Thursday, November 24, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Entosis Rapier of Magnificence

Things were quiet and I was bored, sitting in a plex while writing up the story of the epic Slicer fight. Suddenly, I noticed I was no longer alone in my plex. A wild Comet had appeared and very rudely scrammed me. Didn’t he know I was busy? I hastily locked him up and set my drones on him. Alas, it was a mirrored fight and I had simply begun too late. So here you go, a Comet loss just for you:


A couple of hours later I was sitting in a borrowed Rapier on an entosis node somewhere in Tribute. The theory behind using Rapiers for entosis is great: they have long webs and can use an Entosis Link II well beyond 200 km. You are meant to sit there, orbiting the node at this sort of range and entose away. If a flight of angry interceptors appears to defend their space, you are meant to use your cunning and webs to evade them until the entosis link cycles down and you are able to warp away. Such is the theory.

I was halfway through the entosis cycle when they appeared, at least a dozen interceptors landing on the node at zero. They did not look very pleased to see me to be honest. They began burning toward me at a most alarming pace. I gently aligned away to a random corp bookmark that was somewhat close to the direction I was already heading in order to avoid losing too much speed. I then swapped my sensor booster script to scan resolution, wanting the ability to lock them quickly.

The ships covered the distance quickly, and before long the leader was within 50 km. I slapped an overheated web on him and he rapidly fell away! Well that worked really well. If only he was the only one. Because the second interceptor was now also under 50 km away, requiring a web of his own. At this point, I recognised the limitations of a fit with only two webs. A third interceptor was in range, so I quickly switched targets and webbed him back, too. One of them landed an overheated point on me! I webbed him, too, just as my entosis link cycled down. I warped!

I didn’t accomplish anything but it was a hell of a rush.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Just a sigh about ECM

Oh look, a Griffin Navy Issue on d-scan along with half a dozen flashy yellow and red types in local. Now, I hate ECM as much as the next person but what can I say? I was curious! I hadn’t fought one of these things before. And anyway, I was in my magnificent Comet, slayer of all.

I waited for him with my drones set to aggressive, ready for the offensive even if I was jammed. He landed in the plex and immediately - IMMEDIATELY - jammed me. I was pretty much helpless for the twenty seconds. I waited patiently for the cycle to end, only to be immediately jammed again. Of course, by this time a bunch of Tristans and Slicers and all sorts had appeared on short-scan.

My Comet was not taking any damage from the Griffin so the situation was obvious: he was tackle and they were about to land and kill me to death. I had no range control because I could not lock him to apply a web. My drones, I assumed, were chipping away at him but I realised that any tackle worthy of the name would have a decent buffer fit.

Finally, the second cycle ended and the next jams failed! A couple of seconds later he was counter-tackled and I was able to rapidly pull range. I warped to the safe I was aligned to before I could be caught again.

I would just like to leave an important message here. I hate jams. I don’t care if they are balanced. I don’t care if they are OP. I just hate the way ECM feels as a mechanic and CCP should feel bad.

I hunted on until I found a Slicer who was willing to do battle. I fumbled the fight badly. Things started out fine because I remembered to set my drones on him. I was so proud of this that I forgot to activate my guns. I was then concentrating so hard on slingshotting him that, when I did finally activate them, I didn’t notice that they weren’t hitting him properly at range. When I did see this, I deactivated the guns and tried to reload Spike during the cooldown cycle. Which obviously didn’t work.

By this time I was in structure and he still had a good chunk of armour left. He was too good to catch with a slingshot (although I must confess to not getting my afterburner cycle management quite right) and I resigned myself to a well-deserved explosion. When the explosion finally came I cursed the client for lagging because my modules were still on screen. And then I realised that it was he who had exploded! My worthy opponent had neglected his reps and was popped by a wrecking shot! Ha!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Lowsec, good old lowsec

After four months away I was finally home and de-jet-lagged. Time to PvP. I decided that an Incursus was the right ship for me. I needed to reconnect and get rid of the shakes.

I safely exited Jita and made my way toward the Cal/Gal warzone near my old stomping ground of Ishomilken. A couple of jumps out saw me in a system with two players with suspiciously similar names. They were piloting a Vexor and a Kestrel according to d-scan. I taunted them but they declined to fight. Actually, they just ignored me! Rude.

In the next system I found a Worm flitting between plexes, evidently looking for people to kill. I don’t like Worms. I remember that they were hideously overpowered the last time I did this sort of thing. But I wanted a fight.

I warped to his plex and sat on the acceleration gate until I thought he would have spotted me on d-scan. I then warped to the adjacent plex at 10 km. I wanted to catch him before he had the chance to kite-scrub me. Sure enough, he was soon on short scan. I overheated all the things and tackled him before he had a chance to run away.

I activated my repper a little too early and wasted the first cycle. Then all my armour disappeared and I was glad I didn’t have to wait long for the next cycle! The Worm hit REALLY hard. But his shield was disappearing pretty quickly, too. I guessed he was buffer fit and, sure enough, his armour disappeared in huge chunks. I was still repping hard when he entered structure and exploded. Ha!


I said ‘gf’ in local but he did not respond. Rude.

I went next door to Ishomilken and repaired my modules in the station. I undocked just in time to see an Epithal warp to a planet! Oh joy unbounded! I chased him and we landed at about the same time. Now, I am wary about Epithals, always suspicious that they are fitted with nasty warp core stabs. So I bumped him good with my afterburner while killing him slowly. He popped! Unfortunately, he had not yet gathered his planetary whatsits so the killmail was cheap. But he did indeed have stabs fit, so it was a moral victory.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: History of the zkillboard variety

Sigh. The dodgy hotel internet connection had dropped out again just before I was about to jump to the cyno and the login was taking ages. I was halfway through transporting P4 materials that I had harvested over the last few weeks (from market buy orders, obviously) out to nullsec in my jump freighter. Booooring. “Maybe I should do this in a couple of days when I have a better connection”, I thought.

The new industry structures were a good opportunity to make some ISK and I had prepared well with a researched set of component blueprints and what I guessed would be the required P4 materials. I already had more than enough minerals and was pretty much spot on about the components.

Logged back in! Finally! My cyno alt in the next system was already undocked and waiting for the jump freighter pilot. I lit the cyno and jumped the ship. I hit to dock button but was not greeted with Aura’s sultry “Docking permission accepted” message. Surely I had not disconnected again!

No, the connection was fine. The problem was that my cyno was 20 km from the Citadel. I had neglected to stop my cyno ship when the freighter had disconnected and he had been leisurely traversing the void in the interim. Of course, I hadn't paid any attention to this.

An even bigger problem was the nasty little lowsec Cormorant who had begun to take an inordinate interest in the proceedings. I was tackled before the fatigue timer would allow me to jump to safety.

The next few minutes were a race against time. Even under these circumstances the lone Cormorant was not disastrous. I was slowly creeping back towards the safety of the docking ring despite his bumps. However, more and more ships kept arriving on grid.

I reached 6.5km - almost there! - when a Machariel landed on grid. He knew what he was doing and I was soon heading away from the Citadel at an alarming rate.

The rest, as they say, is history of the zkillboard variety:

Oh well. These things happen. At least they were kind enough to return my goods for a reasonable sum. I need that stuff!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: The Pyerite Problem

I was considering what should be done with the immense stockpile of minerals I had accrued from the buyback program when I found over 300 Capital Cargo Bays in a station deep in the mining constellation in Fade. I hadn't noticed them before. Unfortunately, these are far too large to efficiently transport by jump freighter so I decided to use them up instead by building capital industrial ships.

People had been complaining that there were no Orcas for sale in the region so I built a few of them first. Naturally, they didn't sell. Then, mostly out of sheer bloody mindedness I put a bunch of Rorquals into the oven. The dire prognostications from the mining community regarding the rebalance (‘wtf fozzie ima not gonna go on grid who do you think you are’) was not comforting but I had confidence that the long-awaited changes would be enticing enough to soak up a mere ten additional hulls.

The other problem was pyerite. I had accumulated an enormous quantity of this hateful mineral as a result of the enormous popularity of bistot, an ore which is unfortunately rich in this substance. So I fired up my production queue again, this time with the purpose of making as much big stuff as possible. This soon led to a tritanium shortage (I had much more pyerite than tritanium) but this was overcome by purchasing compressed ore from Jita. A couple of dozen capital hulls later I had started to get on top of the pyerite problem, retaining a nice balance of minerals with which to respond to the upcoming industrial arrays.

And as for the Rorquals? They idled in station for a few days before the dev blog appeared. Then they all sold within 24 hours. People seem pretty happy with the changes!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Zappity’s Adventures: All good buybacks come to an end

Alas, all good buyback programs come to an end. It was just too much work on top of some RL changes. The announcement on the industrial thread on the Pandemic Horde forum was met with much weeping and gnashing of teeth but was also met with several cautious requests for information on the inner workings of the program. I provided my scripts to all and sundry (whoever he is) and, before long, a rash of new programs popped up. Admittedly, none of them were quite as magnificent as the original but they each excelled in their own specific area. And so I was left with no obligations for the first time in many months. I took advantage of this by not logging in for a while.

Eventually, the lure of EVE told and I began to pay attention again. Pandemic Horde management had decided that a bunch of moons in lowsec rightfully belonged to them. This meant lots of dreadnought activity, specifically the type where a short notice ping went out to the cap channel followed by a cyno being lit on the tower grid. We would then pour the very expensive ammunition into the tower’s shields for one (or perhaps two) siege cycles and then buggered off before anyone bigger and nastier could drop on us. Like the people who owned the tower and were no doubt not particularly impressed about the development.

These sorts of fleets are quite exciting, mostly because of the risk involved in fielding such assets. It is a very different experience to the main fleet. I, like everybody, dislike structure bashes when in subcaps. So the subcap fleet is generally pleased to see the arrival of dreads which immensely shorten the time it takes to break the shield down. One bad thing about this activity is that it doesn’t generate a killmail for me to look at. But you can’t have everything, can you?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Reprocess all the things

I built a capital ship! Actually, I built five of them and counting. Capital production is Usually done with great planning and careful preparation. This time, however, it what done Zappity-style, and did what it Means done pretty much by accident.

I had a problem with tritanium and Pyerite. It was a large trouble. Enormous, in fact. I had accumulated so much of the stuff did I could not Possibly use it all. The buyback program had developed spectacularly well and what now turning over between 50 and 60B per week. A proportion of this, of course, what mining products. Ore can be compressed 100-fold Which, as far as I am Concerned, is its only redeeming quality. I had become quite proficient at Compressing and refining with Innocent Scout having wearily plodded through the reprocessing skills.

The magnitude of the problem-what magnified once I discovered module reprocessing. I had become far more familiar with ratting loot than I had ever Intended, with most of my previous trading focusing on more valuable faction and T2 items. I had been perfectly content to ignore the lower end of the market. Now that I was selling huge quantities of thesis things, HOWEVER, I began to notice things.

First, HIC points and stasis grapplers sold tremendously well in Their dog reds. They barely hit the market before theywere snaffled up. I was puzzled Because the kill boards surely did not contain Sufficient destruction of these items to account for the volumes. I pondered Whether it was simply a case of traders moving stacks between Themselves in to endless cycle. But the truth wurde apparent When I checked what reprocessing examined items would yield in terms of minerals. Reprocessing them was worth considerably more than selling them! And They Said gun-mining what dead!

I soon had a script did Calculated the value of minerals from reprocessing vs Both buy and sell price of each item I possessed at Jita. For a few days I painstakingly separated my meta items into two stacks (reprocess and sell) but then I did Realised It took far too much work and ended up just reprocessing almost all T1 modules. Here is the result of a typical reprocessing run:

Reprocess all the things: 

Of course, this resulted in simply gigantic quantities of minerals. I Rapidly saturated the local market with locally-produced destroyers, cruisers and battlecruisers and had soon so dominated the battleship market. It was nowhere near enough lies! So I Looked at the next logical step: capital ships.

Unfortunately, capitals can not simply be built with minerals. You first need to build capital components. So I started buying and BPC, occasionally, BPOs When I spotted a cheap one. I therefore began buying carrier and dreadnought blueprints.

And so here we are. I currently have a Thanatos, Revelation and Moros in build and have enough components to build the next few. Of course, I also have enough minerals to build about another dozen of the wretched things and am now thinking about building Fortizars!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: First Capital Operation

Pandemic Horde had been fighting our Deklein neighbours, Darkness, on and off for a few hours. They eventually brought out their capitals and our leadership thought we should respond in kind. A ping went out to the capital group while I was a dozen jumps in the wrong direction, trying to terrorise locals in my Svipul. I had found a fight with a solo TEST Drake but he was cheating with a Rapid Light fit that nearly killed me. Of course I forgot to take my Blue Pill and didn’t have the right ammunition loaded, but by the time I had corrected these faults he was nowhere to be found. It is a pity - I would have liked a rematch.

Anyway, as I was saying, a ping went out. I docked at a friendly citadel and jumped to my clone in O1Y. At first, I was quite disappointed because shortly after that we were told that our capitals would not be required after all. So I hopped into an Osprey and joined the logi channel. However, a few minutes later a fresh call went out and I decided to abandon my logi bros and return to my Moros. I wanted to play with my capital ship, dammit!

I was soon sitting in the dreadnought, safely tethered on a Fortizar undock and awaiting instructions. The call came and we were soon on the field, watching 150 Hordelings pounding two Apostle Force Auxiliaries. These support capitals have enormous local tanks and the subcap fleet of Feroxes was not able to break them. That quickly changed with the arrival of the dreadnoughts.

I will describe how it went for those of you who have not done much capital fighting. First, we were told to “go siege green”. This meant that we were supposed to turn on our siege modules. Surprisingly, I had remembered to pack the Strontium Clathrates which the module uses as fuel. Siege modules greatly improve dreadnought local reps, damage and e-war resistance, basically turning a dread from a good battleship into a super DPS machine. The drawback of these modules, however, is that they disable all forms of propulsion, including jump drives. You are stuck there for 5 minutes.

We entered siege and turned our guns against the Apostles who quickly melted under the added fire-power. We were then told, rather urgently I thought, to go “siege red”, meaning that we needed to deactivate the siege modules so they did not automatically cycle again. We still had 2-3 minutes to wait before we could make our departure so we spent the time shooting the Darkness Proteus fleet which was dying at a positively alarming rate in the absence of their logi support. Of course, the dreadnought guns (not high angle) had practically zero chance of hitting the cruisers but killboards are killboards and it is nice to have a record of your deeds.

The urgency with which we were instructed to go “siege red” was prompted by the imminent arrival of a White Legion fleet. This would not be good news for any capitals who remained on the field. So we waited, not particularly patiently, for our siege cycles to end and our capacitors to get above 71%. Finally! Just as the first White Legion pilot entered the system I jumped to the out cyno who was safely tucked up next to the O1Y citadel. I even remembered isotopes for the jump drive!

Apostle 1:

Apostle 2:

On a side note, I have decided that the Moros is not the best ship for this sort of thing. It has good tracking but appallingly short range. I reckon it would probably work pretty well against big subcaps with the new high angle weapons but for hitting capitals I think I want a different dreadnought. Or maybe I just need to get T2 guns and Barrage and remember the optimal range script for my tracking computer.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Undocking for the win

I had just finished killing an Astero and Hound who were intent on doing mischief in the ratting pocket somewhat protected by my magnificent citadel. Unfortunately, a Pandemic Horde Svipul was untethered at the time and also died:




He wasn’t very happy about that so I sent him some ISK and put a thread up in the forums entitled, “Bubble traps and you, or, Don’t warp straight to the gate”. A ridiculously steady trickle of folk warp directly to the out gate and thereby visit the citadel. Which is fine as long as they are tethered and really bad news for them if they are not.

Shortly after this a ping went out for a fleet. I joined, feeling somewhat guilty over not having been out on a fleet for ages. I bought a Vexor Navy Issue from contract and we made our way to Saranen where a Goon Astrahus was patiently waiting to be killed. We landed below the citadel and our drones swarmed upward, enveloping it and taking chunks out of the shield. I occasionally received zero damage notifications which I guess meant we had reached the damage cap.

An Imperium fleet of Hurricanes kept warping in and out, trying (successfully in my case) to alpha poor, innocent VNIs off the field:


That was really embarrassing. I didn’t even have my hardeners on, although with that many people intent on seeing the colour of my blood I doubt it would have mattered. Gobbins had recently posted on the forum that VNI losses were now subject to SRP. Furthermore, somebody left their Geckos behind and I was able to pocket a couple in an interceptor that I hastily replaced my VNI with. I managed to get on eight Hurricane kills in addition to the Astrahus which, despite being unfit, died in a tremendously impressive manner. It first caught on fire, then there were some little bursts of flame, and then it exploded:


I think the explosion even killed some drones. That is good because an explosion that size SHOULD kill drones. I think it should also damage ships to be honest.

A little later I got bored and went looking for trouble in Svippy. I had just hit jump when I spotted the Omen who had cross jumped. By the time I had burned back to the gate he was already over a hundred kilometres from the gate. I aligned to an anomaly behind him and bounced off it back to the gate as fast as possible.

He was 30 km away. I overheated my 10mn afterburner and went for him. He walloped me a couple of times and I changed direction a little to increase transversal. I let him keep chipping away at me to keep him interested and was soon in scram range. I landed tackle before turning the repper on.

He was dying quite satisfactorily, already in low armour, when a corpie warped in on me and started helping. Oh well, I'm not greedy. To be honest, that was more of a rush than the Astrahus! I haven't just gone for a solo roam for quite a while.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Home Sweet Fortizar of DOOM!

I recall listening to SMA’s State of the Alliance update a few months before Citadel dropped. SMA was at its peak, proud of their achievements in Fade. They discussed their plans regarding citadels, indicating that they would build citadels in every system in Fade to provide the best infrastructure possible for their members.

And here we are a few months later. I bought a citadel and installed it in Fade! Not one of those plebeian little Astrahus ones (although I'm sure they have their place) but one of those large Fortizar ones.

A thread went up on the Pandemic Horde forums stating that members could now ‘adopt’ (read ‘donate’) a citadel. In return, you chose the fitting and where to place it. The fittings would be provided by the corp and, most importantly, so would the defence that would inevitably be required. Why, I decided, not? Sure, it'll get lost eventually but it will be an experience.

I looked at my wallet: 24B. I looked at the market: no Fortizars for sale. I looked at contracts: the cheapest Fortizar was 20B. So I bought it. (By the way, why are people putting them on contracts instead of on the market?)

It was installed a couple of days later, a thousand kilometres off the gate leading to the region’s ratting and mining constellation and in line with the only other gate in system. I had been very specific when stating my fitting requirements: “One of those nasty ones sitting on a stop bubble just off the gate with the smart bomb thing. Like the one that killed my alt last week. Bastards.” The Fortizar is magnificently named “Served by Zappity's Buyback” which is a not-so-subtle double entendre since a) it was funded entirely out of profits, and b) anyone who lands in the trap is going to get served good. It also happens to serve as an advertisement for the program but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

The first thing I killed was a Svipul that demonstrated a deplorable lack of caution by warping gate-to-gate. He landed in my bubble and tried in vain to burn away. I activated all the smart bombs (I think they are called Point Defense Whatsits) and the Svipul died! And then got podded! Ha! That'll learn him.



Most unfairly, I didn't get on the killmail even though I was controlling the structure. That really isn't on. CCPls fix.

Over the coming days, my magnificently placed bubble got on more kills, and the next time I was controlling the Fortizar I killed a couple of Goon bombers who were trying to catch up with their fleet. I haven't yet caught a whole enormous fleet like I really want to but my time will come.



Most of the time I am forced to gaze upon plagues of interceptors warping straight through the trap. I had my epiphany: anchored bubbles that are being entosed should stop interceptors. It's just logical because that way I would catch more people.

I also took my carrier out for the first time. It was a very boring POS bash but it was only one jump away and I had nothing else to do. Anyway, I really wanted something low pressure to get used to things. I realise that the correct ship for the job was my dread (awww, little Zappity is growing up so fast) but I had not yet brought up all the fittings. So I jumped my Nidhoggur to the cyno and went to town on the structure:


I managed to get the killing blow by saving one of the fighters’ rocket salvos for the last percent. I also learnt that when you cyno away and forget your fighters (honestly, what a noob) you cannot cyno back in and reconnect to them like you can drones. It is very annoying. Finally, you need ~70% cap to jump to a cyno, regardless of how much fuel you have. I did know about this but have never had that problem with my jump freighter since I am always jumping straight into a station. I need to carry a mobile depot and a refit.

It is all very exciting. But I still want to catch a whole fleet with my citadel and CRUSH them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Buyback War!

You, astute reader, will have noticed that I did not comment on the progress of the Buyback War in the last post. It was something of a disappointment, mainly because I was just too victorious. Maybe that has something to do with the north.

It goes without saying that I decided to go with the ‘crush them’ option. I raised my payout back up to 100% under a “Welcome to Fade” introductory offer. This was very good timing because the die hard UVHO folk (the ratting and mining deadend system in Querious) had finally been dislodged from their abode and were making their way up to Fade with heavy hearts. My magnificent rates were there to greet them! Win-win!

I dropped a few mobile depot adverts around the stations I operated out of. People kept killing them but the timers are long enough that this doesn't really matter. I charitably assumed that the destruction of these belongings was performed by Goons camping our system rather than disgruntled competitors. I made sure to turn over the contracts fast, clearing them in the morning and evening. And, finally, I was polite and helpful to people who were having difficulties, even on the rare occasion that their difficulties were not caused by me buggering up.

Eventually, this buggering up became a bit of a problem. I was getting about a hundred contracts a day, and the manual processing was becoming too much and quite error-prone. I lost count of the times I had to beg people to return ISK I had mistakenly sent. I also occasionally messed up and sent people too little ISK, especially when they submitted multiple contracts at the same time.

The final straw came when I did a batch of contracts in which were significantly undervalued. There was a temporary problem with the site in which some modules incorrectly registered zero buy value. ( is a really great site and fantastic service for the community btw but I felt really bad in consequence.)

Now, please feel free to skip the next paragraph because I am go to explain how my scripts work. This is primarily because it took me ages to get them right and I am very proud of the outcome if not the execution. I program metabolic pathways instead of scripts for a job and am therefore bad at this sort of thing.

First, I pulled Zappity's contracts from the API, selected the ones which were assigned to her, rather than buy her, and flagged the ones which were evilly located at non-buyback locations, even though I often take them anyway. The script then pulled the items from each individual contract and built a list of items that hadn't had their prices updated in my local database in a while. The prices, once updated at the fantastic, were then used to calculate the value of the entire contract and report a breakdown of each item with Jita buy and sell prices, total buy and sell value, and adjusted price according to my current buyback rate. It also flagged whether there was a price already included in the contract (very infrequent) and, if so, whether it was reasonably appropriate in terms of magnitude.

This made things a lot easier. I now scrolled down the page which displayed the items in each contract with flags if an abnormal price appeared, pasted the adjusted amount into the Send Money box, accepted the contract and moved onto the next one. The only drawback is that I didn't have an link to paste into the description. But the values are very close and nobody has complained yet.

The success of my campaign did lead to a bit of a problem, however. I had started accepting ore and minerals and now had an enormous and very difficult to move stockpile!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: How I made my ISK

I have been asked about how I made my ISK and, being of a naturally sunny disposition, I will now explain. My current position: 137,986m assets (Jita sell price) 22,000m liquid ISK 59,000m active sell orders (Jita sell price) 3,000m 10/20 BPOs (unresearched value) Total: 222B ISK. Depressingly, I am not even wealthy. Still, I have enough ISK to do whatever I wish (within reason) and that's almost good enough for me. I was asked whether I was an ‘old player’, having accumulated assets over time. The answer is somewhat subjective so I will simply state that Zappity was created in early 2013 and that my market activities began at about the same time. Region trading (the act of buying in one region and moving the goods to another location before selling) made me my first few billion. I moved faction ammunition between Jita and the other hubs, predominantly Amarr and Dodixie. This triggered my first foray into spreadsheets, using Google Sheets to pull volume data for the ammunition I was interested in, highlighting good buy opportunities when they were a certain percentage below the other hubs. The main limitation here was that I did not have the capital to do spread across buy orders and, instead, bought straight from sell orders. That cut into my profits and, more importantly, meant that I had to actively update sell orders because I needed to recoup much margin as possible. This 0.01 ISKing lasted about a fortnight before I burned out. I decided that I needed a better plan. I took my hard earned billions into invention and T2 production. I put up a medium tower a few jumps out of Jita and made Expanded Cargoholds, Nanofibers, Damage Controls, Inertial Stabs plus a few other things I can’t remember. I would check the market prices and commence runs on whatever would be most profitable that particular week. I bought all the minerals from Jita and freighted them out myself. It was quite profitable but also quite tedious. It earned me a few billion more ISK before I exited just prior to the Crius changes. At this point, I had about 6B ISK and roughly doubled it by cheating and buying an additional 6B worth of plex. This allowed me to establish a good array of low-price buy orders after training Margin Trading to V on my trading alt. I pulled sales volumes from and selected the 300 highest (in terms of ISK) T2 items being sold. At this point I transitioned from Google Sheets to my own PHP scripts plus MySQL database. My scripts reported the item list and altered me when either my buy orders or inventory were getting low. This allowed me to see at a glance whether anything required attention, especially buy orders that had been filled and needed replacing. There was a continual balance between trying to keep individual orders small enough that I could service the payouts but large enough that I didn't need to continually replace the orders. At this point I was turning over about 1-2B each day in Jita (more on the weekends, less mid-week) with roughly 10% profit. I managed a reasonable turnover because I bought at Jita plus a three jump range, relying on public courier contracts to move stuff back to base for me. Three jumps around Jita does not include any lowsec systems but does cover a lot of producers, some of which are happy to save the travel and sell directly to a buy order. I paid couriers about 0.1% reward with 150% collateral, meaning that I paid 20k reward to transport 20m goods back to Jita at a 30m collateral. I wrote a script to report the current worth of assets in The Forge, sorted by station value, along with the collateral and reward required for each station. This was easy. I added replacement market orders every day or two, I never updated sell orders, and I still made a reasonable profit. This continued until I had accrued about 50B. The next major breakthrough occurred when I went POS hunting. I made another 50B with about a month of intensive POS scanning and war declarations. But it was too tiring to maintain and I felt bad for the poor fools I was stripping bare. 100B ISK was a major milestone. At this point I decided that a change of tactics was required. It was becoming increasingly difficult to spend all my ISK on buy orders so I diversified my items and bought a jump freighter. I toyed with lowsec for a while but soon concluded that sov nullsec was the place to be. I began stocking an alliance staging system and was soon turning over about 2-3B per day with 20% profit. Much better! And that brings us up to the present day. Well, almost. It brings us up to the buyback program which is another story altogether.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Buyback program magnificence

I started a corp buyback program. It is magnificent. And, fittingly, it is called ‘Zappity's Magnificent Buyback Program’. Now that I write it out, I must admit that the title isn't quite as imaginative as I imagined when I thought it up. Still, it gets the point across.

Why am I telling you about this? Well, I have been travelling a LOT lately for work. I can sadly report that the Pacific Ocean is of precisely the same immensity as it has previously been and I wish they would introduce a new and even faster Concorde with an Australia-US leg and also teleportation. Actually, just teleportation would be adequate.

Before I was distracted I was about to say that I have not been much in the mood for PvP. This isn't all bad because I do not like to pretend that PvP is the only thing that I find interesting in EVE. So here is an adventure about breaking into a new market activity.

It was not at all planned. I was messing about in Jita when a ping went out about a change to corporation policy. Apparently, the powers that be had decided to change the corp buyback rate from 90% of Jita buy via to 70%. This was purportedly to make room for independent marketeers to move into the space and take over but I think it is just because Gobbins is tight.

I looked at my trading corp wallet and saw lots of ISK and thought, “Hey, I could do that”. So I posted in the thread, “Gobbins is tight and is only paying out 70%. I'll do 90%.” And the contracts started rolling in. I didn't want anything too bulky so I initially excluded ore and minerals and PI (which scares me because I don't understand it) but after about a week I had paid out 10B.

Which was far too long in my opinion.

I took a careful look at the forums. There were buyback programs everywhere! This was just unacceptable. If I was going to bother with this thing then I was obviously going to have to crush them all.

I pondered my options. I pondered that I had a reasonably-sized 12-digit war chest, having liquidated a fair chunk of my trading items prior to the release of citadels and the price crash as a consequence of the inevitable liquidity squeeze. I pondered that I could probably manage for a while paying even 100% of the Jita buy price, admittedly with a sadly diminished profit margin. And I pondered that it was easier to retain customers than it was to get new ones.

So I posted that I was now accepting 100% of Jita buyback in Fade. Even more contracts started rolling in! Ha! After a week or so, I dropped the price back to 92%, confident that the general magnificence of the program, the higher payout, and the relatively rapid turnaround that I was managing would encourage people to hang around. I decided to ignore the Querious stations because they were just too far away. And because I was lazy.

Next, however, news went out that Pandemic Horde was moving into Fade properly and, subsequently, abandoning Querious. The corp program was paying 80% on everything. Hmm.

I added Querious to my program at 92% and bought another jump freighter in Amarr. I was still excluding really bulky cheap stuff (PI, ice etc) and was soon unfortunately forced to add non-faction T1 ships to the list. I thought a lot about ‘ISK density’, the curse of jump freighter pilots everywhere. But even excluding these items, I had soon paid out over 150B in Querious and needed to move some of it to Amarr.

I don't like jump fatigue for jump freighters. CCP supposedly likes to support ‘gameplay enablers’. I don't feel particularly supported to be honest. Jump fatigue is awful and frustrating. I understand the point of it - I even understand the need for it - but I don't like the way it feels, especially for a non-combat ship.

Things eventually calmed down in Querious and I was able to turn my attention back to Fade. My main competitor was now offering 93%! Disgraceful! Just the sort of shabby trick you'd expect them to play while I was busy. You just can't trust some people.

In addition to having a troublesome competitor, I had decided expand into ore and minerals. (I have a lot of blueprints, some admittedly more nefariously acquired that others, so I might as well do something useful with them.)

I faced a decision. Should I accept the presence of my feeble, so called competitors? Or should I CRUSH THEM!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: A capital idea

Capital ship changes had come to EVE. The fact that there were changes would have undoubtedly been more relevant had I actually flown capital ships beforehand. But nevertheless, the changes incited me to action and I decided to investigate.

I had been quietly preparing for a move into capital ships for some time. I had already trained up Jump Drive Calibration (the one that increases the range at which you can jump to a cyno) to V along with a pack of support skills and was ready to choose which ship to fly. Of course, I couldn't decide (or, more accurately, I sequentially decided upon most of them) and ended up injecting a whole bunch of skill books. I'm sure they'll come in useful some time.

I was initially most interested in dreadnoughts, imagining that I could fit a Moros (the Gallente one) like a gigantic Incursus and go roaming, swatting my feeble enemies out of the sky like mere flies. To be honest, a solo dreadnought roam is practically inevitable and you will no doubt have a good chuckle at my quite literal expense before long.

But before these dreams of magnificence could be realised, a ping went out to the Pandemic Horde capitals channel (yes, there is such a thing) for carrier practice on Singularity. I logged in.

A fit of dubious quality was linked and I soon found myself undocking a shiny new Nidhoggur. To be honest I didn't really care about the fit - I just wanted to see what the new fighter mechanics were like. But I did notice an interesting new high slot module called the “Networked Sensor Array” which, when activated, greatly increased the carrier’s lock speed.

However, the ability to quickly lock something is not tremendously useful if you do not know how to kill it. I looked intently at my Fighter Bay window, a new variant of the old Drone Bay which looks very fancy. Having successfully remembered to buy some fighters before I undocked, I figured that the first thing I needed to do was drag a bunch of them into the launch tubes. This was pretty straightforward and I was soon dragging stacks of fighters into the appropriate part of the window. They loaded. Success!

Fighters, however, are of limited value while stuck in the launch tube. I figured that the next step was to send them forth to do my evil bidding. There were some nice, big arrows on the launch tubes and, sure enough, my fighters were soon circling my ship. Now, go kill something!

“Stupid fighters”, I thought. “Obviously bugged.” For there is was, hitting ‘F’ as hard as any seasoned drone warrior could hit it, all to no avail. My fighters were stubbornly orbiting my ship instead of going forth to conquer. I examined the interface more closely, just on the slim chance that I was doing something wrong. Ah, the fighter squadrons each had their own little module buttons!

I selected my target, then clicked the fairly obvious ‘go kill it’ button on the first squadron. It went! The squadron also had a ‘go fast’ button which activated a MWD and a particularly interesting ‘kill it faster’ button which unleashed one of a limited salvo of rockets, greatly increasing the damage.

As it transpired, there were three main fighter categories. First, the standard ‘light’ damage fighters have an MWD, a normal damage module, and a limited number of ‘alpha strike’ charges. These worked tremendously well against sub-capitals and, in quantity, against other capitals. Next, there was an anti-fighter class which was designed almost solely to kill other fighters, having an enormous damage buff for this purpose. These ones also had a tackle button to slow down enemy squadrons. Finally, there was a utility class which, depending upon race, would web, jam, point or neut enemy ships.

After playing around for an hour I was marginally less terrible at operating my fighters and decided that the only logical thing to do was to take a carrier on a solo roam of Providence! Unfortunately, the patch had only just dropped and the marketeers were asking the most exorbitant prices imaginable. Disgraceful. And there weren't even any Networked Sensor Arrays available. I was disappointed. But my time will come!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Sudden curiosity regarding shipment value

I had finally bitten the proverbial bullet and decided to do a few jump freighter runs out to Fade. I had been a bit slack on the market activities and my stockpile in Jita had built up considerably as a result of the slow buy orders by which I typically stock up. I had also started a buyback service to help our newer players out in Fade staging system and had lots of stuff waiting for transport back to Jita. So I filled the Anshar and made my way out to the edge of empire for the final jump to O1Y-ED.

Zappity’s partner in crime undocked from O1Y and made her way over to the cyno bookmark while I undocked the Anshar. Just as I clicked to light the cyno the station disappeared from the screen. It seemed like an odd visual glitch but I ignored it, already absorbed in my routine to jump to the cyno on the main screen. But I sure paid attention when my Anshar appeared 50 km from the station undock. Someone playing silly buggers with a command destroyer had jumped my cyno ship away from the station!

I still had an out-cyno lit on the other screen but had a jump fatigue delay of roughly a minute. The numerous ships on grid were all theoretically friendly since my trading corp was blue to Pandemic Horde. But everybody knows that Pandemic Horde is filled with spies and there were plenty of reds in system regardless.

I watched carefully, waiting to see whether anyone was approaching. I aligned to a celestial on the other side of the solar system, just in case I needed to warp away before the fatigue timer had cleared. While I was waiting I checked my cargo, suddenly curious about the value of my load: 17 billion worth of assorted ships and modules, plus the jump freighter, totalled an uncomfortably high 24 billion ISK on the line.

An interceptor suddenly appeared on grid, 50 km away. I still had 30 seconds to go on the timer. He began burning at me. I hit warp, thankful for once that freighters had a slow warp speed and even more thankful that I was already aligned. I warped to the celestial at 50 km, cursing myself for not having shared Zappity’s safe spots with the trading corp. By the time I was slowing out of warp the timer had expired. The interceptor was already at the celestial but, luckily, it was at zero. I was hovering over ‘Jump To’ and clicked as soon as I dropped out of warp.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Winning the propaganda war

I was flying a Sabre, accompanying  a Thrasher roam into Deklein. SMA had just been burned out of Fade and Pandemic Horde had decided to use the O1Y-ED as our staging system. Only a couple of days before we had been camping this system, tormenting the locals.

We found a Chimera, ratting in a system. Deklein was still chock full of ratters despite the ongoing destruction of their empire. But this worked well for us because we wanted to hunt them! The FC herded our fleet of Thrashers while I concentrated on keeping the Chimera bubbled. This was pretty fun. I dropped the first bubble and darted out while he targeted me. I then burned away and dropped a bookmark at warp range. Every minute or so I jumped back and dropped another bubble on top of him.

Unfortunately, our fleet was not large enough to kill him. But we did kill a lot of drones, including eight Geckos! It was good practice for the newer players in their Thrashers, not to mention me in my Sabre. Eventually, we decided that it was time to depart so we continued to the next constellation where we killed a bunch of stuff.

Vexor Navy Issue:

I suspect this sort of thing will only increase in the coming weeks.

Of course, kicking the Imperium out of their space isn’t all fun and games. A ping went out for an entosis fleet and I dutifully joined, having nothing better to do at the time. After the first hour we had taken a couple of I-Hubs and TCUs, as well as a station or two. Our fleet was divided into an entosis group, who were distributed across the constellation, and a defence group, who were camping the constellation entrance. The defence fleet was probably even more bored that the entosing fleet since there was a noticeable absence of enemies. So we started playing a game.

Every time a neutral entered the system they were tackled and interrogated. Many of our captors were unwilling to play along and simply forced us to kill them. (It may also have had something to do with the fact that many of our fleet seemed to have trouble with the concept of non-violent interaction.) But we found one interesting case.

A Merlin jumped into system. He was in a highsec corp and had a decidedly high sec oriented killboard. We politely enquired as to the purpose of his visit and were told that he had read about the war against the Imperium and wanted to help. Sure enough, he had an entosis link fit and wanted to do something nasty to their stuff. That was pretty much as far as he had got in terms of tactical thinking but it was good enough for us. He accepted our invite to fleet and helped us defend the system while the clocks ticked!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Logi time!

It was time for some fleet action. I have discovered logistics. Not the ‘hauling stuff about’ variety, which I was already far too familiar with, but the ‘repairing other ships’ variety. I am still confused as to why CCP thought this was a good name for the class since the proper usage of the word is hardly rare. But regardless of the nomenclature, I have discovered the role and I quite like it.

The problem with large fleet fights is that they are boring. The FC does a huge amount of management (usually with a second account), the tackle and niche roles (command destroyers, webbers etc) do varying amounts (but these are by definition not numerous) and the DPS does absolutely bugger all. It is terrible. You wait for the target to appear in the fleet window, lock it and hit F1. Occasionally you might reload but that's about it.

I really do understand CCP Larrikin’s desire to change fleet mechanics to make individual members more involved.

And then, after hearing constant calls for logi (“we need more logi” is a most common refrain heard prior to unlocking), I finally trained Logistic Cruisers and Logistics Frigates to V and took my first Oneiros out for a fight. It was magnificent. I was locking things up left, right and centre, juggling targets and reps as the frantic demands for armour appeared. I was managing capacitor and heat (we were only just holding). I had to carefully manage my prop mod to keep range but not destroy my meagre cap reserve. I had to time the armour repper cycles correctly to ensure that the cycles ended in time. And, finally, I had to die when I was micro-jumped away from the fleet into an angry nest of interceptors. Oh well.

More recently, I took a Scalpel on a destroyer roam into Imperium space. This little ship has a tiny 5 m3 drone bay into which the conscientious pilot will slot an armor repair drone and the selfish pilot will slot a DPS drone. I fall into the latter category and thus took a Warrior II, solely for the purpose of recording my conquests on the killboard.

We left from Okagaiken and easily evaded a Caracal fleet in Saranen, the Imperium staging system. We were soon winging our way through Pure Blind and, eventually, into SMA space in Fade to torment the locals as they evacuated. There were freighters going everywhere. It was amazing. But we concentrated on the carriers and Hurricanes sitting upon the undock. Unfortunately, they refused to fight. We eventually got bored and, getting wind of a ruckus in Deklein, we quickly made our way up the map.

Allies had managed to bubble three Marauders 70 km from the station. They died so quickly that my promiscuous little drone barely had time to contribute damage! Flying logistics was a complete waste of time on this fleet because nobody needed reps.

Paladin #1:

Paladin #2:

Paladin #3:

We successfully extricated ourselves from the system without any friendly fire incidents (not an easy feat with not-blue-blues and a bunch of noobs) and were soon heading back towards Okagaiken via Fade, happy with our shiny kills. For some reason, there was a lot of singing on comms.

P.S. CCPls give killmails for logi somehow now that I have started flying them.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Hype in Provi

I decided to take my Hyperion to new stomping grounds in Provi! What could possibly go wrong? Actually, I just bought another in Amarr because I didn't want to fly a battleship all the way across the galaxy. Not that undocking from Amarr in a battleship was particularly safe when under wardec from practically everyone. But it was certainly faster.

I made it safely to the quiet lowsec pocket from which Misaba enters Providence just before downtime. Dotlan confirmed my half-remembered fears that practically all the stations in the pocket were those nasty little Amarr kick out stations of SFI-killing fame (see last week). I decided that logging off in a safe spot was better.

The next day saw me hop cheerfully into Provi. And yes, I had a scout. I really should have taken a booster since the rep bonuses are obscene. There was an Apocalypse on scan! I searched the nearby anomalies with d-scan and became confused when I ruled out the last one. Unfortunately, the battleship pilot had decided to skulk in his POS.

I knew that I had been spotted and that the exciting news of a roaming battleship, probably somewhat shiny, would have appeared in intel.

Two systems later I found an Interceptor gang. A bunch of them landed on my gate just as I was entering warp for the outbound but they immediately turned around and arrived at my destination before me. I landed in the middle of them and started aligning back to the other gate. Needless to say, they tackled me.

I checked the ranges and targeted a bunch of nearby ships. The grappler was magnificent while they were close but rapidly fell off in terms of effectiveness. I didn't want to change my alignment and they were all able to escape from scram range as they entered hull.

Once I had cleared away the scram tacklers I activated my MJD (I learned, see?) and was 100 km away in the blink of an eye. They chased! I targeted them at range and managed to get a few solid hits on the frigates who were unwisely approaching at zero transversal. But, again, I didn't manage to kill any of them. It was very disappointing.

I soon got bored with their orbiting and warped to the next system where I met a second frigate gang. As it transpired, the two gangs were not on friendly terms and were having a scuffle. The Provi side concentrated on killing the other fleet, while the intruders split their efforts between Provi and myself. I, of course, was oblivious to all of that and opened fire upon all who dared stray into scram range.

After a while it became clear that no more ships were going to come close enough for me to do damage. So I activated my MJD again and warped to a safe spot. The out gate was bubbled so I launched a mobile depot and cloaked up, disappointed that I hadn't killed anything. But I was also satisfied that I hadn't died!

I think Provi should bring a cruiser gang next time. That would be better, I think. They really should be more considerate toward their guests.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Propping up the Scythe Fleet Issue market

I decided to have a go at the Scythe Fleet Issue. I heard a streamer, Zarvox, describing it on a podcast (possibly Jeffraider’s one on Crossing Zebras) as a good ship to fight small gangs in. I had a look at it and decided he was right. It is fast, has a good align time and does nice brawling damage, which is my favourite.

I won't paste the fit here. There are plenty of zkillboard links for you to follow below. Ahem.

I was up near the top of the Cal/Gal zone and decided to do a tour of Imperium space. I headed into Cloud Ring (empty), and then did the loop all the way across Fade to the Pure Blind entry. I saw six SMA people during the entire trip, none of which wanted a fight. But surely Pure Blind would be better!

I wandered about the NPC constellation for a while and then did the big loop on the east of Pure Blind plus the TNT constellation up above it. I saw another half dozen pilots but, again, none wanted to fight. I then got fed up with the Imperium and decided to go to Provi instead.

Provi is a long way from Pure Blind, especially when you avoid highsec. But I had barely made it back into the Cal/Gal zone when I had a scuffle with a Svipul. I aggressed him on a gate (he was flashy) and we fought. The idea with the SFI is that you pull a little range on the tackled ship with your afterburner, allowing you to hit them hard with the medium autocannons. So that is what I did, and I started hitting him pretty hard indeed. He was in low shield when the other two Svipuls in his gang, which I didn’t know about, jumped through the gate and killed me.

Sigh. SFI#1:

Still, plenty more where that came from. Although now that I think about it, I don’t exactly know where they come from. Presumably something to do with loyalty points but I’m not really sure. And as long as people keep putting them up on the market I am quite content with the situation.

Anyway, as I was saying I hopped into another SFI and continued on my journey. This time I almost made it to Providence. I had become bored with the journey, especially since I was traversing a stretch of highsec, and had opened up Project Discovery. I was figuring out a particularly interesting photo involving focal adhesions when my ship started making noise. Customs agents! Well that’s alright, I’ll just warp away. Except now they have me scrammed because I wasn’t fast enough. But that doesn’t matter because I can crash the gate. Except that my ship won’t move because they have disabled that, too.

Sigh. SFI#2 lost. How embarrassing. I don’t like the mechanics around drugs. They can’t be contracted easily and I get irritated every time I have to interact with NPCs. Why can’t it be players doing border control? Humph. Stupid customs agents.

Anyway, I did my bit to deplete the Amarr SFI inventory and was soon winging my way back towards Providence. I docked up in Misaba, just before the entry system, to fix a module I had inexplicably overheated and was again distracted by Project Discovery (it is a plot I tell you) as I undocked. It was, naturally, a kick-out station:


I’m so bad at this.

The Amarr stockpile was soon minus another SFI and I was winging my way back to Providence. I can get stubborn that way. You may have noticed. This time, I actually made it in! It had been quite a journey. Of course, after just a few gates I came across a Brutix Navy Issue sitting upon a gate. It was a thoroughly unsuitable fight so, of course, I took it and promptly died. It was a really terrible performance.


Oh boy. Surely, I thought, SFI#5 would fare better. A Crow, sitting upon a gate deep in Provi, decided to yellow-box me. So I killed him. That was about as detailed as the description gets, unfortunately, since it was over too quickly to explore the ship’s capabilities.


I continued roaming until a found a stray Scythe Fleet Issue (fancy that!), sitting at a mining anomaly. That puzzled me mightily so I did the only sensible thing: I warped in and tackled him. Now, I have learned that obvious bait in Providence is very likely obvious bait. So it proved in this case. My opponent’s SFI was shield buffer fit but I had managed to chew him down to low shield before his friends landed on top of me. Four charges remained in my shield booster.

The Caracal had a long point but relatively anaemic damage. The Devoter had a nasty bubble. I overheated my afterburner and started to pull range on the SFI’s scram, earnestly desiring to warp away and avoid Embarrassment Number Five. Luckily, the other SFI did not appear to be dual-prop and I was soon outside of scram range. However, I was now capped out and couldn’t start my MWD! I turned everything off and frantically clicked the button. It activated! I pulled range from the Caracal and aligned to an asteroid belt.

In retrospect, I don’t understand why I was not also scrammed by the Devoter’s long reach. Perhaps it wasn’t fit with one, or perhaps I was simply out of range by then. I should have been recording.

Anyway, it was at this point that I made my mistake. The Provi pilots wanted blood and the SFI was pursuing me for all his worth, rapidly outpacing his friends. I should have turned around and killed him! I could have done so! But instead I warped away to shameful safety, full of red modules.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: A bait or not a bait?

I was contentedly playing around with Project Discovery whilst sitting upon a titan, waiting to drop on something or other. This takes a long time and is very boring. It is my firm belief that CCP added Discovery purely as a buff to such fleets.

Anyway, a new pilot jumped into system. He was one of the baddies and he was in a Chimera, a carrier, just one jump out of our staging system.

Obvious bait. Obvious even to me. And it became even more obvious when he jumped next door and warped to the station in order to sit on the undock.But we warped to him anyway because we were bored.

I expected a cyno to light any moment, with a counter fleet appearing and killing us all dead. Instead, our intrepid fleet quickly bumped him off the undock and started killing him. Zappity contributed magnificently with her Warriors (alas, the Scimitar doesn't really have room for guns) and even Zappity's cousin from marketing, who had originally joined Pandemic Horde to see what all the fuss was about, unleashed some torpedos.

The carrier went into triage and the damage slowed down, just as a Dominix landed on grid. Here, surely, was the missing cyno of doom! Alas for the carrier, it was not to be. Despite having a cyno plus fuel the battleship died before it proved to be of much assistance.


The carrier soon exited triage and rapidly dipped into armour and then hull. He exploded very nicely indeed.


The next time I logged in I took a Hyperion out. I wanted to test the new webby thing so I fitted up a magnificently repping beast of a battleship and took it out for a spin. A brave little Thorax soon took the bait which was dangling innocently in a large plex. I slapped both webs on him and he simply melted when I pulled a few kilometres range.


I understood his motivation entirely. I have taken similar fights - some you win, some you lose. He took his loss cheerfully and I was soon making my way further down the chain.

A Stiletto waited long enough on a gate for me to lock him up and wallop him with my blasters. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to alpha him and he jumped through in low shields. Even more unfortunately, two Barghest battleships replaced him!

Now, I was cruising for a fight but must admit that I was thinking more along the lines of a small cruiser gang, or perhaps a few battlecruisers. I was not thinking of two pirate battleships. But it was a bit late for all that, them having locked me up good.

I knew I wouldn't be able to kill them (probably not even one of them) so I put the repper on and waited patiently on the gate for my weapons timer to disappear.

The nasty little interceptor had been watching, however, and followed me through the gate. He pointed me before I could warp away so I decided that it needed killing. I sent my warriors after him and slowed him down a bit with the grappler. But I wasn't hitting him hard enough and just before he died his mates jumped through.

I tried to launch my mobile jump whatsit but was too close to the gate. While the Barghests were finishing me off I thought that perhaps I need to rethink my fit and switch the afterburner for a micro jump drive. But then I'd lose any semblance of active range control.

Sigh. Decisions.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Embarrassing lowsec losses

I have had some very embarrassing losses back in lowsec. I am badly out of practice.

First, I decided to try out a Gnosis which, for some strange reason, I found in a hangar in Ishomilken. I tried to pick a fight with a frigate gang (they all ran away), several solo T3Ds (they also all ran away) and a station-hugging Abaddon which made me long for my little command dessie. In the end, I got into a fight with a Vexor Navy Issue who killed me dead. It wasn’t even close:


I never managed to get around to tidying up all the good stuff I had in my lowsec home so I was able to rapidly reship into a Firetail. Which I equally rapidly lost to a couple of T1 frigates. I totally messed up my range control and my relatively meagre tank was quickly overwhelmed:


I continued my streak of solo magnificence (Zappity style) when I fought a Comet in another Firetail, this time a dual web variant. Honestly, there’s just a ridiculous number of ships just begging to be exploded in this hangar. Now, I know for a fact that a well-flown Firetail can get under the guns of a rail Comet and give him a nasty surprise. Oh yes, a well-flown Firetail can do that alright. However, a Firetail that is told to target, orbit and shoot at the plex beacon instead of the Comet doesn't tend to do quite so well. I kept getting a popup asking me if I wanted to proceed with a ‘potentially dangerous action’ and by the time I realised what was wrong I was already dead:


Another Comet was soon found. This time, I was determined to do things properly. I warped into the plex and was surprised to see the Comet a good way off, moving at MWD speed. He pointed me immediately and sent his drones out.

The aforementioned specimens were already chewing into my armour when I began managing my afterburner cycles and direction for a slingshot. I aligned toward the back of his orbit and hit the afterburner. Sure enough, his orbit flung him out a little too far and his point dropped.

But I wasn't looking to escape. No sir! I reversed my course, trying to time it with the end of an afterburner cycle, and was soon zooming towards him. The distance between us narrowed but at a declining rate as he began to correct his orbit to maintain range. I overheated and hit him with my webs, just managing to snag him with my scram before he escaped. Ha! It was soon over, his kite-scrubbing Comet no match for the Firetail:


All of this, however, begs the question about what I am doing back in lowsec. Well, I just haven't had the time to do justice to nullsec recently. This is only going to get worse in the not too distant future with an upcoming lengthy trip of a sabbatical-like nature during which I will be confined to my laptop. So I think it is time to head back to lowsec. Now I just need to find a corp with some AU timezone coverage. I think I might have a go at faction warfare.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Outsmarting a ratter

I logged back into Provi-owned Catch. It was just before downtime and very quiet. I was peacefully making my way toward more comfortable territory when I stumbled upon a Deimos, sitting on a station. I couldn’t allow it to just sit there, cluttering up d-scan, could I?

This was a fight I wasn’t at all sure about. I knew that the Deimos can have obnoxious repping power and I wasn’t sure that two medium neuts would adequately counter the inevitable cap booster. But I fought him anyway.

I decloaked 20 km from him and started burning away, wanting to pull him off the docking ring. He chased at MWD speed and soon caught up, well outside the safe zone. I turned around and went into a tight orbit, applying scram, webs and neuts. His shield evaporated almost immediately and his armour was also soon depleted. Sure enough, he immediately repped back to full, several times. And then he hit hull. The neuts were evidently starting to hurt and it wasn’t long before he exploded in a most satisfying manner. Ha!


A little while later I spied an Exequror and Megathron sitting in an anomaly. I warped to the site and landed just in time to see them warp away, abandoning their MTU. Aha! I bookmarked it, left the system and loitered on the gate for a couple of minutes. I then jumped back into system and warped, cloaked, to the MTU at 10 km.

Sigh, no battleship. But he was on short dscan! I was soon rewarded with the beautiful, musical tones of a ship landing on grid. Megathron! I decloaked and tackled him. He did not like it.

His tank was pretty tough and I was only about a quarter of the way through his armour when the Exequror landed. He instantly repped the battleship back up to full armour. I was already worried about how long it would take to kill the battleship (there was probably some help on the way) so I switched to the cruiser and killed him instead:


Could have been worse. The pilot was not pleased about losing his ship and I received notification of a 10m ISK bounty being placed upon my unworthy head while I was repairing my armour. I thanked him for his generosity in local before moving on.

A couple of systems later I noticed that I had picked up a shadow in the form of a Falcon. Doubtless my Exequror exploits had attracted some attention and a defence fleet was brewing. I turned around and went the other way.

I was soon sitting a few kilometres away from a gate, watching a Vexor Navy Issue. He was waiting for something. Probably me. I decloaked and he instantly dropped drones, aggressing without hesitation. At this point I was almost certain it was bait. However, I wanted to kill him.

This is a common dilemma which I inevitably resolve by betting on stupid. This time, it didn't work out so well. Not for me, anyway.

The VNI had a strong tank but I was steadily chewing through it when I saw a couple of new people enter local. What I should have done at this point was use my superior range control (double webs) to pull away from the VNI’s scram and get myself aligned to a celestial. But I wanted to kill him, and therefore stayed close enough to apply my blaster DPS. Fatal error!

Honestly, the size fleet that descended upon me was ridiculously out of proportion to the threat. I had a good chuckle, and suggested that they should wait because perhaps there were not enough of them yet:



I gave them a gf while waiting to be podded. They all returned it, except for the pilot of Exequror fame. I guess he was still a little miffed. But he did say hello the next day when I returned in a Phantasm!

Good fight, Provi.

Zappity's Adventures: Trading and the importance of item selection

I have been pretty busy lately, logging in mostly for trading. But even this became a bit much a bit much and I decided it was time to take a close look at what was taking up time.

I trade almost exclusively in T2 modules, T2 ships and pirate ships. This gets expensive because I like to keep each station well-stocked to reduce jump freighter runs and this had resulted in the accumulation of lots of inventory items.

Both stations I trade in had roughly 30b on the market plus roughly the same stocked in the station, waiting to be listed when the order was depleted. Inevitably, all my stuff will be trapped in a station one day and I will have to resort to a slow sell. Such is life until citadels arrive and then all my loot will be transported to an NPC station at the cost of a release fee. I don't know which is preferable to be honest. But it will be fun.

But to get back to the matter at hand, I decided it was time to assess my items. I keep a database of all transactions so I was able to write a simple script to calculate the income from each item over the last three months. Here is a chart showing the income distribution of the 370 items I have been trading recently:

Clearly, there are some winning and some losing items. Some simple statistics:

                 Item #  Sum               % of Total
Total            370     170,799,996,434   100%
1st Quartile     93      167,690,548,430   98%
Median           185     155,938,328,213   91%
3rd Quartile     276     128,339,927,851   75%

It is pretty straightforward. I sold 170b of items, ‘1st Quartile’ just means the bottom 25% of items (sorted by income yielded by that item), ‘Median’ is the halfway mark, and ‘3rd Quartile is the 75% mark.

The sum column is interesting. This is the total of all sales ABOVE the cutoff, meaning that if I had not traded the items below the cut-off at all, this is the income I would still have derived. The last column shows this as a percentage of the total. What this means is that I can delete the bottom quartile (93 items) from my inventory and suffer only ~2% lost revenue. Similarly, I can delete half my inventory for ~9% lost revenue. And, as it turns out, free up about 20b by selling items I no longer need to inventory.

Cool. Let’s do that.

So what, I hear you ask, are the best items? Well because I am a meanie I am not going to tell you that. However, I AM going to tell you what the worst items are. Bear in mind that these are from a sov null perspective. Lowsec, or even a different type of alliance, would no doubt be different. Still, there were a few surprises for me.

Lower median items:

Ironically, it will no doubt take a lot of effort to sort everything out and move the excess, non-traded items back to Jita!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: A warm Provi welcome

Provi, as usual, turned out to welcome my humble Stratios. Half a dozen jumps into their territory I came up against a Drake and a Svipul sitting upon a gate. Innocent Scout informed me of a Cormorant and Sabre in the next system, although they were not on the gate.

I warped to the Svipul and Drake, decloaking on the way in. I was hoping to split them by aggression but the Drake took pre-emptive action and jumped through of his own accord. I tackled the Svipul.

He was no doubt frantically calling for his mate's return and had no intention of escaping. Soon, it was too late. I double webbed and neuted him good while my drones went to work. I made a mistake in launching heavy drones instead of mediums but they started to do a good enough job.

I was dismayed to see the Svipul rep back to full shield. And then even more dismayed to see him do it a second time. I kept cool(ish) and kept the neut pressure on. Sure enough, he soon dipped into armour and then hull. The Svipul died just as the Drake reappeared.


I was thinking of tackling him, too, but then the gate flashed and I decided that the wisest course was to bravely run away to the anomaly I was already aligned to.

I gave a gf in local and then petitioned them to look after my Berserkers, especially Fred who had been a faithful old drone. They had a chuckle at that and rewarded me with a small bounty.

I settled in at a safe spot with a mobile depot. I think of this as a temporary camp site where I can lick my wounds (with a temporary armour repper) while mashing d-scan for probes. This time I made a mistake and, instead of pulling off a drone damage amplifier to make space for the repper I pulled off the armour plate. This was a bad idea. The ship's alarms screamed at me - zero armour remaining! I wonder what would have happened if I had been more badly damaged.

The Drake pilot was loitering. He followed me to the next system and loitered some more. I was determined to kill him but very suspicious. Provi had a well-earned reputation for forming defence fleets, and they had certainly had enough time to get organised.

Innocent Scout checked out the next system (empty) so I decloaked and tried to lure him to that gate, wanting to buy a little buffer time in the form of a long warp. He didn't bite. I then warped back to him. Big mistake! Local spiked while I was in warp and suddenly there were 17 pilots sitting on the gate I was travelling to.

To make matters much, much worse, I had been playing around with the Windows 10 game recording feature. Windows decided that this was the best possible moment to inform me of a conflict with my video card, a conflict that locked my screen and forced me to do a hard restart.

My system booted up quickly and I started up the launcher, thinking gloomy thoughts of lost Stratioses and implants all over the place. I was shocked when I saw that, according to the character selection screen, Zappity was still in her ship! She was already in warp when I saw that she was in half armour. Now I was really confused. They had evidently been killing me when I warped away. Untackled?

I was far from safe, though. My warp took me straight back to the disconnect point, right on the gate amidst the nest of angry pilots.

I played it cool, waiting for them to lock me up. All at once they turned red! I jumped! When on the other side I quickly aligned away from the gate and cloaked, narrowly escaping the three pilots who had not aggressed.

17 pilots! I asked for confirmation of my theory while setting up my camp site on the other side of the system. They told me that the pilot responsible for not restraining me had already been shot.

I love Provi.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Magus of Magnificence

[Magus, 10mn]

Damage Control II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Small Ancillary Armor Repairer

10MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
Micro Jump Field Generator
Warp Scrambler II
Small Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I, Navy Cap Booster 400

Small Infectious Scoped Energy Neutralizer
Small Gremlin Compact Energy Neutralizer
Small Gremlin Compact Energy Neutralizer
125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
125mm Railgun II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Small Ancillary Current Router II
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump II

Infiltrator II x3
Acolyte II x1

This was my Svipul counter. My thinking was as follows. First, and most important, I wanted to fly a Command Destroyer as suggested by a reader. Second, I knew that Svipuls were flexible and it was difficult to predict what exactly you were going to be fighting. MWD vs 10mn variants, active rep vs buffer, auto vs arty and my fit had to be ready for all of it!

The neuts were the key. The active rep Svipul is really overpowered, able to rep through practically anything a Command Destroyer could throw at it. But they are easy to turn off with the appropriate pressure. Hence the choice of the Magus whose main DPS comes in the form of drones rather than valuable high slots.

The 10mn was a protection against webs and scrams while the MJD defeated long point kite scrubbery as well as being able to split up gangs. Theoretically. It is actually harder than it sounds.

I first killed a Thrasher who really should have just warped away but, for some reason, hung around long enough to be popped:


I next came upon a Hecate, Rifter, and Coercer gang. Granted, this was not a Svipul but I wanted practice. The Hecate was the first to land at my plex and I was halfway through his hull when the rest of his gang landed. I was distracted by their arrival and let him slip out of scram range. Damn! He warped away and his corpies soon followed.

I loitered in the plex for a while but although the Hecate returned to short scan a couple of times he did not enter. Eventually, I warped to his medium plex and landed right on top of him. And his d-scan immune buddy in a Curse:


Bother. I congratulated them on their sneakiness and wandered off to Amarr to reship.

Upon returning, I had a very fun time toying with a Thrasher, Coercer, and Cormorant gang. The MJD is really very liberating. At one point, I had almost destroyed the Thrasher when the other two destroyers warped on top of me. Fortunately, they were both fit with long points and I was able to hop away, much to the amusement of my (evidently intoxicated) opponents. That visual effect is really excellent - top marks to the CCP art team.

During all these fights I was more interested in getting to know the ship and play around with the jumpy thing. But the time had come to find my nemesis, the Svipul. I headed off through Eszur. Ah, such memories of my youth. But one thing I did not remember was a laser fit Thrasher:

Thrasher that I don't understand:

Then, finally, a Svipul! He calmly awaited my arrival at his plex, locking me up as soon as I landed. I initially approached him, not wanting him to be able to warp away. This was not very intelligent. It was immediately apparent that he was fit with autocannons, for what respectable arty Svipul would sit at zero upon the beacon? He scrammed me back and went straight into a tight orbit.

That really hurt. So I set my drones upon him and neuted him good. I then set range to 7.5 km and turned on the afterburner. I quickly pulled away and he was powerless to follow, losing DPS as I moved into his falloff. Range control is still king!

It was soon obvious that he was buffer fit, almost certainly some variant of the double MSE fit. This was actually the fit that I wasn't sure about tackling given that I couldn't turn his tank off. But it didn't matter. His damage was soon mitigated to the extent that I was able to turn off the heat on my repper and relax while I chewed through his hefty shield.


Aha! Victory! Admittedly, this didn't quite count as a “swathe” but it was a good start. Unfortunately, the next Svipul I encountered was also buffer fit and this one killed me good:


I don't know. I feel like that fit is a failure and I need to think about it. Maybe I'll go harass Provi for a while.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Zappity's Adventures: Svipuls everywhere and subsequent thoughts

We had just finished fighting Pandemic Horde, including a nice Thanatos kill ( and I was on my way home, pondering the state of fleet engagements. I definitely understand CCP’s desire to change things so that individual pilots are more involved. It is just boring being a line member in a fleet fight. Orbit the FC, target the red guy, press F1 and (occasionally) activate your prop mod. Pfft - hardly challenging. Removing anchoring, Keep at Range and Orbit for people in your fleet would probably help. It would spread the action and responsibility around. Or perhaps an offensive module which could disrupt other players’ orbits would be fun!

Anyway, on the way home I noticed a pair from Providence in a Svipul and Thorax, both loitering malignantly on the gate of our staging system. I swapped my Cerberus (hatefully useless solo ship) for a Svipul of my own and quickly returned.

They disappeared through the gate as I was landing but were still on the gate when I appeared in the next system. What I should have done at this point was look at the Svipul to see what guns he had fitted. But I didn't. Instead, I aligned away from them towards a safe and burned away with a couple of heated MWD cycles. The Provi Svipul rapidly pulled ahead of the Thorax. One of them (I assumed the Thorax) landed a long point which I ignored. At about 60 km from the gate the Svipul stopped and began heading back to the gate. I had overdone it. He wasn't following.

I slowly angled back towards the gate and yellow-boxed them both. That did the trick. The Svipul burned straight towards me again, intent on a juicy kill and emboldened by the presence of his cruiser buddy. When he was about 40 km away I approached with an overheated MWD. He was rapidly within scram range and I found out that it was the Svipul with the long point! He was artillery fit and therefore soon died to my magnificent autocannons once scrammed:


He warped his pod away while I gave a gf in local. I assumed that the action was all over but the Thorax did not warp away. Instead, he continued burning towards me.

I quickly closed range and tackled him, too. His drones were biting into my tank but by the time I had swapped to the ‘hostile drones’ overview and started locking them up he was already into armour. He died shortly afterwards, along with his empty pod.



I gave another gf and told them that I liked Provi. They give good fights in my experience.

I posted my l33t kills in alliance chat. A corpie responded, asking how I managed to kill the Thorax when it had two webs. I answered truthfully, stating that the main reason was that I didn't know it had two webs fitted before I tackled him. Not to mention the fact that his tank was practically non-existent.

I keep seeing Svipuls everywhere. They are a plague upon the galaxy and the time has come to do something about them. I declare them to be the new enemy and the focus of my wrath. I am determined to find a good yet engageable counter and carve a swathe of Svipulish destruction across the cluster!