Thursday, February 12, 2009

Only Sissies Castle

"In every game there's always an opponent, and there's always a victim. The trick is to know when you're the latter, so you can become the former."

The more I play Eve, the more comparison's to chess are drawn. The difference between chess and Eve is that you aren't forced to finish a fight. You can run. You can opt, not to fight, draw, or lose. That's not to say you can always escape, but in a situation where you lose something is a situation where you made a blunder in the chess match that is eve space combat.

Last night was an interesting chess match where FTLOL was buzzing around, trying to get the advantage over a Gunship Diplomacy gang. 

It started out simply enough, I left in my Claw to meet up with Dz and Kel in Lamaa, where there was a Wolf, Omen and Thorax trying to get a fight. We were more than willing to oblige. Dz was in a Thorax and  Kel remained docked. After a few attempts of me trying to get a fight out of the wolf, Meridius Dex in the Omen arrived and I was given the order to engage. This is where we made a blunder.

I was Afterburner fit, which works more often than not because ships want to get close to interceptors to nullify their speed via webs and scrambles. Fitting a scrambler myself meant that I gave myself the advantage in close range knife fights. However, if you miss the opportunity to tackle your opponent, and their intention is to maintain range on you, they will be able to do this fairly easily with a Micro Warp drive.

When the order came to engage the Omen, I had missed my window of opportunity to slap my scrambler on, and Dex burned away from us. Dz went in pursuit, but I was left behind with insufficient speed. Here is where things went sour. We made the blunder when we chased Dex, this spread us out, and left me in no mans land while Dz was isolated. I made the decision to turn back, the thought was I could engage the wolf and keep him tackled while Our ace in the hole,Kel, would undock and turn the tide of the fight.

However, unknown to me and Kel, Dz was going down, and decided to disengage, however, he didn't let me know until was too late to disengage myself. Being stretched out by the initial error of chasing Dex meant I was not close to docking range, and unable to burn away from the other two attackers, which had me webbed at this point. Dz managed to make it out, but I was left in no mans land to die.

It was a few error's that likely could have been prevented, but these things happen, you have a split second to make a decision, and hesitation will often times lead to failure. We miss-appraised the situation, and fell into Dex's advantage.

Mostly I was bitter because Dex was never in my range of engagement, so I never activated a gun the entire fight. I don't mind losing ships if I get to go down swinging. It's the reason I hate falcons so much.

Falcon decloaks.
Wait to die.

I wasn't about to give up on revenge. So I made my way back to my ship stock piles, and Hopped in my Hurricane, this is where the middle game began. They had left their post in Lamaa to go on a roam, it was on the Amamake/Auga gate where I found Dex in an Omen and his Cohort in a Thorax. I sat there waiting for them to engage, knowing that I could easily wipe the floor with both of them. I didn't want to engage first, because they would simply jump through, and I would be unable to stop them. 

I targeted them both, the Thorax targeted back, and eventually engaged, It took only moments to work my way through the thorax's hull, but what was interesting, and disappointing is that Dex never came to his buddy's aid. Dex warped off, and that was that.

I returned to Lamaa and on the way, Marrl Shadowfall, one of Dex's associates opened up a Channel with me, saying they were waiting for us. 

This is where the real chess match begun. Dex had upgraded his ship from an Omen to a Harbinger, The thorax pilot, Yakuza Angelis, shipped up to an Ishtar, Marrl remained in his Wolf, and Galdornae joined them in a Blackbird.

Dz had shipped up to a Pilgrim, and Kel remained in his blackbird. This was a fight that would take careful positioning on our part in order to win. 

Being Outnumbered, Out gunned, and equalized on the ECM front, we had to make sure we had positional advantage to succeed. I had moved to the Kamela Gate in Lamaa, and Dz jumped intoKamela. He looked for ships on scan to give us a heads up if reinforcements were on their way.

Dex arrived at distance to the gate. I didn't want to engage here because Kel and Dz were not in position, and the Ishtar would be free to maintain range on me while dropping 500 DPS of Ogres. 

I returned to the Station at 0. Dex followed, Dz had not jumped back in, so our recon support would have been messy. There was a small opportunity here for us to engage though. Dex was in web range, and I would have been able to drop him pretty quick, maybe quick enough to equalize the fight when the Ishtar arrived and the rest of us arrived on the scene. Unfortunately, the deliberation took too long and Dex had burned out of Web range.

It did clue me in on his strategy, which was to use a lighter set up, and maintain range on us, allowing him to mitigate our superior tanking and DPS. Him burning away made the decision not to engage easy, as I would have been neutralized in the fight by superior range and agility that the Ishtar and Harbinger have.

What's interesting to note here, is that Dex knowingly brought out a Lighter set up to fight me, but yet has only seen me in a Shield Gank cane, which is faster, and more agile than his harbinger. Relying on Range to mitigate damage against a ship that's faster, better tanked and more agile seems pretty risky. It's somewhat fortunate for him that I was in my Armor Tanked hurricane at the time, and unable to out pace him.

The ishtar had docked at the station where this was going down, so I made my way to theundock point, Dex had warped off.

The thought here was that we could get the jump on the ishtar. Taking him out of the fight equalized their ship-advantage. If we could get him downed, than we could slug it out in even numbers, with us having the better DPS.

The posturing and wiggling to get the advantage took too much time in the end though. AnotherMinmatar fleet began to show up, and scared off meridius's gang, who used and insta-undockwarp point to get the ishtar out safely.

This is were Meridius made his blunder. He and his gang didn't return to the relative safety ofKamela, instead they opted to link up with a couple of Amarr in Arzad, thinking they could get the drop on us. 

They made it look like they were running so the three of us, as well as the militia gang who came through chased them to arzad. Dex and co had made an error in their guesstimate to our numbers and ship make up, and were heavily outnumbered once they stopped to fight. Dz screamed DEX MUST DIE in militia chat to implicate a primary.

I burned up to him and unloaded my guns on in his face. Down goes the Harbinger. I had turned my sights to a Brutix, but it managed to escape before I activated my Warp Disruptor.

Revenge is a meal best served cold.

Was a good night for us, though it ended the incredible run my Claw had. I fit out another one, but I feel like the magic might be gone.

See on the overview! o/

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Last one out, Hit the lights.

I've tried to avoid commenting on the GoonSwarm/KenZoku controversey until facts were straight and I knew what it all really implies for the Eve universe. I think I've got a pretty good grip on it now.

First off, as a former Goon, I of course am ecstatic that BoB was the victim. So let's get that out of the way.

As far as the 'fair-ness' of it all. It is without question, or hesitation that I say this was perfectly fair, and should be noted as a feature, not a bug. In a game that has stagnated through POS warfare and home-field advantage, it is a refreshing game mechanic. While I still feel that the bulk of political goals should be carried out via ship-to-ship combat, I feel that it is important to have multiple ways to hurt an alliance. It should be mentioned that ship to ship combat is still heavy in Delve, a logistical melt down has not prevented fights.

I feel there aren't ENOUGH mechanics to attack an alliance from the inside. I believe corporate infiltration should be much more common. Not to steal, or make off with riches, that is already quite possible, but to cause more logistical and infrastructural damage. Right now to do damage to infrastructure means to burn a spy. Once his job is done, that spy is done. Espionage should be more prevalent in my opinion.

At the end of the day, 1 man being able to disband an alliance can be debated, but he was appointed the power he had by the leaders of that alliance, it is in no way unfair for him to do what he did. 

On the actual invasion? Hats off to goons. The time for hesitation has passed. 

Abandoning the southern empire to poor all of your logistics team into delve is a gutsy move, with big payoff if it can be pulled off. The fighting in delve is pretty epic, and is going on at all hours of the day. It is ship to ship combat and logistics that is deciding this invasion. No other conflict in recent memory is so reliant on sheer will and coordination of every pilot. Not just titans, capital ships and POS logistics, but everyone. 

The conflict has given me complete resolve to say that Capital ships and titans were a bad idea. Capital ships in my personal opinion should have always been logistical, never combative. The Titan bridge is a good mechanic, but the doomsday most definitely is not, a mobile platform for re-shipping and re-fitting is a good one, fighter blobs are not.

Battleships should be the new Battleships. 

Monday, February 9, 2009

You Felt Like History

The problem with Eve and the Casual MMO player is that Eve takes time. It takes time because you can't just join some 'battleground' and hack and slash from dusk till dawn. Since there is actual assets at stake people go to great lengths to avoid losing.

People play Eve to win.

When you plan on PvPing, you really need to look at how much time you're willing to invest in the hunt. You'll begin to realize that in order to get quick PvP you have to be suicidal. This is because when you play eve you rarely get the opportunity to get a fair fight, people are either in better ships, bigger gangs, or simply run away. 

It's a chess game really, you must feign weakness in order to draw the enemy into a vulnerable state. It's one of the biggest reasons Falcons are so popular. What appears to be a winnable fight quickly becomes a slaughter when the ECM support decloaks. 

It seems that over the past couple days it's what has really worked for, and against us.

Besides and Embarassing Jaguar Loss to an enyo, and the loss of my wolf trying the more suicidal version of pvp, we had a decent weekend. Besides my fleet on friday, we racked up 8 or 10 kills just buzzing about. One important moment of the weekend was when intel actually proved to be accurate.

There was a report of 4 wartargets buzzing about Minmatar low sec, near Frerstorn. Quick trip for us, I was in my long range ceptor, Dz in his thorax, and Kel, our ace in the hole, was in a Blackbird.

It ended up being a funny little battle, because we both relied on 'hidden' ecm support to try and control the battlefield. The for amarr pilots were in frigates. Frigates in Minmatar low sec usually meant plexers, so we figured they were standard fit. I warped to the station I had them scanned towards. 

Since I was in a long range claw, I was a bit concerned about 4 frigates beingable to spread enough to capture me, but I figured kills were more important than my ship, so I went for the tackle, however, Ironically, before I could fire up a module, I was jammed...

Jammed? there were no E-War frigates here.. What in sam hill is going on?

I docked because I wasn't going to die just to die. Dz warped in and started fighting, I undocked to help again. This was sort of a "keystone cops" moment for me, the problem was, I still had my orbit set for close range fighting, but didn't have time to change it, so I kept doing strafing runs, tackling, firing a volley off and then ending up out of range. 

Dz was slowy going down while he toggled between being Jammed and unjammed, it was around here when Kel came into save our asses, like he so often does. With all four frigs jammed it became a clean up. 

But is just goes to show how much of a chess game eve really is. Throwing a curve-ball at your enemy so they have to act dynamically. It nearly worked for these frigates. The difference was, they brought a firecracker, we brought a grenade.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Don't Have Time to Bleed

Sometimes it bothers me when FC's shy away from even fights, or even slightly uneven fights where your fleet is at a disadvantage. I know that Eve revolves around real loss, so an FC will often times try to minimize losses. This means that a fight with an unclear outcome is a fight most won't want to engage in. 

It bothers me though, when a relatively even fight is turned down because odds are both sides will take losses. But those are the fights where things are interesting. You don't know if you're going to win, so it depends heavily on the skills of the Pilots, the FC, and the ability to work together. If you win, it's a lot more satisfying, particularly for the FC as he can pat himself on the back for coming out ahead of an uncertain battle.

But people don't like uncertainty, and people don't like losing ships. So very few of these battles seem to take place. I shouldn't complain though, I never FC, and therefore I assume none of the risk nor reputation of leading fleets to failure, or loss.

On the other hand, there has been a quiet voice inside my head for a while that tells me I should grab some pilots by the balls and go fuck shit up. Last night, I took the command role for the first time in FW...

I had logged in to find that none of my corp-mates were on, so I hopped in my pimped out Jaguar. and went looking for a fight. I came to Kourmonen, where it was filling up with war targets going for a roam. A Crusader was on the gate to Auga, and I knew there was a fleet coming, but I decided to engage anyway. The warp from Kamela to Auga was 65+ AU, so I thought I might be able to pop him before the fleet came out of the long warp.

I waited for an opportunity to scramble the crusader, and pounced. He went down quick, but not quick enough, the rest of his mates showed up and managed to Disrupt me before I could warp out.

My Jag has a 'special' tank. It can take quite a bit of punishment, so I tried to maneuver for the minute long aggression timer. I actually managed to do that, but my maneuvering came at the cost of getting just out of gate range. Amazing that my Jaguar was able to last as long as it did. A whole minute with 3 Arbitrators, a hurricane and a few others on it. 

I'm a bit bitter because it's expensive... around 80 million to get this thing kitted out, but it performs so well. I just happen to engage against unfavorable odds. I think I might be a bit more cautious with the next one I fit out.

I went back to pick up another ship and look for a fleet to join, because I wanted some revenge. There were people complaining about no fleet being up.

"X up for Amarr Stomping"

I started taking X's, I requested cruisers and battlecruiser's, to contend with the 12 man Amarr fleet.

I don't have much FC experience outside of running shuttle ops from Catch to Delve in my Goon days. Just moving people up the pipe to the front line in groups to avoid unnecessary losses. So I wanted to keep this fleet simple. Get ships together, find war targets, melt them. 

The fleet location was Amamake, there were 11 or so of us and 10 or so of them at this point. They had been moving around in a circle, from Vard to Dal, Fleet intel had them jumping into Amamake, so I had everyone scramble to the Dal gate and tackle what they can. I was one of the first there, and I tried tackling, but I had forgotten to swap my scrambler for a disruptor so much was out of range. All we got was a Myrm on the gate, but a Kill is a kill.

It was webbed, and going nowhere. One of our ceptors had somehow angered the sentry gun gods, and was popped. He said he never activated modules, so I told him to petition it.

We regrouped on one of amamake's many stations and prepared to go after the rest of them, who had continued a circle. Another FC was running a 10 man gang, much like ours in the Dal/Auga area, and was reporting that the Amarr were moving in towards the Amamake gate. I had everyone arrive on the Auga gate in amamake, I sent a scout in to get fleet locations, they were coming to us. 

The other Matar fleet was also in Auga, so we outnumbered the amarr pretty heavily now. They must have mis-scouted because they engaged the other matari fleet on the Auga side. I gave the order to jump, and started calling primaries. With so many ships, everything went down fast.

It was a great little skirmish for a first time FC. Only 2 losses from the matari side, and 13 on the Amarr side. Looks like kills were split half and half between the two matari fleets, we each had 1 loss, and about 6 kills. Including almost all the ships on my Jaguar kill.  

Revenge is a meal best served cold. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Minmatar.

I was cruising for Eve related things on the web when I came across Crazykinux's blog. He runs this Eve Blog Roll, where if a blogger so chooses, he can request to be added to said roll, so that other denizens of New Eden can read about how mighty your e-peen is. I was recently added, so look for me on his Speedlinking page, as well for a plug on Micro Warp Cast.

Speaking of E-Peen. 

Mine is mighty. I wouldn't call myself part of the elite group of PvPer's in the Galaxy, but I've made my way through some pretty good pew pew. Recently, I've been boasting to my buddies that my Claw is indestructible. Aptly named, "The Hammer is my," after a line for Dr. Horrible's Sing-along-blog, so that on scan it would read, "The Hammer is my Claw." 

It came into the world as a mistake. I didn't feel like I had the skills to fly and Arty claw. So instead of losing a bunch of Arty-Claws to get the hang of it, I decided I'd stick with Knife fighting, something I feel I am pretty good at. I started working out a fit in EFT.

With only two mids, I figure I'd throw a scrambler on there to compensate for the lack of web and at the time, I was of the opinion that one doesn't fit an interceptor without a Micro Warp drive. If you wanted that Afterburner shenanigans, fly a rifter, or some assault frigate. So on went the MWD.

This presented a problem. So many ships these days seem to fit scramblers, and why not? When fighting within web range, you might as well fit a scrambler, it takes less capacitor, puts on two points of warp disruption, and turns off enemy micro warp drives in exchange for lower range. Range that won't matter once you're in the kill zone. 

But with Interceptors, you have that fantastic speed and bonus to MWD sig radius reduction, so it just seemed right to fit a MWD. But with scramblers so prevalent in today's PvP, it seemed silly to fit out a knife fighting ship with a microwarp drive, because once you start fighting, you lose the advantage. 

What is a pilot to do?

It's likely the reason the arty-Claw is so popular, since you don't need to get all up in every ship's grill to fight.  Putting an afterburner on an interceptor made me feel dirty. It made me feel like I was just fitting out a weaker version of an Assault frigate. But without the scrambler, I wouldn't get the other benefits... But MWD + Scrambler? Fail.

I felt so ashamed at my knife fighting claw that I vowed never to take it out except to suicide it, and I went to fit out an arty claw.

The very next day I decided to take the knife-fighting claw out to get it killed in hilarious fashion. I re-fit it with an Afterburner, for extra lolz. The added grid gained from swapping to an AB actually let me drop the MAPC I had on there for the 400mm plate. I replaced it with a Gyrostabilizer, to squeeze out some more DPS.

I went straight to the Amarr Militia staging system, Kamela. I figured their would be someone willing to shoot me there. There was a Complex up in system, and a coercer on scan. Great! A destroyer, perfect way to get this thing blown to bits. I arrived at the plex, burned straight up to him and my less than blazing speed, and pwned the ever loving shit out of him. 


A well fit destroyer usually trumps interceptors, what has gone wrong in this world? I checked his Bio to find he is a relatively new player, so maybe it was just bad skills and a spot of luck. I continued on to meet my buddy who was milling about in Lamaa, where I found that there was a large concentration of militia, both amarr and minmatar. Outnumbered, the Amarr were just scattered around, trying to move out of the area to avoid bad losses. I was hanging out on the Kamela gate when two Maledictions and a Punisher appeared at 0.


Surely, this will be the end of my plagued Claw. I figured I had the best chance at killing the Punisher, so I just engaged, I crushed the Punisher under foot. I hadn't even entered armor yet, so I started to go after one of the maledictions, I invited my buddy who was in a pilgrim to join up, the maledictions turned their sights to him, which seemed odd, but quickly made sense when a rifter, omen, and falcon appeared in support. I quickly went after the Rifter, and Popped him and his pod before he could enter fight. I got jammed,  and started taking heavy fire, I warped off, in flames. My buddy popped the omen and I warped back to scare off the Maledictions, or die or whatever.

But the falcon cloaked and warped after the Omen went down, and the maledictions couldn't hold the pilgrim so we just jumped out and claimed victory.

Two kills under a force of 6 eventual pilots in this thing? It's an afterburning claw! This POS should have been hard pressed to take a punisher, let alone take the punisher down under fire from three frigates, and then continue on to pop a rifter without issue.

Suddenly, I changed my mind, this ship isn't a bastard child of bad science, but a frankenstein love child.

It went on to get top damage on an Armageddon kill, and hold tackle on an Arbitrator that night, and almost equals the thrasher for king of pod harvesting. 

I love this ship.

Our corp battle-report blog: FTLOL

Monday, February 2, 2009

Thousands of Years Ago, in the Future

Welcome to my Space Blog. I've been blogging for my Eve Corporation, The Force of Tribal Liberation [FTLOL], for a while now, but decided it might be time to branch out, and share my individual experiences as a pilot.

For this first blog, I'm going to tell you a bit about myself, and we'll move on from there. I started playing eve in the summer of '07 on a recommendation from a co-worker. I had liked the idea of an MMO, particularly MMO PvP, but didn't like the lack of stakes. 

In Word of Warcraft, there is no real consequence to PvP other than a repair bill when you've lost. No territory to be permanently conquered, no loss, no loot to scoop from your tattered corpse. And on top of that, it was completely voluntary, if you don't want to expose yourself to PvP, you don't have to. 

It just seemed boring to me. I was explaining to a co-worker my dislike of PvP in WoW and how I wished there was a better PvP MMO, to which he looked at me, and said, "Eve-Online"

I'll skip his description, but he showed me the political map and I was hooked. I downloaded the client that night and set out toward the great future.

I started off with the aspiration of joining GoonSwarm. An alliance my friend told me about, and the very though of epic space war was so enticing that I couldn't resist. But I didn't want to go in head first, regardless of what everyone says, I figured I'd spend a couple week getting used to Eve's mechanics, and such.

In those couple weeks, I experienced PvP for the first time, in the form of me dying horribly in a equally horrible rifter fit. I was recruited into a different Alliance, one that spends its time in low sec by a british fellow called Dzadhuk.

I spent a few months there, learning the ropes, getting advice on ship fits, and getting generous isk donations. I was in a PvP wing, and we did a lot of Anti-Piracy in Minmatar Low-Sec. Blue Sun Trust was the Name of the Alliance. They had aspirations of 0.0 conquest, but didn't feel they were ready to make the jump. They were blue to Foundation, an NRDS alliance in the great wild lands, which gave us access to 0.0 resources, though they didn't take much advantage of it.

I spent a short time with a Corp called Core Element while they tried to set up shop in Stain. It didn't work out. It was a good try, but they didn't have the numbers to contend with the forces that patrolled the area, namely Red-Eye and Stain Empire. I left there and rejoined my Old CEO Dzadhuk in a corp called "Banned Reavers." It's funny, I didn't realize the two Firefly references until recently, when I watched the show. We were a low sec pirate corp, and we roamed Gallente low sec, getting kills when we could. 

I started to feel the Call of 0.0, and I felt I was more than ready to make the leap. It was a bit sad to say farewell to the people who helped me get on my feet in Eve, but I joined eve because I loved the idea of territorial conquest, and the epic space war, and 0.0 is where it was.

I joined up with the Penny-Arcade corp, Merch Industrial, part of GoonSwarm. They are kind of like, "goon fleet light." they had just been given their own Station in Feythabolis, and it was where I would begin my 0.0 career.

I was heavily involved with the fleet fighting in IAC space, and the push through catch into Delve. It was a good time, but I just burned out on the meatgrinder after the play for NOL. Cyno-jammers, titans, and fighter blobs at every turn became grating. But I got to kick some BoB ass, and saw many epic fleet battles. But it's hard to sustain that. 

You see, when dealing with such large amounts of people, it's hard to organize, so you'll spend a lot of time just sitting, waiting for your own fleet to get organized, and more importantly, for the enemy fleet to show itself. A lot of times, Huge engagements would just peter out and never happen because of the huge logistical effort needed to get the right amount of people in space.

So you'd end up playing in 6 hour chunks for these big fleet battles to occur, which of course meant staying up late into the night. Working a normal job made it hard to keep up. 

So after we pulled out of delve, I took a break from 0.0. 

Dzadhuk had created a Corporation in the newly introduced Factional Warfare, which was a "RP" mechanic to create PvP. Players fight to control space for their faction. Dz and I are both Sebiestors, so the Minmatar side was where he created his corp. Kelemeth was with him, another pilot from the Blue Sun days. I decided Low sec small gang PvP would be a nice break from 0.0. 

It has been a smashing success. 

The three of us have become pretty darn' good PvPers. Racking up kills against the Amarr on a nightly basis. It's now been 6 months since I joined the FW fun, and I've not missed 0.0 all that much. 

I'm not much of a Battleship fan. The Big lumbering cadillacs of eve are just too slow, and boring for me. I prefer Cruiser level and below combat, guerilla warfare tactics, and nimble ships. FW is a perfect place to do this, as you don't need to fly a ship that tanks gate guns, you can engage war targets at will. 

I've blogged about our exploits HERE.

I plan to do the same here, but with a more personal touch, as I tried to keep that blog much more corp related. 

Hope to see you in space!