Friday, January 8, 2010

[OOC] Of Space and Sand

I've found myself having numerous conversations and posting responses to other blogs regarding the Hulkageddon event, so I think I'll sum up my own thoughts on the topic in my own post.  This is going to be a bit back and forth as I see valid points on both sides, but I assure you that I do not consider myself on the fence about it, in any sense.

First, allow me to point out that I have mining friends, carebear friends, ninja friends, pirate friends, and friends like me who just do whatever they like whenever they like.  I'm not biased against any of these groups, and though I do playfully tease my girlfriend about being a carebear, I do not harbor any ill will toward any of these groups, in game or out.

Okay, formalities aside, let's get to the opinionated portion of this presentation.

Directed at the victims ]

I actually like the idea behind Hulkageddon, and I absolutely applaud the effort to disrupt AFK mining and macro mining.  I do see the mining side of the coin, though, in that most of the people getting their arses handed to them with this second event are, in fact, not AFK.  I do understand the losses incurred, and I've been shot down while defenseless and offenseless on several occasions myself.  It's frustrating, it makes me swear vehemently, it makes me not want to play--for a couple of hours at most.

In the end, it's a game.  If you aren't having fun, then don't play.  If you're a pirate bored out of his mind and station spinning 9/10 of your play time: don't play.  If you're a miner bored to tears in an asteroid belt 9/10 of your play time: don't play.  Rarely, if ever, does anyone hear complaints about AFK pirates shooting people down and stealing their loot, so don't expect to get any breaks while you're AFK mining and raking in potential millions of ISK.

If you are having fun, then by all means play all you want.  I only ask that you remember that Eve is intended to be sand-box and no amount of crying, cajoling, coercing, crudeness or politeness is going to change the fact that pirates can come into your asteroid belt and shoot hot hug all over you whenever they want.  It's part of the risk inherent in the playing of Eve.  If you don't like the risk, don't play the game.  If the developers take away the rights of the pirate to enter high sec and gun down the unwary, then the entire game would be ruined simply because it would soil the sand-box so thoroughly that we'd never find a big enough scoop to clean it out with.

Yeah, pirates can often resemble the playground bullies, but as children we were forced to deal with bullies (or were the bullies), and as adults we can surely deal with them in a game where no physical harm can possibly befall us through their actions.  If you cannot appreciate the freedom given to us by the developers, then you cannot truly appreciate the game.

If you'd like to do something about the pirates, then by all means, hire mercs to defend your mining op, or organize a force to route them out of the area; you have that freedom.  Don't expect them to just turn tail and run, be prepared for a fight, and who knows--you might just win.  Regardless of your success or failure, enjoy the fight and most importantly enjoy the game.  The pirates will enjoy the game regardless of their success or failure.  If mining in peace and solitude is truly your only method of enjoying the game then perhaps you should seek another game, because you'll never achieve that in New Eden unless you convince the developers to ruin it.

[ Directed at the aggressors ]

As stated previously, the idea behind the Hulkageddon is fantastic.  But truthfully it's false.  I don't care if you continue the Hulkageddon, but tell it for what it is.  I've seen a few comments that I applaud for the authors' honesty.  It's no longer about the AFK miners, it's about the fun.  So why the pretense?  Helicity, update your site to say that it's a competition in which people can have fun ganking mining ships and win prizes.  The true fans of the sand-box style won't care that you are taking out defenseless mining ships, as it's an accepted part of the game, and in real life pirates have terrorized defenseless transports and caravans for centuries.  We deal with it.  Those who can't handle it shouldn't be miners or haulers.

[ Directed at everyone as a whole ]

We all will always catch hell for our actions in Eve.  Miners and Industrialists catch hell for being carebears, ninjas and pirates catch hell for their own playstyles, people like me catch hell for playing so many different styles that we're not particularly good at anything but we can do a little of just about everything in game.  Everyone should still realize that it's just a game, and no matter if you're being victimized, victimizing others, or watching others victimizing victims from a virtual distance, you should be having fun.  If not... then try out something else.

Kids in the sand-box do not always play nice, and the parents are letting us build what we want and defend it how we want.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Seeking a C3-Capable Myrmidon/Brutix Fit

This is a bit late in the requesting as very soon I'll be stepping into a Hyperion, but I wanted to get some feedback on ideas for a C3-capable Myrmidon or Brutix fitting.  My usual fitting focus on reps and remaining cap stable for PvE and Sleepers, but my last attempt was full of FAIL as I lost my Myrm to the Sleeper battleships in a matter of moments.

I roughly worked out the math using combat logs and EFT, and found that I was able to repair just over 900 armor per cycle between 2 reps II, or around 113 DPS.  While this works fine with the frigates and BCs, once dual battleships enter the scene, I'm getting creamed.  Or fried, rather, as they typically use lasers.  The two battleships typically hit me for about 1200, and while slower to fire, it's a big impact on the DPS of the group as a whole.  My repairs can't withstand that kind of abuse with the current fitting style.  I don't usually use drones against the Sleepers as they die rather quickly, and serve only as chaff most of the time.

Typically, my fit resembles the following (Note: My numbers may be slightly off, as I'm not posting from my pod):

Armor Repairer II x 2
Energized Reactive Membrane I x 2
Beta Capacitor Control: Power Relay x 1

10MN MWD I x 1 (If using Blasters)
10MN Afterburner I x 1 (If using Rails)
Cap Recharger II x 4 (x3 for AB)
Statis Webifier x 1 (If using AB)

200mm Railgun I x 5 (With Iron and Antimatter depending on the range I need, if using AB)
Medium Ion Blaster I x 5 (With Anitmatter, if using MWD)
Salvager I x 1

I'll be able to upgrade to T2 armors in just over a week as I've got Hull Upgrades V running right now.  And since we're on the subject, I might as well ask for advice on the Hyperion fitting as well.  I went with Hyperion for the sake of it's rep boosts, as well as Casiella's believing it to be made out of "pure sex"--to quote him.

Thanks in advance to any responses.  You can either reply here or eve-mail Caels Caldanhai in game.

Monday, December 28, 2009

How To Lose a Helios

So this past week, I've discovered the key to losing a Helios completely decked out with all the latest in warpy-cloaky technology.  Apparently, despite my sense of supreme safety and arrogance, it is possible to be chased and killed even while cloaked.

I was minding my own business, flying from station to station, cleaning out my assets list because I was tired of having useless crap strewn throughout the universe.  Those few things that I deemed not useless were in my cargohold as you can see from the kill mail above.  Whilst en route to yet another station, I had noticed that a Taranis was following me for a few systems, but in my self-perceived safety I ignored him and continued on my merry way.

About 5 systems after I first noticed the Taranis, I was mid-warp to another stargate when I got snagged on a bubble.  Not a big deal--I get snagged by bubbles all the time, so I turn for the edge and start moving away still cloaked.  A moment later, that Taranis lands on top of me in the same bubble, forcing me out of my protective invisibility.  I immediately switch on my microwarp drive trying to gain some distance from him, as I have no weapons and my cloak was on cool-down.

Thanks to the MWD, he was able to lock me faster thus removing my ability to cloak altogether.  At this point, I just kept the MWD on and tried to keep away from the Taranis.  He had me pointed, but failed to web me so I still sped along at 2464m/s and I actually seemed to be gaining distance on him.  Volley after volley slammed into me, obliterating my shields and spinning chunks of my armor into the cosmos.  Just as he started to miss most of his volleys on me and my armor was all but gone, I began to hope that I might actually escape.

Sadly, this was not to be the case, as he managed to slam another volley into my structure, obliterating me in that final hit.  I tried to warp out my pod but he pointed me once more, drawing several curses from my lips.  He gibbered something in a strange language in local chat, but I understood what he wanted.  I understood 10 billion ISK and pod.  He had already stolen 40m+ from me, and I had no implants so I welcomed the ion particles from his friend, who had shown up just as my Helios exploded.  As my pod was decimated around me, all went dark.

I awoke on a table somewhere in Aridia, slightly disoriented but remembering everything.  I thanked the technician and donned a robe.  Shaking my head at such a loss, I decided to call it a night and reflect on how to survive that situation next time.

The moral of the story:  Even when cloaked, danger is everywhere.  I think from now on, I will be following the old "warp to a nearby celestial before warping to a gate" even while cloaked.  It's still not perfect, and it still carries risks, but warping gate to gate is too dangerous even cloaked in null sec.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

[OOC] A Whisper in the Silence

My apologies, to my friends and readers, for my absence these past several weeks.  I took a much needed vacation to visit my son for the first time in a year, then followed it up with a lingering illness that even now still taunts me.

As that illness finally begins to dwindle I shall be returning to my pod in short order, probably within the next couple of days.

To my corporation, thank you for your patience and I'm sorry for my extended absence.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Back Alley - Second Day's End

It's been a long 48 hours thus far enveloped in the myriad colors of our little class 1 w-space.  After I discovered the uninhabited system, Casiella gave me the order to stay in it and keep my probes running their locating algorithms until the corporation could establish its presence.  Scanning was an addiction for me according to some of the other corp-mates, and for the most part they were correct.  However, scanning in a wormhole and scanning systems down in high security are a little bit different.

For one, scanning in high-sec gave me fewer places to explore but limitless systems to choose from, whereas in the Back Alley there are many signatures but once discovered they are not quick to change, and I was limited to the one system.  I did get plenty of experience working with combat probes, however, so I have little to complain about aside from the boredom of scanning constantly while waiting out the arrival of Casiella and her small POS equipment.

It only took a couple of hours to get the site set up initially.  After the force field went up, I went to work scanning down the other cosmic signatures present in the area, thankful for the safety as I could not yet cloak.  The rest of the corp took a break in the control tower for a few hours while I sat alone in space.  At first, I was absolutely fine with that, but after completely identifying, bookmarking, and yawning at all of the signatures I began to get a little stir crazy.  I was not permitted to leave the wormhole because at the moment I was still the only scanner, and I had to stay in the case of our known entrance collapsing on us.  I ended up joining the other corp members in the control tower for about an hour just to stretch my muscles a bit.

... 1 Hour Later...

By the time I made it back out into space, a couple more of the corp mates had returned refreshed as well and we chattered excitedly about our new starbase for a few minutes until Casiella re-appeared and continued setting up the position.  She mounted a few more defensive weapons, anchored a few containers, and then had me and Moare assist with the testing of access rights to the starbase equipment.

After it was all set up, systems online and looking in order, I moved in a couple of ships of my own: Delorian, a Procurer, and Serrated Seraphim, a Myrmidon.  The myrm was my first battlecruiser, and had barely survived the previous wormhole experiences she had shared with me, but we were learning and had improved our fit a bit.  The Procurer had never even seen use, though I'd had it for several months.  After moving in my ships, and realizing that no one else was still around, I decided it was the perfect time to go pick up my cloaking skill book and modules.  Forty jumps later I was nestled safely back in the starbase and I decided to get some sleep while I could.

... 6 Hours Later ...

Once all was good and right in the world of Caels, I set off to the nearest gravimetric site in Delorian and landed right on top of several Sleeper frigates and cruisers.  Uh oh!  Bounce, bounce, bounce!  Come on baby, turn around!  The Sleepers had closed on me already, and I imagined their robotic glee and saliva spewing forth in the form of hydraulic leakage as they opened fire.  Searing beams of light leapt at me from several directions and I nearly panicked as I saw my shields vanish instantly and a small portion of my armor melt.

"Warp Drive, Active," came the call from Aura, and we sped off to safety as a final volley of light slammed into my backside disintegrating the remainder of my armor.  Panting into my comms that I was safe, I could just sense the scolding I was about to get from the boss lady.  Maybe she was laughing on the inside or something, because that scolding never came.  All that was said was that all mining ops needed an escort, and she let me off the hook.

After my little debacle, I decided to go back to my Serrated Seraphim and try my hand at defending the other miners.  I warped off to another gravimetric site to find that it was empty, and had Moare warp to me and start chewing rocks.  Then I warped out for a moment to check the status of our wormhole, and warped back in at 100km from the miner.  Casiella retired to the control tower once more, and the miners and I were the only things alive in the Back Alley for a time.

By a time, I mean about 10 minutes, perhaps less.  I noticed a Tengu suddenly pop in on the far side of Moare from me, followed closely by a Stabber, Navy Issue, and then a third ship that I didn't both to get the details on.  "Shit, Moare, get the hell out of there now," I screamed into the comms.  Kiithilurin, swore into his comms as he had just begun to warp to our location.  I was too far out to even try to intervene, and swore again as Moare's Retriever listed to the side and finally crumbled beneath the onslaught.

I warped back to the starbase, arriving only seconds before Moare's pod, and less than a minute before Kiith's pod.  I immediately switched to my Helios, Awkward Glance, and set about launching my combat probes and scanning down the area.  It took me a several minutes to get the different signals pinned, but I could tell we had 5 visitors, 2 of which approached our starbase like curious animals.  I watched as the Tengu and Stabber vanished into a spot I didn't recognize on the solar map, which upon further narrowing revealed a new wormhole.  A Wolf class vessel snooped around our starbase for several minutes before finally vanishing as well, but he had revealed to us that our defenses were not reacting the way they should have.  He had closed within 80km of our starbase and not been targeted by the artillery.

One by one, the signatures disappeared into the newly discovered wormhole, and I spent another 10 minutes or so watching for any signs of life besides our own.  I was also still in the process of learning to use cloaking modules, so I could not yet investigate the new wormhole safely.  We lamented the losses of our two Retrievers and Kiith decided to get some rest.

A short while later, my training on cloaking had finally completed enough that I could use the prototype module I had purchased, and I fit it to my ship.  Immediately, I went to check out the new wormhole and discovered it was a Class 2.  I popped in and took a look around, finding only one other ship in the system, and that one left within a few minutes.  I scanned down the signatures in the system, finding a few combat sites and 2 other cosmic signature that I didn't bother with.  The wormhole to leading back to our space was already disrupted from the group of mercenaries who had violated our retrievers earlier, so I decided that deeper exploration might not be the best idea.

Moare was getting impatient to find something to kill, so I agreed to bring him back to the Class 2 with me and let him blow stuff up.  I stayed in the Awkward Glance just in case we lost the portal, until Moare asked me to grab the Serrated Seraphim and come help him clean up.  He had a launcher but no salvager, and the Myrmidon had a salvager and no launcher.  We decided to forego my scanning speed for the clean up speed, and I brought in the Myrm, and another corp mate joined us in cleaning up sites.  We only found 3 out of the 5 sites still alive, but it was probably for the best, as just as I was cleaning up the salvage from the last site combat probes spread out over Moare's d-scan and he recalled us to the wormhole.

We had a minor issue with the wormhole not wanting to let our friend back through, but eventually he made it through and we all returned to the starbase safely.  I deposited the loot and salvage to the corporate hangar and switched back over to the Awkward Glance to ensure we had no new signatures.  Casiella's ship appeared once more on my comms indicators, and I swallowed hard as I began to tell her of the loss of the Retrievers.  She wasn't very happy with us at all, and proceeded to interrogate us about the how's and why's of the situation.  To my sensibilities, the loss was monetary only and easily replaced, but to her it seemed it was a waste and a loss based on the principles of survival in the wormhole.

We collectively re-iterated our understanding of proper operating procedures, while Moare attempted to shine some light on the stuff that went well that day rather than the losses, but she didn't bite and the subject remained unchanged for a few minutes yet.  Still, we reported our success at the sites, the potential ISK we had earned, and the fact that our starbase wasn't defending itself.

After Casiella determined the problem with the defenses, Chainer finally arrived and provided me with some more entertainment as Moare, Casiella and the others all retired to the tower for the night.  We chatted for a bit before we decided to do some mining.  We searched around the gravimetric sites for a fight, and Chainer allowed me to test my fit against the Sleepers by myself.  For the first time ever I was able to hold my own against 3 frigates and 2 cruisers all alone, inspiring confidence in myself and pride in Chainer.

The battle complete, Chainer warped in his Trash Compactor, a Cormorant with the sole purpose of eating wreckage, and proceeded to clean up the mess.  Then I put Delorian to her first real use, alongside Chainer's Ravenous Muncher, and we mined Arkonor for the better part of a few hours, driving Chainer's sanity to the brink.  He had me switch ships and scan down signatures in the hopes of something to shoot, but failing to find anything new, he decided to spare his mentality and get some rest.  I continued mining alone in the depths of the w-space, surrounded by the blues and oranges of our Cataclysmic Variable, for another hour or so before finally, I needed rest as well.

So the end of the second day was much like the beginning of the first: lonely, peaceful, and breath-taking.  while the w-space life can be boring, I've had great fun with it so far, and I've learned much in a very short amount of time, and I look forward to serving out more time in my capsule.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cruiser Crunch in W-Space

Well, I had my first foray into the deep, unknown reaches of space tonight. Let me tell you up front that a Sleeper frigate in W-Space is almost the equivalent of a cruiser. Another thing I learned about Sleepers tonight: Guerrilla tactics don't work so well.

With most things in New Eden, if you are taking a lot of punishment and you need a quick repairing break, you can warp away, let your buddies take some aggression, repair a bit, warp back and rejoin the fight and slip amongst the battle unnoticed. Those Sleepers are some smart cookies, though. Even if I was minding my own business--floating around and enjoying the visual spectacles of wormholes--while Chainer Cygnus was shredding through Sleeper armor like an Amarr in a room full of Minmatar children, the Sleepers wanted me dead and they made plenty of fuss about it.

Well, no problem, I can take a few hits from a battleship and 4 frigates. I actually made a half-decent tank for all of about 30 seconds before I'd have to warp back to my wormhole bookmark and spend several minutes repairing my armor and letting my shields power back up a bit. At this point, in most battles, Chainer would have established his superiority and I would have just hopped back into the fray barely noticed by the deadly Sleepers. Wrong! The moment I left warp all eyes turned to me; savages hungry for the kill.

I basically played this game of tag throughout every battle in our little space amongst space, effectively rendering me entirely ineffective. However, I did manage to make myself useful a bit later as the only salvage-capable ship remaining towards the end of the raid, as our pilots started needing rest.

Needless to say, as soon as we evacuated the wormhole, I obtained the skill book for battle cruisers and I'm currently training that to the second tier. I also picked up my first Helios, and fitted it out with a probe launcher and attempted scanning for the first time. It was definitely a different side of piloting, and one that I think I'm going to enjoy immensely. Which is probably for the best because, apparently, Chainer despises the scanning process.

The more time I spend as a capsuleer, the more interesting it gets.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Libraries and Gate Camps and Can Flips, Oh My!

Well, my friends, this weekend was certainly eventful for both me and my Caldari companion, and I'll introduce you to my money maker for the first time.

The Lethal Library

I'll start with her tale, since it is short, and the pain easily sympathized.  Kechara Rye, that silly minx, went and bought herself 13 new skill books all at once.  Millions of ISK spent all in one big shot, she floated on towards the system of purchase in her naked Navitas.  Aura warned her when she went into the system, that it was low security, but what else could she do but retrieve her library from the clutches of pirate space.  Well she could have asked for help, but that's beside the point.

She made it into the system very easily, no problems, no pirates, and she let out a great big sigh as she nestled her Navitas into the station's docking bay.  The dock hands had her 13 skill books all packaged up and ready for pickup.  She double checked her inventory and then sped on her way back towards the safety of high security.  When this was over, she would be very glad to be safe and secure once again.

Kechara didn't like low security one bit.  She didn't like me calling her a carebear either, but if the pod fits...

As she glided back through her warp bubble to the gate that would lead her to safety, Kechara drooled over the hoard of knowledge she would soon be pouring through.  The Navitas dropped out of warp just outside of jump range for the gate, and she moved for it quickly.  Alas, not quickly enough.  Out of nowhere the shots came, slamming into her naked Navitas round after round, shaking the tiny ship so much that she couldn't even get her bearings.  Within moments, the ship was destroyed and her pod floated amidst the wreckage.  Swearing vehemently, she willed her pod back to high sec, where she brought up comms with yours truly and vented quite harshly.

I gave Kechara some advice on trying to run through low sec and survive, and actually got an apology for her loss of temper; shocking from a Caldari, but true none-the-less.  I could feel her pain, especially considering my first trip in a Vexor ended badly with a bit less than 30m ISK lost, but such is life in New Eden and hopefully she has learned from the incident.

Experience Learned is Experience Earned

Shortly before leaving ASPOT, my friend Ralcoss had tugged me out to null sec and given me some very handy advice for traveling in relative safety.  He had me power off my weapons and equip warp stabbers to all of my low slots (5 in the Thorax), and I had already known to turn off my auto target back.  The powering off of the weapons wasn't strictly necessary, but with all those warp stabbers, I didn't have enough power for the rest of my ship.  We weren't interested in a fight; it was all about escape and evasion.

Well, only a few days after Ralcoss' helpful insights, I got to put them to use for myself.  I was trekking my way through Placid's null-sec tracking down a skill book I had purchased.  Enroute to a stargate, I got caught in a warp bubble with lots of pretty, floaty, dead things all around me.  My first act:  In the local comms I shout out, "Someone left their warp bubble out here."  It wasn't an intentional cry for abuse, but in retrospect it was rather humorous.

Moments later, I catch a glimpse of a Helios just before it vanishes behind a cloak.  Ah-hah!  So it's not abandoned...  Let's move!  I immediately set my Thorax to warp to a belt that was out of line with the gate and warp bubble.  Thankfully there was one, otherwise I might have been screwed.  I warped off and laughed quietly to myself as Aura informed me that he was trying to warp scramble me.  As soon as I left warp, I set warp for the gate once more and waved at the Helios as I jumped through.

After jumping, once the systems had all come back online and started showing me my surroundings, I saw several nice flashy red things moving towards me.  Luckily, this was the system in which my precious skill book was waiting and there was only one station.  I managed to swing my ship about and get into warp just as the second volley of shots dropped my shield to about 60% strength.  Once more, I laughed to myself and waved goodbye to my aggressors as my warp bubble enveloped me.

Just for fun, I tossed a jibe into local comms telling them, "nice try!"  I received no response.  After docking and injecting my skill, I decided not to tempt fate and I chatted with some friends for a while before I retired for the evening... well, it was morning in Eve Standard Time, but the beauty of living among the stars is that we set our own biological schedules.

Mining: A Good Day to Die

Greetin's, strangers.  I'm not willin' to impart my real name 'cept to those I trust, but ya can call me L, or whatever the hell ya want.  I mine.  It's a shitty job with no additional benefits, but the pay is very good if'n you know where to look.  Most of the time it's just plain boring, but it is my duty to refill Caels' pockets when 'e goes and gets 'imself blow'd up like a moron.  And don't ya think otherwise, 'e is indeed a moron, but most people seem to like 'im well enough.  Maybe they's morons too, I dunno, and I don't care.

Anyhow, I don't reckon ya'll wanna hear me talk much, but I got me a decent story the past few days, so I'ma flap my gums at ya anyway.  I've been 'round a mite longer than most might think, seein' as this is my first tellin'.

I's out mining, minding my own, when this 'ere thievin' Drake comes and flips my can on me.  Now, I seen 'im coming, an' I towed in all my drones 'cuz I knew what he was after.  I got no weapons fitted to my barge, 'cuz that's jus' stupid, an' I even had myself two little asteroids locked so I couldn't even have locked onto this 'ere freak 'less I wanted.  I also had my can open to me the whole time, so I know 'e didn't pull a fast one on me, but somehow 'e opened fire on me, blow'd up my baby in only a few shots, an' them CONCORD fellas didn't do a thing.

Somehow, 'spite all my precautions, when I tried to rescue what ore I could from 'is clutches, it dinged me red to 'im.  I jus' don't get it.  Anyhow, it don't really matter none, I only spent 3 million on the ship an' equipment an' a million on the insurance for a 5 million payout.  All that together meant I made myself a nice million just from gettin' blow'd up.  Top it off with a boon from the corp when they gave me another barge, fully fitted for free... ahh, a good day to die.