New Blog Location

April 20, 2010

My last post in this location. I’ve moved to Blogger (and love it, bad WordPress bad!):

To blob or not to blob, that is the question

April 13, 2010

Blah, blah, blobbing, numbers, blah. At some point, everyone blobs. Get over it. Even when you don’t blob, the losing team will still say you blobbed. If you didn’t blob, you used ewar, or some other ‘trick’ (tactic) to win. In fact, if you didn’t have a pre-arranged duel with pistols at 20 paces you must have cheated according to too many sore losers in this game.

Personally, I very much enjoy and prefer a good fight that includes the risk of losing and my death and demands real pilot skill and teamwork – but I’ll still shoot any target that presents itself. And I don’t think any FC in this game is about to tell people in his gang: ‘hey sorry guys, they only have 4 ships and we have 10, let’s draw straws and 6 of you will have to sit this one out’. Yeah, right, more like ‘fleet align, warping in 3, call and spread points on landing’. So is Eve. Frankly, I don’t mind blobs; yes they are very frustrating when you just want some fun frigate pew. But really the blobs just make me respect those pilots that can solo or fight outnumbered, like Kil2, Loren Gallen, DHB Wildcat, and all the Genos boys, that much more.

Last night we had a series of 4 near fights that illustrate the reality of ‘teh blob’ quite well. We form up a cruiser gang and head out toward the usually fun Heydelies / OMS. Not quite a suicide fleet, but definitely looking to shoot anything we have even a slight chance of an isk win against – something gank cruisers are built for. As our fleet of 7 cruisers, one BB, 2 AFs, and 3 tackle jump into Hedelies and begin warping to OMS, scouts report a Tuskers gang basically crossing us in warp headed to Fliet. Unsure of full gang comp, but mixed reports of a blackbird or a falcon and several BCs. Tuskers are a class act and usually like a good scrap. Perfect. Turn the fleet around on landing and ‘go go tackle’ back to fliet. Turns out they had both a falcon and a blackbird, as well as at least 3 BC (I think there may have been 1 more as well), a stealth bomber and a frig – we never got them all together on the field, so tough to say. Given their advantage in ewar they could probably mow us down in our low tank, easily jammed cruisers. But I think we caught them unexpectedly spread across a system or two, with their ewar out of position, so the fight goes a bit differently. Our tacklers managed to grab a harb in fliet, with a drake burning off the gate, while the rest have apparently already warped off. We go to work on the harb, moderately surprised to discover he’s a shield harb. One tackler has managed to keep point on the drake even as he burns away, so fleet bounces off a planet and warps back in on the drake. Drake’s tank is slowly going down when hostile falcon and blackbird land on grid, at range. We send tackle after the falcon, hoping to finish the drake and maybe get lucky, but, alas, falcon and BB jam our tackle and gtfo once its clear they can’t spring their friend. While we’re looting, a tusker hurricane lands, trying to head back to Heyd, but our tackle is able to jump through and grab him as well. We outnumbered them but they out-classed and out ECMed us – they probably win that if we’re all together but I think we got lucky. Was a fun, if chaotic fight, GFs exchanged – as I said, Tuskers are a class act, no whining, no bitching, just GF and move on.

We’d earlier spotted another gang in Heyd, a Gentleman’s Club gang that included some BS. Scouts now reported them near the OMS gate in Heyd, as our cruisers are landing on the same gate. They warp in on us on the gate, not sure if it was coincidence or intent. We stare at each other for a second, as I’m really hoping they aggress and take gate guns. They oblige and the fight is on. Their gang is Pest, Raven, 2x Cane, Drake, and turns out they had a proteus somwhere as well, but I don’t recall seeing him, so he may have bugged out or been a gang linked proteus in a safe. I call the cane’s primary first, guessing, correctly that they were shield / nano fit, and since they were in web range on the gate, fairly easy targets. Take one down, the other manages to burn to range, so we switch to the pest. We’re down two cruisers at this point, so bout even. Pest takes a while, but our ECM starts to really show. Every loss concentrates our BB’s jams on the remaining ships. A couple of our cruisers are able to warp away before being popped when their tackle gets jammed (no point on the pest), while we finish the pest and the cane that burned to range remains tackled by one our inty’s and dies a slow death to gate guns and drones. The raven and drake de-aggro and gtfo. The killboard is borked as Heydelies is a very busy system – many of the ships, including the Galls were not involved, although it looks after the fact like a friendly drake had joined the fight – didn’t even know till I reviewed it now. Fun fight though! If that gang had warped to range and been able to kite us more effectively they probably would have won, or at least killed many more of us. But, again, we got a bit lucky with them warping on top of us on the gate.

So we chill in Heyd a few minutes, expecting the usual Gallente response fleet; sure enough, a gall fleet of several BS and too many BCs end up chasing us up the pipe back to Tama – those blobbers, haha. While in Tama, we play with some snipers, and then spot a neutral drake in top belt that eyeballs our tackle, but doesn’t aggress or warp off. Obvious bait is obvious. But, meh, we’re on a roll and gank cruisers ftw. So we decide to engage him and see what lands. Imagine our surprise when in warps an Astarte and a Paladin. A friendly mega in system joins us and we gank all three in short order. I’m not sure what these guys were thinking, but if I had to guess, drake was clearly bait fit – all tank, with just a point, no prop mod, no dps mods – so they were baiting with the paladin and astarte in a (soon to be eliminated) deep safe, many AUs from the belt. The drake was well off the belt and they landed at 0 on him, indicating they were almost certainly together. Our tackle grabs him, we warp in, drake reports just cruisers and he calls in his buddies. By the time they land though they realize they probably don’t have enough, especially since Marauders are NOTORIOUSLY easy to jam. I’m not sure they even got a shot off. Pro tip: if you’re going to fly a marauder in PVP, (1) fit ECCM, and (2) cap boosters >> cap rechargers on anything sub-capital. O.o, shiney faction lootz too! And the loot fairy was even kind enough to drop all three faction mods. Meh, did we blob them? Yes, I guess we did, but they baited and warped into us. Yet again though, pretty class act from Defi4nt dudes, GFs in local, move on.

And now our last fight of the night. We get reports of a pirate camp in Aunenen. So we haul ass over that way with about 5 BCs and some tackle, thinking it would be a couple of dudes shooting hapless missioners. Once our scout arrives, we discover that instead of a couple, its actually 10; 3 BS, 5 BC, an Onyx and a Cyna. Too much for our 5 BCs, so we burn back to nourv, ship up to BS, adding a few dudes on the way. We now number 12: 7 BS, 4 BC and a frig scout. I’m hoping for a nice fight here, but also concerned that, it being Aunenen, the pirates will almost certainly have: (1) cloaked ECM backup, (2) logistics backup, and/or (3) carrier backup, as there is a thanny on scan in system. After BLAST felt the need to hot drop our recon / BC gang two nights ago rather than actually have a fight, I opted for a bit of BS over-kill here, anticipating their backup. We send in a bait drake that I’m pretty sure is gonna die as they have a fair amount of DPS and we’re 2 jumps out to avoid spooking them, drake jumps in, they warp onto gate to kill him, our gang jumps into neighboring high sec and warps to Aunenen gate. Bait drake decloaks and starts to go back to gate, they open up, bait points the mega, we land and jump in and the fight is on! Except the pirates all turn and run, leaving the mega to die. Gah. And then the smack starts…’nice blob!’ ‘two times our numbers’ ‘you FW noobs are terrible’, etc etc etc. I’m lmao as 12 vs 10, expecting them to have backup ready to go, so yes, we really blobbed the shit out of them. While they run their mouths in local, my cov ops drops probes, and we gank their geddon in an off-grid safe spot – just missing three others in the safe with him. Safe spots are safe, amiright? And the smack goes on, and on, and on, this time from safely inside the station. We blobbed them 12 v 10, but of course they weren’t blobbing the unsuspecting missioners, lol. Hostile Alliance, in stark contrast to The Tuskers, Gentlemen’s Club, and Defi4nt, you sirs are simply terrible. Pirate tears are so tasty; so salty and bitter, but at the same time so sweet.

Anyways, end tally for the night: 1 Marauder, 3 BS, a CS, 6 BC, and a few smaller ships killed for only 2 cruisers lost. Nearly 1.9B isk in damage, most of it the paladin, admittedly. Not a bad night!

Two other quick updates:

(1) NEAT0 is recruiting. I’m going to write-up a full post on this shortly, but, quick version: we’re US tz, small but active, tight-nit PVP corp. We mostly live in low sec Black Rise, and are currently members of the Caldari FW. We actively seek out fun fights, as hopefully you can see from our KB and reading the above and below. We greatly prefer roaming to camping, generally don’t bother with station games and high sec crap; other than that, we’re down for all kinds of PVP, fleet fights to soloing, frigates to caps. No skill point minimum or PVP experience required – just a desire to have fun shooting people and a willingness to learn. Contact me in game if you’re interested.

(2) I will be migrating this blog over to a new service, probably Blogger. Thanks for those who responded to my previous post. This will be me second to last post on this location, my last being a simple change of address. See you all soon on Blogger.

Banner Halp!

April 8, 2010

I need a banner and layout help with my blog! I’m tired of this thing looking all bland, but I have very little technical knowledge when it comes to even the basics of setting up a blog, much less creating a banner. When I first started, I was unsure if I’d want to stick with this, but as I’m enjoying it, the time has come to do it right. Any advice people have for how / where to get help would be much appreciated!!

Also, if anyone is a graphic designer and might be willing to design a banner for the blog, I’d be more than happy to pay them (in isk pls). Contact me in-game if you might be willing to help. Similarly, my corp, NEAT0 is looking for banner assistance for our killboard.

Some welps and some gfs; no fear

April 6, 2010

Over the last week I’ve been trying to FC a bit more for the Caldari militia, while trying to do a lot of teaching to improve some of the PVP skills of militia members in my fleets. The militia needs a LOT of work – basics like tackling and intel are all really bad, much less scouting and fittings, etc. Militia FCs I’ve flown under seem to consistently under-estimate the value of good scouting and intel. As a result, they make the same mistakes again and again, being scouted, baited and ganked by larger, heavier Gallente blobs. But had a few decent fights and some fun but welpish moments too. Quick recap:

First fleet I FCed (I actually picked it up half way through from other FC who was leaving) resulted in a great fight with ADHD in Abune. We had 2 BS, 6 BC and 6ish support and tackle around Heydieles, with our BS and most of our BC hidden next door in Indregulle and some bait / tackle on the Abune / Heyd gate. I receive intel of ‘pirate BS landing on the gate…uh, 3 of them’. So, thinking we were up against just 3 bs, good to go, order jump in, tacklers split gate, call red box (ie aggression, so we know they’re engaged on one side and can’t just burn back to gate). BS align to abune as intel comes ‘more BS landing on gate’, fuck it, some of us are already in warp. We’re committed now, not getting clear intel, will sort it when I get there. \o/ Given unknown number of enemy BS, I make a quick decision that we will NOT be engaging in Heyd, regardless, telling people to jump through and fight in Abune, no matter what they do. This turns out well, as about 1/2 the ADHD fleet aggresses in Heyd to push us through, leaving us with a small advantage of time in Abune. I’m pretty sure ADHD expected us to just run, but f that. So we all jump into abune. Primary their scorp, which we burn through pretty fast as he has very little RR to help him (they’re split). Then go to work on the rapier – expensive, light tank and deadly to our support. Pop him in fairly short order, but one of our two BS is down. Go to work hard on a pest, as he was already well into armor from gate guns and some fail unfocused fire. I’m now seeing their full fleet – 8 BS, with rapier and legion – lol, way too heavy for us in theory, but we’re doing ok, their RR is not working particularly well yet. So we go to work on the Megas, killing one, and getting the other to the edge of structure before we’ve lost too much DPS to overcome their reps. Call disengage, end result, 3 BS and Rapier dead for 2 BS and 4 BC lost. May have been better to call the apoc or domi primary rather than megas – while the short range face raep that a megas deliver drove my call, the pulse apoc was consistently driving our falcon off the field, and the domi was probably fit with 2-3 RR mods. Oh well. The oddest thing was they didn’t primary my geddon until last. So I was able to sit there and drop full dps, call targets, etc at short range the entire fight. I’ve fought ADHD a number of times while in BYDI, and we had a very healthy respect for them. They were likely rolling slaved RR BS with the gang linked legion (slightly better boosts than a damnation) – we had no business engaging this fleet, but we came out just barely ahead in terms of isk – 54% efficiency (admittedly two not so related kills included). Against superior skilled pilots, with heavier ships, and better fits, we came out with a draw – I call that at least a small victory! And a very fun fight, which is more important. I suspect they were a little unhappy about that fight, so much so that they re-shipped and dropped a couple of triage carriers on the Gallente later in Tama.

I did not FC this fleet, but joined up for it. I honestly have no idea what our FC was thinking engaging here. After some militia style monty python fail bait / chasing, we scouted about 1/3 of this gang coming from Nis toward us in Heyd, including a fleet tempest. Obvious bait is obvious. Sure enough, 2 carriers undocked in Nis waiting to hot drop. FC has us bouncing around Heyd, does a good job of skirting their fleet and getting into Abune – good, I’m thinking, this will not end well against carriers, so discretion is the better part of valor. Time to go home. Then the call is made to re-approach the heyd gate – wtf. Sure enough, they come to us, jump in, another 2/3 join them from OMS / surrounding systems, and they pop cyno, bringing in three carriers. We manage to kill 2 BS but get absolutely rolled heavier fleet with carrier support. Shocker. I have no clue what our FC was thinking, but managed to de-aggress in structure and jump into heyd – slaves ftw. Welp. So is life flying with the militia.

FCed a couple of other fleets with nothing but a few ganks here and there, nothing worth talking about. Until last night. Three different times in the span of two hours or so we had near misses on great fights. First, we’re trying to go fight a 6 or so man gate camp in 0.0. They’ve got 3 hacs, 2 recons, and a bubbler. We’re going in two BS. We re-ship, ninja piss, refill booze, and head out, only to have them pull up their bubbles and move on right as we’re about to jump in. Don’t know if we’d have won, but we had a good plan, and a scouted 2 vs 6 is guaranteed to be a rush. Then, one of our alt poses was coming out of RF on a late night timer, and we don’t think the enemy will have much available to finish it. Sure enough, they show up with only 5 BS and a falcon as over-watch – pos bash fitted geddons and such (likely RR with little or no tackle, cap recharge mods, etc). We’ve got 2 bs plus a little pos gunning support (not much, its just a small mining pos). Unfortunately a serious derp on our part on POS logisitics resulted in the fight fizzling and us having to let the POS die. So now I’m bombed, seriously blue-balled over the near misses, and :rage: over the blown POS. Don’t care about losing the pos really, just a cad moon, but pissed about missing a fight due to foolishness. Time for a TILT roam!

Grab the cynabal, and mates in a nano-cane and a crow and head out to see what we can shoot. Gank a drake and caracal, roaming around…then, hmm, archon on scan. Bounce around, archon off scan. System isn’t very big. Warp back to entry gate, archon back on scan. D-scan…he’s in space…drones out…mission. Interesting. Probes out, hit, warp, sure enough, archon running a level 5. And we have a cynabal, a cane, and a crow. Against a carrier. Sweet!! We warp in, manage to get point on him, keeping range to see what he’ll do and how he’s fit. Oh shit, its a Cry Havoc archon, lol. CH are (1) generally exceptional pilots, (2) a decent sized alliance that lives only a few jumps away, and (3) notorious low sec cap hunters. We have a CH carrier pointed in a mission, and all of three nano ships to hold him. Its times like this I really wish I owned a bat phone.

We start hollering in what intel channels we can, a few militia start to respond. Reinforcements are a good 10+ jumps from us though, and he’s sending flights of drones and fighters at us. We’re having a grand ol’ time shooting fighters, popping a few, while trying to warp off individually as our shields get low, and then back before he can drive all 3 of us off him. Luckily, he’s totally mission fitted – no point or neuts – and under a fair amount of fire from NPCs, forcing him to keep his reps running. The three of us of course have no chance to break him, but we’re not in all that much danger either. Except the fighters eventually start to hurt, making our warp-out handoff cycles faster. We’re doing pretty ok though, cycling in and out. We hold him for a good 10, maybe 15, minutes. Reinforcements finally get into system, are in warp into the mission…and the archon warps out. OMGWTFAPOCALYPTICRAGE. Turns out 1 of us warped out, another was warping back, and the third pilot had landed just a tiny bit too far from the carrier, either losing the point in the handoff or letting himself drift out of point range for a split second. Literally as our backup is warping in. Grrrrrr. Of course, I have no idea if we would have been able to break him, or if he had friends en route already that would have saved him, but it would have been a blast trying. And a Cry Havoc carrier too – nothing personal at all, much respect for good pilots – would have been epic. Ahh well. Bit of a brown trow moment for the carrier pilot I’m guessing.

Next time! /me shakes fist and marvels over three nearly awesome fights that just didn’t happen. So is Eve. WTB bat phone

Its about time

March 31, 2010

The long anticipated war between the north and south has finally begun. Or at least begins officially Thursday, with corresponding propaganda, logistics, skirmishes and smack already in full swing. Personally, I think much drama and node crashing will ensue, probably mixed with a few epic capital turkey shoots (more like epic fail). Ultimately I think the SC is just too large, too many pilots, for the NC to have not be ground down, at least in the medium term. Long term though, the NC plan of re-emerging from NPC space seems to make sense; we’ll see. I think it silly to speculate on what things will look when the war is over before its even started.

I’m not personally involved in the conflict, although, I am quite entertained by all the drama, and benefit substantially from a financial perspective as I fund most of my PVP with invention, manufacturing, and a few reaction poses. Ultimately, I’m just rooting for much destruction on both sides. As I’ve written previously, I think we’ve been in a bit of a deflationary period, with supply exceeding demand, since shortly after Dominion. The new war should swing the balance back, driving both higher demand and lower supply, and therefore higher prices and margins for mfg. That said, today’s Dev blog on upcoming changes to the insurance and mineral systems certainly throws a huge uncertainty factor into the equation. I agree with many of those giving feedback on the forums – I think this is a huge change, or set of changes, that directly impacts every player in the game, as well as the overall economy, so I hope they’ve thought this through.

My time in game has been mixed of late. Since forming our new corp, NEAT0, my friends and I have been flying around, shooting what we can in the Villasen / W-4 Cloud Ring area, while also trying to rat our sec stat up. Sec stat’s a serious grind, but I’m finally around -1.6 – cleared for all high sec with a little buffer to spare. I realized that my time as a Pirate somehow damaged my standings with the Caldari State, barring me from accessing R&D agents who have quite a few datacores sitting around, so I had to grind L3/4 missions for a couple of days to get those back as well. WOW did that suck – I forgot how utterly un-fun high sec missions are. At least when ratting or plexing you have (1) more risk, from either NPCs or hostiles and (2) more reward, from faction spawns, etc, to keep things interesting. I don’t see how anyone can run L3/4 for their primary isk, its just so utterly boring, with just enough variation that you can’t completely do it mindlessly, but no where near enough to qualify as interesting.

Now NEAT0 has joined the Caldari Militia. We’ll see how that goes. We joined for several reasons. First, simply moar reds. Second, potential recruiting – we can fly with various pilots and potentially recruit some that show talent and potential. Third, just to try something new for a bit. And last, access to FW missions, which, despite the nerf are still fairly lucrative. However, the reality of the Caldari is that, other than a few solid corps that mostly do their own thing and keep to themselves, the militia is terrible. Really, really bad. Much worse than I remember it being when I first joined, although that might simply be (1) a product of how much I’ve learned and grown over the last year and half in 0.0 and pirating and (2) many of the competent Caldari pilots left to head to 0.0. So, our reasoning for joining might not be very sound: moar reds doesn’t really matter that much as we shoot them anyways, war target or not, and its very, very blobby in the FW pipe; recruiting is looking fairly bleak; and it doesn’t really feel very new – it feels old, like my first days PVPing nearly 2 years ago.

Time will tell. Starting to feel a bit of burn out setting in. Too many things going on, moving, ratting sec up, FCing, mfg, invention, reaction poses, moon mining, recruiting, blogging. Too much. Time to scale back, at least until I can build up a bit more of an isk cushion. My various isk making operations did not seem to be churning out the money I expected them to, to the point where I’m starting to bump up against my 500M minimum buffer quite frequently. Turns out that the price depression going on was leaving me with a lot of money tied up in stuff I hadn’t sold yet, or working capital. Rising demand should help clear this bottleneck, and when I finally decided ‘screw this, I’m liquidating, now’ on a decent amount of it, I realized I had about 3B of working capital and extra stuff for market sitting around. Time to sell and get back to more fun, pew, and laughs.

Good luck to both the NC and the SC. And CCP for that matter. Give those hamsters some serious combat boosters!

Alliance Tourney VIII

March 18, 2010

Alliance Tournament 8 has been announced. Actually announced a week ago, but as I won’t be taking part, I hadn’t had a chance to read the updates and forums on the rules until now. This is the dev blog announcing the tourney, by CCP Claw, and here are the alliance tourney forums , with a lot more info on rules changes and clarifications.

Overall it looks to me like they’re going with what worked well, and just making some tweaks to keep things fresh – Alliance Tournament VII was excellent, imho. Biggest changes look like:

1) Flagships – 0.o shiney faction fit goodness. Coupled with the faction ship upgrades, this could be interesting. They’ve restricted the tanking mods, which is a darn good thing. I’m very curious to see how this works out. The obvious guess is a lot of tank stalemates between rattlesnakes, but we’ll see. There are some very crafty dudes out there who I’m sure will come up with fascinating flagships, and since their fits are published, we can all see them. Calling it now, GHSC will field a battle iteron flagship.

2) Increase identical ship limit from 2 to 3. Not a particularly big deal, less diversity, but more tactically concentrated options.

3) Improving the selection process from reserved slots from previous years plus random drawing, to reserved, auction and random. Of course accompanied by whines of ‘but people shouldn’t be able to just buy their way in’ – why not? The big guys should be in this tourney, not the random ‘look at me, I have an alliance you’ve never heard of too’. That said, I do think they should try to move away from random altogether. Maybe move toward a qualification round – have reserved slots, auctioned slots, and then a single elimination play-in weekend 2-4 weeks in advance of the main tourney for all others. This will bias toward the better PVP entities – which is the exact point.

Regardless of changes, last year’s tourney was a lot of fun to watch and I’m very much looking forward to this year’s. Its always fun watching the best and brightest PVPers match wits and skill on a level playing field. PL has dominated the last two years – let’s see if they can defend their crown. AT8 is slated for June 5-6, 12-13, and 19-20.


March 16, 2010

Does anybody think 0.0 has gotten really quiet? I realize that the lag issues have made fleet fights unpredictable, or utterly unplayable, particularly if it has unequal impact that strongly favors defenders / whoever was on-grid first. But wow, SHC and Kugu feel quiet, killboards seem a bit bereft of fleet fights. The only major conflict seems to be the SC bulldozing CVA out of Provi, plus the, arguably, smaller fight of the Sys-k and Stain dudes. Otherwise, seems awfully quiet, with just normal skirmishes, roams, and ganks. Point is, the wholesale destruction of fleets, caps, and supercaps seems to have stopped.

Am I wrong? Calm before a storm, or has Eve fundamentally changed, or just disgust with CCP winning every fleet fight putting a hold on territorial warfare? Seems quieter now than at any point in the last year or so. Maybe its just me.