Friday, October 31, 2014

A successful ransom

Asakai. Lots of history! And still lots of fights! The chain had a good exit to the Cal/Gal zone. I wandered back and hopped into a Firetail which I promptly lost to a Thorax and his alt.

Entirely my fault. I strayed too close and the Merlin webbed me down good.

Of course, I had to go back in my own Thorax. He countered with a Caracal alt this time. Sigh. It's going to be one of those days. I killed his Merlin in my next ship, a Firetail again, but was caught by a gang of Comets.


I am out of practice. The Thorax loss was just depressing - I had 400s loaded in the booster and couldn't figure out what was wrong when the 800s in my hold didn't load automatically. I assumed I had forgotten to bring them along.

Oh well. Things picked up when I found a Moa who badly wanted a fight before bed. My kiting Thorax was up to the task and I exploded him:


I decided to skip a silly Condor pilot flying around with a stupid Griffin (honestly) and instead found a Procurer mining innocently in a belt. Hmm. Bait? No, a young character. Let's go!

I got into a nice tight orbit, called his drones and chewed away until he had only a sliver of hull between his pod and the merciless vacuum of space. Muahahaha! And then I ransomed him.

He offered 5m and I accepted and let him go, not because I wanted the money but because I didn't really want to kill him. But I did want someone to post in this thread that I had honoured my ransom. Which he kindly did above (thanks Miracle). I then sent him 10m back with a good dollop of advice about how dangerous FW regions were and how to use dotlan to find nice, quiet systems to mine in.

My next encounter was with a Garmur. He was sitting in a plex and clearly itching for a chance to kill my Firetail. I obliged thinking that I might be able to slingshot him with my dual-prop ship. I was surprised to find him sitting on the beacon - a brawling Garmur!

It was a good fight but the Firetail came out in the lead and he died in a nice, expensive explosion.


I offered him the loot but he declined, saying I had earned it. So, what to do with a Dark Blood Warp Scrambler that I don't particularly want or need to sell? I know! The next kill in Alliance chat gets it!

Happily, the next kill was from a relatively new Stay Frostian who just couldn't fly past a cyno ship without popping it (entirely the correct procedure) but was oblivious to the alliance chat challenge. He posted his kill and subsequent loss in fleet and when I told him to link it and he thought he had done something wrong.

But the contract was up and now he had a new problem: how to get a nice, shiny module from Asakai to Jita! I hope he figured it out.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Anomalies, For-whatsited Hubs, and Mazes

I am a bit burnt out with PvP. Not quite charred but definitely crispy. I haven't really felt much desire to go out and explode people for the last few weeks. And I have been travelling an awful lot lately. I feel bad because I just joined my new wormhole corp (they are great btw) and here's me who can't really be bothered with the effort of J-space.

It will pass. It has happened before and will, no doubt, happen again. Things will quiet down at work and my travel will slow down and then I will once again be Zappity the Fearless! But until then, I decided to examine my list of ‘things wot I havent done yet’ and found PvE to be distinctly at the top of the chart. And so follow some of Zappity’s recent PvE adventures. Don’t worry, there are still some killmails. Or, to be more accurate, lossmails.

It’s very quiet. It is the middle of the night and I had just sat down to a long Skype call for work in the middle of the night. Ugh. I decided to try some lowsec PvE. (Even my phone is trying to correct that to PvP!) I have always seen these strangely-named sites and anomalies while roaming about. And I know how to scan signatures down. So I sat my +5 learning clone in an Ishtar and sent it away from Jita to the depths of Gurista lowsec. I scanned down a signature and found it to be a 7/10 DED site, whatever that is. I warped in at 100 and started killing everything. I started yawning (not only because it was getting late). But then the call I was on suddenly became interesting and I began to pay attention to it.

In hindsight, this is the moment I should have warped to my safe.

A couple of players entered the system. When I saw core probes on dscan I didn't pay much attention, hazily thinking that a PvPer would be using combats. I was clearly badly distracted because I DO know better than that! I thought that right up until the mean Ishtar landed and tackled me.


Sigh. Why can't they all just bugger off and leave me alone? Can't they tell I don't want to fight just now? Can't they go and... I do beg your pardon. I don't know what came over me. Must be infectious.

I gave him a quick gf in local and made my escape in my pod, heading back to Jita where I examined dotlan. Lowsec is very busy these days, isn't it? And null is vast and basically empty. I pondered whole pockets in Gurista space with zero jumps over the last hour. Hmm.

I was soon in a slightly modified Ishtar and hopping along a route to Venal through Pure Blind and Tribute along with Innocent Scout.

[Ishtar, Guristas v3]

Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Co-Processor I

10MN Afterburner II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Omnidirectional Tracking Link II
Gistum C-Type Kinetic Deflection Amplifier

Improved Cloaking Device II
Drone Link Augmentor I
Salvager I
Medium Remote Armor Repairer II

Medium Core Defense Field Purger II
Medium Core Defense Field Purger II

Caldari Navy Warden x5
Acolyte II x5
Federation Navy Garde x5

580 dps with the Wardens out to lock range of 100km and a 92% kinetic resist. The RR is for the occasional targeted drone and there's a 10mn MWD in the boot for a travel fit.

We arrived without much fuss and I quickly found a "Forsaken Hub" anomaly. Or is it Forlorn? I get confused. Now I didn't plan on running anomalies because they are too easy for interceptors to warp to but I had heard of this one (or was it the other one?) so decided to give it a go to test the Ishtar. I warped in at 100, killed all the things and got thoroughly bored. I think my shield dropped to 85% at one point. That was, um, exciting.

I understand why people are still calling for a nerf to the Ishtar. Honestly, sentries on cruisers are so overpowered it isn't funny. I don't even have HAC 5 or Sentries 5 and the battleships just melted without even scratching my tank. I then switched one of the shield extenders for another tracking link and did a Forlorn Hub. Or was it a Forsaken Hub? I had no problem there either, though I did get down to about half shields when I somehow triggered a spawn early.

A couple of days later I scanned down The Maze. There was a convenient lowsec wormhole which exited near Amarr so I brought in a Tengu alt. I cleared out the first room and then started working through the dozen acceleration gates to find the right one. After the third empty gate I got fed up and googled for a site description. I warped out in disgust when I read that there were similar sets of random gates in the subsequent rooms.

Honestly, what a stupid design. I understand that you should have to earn your X-type whatsit but seriously, this design is tedious and repetitive. Why can't there be a can that we have to hack to get the right gate or something? I pity the people who need to run these things for isk. It seems as though the key design goal of the game designers was frustration rather than satisfaction.

People keep trying to kill me but they don’t seem to be particularly good at it out here. The closest I have come to dying was to a wormhole corp who popped in for a visit! They were bloody fast at scanning me down.

I think I might bring a few cruiser hulls down to play with against the locals. What is the Vigilant hull bonus again? Ah yes, webs...

Monday, October 13, 2014

A first look at the solo Myrmidon

First, a shout-out to dokin-chan who said hello to me in local yesterday and probably thought me very rude when I didn't reply. I was AFK, of course.

I wanted to fly the Myrmidon. The slot layout looks like a monstrous brawling Thorax with a MJD. What more could I want? This fit was inspired by the Crossing Zebras EFT video with JEFFRAIDER ( In my defence against lack of imagination, I didn't like the first two fits he presented, thinking that a plate + MAAR arrangement would be stronger. And then he fit it! I made some minor tweaks to arrive at the fit below but the principle is the same:

[Myrmidon, lowsec solo v1]

Medium Ancillary Armor Repairer, Nanite Repair Paste
1600mm Reinforced Steel Plates II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Damage Control II

Medium Micro Jump Drive
Stasis Webifier II
Warp Scrambler II
Stasis Webifier II
Small Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 400

Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Nanobot Accelerator I

Warrior II x5
Ogre II x4
Praetor II x3

665 DPS (215 guns, 450 drones), 65k EHP, cap stable at 53%, reps 19k over 61 seconds.

(By the way, if you are interested in doing ENT or PYFA but don't know how go back and watch his first one on the Rattlesnake. It has a good intro:

So how did I want to fly this? My idea was that small gangs would throw themselves at me, breaking apart under my withering fire, unable to flee due to my double webs. Muahaha!

Kite-scrub frigates wouldn't be able to hold me because the MJD ignores long point. Anything within scram range would be punished by the heavies and electrons with double-web tracking.

Enter lowsec Amarr-Min FW zone. I found a fight after about 15 minutes. I actually found one earlier than that but since the system was infested by PL pilots I decided to skip it. I always liked the name Phoebe.

On scan was a Daredevil, Enyo and Punisher. I thought that would be a reasonable test since a) they would all be set up to hurt my drones and, b) they would all want to get under my guns which is pretty much where I wanted them. Anyway, they were ganging up on me so I had no sympathy. And I really wanted to kill the Daredevil.

I opened a new Large plex, landed at 10km and aligned back to my safe. They landed just after me so I locked them all up. They all went straight into a tight orbit so I scrammed and double-webbed the Daredevil.

He went down fast!

Next, the Enyo. My damage slowed right down when he reached half armour. I  wondered what was wrong because I saw that he was still in range of my guns. Then I remembered that I was mostly a drone boat and realised that they had murdered most of my little buddies! I hadn't been watching while they had quite rightly been focusing on the part of my DPS that they could destroy. How rude.

I launched some more and started watching more carefully, trying to recall the more damaged specimens before they popped. And then the Enyo died while trying to pull range for an escape! Ha!


By the time he went down I had lost almost all my heavies and was deep into my Warrior stash. Honestly, I need to work on drone control. Do hot keys work on individual drones? Must check. And the drone bay in the Myrmidon is rubbish!

Anyway, by this time all I was worried about was more opponents warping in. I approached the Punisher to keep him in range of my guns. He was out-tracking my electrons quite nicely despite two webs but he exploded as soon as he tried to pull range to escape.


Before warping out I bookmarked the Daredevil wreck just in case there was some tasty loot. Unfortunately, the kill mail disappointed with a distinct lack of shiny modules.

Still, 3-0 and in warp to the safe! What a great ship!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Tinkering with the Thorax

I have been having some more fun with the Thorax. I spied another Thorax in system and managed to lure him to my plex. Joining him against my lone cruiser was a second Thorax, and Exequror and a Cormorant. Not one to complain, I aligned away from the plex and locked the first guy. The rest were waiting outside the plex, presumably thinking that I didn’t know what dscan was.

When he was in armour the others landed and the Thorax started getting reps. I was watching the other ships, wary of a brawler trying to scram me. Sure enough, the second Thorax started moving in my direction. I was about to warp away when I noticed that the reps to my enemy had stopped. I wondered if this was a multiboxer who was too distracted to operate his logi boat properly. He was just outside of point range so I turned around. I was carefully watching the second Thorax who was rapidly approaching from 50km.

Before long my target was in hull and dropping fast, still not getting reps. I now needed to decide whether to run from the second Thorax or finish the first guy off. You will be shocked to learn that I decided to finish him off. Definitely multiboxing - he wasn’t even pointed when he popped thanks to the nasty scram on the second ship.


I died soon after of course, webbed and scrammed. But never mind - let that be a lesson to him. In retrospect, I reckon I should have done better in this fight. If I was better at kiting (and more patient) I probably would have been able to pull them apart a bit.

But the main thing is that I didn’t want that Thorax anyway because I have a new fit to try :)

[Thorax, 200mm kite]

Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Small Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 400
Large Shield Extender II
Warp Disruptor II

200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
200mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Hybrid Locus Coordinator I
Medium Hybrid Locus Coordinator I
Medium Ancillary Current Router I

Warrior II x5
Hornet EC-300 x5

This is similar to the 250mm fit but instead uses the T2 shield extender (cheaper and more EHP), 200mm railguns and two locus coordinator rigs to extend their range. This sacrifices the agility rig compared to the 250mm fit but gains a lot of tracking with the smaller 200mm rails and almost the same range. The DPS is slightly lower but I reckon this will be accounted for in better hits when the targets are closer. We’ll see.

Friday, October 3, 2014

We could have had a good fight

“We could have had a good fight!”, he complained.

“We did - you died!”, I responded.

Well, it was good for me anyway. Apparently I was a pussy for not letting him get under my guns and murder me.

I decided to try out the 250mm rail Thorax again. This particular frigate pilot behaved beautifully by flying straight at me and not having enough time to align out when he realised he was going to die. I had warped to the large plex at range and the Tristan countered by trying to drop on me from a celestial behind my ship. But it was too obvious and by the time he returned I was at optimal for my ammo. Good stuff.

My next fight was more balanced in the form of a Vexor sitting in a medium plex. Not being suicidal (not all the time anyway) I decided to warp to the adjacent large plex at about 30km range. He soon came to visit, also warping in at range though on the other side of the beacon. This should have given me a clue about his fit but for some reason I didn’t think about it. I was totally focused on getting into point, but not scram, range.

His shields started going down fast (those 250s are great) but then his medium drones arrived and started hitting me hard. My low shield alarm went off and with a shock I remembered that I was shield, rather than armour, tanked. I wasn't pointed so I turned away from him and hit the MWD, leaving his recalled drones in my wake.

He didn't take the opportunity to run so I soon turned back and swung around the plex so that a celestial was more or less behind him. I then aligned and locked him on the way in. The plutonium charges finished off his shield at about 40km and by the time I was in overheated long point range I was biting good chunks out of his armour. He exploded!

That was satisfying. But he should have won that by sling-shotting and getting under my guns in the first round. I wish I’d remembered FRAPS for that one.

A few Thrashers decided to have a go at me as I loitered outside the gate of another plex. I killed the bravest (or most stupid) one who started heading my way and the rest wisely disappeared before I could reach them. An Algos was a little more intelligent, deciding to warp out in an attempt to drop on me from a convenient celestial. Unfortunately for him, this is exactly what I would have done so by the time he arrived I had moved.



And then I lost my ship to a bunch of frigates plus Caracal who took me apart far too easily. They warped into my plex and immediately went of the attack, burning out to meet me. I derped badly. I misjudged how long it would take the fast frigates to reach me, and instead of burning away from them I aligned across their incoming path. This let them get into range much more quickly whilst also lowering my transversal far too much.

Thorax loss:

But I was determined to have a good experience with a frigate gang. I know it can be done because I've seen it on the telly. So I persevered and found myself another nice little group: a Maulus troublemaker, Condor and Slicer fast tackle, Breacher and Kestrel for some DPS.

Things went better this time. First, I just aligned out to my safe and concentrated on the fight. This freed me up so I could make new and different mistakes.

I prioritized my targets, putting the fast tackle at the top of the list. The Maulus started damping me as soon as he landed which was tremendously annoying because I had to wait for them to get close before I could lock. I switched to CNAM as soon as I realised that my effective range was now about 25km. Unfortunately, I did this while killing the Slicer and, since I stupidly didn't have him pointed, he just warped away. I was more concerned about escaping than catching!

I consoled myself over this missed opportunity by killing the Condor. He went down fast. The next few moments were frustrated by the Maulus damps. I kept locking ships only to find them unlocked when they swung out of range. By this time only the Breacher and Maulus remained in the vicinity, and I adjusted my course to jump on the Breacher. I pointed him and killed him, too.

By now I was thoroughly fed up with that Maulus who was still buzzing about me, especially since he had been trying to distract me with chat requests. I tried to catch him but he saw what was happening and scarpered. I guess there wasn't much point hanging around when the rest of his gang had disappeared.



Mistakes? I completely forgot about cap management and found myself with everything powered down at one point. A quick cap injection sorted that but the consequences could have been much worse. Also, I was rubbish with my drones. I should have kept ships pointed more during the fight. I could have started safely changing range much earlier, too. I was hundreds of kilometers from the warp-in when we finished.

That was exactly the sort of fight I wanted. I definitely need to do better next time but that was great fun.

My 250mm Thorax adventure finished with a Maller in a large plex. I kept him at the end of point range but was deeply suspicious of the bait-like ship in such a busy system. I kept a close eye on dscan. Sure enough, an Ishtar and Auguror appeared on short scan when I had chewed halfway through his armour. I aligned to my safe and warped after the Ishtar's first volley which hurt a lot. Ishtar is OP.

Still, I didn't fall for the bait and managed to escape. And that's a win in my book.