Friday, 30 November 2012

'Hurricane Seraph' sighted in Black Rise

Yeah I know, my jokes are terrible

A few nights ago, I realised that when Retribution hits, my Hurricanes will probably not work as they are currently fitted (CCP are reducing PG and dropping a highslot if I remember correctly) so I decided to fly out my shield 'Cane and get it exploded for the insurance, fitted like this:

Hurricane - Classic Shield

6 x 425mm Autocannon II
2 x Medium Unstable Power Fluctuator I

I'm a massive fan of the 'Cane, I just suck at flying it
2 x Large Shield Extender II
1 x Warp Disruptor II
1 x 10MN Experimental Microwarpdrive

1 x Damage Control Unit II
3 x Gyrostabiliser II
2 x Tracking Enhancer II

3 x Medium Core Defence Field Extender I

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) I didn't die while doing it. Infact compared to my other attempts in battlecruisers, I did fairly well. Admittedly most of my kills were frigates, but I still felt like I'd done something worthwhile instead of getting exploded within ten minutes by massive armour gangs with logi support.

Essentially I roamed around the edges of squid staging systems like Rakapas, knowing that it meant the squids may bring more reinforcements any minute, but it might also make them more overconfident. Dodging a couple of fail gatecamps (seriously, I took about 6 - 7 seconds to align in my 'Cane and they didn't catch me) I wound up in Aivonen, with Local full of squids, and D-Scan full of frigates and destroyers.

I decided there were worse ways to die, so I warped to 100km on a nearby gate and started burning off towards a planet, hoping they would get curious and come investigate. Sure enough, within two minutes or so, a Caldari Navy Hookbill lands around 200km off me, towards the gate and doesn't move for a while. He then turns and warps away. Sensing he's probably trying to get his gang a warpin right on top of me, I hit my MWD for about 20 seconds, and the second time he warps back in, he lands only 100km from me. He does the same again (warp out, warp in), but this time lands 60km off me.

Apparently bored of waiting, the rest of his gang land around him, total count including the first Hookbill, a Cruor, Executioner, Cormorant, Claw, Slicer, Thrasher, and another Hookbill. They all start burning at me, with only two of them (the destroyers) actually making any attempt to get some transversal speed going to counter my guns. Loaded with Barrage, my 'Cane can hit out to 30km, so they were going to get a shock when they got closer. The Executioner and Cruor pulled ahead of the pack, passing into my 30km range way before the rest of their gang.


I started shooting at the Cruor first (because LOLEXPENSIVE and the Executioner only had a long point), and his lack of transversal meant he lost pretty much all his armour before he got under my guns and started shooting and neuting me. I still didn't launch my Warrior II drones, because I knew they were going to be vital in dealing with all these frigates. Instead I cycled both my neuts on the Cruor and capped him out almost instantly. Without any cap, his scram, neuts and laser died, allowing me to pull some range with my MWD and blap him while he was dead in the water. One down! The Executioner was my next problem, holding me down with long point and using a Tracking Disruptor. Unfortunately for him, he flew in too much of a straight line to actually gain any benefit from the TD, and got pretty much alphaed off the field at around 25km from me while still trying to establish an orbit. Gotta love Barrage. Problem solved.

While I had been dealing with the fast tackle, the rest of the gang was catching up, although the Thrasher was seriously lagging behind the rest (probably AB fit). The Cormorant caught up with me, got into a decent 9km orbit and starting disrupting my balls off. My guns were nowhere near hitting him. The only problem with his excellent plan was that my neuts had a 12km range. They hit him hard, annihilating his cap reserves and turning off pretty much everything that was making him safe from my guns (propulsion, disruptor). Just like the the Cruor, his speed dropped, and then he was wiped off the field too.

The Claw caught up with me while I was dealing with the Cormorant, and his tight orbit, combined with excellent cap management on his part meant I couldn't pull any range (warp scrammed) and I couldn't hit him. Counter-cycling my neuts to maximise their impact, I launched my Warrior IIs and prayed. Slowly, but surely they ground him down, with none of the other pilots apparently thinking to help their friend by killing my drones. While the Claw made a good attempt to kill most of them, he didn't have the tank to survive the few that remained and exploded as the last of my drones managed to kill him. With most of their frigate gang obliterated, the survivors decided to cut their losses and warp out (two Hookbills, a Slicer and a Thrasher), leaving me with much less ammo, one heavily damaged Warrior II, and a huge smile on my face. I grabbed the loot from the wrecks, before heading back towards Nennamaila.

Nennamaila has an awesome sun

Dropping off my loot, I saw a mention of an enemy frigate gang (another one?!) in Milita chat, and quickly offered to join in, wanting my Hurricane to finally explode gloriously. I fleeted up with two other pilots, jinko3 and Arkenai Wyrnspire (Arkenai has a blog too, which he gave me the link to, , though currently it's only open to certain readers apparently. Damn it Ark!) who were flying a Thrasher and a Fed Navy Comet respectively.

Reaching Korasen, we attempted to bait a small plexing frigate gang to attack, but they pretty much entirely ignored us. However, a passing Harpy pilot soon shipped up to a Ferox to come and play pewpew. He came through the gate we were sitting on and aggroed me first. I jumped back through, before realising how dumb that was, and jumped back in. I was shortly followed by a small Gallente militia gang, who'd seen the Ferox jump after us, and wanted in on the kill. With seven Gallente pilots on the field against the poor fishy Ferox, he didn't stand a chance. Boom!

Having a good giggle at finally being the blobber, rather than the blobee (I'm a bad person I know), I headed back to Nennamaila, before shipping down to my faithful Taranis and roaming out again. I soon stumbled into neutrals in Akidagi who clearly wanted a fight, but their gang was too large to fight up close. I attempted to goad their Hookbill into attacking, but a Drake landed next to him before I could attempt to kill it. Instead I burned off, and for some wierd reason a Kestrel dropped out of warp not too far from me. Swinging towards it, I overheated my guns and spewed antimatter rounds into his shields. He dropped so fast I doubt he had time to cycle his ASB.

Personally I'm looking forward to the new Crimewatch UI
Warping off due to my GCC (since I was far enough off the gate for the guns to ignore me), I bounced between safespots for 15minutes, before heading back to Nennamaila again to reship into my Hurricane (since most of the other gang were in cruisers). Jumping back into Akidagi, I tried to engineer an engagement in which I could murder something expensive before I died but attempting to catch individuals on their own was largely fruitless with an SFI and two Drakes trying to catch me.

However I did land on top of the Hookbill I had seen earlier and blapped it before the SFI landed. After that I decided not to push my luck any further, and docked back up in Nennamaila, glad to still be flying the same ship I started my roam in.

 It's not something that often happens to me ;D

Before you say it, I know most of my kills were helpless frigates. It's not my fault they derped a little ;) I just enjoyed being the winner several fights in a row, instead of my typical "win - draw - loss - loss -draw - loss - draw - win" pattern that I usually follow in fights. A nice change!

Fly safe!

Monday, 26 November 2012

It's like having a multiple personality disorder

So there's some sad news, and some good news.

The sad news is, one of my RL friends has recently started studying REALLY HARD for University, so he feels that he can no longer play EVE and balance his studies at the same time(he was the CEO of an industrial corp, part of a larger alliance). He's decided that since RL > EVE, that he's going to pretty much stop playing until he feels he can handle juggling everything again. Which is sad news, because it was always fun to chat to him about how his corp was going, and the backstabbing that happened even in a small alliance.

But the good news is, he's effectively selling me his two characters (on two seperate accounts). All I have to do is pay the transfer fee, and bam, I get a fully skilled miner/PI character (which let's face it, I probably won't use) and a pretty well trained Amarrian Missioner/Orca booster, who's only a few weeks from T2 large lasers and comes with a blingy Apocalypse Navy Issue. Also I get all of his ships, modules, etc to do with as I please.

Which is pretty nice, to say the least. I'm not complaining about a free Orca, Hulk, Mackinaw, Crane, Navy Apoc, etc etc. It's definitely paid for my Archon if I flog it all, though I'd probably keep the Orca for transporting things.

After some due consideration, I'm thinking about selling off the mining character (since mining is boring and I don't want to pay for four accounts) and paying for the missioning character with PLEX for a year, until he's fully trained into a Paladin, at which point I'll transfer him over to one of my accounts I have at the moment. That way I can only pay RL cash for two accounts, and hopefully make enough per month to PLEX the third. And of course, if I can sell that mining character for a couple of bil (no idea how much characters are worth) then that'll put me a few months ahead straight off.

The only problem is, this mining character I'm selling needs about three months more training before I reckon it'll fetch a decent price on the bazaar, so I need to PLEX two accounts. I forsee much grinding of Incursions in the coming months...

And before anyone asks why I don't just sell both characters along with all their assets, I secretly enjoy mission running, and owning a Paladin has always been another of my private goals for EVE. (I may have to write those up one day, they might be interesting). So the mission runner stays.

And juggling the training of four characters? It's hard work. I'm having trouble keeping track even with EVE-Mon, and I can't even imagine how much effort other players put in, since I know that some players have upwards of five or six characters on separate accounts...

You crazy bros.

Anyway, fly safe!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Feels like I'm in reverse guys!

First of all, I'm sure you'll all be very excited to know that I've gotten rid of all that CAPTCHA crap (or whatever it's called) for my comments section. I've also set it so you can be anonymous if your little troll heart so desires ;P I felt that the effort of jumping through those hoops to type a few words was probably not worth it, and honestly I doubt I get enough traffic to bring the spambots running...

On with the post!

So as I mentioned in my post a few days ago, I've been able to start running Incursions much sooner than I expected to. Like three months sooner.

Obviously this was quite a nice surprise, so yesterday night I decided to try and get picked up for a fleet, despite only having Logistics IV. To clarify for those who don't run Incursions, Logistics V is by no means a strict requirement to run as a Logi pilot, it's just more helpful for the fleet, because it means you only need to trade one cap transfer between Guardians, whereas a Logistics IV pilot requires two transfers to be cap stable. Since the majority of Guardian pilots fly what's called a "4/2" setup (four large remote reps, usually Meta 4, and two cap transfers), having Logistics V leaves a cap transfer free for cap hungry battleships, such as Abaddons. Which of course they'll thank you for, because it lets them keep shooting!

Still looks great, even with terrible graphics cards

So I posted my fit along with "Logistics IV" and tabbed out for a few seconds, expecting it to be a while before I actually got picked up. Instead when I tabbed back in, I already had a fleet invite. Pleasantly surprised, I accepted the invite and introduced myself as a Logi noob. This seemed to be something the Logis already in fleet seemed to take as a direct challenge, because they took me aside almost right away and started teaching me how to set up my overview, watchlist, and all that jazz.

It took a while to get to the right system, but that wasn't a problem since I was on the waitlist. Fortune struck again after I'd been waiting no more than ten minutes, when one of the Logis reported he'd have to leave after the next site. The FC checked the Logi waitlist, which I already knew had my name at the top.

FC: "Uhhm okay, Zendrak? You're up after this site. Get yourself ready"
Me: "Yep sure, I'll be ready"

Yep, it's all there
I had no idea what "ready" entailed, so I checked my fit was right and checked I had my drones. Everything looked fine. I decided to go to the loo before the site started, so I wasn't desperate halfway through. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten how fast Vanguard sites could be run, so when I got back I had a little moment of shock.

Fleet chat

James Thake > Zendrak Minayin ON GRID
Zendrak Minayin > warping sorry D:

I have never landed on a beacon and felt the eyes of everyone staring me down before. Despite the fact I was probably hundreds of miles away (in real life) from the nearest guy in my fleet, I felt guilty for slowing them down (judging by their completion times, they weren't hanging around). I quickly apologised to the fleet on TS3, which was met with some mild banter before we were told to hard align down the gate.

Fleet chat
James Thake > ----------------------- Logis please

Jason Parmala > L
Zendrak Minayin > L
Mika Firestorm > L

I'll admit, I actually felt a little rush of pride when I typed that one, solitary letter into the chat box. I know it sounds a little sad, but the three of us were literally the only thing standing between the guys in our fleet, and fiery destruction fueled by billions of ISK in hulls and modules. I mean, that's some responsibility right there, and they knew full well I'd never done this before. I was actually slightly honoured at the time that not one of them even suggested on comms that I'd screw up. The trust they were putting in a complete stranger just got to me a little.

I know, I'm taking this game far too seriously.

After the last logi had indicated he was still alive and breathing, the anchor ship rocketed off down the gate, a rather shiny fit Bhaalgorn. A slight pause before comms lit up again. "Okay Logis, come save me. DPS and Logis hit the gate now".

Our three Guardians landed pretty much on top of the anchor Bhaalgorn, and within only a few kilometres of each other. I had a few seconds of panic while setting up the cap chain due to some misclicks (accidentally repping a Guardian instead of sending him cap, derp), but we kept the anchor alive after catching him in high armour, at around 80%. A good start!

My overview looks like a total clusterfuck, I know.
I think I need a bigger screen
But then the rats started swapping targets.

The first few times they changed, I was a little slow on the draw, and it didn't help me that people don't tend to broadcast for armour in Vanguard sites. This is purely because there's few enough ships in the site that a Logi with Multitasking III can lock all of the fleet, which means you can see all of your fleet mates' armour readouts fairly easily. Unfortunately, I was so fixated watching the little red bar reverse back on itself that I kept missing whenever a ship a few targets over was getting utterly nailed. Vanguard pilots simply expect you to notice they're getting their asses handed to them, which is both endearing and scary at the same time. The few people who do broadcast are either:

A) New to Incursions and worried about dying
B) In deep armour (I'm talking like 30-40% here) and assume you've fallen asleep

I even joked to one of my fellow Logis that he didn't seem to broadcast for reps five sites in a row, no matter how long it took us to notice. He replied that he might consider broadcasting if he was dipping into hull. Maybe.
Stuff still exploded even though I had no guns myself

Balls of steel or what?

Thankfully my two Logi tutors were faster and more experienced than me, so nobody died due to those first few spawns, and after a few sites I was starting to get the hang of it. Here's pretty much what I did in each site.

- Land on gate
- "L" up in fleet chat
- Wait for anchor to warp in
- Follow him, save his ass, set up cap chain
- Wait for rats to switch targets
- Switch three reps to new target when needed, pull off a rep when he stabilises (keep some in reserve)
- Rinse and repeat as rats move primary while DPS squad mows down said rats
- Collect payment, warp out to next gate
- Start again

And I found flying as a Logi oddly cathartic. I commented to one of my 'tutors' how nice a change it was to be creating grey on targets instead of red. He agreed, mentioning that when he first flew Logi, he felt like he was "playing the game in reverse", which made me laugh.

It's a weird thing to pick out, but regardless, I'm enjoying flying Logi much more than flying DPS so far. Plus you get picked up for fleets in mere seconds.

Show me the moneyyyyy!
Also, I'm just so awesome as a Logi that I got picked up by a fellow Logistics pilot, Anath Shamgar, and he asked if I wanted to join his corporation. Hell yes I do! So now I'm in a shiny new corp, with a shiny new ship, and playing with lots of other shiny people.
Life is good :D

And of course, it's nice to have a "direct" supply of ISK again. Trading is decent, but it's nowhere near as fun as an Incursion fleet. I'm glad to see despite the nerfs, Incursions are still the "social event" they were back when I flew DPS.

Fly safe!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

A new addition to the fleet


I blame Faction Warfare payouts. It felt weird to be chugging around 3bil in liquid ISK without anything to spend it on, since I was too lazy to start trading again (all my major orders finished over the weekend, giving me some surplus ISK to spend on Seraph). But then I thought, "Hey, there is something I can spend it on..."

So I made some inquiries, looked around a little, and suddenly bam!

Yeah you'll probably have to click to zoom so you can see it

I am now the proud new owner of an Archon carrier!

 I won't be able to sit in it for atleast 73 days (If I train straight for it), or move it and fit it for atleast half a year (in terms of jumping it to a new "home" system), and I estimate it's going to be between a year and a half and two years before I'd feel ready to fly it in combat. Not to mention all the new skillbooks I'm going to need to buy, along with more drone skills, finishing Logistics training, finding a corp who would actually use my carrier in combat, and actually knowing how to fly the damn thing among other problems.

Also not getting it killed the first time I jump it somewhere would be great.

So I'm in for the long haul it seems. But it's looking to be fun, plus I'm part of the way towards my dream of flying a carrier in combat!

And of course, I'd like to give a shoutout to Ispia Jaydrath over at EVE-Fail for supplying me with my sexy new capital ship at a very reasonable price. Thank you very much!


Also, speaking of Logistics ships, I've been looking at my skill queue for Incursions (with some messing on EFT), and it turns out I could fly in Incursion fleets within two days, after I finish training Logistics IV. Since I was expecting to wait it out until atleast late January, that's something of a shock to me. Finishing those skills I've "bumped down" in importance will still be very useful to my Guardian, (and eventually my Archon), but at the moment I've pretty much got all the skills required to be a useful addition to fleets.

Which is a good thing, because carriers aren't cheap.

I winced a little when I accepted
The only "desperate" skills I want to train after Logistics IV finishes is Logistics V followed by some Navigation skills (since alot of tank for Logistics ships comes from their mixture of small signature, high speed, and high resists). The rest will simply give me a little more cap, or slightly higher EHP, or some other "minor" bonus which I can live without for awhile. So looks like I'll be crashing some Incursion fleets this week, and I'll probably write a little post about my experiences, since pretty much all posts I've read on Incursions have been from the point of view of the DPS pilots. Maybe I can add something new?

Also I'm planning to write some short "Summary posts" every couple of days regarding my "Fly 'Till I Die" campaign. I've already lost a good few ships, and the insurance is rolling in :D

I still need to name this damn carrier though. I've got 73 days...

Fly safe!

Monday, 12 November 2012

Fly 'till I die

Well I'm moving again.

I know, I know; I've not been in Faction Warfare very long, and I'm already heading off somewhere else? Hardly an exhaustive trial. And I bet some of you are thinking "Oho, now CCP have nerfed FW payouts, Seraph doesn't want to know anymore".

Yeah you'd be kinda right. But shut up.

Because I want to try something new. As fun as FW is, it's too much like my old pirate lifestyle at times. Yeah I don't lose security for blowing up those squids, and it's pretty nice to earn LP for shooting crap, but it's still in LowSec. And I'm at the stage where LowSec mechanics are no longer working for me, but against me, since EVERYONE will happily take potshots at a solo pirate frigate. I'm hoping the upcoming Retribution expansion will change that somewhat (no more GCC when shooting off gates! Finally!), but currently I want more unrestricted fighting. Why shouldn't I be able to murder that Hoarder in my Rifter while on a gate? It's not my fault he decided to use a T1 hauler to move his sweet sweet loot through dangerous space.

These angry people are about to molest some other angry people.
Very exciting.
Which makes the obvious choice for me venturing into NullSec. But while I'm comfortable with LowSec mechanics, NullSec is like some sort of witchcraft to me. I've had pretty much zero experience in Null, and like LowSec in the past, I'm somewhat nervous about venturing in there alone. And I've got no real interest in Sov Warfare currently, so I wouldn't want to join a massive alliance and get constant CTAs flung in my face. Also being perpetually molested by SuperCaps/Draek fleets/hotdrops is not my idea of a good time.

So I was undecided. LowSec was getting old, but Nullsec seemed insurmountable on my own.

Then I saw my old buddy Korvus Falek over at the Korvus Kut had moved out to NullSec and joined "Suicides-R-Us", a member of "Brick Squad" Alliance. I was intrigued, since it sounded pretty much pure small gang PvP, combined with "LOLOLOLOL DROWN IN ISK" PvE. I liked the sound of that quite alot. So I dropped him a mail, and we started chatting. Turns out he can effectively "fast-track" me through recruitment on his recommendation, and I'd even get help moving my crap out there.


But frankly I'd rather not have to deal with all the ships in my hangar being moved out to Null, so I decided on a better plan.

Every ship currently in my hangar will be flown in Faction Warfare until it explodes.

This is probably my favourite ad for EVE, frigates murdering battleships

Like all of them. That's atleast 80 ships at the last count (though many are currently unfitted, like a stack of Thrashers I've been working through), which is going to be a fair chunk of insurance money coming back my way, and hopefully alot of "good fites".

Obviously I'm not going to fly like a total drooling retard, and engage things stupidly, but at the same time I'm going to be saying "Ah, screw it" much more, and taking fights I'd usually avoid. So my countdown to NullSec is measured in the number of ships I have left. I've already lost several in dumb ways, but I also got some decent kills, so I'll be looking forward to lots of fighting in the next few days!

Of course I'd like to point out that me leaving FW is in no way a poor indication of the quality of the gameplay, corps or people involved.It's just that it just feels too "familiar" to me, and I want to try things I've not done before in EVE.

I'll resist making a joke about "unexplored holes" here
For example, I'd like to join a Wormhole corp/alliance at some point in the future and try that lifestyle out too. I don't feel I've got the SP to be a useful asset yet (like a T3, probing skills, HICs, Recons, other important ship types in Wormhole space), since you don't see many frigate gangs in Wormholes from what I've heard. But I'll start with Null, since it'll introduce me to bubble mechanics and the like. Baby steps are the way for me :D

HighSec? Done it.
LowSec? Done it.
NullSec? On the way :)

Fly safe!