Posts Tagged ‘ pvp ’

Blog Banter 21: No Man’s Land

Welcome to the twenty-first installment of the EVE Blog Banter, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. Check for other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This month’s topic comes to us from @ZoneGhost. He asks, “Is lowsec the forgotten part of Eve Online?” Is it? Is lowsec being treated differently by CCP Games than nullsec or empire space? Can one successfully make a living in these unsecured systems where neither alliances nor Concord roam to enforce their laws? What is needed? Or is everything fine as it is?

It is unquestionable that CCP has neglected lowsec recently. I do not want to rehash this again, as most Eve players and bloggers strongly agree with that statement. I believe that CCP is not intentionally mistreating lowsec – it is simply that their current strategy for adding content to Eve is failing miserably.

Take Planetary Interaction for an example. Theoretically, increasing the amount of resources as system security decreases would make lowsec more desirable than highsec and nullsec more desirable than lowsec. Except that whoever designed such a system never properly took into account risk vs rewards. Maintaining colonies in a 0.5 is infinitely less risky than doing the same in a 0.4. And ironically, friendly nullsec and wormhole space have both greater rewards and lesser risks than lowsec.

Planetary Interaction is just one example. CCP has applied the same broken thinking to nearly everything else – minerals, NPCs, missions, etc. With lowsec at such a disadvantage compared to other areas of space, it is quite obvious why only 8% of all Eve players reside in lowsec.

Earlier, I mentioned briefly that the risk in lowsec is significantly higher than in any other area of space. Highsec has Concord protection, discouraging most PvP of any kind. Nullsec has powerful alliances, which maintain intelligence channels, jump bridges, and constant gatecamps at key entry points. Wormhole space has collapsing entrances, which gives the defenders a significant advantage and deters all but the most dedicated hostiles. But what about lowsec? All it has are sentry guns, which only deters small ships from attacking (unless you are an outlaw).

With such high risks, making a living in lowsec is extremely difficult. And for the select few who do manage to make a living, the stress saps most of the fun from playing Eve. You cannot run missions or complexes without checking the scanner every few seconds for probes. You cannot mine without worrying about getting caught. You cannot manufacture without having to worry if there is a stationcamp outside waiting to pop your industrial. You cannot even PvP without the fear that losing the ship you’re in will consume a month or more’s worth of hard earned income.

Only a few pilots – mainly those who hunt missioners with cloakies and a gank squad – can hope to break even through lowsec alone. Everyone else must make their living from other areas of space. For example, despite having a 97.38% PvP efficiency and stingily T1 fitting my ships, I still cannot live solely off of loot and ransoms and have to mission and trade in highsec for ISK. And the pressure to survive is brutal: every time I warp into a fight, I find myself worrying involuntarily about the cost of replacing my ship instead of how fun the PvP should be. Clearly everything is not fine as it is, unless CCP intended for lowsec to become a hellish no-man’s-land.

What can be done? Lowsec needs its own unique perks. It should not simply be the “area between highsec and nullsec.” This could take the form of unique lowsec-only minerals or modules or implants or ships. Or it could have higher quality agents than in highsec. Or some sort of bounty hunting system. Or a less punitive GCC and reworked sentry guns. Or outlaw-only items. There are literally hundreds of ways that CCP could make lowsec more enjoyable. I just hope that CCP changes their broken content addition strategy and actually gets around to revamping lowsec.

Other Blog Banter articles:

  1. CrazyKinux’s Musing: The Lure of the Wild
  2. Banter 15: Arr, Yer be talkin’ bout me lowsec | TheElitist
  3. Banter 21: Low-sec- Chocolate Heaven
  4. Subs’ suds: Forever a noob in Eve: Low-Sec – the forgotten part of EVE Online
  5. Blog Banter XXI – Lo-sec = Low Priority? | I am Keith Neilson
  6. In the Ghetto | A Mule in EvE
  7. where the frack is my ship?: Blog Banter 21: What’s good for the goose…
  8. Blog Banter #21: Change? | Sarnel Binora’s Blog

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.


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.


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.