Monday, April 28, 2014


Picture from flickr user Jeff Howard

My training queue for the past few weeks has been concentrating on raising various support skills to level four. This included some drone skills, plus getting Combat Drone Operation to level five, so I wondered what kind of drone damage I could put out in a useful scenario. I remembered that when I joined faction warfare, one suggested way of making ISK was to hunt Clone Soldiers in asteroid belts. They each will drop a tag worth between 1M and 30M ISK, depending on which type of them you encounter. The type is based on the security level of the status you're in: the real money is to be found in 0.2 and 0.1 systems.  I checked the map and found a few systems to go check in my new kiting Algos.

[Update from the future: This fit doesn't work any more for hunting clone soldiers, though it's fine for general ratting. Clone Soldiers got a buff that make them able to hit out further and harder.]

[Algos, Clone Soldier Hunter]
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

F-90 Positional Sensor Subroutines, Targeting Range Script
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
PL-0 Shipment Probe

[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
Drone Link Augmentor I

Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

Hammerhead II x2
Hobgoblin II x3

With all my drone skills at IV (and Combat Drone Op at V), this does about 250 DPS and can lock targets at 80km, and control drones at 74km. I warp to asteroid belts at 70km and see what is there. I mostly ignore the cheaper rats (when you click on one, your "Selected Object" window shows what bounty will be paid if you kill them.) I carry some spare Hammerhead and Hobgoblins, but so far none of my drones have even been attacked.  I use the "Shipment Probe" module to check the content of the wrecks to see if its worth crossing 70km of space to pick it up.

Originally I had a Cetus ECM burst in place of the Shipment Probe, anticipating that I'd encounter human pilots that wanted to fight. But so far I've seen nobody, though I have avoided crowded systems. When I find rats that I want to fight, I burn straight up to get out of the warp-in plane. If a pilot happened to warp in at 70km too, they'd land right on top of me, which would be dangerous.

Sadly I found no Clone Soldier rats in the half-dozen or so 0.2 and 0.1 systems that I spent about 3 hours in. But I did get a few high-level Serpentis battleships worth 500-800K each, plus their loot, and lots of other rats worth between 100-200K. The best find was a Shadow Serpentis Infantry that dropped an 8M ISK smart bomb.

[Update: I'm probably doing it wrong: the recommended way is to enter a system and kill all the rats in the belts. Twenty minutes later (start the clock from the first belt you cleared) come back and see what new rats have appeared. Hopefully you'll find a Clone Soldier and can take him out!]

Fliet continues to be a busy system and my T1 manufacturing operation has produced a lot of useful items to sell there. Also, while scanning down signatures in Fliet last night I found a Minor Serpentis Annex, a tough PvE combat site. I didn't have time to run it myself, but I let my corpmates know about it and several of them got together and ran it - I hope it turned out well! (Update: yes it did! A Serpentis nano membrane was found, and it sold for 962M ISK!)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Keep On Keeping On

Life in Eve has continued in the same vein, one that I'm very happy with. My main character has over 10M skill points now and can do some serious damage with guns. I'm getting a lot of his main skills up to level 4 now, taking a little advice from the ISIS system and also from our corporate doctrine fits.  My sideline activities of Planetary Interaction and T1 manufacturing of items for our doctrine ships has settled into a good rhythm. I've filled out my P.I roster in Fliet. It's now the three barren worlds making P4 items, a coolant planet that I supply with water (it only has to make its own Electrolytes), and a world making a couple of P2 inputs for another guy in corp.

We took a couple of cruiser fights last night against Eve University. We were on our way to another system when we ran into E-Uni on a gate in Fliet, but that engagement didn't go our way. Their numbers increased, our logi couldn't hold up and the gate guns hit us pretty hard. Also one of the Vexor pilots in our fleet, a non-Aideron pilot, refused to fight them because they were "blue" (excellent standing) to him! He was ejected from the fleet shortly afterwards; if you join a fleet, you're committing yourself to help them. You can't land in a fight and refuse to shoot, especially if it's a tough fight!

We lost about 300M ISK of ships, but re-shipped, added more logi and more focused ECM and re-engaged them in Nag. After some interesting cat'n'mouse by both sides trying to get the fight started to our advantage they fly into us at the sun. And we won! We killed 6 Vexor Navy Issues each worth about 100M ISK. I have some video from the fight which I'll edit and share with you soon.

Lost Drone Retrieval

In my solo time I've been making note of systems which have a lot of lost drones in them, as we fly through them on roams, and returning to those systems in my "Hawkeye" Imicus to find those drones and rescue them. Poor little guys, trying their best to help you and left cold and alone in the dark.  I picked up about 15M worth of T2 drones in a relaxing hour or so. It's an exercise that combines d-scan and probing, so it's good practice.

I fly to a safe spot in the system, launch probes and cloak up. Then I use d-scan to work out roughly where the T2 drones are, within a 60 degree cone, and their distance from me; the tactical display is useful here, to make sure you're searching the sky thoroughly. Then I probe that area starting at an 8 AU diameter. You could bring salvage drones too, in case you find any T2 wrecks (i.e those with "Elite" in the description, which give you Tech 2 salvage, potentially worth millions each)

[Imicus, Hawkeye]
Nanofiber Internal Structure I
Co-Processor I
Co-Processor I

Limited 1MN Afterburner I
Scan Acquisition Array I
Scan Pinpointing Array I
Scan Rangefinding Array I

Prototype Cloaking Device I
[empty high slot]
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Combat Scanner Probe I

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

To Do List

Like many other people I've made an Eve To Do document that I update as ideas and opportunities come to me. For someone like me with limited time to play, it helps to do what I can in advance. For example, for my PI work I needed to know how much of each input to load into the launchpad during a supply run. I did that math when the opportunity arose, then when I was able to actually get into the game, I did the run without any doubt about what to do. Similar work should be done with manufacturing - it's a spreadsheeter's dream - to make sure you're building the right thing. I also keep notes on which of my sales orders are running low so I can schedule more production in advance and move the goods when the opportunity to log in next comes around.

Tales of The Blindingly Obvious, I know, but hopefully this helps someone better plan their activities in Eve.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I Shoulda Stood In Bed

Firpo knocks Dempsey out of the ring - painting by George Bellows

We went out on a roam with our Battle Exequrors last night. It's a cruiser logi ship carrying combat drones; the idea is that we can rep each other very strongly in any fight we take, while our Hammerhead II drones will take down anything we meet.  It's a funny idea, but very effective when it works. We ended up with a fleet of around 20, mostly Exeqs, with some smaller tackle ships...and no fights, at first. We roamed around for a long while finding empty systems or a large frigate gang that didn't want to fight and easily outran us on two occasions.

Just as things seemed like they might be winding down one of our scouts found a worthy target. A neutral Dominix (battleship) was sitting on a gate...almost certainly this was a bait ship. The attack was called and Ashterothi pointed the Dominix. We followed into the fight, then the Domi's Heavy Armor Cruiser (HAC) support fleet jumped in and it all went south rather quickly. We lost (see 2014-04-10 around 03:15 in Vlill) eight Exeqs, a Fed Navy Comet, an Atron and two pods. I was also carrying around 40M in long-stashed loot that I'd picked up from a station earlier in the night when things were very quiet; I'd assumed I'd would make it back to Fliet in one piece. Oh well, that's the game :)

The good news, though, was that the Gallente FW militia have hit tier 3! This means there are nice bonuses for plexing and that will be my focus for a while. I've been buying datacores cheaply for a while and I suspect the price is going to drop even further as Gallente FW pilots gorge on LP - it's been a long time since we were in Tier 3.


The title is a quote from Joe Jacobs in 1935.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Gallente Ascendant

From flickr user gary dawson

It's been a week since I posted here but I've been a busy worker bee. I've been editing a video of a really good fight that Aideron Robotics had last week, learning how to do voiceovers, freeze frames etc. The fight shows how effective logi can be in helping your fleet win fights and I can't wait to share it here.

I've also been doing a lot of PI operations: I'm sticking with my plan to focus on making P4 commodities (such as Nano Factories, Broadcast Nodes and Sterile Conduits) directly from their P3 inputs. The stars have re-aligned and I'm selling good amounts of all three items at about 200K profit per item. A full load of inputs on one planet takes about 30 hours to produce about 270 items for 54M ISK profit.

While I wasn't paying attention, the Caldari side of faction warfare has fallen apart...I did notice we had been winning more than usual, but I wasn't aware of the problems on the other side. Fliet is still stable and over the weekend we took Deven and Hasmijaala. I was there for the Hasmijaala ihub bash; we got a visit from a Sniggwaffe Thorax/Celestis fleet. We lost 3 cruisers and 2 frigates and killed 24 of their fleet, which might have been the whole thing. See this link, from 2014-04-07 at 03:00.  Twenty minutes later we receive a followup visit from a kitchen sink fleet of frigates that was easily stomped, though coincidentally they arrived just as some of our fleet were warping out after we'd finished bashing the ihub.

Aideron Robotics has been growing really well! We have secured Fliet, taken and defended POCOs and we now number 171 pilots, making us the third largest Gallente militia corporation. We do a lot of fun stuff so if you're considering coming to low-sec please join us!