Sunday, May 24, 2009

Clear Skies 2 - amazing EVE Online machinima

If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check out the amazing Clear Skies 2 machinima. The first one won an award at the Machinima Filmfest 2008 and the second one is even better.

How to kill a pirate frigate with a battlecruiser

I've killed three Hurricanes (1, 2, 3) in the last few days. In all cases, the main obstacle was breaking their tank - never was I in any real danger. I also died in 20 seconds while attacking the fourth. What was the difference?

A Hurricane-class battlecruiser

The Hurricane is a fearsome ship, but as with all large ships a small, fast frigate can prove to be a thorn in its side. If you have a battlecruiser-classed ship and want to take on a few belt rats without worrying about pirate frigates, here's how to do it in a smart manner:

First: never sit on the warp-to-0 point. The rats will follow you or come to you if you warp to 50 or 100. Being far from the warp-in point will give you precious time to decide what to do when an interloper arrives.

Second: Do not carry medium drones only. Be sure to have a full flight of small drones at your disposal. Use medium-sized guns on your ship to kill rats; use small drones to attack hostile frigates.

Third: If you decide not to run, be the first one to attack. The frigate will have to close range; it is then when it's vulnerable. Once it begins to orbit at 1000, all your nice medium turrets will be good only for shooting empty space. This is also a good time to let it have the taste of your 5 small T2 drones.

Medium guns versus an orbiting frigate

When you set your drones on the frigate, it will take its focus from you to the drones (if the pod pilot wants to live - no frigate can tank 5 small T2 drones). It will continue to orbit and point you, but will web and shoot at the drones. This is the time to make your move - you're not webbed and can move as fast as you can (without MWD if you are scrammed). Try to escape or move towards the asteroids. If you have a web, use it on the frigate. It will fall behind and its transversal velocity will drop, which means your guns will be able to hit it. You can also keep watch on your drones - if you see a drone being damaged, recall it to your drone bay for a while. This will force the frigate to shift its focus.

And the last, fourth point: Equip a medium neutralizer. I can tell you that having your capacitor drop to zero while trying to align and escape is a depressing experience. It's also a short and deadly one :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ballot time!

Influence the game we love - vote for your CSM representative! Being a pirate, it's no suprise I voted for Larkonis :) His "bring value to low sec so more people come" program definitely persuaded me. I can haz targets!

Monday, May 4, 2009


A real pirate needs three things: a peg leg, a trusty parrot and a bounty on his head. Unfortunately, parrots did not make it across the EVE gate, and cloning technology has made peg legs a thing of the past. The bounty is what remains and it's with a glad heart that I announce that the evil pirate Mer Mann is now worth 105,000 ISK dead.

The bounty was a surprise to me - there was no bounty (and no tears) after killing the 70M battlecruiser or the 35M rigged Stabber. No, it came from an unexpected source - an Iteron I pilot whom I found in an asteroid belt while playing hide-and-seek with a battlecruiser and who remained there while I unsuccessfully tried to tackle the Cyclone; and who blocked my attempt to ransom him for a paltry sum his ship deserved.

Well, thank you for the cool skull I can now wear; and to all that wish to partake of the riches of my bounty, you can find me in Heimatar low sec :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The EVE Player blogroll

There are many EVE Online blogs on the web, doing a great service in popularizing our favorite game, sharing resources and helping new players to learn the game. CrazyKinux maintains a list of active blogs, which from now on includes In the depths of EVE.

If you haven't seen it yet, check it out! It's also linked in the sidebar.

UPDATE: Ga'len reminds me that I've forgot to mention the EVE Online OPML blogroll, which he is kind enough to maintain and is located here.

Limits of solo piracy

While hunting solo is great fun, it is also fraught with limitations. The ship set-up must, by definition, be universal, as you have no idea what you will find. You are the tackler, the tank, the DPS and the loot hauler - and fitting a small frigate for all that tasks invariably means that some of potential prey will slip through your fingers.

To combat small frigates, my Rifter is fitted with an afterburner and a warp scrambler. The lack of a long-range warp disruptor and a powerful Microwarp drive has cost me many of the more observant targets, who have ample time to align and warp away if they are more than 20 kilometers away from me. To ensure longer survivability in a fight with a bigger ship, I have set-up an active tank with an energy vampire to replenish my capacitor resources - which limits the amount of firepower I can put on targets. I've retreated from a fight with a well-tanked Hurricane recently - after killing his flight of Warrior IIs, I spent the next 5 minutes chipping away at his shield sand failing, eventually giving up.

Solo hunting also means that every mistake you make is potentially deadly. I have recently engaged my first Punisher. I decided to do it from a distance and orbited him at 5000 m. The fight was taking an unusually long time and I had to use my nosferatu and armor repairer, but eventualy the Punisher went down. After scooping the loot, I realized my mistake: I forgot to change ammunition to the long range Barrage and was shooting at him with short range EMP, missing most of the time..

My killboard is still dominated by Rifters, but I chanced upon an interesting flashy in Molden Heath low-sec a few days ago. I located a Stabber in an asteroid belt and warped in to check it out. The cruiser turned out to be piloted by an outlaw who turned to me and engaged me. I quickly scrammed and webbed him, settled in a tight orbit and quickly dispatched him. His fit turned out to be very strange - a nano Stabber rigged for range with no tank. Had he stayed at 20 kilometers and keeping me at distance with his microwarp drive, I would have surely died.

I've also lost my first Rifter in a month, going out against my first Sentinel. I knew that Sentinels were tech 2 Amarr frigates with a penchant for neuting, but I figured that my capless guns and Nosferatu will enable me to continue fighting. What I did not know was that Sentinels have amazing drone bays, and the tactic of "kill the drones, then him" turned out to be a suicide tactic. Had I fitted a buffer tank, swapped the NOS for a rocket launcher and concentrated my firepower on the Sentinel, I might have won - as it was, I waved goodbye to the remains of my Rifter as my pod warped away.

Mining in low-sec, silly as the current Veldspar prices make it, is still popular among some of the Empire miners. I've chanced upon a few of them. I found a Retriever in a Molden Heath ice field, but before I could scram him he warped away. I retreated to my scan point and kept scanning. Imagine my surprise when, a few minutes later, a Hulk entered the same belt! Of course, it was too good to be true - as I tackled the Hulk, a Rapier force recon ship uncloaked beside me. Thanks to the uncloak-target delay, I managed to flee, offering my congratulations on a well set-up trap in local.

I was more succesful with another Hulk. After killing his drones, I opened the conversation and offered a ransom. The pilot was skeptical at first, but the lack of mining barges on my killboard and the rapidly depleting defences of his ship convinced him to pay the 40 million and I sent him on his way. Who says pirating doesn't pay? :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Double knock-out

I'm becoming very fond of Molden Heath low-sec. It's not far from my base and the configuration is perfect - if you view it on a 2D map, you can circle the whole region via low-sec and then return home. It often provides me with interesting fights - and today was no exception.
The circle of fun

After few uneventful systems, I scanned a Retriever mining ship in a belt in the dead-end system of Sakulda. I warped there, modules flashing, but I was too late - the pilot had already warped away and left behind a chain of secure containers, filled with ore. I knew he had to come back, so I warped back to my scan spot and kept an eye on the scanner. I expected an Industrial, so a Cyclone battlecruiser was a shock. However, after already killing one earlier today, I felt optimistic and warped to the belt.

I had bookmarked both ends of the container chain and warped to the one with the lowest letter. Unfortunately, the pilot cared less for order than I do, and was a hundred kilometers away, already engaging the belt rats. I employed a tactic that has served me well in belt warfare: instead of afterburning to him, I bookmarked the wreck closest to him, warped to the planet and then back to the bookmark. I came out of warp on top of him, tackled him and settled into a tight orbit. The pilot was amused - he exclaimed to his buddies in local that some fool in a frig dared to engage him.

Unlike the first Cyclone of the day and his medium drones, this pilot packed two flights of Warrior II drones. I cursed, but then discovered I could pop them in a few seconds each. A minute later, the drones were no more and the belt was empty save for me, the battlecruiser and a battleship NPC, whose services I promptly enlisted. He had large guns mounted which usually missed me, but he also had two rocket launchers that kept taking chunks out of my armor. I activated my NOS and started the game of armor repairer micromanagement, keeping a watchful eye on potential corp mates of my target.

To my surprise, the game kept going on and on. My readouts inched lower, every cycle leaving my armor a bit shorter. My fire was having very little effect on his shields - they went down, but the combined action of me and the rat was working very slowly. After what seemed like hours, his shields were gone. I swapped my RF EMP ammo for Hail (t2 short-distance ammo with poor tracking but high DPS) and continued the work. Somewhere by the end of his armor, my NOS started having little effect and I concluded that his capacitor was gone.

By the time he was at half structure, I had some 400 effective hit points left. I had to turn off the web to provide more power to the armor repairer. We were both inching toward 0 and I was starting to think I might actually win - when my Rifter blew up.

I quickly gave my pod the order to warp away and typed a "gf" in local, when I noticed that my opponent was sitting beside me in a pod of his own. It seems that his final salvo and mine (aided by the BS rat) were so close that we both died at the same time.

I docked in a nearby station and looked at the kill mail. The mystery of his powerful shields was solved - in addition to powerful shield defense and damage augmentation modules, his ship was rigged! Battleclinic places the vaue of his ship at 75M ISK - not a bad exchange for a 7M Rifter!