Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Solo PvP - Some Basic Advice

This past summer DaDutchDude made an excellent post on the internal Agony Unleashed forum about solo PvP. With his permission I am posting it in it's entirety here. Enjoy...

Rejecting fights / staying alive
One of the fundamentals of soloing in any ship is putting yourself in harms way, while maintaining the ability to reject fights and stay alive. In a MWD frigate, you should be able to escape from most any situation, but when you switch to a cruiser / BC, you loose a good amount of that. A lot of time, you can still escape if you keep your calm and they don't, but as it implies, it demands a bit more finesse from you and stupidity from them. That is why it is good to start learning to solo in frigs, and once you get used to that rush and remain calm and controlled, you can move on to bigger ships.

One of the ways you can help yourself is by bringing a dual-boxed covops alt to get you through gates without blindly running into a bad situation. As an added bonus, you can fleet up and get a nice bonus to agility, shield / armor HP and lock time / range if you have some decent leadership skills. If you however don't have a second account for that, or don't want to dual-box, you really need to accept that you release a very large amount of control over the situation.

Solo approaches
When you solo, there's a couple of approaches.

Brawl
When you brawl, your focus is on quickly locking down a target and killing him off before friends show up or he can run away. Compared to your opponent, you are usually either very heavy on tank, DPS or both. You usually behave as the aggressor, initiate an engagement, and commit first. Unless you have a really big tank and fight on a gate or station, it'll be hard to disengage, so make every second count.

Kite
When you kite, your focus is on being able to dictate range and maintain your ability to disengage. Compared to your opponent, you have good speed and agility and DPS range. You usually behave as the target, letting your opponent come to you and let him initiate aggression, and you don't commit until the fight is already won. That last part means basically that initialy, you should not care too much about tackling your target, but put damage on him while keeping range. Only when he's almost dead and it's safe to do so should you make sure you dive in for tackle.

Fish
Fishing is sort of a mix between brawling and kiting. Your ship is setup like a brawler, but your behavior (at least initially) is more like a kiter. Basically you set up a trap for a\specific (type of) opponent, wait for him to engage you, and then close the trap and brawl him down.

Control
Arguably this isn't a specific type of combat, but more a variation on brawling or kiting, and is a generalization of fishing. The point of control style fighting is that you have some measure of control over your opponent that diminishes his ability to fight you, and it's particularly suited for ships with an ewar bonus like recons. A Rapier for example can control range with dual-webs and despite low tank and low DPS either kill an opponent or disengage. A Curse can do something similar with neuts. A fishing Celestis (with webs + scram) is sort of a control setup in disguise, controlling the ability for small ships to disengage.

Concluding
Choose the type of approach, and pick the right tools (ship + setup) for the job and specialize. Although there will always be targets that you can brawl in a kiting ship and kite in a brawling ship, you should be wary about that and not give into temptation too often when frustration and / or boredom strikes.

1 vs 1 or 1 vs many
Again, there's a different types of fights you could be looking for when you solo.

1 vs 1
Especially when you like to brawl or fish, these are the fights you will usually be looking for. Personally my recommendation is to cruise through an area, maybe linger, but surely don't stick around to long for people to form up. The longer you hang around in an area, the more gates you want to between the closest population center and you, giving you more time before possible reinforcements come.

It's also sometimes a good idea to toy around with somebody before you engage. A lot of the times when you get a 1 vs 1, the other opponent wants that fight just as badly as you do, so making him work a bit for it, for example making him follow you a system, gives you more time to assess the situation, decide on tactics and setup correctly for it.

1 vs many
The reality is that a lot of solo PVP ends up as 1 vs many, and it can actually be a lot more fun if approached correctly. However, there are a lot more things you need to be aware off.

When kiting, watch that magic 150km mini-warp range. It is so easy to kite somebody far enough for gate for his support gang to be able to miniwarp up to you, giving you big head aches. Choose new align at 80km points, realign before 120km. Any further and somebody that gets through on the opposing side of the gate might still be able to miniwarp up.

If you are brawling, don't fight on the in-gate. If you know or suspect a gang will come for you, warp to a different gate from the one they will come in from, so you can see local go up, check scan and know what's coming before they are actually there, and if you choose to disengage and go out through the gate with less of a chance of more gang members waiting there. However if you are kiting, you should kite on the in-gate, because that means that people coming in can't immediately mini-warp to your first chaser, but instead have to bounce or burn after you.

When stuck on a gate with a hostile gang, watch which hostiles are aggressing you and which aren't (and because of that, can follow you through). Based on that, decide if you should crash gate again on the other side, or kite off, or try to cold warp off. If you have the ability to take a breather in gate cloak (when they don't have something that can prevent you from gate crashing like a Rapier), use it. Whatever you do, don't give up too early, I've escaped stupid amounts of situations I should have died in in my HurriPain by simply gate crashing 2 or 3 times, and then kiting or cold warping off after the coordination in the hostile gang has completely disintegrated due to blood lust / panic / brain dead / bad comms / whatever.

When fighting multiple opponents, esp. when kiting, don't worry too much about having tackle on your targets initially, because most of the time, they will stick around on their own any way. Focus much more on choosing the right target, deploying drones, maneuvering, etc.

Splitting up opponents, either in range or on different sides of a gate, is essential. There's too many examples to mention about how you can think of it, but thinking of it a lot is key.

Be VERY worried about gangs with ewar ships, they are game changers (and usually spoilers), probably even more so then logistics. Soloing is all about control, and with EWAR is all about giving them more control over you, and that severely limits your options.

Active vs passive tank
There's no single right answer to what is better for solo PVP, although at the moment of writing, Ancillary Shield Boosters are particularly powerful. In general though, I think the passive tanks work well for 1 vs 1 brawlers and all shield kiting / control setups, but not so well in most 1 vs many brawlers. Active tanking can do well in most situations, although you really need to be pretty knowledgeable about the limits of it and needs more finesse / micromanagement because when it breaks, it usually breaks hard.

The measure of success (or "how do I enjoy something that is inherently very difficult to succeed in")
Understand how you measure success, or what makes you enjoy playing solo, and let that guide you. Every person is different, and that is why some advice will resonate well with you and other advice won't. Since that sounds vague, I'll try to illustrate with an example:
I as a (solo) pilot and very result focused. A lot of the process of (solo) PVP I find frustrating, but when I get good results, it's all worth it. Getting blown up repeatedly without any kills pisses me off. This guides how I approach (solo) PVP, and I usually play more of a kiting / controlling type of PVP. However, a lot of Agony pilots are different. I know for example Alta seems to enjoy the process of going out hunting a lot and getting blown up seems to be less relevant  to him, as long as het gets a fight (although getting blobbed when flying a Rifter does piss him off slightly). People like Alta are usually more brawler style PVPers.

Knowing why you want to solo, what draws you to it and what you want to achieve should guide how you do it, and what works and what doesn't because in the end, you need to overcome the inherent frustration of solo PVP and enjoy it.

Conclusion
I hope I wasn't too much Captain Obvious and some of what I wrote strikes you as useful. Good luck :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Retribution T1 Cruisers - Part 6 - The Thorax

Part 6 - The Thorax
Before discussing the Thorax, go and enjoy this... Bob vs. Star Fracton. Done watching that. Great. Regrettably for Gallente pilots the Thorax never really lived up to its promise. Crushing DPS, but huge issues actually putting that DPS on a target. It seemed to excel at almost getting into range, but being either too close or too far from target, and having no ability to do anything about it. Lets see if Retribution has fixes all of this...

Here is a Shield Thorax:
[Thorax, shield thorax]
Damage Control II
Overdrive Injector System II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Large Shield Extender II
Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I

Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I


Hammerhead II x5



In my current corporation we often run decentralized gangs. That is where we fly around more or less solo, but when one of us grabs a target, calls it out on teamspeak and whoever is around comes to the rescue! This ship is perfect for that. Fast, huge DPS, and as long as someone else is holding the target down, perfect.The big problem with this ship is the same problem that thoraxes have always had, limited ability to project the massive damage. However compared to the old shield thorax, this ship does have a proper tank, and is a lot faster, and the new tracking bonus means that it can now apply it's damage better at close range. As long as someone else can hold down the target you can't go wrong.

Now let's look at an Armour Thorax:
[Thorax, Armour Thorax]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M

Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I


Hammerhead II x5



Going the armour route costs significant speed and DPS, but it is still faster than most Combat Cruisers or Battlecruisers and now the twin webs means it can hold even frigates down.

tl;dr: The new Thorax now has finally got the speed, tracking bonus and extra mid-slot it always needed to be effective. Gallente FTW

Stay tuned, after x-mass I will discuss the Caracal.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Retribution T1 Cruisers - Part 5 - The Stabber

Part 5 - Stabber
The stabber pre-retribution never really lived up to it's promise as a poor man's Vagabond. By far the fastest T1 Cruiser, it was unable to actually apply DPS at range to take advantage of it's speed. Limited number of slots meant that it couldn't really manage a decent shield tank or armour tank so if it was caught, it was dead. I used to kill these things easily in a Rifter. Let's look at what changes Retribution brings...

Here is a Shield Stabber:
[Stabber, Shield Stabber]
Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Tracking Enhancer II
Gyrostabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Warp Disruptor II

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Barrage M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Barrage M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Barrage M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Barrage M
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Light Missile
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Light Missile

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I



If it looks like a Vagabond, quacks like a Vagabond, smells like a Vagabond, but does about 2/3 the damage, has 2/3 the tank and 1/10 the price... it must be a Stabber. While it's performance does not match that of it's T2 variety, it is far superior to the pre-retribution Stabber thanks to the damage projection from the new falloff bonus. I expect this to be a popular ship once players learn to appreciate just what it is capable of. Manual flying is pretty much a must. While the damage is comparable to a frigate, the Stabber should be able to keep out of range of close ranged ships and avoid being scrammed/webbed. Be warned however, while the Stabber is still the fastest 'Attack Cruiser', it's speed advantage is less then what it once was.

IMHO there are no viable armour, while it can fit the modules it really serves no use except for some specific niche roles.

tl;dr: New Stabber = 2/3 Vaga. nuff said.

Tomorrow I will discuss the Thorax.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Retribution T1 Cruisers - Part 4 - The Maller

Part 4 -Maller
Relegated to a position of obvious bait, a Maller was a rare sighting in the past. The most common fits were maxing out on the tank, leaving only a little room for frigate sized weapons. Retribution changes everything. Aside from slot and base stats changes, the capacitor use bonus is traded in for damage.

Here is an Armour Maller
[Maller, Armour Maller]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Tracking Enhancer II
Adaptive Nano Plating II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Disruptor II
Medium Capacitor Booster II, Navy Cap Booster 800

Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M
Focused Medium Pulse Laser II, Scorch M

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I


Hobgoblin II x3





In the past when I have gone out in small armour BC gangs, it was always surprising which BC had the top damage on the killmails. It wasn't the punishing Brutux, or the ever-popular Hurricane or Drake, it was usually the Harbinger that was at the top. The ability to use scorch to do full damage at medium range meant that the Harbinger was doing full DPS while the other BCs were zipping around trying to get close to their targets. This Maller continues that tradition. Combine that with a tough, high resist tank and this is a winning combination. Mobility is on the low side, but not terrible. Combine this ship with a couple of armour logistics ships (like an Augoror) and you have a gang that is going to be hard to beat.

In the stats above I am using scorch since that is ammo type that is most useful in this ship. Switching to high damage ammo brings DPS up to around 425. As you can see though from the damage profile, scorch gives this ship tremendous damage projection extending out to the edge of warp disruptor range. One nice thing about lasers is that it can instantly switch ammo types. If you find yourself suddenly at close range, you can quickly switch to imperial navy Multi or conflagration.

IMHO there are no viable shield fits, the bonus to armour would be wasted.

tl;dr: A bit more of a niche player then some of the other Combat Cruisers, the Maller nevertheless has become a viable weapon platform.

That covers the Combat Cruisers, next we will discuss the Attack Cruisers.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Retribution T1 Cruisers - Part 3 - The Moa

Part 3 -
Moa
Before retribution the Moa saw little use. I tried experimenting with one using the Ancillary shield boosters but it never really delivered. However with retribution it's handicaps of low speed and weak damage output have been remedied. Lets see how it looks now.

Here is a Shield Moa:
[Moa, Shield Moa]
Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II

Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Ion Blaster II, Void M

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I


Hobgoblin II x3



A shield cruiser with a full, even bonused tank, and a full compliment of tackle! What is not to like. Good speed, strong tank, good DPS, this is a great ship. Projection is not very good however (using blasters). Even with Null M loaded (not shown) the damage really starts to fall-off at the edge of scram range. Still, for a close in brawler that can get into range, you can't go wrong. I would be hesitant to take on a Vexor however. With great reluctance the web could be replaced with an invul for a huge tank (52k overheated), however that would give the Moa very little range control which it sorely needs. On the plus side, with it's resistance bonus, this ship would be fantastic with logistics support. I would happily take a gang of Moas, and Ospreys against almost anything.

IMHO there are no viable armour fits, the bonus to shields would be wasted.

tl;dr: The Moa is no longer a second class cruiser. Changes from being a long range sniper to a close range brawler make this a ship to be feared.

Check back tomorrow when we cover the Maller.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Retribution T1 Cruisers - Part 2 - The Vexor

Part 2 -
Vexor
Although less popular than the Rupture, the Vexor still did see some utilization pre Retribution. A combination of drones and blasters made this a versatile boat that could, in the right circumstances, deliver an awesome amount of damage.

Here is a Shield Vexor:
[Vexor, Shield Vexor]
Damage Control II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Beta Reactor Control: Reaction Control I
Overdrive Injector System II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Large Shield Extender II
Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Warp Disruptor II

Heavy Neutron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Neutron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Neutron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Neutron Blaster II, Void M

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I


Ogre II x2
Hammerhead II x2
Hobgoblin II x1
Warrior II x5
Hornet EC-300 x5





736 DPS! Almost 800 DPS overheated, this ship delivers a ton of hurt. It is fast too, Even without the overdrive it is faster than a Rupture and many attack cruisers. What is nice though is the ability to project damage. With bonused drones, even at range this ship can deliver a punch. And if the target gets close, BAMM, in come the neutron blasters. A strong tank completes this devastating picture. A shield Vexor is a deadly ship indeed.

Let us now look at Armour

Here is the Armour Vexor:
[Vexor, Armour Vexor]
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Void M

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I


Ogre II x2
Hammerhead II x2
Hobgoblin II x1
Hornet EC-300 x5
Warrior II x5


Even more so than the Rupture, the Armour Vexor is a tough nut. The extra EANM gives this ship battlecruiser class EHP and the blaster/drone combination gives it battlecruiser class DPS. With the two webs, anything caught withing 13 km (overheated range) is going to find itself in a fight for it's life. Not the fastest ship in the world, but much faster than pre-retribution.

tl;dr: The Vexor is probably now the king of the tech-1 cruisers. Devastating in almost any circumstance.

Check back tomorrow when we cover the Moa.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Retribution T1 Cruisers - Part 1 - The Rupture

Series Introduction:

With the completely revamped cruisers in Retribution, EFT and other tools to help with fitting theory-crafting tools have been put to good use coming up with new takes on our old favourite cruisers. Before Retribution, T1 Cruisers as a class had been largely overshadowed by Battlecruisers, Heavy Assault Cruisers (HAC) and Recons. Many of the ships were among the least flown in the game. Many had unusual and mostly useless bonuses, fitting issues, or were otherwise effectively useless. However Retribution has changed all this. After playing around in a few of the ships, and much fussing around with EFT, I have developed a series of standard shield and armour tank fits for each combat and attack cruiser.

For me a shield tank means ideally having two large shield extenders, a damage control, and three shield extending rigs. An armour tank means a 1600mm plate, a Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane (EANM), and three armour trimark rigs. In general shield tanks ships mean speed and DPS. While armour tanked ships have more tank plus more e-war.

All of these fits will have use both within a gang or solo. Ideally the tank (armour or shield) should match the logistics being used if any. With the new T1 logistics cruisers logistics will become even more common than before. However I have fit the ship assuming no logistics. I would suggest that with logistics being present, modifying these fits to use resistance rigs and possible extra resistance modules like EANMs or Invul fields.

So I give you, the standard T1 Combat Cruisers of New Eden:

Part 1 - Rupture
The Rupture has long been one of the few T1 Cruisers that were viable pre-dominion. It was the second fastest T1 Cruiser (second only to the Stabber) and had a reasonable tank plus great damage projection. Naturally this means that, like the Rifter, this ship was modified the least. Asside from tweaking powergrid, speed and tank, the major change is to loose one of the hi-slots for a mid-slot. This means that the rupture now can field a proper shield tank or extra e-war ability on it's armour tank. Let's see how the changes affect the fittings...

Here is a Shield Rupture:
[Rupture, Shield Rupture]
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Warp Disruptor II

425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I


Hobgoblin II x4
Hammerhead II x1


The Shield Rupture is a surprisingly effective boat. Thanks to the extra midslot this ship can now support a full shield tank. Although on paper it suffers to the Vexor in the gank department, the extra range and capacitor independence of the autocannons means that the Rupture is a lot more difficult a ship to shake then the Vexor. TBH, after experiencing the effect that rebalancing and tieracide had on the Rifter, I was not expecting much. However the Rupture is in fact a viable and effective ship using a shield tank.

Let us see how the popular armour Rupture fares under the new changes...

Here is the Armour Rupture:
[Rupture, Armour Rupture]
Damage Control II
1600mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Small Energy Neutralizer II

Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I
Medium Trimark Armor Pump I


Hobgoblin II x4
Hammerhead II x1
Much tankier than the shield variety, and with the ability to old even a frigate stationary thanks to dual webs (although in fleet other e-war may be selected) the Armour rupture is not something you want to find sitting on top of you when in a light ship. Even an afterburner fit Rifter receives over 200 DPS damage when caught within web range. On the downside this ship is outclassed by the shear damage potential of the blaster wielding cruisers. This makes range control all the more critical in that case and boosted webs would help keep at the outside edge of blaster range (between 7.5 and 10km or more in case of null being used.)

tl;dr: Unlike the Rifter, the Rupture although no longer king, is still a great T1 cruiser. Don't be afraid to bring it to battle, especially in it's shield incarnation. However if you want to see what the king of the hill is, have a look tomorow when we analyze the Vexor.

Edit: Here is a nice video on how to fly a solo Rupture thanks to Garmon.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Ships I Fly - Republic Fleet Firetail

Ever since the recent changes to frigates I have fallen out of love with the Rifter. Where once it was the king of frigates, now it is no longer. Slower than any of the attack frigates from the other races, and the lowest dps/tank of the other combat frigates, the Rifter is no longer the king of frigates, in fact it may now be among the worst :(

The good news is that there is a great alternative, the firetail. Thanks to a price crash due to Faction Warfare these ships now hover around 10 million isk for the hull, about 20 million isk fitted. This is about twice the price fitted as a Rifter.

Why is this ship so much more viable than a Rifter? There are a couple of key differences. While they both have the same number of slots the Firetail has one less highslot and one extra midslot. The loss of the highslot is completely mitigated by the 20% per level damage bonus giving the Firetail slightly more overall DPS than a similarly fit Rifter. But it is the extra midslot that makes all the diference. Once the holy trinity of AB/SCRAM/WEB is fit, the firetail can add an extra e-war module. Usually this is a tracking disruptor. Another advantage is speed. While still not as fast as an attack frigate (like a slasher), it is significantly faster than a Rifter. This makes it very hard for an attack frigate to simply disengage.

This is how I fit my firetail normally:

[Republic Fleet Firetail, New Rifter]
Damage Control II
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Small Armor Repairer II

1MN Afterburner II
Balmer Series Tracking Disruptor I, Optimal Range Disruption Script
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I

200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
200mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP S
Small Diminishing Power System Drain I

Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Projectile Metastasis Adjuster I
[empty rig slot]

With the fit above the firetail is able to engage a rather large envelop of ships successfully. Pretty much any ship that is dependent upon turrets for damage. Even a thrasher, with it's tracking bonused autocannons, can be engaged with a fair chance of success. It's main limitation is the pitiful DPS. This really is restricts it to 1v1 fights since it will take too long to drop the first target before moving onto the second in a 1v2 or 1vMany fight.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Stupid Stupid Stupid Stupid CCP Nerfing Popular Low-Sec PVP Sites

Edit: Please show your support by posting on the following forum thread... Don't Change the 2/10 Plexes!

All in all there are lots of things in Retribution that I like. However one little note caught my eye..

1/10 and 2/10 static DED complexes have been moved to the exploration system.
Anyone who does small scale PvP in low-sec knows that these DED complexes (like in Heild and dozens of other low-sec systems) are basically hubs for fun PvP. Not really worth it to camp solidly, they are worth warping to anytime you are in a system. About half the time you get a fight, the other half time you get a few million isk worth of modules. Watch Sard Caid's stream or go to Molden Heath. These sites are probably the most active frigate PvP sites in the whole game.  I drove by Heild's Angel Creo-Corp site to demonstrate. See below for the image. Three wrecks on screen by the entrance. Several others in the plex itself. Where else in EVE can you find a spot where PvP is so constant.

So what does CCP do, they ditch them in the new expansion. Apparently there are people in hi-sec who farm them. I can understand removing them from hi-sec, but removing these from low-sec is ridiculous. Basically they are saying that if you want PvP in low-sec it can only be in the form of using probes and getting ganks. There are no  fights in belts anymore and now there will be no fights in these anomalies anymore. Yes, there is always faction warfare, but considering that the entire faction warfare mechanic (plexes that appear on the overview) is pretty much a poor copy of these static plexes, I don't think that is a great example. So CCP, please don't get rid of low-sec plexes.
.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Videos of New Eden Open Matches (Updated)

According to the forums, people can't seem to find the videos of the New Eden Open Tournament. This is probably because it is almost impossible to find them. They can be found on the OWN3D CCP Games channel website but they are not well labeled. So, as a public service, here the links are to each match:

Day 1

18:12 - Match #1     Raiden. 58th Squadron     vs     Last Huzzah (match starts 8:30 minutes in)
18:25 - Match #2     Why Dash     vs     RONIN and pixies
18:38 - Match #3     Expendables     vs     The HUNS
18:53 - Match #4     Tinkerhell and Alts     vs     Tengu Terror
19:06 - Match #5     Oxygen Isonopes     vs     Africa's Finest
19:19 - Match #6     Something Else     vs     The Exiled Gaming
19:34 - Match #7     Perihelion Beryllium Duralumin     vs     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters
19:47 - Match #8     ISN - Incursion Shiny Network     vs     Baaaramu
20:00 - Match #9     Asine Hitama's team     vs     EFS
20:15 - Match #10     Much Crying Old Experts     vs     DeepWater
20:28 - Match #11     Blue Ballers     vs     The Reputation Cartel

Day 2

18:12 - Match #12     Why Dash     vs     The HUNS
18:25 - Match #13     Tinkerhell and Alts     vs     Oxygen Isonopes
18:38 - Match #14     ISN - Incursion Shiny Network     vs     EFS
18:53 - Match #15     Guiding Hand Social Club     vs     Last Huzzah
19:06 - Match #16     RONIN and Pixies     vs     Expendables
19:19 - Match #17     Tengu Terror     vs     Africa's Finest
19:34 - Match #18     Something Else     vs     XXXMity
19:47 - Match #19     My Little Nulli     vs     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters
20:00 - Match #20     Baaaramu     vs     Asine Hitama's Team
20:15 - Match #21     8 CAS     vs     DeepWater
20:28 - Match #22     The Reputation Cartel     vs     Team Ineluctable

Day 3

18:12 - Match #23     Raiden. 58th Squadron     vs     Something Else
18:25 - Match #24     Tengu Terror     vs     The HUNS
18:38 - Match #25     Expendables     vs     Tinkerhell and Alts
18:53 - Match #26     Guiding Hand Social Club     vs     The Exiled Gaming
19:06 - Match #27     Perihelion Beryllium Duralumin     vs     Team Ineluctable
19:19 - Match #28     DeepWater     vs     EFS
19:34 - Match #29     Baaaramu     vs     Much Crying Old Experts
19:47 - Match #30     My Little Nulli     vs     Blue Ballers
20:00 - Match #31     Last Huzzah     vs     RONIN and Pixies
20:15 - Match #32     Africa's Finest     vs     XXXMity
20:28 - Match #33     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters     vs     Asine Hitama's Team
20:41 - Match #34     8 CAS     vs     The Reputation Cartel
20:56 - Match #35     Something Else     vs     The HUNS
21:09 - Match #36     Expendables     vs     Guiding Hand Social Club
21:22 - Match #37     Perihelion Beryllium Duralumin     vs     EFS
21:27 - Match #38     Much Crying Old Experts     vs     My Litle Nulli

Day 4

18:12 - Match #39     Last Huzzah     vs     Something Else
18:25 - Match #40     Expendables     vs     Africa's Finest
18:38 - Match #41     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters     vs     EFS
18:53 - Match #42     Much Crying Old Experts     vs     8 CAS
19:06 - Match #43     RONIN and Pixies     vs     XXXMity <-- 3 Malices!!!
19:19 - Match #44     Asine Hitama's Team     vs     The Reputation Cartel
19:34 - Match #45     Last Huzzah     vs     Expendables
19:55 - Match #46     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters     vs     Much Crying Old Experts

 Day 5

18:12 - Match #47     Expendables     vs     XXXMity
18:25 - Match #48     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters     vs     The Reputation Cartel
19:14 - Match #49     RONIN and Pixies     vs     Expendables
19:29 - Match #50     Asine Hitama's Team     vs     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters
20:16 - Match #51     RONIN and Pixies     vs     Expendables <- Re-match

Final

18:12 - Match #53     Asine Hitama's Team     vs     RONIN and Pixies
18:25 - Match #54     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters     vs     Expendables
19:14 - Match #55     Asine Hitama's Team     vs     RONIN and Pixies
19:29 - Match #56     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters     vs     Expendables
20:31 - Match #57     Goggle Wearing Internet Crime Fighters     vs     Expendables
21:40 - Match #58     Asine Hitama's Team     vs     RONIN and Pixies
Match #59  If match is needed:    Asine Hitama's Team    vs    RONIN and Pixies

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chess Needs Balancing ... More than EVE

Balancing issues in EVE are getting a lot of attention from CCP. It has been several years since the last major re-balancing (the nano-nerf). Of course EVE is not the only game with significant balance issues that have gone unaddressed for a long time. I think that Chess needs to have some major re-balancing.

Yes Chess! Think about it. The last 'balancing' was when the Queen of Spain decided that the piece next to the King should be a Queen, and not a first minister, and that the Queen should be the ultimate piece, able to move like a Rook or a bishop. Nothing was done to fix the en-passant aggression mechanics that lead new players to abandon the game after accusing experienced players of haX. That was 500 years ago.

The first thing that should be looked at is the various tiers of the pieces. It is ridiculous that each bishop is restricted to only playing on half the board. Meanwhile rooks and knights can go anywhere. Why use a bishop or a rook when a Queen can do anything either of those pieces can do. Something needs to be done.

While we are at it, if the Queen is so powerful, how can a simple pawn defeat it. Queens should be immune to the effects of pawns.

We also need some better gear. I have been playing chess for thirty years. How come I can't put a faction hardener on my King. Just the other day I was playing against a no0b and I realized, I had no advantage from skill-points or equipment over the no0b. This is just silly. In EVE we have a system where we can get fair 1v1 where my skill makes my guns shoot farther hand harder than the new player. EVE like skills needs to be introduced into chess ASAP. Perhaps a rook should only move two squares per level of the Rook skill or something. Same for other pieces. This would really change things up and keep experienced players happy.

Chess also has way way too much alpha. It seems like every piece dies under the first shot. We need to introduce hit-points and damage. It should take a while to take down a queen. The idea that a single no0b with a pawn can take down my most powerful piece instantly.... just bad game design.

So, CCP, get on it. Chess is waiting. Go rebalanced it and stop messing about with my Rifter (which now sucks thank-you very much).

Monday, September 17, 2012

[AAR] [Sept 16, 02:00] PVP Basic Roam

In Agony we usually do After Action Reports (AAR) after a roam. This past weekend I ran the roam for PVP-Basic class offered by Agony Unleashed. It has long been a goal of mine in EVE to run of these class roams. They are a total blast. Below is my AAR.
This roam was definitely a challenge. It was the first Time I was primary FC for a class roam (I had in the past taken over a BASIC roam half way through) and I was looking forward to it. Unfortunately we got off to a poor start. Providence was our first entry point and although things looked good as we set out, good engagements proved hard to find. I made a mistake and lost a bunch of rifters sent in as bait to a bomber gang. All I can say in defense is that at least I only lost a handfull of ships, and not the entire fleet. Between Providence and Catch all we could scout out were a couple of 30 man battle-cruiser gangs with full support that I didn't particularly want to welp the fleet up against. We did manage a few ganks including a loki and a rapier. Sometimes you have to take the fight that is handed to you (it was well into the second hour of the roam) and when I had one of the BC gangs split up I took the chance to see what we could kill. We didn't get much.

At this point half the class ended podded back in tanoo, and the other half was stuck in ESA, 25 jumps through hi-sec/low-sec away. It took about half an hour to re-unify the fleet and now with significantly diminished numbers we set out again.

This time we concentrated on Curse first burning into catch. Surprisingly things were much better. The big gangs were no more and we had a good time in SV5 taking on a BC heavy gang. It was beautiful watching them cut down and killed piece by piece. This is what the class is all about. Afterwords we ended up welping in providence (details are hazy in my memory). I proceeded to call it quits after just over 5 hours of roaming. GG took some remnants out again but apparently targets were few at that point.


We killed about 30 targets (mostly T2 cruisers and BC with a BS and T3 thrown in), and whelped our 60 ship frigate fleet twice.

I would like to thank all of those who supported the roam. Especially Greygall who is clearly some sort of PVP-University cyborg.

I think the students had fun which in the end is the most important thing. About a dozen students popped their PVP cherry on the roam :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

R.I.P. Vile Rat

Ever since I started playing EVE there has been one dark thread that has permeated the game. As a Canadian living a middle class lifestyle working in IT I am about as far removed from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the trouble in the Middle East. Although the Canadian Military went to war, the rest of Canada did not. Yet in EVE those wars are always in the background. I remember learning that two of the five members of the first Corp I was in were ex-us soldiers living on disability due to injuries and EVE was the only place they could hide from their broken bodies and PTSD. In my own current corp several  members have had to go AFG due to various deployments. I am sure there are many who have either blown my ship up, been on the receiving end of my autocannons, or just passed me in the night, whose accounts have gone dark, not because they got bored with the game, but rather they were killed in action or, sadly more likely, taken their own life due to the horrors suffered 'Over There'.

Hearing about the recent death of Vile Rat in a very troubling incident in Libya reminds us that while EVE is a pure dystopia, we all share a common bond. My heart goes out to his family, especially his children. It also goes out to the families of all EVE players who have died due to the events in the Middle-East and Asia over the last ten years. For those of you who are serving, have served, or live in those areas I would like to say that although I will try blow up your ship and pod you any chance I get, I consider you all my best of friends. I know that you all feel the same way.

Donations to his family can be made here...

Sunday, September 9, 2012

PVP-BASIC Class from Agony Unleashed this up-comming weekend

I thought I would give a quick mention to the upcomming PVP-BASIC class being offered by Agony unleashed next weekend. Have a look at this link to find out about the class and to register : PVP-BASIC September 15th/16th @ 02:00 hrs. This is a Friday night class with a Saturday night roam for the North American Timezone. These classes are great for new and old PVPers alike. They cover the basics of fitting and flying ships for PVP in EVE Online. And then once we get 50 or so students up to speed, we have a roam the following night. Great fun.

I am a little nervous this time as yours truly is going to be the primary FC for this event. So bring at least three ships for re-fitting over the course of the night. I don't promise that your pod will survive, but I do promise that many good fights will be had.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

5 Best Fights from the Tenth Alliance Tournament

I think this past alliance tournament was the best one we have had in quite a while. The rule change allowing up to 6 ships in the qualifiers and 12 in the main event really added to the dynamic of the tourney. Fights typically had multiple phases with the ships of the line (Command ships, battleships, strategic cruisers and battle-cruisers) plugging away at close range, while supporting frigate wings duked it out as well. However, I think there were five fights that really stood out as must see events...

5. AT 10 Day 8 Match 15 - FINAL - HUN Reloaded vs Verge of Collapse How long has it been since the final of the tournament has been one of the best fights of the series. HUN Reloaded bringing the Vargur yet again, and Verge actually bringing the obvious counter with two Sentinels. Sentinels are bonused to tracking disruption, which helped against the Vargurs, but more importantly they neuted out the repping power of the HUN logistics. Great fight. 4. AT 1- Day 8 Match 14 - Verge of Collapse vs Exodus. A fantastic match between two similar teams. Remarkable job by logistics keeping a Verge Kronus alive in what must have been 1% structure. Very close fight! A real nail-biter and a great example of the Vindi/Kronos heavy setups that have really dominated the tournament. 3. Pandemic Legion vs Darkside. A rematch of the fight from AT9 where Pandemic Legion lost to Darkside and ended their three year reign as tournament champion. But even better, PL brought an increadible setup including three Widow black ops battleships. The Widows brought great ECM but also huge damage from bonused torpedoes, enough to drop Darkside's Kronos earlier and then slowley chewed through Darkside's team. 2. AT 10 Day 8 Match 7 - Exodus. vs Agony Empire I am a little biased here being a member of Agony. Agony brought an 'Unbreakable' setup. Mediocre DPS, but not as low as people think, but a mother-f##$# of a tank. Using a Basilisk to generate cap for a logistics Tengu meant that it could tank the entire Exodus team. For nine minutes the Agony team tanked everything to the astonishment of the everyone watching. Killing a frigate meant that Agony could win with two points! However it was not to be. In the final minute Exodus found a chink in the Agony shield and took down the ferox before logistics was able to land a repair. Great fight Exodus. 1. Pandemic Legion vs Rote Kapelle WOW ... what a match. Pandemic legion, favoured to win the tournament going in pulling out the stops to take on Rote Kapelle. Bringing no less then four AT 9 tourney prize frigates and a super pimped faction fit flagship, everyone thought that it was over. Except Rote did the unexpected. Rather then going for the glory and killing those expensive frigates, they ignored them and went after the DPS taking out both PL battleships. It was all over for PL after that. PL managed to save it's prize ships but not the match.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

New Definition of Blobbing (Thanks to NCdot)

When I first started playing EVE I had no idea what was happening in fights. But after a few battles I started to understand what a blob was..





Blob (verb): To win a fight by bringing more ships than my side. Not to be confused with brilliant strategy which is when my side wins by bringing more ships. 


However it seems that my definition does not include the fact that I can apparently blob with a single ship. Take a look at this fight (below) from my first attempt at streaming...

Now I admit the video is very grainy, this was my first attempt and still working on the settings. But these were the three encounters I had with a certain pilot from the NCdot.

First encounter was in M-OEE8 comming in through the Taisy gate. They had an Enyo, Oracle, Drake and one other ship that I can't make out in the video. I ran away in my Enyo.

However the guy in the Enyo follows me which I enganged a few jumps away in E-OG14. I killed him easily. He complained in local about my single ECM drone.

I few jumps later the same guy catches up with me in H-W9TY in his Cynabal with his friends in a Legion and a Sabre. They killed me. Fair enough.

For whatever reason I thought he might like a video of the encounter so I sent him the link. I did say that the ECM drone was a bit cheap. This was his response...

i dont know how the stream looked,but i can tell you the vid quality was lacking. 2 things.. allthough normally i dont bother with eve mail im gonna make an exception this time. first you put a ancillary booster on a armor ship; you took the fitting hit,useing fitting mods to shoe horn it in.. over resists..over a armor repper .. you put that on.. that tells me its Overpowered and needs some adjustments as it is really ''free reps''. 2nd. Ewar in itself isnt bad.. and as much as i hate the falcon at the very least a special ship has to risked .. ewar drones IMO ruin pvp.. 1v1 especially : its a pocket falcon with no real risk.. it make what should be a hard decision (do i engage or not) into a easy one ( i got a chance to escape): haveing said all that ..what really burns me is ONE drone jammed me out for most of the fight. the ancillary thing.. i can live with.. its not your fault ccp made a module that essentially renders all other forms of reps obsolete. kudos to you for putting it on.. for the record even if i wasnt jammed.. i wouldnt have used the web to escape.. the web is help with tracking,and to ensure that if they engage they have to stay in the fight. Its a wall of text.. i know. I give you props for thinking of the fit and for at least in this evemail acknowledgeing that ewar is ''a bit cheap'' to that i agree .. part of me doesnt blame you for useing them either.. but it aint the part of me that just gets to sit there as some random dice role rendered me helpless. :) seeya on the battlefield


TL;DR: I effectively blobbed him by bringing logistics (medium ASB) and a pocket falcon (single ECM drone).

Let me get this straight. He fights me three times. Twice I was seriously outnumbered by him but that was fair as far as he was concerned (I died and was podded the second time). The one time I managed to get him on solo I basically cheated by bringing the equivalent of two other ships with me (a drone and a shield booster). Give me a break!

I fly solo a lot. I have no real complaints about being blobbed. It is part of EVE. If you feel the game is fun by bringing ten to one odds, then good for you. But to be accused of blobbing while flying solo!

Edit: I know he doesn't actually use the word blob in his rant. But he says I brought 'free reps' (aka logistics) and a 'pocket falcon' (aka falcon), basically my fit was unfair. I can sort of understand people claiming it is unfair if I had like hi-grade crystal implants combined with a-type deadspace gear plus a tech-3 booster or something (not really all is fair IMHO) but I did not. All I did was fit the ship with standard modules with an unusual tank and this guy felt the need to write a wall of text complaining about my fit.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I Will be Attempting to Stream LIVE Agony vs Godfathers @1600

Since the outcome of this match is irrelevant, I will be attempting to stream Agony vs Godfathers LIVE from my ship.

CCP's feed:
EVE TV

Toterra's Feed starting at about 1600 before match begins:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Streaming EVE on OWN3D

Over the last 6 months I have been enjoying watching Sard Caid's twitchTV stream. I prefer watching streams to highlight videos since streams show solo/small gang EVE for what it is, hunting with 99% boredom and 1% terror. Most videos exclude out the 99% boredom part which is where most of the strategy lies. If I wanted instant PVP I would play CounterStrike.

With the alliance tournament broadcasting on OWN3d I did a little research and noticed that both twitch, and own3d offer free streaming accounts. With a little digging I learned that the software needed, xsplit is available for no cost. With about an hour of configuring and installing and troubleshooting I was broadcasting on the OWN3D site. :)

My current play style is basically running a small gang as FC once or twice a month, plus lots of solo roaming 3 or 4 times a week. The solo roaming can be a pretty lonely existence so I started to broadcast the feed. With as many as a dozen viewers I jumped through gate after gate until eventually DIAF, sometimes with a kill or two, sometimes not.

All in all I have really enjoyed broadcasting and will now be broadcasting all of my future solo activities and probably some of my gang activities as well. You can find my broadcast when it is up at the top of this blog site (once the tourney is over), or at my site on OWN3d called 'Toterra'. Videos of the roams will be uploaded when complete. In general I will be broadcasting when I am on from 0200 to 0500 eve time depending on my RL schedule.

Cheers!


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dual ASB Ferox ... My thoughts

In the theme of flying ASB battle-cruisers I have been giving the Ferox a go. TBH it has been quite frustrating. The Ferox is no Drake, no Brutix and certainly no Cyclone. It could be a great ship, however for a variety of reasons it doesn't cut it. Let's look at the final fitting I have settled on...

[Ferox, Toterra's Ferox]
F85 Peripheral Damage System I
Co-Processor II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 150
X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 400

Medium Diminishing Power System Drain I
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Null M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Null M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Null M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Null M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Null M
Heavy Electron Blaster II, Null M

Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I


Hobgoblin II x5


On paper the above fit is quite a beast. Overheated the X-Large Ancillary Shield booster can handle 1100 DPS. When that is reloading the Large on can take over and handle 460 DPS. Quite good. Even better with a Blue Pill. Targeting range is a sensor damping resistant 75km and the sensor strength of 19 gives it good resistance to ECM drones, if not good sufficient against jamming ships. Dual damage mods means the DPS is also reasonable with 538 using void and the drones, pumping up to 603 overheated. The Shield Boost Amplifier can be swapped out for a web to trade tank for tackle. This should be a good ship.

Under this right circumstances it works wonders. In one solo engagement I took on a shield tanked myrm and three frigates, emerging victorious. In small shield BC response fleets the ship also performed well.

Unfortunately the envelope of engagements that this ship will do well in is rather small. It suffers from three major deficiencies, none of which can be remedied by switching out different modules.

1. Short Range Weapons:  With Null M this ship has an optimal of 6.3km + a falloff of 5.3km. That means that it can do sweet f@ck all damage to an enemy ship outside of scram range. Several times out roaming I was engaged by a target I should have been able to fight, but I was pointed and nothing I could do would get me in range to do real damage. Missiles and medium autocannons can usually accomplish something when a target is within warp disruptor range. These blasters can't. Switching to larger blasters squeezes the fitting too much.

2. Small Cargo: This was really frustrating. The Cyclone has over a third more cargo space then a Ferox. This meant that while a Cyclone can hold ammo and two full reloads of cap boosters with room to spare, a Ferox can only hold a single reload with a couple of extra charges. This hurts in two ways. Firstly the Ferox can't keep its tank going for very long. Secondarily, once an engagement is finished, the Ferox urgently needs to find a safe harbour to resupply.

3. Speed: The bane of Caldari ships, but considering that this one has to somehow get into close range... speed is just to essential. This ship does not have it.

To summarize, the Ferox, nice in EFT, just doesn't cut it for Toterra.

Of course having said this I am sure some video is about to come out with Kil2 or Garmon owning half of nullsec with a ferox ...



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ultimate Question - Quick Survey

IRL I am working on an interesting project involving a specific type of customer survey. Since I find it very interesting I have decided to go ahead and try to do a similar survey for EVE Online. Please fill out the very short survey through the link below. It only has three questions, two of which are operational, so shouldn't take much time. I would appreciate it if people would only respond once. I will discuss the responses in a future blog.

Click here to take the survey
Thanks!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Inferno - A One Month Review

Note: This is not a review of EVE .. which I obviously rate 11/10, but rather a look at how the features from the expansion have been.

Now that it has been over a month since Inferno has come out in full I thought it would be good to do a look at the success/fail of the features introduced.

Missiles and Launchers + Graphics Update + Effects Bar + UI Enhancements
5/5 Missiles look awesome, visually they are great. As nice as they are however, I never really am zoomed in enough to see them. Other stuff is a step in the right direction.


War Declaration System + Mercenary Marketplace
1/5. Any feature that needs a complete emergency overhaul two weeks after launch isn't good. Great concept, terrible implementation.

Kill Reports
4/5. Pretty good, but could be better. After years of looking at eve-kill/battleclinic kill reports, these don't seem to be as refined. Best part is the ability to save fittings though.

Factional Warfare
1/5. Headed in a better direction, but any feature that allows the goons to exploit to the tune of 5+ trillion isk while smashing the market for anything LP related is serious fail.

Modules
3/5. I love the new Auxiliary shield boosters but think they are unbalanced. The others, not so much. The game changing module of the micro-jump drive has not been introduced :(

Character Creator
0/0 ... I just couldn't care less.

Unified Inventory
1/5. It is terrible. Only gets a point since they are iterating on it so fast.

Incursions
1/5. Basically just a balancing exercise, one that was mostly rolled back after introduction.

Summary:
16/35 = 46%. An F, ironically this is still one of the best expansions since I started playing. However most of the major features required significant iteration or rollback within weeks of launch.Still love the game though....


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster Cyclone

I have been playing around and loosing a lot of x-large ancillary boost cyclones lately. TBH I have not had a lot of kills with them but mostly that is due to my willingness to engage impossible fights. After playing around with EFT and a bunch of ships I have two solo fits, as well as a fleet fit that I think are pretty much going to be my standard for the next while. Any of these fits represents new highs in tankability for battlecruisers.

1. Solo Fit
[Cyclone, Solo]

Co-Processor II
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 400
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitor I
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Assault Missile
Small Nosferatu II

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Processor Overclocking Unit I
Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I


Hammerhead II x3
Hobgoblin II x2

EHP: 35.3k (92k after 41 seconds)
Overheated Rep: 1281
DPS (including heat and drones): 632

Basically this is a close range brawler. It can tank any reasonable fleet that it goes up against for about a minute that the cap booster runs. After that you had better either be able to get out, or have applied incomming DPS down to less than 500 DPS. Overheat your invul and your shield booster (probably good idea to make sure they are separated). This should handle any other BC/cruiser/HAC except another high active tank one like a tripple rep myrmaddon easily if you can get them scrammed/webbed. The nos is to make sure that the scram/web/invul continue to run.

2. Dual Rep Solo
[Cyclone, Dual rep]

Co-Processor II
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 400
Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 150
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Small Nosferatu II
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Processor Overclocking Unit I
Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I


Hammerhead II x3
Hobgoblin II x2

EHP: 35.3k (107k after 41 seconds)
Overheated Rep (both): 1791
Overheated Rep (xlarge only): 1281
Overheated Rep (large only): 510
DPS (including heat and drones): 535


With dual reps (one large, one xl) you can likely survive at least one reload cycle if you can get incomming dps down to less than 800. Use the xl to start tanking. When it runs out switch to the large. If huge damage at start you can max out repping for a brief time but you better either kill their dps quick or get to a gate. With overheating you can tank about 107k EHP if you max out and survive the 40 seconds (about the same as a drake). Much more if you can hold on 60 seconds for a reload. Main problem with this fit is the lack of a web. Targets may be able to run away and frigates/destroyers pose a major problem. Neuts may help deal with some frigates.

3. Fleet (by fleet I mean relatively small gang < 30)
[Cyclone, Fleet or Solo]

Co-Processor II
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
X-Large Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 400
Large Shield Extender II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Assault Missile
Small Nosferatu II

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Processor Overclocking Unit I
Medium Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I


Hammerhead II x3
Hobgoblin II x2

(Note requires a 1% cpu implant)

EHP: 45k (102k after 41 seconds)
Overheated Rep: 1281
DPS (including heat and drones): 620

Very similar to the above. Slightly lower DPS and no web but 30% more buffer tank. will help avoid being alpha'd by Tier-3 BC and give a bit more time for logistics or other reps to kick in. Basically you are bait/heavy tackle. Get in close to targets and unleash hell. Use active booster to keep alive while calling on logistics support. If under fire and you can get away to reload cap boosters do so. If using this solo then the lack of a web poses difficulties, but it has a much higher chance of surviving until the second round of repping can kick in.

Additional notes:

1. Very important... load the cap boosters ahead of time. The icon is IMHO a little deceiving. If it loaded it will look like a cap booster with 13 cap booster charges. Not like a shield booster.
2. Overheat is is very important. In addition to a duration bonus, there is a shield bonus. You can rep more per cap booster charge overheated then not. Unless you are really sure you don't need to or have significant heat damage already, overheat. The boosters and invul fields tend not to cause much damage while overheating.
3. Manage your reloads carefully. The 60s delay is a killer. If at any point you can get away to reload you might want to seriously consider the opportunity. Also if on a gate while reloading, if you go through your 60 seconds will start once again.
4. Unless you are fitting two boosters, it is better to think of these modules as buffer then normal active tank. Since there is a 60s reload you can't really count on these to cut enemy DPS down the way you would with an active tank. Tanking incoming fire is not something that you can do with these (unless you have two). Instead these are like wierd buffer tanks with the drawback that they take 30 seconds or so to come online and don't naturally recharge.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Determining Opponent's Fit - A Fight with a Daredevil

I had a great little solo fight in my Jaguar against a Daredevil in Syndicate a while back that I have been meaning to post about for a while. A Daredevil and a Jaguar are normally two very different ships. However for an experiment I have been playing around with using a armour repping Jaguar with some decent gank potential. Here is my experimental fit:

Jaguar, Toterra's Jaguar]
Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Prototype Armor Explosive Hardener I
Prototype Armor Kinetic Hardener I

Limited 1MN MicroWarpdrive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Small Capacitor Booster II

200mm AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
200mm AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
200mm AutoCannon II,Republic Fleet Fusion S
Rocket Launcher II,Caldari Navy Inferno Rocket

Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I


This is definitely not the standard Jaguar fit. However it does achieve a nice, high resist, armour tank with good dps, good e-war, good cap while preserving great speed and agility.


However the Daredevil is a nasty ship to be going up against. Massive DPS combined with a bonus to the effectiveness of the web meant that I knew if I got tackled, I wasn't going to be going anywhere. On the other hand it usually does not have much of a tank. Of course, with my armour jag fit, I didn't have much of a tank either :(. What I needed to know was how the daredevil was fitted to so I could maximize my changes.

Fortunately I was was able to determine the Daredevil fit pretty well. I played station games with him. I turned on my MWD, let him tackle me and noticed that the MWD went off, and I was webbed. I also watched his speed that seemed to max out in the 1500m/s range. This meant he was fit with a scram, a web and an afterburner.

He shot at me a bunch of times, damage notifications indicated that he was hitting me with Neutron blasters. I also noted that he was applying NOS to me as well.

Since I was always within station dock range, and I never aggressed I was able to dock up whenever I wanted to. I now had a very good idea of his fit. Neutron IIs and a NOS in the highs. AB/SCRAM/WEB in the mids, and probably an active tank in the lows because the NOS usually is found on ships with active tanks.

I was now ready to fight him :)

I undocked and he was sitting right on the undock :(. I powered away from the undock 'fluttering' my MWD. What this means is I used the MWD but set my speed to about 1200m/s. I did not want to give away that I was speed fit. I had used it earlier while assessing his fit but hopped that he did not clue in or figured that I changed fit. Once he was out of position I docked up again.. then immediately undocked as soon as my session timer allowed. I was a nice 15 km from the target and set my keep at range to 18km. I pelted him with barrage and rockets while my MWD kept me out of range of his blasters. Once I blew through his shields and began to pelt into his armour I stopped firing... switched ammo and burnt right for him. Suddenly I was tackled and he basically sat on me at 0 while it became a DPS race. While I was committed (top speed around 30m/s while webbed), he could have disengaged at any point... however he was webbed and would have taken him about 10-15 seconds to get out of my tackle range. Since his weapons were close range only, and he would be taking fire the entire time, this was obviously not something he wanted to do.

Overheating everything it came down to the wire. I had about 30% structure left when he popped. Thanks to my earlier stripping of his shields, I was victorious. After some nice imperial navy and c-type drops I docked up, repaired and went on my way to loose my ship soon after in another engagement.

I love this game :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Alliance Tournament X - Ship Point Changes

They have announced the new alliance tournament. As a junkie for this sort of thing I am excited. Unfortunately I think the timing of running through July is going to prevent me from participating much. However I will do what I can to report on the happenings throughout the tournament. There are several interesting rule changes. Firstly they are going to try (and fail I suspect) to prevent the match throwing, multiple team shenanigans of previous tournaments. Anyone caught trying will be kicked. Good luck on that CCP LOL. Other than that, the biggest change is the number of ships. Pre-Qualifier matches will now have a 6 ship limit, and the main matches will have up to 12 capsuleer teams. This combined with relatively small changes to points puts the average number of points/ship down from 10 to 8.5. Expect to see less tech-3 cruisers and commandships, with more frigates and cruisers, especially considering that Battleship sized ships are receiving a point deduction. Also interesting is that recon ships are now worth more one more point, while heavy interdictors are worth one point less. Below is the summary of the point changes:
Ship TypePoints
AT 7AT 8AT 9AT 10
Battleship, Faction21212120
Marauder19191817
Battleship 18181817
Black Ops Battleship18181817
Command Ship16161616
Strategic Cruiser16161616
Cruiser, Faction13141414
Heavy Assault Cruiser15141313
Battlecruiser (Tier 2)13131313
Recon Ship13131314
Heavy Interdictor13131312
Logistics Cruiser12121212
Battlecruiser (Tier 3)12
Battlecruiser (Tier 1)11111010
Cruiser11988
Bomber 6666
Electronic Attack Frigate5555
Frigate, Faction4444
Assault Frigate4444
Interdictor 3333
Interceptor 3333
Frigate3332
Hauler3333
Destroyer2223
Anyways, I am sure things will be interesting. I know that my alliance is already making plans. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Blog Banter 35 - Lovely Rifter - Pity it Will Never Be Released

Like pretty much everyone else who plays EVE I was excited by the Lego Rifter and voted for it. Now that we have released 10,000 votes the project is moving on to the next phase - the review phase. This is how Lego describes this new phase (just the essential bits) :
What happens now?
... "LEGO Jury" composed of designers, product managers, and other key team members will examine the idea ... determine if the concept meets our high standards ... and fit with the LEGO brand. ... When finished, we make a "go/no go" decision to develop and sell the Rifter. ...
The LEGO CUUSOO Team

So here is the important question... do you think EVE, and the EVE community what with the goons and Mittanigate and all that, fits with the LEGO brand?

The other three projects from LEGO CUUSOO all fit nicely. Two spaceships are textbook LEGO products which totally fit with the brand. Minecraft is a reletively non-violent game that has actual similarity to LEGO in many ways, it fits nicely. Do you think a game where people get drunk on stage and say stupid things, a game known as a griefers paradise, a game with a terrible public perception fits with the LEGO brand?

No, it does not. Time to get excited about Back to the Future I guess.

I do hope that I am wrong.

Note: There will be no podcast this week as I am off to Bermuda for long needed vacation.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sard Caid Guest FC Agony Alumni Roam Plus Two More Things

Just a couple of quick things for today:

1. If you an Alumni of one of the Agony Unleashed courses I highly suggest you have a look at our Guest FC roam and seminar led by none other then Sard Caid (bloodthirsty pirate/twitchtv streamer)! You can check out the enrollment thread here --> [06 May @ 18:00] Alumni Roam / Seminar with Special Guest FC - Sard Caid! This is going to be an absolute blast!



2. Check out the new missile animations. They are asking for feedback and they are awesome! I love the missiles tracking out of the silos.



3. Lastly just in case any of you are living under a rock.... go show your support for the LEGO Rifter project. As of this writing we are 88% of the way there to LEGO looking at making a kit. I WANT ONE! For those who are worried about getting spam from signing up, I signed up over a month ago and have not received a single unsolicited email from them. So no excuses... we have 300k subscribers to EVE, I don't see why we don't have that many support votes for EVE LEGO!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Solo Roaming in Cruisers ... On a Budget

An absolutely fantastic post on Failheap-Challenge by Prometheus, [HOW2PLAY] Solo Roaming in Cruisers, gives detailed fitting and tactic recommendations for Brawling T2 and faction cruisers. If you read only one thing about EVE PvP strategies this week, that is the post you want to read. In it he covers a variety of ships that he feels are ideal for roaming around in.

For Prometheus, he has a laundry list of attributes needed for a roaming cruiser...

- tank more than 35k ehp
- not be reliant on cap boosters
- align faster than 7 seconds
- be faster than 1200m/s before heat
- be capable of dealing over 550dps

Any ship that can meet these requirements can be counted on to stand up in a close range fight against similar and even many above class ships.

The problem with his post is that the ships are expensive. At about 200 million isk per ship they are hard to justify for many players. So the question remains, how close to that level of performance is possible using T1 ships? After a bit of playing with PYFA I came up with the following fit for a rupture:



Tank is just short of the 35k target, but close enough IMHO. It is not reliant on cap boosters, however cap is limited if those small neuts are in fact used. It is a bit slow to align however it is faster then the 1200 m/s. DPS is just over 80% of the target.

Obviously this ship can not keep up with it's T2 and faction counterparts. However it is pretty close. A Vexor or a thorax also can be fit quite nicely to be very close to meeting Prometheus' criteria.

I would suggest to anyone, if you are going to be trying out one of those expensive fits, fly and loose at least 5 of these cheaper T1 cruisers first. Otherwise you are just throwing money away.

Edit: Since someone asked me, here is a possible Vexor fit (Keep in mind that I am not overly familiar with fitting Gallente)


A little less tank then the Rupture, but, counting the drones, more gank. A very nice ship and one that should be feared.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It is the Mistakes That Get You

Today I wanted to talk about two recent losses I had to gatecamps. In both cases I could have survived, but I made tactical errors that cost me my ship.

The first fight led to this lossmail: Jaguar Lost In Providence
After a long run through null from syndicate I had been bumping around near the Dital and Assah entrances to providence looking for some action. Withe the recent changes to Assault Ships I am still looking for my 'New' Jaguar fit. Jaguars now have the tracking bonus so in theory the web is no longer as needed. This plus the extra low-slot makes for several interesting possibilities. The fit I was in was a heavy tank, some gank MWD fit with two medium shield extenders giving it about 15k EHP and + decent shield recharge rate. This is a very tough nugget. A nanofibre in the new low slot makes this ship about as fast and maneuverable as the shield Rifter. On the downside, damage is only mediocre.

The problem with this fit vs a more ganky fit is that with the lowish DPS it can take a long time to kill a target. I was not going to be popping anyone under the eyes of their gang. Unfortunately all I could find were a series of 5-10 ship gate-camps in the area.

In the end it was one of these camps that got me. In 9-FOB on the 4B-NQN gate I jumped into a HIC bubble. There was a gang on the other side so rather then bump back and forth a few times, I decided to burn away. I failed to realize the significance of the Ashimmu on the field :(. With it's high price tag and bonus to webifiers it was likely fitting a faction web extending it's range. Not realizing that this was the major threat on the field, I was more concerned with the small ship tackle, my escape trajectory brought me within about 15km of this ship where I was promptly stopped cold. Going 300m/s 20km from gate while under MWD was not going to get me to safety.... I died.

The loss led to this loss-mail: Jaguar Lost In Syndicate
This was a bit of an experimental fit, an active armour tanked Jaguar. I have seen these before and thought, with the extra low-slot, it was quite viable. In this case however it was the pilot (me) who led to the loss. There was a gate-camp on the FD-MLJ to PF-346 gate (pretty much always a camp here). However the gate to X-M2LR was clear. I jumped through and held my cloak. 'Perhaps something interesting camping the other gate would come and chase me' I thought. Not a bad plan but execution is key. I held my cloak until something came through, in this case a stealth bomber uncloaked. I gave chase but couldn't catch it. At this point a Sabre came through and launched a bubble. Not having aggression and still 20km from the sabre I was safe. I could outrun a sabre or burn back to the gate. Unfortunately at this point I mis-clicked my overview and resorted everything by name. By the time I had my bearings (which entry was the gate) the sabre had moved into range and I was tackled. With other ships pouring in certain death came soon later. Oooops!

The importance of both of these losses was not that gate-camps killed me, it was that they killed me ONLY after I made avoidable tactical mistakes. Gate camps are a fact of life in 0.0. Some of them will be un-escapable. However most of them are not perfect. They can be dodged in a fast ship. It is the mistakes that get you.

Sidenote: Today is the 100-year anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic. For e the historical significance is this.... it is the first of many huge, and entirely avoidable, tragedies of the 20th century. Pity the 21st is off to an even worse start.