Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Alliance and Corp News, Followed by a Question

Entry: eight hundred seventy-four.

It's definitely been an interesting week for Cascade Imminent, that's for sure.

No doubt, long since everyone has heard of Krysis' collapse. Contrary to popular belief, Krysis was not a Cascade pet at the end. They may have been at the beginning, but having shown their worth in Querious time and time again, they became permanent guests without being required to join our CTAs or fleets. They were literally given their own portion of Detorid to handle and defend.

That, unfortunately, didn't work out for them. I don't know how much or how little the supposed spy that brought Krysis down did, but I do know that they had been struggling for a while. At the end, they finally decided to disband the alliance because they got fifteen pilots for a CTA. Abysmal numbers, and the numbers had been steadily declining for a while.

With that done, all Krysis members were offered asylum in any Cascade corporation of their choice. UDEAD absorbed Circle of Power. From what I'm told, these were the more active combat pilots. 
Around the time this happened, Initiative began playing around with our sovereignty in 3-L and ZLO3-. They don't seem particularly interested in taking the space, only in generating the fights. I question how badly they may want to generate the fights though. Honestly, if they want to generate fights, they needn't even bother with the sov. All they have to do is roam down around our home systems.
In addition to that, Black Nova Corp has left Cascade Imminent. I honestly can't remember seeing them on any CTAs, and can only vaguely remember one or two on a smattering of roams. Apparently, Initiative reinforcing a BNC tower triggered the evac, so it's just as well. I've heard that MARS has also left the alliance, though I don't remember them on CTAs or roams either.
There are rumors that another corporation is leaving the alliance as well. I know the corp in question, but I'm not allowed to say so at this point. Suffice to say that they've been of low actively in the alliance lately, have showed up to few CTAs if any except for the odd member that may want to stay in Cascade, and haven't had much roaming time. To be honest, I think it's their own fault for constantly segregating themselves from the rest of alliance and being elitist when they had no right to be.
With the bad out of the way, it's time for the good news.
Perhaps a week or two ago, Cascade picked up two new corps: Veni Vidi Vici Reloaded [V3R] and MODRO, a group who's corporate name I don't actually know. I haven't yet seen much of V3R, but MODRO has been extremely active and been a blast to fly with. I sincerely hope they stay with us for the long haul, as their members have excellent attitudes and their roams are extremely fun. The only downside is that the roams typically happen even past the time I want to be awake, and I'm on the latest USTZ.
Initiative continues to attack our space. It's clear they aren't serious about taking the sov, but they are doing it. Yesterday we saw more participation in our CTAs than normal, which was an excellent sign in my eyes that the health of the alliance is starting to recover. Essentially, we had fifty percent participation from the active alliance pilots, which is a huge deal. Normally, you'd expect a twenty or thirty percent participation rate. Fifty percent in massive, and I would love for the trend to continue.
Finally, on a personal note, I've finally gotten to start training Medium Blaster Spec, and soon Medium Rail Spec. I have quite a few Feroxes and Brutixes I'm itching to try out. I've got two versions of the Ferox I'm looking to field, and possibly three versions of the Brutix.
Question: for a shield Brutix, is it worth sacrificing a Neutron Blaster in order to fit a Nanofiber? Why or why not? I'm leaning towards the yes, if only for the added chance to catch a target...
Computer: terminate recording.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Finding an Inferno Module

Entry: eight hundred sixty-eight.

Warning to all who partake of this entry: there is zero combat and zero political content in this entry. It is strictly me against the universe.

The other day, I dropped almost a billion ISK on CTA ships. I know that nine hundred million ISK in the wallet isn't insubstantial, but when you've gotten used to seeing something in the area of two billion for several months, it eggs at you.

So I decided I needed to make some ISK. My long period of not needing to make ISK has come to a temporary close.

For as large as Detorid is, you'd be surprised how concentrated the activity is in a few systems. Just goes to show how many people will put up with the repetitive action of beating back the pirate factions in an activity they call ratting, or how many people will mine. Those are the easy options. Dull. Robotic. But they pay well.
I can't stand either, so I do this thing called exploration. I scan hidden sites down that don't crop up on the onboard scanner and start excavating. Up till now, I've always preferred a particular variant, the type that was Magnetometric and of "Pristine" value, mainly because pirate factions like to store intact armor plates there, each valued at roughly thirty million a pop. Those sorts of sites tend to round out at one hundred twenty million bare minimum, or as much as three hundred sixty million.
Two days ago, I found two magnetometrics, but neither of pristine value. I excavated them quickly by myself in an Ishkur, and came away with just a touch over two hundred million ISK in tech two and tech one salvage. Total time spent, between scanning and excavating was about three hours. That puts my income at roughly sixty six million per hour the other day.
Yesterday, I couldn't find any magnetometrics, but I did find three radars. Previous experience told me it wasn't worth the effort, but I wanted to see how things may have changed from before. After spending about one and half hours scanning them out, as well as checking out a few wormholes I had found, I got my Ishkur and got to work on the first radar, an Angel Sparkng Transmitter.
I spent well over an hour and a half kiting the mass of Angels with my afterburner Ishkur, killing them slowly with Warriors and Valkyries. I finally got inside of a few databanks, but triggered an emergency response from the mainframe that spewed out a few battleships that were too tough for my drones. I went back home to get a Drake, and returned only to find the Angels had hidden everything. Even the battleships were gone.
ISK made from that endeavor comes out to chump change. I could maybe fit up a tech one frigate with a tech two fit.
Having learned from that experience, I took the Drake to the next radar on my list. I only had kinetic missiles at the time, and soon found out that I didn't have enough power to crunch through battleship shields again. I left, and returned with a bay full of explosive missiles and warriors. I learned here that I need explosive missiles in concert with at least four warrior drones to break a battleship tank. The Angel battleships will stabilize if I use even one less drone.
Eventually, I destroyed all the Angel defenses and started hacking electronic defenses with the codebreaker. It was here I got two interesting bits of data. First, a twenty five run bpc for an X-Large Inferno Shield Booster. This new type of module apparently take cap booster charges as ammunition in addition to being able to use capacitor. This module uses up double the capacitor of a normal X-Large shield booster, but also repairs twice as much shields. It does have a slightly more intensive fitting requirement: Sard Caid may need to drop his rocket launcher to use this on his Blue Pill Cyclones.
I also picked up a Cryptic Ship Data Interface. According to the contract market, it's valued at around three million ISK. Additional loot consisted of chump change. Maybe another two tech two fit tech one frigates.
ISK made from that endeavor comes out in a range of eight hundred million ISK on the low end to one point one billion on the high end, if I can get it to market.
My final site was a replica of the previous, an Angel Survey Site. I destroyed the Angels much more quickly this time, understanding what to expect and what to do. Loot, however, was inconsequential. Essentially, the chump change of the three sites combined might afford me a new tech two fit battlecruiser.
Despite having made this much ISK, it's not reflected in my wallet, and with an old friend in the corp pressuring me to make boosters, as well as my recent trend into battlecruisers from frigates, things are going to be more expensive. I probably still need to make some more ISK. That said, given the time spent and the potential low-end ISK I've come out with, my pay comes to something two hundred million ISK per hour.
I wonder what other interesting things I might find out in the unused parts of Detorid...

Computer: terminate recording.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

R.I.P. Frankie Four Fingers

Entry: eight hundred sixty-five.

Rest In Peace, brave Hurricane Frankie Four Fingers. 

I found this poor whelp cane put up on public contract in Detorid, waiting for someone to make good use of him. After picking him up on contracts, I refit him for some heavier brawling work. We managed to get a Raiden Vagabond before his final action in Exhale's home system. 

To say that he was worth his weight in gold is to grossly understate his value. With his dying wisps on energy, he and I held fast to an Exhale legion, ammo all but spent, pouring his very essence through his neutralizers into the remaining Niddhoggor, seemingly filled with an endless supply of capacitor. In the end, he gave his life in a final blaze of glory, taking down over twenty billion ISK worth of enemy ships with him.

You will be missed Frankie, but never forgotten.

Computer, append battlereport and terminate recording.


Date: 20-May-2012
Time : 18:30 - 21:00
FC: Poision Kevin
SFC: not named
Fleet Size:  about 40 people in fleet, 4 scimis, 25+ whelpcanes, tackle
Objective:   Roam

Operational Summary: 
We started out heading towards DR-427 to pay an alliance called "No Value" a visit (they visited us before, so we wanted to return the favour). Didn't catch them ratting, and went towards Omist. We caught a Drake:

We got word about couple of Legions camping a Wormhole in L-L (cyno jamed, dead end, ...), and went to 0-g and rallied on the jumpbridge to L-L. Jaq draco's warped a dread to that wormhole to bait them, and we heard a jump command (DO NOT SAY THE WORD JUMP ANY TIME ON COMMS, JUST DO NOT SAY IT, NOT EVEN IF IT IS INTEL - use >they are going through/they are leaving< or similar -,  thanks... ). So we did spring the trap early, and went to the wormhole, managed to pop a loki:

They jumped a Thanatos through, and then back and we got the command to go with them.
We obviously collapsed the Wormhole while doing that, and we got about 3/4 of our fleet through. We ended up having 30 people on the inside, including 4 scimitars, and the wormhole god spawned a lot on us (lol). It was a long fight, lots of target switching, lots of warp-ins, but we managed to definitely win the fight. See battle-report:

Their carriers triaged and repaired a lot. We killed almost all their carriers, except for one, that we couldn't break at the end. We also killed lots of their sub caps. We ran out of ammo and capacitor in the end, and started losing hurricanes because they re-shipped into legions and fitted for direct counter.

TKCANGEL, our hero, has probes, and he managed to get us out of that Wormhole into another C5, which lead into another C5. At this very moment we are still stuck with a lot of loot in our cargoholds. The loot logs were saved and Poision Kevin will be receiving all the loot and handling possible reimbursements.

The Good: Lots of kill s, lots of fun. 

The Bad: Confusion at the beginning when entering L-L, mainly caused by somebody saying Jump while giving INTEL.

Pilots worthy of commendation or note: Poision Kevin for good fc-ing, jaq draco's for giving us intel, all our scimi pilots that were doing a fucking great job.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Secondhand Courage

Entry: eight hundred fifty-nine.
I, for the longest time, was a useless grunt. A knuckledragger. An uninspired, uncharismatic, fearful sheep. For the longest time, this was me when it came to combat. I would NEVER do anything by myself, and I would NEVER start a fleet. As I said, I was a little person, someone to be stepped on, used, and be happy about it.
It's not often in my short time as a capsuleer that I've had the courage to act alone or be a leader, and when I did it was only because everyone else was either too apathetic or too scared to do so themselves. That is, until recently.
So often since starting this life, I've heard "You can't do this because of these reasons." So often I've heard, "You can't go attack them! They have more people!". "Solo and small gang PvP is dead", "Your fit is retarded and will never work", and "Stop feeding them kills" were also familiar mantras. They weren't said by people who understood what was going on, only by the other sheep higher in the pecking order.
Until I started listening to and absorbing the knowledge bombs dropped in "Bringing Solo Back" by Kil2 and Kovorix, and watching and learning from Sard Caid's stream, I had literally never started a fleet and never took on any important role in any fleet. I had never participated in small gang PvP that I was aware of at the time, and would simply carebear or ship spin while waiting for a fleet to go up.
Their careless courage has affected me in a profound way, changing me into something more resembling their caliber of pilot. Often they will go out alone if they can't or don't want to be part of a fleet, and regardless of winning or losing a fight, and if they do partake of a fleet, often they are the commanders and nearly never second guess themselves, emitting an air of pure authority and confidence.
I've learned to become more like them, something I'd always wanted but was never able to do for whatever reason. For that, they have my eternal gratitude for breaking the barrier that was holding me back.
I strongly recommend, for anyone wanting to break past the barrier of fear and peer pressure, to learn how to fight, to learn how to win and how to lose, to learn to lead...go check out "Bringing Solo Back" and go check out Sard Caid's stream and archived sessions.
You will not regret it.
Computer: terminate recording.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Holding Battleships Hostage

Entry: eight hundred fifty-eight.
Yesterday was going to be another regular solo Harpy roam. Then Serah hopped down and made his way to me in BWF-, and then Evil hopped down and wanted to join. I had to go for ten minutes, so Evil had enough time to buy and fit a Crusader. By the I got back, my map was lit up with a huge blob in Etherium Reach located at HV-. Just as we were going to make our way there, Tem hopped down and wanted to come as well.
Funny how that happened.
After we all got together in LXQ, we blitzed for HV- and immediately warped to station. No bubbles were up, blue and neutral supers were on station grinding away. I tried to warp out as I called a warp out for those landing behind me, but my drive wouldn't turn over. Before I could figure out what was wrong I found myself quickly relieved of my Harpy, and warped to planet one at zero. The sight that greeted me was a Crow and Tornado at planet one at zero. As I made my way back to Maila to reship, I ordered Serah, Tem, and Evil to warp to planet one at zero.
When they landed, they made mince meat of the Tornado, frantically overheating and calling out orders to each other over comms. Serah and Evil weren't able to warp out however, having been scrammed by the Crow and landing support. Tem got away and went to meet us at LXQ.

So far, we were down one Harpy, two Crusaders.

After reshipping in Maila, we went back via a different route, and arrived a few minutes before the neutrals, Persona Non Grata, started to roll out. In just our Malediction, Crusader, and Rifter, we made the next hour and a half excruciating slow travel for PNG as they headed home. We tackled stragglers, forcing the group to warp back to save a comrade. We rotated in and out of the system on the PNG fleet's stargates so that they could never kill us. I would jump in, hold cloak, then crash as Serah or Evil jumped in and did the same. We would repeat this over and over, always seeming to tackle a straggler. After an hour and a half, even though we hadn't gotten any kills, PNG had it made it a grand total of five jumps out of HV-, not exactly a speed record for travel.
Was the PNG fleet in any real danger from us? Not at all. But we made it hard for them to move quickly, often making them double back several times in the same system, or hold on gates in their attempts to catch and kill us. I was hoping that they would leave the random Geddon behind however, a sacrifice for the rats nipping at their heels.
Eventually, I had to give up the game though, and Evil and Serah decided to call it a day with me. We managed to mostly die on our way back: Evil in heading back to Detorid, and Serah in a spontaneous combat with a PNG Taranis pilot on a stop bubble. I take full responsibility for Serah's Crusader loss. He had mentioned earlier that he had broken a Conflag crystal, and I had forgotten. That combined with my not realizing that the Taranis would take out Serah's Crusader so handily, I felt a bit bad. I tried to get revenge, but the Taranis pilot in hull was trying his hardest to slingshot me, and with only a web and long point, I was sure I would be dead if he caught me. I chose the better part of cowardice and let him slip by before returning to Maila. Looking back, I should have done everything possible to kill that Taranis.
Serah and Evil both seem rather excited about my roams. We're usually a small group, and I don't mind warping to stations in home systems at zero, something that seems to freak Evil out just a bit when he sees fifty neutrals in local and I say, "Yeah, so what?" He asked me today if I was going to run a roam today, and I was admittedly planning to, but Archie put a roam up, and that combined with my fatigue over this weekend has left me with little desire to stay awake much longer today.
Computer: terminate recording.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Different Sort of Update

Entry: eight hundred fifty-five.

It's been two weeks since I last able to put out a log. It was a stressful time, these last two months, but with those commitments largely having been met, I have more time to focus on the things and activities I love. My time isn't yet fully my own, but it's a massive difference from before.
So let's start with the first topic: Alliance.
The last deployment, which Cascade came off of as of yesterday, was a monumental failure. The failure wasn't due to the kill death ratio, or the ever perceived ISK war, or even territory conquered and lost. It was a combination of other variables that together made the entire endeavor a failure.
The first factor was Raiden falling apart just as we deployed. The fights that we had been hoping we'd get, good or bad, never manifested because the power block in area vanished. The second factor was that no one was clear on what we were doing up there after Raiden dissolved. As it turned out, we were supposed to be helping Brick Squad against Pinked and The Jagged Alliance, but neither of those panned out either. In part, because Brick didn't really seem to want or need us around, and also in part because Pinked couldn't and wouldn't put up a fight and The Jagged Alliance vacated the area.
The confluence of those events, combined with the alliance essentially half deploying, and a lack of resolve among alliance members to lead fleets, resulted in a mostly dead period in the alliance, where not much happened, and when it did happen, few if any fights were to be had. So, as of yesterday, the alliance officially ended the deployment.
That same day, I also found out that the alliance head's corporation, FODE, will be merging into UDEAD. This is seen as good thing by some, a bad thing by others. In terms of the bad, some feel we are locked into Cascade until it collapses now that this has happened. In terms of the good, this will make the ties between us and FODE stronger while giving the corp some much needed clout with alliance level FC's.
The alliance head, Archie, will not be joining UDEAD, although he was originally planning to. Budja made a strong argument that it would be horrible for alliance politics, as it would show clear favoritism for UDEAD as opposed to other corps, such as NASGU, who dislike UDEAD but have been trying to secure a leadership position in the alliance. My thought is that NASGU dislikes UDEAD because we hold a leadership position, not just in the politics, but also on the killboards.

Moving on to the second topic: Corporate.

As mentioned before, FODE is merging with UDEAD. However, there are always some people who, when their corp mergers into another, choose to go a different route. I've heard that one member, an alliance level FC at that, has chosen to move in with NCdot if possible. I can't say how many others may follow in his wake, or if some will go to other corps or even other alliances, but the feeling is that FODE will almost entirely merge with us.

There is one of them, however, that I've been told not to accept into corp. He is an alliance level FC, but I find it strange how there's so much dislike for him within the original members of my corp, even among the leadership in my corp. I feel a bit bad for him, someone who gave his all to the alliance and essentially no longer having a place with those that were in his corp. I imagine, however, that he made his own fate on that: people don't generally dislike a person to such an extent as to refuse entry unless there were serious issues. 

Also in the corp, we have a new recruit, and by new I mean as green as they come. He has some fifty-nine million skillpoints, but up until now, he's lived a rather sheltered life in null-sec. He was once a Red Alliance renter, and I admit some initial distrust as I thought maybe he was angling to simply evacuate assets from PQRE-, one of our newly acquired systems in Detorid. I was eventually convinced to give him a shot in the corp.
Since his rather recent acceptance into the corp, he's made good progress. Although he's lost some rather expensive stuff in the learning, he has done his best with what he knew to meet the expectations told to him. He literally knew nothing about combat, or how the value of his ship can hurt or help the killboards. With the training he's received so far, he's learned much and has stopped flying those expensive pirate ships around. He doesn't yet have any kills, and actually is five losses in already, but I'm hearing some praise about him in the corp, so I think things are going to go well for him. I would really love to get him on some killmails though, to boost his confidence and his desire to participate and be a part of us. If he continues to lose ships and maintain a zero success rate, he may feel as though he will never be good, and may decide to give up, something I never want to see a new combat pilot do early in his career.
With those main topics covered, and very little having happened otherwise in alliance or corp, I'm going to close out this log and hope that people found it interesting. This log was meant to be a deviation from the norm, something I hope to repeat in the future as well. If there are suggestions as to how I could improve it, I will be more than receptive.
Computer: terminate recording.