Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Marco! Polo?...

or~  Null IS Just Like Wormholes…Only Completely Different…

Cyno Green
Getting comfy in the new corp, getting ok with not being a Director, getting a kill & getting killed, but… AFK Cloakers [in null] suck.

Now, you MUST understand that as a wormholer by trade and at heart, I live by the cloak. I live in a CovOps when in the hole. Unless I have to be in another ship for a reason, I am in either a Cheetah or a Hound. Without the cloak on my Mastodon, I would have never gotten the POS tower and many, if not most, of the mods, out from a station four hops deep in losec… In the hole, the Cloak, is life… but in null, in one specific use, it is badly out of balance.

AFK Cloaking:
What is an AFK Cloaker? Any ship fitted with a cloak, especially CovOps frigates, that enter a system, cloak up and remain logged on and are used to gather intel, make BMs, safes, warpins and hotdrops and wage PsyOps (Psychological Operations) and financial aggro via “Income Denial Ops". In my limited experience in null so far, PsyOps and Income Denials are moar common, but I have seen all of the above.

Income Denial Ops are tied to PsyOps in that you cannot know if the cloaky in local is just sitting there watching local and dscan or actively warping around making BMs and gathering intel on your POS(es) and what ship movements do occur while he is active or if he is actually AFK and off eating dinner with the wife and kids at MacDs or playing Tanks on another screen…

You can’t ‘know’ so you HAVE to assume he is there and just waiting to break cloak and pop a cyno and drop a fleet on you while you PvE (to make ISK [to buy the ships the PvPers wanna asplode] and loot [to sell or melt for minerals to make mods and ships to sell for PvPers to asplode] and salvage [to sell or produce rigs to sell for the ships PvPers want to asplode] or mine [produce ore for minerals to make mods and ships to sell for PvPers to asplode] on a combat/mining/exploration site… there is currently NO recourse, no way to fight back against this tactic… the AFK Cloaker is SAFE (while cloaked) as no PvE/PvPbear can ever be except when docked up in station.

We had AFK Cloakers camp our hole many times… lost ships to em, and killed a few. I never felt it was ‘unfair’ (a word badly, and incorrectly, overabused in EVE, fair = balanced, it does not = “I can’t [blank] safely!”), nuthin they could do I couldn’t. The difference in null is, in the hole as soon as we knew someone was inside, either through seeing probes or catching a lucky glimpse of a ship on Dscan… or when one (or two or three) uncloak off your starboard bow…

We responded similar to the way we do in null:
-warp to safes or a POS;
-reship ASAP to either a CovOps or a DPS ship;
-see if we could catch em, if not;
-see if we can determine where they came in from;
-if yes:
            -if we decide to fight, bubble and camp or actively try to engage;
            -if not, well…

Well, in a word here is how it is different in null, "Cyno"…
Depending the info we had gathered, we would sometimes break off activities for the night, but sometimes not, it depended on the level of perceived threat… you see, there are NO HOTDROPS in wormholes. Very often the threat assessment was ‘medium’, we knew there was say just one ship in the hole, with moar of us online we could defend, or flying solo and fully AWARE tactically (IE always aligned to a warpable and at speed while running sites or savaging; watching Dscan like it’s Svedish pron; being constantly prepared to defend and GTFO).

There are them as have made arguments against ANY changes to cloaking as it currently stands such as:

“If they're AFK, they can't hurt you.
If they're cloaked, they can't:
- Target
- Use EWAR
- Fire Weapons

So, with that said, the mechanic is balanced, quit crying and trying to get it nerfed because you obviously suck at life.”

The idea that a pilot, in null most often a cyno-alt, can come in, cloak up, stay logged on and then that player may go to work or go and play on a PvP char or a hisec ISKbear char and just check back every now and again to see if there is any activity he can hotdrop a FLEET on, is out of whack… and here is the really out of whack part, the AFK Cloaky is, while cloaked, safer than any carebears dream… this needs to be balanced.

There… I said it. Cloaking needs to be balanced. In wormholes the cloaking mechanic, as it stands now, works beautifully and by that I mean that it is balanced for both aggressor and defender. In Null due to the cyno, it is used by PvPcentric players almost… almost… to the point of abuse because with a cloaky cyno you can bring a fleet into a system via an indefensible hole. Bubbles on the gates in a system are useful but mean very little to cloaked ships. Yes they make it a little harder, but an experienced CovOps pilot can usually make it in and out even if the residents are very quick to respond… and with a cyno you do not ever need "risk" bringing in a fleet via a well defended gate… you can open a hole within 5Km of a station, right off the undock and bring in your fleet directly.

Hotdrop O’Clock!
As far as I can find out, there is only one counter to this ingame… the Cynosural System Jammer, what this Module does is (and I quote): “Creates a system-wide inhibitor field which prevents cynosural generators except covert cynosural generators from functioning.” Really? so you can jam a regular fleet but not a CovOps and Black Ops fleet? What good is that? So we put up a cyno jammer and force everyone to train up for Black Ops battleships? Oh yea… we all wanna do THAT.

This all boils down to the same age old argument… PvPbears vs PvEbears… which is a grand over-simplification. My corp and the corp I am in now, don’t really fit either type exclusively. I am beginning to believe this is probably the majority of those in EVE. Most do some of both PvP&E to some degree. But there are those who will argue vehemently for PvP to be the be all and end all of the game just as there are those who will argue just as vehemently for PvE to be the be all and end all, ya-da ya-da.

What I want… is balance. There are no pwnmobiles in EVE. There is no one ship and fit and skill set that can give anyone a very high probability of success in PvP. Every aggression mechanic has a counter, every defensive mechanic has a counter. When a mechanic favors one side of this equation, it needs to be addressed and the equation needs to be balanced.

AFK Cloaking with cyno chars does not have a counter and is therefore unbalanced in favor of aggression.

Cloaky Loki on overwatch
There have been a number of suggestions for a balancing mechanic for AFK Cloaking in the forums and on blogs, among them I have read: (NOTE: none of the following address botting issues)

Cloak needs fuel to run:
Places a limit on how long a cloak can run based on cargo [or fuel bay] capacity and ability to refuel [IE Cloaky hauler].

Cloak hunter/breaker, ship/module:
Variations on this are:
-A ship, module or probe that can transmit a system wide pulse (similar to a subhunter sonic “ping”) that will cause an active cloak to break after a number of pulses with a timer delay on the frequency of pulses. This will alert a cloaked ship it is being hunted and give the pilot time to ‘attempt’ to GTFO.
-A ship, module or probe that can transmit an area (50Km, 100Km, 1000Km radius?) pulse similar to the above.
-A POS/Station module, battery or upgrade that does the above.

Periodic (or random) popup: requiring confirmation and/or data entry for cloak to remain ‘on’.

Cloaky is removed from local: and loses access to local after a period of inactivity. Returns to local and regains access to local on ANY movement or module activation.
-Supposedly forces the cloaky pilot to be active if he wants to keep access to local intel.

[And my personal fav]
Cloaks cannot run ‘cap stable’:
Running a cloak WILL cap out ANY ship it is active on, in time (length to be determined). This effect is cumulative, cycling the cloak quickly or a quick log-off/log-on does not reset it. To reset the cloak cap-out, the cloak must remain off for a cooldown period long enough to put the pilot at risk of being dscanned or probed out or force the pilot to remain logged off for the same period (length to be determined).

I like this because it is simple and forces the AFK Cloaker to be an active player, not AFK. If you want to use a cloaky to run ‘Income Denial’ ops, cool, come on in, cloak up and you decide how much risk you want to take… (given times are just examples not recommendations):

-Stay cloaked 15 mins, cap timer resets with 2 mins downtime;
-stay cloaked 30 mins, cap timer resets with 5 mins downtime;
-stay cloaked 45 mins, cap timer resets with 9 mins downtime;
-stay cloaked 1 hour, cap reaches critical, cloak deactivates and the cap timer resets with 15 mins downtime …

Oh, and jumping through a gate or a wormhole... resets the cap timer also.

Note: I do not feel this breaks the role or usefulness of Stealth Bombers either. I am a HUGE fan of stealth bombers and feel a competent FC of a bomber group should be able to work with the 1 hour max cloaked timer, seeing to it his group has transited a gate or docked and waited out the cooldown timer or reship to a backup SB and immediately undock... who ever heard of an AFK SB fleet?

You have to BE there, actively engaged and flying your ship, if not… well, I know I can scan you down in less than 5 mins… mebbe less than 2…

I mean, the AFK Cloaky came in looking for some PvP... he should have a chance to get some, whether HE wants to or not... just like his targets.

Balance = "Risk = Reward".


Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

PS.  OK this is down in comments but I am going to add it here too as I just thought of it... 

You can fix AFK Cloaking as used for cyno'ed hotdrops in Nulll by making it so that NO ship can fit a Cyno and a Cloak at the same time.  

EDIT: 10/19/12

A few more for the suggestion box... from  A Scientist's Life in Eve, The Unseen Untouchables

1.   A new POS module which can only be used when you have Sov level IV or maybe even Sov level V.  This sends out an energy pulse maybe 30 AU in every direction which will automatically break any cloak for, say, 3 minutes.  The module will activate every hour when the POS cycles.  The module will have very large power and CPU requirements, because of what it’s doing.  This way, you could have multiple POS with this module on, all at different cycle times.  You’d have to place them around larger systems to catch all areas of course.  You own the Sov space, you should be able to break the cloaks of these people.  If they have a bot that monitors the cloak and reactivates it, then again they’d be breaking the EULA.  Ban hammer time.

[I REALLY like the Sov limited use idea.]

2.   Give the new Destroyers two special modules that can only be used by these new ships.  Let them fit some sort of probe and launcher that acts sort of like a sonar.  They can launch a probe which narrows down to a random warpable point which is between 25km and 100km from the cloaked ship.  You can then use the second module that gives a rough bearing and distance report every 10 seconds.  Hide and seek anybody?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blog Banter 33: “The Capsuleer Experience…”

or~  So, How Was It For You?

Like manna from Valhalla (yes I know I'm mixing my religious metaphors), the latest Dev Blog by CCP Legion asks questions which make for perfect Blog Bantering. To quote him "...we want to make the first days, weeks and months in EVE enjoyable and not just something ‘you have to plough through in order to get to the good stuff’" and the newly formed Player Experience team will focus on "...where and why people lose interest in EVE..."

"We invite you to pour your heart (or guts) out and tell us what you think is good or bad with the current new player experience and what you think could be done about the problems."


Some background may be in order…

My Experience may be somewhat non-standard… I was 50 years old when I joined EVE. I started ‘gaming’ in the modern computer based, on-line, multi-player sense via DOOM v1. Hence, my primary gaming interest has always been FPS’s. My son is my CEO and our partner is a RL inactive duty Marine corpmate of my son. One last thing, I am a voraciously avid reader…mostly Sci-Fi and military history & fiction.

I also tried many of the MMO’s when they first came out… even gave a few a second try a few years later… nope, no go. They ALL bored me to tears. I just could not get ‘into’ them like I could a good FPS. I dunt know why. The ONLY fantasy stories I have ever truly enjoyed was the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and is still the only one, so WoW and all its variants are not for me. And no, I dunt wanna “be” Frodo or Gandalf either.

EVE Subjectively…

OK, so my son shows me EVE one evening just before Thanksgiving 2010... it takes something like fifteen minutes before I am totally and completely hooked. I start an account, my son sends me 10M ISK as seed money and I run through the tutorials which are… well, IMHO they gave you just the very basics of click ‘this’ to do ‘that’. Then I did Sister Alitura’s SOE Epic Arc missions in Arnon as do all new players. After that… well, for me it was just fine. I stayed in Arnon for a while just enjoying having a spaceship of very my own and the freedom that came with that.

During this period I wanted to do something easy, something you can do solo and still make ‘some’ ISK if not great ISK… so I solo ratted in 0.5 systems. I learned very early how to avoid can/wreck flippers, by simply ignoring them. I learned anything under a 0.5 was DEADLY, and to avoid losec until I was moar confident and better skilled.

Everything of any real depth that I learned came from extensive online reading. I read player guides, I read blogs and yes, even from Battleclinic, etc. I googled EVERYTHING first. I read at least several returns and followed links on a googled subject and then tested, cautiously, what I had learned thereby.

End product for me was that my experience as a noob was fantastic. Yes, I lost a ship or two early on to noob mistakes. Even got killed and podded upon not warping away letting my jump cloak break when I did not realize I was in a 0.4 system.

EVE Objectively…

OK, so with that in mind, what do I feel needs changing…

First: New & Improved Tutorials…
1. I believe the Tutorial System that currently exists is fully capable of preparing a new pilot for EVE.
2. I do not believe that it does a good job of it as it stands presently.

I also do not believe it would be too great a stretch to make it a lot better. Start as it is now with the basics. Ship handling; fitting and using mods, simple missions and on up to the Epic Arc which is a kind of Graduation Mission for most New Players. This gives you the basics and prepares you for dealing with Agents and NPCs, as stated above… but they do nothing to prepare you for "Player Interaction".

So? Add a layer of missions, either before or after the Epic Arc which include, what I call a “PvPAI” [Player vs. Player AI] type of missions to teach the basics of what to expect from Player Interaction.

PvPAI Training:
These missions would be standard missions but with a twist, and a SUBSTATIAL reward... say a fully fitted ship/full set of basic implants/50M ISK or some such:

(1) At the beginning of the missions the New Player is given a “Dire Warning”, that “There are pirates that have been preying on our pilots, beware.” Before they can accept the mission they must read through a discussion of pirates, gankers, ninjas and can/wreck flipping and their tactics and motives.

(2) The missions should be standard missions except that they will also have a “Pirate” NPC (with the Sleeper L6 AI) in ships types AND fits normally used by gankers, mission ninja’s, can & wreck flippers and griefers. These NPCs should copy the actions and fighting style as much as possible of real players the new player will run into, “out in the black”.

(3) The New Player should LOSE a ship (or even two) in these missions first (possibly an agent provided ship then their own), before experiencing it for real if possible leaving out podkilling. However that should be clearly discussed IE Aura says, "Pilot, you were lucky to escape with your POD intact, the Pirates of New Eden often PODkill... bla bla bla).

(4) These missions will be in closed rooms
that ONLY the New Player can access, he will not be able bring fleet members or ANYONE else in with him and (IE one time use single entrant accelgate key) these rooms will NOT be scannable by anyone else. IE The New Player will have ultimate protection but ONLY for the missions that make up this PvPAI training.

(5) These missions will ONLY be available only ONCE and ONLY to a 'New Account' who finishes ALL the tutorials, as an inducement to actually DO them all. The missions and their rewards will be mentioned at startup (with a 'disable' switch) and referenced often by Aura and in the tutorials as the new player works his way through them.

Second: Noob Griefers…
[Caveat: I have no issue with griefers, gankers, pirates and any players who prefer NCPvP ( Nonconsensual PvP) in general.]

The only other thing I personally feel should be looked at is New Player Griefers. By this I mean players who focus on the newest players for NCPvP, especially those who seek to kill and podkill new players “because they are noobs”. I do not know the statistics or how CCP would track this, but I am sure it would be possible to determine if a player was going after the newest players specifically to cause them as much trouble as possible. There are those who do so and do it proudly. I know this is already a bannable offense… but everyone knows it is unenforced. CCP does not want to lose existing players by pissing them off by ‘nerfing’ their gameplay.

“EVE is harsh, it is just a game.” I agree EVE is harsh, I was first killed and podded when I had been ingame only one month, my first kill and my first podkill was a new player in an unarmed ship. But I “did not know” it was a new player and I was not actively seeking out new players. Someone had come into our wormhole and was mining, we defended our W-space. A bit later, I wrote to the player I had killed, discussed the engagement and sent 1Mil ISK in recompense, out of a sense of decency and in the hope to not put the player off on being a part of EVE. Many griefers actively want the new players to Rage Quit, for them it is a ‘win’ to drive someone away from playing EVE.

I feel this should be moar actively protected against, at least until the char has been ingame, say one to two weeks. Long enough to at least have a feel for how things work beyond the tutorials.

EVE may be harsh, but all societies protect thier young, do they not?

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=


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Saturday, February 18, 2012


or~  Second Impressions of Nullsec…

As stated earlier, I dun’t know a “lotta” of the pilots in our new corp much less the Alliance, and I am like the kid at a dance… I can be very outgoing, AFTER I have had the ice broken… not so good at breakin it myself though. If my guys, or the guys I already know aren’t on, I am uncomfortable just blurting out, “Can I join you?” to a group of people who are to me, strangers.

But, night before last, I had spent almost eight hours in hospital with my eight yr old dottir…  once she was in home abed, I needed a break from RL and a cool down period badly so, I took the plunge and did just that. I had done some site running with friends in the last few days, but last night no one I had flown with before was on and I just asked. I ended up running four sites with a guy who had been ingame since ’03 (he was still younger than me in RL, lol), he was very cool and was amazing in his Tengu… and he was impressed with my Mael and DPS (once I had em in my optimal, I was hitting in the range of 1500 to 1900 DPS) even if I couldn’t tank the sites solo like he could… very cool, very laid back and fun to fly with.

[Your group of 800mm Heavy 'Scout' Repeating Artillery I hits Pith Dismantler, doing 1987.4 damage] …granted that 1987 was done Sumo style, I was within 500m sittin on its face beatin on it with all 800mm barrels… lol.

Running Guristas sites is similar to Sleepers in that they are open sites, no gates no “spatial effects are screwin up your gameplay” bovinefeces. But, as the Bounty Cycle was split AND we weren’t running ONLY the highest paying sites, my net split hovered around +/-5 M per cycle. Then I Noctised three of the four (having not BMed the first… sheesh), returned and dumped all of THAT into the evergrowing pile of looted mods in my personal hangar bay. I asked for ‘some’ GSCs to put everything into and I got… one… and I filled that on the second day. As there is not where here to melt everything it is all just piling up all over the place… (strike 3 point 5) and I have to wait (strike four) on someone (still not sure whoall I can ask) to Jump Freighter it out for me (after I get a few moar GSCs) … (not counting strikes anymoar…  too depressing).

So while I have been told I there is very good ISK to be made from the L&S… I aint gonna be ‘making’ it anytime soon… I am trying to be pragmatic about it… doesn’t matter if it is in my wallet of not… there is no market down here to buy shit from anyway… so what’s my rush?

The big thing here is the Bounty Cycle, and I dunt mean how often you fluffy warm clothes come outta the dryer… I mean, we try to complete sites inside the 20 minute timer between bounty payouts. Like any ISK making endeavor in EVE, the moar pilots you have along, the less each makes per split, offset by the quicker the sites go down, hence moar sites completed. So far I have not been involved in any mining ops… though the Corp bylaws state ‘all’ must attend and join in both sites and mining. I can now run a Retriever so I can pitch in to some degree at least (I’m 29 days from a Covetor or Hulk, and interestingly enough, only 24 days from an Orca…  hmmm)…

I may push the Orca skills so I can assist on the Hisec side of moving stuffs in and out for the corp… then people can wait on me… (if you are of the impression I dunt like waitin…   yer right).

Fly Safe and if see you in the Sky, yer probably a neut  =/|)=

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Am Finding Null To Be… Irritating.

or~  Oh, I Can’t Do That Here Either?…

HDF =Lochotic=    “Engage Cloak!”

Okay… I have moved to nullsec, first impressions are in…   meh.

I was all ready in my new Cloaky Loki, fitted with Interdiction Nullifier which means I can warp cloaked AND I can warp right thru/past warp bubbles so I “should” be able to just totally ignore gate camps. I had dropped corp from HBHI (again this was harder on me than it should be in just a game) and joined the corp from our Alliance that had left and joined an Alliance in null and rented a system and station there, if I had not joined their corp I could not ‘safely’ travel in null anywhere as I would be a ‘neut’ (neutral) to everyone and neuts are Kill On Sight in nullsec, at least the area’s I am going to be in.

So there I sat… cloaked 100km off the gate leading from the last losec system before entering nullsec on the route given me by a Director… Hmm. I look up at the Route S.A.R.A (Semi Autonomous Rational Array, the ships main computer) has set based on my orders... 15 hops though nullsec. Hmmmm… You see I have never been, willingly and/or by intent, in nullsec before. I have never had any interest in it. The politics sound awful… as I understand it very, very few make it solo in null… you are best off in a large corp/Alliance… etc., etc. All of which I have NO interest in whatsoever.

I order the jump into Nullsec.

Eventually I take the plunge. I warp out and back to the gate at 0 and, “Jump jump!” and I am OMW. On the other side there is one med bubble up off of the gate and a Blue tagged ship watching. I went directly to “break jump-cloak & cloak and warp” as I had been advised so I dint get to pull info on the guy on gate. On landing at the out gate, again one med bubble but no ships… SARA autojumps us and “break jump-cloak & cloak and warp” to the next gate. Through all 15 systems, same e same… SARA autojumps and I “cloak and warp” to the next gate. We pass through mostly empty systems. A few have one or two in local, but only one has a lot of people in it, but they are all Blue to me and I warp thru quickly anyway. It was only in the last system, our “home” system that I finally saw a real bubble camp on a gate… and even then there were no ships on gate, just a large number of bubbles… (and I was told this was not an impressive bubble camp, you should see ya-da ya-da).

I warp to the only station on OV and there are a few of the guys I actually know outside. I dock up and take stock. Some, not all, of my ships have been delivered. Meh… I start renaming them back to their original names and get the crew busy opening crates and shipping containers of ammo and mods etc. then oversee the on-boarding of ammo and supplies and the settling in of my crews and myself in our new quarters. I am at the time talking with my friends and a few of the corpies I have not met. A few are running some sites and the subject of salvaging comes up. I offer my services and the friend backs my claim of skills and such, but it is at this time that I find out the first really unsettling thing about null…

A bit of background first..
I am a very independent person. I like a small corp, where I am a Director and beholden to, at most, one or two other guys who I am equal with and in whom I can place complete trust. We had that in HBHI. Now, in this new corp… I have no roles (and expect none either) but this means I have NO SAY, and I cannot access ANYTHING (yes there is a general bay… meh). Both of which will eventually wear on me. Other issues have cropped up…

(1) Moving ships in and out is, in a word, irritating;
(2) ISK making variations is, again irritating;
(3) Selling & Buying stuff you need is really, really irritating.

Moving Ships…
Getting my ships down to the null home station was nuthing short of a pain in the ass. Get em all to the staging system, unload the holds, rename all ships to a set convention then wait on others to jump freight your ships from a lowsec staging system, then waiting on them to deliver is all very irritating as compared to Hisec. Granted in Hisec you do it yourself, either one-at-a-timing or get the skills and buy an Orca (which I am working on). But you have to wait on NO one but you… And even if I had my own Orca… still dependant on others for a cyno jump. May I take a second to state for the record, it is not the people I am irritated with, the Allies and friends who assisted were nothing but great… it is the process, the need for such a process that I abhor.
Strike One.

Tur’s Fleet

Making ISK…
One of my very favorite ‘things to do’ ingame is Salvaging. I have never understood why, but I really enjoy running the Noctis. It was my first dream ship and is still just about my favorite ship to work in. Turns out, loot & salvage in null ‘sites’ is most often simply ignored as, in comparison to the bounties, it is a low percentage of the income

 In Hisec, Loot & Salvage in missions, L1 thru L4 could be upwards of 50 to 100% over and above agent payout, bonus and bounties. And in W-space Loot and Salvage is EVERYTHING. You make not one red ISKie off of killing Sleepers… NO agent payout, NO bonus and NO bounties… if you dunt Lewt and Slavage you make NUTHIN, period. However if you do L&S your Sleeper wrecks, you can make moar ISK than in almost all of the other ‘Killing Ships for Fun & Profit” venues ingame.

I have salvaged two (large to me) wreck fields (again told... that's not a large wreck field, you should see ya-da ya-da), I asked what to do with it all and was told “Who cares?” Add to this the fact that there is virtually no open market to sell it on… well crap. There goes one of the things I enjoy most. In nullsec… this skill that I worked so hard for and enjoy so much, that I bought 40M of implants for, is simply not really valued at all. Great…
Strike Two.

HDF =Choppy= on final approach… with a full hold of trash.

And yes I can, and will, of course run sites and such… but running a Noctis is a LARGE part of my game… I dunt care how much ISK I can make in other ways… I will miss being able to contribute through the investment I have made into salvaging..

Selling and Buying Stuff…
As stated I prefer to run a Noctis… the guys said it doesn’t matter what I do with the L&S… OK, so can I refine and sell? Nope. This station does not have a refinery and no one wants to buy this ‘crap’. OK, so what do I do with it? The suggestion is made to can it all up for shipment (at some point) to Hisec where I can then melt & sell… Really? So what the fuk am I doing in null?

Corpie - “Oh and while yer at it Tur, you need to tank for Guristas.”
Me - “Oh OK, where do I get mods?”
Corpie - “Uh.. check the General storage Tab, if not there, mebbe some of the guys can scrounge some mods up for you.”
Me - “Uh guys, there is some stuff on the market, who can I buy from?”
Corpie – “Don’t know… but check the station and make damn sure they are in our Alliance… you’ll get killed if ya don’t.”

HUH? So no ‘Market’? I check the market and there are some things, limited and pricy, for sale in the region (but not at this station), and you have to do ‘research’ in order not to accidentally get killed just runnin out for ammo…? Screw that…
Strike Three.

I aint been here but one day and I am not enjoying this. I am told, “Hey get out there and run some sites! Give it a chance.”  Uh… can’t refit, ship setup for Sleepers, can’t refit as there is NO effin market and the Mods I want are NOT in the effin General bay, and I HATE bein beholden to others… and don’t wanna run sites in null inna ship with a half assed effin fit.

So in order to refit my Mael for Guristas, tank and ammo, I have to make a run BACK to Hisec… or wait on and hope for the kindness of strangers, something I dislike intensely. I am now in a large corp which is part of a large Alliance… again both are situations I dislike intensely. Basically I am “taking one for the team” as it were. I am here only because my corpmates wanted to do this.

I’ll admit it… I’m spoiled. I got to live the nullsec life, hell better than null… -1.0 sec status, NO-local, no sec hit for ANY engagement, regardless of who aggro’ed who, owned our own POS, and made damn good ISK… PLUS I had access to the Hisec market, without any sec stat issues, and the higher security for hauling (as compared to Lo, Null and W-space) afforded to those who live in Hisec when out buying or selling goods.

Action on the undock at Dodixie Station

So far… null aint’ measuring up for me personally… but, I’ll give it a week or so afore I rage quit and go back to W-space where I belong. But then… I’ll have to wait on somebody else to get my ships n shit out I guess…

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=

Monday, February 13, 2012

Caught ‘tween a Lotta Losec and a Hostile Hole…

or~  Massclosing Wormholes For Fun and Survival…

Mastodon Lowsec Runner

This is not a pew pew story… it is a story of pewvoidance, something many here in EVE see as dishonorable or cowardly even. But as for me, well, ‘tis sometimes the better part of valor, well, if not valor, mebbe the better part of logistics? …the better part of Risk Management? Not as exciting sounding, but far easier to understand. You see with just two PvE fitted BS’s and a PvW(reck) fitted Noctis and a few CovOps frigs and such, we were NOT in any position to get into any kind of a brawl with anyone except Sleepers… LOL.

It starts with the move out of the C2 we had been living in, I had recon’ed the stat C2 and found a treasure trove of sites in an empty hole, so we had setup a Sm Minnie Tower and a few modest defenses, moved in a just enough ships to run the 30+ sites, then went back and finished up the move out.

Over the next week things did not go as well as I had hoped. Aside from me, the other guys in our little band were either busy, or away or sick or whatever… and running sites solo in W-space can be quite risky… especially the Lootin and Salvagin part. You see you can at least go down fighting in a PvE fit ship… heck, I once drove off a Proteus that jumped me in my Sleeper Phoon… the tank on that thing is impressive and he wasn’t breaking it as fast as I was his… lol, so he bugged out (only time that ever happened!).

But a Noctis now… well, that aint nuthin but a big ol fat assed god-I-hope-its-full-of-nanoribbins defenseless TARGET in W-space. The smart WH raider waits until you have your Noctis at the last site you ran and are almost on the last wreck… maximize the value of the gank you see, a Noccy killmail is sweet… but a Noccy killmail AND some Melted Nanomonies… well, that is soo much sweeter. So I rarely run my Noctis solo, preferring to run my Salv Thrasher or my NinjaVigil when all alone in W-space.

Noctis’isn solo

The Thrasher carries four Sm Tractors Is and four Salver IIs, same as the Noctis though without the tractor range bonus, (Thrasher, 20Km as compared to the Noctis at 55Km). I run a single Sebo II (Sensor Booster = greatly reduced lock time [or increasing range]), an MWD, an Analyzer I (for hacking the Magnetometric archaeology sites in W-space) and an Inertia Stab II to reduce her align time. The Thrasher is smaller and faster than the Noctis and stands a much better chance of escaping an attack, especially if I am aligned to a instawarpable (= something I can click on in the sky as compared to digging into even one onscreen menu and R-clicking) and at speed. [This is different from Instawarping because you are not using a cloak, this is for a ship actively doing something such as salvaging where you cannot cloak.]

On the Vigil I usually fit one tractor and two salvers, or three salvers, but my Vigil is ‘dual’ Sebo fitted so she locks targets in, well I can’t click the stopwatch twice fast enough, it’s well under a second, and like the Thrasher, she has a MWD and an Inertia Stab II but I add a Nanofiber Internal Structure II and she has an align time of just over 4 secs and a top speed of 3500m/s.

Out of sheer curiosity, I timed her acceleration several times for an average of:
Standing start, MWD on, 0 to 1000m/s = 2.0 sec
Standing start, MWD on, 0 to 2000m/s = 3.0 sec
Standing start, MWD on, 0 to 3500m/s = 20.0 sec

A dual Sebo fit cloaky T3 Cruiser, uncloaking in range of me, just might be able get a lock on me, but I doubt he could engage a web or scram before I got out of range. If I am aligned and at std. speed, 450m/s (MWD off), all I would have to do is (1) scream like a gurl and (b) panicmash the MWD “ON”, and I’m outtathere!

HDF =Vigilante=  &  HDF =Salvatorius=

The Thrasher and the Vigil are fitted so I can Lewt and Slavage wrecks under Highly Adverse Conditions AND be able to GTFO, “RUN! Forrest, RUUN!!” if/when things go south saving POD and hard earned L&S. The vigil is my Ninja Salvager, highly successful at L&S’n wrecks with Flashy RED guys on grid with me. And either one is a far, far easier hit on the wallet if lost when things ‘go south’, which they do with nervous-tick developing frequency in the hole.   =]

So, we have this “tent” in this C2 we want to raid, we have ships and we have the need for ISK and we have 30+ sites to run... Oh yea! So with everything that had gone on that day my CEO is crapped out tired and calls it after we nom nom’ed up three sites. The next day, moar of the same… Go back to the old C2, got the last of everything out and took the Spike down and finished moving out, then corpmates AFK, one left for null, busy, sick.. crap. I ran three sites solo. We did great, for just six sites we pulled 27 MNR’s (Melted Nanoribbons for those late to class…). It was during this that I decide to stay in here and rape this hole until I have my Loki. I passed the skills a few weeks ago and now all I need is the ISKies, (for me, a lotta ISKies, ‘bout 600+Mil ISK to be approx… ) and this hole has enough and to spare all tied up in Sleeper droans and ships… all we gotta do is asplode em, lewt and slavage em and get it out to the store.

The next several days we were back to runnin round getting all the POS mods etc. consolidated in our Empire HQ hangars… Ervything had been taken outta via three different holes, and was therefore spread ALL over New Eden… sheesh. But, it hadda be done and nuthin to it but to do it, so we did.

Going to Warp…

Back to the raid hole and… wha? Huh? Oh Dammit! We got raided in the raid hole we were raiding! We went from 35 sites, we had knocked out 6 and now there were only 20 left, sumbody raided up 10 of OUR sites (1 additional site had spawned), oh well, so it goes… And everyone is again gone, sick or semi-permAFK… and I am tired of waitin, so I decide to risk it, fly as defensively as possible, and knock down as many as I can for the so sweet 100% split. So while I am working the sites a good friend gets on and we’re shootin the breeze, I tell him bout my Loki Quest and he replies, “…just so happens I just ran across an abandoned Shadow Serpentis wreck in this belt a few mins ago. It has Low-Grade Snake Epsilon implant and a Shadow Serpentis Warp Scrambler in it and you are welcome to them...”  Hmmmm… See one of my “things” in EVE is I don’t believe in loans, making my way in EVE, on my own, is important to me.

But… a Low-Grade Snake Epsilon implant and a Shadow Serpentis Warp Scrambler, huh? And you already warped away from the belt? Why dint you take em? Oh, you have X.X Bil in your wallet and moar than that in ships and assets… huh… really. So you dint ‘need’ em… Weeeeellll… if yer just gonna leave em… sure, I’ll take em. Why not? I mean, otherwise they just go to waste out there, right?

(Self deception is moar important than sex. If you don’t think so, try and remember a day you went without at least one good self deception… then think on how many days you’ve had without sex.)

Anyway, I talked myself into accepting this blatant charity, this multimillion ISK hand-out, this, this… 215,000,000.00 ISK TY VM gift!   =]   As I put it to Oz, “OK, I’ll take em, but sell em first, then send ISK or let me sell em... dunt want/need a hand out... but will take ‘spensive trash ...  LOL.” Hmmm… now that gets me a wee but closer to a Cloaky Loki. So my CEO joins me and we run five sites for 18 MNRs, meh. But, my cuts plus the ‘gift’ and I have a Loki hull and two subsystems, I call that a good start.

HDF =Lochotic=

I log on the next day…. And we have 5 sites left. Damn! Raided again! 20 moar sites gone into some other corps wallets… crap. My CEO and I hammer through the five combat sites, one moar spawns while we’re working and we do that one too for six… and 20 MNRs. That gets me all but two of the subsystems AND all the mods for the fit I had PYFA’d up. I searched through my Mods back in the HQ, rummaged around in all the Corp mods in the corp hangars… and all I had to buy were the x4 425mm Med ‘Scout’ Autocannons; Expanded Probe Launcher; Experimental 10MN MWD; Large Shield Booster II; x2 Stasis Webifier IIs; x2 Gyro IIs and a DCU II. Everything else was already in the can. 180MISK moar and I’m in my Loki... but we’re now outta Sleeper sites in this hole.

As we have been workin the sites we have also been doing the daily chores of wormhole life... scanning down the daily sigs, keepin an eye on Dscan and the status of the static holes, checking POS fuel status, checking the stores: ammo, droans and consumables for the crews and POS staff. Additionally, those of you who have read my logs know, HBHI is also a WH Reclamation Corp… we sell the holes we find that are (a) empty and (2) have good PI and decent weather… and this hole was sellable Etherestate!

AI had put it up on the forums and we already had serious takers. We needed to wrap up operations and get out if we get a down payment. We know the hole is as we have offered, we just need to have the buyer come in and see we are being honest, then see if he comes through with the balance. So AI gets a down payment and get the prospective buyer inside, he’s inna CovOps and goes off scan ASAP, and I dunt see him again. AI says he is satisfied, and will pay the balance upon seeing our POS is gone. Okay, we move out, we get 350M ISK for a bookmark… and I get a nice 15% finder’s fee right off the top, I LOVE W-space!! We SELL solar systems!!! You can’t do that in Empire...  =]

Get Away From it ALL! Come Live in the Country…
(but bring guns, lotsa guns…)

OK so we find out newest A239, the stat Losec, is a very suc hole… 10 lowsec hops to the nearest Hisec… crap. And then the D382 turns out to be occupado and they have a massively over built True Sansha Deth Star POS w/ a Nighthawk command ship on scan… AND probes immediately appear right after we start our recon.  Oh dubble crap.

Talk about bein trapped tween a rock and a hard place…. We were trapped tween 10 losec hops and a probably very hostile wormhole. This was the first time I had ever really felt trapped in W-space. And I had been lost in space moar’n once in my time in the holes... (I call em, “Adventures in Wormholes”) and I LOLed at the chance of bodyloss… secure in the knowledge that at best ‘they’ might get my Cheetah, and mebbe my current clone… but that was it.

This time however, I really felt the bad guys next door might just jump at the chance to bash a Sm POS into a largish cloud of smoke and debris filled with the scattered burned and flashfrozen corpses of our gallant crews and POS staff… and then delight in cracking the egg of our Maintenance bay and stealing some of our best ISK making ships. And the option of skedaddlin out the A239 was, well, not an option with 10 losec hops to cover in fat, slow, PvE fit ships, one-at-a-time’in it out, then back 10 lows in pods or shuttles… all yer doing then is chumming for sharks with your ships as bloody meat.

Damn damn damn… So, I go out and pop a Med Warp Bubble on the D382, can’t hurt right? And we give massclosing the A239 a go. AI in his Armor fit Hyp and me in my Shield Mael, both MWD fit. We are careful taking turns, watching the status and appearance of the hole with utmost care and attention. Finally we get the critical drop… OK, We are (1) both on the inside when one of my return trips takes it to critical… good, and (b) we “should” be able to close the hole with the Hyp… once out w/ MWD off, and back in 30 seconds later with MWD ON…

AI warps though, and… the holes still there, good good… I wait for the longest thirty seconds of my virtual life… and “Jump Jump” and the Hyp warps back through…     and the hole beautifully closes right behind him. A huge sigh of relief is heard all ‘round the command deck…   =]   OK, warp back to the POS and let’s find that new A239.

Relief on the Bridge

Probes out! One new sig, probing… probing… probing… probing… Got it! Warp to and out and… five lows to Hisec. Damn… again with the fat, slow, PvE fit ships, one-at-a-time’in it out and then back… yer just as dead in five hops as in a hundred… We get on the Neocom and consult with the Directorship. A vote and we are to attempt to massclose this A239 and hope for a better one.

Grim determination, back out and “Jump Jump”! Back and forth, back and forth until, Critcial! Once again, we are both on the inside, good good… once again, AI takes his Hyp out… and we wait down those long long thirty seconds… and “Jump Jump”…  and once again the hole closes right behind him. Reship! Probes out! One new sig, probing… probing… probing… Got it! Warp to and out and… three lows to Hisec. OK, we’ll just have to make it work as we’re getting tired and tired people make mistakes… There is a station in the first losec, let’s get everything in there and deal with getting em outta losec after.

AI starts making Indy runs with his Itty V and I start moving my ships out. I don’t have an Indy in this POS but I have the bulk of ships to move. We get everything out, take down the mods, I get the warp bubble off the D382, and finally, nothing left but the spike. AI grabs his last load and the fuel from the Tower, I offline the spike, then unanchor... 15 mins and counting… finally the Spike unanchors, AI scoops it and we make for the A239, warp out and into station. Safe! Well, as safe as one can be three hops deep in lowsec in New Eden.

Oh, and the buyer? He was a good as his word. The ISK was deposited and I got my cut with the rest going to the corp wallet.   =]   All told we ran 17 sites for approx 665M ISK plus sold the hole for 350M ISK, approx grand total; 1.15Bil ISK in four days of being swamped with other things and just not workin the sites very hard… I wonder how we’d do if we ever got serious about it?  =]

The HDF =Lochotic=   …on sea trials.

Fly Safe and see you in the Sky  =/|)=