Sunday, October 30, 2011

Death to Flying Things Score - 1-10

OK, this time I wasn't just minding my own business.  I was looking for something to do and when I saw a Caracal (that's a Caldari missile cruiser) hanging around outside the Black Rebel station in Auner I gave him a steely eyed look.  He took the hint and flew off in his ship named "Pretty Kitty".  Just to be sure that he got the message I followed him to an asteroid belt and unleashed the full fury of my rifter.

Well, sorta unleashed.

He was shooting rats and apparently there were a bunch of asteroids between him and where I landed.  Looking back at the combat log I see that my first dozen shots or so were misses - probably outside the 150mm autocannon range.  I think that while I gave explicit commands to orbit the villain at 500 meters the ship was bouncing around off of asteroids trying to get into position.  Thus, when I thought I should be well in range, I was still playing asteroid pinball...

Eventually I found my range and started filling the Caracal with hot phased plasma (the best that the Republic Fleet has to offer - expensive stuff!).  Some of the shots were doing upwards of 150 points of damage, so he was definitely feeling it.

Eventually he took notice (after I had hit him with half a dozen broadsides) and Pretty Kitty started firing back.  And how!  His "Bloodclaw Fury Light Missiles" were hitting me for at least 300 points of damage each!  Some over 400!  And there were a bunch of them all at once!  It was worse than drones and I hate drones...

Needless to say, I didn't last long and soon exploded.

GF GF in local and I don't think we'll see that "Pretty Kitty" loitering around our station anytime soon.  But if we do, I've been practicing my steely eyed glare...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Greetings Damikin!

[ 2011.10.21 02:47:36 ] Damikin > omg, i read your blog jack dancer, o7

Bengal Bob

So, after shooting some rats on a level 2 Thukker mission this morning to pass some time, I left the station this afternoon without a thought in my head and into the waiting arms of Bengal Bob (a war target in the Royal Order of Security Specialists corporation with more than 3k kills to his credit...).  Needless to say, since I was loaded with normal EMP S (no sense shooting rats with the high priced stuff) and wasn't ready for any excitement it did not go well.

So I went back to the station and put together another rifter designed with a massive 400mm armor plate.  That did not go well either.

And then I thought I'd try a different design including extra explosive protection and a cap booster (first time I'd tried one of those gizmos).  Same result.

GFs were exchanged after each combat and while Bengal Bob had friends available, they graciously stood by as he destroyed my ships single handedly.  I thought that showed some class.

The various fits were based on our fearless leader Miura Bull's designs.  All blame for their failure is based on my skills and technique...

"[ 2011.10.23 23:06:17 ] Wise R1FTA Member Name Withheld > Jack you realize he is fleeted and boosted probably"   Hmmm...  Actually, being the noob that I am, that never crossed my mind.  But it might explain why Bengal Bob's friends were on grid but not active participants.  I'm always discovering surprises in this game...  Love it.

Cup of Tea?

I dropped off some Titanium that my R&D agent in Hek needed to continue his research and then I headed back to Auner on a quiet Sunday morning.

Auner was anything but quiet.

23 pilots in local, a few of them war targets, and none of them with R1FTA after their names...  Most were in instant death ships (battlecruisers, battleships, etc.), but there was one rifter around so I went hunting for that.  I should have realized that it probably could also be classified "instant death" when I'm hunting...

I caught up with him ("Chay Teabranch" was his name - that sounded pretty innocuous) in an asteroid belt near the Black Rebel home station and immediately charged straight at him from 70km.  He was in the same mood so he came after me too.  I had barrage loaded (and the cargo hold just held a friend named Gina and some booze) so I was set for a 5km orbit with no other ammo options.

Things didn't go especially well.  Technically, I was fine with my performance.  I targeted the rival rifter and hit all the appropriate buttons.  He did the same.  We orbited at around 5k and spit fire at each other.  But my shields and armor disappeared much quicker than his shields did (nevermind armor) and soon there were sirens and flashing lights.  I exploded.

gf gf in local.

Looking at Chay Teabranch's killboard I see that I'm not the first BRRC member to have fallen to his rifter (Kooba Kaundur and Santo Trafficante are recent victims).  And from his losses on I see that he usually flies an armor rifter - which makes my inability to get through his shields even more perplexing...  Maybe barrage wasn't the right choice...

Oh well, no big deal.  At least I'm back to blowing up my ships - it's been a while since I've heard those sirens...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Isk! Isk! Isk!

I have previously written about how I've amassed a bankroll with my station trading alt in Jita.  That's still going well and I have a comfortable amount of isk if I need it and a lifetime supply of rifters and appropriate T2 modules (along with rigs and implants).  But I've also been trying some other profit-making ideas...

I would advise anyone interested in the business side of Eve to listen to the podcasts by Tehg Rhind (available on iTunes here and titled, appropriately, ISK).  He presents some ideas for generating isk and explains some topics that I had heard about but never quite understood.  He's given me some ideas that have worked out and some that haven't.

Let's look at what I've tried and what I think of the isk-generating ideas...
  1. In episode 2 of the ISK podcast Tehg talks about "2 simple ways to make ISK in Eve ... that every player should take advantage of."  One of them is R&D agents.

    This involves training skills to allow the agent to do research for me.  The skills are Science V and the relevant science skill in the area that you choose to research.  In Jack Dancer's case, I found an agent in Hadozeko that will do Mechanical Engineering research for me - so I needed level 1 in the science skill Mechanical Engineering (which has a prerequisite of Mechanic V).  Since I already have Science V and Mechanic V as part of Jack's previous training, it just meant buying the 10 million isk skillbook for mechanical engineering and training it for a few minutes.

    I then set the level one R&D agent in Hadozeko to work researching mechanical engineering for me and I can convert his research into mechanical engineering datacores.  These datacores sell for about $250k and he takes about 5 days to research enough for me to convert the research into a single datacore.  It's not much isk, but it requires zero participation once it gets started.  I'm going to set up all three of my alts to do this.  With higher skills and better faction standing the agents (there are level 1 thorough 4 agents just like regular mission agents) produce the research faster and it results in more isk (my mission/hauler/explorer alt is working with a level two R&D agent and research is twice as fast).

    This ISK producing idea seems like a winner.
  2. The second "simple way to make ISK" that Tehg suggests in the podcast is to copy blueprints.  I'm not as convinced about this one.

    The basic premise is that you buy a BPO (Blue Print Original) on the market and then set up a copy job and create a maximum number of maximum run BPCs ("Blue Print Copies).  These BPCs can then be sold to people doing T2 research because they need them as part of the invention process.  You want to choose something that is going to be a popular T2 item eventually (like 150mm autocannons from a rifter pilot's point of view).

    I tried it.  I bought a BPO for 280k for a Large Shield Extender I and found a relatively nearby system that could run the copy job after a 4 day wait in the queue.

    In the meantime I checked the contracts for large shield extenders and didn't find a very robust market for basic BPCs (BPCs can only be sold by contract - not on the open market).  And when I listened to an Eve University class on T2 production the instructor didn't seem to think there's much of a market for these T1 BPCs because they are so easy to make that T2 producers wouldn't buy them off the market - they'd just make their own.

    After a few days the 20 basic Large Shield Extender I BPCs were ready and I put the 20 of them up as a contract in Jita for 1 million isk (almost quadrupling my original investment).  They sold in a day.  Not sure if my price was too cheap and next time I'll set the price a bit higher (like 4 million isk...) just to see what happens.

    In another test case I purchased a Large Armor Repairer I BPO for 720,000 isk.  I made 20 BPCs with it (again requiring a trip to an out of the way system where the wait was only a few days to start the job) and after about a week in process I put the 20 BPCs up on contract for 5,000,000 isk.  I sold them in just a couple days.  So that was relatively good – but again, I don’t know if that’s a price that I can rely on or if it might have been a one time thing (especially since I have 4 other contracts available for 5 of these exact same BPCs available for just 750,000 each – a total of 3 million isk for the same 20 BPCs  – and no one has picked up those blueprint contracts).  5 million isk is about the cost of a cheaply equipped rifter, so if 5 million is a price that gets accepted quickly I could pay for a rifter a week with that one BPO.

    I also have some contracts out for Hobgoblin I BPCs that haven’t been picked up yet.

    So in a sense it was profitable, but it was also a bit of an involved process.  I need to buy a BPO (from a NPC producer - look for an "expires in" date on the market of 364 days).  Finding a station that can do the copies in a reasonable amount of time is difficult.  Then hauling the BPO over several jumps to that station.  Then a wait of several days for the job to start and then for a few more days for it to finally finish.  And then the trip back to the station to pick up the 20 BPCs.  And starting the whole process over by finding a station with a short queue to start up another copy job (probably not the station used for the first job depending on availability of copy slots).  If I had a POS then this could be much simpler.  But that'll have to wait...

    This is not a real hands-off isk generator and I'm not sold on the idea.  Plus I’m not convinced that the market is a steady one where I can be confident of finding a buyer for my BPCs.
  3. BPO research.  So I decided to try another idea - BPO research.  With this you make a BPO more efficient with either materials or time of producing the final product.  Then you print up a bunch of BPCs and sell them to people that intend to produce the end product (not to T2 inventors like the previous idea).  Or you mark up the price of the BPO and sell it.  Or both.

    Sounds good.

    I found a location that would do the BPO research, but it has a 10 day queue (this type of activity is very popular) and then set up the job to run for a month (which is the longest limit) so that I would research the BPO as much as possible.  A month plus 10 days.  This isn't a fast process and I'm not sure about the profits when it's done.  We'll see, but with the 40 days to wait for results I'm not optimistic about it...
  4. Region wide purchasing.  When station trading you are buying and selling at a single station (Jita, Hek, Dodixie, etc.).  When putting in a purchase request there's also an option to buy the items in a larger area - up to region-wide.  I tried this.

    Rifters were selling for 250k in a trade hub where I had one of my alts and people had placed purchase orders to buy rifters for 180k.  So I placed a 60k region-wide purchase order for 30 rifters just to see what would happen.  What this means is that anywhere in the region (high sec or low sec), if someone wants to sell a rifter, I will pay them 60k for it.  They don't have to haul it anywhere special in the region - I'll buy it at whatever station they are in.  Very convenient for them.  Very cheap for me (but certainly not convenient).

    In the first week I've picked up 15 rifters at this rockbottom price of 60k each.  Of course, they are all in different stations (except for 2 in one station and 4 in another). 

    Now what to do?  My alt could offer them up for sale in their various locations for something like 200k but that will take a dozen of my 40 order slots and I might not find a buyer for a while - probably not a profitable use of these valuable trade slots.  Or I can contract them to Jack Dancer and let him deal with the problem - that'll add 10k in contracting fees to the price of each rifter - still a good price at 70k.  But then Jack will somehow have to pick them all up from 10 different stations far from his base in Auner.  Or my hauler alt could start picking them up and hauling them over to Jack's neighborhood.  Again, a time consuming option since they are scattered around 10 stations and my hauler can only carry 7 at a time in his Iteron.

    So in the end, what seemed like a good way to pick up cheap rifters turns out to be not a practical way to convert them into isk or into burning wrecks.
So, of all these new ISK makers, the only one I would really recommend is the R&D agent - and then only if you already have Science at V and some of the other necessary skills trained up so that it's not too onerous to get started.  For me, it's back to station trading for my ISK.

Good luck!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Elvis Has Left The Building

There were quite a few ships around Auner tonight and a couple Rebels (haerod and yours truly) decided to see what trouble we could get into.  One of the ships was a rupture and with my poor track record against ruptures I was sure that I would lose another rifter if we went up against it.  But I'd been flying this rifter (named "Elvis") for several days and it was overdue to burn in a fireball, so destruction was fine with me...

Eventually haerod sorted out the belt where the rupture was loitering and I warped to zero.  Haerod arrived a few seconds later.  The rupture, instead of sending a flock of drones my way and unleashing his 425mm autocannons at me before I could get too close, cruised leisurely in the opposite direction.  I overheated the afterburner and tore after him like a rifter out of Hell!  Elvis was looking for a fight!

Eventually, I caught up to the rupture, hit all the right buttons on my control panel, and started filling him with hot Republic Fleet Fusion while orbiting at 500m.  His shields went down painfully slowly and I discovered after a short time (an announcement from that unearthly voice) that my capacitor was empty.  Hmmm...  Usually that only happens when my armor repper is turned on and I was nowhere close to needing that.  Wonder what that's all about?  But I paid it no heed and continued my attack.

Then the drones arrived.

I webbed and targeted one of them and started laying into it with a vengence.

Then the battleship arrived.

Oh oh.  Battleship??!??!?

Then the battleship's drones arrived.

I continued my brave attack but soon the stars were blacked out by the whizzing drones and all my dials went red and sirens were blaring everywhere.

Elvis has left the building.

What did I learn?  Several things...

  1. The rupture was obviously bait because he was sitting alone in the belt, didn't attack when I arrived, and seemed to be wasting time.  He was waiting for his backup (a battleship!).  In the future, if I'm ever worried about losing my ship (instead of flying a rifter to have some fun and get some experience) I should warp away if I see this odd behavior.
  2. When the capacitor mysteriously goes belly up it's probably because it's on the wrong end of an energy neutralizer death ray.
  3. These guys from Applied Creations declared war against the noble Black Rebel Rifter Club and are showing themselves to be a bunch of cowardly curs.  They need a cruiser and a battleship against a couple rifters?  With one of the two rifters being piloted by the feared pirate Jack Dancer (whose solo record stands at 1 win and an infinity of losses)?  And looking over their past kills - more of the same.  Always lopsided fights.  They are not interesting in honorable and sporting duels.  I've had it with them - they'll not have any more of my rifters for their killboards.
In the end GFs were exchanged in local and they apologized for the overkill saying they thought there would be four of us...   No doubt they feel a cruiser and a battleship would be necessary if there were to be four ferocious rifters on the field of battle.  And maybe they should keep something additional in reserve (like another battleship?) if the fight against the scary rifters starts to go bad for them...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kill Mails!

Well, it's been busy in RL lately, what with our daughter and 6 month old grandson visiting from Switzerland at the same time as my wife's hitherto unknown niece from Chile coming to Seattle with her husband to study at the University of Washington (and staying with us until they found an apartment), and the start of chanterelle mushroom season up in the mountains (yummm!).

But I have managed to get online every day to do a little of this and that.  Most notably, compared to past experience, "that" instead of "this".  My last two kill/loss mails have actually been kill mails!  Yowza!

One was Newports Indeed who was taking on Rebels one evening in Auner.  He was flying a rifter (the best!).  I warped to a belt to watch him and Darkstar Pownyouall exchanging pleasantries honoring the 1v1 that they were engaged in.  Eventually Darkstar decided to do something else and wandered off (maybe he was in structure, I don't know...), so I decided to have a crack at Newports (of course I also assumed that Darkstar had put some serious hurt on him, so my target was softened up).  It was an odd fight but a short one with Newports not really doing much and I came out victorious.  Afterwards in local Newports noted how he had been disconnected during the fight and all parties agreed to a rematch at a future date.

A few days later I joined Zodiac Black as we hunted Lascivious Lilith in her Taranis.  We bounced from belt to belt after her and eventually Zodiac landed close and I warped in.  Our two rifters made short work of the Taranis.   Another victory!

So things are going well.  Now that we have the houseguests out of the way, I'll hopefully get more time for kill mails instead of loss mails...