Friday, September 25, 2015

A lesson well learned

All hail Thera the Beneficent, Enabler of Logistics for Poor Null Pilots. (CCP, please don’t nerf. I feel that is a necessary addendum these days.) As you have no doubt gathered we found a Thera entry just a couple of jumps away from our home system. This was tremendously helpful in our efforts to evacuate. However, before long a neutral appeared in our system! Again! This time it was a Brave pilot who I soon saw was the proud owner of a Dramiel.

“A neutral! KIIIIIIIL HIIIIM!”, I cried in local. I do local etiquette. He was toying with an Ishtar and Caracal near the station when I undocked my Svipul, from which he fled in terror.

I warped to the gate he had been aligned to but no Dramiel had landed. Hmm. He was still on d-scan but not at a celestial. A safe spot! Innocent Scout hopped into her Buzzard and probed the scoundrel down. Unfortunately, he was burning straight up (not toward a celestial) at 4.5km/s and was already 50km away when Innocent landed. I could have pulled a fast Interceptor out but he was still rabbiting away in local and I figured he was unlikely to hang around when he saw a faster ship coming his way.

So one of the guys had a good idea. He refitted his Ishtar with omnidirectionals for drone tracking and range and made ready with his sentries. He then warped to Innocent before aligning upwards in the direction of the confident Dramiel. Innocent then probed and immediately punted the Ishtar towards the Dramiel. He dropped his sentries and popped him in one shot. Hehe, that’ll learn him.


As it transpired, our valiant Brave pilot had visited us out of the goodness of his heart to tutor us in the finer points of EVE. FIrst, he told us that we had 'completed Level One', although this was tempered by the statement that we were ‘plebs’ and that it ‘took us long enough’. I like lessons like that. It was very good of him. He then left the system and abused some of our corpies next door for not being able to AFK in J2 any more.

And so ended our adventure in Scalding Pass. I have to admit that it was a sad moment when I departed for the Thera entry for the last time. I finally understand the allure of sov null. Fighting for a system and staking out a claim made me feel very invested in the process. I'm hooked. But I will never rent.

Since I promised that this thread would be an honest account of my activities I must confess that I gave serious consideration to hiring mercs to torment that nasty corp who persecuted us with such a cowardly home ground advantage. I also contemplated leaving Innocent Scout in their system to entose their stuff when they were offline. But given the blue complication I decided it would just become too much hassle.

What really tilted the balance was the pilot who was so recently bereaved of his Dominix coming into our system and crying about his ship. Apparently he had brought it into null specifically to deal with us. He was extremely upset that it had died. I told him to cry me a river and that his Dominix was weak and deserved to die. It was glorious. And yes, I am that petty :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


I awoke to a phone ablaze with Slack notifications and pings and whatnot. The German corp from a couple of systems away were attacking our station!

Not working that day meant I was in no rush to get moving and thus sat at my computer with a coffee and logged in. Only half a dozen ABA people were in null and we were outnumbered both in number and ship type. They were disabling station services.

We decided to take the fight, even though we were badly under-equipped and very likely to lose. DPS cruisers plus my magnificent local tank Dominix undocked simultaneously and we fought! Oddsodz ran the fleet and told us to kill the Caracal first. Then we switched to their Dominix before we lost too much DPS and had to run away.


Despite being primaried my own Dominix survived, a fact for which I was very happy. The battle report would have looked quite different otherwise! It is expensive.

This fight, however, did not end the trouble. We really needed either more people or more large ships. They had already managed to entose the Fitting and Repair services. (I'm pretty sure that isn't a verb but never mind because it is much neater than the alternatives I have seen.) So I broke out my stash of pre-built suicide Griffins and threw them up on contract. These have one of each meta 4 ECM module fit but there are plenty of each available on the market for those who wanted to specialise against a particular ship.

The idea is that you undock/warp in, F1-F4 and click on the entosing ship. Align to your undock/safe and enter warp as soon as you either succeed or fail to land jams. It takes about two seconds. If they catch you, try and get your pod away before collecting another ship. The ships only cost 2m and are (in my mind anyway) utterly disposable.

This was a useful strategy because entosis cycles are disrupted by jams. And the entosis cycle cannot be prematurely stopped, so the entosing ship needs to finish the current cycle before starting again. It is intensely frustrating. Which is great.

After about half an hour of this procedure at the station, TCU and I-Hub we noticed that some of their ships were starting to warp away. It was nearly 1am in Germany and the poor little things were obviously tired. Ten minutes later, they had all departed and the station services were switched back on and we were back to business as usual.

We talked after this event and came to the realisation that we really needed to be able to take the fight to the enemy's system. Unfortunately, the politics were complicated by their station being owned by blues which meant that they were effectively attacking from an unassailable position. So the decision was made to pull out and begin looking for a better opportunity. Rixx Javix wrote about this in fuller detail at

Frankly, I was quite pleased with this decision. The complicated arrangement by which we had entered sov was not to my liking. Next time we will carefully identify our hapless victim and then CRUSH THEM!!! Mua ha ha!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ratters, ratters everywhere

Ratters everywhere. And there's me forgetting to put the Expanded Probe Launcher on my Svipul. I had decided to test the waters in our new base and so put up a fleet ad and hopped on teamspeak. Before long I had a couple of partners in crime and we were winging our way through Scalding Pass in destroyers, hunting for victims.

I checked dotlan and linked us toward a couple of bearish looking systems. We were chased out of the first one we arrived at with some hard-counter ships to whom we lost our Catalyst. Our hasty retreat meant that I landed in the waiting arms of a Hecate on a gate. He redboxed and I ordered us to open fire. We killed him very quickly. I think he may have forgotten to switch to defense mode, just like someone else who shall not be named.


A few snide comments were left in local at our passing. We were distinctly unwelcome in the ratting systems. Honestly, what do these ratters expect? To be left alone in peace? Disgraceful! At the next ratting system we were greeted by a Rupture who warped to me at 50km. I figured he was artillery fit and so spiralled in on him with an overheated MWD. He died very quickly, especially when Thane decloaked his Stealth Bomber and started getting his volleys off.


Ha! We died less than they did! OP success for the first fleet I have ever led.

I logged in later in the day and saw one of the Stay Frosty directors talking about a Pirate Detection Array. Apparently our system did not yet have a high enough Military Index for this particular thingy to be installed somewhere or other. I felt it my civic duty to assist and therefore did a quick run to Amarr to pick up a few Ishtar and Gila hulls.

On the way, I played around with some fits (admittedly under the guiding light of the killboards of the undisputed ratting masters in Deklein) and arrived at the following:

[Ishtar, Angels Ishtar v1]

Capacitor Flux Coil II
Capacitor Flux Coil II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Pith B-Type Explosive Deflection Field
Pith X-Type Large Shield Booster
Omnidirectional Tracking Link II

[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]

Medium Capacitor Control Circuit II
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit II

Hornet EC-300 x5
Berserker II x5

The B-type is only 4m but the X-type is over 100m. You can swap the active Pith B-Type Explosive Deflection Field for a passive Pithum C-Type Explosive Deflection Amplifier (under 1m ISK) if you want to swap to T1 rigs.

This will drop your Explosive resist from 85.0% to 81.4%. Both variants are cap stable at ~38%. Other resists are EM 30.0%, Thermal 72.0%, Kinetic 89.5%.

This fit does 636 DPS with the heavy Berserkers which deal Explosive damage for Angels. If you use the expensive (20m each) Augmented variety you get 700 dps. The drone control range is about 80 km but the tank does not rely on speed or range. Just warp, align out and let the drones do their work while cycling all the things.

It was truly boring. But it was, admittedly, somewhat relaxing and cathartic after the stress (albeit enjoyable) of a PvP roam. I did an Angel Port (whatever that is) and then a Hidden Something-or-Other and was halfway through a Forsaken Whatsit when a neutral entered the system. A neutral! In our home system! The hide of it!

I checked d-scan and saw a Taranis who was no doubt greedily eyeing my Ishtar with evil stirring in his heart. I aligned out and collected my drones before warping to the station via a safe.

Yamir Ke’Shark, the aforementioned piratical specimen from Agony, told me that he would not have tried to kill my Ishtar in his Taranis. I chose to disbelieve him, knowing that I myself would have done exactly that although I happily acknowledged that I would almost certainly have died in the process. He then teased me about carebearing!

Ha! Me, a carebear! All I was doing was ratting in an anomaly with an AFKtar! For all he knew it could have been a trap. Anyway, why can't they all just leave us alone to rat in peace? Disgraceful!

Unfortunately, I decided to stay docked in order to have dinner and was therefore absent when the alliance's honour was upheld by two persistent corpies who tracked the blackguard down and killed him just a few jumps later. Innocent Scout, cloaked, observed his pod enter the Thera wormhole from whence he evidently came with enormous satisfaction.

Friday, September 4, 2015

What a bunch of [sov] noobs

As I mentioned last time, our illustrious leaders in A Band Apart decided to set up a nullsec outpost. Well, not Set Up an Outpost but rather to establish our good selves in a nullsec system with a pre-existing station to call out very own. They had made some sort of shady arrangement with a nullsec mob I'd never heard of (sorry FEIGN, please don't take it personally since I haven't heard of most nullsec entities, mobs or otherwise) to take one of their stations. We had been given the opportunity to take a couple of systems plus station without resistance (from the owners at any rate) in order to increase PvP content in the area.

I gave Innocent Scout and Zappity their marching orders and they quickly arrived due to the magnificent connectedness of Thera. The next day I logged in to the middle of a scuffle between the ABA guys (that's us) and some disgruntled locals who were being very mean, trying to switch off our station services. Apparently, they did not like the idea of a PvP group moving in. They had a nice, quiet ratting pocket next door and we're distinctly unimpressed with the idea of us sitting bored just a couple of brief jumps away.

We were at a distinct disadvantage since we were not nearly as prepared as we ought to have been. There were no hulls available in the station either on the market or on contract. Our logistics were not yet established, meaning that we didn't have any modules available either. So they took some station services offline while we cowered in station, unable to bring the fight and receiving only an IOU for future destruction as their reward.

However, later in the day I was present when we reinforced the station and took the Territorial Control Unit using entosis links, first on the TCU itself and then on the newly spawned command nodes. This was much more to our liking since these nodes and very much like ungated faction warfare plexes. It is a very troubling experience, sitting there on the mode and unable to exercise the capsuleer's natural right (namely, the ability to run away).

The requisite number of nodes were completed after about half an hour and the state of affairs inevitably progressed to the realisation that now we needed to deploy a new TCU. This was very amusing. We were clueless. Do you need roles to anchor the TCU? Do offline station services come back online when the station enters freeport? What about after the freeport? Is the timer exactly 48 hours? And so on and on.

Eventually we just decided to do it the ABA way and just try to do it. Someone dropped the TCU and was thoroughly confused by the option to 'launch for self'. Nevertheless, we persisted on the assumption for "How hard can it be?" and we're soon cycling an entosis link on the thing after alternative ideas (like shooting it) were exhausted. And so shortly we were proudly gazing upon the ABA logo as it circled the newly anchored deployable. I felt like someone should have made a speech.

We went through the same thing the new the day with the station command nodes. I had expecting resistance from our erstwhile persecutors and had spent a few hours bringing in lots of compressed ore for the production of Vexors (reasonably fitted) and logi (atrociously fitted because I haven't got a clue about logi). I also made a truckload of attrition destroyers and frigates, Thrashers and Catalysts as well as Mauluses and Griffins, in case we needed cheap ships to throw at our adversaries.

It was all, however, for nought, with not a single competing entosis ship making an appearance. It was a bit disappointing. Oh well, I'm sure the ships won't go astray. And the locals will no doubt come to visit after we kill them a few times.

Speaking of which, our motley crew of brigands demanded action before the station timer had started. One of the guys commented that there was a ratting Thanatos just one system over. He was not blue to us and we started getting ideas above our station. Or, to be more precise, ideas above THEIR station, ideas involving bubbles and lots of DPS.

It took about 20 minutes before the wormhole contingent of the alliance arrived in suitable ships, with the few of us already in null assembled on the gate awaiting the command. The wormhole Interdictor jumped into the system and made a beeline for the station. He quickly bubbled up before we all jumped in. The Thanatos ran for the station, straight into the bubble.

We warped to the Interdictor, arriving at about the same time as the doomed carrier. When I locked him up I saw that he was already in low armour (no repper?) and it only took us a minute to chew through his hull.


Now for some of you battle-hardened large fleet types this is, no doubt, not particularly impressive. But it was my first ever carrier kill and I was very proud of it.