Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Low-sec = ???

This is an unofficial Blog Banter post because I can't be arsed to copy/paste stuff and track everyone that's writing about this. I'm sure CK is ok with that, and if not he can come tell me in person at the next Montreal EVE Meet (October 9th 7PM at Brutopia if you're interested!).

Here's a revelation that I'm sure will shock everyone: Low-sec sucks. Apart from looking for some The PvP there is currently no reason to live there. I have never ransomed anyone but I can bet my mom that ransoms do not pay for all of a pirate's expenses. So the Low-sec population these days currently looks like this: pirates, passer-bys, capital/cyno pilots, and clueless people about to be ganked. There is no resource that would make a Hi-sec carebear disregard his sacrosanct safety for the prospect of earning more ISK. This has to change.

Lately I've been flying a lot into Low-sec to get some action but I'm not into it to become a pirate and ransom every ship I come across. I'm more into making pirates pay for their choice of profession. I'm not saying that it works all the time but it does happen, and let me tell you, if anything, pirate tears taste even better than carebear tears! Pirates very rarely get offended, but when they do it's priceless :)

But I'm not a PvP-only person. I actually happen to like some PvE every so often; Hell I even find ratting relaxing because the only thing you have to think about is to blow shit up. Oh, and reload your guns! But here's one of the reasons Low-sec sucks for the average ratter, apart from the dangers that may appear in Local:

  • Ratting Hi-sec (1 hour): 100k ISK bounties (a joke)
  • Ratting Low-sec (1 hour): 200k-750k ISK bounties (if you catch a BS)
  • Ratting Null-sec (1 hour): 5-10 million ISK bounties (more if you're good at chaining)

Easy to notice that bounties are kind of lopsided. Add to that the fact that if you are in a big alliance it is a lot safer to rat in 0.0 by a large margin... yeah, no wonder pirates just can't find targets in asteroid belts and are reduced to camping gates in heavily tanked battleships (which can die to interceptors I might add!) and station f... unmanliness. So if Hi-sec is the downtown area, and Null-sec is the lush countryside full of wildlife, Low-sec is the slum with crumbling buildings because no one is taking care of them. And unless CCP does something about it, it will stay that way.

But there is a core of players who are willing to do something about it. CSM Chairman Mynxee and a team of players varying from -10 outlaws to pure carebears looking for a lucrative revenue without having to move to the butt-end of Nowhere are currently looking into ways of Making Low-sec Matter, and I happen to be a part of the team as the "kind-of-anti-pirate-weekend-hunter-who-may-also-like-a-way-to-make-some-good-ISK" type player. It's only been a few days since the ball has started rolling but ideas are already starting to flow like a rushing stream. Low-sec has been ignored for too long, and it's time someone gives it some love.

Never fly safe... it's bad for you


Sunday, September 26, 2010

When the PvP becomes awesome

Today it all came together like it rarely does. Our sunday PvP op did start off rather normally and our small gang made up of a Hurricane, Harbinger, Vexor, Stabber and Caracal (an Ishkur joined us later) caught a Myrmidon in Caldari Low-sec. We had spotted him and a couple of his buddies flying around but they were making themselves a bit shy. At some point for reasons unknown, the Myrmidon warped to a tactical spot about 350km from the gate we were sitting on. At first we didn't do much but then I slowly notice that he's approaching us at low speed. Knowning there weren't too many people out in space who may be jumping us short of having a massive log-on trap, I announced my intention and start heading towards the Myrm. When it became clear that he was going to commit himself I turned on my Microwarp Drive and burned towards him Vaga style, half expecting him to warp off just before I lay a point on him. But he did not. Bad call on his part. Being now just under 200km away from the gate the gang can now warp to me and the Myrmidon got melted rather quickly. Just as we were about to finish him off his buddies had arrived at the gate, but too late to do anything but watch us loot the wreck. They made themselves scarce after that.

We continued a bit farther into Low-sec when at some point we see something funny. A train of a few capsules passed us in a very short time. Funny at first but things got serious fast. A few jumps later our scout spots a Tengu and two Drakes. We decided to go for the tasty Tengu, but it turned out to be a big mistake as litterally, Voltron formed on us! They had laid down the trap carefully, had a good idea of our fleet's composition because these were the capsuleers we had seen previously, and it was over quickly. My hat's off to them for not only catching us, but also for being very good sports about it. I don't know them that much, but We Form Voltron appears to be a class act. Cheers guys :)

But of course this made us want to keep on hunting so we made it back to HQ at best speed to reship, this time slightly cheaper, and much smaller in my case. The new fleet was composed of a Rupture, Caracal, Cyclone and my Taranis. Before we set off Havegun, our Rupture pilot, decides to go just on the edge of Low-sec to see if by any chance there is some action. There was. Fasten your seat belts ladies and gents, because this is where the fun starts!

As the other three ships are on their way to our rendez-vous point, Havegun gets tackled by a Phobos and a Zealot. The Rupture is holding it together though, and as we jump in we decide to go for the most expensive ship, the Phobos. And Lo and Behold, we pull it off! The Zealot warps off and a few seconds later, an Abaddon arrives on the scene. We all get on him right away and start laying on the pain, but a few seconds later a Megathron arrives (the Phobos pilot obviously) and starts to put the hurt on our larger ships. One thing we did do good: we got rid of all our opponent's drones. Therefore, when there's only my Taranis left, orbiting the Abaddon at 500-1000m, I'm slowly eating up the battleship's buffer tank, helped by the gate guns of course, and the Megathron just cannot hit me; the whole "hitting a fly with a baseball bat" thing. So the Mega warps off, and my fleet mates are frantically scrambling for replacement ships to finish the job. But it's looking very much like I will not need them... or am I?

With my heart pounding like mad over the potential solo kill from hell, my feeling sinks a bit when an Oneiros arrives on the field of battle and starts repairing the Abaddon, and sends a new flight of drones at me. I send my own two drones after the Oneiros', and in the nick of time Havegun returns with a Rifter and gets rid of the drones hurting me. The Oneiros sends a second flight of Warrior IIs but this flight lasts about 20 seconds. The Rifter is then free to start killing the logistics ship, and I can just do my thing and keep putting the pressure on the battleship. A probably shorter time than I think after that, the Oneiros blows up. The already very damaged Abaddon doesn't survive much longer. And about damn time too, because the only ammo I had left was 36 rounds of Federation Navy Anti-matter S in the cargo hold, and whatever was left in my blasters! The wrecks get looted real quick and Havegun and I get out of dodge; again in a timely fashion, my fleetmate Felix arrives on the field in his stealth bomber just in time to see, of all things, an Absolution and a Thanatos warping not to the gate (which would be fail enough) but to the wrecks, 40km away from it. I find this so funny that I asked in our Alliance chat if anyone was up to kill a carrier :)) They weren't but we didn't care. One of the best fights in our EVE careers had just happened.

We tried to go for a third trip but at this time some people were going to have to log off, and when one of our cruisers got caught pants down on a gate, we called off the op and went back to HQ. I have this feeling that this fight well be a tough one to be beat, especially in terms of what we killed with the ships we had. Our victim wasn't exactly happy about it though, predictably enough. But one thing I don't get... Mr WayCharles, you are a -10 pirate, therefore anyone is free to shoot at you. Getting offended over getting attacked by us... dude, just WTF?!?! Oh well, I hope you have a good ISK source :))

I'd like to thank the following pilots for making the small fleet that made a great afternoon: Havegun Willtravel, Felix Dcat, Gemorion, Bishopgwa, and special guest Sue AGPlant from Rionnag Alba. And WayCharles/Shiln... I guess we'll be seein' ya >:)

Fly hard, and never let go


Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday's Electric Lunch Hour - 2010/09/24

We now take a trip back in time when rock music was absolutely epic. Before anyone mentions the un-reacting audience, remember that this is the BBC in the 70s... either that or they're just awestruck at the brilliance of this tune.

On the EVE front, a few of us at MAPU decided to go on a roam yesterday. Nothing special happened except a very long fight with a nicely tanked Drake, which we had to be cut short when the guy's help arrived. Note to self: if a Drake is fit to tank Angels, do not shoot Barrage at it. Oh well. The Rep Fleet EMP is in the Vaga's cargo hold now, and I'll probably add a few more flavors just in case. I've also switched my drones from Warriors to Hobgoblins. We live in the middle of Angel infested territory so of course we'll run across more explosive tankers.

I also have a new toy to practice with over the weekend, my first Rapier. This should be a fun weekend :)

Fly deadly, until you get blobbed :)


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Because I must...

To everyone at Hellfleet, Tuskers, Bastards, Veto, those crazy fucks at Python, and all the other piwat corps and alliances I can't think of:


Two screens are better than one!

Yes, I am finally on par with a lot of EVE players. I can do the tedious stuff while watching a movie. I can research information as I fly, and most importantly I can FC and use a dynamic map system instead of sheets of paper which have a tendency to get damages and/or lost, and if/when I have to use Skype, Team Speak, Ventrilo, I can have it visible and see what's going on instead of having it running in the background. About time!

The only downside I have so far is that the two screens are of different sizes and resolutions: my main is 22" and the second one is 19". So I can't use both for things like flight sims or race sims, it would just look too awkward. But who knows, I may get another 22" screen at some point in the future.

That's about it for now. I don't have much computer time this weekend, parenthood is keeping me too busy. Back on Tuesday night with a vengeance >:)

Fly hard


Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday's Electric Lunch Hour - 2010/09/17

Back to metal, in no uncertain ways. Forget about headphones, this one is for listening on speakers as loud as possible. If your speakers break up, break apart or blow up, it means you were in tune with the essence of Slayer. If not, you either have a very good sound system or you're a wuss. If someone complains that it's too loud, it's because that someone is too old.

Enjoy the Slaytanicity of Slayer

\m/ >_< \m/

EVE Front: the numbers are slowly climbing in MAPU corp. This will be a quiet weekend because of parental duties but the first scheduled ops will be starting. I may not make the first op, but the second is my thing so it would take something dire to keep me from it.

Fly deadly


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Letrange's swan song

As most of you bloggers already know, my great buddy Letrange has recently stepped down as leader of Apoapsis Multiversal Consortium and taken his corporation out of the alliance in preparation for a much needed break away from EVE. So of course we just had to underline the event with as decent a fleet as we could muster. It wasn't exactly a blob but our skirmish gang was well equipped to play hard; Letrange had requested for everyone who would show up to bring a good PvP ship because he wanted to blood his PvP Loki. The call was heard, and this is what our skirmish gang looked like: Loki, fleet-boosting Tengu, Vagabond x2, Gila, Curse, Rook x2, Falcon, Arazu, Crow and Thorax. Yeah... things were going to get interesting unless we ran into huge numbers or capitals.

So we set off from our HQ in Gerbold towards Metropolis Low-sec space; though we had a very nice fleet, Letrange was not quite comfy with the idea to head to Null-sec (some of us, me included, were requesting a trip to Providence ^_^) so instead we did sort of a Tour de Low-sec, looking mostly for piwats but if we would've seen anything tasty in a belt or doing missions, we would've stomped on it. We get to the Evati system where our scout spots a criminal Harbinger hanging some distance off a gate (sorry, can't remember which), preying on whatever is jumping through. Our second Vaga pilot, me being the other one, jumps in and starts to annoy the BC to see if he'll get aggression, and sure enough, the Harbinger bites. The Arazu decloaks, the gang jumps in and warps to the Vaga, and the Harbinger gets, scrammed, webbed, jammed and fragged into next Sunday. He had a good tank so he could kill people around the gates, but our fleet over-powered him in no time flat. In a great stroke of luck it is Letrange himself who got the killmail, thereby blooding Hellhound, his unbelievably nasty Loki.

We next set off towards the Minmatar-Amarr border. At one point we had to evade a 40-50 man gang that cut off our original route towards Gallente Low-sec, where we knew we were going to see action. Unfortunately for us, there wasn't much action along the way. Kind of weird for a Sunday after noon. At one point we did have hopes way up as a Thanatos and a Chimera were clearly doing a deadspace complex; now, why would anyone do a plex in Low-sec in 2 carriers is beyond me. It would've taken a long time to kill them, but we had the jamming power to keep both carriers out of the fight. Unfortunately, just as our prober was about to land the 100% on them, the carriers disappeared as they jumped out to a cyno field somewhere. Good call.

At this point we are into Amarr Low-sec and we can start to make our way towards Gallente space from the other side. The plan is to go play with some of the piwat alliances (*cough*VETO*cough*) living out there. Once again we are met with a lot of empty space, but at one point a bigger gang (around 30) crosses our way. This was a bit overwhelming but where our scout didn't stick around long enough to get ship types, I felt that even at 12 vs 30ish, if the other fleet had too many weak links it would have been possible to kill enough of them to get them to disengage. Anyway, nothing happened as the bigger gang didn't stick around and moved on, leaving us once again in near-empty space. The op had been going on for about 2 hours now, and some pilots would be having to drop fleet. So we decided to find the one close place where we were absolutely certain to find some trouble: Old Man Star!

As is usually the case with OMS, the place is a complete mess; you cannot know who is flying with who or against who, there are ship wrecks everywhere, and a good number of people are tagged criminals. As we hang around on various gates, no one dares aggress us, which is a nice feeling. Meanwhile our Recon pilots are trying to find some targets, one by going to belts and the other by trying to probe a Tengu and a Nighthawk we had on scan. Our scout lands on a red Thorax who is asking for it. As we land he melts in no time, and all of a sudden about 6-7 ships land at a tactical from the belt. We have a short Mexican Stand-Off where we just looked at each other, but the arrival on scan of a carrier has us moving elsewhere because we were pretty sure these guys were together... call it gut feeling. We wait for news about the Tengu and Nighthawk to see if we can nab one last, really expensive kill, but they are safe inside a POS force field so that's pretty much it. The fleet then disbands, and Letrange is wished a warm "goodbye and have a nice one!".

After reshipping to a much cheaper Thorax, 3 of us, including a Hyena pilot who made his way towards the fleet as the op was about to end, wanted to find more trouble in Old Man Star, and sure enough we did. The story behind this: the Hyena and I are touring the OMS belts, looking for trouble. I land into an empty one and just as I warp off an Ishkur arrives. But unfortunately our Hyena pilot lands at the same belt just after I've left. A second Ishkur then shows up so the Hyena dies a horrible death. So it's Arazu/T1-rax vs Ishkur x2. We call the closest Ishkur primary but we make a discovery: these guys are flying the exact same way you would fly remote-repping cap-transfering Domi's. The Ishkur's tank holds and they are able to kill first the Arazu, and then my Thorax. The frustrating part is that if I had been in a T2 fit Thorax the Ishkur would have gone down with me. Oh well, such is The PvP :)

So all in all, this was a great afternoon and much fun was had. MAPU will be doing these kinds of roams more often the near future, and it also sparked some interest in some of the other corp's pilots. I personally can't wait to do it again! So Letrange, your last official roam was a good one, but if you feel like joining in the fun during your hiatus you'll be welcome as if you never left :)

Fly hungry


Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday's Electric Lunch Hour - 2010/09/10

Yep, it's once again time for the up-beat break that will annoy the crap out of your boss, cubicle neighbour, mom, or all of the above. This week I branch off from the metal theme to the absolutely wonderful universe of maestro Frank Zappa. A little background on the Black Page: the tune was originally composed as a drum solo to challenge Zappa's then drummer, Terry Bozzio. He then came up with the melody that was played along with the drum solo. As Zappa himself said a lot of people couldn't approach the song's "statistical density in its basic form", so he gave the tune a lot more swing and turned it into the Black Page Part II, The Easy Teenage New York Version. In the 80's Zappa added some reggae elements, culminating in the 1988 version I've posted here. Another anecdote about the Black Page involves drummer Vinnie Colaiuta shortly after he joined Zappa's band. During a session, Vinnie played the solo and did something most regular drummers can't even think about: without missing a beat, Vinnie pushed his glasses on his nose, grabbed a piece of sushi, and kept playing the near-impossible tune. Terry Bozzio, who was present at the session, apparently walked out in disbelief! After this video is done I encourage you to watch the original Black Page as played by Terry.

On the EVE front: after half a week and a petition, AMC leadership has now passed from Letrange to Cathrianne, and ChaosStorm is now out of the alliance, though it is set so blue it's almost black! So what does the future hold for us? Well, if we want to stay an alliance one thing is certain: we have to recruit. AMC has a strong industrial background and can basically build anything, even capitals if push comes to shove. It should be noted that though there is a lot of emphasis on industry and mining, especially in the colonized W-space systems, carebear activities can turn into The PvP in the blink of an eye. All of our pilots have learned the hard way that crying and whining about a ship death is just not acceptable. Not only that, but most of our essentially carebear pilots can turn into bloody-thirsty hunters if the occasion presents itself. But AMC is not all carebear.

We at MAPU are PvP minded; we do have some non-PvP activities in order to stay afloat in decent ships and mods, but since most of us have access to L4 agents, or W-space sites if we ask nicely enough, ISK is not really an issue. We also do some exploration sites in dangerous space, because there's nothing like flying dangerous :) For now there are only a few of us that are active, but we hope to get some more pilots to start fielding bigger gangs. We are currently stationed in Gerbold, on the eastern side of Heimatar, with easy access to three Null-sec regions: Etherium Reach, Great Wildlands and Geminate. For solo PvP or small gang action we have clones in the Everyshore region where we have access to many Low-sec hot spots, and not too far away from Null-sec Syndicate. We are not looking for pilots with a specific amount of Skill Points, or that fly specific ship types. We are looking for pilots from pure n00bs who want to learn the ways of the PvP to veterans who are active but want to play casually. If you are looking for clockwork ops or military rule, MAPU is not the corp for you. If you are in another corp but know of people who are starting out in EVE and would be too young SP-wise for your outfit, by all means send them our way! For more information or an interview convo, contact Unzer, Havegun Willtravel or myself, Cozmik R5, in-game.

So that's pretty much it for now. The weekend is about to start, and about damn time too !!!

Fly hard


Edit: as of this morning, Cozmik has achieved Heavy Assault Cruiser V. I can now field the Perfect Vaga... ok not quite perfect but all gunnery, navigation and ship related skills are now maxed :)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday's Electric Lunch Hour

Once again it is time to crank up the volume to 11 and annoy all forms of neighbours. I've been a Metallica fan since basically Day One, and even though the band was never the same after bassist Cliff Burton's death, the band endured through all the hardships, criticism, therapy, etc. I personally think that the addition of Robert Trujillo was exactly what the band needed as a kick in the ass.

On the EVE front: MAPU operations are starting to get under way, ships are starting to pop (both our enemies' and our own), and morale is on the rise. This being a parental weekend it might get a bit quieter for me so I'll use what playing time I have to make ISK. Tuesday night I'll be jumping back to PvP HQ and by the next MTL EVE Meet I expect to kill and lose lots of shipping tonnage >:)

Until next time, fly loud.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First op in MAPU

As you may have noticed in the upper right-hand corner, it now says that Cozmik R5 is now a member of Mobile Alcohol Processing Units, a corp headed by a few Montreal region based players, and more Montreal players will be on the way soon, and a recruitment campaign will be worked on so we can form a true PvP corp. Our goal is very simple: we like to blow shit up, or get our shit blown up in at least a valiant attempt, and we don't want to bog ourselves down with Sov bullshit. For now we have a Hi-sec HQ sitting very close to three Null-sec regions as well as a lot of Low-sec areas. I'm still a bit keen on giving away the specifics because 1- our recruitment plan hasn't been formed yet, 2- there are possibilities of a move to "that crazy place called Curse", and 3- I'm not a director yet. No I'm not begging, kicking and screaming "plz plz plz make me a director NOW!!!111". If the MAPU brass wants to give me the roles, I'll do the job to the best of my habilities; after all, in LCSC I was an Alliance level director, and doing a bit of diplo work is actually kinda fun. But anyway, all in good time.

So yesterday after logging on I get together with corpmate Havegun Willtravel for a bit of Low-sec The PvP; Gun was already in the Sinq-Laison region so I joined him there. Flying relatively cheap T2-fit T1 cruisers, we have no qualms about throwing caution to the four winds and getting into David vs Goliath type fights. We start with the Mya-Gerper constellation in Everyshore, which is an old hunting ground for AMC. We didn't stay long because the dinky dead-end constellation is completely empty. So we start moving towards the Sinq-Laison Low-sec areas, and don't have to travel too far to see some action. And who better to give some The PvP than our very well known CSM chairlady, Mynxee! Of course, fighting 2 Hurricanes with a Vexor and a Stabber is kind of suicidal, but that stops us about as much as ambient air stops a speeding bullet. So as we land we primary Mynxee's buddy, Dame Death, who is already a -10 outlaw (Mynxee isn't, yet). This probably didn't help us because the 2 'Canes were differently fit; Mynxee's was AC fit, Dame's was arty fit. When I landed on the grid I had no problems sticking close to Dame and started doing a good number on the 'Canes huge shield buffer, but she was slowly pulling away from Gun who noticed this too late. So his weapons were starting to have less and less effect; he had been doing a good job tanking Mynxee but when Dame's 720s got into optimal it was all over. Knowing I was on my way down I overloaded the top rack in a vain attempt to break thru Dame's shields, which I barely managed to do but too little too late. If Gun had noticed the Cane trying to get some distance and stuck to it, things might have gone differently. But still, as 2v2 fights go this was a fun one, even if we bit off more than we could chew.

We then reshipped to what Havegun had available in stations nearby, which was a Myrmidon and a Rifter, but the only ships we saw worth fighting was another Myrm (who had just made mince-meat of a noobish Hurricane), and semi-large gate camps. Gun not wanting to lose this particular Myrm, we got back to Hi-sec and I had to call it a night. Gun was lucky enough to find a good 1v1 frig fight that he won just before I logged off.

So now the ice is broken. Too bad I started my MAPU stint with a loss, but as Havegun told me, with all the success we've had before - say like when I rejoined AMC and we killed a Phobos and a Dominix, with my Claw doing top damage on the Domi - this didn't really count. Next time out we should have a couple more pilots with us, and if all goes well we will soon be having what I love the most about EVE: a good skirmish fleet. Damn I have missed this!

Fly with the dagger in your teeth