12/06/2013

Quartermaster's Report - December 2013



Gentlemen of Black Flag,

As we roll along into the colder months of this year, it was determined by the corporation's executive officers that we issue regular communiqu├ęs to all our members to clarify and guide us along toward the goals common to the capsuleers of Black Flag.

While there are many things that need to be discussed and clarified, there are a few key issues that must be known at this time. The first of these is the mission of this corporation. We are, first and foremost, a PvP corporation. It is the basis on which this organisation was founded and the basis of our gameplay. We are together here to kill, pillage, destroy and loot anyone that is neither corp-mate nor friend. We maintain a strict “Not Blue? Shoot It” (NBSI) protocol in all space. Ultimately, how you produce ISK to support your PvP activity is your own business, and it is expected you take responsibility for making your own money.

Second, while Black Flag's numbers have been growing steadily over the last couple of months, we would ideally like more manpower, so as to enable a greater range of combat options. We encourage those amongst you who understand how this corporation operates to, inasmuch as possible, be open and inviting to others into joining us. This can be done through befriending, trawling recruitment channels, or, and this is my personal favourite, inviting pilots who you have recently killed or destroyed the property of. The executive will look favourably upon those who are able to bring others into our fold, be it through a monetary reward or expanded powers within the corporation.

Third, and finally, the corporation's executive are instituting a codification of some basic rules of engagement, in order to maintain, amongst this gang of soldiers, pirates, thieves and trolls, a modicum of decorum and respectability:

1) Henceforth, ALL RANSOMS MUST BE HONOURED. This includes pod and ship hostage taking, and covers both ISK ransoms as well as singing ransoms. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the latter practice, upon taking hostage of a pod, you may demand the victim sing a song as payment for you letting them go. Normally, you invite them either onto comms or Eve-voice, and you request they sing. You may request that they sing a particular song, with or without musical accompaniment, although you may find it easier that they sing a song that they know the words to. Pilots found not honouring ransoms will receive disciplinary action from the CEO or me. Repeat offenders will find themselves looking for a new home.

2) SCAMMING IS NOT ALLOWED. And by this, we mean that no one may undertake the activity of scamming under the Black Flag name. Feel free to do this on alts, but do not discuss this with others in the corporation. The result of anyone found scamming as a member of Black Flag, or found gloating about scams in chat or comms, will find themselves looking for a new home.

3) HARASSMENT IS NOT OKAY. While this corporation's membership has many a troll in it, and trolling local, chat channels and other people’s comms is acceptable activity, there comes a point when it stops being trolling and becomes malicious and harassing. Public and private messages sent to other players of Eve that are mean-spirited, and/or are racially or sexually motivated are NOT acceptable. Henceforth, any Black Flag member found to be sending messages deemed to be harassment will not only find themselves looking for a new home, they will have earned -10.0 status from this corporation for the rest of their EVE life.

So go out, have fun, fly dangerously, take risks. At the same time, have a little respect while flying with Black Flag. As a final note, anyone who needs help engaging fitting, flying, or any other part of gameplay, feel free to chat or mail myself or any member of the Black Flag executive for advice. We are here to help.

Yours sincerely,

Edna Ironsides
BFAQ Quartermaster


11/03/2013

Report from the Docking Ring: October 2013



Captain's Log: Edna Ironsides
Aboard BFAS Malcolm Reynolds (Incursus-Class Frigate)
Above the docking ring of Duvolle Laboratories Warehouse, in orbit over the 19th moon of Heydieles IV

 Baby Steps

The story so far: I left The Gaping Maw and joined the extremely young corporation Black Flag Acquisitions [BFAQ]. In hindsight, I'm not really entirely sure why I did this: I needed to reinvigorate my gamplay, I wanted to try something that was outside of my range of activity previous too now, and maybe perhaps, I was getting a little tired of always being the least experienced and responsible member of the corp - I wanted to be be responsible for something. Well, I got my wish. In roughly the month I've been with BFA, I have found myself as their quartermaster, FC, and general advisor on everything from ship fittings to wormholes (which I don't even know a tremendous amount about). The best part is, I actually enjoy it. Admittedly, being told about every little detail of people's fitting, shopping and PvE activities can be a little testing, it is more than made up for when I can provide something to enhance the gameplay of the younger players. That, for what it is worth, on some days entirely makes this game worth playing, and makes me happy as the persona of Edna Ironsides.

9/27/2013

RP: Black Flag

The hiss of the airlock confirmed the shuttle had successful docked with the station.

Captain Ironsides stood up quickly from the cockpit and opened the door, stepping from warmth of the shuttle into the slightly cooler, clinically sterile air of the station. The dulled click of her shoes on floor reported Villore-manufactured durasteel, coupled with the low hum of the entire station from its fusion reactors told her she had arrived in a Federation station.

The computer interface to her right chirped up, "Welcome to the Center for Advanced Studies, Lisbaetanne School. What brings you to us today?" it asked in a smooth, vaguely feminine voice.

"I am looking for the corporate offices of Black Flag Acquisitions."

"They can be found on Deck 289, Section B9. The gravity lift at the end of the hall can take there." It purred, almost sounding pleased with its omnipresent knowledge of the station.

Edna strode purposely to the lifts, called out the deck number and stepped out over the edge into the tube. For a moment, she felt herself in free fall before the graviton beams of the lift caught her body and moved her smoothly and quickly down past the hundreds of decks of the station. At 290, the lift flawless slowed her descent until she found herself hovering before the entrance to deck 289. She stepped off back on to the firmness of the floor.

Edna felt herself tense slightly as she approached the office she was looking for. Interviews were always these awfully awkward times for her, as people who try to figure out who she in what seemed like an overly formal procedural manner. It would be so much easier if these meetings could be carried in a bar or promenade, somewhere where she felt infinitely more comfortable at home.

She reached the door of Section B9. On it was a large black square which surrounded a three-towered castle coloured a deep crimson red. Edna opened the door.

A young woman turned around from the main reception desk as she walked into the office lobby. She approached Edna. She was fair, with short curt brown hair but with long locks coming down from the crown of her head that were bleached platinum blonde. Beneath her right eye was a double-lined tattoo that Edna recognised as Detei. She was Caldari, like Edna, although the Deteis were rather more removed from her Achuran heritage. She wore a blue leather jacket and combat trousers.

She smiled. "You must be Edna. We have been expecting you. My name is Azalea." Edna suddenly felt much more at ease. The young woman's bright greeting relaxed the tension that had been building in her. "You can call me Ed. Everyone does."

"Right then, Ed. Well, originally I was going to be here to interview you, but due to some difficult time constraints you have caught me as I must leave now to attend to other matters. My colleague, Karin, will meeting with you instead." She gestured to another woman coming down the long hallway toward them. Ed turned and greeted her. She also bore a Detei tatto, but unlike Azalea had longer hair that was raven black. "If you want to come with me Captain Ironsides, this shouldn't take too long." Saying goodbye to Azalea, Karin led Ed back down the hall to a large conference room

"Can I get you anything, coffee? Quafe?" Like Azalea, Karin also made Edna relax somewhat. This wasn't so bad. "Coffee, if you don't mind please." replied Edna. Karin replicated two cups of coffee from the small machine in the corner of the room, and came back and handed her the cup, sitting across from her

She and Karin talked for sometime. Edna described her capsuleer career. Her days with the Minmatar militia, her various adventures in 0.0 space, her time with the Heretics, and her subsequent move to Federation space. She seemed pleased with most of things Edna told her. The corporation was young, a startup of young enterprising captains and pilots, having made home in the Lisbaetanne star system, and looked like there might very well be a place for Ed amongst their ranks.

"Everything seems to check out." Karin said. "You are welcome to submit a formal application now."

"That will have to wait a couple of days." Ed replied. "I will formally have to divest myself of my position within my current corporation." "But I do informally accept at this time." She was pleased with what Karin and the recruiting agents she had been in touch with had told her. This seemed like a good group of pilots, exactly what she was looking for.

Shaking hands with Karin, Edna made her way back to the shuttle, stopping by the requisitions floor to request captain's quarters in the station. This was going to be her new home. She felt a bubble of happiness within her, and a sense of excitement and trepidation for the days ahead.

----

Signing off,

Ed

9/08/2013

Report from the Docking Ring: September 2013

Captain's Log: Edna Ironsides
Aboard Zoidberg (Algos-Class Destroyer)
High Orbit over Amamake II

The pirate life is paradise.

Well, perhaps there are some days that it is drole/no one will fight you/nothing particularly expensive stumbles into Amamake through the Osoggur gate. There also some days when you are godly, and manage things that require major intervention from Lady Luck (like the situation in the picture above, which shows my destroyer limping away in 9% structure). I have come to embrace the maxim which permeates the culture of Heretics:

"Mother Amamake provides."

And provide she does. In kills, in loot, isk, and surprisingly often, the lawlz that come out of our interactions with locals in the area, both elite and noob. I opened up my client this morning to note the automated message that, after an astonishing 5 days as members of the Minmatar Militia, the alliance was expelled due to low standings from relentless AWOXing of the entire Militia, as well as the results of at least 3 major war decs plus their allies that we accrued upon joining FW. Before we joined, much of the local militiamen and pilots in the nearby systems knew of Heretics by reputation, but never seemed to be particularly afraid of us, which was good, as it meant that continued to receive a stream of fools and uninformed muppets who would fall into our waiting jaws. Now, however, rage and smug dickery have increased hundreds of times, as Heretics, for a brief moment, became a 'hidden danger', we did not show up on the overviews of unaware FW pilots, or we appeared blue, right up until we locked, scrammed, and webbed them down. In a few days, there was no one in Amamake, our sites all open and the system completely uncontested. The magnificent intel instrument known as Militia chat was awash with a flurry of voices complaining, speculating, and trolling about our presence in FW. Sadly, with such a hit to our faction standing with the Republic due to the multitude we slaughtered, it was only inevitable that it should have to come to an end, and recommence our lives as ordinary pirates.

Also, we rolled in millions of faction LP, which should keep us space rich for the months to come.

As a final point, because readers of this blog must be alerted to this event, there was StefanMcCormack McCormack. This pilot of an extremely ill-fated Mackinaw has provided Heretics with a spectacle which we will be remembered fondly for months, if not years to come. After being silly enough to jump into Amamake and lose his Mack to our gate camp. He then came back after one of my alliance mates said we would return his loot to him if he jumped once more through Osoggur to Amamake and would slow-boat out to the canister where we had put his loot, conveniently next to our two smart-bombing battleships. And return he did, in his pod. In a moment I will probably never again see in New Eden, I watched his little pod slowly, at 172 m/s make his way out to the loot can next to the Rokh and Typhoon, arrive at the can, and we watched as he finally understood that his pod had no cargo bay. Below is the video of this little pilot's journey from the gate to the can and his subsequent demise. Special thanks to Switch 4 for frapsing this hilarious occasion, and adding very fitting theme music.




Signing off,

Ed

9/02/2013

Introductions: Missy Lorelai


As part of my continued experimentation in maintaining this blog which, by and large, is a mish-mash of the things that have really interested in the game world, I decided I would try something that many of my fellow eve bloggers seem to be really good at (props to Shalee Lianne), interviews and profile write-ups. And who better to begin with than one of the most infamous pirates of Amamake, Missy Lorelai.



Name: Missy Lorelai (aka. Missy, That Asshole that solo camps gates)

Eve Birthday: 22.09.2008 (almost 5 years old)

Profession: Low-sec pirate; Master Pvper; Troll

I encountered Missy when I first began PvP, and joined the Minmatar Militia. He was a member of the now degenerate Autocannons Anonymous, where he forged his reputation as a completely fearless, balls-deep PvPer that had a knack for EWAR, gate camping, always having a cloaky alt to surprise buttsex people, and just generally being stupidly hard to kill. He has thus garnered a not insignificant amount of hate, fear, and respect from other capsuleers, both low-sec pirates and the hordes of hapless fools that stumble into one of his traps. He has, by and large, seen most of what low-sec has to offer, and unlike many other vets in this region of space, never seems to get bitter. So I thought I'd sit down and ask Missy about life as the menace of Eve pilots everywhere.

How long have you been playing Eve and what got you into it?
About 5 years now, I had always seen advertisements for the game but it looked like utter crap to me until Apocrypha came out; being that I'm a heavy ganja smoker the visuals are what sold me initially...  

Could you give me a briefly outline of your eve life? How did you start and did you wind up where you are now.
I did what any scrub who came into Eve during the Apocrypha release would do: started a wormhole corporation... After training my first account I realized it would take WAY too long to train up for anything fun; things didn't get interesting until I acquired my main characters through somewhat illicit methods which unfortunately I cannot discuss.

Faction warfare was the next step, I think the first person I ever PvP'd with was Flyinghotpocket; cool guy but a bit eccentric and righteous. All along the way people had misgivings about me; either because of how sassy I was or how successful I was while being sassy and free; from that point on it was an exponentially expanding snowball of LNA (Late Nite Alliance) drama and "Non-solo, solo kills", as my victims and peers like to say.
 

What else have you done before you became a low-sec pirate, and why is low-sec piracy your profession of choice?
 I flew with Black Legion for about 6 months after the tower of Babel that was the Autoz/LNA merger couldn't support my weight or sassiness xD. Then i got with some ex-Heretics and went to nullsec for a while where I discovered oversized afterburner fits. After about 3 months I came back and was invited to join Heretics after spending about 2 months in an NPC corp killing shit in Amamake. 

Why are you so fearless?
It's a game, I'll save being a pussy for real life.

What is so great about the Heretics?
No political drama so far... Fighting both militia's, PL, and anyone else who dares; I like having a healthy pool of targets. 

What do you hate in the world of Eve?
CCP, Political Drama, Pandemic Legion. In that order. 

What is the best thing about Eve? 
Thieving and Trolling; It's a game of cunning and guile.

Best fight you've ever been in:
Loki Boosted DD vs Loki Boosted DD, Same fits.

10 seconds long, It was like drawing pistols at dawn.


http://eve.battleclinic.com/killboard/killmail.php?id=13764698
 

Most embarrassing fight you've ever been in: 
This one time I setup a 10 man shield Vexor fleet and put them up against an arty Rupture fleet... lets just say the Vexors didnt last even one cycle of their prop mods; uber fail. 

What do you fly the most, and why?
 Hah, I fly ship types based on what is required for the job. but since thats not a good answer I'd say the number one ship is the merlin because its easy to bait with and has a very nice tank along with great DPS when set up correctly. 

Can you post your killboard link, and any other websites you would like other people to see.
Battleclinic
http://eve.battleclinic.com/killboard/combat_record.php?type=player&name=Missy+Lorelai

Twitch Channel
http://www.twitch.tv/missylorelai/profile

Heretic Initiative Alltime
http://kb.heretic-army.biz/?a=alliance_detail&all_ext_id=99003225&view=pilot_kills
 

Favourite Thing:
Local Rage 

Favourite Ship:
Merlin or Harpy (same setups)

 Favourite Ammo:
Void S or Void M

Favourite Corpse(s):
Killdu's Frozen Corpse 
Rothgr Bronn's Frozen Corpse 
Redrick38's frozen corpse 
Superior Glokta's frozen corpse 

Favourite Prey:
 Small Gangs 

Favourite drink while playing Eve:
 San Pellegrino Aranciata Rossa, Vodka Soda, Water 

Favourite Food while playing Eve: 
Grilled Chicken, Beef Stew, Fine Cheeses, Steamed Vegetables, Chocolate. 

Favourite music while playing Eve:
Zombie Nation, Simian Mobile Disco, The Who, Trap Music, and anything from the 80's 

Favourite Star system(s):
Bosboger, Siseide, Amamake. In that order. 

Best place to fight? 
In a plex or on a gate.

Favourite Irishman:
I've heard they have a curse of some kind.

Favoured kind of destruction (1v1's, gate camping, POCO bash, etc.):
Black Ops

---
Signing off,

Ed 

8/05/2013

Report from the Docking Ring: July 2013

(I took forever to write this, so I appreciate that I will be posting in August)


Captain's Log: Edna Ironsides
Aboard Seventh Wind (Rifter-Class Frigate)
Outside docking ring of Expert Distribution Warehouse in orbit over Amamake II, in the region of Heimatar

After a few months of being in 0.0, I have come to the conclusion that I do not really belong in null. I have become significantly space rich, and by all means it was a good experience, and is not a reflection of negative experiences I've had in null before now. This said, the corner of space I've been living in (which I will not identify for security reasons, although I can say my alliance left Immensea for security reasons) has been largely quiet, and found myself yearning for the hustle of low-sec, where I learned how to be a pirate, how to PvP, and where many of my most enduring friends in this game live. So it is with some reluctance (Cadre has been a wonderful corporation; professional, fun and reliable) that I've been packing up my things setting my sights once more for my spiritual home of Amamake, where I lost my first ever ship in a PvP scenario. It perhaps took this trip to null to realise that I am a pirate and small-gang PvPer, and that there is in fact a place for me in the 7500 odd star systems of New Eden.

Somewhat paradoxically to the above, I have also found that I really love big ships. Battlecruisers, Battleships and Capital fights will always see me as the first volunteer. This leads to the rather amusing conflict, as anything bigger than a battlecruiser is rather unwieldy in low-sec, where frigates and cruisers generally rule. It will remain to be seen how things go with regard to this.

I have pulled out of Cadre, and am now a member of the infamous Heretics. For those of you who do not know that name, it is the name associated with the numerous deaths of all capsuleers on the infamous Osoggur gate in Amamake. They are a lovely bunch of people, sprinkled with several old faces from my days in FW.

Sigining off,

Ed

7/11/2013

On Revenants & Professionalism

So, if you haven't heard, the recent AWOX and destruction of New Eden's first Revenant-class supercarrier has been creating waves, with a degree of awe and giddiness that hasn't been seen for a long time in Eve.

As a reference, here's the article from Mitten's website:

http://themittani.com/news/ten-pl-supercarriers-ambushed-revenant-down

As a former low-sec pvper (perhaps only in remission, we will see), my first reaction was that this was a long time coming for Pandemic Legion. Their propensity for picking on kids smaller than them in the sandbox has been accumulating bad karma for some time now, and this ambush I would argue is the pinnacle of PL cockiness and wanton use of disproportionate force. It was only a matter of time before lording their power over the weaker forces in low-security space was going to catch up with them (as they seemingly have developed amnesia over having lost an Erebus on the Amamake gate last year to the likes of the factional warfare horde).

But, all personal feelings about PL aside, the incident brought up in my mind a lot about discipline.
In Eve, having been playing now for over two years, I have seen a fair number of fleets, both good and bad, covering the better chunk of the different compositions used in the game (although I have yet to do pipebombing, which looks like a lot of fun). I would argue that fleets that I've had the most fun with, and have ultimately been the most successful in, are ones which had a good degree of fleet discipline.

Fleet discipline boils down to a few key elements. The big one is listening to your FC. In combat and fighting in groups, both in Eve and the wider world,military hierarchy and a respect and obedience to a chain of command is a huge part in determining the effectiveness of a fighting force. When you are able to follow orders and hold up your part in a group (and for Christ's sake, don't talk over other people on comms), it makes combat incomparably more fun and effective. By maintaining obedience to your FC, you allow him/her to shape the battle in a manner in which they think will give you the best chances for winning. Sure they will make mistakes and even perfectly run it may not work out, but you minimise the influence that disorder has on your chances of winning a given fight, which is arguably the cause of death of many a well-intentioned (and some not-so-well-intentioned) fleets.

Another element of good fleet discipline is having a good understanding of your role in a given fleet. This means knowing the capabilities of your ship and having a good assessment of your own skill and knowledge, so as to be able to operate in the most effective way possible. Knowing yourself gives you an immense power because it gives you a reference from which you can make judgements regarding your conduct within the fleet as well as being able to reasonably size up your opponent relative to yourself.

The third, and perhaps the most relevant element to the PL ambush, is having effective knowledge of the battle in which are or are about to engage in. Strategic and tactical capability is in large part determined by intelligence. Knowing who your enemy is, the nature of the battlefield, but also having a healthy knowledge of your own comrades, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as having a reasonable idea of what they know or don't know. Which means knowing what your FC can handle, what your corp/fleet mates can handle, of what everyone should be doing, and knowing what orders or directions are good and which are bad.

Ostensibly, the doomed super-carrier pilots of PL had neither clues nor scruples when it came to this. They evidently did not know who they were messing with, where they were going, or the specific details of the battlefield (such as the presence of a massive enemy dread and tornado fleet in the system next door). But most critically of all, they did not question their orders. They gave zero thought whether what they were doing was in their own best interest or in the best interest of their alliance. While the first element I covered in this post was obedience, it should not be blind obedience. Obedience to command should arise from a healthy scepticism and respect for your superiors, that they have done their work properly so you can do yours.

Grath Telkin was right in his now infamous rage on comms: incompetence and blind obedience killed that Revenant, more powerful tools of destruction than all the weapons of Black Legion combined.

Signing off,

Ed

6/26/2013

New template for all corporate stationary



To whom it may concern,

If you have received this letter from a member of Cadre Assault Force (CFOR) corporate staff, it is mostly likely because you have recently suffered destruction of your property and/or your person at the hands of one or more of the members of CFOR. If this is not the case, please disregard the rest of this letter as it does not pertain to you.

CFOR prides itself in making lives miserable for people we don't like, people we look down on, people we've been told to shoot, and people who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We work hard to bring you the most professional, carefully conceived and most fun PvP available in the New Eden star cluster. Despite this, there is a good chance that any serious damage we did inflict upon your aforementioned property or person was likely purely blind luck, or even possibly we did not intend to damage your property or person but managed to blunder our way through anyway.

CFOR, unless otherwise stated, maintains strict "Not Blue, Shoot It" (NBSI) policy when it comes to our interactions with the other denizens of New Eden. We constitute a highly skilled menagerie of capsuleer pilots who specialise in a variety of activities, from capital ship warfare, piracy, mercenary work, bubbling, trolling, high security ganking, and miner podding to diplomatic negotiating, logistics, and politically incorrect harassment. If you in the future you require aid in any of these endeavours, please send us a query, and we will contemplate it over beer.

If you are interested in abandoning whatever furtive activity your are currently engaged in and wish to join CFOR, please contact our CEO, Stoogie, or one of our diplomats.

Sincerely,

Edna "Special Ed" Ironsides
Team 'Murica
Cadre Assault Force

My first FRAP video: Flying with Heretics


In my last blog post I wrote about wanting to try out videos for the blog. With some help and advice from others (and thank you for the encouragement Druur), I dusted off FRAPS, which had been sitting largely unused in the back of my hard drive, and went out looking for something to film. As it happens, I have some old friends who I knew when I was back learning the ropes back in Faction Warfare, most of whom have since abandoned FW properly for the sweet pleasure of low-sec piracy, and many of them have joined the infamous Heretics, the piratical lords of Amamake. Anyhow, started talking to them and ended up joining a gate camp of the Osoggur gate in Amamake. Sadly, I had RL issues to attend to, so I was unable to stay around for a real fight, but it did allow me to practice on camera angles, zoom and sound. Below is a small clip of my time with the Heretics, on their favourite gate in New Eden.

video 

The quality is obviously crap. I am still learning how to use fraps and will hopefully be able to produce something more graphically interesting. In all though, there wasn't much to see anyway, just some pretty good witty gate camping banter. Overall, I'm showing this more as a proof of concept, that Ed can make movies on this blog.

Thanks to the Irish for inviting me out, maybe next time I'll actually capture some combat to show what great PvPers most of them are.

Signing off,

Ed

6/08/2013

Report from the Docking Ring: June 2013

Captain's Log: Edna Ironsides
Aboard CS Defiance (Brutix-Class Battlecruiser)
Outside docking ring of station belonging to S2N Citizens Alliance, somewhere in the region of Immensea

And so, it is with a heavy sigh, and some trepidation, that I have returned to sovereign 0.0 space.

The last time I was out here, it was difficult, cold, unpleasant, and I was desperately underpowered and underskilled. This time I am hoping it will be different. Being significantly richer than I was last time here, I spared relatively little expense in bringing everything I could want, as well as securing regular trips from my friend with a jump freighter. After a week of stalling, bad internet connectivity, and RL concerns, I moved down here and settled into my new existence as part of a null alliance. Last night, a small group of us undocked with the intention to kill: 5 Hurricane Navy Issues, 1 Brutix Navy Issue, and my normal Brutix (so I'm not filthy rich yet...), and we set off for the hotspot of Sendaya. This was the first fleet I'd been in since I came back to Eve, and was of course embarrassingly excited. Leading us was Hellz Hitman, who might be least serious, and yet deceptively clever guy I've flown with thus far. Cluttering up comms was also CrazyKiller6226, by far one of my favourite new people I've met lately, and a fellow troll. There was also Reconndite, indian bob, and Nooio. Together, we made a right mess of things. Despite ending up fighting on station, and losing most of our stuff as a result of the enemy reshipping (and getting butt hurt and undocking battleships), I was immediately reminded why I play this game and enjoy it.

I've been toying with the idea now of seguing into frapsing videos, not only so I can recall specific details of given fights (I've been on three more fleet engagements since the one noted above), but also I feel that they make for more interesting content for the blog. I must admit though, I have very little expertise with making such videos, so it may be some time before I produce anything, and any advice on this from my limited readership would be helpful.

Signing off,

Ed

5/23/2013

Combat Philosophy: Minmatar Ingenuity






This will be the third in my Combat Philosophy series, having covered both Amarr and Gallente already. Thank you to those that have passed on comments to me (although why you don't post them on the blog is beyond me).

The Combat Philosophy of the Minmatar Race


The underdogs. The downtrodden. The survivalists. Also the wanderers and the nomads. Many are the ways in which the Minmatar are described, a heavily tribalistic but at the same time highly cohesive and unified power in New Eden. They are ostensibly the smallest of the empires, both in terms of number of corporate entities as well as controlled star systems, however, this does tell the whole truth about the potency of the Minmatar. For a long time now, certainly as long as I've been playing Eve, Minmatar ships have been upheld as some of the most enduringly popular and effective ships in the game, despite all the jokes about being clogged with rust and held together with nothing more than duct tape and the willpower of their pilots. But what willpower the Minmatar have. They are portrayed as some of the most persistant, most disciplined, and most cunning of the peoples of New Eden. The Minmatar way is to pull stunning victory using limited resources and being able to adapt to a variety of circumstances and opponents, even if this means that on paper, their capabilities appear to pale in comparison to that of the other three races. The fundamentals of the Minmatar are so:

1) Persistence, struggle and opposition to oppressive authorities defines the Minmatar as a people.

2) Flexibility and adaptability are the greatest tools of the tribes. They will whatever is on hand meld into ways that can be employed to defeat their enemies and defend their freedom

3) The Minmatar are insular within their tribes, even amongst each other. While they cooperate with others, they will never wholeheartedly embrace any universal unifying principles, and will stay dedicated to their hearth and home before all

These fundamentals form the the basis of Minmatar combat philosophy. Their persistence is represented in the way their ships are built. The combination of their speed and the tendency to focus on the application of firepower allow them to stay on their opponents consistently. They are not, as a rule ships that you simply aim towards the enemy ship and open fire, but will tend to progressively wear down their opponents through their fast tracking speed and the high rate of fire of autocannons. This also leads into the principles of flexibility and adaptability. Minmatar ships are generally known for their wide range of possibilities regarding fitting options, being able to mount shield or armour tanks, being able to select from a variety of different ammunition to take advantage of their enemies defensive weaknesses, and all manner of electronic warfare options. Their speed emphasises this, providing Minmatar ships with the advantage of being able to choose the circumstances of a fight, knowing where to fight and how close or far to be from the enemy. This does result in Minmatar ships, as a general rule, being weak when it comes to pitched battles, they lack the sheer tanks and firepower that the other races can bring to the table, their fighting style being more akin to a hit-and-run style of fighting, as prolonged engagements are rarely in the interest of a Minmatar pilot. With the advent of the Retribution Expansion, this is becoming even more evident, as the Tiericide initiative has nerfed a few key aspects of the Minmatar ship lineup, mostly notable with the changes to the Hurricane, which loses utility and fitting options and is slowed down, partly in an attempt to crush the massive Hurricane and fleets of null-sec warfare, which succeeded largely through sheer numbers rather than the flying skills of their pilots (trust me, when 100 Hurricans land shots on a single target, it hurts). This would seem to be not in the spirit of Minmatar warfare, which has generally favoured small-gang style warfare (Caldari and Amarr do the the big fleet thing), and the need to be a slightly better pilot of really get all the potential out of a Minmatar ship.

This points to the third fundamental of Minmatar warfare, that their ships thrive on small-scale warfare. In large fleets, the Minmatar have at best been underwhelming, at worst, the laughing stock of large fleet combat. Evidence of this can be seen in popular opinions of Minmatar ships larger than battlecruisers: Typhoons and Tempests are relatively rare to see vs. other racial battlships (Maelstroms, with their outstanding potential for alpha dps, are perhaps another story) and are rarely seen in large numbers. The carriers, the Nidhoggur and the Hel, are even rarer. When inquiring about training paths, I have personally been discouraged by just about every FC and CEO I've ever flown under, overwhelmingly preferring the Gallente and Amarr instead. And am aware of only one pilot in recently memory that could even fly a Hel. The Naglfar, the Minmatar dreadnought, appears once in while, but usually in fleets that are laden with Revelations and Moros', and is frequently joked about. This may change with some changes to its currently rather poor fitting options, which will see the abolition of its split weapon system to turrets only and a buff to its damage output. The racial Titan, the Ragnarok, is rarer still, and this pilot has never seen one, although is aware that they are out there. The reality is that Minmatar excellence is generally found in smaller ships and smaller numbers. Indeed, one of the bonuses of the aforementioned Ragnarok is providing its fleet with bonuses to signature radius reduction, a benefit that is largely to the advantage of smaller ships. This also points to the relative flexibility the Minmatar have at the small-scale level, they excel in fleets up to a certain size, but are also quite capable soloists, and will never have a problem fitting in whatever fleet comp they find themselves in (with the exception of the capital lineup, which are mostly favoured toward shield tanking).

So what is Minmatar combat philosophy? It's to flight fast and light, and use these to shape the battlefield to your advantage, rather that just wading through it. It means being able to adapt to changing circumstances in different scenarios, fleets, enemies, and locations, with the emphasis on the continual applications of dps while doing everything to mitigate incoming damage. It is to resist and persist through injustice, and to keep the people around you alive and fighting through whatever means are necessary. It means being a jack-of-all-trades while being a master of none, and it means to outfit and out-will your enemies

Signing off,

Ed

5/17/2013

Reawakening

Edna gasped and coughed, hacking up the preservation fluids of the clone vat, breathing her first breath of fresh air in months.

She remained on her hands knees, trying to get a grip on her body. When she was certain her lungs were clear she stood up. She stumbled toward the bench in front of her, unable to keep balance at first. When she could finally stand, she moved to locker to her right. Opening it, she found her clothes, still fresh and folded the way she had left them 6 months ago.

She had been gone sometime.

Now dressed, moved out of the cloning chamber into her captain's quarters.

"Computer, what is my present location?"

"zzzk... You are in Cabin 457, Deck 47, True Power Logistical Support Station, L-A9FS star system, in the region of Stain ...zzzk"

"What is the current traffic in system?" She hoped that some of her old corporation mates were around at this hour.

"zzzk... system is empty ...zzzk."

Edna was perplexed. Where had everyone gone?

She left her quarters for the station's central data banks. She summoned up the noted activity in the star system for the last 6 months. It had appeared that her corporation had undergone a downsizing, and shed off many of its capsuleer agents, and returned to space in the Minmatar Republic.

"Well then" she thought, "it's a long way to empire."

Back in her quarters, she linked for the main channel of the Eve shipping company, Black Frog Freight.

A smiling blond man appeared on the interlink screen.

"Good day Edna Ironsides" he spoke warmly, "how may we help you today?"

"I need a jump freighter to pick up personal effects here in Stain, I'll send you the coordinates. Standard contract terms?"

"That will do nicely Miss. Expect the shipment to be completed in about a week."

"Thank you." said Edna, closing the link.

She walked out to the flight deck, and keyed engineering to bring up her Anathema-class covert ops frigate out of the storage hangars.

She looked at the shining golden hull of the ship. She smiled. Her second expedition into null-security space had ended, infinitely more pleasant than the first, but it was time, once again, to return back to the core worlds.

Some hours later, the Anathema slipped out of the docking ring of the unremarkable station in Stain. Edna set the navigation computer to Rens, the hub system of the Republic. She then activated the ship's cloak and vanished into the darkness.

3/19/2013

Combat Philosophy: Gallentean Valour

Late last year I wrote an article on this blog covering the governing philosophy of the Amarr and their warships. I really enjoyed writing it (and for whatever reason, it remains one of the most viewed articles I've posted), as it provides basic principles that I wish I'd understood when I was starting out and identifying the particular strengths of a specific race.

The Combat Philosophy of the Gallentean race

The Gallenteans are the Western market liberals of New Eden. Seriously, reading through their introductory description, this is basically some kind of distorted notion of capitalism and multiculturalism in action together (as a Canadian in real life, I hear this verbatim a lot in domestic politics). I would hestitate to refer to the Gallente Federation as a true democracy, it is a liberal democratic capitalist state, which means that personal autonomy is promoted, but political participation is limited in order that those in power may still filthy rich and no serious challenge to the dominant ideology of the Federation is forthcoming, which probably goes a long way to explain why the Caldari, an illiberal, collectivist group, felt the impulse to secede. To be Gallente is to revel in the ostentatious, the heroic, and generally being ingenious, flexible and resourceful. Some would also include foolhardy in that list. In short, being space cowboys. Their basic motivation is to spread the fire of freedom to the autocratic, nasty places of Eve. A Gallentean genuinely believes he is just a little bit better than everyone else because he/she lives in the most wonderful empire in the cluster, and wants to share their freedom, and Quafe, with everyone else, either diplomatically or with the barrel of a neutron blaster. The fundamentals for the Gallente are thus:

1) Personal autonomy and glory are paramount. It is through the ingenuity and heroism of individuals that victory is acheived.

2) The Gallente will use their flexibility, cunning, and genius to overcome their enemies, as well as by having tough, well-built ships that use the best of Gallentean technology


These are the basic principles that guide Gallentean starship design and combat essentials. The 'cowboy' tendency of the Gallente has tended to lend itself a balls-deep approach to warfare. This manifests itself in a large part of the ship lineup having a do-or-die combat style, epitomised by the wonderous blaster turret. Blasters have, unequivocally, the highest damage output of any weapon system in New Eden, surpassing lasers, projectiles, missiles, and railguns in sheer firepower. This, however, does not come without costs. First, as is the nature of hybrid weapons, they are limited to a varying split between Thermal and Kinetic damage (although, in practice, one or both of these are usually reasonably effective against most targets, Thermal vs. shields, Kinetic vs. armour). The second, is that blasters have an effective range of "up-in-your-face." Although usually some range is possible with most turret setups, pulling range is rarely ever a priority. In a Gallente gunboat, you want to get in as close as possible (blasters have superior tracking, giving them the capability to fight at zero with minimal consideration for angular velocity) and melt the face of your enemy. However, at that close range, there isn't really an option for disengaging, so when you do go in, one way or another, someone's going to die. This also leads a rather popular misconception that some Gallente ships are terrible (Brutix, Deimos, Hyperion). This simply isn't true, it's just that because of their fighting style; if you misjudge the strength of your opponent, you are unlikely to survive such an error. Futhermore, because you tend to be the highest dps ship on field and you're likely to be within the optimals of the enemy, you're more than likely going to be called primary.

Another factor that plays into the individualistic streak of the Gallente, is that, for the most part, and with obvious exceptions, the Gallente ship lineup is not very fleet-oriented. This is demonstrated by the use of active armour tanks (and in fleet setups buffered tanks are usually prefered), heavy drone use (again unwieldy in many fleet situation barring capital fleets), and usually an even balance between tank and gank, rather than the tendency of Caldari or Amarr ships to lean more heavily one way or the other. All these traits however, can generally stand you in good stead in solo and small gang combat situations, where the aggregate dps of your enemy is relatively low, and possibilities for support ships are more limited. An excellent example of this, in fact, can found in one particular Gallente support ship, the Oneiros. It is based on the principle of providing reps without the benefit of cap chains (which would be highly recommended if you were using Guardians), and thus acts as a soloist, limiting its capabilities in larger fleets. I would generally recommend Gallente ships for solo or small gang PvP, but would probably elect for something else for fleet combat, although this does not mean that the Gallente cannot be effective fleet ships. On the contrary, in large pitched battles, having a Thanatos, with its obscene dps output, remains a mainstay of capital fleets throughout the star cluster, but that, by and large, most Gallente ships are superior solo/small gang performers.

In conclusion, what is Gallentean combat philosophy? It is the confidence that you are the burning light of freedom and happiness for New Eden, and will pwn your enemies with your unsurpassed firepower and adaptability. You are a space cowboy, and the bandits are scum that you wipe off your windshield as you cruise through. For you, when you arrive on the field, someone is going to die, and if its not them, you will make them hurt before you take them down. Your heroism and testicular fortitude will overcome your foes, and you will be the most ostentatious mofo this universe has ever seen.

Signing off,

Ed

3/07/2013

Life away from New Eden

My vacation from Eve has dragged on longer than I expected.

It's not that I have become disinterested with the game, I actually still check other people's blogs from time to time and check the latest patch notes. Part of me imagines eventually returning.

 Oddly though, I may not return as Edna. While I realise this will cue comments from the peanut gallery pointing out the loss of all the time, work and SP that I've put in going to waste because of my vanity, and they do have a point. Edna represents the culmination of nearly two years of play, and in light of that, to start anew does seem really silly. However, playing Eve for me was never, at a fundamental level, a matter of skills and ships, but of the shaping of a personality, a being in the world of cyberspace. Edna is, representatively, a copy of my own personality in real life, as is the case most of the time when forming virtual identities. Edna isn't me, but a reconstituted conception of how I wished to represent myself in playing the game. Edna has a personality, ideas and attitudes, that are at once my own, but also Edna is in a sense autonomous from myself in that she is different from me and is unique.

However, in considering a return to Eve, I feel like the virtual identity that I built around Edna is no longer one that I identify with. Things have changed for me in real life that fundamentally change the way I would choose to represent myself online. One way I know this is through a game that I have been playing a lot of lately, Planetside 2. PS2 is great, not least because it's the first time I have been able to play a first-person shooter that runs smoothly on my somewhat meagre rig. For any interested in finding me, my primary alias is GreenTitan - playing as the Vanu Sovereignty on Helios server. However, GreenTitan, another virtual identity I have made, is ostensibly not of the same kind of personality as Edna Ironsides. I talk less on comms, I take a more responsible, leadership role when I'm out in field with others, and I downplay my subtle love for trolling, as well as my excitability in large combat situations. However, I am far more vindictive, exacting, and cautious. I also find myself more concerned with in-game logistics rather than the full frontal combat that was emphasised as Edna. PS2 has actually made me more carefully consider how I interact with others online, not least because PS2 mechanics demand more cooperation among players than Eve Online - it virtually punishes you for playing alone.

I feel that now, if I were to return to the world of New Eden, I will need a new persona to represent the new way in which I choose to produce and reproduce my virtual identity in-game, and the associations I want to build with other players. Sure, I will be set back tens of millions of SP, but in the end, it is more important to have a virtual identity that I can invest in than it is to have T2 autocannons.