Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Astero v Rupture

From time to time I have found myself enjoying one ship so much that I fly it almost exlusively for a while. First it was the Punisher, and then the Vengeance. Now, it seems to be the Astero. And yes, I'm clearly a big fan of tanking bonuses. This should surprise no one.

Eve rewards this kind of consistency. Not only do you get to know your ship, and your fit, fairly well, but you also have time to max out the relevant skills for that ship, getting more out of it than you otherwise would. You push the boundaries after each success, work on your character skills for that ship, and develop your player skills, bit by bit.

This weekend was an opportunity to for me to do just that. Having taken on a succession of destroyers, I was now looking for cruisers to test myself against. I was fairly confident that my tank could deal with any T1 cruiser that wasn't neuting me, but I was unsure of whether my dps would be enough to break a mission runner's active tank. I've noted previously that I don't think that DDAs on an Astero are correct, but there is no point in being over-tanked if you don't have the dps to win the fight. I won't know whether I've gotten the balance right until I test it.

My low sec static was a blast from the past: Molden Heath, where I first started flying with the Tuskers, all those years ago. Running the infamous loop, I soon encountered exactly what I was looking for.

Outside of FW space, cruisers in low sec are often mission runners, so I had brought a combat scanner along with me. In this case, though, I managed to pin him down in an anom, so I was able to jump in without having first risked giving away my intentions with combat probes.

He was kiting out the anom rats, which meant I had to slow-boat about 100km under cloak, trying to intercept him without being decloaked by the wrecks, or the rats trailing behind him. As anyone who has tried piloting through asteroid belts will know, what you see on the screen is often slightly different from what the game code says, and what is an irritation for most pilots can ruin a cloaky pilot's approach.

I was not helped in this by the cloud of drones that kept zipping back and forth between the rats and the Rupture. Presumably his drones were on 'passive' mode, returning to his ship after each target, leaving again when a new target was designated.

Getting to within 20km, I decided to drop cloak and lunge the remaining distance. I would always prefer to drop cloak a little early on my own terms rather than be decloaked involuntarily a little later. If I drop cloak then I can immediately use that time to activate my afterburner and launch drones, whereas being decloaked isn't always immediately obvious, and I'm just slow-boating along while being plainly visible.

While I can't back this up with any numbers, I believe that I am strongly aided in this by my sec status. We ALL immediately notice the flashing red ship that warps in or decloaks next to us. But when our overview is full of clutter (such as mission rats), it often takes us a few seconds to see the plain grey ship that suddenly appeared amidst the debris.

And so it was in this case. I had moved into a close orbit without any reaction from my target, and it wasn't until my scrams landed that he seemed to notice me.

In these situations, mission runners face a difficult choice: do they try to kill me quickly, or do they shoot the rats to reduce the dps they need to tank? In this case, the pilot decided to shoot at me directly, which is pretty reasonable, given the tracking on autocannons.

Unfortunately for him, the Astero has a very small sig, and with neither a web nor a tracking bonus he couldn't stop me from getting under his guns. His missiles continued to hit me, of course, as did his drones, but it was not nearly enough damage to threaten my tank.

My own dps, on the other hand, was being augmented by a couple of rats. I have no idea how much damage they were doing, but the combined total did seem to be higher than his passive shield regen. 

Still, I kicked myself for not bringing some Conflag for this situation - even if I didn't need the extra few dps to break his tank, I was conscious that we could be interrupted at any minute. As I spammed my D-scan, I comforted myself that we were a good 100km from the warp-in.

In the end, I had the time I needed, and the Rupture went down. I grabbed the loot, and beat a hasty retreat in the face of all the rats that were now targeting me.


Looking at the killmail, I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand, the T1 guns mean that my tank didn't really get much of a workout, but in truth I don't think it would have made any difference - I was well and truly evading his damage.

He had a T2 tank, though, which is what I was looking for. The presence of the rats muddies the water somewhat, but the reality is that there are almost always going to be rats of some kind when you ambush a mission runner/ratter.

In this case, I was shooting into his worst resists (EM & thermal), while he was tanked against the rats (kinetic & explosive), so it worked strongly in my favour. I'll need to keep that in mind, for example, if I'm hunting in Amarr space, where pve players will be tanked heavily against me by default.

More testing of the tank/dps balance is required, but it was a positive first attempt.

Monday, 30 January 2017

First blood

Logging in yesterday morning, I immediately noticed a Venture on D-scan. Checking my list of bookmarks, I could see that there were no new sigs in system, so he must be in one of the gas sites that I'd been meaning to clear out that day.

Refitting to double scrams, I cloaked up, and used my D-scan to work out which signature he was sitting in.

Warping to the sig, I landed about 30km away from the Venture, who was busy stealing my Fullerene. With no asteroids or wreckage to avoid, the approach was simple, although I did have to watch my cloak carefully to see when I hit the invisible edge of the gas cloud. As soon as my cloak dropped, I activated my afterburner and overheated my scrams to close the distance as quickly as I could.

As soon as I landed those double scrams, the result was inevitable. Boom. Then pop.

After looking at the killmail, I could see that he was a fairly new player, so I sent him an encouraging Evemail and some ISK.

Vanaheim has now been blooded, and hopefully my success is a good omen.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Why you need us

The other day my low sec connection was to a 1-system low sec pocket deep in Minmatar high sec. With roaming being a non-starter, I took advantage of my virtual high sec connection to shift about 500 million ISK of PI product to market.

I have accumulated about 400 million ISK of data/relic loot, which I plan to bring to market on the weekend, along with whatever PI I've generated in the interim. Assuming I get it all to market safely, I'll have made back my starting investment (including skill injector) in Vanaheim.

Not bad for two week's work.

Still, it was a long chain of jumps through high sec, and I don't afk my haulers. So as I sat behind the keyboard, I browsed the internet, including the Eve forums, where I came upon another whine post. Carebear claims to quit because of high sec ganking, etc. Wants to be left alone to mine in peace. Nothing we haven't seen many times before.

Like most Eve players, I ignore most such posts. This is not a game for everyone, and even dedicated Eve players often drift away for a spell, before being pulled back in. That's not actually a problem.

But on this occasion I had time on my hands, and I felt like posting something. So this is a message to all the high sec industrialists out there.

You need us.

The activities that you enjoy have no intrinsic value. The value of whatever resource you are gathering, or whatever module you are making, is determined by the level of need for that resource on the part of your fellow players. In economics, this need is called 'demand'.

Because it doesn't actually take very long for a player to obtain all the ships they want to fly (skilling up for those ships typically takes longer than scraping together the ISK), the demand for your product would be very, very low except for the fact that ships keep getting blown up.

That's right! Our non-consensual pvp is the main reason you are able to mine profitably in the first place!

Ultimately, every industrialist in New Eden is a war profiteer who makes their blood money from the losses of thousands of ships every month. To complain when the weapons that you build are occasionally turned on you is the hight of hypocrisy.

Most Eve industrialists understand this. But the few of you that don't give the rest a bad name.

Oh, and when you leave, can I have your stuff?

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Curiosity killed the Manticore

The Vanaheim low sec static was only about a dozen jumps from Chaos null sec static, so I decided to spend the evening in Chaos. I jumped into my taxi - a Crusader with an align time of less than two seconds - and made my way back to Chaos.

Unfortunately, I missed most of the fun. Earlier that evening there had been some successful small gang work, but now my corp-mates were settling in to rat the C5 static; I'm not the only space poor Tusker, and we all have different ways of bringing in the ISK.

So I spent the evening on comms and in corp chat while bouncing around null sec in my Manticore. I wasn't expecting too much, but there was always the chance I'd catch an industrial or a ratting battlecruiser.

So when I saw a cyno go up, I decided to investigate. Perhaps a capital was jumping in, and the corp could try and gank it. I knew the cyno was at a POS, and having started my own POS, I have a new respect for just how dangerous they can be.

So I warped in at range. Unfortunately, I got unlucky with the geometry. The cyno was exactly across the POS from me, and so by warping in at range I managed to bullseye the POS, decloaking myself and ricocheting off the shield.

I was locked and pointed by the POS before I could get my ship out, and subsequently exploded.


A covert ops cloak gives you a certain sense of invulnerability, but it's important to remember that you are just one small accident away from being discovered, and probably destroyed.

It's a necessary reminder, and while I detest losing any ship, if I must be reminded, let it be when I'm flying a stealth bomber, rather than my increasingly expensive Astero!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Astero v Hookbill

I've pretty much given up on trying to snag frigates in FW plexes. The gate decloaks you on the way in, giving them plenty of time to warp out. And you can't camp the 'plex because the beacon has a massive decloaking radius that means you are going to become visible 30+ km from your target. FW requires speed, not stealth, making the Astero a poor choice for this kind of pvp.

That said, sometimes you can find someone in their own faction frigate who is willing to engage you. I've learned not to bother with Succubi or Daredevils, as their range control means that they can just disengage when they realise that they're not likely to break your tank before they die. And while you can drive a Garmur or a Slicer away, you'll never catch it.

But some of the tanky brawlers are willing to roll the dice. And so it was with this Hookbill.

I still had an advantage, of course. Unlike him, I had more than a few seconds notice before the fight started, and I had been able to think things through.

I knew that I should expect to be double webbed, and I assumed that he would try to get under my turrets. Accordingly, I loaded IN Multifrequency.

I knew that he would have high dps. Accordingly, I took some Synth Exile to boost my repairer as I was landing in the plex.

And I knew that he would have enough range control to get away if he timed things right. Accordingly, I decided to save the overheat on my afterburner until the end of the fight, to throw off his judgment.

I landed on grid, and he took the fight.

At first, things went as I expected. We closed on each other, and I was double webbed. He didn't try to get under my guns, however, instead choosing to hold range at about five and a half kilometers. At the time this puzzled me, but in hindsight it makes sense. My decision to fit a laser to the Astero is unusual, and if I'd gone with a neut, or with an autocannon, holding range would have been the right call.

In this case, it just meant that I needed to switch to Scorch.

His dps was enough that I needed to overheat my repairer, but that seemed sufficient to hold him, at least for the time being. More surprising was how fast his shields melted; it turns out that he was armor tanked. While not what I expected, it's not the first time I've seen Caldari ships armor tanked so they could free up another mid slot.

As he triggers his ancillary armor repairer, it's clear I can't break his tank any more than he can break mine. But I can do this for about 5 min before heat damage forces me to stop. He... can't.

As planned, I overheated my afterburner and burned straight towards him as the fight drew to a close. If he tried to get away at the last minute, it didn't work.


I made no effort to grab the pod. Having given it some thought, I'm going with a 'no podding' policy for low sec, because I don't want the sec status hit. Access to high sec is just too important for me right now, and I'm already going to have to do some ratting to keep myself in the blue.

This fight is a great example of why the deadspace repairer is better than an ancillary repairer on the Astero. Unless you are able to micromanage your repairer such that you avoid over-repairing (which is a dangerous game that I suspect few players are truly capable of in the heat of combat), two pilots with ancillary repairers who cannot break each other's tank are going to run out of paste at the same time. Then at that point, barring a massive difference in buffer ehp, the ship with the higher dps will almost certainly win.

Hint: it's probably not the Astero.

But because my repairer keeps going, it's a fight he loses as soon as he runs out of paste.

The killmail was interesting, though. I'd wondered why he had gone for the armor tank, and the answer is clearly the dual prop setup. I imagine he surprises a lot of kiting ships with that one.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A look at the Astero

I've been messing about with an Astero in one form or another for months now. Initially, I ran it with T2 mods - in part because I wanted to see if I would actually enjoy flying the ship before spending too much on it, and in part because I wanted to get to know the hull before deciding how best to spend that extra ISK.

Recently, however, I decided to upgrade my Astero to broaden the range of targets I can engage. This is what I'm currently flying.

Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Coreli A-Type Small Armor Repairer

1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
Small Cap Battery II
Faint Epsilon Scoped Warp Scrambler
X5 Enduring Stasis Webifier

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Gatling Pulse Laser II, Scorch S

Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Small Auxiliary Nano Pump I

For those that don't want to plug it into pyfa, that has 5710 EHP, is cap stable, repairs 145/176 EHP, and does 120/123 dps with Scorch, or 125/129 dps with IN Multifrequency. It moves at 1010/1320 m/s.

The low slots

The low slots are fairly straight forward: a damage control, some resistance plating, and a cheap deadspace repairer. Two other modules that I've seen used, but that I think are wrong, are drone damage amplifiers and ancillary armor repairers.

I think ancillary repairers are wrong because, unlike the Tormentor, the Astero does not put out enough dps to win the fight before running out of NRP. And I think the drone damage amplifiers are wrong simply because the damage you are amplifying is so low. The base drone damage with a flight of Hobgoblin II is only 99 dps. The DDA pushes that up to 119 dps, but at the cost of 700 ehp and 30 hp/s.

And remember that you can't overheat your drone dps, whereas you can overheat your repairer.

The high slots

The high slots are also fairly straightforward. While you could drop the cloak, it's not clear why you would fly the Astero at that point, and it's fairly integral to my hunting style. My choice of turret is perhaps more controversial.

The obvious choice would be some autocannons. These have lower fitting requirements, do not require cap, and give you selectable damage. However, the fitting requirements of the GLP II are low enough, and while I'm locked into EM damage, the GLP switches effectively between close range and long range without losing much damage.

This is useful because I want to scram kite (most) frigates with Scorch, but I want to get under the guns of (most) larger vessels with IN Multifrequency. It's doubly useful because I also don't have the speed to guarantee that I can control the range, so I may need decent tracking as well as the ability to hit out to scram range (and this improved tracking is one reasons I've chosen the GPL over the DLP or FPL).

As a bonus, using lasers allows me to go on long roams without worrying about how much ammunition I need to bring.

For a while I tried running with a nos or a neut. The nos just wasn't needed against anything that didn't try to neut me, while still not being enough to sustain me against larger ships that did try to neut me. And there are too many ships that don't care about cap to make running my own neut worthwhile. Keep in mind that giving up the GLP II means giving up even more dps than a DDA offers me.

The mid slots

While the prop mod, web, and scram are standard fare, the Cap Battery II will likely raise some eyebrows.

I don't see why it should, though. It keeps me cap stable, performing much the same role as a Cap Booster, without the massive cargo requirements and resupply issues that come with it. The energy warfare resistance is a nice bonus, but not the reason I run the module. As with any actively tanked ship, I'm going to do my best to avoid anything that can seriously attack my cap anyway.

I could have dropped down to a meta cap battery and fit a larger gun (FPL). But the added dps was minor (about 4 dps or so), and my actual damage application would have been worse in close orbits.

In addition, the increased cap demands of the FPL(as well as the lower cap regen of the meta module) would have forced me to use a meta web and scram to remain cap stable. I thought that the increased damage mitigation of the extra scram range, and the additional range control offered by a 60% vs a 55% web, were probably worth the 4 dps that I was giving up.

The afterburner deserves some mention. I have the fitting space to move up to a more cap efficient prop mod, but I chose not to. This is because the reduced CPU requirements allow me to fit two scanning mods, or two scrams instead of a web and scram, without modifying the rest of my fit.

The rigs

I would seriously consider damage rigs here if there were any damage rigs for drones, but there are not. And there is no point rigging for turrets when I only have one (unbonused) turret on the ship.

Instead, I have chosen to beef up the repairer. This makes sense - the repairer is where I've chosen to spend money, so adding multipliers to that module is the most efficient way of spending fitting space.

I have chosen nano pumps over the more efficient nanobot accelerators for two reasons. First, the additional cap demands mean I'm no longer cap stable, which is a headache in long, grinding fights against larger ships. The ability to just turn on the repairer and forget about it makes flying the Astero much easier than it might otherwise be.

Second, there will be times when I do get neuted. In these cases the speed of each cycle is much less important that the efficiency of each cycle. In other words, I'll repair more ehp under cap pressure with the nano pumps than I will with the nanobot accelerators.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Astero v Coercer & Coercer

It'd been a week of working late, so despite having moved into Vanaheim, I'd not had an opportunity to take advantage of the low sec static.

This made Saturday especially disappointing. The static was deep in the middle of Gallente faction warfare, and the systems were crawling with hostiles. I did go for a roam, but my main achievement was not dying. While my Astero has many strengths, dps is not one of them, and it was not well suited to the kind of kill-it-quick-and-get-out fighting such an environment demands.

Instead, I had to make do with camping relic sites in some connecting wormholes.

Sunday was much better, though. I found myself in a familiar part of the low sec chain, only about a dozen jumps from Hevrice. It was a beautiful balance of busy enough to find targets, but quiet enough to get a decent fight. I went on a long roam through the chain, looking for targets.

In one of these systems, I spotted two Coercers in a belt. Eve being Eve, I assumed this was a fight, and I warped in under cloak to see if I could pick off the winner. Instead, I found the two destroyers were ratting together. Interesting.

Normally, I would say that going up against a destroyer in a frigate - even a faction frigate - is a losing fight. Going up against two is generally suicide. But here, I fancied my odds.

Because they were ratting, they were almost certainly beam fit; your ISK/hour suffers if you have to maneuver much to get the rats into range. And while the Coercer has a tracking bonus, I was pretty sure that I could mitigate much of the damage if I could start the fight up close. And because they were right next to each other, there was a real chance that both of them would have trouble hitting me.

So I started drifting towards them, and was just about in position when one of them warped out. The battleship rat was still in play, so I assume that he wanted to drop aggro. Whatever the reason, this was my chance, and I uncloaked and tackled the remaining Coercer.

I set my orbit to 2000km, which is where I've found my GLP II is happiest (I'll have a post up about my fit later this week), and I set my drones to work. As I thought, he was having trouble applying damage to me at that range, and my repairer was able to keep up nicely.

He was much more heavily tanked than I thought he would be, but then I've not fought many destroyers before. I was keeping an eye on the short range D-scan, because I knew his friend would be coming back. In fact, he landed just around the same time that my target exploded.

He'd played it smart, and come back at range. He was about 30 km away, and would have no trouble applying full dps. I needed to make a snap decision, and I had no interest in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. I warped out.

I immediately warped back, of course. Under cloak I hoped I could get close enough to ambush the second Coercer, but he stayed only long enough to grab his friend's loot before he warped away.

Gfs were exchanged by all.


Looking at the killmail, I suspect I could have tanked the Coercer long enough to either cover the distance or (more likely) force him to warp off. They were fit completely for tank, with no damage mods at all, and even dropping two turrets to fit more tank.

Unfortunately, I had to make that call before the killmail arrived. Still, attacking two destroyers in a frigate was a bold move, and managing to kill even one of them while surviving was quite an achievement. I'm pleased with how that went.

I'm loving the Astero, of course. I've mentioned before that I'm a more cautious pilot than some of my corp-mates, and flying a cloaky ship suits me. A non-cloaky announces it's presence on D-scan, so you need to move quickly to land tackle before your target warps away. Flying under a cloak relieves some of that time pressure, allowing me to assess the situation more fully before committing.

Combined with a mobile depot, it's an incredibly flexible ship. While waiting out my aggression timer from the above fight, for example, I saw a Venture undock. Refitting into double scrams, I was able to get him, too.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Some hard numbers

I know I'm not the only Eve player looking for an easy way to fund my pvp. I'd mentioned in an earlier post that I was looking at a new PI setup, and now I wanted to post some hard numbers.

A direct to P2 planet with IV skills produces a maximum of 5 units of P2 per hour, per advanced factory. There are 3 advanced factories per planet, so each planet produces 15/hour. Over five planets, that's 1800/day, or 54,000/month.

The current Jita buy price of Supertensile Plastics is 16,501.33 ISK/unit. Using that as an example, I could clear 891,071,820 ISK/month. Across three characters on an account, I could theoretically clear 2,673,215,460, or 2.67 billion ISK per month.

Only I wasn't.

Direct to P2 production is actually quite hard on a planet. You need two abundant resources, close together, on a small planet. Otherwise, you produce much less than your maximum. Of the six planets in Chaos, only two were capable of sustaining full direct to P2 production.

And not all your planets are going to be able to produce the 'good' P2 resources. Oxides, for example, have a current Jita buy price of 10,028.10. Even with full production, Oxides will only get you 1.62 billion per month on a single account.

That's much closer to what I was actually seeing from my PI in Chaos.

A P3 factory planet, on the other hand, produces 3 units of P3 per hour, per advanced factory. There are 4 advanced factories, for 288/day, or 8640/month. Synthetic Synapses (which use Supertensile Plastics - I'm trying to keep the examples consistent) have a Jita buy price of 107,700.15/unit. That means that I can produce 930,529,296/month. Across three characters on an account, I could theoretically clear 2,791,587,888, or 2.7 billion per month.

On paper, that's not much of a difference, really.

Except that P1 production planets are really easy to set up. Most worlds have at least one plentiful resource, and even large worlds can typically support full P1 production. The bottleneck is actually the factory planet, and for that, any small world will do.

So far, I'm seeing steady production at my theoretical maximum. It's a long way from being ISK in my wallet, but at least in theory I'm now set up to deliver a decent passive income. Fuel costs for my POS are running at 600 million per month, but I should still come out ahead over my PI in Chaos.

Moreover, when I have the capital I can consider putting up a service-free citadel to drop those fuel costs to nil. After all, it only takes two months for the Astrahaus to make back the purchase price on saved fuel.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Moving on in

So I've moved. Mostly.

It took me far, far longer than I expected (my hauling skills are weak), but over the weekend I set up my POS in J114905. My main is still based in Chaos - I have decent PI set up there that I want to keep ticking over while the new setup gets established - but my alts are all settled in.

While a lot of work, I'm actually very pleased with my POS. It's not quite finished, as I need Anchoring III to set up the ECM modules, but that will finish training tomorrow morning. This is a link to the fantastic POS planning website that I used to develop my fit.

As a low activity wormhole, the system was full of data and relic sites that I was looking forward to plundering. Unfortunately, the same high sec connection that let me move in also let dozens of other people into the system as well, and the place was picked clean.

Part of me wonders if I shouldn't leave the sites alone just so that I can camp them whenever we have a HS connection. On the other hand, those sites also convinced me that the wormhole was low activity, and encouraged me to move in. I don't want any more neighbors than I already have.

I've sunk over a billion ISK into this project, although half of that was for a skill injector for one of my alts. Still, fuel costs are a real thing, and I am anxiously awaiting evidence that this project will actually turn a profit. It's one thing to work it out on paper, but another to see the ISK in your wallet.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Choosing a wormhole

Before I can go anywhere, I need to know where I'm going. So I've spent the last six weeks or so on the lookout for potential settlements. I made up a handful of alpha clones with basic scanning skills, and threw them into likely wormholes.

Other than a low sec static, and good PI, I was fairly open-minded. All of the low class wormholes have their advantages and disadvantages. At first I thought I would like a C2 - an LS/C2 static sounded absolutely perfect.

But as I scouted these systems, both in person and via their killboards, I noticed how busy they were. I never actually found an unoccupied C2 with a low sec static, and even if I had, they would be constantly connected to what is probably the busiest class of wormhole in the game. Not only did this increase my eviction risks, but it also meant that I could have real difficulties making the wormhole profitable without interference.

In short, C2s seemed better suited to mid sized corporations rather than solo players.

So it came down to finding a good C1 or C3. This proved to be more difficult than I thought. While C2s are constantly connected to other wormholes via their statics, C1 and C3 wormholes are only connected to the network via wandering wormholes or incoming static connections.

I never did find an empty C3 that I thought was suitable, although I did find one very 'low activity' system that I kept in my back pocket. The more research I did, though, the more it seemed that I would need fairly specialized (and expensive) pve fits to efficiently run the sites in a C3. Since the goal is to spend less time on pve rather than more, C1s seemed that little bit more attractive. PI is the main income generator, and pve is just something to do when I have a little bit of free time between roams.

Then, before the holidays, I found a C1 with a low sec connection, no occupants beyond three dead sticks, and a decent selection of PI planets. Fantastic! While I kept my eye out for alternatives, I felt that I had the matter sorted, and continued with my other prep work.

Nothing stands still in w-space, though. Yesterday I logged my alpha clone back in to check for high sec connections, and I immediately noticed the brand new Astrahaus. Someone had moved in over the holidays!

At first I assumed that this meant I would need to start looking for a new wormhole, but a little investigating convinced me that this could be an opportunity, rather than a problem. The Astrahaus is owned by a one man corporation. Not the worst neighbor. And he did not seem to be very active; the system was absolutely full of data sites and relic sites.

Perhaps at some point he'll want to leave, and I'll be able to buy a citadel rather than go through the fuss of putting one up myself...

In any event, I'll be putting up a POS, and while putting it up and taking it down is likely to be a pain, it is far from the most permanent settlement. If I find that a C1 just doesn't suit me, or even that this C1 doesn't suit me, I can always move. By scanning from the low sec side (as I will have easy access to low sec after the move), finding wormholes with low sec statics will presumably be much easier.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The Vanaheim Project

In Norse mythology the gods are divided into two families, the Aesir and the Vanir.

Today, the Aesir are easily the most well known of the Norse gods, primarily because they were more likely to engage in the sort of adventures that make interesting stories. Moreover, the gods invoked during times of violence, such as Odin and Thor (both Aesir), were more likely to make an impression on the Roman and Christian historians who made the records we rely upon today.

Conversely, the Vanir were relatively peaceful gods (by Norse standards) of prosperity, fertility, wisdom and the natural world. The archaeological evidence suggests that their worship was widespread and very much a part of day to day Norse life, but not the stuff of great stories.

The Vanir lived in Vanaheim (literally, 'home of the Vanir'), and I thought that was a fitting name for a (relatively) peaceful project that I am hoping will bring me a bit of prosperity. My intention is to move into a wormhole, and to use that wormhole both as a means of generating an income, and as a staging area for low sec pvp.


I've known since early December that I would be leaving Chaos sometime after the holidays. I've had fun, but there are some issues. On their own, none of them are major, but taken together, I think I can do a little better.

In no particular order:

1) I prefer low sec to null sec for pvp. I could probably write a whole post on why that is, but in the end it doesn't matter; it's a question of personal taste and there is no 'right' or 'wrong' about it. But the main selling point of Chaos - constant access to null sec - just doesn't interest me.

2) Null sec is expensive. When I do engage in null sec pvp I need to fly expensive ships in order to be useful, and we have no ship replacement program. I also don't get any loot from these fights as it all goes into corp funds. Granted, I, along with everyone else, benefit from those funds, but it does mean that I have to spend a disproportionate amount of time grinding ISK.

3) Chaos is not a great wormhole for making ISK. Of our six planets, two are good, two are marginal, and two are very poor. There are too many of us running the sites in Chaos, and our w-space static is a C5 - too much for solo work.

I'm not complaining, though; many pilots prefer the much shinier kills of null sec, and have enough ISK (or generate enough ISK outside Chaos) that the cost does not bother them. For these pilots, Chaos is pretty much perfect. Indeed, I've enjoyed my time in Chaos so much, I'm now looking to move into my own wormhole. The lifestyle is fantastic. I just think I can improve on it in a few ways.

I won't be pulling out of Chaos completely - I will be leaving a selection of fleet ships in our Fortizar. When I have a large block of playing time (so, some weekends), I can simply fly back to Chaos in an interceptor and join in whatever fleets are running.

A couple of other Tuskers have moved into solo wormholes on a similar basis, and this seems to be working for them. And of course, we have some pilots still living in low sec full time, who make day trips to Chaos. The advantage of high numbers of active members is that we can maintain a presence in a number of places simultaneously.

I'm now just about ready to go. I'm not going to rush things, but enough of my prep work is coming together that I want to be ready to move when the connections I need appear.

I'm primarily looking for a good high sec connection from Chaos (so I can move out PI product and ships, etc) at the same time as I have a good connection to my chosen wormhole (so I can move in the POS, ships, etc). If things go on too long, I can move back to high sec and wait for a good connection to the new wormhole, but every day that I'm not based in w-space costs me about 50 mil in lost PI income, so I'd like to keep the transition as seamless as possible.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Gifts that keep on giving

As previously mentioned, the Tuskers ran a Secret Santa this year. My own Santa decided to give me three ships instead of one super-blingy one. I got two workhorse fleet ships - an ONI and a Gila - and then a tricked out Phantasm that looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. The goal is to fly these ships as much as possible over December/January, and compete to see who can get the most Secret Santa kills.

Having been away for the past few weeks, I'm not in any danger of winning. And I'd not really intended to play yesterday - I'd just gotten back the day before, and I was as sick as a dog. But when a ping went out regarding a hostile fleet sitting on our wormhole, I dutifully logged in.

I really wanted to bring the Phantasm, but the doctrine was heavy shield, which meant the Gila. We formed up on the Chaos side of our null sec static, and waited for the locals to make their move. We'd apparently been terrorizing them most of the day, and they had finally formed up to do something about us.

They had eyes on us, though - we knew there was at least one Loki in system with us. When they saw us form up, they decided that at this point the cheapest way to get rid of us was to ram a series of Ravens (and Sigils, bizarrely) through the hole and close it up.

Oh, well. Free kills, and a nice, gentle start to 2017.

Happy new year, New Eden!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017


Overkill happens.

Sometimes you overestimate the strength of your opponent, or someone blunders into your fleet while you are on the way to a bigger fight.

Sometimes you are fighting for something more important than 'gudfites' - sovereignty, your citadel, or your friend's tackled carrier - so you bring everything you can put into space, enemy numbers be damned.

And sometimes you send out a ping and more pilots show up than you expect.

But outside of accidents, rescue missions, and defending your structures, I don't really understand overkill. Where's the fun?

We had a C2/HS connection right before the holidays, but our connection was via a frigate-sized wormhole. Because of the mass limitations it was useless for logistics, but that didn't mean I couldn't camp the system in my Astero and hunt the explorers coming in from high sec.

After scanning everything down, I settled into wait. My first target was an Astero, which is always a rather intense matchup. I have to guess what kind of Astero I'm facing and use my mobile depot to fit my modules accordingly. I could fit for a warp-stabbed explorer, for example, only to find myself facing a neuting combat fit, so there is always sense of risk going into the fight.

In this case I made the right call, so I bagged myself an Astero, and the pilot's pod. Nice!

I then hit a noob in an Imicus who actually scrammed me back! This wasn't a fight I was in any danger of losing, but I liked the pilot's style. He kept it together well enough to warp his pod out, too, which seems unusual in w-space. I sent him enough ISK to cover his loss, and an Evemail wishing him well.

I stalked a Heron, but something must have spooked him because he bailed before actually running any of the sites he had scanned down.

Finally, I saw another Astero on D-scan. After warping to the site, I could see that he was mwd fit, and that he was running between fairly well separated cans that could not be warped to. Because of the distance I had to cover under cloak (100+ km), I needed to guess which can he would run last, so that I had the most time to get into position. Based on where he was when I warped in, thought it likely that he would end up at the 'top' can last, and I started to make my way there.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly, and I was within 20 km of the final can just as he started on the second-to-last can. I anticipated a nice little fight.

However, two more Asteros and a Sabre appear to have been camping that second-to-last can, and they promptly tackled my target and threw up a bubble. The 3v1 ran its predictable course, and it left me shaking my head.

While Tuskers do have a certain amount of 'e-honor' - the Tusker Code is rigidly enforced within the corp - that's not really what this is about. I can even accept that other people find fun different ways than I do. But in the silent world of wormhole pvp, these guys had done the equivalent of march a brass band in one wormhole and out the other.

There would be no more kills - for me, or anyone else - in that system.