Thursday, October 30, 2014

Fozzie Backs Off Stealth Bomber Nerfs

This should be of interest to bombless bomber pilots everywhere.  After criticism by many, Fozzie and company have pulled back on the stealth bomber changes planned for Phoebe:
... the change to decloaking mechanics has been put on hold indefinitely. We are going to take some more time to work on the best way to have ships interact with cloakies and it's very possible that our eventual changes will be significantly different than what we talked about earlier. For now, cloaked ships will not decloak each other. 
We're also going to be removing some of the earlier increase in signature radius and shifting it to a penalty on the bomb launcher itself. The T1 bomb launcher will add +10m signature radius and the T2 will add 12m.
This is generally good for me, although I was somewhat looking forward to the idea of hunting scouts by warping around to wormhole signatures.  Still, mutual decloak had the potential to be a big PITA even for me, hunting solo all the time.  Certainly it would make life hard for the normal bomber pilot in a fleet.

It remains to be seen how much of a signature increase we'll see.  Note that "some".  Also, the warp speed nerf is not mentioned.  I suppose it is still planned.  Perhaps it will be worth trading off warp speed for a bit more tank, even though tank is generally pretty useless on a bomber.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Level IV

I've been mapped Intelligence/Memory for a year or so now.  I have been working up to level IV in all skills that are Int/Mem (or just Int/X), combat, and not capital related.  I finished the last skill yesterday:
Accomplishment unlocked!

Yay me.  Yes, I know Target Breaker Amplification is quite useless.  Currently.  What are the odds that CCP will make it useful in the next two years?  Or throw in the towel and rebate our skillpoints?

Probably pretty low.  I thought it was worth the time primarily for the aesthetics.  Now I have a few more level Vs to complete, and it is back to Perception/Willpower.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Brace of Ventures

Sunday.  I've been crawling wspace all weekend, to no avail.  I've seen a lot of probes and a few scouts, and I have seen people doing nothing at POSes.  What I have not seen is sleeper wrecks, or miners, or gassers.  But I keep hoping.

I am now two jumps down the chain from my home system.  My home system connects to our static C4, which connects to a second C4, where I am.  There are many wormholes here.  I've explored a further C4, a C5 (EOL: I stayed only long enough to see nothing happening), and another C5.  Nothing, nothing, nothing.  There's another C5 through a small wormhole.  This is no problem for me, in my Manticore.  I jump.

Dscan from the wormhole shows nothing beyond a POCO.  I am near an outer planet in this system, which has a fair number of signatures.  Only three anoms, though.  System may be inhabited.  Won't find out the truth here.  I bookmark the wormhole, then warp to the inner system to look around.
The system.  My entry on the right.

As I warp across the system, I dscan.  Ventures on scan.  Six of them!  I am in a C5.  C5 plus Ventures almost always means one thing: a core gas site.  There is an ore anom among the three here, but it's in the outer system.  And nobody mines rocks in wspace anyway.  These guys are mining gas.

I work a bit to find a general location for them.  While doing this I see a Flycatcher on scan.  Overwatch?  Unknown.

Then I warp back out to the outer system to refit and launch probes.  My Manticore is currently fit with its general purpose gank fit.  I want the anti-Venture fit: it uses light missiles for better damage against such tiny targets.  It also has two warp scramblers, since one cannot hold a Venture.  Where to refit?  I make a safespot between two moons; that should do.  I check dscan -- clear -- then uncloak and launch my mobile depot.  I hate being exposed!  I also launch probes, then throw them out of the system.

I sit for my tortured minute, nervously watching my dscan for combat probes.  No probes, but I do see a Venture on dscan.  Ooops.  Evidently they are not locals, and are coming from the other signature out here. Will they bug out?

My minute is up.  I swap in the new fit as fast as I can, then grab the depot and cloak.  Safe again!

Range and bearing.  Ready to scan.
I warp to the inner system, to the planet nearest where I think the gas site is.  The Ventures are still there.  Good.  Now I get setup to probe for the gas site.  The range is 2.7 AU.  I set the probes in the correct spot for my 60 degree scan, then start the narrowing.  I get to 5 degrees with surprising ease.

I decide to risk missing the site or having to scan multiple times for a shot at getting it in a single try.  I set my probes to 0.25 AU.  And... I scan.  Ping, ping... a hit!  100% on an Instrumental Core Reservoir!  I recall the probes, and warp to the site... no, wait.  Cancel that warp.

I am looking "down" at the gas site.  (Space has absolute directions.)  Gas sites are aligned up/down, more or less: they are safe to warp into from the sides.  From above in particular, you don't want to warp in at any range for fear of landing in the large cloud.  (Its radius is 50km.)  The gas clouds decloak anything in them.

The only thing really decently far away is the outer system.  So I warp out there to bounce back to the site, at 50km.  I figure to check out what the Ventures are doing and then form a plan of attack.

As I warp back toward the inner system, but still out of range of the site, I dscan and see three Ventures.  Uh oh.  Did they see my probes?  I land in the site (nicely far from the gas), and no Ventures.  Bummer.  I bookmark the gas clouds anyway. 

I warp back to the outer system, and get confusing hits on dscan.  Ventures, then no ventures.  I warp back in.  Same thing.  Eventually I make a safespot right out in the middle of the system, so that I can dscan both out to the outer planet and to the gas site.  I can see the Ventures briefly a few times, but narrow-band dscan shows them not in the gas site.  Spooked, I'd say, but not enough.  They are either warping to and fro among safespots, or possibly cloaking.  Either way, they are still in system.

I'll wait.

I get out my phone and get a game or two of chess in.  Occasionally I dscan and see nothing.  But after a particularly intricate endgame, I dscan again and there they are again.  Narrow band dscan at the cloud: there.  Ha!

I warp back to the gas site, this time at 20km from the site's center.  (I am already far enough away that my angle of approach should be fine.)

I land in the site, and sure enough.  Ventures.  Three are doing something... don't know what... clustered near the edge of the cloud but not moving.  They are about 60km from me.  Perhaps transferring cargo?  Several others seem to be in the middle of the cloud.  And two are orbiting at speed.  I decide to try for an orbiter.  I look at them and find one that seems to be coming around the gas cloud to me.  I wait... he's off to my right a bit.  I start moving that way.  But the cloud is very close... 10km... 6km... I have to slow down, and vector to my right.

Here he comes!  I am close.  But not quite close enough.  I am not going to risk blowing it. 
This guy lived.
OK, I have determined that intercepting a Venture at the edge of a 50km cloud is pretty difficult.  Let's look again at the others.

Those guys in the middle of the cloud... they appear to be right at the center.  This is a huge no-no.  Don't do it Venture people.  Anyway, I check their location using the tactical overlay, and I am right.  They are in the middle.  So, it's an easy approach: bounce off the nearest celestial, then warp straight to the cloud as already bookmarked.  It's a plan!

I warp, then warp again.  The gas will uncloak me; I don't need to do that myself.  So I get ready to hit my sebo and start locking.  The Ventures will all flee, of course.  But I might get two if I am fast.

I land on grid.  I leave warp and the gas uncloaks me.  I start the sebo and then lock the two nearest Ventures.  I turn on both of my warp scramblers, but not the light missiles.  I'll pin one while I shoot another.  The one I am shooting will be able to leave if the pilot is alert.  But I hope he won't be alert.

The plan works.  The one is pinned, and my missiles make short work of the second.  Wow, fast.  I start on the one I have pinned.  Strangely, they are not fleeing.  There's a third Venture still in range, so I lock it.  The first pod flees.  Now the second one dies, and, oops.  I am warp scrambled.

Hmm, I guess it was a trap.  Oh well, no bubble here, not yet.  I'll kill everyone close and then see about escaping.   I open up on the third Venture.  Strangely, none of them are shooting me and I see no drones out.  No damage.  As I check for how I might escape, the one scrambling me warps.  The third one dies.  They are all gone, except one pod.  I kill that.  (It was the one I killed second, I find out in retrospect.)

I check dscan.  Nothing.  OK, safe.  Or safeish -- I am still in a warpable spot they have bookmarked.  But I gather what loot I can carry, which is trivial, and the precious corpse.  Then I warp back home ASAP.  I have a dinner engagement IRL and I must leave in a few minutes.  Back up the chain to home, then I warp to safespot and leave EVE.

I feel good.

A look at the killmails shows another mistake: the Ventures have almost no tank.  No shield extender; no damage control.  Extra hitpoints get you a few extra seconds to react.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Squeeze into Null

Friday night.  I'm home early and the Boy is playing next door.  EVE time!  I log in and check my system, to discover a small wormhole directly to nullsec.  (Small wormholes to null are the only way that C4 systems connect directly to known space.)  Usually I don't explore nullsec, but we are planning to run our local sites tonight.  So I'll check.  I pop through the wormhole, hoping to find a nice empty system.

What I find instead is a nice inhabited system.  And I think I can see the inhabitants on dscan.  There are two ore anoms close together in range.  I point dscan at them and...

Yup.  Miners.  Miner that are out in space.  That's a bit out of the ordinary.  When I am in null ghostbusting, I rarely see any miners on dscan out in space.  They all warp to POS immediately upon my entering the system, I guess.  These guys will too, I don't doubt.  Still...  let me see if I can get on grid with them, for kicks.  I doubt they'll be there in a minute, but I determine the proper ore anom with a five degree dscan, and warp in at 10km.

I land on grid, and they are still there.  Amazing!

Now I start to think about killin'.  I am about 60km from them, and they are all in a group near a couple of anchored cans.  I bookmark the cans, then think about bouncing to land right on top of the miners.
Who can see this without fantasies of slaughter?
But these are not wimpy miners; they are three skiffs and one procurer.  It's not hard to have a skiff with an omni buffer tank in the 70k EHP range.  With a DCII they can get near to 100k EHP.  So I can't kill them that fast.  Skiffs also have drone bonuses, meaning they should be able to shoo off my pesky stealth bomber without breaking a sweat.  In fact maybe they saw me enter on dscan and just are not afraid.

I ponder this.  The obvious solution would be to drop on them in my Onyx.  It doesn't do as much damage as a bomber but its tank is huge.  But an Onyx can't fit through a small wormhole.  Unless... unless it has two warp disruption fields on.  That's it.  I'll put on two.  I'll lose firepower.  But it's the best I can do.

I warp around the system to look for two characters that are in local that I cannot see on grid.  I cannot find them.  Weird, knowing that.  I have an idea, so I make a safespot in the long haul between the inner system and an outer planet.  Then I warp back to the ore site.  The miners are still there.  Good.  I warp back to the wormhole and jump. Then I warp to my POS and refit into Onyx.

I find a spare warp disruption field generator and put it on.  Then I get out EFT and look at the fit.  It does 320 DPS... not great.  In fact, I am not really keen to be on site for four minutes chewing through the shields of one of those skiffs.  But my inner Penny wants a gank, and I figure the chance is too good to pass up.  So I figure on a compromise.  On the assumption that they are not paying attention, I plan to refit in their system to put on my fifth launcher.  400 DPS.  It will still take three plus minutes to kill a skiff.  But that's as much damage as one can do when constrained by a small wormhole.  It will have to be enough.

Deep breath, then I am off.  I expand my fields and cross the wormhole successfully.  Then I warp to my safespot.  I hope they miss dscanning me as I zip by.  From the safespot I cannot see them, and of course vice versa.  The minute of deployment time for depots is always frustrating.  Then I refit, and warp to the can I bookmarked earlier.

I land on grid... and no miners.  Rats.

Oh well.  At least I didn't die.  I warp back to my depot, mindful to watch for combat probes.  There are none.  I refit to put the second warp bubble generator back on, then warp home.

Friday, October 24, 2014

"Blighted" weapons

Evidently CCP plan to introduce a new variant of all short-range weaponry, currently called "blighted".  They'll be in Phoebe.

(The name is awful.  "Blight" is a biological thing and really does not belong in a scifi game, unless you are talking about infection by nanobots or something analogical to the biological.  CCP is aware of this from the thread, where everyone is saying "ugh".  Hopefully it will change.)

Anyway, "blighted" weapons are supposed to be glass-cannon makers.  They are on Sisi right now, although CCP is saying they may change them.  On Sisi they exist in the sense that markets know about them (thus you can see their stats).  But none are actually available.

Currently they get about 10-20% more DPS than a T2 weapon of their type, and can use T2 ammo.  They seem to have T2 power and CPU requirements. Their downside, which is huge, is lowering all ship resistances to 0%.  (It's not clear to me exactly how this is supposed to work: is that resistances before or after other modules' effects?)  Another downside is (or may be) cost.  CCP is saying they will cost like faction weapons.  This will depend on how they enter game, though, as well as if they are useful. 

In their current incarnation, "blighted" weapons seem pretty useless to me.  Highsec gankers might like them, if they are cheap.  Maybe a few alpha fits in other spaces.  But there is one "blighted" weapon application that does seem useful: torpedoes on stealth bombers.  So I am keeping my eye on that.

Monday, October 20, 2014

An Ishtar in C1

It's Sunday evening.  I've been on EVE half the day, with little to show for it.  I did get in some POS fuel earlier, taking advantage of a nice connection three jumps from Jita.  And my Jita alt got his PI goods moved up and down to and from planets.  He had almost run out on all of his planets.  So that was nice.

The main highlight of the day was watching a frigate party swarm a Venture at a wormhole deep down my chain.  (Presumably they came through a small wormhole in the system, from C6.)  I blundered into this, having seen the ships on scan and gotten curious.  I looked, then warped to 70km to the wormhole they were clearly at.  As I aligned for warp, I hit a dscan and there was a freshly -fired warp disruption probe.   Augh!  Abort!  I tried to abort, but it was too late.  I warped and of course ended up about 10km from the wormhole.  But I don't think the gankers knew I was there; they were looking for other prey.   Still, when I hit grid it was only them there.  I had an alarming moment thinking they saw me on scan (which they may well have) and were gunning for me.  But they were not.  I slid back from their bubble and did not even have to warp.  So when the Vexor jumped in a few moments later, I got a good view.  Sorry, no pix.  I wasn't thinking clearly.

Anyway, now it's after dinner time.  By now the main traffic of the day will have died down.  But I still have a nice chain scanned, so it's time to head out and see what I can get.

I head down into C4b.  Nothing.  It's got several wormholes off it; by now they may or may not be there.  But if they are, I am heading in.  If they are EOL, that probably means I instantiated them earlier in the day.  So I'll look.

I look in C1a.  Nothing.  Back up, then to C2a.  The wormhole is EOL.  I head in.  Nothing.

Jayne comes on, and we get on coms and chat a bit.  I'll call him if I can find something to attack.  He logs off.

I head into C1b.  C1b is a terminal system for my chain -- since its static did not lead to more wspace, and it had a lot of sigs, I did not search it down.  I just looked for towers, which there were none of.  And targets, which there also were none of. 

But that was earlier today.  Right now, my dscan from the wormhole is promising.  There's sleeper wrecks, and an Ishtar.  Anything else?  A mobile tractor unit, as one would expect.  And Republic Fleet bouncers.  I move off the wormhole and cloak.

C1b is an anom graveyard, with perhaps 50 anoms of various kinds.  So I am not bookmarking them all.  Instead, I swing around dscan as if looking for a POS at a moon.  Quickly I narrow it to the right site, then warp in at 100km.  This is lucky, since it appears the Ishtar has finished the site and is now setting to salvaging, using salvage drones. 
Salvage drones?

Do salvage drones really work?  Maybe with top skills?  I guess they do work because he slowly cleans out the wrecks.  (He also has a normal salvager.)  He scoops his tractor and warps off.  I catch the direction and easily find the new site.  A sleeper wreck appears on scan. 

Now I text Jayne.  I want to drop on this guy, but I also want a gang.  While I wait, I warp into the sleeper anom and bookmark the target's tractor unit.  I watch him kill a few sleepers.  I start wondering if I can gank this guy without help.  But this rumination is cut short.

Having been there just a few minutes before, Jayne is back on in just a minute.  I tell him the situation, including that the target is in a C1.  This means our "normal" PVP fleet, battleships and Onyx, can't be used.  Our selection of gankfleet material that aren't battleships is meager.  (We try to limit the total value of ships at our POS.)  Anyway, we have Falcons, so Jayne grabs one for his alt.  (Not great in retrospect.)  And he uses his PVP Stratios, which is already perfect for this sort of thing, other than its costliness.

While he is making these choices, I swap my two characters.  Otto can't fly my Onyx, so he heads downchain to becomes my eyes on the target.  I head back upchain to reship.  When I get there, Jayne is ready.  I swap into Onyx.  We're already fleeted, so I fleetwarp us off. 
EVE is pretty.
Back down the chain.  C4a to C4b to C2a to C1b. 

Meanwhile, Otto watches as the target clears the site he is in.  He is now salvaging, with wrecks still being pulled in.  This is a choice point.  He's probably far more alert on dscan now, so there is some risk he'll warp.  The gank would probably be more likely to go off if we wait for his next site.  But that assumes there will be a next site; there is always the chance he'll leave after this one.  Also, I don't fancy waiting out in wspace, even in a decently strong fleet.  There's always someone bigger.  And it could be a while -- he's salvaging with drones.  So I order us in.  We'll take our chances.

We jump the wormhole, then warp to the tractor unit.  The die is cast.  Will he see dscan and warp in time?

No.  We land on grid, and I raise my warp bubble.  He can't warp, but maybe he can run.  We lock him up and get warp scramblers and a web on him.  Now he cannot outrun us either. 
Die, MTU loot thief.

We start in on him, and it is clear pretty quickly that we can break his tank and that he won't escape.  That established, we stop shooting the Ishtar and lock up the tractor unit to kill it first.  We don't want to lose any juicy loot to it.  It dies.
Almost dead.  No, you can't tell.

Now we turn back to the Ishtar and grind it down.  Boom.  The pod, squish.  I turn off my bubble.  We run around collecting drones, Jayne loots the wreck, and I grab the corpse for my personal trophy case.  Then we GTFO and head back upchain.  As Penny says, job's a good one.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Player Owned Taxation Hubs

Gevlon recently posted an idea for creating fights in highsec.  It's overstrong and not pretty, but it shows the right way to create conflict in EVE: private property.  I mentioned in that thread an idea I had some time ago.  It's not on this blog because I posted it before I started here.  So I thought I'd put it up here for future reference.

The new object is called a Player Owned Taxation Hub (POTH).  A POTH is an anchorable object like a mobile depot.  It should be large, enough to make carrying one around with you casually not an option.  So 4000m^3 at least, perhaps more.

The point of a POTH lore-wise is a means of tax collection for an empire.  To encourage such tax collection, the empires pay 50% of the taxes to the POTH's owner.  To discourage frivolous tax collection, it has a non-zero cost.  Blueprints should sell for perhaps 10m ISK, and require a handful of PI goop to build, say 2m.  We expect them to sell for ~13m ISK.

The point of a POTH game-design-wise is to encourage interesting fights in highsec, and to allow automatic tax collection in nullsec.  We'll see how that works in a minute, but first, the rules.

To operate a POTH, a player brings it to a grid, anchors it, and then onlines it.  No more than one POTH can be onlined per grid.  In highsec, some grids -- those near stations, gates and POSes -- are considered already owned, and disallow anchoring.  Other grids are first-come first served.  A POTH should take a minute or so to anchor and another minute come online.  Then the POTH will attempt to collect taxes from everyone on its grid.  We refer to a grid with an online POTH on it as a "taxed grid".

POTHs have configurable rules about what tax rate is required from each character on its grid, analogous to how POCOs are controlled.  These can be changed only when the unit is anchored and not online.  Once online, they cannot be changed without taking the unit offline (requires 30 seconds), and then re-onlining it.  The empires allow a fixed maximum rate of 40m ISK per hour.  (In nullsec, the character can set the maximum amount by hand.) That's the maximum tax rate that the POS will attempt to charge.  Lower rates can be set, as percentages of the maximum rate, according to relations with the owning character.  By default the per-standings rates might be 100% for terrible, 50% for bad, 10% for neutral, 5% for good and 0% for excellent.  In addition there should be boxes for "don't tax my corp" and "don't tax my alliance".  By default, these are on.

As soon as you land on a taxed grid, there should be a warning message.  Once you have been on a taxed grid for more than two minutes, the POTH demands tax via a dialog.  The tax is a quarter hour's worth as described above.  You have one minute to pay, leave the grid, or be criminally flagged.  Upon payment, you get 15 minutes on grid.  After 15 minutes is up, you get dunned again.  As mentioned above, of the taxes paid, half goes to the character owning the POTH.  The other half goes to the sovereign of that space, which in empire means the ISK is sunk.  If there is no sovereign, the full tax goes to the character owning the POTH.

The player should be able to respond to a tax collection popup by checking an "automatically pay this tax" checkbox.  Once he's done that, he no longer gets the popups and instead pays the tax automatically so long as that POTH has stayed online, and he is on its grid.  Note that the tax rates for a POTH cannot be adjusted without taking it offline.

A character with a green safety who does not respond to a tax collection dialog does not go suspect; instead his ship automatically warps a million kilometers off randomly.  Similarly, a character with insufficient ISK to pay the tax and a green safety will autowarp off.

A character with a yellow safety will never warp off.  If he does not respond to the popup he will go suspect.  Don't AFK-mine with a yellow safety!

Anyone has the option to shoot a POTH.  Attacking a POTH, like other mobile structures, gets you criminal flagged.  POTHs have 15000 shields and 25000 armor.  They have 200000 structure.  Like a POS, when they take any structure damage, they offline automatically.  Thus, it is relatively easy to offline one (perhaps so you can online your own), unless it is defended.  All armor and structure must be fully repaired before a POTH can be onlined.

Clever uses are left as an exercise for the reader.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Back to Back Kills for my POS

I've mentioned before the nasty decloak trap I have at my POS.  I was at work today, and I noticed my POS got a kill.

Evidently one D. Cardinal was snooping around my POS got his Astero.  He hit my decloak trap, evidently did not notice it in time, and got killed.  The Astero dropped the Sister's Probe Launcher he had fitted, and a few other things, for 43m in loot.  He wanted that back.

So he podded back home, and he came back 20 minutes later in a Cheetah to scoop the loot.  But somehow, even knowing the trap was there, he got into it a second time.  He did scoop the loot, but he did not get away.  My tower got him a second time.  Ha ha!

I lost a Manticore the other day myself.  I saw an obvious decloak trap, a tower with warp bubbles and literally hundreds of cans anchored there.  There was no way to approach it from an unexpected direction.  But I felt that if I came in from an extreme angle away from the center of the system, and I was alert, that I could get through it.  I was wrong.  I landed on grid -- it took a long time to load, I guess because of the cans -- and I was just within a bubble.  I moved out of the bubble, away from all cans.  But before my cloak had finished its cooldown (15 seconds), I was locked and a gun hit me.  I attempted warp at that point, but it was too late.  Boom, said I.

I've never been locked up that fast before.  Did CCP change something?  I have posted a table of POS module locking times, but (see the comments) there must be some built-in grace period.  I wonder if they lowered the grace period.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Reckless Ratter

It's the weekend and I'm in EVE.  I spent the morning running across highsec after I got trapped out of my home.  Now I am back in my system, and ready to explore.  I head through our static C5 into C5a.  Otto mostly scanned it down earlier.  Now I start poking into adjacent systems to see what's there.

I check out a C4, where nobody is home.  Then Jayne comes on.  He's around this afternoon.  We get on Skype.  Should we zip up our system and run our anoms?  We have six of them, two weeks worth.  Well... C5a has an Instrumental Core Reservoir.  I propose going after it, but we'd have to pop some holes or run with the system wide open.  Or we could just ninja for gas.  But if we are ninjaing, I'd like to get another guy on.  The discussion peters out.  I want to keep hunting, and not do PVE.  So, Jayne logs off.  I'll text him if anything interesting happens.

I head into C3a next.  It's a C3 system adjacent to C5a.  On entering I see the normal tower, with no ships.  There are lots of anoms, something like 30.  Obviously the locals don't run them, or not very often.  I launch probes, then throw them out of the system.  The wormhole is in the inner system.  There are two more planets to check: a second-to-outer planet about 20 AU off in one direction, and an outer planet way out in the other.  I head off towards the first.  Nothing.  OK, over to the outermost planet.

Landing near a moon, I am happy to see sleeper wrecks on scan, as well as a Loki and a Tengu.  Obviously they are running a site near here.  Exciting!  I turn on display of anoms, and point my dscan at each one with a 15 degree arc.  Nothing.  Am I sure?  I try again: nothing.  OK, they must be out in a signature site, which would be a data or relic site.  This is smart on their part, making them considerably harder to gank.

I am up for the hunt, though.  My probes are out of the system, but already launched.  I can use them for the patented Penny hunting method.  First I determine the range -- 3.5 AU.  Not good.  Data/relic sites are very weak sigs.  Even with a five-degree arc, out that far it is very hard to hit one in one try.  It will probably require two scans.  We'll see how alert they are.

I fiddle and fiddle.  Getting a place out in space down to a 15 degree arc is easy.  Getting it down to 5 degrees is hard.  But eventually I get the right bearing.  Moving the probes just right is fussy, but I get that done too.

I set the scan for 0.5 AU.  I align my Manticore in the general direction.  Then I scan.  I get two dots.  But that is pretty good.  The further dot is always the right one, and so I move the probes as quickly as I can and scan again.  100%.  I throw my probes back out of the system, and warp to it at 100km.

When I land on grid, the Tengu is gone.  The Loki is still there.  Maybe I can... nope.  It warps off towards the inner system.  Both ships are gone.  Well, rats.  Evidently they were alert on dscan.

The Loki seemed to go up and left of the sun.  What's there?  I look at my system map.  Well... the wormhole I came in, from C5!  Ooh.  I warp to it at 100km.  I am hoping to see the Loki leave, but when I get into the inner system, it is not on grid and it is not on dscan.  Dammit.

But all hope is not gone.  There is a beautiful wreck field in this system.  I hope the enemy will want it enough to come back, perhaps in a destroyer.  I can gank a destroyer.  (A Noctis would be too good to be true.)

So I sit.  I stay at the wormhole, because I want to see where they are coming from.  I think it is this, but it may be some other wormhole.  So I sit and dscan intermittently, while twiddling prices on the other screen.

After a few minutes, there's a Buzzard on scan.  Coincidence?  Maybe.  And then a Loki, with the same name as before.  Not a coincidence.  I warp back out to the site, again at 100km.  They are in it.  One of them deploys a mobile tractor unit.  I bookmark it, of course.  Perfect place to warp to.  Then the Buzzard goes to start cracking cans.  Aha!  
The scene.

I text Jayne: site runner in Loki.  Then I watch for a bit hoping that Jayne is free.  I'll move back and start making a perch.

There is time.  There are a lot of wrecks spread out all over the place, and tractor units are slow.  They will take time to collect.  (It's better to deploy a tractor when you first enter the site, not after.)  I can't count on Jayne coming though.  So I start to consider how I might gank them by myself.  I don't have anything foolproof.  We have PVP Ravens that can NOS, which could probably kill the Loki.  But it could probably warp before being locked.  (Certainly the Buzzard could.)  Also depending on its fit it might be able to escape one before dying.  We need an Onyx.  I doubt my Onyx could kill it, but I figure it might be worth the try.  At least I might be able to kill the tractor unit.

I log Otto on in order to keep eyes on them.  I bring him down the pipe, then into the perch.  Once Otto is in warp to the site, I warp Von out and back up the pipe to get into my Onyx.  He does this.  By this time perhaps half the wrecks are collected.  The Loki is sitting near them, but evidently it is not salvaging because no wrecks are vanishing.  Perhaps I can get a salvager later?

Jayne logs on.  This changes things.  Now we can surely kill a Loki.  We get on coms.  He gets into two of our PVP Ravens.  These are DPS, as well as neuting.  I am tackle: I put a warp scrambler on the Onyx to prevent the Loki from microwarping out of my bubble.  Then we fleet and move out.  Back down the chain.

While we do this, the Buzzard has finished the cans.  It moves over to the tractor unit, although I cannot figure out why.  Shouldn't it leave and get a salvager?  No matter.  It's the Loki we are gunning for.

After we transit into C3a, we warp to the tractor unit bookmark separately, so that my Onyx will arrive just ahead of the battleships.  Then we wait as we cross the 30AU or so.  Will they bug out?  No.  I land on grid and raise my warp bubble.  I start locking the Loki.  I don't even bother with the Buzzard; I plan to scramble the Loki and the Buzzard surely has a microwarp.  It will escape, and that's OK.

My lock completes.  The Loki is nailed!  I move to orbit it.  It deploys Warrior IIs and sets them on me.  Jayne lands next to me with both Ravens.  As expected, the Buzzard zooms out of my bubble and warps off.

The enemy starts to pull away from me.  It's fast.  But one of Jayne's Ravens has a web.  He locks, and turns on all systems.  Now I catch the Loki.  It's doomed.
We start to hurt the enemy.  But then I realize that mobile tractor is there.  Unlike last time, this time we are killing the tractor first, so it does not suck in our loot and destroy half of it.  We switch to the tractor.  It dies fairly fast, but the Loki has repped back up almost full.  That's OK.  It's not going anywhere fast.

With full DPS on it, and tapped out of capacitor by the Ravens, the Loki cannot stand our damage.  It blows up.  The pod is trapped by my bubble.  I lock it up and ask Jayne if he wants to whore, but he doesn't care.  So, boom.  A costly Pod express.

Jayne gasps at the loot he collects from the Loki wreck.  That thing was blingy! (1.4 billion ISK.  We got about 700m.)  Now we evacuate the system and hightail it back home. The pod was pretty nice too.

I head back in a Coercer to salvage.  I figure I might get killed, but probably not.  And unlike the Loki, if I do get killed I will be out a few million ISK for the ship and maybe another 100m pod.  (Nobody ganks me.)

Lessons learned: if you see probes when ratting in your expensive T3, GTFO and don't come back.  If you must come back, come back in something expendable.

It does occur to me as I write this that perhaps the ratter did not see my probes, and just happened to leave coincidentally because he had killed the last sleeper.  It's possible.  In this case, the lesson learned is watch that dscan.  It is hard to do that consistently; I don't.  Which is why I don't solo rat unless zipped up.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Shut Out Twice

It's the weekend, and The Boy is busy with another boy.  A busy Boy means EVE time.  The weekend means I can interact unwillingly with a lot more people.  And this weekend in particular there is a contest on to score little blue loot.  Let's see if I can find something interesting happening.

I appear in my system, then set off down the chain of a C3 that connected to us last night.  It is EOL, but I have its approximate time of connection, so I have about an hour left before it might close on me.  I head in.

I look through the remains of last night's scanning, down a few systems then back up.  Nothing and nobody seen, except some probes.  I don't have the time to linger to try to figure out whose those are.

Last on my todo list is the home system of Sleeper Social Club, as it turns out, which I found last night and backed out of due to too many Sabres.  But this morning it is quieter, so I have a look around.  Strangely, there's a Retriever out mining by itself.  A trap?  Maybe, but I don't think so.  I am going for it.

I warp on grid.  It's 140km from me.  I have to back away from it just a bit, then I can warp to 10km to the asteroid it's mining.  It's orbiting the asteroid (movement is good!), but it so happens to be perpendicular to me.
New cloak effect in action.

It is easy to fly where it will be, and then (at 6km) I uncloak, lock, and open fire.
It's over quickly.  The miner is alert and the pod flees.  I grab two Strip Miner Is as my well-earned loot, then GTFO out of the ore site and indeed I get GTFO of the system.  This is a large corp, presumably well-able to communicate so I won't get anything else even if there is someone doing something stupid.  Also I don't want to be trapped in here.

I head back up the chain and warp to C3a->C4a... heading home.  I land on grid where the wormhole is... or rather was.  No wormhole.  Oops.  I guess the timing of our bookmark was a bit later than I had thought.  Oh well.  I'll have to scan out of this chain, then scan out from my home with an alt.

I spend the next hour or two doing that.  I find a ghost site in a C1 with highsec access.  Ghost sites in wspace are rare and well worth doing on average.  So I remain in system to watch, as I switch monitors and get busy with Otto, scanning out.

I decide to take my ghostbusting Tengu.  It scans well, and I plan to take it across highsec to myself.  So I set off.  Scanning, scanning, over the bounding main.  Lots of scanning.  I find a highsec exit three jumps down our chain in a C2, but unfortunately it is some 25 jumps to where Von is.  Ugh.  I'll look a little more.  Hanging off that C2 is a second C2, with a lowsec static.  This one is just eight jumps to Von; I'll take it.  Unfortunately it is also EOL.  I'll try to make it snappy.

I warp Otto across highsec, meeting up in a station to hand the Tengu over to Von.  (Otto cannot use T2 codebreakers.)  Von returns to the C1, and the ghost site is still there.  Yay me.  I warp in to run it.  Scanning the cans shows a blueprint for a 'Magpie' mobile tractor unit, which is worth ~250m ISK.  I sweep across the minigame in solid shape, but I cannot find the system core!  Virus suppressor, crunched.  Now I have to start hitting firewalls.  My virus weakens dramatically... the core is not on the far side as is typical.  I start back filling, touching every node.  No luck.  Now I have to use my remaining virus strength attacking firewalls.  Finally I do find the core, with only two nodes left unknown.  But I cannot win because my virus is down to five strength.  Rats.

I move off, and the Guristas come.  Boom goes my can as I clear the codebreaker's range, then the Guristas apply damage.  This is all as expected.  My Tengu can tank it all easily, and eventually they leave.  I cloak and move off, no richer in ISK and poorer in time.

Oh well.  Sometimes you score, sometimes you get nothing.

Back out to highsec, and I give the Tengu back to Otto.  Then we burn across highsec towards the lowsec exit that is EOL.  Jump.  Jump.  Von gets ahead, so he is first to the wormhole... except, no wormhole.  Dammit.

My path to the other entrance is down to 20 jumps.  I start in on it.  Ugh.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

How to Mine Gas Fairly Safely in Wormhole Space

I mine gas from time to time.  I've not yet been killed doing so.  Also, I hunt solo in wormhole space, in a stealth bomber.  Occasionally I come across people mining gas.  When I do, I try to kill them.  I succeed in this more often than I should.  So I know what works and what fails.  Therefore, it's time to write it down.

0. The Old Guide

Actually I have already written a pretty good guide to mining gas in wspace.  Here it is: Gas Mining in Wspace For Newbies.  Please read that if you have not already.  It is a bit out of date, though, and also I've improved my technique a bit since then.  So, here is my new guide which builds on the old.  Consider the old guide included by reference, with the following updates.

I. Nomenclature

Gas sites are now called "gas" sites in the game, and not "ladar" sites.  Good for CCP.

II. Fits

The fit in my original piece is good, but not what I use now.  It is designed to be hard to scan with combat probes.  But it does not take combat probes to get on grid with a gas miner, and combat probes are actually rather rare in wspace.  So that fit, while certainly serviceable, is not what I am using now.  Here's what my corp mines gas in:
[Venture, Gas Miner II]

Damage Control II

Medium Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
Scoped Survey Scanner
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I

Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
[empty rig slot]
The rigs are optional. They'll increase survivability marginally in a few circumstances. The main difference in the fits is the inclusion here of a survey scanner. It's nice to know the amount of gas left. This is also a tech II fit, obviously. You can make it tech I easily by using the parts shown in the original guide.

One can also mine in a Prospect, the new Expedition Frigate introduced in Crius.  Prospects are basically Ventures that can hold twice as much gas, and fit a covert ops cloak.  I have not trained Expedition Frigate yet, because Prospects do not mine gas any faster than a Venture.  And they are more expensive.  Still, the larger ore hold is nice.  So here's what I would do, if I did:
[Prospect, Gas Miner II]

Damage Control II
'Stoic' Core Equalizer I
'Stoic' Core Equalizer I
Local Hull Conversion Nanofiber Structure I

Medium Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
Scoped Survey Scanner
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I

Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
The rigs are there for a travel fit, with the idea of roving through wspace scanning for good gas to mine. If you're not roving, then you can rig it with Low Friction Nozzle Joints to get a faster align time.

III. Operational Security

Sometimes you'll be mining gas in a system you know is zipped up.  Operational security in a zipped system is easy: you just need to strobe the discovery scanner every so often.  (If you aren't sure what I am talking about, read my post Basics: Safety in Wormhole Space.)  New connecting wormholes are rare.

If a new sig appears, you don't need to stop mining.  It might be something other than a wormhole.  (Most new sigs are wormholes, especially since Hyperion, but occasionally not.)  Deploy probes and scan it down.  If it is not a wormhole, proceed as before.

If it is a wormhole, your system must now be considered "open", that is, compromised.  You can mine in an open system, but operational security is much harder.  You must be dscanning as I described in my original guide: once every 15 seconds, if not more often.  Remember that any attacker must scan to find either (a) you (with combat probes), or (b) the gas site you are in.  But his probes need not be out for more than a single scanning cycle, which is 10s.  For harder sites it will probably require two scans, so you have 20+ seconds.

If you see probes, it is likely because you are being scanned.  It is safest to simply bug out immediately as soon as you see them.  But you have a small amount of time, so it is possible to lower the range on your dscan and wait to bug out until you know the enemy probes are close enough to resolve your site.  (Gas sites can be resolved by a highly bonused scanner at 2/1/0.5 AU respectively for "perimeter"/"frontier"/"core" gas sites.  Most scanners require closer, that is 1/0.5/0.25 AU.)

Once you leave a site because you think it has been scanned, don't return to it.  Don't return forever?  Well, at least for an hour or two.  Hunters can be very patient.  Last night I killed two Ventures in a gas site; they'd fled earlier after seeing my probes.  But they returned in 10 minutes, and I was still there.  But that's another story.

IV. Tactical Security

Tactical security is your final failsafe, not your first.  If you even get to the point of having an enemy player on grid with you, you did something wrong.  But Ventures are forgiving, and there is still a good chance for you to survive.

Many people gas mine while sitting still; this is a serious no-no.  Sitting still makes it really easy to sneak up on you.  But it also means that you take more damage when someone does get a shot in.  This is particularly true of the torpedoes that most people have on stealth bombers.  But cloaky T3s often have guns that would have trouble tracking a speedy Venture.  If you were moving.  So move.  You should always mine in motion.

In my original guide I propound mining in orbit of the gas cloud, at 500m.  This is how you should mine the smaller of the two gas clouds in a site.  (Its radius is not large enough for the trick below.)  But there is a better way to mine the larger gas clouds.

Gas clouds, like most objects, decloak anything within 2000m.  So, when you are deep inside the cloud, you cannot be sneaked up on.  At least not within normal scrambler range.  This is a huge benefit!  Sometimes I see people who warp to zero to the cloud and then just sit there mining.  They do gain this benefit, but as noted above, they dramatically increase their own risk by not moving.  But you can have both benefits!

For the large gas clouds, you should mine from within the cloud, orbiting a jetcan.  Even though the center of the cloud would be a perfect object to orbit if you could, you cannot orbit things in EVE at negative distances, which is what you would need.  (Orbits are computed from the outer edge of objects.)  So, you place a jetcan to orbit instead.

The jetcan should be placed at the center of the cloud.  You can get to the center of a cloud most easily by bookmarking it and then warping to it, but this requires time bouncing that you may not want to spend.  If you have warped to the site (as you must the first time you go to it), then it is faster to microwarp to the center of the cloud.  Note that while you can see where the center is when you are distant to it, this display is turned off when you are close.  So, locating the center is hard without aid.  But aid is present: turn on the tactical overlay.  It shows a line going to the center of each object on grid, including gas clouds.

A jetcan can be created by anyone.  You need something in your hold to jettison, but this can be a bookmark.  So, create a personal bookmark (it does not matter the location) then drag it into your hold.  Voila, you've got something.  Right-click on it then select Jettison.  Now you have a jetcan.  The jetcan lasts for two hours, which should be plenty to mine out most clouds.

You should not orbit close (within scrambler range) of the jetcan.  Since the radius of all large gas clouds is 50 km, I orbit at 25 km.  This puts you at the maximum distance from many dangerous locations.  The center of the cloud is warpable, and so is dangerous.  The jetcan is also warpable, and thus dangerous.  (This is why I recommend creating it at the center of the cloud.)  And all of wspace outside of the cloud allows cloaking, and so is dangerous.  By staying in between, you minimize the danger to you from cloaky attackers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Phoebe: Bones

CCP has a new dev blog out featuring stuff coming up in Phoebe.  There's a lot of things of moderate interest to me.  But then there is this:
Data sites get better reward balance and a variety of new items will be possible to find in these exploration sites. Data and Relic sites found in Null Security Space will also be present in wormhole Class 1-3 systems. An upcoming blog will describe the changes.
(My emphasis.)  This means for the first time there is a reason for unarmed frigates to come into wspace to seek their fortune... and also to be killed by me!  Yay!

Also, scanner window separation:
there will be separate windows for Directional Scanner, Scan Probes and Moon scanning.

Of interest to everyone: UNLIMITED SKILL QUEUE!
in Phoebe you will be able to construct and start training skill queues of unlimited time length.
Finally, not in the dev blog but via Nosy, there is a very interesting rumor:
Cloaked ship decloaking others on SISI.
I'll be testing this tonight.  If this is true, it's another godsend for me.  [UPDATE: Just tested.  Yes, two cloaked ships decloak each other.]  Imagine it: you see probes in a system you've already scanned down.  So you warp around to each wormhole sig at zero, trying to find the one the guy is scanning next.  If you uncloak, it's because the other guy warped to the sig at zero.  He uncloaks too, of course.  For me, GTFO if he's in T3; engage and destroy if covert ops.  Should be particularly fun for T3s.

First time I've been excited about a new release in a while.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Another Massacre

It's corp night.  That's the night we get together as a corp to run PVE sites in C4 -- usually -- to earn ISK.  Since we got a C5 static in Hyperion, C5 is now also a possibility.  We got our latest incarnation of our PVE fleet ready to go last night.  So, tonight we are hoping for a good system.

I log on.  I expect the guys to appear in an hour or so.  But I am on by myself right now.  This is wspace, so there is no gain without scanning.  Let's see what we've got in the home system.  A bunch of new sigs since last night.  Only two gas sites have persisted, but there are five sigs.  This is likely to mean we have a K162, but it might mean a new sig site.  Only one way to find out.  I launch probes and scan.

Sure enough, the extra sig is a K162.  I warp to it; it's from C2.  That probably means a highsec connection, which would be nice if we needed anything.  But we don't really, and we will probably be popping this wormhole.  I also scan down our statics, and fly there to bookmark them.  The statics may or may not be linked from the far side; that depends on whether whoever opened up the connection from C2 came in and instantiated them.  But the K162 is linked for certain.  I'll look at it first.  I warp to it, and jump into C2a.

As always when I jump in wspace, I dscan upon entering C2a.  And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but two mobile depots and one tiny reindeer.  No, I mean a Ferox.  A Ferox?  Caldari battlecruiser, T1, guns.  Shield based tank means big sig radius likely.  Guns means I might be able to kill it in my Manticore.

I am near the outer planet in this system, which is rather far out from the rest.  So I can only see it on scan.  I bookmark the wormhole, then move away and cloak.  Now I look to see if I can find the Ferox.  If it is out in space, I cannot.  But it might be at some moon or something.  A quick narrow-beam dscan of the nearby planet disproves that theory.  It's out in space.  I dscan towards the inner system.  It appears to be on grid with a mobile depot, or maybe both depots.
A ship not in a POS
I dscan again, expecting that by now it has disappeared.  But it is still there.  That's... odd.  Why would someone be sitting out in nowheresville?  I can't fathom.  What I can do is get combat probes.  Not in my Manticore, of course.  The CPU is far too limited.  I'll log in my alt, Otto, for the purpose.

I log Otto in, then fly him to our tower to change ships.  He's got a Cheetah that has combat probes, so I get that, then warp to the wormhole.  As I warp, though, a dscan from Von shows the Ferox is gone.   Rats.  Kind of expected that, really.

I bring Otto in anyway, and orbit the wormhole at 30km cloaked.  It is possible the Ferox is running sites or something, and so I may still want the combat probes.

Meanwhile, Von examines the system map.  There is just a single anom in the whole system.  It's an ore site in the inner system.  Recently I have taken to entering un-dscanned space by warping to ore anoms if they exist.  The reason for that is that if miners are there, you find out via overview.  You do lose the possibility of luckily finding of a tower at a moon.  But you also eliminate the possibility of warping into a tower with a decloak trap.  So, all in all a slight win.  I warp Von to the ore site.

As I enter the inner system, I dscan, and my excitement rises.  Covetor!  Miasmos!  Retriever!  Mack!  There's a mining op on!  And I am headed to the only place it can be.

Sure enough.  I land on grid and there they are.  They are about 80km from me, so I can use Look At.  Three of them are clustered together near an arkanor asteroid.  The fourth, the Mack, is elsewhere in the field.  You might ask WWPD?  But I know, and I think you know.  This is a miner massacre waiting to happen!  I bookmark the asteroid, then hightail it back to the wormhole.  I am going home to get my Onyx.

Otto will keep cloaky eyes on.  I warp him into the ore anom, where he sits and watches.

Von crosses into C4a, then flies to my tower.  He gets into my Onyx, then warps right back to the wormhole.  This is no time to be worrying about polarization.  This is a once in a year opportunity which should not be missed.  The operation might break up at any moment.

I cross back into C2a, and sit cloaked a second.  Where to warp to?  A little eyeballing with Otto shows that the arkanor asteroid is a bit further away from the outer system than the miners.  So I warp the Onyx to the ark at 10km.  The die is cast.  I notice as I am doing this that the Mack has now joined the other miners.  Mwahahaha!

Will the Ferox interfere?  I don't know.  I don't know if my Onyx can kill it in a straight-up slugfest or not.  I do know, though, that I'll get a bit of warning.  I'll dscan.  And if the Ferox does warp in to attempt to help, my bubble will stop it before it lands right on me.  If it has a scrambler, it can't pin me before I can (maybe) drop my bubble and attempt to flee.  But I think I'll take my chances and just slug it out.

All this rumination is cut short as I land on grid.  Hands shaking!  Cool.  The miners don't flee in time.  I pop up the bubble, and start locking up ships.  It's killin' time.
Trapped in my bubble.
I kill the Mack first since it's most expensive.  The barges have some drones, which attack.  But they can barely more than scratch my paint, and they will soon be turned off.  When the Mack dies, I shift to the Retriever, Covetor, and finally Miasmos.  I get a conversation request from someone as I am killing the ships, but I have no time for that now.  While I am still killing the barges, I move over to loot the Mack's wreck.  I get a bunch of low-value loot, but it fills up my Onyx.  The barges all killed, I dispatch the pods.  (Strangely I miss one of them.  Not sure what happened there.  Did not notice it get away.)
I feel like a god.  Fear me!  I dscan from time to time through the massacre, but I never see the Ferox.  Now that it's done, I feel it's time to GTFO.  I don't know who lives here.  The Ferox may be swapping ships into something appropriate to kill me.  So, I turn off the bubble (this takes a while), and when it finally deflates, I warp to the wormhole back home.

I check Local for the time to see if I am still polarized.  (I am not.)  I am amused to find the following conversation there:
[ 2014.10.08 23:48:58 ] NightFury128 > Hello :D
[ 2014.10.08 23:49:09 ] Alpha Strike Toaster > SUP :D
[ 2014.10.08 23:49:31 ] NightFury128 > Hows hows WH life been?
[ 2014.10.08 23:50:08 ] Alpha Strike Toaster > good I enjoy it so far. trying to get into Astral inferno to try it out more.
[ 2014.10.08 23:50:17 ] NightFury128 > ah nice
[ 2014.10.08 23:50:47 ] NightFury128 > WH space can be fun :)
[ 2014.10.08 23:51:43 ] Alpha Strike Toaster > It has been so far. I'm curious what it's like living out of a POS
[ 2014.10.08 23:52:13 ] NightFury128 > in High sec space? meeeh not very exciting
[ 2014.10.08 23:52:20 ] dav Uitra > u do know talking in wh local shows all the other players that ur active lol
[ 2014.10.08 23:52:21 ] Forloth Rollard > ^^^^^
[ 2014.10.08 23:52:32 ] NightFury128 > lol
[ 2014.10.08 23:52:51 ] NightFury128 > I like being socialble :)
[ 2014.10.08 23:53:16 ] dav Uitra > makes u a target use a channel
[ 2014.10.08 23:53:32 ] NightFury128 > k
Ironic.  I did not see this in time for it to matter.

Meanwhile, I have this lovely chat with CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK:
[ 2014.10.09 00:03:57 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > what an ass hole
[ 2014.10.09 00:04:12 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > we are a new miner corp you would have mad more if asked us to pay
[ 2014.10.09 00:04:45 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > never mind, your a pussy not an asshole
[ 2014.10.09 00:05:43 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > poor little pussy cant fight anyone with gus?
[ 2014.10.09 00:06:26 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > most the guys you killed are players less then a month
[ 2014.10.09 00:07:39 ] Von Keigai > Sorry, was busy.
[ 2014.10.09 00:07:48 ] Von Keigai > Hi.
[ 2014.10.09 00:07:49 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > being a pussy, yes
[ 2014.10.09 00:07:59 ] Von Keigai > Look.  I don't pause to look at bios or whatever before I kill.
[ 2014.10.09 00:08:06 ] Von Keigai > I kill first, ask questions later.
[ 2014.10.09 00:08:21 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > because your a pussy, it was easy for any body but a noob to see
[ 2014.10.09 00:08:30 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > duh no fighting escort, no links
[ 2014.10.09 00:08:46 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > all bunched up
[ 2014.10.09 00:09:05 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > lol, what atool, your skill must really suck to pick on a new miner corp like that
[ 2014.10.09 00:09:33 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > you even pod killed, waht a totall pussy to pod kill after that
[ 2014.10.09 00:09:48 ] Von Keigai > Hmm.  Pod killing is de rigeur for wspace.
[ 2014.10.09 00:09:53 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > pod killed people who cant fight wow what a man, lol
[ 2014.10.09 00:09:58 ] Von Keigai > I think this is a valuable lesson for your new guys.
[ 2014.10.09 00:10:02 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > no
[ 2014.10.09 00:10:13 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > taught me what a real pussy looks like
[ 2014.10.09 00:10:31 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > a man would have said wait these guys could need some help,
[ 2014.10.09 00:10:42 ] Von Keigai > I am sorry you are so hurt.  That's EVE, friend.  Permanent gain, permanent loss.
[ 2014.10.09 00:10:48 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > a child or boy acts like you did
[ 2014.10.09 00:11:06 ] Von Keigai > I am not a man.  I am a monster.  Don't forget that in wspace.  Most people here are.
[ 2014.10.09 00:11:11 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > i am not hurt, just amazed at what a tool you are
[ 2014.10.09 00:11:22 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > monster, lol
[ 2014.10.09 00:11:25 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > your a child
[ 2014.10.09 00:11:32 ] Von Keigai > Aw, so hurt.
[ 2014.10.09 00:11:41 ] Von Keigai > Did you lead these guys up here?
[ 2014.10.09 00:11:47 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > not trying to hurt you, your too noob for that
[ 2014.10.09 00:11:57 ] Von Keigai laughs.
[ 2014.10.09 00:12:37 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > run away child, find more targets that cant fight back
[ 2014.10.09 00:12:53 ] Von Keigai > Um, I just did.  A clump of them.
[ 2014.10.09 00:13:04 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > another miner group?
[ 2014.10.09 00:13:12 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > wow, what a pussy
[ 2014.10.09 00:13:58 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > whats really funny is in all you pussniess you missed the most valuable target, lol nood
[ 2014.10.09 00:14:25 ] Von Keigai > Please educate me then.  What did I miss?  Other than some kills?
[ 2014.10.09 00:14:53 ] Von Keigai > I am always looking to improve.
[ 2014.10.09 00:15:13 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > the ship, 100 km off, no pilot, thank god you did not pod ivanna
[ 2014.10.09 00:15:29 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > hopefully by now she has it and is gone
[ 2014.10.09 00:15:41 ] Von Keigai > I went for the clump.  Assault missiles have a range of about 25km.
[ 2014.10.09 00:15:43 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > no kill mal
[ 2014.10.09 00:15:46 ] Von Keigai > Could not go after both.
[ 2014.10.09 00:15:53 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > so she must still be alive
[ 2014.10.09 00:16:42 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > well if you would have been smart you would have it the unpiloted trasport ship first, that would have been right up your pussy little ally
[ 2014.10.09 00:17:29 ] Von Keigai > Missed one?  That was in range?
[ 2014.10.09 00:17:42 ] Von Keigai > See, now you are helping in spite of your anguish.
[ 2014.10.09 00:17:45 ] Von Keigai > Thanks.
[ 2014.10.09 00:18:11 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > no, we were invited in for a little minig because we are Hi sec, we wont be back
[ 2014.10.09 00:19:16 ] Von Keigai > Well.  Live and learn, eh?  Or die and learn?
[ 2014.10.09 00:19:21 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > 30 Day Pilot's License Extension (PLEX)  30 Day Pilot's License Extension (PLEX)  Tobacco  Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane I  1MN Afterburner I  Acolyte TD-300 Blueprint
[ 2014.10.09 00:19:38 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > some of what you missed, we were on a trasport mission when they invited us in
[ 2014.10.09 00:19:54 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > Concentrated Veldspar  Concentrated Veldspar
[ 2014.10.09 00:20:16 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > Expanded Cargohold II she said she is safe in .4 space, need to go later
[ 2014.10.09 00:20:38 ] CAPTAIN CRIMSON HAWK > i would have given you the ship to let my friedns live, lol dumb ass pussy
"we are Hi sec, we wont be back."  Yup.  He claims he was transporting PLEX.  In wspace.  I'd have loved to gank that, assuming it was the truth.

This chat goes on as I continue doing stuff.  Back home, I get into an Iteron V to collect loot and corpses.  It is fit for medium sized cargo, about 17k m^3m and two warp core stabs.  Seems about right for the task.  But back at the ore anom, Otto sees the Ferox land on grid.  What is it doing?  I dunno.  In any case, I can't go there now in a transport.  I want to kill the Ferox.  What ship should I use?  Hmm.  Probably one of our PVP Ravens.

As I consider this, Hiljah logs in.  Corp night!  Well, having a gang changes things.  I mention in corp chat I have a target.  Then Jayne logs in.  We get on coms.  I get back in the Onyx.  Hiljah gets something, an Arazu I think, and Jayne gets a Raven.  We warp to the wormhole.  We'll warp straight to the ark asteroid bookmark, pin the Ferox, and kill him.  Before we can jump, though, he warps out.  Dammit!  He's salvaged the wrecks (?) and perhaps looted some.  But there is some loot still there.  And the bodies.  I notice now that there are more corpses than I made: there are five.  Eh?  Is this the second gank these guys have suffered here?  (EVE is strange.)  In any case, I warp back home to get back into the Iteron V.

The Ferox appears on dscan at the wormhole.  It seems it is back at a mobile depot.  We call for combat probes.  Jayne logs in an alt who can probe.  This takes time.

Meanwhile, I have taken the Iteron in to C2a and warped to the site of the massacre.  I figure I want the Ferox to try to stop me.  I'll stay on grid as long as I can while my buddies land.  But the Ferox is still in the outer system.  I run around collecting loot and all five (again: ?) corpses.  Then I warp back.

The guys have probes out, but did not get a 100% hit in time.  The Ferox disappears.  If I were him, I'd warp out of the system.  But he seems to have cloaked.  We lurk about a while longer.  We search down the mobile depots and the Ferox reappears.  We get a 100% hit and get Hiljah on grid.  Hiljah almost gets the Ferox, but it decloaks and warps just in time.  Oh well.  It still remains in system, but we can't find it and decide to forget about it.  If he has any skill, he can evade us easily.

We pull out and pop the hole.  Onward with PVE.  These hits don't pay for themselves.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Anomalous Prices

CCP is running a contest that may be of some interest to wspace residents.  It is detailed in a recent dev blog titled Anomalous Materials: The Research Race of YC 116.  The key parts:
The empire navies are requesting donations of Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries to help them [technobabble]. 
... this storyline and the associated donation drive will lead directly to new technology falling into the hands of players in the near future. The relative success of each empire’s donation drive will determine in what order each faction will get access to this new technology. 
Each faction navy will also express their gratitude through a special ingame item representing an honorary commission to their forces. The commissions will be given to the character that donates the highest value of Neural Network Analyzers and Sleeper Data Libraries (combined and weighted) to each faction over the course of the event.
This event is open now, and will run until downtime on Tuesday, October 14th.
So, two things of interest here.  First, until next Tuesday, Neural Network Analyzers (NNAs) and Sleeper Data Libraries (SDLs) should sell at a premium.  Ordinarily NNAs sell to NPC buy orders for 50000 ISK.  SDLs sell for 200000 ISK.  There is no reason to take less, and (blue loot being useless otherwise) no reason for anyone to offer more.  The NPC price, of course, won't change.  But the prices at market hubs will rise.

How far will prices rise?  This we cannot know.  Since the only real reason to contribute to this drive is vanity, we can imagine not that much.  On the other hand, there are a lot of players with so much wealth in ISK that they have nothing to buy with it.  If one of them decides he wishes to win this contest, the price can rise almost arbitrarily.  The supply of blue loot is only a little bit elastic.

As I write this, NNAs are selling at Jita between 115000 (high buy) and 190000 (low sell) ISK.  SDAs are selling between 300000 (high buy) to 549000 (low sell) ISK.  (We expect the two prices to stay at a ratio of 1:4, which they are very roughly.)  As one expects, the low-priced supply of these items outside of trade hubs has been completely sucked up.  I expect the prices to rise, since there was a supply of old sell orders through this morning.  From here on out, all supply must come out of stockpiles or fresh from wspace.

So, this is the time to make some extra profit.  If you are planning to sell blue loot, don't take the NNAs and SDLs to an NPC station.  Take them to a hub and profit.

A related way in which this may be good for wspace people is that there are going to be a lot of extra players in wspace this week, looking to make a bit extra from blue loot.  Newbs in lower wspace ratting solo or in small gangs?  You know what to do.

The other item of interest here is that "new technology".  Presumably CCP is planning to add some new stuff to the game.  If lore-wise a tech is a result of blue loot, there is a good chance it will be T3, or more broadly it will be something requiring inputs from wspace.  So, this may represent new wealth for us in the moderately near future.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Penny Out; Chessur In

I have been writing this blog now for a year and a half.  And of course before I started writing about EVE, I was playing it and reading other people's blogs.  Blogging is a peculiar hobby.  It is unpaid of course; nobody pays for writing of this level.  At times it seems like work.  Some people have what it takes to write a blog seeming indefinitely.  But I am not one (I know this from other blogs I have kept IRL).  And I doubt that many people are.  Writing is hard work sometimes.

It is inevitable, then, that over time anyone who reads blogs is going to have favorite blogs go dark.  This already happened to me in EVE, short a time as that has been, with Jester ceasing to blog.  And now there's another casualty: Penny Ibramovic, ace huntress and proprietor of Tiger Ears, has ceased blogging, at least for now.  She cites IRL circumstances (unspecified) in her exceedingly brief farewell note, a comment on her last post.
After 6 years of pretty much daily blogging, reaching a tidy 2,001 posts about EVE Online—2,002 now—seemed like a good place to, well, at least take a break. 
My circumstances may be changing to the point where I can't commit to writing on the same schedule, and I thought a clean break at a milestone would be better than fizzling out. It seems that my final post wasn't quite as unambiguously final as I expected. 
I may get bored and start writing again, you never know, but I am taking a break for now.
Surely it is too early to write an obituary.  Writers will write, and Penny is a writer.  (Indeed I am a bit of one.  I took up EVE blogging in part because the political blogs I'd been commenting on had gone dark.)  As I said of Jester, he'll be writing again I am sure.  Whether it is EVE Online or some other interest that Penny writes about in the future, it will be blessed by her presence.

That said, I did want to make note of it and say thank you.  Penny inspires me in several ways, which I thought I'd mention by way of saying thanks for all the memories.  I learned to hunt mostly on my own, and from other stuff I'd read online (read down for a bit more related to this).  But Penny's tales certainly strengthened this knowledge.  And I know I learned to recognize K162s due to Penny.  It's mostly simply knowing that something is possible, but Penny also had the canonical compilation of wormhole appearances.  I also want to specifically mention Penny's camera work, which is awesome.  She gets good screenies and lots of them.  Compare the spotty and/or crap screenshots I get in combat and you'll see the difference.  I am improving on that, I like to think, and that is in part due to the fact that I know from Penny that it is possible.

Another way that Penny inspired me was her in-game exploits, which made and make me want to replicate them.  I trained into Loki because Penny was flying Lokis.  (Now I am training Proteus, although that won't be ready for months.)  I trained Onyx in part based on the hope of replicating a miner massacre like Penny.  (This dream I did accomplish, although not as fulsomely as Penny did.  Someday I hope to do it again and perhaps even exceed the master.)   In game I sometime quail at some engagement, then I think to myself what would Penny do?  She'd attack.  So I attack.

In addition to in-game victories, Penny also inspires me with her sheer output.  When I have nothing interesting, I don't write.  Or I cast about for some metagame or game design idea to write about.  Penny writes what is in front of her, day in and day out.  This is hard to do.  The life of the wormhole hunter is mostly deadly dull.  Scanning, scanning, scanning.  Each day, every day, at least 90% of your time.  I don't mind it that much, but neither is it very interesting.  Oh, another gas site!  Of the remaining time, there's a bit spent lurking about, an even smaller amount spent making decisions about what to do.  And there is a razor-thin slice of time spent actually in combat or otherwise doing something inherently interesting.  This latter bit is the payoff that makes it all worthwhile.  But it's not the reality on its own.  It is pretty much impossible to convey in writing how boring a hobby hunting in wspace is most of the time, but Penny does at least point in that direction.  And she does it without being boring, by virtue of stylish writing and humor.  (Humour, I suppose.)  Her last bits of writing, reviewing Oblivion while killing sleepers, were particularly great.

And so Tiger Ears is quiet for now.  One blog does not a section make, but now that I have two blogs that I wish to record for posterity, I am making a blogroll for it.  

In vaguely related news, since I was adding the new section for quiescent blogs, I went looking for a blog that inspired me even before I found Tiger Ears, back when I was in highsec.  That blog is Confessions of a Wormhole Killer.  I've not linked it up before because it was quiescent two years ago back when I found it, and I assumed it stayed that way.  But it hasn't; there's new stuff there!  The writer, Chessur, probably more than anyone else inspired me to want to be in wspace.  So he is in my blogroll and he's got a place of honor in my heart.

Penny does too.  She probably knows that, seeing how much I refer to her.  But just in case, Penny, you will be missed.  You are already.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sleeper Remote Repair Working

Ever wonder what those remote repairing sleepers were doing?  It always seemed to me like "not much", and evidently that has been the case.  CCP apparently broke the RR code at some point in the past before I was ever in wspace, or at least before I started running C4 sites.

But now CCP has fixed sleeper remote repair.  Here is CCP Fozzie in a forum thread:
The issue that had been breaking the remote reps in incursions was also breaking the remote reps from sleeper NPCs. For the past while sleepers have not been applying any of their remote reps (you were only seeing their local reps). They are now once again working at original spec.
There is a good summary in that same thread of the effects.   Real short version: no RR in C1/C2 so no effect.  Not much RR in C3.  C4 and C5 have several sites with 1000+ DPS of RR, so don't do those sites solo.  (Or maybe it's no big deal in C4; some posters say more like 200.)   Probably little effect on any decent sized gang. 

Coincidentally, my corp ran Garrisons in C5 for the first time the other day.  (10 characters.)  We noticed the much higher repping in a few cases, to the point it was hard to break some of the frigs without a full light drone swarm being applied.  I just figured that more repair is how those sites worked.  Ha.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Hit and a Miss

It's the weekend.  The Boy is away, and so I play.  EVE, that is.  I log Von then I log my alt, Otto.  Since I have the two accounts, I try to use the second even when I concentrate mostly on the first.  Often this means ice-mining in highsec while I explore.  But lately I have been logging on Otto in a Hound.  I use him to monitor a wormhole in my home system, and to maybe help trap people at my tower's nasty decloak trap.

Our home system has its normal two connections.  The C5 is getting old, but I have time.  I check out our C4 static first.  We instantiated it last night, and it only has about an hour left.  I explore it down a few layers finding nothing interesting.  In one final system I find a guy idling at his tower in an Occator.  I watch for a few minutes.  Then I realize I can't hang out here for long, and return back up the chain.

Coming back into my system, I see a new sig.  That's interesting, because it is likely to indicate activity.  I scan down the new sig, which is a wormhole as expected.  It is a C2.  I head in to explore.  Meanwhile, I fly Otto over to watch it, in case anyone enters.  They probably already did -- that's why the K162 is there -- but you never know.

In C2a there are four live players at a POS: two in Tengus, another in a tranport, and a scout.  It's always nice to see live players.   But they are not doing anything, so far as I can tell.  After I sit and watch them for five minutes, I give up.  I scan the system down to see what may lie beyond.

Beyond is a highsec exit, which I transit to highsec and bookmark just in case.  Then I return polarized, not fearing that any more.  Another sig is a second C4 connection.  I head further down the chain.

In C4f, I find a guy all by himself, mining gas in a Prospect.  Unfortunately, I assumed the system was empty after seeing all but an outer planet.  I started scanning his sig before flying to the outer planet he is near.  He sees my probes, and aborts to a POS that is also at the outer planet.  I start to scan down the system including the sig he was in.  He is sitting at his POS.  After a while, he gets in an Anathema and goes out to scan.  Presumably he has noticed my new wormhole.

I get a fancy new idea.  Perhaps he will go to my new wormhole predictably.  I am nearly done scanning.   So I scan down the wormhole I entered.  I have already bookmarked the wormhole itself, as a matter of course, when I came in.  But I don't know where its signature is.  Thus the scanning.  I find the signature in one try since I know precisely where it is.  Then I fly to it.  I pull my probes.

Now I watch the enemy probes.  I am waiting for them to vanish.  Eventually they do.  I wait 20 seconds, then I uncloak and turn on my sebo.

I am hoping that he has pulled his probes because he found my wormhole.  (Presumably he should have already scanned down everything else.)  He will want to bookmark the wormhole proper, so I am hoping he'll warp to the sig at zero.  This is the lazy thing to do, but safe 99% of the time.  I hope to be the 1%.  I'll be there at zero.  There is a good chance he'll be uncloaked.  If so, I hope I can lock him before he can warp.

That's the plan.  In fact, nothing happens.  I watch dscan and after about 20 seconds I see him.  We are not near his POS, so I guess he must have exited one of the other wormholes.  Oh well.  I'll have to keep trying this one. 

There are two further systems that he might have exited to: a C1 and a C2.  I randomly choose C2, and keep exploring.  I don't see him there.  There are three guys as a POS, doing laps just inside the force field.  I watch this for some time, then give up.  I re-enter C4f.  I check the POS -- still gone.  Then I check out C1. 

I am warping around C1 to look for towers when I hear wormhole noise.  Alert!  It must be Otto.  I focus on Otto's screen, and I see a Stratios enter.  I like the look of that.  Unlike cloaky T3s, Stratioses cannot be interdiction nullified.  As such, they can blunder into my trap as easily as its normal victims which are covert ops frigates.  I warp Otto back to my perch just off the decloak trap.  I watch for a few minutes but nothing happens.  Oh well. 

I turn back to Von in C1.  There is a guy in a Venture, but he's idle at a POS.  There are some ore anoms, which he might be thinking about mining.  There is no gas, there being just two sigs.  So I wait, to see if he makes a move.

I hear guns.  Eh?  Otto!  My POS guns are firing!  Yes, there's the Stratios.  I uncloak Otto and get his sebo on, then lock the Stratios with shaking hands.  I don't want to miss this.  Locked!  It is dead unless it has warp core stabilization.  I set Otto's orbit at 15km.  I doubt the Stratios can kill me in the short time it has left, but I don't want to find out.

The Stratios attempts to get out of the trap.  It clears the warp bubble, but evidently it does not have warp core stabilization.  I expect the Stratios to lock me, but it does not come before the tower kills it.
Finish him.

I am ready, and immediately lock up the pod.  Pods should be able to flee even a boosted frigate, but I guess he is so flustered from the attack that he dithers that extra second.  Otto locks.  He kills the pod with torpedoes.

Well, score one for little Otto.  Otto the spider, sitting so patiently in his web... Otto grabs the corpse and loots as much as he can from the wreck.  Nice stuff: Coreli A-Type Adaptive Nano Plating.  Loot fairy loves me today.  Then he gets a Coercer to salvage, even though it is T1.  Leaving a wreck in your trap is a red flag.

Then Otto heads back out to sit at the C2 wormhole and watch.  Maybe someone else will come in. 

Back to Von.  The Venture has logged out.  So I head back up.  Back in C4f, I fly to the POS to check and the guy who was there earlier is not there... but his Prospect is on scan!  He'll be in the gas again.  I dscan to verify: yes, in the gas.

I warp out to distant planet to refit to my anti-Venture fitting.  I hate taking the time, but I think it will be necessary.  A Prospect has no built-in warp core stabilization, but I expect it to have two points fitted because it has the low slots for it, and why not?  What else helps it survive?  So I waste two minutes refitting.  Then I fly to the gas site (a vast frontier reservoir) at 20km.

I land on grid, and there he is, 50km away.  There is only one gas cloud, the C28 cloud.  Evidently he has already sucked the C32 cloud entirely.  I watch for a moment to see which way he is moving.  And... he is not moving.  It's hard to believe: he is just sitting there sucking gas.  (Listen, kids, this is a bad way to do it.)  Well, he may not know how to mine safely, but I know how to take advantage of that.  I move straight at him.

This will take a while, so I look around to see if there is any celestial that I might bounce off of.  But there's not.  So I just keep moving at him.  I have to steer up a bit to avoid the cloud, but it's only a mild change of vector.  Won't be long now... 21km...

Closer... closer...

I am almost to warp scrambler range: 15km.  I start to rehearse in my mind what I'll do.  12km.  Suddenly the gas cloud vanishes!  Oh no!  He'll warp for sure.  In desperation, I uncloak and pulse my microwarp, and start locking.  I initiate my scramblers.  I hope that the lock completes and I am in range to scramble.

He vanishes.  What?  Ah, Prospects can cloak.  He's probably warped by now, but I continue in the direction I was hoping for a lucky decloak.  No such luck.  He's gone.