Friday, August 29, 2014

Blueprints.... Revisited

The Blueprints series has been one the most sucsessful, and most refrenced blog posts I have ever done. It was a fairly large undertaking, however it is rather out of date. So much has happened with eve, and with bombers- That I feel I should revisit the old collection, and add something new. I am planning to do to

Scanning Part 1/2 - Where I cover the basics of silent, and active scanning along with scouting through worm holes.

Fitting+Skills Part 1/2 Where I discuss Solo bomber fitting ideas, concepts and what makes a proper bomber fit.

Active Hunting Part 1/2- Included would be me giving some active commentary while on target- and actively scanning. Giving you an idea what is going on play by play. Not meant to be teaching, just a proof of concept / endgame with my bomber guide.

Hope you enjoy, Will be updating this post in the future as I complete the last 3 videos.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hyperion Release

Hyperion brought with it many great changes, however in particular the changes to worm hole space was a huge boon to my vagabond wormhole lifestyle. For those of you that have been living under a rock, here is a relevant devblog on the subject. While the changes to kill information being removed from API does make things much more annoying, I think that changes to worm hole frequency could make up in content.

For those of you that are trying to understand worm hole mechanics / or are interested in some more of the complex worm hole mechanics that come along with the new changes, here is a great forum thread that may be of interest to you.

The new frequency to worm hole spawning, and now the increased difficulty of WH groups to cycle holes is a great start to making worm hole place (In some respects) less safe, and easier for vagabonds such as myself to have a chance at a larger group of targets. I have seen on multiple occasions already, chains of wormholes 15+ deep. My loins are tingling for all of the extra content this is going to be providing for me. Now with that said lets start talking about the subject that all of my readers are here for in the first place- kills. The one I am planning on sharing with you today, is the type of kills that I consider perfect. The target had no chance to know that I was there.

1. My incoming worm hole was off his D-scan
2. He was at an ANOM so I just could D-scan him down, ensuring that I never had to break cloak

As per the bombers trademark, once I had selected this target- things were over in a matter of seconds. No time to react, no time to retaliate. A clean kill.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Death Threats

Drakes, the quintessential low SP mission ship. Works great in high sec. However, being a new player and entering wormhole- is really a dangerous idea. When I first spotted this drake, he was refitting at a safe with a mobile depot. From what it looked like to me, he was using it to refit cloak / scanner into full missile high slots. After a brief pause, he warped into his first Sleep Combat site, a simple perimeter outpost. Now mind you, this is a very low class worm hole, so i assumed that our intrepid young drake pilot thought this his BC would be more than a match for the sleepers.

As he warped to the site, I tailed him. Cloaked the entire time- I could never get a fix on his current shield status, but based on his extremely slow clear speed I surmised he was struggling. This became even more apparent when I noticed that his ship was flying with a sudden awkward pattern, and before I knew it- the drake pilot finally figuring out that he was way, way over his head- panic warped out to the nearest celestial.

Sadly for him, I am very good at what I do- and patient. I noticed where he warped off, and followed. Thanks to the Rubicon warp speed changes, I beat him to the planet. What happened next was simply fate. I have seen so many players do the exact same thing he has. To me, its just another easy kill. The ailing drake, was down in 3 shots. While he had the presence of mind to at least shoot me- it was too late.

Afterwards, I find this.

And as the icing on the cake, it appears that the intrepid drake pilot had tricks up his own sleeve. Till next time.

Angel's Share

Im back to writing, having really never left eve- The thought of updating this dusty thing finally hit me. I promise to have a super post detailing an epic 150+ Jump roam through nulsec.... In a Deadspace fitted, HG snaked PvP Nightmare. Sadly, this is not that post. I just have a quick Video for you today, as a thank you for all of my continued readers. Always a pleasure to answer your mails in game. Hope you enjoy.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Quick and Dirty

Just a short post today. I find myself in worm hole space once again, flying this:

I opted to go with a target painter. The idea behind this bomber, is simply to kill lightly tanked ships / indys as quickly as possible. And considering the TP allows me to apply full damage to almost any barge / Indy I shoot- I kill them very, very quickly.

I have had good luck so far:

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Short History of my 'Nano' Journey (Part 1)

One day while chilling out in worm hole- I received a convo from a friend of mine. While I had not received any message from him in some time, we were both part of the gaming community 'Team Liquid' and had known of each other long before playing EvE. He sought me out, after reading this blog oddly enough and invited me to take part in the Team Liquid corporation within EvE called 'The Hatchery'. It was an invitation that would forever change my eve career. However before joining I started to do some home work regarding 'Hatch'. I checked out their play style, learned a bit about the fleets, checked pilots, killboards, and the like. Like any good solo bomber pilot, I was checking everything out before I finally hit uncloak for the last time, and hung up my bomber wings. Before I knew it- I was flying up north, near Black Rise space. But the question that is probably on many readers minds is- what in gods name was I doing up here?

Where is the cloaky, patient, calculating, submarine like narrative gone? The answer is simple: PvP shakes The shakes are something that I had explained in my last blog post. Suffice it to say, its the rush you get when PvPing in eve. For a long time, the stalk plus instapop I got while flying bombers did it for me. But after awhile it stopped. Hence why I was flying north in my Nano Drake, I was in search for green pastures that provided me with more shakes. After looking at nano (For a long, long while), I had determined that it was in fact a superior play style than to the one I was currently practicing. Nano is, and always has been the one and only way to wage proper guerrilla warfare. Oddly enough my EvE character (Chessur) is named after such an event, but more on that later. So lets get talking about Nano.

The first to truly discover the art (In my mind at least) are the men comprising the 'Golden Horde' lead by none other than the infamous Genghis Khan. Their horsemen, riding multiple horses into battle (Yes you read that correctly) had perfected the art of horse back archery. These riders made great use of excellent horseman ship, along with great accuracy. The archers were able to control range easily with their horses, and also project damage well when used against standard infantry man / cavalry. The mounted archer was indeed the end all in skirmishing, and kiting inside the iron / bronze age. Only with the advent of massed foot soldier archery squads did Mounted archery truly decline. There, long bowmen could use their superior numbers + projection to bat away mounted archers, and force them from the field of battle. Another historical reference that I am more keenly interested in, is that of naval warfare. In particular the war of 1812, which if you didn't already know- was fought between a fledgling America and Great Britan. Because it is within this theater that we can truly start making some better parallels to EvE (and also explain where my character name comes from.)

The war of 1812 was long, vicious, and on paper- one sided. Speaking briefly from a naval point of view, the British empire (at the time) had with out a doubt the most superior naval fight force the world had ever seen. The Americans on the other hand, could hardly muster more than a squadron of Frigates, as most American 'Ships of the Line' had near the later stages of the war- been pushed far inland, off the coast, or destroyed/captured. Because of this the Americans at the time began using what is known as 'Privateers'. These guns for hire, were given special letters of marque, which allowed them to 'legally' pirate other ships on the sea- with the blessing of the United States. Privateers were non enlisted men, willing to fight in behalf of the US. At the time, there were extremely large amounts of money to be made doing this, along with extreme risk. All american shipping was blockaded into port / shoot on site from the royal navy. With British ships blockading / Camping port entrances, American ship builders started working on a different kind of sailing vessel. Their ultimate creation would become the pinnicle of sail: The Clippers. In particular, one has always caught my eye, and I have read many books regarding her exploits. The Clipper 'Chasseur' was a 'Boston' Clipper- and for her time, was with out question the fastest thing on the sea. Captained by a Mr. Thomas Boyle, Chasseur was the scourge of the British fleet. Working alone, Mr. Boyle was able to (one a single cruise) Capture or sink over 17 vessels. Chasseurs ability to out sail anything on the water allowed her to perform jaw dropping feats of skirmish warfare.

My personal favorite- is a small battle that took place in the Caribbean. There, Boyle took a ship within 3 miles of a British Stronghold / Port. If that is not impressive enough, he did so while being chased by 2 British Brigs. The brigs, not being fast enough to catch the nimble clipper, could do little to stop it from stealing the merchant ships cargo, and then burning the ship, and sending her to the deep. Coming in a close second, is when Chasseur sent a message to King George III, with a letter to be pinned to the nearest coffee shops. In short it read something to the effect of: British waters are now being blockaded, by Chassuer alone! This caused an uproar, and forced British shipping to travel in convoys, herded by no less than 3 warships.

Again the reason why Chassuer was so successful in harassing, and taking down British ships- was because of its use of extreme speed, and in the case of gunnery- the use of the latest long range / accurate guns available in the period. EvE PvP in my mind, mirrors the american naval situation during the war of 1812. With the advent of blobs, ECM, and all of the risk averse faggatory that goes on in this game, I sternly believe that the Nano play style lends itself very well as the only valid tactic. It was this 'Mastery of Nano' that originally drew me to fly up and into Hatchery fleets. Because talking with / reading some of their exploits- sounded just like the heroes I had read about while growing up.

Hatchery flew outnumbered, and used superior FCing, pilot skill, fittings, and a sound understanding of nano to compile jaw dropping BR's.

For the first time in a long time, I felt completely out of my element. Suddenly there was so much more for me to learn, to do, and to get me feeling the rush all over again.

Monday, July 15, 2013

What Makes a 'Good' Eve PvP'er?

I have been thinking about this question for some time now. Do you look at killboard stats? At first I thought that this would be a good way to know, but in reality it can be slightly confusing. People can be extremely risk averse, have great KDR / Efficiency, yet still suck at that game. On the other end of the spectrum, you find guys that don't have a single kill with less than 10 people on it. In those cases, I just assume blobber- and like the risk averse pilot also has no skill. So KB stats (While providing some degree of a litmus test) Was too vague. I wanted to come up with something cleaner.

Then I started wondering about experience. Certainly if you have spent a long time in game, and acquired RL experience and lots of in game SP, then surely you must know what you are doing. But again upon testing this hypothesis was proved wrong again.Some of the worst players I have ever seen, have been playing this game for years on end. Stuck in their old ways, confident that they know everything- and very sure that there is nothing more that anyone can teach them about eve. They are quite possibly the worst of the worst, because they have learned all of the wrong things, and must un-learn the bad habits before being instructed on the new.

With those two ideas thrown out of the window, I sat on the problem for a little while longer. I went on playing eve, speaking with many different people with many different eve backgrounds- when it hit me.

The easiest way to tell a competent pilot from a monkey, is to find out if the pilot understand the concept of your ships 'engagement profile'.

All of that fancy semantics jargon aside, I feel that statement wraps things up pretty nicely. But what exactly is an engagement profile? In the most simple of terms it is this:

Under what set of conditions can you ship get kills, and survive in an engagement. The larger the number of ships / groups of ships that your ship can comfortably fight, the larger the engagement profile. A higher engagement profile means that your ship is of higher performance than a ship with a smaller engagement profile. From what I have noticed I found that pilots that I consider 'Good' or pilots that I would fly with, all tend to fly High engagement profile ships. And when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. For those of us that really love PvP, and spend a lot of time doing it, its little wonder that we gravitate towards ships that can handle the most situations thrown at us- and better prepare us for the PvPPPPP Environment that is eve.

Lets look at our favorite ship (the bombers) for a quick demonstration of High engagement profile vs Low engagement profile:

In the case of the bomber:

Any frig flat out kills it.
Cruisers flat out kill it
AC / Pulse laser BC's kill it
When you think about it, that is a huge list. Which in this case is a bad thing. Bombers have an EXTREMELY small engagement profile (While flying solo / small gang). This is a problem. Finding PvP in eve is hard enough, however being limited to only shooting ships not found in the following groups makes it even more challenging. Now in the case of the bomber, it has a very specific role. It is instalocking, cloaky ganking, all wrapped up in a frig platform. However outside of that extremely niche role, the bomber is a horrible ship to fly.

So what makes a ship have a good engagement profile?

Generally a ship is going to share a few traits.

1. The first and most important factor is projection. Projection (Especially after the TE nerf) Is the most difficult stat on a ship to increase. So a ship with good base projection (Using short range guns) can usually be fit in order to increase its engagement profile.

2. DPS This is the second most difficult stat to increase on a ship. With only a handful of low slots at your disposal, your ship needs to be able to project damage, and at the same time hit hard.

3. Speed: This attribute is the easiest to counteract. Snakes, Zores, ACC implants, Quafe Zero, Links, Nanofibers/ MWD So many ways to make your ship go faster that honestly it is one of the easiest things to change dramatically.

4. Tank: I list tank last, because in all honestly your tank is your Speed, and your projection. Don't get close, and you will be fine. Ideally you are looking for a tank that will give you just enough buffer to MWD away (Pulling range where an enemy can't hit you) Or to warp out if you are getting hit hard.

So now that we have our 4 ingredients that make a 'good ship' lets compare some common ships.

The Bombers.

1. Projection- Yep, they certainly have that. 60K+ With torps.
2. DPS- Nope. This is where the bomber falls apart. While bombers have good looking numbers in EFT, apply that damage is really difficult against anything that is not a BC or above. The bomber needs massive help in this department. Webs / TP's from rapiers being the #1 Best thing you can do to increase your damage output, however with out that- your neutered.

3. Speed: Bomber is a frig, so it already is pretty fast, throw in a nano / links / snakes and you are more than fast enough to handle just about anything.

4. Tank: Properly flown, and linked, a bomber can sport a nice speed / sig tank. However it still falls apart because a flight or two of light drones will completely screw it.

So a bomber fails completely on 2/4

So lets take the 4 factors, and compare them to another ship.

How about the Scythe Fleet Issue?

1. Projection. With Rapid Light missiles, it can project damage out to 45K or more. Which is plenty of range.

2. DPS Scythe is a little light on DPS. 400DPS with 3 BCS. warrior II's. and Rapid Light Missiles. Damage is the downfall of this ship. However, it is not unplayable. Still more than enough to handle cruisers / frigs / Dessies

3. Speed: This ship shines. With 2X Nano, and an MWD the ship goes 3000m/s unheated. You are faster than all AF's / Cruisers / Dessies / some frigs. Nothing can catch you. So if you can nano effectively and pull them apart, handling a gang many times your size would be easy.

4. Tank: Again the Scythe Fleet shines. With 3X LSE and some rigs / DCU your looking at over 32K EHP. Which for a cruiser, isn't bad at all.

Scythe has a respectable 3.5/4

Now  after this comparison, does that make flying bombers any less fun? No, of course not. However I was hoping that would give you some foresight into what I am going to say next.

My stealth bomber blog has gotten pretty old. I still get very frequent messages from people asking me about bomber fittings, or just a friendly hello. I really enjoy reading the messages- but I have something to ask:

My Blog almost seems to have come to a cross roads. From a solo bomber in worm hole point of view- what else can I share with you? The stories are in some ways quite similar. I sneak up on an unsuspecting Indy / Barge, let fly with torps, engage cloak and repeat process. Reading back through my blogs, I have given my exacting methodology and explained everything in detail. do most of the readers here simply like the narrative that I spin? Or are most of you looking to get something else out of this blog?

The reason why I am asking this now- is simply because I have changed quite a lot since the old bomber days. While I still do fly them here and there, I certainly don't spend 23/7 In WH space sitting inside of my bomber. When I first started this blog, I lived solo inside of my bomber for 8 months never seeing a station, or know space.

Nowadays, you will find me flying small gang / solo with some of the best eve has to offer. I guess in the end, I am just chasing those PvP shakes. I still remember my first bomber kill, and how much adrenalin / shaking I had. To me now, its a joke to think about- but I was so nervous. Overtime, I learned to control it and get used to PvPing in my bomber. However one day, the shakes, and the adrenaline left. The hunt no longer excited me. Spending hours and hours probing, or long moments waiting for a single industrial kill no longer juiced me up.

So I started doing other things. First it was learning to fly Nano ships, then it was learning to fly them in a fleet, and then flying in a very small fleet vs huge blobs and killing them all. Each step of the way, I got a dose of the 'PvP' shakes again, and again.

Before I knew it, I was flying in my first Alliance tournament, Then my second. The shakes I had on those weekends was incredible, and it seems like I am chasing that high all over again. After the AT's and with the dissolusion of my corp (Hatchery) I had to once again find other pastures. Again I didn't return to bombing. Instead I started flying more and more extreme fits, and flying against the odds to recapture some of those great feelings.

And now... What do I do with my time? To be honest I spend most of it Solo PvPing in Karan. Which if you didn't know, is TEST's staging system. Flying solo with local at 250+ And having carriers / fighters assigned and attacking you along with a kitchen sink fleet of 50+ guys out for your blood is a rush. A second late on your warp finger, or missing that rapier decloaking 80K off you ready to web- will kill you instantly. It is by far the most brutal PvP I have ever experienced in EvE- but it pushes me. While I don't think that I will ever get the shakes again, it certainly gives me rush. 

So I am asking you guys, Where do we go from here? What should I do?

Here is some standard Hatchery footage. We are using ships that can do the 4 things mentioned previously to great effect: