Monthly Archives: December 2012

Making Friends 101

NB: Two of the AARs I wish to link here are yet to be made public on the UNI forums, so I will return and link them in once they are made available

There are some corporations and Alliances I meet quite often on my roams. Among the many groups of pilots I have had the pleasure to engage, there are two that have been providing a lot of entertainment lately, incredibly fun fights and I very much look forward to engaging them again. My knowledge of the standings and relative celebrity statuses of specific groups in EVE is still burgeoning, so these accounts are almost entirely based on (wholly positive) first-hand experience.

BricK sQuAD

I always know that if I take the back route out of Aldrat in The Forge, Brick Squad will be more than happy to blow us up. My first run-in with them was not my finest moment as a FC. I had done a few roams in that direction and had never noticed their presence before. After that experience I looked them up and found out that they hold Sov nearby, meaning any time I want to go play with them I know exactly where to go.

In a later fleet I did manage to get revenge ISK-wise, even if the pilots concerned were semi-AFK. This of course lasted as long as it took for me to run into them again. The AAR for this one has yet to declassify, so I’ll give a brief explanation to how this happened:

It was around 3am after I had taken out my first ever Null Sec fleet, and I was told that I had to FC a roam because some pilots wanted to try out the new Augoror/Maller combo that has come in to fashion  especially as on our way to null we had run into it being flown beautifully as always by a Tusker fleet. More on that in another post. We ended up going into the Forge as there was a group of pirate-y types who I had promised a fight at some point, but of course as soon as you make a plan, something crazy will happen (an excellent reason to always have a plan).

A flashy Arazu had been shaking its rear end at us as we were passing through the area, narrowly escaping the clutches of our interceptor pilots on two occasions. Just as he passed through us for the third time (we weren’t exactly making best speed), a we managed to catch the Naga on a gate. I don’t remember if the Arazu engaged us first of if someone managed to point it, and obvious cyno bait was obvious, but we were in cheap ships and looking for a fight, and a fight is a fight even if you all go home in noobships,

We don’t manage to burn the Arazu before the cyno pops, and lo and behold what landed on us. It was evident we were all going to die in a fire at that point (not uncommon in my Roams), but I primaried an Oracle to see if we couldn’t try to be ISK efficient with the Naga and ‘Razu already under our belts. With the unfortunate pod loss of a pilot who will be attending a podsaver class, that was not to be, but it was still a very pleasurable experience.

Shadow Cartel

Shadow Cartel, in my experience, are a fantastic group of space badasses who never fail to put on a spectacular show, to the point where if I ever have a scout report their presence on one of my fleets I start to giggle with excitement. I also enjoy reading Helicity Bosons blog, which I highly reccomend to all those reading this one (It has a prettier site, is far better written and contains much more interesting engagements from someone with a lot more game knowledge to explain them properly).

My first run-in with them as an FC was part of the most frustrating fleet I have ever taken out. However, when you start claiming Amamake for the UNI in local, you’re bound to receive some form of response (which is exactly why I did it). I do believe that was first ever “Holy balls that’s a lot of expensive things on my overview” moment, for which I am very grateful.

Ignoring the UNIs recent DragonSlayer (which again, you should go back to H.Bs blog to read about), my next major experience with them was one of the times I took a fleet to Black Rise. Now, I am fully aware taking any my fleet to Black Rise is asking to get a caning (not to say I haven’t won fights there), but that’s exactly why I love going there. Once again, the AAR is yet to declassify so I’ll give a run-down of what occurred (which once again, is also covered in H.Bs blog).

Before we met Shadow Cartel, we were actually engaging the Balkans who were running a Hurricane/Guardian fleet. After a standoff on opposite sides of a gate for a while, we managed to maneuver about and get them to jump into us. We started to engage and despite my best efforts were failing to to break their Guardians. A SFI/Loki fleet jumps into us, sees what’s going on, decide they want none of it and warp off. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time, turns out they were running from substantially bigger fish.

30 seconds later, the heroes of our story also jump in bringing a Hulk-Smashing Armour Battleship fleet to play and start exploding everything they can, which as it happens anything they damn well want to. The Balkan fleet respond by dropping, which of course means that the Cartel guys also escalate to the point where our overview looks something like this.

…….yeah.

I bravely make the decision to run away, if either of them decided to stop bludgeoning each other we’d be swatted like flies. I mean hey, by now you’re all aware I’ll engage anything that isn’t station tanking, but I do prefer to have some glimmer of hope that we might affect the situation in some way. The big boys had come out to play and we weren’t kitted out to play with them.

Regardless, once again Shadow Cartel makes my day and puts on a fantastic show, as did the Balkans. I am reliably told that despite putting up one hell of a fight, the Balkans were wiped out after we left, and when they tried to ambush the Cartel fleet on their way home they were blapped once again.

EVE is awesome!

The War(s)

Disclaimer: As with all my posts, it should be remembered that my experience of the game is limited to the past few months, and anything I say may be entirely wrong from a game knowledge standpoint, not to mention completely biased.

So the UNI has been permadecced since I joined it. The vast majority of these are faildecs where we utterly demolish any of their attempts to bring a fight and generally embarrass them for choosing the UNI as a source of easy kills (See KOSX, Drone Federation and Wings of Fury). There are however, two notable exceptions.

Team Liquid

I have been a StarCraft fan much longer than I have followed EVE, so their corp in itself is one I think if fondly. After exploiting a particular game mechanic, they became obscenely rich, which allowed them to permadec us for months even though they had no real interest in bringing a fight to Aldrat. From what I can gather, the UNI offended them by trying to move into their part of Low Sec causing the original war, and the continued war was to make a point and to allow them to engage us without having to worry about gate guns if we ever happened to run into each other. There are only two member of Team Liquid that I distinctly recall from that war; Liquid’Courage and Ueberlisk.

During my first week or two in the UNI, Liquid Courage could be found in Aldrat in a Thrasher looking for fights. It was a whole bunch of fun and every time he’d lose it he’d just reship to another and we’d all have a good time chasing him. Given the amount of Thrashers we burned through I can only imagine he enjoyed it as much as we did.

There was a period of time when I would commonly take roams out to Molden Heath, due to it’s proximity to HQ and the ease of route planning. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a big circle so you can do one loops, catch what you can and go home again. Ueberlisk was a fantastic War Target, as long as we didn’t bring any ECM he’d be happy to take us on in his nanocane even though the odds were usually 10:1.

U-MAD

U-MAD are far more similar to our previous wars I’ve experienced in the UNI apart from one thing. They’re actually fairly competent pilots, albeit with a penchant for oversized afterburners with offgrid boosts. Over time they have gone from 100MN AB T3 Cruisers camping Aldrat-Hek gates, taking on any FC stupid enough to engage them combined with the usual OOC Logi station games to fleets of 10MN AB dessies, all of course with OOC Loki boosts.

Other tactics have been trying to disrupt our various camps, with mixed success. Each time they go to our Low Sec Campus they generally are kicked right back out again, and for a while they set up shop in a Wormhole we were using, and were very happy with themselves until they found that choosing to live in a wormhole can have its redeeming qualities. Currently they can generally be found camping the Aldrat-Hek-Dodixie pipe in Dramiels, Cynabals, Talos etc picking off stray industrialists and unprepared Incursion runners.

As much as they like to complain about the blob (War Deccing the UNI, what do you expect?), they at least respect its capability and use every tactic that involves not fighting us to fight us. I honestly don’t really know what their goals are, if any, beyond easy kills on our newer members (or those just not paying attention) or if they are actually significantly affecting UNI operations. Most of the things I do with the UNI involve being in a PvP, so for me it just means occasionally less travel time to achieve some explosions and general fleet practice if they don’t decide to activate their station tank as soon as we start paying them any attention.

All in all, Hi Sec Warfare, or at least my experience of it has definitely improved with Retribution, and without any significant changes to War Dec mechanics coming soon it seems like the UNI will retain its permanent war-time status.

Apoth ♥

Fleet Command 101

Since joining the EVE University I have tried many roles in fleet ops as well as many other options that exist in playing the game. Let us face however, the inevitable truth that explosions are cool so I have gone from a mining carebear to a bloodthirsty carebear. With 5 months of skill points now dedicated to PvP, I can fly a nice little collection of ships. Some of them I can even fly competently.

Before I go any further, it is necessary that I do a little thanking to the Unistas who have selflessly given of their time to help train up someone who didn’t have a damn clue what he was doing, and only really brought enthusiasm to the table. Therefore to BobbyRush, Theon Severasse, Nys Cron, Gareth Correlian and to a lesser extent Guillome Renard, Korr’Tanas, Frood Frooster and Kermit Pental, you have my deepest gratitude. Without you seven in particular, as well as everyone who cares little enough about the safety of their ships to come out on my fleets I would not have had the fantastic experiences I have had taking out fleets and would almost certainly been forced to stop due to sheer incompetence and even kicked out of the UNI for being a saboteur after whelping so many assets (although this is probably still not completely off the table).

Back to story time:

Somewhat surprisingly, I was the FC of the fifth fleet I ever took part. Back in September of this year, the UNI was under a new iteration of the ILN. We had split into three battle-groups for time-zones and the main complaint I heard from everyone that there were not enough fleets going out. We still had a war with U-MAD and various others (which is likely to be the topic of another blog post) which meant the occasional QRF would be formed, but short of the bi-weekly “Noobs on Patrol” scheduled fleets there really wasn’t all that much going out fleet wise. (It should be noted that the current iteration of the ILN is doing a fantastic job of this, and thanks to many enthusiastic Unistas you can be guaranteed at least one fleet a night.)

This is obviously a problem for any corporation or Alliance, but represents a deeper problem to the UNI. With very few fleets, there are very few fleet experiences. How are we supposed to provide a learning experience for the PvP aspect of the game without taking out fleets? Lectured and practical classes are fantastic, and the education department does a wonderful job, but I’m sure everyone reading this will agree that there is little substitute to going out and getting yourself blown up a few times to truly learn how to fly your ship and take part in the most popular aspect of this game.

I therefore took a quantity approach to FCing, hoping that quality would come with more experience. Usually I would just pick a random route through low sec I had never done before, or had done before and found good targets in, do a call up in Alliance chat and just go for it. At the time of writing, I have taken out 38 AAR worthy fleets since the end of September. Looking at the archived AARs of the UNI, the UNI has taken out 288 written-up fleets since I began FCing, meaning I am responsible for just over 13% of UNI fleets since that time. Yes, I triple checked the numbers and no, I still don’t believe it either. My raw activity has lead to recruitment attempts from a particular corp in TEST on 3 separate occasions (I think they may be stalking me).

More stats because I’m a maths student:

Fleet Command positions: 38

General Command positions (Squad Command, WIng Command more than just passing boosts):70

Total Isk killed: 7.907 Billion

Total Isk Whelped: 4.306 Billion

Lifetime efficiency: 64.7%

I kind of wish I had started this blog sooner as I was hovering at a pretty consistent 70% efficiency until a recent welp at the hands of Balkan & Shadow Cartel. This is the second time I have FCed with Cartel on the field and the second time they have dropped me. Both were intensely fun fleets and I very much look forward to running into them again.

As I mentioned before, most of my fleets have been Low Sec Roams ranging between 10 and 50 members, usually kitchen sink comp, occasionally with hull restrictions (dessie & below, cruiser & below etc) with the remainder being fleets to fly against war targets, my two favourites being found here and here. I shall soon be venturing into the realm of Null Sec Roams (very soon), Doctrined fleets and hopefully a DragonSlayer (attempting to bag a carrier kill) in the new year.

One last thing before I round this post off: the UNI sometimes gets bad press for “blobbing”. I’m not going to deny for a second that our fleet comps aren’t mostly blobs, but i do giggle to myself as every report of our numbers is over-exaggerated usually by about 15-40%, while little no mention is made of the fact that the opposing fleet, while somewhat smaller in numbers is orders of magnitude greater in ISK and SP value. Yes, we do use a bait squad or wing sometimes, but if you don’t have the presence of mind to scout the adjacent system for the backup then frankly that’s your failure in scouting rather than our “bullying”.

The main goal of a UNI fleet, especially the ones I do is to get a fight. Winning it is a bonus objective. Personally I’ll engage anything I think we have any chance beating, no matter how small, or alternatively getting ISK efficient by blapping something shiny and running away.

To everyone reading this, I look forward to flying with or brawling with you in future fleets. The past few months have been incredible fun and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Apoth ♥

Apothne 101

I am a rather uninteresting person, yet I feel compelled that my first post be somewhat explanatory as to who I am and the upcoming contents of this blog, even if only to stop myself veering off from the subject matter from time to time.

I play EVE Online, a sci-fi MMO. If you don’t know what that is, best procrastinate in some other corner of the internet, as this will be my focus and primary source of material. At the time of writing I my main is a two year old character with just over 20 million skill points, currently residing within the illustrious IVY League Corporation EVE University. If you play EVE and haven’t heard of EVE University, odds are you’re not paying much attention or were kidnapped by TEST upon inception and are yet to be released from Western Sov Null. More on that later.

In real life I am a trombone playing, singing, acting optimist currently working on a Masters Degree in Mathematics at a fairly well regarded English University. My focus with regards to video games, at least those I have spent many hours on online are Diablo 2, Dofus, StarCraft & most recently EVE Online. That’s going to pretty much be that as neither of us are here to discuss my personal life.

Onto Spaceships!

I have played EVE on and off (mostly off) for something like two years, with this being my third and most successful iteration in spending a non-trivial amount of time on the game. My first involved the tutorials, slowly grinding enough money mining to get a Retriever, being made Mining Director of a brand new Corporation with someone as new as I to the game. On our first outing to mine as a group, we had teamed up with another corporation for security as were were making our way to low sec, personally my first ever time there. Needless to say, someone was a spy and we got blapped upon entry. Not knowing the existence of Insurance, I lost everything and was thoroughly put off.

My second was more brief, but somewhat more enjoyable. I had been invited to resub by some StarCraft friends, and after a long day of  laddering we would pass the evening hanging out and mining. We were invited to Windscarr Mining Corp, a brand new Corporation whose leader was kind enough to give me a free Hulk! Sadly as a month or two passed the inevitable inevitably inevitabilised and I lost interest in the game.

I do not remember why I started EVE for my current iteration, I can only say that I am very happy to have done so in the August of this year. I made the conscious decision to learn the game from the ground up, especially to learn about this “PvP” thing everyone was talking about. Certainly not a new concept due to my past gaming experience, but I was definitely a blank slate ready to be chalked for the first time. Having idly seen a Fanfest panel where EVE University had a speaker (along with Goons and others) when I saw their name under the “new player friendly” section of the in-game corp finder they definitely stuck out to me, so I filled out an application and made my first step into truly discovering the awe-inspiring depth and complexity this beautifully designed game contains .

It was about the same time I was wrapping up my participation in my StarCraft Clan. Without going into too much detail I was an effective Director in EVE terms, and largely was in charge of our EU StarCraft (& sometimes NA) as well. I joined that clan in the first place because I do enjoy playing in a structured environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love larking about as much as the next guy, and do not feel the need to cling to something larger than myself to have a sense of validation. I just like to get stuff done and have some clarity as to what’s going on, some semblance of structure can help with this.

So here I am now, 5 months into my life as a Unista, thoroughly enjoying myself and gaining new experiences in the game by the bucketload, largely in learning the art of FCing. My posts in this blog will not be high level discussion of EVE mechanics, nor will I be able to propose any wisdom about the game for a good few years. This is a more personal expression of my thoughts and experiences which do not make it to my AARs, for the entertainment of new and old players alike who find themselves interested (bored) enough to take the time to read what I write.

Apoth ♥