Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Small gang warfare report: last second save and kill

Yesterday our FC organized a corp roam, and they were about to leave our home system just as I logged on. They could use some extra dps, so I grabbed my Harbinger and undocked. Leaving E-YJ8G we cautiously made our way in the direction of Providence, our two forward scouts trying to find something to shoot at. We could have done without the caution though, as there was nothing to shoot! A ratting Gila vanished from dscan right after our forward scout noticed him; a ratting Navy Issue Raven disappeared as well. Some neutral or hostile frigates moved in the area but nothing we could sink our teeth in. Near YWS0-Z things changed rapidly though. One of our forward scouts ran into a gatecamp, and given the size of the hostile fleet there and the eagerness with which they pursued us, there we had little choice but to turn and get out as fast as possible! One of our forward scouts didn't make it unfortunately; he got killed and podded. He dryly reported 'I'm back in Essence guys, I'm out for the night'.

I have fond memories of YWS0-Z, by the way. It was our first place of residence in nullsec, after The Star Fraction  turned it into a Freeport in the middle of 2010. We were real nullsec n00bs back then.. we learned through some painful losses :-)

While en route home (and apparently no longer chased) we found a small bubble, left behind by some friendlies and we decided to camp it for a bit. We play hide and seek with a neutral Stabber who avoids the bubble but keeps popping up hundred or two hundred kilometer away. We burn to him, he warps out, he warps back in, we burn to him et cetera. A neutral Enyo is doing the same, warping from safe spots to tacs off the gate, landing in different places each time.

We ignore the Enyo and focus on the Stabber when (newly bought toon) Simon Jenkins, who's flying a Stabber Fleet issue himself, reports he's close enough to engage him. The Stabber pilot, apparently confident he can take out the Stabber Fleet issue before we arrive, returns the favor and the fight is on. Simon, sure of our support, engages and points the hostile, but we're not even aligned yet and he's losing shields rapidly. And armor. And structure.. he's yelling on TeamSpeak, KIILL HIM! KILL HIM! I'M IN STRUCTURE!. My calm reply that I have the hostile pointed didn't help much, it just results in more yelling and verbal abuse :-) Finally, with the help of my lasers and drones, the neutral Stabber exploded, leaving Simon intact with perhaps 30% structure left. We exchanged 'gf' in local, commented on each others fittings. Phew, that was close. And then..

One of our other pilots noticed how the Enyo (yes, he was still darting about) was in the exact same spot he had been in a while ago; a spot our pilot had bookmarked earlier. We had a warp in! I barely had time to loot the Stabber wreck before Alexander called us to warp to him: in his Rapier, he had a good chance at pointing and webbing the Enyo before he could warp out again. And it works! Alexander and Magister Wu land on top of the Enyo, and Magister Wu points him before he can move.. But just when most of us land on the Enyo, about ten hostiles jump through the nearby gate and make their way to their beleaguered friend. It's a trap! 'Such a shame', I think, 'the Enyo is already through most of his shields'. Right at this moment I land on top of the Enyo, virtually at the same moment as his first friends, and think: 'I might as well fire my lasers at him while I align and warp out. If I get pointed I may even take out the Enyo before dying.'
By this time most of our guys were away and safe, it's just Patris Angelus in his Stabber Fleet issue, me in my Harbinger and the hostiles. Patris is pointed and shooting the Enyo; strangely enough no one is pointing me, so I am free to warp. And just when I do, I see the Enyo explode in a glorious ball of fire! Patris got out too as well: as it turns out, it was only the Enyo who was pointing him and when the Enyo exploded he got out immediately.
 It was a trap, and we fell for it - but it backfired badly at those who set the trap. Next time, bring more points guys.. Lots of hilarity on our TeamSpeak, lots of virtual pats on backs. 

We saved Simon's Stabber Fleet Issue at the last moment, we killed the Enyo in the last second. Of course these aren't monumental battles but it sure was fun!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Some images of the new Gnosis

With a few minutes spare time left, I decided to log on to Singularity and check out some of the new stuff currently available there: the new infopanels, the Jove battlecruiser Gnosis and the ability to show your actual route in space.

I didn't bother to test fittings on the Gnosis. Kirith has a nice writeup if that's your thing; I am not really an EFT warrior. I was primarily interested in the ship's looks. Let's look at a few screenshots!

Gnosis silhouetted against an ice planet
Ok, question. If you've never seen or flown this ship before, would you know which part is front or back? Is it dragging a heavy load, or rather pushing it through space?

Front end
Turns out the big baggy part is actually the front end; the circle and spokes part is the backside. Based on the looks of the Jove Apotheosis shuttle I would have thought the spikes and spokes would have been placed at the front side, but obviously CCP has the artistic freedom to make another choice.

Had the spike and spokes part been the bow of the ship, it really would have had a spider and web feel to it, with it's combination of organic lines and straight spikes. Plus, spiders too carry the bulk of their mass behind them.

As it is now, the bulk of the ship is at the the bow, being pushed through space. It looks a bit like a pipe, or those large wooden horns used in the Swiss mountains for instance. Or a shovel. I'm not used to it yet and am definitely not sure whether I will, really. My son said it like this: 'that is one ugly ship!'

the Jove smoke a pipe

The golden color of the ship strongly reminds me of Amarr ships. In New Eden's lore, the Amarr suffer their first big defeat at the hands of the ancient and superior Jove, shortly after the dark ages ended and the Amarr began to build their interstellar empire. Did the Amarr copy the Jove's ship color?

Apparently there's no consistent color palette for Jove; several other examples of Jovian ships have a rather greenish look, for instance this Eidolon. The Enigma frigate is often shown red, while the Apotheosis does indeed resemble the Gnosis in terms of color.

Gnosis near a star

Showing your route through space, from star to star, is indeed an amusing new feature. The color lines are rather faint and could be a bit more prominent, if the intended goal is to enhance immersion.

spot the waypoint stars

Last year CCP tilted or turned all stargates, so that they would actually point in the direction of the destination star systems. With this feature enabled, you can even see the next star system, and the next, and the next.. To me this has one unintended side effect: New Eden feels smaller if you can see five or six jumps ahead!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Two hundred boots on the ground in Halle

While gathering some stuff in highsec with one of my alts, I jumped into Halle. And was greeted by this:

Nice, a hundred foot soldiers in Halle; it grew to over a hundred a bit later. Somewhere a nice fight is brewing! But apparently it hasn't started yet: they are currently all docked! I didn't know that they could :-)

 I didn't expect these guys up here just yet. Now if only that damn door would open..

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The virtual world grows

As Jester tends to say, 'just a quicky'.

Today CCP announced that on January 10, they will connect their new FPS game Dust 514 to the existing Eve Online server cluster, Tranquility. A unique event!

Recently, CCP has repeatedly billed Eve Online as a virtual world, rather than 'just' a game. It's a sentiment I recognize: when I grew tired of other virtual worlds back in May 2008, I specifically went looking for a space based virtual world - and I ended up in Eve Online.

On January 10 2013, that virtual world is set to grow in unique and very interesting ways. From a technological point of view, the mixing of PC based and PS3 based environments on one massive server cluster such as Tranquility is certainly innovative. And from a gameplay perspective, the same is pretty much true, for the same reasons. The coming months will be very interesting, to say the least.

One thing I noticed in the devblog linked above, is that CCP advises Eve Online pilots to use Destroyers for the to be released variants of orbital strikes or bombardments, and you'll need small turrets to fire the 'S' labeled ammo. That certainly lowers the entry barrier for Eve pilots to participate in Dust gameplay! in earlier trailers, we'd see expensive Dreadnaughts delivering the pain from above. Destroyers, by contrast, are very easy to train for and cheap to buy. It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Dust mercenaries create Eve Online pilot accounts just to be able to do the orbital bombardment stuff themselves.

I know that there are Eve pilots who really dislike the fact that CCP puts development effort in something - anything - that can't undock from a space station. Personally, I applaud CCP for pursuing such an innovative strategy. As with any CCP initiative that aims to grow and sustain my favorite virtual world, I hope it will succeed!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Blog Banter 43: talking back to Makalu

At the turn of the year in meatspace, award season starts to spin up. Across the general media, folk are encouraged to look to their peers and recognise excellence and inspiration from the previous year.

For the past two years I have attempted to do the same for EVE by distributing imaginary Free Boot Awards to an eclectic assortment of community luminaries. This year I thought it might be nice to expand the concept.

For Blog Banter 43 I would like to invite every participant to nominate their peers for whatever awards you think they deserve. Let's start the year with some EVE-flavoured altruism and celebrate the best and the worst of us, the funniest or the most bizarre, the most heroic of the most tragic of the past year. They could be corpmates, adversaries, bloggers, podcasters, developers, journalists or inanimate objects. Go nuts.

There's only one rule: no narcissism allowed (so step away from that mirror and resist the urge to nominate yourself).

Other than that, if it's great, let's celebrate.

Banter On.


Here's my nominations for 2012!

Each nation needs a Jester!
What’s a court without a jester? As an irregular blogger myself, I can’t help but admire the output created by Ripard Teg, in terms of both quantity and quality. I can’t always establish whether he’s right or wrong on certain issues, but his writing is clear, easily readable, always entertaining and often thought provoking. His guides and fits are helpful to many a pilot. He is a very visible part of the Eve community and capable of influencing the public opinion in important ways. As such, he wholly deserves a nomination.

My corp mates
This may sound very cheesy, but from my perspective my corp mates deserve a mention: they have shaped my Eve year 2012, perhaps more than they realize. Most of us have flown together for years now. They have been loyal friends, supportive and (mostly ;-) )fun to be around. They have also been effective and efficient: we regularly dominated our alliances' killboard, even though we were one of the smaller corps. Frankly, without these guys I might have unsubbed ages ago. Eve Online is a game, it's a sandbox, it's a virtual world - but above all it's a place where I meet my friends. And then we undock to kill stuff :-)

Talking back to Makalu
We currently witness the fall of Against All Authorities, or at least a severe diminishing of their numbers and operational capabilities in the short term. This will probably go down in the annals of Eve history as an important moment, when one of the last independent nullsec alliances' might was broken.

With our previous alliance we were firmly in the -A- camp. Back in 2011 this was a good thing; after the DRF invasion of Catch, late in 2011, we took part in the -A- guerrilla war to reconquer Catch. We had a great time and it remains one of my most cherished Eve memories. In the second half of 2012 however the honeymoon was definitely over. More and more of my corporation and alliance mates didn't want to fly in -A- fleets anymore, often because of the oafish behaviour of Makalu Zarya. A prime example is his infamous 'You don't talk back to triple A' rant, available on Soundcloud (the juicy part starts at 1.45 minutes).

A lot of the animosity regarding-A- was caused by this kind of behaviour towards those who should nominally be your friends and allies. Against All Authorities could have been the admired underdog of Eve, the brave lone alliance fighting the CFC and HBC, but instead they grew to be loathed even by large parts of their own coalition. To me Makalu Zarya, though obviously not singlehandedly responsible, personifies all that was wrong with Against All Authorities in 2012; all that helped a once great alliance to it's demise. I am nominating him for a place in the Eve Online 2012 history books.