Monday, August 29, 2016

Squeeze me baby one more time

Recently I gave my girlfriend a cocktail book as a gift. I told her to choose any cocktail and I would make it for her. She chose margarita. One of the ingredients of margarita is a fresh lemon juice. I squeeze the lemons, but to make sure I get all the juice, I squeeze it at least few more times. In my previous post I wrote how I've encountered 3 marauders and managed to gank 2 of them. Now one would think that's the end of the story, but like with the lemons, I saw a potential for a one more squeeze.

I tell Trey we should move to this c4. It's a small wormhole, occupied by a small Russian corp that just lost two expensive ships. Now I know they have at least one Golem in station. I also know, that these guys like to farm, like clockwork. I couldn't help but sense an opportunity here. Ganking two out of three Golems felt as a job half done. The stealth would have to be a top priority. If you gank someone, they won't blink twice, but if the same people saw us the very next day, the jig would be up.

The tower is at the outer planet, so we are forced to make bookmark near the center of the system, which isn't a good thing. Mostly anoms spawn in the middle, so if we happen to log in when our targets are doing anomalies, there's a big risk we will be noticed. Same thing applies if we log in near the station and they happen to undock or check the d-scan. Preferably we will be already in the system cloaked up by the time our targets come. And that's exactly what we do when we log in early. It's time to play a waiting game. I wonder if these guys will feel like farming after yesterday. As someone who have been in a Russian alliance, my gut says they won't tolerate these two anomalies present in the system.

Time goes by. I check the EVE client and spot probes on the overview. I did not manage to see who launched them, but it's quite obvious as they are exactly on the station. I wait for the locals to finish scanning the system. Probes disappear, but scanning ship is nowhere to be seen. We have all exits covered. I bet they put the scout on the wormhole again, which is great news. That usually means the farming is about to take place.

Well I'll be damned. A Golem appears on the overview. It's the lucky pilot that managed to get away yesterday. I knew they still have a Golem docked. I keep my eyes on where he will go. This time we have the whole system scanned out.

Another Golem undocks! I guess they had a spare one. There's still one pilot docked at the station. Will there be a third ship? I watch both Golems warp to an anomaly. I guess they only have 2 Marauders left. Me and Trey observe as the ships do the site. We don't want to engage too soon when there are still a lot of sleepers on grid. Our hearts are racing, hands are sweating. We pray Bob that neither of us gets disconnected. Finally only one sleeper of the third wave is left and we make our move.

This time gank goes by the book. We tackle both Marauders, bubble up and focus on an mtu first. The Golems seem to be taken by surprise as barely any of our ships are taking damage. Our targets go down one after another. To make sure the job is finished this time, we also send both pilots back to the empire via pod express.

It warms my heart to have a successful op. The gank was executed in an optimal way and both, me and my partner, each bring home 800mil isk. We go back to high-sec, get the loot safely to Jita and decide to chat up our victims, to see if there's any isk left that we could squeeze out with a ransom in order for us to leave the system alone.

Neither of the pilots are online. Don't know if it was a rage quit or they simply thought that was enough of EVE for one day, but one thing was clear - this system is dry.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hitting the jackpot

I remember my trip to Las Vegas which happened almost 10 years ago. I was amazed by all the slot machines. Put in the coin, pull the lever, watch the reel spin and hope for some kind of combo. I spent few pennies on those, but moved straight for the poker tables instead, where after a couple of hands I went three-way all in and took the pot. There were a lot of angry looks when I stood up and left the table with all the winnings. Stalking wormholes can be a lot like a casino where checking d-scan is like pulling a lever at the slot machine. It returns mostly nothing, but once in a while you get something. Of course you try to increase your odds, by picking the right system in the first place.

I log in and get pleasantly surprised to see the chain scanned out few jumps out. Though my messenger staying quiet, I assume there hasn't been anything interesting. Trey is sitting in corp chat, but seems to be afk. Well, no biggie. Since I just logged, I might do a quick scouting of the neighboring systems. I jump to a c4 static. It's a pulsar. My attention gets caught by the fact that there are no anomalies. These guys keep the place tidy. I start thinking if this system would be a suitable new home. I haven't seen any activity in our c4 for a couple of days. Even if the wormhole is pulsar, which is not very suitable for my armor fleet, we should still manage to kill some shitty Rattlesnake that, I am convinced, farms this system. And indeed, upon checking the killboard of the locals, I find 6 Rattlesnake losses in June. The wormhole is inhabited by a small Russian corp and looks like their timezone matches my prime time.

While I'm busy doing the background check, I notice a Buzzard undock from an Astrahus and warp to a c4. Not our c4, but theirs static. I don't pay much attention as I am confident the guy does exactly the same thing I did - checking active connections. I keep eyes on the station and slowly burn away to make enough distance for a perch. I expect the Buzzard to come back anytime, swap for a Rattlesnake and go clear the only Ore site in the system or something. But the Buzzard never returns. Instead, a Golem appears on the overview.

Holy shit. An actual marauder just appeared on my overview. I get excited like a little girl. Surely there's a reason for this ship to undock. Even if it just docks back up, my mind is already made up. This is our new home. I start pinging my partner.

Zosius: golem at station, in our c4 static
Zosius: no anoms. i think we found our new home

Unfortunately Trey seems to be afk. I carefully watch the Golem. What will he do? Where will he warp? There are no anomalies in the system. There are several signatures, but I don't have them scanned out. Suddenly...

A second Golem appears. One Marauder is enough to get me excited, but two can make me wet. I start pinging like crazy.

Zosius: 2 golems. holy crap

I need my partner. Ganking two Golems in a pulsar system can be a challenge. If they focus fire on one of the Nestors I could have trouble tanking, but with "neutgeddon" on my side, I still feel confident I can take them on without too big of a risk. While I draw a battleplan in my head, one more ship appears on the overview.

A third Golem undocks. I don't think I have ever seen more than two Marauders in one spot. I just couldn't believe this is happening. Is Bob playing tricks on me?

Zosius: holy fuck. 3 golems sitting at the station

No life signs from Trey. My camera loses tracking and I watch the ships warp to the direction of some signature. I'm not sure what to do. 3 Golems can dish out a lot of pain on a battleship with the reduced resists. I need my partner, but no matter how much I ping, I just can't get an answer. I decide that I will scan the Marauders out. Even if they bail, this is hands down our new home. We will take the shot. If not today, then tomorrow.

The scanning goes without a hitch. System is rather small, but I manage to launch the probes outside the d-scan range and get a warpable result in one try.

Jesus, just look at that overview. I kinda don't expect I can take them on without losses alone. There are, of course, people eager to help me, but there are no active connections to the empire and there's no way to find one in time and unnoticed. No, this is a sign from Bob. It's the ultimate gift. I must take it or die trying. In the worst case, they carry a point and I will lose my fleet. In the shit case, I will be forced out of grid, but still manage to warp out ships that enter structure. In the good case, I will tackle two Marauders and the third will warp away. Best case, they will tank and fight until one of them dies and then I will kill the whole three. I decide to go in. No way I'm letting this opportunity go.

As expected, once I make my move and get a positive tackle on two of  the Marauders, the third one warps away. The fight for the right to live starts.

I manage to keep the Armageddon alive through the focus fire while putting neuting pressure on the Golems. Managing reps and constantly cycling scrambler to test if ships have not yet exited the bastion mode takes its toll. I mess up the locking sequence and split neuts and dps on both Marauders. Luckily, it's enough and soon I see a first explosion.

And then another.

There it goes. Over 5 bil in smoke. This time the loot fairy is in especially bad mood. While I get a modest 600mil drop out of first Golem, I get a meager 100mil out of the second one. And if that wasn't enough, here's the saddest part of the story:

Almost 1 billion loot drops in total, but gets scooped by an mtu. Sometimes you just don't have the luxury to focus an mtu first. I force it open. In the end, out of all the faction and deadspace modules, I end up with only one a-type medium shield booster. RIP the shinies. But as I always say - it's never about the money. It's about the journey. While it might not be a jackpot when it comes to isk, it sure is in the essence of the hunt.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Prepare your anus

After coming back from vacation, me and my partner decide to move out of the c3 we have been staying at. After initial scouting, we find a c4, occupied by a small corp with few interesting losses in the killboard. It also has a c4 and c3 statics, which is nice for chain scouting. In my personal opinion, c4 wormholes are most lucrative as sites can be soloed easily enough with a little pimp.

But theory is one thing and practice is another. The chain looks pretty quiet. I do a routine fly-by, but find only empty towers. We have active c4, c3 statics and a k162 which leads to a pulsar c2. I jump in and as expected: d-scan returns nothing. The wormhole is at the edge of the system so I decide to do a quick warp. Half asleep I click scan button and a Gila with sleeper wrecks appear. What's this now? I actually have a target to shoot?

I quickly log in my fleet and ping the corpmate. Gila is hardly an exciting target, but it's still better than a Drake. While I'm busy fleeting up, now I have a Rattlesnake on scan. I hate Rattlesnakes. I quickly pinpoint his position and find him at the anomaly hugging an mtu. The Gila is still in the system, with wrecks and another mtu, but no anomaly. Speaking of anomalies, there's only one left and I'm in it. This being a c2 wormhole, sleepers pop one after another. We don't have much time. Our fleet warps to the c2, jumps in and holds the cloak until I order warp.

I get a positive tackle. The Gila warps to assist, but at a safe range. However, seeing as he can't do much once the cavalry arrives, he warps out. Meanwhile, the Rattlesnake feels the wrath of the Nestors.

Pulsar or not, the battleship dies before we can even manage to lock it with all the ships. It feels good. With a partner to back me up, we will tear the Rattlesnakes a new one, no matter how tanked they will be.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Elusive Rattlesnake

Summer is a slow period. I have been enjoying vacation that, sadly, is coming to an end. In addition, I've also got myself a Vive virtual headset. The thing is bloody expensive, but let me tell you one thing - it's totally worth it. Putting that helmet on and launching first game was like losing virginity and even that doesn't compare. My god, virtual reality is everything I have dreamed of as a child. I can't wait for 2nd or 3rd generation to come.

Naturally with me being away and spending time with the new toys, there's hardly any time left for EVE. To be honest, being absent for awhile feels like a rehab. EVE is a damn addiction and sometimes I feel quite anxious to even start the client.

After scoring a Vargur kill I move to another c4. Not just any c4, but one with a history. System is J100107, a home of SS Squire. Who the hell is he? Well, he is a guy I've had pleasure to encounter in January earlier this year. I remember him, because I've killed his Golem and the name just stuck in my head. Seems like a perfect time to catch up with old friends. He had plenty of time to farm for a new ship. I am happy to find the tower still online, so I settle in. While no Marauder appears, I do find a random guy in a Rattlesnake. He would fly 5000 km off tower and do weird things at his mobile depot, without moving an inch. I wait for him to do the sites, but nothing happens. After awhile, my patience runs out and I decide to take him on.  After all, at this distance tower won't do shit.

The tackle goes without a hitch. I pre-warp the Nestor fleet and hope the Rattlesnake won't refit to warp core stabilizers in time. Unfortunately, the guy does not panic and warps out just as I finish locking with the first Nestor. I helplessly watch him warp back to the tower. Oh well, screw him and that ship. I hate Rattlesnakes. I stick around in the system and try my luck once again next day. And once again, the Rattlesnake warps out as soon as Nestors land.

The Rattlesnakes are like a curse to me. I stick around for a few days more, but the guy, I was hoping to meet in the first place, was nowhere to be seen. Only a random dude, with access rights to the tower and his Rattlesnake. After numerous encounters, the dude already knew he was not alone in the system. Even my new partner tried to gank him with a dictor, but the guy was vigilant and warped out. We decide there's no point in staying much longer and move on.

I also would like to welcome Trey Udan for joining my one man corp. Trey is a bigger multi-boxer than I am. He brings a dictor and more Nestors into the mix. Watch out Rattlesnakes. I only hope we will manage to kill at least one of you, before dying miserably to some pvp fleet.

Monday, August 1, 2016

A man's choice

It's good to change up things. My decision to move on already was paying off. It started with a pair of Ravens trying to roll their connection. Unfortunately for them, I happened to orbit the very same wormhole.

At first I watched them to jump in, slowboat back and jump out. 5 minutes polarization timer was enough for me to get within 2500m range. Once I heard the jump sound, I warped the Nestors and decloaked the Proteus ready for tackle. Ganking the wormhole rolling battleships was not without surprises - my Proteus got scrammed. Shortly I started hearing multiple activation sounds which gave me even bigger scare. I knew it was impossible that I was spotted or that it was a bait, since I haven't really checked out any connects, just scanned the system. Thankfully, the Nestors soon landed, I setup a spider tank and forced the enemy fleet out. When unexpected fight happens, my priority is survival, so I do not put much attention on focus fire as much as I do on managing reps. I still managed to score a kill which I only noticed when I got a notification.

Good start so far, but these were merely the neighbors rolling the connection. I am stalking the c4 in hopes to see locals doing the sites.

Sometimes things catch me unprepared. Like an Orca all of a sudden landing on a c2.

I have drifted 79km as I am too lazy to make a proper perch and just let the ship drift 150km+. It's so rare for such a spontaneous, potentially high value, kill to appear during this time. I pretended as if it never happened and stick with my old ways. Do not try to gang the Orca. Instead, realize the truth - there is no Orca.

The c4, I was stalking in, just kept giving. I haven't seen a single local pilot, but plenty of tourists. I was excited to see a tourist Tengu.

A Tengu that is clearing a c4 site is much more interesting than the one doing an anomaly in a c3. I let him clear of what I think are the tackle frigates and go in for the kill.

The killing goes quickly and it's no surprise. Once those heavy neutralizers start working their magic, the ship explodes like any other cruiser. I'm a bit disappointed with the fit. Not sure if this Tengu is even capable of running the c4 sites. I do like the deadspace shield booster and the anplifier, but I expected at least a full rack of faction ballistic control units.

But all this was merely a teaser, for Bob had something very special in mind. He sends visitors my way.

Not just any visitors. Finally someone who runs anomalies in style. It's been awhile since I saw a Marauder. I get a little worried about the Rattlesnakes joining the Vargur, but they seem to be doing a different anomaly. This is perfect. Once I tackle with the Proteus, perhaps the Rattlesnakes will come to an aid. I finally will get to test how that extra Armageddon, that I brought, will fit the team. I don't care how much cap that ship has, he is going down.

I do the usual surprise attack, by pre-warping the Nestors and decloaking the Proteus a second later once they show up on d-scan. Fight is over before I can even launch Ogres with the Amarr battleship. The Marauder explodes as if it was made from scrap metal and duct tape.

An almost 3 bil worth of killmail. It's because of these moments I never lose faith in Bob. After ganking so many cheap ships, finally I meet someone who has balls to put something shiny on the line. Kudos Vrajik Malit. Please don't let this encounter discourage you from choosing manly ships in the future.