EVE is unforgiving – and that’s why I love it

What follows is a cautionary tale that I want to impart to my remaining two readers.  It is a tale that starts with hubris, goes through stages of boredom, distraction and inattention and ends with a dead ship.  My dead ship.

But lets start at the beginning, a typical night in our small wormhole corporation had started with copious amount of scanning, Teamspeak banter and much hilarity.  The map is broad and wide and as usual has nobody in it.  Well, except for a group that is sitting in their force field (yes, POS-es are still a thing in WH space).  Its a nice C2 with a high sec static and we try to coerce our hosts into doing something, anything by baiting with a harmless Imicus hacking their sites.  No dice, the locals are not moving and our Imicus pilot is pulling 80mil ISK out of the site.  Opp success?  Anyway, we are not going anywhere with this baiting tactic and more exotic measures to provoke a reaction are being considered, including rolling holes, shooting the POCO or the POS, running their sites etc.  The majority of our corp is based in the UK and I have to tap out for a bit for real life things.

When I come back, predictably nobody is left and I am bored.  I already put in 2h of scanning and scouting this night, evidently nothing is happening and I decide to just do a quick tour of our static C5 connection to see what is happening.  As usual, I take my scouting Proteus forward and my alt in his Stratios.  The headset is off, am chatting with the wife and am thoroughly distracted.

The C5 is predictably empty and I casually scan down the connecting C4.  Also empty.  I linger for a bit and then decide to call it a night.  Its late, my mind is some real-life things and my heart is not in it. I transverse the C5 and jump the Proteus back to our home hole, the Stratios is a few seconds warp behind.

And this is where things went wrong.  The Stratios is still in the C5 but lands in empty space.  No wormhole. How weird?  Did I warp to the wrong bookmark?  No, checks out.  Where is the hole? I just jumped my Proteus through it. What is going on?  Well, I had forgotten that our team had “critted” the C5 connection and in my distracted, blase and slightly arrogant state, had jumped both my cruisers out.  It did not collapse.  Now I jump the heavy Proteus back in and it died.  The Stratios lands in the place where the hole used to be, he doesn’t have a probe launcher fitted but should have one in the cargo hold.  I am hoping I didn’t forget to pack a Mobile Depot. I check. Yes he has one. Phew.

With my distracted brain, I totally forget about my Proteus who is after all “home” and hence “safe”.  Right?  Wrong.

Looking at my second screen with the Proteus pilot, I see him tackled by an Astero.  Where did he come from?  Where is the Wormhole (I still didn’t get it).  Is this a corp mate of mine?  Total confusion on my part.  The Astero orbits me at the perfect distance and has his drones on me but he doesn’t worry me too much, I have tons of tank.  I fish out the Hammerheads and start shooting while I finally get my stuff together and at least cloak my stranded Stratios.  If the WH still existed, I’d jump the ‘Strat in now and web the crap out of this pesky frigate.  But the Proteus does not have a Web and the Astero easily outruns my Hammers. Ok, lets try Hobgoblins.  They should be fast enough.  I am dipping into 2/3 shield.  On an armor tanker, this is trivial but the Astero is not alone, they never are.  I have maybe 2 minutes before his team arrives.  My hobgoblins land and do damage, not enough but a little.  The Astero now starts shooting my drones.  This is a good idea, I shall do the same.  One of his drones explodes and we both pull our respective sets back in.  Now what?  I can’t outrun a frigate (not even with overheating the MWD), I can’t reach him and he can’t kill me.   To make this worse, its blaster Proteus and I have no long-range ammunition in the hold.  Nothing, I have Void, Null and some antimatter.  No “Tungsten” or anything that can touch this Astero.  Ok, back to drones then.  Vespa  EC-600, ECM drones, I have 2, maybe I get a lucky break.  Nope, Astero shoots one of them and leaves the other circling.  His team mates arrive and it doesn’t matter anymore.  Two Sleipnirs and a Gila land on me and start firing.  All of them are ranged and my blasters are ineffectual.  The Proteus at the best of times has very little DPS and now his drone damage is truly pathetic.  I burn out the MWD by trying some fancy manual maneuvers, interestingly, the opposition didn’t bring neuts, webs or a bubble.  What I though was a bubble is in fact one of the command ships boosting – I assume speed.  I can’t hit for crap and am getting seriously low in armor.  I align to something and wait for the boat to explode.  It does and I warp off.

GF are exchanged and I am thoroughly confused with myself.  The level of inattention, total lack of situational awareness and laissez faire is “not me”.  While I suck at the actual PvP, I am pretty good at WH intel and maneuvering, I tend to be super cautious and very much on-top of things.  This Proteus loss was entirely out of character for me.

It just reminded me that EVE in general and Wormhole life specifically do not allow for mistakes. One false move, one casual jump and moment of distraction can be the end of the ship.  EVE is unforgiving, cruel, harsh and I love every minute of it.

So, shoutout to the opposing team to stay classy, well done, Purzelinchen, solid tackle, well deserved kill.

May we meet again.

 

RIP – my sweet Proteus, I had grown used to you…

Departing from the Astrahus

As some weird premonition, I took this screenshot when I undocked to explore the fateful C5…

 

Conflict is life

The May release has dropped and for virtually everyone outside of Delve nothing has changed.  In Delve some NPC raid content is happening and just like all PvE content in history of gaming, everyone expects it to be “on farm” within a few days.  But hey, I don’t live in nullsec, so I don’t expect anything new to happen until at least winter 2018.

Back to the topic.  With the publication of the roadmap out of the way, the EVE community ceased to focus on hypothetical and large scale solutions and hones in on features in the game that could be improved in order to make the game more playable and appealing.  Upfront at the moment is the War Dec system that allows a corporation to initiate a time period where legal conflict is allowed between them and another corporation or alliance.  The target does not have to agree and hence the term “non-consensual PvP” is used.  Generally, the receiving corporation laments that their gameplay is now effectively stopped while the aggressor finds ways to maximize his return by wardeccing multiple helpless targets and selectively culling the dumb ones.  For the vast majority of EVE players, wardecs are useless at best and a nuisance at worst; virtually nobody sees the current system as adding satisfying content to their gameplay. Continue reading

All quiet on the wormhole front

Its been quiet on these pages and I have to assume that both my remaining readers have defected to more content-rich pastures.  Of which there are many and with great variety.  Imperium.news which focuses on the great events in nullsec, Crossing Zebras doing excellent analysis of nullsec politics and of course the venerable EVE News 24 formerly a cesspool for pandemic legion and now a honorable news outlet for the whole of nullsec.   Lastly, the subreddit /r/eve is the de facto community hub of EVE online where all topics can and will be debated as long as they pertain to nullsec.   Continue reading

Fanfest Light

The EVE Online annual Fanfest came to a close yesterday and I presume the neckbeards are on their way home brimming with stories and headaches. Us unfortunate peasants who saw difficulties selling our significant others a trip to a windy rock in the North Atlantic as a romantic getaway vacation had to watch the gathering via Twitch.  And it was a good show.

First of all, CCP deserves credit for being very clear about the scope of the event.  A party was to be had, CSM was to be announced, information about the new refineries was to be shared and the new citizen science project was to be introduced.  Add to this the staple of graphics updates, some balancing announcement, the introduction of a few new capital ships and a new “incursion-like” PvE mechanic and we were done.  Lastly, CCP did announce the launch of a new VR game later this year, kind of like 3D tennis.  Looks neat.  I am sure if I had a VR headset I would look into it. I don’t and hence I won’t.

Famous curmudgeon Jester posted his concern that no new large-scale release was planned, the community shrugged and moved on.  For the nullsec teams that populate Reddit, just about enough content is released to keep them happy for a year.  However, the rest of us got exactly nothing.

Lets try a list of what I remember (please let me know if I missed anything):

  • New Player Experience: Continuous improvement.  All regions, obviously.
  • New PvE mechanic: Incursion-style raid mechanic with intelligent foes.  Likely only accessible for well organized, large teams. While the mechanic could be rolled out anywhere, the first iteration will be launched exclusively in Goon Space.
  • New faction captial ships.  Nullsec / Lowsec.
  • Citizen Science: Exoplanet hunting.  Why this is in the client and not on an App is not easy to understand.  But yes its for all regions, I guess.
  • Refineries and new moon-mining mechanic:  Nullsec / Lowsec only with no firm plans to do roll out anything to WH or High Sec
  • New shaders, new graphics.  Yes, a shiny Vexor, amazing graphics for the suns.  All regions.  EVE is really, really pretty.

Anything I forgot?  Oh yes, CSM 12.  A virtual sweep for the few Nullsec power blocs with a sprinkle of part-time wormholer Noobman and industrial generalist Steve Ronuken.  I wrote before about the CSM and am not too concerned about the lack of diversity.  The new delegates seem to be fairly experienced and hence will contribute to make the overall game better. However, the EVE community chooses their delegates based on their region and it is telling that true highsec / lowsec / WH representation could be achieved.

As usual, two items closed to my heart were entirely missing, a decent online fanstore that is realistic in its pricing and an integrated mobile App with its own development pipeline. Heck, I’d pay for that App.

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So, that was Fanfest 2017.  I am getting ready to play the exact same game until at least Summer of 2018 when maybe new things are released that affect my EVE.

Actually that reminds me, I’ll do a little Fallout 4 survival mode this morning.

Fanfest 2017 – Stream and Expectations

Fanfest 2017 is about to start and while I can not attend it in person, I am certainly watching the streams.  Nosygamer has a good list of sessions to watch on his blog.

Personally, I don’t expect big announcements.  Citadels in all their form have to be in the game for a while until the economy and the warfare settles.  While I am a little annoyed that the new refining complexes add nothing to Wormhole or High Sec space, I understand that they are trying to release content in a manageable way. Continue reading

Bait is useless if not taken

Its been a while since I wrote on these hallowed pages, may both my remaining readers forgive me for spending more time at work, outdoors (spring?) and in Fallout 4 (survival).  By the way, Survival is the only way Fallout 4 should be played.  Its unforgiving, awesome and truly scary. The fact that death has real consequences makes stalking through open fields and dungeons so much more rewarding.  Yes, Fallout 4 gives me the shakes.

But back to EVE.  Our little corporation Z3R0 Return Mining (and yes we are recruiting, contact Epigene in game) lives in a C4 wormhole with access to C3 and C5 neighbors plus of course frequent incoming connections to pretty much everywhere.  A few days ago, I find myself logging in and scanning down an incoming connection from another C4 hole, mentally add scouting it to my to-do-list and proceed with a little bit of PI and a whole load of AFK-ness while the evening matures.

My corpmate Storm logs in for a little and we chat on comms while casually shutting down our respective RL households for the night when suddenly a Vexor Navy Issue appears from the incoming C4 and beelines to one of our gas sites.  A VNI is a fine boat (I have several) but this specific site spawns several sleeper frigates and cruisers, some web, some neut, all shoot.  Its a site type I know well and I tend to drop a Dominix into it rather than a Vexor but I am all ears how our guest wants to run it with a cruiser.  Turns out, he doesn’t do it well.  His drones get shot down, he is too slow and has to warp off.  Back to his hole, only to return with a Gila.  Oh, really.

Now to be fair, neither Storm nor I have really paid attention.  For all we know, there could be dozens of cloaked ships in our system cleaning their launchers.  A Gila can be brick-tanked, they hit like a dump-truck and his cavalry is at worst one jump over.  This is exactly how bait smells like.

We take it, of course.  My Proteus does his bull terrier thing, drops to zero km on the Gila and grabs him by the nuts.  I launch a couple of Hammerheads and start with the blasters while at the same time my other character in his Stratios lands and releases his complement of drones.  I have neuts on this boat but Gilas tend to be passive tanked and I am not too concerned about keeping it up.  Being in our own home system has a distinct advantage, Storm reshipped into a Deimos, undocks from our citadel and warps toward, then lands on top of us and makes the Gila go dead really fast.  Throughout this time, Storm had a character in a Falcon cloaked up on their hole but no hostile cavalry ever arrived.  The pod escapes our fangs and warps off.  I chase after it and a little bit recklessly jump into their system.  My logic is that if a trap had been set, it would have sprung when we dropped on the Gila.  It wasn’t and hence isn’t.  My jumping into their system is pretty safe and I make the usual complements of safe spots and tactical bookmarks around their citadels.

To be honest, they have a pretty decent size crew here, 4 citadels with a total of 6 characters docked up, likely one or two more cloaked somewhere (we saw a bomber earlier).  Not a brawl we can take head-on in a fair fleet fight (Storm and I can field 2 characters each and neither of us is elite PvP-er).  But if they were stupid once, they might be stupid again?

The waiting starts.  The locals undock a bunch of ships, even a hauler, an Epithal (!) but they only to move between citadels.  Its a surprising amount of activity for a corporation that has overtly hostile neighbors.  Interesting.

Finally, I have enough and scan down their C2 static connection, the only other signature in this place.  My presence here is not a secret, might as well see where the connections are.  Suddenly a Rattlesnake undocks from the citadel and warps to my newly identified C2.  Now that is bait if we ever saw it.  The Rattle jumps into the C2, my Proteus after it (impossible that they don’t know that I am here by now) and I am bringing my Stratios into the C4.  Storm is around with his Falcon but to be honest, we shouldn’t jump a Rattlesnake with an entire system full of hostiles between our home and the target.  That would be dumb, foolish and suicidal.

So, thats exactly what we do.

The tactics is the same as for the Gila, I drop my Proteus onto the Rattlesnake and grab him while bringing in my Stratios and guide in Storm’s DPS boat.  The idea is to overheat everything and burn the Rattle to the ground as fast as can be done before his friends arrive.

The view from my Stratios

 

The Rattlesnake targets my Stratios and he hurts me badly.  I have neuts on him primarily to shut down his tank and his launchers but I can’t do anything against his drones.  As a battleship, he is stationary and I turn off the webs to conserve cap. The fight keeps going, Storm lands on grid and adds considerable DPS.

Then, nearly as expected, 4 cruiser-size ships land on top of us and D-scan shows a bomber somewhere.  Our opposition even brings a an Exequror logistics boat.  I only have two scout-class ships both in 1/2 armor, Storm has his ship and a Falcon nearby.  We can’t win this and we bail – very luckily, neither Storm nor my characters are tackled.  I credit my neuts, that bait Rattlesnake should have had tackle and I probably had sucked him dry.  Lucky, I guess.  The hostiles spam local with oh-so scary taunts.

Disengaged, we decide that its a terrible idea to jump back through their system into ours.  We have no idea whats on the other side and if it was me in their shoes, there would be bubbles.  So, while Storm moonwalks around the system, I scan down the high sec and we both camp out in safety.

Lessons learned?  Sometimes obvious bait isn’t and sometimes it is. But you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take

 

Not every Gnosis is bait…

As my remaining two readers may recall, most of my Wormhole posts start with “and then I opened our new connection“.  This post is no different.

The adventure starts when I jump into our newly-spawned C3 neighbor and to my dismay find that it is a “shattered hole”.   For you sad k-space dwellers, Shattered Systems have more variety of anomalies and signatures, ice belts but no moons to anchor a POS on and of course you can’t park a Citadel there either.  CCP went back to the whole concept that WH space was designed for transient occupation at best.  Its also a riskier hunting ground since they – generally – have more connections are are quite big, something can easily hide off-Dscan for example. Continue reading