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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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

 

shrinking is good

If you have time to listen to one Podcast, make it Declaration of War.  Its entertaining, informative and highly polished.

If you have time for 2 podcasts, either add Hydrostatic Podcast or High Drag – both are funny and mix up the topics quite a bit.  Crossing Zebras and the host’s pretend professionalism and relentless nullsec focus gets old.

Wormhole space only has one podcast – Down the Pipe.  While informative to me – I live in a Wormhole – its chestbeating for PvP and “content” (=site runners getting murdered by a fleet 10 times their size) is getting a tad old.  But the recent roundtable was indeed excellent, as the Blogger Eminence grise Kirith Kodachi noted.  The funny thing is, I too  thought it was excellent – but for very different reasons.

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Hyperion and Wormholes Part 1

Well, so our Icelandic friends dropped a little surprise on us.  The upcoming patch “Hyperion” will contain some rather significant changes for us wormhole dwellers.  The associated Dev Blog can be found here, a decent description is found here and Rhavas summarized his analysis here.

Lets start with the tl/dr – the changes are not really what the community wanted or needed but they’ll do and most of the changes will contribute to more activity in Wormhole space.  This is a good thing.

Considering that I agree with much of what Rhavas wrote, let me just add a couple of comments from my point of view.

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On Assignment

I think I mentioned before that I parked my main character in the C4 of our sister corporation Z3R0 Return Mining. They had lousy routes and I had parked myself for a few days in some Amarr high sec station, watching the world pass by. High sec still makes gives me the weird feeling that I get when I return from a lengthy backpacking trip back to the trailhead. The first sight of a car, the smell of asphalt in the sun is as alien and new to me as the experience of a warp gate and watching incredibly expensive or very vulnerable ships mill around docking stations. D-scan shows me miners in belts and I catch myself asking if they are a trap or if I could risk it. But no, its not a trap, they are in High Sec and reasonably safe.
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Playing with the Neighbor – Part 2

So, here we are, just blew up a Legion in our neighbor C4 at the cost of a Stealth Bomber and a couple of Ruptures.  We are not doing badly here.  The opposition sobs inside their POS with their tail between their legs and likely have no ships left that could oppose us.  They have disrespected us, we are hyped on adrenaline and we are keen to follow through with our plan to bash one of their brand new POS-es.  But blowing up a tower is not something we have ever done – we took potshots before annoy people but we never really did it in an organized way.

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