Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Level 4 PVE Paladin Guide (Budget fit)

Ah we're back here again, the sweet embrace of being a carebear.

That being said, my last guide on a Level 4 Marauder (the Vargur) was pretty popular, so I've decided to crack on with a followup on the beautiful, the deadly, the graceful, Amarrian Paladin.

Before we go any further, here's the fit I'll be discussing. However unlike last time, this is majority T2 fit and cheap faction. I'll talk about upgrade possibilities later on if you've got ISK to spare or a taste for bling. The price for this fit is around 1.47 billion at the time of writing this according to EVEPraisal. The vast majority of that is the hull itself at approximately 1.3 billion, and less than 200mil spent on fittings.

[Paladin, Holy Fire]

Core C-Type Large Armor Repairer
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Heat Sink II
Imperial Navy Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Tracking Computer II, Optimal Range Script
Tracking Computer II, Optimal Range Script
Large Cap Battery II
500MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive

Mega Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Mega Pulse Laser II, Imperial Navy Multifrequency L
Bastion Module I
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I
Large Energy Burst Aerator II

Acolyte II x5
Infiltrator II x5

So first off it's pretty basic, four MPLs in the highs, bastion module, and two tractors/one salvager. This is pretty standard for a HighSec Paladin. You can change the number of salvagers/tractors around or swap them out entirely but there's not much else you need or want here in HighSec. If you're planning on using this in quiet LowSec, I'd really recommend a mix of Heavy and Medium Energy Neutralizers to throw off tackle incase the worst happens. If you've got nearby backup (say you're in Null with carriers ratting next door) you can even fit a cyno and scream for help while bastion saves your ass long enough for those blap carriers to come wreck the roaming gang that's caught you. In terms of gunnery options, you can definitely switch out the MPLs for Tachyon Beam Laser IIs if you want some crazy long range optimals with no need to ever swap from Multifreq unless you feel like using Gleam. However most missions do not require the insane range of Tachyons and MPLs have better DPS and apply it better due to higher tracking. Do Tachs work? Sure. Are they a better choice than MPLs? Debatable. If you feel like it, try both and stick with what you prefer. Personally I prefer the Mega Pulse Laser IIs for faster cycling and better tracking. The rest of this post will assume you're using the MPL fit otherwise it's going to get very long and confusing explaining the differences in flying them.


Ammo choice is Imperial Navy Multifrequency for anything close up, and then Scorch outside the falloff of Multi. Faction ammo is pretty much the best choice here, since you've got half the guns of a comparable laser battleship (but you have a 100% damage bonus bringing you back to eight effective turrets) and it adds around another 100DPS. Yeah they break, but the cost of replacing them is minor compared to the benefit you get out of them, and you'll get approximately 4000 shots per crystal according to Osmium, which is pretty damn efficient. Just make sure you carry a set of spares so you're not stuck limping through a mission with 3 broken crystals and only one working gun, while being too stubborn to fly two jumps to pick up new ones.

I'm not speaking from experience okay, stop looking at me like that.

The mids are open to your choice, but I enjoy the maneuverability of a MWD combined with a solid cap boost from the recently buffed cap batteries. You could swap this for a Heavy Cap Booster II or a Cap Recharger II, or even change it to something else entirely, but I prefer the Large Cap Battery to drive the already crazy cap strength of the Paladin to "Lol, who cares about managing cap" without drowning it in useless cap stability. Running your guns and rep with your MWD off lasts you a solid 5mins 23secs with max skills which is easily enough time with bastion and the 1k+ DPS to melt the field down to manageable levels. The two Tracking Computer IIs are a really good idea pretty much no matter what to help you push out your optimal, or increase your tracking on elite cruisers and the like. It's possible to fly a Paladin without these, but your applied DPS goes down the toilet, and it's not fun. Alternative choices for mid slots include MJDs, Afterburners, other cap mods, or even webs/grapplers if you want to go crazy, but I think this setup is the most well balanced and new marauder-pilot friendly to start with. If you're using this in LowSec, I'd recommend dropping the Cap Battery for a MJD alongside your MWD, to maximise your ability to GTFO of sticky situations. This will require more attention to your cap but it's alot safer to use.

Your low slots are aimed at increasing and applying maximum DPS while affording the bare minimum of tank. The faction bling here is cheap but helps reduce the number of slots you need to successfully tank Level 4 missions. Frankly you could probably run a T2 rep and a T2 EANM and still be fine. You can also drop a TE for another Heat Sink but the DPS increase is frankly negligable, and I feel better application of DPS is more useful than another 30 or so paper DPS. Alternatively you can drop a TE for another Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane if you're concerned about the tank and want some extra security, but you don't really need any more tank than is already there with the super power that is bastion and crazy DPS out to 100+km (Scorch is OP as fuck). There's the age old 4 Heat Sink + 1 TE vs 3 Heat Sink + 2 TE argument here, I'll leave that up to you to decide what you prefer now I've given my two cents.

The "I have more ISK than sense" part

"But Seraph!" I hear you cry. "I can't sleep properly at night unless my PvE fits are atleast 70% faction or deadspace fit! Where should I spend all this ISK on my brand spanking new Paladin?"

Frankly you fucking shouldn't because you won't get any real increase in performance for the amount of ISK you'll be spending, but if you really feel driven to upgrade this fit, stick with buying Imperial Navy Heat Sinks. That's really all you should pour money into. DO NOT, I REPEAT,


spend ISK upgrading the tank with A-Type or X-Type modules. You don't need it and it'll just make you look shinier for gankers. If you really feel that the tank isn't enough, take off the second TE and put either a Reactive Armor Hardener on there or a second faction EANM. Your wallet will thank me. I strongly disagree with upgrading the Tracking Enhancers or Tracking Computers to faction because it's like a 2% difference to T2 and that's not worth the huge increase in price in my opinion, but if you've got the ISK I can't really stop you.

 A faction or deadspace MWD is an easier pill to swallow because it can help your completion times if it moves you to a gate faster, or lets you save some cap so you're not waiting in an empty room for enough cap to enter the next room safely. That being said, it is 100% workable with a meta or even T2 MWD. I'd only say use a faction/deadspace MWD if you've got one hanging around or you can snag one for cheap.

The most important thing to remember is that you're grinding these missions to make money. A big consideration that most people forget is ISK efficiency with your fit. Sure you might be able to pour 3 billion ISK into a marauder and make it a laser spewing death machine, but you could instead pay 1.5 billion for it, still do shit-tons of damage, and put that other 1.5billion into something else, like a second ship for your alt to dual box, or put it into market trading for some semi-passive income. And the more expensive your ship is, the more missions you have to grind before you start "profiting", because up until you've paid for the price of that ship from missions, you're not technically getting any profit from it.

Anyway guys, I hope you found this post useful. Got an alternative fit? Enjoyed using this one? Post it in the comments!

Until the next time, fly safe o7

Monday, 20 June 2016

A new face in the group

Oh god I'm turning into one of those people.

You know who I'm talking about. The people with more ISK than sense or who have RL cash to burn quite happily on space pixels. In my case, it happens to be more RL cash becoming available to me due to a new job (yay), and a reduction in spending because I'm moving house.

Which lead to me thinking two days ago, "Huh, I want to get really into industry. Shame I don't have any characters I can use, since Seraph and Zendrak are busy training towards Wormhole living. Wait! I can just make a new account!"

And the rest, as they say ladies and gents, is history. I was even clever enough to remember to refer myself so I got a nice extra month of gametime for Seraph's account, and my new character (who shall remain nameless for the time being) has absolutely no ties to Seraph or Zendrak. No ISK deposits, no contracts, no trades, nothing. He's living entirely 
off what he's earned with the rookie missions and the brand spanking new Venture I got rewarded with for completing them.

Excitement! Massive ISK per hour! A sense of accomplishment!
You too can avoid these things by joining a mining fleet!
I've also joined a mining/industrial corp on him on his very first day, and I'm playing the excited rookie role, since I can't be arsed with explaining everything about my past to some snooty recruiters. Instead I'm asking the standard rookie questions, and some are genuinely from me regarding industry and mining because it's not an area I've delved into much in EVE. 

Yeah mining is boring as fuck, but it's something I can leave running in the background at my new job, and that's pretty tempting. Plus their long term plan is to join a NullSec alliance so that should be pretty exciting right?

I've got alot of plans for this new character, mainly revolving around a purely industry skill path, which should hopefully make me alot of dank ISK alongside the plan to move Seraph and Zendrak into a C3/C4/C5 wormhole corp. Then I could even transfer the sleeper loot to my new alt and get him on T3 manufacturing. It's all very exciting in my head, even if it's a little sad. The only real issue at the moment is that I'm only just remembering the absolute hell of training core skills all over again, which are just delaying my specialisation into industry. I've been spoilt for nearly 3 years now on my other two characters that I'm long past these skills and it's a little depressing to see them all again. However since I'm not going to be flying in combat I can afford to skimp on a few percent here and there, so I'm not obsessed with all Vs like I was previously. Instead the maxed skills will be related to mining yield and reprocessing efficiency. Technically I could buy a couple of skill extractors and put myself ahead by a month or so of training but I'm loathe to do this currently since it still feels like cheating to me.

Dat industrial god ship (sort of)

I really want to stick to a "pure" character, no PLEX injections for liquid capital, no skill injectors to skip the hard slog of training bullshit, just cracking on and getting things done. I'm fine with my corp handing me a mining barge to get me kickstarted (and some have already given me BPCs when I said I wanted to be a manufacturing tycoon) but I'd like to avoid the easy way out. It'll make achieving it all the more satisfying for me, even if my total skillplan for my alt so far is almost 790 days for everything I want trained at the moment. However that's without remapping or any implants so I can probably cut off just over 100 days from that which is much less shit. So far my plan for my industry alt is this:

  1. Train for mining barges; Retriever, Hulk, Mackinaw etc etc
  2. Train for industry manufacturing/refining/research/copying/invention etc
  3. Train for a freighter
  4. Train for a boosting Orca (including leadership skills etc)
  5. Train for a jump freighter. Purchase and research capital ship/component BPOs
  6. Build or buy my own RorqualOrca and Freighter
  7. Max out mining skills/industry skills etc. Start mass building capital ships and make DANK ISK
  8. Count my money while cackling evilly
While doing all this I'll be buying and researching BPOs, manufacturing from them and mining while afk at work. I'd also quite like to build any major ships I want to own just because it sounds "fun", so Fenrir, Orca, Rorqual and all that. I probably wouldn't build my own JF because I'm not sure if I want to get into T2/T3 manufacturing, but that's a bridge I'll cross once I get my T1 business going. Invention seems much more complex and skill intensive than T1 so I might actually have to do some real "revision" to understand WTF I'm doing.

If my corp moves out to Null I'd love to try and supply the market out there too, and luckily I've got a trade alt I bought ages ago which I could use to seed the home station with both manufactured and transported goods. I've even got a PI alt I don't use that I could pack off down there and start harvesting from planets. 

Looks very fancy, but very click intensive

However this is all very reliant on constant effort from me and scouring the market for opportunities to make dank ISK. It's also going to take me like 3 years of skill training to get to step 7 alone according to EVE Mon. Ouch. And christ knows when I'll reach step 8. But EVE is a game you play for the long haul, so we'll see what happens. I kinda want to talk more about alt accounts and all the things I could do with them, but this post is getting seriously long and I should probably stop.

In the mean time guys, fly safe o7

Saturday, 18 June 2016

What the hell are you doing?

Last night, I decided to try and kill some mobile tractor units to annoy some mission bears and see what they did. So I logged in my two characters, stuck Zendrak in a scanning ship and hopped into a Hecate with Seraph. Sidenote, I fucking LOVE the design of this ship. It looks so awesome, and reminds me of a stealth bomber or something with the single flying wing design.

Seriously. Look how sexy it is
After irritating a Nightmare pilot who bumped me a few times to show his displeasure, and scaring the shit out of a Gila when my scanner decloaked on top of him, I was thinking my targets would be thin on the ground tonight. Long gone are the days where mission runners would rage at you stealing from their wrecks or shooting their MTUs, and respond by shooting...

Or are they?

I'd just scanned down a Dominix Navy Issue, and my scanner was sat on the acceleration gate. I warped in my Hecate  and plopped right down next to the Domi, who was slowboating towards the next gate while his drones chewed on some battleship rats. Deciding to be a dick, I flew straight past him and looted two battleship wrecks. Nothing major in them, probably about 2mil of loot, but I apparently enraged him so much he started shooting as soon as he could lock me.

With railguns.

At point blank range.

I'm in a goddam Hecate.

I was laughing so hard I didn't notice his Hobgoblins swarm me at first, and oh god those definitely hurt even if his railguns didn't. I scrammed the Domi, got into a tight orbit and started webbing and blapping his drones down. There were ALOT of drones. I felt like I killed atleast five full flights of light drones and two flights of heavies.

I have no idea how big the Domi's drone bay is, but as I chewed through endless Hobgoblins and  FedNavy Ogres I was seriously concerned I might run out of ammo before I could kill this guy. I'm deadly serious, I only packed about 800 rounds of each ammo type (Null, Void, FN Antimatter) and I'd already used most of my null on the FedNavy Ogres because they tended to orbit me around 6k.

Eventually he stopped launching drones at me and just kept slowboating towards the acceleration gate. I kept pace with him and kept up my withering blaster fire. His shields were dropping far slower than I expected, and I was worried about my ability to break his armour tank if I was already grinding pretty slow through his shields. Then I hit his armour, and OH JESUS.

He fucking melted. Like, literally I was blowing huge chunks off his armour with each volley. I decided to ask for a ransom of 300mil to save his ship but he didn't reply so I kept on shooting. His hull didn't last much longer than his armour, and soon he was in a pod. He warped off to station.

I looted his wreck, sadly no faction loot, and warped off to station myself so I could repair my burnt modules. I landed right on top of his capsule and he didn't seem to be moving towards the docking radius. Well since you asked so nicely Mr Capsule...

Blap blap!

I felt a little mean all for about two seconds, then I remembered this was EVE, so I docked up and went to watch TV with no remorse at all.


Now besides this little story I'm currently in the process of applying to wormhole corps so I can experience wormhole living properly and make some ISK to fund my industrial ventures. I've got this dream of building capital ships, and it's something I'm going to need alot of cash to get going. Wormholes seem like the best place for this with a nice mix of cash and PvP, so we'll see how it goes. In the mean time guys;

Fly safe o7

Friday, 17 June 2016

Gone too long

Skill Queue Online is a boring game.

Unfortunately it's all I've been able to do these last few months (okay, over a year) due to a new job taking up a lot of my personal time. The military are not big fans of people taking PCs into basic training! However I've now passed my basic and my further training is much more relaxed, to the point that I'm looking at buying a laptop PC to play EVE and League of Legends on in the evenings after my lessons. Hopefully I'll have it by next week, and I'll be playing regularly again. I might even start blogging more frequently about my clumsy attempts to relearn all that is new in the last year, and perhaps start making some serious ISK in W-Space that I can burn in stupid expensive PvP ships.

I'm also attempting to teach myself the whole Excel-and-importing-XML-data thing but it's goddam confusing to someone with no coding as a background and a short attention span. That's something else I want to work on in the coming weeks.

I won't say I'm back for good because I know how that ended before. This is just a post to let anyone out there still listening for my voice know;

I'm still here. EVE still has me in her grips. Hit me up with an EVE-mail if you're still around too.

Until next time, however long it is, fly safe o7

Friday, 6 February 2015

Ambushing a Vexor

So after the essay of self-fellatio I wrote a few days ago about me brutally beating a poor mining barge to death, I suppose I should finish the story I left on a cliff-hanger. Except I'm too lazy to dramatise it this time, so I'll just write out the battle report properly, to try and give you guys an idea of what it's like to play as a silent and deadly hunter instead of some crazy bastard with lots of guns.

First, let me give you an idea of what solo stalking is like. The closest similarity I can think of is a submarine. In space. A bit like a U-Boat during the Second World War, only more advanced and painted nicer colours. Much like a U-Boat, you spend alot of time watching and waiting for the moment to strike. Personally I enjoy this quite alot, I even keep a little log of what people are doing to keep me entertained. There's a strange satisfaction in watching people who have no idea you're there, like some demented space pervert getting off over people mining when they think they're alone.


This got dark pretty quickly. Sorry. Back to patient hunting.

The main reason you have to be so patient in EVE, is due to Local chat. Local chat fucking sucks for solo hunters unless you're hunting in W-Space, but your targets tend to be about five hundred times as vigilant/dangerous/crazy (delete as appropriate) out there. Local chat sucks due to the fact that if a stranger comes into system, everyone and their grandmother's alts know about it and they tend to stop doing stupidly risky shit that will get them killed by the new arrival. So when I find a system to hunt in, I won't actually do anything for a couple of days except observe the locals and hang in space cloaked. This does two things.

If you've not played the Silent Hunter series,
they're amazing fun for the tactical player

Firstly, you can start to notice patterns the locals may have, like missioning together, some sneaky gas huffing or collecting planet goo. Times they frequently log in or out, identifying people who tend to roam off solo, maybe ratting or scanning alone. Basically it gives you a good idea of times when they're vulnerable to you coming out of nowhere and beating them with a stick until they start crying.

Secondly, they get used to you being there and you doing nothing at all to them. Eventually they get bored of hiding from someone who doesn't appear a threat or they get complacent. This works even better if they never see you on D-Scan, or at gates/stations unless you're in something harmless, like a cloaky hauler. Basically you want to get them to a point where you log in and you're part of the scenery. Nobody blinks. That being said, don't ever talk to people. You want to fade into the background, not make friends with your targets. You're not awoxing them you're stalking them. Easiest way to do this is to log in, cloak up, then walk away from the PC and do something else. Go to the gym. Make lunch. Go to school. Watch a movie. Whatever. Hell you could even watch them at their tower or wherever and make notes on the ships they fly and who can fly what if you feel like being all secret agent about it.

When they start doing stupid shit again with you logged in, this is when you can make your move. Start planning your attack on the fly. While people will often do the same things, you can't guarantee the idiot flying around in that Navy Armageddon is going to fly it again tomorrow or even within the week. Measure your chances, take a risk and seize that moment of surprise.

My moment of surprise happened when I was chilling in system for about half an hour already, cloaked up and waiting for something to happen. I'd logged in around 15:05 EVE Time and sitting over one of their towers for about twenty minutes or so, hidden from plain sight. I'd scanned down their towers and bookmarked some perches for them earlier. It's all in the planning. At that point I was just watching the two pilots in the tower, an Ishtar piloted by "Ultra Gore" and a Vexor piloted by "Ahekon Akachi". I'm just chilling with music in the background so I keep a notepad of what they're doing to pass the time. Here's a bit of it.

15:11 Vexor switches to Buzzard and warps off. Combat scanner probes on scan (Looking for me?)
15:13 Buzzard returns to tower, switches back to Vexor
15:15 Vexor warps towards Planet IX/Col gate 26AU away
15:16 Vexor Navy Issue warps out (Same direction?) Both pilots still in Local

15:17 I warp to Planet IX at 70km. Both ships on scan

At this point i was wondering if I could take out one of the two Vexors. I started scanning the belts within range of the planet and soon tracked down the Vexor to Belt IX-13. The Navy Vexor was off somewhere else it seemed. I warped in at 100km to have a quick look while cloaked. He was ratting away. I snapped a screenshot and kept watching.

Target located!

I followed his warp to the next belt, again cloaked, and watched. I started thinking how best to engage.This planet was out of D-Scan range of the Navy Vexor plus it was a long warp, perhaps giving me enough time for a sudden surprise attack. Thinking quickly, I decided my best shot would be to ambush him in the next belt after he'd warped in, where I'd be waiting to pounce on him. He wouldn't expect an attack so soon after landing. I warped to the next belt at 20km from the beacon and hoped I wouldn't be decloaked by anything. Luckily, I missed all the asteroids by a good 50km.

Lying in wait

I sat and waited. Minutes dragged but eventually he dropped out of warp barely 20km from me. Time to go! I started slowboating towards him while avoiding anything decloaking me. I made sure to let him engage the rats first. Any DPS is good DPS in my opinion, and the Pilgrim needs all the help it can get. As soon as I saw the rats engage and drones get dropped I decloaked and lit my MWD while spamming CRTL click on the overview to lock him as soon as my decloak delay ended. If he reacted fast enough, he was clean away and I wouldn't be able to stop him. An agonising eight seconds later, I had him locked, pointed and webbed. I dropped Hammerhead II drones and started neuting his tits off. I activated the tracking disruptor just to piss him off even more (not like he could fire with no cap). My drones started chewing through his armour at a steady rate.


I started spamming D-Scan as he slowly went down. 

50% Armour. Nothing
25% Armour. Still nobody.
He enters hull. No sign of backup. I'd been shooting for a solid two or three minutes by now
20% Hull. Navy Vexor appears on D-Scan. Sorry mate, you're way too late for the party.
The Vexor explodes. I bookmark the wreck and warp out to the planet while cloaking.

The Navy Vexor hangs around for a few minutes before leaving D-Scan. I warp back to the wreck, scoop the loot and fly to a safespot. After some boring waiting, I logged out and played some League of Legends because I'm a nerd.

Hardly a close fight but it was still fun as hell!

However the story isn't over yet. These guys tried to murder my Pilgrim a few days later to get revenge. With some skillful flying and a large amount of luck it ended badly for them and I escaped by the skin of my teeth to fight another day. But that's a post for later since this one is long enough already. Until the next time, fly safe guys!

P.S For anyone who wants to read the notepad I had been writing on their movements, here's the full transcript.

15:04 Log in at Sun, cloaked instantly. Vexor and Ishtar on scan at unknown tower
15:07 Two previously unfound towers located at planet VIII, Moons 3 and 10. Planet 10 holds second MR tower
15:09 MR tower contains Ishtar (Ultra Gore) and Vexor (Ahekon Akachi). Ishtar appears afk
15:10 Vexor Navy Issue warps in to tower (chappu costa) from unknown location
15:11 Vexor switches to Buzzard and warps off. Combat scanner probes on scan (Looking for me?)
15:13 Buzzard returns to tower, switches back to Vexor
15:15 Vexor warps towards Planet IX/Col gate 26AU
15:16 Vexor Navy Issue warps out (Same direction?) Both pilots still in Local
15:17 I warp to Planet IX at 70km. Both ships on scan
15:18 Vexor appears to be belt ratting. fabzy enters Local. Vexor spotted in Belt IX - 13 ratting
15:20 I pre-emptively warp to Belt IX - 14 at 100km and wait. Vexor enters belt and begins ratting. T2 Hammerheads used. Railguns visible on ship
15:22 Vexor warps towards Planet X, has two belts. I warp at 100km to the first and see him engage rats
15:23 I pre-emptively warp to the second belt at 20km
15:24 Vexor warps in 17km from me, I decloak and engage after he drops Garde IIs vs the rats
15:27 Vexor dies, Vexor Navy is on short scan. Despite being at 85% armour still I decide to warp out ***
15:29 I return to belt at range, bookmark the wreck, and return to loot what I can. No sign of hostiles
15:31 Pilot fabzy has left Local at some point between the Vexor fight and now
15:34 I warp to Tower II at range. Only an Exequror Navy Issue is visible (chappu costa) but pod is on scan (Ahekon Akachi) from Vexor kill
15:37 No activity
15:43 I'm bored and warp to the first tower. Pod from Vexor kill is floating sadly in space next to the SMA
15:55 I log off at Planet IX, outside D-Scan range of both towers.

*** Vexor appears to have been PvP/Bait fit  Kill: Ahekon Akachi (Vexor) Was this an attempt to catch me after killing their miner yesterday or just random chance? 

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Level 4 PVE Vargur Guide

I've wanted to do a post about missions for a while now, maybe even several. My inner carebear refuses to be silenced, so I've decided to let loose. This post is going to be about the best missioning ship I've flown so far in EVE, the Vargur.

I've flown the Vargur for about two months since I've trained Minmatar Battleship V, and frankly it's amazing. It does a shitload of damage with only T2 modules, is easy to fly, super tanky, damn quick and it's pretty sexy to boot. Add some faction module love and it only gets better. Before we go any further, here's the fit I've been using so far.

Vargur - 24/7 Wrecking

Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizer
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II

Gist A-Type 100MN Microwarpdrive

Pith C-Type X-Large Shield Booster
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Shield Boost Amplifier II
Large Micro Jump Drive

Bastion Module I

800mm Repeating Cannon II
800mm Repeating Cannon II
800mm Repeating Cannon II
800mm Repeating Cannon II
Small Tractor Beam II
Small Tractor Beam II
Salvager II

Large Capacitor Control Circuit I

Large Projectile Burst Aerator II


Hammerhead II x 5
Hobgoblin II x 5

So there we go. Now obviously the first thing you're going to notice is that I've thrown faction and Deadspace gear on here, which should push the price up right? Well not massively. At time of making this fit (Dec 2014) it was fairly cheap for a faction fit marauder, coming in at around 1.55 billion, the majority of which is the hull and gyrostabilizers. The Deadspace MWD is definitely not a priority, it just lets you be lazy about cap management. The Deadspace shield booster is cheap as hell (around 40mil last I checked) but if you're looking to keep costs down you can replace all of this with T2/Meta and it'll work just fine. Infact, I wouldn't have bothered buying fancy Deadspace stuff if I didn't have the MWD and gyros lying around already, the T2 version is about 95% as effective to be honest, and a hell of alot more ISK efficient. Hell if you live in quiet NullSec or LowSec, a fully T2 fit Vargur will probably pay for itself in less than a week if you run high end anomalies/L4 LowSec missions. However you'd want to make some changes to the fit. Swapping the tractor beams and salvager for heavy/medium neuts is a good idea, and carry a set of light or medium ECM drones just incase. The MJD helps alot in avoiding people too, but it's a good idea to have backup plans. I'm not saying a LowSec Marauder is always a good idea, but if you have a quiet missioning system or your corp is well set up in a dead-end pocket, you can get away with it pretty safely.

However the one thing about this fit I really recommend is the use of faction ammo. You might think I'm being crazy here but hear me out. The Vargur only has 4 turret slots with a 100% bonus damage role, so you're doing the damage of eight guns with only four which halves your ammo consumption straight off the bat. Plus the increase in damage is definitely worth it, since you gain over 100DPS at all V skills (875 Gun DPS -> 1007 Gun DPS). Don't worry either, you'll earn the ISK to pay for your ammo consumption per mission at some stupid rate of like 20:1. So for every mission you run, you could afford to pay for twenty more mission's worth of ammo with the proceeds (I'll admit this is some guessing here, but the point stands, it's completely sustainable). Often when I run missions, I only need to reload once, and even then it's pretty rare. So don't skimp on cheap ammo when faction gives such a boost in completion times, which is what this ship is all about.

Tips for flying like a pro

Now when it comes to flying this thing it's easy as hell. Autocannons with the tracking bonus of the Vargur can hit frigate sized rats flying towards you to a minimum of 12km ish, which is damn good for battleship sized weapons. Cruisers are fairly easy to track, even the elite ones, and battlecruisers get smacked off the field in two or three bursts. Battleships obviously have zero tracking issues unless they're 500m away in tight orbit (i.e Angel battleships). Your falloff starts showing a noticeable dropoff in damage at around 35 - 40+ kilometres with all Vs but that's why you're dual propped. Just burn within 30km or so of the targets, hit bastion for a minute and gun everything down. You travel at nearly 1km/s if not a bit more under MWD so you're damn quick at approaching targets.

Your shield is extremely cap efficient while in bastion (and still pretty efficient out of it) so don't be afraid to let yourself hit 33% or so cap when closing range before engaging bastion. You're stupidly tanky with the Vargur's bonus to shield boosting + bastion bonus to shield boosting and shield resistances. There's no need to swap resistances for different missions either, though obviously  as a shield tanker, Angel rats are hilariously easy to fight/tank, especially with their helpful tendency to fly straight at you for zero transversal. On a related note, here's a sped up video of me blitzing Angel Extravaganza in my Vargur.

Youtube link

I usually don't bother salvaging/looting anything that isn't a battleship sized wreck since most other stuff is trash, and besides this ship is designed for blitzing. If you want to full clear I'd recommend a Rattlesnake and Noctis combo with a Mobile Tractor Unit to create a wreck ball in each room. I might throw my Rattlesnake fit on here in the next few weeks, I'm still tweaking it currently.

Anyway give this fit a try if you're looking for a high skillpoint, if slightly pricy, mission blitzer. I promise you it's worth the train!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Stretching old muscles

Khanid Region
Fekhoya Constellation
Tegheon Solar System (0.4) - Far orbit over Planet IX
15:32 EVE Time (Local System)

It had been so long since he'd flown in the deep black. Months stuck in station, his pilot license stuck in limbo between CONCORD's red tape and the multiple arrest orders out on him from Minmatar authorities, several for crimes he'd not actually committed. Or atleast, he felt he was no longer the man who'd committed those crimes. A strange moral compass true, but atleast he had one now.

That being said he was no saint. Not one of the holy men from the stories in his youth, who had led peaceful and philosophical lives for hundreds of years before allowing the technology anchoring them to existence to cease, freeing them to the great beyond. One last great journey. But the life of a saint was not the one he craved. Excitement and adrenaline were the drugs he was addicted to. But today, his first flight into space in months, he wanted to keep things slow and methodical. To reawaken his dulled senses and slowed reaction speeds from too long spent in station, drinking nights away.

As a result, his recently refitted Pilgrim hung in deep space near the ninth planet in the Tegheon system. Beautiful carvings in the gold embossed over thick starship armour plating showed her name to be "Ad Astra". New developments in energy transfer technology and power core management had resulted in huge increases in range for energy neutralizers fitted to Pilgrim class ships, and the capsuleer was looking forward to putting them to use. Reliable intel from his alliance had thrown "Tegheon" up as a potential hunting ground, and he'd been loitering in system for about three or four hours now. Annoyingly, the locals seemed content to sit in their tower, probably chattering over secure comms. Two ships were on scan off towards a nearby moon, but Seraph felt no need to observe them directly. The sophisticated sensors onboard his ship would detect any sudden warps away from the tower. He was content to wait silently, cloaked up, allowing his crew to rest and recover from the long flight here from Jita.

He toyed with the idea of decloaking several hundred kilometres from the tower, just to jolt the motionless capsuleers into some sort of action, but he knew this would be a pointless waste of the ease he was steadily putting his targets at. Experience hunting in wormholes with a past group of mercenaries had taught him that greed and boredom soon outweigh caution. Of course this was easier to come by in unknown space where a lack of CONCORD regulations meant there was no way to track how many ships were in system via the use of gate idents. LowSec was still constrained by these legalities, meaning his name would be showing up bright and clear on all "Local" comm channels. A blessing and a curse from CONCORD, but it was only a matter of time before one of the pilots was sure enough Seraph was no threat, and then they'd be vulnerable. It helped that his months stuck in station had meant his confirmed kill history, publicly available, was severely lacking.

15:48 EVE Time (Local System)
A quiet ping from the bridge sensors was the only sign anything had changed in the silent darkness of space. Lounging in his captain's chair, Seraph suddenly sat up, alert. A surge of energy had just emanated from the space surrounding the tower, an obvious sign of a ship dropping into warp. A mere thought from the now awake capsuleer started the Pilgrim's sensors on active directional scans, invisible fingers streaming through space attempting to locate what the ship was and where it was headed. A minute or so passed. A low tone from the sensor suite, followed by a blinking icon on Seraph's holographic HUD screen showed the ship to be a mining vessel, a "Retriever" class strip miner. Seraph tried not to feel too disappointed. A target was a target after all, but a mining vessel was hardly dangerous prey. Then again, it would serve as good practice for covert operations maneuvers, and perhaps would bring combat ships out in defense. The potential for a good fight perked him up slightly, and he worked quickly to locate the clueless miner. He had no need to wake his crew for a defenseless target, there was very little chance of any danger in this engagement.

Within the minute he had located the barge to an asteroid belt surrounding planet VIII. A little slower than he used to be, but much better than he expected after months away from the complex sensor systems found in all combat ships these days. A slight tug on engine power aligned the Pilgrim towards planet VIII, and the muted sound of low-energy covert engines hummed through the hull. The familiar split-second feeling of falling was the only indication that they were in warp. He nodded to himself in satisfaction. Warp technology had come a long way from throwing anything that wasn't tied down to the deck from sudden acceleration.

Deceleration was felt only as a slight pressure pushing him back into the seat. Viewscreens from tiny camera drones launched on landing flickered to life, displaying the surrounding environment, next to distance and speed indicators on surrounding monitors. Automated collision prevention fired microthrusters to float smoothly past gigantic spinning asteroids. In the distance, almost a hundred and seventy kilometres away, the Retriever was visible on the centre screen. Seraph flicked his eyes over at sensor readouts while plotting a short warp that would put his ship within a few kilometres of his target. A few last minute checks confirmed everything was ready.

Power rerouted to sublight warp engines, powerful ion thrusts flaring into visibility as the Pilgrim shimmered back into the visible spectrum halfway through the hundred and sixty or so kilometre warp towards her prey. Seraph had disabled his cloaking device, knowing the few seconds he'd save recalibrating the targeting sensors might make the difference in the barge being caught or slipping away. 

Ad astra had landed perfectly between the barge and her intended warp-out alignment, causing the barge to attempt emergency maneuvers, giving Seraph the dual advantage of surprise and time to act. Not that he needed much time. In one flowing action, energy neutralizers slammed into the Retriever's hull, Hammerhead combat drones launched from the Pilgrim's drone bay, and the warp disruptor pinned her down. He had her dead to rights. With no power for her shield arrays and no avenue of escape, the brutal hybrid rounds from the Hammerheads had torn holes through the lightly armoured barge in mere seconds. The light armour plating was designed to protect the crew from small asteroid impacts or a short fight with ill-equipped pirates. However it was about as effective as plastic against the military-grade ammo used by Seraph's drones. A slight flicker, then a blue flash washed over the camera drones as the Retriever exploded. An escape pod was blown from the wreckage and warped out before it could be locked onto by the Hammerheads.

Salvage drones quickly stripped the wreck of anything that could be sold on the open market while Seraph kept an eye on directional scans. No sign of retaliation just yet, but his comms system had already began decrypting a short burst of static from the Retriever before it had met its demise.

" - Miner Three to Home One, we are under attack from a Recon Class Cruiser
 // Roger Miner Three, we are sending reinforcements
 - Far too late for that, he's downed my shields 

Seraph smirked slightly. Despite the calm tones attempted by both pilots, he could hear their voices shake and hesitate. Clearly they were not expecting combat. His scanner beeped a warning, picking up two cruisers enroute. A Vexor and a Vexor Navy Issue were barreling towards his position. Time to move. A shimmer in space, a short warp, and he was gone. 

But he wasn't done picking off these pilots yet.