Thursday, February 26, 2015

Treasure Hunting

It used to be that I would spend my time hunting for targets that I could ambush and maul.  Now it's a case of looking for targets that I can loot and pillage.

So far, in my Signal Cartel life there hasn't included much looting and pillaging.  Jack doesn't have strong skills as an explorer.  He can fly the cov-op frigates just fine - but when it comes to breaking down the relic and data sites - that's a problem.  Especially since the target sites are going to most likely be in wormholes or null space.

Since joining Signal Cartel, my schooling has been mostly focused on getting the skills to use the Relic Analyzer II and Data Analyzer II.  Both of them are essential in order to have luck with the sites found in wh and null space.  Especially since I prefer to fly an interceptor there to avoid problems with bubbles and interceptors don't have the hacking bonuses provided by exploration frigates.

It's been a waiting game as my skill queue did its thing.

But now I'm skilled enough for the Relic Analyzer II and I can go to the next step in my plan - actually exploring!

On the Eve-Scout website there's an option for looking at a map of the current links from Thera.  Here's today's map:

The areas I'm most interested in are down at the bottom of the page where today there are connections to Paragon Soul and Esoteria - each of them have one link to/from Thera.  These are null sec regions that have Sansha sites.  Due to the Intact Armor Plates (and other loot) that Sansha relic sites drop - these are prime areas for exploration.  I've been waiting for links to this neighborhood (which includes a couple other regions with Sansha rats).

The plan is to use these wormholes to enter these regions and then move to areas that show a limited number of recent jumps on the Dotlan map.  These backwater systems often have relic sites stacked up and an absence of locals who might take exception with my activities.  We'll see how it goes.

Another option for intrepid explorers in Thera is to jump through today's wormhole that leads to the Outer Ring region.  That's where the Outer Ring Excavations offices offer profitable BPOs for sale.  The trip there and back (with a Bowhead BPO tucked in the cargo bay) is often fraught with danger - but with the Thera wormhole, it's much shorter and relatively safer.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Hello Thera!

Last night I made myself more comfortable in the Thera home station of my new corp, Signal Cartel, and bought a cheetah from the corp contracts to act as a temporary scanning ship. 

The first scanning foray into the Thera system showed a nearly overwhelming number of signatures to probe down.  Even with eliminating all of the ones that were listed in the corp bookmarks there were still more than a dozen.

Time to get to work…

The cheetah had a level I probe launcher, Sister probes, plus some helpful rigs to improve the scanning strength.  The scanning went well, not as fast as with some of my other characters that have better skills and equipment – but not too painful.

Many of the signatures were gas, data, or relic sites that I ignored.  But a few were wormholes that connected to all parts of the Eve universe.  These I checked out.  Being totally new, I’m still unsure of how to get these new sigs added to the eve-scout listing – but I’m sure I’ll sort that out in the next few days.

I wasn’t really interested in probing down the signatures other than for practice.  My future focus will be finding null sec relic sites (they pay the best) and in order to be successful in them I’m going to need to improve my equipment.  A Relic Analyzer II will be vital (another 10 days of training required).  And a ship that I feel comfortable in when traveling through null sec is another necessity.  The cheetah is ok – but most of my experience involving this sort of thing has been in an interceptor that is immune to warp bubbles.  I’ll need one of those.

After the initial scanning adventure, I jump cloned back to Molden Heath and sent Jack on a low sec tour buying clone soldier tags and then redeeming them at a nearby CONCORD office.  Jack’s security status changed from -8.9 to -1.9 (at a cost of more than 100m isk…).  This means that Jack can now freely wander through high sec space and not fear the authorities or fellow capsuleers.  It’s a strange feeling…

I hesitatingly entered high sec and stopped in Hek to do a little shoppng.  A Stiletto interceptor filled with appropriate modules for my future life was quickly put together.  Then it was time to call it a night.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

And Now For Something Completely Different

Probably all three of my readers have come to the realization that I’m not especially good (or even mediocre) at this PvP stuff.  To be honest, I tend to be a bit too risk adverse and panic prone.  I’m fine with that.  It’s been great fun.  And I have other qualities that make up for these shortcomings.  I think I do.  Well, maybe not.

But, regardless…

I've decided to change Jack Dancer’s Eve experience (easily done in Eve – there are a lot of options!).  I’ve said adios to my amigos for the past 3+ years, the Black Rebel Rifter Club.  Thanks to Miura Bull for letting me join the Rebels years ago.  And, while I haven’t been one of the more active or sociable members, I’ve enjoyed being part of the group.  My Black Rebel Rifter Club bumpersticker will always stay on the back bumper of my car...

My new corp – Signal Cartel – is based in Thera and they (we?) are focused on exploration.

Thera is a unique location in wormhole space.  It has a plethora of wormholes opening to all parts of the Eve universe - a perfect opportunity to pop into locations that I haven’t visited before.  Plus I've always enjoyed finding relic and data sites with their gamblingesque payouts.  I look forward to the change.

Now I'll be improving Jack's rather meager scanning skills and working on improving his dodgy security status.  Plus I'll be posting some exploration focused topics here from time to time.  The blog will continue.

Details about Thera and Signal Cartel are available at

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Stealth Bomber Guide

For you stealthy types, this handbook on stealth bombers is a must read:

It's well worth the $4.99 that he's asking (and if you want you can get it for free with one of the coupon codes that he has on the order page).

Wingspantt ("The fourth best commentator on youtube") has a series of videos - some hilarious (and reminiscent of my PvP panicked style) that are fun viewing too:

I've tried harassing visitors to a wormhole where I have an alt living - with mostly poor success.  The rascals in their little helioses usually escape after I've done them some damage.  But this guide has given me some ideas of where I was going wrong and what to do to make my nemesis stealth bomber more lethal.

Thanks Wingspantt!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Live from Thera

Jack Dancer had heard about a special wormhole named Thera that has recently appeared.  It was time to see what all the excitement was about.

I looked at Eve-Scout  and found an entrance relatively close to Auner.  So I headed there in a bare bones Stiletto and an empty clone.  I figured that I would probably die jumping into a gate camp in Thera - so no need to carry any extra valuables.  But I also was embolden by the new "free clone" rules - so even if this empty clone gets podded, it wouldn't cost me millions to replace it.

On the way there was one scary part - I had to pass through one high sec system.  My security rating is -8.9 the last time I looked and that's not what high sec citizens consider acceptable.  When I jumped in there was a warning from the police to leave.  I did - via the gate at the far end of the system.

My Stiletto was equipped for fast alignment (under 2 seconds) - so theoretically I was pretty safe.  It takes a second for someone to lock me and another for them to shoot and with under 2 seconds of align time I should be in warp by the end of that second second.

The trip was uneventful until I got to the system with the wormhole to Thera.  It's low sec and had 11 other pilots.  Plus about a dozen signatures to sort through.  I tossed out probes and around the ninth signature (the fourth wormhole) I found the link to Thera.  I bookmarked it and headed there.  I landed and passed through the wormhole into the new space.

I expected to find ships on the other side.  But fortunately, there were none.  I bookmarked the entrance (never forget to do this!) and picked a station at random  (of the 4 in system) to warp to at 100km.  I had no bookmarks in the system (of course) so I dropped a couple enroute.

It was a long "enroute".  Thera is a big place.  A very big place.  Setting up a deep safe more than 15k from anything will not be hard at all...

Very big.

Eventually I got halfway to the target station.  In an interceptor that travels at 8AU/s...  Halfway...

Then, a while later, I arrived 100k away from the station.  It was a madhouse.  There were bright flashy ships everywhere!  YOW!  I saw enough in an instant to decide to look elsewhere.  I headed back to one of my recently set up safe spots.

Then I chose another station and it turned out to be much quieter.  Just one Algos floating a hundred km above it.  I set up a perch and then landed at the station.  First thing I did was change my medical clone home to this new quieter station.  Looking at the map, the busy station is one of a pair that are close to each other - it wouldn't surprise me if one of them becomes the "Jita" of Theta.

So, now I have a clone in Theta.  I'll need to get some ships, but with the various options for exits (there must have been 20+ signatures available and lots of them were probably wormholes) I should be able to get to a market sometime soon.

Postscript:  When I discovered there was a route via Amo (one jump from Auner!) I headed back to Thera with a covert ops frigate loaded with boosters (thinking there might be a good market for illegal drugs there -the market didn't look that good though, so we'll see).

Then I went back to Auner in my pod and grabbed a firetail to have something with guns for personal protection in Thera.  I jumped through the wormhole in Amo and landed in a warp bubble!  YOW!  With the stiletto I was flying earlier it would have been no problem (interceptors aren't affected by warp bubbles) - but the firetail had no such luxury.  Fortunately, it wasn't a serious gatecamp - just a couple guys in small ships.  So I burned back to the wormhole and headed back to Amo with just a few of crusty edges on my shields.  I called it a night - happy to have two ships in Thera (one covert ops and one interceptor).

Friday, November 28, 2014

Three fights - one win, one draw, and one loss...

I flew over to a nearby system to get some illegal boosters and on the way noticed a couple incursuses (incursi) in a faction warfare plex.  I considered it.  My rifter wouldn't survive, but it might be fun.  But then I remembered that I was on a mission to pick up some cargo and decided to let the incursi live.

I stopped in the station, made the deal for the drugs, and headed back.  On the way back I noticed that Amand Caldurik (a fellow Black Rebel Rifter Club member) mentioned in the corp chat that he had lost his firetail to two incursi.  The same two that I had noticed.  They are a tough pair (one of them has 116 wins and 4 losses in November.  Personally, I'm much more impressed with Amand's record of 67 wins and 61 losses in November.  It shows a willingness to have fun.

But that's another topic.

So, as I was saying, I headed back to Auner with my illegal boosters.  When I got back there was activity in the system, so I dropped off the stash and headed out to see what I could find.

In one of the FW plexes was a kestrel.  Not my favorite target, but worth a fight.  I jumped through the gate on the plex with everything turned up to 11.  The kestrel was waiting and we started tearing each other apart.  My guns were doing good damage, but his missiles were too.  Soon we were both through our shields.  And shortly after we were through our armor.  My overheated armor repairer was struggling to keep up.

Then it was a race through the last of our defenses.  Smoke was everywhere!  And just as I was getting ready to finish off the kestrel - a firetail landed!  YOW!  I hoped that I would have enough to finish the kestrel before the firetail finished me.  And luckily, I did.  The kestrel exploded and I was left with 40% of my hull intact.  A very close fight!

GFs were exchanged in local and the firetail pilot noted that he should have overheated his prop mod to get in on the excitement (and sneak in on a kill or two...).

I immediately repaired my damaged rifter and headed out for round two.  A firetail is a tough frigate and I didn't have much hope of survival - but it would be fun trying.  I landed at the plex, turned up everything to 11 and headed through the gate.  The firetail was waiting for me.  The fight was on!

This one didn't go nearly as good as the fight with the kestrel.  I did some damage - but the firetail was doing more and able to keep up the repairs on his ship better than I was doing.  Eventually I lost my shields and armor and was going through my rifter's final defense - my hull.  And about that same time I noticed that my guns had burned up from overheating.  YOW!

Fortunately, I had somehow slipped far enough away from the firetail that I was no longer held by his warp scrambler - so I hit warp and heard the reassuring voice telling me I was in warp and safe.  This time I had 70% of my hull left - I was again smoking and on fire.  My armor repper also burned up due to overheating as I was flying away.

A very close call.  GFs were exchanged in local.

I again headed back to the station and I noticed that my opponent, Khallii, was also in the station repairing.  I again headed out with the rifter - this time changing my ammunition to barrage and moving my orbit distance to 4km.  I wanted to try staying away from those firetail guns...

I managed to stay away from the firetail's guns.  Because Khallii re-shipped to a breacher.  Unfortunately, I couldn't stay away from the breacher's rockets and the rifter finally died a glorious death!

GFs were again exchanged in local and we chatted about the sad state of the rifter today compared to its past glory...

Sunday, November 23, 2014


I was heading back to my home in Auner and looking for trouble along the way.

In on FW plex I landed near an executioner - but he smartly decided to scamper off.  So I didn't manage to catch him.

Then a couple systems later I spotted a tristan in a plex.  Tristans are tough.  Real tough.  I don't remember winning against them, but I do remember lots of losses to them.  But the rifter I was flying was built for exploding - so I headed in with everything turned up to 11.

Things went reasonably well for a few seconds.  Then turned bad.  Very bad.  I quickly exploded.

The other pilot turned out to be former Black Rebel Rifter Club corpmate Thestarling.  A much more lethal pilot than I am.  We exchanged GFs in local and caught up on old times for a few minutes before I headed two jumps back to Auner to equip another frigate.