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.