Friday, August 29, 2014

Hyperion First Impressions

Hyperion has been out a few days now.  I have played now three nights, although last night was short for EVE and me.  Still, I think I have enough experience to talk about it sensibly.  So here are some impressions.

Wormhole Jumping with Impunity

I tried to warn them.

I roam wspace in a stealth bomber.  Before Hyperion, this was always a bit dangerous because when you jumped into a new system you could appear within decloak distance of a wormhole.  Now, that is impossible.  All ships, even the smallest, appear at least 6500m from the center of the wormhole, or 2500m from its edge.  (Wormholes are 4000m in radius.)  So now I can always cloak immediately after jumping.  This makes it nearly impossible to catch anyone with a covert ops cloak.

No matter how fast you lock, you cannot lock something that cloaks in the first tick after you see it.  So, I warp to some celestial and cloak.  Easy.  Your only hope is that netlag hits as I try to cloak, or I screw up the command.

If you bubble, I turn, cloak and microwarp.  Good luck catching that.  (It is at least theoretically possible.)  Or I jump back.

The only realistic chance would be to use a smart bombing battleship, and even that now has drastically reduced chances (relative to pre-Hyperion) due to the distance.  Smart bomb radius is 6000m; maximum frigate distance is 10500m from the wormhole.  (5500m to jump range.)  A smart-bomber therefore cannot get most of the landing area for the wormhole within its area of effect.  Previously, you would appear at around 2500m-6500m from the wormhole (my estimates).  Just by sitting at zero to the wormhole, a smartbomber would have a 78% chance to have you in range.  Now, a smartbomber's best chance is probably to sit at around 4500m to the wormhole.  This is harder to figure out -- requires calculus! -- but my guess is your chance to have a frigate jumper in range are perhaps 10%.

In any case, I am taking advantage of the new uncatchability of my Manticore.  I have no fear of being polarized any more.  No more five minute waits in highsec or anywhere else.  If I want to go back, I go back, and I defy anyone to catch me.

Wormhole Jump Range

I know all the C5 and C6 people are in a tizzy, but that's above my level.

Other than the effect on my bomber, this new jump range does not affect me much.  We certainly noticed it when popping wormholes in battleships.  But since they already have prop-mods on for their extra mass, it was not a huge big deal.  We did leave our Orca at home, so that's a small change.  (It means two battleship passes: hardly a challenge.)

We will adapt.  We have some plans to get in ships to web down and kill battleships, so that we can do that in our home system if someone tries it.  And I also think we might adapt our hole-popping fleet a little bit to deal with the possibility of other people trying to kill us.

High Connectivity

On the first night of Hyperion we noticed the proliferation of wormholes.  I live in a C4, formerly with C4 static.  We got a new C5 static.  So, I anticipated more connectivity.  I did not anticipate the volume, though.  Nor did I reckon that the new "small" wormholes (frigate-only) would be so common.  On Tuesday we had four wormholes, one of which was small.  Four wormhole is very rare for us; five is almost unheard of.  On Wednesday, we had six wormholes, two small.  Yesterday was more sane, just our two statics.

Because of the small wormholes, and of course the new static for every C4 in the game (which means 505 new static connections), and also perhaps because of new non-static wormholes, the connectivity of wspace has increased.  For the first two days because of the small wormholes, I would say it had increased a lot.  With small wormholes dialed down (see below), it has increased some, but it is less noticeable.

This high connectivity is going to make it hard to run sites for my corp.  Not impossible, just harder.  We did in fact run sites on Tuesday.  Using battleships, we popped all three of the holes we could pop, while picketing the small wormhole.  A fair amount of work and danger to run eight sites.  In times past, we would usually not have to pop a single wormhole to run our own local sites.

Too Many Small Wormholes

I admit that going into Hyperion, I had thought the small wormholes would be relatively rare.  I.e., that you might get one or two a week, say.  This rate seems about right to me.  The problem with them, of course, is that you can't close them.  So not only do you have to picket them to do anything risky.  It is also that their mere existence -- like that of any open wormhole -- means you cannot be sure your static(s) are closed unless you have been watching all open wormholes.  Thus, if there is one at all when you log in each night, you have to roll your static(s) to be safe.  This is painful compared to the way things were pre-Hyperion.  Thus, I felt, it should be rare.

Evidently, CCP did not think about it that way.  They put in enough small holes such that most systems had one on average.  That is, there were apparently thousands of the damned things.  People complained about this in the feedback threads.  And evidently CCP did dial it down, which explains our lack of small wormhole last night.  This is good.  So far my sample size is one for the new rate, so I cannot opine on whether it is too high.

I will state again my belief that a rate of about 1 or 2 small wormhole connections per system per week is about right.  This gives small corps the other 5-6 days to zip up and run sites or do PI.

New Trick K162s

One other aspect of the small wormholes that is still a problem is that you cannot distinguish their K162 side from any other wormhole; as a consequence, it is quite possible to think you can jump when you can't.  We ran into this on the first night, when we brought our hole-popping battleship fleet to a K162 to eliminate it only to find out we could not jump through.  (Yes, we had scouted the other side, but just did not realize what it was.)  We didn't lose anything, so it was funny.  I would not want to lose a T3 because of this though.  My suggestion: give small wormholes a distinct wormhole name on the "K162" side, except not K162.  Perhaps K002, to resemble their names on their originating side.  (The small wormhole names have the pattern "Letter00Number".  Here is a forum post with all of them.)

My System is Screwed by Mismatched Dual Statics

I was a little excited about getting a C5 static -- before I got one.  I like being able to access C5.  (Jeedmo and I ninjaed two core gas sites last night.)  What I do not like, not at all, is having a 16 hour static wormhole and a 24 hour static wormhole.

Now, one thing I dislike about this situation is simply that we have a 24 hour wormhole.  This is undesirable, at least for a small corp, a point I explained in comments a few days back.   The problem is that 24 hours really means 24-25, and that therefore you cannot easily synchronize a daily playing schedule with it.  By contrast, with 16 hour wormholes it is easy to sync it to a 24 hour clock, simply by leaving it unopened for 7-8 hours out of 24.  In any case, I thought the 24 hour static would be a bit annoying but that we could deal with it.

I had not considered what a 24 hour static means in combination with our old static, which is a 16 hour C4.  Their timeout schedules will practically never be synchronized, and if they are, it is unknown from my local point of view, because it means someone instantiated one when my corp was not around.  99% of the time, after one has timed out, the other has not.  And thus our system is always unzipped.  And people can get in and search down, and instantiate, all outgoing wormholes.

In practice, what this means is that we can never be sure we are zipped up without having to pop all wormholes by massing them.  Massing them is dangerous and takes time.

By contrast, prior to Hyperion we might have had a K162 wormhole perhaps 50% of the time, and therefore could not assume our static was closed.  But the other half we would just have our one wormhole which we had instantiated the night before, and therefore we could be highly confident it was uninstantiated when we logged on.  That is, we could be zipped a good fraction of the time without rolling wormholes.  We are a small corp, and we relied on this.  We would do PI right after logging in, or run local sites.  No more.

It would be really nice if CCP would change all statics in C4 to 16 hours.  That is, change H900 and U574 wormholes to 16 hours.  (I also would prefer it, though less, if CCP would change both statics in C4/C4+C5 and C4/C4+C6 systems to 24 hours; but this would probably require a new C4 static type, and I do not think that likely.)  I say this selfishly, of course.  But I also feel that my current system is not really viable for anything less than a large corp that can easily roll holes any time.  My corp is small.  So there is a "good for wspace" motive here too.

Right now, my feeling is I would prefer a C4/C3+C4.  I don't know.  I hate moving and I want to explore the possibilities of C5 sites.  But I am unhappy with my unchosen new situation.  Perhaps I will take my chances moving to C5.  I do not like the potential for bigger corps (which is most of them) to bring capitals to burn me out.  But on the other hand, I see enough small corps and farming corps in C5 that it seems they don't get burned out that often.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Where Should I Be in Wormhole Space?

I had an interesting question from a reader that he EVE-mailed me.  (This was just before Hyperion; I am writing this just after.)  With his permission, I am posting it here and  because I think that there may be a lot of people living out in kspace who are thinking about wspace, but don't know what level would be most suitable.

[UPDATE: After playing two days of Hyperion, I am not so sure C4 is the place for, well, most of the people who are currently there.  C4 space used to be isolated in feel, and distant.  Now it is the middle of a superhighway.  Very hard to zip up to make ISK.  So, take this whole post as a EVE-up-through Crius commentary.  I'll have more to day about this presently I am sure.]
We want to move from where we are... into a Wormhole...  I thought (and hoped) you could answer some of my questions. 
This is us:
  • In our primetime we can field about 6-12 people, most of which have alts that they can put on different things. 
  • There are times when we only have 1-3 members on at the same time.
  • We will not be starting out with capitals, but it is something that we might be doing in the future.
When you look at that, do you think a C4 wormhole with a C3 or C4 static is a good choice?  Ideally we want things to do for all our members when they log on (what is the point if there isn't).  Do you reckon 1-2 people can run some sites in a C3 and a 10 man fleet won't be overkill for C4 sites? 
Of course we will be waiting for Hyperion to find ourselves a good WH (with the static changes to a C4 coming).
My response, expanded and modified:

You absolutely do not need capitals in C1-C4.  Many corporations in lower wspace eventually build a carrier for site running, because you get a logi and damage dealer in one character. This is efficient. Some people also build a dread for local defense, but it is only for that.  Note that it is impossible to bring any capital into C1-C4.  To have one there, you must build it there.  And then you cannot get it out; it is "system locked".  You may be able to sell it with the system, but do not expect to sell it easily.

In terms of what level of wspace to be in, I would suggest you'd do best in a C2 or a C4.  C1s are very poorly connected to the rest of wspace; C3s are somewhat poorly connected.  C5 and C6 are the domain of capitals and they are pretty much required there.  So let's look at C2 and C4 briefly.

C2s have dual statics, one to known space and one to wspace.  They come in C2/C4+hs, C2/C3+hs, C2/C5+ns, and C2/C2+ls.  There are also those with C1 and C6 statics; I am not sure what their second static is.  In any case, you could handle any of these.  Because C2s have a static into kspace, they always have one-hop access to known space.  This is handy for manufacturing (esp. highsec), PVP (lowsec), or some PVP and PVE (nullsec).  One downside of C2s is that people like them a lot, and so there are very few of them uninhabited, especially those with highsec statics.  You don't get a great amount of choice.

C4s, now that Hyperion is out, resemble C2s somewhat.  They do not have direct kspace access, but if you choose one with a static of C1, C2, or C3, you can get guaranteed access to a system with direct access.  Running logistics up a chain of one extra hop is slightly harder, but should not challenge a corp with more than two members.  The main problem in finding a way out is simply the scanning.  I kind of like scanning, but not everyone does.  If you live deep in wspace, you need to do a lot of scanning.

The main downside of C4s is logistics, although that is going to ease for most of them with Hyperion.  Sometimes you just cannot find a way out, at least not without hole-rolling.  One new downside is the dual static: it makes it considerably harder to zip up your system.   However, if you have dual statics both in C1-C4, then they should not be too hard to keep synchronized much of the time, with known times when they are both closed.  Just be sure to always instantiate them at the same time.

Your corp can handle either a C3 or C4 static, no problem.

One character can run a C3 site in a Tengu. I have done it, though I don't recommend it due to operational security. Still, two people (using perhaps four characters) should be fine.

I am in C4 with C4 static. (As of Hyperion, it is now C4/C4+C5.)  Our primary source of income is running C4 sites in battleships.  Two characters can do it: one logi, one battleship damage-dealer.  A dual T3 spider setup can also handle some of the sites.  However, that is rather inefficient.  It is better to have at least, say, four characters, perhaps two or three real people.  A single character can run C4 sites if in a Marauder (or a carrier); otherwise, not.  This is also not very efficient.  It helps to have a good fleet-booster.

We run C4 sites typically with 2-5 real people, which is 5-10 characters. 10 characters is not overkill here, although the sites go pretty fast.  Doing sites fast is not a problem when there are many, and often there are many.  In a C4/C4, you can use your 10 guys to roll wormholes to find more sites at need.

A gang of 12 people is enough to PVP fairly comfortably with many or most groups you will run into. So, don't be afraid to try that once you get your income going. What I like to do is cloaked hunting, which is fine solo, although having a few others to come with ship-killers can make it better. I assume you read Penny's blog, so you know what I am talking about.

As for "stuff to do" beyond PVP and sleeper PVE, it depends on what your guys like to do.  You can often mine gas and/or rocks in wspace if you like mining.  You can do industry.  A larger group can usually roll a wormhole to find something to do.  In smaller groups, this is less true.  My guys focus on different stuff, but we all have stuff we can usually do. I.e., several of us do exploration in nullsec or lowsec if nothing interesting is in wspace.  Of course we don't always get a good connection; sometimes is it rather boring.  It helps to have a highsec alt that you keep around for playing when wspace is not helpful.  (Or an alt in lowsec, nullsec, FW, red-vs-blue, etc. -- whatever makes you happy.)

I would suggest you go for a C4.   I think you'd be happiest in a C4/C3+C4, assuming that these exist.  (I don't know as yet what sort of dual combos there actually are, beyond that I know C4/C4+C5 and C4/C3+C2 exist.)  Do be aware that C4s have changed in character.  They used to be a sort of quiet backwater of wspace; with their new dual static I think they are about to get a lot more occupancy and traffic.  I expect many C4 systems to become homes of PVP oriented corps, sort of like C2s are now.

C4s currently are not well populated, so finding one should be pretty easy.  Go into wspace in a covert ops frig, and search.  I find abandoned C4s almost every day.  One particular opportunity right now is to get into a Black Hole. Before Hyperion, these were almost entirely abandoned because their PVE was so awful. It's about to get very good, if you use missiles.

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Sidewalk Twenty

It's evening.  I am out exploring in my Manticore.  I've explored out into highsec, straight down from my home system with no branches.  I am not ready to quit yet, and there are five signatures in this system.  I'll scan them down and see if any are wormholes.

As it turns out, all of them are.  In addition to C3a, which I came out of, there are connections to C2a, C3b, C3c, and C1a (though this one is EOL).

I poke into the EOL wormhole first, since it is most time-sensitive.  (I am not much concerned with the wormhole evaporating since (a) I won't be in long unless there is a target, (b) I have a highsec, and (c) it is a C1.)  A quick fly-around shows there is nothing here beyond a tower.  I quickly fly back out.

Next I poke into C2a.  I see probes and a Magnate from the wormhole, and no tower.  This is interesting.  I move off the wormhole and cloak, and attempt to figure out where the Magnate is.  It is evidently out in space somewhere I cannot get at.  I warp around to look for towers, and to launch my own probes out of range of the Magnate.  When I am done with that, I return to the highsec wormhole.  The Magnate has gone.  I warp around again, but it has moved on.  I scan down the system, hoping that it has gone deeper into wspace and may be returning this way.  There are five wormholes, but all but one go known space: two lowsecs, my highsec (one of the statics), a nullsec.

The last wormhole is a second C2, but it is EOL.  I go in for a quick look around, but the Magnate is not here, or at least if it is it is cloaked and not scanning.  OK, I give up on this direction.  I head back out.  As I exit into highsec, there is a Hawk at the wormhole.  I hold gate cloak, and strangely it enters the wormhole without even finding out who and what I am.  But anyway, onward.

I head into C3b for a look around.  Lots of sigs.  This one has no tower and a nullsec exit.  Boring.  Back to highsec.

Now my last chance for action uphill from my highsec exit system.  Into C3a.  This one has an nothing going on, but there is a further wormhole to explore.  It's a C4 system, and in I go.  I scan from the wormhole as I always do.
Something here is off.

Whoa.  Did you see it?  If not look again.

There's a tower with CHA and SMA.  But something's missing.  No force field.  Yes: a bare tower with goodies waiting to be plucked.  Or else... a trap.

There's a good economics joke in this vein.  Two economists are walking down the street, when suddenly the first one points and says, "Hey look.  A $20 bill on the sidewalk."  The second economist says, "Nah, impossible.  If there were, someone would have already picked it up."

I am mindful of the possibility that it is a trap, but this is easily discovered.  I start looking for the tower.  First its planet, which I warp to.  Then it's a matter of picking the right moon.

As I narrow-band dscan for it, I am starting to think of how I might deal with a potentially very large amount of loot.  As we learned last time we sacked a naked tower, there is potential to get a lot of ships.  So, having an Orca can be very nice.  Particularly if there are ships you can't fly.  (I still can't fly the majority of T2 ships.)

I am considering bringing my alt down from Jita in his Orca.  It would be a long trip... but just as I do this, Jayne logs in for his nightly PI.  Now, that is good timing.  Also it turns out Jeedmo, who has been online but very quiet, is active too.  So now we have a decent force of characters to safely pull off moving an Orca in and out of wspace twice.

By this time I have located the tower, and flown to it at 20km.  It is not online (as it must be if it was a trap).  So, yes.  We got ourselves a sidewalk twenty.  Now, time to pick it up.

We get on coms, and I tell them what's up.  I don't want to kill it yet, on the off chance that someone comes by.  Instead I want to get an Orca ready first.  We are going to move down our Orca from our POS in wspace, but then Jayne's alt sees that pesky Hawk down in C2a.  I am not really keen to move an Orca around with it flapping about.  Shall I bring down my Jita alt?

No, says Jayne.  He can just buy a new Orca out in highsec.  Highsec: wow.  It's full of stuff that you can buy.  Jayne finds a nice Orca just three jumps from us at some minor hub, for only about 30m ISK more than Jita price.  We'll take it!  He also buys a modest fitting for it: some stabs, some shield tank, and a cloak.  Then he heads out to us.

Meanwhile, I am scanning down the system to see what other entrances there might be.  (And also to activate all the things -- it is a C4.)  There are no other wormholes.  Well, that's easy.  Jeedmo comes in to picket the C4 entrance.  Jayne is picketing the C3a->hs wormhole with his main.  And his alt has the Orca coming.

Now it is time to kill stuff.  I start with the SMA.
I want lots of ships
Killing it takes a bit more work than I had anticipated: I use more than a full load of Scourge torps.  But it dies soon enough.  I am very disappointed to see an empty wreck.  Nothing dropped.  It turns out to have held only a single Bestower.  (You can't see that in the zkillboard, but I can in game.  The Bestower was T2 fit and carrying six warp disruption batteries, hence the 40m valuation.)

Jayne is ready to come in, so I tell him to do so.  There has got to be something in this corporate hangar array.  Right?
I want lots of loot

I kill it, and sure enough I get something.  Three jetcans.  Hardly a full load, but a quick look shows substantial value.  And it all fits in an Orca.  I bookmark a can.

Jayne enters a minute later and warps to the can.  He grabs it all, turns, and flies right back out.  I go out ahead of him on the offchance someone is there, but we know they aren't.  And they aren't.

Loot.  OK, not $20 worth.
Out in highsec Jayne takes the Orca to a station, and contracts it to my Jita alt.  Job well done.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Tower Assist


Today, it's a weekend and I have just completed hauling around several weeks worth of supplies for my PI bases.  The PI is done, and there's nothing much to do in my system.  I am zipped up, of course, to do anything dangerous.  I think I'll unzip and have a look at the rest of the EVE universe.  Maybe I can catch something and kill it.

I get into my trusty stealth bomber and head into the inner system to be close to the wormhole.  I've already scanned it down.  I just have to warp to it to instantiate it.  I align to it, then when my speed is up, warp.  Nothing out of the ordinary; I jump into C4b.

From the wormhole I can see several ships and five towers.  Ugh.  A rather larger corp, it appears.  One of the ships is an Epithal, something I might be able to kill.  If they are stupid.  I am not fit right for it.  But anyway, can't do without trying.  So I start looking for it.

I eventually find the Epithal at a tower along with a Hyperion (what? -- battleship), and an Anathema.  I watch them for a while, wondering if the Epithal might head out to do PI.  But it does not.  Instead, the Anathema warps off, and the Epithal logs off.  Then the Hyperion swaps into a Loki.

I think they see me.  (Really, my wormhole, which is blaring out its presence on the discovery scanner.)  My guess is confirmed when the Loki warps 200km off to a perch, and fires probes.  Obviously he plans to search down my wormhole. 

I fly to the wormhole, to watch.  I want to see how they explore.  Also, I think about what I might do to cause trouble.  I am not keen to tangle with a Loki, not with several other ships on scan that I have not checked out. 

Then I have an idea.

I have mentioned before that I have a nasty decloak trap set up at my tower.  It gets a ship from time to time, but really it is difficult to kill anyone with a tower.  Ships that get decloaked have a good amount of time to recloak before being locked by a tower's defenses.  In fact, several times I have been idling in my POS when I have seen people enter my trap and be decloaked by it, but escape in time.  Each time I see that, I wish I had been sitting out near the trap with a warp scrambler.  Or perhaps disruptor; getting the range right might be hard.

Now I think that might be the right idea.  My alt Otto has been sitting at my tower.  Now I'll get him in a light ship... er... which ship?  After a bit of looking, I decide on a Hound.  It's a stealth bomber, so I can remain cloaked while I lurk.  It has a warp disruptor II on it, so my range should be plenty to pin down anyone I can lock.  I am a bit concerned that a Loki can kill me, but it's a reasonable risk.  So long as I can pin it until the tower locks, which is maybe 20 seconds, I should be fine.

As I decide this, Von sees a Helios jump into my system.  OK, better hurry it up with Otto.

I warp Otto out of my POS to our perch, and then into my trap.  I hope the enemy did not see that.  I end up just inside my warp bubble, which is a fine place.  I am cloaked, but anywhere that a ship would be decloaked will be in my disruptor range. 

Now I settle in.  My system has only one sig, our static wormhole.  So there is nothing to search down.  We have some anoms, but nothing a Helios could possibly want to do.  Thus he should be in my trap fairly soon.  Or he may decide to wait five minutes and then leave.

Hey.  Someone on grid with me!  Yes, it's him.  I whip the mouse to Otto's screen, get him uncloaked and locking.  I approach the enemy to stay in range.  The scout is in my grid of guns.  Otto locks him!  Disrupted!  The scout is accelerating quickly out of the decloak grid.  I turn on my microwarp to maintain range.  We burn out of the trap proper, but I have him locked and disrupted; he can neither cloak nor warp.  Any second now...

The scout blows up.  (Otto scores "top damage" with zero.)  I go for the lock on the pod, but my Hound does not have a sebo and the scout is alert.  He warps immediately.

Out of the trap, but still trapped.

I consider going for the pod with Von, but I have drifted too far from the wormhole to get back in time.  Anyway, it is basically impossible to stop a pod except with a bubble.  The wormhole sounds, and the pod warps clear.
The pod flees

Otto grabs the loot from the wreck, which is pretty nice.  Sister's probes and tech 2 parts.  Then he gets a salvager and grinds the wreck.

Now I settle in to watch.

The enemy sends a new Helios into my system.  This is surprising; I cannot fathom what they want in there.  Still, I get Otto back into the Hound and back into the trap.  It is possible, even probable that the first guy did not bookmark anything in his few seconds on my grid.  So, they'd have to again risk the trap to get on grid with my tower.  I doubt they will be so stupid.  But what else could they want?

After a few minutes of sitting, an Armageddon battleship warps on grid with Von.  Ah, that's what they want: to close the wormhole.  The Helios is there to keep information up to date on anything I am doing in my system.  The Geddon transits, returns, and then just sits there.  Just one hole-popper?  And just sitting there?  That's... odd.  Suspicious almost.
Not orbiting?

I think about ways to try to kill a solo Armageddon, but they are hard targets.  Drone bonuses make them dangerous to light tacklers; neuting bonuses make them nasty to handle with anything using capacitor.  They can fit micro jump drives so mere bubbles can't hold them. 

So I just sit.  The Geddon makes a second pass.  And again it just sits.

After a minute, it warps off.  That's again odd.  Then the wormhole sounds, and the Helios returns and warps.  Evidently the Armageddon was bait.  They don't return.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Record Anom Graveyard

Anomalies and signature PVE sites in wspace move from system to system when they despawn.  The most obvious way they despawn is when you run them to completion.  One of the subgroups of the final wave is the trigger for the despawn event.  As soon as you kill that group, the site will be removed from the discovery scanner system.  However, the on-grid elements (sleeper structures and any remaining sleepers) will remain until all players have left the grid for a short while. 

Sites also despawn based on being around too long.  Sites despawn on the fourth downtime once they are triggered.  ("Triggering" a site, or "activating" it, happens when you warp to it.  You don't actually have to warp, just to start it; you can cancel.)  I have read that sites will despawn eventually even if not triggered.   However, I am skeptical of this.  The duration I have read somewhere for this is a week.  Certainly, a week is contradicted by observations; see below.

One of the consequences of the way sites despawn is that they will naturally spawn into a system based on the rate they are being run overall at that level.  Thus, when I lived in C1, I observed that we would get perhaps one or two new sites per week on average. This is because few people run C1 sites.  C1 sites are worth doing, but most people who live in C1 don't bother.  In C4, sites spawn more quickly.  We get on average perhaps one new site per day.  This, combined with the average site value of perhaps 80m ISK, is enough to provide a small corporation a decent income. 

Another interesting aspect of the system is that sites tend to pile up in systems where nobody lives, or where the locals don't run them.  In C4 the sites are worth running, and it appears that most groups do run their local sites.  But there are still many empty systems.  These tend to pile up sites, becoming site "graveyards" as I sometime call them.  I explore a lot as a part of hunting.  I frequently see systems with 40+ sites, almost always unoccupied.  Indeed, finding more than about 20 sites is a pretty reliable sign that a system is not taken.  (You should still warp around to be sure.)

I recently ran across a system that has the most sites I have ever seen.  It had 19 signatures, and 69 anomalies.  You can see them here:


One interesting thing about graveyards is that we can use them to get a ballpark figure on how likely it is that sites do eventually despawn on their own.  If we get one C4 site per day on average, and sites despawn in a week, we should expect a C4 graveyard to hold just seven sites.  It would hold more if it was lucky, but the odds of any system holding 88 sites are astronomically low.  88 is high, but not that much higher than other systems I have seen.  Estimating one new site per day, and if sites never despawn except via timeout, we'd expect 88 sites as a steady state if sites last 87 days on average.  Since the system is unusual the real figure should be less, but not that much.  Perhaps 60 days.  If two sites a day is average, then the timeout value is around half as much.

My gut feeling is that sites don't despawn on their own.  Players do run them eventually, even in black holes, or else they trigger them.

After scanning down the system, I grabbed the screenies above.  First I activated all of the sites, though, according to my standard operating procedure.  Here's how the system looked on the system map:

That was August 16th.  If you live in C4 and got a new site on the 20th, you're welcome.  If you live in C4, please pitch in to the common good of C4 and always activate all the sites in C4s you connect to.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Zipping Up in Hyperion

I had a nice conversation last night with a reader.  He had a question that I did not know the answer to.  Having now found it, I thought it would be of interest to most wspace residents.

For Hyperion, CCP are going to change things so that the K162 wormhole is spawned only when the first transit of the wormhole happens.  (This is good -- gives hunters an extra thirty seconds or whatever.)  In response to that, many wspace residents pointed out that it would probably decrease connectivity in wspace, perhaps quite a bit, because often times people fly to a wormhole to see what it is but then decline to enter it if it goes somewhere they don't like.  So, as of fairly recently CCP updated the dev blog to include a means to connect wormholes even if they are not transited:
Although K162 signatures will not appear as soon as a player warps to them (as they do currently), they will have a random chance to appear every several minutes once the wormhole connection has less than 15 hours of natural lifetime remaining.
Parenthetically, let me criticize this proposal: it seems unnecessarily harsh on lower wspace, and/or unnecessarily lenient on high wspace.  Wormholes in lower wspace have 16 hour connections.  This change would mean that a flown-to wormhole is "safe" only for an hour.  Meanwhile, in higher wspace connections are generally 24 hours, meaning they are safe for a full nine hours.  I'd propose either to make every wormhole connect up after 1 hour (or more generally, N hours for a small integer N), or to make it be a quarter of the total lifetime of the wormhole.  The former would serve CCP's apparent goal of higher connectivity; the latter would allow players to farm for a good amount of time.

Back to the main topic.  This new behavior was ambiguous about what happens if you don't fly to the wormhole.  Does it connect itself anyway?  And the answer to that is: no, it does not:
Even with the timer, K162s will never appear unless someone has initiated warp to the other side.  If you don't warp to a wormhole at all, the behavior of that wormhole will not be changing in Hyperion.
So, there's your answer, George.  No problem: we will be able to zip it up meaningfully in Hyperion just as before.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Basics: Safety in Wormhole Space

It has come to my attention via a couple interactions with some ships in wspace, that people don't know how the discovery scanner works and/or are not using it right.  Since this is more relevant to wspace miners than ever before, due to the compression changes in Crius, now's the time for a Basics article.  But really, everyone needs to know this stuff: miners, site runners, gassers.  A new wormhole opening into a system is something that every wspace resident needs to be aware of quickly.

The Discovery Scanner

The discovery scanner, for those unfamiliar with the terminology, is CCP's new name (as of Odyssey) for the overall probing system.  It shows you the anomalies and signatures in the system you are in.  It mostly displays in the Probe Scanner window, which you can see screenshots of below.  The Probe Scanner window shows anoms and sigs in a spreadsheet.  However, the discovery scanner also displays in the main window.  You can also see anoms and sigs out in space. 

Note that the discovery scanner is a distinct and different thing than the "dscanner" aka the "directional scanner".  Even though both have a "d" and a "scanner".

Game Mechanics Used

Probe Scanner window
Here's how the discovery scanner works.  First, contrary to popular belief, it does not automatically push all new sigs to people in the system.   Rather, it pushes all sigs in just one circumstance: when any existing sig or anom in that system despawns.  Anom despawning happens naturally when running sites, which is how I think the common view got started.  Other than anoms, despawnings are rare.

There is a second way to get new information, but this is per-ship, not everybody at once.  A ship gets an update whenever it enters a system (duh).  It also gets an update when the player clicks certain buttons on the probe scanner window.   Since this must be done repeatedly to stay up to date, similar to dscanning, I call it "strobing" the discovery scanner.  (I don't think that is a common usage, but you are invited to steal it.)

After clicking "Show Anomalies"
I usually strobe the discovery scanner by clicking the "Show Anomalies" checkbox.  Assuming there are nonzero anoms, this has the big advantage of causing a very obvious change in the appearance of the probe scanner's spreadsheet.  You can see this by comparing the two screenies to the right.

Other people strobe by clicking a "Show" button in the bottom right of the Probe Scanner.  You can also get it by clicking the spreadsheet's column labels (which sorts by that column).  There are other ways too.  Basically, almost anything you click on the Probe Scanner will cause an update.

Using the Discovery Scanner to Stay Safe

So how do you use the discovery scanner to harvest resources safely in wspace?  Relatively safely, anyway.  First, you want to get your system to be as safe as possible.  Zip it up!  If you cannot zip it up, or are too lazy, then at minimum you want a sound picket at every wormhole.  Of course, every sound picket means one less pilot who could otherwise be doing something.  And it makes a single point of failure: if your picket guy happens to go to the bathroom for a few minutes, you have no backup.  But that's your call.

Now that you're zipped and/or fully picketed, you can start doing whatever you want very safely.  Mining, for example.  However, you must stay there at the keyboard and strobe the discovery scanner frequently.  How often?  No less than a minute, and I would probably want more.  30 seconds is about right.

If you do see a new signature, and you are out in space doing stuff, immediately warp to safety.  (The same is true, of course, if you have a wormhole picket who hears or sees anything unexpected.)  Once you have safed up, get a scanner ship out and see what the new signature is.  If it is a wormhole, it is very likely that someone will come through.  Prepare yourself.  Indeed, it is very likely that someone has already come through it.  If it is not a wormhole (which is unlikely, but it does happen), no problem.  Get back out there and continue doing your thing.

Note that a fleet can use a fleet/wing/squad commander to fleet-warp the whole fleet.  Thus, it is possible to make just one guy at a time responsible for the fleet's safety.  The commander sits there strobing the discovery scanner, while everyone else watches movies in another window, goes to the bathroom, etc.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Deterred

It's the weekend.  I am out during the day, looking for Europeans or whoever is around.  I have searched down a long line of C4s, X877 after X877.  There's a C2 hanging off of C4e via a K162, which I happily take.  C4s tend to the boring.  C2s often have something going on.

I enter C2a and scan as usual.  There's a tower on scan, and a Bustard.  This is par for the course -- probably an unmanned ship at a tower.  I look around for the tower, and on the first scan, find that the Bustard is not in the same hemisphere.

The Bustard is out in space!  I point at few COs, and find it at the third one.  I throw it into warp immediately, at 10km.  As I warp, I wonder exactly what a Bustard is.  I think it's a T1 industrial, like an Iteron V.  But it might be a T2.  I don't have time to check.  People don't spend much time doing PI, at least not much outside of a POS force field.  So you must go with what you have.

I land on grid, and there's the Bustard.  It is already aligning, I can tell.  And I am about 12km from it.  I doubt I can catch it here, but there are good odds it is going to another CO.  I head at it anyway, and sure enough it warps.  Straight at planet VI!  I warp to the CO at VI, again at 10km.
En route to Planet VI

This time, I land on grid almost right behind the Bustard.  I can see it get too close to the CO, and get throw out of the CO out into space.  This is not helpful for me: it is about 17km away from me.  But I head it anyway, fairly confident that I will get there in time.  The guy is not super fast doing his PI, and indeed I get into scrambler range.

I set orbit around the Bustard at 1000m, then uncloak and proceed to get my systems going.  I change my mind and head in for the bump, but this turns out to be unnecessary, both because it is feeble and because he is pinned by my two warp scramblers.  My light missiles crash into him.
Gotcha!
Plink, plink.
 Or rather, my light missiles plink into him.  They are not hurting him much.  They are, after all, light missiles.  Not torpedoes. 

I was afraid of this as I warped, but I felt there was no time to refit into my torpedo fit.  I am in my anti-Venture fit, and that means light missiles.  I figure that it will take a while, but unless he gets help, I'll be fine.  I set my orbit at 1000m again, and set to watching dscan.  So far, there is nothing unexpected there.  But the system is rather large, and it might have any number of occupants.  Since I have not reconnoitered it at all, I don't know.  And so I scan.

I get in several rounds.  His shields are dropping ever so slowly.  Then suddenly, I am hit.  My shield is down to 80% or so.  What?  I double check that nobody is on grid, except me and him.  Nobody is.  Evidently, he has a gun of some kind mounted.  Well, this might be interesting.

Ouch!
I keep at it, but his shields are giving way only slowly.  Whereas mine are dropping rather alarmingly.  When I am at 50%, I can tell he will win.  I give it up as a hopeless cause.  So I randomly pick a CO and warp to it at 100km.  I give him a "nice" in local, which I hope he saw.

The CO I happened to select is in the outer system.  When I land on grid, there is a Myrmidon sitting at the CO.  Odd.  It's no threat to me; I am cloaked and distant.  Still, it's odd that it is here.   Was it perhaps part of a chase-the-Bustard ambush?

My attack has failed, and they know I am here.  Still, I'll recon the system to see what's happening.

It turns out there are several locals here.  I find their tower.  The Myrmidon is there and a Loki I have not seen.  I watch as the Bustard pilot refits into a Broadsword.  They sit out in a point in space with an interdictor and fire some bubbles.  I am guessing that is the highsec exit, but I don't know it.  Eventually I deploy probes and search down the system.  The place they have been is the highsec exit, but I don't fly to it.  I'll get to it later, I think.

A Bustard, as it turns out, is the T2 Caldari Transport Ship.  (I kind of knew that -- we had one once.)  It mounts missiles, not guns.  I am not sure if I could have killed it before it killed me, given time and torpedos instead of light missiles.  On the other hand, my torpedo fit only has a single scrambler, so my only hope would have been a very speedy refit.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Another Nidhoggur

It's corp night.  This means we all get on together, and run PVE sites.  Or, if we get lucky, do some PVP together.  Jayne and I cleaned out our local sites last night.  So we'll be looking for sites through our C4 static. 

Our favorite C4 anoms are Sleeper Information Sanctums, with Frontier Barracks second.  Command Posts are undesirable, but we'll do them.  Integrated Terminuses are not worth the time of our fleet.  So, we are looking for a good concentration of the first two. 

Or ships to kill.  We'll always take that if we can find it.

All of us are here except Jeedmo, who evidently has a life.  We get on coms.  We open our static, and Jayne explores it.  Two anoms, both Barracks.  Nope.  Not good enough.  Next.

We get out our PVE battleships, which double as hole-poppers, and do the merry dance of mass.  Out, and in, heavy, heavy, heavy light.  Presently, the hole is highly disrupted, and we have to get our hole-popping Onyx.  Out it goes super-light, and back heavy.  It takes three tries, but the hole pops and we regroup at our tower.

I get in my Manticore to scan down the new wormhole.  Scanned.  I warp to it, with Jayne's alt close behind me.  I jump in the new C4b.  As always when entering a new wspace system, I dscan.  Dscan is clear.  No ships, no towers.  Just a CO.  The system has five Barracks, and no other anoms.  That's odd.  It is indicative that someone has pruned the other types.  But five Barracks is just enough to be worth running.  We'll take it.

Before we can run sites, though, we have to scan down the system to find all wormholes.  If there are too many, we'll just abort.  If few, we'll pop them before running sites.  Also, we need to check for locals.  This system has only two sigs, which is great.  Our wormhole, and their static.  But just in case someone is around, we hold off on scanning for their static while I warp into the inner system and two remote planets to check for towers.

While still in warp, I am dscanning.  I see two sleeper wrecks, and drones.  And ships.  Fighters.  There is an Abaddon.  The other is a Nidhoggur.  A carrier.  Woop woop!

Ratting.
I relay this information to the guys.  Yes: a carrier.  With just one escort.  And using fighters.  (This is a sign they don't know what they are doing; fighters suck against most things, including sleepers.)  I feverishly narrow-beam dscan the five anoms, all of which are in range. 

I find the site they are running, and warp into it at 100km.  I hope I will not be decloaked by sleeper structure, and I am not.  This is good.  There they are, apparently oblivious to the new sig in their system.  Ratting away.  They have a mobile tractor unit out, which is quite convenient.  I bookmark it.  Saves me having to create a warpin.

Meanwhile, the guys scramble into a PVP kitchen sink fleet.  It's mostly our PVE fleet, which is Ravens, augmented with odd other ships. 

There are two outer planets yet to be explored.  I warp out to the nearer one; the further will be in dscan range.  There is a tower out here, and an Astero.  I find the tower and get on grid.  The Astero is manned.  But I am guessing this is just one guy and his alts.  So, the attack is all go.

I am needed to man the Onyx heavy interdictor, so I warp back home.  I swap my alt Otto out of his Raven, to get into his shiny new Cheetah, to go in to watch the enemy.  We pass at the static wormhole.  Otto warps on grid with the carrier, to make sure it has not left.  It has not.  Evidently they still have not noticed the new sig.  But they are down to the last two sleepers, a battleships and a cruiser.  We cannot wait much longer.
Otto has a peek.
The guys are ready.  A few last minute checks, and we are off.  I squad-warp us to our static wormhole.  We jump. 

All in.  Jayne gets our squad booster out into a safespot and online.  I squad-warp us to the enemy tractor unit.  A glance at Otto's screen shows they are still there, still going at it.  Probably it is already too late for them, but they might possibly warp right now and escape.

They don't warp right now.  We land on grid, and immediately I pop up the heavy interdictor's bubble.  Now they are trapped.  I have ordered our logi to orbit the carrier at 1000m, and everyone else 2500m.  We lock up both enemies and set our orbits.

Abaddon all hope.
I call the Abaddon primary.  My lock completes; I start shooting.  Then the battleships start.  They tear into the Abaddon and it dies in a flash.  The pod is out, and I lock it up and kill it too.  That's one guy permanently out of this fight. 

Now we turn to the carrier, and start shooting.  The shields are gone immediately, but the armor is hard.  We fire and fire, and we push it down toward half.  Then progress ceases.  It appears to be repping as quickly as we are damaging it.

I never take any damage, and nobody else seems to be taking any either.  Evidently the carrier pilot figured out pretty quickly that he cannot beat our logistics.

The carrier pilot suggests a ransom in local.  One PLEX.  I know this thing is worth at least twice that, and probably more depending on fit.  Also, his pod is probably also worth a fair amount.  We decline the offer. 
Ransom?

I am kind of interested in a ransom, but first I want to know what is on the carrier, so I fly Otto back home to get a ship scanner.  Unfortunately, we don't have one.  Oops. 

Anyway, we want the kill.  I am curious to see if we can break the tank on this thing.  My hope is that our nossing will eventually shut it off.  But I am not sure how many nosses we have.  Meanwhile, we keep shooting.  The Nidhoggur gets down to a quarter, then rises again to a half.  This keeps repeating.

Since Otto is home anyway, I think to grab one of our own tractor units to bring back with me.  I warp to the fight and land at the edge of the bubble.  Then I click "deploy for self", and start slowboating out where I can warp.  I get there, and warp to their tower to resume watching it.

Another minute or two of shooting the armor as it reps.

At their tower, Otto sees the third character swap into a stealth bomber and warp out.  Presumably coming to us.  Sure enough, it appears about 30 km off, and does nothing I can tell.  Presumably it shot at someone.  Anyway, some of us have warriors, and start locking.  Before we can do anything, it warps off.

Otto sees it come back to the tower and sit. 

I think at this point if they had a way to save the carrier, we'd have seen it.  If they had more people, we'd have seen them.  We need more damage.  Jayne proposes reshipping our squad booster, but I feel that Otto can do it.  So, I warp Otto back home to reship.  One more ship, I hope, can break his tank.  If he doesn't, we'll reship the squad booster.

Otto reships into a PVP Raven.  It's too bad we don't have Nova cruise missiles.  But we do have Inferno Rage, which should be fairly good against armor.  So I grab a full load of those.  I figure to maybe have to resupply other guys.

Otto warps back, then warps straight to Von.  He ends up at the edge of the bubble.  But that's OK.  He locks up the carrier and starts shooting and nossing.  Then he afterburns forward to join the group.
A new hope.

Now our damage starts to bite.  Timmay discovers that he is low on missiles, but that they are Precision missiles -- he's been doing 2/3 damage all along.  He reloads with Rage.

The new damage is enough.  Or else the new nossing finally shuts off the tank.  Whatever it is, the carrier enters structure.  And just a minute later, it dies.  (We've been shooting it for 18 minutes.)
A big explosion.
The pod is ejected, but helpless in my bubble.  I lock it up and give the guys a while to lock so they can whore on the mail.  Then I dispatch the poor thing.

Loot time.  And... where's the tractor I deployed?  Nowhere.  I guess I did not deploy it.  (In retrospect, my guess is that I was too close to the enemy tractor unit.)

It is just now we realize we made a stupid mistake: we did not shoot the enemy tractor unit!  It has been active the whole time, sucking in both wrecks and looting them.  Oh no!
Correcting a stupid mistake.
Well, nothing to be done now.  We lock up the tractor unit and kill it.  Ugh.  There's half our loot gone.  We get a hauler in to scoop the drones, and carry out as much as we can.  I gather both corpses for my collection.  We have to leave one fighter, but we get everything and salvage the wrecks.

Then we skedaddle back home.  Naturally, I get into my Manticore to go lurk, and see if I can catch the last guy being stupid.  But he is just sitting at his POS.

Jayne wants the last fighter, so he gets a blockade runner and comes out to get it.  I keep eyes on the tower; they cannot see the battle site from here, and they do not do anything.

The excitement is over.  Corp night is a success!  The guys all log off or go AFK.  It's just me left on.

There are two guys at the enemy tower now.  One is in an Orca.  I doubt he has the balls to use it, but on the other hand, I don't have the heartlessness to kill it if he tries to use it.  And I am not really hyped to explore through this system if he is thinking of popping my hole.  In fact I am not really hyped to explore at all tonight.  Tonight, I've got what I wanted from EVE.

Convenient.
I open a chat with the guy, my intent being to promise not to interfere if he wants to pop our connecting wormhole.  I do make this offer (he apparently declines), and we get in a great conversation about EVE. 

I try to tell him about the discover scanner; he claims he was using it and only saw us at the last minute.  (In retrospect I think he was talking about his dscanner.  Two different things.)  He's disheartened about wspace.  Understandable.  I sympathize, and think about linking him up to this blog, but don't.  I find out why his carrier pilot had an empty pod: he unplugged all his implants while waiting to die!  (I never thought of doing that.)  He wants to learn to hunt, and asks my advice on how to hunt, and fittings.  I tell him what I think.  We discuss Hyperion changes.  I find out he makes POS fuel, and offer to buy Minmatar fuel if he has it.  He does, 93 million ISK worth.  I offer to buy all of it, and he throws in an Iteron V for free.  I pay first, figuring if he scams me, I learn a lesson.  (He seems honorable.)  He is honorable.  We make the exchange in his system.  I get the fuel.  We part friends, or at least, friendly.

I hope to see him hunting and killing some people in the future.  But do be careful, Tebo.  Just because we are friendly does not mean I won't kill you.  I might not.  But I might.  That's just what we do in wspace. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Tractor Problems

It's the weekend.  I have killed three ships in here today, and I am looking for one more kill.  It's a mobile tractor unit that is ... somewhere.  Somewhere out in space.  I can see it on dscan, but so far I have not made the time to look for it.  Well, now I will.  I figure I will create a bookmark for myself.  Von can come in with his stealth bomber and blow it up.  I wonder what it is in it?

I bring my alt Otto in.  He's in his Cheetah, with combat probes.  A quick probing narrows down the location, then bang.  A warpable point.  I warp in at 20km.  There's a warning.
Ignored, of course.
Woops.  It seems it is in a live combat site.  I quickly abort my warp, then warp in at a more safe 70 kilometers.  I don't want to drop into the middle of a bunch of sleepers!

I should have realized it was in a site.  That explains how the thing can still be there, unblown up, after half a Saturday of people connecting to this system.  It has guards.
Cheap kill void where prohibited.
I land on grid, and sure enough.  It does indeed have guards: two Sleepless Sentinels, and four sleeper sentries.  The Sentinels are very close to it, no more than 20km off.  I look up the site at eve-survival: it's a Quarantine Area.  Nasty battleships: they "[scram, web, nos]".  Although I don't think any sleepers actually scram as in warp scramble; what they do is warp disrupt.  Still: I can see why nobody has killed the tractor unit.

Thus: the tractor problem.  Kill a mobile tractor unit, then loot it, against two close-by sleeper battleships and four sleeper sentries.  

This is an interesting problem.

What about the direct method?  Kill them!  My two characters can probably kill the sleepers eventually using the standard ships my corp uses to run C4 anoms.  One would be a logistics, the other a battleship damage dealer.  However, the nossing might be too much for just two ships.  Also, it will take time in any case, time where I would be stuck me out in a hostile system, warp disrupted by the sleepers.  I would rather not risk that.  Furthermore, the battleships are the trigger for a new wave.  So, either I run the site completely, which may be too much DPS and will take one damage dealer quite some time.  Or else I cannot kill the last battleship.  But it won't stop disrupting, which means I have to either jam it out, or distract it with drones.  I am not 100% sure either idea would work.

All in all, the direct method is not very promising.

Can I kill the tractor without killing any defenders?  Well, I might warp in my guys, kill the tractor, loot, and then try to escape.  I think that microjumpdrives always work against sleepers (they disrupt, not scramble).  But I am not sure about that.  In any case, it is still risky.  And my logistics ships cannot microjump.

What about without microjumpdrives?  I might be able to tank the sleepers in a Tengu, then burn out with a 100mn afterburner.  Or a microwarpdrive, if they don't scramble.  But again, I am not sure.

As I sit, puzzling, I realize that there's more IRL stuff I need to do.  So I set off to do that.  I am absent for about two hours.

When I get back, I dscan.  And I guess my problem has been solved -- by someone else.  There is no mobile tractor on scan, but there is a mobile tractor wreck.  I warp to the tractor's location at 70 km to have a look.  Sure enough: the tractor is gone, and a tractor wreck is there.
Thanks, anonymous tractor killer!
The tractor wreck has loot in it.  I cannot fathom why anyone would partially loot it, so my guess is this means they did not loot it at all.  And that means, I can get the loot.  (As I write this, I realize there should be a killmail for the tractor unit, but I cannot find it.)

So here is a new tractor problem: loot a tractor wreck against two close sleeper battleships who warp disrupt and four sleeper sentries.   

This is a much easier problem.  All I need to do is warp to it, grab the loot, and warp out before the sleepers can lock me.  Otto can do it in his Cheetah.  Sleeper battleships take a while to lock.  The Orthruses, I don't know.  But I figure that I won't be there for more than a few seconds.  A Cheetah is tiny.  It should be OK.

Challenge accepted!

I warp Otto to the C5 wormhole, jump, then warp directly to the tractor wreck.  He lands on grid, and I open the tractor wreck and prepare to loot it.  I see the loot, and then it is gone.

Blam.  I am in my pod.  What happened?  I guess the Orthrus sentries lock really, really fast.  Damn it.

Challenge failed.

I warp Otto's pod back home, then go sit at my tower and stew.  During the brief moment when I had the wreck open, I saw blue loot and I also saw two Gecko drones.  This is worth working a bit more on.

OK, new tractor problem: loot a tractor wreck against two close sleeper battleships who warp disrupt and four sleeper sentries that lock almost instantly and deal significant damage.  

I look up the Orthrus at chruker.dk: 1404 damage per hit, thermal and em.  The range appears to be 250km.  That's strange; the similar sentry drone in C4 sites -- Argos -- has a limited range, no more than about 80 or 90 km.  I look up Argos to see what its range supposed is: also 250km.  Apparently it's a bug of some sort that prevents it shooting longer.  Well, it seems likely that the same bug should affect both kinds of sentry.

My new plan: use my own tractor unit.  Get as far from the sentries as possible, deploy it, then warp out before the sleeper battleships can lock and/or damage.  Wait for it to drag in both the tractor wreck and the Cheetah wreck.  Then warp back in, scoop it fast, grab loot, and flee.

Since I am not sure about whether the Orthrus will fire at 150km+ or not, this time I want enough tank on my ship to take a hit.  It should be 5600 damage, so I take a Heron and fit it with a medium shield extender and some hardeners.  I think it should take a round.

Meanwhile, Von is in the anom slowboating to a good position for the tractor unit.  Tractor units have a max range of 125km.  I get to about 120km from the wrecks, with the Orthruses almost directly inline and further off, so the nearest sentry is about 160km.  Hopefully that will be beyond the range they fire at.  I save a bookmark here and Von moves away from it.

Otto is ready.  I warp Otto to the C5 wormhole, jump, then warp directly to the new bookmark.  He lands on grid, and I deploy my tractor unit.  Then I warp to a perch I saved on the way in and...

Blam.  I am in my pod.  Ugh, not again.  I am not sure what happened there.  Obviously the Orthrus sentries do more damage than I estimated, so either chruker has them wrong (doubtful) or I used EFT wrong calculating the tank on that Heron.  Damn it.

I warp Otto off to home.  My tractor unit drags in the Heron wreck immediately, then sets to work on the distant tractor wreck and Cheetah wreck.  This still takes less than the five minutes that Otto will be polarized.

Run away!!
OK, new tractor problem: scoop a friendly tractor unit  against two distant sleeper battleships and four sleeper sentries that lock almost instantly and deal significant damage.  

This one is easy, though a bit risky.  The sleeper battleships are now out of warp disrupt range, so I can use pretty much any ship I want.  I choose to take a Tengu, mainly due to lack of good options.  It is plenty hard to take a round or two of Orthrus fire, and I doubt the battleships will even lock it.  I am only really concerned about human predators, but I won't be on grid long, and they've only had a few minutes to prepare.  I use my normal sleeper-killing Tengu, but refit to have four points of warp core stabilization.

This time, it goes without a hitch.  I land on grid, grab my tractor unit, then loot the resulting can.  The sleepers open up, but this thing can take it easily, and I warp off.

The loot is pretty good, about 160m worth.  Looking at it, I can tell it was a remote repping drone boat that got killed and left it behind.
Some nice loot.
Here's one of the things I love about EVE.  When other people are playing in the same universe, sometimes they do things partially and you run into it.  In this case, someone had a bad day and lost a Dominix.  But they created an interesting puzzle.  No developer would ever think to create a site like this intentionally.  But it happened anyway, because EVE is a sandbox.  And I got to solve it, albeit at a higher cost than I should have.

In retrospect, I'd have done better to just take the Tengu I finally used.  That would have saved two ships.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

H900

A quick note.  Via foo, I heard rumor that the dual static C4s that are coming in Hyperion were implemented on Sisi.  Since I live in a C4, and they cloned the database since I last used Sisi, this was really easy for me to check.  I logged in to Sisi and scanned down my system.

There were five sigs in my system.  I found our normal static wormhole, which is an X877 (static C4/C4), first.  Then radar, gas, radar.  I was getting skeptical of this rumor as I scanned the last sig, and it was faint.  But, sure enough, the last sig was a wormhole.  Faint, so it must be high wspace... and yes, it is an H900 (static C4/ C5). 

So, that's a data point for you C4/C4 types: you may be getting C4/C4+C5.  Of course, you may be getting some other static.  But at least if CCP does C4s the way they did C2s, it's certain.  All C2s that have a C4 static also have a highsec static.  So I think there's a fair chance that all C4/C4s will go to C4/C4+C5.

Makes me wonder what the other C4s have.  But figuring that out would be work.  I think I'll read about it.  Or I'll just wait for Hyperion.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Birds, One Stone

It's the weekend.  A C5 system has connected to my home.  Earlier today I entered C5b, scanned it down, then saw probes.  I killed a scout who jumped into my system and jumped back immediately.  Now I am just lurking in my stealth bomber.

There are several interesting things in C5b.  For one, there is a tractor unit out in space, somewhere.  Another is the Vital Core Reservoir I found when I scanned earlier.  I'd like to get some Ventures and ninja-mine some gas.  But I feel that having ganked the scout, the system is a bit hot for that.

Also, there are IRL chores to do.  I can't sit here playing all day.  In fact I have to go AFK.

Ooh.  Wrecks.
Back later, and I dscan.  There are sleeper wrecks on scan, eight of them.  Four battleships and four frigates.  I know what this must be: the sleepers from the core gas site.  I warp to it at 100 km, and sure enough.  The wrecks all sit as they were killed.  All are unlooted.

Well well.  Do I have the stones to come in and attempt salvage?  I consider it.  But I'd rather gank than be ganked, and I assume that whoever did this will be back.  You don't leave out ~80m in loot and salvage.  So I move back, make a perch, and sit.

I wait.  I wait some more.  Nobody comes.  Strange.  Well, I have more chores to do, but I will try to get back soon enough to have a shot at salvaging.  My window is two hours since the wrecks were made, which time I do not know with certainty.

IRL, I mow the lawn.  I try to make it snappy, but when I get back, it's an hour and a half later, and the wrecks are gone.  Maybe someone looted and salvaged, or maybe they went poof.  Either way: dammit.

Now I go back to lurking at my wormhole while I do manufacturing with my Jita alt.  And again, I have to go AFK for a while.

Back again!  I dscan, as always when I return to EVE.  Dscan shows two Ventures.  They must be in the Vital Core gas site; I warp to it without even checking.
This is mining dumb.  Don't do it.

I land on grid, and I was correct.  There the Ventures are, 25km from me.  Incredibly, they are both unmoving, and sitting right next to each other in the C320 cloud, sucking away.  I set course at them immediately.  Can they really be that dumb?  Will they start to move after some temporary lapse of attention?  No.  They sit.  I move in.

Sneaking up.
When I get close, I get ready.  I rehearse my plan to myself.  Then I head right at one Venture, and uncloak, and start locking both ships.

I turn on my sebo and my warp scramblers, but not my missiles.  Both locks complete; the first Venture locked is now scrambled.  Now I select the non-scrambled Venture and turn on my light missiles.  My plan is to go after both of them.  I'll hold the one as I shoot the other.  The second will be able to escape if it is paying attention, but I hope it won't be.

They are not reacting at all.  I sit and shoot.  They sit and get shot.  The second Venture explodes.

Now the first starts to move, as I lock the pod.  And... locked.  The pod can still flee; it is not scrambled.  I kill it.  Evidently AFK.
One down.
Now I follow the first Venture and start shooting it.  I am concerned that it will afterburn out of range.  But it does not outrange me at all, and then it too explodes.  This pod flees promptly.

Two ships at a time!  I am pumped.  My hands shake.  I gather the loot and the corpse, then get out of range and cloak.  No response comes, at least not that I can see.
Wrecks.  Still have bulky gas aboard.

I still want to find the tractor unit out there and see what's in it -- but that's another story.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Birdshot for a Buzzard

It's the weekend.  You know what that means: I get to interact with lots more people than I normally do.  But only if I play during the day.  I am playing during the day.

I log in, and there's a new sig in my system.  I am guessing it is a C2 wormhole.  I deploy probes and find it, also checking that our two gas sites are still where they were (check), and our static is still where it was too.  (Also check.  It's EOL.)  So three of four are known, and the last, when I fly to it, is a wormhole indeed.  However, it goes to C5.  That's the second most likely.

I enter the wormhole and emerge in C5.  No towers, ships or probes on scan, so I move off and fire my own probes.  Then I bookmark the wormhole, start a scan, and start flying around the system.  Two distant planets later, I know there is no occupation here.  I set in to scanning.

Meanwhile, just in case, I log in my alt Otto and sit him in my own system, watching the wormhole from that side.  You never know when someone might come through, EOL wormhole or not.  Or someone might come through the C5 and I might miss it.

Scan, scan.  I find a core gas site, and bookmark it for later.  This system has an unusual number of radar/data sites, which is annoying because they are so hard to scan down.  But I usually scan down all adjacent systems fully, and especially if I am going to have time to get back here more than once during the day.  So, I put my nose to the scanning grindstone.

I find a wormhole to null, and one to C5b.  Then, as I scan a long series of radar sites, I see a Helios on dscan, and then RSS core probes.  I throw my probes out of the system so he cannot see them, even though he should have dscanned and seen them before I ever had a chance to see him.

Maybe I can ambush this guy.  I am in the right ship for it: my Manticore Birdshot, which is fit out with light missiles.  I figure that if he enters C4a (my home system), Otto will hear him.  Then I'll warp to the C5a side, and lurk.  It is likely that he'll find my home boring.  It has two anoms -- both rocks -- and the four sigs previously mentioned including my EOL static.  That's nothing interesting.  So he will return to C5a and that's when I jump him.

Of course, a cloaky scout can typically evade just about anything.  If he is further from 2000m from the wormhole, he can cloak immediately, then warp off or move away.  But there is always the chance that I can get him, and in any case it will give a thrill to both of us.  (Note to CCP: DON'T RUIN THIS.)

But right now, nothing is happening.  The other guy is presumably scanning; his probes are still visible.  After thinking about it a while, I figure I might as well scan.  So I return to what I was doing.

I find one more wormhole (an EOL lowsec), and then a dscan shows three sets of probes.  Mine, the RSS guy, and a new set of Sister's core probes.  I keep scanning.  Eventually the RSS probes disappear.  Then both sets do.

I am down to the last site -- yet another frackin' radar site; there are 9 in all -- when I hear the wormhole noise: bwaaamp!  I perk up.  Both my guys are at a wormhole: Otto in my system and Von at the lowsec.  I don't think it would be the lowsec.  I watch both.  Nothing.  Back and forth.  Nothing.  Hmm.  Strange.

I am about to conclude that it was outbound past Von, and I missed seeing the guy on overview.  But then Otto sees a Buzzard uncloak.  It moves off the C5 wormhole, then turns and heads right back in.

Oops.  Should have warped over immediately.  I warp now to the C5a->C4a connection, at 10km so I will not be uncloaked.  It is probably too late.  But the guy seems to like holding gate cloak, so maybe he will on both sides.

On grid.
I land on grid, and I don't see him.  I should have dscanned as I came, but didn't.  Well, maybe he is here cloaked.  I move directly at the wormhole, thinking to get on my sebo soon.  Then I change my mind.  I think I would rather try to surprise him.  So I orbit at 2500m.  It takes a few seconds, but then I am orbiting at 2600 or so, just beyond decloak range of the wormhole.  I am poised over the overview.

Nothing.  I wonder if he may have warped off already, and hit dscan to see if he might be visible there.  He is visible on dscan... at 3000m!  Oh!  He's on grid!

I am very close to him!  That's great luck!

I have no idea how far he is from the wormhole.  But even if he does cloak, I may be able to decloak him if I can get in close.  So I head right at him.  I've moved away from him (or maybe vice-versa), and am now about 4000m off.  I give it a second to align at him, then uncloak.  Now I start locking him, and I pulse my microwarpdrive to be sure to get on top of him.
On top of him.
I am on him, and he's locked!  Gotcha!  My systems open up, and I keep an eye on where he is.  He cannot microwarp with my scrambler on him, but it is possible that he has an afterburner.  He does not seem to; he moves slightly away from me then I follow.  In any case, he does not have enough time to get far.  Light missiles are plenty sufficient for a light scout like this.  Blammo.
My camera work needs work.

I opt for a screenshot to record the explosion, and this does not help with trying to lock the pod.  I do try to lock the pod anyway, after the inevitable screenshot stutter, but he is fully alert and warps fast enough that I very much doubt I could have got him in any case.

I loot the wreck then head off to circle the wormhole and see if anything interesting happens.  Nope, excitement is over. I do get some nice Sister's probes for my trouble.  Sadly, he had a Sister's probe launcher which blew up. 

I set about writing, with the occasional dscan of the system.  Via dscan, I see a Helios come and sit at the C5b wormhole.  It is there for much more than the 10 seconds that it should need to move off and cloak, or even the ~20 seconds to fire and reload probes.  (And I don't see probes.)  Bait, I think.  So I don't bite.

After a half hour, I decide that the system has cooled down enough that I can probably salvage.  (Yeah, I know it is irrational to risk a podding for such low likely returns.  Not doing it for money.)  Otto gets a salvaging Coercer to do it.  He jumps in, the tractors in the wreck and grinds it in about 30 seconds, then jumps home.  Nobody there on either side.  I don't get anything great, but it's the principle of the thing.