Gently brushing fame

Well, its been one of those weeks where you wake up on Sunday and can’t remember a thing that happened since the last time you sat down and wrote and not for good (alcohol, drugs) reasons but because the week was filled with a thousand little things, each absorbing, none really noteworthy.

I did have a brush with fame though, a very light touch to be fair.  I was contacted by famed The Mittani.com Space Pravda Imperium News author Vulxanis Viceroy.   Vulxanis wanted to schedule an interview with me due to my last blog post in which I had made some critical comments about the state of wormholes and the usefulness of Alphas. So, Vulx and I agreed to a few times and I was sweatily anticipating my 15minutes of fame.  I double checked my post in expectations of the hundreds of thousands of hits that this would surely evoke.  Did I insult Noobman?  Will HK evict me?

For the record, not only is Noobman outstandingly handsome and very good looking, he also single handedly achieved a massive victory to improve Wormhole space, a victory so grand that he created a veritable legacy as the Savior of Wormholespace : Forever.  I bow to thee, Mr Noobman.  There is no better, Bob’s blessings upon thee.  

Saving WH space

Where was I?  Oh yes.  Imperium Interview with Vulxanis.  Like all star reporters before him, Vulxanis was in extremely high demand but finally we scheduled an hour.  Just before, he had to cancel, apparently Brave Horde was moving from one place to another and as the resident Brave Horde writer he had to park his interview with an obscure Wormholer spewing his bitter vet bile and side-step to a topic of far greater import.  After this intellectual exertion, he was of course in no shape to have an interview with me but graciously came onto my TeamSpeak to just chat.  He We talked for nearly an hour and I learned much about what it means to be a Staff Writer for the Imperium (good ISK, great comradeship, access to excellent editors), learned about Amarr Lore (I could never get my head straight with all these lore-related half-baked in game events) and much more.  I think I dropped the ball when I confused Horde and Brave not once but twice.  He did not take it well.  See to me, they are entirely interchangeable but apparently they are different. Who knew?   We spoke a little bit more about what ISK means in NS and unfortunately I had to wrap it up.  This was my brush with fame and I thoroughly enjoyed that it stayed a brush.  Not really in the mood for a face slap with it.

So, lets start with some EVE stuff and no, I won’t mention The Judge and his CO2 antics.  Others have done it, its EVE narrative at its best and the guy will fade soon out of the game realizing that after a stunt like this nobody will ever trust him.  And trust, not ISK is the main currency in EVE.

Yes, about EVE.  So we are slowly settling our new C2 WH, are recruiting and even poached famous blogger and connoisseur of Wormhole Space Turamarth Elrandir into our ranks.  Tur is a much appreciated addition to our US team and brings a ton of experience and zeal.  Welcome Tur!

Life in the C2 is a lot different than in our C4.  The main different for me is that logistics to get stuff in and out is so much simpler.  Mostly because the routes are so easy to roll and find but also because rarely anyone is present in the holes we enter.  You really have to try quite hard to see anyone in our chains or even in the our LS neighborhoods unless we drop into an active FW system of course.

Which we did the other day.   Since CCP K-space players have forgotten that Wormholes exist, they tend to be at first surprised and then inquisitive.  Case in point, FW pilot “gleeman1 single” jumped into our hole with an Imicus, spent an inordinate time scanning and without any intel whatsoever started hacking.  Upon which he got exploded by yours truly.  I missed his pod and he warped off, back to the safety of LS.  I went after him hoping he does something stupid and sure enough, he returned with a new Heron and came right back in.  We missed him on our hole but there are not that many places to go and Orea found him in one of our data sites.  Although our guest miscalculated, he warped into one of the datasites that has BIG RED FAT SLEEPERS all over the place and our temporary friend found himself sitting next to his wreck, likely wondering what just happened.  When Orea graciously helped him back into K-space, he must have sworn off WH space forever.

Total ignorance of how wormholes work is getting commonplace, in my absence my corpmate Falou separated pod from Heron in a pretty standard maneuver only to gasp at the killmail.  Yes friends, a T1 scout ship hacks happily in Wormhole Space with nearly 400 mil in the cargo hold.  One scratches one’s head. Oh tempora o mores.

As a note to my last remaining two readers, Falou was affected by Terrestrial Weather the other day and operates in his temporary shelter from an ancient laptop. Voice communication wasn’t possible when I logged in and found a miner in next door C2, suckling happily on Arconor.  Without any intel about this hole, I warp to the anom with my Proteus only to see the sleepers wake up and chase said miner from the belt.  After a few minutes, our miner friend comes back, all armed to the teeth with Hobgoblins and starts mining while fighting the sleepers off,  Nullsec-style.  As he is distracted, I fleet Falou whose laptop billows greasy smoke and he drops his Sabre onto me and our miner friend.  I was more concerned about losing Falou’s Sabre to the sleepers and after tackling the Procurer started shooting the Red Triangles.  The Procurer’s drones were kind enough to help me and in harmony, just like good friends, we take the sleepers down.  Then we send our friend home with my customary “did you know what happened mail”.  Durtils

Our (now HS) friend does reply by putting a bounty on me.  I am now a 6 million ISK worth evil person.  I need to find a priest and confess my sins.

Where was I?  Oh yes, Falou and I are hanging out in our neighbor C2.  Did I mention that since our attack on the miner, I saw an Astero with Core Probes 1 on D-scan?  Asteros can be very bad news indeed (as my last Proteus could attest to) but Core Probes 1 let me think of a rather new player.  The Astero is right in line with the only Astrahus in the system and I go take a look.  Turns out our Astero friend is hanging out peacefully outside the docking ring of his ‘hus, scanning happily, likely humming a wee song.  What could possibly happen.

Did I mention that he was outside of his docking ring?  And that there was nobody else inside the ‘hus?  Well, “Falou, decloak your trust Sabre and warp on top of me since I am about 8km away from our Astero friend”.  Falou lands, blows bubbles and our Astero launches drones and starts shooting me.  They tickle.  I tickle back.  Falou enjoys himself, his laptop has melted into the table and we send our Astero pilot to empire space.  As usual, I send a “are you alright?” email to our victim, in this case making sure that he has a route back in.  Wormhole space is empty enough, I really don’t want to make someone lose his hole by accident.  And in contrast to our miner friend early, Astero Pilot replies cheerfully, laughs about it, already replaced etc.  GF!

Phew long post. Space famous, bountied and a known, evil killer of harmless ships.  Who said EVE was dying?

 

 

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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. Continue reading

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

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

Duck Season

 

It is no secret to my last remaining pair of readers that our corporation (Z3ro Return Mining) lives in C4 space with an ever-changing C3 neighbor.  Life and wormholes are like boxes of chocolates, you never know what you find when you open one; C3s are quite popular actually since they always have a connection to K-space and hence allow the riches of Wormhole life with the added advantage of easy access to the markets.

Last Monday, Oreamnos Amric and myself find ourselves alone at home, Orea is our CEO, Alliance Boss, Supreme Commander and Dear Leader.  He also manages our corp payouts so I suck up to him.  While Orea is doing accounting things, I open our C3 with my scouting Proteus whilst having my alt in a Stratios on standby in our hole.  D-scan shows me 3 Tengus, a tractor unit and a mess of wrecks.  I quickly move, cloak and with narrow beam find out where these site runners are and within 10s, I have eyes on them from 100km. Continue reading

Impulse buying and other stories

It is an interesting time in EVE Online at the moment, with alpha clones supporting consistently high log-in numbers, citadels and engineering complexes sprouting faster than they can be destroyed and solid wars keeping players and main stream media engaged.  Yes, EVE has never been in a better place; our generation’s lament “EVE is dying” is dead.

It does beg to question what comes next.  The engineering complexes came out late last year and collectively we gave CCP a well-deserved Christmas break, not expecting any serious updates.  Sure, we now anticipate the release of drilling platforms that will serve as the end of the maligned (or loved) POS.  The death of pulsing, blue ball is neigh and while I fully understand the reasons behind the move, I will also be a little sad to see it go.  The whimsical soap bubble of safety, floating by itself in a J-system has always had the appearance of a makeshift hunter or logging camp promising safety and vulnerability at the same time.  Instead we get solid looking structures, mega cities that we can imagine filled with thousands of hopeful humans living at the mercy of us godlike capsuleers.  Especially in J-space, where would the survivors go when an Astrahus finally succumbs to an onslaught of foes?  It is not in human nature not to prepare for these events and I imagine the Sisters of EVE organizing caravans of rescue ships every time one citadel goes into structure.

Alright, enough philosophy.  How about my last weeks?

Well, its been one of those periods where not a single specific event shaped my online time but rather a bunch of little things that are individually amusing and collectively a mirror of what is possible in EVE, maybe even representative of the breadth of the game itself.

Here follows the summary of a few events in no particular order. Continue reading