Saturday, January 30, 2016

Blog Banter 71: When too many is too many?

Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 71st edition! For more details about what the blog banters are please visit the Blog Banter page.

Too Many Ships Spoil the Sandpit?

We all like important internet spaceships right? The more spaceships the better right? Or are we getting too many to be easily to remember them all. A Mastodon on scan? That the hell is that and what does it do? Oh! Never mind!

Are we getting too many ships. Is it too complicated to remember them all and what their traits are? Do FC's these days need an encyclopedic knowledge of ship types unless they want their fleet to DIAF. With more and more ships being released each year will we ever reach "too many" or do you think there can never be too many important internet spaceship types?

Banter on!


You can often hear people say that it's all about spaceships in EVE. When Incarna expansion, that introduced captain's quarters, was deployed back in 2011 there was a huge "storm" from player base. A lot of players were upset that they were being forced to use this feature which opened up a lot more wounds such as lack of focus on actual spaceships and gameplay surrounding them. Not to get too much into history, but CCP got the message and since then, spaceships were going to be one of their main focus. Even in the very next expansion Crucible they have introduced at the time so called t3 battlecruisers: Talos, Tornado, Oracle and Naga.

Since then we have seen a lot of new ships introduced to our universe and a lot of changes related to gameplay. Before going any further I must come out and say that I haven't flown any of the new ships since 2012. One of the reasons is that I simply haven't had a need for them. For my wormhole stalking Stratios is too weak to initiate tackle, though certainly beats Proteus on solo hunt. I haven't done any cosmic sites to use Astero and I haven't flown a ship without cloak for awhile so no new destroyers or cruisers. I considered to adopt Nestor for my doctrine, but that with that price tag it did not make much sense. But it's highly likely I will do a break from wormhole hunting and join some k-space corp at some point to fully engage in experience. It will probably feel like a new game to me.

In general, I think new ships are great, but CCP must be cautions. More ships means harder to balance. This problem existed since the beginning. Nerf hammer was going around, hitting different ships. When I started in 2010 Gallente was considered EVE on hard mode. After rebalancing blasters, drones and nerfing other races it became EVE on easy mode. With more ships in the pot it will only be harder to achieve harmony.

But if there's at least some harmony, having many different tools (ships) will make game more exciting. It certainly makes it harder for FCs to manage the field and raises the knowledge bar, but that's not a bad thing.

The only time I think adding ships spoils the sandpit is when CCP tries hard to make dangerous spaces accessible for new players. Take for instance Venture. A gas mining ship that is hard to catch, costs peanuts, and is used by everyone regardless of their age. Same ship mines most cheap and most lucrative gases. I know a lot of people will disagree and that's fine. It's just my personal opinion. If there are cheap and expensive options to mine ore, why gas sites are treated differently?

Other than that, I think it's a great time to play EVE. Reading stories about command destroyers using micro jump drive on enemies makes me really excited. Things like these add a lot of value to the game. The more unpredictable the fight is the better. I just wish they looked at battleships a bit. With so many cruisers, frigates and destroyers, I feel battlecruisers and especially battleships might be left out of all the fun. I think it's the perfect time to settle down with new ship introduction and do some cleanup and organizing in our sandbox.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Can always count on wormhole community

I have been stalking a Russian corp. After killing their Noctis and Dominix the plan was to move on. Only problem was I did not have where to move. I was staying relatively stealthy and haven't scanned surrounding systems. Now that the jig is up, I launch my sister probes and do the unglamorous part of wormhole stalking - scanning.

Home system has c2 and c4 statics and since c2 is end of life I go to the c4. It has a lot of signatures. It takes me a good while to scan them out. Quite few of those signatures are wormholes. After finishing scanning I warp to 10 to the first connection on my list. Daily tip from Cloaky Bastard: never warp to 0. I land at the wormhole and as I approach within jump range I do one final check of  the d-scan. Procurer appears as a result. What the hell? He was not in the system before. I have been probing for a long time and haven't been clicking d-scan all that often so I am quite sure he has been enough time to see my probes. Something doesn't smell right here. Random miner decides to mine with probes in the system? I warp to ore site to investigate.

I make position bookmark and start doing background research of the pilot and his corp. Miner checks out. He really looks legit. Nothing suspicious on the killboard history. Bunch of high-sec mining ship losses. Corp has various activity, but no procurer baits that I could see. Could this guy be for real?

Corp sticker says BAIT. It would be hilarious if I went for it, but I don't buy it. It doesn't have that legit feel. I do a bit more research of the corp and it's fleets composition. I see mostly 7 people in fleets on average, flying quite squishy ships. I think I could take them on, assuming I get my spider tank up and running in time. Question is, do they bait me or my ship? Did they see my name when I jumped to the system or only Proteus on scan? I haven't jumped anywhere since I came here, so it would be quite a coincidence if they saw me come in. Then again, if they bait unknown Proteus, that also feels like a big gamble. But Procurer is not really a ship I feel using my effort of moving three Navy Dominixes. Ore site will spawn some sleepers at some point and if this miner guy is actually mining, he will have to bring something to kill them. If he is baiting, he will have to bring more shiny bait.

It takes around 20 minutes for sleepers to spawn, but they finally do. I watch Procurer leave and warp to the next Ore site. Well, I guess it's all clear. Second site spawns sleepers and he warps to a third. If that was not enough, I also see Helios, piloted by the Russian corp I've ganked few hours ago, land right on top of him.

Zero reaction from Procurer. I watch and wait for this baiting to end. I am very interested of which out of these 4 present connections he came from. Soon I see him warp back to one of c2s. I follow and set orbit. Procurer is followed by a cloaky Stratios from the same corp. I guess baiting is over. Without much happening afterwards,  I poke around in surrounding systems only to find emptiness. I decide to move back to my dear Russians and stay for the night. I'm sure they won't mind.

Strange things were happening back in the "home" system. Tower was absent of at least 2/3 of ships. Now bunch of Ospreys are left floating.

There are still a lot of pilots logged in. At least 14, but all I see is few at the tower and few at the customs office. Where the hell did just disappear half of my watch list? I run a locator, but get message that they are all unreachable in w-space.  I watch Tempest warp off to a customs office and find him together with Hyperion and Gila. Sleeper wrecks are still on scan which means that not even two hours have passed since my gank and they are shooting the poco now? And what happened to most of the pilots? So many questions without answers. It's either an elaborate bait or I don't know what it is. In case it's a bait, I get an idea and convo Disciples of Aphrodite, my baiters.

Turns out they came across The Dark Space Initiative corp from Scary Wormhole People alliance and my baiting fleet got decimated. I invite them to ambush the poco bashing party and they in turn invite scary wormhole people. Now with bunch of Frenemies ready, sitting two jumps out, it was a moment of truth. I would go in and tackle Hyperion with Tempest and invite everyone to come. If it's a bait, they are in for some surprise. If not, I just hope I do not become the target for blood thirsty pilots.

To be honest, I had some second thoughts about warping my Proteus in. Let alone my full fleet with Dominixes. But I was in the wormhole space, dealing with wormhole people. Reputation in w-space carries a big weight. I would never do it with low-sec or null-sec residents. But with wormhole corps, I go in YOLO and send my whole fleet in hopes to escalate the fight.

The fight went very anticlimactically.  Hyperion gets killed and Tempest warps out. It soon becomes clear why.

I guess in the end it was just a petty customs office bash with warpcore stabilizers fitted. Had it not been for my faction scrambler, Hyperion would have warped away too. I don't extend my stay too long and as soon Hyperion is dead, I warp away.

Big shout out to The Dark Space Initiative and Disciples of Aphrodite for forming a fleet and joining me on the op. And especially thanks for not blowing me up for content.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Waiting for the right moment

Some corps like to leave their ships out of hangars. I understand the need of saving space and all, but there are times when I wonder if those ship hangars are even used.

Note the scrollbar on the right. Meet Russian Power Group 7. A corp that keeps all their ships in the pos forcefield for everyone to see. List is so long that it's a pain to track on d-scan of any changes. In other words, I can't easily spot activity with only d-scan and I am not a fan to stay afk at the tower due to random connection drops or EVE not responding when I connect my PC to a TV. Anyways, I settle in a random safespot and wait for my opportunity. The corp had a Marauder loss in their killboard. System was clean and I was eager to see what PVE tools do they use. Besides that, system also had pocos reinforced. Something was definitely up.

When first poco came out of reinforcement, I kept a close eye. It probably will be too much for me to handle a structure bashing fleet, but you never know. I have 12 members online and half of them I find at the customs office.

I think for awhile if I should attack. I probably could take them on, unless they are all pvp fit. I am solo handling multiple ships and all of them have a cloak fitted. I am more worried about people online. Since they have all their ships in space, I can see logistics and jamming ships. It could be a very bad news if they came to help. I shake my head and remember that my primary is a farming ship. I should not get very excited about t1 battleships or even Gila if I can have a shot at killing Golem. I decide to wait.

Finally farming time. I see wrecks on d-scan. I warp to take a look.

Talk about disappointing sight. Not only that there's no shiny ship to gank, but it's pve setup that I probably couldn't break. Three Dominixes are spider tanking, of course, and Ospreys are spewing shield reps too. Upon closer look I see it's a mix of armor/shield tank.

Since I don't see a Marauder at the pos, I am not sure if it's even there. Perhaps locals did some math and realized it's better to use cheap stuff to run c4 sites. I do not know if I can take this little farming fleet on my own. Problem would be Ospreys as they are orbiting at range. I'm afraid this fight could drag on if I tried to break them and with at least 8 more people online at the tower, I definitely want to avoid that.

I wait. I do not want to stay too long in this system, but at the same time, I do not want to leave too early. Site is getting finished. Someone will have to salvage those wrecks and it may be Noctis, seeing as there is no MTU and wrecks are all scattered up. Let's see what they will do.

Once site gets finished, I see Ospreys warp off. Dominixes start approaching and looting random wrecks with Noctis landing at the same time. Interesting. Maybe this is the moment I've been waiting for. With battleships all scattered around I can strike and probably kill something. Too bad they are too far away from each other, which means I can't hold two ships at the same time. I wait until only few wrecks are left on the field and grab Noctis.

While holding the salvager with Proteus I order my Domi fleet in warp. I see pilot eject and warp off. Smart move. Dominixes are 160km away and while I wait for my fleet to land, one of enemy battleships warps and lands near me. I don't know if it is an attempt to save Noctis, but it felt more like a"warp to help a friend" instinct more than anything.  I promptly tackle it and now I hold two ships instead of one. Seeing he is not going anywhere, Dominix pilot ejects and warps his pod clear. I finish off both ships, loot and shoot the wrecks and disappear in an empty space. Quick and dirty, just the way I like it.

Friday, January 22, 2016

It's just not meant to be

After scoring a free kill of a guy who thought was cloaked, but was not - one of my biggest fears I might add, it was time to move on. I knew I will be moving out of the wormhole that I have been stalking in for almost a week. I now needed to find a good connection and since I didn't have any, I parked my ships cloaked for the day and went to watch some TV.

Before logging out, I do a routine sweep of surrounding systems. I visit the system where I scored Stratios kill. Almost six hours have passed so it was already an ancient history. Well, maybe not, but certainly a long time for a random gank. D-scan reveals a battleship somewhere in the system.

I resolve it at the tower and find him warping to high-sec. I see him jump in and jump out. A rolling battleship! Connection still looks healthy so I guess he just started. I get my Domi fleet positioned on the neighboring wormhole. He goes in again and goes out, only this time he is greeted with "innocent" Proteus and his friends. With active sensor booster I lock him instantly.

Another rolling Megathron goes down. I'm so happy to see full lows of bulkheads and not warpcore stabilizers, even if it takes hella long time to kill it. If you roll the wormhole you should roll it like a man. I 100% approve of this.

Next day I find a c2. When viewing killboard history, one particular element stands out. Can you guess what it is?

After recent failure to get smartbombing Proteus it almost felt like Bob wanted to give me a second chance. A lot of scanning frigate kills have dictor on it, but some indeed have Proteus. I already have a bait Astero fitted for the purpose, so why not give it a shot? I call my friend.

After watching locals for awhile I got to know how they operate. During quiet periods they stay cloaked on wormhole and/or data/relic sites. I manage to get a snapshot of d-scan just after one logs out. I narrow the guy at one of the relic sites.

Once he logs back in, I instruct my friend to come to the system and warp to the site where Proteus presumably is sitting cloaked. I am making it easy as I can. I have system scanned and there are some connecting wormholes and I have spotted Adhocracy scout earlier. Adhocracy is a well known, active wormhole pvp corp. I do not scout the neighboring wormholes as I do not want to be seen. I will gamble and hope that I don't get stomped by a big fleet. Since Adhocracy operates mostly in US timezone, I don't feel too worried, but still concerned.

Since my friend does not have the bookmarks I tell him to bounce of my scout at the site, which then I realize what a bad idea it is, especially with Proteus watching. If he hears warp exit sound and checks EVE client and sees Astero warp at 300 and then to a can, that won't look suspicious at all. No sir.

Astero starts hacking the site and I wait 10km off him. He hacks one can, then another, but nothing happens. I start to get worried. I saw these guys kill a tourist minute from him entering the wormhole. I just know they see Astero, but Proteus not making his move gets me worried. It's quite possible they see through the bait. These guys know their way around and I was careless to suggest my scout as a warp in. I tell my friend to have preselected celestial or even the sun and be ready to warp on moments notice. I expect them to come in a dictor. If Proteus did not make his move by now, I doubt he will. As expected, I see Eris on scan. My friend doesn't manage to warp out, despite me yelling as soon as I see him on d-scan. He gets tackled and I watch him being murdered.

Astero is tanked so I am in no rush to reveal myself and still hope for that Proteus to show up. He does not and so I decloak and try to save my friend. I grab Eris and proceed killing him very slowly.

I am in no rush to reveal all my cards. Perhaps his teammates will come to help. Maybe not Proteus, but something still interesting enough. Eris pilot gets quite confused. Looks like he expected bait, but did not expect me.

I guess there really is Adhocracy somewhere nearby and he has been expecting them. Perhaps if timing was different and without "dangerous" neighbors, they would have risked Proteus. But I do not care, I was not in the mood for another elaborate trap. I simply used the opportunity. At least this time I did not come out completely empty handed.

The killing was slow and took time. The guy tells me he unplugged all his inplants to deny good kill. It's quite funny, because he kept shooting bubbles up and managed to trap himself. I did not expect to get his pod anyways. Perhaps he was hoping for Adhocracy to jump in on us any moment.

As for my friend, I did not instruct him not to use scram on anything else than Proteus. Since he did scram Eris he now is on the killmail and is now a quite obvious bait. At least until this particular kill is pushed back far in the history.

I don't rush to leave the system. Adhocracy gets active, more parties join in and local gets lively. Some interesting dialogues pop out in local.

Of course I keep my mouth shut.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Don't touch my socket

There are good wormholes to stalk in and there are bad ones. The bad ones are populated by big corps that do a lot of pvp and would destroy my little fleet without an effort. In fact, any corp that focuses strongly on pvp, even the small one, can be my end. Big pve corps can too ruin my day by overwhelming with numbers. Thus I try to find a nice quiet system with a small corp that operates in my timezone, preferably with a nice loss history as proof they are using shiny ships for their pve fix. I have been stalking one such corp for almost a week now.

It all looked perfect. Corp was Russian and activity matched my timezone. They had nice Marauder losses in their recent history. System was clean of anomalies and only handful of signatures were present at the time. All points of a perfect target have been checked and yet, I had no opportunities to gank anything.

Locals would login and just sit at their tower or more often than not, login for a short time and log out. Anomalies spawned slowly and they were left alone or cleared during my working hours. It was rather annoying, so naturally I started scouting neighboring wormholes a bit more frequently. On one such checks I spot Stratios.

He warps to an empty space in the system. Judging from overlay scanner, it doesn't look like a signature, but then again, it may not be that accurate. I wait for the thing that Stratioses (Stratioi?) do - to cloak up, but he never does. I narrow down his position and have a good idea where he is at.

Whatever he is doing I am growing impatient. He is in the middle of the system and there's no celestial out of range to launch my probes. I say screw it and drop probes and send them out of the system as fast as I can. Stratios is still on scan. Good. With new fool-proof d-scan, I position combat probes and do a quick ninja scan.

I get a hit and warp at 10 to see what's up. I did not get any signature hits so that felt weird. I find him floating in the middle of nowhere. I don't know what is his game. Doesn't feel like a bait. Regardless his reasons, I decloak and grab him. I assume sound of aggression wakes the pilot up and I get neuted, but not scrammed. I had a few close calls when I lost tackle of the Stratios. Proteus is really useless against neuts. Scrambler does not take much cap so you can cycle it even when sucked dry, but there are short moments when you lose your tackle. Those short moments are all that's needed for a capable pilot. If he was aligned he would have escaped, but now, with my Dominix fleet arrived, he was not going anywhere. Stratios explodes and pod warps clear. After the fight was over local lit up.

Stratios pilot was very surprised. He was certain he was cloaked, but I explained him that he was not and he has been sitting there from beginning without disappearing even for a moment. I know because I was there, actively checking the d-scan.

We talked a little bit more about EVE's connectivity problems. While I doubt cloak failure was caused by the servers, I do feel the socket closure problem. I had it happen myself, but not to extent to get annoyed by it. In my line of work random socket closures would literally kill my play style.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Life in the jungle

I roam the wild in look for my prey. Sun of J153104 rises and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day.

I discretely enter a class 3 forest and spot a herd of Drakes.

I assume I opened the connection, because system I come from is very inactive. Shortly after I have a scout in covert ops warp and jump to the wormhole I just came from. Something is up in this system. I find the herd at the tower and watch them for awhile.

Finally scout returns and swaps for another Drake. There's only one lake in this forest and I see the herd move towards it. I follow.

I watch them peacefully drink the water. At the same time I approach, get into good position and wait for my moment to strike.

Conveniently, the herd is orbiting around the mobile tractor unit which position I use. It's time to strike! The herd tries to run away, but I have two of them captured. They soon find themselves left behind and their life within mercy of my jaws.

Unfortunately for them, my appetite is up. I mercilessly slaughter both of my preys. I know there's no life left in them when I do not get a good fight reply in local. Satisfied with the kill, I retreat back to the deep jungle. Survive to hunt another day.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Hunting Bex - when your heart is not enough, Part 3

Bex logged in. I was keeping a close eye on him. I was patiently stalking in the shadows, following his every move without him realizing.

There's no way he knows I'm here. I even went as far as to add Valtyr Farshield on watch list. Valtyr is the guy that tried to bait his Proteus few days ago. I did not know if he was still up to something inside the same wormhole, but I did not take any chances. Few characters from Sudden Burgery in connection to Bex were also added. Everyone was offline when I moved and scouted. I was as stealthy as I have ever been. There was only one problem. My friend has not finished yet fitting the bait Astero. I watch as Bex scouts connecting wormholes and logs out shortly after, presumably going off to work. That was a very short window. I am committed to this hunt, but not committed enough to wake up at 6 in the morning, which would be most suitable time to get him. The gank is put off for another day.

Next day Bex logs in in a similar time. My friend is sitting in one of high-sec stations, waiting for my signal. I call him right away and give instructions to which site to go first and which container to hack. I have 200km positions on every data/relic site. Meanwhile I watch Bex on d-scan, but not directly on tower. My precaution in case connection drops. If he does not see me on the overview I could still have a chance.

Bait Astero starts working on the site. Just as he starts hacking the first can I see Bex swap to Rokh and warp to the center of the system. Is he warping on my Astero in a smartbombing Rokh? No, that does not make any sense. It's not low-sec. I narrow down Rokh at Operation Frostline site. Now I have Bex and our bait on d-scan. Damn it. 

Bait Astero does not have a cloak fitted and it was too little time to warp back out to high-sec. Well, there are plenty of explorers who don't check d-scan all that often, so perhaps we can play along. As a fellow wormholer, I know the suspicion will be up due to Astero not warping away.

Bex takes his time to finish Frostline site. He did not warp out right away as I would have hoped for, but his alt logs in. His alt is Appex Bex and is the actual character that we are baiting. Now what will be his weapon of choice? I keep eyes on the tower and spam d-scan to see if he swaps for Proteus. I instruct my friend to use ecm and not to use scrambler if he gets attacked by anything other than smartbombing Proteus.

The weapon of choice is Proteus! This is it, I scream to my friend on comms and warp to position bookmark. He is slowboating to the next can and I tell him to approach to 0 and stay put. Cycle analyzer and wait for Proteus to show up, with me sitting 10km off. I move out of tower line of sight to make sure I do not get decloaked if Bex appears at 10km. With Astero not leaving the site while his Rokh was visible on d-scan I guarantee he will be aligned. But that's ok. It's why Astero is so heavily tanked against EMP smartbombs. Once he tackles Proteus I will make my move.

Seconds were passing and they felt like minutes. I am in the zone. My heart is racing and I have full attention on the overview. Proteus decloaks!

I ask my friend to lock and scram him. I hear smartbombs go off. Will the tank hold off? How long has it been? I don't get any positive confirmation that Proteus is scrambled, but it has been so long. My eyes can't see anything. There is some blurry grey column in my overview. How long has it been already? Can I make my move? No I should wait for confirmation. My hand is moving. Why my hand is moving? Mouse pointer moves on the cloaking device. Why my mouse is pointing on cloaking device? Why my left hand is holding left control key and finger keeps left clicking on grey column? Why nothing is happening? Why distance bracket is insanely large and increase by the second?

Shock wears off and I start to realize what just happened. I was not able to keep a cool head and my body moved on it's own. I did not check if he was aligned, though I saw speed was up, but unconsciously ignored that fact. I did not wait for my friend to confirm positive tackle. I took for granted that frigate should have locked the strategic cruiser, but ignored distracting hacking mini-game on screen and that my friend is back to eve only for a few days. I see Proteus warp off, but it takes a moment for my mind to accept this as a fact. Following realization I am soon overwhelmed by the feeling of regret.

Click me for dire situations

I was dumbstruck. Everything was going so perfectly and according the plan, only for me to make such a rookie mistake in the last crucial seconds. For Bex it was the "usual" hit and run, but for me, it was a carefully planned and prepared hunt. I can honestly say I gave my best. Despite all my hunting experience, preparation and putting my heart into, it was still not enough. And it was 100% my mistake, which I'm not sure if it makes me feel better or worse. Big props to Bex for taking the shot and risking his shiny Proteus on a suspicious target. Hit and warp out was executed flawlessly. I hope Bob will allow our paths to cross again at some point in the future.

Edit: You can read Bex's side of the story at

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Hunting Bex - when your heart is not enough, Part 2

The second phase of my plan was to think of a way to create an opportunity. I know Bex is smart. Especially after some people trying to bait him he will now be vigilant as ever. A no name, no history character in a t1 frigate won't do. I shuffle through my alts, but can't find a good candidate. Either they don't have history or have obvious connections to my corp through employment history.

While I'm with my thoughts, my RL friend chats me up. He just recently re-subbed to EVE and was telling how he keeps dying in Faction Warfare. Holy shit, this is my answer. I offer him to be a bait and he agrees. Perfect, now I have a completely unrelated character to do baiting. What now I need is a ship. T1 frigate won't do. There is also one general problem with frigates - they die to large smartbombs. But at the same time, it must be a frigate as I am baiting a smartbombing Proteus. I settle down on Astero and start theory crafting. After some tinkering, I come up with anti-Bex frigate. Behold (warning, napkin math ahead!).

Anti-em shield and armor tanked Astero. If Bex is using 5 EMP faction smartbombs, which do 592 EM damage each (wormhole effects + 58% damage) would do 2962 total damage (977 after resists). He would need 2.2 cycles to just enter armor. To armor it would do 508 damage after resists, that's another 4 cycles and it's not even considering overheating. Numbers could be off, but bottom line is, Astero will live long enough for my Proteus to decloak and get a tackle on him. If, by chance, it gets attacked by a non Proteus, it has 3 sets of ecm drones as a backup.

I was ready. I instructed my friend to fit the ship and head to static high-sec system and be on call. Once I see Bex on-line we would start our baiting.

Of course while waiting I had to defend system from bloody tourists. If they hacked all the sites, there would be nothing to bait in.

I grab the tourist Astero this time and convo the pilot to ask for a ransom.

This one was not very trustful. I wonder since when a word from a random stranger is not good enough? I know I won't kill him, but he doesn't know that. I am willing to be very flexible with payment terms. Seeing as he is not willing to trust me with full amount, I offer to pay half ahead and half after he is released.

After tough negotiations he agrees. I get 30mil transfered to my walled and cycle off my scrambler. Here's the question. Will I get my 40 mil?

Well, I'll be damned. He actually paid up. I am now up 120 mil. Just by stalking, I already paid for my Astero bait. Maybe ransoming is not so dead as others say it is? You just need the right approach and the right attitude.

Finally, the man we all have been waiting for, logs in.

To be continued...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hunting Bex - when your heart is not enough, Part 1

There is a lot of randomness when I choose my targets. I trust myself to Bob's guidance. I roam the w-space and try to find potential system or a target. Bob works in mysterious ways. Sometimes you barely avoid death, sometimes you are rewarded. This time, Bob sends me to a very special place. A place where I would meet one of my biggest challenges. I do a standard killboard check of one system I visit when I see the sight below.

It has a lot of kills by a pilot named Apex Bex, or just Bex, who runs a blog called Disciple of Bob. I like to read various blogs and I am especially interested in blogs about wormholes. I know Bex well. And I know he knows me. There's nothing worse than to hunt someone who knows you, your strengths, your weaknesses and how you operate. It would be so much easier to just pass this wormhole by, but I couldn't. Bob sent me here. It was a sign, especially after reading numerous failed attempts of baiting his faction smart-bombing Proteus. It was a challenge, of which I had no choice but to accept.

My first order of business was to add his whole corp and related characters to watch list. If he is on-line and watching wormhole, this hunt is over before it started. Thankfully everyone was off. I know I only have one shot at this so everything has to be perfect. I can't be seen and there has to be no trace of me. Even if I'm in space, my Dominixes absolutely can't be detected. My priority was to make a good safe spot, which proved to be difficult. Bex's tower was at the only outer planet and making safe in the middle of the system is never good idea as that's where most anoms and sites spawn. After some tries, I squeezed my safe to, what I think, was the best place. Just outside his tower and on the edge to closest planet, but still out of active high-sec connection at the time.

My second priority is to stay completely stealthy. Which means I can't kill anyone in the system as it will appear in the killboard with my name written all over it. Which is a problem, because, of course, you will have random tourists visiting your wormhole from high-sec.

How I can resist not trying to grab this Helios? That's right, I can't.

I am with dilemma. I either take opportunity kills in the system and get my cover blown or I ignore all potential targets and wait for Bex to log in, which might be a very long time. First of all, our timezones do not mach. Then I might never get an opportunity to gank his ship as it takes him split second to kill frigates and warp away. I would have to baby sit EVE full day, which I won't do. One thing is clear though, if that Helios dies, my cover is gone. I try something I haven't done for a very long time in wormholes - ransom.

I go for it. What do I have to lose?

The conversation was going slowly. It seems I always run into non-english speaking Russians. I try to be as clear as possible with my demands. Surprisingly...

I get my wallet flash and see a 50mil deposit. Well, that went better than expected. Of course, I let him go.

50 mil richer I start second phase of my plan.

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Meeting a newbie in w-space

I see Probe on scan with core scanner probes present. Ship has a default pilot's name. Sigh. Another new pilot venturing out in wormhole space. It's really cute. I remember my first encounter with wormhole space. I stood on the signature for good 10 minutes, looking at it and having no idea what's on the other side. Ah the memories.

I decloak and use my combat probes to scan the scanning frigate. I really take my time and do it as slow as I possibly can, but he is still there. Finally I get visual. I guess this is it. Time to do my duty by blowing up the new player and give a lesson about d-scan. I decloak and start shooting with my almost dpsless Proteus.

Suddenly I hear a cry of help in local. I feel in a chatty mood and convo the pilot to avoid polluting the sacred channel of wormhole space.

I used an opportunity of this our meeting to talk about EVE. Of course Probe was dead and so was the pod, but conversation was still on going. They say strongest ties are built on blood. First order of business - combat probes means trouble.

I send 10 mil to cover the loss of the ship and loot. You can tell right away which players will do well in EVE. Attitude is everything.

I must say, I really like to have such heartwarming conversations, despite recent space violence. We talk a little bit more and I elaborate on how the next step for him is to join a good corp and start building connections. I warn about "newb friendly corp" traps, basically any high-sec corp that has taxes. We part on very good terms. Aaron Trald, it was nice to meet and kill you. Hope you enjoy this fantastic game and find your way.