Monday, June 29, 2015

Content delivery business, Part 2

It's not over until it's over

It was time to move out. I was a bit feeling uneasy about moving with active alliance living next door to my destination system. Fortunately, connection became end of life. People are usually reluctant to use those wormholes. It was also 15 minutes left until downtime. I need to move 4 jumps out from my current staging system, so time frame should be just enough for the moving op.

I decloak my Domi fleet and start traveling. My Proteus is scouting one jump ahead. So far so good, I'm 2 jumps in and there's still 7 minutes until downtime. I jump to the next wormhole and see something strange. A Megathron is on the wormhole. Scan doesn't show anything else. I thought it might be some sort of an ambush, but it didn't feel like it. More than anything, I think this guy was either rolling wormhole or is just traveling. He was not standing still. He was actually accelerating. I did analysis in my head in a few seconds before decloaking and trying to grab him. I was too late. His ship entered warp. He must have warped to a tower, or some other wormhole that I probably don't have scanned out. With 6 minutes left, there's no way I can hunt and kill him in time. Maybe I should just let him be.

Or maybe not. I see him warp to one of my bookmarks. This particular bookmark makes it very interesting. He is warping to another wormhole, that allows only frigate sized ships through. What an opportunity! I immediately follow him. Unless he warps to 100, I should be able to catch him and he won't be able to go anywhere. There he is. He lands on top of me and I promptly tackle him. But just tackling is not enough. It's a race against time now. Servers are shutting down in less than 5 minutes.

My Domi fleet is in warp. I am not sure if they will arrive in time. Distance is not that big, but battleships warp and decelerate really slow. With combined firepower of my 3 Dominixes, I think I have a fair shot of scoring a kill. Here they land. Without big ceremony, I quickly target Megathron and unleash my Ogres. His shields and armor melts really fast. In just a minute he was almost in structure.

I guess he is not tank fit. This kill is in a bag. He should pop any second now. Any second now... something doesn't look right. His structure is going down not as fast as I would like to. With such short time left, every second feels ten times slower. I'm shooting his structure for what feels like an eternity.

Two minutes left until cluster shutdown and his structure is finally drawing it's last breath. Mega goes down. Another successful content delivery within the deadline.

That was close. A shield and hull tanked Megathron. We exchange good fight in local and I continue with my tavel. And by continue I mean enter warp just as severs shut down.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Content delivery business

I like to see myself as a content creator. Some people don't want content delivered to them. That is why I always have my cloak turned on and have to be very stealthy, to make sure those people do not run away before content is delivered in full. Some people do want content delivered to them, but in those cases, it usually is delivered both ways. I'm more of a giver than receiver, so I tend to avoid those situations. Sometimes, however, I do make exceptions, when I feel I will provide more than receive.

It's been a couple of days since content has been delivered to wormhole miners. I stuck around to see if my content creating services may be used for one more time. It usually is a one time deal, but due to various circumstances, customers are opted for a premium, one for two package.

I had no luck. Besides system being clear of anomalies, with only few present, besides asteroid action, there was not much else going on. Mackinaws have not been replaced and now everyone was mining in cheap t1 hulls. My services are not cheap. In most cases there is a minimum fee of at least 50 mil for content to be delivered, and even that greatly depends in which area I am operating in. If there is potential for an expensive kill, fees will go up.

If not mining, they are gas mining, using cheap ventures. I am not interested in ganking ventures, but I am interested in ganking whoever clears the site's sleepers. I see a Tengu on scan and few sleeper wrecks. It is not in anomaly and non of my pre-scanned signatures, so it must be new. I do very careful d-scan analysis and mange to pinpoint his location. I warp off range and launch combat probes. I manage to get 60% with my first hit with 1AU set range. He was around 3.5 AU away from nearest celestial. It is not so easy to get a very good and precise hit. Unfortunately, 1 AU was not strong enough. Now, most people will just adjust probes to 0.5 and will finish scan. I do not do that. Once scan is complete I recall my probes the very same second. This way I spend minimum required time for probes to be on d-scan. I can tell from experience, that resizing probes and doing a second scan, will greatly increase possibility to get spotted. I even underlined important part. Probably only sentence I have ever underlined in my blog, so you know...serious business.

If I do not get warpable hit, I repeat whole process again. Warp off range, launch probes and adjust. With 60% it was a piece of cake and I got a hit. Tengu seems to be clearing gas site and has only 1 sentry tower left. I am at 50km. Unless there are more sleepers spawning, there's no chance I can make it in time. Plus, Tengu goes way above after 10mn burner speed, so he either mwd fit or 100mn ab fit. With no celestials, it is impossible to set a good warp in. All I can do is watch him warp off and Venture return for the gas. Sigh.

Next day I map the signatures and make bunch of tactical bookmarks at the only remaining gas site.

Come here Tengu, I am ready for you. I've been watching guys for the most part of the day. A lot of time has passed and I have not did any scouting. There should be very slim chance that I was spotted. Most likely gas site is not that lucrative or they just are not in the mood. To hell with it. I'm done, I'm gonna look for new home. Signatures spawn really slowly and there is really nothing going on. You have to avoid attaching to one seem-to-be good system for too long time.

Active neighborhood

I have finally did some scouting. While my system is quiet, there's a lot of life several jumps out. I found a new home, system that I will stalk. But besides that, there are neighboring wormholes that are very active. One of such systems is occupied by The Independent Legion of Wookies, a corporation that is a part of an alliance End of Life.

A very well known alliance within wormhole community. Killboard is quite active too, but it seems at this particular time, there's only 1 ship in system at the pos. Probably 10 more flying cloaked up, but sine I can't see them, I will pretend they are not there.

I scan their system and find a c4, that is also active. Bunch of wrecks on scan.

No ship wrecks though. It's also not an anomaly. I lurk around to see if there is a salvager coming in, but nothing happens. At the tower I see two Rattlesnakes sitting and few other scanning frigates. No activity, so my guess they know that they might not be alone. And alone they are not. I see Helios coming in from next door. I resolve the signatures and wait. I've seen ships on scan on and off. Something is going on.

Twenty minutes later, I see Buzzard on scan. I find him in a radar site, the same place where the wrecks are. This should be interesting. I am confident I'm not the only guy watching. Since I was sitting on the exit this whole time, I know Helios never came back. Plus there were scanner probes 20 minutes ago, so I guarantee this sited is scanned. Buzzard pilot is either pretty ballsy or very clueless. 

It doesn't take a psychic to tell what is about to happen. It would be ideal if I had any popcorn. Just sit back, relax, and watch EVE episode "what happens when you do site with hostiles in the system". Buzzard has at least 4 pilots active in his corp. At very least, one should be watching wormhole for incoming connections. Looks like it is going to be a short episode. It doesn't take long and I see company on grid.

Buzzard is not warping away, so I guess it is too late for him. 

What an unexpected turn of events. I must say, it was rather entertaining. I still need to move my fleet to new home. It does not go through EOL home, but it is very close - a jump out. I go back to their home system. I see a lot of nasty cloaky ships on scan and more people are logging in. There's also a downtime in an hour. If there's safest time to move, it's just before downtime. It should be quiet and safe. Nothing happens just before downtime, not in w-space at least, right?

To be continued...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Creating content for miners in wormhole

It's been stressful trip. Rolling myself out is never a good thing. I think I learn from my mistakes, not to jump through EOL wormholes, but once it becomes a distant memory, you always decide to take those chances. Maybe, just maybe, there is purple fit Paladin running sites on the other side. Leaving past behind, lets look at the future. It looks like I found a new home. Few anomalies present, several people on-line and me, watching their tower from a safe distance.

Looks like these guys like to mine. I'm happy to see Loki. Perhaps they just finished with their mining op and will go clear those anomalies? Doesn't look like it. Besides miners sitting at the tower, I see a procurer somewhere on scan. Quick check shows he is happily mining in a site. I stalk some more, but nothing happens. Guys are into mining today and that's about it. How disappointing. Since this is only my first day, I decide to give them some time. Hope they will mine to their hearts content.

Next day, I log in full of hope to see some sleeper violence. System is clearly active and their prime time is matching mine. Wonder what is up on the schedule tonight.

Of course, how could they leave that large deposit of ore alone? Mining op is in full gear. I watch them and think. Procurers and Retriever are not exactly attractive targets, but those Mackinaws are a different story. They go for around 200mil in Jita and there are two on grid. If I manage to get them both, it could net me over 400mil killmail. That is actually not too bad. In fact, I get quite excited when do the math. A t2 mining barge matches a t1 battleship in cost. I have ganked for less.

I decloak and quickly tackle both miners. I'm in luck. They both were within short distance. I have one scrammed and other pointed.

I send only one Dominix this time. No need for full fleet. Besides, perhaps they will want to escalate. I guess mining is not most exciting activity. It takes them awhile to realize there is another ship close and it doesn't look like a mining barge. Everyone warps, but two expensive barges. They are exactly where I want them.

Domi is on grid and gets to work. It takes but a few seconds and both barges are converted to wrecks. As expected, my ambush caused 400mil damage in total.

A clean and fast job. As usual, I get rid of all the evidence and I warp out back to safe spot. I'm pretty sure mining op is over for today, but I'm not quite done yet. I still think there is more potential in this particular wormhole.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Being chased by pirates

Messing with end of life wormholes

I was looking around unknown space, visiting systems in hope of finding a target. I end up finding a high-sec connection. It so happens that at the same time I spot someone doing some logistics ops.

I see an Occator. He warps to a station so I guess it's sort of moving out op and not a refuel run at the hub. I stick around and observe. Soon he comes back and jumps in. I don't want to follow just yet. I give him some time and go in when I think he has already warped off. There are several connections. Unfortunately, he disappears from scan before I can pinpoint his location, but quickly visiting all connections, I find out that Occator pilot is from null, sitting back at the pos. I guess the op is over.

The wormhole is also end of life. I bring out my Dominixes just in case it collapses. I set them to orbit the wormhole cloaked and start scanning the high-sec to see if there are any interesting connections. I find a c2. It is also EOL. I decide to have a quick peek anyways. I have had bad experiences in the past, having wormhole collapse on me and leaving me stranded. However, this time my Dominixes are in high-sec and my cloaky Proteus can easily find its way out. I immediately get excited once I'm in.

A lot of wrecks on scan. Which is great, but it seems I just missed the farmers. There are no ships on scan, so I assume they just finished the site. I warp to the outer planets and find active ships at the tower. Nothing fancy, just a Raven and a Noctis idling. For some reason they are in no rush to reap the rewards of the site. Signature is also despawned, so to get a salvager I would need to scan him. Which is always a risk of me being exposed. I would rather wait, but the wormhole being at the end of life, I might not have much time. While I was thinking my next steps, I see an interesting sight on the Dominix screen.

A fleet of transport ships just came out of wormhole and warped away to the station. I decide to go back and set up a trap. I was thinking of settling near nullsec wormhole and try to catch them on the way back. I have to act fast though, before they came back. I quickly decloak my Domi fleet and go in. Except that only 2 Domis were accepted and remaining one was denied access. Great Scott. Wormhole has collapsed. Talk about bad luck.

A long journey back home

Now I have two Dominixes stranded in the wormhole. I was smart enough to jump in first with Domi, that had probe scanner in cargohold, but not smart, or patient enough to wait and let my scout Proteus go in first. I know it will be a pain to look out for a new exit in a Dominix. Especially when c3 has a null-sec static. There is one k-space active connection to the wormhole. It's the same null system I was going to setup a trap. I refit to interdiction nullifier and get on my way to save my potatoe ships.

I really dislike null-sec. For some reason, I feel more comfortable in pirate infested low-sec than null. While traveling, I see a lot of bubbles and a lot of blobs. Some more bubbles and some more blobs. The fleet sizes that passed me got me really nervous. A lot of small and fast ships, traveling same direction and trying to catch that lonely Proteus on the way. I had some really close calls. Proteus is not exactly fastest aligning ship so I almost got decloaked on few occasions. But I made it. In half an hour I was back in the same system with my battleships.

It was clear that there was 0 chance I could get my Domis alive through null-sec. I needed a high-sec or low-sec exit. And, of course, there is none when you need it. I started scanning. A desparate scanning if you will. I wanted to get my gang back together before day ended.

I managed to get a low-sec connection. It was not helpful as it was too far away. I kept scanning and found few more low-sec connections. 16 jumps was the closest I could get. 10 of them is through low-sec. Instead of shipping my 2 Dominixes to high-sec, I decided to get remaining one from high-sec to low-sec. I got a cloak and a microwarpdrive. I should be fine.

The chase

The journey was even more stressful than in null. I was traveling through Easily Excited area. It's a well known pirate corp. But I was born and raised in low-sec, I was confident I could make it.

I go in and, as expected, first gate is a gate camp. For pirates to see a Dominix Navy Issue jump in is like a hot juicy steak for hungry hounds. They will want it and they will want it bad.

This time, steak was doing mwd+cloak trick. I warped safely few systems, but I had all gang chase after me. Soon I started to see interceptors catching up with me, thanks to slow warp of battleships. It was getting really stressful. Every time I got away, they would have full fleet waiting on the next gate to try again. Fast lockers, fast ships, just waiting for me to make a mistake. I have to admit, I panicked and midway warped to station instead. I still had 6 jumps to go and I was not sure I could make it till the end. I warped to 0, which is big mistake. I could end up 2km off the station and get tackled before I could get into docking range. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to drop to 0.

I went afk for a bit, trying to bore pirates. After awhile they got tired and all of them left the system, apart one guy, that was docked with me. I know he was waiting for me and probably others ready too. It was getting late, so I decided to continue with my trip. Sure enough, smell of steak undocking got to them and within minutes we were back again where we left off - them trying to decloak and tackle my Dominix.

Their killboard is always active. Are they really that hungry for a Dominix Navy Issue to chase 7 jumps out? I guess there is always room for a steak.

I taunt them in local. If they have chased my so far, smalk talking in local won't make it any worse. Of course they would feel very rewarded if they got me. I would. I'm at my last gate. I land and think if I should jump or not. Warping to bookmark is a bit more distracting than spamming warp button to anther gate. I might delay half a second, which could be enough for them to get me. I decide to warp to station. This time I had my scout sitting on undock. They did not even tackle me, they were so confident I will jump in as I always did.

I taunt them some more, while safely sitting at the station. I have scout watching them. Had they taken more seriously in decloaking part, they should have a dedicated ship for that, like full speed fitted Dramiel for instance. If they had, I probably would be writing a different story. But as expected, they gave up just after few minutes. They saw that I had eyes on them and my ship escaping for last several jumps did not boost the morale. Soon my Dominixes were reunited and I settled-in in a new home.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Doing sites behind enemy lines

Universe is quite small. Or at least it seems so when you keep appearing in the regions you used to live. I end up this time in Derelik, a jump away from HQ of my ex low-sec corp - Volatile Instability. A great bunch of guys. I really enjoyed flying with them. Too bad the area they live can be very quiet. To quiet for my taste.

I try to say hi, but don't get any response. Since I'm here, I decide to do some scanning. It seems the guys have been sloppy. There's 6/10 DED site right in the middle of the system. I think for a few minutes if I'm bold enough to snatch this plex in front of a pirate corp. I come to conclusion that yes, I am. I go to station and swap my cloaks for extra heavy neuts. There is no real danger of getting my ass dropped in a deadspace. Plus, unless the fleet comes for me without any logi ships, 3 pvp Navy Dominixes is not something to be trifled with. Most dangerous time is very beginning - after first acceleration gate. Once I'm one room ahead, my gtfo possibility raises exponentially. I get to work.

I keep checking that d-scan like a maniac. Doing a site in potentially dangerous environment can give you a good rush. I also know there is Pandemic Legion scout flying around, looking for easy targets for it's black ops fleet. Not a suspicious fella at all, in a 3 man corp.

While I'm safe from hot drops, it would not help me if I got tackled at the start and suddenly a large fleet jumped in. But I relax more once I enter second room. When starting the 3rd, I actually want them to come for me.  I'm more than ready to give some "what for" to some tackle cloaky Lokis. And it looks I might get my wish.

I see combat probes on scan. Short range check gives me no doubt that I am being scanned. I'm in the last room. That bloody Overseer tanks really well. I can't break him with my sentry guns, so I start throwing Ogres on it, that of course get targeted and killed, since I can't get any aggro without weapons.

My scanning Proteus is sitting on the entrance and I see Loki decloak and go in. This is it, he is coming for me. I am a bit worried, because battleship is not exactly the fastest ship to lock a t3. It would really suck if he snatched the loot. I do my best to finish the job and burn to the wreck asap, while tanking enormous incoming damage. Even with reps, it is omni tank, so I am barely evening it out.

I keep waiting for that Loki to come. I see him on scan, but then he disappears. Did he change his mind? Even if he is full slave-fit with faction stuff, I should be able to break him, before his gank squad burns through 4 acceleration gates, 40-60km average distance between each. I wait some more, but he doesn't come. Then I see legion come to the site. Fuck it, it is getting too late. I go back to station with shitty loot.

A whopping 200 mil. A Phantasm blueprint that is just over 130mil worth. A useless faction gun that nobody uses and a box. Doing these sites really feels like a waste of time. Then again, I don't really do them for isk, more for opportunity to gank the ganker, or even for fun, if you can believe it.

I get back to station, get my trusty cloaking device and go back to my wormhole. I jump and align/warp my Domis one by one. Just in case someone decloaks to tackle me, I can cloak up and do mwd trick any time.  Once the I'm down to last ship, I suddenly see Loki decloak and tackle me on the gate. I jump, only to find Legion on the other side. I align, cloak and pulse my mwd. Soon I'm in warp like there was nothing there. If there's one thing I learned during my low-sec days, is that traveling through dangerous areas without cloak and microwarpdrive is a suicide, especially in a fat and shiny ship like Dominix Navy Issue.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Utilizing full potential

Choosing the right wormhole

In my last post I wrote how I've settled-in in a new home. There are many factors I consider when choosing the system to stalk in. I've talked about it before, but let me follow up on it. In the past, I used to rely a lot on NPC kill statistics. I looked for a place with steady farming activity. That is no longer possible, so I have to be a bit more creative. I often look at the size of the corporation, how active is their killboard. Are they pure farming corp, pvp or mixed? I look at the prime time, when most kills and losses happen. My stalking window is quite limited due to full time job and other activities. Last thing I want is to stalk US/AU only timezone that never logs when I'm on. Though sometimes I do exceptions. I can stalk different tz corps on free weekends or if potential kill is of high value.

Generally I prefer to live in c3-c4 level wormholes. It's ideal niche for small-medium corps, that don't require fleets to run sites and only it takes sometimes is just a little bit of love for your ship to run effectively. Such pimped ships is what I am after. That is in ideal case. Mostly I am happy even with T2 fitted ships. Getting a t3 or faction cruiser or a battleship is always rewarding.

Stalking is an art

Some people might think that stalking is no brainer. Just cloak up and wait for an opportunity. While that is a main activity, there is much more to it. I believe a proper stalking requires experience, awareness and good intuition. While some ganks are indeed straight forward, there are situations where you have to take a gamble and improvise. Check out Havlac Agalder's post at The Flying Target. It's a good example of one of those situations. You always have to remember that you are not only with eyes and ears. Someone have eyes on you just as easy. I always ask myself: "have I been spotted? What are the chances that my cover is blown?". "Should I check out nearby connections and risk exposing myself?". Making right decisions is what maximizes your chances.

Speaking of intuition, I had one telling me that I should stick around in this new home. Usually, once I get a kill, I don't expect to get another. Either locals will be cautious or I will be hitting a bait. There are exceptions. My gut was telling me that there's still something to gain. Before calling it a day, I do one final sweep of surrounding systems. I end up in low-sec. I see an Arbitrator on scan. A cruiser doesn't really interest me that much. I check out any active connections, but there doesn't seem to be any activity. I go back to this Arbitrator. He seems to be somewhere in space, doing mission, I guess. Without hiding my intentions, I drop out probes and start scanning. If he bothered to check d-scan once a minute, he would have noticed combat probes, which often mean hostile intentions.

I watch him finish off last npc. I was reluctant to go after him, until I got into point and web range. He is 50km from warp in. He doesn't look to be warping out, so I decide to go for him. I decloak and get a possitive lock. I bring only one Domi as it's not worth wasting space fuel for all of them.

He goes down fairly fast. I'm not particularly proud with such kills. It's not that cruiser is cheap. It's the fact that I don't try to put any effort in catching them, such as trying to get a 100% hit in one scan, but I end up catching them anyway. Kudos for people going out to low-sec, but not taking basic precaution measures is just asking for your ship to get killed. 

Waiting game

I continue to stalk same wormhole for next couple of days. It feels strange. My gut told me to stick around, but I have another feeling coming up, that something is wrong, The corp I'm stalking, I have most of it's members on watch list. Though I see them log in, they don't do anything. That is nothing out of the ordinary. The strange part was, that there always was one guy on-line. He could not be seen nowhere in system, but he was on. My locator also confirmed that he was in unknown space and not just traveling somewhere in empire. 

It was the time, when I started asking myself questions. Did I expose myself on one of the jumps? While first gank might seem random, same pilot seen in the same system next day will definitely ring warning bells. That is why I try to be extra stealthy, not to scout if I can help it and just keep myself busy with activities outside EVE.

My stalking seemed to be going nowhere. I decided to give one last day and start looking for new home. Suddenly I see an Astero on scan. I go check him out and find him running the sites. I go for it.

I got him tackled, but my smartbombs can't seem to break his tank. Not fast enough at least. I bring in one Domi to finish the job. Pod warps off, I scoop the loot and shoot the wreck. Domi goes back to safe spot and I cloak up. No evidence of violence.

My moment

Turns out, Astero was just a starter to get my appetite going. I see locals logging in. I check the tower and see a Rattlesnake and a Noctis, which swaps for a Raven.

You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention. They don't seem to waste any time either. Not doing a system sweep or check surrounding wormholes. I see Rattlesnake moving and warp to a Relic site. I follow. Once in position, I pre-warp my Domi fleet. System is large and it will take a long time for them to get there. It's my way of minimizing time for secondary tackle, in case they have jamming drones. It also carries a risk. If suddenly pilot decided to warp back to tower, my cover would be blown. Thankfully, this is not the case. I tackle the Rattle.

This is it. This is what I have been waiting for. Rattlesnake is the real reason I'm here. Time for the end game. I thought Raven was staying at the tower, but I am pleasantly surprised when I see him land on grid.

Please do come in. There are points for everyone. I tackle and split my dps. Sleepers, that were interested in my Proteus, decided to go after Raven instead. It exploded before his partner.

And soon Rattlesnake followed in his steps.

Over 700mil of damage done. Approved by loot fairy, I got a faction shield amplifier. which is basically whole drop value. It's a good gank. I'm glad I followed my intuition and decided to stick around. Watching these guys for a couple of days to make my move is what makes this kill special. Special to me. It's not about ISK, it's about the hunt. It's time to move on and look for a new home. Or is it?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Bob rewards persistent

Every ship is equal

Sometimes w-space are surprisingly active. It can also surprise you how dead it can be. I'm almost convinced that you don't really need to look for targets, if you are stalking the right wormhole. That doesn't mean you don't need to check surrounding systems. I always fly around my neighboring systems, to know who is living next door. I also do routine follow up checks once in awhile. One time they are empty, another time they can be springing with life. On one such routine trip, I see an Imicus on scan, hacking cans in the site I have already scanned. No ship left behind is my credo. I give him a greet.

Hi Mr. Imicus. Have you hacked a lot of sites already? Scrammed, pointed and webbed, he dies a slow, painful death from my small smartbombs.

A warp core stabilizer seems to be the current meta of explorers. Unless there are 4 of them fitted, they won't do any good.

This time, my schedule is quite free. Instead of sitting and waiting for targets, I decide to search for them. I see interesting things on my travels. 

I wonder what happened there? There are no records of any deaths in the killboard. My theory: 2 Dominixes tried to do a site and died horribly. As it was class 5, I think it is quite likely. Signature was dead, so I couldn't check who were the "lucky" ones.

New home

I have been looking for a new home. Desperately.

That is a lot of signatures to cover for one guy. Nothing caught my eye. Until I found a c4 and saw below:

I have a good feeling about this. Only one anomaly in the system and only few signatures indicate that owners keep place tidy. I keep watching them, but no activity happens. One guy swaps between ships and Rattlesnake logs out. What a bummer. I park my Proteus and start the waiting game.

After few hours I see a pilot swap for a probe. He does a sweep on the system and goes back to hanger and swaps back to Maelstrom. He suddenly starts moving, or should I say, warping.

Well what do you know, he warps to only anomaly in the system. I follow and end up coming before him. I make a position bookmark and wait for the right moment. And I don't need to wait long. He warps to 0 and there's only one sleeper present. It's good time as any. I go for the kill.

Site is quite far from the safespot where my Domis are at. It takes a moment for Maelstrom pilot to realize that he is being tackled and once my fleet lands, he is quickly broken.

A nice battleship kill. Nothing too fancy, but I will take it any day. I am again proven that being patient and persistent pays off. Especially in unknown space. Bob be praised.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bullshits of EVE - Ventures.

You know what's bullshit? This:

You guessed it, that's a Venture mining gas. What's the problem? Glad you asked, let me explain. I was not sure if I should do a rant post, but what the hell...since I came across one, I might as well get it off my chest. I know this is 2 years too late.

Mining Ventures are bullshit

Before Ventures were introduced, it was not so easy to mine gas.  Most common ship was a battlecruiser, preferably with maximum high slot layout. For example - Brutix. Now it was not your standard battlecruiser. It had high slots filled with gas harvesters and lows with cargo hold expanders. Even then, you would hit the limit of 2000 m3 of cargo hold, which is enough only for like 1/5th of site. I myself used to multibox 4 Myrmidons to harvest low-sec gas. Now, battlecruiser is not that expensive, but not that cheap either. It took a while to mine out the gas clouds, so you were at constant risk of being ganked. That was life. You risk medium ship for getting that expensive gas. Then, some bright minds at CCP, decided that it would be great idea to introduce some very risk averse ships and gameplay in general (more on that later). And thus Venture and Prospect were born.

A Venture, that costs 200 thousand ISK, now can mine gas clouds in just few runs. 100% role bonus yield plus 5% per frigate skill level, gives output like Brutix with full rack of gas harvesters and 5000m3 ore cargo hold lets it store gas as 2-3 Brutixes with maximum cargo hold expanders. Currently gas mining in a 200 thousand ISK ship is much better than in one that costs 50 million. If we assume average fitted Venture is 5mil, CCP decreased risk of gas mining by 1000%. Wow.

As if 1000% decrease in risk (your potential losses if you get ganked) was not enough, they felt +2 warp core strength natural bonus should do the trick. Let's not forget the low slot, which then if fitted with extra wcs, it is immune to best faction scrambler. Don't have a double scram in your cloaky gank ship? Then you are shit out of luck. Better hope he is not watching d-scan when you bring your interdictor to kill that useless 200k ISK ship and, most likely, empty pod.

After done with t1 variant, they realized they needed a t2 version. A Prospect. Since Venture was already doing everything better than any other ship used for gas mining, it was a challenge to create something even better. But CCP made it through... by throwing a covert ops cloak on already hard to catch frigate. 5% reduction of gas harvesting duration per level is now like Brutix on steroids a.k.a warfare links. Oh, they took away +2 warp core strength bonus? Don't worry. Here's 4 low slots to fit warp core stabilizers. They will for sure make your ship unusable in a site that makes you fit modules with 1500m range and that you need to lock target only few times with a 10k m3 cargo space. A price? A whopping 15 million.

Now, of course, there are sleepers that spawn to "defend" the site. Unfortunately most of them are cleared with a Tengu in 1 minute and then back to gas mining. Yes, there are few most lucrative sites that make you bring big guns, but even then they are easily dispatched compared to their class level.

In the end, I think Venture is a great ship and has a place in EVE universe. But only for c1-c2 class. It is ridiculous that such cheap ship can mine such expensive gas everywhere. Best solution would be to introduce small/medium/large gas harvesting ships with same size modules. Make gas sites different that only small harvester can do c1-c2 sites, medium for c3-c4 and heavy for c5-c6. Wouldn't it make sense?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The most passive guy in wormhole

Snap decisions. They are a big part of w-space life. Due to the nature of wormholes, sometimes you have to act fast. And this I have already mentioned a couple of times before. I was orbiting an exit, when I hear a jump. I put my focus on the wormhole and wait for ship to appear. And ship did indeed appear, but not the way you would expect. An Iteron Mark V just warps in. I am pretty sure I can't hear jumps from across the system so there must be someone else. I wait a little longer and Stratios moves and cloaks up. Must be a friend.

For some reason, transport ship is not jumping. Upon closer look I see he is slowly moving towards the wormhole. Well I'll be dammed, he warped to range. My Proteus has 0 dps if we don't count small smartbombs, so I will need to warp in my slow fat ass Domi. I am also 20k off the wormhole itself. Noone hauls expensive shit in an Iteron. Should I try to get him? What the heck. I decloak, overheat my mwd and burn at full speed. Itty jumps and I am still 10k off. Finally I'm in jumprange and go in. There he is, in the process of warping off. I shed my session cloak and quickly lock him up and get a positive point. His speed is dropping, so I guess he doesn't have any wcs fitted.

The Iteron pilot announces good fight in local which indicates he had given up and is ready for his doom. Small smartbombs doesn't seem to be very efficient at killing ships, even industrials, so I warp in my Dominix to finish the job quickly.

A whopping 9.5 million kill. I check jettisoned loot and see bunch of gas. EVE client showed 40mil, but after our short discussion, pilot mentioned it was 150mil worth of gas. I don't know if he tried to reward me for catching him, but I blew the container up along with his wreck. I already struggle storing mods I collect from wrecks of my preys. There's no way I can manage to ship all that gas. And I'm not in the mood either. I would rather have had a 150mil killmail, so thanks a lot.

Disregard for life

You know, sometimes when you catch someone with intentions to kill, that someone will do everything they can to escape, or at the very least will try to minimize losses, like saving the pod. Of course there are always exceptions, but I'm talking about your casual situation when you catch a pve boat or even pvper that gets into an ambush or disadvantage. Natural instinct is to gtfo. That feel of safety is very strong. Some have warp core stabilizers, some have cloaks, some have jamming drones, others - all combined. And there are people that don't give a shit. Meet Senfora Anophis.

You would think he is another soon-to-be gank victim. And normally you would be right. I did not find him in an anomaly at first. He was in space and so I used my combat probes to get his position. It turned out he was just about to warp to the site and thus I ended up in anomaly anyway. So combat probes out for a good amount of time, surely the story is over and the guy will go back to wherever he came from. Nope, he just continues shooting sleepers, without a care in the world.

Before proceeding further, I would like to point out, that before finding Myrmidon, I've seen a covert ops and an interceptor on d-scan, with a very familiar tag, that I'm sure, is of one of major corporations in w-space. It smelled fishy. Plus, my Domi fleet was logged out and several jumps out. It was also late. All in all, I just did not feel going through the effort for just a Myrmidon gank. I decided to fuck around and contacted the pilot.

I show him the screenshot of me watching him. If the guy was not watching d-scan, now would be about right time to do a panic warp.

I assume he saw the same Helios I did. To prove that I'm not, I decloak my Proteus, at the safe distance, of course. Senfora was not impressed. System full of neutral ships flying around was of no concern to him.

Since he already farmed enough to replace his ship, he did not feel a need for it anymore. Forget the fact that if he would keep his ship intact, he would need to farm less in the future. It sounds awfully lot like "I mined, so it's free", a total disregard of his own time.

Seeing as I do not go for his Myrmidon, he kindly offers an mtu sacrifice, that is somewhere in space. Something more on par with my skills.

We talk a bit more. Seeing as I am considered as no threat at all makes me think if I should go for it just because. But if I didn't know any better, I would say it smelled a lot like bait. Which would be strange, as it was first time I jumped to that system. Furthermore, his killboard doesn't have any kills and only random Myrmidon and Drake losses. Losses with that attitude? Who would have thought. I checked his killboard some days later. To my surprise, I did not see any losses after our encounter. I guess I was not the only one not interested enough in a Myrmidon gank.