Archive for the ‘ Yarrbearing ’ Category

Farewell Python

After 1 year, 4 months, and 2 days, I have left the Python Cartel.

Make no mistake, I did not leave because my love for Python has diminished in any way. I left because Python has died.

Let me explain. Members of the Python Cartel always joked, “PYTHON IS DYING!!!1!!1!” whenever someone left the corp. We laughed at Spectre’s frequent claims to be quitting. We even laughed when as the most active members of Python such as Andrea Skye and Golden Helmet quit playing because we thought the joke was still a joke. But as time passed and Python grew less and less active, the joke became less funny and more true.

Interestingly enough, CCP dealt the final blow to Python. Like many other players, Python members were upset by CCP’s handling of Incarna and microtransactions. But then CCP permabanned Helicity Boson for his role as a leader in the player mobs. Why was this significant for Python? Helicity was not a mere forum poster and founder of Hulkageddon. Helicity was the current Python CEO, and he was doing what Pythons do best: troll. That was the final straw for most of the remaining Python members, who promptly quit Eve.

So after a year and a half in one of Eve’s most venerable pirate corps, it is time to move on. Python activity is nonexistent and lowsec is dead. As a result, I will be joining a couple other Pythons in Invicta, a former pirate corp that is now part of Rooks and Kings. The change is long overdue. Living as a lowsec pirate was killing my desire to play Eve. One thing I am looking forward to is medium gang warfare, as I love flying logistics and Rooks and Kings has some of the best medium gangs in Eve.

Farewell, Python.

Hello Invicta.

The Decline of Lowsec

Arrhidaeus recently wrote a post bemoaning the fact that quality PvP is noticeably disappearing from lowsec, and I completely agree. When I started PvPing, things were markedly different. I remember when Amamake was known as a good place to get good fights, not ganks. I remember when armor tanks were viable for solo work because you didn’t have to worry about running away from blobs all the time. I remember when you could put afterburners on frigates because speed wasn’t the only thing keeping you alive. I remember when blasters were used as much as Barrage. I remember when you could go solo roaming in a ship larger than a frigate without worrying about camps on every gate. I remember when you saw a ship on directional scan and immediately warped to it without trying to figure out if it was bait. I remember when there actually was stuff to shoot and going 50 jumps without a single encounter was unheard of.

Why is this? Maybe people have moved to nullsec. Maybe the type of people playing Eve have changed. Maybe the good PvPers have moved on to other games. Maybe ship changes have slowly made small gang and solo PvP obsolete. Maybe it is something else. I do not know the reason why lowsec has changed. All I know is that I can sense it dying.

You may have wondered why my posting has slackened lately. This is why. Nowadays I rarely get any joy from logging into Eve. I log in, cast a wistful glance over the ships in my hangar and wish I could fly that Rupture without getting ganked, undock in a MWD and disruptor fit frigate, roam around a little, see nothing in space (or run into a battleship gang), dock, and log. I tell myself that something will change and the glorious days of PvP will return but know that nothing in the upcoming expansions and patches supports that notion. So I log in less and less.

Perhaps I have changed, not lowsec. Perhaps I have simply become a cranky old veteran who likes to talk about the good old days. Perhaps I just need to explore new things. Maybe. But for now, all I know is that spending hours on a fruitless roam has no appeal. All I know is that the adrenaline rushes during PvP have stopped. And all I know is that my enthusiasm is dying like lowsec.

Piloting Foolishness

A while ago, I wrote a post called Piloting Savviness, which explained methods for succeeding in PvP by maximizing pilot skill. In this post, Piloting Foolishness, I will go over my latest losses and attempt to show what not to do.

Bait Drake is Bait

A corp mate and I were camping our station in Old Man Star when a nonblinky Drake warped in and aggressed us. Despite it being obvious bait (what Drake pilot in their right mind engages a Drake and Sleipnir solo?), we shot back. Nearly instantly, something lit a covert cyno and 15 black ops battleships and stealth bombers jumped in. Poof went my Drake. Poof went our Sleipnir.

The lesson learned from this one is pretty simple: it’s called a bait Drake for a reason.

LOLRAPIERTODRAKE

Our 11-man HAC and Recon gang fought a 14-man battleship, battlecruiser, and HAC gang in an asteroid belt. Though we held the field, we lost three ships in the process. After the fight, our remaining ships began to loot wrecks. Then I made what would appear to be an innocuous mistake – I warped to some wrecks that were at zero in the belt without first checking my directional scanner. To my horror, a hostile Drake landed in the belt at the same time that I did. Before I could gain range, I was scrambled and webbed. My poor 2-day old Rapier died before my fleet mates got close enough to help me.

Moral of story? Never let down your guard. A fight isn’t over until after you have docked up or are safe. Situational awareness is even more important after a battle, when your fleet has lost ships and is disorganized, than during the battle.

Ooh, Pretty Axplosions

Having just gotten an arty Thrasher, I took it out for a spin in my home system. Following my Piloting Savviness advice, I was testing its orbit, tracking, and damage on some belt rats. Although that would normally be a good thing, my brain was not functioning and I was barely paying attention to what was going on (it should be fairly obvious that something bad will happen now). A few minutes later, an Ishkur and Harpy landed on me, turning my ship into space rubble like the NPCs I had just been shooting. I was so loopy at the time that I barely even tried to fight back; all I was thinking was, “Why am I in structure? Uh oh. I think I’m in trouble. Oooh. That was a pretty axplosion.” The Thrasher was only 1 hour old.

Lesson learned? Pretty axplosions are pretty. Or something like that.

Can’t Catch Me, I’m the Gingerbread Man

I was flying around in a Slicer looking for a fight when I ran into an 8-man Gurlistas frigate/destroyer gang. I attempted to kill their bait Merlin but had to disengage when the rest of them landed. I burned away and to my surprise, many of their fleet did not appear to have any propulsion mod fitted. Only one of their ships, a Thrasher, had a microwarpdrive, so I pulled it away from the rest of the group and set about trying to kill it. I figured that if his nearest fleet mate got close, I could just run away, having nearly twice the Thrasher’s speed. It was a beautiful plan…except I overestimated how long my Slicer’s 2,000 EHP would last against an arty Thrasher (I would have orbited closer, but was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get away in time when his gang mates got closer). Upon hitting low armor, I aligned for a celestial and clicked warp. Nothing happened, even though my overview said I was not scrammed. Confused, I spammed the warp button more. Then the Thrasher’s artillery cycled and my Slicer vaporized.

As I warped away in my pod, I was quite humiliated. I had lost my first Slicer to a Thrasher. Perhaps it was the exhilarating speed. Or perhaps the long kill streak I had in it. Either way, I was overconfident in the Slicer’s abilities. As you may expect, overconfidence is one of the leading causes of PvP losses for many skilled pilots (or semi-skilled in my case).

Ping Isn’t Just for FPSes

Over the past few months, I have been having increasing trouble with my router and internet connection. No matter what I do to reset the router and check the connection, I have consistently high ping (200-800 ms) and unusually high packet loss (5-40%). I do not know why the situation is worsening, only that it is making playing Eve difficult. Here are some recent examples.

A week ago I was on a gate in a Stiletto when a Hurricane jumped through to me. I pressed the jump button as soon as I saw him, but ended up on the other side in a pod. A few days ago, I was manually piloting a Slicer around a hostile Rupture and Hurricane when I suddenly stopped getting notifications for shooting and being shot at. By the time my client updated about 15 seconds later, I was in structure. And just yesterday, I was on a gate in a Hound and clicked jump when a Hookbill aggressed me, but apparently my connection failed me because I got popped and podded for the first time since early 2009. My unstable internet connection is extremely aggravating, and I am becoming increasingly unwilling to undock because I am losing ships pointlessly (and my wallet and PvP pride can’t handle so many stupid losses).

Here is a picture of a speed test I did with just Eve running, no Ventrilo or anything else:

It gets worse when I am using Vent and have other tabs in the browser open, and when others are also using the internet. I’m not sure what I can learn from this, aside from the fact that good internet connections are essential.

Etc.

Thankfully, not all piloting mistakes result in losses; the losses I’ve talked about above are just a few of the notable mistakes I have made. Although piloting foolishness is painful to learn from at times, the more you lose, the better you become.

Kings of Amamake

July 2nd. While killing a Hurricane in a 6-man frigate gang, we got blobbed by an 8-man AoS (Advocates of Sin) HAC + logistics gang. We lost one frigate while finishing off the Hurricane, and AoS began to smack, saying we were fail PvPers. “Orly?” we thought. “How about we fight with equal numbers?”

So at exactly 00:00 Eve time on July 4th, we undocked a battleship gang with logistics support and began burning towards Amamake. Because our sole goal was to have a fight with the Amamake locals, we did not stop to kill anything along the way. Upon reaching Amamake, we sat in the top belt, told everyone to come fight us, and waited. And waited. And waited. Despite there being 50 in local, nothing appeared on scan. So we began smacking. Apparently our smack was of such exceedingly high quality that the locals petitioned us and a GM gagged several of our members for “inappropriate ASCII art” (Python is the only corp I know of who gets gagged for smacktalking).

After thirty minutes of waiting, we were itching for a fight, so we left Amamake and toured the nearby systems. Everywhere we went, there were consistently 40-50 in local, but no one was willing to fight us. Disappointed, we decided to go to Egghelende to smacktalk Ken Plante. On the way, a BANE alliance scout told us that they were willing to fight us in Amamake (apparently AoS was too scared to fight us but Bane had risen to the challenge). The fact that the hostile fleet couldn’t even move one jump to fight us made us suspicious that they would drop capitals on us, but we were confident that we could hold our own.

We had 11 remote rep battleships, 2 battlecruisers, and 3 Guardians. Knowing our exact fleet composition, Bane brought what they thought would be the ideal counter: a triage Nidhogger, 7 battleships, 1 battlecruiser, 2 HACs, and a Falcon. Two of their battleships were fit solely with neuts just to cap out our remote rep chain, and their Falcon had only anti-Amarr jammers just to break our Guardians.

As Bane had planned, their neuts and jammers wrecked havoc on our Guardians. Despite energy transfers, I was so capped out that I could not even activate my damage control. And the Falcon had our ECCM-fitted Guardians permajammed. Whenever we could, we tried to rep the primaries, but several of our battleships still started dipping into hull. We managed to get a Bane Megathron into hull, but then the Bane carrier entered triage and the Megathron’s shields and armor popped back to 100% nearly instantly.

But the tide started turning. One of our sniper fit battleships alphaed the Falcon, freeing the Guardians. Our FC, knowing that the carrier would have cap issues due to how fiercely it was repping the Megathron, had us focus some DPS on the carrier. As the carrier’s cap dwindled, we were able to kill several more Bane battleships, including an Armageddon flown by Ken Plante. Realizing that they were losing, the rest of the Bane fleet quickly bailed, leaving the carrier behind to die.

As the last Bane pilot exploded and we floated alone amongst the wrecks in the belt, our lemming brains slowly began to realize that we had won – 7 kills for 0 losses. Ecstatic, we began circle jerking in Vent and in local, declaring ourselves kings of Amamake.

Logistics FTW

For about a month, I was my corp’s sole logistics pilot, faithfully repping fleetmates in my Scimitar on nano HAC roams. But everything changed this week; now it seems that half the corp has decided to train and fly logistics ships. This newfound interest in logistics led to multiple pilots being able to field Guardians, and we rolled out in a heavier battleship gang with logistics support for the first time today.

The logistics immediately proved useful, as our 6 man fleet (3 battleships, 3 Guardians) immediately engaged a 15 man Phobos Alliance gang on our home station. Just half an hour earlier, we had crushed a Phobos Alliance gatecamp, prompting them to return for revenge. Knowing our fleet composition, the Phobos Alliance gang brought two Falcons to jam our logistics. Due to the heavy ECM, our logistics had a tough time keeping the fleet together. However, aside from one battleship in half structure, we were able to hold the field, obtaining two kills for zero losses.

After waiting out GCC, we moved out of our home system with 4 battleships and 2 Guardians. In Huola, we aggressed a few ships on station hoping to get a fight, but they undocked three Archons (in addition to the multiple battleships they already had out) so we were unable to get any kills. A hostile Bhaalgorn initially gave the Guardians some trouble, but we scooted out of neut range and were able to keep the gang repped enough that the hostile gang deaggressed and docked. After lingering a bit in hopes of a fight, we decided to leave.

On our way back to our home system, a Crow tackled one of our battleships just as the gang was entering warp to the next gate. The gang immediately warped back to help, but the battleship died while we were in the 50 AU warp back. Upon landing on the gate, we decided to attempt to fight the hostile 12-man gang. Unfortunately, the numbers were heavily against us (3 BS + 2 Guardians vs 10 assorted ships + 2 Scimitars + sentries), and we had lots of trouble breaking their logistics. In addition, due to sentries shooting at us, we were unable to use drones effectively while they fielded swarms of ECM drones that nearly permajammed the Guardians (at one point my Guardian had ~30 ECM drones on it). We attempted to deaggress, but lost a Dominix due to the overwhelming odds and ECM. In the end, two battleships and both Guardians were able to deaggress, jump through the gate, and escape. We got one kill for two losses.

There was a lot we learned from the fight. For newb Guardian pilots (today was the first time I and the other Guardian pilot had ever flown Guardians), the remote repping was exceptionally well done (we were even congratulated after the fight on the gate). The largest problem for the Guardians was ECM; despite having one ECCM fitted, the Guardians were jammed a majority of the time. The rest of the battleships should also have fitted remote reps to strengthen the spider tank further (particularly when the Guardians were jammed). Overall, the roam was quite successful while we had enough pilots. What confuses me the most is why so few lowsec fleets incorporate logistics when it is so powerful (we fought against 1:2.5 odds and still performed acceptably).

I Can Haz Pewpew?

In my previous post I complained that the Ami area was very empty. One nice thing about the lack of high traffic, however, is that we can have nice fights with other local pirate corporations without constantly worrying about hotdrops and 80-man faction warfare fleets. Here are two very fun engagements we have had the past few days.

Chain of Chaos: Healers FTW

Chain of Chaos (8): Brutix, Drake x3, Harbinger x2, Myrmidon, Caracal

Python Cartel (8): Abaddon, Dominix, Typhoon, Drake, Harbinger, Hurricane x2, Scimitar

Our battlecruiser gang was camping some locals in a station when we spotted a Chain of Chaos fleet moving through the area. Several people quickly swapped to battleships while I switched to a Scimitar. We warped into a belt at 0 km (I was at 70km), and the Chain of Chaos gang decided to engage. Being unable to overcome my remote repping, they primaried me. Thankfully, my fleet mates managed to kill the ships holding me down as I reached structure. I warped out and back in, but was unable to save Jawmare in his Typhoon.

Just as the space dust from the fight was clearing, an Ibis (the pilot is actually a scout for another alliance) warped in to a wreck, trying to steal some loot. However, before it could warp out, I managed to solo kill it with my Scimitar of Doom (the Drake whored my killmail).

In the end, we killed nearly every one of them and lost one battleship.

Rising Phoenix Alliance/The Alpha and the Omega: Meh, ECM :(

RPA/AaO (12 pilots, 17 ships used): Rokh, Scorpion x2, Typhoon, Hurricane x2, Brutix, Drake, Vagabond, Rupture, Stabber, Caracal, Caldari Navy Hookbill, Kestrel, Scimitar

Python Cartel (9 pilots, 10 ships used): Abaddon, Maelstrom, Armageddon, Typhoon, Dominix, Hurricane, Harbinger, Cyclone, Drake x2

As with the previous fight, our fleet was in battlecruisers when a pilot reported seeing 10 hostiles two jumps away. We jumped into whatever battleships we had and headed their way. Not wanting to get into a fight on a gate (sentries would be working against us), we warped to a planet and waited. And waited. And waited. Fifteen minutes later, ships began appearing on scan (it turns out that they incorrectly thought we were in RR battleships).

We killed what we could, but their ECM (two Scorpions) prevented us from using the majority of our DPS. And when we did kill a pilot, they returned in new ships. After a couple minutes, we had so few ships that everyone was permajammed, so we warped out.

Altogether we lost four battleships and two battlecruisers and killed one battleship, two battlecruisers, and two smaller ships (Kazaji miraculously was able to survive the fight in his Abaddon, but stupidly warped to a gate and died right after the battle).

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

Although the two fights seem very different, both battles highlight how disorganized impromptu fleets are. For blobbing they work tolerably, but easily crumble under pressure. For example, in the first fight, there were both armor tankers and shield tankers in the fleet but only shield logistics. In the second fight, had we been properly prepared for remote repping (which all battleship gangs should be) and ECM resistance (almost no one fitted ECCM), we would have been able to hold the field. This stands in stark contrast to the organized battleship roam and our immensely effective DrakeSwarm.

Oh My God, They Killed Kenny!

Ken Plante, the archnemesis of the Python Cartel, has been vanquished once again. Read about it here:

Smack Is Rather Fun via Eve Newb.

Faceplant – vol2 via Skye’s Super Happy Fun Pirating Blog.