Saturday, November 10, 2012

Griefing a griefer

Entry: nine hundred forty-one.
Four days ago, full evacuation of G5ED-Y began. Me being me, I didn't realize it until the day after, and I decided that I would try to move ships while roaming with them.
My first attempt was to save a Ferox. It's not exactly earth shattering, but I've been trying to fit long-point plus web on them because of the speed issue for the Ferox when trying to take down other battlecruisers. Unfortunately, I ran into a gatecamp of approximately eight pilots. Some of them aggressed me before I jumped back through the gate, and for a minute, I was alone with a Stiletto on the way back to G5ED-. When I reapproached the gate again, the Stiletto came in close, and I got the web and started shooting null.
He got away with something like twenty percent structure remaining. A cynabal had jumped through whilst I plinked at the ceptor and pointed me, followed shortly by the Machariel. Combined, they took out the Ferox fairly quickly.
Some time later, I arrived back in G5ED-. As I undocked in my armor cane, I tried to catch a hostile Thrasher running around ganking cynos, but was unsuccessful. So I warped to Y5J- and jumped. A goon Vagabond was waiting for me.
Let me tell you: Vagabond's don't solo or get amazingly aggressive and brawly without an extra large ASB on board. I had a feeling that this was the case, but with the second hostile in local, I was worried about a Falcon. Either way, I felt like I should take the chance.
I reapproached gate, MWD on. The goon burned for me, and in short order it became abundantly clear that she was going for the hard tackle. Without further ado and thoughts of Falcon vanishing, I changed direction to land my own hard tackle.
Scram. Web. Nos Nos. Keep MWD on, ECM 600's still in bay, perfect, let's whale away.
He aligned out, probably thinking that based on his sheer base speed he could get away. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't packin a scram, so I could MWD at him all day, literally sit on him at zero, and pound away.
Unfortunately for me, the only ammunition I had was Republic Fleet EMP, versus a ship heavily tanked against EM damage and with an Ancillary Shield Booster, and as I was later to find out, a Blue Pill to boot. Due to this, we ended up slugging it out for well over a minute and a half.
In the end, I came out victorious, with twenty-three percent armor still intact.
And all it took was a triple trimarked, sixteen hundred plate armor cane with hard tackle. Sixty million ISK crushes the seemingly overpowered one hundred eighty-four million ISK ship, with the worst possible ammunition type at that.
I have to admit, I felt like a badass for the rest of day having soloed a Vagabond after baiting her into coming close to prevent my escape.
Computer: terminate recording

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Logistics Guide

In all my time, I've seen many guides and discussions on piloting combat ships of all makes and models, but never anything related to piloting a Logistics. Logistics are always mentioned as a critical force multiplier for any fleet, but all the discussion revolves around being a better DPS pilot.

In addition to that, over the last month I've seen more than a few Logi pilots, both in and outside corp, lose their ship for no other reason than that they didn't take the proper precautions, whether on purpose or out of ignorance.

I'll share some of the more common fits I've seen and flown, discuss under which fleets each fit is used for, and give some general advice on how to be a good Logistics pilot.

After a certain point, the numbers in your fleet become too large to be engaged by groups that typically don't bring Logistics. In my experience, this number hits at about six or seven. To get any engagement worth talking about, you end up needing Logistics for two main reasons: First, enemy gangs will either have your numbers or be larger, and second, the incoming DPS from the enemy gang of that size will take your fleet members off the field in short order unless something or someone can provide them with additional tank. The larger your gang, the more Logistics your fleet will need in order to compete with an enemy gang of equal size, the emphasis on fleet fits shifting further from DPS output to tanking ability as fleet size increases.

There are (rare) occasions when more Logistics aren't needed in a fleet, that being almost always when there are too many Logistics, frigate fleets, or in the extreme case, when your fleet actually has no intention of sticking around for anything resembling a fight. An example of the latter is a Sniper gang, or bomber fleet. The reasoning behind it is simple: as a Logistics, most of your time will be wasted in these fleet types because you will not be applying remote reps.

SCIMITAR : This ship repairs shields of anything it activates its remote shield reps. While not having as much tank or potential rep ability as the Basilisk, it can be flown without needing a cap transfer partner and can have cap stable AB and MWD fits for the pilot with exceptional skills related to Logistics. This is the Shield Logistics of choice in almost every fleet I've seen because it can be cap stable and is much faster than the Basilisk.

BASILISK : Like the Scimitar, this ship also remote repairs shields. It can fit a heftier tank, but is not cap stable. It also has the potential to fit more remote repair modules than a Scimitar, but to date I have not seen such a fitting. Because it lacks cap stability on its own, it does require one cap transfer partner at minimum, and requires two for the pilot with Logistics IV.

GUARDIAN : This is essentially the armor variant of the Basilisk. It's slower and tankier than the Oneiros, again with the potential to fit more remote repairs than the Oneiros. For null-sec fleets, there is no MWD fit that I know of, and fitting for two cap transfer partners is standard. I have seen the occasional MWD fit for small gangs however.

ONEIROS : This is the armor variant of the Scimitar. Like the Scimitar, it is faster than its Amarr counterpart, and has the potential to be cap stable as well. Until recently these ships were considered runts and not used. Lately, however, they've become the standard and more sought after in fleets as opposed to Guardians. My experience with Oneiros fits is limited, but I have yet to see a MWD fit for one. Were I to see one, I would imagine it for small gangs only at this point.

Update: MWD Guardian/Oneiros: I've only had one fleet worth of experience in this, but it seemed the correct way to pilot these is the same as though in a nano gang. My guess is that if my gang was being kited by a faster one, the logi would anchor on the FC/Stargate (depending on the situation and combat plan)

ANCHOR : This pilot acts an orbitable object. His job to keep the Logistics group in range of the friendly fleet but out of range of the enemy fleet. By filling this role, the rest of the Logistics team can focus on giving reps while the anchor pilots for them.

COMMAND RELAY (for FC and LOGI team) : This pilot relays FC commands to the Logi team, and updates the FC about whether reps are holding and whether the Logistics are dying, jammed, or neuted out. This pilot also tells the Logi team in the Logi chat whether to orbit, light smartbombs, where to align (in absence of FC orders making sense for Logi), and to rep a friendly who is failing to broadcast (if possible).

This role is never decided beforehand: someone has to step up on the fly to respond to the FC. Most pilots lack enough confidence to reply. Don't wait for someone else to do this! Do this as soon as you can! You will earn recognition in short order from your fellow Logistics, and before you know it you will be seen as a competent leader in their eyes. They will defer to your judgement.

When piloting either a Guardian or Basilisk, its a matter of life and death that you have a running cap chain. This is typically done by having a dedicated Logistics chat for those pilots. Since the pilots in chat are sorted alphabetically, it is easy to tell who your cap chain partners are. Find yourself in the Logi chat, and add the two members of that chat immediately above you to watchlist, then the two member immediately below you in that chat to watchlist. If you are one of the last two pilots in that chat, the two pilots below you might be the two pilots at the top of the chat. The reverse is true if you are one of the first two listed pilots in that chat.

Once that is done, your cap transfer partners will be the middle two of those four. If your top transfer partner leaves the field or is destroyed, your top transfer partner becomes the person above that. The same technique applies to your second transfer partner, with his second partner becoming your second-backup partner.

Generally speaking, the cap chain should always be up as much as possible, even if just sitting on a gate or a Titan.



Basilisk - (only in the past to my knowledge) CFC Alpha Fleet / CFC Drake Fleet / Incursion Fleets




To get the proper broadcasts, right click the white box on your fleet window, select Broadcast Settings. Deactivate the "Target" broadcast and enable the "Need Armor and Need Shield" broadcasts.

If you can, watchlist everyone in your gang so that they don't need to broadcast for reps. If the gang is too large, watchlist the FC and the backup FCs, two to four other Logistics, your Logistics anchor, and some Recons or other valuable ships piloted by your fleet. If your gang has a prober, watchlist him as well.

*Tip: While you are loading grid, you can still command ship via the broadcast and watchlist windows. This is normally useful, but is VERY useful when experiencing long loading times on system change.

*Tip: It is a smart idea in every gang to leave both the "Need Shield" and "Need Armor" broadcasts active. Pilots tend to mix up or even forget to change their bindings for each. By having both you won't miss a beat.

Watchlist priority:
-FC, backup FCs
-probers, pingers/pouncers, warp-ins
-2 Logistics above you in your logistics channel, 2 Logistics below you in your logistics channel (channel is sorted alphabetically)
-Recons or tech3 ships
-Dictors, Hictors
-More Logistics

There are three critical overviews you will need.

The first simply has every celestial on it. Quite often the FC will call out an align point and broadcast it, but it can get lost VERY quickly in the broadcast window as pilots call for reps. Because of that, this overview is extremely useful, especially when moons are called as align points.

The second is an enemy overview, for three main reasons. The most common reason is killmail whoring. The second is much more practical in that it allows you to maintain the proper range and orientation from the enemy with respect to your fleet. The third is when the FC tells your fleet to align toward the enemy fleet in anticipation of a warp-in.

The third is a friendly overview. Pilots in fleet tend to either broadcast for reps late or not at all. While it is not technically your responsibility to watch enemy fire and figure out who is getting shot and not broadcasting, ie is about to die, this is something you should do if you have the chance for the simple reason of your own survival. As your fleet members' ships are destroyed, your own survival becomes less and less guaranteed, and losing a two hundred million ISK ship that has a hard time netting kills is hard to justify. Saving your gangmates and allowing your fleet to win an engagement is very easy to justify, however.

The one gripe everyone has about flying Logistics is the failure to show up on killmails. This is usually less of a problem than it seems however. Every Logistics ship has a drone bay, and it is extremely easy to load up a flight of Warrior II's (or in the case of an Ishtar gang, Bouncer II's / Garde's) and assign the drones to a combat(ECM/DPS/TACKLE) pilot in your fleet. To this end, Logistics pilots should train up their Drone skills for the dual purpose of keeping the drones around longer to score on kills and to aid the fleet's DPS output.

As a warning, if you suspect an enemy fleet has smartbombs, don't deploy all your drones at once; deploy them one at a time. Try to leave at least one drone in your bay in case you need to make a quick warp-out and can't reclaim your drones in time.

-Keep your speed and transversal up if at all possible.

-One-cycle reps when the enemy fleet is cycling targets quickly.

-If ECM drones are jamming you, light your smartbomb (if you have one equipped).

-Use your enemy overview as your main overview. Broadcast for reps as soon as you see mass yellow-boxing (you've been called primary).

-Some fits are NOT cap stable. This means you will need to cycle your hardeners/propulsion mod occasionally to regain enough capacitor to be useful in the long-term.

-Unless a Tackler is absolutely critical to your fleet or whatever it is doing, make sure your Tacklers understand to NOT call for reps. They are fast enough to escape on their own 95% of the time.

-Keep local minimized if you can help it.

-In extremely laggy situations, you may need to "Hide all brackets" and minimize your overview. The momentary lag spike an open overview can cause could mean you die needlessly.

-If you are in a bubble, and it makes sense to do so, try to get out of the bubble and align out. This does not make sense for AHAC gangs if your gang drops a bubble to fight in.

-Keep the FC and backup FC's prelocked at all times if possible, leave one rep on the current FC when things get dicey. If your FC dies, your fleet will become very disorganized and be much easier to trap and kill until a new FC takes over.

-If your ship is destroyed, it is your responsibility to drop fleet and leave that chat as soon as possible. This helps the FC see much faster how quickly his fleet is losing ships, and helps the Logistics FC determine if he needs to notify the FC that Logistics are dying. If you were part of a cap chain, it also tells the remaining pilots that they need to adjust their cap chain to compensate for your loss. By leaving fleet and that chat, you are helping your fleet even after being destroyed.

This is dependent on where your fleet is fighting.

If your fleet is fighting on a gate, orbit the gate, DO NOT AGRESS anything, and provide reps. If you get primaried and reps can't hold you up, jump out, then jump back in and resume reps.

If your fleet is kiting an enemy gang, you will not be fighting on a gate, so you must kite as well. Failure to kite properly will likely result in you getting tackled and subsequently losing your ship. You may or may not aggress in this situation, depending on if you think you may need to jump out of system quickly via stargate.

If your fleet can do neither, chances are strong you have an anchor. You must be AB fit to use an anchor effectively. Activate your AB and orbit the anchor at 2500m or 5000m.

-When kiting, do your best to align out instead of flying in a random direction. If possible, align out while maintaining as high transversal as possible.

-If you suspect your fleet is going to warp out in the next few seconds, deactivate your propulsion mod (if safe) if you think the warp out will be different than your alignment.

-Try to stay between 55 and 75km of your gang members. Your maximum range is approximately 80km, so being in this range gives your gang a little bit of play to still receive reps. You may need to manually adjust your speed from time to time, as well as change alignments while maintaining speed.

-If you see that a tackler is coming for you, try to kill it with drones. If you cannot, and your loss would be critical to fleet, let the FC know over comms that a tackler is burning for you.

-Keep your fleet between you and the enemy fleet if at all possible.


-There is normally a Logistics anchor when a certain threshold of Logistics pilots are reached in a fleet. Transversal is typically kept up by orbiting this pilot (usually another Logistics). If you are AB fit, keep your AB on. If you are MWD fit, there is no Logistics anchor.

-The anchor is the FC. Orbit at 2500m or 5000m AB on. Because you will literally be on top of the enemy, try not to deactivate your hardeners at any point, and overheat them only when you become primary. Do not light your smartbomb for any reason, as the non-Logistic pilots in the fleet will suddenly spam your broadcast window with requests for repairs.

Monday, November 5, 2012

We're In, but SMA is OUT

Entry: nine hundred thirty-six.
Approximately 24 hours ago UDEAD was given the go ahead to join NCdot. I found out just after the NCdot alliance meeting, although I had a pretty strong feeling we were in by the time Vince mentioned UDEAD in the meeting, and how we made some of the regular NCdot corps look a little bad.
But, the news comes on the heels of an evac order. G5ED-Y is under siege now, with Goons and pets knocking on the front door. The meeting was held the very day after the CFC hit every tower in G5ED, the jumpbridge, and the station and services. As far as I understand, we will put up a fight, but we are guaranteed to not win it, the biggest factors in that being being massively outnumbered and many of the pilots having lost the will to fight for the sov.
Anyone who doesn't want to go through the whole recording of the meeting, here are some important cliff notes. Asterisked additions are my own, but less biased and/or misleading than what can be seen at .

  • NC. will be removing themselves from Vale of the Silent. Members are encouraged to begin evacuating their assets (*non-essential, non-PvP, non-capital, non-roaming ships/assets only).
  • NC. will eventually be involved in the war in the South, assisting the Nulli Secunda campaign against SOCO remnants (*and Solar) (*around December at the earliest).
  • Summary of the situation with Evoke, and their departure from the war in the North (*losing members, losing activity, shift in activity from what worked to what didn't, causing Evoke/Ewoks to leave for a probable reboot).
  • Leadership encourages (*congratulates) the members' efforts in the Tribute war. However, in stark contrast to every other alliance in the game, NC. did want that space (*not to because they want to hold sov, but because it's an ISK faucet in terms of rent and moon extraction).
  • *UDEAD did REALLY well. Vince found himself yelling at UDEAD far less than alliance members and complimented UDEAD on always flying the right ships. Also mentioned how UDEAD brought large portions of fleets in general, making some of the other alliance corps look a little embarrassing.
  • *Ambivalent and small mention about SoCo. It's not clear to me if SoCo will or has gotten in. All I can say for sure is that the performance was either on par or subpar to what Vince expected, else they would have received the same mention as UDEAD.
  • Threats that under-performing corporations will be ejected from the alliance (*less a threat and more a statement of fact. What's defined as under performing is left up to Leadership though, as I didn't hear a clear statement of what constitutes performing).
  • Discussion considering the use of a feeder alliance to breed loyalty and increase numbers in fleet (*not really important, and not likely to happen given the general NCdot mentality at this point).
  • In the immediate future NC. will be doing mostly solo work and will be focusing on their allies in subsequent weeks (*approximately one month, possibly two if membership truly desires it).
  • When asked whether Geminate will be defended or not, the response is rather ambiguous with no definite answer being given (*on the premise at how unlikely it is that Goons will want to grind that far. It clearly hasn't been really considered yet, but hasn't had to be yet either. ).
  • NC. will be using Navy Apocalypse fleets in part to make up for their lack of numbers (*I would be surprised to see this more fielded more than a handful of times. In my experience, members rarely field a Navy Apoc more than once, never more than twice).
In addition to this, I heard an interesting bit of news the other day: apparently SpaceMonkey's alliance [SMA] has been reset by Goons (ie by CFC). I don't have details on what SMA did, but apparently they pissed Goons off quite a bit and got the reset in kind. In response to the news, NCdot pinged jabber and sent fleets out to "help them evac". Goes to show, even years-loyal CFC members aren't immune. I'll be happy to hear something different from how great the CFC is on a few podcasts though, that is for sure.
Computer: terminate recording.