Monday 12 November 2012

To boost or not to boost....

So there is a lot of discussion and whining about off grid boosting at the moment, from all sorts of people, I've heard various reasons why people are complaining, they all complain about how it's unfair, and people should have all their cards on the table and ships on the grid. There is a divide between the have's and the have not's as always, people will always use the mechanics in their favour if possible.

I have a boosting in that I use when I'm flying about, both in gangs and sometimes solo. She usually flies a loki, and acts as a forward scout, probing and finding me targets within lowsec, then providing boosts, whilst we often take on much larger gangs.

With that you might think instantly I'm biased towards keeping them off grid, and to some extent I am. I like my alt's anonymous background, the fact that people don't instantly warp off and dock in station when she slips into system. Putting her on display would soon hurt my hunting grounds.

I hear people saying that it will level the playing field, means that everyone can see what ships are running links, and gives you the ability to shoot at their "links" that it forces link ships on grid and into danger, that it prevents AFK boosting from safely within a POS forcefield.

Actually implementing it would require significant changes to the mechanics, Grid Fu - google it, grids are too easy to exploit to make this a "simple" thing to implement. This also benefits the defending group, or encamped group, who have time to set up and wait.

Lag/TiDi mechanics. With any large fleet engagement you accept a level of LAG and now TiDi, by forcing the bonus ship to be on grid it's also subject to the same mechanics. This is massively in favour of the defending group, who's links are already on grid, and the bonus has propagated throughout the fleet already. When you as the attacking grid warp in, you can often take 10-20 seconds to load the grid, before you can even activate modules, and as your bonus ship will have to warp in, load grid, cycle mods, then wait as the bonus takes a few seconds to register... In TiDi situations we have already noticed that squad commanders not being on grid first can effectively break links for their squad members for some time even after everyone has finally loaded grid and started to fight.

Gate Camps, such and such a group have a POS in system with a bonus alt, it's not fair!
So? All they will do is move the bonus alt on grid and cloak it, with a little GridFu you'll still not get much of a chance to tackle it when you jump in, and it decloaks at 300km away alligned to station.

Rorqual, whilst I don't own one I know a few people that use them to providing mining boosts, now as that ship needs to be in deployed mode, I'm pretty sure they won't be going into "siege" mode in an asteroid belt any time soon.

Medium gangs 20-50 Any organised fleet type, ie AHAX, Snipers, Nano will have their booster clearly on display, but with logistics ships and a significant tank, the chance of actually killing the boosting ship just because you can see it is still minimal. Oh look there's a Damnation in the middle of that Armour gang, lets shoot it.... has anyone actually tried shooting a tanked one? It's a spacebrick, you can easily have 400k EHP without slaves implants or any faction mods. With 85% as it's lowest resist good luck killing that before the last logistics ship dies. You'd struggle killing my current Loki anyway as it's fitted with a 100mn Afterburner, making it at least as difficult as a 100mn Tengu to catch and kill, and from what I've heard they're giving it's midslots back too!

Small gangs and "solo" pilots these are the people that this nerf will hurt quite alot, smaller groups who specialise in taking on larger gangs. Yes I accept that "solo" pilots often use links to gain an advantage over other ships, but what exactly are we arguing about? If my "alt" decloaks at 100km in a "solo" fight whilst I kill you with my now link boosted main are you really going to gain any advantage? I'm still going to kill you. The only difference is you now get to see who my scout was.

Links are an advantage, but an expensive one, they cost an extra account, that's 500m per month, a Tech 3 cruiser fitted is going to set you back at least 500m, and they need considerable training already to even give out bonuses at least 4 months, realistically much more.

So when my 2.5b slasher and loki combo kills your 6m cruiser are you really that surprised? Would you prefer I just used a Falcon or even Blackbird alt, with less training, and less investment? I hate that mechanic, but many people do exactly that! Or I could just bring two combat ships, a nice Rapier could do 90% of what the loki does, but will actually effect your ship as well 90% webs from 40km away, whilst my main shoots you... do you feel better about dying yet?

I accept that there is some issues with boosting in its current mechanics, the T3 cruisers being better than the T2 Battlecruisers at boosting seems wrong even to me, fleet command ships being basically useless these days being out classed by the Tech3 cruisers at the same job.
I don't really mind about AFK pos boosters, they are not the worst of issues, they are limited to boosting in one system, and most active PVP pilots like to roam about anyway.

I've seen and read a few ideas, the ones I support are:

Limit POS boosting - should be easy to implement, you can't lock a ship inside a POS so stopping the modules running inside would be relatively easy database tweak.
Make Command links increase your signature in the same way that a MWD does - this will make them easy to probe at "safes" I'd like this alot, catching untanked tech 3's at safe spots whilst their main is otherwised engaged sounds like a lot of fun!
Obviously switch the bonus's on the T3's and Commandships as T3's are overpowered in comparison.

Some for and against posts:

Someone asked me why I tend to fly "OP" ships and use boost, I answered truthfully in the fact that I like winning fights, and that using the right ships for the job makes sense. As I will often take on ships larger or more dangerous than my own small ship, it makes sense to try and have some advantage, I could choose to fly ships that weren't any good, that wouldn't support my flying style, but let me ask you something... would you get into a boxing ring with Mike Tyson with one hand stuffed down your trousers?

Me neither.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

End of Days (part 2) Battlereport inside

This is probably the most comprehensive write up so far, and blatantly reposted here.

The cold metaphorical wind was blowing through the vastness of space, swirling around imaginary dust-particles and tumbleweed as we floated in our POS-forcefield, staring down the titan as it floated next to us
It was Sunday evening, and the dark gray space around us seemed at least twice as menacing as it usual, closing in on us and attempting to breach through the hulls and tear down friendships and tolerance keeping us safe from the stars malice 
You could sense it on the celestial winds, tonight someone was going to get royally fucked

And if we did not play our cards right, it might be us

A few nights before, Nashh had been sitting with the barrel of his finely crafted colt .45 in his mouth, tired of existence and contemplating ragequtting once and for all
Fingering the trigger, he had smiled and realized that simply shooting himself and ending it all in the quietness of his captains quarters would not cut it, no, that would be too much like surrendering
Instead, he began drafting a plan of a public spectacle to rock the stars, and announce his end for the world to see

This took shape of a declaration, he would undock in expensive spaceships and whoever destroyed him and took his worldly assets would be welcome to keep them

So, just like the days of old where fortune finders rushed out into the wasteland to claim the riches awaiting those who dared, people flocked to the system of Goinard to prove who was the boldest

In good time before the fight the followers of captain Mangala Solaris, a bandit gang known as RVB Ganked, announced their intent to grab the riches from the corpse of Nashh, and with the promise of at least a hundred pilots in attendance the system and its potential rewards, be it in money or potential for fighting started to lure hostiles in, like an open flames to us poor moths 

With Nashh’s industrial ship containing the riches symbolizing the means for him to end himself tackled and attacked, the first greedy profiteers started showing up on grid, first destroying the industrial and then turning on one another
This squandering rabble was an opportunity to cause havoc too juicy for the commanders of Shadowcartel to miss, and they made the call to jump six archons and a thanatos in together with a scattering of battleships and support to destroy some of the eager pilots and prepare for the Mangala Solaris onslaught

As sure as we all turn to dust in the end, the attack came, and a fierce firefight broke out around the still burning wreak of Nashh, smiling to himself from inside his capsule as It was targeted, almost as an afterthought, and obliterated and he finally found the oblivion he longed for, his part in this story now finally over
The fight in its early stages was frightfully one-sided, and the carriers and battleships of ShadowCartel held the field admirably, keeping up their merciless fire against the foaming rabble of the Ganknight hoard 

That cold contempt could not be allowed to stand, and we made the call to come through and reinforce the valiant tribal attackers with golden hulls of justice and promises of deliverance from the pains of existence

We flash into existence in a glorious series of red lightning bolts, a fleet of roughly seventeen absolution, pregnant pigeons of lightning-fast death and hatred, seven lokis armed with advanced immobilizing technologies and a scattering of zealots and guardians to keep us alive as well as one retarded gypsie-hurricane brought along for good fortune 
Leading us is the iron will of Hunlight, guiding us towards the enemy fleet with a vengeance only rivaled by the intense plasma furnace of a dying star, ruling the fleet with an iron fist
Together with us a complement of BALEX ships with murder in their minds come through, and together we set upon the 25 Shadowfed and 90 Ganknighthists still alive on grid

The system at this point is at 311 souls, and the lag is fucking atrocious (time-dialation at 85%)
Our movements are delayed, and it is as if we are watching a disaster in slow-motion, the missiles and beams streaking through space between the hostile forces and explosions tearing ships apart with sickening slowness, revealing all the gloriously hideous detail of deep space combat for our eyes to see

We immediately start taking on the ShadowCartel battleships, and though their armor repairs initially hold up we are able to burn through some of the less well-build Minmatar vessels
In the meantime a lot of us are taking opportunistic shoots at the wild hoards following Mangala Solaris, destroying many of the desperately firing but fragile frigates and cruisers who stray too close to the maelstrom of energy discharge that is the central field of battle

The call from Hunlught to “stop blapping the frigs and they won’t bother you” is made, and most of our pilots reply with a guilty “oops” and we concentrate back on the hostile carriers

This however proves fruitless, as eventually both sides stabilize and a mind game begins, a game of swapping targets and trying to split apart the close-knit group of hostile carriers who valiantly shrug off any attempts of our forces to break through their armor-tanks
In parallel to the Snuff/Swear and BALEX attempts to break through the carriers, several valiant skirmishing attacks from the ShadowCartel attempt to break through and disrupt our friendly formations are made, primarily using long range battlecrusiers, but they are forced off with catastrophic losses of their own for no damage inflicted

The fight has been going on for about half an hour in real time, but only like ten minutes or so have passed in game due to the massive time-dilation effects

Suddenly space is torn open in a vast display of tortured laws of physics as yet another fleet jumps through, forty battleships from Drunk and Disorderly, yet another group of privateers fighting for the Caldari state and their own profits arrive to shift the balance of the battle raging before them
They immediately set upon trying to break through the BALEX formation, but the time dilation and superior skill of the Balkan pilots make this an impossible task

A deadlock is now in place, four or five different groups of pilots are fighting one another and unable to dislodge the other grip

So a call is made
A call to ignore old wounds and damaged pride in order to avenge even older crimes, to disregard principle in order to avenge those stab wounds in our backs

A quick non-aggression pact between BALEX, Snuff, Swear and Drunk and Disorderly is formed, and we focus on trying to break through the ShadowCartel Carriers tanks as the random fleet of gank’ed mills around trying to find something weak enough to destroy, firing madly at anything and everything they can
We keep up our fire for a five or so minutes of in game time, something that feels like (and is) closer to twenty minutes of time passed on the outside

Realizing we can’t break through or disrupt them with what they have, drunk and disorderly arranges for a squadron of six dreadnoughts to be brought on field to end the carriers one and for all

After the dreadnoughts have been brought in the hostile carriers start slowly dipping downwards, and ShadowCartel, despite their best efforts, realize that the end is slowly creeping up on them from the weight of numbers
However, the end comes from an unexpected direction

A lone carrier warps into the middle of the maelstrom of destruction, and is called out as “uh-oh, PL carrier on grid” followed by a cheerful “well fuck” from Hunlight

The carrier lights up a cyno, and suddenly it’s surrounded by another twenty or so of its brethren, who deploy sentry drones and proceed to lay waste to whatever they can target

This is the signal to retreat for the friendly forces that are still able to do so, and even thought a fair number of people stay on the field holding their ground the carriers of the pandemic legion eventually overwhelms the support and start working on destroying the hostile carriers

Much to everyone’s surprise however, the ShadowCartel carriers are able to outlast the combined sentry gun damage from the hostile slowcat-formation
A tiny ember of hope starts to glow within the collective minds of the tackled ShadowCartel carriers and still immobilized Drunk and Disorderly dreadnoughts
Maybe there is still hope of deliverance?

The hope however is not long lived, but is crushed as 20 Pandemic Legion super carriers jump in and laugh fight bombers, finally ending the surviving capitals run for glory through the conflagration of massed compact torpedoes

In the end, the dust settles on a Goinard with over four hundred and thirty ships destroyed, massive values turned to ash over a pointless conflict ignited by a lone man’s desperation to not die alone

And those of us who fought and bleed on those fields of desolation, we would not have had it any other way.

MuffinsRevenger (taken from failheap)

Monday 5 November 2012

End of Days (part 1)

That hauler...

The fight escalated at several times, from frigs, to battleships, to dreads, carriers, then finally to supers. The peak population in Goinard hit 370, and TiDi dropped to 16%. Kills are still being posted, but early reports are showing at least 300 confirmed ship kills. 

At least 10 different alliances made an appearance, and many can be seen on the 187 people that managed to get onto the carrier mail.

It was a great party, but this morning I wake up feeling sad, the realisation that yet another good friend has left the game. Time to take stock, and enjoy the time and friends that we all have left. 

Nashh it's been an honour this last couple of years, and whilst we might not be able fly together again in New Eden again, I will make sure we share a glass or two.

Fly Safe my friend.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Nashh's Leaving Party

Goinard 21:00 Sunday 4th November

What are you doing with all that stuff Nashh?

Shit! he just undocked!