Posts Tagged ‘NullSec’

Move Op Refinement

I have now participated in two move operations in the post phoebe world, and I have to say that I think the refined model is far preferable to the first attempt. The last move op was a 6 hour chuckle-fuck which seemed to be a serious case of two steps forwards one step back. 6 hours is simply a ridiculous amount of time, and I was lucky it took place on a Saturday when my sleep didn’t matter so much. I don’t think it helped that the new mechanics encourage us to move our stuff in an “Apex Force” of Archons and Super Capitals, which could only be harassed and sniped by hostiles. That’s not to say that harassing and sniping didn’t work, the six hours it took to move attests to the success of that action. I’m not sure it was good content however. Indeed from what I heard in fleet the enemy took to ddos’ing individual pilots (via  pretty interesting method of finding IP addresses). When an individual pilot disconnected. Not only was the fleet stuck waiting for them to log back in, but should we miss their ships emergency warp, they would end up stuck in space just waiting to be probed down and killed. Not fun really.

This more recent move op has been much less of an occasion. With only 90 minutes to move a good long distance. This time the route was optimised to minimise jump cool down so that we arrive at the destination with only a days’ worth of cool down, whereas last time we attempted to arrive with none.

There is still one last hangover from the changes which I personally need to adjust to however: carrier space. Pre Phoebe we moved in Autobahns where strings of cynos lit along a single route meant that it was possible to move back and forth between old and new billets. This meant that the number of Carrier loads you took with you was limited only by your patience and fuel supply. Now with an hour and a half each way, and very few return fleets it’s almost impossible to bring more than a single carriers worth of goods with you. I managed to slim my armada down to a single load + one battleship, which I have so far begged off on friendly super capital pilots to move for me. However I don’t believe that this is sustainable, so with a quick bit of account shuffling I have moved my dreadnaught pilot out of my main account and onto an alt account, and then out of a dreadnaught and into a second carrier. By next weekend I should be once again self-sufficient for move ops.

Fly for six hours strait with your head in your hands,

Hark

Year in Review 2014: Progress

Year in Review 2014 Posts:

It’s that time again when it feels a good idea to look back over the past year and judge how life has been going. It’s been a rocky time for me eve wise with a wedding and a small house fire disrupting my play time heavily though most of the year. However despite this things are looking pretty good and I am happy with where the year has taken me. This post is going to be a general overview of the changes my characters underwent with a good look at the skills each has trained and learned. I will follow this with a post about my year in trade, one with a review of the years blogging and a final post rounding up my plans and goals for the next year so that I can easily review them next year.

So let’s take a look at Hark first shall we? At the end of last year Hark had reached 100m sp, and un surprisingly this is an increased by 21m SP over the course of this year. This works out at an average of ~2490 SP/Hour, which is excellent considering the maximum is 2700 (+5 and skills optimized) or 2520 (+3 optimized). The following categories are Harks top 5 with comparison what I wrote in my 2013 review skills post:

  1. 38m Space Ship command (+1m)
  2. 16m in Gunnery (same)
  3. 10m in Missiles (+1m)
  4. 8m Engineering (new entry)
  5. 7m in Mechanics (new entry)

The changes at the bottom of the top 5 are due to my current Int Mem mapping which absorbed almost all of the 21m SP (Electronics, Engineering, Mechanics, and some T3 sub systems).

Here is a full breakdown of those skills:

Hark currently has 262 known skills broken down as follows:

Skills

  • Lvl 0: 2
  • Lvl 1: 9
  • Lvl 2: 9
  • Lvl 3: 11
  • Lvl 4: 94
  • Lvl 5: 137

She has also accumulated 76,244 free skill points for emergency fitting situations. Her current skill queue will finish on the 19th of June in 2015. She is also just a shave over five years old.

So what has actually changed over this year? Well Hark became Un-nerfable in Feburary meaning that she can currently fly every combat ship in existence (only excluding the command ships and the newly added confessor which I will be training soon). Next up she perfected her Drug and Overheating skills to give me an extra edge in combat situations. Finally towards the end of the year I began training all my rigging skills to level 5 maximise their efficiency and to give me some extra fitting room on certain ships and rigs.

Next year I will be continuing my Int-Mem mapping plan by finishing off my rigging skills, and moving into becoming an e-war pilot, something which I have only dabbled in so far. Once that has been completed, I will need to pick a new optimisation mapping to move onto. Not sure what the new mapping will be but I would guess at Perc-Will (For Weapons Skills & T3 Destroyers), Char-Will (for Command Ships) or Will-Perc (for T2 ships). Whatever it is I look forwards to planning it in the later part of this year.

As opposed to Harks planned and projected skill plan, Xa has been a bit wayward this year. Oscillating from Ganking, scanning and Faction Warfare with reckless abandon. This is due to her becoming a bit of a jack of all trades designed to do all the same things Hark does, but outside of Nullsec, mostly for fun or profit. Looking back I wish I had had the foresight and willpower to separate her and Hark’s roles clearly, had I specialised her in capitals and Hark in sub capitals I could by now an immensely specialised  capital pilot at 70m skill points. On the other hand I wouldn’t have had the freedom to experiment and play with Xa over the years, which has earned a lot of money and fun.

Xa and Hark are also no longer the only accounts I have running. With a dedicated industry account now active and training I have a new revenue stream opened to me in the latter part of the year. The account has been profitable, however branching into a second product seems to be proven over taxing for my limited playtime. Perhaps as my time increases I might be able to ramp things up again. That’s not the only account change which has had an impact on my game play this year, as dual account training allowed me to double up one of my accounts to bring a new Dreadnaught pilot into my ranks. I’ve stopped paying for the dual training for the moment, as I’ve not utilised the Dread as much as I had hoped I would. However it is getting tempting to fire it up again to cross train the character into carriers allowing for easier transport of my assets in Nullsec in the post Peobe universe.

Play wise things have pretty much followed the status quo, I’ve had some periods of inactivity, some periods of war. I still struggle a little with the internal culture of PL, but not enough to cause friction, certainly not enough to stop enjoying to combat and efficiency they provide.  I have been sad this year to see the loss of my wingmen & fellow Dirties members from the game. I still hold out some hope that they may come back at some point. Ex certainly has dabbled back into the game, but only enough for some smaller scale money making endeavours. Really the game is not the same without my friends flying with me, it doesn’t change things enough to stop me from playing, but it does detract from my overall experience. This year I managed to get on ~624 kills with March standing out as the highest kill count month for the year. The three biggest fights that stand out in memory for the year was one in October in Hysera with Snuffbox + friends. Carriers were dunked and Snuff took quite the licking, something which no doubt rankled them a bit considering how salty they got over the whole “kings of low sec” thing. The second was iirc an Aeon kill event we party crashed in Haras in May, if I’m honest I remember there being a lot of kills, but little else detail wise. The final and largest fight was a massive set of brawls in Sendaya with HERO in what was a great little skirmish using Hawks and Talwars. It’s funny that my biggest brawl of the year was in the smallest ship. Fighting HERO and specifically BNI is an interesting experience which I hope to write about soon.

All in all its been a productive and interesting year in eve despite the limitations of real life. Which brings me onto the next year: My key goal for the next year is to dramatically up my kill count. With the other dirties out of eve for now it seems to me it’s about time I caught them up on kills. Both of them are sitting on 3k+ kills where I am only on 1.5k. My aim for this year is to get as many kills in a year as I have gotten in the past 6 years on my main character. I am looking to break 3k kills which works out at an average of 125 kills per month and 30 kills per week. Achievable, but tough and something I’ll be monitoring in my monthly updates from now on.

 Fly like its soooo last year,

Hark

Dirty Guide to Eve: Training Deeper into Nullsec

Although I have many characters in many places in Eve, Nullsec has always been where my heart lies. Pretty much all of my other characters, are in some way or another designed to support my main in Null. As a Null player I think that it’s important to always encourage new players to venture out into Nullsec, to ensure we don’t get too bitter. To this end, this series of posts aims to aid new Nullsec pilots in their training, by specifying ships which are used in multiple doctrines; past, present and future, in Nullsec. Divided up into three posts (Quick Trains, Medium trains and the Long Term), pilots who follow this advice will find themselves quickly able to be useful within an Alliance. They will also be well poised to train more specialist ships to further flesh out their arsenal.

 

This section of the guide details some trains which will further develop your usefulness in Nullsec. This second part expects that you have already gone through the training in the “Quick Trains“, Guide  and assume that you have already completed all the training within that.

Let me address the Elephant in the room, while he is still buttering up to get through the doorway. This is going to be a long set of skill training. You’ve trained for 6 months now to get some ships which are brilliant at getting you into fleets. Hopefully you’ve found it beneficial, hopefully you have found a place within fleets to prosper and shine. Hopefully despite your low skill points your Alliance mates welcome you on fleets and consider you a valuable asset. Even if all this is true, the chances are you are still aching to get into a bog standard ship of the line. A good battleship, or cruiser perhaps. Something which lets you join in with the pack on their level. I would advise that you go ahead and scratch the itch. With the three ship types you trained already you should be all but assured access to fleets, and all regimented training and no impulse ships makes jack a dull boy. So go ahead, indulge. Perhaps you might even consider training the next section alongside some impulse training, 1:1 guide/impulse skills might make this go on forever, but something like a 2:1 might keep you going through what is going to be a long set of training skills.

Let’s touch on that some more. This second set of ships is going to be longer that what you have seen in the first guide. A lot longer. The true aim here is to bring you into the vaunted Logistics Cruisers. What before we do go into that however we will be bringing you into T1 Cruiser Hulls (similar to how the moved into T1 Frigate Hulls), so that you can learn the ropes in something cheaper. So it’s going to take a long time but the fact of the matter is that if you want to be truly versatile in your training, you are going to need to invest this kind of time into these ships. For some people the quick trains will be enough to be getting on with, certainly 90% of fleets will allow you in with the ships you trained for in the first 6 months. But if you finish this next set of training skills, 90% of Alliances will let you in just based on your skills (and eventually, experience).

So let’s get started…

 

T1 Cruisers

A simple short(er) one to start with. Training T1 cruisers is going to be important for a lot of these medium trains, and is also a stepping stone onto the Battleship Tier which you will require later. Training all Four races ships will take around 20 days, but you will need to train up Weapon and tanking systems as well. Specifically Consider training the following to level 3 (unless otherwise stated):

  • Energy Grid Management
  • Tactical Shield Manipulation
  • Missile Launcher Operation (IV)
  • Missile Bombardment
  • Missile Projection
  • Rapid Launch
  • Target Navigation Prediction
  • Warhead Upgrades
  • Heavy Missiles
  • Capacitor Emission Systems
  • Shield Rigging
  • Gunnery
  • Medium projectile Turret
  • Medium Energy Turret
  • Medium Hybrid Turret
  • Armor Layering
  • All Armor Compensation Skills
  • Shield Management
  • All Shield Compensation Skills
  • Weapons Upgrades
  • Armor Rigging

It’s a big load and will take you a further 30 days, but will serve to solidify your core competency. This will allow you to participate in any cruiser doctrines and will prep you for the next batch of Medium length trains.

 

T1 Logistics

This is a bit of a sidestep which will bring you within range of using the T1 Logistics Cruisers in fleets. Most PvP alliances will use the T2 Hulls for their logistics, but depending on how strict they are, they will likely allow a few of the T1 equivalents to join in as well. Chances are that there won’t be alliance fittings for these ships however, so ask a seasoned logistics pilot if they can help you out with fittings. We don’t need to train any new ships, as the Augoror, Osprey, Exequror and Scythe will already be available to you as T1 cruisers. However you will need to top up some Logistics support skills (to level 3 unless otherwise stated):

  • Repair Systems (II)
  • Remote Armor Repair Systems (IV)
  • Shield Emission Systems
  • Capacitor Management
  • Capacitor Systems Operation
  • Gravimetric Sensor Compensation
  • Ladar Sensor Compensation
  • Radar Sensor Compensation
  • Magnetometric Sensor Compensation

This will only take you around 4 days, and will let you dabble in the waters of Logistics. Consider reading my post dedicated to Logistics (although you can ignore the stuff on skills). You will also find the following guides more useful than my own:

Dabble in logistics now, while the ships are cheap and reap the rewards later when you’re flying a 200m ship in a fleet of T1 cruisers. This is the life of the logistics pilot.

 

Force Recon

For the first time I am going to advise you to not train all four races ships. From my experience the two races which are most likely to get you into fleets are the Minmattar and Gallente ships. With Webbing and Tackle modules these ships are always useful in a fleet, and are called for/accepted most of the time. As an added bonus, is a nice transition up from the Frigate size tackling ships you have been previously using. The tactics will be a little different, as you will now have longer range modules to do the tackling with, so you no longer need to charge into the enemy to forfill your role. Instead you will either be with the main fleet, or self-piloting on the edge of the enemies range, but within your logistics range. Again this all varies with how your FC likes to run things, so always ask about before you do something. Train Recon Ships to level IV before you start flying them.

Alongside the ship train, you should also be looking at improving your general skills, especially fitting I recommend the following skills (to level 4 unless otherwise marked) in addition to what you have trained for the Quick Trains support skills:

  • Cynosural Field Theory
  • Energy Grid Upgrades
  • Tactical Shield Manipulation
  • Hull Upgrades (V)

That’s it. All in this will take an additional 100 days to train, but will get you into a new more durable role.

This next one is the big one.

 

Logistics

Now we are moving into the big leagues. Logistics will not only get you into fleets, but it will also get you into Alliances. My acceptance into Pandemic Legion was highly influenced by my logistics specialisation, it certainly wasn’t the only factor which got me in, but it played a big role. But logistics isn’t a simple train, nor is it an easy upgrade from the ships you have been flying so far (with the exception of the T1 logistics ships you should be been learning in), it’s a whole new world of play.

To train into all 4 Races Logistics ships will take you an additional 90 days (you Require logistics V, this is only going to get longer). The following support skills should also be trained to level 4 unless otherwise stated:

  • Shield transfer Systems (V)
  • Capacitor Emission Systems (V)
  • Remote Armor Repair Systems (V)
  • Capacitor Management
  • Capacitor Systems Operations
  • Advanced Target Management (III)
  • All Sensor Compensation

In all honestly taking the additional 60 days to train all of these to V (with the exception of advanced target management for which no ship can use higher than the 8 Advanced lvl 3 gives you), is worth the extra time.

So there we go. 278 days’ worth of training in this “Medium” trains guide, on top of our original  set that a total of 462 days’ worth of training. I hope you have been enjoying Nullsec, because you’ve become pretty invested in it! Seriously however, I really believe that if you can make it this far, your time in Null is all but assured. In my next section I will be looking at the true long term ships including one which I believe it 100% required for every Nullsec Pilot (not even as a combat pilot, just as a matter of personal self-sufficiency). Until then however, get reping.

 

Fly flexible,

Hark

Dirty Guide To Eve: Training into Nullsec

Although I have many characters in many places in Eve, Nullsec has always been where my heart lies. Pretty much all of my other characters, are in some way or another designed to support my main in Null. As a Null player I think that it’s important to always encourage new players to venture out into Nullsec, to ensure we don’t get too bitter. To this end, this series of posts aims to aid new Nullsec pilots in their training, by specifying ships which are used in multiple doctrines; past, present and future, in Nullsec. Divided up into three posts (Quick Trains, Medium trains and the Long Term), pilots who follow this advice will find themselves quickly able to be useful within an Alliance. They will also be well poised to train more specialist ships to further flesh out their arsenal.

 

I think it’s worth prefacing this with some text about how Nullsec fleets work (at least in respect to ensuring you are always able to fly in them). This is where the concept of the Doctrine comes in. Doctrines are almost like recipes for fleets, supplied by the leadership of your group, which specify what ships are needed, in what quantities and how they should be fitted. Fleets generally consist of Ships of the Line (A main damage dealing ship like a battleship), Logistics, and a smattering of support ships (Electronic warfare, tackling and other utility ships). If you, as a new pilot, want to break into Nullsec, you won’t be able to simply rock up in your favourite PvE ship (with a point) and just get stuck in. You will need to fly ships which will be accepted into the doctrines of your group, and which will work within your fleets makeup.

This may sound simple. You look at the Ship of the line in your Alliances Doctrines, train for it, and get going. However, you need to understand that the metagame in Nullsec is constantly changing. Everything CCP does to balance, or modify the game, tends to have massive ripples in Nullsec. Some doctrines do hang around for long periods, but within most Alliances of note, they change on a monthly basis. As a new pilot, with lower skills you will find that constant rate of change hard to keep up with. In my early Nullsec days, I was constantly trying to catch up with the curve, training into a new ship just as it went out of fashion. But this guide is all about avoiding that race by training for ships which are accepted in multiple fleets; ships which are always useful for an FC to have no matter the fleet composition. The golden example of this of course is logistics, almost every fleet in the game, for a good few years now, have required a good backbone of Logistics ships. If you can fly a Guardian/Onieros and a Basilisk/Scimmitar you will be accepted into pretty much any fleet currently in the meta (The only exceptions to this I can think of are: Bombers, Black-ops hot drops, and Capital fleets). However to fly a Logistics properly takes a very long time (Logistics V and Remote Reps V are requirements, not niceties), so this set of guides will discuss other, similarly flexible ships which will help you become useful in Nullsec in a far shorted amount of time.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t train for the Battleships, if you have them trained already, you might only need to mop-up some skills here and there (T2 guns etc), and you’ll be all set. However you should consider just how long it’s going to take before you rush towards the Rokh/Apoc etc. If you need to train Ship, Tank and support skills, it will likely take at least 4-5 months. On paper it looks like you can get into a battleship just a few weeks, but the reality is that flying one properly, will take a lot longer, and trying to shorten the training time is going to cripple your usefulness. This post looks at the true fastest ways into Nullsec combat, in 50 days you will be accepted into almost any Nullsec fleet, in 100 days you will be welcomed into fleets and in 6 months you will be begged to join fleets. While the foolhardy pilot spent a month training the basic requirements for a battleship, then another 5 months perfecting it, just in time for the next expansion to come out, and the composition to change completely. You will have 12 ships which you can pilot excellently, most likely unaffected by the changes in meta. These ships, have never gone out of fashion (and not because they were never in fashion).

You should also note that this guide assumes that you will be training all four races at once for the ships we discuss. This is advised because it maximises the likelihood of you having at least a ship which works with the fleet. It will also stand you in good stead for future training, bringing you closer to having all the ships. If you desperately need to trim the training times, you could consider only training two races, one shield and one Armor (I would advise minmattar and Gallentte). But it’s a big risk, so don’t blame me if your caught with the wrong ships!

Sales pitch over, let’s get on with the first group, Quick Trains; for the brave new pilots brought in by B-R this one is for you:

T1 frigates

I said it was quick didn’t I? If you have completed the tutorial you’ll already have one race’s T1 ships trained. Furthermore to train the other three races (to level IV) will take you around 6 days in total. There are of course plenty of support skills which are going to be important to you, but we will discuss them in a moment. First let’s look at specifically which ships you should be looking to use, and how you are going to be expected to use them.

 

The role you are aiming to fill here is that of poor man’s interceptor. Cheap T1 hulls designed for nothing more than getting into the enemy fleet, and tackling (preventing warp) enemy ships. As such it’s the faster, agile ships in each races selection which you’ll be flying. Specifically the Executioner, Condor, Atron and Slasher hulls. These ships are fasted in class, and receive a bonus to their Propulsion jamming systems. Perfect.

 

With that bonus, and your role in mind, your important modules are going to be as follows:

  • Nanofiber Internal Hull T2 -make you faster and more agile
  • Damage Control T2 – often your only tank
  • Medium Shield extenders T2 – your tank when it’s not just the Damage Control
  • Warp Scramblers T2 – stopping warp, Micro Jump and Micro Warp drives
  • Warp Disruptors T2 – Stopping warp at a longer distance
  • Stasis Webifier T2 – slows things down
  • Afterburners T2 – making you fast
  • Microwarp Drives T2 – making you really fast.
  • Micro Auxiliary power core T1 – Helps fit big things to little ships

If you can use all of the above modules to T2 you should also look into getting the following support skills to level IV (Ordered by importance):

  • Navigation
  • Acceleration Control
  • Evasive Maneuvering
  • Mechanics
  • Shield Management
  • Shield Operation
  • Fuel Conservation
  • Highspeed Maneuvering
  • Warpdrive operation
  • Astronautic Rigging
  • Signature Analysis
  • Long Range Targeting
  • Weapons Upgrades
  • Target Management
  • Drones (as needed)
  • Small Guns in all Races & Rockets and Light missiles (damage is not that important tbh)

 

Training all of these plus the frigates themselves will take around 55 days. Ask your fleet mates about exact fittings, to ensure you fly something which works with their fleets. Once completed most fleets will accept you in as light tackle (dependent on how strict they are). Once in combat, simply move into the enemy fleet (consider learning more about Traversal) and pick an enemy to tackle, then lock him down until your friends kill him. Depending on the size of the fleet, and how your FC likes to operate, you may be asked to call out who you have tackled, so that the FC can prioritise targets you have made vulnerable. This is the most basic (yet essential) of Nullsec roles, and it has an immediate next logical step, right into the:

 

Interceptors

These are the faster cousins of the tackling frigates you have been piloting so far. Harder, faster, more agile than the T1 versions and with a bonus to Microwarpdrives, Propulsion jamming and damage. Of course they also cost (a lot) more than the frigates, so make sure you can fly them well before graduating onto these wonderful little ships. Training these takes an additional 50 days (for all of them) on top of the T1 frigates, but as they share the same important modules and support skills, once you have trained frigates V and Interceptors to IV for each race, you’re ready to go.

 

If you have learned how to fly the T1 frigate well, you will know how to fly these. However you will find that they will survive where your T1 frigate would have evaporated. This is a clear and simple upgrade to what you were doing, and they are even more acceptable in a fleet because of their specialism.

 

As a supplemental bonus to their use as fleet ships Interceptors also have a role in making you money in Nullsec. Not only are they fast and agile, but then can also ignore Warp Bubbles, meaning that they can often (with a little skill and practice) effectively run gate camps. If your struggling to make money (or need a bigger buffer to fly interceptors in fleets), consider using the Interceptor as a miniature blockade runner, moving small items into Nullsec for sale. Skillbooks, drugs and small amounts of modules can be bought in Highsec and ferried out for sale in Null for a healthy profit. Doing this will soon fund any habit you get for loosing ships. Just don’t pack them full of your life savings and losses it all to an insta-lock gate camp (they are a thing). The next ship may just require you to have a little more cash.

 

Interdictors

These ships are the Area of effect tacklers of eve, where the interceptor runs in and stops a single ship, the interdictor runs in, drops an area of effect tackle zone, and races out of dodge. There not entirely different to the Interceptors and T1 frigates you have flown so far, but there is a significant difference in flying them that is going to take a little bit of getting used to. Interdictors will also be your first step up class wise, as they use Destroyer hulls, one above the frigates you have been flying so far. Sadly there is no T1 version of this ship (although Talwars are currently popular in null), so the training time reflects the need to train through all five levels of destroyers, and four levels of interdictors as well. Because of this longer training time, and the fact that the Destroyer, and Interdictor skills are required for nothing more than progressing to Cruisers, some people might be tempted to skip this 30 day train. However I would advise that the humble Interdictor is probably one of the most called for ships in eve, second only to the Logistics ship. If you can fly all of these you will be accepted into nearly any fleet of any size, and you will also be first port of call should a capital, or super capital be caught. Interdictors also have a healthy ability to do both solo and small gang combat, so the 80 days spent will truly give you a lot of versatility. Again they also share supporting skills with Interdictors and Interceptors, so once that 80 days is up, you’re ready to rock and roll.

 

That’s it, 6 months of training to ensure your future usefulness in Null sec, and you’ll be flying within the first month of training as well. Below you will find an eve mon skill plan, which will guide you thought what to train (note that it’s not prioritised, so use the post above to order the queue!). Happy hunting, and next time I will post a set of ships and training which will improve your acceptance even further, but at the cost of longer skill training, carrying on from these basic three ship classes.

EveMon

Fly fresh,

Hark

Edit: Missed some skills which were dramatically reducing the total training time (lvl V ships, derp). added them in an updated the training queue.

Tuesday Training: Minmatar Engineering Systems

Every Tuesday I take a skill which one of my characters is training and discuss why I am current training that skill. I will also look at other uses for the skill, and who else might benefit from it. As I have several Characters across the skill spectrum I expect to cover skills for Young, Middle Age and old players. Please excuse this late running post, as I was unexpectedly out of town for the last couple of days.

 

This week’s Choices:

  • Minmatar Engineering Systems V
  • Surgical Strike V
  • Capital Ships V
  • Command Centre Upgrades V

 

A fresh sheet this week, with no skills previously covered! But as I mentioned in the last training Tuesday, I’d really like to look into the T3 skills. Minmatar Engineering Systems V is the very last Subsystem skill I need to train to have a base line of V, and I have been very pleased with the ships effectiveness. But let’s take a look at the skill itself.

 

Minmatar Engineering Systems (x1) Int, Mem

Skill in operation of Minmatar Engineering Subsystems used on Tech III Ships.

 

This skill is pretty much the same as all others in the category, simply replacing the Engineering with either; Defensive, Offensive, Propulsion or Electronic, and the Minmatar with the other races.

 

All of these skills have similar shadowy skill descriptions where the actual reward isn’t shown in the skill itself, but to understand their advantage we need to understand T3’s, so: Subsystems, important enough to own their own section of the skill list, are unique to T3 ships, and allow pilots to customise the slot layout, fitting resources, hard points and bonuses of a T3 ship. Each races T3 ship has 5 subsystems slots, which can be filled by one of four sub system modules. There are lots of nuances to the system, but the core concept needed for this post is that each of these five choices will provided a different bonus to your ship, which is multiplied that Race/Subsystem skill. By having all my T3 subsystem kills to V, each T3 ship I have gives me 5 bonuses 5 times each. For example my old Loki setup gave me:

 

150% (30% per level) bonus to Stasis Webifier range

20% (4% per level) bonus to armor resistances

25% (5% per level) additional Power Grid (coming to a total of 600 additional PG)

50% (10% per level) bonus to After Burner speed

 

Now these Bonuses can change dramatically depending on the sub system itself which makes the T3 a very versatile ship class that’s popular in both PvE and PvP. Of course all things must have downsides, and the issue with the T3 class, is that the subsystem skills are the only ones your likely to have to train more than once (assuming you keep your clone up to date!). You see every time you lose a T3 ship you will also lose one level of your highest trained corresponding sub system, picking at random if they are all trained to the same level. Owch.

 

Of course T3 Sub system skills are only a x1 multiplier, meaning they take around 8-10 days from start to finish, with 3-4 days of that being level V. Levels 1-4 all take well within a single day to train. So although the loss of skills isn’t insignificant at level 5 they are still going to take some time to repair.

 

Here it is worth noting that although I have some Lvl4 mission running experience, I have never personally used a T3 to do them. I always found them underwhelming in both Tank, and DPS, despite their excellent signature and speed tanking abilities. Personally I felt that a Macharial beat them in almost every category. But at the same time I am aware that they are worshiped as PvE gods by some, likely for good reason, so if you are a young PvE player, looking for advice, the following may not apply to you.

 

T3 ships are expensive, both in training time (if you lose them) and Isk (also if you lose them), they do however feature in several current Nullsec Doctrines, and have had a place in Null for a while now. I would advise that for a new player looking to break into Nullsec, they are very much a 2.5 tier train:

 

Teir 1: Train Tackling ships & versatile hulls such as Interceptors, Interdictor and T1 logistics, to maximise your usefulness to fleets.

Teir 2: Train ship of the line hulls, ensuring that you can use all hulls and all weapon systems

Teir 3: Train specialist ships to help your fleets, such as Logistics, Recon and Bonus ships

 

Quick enough to train that they don’t quite fall into Tier 3, but also specialist enough that they are not Ships of the Line. Although they don’t take long to get into, you will need excellent ancillary skills to use them effectively. In including both overheating and drug skills, both Veteran categories which I may discuss at a later date!

 

Fly like a Swiss army knife!

 

Hark

 

 

Time and TiDi wait for no man

Perhaps it’s just been enough time since TiDi was introduced that I’ve forgotten just how bad the old days were. Or perhaps it’s the change in pace since the time before. But for whatever the reason, I’m starting to fall out of love with TiDi.

 

It seems to me like the dynamic of large fights prior to TiDi was something along the lines of 1-3 hour fights 70% of the time, and node death 30% of the time. Whereas now, in the age of TiDi, it’s more like a 4 hour fight minimum (and often stretching out to 8 hours) where node death only happens 5% of the time.

 

Now avoiding node death is a good thing, no one likes Sole Crushing Lag, but at the same time, fights lasting that long (and being unresponsive for the entire duration), are just too far outside of my playtime window. I live in GMT(+), and work a fulltime 9-5 job with an hour commute each way. This means that generally I have a window of around 5 hours playtime each night (not including relation maintenance time and other domestic duties), in the old days a fight fitted snugly into that slot. But now, unless a fight begins a few minutes after I get home (and I get luck and they don’t drag on), I have next to no chance of getting into fleet during work nights. Frequently I will see pings going out for Slowcats along the lines of “LOGIN ALL THE THINGS, DUDES TO KILL 1000 on grid”, at 20:00, and I know that signing up is going to take me into the small hours.

 

The result of this is that if large fights start happening, I can only reliably join:

  • Friday night
  • Saturday
  • Sunday until about 15:00

 

And that kind of sucks. Granted not every fight these days is a huge 2000 man battle, and there are other things to do and see in eve on a weekday night. But large fleet fights are what I play for, and what I (previously) enjoy the most in the game.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we should roll things back to how they were, the numbers game has moved on since then, and what was a 70:30 ratio with 700 people fights being the norm, with the 2500 people fights I’m sure that ratio would look a lot worse. But am saying that the Plaster stuck over the problem, is starting to smell a bit funny, and I think we might regret going so long without getting it checked out.

 

It’s starting to get embarrassing now, as potential players join twitch, to view fights and ask questions like “Why are you showing me static image of the game rather than the fight? Oh wait did that just move a frame?”. Mayhaps its time to think as TiDi as a negative to new player attraction?

 

 

F……….L……….Y          S………L………O……….w……….L……….Y……….,

H………..a…………r……….k

 

Interception

If you had asked me a month ago if the changes to Interceptors would see me returning to these wonderful little ships, I would had said “Sadly not”. I would have then gona one to add that the 20m+ cost of new clones along with the expensive implants in Hark’s head means that flying fragile ships is on paper a not worthwhile risk.

In practice however, it turns out that the changes are just enough to tempt me back (at least for now). I should point out that interceptors have always held a special place in my heart, as I began my 0.0 experience flying tackle for ED during their finals stand back is Etherium Reach. So when we saw Interceptor fleets being announced post Rubicon, I decided I would throw caution to the wind, and try them out at least once. My goodness am I glad I did.

Inty fleets are amazingly good fun, and perfect anti-ratting operations. Back when we lived in the NC we used to do regular “Fishing” fleets, also known as “shot-gunning”. This was where we used ships like Assault frigates to roam into enemy territory (hopefully moving fast enough to confuse Intel channels) to enemy hubs. Here we would all jump into system and scatter at random to locations where we might find enemy carebears doing their thing. This coupled with a dictor parked on a station to catch people trying to panic dock got us a good few kills. However this was generally a lesson in Darwinism more than anything as only the stupid/slow ever got caught. Interceptor fleets operate on this same principle but surpass the old model for several reasons:

 1. They are exceptionally fast in warp
It’s pretty easy for a ceptor’ fleet to cover tens of jumps in a handful of minuets. This means we can move faster than the speed of information, so we catch ratters unawares. It also means that we can move faster to the hero bait ship a few jumps away, and still arrive before he dies. Finally we can overtake people who try to run away from us. On one of our fleets, we landed on grid just as a Raven warped to a gate, we followed his warp and beat him to the gate by a good 5-10 seconds needless to say he then died.

 2. They are exceptionally fast in sub warp
Engagement gone sour? No problem, just align to the sun and coast out of trouble. At several points we outstayed our welcome on grid, and had to extract quickly. In a normal fleet this could have been fatal, but in Intys, we didn’t even have to warp out to get safe. This also means that should you look like you’re going down, your chances of getting your pod out is pretty good. Even under scram and web, if you are quick you can coast out of a bubble to allow your pod to escape.

3. Bubble immunity
It’s obvious, I know but this has an unexpected ramification. You can go on an Inty fleet even if you know you only have 10 minutes till you have to walk away from the PC. When the time comes to leave fleet, you can simply find a quiet location to log off, and be safe in the knowledge that to get yourself home safe you need only worry about insterlocking gate camps on the way.

The Inty gangs have been amazing, and despite the worry of a pod-mail 5-6 times the ship loss mail, the allure of speed and easy kills is just too much to resist. Especially with kills like the afore mentioned Raven possible. The Inty fleets also got me the funniest kill I have had in a very long while where we destroyed a Rapier who though he was safe to engage in Station docking range. He had carrier providing reps against our 30 interceptors: and went down after hull tanking the reps for a good couple of minutes.

The interceptor change has been fantastic and without doubt my highlight of the Rubicon expansion.

F1 Warrior

I read an article which really Gandered my goat a little while ago. It’s a subject which has irritated me for a long while now, like the errant grain of sand stuck in a sandal. The Article is on the subject of “Fleet Bears”  by Gevlon, and discusses how close to PvE, Fleet PvP is in eve. The main purpose of the article is another of Grevlon’s hair brained schemes to try and prove his significance in anything that isn’t simply grinding cash via the eve equivalent of rubbing your face on a cheese grater and selling the result as stem cells: the money is good, but its not worth the grind.

 

The premise of creating a “Fleet Bear Corp” is so comedic that it’s not that which greases my cake-tin. No what does that is the underlying perception that all you have to do in a fleet fight is press F1 (by the way, even if it were true, “Fleet bears” still wouldn’t work for social psychological reasons, but I digress). That concept, held by so many ignorant people, who are looking to degrade others who they know nothing about, urks me to a fair degree.

 

Now let’s not go too far on this one, I accept that there are a fair number of F1 warriors out there; who do turn up to fleets with the express purpose of mashing a pudgy finger down on F1 when the FC commands it. Unfortunately that is likely the same member who asked at the start “Can I bring a drake?”. These are not the majority, and they are certainly not the average. They are the low outliers in the chart, the anomalies at the bottom of the grid. For every F1 warrior in the fleet, who flies while resisting the urge to lick the nearest window, there is another extreme: The skilled players. They are working to ensure the fleets success, they are the specialists providing essential skills. We all know them, but lets look at a couple of examples:

 

Logistics. It’s the obvious one I know, especially as I am known to have a soft spot for these priests of space (commonly being one and all). Logi pilots need to be constantly on the ball, predicating primaries, prioritising reps, all the while ensuring they stay alive long enough to do their job.

 

Tackle. Without a good hold on the enemy, you’re not going to get many kills. Hictors, Dictors, intys and frigs. These pilots need to be shit hot, on the ball and fast, so fucking fast they arrive in among the enemy before or at the same time the damage starts coming down. Most of these pilots only get one or two shots per fleet to do their jobs as they will likely die in their success; by my gods do they make it count.

 

Oh Hark, you say, Tackle and logistics are only a small part of a fleet, and even including other examples of high player skill pilots like ECM and Firewall pilots, you still only account for a small number! What about the rest? That’s true. But like I said about the “Turn up and press F1” crowd, these are outliers, these are the few dots at the top of the graph showing us all what heroes they are (excuse me while I jump back in my Scimitar and pat myself on the back a little more). So let’s talk about the middle of the pack, the group of core pilots who make a fleet work.

 

The average line pilot doesn’t Just turn up and press F1. Firstly before they can even arrive in a fleet, they have to prove their metal by simply existing in 0.0. Living in null is a lot harder than many give credit for. You have to understand the subtle laws of Nullsec, and indeed Lowsec to keep yourself supplied with ships and equipment. If I had a million isk for every Carebear who has joined a null sec alliance and sailed into null sec with a hauler filled with “pvp gear”, Or the Nullsec industrialist who has tried to ship their goods out via realspace, I too could attempt to buy my way into the upper echelons of Test Alliance (actually I think the price of that has dropped a bit now). The average Nullsec pilot is self-sufficient, and although their alliance might help them out (via SRP and a transport backbone) they can and will in a pinch supply themselves with little to no fuss. A Highsec PvEer by comparison only knows the way to the nearest trade hub.

 

But let’s talk about the fleets themselves, what makes a average line member stand out from the fellow mouth breathing on his voice activated microphone? What are they doing other than pressing F1? A good fleet member is managing their overheating, watching for the optimal time to take the drugs (and getting ready to mitigate some of the side effects that might cause). They are checking to see if they are tackled, and watching for opportunities to clear tackle off the fleet. They are also ready for the unexpected, if a bubble suddenly goes up on the fleet, they are ready to MWD out. If the FC calls a route, they know how to escape without orders. Ok so the average member likely isn’t doing all of these things, but the majority will be doing at least a few. I dislike the idea that a fleet is like a hive mind, with drones just following what an FC says. The fleets I have participated in during my Null career have been more like a pack of hyenas. Individuals under a clear leader, working as individuals towards a common goal (and laughing like crazy men while doing it).

 

Another theory which sprouts from this same growth of thought (as mentioned by Grevlon)  is that “Your skills don’t matter in a fleet”. To which I laugh Heartily. I love sheer stupidity of this statement, it’s incredible. Because it relies on the fact that the fleets collective skills will dwarf your own and this make them insignificant. Which works fine when convincing yourself that you’re good enough for a fleet. But when you are applying that individual logic to every pilot in the fleet. “If my pilots skills don’t matter, then no ones do”… Tosh. A minimum skilled pilot in a Rokh does 410 DPS with blasters, whereas a well skilled pilot like my own does 579 DPS, a difference of 169. Yes a single player could hide in a fleet of well skilled pilots and it likely wouldn’t matter. But it only takes four minimum skilled pilots, before you are effectively a man down. A hundred man fleet of just-above-minimum-required skilled pilots will have the same DPS as only 82 well skilled pilots. If they were to bring equal numbers to the low skill fleet, they will have almost 10k extra DPS easily enough to make the difference between coping, and broken logistics.

 

Now you may try to tell me that I am taking the average of “elite” PvP

Where do you stand?

Where do you stand?

groups and applying it to all of Nullsec, but if you check my history I’ve served in elite, average and what many would consider the pubbiest of Publords (or whatever your colloquial term is), they have all to a lesser or greater degree had more than just F1 mashers filling their ranks.

 

So here is the meat of it. Yes there are people who turn up to fleet and just mash F1, but they are not the average. Yet Highsec Denizens, who are eager for reasons to not be in Nullsec, love a reason to down play their Nullsec cousins. Of course its popular to say “skills don’t matter” or “all you have to do is turn up and press F1” because it makes the people too scared to join Nullsec feel better about the fact they haven’t tried it. You can just picture it, out on a mining opp the corporation pvp pilot is guarding the miners from gankers. One of the miners asks “hey xxxkiller99xxx why have you never been to Null? Being so amazing at pvp and all?”. He laughs at the ignorance of his mining friend and sets his navy Raven to orbit the orca at 10km “don’t be silly friend, they just turn up and press F1”.

 

Any yes people like Gevlon, who do “just turn up” will always be trying to project their own shortcomings on the entire group, as they desperately attempt to justify their existence (although they generally have the decency to do it quietly). But all they are really doing is fooling themselves into projecting their own weakness onto others. You show me a Mission runner who exerts the same amount of effort in his average playtime, that a Nullsec fleet participant produces just to live in Null even before a fight starts, and I will show you a liar.

 

I leave you with a final proof of the idiocy in this belief of low skilled (real and sp) fleet members. If Fleet PvP is the same as Running a mission (or incursion as mentioned by Grevlon) why have we never seen any PvE alliance convert into a Sov holding alliance? Why is: Mission Running > incursion running > Nullsec Sov not the natural progression of an alliance? Why do evicted Nullsec alliances go to Faction Warfare or Lowsec to recuperate rather than practicing their fleet action running Incursions. Why do we infact see the opposite where high grade PvP alliances rest upon their laurels, and become soft and complacent running plex’s? Why? Because the supposition that fleet PvP is just like PvE is pure A grade Bullshit.

 

Fly hopping on one foot trying to clear the sand from your shoes,

 

Hark

An Unusual Battle Report

The battle began, as most do in eve: with the meta. The war had been raging for a while now, and the enemy had been running regular roams through the warzone, with super capital and triage support. After weeks of testing and teasing the enemy, the planners decided that they had found the time zone when the enemy had the lowest super capital support on hand. With this information, they planned their attack.

The plan was simple. Give the enemy something to bite on, a small gang of heavily tanked battleships. Use this force to draw the enemy out of titan support range, and then engage it with a larger force: just enough to tempt them to drop supers. When enemy supers were on field they planned to escalate again, brining all their supers (who would be waiting in the logon screen) to crush the enemy force and escape before a further escalation could be roused. That was the plan anyway.

Everything when as planned until the bait fleet actually begun killing some of the roam, before the reinforcement were in. This was much to the chagrin and surprise of the bait fleet, who started to pull damage as soon as they realised. But the damage was done, the roam stopped chasing the fleet and begun instead to be chased by it. After a few jumps the bait fleet managed to catch the roam and force an engagement, allowing their reinforcements (a ahac gang and a handful of bombers) to catch up and further tip the balance in their favour. As predicted the supers were dropped. However the meta had struck again. Clearly the op had not been kept as secret as was assumed, as the enemy had clearly gotten wind that a major offence was happening that night. Although the first drop was as expected 4 Super Capitals, Intel began lighting up with reports of enemy supers logging in, and estimated 24 extra supers were getting ready to form a second wave, along with an accompanying support fleet around 20 times larger than the fleet they were planning to engage.

The trappers had to do something quick, and the first step was following through with the trap. The cyno was lit, and their own supers were dropped. Next the enemy cyno is primaried, in the hope it might cut off the second wave of enemy reinforcements. It pays off. Little known to our intrepid trappers, the enemy has completely failed to bring an secondary cyno, and so the support fleet which was forming on a titan is dispatched to cover the real space jumps to the engagement (J7-LND) in, bringing multiple cynos with them. Meanwhile the original roam fleet, engage in hit and run combat, attempting to keep their suppers alive and hold the enemy for long enough to get the reinforcements. The trappers begin to take heavy casualties; Barely holding the grid to the fleet, they leave their supers to engage the enemies and concentrate on keeping the reinforcements out. They succeed to some extent. The first wave of frigates (sent in the hope of getting a cyno up) is wiped out entirely. The second wave of cruisers is decimated, but not enough to prevent a becaon lighting, and the enemy supers, along with further sub capital reinforcements to hove into view.

Outnumbering the enemy what started as a roam now tastes a route. They concentrate on holding the enemy supers, ignoring their support fleet. This is when the trappers play their last hope ace. A drag bubble is set up away from the supers, and the enemies hictors and support fleet are dragged away from their prey and into the waiting arms of a the trappers own support fleet. Accompanied now, by a large wing of bombers. Cut off from their capital support, they are slaughtered in short order. realising that they can no longer hold the enemy supers, and that the enemy cannot hold theirs the roaming force jump out, before they lose any supers, what little remains of the sub caps retreat as well. Left with nothing more to fight the trappers to jump out of the system. In the end a large number of sub capitals are lost, but no supers are killed.

You might have noticed already that J7-LND does not exist in New Eden. But that is not to say that this fight never took place. In reality (and I mean that in the literal way) this fight took place in Jutland on the 1st of June 1916 between German and English Naval forces. I was watching a documentary on this a while ago when it struck me how easy it would be to translate this fight into our humble game. It strikes me that no one can (without serious artistic licence) translate a match in warsong gultch into a medieval battle. Eve is aiming to become an alternative universe, and when it apes the way that real life fights and wars are directed its hard to say CCP fails in this regard. Anyway this was a bit of fun to draw out the similarities.

In before Europe is compared to a structure grind…

Fly like its submarine physics,

Hark

A month on the Tiles

I have to admit that this is going to be an interesting monthly update to write. This is because quite simply, I am having trouble remembering the first half of this month. Unfortunately this is not because of some alcohol induced coma, but instead because I have been so busy out of game, I just can’t remember that much of what I’ve been up to. P.s. a tip for anyone thinking of tiling a kitchen floor themselves: don’t.

 

That said I clearly have been playing games, with my raptor account scoring 140 hours played this month (an average of 5 hours per day). If I am honest through, that’s a dramatically inflated number, as I have been using my Tablet to run games in the background while I am at work; steam badge collection, for the use of. I think it’s fair enough to say that a good 20-40 hours of that time is this background running. Of that inflated 140 hours of games, I have managed to rack up 40 hours of eve, and 73 kills across all my accounts (working out at just under two kills an hour average).

 

I also had the great pleasure of a weeklong visit from fellow dirties members Arian Blade and a weekend visit from Lore Solo. We took the opportunity to run some awesome group roams thought faction warfare experimenting with some crazy fun frigate fits. We are going to try and expand these roams, and make them a regular feature. Who knows, maybe you’ll see some reports on here of what we get up to at some point.

 

In-between laying tiles, I have been enjoying a lot of Dust, especially working on the triple XP event over the last weekend. I’ve had a great time overall, but I am still severally disappointed by the low level of investment I’ve been able to make. I have also developed a distinct hatred of Death Taxies, to the point where by I just won’t talk about them in this update for fear of a fevered rant. Needless to say I find them… aggravating.

 

Back on the eve front, the Dirties group has also been experimenting with some new ways of working together to make money. So far things are looking positive, with us making a few Hundred Million for just a few hours’ work. To me its highlighted once again just how much eve makes us invest in our accounts and characters. Although this new plan is in its infant stages, eventually it is going to require some skill training before we can take it to the next level. I have always been one of life’s “planners”, and eve tickles that itch like nothing else. Spending time planning something which is going to take a few months, then walking it through the stages, to perfection… It’s a feel good factor for me. Mind you, you may have already gathered that from my Attribute optimisation post. Anyway, well see if we can talk about those plans at a later date, for now it’s all opsec and jazz.

 

Site wise I have also been doing some *fun* changes. If you visited over the last few days, you might have noticed that the site has been changing its clothes more than a Eurovision song Contest host. I wish it were for good reasons, but recently I have been un able to ignore the extremely slow load times (please tell me it’s not in my mind, and that readers are getting this as well). So far I think I have narrowed it down to just a few possibilities, and the site is currently running in “Cut down” mode, so that I can test my theories. Sadly being the main contributor to this site, and also being its sole administrator does mean that I sometimes have to pick between writing new content for you guys to read, and updating/optimising and generally administrating this site. Sadly that has resulted in a slowdown of posts in the last few weeks. We’ll just have to hope this is still just the initial overhead to get this site running on its own.

 

Anyway, I’m back to trying to get more fleets again, as I have been lacking in my destruction duties for the last couple of weeks. I doubt that ill manage that to any serious capacity until I have finished my work in the kitchen.

 

Fly with sore knees,

 

Hark