Monday, December 15, 2014

Trading update

So I have logged in my trading alts. I stopped active trading since more than a year ago. I used to check orders daily, spending average 2 hours in updating orders once per day which netted a stable 1-2bil a day. I think 1bil an hour was a standard income. I had driven a lot of competition away with aggressive pricing and had my foot set in strongly in 3 major hubs. Times were good. However I couldn't keep this up for long. Having full time job, other hobbies and being more pvp oriented I really found it difficult to keep dedicating even few hours a day. In the end, trading became 2nd job and I've quit it.

Passive trading

I own 7 accounts, of which 4 are pvp and 3 are for trading. I pay year subs for my pvp characters so I don't have to stress and earn isk to keep them going. 3 trading accounts are, however, supported by themselves. In the end, if I can't keep my trading chars sub themselves, what is the point of keeping them? So occasionally I check in, mostly once a month and spend few hours updating orders. I became of what is called a passive trader. I setup 300 billion worth of orders and left it be. While it did generate some income, unfortunately I did encounter quite big losses in some areas.

Here are main downsides of passive trading:
  • You unavoidably give up your market share and competition takes over which reacts very aggressively to your "comeback" orders;
  • You lose awareness of the market and can't react quickly to changes which results in massive losses;
  • Some markets crash and/or go down and don't recover or takes very long time to recover which causes your capital tied up in items or selling them at a big loss.
These are only few major downsides off the top of my head. I especially got big losses in faction and deadspace mod markets where I used to buy in bulks and price kept steady. Of course I was not tracking game changes in details and it caused me dearly. A lot of item prices went steadily down and every time I logged in I found bunch of overpriced stock while my sell orders were at the bottom. Take example of picture below.

A popular shield booster, which back in the day had steady price 150mil+ and in just a half of a year it dropped 30% to 100mil. I believe 2014 was one of worst years for deadspace and faction mods as I could see similar trend for most items. Not to mention decryptor market crashing 2 times. First with exploration expansion which made market crash in just 2 days that caused me lose 20bil of stock  due to some items losing 90% of their value. Second crash happened recently and is still going down when decryptors were "generalized". I used to earn good isk by transporting them from different regions to Jita and selling at a handsome profit.

So passive trading does not excuse for not following up events in EvE and taking a moment to think about certain changes and how they will impact you and your business. That is bad trading 101, so do not take example from me. On the bright side, some items went up and evened out the losses, so in the end I could support my 3 accounts with just 2 hours of trading per month. I say it's not too bad.

Living with no income

What was my income during 2014 in EvE not counting trading? A big flat 0. Even though I live in c5 wormhole, with plenty ISK making opportunities I never join farming activities because I am not fond of any kind of PVE. I understood missions were not for me when I got to lvl2. For 2 years I couldn't use locator, because I couldn't make myself to get standing to lvl4 agent. Ha. I had my corpmates share standing with me out of pity.

So besides some random pvp gank loot and running few sites I got no income, but it turns out life is not all that hard. You just have not to lose any ships. It fits my play style perfectly. Ganking helpless victims, gathering intel before pvp fight and welping some random t1 battlecruiser time to time makes my balance look healthy. Nevertheless, I like to have isk at my disposal and I like playing the market, just not the tedious order updating activity. So blew the dust off my trading alts and did market updating few days ago. I will try to attend my trading activities more frequently, but not so much that it would feel as a second job again. Was a bit rocky start, but quite happy where this is going. Just 2 hours spent and I already paid for my plex. Trading is amazing.

Friday, November 28, 2014

What's happening in New Eden?

I like to lurk around in eve subreddit, read news and various blogs. It's quite true that you don't need to play the game to be a part of it. I don't normally write about EvE politics and drama, but time to time there are few things I want to say. So here it goes.

Goons doxxing

An article popped up on eve reddit about goons doxxing their own members. For those who are not familiar with terminology, doxxing, according wikipedia, is the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting personally identifiable information about an individual.

Story is related to recent CFC purge of one of their SMA directorates, alleged BL spy, who then later turned out to be innocent after all. Reddit post is written by someone who claims to be from SMA leadership. He basically explains CFC leadership levels and brief security measures for each group. Goons are quite well known for their 3rd party custom programs to make life easier, so I was not surprised to read about things like jabber auto IP checker to cross reference IPs of known spies.

What surprised me was when article went in further detail on what is being done for security at higher level leadership. Stuff like gathering info about real life, including email, living address, work and so on.  Trying to hack email to gain access to personal information, which then is used to find out any potential threats in game, including any additional info for possible threats in case person does something against "the policy". You know, standard KGB stuff.

Now all this seems far fetched and I am not the one to jump to conclusions after reading anonymous posts revealing big secrets and lies. However, if any of what has been posted is true, then I am baffled. I know games can be taken quite seriously and the fact that loss can hurt in eve, makes it even more intense, but in the end, it is only a game. I really hope story is not representing the reality. On the other hand, it only takes one whistle blower and CCP banning your characters would be the least of your worries.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A hit for ISBoxer users

If you have been following latest buzz on EvE, you most likely heard, that CCP revisited some of the rules on multiboxing policy. In short, starting next year, you will not be able to use any program that lets you control more than 1 account with single click. In other words, you won't be able to multibox with isboxer as some people have been doing up till now.

Positive change

I believe this is a step to the right direction. Some people have been single-handedly controlling whole fleet, be it a bomber fleet, apoc fleet or similar. Having such possibility, you could do some of eve end games by yourself, such as running incursions, bombing enemy fleet out of existence or just simply "roflstomp" small/medium gangs by having many ships that locks and shoots at the target as one. Broadcasting command to multiple accounts and executing it in near perfect timely manner gave a player huge advantage.

I myself was planning on using ISBoxer. I had few things in my mind I wanted to try . Such as smartbombing battleships to kill cloaky haulers or just ganking stuff. Fortunately, I couldn't bring myself to train additional pilots. And my usual spider tank setup to gank people is not a very viable option to do via ISBoxer. Nevertheless, as someone with multiple accounts, I envied those who could do massive damage and cause chaos just by themselves. But those days are over and I am happy.

Well done CCP. +1 internets for you.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Hunting down 2 Marauders and a blingu

"Our armor is dropping, Sir!"
"Distribute all reps on Dominix 1 and Dominix 2. Do we have a tackle on that Golem?"
"Negative, Golem has bastion module still active"
"Sir, 2 sleeper battleship class vessels just switched fire to us. We are also getting aggro from both Marauders"

Armor alert goes off.

"We are at 30% armor. Sir, we need to align and warp out."
"Negative! Overheat and set all reps on Dominix 3. Keep focus fire and neutralizers on the Golem"
"We are holding! Positive point on Golem"

Capacitor alerts go off through the board.

"We are low on capacitor and we are getting split aggro again. All ships are heavily damaged"
"Keep injecting those cap charges. Turn off overheat and split repairs again. Get secondary tackle on Vargur"

2 hours ago

It's been several days since I have been stalking a c4 that was inhabited by small Russian corp. I never see more than few anomalies at a time and no other sigs apart from wormholes for the last 3 days. Guys that I am watching log in and do absolutely nothing, which is quite annoying. I did a quick check-in in the morning before leaving to work. I saw tengu at the tower. Since I can't wait for him to start farming, I warped off d-scan range and logged. Later, in evening, I log in to find same tengu at the same pos. Same number of sites indicate I didn't miss any farming activities, but by now I don't expect to kill anything anymore in this system, so if I get an opportunity to move out, I will take it.

I stop giving shit about my cover and start scanning around. 2 statics and k162 to c3 is resolved. I start with k162. Empty. Just some signatures with one empty tower in the system. I jump back and head to a c3 static. Once I'm in, d-scan shows promising results. Some ships on scan sitting at the tower, few other cloaky ships quickly disappear. I do not know if they logged or activity is ongoing. After waiting for a couple of minutes, I decide to jump back and check out c4, just so I would be aware of my neighbors and not try a gank with potential big fleet next door.

Spotting an opportunity

A tower and 2 tengus on 360 degree scan with no wrecks. A little promising sight. Then I realize tengus are not on tower. A more promising sight. Then I realize tengus are at the anomaly. A very promising sight! I quickly initiate warp to the destination. When I land I see a beautiful sight of 2 tengus starting their farming activities. Is today going to be a lucky day? Not that I complain, as I had quite few kills lately, but timing is just perfect. I also seem not to be spotted when cloaking up as tengus continue shooting sleepers. Perhaps I moved once they were locking the targets. Doesn't matter. As long as my internet does not crash and I get a positive tackle I will be happy.

2 tengus doing a c4 site. Something feels a bit off. Site is not for your average tengu. Taking a closer look, orbiting speed looks very high - above 1kms. I've seen this behavior before. Those must be 100mn afterburner tengus and those tend to have some shiny mods fitted. To catch, hold and kill 100mn afteburner tengu is no easy task. Especially if you have only 1 webifier fitted. Not only you must get good position to 1000ms+ moving tengu while cloaked, which is within 15km range, but also to hold it enough time for back up to arrive, which normally, by the time Battleships exit warp, you are so far away that you can't get remote reps on tackle ship and can't catch it, since speed is almost the same as of that webbed tengu. But I'm not the one to give up before trying. Wormhole is 5AU from the site, so it's not too bad for warp time.

I get into position, burn to intercept tengu's orbit and wait for the right moment. As soon as tengu enters 15km I decloak and move to him at full speed. Possitive lock, scram/web landed on primary, point on the second tengu. I initiate warp of my domi fleet. It probably took some time for tengu pilot to realize what is happening, as when my dominixes landed it was only within 20km range trying to lose proteus. I overheated mwd, clicked approach tengu and unleashed heavy neutralizer with drones on him. Being greedy, I set 2nd domi to follow other tengu and by the time I clicked on my 3rd, target was already 40km away, which turned out to be a big problem, since my proteus was at 20% armor and first dominix was still not within scram or rep range, not to mention running out of cap. Eventually tengu was capped out and focus fire of 3 ogre sets got the job done and tengu exploded.

Cha-Ching! Isn't it beautiful? 1.2bil tengu went up in smokes. Loot fairy was generous as ever. Have you ever seen picture as per below?

Yes, those are mid slots that all dropped. Though I can't help but not notice t2 mod in the low slot. I guess he couldn't afford last Ballistic Control System to be faction, what a cheapskate! I loot the wreck, carefully selecting shiny stuff, due to limited capacity in my ship. When you leave on long wormhole trip, you pack as much as you can, with no cargo space to spare.

There's a good rule in EvE, that nothing belongs to you, until it's in the station. My first priority is to export all the stuff to empire asap. That first c3 I scanned out with low sec static few jumps out from highsec will do nicely. In a few minutes I am at the station, creating contract to red-frog all while chatting with my corp mates, discussing how will they not play poker with me anymore due to my luck. They said that all shiny mid slots dropping equals to straight flush. However, there was something that kept bothering me. When value of my drop is brought in the discussion, it seems not to add up to what I just contracted to red frog freight. After double checking, value i looted was 530mil, while drop was 700. It's too big of a difference for t2 loot to make, did I miss something? Well, yes I did. Turns out I didn't pick Caldari Navy BCU mod. "God damn it", I thought. I decided to go back and check the wreck if it's still there and if it hasn't been looted yet. I'm pretty sure locals will have tried to scoop remaining parts, but it doesn't hurt to try.

When you think everything is over

I jump back to c4. I click d-scan and get Golem and Vargur as a result. Interesting, but I don't make a big deal out of it. I mean, this is the same system where tengu was ganked in less than just an hour ago. Half finished site, sleepers wrecks, tengu wreck, surely anyone who has a little bit of common sense won't be farming anytime soon. Right? Well, d-scan says otherwise. Both Marauders are sitting in an anomaly. What is even more strange, they are in the exact same anomaly where tengu was killed. This does not make any sense. If I didn't know any better, I would say bait is written all over it, but after checking corp's background that looks unlikely. Ship of choice doesn't strike to be a bait either, but you never know. Can it be that those are legit targets? I sit and watch for couple of minutes, while getting my domi fleet ready.

I give another thought about this and decide that opportunity like this is why I play EvE. 2 Marauders dish out a lot of pain and they are 35km apart. This will be hard. Plus, as a rule of thumb, sleepers always focus fire on me, so I always take that into consideration. Regardless how this will play out, I am going in. I wait for 2nd wave to be almost cleared, with 2 BS present. I chose to attack and not wait for only 1 BS to be left in case they shoot it and I get last wave spawn on my ass. Here it goes. Domi fleet jumps in and warps. I decloak proteus and set close orbit on the Golem. Due to range between both targets, I do not expect to kill them both. I set my goal on Golem and fully expect Vargur to flee.

Most stressful gank ever

I don't remember last time having to work so much for my gank. Proteus receives a lot of punishment. When dominixes land, suddenly marauders and sleepers focus fire on them. Just as when I finish to launch drones, focus neutralizers on Golem, set up cap chain, I already hear armor warning go off. Jesus. I keep juggling between reps, trying to keep everyone alive. Overheat everything and pray that Golem's tank breaks soon. Low cap warnings keep going off. I'm almost to my last cap charges, thanks to chasing 100mn tengu. Keep toggling repairs, trying to land a scram just in case Bastion Module is off. It would really suck if target just warped out in the middle of a battle.

Things start looking up when Golem enters armor. Looks like I'm going to come out as a winner here and they must have same conclusions as me. Vargur is still on sight. I overheat point and burn at full speed to maximize my situation and get both Marauder kills. Golem pops and domi fleet soon follows proteus. Sleepers and Vargur still dish out  a lot of dps, so I can't relax. Bloody auto cannons don't use any cap, which means dps won't stop until he is killed. Once I start grinding down the shield, I see a smartbomb go off - a nightmare to drone users. All my Ogres are in red. At this point I am so stressed in keeping my ships intact, that the thought of burning outside smartbomb range, while keeping spider tank range (~10km), really depresses me. I am all-in here. I decide not to care about drones. I will need to visit k-space to resupply anyways. I keep pressure with heavy neuts. I am pretty sure he will run out of cap and tank before I run out of drones.

Tank starts to drop and Vargur is no more. I get commended by locals, admitting I caught them "nicely", to which I promptly reply with a gf. Without wasting more time, I quickly finish off MTU, collect the loot and warp to safety. This really stressed out my ships, with half mods almost burnt, no cap chargers and no nanite paste left. I head straight back to low sec. Once I'm at the station, I log in my closest trading alt to bring in supplies. Now it's time to reflect on what I have accomplished.

The point of my pilgrimage, where I go to the unknown with just a handful of ships, isolated from my corp and anyone else, is to have a soul-fulfilling hunt and a kill. Sometimes you get nothing, sometimes you score big, sometimes you end up back in medical bay with a new clone. This time, I am happy to go home not empty handed, but with a trophy that I can show off.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A by the book tengu gank

In my early days, as an EvE noob, I wanted to be an explorer. Finding unknown things, clearing all the obstacles and getting a reward was my thing. When scanning and doing Data/Relic with some combat sites, I eventually came across this strange signature called Wormhole. I remember to this day how I was sitting on it and asking in various channels of what it is. Should I go in? What awaits me on the other side? Will I be attacked? I had no clue. One answer I got was, "Jump in and find out", so I did. At the time, I didn't know almost anything about EvE, except how to scan and cycle data/relic analyzers.  My introduction to W-space began when I jumped in and started scanning. I found a lot of Data and Relic sites.

It felt like a jackpot. I did not know what will be different, but I knew that I need to go in, shoot NPC, analyze containers and collect loot. I did not know what was blue loot, sleeper salvage, how strong sleepers were, or worst of all - what a directional scan was. Being excited, I went, shot sleepers with my trusty Myrmidon, which I'm sure was a fail fit and poorly skilled since it took me an eternity to clear the sites. However, after clearing and collecting loot, I was overwhelmed. For a noob like me, I could get 100mil or more per site. That was a lot. I did continue running wormhole data and relic sites without using d-scan whatsoever. Even today, I am surprised that I hadn't been ganked even once. Wormholes by that time have been around for more than a year. I must have been extremely lucky. Since then, I always felt special connection to "Anoikis".

Growing as a hunter

Eventually I moved to low sec with my friends. I slowly learned the way of life of a pirate. I was getting good at using d-scan and hunting. Since I resented missions, exploration remained as my main income source. It was a combined hobby of scanning, doing plex and other sites, when occasionally finding pvp opportunity and killing target on my turf. I also haven't ignored wormholes. I always poked around to see what's up. If I saw activity, I was stalking them, waiting for the right moment with my corp sitting on the other side, eagerly waiting for my signal to jump in.

D-scan was essential. It's not always you will find your target comfortably in anomaly. You need to be fast. If you need to map more than few towers in the system, you have to be efficient. If you find targets sitting on wormhole or doing data/relic sites, you need a whole new level of d-scan skills. I was getting good at it. I could scan with one try small t3 ships that were 2-4 AU outside closest celestial. My corp was very eager to join when ping went out. They knew that if there are targets in wormhole, I'm the bast man for the job to catch them. And I rarely failed to deliver.

Damn those mobile depots

Here we are today. I jump to a c3 static of my local wormhole. A tengu on scan appears. I initiate my standard protocols. While still holding session change cloak, I quickly confirm tengu is not in tower and review for potential anomalies. Tengu appears to be in one of the anomalies. No wrecks must indicate he just started. I initiate warp and cloak up.

I make 200km position bookmark from the Tengu. Fact that he is still shooting sleepers means I haven't been spotted. He even makes things easier by dropping MTU and setting close orbit around it. Now I have a perfect warp in spot which I use without a second thought. I decloak, turn on my sensor booster and lock tengu before he notices I'm even here. Of course when scram and disrutpor lands he starts to realize what's happening. I convo for ransom when suddenly I see a mobile depot go up. Shit. That can mean only one thing - he is refitting for warp core stabilizers to bail. I have 3 point scram and a single point disruptor on him. If he has 4 low slots he could very well escape my gank. To make matters worse, I am pure tackle proteus. All my dps is just few smartbombs which is not enough to disable the depot. Timer is at 30 seconds and counting. It's a race against time.

Soon domi fleet lands. I lock tengu and cycle additional scram as soon as possible. Mobile depot is already deployed and I guess he is in the middle of refitting. Once additional scram lands I start to breathe normally again. I land an extra point just because I can. That little shit is not going anywhere anymore. I quickly make a short work of his ship, which turns out to be a standard t2 fitted tengu with a dead space shield booster. 

Gank executed by the book and with a little luck involved netted me a solid t3 kill. After checking the killmail, I notice that he had only 3 WCS fitted. I do not know if he swapped for DCU last minute or perhaps he did not expect my proteus to have more than 3 point strength. Nevertheless, it was a close call. I almost lost my target, despite perfectly executed gank. After this encounter I started to wonder if I should replace long range point to a second short range scram. Both modules have advantages in different situations. Unfortunately you don't always have a luxury of choosing and have to adapt based on different circumstances. I decide to keep point until I get my first target escape with mobile depot deployed and refitted to WCS.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Obvious bait is obvious

Fishy activity

After recent gank I was continuing with my trip. Just few jumps out I found activity. A rather fishy acclivity that is. What comes to mind when you encounter situation as per below picture?

If you think "free target" then you must be quite new to EvE and you will probably soon learn the hard way that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

It's not that I mind taking a bait. I have taken few myself, but you have to be smart about it. You have to know who and what you are up against. Think of an engagement plan. What are bailing options if things go south and etc. Usually, when someone is baiting, whatever fleet they have, it probably is too much for my solo fleet. Were I with my corp at that time, this story would be different.

Watching the bait

Since I was flying around in the system, it's a good chance I am the one being baited. It might be dedicated for someone else, but surrounding systems are rather empty and timing with me checking systems is just too big of a coincidence. While I watch bait, I do background check on the corp and the player. Trying to find peak times and add some to watch list. I end up with around 10 active players online and mapped. Fleet composition looks a bit too much for me, but I haven't given up yet.

3 dominixes, with neutralizers and remote reps are not to be taken lightly of. If I manage to setup my spider tank and drone assists, it could be quite a killing machine, that can fight off even a small gang. Tricky part is, to split the fleet. While 10 players is too much, I could take on 5-6 of them with more confidence. So I watch the bait. Some cloaky t3's appearing and disappearing on d-scan only reinforces theory, that there's a fleet ready and waiting for unlucky bastard to take the bait.

The only way for my to come out of this ahead is to wait for their ship to jump, then tackle with proteus and tank until their fleet arrives. Assuming they would be eager to jump for a kill and not wait on the other side all the time. I probably would need to tank until 30%. Goal would be to make half fleet join on the dps, then jump with them going after me and then jump back again, getting myself polarized, but also half of their fleet. It's a lot of ifs. And even though I know from which wormhole they came, I haven't scanned their home system and I really don't like taking obvious bait without knowing enemy fleet composition. In other words, not too fancy to suicide. Not until I get my trophy kill of my current pilgrimage trip.

Teasing the bait

Eventually prophecy warps out, probably tired of waiting. I see cloaky proteus and tengu jump around. It is hard to track 2 connections so I have no way of knowing who is where. I do some teasing though. When wormhole seems empty, I orbit around with my proteus uncloaked, trying to provoke them to show up. As long as there are no interceptors and/or dictors I am quite safe and untouchable. Speak of a devil, guess who shows up on d-scan!

I warp back to my safe and watch a little bit more. Nothing shows up, patiently waiting, as if they expect me to take the bait. I decide not to play my luck and go inactive. Set my proteus on connection where bait came from, minimize EvE and go do other things, while keeping max sound, just so I can hear jumps and spot activity to see whats up. As expected, baiters get bored and after not seeing any movement they go other things. By watching their wormhole, I spot a fleet of around 5-7 t3s and few other random ships warping around. I can only regret, that I have not met them on another time outside my pilgrimage trip. I would have loved to take the bait with my corp waiting around the corner. I love wormholes for the mind games you can play. With no local, you can easily hide half the fleet and bait the baiter. Before logging off, I did convo the guy. Seems they didn't know what to expect either and assumed there could be even bigger fleet waiting for them. That would explain why they were flying cloaky gank fleet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

When not reading patch notes costs you a kill

Today started as any other day. I launched my probes and started scanning the outer systems. I have no new home system set after abandoning the last one due to inactivity of native corp. I have been a traveler for the past few days, looking for targets in any system I could get my hands on.

Trying to maximize an opportunity

Eventually I stumble upon a c4 with some activity in it. Scan reveals 2 battleships and a command ship with wrecks present. I move my ship and cloak up immediately. I love new changes that you never end up close to wormhole anymore. In the past, in such situations if you ended up 0-500 meters from the wormhole you were really unlucky as it meant there's a good chance you will be spotted before you cloak up. Even now, the time it takes to disappear from d-scan feels too long. In this case, seems I am in a clear. Probably I haven't been spotted, but you never know for sure. Perhaps a fleet is not afraid of a lone t3.

I quickly find the anomaly where ships are at and make a position bookmark. My domi fleet waits few jumps out. I see 3 ships: Apocalypse, dominix and Eos. I'm trying to figure out the best course of action. It would be much easier if I had my corp waiting on standby with dictors and fast locking fleet ready. But this time I am on solo trip and have to make due with what I have, which is a tackle proteus and a few battleships.

Proteus has only 2 tackle mods, of which one is a scram and the other is a point. At best, I can only hold 2 ships until my dominixes warp in. If battleships are equipped with MJD, which is often the case, then I must hold one with scram and command ship with point. What's even worse, it seems that all ships are aligned to celestial or a point in space. All moving to one direction as if they are ready to warp out on moments notice. When that's the case, it usually means I am spotted and pilots are being cautious. In such situations I usually wait for ships to realign position to have better angle on sleepers and catch them during that moment. Another downside of attacking battleships is that they can hold quite few drones, especially dominix. Even though I have 2 medium and 1 small smartbombs fitted, I might not be able to kill heavy drones or even medium ones in time before I get jammed. Especially that battleships are warping so slowly after the changes and it will take awhile for my domi fleet to arrive.

Going for a kill

While I'm analyzing situation I move my domi fleet on wormhole exit to be ready. Everything is set and I wait for the right moment to grab my prey. Suddenly I see ships align to new direction. It is not a celestial and it does not look to be a signature either (love the overlay). This is a chance I've been waiting for. I carefully warp to 20km distance from targets and slowboat into scram range. Once I'm in 10km I start my well orchestrated gank procedure with multiple accounts. It goes something like this:

1. Jump in domi fleet and hold session cloak.
2. Decloak tackle proteus and turn on mwd with sensor booster.
3. Initiate warp with domi fleet (sometimes can be step 2 if target is out of d-scan range).
4. Initiate tackle with proteus and set close orbit. Set smartbombs for drones if there are any.
5 .Land with domies, Launch drones and set approach target while locking with point and neut turned on (repeat x3 for each domi).
6. Lock remaining ships and set up cap transfer with remote reps on proteus (x3, can also be step 5 if proteus is taking heavy damage).
7. Use ship scanner to evaluate cost of the ship for potential ransom (mostly applies for single target ganks with low risk of being ganked).

As you can see, piloting 4 accounts with spider tank is no walk in a park. Some people can say it is overkill. And it probably is for single targets, but I if I want to be able to gank ships up to c6 class wormhole and give a fight to small sized fleets if I needed to, I found this to be best setup. After warp changes, now that BS warps so slowly, I am considering of changing my setup to t3 only. Agility will be a huge plus, but it won't pack as big of a punch and also is more costly, not to mention skill loss chance.

Back on the subject. All seems to go according the plan. I hold the ships, domies are exiting warp, I kill ecm drones rather fast. Blood is rushing and I am feeling excited. When fleet exits warp, I notice that for some weird reason, apocalypse and eos are sitting 100km away. What is going on? Did I get jammed? Doesn't look like it. And I am sure I had both ships pointed. So what could be the reason? Well, turns out, during my time off, CCP introduced medium Micro Jump Drive, of which I was not aware or completely forgot. Had I known, my primary target, of course, would have been Eos. What a shame. Engagement left me a bit bitter taste in my mouth. But at least I have dominix still pointed and scrammed. As he is not going anywhere, I initiate convo and try to ransom.

ggnoreTT > ransom?
ggnoreTT > 200mil
Lianara Eventy > 150(
ggnoreTT > ok

Surprisingly, ransoming went quite well. Guy did not waste much time and paid up. Of course being bastard that I am I took the money and also the ship. I consider ransoming to be my personal tax on bringing in the content to the people. In total 300million isk of damage. Not bad. I'm sure the guy won't even miss it.


Once things settled down. I moved my domies to a safe spot and cloaked up. Resolved the wormhole where my targets escaped and went in for a look. I found them comfortably sitting in the tower, with already new Dominix replaced.

Usually, after people get ganked they do one of few things. One is that they stay afk at pos or log off. Second, they get reinforcements and try to bait or try to catch and kill you. Almost never they come back to salvage their wrecks.

This time, I see ships being swapped, from battleships to t1 cruisers. Activity in pos catches my eye. Will they try to ninja salvage their wrecks? They probably are not aware that I have their wormhole scanned out and watching them.  Now I see noctis and recon ships. I'm positive they will try to ninja salvage their wrecks. Recon ships warp ahead, presumably to scout and noctis follows. I was a bit too slow to follow, so I decide to give them a head start and make them go back by scaring with combat probes.

After a minute noctis left, I jump after, launch probes, pretending to be scanning them, and eagerly wait cloaked on the wormhole. Once I see noctis on scan, I warp my domi fleet in. Everything goes as planned. Noctis and cruisers come back and jump. I follow. I tackle and wait for my domi to come. It's a big system. It took quite awhile for them to land, jump, lock, launch drones and attack. Just as I was half into shields, noctis jumped out, with me still being polarized for a minute. Ah, what a shame. Everyone jumped out except for arbitrator. Perhaps he was late to the party and was still polarized. Doesn't matter, I'll take it. With fire focused he pops in a just a few seconds. That is enough for adventure today. I pack my bags and continue my pilgrimage trip.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Representing New Order in wormholes

I'm an avid reader of minerbumping and believer of the CODE. Since I don't operate in high-sec, I rarely encounter people staying afk outside pos forcefields or engaged in semi afk activities such as missioning and mining. However, I do sometimes encounter bot-aspirant like behavior and when I do, it's my duty to make the best of a situation.

The Story

Our roads crossed when I was hunting in a c4 class wormhole space. I can't help but feel that people living in wormholes are so isolated that they think CODE does not apply to them. Meet Jessica Dune. A wormhole miner that I have been watching for over half an hour. I decided this will be a great opportunity to bring New Order wisdom to most cold and isolated place in the universe that is a wormhole.

While cleansing by fire and confiscating mining ship is always a good strategy, I decided to stick around and see if I can make experience more memorable. Besides current ore site that he was mining, there was one more in the system. Daily reading made me quite qualified in understanding a behavior of a miner. I knew he won't resist mining the next ore site after he is done with the current. But there was a catch. He will need to bring a pvp ship to clear sleepers - an excellent opportunity to test his pvp skills. So I decided to follow my hunch and wait.

My hunch was right. After waiting some minutes, Jessica finished the site, warped back to poss and swapped to Brutix. Without wasting much time, he warped to another site. This was my chance. A chance to introduce Jessica to the CODE. Didin't take long and he was tackled and glorious battle engaged....after about 1 minute as I did not get aggression or any reaction. A bot-aspirant sign is never a good sign.

While battle was on going, I convoed the pilot to give him a chance to redeem himself in a form of ISK.

Unfortunately it took him quite awhile to transfer isk and his Brutix melted before I could confirm the transfer and cease fire. A miner demanded reimbursement. No pledge to New Order and the CODE, no permit, mining and doing PVE activities semi afk and most importantly - not congratulating with gf. He broke all CODE laws that he could and he asked for reimbursement. People have great misconception about agents of New Order. They think we can't be trusted, we are evil and etc. It couldn't be further from the truth and hope my actions will prove it.

Not only had I left his wreck with modules intact. But I reimbursed his ISK in a far greater way then just sending it back. I purchased New Order shares on his behalf. It's like presenting a gift coupon to someone you care about. Unfortunately my efforts were unappreciated and after offering a permit, conversation was abruptly closed.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Loot fairy rewards the patient

It's been 2 days since I moved out of my c3 wormhole to a c4. It was a US timezone corp, however I still decided to stick around and perhaps get a kill before bed time or leaving to work. While watching TV, I occasionally check for activity. I see some guys log in, log out, some stay afk at pos. Not more than 2 guys online at the same time. It doesn't look like it will change anytime soon. Too bad.

Looking for targets

Since my home system has c2 static, I might as well scan it out and see what's out there. I launch my probes and quickly resolve missing signatures. Few new Gas sites, a useless c1 and finally a c2. I jump in. Wormhole is out of scan range and there is nothing but empty space around it. I continue with the usual drill - save bookmark and warp to outer planet to cover the system.

Hello! Drake and a buzzard on scan. There are only few signatures and one anomaly left. Perhaps I will get lucky and see him do the site? Though buzzard is not at the pos. A quick check reveals him in space with a container, close to a celestial, but not on grid. I warp out of range, launch combat probes and get ready into hunting position with hopes to get that buzzard, which obviously is collecting faction modules in that secure audit container. Obviously.

Unfortunately by the time I get ready, buzzard seems to be back at pos and container has disappeared too. I start watching the tower. The waiting game begins.

Game is short. Just after a couple of minutes both ships log out. What an unexpected turn (sarcasm).

Finding activity

Since it seems I won't be getting a Drake kill and it is still early, I might as well scan the system and see what's up. I quickly resolve C3, Low Sec and High Sec wormholes. Which route would you take? Probably not the High Sec one. I decide to go to High Sec... Can't explain why. Probably because I haven't seen it for awhile and you always can expect to find a wormhole with activity inside.

I jump in and start scanning HS. I'm lucky to have just few signatures of which one is combat site and another is wormhole. I warp and see it is a c2. I go in. Dscan quickly shows very promising results. Too promising in fact. There are more than 10 ships at the pos. And not just useless frigates and transport ships, but tengu, lokis, talos, legion, orca you name it. I bookmark the wormhole and quickly warp to the moon where the tower is at.

Finally an active wormhole. At least 7 guys logged in, swapping ships and warping to empty space. There are only 2 sigs and one ore anomaly and I am sure it is neither high sec nor anomaly they are warping to. Must be another c3 static connection and it doesn't look like it's a farm fleet. A gank or a fleet fight is happening or is about to happen. I am interested!

Hard choices

There is a fleet in space. There are also 16 probes in space. I do not know what is the purpose, but I decide to join the party and launch my probes at the outer planet as also changing my ship name to the local. You know, just in case. I resolve the signature and warp to set up a spot. I have 2 talos, loki, legion, strations sitting on the wormhole.

Pretty sure there were few more ships flying around, at least another loki and tengu. Probably something is on another side. Now I'm thinking what's the best course of action here. I could just go balls to the wall and try to take them on with my dominixes, but that would be most stupid decision for a few reasons. First, it probably would be too much dps to handle until my dominixes jumps and warps in. Not to mention sitting without cap due to neut legion. Second, if things go south they could just jump out and I wouldn't kill anyone. Would be worse for me, because battleships are slow and easy to decloak if I jumped out. So straight on confrontation won't work. I have to be smart about it.

I am not too excited to engage full fleet that is prepared to kill. Especially without knowing what is on the other side. So my original plan is to wait for them roll the wormhole with Orca. That would be the best scenario. I could hold it polarized, kill it and then bail or make them bail. Orca is always a nice trophy. Too bad it is un-piloted and it doesn't feel they will do it.

Suddenly all fleet jumps. I have my dominixes cloaked on high sec entrance. If I were to ambush, this would be the time. I could set remote reps and wait for them to come back, hopefuly polarized at least a minute or two. Should I go or should I not? Jump or not? I might not get such a chance anymore, but there are so many unknown factors. My gut says to wait and see what happens next. I follow my gut.

EVE is all about taking risks

In a couple of minutes some of fleet jumps back and warps back to pos. Some weird ship swapping is happening but not much more activity than that. I do not think everyone came back and some might still be out there. In short I have no clue what the hell is happening. One thing I know though, it is most likely a gank. Since none of them came back in pods and some ships still warp back to wormhole I decide this will be my opportunity.

I see loki, tengu and a sabre siting on the wormhole. Ok, fleet looks split and few ships I can take solo without too much trouble. I get into position and prepare my domies. Now all I need is for them to jump and I set my trap in motion. Fast forward 5 minutes and they jump!

Ok, this is it! I warp to 10, set close orbit on the wormhole while still cloaked and wait for a jump(back) sound. Hopefuly when someone goes back and I decloak, I will have enough time to lock before they could warp. I am quite confident, as my proteus is fast tackle and I might even act as a bait. 1 minute later, I get a jump sound. Game is on. I decloak, jump in dominixes and initiate warp. I have loki, stratios and sabre show on my overview. Bubble goes up. I put my points on them, they put their points on me. Domies land, I lock and start unleashing the pain.

Multiboxing tackle proteus and 3 remote rep dominixes is a pain. It is a chaos. Nevertheless after reps are distributed enemy can see things are not going their way. Stratios and sabre gets away, however I still hold loki and legion who desperately tries to burn away. Soon loki goes down and legion follows. Though he could have warped out as I was capped out and could only land a scram once every few seconds. It was also out of point range from my domi fleet. I loot the wrecks and get pleasantly surprised. Over a billion ISK is destroyed and I am promptly rewarded by the loot fairy with surviving loki modules. Beautiful.

What a day. That is exactly why i fly remote dominixes. It is so I could take on a small gang and have a chance of winning. Could have not expected things to turn out any better. As soon as spoils were in my cargo, I went back to highsec. Gf and short convo were exchanged with legion pilot. Turns out, loki pilot was rather upset with his loss. There's nothing better for a ganker to ruin someone's day and get that acknowledged.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Unexpected kill

Recently I have set out on one of my usual hunting trips. Me with my trusty proteus, accompanied by my trusty dominixes, surrounded by an empty wormhole space with no local. That is all I need. My bags are packed with drones, cap boosters, probes, mobile depots and few extra modules - anything I need to be self sustainable.


It seemed I found a nice wormhole to settle in. 15+ member corp. Few sigs and anomalies in most cases indicate activity. Further background check showed that corp was with East Europe timezone, which suited me well.

After stalking for a couple of days and keeping eye on the corp I found zero activity. Either I was very unlucky and missed them, or corp is just few guys with their alts and not a single member logged in. That is quite depressing. I know it is always hit or miss, but you still hope for some sort of activity. Since CCP does not provide API kills anymore, I can't see if any activity happened when I was logged off. In these situations I follow my gut. And my gut said, - "go out and explore." And thus I did.

Adventure finds you

Things started looking up. I was happy to see 2 more connection available in addition to null static. More wormholes - more opportunities. I quickly scanned them out and started checking out the chain. Nothing out of the ordinary. Just bunch of empty wormholes with bunch of empty posses. Man, how I wish CCP introduced hacking skill to unanchor poses that are without forcefields. A man can dream...

Finally I get to a c3 with a lowsec static. I usually love c3s. Those are wormholes that people like to solo in some shiny t3s like tengu and they usually have good connections to other c3s and lowsec. I love lowsec. It normally has more c2-c3 connections, some doable plexes and no bubbles. I decide to check it out.  I jump in and see I am alone in local so I start scanning. Couple of seconds later I get +1. Not that I mind, probably just a traveler anyway. Dscan shows cerberus.

Afters canning for a couple of minutes I still see the guy in local and cerberus is still on scan. There are also no stations. Now it starts to pick my interest. I quickly check his position. Is he in the anomaly? No. Is he in the belt? No. Is he at the tower? No. A rough guess shows he is in empty space.

Just minding my own business

Now, normally I would try to pinpoint his position in more detail, warp to the nearest celestial, align to his position and combat scan him in a few tries. That is what I do in wormholes anyway. Since I was not trying to be particularly stealthy, I said screw it, and replaced my core probes with combats. I was not trying too hard. Scanned him out in about 3 tries, casually reorganizing probes on his signature each time, fully expecting him to be on his way.

I get a hit and start warping in. Having so many targets warp off asap I throw probes out, or see them go while waiting for re-calibration to end, I was still taking this opportunity with a grain of salt. I order my dominixes to warp to lowsec wormhole just in case. I land 26km off cerberus. Ok, this is interesting. Guy is just shooting red crosses in what looks like a mission and doesn't give a shit. I decide to slowboat to scram range, but unfortunately I am decloaked. I overheat my mods and go at full speed. Point landed. Suddenly guy realizes what is happening and starts to pickup speed. Unfortunately for him, he is in my web range now and soon after - in scram range.

Domies jump and are on the way. Meanwhile I open convo with the pilot. I ask for a ransom, but all I get are question marks. Probably another guy who doesn't speak english so I close convo and continue bringing slow painful death. Finally his ship explodes. Almost 300m kill. Not bad! I also take a gamble and shoot the pod, which turns out to be empty. Damn.

Weirdly, I receive a follow up mail from the guy:

So he could speak english after all. Sigh... A whopping 12B in his wallet. That must be a lot of missions. Too bad he doesn't value his time and pay off ransom to avoid trip to the market and buying new ship. Not that he would though.

I pack my bags and move on. Eventually I come across a c4. 1 anomaly, few sigs and some average corp. I decide to settle in. Will I have better luck this time? Time will show.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Leaving job half finished

I usually finish what I start, but that is not always the case. After getting multiple wardecs in highsec, I cut my ninja salvaging activities with already enough material to make several posts about it. Unfortunately, non intentionally, this also cut on my gaming time in general, where I basically moved back to my home wormhole and stayed afk for almost half a year and left those wonderful adventures unpublished.

protip for my future self: make drafts as you go instead recompiling posts from the memory.

Setting your priorities straight

Eve is like a bucket full of holes. You can keep pouring your time into it all you want, but it will never be enough. Leaving my poor analogies behind, I am happy to have quit eve as a full time job and treat it more as a hobby. It's very hard to do it for a such competitive person as myself. Even if it's pixel stuff, progress is progress and I like to win.

Even though I love EVE, it doesn't earn my bread and butter. It only make sense that person invests in himself in order to get better returns. Investing in EVE, unfortunately, gives very minimal returns if any. So I decided to reorganize my time and invest in myself. So what I have been up to?

  • Learned basic programming to remove a lot of shitty tasks at work;
  • Learning bloody swedish language with little success;
  • Bought a guitar (hardest part done ech?);
  • Kicked a lot of asses in dota 2 with techies release.

Continuing Cloaky Bastard adventures

Slowly getting back to EVE...again.... for the Nth time.  I packed my bags and set off to the unknown. Nowdays it is a bit harder to find a proper wormhole to stalk people since CCP removed API for kills information. Now I have to be creative and investigate corp towers, signatures and anomalies and make the best judgment call if I am likely to find any targets.

Being sneaky bastard makes my game. I feel like a well hidden predator watching his prey and waiting for the right moment. Best part of this is that I can do any other activities while stalking. It requires minimal effort. The only requirement is to be online and check that D-scan once in awhile.

Good old days

I miss my lowsec smartbombing pods days though. Back then, I even had timed all covert ops warp time to the second. If everything went right, I could kill those  pesky cloaky frigates without even seeing them. It really brought a sense of achievement. I even had plans to multibox several battleships to kill blockade runners, but after checking out the math, I did not have enough accounts to do it nor I felt like creating any more of them. I was never interested in an even battle. Killing someone who doesn't expect to be killed brings me most satisfaction.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ninja salvaging series - busy day

In my previous post I wrote about my first kill as a ninja salvager. As they say: first one is on the house. I got hooked and I was not yet ready to call it a day. I needed to investigate if this was not a fluke and see how easy I can get another aggro.

Leave my MTU alone

After buzzing around the system and shooting some MTUs, I came across Babas3d and his hyperion. As per standard procedure, as soon as I land on grid I unleash my blasters and drones on the deployable.  It causes many different reactions. Some MJD back from 100km to scoop it just in time when it's deep in structure, some are sitting right on top and scoops it before I launch my drones, while others end up 40+km out of range and can't always make it in time to save it. These situations are the best. Bears either watch MTU explode or open fire in order to defend it. 

The battleship. It can kill other NPC battleships, battlecruisers and anything else. Surely a small cruiser won't be a match for it. At least that's what I think Babas3d thought.(1) Until he got tackled in tight orbit and his drones got dispatched that is. From this moment there was nothing much he could do, but wait for his ship to explode. As usual I send convo request to see if he is willing to send me donation for my entertainment services.

Zosius > 100mil
Babas3D > ok
Babas3D > how to
Zosius > right click give money
Zosius > fast
Babas3D > done
Zosius > ok thank you. pleasure doing business with you
Babas3D > letme my ship plz
Zosius > welcome to eve
Babas3D > :)
Zosius > wish you a great day sir
Babas3D > bye

I love it when people are cooperative and duly pay my operating service fees. I call them ransoms for better clarity and to avoid unnecessary questions. I am fairly certain that my isk/hour/effort is quite on par with income of mission runners. Soon his ship is no more and pod warps clear.

Once you kill a carebear, you never know what kind of ship fit you will see. This was no exception. Probe scanner in high utility slot with some sleeper loon in the cargohold indicates this ship has been visiting sleepers in wormhole. A weird choice of ship and fit for PVE, especially for rats that like to orbit far away. Can't imagine this tanking and pulsing MWD to each rat long enough to be efficient with just few cap rechargers, but what do I know?

A pot shot. What could possibly go wrong?

Having 2 kills under my belt, I believe this already counts as a successful day. I remember when it used to take me days to get someone shoot at me, but here we are. So many aggressive carebears in the system, what joy! It still was rather early so after my latest elite pvp engagement I decide to do some more ninja salvaging before calling it a day.

This time I scan down a Machariel and warp right away to poke my nose in. I see some wrecks and an MTU, which gets scooped as soon as I land. Doesn't matter, look at all those wrecks that needs to be looted. Usually, when I bait some shiny ship, I do not expect much to happen. In my experience, the more expensive ship, the more reluctant carebear will be in pulling that trigger. Also these ships tend to be flown by pilots somewhat more experienced than your average mission runner. But as I mentioned earlier, I do not discriminate. What kind of ninja would I be?

Machariel is quite far away. more than 50km away. As I only have scrambler fitted, I would need to do quite a lot of burning to get into range. Unfortunately, all wrecks are far from him and he appears to be aligning to some planet. I continue looting wrecks and stay far away from him, just to look less threatening. Suddenly I see a Machariel pilot yellow box me. A very positive sign. Now I am thinking on what my action should be. If I start burning to him, he might get scared and just warp away. If I keep range and keep looting wrecks I might not catch him in time. While I was over thinking my strategies, Machariel pilot had quite straightforward plan - blow me up. Once he opened fire, there was nothing else for me left to do, but overheat mwd with scram and go to him while trying to keep some transversal.

A pot shot. That went horribly wrong.

Those auto cannons hurt. Seems this carebear knows a thing or two on how to fly a ship as he is aligning to a celestial in the opposite direction where I am. But that doesn't matter much as I am already half armor and still quite far away. I am not sure I can keep this up as it's long warp for the logi pilot, not to mention time it takes to pass those acceleration gates. As soon as I start thinking of aligning out back to station I see Machariel warp out, probably scared as I entered overheated point range. Now this is my chance. I quickly select celestial he warped to and warp to 0 hoping for the best.

You gotta love new warp changes. I land on top of him just as he exits his own warp. Warp/scram on, logi pilot in warp. Even if i keep tight orbit, those cannons still hurt. Granted not as much, but I'm soon to hit 20% armor. Thankfully logi pilot lands and unleashes remote reps as soon I am about to enter structure. Now situation is more under control. xbreaka, that is Machariel pilot, does not get lost and directs his guns on my logi pilot and so tank starts to drop. I quickly dock my scanner pilot and swap for a remote rep domi while warping my logi back to station. Let's see him shooting my "new logi" now... which he does immediately when space potato lands on grid and throws reps on vexor again.

No more issues with tracking, as I see my dominix receiving a lot of punishment, though there's nothing heavy cap neutralizers and a set of Ogres II could not deal with. Soon after, Machariel explodes and pod warps clear.

A nice shiny 1.1bil+ killmail. Beautiful. GF was exchanged in local and we both went our ways. Props to the pilot for sportsmanship, risking his shiny battleship as also giving a quite good fight, having me work for a kill more than usual. I dock up, rep my ships, replenish ammo, brag my trophy kill with to my corpies and call it a day, knowing I will sleep soundly that night.

Next on ninja salvaging series...A game of patience and why you shouldn't be afk during a fight.

(1)  note from hyperion pilot: "I locked you and then I Target Painted you which I thought wouldn't engage the fight"

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ninja salvaging series - my first catch

Ninja salvaging series

I will be writing short series about my ninja salvaging adventures in high-sec. Feel free to check introduction part where I wrote on how I took a little vacation from c5 wormhole life and moved to high-sec, with already a 100mil ransom record on my first day.

Catching up

There's a lot of catching up to do as ninja salvaging game changed exponentially since 2-3 years ago. I've been discussing and receiving some tips from the good people of ninja dojo channel over the last few days. As I've already mentioned before, in my opinion, biggest changes that nerfed this play style was:
  • inability to swap ships from orca while on aggro timer;
  • inability to extend aggro shooting wrecks;
  • 5min engagement time to 15min in the past;

This means it was no longer possible to bait with useless t1 frigate and reship midst battle as also it's very difficult to warp to station, reship and return with only 5min timer, not to mention without possibility to extend it if missioner leaves. One may wonder if there were any "good" changes. Well, yes there was:

  • Deployables, particularly MTU, can be aggroed by anyone.

There you have it. MTU is a commonly used deployable by missioners to speed up loot collection and salvage, which can be freely engaged by anyone and making carebear to scoop it, watch it die or choose to defend it.

Bringing bigger guns

Now as I could not break BS tank in my last engagement I decided to up the ante. At first I was rather skeptical in baiting with anything bigger than t1 frigate or industrial, however people reported that they get a lot of hits with t2 frigate and even cruiser. I decide to give it a shot. Shooting MTU with frigate is painfully slow anyways, so I get myself a vexor. Vexor is a nice ship. It can dish out a lot of dps, can fit utility in highs, lot's of mid slots and in general, is both flexible and fast.

Just as I bring it to the system, I don't dock, but take it for a spin instead. I scan out a Rattlesnake to which I immediately warp. Just as I enter mission I start dishing out pain on MTU. You can feel the difference, dps is atleast 3 times higher than incursus. MTU is going down fast and to my surprise I get a yellowbox from a Rattlesnake pilot. He suddenly fires and game is on!

I quickly get into tight orbit, put a scram on him and start working on his drones. It takes awhile to kill all the drones with medium turrets and medium/heavy drones. I don't keep full flight of light drones and instead, stock replacement unit for heavy drone, in case carebear gets smart enough to shoot it. Thankfully, that is a rare case.

After drones are gone I start working on the ship itself. This one looks quite tanked, but DPS of Vexor and neuts can keep good pressure on. Now it was just a matter of time until his tank breaks and ship is converted to wreck. As per standard procedure, I open a convo to try and ransom once he is in mid armor. Usually, low armor warning sound is a very good time to contact your victim.

Zosius > 150mil if you want to live
Pita Blade > and how do i know you let me live?
Zosius > if you don't you will die
Pita Blade > and stop if you need money
Zosius > ok, you got 10 sec
Pita Blade > done?
Zosius > pleasure doing business
Zosius > i'll tkae the ship too
Pita Blade > i see :)
Zosius > have a good day sir
Pita Blade > just wanted to se if you are an asshole
Pita Blade > i'm so rich i can loose 20 of these XD

To my luck ransom negotiation was a success, however I feel 150mil barely covers my operating expenses, thus I decide finish the job and see a beautiful explosion. More often then not, carebears have more money than sense and I am more than happy to take away some of that burden from their wallets.

While there were no shiny modules, ship itself was shiny enough and combined with t2 rigs generated almost 900 mil killmail. Now, ninjas do not discriminate. A kill is a kill regardless if it was a cruiser flown by a month old pilot or a marauder flown by a guy older than EvE itself. While size matters, mostly it's about the process, just like fishing.

I would say I'm off to a good start. I was surprised on how fast I got aggro with a cruiser!  Last time I did this, you had to spend long times flying and looking for people to take the bait, on much less threatening ship too. I had to make sure this was not  just a dumb luck. Was ninja salvaging so dead, that new generation grew up without hearing about it? Sounds like I need to go on a quest and bring some emergent gameplay content to the missioners of high-sec. And, as it seems, day was far from over.

To be continued...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Finding your way in EvE

Getting back to the roots

I have been struggling with my EvE. I hardly found any reason to log in anymore. And even if I did, I just sat in my pos while playing dota. Always available on coms, in case a fight happens, but usually, to get a fight, you need to find it. Then again, living in high class wormhole, your options are quite limited without proper numbers. Not to mention very limited gank opportunities due to hard nature of PVE. Anyways, the long weekend was approaching and I knew I needed a change. So I decided to go to High-Sec.

Back in my day

Ahhh... high-sec. I haven't been here in a long time. That sure brings back the memories. In my early days, once I got to lvl2 missions, I realized there's no future in this type of play. Isk was poor and I did not have tools nor motivation to do lvl4s. So how does one get isk when being young pilot? Why steal from others, of course. Back then, there were no Noctis, no MTU, drops were better and salvage were ten times more expensive. Salvager was a destroyer, with no bonuses. As you can imagine, to salvage mission was quite a tedious work, thus prices were high. So after reading a couple of blogs, I put together cheap imicus and went off scanning battleships in missions and taking their loot as also salvage. It was amazing. Isk was great, but tears were even greater. Granted, I did not have any means to defend myself, but that never stopped me. This kind of play, was what hooked me on EvE. The emergent play.

A lot has changed since then. Loot was nerfed. salvaging was eased, safe and clear pvp mechanics implemented (crimewatch) - just to name a few. Constant security changes to highsec made a lot of ninja do other things. Myself, I went to be a lowsec pirate and never looked back. So here I am, after more than 2 years break, I am back in highsec. And this time, I am not a  guy who can't fly anything bigger than a frigate and fit any t2 modules anymore.

First encounter

Logistics are a pain in EvE. It takes a lot of time to buy and fit multiple ships, not to mention if you do that for multiple accounts. So I decide to take it slowly, day by day and accumulate my tools. For now, I just bought scanning frig and a t1 frig - incursus. It didn't take long and here I was, "innocently' stealing loot from the first carebear. It was a Raven. A big strong ship, a battleship. Just after few minutes buzzing around I see him yellowbox me and open fire. Wow, that was fast! Blood started flowing from the excitement. I quickly tackle him and start making a short work of his drones.

With drones gone he can't do much to my afterburner frigate, however it seems I can't do much with my 3 light blasters either. I did not think this through. With no NPCs to help me with dps and no neuts on my ship as also no ship replacement waiting at the station I really had no options. It was well over 15min of shooting pointlessly at each other that  it was clear this fight was not going anywhere.

I got some smalk talk in local from the guy, acting big and tough, laughing from my frigate and how I can't and won't be able to do anything to his tanked battleship. Only after some time, he realized he can't do much to me either. So I decided to convo him and see where my social skills can take me.


I went straight to business. 100mil seemed like a reasonable amount of isk for your average battleship. The guy was a bit hesitant at first, as there is no guarantee I will let him go after having him  paid me. I had to do some convincing for my part as also give a forum link where I state that I honor ransoms. And I normally do, but highsec people have special place in my heart so I normally do exception to that rule. After a couple of minutes convincing, soon I see my wallet flash with 100mil. Now, since as I mentioned before, I had no other ships in place and I couldn't break Ravens tank, I decide to let him go. Afterall, 100mil is a 100mil. I kindly ask for his feedback as a happy customer served on my pirate thread to which he scurrilously refused. I can't say I am surprised. Carebears have been known for their particular anger issues. I don't understand what's the problem. Missioners get bounty from rats, while others get bounty from missioners. Life cycle and nature are beautiful things.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bittervet disease

Winning EvE

I've read somewhere that winning EvE is quitting. I haven't been around much. It all started with my trip for a party weekend to London to visit a friend of mine. It might have been alcohol poisoning, or should I say, alcohol cleansing my mind, but when I came back, I completely lost interest to log back in. 

It's not news to hear someone burning out from the game and doing a break. I had my fair share of vacations too, but always came back, sooner or later. Now it's been around 1.5 months since I did anything more than spin my ship and update queue. Even that has been a challenge lately. I have read about these bittervet diseases. In my younger days I did not know how one gets it and what are the symptoms, and how one can get it in such a brilliant* community. Well, I think I got it. If f 20 day skill queue looking too short is not a symptom then I don't know what else is.

Biggest problem

Eve is a huge time sink. I've been an active lurker of blogs and forums and I've seen people come and go. Especially people that subbed during their younger days and got more busy with their RL stuff after celebrating their Nth birthday. What's the main problem? It takes too fucking long to do anything. It's not your average insta-action game.

If you wanted something more than to blow up a shitty frigate then you are in the world of waiting pain. I think its a problem for most people, regardless what they do or where they live. Some places take more time than others. Like W-space for instance. If your goal is to find something to spew some ammo at, then you can cross out at least 2 hours right there. Scanning, waiting, hunting, scouting and more scanning. Suddenly you find some activity and spend another hour or two laying the ambush or running from one, such as outwaiting camps.

But it's everywhere like that. God forbid you lose a ship or two and a pod. If you fly something bigger than a frigate or a cruiser, good chance is you wont have a lot of spares fitted and ready to go, as also implants ready (if you live outside null). All logistics involved in market buying your shit, warping to location, fitting ship and realizing you are you are missing 2 items which are for sale... 5 jumps away.. opposite directions.. in heavy camped pipe system..

Someone who was/is living in the remote areas, with no near market and no self logistic capable pilots/alts will know what I'm talking about. Even for me, who has 7 accounts. Neutral freighter, jump freighter, basically free ISK from market with very little effort (even that's too much), was a pain to organize logistics. Good luck bringing various ships/types/doctrines and have spare ones with modules and implants. It's like a god damn full time job.

Getting the fix

Now don't get the wrong idea. I love everything about eve. The fact that it was so time consuming and "hardcore" was the style I liked/like. It's something that you could put a lot of effort and be proud of your achievements. I think this game is more suited for competitive people. These people don't get their fix from shooting bunnies on some retarded facebook game. They like to suffer, feel pain and once in a while, get that little feeling of bliss to keep them going. 

Of course there are many style of plays and to each its own. I'm sure there are a bunch of people who spend 30-1h a day and are happy with it,. Unfortunately for my style, to get my fix, I need to kill some helpless, unsuspecting victim. I need to hunt or camp or set a trap. I don't enjoy gf., but I do enjoy a good fleet fight if i get to FC. Otherwise I find no satisfaction of killing someone who is prepared to lose his ship. And to find such prey, it takes time. And time, is hard to come by.

In the end, I continue my yearly subs. I believe that one day I will find casual play and continue playing EvE. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Pilgrimage

"There's an Apoc and Rokh doing sites" - first words I hear when I join team speak. Seems again we got a null connection to some ratter space. I don't like null that much. Usually, if I see some ships on scan I don't expect them to find anywhere else than the pos. Majority of ratters initiate warp before I get my screen loaded when entering system. But not everyone is like that. Meet Suppenschuessel and Garv Bowb, your not so average nullsec ratters, who don't give 2 shits about local. They don't seem to mind our corpmate sitting in the system for the past 15 minutes. After all, those anomalies won't do themselves. When asked to fit a ship for a ratter gank I always do it half assed as I don't expect to arrive before it's too late, but this seems will be an exception.

The exception

As local is not that empty, with 15+ people, we decide to throw together at least something resembling a fleet, just in case something would escalate. Often enough someone cries for help and corpmates blindly warp in for support without giving a second thought, like that time. We get ready on the wormhole while I jump in my tackle proteus and warp straight on top of them. Before they know it, both are pointed and fleet goes in. Now, it's not so rare for ratters to carry MJD, which is a real pain in the ass as I only have one scram fitted and a point. Worst part is, you can't bump them out of alignment, but luck seems to be on our side this time and both ships are quickly converted to wreckage. What a perfect way to start the weekend. Wouldn't you agree?

First gank on the house

Time to time I talk about my pilgrimage, "solo" trips to the unknown. I normally do it during periods when corp is quiet or I am not able to play much, which happens to be the weekend most of the time. I scan around, looking for a suitable wormhole and it doesn't take me long to find J122118, a system that I fall in love with at first sight.

It checks all the points for a perfect system, you name it:
✓ Frequent NPC kills (a lot of potential of gank);
✓ Ship kills/losses (good for losses, bad for kills);
✓ Large system (good place to hide from dscan);
✓ Average/small size corp (low risk to get ganked).

I map the towers, check around and get settled. Now it's time to play the waiting game. Shortly after, on scan I see some pilots logging in and/or changing ships. I wonder what will they do? There are no anomalies and no signatures to shoot at home. These guys are keeping place tidy. Regardless, I see pilots swap for Prophecy and Gila and warp away, to the direction of what looks like a C1 wormhole. Bloody hell, C1 is too small to bring my Dominixes, but worry not, I am the man with a plan.

I quickly react, which means me warping dominixes on the wormhole while jumping in with my proteus to flush them out. There are 2 things that wormhole residents are scared of when plexing. One being alien ships on scan and the other - combat probes. Have it both and the alarm bell will go nuts, which is exactly what I do. Decloak, launch probes, light a cigar and wait while comfortably sitting in my chair. It probably takes around 15 seconds and I see both ships landing on grid.

Excellent, everything's happened probably within 2-3 minutes timeframe. At least one ship should be polarized enough time for me to kill it and I am only after Gila anyway, with Prophecy being as a bonus. Both pilots jump. First to decloak is Gila. I get weapons hot, lock it and tackle. Or so I thought. Turns out it was just outside the scram range (me orbiting wh at 2.5km and Gila thrown out on the far side), so instead of scramming I only web him, which conveniently decreases his align time by half and he happily warps away. I can't believe it, such a rookie mistake. Well there's still Prophecy, who is holding cloak, but drops it after seeing Gila warp away. Perhaps he thinks I lock so slowly that he has a chance. This time I put my point with scram and web. He is not going anywhere! ...and quickly gets popped. Feeling a bit bitter about missed Gila kill, I decide to stick around and wait for the next day.

So long, and thanks for all the loot

I am happy. After logging in the system I see quite a lot of activity going on. Seems I came just in the middle of plexing as I see wrecks on scan. I find the anomaly and see wrecks with still few sleepers present. That is not a good sign. Unfinished site most of the time means one of 2 things: emergency warp out due to possible gank or emergency warp out due to lack of tank. I do not know what might have happened here, but with HS and C1 static there might be quite a lot of traffic. I check the tower and, to my pleasant surprise, I see Gila and Navy Harbinger sitting at the pos, piloted. 

Let's see what they are up to. Not even 10 minutes of waiting I see both of them warping to the unfinished site. I, of course, follow, make spot and get ready. Due to the large system and BS warping slow and also afraid of ECM drones I play it a bit risky and decide to go all in. Align, decloak and initiate warp with domies and only then, after a couple of seconds, I warp in with proteus. Cloak dropped, I land right on top on Gila with Harbinger being not far out. This time I tackle them both with my domies landing in a few seconds. Secondary points are done, drones are out and I start grinding the armor. To manage all of this for a solo guy takes a bit of effort, but once everything is set in motion, there's no stopping. Soon my eyes are pleased by explosions of both ships

Looks like I've hit a jackpot. A jackpot for a BC hull that is as Harbinger was over 700m worth, packing some shiny modules. All would be well except for a god damn tractor unit snatching all the loot and forcing me to kill it to claim the prize. Fortunately 2 adaptive membranes survive second explosion and this time I loot it for good. Align back to high sec and warp out. It was a good day. Another sacrifice for Bob. If it was not for Gila warping out, I might have left the first day, but as always, I know a sign from Bob when I see one. Props to the pilots who took the loss well and congratulated me on my gank Now thats what I call a sportsmanship!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind

The good thing about EvE is that you never know what is coming. The potential of loss is just so great. One day you are earning isk plexing, the other day you get ganked with damage done over 30bil. There are several corps that specializes in plex ganking. It's quite amazing. One of notable corps that do this is Blood Union. I especially liked the video with adhocracy fighting off BU gank. Go check it out if you haven't seen it, it's not new, but it is some beautiful stuff. Anyhow, today's topic is not about losing a plexing fleet. We didn't, yet. It's about small gang pvp and ganks.


It was quite a boring day. Not much going on. You keep scouting and scanning, with hope that you will find something. It can become boring quite fast and I am sure any WH dweller, that has been looking for targets, will understand me. It's not like empire. You do not have local. You never know who is there. For all you know it, that next wormhole might have huge activity. No? Well the next one probably has some active ships in it. Still No? I'm sure a couple more wormholes will net you some results. Still no? Keep trying, I can feel something will happen. Ah, fuck it. Let's roll the static. WH day life can easily get into your mind. What does one do when bored? Some go afk and some, like me, do stupid shit.

But all it takes is one shout on teamspeak and everyone wakes up. "Ships on scan" I suddenly hear. It's like a bliss to my ears. I need a couple of seconds to wake up and understand what is going on. Turns out, we got connection to some active WH. Now, being a small corp, you always need to know what you are up against. You don't just blindly jump in and hope for the best. Well sometimes you do, but most likely you check out the pilot and the corp. In this case it's Blue-Fire. We had some experience with them before. It's quite an active WH corp that can field fleets similar to our size. We get ready.

The gank, when you are ahead

We get the fleet going. Meanwhile ,I jump in my scout/tackle proteus to look around. It's always best to know what's happening first hand. Quick flight around the system does not show many ships on dscan. At first glance system looks rather empty. Perhaps it's not their prime time, but you can never know. Perhaps fleet is somewhere else. Doesn't matter. We got our fleet ready and are ready to fight.

Proteus is strangely on the wormhole, jumps to our static and hugs the exit. Maybe waiting for me to go out. He feels confident. Too confident, but thats what we want. We warp in one proteus for a short 1 on 1 shootout while I decloak and wait on the other side. After changing ammo for awhile proteus does not seem to jump back and there's no big fleet coming to get our solo proteus, apart from loki landing on the wormhole. It's as good opportunity as we will get. Fleet jumps in and initiates warp, promptly scaring proteus which jumps back home. Feeling what is coming, both pilots try to burn out. I scram and web proteus and point loki, who quickly uses afterburner to get out of range before the rest of the gang lands. Fast forward a minute and we have a nice proteus kill.

Pilot throws a "good bait" comment in local. That is quite strange. Having me waiting on one side and another proteus shooting on the other side, is very weird bait if you asked me.

The gank, when you are behind

Most fleet logs out for the day and just a couple of guys are left. We jump into our cloaky doctrine and decide to do a little bit more scouting before sleep. Sure enough, suddenly there's another proteus on scan, sitting on the wormhole a jump out. Obvious bait? Probably, but we are cloaky so we feel a bit confident with our gtfo ability. 

We start engaging it, armor goes down and all looks well, apart from a small detail.  Dscan shows a bunch of ships with the same name tag. Well, that sux, but not unexpected. I order fleet, who is not tackled, to warp out and who is tackled, to jump out asap.  Everything goes as planned and everyone warps clear apart from the guy that was initially tackled. Unfortunately, turns out, that not all of us were cloaky and poor bastard that got tackled was without it. He joined TS and missed out cloaky part of a Cloaky Proteus. That's some bad luck.

Bob always gives and takes away. He is like a father to his children. One day he hands out candies to you and another day, he hands them out to others. Candies being you or someone else. However, Bob likes the bold and sacrifices. In the end, faith is always rewarded. Or that is what I believe.