The War Has Begun

10/02/2009

So our vacation in 0.0 has been cut shorter than we intended. The reason is that since falling out with The United one of their Directors has gone too far by making real life threats to one of our members, and now we just can’t wait to deal with that problem the only way we know how. By destroying them.

Last night one of our scouts back in Rancer noticed that The United were trying to take down some noob’s POS. We saw it as an opportunity to get some action on The United’s Battleship fleet, and if we were lucky their Cap fleet too. Unfortunately for me the POS was coming out of reinforced at 1:30am and my boss doesn’t understand if I come in late to work after a night of Eve.

Once The United had their Battleships in place to knock the life out of the POS the Neo Spartan cap fleet jumped in to try and take down as many of their fleet as possible. Unfortunately they were too scared to bring their own cap fleet out to confront us, so we had to make do with 6 BS kills for 2 BS losses of our own. That puts the totals at 8 kills vs. 2 losses since the falling out.

There are going to be some interesting times ahead for the Rancer pocket. Now we are back home I expect the number of engagements to become more numerous, and most piracy is on hold for the moment until we have taken care of business.

It’s interesting to note that we have had offers from other corps asking to help us smite The United. It just goes to show how disliked they have become in the Eve universe. I think we can win this fight on our own however. They may have more numbers than Neo Spartans, but they just don’t have the class to see it through. Their perma gatecamping style means that they are ill skilled in other areas of the game.

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0.0 Vacation

02/02/2009

The Neo Spartans have been noticing a decline of traffic through Otou of late, so it was decided that we would go on a Vacation somewhere else in the Eve universe to allow some time for Otou to become ‘safe’ again and encourage some new traffic. Then we fell out with our closest allies (or rather we fell out with the main leadership of their Corp) as well which gave us another reason to look for something different to do for a while (“this will be dealt with” in good time).

That somewhere else was 0.0 so that we could do something different from the piracy that we were used to. We could rat up sec status a bit from -10, and have the luxury of killing stuff without the intervention of gate guns, and make a bit of ISK too.

I was hoping to write a series of exiting account of my time in 0.0, but a week on and I’m finding it to be a pretty dull place, and I’m wondering what people find to do out here other than rat and carebear. It seems that small gang roams are pretty much pointless as about the only time you see other ships to shoot at they are on massive gate camps. Even if you do feel like you can take them you just know that there is a force of their allies 3 times the size a few jumps away.

I wonder what in it for the guys that gate camp as well, as I can sit in systems on one of the main pipes and not see another person for an hour or more. Do they just sit there and do virtually nothing for hours at a time?

I’ve been in 0.0 many times before, but this is the first time I have spent an extended period there. From my experience so far I’d say 0.0 has little to offer the PvPer unless they want to be part of the large scale 0.0 alliences, or are out to roam with the intention of killing as much as possible before inevitably dyeing (which when in empire is what we normally do on out 0.0 roams). I just don’t see the attraction of staying out here long term, and I’m looking forward to getting back to lowsec piracy.

Gank Gank Gank

26/01/2009

So here I am at 5 minutes to 10pm on a Saturday night. Location Sendaya, intention Ganking. It’s the Scrapheap Challenge Gank Night 13.

It’s the first time I’ve been on one of these, and I’m not really sure what to expect. All I know is that we are all supposed to be in Drakes (although other BC also allowed), and the idea is to roam through as many lowsec and 0.0 systems as possible killing everything that we find. Basically if you come back with your ship intact you’re doing it wrong.  All I’m hoping for is to survive more than the first 10 minutes of the event. 10pm arrives and there are 111 pilots in fleet with more latecomers to join no doubt. Apparently these things never set off on time.

We’re off and running at 10:25pm. Not too late I suppose. Looking around there are now about 120 ships in fleet. When we land on the first gate the blob of ships on screen looks like a force to be reckoned with.

First Gate

First Gate

On our very first jump we are presented with 5 ships on the other side camping. They must crap themselves when they see 120+ BC jump through the gate at them. The gank fleet quickly disposes of the 3 Battle Cruisers, a cruiser and a Heavy Interdictor. The engagement literally lasts about 10 seconds. Unfortunately I’m not into the run of things yet and forget to switch on my Sensor Boosters which means I fail to even get a lock on any of the ships. On the plus side I have survived the first jump of the gank night, but not everyone has made it.

We make a few more jumps and then we’re in 0.0. It’s on the next jump where we land in a bubble that I realise that I have mistaken fit a Afterburner instead of a MicroWarpdrive and I get left behind. I have to decide if I carry on and risk getting left behind every time we hit a bubble, or go back 3 jumps to buy a MWD. I decide to go back and get a MWD, but the fleet stops for no-one and I get left several jumps behind by the time I have gone back and back out into space. I’m trying to jump and warp as fast as possible to catch up. Fortunately the fleet is stopping at each gate while someone scouts ahead, so I’m only out in 0.0 on my own for 5 or 6 jumps before I catch up. I notice in local that there a few other stragglers too, so I’m not completely alone.

Whenever a fleet member drops connection they are blown away in second, before the FC has a change to shout ‘Don’t shoot!’. So far we have killed more friendlies than anything else. The pace of the fleet is also picking up as the scout gets a few systems ahead. It seems about 20% of the fleet gets left behind as they miss the fleet warp each time we jump into a new system, and we start noticing a bit of lag as we travel through system after system. Not really surprising with 120+ ships jumping at once.

1 v 120 - A Pligrim dies to overwheming odds.

1 v 120 - A Pilgrim dies to overwhelming odds.

Some info come over Team Speak that said a gang of 40+ ships are following up behind us, but the FC decides to carry on regardless. Sounds like they are all small ships. As we move through 0.0 we encounter the odd small group of ships, but it’s mostly quiet until we get blobbed by a large-ish gang of small ships. It is unclear at the time if it is the gang that was reported to us earlier. Normally a gang of BC would have no chance with killing these small ships, but due to our overwhelming numbers we managed to catch quite few of them before we get bored of chasing them and move on.

At about 23:40pm the FC calls a 5 minute break. Up until now we’ve only made a few kills, and I gather from other Gank Night veterans that still being alive this long is pretty unusual. A few jokes are made to the effect that the FC doesn’t know what he is doing if we’re not dead yet. We continue after the break but we are still yet to find any big fights, or die horribly.

We start heading towards Providence with the intention of getting CVA to get a fleet up against us. They are pretty slow to do so as we get several systems inside Providence before there is much activity in their intel channel (we have spies watching). Eventually at about 1am we get what we want, and a large mixed CVA gang appear in AY-24I. Primaries are called but I quickly realise that ships are dyeing before I get lock on them, so I order my overview by distance and lock up everything I can, closest first. It seems others are doing the same as there plenty of ships taking damage that have not been called primary.

Surprisingly I mange to survive longer than most, but eventually succumb (and lose pod) after about 13 minutes. The battle only goes on for another 2 minutes after my death. I’m not going to go through all the kill stats, as you can see the carnage on the Gank Night Killboard for yourself. I personally manage 22 kills.

From start to finish the gank night lasts for 2 hours and 47 minutes. From what I hear from other fleet members the gank going on for this long is virtually unheard of, particularly when about 80% of the original fleet were still there for the final showdown. I feel my first Scrapheap Challenge Gank Night went very well, and I found it most enjoyable. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for the next one.

Gang Ship Fitting

20/01/2009

An area of ship set up that is often overlooked is how well a gang of ships work together, and the need to synchronise their fittings to compliment each other. In the many gang battles I have been involved in I have often been amazed at how little attention some gangs give to what their fleet mates are flying (I’ve also seen and learnt from some excellent fleets that know exactly how to set up their gang).

After the dust has settled and the enemy annihilated a look down the killboard at what your opposition were flying gives you a lot of information. It is common to see lots of well fitted ships in their own right, but with obvious little regard to what their fleet mates were flying. For example you might see every ship in an 8 man gang fitted with Warp disruptors, but none with Webifiers.

It’s important to understand that when you fly as a fleet you should view it as a single entity and not a collection of individual ships. The FC should have an idea on what he wants the fleet to do, and tell the individual pilots to fit accordingly. A corp should issue a set of standard ship fittings for it’s members to use during fleet ops so that there is a single pre-organised aim on how to take down the enemy (or survive). With everyone flying similar setups it is easy for the FC to make adjustments to the midslots of various fleet members so that you have enough of everything e.g. points, webbers, ECCM etc. They also know what specialist ships to bring like Falcons or a Hospital Domi or two.

Just like you wouldn’t omni fit your ship with a mixture of armour and shields, it is important for a gang to be fitted in an organised and coherent way. There is no point bringing a ship with shield tank if the rest of the ships in your gang have remote armour reppers. I would even go as far as saying that even when you fly a ship that traditionally fit for shield or armour, you should not stick religiously to that idea when is comes to fitting a ship for gang operations.

A good example is a Raven. When flown solo you would be mad not to set it up with a good shield tank, but when flown in a gang where there aren’t many other Caldari pilots you have to think outside of the box. While normally it is an act of blasphemy to suggest fitting a Raven with armour tank, in a gang of armour tankers where all of your fleet mates have remote armour reps fitted then a Raven armour tanker is the way to go.

Obviously in the long run if you’re mostly going to be flying in armour tanked fleets you should be cross training to ships that can armour tank well, but even in non traditional armour tank Raven what you lose in HP on your personal tank you make up several times over when your fleet mates have you locked up,  repping your armour, and giving you a virtually unbreakable tank.

It has been a quiet couple of weeks for my piracy. A lack of lowsec traffic and a lack of my own time to spend seeking victims has meant I’ve not had a lot of kills. All that however changed last Sunday.

There I was docked up in station while I attended to business on an alt when a message came over from The United’s CEO. They were bored of camping due to the lack of decent traffic and were planning a little trip to Hagilur to go mess with the locals and wanted to know if we wanted to go along. Having only had one kill that day there was no hesitation to get in on the act, along with three more from Neo Spartans.

Hagilur is one of those lowsec systems where no single corp claims ownership. On that particular night The Filthy Scum were in attendance along with a handful of The Bastards. The bait ship was sent in while the rest of the fleet waited outside system. Unfortunately for our victims they took our bait and get themselves aggression and the fleet jumped in.

The battle was 24 allies vs 22 Enemy pilots (note that Sirius Fog warp disrupted his fleet mate and Commandante Caldari was a random participant on our side in a Falcon, also some of the Filthy Scam came back in second ships), with mostly battleships of both sides. The Nidhoggur arrived a few minutes into the engagement but made little difference to turning the tide on us. We had pretty much finished off all the BS when 3 more capital ships were jumped in on us and we decided it was time to go home. End Result was 15 kills for 7 loses (this was even better for Neo Spartans as our KB shows 14 kills for 1 loss). To get the full picture of kills check The United’s Killboard as well.

My only negative for the battle was that we didn’t kill the initial Carrier that jumped in. The FC insisted that we keep killing the BS rather than go after the Carrier which was unfortunate as by the time we left it was in structure. Had we started on it a little earlier we could have had (should have had) a cap kill too.

As we all returned back home news came through of a Pheonix in Olettiers that was undocked and on the verge of being out of docking range. The bump ships were quickly on route and I returned to Otou to switch from my Battleship  into an Onyx, but before I got on my way to Olettiers some of the fleet got aggressed by a small group of 4 BS, which was unfortunate as the rest of the fleet were still spread in the surrounding systems and they had nowhere to go. I sat alone on the gate in Otou in case something should try and escape. 3 of them died in Miroitem while I scrammed the other who tried to escape into Otou until backup arrived to kill him.

There was no time to celebrate the kills however as by now the Pheonix was about to get bumped off of station in Olettiers. By the time I had arrived his fate had been sealed and the Pheonix was heading towards structure. After a short pause to see if he wanted to cough up a ransom (some choice words indicated that he did not) we finished the ship off and as a bonus killed his pod too. Unfortunately the Pheonix was unfitted so it looks like it hadn’t long been out of the showroom before we turned it to a lump of twisted metal. Not the most interesting of kills, but a cap kill is a cap kill.

Just when you think things are getting a little dull Eve throws up big chunk of excitement to get you going again.

NOTICE:

As many people are aware Neo Spartans and The United are napped due to the proximity of their home systems. If they weren’t neither corp would get anything done other than fight each other (it’s not so long ago that this was the case). It also allows them to control several systems in the surrounding area. They are NOT however in an alliance together, nor do they work together on a day to day basis. The above is one of those times where it is in the interest of both parties to take on a common enemy.

Spartan Films

23/12/2008

I am fortunate to belong to a corp that has such an abundance of creative talent (even more than in my blog!), particularly in the area of Eve film making.

Today I have decided to showcase the films of Larkonis Trassler, Verizana, and Ga’len. I am very much jealous or their creations, maybe one day I can create something half as good as these:

Larkonis:

Crow Squad – Oct 2006
Assumption of Risk – June 2008
Calm Your Passion – Sept 2008

Verizana:

TANK – May 2008
7 Shooter
– May 2008
C.A.H.S – July 2008

Ga’len:

Ebil Piwat
Battles of The Bleeding Rose

The Ancient Scourge
– June 2008
NSPTA Summer 2008 – Sept 2008

I hope you guys enjoy watching these as much as I did. Merry Christmas.

We were involved in a noteworthy battle last night so I’ve decided to talk about it here. Neo Spartans vs. The Bastards. Let me first say that we have respect for The Bastards. We have had a few small scale battles with them in the past and they always bring a good fight and like us, they don’t get often involved with smacking in local.

About 8 or 9 of us were out of one of our fun suicide roams in T1 cruisers. The plan was that we’d go up through Evati and beyond to see what we could find to kill. In all likelihood we’d be coming back in pods, but the aim was to kill more than we lose. We didn’t get very far however.

Jumping into Evati we noticed a lot of members of The Bastards in system. Our scout noticed that they were all sat outside one of the stations forming up a fleet. Our CEO Larkonis made a snap decision that we would have a go at The Bastards to see what we could get a good fight. T1 cruisers were no good as The Bastards fleet were all Battleships, so we’d have to return to our home system and switch to fleet Battleships.

We have a corp rule that means we always have Fleet Battleships fitted and ready to go. Of course there is always someone that hasn’t got the right fittings on the ship and need to make some adjustments (ok so I was one of them). By the time we are ready to go some 10-15 minutes after we first spotted them our scout reports that they are on the move. By now we have 11 members in fleet BS ready to go.

It soon becomes apparent that they are on a roam of their own, and it looks like they are heading out to nullsec. As fast as we can we get ourselves back to Evati while our scout follows their fleet. Worried that they would get too deep into 0.0 before we had a chance to catch up with them Larkonis decided that we would not be following them too far. The last thing we wanted was to be dragged out into 0.0 unprepared for what might be through the next jumpgate. It seems they were being similarly cautious as they were sitting on each gate for a few minutes, presumably whilst they had a scout running ahead.

Fortunately they hadn’t got too far when we caught them in the first system into 0.0 – EOA-ZC. Had they already jumped through the next gate we probably wouldn’t have engaged them. As we entered EOA-ZC we immediately warped onto them, no doubt with the element of surprise on our side while they planned they next jump of their own roam.

I won’t go into details of our ship fittings, but I will say that we are big fans of remote repping fleets, and every member of the gang fits at least one. This allows us to keep the primaried ships alive for as long as possible.

Now would be a good time to have a look at the video footage captured by my corpmate Ga’len.

Unfortunately for me my Raven was first primary, and as often happens the first primary dies pretty quickly before corp mates are able to lock up and rep the ship. You can see from the watch list that all fire was focused on me. Top marks for The Bastards all getting on the primary. Before I pop however Loth’nwenar is first to die.

Next to be primaried is Professor Claw in his Megathron. It looks like he might die quickly, but by now we’re up to speed on our repping and it takes a long time for him to get killed. A further 3 enemy BS are destroyed before Claw goes pop. The remaining ships are hitting Daff Punk with all they got, but the remote reps are doing the job nicely and keeping him alive. It all looks to be going wrong for The Bastards and a further 4 of their BS go pop with no more loses for the Neo Spartans.

With ‘gf’ exchanged we pick up our loot and head off home happy with a job well done. 11 of our BS versus 10 BS, 2 BC and a few other support ships from the enemy (not sure if the non-Bastards were with them, but they certainly fought with them) this was a pretty even fight. Neo Spartans killed 8 BS in total (7 Bastards and 1 other) and The Bastards killed 2 Neo Spartans BS.

Once again respect to The Bastards for trying to stand up to us and for a good fight. It’s always a pleasure fighting you guys and I’m sure we’ll have another opportunity for a rematch in the future.

I’m getting quite a bit of enjoyment at the moment watch the fallout of another big Eve scandal. At least this time it looks like it may be down to CCP incompetence rather than CCP involvement. It seems a lot of players like to indulge a bit of mass hysteria, and it’s CCP bashers versus CCP fanbois. Personally I think these kind of players are taking it all a bit too seriously.

There’s is no doubt that if the original claims on the  Scrapheap Challenge forum are true this is a big deal for the game, but I have some reservations about how true this post is. After all this is a player who has just had his account banned, and it wouldn’t be unusual for a person in that position to try and make CCP look as bad a possible.

The hysteria mob are making big on the ‘fact’ that this bug existed for 4 years. But is it really a fact? CCP unsurprisingly have not made any reference to how long this bug has existed and been exploited for, but I find it difficult to believe that it really has existed that long without CCP either being made aware of it, or discovering it on their own. If on the other hand this is a relatively recent bug, the markets don’t appear to reflect that, there is no noticeable sudden drop in T2 prices which would indicate an increase in supply.

Another ‘fact’ being touted is that the big alliances such as BOB are involved in the exploitation of this bug. Again there is little in the way of evidence to support these claims. If this exploit was as widespread as some people say then I think there will be at least one person involved who is a member of an alliance as large as BOB, but to say that BOB is built on this exploitation of the bug is probably going too far. The problem for BOB it that no-one really trusts them, so involved or not accusations will always head their way.

I’m a ‘sit back and see’ sort of person so I’m just going to enjoy the fireworks over the next few weeks and maybe I’ll share some more thoughts on the subject later.

A commonly spouted piece of crap I read on the Eve Forums is that it’s not possible to be self-sufficient as a pirate. I am living proof that this is a load of rubbish.

When I created this account I brought in a couple of hundred million ISK in from other accounts to buy myself learning implants and skillbooks. But since that point I have never needed to bring in any further ISK from outside to support my pirate way of life. And in all honestly I could have done it from scratch without any starting capital at all, it just would have taken longer to get started.

I do have Trading alts that make large sums of ISK to pay for things like GTCs, but I have always stayed true to the idea that Kaya could support herself in her life of crime. All of the isk spent in buying ships, weapons and ammo has been earned through piracy, and if she hasn’t been able to afford it she hasn’t bought it.

I have no doubt that a solo pirate might struggle to make enough isk to pay their own way, but when you are part of an organised pirate corp there are many ways in which to make a decent living.

Gatecamps are our primary source of income. It may not be the most interesting way to play Eve, but you get lots of pretty explosions and there is some satisfaction to be had when the camp is running as efficiently as possible and all but the fastest of ships are unable to escape (and even they get popped often). There is also the added excitement of getting blobbed by some passing gang (even better when we wipe the floor with them).

A good pirate corp will ‘own’ a bit of lowsec space where they take a cut of the activity that goes on there. It’s a kind of protection racket where other corps are allowed to setup a POS in the system(s) and stay free from harassment (from the local owners mostly) . We don’t actually protect them from outsiders, but simply living in our space does offer a certain amount of safety. Other options are selling mining or ratting rights, or just offering safe passage through the system.

Another string to the pirate corp bow is merc work. Of course, there is a certain amount of limitation here for a pirate corp due to the inability to operate outside of lowsec space. None the less there are still money making opportunities like charging to destroy a lowsec POS for example.

Solo PvP and gang roams are rarely a big money making opportunities, but it’s where most of the fun is in being a pirate. What is important here to the self-sufficient pirate is not losing too much of your hard earned isk to silly losses. Something I am good at avoiding is unnecessary risk when it comes to PvP.

If you can afford to bankroll a pirate from other sources and you don’t mind losing it then being a pirate may be easier. My point is that it is not impossible to be a self-sufficient pirate, and I personally find it much more rewarding to pay my own way as a pirate. After all in real life you wouldn’t do it if it was costing you more money than you earn.

Having embarked on blogging I have found that there are loads of other Eve related blogs out there. CrazyKinux keeps a list of them at his site which lists 136 of them at this time. While my corp mate Ga’len keeps an OMPL list of the sites to download.  I recommend having a look at these other blogs, as there is a lot of good reading amongst them.