Wednesday, November 24, 2010

welcome home 2

(Raxip Elamp warrior saga gw ed)

Raxip's been relatively busy in MH, engaging in belt piracy and 2/10 complex action when able, and occasionally scoring a shiny kill. However that sort of action hasn't been with yours truly, so you're going to have to bother him for any sort of battle reporting.

A day after Raxip Elamp returned to the Heath, we met up once more, this time when I had the intention of making a trip to BRT-. It took some convincing to persuade the pirate that rat bounties are healthy (I told him he can pod my alt scout to -10 when we returned to lowsec) and we headed off, leaving Molden for Etherium Reach as we jumped from Skarkon to L4X-.

The alt scout had spotted some activity near the inbound gate, including two Zealots and a smattering of T1 hulls. Jumping in to investigate, most of what was seen on scan were at tacticals several hundred kilometers off gate or at nearby safes. Raxip managed to snare a Stabber that stayed a little too long on the gate, and we moved on towards our ratting destination.

Upon arriving in BRT-, the locals immediately fled to POSes and we beared out hearts out for over an hour. In this time a TEXN pilot named Devlin joined us, flying a shield tanked arty cane. While I was reasonably sure the locals wouldn't try anything so risky as leaving the POS force field, over time they logged in more members, including a pilot flying a Chimera. About an hour and a half after arriving in BRT-, we spotted fighters on scan, and decided to halt ratting and take a better look around system.

The alt scout bumbled into a Devoter camping our gate leading home, with fighters assigned and bubble running. I had the fleet warp to the HIC, and upon landing we turned around, burning MWD cycles to pull some range from the warp in. While burning, we blasted fighters, the carrier pulling them after two went down to Barrage and Fusion M volleys.

It didn't take too long for the blob to land, fortunately for us they lacked any form of dedicated EWAR. The locals began burning after us, which was exactly what I could have hoped for. As the faster hulls came into range, I began calling primaries and the slaughter began.

First down was a Rifter, the pilot finding out the hard way that an arty cane only needs a volley or two at range to explode a frigate. Next up was a cane, who decided to start MWDing back towards the gate far too late and perished. With the cane down, the HIC had finally shut down his bubble, and hostiles were starting to land on those burning towards us, bridging the distance we had accumulated. However, the locals weren't bringing particularly fast reinforcements to the fight, or warping out/back in fast enough to close the distance we were continuing to pull.

Next up was a Brutix, who managed to tackle Devlin and put him into serious trouble. Devlin, who had been jammed by ECM drones the ENTIRE course of the fight could only mash the lock button helplessly as Raxip and I overheated our weapons to down the Brutix before more hostiles could burn into range. Our efforts payed off, allowing Dev to warp off with most of his structure remaining, however minus his MWD as he burnt it out trying to escape.

Fighters began arriving back on grid, and down a third of our gang, Raxip and I couldn't really apply enough damage to kill any more targets. After a few minutes of getting jammed by ECM drones and with fighters burning into range and applying damage, we decided to warp off, wait down our minute of aggression then warp back to the gate at 0m. We jumped on contact, and took our victory without losses home with us to Skarkon.

Some of the locals who had been goofing off in L4X- were those who engaged us in BRT-, and local was diminished to the pair of Zealots and a Drake. They refused to engage our battlecruisers in L4X-, however followed us into Skarkon, eventually camping Raxip who had docked for repairs while Devlin and I progressed onwards to Ennur. Heading back to the Skarkon gate, Raxip informed us the camper in the Drake was an outlaw as well, and I decided to show these idiots how to gank a BC.

Devlin and I jumped back into Skarkon, aligning to station as Raxip undocked once more. Upon undocking, we warped to Raxip, who was immediately aggressed by the Drake and one of the Zealots. Raxip held his aggression until Devlin and I had traveled the 50au to station, docking as we tackled the Drake. With their outlaw target docked, the situation was reversed on the campers, and they decided to attempt to dock instead of fight. Raxip undocked as fast as he could, and we managed to crush the Drake before it could conclude its aggression countdown.

Raxip logged off, Devlin and I mucking about lowsec for a bit before joining a TEXN fleet chasing a BC gang. We ended up chasing the gang roughly 20 jumps around northern GW until bumping into them in the B-VIP pipe near Egbinger, catching about half of their fleet while the rest fled. Amusingly, it was the same group of pilots who were camping L4X- and lost a Drake to us two hours earlier.

A week passes between the next time Raxip and I head out together, again into the BRT- area to hopefully pull a fight and make some ISK. As usual, the locals POS up while we take our fill of rat bounties in BRT-, killing off the belt population there to move on to JUKO and into V-IH. Upon finishing the rats off in V-IH, I move my alt scout back into JUKO to discover a bunch of pissed off locals camping the gate.

This time they decided to take a page out of our book, bringing three canes, a geddon and a Sabre who held on the BRT- to camp us. We decided to wait a minute for our shields to recharge, warping to the JUKO gate just as one of the canes jumped into V-IH to check up on us. We jumped into JUKO, quickly relaying our positions relative to the gate and breaking cloak to burn downwards, mutually furthest from the camping gang.

The hostiles didn't miss a beat, starting MWDs after us and opening fire on our fleeing ships. Their canes weren't nano fit, and our initial cycle of overheat on our MWDs allowed us to gain a healthy 20km from targets as we continued downwards, picking their fastest cane as primary and firing back. The Armageddon lacked Scorch or a prop mod, and was very quickly a non-factor in the fight.

As one of the canes had jumped through into V-IH, he was a few seconds jumping back in and burning down towards the fight, leaving for a time a level playing field. Raxip and I manage to take our first target into low shields. It didn't manage to alter course and flee before succumbing to focused Barrage fire.

In dying, it did manage to force me to stay close and moving slowly long enough for the second cane to burn into range and apply a scrambler on me. Raxip and I swap damage to the tackling cane, however Raxip had burned to 30km from me, and wasn't doing much DPS at all to the target. Additionally, the third cane was finally coming into weapons range, roughly 30km from me as well opposite of Raxip's cane. We overheat our projectiles, myself applying overheated neuts in a last ditch effort to break tackle and flee.

The third cane burns into tackle range, and my shield buffer melts away, slightly faster than the shield cane next to me. Scanning my UI frantically for something to save me, I make sure I'm aligned out, losing armor rapidly and dropping into hull. I glance at my overview and notice I'm not pointed.

WTFOMGBBQWARPWARPWARPFREEDOM YEEEESSS! The third cane never pointed me, and my last two neut cycles before heat failure must have knocked out the already MWD depleted capacitor on the second cane! I manage to warp out with a third hull remaining, fried neuts and 95% heat damage on my remaining projectiles. Raxip kills the second cane off, who was in similar straights as me before I warped albeit tackled, and tackles the third cane. I align back, wanting to help Raxip out though holding back as it'd take only a volley or two to kill off my crippled ship.

After recharging about 20% shields, I warp back to the fight, landing about the same time Raxip announces he's been jammed by ECM drones. I manage to resolve lock and tackle the cane, finishing the work Raxip started a minute before, ramming Barrage death into the final enemy cane's hull, destroying his ship. We try to burn into range of the T1 gun geddon, but with 60km between us and the BS he has plenty of time to align and flee before we manage point range.

We head back into BRT- to find local diminished as the few who lost ships head back towards highsec to buy more or logged off entirely. We eventually head back to Skarkon to drop off loot and repair, heading back only to find the locals having none of it and leaving us to collect bounties in peace. We leave the area after having taken our fill of NPC bounties, calling it a night not too long afterwords.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


"Void, it's been a long time since I've looked at that light show."

Raxip stood viewing a projection of Egbinger XII, its blue atmosphere occasionally disturbed by lightning, the brilliant arcs spanning hundreds of kilometers across its hydrogen rich skies. Finished with his examination, he returned to his seat, taking a sip from his glass of spirits, only to find the glass depleted. Raising his glass for his host to see, he shook it lightly, eliciting the tinkle of ice cubes against glass. "Story of my life," he said with a grin.

Smiling, Sard set his own glass down, reaching forward to open the squat cabinet set between the two capsuleers. Retrieving a bottle of liquor, he recharged Raxip's glass, who motioned appreciatively and took a sip. Sard topped off his own drink and returned the bottle to the cabinet.

"She's putting on a show for you," Sard said. Still leaning forward, he began to swirl his drink lightly, regarding the amber fluid with some concentration. "Station side the planet hasn't been this active in days, hardly more than a glimmer of lightning."

Raxip chuckled, looking down at his own drink, taking another swallow. "Hah, yeah. Maybe." The pirate frowned slightly, setting the drink down and looked back to Sard. "So ah, do you think you'll be able to accommodate me?"

"You're family, Raxip, in or out of RANSM. The corporate ship stores are open to you, and we'll supply you with any fitting you'd like."

"Great! I think I'll focus on tech one craft anyway, so I won't be taking much. Just a few Cruisers, a Battlecruiser or two and maybe ten Rifters would be plenty."

"Hah!" Sard raised his eyes to meet Raxip's, continuing to laugh as the VETO pilot looked on in confusion. "I didn't say you'd be taking anything for free Raxip. You have the ISK for that small fleet?"

"Uuh, no." Raxip raised a hand to rub the back of his neck, looking down at the floor. "I've lost most of what I had coming out here in a few fights around Bosena," he said, looking back up to Sard, then shrugging. "I was kinda hoping you'd understand."

"Oh, I understand just fine. However brother, you've decided to cut your own path through this galaxy, and in doing so you've got to pay your way." Sard pointed at the glass Raxip set down. "Drinks are on me, but I'm not funding your piracy anymore."

"How am I supposed to pay then?" Raxip furrowed his brows in frustration. "You're the one that invited me out here, saying you'd have ships available."

Sard's eyes twinkled, a particularly brilliant flash of lighting from the projection illuminating the predatory grin formed on his face. "Raxip old friend, it's a good thing I called you over here when I did, because it's obvious life in VETO's made you soft." Waving down reprisal, he rose from his seat, mentally manipulating the projection, ordering the view changed from an image of the planet their station orbited to a map of the surrounding region, shifting from Molden Heath to the adjacent Great Wildlands.

Sard pointed at a particular cluster of dots, which enlarged to display the constellation of systems nearest to Etherium Reach. Several systems glowed a pulsing red, indicating heavy Angel Cartel activity in the area.

"It's about time you were reintroduced to nullsec, my outlaw friend. Between the Cartel, the local Capsuleer population and Concord bounties, you'll have the capital for more than a few sorry cruisers and smattering of frigates." Sard turned slightly to face Raxip, "Easy money."

Raxip stared at the projection for a moment and then glanced up at the Sebiestor. "You're insane." Rising himself, Raxip stepped over to adjust the projection, shifting the hologram to display Capsuleer statistics. "See, look at that," he said, pointing at the BRT-OP system. "There must be a dozen pilots out there battling for those Concord bounties. How am I supposed to score bounties with them around?"

"First off, I'll be heading out there with you." Sard shut off the projection, walked to the door and opened it. "Second, it seems you need a refresher on the art of skirmish warfare" he said, motioning for Raxip to follow him towards the ship hanger. "Are you coming?" Sard asked.

With arms crossed, Raxip kept his gaze on the now unpowered projector. He shook his head, uncrossed his arms and followed Sard out the door. He doubted the ISK would be so easy, but in the few years he knew him, Sard had never let him down.

Walking astride of Sard, Raxip barked a laugh, eliciting a glance from his companion. "I guess it's back to redshirting for me," Raxip said with a smile. Smiling back, Sard gave Raxip a slap on the back, the pair continuing down to the ship hanger.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

shield cane

As Battleclinic would tell you, a lot of my more casual small gang and solo PvP of late has been from a shield tanked gank cane. The primary reason for the fitting is that I'm able to get away with it as a ratting fit, though its PvP qualities are unparalleled in its class, for several reasons.


The Hurricane and Cyclone are the fastest, most agile battlecruisers in the game. Employing a shield tank ensures that these properties are retained, which means the Hurricane is able to typically speed past similar sized competition, and attempt to match smaller cruiser sized vessels.

Many pilots opt for some speed fittings, whether they be rigs or lowslot modules, however given the typical lack of significant camps or gangs with EWAR support in my area, I'm able to get away with a full gank fitting. Additionally, the gank fitting allows me to maul those BC variants that sacrifice for speed, provided they don't have support to back them up. It's a big assumption to make, but with good experience of your roam area and a scout, it's not much of an issue.


The gank cane is nigh unparalleled in range and damage output, as the double damage bonus, triple gyrostab and double tracking enhancers enable the ship to hit hard well outside of scrambler and webifier ranges. This is important, as while the fitting isn't exactly a glass cannon, it's very easy for armor tanked BC variants or your typical drake to have tens of thousands of greater effective hit points (EHP, Eve Fitting Tool [EFT] jargon). If possible to have a scout, always have a gang going to eek out as many EHP from gang bonuses as possible.


Sporting two spare highslots for a variety of modules, the cane is able to dial its fitting to better adapt to the pilot's environment. Missiles can be fit to enhance the damage output, which is critical for dealing with big tank targets such as Drakes or ratting BS. Twin medium energy neutralizers are great for dealing with frigates: two cycles is enough to clean most frigates of capacitor, enabling escape or a critical cycle of MWD to pull range and improve tracking. If gang skills are trained, a ganglink can be fit without the usual fitting hassle other battlecruisers have. I tend to favor the Interdiction ganglink, as 32km/37km overheated disruptor range is an amazing thing for a battlecruiser that's able to strike ably at those ranges.


While I occasionally take this fitting into lowsec, I tend to favor nullsec, as the lack of sentries and increased population of tackling frigates means my typical dual neut fit is able to compete in an environment where it excels. I do however have competing goals when I enter 0.0, as I'm usually there to grind security status, and gank ratters/engage PvPers second. Thus the drain on my shield buffer is a constant issue when targets arise, though one I can work with.

Typical targets when solo are other battlecruisers and smaller. This includes virtually all variants of BCs, for several reasons. The maneuverability of the basic hull means most other battlecruiser hulls, T2 and T1, will not be able to match the speed of the Hurricane. Those that can tend to have markedly reduced tank and/or gank to the shield gank cane, and are thereby vulnerable. This means the cane is able to kite shorter ranged, slower hulls, or outrun BCs with similar gank/tank capacity and retreat.

Drakes are where this equation falls apart, as both HML and HAM fits tear the shield cane apart, due to the ridiculous level of buffer and recharge Drakes are blessed with. Heavy Missiles drakes are perhaps even more deadly than HAM fits, as even if you're able to burn away several tens of kilometers away from a gang, the Drake will be doing the same damage, all the way out to 80km. By then, the shield cane's buffer is dangerously depleted, and not much can be accomplished before destruction.

My approach to all similar sized or larger targets is to hold 18-22km from target, and give the target time to react to my presence. When a ship tries to close range, I can gauge from its acceleration and velocity whether its an armor rigged and plated variant, and hold my range. If I think it will be a speed fit or more agile ship, I'll watch my foe's velocity like a hawk to make sure it can't speed away without me applying some overheat to my MWD and warp disruptor to keep up. The golden rule with this ship, and most other lightly tanked gank vessels is to work the range advantage until victory is assured.

I carry Barrage, EMP and Fusion, with a fair bit more Barrage as I tend to employ my range advantage frequently rather than burn into web range for the kill. Warriors are used to help deal with frigates.

victory examples

Virtually all my ship victories that didn't end with a loss involve me keeping a cool head, holding range and testing my opponent's reaction to gauge its fitting, whether it has backup and opponent skill. This does result in losing a few ship kills due to targets breaking tackle range and running, however it's the correct way to go about flying the ship.

My three latest skirmishes with Extreme Predujdice. in BRT- have been fine examples of me instigating locals, pulling them to a celestial of my choosing, dragging out their gang and taking them apart piecemeal.

This 1v1 in B-VIP is a good example of holding range and working my greater range and speed against a slower, tankier armor tanked ship. I didn't rush into range, and the closest to the target I managed was about 17km. There were a few spots where the enemy cane pulled out of normal point range, but good heat management meant I was able to keep on top of him until he went down.

While more of an instance of good anti-piracy tactics, this engagement with INSURGENCY. is also a good example of the psychology of PvP and gauging whether your opponents want to fight. I had just cross jumped this cane and an additional Drake, and decided to reapproach gate, jump and see how they'd react. Upon jumping, the pair of BC had returned to the gate. I took this as a cue they wished to fight, and upon decloaking aligned my ship away, using a burst of MWD to gain some distance from the pair. The Hurricane GCCed and gave chase, and I eventually led him some 40km from the gate.

Pulling the Cane off the gate was a damned good thing, as an Absolution jumped through several seconds after I did, and I was only just able to kill the cane as the abso came within 20km of my ship. While I wasn't able to really dent the Absolution's tank before it was able to burn back to gate and jump, it goes to show that playing an engagement out by following a plan allowed me to survive, kill an opponent and turn the tables back on the pirate gang by forcing them to deaggress and jump.

This Drake kill is just an example of how close this match up is. Coffee managed to probe down and tackle this guy, and held point long enough for me to warp in and land a point myself. Then the typical exercise of fighting a drake took place: Drake realizes its in danger, and begins burning away. Without a scrambler, I'm forced to chase and apply neuts until the Drake loses the capacitor to run its MWD. During this chase, my bloated signature radius means I take painful volleys, while the Drake takes a little less damage due to the 7-10km range it typically holds from me. Once the Drake's MWD is conquered, I have to try to overheat and bash my way through its tank, making sure I time my overheat to defeat its peak recharge period. With everything going right, AND 10% more shield/armor HP from gang bonuses, I finished this fight with roughly 50% hull remaining. If the Drake had ECM drones rather than Hobgoblins, its very possible it would have killed me outright, such as in this engagement: The Hurricane needs all of its damage output applied continuously to kill a decently skilled and fit Drake.

For reference, I've flown the cane a hell of a lot more than this, but I can't recall past engagements well enough to relate here, and not to mention perhaps half of my PvP isn't even recorded: many times targets or myself are forced to flee for any number of reasons, resulting in no killmail/lossmails.

defeat examples

When flying the shield gank cane, I can't stress enough to always begin a fight with a skirmishing mindset. When flying small gang and solo, there is little margin for error. If you get tackled by a ship with superior tank, or the reinforcements arrive, no one is there to bail you out. Unless you manage something incredibly lucky, you're dead. Disregarding the strategy means you leave yourself vulnerable to repeat failure.

In this case, I had scouted the Thorax and Cyclone, and had decided to warp to their pull bubble, with the goal of ganking the Cyclone with EMP while neuting down the Thorax. What I didn't account for is both targets using ECM drones, which meant I was permanently jammed for the duration of the fight. Had I eased into the engagement and maintained range to start with, I either would have been able to kill off the drones, or at least draw out the fight long enough to realize the potency of 10 ECM drones and flee.

This engagement like so many other shield cane losses is an example of both Vasavia and myself not watching our range well enough, getting caught and dying miserably. The engagement should have been a textbook case of autocannons trumping blasters, and instead was a good example of how not to fly a skirmish gang.

Always know your limits: if a target tends to fit heavy neuts, has the midslots for plenty of tackle and EWAR, and has good range, avoid it. You can't rely on other pilots being idiots, or at least you should ease into the engagement to test whether or not that Tempest you scanned down has a good fit or not.

I can't find the other engagement where this pair of canes ripped me to shreds, but its a good example of gauging your opponents: if they seem eager to fight, assume they're not alone and react appropriately. I should have just fled.

One final engagement to show what happens to a nanoless gank fitting when caught in a good camp: they die. I should have tried to burn back to the gate, as I didn't realize how poor their DPS output was, however any half decent nullsec gatecamp with EWAR, fast tackle and DPS will put this shield gank fitting down without much effort. Don't expect to fly one of these into a properly patrolled region of nullsec and live.

Monday, November 15, 2010

welcome home

(Raxip Elamp warrior saga mh ed)

After 20 minutes of guilting Raxip Elamp over his lack of recent PvP and all the fun he used to have in the past, the illustrious brass balls Rifter jock decided to grace Molden with his presence. Given the volume of time since his last appearance in the Heath, Raxip has since skilled for new ships, and upon his arrival home, promptly undocked an artillery fit Hurricane and reported dastardly folk about. The resulting tale takes place over the next 80 minutes.

The ship Raxip reported while on the way to his Hurricane was a Broadsword, the name of which I recognized from a new pirate corp in the area. Undocking a Cyclone from Oddelulf bottom station, I guessed the pirates would remain roughly were they had been reported, which was half way between Raxip and myself, and began heading towards Raxip.

Coffee was already in Heild local, and had eyes on the pirate fleet: two Broadswords, one GCCed, the other not. I arrived on the Heild gate in Bosena a few seconds before Raxip managed the same in Aedald, and jumped in, arriving in Heild 40ish AU from the Aedald gate. I was counting on the fact Raxip was out of my corp and an outlaw to clinch the engagement.

Upon jumping, Raxip decloaked and was immediately aggressed by the outlaw Broadsword. With both Broadswords lacking webifiers, Raxip was easily able to maintain comfortable range, and once I was on grid and had the outlaw tackled, was out of immediate danger. With the scrambler on, the Broadsword was dead in the water and meat for our projectile arsenal.

Not to be outdone, the second pirate Broadsword, who wasn't outlaw, decided to engage my Cyclone, incurring GCC and allowing us to easily primary his ship without sentries ourselves. I land a scrambler on the second Broadsword and we make quick work of the HIC. A third pirate piloting a Hurricane smartly warped off, having arrived after the first was destroyed and the second nearing armor damage.

Raxip scoops the loot, and I decide to poke around Heild, as there were another six or more pilots in local not associated with those we just killed. Landing at planet seven, I end up spotting several ships on scan, including a cane, a Cyclone, a Tengu, and an Arbitrator. It takes a few minutes to narrow down the BCs, but eventually they're confirmed at a belt and we warp to it.

Upon landing, the BCs are identified as dueling 170km off the belt, and the Arbitrator slowly moving out towards the pair. The cruiser initiates warp with the arrival of our ships, however the pair of BCs, a SCONE cane and .GCC. Cyclone remain to finish off their fight. We begin burning out to the pair, giving the two a final countdown to finish their fight before we finished it for them. At about 70km the Hurricane explodes, leaving the Cyclone as the only target left on grid.

It loots the cane wreck, and as our ships power into lock range and closer, surprisingly decides to burn towards us and fight. The .GCC. Cyclone primaries me as we exchange tackle, and the inevitable countdown towards destruction commences. Given that it just had a lengthy fight with a cane which often fit energy neuts, I expect the .GCC. Cyclone to be low on 800's, and the fight to be over in less than a minute.

Except the fight doesn't end, as the enemy Cyclone seems to have just enough repping power to match the combined DPS of my Cyclone and Raxip's arty cane. Given this fact, I confirm to myself who owns the Tengu that's still on scan and it's purpose in local: to provide ganglinks for the Cyclone pilot, who's likely rocking to a Crystal implant set and Blue Pill boosters. Regardless of this fact I inform Coffee to hold off on decloaking his Falcon, as we should be able to power through the tank given time.

The Cyclone's tank finally fails after firing its last cap booster, some five or more minutes after initially aggressing my ship. While it was unable to itself break my tank, I was only just matching its incoming DPS by popping a Blue Pill myself and toggling overheat every so often. With the Cyclone down, we begin looting the field, scooping what what was left of both the Cyclone and Hurricane wrecks, only to have the SCONE pilot who had lost his Hurricane warp on top of us in a Tempest.

I had run into this pilot's pest fit a few days prior after engaging a small gang of SCONEs in Oddelulf, and he favored the dual heavy neut shield gank fit. Fearing its potency and possible SCONE reinforcements, Coffee decloaks and begins jamming the battleship, immediately breaking its lock, but not before the pest scared the shit out of Raxip by alphaing his cap and giving him a few volleys of EMP L to remember him by.

I managed to scramble the Tempest a few seconds after it landed, and with Coffee's ECM cycles was free to pound the gank fit's buffer tank down. Coffee lost jams once, in those 20 seconds the pest was able to assign ECM drones on Raxip and alpha my cap, however a quick 800 boost made sure I maintained tackle. The pest was soon out of shields, into armor, and then into structure.

However, this pilot just gave us a decent fight from the .GCC. Cyclone. And ganking people flying solo with Falcon support is boring for both parties. Some furious discussion in gang while the SCONE pest's armor evaporated ended with us deciding to let him go for the price of a song. While things didn't quite work out as a formal ransom (we let him go as he asked incredulously in local what happened), we did get a bit of song out of him, with him singing a bit of "If you're happy and you know it, pod Amarr!" into local. Satisfied, we waited down GCC, stowing loot in a nearby station.

After five or so minutes of waiting, we were informed by TEXN that a previously spotted T3/T2 BC gang had set up a camp in B-VIP, which was only four jumps away. Ignoring our GCC, we moved hastily over to Egbinger, where I swapped to a Maelstrom and waited for the rest of the TEXN gang to accumulate. Once formed up, I jumped my Maelstrom into B-VIP as bait, with the rest of fleet waiting in Egbinger.

I immediately noticed a few things wrong:
1) With no Interdictors, the campers had deployed bubbles, but they weren't pull bubbles, and they weren't large bubbles either. This meant they just deployed them about the regional gate they were camping at random.
2) They had no fast tackle, which meant I was able to warp to the outbound 9SNK gate to hopefully get caught by a pull bubble and snag the engagement. There was no pull bubble, or any attempt to chase my battleship.

With these facts in place, I deducted through logics that these people were idiots, and warped back to the Egbinger gate at 0m. Upon landing, I tackled and engaged their Sleipnir, and their entire gang fell upon me. With aggression acquired, our gang jumped in, and we slaughtered those unfortunate enough to not leave with the local spike. Given that these folks have been flying their utterly NASTY looking gangs around MH a few times in the past, I have high hopes that they'll bumble along again, as regardless of what I'm flying at the time, I'm confident I'll kill at least one poorly fit and wildly expensive ship before going down.

And with their destruction, Raxip and myself decided to call it a night.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


As hinted in my last entry, Molden Heath has been hopping, and showing no sign of slowing down. Sure, she calms down around 02:00 or so, but before then, the region is rich with targets, either PvPers looking for a fight, or carebears going about their money making way.

capital ships & POS work

RANSM has taken part in quite a few high profile ganks of late. In the month since my last post, RANSM has been a significant factor in the takedown of two POSes and 4 cap ships, a deviation from this small corp's typical target pool of battleships and smaller. This insurgence of kills coincides with a few friendly pirate corporations returning to the area, which means once again RANSM is able to target virtually anything in space and have the firepower to take it down.

The small Blood tower was of special note to me: it was the first tower I have ever taken part in sieging, and spawned the largest fleet engagement I've FC'd in quite some time. It also coincided with Flash's 90's roam, so prod him to get that post back up in some form. I'll write a report about what happened and what I learned soon™, as it was a freaking awesome experience.


With just two new (active) members, RANSM's activity in MH has exploded, resulting in daily PvP results that mirror corporations many times our size. With this, and the spread of time zones members are active, the corporation has been scouting, probing and engaging some exciting targets in Molden Heath and beyond. Ari managed to demolish a Machariel and Apocalypse Navy Issue within the span of 10 days in Oddelulf, and roughly a week afterwords I joined her to snag the rare mission running Absolution attempting to kill Angel rats. There's been a HELL of a lot more activity than this, however you're just going to have to check the corporation killboard if you're interested, as the dozen or so kills we've been managing a day is too much to cover all at once!

small gang action

Given the abundance of pilots that wish to PvP, a lot of my small gang action of late has been rather one sided affairs where the real question is if we have enough tackle on all targets before they realize the peril they're in. Evolution 112, a French alliance that has recently moved their lowsec base to Egbinger has been finding out the hard way that the local pirates aren't to be trifled with. Similarly, Brutal Deliverence, a nullsec corporation which bases out of BRT- has been given repeat lessons in PvP tactics. Sure, they've ganked me a few times, however I like to think I've learned my lesson and have since made good.

The war with Dragoons. alliance marches on, and every so often we're able to get fights out of them. Recently they've discovered my corporation honor 1v1s, and a rash of them have taken place. There have been a few slipups involving larger scale battles where not all pilots understood the terms of engagements, but overall I'd say the conflict has matured to a good natured give and take, with the pirates doing most of the taking.

Speaking of pirates, it hasn't all been fun in gangs, as there have been a number of skirmishes and flat out brawls between the true denizens of Molden Heath. While there have been a few fights between the old and new pirates who've taken to Molden, SCONEs instigated an excellent fight on the 8th, which coincided only minutes after Coffee fit his first Falcon. SCONE's weren't too pleased with the results of this experiment, though they made a damn good showing for themselves given their composition.

Another alliance, The Hatchery, which I think is an extension of the Starcraft community Team Liquid has been flying around MH and GW, trying for whatever fights their lower SP pilots can manage. I LOVE the attitude their pilots are exhibiting, and think that they'll go very far if they just keep up what their doing and build experience. Until then, they're going to lose a few ships.

Lasty, Electus Matari have been making some serious plays into Molden, and with Dragoons. have been keeping the light burning for anti-piracy in the region. They've been managing some impressive gang compositions, including Artillery fit Tempest fleets with adequate EWAR support in the form of a Bhaalgorn and smaller support ships, BC and logistics gangs with all the niceties (ganglinks, recons and fast tackle), and your classic RR fleets. Unfortunately their Call To Arms (CTAs) times don't typically coincide with us pirates, but hopefully in the future we can have more exchanges, such as the one that occured today.

Monday, October 18, 2010

sunday night disco

A long time friend and pirate Ariartus decided to give up her position in Snuff Box to return to more casual gameplay, and has since found a comfortable niche in RANSM. Since she joined I've lost more ships and security status in the past three days than in a month of gameplay. This girl is FUN, and her aggressive nature is infectious.

The fun started off on in earnest on Friday, with a small Everset Dropbears gang nosing around Istodard pocket. Ari was having none of it, and with her in an Absolution, myself in a Raven and a friendly pirate named Titus Veridius in a Pest we managed to draw an engagement, crushing two BCs and a supporting Falcon, while a remaining Tengu and Drake slipped away. The following day Ari was pulling a long shift at work, and was only around to briefly aid in the demise of an Orca pilot which chanced moving through lowsec and left in a capsule. Saturday saw an usual amount of medium sized gangs moving through Molden Heath, which left the few pirates online with little to do but sit and wait for the area to cool down. One of said gangs attempted to aid the Orca we destroyed, blowing up my Harbinger only just after the Orca went down.

Later on after the Europeans had logged off, Lt Graham had logged on for some action, and it was a short minute before I found a Machariel missioning in Oddelulf. Graham was already a few jumps out in a Raven, and fortunately Coffee was able to swap out his Blackbird for a Cheetah to probe down the faction battleship. While scanning, Coffee reported several ships on scan, noticably a Rapier briefly coming up while probing the Mach. I figured the Recon could tackle the Mach for us, then I would warp my Sleipnir into the site, tackle the Mach, kill the Rapier then finish off the Machariel. Believe me, flying a command ship makes for grand imaginings.

Coffee finished scanning down the battleship and fleet warped my Sleipnir to the result, which powered through the first two rooms to activate the third and final acceleration gate. Upon landing, I was greated with a number of cans and wrecks, but no Mach. Disappointed, I paused for Graham to join me in Oddelulf, a respite which lasted only a dozen seconds before the Rapier Coffee spotted earlier decloaked and tackled me.

I had already loaded Barrage, assuming that I would have to chase down the Mach and perhaps deal with the Rapier, so I was well prepared for the Recon's arrival. With Barrage falloff extending to 33km and faction point range, augmented by the interdiction ganglink I was running extending to 47km, the Rapier was quickly attempting a retreat, then dispatched as the limited AB enhanced speed proved too slow. Graham arrived in system shortly afterwords, and I switched to a Myrmidon for more casual, inexpensive roaming.

Jumping into Bosena, I was greeted by a half dozen outlaw locals, who were on scan in battlecruisers and seemingly waiting down GCC at celestials. Graham waited in Oddelulf on the Bosena gate with Coffee, who had switched back to a Blackbird to even the odds. I decloaked, warping myself to celestials that appeared to have a ship waiting, eventually chasing down a Prophecy from a belt to a celestial. We had warped to the planet 70km from each other, and in the short 30 seconds it took to burn into point range, Graham had jumped in and was in warp to my location. Bokonon and another TEXN pilot had also been informed of the imminent violence, and were on their way from Oddelulf.

Once tackle was established, Coffee jumped in, warping to the fight at 70km. His ECM would be especially helpful, as an enemy Falcon decloaked shortly after all the outlaws had landed, jamming both Graham and myself. Upon landing, Coffee was able to jam the Falcon and one of the enemy battlecruisers, however two of the three on the field, a Brutix and Harbinger maintained their locks and poured the hurt on my Myrmidon. I had allowed the Prophecy to tackle me while attempting to kill the Falcon, and my dual MAR tank was woefully inadequate in dealing with the two heavy hitting BCs bearing down on me. Drone aggression forced the Falcon off grid, however with my tank failing and Coffee unable to jam both of the DPS BCs, my ship was quickly overwhelmed and destroyed. As I went down, Boko arrived in a Harbinger with a arty Pest as support, which finished off the Brutix. The Falcon returned to facilitate the retreat of the two remaining BCs, leaving the field to us.

Miffed at the loss, I returned in a Cyclone and ordered Coffee to grab his covops to attempt to probe down the remaining outlaws in their safes. Fifteen minutes later, Coffee snared the Prophecy, which managed to bump the score to two BCs killed for one lost. We called it a night shortly afterwards.

I logged in Sunday afternoon to find Ari online and talking with a few friends of hers that had recently moved into Atlar. A Fortis Bellator's gang was prowling about lowsec in battlecruisers, and we decided to form a small RR BS gang to ruin their day. Baiting with an Abaddon (we're classy), we managed to kill half their fleet, eliminating three Drakes while the rest fled. Scouts in Atlar located another gang passing through from Gelfiven into MH lowsec, however the BC gang powered through Atlar, Illamur and into Horaka, out of reach of our outlaw gang. Masty, another old friend and new addition to RANSM suggested we head the opposite direction and meet the gang on the other side of Molden Heath.

Heading back around, we accidently jumped into a different gang, again composed of several BCs and supported by a Dominix. Our much heavier gang made short work of those vessels we tackled, and we proceeded further down the pipe towards Egbinger, where I expected to meet up with the expected gang. Again, I was reminded of this incredible increase of activity in Molden Heath as we jumped into Muttokon, only to find fleeing capsules, and in Egbinger a different outlaw gang which had evidently smashed the one we were expecting and promptly docked. Unable to locate any straglers, we headed back to Oddelulf, probing down a Myrmidon and managing to tackle a Legion, which refused a reasonable ransom. He managed to escape with his pod intact.

I took a break to do some homework, and the rest of the pirates took a break as well, as we had been at it quite a while. Returning two hours later, I joined Ari attempting to tackle a Drake in Ennur, which she found to be stabbed and proceeded to frustrate her efforts at catching it for the following 40 minutes. In this time I responded to a lengthy phone call, smiling while Ari reshipped to a Broadsword and futilly chased the Drake around the system. Masty joined us, and a few minutes after my phone call concluded we moved on towards Hegfunden, where the Dragoons. alliance dwells, a group started by the Loki's Marauders folks I mentioned in a previous entry.

In transit, someone brought up Haddaway, and anyone that's flown with me a while knows of my need to stream music over voice comms. After repeating What Is Love to the gang, I eventually set up a 80's disco station on Pandora, and set that blasting over Ventrilo. Over the next three hours we had some very relaxed piracy all over Molden Heath. While we didn't manage that great of a volume of kills, good teamwork and coordination in fleet chat meant we were constantly working on scanning targets, scouting systems, camping gates and generally not wasting much time at all waiting down GCC. Several pilots not even in the fleet, but friends from the area logged in for the tunes and to observe our awesome lack of voice comms coordination. While the op ended (VERY) late in the AM for the euros, everyone from the corp had a blast, with Ari remarking having the most fun in over a year of playing.

The following day Alex Medvedov and Krivas, both in Jaguars kicked off a fight in Hegfunden, culminating in an impressive victory, evening up the score from a previous attempt to brave the Dragoon.'s fleet that failed. I had to do homework immediately afterwords, though the rest of the corp kept on, managing a Maelstrom gank and coming close to tackling a carrier in a level 5 mission, to no avail.

With new blood in the corp and MH hopping with action, I'm looking forward to this fall holding the most fun yet in my EVE career. Looking forward to sharing how it goes down with all of you!

Friday, October 8, 2010


I feel I must put the active tanking examination on hold for a month, as I’ve caved in and looked at what an alt running gang links will do to an active tank, and have since began training for gang link T3 ships on my alt account. Yeah, I could do the analysis now with what I know, but I’d rather my heart be in the writing than not.

So on to what’s been going on in the recent weeks: lots and lots of small gang action, intermixed with solo romps (yay!) and ratting (nay!). The ratting was done as I’ve been getting the itch to do more of my own thing lately, and outlaw status is less than ideal for traveling and larger ship solo PvP.

Some highlights:

Several corporations have taken up residence in Hegfunden, two jumps away from Egbinger. While they don’t often leave the system, they’ve been more than willing to undock and engage the local pirates, which has been loads of fun. They're very good sports about it all, and honestly these links don't do them credit: they've spanked myself and the folks I've fly with a few times between those fights.

Electus Matari has resurfaced, running small to medium sized gangs through Molden Heath and elsewhere. While I've had only a few skirmishes with them, it's good to have some old adversaries in the area. I’m looking forward to conflicts with them in the future.

The Executioners [TEXN] is back in the area, though they're currently focused on mercenary work in highsec. So far they've managed to decimate the population of EDGE alliance, along with the faction fit mission runner population in Emolgranlan, suiciding vessels when war targets aren't available.

It seems I may start hosting gangs from my public channel, Broadside. Last week I started a Raven gang in honor of a regular that bought one off me and admitted that he’d be taking it out to PvP. With two hours notice we pulled together 5 ravens and 3 support ships, not a bad turnout from people that for the most part live very far from Molden Heath. I’m hoping for 10 or better with this Sunday’s roam: if you’re interested and don’t mind losing sec in lowsec PvP, join my public chat and check out the details.

Other than all that, it's been normal Molden Heath shenanigans.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Still around, just been on Starcraft 2, and as it seems much of the community is as well, EVE has had less of a draw on my attention.

More stuff soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Active tanking is a fun, challenging and exhilarating PvP option available to pilots engaging in solo or small gang fights. There are two types of active tanking, shield or armor, which have different strategy associated to them. Both work on the same principle: to absorb incoming damage such that an engagement can be prolonged longer than what the other ships can handle. While this form of tanking has its limits, they are pushed back through investment by the pilot, either through skills, implants, consumable items or more expensive fittings. Some pilots who specialize in this form of tanking are known to regularly invest upwards of 10 billion isk or greater, not including alt accounts for gang bonuses, cap booster drops, or other benefits.

Most ship classes have a hull or two that excel at active tanking, however the greatest accumulation lie with battlecruisers and battleships. Battlecruisers have a class wide affinity for tanking, though some are more able to apply this than others, such as the Myrmidon or Cyclone. Despite this frequently seen bonus, these ships remain vulnerable due to bloated signature radius, requiring some kiting or range accumulation from targets to get the most out of the active tank.

Battleships don’t have the luxury of speed, and thus rely on brute regeneration for staying power. Battleship shield tanks frequently forgo a MWD due to slot constraints, lending to static combat on stations, gates, and occasionally elsewhere. Stations and gates are ideal, as even without a speed boost module ships can creep back to safety, jumping or docking. Active armor tanks typically don’t have this problem, as the low slots are the focus of the tank. Thus, they are able to fit an MWD, tackle and even EWAR in mid slots.

Shield tanks tend to have greater damage capacity, as their low slots are available for damage boosting modules. For the same reason armor tanks often deal less DPS, however the extra maneuverability afforded by the MWD lends them much greater flexibility.

There are several ways to drastically improve the effectiveness of active tanks. First, and perhaps the most available are combat boosters. There are a variety of drugs that affect many aspects of ship attributes, but two in particular are important to active tanking: blue pill and exile. Blue pill are shield tanking boosters, and exile the armor tanking variant. All combat boosters have a chance of drawbacks, but these penalties are minute compared to the added repair amount. Standard boosters, my drug of choice, add 20% to rep amount, and go for 3mil each with a good supplier. If you’re serious at all about using boosters, I highly recommend you ask around for a drug supplier, as their prices are much cheaper than those on market, and they often will deliver to you.

Implants play a large role in active tanking, as their bonuses are not stacking penalized and thus magnify tanking ability greatly. Additionally, it is a simple matter of escaping with your capsule intact in most fights within empire space, which unlike faction modules allow you to keep your enhancements after defeat. Of special notice is the Crystal line of pirate implants: these implants work together to yield in a large bonus towards shield repair amount. They take up slots 1-6 in the head: this means that when piloting with a pirate implant set, you have to forgo better training time with expensive learning implants for the benefit of the pirate set.

With patience, buy orders can be used in Jita to acquire a low grade Crystal set for 400-450mil isk. This investment shifts the shield tank to a beastly level, and is what really allows the shield tank to compete next to the utility afforded to active armor tanks by the MWD.

With implants, boosters and a fully rigged T2 fitting, battleships can tank a gank fit battleship until cap failure, an additional gank cruiser’s worth of DPS when overloaded. Battlecruisers vary more, as the scale of the tank is much more variable. Some are only capable of tanking a gank cruiser’s worth of DPS, while others, such as X-L booster fit Cyclones or triple rep Myrms are able to tank battleship level DPS for short durations. However, their lack of buffer and capacitor stability tends to make them pale against BS for heavy tanking situations.

What makes this type of tanking truly remarkable is its ability to adapt and recover in situations that passive tanks would eventually fail. This is seen best in small gang combat, where the limited number of combatants allows for an active tank to bleed buffer, and as combatants are destroyed or forced to retreat, the active tank is able to regenerate hit points. Thus an active tanker is able to hold the field, absorbing damage while maintaining tackle, drawing fire from more vulnerable gang mates, or holding aggression until the gang has arrived after which retreating through a gate or into a station.

Many pilots discount this ability, even going so far to completely ignore the possibility of an active tank on many ships. For instance, an active tanked Megathron is just as able as the Hyperion with dual rep setups, however as most pilots opt for gank setups, the massive tank often throws off opponents who have never experienced such fits before.

There are several strategies which allow the active tanker to excel. Given the nature of lowsec warfare, active tankers are often able to bait outlaws into engaging them on gates or stations, where sentries act as a mindless gang mate, shooting down drones and moving through criminal targets to apply steady damage. This can be expanded on by baiting part of the outlaw gang to engage on one side of the gate, jumping through the gate, and thus splitting the force. The active tanker can choose to attempt to pull the targets away from the gate by MWDing away, or reapproach the gate to repeat this. All the while, those pilots who have chosen to incur GCC will be softened by sentries.

The active tanker can also neglect to repair his ship to bait targets to engage. By forgoing repairs, the buffer often rapidly depletes due to the lack of buffer boosting modules. This can often entice targets to engage ships they would normally avoid, as once the targets are in range or if combined with the above tactic split apart, the active tanker can pick the enemy gang apart at their leisure.

There are two major banes to the active tank: capacitor warfare and overwhelming DPS. The active tank is only able to accommodate so much incoming fire before its ability to absorb overflow into the limited buffer is quickly overcome. Capacitor warfare modules remove the lifeblood of the setup, forcing intense management with repair modules paired with capacitor boosters. Mismanagement leads to waste, which is dire in situations where incoming damage is only barely bested.

Since January, I’ve flown iterations of most active tanked BCs and BSes: dual rep Megathrons, Dominixes, and Abaddons, X-L booster Maelstroms, Rokhs and Ravens, X-L booster Cyclones and triple rep Myrms. I’ve flown these regularly both in small gangs and solo, getting a feel for the setups while enjoying a fresh approach to EVE PvP. Over the next few weeks I’ll try to impress what each of these hulls is like to fly: their strengths, weaknesses and any additional quirks I was able to discover.

If any of my readership have questions pertaining to these ships, active tanking, costs or a preference in which ship I write about first, please comment. I'll try to answer all questions via comment or in a follow up post on the topic.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

don’t trust raxip

If he has an idea, question it. If he has a plan, take it apart. If he suggests you jump two battleships into a blob roughly 15 minutes after you’ve woken up from bed while you’re riding in your Crystal clone, just self destruct the ship and pod yourself. It’s more efficient that way.

Roughly 30 minutes before I logged in, Raxip had jumped a Brutix unscouted into nullsec, inspired by Club Bear videos that this would lead to enjoyable PvP against small gangs or solo targets. Unfortunately for him, the Polish alliance Yarr and Co have been active in the B-VIP pipe Raxip had decided to try first, and he didn’t make it far from the pull bubble the polacks snagged him with. So, thirty minutes later as I log in with bleary eyes to adjust skills and market orders, all I knew from what Raxip was telling me was that dudes killed his spaceship and needed to die. My morning addled brain decided to not question much and I headed over with a Rokh.

While I did have the presence of mind to log an alt scout on in B-VIP, Raxip’s constant prodding over voice comms meant I shouldn’t give a lengthy look at local numbers, ship types, so on of the camping force. So we jumped in hoping for the best. A force three times the size as the one that ganked Raxip before greeted us, as well as two carriers. I didn’t even have the presence of mind to swallow my blue pill booster before losing the ship, and hastily sent my pod towards the gate where I knew they had a pull bubble.

As I alluded to earlier, the same pod housing my 600mil crystal clone. Nothing quite like 750mil down the tubes twenty minutes after waking up to set the mood for the day.

Regardless, after our poddings we quickly reshipped, myself in a Rifter and Raxip in another active tanked Brutix, and set out to give the lowsec loop a try. Six jumps away in Skarkon I happened upon a Dramiel who after seeing me on a gate decided to warp to a nearby belt. Two can play this game; I warp my Rifter to the belt in pursuit, only to meet a Dramiel who doesn’t even bother to lock the Rifter before activating his afterburner and scoot away at 2km/s.

For the record, my 200mm plate fit Rifter flies at 1.1km/s. Dramiels are broken.

Anyway, I move on, jumping into Ennur to happen upon a Rifter on a gate. From the previous day’s fun I’ve become an outlaw, which allowed the opposing Rifter to engage at will. 150mm autocannons stitched lines of carnage across my frigate’s shields before I could even lock back: the day’s first decent fight! I return lock, set a wide 5km orbit path and return the favor, opting for barrage to bleed the enemy Rifter down.

It quickly becomes apparent that the opposing Rifter didn’t anticipate this response, and after a minute of orbiting at range my foe explodes, leaving me to discover a complete lack of barrage in his wreck, despite T2 autocannons. Two armor explosive resistance rigs meant I still had some trouble breaking his tank. A good fight overall.

Quickly moving on to sate the impatient Brutix flying behind me, I jump into Meildolf. An uncharacteristic number of pilots were in local, and I set to discovering their location. I eventually locate them on our outbound gate: a Myrmidon, Hurricane and Wolf camping the Illamur gate. In good humor from the previous engagement, I warp to the gate and begin orbiting, showing plenty of leg for the enemy gang to appreciate. They appreciate my outlaw status so much that both BCs engage, leaving the Wolf to catch me on the other side.

I jump through with the Wolf following, requesting Raxip to meet me in Illamur to deal with the Wolf. Raxip, two jumps out complies, leaving me with a rather mean looking assault ship to deal with. I opt to burn away, mindful that the battlecruisers next door have less than a minute before they’re able to jump through and join their comrade. I want enough range where the two battlecruisers will be some time in aiding the Wolf, however that’s a two edged proposition as it also means Raxip has the burn that far to aid me. Roughly 30km from the gate, the Wolf turns around to return to the gate, likely hearing from his friends that a Brutix is inbound. Raxip jumps through, followed immediately by the two enemy battlecruisers.

The enemy Cane decides to engage Raxip, who isn’t outlaw and incurs sentry aggression for his efforts. Uncertain that the Myrmidon would do so as well, and with an additional Harpy landing on the gate, Raxip continues to burn away as we’re both left guessing what the enemy gang’s true size is. The Harpy doesn’t give me much time to think, as it MWDs right into scrambler range and begins pounding me with 75mm railguns. I trade tackle and engage, holding the frigate down long enough for Raxip to burn into range and aid me. Evidently the Harpy had shot at Raxip as well, as roughly the same instant that Raxip burned into blaster range the Harpy lost its shields and exploded. The mail confirms that sentries saved my ass; I never knew a 75mm railgun fit could be so vicious against frigates!

With the Hurricane mauled by sentries itself and the Harpy down, the enemy gang burned back to gate and jumped into Meildolf. Sensing blood, we set to pursuit, following them through the gate and to what looked like a planet. Mid warp we caught a glimpse of their ships on overview, which meant they were in a mid safe rather than the planet itself. Hoping for the best, we decided to wait at the planet.

Our patience paid off, as after roughly half a minute of waiting the Wolf landed at the planet! We set to work, scrambling and webbing the frigate, while I tried my best to stay on the outer edge of scramble range. Even at eight to nine kilometers, the Wolf still stripped my shields in two volleys and was barely held off by an overheated SAR. Raxip and I had the assault ship in low armor before his two friends arrived, succumbing about the same time the Myrm and Cane resolved lock.

At this point it was a Brutix and a Rifter versus a Myrm and a Cane. Fortunately the Cane still had low armor from previous sentry aggro, however half a minute into hostilities Raxip called out he was being neuted heavily by both battlecruisers. This meant he didn’t even have enough cap to fire his blasters, which meant my little Rifter had to take down an armor tanked buffer Cane sitting at 20% armor and full hull. It wasn’t going to happen before Raxip exploded.

It was only a dozen seconds more after Raxip related his capacitor problems that he exploded, leaving me five kilometers away from both battlecruisers. I aligned to a celestial and began burning away, somehow avoiding the neuts Raxip had experienced while failing to overheat my afterburner. Regardless, I somehow managed to create enough distance to range the disruptors and warp out in half hull.

Raxip reships to a Raven he had nearby, and returns, however the two pilots decide to wait down GCC and leave for an adjacent highsec system. We manage to catch a Rupture from the same corporation in Illamur, though the full meta 0 fit and lack of two lowslots meant I could have soloed the cruiser with a full rack of civilian autocannons. We decide to call it a day shortly afterwards.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

movement 2

Continued from we got movement!

A few chores and a meal later I was back online, arriving in time to respond to another muster to counter an anti-pirate force. Something Rotten had stirred up the Crimson Dragons alliance, which had formed a sizable ball of ships in Gonheim on the Istodard gate. With several logistics ships available, I undocked my only armor tanked battleship available, my reliable heavy neut plate fit Tempest and headed over to Istodard.

Arriving on the Gonheim gate in Istodard, I met up with the 520 gang, consisting of several battleships, three Guardians and Lt Graham’s Blackbird. Dirty Protagonist called for me to jump through and reapproach gate, which would hopefully prompt the anti-pirate gang to incur GCC. However recent action with the freighter had hosed my sec, and I was well into outlaw status. This fact didn’t change much and I jumped through the gate.

I was greeted by a wall of ships on my overview, easily double the size of the 520 gang on the other side of the gate. The anti-pirates lacked battleships and logistics, which should give the pirate force an edge in the engagement. I decloaked, began moving back to the gate while locking targets, waiting for the opposing force to begin aggressing. Aggress they did, a dozen odd ships obtaining lock and firing upon my Tempest in quick succession.

About the same time the enemy gang began firing upon me, I realized that I had miss-clicked my MWD, so instead of powering to the stargate, I was only 3km closer to my destination. Further, my fit was meant for small gangs rather than high DPS fleet engagements and had a LAR equipped rather than an additional plate or resistance module to enhance the buffer. Enemy DPS poured on, and I was already touching half armor by the time the gate began flashing with the arrival of friendly forces.

With gangmates decloaking, I meekly clicked the “Need armor” broadcast, however by the time Guardians began locking me I was already in structure, my battleship not long for life and unable to jump through into Istodard due to my MWD mismanagement. The Tempest popped shortly afterwards, though the gang was able to drop a few anti-pirate ships before they themselves disengaged and jumped through the gate.

Reforming, the gang then headed out two jumps to Oddelulf, warping to the Bosena gate. Bosena has been host to the remnants of COW had been evicted from nullsec, who now pass time regularly camping the highsec entrance gate to kill the unwary. One such gatecamp was currently in place, manned by two battleships, two battlecruisers, a cloaky T3 hull and a faction battleship. Baiting with a force of two battleships, we managed to snare a Dominix and Brutix, however the remainder was able to flee from the gate before tackle was established.

The next few hours was a gankfest, every 30 minutes or so another ship was found, probed, tackled and destroyed. A hurricane was found in Istodard, burning away from the Oddelulf gate. Once out of sentry range, Sieth Silverstein of 520 was able to tackle the lone BC with his Ishtar, allowing our reshipped gang to whore on the mail. An hour later Coffee located a group of battlecruisers missioning in Oddelulf, this time a Harbinger with a Hurricane salvaging behind it. The Cane had the misfortune of landing on the entrance gate just after our gang arrived to savage the Harbinger, preceeding his comrade in death by only two minutes.

Waiting down GCC from those kills, a Raven and Paladin decided to give missioning in lowsec a go, regardless of the half dozen GCC pirates in local, and on scan from his mission site. Coffee again proved his worth, scanning the marauder down in seconds and tackling the T2 battleship while the gang arrived at the entrance gate and began warping in. The Raven managed to flee before additional tackle had arrived, but the Paladin’s destruction was more than worth that sacrifice.

Amusingly, seconds after the Paladin went down, room wide aggro from the level 4 mission switched to Coffee’s Cheetah, which incredibly was able to tank the 30 odd NPCs with the aid of two Guardians to warp out with 17% structure remaining. Damage controls are vital on frigates folks, especially when running those higher level missions.

Little occurred over the next hour, so the diminished pirate force decided to roam, flying first to Atlar, then progressing down the pipe to Ennur, splitting off into Metropolis via Offikatlin. Here Coffee was able to spot several ships in space; a Myrm, Cane, Ishtar and Raven. Following close behind, I jumped my Sleipnir in, warping to the highsec gate where Coffee had located the opposing force.

The Hurricane and Myrmidon were chasing down a pirate Ishtar, the Raven holding on the highsec gate, lacking a speed module to follow the two BCs. Spying my Sleipnir the Ishtar warped off, the two BCs warping back to the gate to rejoin the Raven. I had warped my command ship to the gate at 50km to assess the situation, and had begun idling away towards a celestial. The Ishtar left local, heading deeper into Metropolis and missing the pirate gang in Tabbetzur.

After a minute of eying each other, the Hurricane decided to warp to a nearby planet, which I reported to my gang, and began aligning my Sleipnir to follow. Looking back to the overview, the Myrmidon had been busy as well, activating his MWD and burning at my Sleipnir at an impressive rate, closing the 60km between myself and the stargate to land tackle on my ship! Chagrined, I swapped from Barrage to Fusion while locking the enemy BC, calling for my gangmates to jump in.

I’ll touch on Sleipnir tactics at length in another post, however allow me to inform my readership of an often misunderstood fact about this vessel: it is not a frontline tanker. Yes, it has impressive resistances, and a hefty shield boost bonus to augment an active approach. However, it simply doesn’t have the capacitor or buffer to weather typical amounts of incoming damage for a lengthy period of time. Rather, that tanking bonus is better served mitigating damage incurred from skirmish range, 20-30km from target. At this range, the Sleipnir is able to apply its impressive arsenal effectively, provide tackle with a ganglink running or faction disruptor, and maintain range while remaining on the field applying bursts of MWD or shield booster, respectively.

Thus, scrambled off the gate with two angry, gank fit shield tanked battlecruisers (Great work switching to Fusion for that Myrm, Sard) slamming into my tank, I was sweating over my situation. The Raven had warped off the gate about the same time my gangmates began jumping in, likely to warp back in range to support his comrades. Meanwhile, under capacitor pressure from the Hurricane’s medium neuts, my DG X-L booster had quickly burned through my available reserve of capacitor, and a single medium cap booster can’t cycle 800 charges fast enough for sustained cycling of the shield booster.

Pirate reinforcements began landing just as my buffer was depleted and my Sleipnir began bleeding armor plate. Focusing on my tank, I neglected to mind my rack of autocannons, which had been set to overheat to burn down the Myrmidon. While I had smashed through the Myrm’s buffer and dip the opposing BC into armor itself, I burned out my guns in the progress. The two battlecruisers were sure to finish me off, especially with that Raven inbound and without my DPS to help.

Fortunately for me, Gooch of 520 decided to bring a Blackbird out on this roam, and managed to jam the Myrmidon, which was the only BC tackling me. I warped my command ship out with half my armor gone, quickly moving back into Tabbetzur and eventually into Ennur to repair my modules, and hopefully return to help out in the fight. The pirates managed on their own however, finishing off the Myrm and downing the Cane before the Raven was able to arrive.

Later still that night, the gang had reduced to Coffee, myself and Dirty Protagonist (DP). We had traveled back to the Istodard pocket, where we were able to find a Cane missioning in Gonheim, which was quickly dispatched by DP’s Cane and my Sleip. Thirty minutes later, DP sighted a Gentlemen’s Club Sacrilege in Oddelulf somewhere above a planet, which Coffee was able to probe down. I switched to a Huginn, and between my webs and DP’s autocannons we were able to gank the HAC before the pilot was able to return to the keyboard with his plate of toast.

The Sacrilege marked the conclusion to the day’s festivities, and we logged off for the night.

Monday, July 12, 2010

we got movement!

The past few days have been incredibly active in Molden Heath, with multiple types of targets presenting themselves. This sort of constant activity from the region is uncommon, and deserves special notice. While it is tied in part to the COW and GC evacuations from nullsec into Molden, they only account for half of the available targets which have been braving MH lowsec.

Sunday began with a roam from Oddelulf, myself in a shield cane, Coffee in a Cheetah and Lt Graham in a Blackbird supporting. We shortly bump into a mixed 520 and SCONEs gang, which I decide to shy away from in hope of other targets. While we frequently fly together, RANSM hasn’t set blue status to the other pirate corporations in MH, to ensure we’ll always have at least someone to shoot at.

Pushing past Atlar and heading towards Skarkon, Coffee sights a Providence in space, parked at a POS oddly devoid of modules. Investigating, the modules are incapacitated, though the POS itself still has a force field. The Providence is adjacent to the tower, and a few ships, including a Rook and a Drake nearby within the field. I opt to hold our gang nearby in Meildolf, hoping that the POS would be taken down with only the skeleton gang supporting.

After ten minutes of waiting, little happens, with a few cruisers landing to begin repairing the incapacitated modules. While watching, we are joined by two friends from the Black Sinisters in frigates who were roaming nearby. After exchanging a few pleasantries, Dirty Protagonist of 520 asks for assistance in Oddelulf: an anti-pie gang has engaged the 520/SCONEs gang at a belt. RANSM and the B.S frigates quickly responded.

By the time we arrived the anti-pirate force was routed, and my force moved to apply tackle where we could and finish the opposing gang off. In this kind of situation, we had no time to join up with the 520/SCONEs gang, and thus it was rather confusing for my gang to deal with both friendlies and enemies both on overview. Lt Graham managed to jam a 520 Abaddon, which in turn reported my gang was engaging him. Once the anti-pies were down, the pirate gang switched focus to my cane, and rather than asking first they decided to speak with their weapons. My Hurricane dropped to friendly fire, though fortunately the rest of my gang was able to warp off before more mistakes were made.

While waiting down GCC, I moved my pod back to Egbinger, then jump cloned to Oddelulf, boarding a Sleipnir and sat in station for the last three minutes of criminal count down. During all the commotion, Coffee was still watching the freighter at the POS, which had started burning away from the force field. The freighter now had two Drakes and a Rook for support at the POS, plus a few T1 cruisers which continued to repair modules. With less GCC timer to worry about, the B.S pilots Alex Medvedov and Mister Torture began moving with Lt Graham back toward Ennur, where the freighter was located.

With my GCC timer finally finished, I undocked and began hurrying to meet up with the rest of my gang. By the time I jumped into Atlar, Coffee reported that the freighter had warped to the Tabbetzur gate and was likely heading towards high sec, two jumps away. We all began mashing warp to and jump buttons as quickly as possible to hasten our approach.

Following the freighter into Tabbetzur, Coffee began ramming the capital industrial ship with his Cheetah, however the difference in mass meant that the covops frigate was only able to slow the freighter’s alignment by a few seconds, every one of which absolutely necessary for the gang to catch up. By the time the Providence warped, Alex had arrived in Tabbetzur in a Jaguar, however Mister Torture and myself were still two jumps away in an Ishtar and my Sleipnir. This was going to be too close to call.

The two Drakes and Rook, which had pushed ahead of the freighter were already in Offikatlin, which was one jump from high sec, the freighter’s destination. One of the Drakes jumped back into Tabbetzur to support the freighter on the gate, while the other two ships remained waiting in Offikatlin. By the time the freighter finally landed on the Offikatlin gate, Sard was a jump out with Torture in Tabb, warping to the gate.

Coffee had jumped ahead to again delay the freighter once it jumped, however seconds dragged on as the freighter remained in Tabb on the gate. Coffee eventually burned back to the Tabb gate, mindful of the Rook and Drake which also were there waiting. Alex reported the freighter was trying to align to something, but between Alex’s bumps and the bouncing off the gate, it was stuck! The precious seconds this all took allowed me to jump my Sleipnir into Tabbetzur and begin warp to the Offikatlin gate.

The Drake in Offikatlin decided to ward off Coffee’s Cheetah, firing a volley of heavy missiles and forcing him to jump into Tabb. At roughly the same time I landed on the Offikatlin gate, which the Providence took as its cue to jump. Alex, Torture, Lt Graham (who had been on the gate with his Blackbird), the second Drake and myself all jumped into Offikatlin after the freighter.

Torture and I immediately decloaked our ships, myself overheating 425mm ACs to volley down the Rook. Torture didn’t even manage to lock the recon ship before I tore through the cruiser, three volleying the ECM ship off the field. The first Drake which had shot at Coffee took sentries to do so, and had warped off the gate. The freighter finally decloaked, and the pirate gang fell upon it, my Sleipnir first applying EMP, then reloading Fusion once the shields were down. The second Drake decloaked shortly after the Providence, and decided to whore onto his corpmate’s mail rather than fire on the GCC outlaws.

This went on for roughly 20 seconds, when the Drake which had warped off arrived back on the field, and with the second drake began firing on my Sleipnir. The low DPS from the Drakes coupled with sentry fire was just enough for my tank to keep up with while injecting 800 boosters, meaning the pirates could continue to burn down the freighter, which was just at 90% structure. Lt Graham and the pirates had to warp out several times in the following minute of combat due to sentry aggression; however my Sleipnir was a pillar the combined might of the Drakes could not displace, continuing to blast apart unresisting structure of the Providence as it labored to return to the Tabb gate.

Then the Providence exploded.

The Drakes dropped one after the other to my Sleipnir; the second trying to MWD away, to no avail. The next 20 minutes were spent gloating in intel channels, waiting on haulers to scoop the remains from the wrecks, and defend said wrecks from scavenging opportunists. One Thrasher learned the hard way to not touch wrecks he didn’t make himself.

Loot stowed, I eventually had to take a break, the remainder of my gang joining a 520 force trying to wreck someone near the Gonheim system.

Friday, July 9, 2010


It’s been some time since my last entry. Here’s a review of what I’ve been up to during the past five months:

• Active tanked battleships
• The Sleipnir
• Wardecs
• Combat boosters
• Pirate implants
• Logistics ships

I’m still based in Molden Heath, indeed making trips to other regions less frequently as I engage what’s available on my home turf. My corporation remains bone thin, though efforts at managing security status has allowed for forays into highsec space to engage war targets located there. I abandoned Aggressive Dissonance sometime in February, refocusing RANSM as a no blue lowsec PvP corporation. No hard feelings what so ever, as indeed I’ve missed having a reliable ‘big brother’ to call upon if something juicy comes around.

Along with combat boosters, I’ve been steadily skilling my main, finishing those ship skills whose hulls I find enjoyable to V (all sub caps bar T2 battleships and EAS). This has allowed me to enjoy command ships and logistics, which has led to some intensely enjoyable PvP over the past few months. Flying solo logistics in the form of Oneiros and Scimitars is a fun challenge in lowsec, while the Sleipnir is the nastiest ship I’ve flown for fast moving small gangs. Regarding the sleip: it’s fun to enjoy faction mods coupled with a skill intensive T2 ships. Their synergy is impressive.

With Aggressive Dissonance out of the picture, my PvP has shifted: nullsec is usually solo focused, while lowsec trends toward small gangs as I pair with local pirates to take on larger or elusive opponents. Something Rotten corporation, based out of Istodard, has become something of a sister corporation to my own, as it’s an odd day that I don’t have at least one member of theirs in my gang, or myself in one of theirs. Indeed, the leader of Something Rotten [520], Dirty Protagonist, has managed to draw the pirate population of Molden Heath together. While they still engage in combat with each other, pirate corporations are able to communicate intel and band together to take on intruding organizations, such as anti pirates and nullsec alliances on lowsec holiday.

Overall, I’ve been involved in a lot of interesting action, switching up the groove every few weeks to try out different tactics, fittings or ships in PvP. I look forward to sharing my experience with these experiments, as I feel I’m ready to resume posting entries again.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

armageddon roulette

Recently I have finished training Amarr Battleships to V, as well as the associated Large Energy Turret skill to V. These two events mark the completion of a desire sparked over a year ago, after watching Kil2’s debut PvP video, Armageddon. In honor of Kil2’s incredible success with Amarr BS, as a PvPer and EVE showman, I decided to acquire a few geddon hulls to sample what the race’s BS line had to offer.

The Armageddon offers an incredible turret platform for its price. Large pulse lasers hit out to 15km with short range ammo, yielding maximum damage at the very edge of short range weaponry. This, along with enough bandwidth for five heavy drones allows the geddon to constantly kite opponents while inflicting sickening damage. Combined with a utility highslot to accommodate a heavy neut, and enough lowslots to fit a tank and damage modules, the geddon represents perhaps the greatest combination of gank and tank against price to fit versus any other ship in EVE. Its only glaring weaknesses, lack of midslots and low signal strength are easily offset by intelligent positioning and pairing with support to counter enemy ECM.

My first chance to use the ship came after an interceptor roam into Great Wildlands turned sour, losing my Taranis to a RE-AL gate camp leading my gang of ceptors through one of RE-AL’s home systems. Returning to Molden Heath after over an hour of roaming with nothing to show for it, I decided to switch from the Huggin I opted for after losing my Taranis to a geddon, and give the MH loop a spin before docking for the night. The BS’s capacity for damage and tank would come in useful over the next half hour.

First blood came from a missioning Hurricane returning to Istodard from Half, its novice fitting falling quickly under large laser pressure. Waiting down GCC, our gang of two Taranises and my Geddon moved onwards to Bosena, where we were able to lock down and eliminate another novice pilot flying a Rupture. Waiting down our second GCC within 20 minutes, several pirates in local decided to taunt us, warping speed fit cruisers at range to celestials we idled at, however refused to engage.

After several minutes of playing cat and mouse with a pirate Ishtar and Cynabal, we managed to catch an eager Cyclone at the top belt of the system, drawing it into a slugging match against my Armageddon. The Cyclone attempted to close range with my battleship to spoil the tracking of my large turrets, however without a webifier to counter my own, the battlecruiser was only able to idle after my BS, taking the full force of my laser arsenal. Under the capacitor pressure of my neutralizer, the XL-booster tank of the Cyclone quickly crumbled.

The next day found me again roaming Molden Heath in my geddon, this time with only a Cheetah for support. After several minutes of scouting, a small gang of battlecruisers were spotted in Istodard, idling in deadspace adjacent to one of the stations in system. While probing, I was contacted by a pirate in one of the public channels I frequent, and was joined by a T1 fit Hurricane just as my alt finished probing the target battlecruisers out of their safespot. I quickly warped my gang onto the unsuspecting Drake and Hurricane, calling the enemy Hurricane primary. The Drake managed to warp out, condemning his friend to an ignoble demise. Just as the Hurricane began entering structure, the Drake returned with another Hurricane, and the battle was joined in earnest.

As the first Hurricane exploded, I called the newly arrived cane primary, and suggested overheating our weapons to hasten his destruction. It was a race against time to down the second cane before my comrade bit it himself. The enemy cane opted for a hefty dual 1600mm plate tank, hardened by explosive and kinetic hardeners. This left his armor wide open for a laser based platform to exploit, forming a nightmare scenario as my Dual Heavy Pulse Lasers bore down at optimal range. The enemy Hurricane flashed brilliantly only seconds before my associate was destroyed himself.

With only the Drake and my Armageddon left on the field, I was left with the amusing scenario of trying to run down a BC with a BS. Neither of us had fitted a speed boost module, and for the next minute and a half, the Drake attempted to make range while my geddon did its best to keep up. Eventually the Drake tired of the exercise, closed range with my battleship and was hastily blown apart, its bloated signature radius easy pickings for my large turrets. Loot scooped, I entertained the BC pilots roughly an hour longer, idling about their home station and warping in at various ranges, trying to incite another conflict. They had escalated to battleships, and refused to engage my lone geddon under sentries. Eventually moving off, I managed to snag an outlaw Hurricane off a gate with the help of a few friends, adding to the day’s tally before taking a break.

Later that night, I was joined by Lt Graham who wanted to try ECM for the first time. We headed over to Heild, and with the system brimming with activity, set to work attempting to tackle something willing to fight. Our first victim was a speed fit Zealot, who decided to afk at a safespot in a system full of pirates, a feat he won’t repeat with that ship. Minutes later, we managed to engineer an engagement with a pirate gang in the system, using my geddon as bait. After spotting an Arbitrator on scan, I warped to a planet at 20km, and had Graham hold off grid aligned to my location. Sure enough, the Arbitrator arrived at my planet 20km from me, and quickly moved to tackle my BS. The Arbitrator’s tracking disruptors were countered by my heavy drone flight and energy neutralizer, and with Graham’s support the EWAR cruiser was in dire straights. Roughly half way through the Arbitrator’s tank, an additional two Hurricanes arrived at the planet, along with a Falcon decloaking 40km from my position.

Graham was unable to jam the Falcon first; however I managed to engage the recon ship with my drone flight before losing lock. Armor peeled off my ship steadily, and unable to acquire a lock my position was becoming more and more desperate. Incredibly, the Falcon lost his jams on our ships after three cycles, in fact losing his ship to the group of Berserkers I engaged him with half a minute earlier. With the enemy recon removed from the field, Graham was able to assert himself once more, and incoming damage dropped significantly.

It wasn’t going to be enough to win the fight however, as at least one Hurricane was able to maintain sensor lock on my geddon and apply devastating projectile ordinance across my ship. With the buffer on my battleship already depleted, my single LAR could not counter the DPS the pirate gang maintained. Aligning out, my only chance was to neut down the ships nearby and hope Graham could jam the rest and facilitate my escape. Incredibly, Graham kept failing with his racial jammer while a single off racial kept the second Hurricane placid. After a minute of jockeying, Graham’s Blackbird finally jammed both enemy battlecruisers and I made my way into warp.

As the only battleship in a small gang engaging in lowsec piracy, the experience hasn’t been without setbacks. Without support, a lone BS is easy pickings for groups of smaller ships to overcome, especially if enemy gangs maintain EWAR support as well. My first geddon loss was an attempt to bail out Graham, who has the worst of luck flying a blaster fit Ferox in lowsec.

Graham is able to find ideal ships to engage with his active tanked battlecruiser, however they always seem to have support nearby cloaked or off grid from his targets. Once he attempts to engage, the trap is sprung and he finds himself with little to do but watch his ship bleed out and die. This time, a Vagabond had managed to slip out of scrambler range, and summoned a Curse and Crow to down his beleaguered Ferox. Unfortunately, I was a system over off gate, having just destroyed a pirate Hoarder with my geddon. By the time I slowboated back to gate, jumped through and arrived on grid, Graham’s BC was bleeding structure and soon popped. I was then left with a two speed fit T2 cruisers and a Crow to contend with.

While the odds were entirely against me, I had a few advantages in the fight. The Curse neglected Tracking Disruptors in his fitting, opting for a stronger shield tank. This meant I would at least be able to hit out to disruptor range with my turrets, albeit without Scorch as I opted for a cheaper fitting. While the Curse was able to neut me, my heavy neut was able to do the same, and bolstered by a heavy cap booster far longer than the Curse could sustain under its effect. The Crow would lose all its capacitor immediately after venturing within 25km of me, and had to flee repeatedly from my approaching drone flight. Without Scorch crystals however, I wasn’t dealing enough damage to deter my aggressors, and was forced to rely on the hope I could neut down those ships still in range, disable their tackle and flee. Despite a second where I accomplished this task, I wasn’t able to jam warp in time, and lost the ship.

More recently, I had decided to engage the bait of a Bastards gang in Heild, destroying the Stabber they tempted me with though rapidly finding myself TDed by an Arbitrator, jammed by a Blackbird and under heavy fire from a pair of Thoraxes. With the help of a friend in a Jaguar and my drone flight, I was able to force the BB off grid, however by then the Thoraxes had established a tight orbit around my BS to foil my tracking, and the Arbitrator’s EWAR allowed him to range tank any return fire from my laser arsenal. Again, I was forced to attempt to neut down those ships tackling me, though an abundance of scramblers made this a futile effort.

Even with the two losses, the fitting I employed meant I was losing only 15 million isk a ship, while having a blast flying a battleship regularly in lowsec for the first time in over a year. The hull is so cheap and insurable that I can casually engage any force that seems approachable and treat resulting losses with flippant indifference. It’s truly a great ship for the risky small gang and solo combat I frequently engage in, able to fly alongside T1 hulls smaller than it with similar or even less ISK investment.