Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Battle For Rakapas

I woke up early on Friday morning, the first day of the weekend here, and couldn't get back to sleep. So rather than lay there staring at the ceiling I got up and logged onto Eve. As expected I found most of the American contingent were online as well as a surprising number of Euro's. Given it was sometime after 3am EU time I knew something had to be on.

Getting onto comms I found out that the Caldari Militia alliance, Happy Endings, were attacking a POS of our friends, Drunk 'n' Disorderly. They had deployed carriers to support their battleships attacking the POS in the Caldari stronghold of Rakapas. Happy Endings know DnD and DnD know Happy Endings. It was obviously a trap. They knew the cap fleet from DnD would squash those three carriers and Happy Endings didn't have the manpower to counter. So who did they have on the batphone? It had to be someone.

The FC asked for dread pilots pointing out we were going to be jumping into a certain trap!

[ 2012.12.28 02:53:29 ] FC Name Removed ofc > need dreads pls
[ 2012.12.28 02:55:06 ] UTalking2Me > for...
[ 2012.12.28 02:55:15 ] Lord Morgo > conga line
[ 2012.12.28 02:55:17 ] FC Name Removed ofc > caldari carriers in raka
[ 2012.12.28 02:55:24 ] FC Name Removed ofc > obvious bait
[ 2012.12.28 02:55:25 ] UTalking2Me > x rev
[ 2012.12.28 02:56:02 ] UTalking2Me > I like obvious bait

I thought what the hell, the dread is still insured and I'm OK with ISK currently if PL drop so many supers it blots out the sun. Three carrier kills is three carrier kills. So I mounted up and got ready.

We jumped in and primaried the carriers who soon were dying to a dozen dreadnoughts. Then an neutral Arazu lands on field. Actually he lands right in the middle of us. You'd almost have throught he had a warp in. Geeeeeee I wonder what he is here for? 

Sure enough he lights a cyno and a fleet of Black Legion T3's jump in. A big, BIG fleet of Black Legion T3's! Unfortunately there are very few dreadnought pilots who's name starts with A, B, or C. In fact there are none. And to make matters worse, their bloody FC decides to go alphabetically. Come on guys, this A-Z target calling is getting a bit old. Why not mix it up once in a while and try Z-A, it's the new A-Z! In fact Z-E, C-A, 0-9, D would be the best order! kthxs!

So as a "D" I'm first to be primaried and as I'm still seiged the best the friendly triage Archons can do is whisper reassuring words in my ear as I start to go down to the Happy Endings batteships and the Black Legion swarm of T3's. Next up is another Dreadnought pilot who is a "Drak....". Damn if he'd had an extra "A" to make him "Draak...." I'd have been OK! Not sure if we had any dreadnought pilots with names starting with "E", but if we did I bet they were worried. We'd killed the three Happy Endings carriers plus a number of their battleships but I'm going down in a blaze of glory.

I get my pod out as the friendly insurance guys dump 2.1bn ISK in my wallet. I pod back to Nisuwa and listen in on comms as the ECM burst from the Nyx breaks the locks on the other pointed dreads when they drop out of siege and are able to jump out. Unfortunately the other dreadnought that was primaried at the time is still pointed. He makes a valiant attempt to get back into the POS shields but, at 6m/sec due to the Loki webs, he doesn't make it even with the carrier reps he was receiving.

I lost a platinum insured Moros but killed two Archons, a Thanatos and a few BS including a faction BS. So whilst I lost a lot, I killed more than double in ISK terms with around six and a half billion ISK of kills coming from the three carriers and an Armageddon Navy Issue.

The reason Happy Endings was trying to destroy the POS was that the Gallente militia was trying to capture Rakapas. We'd decided to try and take Northern Black Rise over the holiday period and had already had captured Tama. Several Gal Mil corps had erected POS' in Rakapas as we cannot dock in the Caldari owned stations. By having corporate hangers there we could easily re-ship even though we were locked out of the stations.

The next few hours were mental as we started fighting over faction war plex's. There were two fleets, Samurai Pizza Cats and Drunk n Disorderly in one and a general militia fleet in frigates in the other. The general militia fleet was taking the novice plex's (frigates only) whilst we were reshipping at the PoS between Destroyers (small plex) and Cruisers (Medium plex). The fights raged for hours! The Eve-Kill battle report shows about seven and a half hours of fighting!

The best fight was in one particular medium plex. We had a number of T1 logistics supported by armour cruisers. The squids kept piling into the plex, we kept reshipping as we went down. Slowly the squids realised they could not break the logi fast enough with the T1 fest we were having so they came back with Guardians. They esclated, so we did and reshipped to aHAC's. The battle just kept raging. Good use of ECM mods and drones where causing us issues. I fitted a smart-bombing Rupture and came back to address the ECM drones. Eventually the Caldari gave up on that medium, leaving it looking something like this....

In the end the squids gave up entirely and the Gallente had free reign to plex Rakapas to a vulnerable state overnight and bash the bunker capturing the system. However, it appears Happy Endings didn't wait even that long. Sometime in the four hours between us smashing their three carriers/the epic fights in the plex' and Friday's down-time, they dropped out of Faction War. Templis Dragonaors also saw the way things were going and started to abandon the system before we took it (and prevented them from accessing the station they were based in). Surprisingly they pulled back to the non-faction war system of Dantumi. I assume they felt the Caldari system nextdoor would be our next target. And they were right.

So now the attention shifts to Okkamon. One of the last beacons of squidiness in northern Black Rise. In fact it is 96 systems held by the Gallente to 5 held by the Caldari.

All-in-all a great morning of PvP, and its rare you can say that when you lose a Moros in the same time-frame! One stand out lol moment for me was at the very end of the long-running battle in the medium plex. It was hard to see anything with the number of wrecks littering the area. 1sh0t1b33r asked in local if he could buy a Noctis. The one word/two letter answer from one of the Caldari Militia made me think about Grumpy Cat....

Good fight squids..... good fight.....

Friday, December 28, 2012

Boarded - Part 2

Fan Fiction Friday! As always an escape route is provided here if this is not your thing.

This is the concluding part of last weeks story. Thanks to all those who commented even though there was a potential plex in it! The winner was twofold as the first random roll was an ex-corpy which would have looked a bit suspect so I gave away two in the end (or will when I get an alt to Jita to buy some)! Congrats to Jared and Redlack.  Sand, Cider and Spaceships hit 150,000 views sometime last Saturday morning!

So finishing off last weeks story, we have two hostile DUST boarding parties holding two separate minor engineering bays in an Avatar class Titan. One team has disabled the self-destruct systems but what is Warlock One's team doing? How is Chief Tech Olo and Technician Catrina going to fair after they've booby-trapped their section and killed the same guy twice, poor old Warlock Five is not a happy chappy is he? Well read on......


Warlock One grabbed Warlock Five by the arm pulling him away from Chief Tech Olo just as he was about to punch him.

"FIVE! Calm down! What happened?"

"That piece of shit manually rerouted a high pressure plasma conduit through the base of the console and terminated it against the access panel. He rigged it to go off in my face. He worked out why we were here. He killed me.... again..... and fried the console that handles the emergency capsule ejection systems. It's totalled. We cannot flush the egger into space against his will any more!"

Warlock 5 turned to Olo.

"Impressive. But I don't share my friends pessimism that there is no way to eject the pod jockey controlling this ship into space any more. The console may be destroyed, but the rest of this place in one piece. So tell me, how do we flush the capsuleer?"

"Fuck.... YOU!" Olo spat.

"OK have it your way. Five, ask him nicely!"

Warlock 5 stepped in front of Chief Olo who was still bound to the chair by wrists and ankles. He raised his fist and slammed it into the chiefs face. There was a sickening thud. Catrina let out a sob.

"That the best you got, you pussy?" the chief spat through bloodied lips and broken teeth. Warlock 5 pulled his fist back again.


"My god. The capsule ejection sequence!" XO Kapela was bent over the chart table looking at the schematics from sector Y35.

"Could they eject our capsuleer into space?" asked one of the bridge officers.

"Yes. It's an emergency procedure in case the capsuleer has a medical problem whilst inside his pod and cannot eject himself."

"That is their plan then. Stop the ship from being able to self-destruct and then jettison the capsuleer. One free Avatar class titan!"

The bridge crew started to wonder if everything was already lost.


Warlock 5 swung his fist again but this time it was caught by Warlock One and never connected.

"Enough! If you kill him we'll never know how to do it!"

Chief Olo's face was beaten to a pulp. One of his eyes was almost fully closed and his face was black, blue and bloody. Blood ran from numerous cuts, from his mouth and from his nose, turning the front of his coveralls crimson.

Warlock Five took a medikit off the wall and pulled out a small canister. He stuck it against the chiefs neck and pushed, there was a hiss as it pumped its cocktail of drugs into his system. The Chiefs eyes snapped open and veins bulged in his neck. The stimulants brought him back to his senses. Warlock 5 inspected him to ensure he was alert and then walked to the back wall and removed a section of the panelling. Behind it there were hundreds of wires. Some just a hairs width wide, others as thick as an arm.

"Two! Bring him over here!"

Warlock Two gripped the back of the chair the Chief was tied to and slid it all the way across the room to where Warlock Five was running his hands through the hundreds of wires. He selected two which he pulled free in a shower of sparks.

"Not too much, not too little." he muttered "Oh and bring the bitch over here too so she can watch closely."

"NO! YOU LAY A FINGER ON HER AND I'LL RIP YOUR FRACKING HEAD OFF!" the chief yelled in anger suddenly struggling against his bonds.

Warlock 5 started a low hearty laugh.

"Really? Fantastic! It would seem this officer has a thing for his little grease monkey here. May be its time for a change of tactics here. What do you think chief. Give you a rest?" Warlock Five took Catrina's chair from Two and moved it so she was facing the chief, their knees almost touching. Warlock Five stood behind her, leaned over and stared over the top of her shoulder. Even though his helmet's faceplate was down it seemed he was staring into the chiefs eyes.

"So Chief, how do we flush the egger without the primary console?" Five asked.

"No. Please. No." The Chief begged.

Warlock 5 grabbed Catrina's hair and pulled her head back. He reached around with his other hand and slowly pulled down the front zipper of her coveralls. She still had nothing underneath, all her other clothes had been left on the chiefs bedroom floor after the all-stations alarm went off.

"Ooooooooooo" whistled Five. "Easy access!" He pulled the coveralls down over the top of her shoulders and then took the two wires in his hands. He slowly ran the exposed end of one wire across the other generating an audible crackle and a shower of sparks. "So let me ask again. How do we flush the egger?"

"Don't tell him. He's going to kill us anyway." she sobbed.

Warlock 5 yanked her head back by the hair again and brought both the exposed ends of the wires within a few inches of the side of her neck.

"Such a pretty neck, I think we should start here. Unless you are feeling talkative Chief?"

Catrina now had a far away look in her eyes. As if she was steeling herself for what was about to come, she had stopped crying. She looked more distant more than afraid.

"What ever he does, don't say anything" the fear in her voice betrayed the calm look on her face. "If they eject the capsuleer we and the entire crew are going to die at the hands of these lot! Don't tell him anything Chief, no matter what he does to me!"

"Ohhh she's a brave one. I mean the electricity from these wires will be unbelievably painful on its own. But it is the heat chief, the heat!. They'll be a few hundred degrees Celsius when they make contact and the power starts to flow over this delicate, soft skin. Instant third-degree burns so you need to keep the wires moving otherwise it doesn't work as well, fried nerve endings aren't as sensitive you know. So last chance, how do we flush the egger without the primary console?"

Warlock Three and Warlock Four were still guarding the main blast door at the far end of the access corridor. They casually glanced behind them as they heard a shrill female scream echoing down the corridor.


Captain Larrs looked at the battle in front of him. The Titan was surrounded by battleships and battle-cruisers  most of them hostile. The remains of the friendly support fleet were being picked off slowly. However, it looked to be a stalemate overall. The massive Titan was designed to fight capital and super-capital sized vessels. The Titans guns, themselves as large as a cruiser, couldn't track and hit the smaller sub-capital vessels effectively. But then again, the enemy fleet just didn't have the firepower to bring that immense ship down. It didn't appear that there would be a clear winner in this fight.

His cloaked ship strategic cruiser was over 200km away from the fight. But he could see the Titan was hopelessly trapped. They needed to take out those heavy interdictors but the support fleet was going down and the Titan itself wouldn't be able to do anything against them.

He hailed the Titan and spoke briefly to XO Kapela. He knew what had to be done if the boarding parties were successful. He checked the ships systems and the cargo bay. He just had enough liquid ozone to light the cynosural field which would also pretty much guarantee the destruction of his ship. He prayed it would not come to that, but looking at the battle in front of him, it didn't look good. However, having to destroy their own Titan was preferable to letting the enemy alliance take it and use it against them.


Warlock Five was busy rerouteing cables from the fried ejection console to an environmental command console nearby. In the corner Olo was weeping. He felt that he had betrayed her. She'd kept telling him not to say anything between screams and he had held out as long as he could. Catrina was still directly in front of him and still tied to her chair. She was unconscious and slumped over so the top of her head was only a few inches from his face. He was grateful of that as her long dark hair spilled down from her head and spared him from looking at the blackened lines that criss-crossed her body where the intruder had slowly and meticulously dragged the electrified wires over her skin. Olo had finally broken as Warlock 5 had started working up her face and announced he was going to see if the immense heat generated from the tips of the electrified wires was enough to boil the liquid in her eyeballs if he penetrated the exposed ends of the wires in far enough.

"We're nearly there. I've managed to reroute most of the command lines to this environmental console. It won't be pretty, but we should be able to flush according to cry-baby over there." Warlock Five gestured to Chief Olo. Five actually sounded happy for the first time in the last 30 minutes.

"Excellent. Alpha team stand by. We're about to run the sequence and then we need three minutes to Evac. Control, ready the firewall."

Warlock 5 finally finished up wiring the console and went to the front where there was a keyboard ready. His armoured gloves moved deftly over the keys. A bank of monitors came alive with views of the olive-green capsule and the launch tube as well as the exterior of the ship where the battle was still raging. Three battleships appeared to be stationed near the exit of the capsule launch tube.

"Warlock One. One this is Control. We're all set. Ships are in position. Standing by."

"Do it Five."

They watched the monitor as an orange warning strobe light flashed around the capsule before it shot down the launch tube at speed and into space. As it left then launch tube the battleships erupted in a spectacular light-show as they fired their plasma smartbombs. The small capsule was decimated and the consciousness of the Titan pilot was sent hurtling across space to where ever his medical clone was stored.

"Alpha team, back to the ship! Five, plant the door-virus before you leave. And make sure you wrap up all the loose ends." Warlock One ordered and they started to fall out of the room. Warlock 5 hung back, he retrieved another stim-pack from the medical kit and injected it into Cartina's neck. She sprung up from her slumped position and arched her back, hissing through her clenched teeth as the powerful drugs brought her round. Olo looked worried.

"Well people, I've got to go. Would love to stay and chat but I've got a feeling trouble is brewing. However, I think that's not going to be for a good ten minutes. So I leave you with this."

Warlock 5 stripped a thick cable from the exposed panel and removed the electrical insulation with his knife. He removed about a metre of the red rubberised material leaving a silver, glistening rope. He wrapped the exposed metal wire tightly around Catrina's neck. She instantly started to choke so he loosened it slightly. 

There, that's better, done want you dying before the fun starts do we. That's the main power-line for the blast-door by the way. Should the computer try and open the door, say if someone hacked the systems and set all the doors on the ship to open in a few minutes, she'll fry. I've got to say Chief, it won't be nice to watch."

Warlock 5 approached a console and withdrew a data terminal from his pouch. He hooked it up to the console and pressed a few buttons.

"But don't worry Chief. I predict you'll only have to suffer the sight of your lover doing the "sit down dance" and the smell of roasted human flesh for about 60 seconds before your blood boils, your lungs pop and your eye balls explode! As if I'd short change you both with a quick death after all you've done for me in the last hour!" Warlock 5 said putting on a mocking voice.

And with that the trooper left through the hole in the blast door giving the chief a mock salute.

Warlock 5 was waiting for him at the end of the corridor.

"All sorted?"

"Yes sir. Virus uploaded and running. T-minus 9 minutes and...." Warlock 5 glanced at his mobile computer strapped to his wrist. "... 15 seconds sir!"

"I assume you took care of the two Techs? We don't want them causing any problems."

"Of course sir. All taken care of."

The two soldiers headed back towards the ship.


XO Kapela watched the bridge staff fall apart around him. A single capsuleer is able to do the work of a normal bridge crew almost on his own. Capsuleer piloted ships need a fraction of the crew compared with the compliment of a regular ship. Now without the capsuleer the limited crew couldn't hope to cope with running the massive ship effectively.

Kapela slumped in the captains chair. Utterly devoid of any idea what to do next.


The Chief had been thrashing in his chair for several minutes. He had repeatedly slammed the chair into the deck hoping to break it. Finally the legs snapped and he fell to the floor breaking the rest of the chair on impact. The chief broke free of the flexi cuffs and rushed over to Catrina to remove the wires and her restraints. She immediately stood and hugged him, breaking down in tears.

"Cat. You need to let me go. We've not got much time to stop what they have done."

She backed off.

"What is it?"

"I'm not sure but he said those wires would have electrocuted you when the computer sent a signal to open all the doors. Then the reference to my blood boiling. I think they are going to de-pressurise the ship!"


XO Kapela was out of his depth on the bridge. All around him officers were frantically attending to consoles or answering calls from other sections of the ship. His job was man-management. He didn't need the skills to run a ship on a capsuleer vessel, the Empyrean did that. Now he was in command, and didn't know what to do.

One officer approached the XO with an earpiece in his hand.

"Sir. You need to hear this!"

The XO took the comm unit and listened intently.

"Can you stop it?"

"Good. Make it so!"


Warlock One counted the last man into the hull breach which led to their ship as the two automated sentry guns continued to pan the cargo bay looking for threats.

"Control. This is Warlock One. All personnel accounted for. The virus should trigger all the doors to open in T-minus 90 seconds. Mission complete."

"Roger Warlock 1. Hold position. We need visual confirmation of the door control virus success. If we de-pressurise that bay early its mission fail."

"Understood. Cargo bay door still closed. Awaiting virus deployment and visual confirmation of virus success."


Olo was frantically working at the console. Catrina was looking over his shoulder. She needed to hold onto his shoulder for support, but the drugs from the stim-pack were helping.

"I don't get it. The outer airlocks all have a manual control that needs to be activated as well as the main computer authorisation. They can use a computer virus to make all the internal doors, lifts and hatches open. But they cannot open the outer doors automatically so what's the point?"

"I think they must have rigged an airlock with explosives or their ship is attached to the hull some how." Olo replied "They could have cut their way in. When that ship detaches the atmosphere will leak out of the hole they made. Their leader said 3 minutes to evac so they cannot be far. There are 4 airlocks in three minutes running distance and 62 rooms against the hull over 6 decks. I just need to find either the airlock or the..... got 'em!."

Olo activated the main monitor and a blurry image of Warlock One appeared on the screen beside the melted hole in the hull and the automated sentry guns from one of the cargo bays security cameras. Olo quickly ran across to another console and started typing in commands. Catrina was confused.

"What are you doing? I've never seen an interface screen like that before!"

"Its a command screen. The XO has transferred some of his controls to me. I thought they'd might have entered through one of the cargo bays and most of the cargo we're carrying is for fighting this stupid war. I'm seeing if there is anything there that might help us. Ah! Perfect!"

Catrina looked at what Olo was doing.

"You cannot activate THAT inside the ship! It'll cause too much damage. Actually no, no it won't. You cannot assign a human inside a ship a target! You cannot lock him. It won't work, it'll just sit there!"

Olo smiled as he opened the preferences and set the option to 'Aggressive'.

"No need for target acquisitions. I'm sure they'll sort that out for us!"


Warlock One turned as there was an almighty crash behind him. He spun around and raised his weapon. One of the cargo boxes had exploded and a light scout drone hovered above the wreckage. It was by pure Instinct that Warlock One raised his plasma rifle but he didn't fire. He realised the drone would not attack him. It was a second generation Hobgoblin light scout. A standard Gallente anti-ship drone that was usually used in flights of five. The AI of these drones was very simplistic. Their programming was basic and designed to follow the direct commands of a capsuleer. The only way they'd respond without a command is if they were fired upon, the AI did have self-preservation routines built in. He lowered his gun. The drone would return fire if they had been set by the capsuleer to an aggressive state but it would not initiate combat without a target lock and an order to attack. Warlock One smiled to himself thinking it was a nice try but the AI wasn't sufficient to help who ever activated it to save the ship. He wondered if it was the wily Chief Tech they had captured who was doing this. Five said he was dead but may be he'd survived long enough to boot up the drone remotely. His concentration was broken when he heard the double bleep of one of his sentry guns signifying target acquisition and firing solution. He knew he had no time, Warlock One instantly dived for cover.

The plasma guns of the two automatic sentry emplacements had locked onto the movement of the drone and with no friendly transponder signal had identified the drone as a threat. The sentry guns were basically anti-personal cannons as used on the battlefield by heavy assault troops. The fire-power they dealt did very little against a drone that was designed to slug it out against frigates and destroyers. The sentry fire glanced off the drones thick armour plating. However, the drones twin cannons were designed to fire on starships. The AI took less than a 100th of a second to identify the two threats that had fired upon it and plotted a strafing line across them. The drone's cannons thundered in the enclosed cargo hold. The automatic sentry guns were obliterated in an instant as the drones fire strafed across them. As they were set up either side of the hull breach, a large number of hybrid charges passed down the tunnel and through the open hatch of the transport ship.

The hybrid slugs fired by the drone were designed to rip apart starships, armoured humans were tinfoil in comparison. Warlocks 7, 8 and 9 were shredded by the large calibre rounds. The slugs that were designed to be used against armoured starships continued through their mangled bodies and raked the internal hull of the transport ship. The armour of the transport ship was designed to absorb hits from the outside, not from the inside. An entire section of the hull was blown away. The crew compartment was vented into space in an instant with two more of the Warlock soldiers were lost as they weren't strapped in. 

Warlock One grabbed hold of a deck anchor used to tie cargo nets to the deck as he was blown off his feet. The cargo bay was rapidly de-pressurising He saw the drone struggling to hold position before being blown into the hull breach and partially block it. Warlock One's suit would save him from the vacuum that was consuming the cargo bay, but he was now trapped.

A beep went off on his wrist computer. Time was up and the virus had triggered. But the cargo bay doors were securely fastened. All doors on starships were designed to seal themselves in the event of an adjacent compartment de-pressurising  Special mag-locks engaged automatically to prevent the door opening until the pressure was equalised. The door was sealed tight and his mission had failed.

He was trapped and could do nothing as he heard the command for the transport ship to disengage and retreat.

With the cloaking device inoperable due to the damage on the ship, the remnants of the support fleet engaged and the destroyed the transport as it detached. All Warlock One could do was listen to the death of his comrades in arms knowing that the CRU containing all of his clones was destroyed.


"Well sir the short version is this. A modified transport ship latched onto your Avatar undetected during the battle. It cut through the armour with some kind of special laser into one of our cargoholds. Two teams of the immortal soldiers penetrate into the ship and moved to capture the secondary data nodes that specifically catered for the self-destruct sequence and the emergency capsule ejection sequence."

"I know this. What I don't know is what happened after those bastards flushed me and podded me."

"Yes sir, sorry sir. A total of 23 crew were killed in the raid. One other was critically injured and I have authorised the medical centre to provide a full prosthetic arm to replace the one he lost. Two others were seriously hurt, in fact they were tortured sir. I've authorised the medical centre to provide full cosmetic surgery to fix their injuries and granted them a months leave to recuperate in Federation space. They are receiving trauma counselling as well. Following your forced ejection the intruders......" the XO continued to explain what had happened finishing with the incident with the drone in the cargo bay.

"You appear to be very generous with my ISK Kapela." The capsuleer said apparently ignoring everything except the financial costs the XO had authorised.

"Sir. The first man raised the intruder alarm even after having his arm shot off. The other two were able to save the ship by activating a scout drone in the cargo bay and using it to damage the enemy ship. By de-pressurising the cargo bay early the emergency safety locks on the internal cargo bay doors engaged. When the intruder's computer virus triggered every door in the titan to open, that was the only one that couldn't with the emergency hull breach locks engaged. They saved the lives of over 100,000 people and ensured there was still a crew alive to get your Titan to safety. To be quite honest sir the ISK which it is costing to patch them up and give them a holiday is nothing compared to what they suffered to save you 100 billion ISK or so."

The capsuleer studied his XO.

"Not many people speak to me in that tone."

The XO looked extremely worried realising he may have overstepped his mark.

"However, I suppose you are right. What happened to that intruder who was trapped?"

"Well sir he realised he was stuck, the door was locked down and the drone was jammed in the hull breach. When our back up finally arrived he realised he was on the losing side. As the prepare for jump alarm sounded, he removed his helmet. Died instantly to the vacuum rather than letting himself be captured alive."

"Nasty." grinned the capsuleer "If we had destroyed the CRU, is he still alive somewhere?"

"I don't know sir." replied the XO "Obviously the implants these soldiers use are a very different from the technology used in your capsule. I don't know if the range is limited or if they are like your pod and can send the consciousness anywhere in the cluster."

"Lets hope he took his helmet off knowing that was the last time he was going to die. Now if you'll excuse me, we're making another push into that system, this time only with battlecrusiers thankfully."


The sun was bright and warm even though it was late in the day. The rhythmic lapping of the waves on the shore was soothing.

"Another drink?" Olo asked as he signalled one of the waiters who was discreetly waiting by the tree line at the top of the beach.

Catrina stretched out on the sun lounger, her recently fixed flawless skin glistening with a sheen of tanning oil and sweat.

"I was hoping we might slip back to the room so you can check there are no missing patches on the skin grafts. I mean I feel 100% and I think I look 100% but I think you should give me another thorough check over. Make sure there are no missing bits!"

Olo burst into laughter.

"The Doc ordered us to take it easy. Plus we're supposed to be meeting the therapist in an hour. What am I going to do with you?"

Catrina smiled.

"Well if you don't know, I'd better show you! I've actually got an idea. Do you think our therapist is hot?"

Olo stuttered trying to diplomatically answer the surprising question.

"Obviously you think she is then." Catrina smirked "So do I. Well I'm sure if I whisper in your ear what I'd like to do to her then I'm pretty confident we can be finished within the hour. And then at our counselling session with her, you can let your imagination run riot ready for round two after she leaves. Now that's what I call therapy!"

Olo laughed and shook his head with a smile. 

"Well if that's your plan, I can see a flaw. No way I could last an hour with you whispering stuff like that in my ear. What are we going to do for the other 59 minutes?"

With that she stood and extended her hand. "Oh, I'll think of something!". She pulled Olo to his feet and led him back up the beach towards their cabin.

"A bottle of chilled champagne please." she said to the waiter who had started to walk over. "And ice, we're going to need a lot of ice!"



Hope you enjoyed it. That was the alternative ending in a "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" style. Originally the Chief and Catrina were stabbed by Warlock 5 as he left and they succeeded in capturing the Titan. I read it and didn't like it. I felt Olo and Cat should survive. Hence it was rewrote as above.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Mayan Apocalypse, Killing Quake590 and a PLEX for a Reader

So the world didn't end on Friday and the Mayan calendar rolls onto the next long count. SHOCK! Do those who truly believed have this problem every year when our own Gregorian calendar reaches December 31st? "OH NOES! THE WORLD ENDS TOMORROW! THERE ARE NO MORE DATES IN THE CALENDAR! Oh wait! There is another year! Silly me!"

Fridays are the day off here so after posting my Friday Fan Fiction post and having a few good fights in Tama I knocked this up at downtime as I was bored. It was posted to the Eve Online Facebook page too. Nothing like two and a half thousand likes to cheer you up!

Bloody picky Eve players! 

Yes, it doesn't have guns, I didn't have an Apocalypse so its the preview from the market. Yes the lighting is wrong, I didn't spend an hour trying to find a picture of Mayan ruins that had the sun shining in the same direction as the lighting on the Apoc. No, the scale isn't wrong, the Apoc is simply further back from the Chichen Itza. An Apoc is 1.5km long, Chichen Itza is 56m ish wide. Looking at the photo the Apoc appears 1.2 times the width of the Chichen Itza. Therefore the Apoc is behind the pyramid a distance of 32 times that of the distance from the pyramid to the camera. So if the camera was 100m from the Chichen Itza the Apoc is 3.2km plus 100m away! Happy?*

I did get some good PvP over the weekend. Other than some POS reinforcing in my dreadnought where I did join a fleet, I was generally solo'ing.

Friday afternoon saw me capturing faction war plex in Tama. Obviously one does not simply capture fation war plex' in Tama without a fight. First up was a Condor and a Merlin from the Caldari Militia who thought they'd double team me. Condor came in for tackle and died..... horribly. By the time I was back on the "warp in" his mate arrived and also died quickly. One of them wasn't in a rush to get their pod out and therefore lost one of those CA-1 implants..... and a clone.

A short while later one of the local resident pirates came knocking in a Federation Navy Comet. He landed as the Republic Fleet Fusion ammo had finished loading. Bam!

To be fair to him he simply went back to the station, got a new ship and came at me again, this time in a Republic Fleet Firetail. I had him on scan and had swapped to Republic Fleet EMP rounds ready. BAM!

So in 40 minutes I had 5 kills, 90k LP's for plexing, 3k LP's from killin', 13.5m ISK in bounty payments (has the percentage payout gone up?) and about 17m in loot. All from my trusty Thrasher!

Unfortunately that Thrasher died on Saturday. A good fight was had with a Wolf. We were both well into structure when I popped. Good fight, good fight!

I reshipped to a Hawk, which I haven't been flying in a while, in fact I needed to re-insure it. Whilst sat in a plex I saw a Thrasher on D-Scan and decided to wait for him to come in. A few seconds later he arrived.... and it was Quake590! You may remember me talking about this guy before. He's my "bogey opponent". I had never beaten him in a fight ever. He likes 10mn AB Thrashers which are a pain to counter. Well he's here, so lets have round 20 or whatever it is.

My rockets start pounding him, but he's not burning away? His shield is dropping fast. Hang on, not only is he not burning, but he's also not firing? Kaboom! And I'm in 100% shield. What's going on? His pod sits there. Then I realise something is wrong. Quake590 is certainly not the sort of player who gives anything away for free in PvP. He's a cold, hard killer. I sit and watch the pod. It's not moving and I could easily point and pop it. I'm now pretty sure he's got PC problems so I don't pod him. Eventually the pod springs to life and starts burning and he says in local his client crashed when he activated the accelleration gate. He was surprised I hadn't podded him. I pointed out that if he had fought back I would have tried to pod him but I didn't think it was fair as he'd obviously crashed.

He reshipped and came back in a Thrasher again. This time he fired! His arties hit hard, but the consistent DPS from my overheated weapons (actually my fit is based on Quake590's own Hawk fit spookily) was better and I was able to take him down as I started to enter armour. It was when I tried to loot his wreck and I found that my cargo bay was full. It was at that point I realised the Hawk had ASB's fitted and I'd forgotten about them. I was fighting in an active tanked ship and didn't activate the active tank. Fail!

Quake590 did come back again, but with armour damage and my cooked mods from all the overheating I warped off before he landed.

Some good fights. Had nice convo's in local both with the pirate guy on Friday and Quake590 on Saturday. Its nice to be fighting guys who realise this is just a game and there is a difference between our characters fighting in a game and the real life us. Hell Quake even asked if I could sell him some Federation Navy Comet BPC's (as Gallente Militia I have plenty of LP's to buy them from the store in Fliet). 30m ISK and 300k LP exchanged and sold for to Quake 100m ISK.

And finally, at the end of Friday's fan fiction post I added a discreet P.S. stating that this blog was about to hit 150,000 views. I said I'd give a plex to a random person who added a comment on that post to mark the occasion. SC&S hit 150,000 on Saturday morning and the random number generator says number 2. Bugger. Jared is a mate and ex-corpie so that looks really fecking suspicious doesn't it! Going to have to do two now! This time its a 7. Ignoring the deleted double-posted comment and my own comment, comment number 7 was......

Redlack. Congrats Jared and Redlack. There will be a plex contracted over to you both this week! If you've not seen anything by the weekend give me a nudge, there will be A LOT of drink consumed over the next few days! I may forget where I live never mind sending those two plex!

And one last thing...

A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all!

*I don't care if my maths is wrong. Sod off!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Boarded - Part 1 of 2

Fan Fiction Friday! If this is not your thing you can escape here! I disagree with the post, but always nice to have a good subject like that to get discussion going!

A while ago I got an in-game convo from SeaElder4 regarding one of the posts here on SC&S regarding other ways of taking down supers other than MOAR supers. The convo was rather interesting and he was suggesting something I had thought of before but had dismissed, that of DUST514 boarding parties. Whilst this may sound good in theory, in practice getting it to work in-game would be a nightmare. The attacking team wouldn't be an issue, but what about defenders? As I understand it DUST is more than a CoD clone. Its closer to Eve with your own character with development and skills. A friendly Titan gets boarded. You need to help, but you are on a planet 15 jumps away. How do you get from one place to the other? Jump clones? Now you're opening a new can of worms. Imagine the Goons or PL with all those Titans. Do all DUST Bunnies need to have multiple clones on multiple ships. How many jump clones is too many? What if the boarding party attacks when your own DUST bunnies are asleep. How about "independents". Do you want to let armed mercs on your ship who may suddendly get a better offer?

No, I think we're too far away from allowing DUST players to board supers in-game currently. There are too many mechanics to consider.

Then SeaElder4 comes up with another good idea. He's right, here on SC&S we aren't restricted by game mechanics.......


"Shields dropping sir. We're at 10%."

"Noted." replied Executive Officer Kapela. Although he was sat in the captains chair on the bridge, however he was not the captain. An immortal capsuleer encased in his pod in the centre of the ship had that honour.

The status of the shields did not give him cause for concern. The immense armour plating on his behemoth of a ship was its primary defence  The armour hardening systems were running at 100% and looking at the rag-tag fleet that they were engaging, there was no imminent danger. He could run the repair systems and easily negate the incoming damage. May be the alliance's gamble had paid off. When he heard a battleship engagement had escalated to capitals and that they were going to deploy their titan he'd been stunned. Titans were far to expensive to simply drop into a fight with no further super-capital back-up. But the alliance leadership had made it clear they wanted to make a show of strength against their enemies. They had been fighting over this area of space for weeks, and they hoped deploying a titan on the battlefield would make the other side nervous about deploying capital ships again.

XO Kapela opened his tactical view. The enemy heavy interdictors that had jumped in a few seconds after the titan arrived were still there. Their warp jamming fields casting eerie bubbles around the battlefield. They would need to be taken out before the titan could jump out. The enemy capitals had already fled when the Avatar class titan appeared on the field.

"Sir! New contact. It is a Viator transport ship."

"Noted. They must be getting low on ammo and need a resupply. The support fleet will probably ignore it, they don't have enough firepower to take us down even if they have the ammo."

"But sir, he's decloaked because he is only 2000m from our port side!"

"So he's a pilot with shit flying skills bringing ammo to the enemy ships. Ignore him and concentrate on the remaining enemy fleet."


"90 seconds!" The warning was received by each of the heavily armoured soldiers through their helmets communication headset.

Warlock One double checked his plasma rifle as a large clash of metal on metal resonated through the modified transport ship as it attached itself to the side of the Avatar class titan. A low hum followed which the twelve soldiers knew was the cutting laser deploying.

"I wonder how many times I'll die today?" thought Warlock One. He smiled to himself. The question had become a ritual for himself on every mission. Since being turned into an immortal super-soldier he no longer saw each battle as it could be his last. He had died many times. Laying on the floor with a hole in his body, the blackness consuming him. Then suddenly light as the implant in his head transferred a scan of his brain to a waiting empty clone. He could be back out into the fight in minutes.

"30 seconds!"

Warlock One held his fist up and every one of the five men on his side of the cramped cabin returned the ready signal. He was leading the Alpha Team. Opposite him was the Delta Team who had a different objective.

"10 seconds!"

The men stood and faced the hatch. Warlock One wished there was more space on the cramped vessel. If the crew of the Avatar had worked out what was coming they may have set up defences  The bottleneck through the titans hull would be an issue. However he knew there was no option. The Viator had been stripped and rebuilt specifically for this mission. Half of the ship was dedicated to the power supply and cutting laser assembly needed to breach through the metres of thick armour plating. Most of the other half of the ships cargo bay was the CRU or Clone Revival Unit. All this technology left little space for comfortable spacious cabins.


The hatch opened revealing a steaming cave through the super-capital ships hull. The first four men ran through the melted metal that had been cooled by a liquid nitrogen flush immediately before the hatch opened. The soldiers were carrying a large cargo container between them. The "cave" opened into a small storage area. They quickly placed one of the cargo containers at each side of the breach and unclipped the lid. One man reached inside and pulled up a heavy plasma cannon which locked into position on its own folding tripod. A quick throw of a switch and the massive gun started to sweep back and forth. These sentry boxes were used to temporarily secure important locations. The automated guns could be set up in seconds and would start scanning for any targets not wearing a transponder.

"Entrance secured! Teams move out."

The twelve heavily armed soldiers exited the storage room into the corridor and split into two groups of six heading in different directions.


"You know you are a very naughty girl!"

Technician First Class Catrina smiled down at her superior. She gently rocked back and forth on top of him.

"So you want me to stop then..... sir?" she purred.

"You bitch, I'll write you up for this!" he said with a smile. "Regulations state that during combat operations off-duty personel should be ready to report to stations immediately."

Catrina picked up the pace.

"Well then. I suppose we'd better be quick about it. If the other 119,998 crew onboard cannot cope, they'll need us."

Chief Technician Olo just groaned in pleasure as way of rely.


"Alpha Team. This is Control. Report."

"Roger Control. This is Warlock 1. We are at position bravo-two. Still in the shadows. Moving to position bravo-three."

The phrase 'in the shadows' meant that no alarms had been raised. However it was only a matter of time. They had encountered a dozen crew members who had all paused when they saw six heavily armed soldiers marching down the corridor. The pause had all been their undoing as the lead soldier had put a plasma bolt through them before they could react.

Warlock 1 brought up the holo-map strapped to his wrist. As he checked their position he was shocked to see the door in front of him open. The crew member the other side was more shocked to find a heavily armoured soldier stood facing him.

Time seemed to slow. Warlock One brought his plasma rifle up as the crew member reached for the door control. He hit the close button as Warlock One pulled the trigger. The large plasma rifles were not ideal at point blank range in the cramped corridor and his aim was off. He saw the plasma bolt tear the mans arm off as the door slid shut and locked.

"Warlock Five! Get this door open now!"

Warlock Five was the teams electronics expert. Any control system that needed hacking, he could do it. In fact, with the Alpha teams primary goal, he was the most important member of the team.

"Come on Warlock Five. We need to silence that guy before he regains his senses and..... shit!"

Warlock One never finished as the intruder alert alarm went off throughout the ship.


"How the frack did a boarding party get on-board?" XO Kapela growled.

"Unknown sir. We are scanning for possible breeches. So far all outer rooms appear pressurised."

"Whats the situation with security?"

"All teams are armed and hunting sir. We'll find them."

XO Kapela looked worried. The security teams onboard were well equiped but not experienced. They didn't need to be. They broke up bar fights and domestic disturbances. On a ship with a crew compliment equal to that of a small city, an on-board police force was obviously needed. However if it was a team of special forces that had got onto the ship, his security staff didn't stand a chance.


The two technicians were pulling their coveralls on in a hurry as the all-stations alarm sounded immediately after the intruder alert alarm.

"So what you said about the other 119,998 not being able to cope!"

"I know." smiled Catrina "I suppose I temped fate!"

"Yes, I always saw you as a temptress." Olo joked "For example looks like you are going to work 'commando' today". He nodded to her discarded underwear on the floor of his cabin.

"Well I thought it would save time when the drill is finished and we come back here for round two." she said mischievously "You'll only have one zipper to do!". 

"Why the hell they are sounding all stations I don't know. We run diagnostics on a secondary systems node. What are we going to do in an emergency or major fleet battle? I've yet to hear of a systems diagnostic routine turning the tide of an engagement!"

As the two finished dressing they left the quarters and headed to their station.

The engineering bay they worked in was large by normal ship standards, but on a titan it was one of the smaller sections. As well as a massive main reactor that could power a city, the super-capital class ship had hundreds of other smaller reactors like the one where Catrina and Olo were stationed at. In addition to the small reactor, their bay also housed some of the secondary electronics systems that it powered in the heart of the ship. This section wasn't always manned, it was in the centre of the ship and perhaps the most shielded there was. If this section was taking damage in a fight, then it mean the ship was already in at least two pieces.

"So what do we do if the intruders get here?" asked Catrina.

"Well I suppose you could offer to service them. It certainly kept me occupied over the last hour!"

She stuck her tongue out at him.

"I don't know, I assume the intruder alert alarm went off by accident. Some fat-fingered officer hit it when he was supposed to sound 'all stations'. Anyway, I suppose we'd better run our diagnostics as per the book for an all stations alarm. We'll start with the capsule ejection sequence diagnostic first."


"Alpha Team. This is Control. Report."

"This is Warlock One. Meeting mild resistance. Currently at position Gamma-4. ETA to target is 3 minutes. I repeat, ETA 3 minutes."

Warlock One fired his plasma rifle and the security guard went down. Another four were on an elevated walkway and the rest of his team were using suppressing fire to keep them pinned down. Warlock One scanned for anyone stupid enough to reveal himself.

"Warlock Five, report!"

"Its coming sir. The security coding on these doors is a bit heavier than we expected."

"Well, that's hardly unexpected." Warlock One paused as a crew member stuck his head from cover and tried to bring his pistol to bare. Warlock One put a plasma bolt through his face. "You know where that corridor leads. Expect it to be the best internal security they have. Now get those blast doors open!".


"Sir we have heavy fighting reported in sector N250 and also in sector Y35. It looks like the intruders have stopped advancing, they must be at their targets."

XO Kapela paused to consider those areas. It didn't make sense. The first was in the centre of the ship and was a simple electronics node point and a small power reactor. Surely boarding parties should be going for weapons control, the primary reactor, the engines, some system they could damage and turn the tide of the engagement. The second location did house one of the larger reactor, but it was not the main one. Why were they doing that?

"Give me a run down of all primary systems relying on those areas." Kapela ordered.

"Sir. No primary system rely on those areas." replied an officer. "They are both secondary power generation and secondary electronic nodes."

"What the frack is going on?" thought the XO.

"Enemy cyno up!" the bridge went silent. On the viewscreen dozens of flashes heralded a fleet jumping into the battle.

"Sir.... they are.... all sub capitals. Battlecruiers and Battleship being bridged in!"

XO Kapela pondered this new development. To take down a titan you really needed capital ships. Super carriers and dreadnoughts were the usual force. He counted the enemy battleship and battlecruiser fleet. They wouldn't be enough. What was going on? They were stuck, unable to escape, why not bring in a force to take them down?


"OK the ejection sequence checks out. Lets move on to the secondary and tertiary data links. A level two diagnostics should be OK."

Catrina's fingers tapped away on the console. Terra-bytes of data flowed through the routers in fractions of a second. All systems appeared to be working fine. She finished programming the cycle and stepped back to let it run fully.

"Ten minutes until cycle completes. Now what can we do in ten minutes...... sir?"

Olo just laughed. "You're insatiable!"

"Well you cannot blame a girl for trying."

Olo was checking the computer systems when he noticed the digital intrusion in the local door security systems.

"You know that intruder alarm that got us out of bed....... I think we're in trouble!"


"OK Alpha team, stow the shooters. I want NO plasma weapons in this next room. One stray shot and this entire mission is scrapped."

Warlock One watched the team sling their rifles onto their backs and un-sheave wicked combat knives. This would be the most dangerous part of the mission. No guns, just knives up-close and personal.

The blast doors opened and they looked down the long corridor at the final blast door. They slowly made their way down, two of the six staying back at the blast doors to cover their brothers.

Warlock Five went to work on the next control panel which controlled the final heavy blast doors. He was just uncoupling the door control unit access panel from the wall when there was a brilliant flash. Electricity arced around his body and he went rigid. Warlock Two grabbed him to pull him away but the lightning just jumped to him as well. Both soldiers were caught in the massive current.

Warlock one upholstered his pistol and fired at the lock. The flow of power stopped and both men fell to the floor blackened, chard and not moving.

"CRU. This is Warlock One...."

"Roger Warlock One, thought you'd be calling. We have received five and two's conciousness'. ETA 5 minutes until back in the shit."



The two engineers looked at the monitor in silence. The remaining two heavily armoured troopers didn't appear to be going away. Another two still were at the first blast door covering the access corridor door whilst the other two stood over the bodies of their dead comrades.

"Have you ever seen armour like that?" Catrina said in a low voice.

"Never. That conduit we rigged up to the other side of the door control should have vaporised all four of them. All it did was take two down and I'm not seeing a lot of damage on the two we did get. You know we've got no weapons in here and when they come through those doors, they are not going to be best pleased with us."

"Look. There are more coming". Two more heavily armoured soldiers arrived replacing their dead comrades.

"Why would they want to capture this section? It's a dead end and doesn't do anything important! It's not a primary offence or defence system. We deal with minor secondary systems!"

Olo looked at Catrina and then at a console in the corner.

"I think I know." He said worriedly.


"Warlock 5, you good?"

"Yes sir. Just a mild case of death. Looking forward to meeting the guys who rigged that lock."

"Stow it soldier. If anything goes wrong we may need those techs in there. You are NOT to neutralise any non-com's until we've done the flush understood."

"Sir, if they are non-combatants, then what is my cooked carcass doing on the deck plate there?" Warlock 5 kicked his previous clone.

"Once we've performed the flush you can do what the hell you want to them. Until then we keep all techs and engineers alive in there."

"Yes sir!" Warlock 5 replied begrudgingly. "With the controls fried we'll have to do this the old fashioned way."

With that Warlock 5 removed a reel from his pack and started sticking the putty against the blast door. Within 20 seconds he'd formed a two metre by one and a half metre oblong. He placed a small black box into the putty and stepped back. After a few seconds there was a puff of smoke from the box. The putty started to dissolve into the metal of the blast-door which in turn started to dissolve  A minute later there was a thunderous clang as a 500mm thick piece of reinforced tungsten fell forward creating a man-sized hole in the blast doors. The four soldiers entered the room with combat knives drawn to find Olo standing in the middle of the bay shielding Catrina behind him.

"You must be the guy who cooked and killed me and my friend here" Warlock 5 growled menacingly  "We're going to have a little chat after I've done what I need to do!"

Olo thought he must have heard wrong. "Did he say I killed him?" he thought.

The other men grabbed the two technicians and forced them into two chairs. They bound their wrists and ankles to the chairs using flexi-cuffs as Warlock 5 unscrewed the access panel from the console Olo had looked at earlier. 

"Like taking candy from a.....OH! MOTHERFU......." Warlock 5 never finished his sentence as a bright blue jet of raw plasma shot from the internals of the console as he removed the access panel. Warlock 5's corpse fell backwards revealing a fist sided hole in the front of his helmet. The inside back of his chard skull was clearly visible.

The other soldiers just stood there. Olo was waiting for one of them to stick him with those huge knives they carried. But the continued as if nothing had happened. They just acted as if they waiting for something.

Five minutes later another soldier walked in.

"Now, I am going to FUCK YOU UP!" Olo froze in a mix of confusion and terror as he heard the same voice of Warlock 5.


"Sir, we've detected security breaches in sectors N250 and Y35. Those bays are fully compromised and the enemy control those sections now. Our capsuleer is aware." the bridge officer addressing the XO didn't sound overly concerned.

"Understood. OK what we....." the XO was cut off by the sound of the computers booming voice.

"Self-destruct systems activated. Two minutes to self-destruct."

"Impossible! Only the capsuleer can activate the self-destruct!" the XO rose out of the command chair.

"Confirmed sir. It was the capsuleer, he activated it. We've got....." this time it was the bridge officers turn to be cut off by the voice of the computer.

"Self-destruction sequence deactivated."

"What the frack is going on?" yelled the XO.

"Sir, that command override originated from sector N250. The intruders are stopping our capsuleer from destroying the ship."

XO Kapela suddenly went cold. They weren't trying to destroy the ship. They wanted to capture it. They took sector N250 to prevent the capsuleer from activating the self destruct.

"I want to know what controls are handled by sector Y35 and I want to know NOW! Check all secondary systems. Its not something obvious like weapons or power. It's something we've overlooked. Something we'd not expect them to go for. Something that will help them capture the ship, not destroy it!"

"Yes Sir. I'm reviewing the schematics and..... Oh! Sir, you're not going to believe this......"

To be concluded next Friday......

P.S. You're still reading? Well done you! This weekend this blog will hit 150,000 views (as I post this it is at 149,398)! To celebrate I'm going to give away a plex to a random commenter. Just post a comment using your in-game name or that of an alt on this post and I'll use some random number generator to select one lucky winner for a plex. It'll be contracted to that toon in-game so make sure the name is right! I'll roll the winner when I post the next blog entry which will be Sunday or Monday so if this is still the latest post here, you've still got time! Oh and be careful with the comment, I moderate due to a lot of spam and a hatred of Captcha. Make it obvious its not spam without revealing to others who haven't read this bit that there is a Plex give-away :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Destroying Destroyers Destructively

So I returned to Eve at the weekend after a "sort of" two week break. Obviously Retribution had been launched during that time. Do you want to know the most shocking issue at patching to Retribution? The internet speeds in the UK! I had my laptop with me and it took me a good three hours to patch the Eve Client at my brothers place on his "broadband". When I got home and patched the desktop back in the Middle East, it took 15 minutes! And that was on a mobile connection!

Anyway, onto the pew-pew. I had already tried the new Caldari destroyer, the Corax, on the test server and loved it simply due to the number of missiles it spat out and the firework-show you were treated to when you fired. The graphics were spectacular especially with rockets. So one of my first jobs in Retribution was to send my alt to Jita to pick me up a couple and bring them back to low-sec in his transport ship. Yeah, yeah, I know ship choice shouldn't be down to what the graphics are like, but I wanted missile madness!

The first set up I tried was rocket based with MSE. I thought about the other mids and opted for web and scram. My reasoning was that I'd be baiting in small faction war plex's so I might encounter frigates. Anything that can point and hit from 12km+ and is faster than me is going to beat my rocket Corax simply because the rockets will be out of range. So my plan was to sit in the plex capturing it (love the new plex layout!) and if anyone came in it would be scwam, web and wockets!

After a few kills with the rocket Corax I did try a light missile kiting Corax...... and it was pants. I've seen slightly angry squirrels with more DPS! If you snag a slow ship with short-range weapons then you'll be OK, but you should note that your target will likely die of old age rather than your light missiles! The Corax does have fairly awesome range with lights, but you need to ask what's the point? The ability to hit from 70km out is pointless if you're hardly doing any damage and your out of point range by a factor of three.

Generally I found that things worked much better with the rocket fit, but the DPS is still rather lacking. Whilst it is much better than the light missile fit, it is pretty low. I thought these new destroyers were supposed to have less tank and more DPS. In the last week I've not been in any fleets so all my kills have been just me and my destroyer. During my solo roams since Retribution hit I've lost two Corax and killed the following:-
  • Condor
  • Pod
  • Coercer
  • Jaguar
  • Thrasher
  • Thrasher
  • CN Hookbill
  • Catalyst
  • Corax*
  • Coercer*
*I'd lost my last Corax so was in an AC Thrasher for these kills.

I had a couple of fights that resulted in draws. One was against a Thrasher with an oversized AB. He had a scram to shut down my MWD and my web couldn't hold back the 10mn AB. After it was clear I couldn't hold him, I waited for him to rubber-band and then burn off in the other direction as his scram dropped.

The last Coercer kill was a good one. He was 10mn AB fit, but had a long point not a scram. That meant I could keep up by perma-running my MWD. That led to his guns hitting me better. It was a close fight and as he assploded I was in 49% structure with almost all my mods heavily damaged. I did actually burn out my MWD, it died seconds after the target went down.

Of the two Corax I lost one, was against a Jaguar who was sat on a gate, you know what is coming don't you...... his mates were sat the other side. Schoolboy error on my part there.

The other was against a Hawk. Now I knew that would be a dodgy fight. I love Hawks and they have an awesome tank with twin ASB. But I thought I'd see how it went. It went badly and I got utterly kerb-stomped. Pro-tip, avoid Hawks when flying a rocket Corax!

So the Corax is OK as a solo ship. Not great, not terribad, just OK. I love the graphics of the multiple rocket launchers spitting hell-fire-death at the target. However, the Corax does suffer from a serious lack of DPS.

For me, the Thrasher is still king of the destroyers.

Monday, December 17, 2012

D-Scanning for Noobs

The directional scanner helps you find stuffz in space. It can be a bit tricky to use, but when you can use it effectively you can speed up finding the POS that the Nyx is parked at, or what low-sec belt that idiot Hulk pilot is at.

This is a very basic guide to using the directional scanner in Eve. If you know the basics, probably best to move along.

Your scanner has two components radius and distance.

The distance is obvious. Just use the table below to judge the KM/AU conversion. If you don't know what a AU is, it is an "Astrological Unit". This is the average distance between our sun and the planet earth which is a tad under 150 million km.

1 AU = 150m km
2 AU = 300m km
5 AU = 750m km
10 AU = 1.5bn KM
14.4 AU = 2,147,483,647 (Max scan distance)

So your ship scanner has a range of roughly 14.4 AU. If it's outside that range, you ain't going to pick it up! Remember, in some systems your maximum scan distance might not even be as wide as 20% of the system size.

The raidus is slightly more tricky. At 360 degrees it scans all around your ship in every direction. At 5 degrees it is a very narrow beam which can be difficult to aim properly.

The key thing to remember is that the scanner works on your view, not the direction that your ship is facing. When you narrow the beam of the scanner, the direction it is looking at is the direction YOU are looking at. Spin the camera to point the scanner. You do not need to align your ship to where you want to scan, just move the camera view.

With direction scanning I start off at 360 degrees so I know I'm within scan range of what I'm looking for. Then I do a 180 scan one side of my ship. Then I'll have an idea which side the target it. I then do 30 degree scans on celestials that I can see on that side and keep narrowing the beam until I have then, or not if they are safed up in a spot nowhere near a celestial.

The pics below show me scanning down some industrials. Note how the ship is stationary, I just rotate the camera.

Ah ha! Some industrials in space on a 360 degree scan!

Narrowed scan to 30 degrees. Well they are not around planet 10!

Planet 6 is clear....

So you're all around planet 8 somewhere are you!

If they are at a cluster of celestials such as the above pic, then you may need to get in that cluster to scan them down. This is especially true when trying to find which POS or belt they are at. By warping to the planet you can scan the moons/belts much easier.... whilst making it much easier for others to find you! Obviously things are speeded up if you add moons to your overview!

Easiest way? Get a probing alt with a ship with bonus to scan strength and some Sisters Combat Scanner Probes :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

BB42 : 2012 Community Review of EVE Online

"A gaming universe as vast and unique as EVE Online is constantly evolving and the experience is different for every participant. Conventional games review techniques cannot possibly hope to provide an accurate measure of every aspect of EVE's gameplay. However, with a community initiative like the Blog Banters, we have the resources to deliver the most thorough and up-to-date review ever.

By combining the experiences of contributors from across the EVE metasphere, we get a wealth of opinions from veterans and rookies alike. We'll be able to combine input from faction warfare specialists, wormhole residents, null-sec warriors, missioners, pirates, industrialists, roleplayers, politicians and more to paint a complete picture of the health and progress of EVE Online in its current Retribution incarnation.

Who better to review EVE Online than those who know it best?"

Was it really 362 days ago we did the 2011 review? Doesn't time fly when you're violencing important internet spaceships! I'm tempted to re-read that post. I won't. I'll try and do one from scratch. I wonder how my views have changed in that last year!

So here I go......

Eve Online : Retribution - Faction War in 2012

My review is going to concentrate on faction war with a little bit of space piracy thrown in for good yaaaarrrrr measure.

Gameplay - Faction War PvP

Player verses player in Eve Online is simply awesome. Like many games you can fit your ship (avatar) with a variety of expensive and shiny bits of gear to make killing people easier. But wait! In Eve Online, if you die, you'll probably lose it...... ALL! Yes, Eve Online is rather unforgiving and all those billions you spent kitting out your ship can be lost in an instant and those modules and weapons that survived the destruction of your ship will probably be looted from your ship by your enemy. So make your choice, cheap gear giving less performance or expensive gear which will bring a tear to your eye if you get killed! 

Not many other games make your hands shake during PvP.

Whilst PvP is part of everyday life in Eve, Faction War is seen as the easy to get into part of it. The four playable Empires are at war with the Caldari and Amarr against the Gallente and Minmatar.

Whilst I was writing this, I thought I'd undock and see if I could get a fight for some screenshots. Took me two minutes...

Faction war is about PvP, pure and simple. Yes there are complexes to capture and NPC's to shoot and missions to run. But all of these are there to provide PvP.

Now the sandbox does has its problems. Think of it like real war. Its not supposed to be fair. You might be winning in an awesome 1v1, but there is always the possibility of his mates turning up to make your 1v1 a 1v12. There are no battlefields here, no arena's, no rules. You don't have a computer sorting you into equal teams, no sorting of players to make a good battle.

Notwithstanding this, with hand-shaking 1v1's and massive fleet engagements between hundreds of ships, PvP in Eve Online is certainly...



In days-gone-by Eve Online was known as a game that didn't need an expensive rig to play. The gameplay was king and whilst the graphics were nice, it wasn't all about the eye candy. However, those days are not really with us. Now I have friends who cannot really play Eve as their PC fails. But for the rest of us, Eve Online is beautiful!



I played WoW (sorry), I played EverQuest, I played Star Wars Galaxies, Age of Conan and Warhammer Online. I've been playing games on PC's since Wolfenstein 3D. Not one single game has lasted anywhere near near Eve Online. Why?

Single Shard - In March I was part of a fleet that ganked a PL titan. Two weeks later I was passing groups of players talking about it at Fanfest.
Not a single game - Bit bored? Do something different. There are dozens of "careers" in Eve.
No character classes - Other MMO - "Oh what a fantastic sword. Pity I'm monk class and therefore I cannot even hold it!". Eve Online - "If I train it, I can use it!".
Community - Well, what can you say about the Eve-O community other than 'Awesome'.
CCP - OK, some times they get it wrong. But then again which game developer makes videos like...


Ease of Getting Into.

Oh dear. Now we're on a sticky wicket! Whilst the learning cliff curve has flattened out a lot, Eve is still not an easy game to get into, especially with PvP. Don't believe me? Take a week old toon in the best ship they can fly and go looking for a fight in low-sec. You need to learn the mechanics, you need to learn how to fly, you need to learn the game. But most of all, you have to wait until your character has enough skill points to compete. Yes, in every fleet a T1 frigate to act as tackle is useful. But they also assplode pretty quickly. I tried PvP several times and hated it. Finally it clicked, but my toon was almost a year old by that time and if it hadn't been for the community I'd have given up and be playing a Kung-Fu Panda somewhere! I get a lot of hits from Google with people using the phrase "Is Eve Online fun?". Yes, yes it is, but you need to give it a chance. You get back what you put into the game.

The way Eve is, it'll never be very easy to get into PvP. But perhaps that is a good thing?



Eve haz sound! Apparently in the early years the sound in Eve taxed your PC so much most had to turn it off. These days it is different. Great music, stunning effects and alarms going off right, left and centre as your important internet spaceship gets hammered from all sides. All we're missing is the screams of the dying crew!

Retribution has done a lot to improve the sound effects and music in 2012. All is good!



There really is nothing like Eve Online out there. An amazing sandbox set in a stunning sci-fi universe where your actions can resonate through the universe. The PvP is meaningful and to me that is perhaps the main difference between all the other MMOG's out there. Sweating brow, shaking hands and the euphoria when the last ship in that gang of five tried to gank you explodes to your guns! With an amazing community, amazing devs and a truely amazing game, Eve Online is hear to stay..... providing we can attract the new blood from the bottom of that learning cliff!

38/50 doesn't sound right for an awesome game, but the inaccessibly of good PvP for new players does drag it down I feel.

P.S. - Comparison to last years review. Exact same score. Spooky!