We may not be deployed to Null any more, but that doesn’t mean I won’t disband a scheduled Op and go 2 mids for a cool bombing run.
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:
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:
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.
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!
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:
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862165 Small gun Ferox? He’s using faction ammo at least I guess.
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862314 Javelin? Really? 13.5+10 is what you wanted?
http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20862162 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.
My mate Theon Severasse of Waffles is a badass solo pilot.
Waffles went to E-UNI comms to give out PLEX and talk about Waffle life. The sound is super quiet, but I am notified after ~15 mins. Enjoy!
This is the best video I have seen in a long time. (Be advised, NSFW).
Hey, so Waffle moved back to Kinakka, and something like 2-3 weeks later redeployed to have funtimes nth partying the Southern War. I ran a shitton of fleets during our brief return to Black Rise as did many other Waffles FCs, so here’s a small selection of cool fight we took part in.
Fight 1: Dancing with the Russians
I had called up a Talos/Oracle roam, standard kity stuff and we had made our way down to Barlequet, then still the home of Brave Newbies. As it happened, a large group of Russian T3 snipers had also come out to play. They kept trying to warp on to us, but thanks to not being ‘tards we managed to stay one step ahead of them, until l33t accidental logi bait Radakos got tackled as we warped out. This meant however that the Russians all started blapping him, allowing us to warp directly onto them, under their guns. Despite most of them being prealigned, we got our moneys worth:
Fight 2: Nightmare in New Eden
I love events like these. Everyone piles in and beats the crap out of each other with much less risk aversion than your usual engagements. A brand new Waffle FC posted the Op timer for this running Treblecats under my recommendation, but when we landed on the clusterfuck that was the grid he completely locked up, so me and the other main Waffle FC in the fleet tag teamed the fight between anchoring, target calling, his mumble bugging out and my client lagging out at one point.
The fight itself was awesome, by intelligent positioning we managed to stay out of the minds of most of the groups there, blapping merrily for a good half hour. Our Logi anchor was a first timer and managed to keep the logi pack either a) on top of the enemy fleet or b) out of rep range, but he learnt and otherwise everything went rather well. We managed to whore on most of the shiny crap, and by nature of being blue to PL we weren’t immediately blaster into November when they landed an Ishtar fleet to take part in the festivities.
Fight 3: Nanophoons and SMA
The arrival of Rubicon will make roaming in BS gangs a pain in the ass, so I decided to churn out a few nanophoon fleets while they were still fun. After a long and uneventful trek through northern null, we landed in the SMA staging system who were kind enough to undock firstly a Firetail fleet, and then their standard rail Ferox gang. The fighting actually went rather well for my first time both FCing and flying in a nanophoon fleet, but after SMA finished clearing our tackle they just warped off as soon as we fired on them. Combine that with the fact we were running low on cap boosters and we wree forced to go home. I learnt two main points:
1) Bring a Lachesis (I have a MWD Lach fit for our Darkside Naga fleet, it will double here beautifully).
2) Bring a cloaky hauler full of cap boosters.
Fights 4 & 5: Don’t mess with our bros parts 1 & 2
During our Pure Blind deployment we became good bros with the MOA dudes, so when we find out SMA came out of hiding and started picking on them after we went home we naturally wanted to help out. One borrowed Titan Bridge later and we enter DUNK CITY.
A few days later, SMA are at it again, but thsi time are POS bashing with 7 dreads and 2 carriers. Waffles didn’t quite have the numbers to take that on + the support fleet SMA had out, but thankfully PL wanted to send an Ishtar fleet over to get some cap kills. Two bad things happened that stopped us getting cap kills:
1) MOA did not have any of their leadership on, so when we told them that we were ready to go they refused to suicide-bubble the caps.
2) The PL fleet was horrific at telling me what they were doing. I was trying to organise both MOA and let PL know when to go in, but they just go ahead and spike local without telling anyone.
So the caps just warped off to a safe POS, but thankfully the SMA support fleet got caught and blapped, so it was not a futile excursion.
Fight 6: Farming TEST
The KB is a little borked on this one, but remove the Waffle AFs and the Cormi and you get the idea. We were outnumbered 3:1 but obviously outshipped the TEST dudes, so it seemed like a cool fight. It was not, they didn’t get a single kill due to their FC not calling them a primary, so all of us took ~2/3 shield damage before they were all dead.
Fight 7: Coaxing out BS kills
We received intel about a large BS gang roaming through Essence/Black Rise, and naturally wanted some of that action. They had ~20 Armour BS and confirmed capital support, but by the time we had chased them down (and picked one of them off) they had found a station to sit in. Through some coaxing they undocked, dropped the Archon and tied to goad us by just tanking our fire on the station. Waffles responded by gently tempting a few of their BS out of Archon rep range, scoring us some lovely killmails.
Fight 8: Archon down in Innia
This is Exodus’s story to tell, and thankfully they made a video, so here it is:
Don’t auto accept fleet invites fiends ♥
This of course is only a fraction of the trouble we got into during our brief return to Kinakka. If you have any interest in joining the SNiggWaffe violence machine, we’re keeping recruitment open for the meantime while we’re deployed to the South, so join “Join SniggWaffe” in-game today!
The better you are at BlOpsing, the less your screen looks like this:
And more like 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.
Apothne, you suck! You’ve barely been posting! Yeah, sorry. I had to order a new GPU (the old one was overheating every few minutes), and RL is being an utter bitch, but the new GPU is here (GTX 770) and works lie a dream.
Spaceship news………uh………….not so much. Waffles have been up in Pure Blind for the past two weeks on a harassing deployment, killing ratting carriers and the like, which largely means sitting on a BlOps for extended periods of time. Then you get something that looks like this:
And then you go back to waiting. Having said that, we’ve had some great fights with TNT and CO2, this fight came to be known as “Operation Dunkage”:
Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk Rubicon.
New Anchorable Structures – I love these, it will give some lovely tools for disrupting large Sov groups. Loaded with these are the ideas of “re-vamping POS code, but that will never happen because the code is too hard”. I don’t care, these things are cool, and in complete speculation I think that CCP are likely to just write a brand new replacement POS system that does what we want it to do with a bunch more cool features and let the old POSs die off.
Ship Balance – No idea about the Marauders, love the ‘Ceptor change especially in combination with Warp Acceleration, like, I came buckets (wouldn’t mind a tiny bit more base lock range though), EAFs are going to be HILARIOUS.
Warp Speed Changes – ALL OF MY YES