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.