Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Don't Panic, Manufacturers

CCP has apparently decided to focus the summer release on industry.  Certainly this is an area of the game that needs work, so that is good.  I do think it's brave in the sense that few players do industry, and so they probably won't get the income bounce they normally get for new releases.  No one is going to resubscribe to look at a pretty UI that they don't use.  I expect there to be at least a few new gee-whiz features unrelated to industry to try to draw resubscribers back.

In any case, I have seen quite a lot of complaining about it from industrialists, even to the point of threatening to unsubscribe.  I find this ludicrous, at this point anyway.  And here is why.  The basis of much of the complaining is that people want to do their industry in highsec, and they believe they are being "forced" out to null.  But so far as we know, this is not true.  What is true is that industry "slots" are going away; instead there will be surcharges at busy stations.  The surcharges are from 0-14%: "Expect costs ranging from 0% to 14% of the base item being produced for the most extreme case."  (emphasis theirs).

People seem to be looking at the high end 14%, the "most extreme case", thinking that's general, and panicking.  But this is crazy.  We know from the quote above that 0% will be a thing.  What we don't know yet is where the #jobs N where will draw the line between 0% and 1%.  And then also (though less interesting), other lines from 1 to 2%, and on up.  But in any case, I think it is pretty safe to assume that N is going to be, at least, a small integer.  (If it's not, then I must revise this opinion.  Expect me to revisit the subject when it is announced.)

The current behavior is 50 slots and then a queue; it seems reasonable to me to scale the 0 to 14% over that range, so that there are perhaps 5 jobs per 1% of surcharge.  So I am going to make a wild guess that the crowdedness cost will be 0% for zero to four jobs, 1% for five to nine, etc., capped at 14.  Where exactly these percentages are does not matter that much; what matters is only just that there are, say, four jobs per station at 0%, nine jobs per station at 1%, and then (less so) for more crowdedness.  I take it as given that more than a few percent of surcharge is not sustainable for most industry, whereas zero percent definitely is, and 1% is probably.  2% maybe.

You didn't choose me.
So the question here is: are there currently enough empty slots in highsec such that after the summer release, we can still do all the industry there, and competitively?  And I think the answer is pretty clearly "yes".  There are completely unused stations, right now, even in the Forge.  I went and looked: the nearest one to Jita -- with zero jobs -- is in Obe.  Obe is eight jumps from Jita.  OK, that's lowsec.  So, how about the nearest highsec station in the Forge, with zero jobs installed  It's in Uchosi, 10 jumps out.  There are many stations with only one to four jobs.

I feel confident that The Forge does the most industry in New Eden, due to the presence of Jita.  Remember the dev blog posting Insights into 2013 Production and Destruction.  See the picture, and notice all the tiny circles that are blue and green.  There are more of them than there are large or even medium blue and green circles.
Production.  

There are currently a lot of empty slots out there; probably more empty ones than filled.  Enough for everyone, especially after a substantial amount of the competition moves to POSes or to null.

So, don't panic manufacturers.  There will be plenty of room for profit.  What we are seeing here is not the evil Nullsec Cartel taking your profit for themselves.  We are seeing a leveling of the playing field, so that manufacturing can be done in nullsec and reasonably compete with highsec.  You are losing your massive cost advantage, but you are not being made uncompetitive.

That said, there will be some manufacturers that will be better off moving to null, and some better off staying in highsec.  This will be a function of transportation cost.  Mynnna, though not doing much in his recent blog post to quench the alarm of his critics (here's my comment), did have some useful numbers there on the transportation costs faced by nullsec: "30k isotopes per round trip".  Isotopes cost between 700 and 1000 ISK right now, depending on type.  And CCP is going to increase fuel requirement for jumping by 50%.  So, using a lower end isotope price, we predict transport costs of about 30m ISK for a round trip for a jump freighter.  That is a few percent for anything but a very low value load.  (To be fair, we must factor in other costs: the capital cost of a jump freighter is one.  The effective cost of losses to gank is another.  Opportunity cost is also worth mentioning.  These are impossible to know.)  In any case, the point is that transport costs are significantly higher to and from nullsec than in highsec.  Also, there is a balance factor preventing too much industry from moving to null: fuel costs will rise with demand.  In highsec, you can autopilot a billion ISK in substantial safety with no fuel cost at all.

So, what we can see is that to the extent nullsec does have a cost advantage in manufacturing proper, industry should be done there first for the things with high value:volume, then decreasingly for things with lower value:volume.  The very largest yet low value things, for example T1 ship hulls, will be manufactured in highsec because of the transportation cost advantage.  Small, high value stuff, for example most T2 ship parts, will probably move to null.  Medium sized stuff will be where the breakeven point is, and might be done in both regions.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A Multibox Gate Camp

Sometimes my Jita alt takes the shortcut back from Hek to Jita.  This goes through lowsec.  If you have a covert-ops cloak, it's pretty safe.  Usually I see nobody at all.  However, sometimes there are camps.  Usually it's just a few guys.  Sometimes you see something bigger.  And sometimes it is just a few guys and rather large:

Ooh, pretty.

Me, me, me.
I have seen this one a couple times in Rancer, on the Crielere gate.  As you can see from the energy-boost and repping effects, it's mostly Augorors.  Just a few guys?  Check the overview (right).  You can see that most of the pilots here are named "Another Multiboxer N".  It appears to be perhaps five distinct people, or fewer if one of them besides the obvious Flock Master is also multiboxing.  (Or if he has, say, two mains.)

It's an interesting gate camp idea.  Obviously gate guns are insufficient to kill anything here.  The Augorors are orbiting the gate, probably at 15km to give a small chance to decloak people who try to cloak to evade the camp.  I am actually a bit surprised that there are not more drones out.  I'd have every Augoror flying a full set of four drones to decloak people.  The type is not that important, so long as they are cheap.  I'd probably go with warriors, all controlled by a fast-locking Augoror, so that smaller ships can be swarmed.  Another idea would be to use ECM drones, as at least one of the guys here is doing.

What are the fits?  I don't know, but here's my take on a cheap Augoror for multiboxed PVP.
[Augoror, Multibox Camper]
Damage Control II
800mm Reinforced Steel Plates II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Conjunctive Radar ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Radar ECCM Scanning Array I
Conjunctive Radar ECCM Scanning Array I

Medium 'Arup' Remote Armor Repairer
Medium 'Arup' Remote Armor Repairer
Medium 'Arup' Remote Armor Repairer
Medium 'Arup' Remote Armor Repairer
Medium 'Regard' Remote Capacitor Transmitter

Warrior I x4

Price: 14m ISK.  (That's why no rigs: they add marginal power but substantial cost.)  Note the use of the midslots: the weakness of any cap chain is having an ECM boat break it.  So, we guard against that, there being not much else to do with the midslots.

Obviously a highly multiboxed ship (of any kind) cannot expect it to do anything substantial during a fight.  That's why the fit above does need any control at all.  Again, the drones are there to serve as decloak hazards, and/or DPS against small fast ships.  They are all controlled by one of the sebo'ed Augorors that someone is actually playing actively.

With two reps from each multiboxed Augoror on the next Augoror in the chain, the tank is 414 DPS against omni damage.  That's all level five skills; actual tank for a realistic level of training is more like 400.  This leaves two spare reps that can be sent to the Machariel and/or the non-multiboxing Augorors.

I'd conjecture a similar fit for the non-multibox Augorors, except using perhaps sacrificing one or two ECCM and putting in sensor boosters to lock victims as quickly as possible.  And probably also rigging for more armor hardness or some other goal.

If there are three non-multiboxed Augorors and nine multiboxed ones, each of the three non-multiboxed Augorers can get three reps from the multiboxed ones, for a basic tank of about 600 DPS.  This leaves all four of the non-multiboxed reps free, meaning that there are 12 reps unallocated.  These could be applied to any ship getting in trouble, for a very large possible tank, something like +2400 DPS. 

DPS is mainly applied by the Mach in the middle, although each Augoror's drones do 49 DPS.  Twelve of them is 588 DPS, which is not shabby.

I am sure you could attack something like this, but it would require a pretty substantial gang.  Without bubbles to stop them, you'd have to get each Augoror tackled or they could just fleet-warp off.  And even if you do tackle an Augoror and kill it, it only cost 14m ISK plus the pod, which you can bet is completely empty.  The Machariel also has the option to jump through the gate, and probably also a micro jump drive. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Plans Change

It's corp night.  We are all on together, and rolling our hole looking for a decent system to run sites in.  Or we might run stuff in and out if we find a decent route to highsec.  We've already rolled a few times.  We're not getting too much luck tonight.  I pop the last hole in an Onyx.  On to the next.

Jayne goes in first, and it sounds good.  Lots of anoms, including several Barracks and Sanctums, which are the best sites for a fleet that can handle them.  Also lots of sigs.  He starts scanning while I enter in my Manticore.  There is one tower on scan from the wormhole.  I fly to the outer system to verify that it has no others.  It does not.  That's good.  I pop probes at the outer planet and join the scanning.

The scanning is not so favorable.  The system has a C2 static, but also two incident C5s.  C5s are where the big boys live; we must be cautious.  I enter C5a for a look around.  It has three ships on scan: two Cheetahs and a Falcon.  Also four towers, and four more in the outer system, with a probably empty carrier.  But those three might be around.  I find their tower, and sure enough: all three ships are manned.  They do look long-idle, at least.  But it's not a good sign for running sites.  We'd have to pop it over at least five minutes, and they'd probably notice.

I return to C4b, then warp to over to check the second C5 system.  This one is much less dangerous in appearance, being unoccupied.  So I return to C4b and go to sit watching the wormhole to C5a, the more dangerous one.

Meanwhile, Jayne is in C2a.  It has a highsec exit, which turns out to be six jumps to Jita.  That's pretty nice.  On the downsite, there are several towers.  Still, maybe we will do logistics after all.  If we picket all the wormholes and keep dscanning the towers, it should be pretty safe.

As we are considering what to do, I hear wormhole noise.  It's the C5 wormhole, and... it's a pod.  I tell the guys.  A pod?  It warps off.  Evidently they want to get a new ship in.  Jayne watches as it enters C2a, then warps to the highsec exit.

Ah, now we have a new purpose: ambush this guy on the way back in.  We have no idea what he is going to get; it could be a battleship, a T3, a stealth bomber.  Anything.  And we don't know how long it will take it.  It should not take long to fly to Jita and back, but buying a full fit can take a while.  We don't want to be caught ourselves while waiting.

We compromise a bit.  We go with cloakies in C4b and C2a.  Jayne sets an alt picket on the highsec entrance; his main gets his trusty Stratios.  I picket the C4b->C5a wormhole with my alt, and get in an Onyx, which I sit at in our system at the wormhole to C4b.  Depending on what comes in, I will cross into C4b and  warp over to stop it.  John gets his Ishtar and waits with me.  Timmay and Jeedmo get in stealth bombers, and sit in C4b at the wormhole to C2a.  They are tackle and/or DPS, depending on what comes in.

Now we sit.  Boring, but that's the nature of hunting.  Time passes.  How long does this guy need?  Maybe he is not coming back.  Wants to be part of Burn Jita or something.

Jayne reports that an Epithal has appeared on scan in C2a.  It did not come in from highsec nor did it come down our way.  It must be from some other wormhole headed out, or local.  After a bit of confusion on this point, Jayne locates it at one of the towers in C2a.  Well.  A bird in the bush, but a bird in the bush is better than a bird that might not be coming back.  So, we switch up.  John and I refit into bombers.  We'll go lurk at the tower.  I am a bit unhappy to bring all these ships into C2a where our targets can see us.  But Epithals need three scramblers to stop reliably.  We will have that.  Timmay and Jeedmo remain on station in C4b, cloaked at the C2 wormhole.

While we are in transit downstream, there's another change: a pod appears in C2a.  It's at a second tower there.  So Jayne and John end up at the first tower watching the Epithal.  I go to the second.  What will the pod do?  What will the Epithal do?  Nothing, it appears.  Both sit there.  Doing PI, probably.  We can tell from their names that they are alts of the same guy, so I have some hope that he did not see us enter.

We sit for a while, watching.  Then Jayne reports wormhole noise, on the highsec.   Probably the guy who went out.  I tell people to get ready to go to the C2 wormhole.  What will it be?  It's... an Epithal!  (And it is the guy who went out.)  Timmay and Jeedmo get ready in C4b, while Jayne, Hiljah, and I warp to the C4 wormhole.  Hiljah and I warp at 10 so as not to reveal ourselves.  We tell Jeedmo and Timmay to get uncloaked and ready on the other side.

As I land on grid, I can see the Epithal entering the wormhole.  I tell the guys on the other side to be ready.  I also see Jayne's Stratios uncloak and jump, and I expect the Epithal saw that too.  I tell the other guys to expect the Epithal to jump back.

There is a pause.  I get into orbit at 2500m and turn on my sebo.  Then I decide that 500m is better.  Chatter; the guys say the Epithal jumped back.  Now he is polarized and cannot escape except by warping.  I am ready.  The guys cross too.  Everyone decloaks: Timmay, Jayne, Hiljah, me.  Another pause.  There is the Epithal. I lock him, and move towards him.  My torpedoes fire but hit nothing; he's popped before they even reach.  This is unexpectedly fast.  I try to lock the pod but the pilot is alert (yeah, anyone would be), and warps immediately.  Jayne's alt see it exit into highsec.

The wreck is empty.  The Epithal was completely empty and completely unfit.  I warp back to the second tower.  I tell Jayne to blow up the wreck.  Although the attack seemed long, it was really not more than a half minute.  If the locals are dscanning much, they should have seen it.  But they might not be dscanning.  They are still where they were in the same ships.

Now we return to the towers and wait.  After a while, the Epithal starts to move.  We alert; it stops.  Then it moves again.  Not aligning to anything we can see.  And it stops.  And then again, it starts moving toward the local SMA.  And stops.

Then the pod at the other tower, which I am watching, refits into an Epithal.  It immediately starts aligning.  Game on!  I am watching it up close.  It is hard to see where it aligning because of the glare from the sun, but I can turn the view to make the Epithal obscure the sun enough to read that it is planet II.  Guys: he's headed to planet II.  He warps, then I warp to the customs office at 10km.

Meanwhile, Jayne and Hiljah are reporting the same thing: their Epithal has aligned... to planet I.

I land on grid, and there is the Epithal, 11 km from me.  I head towards him, then uncloak and get my systems on.  I cannot hold an Epithal by myself, so I surge toward him on microwarp to bump.  As I get close, my first volley kills him.  Boom.  The pod is out, and I click to start the lock, and get my scrambler working.  I lock it!  I wonder why he does not die for a few seconds before I realize my torps are not firing.  Oops.  I fire the torps.  It takes two rounds.  Squish.  Amped on adrenaline, I scoop from the wreck, getting a prototype cloak and a cargo expander II.  (What?)  Then I scoop the corpse and microwarp out of range of the CO and wreck to cloak.  (Finally I notice Hiljah is on grid.)  I don't pop the wreck this time, because we won't be around much longer.

Meanwhile, about the same thing happened at the CO at planet I.  Jayne uncloaks and kills the Epithal.  The pod escapes him.  Like the other Epithal, this one was also sporting a cloak and cargo expanders.  But this one had full warp core stabilization.  Jayne was not tackling it; it failed to escape because it had almost no tank.  Guys, put a nice cheap large shield extender on your fit.

It's getting late, and probably nothing more is going to happen here.  We head home.  A good night after a slow start.  We didn't run any sites, or get any large prey, but it was fun to get what we got.  It's unfortunate that Jeedmo didn't get on any killmails.  I want to blood the new guy.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

POS Module Locking Times

Penny has a most amusing post up about ambushing a hauler near a POS.  In it she mentions her uncertainty about how long she can linger uncloaked near a POS without being targeted and killed by the POS modules.  This has come up before, too, both at Penny's blog, and for me when I have messed around with the idea of designing a decloak trap to go at my tower.

To get decent estimates of times for locking of various modules, one can use EFT after looking up the module and finding its scanning strength.  In EFT you need to find or create a ship fitting that has the same sensor strength; this is relatively easy to do by putting warp core scramblers on a ship with low sensor strength.

First, though, the scanning resolutions.  Note that all gun batteries of the same size have the same strength, with the exception of faction items.  Faction items have either 10% higher strength, or 20%.
Small [Gun] Battery: 250 mm
Medium [Gun] Battery: 75 mm
Large [Gun] Battery: 35 mm
[ECM] Battery: 50 mm
Energy Neutralizer Battery: 50 mm
Statis Web, Warp Scrambling/Disruption Battery: 30 mm
Sensor Dampener Battery: 10 mm

Let's put these numbers in terms of ships.  250mm is about the resolution that a normal battlecruiser has.  75mm is worse than a battleship and around that of a carrier; battleships average about 125mm.  50mm is the resolution that a Titan has.  No ship has 30mm without fitting a cloak and/or warp core stabilizers.

How does scanner resolution translate into lock time?  This depends only on the signature size of the targeted ship, and the scanning resolution.  I don't know the formula, but EFT does, so I can use various ships to simulate the various batteries.   As for the targeted ships, what we as sneaky hunters care most about are stealth bombers, T3s, and perhaps some Recon ships.  Stealth bombers range in size from 34-41m; for these EFT has a "Frigate (40m)" setting that we can use.  T3s' base size range in size from 143m to 176m, and this may be further increased if you are using a shield buffer fit to perhaps 200m.   Recons generally have the same size range as T3s.  Since the Loki is the likeliest sneaky T3, I am going to use a Loki to get an exact 143m.  (Note that EFT can use specific ships/fittings as well as general presets.)  For medium-sized cruisers, I'll throw in an Arazu (162m).  I'll also show a column created using EFT's setting "Frigate with microwarp (200m)", to simulate a larger and/or shield fit T3.

Here's the table:


BatteryTargets

Type

Scan res (mm)

Simulated with ship/fitting...
FrigateSmall CruiserMedium CruiserLarge Cruiser
40m143m162m200m
Small [Gun]250Myrmidon8.354.84.5
Medium [Gun]75Nidhoggur24.316.71614.9
[ECM], Energy Neut50Erebus41.72523.922.3
Large [Gun]35Moros + Stoic59.535.734.231.8
Web, Warp Scrambler/Disruptor30Erebus + Warp Core Stab II69.441.739.937.1
Sensor Dampener10Erebus + Warp Core Stab I, Accord, 2x Warp Core Stab II180125.4120111.7

Interesting, eh?  This is why people like small gun batteries so much. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

ISK in Wspace: Small Sites

Most income in wormhole space comes from running sleeper combat anoms.  Above C2, this is usually done as a small gang activity.  But there are other sites, the "small" sites, as I think of them.  These are sites with only modest sleeper defenders, which can easily be done solo.  This is true of all of the gas sites, excepting the two "core" gas sites that are only found in C5/C6.  Similarly it is true of all of the mining anoms (aka "rocks") in C4 and below.  There are two sites found only in C5/C6 that are considerably more difficult:   Rarified Core Deposit and Exceptional Core Deposit.

These small sites are a source of income that I think many people in wspace ignore.  This post is a guide on small sites: ship fittings, how to run them, and what you can expect to earn doing so.

Preparation

To kill small sites, first you must find them and summon their sleepers.  Each site should be scanned down and bookmarked.  In addition, you should instantiate each site as soon as you find it.  To instantiate a site, you must initiate a warp to it.  Note that you do not have to actually warp there; you can cancel the warp immediately (control-space to cancel) and the site will still be created.  "Triggering" a site is a synonym for "instantiating" it.  When a site is triggered, a timer is started.  In about 20 minutes, the site's sleepers will appear.  Obviously, the sleepers must be there for you to kill them!

Beyond triggering all the sites, you should explore with an eye towards operational security.  Note all the towers: if none, great.  If one, so-so.  Check wormhol.es to see when they are active; hope it is sometime else.  If many tower and wide activity, probably not a good system to run sites in.  Similarly note any ships or probes you see: seeing any ships/probes at all is a bad sign.  Bookmark all wormholes, and find out where they go.  If the system next door is active, don't run sites.  In your home system, you might zip up (pop all wormholes).

Sleeper Killing

Once you have a system and you've triggered all the sites, and you think it is safe to run sites in, the next step is killing all the sleepers.  For this you will want a ship with the following attributes: high DPS at close to medium range (6 km for frigates, out to 17 km for most of the cruisers, with 30 km max for a few of the cruisers).  Decent defense: an omnitank of at least 300 DPS.  Ideally, as small of a ship as possible to reduce time wasted in warp.  Ideally, a cheap ship since you might well get jumped.

The sleeper-killer ship I use in small sites is a Tengu, kitted out with assault missiles.  Here's the fitting:
[Tengu, Small Sites]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
EM Ward Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Medium Shield Booster II
Cap Recharger II
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Shield Boost Amplifier I
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Heavy Assault Missile
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Tengu Defensive - Amplification Node
Tengu Electronics - Emergent Locus Analyzer
Tengu Propulsion - Gravitational Capacitor
Tengu Engineering - Augmented Capacitor Reservoir
Tengu Offensive - Accelerated Ejection Bay
EFT using my skills shows its offense as 555 DPS, with defense 386 against omni damage.  There are two things to note.  First, use a tech-II shield boost amp if you have the skill for that.  (I don't.)  This increases the tank to 402 DPS.  Second, recall that the max damage for small sites is about 300 DPS, and I like a bit extra.  If your skills are low you might find not enough defense; in that case, replace a ballistic control with a damage control.  Alternatively, buy a faction shield booster.  A Pithum C-Type Shield Booster costs about 90m ISK and will multiply your defense by about 1.6x.  Or even more alternatively, just warp out and return.  None of the sleepers in any small site has warp scrambling.

I use basic T1 assault missiles to save money.  Assault missiles perform well against sleeper frigates and cruisers, and have just enough range to get to most of the cruisers even when they have moved out to their preferred orbit.  Note that there are some of the cruisers (in the Bountiful) that want to orbit just beyond the range for normal assault missiles, at least with less than all-level-V missile skills.  For these, bring along some Scourge Javelins, or just run the site fast.  I sometimes could not quite run the site fast enough when I had a similar Tengu but lacking one of the launchers.  With the sixth launcher, I can.

Running small sites is straightforward.  Warp in, park, lock up sleepers and start killing them.  Put out a mobile tractor.  When the tractor has looted the second-to-last wreck, scoop up the tractor and grab the blue loot it has collected.  Concurrently, kill the last sleeper.  Warp to the next site.

There is a slight variation that is helpful in some of the rocks sites.  Some of these sites have sleepers which start 100km or so from the warp-in point.  You can wait for them to come to you, but you can speed things up by warping closer to them.  Look for asteroids in their general direction that are at least 150km from you, then warp to one such rock at 70 or so.  This will cut the range to about 50km; from there you still have to close.  And also in this case, you'll want to bookmark your tractor's location so that you don't waste time later on in the salvager.

Salvaging

Once you've run all the small sites you want, switch into a light salvager, return, and salvage.  For this you want a salvaging ship with one tractor beam (neither more nor less), many salvagers, and plenty of capacitor.  Ideally you'd have a lot of targets (8 or so).  There is a decent chance of being ganked while salvaging if you mess up on opsec, so you want the salvager to be as cheap as possible.  Here's the fitting I recommend; note that similar performance is possible using many destroyers.
[Coercer, Cheap Salvager]
Mark I Generator Refitting: Capacitor Power Relay
Mark I Generator Refitting: Capacitor Power RelayLocal Hull Conversion Nanofiber Structure I
Eutectic Capacitor Charge ArrayLimited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Salvager I
Salvager I

Salvager I

Salvager I
Salvager I
Salvager I
Small Tractor Beam I
Auto Targeting System I

Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

Small Salvage Tackle I
Note that this is a more general-purpose salvager than just this particular mission.  In small sites, there is never a reason for a microwarpdrive.  The Auto Targeting system should never be turned on; it is there only to increase the number of targets.

Testing 

So, how does that Tengu perform given a plethora of gas sites?  I did an empirical test the other day.  The particular system available through our static had seven gas sites.  It had one each of the Barren Perimeter ReservoirMinor Perimeter Reservoir, and Token Perimeter Reservoir.  The "perimeter" sites are the lower difficulty ones; they appear in all wspace system.  The system had four of the medium-difficulty gas sites: one Bountiful Frontier Reservoir and three Vast Frontier Reservoirs.  The "frontier" sites appear only in C3 or higher wspace.   In addition, there was one mining anom which I ran.  This site has two cruisers at the warp-in.

The system had only my home system and its own static (to C3) open.  Both it and the C3 were quiescent.  I put an alt in a Falcon at the C3 wormhole as early warning and, if things went bad, a chance to jam out an attack.  Then I took my Tengu in and ran all the aforementioned sites.

Blue loot on the Tengu
I timed the run via the handy alerts that show in the Local chat, notifying you of wormhole transitions.  This particular time I was in C4b in my Tengu was from 18:45:46 until 19:08:23.  While salvaging, I was in from 19:10:09 until 19:20:08.  The time in between is what it takes to cross a system, change ships, and cross back.  Each warp takes about 45s.

The Tengu collected most of the blue loot in each site, though not all of it.  As you can see in the screenshot, the total I collected from the sites I ran is 60.8m ISK.  This is pretty good for spending 23 minutes.

Salvage on the Coercer
What about salvage?  The salvager collected the rest of the blue loot, as well as salvaging all the wrecks.  Because the wrecks are already gathered together, except for the last one in each site, this is pretty efficient.  The salvage proper was worth about 32m ISK, with the remainder of the value being the small amount of blue loot.  Note that the amount you get in salvage will tend to vary a lot, because the only sleeper salvage worth anything substantial is Melted Nanoribbons, and the amount you get is a random small integer, and so it varies considerably.

Altogether in this particular run, I took 35 minutes to clean out the system's small sites, and got 91.4m ISK worth of blue loot and salvage.  This is a bit on the high side: I think I got some luck with the nanoribbons.  Nonetheless, we can compute the ISK per hour rate: 156.6!  Typically I see rates of 100m/hour or more.  So you can see that running the small sites can be quite lucrative.

That's it.  Now, get out there you C3 and C4 inhabitants, and start running those small sites!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Watching Them Try

Late evening in the USA.  I've been out livin' life, but there's still some time to play before bed.  I get my coffee, plonk at the computer, and log in.  Goooood morning, New Eden!

There are three sigs in the home system.  Checking bookmarks shows these sigs are already scanned down: our static and two new gas sites.  Jayne is on, and he is already scanning in C4b.  OK, that's nice.  Less scanning, more hunting.  I trigger both gas sites, figuring that with the weekend coming I'll get to them in the next four days.

C4b has no live towers, although it has a dead tower named "lost tower, reward for access".  Huh.  I find the owner -- a one-man corp -- and send him mail.  Meanwhile, Jayne is finished scanning.  The system has a C6 static; that wormhole is present of course, as well as another C4.  Also some gas sites and radars, usual stuff.  Jayne is not inspired and heads offline.  I stay on to hunt, or at least see what I can get up to.

First up: the C4.  I enter it.  There is a tower, but nobody is home.  Well, it has a C4 static, so let me search my way further downstream.  There are six sigs.  I scan it them entirely, which is painful due to four of them being radar/data sites.  The last is a gas site.  Where's the static wormhole?  Oh.  Duh.  I came in through the static.   Nothing further this way.

Back into C4b, and then to the C6.  I enter C6a, and there are lots of ships and many towers.  Ugh.  I bookmark the wormhole and fly around a bit.  More ships and towers.  There is, in particular, a tower with lots of ships sitting out but among them a Mammoth.  I'll find that one.  It's not hard; there's only two moons.  After choosing the wrong one, I get the right one.  The Mammoth is empty, but a Flycatcher is present and manned.

I was hoping to find this system empty, but it's not, so I don't think I am going to run any gas sites here even if they have good ones.  Neither am I keen to show probes: a flycatcher on the exit would have a good chance to get me.  Nor am I keen to spend time finding the other towers; there are many of them, and some of them are obviously trapped.  So I quietly fly back to the wormhole and back out.  I am a little concerned there will be an Interdictor on the far side, but it is clear.  Whew.

Perhaps I can run the gas sites in C4a.  Is C6a active at all?  I sit on the C4b->C6a wormhole a while, just orbiting cloaked while I do other stuff.  At one point, the Flycatcher comes in.  I alert and watch.  It sits in its gate cloak a long time.  Eventually it is exposed, then it goes right back through.  I expect he was dscanning to look for anything interesting -- probes, ships, whatever.  This makes me less keen to run the gas sites in this system.  But there are those new gas sites at home.  Those should be safe to run and then suck.  I head home.

To be safe, I'll have to keep eyes on our static.  So I log in my alt Otto for that.  He warps over in his Cheetah, and sits 30km from the wormhole orbiting.  Now I fly Von to our tower, and refit into our PVE Tengu.  It's designed for one thing: killing little sleeper sites.  (Well, two things: it can also refit to do ghost sites.)  I fly to the first gas site, a Barren Perimeter Reservoir, and kill.  Then the same for the Minor Perimeter Reservoir.  Then I get our light salvager and salvage.  I get one nanoribbon, so 4m ISK for ten minutes' work.

Slurrrp.
Well, that was fun.  What now?  I guess I can start sucking gas.  I log off Von and get in a same-account alt.  It's a nuisance to have to log, but this guy mines gas better, and also I don't have to worry as much about him getting killed since he has a worthless pod.  He's already in a T2 Venture; he logs off in it.  Now I will mine gas.  I fly to the C50 cloud and start sucking.  As always, I put myself in orbit of the cloud to make it harder for anyone to jump on me.

Mining gas is boring, just like any other mining.  The C50 cloud is 3000 units of gas, meaning it should take me about 30 minutes to mine.  30 minutes with no input necessary.  Fortunately, I am sitting at a computer, so I can read EVE blogs, listen to music, and generally do things other than EVE while playing EVE.

The Flycatcher peeks in.
After about 20 minutes, action.  Wormhole noise.  I perk up from my stupor, and pay attention to Otto.  After a long gate cloak, there's my friend the Flycatcher again.  Hmm, interesting.  I wonder what he will do?

My alt's Venture is on dscan from the wormhole.  If the C6 corp has already scanned my system, the Flycatcher may warp straight to the gas site hoping to find my Venture unaware.  So I am ready to warp the Venture.

The Flycatcher exits.  OK, he must have seen my Venture.  And my tower is not on scan from the wormhole, so he cannot have mistaken what is going on.  The only explanation for him leaving is that he wants to prepare an attack.  I could bug out now, but I want to see what will happen.  And of course, as I already mentioned, my alt's clone is not worth much, nor is the Venture he's in, nor for that matter is the gas he's sucking.  I'll just stay put.

The expected scanner.
Soon enough, the wormhole sounds again.  This time, it's a Cheetah.  So, obviously they need to scan.  I expect to get combat-probed, with the Flycatcher (probably), or some other ship entering to provide the actual killing.  The Cheetah may or may not be part of it.  It could mount two warp scramblers, but I find that somewhat doubtful.  Still, they had time to prepare, and in these days of Epithals a Cheetah with scrambling is more useful than it used to be.

As predicted.
I watch for probes.  Dscan, dscan, dscan.  Nothing for quite some time.  I start to get a bit paranoid: is the Cheetah perhaps tackle and they already had the site bookmarked?  Maybe I should bail.  But I still want to see what they'll do, so I stick.  Education does not come free in EVE.

Finally, I see what I have been expecting.  Probes on dscan.  I also see something I did not expect: the Cheetah itself.  This is quite unexpected.  My system has an outer planet 30 AU away from everything else.  There's nothing out there.  That's the place to fire probes.  Not in the inner system.  This guy must be an amateur hunter.

A quick check with dscan shows that the probes are not very close to my location.  So, he can't know it yet.  Now I manipulate the ranges to try to get the right amount of warning.  A few scans later the Cheetah has cloaked again.

Barren gas sites have high signal; I can probe one down in my Manticore with probes at 1AU.  With a bonused T2 scanning ship, I know it can be done at 2AU and possibly 4AU.  So I set my distance to 4AU (thanks for that new scanner CCP).  And I watch.  I don't see anything.  Eventually I widen the search and the probes are gone.  Hmm.  I never saw them be near enough.  But it is possible that he did get a hit quickly when I still had the probes at very long or very short range.  It is also possible that he has moved the probes out of sight and is carefully finding the vector and range on dscan, for a one-pass scan.  But that's something only experienced hunters do, and I do not think this guy is one.  So I am not sure what to expect.

Meanwhile, my alt has finished up the C50 cloud.  There's no need for me to be here at all, other than curiosity.  I align to my tower, then microwarp for 100km.  I figure this should prevent the Cheetah from being able to tackle me, if it is in the site.  And it allows a quick GTFO if anything comes through the wormhole, which is what I expect.

Sure enough.  Wormhole noise.  It's the Flycatcher, and it quickly warps away from the wormhole.  I get ready with my Venture: the Flycatcher lands on grid in the middle of the gas site, 100km from me.  (Mwa mwa waa waa!)  I warp anyway; the game is up at this point.  There's no reason to stick around.

As I land at my tower, I see something change.  What is it?  An explosion.  I look again: it's a wreck.  It appears the Cheetah had been watching the tower, and evidently accidentally uncloaked somehow, and did not realize it.  My tower has small artillery, so he was popped in one volley once they locked.

Y'all come back now, hear?
Loot.
I consider trying to quickly log out so that I can get Von logged in and get into something to jump on these guys with.  But long experience says: never attack anyone on a wormhole unless you have eyes on the other side.  I don't have those eyes, so it's too dangerous.  And also I don't think I can do a logon that fast.  In any case, Otto sees the pod and the Flycatcher meet at the wormhole, and they both leave.

I am back to alone.  I doubt we'll see them again tonight.  I log on Von and get in our lightest salvager.  Then I warp to the Cheetah wreck and salvage it, and loot it.  I did not get the covert ops cloak, but the loot is not bad considering.  All tech II stuff other than Sisters probes.

Lessons learned?  Well, don't accidentally decloak near enemy towers.  And if you do decloak, make sure you know it.  Of more practical use: keep eyes (ears, really) on wormholes, or zip up.  The battle in wspace is half to the strong, but the other half goes to those with better information.  The information asymmetry here decided it against the Flycatcher from the get-go.  I knew most of his moves, and he did not know I knew.  So he continued, eventually getting nothing.  Whereas I got to see a fairly inept hunt leading to an unexpected but also inept conclusion.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

An Escape

It's the weekend, and I am on alone.  Time to see what wspace has for me today.  I log on, dscan as soon as possible.  Nothing on scan, which is what I expect out in a distant corner of my system.  There are four sigs on scan, of which two are known gas sites.  Time to fire probes.  Then I warp/cancel to the gas sites to make sure they are still there: yup.  OK, two sigs are unknown.  One will be my static.  What is the other?

Probe, probe.  Quickly I have the first sig, a wormhole.  Now for the other: also a wormhole.  Because there are two, I cannot assume that our static is safely closed.  So I warp to both.  Our static connects to a C4 like it always does.  The extra wormhole is a K162 from another C4.

I check out C4b, through our static, first.  It has a C5 static and is unoccupied.  I leave the static untouched, not wanting to invite undue attention.  Now let me check out upstream.  I return to my system then warp across to the K162, and cross into C4c.  It also has no tower.  But it has some 20 signatures.  Well, time to get probes out and start work.  Whichever explorer instantiated the link from this system to mine must have come from somewhere, so I expect at least two wormholes.

Some time later, I have found many gas sites, and several data/relic sites.  But there is no other wormhole.  Someone must have connected to this system, instantiated its static and then popped the other connection.  Or perhaps it was a later explorer who did it, with a regular wormhole timeout.  This is odd, but it offers the chance for me to run sites alone in safety.  I cannot run anoms alone -- these are C4 sites -- but I can run gas sites (and rocks).  So, I warp home, get into the assault-missile Tengu we have for just this purpose.  Then I return to C4c and start hitting sites.  Also I get my alt into a salvaging destroyer to follow myself around.

An hour later, I have killed 12 gas sites and two rocks, making about 100m in blue loot and salvage.  Not bad.  I head home.  Both characters warp to the C4c->C4a link, and jump, entering my system.

There's a Probe here.  It's about 9000m from me.

Hmm.  I have most of the 100m ISK in loot on the Tengu.  Should I engage?  Why not?  I break cloak and start locking.  The Probe jumps.

Aha.  I know something he does not know: C4c is a cul-de-sac.  There is no way out save through the wormhole I just came through.  (And not only that, he can't know that I know that.)  He won't come back immediately; instead he will at minimum wait for polarization to fade, and he may well scan C4c looking for a way beyond.  But then he will return.  Or maybe log out.  But I think return.

Will you walk into my parlor?
I hasten to my tower, and dump loot.  I don't have a great choice of ships, so I grab our Onyx.  It has a brick tank and of course the bubble will stop a warp off.  Its lock time is not ideal, but it's worth a try.

I warp back to the wormhole, put up the bubble, and sit.

I was wrong in my guess that the pipe downstream was closed.  There is some chance someone will follow behind.  Therefore I reship my alt into a cloaky and put him on our static wormhole to listen.  Now I will know if anyone comes in.

Now I wait.

I hope that the Probe does not try to scan down all the sigs next door, although he might do that looking to avoid coming back this way.  It might be a while.  Fortunately, there's always the Net.  I pull up a browser and start reading EVE blogs and news.

Wormhole noise.

I hide the browser.  It's the upstream wormhole, so, my target.  I figure he will see me, then attempt to jump back through the wormhole and lose me.  So I am ready to jump.

There he is, the Probe.  I try to lock him, but it fails.  He disappears -- he jumped I think.  I jump to follow.  As quickly as possible, I break cloak and put up my bubble.  He's still holding cloak.  OK, I will wait.  I wait.  I wait a while.

Has it been a minute yet?  I raise my local chat: yes, it's been two minutes.  I was wrong about him holding gate cloak.  Now I don't know what happened.  It is possible he did not actually jump, and I just imagined that he did.  Or it is possible that he jumped and very quickly got off the wormhole and cloaked, and I never saw.  On this theory I orbit the wormhole once, but I reveal nothing.  I doubt I will, either, since unlike the last time this happened, this is a frigate.  Even at 1/10 speed it can go pretty far in three minutes.

Well played, Mr. Probe.  (I never caught his name.)

When I tell Jayne about this later, he says I should have taken our Sabre.  What?  We still have our Sabre?  D'oh!!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

CSM Nine Voting

The voting for CSM 9 is on.  I was going to just ignore it, so far as this blog goes, but then I felt that since I was going to make the effort, however minimal, to figure out a vote, I might as well post my ideas on it for you to consider.

Still, before getting into the mud here, I want to discourage you from voting.  Yes!  In your face, Democracy!  I'll just quote myself here:
I disagree with the idea that low voter turnout is a problem. It is not. Voters are ignorant. Most players do not read blogs, do not read forums, have little sense of the history of EVE and no understanding of game design. I will grant that we cannot know who knows what; and that therefore everyone should potentially be allowed to vote. But neither should we encourage people with little to no information about the CSM race to vote. Mandatory voting is a terrible idea, even worse in EVE than in the real world.
Of course, you, dear reader, do at least read blogs.  Or at least you read blog.  Still, you may be as hopelessly ignorant of the current CSM9 candidates as, well, I am.  Or even more ignorant.  And why not?  Nobody is paying you to play EVE.  So don't be ashamed to not vote.  Voting when you know nothing should be seen as a shameful act, not praiseworthy.  (Me, I know just enough to be dangerous.)

What are my criteria for candidates?  Well, first of all I feel that all areas of the game should be represented on CSM.  Of them, I feel nullsec is overrepresented while lowsec and highsec are not enough.  Veterans are represented by the nature of the thing, and newbs hardly at all.  Beyond that, I care about whether the CSMs will work.  So far as I can tell there is a lot of work to do, and of course the work gets done on a volunteer basis.  I don't really care as much what their specific "policy" opinions are; so far as I can tell the CSMs are practically never used as junior game designers.  Rather, they are used as sanity checks.  Will the players revolt if we do X, Y or Z?  Are features P and Q a good way to address problem R?  If we implement feature F, is there a glaring stupid exploit waiting to happen?

TLDR!!  OK, enough yapping Von, just tell me who to vote for.  Right.  Here goes.  My voting list in order.

1. Sugar Kyle
2. James Arget
3. Mike Araziah
4. Ali Aras
5. mynnna
6. Steve Ronuken 
7. Psychotic Monk
8. Matias Otero 
9. Proclus Diadochu 
10. Asayanami Dei

Not TLDR!  WLRM!!  Gimme more mind-numbing "analysis"!  Here's my reasoning (such as it is) for my slate.

1. Sugar Kyle - this candidate is the reason why I am bothering to vote.  It comes down to this: I like her.  I judge only by her writing and two webcasts, but she is quite charming and in my opinion, would grace the CSM.  Oh, you want some reason reasons?  (What use, reason, I might ask?)  As you will.  Sugar writes a lot, and will replace Jester as the communicator via whom us blog-reading players learn about what the CSM is doing.  Sugar is very approachable and listens well (or fakes it well enough).  Sugar mixes the two halves of the game admirably: she does industry and runs a lowsec trade hub, and likes it.  And she is a flashy-red pirate and flies spaceships and blows people up (and gets blown up), and she likes that, too.  Sugar represents directly a poorly-represented constituency, lowsec.  She also is very interested in and attuned to the needs of newbies.

So anyway, go vote for Sugar, who probably needs it.  And then there are these other people...

2. James Arget - I am sad to say that I know nothing of the wormhole candidates.  But James is CSM8, so he is at least electable.  So, good enough.  We need a couple wormhole guys on CSM.

3. Mike Araziah - Incumbent, represents highsec.  We need that.  Also, works hard.

4. Ali Aras - Incumbent, works hard.  Communicates.  Generally sensible, even if she is sadly ignorant about the horribleness of the Z-arrow in scanning.

5. mynnna - Smart guy in spite of his annoying lowercased triple-n-ed name.  Every time I see him post I think: this is a mind to reckon with.  He posts a lot.  He is a Goon and thus part of the overrepresented nullsec bloc, and thus also almost certainly does not need my vote, nor yours.  But I think he deserves a nod, and the nice thing about the voting scheme CCP is using is you can put in guys like this who are certain to win anyway without diluting your vote.

6. Steve Ronuken - CREST is coming, and this guy develops apps.  You know: EFT, EVEMon, that sort of thing.  I use apps, you use apps, everyone who plays more than a month uses them.  CCP can't do everything, and won't do everything.  And they probably shouldn't anyway; they'd break stuff.  We want apps to be good, and we need a CSM who can push CCP on them from a position of knowledge.  Also, represents highsec.

7. Psychotic Monk - Keep EVE dangerous, full of psychos scammin' and gankin' and killin'.  This is the guy for that.

8. Matias Otero - Brave Newbies guy, included because I think he will be sensitive to the plight of newbies.

9. Proclus Diadochu  - wormhole guy.  I know nothing, other than he has shown up on a couple other lists of people I read, and so as a simple matter of bandwagoning to get represented, wormhole people should vote for him.  (Talk about voting in ignorance!)

10. Asayanami Dei - another wormhole guy.  See #9.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

A Worthwhile Epithal

An unkindness.
It's Wednesday.  The corp is on together.  We have zipped up our own system and run all the sites.  (I time four Barracks: about 5:45 each, 45 seconds of which is warping from site to site.)  This done, we open our static to see if we can find more sites to run.

The first system is no good.  And the second.  We pop both wormholes and try again.  It's late enough that if the last one is bad, we'll just quit.  Or anyway, some of us will.  I will stay on and hunt.

We open the system, and it's mediocre at best.  Five anoms; we could run them and make a bit more money.  Two sigs, so Jayne scans it down lickety split.  The other sig is the static, to C3.  There is nothing in sight from the K162 other than one customs office.  I am in my Manticore, and I warp into the inner system looking for signs of life.  There is a live tower, and several ships on scan: Orca, Ibis, Archon, and a Reaper.  Two rookie ships and two whales.  These are probably all empty, but I make the effort and find the tower anyway.  I warp in and find that the ships are empty as expected, except for the Reaper.  It is manned.  This interests me; maybe it is one guy on alone... maybe he will do something dumb.  I park and watch.

With this guy here, my calculations change.  I am not going to run sites with a live enemy watching us on dscan.  So, we call it off.  Most of the guys drift off.  I am still watching.

The Reaper disappears.  It has logged off.  Immediately, a Velator appears.  I am guessing it is one guy and his alts.  Maybe now he will be interesting?  No.  He just sits.  I watch for a few minutes, and a pod warps in.  The Velator logs off.  Do something!

The pod sits.  And sits.  Screw this -- I am going to watch and hope with Von while I scan a way out with Otto.  So I swap monitors, and warp Otto out in his Cheetah to scan C3a.  He will have to cross C4a in sight of the pod pilot, but I figure that the guy is probably not paying that much attention anyway.  Certainly by now he must have seen the new signature from my static, and he has not scanned it down (or at least, if he did I did not notice.)  My guess is he is doing PI, twiddling extractor heads and restarting them.  Obviously he is not doing runs out to planets.  Otto crosses into C3a without trouble, and starts scanning.  There are seven sigs to do.  There is also a manned Broadsword idling at a tower.  Fortunately there is no sig near to that tower, so I can scan the system down without him seeing probes.

Meanwhile, the pod logs off, and an Epithal warps in!  Now we are talking.  I stop scanning for a minute and just watch.  But the Epithal is not moving.  OK, I'll scan and keep an eye on it.  Move probes, scan.  Epithal does not move.  Move probes, scan.  Epithal does not move.  This loop goes on a while.

Eventually the Epithal logs off, and a shuttle logs in.  Gads, how many characters does this guy have?  Now the shuttle sits as I scan.  And eventually the shuttle pilot logs out... and a new pod appears.

Meanwhile, I am done scanning in C3a.  It has a lowsec static, and that's the only wormhole.  I exit out into lowsec to get a way back in should it become necessary, then prudently wait the five minutes for my polarization to abate.  Then I return to C3a.  I don't have a plan other than to return Otto home.  It's getting late, so I may just give up on hunting and go to bed.  Otto warps across C3a to the wormhole up to C4a.  He crosses, and moves off the wormhole to orbit and cloak.

Just as he does this, the pod pilot refits into an Epithal.  Oh my; can this mean what I think it means?  The Epithal sits a moment and then starts to align.  Oh yeah.  I get a perfect view of his destination: a planet with no other nearby planet.  He warps.  I warp to the customs office at that planet, at 10km.

I land on grid and he is there, at the CO as expected, about 11km from me.  I head towards him; time is of the essence here.  When I get to about 9000m I uncloak and get my systems going, including a pulse of microwarpdrive to close the range.  He has started aligning.  Since he is probably stabbed up, I keep going straight at him to bump.  My first volley is out, and I smash into him.  A lovely bump indeed; he had been heading almost at me, and he is turned away more than ninety degrees from that heading.

My second volley fires.  He's dead.  I was not expecting it to happen so fast, so I am slow on locking his pod.  I almost get it, but he warps just in time.  Rats.  OK, let's have a look at the wreck.  I drive over and open the wreck, and I am astounded to find PI goods.  Lots of PI goods.   There are 400 wetware mainframes and a bunch of mechanical parts.  Nothing else.  My cargo hold can fit one (1) wetware mainframe.

A novel sight: my Manticore uncloaked.
I recall a clever trick I have read about in these cases: you can move the PI goods from a wreck into the POCO.  I try to do that, but there are more PI goods than will fit.  (POCOs hold 35000 m^3.)  So, I stuff the POCO with 350 wetware mainframes.  But I want all the loot -- oh yes, precious: the other mainframes, and the mechanical parts.  I'll use Otto for that.

But before I mess with Otto, I should get Von safely cloaked.  The victim might return in something suitable to kill my tissue-paper ship.  I'll lurk here in just in case the victim tries to come back with another Epithal, or something else to scoop with.  I move off the POCO and cloak up.  A quick look at dscan shows that the victim is in dscan range, and still in his pod, and there are no other new ships.  Good, it appears safe.  I bookmark the wreck.

Hey, that's me over there.
Now I warp Otto across C4b and jump home.  Then across to our POS, where he reships into one of our Epithals.  Now I kind of regret doing the POCO-stash trick.  I might be able to pull the stuff that Von cached out of the POCO and jetcan it for Otto, but that is rather fussy and I'd rather not being trying to do something like that if an attack comes.  I think I will just do two Epithal runs.  (Dscan has not changed.)  Otto waits a minute, then I think I should be safe on polarity coming back.  So he warps to the wormhole, and jumps.  Then he warps to the wreck bookmark.  He lands on grid, and scoops the wreck.  Then he returns to the wormhole.  After another consult with dscan (no change), I warp Von too, although to 10km just in case.  Let's get it done.

My estimate of Otto's flight time is not quite right; there are nine seconds left of polarization.  But they pass without incident, and both of us jump through the wormhole at about the same time.  Then I fleet-warp us both home to my POS.

I think about waiting a minute like I did with Otto, but I think it is more important to get to the POCO and away fast as possible, before my victim decides what he might do.  So I warp.  I will make a safespot and spend the extra minute in C4b warping around.  I jump back into C4b.  Then I warp to the wreck bookmark, which is right next to the POCO.

On the way I create my safespot.  Then I dscan.  Nothing initially, but once I start slowing down out of warp, I can see my victim's pod still sitting at his tower.  Great, it looks like no opposition here.  I land on grid, open the POCO, grab my wetware mainframes, and warp to my safespot.  I consult with local to see how much time I need to waste; just a few seconds.  So I idle and dscan twice for probes.  (No probes.)  Then I warp back to wormhole, cross, and warp home.

After I calm down a bit, I look at the killmail to see what the Epithal's fit was.  And it was... nothing.  Not a single fitting.  An unfit.  No wonder it popped so easily.  I laugh, then I start feeling bad for the guy, and try to open a conversation.  But I guess I am too late.  He is offline.  Oh well.  Maybe I can mail him.

Advice: fit your Epithals.  You can very cheaply shield fit an Epithal, giving it many seconds of life before the likes of me can kill it.  And you can fit lots of cheap warp core stabilizers to prevent me from pinning you with my warp scrambler.

Here's the Epithal fit we are using these days:
[Epithal, PI Hauler]
'Accord' Core Compensation
'Accord' Core Compensation
'Accord' Core Compensation
'Accord' Core Compensation
Large F-S9 Regolith Shield Induction
Medium Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
EM Ward Amplifier I
Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field I
[empty high slot]
[empty high slot]
Some people like a damage control, instead of one warp core stabilizer; that's up to you.  And some people pay extra to rig them; I find the cost-effectiveness of rigs doubtful.  The fit above costs all of 1.5m ISK: 1m for the Epithal itself, and 500k in fittings.

More advice: unless you are pretty certain you are safe (i.e. system is zipped up, or you've had eyes on all the exits for some time), do not warp direct from a POS to a POCO.  Instead, warp to a safespot, or perhaps a random moon at a random distance, and then warp to the POCO you wanted.  This makes it impossible for a watching cloaky to track you; they can catch you only by luck or if you linger unconscionably long at a POCO.  Between POCOs, it is safer to warp direct, but still not completely safe; an enemy will attempt to re-acquire you there.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Ninja Gassing One Night

There has not been a lot happening around me in wspace recently.  Oh, I've been out hunting, but I have not found anyone acting foolishly other than occasionally myself.  But tonight is a new night.  I log in.  What's happening, New Eden?

We have an extra sig in our home system.  I deploy probes, and quickly discover the new sig is a wormhole, and a K162.  (It's signature is "fat".)  I get it 100% then resolve our new static wormhole.  I won't fly to our static yet, since it may be uninstantiated.  I fly to the K162.  It's bluish -- a C2.  That might be nice for transporting stuff.  But it is wobbling.  This means EOL.  I get info to verify.  Yep.  Well, I am not going to transport anything via a wormhole that might close at any minute.  I go in anyway, to check for Epithals and other easy targets.  I am in for long enough to dscan; there are no ships on scan.  OK, forget it.  I jump back, polarized.  Nobody there to kill me, good.

Now I fly to our static, maybe opening it, and jump through into C4b.  Several towers, no ships.  It is another C4/C4 system.  It's got only two sigs.  One is my system's K162; the other must be its own static.  I deploy probes and find it.  I leave it unopened for now.  I have noticed via dscan that one tower has a hybrid reactor.  Is it processing?  The only way to know is to find the tower and look.  So I do that.  Looking at the reactor shows that it is indeed going.  Of course, it may or not actually have inputs; but it's rare that I find one on at all.  I run back home and come back with a siphon, which I deploy and bookmark.  I'll return later to see if it will pay out.

Now, onward.  I jump to the system's static, perhaps instantiating it, perhaps not.  The system, C4c, is similar to the last system.  Another C4/C4 with nobody home.  There are five sigs this time: two gas, the K162 I came in, the static, and a third wormhole.  Investigating it finds a reddish K162 to "dangerous" space: C5.  I go in.

C5a has two pilots present at a tower: a guy in a pod, and a Loki.  The Loki is aligned to the tower.  This means it has probably been sitting there for an hour.  But the pod just warped in.  After I watch the guy in the pod do nothing for a minute or two, I figure it is time to scan.  Scanning reveals, among other sites, an Instrumental Core Reservoir.  For those not in the know, this is the most lucrative gas site in the game.  It has a large cloud of C320, the mining of which pays on the order of 100m/hour.  Whenever I find one, I get excited and want to yell out "Gaaaaas!".

Greed fills my dwarvish heart.  But fear restrains me, ultimately.  The guy in the pod has swapped into a Venture.  Is he going to go to the site?  Killing a Venture in a stealth bomber is not likely, but it can be done if the victim is not paying attention.  I watch for another few minutes, where he does not move.  Forget it.  I consider triggering the site to prevent him from getting it today (at least without bringing a fleet to kill the sleepers).  But I figure he may be going for some other site, or not going mining at all.  I'll keep going and maybe come back later on to check again.  When I come back he may be in the site (I'll try to kill him) or maybe he'll be gone (and I can mine it).

I back out to C4c, then go onward into C4d.  As with the previous C4s, there is nobody home.  This time the static is not a C4, but C5.  After resolving a bunch of medium value gas sites in C4d, I head into C5b.

Nobody home in C5b.  There are five medium ECM drones out somewhere, but I cannot find drones with core probes and tech-I drones are not worth looking for in any case.  Five sigs.  I scan.  One signature is an Instrumental Core Reservoir; another a Vital Core Reservoir.  Gaaaaas!! Two good gas sites!  It's fairly rare to find even one.  This is definitely worth doing.

I head back upstream towards home.  On the way, I drop in on the siphon I planted.  There is some small amount of loot, an hour's worth.  I uncloak, grab it, and quickly recloak.  It's worth about 800k.  Looks like this siphon won't pay for itself.  Bummer.  I jump back home.

It's time to gather my mates.  Jeedmo, the new guy, is easy.  He's already on.  He's young, but has recently trained gas mining enough to fly a gas miner with tech I miners.  I also ping Jayne with a text, and he wants to go too when I inform him that one of the sites is the Instrumental.  While we wait for Jayne to log on, I log off Von.  I log on with Otto and my alt who is at good at gas mining.  I get both characters into tech II gas mining Ventures.  The fit, for those curious, is this:
[Venture, Gas Miner II]
Emergency Damage Control I
Medium Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
'Dactyl' Type-E Asteroid Analyzer
Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
Core Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I
You can rig it if you want, probably for slightly improved agility, but we don't.

Jayne eventually appears, and gets his ships ready.  We get on coms, and start heading downstream to the gas.
Aaaand, they're off.
The path is C4a->C4b->C4c->C4d->C5b.  At each jump I am nervous, but nobody is there.  We make it into C5a, and then warp to the site.  Is it already instantiated?  If so, we will drop straight into the midst of four warp-scrambling sleeper battleships.  No, it's not.  We all microwarp over to the C320 cloud, and start mining.
Ventures are beautiful.
Now the dscanning starts in earnest.  But we see nothing, neither ship nor probe.  The clock ticks and our holds slowly fill.  Finally, as expected at the 20 minute mark, two sleeper battleships appear.  We are ready, so we each warp ourselves on to the next site, the Vital Core Reservoir.

Landing in the site, there are no sleepers.  There are also the five ECM drones we have seen on scan, and the small C320 cloud is gone.  Someone has mined here already.  But we microwarp to the C540 cloud and start in on it.  Jayne scans it: it's already been partly mined.  But there is plenty for us, too.  Back to dscanning.
83% full, 43m ISK.
After about 15 minutes, we start to fill up.  Jeedmo is least full, so we head over and jettison gas for him to grab.  But that does not buy us much more time.  Otto fills up first, so I microwarp him over to the ECM drones and grab them.  At about 18 minutes, we all are full, so we start back home.  We make it without seeing anyone.

The run took less than an hour, netting us five full Ventures carrying about 250m in gas.  That's a nice evening's work in wspace.  After a bit more chit chat on coms, I do my PI and head to bed.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Spectator

Friday evening, late.  I get back from doing IRL stuff.  Let's see what is happening in EVE.

I log in, and Jayne is on.  This is nice -- he's already scanned down much of the constellation.  Our home, C4a, connects to a C5 via K162, and downstream to C4b through our static.  I go in to explore C5a as Jayne works downstream.  C5 is a bust: some Russians seem to live there, but they are not home.  There is a nullsec connection, but none of the high-level gas sites.  Downstream, C4b has a C1, a C2, and a C3 hanging off it.  Jayne explores the C1 and finds a highsec connection about 10 jumps from Jita, near Amarr.  This is quite good for getting in the PI goop we need.  And we've got some stuff to go out: sleeper loot, and PI goods.

We get moving.  We spend the next hour moving goods out and then in.  Most of the time goes to crawling across highsec in a freighter.  Once we get in two Epithal loads, I spend some time with my Jita alt doing the bits of PI one needs to do in system.  Then I fly him back out, load up the freighter, and head to Amarr.  He's got too much stuff to head straight back to Jita, about 1.4b.  No way I am going through Niarja with that.  But the path to Amarr is all 0.8 security or higher.  Nobody will be ganking freighters in that.

While I freight in highsec with my alt, Von will roam around my wspace constellation.  Maybe there will be someone to kill.  You never know without looking.  I start in C1a, where I have been watching the C1->C4b wormhole for our runs in and out.  Nobody in C4b, no surprise there, since we have been running through it.  Now time to explore the two systems that Jayne didn't: C2a and C3a.

C3a first.  Dscan from the wormhole is not promising: a live tower but no ships, nothing interesting.  I pop probes, and warp out to an outer planet.  Nothing here either.  Well, there are four sigs, so I will kill the five minutes of polarization scanning.  I scan down the system.

My alt gets to Amarr.  In Amarr I drop part of the load and make a courier contract to get it back to Jita.  The part of the load I am carrying is now down below 1b.  Once I get it past Niarja I can autopilot it.  And that's probably what I will do, since I only have one more system to look at before declaring for bed.

I warp across C3a to the wormhole, and jump into C4b.  Then across to the C2 wormhole, and into C2a.  This also seems uninhabited, but that's almost never the case in C2.  Sure enough, there is a tower at the outer planet.  There are a few sigs, but resolving them finds lowsec and an EOL wormhole to C5.  Neither are tempting.

Nothing to do.  Time to head home and log off.  I jump back into C4b, and move off the wormhole.  I still have a jump to clear Niarja, so there is no hurry getting home.

I get a private chat request, from one Solitary Companion.  (I guess she's not so solitary if she's talking to me.)  Hmm.  No idea who she is, but I always answer these things -- curiosity compels me. 

I think I won't attack this.
I say Hi.  She asks where I am from: C1, 2, or 3?  I answer back cryptically, not sure what she is after.  She says her group is doing a tower bash.  This confuses me: I've just been through the entire constellation and I have seen no bashes.  We talk a bit longer and eventually I figure out she is talking about C4b -- where I currently am.  But there's no bash here.  That's when I realize I forgot to dscan when I came in.  I dscan.  Ah.  Ships and drones.  Lots of ships.  There is a bash here.  It must have just started.  I ask Solitary about this, and she confirms they just came in to start the bash 10 minutes ago.

I warp to my static K162: still there.  Whew.  I ask why they do not close all the incident wormholes; she says they've got eyes on all of them.  Not as good IMO, but whatever; they've got a pretty strong fleet.

Naturally, I am interested in seeing the bash up close.  I did not bother to find the tower earlier, but now I will.  I search it down via the normal dscan method, and warp in.  I am more than 100km off, so I warp up closer so I can look.  I frame a nice picture.  Then I inspect the tower.
Let's play spot the design errors.

The tower has ECMs all over the place, which is bad enough.  The pure ECM-based defense is obsolete outside of C1.  But then I look closer.  All of the ECMs that I can see are just anchored -- not online.  I mention this to Solitary, and she confirms there were only two of them online when they started!
We chit chat a bit more.  She's from a wspace corporation living in a C4/C3.  They are looking to expand, so they wanted a system more suited for newer players.  They settled on C4/C1, and evidently found this system and decided to take it.  Also, bashing the tower would be good experience for their new guys.

Having got my treasured snapshots, I decide to leave.  I am nervous that they might be closing my wormhole and not telling me.  (Also, it's late, and my alt has made it past Niarja.)  I wonder if they will jump me on my way back into my own system, but there is nobody there.  OK, cool.  I orbit the wormhole at 30km, just to keep eyes on to see if they close it.

Eventually they do.  I see two battleships, a Rattlesnake and a Dominix come in and leave.

Five minutes later, the same two come one at a time, as one expects when you get close to the mass limit.  (These I take pictures of.)

Then another battleship leaves.  I figure it is just a third one that Solitary's corp has pressed into service, and I must have missed it coming in.  But Solitary asks me if I am trying to close the wormhole.  No I am not -- you are!  Confusion... 

The new battleship, it turns out, is a Russian who got trapped in my system closing the C5.  (Somehow I missed him.  Not a great day for my discernment of people nearby.)  He had actually said something in local, which my corpmate noticed.  Cyrillic.
[ 2014.04.05 03:25:05 ] xXxinorixXx > привет
[ 2014.04.05 03:25:30 ] xXxinorixXx > поиогите пожалсуйса!!
I try to translate it via google, but no luck.  My corpmate translates it somehow (does he know Russian or something?) into a request for help.

Anyway, the Russian is a lucky guy today.  Solitary and his crew help him out, giving him bookmarks out.  (Wow -- nice people in wspace!  Who knew?)  The wormhole is left in a highly disrupted state.  I find out my one late-night corpmate has no plans to explore, so I won't pop it myself with an Onyx.  I say bye bye to Solitary and log off.