Friday, September 23, 2011

Litter Patrol

The Black Rebel station in Auner was looking a bit more disreputable than usual - there was a maelstrom battleship floating outside apparently abandoned.  Litter.  One of the sharp eyed Black Rebels noticed it and suggested that we should all join in to remove it from our neighborhood.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I was a couple systems away (dropping off a blueprint to make some copies at a station with facilities - I'll tell about that in a future post if it's profitable...) when I heard about the litter problem.  I immediately headed to Auner to do what I could to help.

Our first idea, since none of the Rebels had a ship available that could tank the station guns, was to gently push the battleship out of range of the station guns.  I flipped on the afterburner and drove directly into the huge battleship at top speed (more than 1000m per second!).  And bounced right back off of it.  But the monster did wobble in space a bit - so I continued.  And continued.  And continued.  Several of the other Rebels did the same, but eventually we determined that it was about a 3 year process and none of us had the time to stick with it that long.  Real life does come first - even for the Black Rebel Rifter Club.

So our next plan was for Lhorenzho to use his drake baqttlecruiser and fire first (including launching a set of drones - friendly drones for a change!) and hopefully get the brunt of the station guns.  The rest of us could add our damage and hope for the best.  We all agreed that it was a Very Bad Idea(tm) - but that was only mentioned in passing.  It did not stop us from action.

Eventually, we had 4 of us in the litter patrol (me, Lhorenzho, Joe Struck, and Lorenzo de Medichi I think...) and the litter removal was begun with a salvo from Lhorenzho's battlecruiser.

It did not go well.

Not only did we have a bit of a problem with the station guns pummeling us, but it turned out that the pilot of the maelstrom, Amun Khonsu, was the head of a band of desperadoes known as the "Royal Order of Security Specialists" and several of the aforementioned "Security Specialists" immediately pounced on us to add to our miseries.  I exploded.  As did the rest of the litter detail.

gf gf in local along with some friendly banter.

But let's not lose sight of the most important point - when I returned in my pod to the station a few minutes later the annoying piece of litter - the maelstrom battleship - had disappeared.  Job well done Rebels!  Mission accomplished!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Rumble in Auner

There was talk of a vexor in Auner and Duke Thunderhorse was on his trail.  When Duke finally caught up with him I jumped in to help (along with several other Black Rebels - Joe Struck, James Ignis, and Zack Evans).  It was a fun fight with drones everywhere.  I pounded the vexor with my overheated (turned up to 11!) 150mm autocannons and we did some damage hoping that our joint efforts would take him out before his drones did us all in.

This time they were mostly medium drones that had a tough time hitting my zippy little rifter orbiting the vexor at 500 meters.  But occasionally they did - and with a real wallop!

Soon a friend of the vexor arrived in a rupture and there were even more drones in the air and on the overview!

As you might guess, eventually the drones got to us before we got to the vexor or the rupture.  Explosions everywhere!  Mine was here.  The vexor and rupture ruled supreme with Black Rebel wrecks littering the battlefield.


Everyone seemed to have a great time and local was filled with chat afterwards as we compared notes from both sides of the fight.  A fun one!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


A couple months ago I mentioned how my station trader alt (I only pay for one account with three characters – Jack “Arrr” Dancer, a station trader, and an explorer/missioner) was having success station trading in Jita.  Well, this week he passed the 1 billion isk mark (cash on hand + active buy orders + active sell orders).  The station trader actually passed the billion mark a while ago since he’s bought a raft of rifters, a plethora of pirating paraphernalia, and other sparkly shiny toys for my characters over the past couple months.

As I said in my previous post, this requires about 20 minutes in the morning before work and another 20 minutes at night.  All that’s involved is updating my 25 (or so) buy orders to be .01 isk more than any other buy order and updating my 15 (or so) sell orders to be .01 isk less than any other sell order.  Over the past 20 days (since I started keeping a rudimentary wealth spreadsheet) I’ve averaged about 14 million isk profit per day.

A few things that I’ve discovered along the way to becoming a billionaire:

  • The first few hundred thousand are easy – then competition gets tougher.  I hit a profit plateau.
  • It seems like buying something for 100 million so that I can fill a buy order for 115 million and make a cool 15 million would be a good idea.  Not necessarily.  Even though 20 or 30 of the items might be bought and sold during a day, it’s no guarantee of success.  Sometimes it takes several days to get lucky and have my buy order at the top of the list when someone comes along and sells one (too often a buy order is almost immediately topped by someone else’s).  In the meantime I probably could have invested that 100 million more profitably on smaller items with larger profit margins and less competition.
  • It’s nice to have something to do on Eve when I only have a few minutes between RL responsibilities.  I can sit down for 10 minutes and update my biggest orders – sending Jack Dancer roaming around in a fruitless search for victims takes much much longer.
  • Some traders just don't have a clue.  They'll change the price by 100,000 isk on an item that buys/sells for 13 million.  Do they think that a 100,000 isk jump (on a 13 million isk item) will run everyone else out of the market?  They are just throwing profit away.  A Ferengi's nightmare!  If you trade, stick to raising/lowering the price by .01 isk (or some other very small amount) - it's more profitable for you and everyone else.
  • There are several items that can be bought and sold every day that yield 100%-200% profit and 200k isk in profit per unit.  And often I can buy and sell 8 or 10 of these in a day. No, I’m not going to list them…
  • Sometimes an order will surprisingly sit at the top of the list for several hours and I'll be actively buying or selling the item.  Other times the same buy or sell bid gets bettered in just a few seconds.
  • And equally surprisingly, sometimes someone will come through and dump 100 of an item on the market that had only been trading 15 a day on average for weeks.  If you have a big buy order for these items it can mean a profit windfall when you turn around and sell them for triple the purchase price.
Of course, station trading isn’t for everyone.  The fiddly nature of .01 isking your competition might be too tedious for many people.  But if you can handle the tedium for 20 minutes and if you need isk and if you have an extra alt not doing much, I would highly recommend station trading to bankroll your less profitable *cough* piracy *cough* endeavors.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Death to Flying Things Campaign Score 1-9

So I took a spin around some new systems, laying down bookmarks in my wake and hoping to give somebody a bad time.  Ardar, Floseswin, Aset, Isbrabata, Turner, and Uisper all were empty and I found no one to challenge.  I set my destination for Auner and started the trip home hoping to find some trouble along the way.

When I was in Hadozeko, Dreksl pointed out on the private Black Rebel channel that Sol Malorion was in Resbroko in an Ishkur and he's "normally up for a fight."  I didn't want any part of that.  An Ishkur is a bit out of my class - a T2 assault ship (just the description sounds nasty!) - sure death (actually, in my case, there are very few opposing ships that aren't in the "sure death" category...).   Resbroko is the system between Hadozeko and my home in Auner, so I would be passing though.

In Resbroko I stopped at a couple safe spots to check out belts to see if there was any activity.  Nope.  No miners plying their honest trade.  No novice ratters bravely making the belts safe for honest miners.  I was ready to head to the Auner gate when in the local channel I see, "ah, the infamous jack dancer"...  "Infamous"?  Me?  It was Sol Malorion and he challenged me to a fight in local.  What was I to do?  My honor was at stake.  And the honor of the Black Rebels.  And the honor of every hardworking Eve blogger.  Plus I have plenty of rifters - so I can afford to lose another in exchange for some experience.

I immediately accepted and we headed to the top belt.

I landed and so did Sol Malorion's Ishkur about 14k away.  I spiraled in on him by centering his Ishkur and clicking halfway to the screen  margin (Hey experts!  Does it matter how magnified my ship is for this?  Should my rifter be a dot on the screen?  A centimeter wide?  Two centimeters? Filling half the screen?).

My modules were all turned up to 11 and overheating!  I shot first and he was immediately hurting.  He hit armor before I did and I was feeling pretty good about things.  I still knew I was doomed against a competently flown Ishkur, but at least I was doing some damage.

Then I noticed the drones...

Hobgoblin IIs.  Lots and lots of them.  Well, actually five.  My armor was rapidly being destroyed despite the best efforts of my overheated armor repairer.  I thought about switching target to the drones, but by then my hull was crumbling.  Red lights everywhere.  Then the big explosion!

Death by Ishkur, but my honor (and the honor of all Black Rebels and bloggers) was intact.


I pointed out in local how I had been ahead for a few seconds, and Sol Malorion noted, "I was kinda panicky".  That got a laugh out of me!

Afterwards Sol Malorion opened a communications channel and we chatted about the fight, the neighborhood and the Black Rebels.  Generously he offered to return my surviving modules (sadly the exotic dancers perished) but I let him have them as spoils of war.  There are plenty of rifters where that one came from.

Lessons learned?  Try to find an opponent that isn't spewing hobgoblin IIs...

Death to Flying Things Campaign Score 1-8

Rupture - Part II

Both of my loyal readers probably remember my losing to a Rupture when I didn't have the drones on my overview.  I was orbiting close enough to the Rupture that its 425mm autocannons weren't able to hit me, but the drones did me in.

This time it was different - but not in a good way.

I tracked down Kmelx's Rupture ratting in Auner.  I turned on the damage control, overheated everything, and warped to zero.  There was the Rupture just 6k away!  YES!

I targeted, scrambed (didn't want him running away!), webbed and turned on my nos.  Then I hit "orbit at 500m" and headed his way with my 150mm autocannons blazing!  And there were drones on the overview- so those would be primary targets once I was safely orbiting the Rupture at a close distance.

20 seconds later sirens, red warning lights, explosions, and I was in my pod.  This time, against this Rupture, I didn't manage to get under his guns.  He destroyed me on the way in.  Those 425mm autocannons are deadly!

In hindsight, I probably should have turned on the overheated afterburner instead of just strolling in under normal power - that might have given me enough speed to survive the salvos as I approached.  Next time maybe I'll remember to try that...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Another Lesson Learned...

... but at least this one didn't cost me anything...

I was in Auner looking for some action.  And there was a rupture on d-scan.  My encounter with the rupture yesterday was a real learning opportunity and I wanted (now that I have drones showing on my overview!) to see if I could do better.  I didn't expect to survive but Rifters are cheap and the experience is valuable - it's a good trade.

So I narrowed down the rupture's asteroid belt, I warped to zero and in warp set everything to overload, checked to be sure the damage control unit was operating, and loaded EMP projectiles to destroy the expected drones.

I landed 5k away from the rupture!  Excellent!  I held down the control key and clicked on the rupture in the overview to target him, hit "orbit at 500m" and noticed a pop up screen.  Something about not being able to target the rupture.  Hmmm...  Probably I had hit the button before I had finished warp.  So I hit the target button again.

Battle stations everyone!  It's going to be a rocky ride!

I managed to target the rupture this time and then hit the orbit button again for good measure (I wanted to be close).  I was in no hurry to hit the scramble and web and nos - I expected him to be reaching for those same buttons.  But I had him targeted for only an instant before the rupture, a cruiser and much bigger than my little rifter, warped away!  He fled the scene!

Wow.  That's the third time I've had someone flee rather than destroy me.  Maybe my reputation is getting around.  Nah.  More likely the Black Rebel Rifter Club's reputation is getting around - my corp mates are all more dangerous than I am...  And now that my security status is a negative (ok, ok, it's only -0.3 the last I checked...) it could be that the rupture's overview showed me as some sort of scary bright flashy color (depending on how he had it set up).

But run away he did and I had another lesson to learn.  Land, target, and scramble!  Don't dawdle!  You never know who might be timid.  Or probably better, turn on the scramble enroute so that it automatically scrambles the enemy ship the instant it gets targeted (I think it works that way).

But in the end, my rifter lived to fight another day after attacking that rupture.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

PS - the rupture pilot was less than a month old player and I probably scared him enough by landing on top of him that he had to have the command chair re-upholstered.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Death to Flying Things Campaign Score 1-7

Now that was a learning experience!

Auner was quiet on a Friday night.  For a while it was just me.  But then Yogsoloth (record of 448 wins and 60 loses) appeared on local and also a Rupture (cruiser class vessel) appeared on d-scan.  Not a coincidence.  I looked around and found the belt where he was lingering and attacked with everything overheated and operational (a change from recent practice!).

I set a tight orbit (500m) and opened fire with my (T2!) autocannons.  A crash told me that Yogsoloth had hit me successfully and the combat log afterwards confirmed it, "Yogsoloth (425mm AutoCannon II) hits you for 278 damage".  Ouch.  I'm shooting 150mm and he has 425mm!

I turned on the armor repper since I was mostly out of shields and close to armor already.

That, in turn, started using up my cap and very soon my capacitor gave out.  That wasn't a problem for my autocannons - they continued to fire.  But my armor repair unit stopped functioning - which was a real problem.  Not too much later it was sirens and flashing red lights.  I exploded.

GFs were exchanged in local.

It wasn't until after the fight that I saw that I was under Yogsoloth's guns and after that first hit his 425mm AutoCannon II never touched me again!  I guess the 500m orbit does work against big guns!

What I hadn't realized until I looked at the log was that Yogsoloth had other devices.  Here's a sample of the log - see if you can spot what I spotted after the fight:

[ 2011.09.03 03:10:29 ] Group of 150mm Light AutoCannon II strikes (Rupture)Yogsoloth for 177 damage
[ 2011.09.03 03:10:30 ] Yogsoloth (425mm AutoCannon II) misses you
[ 2011.09.03 03:10:32 ] Group of 150mm Light AutoCannon II strikes (Rupture)Yogsoloth for 201 damage
[ 2011.09.03 03:10:32 ] Yogsoloth (425mm AutoCannon II) misses you
[ 2011.09.03 03:10:33 ] Yogsoloth (Warrior II) hits you for <b>35</b> damage
[ 2011.09.03 03:10:33 ] Yogsoloth (Warrior II) hits you for <b>26</b> damage
[ 2011.09.03 03:10:33 ] Yogsoloth (Warrior II) hits you for <b>47</b> damage
[ 2011.09.03 03:10:33 ] Yogsoloth (Warrior II) hits you for <b>18</b> damage
[ 2011.09.03 03:10:33 ] Yogsoloth (Warrior II) hits you for <b>27</b> damage

Look very closely.  Did you spot it?  Drones!  Warrior II drones!  Five of them!  Did I notice them at all during the fight?  Nope.  I was totally unaware.  I was focused on hitting the armor repair button repeatedly trying to get the rascal to work.

So, from the looks of the combat log, I was doing fine damage (378) and receiving no damage from Yogsoloth's guns.  But his drones were hitting me for 153 damage.  He was tanking my damage fine (I only made it about half way through his shields) and I had a tapped out capacitor and couldn't repair my armor from the damage the drones were doing.

If only I had started picking off his drones from the start instead of pouring Republic Fleet EMP S into his shields...  If only...

Several learning points here...

  1. Pay attention to the overview to watch for drones.
  2. Don't run the armor repper continuously - pulse it when I need it.
  3. Pay attention to the capacitor.
  4. Maybe I need a checklist or procedure to track what needs to be looked at during a fight (check distance, check overview for drones or other ships, check cap, check overheating, check distance, check overview for drones, check cap, check overheating, check distance, etc.) 
In the end, this was one of the most instructional fights I've had.  It lasted a fair amount of time (75 seconds) and gave me a insights on what I need to work on and improve.  

Jack Dancer Comprehensive Current Inventory

After a spirited conversation with Hangar Manager Bilko related to what has become known as the "T1 Autocannons Shooting at a Drake Battlecruiser Fiasco" Jack Dancer rubbed his split knuckles and wiped the blood from his cut lip.  Looking around the mess that Bilko called an office Jack spoted the Jack Dancer Comprehensive Current Inventory printout on Bilko's cluttered desk.   

That should be worth looking at...  YOW!  According to the Comprehensive Current Inventory Jack owns 138 rifter hulls scattered around half a dozen hangars in high and low sec space!  Plus 6 more rifter hulls purchased and awaiting delivery.  Not to mention 36 outstanding purchase orders for rifters at various trade hubs waiting to be filled (Jack's scowl disappeared for a moment as he nodded approvingly at the low price on the outstanding orders - at least they're cheap...). 

138 rifters!  Jack now knew why he hadn't seen this inventory report in several weeks - soon to be Former Hangar Manager Bilko had been afraid to show it to him.  This might be an excellent time for a followup discussion with Bilko...

Thankfully a T1 frigate tournament is being organized by the Black Rebels that might result in many of these rifters facing a fiery (but noble) demise over the next month and a half.  But regardless, that's a lot of hulls to work through...