Wednesday, July 29, 2015

When bugs become features

If you read reddit or EVE news, you probably noticed announcement related to Jump clones. In short, on the release of Aegis Sovereignty it was no longer necessary to have high standings (8+) with the corporation in order to create a jump clone at it's owned station. As stated by CCP Falcon:
"This was an unintended change that was a side effect of the release, however, after watching the reaction this change received from the community, we have decided that it will remain in place. This means that pilots will be able to continue to benefit from having no standings restriction on jump clone creation."
This makes me quite happy. I think this is a great idea and I have my own personal experience to back it up.

When I started EVE, I knew missions were not for me. I got tired of them and I believe I barely got to lvl 3 before I got fed up with them and turned to exploration instead. I was full time exploring high-sec and soon - low-sec. I was never a big missions guy. All my alliance grinded lvl4's. My friends had much higher and much more stable income than me. Besides ISK, there are also other advantages you get, like standings.

Standings were a pain in the ass. Only way I could get them was through missions. Without standings, meant I couldn't setup my jump clone. Unless corp had necessary standings (which it didn't) I couldn't do anything about it. That means I was always stuck in the same clone. I could not swap to a new empty clone to do some risky pvp. Flying with full slave set really made you second guess if that fight in wormhole was a guarantee win. Anything below that, was not worth it. Null ops were out of the question.

While there were public corps providing Jump Clone services, that meant I had to leave my corp. Which also was annoying, because I was a director, which meant 24 hours notice. I just didn't find it so appealing to go through all that hassle so I just did low-sec pvp exclusively and avoided taking big risks. That was until corp finally had necessary standings and I could swap to a cheap clone again.

It took time to grind the standings and should we moved to another area, story would be the same. I would be stuck with the same clone until I got new standings up with another corp. Not tragic, but you get where I'm going with this. So removing standing requirements I think is a great step. I'm just surprised it took an actual bug to make them realize that Jump Clones should be accessible for people that don't do missions too.

Now that this has been settled, how about reverting back the bug with SKINS? Community had a lot of fun being creative with applying ship skins. Have all skins available for all ships and make them cheap with limited supply and destructible.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Blog Banter #65: Useless attributes

A new blog banter is up and it's a perfect topic for my first entry.

BB65 - Attributes and Skills
Does Eve need attributes? It's been discussed a lot recently. Unlike other MMO's your characters attributes don't make a difference in day-to-day gameplay. They simply set how fast you train a skill. Is it time to remove attributes from the game or totally revamp their purpose? Do they add a level of complexity to the game that is not needed? If you really need to use a 3rd party application to get the most from it should it be in the game? Should they be repurposed with each attribute adding a modifier to your ship? Are attributes a relic from the past or are they an important part of Eve - You make your decision and deal with the consequences?

Content without purpose

I feel very strongly about this subject, so my opinion will be very biased. I'm not saying it's the right one, however this is how I see it.

I believe Attributes are a relic of the past. I consider them on the same level as, now obsolete, learning skills. Perhaps it made sense for them to exist in early days, but EVE has developed a lot during a decade. Some things just do not fit in anymore and attributes are one of them.

Main problem I have with attributes (boosting implants and neural remapping) is that they don't really add anything worthwhile. The only thing they give you is a headache. Especially if you are a new player. EVE has a tendency to attract certain crowd. Majority of this crowd are min-maxers. They will try to get maximum result with minimum effort. It's the nature of the game and I'm no exception. When I started out, I've optimized my training plans in EVEMon. And by optimizing I mean setting neural mapping for core skills that required memory/intelligence. Patiently waiting out before training weaponry and ship skills that required perception/willpower.

Of course you always train some skills out of the plan, otherwise you wouldn't be able to play the game. But that was a huge downside to me, because when I did simulations in EVEMon I could see that in a year of training, I am losing more than 1 month's worth of training time taking on some detours like training desired ship together with core skills. For a new player that was huge time loss. I have to be inefficient in my training if I wanted to play this game. In theory, the only way you can be perfectly optimized in your training time, is if you created account for 1-2 years before even starting playing. Train all memory/intelligence skills, remap and train willpower/perception skills.

That is bad design in my opinion. If neural remapping was not enough, we also have attribute implants that speed up your training time. Combined with neural remapping we can have very big gap between best and worst training time. That was huge null pvp deterrent for me and here is why:

I sort of wanted to try null-sec. But one downside was - bubbles. Playing in nullsec almost always meant that you will lose your pod, thus most people are flying empty pods or minimizing cost by going only with cheap implants. As a young player, I did some simulations and I didn't like what I saw. My carried +4 implants made enough of a difference to make me stay in low-sec. I did not want to sacrifice my training time because there were so many things I wanted, like Black Ops or large T2 guns and drones. So I stayed in low-sec, which was still a great thing, but I never ventured to null, even if I wanted. Solely because I was not in the mood of losing my learning implants for a few good fights (or swap to an empty clone and have 24 hour timer for a few hours of pvp).

I was so into maximizing my learning time that I neglected all other fun implants. I would have considered buying that low grade slave or snake implant set (high grade was too expensive). But attribute bonus was still too low. Attributes did not add any fun and only limited me in every step as soon as I felt doing something adventurous. With so many skills present and so many opportunities to train for, I really hope I will see an announcement from CCP in some near future that will state the end of attributes. Let us just train what we want without second guessing if I should remap for this upcoming long training queue. Let us enjoy the game.

Friday, July 24, 2015

New player expedition to wormhole space

I scanned out a c2 wormhole. I haven't seen who, but d-scan showed some scout ships on scan. It had quite few connections too. Wormholes with a lot of connections tend to have a lot of action. As expected, there was not much going on. For the time that is, as later I spot Gila doing a site. I get visual just in time to see him warp off.

He either noticed me or someone else. Since I have wormhole scanned out I see him warp to a c4 connection. I follow. Looks like he was not running from me. I see two ships land just after he jumps.

Oops, looks like I was very close to being a part of a double gank. Again. I knew system was rather active, so  I was a bit wary of Gila doing sites just like that. Regardless, I was going to go for it. I had my Domi fleet on the wormhole sitting, getting ready to jump at the moments notice. I've risked before ganking while knowing I'm not alone. One of these days I will end up back in high-sec in a pod. Strangely, part of me is even looking forward to that. This could have been one of those times as I watch more ships assemble on the wormhole.

I even had some ideas of ambushing the gankers, preferably polarized. However, increasing numbers of pilots on grid helped me to ditch such thoughts. While I could probably take on the numbers I see in front of me, a quick background check shows 2 guardians present in some battles. They would have my fate sealed if I engaged and they were present. Instead, I just watch them warp off with empty hands. They should really invest in some proper cloaky gank Proteuses. I park mine in the next system and go afk.

Crashing the party

As usual, before calling it a day, I do a sweep in systems I have scanned out. Previously empty systems might now have life. No stone is left unturned. I start with the active system where I met gank fleet. First d-scan result immediately returns interesting results.

There's a fleet slaughtering sleepers. And a quite big one. I don't remember last time I've seen so many ships in a site. Usually you find solo or duo pilots, sometimes triple and quadruple group. I find them at one of the anomalies.

I see 8 pilots on Grid with a mix of battlecruisers and cruisers. Those probably are all individual pilots. I wonder if my 3 Navy Dominixes would be up for a challenge. They probably would. Hardest part would be setting up the chain and focusing same targets and keeping tackle on. Corp doesn't look pvp oriented and background check of some players reveals they are quite new, only few or several months old. I'm going in.

I tackle Navy Drake and random battlecruiser I managed to lock. It's funny, I do not get any response. I am not even yellowboxed and my Domi fleet has already entered their warp. As they are not the fastest aligning ships, you can guess how much time has passed without getting a reaction.

Finally everyone targets me and starts shooting. My Proteus is heavily tanked, but I also see quite few jamming drones on the field, which makes me worry. Once my Domi fleet lands and I setup spider tank, farming fleet sees that, despite their numbers, odds are not in their favor. I lost a lock few times, but thankfully my primary - Navy Issue Drake, did not escape. Everything else I manage to keep on grid was bonus points.

When the fight was over, I checked battle report and saw that I managed to kill 3 out of 8. Not bad. Drake being the most shiny of all,and probably worth more than the remaining fleet combined. Viewing the killmail my eyes clenched a little.

Almost 600 mil loss. Not fully fitted, dual tanked c2 runner Drake. Everything about it is just wrong. Character is only 2 weeks old. The name looks awfully lot like an alt's name. Regardless, such fitting mistakes you would only expect from a new player. I packed my stuff, looted that juicy drop and was on my way when I received a convo from corps CEO. I prepared myself for some flame, but to my surprise, my content providing services were well received.

Props to the CEO in taking new players to wormhole space instead of just having them mine all day. I see a bright future when I meet players like that. Just one tip for future: check fits of all the ships participating in ops.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A quick ambush

I scan the system and look for targets. After I killed an Orca, I needed a new place to crash at. Whilst resolving wormholes, I warp to signatures and make bookmarks. One particular wormhole I have landed on had less than 50% mass left. That's interesting. I waited for about few minutes to see if there is any activity here. It was quiet so I assumed that whatever happened here it was over and initiated warp to a next signature. As soon as I reached 50% speed I hear a wormhole sound. Cancel, cancel my warp! A wild Raven appears and then another. Wormhole goes critical.

Damn it. I was not prepared. My Domi pilots are not even logged in. Here's a good leasson to have my muscle ships ready on standby. There's little possibility I could tackle long enough for my Domi fleet to arrive. More likely, they could get a backup and I might end up trapped/dead on either side. I watch them both jump out and wormhole collapse behind them, leaving nothing, but my bookmark and Proteus in an empty space.

Another one bites the dust

I continue my journey, exploring the universe, scanning surrounding systems, watching people sitting safe at their towers, without them knowing they are being watched.

I love this kind of hunting. Wormhole space is really something. You never know who might be watching who. I feel like a in a jungle, waiting for that right moment to grab my prey while trying to be discrete and avoid becoming one myself.

It was rather quiet so I picked one connection set the orbit and went afk, while occasionally checking d-scan for targets. Suddenly I hear a jump sound. I check my EVE client and see a battleship.

An Apocalypse jumps in and burns back to wormhole. Another roller! This time I am prepared and will be waiting. He jumps out and I set my orbit to 2500 meters. Domi fleet is on standby. If he is serious about closing this wormhole, second trip should be coming soon.

Five minutes passes and I hear a jump sound. Wormhole goes below half mass. It must be him. Without waiting for him to drop session change cloak, I drop mine and burn to wormhole and order Domi fleet to warp. After little delay Apocalypse decloaks and gets his ass scrammed. I do one good bump at full speed and see his battleship turn around.

He, in return, locks me and sucks my capacitor dry. I cycle my tackle mods not to lose him. Soon my Domi fleet lands and I get secondary points. I guess I made a right call without waiting for him to show on grid. What a disappointment that would have been if it was just a random scout jumping in. But it wasn't and I have my target in place.

He is going down. No support is jumping in. I do not know if this guy was alone or not. I doubt it, as he is from Static-Noise corp from Upholders alliance, that is fairly active and has almost 100 members. Their killboard is quite green so I am very happy when Apocalypse finally explodes and I get to contribute to that little bit of red that is so missing.

I quickly kill the wreck and do a quick gtfo. You never know with these active corporations. It is always a race against time. Few seconds too late and I can have full corp on my ass.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hunting down an Orca

It's been over two weeks since I have logged into EVE. My last act before going on vacation was killing a Megathron from a corp I have been stalking. Time to check back in and see what's up.

I log in in a deep safe and do a combat probe system sweep. I get 5 ships hits. I send probes out and warp to the tower. There I find an Orca sitting. Nothing unusual. I have seen this Orca before. It never left force field and I assume it's a ship that guy simply logs out in. Nothing to get excited about.

I fly around the system to find remaining ships. D-scan reports bunch of mining ships in space. I quickly pinpoint their location, which is at the only Ore site in the system. But something feels strange. Something is not quite right. I see an Orca on scan. It would be fine, except the tower, that Orca was sitting at, is out of range. Holy crap, can it actually be at the Ore site? Why yes, yes it can.

My god. It's been 5 minutes since I logged in and here I have a potential target that I couldn't get while stalking these guys for over a week. Unfortunately, my first warp in was less than 150km and by the time I made a tactical bookmark Orca was already picking up speed, warping back to his tower no doubt.

Thar she blows

No biggie, I can wait. So I settled in and patiently waited for the whale to reappear. I see new cans pop up in space. There should be a collection run soon. I keep waiting, but nothing happens. To make matters worse, I see one of the miners swap for Mastodon, a deep transport ship.

What the hell is up with that. Did they have me on watch list? No, that ain't it. They wouldn't be mining at all. Probably. I must say I get a bit upset. Timing is everything and I was starting to accept that me logging in 30 seconds too late might have cost an Orca kill. I continue my watch. At the worst case, I should be able to get that Hulk. It goes over 220 mil in Jita, so It is more expensive kill than Megathron. Not nothing, but since I'm in no hurry, I might as well wait a bit more.

Once again patience is rewarded. I see an Orca on scan. There's no mistake, it is on direct course from the tower to collect that ore. I get ready and align. Once I see industrial command ship land on grid, I initiate warp to one of containers. Decloak, get a positive lock on Orca and Hulk. Scram and point confirmed, Domi fleet in warp.

I can feel excitement in my bones. I try to stay very focused, watching for any ecm drones that might appear, getting ready to bump that Orca until the cavalry arrives. There doesn't seem to be any drones and once my Dominixes land, it is already too late. I get secondary points and start unleashing the pain, Orca being the primary.

It tanks quite well. I have 3 sets of Ogres on it, but it doesn't go down as fast as I wish. Hulk is slowly burning away. My point can still reach him, but it's on the edge. How strange that they don't panic enough and try to burn out of point range while not carrying any drones neither in Orca or Hulk. Finally Orca goes down.

Ahh, there she is. It's been a long time since last time I had killed a whale. Isn't she a beaut? With Orca down I continue working on a Hulk. He did not manage to escape after all.

Over a billion damage done. A gank went flawlessly. I could even say it went much better than I anticipated. For whatever reason, Retriever and Procurer stayed on grid while I was slaughtering their friends. I duly pointed and killed them too.

A battle went with 100% efficiency. Op success. I quickly get rid of all the evidence of violence by destroying wrecks and containers. I warp out back to safe spot and cloak up. I guess I'm done with this system.

Later I also get an email. It looks like I am being watch listed.

I try to use an opportunity and get some money for my services. Unfortunately, they decline paying ransom and tell me that they will just find another system. I ask them to offer their price, but they are not interested. Apparently it is easier to reallocate to another system than try negotiating a price with me. Since I have no intention of evicting anyone and neither my business is to ransom people, I let it go and continue on my pilgrimage. There are a lot of systems to be explored!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Grabbing a wormhole rolling battleship

I found a new home. I've settled in in a class 4 wormhole. Owners like to keep the place tidy. Only one anomaly present with no signatures. There's also activity going on at the tower.

I see a Rattlesnake warp out to a spot near the tower. Interesting. Will he do anomaly? That seems like the only logical choice. Unfortunately, he just warps back inside force field. I have no idea what was the purpose of this action. It's like he wanted to take his ship for a quick spin without any real intentions.

I keep my eyes on the tower, but no opportunity materializes. Bunch of characters log in and out, ships being swapped, but no one is doing any shooting. All they do is swap to Asteroses, scan the surrounding systems and then idle at the pos again. How boring.

Days go by and nothing new happens. Second anomaly pop up in addition to the first one. This system spawns anomalies really slow. The most action I was able to see was locals rolling active connections, but nothing beyond that. I was getting fed up. I am patient, but not that patient. It's been 4 days now and instead of just waiting for shiny kill, I will take what I can. My vacation is approaching, so chances are I won't be logging in for more than a week. Plenty of time for them to forget me.

Making a move

I log in early. Looks like I'm the only one as all my watchlist is red. I quickly pre-scan all the wormholes of the day and settle down. As expected, my preys log in, same as everyday. We have a very good timezone match.

After watching them for awhile, I finally spot an opportunity. I see two Megathrons warp to one of the wormholes. I follow. 

These guys are rolling wormholes in a very strange manner. They jump in and out, but instead of warping back, they just cloak up. Then slowly orbit back within the jump range while cloaked and jump once polarization timer has passed.

I don't like them having a cloak. If they have mwd fitted, they can very easily escape me. Plus, I may not be able to lock and decloak them if I am not very focused to see which direction their ship is at. Regardless, I decide to give it a shot. I patiently wait for them to jump out. I set 2500m orbit while cloaked and wait for that jump sound that will indicate they are back.

Wormhole sound goes from my speakers. This is it. I decloak and set approach the wormhole, so I would be in scram range. Both pilots probably are confused with Proteus suddenly appearing on grid. They hold their cloak and I have my hawk vision set on the overview. First Mega decloaks and my Proteus, with extra sensor booster in its mids, locks it in no time. Scrammed and webbed. I set full speed on collision course to get a bump. Meanwhile my blood thirsty Domi fleet is in warp.

When Domis land, there's only one Mega left on grid. The other guy suddenly appeared 100km off and vanished. I am pretty sure he used micro jump drive and cloaked himself. Weird choice instead of just flying to pos. I guess he felt safer in the arms of cloak than trusting his align speed to warp out back to tower. Once my Dominixes landed, Megathron melted pretty quickly.

That is a very strange fit for rolling wormholes. Usually people opt in for maximum mass by fitting plates, but these guys went for nano solution. Those armor resist modules did not help much. It makes little sense to fit them and should have just went for warpcore stablizers with some inertial stabilizers. If this ship is getting caught, few resist modules will not make a difference. No mid slots and no drones shows how little thought some people can put in what they are doing. But that works better for me. It's those kind of people make it possible for me to score kills.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How much time do you need for EVE?

Just before my vacation, I came across an interesting question on Reddit: "reasons you quit EVE". It's been a long time I wanted to write a post about time investment and EVE. Time to time similar posts pop up. Checking comments, I have noticed that time is always mentioned as one of the biggest obstacles to play this game. To understand why it is such an issue, lets take a look at  EVE's distribution of players age. Graph shows us that majority of players are from 26 to 36 years old (50%).  The absolute majority 85% is from early twenties to mid forties. You can check out reddit post from CCP Quant.

Most players that are early-mid twenties are probably finishing universities and starting their careers. Having full-time job already starts putting quite big limitations. Besides average 8 hour work week, you may spend 1-2 hours getting ready and commuting. That is already 10 hours of 24. Deducting 8 hours of sleep and we are left with only 6 hours free to use as we please. 6 hours is not a lot. It can melt very fast when doing various activities, such as socializing, going out, cooking, cleaning, reading news, watching tv, playing other games.

If we go up the ladder from late twenties to early thirties, it is time when a lot of people start families. They get first or second newborns, get married or just simply starts life with their SO. This alone will take a big cut out of 6 hours pie. A good example is a recent blog post from Scaurus at justforcrits. He wrote how he just had a daughter (congratulations!) and how family responsibilities combined with work leaves almost no room for gaming, let alone writing about it. A lot of people are going through this struggle. In my own early corp I lost a good friend to inactivity due to family reasons. He really loved EVE, but sometimes it takes too much energy to keep pressure on this little time box and sooner or later it just pops out.

Going from mid thirties to mid forties for some it may be easier, when kids are old enough that doesn't need babysitting and parenting is not an new thing, however family responsibilities doesn't go anywhere this category will struggle with time just as much as other categories.

Being engaged in EVE

I've been playing EVE for 5 years. While I started in my early twenties and being very active, I am now struggling more and more when at my very late twenties. EVE is not a game like Counter-Strike or Battlefield, that you just log in, shoot someone for a few rounds and be done with it. It's not a Dota or Starcraft that has quite fixed time for a match. It is an MMO. By it's concept you normally have to invest time to have a rewarding experience. Sure you can do some activities that can fit in a short time frame, though those activities in most cases are PVE and may not be very engaging. PVP side of things usually takes much more time. If you want to be a part of a corp or 'something' it can really become a time sink. There are no insta-pvp arenas and you always have to work to get a fight or a kill. Not to mention all extra steps you need to do such as fitting ship, buying modules, transporting, warping. The very everyday things eat your time little by little and suddenly you realize your evening vanished just like that.

There is no cure. Time investment is what makes EVE appealing. Scoring that billion worth of kill mail would not be the same if such amount could be gained with just few clicks by anyone. The fact remains, that people in my mentioned categories have to cut something out. Some have EVE as only or most serious hobby, some try to dedicate as little as possible by doing non demanding activities, others deal with it by playing train your skill online and logging in only occasionally on free Saturday or lazy evening. Unfortunately (or fortunately), a lot of people decide to just let it go by letting their subscription lapse. For them, to have a rewarding EVE experience, they simply need the time they don't have.

Decaying community

If we take a look at eve-offline data for players logged, we can see a trend of numbers dropping.

Sure there will be a lot of people explaining this with unsatisfying expansions, rule changes such as banning broadcasting, lacking of innovation and etc. But the fact is we are at the lowest point since 2007. EVE's population is aging. Players that started in their teenage years or early twenties have now their lives changed drastically. It would make sense that these people will log in less and less. I am concerned that this can turn into exponential drop. Some of those players were a part of circles. Circles decrease, more people will find less incentive to log in. Less activity will make even more people abandon their hobby. Circles will break and EVE will feel more empty. Socializing and community is what made this game so successful and survive more than a decade. If these social circles will drop at faster rate than new ones are formed it may be hard times for CCP ahead. Nosy Gamer covered subscription numbers in his post on March where he concluded 18% drop.

In my opinion, at some point, CCP will need to make drastic changes. Personally, I am not too happy with how some of things are. Starting with warp changes where ships larger than Battlecruiser warp so slow that it feels like a someone spat to your face. While I do agree with logic, it really does not make fun for me to do occasional logistics or move battleships around. As someone who scans frequently, it also is very annoying when I can't get signature type for some hard to scan cases, making me waste a lot of time looking for wormhole connections. I could go on with the list for a long time, but these are few examples that show why EVE is such a huge time sink and less people have luxury to play it. While universe has to be harsh and not easy, CCP has to start thinking how to decrease time waste on non fun, but essential things. Some steps are into the right direction, like saving scanning probes formation and having opportunity to mass sell items. Some steps may not be, like upcomming fleet warp changes. Making it more of a pain in the ass is not making it more engaging.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Observing nature life cycle in EVE

Days run by, but I do not get any opportunity to gank anything. It looks like my new home is again another miner corp. Mining in t1 ships. Something not enough to make me want to break my cloak.

I don't mind periods of inactivity. It's not like I am sitting and watching ships at the pos all day. I usually do other things, usually watch TV or read some stuff, or write the blog. This gameplay lets me enjoy my time outside EVE while still playing EVE. I can hardly think any other style play that would allow such flexibility. Anything you do in this game ends up in a massive black hole, sucking up all your free time.

Sometimes, when I do feel like playing, I do proactive stuff, like scanning around looking for targets. I decided it was time to find a new home. I scanned surrounding systems, but there has not been anything going on. I parked my Proteus on one of the wormholes and went to do my thing. I get back when I hear a jump sound.

I see Sabre sitting on a c2 connection. It would be very interesting, except this particular pilot is from Spectraliz IIZ corporation. An extremely active corporation I might add. A lot of that activity is happening during my timezone. Fleet sizes are way beyond anything I could hope to fight. Sabre sitting there, means a gank is about to take place. I have no idea what or who. I checked that wormhole an hour ago and it was empty.

Sabre was sitting for a good while. I did not take time, but it was certainly more than 5 minutes. I did not know what to expect. There was nothing else going in or out and no other ships on scan. But make no mistake, this corp is deadly for someone like me. I keep watching the wormhole they came from. Suddenly I see a fleet jump in and warp to c2.

Screenshot shows only a part of it. A lot of them jumped in. I guess there are some unlucky schmucks on the other side. I later check their killboard and see they have scored some nice kills.

Four Dominixes were brutally slaughtered. As a Gallente pilot, it pains my heart to see them die without putting up a good fight. They were remote repair fit, but repair won't do much good when tank is drone damage amplifier mods. It feels quite an overkill for c2 class sites. I am both happy and sad. Sad that I did not time it correctly and did not gank them myself. Happy, that I did not time it correctly and did not gank them myself as there could have been 7 Dominixes and a Proteus on that kill report. I guess that is all part of an ecosystem. Some die and some live to fight another day.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Ambushing a pos fuel run

I've been stalking my new targets for whole day. While there has been intriguing moments of pve ships swapping, nothing really materialized. I minded my own business until I heard a wormhole jump sound. Its one of the corp guys in a Mammoth. This can only mean one thing - there must be a good connection to the trade hub. I discretely wait out some time and jump in to their c2 static. It has a lot of signatures and system huge. I have scanned the signatures, but there is no high-sec connection. I stick around and wait in hopes to see them doing another run so I could see direction they are warping.

I hear a jump sound. Mammoth is back. He goes back to pos and warps back to the wormhole. Jumps in and goes to another one, what appears to be another c2. I follow and resolve all signatures there. Sure enough, I find a high-sec connection. A one convenient connection it seems - only two jumps from Dodixie. I bet my pants that is where Mammoth is heading. I log in one of my high-sec alts that is conveniently sitting in Dodixie. I am interested to know if they are exporting stuff or importing.

Don't mind me, just another suicide ganker scanning ships. I doubt think this guy is suspecting a guy stalking him in his home wormhole with his high-sec alts scanning his cargo. Cargo scan reveals he is full of pos fuel. A quick estimation shows ship is now around 100 mil of worth. It's not exactly a Rattlesnake, but I am tired of waiting. I might as well go for it. Predictably he goes back and I greet him with full arms open and relieve him of his cargo.

I always love these situations, when you decloak and grab your prey. That unsuspecting "wtf" moment is really priceless. It might be a standard to-be ganked situation for them, but it usually is well laid trap from my side.

Playing cat and mouse

After killing a hauler, the game was up. There was no reason in hiding anymore. I also ganked with single Navy Dominix only and I see locals piqued interest in it.

Pvp ships are being swapped and many more are jettisoned from their hangars. I don't know what's the reason for that, but who cares. I need to play this right. Time for some mind games.

I warp back to wormhole and jump. Deliberately showing myself on scan. I know they have cloaked Sabre on the wormhole. I pretend that I am sort of going back from where I came from. After not getting reaction, I jump back. I cloak, decloak and warp to another wormhole, pretending to be overly safe, trying to get home.

I flew around, but could never trigger an actual reaction. Besides watching them swapping ships, I couldn't see them try to camp me or catch me. It was getting really late and I was ready to call it a day.

A Stratios with too fancy name to be casual showed up on scan. I guess this seals the deal. Perhaps BOB was watching over my shoulder. Had I baited these guys into a fight, I might had 3rd party join in. Time to call it a day.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fighting haulers

I have settled in a new c4. As usual stalking locals, by being half afk, only checking EVE client occasionally. Oh boy! We have an activity. I got visual on a big, fat Rattlesnake.

I know locals like to do anomalies. I haven't seen them in action, but lack of sites says they keep place tidy. I wait, but nothing happens. Eventually Rattlesnake pilot logs out and there's only one guy in Astero that is left. Screw it, I am going to look around.

I poke in in a connecting c2 class system. I spot Stratios on scan. It seems he's just about done with the site.

His salvaging drones are on to the last sleeper wreck. I am only at 100km off. There is no time to make a tactical bookmark. I can only hope he will do another site. Unfortunately, pilot just warps out of the system and is nowhere to be seen again. I guess he was just day tripping. I continue exploring.

Tanky Occator

I resolve another c4 from a c2. There seems to be some activity. I warp to the tower and find 2 Occators sitting. They are not just sitting, but also warping in and out. Looks like a logistics run. I quickly try to resolve the signature they are warping to and get ready. Occator would be a nice kill. Unless they have WCS fitted, I should get one without much trouble. After watching them for awhile I got an opportunity. Transport ship lands on the wormhole and I decloak. I tackle it and wait for my fleet to come. Hauler does not jump. Instead, he is tackling me back. What the hell is going on?

Is this a bait?  I couldn't have been spotted. I was extremely careful and did not decloak until now, so chances should be slim. Besides, I watched them do few runs before revealing myself. It's not like they stuck on the wormhole, waiting for me.

My Domi fleet lands and I start shooting the deep space hauler. He is tanked. He is tanked like hell. I have 3 Ogre sets on him, but it doesn't feel like it. Finally he jumps. I follow. He makes good use of his session change timer and stays cloaked for good 30 seconds. I get him on the other side, but he manages to get back and jump out again. I follow again and once more wait for his timer to end. Meanwhile, I keep watching d-scan. If it was a bait, I would be fighting a fleet already, but instead, I am just trying to get a lone Occator. I know he has a friend at pos. So far he did not intervene, but I see ships being swapped. Finally he joins the fight in an Oneiros. Occator had about 1/3rd armor when repairs landed. In a few seconds, it was obvious one Oneiros out-repairs my damage from 3 Dominixes. Despite me using remote reps myself, I really hope a day will come when CCP will introduce stacking penalties to remote repairs. Five minutes pass and Occator jumps back again. This is a waste of time. I recall my drones and warp back home.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Sometimes you gotta take the shot

I'm in my new home. A fresh system to stalk in. As first order of business I do some scanning around. It's always good to be acquainted with your surroundings. It's been so far quite successful day, with me scoring a Megathron kill 2 minutes left to downtime. If that's not a will of BOB, then I don't know what is.

I resolve a c2 connection two jumps out. Looks like someone is busy killing sleepers.

I find confessor at the one of anomalies. It is slicing through sleepers like butter.

You probably think "Great! Free kill, go get him".  Not so fast. I have done some scouting in the system and I've seen some ships appear and disappear on scan. I was lucky enough to time it right and spot one of the pilots. It was from a Probe Patrol, a corporation that is a part of Low-Class wormhole alliance. Another well known entity in the community.  Confessor pilot is a guy from Brave Collective. Both entities are quite big and not related in any way. While I believe Confessor is just farming, I am quite confident that Probe Patrol has spotted him and may try to gank. Problem with such big corporations, is that they can bring a lot of people and support. Even if I pilot multiple ships, I can't compete. My strength lies in surprise fast attack. It has to be over before enemies have a chance to reorganize. Plus, to cover two jumps with my Dominixes might just give enough time to do that. I don't know where they are from. They can be from my home connection for all I know.

I decide to wait. After all, I haven't watched this system for that long. Patience is key and I want to observe a bit more before making decision. I watch Confessor finish one site and move to the next. There are only few of them left and he is going through them very fast. If I was to try to gank him, I have to set my Domi fleet en route.

Confessor is not that lucrative target. It goes just over 35 mil in Jita. With fits, I probably can expect to get 50mil kill. A mere battlecruiser is worth more. However, I have not had a tactical destroyer kill yet. I might end up being ambushed by Probe Patrol. They might not take many people to kill a Confessor, but if they suddenly see a Proteus, I'm pretty sure people will swarm me like mosquitoes on open flesh. But today I have this particular feeling. A feeling where I don't give a shit and might as well go out with my guns blazing. If I am to be ganked, it is BOB's will and so be it.

Risk and reward

I get ready. My Proteus is in position and Dominixes are on the way. It will be tricky to catch this Confessor. It is a speedy little fucker. It means that I will have to time it right and wait for the right opportunity to grab him within scram range. That means my Domi fleet has to stay on the wormhole to be ready to jump when needed. That also means them being exposed. With Probe Patrol flying around I want to avoid that. Since it is a c2 class and confessor is just a destroyer, my Proteus can tank like a boss. Once my Dominixes enter warp to the last wormhole, I don't wait for them to land and try to get the Confessor. I warp as close as I can, decloak and try to tackle him.

Now a wonder of a coincidence happens. Just as I decloak, I see few Astero ships decloak with me, the very same second. Holy shit. I check window of one of my Domis and see some of ships sitting on wormhole. Mostly small cloaky stuff, with some combat recons and a t3. I have a pretty good idea what they are doing. They are ganking the same bloody target. I quickly jump and initiate warp. I don't get tackled. I guess these guys are as surprised as I am. Perhaps even more. 3 Navy Dominixes showing up out of nowhere has to ring some bells.

Back on my Proteus screen, I see shit is about to go down. I get point on few things, but all of them keeping range. I am not pointed, so I guess they are unsure what to do with hostile Proteus.

My Dominixes land and so I see a Loki decloak. Same guy I saw at the wormhole when I jumped in. I guess he decided to follow. He was the only ship within range so I tackled the hell out of him.

Loki was primary. Not that I had much of a choice. Everyone was keeping safe distance and seeing that they are not equipped to deal with my Domi fleet, they left their Loki friend behind. My heart was pounding like crazy. I will not be at rest until I am back at my safe spot cloaked up. Loki is down, With my shaking hands I scoop loot worth scooping and warp back to the wormhole. Ironically, I warp to the same one that Probe Patrol was. I could have safed up in the same system, but I want to go back to my new c4. Everything happened so fast, I think I still have time to get out in one piece. I come back without problems. Warp to my safe and cloak up and reflect on my gank.

A budged Loki, made for tackle and risky situations. I guess losing this ship didn't sting to the wallet that much. 3 day training time loss is probably more annoying. It was quite an experience. What started with a small fry gank turned out into solid t3 kill. Had I not risked it, I would have watched Confessor pilot getting killed and called it a day. Speaking of Confessor pilot, I believe he managed to get out alive. I was not paying attention to him in all this chaos, but checking his killboard, I couldn't find any loss. Good for him.