Tuesday 18 December 2012

PVP101 Guide - Typical day in the life of a PVP Pirate

I often get asked about what I actually do as a "pvp" player, this is a fairly typical account; You log on, if the alliance has plans you join in, otherwise you have to go out and make things happen. 

Last night started pretty slowly, the Alliance formed up to takeover a couple of POCO's we'd had already reinforced these two, so hopefully they would turn up to defend them. We knew they had access to Capitals and friends, so we were all looking forward to a good fight, but in the end they didn't even defend them, we deployed our own POCOs and went back to our staging system. 

The fleet fragmented and a few of us decided to take a roam to nullsec, we jumped through a wormhole deep into Tenal, and started to prowl around looking for a fight with Razor Alliance. To our disappointment they seemed largely inactive, choosing to stay cloaked, or hidden in their stations.  

As the fleets disbanded, I decided to take my Retribution back through the nullsec wormhole and see if I'd have better luck on my own. Cmore Tarasunami had the same idea, so we fleeted and headed back towards the entry system. My probing alt reported a Scorpion Navy in an anomaly, quickly dropping probes to  scan him, I was suprised to see a cruiser now on the scan at 100%, but the scorpion gone, disappointed I warped in solo to hopefully see the battleship come back to save his friend. He didn't. 
Following the SNI pilot next door, I was surprised to see the bellicose alt's capsule on scan, but not in local. So with no sign of the shiny battleship, we reminded the cruiser pilot about log off timers then dived off through the wormhole. 

Two assault frigates can cover a lot of ground, so we decided the best option was to set our home system as destination, and race down the pipes hoping to find a fight, largely just expecting to die. 

To our disappointment most of the systems were empty, the area was actually so peaceful that some people think it's safe to go AFK on stargates in Falcons, this is always a bad idea, no matter how secure your space is, you never know who might stroll past and say hello

We carried on burning towards lowsec, passing a few abandoned drag bubble camps, and ended up in M-0 with it's lowsec gate to Taisey, expecting a large camp again, I was surprised to find only a Dramiel who didn't want to fight, I burned him to 50% structure before he could get to the Taisey Stargate. And Lord's Servant, who was flying a Tornado, and being skirmish boosted by an offgrid legion. I managed to land within 90km of him, and burned out towards him, I wasn't overly surprised as his web hit me about 17km and I ended up burning out my MWD whilst Cmore tried to get within scram range, forced to let the Tornado go, I dived back into Taisey to rep up, and we decided to go back the 17 jumps to the wormhole, maybe we'd find something else to play with. 

As we came back to S-EVIQ we saw the same 30+ people in local, but this time there was a cyno up, and a rifter on scan! A few Razor undocked and proceeded to try and look mean in an Astarte and Bhalgorn. We just sat 60km away on the other side of the station and waited for something more interesting to undock. Eventually an Ashimmi, Dramiel and a few other small ships came out, we warped off to the stargate, and then started MWDing towards the next gate, as they came into system we warped, Cmore jumped immediately and I waited hoping to split some of them up with aggression timers. The Dramiel pilot jumped straight through whilst the shiny cruiser shot me on this side, I promptly jumped leaving him stranded for 1 minute and we melted the Dramiel who choose stupidly to engage. 

We tried a few different combinations to get them split up, eventually Cmore kept them interested in the WH system, and I jumped back into lowsec to get a something to kill the Ashimmi, we led them to the wormhole system the idea being was to get the Ashimmi aggressed then surprise it by jumping the Brutix in. When that didn't work, and with time getting late we jumped back into lowsec happy with our little roam. Passing a T1 cruiser on a gate, obvious bait of course, I switched back to the Retribution, and proceeded to swallow the bait loosing the little assault ship, proving once more that I'm a sucker for bait.

Time for bed. o7

Tuesday 11 December 2012

PVP101 Guide - Knowledge is Power

You'll hear EVE described as rock paper scissors, and to some extent it is true. For every ship there is a counter, the reason that good pilots become great is they understand the strengths and weakness of their own ship, and that of their opponents. 

Choosing the fights where you stand a chance of winning, and running from any fights where you have no chance. There is no shame in running from a fight you can't possibly win. So how do you build up a knowledge of EVE combat fits? Part of it is experience, the more often you fight, the more you learn, the better you get. But it's not just about flying your own ship that you need to understand, you need to know what other people can do, you can't possibly have skills for every ship in the game, so you need a way of comparing them. There are a couple of free tools that allow you to do exactly that, to build fits for ships and to compare them, with your own skills, and that of a higher or maxed player.

EFT or EVE Fitting Tool, built and maintained by the pilot Gripen, this has been the mainstay of most pilots for as long as I have been flying. It's very easy to use, with a clear interface, can store your API details so that you can see how the ship will work with your pilots skillset. 

Evefit started life as Python fitting advisor, it's an open souce project very similar to EFT (in fact I believe it came about due to Gripen going inactive for a while, and the need for an updated version of EFT). EVEfit does now appear to have a larger development team, and publishes updates faster. 

Both allow implants, and fleet bonus's to be calculated. Both allow importing and exporting from the EVE client.  If someone links you a fit in game which looks good, save it in your personal collection, then you can later export it to your chosen fitting tool. To a large extent it doesn't matter which one you use, as long as you are comfortable with it, and know how to use it.

There are also several very active community forums in EVE, these are not directly related to any one alliance or play style. 

Has a large dedicated fittings section and repository, any person can upload their fits, and allows other people to comment on, give advice on improvements, and has a rating system for fits. Fits are displayed clearly on their own page, with a graphical interface, and an internal search engine allows accurate search based on ships, and tags. It allows exporting into EFT/Evefit, by searching the existing fittings database and reading the comments you can start building up your own collection of "good fits" to experiment with. As with any community it attracts trolls, so don't take anything personally. As a rule of thumb searching previous fits prior to posting is a good idea, you'll often find that a similar fit has already been posted. Overall Battleclinic is still quite noob friendly. 

Often refered to as the bastard stepchild of Scrapheap-Challenge, a community of bitter vets, and trolls. Failheap is however an source of excellent information, and tactics, and quality knowledge. Many of the regulars have been playing EVE since it's origins. It isn't always the most friendly of places, and stupid or noob questions can result in mild to serious flaming. 
That being said, I still advocate joining and having a poke about in their ship setup hanger, and piloting in practice forums. The fittings section is based around a normal forum rather than battleclinic's own graphical display pages, fit's are usually posted in a format readily copied into EFT/Evefit, but finding individual fits can involve trawling lots of posts. 

Run and moderated by CCP this is the interal EVE forum, in order to post you must have an active EVE account, posting is by character name, so many pilots prefer posting with an Alt char, rather than their main. A good source of technical information and it's worth following the test server forums for planned changes to ships and modules. 

Not a forum, but a collection of blogs all related to EVE online, quality of information and advice varies from blog to blog, but the amount of knowledge freely given is astounding. Find a few blogs that deal with your playstyle and follow them. 

An amazing source of intelligence, as eventually everyone dies, and those losses are often recorded on one of the main out of game killboard. All modules are displayed for all to see, that secret winning fit, now published. By looking over the kills and losses of experienced pilots you can see how they fit their ships, and what they died to. Copy some of their fits into EFT/Evefit, see how they stack up against each other.

The two main killboards are:

The more you read, the more you start to learn. 
Knowledge truly is power.

Thursday 6 December 2012

PVP101 Guide: How do I start in PvP?

I get ask often about how to get started in PVP, what to fly, where to go, who to fight.
PVP in Eve seems daunting at first, many pilots first experience with it are a brief and painful introduction, this can put some people off for life, or make them want to learn how and then get revenge.

Take this chap for instance, Night Hawk Star 11 days old, and out in a destroyer in lowsec.

To be honest he even looks a little fresh in the face, a happy smiley chap, flying his Catalyst into lowsec to shoot at the more valuable Rats. Probably to gain a little extra money to buy a larger ship. His fate like so many before him was to be vaporised in a fight he could not possible have won.
I don't feel bad about it, I'm a pirate, and I enjoy the game by killing everything I can. It's a cheap learning experience for him, and hopefully he'll realise that over the next few days, in time maybe he'll come back and kill me. I'd be more than happy for that to happen, through I'd never make it easy.

His mistake was simple, he assumed that people would not kill him because he was young, so he ignored the warning from concord and jumped into lowsec. He was spotted in local immediately, and directionally scanned in a few seconds to the belts, before he'd finished killing his first rat, he was being destroyed by a Wolf class assault ship.

Situational awareness is the first step in PvP. 
You have to understand what's going on in space around you, if he'd have hit his d-scan button he'd have seen several ships active in local, he'd could have checked a few names of the 20 pilots in local channel and instantly have realised that virtually everyone in system was -10 security status, and most where in the same alliance. This is situation which should strike caution for any pilot.

It takes no skill points to be able to scout a system, by checking the pilots in local, you can gain a rough understanding of who's here, who's likely to be with who.

When entering a system I always perform 2 simple checks:
1. Local channel - how many people are in system, are any red/blue or otherwise known to me.
2. D-scan - Pressing the D-scan button tells you what ships are in space within 14au.

If you start to hunt in the same systems, you start to build up a map in your head of the area, and the pilots within it. You'll also start to get an idea of which ships are "pos trash" and can usually be ignored. Many pilots in eve are quite territorial, preferring to roam across a few solar systems, partly this is logistics, having lots of different ships for different roles is vital in lowsec piracy, and you have to keep them somewhere usually the same place as others in your corporation or alliance "home" partly it's time. Pirates like to be close to the action, like big cat's in Africa you can usually find pirates where there is prey. This might mean a static DED plex, a mission agent, or even a skillbook station. Often it's a combination of these, and other factors, a central location between other lowsec corporations or faction warfare regions, anywhere where lots of fights can happen.

This is the first in a series of guides, hopefully they will be of use to you. For more advanced scouting and an explanation of the directional scanner, please check out these to a couple of my other guides.



Retribution and Crimewatch

So far so good, I'm loving the current crimewatch Mechanics, that being said I'm sure that they will change over the next few weeks, as I will explain at the end. 

I flew Guardian for an alliance roam last night, something that despite having the skills to do so, haven't had much experience with. Something about not wanting to miss out on kills, and being responsible for keeping everyone one alive!

That being said it was a fun roam, and we managed some good kills. 

A gang booster, who wasn't paying attention, and allowed himself to get bumped off gate... oops
A very shiny, and rather suicidal Machariel who landed 100 off the gate, and then didn't realise quite how far a proteus can point, we got screwed on the loot :(
And finally just on the way home a hero falcon pilot, who used his 250m falcon, to rescue a 150m battleship by warping in at zero... like a boss! 

But the thing I noticed more than ever from the previous times I've flow logi was the lack of work between fights. Previously as soon as the first kill is made (or attempted) the Guardian pairs have to keep everyone repped up on gates, as the gate guns constantly cycle between the GCC ships sitting on gate waiting to jump. 
Now as soon as you left the gate and moved to the next there was no one to rep! Also drones are basically off the menu for Sentries, which enables the guardians to happily whore on everything without fear of loosing them. 

This is a massive buff to lowsec drone ships such as the vexor/myrmidon, who traditionally have not been able to fight effectively on gates and stations. 

Something else I hadn't realised the full implication of was the sentries only fire on you for a sec status loosing event. Ie the initial aggression flag, when you become a suspect. This is a massive buff for frigates and small ships that normally can't go anywhere near a gate once they had GCC. 
Now you all probably understand that you can shoot someone on a gate gaining sentry aggro, warp off to a pounce, and come back to shoot them again without sentry aggro! 
You mean you didn't know that? Well you do now... 
Several frigates/cruisers can potentially camp a gate by tackling and then using a bounce just out of sentry gun range. But what if your solo? How can you use this mechanic to your advantage? 

As a frigate pilot I have helplessly watched several freighters, and valuable prize ships head off down a pipe in the opposite direction to my main hanger, unable to reship into something that I could have tackled them in, I'm forced to report them in intel and let them go. Knowing that prize will probably escape the corp. 

This is all set to change, the current mechanic allows me to create aggression on them on a gate by shooting them, before warping off before the sentries destroy my fragile craft. Now I have just gained something vital on the other ship: Aggression. I now have 15 mins to find and tackle him on a gate or station, the best part? because I have already paid the sec status penalty I do not loose sec status for re-initiating combat... no sentry guns will fire on me if I tackle him again within 15mins.

Thank you CCP, I will now have your babies.

Tuesday 4 December 2012


1.5gB of love heading your way. 

Welcome to Retribution..

CCP making another excellent trailer!