Friday, July 24, 2015

A Svipul duel

Fountain! You hear a lot about Fountain these days. The extent of my knowledge is that a) Brave lives here (although why they ever decided to become entangled with sov warfare is well beyond me), and b) that much of the population of nullsec has descended upon them to teach them a lesson. I am happily oblivious as to what said message entails.

[Edit: Yes, I know this is out of date but I had already written it and couldn’t be bothered to revise it.]

What I was not oblivious to was that another Svipul was following me from system to system like a lost puppy. I had set a meandering course toward a promisingly dense ratting constellation and was slowly working my way over, keeping an eye out for lazy pilots on the way.

The Svipul pilot had picked me up quite close to the Thera entry system. After five or six jumps I asked him if he was stalking me. In response, he offered a 1v1. I decided to let him stew a little longer and stayed true to my course. I don't like arranged fights very much.

I was quite disappointed with the size of the local population to be honest. I was expecting hordes of pilots swarming over every anomaly, fighting for the opportunity to be picked off by yours truly. What I saw was mostly empty systems with the occasional dimly lit spot. Quite sad, really.

But never mind that. The Svipul followed me through a gate into a quiet system. I held cloak. He decloaked and burned to the gate. I finally decloaked and he instantly aggressed, rapidly approaching under what appeared to be MWD acceleration.

This was actually rather a boring fight but I am telling you about it because I was very well behaved and didn't make any silly mistakes. Just to show you that I can do it if I really try, you understand.

We were both confident of our fits and were content to sit at zero, duking it out. I immediately saw that he was shield buffer fit and had evidently filled up his lows with damage mods. The DPS hurt, and I was only slowly chipping his shield away. I left my shield repper overheated but turned the heat off my guns, which were starting to get toasty.

My shield was getting gradually lower each cycle so I took my Blue Pill. I was startled to see the shield immediately drop even further but then realised I had received the penalty to shield amount. That was fine - the reps more than made up for it. He finally entered armour was sitting in his pod soon after.

My defeated opponent warped away and immediately requested my fit. He said I was repping too much and accused me of having links. My Scout is Innocent of such a charge and I valiantly defended my honour. He then said I must have a crystal set. I told him this was realms of fantasy for nullsec. But I confessed to my Blue Pill addiction and he seemed content with this revelation of foul play.

Buffer Svipul:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

To Link or not to Link

Poor, defenceless little Svippy died to a merciless gate camp:


They clearly knew about the Thera entry and were ready for visitors so full marks for that. Lots of nullsec groups seem to forget that wormholes exist. I decided that something really ought to be done about these gatecamps. I further decided that I would need a battleship for such occasions (what could possibly go wrong?) and so started taking a closer look at the Dominix.

I came up with a horrendously expensive fit which repped about 2,100 EHP/second. (More on that when I inevitably lose it in a hugely embarrassing manner.) Out of curiosity, I decided to see what difference links would make to such a beast. What follows is no doubt old news to most of you (especially anyone familiar with the whole "Slippery Pete" caper) but was a journey of discovery for me.

I fitted a Legion up with one of each armour link and saw that the Dominix’s repair amount increased to almost 3,000 EHP/second: +41% repping power. In what I assume is a common thought progression, I then decided that such a link ship would have to be a) Nullified, b) Covert, and c) difficult to scan down:

[Legion, Links]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I
'Halcyon' Core Equalizer I

Command Processor I
Command Processor I
Conjunctive Radar ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Radar ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Radar ECCM Scanning Array I

Armored Warfare Link - Damage Control II
Armored Warfare Link - Passive Defense II
Armored Warfare Link - Rapid Repair II
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]

Medium Processor Overclocking Unit I
Medium Processor Overclocking Unit I
Medium Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

Legion Defensive - Warfare Processor
Legion Electronics - Dissolution Sequencer
Legion Engineering - Capacitor Regeneration Matrix
Legion Offensive - Covert Reconfiguration
Legion Propulsion - Interdiction Nullifier

In order to determine how difficult this would actually be to probe down I sent Innocent Scout to SiSi with her Cheetah. Innocent Scout's relevant scanning skills are perfect so I merely had to play around with the fit and implants. This was my starting point, Innocent's regular T2 scanning fit:

[Cheetah, T2 fit]

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
[Empty High slot]
Expanded Probe Launcher II, Sisters Combat Scanner Probe

5MN Y-T8 Compact Microwarpdrive
Scan Rangefinding Array II
Scan Rangefinding Array II
Scan Pinpointing Array II

Co-Processor I
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I
Inertial Stabilizers II

Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade II
Small Warp Core Optimizer II

(The Warp Core Optimizer is for Thera and is T2 because I can.)

The Legion hit was only 72%. Adding a third Rangefinding array only increased this to 73% due to stacking penalties. Swapping the T2 probe launcher for the Sisters variant increased it to 74%.

What about implants? Adding the Prospector AR-810 achieved 81% and this was increased to 88% with low-grade Virtues.

The result was 98.3% with mid-grade Virtues. I finally got a warpable hit by adding a Prospector AR-802 although better probe arrangement would probably have given the same result.

Ridiculous. ECCM should obviously be nerfed somehow. And links should obviously be nerfed too. An extra 40% repping power! Such ludicrously high bonuses makes this practically compulsory for a solo pilot in a big ship. That is not a ‘good’ decision from a gameplay perspective. Having said that, I can sympathise with the view that links do allow small gang and solo feats that would otherwise be impossible (like a 3000 EHP repping Dominix).

So conflicted. Sigh.

I promise I’ll put my soapbox away and post an actual fight next time.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

EVE has sound

Have you ever played EVE without sound? I tried it tonight. It did not work. I do not recommend it.

I was listening to something that required concentration so I muted EVE before undocking the shiny new version of Svippy with the B-type repper. Yes, you already know where this is going. Stop laughing.

It was just a few minutes before downtime and I had roamed through a fair chunk of Providence when I came across a Scythe Fleet Issue. Or, more accurately, a Scythe Fleet Issue came across me. Zappity was sitting on a gate and I was diligently paying attention to the scan results on the other screen. Something caught my eye and I looked back to see Zappity already in low shields. How rude!

I quickly activated the repper which, of course, wasn’t overheated. I then belatedly switched to defence mode when I hit armour while trying to tackle the cruiser and getting into orbit. Things then picked up for a while, with my EMP chipping away nicely at his shield and the nice, expensive (and now overheated) repper managing to just keep up with the damage.

I decided to consume my Blue Pill, only to find that I had forgotten to pack it. I’m really not very good with drugs. Worse still, while I was busy examining my cargo hold for the absent booster my cap ran out. Which was really bad news, especially since I didn’t notice for a few seconds because I couldn't hear the audio alert. My cap booster wasn’t overheated due to the general panic that had ensued right at the opening and I couldn’t catch my reps up in time. And so I died.


Had I been listening to the client I would have heard the gate flash and prepared all the modules. I would have heard the shield and armour damage alerts. I would have heard the "Your capacitor is empty you silly bugger" notification if things had even become that serious. And I would almost certainly have killed a Scythe Fleet Issue. It was just one of those times when EVERYTHING went wrong and it was entirely my fault.

It was hugely frustrating and I was absolutely furious with myself. I almost rage-quit the client but the knowledge that I had a pile of replacement ships just four jumps away in Thera kept me logged in. After all, it would just be more hassle the next time I logged in to find my pod sitting in the middle of nowhere (no offence, Provi) nursing a useless bookmark to a collapsed wormhole. By the time I had returned to base I had calmed down a little.

Oh well, at least the repper dropped. I like it when people are rewarded for bringing the fight. And he certainly brought the fight.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

I need a bigger repper

The next day saw me in Geminate and a new corp, though not a corp in Geminate if you understand my meaning. That would be awful.

I will start again.

I decided to join Wingspan Delivery Services. This was not a reflection on Stay Frosty who I will probably end up rejoining at some point. I had been spending a lot of time in Thera, hunting through wormholes and random connections to null with the result that I was rarely seeing any corpies. At the same time, I was frustrated with finding targets that I could not kill alone.

As I was saying, I found a fresh Thera exit to Geminate. I warped my Svipul in, narrowly missing a ratting Ishtar. Never mind, dotlan promised more opportunities to come. Two jumps in saw an Exhumer and Ishtar waiting patiently at a safe spot for me.

Innocent sent Zappity on her way to the probe result using what is, according to CCP, a heinous, game-breaking manoeuvre. Zappity landed at the probe results on top of both the Ishtar and Exhumer. She chose the Ishtar and tackled it while the Exhumer warped away to safety. Nice to have a bit of choice.

The Ishtar put up a rubbish performance, immediately launching sentries at my low sig ship. What is it with Ishtars and sentries? Anyone would assume they were all that your average ratting Ishtar carried. These drones, of course, achieved nothing.

Much more concerning was the appearance of a Taranis who immediately pointed me and started to orbit. I had seen him coming but decided not to warp out. First, I figured that the Ishtar was a worthy trade. Second, I thought I might be able to kill the Taranis, too.

The Ishtar popped in a most satisfactory manner. I then turned my attention to the Taranis who was foolishly orbiting me at close range. I tackled him back, switching off his MWD. He didn't last long.



I left the system to repair some overheated modules and have dinner, courtesy of a mobile depot and cloak which was no doubt infuriating to the locals. When I returned, well sated, I hopped through a couple of empty systems before finding a Gila at a signature.

Innocent warped Zappity in to the probe result (she's going to get banned, you know) where an acceleration gate was waiting. Dammit, surely the Gila will disappear now!

The Gila waited patiently while I jumped through two successive gates plus the time it took me to burn 60 km out to the waiting ship. Honestly, I didn't have a clue what to think at this point. If he had been waiting for PvP then why wouldn't he have had drones out, hammering at me the instant I landed? If he was PvE, why wouldn't he have warped off? The only thing I can assume is that he was just too busy doing whatever he was doing and ignoring his d-scan.

I tackled him when the overheated afterburner finally brought me into range. Unfortunately, the afterburner was overheated and I merrily continued past the waiting Gila, straight out of scram range. The 10mn afterburner fit isn't particularly agile!

I managed to get back into range to tackle him for a second time. He finally sent out some drones, nasty faction heavies which hurt badly. I had flashbacks to the last Gila I fought with less than stellar results.

I decided that orbiting with the 10m afterburner was decidedly dodgy. I was constantly overshooting and going into odd trajectories so I switched to recurring approaches instead. The Gila was tough but eventually died:


My modules were badly overheated so I applied the paste while deciding on my next move. What I should have done was turn around and leave the area. I had clearly tormented the locals enough and given them plenty of time to form a response.

Balanced against this sensible position, however, was the fact that there were still locals around to torment. I hopped into the next system.

An Assault Frigate, Stratios and Omen Navy Issue were on d-scan. I initially had thoughts about finding the Stratios but when the Omen landed on the gate I decided that he was good enough.

He burned off the gate, aggressing me as he went. I followed with overheated afterburner, gradually catching up to him. I finally landed a scram and started chipping away at him, unfortunately with the wrong ammunition loaded. Then the Stratios landed on the gate, and the Harpy and I knew that my first instinct had been correct. The Harpy was piloted by the ex-Gila pilot, clearly looking for revenge.

The Stratios drones were really starting to hurt but I decided to see it through instead of running. The Omen was at half armour when I popped. Oh well, gf. The two cruiser pilots responded in kind but not the Gila pilot! He said ".!." which I thought was very rude when I had spent some time thinking about it.


What did I learn? Should I have run away? No! I just need a bigger repper, of course!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Foiled! Damn killrights...

I remembered the killright when my nemesis flashed up on the watchlist. In an earlier episode, Kry Saz had foolishly opened fire on Zappity's cousin in marketing, suffering the instant wrath of CONCORD. This had resulted in the generation of a kill right. I decided it was time to cash in.

A locator agent tracked him down to a highsec island in Heimatar. A good Thera exit landed me reasonably close to the system and it wasn't long before Zappity was sitting next to the acceleration gate which promised to house the Vexor Navy Issue of my foe as well as the Stratios and Vexor of his corpies.

Zappity warped in, her cousin sitting on the button, ready to share the kill right. He had tried to share it with Zappity specifically but, unfortunately, the stupid interface wasn't working properly. The character search didn't work and he couldn't assign the kill right to a specific entity. Oh well, it would just have to be available to everyone.

Zappity warped in and approached the VNI, ready to land tackle. Her cousin hit the button to make available at 50m - done! I looked for the little kill right symbol in Zappity’s Selected Item window - nothing! And still nothing! He warped away. Bugger. I then guessed that you must load grid before the symbol appears. Frustrating!

Of course, he disappeared into a station, now well and truly alerted to the shared kill right. He mocked me, making it clear that I would never catch him and that I was waiting my time. Unfortunately, he was correct. The next time I saw him online, shortly before the right expired, he was safely tucked away in a wormhole.