Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pirate Attack

The day came to go on the prowl. A group of 5 of us in three different corps linked up to do some pirate hunting.

We had one unarmed scout and a logistics so there were only 3 attack boats to do the fighting.

Unfortunately the target I had been stalking the last week or so decided to take the night off. We checked a few systems near my home station that usually have a couple pirates roaming the belts. All was quiet so we decided to head over to Rens. Always a lot of action a few jumps from this system.

Right away we knew we were probably in over our heads as there were more pirates from various corps then we were ready to take on. After talking it over we unanimously agreed that we prepped to fight and that we may as well see what we could do.

We sent our scout in ahead of us to see what kind of action was happening in the system. He warped to a belt and set up some warp points. Then we moved in our cloaked vessels to 150+ KM from the belt so that they would be able to warp in once we got aggressed the only exception was the logistics. We set that ship up at 65km so all she had to do was uncloak and start repping.

After everyone was in place we warped in my harbinger as bait. A couple NPC rats showed up and I was able to shoot them down to set the stage.

I got swarmed by 4 pirates and the first 30 seconds were the scariest in the fight as all my back up needed time to recalibrate after uncloaking. The logistics came online right in time to save my armor and made it possible for me to tank the incoming damage.

We weren't up against new players and after a minute we watched two pirates warp out. I immediately called to the logistics to reposition to the other side of the belt, but it was too late. They got the jump on her before her drive engaged and jammed her. Knowing she was doomed she stayed in the fight repping as long as she could. Her actions allowed us to take out one of the pirates in a prophecy. Now it was three on three as the scout could do nothing but watch the carnage.

Everyone in my fleet was a carebear and had spent all our time training for missions. The pirates were as old as 2004 and the youngest was born in 2007. I highlight this as we learned a valuable lesson in this fight. In the next few minutes we held our own and almost took out 2 more pirates. Unfortunately they managed to stay out of stasis range and and get out of warp jam range with only a few points on their hull remaining.

During this my fleet was also taking a lot of damage, but each of us knew we were outgunned and if one of us left the other 2 would fall shortly thereafter so we were stuck in the fight without the ability to jump out and return.

The pirates had better weapons, speed, range, and EW then us however it seemed we had better communication and coordination. They were working individually and attacking two of us at the same. The three of us were working together and attacking one target at a time.

In the end all but our scout fell. Contrary to the essence of being a carebear we were celebrating this loss. Outgunned and out skilled we held our own for nearly 10 minutes and killed one very experienced pilot and nearly 2 more. If this had been a 4 on 4 fight (not accounting for the logistics or the scout) or if we only were able to keep ahold of one of the pirates that warpped out and then returned nearly healed we could have won the fight.

This put a feeling of confidence in each of us as this fight taught us a lot about PVP. Younger pilots can take out a experienced pilots. Albeit isn't an easy task, but good communication and coordination with your fleet mates can make up many short commings in skill. Of coarse this theory only applies if the pirates aren't communicating well.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Carebears Unite

I don't know why I can't bring myself to focusing on missions lately. I may have burnt out do to the amount of time many of them take to complete, so I found myself working in low sec again.

I am actively monitoring a pirate and her corp. I have been following this pirate for about 4 days now and watching her activities.

Seems pirates thrive on bragging rights so I been checking her out on Battle Clinic and her corp/alliance web site as well as her posts to forums. Amazing the amount of intel online. I was able to determine her ship choices and weapons as well as who she flies with. I been flagging her corp mates and her friends to determine their online activities. Just as importantly I know who she has killed. With the intel I gathered I can make a pretty good prediction of when she is most likely to be working alone or in a fleet.

I have also been monitoring other pirate activity in the area to assess possible threats or associations with my primary target.

My intent is to catch her by herself and have her engage me.

I don't know the ethical ramifications of investigating to detail every aspect of this pirates life. I like to think of my self as a special investigator and not a stalker. Not being an opportunistic pirate it is going to be hard to snag a specific target without being online 23/7.

I am working this hit out to such a great detail for a few reasons. To date I have been a carebear. The art of pirating eludes me, but it is important to know your enemy. This being the first high valued high skilled target that I plan on engaging I figured it is important to learn everything possible so that I am not caught off guard.

I would like to see if I can unite various carebears into joining on the hunt. This pirate is a few years older then me and is one of the top killers for the month in her alliance so I highly doubt I can take her out by myself. I figure us carebears often find ourselves at a disadvantage when it comes to PVP. We prepare for missions not for attacking other players and more often then not this is how we die at the hands of a merciless pirate.

United we stand a good chance at striking a blow against the pirates. This is why I chose to incorporate players from various corps that should have a grudge against this target. Having players that are seemingly unattached may help us get her to engage. This attack, if successful, will hopefully strike fear into the hearts of pirates as they will learn that united us carebears are a force to be reckoned with.

If this experiment works it will be only a matter of time before more of us carebears start setting up hunting ops and bring justice to the victims that died at the hands of pirates.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Identity Crisis

The #1 definition of a carebear according to the online Urban Dictionary is:

1. carebear

Term applied by PvP (player vs. player) participants in an online role-playing game to those players that are disinterested in PvP conflict. Usually derogatory.

Well no one can say I nor my corp didn't give adequate targets to any pirate on our last exhibition to 0.0 space.

We set out in a fleet of 7 smaller ships with the intent to do a little exploration and some ratting. We found a cosmic anomaly in the first low sec on route and went in to do a little fighting as a group before heading deeper.

If any of you have been following my blog I know what you are thinking, "Tactical error #1" and you would be correct. Seems the border systems to High sec are crawling with pirates that want a taste of fresh empire blood.

Naturally we got scanned down. The first pirate that showed up was in a Claw. Seemed to only take him a second or two to be within my firing range then be 40km outside of it. We really weren't thinking at this point as one of our ships got locked down. We all stayed back to try and help him and then something none of us have seen before popped into the fight.

The ship came in and deployed more drones then we have ever seen get deployed by a single ship before. Looked like a flashing red beehive. The pirate was flying an Aeon. Nothing like bringing a tank to a knife fight. Our guy was locked down and we all knew that there wasn't much we could do to help him. Our corp mate told us to leave while we could. Before I even got full power to my warp drive he was destroyed.

I checked Battle Clinic this morning and the kill was posted. Seems the Aeon pilot was busy last night and racked up a few kills. Not a single one worthy of taking on his ship. I would like to call him a coward as none of his opponents last night would have even scratched his paint, but this is Eve and some would say he was playing smart. He insured he would survive and looking at his history he has taken out carriers and dreadnoughts so more power to him.

Took us about 20 minutes to regroup and refit and we moved deeper into low sec. The rest of the night was not as eventful. Ratting and scanning each system our CEO finally got an unknown. This plex was huge. I couldn't believe we were taking it on in anything less then battleships with support vessels. Unfortunatly it was multi-level and we could not go back after the second stage as downtime was fast approaching. We did lose 2 ships in the plex to webbers before we were done with for the night.

On my way back to home station afterwards I had to ask myself if I or anyone in my corp were still carebears. I noticed I didn't get the adreniline surge anymore when people jumped into my areas and the loss of ships to other players no longered angered me or anyone on corp chat.

I decided to wait until my next engagement to see if I get inferiated or just annoyed.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Damsel in Distress

The problem running missions for so long is that eventually you no longer care if the Damsel is in Distress. I mean come on. Obviously she has it bad for this guy Zor. Why else would she keep going to the nightclub and getting captured and put in Kruul's Pleasure Gardens. If there was something sinister about it wouldn't she be in the slave pens.

I think she is just some spoiled rich girl that is after Daddy's money and Zor is her boyfriend. I say Zor is her BF and not Kruul because he is always there with her. Kruul owns the place and is obviously there to protect it.

The Damsel keeps running away from home and waits for Zor at his best friends casino but never expects that the intel about their location would leak or maybe she is just looking for attention and wants to get caught....uh hummm...I mean rescued.

In either case if I were Kruul I would tell her to go somewhere else because she has to be costing him a lot of money. His customers are always getting killed and his buildings destroyed. This Damsel is nothing but trouble, let Zor have her.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Even Can Pirates have a Place

There are differant classes of players in eve and each class has moderats and radicals. One such breakout is described by Andis in this post. It is about a radical/psychotic carebear. The kind that makes the rest of us look like crap. I understand why pirates do what they do and being a mission runner I understand why we do what we do.

The game takes all sorts of players to make it work. If there wasn't the fear of a gate camp everytime I jumped into low sec or the fear of getting chased by pirates in null sec the missions would mean very little and I would have gone back to playing other games.

I find it hard to say this but even the lowest form of player in this game has a spot. The infamous can pirate. These pirates jump in on miners and steal ore from their jet can. They try to get you to engage and when you do they can ussually take you out fairly quickly. This trick only works on newbs that don't understand the game. The can pirate generally is in a tech 2 frigate and when the young miner reads the description they don't get past the word "frigate" and immediatly think that they can take it out for stealing.

Yes, I am just as guilty as the next newb for falling for this trick. Back what seems ages ago when I got my first battleship my mistake was I came to the aid of another corp mate that fell victim to this theft. I quickly realized that a battleship was no good against a frigate at 700 meters excpecially with only three tech one drones.

I have to admit I was a little upset over this fight. I didn't cry on coms but I did step away from the game for a couple days to ponder where I went wrong. I had to go back to fighting in a battlecruiser until I made enough money to purchase and fit another BS so I had a lot of time. As disturbing the can pirate was he was absolutly neccessary for me to learn game mechanics, strategies, and tactics.

I still have an extremely low opinion of the people who commit can piracy, but I also realize that learning that lesson when I was young saved me more isk then I can count.

Working in low sec

I read a lot of forums and found some statements a little disturbing that pirates are upset with carebears for not traveling to low sec to do missions. Some want to move LV4 missions to low sec in order to force carebears out of the "safe" high sec areas.

I am a little over 8 months old and still only 7 times have I attempted missions in low sec. A little pathetic I know, but for good reason.

At two weeks old I tried to enter a low sec for a carrier mission. I lasted all of 30 seconds as my cruiser was blasted to pieces by two gate campers. A couple days later a corp mate was destroyed by gate campers as he attempted to cross the line between High and low sec. I don't understand why pirates are so surprised that us carebears don't travel that frequently in low sec. Ships cost money and more importantly time. At two weeks I had to take out a loan to pay for my ship. The loss was devastating and it took over a month to recover running LV1 and LV2 missions. I don't really care to engage in PVP all that much so it only made sense to stay out of low sec.

The first loss was 8 months ago. It wasn't until two months ago that I found out where my wife hid my balls and the low sec promise of fame and fortune with better quality agents and now more importantly the elusive LV5 missions were calling me.

We gathered a fleet of 8 ships to attempt our first LV5 mission. This was the first flight of that logistics I wrote about yesterday. Being cautious our CEO jumped in to accept the mission as the rest of us eagerly waited in high sec to see where we needed to go.

We got the mission and again made a few fatal mistakes. The mission was dealing heavy damage and our CEO's Absolution was taking all the aggro. Our logistics ship was repping with ease however fearing aggro herself she accidentally flew the ship out of range and in an instant the Absolution was destroyed. This effectively aborted the mission as all chaos broke out. Many of the other ships didn't have the tank to withstand the aggro so we withdrew to regroup and come up with a new game plan.

Some members of the fleet flew to a safe spot as others flew to stations. Our CEO was sent to buy a new ship and hopefully he would be back in time to finish the mission. Then mistake number 2 became more then apparent. Two members of the fleet were flying navy megathrons. The results of months of missioning had paid great dividends to these pilots and they were proud of their ships. However we learned that they were also highly sought after by pirates. So of coarse as they tried to leave a station there was a group of pirates waiting. As the battle ensued I got the word over the coms and headed over there was quickly as I could to assist. By the time I arrived all that was left was wreckage. Another hard lesson learned about politics in low sec.

We ended up paying the pirates 10mil for protection while we finished our mission and after finishing it we headed back to home station with our heads down. A total of 4 ships lost and one pilot podded. Not a very rewarding mission as the LV5 only had a payout of 4 mil including bonuses.

It will be a week before we tried another LV5 in low sec. This time we left the navies at port. We expect to lose ships in low sec, but we also hope that not every attempt to run a high quality mission will result in destruction. This next LV5 was no exception. We were finishing the mission when we got scanned down and a pirate showed up and tagged the logistics ship. At least this time we were able to give him a good fight.

To date the events have replayed themselves every time we run a mission in low sec. We are prepared for scanners and have policies in place to try and escape or fight once we are discovered. However all this takes time and time is ISK.

In order to run any of the missions in low sec we have to run in fleets. That is not bad however each of us can solo a LV4 in high sec and in low sec due to the constant interruptions by pirates we have to fly in fleets and each mission takes extra time and planning all resulting in less isk per hour.

So if your a pirate you can stop wondering. It all comes down to time and isk.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Carebear PVPing?

Yes.Yes. Carebear and PVP aren't usually one in the same, however a trip to low sec will change that.

Being a touch courageous after my 0.0 run I set out to a .4 system with my Harbinger outfitted to see if I could survive an attack by a PVP'r. I had no aspiration of winning a fight, but was curious if I could hold my own against someone dead set to kill me.

I go about 5 jumps to the first low sec system near me figuring that I should no doubt run into a little trouble. Again I look at the jump button and my finger begins to twitch as I activate the gate. What will be on the other side, will my ship be strong enough? I really had no idea as for the better part of this year I have been in a battleship fighting NPC's and had never been in a real PVP fight. Seemed like a lifetime ago that I even flew a Battle Cruiser. I went to the system not expecting to come out in my ship, but still didn't relish the thought of losing it.

There were a few guys in local. One of which murder was implied in his name. Not wanting to be too anxious I jump off to a roid belt and start attacking some rats. It didn't take long before I had company.

With my overview flashing red I immediately start to lock and then it hits me. All my presets are still set to my battleship. I loose valuable time trying to get to my circle range reprogrammed. It is worse then that. I had also neglected to even check what my optimal range was with the medium beam lasers that I installed on this boat. By the time I figured it all out I was scrambled and had a full set of Hobgoblin II's stripping away my shields. Damn those things are strong, fortunately I am Amarr and really don't bother with shields. I deployed my medium tech II drones and realized that these hobgoblins were my main threat and if they attacked me much longer my armor wouldn't hold out.

Another lesson learned. The drone nerf that we experienced in the last update really hit me. It used to be that my hammerhead 2's could somewhat easily take out anything. Not anymore and my hammerheads were having a heck of a time.

At this time my foe was only about 4000 meters away from me. Nothing like realizing that you set up your ship wrong right smack dab in the middle of a fight. I should have put on pulses and worse then that I knew I should have put on pulses but old habits are hard to break. I like my beam lasers.

I look at his ship and knew he must be laughing as my drones clumsily take out one of his and my lasers aren't even close to being in range to fire. I fully realized I wasn't going to survive on my own but I still had one trick up my sleeve. When our fight first broke out I had our corps logistics pilot cloaked 65km away just in case. Hey don't judge. First thing I learned in Boy Scouts was be prepared and having failed that portion of this fight I had to call in backup.

I could just about hear my opponent swearing through his pod as the logistics uncloaked. He had 30 seconds to beat me and after that I would have 3 tech 2 remote reps on me making any damage he did a waste of isk.

Wish I could have seen his eyes when he saw her uncloak. It was "on" now. My buttons were optimized and my ship was faster and getting to optimal weapons range. I redirected my drones to attack his ship and had my lasers burning away.

Then I got the call. "Ummm, the bogie is firing on me" my logistics pilot shouts on the coms. 65KM away, I mean come on there is no way she could be taking damage. This guy got as close as 700m from me and was firing missiles with no problems so I figured at 65km my guy should have been safe. I still have a lot to learn about other races and weapons in Eve. My long standing belief that nothing existed outside of Amarr was rapidly fading.

This battle was falling apart in front of me. This was my first survival test and I was not doing so well. "Get Out" I shouted. The logistics was halfway through her armor at this time. "Get Out before he scrambles you".

During this I had managed to get out of range of his warp disruptor as well so we set coarse for the nearest gate. I took another big sigh of relief as I hit the jump button.

Carebear goes to Null Sec

Finally after weeks of talking and little of anything else I made it to 0.0 space.

This was my first visit to null sec so I may be romanticizing it a little.

The system I chose to visit was 0-HDC8. Well at least that was my destination. It is a -.7 so I figured I should have some good ratting. I decided to take my Retribution for its speed.

The first 0.0 I came across on my travel route was only preceded by one .4 system after leaving high sec. Anxiously I jumped into the .4 expecting an ambush....Nothing. So I approach the gate to 0.0 thinking this isn't going to be so bad.

With my finger shaking I click the jump button to get into the 0.0. I jump and what do I see? About 15 ships and and a warp bubble. Thankfully I materialized on other side of gate but I didn't waste any time getting out. Looking at local I see the party is here so I head straight to the next gate. There are a lot of jumps before I get to 0-HDC8.

I get to the next gate and nothing on this side so I jump. The next system was pretty busy but there was no one at the gate so I moved along. Then the next, and the next. After a few jumps I jump into a system with no one else. Finally I was able to take a breadth. Seizing the moment I run to a roid belt to see what the rats look like.

Ahh they were beautiful. A battleship surrounded by 3 frigates. Being adventurous I charged the first frig and in a couple volleys he was dead. Then I went ahead and charged the battleship with my little Retribution. This being the first battleship I ever took on in the assault frigate I was amazed at the fact that I was beating it.

I checked local and saw a ship jump in the system then leave again. I held my breath but after seeing it go I was able to relax.

I finished off the battleship and collected the loot but in that same second I realized I had taken my eyes off local for too long and hadn't acknowledged the growing number of people. 1....2....3…..4…..5.....6 ships in a matter of seconds popped in including the guy that had visited for a second earlier.

So I thought to myself that this wasn't the best place to hang out and I warpped to the next gate. There is one guy chilling by the gate. No biggie I think as I jump through and immediately take off for the next gate. I get to the other side and there is a ship waiting there to say "Hi" and he starts to lock me. Of course I check these guys out and so far everyone in local are from the same corp with only one exception.

Then it dawned on me. I look in my upper left corner of the screen and see that I am in Band of Brothers space and apparently I am famous cause I now have a dedicated group of fans following me from system to system.

After waving back to my "friend" at this gate I notice that local is pretty busy so I just go ahead and jump to a planet else fear getting stopped by an interdiction sphere or warp bubble (yes I have done a lot of reading about low sec, but reading doesn’t replace experience and I had none). This planet must have been a local hang out because my buddy at the gate met me there only seconds after I arrived. I had already set a new course to another planet so I had barely enough time to say HI again.

After talking with a few of my corp mates in corp chat I was advised that perhaps it was time to get out. Seeing that I am recognizing a lot of names in each system I go to I agreed and the cat and mouse game officially begins. Being cautious I decided to jump in a system and would immediately jump to a planet. Each gate is being guarded by someone and each of them was trying to lock me. I didn't know how effective a strategy this was as I figured they knew where I was going seeing that my 5.0 security status may have well been a brand across my forehead that said “Carebear”.

My entourage was never more then a couple seconds behind me so I knew that eventually my luck would run out.

The last thing I needed was for reinforcements to show up at the warp bubble or a new one set up. So I turned to a different gate altogether and headed away from high sec. Took a few jumps and finally some peace. No one there. Was only a matter of time before my pursuers started to show up so I turned around and started to back track.

After a couple jumps I didn't recognize anyone in local so I start going straight to gates trying to get back to high sec. I was trying to go fast enough so that I could split the force of ships up behind me as now I figured I was a couple jumps ahead of them and hoped that they would have to split up to find me. What can I say I was being chased, I really didn’t think about the fact that other people in local were reporting my location but at the very least I had a little breathing room.

4 jumps away from safety....3 jumps, then 2 jumps. I now only had one pursuer left that was matching me jump for jump. I was coming up to my last gate before I hit that .4 system then the .5 on the other side. This was also the gate with the warp bubble.

Once I got in the system I jump to my first planet and my pursuer meets me there with a full set of drones and starts to lock me. I take off as fast as I can to another planet then start jumping from planet to planet in the system so as not to stay in one place too long. I really hadn’t planned on such a party and neglected to fit the ever important cloaking device so while I was in warp was the only piece I had at this time. My heart felt like it was going to break out of the rib cage and my hands were shaking as I knew that if I got stopped there was pretty much no way I would survive.

Let’s keep in mind, I entered null sec with full knowledge that I was probably not going to get out in this clone. But I was also not all that excited about getting shot down.

I finally was able to clear my head and realized I was at a planet almost to the side of the gate I came in on. This was my best shot to miss the warp bubble so I activated my warp drive. There are about 18 people in local and half of them have been on tour with me.

After seemingly ages I start dropping out of warp right above the warp bubble. I was thinking about how lucky I was that the warp bubble was only a small. Amazing the thoughts that go through your head as the ship slows down out of warp and there are over a dozen ships surrounding the gate. I had already programmed a route to high sec so as I approached the gate I activated my autopilot so as to jump at the very first opportunity.

I get to the .4 and head off to the .5 system. I get to the .5 with no trouble. On the other side I just sit at the gate hoping I wasn't having a heart attack. One of my pursuers pop in and I nod my head in his direction.

I minute later the other guy that I saw earlier that wasn't in the same corp as the guys I just spent the last hour with comes through the gate in his pod. I couldn't help but smile as I set my autopilot back home and I take a nice long sigh of relief as I sit back in my chair.

I figured there were a few lessons to be learned besides....FIT A CLOAK NEXT TIME A-HOLE. Yes I didn't have a cloak on and after this I realize that perhaps next time I go to 0.0 that may be the most important module on my ship.

So with this I was able to get to Null sec and finally check that off my list.

EVE Carebear speaks up

I been playing Eve since February of 2008. I’m in a mission running corp and have spent almost the entire time running missions against NPC's and hardly anytime playing or preparing to fight other players.

This is a long/monotonous road to be on. Missions are great and the money is good. However, it is inevitable that eventually even a carebear needs to learn how to survive in low sec.

This is my first blog and I do not know how it will impact my gameplay. The info in blogs tend to be security risks so for now I am using an alt name. Hopefully I will be comfortable posting in my character name in the future.