Member of the EVE Tweet Fleet

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Stages of War

Earlier this week, our two high sec wars ended. One expired normally after the first week; the other was retracted a few days after it renewed for week #2. Not because we did anything exceptional to make them run away, but more likely because their war with EM was offset a few days from all the secondary wars they had going with our allies. In that sense, it made good tactical sense to continue the war for a few days so we couldn’t act as neutral Logi support for our friends against them. These two wars kicked off an almost automated response from me, and I’m realizing now that there are some very specific things I have done in the past (and was planning to do again) in response to high sec wars. So, without giving away any trade secrets, let’s have a look at the 4 stages of high sec wardec response I personally employ. It’s entirely possible that most experienced pilots react like this, so I might be just be talking to myself, but I’m going to post it anyway.

Stage 1 – Initial Reaction
This stage is the one you hear about the most; How to react to a wardec. You sit down, log in, click on that flashy envelope and… “Crap, we’ve just been wardec’d.” The smart pilot sees this and immediately begins adjusting their plans and operations to ensure their security. You’re going to wrap up your mission running and park that faction-fit Battleship. You cancel or move up that planned freighter trip to Rens. Basically, you end up shutting down nearly all of your highsec carebear operations. Hopefully, your Corporation or Alliance has plans to fight back, in which case you might need to move some combat ships to a staging system, maybe restock you ammunition reserves. At the very least, you should be learning what you can about your new enemy. It doesn’t matter if that means you go dig up the information yourself, review any intel files your corp/alliance might keep, or use a site like EveWho(Note: I haven’t used EveWho personally, so I can’t offer any comments as to its quality). The important thing here is to have some idea of what you’re going to be facing. Once you’ve finished all this, it’s time to lean back and take a deep breath, because next it’s war!

Stage 2 – Engagement and Avoidance
OK, your war is “live”, time to start shooting people in the face! Your corporation is running fleets and is engaging the enemy. You’re being smart, traveling in groups and using proper scouting techniques. Oh look, the new guy just lost another Rupture ratting in a belt, FLEET UNDOCK, IT MUST BE AVENGED!!!! When the fleets are out hunting, you’re doing what you can to prepare yourself for the next fight. Maybe you need a replacement ship, so you’re moving carefully, or contracting with independent shippers to get that ship in to the warzone. The important bit here is, you’re not running around alone, thinking you’re invincible. If you’re not killing the enemy, your goal is to avoid the one-sided engagement. I believe the colloquial term is “gank”. Even when you move on to stage 3 and 4, Engagement and Avoidance will continue to be your Standard Operating Procedure until the war is completely over.

Stage 3 – ISK Replenishment
There are any number of ways that you can generate income without using your primary pilot. Maybe you have a stable of PI alts, maybe you’ve got a market whore, or maybe you just buy ETC and sell PLEX whenever you need ISK. But some of us still rely on our mains for a significant percentage of our ISK or, shock of shocks, only have one account/character. My preferred method for income generation during a war is to just move to low security space. I know what you’re thinking, “But Thansoli, lowsec is a dangerous, scary place!! There’s pirates wearing funny hats waiting on the other side of every gate to shoot me and take my cookies!!” Well, that’s not really true. The pirates are around, sure. But with a little prior planning, you can mitigate those risks and still make acceptable cash hiding out in lowsec. 

Personally, I have several lowsec hidey holes I can make use of (and have). One is a quiet corner that doesn’t see lots of traffic. It’s a constellation that’s good for exploration, the cash isn’t superb, but it keeps me in Exotic Dancers. Some nights I find combat sites, some nights I end up gas harvesting. (Yeah, gas harvesting.) One of my other options is to move out to a well-protected, friendly lowsec pocket where I can run level 4 missions almost as though I was in highsec. A move out to lowsec can also be refreshing, especially during a long war.

Stage 4 – Recovery
The war is ending, hooray!! There’s not really a whole lot to this stage. For some pilots it involves unplugging for a few days and getting some sun (always a good idea). Otherwise, it’s time to resume your normal operations and dust off that faction-fit Battleship. If you’ve lost ships during the war, it’s a good idea to get them replaced as soon as ISK allows and get them reset in your common staging system. Because you never know, the next war could be right around the corner!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The #tweetfleet takes GCC.

Yesterday saw a flurry of activity amongst the #tweetfleet, debating and discussing a number of specifics surrounding the system CCP refers to as CrimeWatch. CrimeWatch is the system that handles all of the consequences (and rewards) associated with criminal activity. This means every GCC, sec status hit (or gain), killmail, wardec, corp aggression... You get the idea. It's a topic that has been beaten to death by half the blogosphere, at least two CSMs, and it's been mentioned once or twice by CCP. I'm sure I'll make some duplicate points, Rixx Javix and I see pretty much eye to eye on the subject, but I'll at least try to be original in my presentation.

The problem with most of CrimeWatch is that it’s completely unbiased in its execution. Regardless of the WHY, if you shoot first, then you’re the criminal and must take the penalty. It’s that question, “Why?”, that intrigues me the most. I am a member of Electus Matari. This means that, in addition to supporting the Republic against the Amarr, I defend Republic space against the likes of Rixx Javix and other unwashed pirate scum, regardless of any hat-related public services they may provide. This is not as easy as it sounds. We frequently prowl the seedier areas of low security space, hunting down the denizens of society and shooting them in the face whenever we can.

But not all pirates are considered formal outlaws. An outlaw (someone with less than -4.9 security status) can be shot at by anyone, without repercussions. It’s really one of the few bits of the system that makes any sense. But there more than a few “pirates” that work to maintain a reasonable security status. Maybe they like to do their shopping themselves, maybe they like mining on the weekends, who’s to say? The bottom line is, I know they’re a pirate, they’re always running around doing piratey things, but I can’t shoot them first without being labeled a criminal in my own right for 15 minutes.

It’s been suggested (on more than one occasion) that the playerbase should be given the tools to properly police the space lanes ourselves. Among the ideas was sometime of “Sheriff”, where a player could sign up to directly police Empire space. It’s an interesting idea, and one that I could support if it was implemented correctly. That being said, Rixx really has the right stopgap measure, reduce the GCC timer down to 5 or 10 minutes. The entire CrimeWatch system needs a massive overhaul and, if memory serves, CCP agrees. But considering how many things the system touches and interacts with, it’s a massive undertaking. Not only in the coding, but in the QA process. While I encourage CCP to take the plunge and get a team working on Crimewatch, I’d really like to see a GCC reduction in the meantime.

Opponents of a GCC reduction say that such a reduction would put the “bear” population at greater risk and further reduce bear activities in low security space. Sorry, but I’ve got to wave the BS flag on that one. Your average highsec bear already avoids lowsec like the plague because they choose to avoid PvP combat. It wouldn’t matter if GCC was 30 minutes long, because the pirates would STILL hunt down and shoot the bears. So GCC doesn’t actually prevent any violence in lowsec, it just annoys and inconveniences people who choose to engage in PvP. With that in mind, I do not support shortening GCC in high security space. I think the 15 minute punishment for “suicide ganking” in high sec is a reasonable, appropriate response. The big problem with that point of view is, yet again, the CrimeWatch system. If I’m remembering a recent dev blog correctly, the timer length has to be the same regardless of space security, only the punishment changes. Which brings us back to a major overhaul of CrimeWatch… *sigh*

There’s not going to be a single solution that pleases everybody. Most players, even the highsec-only SuperBears, will agree that changes need to be made to the combat systems that apply outside of nullsec space. It’s a major undertaking, and one that would likely require 2 full development cycles to handle properly. CCP needs to make a pretty major directional shift back to the Flying in Space game before they’ll have the resources to pull it off. But I think it’s something that needs to happen. Before I sign off, I’d like to thank Rixx Javix, Garheade, Logan Fyreite, Marc Scaurus, @EVE_Tyen, and the entire #tweetfleet for yesterday’s discussion/back and forth. It was a lot of fun and I honestly look forward to proving you all wrong at some point in the future.

For the Republic.

EDIT: CCP_Fallout has most graciously helped me find the dev blog I was thinking about when I wrote all this. Turns out it never mentions that bit about the GCC timers needing to be the same between lowsec and highsec. So I was talking our of my a$$ right there. Sorry about that. Maybe Mord will let me borrow one of his research assistants...

Monday, August 22, 2011


About a week ago, a COA anti-pirate fleet ran into (and killed) a Loki belonging to a GOD SQUAD director/CEO. How do I know he was a CEO? Because GOD SQUAD had filed a wardec with CONCORD before we could even get the killmail posted. Good Times..

The war progressed as most high security wars do. They ganked young pilots in Rens and industrialists not paying attention. Smack was talked in local and in a few Evemails, pretty standard stuff. About three days in to the war, apparent GOD SQUAD buddies The Devil's Warrior Alliance decided to join in on the war, making things down right interesting.

This brings us to Wednesday night, and another COA anti-pirate roam. The fleet was pretty well varied in ship composition, best described as "shield tanked with nano aspirations." The roam had been largely uneventful, although we did catch one GOD SQUAD Hurricane that blind jumped through a region gate in to our waiting fleet. Needless to say, he died. Shortly after his death, our scouts spotted a GOD SQUAD Proteus sitting on the Osoggur gate in Amamake. Is anyone else spotting the potential problem with this engagement yet? Osoggur is high security space, and the GOD SQUAD have a well earned reputation for using neutral logistics support. It should have stood to reason that this Proteus was a little bit of bait, and the rest of their "Ow, my face" fleet would likely be waiting on the other side of the gate.

The FC sent one of our Tempest's in to Amamake to engage the Proteus and get him to agress so the rest of the fleet could come screaming in to whore on to the killmail...I assist in the kill.... The point was called and the attack order was given. As soon as our fleet landed and engaged the Proteus... Oh look, local spike. Joy. To call the resulting battle one sided would be an understatement. I never got a clear count myself, but by all accounts the GOD SQUAD brought at least six Logistics cruisers and eight T3 cruisers to the party. When combined with a number of piloting failures by the members of our fleet (myself included) and the half dozen high damage Proteus', we died. Horrible, painful deaths. That pretty much eviscerated that particular fleet, the only action of note after the Amamake fight being when we blind jumped (WTF??) in to the highsec island of Anher, right in to a reformed GOD SQUAD fleet of battlecruisers. Somehow, miraculously, the one other remaining -EM- pilot in the fleet made it back to the gate in his Tempest, and I was easily able to burn back in my replacement Hurricane. After a few minutes bouncing safes in Hagilur, we broke out to highsec and the fleet stood down.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. Our war with the GOD SQUAD is set to end in about 5 hours, and -EM- leadership put out the call to both the Alliance and our allies to form up the mighty Alpha Maelstrom fleet! The plan was to park our fleet 50km off the Rens undock and camp GOD SQUAD in to their favorite station for a few hours before the official war ended. It seems our other Republic wartargets, The Devil's Warrior Alliance (Remember them?), wanted to come play!! We spent the next hour and a half bouncing around near Rens, trying to get an engagement on our terms. There was concern that the Devil's and GOD SQUAD would be teaming up, and might be trying to pincer our long range alpha fleet. Eventually the Devil's forced the issue, jumping their AHAC/Absolution/Guardian fleet in to ours in Sasta. We were in ideal position to pick apart their fleet, when they made a move that was, in my opinion, brilliant. They warped to a close, but off-grid, tactical safe, then immediately turned around and used their out of alliance scouts to warp in directly on top of our fleet. At that close range, they should have been able to tear our fleet apart, but the EXCELLENT work of our logistics pilots was able to keep everyone's shields repped up. Our Maelstroms managed to pull range and began to chew through their fleet, eliminating their in-alliance Guardian support (they had more out of alliance) before tearing in to the HACs and their Falcon support. By the time we were moving on to the Absolutions, Devil's made the wise decision to withdraw, and a lack of sufficient long point capability in our fleet allowed them to escape.

Once we were able to clear the field and sort through our combat records, the battle again looked pretty one-sided, but this time in OUR favor. Now, that battle report is admittedly not 100% accurate. -EM- also lost a Falcon, but that killmail does not appear to have been posted publicly and, in the interest of OpSec, I won't reveal that particular Falcon pilot's name here. Despite the Tempest loss earlier in the week, I'm definitely pleased with the overall result of the past week. I certainly learned some new things about Alpha Fleets, and I was painfully reminded how to properly fly a Nanopest.

I'm still pretty new at this whole blogging thing, and this is my first combat report. I'd love to hear any feedback you all might have in the comments section below.

For The Republic!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Obligitory Skills Post

I’ve tried a couple of times to write a new post over the last week and a half. First it was going to be an After Action Report for one of the most entertaining roams I’ve ever participated in, then it was going to be about Anti-Piracy, then it was NRDS vs. NBSI… In every case, I’d get about a paragraph and a half, then forget the overall point I was trying to make and the post would fall apart. So, in the interest of keeping some posts flowing, I’m going to fall back on some Eve Blog Oldies. First up is the Skill Point analysis. I realize it’s not the most exciting of subjects, but it seems to be a popular one. So let’s get to it.

Clicky to Embiggen

Here’s the graph for Thansoli, who currently sits at just over 27 million total skill points. As you can see, Spaceship Command and Gunnery figure heavily into my point disbursement. The reason for this is quite simple. I initially created Thansoli as Caldari because a friend told me Caldari were awesome and had this great ship called the Drake that I could “totally kick ass with”. *sigh* This is what happens when you take ship advice from the most bearish of Empire Mission Bears. Since discovering the joys of capsuleer on capsuleer violence, and even trying to do some small gang work in the Drake, I have realized that Neo had it right; “Guns… Lots of guns…” So a few months ago, I decided to completely abandon the race of my birth and focus purely on Minmatar ships and weapon systems. At this point, my Minmatar skills far and away eclipse any capabilities I might have in a Caldari vessel. Let’s take a look at the major category breakdowns:

Drones – 915,231
My drone skills really suck. It’s a failing in my training that I’ve just come to accept. Caldari and Minmatar hulls don’t really rely on drone damage, so I’m able to get by with flights of Warrior and Valkyrie IIs, or the occasional *gasp* Hornet EC-300’s. Don’t tell Wensley.

Electronics – 2,629,300
There’s a lot of different stuff in the Electronics category, and I think I’ve got a smattering of all of it. My scanning skills are abysmal; I don’t even think I can get 5 probes in space. But my Electronic Warfare skills are good enough to undock  a T2 fit Scorpion with decent jamming strength and range, should the need arise. I’ll come back to the jamming skills if I ever decide to train Caldari Cruiser V and get in to a Falcon.

Engineering – 1,594,406
As a pilot of mostly shield tanked ships, I’m definitely lacking in this category. In addition to housing all of the shield skills, Engineering is also the home of the mighty capacitor skills, and really, who doesn’t want to complete their Core Capacitor Elite Certificate. When I talk about fleshing out underdeveloped skills, you can bet I’ll be looking here.

Gunnery – 6,989,885
GUNNERY, MIGHTY GUNNERY!! Apparently I wasn’t kidding around when I decided to switch to Minmatar ships and weapon systems. Most of the Gunnery support skills are already at level V, including Advanced Weapon Upgrades, and I have the ability to fit T2 Artillery and T2 Autocannons up to and including Battleship sized weapons.

Industry – 2,261,020
I am so ashamed. Mining V, Ice Harvesting V, Gas Harvesting V, Refining V, and Refinery Efficiency V. Plus I’ve already purchased and injected the processing specialization skills for all 15 ore types. If you were to peak in to Spaceship Command, you’d find Mining Barge V and Exhumers IV trained, too. On the plus side….on second thought, there is no plus side to Thansoli having all these trained.

Mechanic – 981,994
Armor Tanking. I only have 1 or 2 armor tanked ships that I keep available, despite armor tanking being perfectly viable for a number of Minmatar hulls. I’ll probably regret it later, but most of the stuff in the Mechanic category is on the “when I feel like it” list.

Missile Launcher Operation – 756,190
This category is only worth mentioning because I’m a Caldari pilot. I’ll pump up my torpedo skills for my Typhoon and Stealth Bomber fits, but otherwise I can easily live without ever seeing another missile launcher again as long as I live.

Spaceship Command – 7,704,204
There aren’t as many level V’s in here as I think I’d like. But at this point, I’m talking about stuff like Battlecruiser V, HAC V, and Recon V. My Minmatar skills are all level V here, with the exception of Minmatar Carrier (Uggh, drones) and Minmatar Dread (SOON!!). I don’t anticipate much growth here for a while, but when it comes time to cross train again, look for Caldari Cruiser V (Yay, Falcon!!) and the full Gallente cross train. Can you say Machariel?? I can.

So, what does the rest of YC113 have in store for Thansoli? I’ve already acquired both the Capital Ships and Minmatar Dreadnaught skillbooks, so you can bet I’ll be working towards that goal. Purchasing those skills put quite the dent in my wallet, so I won’t be buying and fitting my Naglfar until early next year. So to fill the time, I’ll go back and shore up some of the training holes I’ve previously mentioned. Lots of time spent with unexciting choices from Engineering, Mechanic, and Electronics.

Hopefully the Super Capital rebalancing that should be happening with the winter expansion will provide a good, solid demand for me and my Naglfar, minus the constant threat of getting insta-gibbed by some random Super Carrier hot-drop. Oh, and I hear that Dreads are somewhat lacking in the jump range department, so maybe CCP Tallest could help us out with that one while he’s at it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

CSM6 Fireside Industrial Highlights

I actually managed to catch the entirety of today's Fireside chat with the CSM today, despite some issues getting Mumble to work properly. Considering that the chat ran for an hour and twenty minutes, I'm not going to cover every comment made by every member of the CSM. So we'll just stick with some of the Industrial high points. The full audio of the Fireside Chat can be found HERE.

Industrial Questions

#1 – Does the CSM have any information regarding a possible re-balancing of moon materials, either from the moons themselves, or as a function of production requirements?

The CSM was not able to answer this question for a fairly obvious reason, the NDA. Despite that, several members did voice their own opinions on the matter. Chairman Mittens agreed that there needed to be some adjustments made, but that it would need to be more than just moving some moons around. I have no experience with T2 production, but it stands to reason that T2 production needs to include moon goo sourced from all over the cluster, and the value of Technetium needs to be reduced by eliminating or reducing the Technetium bottleneck in T2 production.

#2 – Where's the love for Low Sec??

There was a lot of input from CSM members, even from the pure nullsec members, which was a pleasant surprise. Many of the changes lowsec residents would like to see revolve around PvP, and those types of changes would require changes to the system CCP refers to as Crimewatch. Crimewatch is basically the system that kicks in every time you commit a crime, and it's a pretty big part of how Eve functions in the various parts of Empire space. There was some information about Crimewatch discussed in a DevBlog from CCP Masterplan of Team Gridlock posted in June. (LINKY)

Because so many of the problems with lowsec combat revolve around Crimewatch stuff, like gate guns, aggression timers, etc., any serious revamp would require the services of Team Gridlock, who are otherwise occupied at the moment working on Fleet Lag. Chairman Mittens came on an agreed that lowsec was in need of so much love, that only the dedication of a full expansion cycle would really do it justice. This is where I should throw in a joke about the famous 18 month development cycle...

There's hope to be had for the denizens of lowsec though. According to Trebor, CCP has indicated that some of their iterations on Incarna Establishments might (and I stress might at this point) give some inadvertent love to lowsec by pushing some of the more illicit capsuleer activities like booster manufacturing and sale out to to lowsec stations. Right up at the top of this blog, I point out that combat drives all capitalism in Eve, but as Dr. Eyjo as pointed out in the past; The inverse is also true. Whenever and where ever a capsuleer is making money, you can be sure that someone else will be waiting there to shoot him/her. So, we might get some additional traffic running around lowsec simply because CCP is forcing them to do business out there.

#3 – Incarna player run Establishments

There was a question posed about how players would pay the rent on a player run establishment, like a bar or something, and the CSM said they were expecting a combination of ISK/Aurum for rents and the items you put in said establishment. I'll be honest, I'm glossing over this topic quite a bit. There are obviously Industrial implications for establishments, just see CCPs booster sales idea for proof on that. Hell, the RPer in me has a dirty little desire to open a bar someday, but not if I have to pay CCP an extra monocle a month to do it.

#4 – The CSM hates WH residents!!!

OK, not really. But there sure is a lot of rage coming out of that camp. Basically, it was discussed at the May Summit that there may be too many ABC minerals coming out of wormholes. The CSM has said they would support removing ABCs from Class 1, 2, and 3 wormholes, maybe even Class 4s. Apparently, they have seen data from CCP indicating that a significant volume of ABCs are coming out of the wormholes and being sold. The CSM position is that the Risk vs. Reward for mining in these low end wormholes does not line up. Naturally, this is already causing a bit of an uproar from low end wormhole dwellers, who don't want one of their income sources taken away. Questions about this particular topic kept getting asked, until Chairman Mittens responded with what could only be described as a HTFU. Although the CSM would support a change like this, it's not something they really care about. Their focus will remain on the “sucking chest wounds.”

Well, that about sums up the Industrial facing changes. Other topics discussed included the nullsec anomaly nerf, Teams BFF/Gridlock, the War on Bots/Lag, and plenty of overly specific, borderlline NDA questions from the player base.

DISCLAMER: If any member of the CSM actually reads this, and feels I have misrepresented either their personal position, or the position of the CSM in general; Please let me know, I will be happy to make corrections as necessary.

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Post!

Wow, it's been a long time since I felt the need to have an online presence outside of an email address and a Facebook page. I always seem to have things I want to share with the Eve Online community, and never have what I feel is an appropriate venue. Thus, Combat Capitalism is born.

So, what can you expect from Combat Capitalism, and who the hell is Thansoli?? I am a Minmatar Loyalist roleplayer. So, you can expect some IC posting and fiction entries, but there will also be plenty of OOC posting. We'll cover the more interesting aspects of industrial production, and of course we'll have plenty of Battle Reports covering my Anti-Piracy efforts within The Republic. Oh, did I not mention the whole Anti-Pirate thing?? Oops.

For The Republic