Thursday, January 29, 2015

Jab and Riposte

It's corp night again.  Last night I prepared C5a for us, should it prove worthy.  By going in a day in advance, I can instantiate all the 16-hour wormholes that may be sitting around there uninstantiated, and get them to go away.  So I don't have to pop them to be safe.  But of course, new wormholes can pop up all day long, and there's nothing I can do about it.

I have to check for new wormholes, and I might as well do it now, before my corpmates show up.  Actually I am only expecting Jayne tonight.  But last night I found the best gas site in the game, an Instrumental Core Reservoir, in C5a.  If it's still there today, which is highly likely, then we'll run it.  We can be in, kill the sleepers, and out probably before anyone can scan us down.  So that's my plan.  I warp to the wormhole C4a->C5a, and jump.

Plans change.  In this case, I see a full set of Sister's core probes, as well as two Ventures.  There is no live tower on scan from here (in fact I know from last night that there is no live tower in the system).  So the two Ventures are out in space somewhere.  Almost certainly gassing in the Core Reservoir, right?  A single narrow-band dscan confirms it. 

I am in my normal Manticore fit, unable to tackle a Venture.  So I need to refit to my fit with two scramblers.  Where can I do that?  I could go back home to do it, but that means two more uncloaks at the wormhole.  It also means five minutes of polarization.  Not a good option.  This system is rather small.  The furthest planet is an outer planet about 14 AU out.  That's almost far enough... fortunately, last night I scanned down a wormhole that is near that planet, and about two AU further away.  I think that is far enough to be off dscan.

I warp to the wormhole near the outer planet, making a safespot when I get close.  Then I turn around and warp to that safespot.  From it, I cannot see much on dscan.  It will do.  Of course I have no idea whose probes those are; it might be one of the Ventures scanning, or it might be some other ship.  If it is another ship, there's some chance it will come out here and dscan.  But at least I can hope that the pilot is probing and isn't dscanning actively.

I launch my mobile depot, then orbit it at 2500 cloaked while I wait for it to online.  Dscanning shows nothing during this time.  When the depot onlines, I get in close and uncloak, and refit.  Then I grab everything, and warp to the gas site at 100km.

As I warp over, I am considering my options.  Jayne should be online any minute now, and I might hasten that.  We got a similar setup last week, him dropping on them in a Sabre so we got pods.  But before I do that, I want to get on site and see what's happening there.

I land in the site.  I came in from the side, so I am not worried about being decloaked by the gas.  And indeed, the large cloud of C320 is entirely gone.  Both Ventures are there, now sucking at the small cloud, the C540.  This is bad.  A single Venture can suck up one of these small clouds in less time than it takes for sleepers to come, which is 20 minutes.  Two can suck it in 10 minutes.  I don't know how long they have been at it.  But probably they won't be on site for more than a few more minutes.

There's no time for Jayne.   I have to get in there pronto.  I bookmark the gas cloud, then warp to the sun (which is close) to bounce.  As I warp, I am trying to recall how large the C540 cloud is.  I think it's about 15km in radius, but I am not sure of that.  20km would probably be safe, but maybe not.  I decide to warp to 30km.  I land, then reverse and warp back at 30km.

I land near the cloud, about 18km from it.  A quick check shows one Venture is orbiting away from me, but the second is coming more or less towards me.  I move downward to meet it.  Once I get close enough, I uncloak and get to work.  The Venture's pilot tries to escape me, but with my microwarp I can catch him even though he is slightly faster.  Gradually my rockets do the job.  Boom.  He warps his pod promptly.

I scoop the loot from the wreck, which is not much.  There is a nice chunk of gas there, C320.  I want that.  But before anything else, I move off the wreck and cloak.

Combat done.  I start to ease back and notice the things again.  Dscan is clear.  The gas cloud is gone!  They must have sucked the last little bit of it as I was attacking them.  Talk about lucky timing!  A single minute later attacking, and I'd have missed them entirely.

I want that gas.  Not only is it worth 36m or whatever, it's the prize of battle.  The enemy may want it too.  But I am here and he's not.  I know where the bomber is, and he does not.  I quickly log on my alt Otto.  As he logs on, I bookmark the wreck and check dscan.  Nothing there.  I figure that the enemy may come back with force, but it's unlikely at short notice that they'll come with anything that will stop a Venture.  Even if they do bring a bubbler, I can see it coming on dscan.  And a Venture is worth the risk.  Otto takes one of my corp's Ventures, then warps over to the C5 wormhole.  Then he warps to the wreck bookmark, grabs the gas, and warps back home.  Ah, loot.

As I am sitting congratulating myself, I am still scanning.  I see a Venture.  Ah.  Perhaps they had the same thought as I did: come back in a worthless Venture to try to secure the loot.  Sure enough, a Venture lands on grid, but not at the wreck.  It's at the site's bookmark, about 20km from me.  The wreck is empty, so I figure the new Venture will leave.  Still, I move towards it in the hope that it dallies.  It moves, but not as I would expect, back where it came from.  Rather, towards the wreck.  That's odd... but it helps me close the range quickly.  Can he not see the wreck is empty?  No time to think about that.  I am in range, and I uncloak and open up.
Lightning strikes twice.
This one seems to go faster than the first.  Boom.  Again the pod warps in time.  Still, yay me!

A Sabre is on grid.  Crap, baited like an idiot!  Boo me!  The Sabre lands about 4km from me and fires a bubble.

I instinctively hit the microwarp and cloak.  And luckily for me, I am moving away from the wreck and far enough from it to cloak.  It's up to the Sabre now, to get to where I was going.  I know that even though I see me cloak immediately, he gets to see me for another 10 seconds or so.  So I just keep going straight, which is more or less to the edge of the bubble.  He starts moving towards me.

Now I juke and head directly to the edge, hoping to warp before he uncloaks me.  He gets about 8km from me, and fires another bubble.  Dammit.
Might have died here.
But then I get a break, and he changes direction, or maybe my juke worked.  (Hard to see what is happening in 3d.)  I make it to the edge of the bubble, and out.  He's 15km away; I am safe.  He fires a third bubble, but not near me now.  I keep moving out for a while just to watch.  Shortly he microwarps out of his bubbles and warps off.

Lessons here?  Well, there was nothing the first Venture could have done, other than be dscanning like a maniac and abort at the first sign of me as I crossed the wormhole.  I had scanned the site down last night, so he had no chance to see me probing for him.  Also, Ventures don't expect to get pinned by bombers.  So I cannot fault him at all.

One lesson comes from the fits on those Ventures.  Neither is excellent.  The second Venture should have had a warp scrambler or disruptor; if it had, my fate would have been sealed.  Both Ventures should have had a medium shield.  This would have given them more than double the hitpoints, doubling the time it would take me to kill them.  That also probably would have made the difference in the second fight, because had the Venture still been alive when the Sabre landed on grid its lock could have prevented my cloaking.  Note that both Ventures have empty slots.  You don't need a high-meta shield either; a simple Subordinate Screen Stabilizer costs about 15000 ISK.  Similarly, Ventures should have damage controls in the low.  That also increases hitpoints considerably.  (The fit I use for gas mining is found in my post How to Mine Gas Fairly Safely in Wspace.)

The main lesson is my own mistake.  Don't double dip.  If it seems too good to be true, as it was to have the second Venture go for the wreck in spite of the wreck being clearly empty, leave off.  It's true that I got the kill and I got away.  But I got it only because his fit was bad, presumably because he was rushed in making it.  I risked far more than he did.  If he lost, he lost a Venture worth a half million ISK.  Big deal.  If I lost, I lost not only a 40m bomber but a 100m pod too, and I'd be back out in known space with no known way back home.  I'd have to scan out with Otto.  Probably take 30 jumps across highsec.  Serious inconvenience.  Big loss.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Beaten to It

It's getting late tonight.  Almost bedtime... but there is still a bit more time, and there is my static C4 to explore through.  I've explored our static C5: nothing.  Also a K162 to C4: more nothing.  It had statics to C4 (my system), and C5b: nothing there either.  Seems like a lot of nothing tonight.  But you cannot find something without looking.  And so, into C4a.

C4a itself appears like more nothing.  It's a small system, scannable from my wormhole.  There's one live tower, but nothing else of interest.  No ships.  No wrecks.  Not even a stray drone.  At this point I might turn around.  Or I might not.  Let's see what statics this system has.

I consult Tripwire, incidentally updating my wormhole sig since my wormhole is out all by itself.  Aha.  This system has statics to C2 and C3.  Both of those are interesting possibilities.  Good enough for me to keep going, and good enough for me to scan through seven sigs (six, really because minus one for my wormhole).  So I move out from the wormhole, fire probes, and cloak.

A few minutes later, I have the system fully scanned.  In addition to the two static wormholes, there is some gas, a data site, and a relic site.  OK, shall I go to C2a first, or to C3a?  Easy decision, really.  C2s have dual statics, and so are often occupied by people who intend to use the second static to find people to kill.  Thus they tend to have more alert occupants.  So I like C3a.  I warp over, and jump in.

C3a is large enough that I have to warp around.  In the inner system there are two basic sleeper cruiser wrecks on scan.  Ooh, maybe a salvager will come.  But I cannot find the wrecks.  From the look of them, they are probably in a gas site.  There are several sigs.  Shall I scan?   Let me check the outer system first.

I find a Venture at a tower in the outer system.  After some dscanning, I get on grid with it.  It is manned.  Hmm.  I am not in my Venture killing fit, but I am not sure what this guy plans to do.  Being in a Venture at all suggests he has been mining; perhaps he saw the new sig and skedaddled.  On the other hand, he might just be taking a break.  I cannot tell.  But I can tell I'd like to know where the gas site is.  All the sigs in this system are in the inner system, 25AU from where I am.  So this guy cannot dscan to there.  I figure I will go in and scan as fast as possible, so that at least I have the gas site(s) in case this guy tries something.

I warp to the inner system, and after a quick dscan check, fire probes.  Then I quickly scan down the few sigs.  There is indeed a gas site, and it does indeed hold the sleeper wrecks.  I still see nothing on dscan, so maybe my scanning has not been noticed.

I warp to the gas site.  Both clouds are there, including a C72 cloud.  (C72 is worth mining; C70 -- the other cloud -- isn't.)  The sleeper wrecks have not been looted yet.  Hmm.  Nothing on scan.

I move off to a perch 150km+ from both gas clouds and the two wrecks.  Now, I wait.

I wait some more.



Damn, I am short on time here.   I might wait longer if it was earlier in the evening, but it's not.  I warp to the sleeper wrecks, grab their blue loot, and warp out.

Shall I call it a night?  Not quite yet... just one more system.  I'll check out C2a.  I warp across C4b, then jump in.

My dscan from the wormhole tells a story.  There are two mining barge wrecks on scan, as well as a corpse, a Manticore and a Stratios.  Some miners got ganked here.  There are also a Basilisk and an Epithal, which I expect are not part of it.

I check the scanner, and sure enough there is one ore site in the system.  It's 13 AU from me, and a quick narrow beam dscan confirms that the wrecks are there, as well as the bomber and the Stratios.  I warp over, but I am pretty sure I am too late.

I am too late.  In the site, I land on grid about 25km from where the action was.  The Stratios warps off just as I land.  Then the Manticore, piloted by Indecorous, grabs a last bit of loot, and also turns and warps.  Both ships disappear from dscan, which of course means pretty much nothing.  (Here are the kills: a Covetor, a Procurer, and a mobile tractor.)
Well done.
Strangely, the corpse is not on grid here.  Where is it?  I almost start looking, but then I recall the time.  It's not my corpse so I don't want it for my collection, and surely whatever locals there may be left here in the ships which I can see are not going to be doing anything stupid again tonight.  At least not for a few hours, and I don't have that much time.  So, goodbye C2a.  I warp home for PI and logoff.

That's EVE.  Earlier, had I chosen to enter C2a first and not C3a, it seems nearly certain that I would have gotten at least one of those two barges.  Possibly both, if they were less than fully alert.  I was beaten to them by only a minute or two.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Strange Events in C5a

It's the morning, and I am out for a bit of exploration before work.  It's corp night tonight, meaning we have a standing plan to run sites to make money.  Part of that involves opening our static C5 the previous night, to scout it out.  Last night the system looked great for running sites, other than it not having that many.  It had no live towers, just two dead ones.  And it had only its static C6 wormhole, and one other small wormhole to nullsec.  (This one I likely instantiated; it will last 16 hours and therefore be gone by the time corp night starts.)  But now it's been eight hours, and I want to peek in to see if anything has changed.

I jump into C5a, and dscan.  Nothing on scan, good.  But there are three new sigs -- not so good.  One is the static, which is evidently gone since last night.  The other two, I don't know.  I move off the wormhole, fire probes, and hide them.  Then I warp around the system.  Nobody home.  OK, time to scan.

Scanning reveals three new wormholes.  The new static, to C6a.  And two new wormholes to nullsec.  One is small, which is not a great sign for my plans tonight.  Grr.  The other is a K162.  Having found these wormholes, I start exploring them.  The incoming one first.  I warp to the wormhole.

As I arrive on grid with the wormhole, I see there's a Tristan here.  Huh?  Where'd he come from?  No time to consider that.  I am about to exit out of warp at the center of the wormhole, which will uncloak me.  Tristans are drone frigates, which means they are great for killing stealth bombers.  Nothing to do but jump.  I jump.  There are several people in Local in this system.  Maybe he's from here.  I hear the wormhole noise.  He followed me.  I bookmark the entrance just in case, then jump back into C5a.  Once in, I order a warp to the next nullsec wormhole, and cloak.  The Tristan has followed me, again, but he does not catch me.  It's really hard to catch anyone in a cloaky frigate on a wormhole any more.  If the Tristan pilot was trying, he did not succeed.

I assay the remaining two nullsec wormholes one after the other, coming back in immediately.  Nobody in nullsec in either system.  The Tristan remains on scan.  I'm ignoring him: not my target profile.  On to C6a.  I instantiated it last night, but did not enter.  (Instead I sucked gas, confident that it was closed because I saw it in the "new" phase.)  Now I plan to enter.

As I warp up to the wormhole, I see a Venture on scan.  That's interesting, but the Tristan is there on grid again.  Maybe he is escorting a supply run through wspace?  Who knows.  Anyway, once again I  jump, then elude him.  Then I warp around C6a hoping to find something, perhaps a mining op?  But nothing is there to be found.  Instead I launch probes, and start scanning.  I figure that will deter the Tristan and his friends from... whatever it they are doing.  And it does seem to.  The Tristan leaves the system.  I scan down two wormholes: a second C5, and a C4.  My time here is growing short -- must go to work -- but I have time to check those two systems out to gank any really obvious targets.

I duck into C5b.  Nothing on scan from the wormhole.  I fly around the system, and I can see a Buzzard at a POS at an outer planet.  There's also a bubble trap there, and I start thinking about trying to get on grid before I realize that's idiotic.  Not for a Buzzard, and not with limited time.  I warp back to the wormhole, and back into C6a.

Now I try C4c.  I jump in, and see a lot of anoms.  Nothing on scan from the wormhole.  Looks abandoned; I'll have to fly around -- no, wait a minute.  There's a ghost site!  That means that almost certainly the system is empty; nobody leaves a ghost site around.  It also means time to get back home and get my ghostbusting Tengu.  (Nobody leaves a ghost site untouched, I'm not nobody.)  I jump back to C6a immediately.

In C6a I scan as I cross the system, but nothing has changed.  Good.  Back into C5a.  Again I scan, expecting nothing, but I see two things of interest.  First, the Venture I saw before is still on scan.  Gassing?  Second, so is the Tristan I saw earlier.  But there's something more interesting: Ishamael Balthamel's corpse.  Since it is there, and the Tristan is not a wreck, I guess that he must have ejected and self-destructed his pod.  Why?  I have no idea why.  Let's find it first.

A bit of dscanning shows the Tristan is at the wormhole to nullsec where I first encountered it.  I warp over for a look.
Sure enough, there's the empty Tristan and the corpse.  (In the lower left you can see the Cataclysmis Variable effect.)  OK, I'll want to be grabbing the Tristan.  But first I want to find the Venture.  I assumed earlier the two ships were together, but perhaps not.  Perhaps it is out mining gas, although I already know it's not in the one place -- the Vital Core Reservoir I was in last night -- which makes the most sense.  Still, it could be mining lesser gas.  A quick dscan or two shows the Venture is not in any site.  In fact it is at planet VII somewhere.  I warp to planet VII.

Just being near planet VII does not mean that I can find it.  I can find it if it is at the POCO or a moon; otherwise I'll have to combat scan for it.  Both of those are weird places for a Venture to be.  But then, anywhere around a planet other than inside a POS is.  I find it at a moon.  Weird.  I warp over to look.

I land on grid about 170km from a dead tower, and sure enough there is the Venture over near the tower, next to a giant freight container.  It is unmanned, just like the Tristan.  Weird.  And hey, look at that.  The POS modules are unanchored.  I could grab them.
A dead tower.  Ooh, look at those modules.
I warp to the tower to look closer... huh?  I cannot warp to the tower.  I know you can warp to towers; I do it all the time watching would-be prey.  But maybe only when they are online?  I dunno.  OK, I bookmark the tower -- that's allowed at least -- and then I warp to that bookmark, at 30km.

OK, now I have two ships to grab.  And maybe those unanchored POS mods, too.  I log off my Jita alt and log on my alt Otto.  He puts his Hound into storage so he can pod over and get the ships.  Back at the dead POS, I make a picture of the Venture, and in doing so notice something... do you see it?
Something here is unusual.
The tower is unanchored!  (That's why I could not warp to it.)  That's a large Minmatar tower, worth 280m ISK or so.  It's just floating there, waiting to be grabbed by the first person to come by!  Well, I am first.  Actually, I am not first.  The Venture's pilot was first, but for whatever reason, did not or could not do the deed.  I will.  Not with Von, though; I'll remain on the grid to dscan and check overview.  And maybe kill someone who's coming to collect the tower, if anyone is.  Best be fast with Otto.

Otto jumps into an Iteron V, and refits it for more warp core stabilization.  I am pretty sure this is not a trap -- if so, it's very elaborate.  Still, it might be a trap, and more WCS won't affect the mission; the tower is 8000m^3.  Otto warps to the C5 wormhole, then in, and he makes the grab.  Nobody kills him.  He warps back home and dumps the Iteron.  Now for some ships.

First Otto goes for the Venture, hoping that it is packed with gas as its name suggests.  It's not.  It has no cargo or drones, just two gas miner Is, a nanofiber (offline), and a microwarpdrive (offline).  Otto onlines the microwarp, then heads home.  He has to wait briefly for polarization to abate.

Next Otto goes to grab the Tristan and its corpse.  This also goes without incident.  The Tristan is completely unfit.  No modules at all and no drones.  Really strange.  More polarization on the way home.

As Otto is warping (and sitting polarized the second time), I notice something.  Some of the POS modules, the energy neutralizers, are actually faction.  Ooh.  OK, that determines it: I am grabbing them too.  I warp Von out to make a perch so that Otto can bounce back and forth quickly.  Also I bookmark one POS module in each of six locations.  (There are two clumps of two each.)

Otto gets into a different Iteron V, fit for maximum cargo.  There are eight POS modules, all 4000m^3.  I can do it one run.  Otto warps over, jumps in, and starts grabbing.
Coming for more loot.
Grab, bounce.  Grab grab bounce.  Eventually he gets all eight modules, and warps home.
POS and parts.
Not from C5a.
Now I am finally done with C5 for the immediate future, and I recall my plan to go get the ghost site.  I finally get to it.  I get three cans done, the last just in the nick of time.  Ha!

I got lots of loot, but I am left with many questions.  What was Ishamael Balthamel doing in wspace?  Why was he in a completely unfit ship?  (Indeed, how did he manage to even get into wspace with no probe launcher?)  Why did he not convo me for help?  I could have gotten him out.  Was he connected to the Venture in some way?  Why was there a Venture and a juicy tower and parts just sitting there to grab?   Who left it there, and why?

I probably will never find answers to any of these questions.  But it's stuff like this that keeps me playing.  You never know what you are going to find when people shape the environment.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stupid or Fearless

A C6 system connected to my system last night, and I scanned it down then.  I found some good gas, a Vital Core Reservoir, and I sucked gas for 20 minutes until the sleepers came.  Today, I am eager to go get some more of that tasty C540.   But with the passage of 10 hours, it's wise to look around first.

I reenter the game in my Manticore, and first update my own system.  There's a new site, which turns out to be gas.  OK, first I'll check out C4a.  Last night it had nothing going on, and I hope to verify that again today. 

I warp to the wormhole, and sure enough I land not on it but at its signature location.  This means that nobody has been on this grid since downtime.  That's what I want to see.  I jump in, look around, and find nothing different.  OK.

Back home, then onward into C6a.  I warp to the wormhole, noting that this one has been activated since downtime.  Hmm.  I jump.

A dscan from the wormhole shows nothing, but then it is way over at the edge of a rather large system.  Last night I bookmarked the one local tower, so that's the place to look.  I warp to it at 70 km.  As I get close, I dscan.  There are four ships on scan: a Megathron, an Anathema, and two Covetors.  All thought of gas is gone.  Are the Covetors out in space?

I land on grid, and sure enough the Megathron and Anathema are safe within the POS forcefield.  Both are manned.  The Covetors are not here.  Could they really be mining in an open system?  In wspace?  I get dscan going and quickly find them in an ore site.  Yes is the answer. 

I warp to the ore site at 10km.  There they are, very close to each other and also close to a can they are mining into.  Looks like an easy kill.  A trap?  No, not those ships.  I think these guys are just stupid.  Or fearless.

I am 149km from the can, so just a tiny bit of movement and I can warp to it.  I turn opposite the Covetors and move a bit.  Now I can warp to the can at zero.  I can and I do.  No fancy moves today. 

I exit warp close enough to one of the Covetors that it decloaks me.  That's fine; I was going to uncloak by hand anyway.  I get my systems on, locking both Covetors.  I put my warp scrambler on as I am locking, but not my painter and torpedoes.  Once both locks complete, the scrambler gets one of the Covetors.  I open fire (and paint) the one I don't have scrambled.  I hope it won't warp in time, and it does not.  Boom, gone.  I attempt to lock the pod, but it does warp in time.
One down.  One to go.
Now for the second Covetor.  Torps and painter on.  Dscan shows no change; I doubt they'll try anything with a Megathron, and if they do I can leave faster than he can lock me.  After a few rounds of torps, boom again.  This time the pilot is not so fast, and I get the pod locked in time.  I send him back to highsec.  Ha ha!   I scoop the corpse and a few bits of loot that fit (there are huge chunks of plagioclase that don't).  Then I get away from the wrecks and rocks and cloak.  Aaah, safe again.

Now I watch on dscan as the three remaining locals sit at the their tower, trying on various ships.  I am hoping they send over a Miasmos or something to try to fetch their ore.  But they don't.  These guys are stupid, or fearless, mining in an open system.  But not that stupid or fearless.

After a while, I get bored.  I warp to the outer planet and launch probes, then back to their tower to watch them as I scan.  Fortunately I have Tripwire, so I can ignore most of the sigs that were here last night.  Even so there are four new ones.  I set to scanning.  

It appears that they have noticed the probes.  They get into different ships.  Then one by one, they log out.

As I scan I warp around to wormholes as I find them.  I find three.  The first is a K162, highly disrupted.  Hmm.  The second is a small wormhole, outgoing. 

The third wormhole is another K162, also highly disrupted.

Wait a second... these guys may not be as stupid as I thought.  They disrupted all the wormholes except a small one, and that one small wormhole is outgoing.  They may have seen it appear, and intentionally not opened it.  Why didn't they disrupt the wormhole to my system?  ... Or did they?  Did I enter the system through a highly disrupted wormhole and not even notice?

I warp over to my wormhole.  Yup.  Highly disrupted.  Who's stupid now?

(I explore through EOL wormholes all the time, but rarely through highly disrupted ones.)

Friday, January 16, 2015

A Sloppy Scanner

It's getting late in the USA timezone, and it's a weekday.  I have not been on today, so my bookmarks are probably out of date.  These are not propitious circumstances for hunting.  But I am building troops in Star Wars Commander, and I have nothing to do in Clash of Clans.  So, let me see what wspace holds tonight.  I log in, still in my trusty Manticore as usual.

First I clean up my home system's bookmarks, and scan out new ones.  There is a new gas site, and a new wormhole.  The old C4 static is gone, so the new wormhole must be it.  There was another C4, also now gone.  And there is the static C5, which Hiljah found last night.  It is now deep into EOL, some 50 minutes to go according to the timing of her bookmark.  So, I am not going that way.  That leaves my static C4.  I warp to it, bookmark it, then head in.

C4a is not active, indeed unoccupied.  But a check with tripwire shows that it has C1 and C2 statics.  Those are good possibilities, what with the nullsec sites now in there.  C4b also has only six sigs; I won't have to sift through a lot of gas and relics to find the ways out.  I find a K162 leading to a C4, as well as the expected C1 and C2.  I head into C1 first.

C1a has nothing going on where I enter, but it is medium system with one outer planet about 17AU from my wormhole entry point.  I move off, fire probes, hide them, then warp out.

I see a Probe on scan.  Also there is a POS.  The Probe is probably at the POS.  I'll look for it.

As I start looking for the POS, a Heron appears.  Hmm.  Maybe also at the POS?  A bit of scanning shows that is untrue: they are in different 180 degree sections of space.   The Heron is not in a forcefield!  Prey!  As I narrow down to 90, then 60, the Heron launches probes.  Aha!  I doubt I can kill it -- it should recloak soon -- but I will try.  That the probes are still not out probing is a good sign for me.  The guy is slow, possibly distracted by another account.

I find the Heron at moon 7, with its probes still around it.  I throw my Manticore into warp.  While I am in warp, I keep dscanning forward.  The probes disappear.  Rats.  But the Heron is still there... it should cloak any second.  I land on grid with it.

The Heron is some 210 km away.  I orient to it, and I can see that there is a planet almost in line with him.  It's a bit "up" from the direct line.  I ponder my options.  How old is the character, anyway?  A quick check shows a year or so.  That's plenty for me to be quite unconcerned about her feelings -- she should know the score by now.  The only way I can get close to her is to warp back and forth twice.  Of course, the pilot will probably cloak long before I can do that.  Still, she has not cloaked yet... then she cloaks.  Finally.

That was way too much time uncloaked.  Herons cannot warp cloaked, but they can move, albeit slowly.  Still, I have the feeling that this particular Heron won't.  She's been slow and lazy about security at two points so far.  So I bookmark my location, then warp off to the inline planet.  Then I warp back 100km, and make another bookmark.  Then I repeat the process.  One final move: I bookmark my location then point straight up and fly about 10km.  This is, hopefully, where the Heron is.

Now I wait.  As I warped back and forth, I could see the probes when I was relatively close to my entry wormhole.  That suggests that my wormhole was brand-new, and this pilot is searching only for it, having probably already scanned the system.  That's good; it means once she finds it, she will uncloak and warp over for a look.  She may, at least.  And may is good enough for me to wait patiently for a shot.  Even though she'll probably get into warp too fast for me.  Still, one has to try.

I wait some more.
Don't uncloak and sit there.

And there she is.  20km -- not too bad.  Actually I am rather proud of how close I am.  But it is not within warp scrambler range.  I head straight at her, hoping that she'll be as tardy in warping off as she has been in starting to probe, and in recloaking after probing.

My hope and waiting pay off.  I look at her, and she's not moving.  Just a few seconds more...

Then I am range, and the same old thing happens.  I uncloak, get systems going, and the lock completes.
Too late.
Then she is smashed quickly by my torpedoes.  (Moving would have helped a lot.)  I almost lock the pod, but the pilot is alert by this point and warps free.

I scoop the meager loot, then move off and cloak.

A stabber appears on dscan, then drops onto grid and orbits the wreck for a while.  I don't uncloak.  The stabber goes home.  I do too, quite a bit happier I think.

When you want to start scanning, uncloak, fire your probes, wait for the reload, then get cloaked.  Get yourself recloaked before you start serious scanning, and before turning your attention away.  Sitting uncloaked in wspace is asking to be killed.

Also, especially in a non-covert-ops capable ship, move (cloaked) when you scan.  Even moving at 1/10 speed, if it takes you 15 minutes to scan you'll go quite a ways from where you were.  If I see a covert ops cloak, I won't bother hanging around because it will probably leave without me knowing.  But that's not true of the lesser cloaks.  Even if I cannot catch you when you uncloak, I can see you and maybe figure out where you are going when you warp off.  Then maybe I can catch you there.

Finally, unless there is some good reason to be still, keep moving when you are uncloaked.  This makes it very hard to sneak up on you.  And in the event that someone does sneak into range, your movement lowers the damage you'll take from torpedoes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

An AFK Helios

Sunday, and I am hunting again.  What it is about hunting?  It's addictive like a lottery.  Usually you pay a small price and get nothing.  Sometimes you get a win, and sometimes a jackpot.  I have one more wormhole to explore right now: the C4 through my system's static C4. 

I dscan from the wormhole as normal, and lo and behold.  Several ships including an Astero, a Helios, and three Ventures.  Ventures!  You might sometimes see a Venture here and there in a POS, but generally three at once means a gas mining op.  Targets!

Unfortunately, I am in my torpedo fit, which lacks sufficient warp scrambling to stop a Venture.  So, I'll need to find a place to refit.  But I can do that.

What else does my dscan show?  There is a POS, probably where the cloaky non-Ventures are.  (There's very little reason a ship with a covert-ops cloak should ever be seen in wspace.)  Should I bother finding their POS?  Nah.  Of more concern to me is a set of sisters combat scanner probes.  Either I arrived just as these guys are being hunted by someone else, or else they have the probes out.  If my wormhole is new, and they saw it via the discovery scanner, that might explain the probes.  But I don't think so; it's too fast.  In any case, there is nothing to be done about it.

I check the system map.  There are two planets out of dscan range of the inner system, where I am.  I fly to planet VI, the second-outermost first, to check for any additional enemies.  None.  Good.  Now on to planet VII, the outermost.  It has no sigs or anoms, so I am hoping there is nothing out there.  My hopes are fulfilled: no towers or ships.  A good place to refit.  I make a safespot as I start to decelerate.  Then I warp to it, and after a last check of dscan, uncloak and launch my mobile depot.

It makes me nervous doing a refit when I have already seen combat probes.  But I cannot see them now, and I figure I can get away if they do discover me.  So I do my minute, with lots of nervous dscans, then refit as fast as I can, pull the depot, and cloak.  Whew.  Safe again.  (I hate being uncloaked.)  Now I warp back to the inner system, to start looking for those Ventures.

Except when I get there, there is only one Venture left on scan.  There are two shuttles that weren't there before.  Drat.  I think they noticed me somehow.  My dscan quickly finds the ships all at a POS, and strangely, the probes are there too.  I warp over to the planet.  I quickly get the right moon identified, then warp in for a look.

The Venture, shuttles, Helios and Astero are all there on grid with me.  But strangely, so are the sister's probes.  That's weird.  Then I notice the Helios is not the same distance from me as the other ships.  They are all about 80km; it is 250km.  I look around, and I see it.  It is outside of the POS shield, with the probes all around it.

So the guy warps out to fire probes, fires them, then... what?  Disconnection?  Just forgot?  Who knows.  It's a target, though.

I check the space in the Helios's direction, and quite fortunately there is a planet more or less in it.  It's planet VII, the outermost.  It will take me two warps back and forth, but I should be able to get pretty close to the Helios.  So I bookmark the POS then warp to my safespot.  Then I warp back to the POS at 100km.  A check shows the alignment is still good.

At this point I get concerned about the nuts and bolts.  I know I get a few seconds of time before the POS modules can lock/shoot at me, and I know it is only small POS guns that can lock me in any reasonably short time.  (This info I computed a year ago; that's the gist.  The details are here; don't miss the comments.)  I get a full dscan to check the POS: it has the normal ECMs and such, and some medium guns.  (These don't worry me; too slow to lock.)  It has 6 small blaster batteries, and 6 small laser batteries.  I check the stats on both: only the lasers appear to be able to target at 170 km or so.  Can six small lasers kill me?  I don't know.  Should I attack or slink off?

It is moments like this that a mini-Penny sits on my shoulder (on the sinister side), and whispers, Kill!  I listen to this whisper.  So I save my location 100km from the POS, and then it is back out to my safespot at planet VII.  I jettison everything in my hold to reduce the loss if I do get killed.  Then I warp to my recent bookmark at 70km.  I end up nice and close to my still-unmoving target, about 20km from him.

I could make a run straight at him, but then getting away will take precious seconds.  He's not moving, so I feel it is a better idea to move around to that I can align to a celestial and drive by him.  Then I can warp instantly.  I look around for a celestial that is positioned so that when I align to it I am perpendicular to the POS, so as to have as much transversal as possible.  Planet II seems good.  OK.  Now I need to move across the Helios so as to position myself so that the Helios is between me and planet II.  This takes a few seconds.  Then I stop, about 12km from the Helios.

It's time.  I don't know whether I will be killed, but I'll find out.  I take a breath, and align to Planet II.
Aligned and about to uncloak.

As I close to 8000m, I uncloak and start locking the Helios.  Then it's the normal routine, turning on my systems and watching the Helios' shields/armor/structure drop.  It take eight rounds of rockets, the last one as I am almost out of range.  And beeep!  I am hit!  The last rockets fire, and the Helios dies.  Yay!  I warp immediately.

My shields were blown off and I took some armor damage.  But I am happy: I got my kill under the nose of five guys at their POS.

Now my mind turns to loot -- and the pod.  If the guy is AFK, maybe I can get it.  I forgot to bookmark the location, so I warp out to planet VII again, then back to my former bookmark at 70km.  And indeed, the pod's still there.
AFK and uncloaked: a bad mix.

Mwahaha.  I do the same thing as before: approach over the top to get into position.  (This time I save the location.)  Then I align to planet II, and do the same drive-by.  The pod pops just as I get hit again, taking only shield damage.  Then I am safely into warp again!
A second run for the pod.

Now I could warp straight back if I want.  I check the killmail, and there is a sister's probe launcher that survived in the wreck.  Also there is the corpse.  So I do want!  But I first warp out to my safespot anyway.  It will take some time for my shield to regenerate.  When I do warp back, I warp at 10km to my spot just to be safe.

When I get there, I am saddened to see the enemy finally did something: one of them got an Armageddon and warped over to grab the loot.  I look, but he also grabbed the corpse.  Drat.  I watch as he turns then warps back into the forcefield.  Well, it's still a good day for me.
I can't kill this in 15 seconds or less.

I warp back out to my safespot and grab my jettisoned stuff.  Then I warp back home to my system and my POS.  I'll need to buff out that armor damage.  I grab an armor repairer and get it done.

Lessons here are obvious enough.  Always cloak in wspace if you can.  If that guy had cloaked after firing his probes, I never would have even thought to try to kill him.

Another lesson: POSes are safe inside, and kind of safe outside.  But not super safe outside.  An aggressor has a few seconds to do stuff, and more than that if he has a tanky ship.  If your defenses are not numerous, even a stealth bomber can operate uncloaked for a little while.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Gank on Scan

It's the weekend.  I am out in my Manticore looking for prey.  C5 I want to leave closed until later today.  So I head out through our static C4, into C4b.  It has occupants who aren't home.  It also has three wormholes I find: its C1 and C3 statics, and a connection from a C4 other than mine.

I check out C1 and C3 first.  With the new null sites, C1-C3 are my highest chances of getting a kill.  In both case, nothing going on.  There are no side wormholes in C1a at all.  C3 has an EOL C4 in addition to its highsec access.  I do open both systems up to highsec, hoping for a later gank.  Then I return to C4b.  That's my one remaining unexplored direction, so that's where I am going.  As I come back up from C3a, I notice its wormhole has gone EOL since I went in.

I mark the EOL wormhole, then warp across to C4c. Ah.  The wormhole to C4c is EOL too.  I figure that whoever scanned the C3 also instantiated this one.  So, it's got almost four hours to go.  Plenty of time to look around.  I go into C4c.

In C4c, I dscan as I always do from the wormhole.  Aha!  There's five Tengus on scan, and wrecks.  Also two tractor units.  Site runners!  I move off the wormhole and cloak.  There are combat probes on scan; Tengus can certainly have combat probe launchers, and they are running sites in an open system.  So I figure they are looking for people like me.  Hopefully they did not notice me.

Now I start trying to figure out where they are, looking at anoms.  I don't succeed in this -- perhaps they are in a signature site.  But there are a few anoms out of dscan range, and also a lot of anoms total.  So I bookmark all of them, just in case.  Even if the site-runners are not at an anom now, they may well move to one.

Now I start trying to find the enemy again.  I still can't.  But as I am doing this, I notice some new ships on scan.  And then more.  Then all the Tengus are gone.  Except one. 

Um... those are not PVE ships.  I think I am witnessing a gank, albeit remotely.  I grab a screenshot, then look again in a few seconds.  In the first there's one Tengu still visible. 

Shortly it is gone, replaced by a wreck and a corpse.  (A later killboard search reveals the kill and the podkill.)  Not long after that, the tractor unit is gone, also replaced with a wreck.

I try to figure out what anom they are in, but they're not so far as I can tell.  Drat.  It sort of makes sense though -- who rats in an anom in an open system?  Crazy people.  It's fairly crazy to rat in an open system at all, even in a sig, but at least then you have a chance of seeing probes on scan before the gank hits.

Anyway, if the site-runners were in a relic/data site, then it may still be scannable.  (Hopefully no cans were cracked.)  I guess I will have to scan.  I warp to an outer planet, unfortunately not that far out.  The site is still on scan, so I'll just have to be quick.  I decloak, fire my probes, and recloak as fast as possible.  Then I start scanning.

No battle here, only my probes
There are 17 sigs on scan.  Sigh.  I set to work.  I scan down sig after sig.  Nine are gas, which I ignore as soon as I determine it.  Those wrecks can't be from a gas site; there are battleship wrecks and also too many.  There are four relic sites and one data site.  I dscan each site as I find it, expecting it to be the one where the battle happened.  No luck; none of them have wrecks or anything else.

The remaining sigs are wormholes.  One of them I came in.  There is also a connection to a C3, and another to a C4, both of which are EOL.  I sit at the C3 when I find it, and as I scan there is a steady procession of ships exiting.  First there is a scout, one Gin Andtonic, with Adhocracy.  (I like a good G&T myself.)  Then a procession of Tengus, all with Kreigsmarinewerft:  Haja Hakaari, Ted Stinger, Molasse, Avallarion Selara, and Silly Sin. It appears both the Germans and Adhocracy came from this direction, although maybe Adhocracy came from the other direction and that scout I saw is just moving forward. 

Once my scanning is done, I go back into the inner system.  I can't find the battle site.  I start to wonder if I can track it down by constructing its position.  It seems crazy, and is.  Still, I start scanning for the site as something to do.  I know I can't really find it, but it's good practice anyway.

After a lot of work narrowing it down on dscan, I finally notice I am honing in on a bookmark.  That is a bookmark of a Sleeper Sanctum I made when I first entered.  I should dscan that just to be sure... oh.  Yeah, that's where the wrecks are.  I don't know how I missed it earlier.  (This is why you make bookmarks.)  The site is apparently unoccupied now, save for wrecks.  I warp in for a look.

There are juicy sleeper wrecks in a nice ball.   There are also two unlooted sleeper wrecks that evidently did not get pulled in before the tractor was killed.  They are about 40km and 20km from the wreck ball.

Sleeper wrecks!  Precious!  We wants their salvage!

So... hostiles know about this site, obviously.  Two groups, actually: the Germans/Condi and the gankers/Adhoc.  That's a big do-not-risk sign.  On the other hand, it's been quiet here for a while, and I have ceased scanning for a few minutes at least.  Also, any new explorers or locals that enter the system will not be able to get on grid with the wrecks.  The anom is gone, and there's nothing left here that is scannable.

My wormhole is EOL, and there is some chance that I missed noticing that when I first bookmarked it.  But I don't think so, nor would I have missed EOL status on both it and the C3 wormhole back in C4b.  And if I do get trapped in here, it's not a big deal -- I'll just scan out -- but it would mean a half-hour or so wasted doing extra scanning and burning across highsec.

All in all, I think I will wait.  I know from examining local chat when I entered the system: 16:41.  Now it is 17:30.   I've spent all that time hunting then watching the gank then scanning.  Those wrecks were either fresh or created after I entered.  So they'll last until 18:30 at least, probably a longer.  In fact, longer.  I notice the tags on the wrecks: some of them are Adhocracy tags.  Evidently Adhocracy finished off the last wave.  (Why they did not salvage themselves, I don't know.  Maybe they will try?)  I know -- or I think I know -- the timing on my entry wormhole.  Hopefully the gankers and gankees do not know the timing, and will want to stay out of the system to be safe. 

If either group does come back, it might be with a gankable salvager.  I slowboat away from the tractor unit, making a perch 263 km from it.  Now I am poised if they do come back.  My plan is to sit here and watch my overview and dscan for an hour or so.  Then I'll try for the salvage and loot myself.

At about 18:15, I get my alt Otto online, and warp over to check out C4b.  It is still empty.  OK.  I go back home and get in a salvaging Coercer.

In C4c, Von sees a Buzzard on scan.  It fires Sisters Core Probes and cloaks.  Well, it can't find me here.  Ha.  It scans for a while.  And a while longer.  Yeah, there are 17 sigs.  It is still scanning at 18:30, so I hold up Otto.  Hey Buzzy, I'd like some privacy here!

Finally, the probes disappear.  I start dscanning intensely, hoping to see the Buzzard again.  After two minutes, I do.  I expect that is him leaving.  OK, go time.  Good luck, Otto.  Otto sees a Sister's core probe in C4b.  I deduce the Buzzard is there, and will probably see him, but I doubt he will do anything.

In Otto goes.  He warps direct to the site and starts salvaging.  No point in being coy.
Grinding wrecks.

All the wrecks but two are already in a ball, thanks to the efforts of the now-dead German tractor unit.  (Too bad about Noctises.  Grr tractor units.)  Otto salvages furiously in his cheap little destroyer, thanks to six salvagers and cheap rigs. 
Getting to the last wreck.

Nobody ganks Otto.  He has to microwarp over to get the two wrecks not in the ball.  And then, that's that.  Salvaging done, Otto flees.  Von flees just after.  I don't want to get stuck here!
Nice loot.  Thanks, Adhocracy!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Ring in Space

It's the late night, and I am exploring.  My system's static C5 connection has expired a while ago, but I've held off on opening it to get its timing aligned as I desire.  (I want it to be going EOL in two days time when my corp is planning to do PVE.)  But now it's time to open it, so I fly to the C5 that I scanned earlier.

Flying to it is all I need to do for my later purposes.  But since I am here, and in my Manticore, I might as well peek in just to see if anyone is doing anything dangerous.  I jump in.

Nothing is on scan from the wormhole.  I'm near the outermost planet, though, with no other planets in range.  So that's not surprising.  I bookmark the wormhole and proceed into the inner system -- nothing.  Then out to a second outer planet. 

For the past few months, I have been making a habit to scan for POS modules whenever there are no POSes on scan.  I started doing this one time when I found a whole set of faction POS modules at the site of an ex-POS; sadly, they were all incapacitated.  I had no means at the time to rep them up, so I left them.  (Since then I brought in a few cheap Augorors for this purpose, should it recur.)

At the second outer planet, I dscan as usual -- nothing: no ships and no towers.  Then I dscan without filter, to look for POS mods.  I see some!  They are normal POS modules, mostly ECMs worth 3-4m ISK each.  Still, there is no tower in sight.  So they must be unanchored.  I want them!

I use dscan on the local moons, of which there are 20.  But nothing can hide at a moon, and soon I find the majority of the modules -- 16 of them -- at moon 12.  There are four others at another moon.  I warp over for a look at the larger set.
Pretty, huh?  EVE is beautiful sometimes.  In this case, whoever was here made a perfect circle of ECMs, which took some work.  Then they abandoned it when they pulled the tower.  Well, their loss is my gain.

I bookmark one.  Time to grab?  No, not yet.  Grabbing these modules would take time, and right now I don't know how dangerous the system is.  I know it has no live towers, which is good.  And I have seen no ships or probes.  But how many wormholes does it have?   Time to scan.  I fire probes, then hide again as I scan.

I am in luck.  The system has only its C5 static.  So there is a good chance it is currently closed, and I am completely alone in here.

I fly back to the wormhole I came in, since that's what I know is open.  Von will watch here.  It's as safe as I can be.  Now is time to grab.

I get my alt Otto on.  He can't fly an Occator, and I am not sure I would want to risk one anyway.  He can fly Iteron Vs -- can't everyone? -- so that's what I am going with.  I try to put on a microwarpdrive, fairly sure it won't fit.  It doesn't.  But an afterburner will fit, so I go with that.  Then I warp out to the C5 wormhole, and jump.

From the wormhole, I fly straight to the POS module I earlier marked.  I scoop it, then head towards the next one and turn on my afterburner.  This speeds me from ~100m/s to 250, which is still rather slow.  It's about 15km -- a minute per module.  I figure that doing two warps and two aligns will be about the same, so I lazily don't bother.  I slowboat around half the circle, scooping as I go, and dscanning with twitchy fingers.  Nothing appears on dscan.  Also, nothing drops out of cloak and kills me.  Yay.

The second half.
Eight ECMs are 32000m^2; I hold at maximum 35000.  So I have to fly back home to dump them.  Then I return.  More scooping.  More slowness.  More paranoia that comes to nothing.

Now the second eight are scooped, and again I head back home.  Then back for the second grouping.

As I jump into the system, I have Von dscan.  And... there's probes on scan.  I check, and yes there is a new signature.   Evidently someone just connected here, and came in to scan.

Do I continue?  Well... let's check it out.  I order Otto into orbit of the wormhole at 5000m, and cloak him.  He can escape reasonably well from there through the wormhole, and is not obvious.  Von warps to the inner system to look around.

There is a Magnate on scan.  Hopes of loot are forgotten.  Kill, kill!  But I cannot locate him before he disappears.  Cloaked, probably.  Rats.

I fly out to check the planet with the POS mods: nothing. Also there are no sigs out here.  So, I feel I can get Otto out, grab, and go before the Magnate can bring any help, if he has any.  (Nobody scans in a Magnate beyond a newb anyway.)   Meanwhile I warp Von back to the inner system to keep an eye on the probes.

I warp Otto out, and scoop away.  I keep an eye on dscan, and I do see the Magnate briefly just as I am about to go.  Hi there!!  Bye now!
About 20 minutes of danger.
Otto gets out.  Von lurks a while hoping the Magnate returns, but he doesn't.

Monday, January 5, 2015

About Dscan Undetectability

I had a message from a reader the other day about the revamp to recons that CCP is going to do.  The specifics are found in CCP Rise's Features and ideas posting (also see the second post, pointing to his followup posts).  Quoting it:
  • Combat Recons will now be permanently undetectable by directional scanners
  • All eight Recons will have the capacitor cost of warping reduced by roughly half
  • Where appropriate, bonuses will be adjusted to match ship developer trends
  • All eight Recons are having their capacitor pool and capacitor regeneration buffed (roughly 20% increase in cap regen)
  • The average maximum velocity across the class is going up by around 20m/s
(My emphasis.)  What are my thoughts?  OK, there are the latter four adjustments, which are quite anodyne.  Recons do need something, and better speed/range seems to fit.

Then there is the dscan-undetectability.  This is a major change, and one I dislike.  Still, CCP seems resolved to it.

I have seen a lot of people of the general PVP community disliking it.  You fly to a complex, and dscan.  There's a frigate on scan; you think you can beat it.  You warp into the plex, and it tackles you, and then it and its combat recon buddy (or three) roundly squash you.  Fun?

Of course, people can do that now, with cloakies.  Falcons.  Proteuses.  Do they?  Well, I don't know, not being a kspace PVP person.  In known space, you do at least have the ability to see if more than two people are in local, and become accordingly paranoid.

Here's my take on it, from my wormhole perspective.  I dislike it because to us, dscan is what local is to y'all squares.  It is our means to know whether a system is active.  Any system I enter, I fly around and look for people.  Of course people can still cloak, and they do.  But at least I can see with relative ease if anyone is out on grid doing stuff.  If a system has nobody visible, and no probes, and you watch for a while and don't see any, then it is most likely empty.

The new combat recons will change that, perhaps drastically.  No longer can I enter a system and find people earning money to gank.  The new combat recons will be able to earn money while "cloaked".  A ship that can earn money while dscan-proof is a new thing in EVE.  For PVE, at least the wrecks will give them away.  (Though they still may be worth using for small sites, instead of the site-running Tengu I am using.  I'll have to see about DPS.)

But what about those new null-style data/relic sites?  As my correspondent pointed out, those sites will be perfect to run in a combat recon.  Nobody even knows you are there to look for you, unless they are hunting using combat probes, which is rather rare.  You do lose the hacking bonus, which kind of balances it.  I suppose I will adjust by simply warping into every single relic/data site to check. But even then I cannot gank in my Manticore; it requires a second account, probably also in a combat recon since they can now make it onto grid before being detected.  Or I will have to bite the bullet and upship to a T3 to hunt in.

I probably will get a Rook to use for null sites.  Currently I use a Buzzard.

Overall, I am sure I will adjust.  Grumble.

One other thing I have to mention: it's ugly.  I am the sort of person that likes clean rules, such as "if a ship is not cloaked, you always see it on dscan."  Throwing one more exception into an otherwise clean rule is not a step in the right direction, in my opinion.  Violate it with ship fittings (i.e. cloaks): that's OK.  Violate with ship hulls, and it's not OK.  Whatever that magic stuff is that they build Rooks out of, can't they make my Buzzard from the same stuff?  Or at least a Heron?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A Foolish Viator

I'm back on the hunt.  It's the weekend, a good time for interacting with people not in my time zone.

But so far, I have not found anyone.  Earlier I opened C4b then C2a off of C4b, finding a route to highsec.  But C2a also had a number of nullsec-style relic and data sites, and no incoming wormholes.  So I took some time to run the sites in my Buzzard, making 100m ISK in salvage.  I opened the highsec wormhole before leaving, if it was not already.  Come on in!

Now I am returning to hunt.  At least one of the sites will still be there, so I am hopeful of finding an explorer.  I am in my Manticore, fit up to hunt light ships: using rage rockets and a second warp scrambler instead of the torpedoes and target painter in my standard fit.

C2 is still empty.  Drat.  Well, there are two new sigs.  Probably wormholes, but maybe new sites.  Either way, I want to know.  I fire probes, recloak, then scan down the two.  Both are wormholes, one outgoing small one to C5, the other from C4. 

I try the C4 first.  It's small system, everything in dscan range from the wormhole.  One tower, no ships on scan.  That's unpromising.  I activate their two anoms, then duck back through the wormhole.

On to C5.  I enter the system and dscan, seeing nothing interesting.  But this is a large system.  I'll have to warp to two outer planets to see it all.  So I start doing that.  The first has a tower with ships.  I dscan it down: nobody home.  Just empty ships.  OK.  I warp into the inner system: nobody home here either.

There is one more planet to check.  I warp to the outer system.  Here I see two towers, with several ships, and a Viator on scan.  OK, now we are talking.  This has "guy doing PI" written all over it.  Or maybe another empty ship.  Only one way to be sure: get on grid with it.

I start looking for towers.  With my second dscan I am surprised: the Viator is not in a tower shield! 

Must find and kill!

I dscan the planet, expecting to see him there doing PI.  But he's not there.  OK... is he close?  Dscan at 1m klicks shows he is.  Maybe he is at a moon?  (But why?  No time for that.)  I feverishly dscan for the moon I assume the Viator is at... and it is at a moon.  OK, moon 5.  I warp in at 50km, cautiously.

I land on grid.  There's the Viator all right.  And there is an Amarr tower onlining, with ten minutes to go.  Also there are a small number of POS defenses already anchored.  Hmm.  I don't know why he is not cloaked, but there he is.  I bookmark the tower, then head for the local POCO as a convenient bouncing point.  I return to the scene 10km from the tower.  I hope I don't run into anything... and I don't.  OK.  The Viator is about 20km, so I start moving to him.  Just stay uncloaked, Mr. V.  Stay uncloaked.  He stays uncloaked.
Closing in cloaked.

I am not gaining on him much.  Is he moving?  Ah, yes he is moving towards one of the anchored laser batteries.  Evidently he wants to do something there...maybe put in a crystal?  Can you do that with offlined modules?  (No time to research that.)  He slows, and I close.

Now I am in scrambler range.  It is too late for him.  I uncloak, get the lock started, and get my modules on.  Locked, scrammed.  My rockets crash into him... och.  Not a lot of damage.  They'll kill him eventually, I think.  But not for a while.  I wish for my torp fit, but wishes are not horses.  Instead I turn to my dscan, trying to dial the range down enough to get warning of incoming.  I don't succeed; I'll just have to assume those ships at the tower are unmanned or asleep.

No ships come.  Instead, as I head into structure he ejects.  I try to lock the pod, but it escapes.  Oh well.  I cannot fly a Viator, and I am three hops away from home.  There is no hope of capturing it.  So, I kill it.  Then I scoop my loot, and get out.  Sisters probe launcher!

I return a few hours later, and the tower is offline again.  I guess I scotched his plan.

In retrospect, I am guessing his plan was to online the tower for a single hour while he scooped the few defenses around it, then offlined it and took it down.  And it would have worked fine, if he'd only cloaked or absented himself while the process was going on.  He learned the hard way what I thought everyone in wspace knows: never be uncloaked outside of a POS without good reason.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Touring a Shattered C5

I am out exploring in my Manticore.  Perhaps I'll break a long kill drought today.  But I don't, at least not down two of the four wormholes in my home system.  So, on to the third.  I warp to my C5 static and jump.

Something about C5a is ... different.

The first indication that something is strange is the lack of POCOs on my overview.  This happens occasionally in C5 and C6 -- dreads do it -- but it is rare even there.  But there is something else on my overview that's odd: a celestial beacon.  We don't have those in wspace.  This one is called "Epicenter".

Dscan is also unusual.  The local star is a "Turbulent Blue Subgiant", which I've never seen before.

I look at the system map.  No moons!  It's a shattered system!  Let's put on our galoshes and Hawaiian shirts, and go see the sights.

First, the nearest planet.  It is shattered, all right.  And huge -- hard to screen shot.
Not so bad as Alderaan.
The anoms in the probe scanner reveal the system is unusual for a C5.  It has many normal C5 type combat anoms, but it also has C6 anoms.  Also, it has ice!  There's an ore anom "Shattered Ice Field".  Naturally, I warp over for a look.
Endless ice, or at least 355km of it.
The field is vertically aligned, and vast. It's about 400km from top to bottom. You could mine ice here all day long, if you had the miners and the guts. Would I ice-mine in wspace? In an anomoly? Uh... you've got to be kidding. (I warp back to this site later, and it does have sleeper guards: a cruiser and two frigates.)

There is also a "Shattered Debris Field", a new kind of ore anom.   It is even larger than the ice anom, being about 600km from end to end.  (It is horizontally aligned, BTW.) 
Endless ore.  Even stupider to mine.

Finally I warp over to the Epicenter, at 100km in case it's nasty.  It's a sleeper site: a sleeper cruiser and two frigates are there.  There's a lot of interesting scenery.
What is going on here?
Among the more obvious bits are wormholes, five of them.  They are called "Violent Wormholes", and don't show up on overview, so evidently not jumpable.

There are also three things that look like torches.  These turn out to be Talocan Disruption Towers, each attached to four Talocan Static Gates, and above that a Spatial Rift.
Talocan scenery.
In addition there are a bunch of Veldspar asteroids, and Talocan artifacts of various kinds.  Nothing appears to be of any value.

Now I scan down the system.  There are twenty sigs, so it takes a while.  They are all the normal sort of thing one would find in a C5 or C6.

Later on, I return to my system to open up my static C4.  I jump in and... it's another shattered system!  At first I think I somehow made a mistake and flew to C5.  But no, it's a C4 shattered system with C3 and C4 sites, an ice anomoly, etc.  What are the chances of being two for two?