Saturday, December 26, 2009

Some Stuff

This was originally a really long post about Starbucks Lattes and how much I hate faction warfare and how awesome the Dramiel is. Unfortunately I got a little writers block and decided I didn't feel like finishing it so instead you just get this one tiny section. Sorry. Deal with it:
  • FC Guide on C&P - Kobra was kind enough to create a thread on the Crime & Punishment forums linking to my last blog post about FC'ing. If you bump it and generate me lots of free traffic it will inflate my ego and cause me to act even more arrogant and holier-than-thou! Sounds great!
  • Hulkageddon NEXT - We live in exciting times. The first Hulkageddon was a weekend long blur of coke, whores and ganking the shit out of a bunch of miners in highsec. It was successful enough that Helicity has decided to organize another week-long Hulkageddon and this time the prizes and participants seem to be crawling out of the woodwork. Check this thread out for a list of all the different prizes and conditions for winning them (I have donated a Navy Issue Exequror already myself to the 2nd place winner). I really look forward to the amount of tears and damage this is going to cause.
  • The Jerk Cartel - A while back, we had a bit of a quarrel and few-week-long skirmish in Egghelende with a corp named Eternal Perseverance. To make a long story short, EP moved out of Egg for a while and several ex-members of their group formed a new corporation named Space Jerks. We shared chat channels, a Ventrilo server, forums and most of our daily activities with SJ to the point that we were basically the same corp. We finally decided last week to make this marriage official by pissing away a billion ISK and creating an alliance.... and thus, The Jerk Cartel was born. So for now on you may notice me refer to my friends and allies by a different name but rest assured, we will still do the same ridiculous bullshit.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How To FC A Small Pirate Gang

For anyone not familiar with the role of a "FC" or Fleet Commander in Eve, it is generally to organize and direct the gang so that everyone is coordinated and working in an optimal fashion towards finding (and maybe winning) PvP engagements. The FC's roles can be things like organizing ops, telling the fleet what sort of ships to bring, directing where the fleet should warp/jump to and specifying battle tactics and targets during a fight. The roles, responsibilities and skills that each fleet commander has are vastly different based upon the size of the gangs, the ships that are being flown and what region of space that they are working in.

Over the past several months I have spent a lot of time "FC'ing" small gangs for our corp. By "small" I mean anywhere between three or four ships up to as many as a dozen. Generally I get stuck in this position not because I am the best qualified or experienced but because everyone else is lazy as shit and doesn't feel like it. It has become such habit now to act as FC that when others are leading fleets that I am in, I begin yelling out suggestions and primaries without really even thinking about the fact that I am not supposed to (and without thinking about the fact that it is rude and disrespectful of me... oops).

So I am not an expert. I don't know it all. Maybe I'm not even good. Regardless, I have decided to share my knowledge of how to lead a small pirate gang around lowsec with this guide...


Now if that title picture and it's subtitle don't get you pumped up then perhaps this guide is not for you and you should find a blog about running grav sites instead. Also, this isn't actually "Part 1" as there are no additional parts. I just thought putting that would make it look more badass. If that name did get you pumped, then read on! This blog entry is only about 57 pages long and should keep you busy for the next week and a half:

(1) Setting Up A Small Pirate Fleet -
  • Using The Fleet Finder Tool: If this post had been put up a few weeks earlier, the instructions to "Form A Fleet" or "Set Up A Fleet" would be some confusing crap about having everyone ask the fleet boss (person who forms the actual fleet in game) to send an invite one-by-one or how to generate a link in a chat channel that lets people click on it for an invite. Instead, thanks to Dominion, we get the fancy new fleet finder! The fleet finder allows you to create a fleet, advertise it to a certain set of individuals (most likely your corp or alliance) and then let them join it on a whim and even tell what system you're in. No more "X UP PLZ!" or "WHAT SYSTEM R U GUYZ IN???" in chat every five minutes. Fleet Finder has got your back broseph and here is a quick and simple guide on using it to make and advertise a fleet:
Click This Button:

Click On Form Fleet:

Set Your Advert Details:

This Is What Other People Will See:

  • Determining Fleet Makeup: As the commander of your mighty fleet, you have the right to deny people when they ask "Can I bring my Tristan to your battlecruiser gang???" and you should exercise it. If you are worried about your fleets effectiveness or survivability, it generally makes sense to make sure that all your ships engage in combat at similar ranges and their roles complement each other. If you allow small easy targets to roam with your large super-tanked gang, you give your opponents something to easily primary and gank early on in the fight with almost no repercurssion. If you bring a big lumbering battleship along with some frigates, you risk having that person get caught by a enemy gang that the rest of your fleet can otherwise avoid easily.

    I won't go too in-depth here because there are simply too many ways to consider how different ships and their types compare. Just try to use common sense and think about how different ships and setups will interact and work within the confines of your current gang during a fight. If it seems like it won't work, don't be afraid to tell your gang members to grab a more appropriate ship.
  • Determining Where To Go: When I set out to roam with a fleet, I generally choose a destination that I already know is populated and that I am familiar with. Sometimes we take larger ships only a short few jumps to the busiest areas where we are most likely to find another large fleet to match up with (you don't usually want to put yourselves in too much danger by moving large, lumbering ships over dozens of jumps). Other times we take smaller ships that are relatively safe from gatecamps and other roaming gangs so that we can move quickly and cover lots of ground.

    You probably want to find some sort of busy hub system and try roaming the systems around them or in a pipe between them. Some of my personal favorite systems to visit are Mara, Tama, Old Man Star, Amamake and Evati as well as the systems that surround them. Other well-known pirate/PvP systems in lowsec include Rancer, Decon, Nalvula and Hevrice. I am certain there are many more missing in the list and it is up to you to ask your pirate friends or simply learn from roaming yourself about what systems and pipes may hold targets and what kind of targets they might be.

    One last option to finding a good system or route is to simply use the in-game map. The Star Map (Press F10 in game to open) lets you view certain statistics per system. If you click the "Star Map" tab and then the "Stars" sub-tab and then the "Statistics" header, you can choose from several useful stats such as "Ships Destroyed in the Last Hour" and "Average Pilots in Space in the Last 30 Minutes". This will let you know what systems are both active with pilots and active with explosions.

    When you have finally decided where to go, "Set Destination" on whatever you find, make sure you're set to "Prefer Low-Security Space" and then start your roaming!
(2) Coordinating, Organizing and Traveling With A Small Pirate Fleet -
  • Gathering and Aligning: It is extremely helpful to have a number of safe spots in a system you frequent. It is a fantastic idea to go to these systems in advance and create safe spots that are "deep" (off-scan from all celestials by being at least 14.3 AU away), spots that are "pounces" (very close but not on grid to the gates and stations) as well as "scan spots" (in a centralized location that can scan most of the system in one sweep by being within 14.3 AU away from most locations in space). When you need to move your gang to safety and you don't want to sit in an easy to locate spot, you can move to a pounce near the next gate you are traveling to. If you are planning on staying long, you can move your gang to a deep safe where it is less likely you will be probed out.

    Regardless of where everyone is, it makes sense to try and keep your gang gathered and aligned towards some spot in space so that if trouble appears you can instantly warp the entire gang away with no fuss. Ships warp when they hit three-quarters of their maximum speed and are aligned directly at their destination in space. Having your ships already in this state (AKA "Aligned") means they can instantly warp away to escape trouble or to pounce on top of a target that has been tackled somewhere in system by your scout/tackler.
  • Scouting and Intel: This could almost be a separate guide in itself as generally you will have one person acting as your scout, intelligence gatherer and tackler. I will try to quickly gloss over this very important role in a roaming gang:

    You don't want to jump an entire gang blindly into a system where it could become blobbed by an opposing force and you also don't want to scare off potential fights by suddenly filling up local and scan with a bunch of new, scary ships. This means that it makes a lot of sense to send one person as a scout through to the next system in your roaming route. You should have faith in this person to be good with the directional scanner, to be able to convey important information quickly/succinctly and they should be in a ship capable of escaping danger and holding down a point. Obvious and effective examples would be an interceptor or a cloaky Force Recon Cruiser. Lastly, having your scout bring probes is a BIG PLUS as many targets will not be at an object you can warp to. Being able to locate and drop on them unexpectedly is a huge advantage (and tons of fun).
  • Traveling: Everyone probably does this differently but I have always preferred the method of having your gang warp to a gate or gate-pounce and then letting the scout go in alone to search for threats or targets. It can be a little boring for those that sit on the gate waiting for clearance but if you have a decisive FC and a competent scout then it can move very quickly. Getting to know which systems, regions and gates are busiest also helps you decide whether or not to move quickly with less caution or slowly with more. Certain gates are rarely ever busy and others are almost always deathtraps (ie: Heydielies<->Old Man Star, Dal<->Amamake, etc).

    It is good to learn what ships and gangs can handle sentry fire so that you know if you can handle certain ships or gangs jumping through into your group. Additionally it is good practice to have the scout echo back to everyone what the names of the pilots, corps and alliances are in local along with their potential ships and activities. It isn't difficult to tell using the directional scanner, security statuses and corps whether or not there are helpless carebears or nasty pirates hanging around in the system.

  • Voice Communications: This is an area that becomes more difficult as the gang grows. A small gang of a few pilots can generally say whatever they want over chat and it will not be too distracting or cause confusion. When you start growing to half-a-dozen or more, you start having people yelling random information that is not relevant, sometimes not even related to the game. Add alcohol into the mix and it gets downright loud and obnoxious. My personal feeling is that it is OK for people to joke around and have a good time (that is the point of a video game) but when anything serious is about to go down, all pilots except for the FC and scout are to shut up and pay attention. 95% of your gang-mates will probably follow this order to a T and never be a problem. It is just the rare few that cause issues and you shouldn't be afraid to boot them from the gang and/or mute them on your voice communications if they become a problem.

    In other words? Have fun, but don't let disorganization and lack of focus during an important moment cause poor communication and confusion among your fleet.

(3) Engaging In Combat With A Small Pirate Fleet -
  • Deciding Whether Or Not To Engage and Warping In The Fleet: You've located a potential target ship or fleet! You should consider whether or not you want to engage based upon several factors such as whether or not they have potential cloaked ships with them, whether or not they have powerful E-War/Logistics ships that are big force multipliers (ie: a Falcons, Guardians), etc. Consider your own forces and your opponents and try to imagine how a fight might go. If they have the perfect counter to what you're flying or they simply have much higher numbers, don't be afraid to skip it. Additionally, don't be afraid to try using baits or moving around in an effort to split up a larger force. When your own fleet is organized and another is not, that alone may be enough to turn the tide significantly.

    When you do decide to engage, it is almost always best to have all of your firepower arrive on the field at the same time (except for rare situations where you are trying to hide parts of your force until the enemy has committed). One of the most devastatingly negative things you can do for your gang is to have them arrive one-by-one or in groups. This splits up your DPS and makes things way less confusing for your enemy. I like to consider this the "movie ninja" move and just like in the movies, arriving in a linear fashion instead of together may very well result in a massacre (not the good kind). In addition to this, you should know what ships are in your gang and what range they operate at. If you have certain ships that need to warp in at a different range in order to be effective (snipers, electronic warfare, logistics, etc) then make sure you do not accidentally gang warp them into the center of the fight where they will be quickly primaried and destroyed.
  • Calling Primaries: This is easily one of the more confusing elements of leading a gang that a FC will have to deal with. You never truly know how another ship is fit without a ship scanner and even if you had one with you, you would not really have the time to scan each ship of your opponents to determine what to hit first. The FC has to pretty much make a split second guess based on several factors to decide what target to hit first. Some of these factors are:

    - Gank vs Tank: If a ship generally has a very big tank but does not put out much damage (ie: Prophecy, Maller, all Heavy Interdictors, etc) then they are a very poor choice for a primary early on. They do not cause much threat but will soak up massive amounts of damage. Instead, look for ships that are known to have a large amount of DPS but only small/medium buffer tanks (Thorax, Brutix) or even just a moderate active tank (Myrmidon, Astarte). These ships will be easier to take down and you will be cutting away a large portion of your opposing gangs effectiveness once they are gone.

    - Pilot Age: Younger pilots generally have crappy skills and cannot use the best modules. They may die very quickly and the faster you can remove ships from the field, the more of an advantage you give your fleet.

    - Ship Cost: You can't win every fight. Hell, most of us don't even want to win every fight. You may be involved in engagements where you know that you will not hold the field at the end of the encounter but you want to inflict as much damage as possible before you go down. Engaging ships that are expensive (T2, T3, Faction) allows you to take something significant down with you as your entire group goes down in flames.

    - Ship Threat: Certain ships are a much bigger threat than others and I don't just mean in terms of damage output. Logistics and electronic warfare ships can literally make or break a fight the instant they show up on the field and are usually referred to as "force multipliers" due to the way they enhance or decrease the effectiveness of other ships on the field. In many situations you will want to destroy or at least drive off these gamebreakers the instant they uncloak or warp in (ie: ECM ships, Logistics ships). It is a rare situation where I do not primary a Falcon or Blackbird immediately.

    - Distance From Your Gang: This is a really important one. So many times you may have fleet members ask as you are warping into a fight: "What is primary???". I rarely want to answer the question as I don't know until I land and see how far each ship is from where we arrived. If you see a great primary but it is 50 kilometers from your gang, you are going to be asking everyone to split themselves up and come under enemy fire as they move that entire distance to engage. Your gang will be shot up and destroyed before you even reach your victim. Make sure to factor in what is close and call primary on something that is actually within reach. The amount of DPS and other combat capabilities you bring makes absolutely no difference if you are not in range to apply it on a target.

    The bottom line is that you want to remove as much of your opponents strongest capabilities from the field as quickly as you possibly can. The first ship or ships to be primaried in a fight have an exponentially large effect on the rest of the fight as it goes on. Many even or closely matched fights are literally decided by this during the first few seconds of the engagement. It is important to select a target quickly, clearly state it to your gang and then stay decisive about it. Not communicating clearly or switching targets constantly before others have been destroyed is confusing and wastes precious time. Even worse, it will result in splitting your damage and enhancing the effectiveness of your opponents who are still able to field ships that should already be dead. Don't worry if you don't make the perfect call every time on the first try. Try to make a choice, call it out and then repeat it clearly to your gang so there are no mistakes.
  • Watching Local, D-Scan and Deciding Whether Or Not To Bail Mid-Fight: Lots and lots of "targets" in lowsec are actually bait. It is important to have your entire gang keep a close eye on both Local Chat and their Directional Scanners during a fight. It can be hard to do this while also focusing on the fight and following orders but if you want any chance to notice a local "explosion" or new ships on scan that are warping in then you have no choice. Depending on how many numbers enter local once the engagement has begun and what ships you begin to see on scan, it may make sense to tell your gang to flee the fight. Again, be decisive if you decide this and make sure everyone understands whether you are staying and fighting or turning and leaving the scene. It can make sense to simply cut your losses and only lose a couple ships instead of your entire gang. Easy to say but hard to judge.
  • To Ransom Or Not To Ransom: In a situation where the target is high-value, your gang isn't too large and you are sure that you are safe, ransoming is a wonderful pirate activity to partake in! Open a conversation with your victim and offer him a chance to save his ship. I generally ask for large amounts to begin with and then let the victim talk me down if they are interested. Always be keeping an eye on local, scan and other indicators that they may be stalling you while friends come to the rescue. Also, don't be silly and start ransoming a ship that can kill you as you sit around trying to converse! In the end, most of the time a ransom is much more profitable than the loot from a wreck so always consider it as an option.
  • Post Fight Smacktalk: Regardless of how a fight ends up, don't be afraid to converse with your aggressors afterward in local chat. A simple "gf" might suffice. If you are feeling sleighted, accusing them of cheating or bringing too much ECM or logistics is a great way to get people angry and is so much fun. Remember that if you do something or bring a certain ship, IT IS OK, but if anyone else does it, IT IS BULLSHIT AND THEY HAVE NO SKILL! Enjoy the resulting smack!
(4) Conclusion -

This is easily the longest post I've ever written and still I barely covered many of the topics that are important to FC'ing in lowsec alone. Nullsec and/or very large gangs are a whole different beast that I have very little experience with and some or all of these points may not even apply in different situations or types of space. Additionally, I am far from an expert but I wanted to provide my points of view and experiences over the past several months acting as an FC for a smallish pirate group. Please feel free to share your own experience, tips, additions or even disagreements with what I have said in the comments below so that I can refine the information contained within.

Lastly, thanks to Andrea Skye for a majority of the MS Paint pictures that accompanied this article. His talents are truly spectacular and deserving of some sort of award... or something.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

How To Tackle A Sniper Ship With Your Frigate

...or this might be also diagram of how to herd cattle off a cliff using a boom-a-rang. I'm not entirely sure.

Courtesy of Andrea Skye's incredible Microsoft Paint talents:

Monday, December 7, 2009

Surgical Strike

For several months now I have been taking out ships like the Thrasher, Rifter or Curse for when I go roaming solo (usually the Thrasher). The Taranis has taken a back seat and barely been utilized since the "Speed Nerf" changes that very significantly mucked with the effectiveness of the king of the interceptors. For a long time before that patch hit, I pretty much only flew a Taranis in a way that was based entirely around maximum DPS like so:
[Taranis, Super Ion Taranis]
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Pseudoelectron Containment Field I

Catalyzed Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters

Warp Scrambler II

'Langour' Drive Disruptor I

Light Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S
Light Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Light Ion Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Hobgoblin II x2
However, with the changes to Warp Scramblers that prevented the use of microwarpdrives while scrambled, this simply became too hard to dictate distance with and made it basically impossible to disengage once you realized you were fighting a losing battle. More recently, when I do undock the Taranis, I have been going with the dual-propulsion fit which looks something like this:
[Taranis, MWD/AB Taranis]
Damage Control II

Magnetic Field Stabilizer II

Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Phased Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters

Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters

J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Small Hybrid Collision Accelerator I

Small Ancillary Current Router I

Hobgoblin II x2
While the DPS is not quite as high as the fit that used to be king, this new setup gives some added flexibility in the form of slightly longer range neutron blasters, slightly higher EHP via a Tech II damage control and the ability to accelerate to pretty acceptable speed even while scrambled by using the afterburner. The new super-cheap small rigs also help bridge the gap by letting you fit a damage rig or two (my skills aren't perfect so I have to save one of the rig slots for a powergrid rig).

When I checked out my hangar for something to fly today, I decided to give my old friend a chance to shine once again. I boarded a dual-propulsion fit Taranis and headed out to roam around the Old Man Star region. What I found was not too shabby...

Pulling A Python

Occasionally we will have people refer to a certain form of trickery as "Pulling a Python". I am sure we are not the first to do it but we utilized it to great success for a while in the newb heavy system of Egghelende. Pulling a Python consists of:
(1) Inviting a pilot to fleet that you know is in system and in a ship you can probably blow up.

(2) Warping to the pilot and/or waiting for him to undock so that he is on grid with you.

(3) Warping the squad/fleet/wing to a safe spot so that the victim that accepted your fleet invite gets warped with you.

(4) Blowing up your victim.
A new little twist that we have added to this is making sure to swap the victim around between squad member, squad commander and other fleet spots so that his/her session is constantly changing and they cannot leave system or dock without leaving fleet first.

This is exactly what I did to a new-ish Drake pilot I found in Jovainnon. He attempted to warp to a gate and jump out but with his fleet "smacktalk" preventing the jump, I was able to warp to him at the gate and then warp him off to a safe spot. This wasn't going to be easy as solo'ing a battlecruiser that has a flight of light drones, a little bit of DPS from missiles and very solid tank is rarely a sure bet when you're engaging with a frigate hull. As he landed, I scrambled, deployed my drones and overheated my guns. Fortunately he had not brought any drones and by the point I had barely even hit hull, his Drake popped and I was able to boost my killboard lead with a pretty sixty-four point kill. Suck it Skye.

Beating Up Some Nerds

Later on in the day we received a report that there was a mining operation going on about 10 jumps away. In lowsec. Apparently they were mining with several barges that were protected by a couple of T2 cruisers and a Nidhoggur carrier. Wanting to bust up the party as soon as possible, we gathered a fleet of small nimble ships that would be capable of nabbing some miners and then warping out before a carrier could start applying remote reps or peppering us with drones and fighters. We set out with a Jaguar, Rifter, Keres, Vagabond, Rapier, two Taranises and an Anathema to take care of the scouting and probing. We gathered one jump away from our target destination and sent a couple of pilots in to investigate without spooking our prey. It turned out that they were mining in a gravimetric site that needed to be probed out so we had our Anathema pilot carefully locate and peek in on them. He soon reported back that there were several barges spread out among the asteroids that were being protected by a Myrmidon, Deimos and Nidhoggur.

We sat back and thought for a minute. The fact that they were spread out meant that if we all warped in together we may nab one or even two barges before they could flee but the rest would get spooked and bail. We decided to have our scout bookmark the exact location of all four barges and then return to the next system over where we were waiting. We came up with a convoluted plan that I assumed would never work because we are all retarded:
(1) Have our scout create copies of all four bookmarks that are directly on top of each barge and put them into a can in space.

(2) Split our gang into four small squads, each with one person as squad commander.

(3) Have each squad commander grab one bookmark.

(4) Have everyone jump into the miners system at the same time and warp their squad at the same time.
Hypothetically, we would all come out of warp on top of all the barges at approximately the same time, allowing us to quickly blow them away and then flee before any of the carebears had time to react. We jumped in and began to execute the last of the above steps and in moments we were all landing on top of our targets. I arrived on top of the only Hulk in the group and managed to help destroy it away as their entire gang (including the Nidhoggur) warped away from the site, probably spooked by our sudden appearance. Amazingly, our plan had executed exactly as we had designed! Three mining barges were destroyed as a result.

As we began to loot the wrecks, we were surprised by the miners warping back into the site with not only their original combat ships but with the barge pilots now in combat ships as well. An intricate game of warping in and out and kiting the gang to separate them finally resulted in our gang of frigates/cruisers managing to knock out a Sleipnir, Myrmidon, Thorax, Flycatcher (WTF?) and Onyx. The amount of damage that the Myrmidon took was quite impressive and we barely had enough DPS to break his passive shield tank after a very long engagement. When the fight was complete, my Taranis had only five volleys of antimatter left in the guns, no ammo at all left in my holds, severely damaged guns from overheating and no armor HP. Basically it was the way a Taranis always ends up at the end of a fight (that is if it isn't blown up).

If all these pilots had stayed together instead of arriving one-by-one like crazy movie ninjas, we probably would have lost the fight. Between an Onyx, Sleipnir and Myrmidon I would pretty much always call a Myrmidon primary first and there is not way we could have killed it before the rest of their gang picked apart our barely tanked fleet of small ships. It just goes to show how important tactics, organization, ship fittings and bringing the proper ships to a fight can be.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Uppity Crackers

A pirate in Eve and a pirate in real life are not really the same thing. A pirate in real life is described like this:
Pirate (noun): someone who robs at sea or plunders the land from the sea without having a commission from any sovereign nation.
...and looks like this:

Sweet Autocannon

In Eve-Online, there are a select few corporations that try to make all of their funds via ransoms and loot from combat (or at least they say they do). In general though, a huge majority of pilots who PvP make their money through other methods and no one is actually an accurate representation of piracy in any way. When people refer to other players as "pirates" in Eve, all they are really describing is the fact that they have a -10 security status, live in low security space and spend most or all of their time engaging in player vs player combat. Eve-Online pirates also differ from real life pirates in that they look less like the guy above and more like this person:

Andrea Skye Back In 1983

Pirates in Eve have always seemed to have a little bit of an unspoken code from what I have seen and experienced. Most (but not all) pirate corps tend to be smaller and less equipped than most of your nullsec corps or alliances. We are far from weak or helpless but there are certainly many situations where we cannot compete with some of the larger faction warfare or other groups that show up by ourselves. As a result, we may call for the help of fellow pirates that we would normally fight against to instead work together. A great example is just the other night when we found a carrier in a belt and called upon our fellow pirate friends which even included one individual we had just been in a fight with and smacked with ten minutes earlier.

This is a pretty standard attitude. Most of my favorite pirate corps are smaller groups that may fight us one day but we will band together as opportunities arise and situations warrant it. We share intel and chat channels to discuss what is going on in the region and to ask for help when it is needed. It's not written, it's not black-and-white and it's not true for everyone but in general this is the Eve-Online code of the pirate in the regions of lowsec where I have operated.

Shiver Me Timbers. Please.

When we moved into our new vacation system a couple weeks back, I realized quickly that it was occupied by another small-ish pirate group, the Blood Money Cartel. I did not know a whole lot about them but I did know of their CEO, Skira Ranos. Skira had recently started a blog that I had added to my list of blogs worth reading and he was also responsible for what is probably the best Eve-Online piracy guide in existance. When new pilots come to me asking how to learn to pirate and where they should start, I send them to Skira's piracy guide and Wensley's Rifter guide. Always. I was excited at the prospect of being around a region of space where we had pirates who seemed honorable, friendly and probably would adhere to what I see as the pirate code. Eager for good fights and perhaps willing to work together against many of the larger groups that populate the area surrounding Old Man Star.

At least that is what I was hoping for.

One of the first days we were in system, a couple of BMC ships showed up outside our station. I undocked my Megathron to consider engaging and one of our friends in station asked me over voice communications "Should I undock my carrier?" I told him no and encouraged him to simply undock another battleship. I wanted to have a fight with some pirates who probably also wanted a fight without capital ships and ECM and logistics and giant blobs. We aggressed and took down one of their ships just in time for the rest of their gang to arrive. They destroyed my Megathron before I was able to redock. I had underestimated their numbers and firepower but when it results in a decent fight, I am usually not too upset with losing a ship and niether was I in this situation.

As the days went by I continued to try and encourage my corporation to be nice and respectful to BMC. I even held my own tongue in check which is no small achievement (I really like to talk shit). Regardless, BMC always seemed to be on edge at all moments waiting for any excuse to start a verbal fight. There was a certain coldness and arrogance in every interaction we had but I still held out hope. Finally, yesterday, Skira opened a conversation with me. Skira was very vague and asked me several questions about our corp, where we came from, what our intentions were and so on. I didn't have many certain answers as we simply chose this system at random and moved in to have some fun with no alterior motives. Finally I asked Skira (politely) to get to the point of the convo:
[ 01:43:13 ] Skira Ranos > My alliance is more than 70% focused on training noobs.
[ 01:43:23 ] Skira Ranos > We're talking rifters, here.
[ 01:44:55 ] Skira Ranos > "I look forward to hanging out in the same system as some real PvP'ers instead of the smacktalking joke that is Dead Terrorists."
[ 01:45:01 ] Skira Ranos > I hope you realize the irony
[ 01:45:26 ] Skira Ranos > myself and my veterans don't much care about you guys. We get in decent fights.
[ 01:45:57 ] Skira Ranos > But we do care about this little spec of property. We aren't a 0.0 alliance, we don't hold territory or anything silly like that, but we worked hard for peace and quiet in our home system
[ 01:46:02 ] Skira Ranos > so we can train the noobs in peace
[ 01:46:08 ] Skira Ranos > and so we can come home to rest, not ganking
[ 01:46:21 ] Skira Ranos > logging on and seeing more reds in local than allies is really harming morale amoung the rookies
[ 01:46:32 ] Skira Ranos > This is why we have not been remotely interested in good fights with you all.
[ 01:46:39 ] Skira Ranos > If you were in Heyd, thats our backyard
[ 01:46:43 ] Skira Ranos > we'd get in great fights
[ 01:46:47 ] Skira Ranos > even outnumbered we'd fight you
[ 01:47:02 ] Skira Ranos > In yvangier/ You're squating in my living room. We will blob the hell out of you, bring falcons, etc
[ 01:47:11 ] Skira Ranos > because its our home and we want it nice and quiet.
[ 01:47:20 ] Spectre3353 > wow
[ 01:47:22 ] Skira Ranos > Not to mention you're one of three large pirate groups moving in on yvan
[ 01:47:25 ] Spectre3353 > ive got to be totally honest with you
[ 01:47:30 ] Skira Ranos > one of which claims they're evicting us
[ 01:47:35 ] Skira Ranos > though they're failing at it
[ 01:47:39 ] Spectre3353 > you pretty much just gave me and my corp reason to stay here longer and go after you
[ 01:47:43 ] Spectre3353 > by telling me this
[ 01:47:47 ] Skira Ranos > *sigh*
[ 01:47:54 ] Spectre3353 > it could have been such a wonderful dynamic
[ 01:47:58 ] Skira Ranos > I was hoping you'd not be a jackass about it.
[ 01:48:09 ] Spectre3353 > believe me, im probably one of the most reasonable pirates you can find
[ 01:48:23 ] Spectre3353 > this is eve
[ 01:48:28 ] Spectre3353 > there are no rules about who can live wherever they want
[ 01:48:36 ] Skira Ranos > No, which is why I'm asking you
[ 01:48:43 ] Spectre3353 > im not sure what youre asking me
[ 01:48:49 ] Skira Ranos > not telling you. If there were rules, there wouldn't be diplomacy
[ 01:48:49 ] Spectre3353 > what is the point of why youre talking to me right now?
[ 01:48:54 ] Skira Ranos > I'm asking you to go away.
[ 01:49:00 ] Spectre3353 > most definitely not happening
[ 01:49:13 ] Spectre3353 > you can right now scratch the word vacation off of anything i have said
[ 01:49:23 ] Spectre3353 > i am now informing my corp that this is our permanant home system
[ 01:49:25 ] Skira Ranos > Alright then. What little respect I had for you and your organization has boiled away in the last week.
[ 01:49:28 ] Spectre3353 > and that our goal here is to remove you
[ 01:49:34 ] Spectre3353 > i am not here to earn your respect
[ 01:49:36 ] Spectre3353 > this is a video game
[ 01:49:42 ] Spectre3353 > you seem to take it very seriously
[ 01:50:30 ] Spectre3353 > ok well
[ 01:50:34 ] Spectre3353 > is there anything else you wanted to discuss?
[ 01:50:49 ] Skira Ranos > Gloves are off =0
[ 01:50:53 ] Skira Ranos > Cya in space.
[ 01:51:22 ] Spectre3353 > understood
[ 01:51:26 ] Spectre3353 > cya skira
To be frank, I was extremely dissapointed and a little bit annoyed at the level of arrogance that was being displayed during this exchange. I shared it with my corporation and I think that Raph put it best:
[ 02:04:46 ] Raph > fucking hate uppity crackers
Skira has basically issued a challenge and we have decided to accept. I tried so very hard to give BMC the benefit of the doubt. In fact I tried so hard that I missed the fact that they are poor at PvP, they completely ignore their own rules about smacktalk, they are immature and they are hypocrites who preach about piratey ideals and then totally ignore those ideals when it is convienent. Fair enough. We will settle this in space indeed.

The gloves are off.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Yesterday marked the deployment of the latest Eve expansion/patch/thing. A lot of other bloggers have been posting about it but every single entry is either:




Pathetic that nobody can come up with anything that actually contains content. What has the Eve blogging community become? On a totally unrelated note, this very blog entry is being posted from the in-game board and here are some stellar screen shots of the new planets and star fields in Dominion:

Storms Can Be Seen On The Surface

The Dark Side

Some Mars Looking Shit

Some More Mars Looking Shit

Class M Planet

In My Face