Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Death of a Drake Battlecruiser

This was different.  I had a couple minutes to stop by Eve and updated some of my trader alt's orders in Jita.  Then I checked on Jack Dancer's training and while doing that there was some chatter about targets in Auner.  Might as well undock my rifter of death and look around.  So I did.

At first I could see nothing (mostly because my entire computer screen was covered with Jack's training schedule, plus the hangar info, the buy/sell screen, and the market screen from my previous trading session).  I had forgotten to minimize them.  DOH!  I couldn't even find the "people and places" screen to run to a safe spot when I left the station!  I quickly closed all the market screens (what does Jack "The Black Rebel Rifter Pirate" Dancer care about market screens?) and headed to a safespot I have near the sun to scan the nearby asteroid belts.

Finally, some peace and quiet!  I hit d-scan a couple times and there were half a dozen targets around the system.  But talk on the Black Rebel fleet screen (we were fleeted up) let me know that a couple of them were friendly.  About then I started to mess with the d-scanner to get it to 15 degrees so that I could find some of these targets a bit easier.  Now, where to look first?


Suddenly, right on top of me, appeared a huge ship with a red unfriendly cross on it - an enemy of the Black Rebels!  A Drake Battlecruiser!  He was so close that I could hear his engines!


Apparently this safe spot near the sun wasn't nearly as safe as I thought it was!

I did what any cold blooded pirate noob would do!  I got out of there as quickly as possible!  I immediately warped to the safety of the station!  It was when I was back in the Rebel station that I realized my damage control (again!) hadn't been turned on and my systems (again) hadn't been set to overheat.  Why should they?  I was in a "safe" spot!

OK.  Now that the surprise had worn off (and I had cleaned up the command area of the rifter as best I could), it was time to go back and give that Drake the full force of my rifter's fury.  I warped back to my "safe" spot (turning on the damage control unit and overheating all the modules as I flew).

I landed right next to him and did everything by the book.  Orbit, target, guns roaring, warp scramble, web, and nos.  Right down the line.  It certainly got his attention.  And the attention of several other Black Rebels.  I managed to hold on for 40 seconds and tried to hold the Drake until the rest of the gang arrived.  I was doing damage (but not that much) but his missiles were certainly tearing though my ship (the aptly named "BoBo").  In the end I exploded and warped away in my pod to the station to sit out the 15 minute GCC.

I was trying to keep track of what was going on via the fleet communications.  And a couple minutes later I was surprised to hear that the Drake had also exploded!  Hurray for us!

So in the end I sorta felt like I had a loss added to my record, but then maybe also part of a win should be added.  So, for the personal Death to Flying Things score, I think I'll just make it a no-contest.

It was great fun though and I look forward to more of this sort of thing.  Thanks to Eraebus, Duke, James and Spike for being on my side in a good fight.  And to Cuchulain Spartan for being our target.

And as a final oddity (there always seems to be something not quite right when I undock a rifter...), I noticed in the lossmail that I was shooting T1 autocannons.  Where did those come from?  I thought I only had T2s - I'll be talking to Bilko, my hangar supervisor about not having this happen again.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


I installed implants last week.  Implants are gizmos that are implanted(!) in Jack Dancer's brain to make him better at what he doesn't do so well already.  It's an interesting selection of devices and the cost to benefit ratio (not to mention the cost to loss in case of being podded ratio) makes for some interesting decisions.

Here's what I ended up installing:

Slot 1 - Ocular Filter Basic (+3 Perception)
Slot 4 - Cybernetic Subprocessor Basic (+3 Intelligence)
Slot 6 - SX-1
Slot 7 - AY-1
Slot 8 - ZET300
Slot 9 - KYA1000
Slot 10 - KZA1000

I'll go over what each of them does and explain my selection process a bit...

Slots 1-5 improve your basic skills.  I only installed implants into two of those slots - slot 1 and 4 are to increase the two skills that are most important for my current skill training.  By installing them (along with a re-map that I did a while ago) it cuts down on my training time significantly.  These should probably have been installed weeks ago when I started on the pvp training path for Jack Dancer.  Right now I have about 5 weeks of training left until I'm going to wrap up Jack's training (he'll be at least 4 (and in many cases 5) in all the skills listed in Kirith Darkblade's infamous Rifter Plan except for the missile skills that I don't use right now).  Once I get these 5 weeks worth of skills completed I'm going to go train one of my other characters to be a better explorer (while Jack Dancer continues his pirating practicum)...

The slot 1 implant, "Ocular Filter - Basic" (+3 to Perception) costs 9.3 million isk in Hek.  The +2 implant ("Ocular Filter - Beta") costs 3.4 million and the +4 implant ("Ocular Filter - Improved") costs more than 100 million isk.  The cost of the +3 version was acceptable - the +4 was too much.  So I picked up the +3.  It boosts my Intelligence to 24.

The slot 4 implant, "Cybernetic Subprocessor - Basic" is a similar choice to the slot 1 version with one important difference.  With a +3 implant my Intelligence is boosted to 30 which is the max (oops!  see comments below from a more knowledgeable source - 32 is actually the max).  Buying a +4 (without remapping my character to lower Jack's intelligence) would still put Jack's intelligence at 30 - no improvement.  The +3 implant (that I selected) costs 8.4 million isk in Hek.  The +2 implant is 2.9 million isk. Again, the price to max out Jack's intelligence was acceptable at 8.4 million, so I chose the +3.

Those were both pretty straight forward.  Now the fun stuff...

Slots 6 through 10 are available to improve various skills - navigation, gunnery, trading, exploring/scanning, etc.  They are very handy and can be very expensive.  Since there's a good chance that Jack is going to do something non-intelligent (regardless of that +3 implant giving him a 30 intelligence...), I don't want to spend too much for these slots.  So I might not have selected the ideal implants, but I tried to find things that would be helpful in combat and that wouldn't make me fearful of losing them if (when!) I get podded.  Here's what I ended up with:

Slot 6 - "Gunslinger" SX-1.  A no-brainer choice (especially with the 30 intelligence!).  The SX-1 is "designed to enhance skill with small projectile turrets.  Grants a 3% bonus to small projectile turret damage."  Nice!  There are currently none for sale in Hek, but in the region they can be found for about 500k isk.  Well worth the price.  The SX-1.5 (+4) and SX-2 (+5) versions aren't available in the Metropolis region, but if they were they would cost multiple tens of millions more.  (Other slot 6 implants to consider are ZET100, CY-1, EY-1, MY-1)

Slot 7 - 'Rogue' AY-1.  This one seems like a good one too.  The AY-1 is "designed to enhance pilot maneuvering skill.  Grants a 3% bonus to ship agility."  Never can have enough ship agility.  Cost of this rascal is 4.2 million in the Metropolis region (non available in Hek except for an absurd 11 million sell offer).  The +4 version (AY-1.5) isn't available in the region and the +5 version (AY-2) is on the Hek market for 187 million isk.  I'm going to get podded eventually and losing 4 million isk will be much easier to deal with than losing almost 200 million just for this one implant.  (Other slot 7 implants to consider are AX-1, ZGC100, KVA1000, AX-1)

Slot 8 - 'Noble' ZET300.  Slot 8 isn't a very exciting slot.  Nothing jumps out as especially useful.  The ZET300 might be the best of the mediocre selection.  It "boosts the pilot's skill at maintaining the mechanical components and structural integrity of a spaceship.  +3% bonus to hull hp."  Hull hitpoints.  +3%.  Not too glamorous - but for 200k in Hek, the price is right and it might be the difference between barely surviving and losing a ship.  The +5% version costs about 200 million isk in Hek.  (Another slot 8 implant to consider is the DY-1 that reduces your afterburner capacitor needs by 3%)

Slot 9 - 'Gnome' KYA1000.  This implant "boosts the recharge rate of the shields of the pilot's ship."  In this case by 3%.  It costs 4.2 million isk in Hek.  I also considered the CX-1 which increases projectile turret damage, but at 16 million isk it was out of my price range right now.  Having shields recharge faster can't hurt.  (Other slot 9 implants to consider are CX-1, ZET400, GY-1)

Slot 10 - 'Gnome' KZA1000.  Another in the Gnome series, this implant "lowers turret CPU needs".  Not surprisingly, by 3% (like all the others I considered - the 3% versions are often acceptably priced).  It's available in Hek for 600k isk.  The +5 version of this implant (KZA2000) costs 40 million isk in Hek.  I'm not sure that I need this one, but I am sure that it makes fitting T2 turrets much easier.  So it's probably worth it - especially since the only other one I looked at was the very handy ZET500 implant that boosts armor hitpoints by 3% at a cost of 8 million isk.  I went cheap for now, but someday I'll be installing the ZET500.

There you have it (well, actually, there I have it since I mostly wrote this so I can remember what to replace when I get podded in the near future...).  Thanks to Wensley's Rifter Guide for an excellent rundown on the various options - it helped me narrow down the plethora of implants.

A couple notes:

  1. Once you install your implant the only way to remove it is to destroy it.  They are like rigs on ships - they don't come out intact.  So be sure of what you are doing.
  2. The prices I quoted above are the Hek "Sellers" prices.  You can often get these implants for a considerable discount if you want to put up a buy order and wait for someone to fill it.
Let me know if I missed an excellent implant or if you think there's a better use for a particular slot.  I'm no expert at this!  And no doubt I'll be podded one of these days and can install a new set...

Postscript: Wow!  I just noticed that Starwalker Shikkoken has a new implant entry on his excellent blog too. Great minds think alike! Except when it comes to the selection of the implants - check out Starwalker's choices here

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Death to Flying Things Campaign Score 1-6

There's this guy named Szilardis that hangs around Hek and Auner looking for 1v1 fights.  We chatted a few days ago in local and he was happy to see a frigate in Auner.  I took a rain check on the offered 1v1.  He seemed like a nice enough guy.

So today I was wandering around Hadozeko, Resbroko (that is one biiiiiiggg system) and Auner looking for mischief.  In Auner I noticed a Cormorant on the D-Scan and looked up what a "Cormorant" might be.  A destroyer.  Destroyers are often referred to as frigate killers.  They have 7 guns compared to my 3.  Sure death.

But, part of my personal Death to Flying Things Campaign is to take on all comers from shuttles to battleships.  So when I managed to narrow down the Cormorant's location with D-Scan I overheated everything and flew in with guns blazing!

It was Szilardis.  Excellent!  Finally I can give him the fight that he wanted!  I attacked with renewed gusto.  Look out Szilardis!!!

30 seconds later BOOM!  I was in my pod.

The Cormorant pretty much went right through my overheated modules like a laser through styrofoam.  Thinking back on it, I'm not exactly sure that I ever pushed the big red "Armor Repper" button on the console.  That might have been part of it, but certainly not a determining factor.

Watch out Szilardis!  I will get my revenge!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Jack Dancer Interview

Miura Bull, the combined Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee of the Black Rebels, has an interview with me, Jack Dancer, over on his blog Brutor Bullfighter.  Click here to check out the interview!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Death to Flying Things Score - 1-5

Finally a kill!

Maybe not the most glorious of kills, but a kill none the less...

I had a half hour, so I thought I'd fly my pod over to Hek and bring a fully fitted rifter (with a full cargo bay) back to Auner.  No problem.  The neighborhood was quiet.  As I flew back to the Black Rebel base in Auner I noticed that there was a thrasher on d-scan - cleverly named, "Orimihazuharaxi's Thrasher".  Hmmm...  I dropped off my full cargohold of afterburners into the corp hangar on Auner (have fun with them Rebels!) and then considered my options.

Thrashers are destroyers with LOTS of guns and nicknamed "frigate killers", so I was in no hurry to go looking for it.  But on the other hand, someone that didn't have the sense to rename his ship might be worth checking out.  I looked at the info on Orimihazuharaxi and sure enough, he was just a week-old player.  I wondered what he was up to here in low sec space?

I flew around a bit and used d-scan to look at the various asteroid belts using 15 degree scan and finally found where he was located.  Damage Control Unit on.  Check.  Everything overheated.  Check.  Warp to zero!

Sure enough, there was Orimihazuharaxi's thrasher shooting some rats with wrecks all around him.  Just 20k away.  I targeted him, turned on the afterburner, and headed towards him in a violent and reckless manner.  Attack!

Well, my attack didn't seem to make any difference.  He just kept shooting the rats.  He was apparently a very cool customer.

He kept shooting the rats.  I kept shooting him.  He was extremely cool.


Eventually he killed the second (and last) remaining rat and finally noticed me with his shields gone and his armor disappearing quickly too (looking at the combat log afterwards it turns out I hit him 20 (twenty!  XX!) times before he finally shot at me!).  I then was on the receiving end of a couple incoming missles and some titanium sabot from his 200mm T1 autocannons but he was doomed.  With me at half shields he exploded!

Finally.  A victory.  The first of Jack Dancer's career.

We exchanged pleasantries in local:

[ 2011.08.17 03:16:48 ] Jack Dancer > GF
[ 2011.08.17 03:17:16 ] Orimihazuharaxi > why the fuckunk bitch is this nacisery?
[ 2011.08.17 03:18:00 ] Jack Dancer > Stick to hi sec, it'll be much safer for you.
[ 2011.08.17 03:18:12 ] Orimihazuharaxi > leave me alon already dont want any of you
[ 2011.08.17 03:18:20 ] Orimihazuharaxi > get lost

And I waited out my GCC in a safe spot before returning to the station.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Death to Flying Things Score - 0-5

So there I was, once again minding my own business...

Out of curiosity, I had warped to a "Minmatar Minor Stronghold" in Hadezeko just to see what it was.  I passed through the acceleration gate and came across a few rat frigates and some abandoned wrecks.  Hmmm...  Maybe I'll have my friend google help me figure out what this is all about.

Interestingly enough, there are zero hits on "minmatar minor stronghold".  Now that's something that can make a guy curious.  No google hits?  Don't see that very often.  Maybe a bit more research can come up with something.  Hmmm...  Maybe look at the words separately and not the complete phrase...  Is minmatar spelled like that?  Hmm... Wait!  What's this?  Hello?  Did I hear something in the computer speakers?!?!!

I quickly return to the Eve Online screen to find myself under attack by Fuzzyface in a Navy Slicer!  YOW!  All hands on deck!

I immediately turned on my damage control unit (probably should have had that rascal running before), overheated everything (ditto on probably should have had that running before...) and also hit all the usual buttons (orbit, target, fire autocannons, warp scramble, web, nos, and armor repper).  For a while I held on, but then for some reason (in the heat of the battle I didn't quite see what - distance?  my cap ran out so repper turned off? something else?) the Slicer started slicing through my defenses.  I never got through half of his shields.

My rifter exploded.

Time for a new ship and another adventure!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Death to Flying Things Score - 0-4

I was in Auner minding my own business - setting up exit safes from the various stations - when I was accosted by Walmart in a rifter.  I looked at the info on Walmart and he was much more experienced than I am - he's been playing since early in 2002.  But I'm out to find fights, so there was no turning back.

Have I mentioned that I hate fighting rifters?  I do, so I had some second thoughts, but Walmart seemed keen on the idea as he chased me down with an obviously WMD equipped ship as I was cruising along with by AB running.  I hoped that the WMD might sap his capacitor and not leave him with much repping ability, so that gave me hope.

Once I had put down a couple more safe exit points I turned my Rifter of Fury and attacked with everything overheated and barrage blazing out of my newly installed T2 150mm autocannons.

We went through armor together.

It was close!

We went through shields together.

It was very close!

We both hit structure at about the same time - me just a second or two before he did.

It was extremely close!

We continued to pummel each other and I was the first to explode.

Afterwards in local Walmart noted that he was at 4% hull and on fire when the battle ended.  Can't get much closer than that!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

DeepHole Trild at Hek - Combat Scammer

I'm back from the trip to Oregon (great fun - found both fossils and nebulae) and I spent some time moving fully equipped Rifters from Hek to Hadozeko (and making the return flight in my pod) in anticipation of the September campaign.

As I was leaving Hek in a new Rifter ("SS Bobo") I received a convo request from DeepHole Trild and accepted (I'm a friendly guy and always up for a chat)...

[ 2011.08.07 15:20:34 ] DeepHole Trild > hi there
[ 2011.08.07 15:20:39 ] Jack Dancer > Greetings
[ 2011.08.07 15:20:41 ] DeepHole Trild > want to test frigs?
[ 2011.08.07 15:20:48 ] Jack Dancer > What are you flying?
[ 2011.08.07 15:20:53 ] DeepHole Trild > or train frigs
[ 2011.08.07 15:21:05 ] DeepHole Trild > rifter
[ 2011.08.07 15:21:13 ] Jack Dancer > Same here.
[ 2011.08.07 15:21:29 ] DeepHole Trild > top planet?
[ 2011.08.07 15:22:14 ] DeepHole Trild > agreed to stop at 1/3 of armor?
[ 2011.08.07 15:22:31 ] Jack Dancer > Sounds fine.

So off I go to top planet.  DeepHole is there and we orbit each other - nothing happens and since we're in hi sec I'm not shooting first...  He drops a can and I steal the 1 ammo from it.  Still nothing happens.  I'm now red to him but he's still not red to me.  So I tell him that he gets to shoot first.  He comes back with some silliness about how I'm a month older than he is, so I should shoot first.  Fine I say, I'll drop a can for you.  I drop a can with one of my favorite dancing girls in it - Gina.  I tell him to steal from the can.  He shoots it (RIP Gina) and says, "I don't see a can".  Ahhhh...  So that's the game is it?  I say "This is pointless, bye" and head to Hadozeko to deliver my Rifter.

It was the old, "Get the noob to shoot first so he gets Concorded" trick...  I should have known when he said, "want to test frigs" - a classic scammer line...

If you're passing through Hek and run across DeepHole Trild don't expect a fair fight.