Saturday, May 9, 2009

unknown pleasures

There's a difference between individuals that take the initiative and those that do not. It's a matter of intuition, of insight, of taking a situation into perspective, identifying what needs be done and moving to accomplish those objectives. Seizing the initiative doesn't necessitate taking the first move, at least visibly. It doesn't entail being aggressive. Initiative is merely created and exploited by those that employ their minds during an engagement, allowing one to dictate terms and ultimately secure victory from any number of larger or more powerful foes.

After flying alone and leading gangs for so long, a pilot gains an innate grasp of what can and is occurring before and during a fight, and can apply his experience to turn the advantage. Looking at the pieces on the field, a Cyclone and Kitsune versus my Myrmidon, I knew the odds were against me. However, I saw through the facts of the situation, and took the initiative. I tapped my MWD and burned away from the station to meet my foe, locked him, and left him with few decisions to make.

I knew that the opposing pilot had the EWAR advantage. This would give him a sense of superiority, and prompt him to act with more confidence he may normally have. Predictably, he engaged me. Instead of attempting to maintain range, or taking a cautious approach, he closed range as fast as his ship could allow him. Medium Barrage rounds slammed into my Myrmidon, stripping shields and laying bare energized plate, which twisted and buckled under the punishing assault.

However, if there is one fact I understood better than any other, is that even the best laid plans never survive contact with the enemy. While yes, the Cyclone pilot did have an ECM ship in his gang, that ship wasn't on grid. It couldn't deny me from fighting back while still held in reserve, and fight back I did. Allowing himself to approach into such close proximity meant I could quickly recall and launch drones as they took damage. It meant I didn't have to expend capacitor to close range myself, and could devote all my juice to running reps and tackle equipment. It also meant if more of the Cyclone's buddies showed up, or the Cyclone itself was more than I could handle, I wasn't terribly far from the station to retreat into.

Once within 10km, I responded to the Cyclone's advances. My mixed drone stack sailed out of their hanger, and followed a fairy trail to their target caused by my warp disruptor and scrambler. Between the fierce projectile exchange between the two ships, it was remarkable how ably and securely the drones orbited the Cyclone, avoiding the glittering trajectories of autocannon fire to exploit previous damage to the integrity of the Cyclone's shields. Occasionally turrets and missiles would switch targets to track the larger members of the automated flight; however their proximity to their carrier meant escape was a simple activity. While the Matari battlecruiser cycled from drone to ship to drone, it made little headway on either and only sustained further damage itself.

Seconds passed and accumulated to form into a minute as our two battlecruisers slugged it out, trading shell for shell, testing the resilience of the Cyclone's passive shield tank against the endurance of my active armor tank. It became clear that the Cyclone wasn't able to best my dual MAR setup, while his shields steadily declined to nothingness under the caress of my arsenal. The Cyclone was going to need help to escape from this encounter alive, help that was taking too long coming. Where was the Kitsune that was still on scan? Was it at a POS, or indeed piloted?

The Cyclone's shields failed, and with its tank routed, the armor and structure that remained were quickly swept aside. While Gallente drones had been the brawn behind my attack, it was a burst of 425mm shell that tore into the Matari battlecruiser's heart to loose the sapphire fire that raged within. Smug with victory, I informed Raxip of the results and started to approach the twisted remains of the Cyclone. He congratulated me, and informed me that he had a replacement Rifter underway to my position. Acknowledging, I began retrieving the spoils of my conquest. It's amazing that the final explosion missed over five thousand clips of Barrage M, not to mention why any pilot would take so much ammunition into combat in the first place.

Aligning back to the station to deposit loot, the Kitsune exited warp behind me, seventy kilometers off from my position. I waved to the pilot in local, watching him warp off to an unknown destination within the system. Docking with the station, I couldn't help but smile at my good fortune. It didn't matter much to me what reasons the Kitsune pilot had leaving his corpmate to die by my hand. It was only further proof that I was right to take a chance, and attempt what had appeared impossible. Despite what scouts tell you, what intuition predicts, the results of a fight are always suspect. It takes action, following opportunity and riding out it out to its conclusion to understand what will really occur during a fight.

Take the initiative. Go out and seek engagements on your terms, possibly conceding a term or two to the opposition. What follows is the crux of it all, the reason why we play EVE. Just remember to joke, laugh and have fun with the guy you're shooting at while you’re at it.

The roam ain't over yet! Hell, the Myrm hasn't even blown up yet! More combat reports to come. Hope y'all are enjoying the (mental) show.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

block rockin' beats

My current housing situation doesn't offer a stable internet connection, and due to this difficulty I'm not able to PvP, or much less go about any meaningful activity online beyond browsing the web. Every few weeks I visit my folk’s house, and for a few days am able to get my PvP fix. Not the most ideal situation, but I like to think I get my money's worth.

Returning from my latest break from EVE, I was greeted by my partner in crime Raxip, and we hastily set out to do some damage. The roam path was over fifty jumps distant: the plan was to burn our way through lowsec until we arrived at the Placid region. According to Raxip, Molden Heath has declined in engage-able targets of late, and has been feeling the itch to travel to greener pastures. It's a feeling I had no intention of suppressing.

With Raxip piloting a Rifter, and myself in a Myrmidon, we set out from Egbinger. The six jumps to Skarkon were utterly quiet, as were the remaining three jumps from there to Tabbetzur. Scouting the adjacent Offikatlin, Raxip noticed increased activity in the system, with pilots active in space. I jumped in to help investigate.

Offikatlin lacks stations, so chances were good that there was a target somewhere in the system's eight asteroid belts. Moving about the system and scanning the area, the belts lacked any activity; however there was a Cyclone in space. Narrowing the battlecruiser down to a planet, I warped to the planet at ten kilometers, hoping the opposing Cyclone would be at a similar distance. Landing, he was idling at the planet at zero bubble; ten km away. A warp disruptor, followed by a webifier and scrambler ensured that the enemy vessel wasn't going anywhere without destroying me first.

Destroying me, much less lending my vessel a worthwhile challenge wasn't on the Cyclone pilot's agenda during the engagement. Republic Fleet EMP augmented the damage of my thermal damage drone flight, tearing past the active tank of the Cyclone to take generous bites into the pristine armor plate underneath. So devastating was my onslaught that the Cyclone was nearing structure before Raxip had time to respond to my call and warp in to contribute to the kill. I pulled my drone flight back to their bay and stilled the chatter of my autocannons in anticipation of Raxip arriving; we were a team, and he deserved a place on the killmail.

Killmail aside, Raxip has an affinity for tackling and popping pods. After Rax arrived and aggressed the Cyclone, I instigated my arsenal once more and silenced the Cyclone for good. Raxip caught the pod before the pilot could manage to warp off; he asked if we should ransom the pilot. I gave the go ahead, and started towards the wreck to pick up some spoils of this victory.

Negotiations were cut short as a vengeance gang consisting of a Jaguar and Rapier arrived a short minute after the kill, forcing Raxip to squish the pod and both of us to move into action. The Jaguar had arrived first, ignoring my Myrmidon for Raxip's Rifter, which he immediately burned towards and aggressed. Raxip return the favor and tackled the cocky assault ship pilot, trading autocannon fire with his superior foe. Lacking the enhanced resistances, speed and capacity for damage, Raxip was fighting a losing battle, his armor quickly giving away under the Jaguar's assault. When the Rapier decloaked twenty kilometers away, Raxip's fate was sealed.

Neglecting a drone carrier is an action few frigate sized vessels ever live to regret; it was an error the Jaguar was quickly realizing as medium sized projectile ordinance came smashing into his active shield tank. A bonused Warrior II flight screamed out from my Myrmidon's drone bay to aid Raxip's savaged Rifter, the flashes of chattering projectile ordinance lighting the void as the two frigates were consumed in mutually overwhelming firepower. Raxip's Rifter exploded, followed moments later by the opposing Jaguar. All that was left on the field was the fresh Rapier and my Myrmidon.

The Rapier switched his dual webs onto my Myrmidon, as well as a tracking and warp disruptor. Artillery shells reached out to slam into the energized plate of my battlecruiser, while an explosive damage drone flight sought to find chinks in my regenerating plate. The Rapier pilot's priorities were misplaced however, and my mixed flight of thermal damage drones raced out to erase their master's tormentor. Lumbering Ogres, Hammerheads and a Hobgoblin found their prey, and proceeded to hurl antimatter death at the Matari force recon.

Despite the apparent danger of the drone flight eating into his shields, the Rapier kept at my vessel rather than my vulnerable drone flight. Too late did the recon pilot notice his shield tank failing, and my drones hungrily consuming the fragile armor plate beneath. Too late did he realize that my overheated warp disruptor was still shackling his cruiser's warp core from hurling his stricken ship away from his tormentor. Too late did the Rapier pilot understand to leave well enough alone, and flee with his ship intact.

Exalted with victory, I informed Raxip to grab a ship in Tabbetzur and help me loot the mess of wrecks and abandoned drones strewn in orbit around the planet that served as our battlefield. I set my battlecruiser to approach the nearby Rapier wreck, and posted the killmails associated with this most recent slaughter. Arriving at the wreck, a most pleasant surprise: a Domination Stasis Webifier! Returning to the Jaguar wreck, more gems were found: a Gistii B-Type Afterburner and Small Shield Booster! It seemed Raxip and I had stumbled upon an isk mine of targets to exploit in the future: the only question was getting the loot stored in a station before continuing on.

Waiting down my GCC, I did just that, leaving the valuable loot safe for later recovery in Tabbetzur. Doing so I recognized one pilot from the three we had just vanquished in Offikatlin, as well as another from the same corporation. Undocking, there was a Cyclone two dozen kilometers off, as well as a Kitsune EAS on scan. Recent action had trashed my sec status enough that I was an outlaw, and the Cyclone was free to engage without worry of the station's sentry turrets interfering. More brazen than sane, I started my MWD and burned towards the Cyclone, hoping for a fight and damning his ECM support as a handicap he needed. The Cyclone was more than happy to oblige.

Plenty more from that night coming up in a day or two. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Had my last midterm before final exams on Monday; the late night studying left me too zonked to really consider doing anything productive beyond schoolwork the two days afterwords. But hey! It's my b-day, so I have a few things to say.

First of which: if anyone had doubts about the EVE player base growing larger, they haven't noticed the rash of new blaggers hitting the scene! Two blags of note: Mdih Lihu's EVE Online Blog and Scop's Log. Mdih is a new player to EVE learning the ropes, and does a great job of depicting his adventures in RP fashion. Scorp is another aspiring pilot with intentions of storming lowsec with an eye for piracy. I see great things ahead of y'all, so try to keep the content coming!

A few blagger friends have caught the eye of CrazyKinux, and have been added to the blagroll! Venom, Ash and Rax have made the rolls; congratulations folks!

Other news:

Venom enjoyed her present.

Mdih is a lucky SOB.

Shae creates incredible fiction.

Wens has too much time on his hands.

Scop is considering his future.

For those of you wondering where the hell the PvP stuff went, I have an entry written and waiting. Y'all are just going to have to wait until tomorrow. Gotta pace myself, you know. =)

Fly reckless, and hurray to growing older (wiser)!

Friday, May 1, 2009

EVE Blag Banter #7: aspiration

"Welcome to another installment of the EVE Blog Banter, a monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter invites enthusiastic EVE bloggers to address a common topic for a period of one week. Posts run the gamut: short, long, funny, serious, and everywhere in between, but always fun to read! This month's topic comes to us from CrazyKinux of CrazyKinux's Musings who asks "What 3 things haven't you done in EVE and why? Would you be willing to try one day? Why so? Why not?" Direct questions about the EVE Blog Banter to CrazyKinux. Links to other EVE Blog Banter articles will be listed at the end of this post as they become available."

Chief amongst qualities that I cherish in EVE Online is the complexity and strategy associated with the game. Mixing an open sandbox environment with competitive peer versus peer mechanics equates to a constantly evolving PvP meta and political arena. Frequent patches are updating and improving the balance within the game, however leaving intact the core game mechanics. As such finding a way to beat your opponent isn't always a clear cut question: between fittings, implants, boosters, cunning and treachery, there is always a myriad of ways to defeat an opponent.

I strive to become a master of ship to ship combat, particularly with small gang and solo tactics. However, this humble goal isn't where I originated in terms of EVE PvP, and is only a growing phase for bigger things. While I don't miss the politics, drama and egos of nullsec alliances and empire building, I do miss the massive fleet engagements, and one day will return to that.

I'd like to return to that in a big way. I've never led a larger fleet of more than fifty players. I've never led a corporation or alliance. When I have the monetary, industrial and player backing, I do intend to give nullsec another go, and not merely as another raiding force. I want to dictate terms to a superior force. I want to slam wave after wave of fleets into enemy territory, and decimate player operations. For a peroid of time, I want to develop a group of friends into a fighting force not lightly reckoned with, employing the knowledge and strategies I acquired from these months of solo and small gang warefare.

I'd also like to make PvP videos in the near future. I know I have the tenacity and ability to find worthy fights and record them. Looking over my killboard, it's apparent that when I put my mind to it, I find fights, and am more than able to win them in fantastic fashion. Unfortunately, I only need over half a grand to update my PC enough to make quality recordings. Damn thee, poor college student status!

So, all this chest pounding and star gazing leads to one question: what haven't you done in EVE?

List of participants: