ATXII post II – Oops

So I ended up getting invited to write about the AT for Crossing Zebras, so you can find my stuff on the AT there rather than here. I wrote a full write-up for the first weekend, but between travelling and actually being in Iceland I didn;t really have time to write much while there. There is another piece coming out ~soon~ on CZ regarding my experience with CCP, but that’s likely that last I’ll post about AT there as it’s already passed on to be the thing to talk about over the space water-cooler,

HOWEVER

This is my goram blog and I’ll post whatever the hell I please. I might write about ATXII three months from now, I might do so tomorrow. I might write about something else or do a guide which seems to be the way to be popular, assuming I’m trying to karma whore (yes). If anyone actually reads this tiny corner of internet feel free to hit me up with ideas for something you’d like me to write about, I’ll probably either do it or have a conversation with you about it there and then.

Apoth ♥

B0TLRD and Renters

This is the laziest post ever, I wrote a ~thing~ to reply to a reddit thread asking about PL & B0TLRD. People seemed to appreciate the response and no-one heavily disagreed with me, and people told me to post more things on this blog so here we go ^_^ You can find the thread and the full discussion here.

Original question – LongbowPilot

“Literally every other comment on this piece (http://themittani.com/news/pandemic-legion-kills-titan-cfcs-backyard[1] ) is about how B0TLRD is the reason why we aren’t having a summer war/Great War II.

In the absence of such a treaty, what would conceivably change or happen? Under what circumstances would or should PL suddenly invade the western regions, and would the CFC do the same to the Drone Regions? What is to stop the existing aggressors such as NCdot/N3 from doing it on their own – I would imagine that their supercapital fleet strength rivals that of the CFC, if not exceeding it – without the assistance of PL?

Also, why is PL considered such a key player in the nullsec meta given that it acts strictly in its own interests most (if not all) of the time and its longstanding on-again, off-again relationship with GSF? Why do most people see them as an anti-CFC force instead of the svengali keeping the balance (and perhaps the peace) with its supercapital fleet?

Other perspectives and points of view are most welcome!”

My primary response

I’ll preface this by saying I have never been involved in NullSec politics as an active participant, what I am saying is based on talking to people any my own observations, and is therefore wrong and/or places emphasis on the wrong ideas. I DON’T FUCKING KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT BUT HERE’S SOME VERBAL DIARRHOEA ANYWAY (also my platform for AT commentary).

So, this could be an essay, but it’s important to note that at agreement lasts as long as both parties want it to. If one decides they aren’t interested in it any more it is going to blow up. I’ll try to cover some of the salient points that apply specifically to your question. For most nullseccers there are some axioms:

  • I want more ISK
  • I want to shoot at people
  • I don’t like grinding unless it’s printing large amounts of ISKIf a big-ass war happened, it would be a war to control all of sov-null EVE.
  • The victors are going to have to grind half of all sov space. I cannot express how little anyone wants to do this.
  • There will be no-one left to shoot at.

Points 2 and 3 make this irritating, and the amount of ISK required to wage such a war is incredible, making 1 irritating. Now, you might say, with life as it stands there’s no-one to shoot at. That’s kind of true, there can only be “soft” war, such as the skirmishes we’re seeing in the North-East and South-West.

BOTLORD gives clear guidelines how everyone can fight as much as possible without worrying the other side about an invasion threatening ISK revenue. In simple form it is a way for PL to pay to replace all their shit lost in B-R (only finished recently according to Grath), have a bunch of funds for AT (PLs giant focus) and have an amazing SRP program for the shiny stuff they like to fly. It’s then a way for CFC not to have to worry about PL helping someone invading them, and without PL (or rather without everyone else working together) the CFC can easily wave off any invasion attempt with the current state of affairs.

To your question about PL, they have historically been the most powerful group of PvPers in the past few years. A combination of having a large amount of top-tier FCs (Shadoo, Hedliner, Elise, Manny, MrBlue, the list goes on), with a rich memberbase and the largest supercapital fleet meant that if PL was motivated to win a fight, they could do so. Before PL started Brtothers of Tangra and thus needed treaties to hold that space unthreatened, everyone wanted PL to be on their side in any war and PL could do whatever the hell they wanted. PL (or so I am told) generally chose which side they were on based on how much fun it would be for them and what they thought the end consequences would be for their future pew-pew. PLs supercapital dominance is now more a thing of the past, the CFC, after a long history of being terrible with caps, have skilled their playerbase into a large amount of dreads & supers, and finally have FCs with the experience and balls to utilise them (Laz, Vee).

We are at the point where the CFC has grown to have enough big-ticket items and the numbers to realistically take on everyone else in null at once. However, we are not at the point where it would be a guaranteed victory. Take for example the Halloween War, CFC + Russians were effectively stalemating with N3/PL, no real progress was being made either way. When CFC withdrew after PL withdrew after B-R the Russians were wiped out in no time at all.

No-one wants to enter a war of destruction where either you win and you have to grind 14 regions and not have anyone left to shoot at, or you lose and kiss goodbye to that sweet renter income.

Personally I think that the most probable future of null resides in two potential situations:

a) One side gains a significant military advantage over the other such that the outcome would be clear. In the case of that being the CFC they just maintain the status quo and only engage in sov-grabbing when CCP changes the value of regions, such that the valuable regions are the ones they don’t own. In the case of that being N3/PL, CFC at the least gets pushed back and holds a smaller set of Sov, and NC/PL/N3 have less need to be blued up together.

b) (The more likely in my mind) Players get bored of not much going on, in-fighting and drama happens all over the place destabilising corps, alliances and coalitions, resulting in either a) or something else. Either way it’s a change. We can already see cases of this occurring (though can be explained by there always being drama). Some of the weaker CFC entities have failscaded into the Bastion, N3 has never been stable and NC. is allegedly going through some leadership problems with their core being busy IRL.

You’ll probably note that I have not mentioned HERO/BRAVE in this, because I believe they have largely survived at the grace of the larger coalitions. They took ex-Russian space that no-one else wanted and no-one with any clout wanted to stamp them out, either so they can farm fights from them a la Provi or that when their player base can start flying powerful Doctrines they might team up with them against the other guys. They also provide a nice buffer between the two big coalitions space in the south, as XIX does in the north.

Further thoughts – The untapped renter resource

One of the things that not many people are discussion, and I believe is relevant is what are the Renters themselves gong to do if and when a War breaks out between our two superpowers? While many renters will in fact be alts from those superpowers, I do not think it is a great leap of speculation to say that a significant fraction of renters do not partake in Sov Null, and would otherwise be in Hi/Low Sec. It is already the case where many Rental Alliances advertise the fact that as well at whatever PvE/Indy shenanigans that they get up to, also advertise themselves as having PvP wings. One needs only look at the E-Uni recruitment subform to confirm this. Twenty Questions is an example of a CFC Renter-turned Alliance member, and I do not think this is idea of renter corps turning into Sov-Bloc member-corps after time is going to be uncommon.

Should war come, will it be a thing for the Sov Null Alliances to marshal their renters into a fighting force? Let’s take a quick look at some numbers, specifically the member count of the main Rental Alliances.

Great Western Co-Prosperity Sphere (CFC Renters): 3580

Northern Associates (NC./N3 Renters): 12028

Brothers of Tangra (PL Renters): 10495

If we assume being a CFC, PL or N3 renter does not mean you are more or less likely to have any number of alts or be involved elsewhere in Sov Null, this means that N3/PL have 6.5 times the number of renters to call upon.

N3/PL have historically held their ground by fielding the lower number, more powerful fleets, if even a fraction of their combined rental Alliance can be convinced to defend their homes (assuming the CFC is the aggressor) then the CFCs number advantage may be mitigated or even turned against them. Assuming there are enough FCs to go around, it would be like having multiple HERO coalition forces to throw into the meat grinder and balance out the tide of battle. It was the case in the Halloween war that you would see BoT Archons in  SlowCat/Wrecking Ball fleets, which of course may just be PL alts grabbing whatever assets they have to throw in the fray, but nonetheless sets an interesting precedent.

Should N3/PL be the agressor, the smaller CFC Rental Alliance have much less to offer their masters, as they can already log in enough pilots to crash nodes at will (not that I am implying they would ever purposefully do that, *cough* DBRB *cough*). However, there is less incentive there for PL/N3 renters to log in for these fights, as their rented systems are not under direct threat.

The main question, I believe, is whether or not, in a defensive war, could N3/PL convince their renters to fight? A rental agreement is such that effectively “We have and can defend this space, you can pay us to use it”, which could lead to the argument by the renters of “We’ve paid you for this space, why should we have to defend it?”. Could lessened fees provide an incentive to defend space, based on participation? Would this impact Alliance SRP for the main powers too much to be worth it?

It’s impossible to say for sure, but I think that the concept of renters and what they are to the Alliances that run their space, and how the two interact is not  static as of yet, and will develop over the future in ways few, if any, will be able to predict.

Apoth ♥

ATXII Post 1 – I’m a Caster? Part 1

I’ve been meaning to finish writing this post for at least two months, but a few other related projects I’m working on & not having internet for the past week has slowed me down somewhat.

It’s that time of year again, the Alliance Tournament has rolled around and I am lucky enough to have been chosen to be one of the casters, along with Elise Randolph, Sir Squeebles & Baccharin. If you have spent any time in EVE, Elise will be a name you will have heard before, pretty much one of the few people universally loved by everyone. Squeebs runs a very popular and interactive stream that has gained a lot of popularity over the past few months, and Baccharin is returning to the casting desk having done ATXI commentary,

To be honest this was not how I was expecting to spend my summer. In the grand scheme of things I am a young player, with only two years of the game under my best, despite having created my main in 2010. I saw the post on Reddit from CCP advertising for people to come commentate, and as that is something I enjoyed very much in my StartCraft 2 days & I loved experiencing the AT last year, I threw my name in the hat with a quick email to the listed address. After re-reading the post and realising I should have probably put a bit more thought into it I assumed I would not hear back from them and went about my usual weekly business.

After 2 weeks or so, I got an email from CCP saying that I had gotten through to the interview stage with 15 other potentials. It was at this point I decided I was going all-in, I started memorising every ship hull & bonus in the game I already did not know, memorised the beautiful chart from Azual’s “The Altruist” of recognising different turret and launcher types and generally started nerding out over stats and the like. Having been to FanFest recently I was fortunate enough to be in contact with older, better connected players such as Hedliner and Lazarus Telraven than myself who knew people who had done it before or knew people who had, who gave me a bunch of great advice. Elise Randolph (who did not mention he was applying) convoed me on IRC and gave me some advice, and thanks to crossing my fingers and believing really, really hard Shadoo emerged briefly from his Australian seclusion and replied to my forum mail with a ton of helpful pointers with regards to the interview.

When the interview came around, I dressed up in my suit waistcoat and a nice shirt/tie (as it was to be for a webcam) and nervously spent the 3 hours beforehand checking and rechecking my microphone and settings (thanks again to Wyddershin for something like an hour long skype call which calmed my nerves beautifully). When the call happened, it turned out there were a bunch of NDA Dev notes on the boards in the room they were using to interview us so their webcam consisted of a red blanket. Fozzie introduced the 6 or so CCP employees that were there and we got down to business as they were already running behind. They asked me a few basic questions about logistics and travel, then we got into what felt like a normal job interview. They asked me about my casting style, a few bits about experience I had listed in my email and what my favourite vegetable is (spinach). After that they got me to cast the HUN vs Godfathers match from last year with Fozzie, only something was wrong with our connection so I was casting from a one-frame-every-three-seconds screen-share over skype, which was interesting to say the least. I think it was Falcon that cut off the commentary after a few minutes (what felt like seconds) and we hastily said goodbye so they could get to their next interview. It was really fun and I thought it had gone well, but given my youth in-game and the fact that I’m a no-name in the EVE community I figured it would be a fun anecdote to tell friends how one time I got a interview to cast ATXII.

Then I got the email: “You’re coming to Iceland!”

I freaked out.

I was tutoring Physics at the time, which naturally meant I was checking emails on my tablet, and I squealed, making my tutee jump. After the session was over, I prepared to rageping IRC in excitedment when I glanced at my tablet which had the email up.

DON’T

TELL

ANYONE

Fuck, that was close.

After a horrifically long group email session, it was decided to make a skype channel, which now houses the casters and a few CCP employees. Here’s the DL on a few of them: Rise and Fozzie: they’re massive trolls, and are hilarious fun to chat with. CCP Loxy (no longer of CCP) is a hero among men and Falcon is a handsome, saucy flirt. Elise is even smarter and more chill then you think he is.

I’ll probably write part 2 around the first weekend, but I have another post lined up before that, though that may end up on TMC instead (with whom I am engaged in multiple projects via my corpmate Hendrick Tallardar).

Apoth ♥

Nostalgia

So ages ago I posted a video about a Cap fight I was involved in while in E-UNI, I just saw this video of that same fight and it is hilarious:

In other news; I’m Campaign Commanding the current Waffle sdeployment having been promoted to “Senior DIrector” or whatever that means. I’ve probably 80% written 10 posts for this blog recently, just don;t have the motivation to finish them. New content….soon…maybe?

Apoth ♥

Storytime: Titan down in Kinakka

So, another quiet sunday in Kinakka when I get messaged by the Head of PR for System lords Collective [S.C.K] who had a POCO a few jumps out which had been rfed by SCUM. Waffles have a long history with SCUM, we both live out of the only station in Kinakka when we are deployed there, and we rather like shooting at each other.

Anyways, it’s either 7 jumps through HiSec or 17 thgrough low and we have ~2 minutes before SCUM are supposedly going to drop some BlOps BS on it. I get a Waffle hero Michael Chausseur (whose heroism shall be explained later) to keep eyes on the POS and form up our Wolf fleet to go mess with SCUM as we can stay under their guns, apply scrams to stop them MJDing and the collective had already stated their intent to bring along some long ranged DPS. We get to 2j out, wait for the call to come in for a few minutes and we’re quickly in a fight we didn’t expect.

Instead of there being BlOps BS at zero on the POCO, there was a swarm of frigs on the SCK snipers 120 from us. We burn in and start taking them down, clearing all of them off the SCK gang, but just as we do ~8 Piwat CO [PIVOT.] T3s land on the POCO at zero. They’re plenty far from us so we finish SCUM off and blap a random Beam Apoc who had come in at range:

http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=21969679

given that they had no logis, a single kill would be worth my entire fleet and the promise of extra DPS from the reshipped SCK we engage the T3 gang, only to have them drop an Archon on us. No worries, that was part of the expectation so I just pulled us out and spoke to my new friend in SCK on what we were going to do. PIVOT. had more Archons on standby and while SCK were confident in that fight, if SCUM sided with them their Alliance CEO was not willing to risk a full AHAC + Cap fleet.

We start to head home, but as we arrive in Kinakka we see a SCUM BS fleet warping off to their POS, which they summarily drop on the PIVOT. Fleet. We race back and start picking off what we can in what escalates to a small cap brawl involving a Nyx which kept warping in and out of the engagement. Here is the summation BR of all of the above:

http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=21969679

SCUM win the field, but as they’re mopping up the last of PIVOT. the aforementioned Waffle hero noticed the SCUM Titan (owned by smidster), which had been used to bridge their BS in had drifted 3/4 out of their staging POS. The Quick Response Legion phone was dialled, HICs & Cynos were set up and god’s wrath was quickly applied to the Avatar, where it died so quickly even the Waffle fleet didn’t have time to jump in to get on the kill.

https://zkillboard.com/detail/36832693/

Apoth ♥

DickCats are Back!

SniggWaffe’s glorious return to Kinakka allows me to once again take out my beloved dual-prop Thorax fleet, or #TWEETFLEET if you prefer (TWin EnginE Thorax). The fits evolve with the times and what you’re likely to see, so there are a few minor changes to the last time I posted about them. Firstly, the Thorax itself:

With my acquisition of a links toon, I can comfortably use a second mag stab over a second EANM. after some thought I decided that the low I used to use of an explosive hardener was too valuable, and instead am now plugging that hole with a rig.

Now there are many worries about both blasters and the void ammo itself, but when you look at the numbers and consider the rest of the ship life is pretty good. Thanks to CCP still having ridiculous tracking bonuses on hulls (7.5%/level), with void loaded you’re tracking better than a Rupture with 220s fitted with Gallente cruiser at III, which can already track even frigates quite well. Add the scram/web fitted to each ship to the equation and tracking is not a concern, and even then I make sure everyone has CNA in reserve. With regards to projection, a similar solution is provided. The dual-prop plus scram/web means that assuming you start the fight brawling (which is kind of the point) you can be on the primary in short order, even if scrammed. No DPS anchor is used, haul ass to the primary and apply your ridiculous DPS.

Next ship, the logistics backbone. When armour brawling you have three options: Augorors, Cap Injected Exequrors and Cap Stable Exequrors. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses; Augorors have a cap chain, which makes them very hard to neut. In most fits you have 2 spare mids, meaning you have room for both an ECCM and a SeBo (the SeBo is important due to the base nerf to T1 logi scan resolution & the prelevance of sensor dampening in the current meta). Exequrors, thanks to their sizeable drone bay and hull bonus to rep drones will actually apply more reps than their Amarr counterparts. Generally speaking cap-injected Exeqs are going to be able to fit more tank and are inherently more neut-resistant than their passively stable brothers, but you are effectively putting a timer on how long your Exeqs make a difference to the fight, being somewhere between 7-10 minutes. Given the sparsity of neuting in cruiser and down brawls that makes me most inclined to choose the cap stable Exeq. I can brawl and roam as long as I like without worrying about cap charge replacement and it’s one less thing for the Logis themselves to worry about. I’m currently using the fit from Waffles old Mallrat Doctrine but I’m being swayed by marginally more blingy, but more tanky versions:

Back to my one true love, the Celestis. With the prevalence of drones and the limited effectiveness of LMLs I’ve gone back to smartbombs in the highs. These things are incredible, having 2-3 in your fleet can change fights from unwinnable to unloseable.

On my first outing with these bad boys in our current Kinakka deplyment we ran into a roughly equal sized Villore Accords Armour cruiser fleet and thoroughly dunked them. Coming soon to a grid near you!

Apoth ♥