Thursday, January 27, 2011

Incursions Day One: Obray Bloodbath

After clearing up some static on my neocom, I was able to get a global report from CONCORD about the state of Sansha Incursions in EVE. Two incursions were near to my current location, so I hopped in my trusty Taranis and headed over to Obray Constellation in Verge Vendor. As I approached the gate into Eletta, there was the usual crowd of ships on gate. I was not sure what to expect, so I jumped into the system.

First thing I noticed was that CONCORD has set up a new Constellation wide-channel for each incursion, to enable communication between pilots. Second thing I noticed was that there were no Sansha on the inbound side of the Eletta/Cistuvaert gate. I double-checked my combat overview, strangely the Sansha ships were not actively displayed in my overview. Correcting that error, I checked again. Still nothing on gate. Guess that would make it easier for pilots to continue basic travel through the empire systems that are under incursion. Not sure if that's good or bad. Once my overview was functioning, I checked the system status, and ran a quick hop into the various systems that were under Incursion to determine the scope of the attack. It appeared that most systems were Vanguard-class attacks, there was one Assault system, and one Headquarters.

Idling far from any celestial bodies in Eletta, I saw reports of Sansha in various asteriod belts. I decided that the Taranis was fast enough to at least get a quick look, maybe take a shot or two at the Sansha if I could separate them. I landed 100km from the beacon in the first asteroid belt near planet VIII. I saw 3 Sansha Frigates, 3 Cruisers, and a Battleship, all sitting within 10 clicks of the beacon. This was far more firepower than normally seen in such a high-traffic system. I immediately aligned out, towards the University of Caille School station, as the Sansha targeted me at 80km. Activating my MWD, I thought I'd see what these frigates could do for damage, and tried to lure them away from their larger support vessels. My ploy seemed to work successfully, as the frigates quickly outdistanced their support. Unfortunately, they were also obviously much faster than my Taranis, as they closed the distance between our ships quickly.

Deciding to take on 3:1 odds, knowing the outcome was far from certain, I returned target lock, and realigned to a tight combat orbit. At 16km, before I could even consider activating my blasters, I realized I had made a mistake, as the first Sansha torpedo hit my signature-bloomed Taranis, shattering my shields, armor, and half my hull in a single volley. Realizing I was far from prepared for this, I decided to retreat, but failed to disengage my MicroWarp Drive. This resulted in a second massive torpedo hit, and my ship exploded, leaving me floating in my pod. A friendly Thorax landed back on the beacon moments before my destruction, and rather than finish me off, the Sansha regrouped. Before I had even warped my pod away, the Thorax was just another wreck floating in the asteroid field.

Docking in station, I had my pod quickly transferred to a Velator, as I wanted to see if I could recover the data recorder from the wreck, for further analysis of the Sansha ships and the damage they inflicted. I warped back to the belt. Fortunately the enemy had no interest in wrecks, and I was able to recover the logs and a few damaged modules before they could return and destroy the fragile Velator. Warping to a spot deep in space, I reviewed the logs from the fight, then reviewed the incursion data scrolling through my neocom. It appeared that I was not alone in the near-instantaneous loss of my ship. Nearly everyone was unprepared for the sheer brutal force the Sansha brought to bear, as pilots reported losses of massive Marauder class ships, Strategic Cruisers, and more. This was no backwater Serpentis Initiate squad looking to prey on unsuspecting young capsuleers. The Sansha had brought a full battle fleet to the area, more like the fleets deep in Fade and Pure Blind last spring than anything staged in a secure empire system. The residents of the systems near Obray were unprepared, and the Sansha forces (and capsuleers aligned with them) were wiping their ships off the map as if they were mosquitos.

Unsurprisingly, many capsuleers were secretly working with the Sansha, and using tactics known to provoke a response from CONCORD to destroy the remote repair chains being set up in the defense fleets. All in all, the threatened retaliation from Sansha Kuvakei was more than an empty threat - it was an all out assault that took the "gods" of New Eden by surprise, and rendered their common tactics useless. I can only hope that my fellow capsuleers will realize that they need to work together, with trusted pilots, to overcome the Sansha Incursions, before they surrender to the hivemind of the Sansha, or worse, leave the poor citizens of New Eden to become slaves of the Sansha Nation.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hulk-ing Geddons... and the January Skill Update

So in advance of Hulkageddon, my industry alt bought and fit out his first Hulk. I'm hoping to take it out for at least 1-2 sessions before Helicity's fun begins. There was a small (3 hour) interruption on the road to Jump Freighter to fit the fancy T2 Deep Core mining lasers on the Hulk, but I think the bonuses (especially on some of the heavier minerals) will be worth it. This boy (who still doesn't have a new portrait) is now clear sailing to Anshar, and once completed moving the short stretch to Orca (and Rorqual). Funny enough, taking the time to train the jump skills for the Anshar make the Rorqual a shorter haul. I've decided that this toon will be a bit overweight (or as much as you can with the new character creator) - can't wait to experiment with that.

My combat main finished Battlecruisers V, and when in the implanted close (3% DPS implants in all the slots) is quite nasty in a Blaster Brutix. Think it's time to explore the Minmatar BCs now, since the skills for both types of turrets are equally trained now. Started the road towards missile effectiveness - working on the support missile skills first. It amazes so many folks that this character can't fly a standard mission drake (T2 HAMs) with almost 45 million SP. I did a portrait for S.W. but not so happy with the posing and facial structure, so I will be redoing this with the bonus redo from CCP (thanks CCP!).

Super Secret Alt is a blue-haired beauty, who needs to look a little meaner. I'll be tweaking her expressions and send her to the gym for some free weights, but this was the best portrait I did (I did 3 of 6, and it was the third). Not sharing it yet, because I want to tweak her some more. She's about to complete Battleship V on the road to Dreads and Carriers. This one is not going to be an easy to pass as a solo account for any sort of serious espionage, since she is so clearly a well-focused combat character. She's also a great place for me to experiment with Minmatar fittings, since she is a pure minnie pilot.

I'm getting some destroyers together for my 54th Mass alt to fly in Hulkageddon. Funny enough he's on the same account as my miner/industrialist. Thrasher armies descending on Hulks. Makes me both happy and sad - it will be fun for some (but not all), but EVE is a game...

Now on to something else. There's a thread in the EVE-O forums about losec mining. I think the risk/reward ratio for Losec mining is pretty poor. You should only be using T1 barges to offset the eventual ship loss, and if you don't you can end up losing a lot (Had a corpie lose an orca, 2 hulks, and pods with +5 implants mining in losec - but of course he made a cardinal mistake and went AFK). I would think (and the thread backs this up) that you have better risk/reward and return rates mining in a Wormhole than in LoSec, even if you get a LoSec grav site. Anyone care to share a Hulk or Covetor fit for WH mining, or experiences on WH mining? I hear the sleepers don't spawn right away, so you might even be able to get a couple cycles in before having to deal with that. Is it true?

What about you? Do you know anyone who mines, and if so, do they ever do WH or LoSec? How do they deal with the risk/reward ratio?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why I don't like empire wars

Before you pull out the "HTFU" or "carebear" or whatever, let me be clear. I don't mind losing the ships. I don't mind even losing the fights. If (and that's a big if) If we learn to play the game better, then it was all worth it. But this is my ranting post. Let the rant begin!

Station Games suck
I'm not complaining about the mechanic. I get it. You sit at the undock in a ship with a big enough buffer and good sensor boosting, and you can lock your opponent at the station, or just dock up if they actually start to damage your ship, making your ISK war look better. Here's what I don't get. How is that fun? I mean, if your idea of fun is already station spinning, or risk-free PvP (although let's face it – most people prefer risk-free), it's a valid game choice. But I hate station games. Worst part about them is trying to help a new player understand the tricks of surviving (or escaping) station games. Show session timer on? Wide undock or kicker? Instaundock created for that station? Understanding of the 30 second session change? Ok, now with all that if you undock into a hostile, you might survive. I hate them. I don't like to play them. And although in our current war the opponent loves to, I'll just make insta-undocks and go play somewhere else.

Neutral RR is fraidy-cat warfare
Oh, I get it. Neutral RR is a legitimate game tactic. After all, once the neutral party provides remote rep, you have aggro for 15 minutes. But this is what I hate about it:
[wartarget] Why won't you engage 3:1 odds?
[corpie] More like 3:2 with your friend here
[wartarget] What do you mean? He's not in this war
[corpie] Whatever...

Don't play stupid games with us with Neutral RR. If your best friend in EVE is in local flying an Oneiros, and you are in a armor tanking ship, they are going to remote rep you during your crappy station games. Just be honest with yourself and us - mostly because your assumption of our stupidity is annoying.

Smacktalk takes skill
I smack in local (sometimes). Usually I'm a bit self-deprecating. It's my style, and it helps me deal with losing ships. But your smacktalk needs to improve.
[neutral rr] I don't need expensive ships to win this war
[wartarget] You guys suck
[sw] Um, my bomber cost about 20 million rigged and loaded. Your Brutix is 60+. Fail math?
[neutral rr] I'm not in a Brutix. Fail scan much?
[sw] Sorry, yeah. Oneiros is 80 million plus just for the hull. Try again...

Experienced players need to educate new players
Usually we are pretty good at this. But this was painful. After our team has GCC (in losec, so safe from CONCORD), the newbie we are defending (in his Drake) gets caught trying to fly back to home base - on a hisec/losec gate. He gets back into hisec, and the wartarget is there to engage him. He's screaming in fleet for help, and we are unable to help him. GCC in hisec = CONCORDed. Three combat ships in losec might help you get home. Three pods in hisec do nothing for you. And, in times of war, everyone needs to be on comms if anywhere near the warzone. We don't keep a teamspeak server up and running 24/7/365 (well, 90% uptime) for show.

War Decs are for Empire Grief
Let's face facts. War Decs are for empire. They exist to grief nullsec alliance logistics, and to cripple empire-based corps, because in nullsec it doesn't really matter. In nullsec you don't need some fancy star on red background to know who you can shoot - you can shoot anyone anywhere. On the bright side, being involved in an empire war is educational. I'm learning a lot about empire war tactics, and the more I learn, the more I wish I were still in nullsec. The other thing about this is, it makes our carebears sad. I mean this guy is in it for the grief. He follows our carebears to their 2nd or 3rd tier agent systems, usually in a covops frig to probe out their missions. He hasn't (yet) got a combat ship in those systems to actually engage them in missions, and they are (so far) smart enough to dock up when he enters local.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

EVE and Real Life (EVE Blog Banter #24)

Welcome to the twenty-fourth installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week or so to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month's Banter topic comes to us from the ever helpful Eelis Kiy, capsuleer behind the "Where the frack is my ship" blog. She asks: How does your real life personality compare to who you are as a character in EVE? Does a good leader of people in the real world make a good leader of pilots in game? Or vice-versa? Do your real-life skills help you with the roles you fulfill in your corporation or alliance? Or do you behave completely differently? Does the anonymity of the Internet allow you to thrive on the tears of others in New Eden whilst you work as a good Samaritan away from your keyboard? Or are you as mean outside of your pod as you are inside it? Have experiences in EVE Online affected your behavior, skills or attitudes outside of the game?

EVE is and always shall be a game. I have multiple "characters" in EVE, and each one represents a different style of play, but none of them represent me. The closest that comes is when my combat toon has a choice between mercy and murder, I don't take the time to think about what the RP/wizardhat solution is - I act. Hence the closest any character in EVE comes to the real me would be my combat toon when in a leadership role (after all, that's the only time a combat toon makes independent choices). As a really old-school gamer (I played the original Dungeons and Dragons (yes, the little brown pamphlets), when I play a game I am able to quickly transition into the game and separate that from reality. Regardless of that, I do not subscribe to the EVE = me arguement. A player may play a Pirate, or a Griefer, or a Can-Flipper, or a deep spy/mole in an opposing alliance, but that has nothing inherently to do with who they are. The challenge for some is that in their personal playstyle, they are the same as the character they play in EVE, so they cannot comprehend a different playstyle. This is the ultimate in role-playing in EVE - subsuming your personality into your spaceship-flying character, and making all decisions as if the pixels on the screen represent you, and choices you would make in real life. When I started playing EVE, this was the original path I followed, my character made choices that I would make, and did things the way I thought I would do them. Over time, I separated those two things, realizing that
  • I am not an immortal spaceman 
  • The tight integration of me and my character pushed EVE too deeply into my regular life.
So now that we understand my characters in EVE are not a "representation" of me, do my RL skills or abilities apply at all in EVE? Well, yes. Skills and behavior are two different things. I am a decent negotiator, and have some small skill at politics. I also research and study the various aspects of EVE politics for entertainment, so one of my characters is the diplomatic representative for his corp. That character uses my RL skills and knowledge to negotiate with others - but he does not represent me, as the character is an industrialist (and I am not). This isn't even my main (although he's logged in at least as much as my main). In my (perhaps not so humble) opinion, the challenges of leadership in EVE all tie to the fact that a large number of the folks in leadership positions aren't in those positions in real life, because they aren't qualified to be. They may be too young, too inexperienced, or just simply not good at the variety of skills required to be a truly good leader (I certainly don't have enough of those skills, but I know it).

In EVE, you can be whatever or whomever you want. But in reality, you can't be more than you know. You can be different - but not more. Being the chief diplomat or FC for does not make you a real-world diplomat or military commander. Nor does your desire to be an FC or diplomat or CEO or alliance dictator make you good at that job. You may be in that role in EVE, but that doesn't mean you are good at it, in EVE or in real life. It's not a two-way street - what you know (or are) in the real world can affect what you do (and who you play) in EVE, but it doesn't go the other way. Sorry, Leadership V does not make you effective as a real-world squad leader. But ROTC and/or bootcamp might make you a better soldier in EVE.

List of participants:
  1. EVE Blog Banter #24: Be, all that you can be, and so much more!
  2. BB24:RL + EVE = | A Mule In EvE
  3. Freebooted: BB 24: You Talking to Me?
  4. where the frack is my ship?: Blog Banter 24: Behind the keyboard
  5. (OOC) CK’s Blog Banter #24: I Am Prano. « Prano's Journey
  6. mikeazariah » Blog Archive » BB24 Who are you, who hoo woo hoo
  7. Drifting: The 24th EVE Blog Banter (January 2011 Edition) - Topic: EVE and Real Life
  8. Victoria Aut Mors » Blog Archive » Eve Blog Banter #24 – Where Eve Meets Real Life
  9. Who is more real?? « The Durzo Chronicles
  10. Captain Serenity: blog banter #24 - Personalities
  11. Confessions of a Closet Carebear: EVE and Real Life (EVE Blog Banter #24)
  12. The 24th EVE Blog Banter - EVE and Real Life - The Phoenix Diaries
  13. » EvE Blog Banter #24: EVE and Real Life EvE Blasphemy
  14. Blog Banter 24: In Real Life « Yarrbear Tales
  15. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Alt « the hydrostatic capsule
  16. Blog Banter #24 – Me « Roc's Ramblings
  17. Blog Banter: Personalities in game and out of game
  18. Fiddler's Edge: Game Face - Eve Blog Banter #24
  19. Progression's Horizon: Blog Banter 24- Synonymous or Anonymous?
  20. More to come....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When stuck in between a rock and a hard place...

Life can get interesting quite quickly in this world. This weekend, corp chatter was full of concern with the arrival of some new neighbors (again) - and they were sporting a Leviathan-class Titan. A little research into their history makes it even more interesting, as we live deep in Gallente LoSec (not borderlands or warzones), and they are a Caldari Faction War corp. With something like 4-5 times our numbers (ignoring the whole Titan thing) they could easily make our life difficult, so our diplomatic team set immediately to negotiate non-aggression standings. This was actually quite simple, as it appears they just want to run a Titan bridge into nullsec and nearby losec systems to hot-drop their enemies. Simple, until the next morning...

We have a couple folks in local who actively participate in Faction War for the Gallente. Putting it nicely, we don't get along too well with them. Shots have been fired, and ships lost on both sides. So when some of the leadership of the large Gallente Faction War corps appear in local and start scouting the system, only a fool doesn't see what's coming soon. Our little pocket of losec is a few jumps out of the warzone, so really it's no surprise that with the ongoing battles and the escalation in hostilities to include capital and super-capital ships that anywhere within jump range of the warzone becomes a staging system. So here we are, a smaller industrial focused corp trapped in our home system between two of the biggest faction war corporations out there. Life is about to get interesting - very interesting...

edited 01.05.2011 0845
... and within minutes of posting it seems our hot-dropping friends from the Caldari militia have moved on. Oh well. I guess it won't get interesting after all.