Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tiericide ahoy!

Zappity hasn’t been particularly active recently. I have been busy and travelling and not getting much pew pew time. My recent efforts have focused on the market, which is much easier to do on the laptop. I have built what ISK I have up over 18 months or so of active trading and, whilst not very wealthy, I at least have enough ISK lying around to do whatever I like. This includes playing with the market.

So when it was announced, I decided to invest 20 b of my hard-earned on the module tiericide changes. Of that, I have already spent 23 b. This failure in elementary mathematics is due to the first two rounds going well enough that I decided to tip profit from those modules into the kitty for the remaining items. After all, we have barely scratched the surface of really interesting modules.

I had focused on 44 item types in the first two rounds and ended up with just over 250k items in total for those categories. These were purchased Zappity style, which means low effort and low time commitment. I flagged the tiericide items that I wanted to acquire in one of my trading database tables and set up a little script that let me know which of my buy orders was filled. Every week or so I would look it up and set the orders up again, averaging about 50 m for each so they didn’t run out too fast.

The 250k items from the first two rounds cost me 3.5 b and I sold them all for 9.4 b, again Zappity style. This means that I set (what I thought) was a reasonable sell order price and left it alone. The announcements for the module families came, the market reacted, and almost everything was sold long before the patches arrived. Could I have made more? Easily. The market history indicates that the people who bought out my orders after the announcements probably made the same profit again. But I am not greedy. And, um, effort.

So what’s the current status of the remaining items? I have 853k of them (seriously, how big is Jita anyway?) across 314 types which cost 17.1 b. Right now I could list them at the ask price for 14.9 b profit. But I don’t want to yet. Perhaps I should take some profit now and reinvest. But, again, effort.

What is really interesting about this process is that people have lots of time to figure it out. This is unusual. Rebalancing speculation is usually done over very short timeframes with the early movers reaping the largest rewards. By now, however, there must be hundreds of millions of items stockpiled in Jita. It may well turn out that profits declines as tiericide progresses with more and more investors trying to get a slice of the action.

So here’s me looking forward to the next round of module tiericide. It should be an interesting year.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

I should have won that

If ever there was a case when FRAPS was useful in picking out mistakes it is this fight. I was loitering in a medium plex near the Tuskers' home system. I didn’t have to wait long before one of them brought a fight to my blaster Thorax in a Scythe Fleet Issue. Here's the video: The general setup was sound but I made quite a few mistakes. Let's review the mistakes, shall we? Any one of these would have prevented me from winning since he was a 400 structure when I died. 1. I didn't take my Exile. It was still sitting there in the cargo hold when I exploded. The dual rep fit would have really benefited from this. 2. I didn't pay close enough attention to my cap, including not overheating the booster. I capped out during the fight and again at the end. 3. When I capped out in the middle of the fight I didn't notice that one of my gun groups had been shut down for a few seconds. 4. I capped out at the end because I ran out of charges. I couldn't understand this because I knew my cargo hold was full. What happened was that I had a mix of 400s and 800s and when the 400s ran out the 800s didn't automatically load. I should have just been using 800s in this fit. So that was annoying. But it was a great fight and I learned (or remembered) a lot from it. Thorax:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cleaning up

An Omen and Caracal pair in Okkamon. I was keeping an eye on them on d-scan and when I saw the Caracal heading to the other side of the system I jumped into the plex to say hello to the Omen. He wasn't very friendly.

Purely in self defence I activated my, um, offensive modules and we tried to kite each other. I'm not very good at kiting so he got out of point range a few times. But eventually he hit structure and tried to warp out. Not in time! Mua ha ha!

I have noticed that the kill report notification often pops up before I see the opponent actually pop. Maybe it is because I live in Australia and inevitably suffer from lag. So it was in this case:



On my way back to Ishomilken my d-scan was overwhelmed by a swarm of farmers. I decided that the local systems needed to be tidied up so I fit my trusty kite-scrub catcher MWD Incursus with double scram.

It is important to carry a web and afterburner in your cargo just in case you see a real pilot and want to fight them after hastily switching in a station. The first one I came across was in Vaaralen:


I actually should have died horribly to that fit. He wasn’t stabbed and should have kited me with his web. But he didn’t, so I killed him. And I feel justified in including him in the ‘farmer’ category because of the cloak.

It was a similar story with my next victim, although instead of a farming fit this was just a kite-scrub fit which was caught by my MWD:


Third on the list was UNARGUABLY a farmer:


Zero fittings. He should be ashamed. And podded. Which he was, even though that was probably just helping him reship faster:


A little later I came across a Breacher, Keres and Malediction in system. The Breacher and Keres were both Skyfighters who have been hanging around the Cal/Gal zone recently. I played tag in my Incursus with the Breacher for a while but he was kitescrub fit and didn't warp to a gate at range for me to catch him.

He got bored after a while and warped to another plex. I followed when I saw the Malediction heading in that direction and managed to catch him on the gate before he could warp or get out of scram range:


Unfortunately, by the time he had died the Breacher and Keres both landed on me. The Breacher was indeed kitescrub fit and orbited me with a long point. He wasn't very good at it - while I was waiting to die I practiced the slingshot with my afterburner and managed to get him into scram range four times. Maybe that is why he needed the Keres' ECM. He certainly would have died without it.


As I said, I don't like ECM. It is frustrating. Game mechanics should not be frustrating. ECM is somehow much worse than being blobbed - at least when you are swamped you can overheat everything and try desperately to take one of them with you. Not so with ECM. I tend to just turn everything off and sit there, waiting.

Still, it was worth it. The humble Incursus claimed an Interceptor. I just won't fight Skyfighters any more.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lies, damn lies, and killboards

I thought a Hyperion in Ishomilken was impressive until I logged in this morning and saw an Erebus! Ishomilken had exploded with 1471 people in local when I arrived. That's about 1460 more than usual.

Alliance comms was entertaining so I decided to see what all the hullabaloo was about. I fitted up a sniping Cormorant and undocked. The station was awash with ships, pods and wrecks but I ignored all that rubbish and insta-warped to my undock. I bounced off a celestial which I guessed would be the least likely to have a cluttered approach and arrived at 70 km from the Large plex which the Titan had chosen as it's final resting place.

I have never seen anything like it. TiDi was stuck at 10% and the grid was crazy. I shot the Titan and warped to my perch. Huh, I didn't even get targeted.

Now I have always known that killboard isk efficiency is a silly metric to judge one's performance. However, many nullsec F1 monkeys disagree and I have been ridiculed for my 65% efficiency many times despite this being built on hundreds of solo kills.

So when I warped back in I did it for the sole purpose of whoring on expensive kills. I did it like a nullsec pro. Here follows Zappity's recipe for making your killboard green forevermore:

First, adjust your overview to show only the tastier ships like elite battleships, marauders, carriers and dreadnoughts. I also added T3s because I'm not fussy.

Second, you want a reasonably agile ship that will be able to align back quickly toward the perch bookmark that you drop on the way into the site. The ship should also be cheap to avoid getting attention, as well as having long range, preferably with instantly-applied damage.

Something like this is fine: Cormorant. It will hit out to about 70 km. Someone really dedicated to increasing their isk efficiency will no doubt come up with something more optimal for such an honourable goal.

Third, you want to warp in to the site at range and from an angle that will hopefully be uncluttered.

Four, target as many ships as you can, instantly fire a single gun onto each of them as soon as they lock, then unlock them straight away and repeat the process. Make sure you don't unnecessarily target anyone you already have a limited engagement with. Obvious you aren't interested in actually doing damage - you just want to spread the love far and wide.

For bonus points, try and pick targets that aren't obviously affiliated with a bloc that has a large presence on field. These ships are less likely to be repped and more likely to die.

I spent about five minutes doing this before someone targeted me. But since they only webbed me I just warped off.

Satisfied with my hard work, I docked up and swapped to an insta-lock Atron. I wanted to catch some pods! A corpie mentioned that they were like Kinder Surprises - you never know what you're going to find inside when you crack them open. And there sure were plenty of them.

I got bored with that, though, because it took about half an hour to warp across the system. So I went away and had a leisurely breakfast instead.

When I came back my criminal timer had almost expired (yes, I caught one or two pods) and I was still at my safe aligned toward the Large plex where the Erebus madness was still raging. I warped in, targeted and shot the Erebus before being blapped by some nasty people who no doubt were just trying to pad their killboards.

I escaped in my pod (not that it mattered) and then the Erebus died! I was on the mail with a grand total of 280 damage! And so my killboard will be green forever more.

That's all it takes.

I think killboard stats have a purpose at the corporation scale and above. But I am deeply, deeply skeptical about them at an individual pilot level. This morning's effort took me from about 60% efficiency to 93% where it will likely remain forevermore. In my few minutes of activity I 'killed':

Apocalypse Navy Issue

Of course, it was all entirely meaningless with zero skill involved other than being able to switch targets quickly. This was at least recognised by Battleclinic who awarded me only a few points for the lot!

Next time there is an event like this I think I will join an active hunting fleet to get some real kills. But it was still good, cheap fun and an interesting experience.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Frigate vs Battleship

I decided to move a Barghest blueprint, pilfered from a recently-deceased Mordu’s Legion battleship, to a highsec station for easier transport. I had stumbled across the rat while chasing another player about Prism in my Thorax (lowsec belts ftw). I only had about 20 minutes to play and the relocation seemed like an eminently achievable task. So Zappity hopped it into a Comet, undocked and warped to the Usi gate which, handily, is in line with the Ishomilken V undock. En route I casually scanned the system and was surprised to see a Hyperion Aliastra Edition. A battleship! In lowsec! And then I saw that the ship was named after a week-old player who was also in system.

After relieving myself of the blueprint, I hastily made my way back to Ish in order to become better acquainted with this new player. He was sitting very innocently in a large plex. I warped in, scrammed him, and went into a tight orbit. His drones disappeared quickly and it wasn’t long before I turned my attention to his ship.

Honestly, the most exciting thing about this fight was when Ciba Lexlulu (thankfully a corpie) warped into the site in his Deimos. I had considered calling for help (even getting as far as typing the message out) because I was worried about third-parties but wanted a crack at a frigate vs battleship mail. I don’t usually care about kill mails but I have to admit that I badly wanted that one! It was the first time I had ever fought a battleship.

I unkindly told Ciba he was a whore but he was the better man and chose not to aggress, even though he was fully entitled to do so. Ciba later stated that, although he had earlier been hunting the ship, the killmail would look better with only a Comet on it. That’s the sort of magnificent corp that is Stay Frosty. I think I owe Ciba one. Or maybe even two. Anyway, the Hyperion was already well into structure and died shortly after muttering an obscenity in local:


Hyperion video:

Oh my goodness, that fit. I opened a conversation with the guy and tested the waters. He was understandably frustrated but not angry and asked what he had done wrong. You won't be surprised to learn that I gave him a good dose of advice. I told him why battleships are a bad idea for a lowsec noob (I think he had already figured that out). I told him about corps like RvB and NPSI roams like Redemption Road. I told him to stick to frigates and destroyers until further notice. I also gave him some isk (quite a bit, actually). I was encouraged by his closing statement: “I just want to get my first solo kill!” Good stuff.

My first battleship kill! We will just ignore the part where it was flown by a week-old player.

P.S. WTB upgrade to automatically deploy my bloody drones.