Behind Enemy Lines – Part 1

Well, so this is Part 1 of my current adventure.  Bob only knows if there ever will be a Part 2, it depends on many things, most of them have guns.

While my EVE home is – and will stay – a wormhole, sometimes I get wanderlust and head out to try other things.  In the past, I joined RvB, then FW and I had a good time playing something completely different.  Recently, I had been itching again to go out and do something I had thought about for a long time.

Everyone knows that EVE is dying and that nullsec is stagnant.  Its a known fact, the internet says so.  Well, instead of lamenting like the Goons do constantly, I thought, well, lets take a look.  If Nullsec really is this empty, I can scout a scanner alt in via gates and have him run Data and Relic sites and – when the coast is clear – scout a Wormhole route to offload my loot and maybe scout another character in with a PvE ship.  And while PvE is the goal, maybe, just maybe I find some carebears that I can drop the hammer on as well.  Just saying.

Alright, so where to start.  First, I need a character that is truly harmless.  If he shows up in local, he needs a credible story and a killboard that does not scream “Wormhole PvP Corp, run for the hills”.  Ok, in fairness, every one of my characters could do that, my killboard is not impressive at all.  But I have a toon that I groomed to be nothing but a scanner and scout, flies a mean covops, scans well but barely has enough powergrid to run a coffeemaker. With 4 million SP he really is no threat to anyone.  He also happens to be in a newbcorp – whether thats an advantage or disadvantage, I do not know yet.  He may look like someone’s cyno alt and that’s a bad idea.

Where to go?  Nullsec is huge, there are many systems and which one would work best?  Blindly trying out a few places is not ideal.  What is quiet right now could be a nasty battleground tomorrow.  Dotlan comes to the rescue, this amazing site collects intelligence about all of New Eden and displays it in great maps.  We are looking for a system with few jumps / 24 through the cycle of a week, activity centered at time zones when I am at work (means EU TZ corporations), far enough from war zones so that a single boat won’t warrant a carrier hot drop and preferably in space where Nullsec renters live.  See, nullsec renters are by-en-large scared of everything.  Scared of wormholes, scared of enemies, scared of their landlords. In addition, they don’t have time to chase a single CovOps around, they must farm for their owners / landlords or else get evicted. ISK / hour is the prime objective.

I watched Dotlan for about 1 week with an eye toward jumps / 24, NPC kills / 24 and of course ship kills.  The last one isn’t that important, most nullsec system have negligible PvP action, sometimes you see statistics of several poddings without ship kills.  I think that’s people podding themselves back to a trade hub or something rather than fly the many jumps back.  Other considerations are the corporations, ideally, I wanted to be near corporation and even alliance borders.  I am banking on normal human communication issues, one corp may see me zoom, they may think I am an alt from some other alliance and dare not to speak up.  Its a long shot but every little counts.  Lastly, Dotlan gives me indication of the peak times when people are active.  As I am not hunting, I look for EU time zones, hoping that at the late US time when I am online, the systems are empty.

And so I found a nice constellation that fit my bill.  A little too much PvE action but in very specific systems (one of them had 16,000 NPC kills in one day with 9 gate jumps, ok, they have a Cyno but really?).  Getting my alt in was easy enough.  Covops are extremely nimble and I raced through the 20+gates in no time.  Some gates were of course bubbled up but that is not really a problem for a cloaked frigate.  Drag bubbles are annoying when they make me overshoot the gate and I have to motor back 50 km but whatever.  Even with the locals in system, nothing came close to catch me.  If so, I happen to have 2 warp stabs in my low slots, so it will take quite a gate camp to stop me.  Unless I panic, flail my arms and scream like a little girl.  Which I tend to do when I encounter PvP.

So far so good.  I arrived in my target constellation and it was – Dotlan be praised – as empty as promised.  Initially I start making safespots, warp outs, gate perches, mark down POS and add people to my watchlist.  Then I slowed down on that – very few gates in this backwater are bubbled at all  and there are so many POSes that I can’t count.  The amount of POS fuel that these guys burn must be staggering.  Also, I am not here for PvP.  Tactical bookmarks have their place but if something really chases me, I will cloak up, log off and sneak out later.

So, I am in the great outdoors. Whats there to scan down?  My CovOps has no offensive armaments (my tank is slipperiness) and running sites is out.  Hacking, I can do.  Also, my young alt doesn’t have the CPU to run warp stabilizer + relic analyzer + whatevertheotheranalyzeriscalled.  I use my mobile depot to switch modules – oh that thing is so useful!   I love you CCP for reverting this loot-spew nonsense.  I hack the can, get my stuff and align to the next one.  I run a couple of sites and walk away with 15mil ISK.

Well, “walk away” is a tad premature.  I have it in my cargo hold.  My boat’s hull cost about 22mil, so this is a promising start.  Time to look for an exit.

 

Sometimes, stop and look at the beauty.

Sometimes, stop and look at the beauty.

 

Dang, Wormholes are like buses, policemen or girlfriends.  When you really need one, there isn’t one anywhere.  But when you have a gorgeous route already, guaranteed 3 or 5 more show up making a nuisance of themselves.  I scout all evening and finally find a crummy hole to a C5 (I think) which is predictably empty, to a C3 with a Tengu sleeping at his POS, then a low sec.  I feel good about Wormholes, I feel safe and I know my way around.  K-space with local and gates scares me way more.  So, I scout the route, drop the loot and race back to “my” nullsec system with empty cargo hold.  Some other alt will pick up the stuff later.

I keep doing this for a few days, rarely encounter a soul.  When I do, I run like hell, sometimes jump into a Wormole and just hang out for 20 min or so.  I really don’t want to show up on anyone’s intel list either so I never loiter, always move.  This works well and I get the hang of the hacking minigame.  See, in Wormhole space we never do this. The sleepers guarding the sites are way more valuable than the stupid cans and by the time we have a site running team together, nobody wants to bother with this minigame nonsense.  In lowsec, highsec, they are either too dangerous to run (they are often scanned down by the locals and left as “honey traps” or they are entirely worthless.  In my little nullsec pocket, I can run 3 in a row and stuff 50 mil ISK into my cargohold.  Which isn’t that big in a CovOps unfortunately and frequently, I need to jettison stuff that bulky and worthless.  I think the locals have so much ISK that they literally don’t bother running these sites.  The number of anomalies and combat sites these folks have is staggering.  I wish we had 10 % of that in WH space, especially if they can be farmed in complete safety.

Greater Prosperity Sphere

 

In just 3 nights, I gather hack ~80 mil ISK and get it to empire space.  Not entirely without incidence, though.  In my search for a wormhole exit, I stray into a rather well populated area where the – English speaking – locals come after me with Sabres and other scary stuff.  Pretty much everything is scary if you are in a CovOps with 50mil in the hold.  The locals bubble the place up have combat probes out, pose all threatening. All while I am cloaked up somewhere, making me a sandwich.

Patience, little grasshopper, patience.  When they really don’t leave me alone, I drop probes, find a throbbing C6 and jump through.  Of course the nullbears dont follow me but I feel warm and loved in Bob’s embrace.   I would much rather die by the hand of a WH brother than by some wannabe Nullbear.  But unfortunately, I can’t stay here.  Its a C6-C6 and I really rather not get caught in this chain.  So, after 30 min, I jump back into the – now empty – nullsec and log off.  In the morning, just before downtime, I race out of this populated area into my temporary home. I pass many locals but they gape at me with slack jaw, I am too fast for these yokels to mount a chase fleet.  I run down the pipe – deliberately crossing region borders – fake a left into a quiet dead end branch and log for the day.  And like all good stories, in the evening, I find a convenient C3 with a lowsec exit right near my safespot, I casually stroll out, drop my loot, sign a contract to my alt and head back in.  All that chasing around the night before was really not necessary…

Ok, so this is a viable way to make a living, sure.  Its not huge amount of ISK but I paid my boat in 3 nights nearly twice over.  The playstyle serves me currently since I have long gaps between sessions and I can happily log off my toon, let the locals think I vanished and then re-appear.  And I meet people on the way! I am a nice guy and when people are respectful to me, I am respectful back.  No sense getting people all aggravated.  They’d only call their masters who would send real PvPers – not my goal.

 

Nullsec Dude > You’re far from home.

Me > I know…

Me > bloody wh collapsed behind me

Nullsec Dude > Damn, that sucks.

Me > adventure lol

Me > and you?

Nullsec Dude > Meh I live here.

Nullsec Dude > Go towards [some place], I believe there’s a wormhole there.

Me > I have never been this far in null lol

Nullsec Dude > We rent this space pretty cheaply.

Me > can I ask how cheap is cheap?  or is that a secret?

Nullsec Dude > 1 bil a month

Me > for 1 system?

Nullsec Dude > Lets just say the profits around here are higher. :)

Nullsec Dude > Yes.

Me > really, sounds high

Me > but hey what do I know lol

Nullsec Dude > Well I just earned 150 mil from a total  of 1 hour of work today.

 

1bn ISK / month for a single system, shared with a few corporations.  I guess if they have the ratting rights sorted out, this is decent enough space to live in. Its 100% safe – local channel will tell immediately if danger is approaching.

Well, I pump-fake an exit through a gate and skedaddle into “my corner” and I am starting to get comfortable.  Occasionally, I blunder into a site running team but really nothing much more.  I am getting a little too cocky and I take a side-trip into a system that I previously had avoided.  Irrespective of the day / time, there had always been NPC kills so I assumed it was active.  Well, curiosity got the better of me and I take a peek – rewarded with massive bubble nests on both gates, 50 dudes in local and at least 20 Procurers, 5 Orcas and dozens of Ore haulers on D-scan.  Its probably 1 guy running a bot farm but man, what a sight.  I keep that system in mind for a later visit with my main character. Who can light a covert cyno :)

Talking about main character.  My next goal is to infiltrate a site running character.  I splurged on the ship, bought a Stratios and spent quite some time futzing with the fits.  Like a camping trip, I have to be prepared for many different situations but with limited cargo space, I have to be pretty selective what I bring along…

That character is now waiting in Empire somewhere – work makes me travel again but I hope to set him up over the next two weeks.  Whether I live or die, make gazillions or lose this boat, you shall read it here!

 

3 years in a hole

My main character was born end of January 2010.  He is not my first character (that honor goes to this one, whose log-in credentials I lost) but with Epigene, I explored New Eden most.  Like all good CCP customers, I have more than one account and a bunch of alts but I identify with Epigene most.  I’d rather biomass than sell him, that much is for sure.

Epigene has a rather short corporate history for a character of this age and on July 10 2011 joined the Wormhole Corporation : Z3R0 Return Mining with 10 million SP.  Oreamnos Amric and I made the jump together and we have been corp mates and friends ever since.

Our first hole was a C2 (the corp who owns that hole now is still in our alliance and are vicious killers at that) and we learned about scanning, scouting and running sleepersites.  We learned about omni-tanking and evading PvP as much as possible.  None of really knew how to do this and our corp was led by a highly organized team of director veterans who literally provided everything for us newbs.  Only much later did I realize just how much work they did and how much time they spent building this corporation.  Our CEO was mostly absent or flying in his own C4, I never actually saw him in space and certainly heard his voice more on his podcast than on mumble.  He made us move to a C4/C4 which was about the worst combination one can get.  Never-ending chains made supply runs brutally hard and we all got burned out scanning.

Orea and I blogged about some of the drama that our little corporation encountered, the moves, the losses, the thefts and pride of owning our own holes and – later – our own alliance.  Yes, our Alliance – Illusion of Solitude – is nearly 2 years old.  Born out of a tantrum, we emerged strong, slightly anarchic and actually very stable.  We moved into the hole of one of our Alliance corporations, a C4/C3 which is a much improved situation, every C3 has a empire exit, so finding routes is never difficult.  Our Alliance grew – against the predictions of some – we now stand as active as one can be in the middle of the summer.  And we are still growing, not a week goes by where a corporation doesn’t express interest in joining but our we are picky – only WH corporations who can hold their own are considered.  One / two man corps failing in their own holes and seeking numbers by joining an alliance may not apply.

Much kudos to our stability goes to Oreamnos who holds us together with a cynical fist, snarking at the lack of fuel in our towers, crummy bookmark discipline and floating ships in the POS.  Z3R0 Return Mining and Illusion of Solitude would not exist if it wasn’t for Orea, so if you see him in Local (which is damn rare for us Wormholers), please pay your respect and add to his bounty.

And so, I celebrate this summer two milestones.  3 years (Jul 2011-Jul 2014) in Z3R0 Return Mining space and in August 2 years of Illusion of Solitude.

W Space little Things

Apparently, CSM has a WH candidate and is concerned about to learn what our community would like to see changed in the future.  Corbexx posted a thread on EVE-O forums that is filling rapidly with – shocking – rational thought and good discussion.

I added my humble voice to the growing thread and copy my text below.  But if you live in WH space, go here and bring forth your wisdom.

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Independence Day

Today, we are celebrating Independence Day.

I did not grow up in the US and much of the spiritual meaning may be lost on me but I strongly espouse the principle of self reliance, political self-governance and economic independence. July 4th is one of the few US holidays I can get behind. It takes guts to decide to break the ties, it takes conviction beyond measure to free oneself of oppression.

Kudos to those who attempt, admiration to those who succeed and honor to those who failed in the attempt.

And since this is a blog about EVE Online, the game which is a lot more fun to read about than to play it, on this day, I salute all you little corporations, you independents, dreamers, pirates, and wormhole dwellers.

None of us will own ever own “Sovereignty” but all of us can go where we please.  None of us will ever be written about on TheMittani.com but any one of us has more stories of ganks and escapes to tell than the internet can hold.  None of us will ever fly in a fleet of of thousands but all of us giggle like girls when we whack someone* with three corpmates.  We will only “bend our knee” in order to place it into someone’s groin.

This day is for us, gentlemen and gentlewomen with dubious backgrounds and uncertain futures. It is an honor flying with you.

Happy Independence Day!

 

__________

* our victim and I swapped EVE mails, GF etc.  We had podded him and made sure that has a route back in before we left his hole.

again?

It is summer.  EVE is dying.

Again?

Yes, its pretty much dead.  Nothing ever happens.  Unless I play scout and hunter for my alliance Blackops run.  I am in an Arazu and gleefully tackle some N3 Ishtar only to realize that I can’t fire the covert cyno when my speed is above 500m/s.  Always read the users manual.  That Ishtar shoots back and I make it out in hull.  How, I honestly don’t know how.  Smoke pouring out of my ship, my fleet mates falling out of their chairs in drunken laughter.

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Narwhals ate my Tengu

Ah, finally a tale of PvP, its been too long.  I am no good at PvP, but thats what I log in for. That and my corp and alliance mates.

So, logging in finds my colleagues probing into our chain.  A Procurer has been spotted in a Wormhole ore site without mining lasers running.  He is 2 jumps over and so obviously bait that he may as well could have renamed his ship to “Look at me, I am helpless, cant shoot back, please attack me, I am harmless, love xxxx“.  And hence Falou and I get ready to do just that, people in WH space are rare enough and in the words of our glorious leader “never not take the bait”.

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My Apology to CSM

Just a quick post, I had promised myself to stay out of the most recent CCP debacle but unfortunately, I didn’t manage to do that.

Just as background, CCP laid off more employees in Iceland, that in itself is not note-worthy. They do this after shutting down World of Darkness, and announcing that they will be removing DUST as we know it and replacing it with a brand new game. Oh, and they will be adding an Occulus Rift game.

Some details can be found in a Guardian article, more can be found on EVE’s own Fox news.

Ok, so what?  A game company that takes risks, explores opportunities and gambles for greatness should be applauded, not harangued.  Too many tech companies rest on their laurels and get blown away by the next competitor that comes along with a better product.   CCP is taking massive risks and I envy them for the patience of their shareholders.

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