Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series 2 - A carebear stare

Letting your guard down

If you ninja for good time, you will sometimes win, you will sometimes lose. You try to do your best assessment and take action. It may not always work out, but that's the beauty of this game. You adapt and try again. Besides win and lose situations there are mixed ones. I call them lose-win situations. One of those times was when I've met a Navy Vexor in his mission. He was being a smart ass and took aggro. At the same time he was keeping 30km+ range and there was no way I could catch him with my ab frigate. So he was playing around with me, until I was forced out of the site. Before warping out I waited out my weapons timer so I could swap to another ship.

As always, me being disorganized, I realized I do not have 1mn microwarpdrive to fit on my frigate. It probably is in Orca when I moved all modules to fleet hanger. With 5 minute engagement timer running out I opted for Brutix. Not exactly fastest ship, but I was hoping with overheated mwd and links I will manage to get in point range, then web and then scram, assuming that pilot is still at the site. Without wasting time I go back.

Upon landing I still see Vexor on scan. Good. I go through acceleration gate and there he is. I overheat all my modules and burn as fast as I can. He is sitting 45km out and my overheated point is reaching 35km. It was tense, but I managed to land a point. Soon I was on top of him and had him scrammed and webbed. Now he is not going anywhere.

While I was busy shooting Vexor, he was busy shooting last remaining npc. I believe he was afk and did not pay attention until his armor alert went off. You know, it usually means you are in danger. And in danger he was. His ship exploded. I guess missions are not engaging enough to stay focused. It worked out this time in my favor. If you aggro a ninja, expect it to be back.

Social engineering

Social engineer is a big part of Ninja's lifestyle. Sometimes carebears need a little push before they can open fire on you. I came across a Megathron pilot. I have been salvaging and stealing his loot for quite some time. Usually I leave mission runners that ignore me after awhile, but sometimes I invite them to a convo. Especially if life in the system is slow, then I give extra attention to my targets.I convo a Megathron pilot.

Zosius > o/
Zosius > just helping myself to some stuff
RenderBroken > doing good?
Zosius > quite well, thank you
Zosius > and you?
RenderBroken > You want the salvage?
RenderBroken > yea
RenderBroken > always good
Zosius > its good money
Zosius > i pick up best salvage from missions
RenderBroken > if you want the salvage, have at it
Zosius > you dont need it?
RenderBroken > no
RenderBroken > I will just loot
Zosius > why not
Zosius > i want to loot too
RenderBroken > I dont have may salvager near by
Zosius > yea
Zosius > but loot is good too
Zosius > how about you tractor stuff
Zosius > and i loot
RenderBroken > So you ninja salvage for money? lol
Zosius > yes

It usually starts friendly. No harms done sort of way. Just me, salvaging and looting. It's important to try and set non threatening tone.

Zosius > hope you dont mind me coming in like that
Zosius > other people dont take it so nice
Zosius > how much does it pay missions?
RenderBroken > well what can I do, blow you up or just keep going
Zosius > you get concorded
RenderBroken > missiongs are ok I could make 100mil/hr
Zosius > its quite safe
RenderBroken > just leave me some and I am happy ;)
Zosius > i will leave you small wrecks
RenderBroken > gee thanks
Zosius > :)
RenderBroken > you do have a bounty
RenderBroken > lol sorry
Zosius > do i?
RenderBroken > not really targeting
RenderBroken > yea
RenderBroken > 9mil

At this point things are getting interested. When conversation goes direction of killing, I usually pretend I have no idea about killrights and boast that if I get shot they will get concorded. Megathron pilot gets me intrigued when he locks me.

Yellowboxing is usually half the work. From here on now I need to play my cards right.

Zosius > ah
Zosius > some people were upset when i took their ore
RenderBroken > I bet
Zosius > and why are you targeting me
RenderBroken > you dont have someone to team up with?
RenderBroken > I unlocked you
RenderBroken > I didnt mean to
 RenderBroken > lol
Zosius > hmm
Zosius > there was other guy said same thing
Zosius > almost one shotted me

I try to keep conversation on the subject and tell how some mean people shoot at me and even kills me. Usually at some point you try to spin conversation for the carebear to give an excuse to shoot you. Most popular tactic is "test my tank". It's where you ask a carebear with big ship and large guns to try and shoot you in order for you to see how well you tank.

Zosius > last guy almost one shot me. so I improved my tank now
Zosius > trained some armor resistance
RenderBroken > good
RenderBroken > you also need kinetic and thermal hardeners
Zosius > hm
Zosius > i have those
RenderBroken > good
Zosius > what is your damage type
RenderBroken > kin and therm
Zosius > can we test the tank before i leave?
Zosius > i am full with loot
RenderBroken > thats what Galente use
RenderBroken > I dont want to get concorded

It looks like my acting turned against me. Now the guy does not want to shoot me due to CONCORD. I try to find a solution to our problem.

RenderBroken > you can aggro in the next area
Zosius > hm
Zosius > how can i aggro
RenderBroken > if you really want to test it
Zosius > i can invite to duel
RenderBroken > just fly close before I can shoot
Zosius > they implemented this new change now
Zosius > that you can test without concorded
RenderBroken > duels?

I tell him about duels. He acts all surprised. I try and send him invitation to duel which gets auto blocked. He has his options set so all duels are rejected and yet he acts all surprised. I am quite confident the guy never intended to shoot at me and was playing dumb just to pass the time while missioning. I try one last time to ask if he is willing to help me out.

RenderBroken > so you are dead set on looting all the good stuff huh?
Zosius > yep
Zosius > why?
RenderBroken > just curious
Zosius > hmm
Zosius > can we test tank?
RenderBroken > not at the moment

It's been fun, but unfortunately no cake for me. In any case, this is how ninja social engineering works. It has netted me quite few kills and quite few tears. The shock these guys experience after your small frigate goes from being defenseless to killing machine is amazing. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series 2 - last minutes in EVE

Welcome to a new episode of Ninja Salvaging Series season 2. High-sec is a fascinating place. You would think "high security" would be the place where you can relax, do your things and not care too much about your surroundings. However I sometimes think it has the opposite effect. People I meet in high-sec are most agitated, angry and overreacting. All they need is a little trigger and they will use you to unleash all the hate they have inside. That, however, does not apply for everyone.

A fair game

There are people that like to keep a cool head. I scan down a Rattlesnake, start my salvaging and looting operations and he casually yellowboxes me and opens fire. I casually scram him and kill his drones. Then I proceed throwing my blaster ammo to his shields. 

Which doesn't do shit. Rattlesnakes are a tough nut to crack. Last time I engaged one in w-space, I couldn't break tank with 3 Navy Dominixes, what can my single Enyo, with 1/8th dps do? This will take awhile. Even though Rattlesnake does not do much damage to my ship, I get in a logi anyways, in hope he would aggress my 2nd character. All while I have my Orca inbound and secondary logi waiting on standby. While rattlesnake is not going anywhere, I see an interesting sight on my short range scan:

Looks like 2 Tengus are coming in for help. As I am suspect and my logi pilots are suspect too, I am a fair game for anyone to shoot me. I doubted if I could tank all 3 with only 3 medium reps on my Augorors. Enyo could tank it, but if they focus on my logi and have webs, I might have tough time.

I try to spin various scenarios in my head, but a chance of winning seems very slim. Only way I can win is if they shoot my logi and I can tank them, while tackling. Then I could swap for bigger ship with my main and have a fight. Unfortunately as Tengus approach the gate, I decide to bail. Somehow my gut was against it. It is very likely he might get more help as fight drags on. I warp out. Later I doubted if choice was right. Reason I fly cheap t1 ships is because I can risk them losing without getting expensive loss and providing nice kills to the care bears. I guess I had not warmed up yet for high-sec pvp. Another time perhaps.

A tragedy loss in high-sec

While some people keep their cool head and don't panic. They take their loss, try to break through or ask for help, there are others that any interaction with another player is perceived as worst thing that could happen in MMO.

You may ask what so terrifying could have happened to make a fellow player to quite EVE. A multibillion cargo ship was ganked? A multibillion pod was destroyed? Has been scammed of all his assets? You would be surprised.

It all started when I visited Alotta, a Dominix pilot, in his mission. He was happily shooting npc with his mobile tractor unit out. I believe every mtu is an invitation to pvp. Be it a duel of sorts. So I have opened fire. Alotta did not take it kindly. He locked me and unleashed his drones after my Enyo. Afterall, what could a mere frigate do to a drone battleship? As time was passing by and Dominix tank was breaking, I initiated convo to see if I could get paid for my efforts to entertain people of high-sec.

I offered a 200 mil. A more than fair amount for a Dominix. Alotta did not think this way. For him, approaching explosion of his ship was a reason enough to quit this game. I feared I might have met a new player that have been mining for a long time and finally bought a Dominix to do missions, which he was about to lose. I quickly checked his background.

That didn't seem to be the case. He was a 2011 pilot, only a half year older than me. I was confused. I tried to salvage the situation.

Despite the fact that he was free to not to open fire and just scoop his mtu and continue his mission, he decided to kill a much inferior ship. As usual, when things don't go their way, carebears are suddenly a victim. As if they had no choice and were forced into this situation. Like ship locked and shot by himself. Baffled, I asked to clarify what was the problem. Turns out, a pvp situation in a pvp mmo is a reason to quit the game. So what Alotta Audeles was doing during his time in EVE while playing?

Well, not that much. Since his character creation in 2011, he had only 2 recorded losses in his name, both of which were result of our encounter - a death of his ship and pod. It again shows in what terrible state high-sec is. How many pilots are out there that have never experienced anything besides mining and missions? It's up to us to save it.

I try to talk in some sense. It's my duty to show the other side of this game to such pilots.

Unfortunately my efforts fell on deaf years. Instead of making the best of situation and starting fresh, hopefully with a new look at EVE, Alotta chose to wave the white flag and gave up. First loss in this game was too much for her handle. It was time to pack her things and leave.

It was nothing I could do to change her mind. A Dominix loss sealed the fate. Game was ruined beyond repair. I wish best of luck for Alotta in her future endeavors. There are plenty PVE games out there, that do not force you into player interaction. Meanwhile, people like me will keep fighting for high-sec they believe in.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series 2 - first blood

Start of season 2

"Pursue your dreams" - that's what people usually say. You should do things that you enjoy. While it may not always apply in real life, video games are different story. I decided to quit my low-sec corp and do what I love: ninja salvaging and wormhole stalking. Since I've done some stalking last time, I decided to engage in some high-sec play, therefore I officially launch a season 2 of ninja salvaging series.

Introducing new players to EVE since 2010

Burning 20 jumps to pickup some ships and then 20 more to my beloved system - Agrallarier I couldn't wait to start scanning mission runners. Once docked, I'm please to see my trusty arsenal of weapons. I blow the dust off Enyo. It feels good. All my alts are ready too. Scan frigate, gank links, logi - all there all the same as I left them. I undock and start scanning.

Perhaps time is not the best as there are hardly any people in local. Taking away some miners, there are just a couple of ships in space. It felt underwhelming at first. I was hoping system will be alive with missioners, waiting with open arms for me to steal their loot. As I continue scanning, looks there are no battleships present. Only cruisers and some battlecruisers. I end up resolving 2 thoraxes and pay them a visit.

Hobgoblins and Acolytes t1 are flying around. I check the pilots and they seem to be very new. This is interesting. Let's see how react when I go suspect. I loot the can and they both lock me and shoot before I can eve finish to salvage my first wreck.

I keep one scrammed and start giving away ammo. I am not sure how to get both kills with only 1 scram. I could try toggling between them, however 2nd thorax is keeping 15km range. Probably his optimal with railguns. Once drones are gone, my Enyo cuts Thorax like butter. Once in sturcture, his friend probably sees there is only one way our encounter will end and warps off. My first kill is a thorax, piloted by a 2 month old pilot. Not exactly a spectacular explosion, but ninjas do not discriminate pilots by age nor ships by their worth. Everyone gets same treatment.

Walking thin line between life and death

Once I'm done with my class, teaching new players that there is more to EVE than missions, I continue scanning. System this time feels much more lively. I am pleased to see several battleships in the area. This time, I end up visiting a Machariel.

A big change from last encounter. I go through a couple of acceleration gates and I find Machariel in a room with no wrecks. There have been previous rooms full of wrecks. Looks like I am too late, or at least bad with timing to be in a pocket with only sentry guns.

Then suddenly he warps off. Oh well, not that unusual situation. I go back to station to look for new targets, only to realize that my scanner probes hit Machariel again at the same spot. At this point I am not sure if I missed acceleration gate animation or if the guy came back to collect his mtu with loot. I go back to check it out.

Sure enough, in next room I meet pilot once again. This time there are wrecks and an mtu that I start shooting without hesitation. Suddenly Machariel yellowboxes me.

And to my surprise - opens fire. I quickly tackle him and get under his guns while proceeding killing his drones, while at the same time I warp my logi for assistance. His drones are dying fast and all goes well. I am not in a very big rush to repair myself. My plan is to let him think he can win the fight, but bring my logi to "save me" so he would shoot it to drive away. I might not break his tank easily with just Enyo, so I put my hopes he would aggro logi pilot. While I was busy multiboxing and bringing Augoror through the gate, I hear armor alarm go off. Shit. I am almost in structure. I quickly start repair cycle and quickly lock with my logi to have remote reps on me. Looks like I messed up and was not paying attention. My Enyo is in structure and next volley pops it. I couldn't believe what was happening. How could I make such rookie mistake?

Take notice of nanite repair paste count. Max is 8 in module and I died with 7, meaning I only managed to run one cycle before dying. Now a lot of pilots probably would call it a fight/day, cut their losses, be upset for awhile and continue. However, I tried to keep my head cool and saw an opportunity.

Before my Enyo was killed, my logi pilot managed to go suspect from landing a repair cycle. It also has a scram. And while Machariel is 30km off, I try to keep him entertained, while Zosius is reshipping. Augoror is taking a lot of punishment and I am afraid my 2nd logi pilot won't be there in time. Machariel is keeping his distance and I can't get under his guns. Looks like it's over. I align to station and try to wait until last moment before warping out. 

I'm almost at my structure and initiate warp. I was short just some seconds. Soon my 2nd logi lands to the site. It is not suspect and it has no engagement rights with Machariel. I desperately try to warp back with Zosius in hope to still find him at the site, but deep down I am starting to accept that I wasted a beautiful kill opportunity by being too careless.

Machariel pilot. on the other hand, was on fire. He scored an assault frigate kill and he almost got a cruiser. He was feeling lucky. He locked my 2nd logi and opened fire. Wait, what? I couldn't believe my eyes. I launch my drones out to quickly whore on a killmail before CONCORD comes to create order. Several seconds later I see nothing else but a pod warping out and a blue wreck of what once was a faction battleship.

What were the odds? Looks like I had some good karma saved up. Don't know if it was Bobs blessing working on me in high-sec for all the sacrifices I made in his name in w-space, or if it was Vladimir who did not have such luck on his side. All I know I am grateful for this 2nd chance and will definitely remember that it's always better to be safe than sorry.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Trading update: Liquidating assets and restructuring business

If you have been checking my blog occasionally, chances are you remember my plan to grind standings for extra trader characters and I did so by going fastest route - doing awful cosmos missions. I already had 3 active traders with "ok" standings. Though after finishing all skills, I kept creating new characters in same accounts and kept training trading further. As I was midway skilling my last characters, I decided, that if I ever seriously was going to use those traders, I would need better standings.

After grind was done I did not really do anything. My plan was put on hold and I have not been doing much of trading at all. I was reading forums and looking to join a new pirate corp instead. Now, that my craving of being an asshole in lowsec has been somewhat satisfied by smartbombing pods and interceptors, I decided to check my trading stuff.

Dealing with stagnation

It was the usual story. A lot of assets sitting, a lot of orders gone and a lot of orders so far outdated that you have to scroll to find them. It was the same list of items that I am used to, it was the same way of method updating them. I looked at it with despair and asked myself: "is this kind of trading life I want?". And it was then when I decided it was a time for a change.

I said fuck this shit and decided to review my portfolio. Unfortunately, I am not aware of good program to help me give good profit statistics based on items in a nice way, consolidates between multiple characters and stations. Closest I have been using is EVE-Mogul, but even elite subscription doesn't feel fully satisfactory. I had initial ideas to have one set of characters to trade implants and another - deadspace mods. It looked nice in theory, but then I started thinking from practical side. I was not updating my traders frequently. Usually once a month or once every two weeks at best. Doubling characters, and therefore, number of orders I handle, would not make me update more frequently. I decided to take a different approach. Why not combine best of both? There are nice items to trade in implant section and there are also nice items in deadspace and faction categories.

New trading strategy

Since I have 3 accounts and each account has 3 characters, long term is to have 9 traders. 3 are fully functional with good standings, another 3 are fully trained with good standings, but not yet used, and finally, last 3 are finished with skill training, but without standings. So my new strategy will include Tier 3 system. The current traders will be my bread and butter, a Tier 1 trading circle. They will trade my handpicked items, that have best volume movement and high price ratio. Of course those items usually have more competition, but I am not much bothered by it. I do not mind market pvp. I found that high volume and high competition items still beat unpopular ones. These traders will be updated most "frequently".

Tier 2 traders will take the handpicked list of items, that are quite attractive, but not the best. A lot of items I trade now are Tier 2 items, because I kept away from most popular ones when I started trading. I am very curious to see how Tier 1 and Tier 2 will compete in profit. I will try to do an experiment and update them at the same intervals and get the feeling what items are my actual bread and butter. I expect it to be a mix. In any case, market is alive and situation changes, so there is no win recipe. Diversification is my best bet. Instead of swapping and rearranging my item list based on trends, I will be a small part of everything and see global picture. I'm not saying this is best approach, but it's my way. I may change up or quit EVE overall. Hahaha...(desperate laugh, knowing no one ever really quits EVE).

Tier 3 traders will take handpicked items that are not so attractive. Low volume, high price goods. Usually with little competition. These will be updated rarely, only after I see a lot of orders are filled in and are in need of attention. I am also not 100% decided on the list. Instead of taking underdog items, I might go for something different, such as manufacturing goods, or cheap, very high volume stuff, or ships. Who knows. If I won't grind my taxes down, probably high competition items will not be an option.

Handpicking the items

Market is huge. Your ambition can be very easily killed once you start browsing items. There are so many. You can't take everything. Not at least without serious time dedicated. I try not to get distracted and go through all implants and deadspace/faction mods. Yep, every single one of them. Instead of trying to figure out how to extract eve market API data and write a script to process data for me, I do it old fashioned way - by clicking on each item and taking a look at trading history. Then I make judgement call if this item is Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3. Last category were "useless" items, that are either so cheap that profit per item will never be big enough (also with low-medium volume). Or items that have 0-3 sales in Jita and generally considered not worth the time investment to update their orders. 

So I started going through list and did categorization. My goal was ~120 items. That means I can have 240 unique active sell/buy orders, plus multiple sell/buy orders for some items. I found that 120 items is good balance between my health, time investment to update orders and profit. Besides, organizing items by Tier 1-3, I also kept my current used standard and organized them by price. It's quite handy to also see which items to focus on in case I do not feel going through full list. Usually I give priority for most expensive ones that cost 100+ mil.

This activity took some time. I did it whenever I felt like it, without trying to keep any self imposed goals. It's a god damn game and I might as well not stress myself. Even trading is hideous activity, I have love-hate relationship. I hate activity, but low the idea of playing the market and making isk. Also, setting which Tier item should be was not that obvious. I ended up with 300+ items in Tier 1 group. It was very difficult to keep a cold, fact based mindset, by moving some of my favorite items, that I have been trading forever to Tier 3 or "useless" folder, knowing full well I might not be trading them anymore. Process was slow. Each time I thought "now I have a perfect list and with no more room to cut", I turned out to be wrong. I went through multiple times through same items, trying to decide which ones to keep in Tier 1. Same was with Tier 2 list. Most items from Tier 1 traveled to Tier 2 and then I had to do same thing again, combing Tier 2 for items to move to Tier 3. It was fun.

Liquidating the assets

Picking items was only half the work. Before I started with portfolio selection, I have put all my assets for sale. First step was to get rid of a lot of accumulated stock. Way too much, but that is what you get for not updating orders frequently. Setting multiple level buy orders, thinking "price for sure will not go so low", only to find yourself selling at a huge loss due to market swing that happened. I have put up all my assets for sale. I also recalled my Rens and Hek traders. They were updated very infrequently. Even volume movement is low, they still brought in some profits. I had a lot of items in stock that needed liquidating, so I transported everything to mother of trade hubs - Jita.

While I do not dump everything to buy orders (that would be stupid), I put everything for sale, multiple level sales orders. And I cut deep. Some items are enough to satisfy week of consumption in Jita. Of course that is not the smartest move, but I chose a middle ground between liquidating assets fast and a loss. As expected,  market prices for some items went down. Especially for items that do not have big demand. Instead of waiting months to clear my stocks, I wanted to start fresh and restart my activities. That meant, not having a lot of active orders and make room for the new list. All my purchase orders were cancelled and I've put sell orders roughly for 200 billion. 50% went out first few days and remaining will take some time to liquidate. Another 20% went out after I did a big cut in prices. I will try liquidate up to 200bil to restart my trading.

The goal is not only to have space to place orders for new items, but also a capital. To trade in most expensive items you need a lot of capital. And I am not talking of posting 1pc orders. I have no time for that. Sometimes I go 5 pieces for 500+ mil items.  So as you can imagine, I will need ISK and try to keep a healthy balance between liquid isk within 6 accounts and stock. And speaking of stock, I have a bad habit of keeping stock of some items and not letting price to go down too much, creating artificial demand. It was sort of passive trading, where I kept stock and as soon demand seemed to go up, I would liquidate assets and drive prices back to balance. Unfortunately, I feel with CCP drop rate changes a lot of item prices never recovered. In any case, starting from scratch, a nice ISK buffer  is necessary. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Life in Rancer

I have been trying to find my place in EVE. After my wormhole corp disbanded, I wanted go back to pirate life. In my early days I moved to low-sec. I became pirate and have been enjoying this type of life for a long time. I have been very fond of those days so I wanted experience same thing again.

Finding Rancer

I've been in several corps, but didn't really fit in. Either it was too small, too big, area too inactive or something else. I was giving up hope, until I found a recruitment ad in eve forums. It was TunDraGon corp. They seemed to do everything I was looking for.

✓ Gate camping
✓ BLOPS dropping
✓ Smartbombing
✓ Baiting

In other words, being sort of assholes. Not to mention, they are living in Rancer. A well known system through EVE. One of transit systems between Jita and Minmatar space that people go through. It has some traffic. Unfortunately, everyone who has been playing for awhile, knows Rancer and tries to avoid it. For good reason. Everyone in corp multiboxes. Some guy multibox 10+ ships.

He usually uses t1 logi, but I've seen him use 10 smartbombers and kill a cloaky tengu. It was amazing. It is something I wanted to do, however with ISBoxer key broadcasting now being illegal I do not know how he is not getting banned. Good for him I guess.

Smartbombing covertops

So how does our schedule look? Well, something like this:

Everyday we smartbomb. These guys are experts at it. When I used to smartbomb in my early days, I used to use stopwatch to measure covert ops and try to time smartbombs on that second. There is much easier way and I can't believe I haven't thought about it.

One guy "rolls" one by one his smartbombs while others wait for aggro message to appear and then quickly rolls theirs smartbombs. End result - dead covert ops frigate. It's amazing. I had so much joy killing cloaky ships, pods, interceptors. It's something I really wanted to get out of my system.

There is nothing more rewarding than killing a 2 bil pod passing by.

Or catching 1 bil worth travel fit interceptor that thought nobody could lock him and it is safe to transport goods.

So this is the life in Rancer. You do not have that many fleet fights. Since I joined the corp, we have been dropped only once. Dreads were dropped and they failed to kill Vargur with 10 Augorors repping him, before he jumped out. Then again, all corp is fully equiped with triage Archons and Dreads themselves. Most people leave Rancer alone and we continue smartbombing.

While it's been quite fun to be a traffic control of Rancer, it kinda gets boring. I love smartbombing and killing players that do not expect to be killed, but getting 300 mil pod is not so rewarding anymore. It became routine pretty fast and I need to think what I should do next. to spice up my game.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Finding a pos without forcefield

Observing in Stealth

Once I'm done with scanning and if there's no activity, I usually park my Proteus on one of the wormholes, preferably with good connecting system such as highsec. Then I go off to watch TV, spend time with my girlfriend or do something else. I keep camera close and wormhole jump sound to the max so I hear when there is activity.

Watching highsec I got numerous jump activation in and out. It caught my attention. Looks like there is something going on. Few ships shooting each other and few more land. Looks like some random encounter.

Quite juicy. And it doesn't look like its full fleet. There are some ships on scan appearing and disappearing, so I think it's safe to assume I should expect twice the size. It probably is too much for my Domi fleet to handle. However, since it's a high-sec wormhole, I would only need to kill someone and jump out to safety. Which could be tricky thing. Only way I can get someone is if they get themselves polarized. Plus, my Domi fleet is in another wormhole, so as soon I decloaked my Proteus, Devoter probably would bubble up, making my Dominixes land on the edge. Only way for me is to initiate warp before the bubble and most likely, before decloaking Proteus to tackle.

One more negative aspect, is that my main - Zosius, has hundred kill rights hanging on him. So I would have to use mwd+cloak trick or I would die. Even though I like to take risks, I decide to observe some more. Unfortunately, before I could plan my move, fleet warps out.

Defenseless pos

With fleet gone, I go do some scanning. There are new signatures that I need to resolve. One of the systems I find has a pos without forcefield. It's a common sight for someone who hangs out in w-space. People tend to leave their pos and its modules, because unanchoring them takes more effort than they are worth. However, my blood started flowing. And here is why:

Yep, those are corp hangers and ship maintenance arrays that are still intact. Despite living in w-space for the most time, it's been only once or twice I have ever encountered a pos with these structures and no force field. This can be big.

I quickly find the moon and check it out. Sure enough, my d-scan was not lying. Pos is laying there, unprotected. Is someone moving out? Did it really ran out of pos fuel? Many questions arise, but no time for answers. I am not the only one. There are probes scanning the system. Someone else is here. 

I have to make a snap judgement call. I could wait for someone else to find the pos, but odds are that it will be a corp and they will get the fleet to shoot the structures. Despite probes flying around, I decide to go for it. It would be very sad if it dropped something shiny and I had to bail, but no risk, no champagne.

I quickly warp my Domi fleet to position and get to work. I shoot structures as fast as I can. They are not particularly tanky, but 2 corporate hangars and 2 ship maintenance arrays still takes a couple of minutes to break. Once I get the killmail, I quickly check if there's anything worth of looting. I am under extreme pressure. I now see sisters combat probes on scan. Someone might not be very adapt with d-scan, so to find my position they opt out for an easy way - using combat probes. After reviewing the killmails, there doesn't seem to be anything of value.

Only one SMA that was not empty. Didn't drop much apart from some mining equipment. Certainly not enough to risk my ships to retrieve it. I warp out. Happy with the damage done and my ships still being intact I cloak up at the safe spot. It would be interesting to stick around and observe, waiting for someone to try and check out wrecks. However, it's getting late and I call it a day.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Gila gank and baiting theory

A Gila gank

If you still have doubts about advantages of having extra toons, here's an average gank day story.

I do some scanning and luck would have it I end up in a system with Gila doing a site. I like Gila. It's a faction cruiser, going up 270mil, more than a battleship. It also means it usually is more expensively fit. A perfect gank target. 

They can be quite tough, but nothing my 3 Dominixes couldn't handle. Only challenge is to tank with my proteus enough time for their slow asses to warp and get in range for remote reps in case pilots tries to burn out of range with afterburner. Proteus is a tanky ship, but even it can take only so much dps from Gila and Sleepers.

Gila was tackled and Domis were on grid. Fight started. In W-space it is always race against time. You stick too long and you might be a victim of another fleet or a backup. I usually try to finish the job as fast as a I can, unless I feel quite confident I have time for a ransom.

However current situation was not the one for a ransom. Just as I started throwing ogres on Gila, I see an Astero decloak near me. Oh boy. My only guess is, that pilot asked for help. It makes sense, because Proteus has been tackling him "solo" while Domi fleet was in warp for awhile. I quickly tackle Astero and unleash warriors on it and a heavy cap neutralizer as a cherry on top. It doesn't last very long.

With Astero out of the picture, I resume my dps on Gila and convert it to wreck in short time. I get a nice, almost a billion worth, killmail.

I sometimes feel like I have a sixth sense that acts as a ship scanner array. When I see a target, my gut tells it will have only t2 stuff or it may carry some shinies. Too bad greedy mobile tractor unit slurped the wreck before I could kill it. People often say: "shoot an mtu first", but I would like them try and do that when neutrals are buzzing around and only thing you are concerned with is so that d-scan stays clear and keep tabs on what's on grid.

In any case, I am not in it for the money. I'm in it for the thrill. Killmail is enough of reward for me. Stuff that drops is only a bonus. I quickly rewarp on mtu wreck, scoop what's left and gtfo to safespot. My only theory on why I didn't end up killed, is that enemy needed time to organize a proper fleet to take on 3 Dominixes. It's not so easy to do. Apart from warping a logi and a faclon to range, you can't do anything at brawling range, which usually would mean I could get out if things started to get too hot. Would I be flying a Proteus and a Falcon alt, I probably would be dead. Could't break Gila with Proteus anyways.

Seeing through the bait

It was not over yet. While I was at my safespot with Domi fleet, I was watching the site while cloaked up. I found out which is their home system and went to see what is happening. I saw a couple of cloaky ships go in. One being cloaky Legion, who then warped directly to Gila's wreck. I follow. Legion pretending to be looting stuff, minding his own business. You know, typical bait stuff. 

Though in the beginning it looked it was a legit try to scoop stuff. As it warped to site cloaked, got to wreck, then warped off cloaked again. But then he came back and just sat there on the wreck. After a bit of time it started aligning out and flew like that for about 15 km. 

I think it smells. Smells awfully lot like bait. Sometimes I can take the bait. To do that, I have to have a backup plan. It usually means polarizing half the fleet trying to gank me or having an exit to another wormhole, such as lowsec that I could jump out and mwd+cloak out.

Taking a bait in mid space is often situation all in. And after checking their killboard, I see 6-10 people, with nasty stuff like logi and ecm in fleet fights. No thanks. I don't feel like pod express home just yet. Minutes passed and both parties call it quits. Legion goes back and I log out for the day.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Solo pvp and multiboxing

Often people talk about solo pvp. It's like an epitome of skilled gameplay in EVE online. It's the ultimate honor. Flying solo ship in the universe, taking on one or more enemies is considered something amazing in the game where having a second comes as natural as having second arm.

I've seen some interesting videos, such as how one myrmidon pilot kills 3 faction cruisers. Then there are other types of "solo" pvp. Such types include having a falcon alt and/or gank links, and or simply extra dps ship. It is piloted by one pilot so it must be solo pvp right? Hell yes. Now before you grab a pitchfork, hear me out.

Everyone must find their own game in EVE. Some gets blood flowing by having a good fight 1v1. Some gets blood flowing by a good executed gank, theft or whatever. Multiboxers like to win. They use additional accounts for force projection so they can play and compete against larger groups and also inflict more damage. This type of style should not be looked down on. Is it unfair that suddenly on 1v1 fight a falcon decloaks and fucks you up? Most certainly yes. Is it fair that you take a 1v1 fight and suddenly enemy friends come to help? Also not. But if you have a falcon alt and run into a small gank, at least you have a chance of "solo" killing 3 other guys.

There will never be equal grounds in EVE. Unless fight is prearranged, chances are someone will have more people, some will have better ships and any other advantages you can think of.  One can't pilot effectively 10 ships. Not anymore at least, with isboxer now gone. However, you can quite comfortably pilot 2-4 or even few more ships. Depending on what are you flying and for what purpose. So since multiboxers like to win, they prefer to kill someone 9 times and explode the 10th versus exploding 9 times and killing someone on the 10th.

The other side of multiboxing

People also tend to forget to mention that multiboxer is also risking more ships. If he happened to get blobbed, he will lose much more than solo guy. Multiboxer will also not be as efficient fighting against same amount of people. 4 same ships piloted by 4 same people (or even 2) are more likely to defeat the guy managing 4 clients with same type of ships.

So why multiboxers use multiple accounts instead of just bringing friends? I will tell you biggest advantages from my perspective. Take it from the guy who uses 4 ships in a fight. 

  • First big advantage I get is a sense of accomplishment.  Even if I use multiple accounts, fighting off a small gang or being able to gank targets that I otherwise couldn't is what makes my blood flow in EVE. While you can bring friends to kill same targets, feeling of accomplishment diminishes by the amount of people involved. Sure it's same kill, but in first scenario it's you and you alone who pulled it off, so you take all the credit. 
  • No need to get organized. You log in and you are good to go. Anyone who tried to launch and organize a fleet activity know that it can be quite painful. Even to get a few guys on a moments notice may not always be feasible and targets may be gone.
  • Do what you want to do, when you want to do. Perhaps stalking in wormhole for hours to no end might not be too appealing for others, but it is for you. Suddenly target appears and you try to get people you are back to "get organized" issue.
I also encounter plenty situations where target is too big to chew. In those cases I sure wish there were friends around. But you can't have everything. You have to choose and make compromise. I fully endorse multiboxing. It brings more content and more targets for other party.

Solo pvp in wormholes

I have done my fair share of solo pvp. I never soloed pvp in lowsec days, however I did constant trips to c1-c2 w-space and was stalking systems with my cloaky proteus. Solo. At the time, ship of choice was always a Drake. And older pilots will remember, what crazy tank they had. Nevertheless I always took an opportunity to gank one in an anomaly. Fights were usually quite close, with me ending up in 10-20% armor, but Drake in a wreck. I had a lot of fun. Biggest ballsy situation I had was to take on on 2 Drake pilots. Which one of them carried a god damn scrambler. So I managed to kill one of the Drakes and use my light ecm drones to jam another one and get out with barely any armor left. It was long time ago, but I still remember!

So you can have fun solo pvp experience. You just have to know where and when to look. Unfortunately, I also remember a lot of juicy targets that my Proteus couldn't handle. And then I thought: wouldn't it be great to have some support? Who the fuck would be willing of rolling themselves in random wormholes and stalking for days with me? So it was then when I rolled a few extra alts. 

Next, a story on a gank and how multiboxing probably saved my ass.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

To be or not to be?

Or should I say: to kill it or not to kill? What kind of stupid question is that, you might ask. Well, sometimes your spirits are just not into it. That's how I felt when I was checking out systems and saw a Myrmidon on scan in one of the lowsec systems.

A gank without passion

I am passionate about what I do. If I hunt someone, I try to be as efficient and as discreet as I can be. The more challenging is to get a prey, the more rewarding it is to kill it. However, there are times, when you see someone and you have second thoughts if you should kill him. This mostly happens with new players that look helpless. Meet IIIMIWYTKAIII. A month old player. His name strikes the one of an alt, however after watching him for awhile, doing an anomaly, I began to think he might be a legitimate new player, with a weird name.

He's just doing the site, in a very slow fashion I might add, but doing it non the less. System is a lowsec pocket between two highsecs. I am not sure if he is aware that he is in lowsec. There are few neutrals in local, but mostly it seems to be passers by or afk at the station.

While watching him, I start moving my Domi fleet that is several jumps out. There's nothing else to do. I also scan the system. In other words, there is a lot of activity going on for Myrmidon pilot to be concerned of. I wouldn't be mad if he just warped off. Heck, with such low motivation, I would even prefer it. So while my slow battleships make their way to lowsec wormhole, I am hoping, that there will be someone else aiming for an easy kill. I would love to see some cloaky t3 taking the "bait". Unfortunately nothing happens.

It also doesn't look like Myrmidon pilot knows about triggers. Seems like he can barely tank the rats and thus keeping his distance. I don't know what kind of dps he does from so far away, but my guess it's not much. I have a feeling he will call it quits soon, so I might just grab him now since my Domi fleet is here.

It takes but a couple of seconds and ship blows up. When looking to his killmail I get nostalgic. The ship I spent most time in doing stuff in my early days was a Myrmidon. It's a bit special to kill a pve fitted Myrmidon.

Isn't it adorable. Those t1 mods, not fully rigged, max cap rechargers. So cute. I hope he grows big and strong and starts flying shiny ships. Until then, I hope killing him gave him some excitement and he will stick around, especially after calling me an asshole in local.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Logging out in space is a bad idea

It's a beautiful weekend morning. Well, not really beautiful. Weather is shit, but I close the windows and try to imagine that normal color for the sky is blue and not grey. I start up my EVE client, log in my tackle account and do a combat probe sweep on the system. There's a ship in space! I warp around and am pleased with below image.

A Rattlesnake is doing an anomaly. It doesn't take me long to find him and I start watching my prey, while bringing my Domi fleet that is 3 jumps out. Everything goes smoothly and by the book. I tackle the Rattlesnake.

Going for a ransom

Once my Domi fleet has landed I initiate conversation and ask for a ransom:

Bernard Erqui > how much?
Zosius >
Zosius > 600mil
Bernard Erqui > sorry i don't have it :(
Bernard Erqui > 400m is all i have :(
Zosius > ok
Zosius > 400mil then

I ask for a 600mil. My ransom is fact based. I copy evepraisal link to show him that I know what he has fitted and how much ship is worth it. Unfortunately I get again excuse of "that's all I have". I am offered 400mil. Sigh. I take it so we can negotiate further the remaining price.

Zosius > 400mil is all you have?
Bernard Erqui > sent
Zosius > show me screenshot of your isk
Bernard Erqui > yeah i had to lend my isk out :(
Bernard Erqui > how?
Zosius > i dont believe you
Zosius > that yo uhad 400mil equal money
Zosius > in your wallet
Bernard Erqui > I had 400
Zosius > not 430
Zosius > not 400.000.003?
Bernard Erqui > will i have actually 20,984 if you want to be exact?

As expected, we find out that carebear indeed had some ISK left that he hoped he could keep it to himself. Even that is hard to believe. He gives me story, about how he lent all his isk out. In any case, I find it hard to believe and since I don't have time to do api check if he is telling the truth, I decide to give a lesson about EVE. THE lesson - do not fly what you can't afford to lose.

Zosius > see
Zosius > it was not all you had
Zosius > so now i have to relieve you of your ship as you were not honest
Bernard Erqui > seriously?
Zosius > of course
Zosius > you should not fly a ship
Zosius > with all your isk invested
Zosius > this will be a harsh lesson in EVE

While I continue shooting him, we continue our conversation

Bernard Erqui > my ceo needed isk for plex annd i lent him :(4
Zosius > he is a bad CEO
Zosius > you must have been scammed
Zosius > joined a better corp man
Zosius > if ceo needs money for plex, it probably does not have future

Sending his CEO isk so he could buy plex. A normal thing to do in EVE. Especially sending all your money and be left with only 20.984. While these stories are entertaining, something doesn't feel right. And I do not mean the story. Rattlesnake seems to be still alive. On top of that, I see my drones are taking damage. Well I'll be dammed. The guy is actually shooting drones and tanking my 3 Navy Dominixes.

Zosius > you are tanking well
Bernard Erqui > you cant blame me for trying :(
Zosius > will need to work on my fits
Bernard Erqui > you tank setu is nice too
Zosius > ok man
Zosius > its really impressive
Zosius > you tanked me
Zosius > free to go

While me juggling my drones, I couldn't break Rattlesnake's tank. It was doubtful I could break him with continuous dps, but shooting my drones it certainly made it impossible. Also, the longer I waited the higher risk was for me to get ganked by someone else. I decide to end it and get out. It's important to know when you are getting nowhere and get out before things turn for the worse. And in w-space, you never know who might be watching you.

Bernard Erqui > you're up 400m man
Zosius > yea
Zosius > will need to adjust my setups
Bernard Erqui > minus some drones
Zosius > i never had anyone tank me so well
Bernard Erqui > dude I solo tank c4 anoms in this :)
Bernard Erqui > this is a beautiful tank
Zosius > show me the fit
Bernard Erqui > Deception Fades
Bernard Erqui > seriously well fought, man
Zosius > i guess in need some dps mods
Zosius > well tanked
Bernard Erqui > mind if I see your fit?
Bernard Erqui > one of corpmates wanted to try rr domi setup.
Zosius > Lμcγ zs
Bernard Erqui > I have to get to work now, but ciaio
Bernard Erqui > o7
Zosius > o/

I don't know what happened. It's first time my 3 dominixes couldn't break a ship's tank. I looked at my fit. One dps mod with tank in lows, giving almost 580 dps. Multiply by 3 and it's not something to be trifled with, but it was not enough this time. I pack my stuff and warp to safe spot.

Unexpected opportunity

Just as I was about to do my thing, I see the guy go offline all of a sudden. That's strange. I do not know if this is his home wormhole and if he logged at pos, but I follow my gut and go check it out.

I warp to range and I see the Rattlesnake in space, with no tower near by. I don't get too excited. If he disconnected by accident and is planning to get back, there's nothing I can do. I still won't be able to kill him. However, if he logged for real, I should be able to break his tank since when user is logged, ship does not receive any bonuses. And also he won't be shooting my drones.

I quickly get to him and try to finish the job. Even when he is logged, his shields are slowly going down. Dear lord, talk about tough tank. In the end, I manage to break through and his ship is no more.

Look at those mods. Every single slot is dedicated to shield defense. It probably is not most efficient way to rat in the c4 anomalies, but it sure can take punishment. It's impressive. It also got me thinking, what should I do if I encounter such ship again. Do I leave it be, or do I need to sacrifice my tank for a double drone dps mod? Solo multiboxing 3 remote repair ships, I prefer to have extra tank, but it is always painful to have your prey let go. Thankfully, this time it was a happy ending.