scan down relic/data sites while the PvPer ran plexes. When the sites were identified they would both enter and the PvPer would help catch the scatter cans, then they'd split the loot.  And then both players would re-enter the plexes and cap them, thus splitting the LP. The explorer would also jump ahead of the PvPer into the next system and tell him what targets were available for fighting, and the PvPer was ready to defend the explorer if needed. It was nice to listen to their happiness at discovering how well this worked!

[Update: Since they discussed this in High Drag podcast episode 20 I can reveal it was Kyle (PvP) and Ashterothi that did this.]

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Busy Busy

Another busy night in New Eden! It was a strange sort of busy-ness though, with fights never quite happening until the end of the night.

I took our new Atron fit out for a spin with Kyle and two other corpmates. We ran two plexes and roamed a little but didn't find any action. So we returned to Yvangier to practice slingshotting and pew-pew each other down to structure.  As 9PM hit several more corp members logged on and we got a bigger fleet together. The word came that Brave Newbies were stomping around in Heydelies so I was sent to see what I could find out. I messed up a bit here, through inexperience. They wanted me to use d-scan to determine the fleet composition, using this tool, but instead of drawing correctly my browser just downloaded index.php to my hard disk! So I reported as best I could until another corpmate got into a cloaky ship and went directly to where the BNI fleet was. I had reported dscanning them at the Villore gate, but it turned out they were at a nearby station which lay in the same 5 degree "cone of view".

We joined a QCATS fleet in stalking the BNIs but no fight resulted. It was interesting, for a first-timer like me, to bounce around from gate to gate trying to get BNI to fight, but they avoided us and eventually docked up.

There were eight Aideron pilots left so we hopped into a medium plex, bypassing a cluster of chain-repping battlecruisers on the gate, and as the clock ran down on the plex a Caracal showed up on d-scan.  We're not sure why a single pilot decided to enter a plex with eight ships in it, include two logi (repair) ships, but he did, and the kill shown in the video above is the result. The new fit includes a Nosferatu, which drains energy from the target and transfers it to me.

It was a good night for plexing too - I was in five capped plexes and made about 15000 LP.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fighting Fit

Photo by AstroGuy

This is a short update and I'm also thinking that I'm settling into a nice routine. Nice for me, ISK to be made, fights to be had, but it might be difficult to write interesting comments about it! But I'll try!


I started last night with a quick attempt to plex in my cloaked Imicus. I figured that any cloaked ship would work with my very cowardly method for plexing. I chose the Imicus instead of my usual Venture because I could use 4 drones to try and take down the NPC defender. The smallest empty plex I found in Heyd was a small, but my drones had only been out for a few seconds when an Incursus appeared on short scan. I couldn't cloak because I was locked by the NPC, so I abandoned the drones and warped out.  In local I saw someone type "u plex in an Imicus?" and the reply "u wot mate?" came from someone he'd been pursuing or sparring with. I wasn't sure if I should own up to it or not, so I stayed quiet :)

Next I turned to exploration and despite scanning about ten sigs across several systems I found only one exploration site -- a relic site. The loot was quite cheap and I had only 3.5M ISK worth after five towers. I was unenthusiastically slogging through it when a Sisters Probe showed up on d-scan. I remember the advice I'd read - "If anyone shows up on d-scan, run!". I warped out and headed back to my home system.

New Fit

Our CEO has come up with a better fit for low-skilled pilots to use and my recent training was Weapons Upgrade V, Advanced Weapon Upgrade I and II and I'm currently doing Small Hybrid Turret V (to get ready for T2 guns). By next week I should also be able to use Tech 2 Hobgoblins. I can fly the new fit and took a copy out to the local asteroid belts to give it a try. 

Honestly, it felt good to warp to 0, lock and start blasting! I took out a couple of sets of 3 pirates and practiced getting into a tight orbit  around them as quickly as possible and using all the tools on the ship. Interestingly I lost all my shield and small bit of armor on both sets of rats while using antimatter charges. 

I was going to try using Faction Navy ammo to see if I could improve on that when I stumbled on a Drake.  He'd just finished killing a mining barge and I almost succumbed to the rush of blood to my head and thought "maybe the Drake got badly damaged and I could finish him off? Perhaps he can't handle a frigate at short range?" I decided not to do that though and just returned to base. I told my corpmates about it but they didn't have suitable fits ready to go for a fight like that.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


from flickr user KAlexanderson

It's been a few days since I have been able to write here, but I got in a lot of exploration time. I missed our corp fleet night on Sunday but I had plenty of time to establish a nice routine of exploration. I *did* try and do the right thing for my corp and run plexes but I couldn't find a plex that wasn't defended by an NPC.

Remember, my starting point is a low-skilled pilot (Astrometrics 3, Hacking 2, Archaelogy 2) in low-sec flying a cheap ship (Imicus) with the cheapest equipment. And I was still able to raid about 10 exploration sites across 15 star systems for a total haul of approximately 80M ISK, in about 5 hours. As my scanning skills improve (Astro 4+, Pinpointing etc) this should speed up a lot. It currently takes me 3 scans just to identify if a signature is a wormhole/combat site or not.

I used the star map to pick out two "branches" of systems that were mostly low-traffic. In each system I created a "safe spot" bookmark and sat there, cloaked, while scanning. I'd estimate that 1 in 6 signatures were data/relic sites. Friggin' combat sites. Friggin' wormholes.  When I found and ran the data/relic sites I never encountered anybody else or found a site that had been partially run.

The hacking game itself can be tricky, but if you leave the white dots till the end, and make sure you're not clicking so fast that you miss picking up a useful tool, then lose it because you've uncovered a trap in the next node, you'll have a good chance of getting to the loot. I also found that I can start the game as soon as I'm under 5km from the tower, because the ship will continue to approach while I'm hacking, and when the loot spills I'll be sitting at 0 distance from the tower. 

Basic Scatter Can Guide: At a data site, decrypters are in "Parts". At relic sites the salvage is evenly spread between "Parts" and "Materials". At BOTH types of sites, Blueprints are in "Data". This will cover most of what you'll want to find.

You must use a cargo scanner and say to yourself what cans you're looking to pick up. See the guide at the bottom of this Eve Uni page for this golden information! For example if the scanner shows two good decrypters and a blueprint, I say "parts, parts, data" to myself and watch what I'm collecting to make sure I'm getting the decrypters (and not just junk parts). A good tip to see this is to have the Inventory window open and scrolled down to the bottom. As new stuff enters your cargo, the icon will appear and the inventory window will keep scrolling down, so the item most recently picked up will always be visible.

Your ship has a built in tractor beam that you didn't know about, and it will retrieve a scatter can up to 3500M away with a SINGLE click. While retrieving a can you can also click on a different can. The first will be colored green, then second will flash to indicate it is queued up for retrieval. Don't double click, or you'll move towards a can and maybe get out of range of half the good stuff!

After running the site I always go back to a local station and drop the goods safely into the hanger. Most other pilots carry their treasure around until they have an amount they are happy with, then return home. I'm still pretty paranoid and don't mind waiting till later to retrieve the loot.


While flying through these systems I found a gate that was surrounded by wrecks. They were all looted and the overview showed nobody around. If you've read my earlier postings you know this is what I've been waiting for! There was even a couple of "elite" wrecks, which would drop T2 salvage. But I decided there was a chance that it was a trap; that a cloaked Destructinator was waiting for me. It was difficult, but I left it alone. It was made a little easier knowing that the last few stray wrecks I'd salvage yielded very little of value, so I think I'm cured of the salvage bug for now, at least while using an Imicus. Perhaps in a Noctis and working with a level 4 mission runner, it might be worth doing.

Ship Used

[Imicus, Data and Relic Sites]
Warp Core Stabilizer I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Damage Control I

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

Prototype Cloaking Device I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Antimatter Charge S

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
[empty rig slot]

The gun is optional. The Gravity Capacitors make your scanning more effective. You MUST have the Core Probe Launcher & probes, Cargo Scanner, Data/Relic analyzer and cloaking device to do this safely and effectively.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Caught Plexing

I started playing a little earlier than usual so I decided to once again indulge my new found enjoyment of exploration. Once again the loot fairy was kind and put a data site in our home system, which I ran in about 15 minutes and came away with 10M ISK of decryptors, salvage, blueprints and skill books. I'm disposing of these through sell orders and just now sold 3 decryptors for 12M ISK.

After running the data site I thought I should stick to my corporation's wish list, so I looked for a plex to run. I'm in my cloaked Imicus and the steps I outlined in an earlier post are now almost second nature to me. I captured a novice plex with only a fellow militia member for company.

A Diversion: Low-Sec Exploration vs. Low-Sec Salvage

I salvaged four wrecks that were in the plex when I found it (nothing but junk...I'm losing interest in salvaging as I find the odd wreck here and there and never get anything exciting, even when it's an "Elite" wreck that drops T2 salvage.  Let's contrast it with exploration, salvage is found sporadically and is mostly worth very little. You can d-scan for wrecks, but not probe for them, so the only way to find them in large amounts is to follow a level 4 mission runner or perhaps find a gate camp. Either way, you have have their cooperation or hope they will leave the wrecks behind when they depart the area. And you have to wait for them to leave so you can uncloak and start salvaging, unless you don't mind getting shot at.

Exploration, on the other hand, involves only you (unless someone follows you). You can find sites pretty easily using the cheapest probes and launcher. The loot is generous, about 8-10M ISK per site, and that's after I've blown up one or two of the more generous towers due to not being able to get past their hacking defenses. You can use the star map to find systems near you that have very few pilots in space, to give you the best chance of being left alone as you run the exploration sites.

Conclusion: I'm going to leave salvage alone for a while and do exploration when I can.  My skills are still low (astrometrics 3, hacking 2, archaeology 2) so I can only improve from here.

Plexing And Fights

After taking the first plex I head over to another and after a few minutes we are joined by a group of fellow militia that turns out to be my corpmates! I join our voice comms and decloak and hear "Vic, what are you doing in an Imicus?!" "Plexing for the greater glory of the Gallente!" "Well, get in a fighting ship and join us in Fliet."

We finish the plex without incident, which gives me about 10,000 LP for the night. I head back to Yvangier and change into something more threatening.  I rejoin the fleet in Fliet (or "fillet" as it is sometimes named) and we run into a pretty big fight. I recorded this fight, but sadly it is corrupted and I can literally only play it and watch in real-time, no editing is possible.

The short version is that we lost. We killed four of their destroyers and lost five frigates, but our frigates were much more expensive. During the fight I was told to attack their Hobgoblin II drones, which I did, but the FC forgot that I was in a very weak ship. I was able to kill one drone and almost finish another, but it took far too long and I was the only one ordered to attack them. They wore us down.

When we returned to Yvangier we went over my skills to see if I can get into any more useful than what I'm flying. It's close, but not yet. I thought I'd be ready Sunday night, but I didn't notice there's another four day train that I'd need before it would work. So we're modifying an existing design, simplifying it a little, so I can survive longer and do more damage.

Friday, October 4, 2013

School's In! Class on slingshotting

from flickr user theirhistory

I'll start today with a thank to Kyle Yanowski, of the High Drag podcast, for the very kind mention of this blog in episode 19. You can listen to the podcast itself, or watch the streaming video event during which it was recorded. I'm the featured item in the "Noob Corner" segment at 32:30. Kyle said that my positive attitude and enjoyment of all the corners of the Eve sandbox was a refreshing antidote to the "bittervet" syndrome, to which I will one day, no doubt, succumb.


I logged in about an hour before Kyle's class on basic PvP techniques was due to begin, which gave me time to scratch my exploration itch.  My Venture was still four jumps from home, so I started heading back there to re-ship into my exploration Imicus when I encountered a couple of my corp mates in Indregulle. We sat in a plex for a couple of minutes, but someone else closed a plex and tipped the system to "vulnerable", meaning it was 100% under Gallente control (except for the formality of attacking the hub). That meant offensive plexes would NOT pay out LP, so we left.

There was an interesting discussion on the corp forum about this. I asked why there were vulnerable systems that we did not immediately attack and capture. The answer was that it's not actually in our interest to capture every system as soon as we can, partly because that would give the Caldari somewhere new to offensively plex and give us one more place to defend and one less place to farm LP. There are other reasons too, but they're secret -- shhh!


I got into the Imicus and went to a nearby quiet system that I'd noticed on the way in, which had three cosmic signatures. Juice!  Scanned 'em all down....all wormholes! I'm not yet ready to roll the dice on entering wormholes solo. Did you ever read Frederick Pohl's "Gateway"? It's like that with me and wormholes.

I returned to our home system and tried the cosmic signature I saw there. Bingo! Hey, why leave home when you have treasure at your doorstep? It was not a difficult site to run and I picked up about 8 million ISK of loot. I blew up one tower, the most lucrative one when my hacks failed, but that's OK for now. It was interesting to finally notice that the difficult of the hacking mini-game is proportional to how valuable the loot is. You are never going to find a rich treasure with weak defenses (as far as I know).

I've memorized the basic formula for deciding which scatter containers to grab. At a data site tower with no blueprints, grab parts then materials. If a blueprint is there, and you want it, it will be in a data container. At a relic site, all the salvage is in parts AND materials, so grab all of those. That covers most of what you'll find. But, for reference, you should still have the handy-dandy table from the bottom of this page pasted into a Notepad in-game.

Hunting Wabbits

During my exploration the corp was setting up an attempt to pluck an annoying thorn from our side. The guy who podded our CEO was seen in system so we set up an attempt to pin him down. He remains cloaked most of the time and uses a micro-jump drive to escape, so it is very difficult to pin him down. This attempt was unsuccessful, though we look forward to many more!


Kyle led us in a class about slingshotting.  When fighting other players you will frequently get scrammed (your warp drive is disable, preventing you from escaping). But if you can get the distance between you and your enemy to be greater than the range of his scrambler, it will lose its hold on you (its "point" in Eve slang) and you can escape.  If your enemy is using the "orbit" command, there's a trick you can do to use his momentum against him and hopefully break out of his grasp.

A couple of days ago reddit user Cyathem posted this handy image.

(The blogging software is being whiny and won't let me link to my copy of the original image, so the "handy image" link above may not work. There are also tutorials on youtube.)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

"Hassan Chop!"


The night began by testing something that I turned out to be wrong about: a couple of days ago I had thought I'd found a bug in the game.  While I was scanning for relic/data sites I found a site that I couldn't get past 48%.  I looked at the description of the prototype cloaking device and assumed that the "-50% scanning resolution penalty" meant all my scan results would be half their "natural" level. I thought this was odd at the time, since plenty of videos show people cloaked up while probing. Perhaps CCP had inadvertently introduced a bug in the recent changes to the probing system, and applied the 50% penalty to scan strength too?

I tested it again tonight and probing-while-cloaked works just fine. What must have happened is that I was scanning a very faint cosmic signature and my weak skills (astrometrics 3 plus 2 grav rigs on my Imicus) weren't enough to pinpoint it.  The visual distinction between a weak and strong cosmic signature is very hard to spot! It's something to do with the initial signal strength, so unless you're looking for it, you won't know that a signature is beyond your abilities until it just won't go any higher. This list may help.

Buzz Kill

While I was running another relic site, full of mostly T1 salvage, I got invited by a corpmate to come and salvage/loot his level 4 mission.  This is something I've been hoping to do for a while, though its not very "Ninja" if you're personally invited! He had completed one level 4 already, without much trouble, and invited me to salvage his next one.  I agreed, dropped off my meager loot (1.2M from 3 towers) and switched to my cloaked Venture.

As I was jumping to his location I hear signs of trouble: "Ah jeez, can't tank it," "It hurts, it hurts!"  I jump in at range and activate the cloak. I forgot to put him on a watch list and instead just ask how he's doing and maybe what the mission is so I can try and look it up so he knows what to expect.  He's mainly a PvP player and he tells me that running missions is a new area for him.  He remembers the mission name: Buzz Kill.  I ask him what kind of ammo he's using and tell him that its common practice to "cheat" and read ahead on missions (yet another instance of the game expecting you to use google as part of regular play), especially level 4, so you can optimize your ship's defense and offense for the type of pirate you'll see. He's using explosive (I think) which is the right type, but his PvP ship is set up to defend against all types of incoming damage. I think that might have left him more vulnerable to explosive damage than if he'd re-fit the ship to focus mainly on explosive damage prevention. I'm just guessing there, though.

He's already killed at least 25 rats when I get there and I watch him take out several more.  But the Angel cruisers and frigates are harder to kill than their big ships, and it slows him down.  He warps out to get more cap boosters and leaves his drones behind. The rats attack and kill the drones and there are no more in system.  He returns and fights on, but just as he's getting their numbers down the next wave triggers. It's huge! And consists mainly of cruisers and frigates.  He wades in, now fighting without drones and is suddenly webbed and scrambled!  Is this new behaviour? The cheat guide didn't mention this....uh oh....going down...down....poof! He warps out and the pirates sit still, waiting for anyone else to show up.

He apologizes for not clearing the mission and I tell him its not a problem. I consider uncloaking and seeing what I could pick up before the rats try and get me but I don't trust my ability to escape. I also thought about releasing my two salvage drones and seeing what they'd do, but it probably wouldn't have worked either.

As I'm looking around the system I notice there are four cosmic signature here and there's no hostiles or neutrals in local. It would've been a perfect place to have my Imicus, but here I am in the Venture instead, equipped for a party that didn't show up.

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
                    Gang aft agley,     
An’lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
                    For promis’d joy!

         --Robert Burns, To A Mouse

I notice another militia member in system and offer the remains of the fight to him, since, if nobody takes it, all this will disappear in about two hours. He declines, so I dock up and sign off.

Ships Used

[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
[empty rig slot]

Salvage Drone I x2

[Imicus, Data and Relic Sites]
Warp Core Stabilizer I
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Damage Control I

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

Prototype Cloaking Device I
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
Salvager I

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
[empty rig slot]