Sunday, 31 January 2010

January 2010 Character Review

Yes, another month has gone by and it doesn't feel like it. I guess being extremely busy OOG contributes a lot.

372 days remaining on my training plan sees that every skill remaining to train is currently at level IV, just a single exception is Advanced Weapon Upgrades which I have yet to commence training due to not yet having Weapon Upgrades, its prerequisite at V yet. Having all my skills at a minimum of level IV certainly show through in combat performance. Rarely are my losses of late down to another ship out-lasting me, usually pilot error!

I keep being tempted to train for something bigger, mainly so that I can be useful to Battlecruiser roams. I think my first Battlecruiser will be the Drake when I do eventually take the plunge. Heavy Assault Missile or Heavy Missile fit I don't yet know. My willpower is still holding fast though for now.

Kirith's total SP's have increased by a shade over 1.5m this month and conversely to last month his Gunnery skills haven't changed at all this month. Instead the rest of the skill trees have been worked on to give a much more even spread of SP's.

I have looked at swapping implants up to +2's from +1's but I haven't yet as I have the distinct feeling I am bound to get podded the moment I undock with them and I just don't have the isk to throw away like that. Also, as I jump clone a lot I would want to put the same implants in all my clones. Perhaps I will upgrade them the next time I get podded.

Wallet balance still sits at just over 100m isk at 104m isk.

In terms of Battleclinic stats, some notes:
- The Tuskers are now ranked 42nd, up 10 places in the last month!
- Kirith has 202 kills for 42 losses, my kill:loss ratio dropping this month.
- Kirith has been involved in the destruction of over 2.4bn of assets.

My Corp mate Noir Avlaa posted a similar character review last month, I hope he continues this as I find it extremely interesting comparing our two characters skill sets, Noir is just a couple of months "older" than Kirith.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Why does EVE captivate me so?

Welcome to this special installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by myself, CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed to me. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

When you’ve been roaming New Eden as long as I have, it almost feels like home. That’s how familiar it has become over the last 5 years. Not that I have done everything or touched every aspect of this most amazing of virtual world, far from it, but it just feels as though it’s always been there. And always will be.

Whether you’ve logged into the game every day since its launch in 2003, or you’ve taken one or several sabbaticals from your capsuleer career, you’ve always come back to New Eden don’t you. Why is that?

We know the EVE Online Community is unique in so many ways, and that EVE Online is like no other MMORPG out there. But what makes the game special for you?

What is it that makes this particular virtual world so enticing, so mysterious and so alluring that we keep coming back for more. Why is EVE one of the very few MMOs to see a continuous growth in its subscriber.

To put it simply: Why do you love EVE Online so much?

The Contest

Write an article letting us know why you love this game so much and get a chance to win one of these 10 amazing prizes courtesy of CCP Games!

* 1st Place: $100 in EVE Store merchandise
* 2nd Place: $50 in EVE Store merchandise
* 3rd and 4th Place: $25 in EVE Store merchandise each
* 5th through 10th Place: a 14-day EVE time pass each

The Prizes

$200 in EVE Online Store merchandise and six 2-week EVE time codes

The Rules

I’ll be judging your articles based on their quality, structure, approach, originality. Other criteria are as follows:

* Contest is open from now until Sunday January 31st 11:59 PM EDT, 2010
* Submit your article (title and URL) in the comments below, before the contest expires. I will be using the date and time of your comment as the time stamp for the contest.
* No offensive or racist language will be allowed.
* You will need to link back to this post in your article introduction, as in typical EVE Blog Banter fashion.
* The winners will be announced on February 5th, 2010.

Why does EVE captivate me so?
It hardly seems like it was nearly six months ago that Kirith graduated as a Capsuleer and set out to make a name for himself out there in the big black void of space. His sponsor through the academy an established Capsuleer who shall remain anonymous who is also a good friend OOG had convinced me to give the EVE 21 days trial a shot.

Equipped with a small amount of isk a great desire to be an elite Frigate pilot I started out in Rifters mostly Meta 2 fit. With only the basic skills to fly and fit a Meta 2 pvp fit Rifter I moved onto Learning Skills for what seemed a very long time. I tried out Faction Warfare as I deemed my skills too low for solo pvp but that fell flat on its nose as it was loads of talk in chat for next to zero action. I wasn't in Faction Warfare for more than a few days before deciding to bite the bullet and attempt to sail the seas of Low-sec space.

The day I made that decision I entered an area of space I had idenfied as a good base of operations, only a single large pirate alliance (M34N) in the locality and otherwise pretty quiet with a number of adjoining high sec systems. Kirith hasn't left Low-sec since, so that will give you an indication of how much I felt at home here. Sure I send the hauler alt out for supplies into high-sec but Kirith now is a permanent Low-sec resident. My first day was a baptism of fire, and brought about my first ship loss. Undaunted I reshipped and set out to build some combat experience.

Initially while I trained my learning skills kills were very hard to get, but not impossible and at the same time those I got were incredibly rewarding and served to give me huge gains in tactics, ranges and target acquisition skills. Once I started to build my combat skills the kills came in thicker and faster and my confidence built where I would go after bigger fish. Today I don't have huge numbers of SP, only 8-9m, but those that I have are all focussed around Minmatar Frigate combat and mean that I have a good chance against characters far older than I, take a chance and you never know what you can accomplish. Sure I lose ships but that all part of learning.

It's this ability for a character who is very young and by other MMO standards "low-level" to take on someone older or "higher level" in ships that may be bigger, better equipped and far more expensive than my own and stand a chance and indeed many times walk away with a victory that is one of the facets that makes EVE so brilliant and utterly different from other MMO's that I have played.

Recently I took the decision to apply to the The Tuskers and I was very pleased to be accepted, I have not looked back since. Without a doubt the community and team spirit and cameraderie within the Corp take the game to a whole new level from flying Solo and is something that I haven't experienced in any other game on any platform. I am sure that this of course is the same in other Corps but is yet another reason why I feel I am here to stay with EVE.

Yet again comparing EVE to other MMO's, at least in terms of pvp in no other game is pvp so brutal in terms of its consequences, sure in World of Warcraft you die in pvp but then your repsawn and get back into the fight and there is very little consequence, Get killed in EVE and were talking the potential loss of ships it's taken you weeks/months or even years to buy and fly. If this concept was applied to Warcraft I guess the equivalent to an EVE pvp ship loss and podding would be losing all of your gear and dropping back 10 levels.

All my experience in EVE to date has been in Rifters. There is whole raft of ships for me to fly and this doesn't even scratch the surface of the many other aspects of the game I haven't even tried or perhaps thought about or even know exist.

The scope of this game is enormous. Yes sir, EVE is here to stay and I plan to stay here with it!


The high & lows of heat

Last post I stated how I now could use heat, prior to actually being able to overheat modules I almost percieved it as a simple concept, overheat -> kill opponent however after using heat a few times its not quite so easy and requires some careful micromanagement. My initial observations:

1, Overheating individual modules by pressing the green bar over the module itself asks for trouble. It's too easy to overheat the module but turn it off in doing so. This cost me a Thrasher kill and lost me a Rifter in the process.

2, Trying to click on those small overload rack buttons is not what I want to do in combat. Keyboard shortcuts help a lot here, I have mapped CTRL 1-3 to overload my racks.

3, At Thermodynamics III the heat damage taken by my modules was pretty high, now I have it at IV it seem much better. Being careful not to burn out your modules is a fine balance. I find it awful as I'm colour blind to red & green which isn't a great combo when we consider the colours in play on the modules during overloading...

I can however sum up and say that heat does change to outcome of fights, my engagement with a Coercer this morning convinces me thus, more details below.

I haven't been in so many fights this week as I wasn't online Sunday - Thursday due to some OOG commitments, my usual synopsis below:

This fellow landed on Noir at a Faction Warfare complex, Noir unfortunately got caught on the gate and called for aid, myself and Ka Jolo were in system and hurried to him, sadly we didn't arrive in time to save him but I managed to scram the Coercer and engage, I popped as he was at 15% armour, leaving Jolo to finish him off. My first engagement against a well setup Coercer and I can say that they are nasty!

Raptor Rasta the Caracal master?
This fellow the Tuskers had quite a few fights against last weekend, I think in total he lost at least 5 Caracals & was podded three times. I chalked up two Caracal kills, here & here. and his Pod once too. There is talk that whoever kills him the most times in our curent campaign is in line for a 10m isk prize, I'm currently joint top at the moment so if this becomes a reality I should be in with a shot!

I happened upon this fellow by accident. I had jumped into the system and found a Rifter on the gate with me. I wanted to Rifter to chase me so warped to something obvious, a nice faction warfare mission. I used the gate as I landed but alas he hadn't followed but entering the room there was this Catalyst. He warped out on seeing me so I tried to pursue but he evaded me. I went back to the FW mission to find a Stabber Fleet Issue on the gate with a regular Stabber just landing. I used the gate and re-entered the mission as the gate only allowed T1 frigs, destroyers and Indys. Less than five seconds after I landed the Catalyst came through too. He died quickly and my Rifter was never in danger.


This morning I had an epic fight with this Coercer, he jumped me at a Faction warfare mission gate as I was going for a Rifter & Slicer inside. I took tremendous initial damage and only overheating my armour repairer kept me going while I closed to point blank range. Once the damage was holding I overloaded guns, and gradually removed his armour and hull. I finished the fight on 50% structure. I would have finished the fight ahead of this but had somehow managed to switch off my armour repairer, god knows how as it hadn't burned out. My victory was bittersweet though as after I repaired and dropped off my loot (which was plentiful) I got caught by the very Slicer I was after and kite-killed.

I hope tomorrow to be posting my latest character review.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

A change of scenery

Since last weeks post I have now trained Thermodynamics to III, it will be at IV in less than a day. This can only be a good thing and I plan to use it masses when flying some of the cheap throwaway ships that i have. Ive been clone jumping around quite a bit this week too, I now have a stable of ships in The Bleak Lands which is smack bang in the middle of Minmatar / Amarr faction warfare. I've also been around my Heimatar "home" as that's where my Thermodynamics skill book was. I've been in on 8 ship kills this weeks, which while not masses I am happy with considering i have only had a single loss.

I have been pleased to see now that my sec. status as others see it is now at -10.0, whilst I know that it isn't a true -10 it's still nice to have obtained this level of criminal standing.

Lets review the weeks activity:

This fellow was hopping around the belts and seemed to be leaving some wrecks in his wake, I assumed that he was ratting. When I eventually saw him i noticed that he was mining too. Now he was a toon of a reasonable age, and many folk always warn about engaging Vexors in frigs but my experience has only perhaps once ever fought a Frig killing Vexor fit, so I engaged and he died. He paid a ransom to save his Pod and was allowed to go free. We chatted a little in local afterwards where I managed to blind him with science regarding the directional scanner and how i had found him.

A day or so later, I can't quite recall, the pilot was in local again and this time in a Thorax. I engaged him again to find I had sprung a tarp! Ohnoes! His friend, who was only young jumped in with a Vexor. I soon had 10 Hammerheads chasing after me plus the ships guns. In retrospect I utterly failed this fight and should have opened up a wide orbit to kite and kill the drones and then move into the ships, but i sat in close orbit and got nuked to hell. But credit to them both for having the stones to come back to low-sec and bait the pirate. I really hope to meet these guys again. They were also so pleased that they killed me and got some T2 mods.


I had seen this pilot in a couple of systems and managed to get the drop on him in a belt, he was young and appeared to be looking for a fight so I obliged, It was a good fight which whilst I think it was only going to go my way unless I did something stupid wasn't completely demoralising for him overkill and-blow-him-to-bits-in-5-seconds. Since the fight I have exchanged a few eve-mails with the pilot where we talked about the reasons he couldn't do full damage on me whilst i could on him and several other points. I wish him luck should he decide to go the fully fledged pirate route.

In a gang merrily roaming across the faction warfare zone, this Hurricane and a Brutix were spotted in a complex, as we warped in the Brutix was popped as it appears they were fighting and not working together. I made towards the ship, but had it's full firepower turned on me so moved out of range as my shields were stripped along with half my armour, once someone else was under fire I moved back in by which time he was in serious trouble as the rest of our gang had engaged. The pilot was not amused by the loss of his ship.

Arazu & Jaguar
Entering Amamake, now there was an experience. Talk about a hornets nest. Our bait went into a belt and found a whole host of evil stuff. An Arazu decloaked just near him and he pointed it, the rest of the gang jumped in heedless of the rest of the evil stuff there too, this was going to be a hit and run. The Arazu melted fast and so too did a Jaguar that strayed too close to us. As they popped a bunch of battleships landed, 3 Armageddons were sat together on my overview, scooping what loot we could we bugged out for no losses to our side.

Back again in Heimatar I had a Stabber on scan, whilst he appeared to be at a belt on scan, he was not to be found. He must either be in a mission or perhaps a cosmic anomaly, doing a quick 30s scan, a single anomaly appeared. Smiling to msyelf I headed there post-haste but no! He's 60km away salvaging, I make maximum burn for him using my new overheat ability! I probably didn't need to as he didn't react to my presence until I started shooting him. I took 5% shield damage in the whole fight, after his ship was destroyed the language barrier proved too much for him to understand a ransom request so I podded him, not a moment to soon as there was a Jaguar landing as I exited stage left.

Back in faction warfare space within five minutes this guy was in a complex, he was a 2007 character so i though twice about engaging. I warped into the plex and he warped off. I chased him around a little then went to a deep safe, a couple of minutes later i went back to the complex to find he had returned. I took some heavy hits from his railguns on my way in but once under their tracking made short work of him. The pilot refused a ransom and was another corpse added to the collection.

A small gang of Tuskers was now formed and a report of tackle on a Harpy was received. Two additional Rifters plus an Arazu went in, The Harpy took out the first two Rifters then started on me, making good ingress into my armour before he popped. He dropped a rather nice Faction Shield Booster plus we recovered all the modules from our fallen comrades wrecks. A nice net gain!

This time next week i'll be preparing the next character review, they do come around fast.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Explosions, more explosions!

This entries title will probably bring a cringe from any WoW players out there as the cry from Grand Mekengineer Thermaplugg at the end of Gnomeregan! But anyway I digress.

It has been a busy few days in terms of explosions, I've both killed some and lost some and had some really exciting and fun fights amongst them, I think I have lost most of the fun ones though to be honest! I have now come to see the value in Thermodynamics and the ability to overheat modules, which has led me to bring forward my training of Thermodynamic a couple of weeks due to losing a few fights that I could have won if I could overheat. All I am missing to commence training is Engineering V which is now underway and Thermodynamics will be at III by next weekend well on its way to IV. I've also been doing some work on training plans for other ships after the Rifter, but thats for its own post I think at some point in the hopefully near future.

Lets summarise recent events then:

The friend of mine who convinced me to start playing EvE has a couple of accounts and one of them took delivery of their covops frigate the other day. He brought it over to Verge Vendor and found me an Iteron in a belt while I was out of system, meaning I could warp straight in to the right belt. Not a great deal to say other than that it had three shield boosters fitted, not entirely sure why he thought that was a good idea. He declined the ransom and set his Pod to self destruct so I saved him the trouble.

Rifter & Griffin
Reports came over voice comms that a frigate gang was in our home system and had warped to a belt, many of us scrambled to the belt and I made for the system and belt as quick as possible. I managed to land when only this Griffin & Rifter remained, we Podded the Rifter pilot but I beleive all the others got away with the Pods.

Hyperion & Megathron
While we were engaged with the frigate gang (above) these two Battleships started firing on a corp mate as he undocked, once the frigate gang was despatched we headed back to engage in a mix of ships, we all had GCC though so I did not have great hopes for my Rifters survival. The Hyperion was about to go down as I landed so I headed to get point on the Megathron. I caught him easily and soon enough the rest of the gang had him pointed too, at this time though the Sentries started firing on me so I bugged out just in time with 40% structure!


This chap one of our probers found in a Wormhole remote repping his Tower, our gang dropped on him like a ton of bricks and toasted him. We managed to extract a sizeable ransom from him to save his Pod & Tower, which I have just bought and fit 18 Rifters with!

Not alot to say about this one aside from his peculiar behaviour. I don't know whether he knew that I was following him but he landed at the top belt, warped off then the same at the second. I assumed that he warped as he was ratting and there were non present but when he died and I saw the mining fit I did scratch my head.

Three in a Row
This morning I logged in to test my sound as I have been having issues with it recently. I undocked with no sound but an Incursus on scan at a belt, feeling it would be rude not to say hi and went in and killed him & his Pod. I then saw another Incursus and an Iteron on scan at a beacon together, making myself known I roasted the Incursus first then the Iteron and of course their Pods. Epic fail on the Iteron loot drops :(. The latter incursus pilot did tell me that he didn't want to fight in local, but hey what's a pirate supposed to when people make it so easy?!

As I'd only logged on for a few minutes I did force myself to dock up and log even though the system kept filling up with ships I could go shoot. My willpower taking control for once.

So onto the losses, I'll be quick as this is getting to be a long post.

I lost a Gank fit Rifter after a tangle with a Dramiel, the Dramiel broke off once I had toasted his Warrior II's it was just after that I sighted another Rifter in a belt and went for it. It was reasonably close but I didn't break through all of his armour (about 10% to go). I can only say in my defence that I hadn't recoved from the Dramiel and was flying a Gank fit Rifter which I still don't like. I think I only have one more to lose now :)

I lost a crap fit Rifter in a very exciting fight vs an older player in a Tracking Disruptor fit Rifter. This was very close and Thermodynamics would have won the day for me if I had the skill!

I lost a Rifter I had just picked up from Bosena when I fought the Rifter from loss 1 above, this was so close coming down to who got their volley in first. It was that close that I thought I had won when I heard the explosion! Sadly I was looking at my Pod, he confirmed finishing on 27% structure. I had capped out several times, so better cap skills or Theromdynamics would have saved the day.

The two latter losses were exhilarating fights which I really enjoyed despite losing.

I feel like I have missed covering a few things, but I can alwats write them up in another post if or indeed when they come back to me.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Oh noes, it's a tarp!

Yep, that's right. I fell into a tarp and lost another Rifter.

I was doing a bit of racing around looking for targets and as I warped to a gate I saw a Caracal in front of me. I don't know whether they were there by chance or were waiting for some peaceful citizen like myself to arrive. I didn't notice the pilot's name as they warped out as I landed, following their trajectory I went to the only belt at that location and landed right on top of them. Turns out that their Caracal was anti-frigate setup and I soon went down in flames, in retrospect there was no way that I could have survived that fight so that makes me feel slightly better. After giving "gf" in local they commented that I was free to collect my loot which was awfully nice of them. Note to self, don't pick on ~2 year old players in anti-frig setup Caracals.

Being in somewhat of a dry spell for kills I was itching to shoot something. I saw a Cyclone on scan piloted by a 2 month old player. He docked up as soon as I appeared and logged off without returning in the half hour I waited (Gave me time to make some bookmarks in the system though!). After I had pretty much given up waiting another Rifter pilot was on scan. Eventually he attacked me at the station and his ship had no chance of breaking my tank so I just selected keep at range and blew him to bits =). However I then made an error in that I locked and scrammed his Pod, then blew it to bits to stop him docking up. I did though completely forget about the sentry guns who quickly deposited me into a Pod of my own. Doh!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The Artillery PVP Rifter - Initiation

Yes, a strange post title and indeed combining the artillery and pvp in the same sentence. More on that later.

Quite a few kills in the last few days so a quick summary of them:

I decided to jump clone back to Heimatar a for a 24 hour stint back in my "old stomping grounds" and looking in my hangar I remembered that before I headed off to pastures new with The Tuskers I had bought fit some PVP Artillery Rifters but had yet to test them. So I set off in one and eventually came across a Vexor in a cosmic anomaly. My heart sank a bit when he was 130km away and I was Afterburner fit. Worth a try anyway I deemed as there were plenty of rats closer than I so I might be able to close before I appeared on his overview. Keeping a close eye on him he was aligned to warp out but he either can't have seen me or assumed I had a short point fitted as I pointed him from 20km and settled into a wide orbit. My modest damage plus that of the rats was more then he could handle and he died quickly. I took out his Pod too when he wasn't paying the ransom.

I was missing my Corp mates so jumped back to Verge Vendor at the earliest opportunity. A Raven was spotted in a mission nearby, If I recall a 2006 character. A prober came a soon dug him out upon which we went in and took him out very quickly. His Pod went too when he was quite rude in our ransom discussions. I assume looking at the fit that he either must have been inactive some of his lifetime or that perhaps the character had been sold to another player. Triple tank type hull repairing Raven ftw amirite?

Hevrice and its neighbouring systems are in Faction Warfare zone and there are quite a number of plexes and missions spawning. I decided to wait on one while doing some scanning and this little Rifter warped right onto the acceleration gate with me. I had advised the corp that he was inbound and two other fleet members landed to whore the killmail, unfortunately pirate willpower didn't hold long enough for the fourth member of the fleet to get on the mail and he got toasted no matter how much I kept asking for people to hold fire. He got away with his Pod though.

Keeping my eyes on the scanner I saw this Myrm on scan before it docked up. I advised corp so they decided to undock a few ships on him as he undocked. Unfortunately as Rifters are not so good at tanking Sentry Guns I merely warped in to get on the Killmail and then warped out again. I look forward to the day I have something big enough to participate in.

Last night I logged in to find a T1 Frigate gate in action in Old Man Star. I headed out to join them as quick as I could. They had taken quite a toll on the locals by the time I arrived, listening to three ships being killed just while I was on my way! Unfortunately the killmails for two Incursus we got before this Drake that we killed are missing somewhere in the ether. This Drake and a Thorax were at a Faction Warfare mission that had spawned so we engaged, unfortunately it was a trap and we got obliterated, but not before taking the Drake down for the loss of three T1 frigs. Not a bad swap.

I saw this on a gate and was certain it was bait for a trap so I jumped through the gate to have a looksee. Nothing on the other side so I jumped back through and killed it while the pilot must have been afk. I took out his Pod too so I guess he wasn't a happy bunny when he came back. I still have no idea what he was doing there though!

This fellow was in Hevrice, I think the only unfriendly in the system at the time so I don't really know why he hung around. Heedless we proceeded to work on scanning him down and when we got very close to 100% he warped away. Not to worry though as within a minute or so a corp mate called point and warp to Romeo. A whole bunch of us blobbed him and saved Romeo's Exequeror from a sticky end (Cheer \o/) so the Rupture died fast. We snagged the Pod too when the pilot declined the ransom opportunity.

I found this fellow in a Faction Warfare mission complex and discovered him 70ish km away. I reported it to corp anyway and a couple of corp mates were in the vicinity so tried to get there before I or he died. I was gratified to see him engage me, but it was a very close fight. I was capped out by the end and at 99% Structure but once I had broken his shield it was game over for him. Noir managed to get a single volley off at him but my other Corp mate didn't quite get a lock in time and I wasn't in a state to hold fire.

The final kill for this review is a 2 month old player in a Catalyst, frankly me getting this was pure chance as I picked up a Catalyst on scan as I left a gate. I knew he wasn't at the gate so took a guess at one of the belts on scan and warped straight there. I landed 3km from him and it was a quick death for his ship. I attempted a 5m ransom from him but he said had no money so I sent him via the Pod express.

To return to the title of this post relating to the Artillery Rifter, I can say that tracking is an issue. DPS is still reasonable as I think I get 93 from it. I will try versions with tracking rigs rather than falloff in future to see how much that helps. The trump to this ship will be Frigates with MWD's but they seem to be fairly rare. Of course the major weakness of this is the tank as it's paper thin but I'll lose a few and then decide whether to keep refining it or whether to ditch it for now like I did with the "Gank" Rifter.

In other news, yesterday was a sad day for The Tuskers. Wensley a long time and (in)famous? member left. The hole he leaves I am sure will be a large one but I wish him all the best in his 0.0 adventures. Although I didn't get to fly with Wensley, I'm sure those that have read his blog will feel like they have.