Hunting Blind

Its been 3 weeks since my last post and by now my hopes of attracting a 3rd reader are likely dashed.  I don’t think I will be space famous any time soon.

Well, to be honest, I haven’t been all that active in EVE for a variety of reasons. none have to do with the game itself.  Its just life, I am somehow experiencing a chain of “little things” that together keep me busy.

In EVE, I am shuttling between our home C4 with our “real” crew and our new C2 which we will use as a hunting blind when things are slow in C4 land.  One of the issues we encountered in our C4 is that we either find nobody, we find a single exploration frigate (though these kills cost me since I tend to send more money to the victim than they lost) or we are “found” by a 20 +  man gang who could wipe the floor with us when they sneeze.  Not ideal currently and while we all hope that people resettle wormhole space in the fall, my concern is that the emphasis on nullsec has damaged our life style.  Nullsec promises unlimited ISK making potential, scheduled fights with known neighbors and of course with no risk at all to the line pilot due to generous reimbursement programs.  All for no work whatsoever. Continue reading

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Summer project: Settle a C2

As the majority of my two handsome and intelligent readers may remember, I have been bumming around EVE for many years but my true love is Wormhole space.  It all started in 2009 when I was a nawt but a podpole flying in one of those high-sec corporations that people read about. You know, the ones that get wardeced constantly, awoxed and are the buttjoke of EVE.  Yep.  That was me.  Anyway.  My friend Oreamnos and I decided we had it and applied together to Z3r0 Return Mining of Jadecougar’s fame (lost in EVE, used to be one of the better podcasts).  At that time we owned “Fred”, a lovely C2 hole with a low sec and a C2 static.  I.e. easy to get in, easy to find people and not so easy (albeit not impossible at all) to get evicted from.  Many adventures happened in and around Fred and my old tales all start here.  But as Z3r0 grew up, we moved into “Shirley” (C4 with a static C4.  Puke) and then into our current home “Tim”, also a C4.  “Fred” stayed in the alliance for a while, first as an academy for new pilots and then later as a general hole.  But all good things must come to an end, Fred was abandoned when our last permanent residents fizzled out. As it is in Wormhole life, the connections closed and Fred floated away like a soap bubble into the sunset during a hurricane in the desert on Mars, never to be seen again.

Until last week…. Here follows the account of the great Settlement of Fred. 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

 

Back in the hole

Well, here I am, back in Z3R0 Return Mining, my ancestral home so to speak.  Run by friend and fellow blogger Oreamnos, the corp occupies a C4 (C5/C3, we call it “Tim”) and by attrition has collected a motley crew of space cadets that behave on comms more like a family during a Thanksgiving Dinner than a hard hitting PvP elite corp.  We have known each other for longer than really is healthy and when people break out into jokes about things that happen in space 5 years ago (really Orea, I still want my bomber back that you warped to ZERO km onto the hostiles) then you know you are in both a good place and a place that needs to pick up its recruitment effort.

But I digress.

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Lost in Translation

I commented before on the new Wormhole Spawn rate – it has indeed slowed down a little but we still have many connections leading to scanner burn-out and of course extremely long and tedious chains.  But they also seem to be leading to more content and corporations adapt swiftly and efficiently.  Our site running team for example tested a new mixed PvE / PvP fit that promised to be highly successful and resilient to hostile action.  It may need a little tweaking but in theory it works perfectly.

Anyway, I am wandering around and scan down a new C5 which leads to a C4 (among several NS holes, a frigate hole, an EOL C1…).  The C4 seems promising, it has a C2 static and I stroll in, see what the locals are up to.  Oh, look.  A Raven on Dscan, not aligned with a tower / bubble.

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Spunk

Life in a wormhole is rarely predicable which is both its allure and its downfall.  Pilots desiring content have to create it themselves and the worst enemy of a WH corporation is someone who logs in, looks if something happening and – if not – logs off and plays DOTA.  Wormholes are not like that, Incursions maybe or lowsec but we blaze our own path.

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