Tuesday, April 26, 2011

PI Complete

Last time I talked about my PI revenue from Anjali, I said that I was making 70 million a month. This was true. What I had completely forgotten about was that she was operating off of 4 planets instead of 5. If we take her 70, and divvy it by 4, each planet is generating approximately 17 million a month. With this taken into account, I expect her revenue to increase to approximately 87 million a month in the 4 days it will take her to develop Interplanetary Consolidation 4.

As of tomorrow, my second PI manager, Old Man Reschef, will have all 5 of his planets with level 4 Command Center upgrades. I expect his revenue stream to actually be higher than Anjali's. A deal has been brokered where some friends will save money, and there'll be guaranteed buyers. Since they'll be buying at 80% Jita, the income will most likely crest 100 million.

I've had to repeatedly sort out kinks in my own PI however. The first time, I had forgotten to route raw materials into factories on one planet. The second time, I left one planet on 1 hour cycles. The third time, I had mistakenly made silicon when I really needed toxic metals. At this point, I'm praying I've worked out my kinks, and the only place left to screw up is on the Assembly planet. I'll need to remember to route the processed materials to the correct factories, as I take care of all but that step (since I actually can't without the raw materials) on initial setup.

I expect monthly income to approach PLEX prices.

I got some figures for high-sec PI from the buyer of Old Man Reschef's PI fuels. In all cases, Reschef is producing at least double, strictly from a raw materials standpoint. In some cases, he is producing 5-6 times as much, also strictly from a raw materials standpoint. If we be extremely forgiving, then we can assume Reschef only makes double what hi-sec managers make. If we be extremely negative, we can say he pulls 6 times as much.

That range is as follows for hi-sec then:  16 million/month <= X <= 50 million/month

Since all of the PI fuels that multiple capsuleers in this buyer's corp produce are used on their POS tower, and it STILL isn't enough, you can guess that empire PI really is not the way to go even by optimistic standards. I almost couldn't believe my ears when I was told that for Noble Metals he was extracting only 20 per head per cycle, when even my worst planet extracts 85 per head cycle.

Hi-sec PI really does suck.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Taking Down the Thundercats, the Expensive Version

I've done a little thinking on it, undoubtedly like many others, and I think I have a strategy, based off of a few premises of the Thundercat operation.

Thundercat Strategy:
If I recall correctly, it goes like this:
1) Lots of Logi
2) Gang links for speed, sig radius, and shield resistance
3) Lots of Afterburner-Tengus with heavy missiles and 80% resists across the board with a nice buffer
4) Fleet warps in, fleet maintains traversal. Enemy fleet smashed.

Synopsis of Thundercat Strategy:
Groundbreaking, in that no one has done exactly this before. It's basically high DPS with uber tank, and super expensive to boot. I don't feel it's a massive innovation, but given the slow progress of fleet tactics, I guess it's pretty damn good in that regards in being such a huge success.

The strong points of this strategy are high damage, high tank, and extreme repair ability.

The downsides of this strategy are the necessity of many logistics and many Tengus, not to mention cost. Also, in an effort to reduce damage, the Tengus have given up a very important weapon, that being speed, and as such have fitted Afterburners instead of Microwarpdrives.

Plan of Attack:
While it is true that the Tengu is mighty and powerful, I feel it can be beaten by simply out performing it. The Tengu, in this fleet, is trying to do everything. It tries to be small, yet super difficult to kill, yet super offensive, and to a degree it does succeed. It has, as mentioned before, mitigated speed, thus tank, in an effort to be smaller, thus harder to hit (as opposed to impossible to hit, a grave miscalculation I believe).

While the Thundercat strategy relies on Shield Logistics and Tengus and transversal speed, I have an idea to overcome it. Simply put, cripple the speed, and out-DPS the opposing fleet. To do this, I call upon the other 3 tech 3 ships: The Legion, The Proteus, and the Loki.

The Legion:
In the following picture is a tech 2 fit of an Afterburner fit Legion. As you can see, the Legion, even only tech 2 fit, can boast a pretty decent tank, decent speed, MORE DPS than the Tengu (I believe at 550), but more importantly, 3 stasis webifers. The webifiers are crucial for negating speed, and it isn't easy by any means to mix ewar with Shield tanking.

What happens if you drop the AB for an MWD? Really, just a sacrifice in tank, no doubt worth it to make sure you land the webs on the enemy Tengus.

The Proteus:
You might be thinking to yourself, "I suppose the Proteus is the scrambler?" You'd be quite correct. The Proteus does have a subsystem that increases Scrambler range, useful in any circumstance except when unable to land the Scrambler. The following picture displays the statistics for the Proteus fit.

But wait, it does more damage than the Legion, so why do we have it? The answer is somewhat simple, somewhat complicated. I've decided that the Legion would be better served to land webs and Proteus to land scrams. The Legion does also have that benefit of a long optimal range, well inside scram and web range, but the Proteus can't make use of that range by itself, as it only has 3 midslots and needs all the power it can get for tank and gank. I feel the Legion is more a heavy tackler in this sense, only slightly weaker in tank and gank than the Proteus, but making up for it in allowing the Proteus to do any damage.

The Loki:
At this point, you've probably figured out the role of the Loki. You might be arguing with me about why I chose the Legion instead of the Loki, and the answer is simply because the Legion isn't used much, and I'd like it to see action. More relevant however, an armor Loki is going to do roughly half the DPS I've come out with for the Legion, and in order to match an armor tank like the Legion's, it needs to use Armor Hardeners instead of Energized Plating. While I will agree that the Loki could actually have a great tank, and use 4 or so webbers to slow opponents, it will do zero damage relatively speaking. I feel the Legion can fill this role as heavy tackler better than the Loki in this case, as the Legion can deal great damage, have a great tank, and use up 3 webbers (9+ minutes of capacitor, it really is cap-stable for all intents and purposes).

Getting back to it, if the Loki is not a Heavy Tackler, and not a DPS support ship, then it can only be a gang-link ship. The following shows the stats.

The gang-links it sports are Rapid Deployment, Passive Defense, and Evasive Maneuvers, basically everything a buffered armor fleet should have. All of the fits posted, except the MWD Legion, are shown benefitting from the gang-linked Loki. Speed has increased, resistance has increased, and sig radius has been reduced, pretty much optimal for an AHAC fleet.

Since the Loki is unprobable, only 1 is needed per fleet, as long as it set the fleet booster. A few others can easily be used for probing, and providing cloaked warp in points. The Legion - Proteus army can clean up shop, as long as they have the following support:

1) Probers, in case of evasive enemies (at least 1)
2) Interdictors (to prevent warp outs, as the enemy fleet will not be prepped for interdiction nullification, although if they were, this is what the Proteus's are for)
3) Armor Logistics. I hear the Guardian is better, I don't really know. Either way, this will need Logistics.

If Armor Loki's were used instead of Legions, the following would be best:

As you can see, it has a much stronger tank than any of the others, however, a vastly reduced firepower. Granted, that is regular Phased Plasma, but you can't realistically expect the Faction ammo to even play a role in a case such as this.

I would like to note that all the above figures were level 5 skills. No implants were used to affect those figures however, but could easily be added in to do so. It should also be noted that the ships' tank and speed will increase with faction fittings and tech 2 rigs. The gank can increase somewhat as well, by roughly 70-80 points for a reasonable yet not super expensive amount.

This fleet is not set in stone. Obviously, command ship can be used in place of the Loki, at the expense of a few percentage points of bonuses and various other perks while gaining extremely in tank and gank, neither of which should be used given that the command ship should provide bonuses, not risk itself in combat.

You could replace the Lokis with Huginns, but you then have to consider their usefulness given the Legions already webbing down the enemy. You could also use Arazus for warp disruption, but again, to what end with a dictor and the Proteus around?

Yes it is true that the Proteus and Legion give up some tank to accommodate greater firepower. That said, they are putting out much greater firepower than the Tengus, and in equal numbers, the Legion - Proteus army should win simply on the basis of more damage. Even if the Tengu horde does have all those logistics, any Tengu caught in 3 or more webs is not moving, and easy prey for the full fury of lasers and blasters. Any shield logistics caught by those webs is in a worse situation as it has far less survivability.

On the other side, the armor fleet can see the missiles coming, and anyone feeling they've been shot at by the horde can warp out, or worst case, tank the damage. The guardians will fix him up. The armor fleet in this way, gets an edge unheard of: by watching the missile fire, they can tell who gets hit, lock him up and repair him before the next wave hits even as he is being hit.

Next time I'll talk about a less pricey, if still effective, plan for dealing with Thundercats.

My Return

I've been mostly gone for the last 2 weeks, as you might have noticed. I could spare some time for PI, for chatting, and a post or two, but that was it. After TPOG changed alliances from FA to TNT, and after the move, I found myself completely overwhelmed. I had 3 tests, a wedding, 2 jobs...I've been seriously burnt out for the last 2 weeks.

I suspect things will still be rough for the next 2 weeks, as I've got finals, and the 2 jobs, and perhaps a week of vacation or two. However, I feel I at least have some time to do things.

On my agenda since the move have been some things I've wanted to get off the ground:

1) Armor fleets
...because I'm tired of running in Shield fleets, and pretty much always as a Scimitar. I've learned that in gangs smaller than 20, my Scimitar skills don't typically come into play. I don't want to be reduced to be a guardian though in Armor fleets. With the recent ability to fly Harbingers and Myrmidons with Battlecruiser V (although, not their tech 2 weapon sets), I feel pretty set to embark on some really badass armor fleets.

2) Wormholes
...yes, wormholes. I'm sure everyone who reads this knows I used to live in a wormhole, and that I enjoyed it quite thoroughly.  With the recent Sanctum and Haven nerf, not many options are left for ISK making for many people in 0.0 unless they mine, or compete for Sanctums and Havens. Quite frankly, I feel wormholes will be far more profitable, exciting, intriguing, and less time intensive. I'll be looking to do test runs on Class 3 wormholes, and depending on performance I may or may not up us in difficulty to Class 4, 5, and 6 wormholes.

2) Wormholes
...what?! Yes, because Alliance rules forbid cherrypicking asteroids. While some of us run the combat sites, many others can run the gas clouds, or the asteroid belts. Cherry-picking is not an issue in wormholes, as you have a limited amount of time and mass you can get out, and often too much ore.

3) Incursions
...those were interesting to me I thought. However, having looked at an LP store and seeing pretty much only hardwirings, I question the point of it aside from ISK and a challenge. I feel this is a better option when Wormholes aren't available.

What's the overarching goal of those 3 ideas?
On the surface, yes ISK generation is a core concern. However, hoarding ISK for a rainy day doesn't work well in EVE, and I hope to encourage participants to spend that ISK on tech 3 ships, in such a way that we can run tech 3 fleets. The idea is comparable to the Thundercat fleet, just lacking the outright billions that Pandemic Legion to replace said ships.

My goal is actually a tech 3 armor fleet, fully faction/deadspace/officer fitted. If we're going to make an impact like the Thundercats, we must be on even terms in regards to modules, at the least. I will expand on this in the next post I write.

Moving On:
In addition to the above, I've been managing my own little corp, created in part with a new player. While I hope to use this corp as a recruiting tool, I do have to get new members and actually do things with them, taking time away from the main. Managing both corps across Old Man Reschef, Anjali, and Truen1ght, makes this a bit easier to where I can spend more time on Truen1ght.

I have been accepting trial accounts and helping them out, in the hopes that these new players will skill into something deadly rather quickly, allowing us to go have fun, and possibly get them in 0.0 space inside of a few months.

If you are interested in joining my corp, the name is New Jita Social Club. We mess around, repercussions be damned. While the CEO, Anjali Subranni, does have PI to manage from time to time, there is usually time to go do fun things involving bothering miners and raiding low-sec. If you are not looking to be recruited into my null-sec corp, I won't pressure you, but it's a place to get away from 0.0 space without needing to worry about war-decs.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The PI Handbook

However unexciting, because PI is my main source of income (and the ability to lose very few ships compared to that), I've had to spend some time redoing some PI. I thought it might be helpful to go through my method with you though, the reader.

1) Decide on a product to make
Before beginning a project to make money with PI, in order to waste as little ISK as possible, you should decide on a product to make. This may not be a quick task however as several things should be considered.

Consideration 1: Make a list of the raw materials you need and which planets can produce them.

Dealing with this consideration will allow you to find a system, or adjacent systems, that contain planets that fit into your scheme. For instance, I decided to make Robotics instead of Enriched Uranium this time. I browsed perhaps 8 systems, and jotted down the planets that were capable of making what I needed. In the end, although I was unable to find a single system capable of making robotics, I was able to find adjacent systems. With only 1 planet in the next system, PI will be less time consuming for me as opposed to being spread out over multiple systems.

Consideration 2: Do the planets in these systems actually have the materials I need?
A good example of this is a Lava planet which has almost no Felsic Magma. If you need Felsic Magma to make Silicon, you'll have to find a new Lava planet, which may make PI more time consuming. Once you have found all the planets you need, with the necessary raw materials, then you can move on without having to worry about it.

2) Setup and Efficiency
Efficiency is pretty key to making easy ISK with PI. However, you don't want to waste ISK in setup.

Consideration 1: Maximal Extraction
As you might have noticed, resources move around. While this solution is not perfect, it is the best I've come up with: a floating extractor with 10 extraction heads linked to a floating launchpad. Yes, while it does cost about a million ISK to move these structures, it more than makes up for itself by allowing you constantly produce as much as possible. After dropping my launchpad for the production facilities, and a linked storage facility to it, I drop the floating extractor and floating launchpad where resources are thickest, not necessarily hottest. Thickness is key, as it will keep you from moving your floating parts too much, thus keeping it efficient . It should be noted that an ECU with 10 heads requires a level 3 upgraded link to the floating launchpad.

Consideration 2: Maximal Extraction with Linking.
Were it not for the floating launchpad, this would be an issue, as longer links require more CPU. Because of the floating launchpad, I can use the import/export system to move my raw materials to the factories. This does cost a few thousand ISK in daily operation, however, it negates linkage problems and negates an ECU producing far more raw material than the Factory cluster might be able to handle. Again, efficient, at the cost of some ISK.

Having dealt with consideration 1, whatever CPU and Powergrid remains gets used in Factories. I personally tend to make 6 basic factories to produce a Tier 1 product, sending all of that Tier 1 product to the storage facility. Once a day I'll expedite a transfer to export the Tier 1 product.

3) Assembly Worlds
Since I only spend the time to get Command Center Upgrades IV and Interplanetary Consolidation IV, I am limited to 5 planets. For any Tier 3 product, 5 planets is either just enough or a little extra. As such, I want to produce as much of the final product as I can, but am limited by the intermediate products.

Solution: 4 Extraction Worlds, 1 Assembly World
In short, the Extraction Worlds produce the intermediate products (roughly balanced, nothing is perfect). This in turn lets me utilize the 5th world to make the final product. A fuel like robotics requires some more intermediary assembly, however, this takes away from the actual making of robotics, so now a new consideration enters play.

Consideration 1: How do I balance the final product with intermediary product construction?
This is a little harder, a little more time consuming. You have to look at what each final production facility will require, then use that to make the required number intermediary facilities. It turns out that 1 Robotics facility requires 2 Consumer electronics facilities and 2 Silicon facilities in order to run full time non stop. Once this is decided, you need to figure out how you can set up as many sets of facilities as you can in a way that doesn't require upgrading links, which take away efficiency, and at the same time are closely packed to reduce the impact of links.

4) Daily Operation
With great ISK comes great responsibility, and as you guessed, this is a daily job. However, it is an easy one. most of the time, you can just pop into a system, use the import/export system to shuffle materials around, reset the extractors, and be golden. Occasionally you will need to also shuttle intermediary products around and import them. However, once the setup is complete, the system mostly manages itself, with the only interaction coming from shuttling intermediate items, resetting extractors, and possibly moving the floating ECU and launchpad. The total time it takes me per day, per character, is roughly 5 minutes, shuttling included. 

This is, admittedly, trickier in low-sec because you really have no protection...even gate guns won't save you. Once you get to know the faces that show around the area though, you get a good idea of when you can and can't move your stuff, and the risk is minimalized. I personally find operation in low sec about half as profitable as null-sec. This is balanced by not needing to move an alt into null, not needing to train up the alt very far, and getting maximal time on the main. Since all 3 characters on are on my main account this works out quite well for me.

5) Income
My null-sec corp buys PI products from us for 80% jita. That puts Robotics down from 44,850 to 35,880. Since I can make 12 units an hour on my assembly planet, I'm pulling 430,560 ISK an hour, resulting in 10,333,440 ISK a day. This calculates to 310,003,200 ISK per month.

Low-sec is roughly capable of making half as much ISK per month, strictly because of resources. However, because it is low-sec, the last thing that you want is to be doing too much PI, ie showing your face much. There is also the problem of flooding your market, so you have to diversify. Given these, while I'm not rolling in 155 million ISK a month, I am rolling in about 70 million ISK a month (per low-sec character). This brings my total income (for my account) per month to about 450 million ISK a month.

I'm pretty sure that in EMPIRE, you aren't making this much ISK with as little time as I am. With half a billion a month, I can afford to lose a few ships a month and still buy plex. It's a pretty damn good thing, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Jita Social Club

Now that I'm back, having done ok on 2 tests and horribly bombing the third (which really pisses me off even though I can make up for it), some things have occurred.

Number 1:
TPOG, aka Ordos Humanitas, has left Fatal Ascension and has joined TNT in Deklein. I'm not terribly privvy details but I believe the following is the jist of it:

TPOG had joined FA something like 9 months before I joined TPOG. During that time, apparently there were some leadership issues and general alliance issues that TPOG was hoping would get fixed, but after a year, such has not happened. To further complicate matters, the alliance founder has been removed from Fatal Ascension and replaced by someone who was actually about to quit EVE. One can wonder about whether or not he would have followed through, but I suspect he would have as he pretty much always does what he says he will.

Alot of people dislike Zagdul, but you do have to admit that he keeps his word, something which I thought was probably the best thing you could ask for in a leader anyways.

I think another sticking point was the uselessness of the Standing Fleet, or even the ratters and miners in general. The problem was that if we were camped in by say 4 ships, the station would sit there and take it with 20-60 guys spinning ships inside. True, there were a few people accounting for about 10% total, tops, at any one point who would chase them off, but that says something in my opinion when a small gang of pirates camp your station and you are too afraid to attempt to chase them off.

So what if they're in Vagabonds? Whip out a Maelstrom and some tacklers, problem solved. It was literally quite that easy.

Number 2:
I created a third character on my one account, Old Man Reschef. His sole purpose to run PI for me, to net me another 70 million a month doing low-sec PI. His plus Anjali's comes out to 140 million a month. Granted, it's not ratting, and that's kinda slow I guess in that regard, but it's mostly hands off free ISK. It's pretty hard to walk away from.

Number 3:
In creating the old man, I met a guy named Aurelius IV. He and I have formed pretty much a newbie PvP corp called New Jita Social Club. The premise behind the corp is simply to have fun. I expect to run at least weekly ops in being a douche bag and attacking people with frigates. Hmm, sounds alot like how TEST started out, but hey, it must have been fun because look at where they are now.

Admittedly, we lack numbers, and I'm surprised at how reluctant people seem to be to start PvP when they can grind the same missions over and over and buy combat ships they'll never use in combat to increase a fictional money count they can't use in real life that has no meaning because they don't put the money to use. WHEW! What a mouthful, but it's true. If you aren't going out and killing people, is there any point to buying that faction fit Nightmare? If you're gonna grind the same level 4 missions day in and day out, what's the point of playing? It's like....well boring quite honestly.

So, we're starting with tech 1 frigates. I'm looking for more people. There's no skill point requirement, as we simply won't have quality. We will have quantity though, and that's easier to work with than quality to be honest for fleets. 1 Tracking disruptor ship, maybe 2, 3-4 DPSers (also tacklers as we'll do armor if possible), and maybe a jammer, a neuter, etc. I'm tired of seeing battlecruiser gangs, and I'm tired of the seriousness of internet spaceships. Let's just play the damn game.

That'll do me for today. Until next time!

Friday, April 8, 2011

1 Day Ago

-----1 Day Ago-----

An invitation was sent out over alliance comms: "T2 Frig Fun". I considered it only briefly while laying back in my bed before deciding to join.

Hey, I love flying frigates, and frigate fleets even more. They're fast, powerful, and hard to hit. They pretty much offer everything you wish your battlecruiser had.

I ran to the docking port, jumped into my pod, then got docking services to load me up into Agni. Agni's never let me down. Hell, he hasn't exploded since I first got him almost a year ago in the wormhole. True, he's gone through some remodels, but explosions? Never.

Fitted to the Assault Ship, I undocked. As the autopilot slung me out through the twists and turns of the undock route in the YI- station, I took a few seconds to admire him. Tech 2 150's, nosferatu, MWD II, armor plating and resistances to go with the SAM II, it wasa  thing of beauty: Fast enough to catch most cruiser and up ships, strong enough to hurt them, and tough enough to take a beating if needed.

Fleet was only 6 or so large. Webs were in short supply in the fleet, so I redocked, fit the Webber, and undocked.

Word came out about Lord Jin prowling around our space in a Vagabond. We set out after him.

Just as we landed on the 8R- gate in attempts to chase him down, we got the forced shutdown message. Damn CONCORD messing with the Neocom again, it's always something isn't it?

We gave chase a little more while he logged on and off repeating in attempt to give hunters the slip, and eventually we decided to just wait for the reboot.


Neocom rebooted, and 5 minutes later I logged in again. Lord Jin was nowhere to be found, and wasn't reported on intel.

We checked 8R-, QU-, and O-U. No dice. We checked PPG. No dice. We checked OOTY. There he is..."Lord Jin is in local in OOTY."

Quickly the fleet made its way to the OOTY gate in PPG. Upon arrival, we waited. It's unusual for people who enter OOTY to exit any other way than PPG. Perhaps he expected us, perhaps he thought the fleet would be smaller than it was, but he bypassed the scout on the PPG gate in OOTY and jumped into us. All 5 of us.

He decloaked. We scrambled him. I hit approach and webbed him. We all opened fire, our jumping in scout doing the same. His shields dropped slowly as he headed for the gate. Without warning, and quite surprisingly, he released drones and incurred aggression, further hindering his escape, as he was no unable to jump out.

I overheated my guns in response. There'd be no escape if I could manage it. I kept him webbed, and repeatedly rammed him off of the gate. His aggression was wearing down, but he was in structure. It would be close. I held my breath, willing the bullets to blow through the remaining pieces of his wrecked ship...

His ship went out of control, and exploded in a fireball of pain. Smartly, he got his pod out. I scooped the loot from his wreck, the FC salvaged Metal Scraps from it, and someone else got the final blow.


5  minutes later, having acquired an additional 6-7 members, we made our way back to YI- as much of nothing was happening.

Upon arriving at YI-, TrustTheDwarf entered system. From where we don't know, but there he was in local. I reveled at the prospect of revenge. I decided to camp the O-U gate. 1 or 2 others did the same at my gate, but we were spread out across all the gates in the system.

10 minutes pass, no one has found him. He arrives 100 off my gate, and I call it out. He warps away as someone begins landing at his position.

5 minutes pass. Someone grabs a prober, and in the course of the next 10 minutes fails to lock him down because of all the traffic in system, and perhaps the intruder bouncing around.

He finally shows up again, 100 off the O-U gate in the direction of another gate. Someone makes a tackle, and we rush in to help. It takes time for me to cross the 100 or so kilometers to the target, but I make it well before the tackler explodes, which itself was unfortunate because the tackler was a Succubus.

Webbed, scrammed, disrupted, he was going nowhere, and with 9 of us now, his shields are falling, however slowly.

It takes a while, as you can imagine. Drake shields are nothing to joke about.

Two kills, all frigates, it's been a good day. The only loss was a Succubus, which while not great, wasn't the end of the world. I got to scoop the loot again, but we failed to get the pod. We never get the pod lately. I dropped off the loot, and camped the W-4 gate in some system, O-O maybe, with the fleet, while the low-sec residents in Loki's tried to bait us into low-sec. We didn't take the bait, and eventually just went home.

It was a good day. But for now, it was back to my bed in my quarters in YI-.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

2 Days Ago

-----2 Days Ago-----

It was looking to be another promising, easy-going day. Life, or rather death at this point, seems full of them lately, which is a good thing in my opinion. It only remains to be determined whether I actually am alive or dead, given the numerous times I've been podded.

I try not to think about it. I don't think invalidating my existence would help all that much.

The call came out for the standing fleet to get rid of an Interloper called TrustTheDwarf. He's a regular, Caldari typically. I guess he finds piracy rather boring and comes out to us in Cloud Ring to scratch his itch. It's a Drake for him today, though he's often been seen in a Tengu as well.

My Stiletto hasn't gotten much use. Admittedly, there hasn't been much reason to use it, and aside from action the previous night, there was one or two other occasions in the month I had owned it.

I dropped into my pod, then had that transferred to the Stiletto, and ordered the rollout. I was in space 30 seconds later, and decided to wait at the O-U gate. I felt it might be a good place.

10 long minutes passed, communications going back and forth about what people were doing to track down the intruder, apparently with no real success. Then the intruder showed up approximately 40km away me. Cursing my AB, I overheated the afterburner and set the "approach" command on him.
[ 2011.04.05 22:28:45 ] (notify) Approaching DRAKECHEN
[ 2011.04.05 22:28:45 ] (notify) The DRAKECHEN is too far away, you need to be within 31250 meters of it but are actually 41908 meters away.
[ 2011.04.05 22:28:51 ] (notify) Approaching DRAKECHEN

I landed point. He released drones. I set orbit at 10km and shot down drones as best as I could. "Warp Truen1ght, target tackled" I called out.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:03 ] (notify) You have started trying to warp scramble TrustTheDwarf [.SPAM](Drake).
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:04 ] (notify) TrustTheDwarf [.SPAM](Drake) has started trying to warp scramble you!

[ 2011.04.05 22:29:07 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf barely scratches you, causing 23.5 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:07 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf heavily hits you, inflicting 47.9 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:07 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf heavily hits you, inflicting 56.3 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:07 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf lightly hits you, doing 31.3 damage. 

20 seconds pass. Shields just went. My speed is the only thing keeping me alive.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:27 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf barely scratches you, causing 23.2 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:27 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf hits you, doing 35.6 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:27 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf heavily hits you, inflicting 55.1 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:27 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf hits you, doing 36.8 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:27 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf hits you, doing 45.2 damage.

20 seconds pass. "Get ready to warp out when I land" came a reply to my call for warp to. 2 drones down, it still isn't looking good...
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:47 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf strikes you perfectly, wrecking for 138.5 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:29:48 ] (combat) Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile belonging to TrustTheDwarf hits you, doing 148.7 damage.

10 seconds pass. Where the hell is everyone? I'm in structure making a hero tackle and no one is coming to kill this bastard with a 0km warp-in. More drones have joined the fray also...
[ 2011.04.05 22:30:07 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf heavily hits you, inflicting 29.6 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:30:07 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf heavily hits you, inflicting 29.8 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:30:07 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf barely scratches you, causing 14.2 damage.

8 seconds pass. A Crow lands and makes a tackle just before I explode.
[ 2011.04.05 22:30:15 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to TrustTheDwarf heavily hits you, inflicting 30.9 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 22:30:16 ] (notify) Ship is out of control
[ 2011.04.05 22:30:16 ] (notify) Ship is out of control

Angry, I warp to station.

What the hell happened? Where was the support? Where was the fearless action of the standing fleet which had been tracking him down.

I reship into Agni, my indestructible Wolf, and warp out for my wreckage. It's been looted, but thankfully someone trades me the loot back at station. It saves me some millions, though perhaps not enough to justify the cost of a Stiletto in these parts, which is 20+ million ISK.

Question is, the Crow and another tech 2 cruiser were blown up by the Drake, who managed to make his escape. What the hell is wrong with the standing fleet?

Truth be told, it makes me want to awox, because if the standing fleet is that useless, who the hell is going to stop me?

I wrapped up my PI for the day and went back to my quarters. No sense flying on fumes of rage and disgust.

3 Days Ago

---------3 days ago----------

It'd been the first time I'd seen Aelith in a month or two. He'd taken a holiday from being a pilot, and was ready to get back into the swing of things. With Ranger and I already online, I invited the two of them to go on a roam with me. I readied my close-range fit Stiletto, Ranger a Wolf, and Aelith a Jaguar.

We met up outside of the YI- station, and decided to take our roam to Fountain, as Cloud Ring was devoid of intruders. When we landed in J5A, a reported PL interceptor showed in local, and within 10 seconds of landing on the EI-O gate, the interloper arrived at our gate in a Crusader.

We danced, he and I. 
[ 2011.04.05 00:12:24 ] (notify) You have started trying to warp scramble Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader). 
[ 2011.04.05 00:13:21 ] (notify) Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader) has started trying to warp scramble you!
[ 2011.04.05 00:13:24 ] (combat) Dual Light Pulse Laser II belonging to Marko box barely scratches you, causing 36.4 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 00:13:26 ] (notify) Orbiting Pope Gregory (1000m)
[ 2011.04.05 00:13:29 ] (combat) Dual Light Pulse Laser II belonging to Marko box barely scratches you, causing 110.0 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 00:13:33 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II barely scratches Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), causing 25.7 damage.

[ 2011.04.05 00:15:11 ] (notify) Orbiting Stargate (J5A-IX) (1000m)
Aelith and Ranger sat on the gate while the enemy attempted to draw me out of range of my fleet. Unable to do so, we the fleet decided to go back to B-D.
[ 2011.04.05 00:16:07 ] (None) Jumping to Stargate (EI-O0O) in J5A-IX solar system

A Proteus jumped in shortly after landing, and we were ill equipped to handle it, so we continued warp. We discussed what to do with ourselves, or rather, were still in the thick of discussing it, when the Crusader jumped into us.

The dance continued, exactly as before. 
 [ 2011.04.05 00:16:44 ] (notify) Approaching Pope Gregory
[ 2011.04.05 00:16:48 ] (notify) You have started trying to warp scramble Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader).
[ 2011.04.05 00:16:50 ] (notify) Approaching Pope Gregory
[ 2011.04.05 00:16:52 ] (notify) Pope Gregory is too far away to use your Warp Scrambler II on, it needs to be closer than 10,350 meters.
[ 2011.04.05 00:17:04 ] (notify) Approaching Stargate (EI-O0O)
[ 2011.04.05 00:17:27 ] (notify) Orbiting Stargate (EI-O0O) (500m)
[ 2011.04.05 00:17:57 ] (notify) Approaching Pope Gregory
[ 2011.04.05 00:18:08 ] (notify) Orbiting Stargate (EI-O0O) (500m)
[ 2011.04.05 00:18:51 ] (notify) Approaching Pope Gregory

However, the Crusader was getting cocky, getting closer and closer, closer and closer.

With a snap decision on his part, Aelith released the limiter on his MWD and hurled himself at the Crusader. 
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:00 ] (notify) Ranger Gama [TPOG]<-FA->(Wolf) has started trying to warp scramble "Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader)"
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:02 ] (notify) Aelith Dev [TPOG]<-FA->(Jaguar) has started trying to warp scramble "Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader)"
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:02 ] (notify) Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader) has started trying to warp scramble "Aelith Dev [TPOG]<-FA->(Jaguar)"

Taken unawares, no doubt because he was busy toying with me, he didn't notice Aelith until he was webbed and scrammed. Disabled, I rushed in to help Aelith destroy the enemy. Ranger headed towards the Crusader's direction as well, landing a long point.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:10 ] (notify) Orbiting Pope Gregory (500m)
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:10 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II lightly hits Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), doing 31.9 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:12 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II hits Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), doing 43.2 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:15 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II hits Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), doing 51.8 damage.

As Aelith and the Crusader battled, bullets spraying furiously across space at the Crusader and Lasers spewing forth unbridled fury at the Jaguar, I activated my Tracking Disruptor with the Tracking Speed script on the Crusader. A few seconds pass, I arrive at the battle, and add my explosive bullets to the mix in the deadly dance.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:17 ] (notify) You have started trying to warp scramble Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader).
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:26 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II barely scratches Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), causing 15.3 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:33 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II barely scratches Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), causing 17.0 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:40 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II barely scratches Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), causing 23.7 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:47 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II barely scratches Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), causing 10.6 damage.

Slowly the target's armor dropped, repeatedly clawing back integrity with the ever trusty small armor repairer II the Crusader had equipped. Aelith reported dipping into armor, and then half armor as the Crusader began bleeding oxygen from various puncture points in the hull. Seconds later, with Aelith close to a breach, the enemy pilot was wrested of his Crusader
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:54 ] (combat) Your group of 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II barely scratches Marko box [SNIGG]<-10.0>(Crusader), causing 17.6 damage.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:56 ] (notify) 125mm Gatling AutoCannon II deactivates as Pope Gregory begins to explode.

Not only did Aelith recover the loot from the wreckage, but he also got the final blow on the Crusader. Pieces of the Amarrian interceptor scattered, beginning their unending journey into deep space.

Not unaware of his sudden vulnerability, the pilot, left only in his pod, warped off before we could catch him.
[ 2011.04.05 00:19:58 ] (notify) Interference from Marko box's Capsule's warp prevents your sensors from locking the target.
[ 2011.04.05 00:20:19 ] (notify) Loading the Advanced Autocannon Ammo into the Projectile Weapon; this will take approximately 10 seconds.

Ranger it seemed had done no damage to enemy. Conferencing with my cohorts revealed that his Afterburner had malfunctioned due to fat-finger electrical problems, thus keeping him from making range to dish out some oxygen bleed himself.

With the kill made, the loot taken, our ships repaired of thermal warping and the holes in Aelith's Jaguar, we decided to band together with another fleet in W-4 to get the jump on various cloaker Loki pilots. There was much bouncing around, and camping, but in the end no combat was to be had and the fleet disbanded to redock in YI-.

The old grind began again: cartoons and PI. Bloodlust had been temporarily sated however, a delicious sensation indeed.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Test Fighting

Yesterday I had few bouts with an Alliance buddy named Joren. I had been afk for a while, but I replied to an alliance request for a Wolf fit. I had posted my Wolf's fit in alliance chat, and soon after Joren asked me to bring it out versus his Taranis, a Gallente Interceptor.

The first fit I brought out against him was an anti interceptor fit: guns, AB, MSE II, 2xTE II, DCU II, and nano II. Since this fit is meant to drive off interceptors, I didn't need a point, and as such I wasn't worried about it. As an interceptor, his goal is to hold point as long as possible, and he can only do that while alive. We engaged in a safe spot, where I proceeded to rip him to shreds with my absurdly good tracking, falloff, and damage. I was prepared for rails, not blasters, but even so, I won that fight by a large margin.

Just for comparison, I fit my Wolf up with a 200 plate, MWD, and Warp Disruptor II. ANP II and SAM II also in the lows for my guns and nos. I shredded him that fight. The tank on an assault frigate is simply too much for an interceptor to handle.

Following this, I brought out my Stiletto. While still new to the realm of interceptors, I had a plan: keep range, make him use his drones so I can shoot them down first, and then take my time picking away at him. This plan did the have the flaw in relying on his having blasters, but given that, it would have worked had I not kept range at the beginning so good. When I told him what my plan was after he disengaged, he said that it was quite a good one.

Deciding to see how the battle would have gone had he not had drones, we agreed to his no use of drones and engaged. I was MWD fit, and he was AB fit, and when he scrammed me, I was toast. I could have survived for a short while with the cap injector, but I never would have won. We tried this a few times, each with the same result. If only I could manage to fit artillery on my stilletto, it would have crushed that Taranis because the cap injection lets it perma-run everything. The problem however is powergrid, and I had a rocket launcher with 125's, not exactly meant for range, even with barrage.

After this, there was one more class of ship for him to face: the tech 1 frigate. As Rifters are what I have (and clearly very common frigates anywhere, most likely his worst tech 1 matchup also), I brought out a Shield Rifter (because I have no armor rifters at the moment). We went at it several times.

Each time we fought, he seemed downright surprised at how well I was doing. Indeed, I was almost winning the fights each time. And while I was only able to barely win the final fight with my skills, I did win it, and I got some excellent practice against a close range interceptor.

When I told him that I was using the smallest guns (125 II's), he understood why I was doing so well. I was able to hit him almost all the time due to the absurd tracking of my ship. Whenever I was able to keep range at >= 5km, I was dominating the fight, and whenever he got into range of 3km, he was dominating the fight. It was a struggle to make range, between overheated ABs and manual maneuvers...

For the first fight, I was able to hold range on him until the end of the fight, when he realized what I was doing. When he realized I was kiting him at about 8km, he overheated his AB and hit approach, running right for me. Since my AB was not overheated, keeping range was impossible, and he soon closed upon me and proceeded to melt my shields and half my armor with his Neutron Blasters. If I recall correctly, those are some powerful blasters.

For the next few fights, I tried some manual piloting, but he'd had me figured out by then, and keeping range wasn't working because I wasn't overheating the AB.

For the second to last fight, I tried something a little different. I realized I couldn't seem to stop him getting in close, so I opted for a super tight orbit via manual controls. Surprisingly, I did fare a bit better and got much closer to winning. I did however overheat my guns and AB far too late to make the difference. It's questionable whether or not I'd have won that fight, but I doubt it to be honest. I feel like he would have won somewhere deep into structure.

For the last fight, I tried a final thing different. I overheated everything on seeing him, burned at him, and set orbit at 7km. For the most part, I was getting away with it scot-free. Eventually (I say eventually, but it was about 5 seconds into the fight), he hit approach. I noticed his speed was greater than mine and the gap closing, so I made a manual hard reverse and slingshotted past him. I regained range, inflicting more free damage, but not for long, and I re-slinged him. His hull was close to gone, and I unlocked him, the last bullets firing at him.

Our games done, we talked a little about what worked and what didn't.

For starters, he said that he has never had as much trouble fighting a frigate pilot as with me. Maybe his experience might be a tad clouded with that Dramiel he flies most of the time, but probably he's good enough to not let it sway his judgement.

The first thing that came to mind about why his fights were so hard-won against me, instead of the ROFLstomps he probably predicted, was tracking. Unlike many pilots, I opt for the smaller guns with the tracking speed, simply from experience. EVEHQ does show more DPS with the bigger guns, but my experience shows that the big guns tend to do the same or less damage than the smaller ones, simply because of tracking speed. Since I use 125mm II's, my tracking speed is stupidly good. I use the TE II for the range bonus really, though the tracking speed boost helps as well. Because I had such good tracking, I was able to hit him far more often than the typical Frigate pilot.

The second thing was piloting. I had fooled him quite a few times with manual piloting, something he was quite unused to seeing in PvP. My manual piloting had managed to get range on him often enough to make every fight close, if not go in my favor.

The third thing, which took a little bit to realize, was ammunition. In all fights I used low-end ammunition, ie regular phased-plasma. While not the best choice for combat with a gallente vessel, it works decently. Joren however was using CN Antimatter, ie faction ammo. It's just conjecture, but given how close the fights were, I likely would have won more of them had I been using faction ammo.

I would have still lost at least some of those fights due to piloting errors however. It's important to stress than while better ammo helps win fights, poor piloting will kill you in one.