Archive for September, 2010

Cry Havoc!

Posted in Character with tags , , , , on September 14, 2010 by Baa

Another month, another crisis, its all part of the fun of playing in null-sec. Last month we had to evacuate from Insmother due to the Atlas cascade fail. Yes, I know they are trying to paint a positive picture on it, but you don’t haemorrhage members, corps, and systems like they have without it being fail. This month our corp and alliance leader has decided to hang up his mic due to real-life issues. So everything is in flux again.

I have to say that I understand the issues and appreciate that he announced his decision to everyone, rather than just slinking away and logging on less and less. It still left us with a bit of a power vacuum with no one really wanting to step forward and lead our corp and the other corps deciding what to do. In the end the only option was to move with the majority of the PvP players to a new corporation in an established alliance. So I’m now a member of Havoc Violence and Chaos. This means another relocation of jump clones, but they have a presence in Stain so I can leave the assets I have there and just equip a few ships in our current base of operations.

One thing you can be certain of in null-sec alliances is change. I’m looking forward to getting to know my new corp and alliance mates and having fun pew-pewing.

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Sansha Grind

Posted in Character with tags , , , on September 13, 2010 by Baa

I’ve seen a couple of blog posts about grinding in EVE over the last week and by and large they say that grinding isn’t something that really applies to EVE. Afterall, you can always choose something else to do. I call this hogwash.

In my Empire past I spent time grinding missions to improve standings to be able to get my corp into faction warfare, and to be able to anchor towers in low sec. I made money at the same time, and improved my piloting skills, but it was a grind. Yes there was the distraction of a few hours mining relief, or hoping into a wormhole, but the nagging need to improve standings was always there, and it was a grind.

I’m now back in that position. We are down in Sansha NPC space, there are good quality agents here offering bucket loads of loyalty points for level 4 missions. In fact they offer plenty for level 1 missions from terrible quality agents. The problem I have is that in the past I have eliminated Sansha’s fleets as a matter of course. This gave me a faction standing with them of -3.5, taking diplomacy into account. In order to use anything but the worst quality, level 1, agents you need to have agent, corp, and faction standing of -2.0 or greater. So I am now in the position of needing to increase my faction standing to be able to take real advantage of the space we are in.

I’m not a great believer in alts, its enough to run a single account and I begrude paying for something I’m not going to use, so in order  to do this I need to rehabilitate my main. I could take advantage of my corp mates and join in with there missions, and may end up doing this in the end, but to start with I thought I’d look at it myself. Afterall, this was something that CCP had improved when they introduced the pirate faction mission arcs.

I found a couple of systems next to each other with True Power agents with low enough quality that I could access them 5 jumps from home. I zipped out there in my Arazu with plenty of ammo and a can do attitude. I’d grind away and soon get my standing up. I worked through the missions; killing DED agents, animal rights fanatics, and rogue repair stations. I was then contacted by an agent asking me to do a job for him. A storyline agent, I’d get some standings increase. I messed this up a little, losing an Arazu because I forgot that there was such as thing as mining drones, but managed it in the end. I didn’t check the standings increase at first, I was working through more missions to get the next storyline one.

After completing the second storyline mission I checked my Sansha’s Nation standing. It was now -3.44. So 32 normal missions, and 2 storyline missions had raised my standings a whole 0.06%. I quick calculation showed that in order to be use any other agents I’ll need to run 800 level 1 missions and the 50 corresponding storylines. With all of the other issues of living in 0.0 this just isn’t worth it. So I guess I’ll go back to ratting and leave the delights of Phantasms and Nightmares to everyone else.

I think that this standings work constitutes grind. Without a degree of meta gaming its next to impossible to rehabilitate standings with any of the pirate factions. There’s no way I can do it with my main given the current rules without devoting a couple of months to the job. If CCP really want to encourage the use of pirate agents then they need to revisit this. There has to be some level at which having a high level of corp standing balances out the negative faction standing. I could conceivably have a corp standing of 5+ but still have a faction standing of -3, given current progress. Surely its logical that the corp I’m working for would trust me to some extent, perhaps apply the negative faction standing as a modifier to the corp standing, giving me an adjusted value of 2 in the above case?

Hanger: Gila

Posted in Character with tags , , , , , on September 10, 2010 by Baa

A bit of a departure for the next hanger ship. Up until now they’ve all been Gallente ships, that being my toon’s race, this one is a Gurista ship that relies on both Gallente and Caldari skills. The second difference to the previous ships is that this is my ratting/mission ship rather than a pure PvP one. Its not a pure PvE fit though, I don’t think its safe to fly around with one of those in our current 0.0 location.

[High]
‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher
‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher
‘Malkuth’ Heavy Missile Launcher
Drone Link Augmentor

[Mid]
10MN Microwarpdrive II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Invulnerability Field II
Photon Scattering Field II

[Low]
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Co-Processor II
Ballistic Control  II

[Rigs]
Medium Core Field Extender I
Medium Core Field Extender I

[Drones]
5 x Bouncer II
5 x Garde II
5 x Hammerhead II
5 x Warrior  II
5 x Vespa EC-600

I’m maxed out on CPU with my current skills. The aim of the fit is to maximise my passive shield tank and carry as large a buffer as I can. EVE reports 55k EHP, EFT is over 75k. I reckon I can wring a little more out of this when I finally get Caldari cruiser up to level 5.

The main damage dealer is the Garde II sentry drones. I basically warp into a belt, target any rats, pop the Gardes out and start shooting. I’ve heavy missiles rather than HAMs for two reasons; I don’t have the skills, and I need the extra range as some rats move out to around a 50km range. If they do this I can still hit with the heavy missiles and I swap out the Gardes for Bouncers.

I’m managing to move from belt to belt ratting in this fit and have yet to have any issues with a single spawn of belt rats. The only issues are if I hit one decent belt after another the recharge rate isn’t enough and I eventually end up having to warp safe to let the shields recover.

I’ve yet to engage in PvP in this ship. I think I’ll try to avoid it until I’ve finish with Caldari Cruiser.

Improvements:

1) One I train for them I will swap out the launchers for T2 heavies. That will probably mean dropping the Ballistic Control so that I have enough CPU.

2) I’m debating dropping one of the rigs for a sentry damage rig. This is an option, but I wouldn’t want to do it before I’ve got Caldari Cruiser V. The extra resists would help to compensate the reduction in buffer.

3) HAMs and Ogre IIs. This would be needed for proper PvP I think and I’d be looking at freeing up a mid-slot to be able to fit a tackle, and probably nano the low slots. That’s some way off though.

Is salvaging worth it?

Posted in Character with tags , , on September 9, 2010 by Baa

The tractor beam pulled the wreck towards the cargo bay. A suited crewman waited for the range to close then engaged the salvaging system. Beams shot out across space dismembering the wreck looking for items that might be worth something.

‘Nothing useful sir’

We moved onto the next group of wrecks. Perhaps we’d have more luck this time.

I discovered the benefits on salvaging after I’d been playing for 3 months or so. I’d been messing about ratting and mission running, didn’t see the benefits of mining at the time, and although I was making money it was a slow grind. I was taking what loot I could carry and that provided a little extra income but nothing too great. I saw the salvage skill sitting there, and then the salvager module and thought I’d investigate. A short time later I start salvaging the Blood Raider wrecks, every other one would produce either armor plate or capacitor consoles. The money started to roll in. In the 0.6 systems I was flying I made way more money from the salvage than I would ever earn from ratting.

By the time I moved onto level 3 and level 4 missions I’d got salvaging down to a fine art. I’d blast through the mission killing everything in my missioning ship, bookmark a wreck in each room, then collect the mission and swap ships in station. With a catalyst fitted with 4 salvagers, 4 tractor beams, and an expanded hold, I could warp into the mission wrecks and quickly process them. This made around as much money as the missions paid.

Then came the rig changes. Instead of selling the salvage I could use it to build small and medium rigs and increase the profit made from salvaging. I also fitted three small salvage rigs to the Catalyst which boosted my success rate.

Then I moved out to decent 0.0 space. I could still make money from salvaging, but with triple BS spawns worth 4+ mil isk, and plentiful anomalies was it worth it? The salvaging takes a while, even with decent (L4) skills and 3 rigs. There’s still the whole moving around belts, mission, and anomaly sites getting to the wrecks. In the same time I can move onto another and kill more rats, earning more money than the salvage was worth, even with rig building.

So at the moment, although I’m setup to salvage, and have plenty of rig blueprints. Its no longer a focus of mine. The exception being if I don’t have a huge amount of time and someone else is killing the rats. If they are abandoning the wrecks its a fairly low risk, low involvement activity I can do whilst being semi-afk. If I lose a salvage ship its a much smaller hit on the killboard as well.

The only exception to this is wormhole salvage. After Sleeper conflict salvaging is a must, there is massive profit to be made there.

Salvage Mammoth

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2010 by Baa

We went on a quick roam wormhole roam last night. I had to leave a little early and was heading back to the wormhole when I jumped through a gate and landed 22km from a Mammoth.

In the Eris I didn’t have a point so started to approach and flipped on the MWD. I needed to get close enough to snag it in the bubble before it could warp off. My interdictor flipped around and burned hard towards the target… 20km … 18km, I could see it aligning … 15km … 12km … 10km… bubble deployed. I had him.

I settled into a tight orbit and started showering him with Caldari Antimatter from my 75mm rails. Shields disappeared, armor was dropping, then the rest of my fleet jumped it. They quickly locked and joined in and the ship exploded. Stuck in the bubble the pod had no chance.

Looking at our victim I wondered what was going on with this fitting. Then it struck me, we’d been after pilots clearing anomalies, this ship was designed to jump in after the main had got aggro and clear up the wrecks. The webs were there to slow down any close ships to make them easier to kill. Sadly I’d caught it on the way to help rather than heading back to the station.

We ran into a half-hearted camp at the next gate, and a lone Thorax arrived 100km from the wormhole back home. We decided that it wasn’t worth engaging though, no sense in risking getting ganked.

Hanger: Arazu

Posted in Character with tags , , , , on September 7, 2010 by Baa

Here is the next ship from my hanger, my trusty Arazu. I say trusty because this was the ship I managed to fly from Insmother to Stain through a couple of gatecamps. I had to fly down as, for real life issues, I’d missed the evac and would have had to leave all of my blueprints etc. I daresay I would have copped some stick if the ship had appeared on a killmail.

I’ve included this next because, in our larger ship fleets, its being seeing a bit more use lately.

[High]
200mm Railgun II – Spike M/Caldari Antimatter M
200mm Railgun II – Spike M/Caldari Antimatter M
200mm Railgun II – Spike M/Caldari Antimatter M
Covert Operations Cloak II

[Mid]
10MN Microwarpdrive II
Warp Disruptor II
Large Shield Extender II
Invulnerability Field II
Sensor Booster II – Scan Resolution Script
Sensor Booster II – Scan Resolution Script

[Low]
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Overdrive Injector System II

[Rigs]
Medium Anti-EM Shield Reinforcer I
Medium Target System Subcontroller I

[Drones]
Warrior II x 5

This is a gang fit ship. Its purpose is to get a point and keep it. Its shield tanked because the gang is likely to have a Scimitar or two in it so having that extra shield buffer helps survivability.

I’ve managed to get a couple of kills in the last couple of days with this. The first was a Rapier that couldn’t cloak before I got a lock and point. The second a Harbinger that thought the gate was clear after we’d let the scout through. Once the Harbinger jumped I dropped cloak, powered up the scan boosters and waited for decloak. The 1s lock time stopped him warping off. A friendly Rapier stopped him getting back to the gate. The rest of the fleet arrived to finish him off.

I can see this ship getting a lot more use. The only thing I’m pondering is switching out some of the shield buffer to get a scrambler as well as a disruptor.

Silent Roam

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , , , on September 6, 2010 by Baa

The gate flashed indicating a ship coming through. IFF indicated that a new pilot had entered the system. I quizzed Aurora.

“Pilot confirmed as a member of R.A.G.E. Current status is hostile.”

I engage the drive and start orbiting the gate, scanning space for the intruder. Finally I he appears.

“Crane. Caldari blockade runner”, Aurora intoned.

I launched my ship across space towards the Crane and engaged the targetting computer. I could see it start to align in the viewscreen. I was going to have to be quick, before they could engage their cloaking device.

We’ve been down in our new space for a few weeks now, and are getting familar with our local opponents. It seems that we need to field slightly larger, and more heavily armed, fleets than we typically roamed in around Insmother. That’s fine, but to a lot of people have had to re-equip following our move and that’s caused issues with getting the right fleet composition. On this particular evening though we’d found a wormhole to Vale of the Silent which presented an opportunity for people to jump in a frigate gang for a quick roam.

We already had a dictor in gang so I jumped into an Ares and joined the fleet assembling on our side of the wormhole. We jumped through into B-E3KQ and headed to the 5t-KM3 gate to hunt for unsuspecting carebears. Our scout jumped in and said that the system was empty. We jumped in and warped to the 6Y-WRK gate. As we landed the gate flashed and a new neutral appeared in local. We quickly got into position around the gate and waited for the intruder to decloak.

A Crane appeared. Immediately a bubble went up and I started to try and lock it. It wouldn’t take long, but an experienced pilot should be able to cloak and start to burn away quicker.

I got the lock.

“Point”, I announced after triggering the warp disruptor and burned towards the single with rails firing.

“Why didn’t it cloak”. I thought, as its armor boiled away under the onslaught from our fleet. Within seconds the Crane exploded. The pod sat in the Sabre’s bubbled and was quickly dispatched. As we were congratulating ourselves the gate fired again. The Heron de-cloaked almost immediately and attempted to burn out of the bubble… unsuccessfully. Another pod dispatched and this was turning into a good roam already.

There was still the question mark about the Crane. Looking at the killmail was interesting. Cargo Expanders in the lows and Cargohold Optimization rigs. I always thought that you fit blockade runners for speed and agility to allow them to try and evade gatecamps such as ours. This seemed to point to an in-experienced pilot.

We moved onto the next system and warped to the ZLZ gate. Our scout, one jump ahead now, reported a Drake jumping through. Again we arranged ourselves around the gate. The Drake de-cloaked and up went the bubble. I locked quickly again and started to pound away with the railguns. Well, not exactly pound, but you know what I mean. The Kitsune had the Drake jammed so there was no fear of retalition. A little later and we’d got another kill. This time the fight went on long enough for the bubble to drop so the pod got away.

We jumped into ZLZ. Nothing going on there so we warped to the out gate. As we arrived it flashed again, another ship jumping in. We were having some luck today. We sat waiting for the cloak to drop. Time ticked by and nothing. It must be something slow, quick ships usually drop cloak and either try to burn away or back to the gate. Eventually the cloak dropped revealing another Drake. Bubble up, pointed, jammed, killed. At one point the Kitsune pilot reported that he’d lost the jam, but still nothing from the Drake. Why was that. A quick check of the fit revealed all. I guess this was a lesson learned for the pilot. Don’t fly unfitted ships through nullsec.

Again the gate flashed. Another Crane! This one was a better pilot though he managed to cloak. He couldn’t escape the bubble before being de-cloaked though and he went the way of the first. At least this was a decent looking fit.

We jumped on again, this time into RVCZ. There were a few hostiles in here but nothing on scan. We headed for VI2K-J and found another ship sitting on the gate. A bubble went up, but with so many neutrals around our FC didn’t want to engage. Some of our pilots did so anyway. As they did this we started to see new ships on scan.

“Burn out of the bubble and warp off!”

Local spiked.

Checking the ships nearby and the fact that I was in the middle of the bubble I chose to jump instead of burning out. I figured that it gave me the best chance of survival.

The grid loaded in the new system to reveal a dozen ships on gate. An Ares, a Stiletto, a couple of BCs, a couple of HACs, and an Onyx with its bubble up. Oops. This didn’t look like such a smart move now.

I sat cloaked debating what to do. I could try and burn out of the bubble, but risk getting caught by the two interceptors, or I could burn for the gate and risk getting caught in the bubble on the other side. Ten seconds passsed… Twenty. I’d have to decide soon… I bubble dropped and they started to jump through. I heard on comms that one of our Assault Frigates had been caught. No, doubt they all wanted on the killmail. As soon as the last of them had left I warped off to a nearby celestial and set about making a safe.

Comms were buzzing from ZLZ. It became clear that we’d only lost one ship and that everyone else was running through rolling safes. I reported to the FC that I was in the next system and that the gate was clear. They kept moving around until they got eyes on the out gate then joined me.

We fled through FMBR, FH-TTC, and MQ-O27 with the hostile fleet in close pursuit. We were in the faster ships though and soon began to outpace them. By the time they reached 1VK there was no sign of them. We’d escaped.

Without the pursuit we settled back into roaming mode and decided to loop around to check out the station systems of MGAM and Q3-BAY before heading home.

The systems around here showed a degree of ratting activity so we went into grasshopper mode. The dictor jumps in and bubbles the station then the rest jump in and head for the belts. The plans is to either catch something in the belts or in the bubble on the station.

In MGAM we caught a Drake in the top belt. He was pointed and the fleet descended on him again reducing him a wreck of twisted metal and dispatching his pod.

Everyone was well aware of our presence now and we didn’t manage to catch any more ships, even though there were ships in the systems. They were all either docked or sitting behind POS shields. Not to worry though it had been a successful start to the new month; 6 kills and a single loss.