Thursday 26 March 2015

Nullsec heats up

Things remain lively in Catch as a succession of enemies roam the region hoping BRAVE will form up. We're a little battered at the moment to form consistently against HAC and faction cruiser gangs however so often these enemies are reduced to fighting each other or simply getting blueballed and leaving.

BRAVE is adjusting lethargically to its new location in HED. Ship contracts and market seeding are significantly worse than they were in GE-, the instability seems to be making importers nervous. Also HED is in some ways quite awkward to export to, despite having a direct high sec connection. The Keberz - HED-GP connection is physically very long, more than the 10 AU of a jump freighter's range so you can't jump goods to HED easily. As this map shows to jump to HED you have to start in nullsec, in fact coming from empire HED is 3 jumps by jump freighter unless you stage in hostile space. Alternatively you can take the Keberz gate in a Badger or something - good luck on running an industrial through nullsec's most heavily camped gate in nullsec's most violent system!

On top of that persistent rumours are flying that we are to deploy soon but no official word is out and our leader's laptop just packed up delaying a promised SOTC for BRAVE and leading us in the dark.

Meanwhile BRAVE has lost its last 9 timers including the armour timer for 4M- which lost the system to PL. We have 2 very important timers coming up within the next 24 hours - both station systems, both strategically vital. A bad day could spell the beginning of the loss of Catch.

If BRAVE is languishing in disorganisation that's certainly not true of the CFC. Following NC./BL's rather pathetic "invasion" of Fountain, an effort that melted away in the teeth of a full CFC deployment, Mittens with apparent (but unlikely) spontaneity declared he was bored and wanted to twist the knife in his enemies.

(5:35:05 PM) directorbot: I'm back from Fanfest and I'm FUCKING BORED - this 'invasion' we faced last week was the most laughably, pathetically weak attempt at our shit in years, and that says something. For too long we've been dealing with our foes thinking they can assault us and get away with these 'fake invasions' for funsies.
It's almost April. It's ~that season~. Who's up for a bit of bloody-handed, oldschool reprisal? Get your face-stomping boots on boys. We're not going to ~take space~ but we might make some 'freeports' or just give shit to Pizza, whatever. I have literally no idea except this urge to twist the knife and we're going to do exactly that.
~~~ This was a broadcast from the_mittani to all at 2015-03-25 16:35:52.410841 EVE ~~~

This seems to be the announcement of an invasion of Delve, a move that seems likely to go well for the CFC and badly for the N3 pets currently living there. EN24's analysis is that NC. is already committed on 2 other fronts and is badly positioned to fight off an invasion. Their ally in the "Fountain War" seem to have already found something more fun to do - trolling TEST - and there seems to be no good reason why PL would come save N3.

So we will probably see a lead in to Fozziesov that sees nullsec's largest super-power demonstrating its superiority in rather unstoppable style. A pretty good advert for joining the bigger gang if you don't want your space kicked in timed just as the revamp hoping to encourage small alliance ownership of sov enters play.

Monday 16 March 2015

The Fountain Deployment

Rumours are flying that BRAVE may deploy to Fountain for the latest Sov War. NC. is going for its arch-enemy the Goon-led CFC, but this time there's a kicker - they've brought the highly effective Black Legion on board. Pandemic Legion are a ringer, they may turn up for a fight or two or they may move into the conflict in full force.

BRAVE are a little battered after weeks of being farmed by PL. We definitely don't want to lose Catch but it's in some ways hard to muster morale for defending a region that can be taken off us any time our opponent wants. In fact Catch may be more secure if we drag PL off to Fountain (they'll follow Brave around like lions trailing antelope migrations). The only reason stuff in Catch is in danger is because PL is poking it to get fights from us.

So first let's look at Catch if the majority of the active people in the alliance leave. Catch will still have a lot of BRAVE players in it until we lose the sov so it will remain heavily farmed although not to quite the extent as it is now. It will be much more rattable and BRAVE may see a lot of pilots stay home to make hay while PL are away.

Fountain however is a land of opportunity. There are level 1 missions in the NPC stations which may be where we would base. There are lots of data and relic sites for our enterprising scanners. It's also very possible to run anomalies in nearby sov space because the CFC operates on a "don't engage unless you're sure" policy when running a defensive war. Chances are if there are 20 people in a system and a Brave guy in a VNI goes in and starts running Forsaken Hubs they'll all dock up and wait him out.

The big opportunity is the war. I hope that we can remain uncommitted, agreeing to help either side doesn't really help us. As far as I can see there are 2 likely offers: CFC can say help us and you'll get Delve (an offer we've already declined) or NC. can threaten help us or we'll take Catch which would put us on our knees forever if we accepted.

It's a good opportunity to develop small highly effective doctrines: sniper harpies and corms, bombers, ewar wings. No need to ask people or alliances to commit major resources like T3s and ahacs unless it's something we want. One of our biggest threats is simply the number of people we can dogpile into a system, creating lag and tidi.

At this stage it's all just speculation but I hope BRAVE does deploy into the war that's just started.

Sunday 15 March 2015

[Propaganda] Brave Collective: No newbro left behind



Their eyes met like stars - a tale of a FC and his scout by Hadrian Bridgeman

[ 2015.03.14 22:51:13 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "The HERO fleet of frigates ventured deeper into space, in the hopes of finding content..."
[ 2015.03.14 22:51:30 ] Ozone Killer > even if we caught that carrier I doubt we have the dps to kill it :)
[ 2015.03.14 22:51:56 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Ozone Killer  HOW DARE YOU GIVE ME LOGIC
[ 2015.03.14 22:52:13 ] John Bait > nidh at IV prob. pos
[ 2015.03.14 22:52:39 ] Gregorovich Vokan > What happened to the Fanfics?
[ 2015.03.14 22:52:46 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "The heroic bursts were wondering what to do with their reps, as they saw them rusting..."
[ 2015.03.14 22:52:58 ] Pardet Kynes > Lychton+Elo knight
[ 2015.03.14 22:52:58 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Excellent
[ 2015.03.14 22:53:00 ] Pardet Kynes > Ship it
[ 2015.03.14 22:53:35 ] Shana La'Salle > Which ship? :D
[ 2015.03.14 22:53:35 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "The scout looked quite attractive in his ship. Logi squad had an idea, but surely it couldn't be possible..."
[ 2015.03.14 22:53:35 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Hadrian Bridgeman We are minmattar, if we weren't rusting, something would be wrong
[ 2015.03.14 22:53:52 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Gregorovich Vokan Good point.
[ 2015.03.14 22:54:48 ] maydNNN > die in the son
[ 2015.03.14 22:54:52 ] maydNNN > cmon
[ 2015.03.14 22:54:57 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "Aylee Donut, felt a bit frigid after scouting for a !@#$ton of systems in a glorious attempt to find ratters..."
[ 2015.03.14 22:55:53 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "His suave accent was sadly unable to impress any of the ratters in these outlying systems."
[ 2015.03.14 22:56:07 ] Gregorovich Vokan > This is too good
[ 2015.03.14 22:56:15 ] Teo Ormand > lol
[ 2015.03.14 22:56:30 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "Our heroic scout decided to try his luck at one of the, *gasp* sanctums."
[ 2015.03.14 22:57:23 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "The bursts were bursting (pun intended) with anticipation as the rest of the fleet shotgunned all over the system. Mmm-mmm."
[ 2015.03.14 22:58:46 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Победа: psycotic1 (Chimera*) Mmm ratting carrier OM NOM NOM
[ 2015.03.14 22:58:47 ] Daytrdr > !
[ 2015.03.14 22:58:58 ] John Bait > we can over JI-LGM ?
[ 2015.03.14 22:59:25 ] John Bait > fly*
[ 2015.03.14 22:59:27 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > " Gregorovich Vokan was confused."
[ 2015.03.14 22:59:48 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Gregorovich Vokan dranks o beer in his confusion
[ 2015.03.14 22:59:58 ] Drackulis > UU I HAVE BEAR
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:01 ] Drackulis > beer
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:01 ] Drackulis > fuck
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:05 ] Cleon 1st > Gregorovich Vokan hurt himself in his confusion.
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:09 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "You have one hostile in local, no visual", growled Aylee Donut in a low voice.
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:15 ] Gregorovich Vokan > I HAVE LIKE 4 BEERS
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:25 ] maydNNN > i got a teddy bear
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:27 ] Drackulis > fucken foster
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:41 ] Pardet Kynes > Hadrian Bridgeman I am too aroused
[ 2015.03.14 23:00:52 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "U- is clear." spoke Aylee Donut in his dulcet tone.
[ 2015.03.14 23:01:05 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Half of the fleet was intensely aroused at this point.
[ 2015.03.14 23:01:08 ] Daytrdr > Teddy bear and a bear bottle, you guys are slightly twisted
[ 2015.03.14 23:01:35 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "+1, +1" Aylee said.
[ 2015.03.14 23:01:57 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > MATH IS HARD YE BASTIDS
[ 2015.03.14 23:02:57 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "Tackle that capsule!" ordered Vic Tranow briskly.
[ 2015.03.14 23:03:13 ] Gregorovich Vokan > SHIPPING
[ 2015.03.14 23:03:26 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Shipping is magic
[ 2015.03.14 23:03:33 ] Cleon 1st > What's fastest/best way to break cloak after jumping.(in order to lock a target)
[ 2015.03.14 23:03:39 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Sorry FC, no content means fanfic. It's Hadrian's patented FC training strategy.
[ 2015.03.14 23:03:58 ] Pardet Kynes > Hadrian Bridgeman moar fanfics
[ 2015.03.14 23:04:18 ] Teo Ormand > Cleon 1st Good question. I would also like to know the answer.
[ 2015.03.14 23:04:51 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Teo Ormand  Cleon 1st Hold approach key shortcut, click on them.
[ 2015.03.14 23:05:09 ] Cleon 1st > Hadrian Bridgeman ty :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:05:14 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > 7o
[ 2015.03.14 23:05:30 ] Ozone Killer > "q" is standard I think
[ 2015.03.14 23:06:03 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > The witty banter between Aylee Donut and Vic Tranow carried a strange undertone of "tension."
[ 2015.03.14 23:06:13 ] Ozone Killer > can also be used to align to things that are otherwise out of range
[ 2015.03.14 23:06:36 ] Pardet Kynes > Hadrian Bridgeman my sides
[ 2015.03.14 23:06:39 ] Pardet Kynes > are in jita
[ 2015.03.14 23:07:07 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > NOTE FROM AUTHOR: Oh yeaaah, his "out gate" is *clear*.
[ 2015.03.14 23:07:18 ] Drackulis > thats not good
[ 2015.03.14 23:07:21 ] Gregorovich Vokan > oh man I am losing it
[ 2015.03.14 23:07:29 ] Shana La'Salle > I'm aroused.
[ 2015.03.14 23:07:47 ] Drackulis > Shana La'Salle pls no raperino
[ 2015.03.14 23:07:49 ] Pardet Kynes > My gate is always green for you *wink wink*
[ 2015.03.14 23:08:05 ] John Bait > what :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:08:07 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > The strange chemistry between FCs and scouts was notorious in all of New Eden.
[ 2015.03.14 23:08:27 ] Cleon 1st > something about a brown hole....
[ 2015.03.14 23:08:30 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Indeed, many a scandal had erupted in secret command channels in Mumble.
[ 2015.03.14 23:08:50 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > THE FANFIC STOPS WHEN THE CONTENT STARTS.
[ 2015.03.14 23:08:52 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:09:50 ] Pardet Kynes > Oh yeah, launch that missle into my exhaust port
[ 2015.03.14 23:09:58 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > The neutral in the next system also pondered the strange chemistry between Aylee and the fleet behind him.
[ 2015.03.14 23:10:33 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Beware Psychic neuts
[ 2015.03.14 23:10:35 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "Come on in if you want." continued the heroic scout in his soft tones.
[ 2015.03.14 23:10:42 ] Teo Ormand > lololol
[ 2015.03.14 23:11:46 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > The order to shotgun, issued by our Brave FC, incited a strangely arousing response in his fleet.
[ 2015.03.14 23:11:56 ] Drackulis > ffs
[ 2015.03.14 23:12:32 ] Daytrdr > this beer is foam-enting in my gut
[ 2015.03.14 23:13:00 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Made all the more strange by a .. rather unsual accent that tingled quite a few autocannons and lasers.
[ 2015.03.14 23:13:31 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > NOTE FROM AUTHOR: Stop reading fanfic and pay attention to FC!
[ 2015.03.14 23:13:37 ] Pardet Kynes > Hadrian Bridgeman never
[ 2015.03.14 23:14:07 ] Pardet Kynes > who needs fc when you have ff
[ 2015.03.14 23:14:32 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "That fuckin' malediction." growled the FC into his mic.
[ 2015.03.14 23:14:50 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Putting words in FC's mouth
[ 2015.03.14 23:15:20 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Cthulhu pondered this HERO fleet prowling the constellation.
[ 2015.03.14 23:15:31 ] Pardet Kynes > Aylee is putting something else in the FC's mouth, if ya know what I mean
[ 2015.03.14 23:15:44 ] Izzy Sunji > what system are you in guys, my internet dropped
[ 2015.03.14 23:15:49 ] Teo Ormand > N-CREL
[ 2015.03.14 23:15:53 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Izzy Sunji  N-CREL
[ 2015.03.14 23:15:55 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Hadrian Bridgeman We would be far more likely to encounter Azathoth out here than Cthulu
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:00 ] Shana La'Salle > Khorne looked at Cthulhu and considerd calamari for dinner.
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:03 ] Izzy Sunji > ta
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:04 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Gregorovich Vokan +1
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:09 ] Daytrdr > The Blood God see Cthulhu, licks lips hungrily
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:18 ] Drackulis > nurgle intervened and gave both of them the siphylys
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:20 ] Vic Tranow > E3-SDZ
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:24 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Who knew that space could be such a lonely place.
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:33 ] Pardet Kynes > Hey there chuthulu down in your sunken city you're a million miles distant and the stars look very pretty from rleyh
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:43 ] Pardet Kynes > so close yet so far away
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:50 ] Pardet Kynes > ia iay
[ 2015.03.14 23:16:57 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > StarBURST, if you know what I mean.
[ 2015.03.14 23:17:37 ] Cleon 1st > love/hate?
[ 2015.03.14 23:17:41 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > The logi squad pondered each other and looked forlornly at their drones.
[ 2015.03.14 23:17:52 ] Drackulis > THE ADJECTIVES ARE TOO MUCH
[ 2015.03.14 23:17:54 ] Drackulis > PLS
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:01 ] Shana La'Salle > The lonely Ewar looked at his ship and sighed at his uselessness.
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:05 ] Pardet Kynes > nien
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:05 ] Aylee Donut > x
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:06 ] Izzy Sunji > x
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:09 ] John Bait > shot this fuck ihub?
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:10 ] Kushy Ganjatarian > x
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:15 ] Izzy Sunji > 15 secs
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:19 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > A Warrior drone, though a bit rusty, looked quite appealing at this point in time.
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:23 ] Drackulis > is that kushy for kush?
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:29 ] Kushy Ganjatarian > :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:18:55 ] Pardet Kynes > Hadrian Bridgeman they have like super realdolls now probably
[ 2015.03.14 23:19:13 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Logi squad locked each other up in anticipating of the repping to come.
[ 2015.03.14 23:19:25 ] Drackulis > raping*
[ 2015.03.14 23:19:32 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Oh god why  Hadrian Bridgeman
[ 2015.03.14 23:20:27 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Gregorovich Vokan drawled a bunch of commands into his Burst in what could said to be a Texan accent from ages past.
[ 2015.03.14 23:20:45 ] Teo Ormand > lolo
[ 2015.03.14 23:20:50 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > NOTE FROM AUTHOR: I'm so sorry.
[ 2015.03.14 23:20:50 ] Pardet Kynes > #REKT
[ 2015.03.14 23:21:03 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Hadrian Bridgeman 'Murica
[ 2015.03.14 23:21:09 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > MURICA!
[ 2015.03.14 23:21:39 ] Ozone Killer > I will dock up when we got to GE, need to get something to eat
[ 2015.03.14 23:21:41 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > OH GAWD A-OK
[ 2015.03.14 23:21:47 ] Cleon 1st > just can't help the pun... every time.... :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:21:54 ] John Bait > eating is overrated
[ 2015.03.14 23:22:09 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > A lone Warrior drone emerged from the bay of one of the burts and approached another burst.
[ 2015.03.14 23:22:21 ] Ozone Killer > yeah I know but I like food
[ 2015.03.14 23:22:41 ] Cleon 1st > I didn't hear the call either
[ 2015.03.14 23:22:43 ] Shixxor > he didnt call for the jump
[ 2015.03.14 23:22:47 ] maydNNN > fc i forgive u
[ 2015.03.14 23:22:51 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > A trail of mechanical tentacles erupted from the lone warrior drone.
[ 2015.03.14 23:22:57 ] Shana La'Salle > WOAH
[ 2015.03.14 23:22:57 ] Pardet Kynes > Hadrian Bridgeman oh god why
[ 2015.03.14 23:23:00 ] Cleon 1st > I forgive fc too :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:23:01 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Hadrian Bridgeman What the hell
[ 2015.03.14 23:23:08 ] Shana La'Salle > Drone Tentacle Porn
[ 2015.03.14 23:23:16 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > THE FANFIC STOPS WHEN THE CONTENT STARTS FC.
[ 2015.03.14 23:23:19 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:23:46 ] John Bait > ju*p or not
[ 2015.03.14 23:23:58 ] maydNNN > XD
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:03 ] maydNNN > good times
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:07 ] Pardet Kynes > Hadrian Bridgeman was it a warrior one or warrior 2
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:20 ] Cleon 1st > awww
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:27 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "The tentacles were up my !@#$" said the FC and laughed. The fleet felt distinctly *excited*.
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:34 ] Drackulis > FOR FUCKS SKAE
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:40 ] Pardet Kynes > XD
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:43 ] Shixxor > everbody align to M warp F3 over align 23KL
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:51 ] Drackulis > Shixxor xDDDD
[ 2015.03.14 23:24:57 ] Drackulis > made me giggle
[ 2015.03.14 23:25:06 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Perhaps they were about to a bonding of the scout and the FC in a spectacular fashion.
[ 2015.03.14 23:25:18 ] Pardet Kynes > lololololololololololol
[ 2015.03.14 23:25:35 ] John Bait > is this fanfic ? ^^^
[ 2015.03.14 23:25:43 ] Teo Ormand > The content that we're getting from this fleet is... different.
[ 2015.03.14 23:26:00 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Could be a foreshadowing of events to come, given the strange motions of the two drones orbiting frantically next to some of the bursts.
[ 2015.03.14 23:26:28 ] Cleon 1st > I named my Moa "Black Snake Moa"
[ 2015.03.14 23:26:39 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > "Juicy" loot.
[ 2015.03.14 23:26:45 ] Shixxor > Vic Tranow where you from?
[ 2015.03.14 23:26:46 ] John Bait > still isk positive
[ 2015.03.14 23:26:53 ] Ozone Killer > scout is primary
[ 2015.03.14 23:27:35 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > The two warrior drones disappearing in a swarm of mechanical tentacles that were entertwined with each other.
[ 2015.03.14 23:27:51 ] Gregorovich Vokan > Hadrian Bridgeman Soon to make a warrior 4
[ 2015.03.14 23:28:24 ] Aylee Donut > -1 scout
[ 2015.03.14 23:28:25 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Aylee Donut felt a bit "worn" after the fleet.
[ 2015.03.14 23:28:26 ] Izzy Sunji > i gotta go to bed, thanks guys
[ 2015.03.14 23:28:54 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > *bow*
[ 2015.03.14 23:28:59 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > To be continued next time.
[ 2015.03.14 23:29:21 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > Where we find out the exact nature of the relationship between scouts and FC.
[ 2015.03.14 23:29:26 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > DON'T MISS IT FOLKS!
[ 2015.03.14 23:29:35 ] Hakim Dakh'Ar > Vic Tranow thanks for fleet
[ 2015.03.14 23:29:35 ] Shixxor > thanks for leading so far FC
[ 2015.03.14 23:29:50 ] Jon Ultra > thanks for fleet
[ 2015.03.14 23:30:05 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > The drones.
[ 2015.03.14 23:30:06 ] Teo Ormand > Alright, I'm off. Good fleet.
[ 2015.03.14 23:30:08 ] Hadrian Bridgeman > :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:30:10 ] Jon Ultra > yes last fleet lost two eagles
[ 2015.03.14 23:30:10 ] John Bait > 2 warriors ? :)
[ 2015.03.14 23:30:11 ] Teo Ormand > Good fan fiction.

Saturday 14 March 2015

The Thera plan

Currently HERO is in something of a quandary. PL is forcing fights from us by attacking our sov structures, fights in which we are at a disadvantage. We have been out-metaed - PL use Tempest Fleet Issues which are a perfect counter to our Tengu/Eagle fleets while we haven't developed a doctrinal response. We can be out-escalated - the few times we win, we win mostly because PL chose not to cyno in supers for a free win (although sometimes we win because of the French).

Our counter to this is waiting for PL to get bored and pick on someone else.

The problem with this is that we've become PL's base. If they get a contract they'll fly up to Geminate or wherever and do what needs to be done, then they'll roll back down here and continue farming us. This will continue when entosis links come in (although potentially PL might be away a lot because they will be offered a lot of contracts). Still they're always likely to roll back to Stain and resume farming us in the region next door because we are and will remain the most fun option for them between contracts.

Let's consider the pros and cons of moving to Thera, the new mega wormhole system recently opened up.

Let's look at the pros first.

- It's a huge floating skycastle with usually around a dozen connections to K space plus some w-space access. We would be able to sit up in our unassailable base in the sky and send roams, raids and newbie explorer frigates all over New Eden.

The Signal Cartel does a great job mapping Thera - here's their map and the wormhole list on their site. They even pay people for bookmarks.

At the time of writing there are 4 exits to W-space, 3 exits to nullsec, 2 exits to low sec, 4 exits to high sec. We could go small ganging in Essence, explore in Dronelands or try to provoke a panicked kitchen sink defence in Delve.

- it's unassailable. No capitals are allowed and even if someone were to bring a mighty subcap armada and actually get it in without the wormhole collapsing we could just dock up and laugh at them as they try to find their way out. No one can shoot our structures - we wouldn't have any.

- lots of small gang pvp and elite soloers. It's dangerous enough that there will be content in our home system.

- a base from which to raid all over the universe.

- instead of being nullsec's punchbag, nullsec would be our punchbag. In fact we could use the threat of our raids and ops to extort money from people. Our diplos can secure lucrative mercenary contracts for us.

- great exploration opening for newbro explorers with access to virgin nullsec and lowsec backwaters all the time.

- can return to base any time just by self-destructing.

- easy access to high sec hubs (although hopefully people will use neutral alts).

- we can cycle wormholes to get access to different space.

There are some cons:

- the only ways in are through wormholes, which may be a bit offputting to new players (even if we hold their hands and show them the way in).

- no PI, moon goo or missions

- mining and ratting for the most part would need to be done in ops through exits to other systems.

- we'd have to leave our own caps and supers. This could still be made to work - if we staged them to somewhere fairly central (like Uemon or 319) and then deployed them in conjunction with subcaps when we got a nearby exit.

Dont' fret little Archon, we'll be back soon. Real soon.

What might improve it, especially in the all important matter of newbro isk-making is if we could combine moving to Thera with joining a faction in Faction Warfare. This would open up highly lucrative missions and LP rewards which are very newbro friendly. And Thera pretty much always connects to somewhere in or near FW space. (Joining a faction allows you to also run sites in its ally's zone).

Another tactic that would be worth trying would be to conquer low sec money moons. We can probe these moons all over low sec and it's we can usually get a nearby hole a couple of days after reffing a moon. Few people in low sec have the ability to fight us off alone, they might band together to try to oppose us but that could be a lot of fun in itself. In particular PL's low sec moon empire is quite vulnerable, at least if they still own the moons I've seen them tower in the past. Sniggwaffe have moons around Kinakka, Body Count (iirc) owned the R64s in Hemouner, I've seen PL moons in Minnie space. We know PL can muster enough force to beat us but it would be frustrating for them to play whack-a-mole as we keep reffing assets 50 jumps away from each other.

Or we could cut a deal with PL and conquer all R64s in low sec with them. Once we establish a solid and secure base it opens up diplomatic possibilities that aren't available from a position of weakness.

Anatomy of a nullsec gate camp

The wheel turns and I'm now FCing for BRAVE. Time to pass on some of the tricks of the trade that I've learned elsewhere on my travels.

Gate camping can be a lot of fun, is very low risk pvp and can actually be quite rewarding when you catch explorer frigates full of loot or some other pinata.

It's important to note that you're not actually fighting with this doctrine, you're murdering helpless targets. Even a single well fit frig-killer battlecruiser or cruiser can wipe out the whole fleet as you have no logi and forego tank for fast lock.

Because of this you need a safe place to hide, preferably a friendly pos that everyone has access to. Failing that you can warp around between safes - there it's best if you prepare safes in advance.

The mechanics are very simple. You set up shop and wait for customers. If you like what is coming your way you try to kill them, otherwise you warp off and hide.

It's very cheap. The whole thing can be done with T1 frigates and destroyers plus one dictor.

Here's the fleet comp. All ships require microwarpdrives (beginners who can't use that module yet should fit at least an afterburner if possible).

1 cloaky scout. This player needs to pay attention, if you have to go afk or if you're playing Eve while multitasking something else then you're not the right choice. Basically the scout needs to tell us what's coming through the gate, be it our natural prey - rookies in exploration frigates, pods, noobships, cloakies - or something we need to run away from. If you have 2 monitors using one for this is perfectly acceptable - just make sure you don't miss a local spike while your other character is frantically trying to whore on a noobship.

2-3 Instalocking Stilettos or Slashers. The T2 is slightly better for the higher base scan resolution and the bonus to point range but the T1 is a perfectly acceptable alternative. Your job is to get a point as quickly as possible on the victim. There are a number of variables that affect lock chances but basically all of these should be true:
- over 3k scan resolution.
- paying attention
- reflexes like a striking cobra
- sited close to Eve's main server in London. Because of latency issues players in AU timezone are simply not as effective.

5+ decloaking/tackle atrons. This is my preferred method of decloaking. Position yourself 500m above the gate. When a neutral comes in preheat MWD. When he decloaks Approach and the instant your ship starts moving hit the MWD. Hover over the set max speed icon on the HUD that looks like a plus (+). (Or you can use a hotkey). The instant you start to drop speed, set max speed. Hopefully you will by then be aiming right at the victim and moving so fast you reach him before he has a chance to drift off. Alternatively the Atrons can start positioned 10km from the gate, at spots found very naturally by jumping the gate and jumping back. The hope here is that while some Atrons will start 25km from the decloaking ship some may start very close indeed. A cloaky that breaks gate cloak 4km from a competent decloaking frigate is not going to get away. Dropping cans or other clutter helps decloak but don't go mad or CCP will tell us off.

5+ instapop thrashers. Sebos, tracking, artillery with DUP ammo. Sit 500m above the gate. When the victim presents a chance to shoot him lock him up superfast and fire. If they burn back to the gate they present perfect tracking, same if they burn directly away.

1 dictor. Bubble, burn at the victim, re-bubble then cloak.


Find a small gate. Gate sizes are shown here. Ships jumping in spawn about 12km from the edge of the gate, in other words a ship jumping a Minmatar border gate will be 29.5km from the gate centre, a ship jumping an Amarr system gate will be about 14km from the centre of the gate. The nearer they are, the easier to catch and bubble. (That's why the HED gate in SV5 is probably a better gate to camp than the Keberz gate in HED).

Examples of good gates to camp for HERO include the YHN gate in GE- and the B-3 gate in V-3. It's good to avoid constellation gates - here's a map of Catch constellations. In Stain the LGK gate in MB4 is viable if we want to harass PL.

The most difficult aspect of FCing this is realising how weak your fleet is in a brawl. A decently set up battlecruiser will solo your fleet, a cruiser may be able to. If for some reason you choose to take on such a beast then load the highest damage ammo, overheat, get in close and orbit and hope to blap him before he takes out enough of your fleet to be able to tank the rest.

It's not really necessary to take such risks as nullsec has a fairly constant stream of noobships, explorer frigates, interceptors and cov ops that all offer very low risk kills.

Sunday 8 March 2015

Walling off the superpowers

I mentioned Trammel recently in the context of Eve's ongoing restructuring.

I wasn't really very clear about what I meant so allow me to clarify.

What I don't anticipate is safe zones. But that's not what Trammel was all about, not entirely.

In MMOs after a while people become established and powerful. This is good, it's part of the reason people play this game. But the cost is that new people become proportionately less powerful. And if the game allows too much power into the hands of the old and established it becomes not worth joining. Which really hurts the old and the powerful because they're powerful only in relation to the new and weak and without those people it's just pixels and spreadsheet numbers that don't mean much.

So Trammel. Trammel did two things in Ultima Online when it was brought in as a safe new space. Not only did it separate the gankers from their prey, ie a player style issue. It also allowed new people learning the game to separate themselves from the veterans who were rich, skilled up and aware of every little trick and exploit.

It's in the latter sense that I think Eve may see a separation. Perhaps it even needs such a separation.

One of the things people questioned when I mentioned it before was whether it was possible. Surely, they said, the old established powers will simply dominate the new areas?

I know it's possible.

I know it's possible because it's already happened in Eve.

The new area of play space was called "Wormholes" it filled up with people with no ties to the nullsec superpowers and remains dominated by people who are not affiliated to any nullsec bloc.

When CCP Seagull took the helm of Eve game design there was a lot of talk about Apocrypha, the expansion that brought in wormholes as a high point in the game. I think that's a success she is aiming to replicate.

So what are the key features of w-space?
- the mechanics protected it from colonisation by established powers (no supers or titans).
-it was at first very punishing to actually cope with, so it attracted mostly loner explorer types. Wormhole pioneers figured out the horrible scanning system and worked out how to live in POSes for long periods, much longer than CCP had anticipated.
- rewards were new and exciting and parallel to the products of other areas.
- it was dependent by design (eg no ice) so there would always be traffic back to less wild areas.
- it was absolutely huge.

Some of that won't be repeated, I very much doubt the player base would tolerate a brutally inaccessible new space again as it did with Apocrypha. I do think though that the core elements of a new space where the old rules don't apply is something we will see when we find out what lies beyond the promised player-created stargates.

This is why the Nullsec revamp is so important. If Null is still stagnant or dull when a new space opens up, especially if that space is fun fresh and not gated by punishing mechanics. And that puts the established powers in the position of wanting a game change that undermines their stranglehold enough to bring rivals in, but not so much as to displace them from the top of the heap.

So we're seeing a lot of intense politicing and attempts to control the message as Eve attempts to manage its "Uncle Bob" problem. And what's at stake is control of a potential mass exodus to a new type of space.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Nullsec must burn!

CCP Fozzie's latest dev blogs are epic attempts to address the problem of stagnation in nullsec, what Crowfall calls "the Uncle Bob issue."

"[By year 10] Bob is now an unassailable tyrant and anyone who even tries to challenge him is crushed instantly. Nobody's having fun, not even Uncle Bob. A strategy game inherently has to have the chance to restart."

Is Null Sec at the stage of "unassailable tyrants?"

I think so. It's true that people coming into null sec are not always crushed instantly but that's because the big boys allow them to come in then farm them for pvp. Space is now 2 dominant factions: the CFC and N3/PL. There's also the Russians - traditionally left to do their own thing - and independent entities permitted to exist for farming. Gevlon went as far as to describe BRAVE as renters who pay rent in ship losses rather than isk.

Renters dominate nullsec. Even if we don't consider alternate arrangements which are renter-like - paying rent in ship losses or paplinks -  a quick look at Dotlan shows the absolute dominance of renters in nullsec. The biggest sov holder is N3's renter alliance, next is xDeathx's renter alliance gifted to them by PL, then 2 real player alliances then 5th is PL's renter alliance and 6th is the Goons' renter alliance. Even analysed by population, renters make up 4 of the 7 biggest alliances in the game.

Renting is emergent gameplay a system where players manage a conflict driven high reward space by avoiding conflict, paying stronger people to do the conflict for them. This will become more or less impossible under the new Sov system. Sov structures will be continually tested by anyone who can reach them. The role of wormholes in accessing remote parts of null is not insignificant post-Phoebe either.

I'm in favour of seeing a sharp decline in renting. I think it tends to create boring space, where people mine or multibox in safety and seclusion rarely seeing a hostile. As an FC I consider most such space not really worth attacking because they'll just pos up and it's not like we can do anything to threaten the sov. Interceptor gangs targeting inattentive ratters are the only effective counter-measure and that's gnat bites in the overall scheme of things.

But what will happen to an Eve where most null sec residents have decided not to pvp, just to grind their next super in safe zones?

Well there will be some quite sharp economic effects.

We will see more ship destruction, a lot of destruction of sov structures, people spending time fighting instead of ratting and mining and people hiding in poses or stations when they could have been ratting or mining.

This means the economy will see less isk and less ore as well as a marginal reduction in ESS-related loyalty points. It probably won't effect nullsec exploration much as that's fairly safe. We may see less moon goo production and reaction as people feel less safe about erecting moon miner POSes. We may see less PI production as people are forced out of their space.

A big decline in the production of isk would lead to less money chasing the same goods, ie deflation. So all goods will be likely to become cheaper except perhaps nullsec ores and their derivatives like Megacyte.

Loyalty point items, exploration loot and wormhole-exclusive materials will likely become cheaper, the latter being particularly true in view of the upcoming rebalance of T3 strategic cruisers (likely to be a nerf).

Will Eve be a better game? I think so. Conflicts abounding more reward for the people who manage nullsec successfully.

Will the Uncle Bob problem be solved? That seems less clear. If a big boy comes to a small sov holder and says "give us 20 billion or we'll wreck you" they will be likely to be able to extort money. So it will still be like renting except without the flagging. There is an out though - if someone becomes sufficiently bitter they can drop sov then spend all their time making their oppressors lives hell from NPC space.

What may solve the Uncle Bob problem and what shouldn't be forgotten is that there is still the prospect of a whole new type of space coming when the massive player-made stargates project is finished. So someone feeling oppressed by CFC and N3/PL would be able to move to what is pretty much a whole other game zone and forget them. That will be the real test of the sov revamp - whether the sov fixes keep players wanting to stay under the yoke of the blue doughnut when a viable alternative opens up.

So here's my prediction: the sov changes will make for exciting times in the short term but will ultimately fail to shake up nullsec and as soon as a new zone opens up on the other side of the player made gates all the farmable people will emigrate leaving a bitter bitter core of veterans sitting in their supers blaming CCP.

Is anyone remembering Trammel?

(Edit: thanks to user /u/mechacanadaII or reddit for pointing out an error)