Archive for the Piracy Category

Lots of Action

Posted in Against All Authorities, Killboard Stats, Piracy, Roaming, Solo PvP on July 18, 2011 by Easley Thames

As the Summer continues, I’ve seen lots of action all across the south of New Eden.

Usually Curse and Providence provide us with the most fun. In addition to hostile fleets, we often find pimped ships strolling around in these regions, and I’m never too busy to gank a pimped ratting boat.

To the West, Delve is evolving into quite a war-zone with MM, Brick and Borg looking to start a new empire in Delve. However, this region has not been a particularly fun destination for AAA.

The biggest issue is that, 90% of the time we form up a gang, MM refuses to fly anything but bombers. Those kinds of “fights” are not something that makes us want to show up every day, and our allies in the region can usually handle things on their own, but we do appear occasionally when asked to help out with a timer.

The recent release of the Captain’s Quarters leaves me with the impression that there is a great template in place, but as of yet, nothing about it is really useful to me. I would greatly appreciate the option to use the old docking hangar view, personally.

Moreover, the game is still about spaceships, first and foremost. I hope CCP keeps this in mind. Pictured above is my trusty (and rusty) Tempest, which seems to be a carrier magnet of sorts.

Bumping capitals off-station is always fun, and with lots of Machs & Tempests in-gang, it isn’t particularly hard to push someone out of remote repair range.

Over the last 3 months, I have seen more and more action. I credit the large number of active FCs in MVN, and AAA’s culture, which embraces roaming above almost all else.

Since joining -A-, -MVN- has had increasing momentum. Our corp moved up 200 spots on Battle Clinic, and I’ve personally moved up over 500 spots.

According to Eve-Kill, MVN is currently #7 eve-wide for kills in the last 30 days:

Personally, I’ve gone from around 2100 when we left IT to breaking into the 1600’s. My goal is top-1500 by Summer’s end, which I am currently on track for.

I appear to be advancing around 100 spots per month, which is significant at this rank because everyone above and immediately below you is also very active.

I’ve had some great fights expensive ganks to help me climb the ladder, like the solo Tengu kill pictured above.

However, the best fights are the ones where you take on small gangs alone. Especially this month, I really regret not having Fraps installed.

For example, just this morning I engaged 1 BS and 3 BC in my Maelstrom. To get them to engage, I tried warping at zero to their gate-camp, but they wouldn’t take the fight until I warped-in at range.

In the picture above, you can see the wreck of the first victim – a drake – while the other 3 continue to fire on me. I ended up killing 3 of them while one drake eventually escaped. I – of course – survived.

And of course, I have not only been doing casual PvP, there have been some serious confrontations with RA and their allies over Tenerifis, and we expect that to escalate very soon.

Regardless of how the sov-map looks, we will continue playing the game the way we do right now.

I look forward to the rest of summer. Hopefully there will be more solo kills, more great fights, and more epic super-cap deaths.

Mining Carrier is BEST Carrier

Posted in Killboard Stats, Piracy on June 28, 2011 by Easley Thames

Sometimes you just can’t believe what you see on your scanner until you actually come out of warp. Last night was one of those times for me.

I was “duo” roaming with PK in Domain low-sec when I narrowed a Chimera with mining drones launched to a belt at 5 degrees.

My wing-man literally did not believe what I was telling him until I called out “point” over comms.

After I pointed the Chimera, PK warped in for secondary tackle, and we began yelling at corp members to jump-clone out to low-sec.

Chemicals answered the call in a battleship. He was also so kind as to bring along a cyno. Supers did all the heavy-lifting from then on.

When we first tackled the carrier, we were worried about being able to kill it before help arrived, so I actually offered the pilot a very generous 500 mil ransom.

He was willing to pay, but had only 330 available. Half of that was a loan from a friend, and this pilot was very new – only 7 months or so old. I decided to decline his counter-offer.

Now, most people would have taken the money and kept shooting the carrier. I am probably one of the only people who still honors randoms, and I also don’t accept money if I don’t plan to let someone go.

When I first cut my teeth on low-sec PvP, ransoms were commonly honored. I myself was ransomed once as a very new player. Talking with the courteous pirate helped me get some fittings tips and it was generally a cordial end to a good fight.

Today, my impression is that very few pilots will actually honor or pay a ransom, simply because the custom is rapidly becoming extinct. Ransoms are now just another way to make a kill even more valuable if you can trick the person.

I have successfully extracted a handful of ransoms in 2011 so far. Among the ones I remember are: 30 mil for a drake, 80 mil for a vaga, ??? for an abaddon (don’t remember), 10 mil for a thorax, and 50 mil for a hulk. I let them all go after payment was received.

Since I rarely ransom people, I could easily have taken the money AND the kill mail with no real consequence in terms of future business, but somehow that kind of thing just doesn’t appeal to me.

I’m a scourge of the belts, someone you don’t want in a system near you, but I’ve never been comfortable scamming people. I will go to almost any lengths to catch my targets, but I don’t like feeling like a con.

After the fight is won, I don’t mind letting the other person go if they can pay. Unless the ship is exceedingly rare, one kill-mail is just a drop in the sea.

Someday I will quit this game, or perhaps CCP will close the doors, and from that day on my rank on killboards will not be important to me. I have experienced this same feeling after leaving “hardcore” gaming groups in other MMOs including Everquest, Anarchy Online, WoW, Allods and Ragnarok Online.

What will be important is whether I had fun along the way. Good memories are really all we can hope for a in life as we out-grow things that are important to us. For that reason, I will continue to do what feels natural, rather than maximizing profit & tears simply because I can.

For the record, I also honor 1v1’s when they are seriously requested. I am wary about accepting duels from most people, so I don’t often accept, but when I do it’s legitimate.

How to Hook A New Player on Eve :: Make Their First Kill Memorable

Posted in Killboard Stats, Piracy, Roaming on May 25, 2011 by Easley Thames

I was recently asked by a corp mate to take his real-life friend roaming in low-sec. Many new players waste away in high sec, slowly growing bored before quitting, so I was happy to help out.

I met the new player in a 0.5 system where I traded him the fittings I wanted him to use on his Rifter. I set him up with an AB + Scram + Web configuration with a plated armor tank and named autos. His instructions, should he engage anything, were to orbit at 500 meters and apply tackle as best he could.

It became clear early on in the roam that the new pilot had received a crash-course from his friend. He was able to follow orders, set way-points, and generally seemed to understand what I wanted him to do. A few times he jumped gates prematurely, but even supposedly-experienced pilots do this from time to time.

If nothing else, this roam was proof to me that new players do not need to spend nearly as much time in empire “learning Eve” as some people suggest.

It was a Sunday night, and things were quiet early on. I could tell that my tag-along was getting bored after about half an hour, so I started having him run his ship scanner to search for anomalies in each system we entered, while I bombed straight into belts. This isn’t my preferred scouting methodology, but it kept him from spending too much time sitting on gates.

The mildly exciting, but thus-far uneventful trip continued until I scouted out a Proteus in Aldali. The owner of the ship seemed to be out-and-about in system, and there wasn’t much evidence of ratting. I decided to leave and send my new friend to rat in the belts.

Sure enough, the T3 cruiser showed up to take the bait within 2 minutes. He killed my young friend just as I landed, but I was able to apply short-range tackle in my Myrmidon before he could warp off.

The Proteus initially tried to get out of the situation claiming he was a friend of my corporation. Being that he was not set blue, I could care less who he was. He was shooting back the whole time, but his damage was comfortably tanked. I was actually rather disappointed with the performance of his ship, to be honest.

In the end, his Proteus exploded and the excited newbie got a very nice trophy for his first kill mail. His friend was on comms for the fight, and their conversation seems to indicate that his friend will be renewing his subscription. I think the phrase, “holy shit that was awesome” was uttered.

In the aftermath, I let the new player come scoop the loot in a reaper. He was floored to learn that he could earn a million isk from a t2 module. As a true newbie with less than 10 mil, I think the rather disappointing T3 drop (by my standards) was a huge windfall in his eyes.

There is really no substitute for the thrill of a fight. As someone who does this sort of thing daily, most often solo, I don’t get the same level of adrenaline flowing as I did when I started in 2007, but it is the same rush that keeps me playing the game.

I think I did my job pretty well getting this new player introduced to the kind of fun you can have in Eve PvP. I couldn’t have asked for a better target, and I’m just glad I didn’t have to escort the new guy back to high-sec without a fight under his belt.

Finally, thanks to Jack Conn for being such a trooper and tackling a Proteus on his first trip into low-sec. As a new player with zero combat experience, he could easily have screwed it up and let the target get away, but he pinned that expensive thorax down and held it long enough for me to arrive on scene. I couldn’t have done it without ya, Jack.

Great Success :: Brazen MM Aeon Killed in Yong

Posted in Against All Authorities, Piracy on April 13, 2011 by Easley Thames

A short while ago, in a system dear to my heart, I was visiting for various reasons and happened upon some NC elements camping the station in carriers.

Later I would find them hitting local POSes with a corp I’d not seen before called Benevolence.

For a couple nights in a row, we had cyno ships on field with their supers with hictors logged off in system, but had missed the opportunity both times.

Tonight, it all came together. A Wyvern and Aeon were tackled. The Wyvern was able to escape, the Aeon was not.

Spec Ops / Black Ops

Posted in Camping, Fleet Tactics, Piracy, Roaming on November 7, 2010 by Easley Thames

Every corp seems to have the idea from time to time that they need a “black ops” group. Typically this amounts to one of your FCs taking a few bombers out and looking for targets of opportunity.

Few groups do the “black ops” thing well. Notably, the Goon blackops who have now mostly broke off and formed Elitist Ops (now in PL) were a huge thorn in the side of Atlas when they locked down Omist for a short time.

-MVN- has had a EU TZ and US TZ blackops group off-and-on throughout our history. Currently we’re pretty active in this regard and the last couple weeks have really shown how effective they can be. For example, behind NC lines we’re popping pimped ratters / plex runners with great regularity:

There are many different ways to form and run a “black ops” gang, most of which do not rely upon the “black ops” ship category (e.g. – Sins or Widows) at all.

We’re currently running a mix of 2-3 styles of black-ops / covert gangs across EU and U.S. timezones with great success. When there is no official “deployment” or war to fight, there is plenty of time to experiment, and I think we may be seeing even greater success as more of our pilots get comfortable flying in this fashion.

Of course, some of it is just the fact that we have really strong pilots operating in the north currently. We’ve been smacked and told we only pop so many t3 / faction BS because we’re “cloaking fags.” The truth is, we have been getting the same good kills without flying in purely blackops gang ships in the same time-frame.

Joy Killing Mechanic Spotlight :: Global Criminal Countdown

Posted in Piracy on October 9, 2010 by Easley Thames

Whenever I have to go to empire, I make a point of it to kill something in low-sec, since I rarely get the pleasure of piracy these days. This evening, I went on a quick solo roam after cloning to empire for a skill book.

My first kill of the night was an npc corp drake, about 5 minutes into my roam. A garden variety kill to be sure, but not a bad start. The fight was not very long, and I was able to loot the wreck and safe up without any issues, but I spent the next 15 minutes doing nothing.

It took me 5 minutes to find a target, then I spent 15 in a safe-spot. That’s a 3-1 ratio of thumb-twiddling versus active hunting, and an even lower ratio of actual fighting to sitting around. Low-sec has enough difficulties that keep sucking people away into 0.0 or high-sec. Do we really need a lengthy time-out after killing someone?

Next, after waiting my timer out, it took 6 minutes to find my second target, an Omen Navy Issue. Guess what happened next? Yup, 15 more minutes of fucking waiting!! Sometimes I think this game was designed by former employees of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (non-Americans read: a notoriously inefficient bureaucracy with huge lines).

Obviously, there is no reason I couldn’t do other things. I could rat, kill more people or just dock up. I actually did finish the belt-spawn in this case, to balance my security loss out.

The real issue is that a long GCC impairs my ability to roam from system to system. A battleship can shrug off gate-guns enough to travel with them, but even at that hull-class it presents disadvantages when roaming.

If you’re in combat, the GCC continually refreshes as you take aggressive actions against your target (weapons fire, drones, warp disruption all trigger it with each cycle). So then, why do we need GCC to persist so long AFTER you stop your hostile actions? Aggression ends LONG before GCC, so what’s the reason for flagging to last so long?

I think the best way to fix the problem would be substituting in a 5 minute timer. Since it takes me about that long to get into fights, at least if tonight was any indication, I think that’s all it should take to get the hell out of the system without gate-guns burning a hole in my ship’s backside.

To finish the tale of my little roam. With 2 minutes before downtime I popped my third victim, a pvp-fit harbinger whose pesky ecm drones caused me some grief at first. I was soon able to kill the drones (ec-600 are not very hard to hit) but there was a successful jam at one point.

If he had been aligning out and spamming warp, this kill wouldn’t have happened. Luckily for me, he was pvp-fit and looking to fight back. Local spiked +3 as he entered hull. I was able to loot him before warping off and docking  just as downtime hit. The drop included a minor faction item, which is always a plus, and some common T2 mods.

His friends were hugging station in various battleships when I landed. I guess he told them not to bother warping-in since he was a goner.

Back on the topic of this post, 3 solo kills in about an hour isn’t bad, but I wasted 30 minutes total on GCC after my first and second kill. That was almost half the entire roam doing NOTHING.

If I had not been forced offline by downtime, I’d be waiting off my 15 minutes again right now. CCP, if you ever give me one low-sec change, make it a shorter GCC.

Sunday Slaughter

Posted in Piracy, Roaming on August 9, 2010 by Easley Thames

My daily Eve experience began today with an invitation from a couple Mavericks in low-sec to join an existing gang. They had scored a decent kill or two, but narrowly missed destroying TWO station-hugging faction battleships.

I was informed that, had I been there to add my DPS they would surely have scored two excellent kills. Truthfully, I don’t deny that is likely the case, but we can’t really know that for sure. If they had seen another Maverick in local, maybe they wouldn’t have engaged at all.

We decided to change things up and go for a roam. I choose to lead the gang from the Domain  region to neighboring Kor-Azor, where I regularly find good targets.

My ship of choice for this roam was an Ishkur, which some might consider unusual in low-sec. However, I feel the events that followed my ship selection will demonstrate the strength of an Assault Frigate used in the right situations.

Things started out in the side-system of Aldali, which is tucked away between two high-sec gates. I tackled and nearly soloed a care-bear harbinger, who offered a random at one point. I called the gang in when he was low on armor, but I could have easily picked up a solo kill here. It would simply have been rude to the gang to do so, however, and I decided against being selfish.

We next passed Ami, a notorious system for low-sec PvP, but no one wanted to play. We nearly caught a solo -A-Megathron, but he was exceptionally lucky and a mis-communication caused two of us to cross-jump him… oops!

Heading through high-sec, we entered a loop of low-sec systems including Rammi, where we destroyed a seemingly-AFK harbinger on a gate. In the next system, I narrowly missed an anomaly-runner and a ratter.

Heading back towards Domain, we finally encountered another gang. Their composition was Drake, Gila and Armageddon. After attempting to get them to aggress me on-gate, I warped off and back to 70km where I defiantly aligned to a celestial that was slightly aligned to the gate. As I closed a few kilometers to the gate, I got the reaction I wanted: the drake was moving for me with his propulsion mod active!

Keeping my head about me, I waited for the drake to point me before doing anything hostile. As the drake went flashy, gate guns began to zap him and I finally made my move. I set a close orbit, activated my afterburner to reduce missile damage and scrambled the battle-cruiser. I launched drones and began chipping away at his shields with my blasters. Whenever he launched light drones, I would primary them immediately and he would recall them. I managed to pop 3 drones before he gave up on using them. At this stage my tank was holding easily and the drake was down to half-shields.

Then I got what I really wanted, the Gila. He had caught up to the drake and I immediately switched my tackle over to the faction cruiser. My backup was called-in at this point (2 close range BS and 1 Drake) and I only had to last a limited amount of time at this point to ensure some quality kills.

The Gila’s dps was a concern for me. Damage-boosted light drones could cause me serious harm (especially if the drake also deployed his remaining drones) and the potential missile damage was not easy to overlook.

However, this Gila made the WORST possible choices in this engagement. At less than 3km range from me, he deployed Wardens, the longest-range sentry drone with horrible tracking in close quarters. These are also kinetic-based (being Caldari) and my Gallente AF has excellent kinetic resists. That’s to say nothing of the radial velocity issues at that range with sentries firing upon an AB-fit AF.

With my gang landing, the drake was pointed and we primaried the Gila, who could not last long against our combined DPS. By this point, we were very comfortable. The Geddon who joined the fight late brought a full rack of heavy neuts, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from being tackled. There were simply too many of us and most of us had cap-injectors fit. The Drake warped off-field shortly after the Geddon went down.

In the next system, I narrowly missed a Vigilant. Two faction cruisers back-to-back would have been pretty sweet.

We then traveled back to Domain where we all took a break to attend to various real-life issues. However, the day was far from over.

I went out solo in an Ishtar about an hour after we had disbanded the fleet. Passing through various systems, I continually came up empty-handed, so I took my frustration out on a t1 hauler. I repeated the same boat violence on a helpless cyno-frig. These two kills were really more trouble than they were worth. CCP needs to consider a 5-minute GCC timer to reduce downtime between low-sec engagements.

Passing again through a system we had previously visited, I scanned down a lone Ishtar at a planet. Based on the fit I had, I felt very confident in a Ishtar v. Ishtar duel. While I knew it would be tough if he was fit with a good tank, I have spent so much time fitting and flying Ishtars that I was 100% confident there was no fit he could have that would be better than mine in this situation.

During the fight, he offered a 50-mil ransom, but refused to pay it up-front. Preferring a nice solo kill to a dubious offer of isk, I finished the Ishtar in what turned out to be a somewhat-close fight.

I was at around 40% armor when he exploded, which was better than most can do against my “Happy Boat” of infamy. The problem was that he had gone overboard compensating for his explosive resist hole, and I had chosen to use Berserkers (heavy explosive drones) in our duel. However, due to the natural thermal resist on the Ishtar, I don’t think Ogres would necessarily have been much better.

Upon my return to Domain, I switched to a close-range Megathron and teamed up with Casebolt (Harbinger). I would have preferred another BS for a wing-man, but our logistics support were not able to deliver one for him until later in the day. While re-shipping, Casebolt shrieked on voice-comms that he had just missed tackling an Orca.

We burned in pursuit of the loot-pinata but narrowly missed him on two gates in a row before he warped off to a station. If I were already in space or if Casebolt had warped sooner, we would surely pinned the whale like a Japanese fisherman. However, Casebolt had landed late on the gate as the Orca was nearly at full-speed and – in his haste – forgot to activate a sensor booster that would have given him that second-faster lock time he needed.

We decided to camp the Orca pilot in the “kick-out” station where he had docked. Outside a neutral harbinger toyed with us. Our desire to leave system was mounting when the Orca pilot undocked in… a wolf. Having both fit webs and scrams, I decided to put our tackle to good use. With the pilot mashing his “stop ship” command and our dual-webs, he was a sitting duck for us with zero transversal.

By flagging on station, we drew some attention. Local increased in size but no one interfered as we looted the field and Casebolt warped-off. Hungry for more kills, I decided to dock and see how the situation developed. Suffices to say, no one wanted to fight me. I tried hard to get shot at and even dropped a few cans, but no one wanted to fight at that moment.

Casebolt and I went back to our staging system when a random neutral convo’d me requesting a 1v1 back in Mamet, where we had chased the Orca and destroyed its pilot in his Wolf. Fearing a trap, I declined. He insisted that he wanted to challenge my harbinger with his Zealot, which was when I directed him to Casebolt, as I was not the pilot of the ship he wanted to fight. This was the first time I began to think this guy might not be much of a danger to us.

Casebolt accepted his duel request and jumped himself into Biphi alone to await his opponent.  At the same time, I formed up with two corp-mates (Agro and Perseus) to form a “duel dishonor response squad” for the foul-play I expected. However, due to bizarre behavior by Casebolt’s opponent, we were never needed.

The guy dueling Casebolt insisted he be allowed to choose his warp-in, and when he landed it was at-range with a beam fit. Case warped-off and re-warped to the Zealot at zero, which sent the Zealot running back to Mamet. Needless to say, both parties abandoned the idea of dueling at this point feeling the other was “cheating” in some way.

We brought our gang to follow him and found the previous pilot of the aforementioned Wolf on the Biphi gate in a Drake. He was likely there to support his friend if we dis-honored the duel. Orbiting off-gate at 15-20 km range, we had no difficulty destroying the Drake before it could re-approach the gate.

With a small but skilled gang, we deciding to throw our weight around in the area a bit. I roamed around looking for ratters or willing opponents when I was engaged by an inexperienced pilot. I made quick-work of his Imperial Navy Sliver and mocked him in local when he started babbling about a mysterious problem with his micro-warp drive once he entered scram-range of my ship. Whatever could have caused such a disastrous malfunction!

At this point we were all fairly tired and looking to head home soon. We had set our sights on a quick visit to Kheram before packing it in for the night when Casebolt and I caught a dominix 10km off the Valmu gate. Auto-piloting in low-sec is bad kids. He was clearly not AFK from the way he fought back, but he never had a chance against the two of us, even with sentries on his side.

This killing spree reminded me of the golden days of -MVN- Piracy in low-sec. While I wouldn’t want to give up our 0.0 home and roaming ops, it’s sure nice to return to our roots occasionally.

Here is a summary of my kills for the day (over a 9 hour period) —

You can see the gaps in time where we took breaks, but I still averaged more than 1 kill per hour, including two faction kills. We were active about half of that time and would have had even more mails if we hadn’t made a few errors. Still, any day with multiple kills and zero losses is a good day.