Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Malediction v Stabber

The hunt:

My fight with Valgore against the Drake had been a great deal of fun, but I had yet to really test the Malediction's solo engagement envelope. Clearly, with only three missile points the Malediction was not going to be soloing any decently fit battle cruisers, but what about their smaller brethren?

As luck would have it, I spotted a Stabber jumping around Atlar, and I decided to cautiously give chase. I say cautiously because local was fairly full, and many of them were from a local pirate gang; I did not want to end up jumping into another trap.

So when I managed to get a fix on the Stabber the first time I jumped in at 100km to get a fix on the pilot. Hitting "get info", I immediately jumped out again so as not to cause him alarm.

Taking a look at his vitals while in warp, he was not obviously affiliated with any of the local gangs, and he seemed legit, rather than some one's out of corp alt. Time to try and find the fight.

The Stabber kept on the move. I was not sure exactly what he was doing; sometimes he was at belts, sometimes at planets. Only as I continued to track him did I learn why; I was not the only hunter.

Wherever the Stabber went, there was an assault ship not too far away. Sometimes, when I tried to jump in on the Stabber, I would find myself landing shortly before the assault ship. At first I thought that I might need to defend myself, but the other pilot did not seem to interested in me. I imagine he (probably correctly) assumed that he could not keep me in a fight I did not want, and I (probably correctly) assumed that my half-baked missile skills were not up to taking down a well flown assault ship.

Eventually, though, my higher warp speed and align time began to work to my advantage, the assault ship fell further and further behind, while I kept getting closer and closer to the Stabber.

As I gave chase, I began to notice that there were certain places that the Stabber kept returning to, so when I next saw a scan result in that general direction I took a chance; rather than narrow down the scan, I simply jumped to the recurring destination.

Fortune, as they say, favours the bold; I landed right on top of him.

Immediately pointing and webbing him, I opened fire and waited for the drones. These, however, never materialised, and I soon found myself evading the Stabber's return fire completely.

Still, breaking his tank was going to be a slow process, and somewhere behind me was an assault ship. I opened up a ransom channel.

Now, I had given ransoms a great deal of thought since my last ransom attempt, and I had decided that I did not like the "traditional" ransom structure. Basically, it seemed like a whole lot of work.

On vent, I'd been able to listen to other Tuskers ask advice on ransoms, and hear the responses. People often have formulas based on age, hull cost, etc. Everyone tries to strike a stressful balance between getting a ransom at all (not too high) and getting ripped off (not too low).

This model of ransoming seems like fantastic way to kill all the fun in pvp, so I had decided to do things my own way. I would tell my victim that they could make me one, and only one, offer for their ship/pod, and that I would either accept or reject that offer. This would shift the stress of working out the ransom to them; all I had to do was decide whether I preferred the money or the killmail! It seemed pretty perfect.

So when this chap responds to my convo, I quickly lay down the rules; one offer and one offer only. He suggests 6 million for his ship, and I prefer the killmail. Easy.

He tells me to make a counter offer, but rules are rules. He had had his shot; now I wanted my killmail. It did not take as long as I thought it would.

2011.05.22 20:33:00

Victim: Damien Miles
Corp: Mercenarius Mercded
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Stabber
System: Atlar
Security: 0.4
Damage Taken: 21467

Involved parties:

Name: Taurean Eltanin (laid the final blow)
Security: -5.6
Corp: The Tuskers
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Ship: Malediction
Weapon: Caldari Navy Foxfire Rocket
Damage Done: 5426

Name: Gistii Impaler / Angel Cartel
Damage Done: 16041

Destroyed items:

Sabretooth Light Missile, Qty: 120
Titanium Sabot M, Qty: 160
Stasis Webifier I
220mm Vulcan AutoCannon I, Qty: 4
Assault Missile Launcher I, Qty: 2
Damage Control I
Sabretooth Light Missile, Qty: 630 (Cargo)

Dropped items:

Y-S8 Hydrocarbon I Afterburners
Medium Armor Repairer I
Medium Shield Booster II
Titanium Sabot M, Qty: 480
50mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Titanium Sabot M, Qty: 4380 (Cargo)
Hornet I (Drone Bay)

Thanks to the fantastic lock speeds on interceptors, and FNG's sage advice, I was able to snag his pod. Again, I told him that he had one, and only one, opportunity to purchase his implants from me. This time he decided that he could find 90 million ISK, and I decided that I was willing to forgo the killmail.

With the ransom paid, I let his pod go, thankful that we had not been interrupted by the assault ship.


Looking at the killmail, I began to have some regrets - I'm a bit of a softy that way. As ecstatic as I was over the size of the ransom, which would effectively pay for all the ships I had lost so far on the T2 Tour, I remembered, not too long ago, when I had sunk the majority of my assets into my +4's, and I wondered if I shouldn't have accepted less from such a young player.

I decided that I wanted to help him out - he had been polite throughout - so I convo'd him again. I wanted to give him some advice about surviving low sec and give him some of the ransom back. Unfortunately for him, he left the ransom channel before I completed my first block of text.

I convo'd him again, and he said "what do I have to do to get rid of you?" and left the channel. My patience was wearing thin - I had been polite throughout too - so I thought I would send him an in-game mail. That way he could see that I had good intentions.

That's when I found out he had blocked me.

I suspect there is a serious lesson in here for me somewhere. I have been helped hugely by the Eve community, and by my reader's in particular. I have been given advice, support, ships, modules and even ISK. This generosity has made me very keen to give something back to the community, and hence my attempt to return some part of the ransom to a new player.

However, just as my attempted generosity towards the miner I fought during the Punisher Plan did not go as intended, neither did my effort to return some of the ransom. Instead, I just ended up feeling stupid for even trying. I'm not sure what to take away from all this, but perhaps I need to change my approach.

All that aside, I was very happy with how the Malediction performed against an above class vessel. While I was disappointed by the lack of drones - I really wanted to test my rockets out against them - I certainly can't complain about the outcome.

Interestingly, the Tusker reputation apparently reaches even new players. At one point he had second thoughts, fearing that I would take the money and kill him any way. When I pointed out that I was a Tusker, he paid up.


  1. Stabber has a single light drone. You could have tanked it forever.

  2. Nice hunt and ransom method, I may have to try that.

    Don't worry about this guy's attitude. As many nice, reasonable people as there are in EVE there are at least as many froth at the mouth, take everything too seriously crazies - if that weren't the case corps like Suddenly Ninjas wouldn't exist.

    Keep up the good work o/

  3. Hmm, that ransom idea was pretty good. I was thinking on his killmail that he offered 6 mil because it was all he had, but when you then mentioned 90 mil for his pod, it seemed pretty clear what kind of player he might be: the kind who buys plexes and fancy ships even though he's not got the skills to fly anything properly, nevermind the actual piloting mettle. It's no wonder he was pissed, he probably lost real money on that deal and was feeling idiotic for almost losing his +4 or +5 implants.

    I think you could have speed tanked that Stabber forever. An MWD fit Stabber might be a little harder, since they LOVE to kite, but if you could get in close enough you could probably speed tank forever too.

  4. Excellent ransom plan - I quite like it! I believe I shall steal it the next time I have the chance to ransom someone. Also, good haul on the 90mil pod!

    As for your efforts at being helpful... This is exactly why many pirates (and other various criminals) have no apparent conscience when it comes to 'doing bad things'. Not only is Eve a dark, terrible place, etc etc (the tired old 'Theme' argument), but it is populated with people who take it far too seriously.

    For me, it was when I tried to offer advice to a 2 month old character I had just killed about the dangers of lowsec and was instead told to go get AIDS and die a horrible, lingering death - right about then was when I decided not to have any pity for the idiots.

  5. Giving advice is a tricky business as I learned as a pool player back in college. Several times I tried helping players with fewer skills and always got rebuffed. Especially shortly after I had handily defeated them.

    In the end I decided that advice should only be given when asked for. Looks like it's the same with Eve.

    I think that works best for both parties.

  6. It's been my experience that players tend to respond much more positively to conversations/advice if you don't kill them first. :) I often chat with strangers I meet out in lowsec, and usually part on good terms, but if their first impression is of you shooting them that does tend to colour their judgment.

    Losing ships also means different things to different people - an experienced PvPer doesn't care much about a lossmail because they were expecting to lose it as soon as they decided to take it out to PvP, have got three copies of the fit sitting in the hangar, and have lost dozens just like it anyway. A newbie PvE player is much less inured to ship loss and generally has only one mission-running ship and set of implants, so getting killed/podded is a much bigger loss for them.

    I do shake my head when I see pilots ratting in lowsec, though. You'd think they'd find something else to do, but I guess they're usually new enough not to know better.

  7. Another idea might be to wait until the heat of the moment has passed (10 minutes should be enough) and then evemail an offer of advice about surviving low sec. Let your victim convo you if he's interested in learning. If not, then just go on your way with a clear conscience...

  8. Your ransom method is both a great way of getting a quick yes/no decision when there may be third parties threatening to interfere and also a great way to find out what your target has in his wallot. I might add in some negotiation after the first offer if I'm alone with my target; the worst that happens is you make a counter offer, get a no, and then accept or pop them based on their original offer. After all, you are the one holding all the cards.

    As far as people shunning you after a fight... I've offered to let a guy go if he told me a joke in local and had him proceed to scream obscenities at me. Needless to say my benevolence has limits and I have the killmails to prove it. If a guy is too closed minded to accept my altruism then I will provide him with free bullets instead. It is the least I can do.

  9. As a 4?year old Eve player I have to say that paying a ransom is counter-productive.

    Anyone happy to blow your ship out of the sky for the thrill of it cannot be trusted. Paying ransom means losing your ship AND your money.

    Back to the old advice - fly what you can afford to lose.