Category Archives: Education

Waffles vs FCON vs E-UNI

Last night E-UNI had an arranged fight with FCON. I won’t go into how I found out about this, but let’s just say I knew where and when it was going to happen with about 2 hours notice and thought it might be fun to crash the party and apply some Waffle dunkage. What followed the two hours before was 3 hours of stress, frustration and euphoria. The plan was simple, get our lovely Darkside Naga doctrine formed up with enough people, travel two regions over and get a good warpin. Oh, and don’t get bollocksed by the myriad of blocs with fleets along the way.

A borrowed Titan bridge and a lot of jumping later, we’re 5 jumps out freeburning as we’re 10 minutes late (battlecruisers are slow bastards these days) and I hear that the E-UNI gang have engaged FCON. Their armour gang vs FCONs Cerbfleet. The result of the fight was pretty predictable.

Let me take a moment here to say FCON, dick move, seriously. E-UNI can’t do damage projection and have very few Recon pilots. If you’re going to have an arranged fight bring something they can trade with, don’t bring something to just sit at 60 and burn through everything they have without a chance of ever losing ships. Arranged fights should bring fun to both sides, so don’t be cocks.

Rant over, anyways, after 10s of forming on the ingate and sorting a warpin (cheers Gallastian) we landed on grid. Numbers were pretty even between our Naga gang and the Cerbs, though their sig radius, perfect damage application and ability to control the fight through superior speed gave them a slight advantage. Evidently that meat they should warp off immediately as we landed on grid, feeding us a Scimi we managed to tackle.

E-UNI had very few pilots left, so they bravely limped back through the Skarkon gate and made themselves scarce. As you can tell, I wasn’t very happy with FCON and we’d traveled quite a long way with very little to show for it, so I gave chase only to find they had 120 dudes ready to go two systems over. Cue the Cerb fleet going and docking up to be replaced by a 80-90 man rail Ferox gang with ~20 Logis and plenty of tackle.

At this point you’re probably expecting a trademark ambitious but inevitably futile Apothne welp. NOT TODAY FRIENDS!

Fortunately for me Waffles were on top form. The Waffle Naga anchor (Morrow Disca, soon to be retiring to NIGGS) kept us at the lovely range of just under 50km from their Feroxs, right at the edge of our optimals, and (in my head) forcing the Feroxs to choose as long a range ammo as possible while maintaining maximum DPS for us, making life for our logis much easier. Our pilots focused fire beautifully, logis were on the ball keeping us repped up (though it got a little hairy at times) and our support were hero-pointing and webbing/painting targets like pros.

Unfortunately for FCON, they were not. As you can see from the BR the Feroxs with T2 guns had Spike loaded, giving them an optimal of ~97. Sure, we’re in DPS range but you’re doing ~270DPS with horrific tracking, whereas with faction Thorium you’d be doing 100 more, while still being at good range. Their pilots with T1 guns had STANDARD antimatter loaded. For the inexperienced, the difference between faction ammo and standard ammo is that faction does a ton more damage…..and that’s about it. The general rule in EVE is that you use standard ammo for structure shoots (and only then if you’re cheap), and faction/T2 for everything else. With the standard antimatter (and meta1 guns, really? I know meta 4s are expensive but meta 3s do wonderfully) they’re doing 332 DPS at 23+15, i.e doing zero damage to us. If we once again consider faction Thorium, they’d be doing 286 DPS that would actually hit us.

Now, a quick aside to speak to Railgun doctrines, which were both being used here. Antimatter is your short range ammo (Javelin is rarely useful), Uranium/Plutonium is your medium range ammo, Thorium is your long range ammo and Spike is your ridiculously long range ammo. Not carrying sets of each is akin to flying a Pulse laser doctrine without scorch. Not a good idea.

My three favourite kills however are these: Small gun Ferox? He’s using faction ammo at least I guess. Javelin? Really? 13.5+10 is what you wanted? Next-to-no-tank attempting-to-be cap stable Osprey. wow.

We managed to bag a few extra kills on the way home but not much else worth of mention happened. Mocking FCON baddies and berating poor doctrine choices is all well and fun, but what I would like to speak about now however is how terrible I was during the pre- and post-fight part of the fleet. I was fairly happy with the fight itself, I called intelligent targets, told our anchor where I wanted us to go and maintained good situational awareness, but for the travelling my words were continuously garbled,my decisions were slow and garbled and I spaced out often and had to continually ask scouts to repeat intel (especially after the fight).

This is where I find myself with FCing these days, I have enough experience and familiarity with popular doctrines that I can make relatively intelligent decisions and control the fight decently, but that is a fraction of what a FC needs to do. Moving the fleet itself around with ad hoc desto changes, having multiple different sources of intel through different mediums coming through and being so incredibly short on time blew my circuits and I pretty much cocked it all up. After the fight(s) I find myself a mixture of exhausted and elated, draining my concentration substantially and ruining any good maneuvers to eek out more kills. I can’t imagine any of the Waffles on my fleet were particularly happy with me or confident that I was doing good things while we were both setting up and leaving.

Frankly, the fact that we got the fight with the Feroxs was pure luck, as soon as our original target the Cerb fleet warped off in L4X I had that awful moment of realisation that I had brought us all the way out here for nothing but a single Scimi kill. Thus, I have the following things to work on, which are also factors any FC should be thinking about:

– Mental stamina: It is my dream to one day be competent enough and have the opportunity to lead a PL campaign and FC large scale, important campaigns and engagements not only passably, but fantastically. There’s no hope of doing this if I can’t maintain a high level of concentration and mental acuity for extended periods of time.

– Delegation: Partly to help with the above, but in general I will have a finite number of things I am capable of doing at any one point in time. There will be a subset of those things which I can do well, everything else needs to be delegated so that all jobs get done well.

– Presence & Personality: It was noticeable how at the PL London meet, whenever Hedliner opened his mouth the room stopped, turned and paid attention. Even when he was just chatting you could see people twitch to listen, tables over when he started speaking loudly. A 23 year old, green student had the attention of middle aged professionals as well as all kinds of nerds in general and people from all walks of life. He obviously has done a damn sight more to earn their respect than me, but any long-term FC should make people want to listen to him and enjoy spending time in his or her fleets. I am currently awful at this.

Apoth ♥

Fitting 105: Shopping with Gallente Cruiser V

So I finished Gallente Cruiser V a while ago and wanted to treat myself to a few toys. Here is my toy locker 😀

The Solo Deimos

(In this image CNA is loaded, tank turned off)

A popular ship for soloing since the HAC rebalance, many people use dual-rep with Ions (for longer engagements so you can reload the AAR), a second EANM rather than a second mag stab, or I’ve seen all kinds of things done with the rigs. This version is (in my opinion) simple and forgiving. a bunch of DPS with as good projection as you’re going to get with blasters, a single repper to worry about Cap for and choice between EWAR drones and Warriors. I’m currently planning on updating the fit to a Khanid/Caldari Navy Warp Scrambler for 9,750km range and upgrading the rigs to T2 since the price drop.

I actually got my first true solo kill with it today, as thus far I’ve been using it on rare occasion for small gang quick response stuff.

Not exactly kill of the year, I think he was trying to be cap stable while perma-MWDing to kite away. One overheat of my MWD caught me up into scram/web range liberal application of DPS to the face resulted in a quick, one-sided fight. He was very polite about the loss, which is nice to see, though after telling me that he could have taken me, his explanation for losing was an ever growing list of weak excuses. Still, on to the next fit!

The Proteus

King of the brick tank, the Proteus is known across new Eden as a fantastic FCing boat, and is also commonly used as a station gaming ship in high sec. My Proteus is relatively cheaply fit compared to what you might see out of it’s use in wormhole alliance, but still lovingly adorned with shiny modules.

(Void loaded, tank on.)

The bonus to point range on this ship has also lead to the Proteus being used in pimped gatecamps as a super heavy-duty point. With a covert subsystem on it, the Proteus becomes an insane cloaky ganker.

The Vigilant

Rarely seen outside of webbing duties in high-level Wormhole Sleeper Ops, the Vigilant is still a fun ship to have on hand for when you seriously need something to stop moving.

(Void loaded, tank on)

Without T2 resists if you fly this in anything larger than a small gang you’re going to be a hot primary, so be very careful as to when you choose to take this thing out.

Living in Low/Null as a PvP entity

The title for this post was a lot harder than the content of the post, originally it was going to be something along the lines of “Being a small PvP corp in Low Sec”, whereupon I realised that the vast majority of what I would be saying applies to Null Sec as well. Also, I’m assuming vast majorities of what I am going to talk about would be true for whole alliances and coalitions. Really, this is some portion of a “how to EVE as a group with a PvP focus” guide, which in itself would be far too grand a term for someone as inexperienced as myself, and I’m not arrogant enough to assume I know anything about true corp/alliance management.

Anyways, I’ve recently been spending a bunch of time with EVE University’s Low Sec Campus, where Unistas who want to live in Low Security Space can go to live with others who want the same thing. More specifically, they have recently undergone massive growth after a large period of inactivity, and thus with the new wave of “campers” are looking to redevelop into the lean, mean PvP machine we had in Maseera back when I was a Unista.

Part I: Intel

Living in Low and/or Null Sec without establishing an efficient system of intelligence gathering is a lot like going mountain climbing while wearing a blindfold. You’re going to miss out on a lot of cool stuff and probably get yourself hurt.

First, let’s talk about doing your homework. It is massively useful to collective maintain a working knowledge of all the other groups operating within your area. I’ll define “your area” as anywhere in your home region, the adjacent regions, anywhere you roam and in case it isn’t automatically included anywhere within 20 jumps of your home station. One of the best ways to do this is have a thread on your forum dedicated to such information, where people can continuously post and update intel as they become more familiar with their neighbours. I’ll use the old Low Sec Campus in Maseera Circa November 2012 as an example (of what I can remember, I was even more of a starry eyed-newbie at the time).

  • Name & Basic info – EVE University, corp of newer players, though this Campus is home to their more focused and experienced PvPers
  • Home system – Maseera, Aridia
  • Any special RoE – They only shoot people with negative standings or those who are flashy. Non-flashy neutrals will only be engaged if they open fire first. They do not shoot structures.
  • Average fleet numbers & activity – Anywhere from 5-30 fleet members with primetime from 18:00-02:00 EVE
  • Known FCs – Darko Fett, Haelur, Apothne, Gallastian Khanid, Nys Cron, Kriegarman, Capricamper Shore
  • Known Fleet comps – Kitchen sink shield brawling BCs, shield kiting BCs, Heavy Armour Battleships (though usually with T1 guns). Most of the time they will brawl you.
  • Use of Capitals – Very rarely, maximum two Archons fielded with their heavy armour fleets Insert names of Capital pilots for watchlisting here, no known super/titan usage.
  • Batphone – None; though given previous notice they can get a large increase in numbers from other EVE University campuses.
  • Contacts/Representitives – Hong Hu, Darko Fett

Now that that’s done, let’s talk about continuous intel. There should be a specific chat channel for the 23/7 monitoring of the local area for anything of interest, i.e something that might mean you can shoot at people. This can vary from monitoring neighbours home systems, each system within a few jumps of your home system and well-traveled routes, such as regional entry/exit points. The intel you are looking for cam be unusual number of people in local, roaming fleets, structure timers people might turn up to. One of the best ways to keep a track of this information (and to make sure people don’t necessarily know that you’re watching them) is to have a picket alt(s) on your non-main account(s) to strategically place (let’s face it, who plays EVE with one account?).

Even better than picket alts with no-SP are noob-corp CovOps Frigates & Recons who can warp around covertly, probe stuff down and generally make you able to engage your targets as soon as you get into system.

Alright, so you’ve got this intel, now you need to report it accurately and efficiently. In general, this involves saying what you can see, where it is, what direction it’s moving in (if any), what their numbers are, what ships they have and who it is (and thus any relevant information you know about them). 3 Examples:

1. In Van at Planet 3 Moon 1 a Pandemic Legion POS has been reinforced by an Against All Authorities fleet of ~50 Oracles and ~10 Guardians.

AAA and PL are two entities with way more numbers, shinier ships and far more experience. Stay THE HELL OUT OF THEIR WAY apart from perhaps picking off reinforcements/the leftovers after any engagement. It may be possible to whore on killmails with a sniping fleet, but again remain overly cautious. Reccomend to leave cloaky eyes on grid to keep an eye on the POS as it comes out of reinforced, if only to watch a cool fight.

2. In Agaullores heading to Shirshocin is a 15-man Sadistica armour BC gang with 4 Guardians and Damnation links.

We had a good relationship with Sadistica, they had a “fite nite” every wednesday which we would happily turn up to provide people to shoot at and shoot back. Keep eyes on their fleet and convo them to ask them if they fancy a brawl.

3. In Kamih heading to Gens is a 20-man DBAM armour BS gang with no visible Logi & two Rooks.

We didn’t get along very well with DBAM, they tended to not care so much about a “gud fite” and just do everything they could until they won the field. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just that they were more prone to tactics taht some PvPers would find “ungentlemanly”. A good plan would be to see if we could form up our own heavy gang with the tools to take out a small number of capitals, potentially with reinforcements incoming from Aldrat.

The ability to communicate information accurately, quickly and clearly will make you among the top 5% of PvPers in the game, and FCs will love you. By maintaining all of the above information, you can monitor day-to-day goings on and maximise your potential to get involved in cool fights while minimising any unpleasant surprises. One intel-gathering tool I have yet to mention is the art of placing spys in other corps, though I have little personal experience of this so despite it’s amazing effectiveness I’ll just leave it as a footnote.

The only other thing to mention in this section is the usual roundup of the 3rd party tolls such as dotlan, Dingo’s FC Toolbox and Being familiar with and able to use these rapidly is an invaluable ability, made much easier by using a second monitor/laptop.

Part II: Logistics & Preparation

It’s all well and good having all this lovely intel, but if you ain’t got no ships then you ain’t got no fleet. Equally, if everyone has a bunch of ships but nothing typing them together you will have at best single-tanked brawling fleet comps, which can only get you so far. I will assume that I needn’t explain what a “Doctrine” is or why it is so vastly superior to a “kitchen sink blob”, so suffice to say that any PvP organisation worth their salt will have in addition to whatever their pilots choose to buy and pilot themselves, a few core doctrines which allow them to engage as many different sizes any styles of opposing fleet as possible. This means you will be wanting to be able to fight all kinds of hull sizes at all kinds of ranges, bearing in mind the popular doctrines of the time in general that you are likely to face as well as the specific habits of the PvP groups that live near you.

As far as my experience goes, PvP corps tend to have usually 3-7 doctrines on the go at any one time, ranging from srs bsns tryhard strat OP doctrines to chill roaming “let’s go have some fun shooting at stuff” doctrines. This is not to say that any group has to fly exclusively these ships and fleet concepts, but that if there is a fight to be had the FC can choose an appropriate fleet setup and know that everyone will have the ships to do it. As a line-member you are a sick nerd baller if you have the 2-3 core ships of each doctrine available to you (many of which such as Logi will overlap) as well as always-useful ships such as Intys, Dictors & Recons. Everyone in your group of playters should strive to achieve this golden standard, and do their best to replace any ships that are lost as soon as possible as well as help out fellow corp mates by selling/lending/giving out spares.

The next hurdle to overcome is getting the ships from (typically) Jita to wherever you live and in the hands of your brothers in arms. These systems can range for the very simple to the very complex, run by specific sub-groups or by everyone pitching in and usually take the form of some combination of corp contracts, in-house JF services, seeding local markets and ship replacement programmes.

The other main preparation to do is bookmarks. One of my good friends and the best ‘Ceptor pilot I know, whenever he moves to a new home spends the first 2-3 days making bookmark after bookmark after  bookmark, and for good reason. Especially in modern day EVE with its faster ships that project damage better than ever before, out-maneuvering your opponents and controlling engagements is the key difference between coming out on top and welping horrifically. There is no reason not to give yourself a home field advantage by placing bookmarks around structures that will see fights, your home station and well traveled or popularly camped gates, not to mention having a plethora of “safes”, at least one mid-safe per system that you can warp to when the brown stuff hits the fan.

Part III: Actually shooting at people

It’s taken us a long time to get to the bit we all came here for, but we’ve reached it at last, shooting at people for fun and/or profit. I’m not going to spend overly long on this section despite the fact that it’s (almost) everyone’s favourite part, I more want to cover how this should be approached in the context of this guide of mid/long-term living in low/null sec. There are many other (and far superior) places (including other posts in this blog) which provide resources on how to fly from your very first fleet to crazy Rooks and Kings stuff.

Especially in the smallest of groups, you need people willing to step up and FC, who will switch to ships to even out a composition, who will fly Interceptors and Interdictors. These tend to be the main personalities of corps, those who keep up the morale, drive for improvement and provide content for everyone to enjoy. It is a lot of fun to be this person and these are the kind of people every Coalition/Alliance/Corp are desperate to have. Without these people compositions are lop-sided, it takes ages to react to available PvP (which is never good) and the whole group suffers for it, becoming lethargic and ineffective as an entity.

One of the most important lessons I have learnt and want to impress on anyone reading this is that you should be aware of what reputation you’re building for yourself. This is something that new player corps especially can struggle with, for example E-UNI’s old reputation for ECM blobbing or Brave Newbie’s reputation for Talwars, Talwars, Talwars. If you’re fond of Falcons, unending Talwar fleets and/or dropping hideous numbers of dreads on people, you aren’t going to be liked very much. Now, by all means it’s your choice whether or not this is something you care about, but general people are more happy to take fights that are less in their favour if they like you and know you’ll be equally brave at a later date. By maintaining good relationships with some of your neighbours, you can have pre-arranged fights or even work together against an outside force which on your own you might not be able to deal with.

This also raises the point of how you deal with standings and your opinion/need for blues. More more people you blue, the less people you can shoot at, but equally the less people who are going to shoot at you. My own corp, SniggWaffe, operate on the basis that we like shooting things quite a lot and thus avoid blues like the plague, with exceptions for our own alts and PL (as we are the recruitment & training corp of Sniggerdly). If you have a bunch of structures that more powerful groups than yourself might want to replace with their own, you might want to try to attain a non-structure shooting agreement with them, or become best buddies with another group who might help fend off any aggressors.

Apoth ♥

BlOps 101

The better you are at BlOpsing, the less your screen looks like this:

And more like this:

And this:

And if you’re the sickest of nerd ballers who triple boxes the hunter, bridger AND a bomber, like this:

When I speak of BlOpsing, I am referring to the operation of having a number of Stealth Bombers and/or Black Ops Battleships sat on a Bridging Black Ops Battleship ready to jump on unsuspecting prey.

The MOST IMPORTANT aspect of BlOpsing is having a plentiful supply of hunters, ships that go out into the depths of space equipped with (usually) a cloak, a Covert cyno and a point. Unsuprisingly the best ships for this are Stealth Bombers, Recons and cloaky T3s. The more hunters you have, the more space you can cover, the more liely you are to find and tackle some targets. Having 20 dudes waiting on one hunter to find someone is boring and awful, so if your corp is getting into BlOpsing make EVERYONE train OOC Cyno V alts. Here are two examples for you:

The best place to know where to actually go with your hunters can be found using the amazing dotlan. Find where a bunch of NPCs have died recently and go there. The more time you spend in a region, the better you will get to know the residences ratting habits and you can adjust your searching appropriately. However, the more you BlOps a region, the more people have the opportunity to learn who your alts are and in general deflect and be safe against BlOpsing attempts. That being said, even with zero kills, you can tank the Sov index of several regions purely by making your presence known (as Waffles have been doing in Tribute/Deklein/Pure Blind/Fade for the past few weeks).

Another thing to consider is what targets you are willing to engage. With TP utility mids, Bombers can happily apply DPS to cruiser sized hulls, though you will still want to avoid ships such as Cynabals, instaCanes, and pretty much anything that has a good chance of blapping some/all of your bombers before you can blap it.

So you’ve got your hunters out, what do you do to prepare to drop? Your best bet is to sit cloaked up in a safe on your BlOps, ready to decloak the moment you have a target about to be caught. Additionally, you need to be VERY aware of the bridge range, how many mids you need, whether you need a fuel truck (a cloaky hauler filled with ‘topes), the total mass you are doing per bridge. Getting even one of these wrong can result in a catastrophic failure, which usually at the very best results in the loss of your hunter, and at worst the loss of your whole BlOps fleet, including the bridger. Thankfully, dotlan has a tool to help you calculate jump range, so use it!

Not only do you need to be prepared to get IN to blap your target, you need to be prepared to get back OUT again after you have done what you came to do. Generally after a drop it’s best to warp off to random celestials, cloak up, and reassemble on the BlOps to get back to your staging point again. ALWAYS have spare fuel for planned and unplanned backcynos and assorted targets of opportunity.

Happy hunting!

Apoth ♥

I’ve never lost an Arazu

About a month ago, I finished Recon V since admiring their effectiveness during my time in EVE University. With only Gallente cruiser V trained, I eagerly fitted up two Arazus (one shield, one armour) and a Lachesis (Shield, the armour Arazu is better than the armour Lachesis). Since then, as mentioned in the title, I haven’t lost an Arazu.

In the case of Lachesis however, it is now a running joke in Waffles that I’ll lose one every time I undock, regardless of what fleet we’re running.

Lach loss 1

Some dudes were bashing a POS in Eha in tier 3s, so naturally as there were ships in space at any point Waffles formed up our own to shoot at them. Fleet comp of choice was our own T3s, hence my Lachesis to apply long-range point and apply warpins via probes in addition to our ‘Ceptor support. We landed on them at range and picked off a few things while they warped away.

Over the next few minutes the gates of miltia hell opened, spewing forth ships from every gate chasing us down. We chased the initial gang to a gate, who then warped off to a PoCo. AAt this point it seemed as if they were running, so I threw caution to the wind and warped us to that PoCo at…….exactly the same range they had warped at.

My Lachesis was the first primary, and thus began the great kite of 2013. I went back after the fight and wrecks were strewn in a straight line over ~1200km of grid.

Lach loss 2

The great and powerful NuNu Dagobah (who may be the nicest person in PL, or possibly all of EVE) took 20 or so waffles into FCON space to poke the great CFC bear. The bear poked back.

It seemed the appropriate response to a small TrebleCat gang in your space is to rageform a Tier 3 fleet with SIX carriers, and then drop them into the system, while also forming FOUR separate AHAC gangs to sit on the ingate in each adjacent system. I don’t know what NuNu ever did to FCON to illicit this response but by god I hope he doesn’t do it to me.

Lach loss 3

The main use I’ve found for my Lachesis in Waffles is, as in the previous example, providing long range point for our TrebleCat fleets (sometimes it’s even survived!). However, applying HML damage to Assault frigs is not an easy task, especially when the opposing FC realises that your anti-tackle is just a few bellicoses with target painters and RLMs and takes them off the field as fast as he can.

We find it hard to convince FW dudes near Kinakka to engage us most of the time, even when the fleet comps are expressedly not in our favour, so as they were in the fighting mood and willing to engage, our FC got us to reship and go out again. A fight’s a fight after all.

After waiting for 40 minutes of the opposing FC begging “please wait my guys need to reship, we need reinforcements” blah blah blah they reveal their fondness of EWAR in round 2, despite having won round 1.

The lesson I learnt that day is if you want “gudfites”, don’t ask the Gallente Militia. They seem to have looked at EVE Uni’s old reputation for EWAR blobbing and gone “YES! Now THAT is what we want to be.”

As you can see from the lossmails, it is super important to customise your Recons for the fleets at hand. There are some good “general” fits, but you will always be better of asking yourself “what do I need to do in this fleet” and swapping a module here or there to maximise your effectiveness. I now have two standard Lach fits I use for thw two primary instances in Waffles where a Lach is useful; TrebleCat Support and T3 Kiting Support. Handily I can use the same rigs for each, meaning I just have one hull and swap the modules as necessary:

The TrebleCat Support is the one I keep ready to go at all times, and to switch it to the kiting Lach I just drop a Smartbomb, the adaptive, the nano or backup cluster and the AB to a medium cap booster, a MWD and a meta 4 reactor control (it’s cheaper than the T2, provides sufficient PG and gives some nice cap/shield bonuses).

Apoth ♥

On target priority

Whenever I run Eve University classes on FCing, or witness new FCs in action, one of the main questions that come up is that of target priority. Who is it important to shoot and when?

I’ve given guides to this previously in this blog and in the recordings, but to sum it up you want to be choosing targets that are of high value to the enemy (EWAR, Logi, High DPS), which you can realistically kill (you can break their tank with ease, they’re withing the damage projection range of your fleet). Last night I FCed my first fleet for a little while after RL stopped being so Hectic and our main engagement is pretty much a perfect example of this principle. Let’s start with the battle report:

So, realistically we were never going to win this fight, and more risk-averse organisations who are only in for engagements the will win would definitely have shyed away. We were running without links and had lost a few Logibros to RL since the start of the fleet, and the opposing gang out gunned, out Logied, out Reconned (4-0) and generally had bigger and scarier stuff (and had both Tengu and Loki links). However, we are Waffles and I’ll be damned if I ever turn down a fight where we can kill at least one thing.

We had chased them 30 minutes prior but they had docked up in fear of our TrebleCat gang, but we met them harassing Brave Newbies when we got down to Barleguet. Once again they ran away from us, but set themselves up on the other side of a gate and refused to jump into us. So I added positioning to my mental list of “things they have that we don’t have” and went for it anyway. One thing worth noting here for FCs is that when you jump into an enemy gang, it can be very tempting to go in guns-blazing and immediately call targets, break cloak and all that kind of thing. If your opponents aren’t running it is far better to have everyone hold cloak, remind your fleet of their anchors, broadcast your first few targets and generally take 10 seconds to calm everyone down and prepare them for the fight.

Now, let’s individually consider the subsets of ships they had on the field, and it’s worth noting that their Recons and Logi were off-gate, though the Logi were still just in our missile range.

  • The Recons – Usually low buffer but high resist, meaning if they caught reps they would probably tank. They had high-impact on us (especially the Curse and Falcon) so my plan was to burn us towards them (I was the Caracal anchor as well as target-caller & broadcaster) and shoot at them should the opportunity present itself.
  • The Tengus – It was apparent fairly quickly that the Tengus were 100MN AB fit, which mean in addition to their at least decent tank, their high Velocity and relatively low sig would mean our damage would apply terribly. HML Tengus also have relatively awful DPS, so while they would make nice killmails they are not good important targets as their impact to the fight is limited and we couldn’t really kill them even if we wanted to.
  • The Scimitars – There were three of these, and with the Tengu links we weren’t going to break them.
  • The Cynabals, Talos and Tornados – Your usual Cynabal will have ~40k EHP but a very poor resist profile. They do however have good DPS and with their phenomenal speed can get into range to apply it very effectively. Standard small-gang Talos have a tank of 1 LSE, 1 Adaptive Invuln, 2 CDFEs and a EM rig, with a DCU being optional for a nano/extra TE. Combining that with their super-high DPS (assuming they had T2 Guns) makes them the archetypal glass-cannon. Similarly with the Nados, they have a few more mids and can thus fit a slightly improved tank over a Talos but they fall into the same category. Low tank + high DPS = good choices of target.
  • The Sleipnir – Either ASB fit or buffer, this ship provides a good amount of DPS but would be a tough nut to crack. It’s a better choice than the Tengus but compared with the Tier 3s & Cynabals it’s an no-contest.

So, all things considered not a difficult choice for what primaries to call, but being able to recognise and process this kind of information in a short period of time is one of the key abilities an FC in any type of fleet in any kind of space must learn.

The fight itself was quite exciting to be a part of, we burned quickly through their high-DPS ships, but their Falcon and Curse made life exceptionally difficult for our Logibros and we were losing ships just as quickly. By the time they ran out of poorly tanked targets we had lost enough Caracals that would couldn’t dent what we had left, even those who had flown outside of their logistics range had time to burn back into range before we managed to scratch their paintwork. The Russians held the field, but I like to count this as a Waffle victory given how ridiculously outgunned we were and the fact that we killed 1.5B in assets while only losing a third of that ourselves.

TrebleCats are AWESOME!

Apoth ♥

Low Sec: The Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat

So, I’ve been living on Low Sec at least partly, usually fully since the end of the previous year, so I feel somewhat qualified to speak on what type of PvPers you find here. In my head there are two main sub-groups that entities I have met fall within, before dividing again into many, much smaller sub-groups. There are far too many notable groups out there to mention here, so please do not consider the entities mentioned here any sort of complete list.

The Bourgeoise

This category is reserved for those entities who have exceptional ISK reserves, high SP pilots and the willingness to use that ISK in the field, even if in some cases only when they know they won’t lose the fight. In general these groups are relatively small, but close-knit organisations who have been doing what they do for a good long while, making them exceptionally good at their style of gameplay. Groups that fall into this selection are tho ones the rest of us fear to engage for the cyno that will inevitably bridge in one of their signature Doctrines, commonly relying heavily in Tech 3 cruisers. Examples:

  • Shadow Cartel – My first experience with such group, recently described by Wey’oun of D’n’D in this TMC article as “wanting to fit 100mn ABs to anything with a mid”, most likely referencing their 100MN Tengu fleet which they run from time to time. I have also seen them field Claymores with single-ET Basilisks (for the brave of heart only) and good old fashioned heavy armour battleships with triage support. Rivaled only with DnD is their dread fleet, though I have yet to see this in action first hand.
  • Drunk’n’Disorderly – Though recently disbanded, it would be a disservice not to mention them here. With an outstanding Dread fleet which I have faced on multiple occasions, as well as being dropped on them in multiple Bhaalgorns and Faction BS when I was running a mid-sized UNI fleet, not to mention this fantastic welp. I have heard them called “the PL of Low Sec”, an apt name given they are were very popular batphones.
  • Urine Alliance – More commonly known as Snuff Box (or CCP CTF runners up 2013), their current most popular setup is to bridge large groups of Absolution-class battlecruisers with guardians onto anyone foolish enough to engage their fishing T3s or Recons within Bridge range of Sujarento. Another notable fleet fo theirs is their Armour Arty Machs, dropping 20-30 of them with guardian support at optimals to an ongoing engagement and blapping anything stupid enough not to get out of their way.

Regardless of their own personalised doctrine, each of them can bring some serious heavy armour brawl to the table when there’s a grid to be owned. In general, groups such as these will have capital escalation on standby in case any of their pimped out fleets get into any trouble, and I would probably do the same if each lossmail was going to be at least 400mill a pop. There are occasions where many of these groups will band together to achieve a common goal, such as the recent Revenant kill.

The Proletariat

Also known as “everyone else”. Now, by no means does this imply everyone in this category is necessarily poor, inexperienced, or unskilled, more that you don’t generally see them in the types of fleets as listed above. By all means they’ll be able to rub together a few faction BS and a couple of Caps when the Call To Arms is sounded, but you’ll usually see them in the hodgepodge of T1 hulls we have come to know and love under CCP Fozzie and Rise’s re-balancing efforts. The two most typical groups in this selection are FW corps and small, dedicated-piracy corps, though, as always, there are many exceptions. Here are a few of the most varied examples I have some experience with:

  • The Tuskers – A dedicated group of Pirates who focus on excellence in small-gang and solo PvP with demanding entry requirements, while retaining a family friendly corp culture. One such notable past member is Azual Skoll, author of possibly my favourite eve blog; The Altruist. I almost want to have another section for groups such as the Tuskers, as by all means they have the experience, the SP and likely the ISK to do what the Bourgeoisie do, yet I prefer to think of them as our working-class heroes.
  • SniggWaffe – My own corp, the PvP training and feeder corp for Sniggerdly, the executor corp of Pandemic Legion. I once heard us described as “A bunch of psychopathic 5 year olds given switchblades which PL have thrown into the playground with all the other children”.
  • Fweddit – Yes, I know they’re on deployment to fight in Fountain with the CFC. Still, for a very long time they were the powerhouse of the Amarr militia, their most well-known fleet concept being “Panzers”, the Maller/ONI/Augoror blob which was probably the first and biggest impact of the T1 cruiser changes back in November. I had a great number of enjoyable fights with them while they were still down in low sec and hope to see them return very soon.
  • Brave Newbies Inc. – Somewhere halfway between E-UNI and Fweddit, a dude from Reddit decided to create a corp for noobs, got a huge number of members and promptly moved them to Rahadalon, thanks to which SniggWaffe, a 220-man corp at the time, had the 7th most kills of any corporation in all of EVE in March of this year. Over time BNI have had to regulate some of their famously open procedure which they were very much against in the beginning, but you can’t really blame them for it. Not only that, they have graduated from constant frig swarms to T1 fitted cruiser and BCs. Hell, I even saw one of them in a Raven once! Since our bromance in Rahadalon we’ve maintained good relations, and with their recent move to Barleguet in Placid I look forward to interacting with them in the coming weeks. BNI is very reminiscent of early-day Goon/TEST, grab 200 dudes in frigates and just bloody go for it.

FW groups in particular will maintain POSed up links in their home and surrounding systems, though there is a great variance of attitude within each Militia. Waffles currently live only a few jumps out of the main Gallente staging system, some of their corps love a good even brawl, yet others prefer to blob a;ll their fights and take fewer risks. To each their own.

One of the wonderful things about Low Sec is that every system or two will be the home base of some corp or alliance, with their own culture, doctrines, attitude and resources. Learning about your neighbours is a must to get involved round here, and it’s a very enjoyable experience, be they 20-man corps of a few friends, hi-sec gate-campers, giant null entities on deployment or any other type of group you mention. Each constellation has its own flavour, yet is constantly evolving and adapting to those around them, which is one of the main reasons I find EVE such a beautiful game.

Apoth ♥

Fitting 104: Blaster & Smartbomb Edition


I loooooove the Brutix.

There are three types of Brutix fits you’ll see being used regularly, the dual rep, shield buffer and armour buffer. They’re all pretty standard so I won’t bother going into much detail, and I’ll post two significantly different ways to tank the armour buffer Brutix.

Mixing in Auxilliary Armour Reppers is also nice, I’m yet to play with them.

On the passively tanked armour buffer Brutix, it’s also quite nice to replace the mag stab with a Explosive hardener, then replace the explosive rig with a third trimark, or even go one trimark with kinetiv and thermal rigs, depending on how important resists are to you vs overall EHP.

Choosing the correct small smartbomb to kill drones in PvP

It’s great (if you have the money and the Utility high) to run a small smartbomb to kill opposing drones, with faction smartbombs being somewhat more expensive but providing a good deal more range so you can actually hit the little blighters. I’ve made a table to find the best smartbomb (assuming you’re using 1 small faction one) against the most commonly used PvP drones (ignoring sentries as they don’t orbit you).


Disclaimers: The data gathered from EFT assuming perfect skills but a hull that does not give bonuses to drone HP. I also do not know how EVE rounds damage or HP so I have assumed standard mathematical rounding procedure (round down for <0.5, round up for =<0.5) but have left the raw figures for re-calculation as necessary, nor have I taken shield recharge into account.

So to be honest, it’s all pretty darn close. Thermal is technically the best, beating all the others by one cycle, but to be honest I think EMP is probably the better choice such that you guarantee hits more often in case of the larger drones or omnidirectional tacking links being used.

Blaster Naga

This week I will be experimenting with doing small-gang blaster Nagas, engaging either with null and optimal range scripts loaded or Caldari Navy Antimatter and tacking speed scripts.

If you lack T2 large Hybrids you can use tungsten ammo for similar damage projection, though your DPS naturally suffers for it.

Without tackle mods and Battleship-grade guns these things are going to require appropriate support, so I’m planning on Rapiers, Dictors and plenty of interceptors, maybe even a ‘Razu. In conjuction with that, it needs a few dedicated anti-tackle ships such as Stabbers/Vagas/Cynabals to keep these things safe. Add in a couple Scimis/Scythes and I’m hopingt this will be a nice little compostion to blap things with.

Apoth ♥

DickCats 103 & Doctrine Evolution

Previous Dickcat Posts:



This is one of those posts where the grand scheme of EVE and my personal travels through space have seemed to align in a rather beautiful way.

Recently there was a Mittani article (a Goon Alliance Update to be specific) speaking of Doctrines and how the ones being used in the Fountain war have until recently been pre-Odyssey fits, taken from essentially when TEST took Delve and killed triple A which seems like a very long time ago. The advent of Megathron Fleets and the core Celestis blob of the CFC “Fuck You” Fleet (which I could not be more happy about, go Gallente!) represents the continuing metagame change at bloc-level PvP.

I love reading and discussing metagame shifts back from my days as a StarCraft Player/Caster, and this is probably the first heavy shift I have been knowledgeable to appreciate during my EVE career. Theorycrafting and discussion specific fit variations is one of my favourite things to do with friends on comms & forums, and doing so can teach you a lot about PvP. It has also been a strong contributor in my progress to become a competent FC.

Waffles (as I am writing this) are moving to Kinakka, and to break everyone back into being able to roam I’m doing a good old DickCat fleet. Still, with Medium Ancillary Current routers holding price at 10m in Jita it was time to fiddle with the Thorax fit, or be spending silly amount of money.

All I’ve done is change the 1600 plate to an 800, which in turn allows me to drop the router for a trimark and upgrade the guns to Ions (more Optimal & DPS) in exchange for meta-ing the AB.

The tank drops by 4k EHP, though 26k is still plenty, otherwise as i mentioned above you get more DPS & Optimal from the guns, more agility and more speed under MWD. The price drops by ~9m as well, which is obviously great news on a ship that was less than 50 mill to begin with. Overall then a great change, and probably something that I should have been doing since Day 1 (when I stole the fit from the Tuskers). Overall, a fantastic change then.

I have to be honest and say that I am really glad to be leaving Outer Ring. Cloaky Camps, bombing & AT practice are a ton of fun (and AT practice is only going to get more intense in the run-up to the tournament), but living adjacent to the largest player entities in the game limits your ship choice quite substantially, and makes it impossible to run a large set of fleet doctrines or do smaller gang stuff in general. It was a great Holiday but as we’ve been in Delve/Fountain essentially since the start of May it the change is well needed. I was brought up in EVE Roaming through Low and Null sec with 10-30 dudes, it’s where my love of the game is at its strongest and where I am the most competent & comfortable as both a pilot and an FC, so access to Goon Space & the Northern War as well as Gallente/Caldari Faction Warfare is going to be AWESOME! We’ll have every type of PvP available to us 24/7, rather than lots of one and none of the other.

Good things are in store for this summer.

Apoth ♥