Friday, 26 March 2021

It's not paranoia if they're actually out to get you (JF pilot diaries)

Why do I always check killboards before moving my JF out of station to the HighSec gate? 

Because despite what most people would assume, this is typically the most vulnerable (and therefore the most dangerous) point in your journey. When jumping onto stations within docking radius and using the benefit of session change invulnerability, you're almost 100% safe if you discount pilot error and server glitches (not accepting jump/dock commands). However if you're undocking and slowly aligning to your outgate and you don't check who else is in system with you:

You can die when you think you're safe.

"Oh Seraph you're just paranoid, chill out"

Words to live by for any JF pilot

Here's an example...

Yesterday Afternoon

While doing my usual JF trip to Jita, I almost always use Ignoitton. It's a 0.4 LowSec within 3j of Jita, with a suitable NPC station to jump onto and it leads directly into a 0.8 HighSec system (reduces likelihood of suicide ganks due to faster Concord time). This has made it very popular as a JF endpoint for routes into Jita, which of course has led to people camping it in the hopes of killing them. This hadn't previously stopped me from using it because in all honesty, there aren't many groups who are actually good at killing JFs.

However I'm paranoid enough that I don't want to take the risk of "just winging it", so I always check local before leaving the station I've just jumped on to. I think today that paranoia may have saved my Ark from a brutal death.

I had just jumped into Ignoitton as I usually do, no issues with jump-in points or bouncing. Two other JF pilots from different alliances had jumped in front of my alt before I was in position on the station, so I was feeling comfortable as I jumped in also. I docked up my Ark, no issues, then sat on my cyno alt waiting to dock her up before I did my usual checks and moved my JF into HighSec.

But something seemed off. I couldn't put my finger on it but I was starting to feel uneasy. My 10minute cyno timer had almost entirely run down before it clicked.

Why hadn't the other two JF pilots left station and warped to HighSec? 

Infact, they had both docked, stayed docked for about a minute, then logged off. That's weird behaviour in my book because usually JF pilots will undock and head straight for the HighSec gate unless it's too dangerous or risky to do so. Did they know something I didn't?

I headed to Zkill and started working through the names in Local. It took me about a minute to find something that confirmed my suspicions.


RIP this Anshar


A week prior to my trip, two Phoenix pilots had killed an Anshar in Ignoitton. They'd also been involved in an Ark kill in Ignoitton about five days before that, though admittedly not in Phoenixes for that one. Both those pilots were in Local chat now.

Specifically they were in station with me. 

Ah crap

Now at this point you're probably like "huh, you should be careful when you undock Seraph, they might try to get you" but have no fear, I was already in full paranoid meltdown mode.

Here's what I knew:

Two Phoenix pilots with a history of killing JFs are in station with me

Ignoitton is a very well known JF endpoint

The NPC station I'm in is the better of the two NPC stations in system to jump on to due to the station model, therefore it's the most likely location for a JF to be undocking from.

The warp distance to HighSec from the station is 50AU, plenty of time to warp a bump Machariel to the gate before I land and bump me away if I'm unlucky with my landing (JF warps at 1au/sec max, Machariel does 3.75AU/sec, or nearly 6AU/sec if rigged for it)

I asked myself "What are the chances that these guys are just innocently docked here?" Based on the evidence it seemed very very likely I was in danger, if not already a target.

Things I couldn't know:

Do they have a cloaked scout watching the undock for JFs?

Are they currently at the keyboard or are they just logged in?

If they ARE at the keyboard, are they waiting for a JF or are they just chatting in Teamspeak/Mumble?

Do they kill on station or do they go for the gate bump? Maybe they try both?

Being the paranoid fuck I am, I decided to act as though they were at the keyboard, already in their Phoenixes with a bump alt ready to try and catch me either at station aligning, or before I jumped the HighSec gate AND they had a cloaked alt watching the undock for when I was leaving.

Me thinking about all this in station with a 6Bil cargo and a 9Bil hull
 

So assuming all that, the question becomes, "How do I get out of this alive?

I had two options really:

1) Wait for them to log out for a few hours/attempt a downtime run (effectively the same)

2) Return to my mid-point and use my backup endpoint which is less busy, but requires more jumps through HS

I started to move one of my cyno alts back to my mid-point for this move (which was about 15j away) while I sat and watched to see if they logged out or otherwise showed signs of being alive. To cut a boring story short, they did nothing. They sat and waited, I sat and waited. I went to make some food and do some tidying IRL.

I came back about an hour later and only one of the dreadnought pilots was in station with me but there was now an 11 year straight NPC Corp player in station with us instead who's killboard "strangely" seemed to match the dreadnought pilots. Maybe he just likes to whore on kills and is nothing to do with them?


Yes Mr NPC corp you seem innocent

I decided to jump back to my midpoint and head for my backup endpoint. I'm not risking 15bil on the hope another player is AFK.

My jump to my mid-point was uneventful, then straight onto my backup end-point was totally normal. A relaxed trip through HighSec later and I was safely docked in Jita.

The relief of landing at IV-IV cannot be overstated

So were they out to get me? Would I have died? Did I take a large detour for nothing but a bad feeling? 

Maybe. But I've had this Ark for over five years and I've not kept it alive without being very paranoid.

Fly safe guys o/


Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Amarr Epic Arc Experiment - Part 3 (The conclusion)

 So unfortunately due to corrupted notes on my computer, I'm missing the loot/salvage and bounties data from the following missions:

Hunting the Hunter

Fate of a Madman (just a choice more than an actual mission)

Catching the Scent

We can work out bounties that I probably would have got based on EVE Survival data, and I'll use the missions with similar amounts of ships to work out average loot value (minus about 10% value to allow for drop rates). I won't include agent pay because it's low enough to not matter alot in the final total.

So Hunting the Hunter, I estimate 15mil in bounties and 8mil in loot/salavage.

And Catching the Scent, I estimate 25mil in bounties and 14mil in loot/salvage.

We're ignoring Fate of a Madman because as I said earlier, it's a choose your path mission, not a fight and kill one.

So, on to the next mission. For those following at home, when we last left off I had been directed to destroy Rahsa's Fleet and capture the man himself (which we did). We then took him back to be interrogated (this was the storyline choice), during which he revealed that he hadn't been working alone but he managed to commit suicide before the interrogators could get a name. In order to track down the accomplice I was sent to retrieve a Sansha Command Signal Receiver from the stragglers nearby by killing them all and looting their wrecks. We've now returned from that mission and now we have been given a fake Sansha distress beacon built from the Command Signal Receiver to bait the accomplices back into the system.


This is literally a head in a jar my dude

Also, I want to note that I have returned to this Arc with the fresh Marauder buffs from the Bastions of War update (double rate of fire in Bastion), so I'll comment on how that feels in the conclusion. Spoiler, it's OP

I flew over to Shaha to place the distress beacon in a broadcast array hub, landing around 20km from it as I warped into the pocket.

Lucky I have a MWD
I placed the beacon, and was soon joined by a couple of battleships and cruisers which were rapidly dismantled by blazing laser justice. I won't wax lyrical about laser death again but trust me it was just as glorious as ever.

After easily wiping out the small force that came to kill me, it was apparently "obvious" from the wreckage that the traitor was Commodore Harkan according to my agent.

Don't worry, I have no clue who he is either.

Total ISK - Falling into Place
Pay + Bonus: 3.02mil
Bounties: 2.8mil
Total for this mission: 5.82mil

Loot/Salvage was estimated at 1.3mil

I was told to arrest Harkan so he could answer for his crimes. An uneventful few jumps later and I was on his doorstep in Polfaly. The big man himself sent me a message.



Hey that sounds totally safe, man without a face! I pootled over towards his mansion to arrest the naughty sausage, when suddenly...


Hey man is your house on fire?


I would have shown the actual explosion but 90% of my screen went white. This is the aftermath

I reported to my agent that Harkan had seemingly committed sudoku, and was ordered to go inform Riff Hebian; our buddy from a few missions ago.

Total ISK - Making an Arrest
Pay + Bonus: 3.01mil
Bounties: None
Total for this mission: 3.01mil

Nil loot and salvage

I flew back to Palas in my trusty frigate and told Riff Hebian that his old friend was both a traitor and probably dead. He took it pretty well since he gave me money and another mission.

Total ISK - An Unfortunate End
Pay + Bonus: 2.19mil
Bounties: None
Total for this mission: 2.19mil

Nil Loot/Salvage 

Yes I literally got payed to fly to him and start a conversation.

Riff told me my "final" task was to wipe out the last of the Sansha who were preparing to mount a desperate last attack against the local Lord. Sounds easy enough! I flew over the two jumps to Moniyyuku and prepared for battle.


Well that doesn't sound suspicious at all.

The mission objective tried to get me to focus on the energy neutralizer sentry but I decided to start melting through the ships, since apparently there was a lot of waves. Sadly I only got through three waves of each cruiser/frigate group before they all warped off and the mission was flagged complete. I killed the sentries so I could salvage in peace, noting that EVE Survival warns you that the neut sentry has a "massive tank".

Haha yeah okay

It died in less than 20 seconds.

Looting and salvage complete, not that there was much, I returned to Palas to report to Riff only to find things had gone batshit crazy since I had left.

Total ISK - Panic Response
Pay + Bonus: 2.2mil
Bounties: 1.6mil
Total for this mission: 3.8mil

Loot/Salvage was estimated at 490k

So it turns out Harkan isn't dead (shocker, who saw that coming?) and he's at the Lord's safehouse right now trying to kill him! Truly disgusting behaviour.

We flew best speed to Choga to defend our man. Landing in the first room, we slaughtered the Sansha forces guarding the gate. This seemed to piss off Harkan.


Well challenge accepted my guy, let's rumble.

I made short work of the second pocket while Harkan got political with me. It was pretty hard to hear him over the screams of his men as they were incinerated with bastion-boosted Conflag laser beams, but he seemed pretty upset about the Empress or something? I'm nothing if not a simp for Empress Kamyl so now he definitely deserved to die.



I warped into the next room, lasers set to justice. Once again Harkan babbled on about politics and weak rulers while I put his followers to the sword.

Don't scratch the paint!

With only the loss of a single Hobgoblin II (RIP little buddy) I moved on to the third room. EVE-Survival notes that the important thing in this room is the trigger control based on how much damage you do to the initial BS spawn. I decided to micro jump out and fight this room from Scorch range to keep things simple.

As each new spawn came in I held DPS off the first BS and killed the new spawn, but honestly I think I could have killed it from range and then killed all of the spawns before they reached me, 1600 Scorch DPS from 100k is incredibly powerful, jumping up to 2600dps once they get into Conflag range at around 60km. As it was, I didn't even lose my shield clearing this room.

Using target rows to organise spawns helps alot in not activating the wrong trigger

I cleared the loot and salvage off the field, dropped everything in a station because my hold was nearly full, then headed into the final room for the boss fight.

Oh good, he's going off the edge

EVE Survival warns there's alot of waves in this fight but honestly I didn't think it was that bad. Pretty sure there's more waves/ships in a L4 Pirate Invasion mission, and it wasn't hard to tank Harkan, just the occasional rep pulse, even though admittedly I had bastion helping out with both DPS and tanking.

Harkan pops, rest in pieces criminal scum

After everything was murdered, I returned to Riff Hebian for my reward.

Total ISK - Right to Rule
Pay + Bonus: 1.4mil
Bounties: 27.7mil
Total for this mission: 29.1mil

Loot/Salvage was estimated at 20.5mil


Implant achieved

Riff went on and on about how great I was, then handed me the implant I had lusted for for some months now. I had completed the Amarr Epic Arc!


Conclusion

The implant itself is estimated by EVE at 277mil, which is pretty nice but the market seems closer to 230mil (still not bad). 

Anyway, totals!

Total bounties: 151.9mil

Total Agent Pay: 35.52mil

Total estimated loot and salvage: 188.79mil

Overall Total ISK (Implant not included): 376.21mil

So I guess I answered my original question, though I'm a little disappointed with the answer. Atleast with the implant included the total ISK is over 500mil but I was hoping for higher.

If I did this sort of thing again, what would I change?

1) I think a Marauder is major overkill for Epic Arcs especially after the DPS buff in Bastion. As fun as it is to wipe out rooms in less than 30seconds with nearly 3k DPS, you spend most of your time moving between systems instead of fighting so a T3 cruiser or similar would be more time efficient if you're just farming the implant/faction standing.

2) I would definitely use a spreadsheet to record my results. Manually going back through a notepad on my PC and adding up the numbers would have been so much easier on EXCEL or a similar tool, and much easier to see overall.

3) I wouldn't take a 4month break in the middle because it's a nightmare trying to figure out where you were and find your old notes

Thanks for reading this far, especially if you had the patience to read the entire series!

Fly safe o/

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

The return to LowSec number 58: Super Electric Magnetic Boogaloo

 Well I'm leaving Null again!

I really need to stop making a habit of this

Basically, I spent most of November 2020-February 2021 not playing EVE for a number of reasons, mainly my job. During this time alot of changes happened in my alliance, half of which I still don't really understand how or why, but the upshot is most of the corps moved home, our old stations are being ripped down, and I have about 10 billion of stuff in asset safety. I  managed to rescue about 14 bil (including my now ancient Ark Jump Freighter that I've owned since goddamn 2016) but it still stings that so much is locked away temporarily. I'm currently waiting out the 20 days to get my stuff back (and pay for 15% of it, the cheeky fuckers at Secure Commerce are making a killing). That had really killed my drive to stay in Null, and by extension to play EVE.

2016 life, still going strong

So ouch.

However like "just one more drink" I logged into EVE on the Test Server today to help some old friends with testing T6 Abyss frigate runs... annnnnnnd I caught the EVE bug all over again. They told me they were knocking around in LowSec and they wanted to know if I wanted to come back and join up again like old times:

  • Small gang fights: Check
  • Bros to run Abyss with: Check
  • Stations that don't vanish if I take a 3-4month break and then make me pay for my own stuff: Check

How could I refuse? And if I'm returning to my old 2014 era corp, I should go back to my cringe 2014 blogging obviously.

So I'll be resuming that Epic Arc playthrough/discussion I was doing because I don't want to leave it unfinished, but after that I'll probably be discussing Solo/Small Gang PvP like I used to and probably more Abyss content (be that guides, theory crafting, losses or epic drops).

In conclusion, blame my fellow addicts for re-introducing me to mainlining EVE into my goddam veins. I'll see you out in the universe.

Fly safe.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Respectfully Honour My Passion... for ISK (Where is Seraph Update)

 It's been a minute since I've posted about what I'm up to, so here we are.


I'm back in NullSec.

Long time readers are probably thinking, "Seraph didn't you leave Nulli Secunda because you hated Sov Wars, didn't like massive fleets, couldn't stand Time Dilation, and logistical problems in NullSec made you want to rip your teeth out?"

Well yes, all of those things are true. But like an idiot, I'm back in again anyway, and things have changed. I can run my own logistics now I have a jump freighter (and cyno alts). My new alliance is currently neutral in the current "World War Bee" so there's no massive Sov fights, no TiDi, we're just chilling up in Deklein in a mixed German/English alliance and fighting off random gangs who come strolling through our space.

Specifically I've joined EoBesa Exports [E-B-E], part of the wider Federation of Respect Honour Passion Alliance [RHP]. Currently it's fairly quiet, though we've been skirmishing with WE FORM V0LTA who had dropped a Fortizar in our space, until we clapped it a couple of days ago with our blues (I wasn't on the mail due to RL getting involved, but I was there in spirit).

On a personal level, I've been moving in all my stuff, both PvP and industrial, and rapidly learning bubble mechanics which is an area of EVE I've not really dealt with before. I've joined in some POCO bashing fleets for our industrial guys to start dank PI farms and also joined a couple of standby capital fleets as a triage pilot during roaming gang response which (while important) didn't really go anywhere because nobody escalated.

Killing POCOs with the boys

The making ISK front is pretty good, I started out ratting in an Ishtar while semi-afk ice mining on another character in a Skiff which was decent enough. I was getting 16-19mil "ticks" which worked out to around 48-57mil an hour, plus the ice income. Once Seraph moved out there too, I switched to dual Ishtars to smash through Haven sites which pumped my combined tick total to around 32mil, which is 96mil an hour. Not bad.

Then I started doing short notice Jump Freighting on behalf of the alliance.

WOW

So Jump Freighter pilots, despite the similarity in skills for most capitals, are relatively rare. I think in my corp there's only three or four including myself, and across my alliance I'd estimate less than 30. I'm not sure why this is, but the hull cost is pretty extortionate (average 9bil) so I imagine that plays into it alot.

A couple of nights ago there was an emergency ping on alliance Discord for a very short notice emergency move op. I x'd up as a JF pilot along with three others and got dragged up into the higher tier TS3 channels, usually reserved for corp CEOs, alliance leadership, and the top FCs. My eyebrows were hitting the roof. I was told to totally fill my fuel bay and standby in our capital system for a rapid move.

After around 20mins of sitting around in the move fleet and wondering what was going on, we got the order to undock and in beautiful synchronisation, the four of us made the heavily scouted, very hush hush move in less than twenty minutes.

We were told nothing about our cargo, or where it was being delivered up until the last second. Our jump midpoints were unknown to us until they were lit. Due to current OpSec I can't even say where we took it to or what it was. 

I can tell you that my cargo bay alone was worth over 18bil and, out of the four Jump Freighter's cargoes, mine was the second cheapest there.

Within an hour of leaving, we were back home. One of the more experienced JF pilots was asked how much we wanted for our services to the Alliance. He replied

"Fuel cost, plus whatever you think is fair for a short notice op"

"How much is a full fuel tank?" said the Op lead.

"About 215mil" he replied

"Rgr, wait one, all JF pilots x in fleet please"

I'm sat there thinking, cool, I won't have to pay for fuel and I'll probably get like 100mil or so. My wallet flashes.

Corporation Account Withdrawal: 715,000,000 ISK has been deposited in your account

Holy Fucking SHIT

I was ecstatic. I immediately used the money to help buy an Apostle + fit and started looking for other people in the alliance who needed stuff moving on discord and ingame. I was soon contacted a few days later by an alliance member who need three JF loads moved from LowSec to our capital building system. I spent about two hours on Saturday morning organising my alts for my midpoints and scouting out the route. The jump itself was done within twenty minutes. 

I was paid 1.2billion.

JESUS.

That paid for a Minokawa + most of a fit.

By this point I was going ISK mad and started asking my corpmates what I could do with a large amount of ISK to make MORE ISK.

"Carrier ratting"

"Buy a Rorqual, mine out half the system, build capitals"

"Stock our market and make billions passively" ...Wait what.

I checked out the market. Not much wasn't available but almost everything was 20-30% above Jita sell price. I bought a load of stuff in from Jita I thought people might need (drones, fuel, doctrine hulls, mining gear, ammunition, about 1 billion in total) and threw it up the market. I put some fitted doctrine ships on contract for 15% markup. I checked my estimated revenue.

"Wow" I thought "do people actually pay this much?"

Turns out yes, yes they do.


Obviously alot of that ISK is "recycled", i.e I put the profit straight back into restocking the market, so that 20bil is a little misleading, but I have 6-7bil in market sell orders and as soon as stuff sells out I replace it. I've also bought two FAX + fits (admittedly mostly using JF pay), a regular freighter, about three fuel loads for my JF, a load of doctrine PvP ships (Caracals/HACs/battleships/force recons/bombers/interdictors), several assorted T2 Exhumers, and an Orca and my wallet hasn't shifted much overall, but it's shifted upwards.

Good god NullSec is alot of money.

Anyway, enough circle jerking about my wallet, I've got Part 3 of the Epic Arc experiment to write, and I'm cooking up some new ideas on the Abyss running front, so look forward to those!

Until then, fly safe o/



Sunday, 30 August 2020

The Amarr Epic Arc Experiment - Part 2

Apologies this next part took longer than expected, I've recently moved into NullSec with a new corp on two of my characters. I'll talk about this more in a later post though!

So when we last left off, I had been sent to speak to a local informant/contact, Aralin Jik, who could dodge the red tape that would foul the investigation of my current agent. I flew over to Nishah and gave him a call. He informed me a local Holder (basically a Lord) was the target of Sansha attacks and we needed to warn his head of security, a guy called Riff Hebian, before it was too late.

Happily for me, the security guy was monitoring a site in system, all I had to do was go there and contact him.


He seemed to not believe me that his master was the target of a Sansha plot, but luckily...

An ambush! The Sansha really do have a great flair for timing, I'll give them that.

I immediately retaliated with Conflag fueled laser beams, wiping out two battleships and a battlecruiser within a minute, but then more spawns started popping in so I decided that range was my friend. A short MJD hop later and a crystal switch to Scorch had my lasers punching through Sansha hulls at 100km like a boot through a paper bag. There were quite a few waves to get through, so during a lull in the third wave I jumped back in to the spawn at zero, dropped my MTU, waited out the MJD cooldown in Bastion and jumped back out to 100km again. This way, the wrecks would be in a nice little ball for me to salvage once the pirates were dead.

MTU, more like MVP

I kept up the fire as more Sansha poured in to try and take me down, but the combination of hilarious Paladin tank and 100km range meant I was barely being tickled, while my tracking computer boosted Scorch lasers were going to town melting fools. After a few minutes of shooting fish in a barrel, the pirate raiders were dead, and Riff contacted me. Seeing how many Sansha had shown up to destroy his master's depot had changed his mind, and he agreed to help me in the investigation. I reported back to Aralin Jik I had been successful, and he directed me to investigate the first of the Holder's enemies, Lady Temari Jariza.

Total ISK - Background Check
Pay + Bonus: 2.9mil
Bounties: 11.1mil
Total for this mission: 14mil

Loot/Salvage was estimated at 10.9mil


The next mission looked interesting. According to EVE Survival, I would have to survive a large pocket of enemies while hacking a comms array. Despite the fact the mission report assured me I wouldn't have to fight anyone I've already committed to full clearing and salvaging every room, which meant these poor men had to die for SCIENCE. 

I hopped next door into Amdonen and warped into the site. Upon arriving I saw a big mass of red crosses and also, my target, a huge comm relay.



I wondered if they'd aggro me and sat for a while, checking out the sick paintwork on their ships.



Space tumbleweed went by. 
Nobody so much as looked in my direction. 
How boring.

I swiftly changed that with a few volleys of Scorch into the orbiting fighters. Seemingly totally surprised that the marauder sat on their doorstep locking them up for the last few minutes was actually a threat, they all made the incredibly stupid mistake of flying straight at me, letting me volley them off the field in two shots each (NPC AI is the real MvP). Fighters cleared, I switched to frigates who all were one shot or two shot with little fanfare before they could get within 60km.

Goddam I love this ship.

By this point the battlecruisers and battleships were in Conflag/Multifreq range and I was a little concerned about my tank when I saw some big hits smack into my armour and take out 10% chunks at a time. Then I realised I hadn't turned bastion on and laughed as my repper easily dealt with their damage and my increased resists made their big hits drop to small punches. I chucked out my MTU and salvage drones to start working on the wrecks while I mopped up the remaining defenders. The battlecruisers got literally instakilled by tracking assisted Conflag at 30km and the battleships, despite having energy neuts, couldn't do much to stop me as superheated laser beams breached their hulls one by one.



After clearing the enemies off the field, I warped to a nearby station and reshipped into my Probe. I also pulled my salvagers off the Paladin so I could clear the last few wrecks and grab the MTU/loot and save myself a trip.

Warping back into the pocket I salvaged the last few wrecks, grabbed the loot out of the MTU (some 30mil in tags, nice) and proceeded to hack the comms relay. I have maxed scanning/hacking skills due to spending some time in Wormhole space and it was extreme overkill for the simple hack in this mission. Within a minute I had unlocked the Comms Relay's secrets and taken the communication logs.



I dropped back into the local station to reship into my Paladin and move the cargo over. Flying back to Nishah, I dropped by Aralin Jick to give him the logs. The logs showed nothing suspicious, and Lady Jariza was off the hook, despite the fact she'd need to hire new security. Honest mistake.

Total ISK - Longing Leman
Pay + Bonus: 2.6mil
Bounties: None, all in tags
Total for this mission: 2.6mil

Loot/Salvage was estimated at 32.1mil

While I was there another agent by the name of Tesh Amyermun was so impressed with my work he offered me a storyline mission, "Record Cleaning" I accepted his offer, but first I had to eavesdrop on a meeting between a "Lord Manik" and a mercenary contact, the potential cause of the Sansha attacks.

EVE Survival pointed out this was a very easy mission, just needed to fly in and sit in a cloud for a minute or two. I jumped in my Probe and headed out. No need to be conspicuous. Luckily the meeting site was in the system already, so that made things easy.

I arrived at the site before anyone else and headed to hide behind a convenient asteroid. Aralin Jick informed me I was in position and for epic RP I actually had a cloak on my Probe so I turned it on and waited.


Sure enough, they arrived soon after.



After some spinning around, they both warped off and Aralin Jick managed to get a track on the Merc. I returned to the station and was ordered to attack the Merc base to prevent them becoming involved in the local area.

Total ISK - Languishing Lord
Pay + Bonus: 1.5mil
Bounties: None
Total for this mission: 1.5mil

Nil Loot/Salvage 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I took a moment to quickly run the storyline mission, but I won't include the rewards from it in my final total. Here's the EVE Survival page. It was very easy


Haha lasers go brrrrr

For those interested, Record Cleaning amounted to around 22mil loot/salvage, 3.4mil from the agent, and 4.4mil in bounties.

Back to the Epic Arc... 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


So, wiping out a merc base. Doesn't sound too hard. I had a quick scan of EVE Survival again, lot of battleship spawns, didn't seem too bad though (or so I thought).

I warped over to the site in Nishah and got a message from the mercs as I arrived.


Sounds like they were overconfident. I warped in and opened fire immediately. The first pocket fell with ease. The next pocket went the same way. Lock up, cycle lasers, drones killing small targets, MTU hoovering up the dank loot, absolute PVE precision.

It's safe to say at this point I was the overconfident one, and it nearly bit me in the ass. I warped into the last pocket and started firing at everything I felt like, starting with the battleships because they were in my Conflag optimal. Big mistake.

From EVE Survival - Razing the Outpost
Pocket 3
Initial Group: (9-81km)
2x Frigate (Mordus Bounty Hunter) Web/Scram
4x Cruiser (Mordus Bobcat)
2x Battleship (Mordus Gigamar) Last destroyed is Trigger (Wave 1)
3x Caldari Heavy Missile Battery (Thermal) Inferno Missiles
3x Caldari Cruise Missile Battery (Kinetic) Scourge Missiles


All of a sudden, I had another four battleships and assorted other crap on field. "Fucking hell" I thought, "this is a pain, I've not finished the first spawn yet". I decided to primary the battleships again because they did a lot of Kinetic damage and my two slot tank was beginning to struggle with most of the initial spawn, plus the next wave on field all at once.

Mistake number two.


From EVE Survival - Razing the Outpost
Pocket 3
Wave 1
2x Frigate (Mordus Bounty Hunter) Web/Scram
4x Cruiser (Mordus Leopard)
4x Battleship (Mordus Gigamar, Mordus Mammoth) Last destroyed is Trigger (Wave 2)


I was very surprised after killing four battleships with my armour at 50%, and really struggling to hold reps, to see another six battleships spawn on field with a gaggle of cruisers and frigates.


Fuck


"That's it" I think "I'm jumping out with MJD and giving these idiots a taste of Scorch". I red cycle bastion. Only 15 seconds left but I was getting battered by these fresh battleships and the remains of the first few waves.  Last bastion rep hits, and I cycle out at around 70% armour and 40% cap. I align off in a random direction and hit MJD. If I'd have been fighting real players I would have put something witty in Local chat like "Bye Felicia".


Then I realised my third mistake.




Oh turbo fuck nuggets

That is NOT a micro jump drive.

I'm panic spamming my MWD to end cycle and start grabbing at my overview to align the fuck out before something scrams me and I lose a very expensive marauder hull for the small price of being too lazy to read spawn triggers. The battleships, still very much alive, are smashing through my armour now I don't have the benefit of bastion and I'm dropping to around 40%, with my ship alarming constantly as I dip below 20% capacitor This is not looking good.

My Paladin, slowed significantly by my MWD, sluggishly aligns off to a nearby beacon. I can see elite frigates making a beeline towards me at only 40km out and I manage to volley one off the field but the others are still coming and I can't lock them before they'll be under my guns. I start spamming warp hoping I'm aligned enough and luckily for my stupid ass, the MWD cycle ends, putting me over the 75% velocity needed to warp and pushing me straight into the beautiful embrace of a warp tunnel. 

I breathe a huge sigh of relief. That was WAY too close for comfort. I licked my wounds at the beacon I landed on and metaphorically slap myself around the face for being so dumb.

I warped back into the site and very carefully murdered the rest. After looting the field, I returned to my agent, feeling extremely dumb, and lucky to still be flying my marauder. He directed me next to fake a kidnapping of a local Lord's daughter Mina, who had valuable information on the Sansha commander we were chasing.

Total ISK - Razing the Outpost
Pay + Bonus: 2.8mil
Bounties: 16.7mil
Total for this mission: 19.5mil

Loot/Salvage estimated at 26.8mil


The next mission was purported to be very difficult in the EVE Survival reports, and after my close shave earlier I decided to fly carefully. My agent directed me to a nearby system where Mina was kept under armed guard by her father. The mission was a single pocket with several waves alternating between battleships, cruisers, and frigates. I headed over and prepared for the worst.
 Luckily for me, the veteran guards were all at around 70+km when I came in, and Scorch tore them apart before they got within their optimal of around 50km, where EVE Survival warned the DPS would be very high. The next few waves of cruisers and battleships were easily dispatched, and I decided to wait the 30mins for the large "reinforcement wave" of battleships and elite cruisers that the guide warned may require logi. 

It didn't because :lol bastion:

After wiping out every last one, looting Mina from a cargo container that popped out of a nearby accommodation tower and clearing the field of salvage, I was left a little disappointed by the final haul. Because the ships didn't give bounties, I was relying on the loot being decent, and it definitely wasn't. There was good news on the Epic Arc front though, after handing over Mina to my agent, she told him all about the Sansha commander, and where to find him. I already knew what my next mission would be...

Total ISK - Ascending Nobles
Pay + Bonus: 2.4mil
Bounties: Nil
Total for this mission: 2.4mil

Loot/Salvage estimated at 6.8mil (It's really not worth killing that final wave)

So it turned out Mina's dad was a naughty man who had been colluding with criminals, one of which turned out to be the Sansha Commander we'd been chasing, and now we had both a name, Rhasa, and a location of his base, the system of Masanuh. I was directed to destroy his fleet and capture him...



...Which we'll discuss next time, as this post is getting insanely long.

Thanks for sticking with me this far, and I may try turning the next post into a mix of both writing and video to make it more interesting/digestable.

Fly safe guys o/








Saturday, 22 August 2020

In rust we trust (T4 Electrical Abyss Vagabond guide)

So as I've been talking about for my last few posts, this is going to be my mini-guide to using the Vagabond Heavy Assault Cruiser in Electrical Abyss Filaments, specifically T4s (Raging). It's possible to upgrade the fit a bit and fly in T5s (Chaotic) but I have not yet made this switch, and I'm comfortable in T4s for now. I may update this guide at a later time with a T5 fit and associated tactics.

Eve online Vagabond PVP Solo - YouTube


So first things first, I cannot claim full credit for this Vagabond fit. I took it from a Reddit post that was made a year or so back and I adapted what was written there for my own purpose. Full credit for the initial fit is given to u/SuigintouKurotenshi.

However to avoid simply stealing a fit, changing it a little and just claiming all the hard work, I'm going to talk about the benefits of the Vagabond over other ships, how to fly it, and discuss options you have to downgrade for budget reasons.

Without any further ado here is the fit:

[Vagabond, Abyss PVE Electrical T4]

Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Assault Damage Control II

Pith X-Type Large Shield Booster
Thukker Large Cap Battery
10MN Afterburner II
Multispectrum Shield Hardener II

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M

Medium Core Defense Operational Solidifier I
Medium Projectile Burst Aerator II


Imperial Navy Acolyte x5


Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile x2000
Republic Fleet EMP M x10000

Stats from PYFA, all V skills and Electrical Filament applied

Compared to some ships you see fitted for the abyss this Vagabond is fairly cheap. Current prices are around 660 million (Jita) and no implants or drugs are required to make this work, however I am personally using a full set of "Basic" implants plus these hardwires:

- 3% Capacitor (603)

- 3% Motion tracking (703)

- 5% Medium Projectile Turret (805)

- 5% Rate of fire (905)


Why the Vagabond?

There's some pretty good reasons to run the Vagabond over other popular Abyss ships (e.g. the infamous Gila)

  • As we've already mentioned the Vagabond is quite cheap. Admittedly you can outfit and fly a passive Gila for around 300mil but cheap Gilas tend to be risky and many experienced Abyssal Gila runners that I have spoken to have recommend fits that are closer to 500-700mil for safety and consistency.
  • It is very easy and simple to fly due to massive cap stability and similar tactics no matter the spawns you get
  • It has a strong tank through a combination of small signature, high speed and T2 resists. Plus you have the panic button of an Assault Damage Control if you run into major snags
  • My typical site time with practise and decent skills is around 10 to 12 minutes, which is very good for T4 sites (15minutes or faster is the typical "aim for" benchmark)
  • I personally cannot stand drone mechanics, and having to deal with drone travel time, rats focusing drones, and possibly forgetting them between rooms is a hassle I'd rather not deal with. The drones on the Vagabond are very much "surplus", and I have previously run a couple of sites without using them once due to three rooms in a row with Automata Suppressor Towers. 
  • The Vagabond is not known as a typical abyss ship compared to the Gila, Sacrilege, Ikitursa, Worm etc. This means that Abyss ship gankers are unlikely to scan your ship expecting expensive modules (unless you are seen entering or leaving a site of course), and if you run the budget fit you'll probably never get hit.

The only real downside to the Vagabond that I have found is that it has a relatively high ammo consumption compared to other ships. Otherwise there are very few things I can find wrong with it.


How to fly

First of all I would always recommend flying a ship you're a novice with on Sisi (Singularity Test Server) for atleast 8-10 sites. This is the ideal test bed for trying out a new ship/fitting changes or risking a cheap modification to see what you can get away with. If you're unsure of how to connect to Sisi, it's very simple.

That being said flying this Vagabond is extremely easy, and if you just want to hop straight in to T4s without trying it on Sisi this is probably one of the few ships you could get away with that, as the margin for error is fairly forgiving.

Pretty much every pocket runs like this:

  • Spawn in, turn on shield booster, multispec hardener, AB
  • Approach Bioadaptive cache (aim off at 30-40 degree angle if there's an Abyssal Overmind, Karen or Deepwatcher spawn due to threat of high alpha)
  • Primary significant targets as you fly in (typically you can hit from around 30km): 
    • Neuts (in large numbers, your cap can handle one or two smaller neuts if needed)
    • Webbers
    • Logi/Remote Reps
    • Tracking disruption
    • All other rats
  • Drop drones at 10-15km from targets to minimise travel time and reduce chance of losing drones before you can recall them
  • Pop and scoop Bioadaptive Cache as you fly past using HAM launcher while keeping gun DPS on rats
  • Leave large targets until you have cleared EWAR and Logi rats (you easily have DPS to kill big EHP spawns so don't feel rushed to engage them)
  • Kill large targets once major EWAR threats are dead (if applicable)
  • Lead any survivors on a merry run around the pocket and shoot the rats as they chase you.
  • If there's any other caches within 30-40km of the gate you can grab these as you fly about
  • Once there's only 2-3 small rats left, head for the conduit and orbit at 500m. Recall drones
  • Jump through once everything is dead
  • Rinse and repeat
Additional steps as required:
  • Pop a standard Blue Pill if your tank is struggling and you're getting heavily webbed
  • Turn on Assault Damage Control if bleeding armour/wrecking shots knock you into hull
  • Overheat shield/AB as required to aid tank/pull range
As you can see, very easy and requires little thought once you've practised a few sites. Obviously if you see big bois like Karen or Overminds, be very careful not to fly straight at them because they have LOLALPHA and can literally two or three shot you.

This is a priority list I stole from a Gila focused Abyss group but it's good for knowing what all the weird names mean.


Seraph pls I have no monies (Cheaper fit)

If you're trying to do T4 Abyss sites on a shoe string and need to be as ISK efficient as possible, welcome. I'm gonna point out the obvious "don't fly what you can't afford to lose" yadda yadda, but you can put together a slightly less blingy Vagabond for around 160mil less, for a total of 500mil. There's also the bonus that you've not got any complex modules fitted so the chance of you getting suicide ganked is very minimal.

Here's the fit:

[Vagabond, Cheap option T4]

Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Assault Damage Control II

Caldari Navy Large Shield Booster
Thukker Large Cap Battery
10MN Afterburner II
Multispectrum Shield Hardener II

220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet EMP M

Medium Core Defense Operational Solidifier II
Medium Core Defense Operational Solidifier II


Imperial Navy Acolyte x5


Caldari Navy Mjolnir Heavy Assault Missile x2000
Republic Fleet EMP M x10000

Stats from PYFA, all V skills and Electrical Filament applied

So, what do you lose? Honestly not too much.

Tank drops to 527 ehp/s vs 582 ehp/s
DPS (including drones) drops to 549 from 600
Cap is 53% stable compared to 65% stable (due to extra shield repping rig)

If you're willing to throw two 3% DPS implants in, specifically Med Proj 803 and RF 903 (approx 40mil total) you can knock the DPS back up to 576 including drones which is pretty solid.

Full disclosure, I HAVE NOT FLOWN THIS CHEAPER FIT IN T4s, IT IS THEORY ONLY AS OF WRITING THIS GUIDE.

However with that being said the minor loss in DPS should only effect site times by a minute or so at most (expect average to be around 12-14mins rather than 10-12) and I've never struggled badly with tank to the point where 55ehp/s would make or break a run. If you're concerned that less tank is a really bad idea, you could pop a Synth Blue Pill (300k ISK) which brings you up to 543 ehp/s (only 39 ehp/s different) or even pop a Nugoehuvi Synth Blue Pill (3mil ISK) that gets you to 553 ehp/s, which is only 29 ehp/s less.

There's alot of options with this. Play around in Pyfa/your favourite fitting tool and see what you prefer. Obviously if you have a Mid-Grade Crystal clone lying around, you can just fly with a cheap faction shield booster and get pretty much the same tank out of it as a X-Type SB.


So that's the fit/guide/TED Talk. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or just shoot me an EVE-Mail if you prefer in-game. Next few days I should have a Part 2 out for the Epic Arc Experiment and I'm currently moving home on two characters so I'll discuss that in a future post also!

Until then, fly safe guys o/


Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Slight delays to the blog plan, also RIP Niarja

Unfortunately, I've had some internet issues over the last few days so I've been loathe to run Abyss sites due to the risk of disconnecting. I've drafted most of the Abyss Vagabond post, but I want to get some screenshots of the ship in action and edit it down a bit more first, which is going to require my internet improving (should be back to normal by Friday night).

Instead, I've been doing some more of the Amarr Epic Arc, so that post should be out sooner than I expected, probably the day after I post my Vaga guide (just to keep the blog view numbers up obviously).


In other news

In the meantime though, how about Niarja falling to the Triglavian Invasion?

Despite apparently bitter resistance from EDENCOM forces, the Trigs have triumphed and made Niarja permanent (?) LowSec by achieving "Final Liminality".

Wewww boys, I am looking forward to this change. Despite the fact I'm half HighSec Carebear, half washed up solo LowSec PvPer, at heart I'm secretly an RP nerd, and the potential that Amarr will be a real regional trade hub again, like it used to be back in 2011 when I started EVE really rustles my jimmys in an exciting way.

Worst case scenario, Amarr stays a mostly dead backwater and the poor saps I pay to haul my ships from Jita to wherever I'm about to lose them will have to fly more jumps and I'll have to throw them some more pennies. 

Best case, I set my market/hauling alt up to help build Amarr as a regional market powerhouse and I get the double line of mad ISK and dank RP straight into my goddam veins.

I'm also looking forward to the shiny killmails of people who didn't pay attention to the LowSec change and fly expensive freighters into Niarja completely clueless of any danger!


Until next time, fly safe o/