Monday, 29 March 2010

An Update

        Time has gone fast recently, the days all seem to be blurring together now. Life as a low-sec pirate is by no means easy and I'm really beginning to get to grips with this concept. The kills are slowing, targets are beginning to wise up to our ways. It's getting tough indeed. I haven't been able to find a good quality kill in a fair few days now whilst roaming solo as almost every potential target ends up as a trap for a much larger blob of battleships on my teeny little frigates. There is a underlying web of 'blue' status pirate corps around the Verge Vendor region now and they all sit on our doorstep. What was once a hotbed of inter-corporation conflict which led to great combat and the occasional blob has now become a suffocating situation which genuinely feels like it's Tuskers against the world.

        Now as many know the tuskers operate a no blue policy, we don't deal in alliances and we stick to our own. It's a policy I admire and give props to Jolo for sticking to this ethos throughout the years. I am beginning to wonder how long we can hold out against the onslaught of what I could calculate to be a (potentially) five hundred and above 'alliance' of corporations all out for our necks. It really is difficult to say accurately.

        We've also had an influx of new members to the corporation with the current tally at 90 members based off the attributes page and that's great. There is also a great sense of 'shipping up' going on, with battle-cruisers and above becoming more common place within our ad-hoc fleets. this is obviously a product of the ever more increasing enemy count and as I'm still only able to fly frigates effectively, I'm feeling the strain as I watch my fellow members field Drakes, Falcons, Scimitars and the like. It's truly a great sight to behold but I can only sit and fidget as my skill points slowly clock over to the next digit, I'm a long way from ever taking any of those ships out on a roam.

        I'm becoming more impatient with myself also in terms of my ship selection. Frigates are still the greatest ship class there is in New Eden in my opinion, but my very limited selection of what I believe might be four ships; Rifter, Jaguar, Wolf and Republic Fleet Firetail is really beginning to get to me. The Jaguar is a ship I'm falling out of love with rapidly. I want to fly it, I want to love flying it and I want nothing more than to achieve with it but the fact of the matter is I don't think you can. The sheer weight put against an assault ship attacking larger targets is insane for two reasons; neuts and webs. Now I think CCP are really missing something here with both modules and my thoughts are to follow...

        Medium neuts run frigates dry in seconds. There is no sense of tracking they just lock right on and suck your capacitor dry. Surely if there is a tiny ship darting around you then it would be a difficult challenge to get your module locked right into their cap bay. I suggest adding tracking to the neuts or a level of accuracy to them. By accuracy I mean the ability to neut out a small target. Make the neuting slightly less effectively depending on sig radius or hull size I say.

        Webs are my true hate with this game. A frigate has to speed tank in all fairness to stay alive against a cruiser. All the cruiser has to do is web and sick drones on you. Say the average a/b frigate runs about 1.1km/s (which in my opinion is being generous for most pilots) and you get hit by a meta 4 web. -60% speed right there. you are now down to 440m/s. Warrior II move at about 600m/s without the mwd active when orbiting. You become webbed and they will begin to circle you too fast for you to actually hit them due to their size and speed and at that point, you have lost the fight. There needs to be some level of defence against this and it once again comes in the form of accuracy. I suggest there be small/medium/large web modules designed to accommodate to each class. If there are different size of neuts, mwd's, ab's and many other modules why not webs? In my vision the web is quite literally a web, it wraps the target up and slows them down. If you have a tiny target and theoretically had a medium web, the mechanics could work in a way that the smaller targets could 'evade' the full effect of the web as it is designed for ships of much larger classes. This would result in say only a -30% speed reduction from the normal -60% and I believe it would be a step in the right direction for balancing the playing field out a little. Likewise if a web which was too small could not effectively web down a larger target, reducing it's effectiveness against that larger intended target, somewhat similar to putting an afterburner/mwd which is not the right class hull.

        I know you have to be mad to attack larger targets in frigate anyway but I think these changes would benefit the assault frigate class especially as the more I fly them, the more redundant they seem to become. Eve is a game about player skill and I'm losing sight of where player skill can go against game mechanics. This is especially annoying when you will pay a larger amount for an Assault Ship, stand no chance against a cheap Cruiser and skulk away with nothing when you inevitably lose it attacking the cheaper/insurable target. There is most definitely something wrong with this picture, I just don't know if anyone else actually sees it. CCP, help out the little guys please?

Friday, 19 March 2010

Debauchery, Chaos and Anarchy...

        I nearly had what would have been the single best kill ever in my life within New Eden. The kill would have been a fully T2 fit Omen Navy Issue, even with 2 Imperial Energized Adaptive Nano's. Nice right? Well the kill would have been mine if the Tuskers weren't such a skill-less blobbing pvp corp that we are renowned around the entire of Eve to be... Wait, something is definitely wrong here.

        I'm not here to rep the Tusker name but I am confident that anyone who knows the Tuskers can vouch that we stand by our word. I won't use the term 'honour' as it is one lost within Eve, but if you were to ever get a corporation close to this idealistic  phrase then Tuskers cut it fine in my eyes. There is a context for this seemingly ransom post and as I stated above it was having the kill of my life stolen before my very eyes.

        I entered the Vitrauze system during a little roam in my new Republic Fleet Firetail which I have been favouring as of late and there is one person in local; Rote515. He begins to take jabs at the Tusker name suggesting that we are 'a bunch of blobbers and British' (why nationality was a factor for his distaste of us is beyond me...) The Tuskers aren't allowed to indulge in smack talk; it's hateful, damaging to new players learning the game and generally can never lead to anything good regardless of the situation. This is one part of the Tusker code, a concept that seemingly escaped this fellow. I was docked up at the time, having taken a quick afk break, so I un-docked and he was trying to gate camp me in the station in his nice and shiny Omen Navy Issue. I deftly flew past and warped to a safe, making sure not to foolishly be caught out. We continued to exchange words and I, in short, stepped up to defend the Tusker name and the notion that we do not blob and are skilled in pvp. I warped back to the station as he wouldn't move to a belt for fear of the impending blob that I was clearly planning. I was disappointed as I knew he would just burn back to the station and dock up if things went south in our fight, but at least I could prove a point. I warped to the station, pulled him out to the furthest range he'd come and then the fight was officially on. I called Iromei and Ki'Tori from the Tuskers to wait in Onne in case anything bad happened and he went back on the agreement. If he had the right to be wary, I did too.

        He launched a full wave of Warrior drones at me as I burned in towards him to establish point and a safe orbit, his fit was a mystery to me at this time and I wasn't aware what an Omen Navy Issue was capable of. I quickly dealt with the flight of drones with ease and proceeded to close in on him to start dealing out some damage. I had to keep my distance, using barrage to grind him down as best as possible whilst keeping out of potential neuting range. The fight dragged on, with him constantly trying to burn back to the station. He knew he couldn't win this fight clearly. As I began to really feel content with my performance against my foe I noticed he was really starting to get into docking range and began to worry he'd get away. I loaded up Republic Fleet Phased Plasma, took a deep breath and came in close to hit harder. He continued trying to shoot me with his group of medium lasers which were missing horrendously to my amusement. I was hoping he wasn't aware of the docking mechanics and thus continued to shoot until he died from my offensive. As he began to drop beneath 1/4 of his armour and victory was truly mine, in flew a Vagabond. Who was this Vagabond? A fellow corp member of his. I ordered my allies to jump in to my aid, as a Vagabond and Omen Navy Issue against my little Firetail is hardly a fair fight. In hindsight I wish I had kept my point on the Omen as he seemed to think he couldn't dock, which was hilarious; I knew however that losing a Firetail to a Vagabond was not worth the risk and immediately broke off from the engagement. My friends landed to support me and he swiftly pulled his ship into the station, the cracks on it's hull beginning to show.

        You would think that after myself honouring the fight throughout and him breaking the rules that I would have taught him how honourable the Tuskers were. Well apparently not, as my back up was characteristic of the blobby Tuskers that we are clearly. I went away from the fight feeling angry and really quite upset in honesty. I had the chance to take a target most don't ever dream of fighting and had the fight been truly fair, I would have won there was no doubt about that. Plenty of ammo left, cap was stable, his entire fleet of drones already dead and his lasers hadn't a hope in hell of taking me down. Unfortunately however he chose to be the smaller man and save his ship, directly dishonouring our agreement and only highlighting the inaccuracies in his opinions. In short, if anybody sees him or any of his fellow crew Debauchery, Chaos and Anarchy just give them a quick history lesson on what the Tuskers are truly like. I'm going to go and dream over all the isk I could have made from that fight...

        Till next time, fly safe.

Monday, 15 March 2010

A Change Of Face?

        I know what you are all thinking, Kishin Hattori posting two times in two days; surely this is a thing of madness? Well if I'm brutally honest with you all fellow pod pilots, I've come down with a case of the vanity blues. After staring at my mug for so long, I feel like a bit of a change (and by a bit, I really do mean a bit.)

        So here I present to you my current incarnation...

        And my potential new self...

        If anyone could give their opinion on the potential new look I would be much obliged. Is it also strange that despite my profession as a part of the collective pirate scourge that plagues New Eden I want Kishin to look really friendly? Answers on a postcard please. A comment will also suffice!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

I Will Show You Terror in a Handful of Flans!

        Ok so forgive me for the absurd title for this new instalment in the chronicles of Kishin, but I really could not think of a cool way of saying fleet commander (because all blog post titles must be snappy and sly of course!) I nipped to google and asked for it's mythical guidance and the best response was some odd blog about anime called the aforementioned blog title; thus it has been chosen and shall stay.

Moving on...

         Something that has been in the works for a few days after Proxyyyy, (who is becoming more and more like one of those crazy friends who undermines you in a purely benign and friendly sense, then gives life guidance as some sort of compensation. I'm not complaining!) struck up the thought that The Tuskers don't have any established European time zone fleet commanders. I was then coerced into putting together a wolf-pack frigate operation to get myself some experience to hopefully become an fc at a later date. I was tentative at first, yet with encouragement from the rest of the gang and an enthusiastic green light from Jolo, I began planning.

        The gang consisted of about 14 people when we got to full steam (which was quite a daunting number in honesty) and we had a nice spread of e-war, gank and tackle. After looking for targets around Aeschee and being largely unsuccessful, I fell back on my master plan of some action going down in Old Man Star. It was a Saturday night, surely it should be a blood bath? There was at most 15 in local, and I'm not sure whether we contributed to that or not...

        As we approached the 1 hour and 30 minute mark with naught a target in sight, I spotted a Proteus idling at a nearby planet. Understanding it was a trap from Cry Havok I asked the fleet their opinion on the fight considering space was so dead. We decided to go for it and proceeded to pile in on the ship, trying to bring it down before dying in a hailstorm of pain. Unfortunately we didn't and as the strategic cruiser fleet of overkill rained down upon us, I ordered for the withdrawal. I lost my ship, along with one other but we escaped relatively unscathed. I ordered for the return to Hevrice for a change of ships and change of plan.

        We re-shipped, headed back out and chose to avoid the systems we had gone to. Moving up the Vitrauze pipe towards Mannar, we continued to have the life-blood of the fleet choked by lack of worthwhile targets until all hope had been lost. Almost as if a miracle descended upon us, our spirits sky-rocketed when Grohalmatar in his Stiletto managed to catch a Hurricane in Lermireve. Excited at the prospect of such a great kill, we jumped in and flew to his aid. Unfortunately the combined length of the warp we had and both the Stiletto and Hurricane burning away from the belt with micro warp drives meant we landed at 80km away! Grohal bravely went to scram the target to slow him down for the rest of the fleet, but was webbed and destroyed by drones. Another unfortunate loss...

        We'd been out for little over 2 hours now and whilst in contrast to other fleets it is a relatively short amount of time to hunt, both the moral of the fleet and my ability to coherently command was waning, so the majority of the fleet broke off and heading home for Hevrice. I stayed behind with our only cruiser of the gang as he had criminal flagging and piloting a cruiser home is dangerous at the best of times. With a now refined fleet of 5 people, we headed back to home when Kirith who had been idly scouting about chimed in comms that an Ishkur was trying to engage, Rob gave the nod and we made best speed to Hulmate where Kirith was squaring off against this fearsome foe!

        Rob valiantly took the punishing assault of the gate's guns and we assembled on the gate to support Kirith. 'Established point' Kirith promptly announced and we leapt into action. We landed just in time as Kirith's Rifter was taking a lot of damage from the Ishkur understandably and we proceeded to rip our opponent to 
pieces. Truly the night was over and we scouted our way back, narrowly missing a Bellicose kill on the way.

        Looking back at my attempt to command a fleet I am left with a few thoughts to say the least. Firstly, it is much tougher than I imagined it would be. I lingered with the fleet on gates for too long, allowed the fleet to scatter a bit too much and wasn't well enough prepared. I didn't at the time have access to fleet warp commands, as another Tusker was filling the squad commander role to give our fleet bonuses (setting someone as squad booster only never works, sort it CCP?) and I feel that had I owned the ability to do so, fleet coherence wouldn't have been such an issue. I also felt somehow apologetic to the rest of my fleet for a few reasons; one being that most of these guys had a well of skills compared to my own, both in points and genuine ability as a pilot and I felt bad forcing them back into target restricting frigates. The second would be the lack of targets we managed to find, though I was reassured that (and I paraphrase another of my mentors Robert Mason) 'you can't manufacture targets'. Whilst it does make me toy with the idea of making a hundred alts and lining the Hevrice belts with n00bs in Reapers, I couldn't have put the life of a pirate in a more eloquent sense then Rob did there.

        I definitely plan to run more fleet operations in the future, collating all my experience together and one day with hope become a worthwhile fleet commander. How long that will take I do not know, I just ask you all to bear with me as I learn. Oh and zombie, I'm sorry I took us to Mannar!

        Till next time, fly smart.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Lose this!

        Things have been pretty hectic since my integration into the Tuskers, I've been killing a lot, burning isk as if it were wood for an open fire and losing more ships then I care to truly consider. I am in a state of flux as I type, watching my wallet weaken under the punishment of low-sec life and after having lost my second Stiletto of the week for rather foolish reasons. 30 kills might seem a pretty nice number in a week, but put 10 losses against that and you've only got 3 to 1 ratio for kills to losses respectively.

        I have a rather obvious Achilles heel for shiny frigates, in particular the Stiletto and both the Jaguar and Wolf. They cost too much, are uninsurable and against anything with a swarm of drones, tend to be dropped faster than you can scream 'Ransom me!'. Despite all their inherent flaws, they are still my favourite ships to fly and most likely will remain to be as long as I can afford to have them explode.

        After many conversations with my fellow Tuskers about my current losing streak and being reassured it isn't anything terrible, I'm beginning to overcome my worries one day and kill at a time. I don't think it will be something I'll be able to get over my current worries once my wallet improves it's health (trading is surprisingly difficult!) but until then things will be on the rocks so to speak.

        My time with the Tuskers has already been an eye opening experience to the world of Eve, I've learnt a huge amount from every pilot and am committed to constantly improving and evolving myself as a low sec pirate in every possible way. I'm also beginning to open my eyes to the larger ships, my new venture being a Minmatar cruiser well known as the Stabber (Masquitar will laugh when he reads this.) I would like to take this moment to say that unless I had lost the amount of ships I have since my becoming a pirate, I wouldn't have come to this conclusion; I am learning.

        I'm not long off hitting -10 security status, with my current value at -9.94. This has changed my way of life greatly too, no longer able to fly about with as much impunity from all those neutral people that want fights; It has led me to receiving more fights purely on the basis of them engaging me at gates without worry of station fire. A little bit of adjustment and I am falling into the role of a low-sec pirate quite well I think.

        Low security space has begun to become my friend also, with Hevrice feeling more at home than any other place I've been in New Eden. All my ships are here, my friends are here with me, the system itself is in a great position to roam from, with two active pipes leading away from the Hevrice system. One problem I have are the macro couriers, but as soon as I can fly a battlecruiser efficiently, those will be getting popped for a day or so I'm sure.

        The Punisher guide has been evolving too, some great conversations with fellow Tuskers (yet again) has given me new insight into the craft and I've got a few awaiting fits in my hangar so that I can get a feel for it once more to finish the guide off properly.

        All in all, life is great! The Tuskers are great and Eve is great! (But you guys already knew that last part) I'm going to continue blowing stuff up, so I'll see you all out there.

        Till next time, fly smart.