Monday, December 24, 2012

From the ashes

     It has been a while since I have posted anything.  Frankly, I just couldn't be bothered with work building up and being busy at home.  However, I'm here to make a concerted effort to get back into posting and actually be regular about it.

     We start our story off again with a tale of wormholes and violence.  I received a Jabber ping advertising a cruiser fleet to parts unknown.  I logged in and joined the fleet.  After poking around in my hanger for something of the right size and "disposable" I decided to instead purchase a shiny new Vexor.  Quickly fitting it up with a basic shield tank, some nanos and blasters I undocked to join my misfit gang with our FC pearcy15504. We travelled to the nearby system with the linking wormhole and jumped on through.  We ended up in Paragon Soul's LD-2VL system.  We salivated over what we saw.  The three dead end systems in Paragon Soul consisted of hyper levels of ratting.  At the time each system had around 24k rat kills in a 24 hour period.

     We made our way down with Pearcy leading in his "bait" Onyx.  at MP5-KR our bait was taken by a couple of Drakes and a Phobos.  Our merry band of cutthroats pounced and a bit slowly melted one of the Drakes, followed soon after by the webbed to hell Phobos. The other Drake got away and we proceeded to wander around the pocket trying to prod the residents down there to come out and play.  In total we bagged a couple more kills including a Sacrilege that probably shouldn't have engaged to start with, but also forgot to drop his point and web before the rest of the gang pounced on him.

     After an hour and a half of repeatedly beating up on their people not paying attention (including a poor new guy in a Noctis), we decided to head out.  Heading out we jumped through a gate (we didn't have a scout at this point) and found that our 15 man gang of cruisers had finally earned enough ire to get a 20ish man gang of battlecruisers to form up.  As Pearcy hadn't gotten there in his Onyx yet he ordered a gate crash, which pretty much everyone but out drunk guy complied with.  After gathering up, the rest of our gang we jumped in and started calling primaries.  Of course we went for the expensive stuff first.  Most notably we took out a Vagabond and Stabber Fleet Issue.  We were doing fairly well until the FC went down.  About that point our cohesion fell apart and we were slowly picked off.

     All in all I had an extremely enjoyable time.  I'll say that with at least the Vexor I am enjoying the new T1 cruisers.  I'm looking towards getting a couple of my favorite T1 cruiser (Thorax) brought down so that I can play with them in a nano kiting configuration.  I'm also finding that you can do quite a bit against a larger group if you maintain your cool.  I think even more important than picking the "right" ship is knowing how to use it and keeping a good battlefield awareness is important.  As I spend more time in small and large gangs I learn to relax and notice a lot more than when I first started PVPing.  I find that I don't get upset when my ship pops.  I can even enjoy being destroyed by another gang.  It's all in how you look at things that is important.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

CFC's Drake Fleet

     Yesterday, Ripard from Jester's Trek posted about the CFC Drake Fleet.  He posted some rather scathing comments about the fact that the ship is designed to run with perma MWD.  His basic point was that it was rather silly to have a perma MWD fit on a Drake, because in a fight you won't need to MWD for that long to get in range of the enemy.  Joba Korako, a Junior FC in the CFC made post with a good explaination about what the Drake Fleet doctrine is about:

*sigh* The idea of this Drake isn't to make it easier to fly, although that is a definite advantage for a coalition filled with new pilots. The reason the perma-mwd is so useful is it allows an unprecedented level of maneuverability for fighting on grids that can stretch out for 300+ Km's on any side. The MWD also makes dodging bombing runs trivial, as once you're up to speed with all the Drakes anchoring on a Vulture or what have you, all the FC needs to do is move away from where the bombs are going to land and the fleet effectively gains a lot more staying power. The primary role for these Drakes is a counter support role to support another fleet. Their goal is while, say, an Alpha fleet is pounding on the hostile fleet, the Drake fleet burns towards the hostile logistics and either pushes them out of rep range of their fleet's DPS ships or catches and kills them. With your "Vanilla" Drake, a fleet of them trying to get to the group of logistics (which tend to be 30-50 km behind the enemy fleet where they are in range for reps but not in range of most weapon systems) would fail hilariously. They'd run out of cap trying to MWD all the way towards them, all the while as a fleet of Abbadon's/Maelstroms/etc. are battering away at the fleet once they lose their transversal from the ~1100 m/s they gained from the MWD. Also keep in mind that this fleet does not work without 100-256 in fleet, with 3-8 combat recons (Lachesis/Huginn) and 10-30 Scimitars. For smaller gangs, the PODLA Drake or a close variation of your "Vanilla" Drake scales far better. Oh and the ~100 m/s the PODLA drake gains over the Perma-MWD Drake is negated when 2 Huggin's web it at ~70 KM and the Lachesi point it when there's Claymores in the wing commander positions (Which is generally always for the CFC). Not too mention a Drake like this can make changes like another meta 4 LSE to make it fit easier, and the fact that this drake costs ~70 mil to fit in Jita, which is a huge advantage for a coalition that has 20 000+ to pay reimbursements for. Hope that clears some things up for those who don't care to look into the role of a ship before subtly mocking it.
      I haven't met Joba, but he makes a good case for what is happening with the CFC fleets.  One thing that Ripard Teg and Liang Nuren (who made some disparaging remarks via Twitter about this) don't understand is that these fleets have a different purpose from the fleets that they both run in.  Both Ripard and Liang participate in small gang warfare for the most part.  My definition of a "small" gang is 50 or less.  Keep in mind that when mobilized the CFC will regularly field 500-1,000 subcaps.  Their main job is to be maneuverable.  Generally speaking the Drake fleets' job is to pin down the enemy for Alpha fleet to finish them off.

     Another constant threat to a fleet like this is bombers.  When laying siege to a structure the Drake fleet will continuously MWD around in order to deny the enemy a good warp in point for bombing runs.  An enemy that is outgunned will sometimes bring in a 30 man bomber fleet that, with a good warp in and good timing, can pop a static blob of Drakes and/or Battleships.

     The lack of tackle was also brought up.  One of these fleets will generally have 20-40 dedicated tackle in the form of Lachesis, Dictor, Hictor pilots.  A point on a drake that is engaging at 40-60km from an enemy is a waste.

     The big difference between Sov holding alliances and your ~elite~ PVP organizations is in how the pilots are trained and react.  An ~elite~ PVP organization such as Rote Kapelle or Rooks and Kings has a select group of well skilled (character and player wise) pilots.  They are very good at what they do and can generally take on fleets well above their fleet weight.  On the other hand you have the large sov holding organizations such as the CFC, Raiden., Evoke, Solar Fleet that generally have less well trained pilots flying for them.  These alliance generally have strict doctrines that are set up to be easy to use and are effective.  Generally they field 50+ man fleets regularly and are focused on strategic objectives.  We generally aren't ~elite~ for the most part, but we make up for that with stubbornness and patience.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Most important stat for solo PVP and descision of direction

     After much thought I have finally decided on the direction I have wanted to go.  Basically after a bit of research I think that the best fit for me will be The Black Rabbit Academy.  They seem to share the same ideals that I do and seem to be a generally likable group.  My choice made I decided to make an impression before I applied.  What better way to make an impression I think, than to shoot up a Black Rabbit.

     My decision made, I thought on the ships available to me.  I can currently fly any T1 frigate.  So I thought on which one of these T1 frigates I would use.  The only small weapon that I can fit T2 is Railguns/Blasters.  That limited me to Gallente and Caldari frigates.  Which is an advantage because I have level 5 in both of those types of frigates.  Now, I have always quite enjoyed flying the Incursus.  It is a versatile ship and it is frequently underestimated.   Now to fit it out.

     I thought of what I wanted.  Good damage, decent tank, and some speed.  For my weapons I chose blasters.  Then I threw on a plate, DC and a mag stab.  Finally I put on my standard tackle: Web and scram.  Finally I put on an afterburner.  I chose an afterburner because it is a common consensus that afterburners are better in low sec because there aren't any bubbles.  I threw on some ammo, fitted a drone and I'm ready.  Set course for a low sec area I believe that the Black Rabbits inhabit and flew on down.

     Reaching my patrol area I set out on my hunt.  Making some safes I perused the ships in my area.  I played a bit of hide and seek with a Vagabond with a probing alt flying around.  Eventually he got bored and went away.  As soon as the Vagabond left I saw a new name appear in local, Otto Jarvis.  The name looked familiar to me.  After the fight I would realize where I had seen it before.  I hit my D-scan and noted that he was in a Harpy Assault frigate.  I'm fairly familiar with the Harpy.  I know how I would fit it and I figured I would probably get chewed up and spit out.  That didn't matter to me though.  What counted for me was the struggle, the excitement of engaging another in battle.  

     I warped to an ice field that had no rats in it and waited.  Sure enough a harpy warps in at 50km.  Engage Afterburners and head towards him at an angle.  Lock target and get ready to web and scram when he comes into range.  Then I see him turn, zooming around me on MWD.  His disruptor activates and I see him start pounding me at range.  I try cutting his orbit to get into range, figuring if I can grab him with my web and scram He's done.  My blasters should finish him in short order.  I watch my shields evaporate, my armor slowly eaten through.  Still thinking I can grab him I try flying directly away so I can pull a reversal on him.  Unfortunately my platted frigate has nowhere near the agility of even an unwieldy assault ship.  Down into structure I start to realize I'm done for.  I realized too late that I wasn't going to make it... too slow to get my pod into warp I notice he has a disruptor on me and a convo invitation has popped up.

     Knowing that the Black Rabbits honor their ransoms I immediately ask "How much for the pod?"  The response comes back "30 mil for a 2008 char.  You have 30 seconds."  Frantically I right click on him and can't find the stupid give money for a few seconds.  "20 seconds."  I find the stupid Give money and click it and quickly put in 30,000,000 isk and hit send.  Otto removes his disruptor and I warp off to a random planet, then bounce to the nearest station, dock up and catch my breath.  

     After docking up I got to talking to Otto.  He congratulated me on my piloting (which I didn't think I had done that well considering I was looking at a pod).  We got to talking about his setup.  It does very little EFT damage, but it excels at what matters.  What really matters in solo PVP, or any PVP for that matter that doesn't involve just a slug match is the ability to dictate range.  This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to have a long range fit.  It could mean that you have a short range fit.  However, if you do have a short range fit, it is very important that you can get to your optimal range for fighting and keep yourself there.  You can have the most awesome setup imaginable.  A huge tank and extreme DPS, but if you can't get your DPS into the range to effectively apply it, you aren't going to come out with a kill.  In fact, with my experience being quite telling.  You most likely won't survive.  This, I believe is the real reason that Minmatar ships are one of the perennial favorites for PVP.  They are generally the fastest ships out there, and can apply their damage instantly and across a varied range.

     So, next time, before you start a new fit, ask yourself what you are hunting, and what you will do to ensure that you are within your optimal fighting envelope.

     On a side note, I am finding that solo fighting, while not the most safe way to PVP, forces you to learn from every little mistake.  There is no one to blame for your failure except for yourself.  Even a blob that kills you on a gate can teach you many things.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sentimental, yet inspiring title with a hint of martial fervor here

     So, I have decided that the current 0.0 is not for me.  I have dropped roles on my current corporation and am waiting through my stasis time for it to end.  I want to explain why I am leaving.  It is not that my corporation isn't good.  Dissonance Corporation is a great bunch of people.  Friendly, loyal, helpful are some ways that I would describe them.  They are not the reason I'm leaving.  It is the current state of 0.0 space that gets me.

     In another life I spent quite a bit of time in 0.0 and quite enjoyed it.  It was dangerous.  Logistics were difficult.  I remember always staring at local, wondering when another fast gang would come through while I was ratting.  Things have changed lately, and in my opinion, not for the better.

     My first complaint is with jump freighters.  Jump freighters are very, very convenient ships to have.  In fact, I would go so far as to say they are pretty much a requirement now.  However, they reduce the logistics problem down to just jumping stuff from empire up to 0.0 space.  As long as you have someone scouting the jump areas there is pretty much no risk in moving a jump freighter into 0.0 space.  Some may wonder how people did it in the old days.  The simple answer is that people usually either built what they needed in 0.0, or they hauled it up themselves.  The corp I was in had a freighter when those were released and we had monthly runs down to empire with the freighter.  Granted, this wasn't the most exciting duty, but it had dangers all its own.  You needed scouts, you needed protection.  You needed people to operate as a team.

The second issue I have with 0.0 space is the jump bridge system.  Being able to travel from a ratting system to your station space without having to go through any gates makes this a fairly safe proposition.  It is a reduction in risk.  0.0 space is supposed to be risky.  It is supposed to be difficult, not trivial.  When I ratted in 0.0 space before it was always risky.  I was always checking local.  This latest time.... I wasn't even paying attention to local half the time.  I traveled semi-afk quite a bit of the time.  It was safe.  I didn't feel threatened.  I wasn't excited by the thrill of not knowing if someone was going to blow me up.  Again, trivialized.

     Finally, there is one mechanic that was changed long ago that I believe should have been done a bit differently.  People that have been in game for quite a while will remember that there originally wasn't a warp to zero.  It was warp to 15km.  This mechanic allowed for ships to be engaged prior to them reaching a gate.  It didn't take long for people to figure out that they could fly PAST a gate about 10km, make a bookmark, and then warp to 15km at the bookmark and end up right on the gate.  However, this little work around ended up causing massive lag.  there were literally thousands upon thousands of bookmarks that each pod pilot carried.  People literally did not travel in 0.0 if they didn't have them.  Empire people also used them as they were so useful.  So, CCP made a descision.  There would be no bookmarks near to stations or to gates.  This is something that I agreed with as it massively reduced the lag at the time.  The other thing they did I disagree with.  That would be them making it an option to warp to zero.  I must admit, I am with the remove warp to zero crowd.  I believe it would make ALL space more dangerous and make Eve a much more cold and heartless world.  Granted, this would make some people lose more ships.  In fact, I think there would be a massive increase in ship losses.  

     I also think there would be a fringe benefit to low sec space if this were implemented.  Remove warp to zero, and kill the gate guns, I think you would have a very enjoyable low sec experience.  The only other thing to do would be to put more things that are low sec only to draw people into them.  Make the reward in line with the risk.  I'm not quite sure what the reward should be, but it should be something simple, within the game mechanics already.  Something that can be implemented without much issue.  Perhaps moving ALL Level 4 missions to low sec would do the trick?

     I'd like to hear people's opinions on this.  Please comment.

The annoyance of Dramiels

     I had a bit of fun a few days ago with a little fleet in a nearby system.  There was a Dramiel that was afk and MWDing into infinity.  Now, generally speaking, going afk in a non cloaking ship spells certain death.  However, this particular pilot lucked out as there were no other pilots around that could catch this little bugger.  Now, the Dramiel pilot was afk for at least a couple hours.  You would think that this wouldn't be a problem, but it was.  He was traveling at 6572m/s. 

     In our quest to capture this little bugger, I did a bit of EFT warrioring.  Browsing through interceptors with max skills I was unable to locate a single interceptor that could catch this thing without overheating.  We tried several different methods to catch this guy.  Some tried sniper fits, but they couldn't get a lock before he got out of range.  We finally did find someone that could catch him... Another Dramiel pilot.  Unfortunately, the guy came back from his afk just as we were set up to catch him, he warped to a safe spot and logged off.

Now, I'm NOT suggesting that the Dramiel needs a nerf because of this.  There will always be a ship that is faster than another.  What I am really curious about is if anyone else has had this type of situation, and how you handled it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pop goes the Claymore!

     A new day dawns and we have a much invigorated pod pilot today.  I spent most of the day farting around in station and looking for fleeting up opportunities.  One of the things that I have determined is that when I PVP I get a bit excited and tend to forget to do things.  I'm thinking that operating in fleets for a bit will help me out in that regard.  What I hope to gain from fleeting up is to have a bit of a safety net while I try to remember to do things.  This safety net came in handy a couple of times, but I found that I was much less excitable in a fleet and performed quite well if I do say so myself.

     Our fleet consisted of about a dozen ships at the start.  Most of the ships were T2 frigates and Cruisers.  Our first foray into looking for a fight was a short trip down to the low sec gate that we use.  There was a small camp already on the low sec gate.  We decided to bait them.  The ship that was chosen was a Cerberus for some reason.  The Cerberus Jumped in and warped to gate to get purposefully caught in a drag bubble.  Our primary was a Typhoon that was part of the gate camp.  Unfortunately the poor Cerberus couldn't withstand the withering assault of the Typhoon and popped.  As our Cerberus pilot went into low sec to grab a new ship, we determined to camp the gate.  Quite a few fast and stealthy ships narrowly escaped our grasp.  After a while we had an Onyx warp in around 250km above us.  Someone had a bookmark nearby him and warped up for the tackle.  As we warped up and started doing damage local began spiking with multiple sources.  A large fleet warped in on us, but luckily most of us got away and escaped the trap.  We jumped into the low sec system and took a short break while people went AFK for various reasons.

     After our break we discussed what to do now.  There were still hostiles in the 0.0 gateway system and the round about route was 50 jumps.  Some wanted to travel the 50 jump route and others wanted to bull through the gateway system to head home.  We eventually came up with a compromise.  We would bull our way through and then roam over to another area, taking a fairly roundabout way home.   Our scout and FC were good about getting warp points and we bounced through the numerically superior system without incident and were on our way. 

     Several jumps in there was a call from our scout. "Claymore on gate!"  Our HIC bubbled up and we saw the gate activate.  Several seconds later a lovely Claymore appeared.  Two interceptors and a daredevil ensured that the claymore wasn't going anywhere.  As the pilot frantically tried to get back to the gate at a slow crawl his shields went down.  Following the explosion the pilot's pod popped out and was also satisfyingly squished.

     Things got interesting when a large HAC gang was found looking for us.  We located an alternate route and I was volunteered to scout this out as our other scout made his way to the end of our detour.  The first system was clear.  The second had one neutral in system.  As I sat cloaked at the gate I saw a Zealot hit the gate and activate it.  "Zealot on gate, gate activation." I reported.  My ruthless cohorts managed to snag the ship and pod and our evasion continued.  The next gate had a sabre and a drake.  After a bit of discussion, we decided to bull through.  This system had quite a few ships in it that could have helped the drake and Sabre.  It was deemed too risky to engage them.  We sailed through the small camp without a scratch and we were out of the jaws of the trap that had been laid for us.

     At that point our little roam was over.  I warped back home and opened my cargo hold.  There safely nestled with my ammunition were 7 warrior II drones that I had scooped up in my travels.  Seems that people drop drones rather often.  I can almost make a business of scooping up drones that people leave behind.

     That's it for today.  I'm feeling a bit more confident of my abilities, and I'm getting a bit more smooth at engaging targets.  And I'm very much enjoying my Daredevil.  It is a very vicious ship. What is there not to love about a small fast ship that melts faces while holding your enemy in place?

Friday, July 16, 2010

New beginnings

     Greetings all, and welcome.  In this blog I intend to regale you all with my exploits in becoming competent in PVP.  First, a little bit about myself and my experience.  I have been playing Eve off and on since 2005.  This is more off than on, but in my time in Eve I have explored many aspects of it.  I have been a miner.  Mining all day long and bring in the ore.  I have been a mission runner, shooting rats, looting them and bringing in the ISK.  I have even lived in 0.0 space from time to time, which has been my most enjoyable times.  One thing that I have never really gotten into alot is PVP.

     Don't get me wrong, I enjoy PVP, love it even.  I have read forum post upon forum post on PVP tactics and fittings.  I know how to fit a ship out properly for PVP even.  However, for one reason or another, whenever I go out and attempt PVP it rarely ends with me killing someone.  More often than not it ends with me back in my station analyzing what I have done wrong.

     One of my issues is that I really like to play with the expensive ships.  As a for instance, I have recently fallen quite hopelessly in love with the Daredevil.  It is a wonderful faction frigate, speedy, lethal.  I recently had an opportunity to take one in to battle.

     I had decided to change the fitting on my daredevil and there were  no fittings in the 0.0 station that I base out of to complete what I wanted.  Nothing fancy, I just wanted to change out the speed fit for something a little tankier as my sparring with corp members had convinced me that the fit wasn't really what I wanted.  So, I took a stroll down to empire in order to pick out what I wanted and fit it out.  Unfortunately for me I had forgotten that there was an empire wardec going on.  I know what you are all thinking, and no, I didn't get smashed by a gate camp autopiloting in empire.  In fact I made it to my chosen station without seeing anyone.

     I happily set about fitting my new modules and rigs to the ship.  I wanted a setup that I could take behind enemy lines and have some ability to recover from any damages in battle.  So, I fit a nice 200mm buffer plate on the lows, a small repper for fixing the damage I took and a few rigs to complement.  All I was lacking was an explosive resist rig to complete my setup.  The only explosive resist rigs were in the nearby station so I contentedly undocked and waited for my screen to show up.

     No sooner had I undocked than I realized my mistake.  Now I remembered that there was an empire war going on as I spied the red blinky jaguar heading towards me.  Frantically I hit warp as I knew I had a huge explosive hole in my armor.  Too late, I was caught.  No problem I think to myself, time to give this lovely new ship a test.  I hit orbit at 50 m, turned on my scram, web, small armor repper, and nos and hit F1 which is where I usually keep my guns.  About 5 seconds later I realized my damage control wasn't on.  No big deal, I hadn't had much armor damage running, and my armor repper started kicking over, keeping me up as I started to slowly bleed damage down.  I was trying to figure out why I wasn't doing much damage when I looked down and finally noticed that I had changed out my weapons systems, they weren't grouped and I was only running one gun.  Embarrassed I turned my gun on and satisfactorily watched his armor start falling more quickly.  The only problem is that I didn't catch my mistake quick enough.  Still circling I watched my poor Daredevil vanish in a flash as I spammed warp and got away.

     It was only after I docked up that I realized my biggest mistake.  I'm sure the savy reader is shouting at their screens that I should have used the best trick that a Daredevil has.  I should have burned straight away from him when I realized I couldn't take him.  A Daredevil's 90% web would have meant the jaguar couldn't have kept a point on me as I ran out of his scram range and warped out.

     Defeated, I should have known that now was the time to dock up and log off.  In fact I DID know that that is what I should do.  SHOULD is the operative word here.  I determined that I was going to replace my Daredevil and then head back home.  Of course the only place that I could think to find Daredevils a plenty is in Jita.  Yes, with an empire war going on I headed in to Jita.  As I warped into Jita I noticed a camp on the station.  I paid it not much mind and flew into Jita to fit out my shiny new daredevil.  Assuming that the same small number of ships that I saw flying in were out there, I undocked.  Imagine my shock when I undocked (without looking at local again) and saw quite a few ships.  I noticed at least a Bhalgorn and Hyperion sitting there.  And, being the absolutely brilliant strategist I am, I panicked.  I picked my gate and hit warp.  Immediately the damage started raining down on me, shields gone, armor gone, structure going.... and I see myself warp away through the lag.  YES I told myself, I made it!  My shiny new Daredevil is safe.  I kept telling myself that until the screen went back and I found myself back in my home station in a pod.

     Definately not having a good day, I should have logged.  I just couldn't though.  A call went out over alliance for pilots to take out a roving red gang.  Somewhat having my senses I picked a safe ship to go out.  A nice little drake.  Unfortunately, all was not well for me.  Our fleet roved out to meet the red gang, but Eve was not cooperating with me.  Gate after gate it took forever for me to jump.  Still two jumps back I listen as my victorious alliance trampled the enemy fleet and sent it home with its tale between its legs.  Finally defeated, I warped to a safe spot and logged off.

     This all occurred two days ago, in that time I have been thinking about what I want to do now.  I considered going back to empire with my tail between my legs.  But I just can't do that.  I need to come up with a training regimen to get the basics drilled into me.  I KNOW how to fight, intellectually at least.  Now lets see if I can put all of my theory and book knowledge into practice.  Over the next couple weeks I am going to start heading out into the deep black, trying my hand at PVP, probably with some cheap ships that I haven't decided upon yet.  T1 frigates are kind of out.  Yes I know they are cheap, but the T1 ships don't really appeal to me that much, and about the only thing a T1 frigate can take out rapidly is another T1 frigate.  So not much of an option in null sec space.

     Stay tuned here to find out what ship I select and what sort of fights I get into.  I sense blood, I sense a slaughter.  Hopefully, it isn't my own.

P.S.   If anyone has suggestions for a ship I could use I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.  I can currently fly Gallente and Caldari ships up to Battleship.  I can also fly Assault frigate.  And if someone can talk me into it, I DO have some skill to fly T1 Minmatar and Amarr ships as well.