Saturday, February 14, 2015

A Relic of Failure

Friday night.  It's US timezone, which tends to be less active.  But I have time, and I am hoping to find something interesting.  I am out in my Manticore, looking for whatever EVE has to show me tonight. 

I jump into C4b.  Dscan from the wormhole is not boring: there is a tractor unit on scan.  There's also a mobile depot, but that is not that unusual.  Nor can a depot pay; even if there was something in it, a depot has a reinforcement mode which has a longer timer than most wormholes.  So, they are hard to kill in wspace.  Few try.  (Occasionally I scan them down and reinforce them, hoping someone else will come along two days later to finish the job.)

But the tractor... that can only mean one thing.  Someone is or was running sites.  If they left for some reason, I can kill the tractor and take whatever is in it.

I move off to orbit the wormhole at 30km, hitting microwarp and cloaking.  Now I set to work trying to find the tractor unit.  If it is old enough, it may be out in space somewhere that I cannot get to with normal scanning.  In that case, I'll have to scan it down with combat probes.  But it may be in an existing site.  It might also be in a sig site, which I can get to in my Manticore, but I'll combat scan for it anyway.

Normally I am faster.  But eventually I get a generally right direction, enough to see an anom which both the tractor and depot appear to be in together.  I confirm it with a five degree dscan.  Yes, they're in an Integrated Terminus.  I warp over for a look.

I land in the site, and I can see that it was being run.  The first two waves of sleepers are gone; the third wave (somewhat reduced) is here.  It's a Sleepless Safeguard -- a nasty ship, which warp scrambles -- along with three of its normal six escort frigates.
What happened here?
The Safeguard makes me start to suspect what happened here: someone got in over his head.  He was running the site and had to bail.  Or indeed, perhaps he could not bail because of the Safeguard, and got himself killed.  But there's no evidence I can see other than the tractor and the depot.  There are no wrecks; whatever happened here, happened at least two hours ago.  The evidence will be locked up in the tractor.

So, it's another tractor problem.  I've encountered this sort of thing before.  How do I kill a tractor unit and then loot it, under the nose of a Sleeper battleship which warp scrambles? 

I have run these sites before, with just me and my alt in Rattlesnakes.  I could do that here.  But I am not too keen to put that much ISK at risk in a completely unscouted system.  Also I ran a Terminus in my home system, which is a pulsar.  (This gives huge capacitor.)  This system -- I check -- has no effect. 

Another thing I might do is hit the site in my site-running Tengu.  This wave does 614 DPS according to eve-survival; that will be reduced a bit by the Tengu's smallish sig and by the lack of three of the frigs.  So I could try that.  But my Tengu relies on shield boosting, and I don't know if I can stay cap stable in here with the Safeguarding nossing me.  Probably not.  Nope, bad idea.

My rattlesnakes have microjumpdrives on them.  These are handy for several things.  But I think they will work here.  Sleepers don't actually warp scramble; they warp disrupt.  Or such has been my observation before.  So microjumpdrives should work.  I think.  I am not totally sure that sleepers don't scramble... about 90% sure... is that enough to risk 500m ISK?

I decide not.  What else can I do?

I recall that CCP recently created medium microjumpdrives, and I recall that we have a PVP Drake.  Let me look at it... aha.  I board it.  It does indeed have a microjumpdrive.  OK, I know it cannot stand up that long against the Safeguard.  But then again, it should not need to.  It should kill the tractor in about a minute, I think.  It has a bit more DPS than my bomber.  Then I can scoop it and go.  Assuming the Safeguard does disrupt, not scramble.  The whole thing should be fast enough that observers won't be able to gank me.

It's a plan.  I tweak the fit to remove the webber (not needed here) and put on a EM ward II.  A bit more hardness does not hurt.  Then I warp to C4b, cross, and warp to the site.

I decide to warp in at 10km, thinking I can slide past the tractor unit as I shoot it so that I can time turning around to be aligned to my wormhole.  The plan is to pop the tractor just as I come back past it, so I can grab and go.

I land on grid.  Then I target the tractor, and open up. 
Shooting the tractor.

My assault missiles crash into the tractor.  I move towards it, and I launch my drones -- warriors -- for extra DPS.  I creep toward the tractor.  I kind of forgot how slow these things are.

The sleepers notice me, and come zooming up.  The frigates web me.  Oops.  I forgot about that too.  I am not sure I can get there in time.  The tractor unit goes into structure, and I am still 8000m from it.  I am taking serious shield damage.  Down to 1/2.

Now the Safeguard is close enough and I hear the sound of warp disruption.  The die is cast: either I can escape or not, according to whether or not this is disruption or scrambling.  We'll see.

The tractor pops, and I am still not close enough to loot it.  I align out to a planet, shields down to 33%.  I hear the low shield warning as I activate the microjumpdrive.  It activates; indeed the warp disruption from the Safeguard was disruption, not scrambling. 
Escaping warp disruption.

Swoosh!  I am now 100km away, well outside of the range of the Safeguard's warp disruption.   I warp to the planet at 100km. 

I can't go back immediately, not with my shields at 25% and the sleepers where I want to be.  Also I need time for my microwarpdrive to cycle.  So I warp to this system's outer planet, making a safespot as I get close.  Then I warp back to the safespot and sit a while.  There's nothing alarming on scan, neither ships nor probes.

After a few minutes, my shields recover to 80% or so.  It's enough.  I warp to the site, this time directly to the tractor's location. 

I land on grid, and open the tractor wreck.  Ah, loot.  Not really very much, but loot all the same.  The sleepers lock me, and warp disrupt me, and start pounding as I grab the loot, then align to the wormhole home.  Then I microjump again, and immediately warp out. 
Exhibit A in my murder investigation.

As I finish warping home, I look at the loot and the killmail for hints as to what happened.  There are several kinds of fittings in the loot, so evidently someone lost his ship in that site.  There are armor parts.  There's a laser and crystals, and drones.  This suggests that the guy was flying a Stratios.  Ouch!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I've been low activity in EVE lately.  A lot of this has to do with other games occupying my time -- Clash of Clans, Star Wars Commander, and Castle Clash.  But it also has to do with luck.  I've had a good run of luck in having my system zip itself up.  When I am zipped, I hate to waste it.  Instead, I head out into our local anoms for some carebearing.

Last night was an example.  I've had five gas sites in my system for a while, which I have carefully not touched.  Most scouts coming through don't seem to instantiate sites, so the sites tend to persist until I want them.  Several of these gas sites had been there for a week.

Yesterday morning, I had three connections.  My two statics, and a connection from a C4 with a lot of towers.  These people were fairly busy yesterday.  But then they popped their own wormhole in the afternoon, leaving my static C4 in EOL.  So I knew I had just my two connections.  By the time I logged in last night for real playing, my static C4 had self-terminated, leaving only my C5.

The C5 system, I knew from yesterday's fruitless roam, was unoccupied.  So the chance of getting traffic from it is slight.  My system is very likely half-zipped.  I'll picket the C5 wormhole, while I do stuff in my system.

First, I trigger all my gas sites except one.  I do not think I will have time to slurp them all.  Then I wait for 20 minutes for the sleepers to come.  (I get off an attack or two in Clash of Clans.)

A bit later I get Von into his Rattlesnake and kill the four gas sites.  Two of them are Ordinary Perimeter Reservoirs -- the site with sentries.  Bouncers and precision cruise missiles deal with these nicely.  Then on to two Bountiful Frontier Reservoirs.  Gardes and precision cruise missiles kill the cruiser rats, then a Gecko kills the frigates.  (Yes, Geckos can track frigates.  690 DPS.  Sometimes they one-shot them.  Go figure.)

After the sites are killed, I warp back home to switch into a Coercer to salvage.  The sentry sites don't have anything, of course.  But each of the other two sites has about 40m in salvage and blue loot.   Good pay for the amount of time it takes.

Next I have some PI to do.  Von is first, but all my PI characters (three of them, on two accounts) need to do it.  So I get into an Epithal, and start making the rounds.  Each planet gets about 50000 units of P1 goods; this is enough for about two weeks of operations.  Each planet produces a complementary P1 good, and a P2 good.  The P1s sometimes get carried on to a complentary planet.  Those which don't, and the P2 goods, go back to my tower.

Ordinarily when I do PI, I do it in an insecure system.  Each time I warp out from my tower, I blind a hunter by warping to a safespot inline with a planet I am not going to.  But I skip that tonight, speeding the process.  Nobody uncloaks and kills me.

Von watches the wormhole for a while as Otto does his PI.  Then I swap again, and log off Von for his PI and gas sucking alt.  The alt does PI first.  Then on to the gas sucking.  He has perfect gassing skills, and an implant.  So he sets to work.

This is work for him, maybe, but not for me.  I have nothing to do for hours now, except listening for the wormhole noise on my picket, and strobing the discovery scanner every 10 or 20 minutes to check for new wormholes.  I dutifully do this, minus the occasional break for coffee and bathroom.  No wormholes connect.  Evidently nobody sneaks in while I am completely AFK.  I do see a new combat anom appear.  I watch as the sites go down one by one.  Every half hour I have to warp back to my reaction tower to dump the gas.

The C5 connection goes EOL, and I am tempted to use my picket to help mine.  But I leave him there just in case.  (I explore through EOL wormholes.  Others might too.)  Also, I want to know when the C5 goes away, because I would like to enter C5a when I am done for the night and check it out.

Hours later, it's time for bed.  I've tapped out three of the sites and a bit of the fourth.  80m in sleeper loot, and 100+m more in gas.  The C5 wormhole is still alive.

When you read a blog like this, it's easy to get the notion that EVE is really interesting all the time.  But I only write the good parts.  I write about the one percent moments, and some of the boring stuff that sets them up.  I rarely write about the 99% when that's all there is.  But it's there, and like everyone else, that's what I spend most of the time doing.  Scanning.  Safe PVE.  Gassing.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Signal Cartel

Via Nosy, I found out that Mynxee has started a new corp for explorers, Signal Cartel:
Signal Cartel is a corp designed from the ground up for peaceful explorers. We are based in Thera... Dedicated to the highest ideals of exploration, our corp culture is one of wanderlust, camaraderie, helpfulness, respectful behavior, and peaceful intent. We seek to provide our members with a friendly, nurturing home that includes great benefits and opportunities for learning, fun, and profit.
Mynxee, for you relative newcomers is a respected EVE blogger (now found blogging at Outlaw Insouciant) and notorious pirate PVPer from times past.  Everyone I've read seems to love her, at almost Sugar levels of intensity.  She's a good bet for a mentor and CEO.

Signal Cartel is not for me -- its corp rules forbid initiating PVP.  (I hunt.)  But it is exactly the sort of corp I would have liked to join when I started.  I know there are some explorers reading this, so maybe it's for you.

Meanwhile, I'll be setting Signal Cartel blue to my corp.  Since their principles forbid shooting me, I won't shoot them.