Friday, October 30, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series 3 - Sunshine and rainbows

Engaging in ninja salvaging feels like engaging in an EVE profession that is extinct. There's probably a handful of people that are still left doing it. Unfortunately, most of them are solo players and do not socialize in ninja community (Ninja Dojo channel). Which is sad, because sometimes, you just need an extra pair of hands.

I came across Raven Navy issue and Apocalypse doing mission. Without wasting time they both opened fire on me.

I quickly tackled Navy Raven and started organizing my usual backup. I had one logi already prewarped, however, a secondary logi pilot is my scanner, so I had to swap ships at the station. This setup worked quite well for me so far. My Enyo usually can tank quite well and there's always a logi ready to repair. Scenario works something like this: Enyo gets aggro, kills drones, tanks dps. Once AAR is out of nanite repair paste, logi then starts repping. It results quite often to logi getting aggro, which enables me to have a secondary tackle on my target. Meanwhile, my secondary logi arrives just in time to setup spider tank.

This was not the case with these guys. Action was going behind 4 acceleration gates. There was around 40km distance between each gate, and as you can imagine, it was a lot of burning to do for my secondary logi. To make matters worse, I had two ships shooting at me. One sitting 90km away, which means Enyo was tracked much easier. Once my first logi was forced out, Enyo got aggro again. After using up the nanite paste for the second time, I was not left with any choice, but to leave. Unfortunately, reload cycle is just too long.

That left a bitter taste in my mouth. It's so rare to have a faction battleship aggro you, and having to let him go, just because luck would have a fight happen in a deep mission pocket, behind multiple acceleration gates. I cut my losses and continue poking into random people's missions.

I readjusted my strategy a bit though. Instead of swapping my scanner pilot to secondary logi and run into same situation again, I logged my high-sec alt that has mediocre scanning skills. Now I have two dedicated logi pilots and a dedicated scanner, without the need to swap ships. Thanks to my new pc, I can run 5 accounts without an issue. It's overkill, but it's either that, or you have to take out groups from "potential targets list". Getting aggro is very rare, so I try to squeeze every kill out of every opportunity I get.

In my next visit, I stumble on a mission running party.

All ships lock me and starts shooting. I have a swarm of drones on me. I have no illusions to tank this. Even if I could, I couldn't do any damage with Exequror on grid. I was not planning to stay anyways. I quickly warp back to station and swap to something with bigger guns. I warp back only to find out, that I unconsciously made bookmark before landing on grid. So now I was sitting around 200k off my aggressors and only 2 minutes of the engagement time was left. There's no way I can make it in time anymore. Since scanner is not in the same corp, I have to bookmark with my baiter when I land on grid, which I failed to do so.

I go back and try to get another hit with my fleet waiting on standby on acceleration gate, only to have a guy from the same corp land and see my fleet. Of course intel was shared and I got no hits anymore. Instead, they make a remark in local on how I had to bring my "friends". I wish. Having fellow ninja next door would be a huge life improvement. Instead, I have to multibox like a madman or be satisfied with lower grade targets. It's not always sunshine and rainbows when doing ninja salvaging. You will encounter targets that you can't break, that are too strong or too many. You will make mistakes and have some escape you. To succeed, dedication and patience are needed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series 3 - The Redemption, Part 2

In a previous post, a high-sec mission running Dominix was held hostage. After tough negotiations, ransom was paid.

Despite being a ninja salvager, I have also active duties as an agent of New Order. Once I received ransom, I checked if paperwork was in order. Unfortunately, a crucial piece was missing.

A mining permit was missing in Steven's bio. A must have document for everyone operating in high-sec. Something as important as this could not be overlooked. Steven took out the big guns. He wrote "please" in all caps mode which should have been a game changer. However, capital letters do not overrule a missing mining permit.

As an exemplary agent, I held the criminal in check. Word "please" poured like an October rain in Sweden. Fortunately, I am well trained to resist such mind trickery. Steven was begging instead of being genuinely interested in how to become compliant with the CODE. Soon he was cleansed as his Dominix went down.

Interesting choice of fit. I do not know the advantage of fitting 3 tractor units, when there's mobile tractor unit, that does the job for you. Despite losing his battleship, the pod enters warp before I can even start locking it. A habit common within pvp pilots. I see the potential.

Loss was devastating. I guess he missed the first rule of Golden Rules introduced to official wiki by CCP itself. Nevertheless, I believe redemption sometimes is only possible through detachment of material things and starting afresh.

The situation was dire. I believe universe brought us together for a reason. Steven was mining months to be able to afford a battleship. This didn't feel right. There couldn't possibly be a future that he enjoys with this type of play.

The shock of a loss was slowly wearing off. Reality, that Dominix was not coming back, started sinking in. It was gone for good. I always like to help out players thus I came up with an offer.

It is a popular misconception to want to stay in high-sec to understand the game. Truth couldn't be more different. High-sec will not help you to understand how the game works. On the contrary, it will most likely kill the enthusiasm if all you do is mission and mine. But there was still hope. Steven said himself, that he would like to pvp, but he just couldn't get a good grip on it. It was a call for help.

A cash-back offer went out. I placed a 10mil bounty on every kill he will make. Make 20 kills and you get your 200mil back in no time. It might look as dauntingly much, but there are no restrictions. Any kill, regardless how small, counts.

I suggest to join a FW corp. While I have been a low-sec guy, I have never tried FW. Mostly due to the lack of interest in frigate pvp and fw not existing during my time, but I've read so much and seen some bloggers write about it that I think it should be a great starting point. If null is out of question, wormhole space entry barrier perhaps too high, low-sec can be a solution. The first step as always is to find a corp.

In no time, conversation was happening in very different setting. What started as begging, now was a high-spirited attitude. Talk about transformation.

I was very proud and happy. To think a player with such attitude would be stuck doing mining and missions. It was just unfortunate. Perhaps some people all they need is a little motivation. A "lose your missioning ship and most of your isk" kind of motivation. Instead of buying another Dominix and carrying on, he now was forced to look for alternatives.

Isn't beautiful? Take a moment and think about how this all started out and ended. Isn't high-sec worth fighting for?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series 3 - The Redemption, Part 1

It's exciting to do ninja salvaging again. While game mechanics changed greatly during my 5 years of EVE, the reaction I get when visiting carebears is still rather the same. I still often get carebear stares:

Or receive fan mails:

When there are few targets, I often will visit miners. A routine check if they have any ore in cargo containers for the taking.

Unavoidably, at some point you will also become a hot topic in local.

But the goal is always the same: get a mission runner to shoot you.

I was salvaging wrecks when a Dominix opened fire on me. While he was almost 40 km off, I managed to burn and tackle him without much trouble. My ship goes 1k m/s, so there was a quite big time window for him to warp away. The fact that he stayed still at 0 m/s I took as a challenge to the duel. Once I start pouring dps, I get a convo request.

Oh, a wrong target. I've had heard this before. It's so strange that I only hear this when I gain an upper hand. I wonder if I would get the same reaction if my ship was losing the battle and was about to blow up. As a good guy I am, I offer a way out.

Things were looking up. I state my terms and it looks like I'm about to get paid.  Steven, on the other hand, had different idea on how ransoms work.

When you are in this kind of situation, you only get one shot. Once mission runner learns his lesson, it's very unlikely he will shoot a suspect again. For some reason, everyone wants to be let go first and send money "later". I haven't tried this ransoming model, but I'm pretty sure the pay rate would be close to 0%. I'm sticking to old fashioned, proved ransoming methods.

There is always a compromise. Steven was more confident in sending 200 mil ransom with 100mil increments, I had no problem with that.

Once 100mil was in my pocket, half ransom was already paid. Unfortunately, half ransom doesn't qualify, so I promptly asked him to send the remaining isk, preferably before his ship explodes.

Carebears are always playing the victim. But when warp disruptor is off and they are on their way to the station, attitude changes drastically. If anyone get's paid by releasing first, please let me know.

Time was passing by and Dominix was slowly entering structure. Steven seeing he is not going anywhere with his "I pay at the station" strategy, finally transfers the missing 100 mil. He claimed it was his first battleship that he worked for "really hard" and presumably, he did not have any spare isk to buy a new one. But here we are, extra 200mil is sitting in my wallet, enough money to buy a replacement Dominix. I have yet to meet a carebear who is completely honest with his financial situation. But now, with ransom paid, everything should be in order. Well, not quite right.

To be continued...

Friday, October 23, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series 3 - Rusty skills, Part 2

Tengu was getting further away. I swapped to my Enyo and burned to him at full speed not to lose my 5 minute aggression timer. I had him tackled and Orca was 120km away. It was 100m/s faster than Tengu, so it was a waiting game now.

Suddenly I get a convo request. Let's see what he has to say. I have nothing better to do, so I might try ransoming him.

I tried to start ransoming process. I always ask for a fit, so I can give an proper ransoming price. I believe it carries some weight in it rather than just spewing random sum of money based on the ship type. Unfortunately, Sithris was not willing to disclose his fit, which rang me some bells. Instead, he had a question he wanted to ask.

Ah the high-sec people. Even after CCP dumbing down mechanics to simple buttons, some are still lost. I have a feeling that if it was the old system, some of them would have been concorded. But then was then and now is now. I give my ransom offer of 500mil. A reasonable sum.

Sithris Arkuro > how do i know yall will leave
Zosius > i have no intention to drag this much longer
Zosius > as it is hard to kill you
Zosius > but for a price i am willing to let it go
Sithris Arkuro > 300 mill then?
Zosius > 500mil as i am sure you got fit not t2
Zosius > my orca will be in range soon and i will scan you
Zosius > price will go up once i check value of your fit
Sithris Arkuro > :)
Sithris Arkuro > yeah but my value isnt really the thing here, it more of who mhas more tie
Sithris Arkuro > time
Zosius > thats why i ask you for a fit
Zosius > if it is t2 i am willing to let it go for 300mil

I get an offer of 300mil. My gut says I should have taken, but my stubbornness insisted on at least 500mil. While we were negotiating, I noticed something strange. Orca was not that far away. Too close. Looks like Tengu changed direction again and burning back to the beacon. A quick look at d-scan shows extra ships. A Vexor and a Thorax. Looks like his corp is mobilizing a backup again. I use the opportunity and burn to Orca ahead of Tengu. Move my webifier to Orca hanger, swap for Brutix and change burnt webifier to one from Enyo. As expected, Tengu was passing by my path so I grabbed him without problems.

Now he's mine. He should give up under pressure of 3 neuts.

Zosius > last chance
Zosius > 500mil
Zosius > cant tank without cap mate

I give a last chance to pay me a ransom, while waiting for Tengu defenses to give up. I am not very bothered about the t1 cruiser backup as I am confident my Augorors can tank them. Unfortunately, time was passing by and Tengu was not giving in. I tried to cycle my neutralizers in timed loops, but no success.

One might ask, why I'm not swapping for more neutralizers from Orca? Well, for some reason, my fleet hanger was empty. I guess last time I did some  reorganization and did not put my stuff back in. So I had an Orca that allowed me to refit ships, but no modules to refit to. A painful mistake I will try to avoid in the future.

More ships came to help. I guess not very well fitted, but time was not to my advantage here. We were so far from beacon that I really was not feeling like warping out with my Orca to get the loot as it probably would take a half an hour for it to get back. Longer this fight dragged, more it became a cluster fuck.

I was asking for support in Ninja channel and minerbumping. If I had a friend that could support me with reps I could drag this out for a little while longer. Unfortunately, closest response I got was someone from Forge region, which is too far away.

Checking d-scan I spot a logi ship coming in. This will be a very big nail to my coffin if  I stay. I won't be able to kill anyone and they can take their time to bring more and bigger ships to a fight. I decide to cut my losses. Somehow, my logi pilot manages to get out of point and webs. I align all to a station, do a quick check if anyone is tackled and warp out.

My Orca has a ship scanner. I check the value of Tengu's fit and immediately get hit by a bat of regret for not doing my preparations right.

That's over a billion worth of loot that got away. It would have been a great start. These opportunities do not come very often. An expensive lesson.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ninja Salvaging Series 3 - Rusty skills, Part 1

It's that time again. I've was on my pilgrimage for extended period of time. From what has started of me taking a break from corp and stalking people until I got a shiny kill or died, became a way of live, where I lived and hunted in a stealthy fashion. But now it's time to try something else. I've set autopilot to my favorite high-sec system.

Welcome to Ninja Salvaging Series - Season 3!

As always, I start full of excitement. I board my usual setup and start scanning. I rush too fast into things what later will prove is a big mistake, but I can't help myself. It's been long time I've been doing ninja salvaging with breaks. One thing I noticed was, that whenever I come to the system after long absence, I often get a lot of aggro on my first baiting day. It might be a coincidence, but today was no exception. I visit a Tengu and Hyperion at the site. After me salvaging and looting few wrecks I get locked and shot at. Since there is 40km between two gates, I had my logi pre-warped as soon as I saw a yellow box. I was not sure how well I can tank both ships, but seeing t1 hobgoblins I felt quite good. The fight has started. I got Tengu tackled and was quickly dispatching drones.

All was going according the plan. I brought in my Augoror and he instantly got aggro, then I brought another one and now I had spider tank working and double tackle on the Tengu.

I docked up my links pilot and got into Orca. Time for a ship swap. Enyo doesn't even make a dent to Tengu's defenses. I could try killing Hyperion, but they burn away from each other and there is a risk my Enyo will be outside locking range soon, which means I can lose aggro rights to Tengu in 5 minutes if I'm not being careful. I chose to ignore Hyperion and sent my drones on him since they were not doing anything to the Tengu. Orca was on the way and I was waiting to swap for my Brutix.

Fight was dragging on. Orca is very slow in warping, aligning and moving. With each second distance from the beacon was getting further. When Orca arrived we were over a 100km. I stopped my aggro with Enyo and burned back to Orca to swap for Brutix and here where lack of preparation started to bite me in the ass.

My Brutix was afterburner fit, so I could fit 3 neutralizers and 4 blasters. I don't normally need speed as all my targets usually carry MJD or MWD and they are disabled when I have secondary scram with my logi pilot. This time was different. Tengu was afterburner fit and was burning out of range. Since he had no webifier on him anymore, he was burning over 550m/s while my Brutix couldn't reach 500. Neither my Orca who burns only 360 m/s. Oh dear. I did not see any other option but to swap back to Enyo and get back to tackling Tengu. With webifier on him, my Orca is 100m/s faster. Only play I saw here was to let Orca catch up, burn ahead of Tengu, wait out 1 minute aggro timer, swap for Brutix and proceed with web, neut and murder.

While fight was dragging on, I see a new ship on grid. A Vexor. Looks like his corp is mobilizing support for him. I also see Tengu changing his direction and burning back to where Hyperion and Vexor is as also my Orca. Once whole group is reunited, I swap for my Brutix and start off with Hyperion.

I was not sure if I should use the opportunity and try to kill Tengu, but I had no secondary tackle on Hyperion, so I decided to kill it first. Tengu is not going anywhere as my logi has a scram on him and if I'm lucky, he will stay within range. Hyperion goes down.

A nice kill. Too bad in a heat of battle I neglected to check what Hyperion kill contained. I got a shiny drop, which was not scooped by me. My mind was now on the Tengu. Time to finish the job. But he was now 60km off and I had burned my webifier.

What a shitty start, I thought. Despite killing Hyperion, Tengu was still far away of reach. And now with burned webifier, how I am going to hold him down?

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Slipped away

I log in back to EVE. A lot of to do things are pending. Such as plex my expired accounts, add skills to train, that even with increased queue limit I still forget to keep it filled. Wormhole was empty. My c2 I've been staying at has a c4 and high-sec exits. I scan the system and check surrounding systems. I don't expect to find any action as it is early in the morning. I find some guys sitting at the tower in a clean system, but that's about it.

It's a potential system to stalk in. I see they lost a Rattlesnake earlier and absence of anomalies means they are active. After watching them for a bit, they all log out. I decide to check the high-sec connection.

High-sec has only 2 signatures and both of them are wormholes. One of them I just came through, so I quickly scan the other. There is some activity. I saw an Astero on scan, probably doing a Relic or Data site. I give it a shot and scan the site. I manage to get visual on Astero, however, he warps as soon as I make 200km bookmark. I would think he saw my probes, but that doesn't explain why he bailed after such a long time. Perhaps he saw someone else on scan? I decide to stick on the wormhole and see if anything else comes through.

After not much waiting, a Mastodon lands on the wormhole. A deep transport ship, that has +2 warp core strenght as a bonus. If he has 2 warp core stabilizers fitted, I won't be able to catch it, but at least I can try. I decloak, burn to the wormhole and wait for him to appear on my overview.

Here he is. I quickly lock him and burn for the bump. I see him trying to burn back to the wormhole, but my bump sends him the other way. I quickly warp my Domi and try to keep bumping him. I jump in the big guns, get a lock and send my drones on him.

He is just out of my scram range. I check Proteus screen to get ready for another bump. A shock goes through my body as I see my Proteus going out of scram range when I burned to wormhole. I guess Mastodon pilot changed his alignment from the wormhole. Especially since I have Stiletto now on grid and probably more reinforcements coming my way. I overheat my scram and try to burn back to range only to see transport ship warp off. He might have been aligned and keeping a close eye on scramble icon. I had many times when inexperienced pilots failed to warp out when I lost point for some seconds. This was not the case.

I see the direction he is warping and try to follow. Unfortunately, I had wormhole scanned, but have not had made bookmark of it, so I land 7km off while Mastodon lands on 0 and jumps through. Too late. I can't believe I failed so bad. I should have paid more attention and stuck on that ship instead of continuously bumping him when he was already too far away for jumping back to high-sec. Should have overheated scram on my Domi and tried to keep secondary tackle. It's very easy to see the mistakes, but it is so different when you are in the actual fight. Especially when multiboxing so many accounts. But I cut myself some slack. After all, it was my first encounter after two weeks hiatus.

Monday, October 19, 2015

What is driving your EVE?

I'm back from my trip to Japan. It was an amazing 2 weeks experience. There was nothing I did not enjoy about the trip. The food, the culture, the environment. The biggest challenge was language barrier though. To find an English speaking Japanese is like finding treasure. Nevertheless, by learning few phrases and pointing to the pictures everything went fine. If anyone is considering visiting Japan for the first time, I highly recommend checking out tips here. It's what I used as a general guideline when planned my trip.

While traveling, I've been keeping up to date with EVE. I had a lot of free time when taking trains, so I couldn't help myself not to check news and blogs. It just again reminded me that EVE is a quite big hobby of mine or that I have a problem. Probably both.

I would like to highlight one post by Talvorian Dex at Target Caller, where he raised the question - "what is your goal with pvp?" It got me thinking. Not just about pvp, but in general, what are my goals in EVE. I have similar thoughts appear in my head time to time, so I decided to put them on paper this time.

My goal in EVE

To be honest, I don't have one. If I had to name one thing as a goal it would be to a healthy balance between RL and EVE. In my early days I tried to run a corp, be a pvper, a fc, do drug manufacturing, be hardcore explorer by seeding DED site farming ships in every constellation, be hardcore trader by rolling multiple accounts and grinding standings. One thing I learned, is that if you try to be the best at something or at least very good, you need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to it. After multiple burnouts I seriously rethought my way of playing EVE. It often became a second job and it was too much for me. I was on the path to quitting and perhaps playing Elder Scrolls Online with my old corpmates.

Scaling down was best decision I've made. No longer I care about showing hours to the game to become very rich in trading, or be a super active member in a corp and be a jack of all trades - logi, links, tackle, dps. Instead, I started focusing on gameplay I like and cutting out activities that kills enjoyment of the game.

For example, I pay yearly subs of my 4 accounts. 3 traders accounts are supporting themselves via plex and is enough for me to adjust orders once every 1-2 months to earn it. If I plexed all my accounts, I would feel the pressure of doing active trading more often to support it. I minimize my pve activity by not flying anything shiny. Faction scram and webifier are most expensive modules I fit. Despite having over 300 billion of wealth, I have never owned a Vindicator or a Marauder.

I highly encourage everyone to sit back, relax and give a thought about your EVE. Think about your goals. What really drives you and makes you enjoy the game? Talvorian Dex wants to nurture his pvp skills and excel at balanced fights. I enjoy hunting and killing those who don't expect to be killed. What about you?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Saving new players from tyranny

Don't fly what you can't afford to lose. Words to live by. New players often make the mistake trying to train skills to get into biggest ship as soon as possible. Inevitably, they lose that ship one way or another which ends up hurting them badly. Somehow I managed to avoid that. I remember to this day I stuck with my BC until quite late. Since I was focusing on exploration and BC was the biggest ship I could get into my most hunted DED 4 plex. It worked to my advantage and I only got into BS with decently polished skills and some knowledge on how to fit it.

I camp a wormhole with interesting neighbors this time.

It's a pvp corp and judging from their killboard must be US timezone based. Corp is over 150 members large, so there are several pilots already logged in EU evening. Vindicator caught my eye, but nothing materialized after watching them for awhile. I put their top players to my watch list and set an orbit on the wormhole that connects to their system. Who knows, maybe I will get a wh rolling Vindicator. Ha!

High-sec connection is end of life. But it doesn't stop this Drake from poking inside.

I narrow his position to an Ore site. Sigh. Out of all anomalies, he chose an Ore site. Of course he needs to clear the sleeper frigates in order to be able to mine it. Did he not see dying wormhole status when he went in? I quickly make a position bookmark, just in time when the last sleeper pops. While he was slowly burning for that blue loot, I initiated warp and tackled him.

Drake went down. I can't help but feel that I did him a favor. Just imagine all that wasted time while trying to mine ore with high-sec exit being eol. After getting back to my safe, I see a mail icon flash.

You have to be kidding me. That must be the first time someone asked me not to kill them via EVE mail. Couldn't think of more inefficient way to negotiate.

I congratulated him on trying wormhole space, but instead, I get a sob story how I just blew up a big portion of his capital. I check employment history and see the guy is almost 2 months old. Out of curiosity, I checked his corp and this is where I got shocked.

He was non other than a CEO of the corp. While trying to be a leader so early in career is cute, it was description that got me. He was inviting everyone, especially newbies, to join, offering "only" 3% tax vs 11% of npc corp. A newbie might think he was getting a good deal, while in reality, he was being used as a slave by CEO's greed. What kind of experience new players can expect from a leader that begs for his life via EVE mail and getting crippled by a Drake loss? Incident was reported to proper authorities.