Friday, August 30, 2013

Eve Online: Wormhole Shopping

I'm not sure how many people from my corp will be joining me, but I've decided that I'm going to move back into a wormhole. I used to live in a wormhole for a month or two early in my Eve Career, and I've decided it's time to move back. I've been tossing around what class of wormhole, what static's I want, and what wormhole effects I'd be willing to live in.

If you've never lived in a wormhole the entire mechanics of the game can drastically change if you're not prepared. 

The first noticeable difference when you enter a wormhole is there is no local chat channel. You are unable to see how many people are in the system. Local chat still shows up, but you can't tell if anyone is there or not. It is HIGHLY recommended that you do NOT chat in local, because once you talk in local, everyone in the system will know you are there, and be able to plan accordingly. Stealth is your greatest asset in wormhole space.

DSCAN DSCAN DSCAN: You need to have Dscan up and constantly scanning when you live in a wormhole. Failure to do so will ultimately end with your death.

The second difference you may or may not initially notice is a message saying that strange effects may be present in this system. If you don't know what you're looking for, you may not know that your ship just became highly ineffective the way you fit it. Check out this site  for detailed information on wormhole effects.
Your resists can go up or down, range up or down, speed and signature radius drastically changed, damage changes, etc. You need to know what you're getting yourself into, or kiss your ship goodbye because I guarantee you that if anyone is living in that wormhole they are prepared accordingly.  Proper planning is always important, but with wormhole combat it's twice as important.

Planetary Interaction (PI) is amazing in wormhole space. If you find the right system, you can be swimming in ISK quickly.

Sleepers are the NPC to shoot at, and if you don't know anything about sleepers then you may find yourself sitting in your pod before you even know what hit you. Sleepers are the most aggressive, hard hitting, omni-tank, omni-damage, badasses of the galaxy. If you stumble across a few sleepers in a site and think "Oh, there's only 6 of them, I got this", and you've never faced sleepers before, get ready to be webbed, scrammed, and have to tank a TON of damage. If you live, the salvage and loot from sleepers is extremely high in value, but you won't get any bounties from them.

Each wormhole comes on a classification from C1-C6. The higher the number the higher the difficulty to live in. Also, the higher the class of the wormhole the actual wormhole itself changes. I don't have all the details memorized, you can read here for more, but wormholes have a specific amount of time they stay open and a certain amount of mass that can pass through them before they collapse. For example, a brand new wormhole may have a life of 24 hours and 20,000,000 m3 of mass that can pass through it before it disappears, whichever happens first. They also have a per ship limit of how much mass can pass through them, based on the wormhole classification. I believe that Battleships cannot pass through a C1 or C2 wormhole, but they can with C3-C6. Capital ships cannot pass through anything smaller than a C5 or C6 I believe, but they might be able to enter some C4's.

Every wormhole will also always has have static entrances to and from itself. A static hole is a type of wormhole that will always be connected to your wormhole. For example, I may live in in a C3 wormhole and my wormhole has a static to highsec. This means at any given point my wormhole is currently connected to high sec space. If that wormhole collapses, another will immediately spawn in the wormhole to another high sec system. Wormholes can also have static's to another wormhole class. If I live in a C3 wormhole, and have a C1 static, that means that I will always be connected to a C1 wormhole, when that wormhole collapses, another will immediately spawn to another C1.

Having a high sec static is nice for being able to move stuff quickly in and out of your system, BUT it also means you will have a lot more traffic in your wormhole. In my opinion the best static to have is to a C1-C3, so that you are only typically one jump away from known space. I'm currently shopping for a C2 or C3 wormhole, with a static to C1-C3.

I've recently been directed to use this website to help me shop for a wormhole. You can scan for weeks and not find an empty wormhole, and this site allows you to buy the location off of someone that has already scanned it down. They use 3rd party brokers, to help ensure that you are getting what you pay for.

I'll update more as soon as I move in. Cheers!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Eve Online: Fleet Commanders

Just a caveat before I get started. I am not a fleet commander, and don't even pretend to be one on TV. My experience that I will share for this article is from the point of view of a member of the fleet, and not from the captain's chair. 

I've been playing Eve for about 6 months now, and in my short time I have had the pleasure and pain of flying with fleet commanders with varying levels of competence.

Early on in my experience I had the pleasure of flying with some small gangs where the FC had a few years of experience. He taught us how to align to the gate, warp as a fleet, observation points, safe spots, burning back to gate, optimal range, and the dreaded roams through low sec and null sec looking for a fight. He'd have us put together a kitchen sink fleet as long as it was cruiser or smaller and we'd go looking for a fight. 90% of the time we got our butts handed to us, but on those rare occasions we landed on a lone rifter or whatever we basked in our kill and talked about it for hours. "Our 5 Frigates, 3 Destroyers, and 3 Cruisers totally killed that Rifter!!!"

We were so proud of ourselves.

Countless mistakes were made on our fleets part, but our fleet commander was always great and made quick and decisive decisions. None of us were ever upset that we lost our ships, because we fully accepted that could be the reality when we undocked and headed out to meet our destiny.

Many months later I had the pleasure again of flying with a one of Initiative's head fleet commanders and I once again saw what a strong FC can bring to a fight. His understanding of his fleet doctrines, intelligence gathering from scouts, proper tactics to use, respect from his fleet, and control of the comms was amazing to witness.

Recently I have been witnessing the exact opposite of good fleet commanders. They go AFK during a fight, if they get remote sensor dampened they scream into comms "Someone else FC, I'm sensor dampened", they take WAY too long to make a decision, and we keep dying over and over again.

I don't mind dying and losing my ships at all, but I hate to die when it could have been easily prevented.

Two days ago a group of 10 caracals were roaming through our space and were 2 jumps away while we were sitting on a gate they had to come through. We had an Armageddon, 2 Dominix, 3 blaster Talos, A sabre, an interceptor, and 3 Vexors. We were ready to fight and KNEW beyond a reasonable doubt we could wipe the floor with the caracal fleet. I ask in comms since they are completely quiet "FC, are we fighting or running".... 30 seconds go by no response. Intel says over comms they are jumping into the next system "FC Are we fighting or running?" .... No Response.

Scout says "They are landing on the gate", FC says "We are running, everyone go to a safe spot". Frustrated and annoyed I still obey orders and warp away as the fleet is jumping into system. We lose an Armageddon and a Dominix because they couldn't warp away fast enough. Later he blamed it on everyone else, then reluctantly said he'd pay for the lost ships (which never happened).

Later back in our system, the caracal gang showed up and started camping our station. We had 20+ pilots docked up in station so the FC says "Let's undock and fight them", to which people start undocking one at a time and getting blapped one at a time, not realizing there isn't an actual fleet outside fighting back, just solo pilots undocking and getting popped. I undocked in a Navy Issue Vexor and I see we have two carriers undocked as well. I launched my full flight of sentry drones and started to attack the Caracal that the FC called primary. I was immediately called primary (since there was only about 4 ships undocked) and I melted pretty fast. I warp away in my pod and wait to come back when my aggression timer is done.

The FC starts screaming like a baby to "stop dying!" and after 10-15 minutes finally tells everyone to stop undocking. We lost multiple battleships, multiple cruisers and basically got our asses handed to us by someone we should have been able to take on with little problem. It was an outright embarrassment to be associated with that fleet. The fleet commander then proceeds to yell at me for undocking in a Navy Issue Vexor and says he never wants me to fly that ship again and he doesn't want to ever see it on our killboards ever again. I argue for a few minutes but eventually I bite my tongue and said "Ok, I'll follow orders", because I don't want to have our entire corporation kicked out of alliance and everyone have their stuff stuck in station with no access to it.

This long annoying day is only one of the many frustrating experiences lately with this new alliance. I have already moved most of my stuff out of their space. I think I'm done with the whole Alliance thing for a while, too much of a bad taste in my mouth. I'm highly considering going to live in a wormhole for a while until things blow over.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Eve Online: Cinderella

I'm grew up in the 80's and Cinderella said it best "You Don't Know What You Got, Till It's Gone"

Our corporation recently left the Alliance we were a part of and joined a new alliance on the other side of the map. We used to be living in Catch, which is Sansha space, and through the use of jump bridges we were only 3 jumps from High Sec, but we actually lived about 15 jumps from high. In our downtime we could dock at our station, run anomalies in system or nearby systems, go ratting on the belts, and transport any loot we earned easily to high sec with limited logistics needs. 

Now we live in Rogue Drone space, NPC's don't drop any loot, we're about 40 jumps from high sec, the systems our alliance owns don't have any outposts, we've been told to NOT go ratting in the systems that aren't ours (even though they belong to allies of our alliance), and people are charging between 500-1000 isk per m3 to transport stuff out to our region. 

Oh, and to top it all off a lot of the alliance members frequently begin and end their sentences with racial slurs or hate speech, which I refuse to continue to deal with. Sugar recently posted an article on this , and I think she captures the problem well. 

We've lost about 10-12 members of our corp in the last week or two, because they don't agree with the move. I'm on the board of directors and I don't agree with the move, but I'm giving it a few weeks to see if things get better. If things don't change I already know what my backup plan is. 

Our Alliance is blue to another alliance that owns some space back in the area we just moved from, only a few jumps from where all my stuff is staged in high sec. If things go south, I'll be moving me and 3-4 other members from our corp to that system to get some small gang pvp action, perhaps even joining the alliance that owns that region that I do like. 

We weren't looking to leave our old alliance, but our old alliance was abandoning the region we lived in, and that system wasn't safe for us anymore. 

I've got two toons, and for now I'm playing in our old region with one toon, staging my other in the new region with the bare essentials and if things start to go south, I'll be moving out. 

PS. In my opinion Rogue Drone space is horrible. Some people may like it, but if you enjoy doing a little PvE action when there is no PvP going on, then I don't recommend living in Drone space. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Eve Online: Morality?

I consider myself having a lot of moral flexibility. Some may say that means I don't have any morals, but what someone else perceives as my obligations to a situation may not be what I perceive my obligation to be.

Last night, I was hanging out in the public chat room that our corporation uses to chat and talk with our non-corp allies. We have a few friends to our corp that are NOT allies to our alliance, which can pose a multitude of conflicts, confusion, and potentially dangerous situations in the heat of battle.

Three members of our corp decided we were going to go gate camp with 3 members of this other corporation. We're blue to each other so we don't shoot each other, but our enemies are not the same. Our group of three arrive first at the gate and begin camping and let the other guys know where we are so they can come join us. While we're camping this gate and they are on the way an alliance Loki begins to camp with us. This Loki doesn't say hi, or mind if I join, or anything at all, just hangs out and starts camping with us. We relay over comms that there is now a "friendly" Loki sitting on gate with us.

Our buddies decide they want to kill this Loki since it's not blue to them, and we remind them that we can't help since we're blue, but we're not going to stop it either. First they send a Hawk to engage the Loki by himself, and the Hawk is handling the Loki just fine on his own, tanking the damage and pulling him from the gate farther and farther. As soon as the Loki is 10km away from the gate he warp scrams it, webs it, and his two buddies jump in with Sleipnir's. The Loki tries to disengage and burn back to the gate but he can't jump until his combat timer runs out, giving the three ships plenty of time to crush his tank and kill him. His pod jettisons and they lock it and pod him as well.

This entire time, I'm sitting there not doing a single thing to help either side. Just hanging out watching the fight.  A moment later a neut Arbitrator jumped into system (which was neut for both of us) and we work together and make quick work of the lonely ship that happened to stumble on our camp.

Time goes by, and I'm waiting for an email or something from the Loki pilot asking why we weren't engaging, blah blah blah, but nothing ever comes. I'm not sure if he knew we weren't engaging or if he just assumed we were helping and the enemies just called him primary.

I thought the whole thing was hilarious, and didn't lose a bit of sleep over not helping the Loki. We are part of the renter alliance so we're not treated with the same respect as the rest of the alliance so I don't think I owe them anything. They take our ISK monthly, don't really provide us any protection, and so I don't care if one of them dies by gate camping in Strategic Cruiser.

I didn't know the pilot in the Loki, so I had no loyalty there. If I had known the pilot, I would have warned him or tried to prevent his ultimate demise in some other way.

Our friendly corp and us are working on how we end up blue to each other and have everyone else can have the same standing, but until then we will likely have many conflicts of interest when we decide to fleet up.  I smell some sort of diplomatic incident coming soon. Hopefully we out our new rental situation by then.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Eve Online: Relocating our home

We are currently living in Catch, and due to recent turmoil, politics, and I'm sure dozens of other things, Initiative has decided that they are going to be moving their efforts to some place else. They aren't giving their systems away to anyone in particular but in a few weeks they will stop protecting many of them. We were told to pretty much pack up our stuff and move it to a safe place, because our system and the systems of all the other renters would no longer be protected.

I'm guessing that wherever their new interest is leading them will cause them to be stretched too thin to have to worry about protecting all their systems in Catch. This sucks for us, because we've just spent a few billion ISK upgrading our system with infrastructure upgrades. Now those upgrades are useless to us. 

Over the course of the last week, our corp has painstakingly moved all of our assets out of our system and into high sec. We've started asking around to other alliances regarding rental options, and what the details of those contracts look like.  

We're not set on leaving Initiative but we're not set on staying either, which presents us with a good opportunity to shop around. Our corporation has 54 members about 35 of which are highly active. We have a mix of PvE, PvP and Industry pilots in our corp. So far for the month of August, we've killed over 225 enemy ships. It's not a lot, but we're just now starting to get into it. A few capital pilots but mostly sub-caps. 

If you and your alliance provide rental agreements to corporations please let me know and I'll be in touch.

Another option since we are starting to get more and more involved with PvP is to join up with an alliance and help provide security and participate in CTA's so much so that we reduce or eliminate our rental fee.