Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - Bringing in the big guns

Majority of people I visit are solo mission runners. It's not unusual to meet 2 pilots too. Be it a guy with an alt or simply 2 friends spending quality time together. More rare is to visit a site which has 3-4 ships busy shooting npc. When I visit mission with 2 players present, I prepare in advance, such as prewarping my logi into position. Though when I enter site with 3 or more ships, it's whole new level of strategy.

Strength in numbers

So here I am. I scan out 4 ships at the same spot. It's not the first time I scan out a group of people. I don't ignore them. On the contrary, according to my experience, when there's a crowd, they are more likely to shoot you. After all, why wouldn't they? What one guy in a frigate can do? I land at the site. There are 2 Dominixes and 2 Myrmidons present. This mission is open and doesn't have any gates. I basically come out of warp on top of the fleet.

Which is great news. I don't have illusions to tank 4 drone ships with Enyo. In fact, my main concern is to tank enough to get aggro from all the carebears. Once they "force" me out of their mission, I will refit to something more appropriate size, which is usually a battleship. With new engagement timer being only 5 minutes and warp changes, it is barely enough time to get to station, dock, refit, undock and warp back, burn to ships, lock and get tackle. With no gates and ships being right on the beacon, means I will have a very good shot at catching them. If they shoot. And who the hell wouldn't shoot? 

Not these guys. As soon I open fire on their mobile tractor units, they scoop them and I get yellow boxed. Oh dear, here it goes. I stop shooting for my weapons timer to go down. Few of the ships lock me and open fire. I align to station. I burn a distance, but don't warp just yet. I want my weapons timer to be over by the time I get to station.  Few seconds later all 4 of them have me locked and sent their drones after me. With half armor and 10 seconds left on my timer I decide this is my queue and I warp out. Challenge accepted.

Gearing up and going back

Besides my Enyo, I also have my scout and my link pilot dock up. All gang of fantastic 4 is now in station gearing up for the fight. It's no brainer for my alts. For exactly these situations, I have a Dominix ready for each. It's more difficult to make decision with my main. I have 3 battleships: 2 Dominixes and Hyperion and I can't remember what is what. I keep different fits for different situations, but as time is of the essence I jump to Hyperion. Ah fuck, I got only scrambler and a web. I quickly ditch the web and try to fit a point, but I am out of cpu. God damn it. I put 2nd scram instead and it seems to work. I don't like to put 2 scrams as it is difficult to hold 2 ships within that short range. Anyway, 2 scrams better than 1 and so I undock everything.

I have my Hyperion warp first and Domi fleet soon follows. I land. Surprise motherfuckers. Targets are not as close as I would want them to be. I scram both Dominixes and start dishing out pain with my blasters and drones. Unfortunately one Domi gets out and so follows the Myrm. Now I'm left with only 1 Dominix and another Myrmidon. They are far apart of each other, but I try to keep mid range in between to keep them both. Moving back and forth, losing scram for some seconds to to low agility, but still holding them. I try to focus fire on Myrmidon when I see an interesting text notice on the screen:

Yes, that means someone is about to get his ass whooped by CONCORD. I was puzzled how did he manage to concord himself with all of us being in engagement, but then I realized that my Dominixes were just observing. My Hyperion can tank quite well, so I was in no rush to put reps on me. I guess one of the guys decided to change targets and had his safety off. Oops.

A backup that couldn't back up

With Myrmidon out of the picture I focus my dps on one remaining Dominix. When suddenly I see strange thing happen. More ships warp on grid! I now have Dominix and Myrmidon that warped out back with me. Lol, what the hell is going on? On top of that I also have a bomber decloak and start shooting me. I guess these guys are up for a fight. Game on! Dominix shield tanks me quite well. I quickly run through my options for maximum kill here with only 2 scrams.

I keep scram and pressure on one Dominix, drones and scram on bomber while neuting and burning to Myrmidon, which is going to be my second target. Since they all came back, I don't expect them to leave right away. Not at least before I kill 1 or 2 more. Unfortunately, once bomber pops, Myrmidon warps away before I put scram on him. I quickly lock second Domi. One of them has bright idea to drop a Mobile depot. Nice try, but not on my watch.

Once depot is reinforced and having carebears exhausted all their options it's time to finish the job. I thought they have exhausted all their options. I notice distance of one Dominix increasing . Bloody hell, they are burning to opposite sides.

Despite my best efforts, I was not able to keep them both and break one of them in time. As soon as one of the ships is out of my scram range, he warps off. Props to the guys for not getting lost and actually giving an exciting fight and minimizing their losses. I finish off the remaining Dominix, loot the stuff and warp my fleet back to station. I check the battle report. Dominix, Myrmidon and Hound has been destroyed (note extra Domi kill showing is not related). Kill potential was higher had I prepared a bit better, but outcome was also not the worst. In any case, screwing around in high-sec sure as hell can be entertaining.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - breaking a Kronos

Ninja salvaging has been a quite profitable so far. Starting with Dominix pilot sending 150mil for entertainment, then Machariel pilot giving another 400mil. I was up 550 mil so far. I doubt carebears make that much while running lvl4s in a day. After dumping all the loot and counting my ISK, There are so many targets and so little time. Not to get overwhelmed I decide to take a break in hope mission running hype won't be over when I get back.

A Kronos that could tank

I continue with my ninja activities. As today seems everyone is in a shooting mood I give priority to shiny ships. I visit Kronos, an ultimate mission running ship of Gallente kind. After flying around, salvaging and stealing some wrecks, Kronos pilot ABDUL RASHID has enough and opens fire. I quickly swoop under his guns and proceed killing his drones.

Now it's not my first encounter with Kronos. I've already scored one kill some days ago, surprisingly, without me needing to change ships. This one, however, seemed to be a different story. He had a bastion module, which meant his tank won't break as easy this time.

You never know until you try. As usual, I bring one logi ship to get extra aggro in addition to my Enyo. After some minutes teasing and providing reps for Enyo, I was not able to get any reaction whatsoever. I guess he knew better. After shield has dropped I started getting to his armor, which, as I feared, didn't move an inch. One repair cycle would undo everything. I decided to bring an Orca.

When one neutralizer doesn't cut it

Once Orca enters room I refit my salvager to a small neutralizer. For that extra kick, I swap tank modules to dps. It might not be much, but I have time. Sooner or later his tank should break. Or so I thought. I look at the time and I see already more than 5 minutes have passed and I haven't done much progress as he reps his armor to full without a sweat. I need a change in my game. Problem is, I do not have means to hold him as only Enyo has aggro. Should I refit to full rack of neuts? Should I swap for a bumper ship? Then it hits me...

He is in bloody bastion mode. Which means he can't move or warp anywhere. Cycle is 2 minutes and I only need 1 for aggression timer to end. I stop shooting and innocently just orbit him while carefully watching his velocity on overview. He suddenly starts moving. Probably thought he will manage to warp out, which is a valid expectation. It only would take me to lose focus for a moment and he would be gone. What a bummer that would be. I toggle on my scrambler and start shooting while he goes to bastion mode again. We are back to square one. Except this time I deaggress right away and wait my 1 minute timer out. Once it passes, I switch to my Brutix, lock him again and start unleashing pain.

Phew. Now he is going down. Or so I thought. Again. While his armor drops somewhat, I can't pass 50%. I keep pressure for more than 5 minutes, but he just wont give up. I've had enough. I open fleet hangar and find 2 extra medium neutralizers. Ungroup my guns, take out ammo, put guns into cargo hold, fit 2 more neutralizers.

Finally armor goes below 30%. I guess 3 neuts did it. I believe we spent half an hour in space. I initiate convo to see how he feels.

Zosius > ransom
Zosius > 800mil
Zosius > 800 transfer now
ABDUL RASHID > 30mil  plz

I start with 800mil. An entertainment tax, clearly fair price for keeping him busy for such extended period of time. ABDUL RASHID has other thoughts though. He thinks 30mil should be more than enough for his Kronos ship.

Zosius > lol
Zosius > 300
ABDUL RASHID > need mone
Zosius > me too
Zosius > send me isk
ABDUL RASHID > all money

I guess he missed the part where I mentioned 300mil. According to him, 30mil was all he had. A guy flying Kronos, had only 30mil in his wallet. Can this be true? Could someone really have spent last of his isk on missioning ship this time? Let's find out.

Zosius > i said 300
Zosius > not 30
Zosius > eject kronos
ABDUL RASHID > ok stop
Zosius > eject
Zosius > so i can sell shit
Zosius > stop repairing
Zosius > eject ship so i sell it at the market
Zosius > and send you money-300mil

I offer a compromise. I suggest him to eject his ship so I could take and sell it on the market. Ongoing price is 1.1bil. I would take my 800mil tax and send back his 300mil.

ABDUL RASHID > ok 30+270

Suddenly things take unexpected turn. ABDUL RASHID magically finds extra 270mil in his wallet.

Or should I say 297mil. He accidentally mistypes sum and sends 27mil. Realizing his mistake he quickly sends another 270mil ISK. From "only" 30mil he ended up finding 327 million ISK in total. Trust was broken and I had no choice but to relieve him of his ship... and his pod, which he didn't seem in rush to warp out.

A carebear flying over 2.5bil worth ship and pod. With only 30mil..eghem, sorry, 327mil left in his wallet. 

Zosius > gf
Zosius > you should not fly what you cant afford to lose
Zosius > im sure you have heard it, right?
ABDUL RASHID > hmm  0 money thx  may frend  -300mil
Zosius > you said you had 0 when you sent me 30mil
Zosius > then you got 270 more
ABDUL RASHID > 30+270 look
Zosius > you should leave high sec and join a corp!
Zosius > have this experience as means to have a fresh start
ABDUL RASHID > 6 year  pauze   1 day active
ABDUL RASHID > and pod :(
Zosius > you activated 1 day ago?
Zosius > Welcome back to EVE
ABDUL RASHID > yes     6 yearpauze
Zosius > i'm sure a lot has changed since then
Zosius > maybe not missions though
ABDUL RASHID > back may item?
Zosius > lets do this. If you join pvp corp and get 20 kills, I will give back you your items
Zosius > if you do 10 kills, I will give 1/2 items

ABDUL RASHID now claimed to really have 0 isk remaining in his wallet. Leaving suspicions of having such round number in his wallet, he now had an excellent opportunity. An opportunity to start fresh. For what he lost, he could have bought over 5000 rifters. Coming back after 6 years, having not seen anything but missions, he finally had a positive experience. He now had a purpose. He had a reason to stay in EVE. Would he manage to score 20 kills, he would get rebate on his dropped items from his Kronos! Will he take up on this offer? We will never know as he left convo without saying a word.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - A carebear in a shiny ship

Building relationships

Rei Stareine > please leave

What a conversation starter! If I didn't know any better, I would say it's a great potential to build a relationship. Rei Stareine was flying a Machariel. A top tier pirate faction Battleship. Usually these kind of ships are flown by people who have seen EVE. They know a thing or two. Right? Rei Stareine was 2012 pilot with 2.6 years experience in EVE so he must know stuff. You would think. A further background look into his killboard suggests he hasn't seen much of EVE outside high sec. Who would remind him that he is playing a massive multiplayer game if it weren't for players like me? Conversation is half the fun when Ninja Salvaging so sometimes I try to play out various scenarios.

Zosius > im doing a mission
Rei Stareine > you stealing my salvage
Zosius > its free for everyone
Zosius > if it was yours
Zosius > concord would kill me

This time I go with "pretend I'm clueless" scenario. It doesn't always work, but sometimes carebears like to "teach" me a lesson about EVE mechanics. Usually it ends up with lesson, but not the one they would expect.

Rei Stareine > if you werent old here
Rei Stareine > I would let you
Zosius > well, too bad nothing you can do about it
Rei Stareine > jizz go do some lvl 4 missions or something, you'll earn more
Zosius > so i will just keep on my business
Zosius > i dont have skills to run lvl4 myself. and salvage/looting pays better
Rei Stareine > lvl 3 pays better
Zosius > i beg to differ
Rei Stareine > go read some articles

As expected, I already get great tips about how I should run lvl 4 mission to increase my income. Even lvl 3 mission is clearly much better investment in my time. I know nothing and I should go read some EVE mission guides. That would certainly open my eyes. Well, to be fair, I indeed do not know much about missions. I got my "eyes opened" and stopped doing them when I reached lvl2s. All my knowledge about missions is from salvaging and looting from others.

Zosius > I am reading books while i salvage your mission
Zosius > seems productive time to me
Zosius > lets go next room!
Rei Stareine > now give me back my tractor unit
Rei Stareine > or things get serious

Rei Stareine demanded I would give his tractor unit back or things would get serious.

I quickly adjusted my sitting posture from relaxed to intense. What should I do now? His mobile tractor unit was nothing but a space dust. If he finds out, I won't have a place to hide. To avoid his wrath, I decide to pretend that his mtu is still intact and he has nothing to worry about. It will be sold at the market for a fair price. Perhaps I can move this under the rug and change the topic.

Zosius > nope. I will sell it on Dodixie
Zosius > you can buy another if you really want
Zosius > lets go man. i still got space in my cargohold
Zosius > there is one more room waiting
Rei Stareine > douche
Rei Stareine > go get a life
Rei Stareine > bb

Things took "unexpected" turn. Machariel warped out before finishing his mission. Was he annoyed by my presence? Doesn't he care about his standings? What a crazy guy. I wonder if I will see him again.

A quick escalation

After Machariel pilot warped out I continued with my operations. I salvaged here and there, shot an mtu here and there. After passing time around I notice Rei Stareine is back in the system. That's a surprise. I go back to pay him a visit. We departed on such bad terms I wanted to make things right. As expected, Machariel is back to same mission and already finished 2nd room in which we met. I find him at the 3rd room, which, based on only few wrecks present, I guess he just started.

Before I could loot and start salvaging his freshly made wrecks I get yellow boxed and shot at. I don't know what Rei Stareine was doing when he was away, but this time he seemed much more confident and determined to keep me out. Without giving any warning he kept his word and things got serious. Well, serious for him.

His Machariel was not tanking too well aggro from the npc and my Enyo. I do a quick convo to see if I can get a ransom.

Zosius > so
Zosius > ransom and we call it a day?
Rei Stareine > stop this
Zosius > 400mil and i stop
Zosius > yes no?
Rei Stareine > ok
Zosius > you got 10 seconds
Zosius > time is up

He was running out of structure and I am not a patient man when it comes to isk transfers.

Rei Stareine > there
Zosius > you ran out of time.
Zosius > it takes only 5 seconds to transfer isk
Rei Stareine > common
Zosius > look at the bright side, you can buy a newly fitted machariel
Zosius > and plus an MTU!
Zosius > gf

Unfortunately his time was up. 10 seconds have long passed and I had no choice but to relieve him of his ship.

No t2 hardeners.. sigh. Another one going for the end ship without the means to fully equip it. I hope down a Machariel and -400mil ISK he will start living within his means. God knows, he might have even enjoyed using guns for other purpose than npc shooting and will try different things besides high-sec missions. One can only hope.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - Quick ISK

After dealing with a tough nut Gila, I resume my salvage inspection operations. Next I visit a Dominix. Your average mission boat, frequently met in Gallente space. I'm quite experienced in fighting this ship. Even with his large drone bay, I manage to kill drones before my armor rep runs out of nanite paste.

A quick ransom

I start looting and salvaging and quickly get yellow boxed and shot at. You know the drill. Lock the target and scram, switch to drone window and quickly kill them one by one. Once drones are out of the picture, I got all the time I need. 

Once I'm sure armor breaks I initiate convo. I get greeted back, which is always a good sign. Without any sentiments, I proceed giving my terms.

I ask for 150mil, which he promptly pays up. That must have been a quickest and easiest ransom I had so far. Usually people make up some stories of why they can't pay or try to stall time other ways. But Michael had no time for that. Unfortunately for him, as bastard I am, I betrayed him. I always wanted to use infamous "suddenly betrayal" lines and now I got my chance. 


To carebear apologists that call me out on being an asshole for not honoring high sec ransoms: You are right. Though I would like to point out that I used to honor ransoms, however once scrambler usually was toggled off, instead of appreciating me honoring a ransom, I received nothing but flame. Suddenly carebears changed their helpless tone to hostile, of how I robbed them of their isk and what an asshole I was, even if their ship was free warping out. I also tried to launch a honorable ransomers club, but couldn't get any positive feedback from my clients. Since ransoming business was going slow and I was still an asshole, I decided that noone gives a shit and so I declined to honor ransoms in high sec until further notice. At the moment I collect "entertainment tax".

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - A tough nut to crack

Oh boy! Local is unusually busy today. So many ships on scan, so many carebears busy with their missions. The hardest question is - who shall I visit first?

A tough nut to crack

To change gameplay a bit and not to stick too much with only battleships, I start paying more attention to cruiser signatures. From my experience cruiser in most cases means a pirate cruiser and not your average t1 vexor. I scan out a Gila. Over a year old pilot, with 5.0 security status. Looks like a mission expert to me. Let's see how he likes a company. After buzzing around his mission, Gila locks and opens fire.

Missiles do not do much to my Enyo and drones are quickly dispatched. I warp in my logi pilot with hope to get aggro so I could make this little encounter quick and dirty. Well, plan succeeds. I get aggroed, but dps seems to be too much for my Augoror to handle. I do not know what the hell is going on. After burner fit with quite few resists I get down to structure and am forced to warp off before my 2nd logi can enter. While 1st logi warps to celestial, I enter with my 2nd logi. Which he aggroes as well and forces it out before my 1st logi comes back.

Bloody mission has 2 gates that I need to burn through. While Enyo is in no big danger and can tank quite well, I can barely scratch his shields, so I will need that extra dps from my logi. My both Augorors are without any armor. Before jumping to the last room, I duly rep myself and this time jump in together. Spider tank on and Gila can't seem to break anyone's tank. Seeing no options he suddenly starts burning away from gate. He is afterburner fit and while webbed, still has over 250m/s speed. I don't think of it much until I realize my 2nd logi does not have any drones and he managed to kill 2 hobgoblins of my first logi. So now I got 2 logi repping each other with a total dps of 2 light drones plus Enyo. I need my Orca.

Should have thought about it sooner. By the time my Orca enters last room, Gila is almost 150km away. Of course in deadspace you can't warp, so I will have to catch up the old fashioned way. This will take awhile since orca is only 90ms faster. After some minutes I get an idea to deaggro and burn to my Orca with Enyo while keeping tackle on Gila with my logi ships. Problem is that I do not have webifier and going back and forth to swap to my Brutix will take a lot of time too. This Gila pilot really makes me work for my kill, but ninjas are also very patient.

Thankfully, before I make my decision Gila's shields dropped below 30%, which is a great sign. I stick a bit more and sure enough it seems Gila ran out of juice and exploded. I even forgot to start a convo for a ransom. I was just happy to see that god damn ship become a wreck.

Does this mean I will stick with my BS targets? Hell no. The more you have to work for your kill, the more it is rewarding. If anything, I will be happy to scan out a cruiser and pay him a visit.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - Welcoming new players to EVE

There is constant influx of new players to our EVE. Everyone loves newbros and I am no exception. Everyone likes to help out and do their part. Since many players start their careers in mining or missioning, it's very easy for them go get stuck in those activities. Thankfully there are a lot of players working tirelessly to bring emergent gameplay to highsec. For miners there's New Order and for mission runners there are Ninja Salvagers. As I've mentioned earlier, Ninja Salvaging was my starting career and had it's peak before I joined EVE, which was 5 years ago. Not as popular, but still alive we make sure to bring content to high-sec residents.

There's still hope

I start my operations and do a scan with my probes. I get few battleship hits, but also a Myrmidon. After shooting some mtu's, I decide to pay a visit to that Myrmidon. Since he happened to be just under my probes and be one of top hits, why not. I warp in and start looting his wreks while checking pilot history. Oh, a 2015 player. Having in mind that it's still January, this guy must be fresh. I'm not sure if it's a new player or perhaps some alt grinding standings. Myrmidon pilot targets me and opens fire. Well, I guess he's a new player after all. I greet him with a handshake..erhem..I mean warp scrambler.

While exchanging ammo I open a convo. I don't plan to ransom this time, but perhaps give advice or two.

Zosius > hi there
Lucrania ll > \o
Lucrania ll > hey
Zosius > whats up
Lucrania ll > just sittin here
Zosius > missioning?
Lucrania ll > yeah
Zosius > how is isk
Lucrania ll > bad
Zosius > hehe,  new to eve?
Lucrania ll > yes
Zosius > welcome then

Surprisingly the guy was very cool about his ship soon to become a wreck. At this point I would expect to hear a sob story how his ship is everything he owns and etc. It's then when I usually deliver an invaluable lesson about first rule of EVE -  "don't fly what you can't afford to lose". But not this guy. After I pop his ship I try to ask if he heard about ninja salvaging, but apparently without a ship he didn't feel the need to listen to me anymore. He closed convo and left on his way. After doing some background checks I noticed on his 3rd day he scored a battleship kill with his interceptor. So instead of whining about skill gap and waiting for bigger ship, he just goes out there, right to the action. Let's hope he doesn't stay in high-sec running missions for too long. I have big hopes for you mr. Lucrania ll.

You sir are a thief

After getting welcoming a newbro by killing his Myrmidon, I encounter another pilot of young age - Menkalijust over a month and already in a Megathron. I remember I didn't get into battleship for at least 3 months. Regardless, today it feels like system is full of fresh cadets out of Federal Navy Academy. I believe I will be the first ninja salvager this guy meets as well, since I barely have time to loot anything before he opens fire. I greet him too.

For such a new player, I sure as hell had hard time cracking his tank. After getting nowhere for some time I decided to bring an Orca to refit my salvager into neutralizer. After good 10 minutes neutralizer seems to have done the job and tank started to drop. I initiate convo and ask for a ransom.

Zosius > 100mil
Zosius > hello?
Menkali > hey
Zosius > too late

Unfortunately it took awhile for him to reply and ship exploded. Now it explains a lot. After checking his fit I see 2 thermic and 2 kinetic hardeners with 2 local reps. No wonder why my enyo had hard time breaking his tank. I do not know why he fit kinetic resists as Sansha rats dish out EM/Therm. Well, this time mistake worked out to his advantage. What followed was a very education conversation.

Menkali > what ya talk'n about?
Zosius > ransom to let you go
Menkali > why'd you come at me in the first place lol
Zosius > i was defending myself
Menkali > does'nt explain ? you where there in the first place
Zosius > it is my way to earn isk
Zosius > salvage your stuff
Menkali > steal my stuff?
Menkali > exatly
Zosius > confiscate
Zosius > not steal
Zosius > because you dont take them, so i do
Menkali > not steal? explain
Zosius > you need to salvage and loot your wrecks
Zosius > or someone else will take them
Menkali > you don't become suspect salvaging?
Zosius > ofcourse not
Menkali > don't give me that... I might have just started playing, but you sir are a thief

Menkali couldn't understand how someone could be so rude and take his hard earned loot and salvage. Just imagine, another player in his mission. What kind of madness MMO game is this? 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - Ransom with discount

When doing routine salvage operations it's always nice to shoot something, namely - mobile tractor units. I always found shooting mtu's sends stronger message than just salvaging and looting. Sometimes carebears try to protect it by shooting me. Others scoop it and just ignore. There are also people who will call you out in local.

I try not to engage in local conversations. Becoming a rockstar is not good for business. After all, I have to keep an image of a helpless and poor salvager .

Checking in on miners

When I start my ninja salvaging activities I often start with miners. One might think what do miners have to do with ninja salvaging? Well, I scan them out and take a quick look if they are mining to the can. Usually they mine their cargohold full and warp to station to dump the ore, however there are times when they mine to a jettisoned can. Should I spot such miner, I always bring my Miasmos to collect excessive ore.

Once loot is collected I stick around. I try to see if miners will get upset about their ore taken and will take action. I also do some bumping. MWD Miasmos turns out to be quite a bumper. So far I was not able to get any aggro. Sometimes I do get my hopes up:

An honest carebear

Continuing my salvage operations I encounter Arioch Blackwing in his Megathron Navy Issue. Arioch did not like me salvaging and looting his wrecks so he opened fire.

Glorious fight ensured which was not going in favor to Megathron. Once shields were down I get a convo request. That's quite unusual. Normally, I am the one who is the initiator.

Arioch Blackwing > hi let me please
Zosius > so
Zosius > you shot me and now want me to let you go
Arioch Blackwing > i give you 40 millions

Arioch Blackwing didn't waste any time. He asked to let him go. Generous as ever he also offered a 40mil ransom. For Megathron Navy Issue, that has market value above 470mil. It's like getting stopped for speeding and to avoid ticket you offer police less than 10% value of the fine's worth bribe. I believe police would feel insulted and disrespected as was I. Though I give a benefit of a doubt. Perhaps he mistyped and missed one zero at the end. I try to clear it up.

Zosius > 400mil
Arioch Blackwing > no

I guess he didn't mistype the price after all. I have hard time understanding reasons for such low ransom offer. Perhaps if I provided some information on why my price should look more than fair, he will change his mind.

Zosius > your ship is worth 470mil on the market
Zosius > 400mil
Zosius > so how about it
Zosius > you got half armor to think about it
Arioch Blackwing > 400 mil ok
Zosius > splendid

Reason prevails. After providing nothing but facts, Arioch Blackwing agrees to pay asking, lower than market, price. Unfortunately after waiting for half a minute, I do not see my wallet flash.

Zosius > i don't see my isk
Arioch Blackwing > let me warp and i swear i give you the money

If he 'swears' then I guess I can trust him. It's like any other normal situation right? Pirate holds someone hostage and asks for a ransom. Hostage tells him, that he will give up the money once he is free and safe with the police inside station. I guess pirate would let him go and get rewarded. Right? Not very likely. What would happen is that hostage would get shot and pirate would take what he could. Last time I checked, one with a gun is who is in charge.

Zosius > i am dictating the terms
Arioch Blackwing > i ll give you and you ll continue to shoot me
Zosius > no, i will let you go
Zosius > or you will die if i don't get my 400mil
Zosius > think fast

As seeing we can't come to an agreement I offer a discount. 50% now and 50% later.

Zosius > ok send me 200mil
Zosius > now
Zosius > and 200mil later
Zosius > i stopped shooting
Zosius > you got 10 seconds
Arioch Blackwing > nono destroy me u win ur day
Zosius > do not rep
Zosius > just send me 200mil
Zosius > and you are free

Even offering better discount rates than you get on Christmas sales, Arioch Blackwing was still not interested in paying up. He asked to destroy his ship instead. He left no choice for me but to comply. As soon as I enter structure strange thing happens. Carebear ejects from the ship and warps out.

I will take free ship any time. There is only one problem though. I can't board while ship is being targeted. That would not be a big deal, except there are still 4 NPC present. 2 of them are battleships 60km out. With only 5 minute window, of which I used 2 minutes already thinking, I have to kill all NPC and board the ship since empty ship does not extend engagement timer. Should I fail, the guy could just come back and board his ship even when it is targeted and I could not do anything about it. As sad as it was I decided to finish it off.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ninja salvaging series - Size does not matter

I start my salvage operations. System feels fresh. There are quite few carebears running their missions and all are neuts, which means most of them will probably meet me for the first time. First impression is always important, so I need to look my best.

I love exceptions

Majority of mission runners use Battleship as a ship of choice. I guess that makes sense. Of course in Gallente space I meet Gallente ships, namely Dominixes and Megathrons. Drone boats are quite annoying to fight. Their guns can't track me, but they do have a lot of drones in the bay that you need to tank until they are gone. It usually is not a problem, though there are times when you go multiple acceleration gates deep in the mission with majority npcs still intact. As a rule of thumb you will pickup aggro from the rats, and when you get an aggro from a player it can be quite a challenge. Sometimes I encounter advanced level ships such as faction battleships, t3s or Marauders. Statistically, the more fancy the ship, the less chance carebear will want to risk it and shoot, but there are always exceptions!

After visiting few bears and without any success to have try defend their loot and salvage, I scan out Kronos. I think I can count on one hand fingers how many Marauders have aggressed me. Nevertheless, I always give a chance so here I warp in and start cleaning out his wrecks. Few minutes later I get a weird greeting in local:

I'm not sure what he means by that. Is he warping out and leaving me be? Is he going to shoot? I doubt about the latter as he hasn't even locked me. Since my presence was acknowledged, I decide to stick around and salvage some more. I fully expect carebear to just warp off and already am looking for new potential missions to visit with my scout alt. It looks like Kronos pilot has other ideas. I get yellowboxed and aggroed.

I can't believe a Marauder just shot me. And from close range! I quickly get into low orbit and start to make short work of his drones. Logi alt is in warp and I start thinking about my strategy on what should I do while slowly chipping through his shields. I do not expect to break his tank with just Enyo. Not the Marauder. I bring in my logi ship with hope he aggroes it out of desperation so I could have 2 tackle ships. It would be easy from there on. I would keep him tackled with my logi ship and Orca swap my Enyo to something with more power.

As soon as my logi lands on grid I bring on reps. Kronos pilot seeing he can't kill my Enyo switches guns to my logi. What a relief. I love when that happens. Usually it makes things so much easier. I get my Orca and warp to the site. While my Orca takes it's time to align and warp I see something strange. Kronos is at half armor and steadily dropping. I do not know what is going on. Doesn't he have reps? I decide to convo the pilot and see if I can get ransom. As soon as I state my terms he abruptly closes the convo. Are there no more manners? At this point I doubt that I will even get a good fight.

In the end I didn't even need an Orca. Enyo alone was able to break the will and the tank of the carebear's Kronos. Ship exploded.

After seeing a killmail I am again reminded in what poor condition highsec is. I'm no mission expert, but I believe what he wanted was Vindicator not a Kronos. Bastion module and rigs I guess are overrated. The longer I look at the picture, the more I can see sad face on poor Kronos, that just begs to be put out of his misery.

Hijacking a plex

Kronos is a great trophy for a ninja salvager to have. My sixth sense said I should stick around a bit more. I launched probes and started scanning. Unusual ship appeared on scan - an Ashimnu. I think it's first time I encounter it in my ninja operations.

I initiate warp and it turns out to be a 3/10 DED site. That suddenly makes a lot more sense. I hope I am not too late. First room cleared. Second room cleared. Damn. I feel worried, but get relieved when I meet ashimnu in the third room shooting npcs. While he shoots, I will loot and salvage. This division of work seems more than fair to me. But I guess an ashimnu pilot was not too happy about another visitor in "his" plex. It took but a minute before his patience ran out and he opened fire. For someone who fights battleships with frigate a fight was rather underwhelming. Ashimnu melted and exploded without much resistance. I wonder why.

Nope. No idea. Since I'm almost at the last room, I might as well do some carebearing myself and finish the plex. I quickly dispatch remaining npcs and warp to the last room. I ignore all dps and go straight for the station. Looks like I'm lucky. I think. I score a Dramiel BPC which sells around 60mil. Not enough for me to retire, but for sure it will buy a lot of new ammo.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series - Bastard returns

It's time for another episode of Ninja salvaging series. I decided to pay a visit to my favorite high-sec system - Agrallarier. While other people won't see anything special about it and might even grumble, this system holds special place in my heart. It's where I started my eve career as a ninja salvager and got one of the first kills. There are many more potential systems for ninja salvaging, but I am a sentimental guy.

First day

I spot a highsec exit few jumps out of our home wormhole. 14 jumps out of Dodixie and with connection being critical, I decide not to wait and take my moment. I pack my bags, collect some loot for sale and race to the highsec. After roughly of 15 minute journey my destination is reached and I take a look at what I've got. Good old enyo, scan ship, logi, orca and few extra ships for various situations. Being professional ninja requires you to be prepared for maximum profit. My main has around 10 ships in the hangar and each alt around 5. There's certainly more room for more as there are many situations that are quite tricky and I am not prepared, but I am also lazy. I will take as I go, like that one time, spending 1 hour tackling while shopping for Orca with dps ship.

I setup my links, get my logi redy and start scanning. There are quite few battleships today. As always at the start, I feel all pumped up and ready for action. I scan first battleship, buzz around, steal some loot, salvage some wrecks. No reaction. I do my background checks on the pilot, the corp. Make some notes and move on. Having dedicated scanner gives me the luxury of switching targets quite fast. I try to be annoying as much as possible, but sometimes some people are not in the mood to pop you.  They might flame, but they won't pull the trigger.

A Navy Scorpion with itchy fingers

I land on my second target. Nothing. I go for the third and then the fourth. Still nothing. I don't mind much. Sometimes there are days when nothing happens, sometimes you have action for a full week. Since its first day I started my ninja activities I won't be getting bored that fast. As long as there are targets, I will keep looking.

I scan out a scorpion navy issue. Sometimes people with faction or other shiny ships are reluctant to shoot, but sometimes it's just the opposite. I land and get to work. After salvaging and looting for several minutes I finally get him yellowbox me. I quickly change my sitting posture and start paying attention. Will I get some action? Sure enough, scorpion fires his deadly missiles into my small and harmless frigate. Well, I do not know about deadly, as it turns out, heavy missiles are not that effective vs small, afterburner fit, frigate. Who knew?

I quickly tackle and start working on his t1 heavy drones which doesn't take long to get rid of. I start working on his shields and bring my logi in. Sometimes it is not really needed, but I take it with hope to get aggro for extra dps or so that both ships can tackle while one swaps for more dps if needed. Mission is gallente type, so scorpion is passive shield tanked vs my type of dps. Thankfully he aggress my logi. Now the game is on. I undock my orca to swap for some extra power.

Engaging in pvp by going afk

While Orca of doom was in warp I try to initiate convo to see if I could get a ransom. 

Well, that's a bummer. You would think one would try to have a honorable fight to the end, especially when other side can't break the tank. Unfortunately milgazia decided to have an easy way out and logged off. Wouldn't he have aggroed my logi it would have been a real pain to bump him while I waited for my aggro timer to run out so I could swap ships. Especially as all gellente exclusive I lack a proper bumping ship.

Finally Orca of doom arrives and I swap for brutix while keeping Scorpion tackled with my logi. I brutix dishes out a lot of pain. You can see the progress right away as I go past 50% shields in no time. A minute later he pops.

I think it needed an extra shield power relay. No wonder why my enyo was not able to break him. With all that kinetic/therm resists, I'm surprised my brutix was able to do the job so fast. His pod does emergency warp out. Since he is offline I scan him out and finish the job.

The end.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Opportunity plexing

"What will today bring?" I always ask myself when I launch my probes and start scanning. Today it seems we have quite few connections. My eye is caught by two nullsec exits directly from our home wormhole. I jump to one of them and start checking it out.

Clearing sites in hostile area

I see Feythabolis region on my left top corner. I do not follow nullesec politics and have no idea what kind of region it is, but I do know it is Nulli Secundia owned. I start scanning and quickly resolve couple of sigs of one which turns out to be 10/10 Angel plex. That is interesting. I haven't done any combat sites in a while and speaking from logistics and risk point of view, direct connection from my home is the best location I could ask for. There are 4 people constantly in local. One gate out of dscan range and a station present in the system. Some minor activity of neuts coming in and out. System seems to be in the way to Esoteria region. Looks like I need to take my PvE battleships for a spin.

I go back and swap for a Megathron Navy issue and 3 Dominix battleships. I've found this setup to be quite handy. I setup remote reps and set sentry assist to my mega pilot and sites are cleared out really fast. I've never done Angel 10/10. I've read horror stories of people doing 10/10 plexes, high damage torpedoes, huge dps and so on. After checking guides and consulting my corp mates it looks like it's one of the easier sites and should not be a problem for my 4 BS team that is buffer tanked. I swap ships and warp back to null.

I am not sure if I will be able to do site before locals try to gank me. Good thing about deadspace is that I can't get dropped and anyone who wanted to kill me would have to work for their prey. Not to mention having 4 battleships with remote reps is not an easy target to gank. While I fit for pure pve with cloaking device, I do have pvp fits in my cargohold together with mobile depot. Should I see small fleet coming for me, I might actually give a fight. The most dangerous is the first room anyway. It's the highest risk to get tackled and have backup warp in on me before I could escape. The more deep I am in the site, the safer I am. I jump to the system and initiate warp to "my" plex.

Don't mind me, just shooting red crosses

Here I am, in the first room. Dscan so far looks clear. 9 people in local of which 4 is me. I quickly setup reps and drone assist and start shooting. 

Local activity continues with people jumping in and out, but it doesn't seem I caught anyone's attention. It's a bit hectic to manage drone aggro and keep checking dscan while clearing the site. It doesn't take long and first room is done. I quickly burn to the next one with little relief. Now I can relax. At this point I am more concerned on finishing the site on time before being forced out by locals and leaving loot behind.

It takes average of 7 minutes per room. As someone who have been on both sides - as a prey and as a hunter, I can tell that time perception is different. To do high level plex and to be able to finish it in 30-40 minutes is quite fast in my book. Unless enemy is situated in nearby system it usually takes awhile to get the fleet going, burn to the system and then burn through the gates to catch the prey. Though from prey's perspective it is always going too slow. It doesn't take long and I'm in the last room. Instead of shooting all npc and collecting the loot, I quickly snipe the boss ship, bookmark his wreck and warp out back to wormhole. I never understood the logic of this mechanic from CCP. It takes away all the challenges of the final stage. In a couple of minutes I swap to cloaky proteus and go back to collect the loot. 

I am a bit disappointed. Just over half a billion loot for, supposedly, most hardest difficulty DED site. This is why I never was into exploration behind enemy lines. That sounds way too inefficient.  Risking your shiny ships, spending quite a lot of time exploring and doing the site and in the end getting pocket change. I guess some people do it for the thrill. I think will stick with my "opportunity plexing". There are more ways in getting the thrill. In the end, 500+mil for 40 minutes work is quite good.