Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fool Me Once, Shame on You...

... Fool me twice.... well that aint gonna happen because I'm coming back in a big bloody cruiser... with friends you cloaky motherf......

The fighting has continued around Northern Black Rise since my return from holiday on Friday. It is a great time to be in faction war. There is plenty of good solo and small gang warfare going on and for once the number of squid LP farmers are outnumbered by the number of squids actually looking for a fight. Add in to this neutrals and pirates like Stay Frosty roaming the area and its really fun to be in the Nisuwa area currently. I've also finally broken into the 'top 1,000' rankings on BattleClinic. I started the year just outside the top 5,000 and got to just above the top 1,000 over the summer. However, a lack of targets in my TZ, too many farmers, a bitter-vet induced 'meh' stage and a few OOG issues left me there for a few months. Now we have a lot of targets, plenty of solo action and my Eve Mojo is back which is driving up my BC points.

On Monday I'd been out and about and got a few kills. Simply sitting a Cockbag Thrasher on an acceleration gate can get you good action currently. There is a tendency for some squids to use kitey ships with good GTFO-ability. However, even a Crow class interceptor has issues when it drops out of warp and is stationary long enough for your full rack of T2 280mm howitzers with two T2 Gyro's to open a new "feature window" in their port side. Its even better when the same Crow pilot goes to fetch another one and dies again a few minutes later.

Anyway, onto the story of the title. It was getting late on Monday when I spotted a Republic Fleet Firetail on scan towards a Medium Federation Outpost in our home system of Nisuwa. Now as Nisuwa was 0% contested there would be no point in any Gal Mil to be in there. And looky here! There is a war target in system! Warp drive activated....


I was in a 10mn AB Thrasher. These can be very effective against all T1 frigates. With speeds of over 1600m/s the frigate target must use a MWD if it wants to keep out of optimal range. Turning on the MWD increases a ships signature radius 500% making them very easy to hit, very hard. I dropped out of warp on the acceleration gate and did a quick 21m KM D-Scan as I always do when landing on an acceleration gate. You never know who else may have warped just before you and already entered the plex. Just the Firetail on scan so I activated the gate and entered the plex.

Three orange flashies on overview inside as I drop out of warp. What. The. Feck?

I look at my D-Scan in disbelief. The 21m KM scan I took before entering the plex is still on screen and still only showing the RF Firetail. The Kitsine and Ashimmu came from nowhere! Wait... Ooooooo the cloaky motherf.......

I know I'm dead, and unfortunately another QCat had also seen the Firetail and was not far behind me. I said on comms what was happening as I was scrammed, webbed, jammed, neuted dry and DPS'd. My Thrasher went down in short order as there was nothing I could do. Tz's Kestrel that followed me in also died a death the same way. We both podded out and docked up.


So they sprung a very effective trap. Put some bait in a plex and have a cloaky Ashimmu and Kitsune waiting to spring. Another QCat reported the Ashimmu and Kitsune had vanished from D-Scan and only the Firetail was left. Wait... surely they are not just resetting the trap. After all they played their hand to two people who belong to a corp who live in the same system. Wow, apparently they are.

Suddenly the QCats went to work. If you are a child of the 80's like me you might what to have this theme tune playing in the background as you read the next bit.

Tzenick quickly shaved a mohawk and blackened up his face with shoe polish. Clive put his cap on backwards and gave some crazy-eyes, Defqon undid a his top three shirt buttons and shagged the nearest hotty and Djalis put on an extensive disguise and lit a fat cigar. The QCats were in A-Team mode! Cruiser hulls were stripped and re-built with cap injectors, energy vampires, ECCM and drone DPS. Tz went back out and entered the plex in his refitted Rupture (remember they had just killed him two minutes before). They "sprung" the trap again and the rest of us dog-piled in as Tz announced he had the Ashimmu locked down. The enemy Firetail fled as we arrived, the Kitsune stuck around at range until it got several flights of drones in the face and then promptly warped off which left the Ashimmu against the rest of us. Just like Colonel Decker, he had no chance. One Thrasher and one Kestrel lost in round one, one 200m ISK Ashimmu destroyed in round two. I love it when a plan comes together!


A very effective trap guys, but you really need to consider moving along once you've played your hand to the residents of a home system.

Monday, October 28, 2013

OK, We'll Call it a Draw

I was going to blog about the Bastion module today. But whilst I was on holiday someone at CCP mirrored SiSi so the High Energy Physics I was training on SiSi... didn't. Bah, another 5 days. So I'll blog about my weekend on Eve then:-

After 10 days with no Eve and very limit internet access I dived straight back into the game as soon as I got back from holiday. That was a mistake!

After a very early morning flight and then a long taxi ride back I arrived home tired but with an Eve itch that needed to be scratched. I thought I'd log on and see what was happening as a lot appeared to be kicking off whilst I was sunning myself on holiday!


Before I left TEST had announced their intention to join the Caldari militia. They were going to grind standings first and I had assumed this would take them a while. Not so, and they joined faction war only a day or two after I went on holiday.

Around the same time, the Caldari Militia alliance Talons of Blood decided they would plot to invade the QCats home system of Nisuwa and capture it. That offensive started last week apparently.

Anyway, Friday afternoon I logged on and almost immediately I was asked if I could take care of a Tristan in a novice plex in the system next-door. I went over there... and died horribly. I had a second go. And died. I then went to bed taking the hint that my body and mind was giving me. A few hours of sleep later, I tried again.


It has been squid-tastic over the weekend. The Talons of Blood offensive had ground to a halt and only a few of their members were spotted out about in my TZ. There were still plenty of squids about and there was solo and small gang fights all weekend. Many of the times we were outnumbered so resorted to Attrition Thrashers. What are they? Well they are basically cheap-ass Cockbag Thrashers. They are T1 fit with 280mm arties, se-bo, long point, small shield extender and gyro's. You can fit one of these up for about 2m ISK. The idea is to rush the enemy and pop as many of them as you can before you die. Obviously with T1 guns and gyro's you are not going to get the same level of alpha as a proper T2 Cockbag Thrasher. However, they will still pop most frigates and destroyers in two or three volleys. Whilst you might (probably will) loose the ship, the chances are you'll kill more than one enemy and very likely you'll win the ISK war. Simply overheat and volley away!

It was a nice change fighting squids that wanted to fight rather than LP farmers who rage in local if you kill them. The farmers were still about, just mixed in with actual PvP players. I was shocked when I pointed a Punisher and it didn't warp off! 99% of Caldari Militia Punishers are packing multiple warp core stabs. Anyhow, check out these awesome farmer fits:-


Yesterday we heard that Talons of Blood are stepping down their Nisuwa campaign. Apparently it is a draw! Their offensive stated middle of last week and Nisuwa has been 0% contested and at upgrade level V all weekend. We got more kills and won the ISK war. However, we are assured it was a definitely a draw.


However, apparently there was a fantastic side-effect of the Talon's offensive for the wider Caldari Militia. The Talons believe that the reason the Caldari have captured so many systems in the last week was because they tied up the QCats in Nisuwa. Now I'm not sure what the FOUR THOUSAND TEST Alliance Caldari Militia pilots make of that, I feel that they may consider that they had something to do with it. Whilst I, biased of course, think the QCats are awesome, I'm also not sure us being distracted by a home invasion led to a dozen Gallente systems falling.

Who knows!

Anyway with the Talons of Blood sticking around in faction war and TEST slowly pushing ahead, we're going to have some interesting times ahead.

Lock and load boys!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

SCASSSS - Back!

Well for the past two weeks I've been staying here:-



And when not laying on the beach or drinking I've been scuba diving with these:-



But I'm back now and time for another quick Special Sunday Short!

I landed back on Friday and what do I get back to find? TEST have joined faction war and that the Talons of Blood (squid corp) are trying to capture my home system of Nisuwa. Brilliant! Home delivery for war targets. Over the weekend I don't think I went more than one jump from Nisuwa and had plenty of action. The farmers were still there of course with their stabbed and cloaky ships, but there were actually squids looking for fights. I killed, I died, I had fun. Talking of fun, there was a corp mail waiting for me regarding defensive ships. I thought the links would be to the fittings. No, they were links to gif's representing each of the ships....

The Attrition Thrasher
This Thrasher is basically a cheap version of the QCats Cockbag Thrasher. T1 fit, cheap and can be thrown away in Leeroy Jenkins style suicide rushes!


The Kestrel
Well we need something to get these kitey ships down with.


The Atron
One Atron on its own.... well no good. But when you have a few....


Friday, October 25, 2013

There is Always a Bigger Fish

Fiction Friday. This is the last of the 7 blog posts I queued up whilst I was on holiday. I should be home pretty much the same time this posts!


There is Always a Bigger Fish

Chan's heart almost stopped. A Black Raven. Of all the cards his opponent could have turned over last, that was both the most unlikely and the worst possible.

He was sat in a small gambling den in the spacestation orbiting the first planet in the Grinacanne system. Down on Deck 4 very few police dared to tread. This deck and the ones below it were almost over-run by the criminal elements on the station. Between the immense generators and life-support plants dozens of illegal establishments had sprung up. Just like then one Chan had visited and now was regretting. He knew he had a problem with gambling, he was an addict. But just because he knew didn't mean he could stop. The beautiful Caldari woman sat opposite smiled sweetly even though she had just taken him for everything he had and more, much more.

Chan swallowed. This was it. His amazing 'cannot loose' hand had just lost and he'd staked a hundred times what he had on this unbeatable hand that had been beaten.

"So Mr Chan, I want that million credits by this time tomorrow station time. You don't have a problem with that do you?"

Chan just sat like a deer in the headlights. A bead of sweat dripped down his forehead.

"You do have the money right?" she purred ideally fingering the chips on the table.

Chan just sat there not knowing what to say. If he said yes she'd know he was lying and probably kill him. If he said no, she'd probably kill him. Well, in all truthfulness she wouldn't herself, but a click of her fingers would indicate to the massive Brutor bodyguards behind her that they should snap him like a twig.

"I......"

She leaned forward, Chan wondered how long he had left to live.

"Oh Mr Chan. I'm sure you can come up with something. I mean you work for a small financial corporation. A lousy million credits should be easy to get hold of."

Chan sat there still. He wanted to shake his head. The fact she knew where he worked should have sent alarm bells ringing in his head, but he was too scared to think. The idea that he had been set up never registered. He was to busy thinking how he could get a million credits in 24 hours and save his own life. He was a low-level manager in a Caldari financial institution. He didn't have direct access to the money and, as with all people at his level, they were watched carefully with all data access being carefully monitored. They were a very small institution, so monitoring was easy. A million was no more achievable than a trillion.

A snap of the woman's fingers brought Chan out of his trance and made him jump. A Matari man emerged from behind a curtain. Chan almost gasped. This wasn't a man, it was a hulk. One of the scariest Brutors Chan had ever seen was standing there, his body oiled up, in a loin cloth. The sight was absurd. He looked like an entrance for the Mr New Eden Power Lifting event. Immense rippling muscle gleamed in the dim light of the room.

"Olaf here is my favourite employee." the woman said smiling as she rose and walked over to the man "He is a very useful man to have around."

The woman walked over to the Brutor and ran her hand down his oiled chest tracing the muscle groups with a bright red fingernail. She reached his loincloth and untied it, letting it fall to the floor. Throughout this he never moved and simply stared straight ahead.

Chan just looked at this, mutant of a man. The only thing that was more scary than his muscles was what was swinging between his legs. It looked the size of Chans forearm. He'd never seen anything like it, not even in those contraband Gallente holovids that were passed around. He was now terrified of what was to happen next.

"As I said, you have 24 hours to get the money. Olaf can be a very considerate lover, I know. But he has a dark side, a very, very dark side. 24 hours Chan, otherwise Olaf will be introduced to your daughter."

Chan's eyes went wide with terror. His head was spinning as two bodyguards gripped him by the shoulders and threw him out of the door.

-o0o-

"JOLI? JOLI?" Chan shouted as he burst into his apartment. He raced to her room. She wasn't there, the vivid pink decor hurt his eyes. He should never have allowed her free reign to decorate her own room. It looked ridiculous. However, after the loss of his wife and her mother he knew he had spoilt her. Something out of place caught his eye. It was a holovid disk laying on her bright pink bedsheet. "Watch me" was scralled across it in red letters. With trembling hands he placed it in the entertainment centre at the foot of her bed.

The black screen was replaced by a picture of a naken man in a mask. Whilst the mask hid his face Chan knew exactly who it was, it was the same unnatural body he'd seen in the last hour.

The camera panned round. It looked to be somewhere on the station. A dark, dingy room in the lower decks. In the corner was a filthy mattress and a woman was laying on it. Chan breathed a slight sigh of relief when he saw it was not his daughter. The woman was much older and stick thin. Chan assumed may be one of the girls from one the 'establishments' down there. She looked broken and malnourished. Probably a flood-head, addicted to the hallucinogenic narcotic mindflood. On the screen Olaf picked up a knife and started over to the girl in a menacing walk, his fists balled tight.

When the short clip was over Chan rushed over to the waste bin and threw up. He needed to watch it but it was the most horrific thing he'd ever seen. He never knew pure evil could exist, but that Olaf, he was evil incarnate.

Chan composed himself. The video had stopped and the last frame was frozen on the screen. The lifeless, broken body of the woman was shown in the corner, but in the middle of the screen was a clock on the wall. It showed 21:00 hours, the deadline to get the money. Although the video had stopped the screams of the woman still rang in his ears.

-o0o-

Chan stood outside his bosses door. He had hardly slept and looked awful. He looked at the clock on the wall which read 09:00. Twelve hours to get one million credits. There was only one way he could see in getting the money. Plead with his boss and pledge his life to service.

He knocked on the door and entered.

Five minutes later two security guards rushed in and pulled a kicking and screaming Chan from the office. As he was dragged through the premises co-workers rose from their seats peering over the cubical walls. They saw the boss standing angrily in his office doorway watching Chan being dragged towards the exit who was screaming something about the boss killing his daughter.

-o0o-

The lift appeared to be descending faster than usual. Chan knew it was just his perception. He knew what was coming. After being thrown out of the office he had stripped his appartment of all of his goods and sold them. He had a bag containing 85 thousand credits and an empty shell of an apartment. The lift door opened and stale warm air flooded in. He stepped out and started towards the club.

Various workmen passed him, some giving him a knowing glance. How many times had the labourers down here seen the same thing. A dead-man walking to his execution, hoping that they will spare his daughter. Chan tried to be positive. He knew he was dead, but 85 grand was still 85 grand. May be it would be enough to buy her freedom.

As he approached the clubs entrance the two bouncers stepped aside. He was clearly expected.

The club was not very busy, it was still early. However, a number of men sat around tables as Matari dance music pumped out of the speakers. Several scantily clad girls danced provocative around poles hoping to attract attention. Chan noticed curtains drawn across some of the side alcoves where no doubt the dancers were entertaining clients.

He saw the owner sat with her bodyguards in an alcove at the back. He slowly made his way over.

"Ah Chan, just in time. I was thinking you wasn't coming. Oh, that looks a small bag." she purred seductively.

Chan placed the bag on the table and one of the men took it he opened it and glanced inside.

"Looks about 80 or 90k" he said.

Chan simply stared into the woman's eyes.

"Oh Chan, why did you have to make this difficult?" she sighed "You did see the holovid right? You know Olaf needs to blow off steam once in a while?"

Chan finally broke down.

"That is everything I have." he sobbed "I tried, I tried everything and everybody. I now have no job, no possessions, no future."

The woman eye'd him carefully with a slight smile.

"You are very right on that last point. You see I cannot let people see that I can be taken for ride. Especially not over debts of a million credits."

Chan sobbed pleading for her to spare his daughter. The woman nodded at a bodyguard who stepped forward and punched Chan in the stomach. He dropped to his knees gasping fopr breath.

"Give the girl to Olaf. Make sure it is filmed and he gets to watch as it happens. Then airlock him and his daughters corpse. Put the holodisk up for auction, such a disk should make back most of the money I am owed from the sicko executives who get off on that."

The bodyguard nodded. Suddenly a red dot appeared in the centre of his face and the wall behind him became splattered with red. Before the other guard moved the same happened to him. Chan looked up, finally regaining his breath and saw the woman staring impassively with her bodyguards dead on the floor. Chan turned around to see the 'patrons' of the bar on their feet with guns pointed towards the woman or the bouncers and dancers around the room. The people on the club floor were soon rounded up and taken to a back room. A Caldari man with a pistol trained on the woman approached.

"Do you know who I am? You are making the biggest mistake of your soon to be short life. I am Akari and I own this station!"

The man lowered the gun slowly which started to draw a smile from the woman's face. As the gun dropped he squeezed the trigger. The woman's face turned to one of horror. A red stain started to spread from her stomach.

"I know who you are. What you didn't know is who I am or that the company Chan here worked for was actually one of my organisations laundering fronts."

Chan looked at the man in shock.

"We do not take kindly to low-level whores encouraging our employees to steal from us. Mr Chan here only has his spine in one piece still, unlike you, because rather than try and steal from us he begged the manager for help."

The woman was indeed paralysed from the bullet that had severed her spine. Her eyes showed fear and her open mouth gasped for air.

"I'd say let this be a lesson to you. But I don't think you'll learn."

The man stepped forward and shoved his pistol into her open mouth. Her eyes flickered in terror. He pulled the trigger one last time.

Chan stood there frozen. A shrill cry of "Daddy" made him spin around as he daughter approached with a suited man beside her. His daughter ran into his arms and they embraced.

The man who had shot the woman walked over to them. He handed Chan an envelope.

"You cannot stay here, but the Syndicate appreciates your honesty. There are instructions there to meet a ship that will take you to your new home."

Chan gaped wide. The Syndicate? The Serpentis Syndicate? For the past five years he'd been working for one of the largest criminal gangs in the Cluster and had no idea. He looked down at the envelope and then back to the corpse of the woman. He wasn't going to argue with him.

-o0o-

Three weeks later.

"How was school darling?" Chan asked as he entered his apartment. His daughter was sat on the sofa crossed-legged eating a big bowl of popcorn and watching a holovid.

"Boring daddy. I thought pirate school would be cool, but its same lessons as before."

Chan smiled. The Serpentis Syndicate station that they now called home was full of surprises. He expected some sort of anarchic base with no law or order. School lessons on cooking mindflood and drop boosters. What he actually found was a highly civilised and ordered society. To an outside observer the outpost could belong to any of the major empires. Police patrolled the streets, the school lessons were standard Gallente curriculum, the shops and entertainment were better than home and law and order was maintained well. Chan himself was now a financial manager and was supervising his old manager as well as several other establishments back in high-sec. He sat down next to his daughter and put his arm around her. She snuggled into her father, not taking her eyes off the cartoon.

"Yes" thought Chan "Its the pirates life for me."


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Test Alliance, Please Faction War

I'm on holiday, so if the situation has changed, whoops. TEST were apparently grinding standings to join the Caldari when I left.

So another massive null-sec entity is coming to low-sec. Now the popular view is that null-sec is the end game for of l33t PvP and low-sec is fill of bad players. Therefore TEST should steam-roll the war zone right? That's what their leader said. Warzone control tier V all the way!

We'll see. Basically TEST are likely to have a huge number advantage. Although they are well down from the 8000+ they had, they still have over 4000 pilots.

As for l33t PvP skills, I don't think so. Nulli Secunda found this when they came to faction war and many of us Gallente went over to the Amarr/Minmatar warzone to "farm Nulli". I've done both, low-sec FW and 0.0 sov holding coalition. I'm somewhere in this screenshot:-


Basically I found 0.0 to be poor for PvP. Most of the big battles needed no pilot skill. Lock what the FC broadcasts, press f1, rinse and repeat. Between large scale battles the small gang and 1v1 was very poor. Many of these guys are going to get a shock:-

Ship Types
To conquer faction war systems you need to capture complexes and a lot of them. There are four classes and three of them are restricted to cruiser sized hulls or lower. How are these null-sec dwellers on T1 frigate and destroyer ships?


Tactics
Small gang warfare is an utterly different animal to null-sec mass battles. You have to think for yourself, piloting skill is needed. FC'ing these fleets also is very different to big fleets of big ships.

Piloting
Frigates, destroyers and cruisers need piloting skill. Take that faction war stable, the triple-neut Tristan. You have a serious range issue, overheating is needed early on in the fight, cap issues abound, keep that injector going, local reps and over heat, watch your drones. Lock, f1, lock f1, lock f1 does not apply to faction war.

Burn Out
Plexing is BORING! I mean seriously boring. Warp to acceleration gate, activate, enter, kill single rat, wait for 20 minutes. Rinse and repeat. Plexing is not supposed to be fun, its supposed to generate PvP. Now if TEST have to resort to large fleets to capture plex, those LP are going to be spread mighty thin between all the members. I have a feeling many will be asking what's the point when they are getting little LP for a lot of waiting.


So we wait to see if TEST can grind the standings to get into faction war, then we see how they cope with some low-sec loving.

Monday, October 21, 2013

'On The Gate' by Eelis Kiy aka Kaz in Space

A guest post today whilst I'm still laying on a beach. Poetry on Sand, Cider and Spaceships??? Who'd have thought that!


On the gate
Mods hot
Breath still
Fingers poised
F1, F2...
Heart pounds
Tension builds
Sweat beads
Eve is real
I am the alpha
The Lioness
I guard the gate
I start the mess
I catch the kill
For the rest
To rip to sheds
But without me
The target flees
So come on target
Come to me!
I'm ready
To spring
Ready
To pounce
I orbit the gate
Around and round
And hope to see
Optimal range
And sluggish prey
And of course
Un-stabbed chassis
No chat on coms
Aside the sound
Of the FC
And the spies, around
Keeping tabs
On our victim
So ignorant
So innocent
So unsuspecting
Of their doom
For I'm the catcher
In the gloom
On the gate
Waiting still
Just for you...

Excited voice
In my ear
Adrenaline swims
The prey is here!
Overview
Lighting up
GO! GO! GO!
Target up!
Primary ship
In my sights
I spring to action
I start the fight
At lightning speed
Mods activate
None can escape
Their fate
On my gate

I see...
A flash
Of light...

I hear...
A familiar tone
Confusion...

Then the truth
Hits home
My catch
Flies away
My pride
Follows after
Coms fill
With laughter
I...

…shot the gate.



Drack's note - True story, I was there! :o)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

SCASSSS - iHub Bash

Welcome to the third Sand Cider and Spaceships Special Sunday Short - The Heydieles iHub Bash.

Basically for those that don't know, in order to capture a system in faction war you have to run plex until the system becomes vulnerable. Each plex captured is around about 0.6-0.8%, so you need to do 150ish plex to get the system vulnerable +1 for each plex the other side captures. The average time to close a plex if you are not disturbed is 15 minutes ish (Novice 10, Small 15, Medium 20). So that is 40 hours of orbiting buttons for one system roughly if nobody defends! You looking forward to this TEST? That is a lot of doing nothing if you are going to push for tier 5 and need most of the 101 systems. Mmmmmmm?

Anyway when you get a system vulnerable... it is time to FIRE! I don't recommend using a stealth bomber unless you are epically hungover and cannot be bothered with the hassle of getting a DPS boat there and back. In my defence I did use faction torps so the DPS wasn't that bad!






Friday, October 18, 2013

The Reversal - Part 2

I'm on holiday so this is automatically posting whilst I am away.


The Reversal - Part 2

The group of a dozen survivors of the crash slowly trudged across the barren landscape. They wore fire-fighting rebeathers that allowed them to breath in the nitrogen rich atmosphere. It had only been a two kilometre walk but the higher atmospheric pressure was taking its toll. They were all suffering from mild nitrogen narcosis due to the dense atmosphere. Whilst they symptoms were similar to being mildly drunk, the Captain knew they had bigger problems. The air they were breathing from the rebeathers obviously contain oxygen, but under the right circumstances oxygen was poisonous to the human body. He rechecked the screen attached to his sleave. The atmospheric pressure was 4 times that of a normal temperate planet. Pressure of 4 bar on 21% oxygen gave a partial pressure of 1.04. Well below the 1.8 recommended maximum. Central Nervous System Toxicity would not be a problem. However there was the second type, whole body oxygen poisoning. The longer they stayed outside the more danger they were in.

There was a lot of dust blowing in the wind and visibility was low. Slowly a vast shadow started to appear in the gloom. As they approached, it took shape.

"That cannot be...." the XO spoke in amazement over the comm link.

"It is." the captain cut in. "It is the The Shimu Sota".

The group stopped and looked at the lost terraforming ship. It had crashed into the same area as they had and had slid into the side of a mountain. It had been there for nearly 100 years.

"OK people, it is an old ship, but its still a ship. Find your respective areas and see what we have."

The group broke up into small teams each heading to the area of the ship they knew best. The engineers grouped together and headed towards the aft of the ship and the engineering bay, the command crew started towards the front of the ship and the bridge. The crash had left many holes and tears in the Shimu Sota's hull so access was not difficult. It was also much more intact than their own ship that had broken up on crashing. The captain and the XO slipped in through a tear in the hull and into a dark corridor, they turned on the lights attached to their headgear. The ship was dead, the atmosphere was nearly pure nitrogen and there was no sign of power. Dust covered the floor and the surfaces, leaving footprints behind the two as they walked towards to front of the ship. Nobody had walked these corridors in generations.

They reached the bridge and it was the same. Dead. The Captain tried to access the captains console but there was no power.

"XO. See if there is any juice left in the backup batteries. They should be located behind that access panel."

The XO moved to the panel next to her and opened it.

"That's strange sir. Nothing here, and when I say nothing here I mean nothing!"

The Captain walked over and looked inside. She was right. Not only were the batteries missing but large sections of electronics had been removed. He plug in a small emergency power cell he had brought. The console came to life for a few seconds, and then died.

They continued their search and found a number of the crew. The dry, oxygen-free atmosphere had preserved the bodies. Their uniforms, although dusty, were still bright around the mummified corpses. The ones around the forward decks were obviously killed in the crash. However, as they worked back they found crew that appear to have been murdered.

"What in Divinities Edge happened here?" the XO muttered crouching down over a corpse that appeared to have been stabbed in the chest.

"Could have been mass panic. May be survivors fighting over food and resources. I wouldn't think it would take long for discipline to break down and people to do what they thought they had to do to survive." replied the Captain.

He moved further down the corridor and his boot kicked something under a layer of dust. He bent down and picked the object up, shaking the dust from it. It was a slave collar used to control Matari slaves. The Captain then realised they had seen no Matari corpses, and a ship of this era would have had a large slave compliment working on it.

After an hour of exploring the teams met up together.

"How is the reactor?" the captain asked.

"Its gone sir!" the chief engineer replied.

"Destroyed?"

"No sir, its been taken. Seriously, the hull plates have been removed and the reactor taken, somewhere. There are even gouges in the rock surface showing where it went!"

-o0o-

The 12 crew trudged on, desperately aware that time was not on their side.


The deep gouges in the surface led the survivors into a valley between the barren, rocky mountains. The trail had begun immediately where the side of the Shimu Sota had been hacked open and they had been following it for an hour. The mountains now towered either side of them as they progressed down the valley. The captain glanced at the panel attached to his sleeve. 25 minutes of air remaining in his breather. As he walked he wondered if he had done the right thing. There was no way they would have survived much longer on their ship and even less on the wreck of the Shimu Sota, but they would have had a few extra hours. The gouge marks led into a huge cave, there obviously had been water on this planet in the distant past. It had carved a massive cave and probably had formed the valley they had walked through to get there. The gouge marks continued into the black. For some reason someone, or something had dragged the reactor in here.

One by one the crew switched on the lamps attached to their masks. The cave lit up as they looked around and headed deeper inside the mountain.

A beep from each rebeather sounded over the next five minutes, warning the users that they had less than 15 minutes of air left and should get safe. Worried glances were exchanged. Soon they were down to five minutes of air and the captain believed all was lost. He slowly raised his arm as he heard a double bleep from his console. Glancing down he expected to see a countdown to his death. Instead, the counter was going up. He shook his head assuming the atmospheric pressure and diminishing oxygen was playing tricks with his mind. He saw other crew member looking confused. Then he looked at the atmospheric readout. 81% N2 - 19% O2. Hardly a great atmosphere, but it was breathable. How? They were on a lifeless planet, how did this cave have a breathable atmosphere when the outside was pure nitrogen? The captain removed his mask and took a tentative breath. Clean, fresh air. Others followed after seeing their captain do it.

Slowly they made their way deeper, as they progressed the O2 levels slowly rose. As it neared 21% they saw some form of light source ahead. The group picked up their pace. A minute later they strolled into an immense underground cavern teaming with life. Fields stretch out in front of them and a small village could be seen in the distance. Artificial lights suspended from the cavern roof lit the area. The captain could just make out the fussion reactor near the village. They had stripped the terraforming equipment from the ship and had managed to get this cavern to sustain life.


The group walked into the fields and saw figures tending the crops. They stood and looked at the strangers nervously. They too were Amarrian but wore rags and were stick thin. Some ran off when they saw the new comers.

The captain approached one that had stood his ground.

"I am Captain Erza of the Imperial Navy Scientific Vessel The Righteous. It is amazing you have survived! The Empress and God be praised!"

The man did not reply, he looked terrified. The captain was about to ask what was wrong when he heard shouting. A group of men with crude weapons was running towards them. They were not just men, they were Matari. It took the captain a few seconds to realise what was happening. His fellow Amarrians, stick thin and dressed in rags were working the fields. These Matari looked well fed and better clothed. They must have been the slaves on the Shimu Sota, but now they were in control. They surrounded the captain and his crew as one of the larger men stepped forward.

"I am Beltard of Brutor. Welcome slaves, it is good that you are here." the large Matari leader announced.

"I am Captain Erza of The Righteous. A vessel of the glorious Amarr Imperial Fleet and we are no slaves, Matari!" he did his best to sound confident. He knew the situation was useless. They had not brought any weapons. Why should they on a dead planet? If he could bluff his way through then they might be able to gain control of these ex-slaves.

The Matari laughed heartily and casually swung his crude axe around lazily.

"Take their equipment and clothes. Give them something to wear more fitting for slaves. Men to the fields, women to the cells. Tonight we feast!" he announced to his men to a great cheer.

The captain stepped forward in anger. The last thing he saw was a huge fist launched at his face.

-o0o-

For the second time that day the captain came around in pain. He opened his eyes to find an old Amarrian tending his wounds.

"Who are you?" groaned the captain.

"I am Chel." the old man smiled. "My parents were crew on the Shimu Sota."

"What happened?"

The old man continued dressing the cut on the captains head as he recounted the tail. They were surveying the planet when there was a computer malfunction, the slave's collars all popped opened at the same time. Within minutes they had a full blown mutiny on their hands. An attempt to take over the helm controls from engineering had fired the engines and taken the ship into the atmosphere where it had suffered the same fate as The Righteous. The ship had survived the crash much better than The Righteous. The worst affected part of the ship was the fore. Most of the crew in the forward sections of the ship died on impact, unfortunately that included most of the officers and senior staff. In the confusion of the aftermath of the crash the Matari had taken control. With no command and being suddenly outnumbered the Amarrians hadn't stood a chance. The entire crew, now with the Matari in charge had looked for options. The ships scanners had detected the cave system and it appeared to be the only way to survive. They had stripped the terraforming gear and all useful equipment from the Shimu Sota and resettled there. Only this time it was the Minmatar who were in control. The ship had more than enough goods to make a good start, especially for the much smaller crew. From nutrient rich soils to cattle embryo's that could be grown in weeks in the clone vats they had enough gear to start a small eco-system. There was more than enough food to go around, but the Matari ruled with an iron fist. The Captain continued to ask questions and the old man replied as best he could.

A short while later the captain was collected.

The great hall was just how he'd imagined. A blend of scavenged resources and those they had grown naturally creating a homage to traditional Matari tribal architecture. As he was roughly pushed into the hall a roar went up. The tables were filled with food and foaming beer. The delicious aromas made his empty stomach grumble. However, there were no Amarrians seated, only Matari. The Amarrians present were walking between tables serving, including several of his crew. Rage boiled up inside of the captain. He was shoved forward again towards the top table that was on a raised stage and looked down on the other long tables lined with benches. Some were signing a song in the Matari dialect.


"Ah! Their leader is awake!" shouted the Matari man who had punched the captain. A roar sounded around the hall.

"Come! Come captain, please sit here."

The captain was pushed next to the leader and shoved into a chair. The Matari went back to their feast.

"As you can see Captain, we have prepared a feast in your honour. We were having some issues with our slaves, you Amarrians work slow and breed slow, and are awfully fragile. But now you have come to bring fresh blood, all is well!"

A plate was slammed down in front of the captain. It contained bones with a few shreds of meat attached. The captain wouldn't have given that to his hounds, there wasn't enough meat on them.

"Let the auction commence!" the leader shouted which was followed by a huge cheer. The captain had a sense of foreboding about this auction.

A minute later his fears were confirmed. The female members of the crew were led into the hall. They had been stripped to their underwear and were hoisted onto one of the tables. Each one looked terrified and most were sobbing. One by one the men in the hall called out their bids. Some of the Matari women sat with those men slapped them occasionally, the Captain assumed they were partners or husbands, when they offered a bid on the more attractive Amarrian crew members. Soon even some fights were breaking out between rival bidders. Although it appeared to be normal with the surrounding Matari whooping, cheering and egging them on. One-by-one each of the captains female crew where auctioned and collected by the winning bidders.

"You are animals." the Captain growled.

The leader turned to him and grinned.

"Now tell me captain. Obviously I have only heard tales from my parents, but how are my kind treated on your worlds? Have you not seen this all before?"

The Captain opened his mouth but stopped. He knew there was no way he could respond to that. This place was a frightening mirror of the Imperial Empire. The only difference was the roles were reversed. His father had took him to his first slave auction when he was 12. He can still remember the look on those Minmatar's faces as they were led up to the podium and the gathered Amarrians shouted out their bids. They were fearful, sad, broken.

As he considered that, he knew all was lost, there was no way out. He grabbed a knife from the table and lunged at the leader. A deafening roar of approval went up as the two men tussled. Even some of the men who were heading out of the hall with the captains female officers slung over their shoulders stopped to watch and cheer. The Matari seated adjacent to the Captain and their leader sprang to their feet but they didn't interfere. They cheered and encouraged the leader as the two men rolled on the floor. The fight was short.

The captain lay on his back motionless, the wooden knife handle protruding from his chest. Each laboured breath he took brought foaming blood to his lips. The Matari leader stood over him and smiled.

"Ha! Good fight captain and congratulations. You just made the slaves very happy! Take him to the slaves kitchen, let them know they have proper meat on the menu this week. Hell he might even last them until next week!"

As the captain was dragged by the wrists he caught the eye of some of his crew who were serving the Minmatar. In his fading vision he could see they were broken, he'd seen the look before. The same look he'd seen on his own the slaves back in the empire.

The End

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

ECCM Secondary Effects?

I should be on a beach somewhere in the Indian Ocean right about now with no internet. Hopefully this works.

I was talking on Twitter defending the Falcon. It was suggested that other eWar such as tracking disruptors, dampeners, neuts and the like can all be offset with modules which ECM cannot. I then pointed out ECCM and the conversation died. However, if I'd been them I'd have continued with it as there is a massive flaw in my argument. ECCM is a one-trick pony.


You can counter tracking distruptors with either a tracking computer or tracking enhancers. If you are not being disrupted then these modules provide a good boost to your ability to hit hour enemy. They are useful all the time.

You can counter sensor damps with sensor boosters and amplifiers. If you are not being damped then you'll get a useful bonus to your scan res or target range or both. They are useful some of the time.

If you are being neuted you can counter with a cap injector. If you are not being neuted it will still help you last longer if your ship is not cap stable. They are useful most of the time.

If you are being jammed you can counter with ECCM. If you are not being jammed then that ECCM module is as much use as tits on a kipper.


All modules that counter eWar have a useful effect when not countering eWar. Except ECCM. The only benefit ECCM provides is that it makes your ship harder to probe down (scan probing is effected by the scan strength of the target ship as well as its signature radius). All in all not a massively useful module if there is no enemy ECM about. It is generally used in three circumstances:-

1. You are shipping up to engage a target fleet you know, or heavily expect, has ECM support.
2. You are in a critical ship for the fleet that must not get jammed such as a logistics ship in a chain.
3. You need a fit that is very hard to scan down when at a safe spot (booster alt).

Other than that people rarely fit ECCM to their ship. None of my PvP ships have ECCM fitted other than those from the list above. I never solo with ECCM fitted, its a waste of a slot.

What if ECCM, as per other eWar counters, gave an additional bonus that was useful? What could that be? It is a difficult one as you don't want it to do the same as other modules, but it needs some useful effect.

How about reducing signature radius? The advanced electronics help to reduce your ships electromagnetic signature leading to you being harder to hit/taking less damage from missiles? Any ideas anyone?


Perhaps ECCM could provide a broad-spectrum hardening to all forms of eWar but only when under attack. Not sure if the mechanics allow it but it could be interesting for ECCM to counter all forms of eWar. It doesn't provide a permanent boost to tracking or targeting range, but if eWar is being used on you the ECCM negates half or so depending on the meta of the negative effects?

Suddenly ECCM may become popular?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Drackarn - Eve-O's EP. BB50

Blog Banter #50 - Changes
Welcome to the continuing monthly EVE Blog Banters and our 50th edition! For more details about what the blog banters are visit the Blog Banter page.

* * * * *

With the Rubicon expansion being announced and the SOMER Blink scandals (or non-scandals depending on your point of view) that have erupted on the community at the same time, it truly feels like an age of EVE has passed and a new one is dawning.

But which direction is it going? This blog banter can be about several different topics:

  • Where do you think EVE is going? Is it a good or bad vision ahead?
  • If you were EVE's new Executive Producer, where would you take the game?
  • What comes (or should come) after Rubicon in terms of the mechanics and ship balancing we've seen? (CSM8 not allowed to answer this one!)
  • Is there anything in EVE's ten year past that should be resurrected? Or buried and forgotten?
  • What is the future of the community? What should or should not change?


OK, I'll take the second option. I am Eve's new EP!


I want there to be wonder back in the game. I want there to be proper immersion. I WANT SCI FI GEEKERY!

Yearly Expansion.
That's right, not expansions, expansion. Singular. There would be one proper expansion in the summer and three other 'updates' in Autumn, Winter and Spring. Working still on the agile development process and very similar to what we have now. But this gives a vision for a year, not just a six month release cycle. This does two things:-

1 - Allows longer for bigger more head-line features.
2 - Manages those bastard players expectations.

The second one is pretty critical. Call something an expansion and players expect an expansion! Call it a update, patch, content release or whatever and peoples expectations are lowered. Less disappointment, less rage. The summer would be the feature release. Autumn would be fixing the problems. Winter will be minor features, little things, the minor improvements. Spring would be finishing off the previous expansion and laying the groundwork for the summer expansion.

Balancing.
Fozzie, Rise, Yvit... Yyvat.... Yvettaebu..... and that other guy are doing a great job with the balancing and rationalising the ships. They may have gone a bit overboard on the EAF but I think that is pretty obvious and the EAF that are on SiSi are unlikely to ever see TQ in their current state. There are still lots of ships to balance and then we can get onto the modules, then the ammo, then may be implants, then skills and then back to T1 frigates.


Ships.
More T3. 'nuff said.

Ship Skins, Decals and the NeX.
CCP needs money. In the last week a few blogs have been looking into CCP's financials. With DUST attracting as many people as an all-you-can-eat razor blade buffet more cash is needed. Micro-transactions are not evil when done properly. The problem with CCP's roll out was it was heavy on $70 monocle and light on everything else. The NeX would be revamped. More items.... but never pay-to-win. A different skin for your ship, the ability to put your corporation logo instead of the faction logo. New clothes especially some ones for pirates, does everyone in New Eden dress so boringly. And these would be priced to sell and not monocle madness. A new income stream for CCP.

Incarna.
Limited walking in stations. Bars with small population caps. Sorry big alliances, the client is like the Celtic Cross, only a certain number of people allowed in before a queue starts to form. Lets have NPC's in the bars dealing boosters. Players can sell to these NPCs, these NPCs then adds on their commission and sells to players. Players can deal direct person-to-person and cut out the NPC middle man to make them cheaper. But that requires you hanging around in the bar! Corporation offices! Customisable captains quarters. Ability to make one station your 'home'. Items on the NeX store to furnish. You can change 'home station' but that only occurs at DT. Scotty has less to do in the hanger these days so does a 'home moving service' on the side at DT.

POS Revamp
You know the one mentioned at Fanfest 2012. There is repressed demand there. The new space yurts are a step in the right direction. People want a home in space whether that is a customisable captains quarters or a small space base to call your own.


Exploration.
When did you last feel sense of wonderment and fear of the unknown in Eve? Probably Apocrypha. That needs to be reintroduced. Jove space can easily be opened up. As they were dying out the Jove destroyed all the technology so there are no uber powerful sites to find, but there is a lot of the older sites still around with rewards for whoever finds them.

Free Gifts from CCP
Right lets give out some iScorps! Looking for members of the community who do a lot of work and make New Eden a better place for all.... for very little reward. People I'd start with?

SCL guys - Done.
Mark726 for the Lore Guide.
Chribba for Eve Files, Eve Agents, Eve Offline etc
Sindel Pellion for the Angel Project
Open discussions with RvB and especially Eve Uni to see who in those organisations should get one.

Golden Magnets, Silver Cynabals, Ruby Ravens and a whole host of other ships will be compiled as available for "give aways". However, those given away will be publicly announced and stating the reasons why. There will be a limited number of ships and the ships will change each year. 2013 will be 200 iScoprions. 2014 may be 200 Quafe Domi's or another race or corporation. Limited number as thanks for those who help massively for little reward and limit the numbers each year to make them special.

0.0 Rework
Yeah, years since I was a null-bear. All I know something needs doing?


So there you go. What you'd get if I was made Executive Producer. In a few hours I'm jumping on a plane and going to an island that is 600m long, 300m wide and is located in a tropical ocean. For the next 10 days it is going to be sun, sand, scuba and being sozzeled! But fear not. I have posts all lined up to go on the normal days and they will spring into life by the magik of the interwebz. Comments may take 10 days or so to appear though! Have fun whilst I'm away and as always, fly deadly o/

Sunday, October 13, 2013

SCASSSS - Is it a Bird?

Welcome to the second Sand, Cider and Spaceships Special Sunday Short.

Here we have one of the new ships on Singularity...





Is it a Hurricane? No.
Is it a Fleet Hurricane? No.
Is it a Sleipnir? Yes, unfortunately.

Personally I preferred the old hull. Oh well, tbh I fly the Sacrilige more than the Sleipnir these days. But still, IT was an iconic ship! 

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Reversal - Part 1

Fan Fiction Friday! Escape pod to a write up of last weekends community free-for-all for those not into fiction.

This started as an idea for a longer piece. However I struggled and in the end made it into a two-parter.

For those generally interested in Eve Fiction, Telegram Sam is running another fiction contest. Lots of PLEX to be won. Head over here to read all about it. I have an idea for my submission already and that will be going up on November 1st!


The Reversal - Part 1

Scientific Vessel - The Righteous Mission Log, Entry 1348
We have completed our survey of fourth planet in the system. This body is not suitable for terraforming even with current technology. This is the fourth survey that has duplicated those that were undertaken 92 years ago. I cannot see how this survey mission is worthwhile and will be sending a request to command that we be reassigned. We are moving on at 1930 ship time to the fifth planet. This was as far as the Terraforming Vessel the Shimu Sota got in her surveys nearly a century ago before she vanished without a trace. Some of the crew are uneasy, following in the footsteps of a ship that vanished never to be heard of again.

Scientific Vessel - The Righteous Mission Log, Entry 1349
We are currently conducting surveys on the fifth planet. No response from command on my request to have the ship reassigned. This is becoming a waste of time. We are surveying a plasma planet. How command thinks this is worthwhile I do not know. We are decades away from efficiently terraforming lava planets, plasma planets will take centuries of advancement in technology before they are viable candidates. This is were the Shimu Sota sent her final log entry from. I have read it again today. A routine report with nothing out of the ordinary and nothing to indicate why the vast ship would vanish without a trace. Tension on the ship is high.

Scientific Vessel - The Righteous Mission Log, Entry 1350
We had delayed our departure to the sixth planet by a day as we are having to rescan an area of the fifth planet. One of the scanning arrays appears to have suffered a malfunction. Maintenance are running diagnostics on the suspect array and we are using array number two to rescan sector 4B. Tensions have eased on the ship given we have been here a day with no incident. Starship crews are a superstitious lot. I don't know what they expected us to find here, but we found what I expected to find. A dead planet... and no dragons.

Scientific Vessel - The Righteous Mission Log, Entry 1351
An enigma. Array 2 has picked up the same anomaly as array 1. There must be a fault with our main computer or something on he ground in sector 4B giving false readings. The scanner logs show organic matter in a small area in the north eastern quadrant of that sector. There is a barren mountain range rich in metals there but nothing else. We are going to use the backup array to scan that area. The plasma storms on this planet are particularly extensive and violent. This is giving us issues with our scanning equipment and also means that the readings showing organic matter are false. Nothing can live down there. It is a dead planet hostile to all life.

Scientific Vessel - The Righteous Mission Log, Entry 1352
Three separate scanning arrays, three sets of identical results. I still refuse to believe these as it is impossible. However, we must understand what is giving these false readings. What is on the planet there that makes our scanners believe their is life on a plasma planet? We are currently setting up for a high atmospheric orbit. The helm are finalising a flight plan that will keep us high enough from the plasma storms not to risk the ship, but low enough so that we can fire a probe into the quadrant directly. From the current orbit the probe would just skip off the upper atmosphere. I must say, after nearly a year of boring planetary surveys I am looking forward to solving this puzzle.

Scientific Vessel - The Righteous Mission Log, Entry 1353
MAY DAY MAY DAY! IF ANYONE RECEIVES THIS BROADCAST WE ARE GOING DOWN ON THE FIFTH PLANET. SCANNERS DO NOT WORK ON THIS PLANET. DO NOT TRUST YOUR READINGS. THE PLASMA STORMS CREATE A HIDDEN MAGNETIC.....

Scientific Vessel - The Righteous Mission Log, Entry 1354
............


-o0o-

The Captain slowly came too as he felt something wet touch his forehead. He remembered! He tried to quickly sit up but pain stabbed him all over his body. He winced and remained laying down. He slowly opened his eyes and saw his First Officer dabbing his forehead with a damp cloth. It was dark, the orange glow of the emergency lighting was casting long shadows around the ruined bridge. Smoke hung in the air and made his eyes water. His first officer was True Amarr like the rest of his crew. She had graduated top of her class in the academy and the captain had requested her personally after seeing her file.

"I take it we landed?" he groaned.

"Yes captain. However I'm not sure what we went though meets the proper definition of a landing."

The Captain struggled to sit up. He looked around, the bridge was almost empty. He could see there was no way the ship would be flying again. What remained of the bridge was a mess, sections of the false roof had caved in and cables were hanging down.

"What happened? Last thing I recall....." the Captain struggled to actually recall anything.

"We entered the atmosphere and lined up with the anomaly. We were just about to launch the probe when the ship dropped. Apparently the scanners didn't pick up the massive magnetic disturbances in the upper atmosphere. We were at full thrust keeping the ship up when the magnetic distortion yanked the nose-cone of the ship down. The magnetic pull, our engines and gravity conspired together. We dropped ten thousand metres in a second which put us on the edge of the plasma storm. The ship acted like a lightning rod. The plasma strike was so strong it burnt the shield emitters out instantly and caused feedback all the way to the reactor. The safety protocols stopped the reactor from blowing, but they also sent it into automatic shut-down mode. As you can imagine, a spacecraft in atmospheric flight which suffers a catastrophic power loss does not stay in flight long. You tried to get a warning by using the captains log recorder which has a seperate power source, but we don't think it will be received by anyone."

It started to come back to the Captain now.

"You don't think the transmission was received by anyone? Thats not very optimistic of you."

"Actually Captain, that was the optimistic outlook. The realistic outlook is it had very little chance of getting out as we were already below the plasma storm when you sent it. The pessimistic outlook is that it had no chance in hell."

"Lovely! And what is the situation here? And please, give me the rose tinted version, not sure I can cope with any more bad news."

The First Officer chuckled.

"Well we're just finishing the new health resort and spa on D deck. The new ballroom is almost complete and we're planning a party tonight. Black tie."

The captain groaned.

"When I asked for rose tinted it meant I wanted a mildy optimistic outlook to our situation."

The XO thought about it for a few seconds.

"Good news captain, you don't need to worry about your pension provision or saving for old age!"

-o0o-

An hour later the Captain was back on his feet and in a small data centre extracting memory cores from one of the back-up computer relays. Throughout the vast ship there were several of these data-centres that recorded information from the various ships systems. He was alone and worked by the emergency lighting. He'd finally worked out why his XO was being so flippant, their situation indeed appeared hopeless. The ship had come down on the edge of a mountain range. The crash had destroyed most of the ship. Only the front 25% still remained intact. The rest of the ship had been torn away and scatter over a debris field of several kilometres. The reactor, life support, communications array, all the critical systems were gone. The ship itself had hull breaches throughout. Thankfully the atmosphere wasn't poisonous. It wasn't breathable, but it was composed of heavier gases at a higher pressure meaning the ship wasn't losing air as fast as it should. They had about 12 hours of oxygen left. The Captain thought about the crew that hadn't made it. Over 250 were lost in the crash. He then thought how fast 250 crew would burn through their remaining oxygen and felt severely conflicted in his emotions.


Rescue was out of the question. The planets atmosphere was strange. At ground level it was more like a barren planet, however from 50km up the entire atmosphere was covered with a thick plasma storm. The plasma lighting was so constant that it was light on the surface like daylight. However there was practically no way any communications could penetrate the storm even if they had the whole ship. All they had left now was an emergency beacon that was running on battery power.

The captain didn't really know what he was looking for. Something in the scanner logs that might offer them a chance at life. The anomalous readings that had led them here cannot be life, but something caused those readings. He managed to get the core he needed active and linked his datapad. The ships scanners had indeed been active on the decent right up to the impact. He played them back, hoping that the logs showed something. He stopped the playback, rewound it and replayed it. It couldn't be!

To be continued.....

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Death, Fire and Jam on Signularity

So we have new death effects on Rubicon. I took a no-skill alt and flew his rookie ship to a planet. Not to do things by half I undocked Drackarn in his Vindicator.

I got the camera set up and thought I'd better use my drones as I needed to set the video going etc and the guns would alpha the pod. So I set the Ogre II's on the pod. Wow, even when shooting at a stationary target they are like storm troopers. So as the video was already rolling I hit F1 on Drackarns screen. T2 large blasters and stationary pods don't mix....

video

As you can see they have added the wires from inside the pod still attached to your back.



A nice touch.

Now looking at these electronic attack frigates a bit closer than on Monday.

I have a issue with fast kitey ships with crap damage that kill you very slowly, the Caldari Militia love them. Now you can probably guess where this is going. The fits below are certainly not recommended. They are my nightmare fits I can see risk-adverse pilots loving. Keep at range and GTFO-ability if things aren't going their way.

Kitsune.
Yeah, this is going to be an issue in fleet fights. Simple, no tank fit:-


Those jammers? Over 110km optimal. Even with the SeBo and range script you'll be out of lock range before you hit the fall off of over 150km. Get the fight started, warp this thing at 120km away, jam.

Keres.
The Maulus is already a nasty ship. With the right implants you can kite and sensor damp most ships so they cannot lock at 20km and then you orbit at 22km and slowly plink away at them. I've even tried this, but you really need Snake's to make it work properly. The Keres takes this to the next level. I fitted dual points too see what the ranges were. Scram and web will be better on this against T1 destroyers and frigates who don't have sensor boosters.


A 43km long point, a 16km Scram and two sensor damps doing nearly 60% at 50km to 134km range. And the version of Drackarn on the test server only has EAF to level 4. On TQ he has got level 5 so add another 7.5% to the damps and 20% to the points! I put an alt in a Thrasher and used this fit on it. His Thrasher's targeting range was damped down to 7.6km and that alt has Long Ranged Targeting V!

Sentinel.
Already one of the few EAF's that are commonly used, it is now a beast. It will neut you dry from 26km away and its drones provide the most raw DPS of all the EAF's.


With no capacitor, you are buggered against this thing if you are close range. Thought I'd try it on that Thrasher. Neuted him dry in three cycles (was nearly dry after 2nd) and set the drones on him. The DPS was much better than the Keres. This ship is evil, and that was at level 4 EAF skill. With Drack now at level 5 on TQ it will be 20% more evil.


Hyena.
Another potential kitey ship.


T2 webs that reach 30km! Any close range blaster/rocket/autocannon boat is going to be in trouble with this ship. Two 60% webs mean that even with a MWD you are not going to catch this thing. It can orbit you at 23km fast and keep you webbed down and pointed. Best thing you can do in a close-range DPS boat is moon out of a porthole.... oh wait you're stuck in that pod. Better ask one of the crew.


Now remember that these are shit-fits designed to annoy the hell out of me personally. I prefer IN YOUR FACE close range fighting. These hulls are certainly designed as the opposite of that. I may be in a little bit of trouble if people start using these too much.

Monday, October 7, 2013

A Look at Rubicon on the Test Server

So the first bits of Eve Online - Rubicon the winter patch, hit the test server today. Note its not all there, and even some of the code that is there hasn't been attached to the in-game assets. Full details here. Lets have a look what I could find on SiSi on a quick run through.....


Launch ALL THE HEAVIES!
So we have the new rapid heavy missile launcher. I'm looking forward to this!!!! I've taken a Raven and stuck a load of these things on and then warped top belt. Rat! OK, 47km range, 650dps. FIRE!


So that is........ rather satisfying. Those cruiser rats and frigates popped with ease. I wonder what a fleet of BS with these will do to Strategic Cruisers?

Warp Factor 10.
One of the big changes is the new acceleration/deceleration into warp. The dev blogs have plenty of graphs and charts so I decided I'll go simple and undock a few ship types and warp to a gate timing from when I press the warp button to when I drop to sublight speed. These are based on a 30.4 AU warp and is me and a stopwatch, not 100% scientific!


T1 frigate. On TQ - 39.7 sec. On SiSi - 24.8 sec.
Interceptor. On TQ - 36.7 sec. On SiSi - 17.0 sec.
Destroyer. On TQ - 43.8 sec. On SiSi - 29.6 sec.
Cruiser (should be the same). On TQ - 46.6 sec. On SiSi - 49.1 sec.
Battlecruiser. On TQ - 50.5 sec. On SiSi - 60.1 sec.
Battleship (dual plated). On TQ - 54.9 sec. On SiSi - 114.6 sec.

So as expected, small ships get there faster, large ships are a lot slower.

Do You Have a Licence to Fly That?
The old certificate system is dead, we have this new thing now:-


Its much better. Simple as that.

Also skill tree has nice indicators and pop ups as you hover over.


This then leads onto the new ship tree. Select the race on the left and navigate away!



Sir, the radar, its jammed! Raspberry! Only one man alive would dare to give me the raspberry  LONESTAR!
OK its a long title but if you have the opportunity to quote Spaceballs you go for it right? Currently EAF's aren't massively useful. They need to be so close to their enemy, which puts them harms way. And as they have a tank similar to a can of Quafe, that is an issue. Now they have a bit of a range bonus.


Yeah, that is 100km optimal on a Kitsune with no rigs. I'm worried that this will lead to an increase of DPS poor kitey EAF's killing you ever so slowly from range. You also get a clearer indication of what level of "mastery" you have over each ship. I think they need a bit of looking at. My Kitsune mastery is low because I don't have target breaker amplification?

You Complete and Utter Bastion!
So I had to log in an alt to SiSi as the Marauder rebalance includes the new Bastion module that needs high energy physics training. Thankfully I have an alt will the skills! But they are bad skills. So all I can show you is what it looks like and the difference!


video

It gives nice bonus to tanking and weapons range, no difference to damage. Torp range on my badly skilled alt was 30km, with Bastion unit running it was 37km. The ship had EHP of 27,222 normally (no tank mods fitted) and 38,888 with bastion mod running.



Remember this alt as crap skills and the ship only had torp launchers and bastion module for those stats. I'd like to see some DPS bonus added to the bastion module, but it could be very interesting! Also interesting that the module requires a carebear skill - high energy physics!

I Saw the Light!
One of the issues I had with the stargate changes when they introduced the new gate effects was the loss of a clear "gate fire" when someone jumped in.  It was still there, but you had to carefully look for it. Its changed!


Yes! Going to help camps a lot!


So there you are, a very quick run through. Plentyplenty more on there and more coming, but I need to go to bed! nn all o7