Friday, February 24, 2012

Operation Stealth Bomber

Damn you CCP!  I read yesterday that CCP is again offering the “Power of Two” promotion – six month’s of a new account in return for 3 PLEX.  This is the one that I took advantage of a while ago to add a second account so that Jack Dancer and my Explorer/Missioner could both train at the same time and I’d have some extra traders to bring in the isk.  It’s worked out fine and I’m happy with the arrangement.

But now they’ve offered the deal again.  Just as I have been toying with the idea of training a stealth bomber character to head to null sec and try to cause some havoc ala Sir Livingston.  And I’ve wanted to try Planet Interaction with a character devoted to that line of work.  So the temptation is too great.  I’ll have to get a third account to train for these new endeavors. 

And it works out pretty well.  I’ll get this account to train a stealth bomber pilot and a PI expert and then in a couple months (when the first “Power of Two” six months runs out and hopefully the stealth bomber will be flying competently) I’ll transfer Jack Dancer to join these two characters in this account and cancel that other account with those two 1-day-of-training traders left in it. 

My two accounts will then consist of these six professions:
  1. Jack "Pirate Extraodinaire" Dancer
  2. Mission Runner/Explorer
  3. Jita $tation Trader
  4. Hauler/Salvager
  5. Stealth Bomber Pilot
  6. PI Expert
Unfortunately, due to recently purchasing some very shiny modules and ships for my mission runner and some very shiny implants for Jack Dancer, I don’t have the 1.5 billion isk needed for 3 PLEX.  I have about half that in ready funds and the rest invested in purchase orders, stock waiting to sell, or salvaged materials. 

With the finances evaluated and fiscal goals set, it was time to start Operation Stealth Bomber. 

All three of my traders were given revised and aggressive sales targets.  All stock is being liquidated regardless of thin profit margins. The traders were also all taken on a tour of the biomassing facilities to give them an extra incentive to meet their income targets (though the fates of two of them is already sealed – but don’t mention that or it might lower their morale…).  

My hauler/salvager has been given clear instructions to empty his overflowing warehouses.  Junk is piled to the ceiling.  He’s to sell anything worth over 100k per unit and refine the rest into base metals – and then sell the results.  Everything goes, or he does!

My explorer/missioner has been instructed to search only for 3/10 and 4/10 DED sites during weeknights to find valuable faction drops.  On the weekends, when competition for exploration sites is greatest, he’s to do level 4 missions until he starts bleeding from the ears in boredom.

And finally, Jack Dancer has been told that the implants currently in his head should stay in his head.  He’s free to blow up as many rifters as he wants, but replacement implants are not part of the deal.  He’s to hit the “Align to Celestial” button and start spamming warp when he first reaches armor in order to save his pod…

Business will be back to normal once the three PLEX are purchased.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Death to Flying Things Campaign Score - 4-18-1

Well, that was confusing.  And embarrassing.

I signed on and was in Dodixie where I had left my rifter last night.  So I did a quick scan of local to see if there might be any war targets and sure enough there was one (and only one!).  Some Russian named Alex something in the Lazy Worms corp (we're definitely at war with them).  So rather than heading back to Heild, I thought I'd pop out and see if he was around.

As usual there was a flock of ships around the Dodixie exit - but none of them with the orangish red flashing war target color.  There was one flashy red Legion but it was flown by chris9650.  Definitely not the Alex guy I was looking for.  So I thought maybe I'd just hover and see if Alex showed up.

Next thing I noticed was that chris9650 in the Legion was warp scrambling me.  That seemed odd.  I clicked on him to see who it might be and thought, "He's just trying to get me to shoot at him so then he can shoot back...  I'm  not falling for that old trick!"  I ignored him.  Well, I ignored him until the sirens started blaring to let me know that my shields were almost gone.  And the armor soon followed.


I took evasive actions to no avail and my rifter blowed up good.  Then my pod blowed up good too.

Afterwards I looked closer at chris9650 and on the standings tab he's neutral to me and to R1FTA and us to him.  But then I looked and saw that we were at war with his corp (The Last Eagle "LAST6") and that the war had been recently finished (like 15 hours before this happened).  And on the war listing there's a column that reads, "Can Fight" and it says "Yes" next to LAST6.  So maybe after the war is finished there's a period when we can still fight, but that the opponents aren't marked as war targets in local?  I have even less of a clue than usual...

Whatever it was, I ended up back in Auner buying a new clone and sticking in new implants.  Not sure what lesson I learned here other than to be careful of anything that's flashy...

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Edit - this item from my inbox helps to explain it:  The war between The last eagle and Black Rebel Rifter Club is coming to an end. The last eagle has surrendered to Black Rebel Rifter Club. The war will be declared as being over after approximately 24 hours.

So during this 24 hour period they apparently don't appear as war targets on the local list or the overview but are still red flashy in space and able to be fought.  I did learn something...

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Edit Edit - just so there's no confusion, I personally look at these two lolosses in the past two days as positive events (as weird as that might sound) rather than something to get depressed about.  At least I'm in "fights" for a change...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Death to Flying Things Score - 4-17-1

Not much to say about this one.  I'm rusty (which, when starting with a low skill level, makes for a bad combination) and got into a fight with a couple experienced members of Gunboat Diplomacy in better ships than my rifter (2x Vengeance).

I've been thinking that I need to start shooting more stuff and letting a few of my rifters die a fiery death.  So when Duke and Areolae said they were following Vanderie to the plex site in Heild, I quickly volunteered to join them.  I landed to see not just Vanderie but also his pal Krole just 10km away.

I should have turned and run before they could snarl my warpdrive (Duke and Areolae have more sense than me...), but instead I attacked.  Bad idea.  A few seconds later (after not turning on the armor repper until the armor was practically gone - remember, I'm rusty...).  I was in my pod.

Then I again made a bad mistake.  I didn't have a destination selected for warping my pod and in the time it took to select one I had my warp drive scrambled and then woke in the infirmary in Auner.

Nuf said about this "fight"...  Killmails here and here to satisfy your morbid sense of curiosity.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Trails Taurean!

Today I read on Flight of Dragons that Taurean Eltanin has retired from Eve.  His contribution to my experience with this game has been huge.  After reading his experiment with buying 20 punishers and using them in PvP to learn and grow I got the courage to try the same thing with an unlimited number of rifters.  It’s been a hoot and it all started with reading his blog.

And I’m not alone. 

On the forums when new players ask about getting into PvP they are almost always advised to use the “Taurean Eltanin Method” – buy a bunch of frigates and get them blown up to see what you can learn.  It’s excellent advice.  Taurean has inspired me and many like me to have fun and not worry about the loses.

Conversely, these computer games can be like an addiction and wreck havoc with homelife (having started with playing Zork on a Commodore 64 - I have plenty of experience...).  I’ve seen it personally and try (sometimes not totally successfully) to balance gameplay with family.  But, for many, going cold turkey is probably a very good idea.  Real Life is more important than Internet Spaceships.  Every time.  

Happy Trails Taurean!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nullsec Feud!

Well, that was interesting. 

A few days ago I was putting together another top secret rifter when I noticed that I needed a particular module.  I was sitting in Hek and opened up the market screen.  There's the cheapest one!  I'll buy it.  Then I wondered why it wasn't in my inventory.  But only for a couple seconds - this has happened before (many times before...).  And the answer is always the same - I didn't look at the location of the item and it was somewhere else in the region and now I own it while it sits in a faraway station.

Sure enough - the item of interest was in Hodroid.  About a dozen jumps away.  Instead of fetching it immediately, I bought another one of the modules (this time paying a higher price to get it at the Hek station) and decided to head over to Hodroid sometime later to pick up the stray purchase.

Last night I was looking for something to do and decided to make the journey.  The trip was without any excitement of note and I put the module in my rifter's cargo hold.

I have some system-wide purchase orders on various items so I looked to see if any of these purchases might have been close by.  Sure enough in the low sec system next door (Konora) was a bunch of faction ammo and some other shiny modules that would look good installed in a rifter.

I jumped to Konora.  Hmmm...  Busy place.  Very busy place.  95 in local - that's a lot for a low sec system (usually I expect 2 or 3 with a max of a dozen).  I was undeterred - I'm flying a rifter so I worry about nothing!  Bring 'em on!

I headed to the station that had my goods.  As I arrived I noticed a gazillion flashy ships crowding around the station.  Well, maybe 30 or 40 of them.  This doesn't look good... 

Somehow I managed to land safely (I'm sure they didn't want to mess with a mighty rifter - or more likely they've read this blog and were afraid of me...).  I found the station packed with about the same number of pilots - all members of a nullsec alliance.  I looked and all those ships outside the station - they were members of a rival nullsec alliance.


It turns out Konora is the low sec system next to the Great Wildlands nullsec space and I had managed to drop into the middle of a feud - Hatfields in the station and McCoys waiting outside (or vice versa).

My simple solution was to spend some time reading the amusing comments in local and then head to bed.  This morning I counted and the pilots in station matched the number of pilots in local (within one or two) - so I hopped into the rifter and headed back to the safety of high sec space. 

I survived.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Death to Flying Things Campaign Victory (\o/) - 4-16-1

I came up with this great idea.  Instead of flying around looking for illegal miners, smugglers' transport ships, and other neer-do-wells (which usually lead to lots of flying, but little action) I would instead act like one of them to catch a pirate.   Excellent!

First off, I wanted to find a dead-end system so that I only had to watch one entrance.  Looking at the map, it appeared that Ragnarg, just a few hops from Hek, would be such a location.  I headed out in "Mothra" - my latest top-secret rifter and put my plan into operation.

First I found an asteroid belt with 3 rats - two frigates and a cruiser.  Second I remembered that I was going to pack some cheap ammunition to deal with these vermin instead of shooting my expensive faction ammo.  Unfortunately, I had forgotten about "Second" when back in the station, so these were going to be some expensive rats.  Third I killed the rats, left their wrecks floating in space and pulled off a ways to give myself some leeway in case pirate visitors dropped in at zero...

Then I waited.

Nothing happened.  The system was empty except for me.

I waited some more.

More nothing happened.  Still an empty system.

I got tired of waiting and decided that since the system was empty it might be a good chance to set up some undock locations from one of the local stations.  I warped to one and then immediately undocked to set up the undock marker.  As I was cruising along waiting for a suitable distance for the warp point, suddenly Khardia Melanchton appeared in local.  Hopefully my pirate had just entered the system!

I continued motoring along and started spamming the d-scan to see what ship had entered the system.  Nothing on d-scan.  I kept spamming the d-scan button.  Still nothing.  Hmmm...  Maybe a cloaked ship that I missed when they cloaked up?  I kept spamming the d-scan button.  Then I thought, "DOH!  Maybe not entering the system - maybe it was a local resident waking up!"  That would explain it.

And a few seconds later there was a rifter coming out of the station that I was heading away from.  A local resident.

As I've said before, I don't especially enjoy rifter vs. rifter matches - but the opportunity of some combat practice can't be passed up.  So when Khardia offered a 1v1 in local I took her up on the idea.  First I marked my undock point (I was now a warpable distance from the station) and then I warped off to the top planet to await my rival.

It was a good fight.

Khardia has been playing since 2008 - so I didn't have high hopes.  I set the orbit at 500m and turned all the dials up to 11 activating both the autocannons and the rocket launcher.  Everything was working and I made none of my usual blunders.  From the start I was ahead.  My ammo and rockets doing excellent work on Khardia's shields and then armor.  Actually, when I say, "I was ahead" it was not by a large margin (in these rifter vs.  rifter duels it's usually a close affair).  But it definitely looked encouraging to see the red lines on her ship ever so slightly longer than the red lines on mine.

I was even aware enough to notice (something that's not often the case in my fights where it's all a chaotic blur...) that my rival was pulling away from me.  My 500m orbit had stretched out to 3km then 4km, and then 7km.  I hit the "approach" button and tried to follow.  But eventually Khardia got outside my overheated scrambler range and managed to warp off.  Leaving me controlling the field of battle.  \o/

Afterwards we chatted in local recounting the fight and gossiping about the neighborhood.  We both agreed that this is one for the "win" column of the "Jack Dancer Death to Flying Things Campaign" even if there wasn't an actual death.  It turns out that she's a person of excellent literary taste - Khardia said she reads this blog.  Hello Khardia!

It was a fun fight, very educational for me since I was flying an experimental build (that performed admirably) and I look forward to a rematch with Ms. Melanchton in the future.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Easily Distracted by Bright Shiny Objects

Coming up on my first anniversary (not sure exactly when), I’m still enjoying Eve very much.  Pirating has been a bit slow lately – though I wander around low sec every day to see if I can get into trouble.  Usually I can’t.  But I’ve also been easily distracted by other activities…

My trader alts (three of them) are buying and selling in Jita and also doing some regional trading in less active areas.  This was taking up a lot of my time for a while, but I’ve backed off the efforts lately and don’t always update orders on a daily basis.  But the income they generated resulted in more than enough rifters for Jack Dancer to fly (hundreds of them now spread across dozens of systems in 3 or 4 regions!) and also added shiny modules to my mission runner’s Dominix.  I had thoughts of trading for enough isk to buy 2 PLEX a month to finance my two accounts – but we’ll see if that works out or not.  Especially with PLEX prices climbing again, I’m not sure I want to invest the time in the traders. 

My mission runner is now doing level 4 missions comfortably – rarely having to panic and warp away thanks to a hefty (and expensive) tank in the Dominix.  I have an alt that can follow with a noctis to do the salvaging (though I learned that I should be leery of those pesky webbing/scrambling frigates that can result in a pile of noctis rubble if they target the salvager instead of the mission ship!  Having the pile of isks from my traders made that experience less painful than it might have been…). 

And finally, my mission runner (who doubles as an explorer) managed to find a wormhole that exited into a pocket of high sec systems that are totally surrounded by low and null sec.  I put a jump clone in this isolated pocket of high sec systems with a selection of exploration/combat ships and it’s been a lot of fun!  I use a helios to find hidden signatures and a Vexor or Myrm to clear them.  The competition isn’t too bad and the systems feel very isolated.  The only problem is finding a market for the loot that I gather – it has started to pile up (My entry wormhole, of course, has collapsed and I haven’t found a wormhole out to high sec markets since then…).  One of these days I may end up sneaking out through a dozen low sec jumps in my cloaky helios with a hold full of isk-producing items…  That should make for some serious adrenalin consumption…

So, as you can see, all these bright shiny objects, errr... activities, have distracted me a bit from Jack Dancer's Death to Flying Things Campaign.  But I'm still working on the infamous "Rifter Plan" skills (about half are at level V now with the other half all at level IV).  I still very much enjoy flying rifters in search of illegal miners, industrial smugglers, and pilots engaged in unlawful activities.  And I'm sure I'll have some tales of adventure to relate here sometime soon...

I think in the end, what it all boils down to is that Eve is great fun because there is such a variety of interesting activities.