Archive for August, 2011

The Edge of Empire

Posted in Uncategorized on August 17, 2011 by Baa

“Warping to a belt. Two Harbingers on scan. Wait for my signal”

The voice of the fleet commander echoed in my pod. After a few days of inactivity the anticipation of combat caused the hairs on the back of my neck to rise. At least that’s what it felt like. Cocooned in the pod it probably wasn’t possible, but the brain is a odd thing and provided the feeling that went with the situation.

“They have engaged. Jump and warp to me now”

We pinged the request to the gate and were sucked through into Jan. Orienting quickly I told the ship to locate and warp to the commanders ship. Within seconds the warp engine engaged and we thundered through space.

As the engine shutdown and we returned to normal space I could see the damage being done by the two hostiles. The commander’s shields were holding, but only just. The odd flash confirmed that some damage was bleeding through.

“Engage the nearest ship. All guns fire!”

It was the lull between storms, the eye of the hurricane if you will, after leaving one alliance and waiting to join a new one. The corporation had largely evacuated from Guristas space to low sec and we were sitting in stations spinning. Ok, well not spinning because you can’t do that anymore, more like sitting on the couch watching the news scroll by.

This had gone on for a couple of days. I’d busied myself moving cyno alts, reviewing training plans, and buying skill books.

I’d taken a trip the length of the country and back and just logged on to check the skill queue (that was my intention honest). Anyway, one of the rules is if you are logged on you should be on comms. I connected to Mumble and saw everyone was in one of the ops channels. I joined just to listen.  They were in a fleet, in the same system I was, and had just killed a Drake. Hmmm, what to do….

I checked the time. Almost 23:40. I guess it wouldn’t do any harm just to fly out and see them for a little while. I switched ships to an arty cane and warped to meet the fleet. They were just waiting out GCC whilst the FC poked about in the next system.

There were a couple of pirates in system and he had a couple of Harbingers and a Drake on scan. We got in position near the gate as he tracked them down. He had a warp in and ordered us to the gate.

“I’ve landed on grid. They are over 100km off….”

“They are burning towards me. Hold on the gate.”

“I have aggression. Jump and warp”

I jumped in, selected warp to member at 30km, and was almost instantly ploughing through space.

“Get points.”. I didn’t have a point on the arty cane, not a lot of point if you are set up for 40+km range, so just landed on grid and started locking the targets. Or not. It didn’t seem to be working. Then I realised I was hitting the wrong key on the keyboard, maybe I was more tired than I thought. I corrected my fingers and locked up both ships.  The rest of the guys had both pointed. I threw shells in the primary, which promptly exploded. Switching to the secondary, it didn’t last much longer either. Two down in under a minute.

“Post kill mails”

I checked and found I had both. Pretty good, I’d been in the fleet less than 10 minutes and had two kills. Great!

We warped to a safe and waited out the aggression timer. In the meantime the FC scouted out another system two jumps away. More flashy reds. Most of them sitting on station though, but including a Maelstrom and a Tengu.

We continued to wait. The timer ticking down on the left corner of the screen. 5 minutes, 4, 3, 2, 1, less than a minute. Finally gone we warped, jumped, and warped again to get in position should we be needed.

“Maelstrom is warping to your gate. I’m following.”

We waited ready to jump.

“He’s aggressed, jump in.”. I clicked jump. “Proteus on field. Primary the Maelstrom, neut it out”.

We de-cloaked and started shooting the Maelstrom. I got into an orbit so as to be able to use my neut (spot the rookie error) and watched the Maelstroms shields start to fall. A Zealot appeared on field. Then a Blackbird. I was close enough to use the neut now and, with the combined effort from the fleet, the Maelstrom was soon in armour and going down.

Suddenly the overview was full of ships as a hostile gang jumped in. The Maelstrom had been bait!

“Warp out, or burn off and warp. It’s an AHAC gang we should be able to get away.”

I tried to warp.

“External forces are preventing your warp drive from operating.”

I tried to burn out with the MWD.

“External forces are preventing your microwarp drive from operating.”

Checking my overview I could see 4 ships with points on me, at least one of which was a scrambler. I pulled in my drones and headed for the gate. I was 14km away and my shields were at 90%. The battlecruiser turned and headed for safety.

12km 80% shields

I accelerated towards the gate. If I could get there my aggression timer would have run out and I’d be able to jump.

10km 60% shields

It was going to be touch and go.

8km 40% shields. They were dropping faster now, it wasn’t looking hopeful. My speed slowed and I saw the telltale webifier effect playing on my ship.

7km 10% shields.

The shields collapsed and armour melted.

I picked a celestial and started spamming warp.

My ship exploded and almost instantly my pod shot off to safety.

We lost three ships and destroyed a Maelstrom. Probably about a fair ISK loss, but it confirmed that it was too late for me and I should head off to bed.

Spot the rookie mistake? I was in an arty cane. Instead of getting close enough to use the neut I should have been burning off to range from the start. I could have sat at 50km and done almost as much damage and I wouldn’t have lost my ship. Oh well, I’ll remember it for next time.

 

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Captain’s Quarters

Posted in EVE Online with tags , on August 16, 2011 by Baa

I know I’m a bit late to the party discussing this but I thought I’d leave it to settle a bit and see how things developed. Although I’m playing on a Macbook Pro, and have the option of disabling CQ, I’ve kept it running on both accounts. Here are my impressions a couple of months or so in.

Performance:

This isn’t bad once it loads. The real problem is loading takes forever. I can have docked, waited out the session timer, changed ship and be ready to undock whilst waiting for CQ to render. Once its up I guess its ok performance wise. Moving around is smooth and fluid. I’ve recently started using OS X Lion dual-boxing on separate screens. This causes its own issues with CQ. I have to make sure to either dock both chars at the same time, or get one of them safe before docking the other. There is a point, just before it renders, that the whole machine becomes unresponsive. Not fun if the other toon is in hostile space.

Quality:

This is an odd one. I can’t run CQ on the lowest settings without getting some rendering artefacts around the clickable areas. If I load the high quality version everything looks peachy. It takes longer to load though (see above) which doesn’t help gameplay.

Usability:

This is an odd one. You would have thought, having spent such a lot of time getting just the one CQ out, and the limited functionality, that CCP would have got this spot on. They haven’t. One bug bear is navigation, why can’t we have forward, back, turn left, turn right? I find the current key setup difficult. Likewise clicking to move has its pitfalls. The big screens get in the way, especially if you are going from the hanger area into the quarters. A slight mis-click and you’ve loaded PI. I’d like to be able to customise what goes on the panels, and maybe only accept clicks if I’m close to it rather than as far away as is possible.

The second issue I have is ship control. The hologram looks nice but shouldn’t the menu that pops up related to the ship that you are in? Prior to CQ I could just right-click on my ship to open fuel bays or corporate hangers. Now I have to open the list of ships and right click there. Wouldn’t it be more immersive to have them as options on the holographic menu?

All in all its not bad, but a little underwhelming considering all of the hype.

We are Borg

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , on August 15, 2011 by Baa

Our stay with Merciless is at and end. It went the way of many relationships. At first everything was rosy, there we good times to be hand, excellent fleets, new comrades, plenty of reds. Our killboards were overflowing with Northern Coalition kills. We took part in large fleets wiping 100s from the field at a time.

Then the NC collapsed.

A lull occured. There were rumours of Sov, we took a number of systems, there were tech moons to fill our corp coffers. There wasn’t a red for 20 jumps.

A foreign holiday was planned to pep things up. We deployed our PvP ships to X-7. Not everyone came though, people were split over a few systems. Fleets were harder to find. There was a language difference between us and the other residents so ‘pick up’ fleets didn’t happen.

We moved again. This time to UMI. A concerted effort was made to get everyone there, to run fleets. There was an Indian summer. The killboards filled again and things looked good.

The roots needed tending though. As is the way in EVE pilots moved on, we needed to replace them. The newcomers were raw and lost ships. They were mocked. Questions were levelled regarding suitability. Some of the other corps deployed to the south, leaving a rump behind. The Alliance leader announced that for real life reasons he would be offline for months, a new leadership was announced, by which time it was too late. The hard fought sov and tech had been left idle for too long. They were lost.

In the end the lack of numbers, direction, and ill feeling had its toll. Time to leave.

We packed our Carriers and moved to a new low-sec staging post. The new direction is clear. We are going to fight. Routes are planned, timetables set, battle will be joined.

Carrier

Posted in Character with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2011 by Baa

‘Skill training complete.’

That has never sounded as good as it did yesterday. The long slog through logisitics (moving stuff rather than repping) has now entered the stage where my alt is actually useful. She can now fly a Nidhoggur which means that I’m no longer dependent on other people to move my ships in and out of nullsec. Next is working on the skills to be able to fit it, first for combat, and then for triage.

I’d already spent time on the jump skills for the jump freighter so wouldn’t have to wait for those before being able to make use of it. One problem, not enough cash to buy the ship. All of my main’s cash was sitting in LPs in Guristas space. I could cash in the LPs but would then have to get the next Crystal sets out of nullsec somehow. A bit of a chicken and egg situation. I’d got a decent pay packet this month so splashed out on a GTC, selling one of the PLEX in Jita and using the other to pay for my alt account. I now had the ISK to buy a ship.

I looked at the jump route and set about sourcing a carrier. I could manage to get from lowsec to nullsec in a single jump, the time spent on those skills really were worth it, but not from anywhere that was selling a Nidhoggur. I’d have to make two jumps. My cyno alt was in the wrong place so that was going to be a problem.

Luckily a couple of other people in the corp were looking to move some stuff out of nullsec so I latched onto their cyno chain. I nervously undocked the newly bought, fitted, and insured carrier. Hastily consulting YouTube for a video on how to make a jump. I waited out the session timer, and jumped. Phew, it worked. I was 0m from the station and able to dock after waiting out another session change.

I undocked again, waiting the for session timer is quicker than waiting for the cap to recharge, and jumped into nullsec. Again I was 0m from the station and docked easily. Loading up with stuff I tried to make the jump to lowsec. Nothing happened. It was like one of those scenes from Star Wars where the warp drive won’t engage. Damn, I’d forgotten to fill up the fuel bay. I redocked, loaded up with fuel, and tried again.

Docking I emptied the hold and ship maintenance bay. That felt so much better. I’ve left so much stuff in nullsec before. I still have it scattered all over New Eden. Up until now I’ve sold strandard ships on contracts and made stealthy visits to regions to put the other stuff up on buy orders. I won’t have to do that now.

I switched ships, to the Prowler, and took the new Guristas loot to Jita to sell. That got me back more than the PLEX so I could buy a couple of nice shiny bits for my carrier.

A Quick Kill

Posted in Chronicle with tags , , , on August 5, 2011 by Baa

The gate flared into life. Almost instantly the nav comp updated with the name of the new pilot.

It was the same one that had been following me. I powered up the guns, switched on the warp disruptor and waited for him to appear in space…

A couple of days ago I’d jumped to Empire to take part in a little high-sec ganking. It was reasonably profitable and made a change from the usual gangs. I got a little time to play over lunch and, as I was already in Empire, thought I’d spend a little time organising my assets. Like everyone I suppose, I accumulate assets in various systems dotted all around New Eden and a bit of housekeeping never does any harm.

I’d logged in a pod in Inaya and remembered that I had some ships in Airaken so headed there to reship and clear out some of the junk from my hanger. I quickly fitted an Ares from spares and put the remaining stuff on the market. I probably won’t be heading back this way for a bit so its better to sell it now than leave it gathering dust. My next destination was Dodixie, I’ve had a couple of expensive implants for sale there for a while and the market has moved slightly so I wanted to adjust the price. I set my destination and noticed that it took my through a long series of low-sec systems. No problem, I was in a fast interceptor, so as l didn’t meet a smart bombing BS on a gate I’d be fine.

I jumped through the first few systems and noticed a neutral pilot who seemed to be jumping in slightly before I jumped out. I hung around on the gate a little to see if I could get him on D-scan. A Badger Mk II. Interesting …

Ok. I couldn’t engage him on a gate in low-sec. It would be suicide and I didn’t want to lose another ship so quickly. The pilot was from Ultima Rati0 so was probably heading out to low-sec in the post DT lull. Instead of following my nav comp’s direction to Akkio I headed down the pipe toward LXQ2-T. It was a gamble, but if he carried on this way I’d be able to get him as he entered null sec.

I jumped into Paala and got on the LXQ2-T gate. A little later he entered the system. He was heading this way, the fight was on. I jumped…

There were 10 others neutrals in system. That wasn’t an issue with there being a station there, what was a problem was the Cerberus sitting 40km off the gate. Not a good place for me to try and kill the Badger. I pondered my next move…

An Omen joined the Cerberus on the gate. I wasn’t going to catch the Badger here, but didn’t want to head back to low-sec either. I decided to head deeper towards Insmother.

Having passed through the system many times I have tacticals off the gates. I warped to one of these, thus avoiding the bubble between the gates. I warped down to the gate. As I did the Badger appeared 300km off.

I jumped through and burned back to the gate. I thought this was a long shot now. He’d seen me jump through. Surely he wouldn’t jump through now. I waited …

He jumped in. The fight was on. I primed my guns and warp disruptor then waited for the de-cloak.

The Badger appeared 20km away. I locked and pointed him and burned into range. Settling into a lazy orbit I pumped round after round of Caldari Anti-matter into him. I kept half an eye on the gate as his shields collapsed. He still had friends in the next system and I didn’t want to get caught.

As holes appeared in his armour he disappeared from the local channel. The ship was still there and taking damage. He must have logged. Eventually, please improve rails CCP, the last of the hull went and the ship exploded. The pod insta-warped with no chance to catch it. I checked the wreck and warped to a safe then continued on my way.

Nullsec dev blog (nullsec development: rules and guidelines)

Posted in CCP with tags , , , on August 4, 2011 by Baa

So a day after I rise like Lazarus from the dead CCP Greyscale publishes a starting point devblog about nullsec development. I´d like to think that I had something to do with it, but I´m not that vain.

The dev blog, for the most part, seem pretty reasonable. It points out some of the issues with nullsec, and states what CCPs aims are for nullsec. The section titled The functional role of Nullsec being a pretty good summary. The Nullsec Development rules are, similarly, pretty good. I just take exception to one statement from each

Nullsec is a place that allows us to distribute high-value resources in a balanced way

and

Nullsec moneymaking activities should be generally competitive with one another, and therefore pay out more than equivalent activities elsewhere

Why? This is a statement of preserving the status quo, but there is no reasoning behind it. It is safer to make money in nullsec, especially deep in large alliance nullsec systems, than anywhere else. Why should the rewards be higher. I could deal with them being on a par, but higher is a stretch.

As an example. Last night we decided to go suicide ganking in high sec. Its something that we do from time to time. We loaded up with cheap artillery battleships and waited on gates for pimped out mission running ships. We scanned them, shot them, had an alt collect the loot and made money. Various people in local knew what we were doing but were powerless to stop us. It was impossible for them to engage us without a wardec, which would be too expensive and take too long to allow them to shoot.

In nullsec if you see a gate camp near a mission running, or other high value, system you can get a fleet together and bust it. The mission runners/miners/plex runners, I won´t use the perjorative term carebear, are safer in nullsec than in high sec. So why should we earn more, for doing the same thing, in nullsec than they do in high sec?

The rebalancing of EVE will only be tinkering around the edges until address the economic imbalance between nullsec and Empire. Sadly this dev blog shows that this isn´t even on the agenda. In fact it confirms that they are happy with the current balance.

More movement and sov

Posted in CCP with tags , , , , on August 3, 2011 by Baa

So here we are back in K3. Our deployment to X-7 and UMI having been pretty much a disaster. The whole alliance lost focus as the leaders dabbled with Sov. We have now regrouped and purged the blue list so as to have a bit more pew-pew.

This whole exercise has thrown up the fact that CCPs intentions with the Dominion changes have failed. Prior to dominion Sov warfare was a painful exercise of POS bashing with the alliance with the most pilots and ISK winning. Now the mechanism has changed but that is about it. Its just that now its all about who can field the most MoMs. That said I don´t see how changes to the mechanics will change anything.

The problem CCP faces is that whatever they do to enable smaller alliances gain Sov it will undoubtedly be exploited by larger alliances to stop them. The only way around this is artifical limits. These are against the spirit of the sandbox, and would just be gamed anyway so wouldn´t work. If the was a limit on the number of systems an alliance could hold, alliances would split and form loose confederations.

The only real solution is a large-scale nerf of nullsec income. Its so easy to make ISK in nullsec that the losses that we´ve seen in the past few months haven´t really had an impact. As a 40m SP pilot in Venal I can make a billion a week without too much effort. Make resource in null-sec more scarce. Force the large alliances to have to deal with Empire in a real way, rather than just flooding Jita with their loot. That would remove farming from null-sec and probably allow better exploitation of it.