Sunday 26 April 2015

Brave dojo: how (not) to gas mine

I spotted this awesome AAR and felt it deserved a wider audience:

AAR Dojo Gas mining

Started Gas mining in Fountain (opsex). Hadrian wanted to test a newbro friendly solo venture fit. He asked Ahoda for advice, it was downhill from there already. He went afk, died. refit it. more folks wanted to try, golieman wanted to join, came, and died too. Larra Croft wanted in on the iskies, too many harvesters on one cloud, he died, Hadrian warped out in 2% structure. Sybil came in, you know how this goes by now. EVERYONE refit, came back in started harvesting (after salvaging old wrecks), Goon prospect came in started harvesting fast, boom boom. so far we have lost like 7 ventures, 4 in clouds. We tried bringing in a Burst for logi, but bubblecamp on the way. Dicas has died 3 times so far, twice on clouds and once on bubblecamp. MasterFounder comes in, cant get to location because (opsex). Finally Wailee Arcada volunteers l337 scanning skills so everyone can have their own effing cloud and not kill each other. Things are finally going well, one per cloud. Last site being scanned down, Anathema warps to 0 to see how many clouds, theres a blue there huffing already and JUST AT THAT FRIGGING MOMENT, gas cloud explodes killing the only scanner we have.....As of now we're still mining with what we have, losing ships the moment we bump close to each other or mis-time the harvesters. We also hate each other. Master Founder went afk, we're currently bumping him towards the Goon miner and the cloud so he dies in gas explosions
Just another day in Brave Dojo
UPDATE: Master Founder came back, warped out just as he's about to die. we can't even get our own killed
UPDATE 2: it appears Master Founder only went off to dump his cargo, he's back now. we're waiting for him to go afk again so we can resume bumping
UPDATE 3: apparently we lolfail at things when we blow up. He's too tanked, so we're warping him to a gate with rats on it. We'll tell him rats spawned after we finished the site
Update 4: we have been here for 3 hours, no one has bothered to save the site, we lose it each time we warp off for our shenanigans
EDITS: updating it as things happen

Friday 24 April 2015

A tactical and strategic analysis of the Entosis system

Fozziesov, as it's called, the system of sovereignty based on activating a specialised module will replace the current system of hit point grind on (probably) June 2nd. Rarely has an upcoming feature been discussed in so half-arsed a manner. Newbie alliances with large memberships talk about "winning Eve" as if the game will be handed to them all wrapped up in a bow. Other people spot the withdrawal from soon-to-be vulnerable nullsec of formerly major powers and predict the end of sov as we know it, as if vast swathes of space are about to be left abandoned and desolate as no one will be able to bear living there.

Let's start by getting the second point out of the way - what it means that certain alliances are withdrawing from sov ownership.

NC. are dropping their sov and have deployed to low sec to launch a campaign against Providence. (Possibly to spite Imperium who have announced that they intend to harass Provi in June).

PL dropped most of their sov and handed their renter empire over to XDeath for a tidy sum of cash. They then made more cash on top being hired to go back to defend it and, at the rate Triumvirate are going may be hired once again by XDeath in the near future. They are currently on contract to attack Nulli who immediately caved and thus are conquering Esoteria unopposed. Elements have already popped up in Provi as the movement of superpowers against the last game preserve in Sov Null becomes a stampede.

Nulli have announced they will move to Curse.

FA have collapsed.

Kadeshi have collapsed.

Darkness. have been pushed out of Delve by the CFC/Imperium.

Imperium are mopping up in Delve and then will retreat 3 full regions giving up Delve Fountain and Cloud Ring.

So is this disaster, is the sky fallling? No.

With the change to an occupancy based sov system people who won't fight for the sov they live in are no longer viable sov holders. So distant landlords like NC. can no longer own vast almost unattended empires. Nor are renters viable, the renter system does occasionally throw up a half decent kitchen sink pvp fleet but any well organised alliance will cut through them like butter.

Instead we are about to see a vast influx into null of alliances that previously would have been too weak to get a foothold. 1000 man alliances, finding their feet and working stuff out as fast as they can, patching deals where they can. Null sec will fill with small weaker powers clinging to a small corner of space and fighting as hard as they can for it. They will from time to time be utterly stomped on by superpowers like PL but those powers always move on, allowing the survivors to crawl out from the ashes and re-establish. Many of these small balkanised alliances will be former renters going it alone.

The dominant quality of entosis sov will be persistence.

This has been pioneered already in nullsec by -A-. When -A- is doing well they control Catch and look beyond its borders to make trouble for other people. When they're not doing well they turtle up in Stain and run missions until the heat dies down. Then they come creeping back into Catch. They've done this for almost a decade, a tide coming in and going out.

The North West corner of the map will belong to The Imperium, the last superpower standing in sov null. By drawing back they've increased the density of their players relative to their sov - all of it will be occupied. If they have weaknesses they can move more players to that spot. They will also hugely benefit from the tendency of everyone in null sec to seek out someone weaker than themselves as targets - why hit The Imperium when you can pick on Phoebe Freeport Republic or DIP?

The future of Brave - unless we start getting a lot stronger - is to be one of these Balkan ministates, Croatia or something. And that's planned for - our new home will be YZ- in NPC Fountain, a base that allows for and expects total sov loss.

The future of other alliances is a function of their playing styles. Alliances where most people rat, mine or run sites, breaking every now and then for pvp will be absolutely dominant. There are a lot of such alliances - almost all The Imperium works like this, Nulli, Brave, Test. Alliances that just want to be industrial and not pvp won't hold sov, they'll have to merge in with pvpers. No one will want to put out 5 fires a day in someone else's space, it's entirely too tedious. Alliances where everyone's a pvper and no one rats like PL and BL will have to develop leverage over the others so that they get paid - kingmaking wars, extorting tribute or whatever. In the long run I think the game will be gradually designed away from that playstyle but at first they will get paid over and over by people who just want to not have their space taken.

PL and BL at heart are Eve aristocracy. With PL approximately 100 real people multiboxed to victory against 1500 BRAVE formups, which would have been pretty close to 1500 real people. There's no way these Eve patricians want to play tug of war for half an hour at the time with grubby little scrubs in Moas over who gets to set off a timer, these guys simply don't play like that. One of the distinguishing features of Fozzie sov is that it's a time sink and a competitive time sink at that. If the other guy's willing to put in 3 hours a day every day for years you match it or you lose. It doesn't matter if you have a bigger ship, if he's there and you're not, he wins.

Hey Guys, let's move to Cloud Ring!

Let's now turn to the tactical side.

There's been a lot of rubbish written about trollceptors etc but the dev blog states:

The result of all these design features is that the best method to exert control over a structure with the Entosis Link is to establish effective military control over the grid around the target structure.

Trollceptors are an idea intended to subvert that goal but let's just suppose the goal is achieved without being subverted. I think this is by far the most likely outcome. And if I'm wrong whatever exploit will be fixed until it works as intended.

So it's all about grid control, otherwise known as winning fights.

And here's the thing - pretty much the same things will win fights in Fozziesov as win them now.

There are some tactical differences and they all favour the attacker. The attacker gets to choose whether to attrit the ships or try to capture all the sites. The defender has to be prepared to repulse either type of attack.

Let's suppose I have 50 guys and I want to attack an alliance that gets 100 in fleets. We make some timers and 2 days later we go back and the defender is positioning to defend command node anomalies all over their space. Let's say they split into 5 20 man fleets led by rookie FCs. My best move might be to defeat a 20 man fleet in detail while using dictor bubbles to delay reinforcement. As the attacker I don't need to win the event, hitting them over and over and winning many small victories is likely to demoralise them and reduce their numbers. If my opponent concentrates his forces in one large fleet I can split my guys, having them in fast ships that escape easily attacking multiple command nodes all over his space, again using dictors to slow my opponent's ability to re-position.

The best way to defend then is likely to be much more aggressive approaches to intruders, particularly in the time zone vulnerability window, with home defence fleets forming quickly and chasing down roaming gangs. If you dither on defence then all your stuff gets reinforced, your stations become freeports and command node crises burn out your guys.

It so favours the attacker that I think we will see more defensive buffs coming later in the year.

What it does mean is a huge demand for fast agile gangs, not so much to defend the command node events but to prevent them ever happening. We'll see more gate camps, more ambush tactics and other methods of hurting intruders.

In Fozzie sov everyone has to fight, the ability to ignore attackers and patch things up after they've gone is hugely reduced.

I think we'll see a lot of use of the T2 entosis links which cost 80 million isk or so rather than the T1. The shorter cycle time and long range of the T2 may help it survive contested fights as the Entosis ship is the obvious primary and can't receive reps. We are also likely to see variants of very tanky solo pvp fits, like triple rep Myrmidons, used as Entosis ships. A small ship could simply be blapped off the field by a dozen talwars even if protected by a substantial fleet. PL's arty Claw doctrine may see wider use for entosis defence. Warp in, blap it, warp out. Doesn't matter if they have 100 guys, if you can kill it in 5 goes you'll defend.

I think there's some confusion over the time it takes to entosify (or whatever) a structure. It takes an initial cycle plus base 10 minutes which can be improved for the defender by ratting and mining indices. In situations where both sides are killing the other side's entosis ships, each second their ship is dead and ours is working is +1 second to us, until enough time has accrued to capture or defend the node.

Example: Pizza decide to troll Goons and take a small gang of thrashers up to entosis the VFK station. They have a few ships with T2 entosis links. They start running one of them at 11.09. At 11.11 the first cycle is finished and a warning flashes throughout the system. Except for a few idiots who decide to take a look by themselves and get blapped by the Thrashers Goons are rather slow forming and the timer is now ticking up for real uncontested. At 11.15 Goons land on grid and start using a T1 Entosis link. This does nothing until it has finished its first cycle so time is still accruing to the attackers. For some reason no one rats or mines in VFK these days so there's no sov bonus. At 11.20 the Goon link starts working. The Pizza link ran uninterrupted from 11.11 to 11.20 so 9 minutes has accrued. At 11.23 Pizza manage to catch and kill the Goon defensive entosis ship. At 11.24 another minute has accrued (the next Goon supposed to run a link forgot his stront) and the station enters reinforced mode and becomes a freeport. Goons will have a nervous 48 hours before they run a major defensive op to regain control. If Pizza bring in allies to contest that op then the capture event could potentially last hours if closely contested and while it will start in Goons's 4 hour preferred timezone window it could run way past that opening up content opportunities for other timezones. This means AU timezone is relevant even where alliances set for US timezone if the event lasts for several hours spilling into the next time zone.

This is how I think it works, I may be in error on some of the details. The example shows how important it is to have some progress on the indices made by ratters and miners, in other words to actually use the space.

My alliance, BRAVE, typically takes 10-20 minutes to form up. Fozziesov is going to be .....interesting.

One of the interesting aspects of this is the metagame. We have a new system that was developed after extensive consultation with the CSM, a body that's always tended to have very strong CFC representation. We have a new null paradigm that has caused the CFC to be the last null superpower standing with their opponents giving up and leaving. Now the way this has been done is not by deceit or bribes or anything so crude, it's by that deadliest of political weapons - the reasonable argument. All the points that Goons have pushed are reasonable, make complete sense, are better than any of the advertised alternatives and suit Goons more than anyone else. And that's a level of metagame that almost none of their rivals even seem to comprehend, let alone contest. Gevlon, Cassandra-like, has been yelling about this all along.

Now don't get me wrong, the new sov system suits me down to the ground, will be tremendous fun for me as a Skirmish FC and will in general make Eve a better game. I'm just a little wry about how it came to pass. (And I flew with the CFC for a year, helping them dominate).

Now let's talk about time zones. There's been a lot of concern about lack of content for people outside the main time zone. If Brave sets all its timers to late US I'll rarely see a strat op. However there's still tons of stuff to do. I can reff pocos, reff towers, gate camp, attack other people's space where it's in a more convenient time zone and entosis links can be run on some structures including station services. So I can hellcamp someone's station while easily turning off all their services if I have grid control. And of course if I can win in my timezone I can make a case for putting timers to my timezone, especially if the US aren't doing well. Coalitions may split timers too to provide content fairly to all their members. There is a class of player who only likes strat ops, those guys will be a bit boned if they are outside their alliance's main time but for the rest of us there will be no shortage of things to do.

Regarding ships I think the ship to watch for will be the Jackdaw. I said earlier that the same things that win fights now will win fights (and therefore control grids) after Fozziesov comes in. Of course the Jackdaw itself is a change to the ship combat meta. I described how fast gangs with great disengagement potential will be key to contesting command nodes. Currently that meta is dominated by the Svipul and next week's nerf isn't going to be enough to dethrone it. The Jackdaw with T2 rigs can reach a range of 114km, both targeting range and missile flight range. The other T3 destroyers don't really project anything past 50km. This superior projection should be enough to see Jackdaw gangs completely dominate these grids, disengaging easily from anything able to fight them. There are a couple of small ships that shoot nearly that far. A cormorant can but it's absolutely tankless. A harpy can and retains a bit of tank so we may see The Imperium's massive harpy fleets doing pretty well. Within this meta it's hard to "quality up." You could use Zealots or Nagas as superior snipers but the Jackdaws or Harpies can just leave and hit an alternative site. People who don't theorycraft this may find that they're unable to cope with 50 man Jackdaw gangs that can hit them anywhere they want.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Value Fleet

Value Fleet is a fleet doctrine concept aimed at getting high combat effectiveness out of fairly cheap ships. It combines high damage brawling with damps. If they come close we win because they're brawling with web scram blaster boats if they stay far they're taken out of the fight by damps.

I have some organisational constraints to work within. One is a "budget" of 10 million isk maximum srp for self-invented doctrines that our new FC programme allows to FCs of my rank within Brave Collective.

I'm taking liberties with the budget by deliberately going over it and expecting line members to pay the difference. Not everyone will so the doctrine also allows cheap disposable mauluses.

The cruisers I have listed cost about 26 million fitted at Jita which after import costs will mean they cost about 35 million at our new home in Fountain. However offset against that is the 10 million isk of alliance money that I can authorise and approx 7 million isk gained from platinum insurance. So it costs a line fleet member about 18 million each time they lose one.

Is that good value?

Well first point I don't think we'll lose them all that often, as long as we pick our engagements with care. We may also get a chance to kill very shiny ships. Most people will cheerfully exchange 18 million in game isk for a billion isk orthrus adorning their killboard. The doctrine, FCed correctly is highly disengageable - so you're either killing stuff or you can warp most of the fleet out.

Next is that these are potentially amazing. If we can apply damage on our terms we do the very high close range damage in a game meta where most people rely on anaemic long range weapons. For instance our standard Moa fit does a little over 200 dps at its most comfortable engagement range. The Value Vexor, fully skilled, does over 600. Nor do we depend on point blank range - without the guns the fit still does 373 dps out to 30 km.

Next once an opponent engages with us it's likely we will have considerable control over the terms of disengagement. If they rely on an handful of long range tackle and kite us we burn away, damp the lachesis and keres and warp off. If they rely on interceptors and frigates then to disengage we web and kill those. To get away from us on the other hand an opponent would have to kill every vexor that has a scram on something.

Value Fleet is a shield doctrine, privately composed by a Junior FC for the use of the Brave Collective. And of course any of my readers who would like to try it.

This is the fleet composition in order of priority:

Booster ship(s). Skirmish links utterly transform this ship from something moderately dangerous to a full on catastrophe for enemies. MWD speed bonus is the most useful link. Then tackle range. Shield links are also a strong force multiplier.

1-2 Dictors (if fighting in nullsec)

3-5 Value Celestis. (This ship does a very important job dictating the range of the fight but we don't need too many).

20% Standard Brave Scythe afterburner logi. Eg a fleet of 50 needs 10 Scythes.

1-2 scouts. Frigates, interceptors, cov ops are all good choices.

as many Value Vexors as possible. The heart of value fleet is a swarm of Vexors doing very high dps.

any newbros/broke people in tackle frigates or mauluses. Any fit is fine.

Fleet roles:

Value Celestis: 

Your job is to pull the enemy in to us. Use both damps with targeting scripts on the same target so that he loses about 70% of his locking range. Unless otherwise instructed pick your first target by sorting by range and damping someone far away. Coordinate with the other dampers so you don't damp the same person. You need to assess the fight for high value damp targets. In priority order high value damp targets are:

1) Bluemajere or Makalu Zarya.
2) enemy FC
3) enemy logi if the logi is more than 20km away from what it will need to rep.

If the enemy chooses to fight us point blank and their logi are in close switch to scan res damps on the logi.

Unless it's a huge laggy fight Show All Brackets, zoom out, turn your Tactical Overlay on and assess the fight to figure out how you can be most effective. You can coordinate with other damp boats by using a subchannel on Mumble and using your Whisper keys to talk to each other.

Your light missiles should be used against interceptors and tackle frigates as they apply dps very well to these small fast targets. Usually the effect will be not to kill them but to force them to burn away from you which is great because with just the most casual effort from your tertiary weapon system you're chasing an opponent out of the fight. You can call missile primaries in your subchannel if you like.

Your drones are for the main primary, they do a significant amount of dps. If we're expecting a very frigate heavy engagement use 2 flights of Warriors instead.


You are the squishy underbelly of our fleet but so long as you survive you make us incredibly powerful. There are a few aspects working in your favour.

1) The Vexors will be chasing the enemy. Most FCs primary things that are close. That means they'll usually shoot the Vexors.

2) It's really important to have a logi anchor and logi channel in game and in mumble. If no one else is willing to step up please consider doing so. A good logi anchor who pulls you back to distance makes a massive distance in the effectiveness of this doctrine and it keeps you from being blown up. To anchor is pretty simply - you just tell the others to orbit you and drive back away from the enemy so you're about 50km from our guys at the front. Normally 50km from the FC - and you should always have the FC locked - is fine. (There are refinements - like manual piloting and maintaining traversal velocity to the enemy but that can all come later - the key thing is to step up and do it).

3) Logi in this doctrine should move independently for engagements. For example we jump into a gate camp. Vexors break cloak and burn to get tackles. Logi count to 5 then all burn straight down to get away from the fight, then anchor up. Example 2 we are warping in at zero to bad guys. All logi mash control space. FC fleet warps to zero and logi all cancel the warp. Then when the FC lands you can all warp at 50km and anchor up.

The takeaway is that it's ok to delay putting reps on for a few seconds if it means logi are better positioned.


You have 2 jobs.

1) Don't die.

2) Assess quickly and give verbal reports using this structure: [what] [where] [what are they doing]
Eg 4 svipuls and a sabre in YZ- on the 75F gate sitting still 10km off the gate.

If you get blown up or called away by real life tell the FC and make sure he's heard you then reship and come back soon as you can.

Flying down to whore on kills is really really bad scouting. If you can see that we've won the fight you should first assess where other threats might come from. If we're fighting on a gate what's on the other side of that gate? If you're sure that something isn't going to suddenly develop then ok sure, warp down at the end of the fight and point something.

Value Vexors.

 OK you get to have a super fun role. Burn right at the bad guys, drop sentries, web, scram, turn mwd off, orbit 1000 and turn guns on. Overheat everything for the first 20 seconds of a fight.Melt things. See people whine when they can't get away. You're faster than a sniper mode mwd svipul even without overheat and you'll surprise a lot of people by how quickly you catch them. You follow primaries as follows:

1) if you have something webbed and scrammed that is your focus. Hold it there, keep killing it, broadcast for reps as needed and don't let go until either it's dead or you're dead. You're a bulldog. Your Gardes however should be shooting the dps primary.

"Web scram tree, FC."

2) after the initial burst out to grab tackles some people will have stuff tackled and held in place and probably some of the enemy fleet will have burned off to range to snipe at us. At this point the FC should reign you in and tell you to work through the tackled targets. Please don't just latch on to the nearest target, you're very quick, if you're free burn to the correct target and help kill it. Always be alert for potential tackle targets though, if some straggler warps into the fight at zero grab him and hold him.

There's one finesse aspect to this rather brutal role - when you drop your Gardes. Now one of the strengths of this particular doctrine is that we create a zone of death with our Gardes that is very hard for the FCs to allow for correctly. What you should do is drop the Gardes about 5-10km from where we decloak/warp in. This creates a zone with Gardes a little spread out over it so they're hard to smartbomb. It's also hard for a FC to assess. You see with a big pile of enemy drones the FC knows that's where the damage is coming from but when there's just drones randomly all over he'll find it hard to position his fleet away from them. So even if he likes to fight at 60km, well outside Garde range if I move my fleet 40km behind the Circle of Death, he'll come closer to me to be 60km away which is a convenient 20km away from where you dropped your Gardes.

Value Fleet shoots things that fight at long range by looping round behind its Gardes.

The Circle of Death is also pretty brutal for small fast ships like interceptors if they go through it because they will have very low transversal velocity to some of the Gardes at certain times.

So this is a web scram blaster boat with a secret long range tactical element. Pretty nifty, eh?


Join the damps subchannel in mumble, anchor on the logi, never be still, align to a celestial once your logi anchor pulls you out to a decent range and warp off and back if you get shot at.

Tackle frigs. 

If you have a point change your fit. Your one job is to chase something too fast for a vexor to catch and scram/web it so a vexor can get secondary tackle then escape before you die. So chase a fast thing like a svipul by clicking space a little to the side of it until you can get close enough to web/scram him then orbit him 500 and switch to your friendlies overview sorted by range. When there's a vexor within 5km of you warp off then back to the fight and look for another target that you can hold for a vexor.

The fits:

[Vexor, Value Vexor]

Overdrive Injector System II
Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Large Shield Extender II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Auxiliary Thrusters I
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Garde II x3
Warrior II x5
Hobgoblin II x5

Cargo: 1000 CN Medium Antimatter
(if requested) 10000 regular Antimatter
add Paste only for long roams with no chance to dock. Where we live and where many fights are likely to happen we can just dock up and repair in stations.

[Celestis, Value Celestis]

Damage Control II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II
Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Large Shield Extender II
Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script

Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Hammerhead II x5

Cargo: 1000 CN Inferno Light Missiles
600 CN Mjolnir Light Missiles
600 CN Nova Light Missiles
2 Scan Resolution Dampening scripts

Our Fountain Core enemies love to fly svipuls and sabres which are weakest against thermal damage so normally Inferno missiles will be the best to load

Other fits: 

Standard doctrine fits as per our wiki.

FCing Value Fleet.

The trick is to get close to them, especially if what you're fighting is faster. Jumping into gate camps is pretty effective, station games are pretty effective, sending a couple of Vexors in as bait can work.

Always have your Value Vexors preheat mwd scram and web. Give 2 cycles of overheated mwd then tell them to turn heat off. What you've caught in those 20 seconds is what you probably will be killing, consider the rest of it to have effectively escaped. Kill what you have tackled then get out.

To spread tackle have your Vexors pick on someone near their name alphabetically. So if Brian, Susan and Thomas jump in and have 3 targets: Clarice, Marcel and Xavier Brian will get Clarice, Susan will get Marcel and Thomas will get Xavier.

The 30 seconds after you have tackled your targets are critical. Are you breaking them?

The problem is that with, say, 10 targets tackled and 30 Value Vexors you could have 3 Vexors on each tacklee which would make killing rather slow.

If they are dying then every time one of them dies more of your Value Vexors are free to concentrate on so your dps gets more focused and each successive target will get easier to kill.

If they're not dying then tell people to drop tackle and focus on one high value target. These Vexors are so cheap that if we lose 10 of them but kill a battleship we've probably won on isk value.

You have to balance greed for kills against focusing fires.

It's really important to be able to rapidly assess which enemy is in the most trouble and primary those off first. Eg kill the guy tackled by 5 Vexors before you kill the guy tackled by one Vexor.

You'll need to protect your logi and ewar. Do this by showing the enemy the Vexors first. Eg if you decloak in a gate camp tell the logi to stay cloaked for 5 seconds longer. If you undock into an enemy have your logi wait 5 seconds. If you warp to zero on a strong force have your logi spam control-space then warp to you at 50 after you land.

Value fleet works with small numbers. In fact it's fine even with 1 fleet member - it's a decent solo build although not quite as strong for soloing as a well designed actively tanked build.

They're vulnerable to bombs. A good bombing run of 8 bombs is enough to kill anything in value fleet. Don't be afraid to tell them to put mwd on and burn out of the bomb blast radius as if they don't use the mwd they're dead anyway.

Never sit in place against people shooting you from range unless you are actively killing things. When you run out of things to kill either perch or get safe.

You can have the Vexors drop a gun and add a medium neut against capacitor sensitive targets like capitals.

Tactical roles:

- roaming

- station games. Send out one Vexor to get some fool to agress, then undock all the others when he does.

- busting up gate camps.

- structure shooting. This is a point blank doctrine so you can't kill any structure with a force field. They're great though for shooting pocos, sbus, etc.

- ratting. Pretty decent ratting fleet. Forsaken Hubs are primary.

- soloing.

- home defence fleet. High damage and tackle utility make these ships very useful in our kitchen sink defence fleets.

Friday 17 April 2015

A new owner's guide to the Fountain region

Hi. If you're in BRAVE you're just about to become the owner of the Fountain region of sov nullsec. Congratulations on your new acquisition.

This guide will look at geography, military situation and resources (isk-making opportunities).


First off the geography. Fountain is in the galactic west. It has stargate connections to Outer Ring (and through that region to Syndicate), to Cloud Ring (an area in the process of being abandoned by the Imperium that leads north east to the Imperium heartlands), an exit to Aridia, and an exit to Delve.

There is a single pocket of unconquerable NPC nullsec in the centre of Fountain, the Phoenix constellation. Otherwise the region is conquerable sov, currently owned by the CFC/Imperium and soon to be transferred to HERO coalition.

Historically people living in Fountain have usually based at the central office station of 6VDT. This station is 16 jumps from the nearest Empire entrance in Aridia. From high sec to 6VDT is just 2 jumps by jump freighter allowing relatively easy logistics.

Military situation.

A notable military presence is a group of 3 alliances known as the Fountain Core (a name which is also used for the constellation they live in in NPC Fountain). These can be collectively summarised as follows:

- highly proficient gate campers, spending long hours recently camping the J5A chokepoint, killing scores of CFC pilots each day.

-  fly small fast ships, hard to catch.

- can form moderately strong fleets to contest money moons.

- they've always been extremely good at catching stragglers. Basically if you're a jump behind when your fleet is moving through Fountain Core space you're almost certainly dead.

- active close to Fountain core or at the J5A/B-D chokepoint. They don't really seem to roam or cloaky camp.

Sorry We're In Your Space, Eh is a splinter off the old Fountain War era Test that stayed in Fountain after the CFC conquered it in 2013. 293 members. They've been highly effective and mostly gatecamp. They've killed 1711 (123 billion isk) ships so far this month for just 193 losses (10b). Favourite ships are svipul, sabre, crow, daredevil and gila. 10 pilots with 62 or higher kills this month.

Gang Bang Team are Fountain Core veterans and are a Bulgarian alliance. 149 members. Gatecampers. They've killed 1176 (86b) and lost 93 (5.5b) this month. Favourite ships are svipul, crow, sabre, augoror navy and flycatcher. 10 pilots with 49+ kills this month.

Godfathers were a once very well regarded alliance that is practically dead. 159 members. They fly with the others. Favourite ships are ishtars, cruors, daredevils, augoror navys and maledictions. 5 pilots with more than 10 kills this month.

Aside from Fountain Core there are the following potential threats:

Cloud Ring residents. Cloud Ring is being vacated by the Imperium, unknown at the moment who will move in.

Delve residents. Sov Delve is currently being scoured by the Imperium with Darkness in retreat and Kadeshi disbanding. Unknown who will move in once the Imperium goes home. NPC Delve is home to Pizza who may roam up to Fountain in cheap ships or come bomb our strat ops. They are superb bomber gang pilots.

Outer Ring/Syndicate. These are generally small groups that mostly fight each other. We may see a few roams. Goon Sig Space Violence is based in Syndicate and E Uni maintains a presence there.

CFC/Imperium. The dominant force in null sec their main aim is likely to be simply to sit on their mountain of riches and fend everyone else off, while maintaining enough foreign expeditions to keep their most active pvpers from quitting. They've announced a June invasion of Providence unless Providence swear fealty to Emperor Maximillian. It is not known which Provi value more - their roleplaying or their space. If they run out of things to do a CFC invasion of Fountain is very likely at some point over the next 12 months.

The BRAVE effect. Traditionally people have come to Brave for content because Eve is a game where most people blueball or blob. With the introduction of Fozziesov we are likely to see dozens of somewhat halfbaked alliances of around 500-1000 pilots trying to carve out little corners of sov all over Nullsec which should draw off some of the interest in farming Brave (as people will farm these new guys instead). There's no chance that Brave won't have some people after us though.

Wormhole raiders. The effect of Phoebe, the addition of extra holes, especially frigate sized holes, the example of highly successful raiders Verge of Collapse and Hard Knocks and the introduction of Thera have made attacking null dwellers from wormholes an increasingly popular way to pvp. This may become even more popular when Fozziesov fills nullsec up with scrub pvpers who will desperately fight off attackers in kitchen sink fleets. Expect a lot of incursions via w-space.


Ratting. Fountain has Serpentis rats, their ewar system is damps. This discourages ratting using long range snipey ships but is great for drone ships as the drones will keep killing while their parent ship is damped.

People like ratting in this space in absurdly high damage blasterVindicators but an ishtar is a cheap and effective ship for ratting and much less effort than chasing down each rat in a web/blaster boat.

Forsaken Hubs are generally considered the best ratting sites because of very low rat damage and very few frigates and waves that don't spawn until you've killed everything.

Here's a suitable ishtar fit:

[Ishtar, Fountain ratter]

Damage Control II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Omnidirectional Tracking Enhancer II

Limited Kinetic Deflection Field I
Limited Thermic Dissipation Field I
Medium Shield Booster II
10MN Afterburner II
Drone Navigation Computer II

Dual 150mm Railgun II, Spike M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Spike M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Spike M
Dual 150mm Railgun II, Spike M

Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Ogre II x5
Ogre II x5
Warrior II x5
Warrior II x5
Warrior II x5
Warrior II x5
Hobgoblin II x5

Cargo: CN Tungsten Ammo (for anti-interceptor defence). Javelin

This is quite tight and requires a 1% cpu implant. It's cap stable, does 883 dps and tanks the rat damage pretty well. The Warrior drones are for fighting off interceptors and tackle.

If you're feeling lively you can chase the rats and blast them with javelin ammo, but usually it's best just to watch a movie with half an eye on local. Align then recall if neuts come in to local. hit warp as soon as anyone appears on grid. If you do get tackled, align, keep your guns and 5 warriors out (launching more warriors as they kill your drones) and mash the warp button, they'll often cap out or burn out of drone range and let you escape.

For missile users here's another option:

[Cerberus, fountain ratter]

Damage Control II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

10MN Afterburner II
Kinetic Deflection Field II
Thermic Dissipation Field II
Medium Shield Booster II
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron

Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Rage Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Rage Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Rage Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Rage Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Rage Heavy Assault Missile
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II, Scourge Rage Heavy Assault Missile

Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I

Hobgoblin II x3

Cargo: Scourge Javelin Heavy Assault Missile.

Anti-inty tactics: shoot them with javelin, put your drones on them align out and mash warp.

Cap stable, 756 dps at all Vs.

Low skill point players can use Vexor Navy Issue.

Full rat stats can be viewed here. Special note for belt ratters: all belt rats spawn as if the system had perfect true sec (-1.0) even if the security is higher. That helps with more hauler and officer spawns (although the latter are still incredibly rare).

Mining. Fully upgradeable nullsec anomalies just in time for the new ore changes. Some miners are going to get very rich. Mining is usually best done in the same system as a refinery station (red one) and then moved one jump to an industry station (yellow one). Or you can mine, compress then transport it but why bother when we have so many good refineries? A nearby blue station for blueprint research may also be useful for people not using a POS to research.

Ice Mining. Also best done in a system with a red station. Unfortunately 3 of the 4 systems that are suitable are pipes traveled by pvpers so the best ice mining place is 38IA.

Gas mining: Valuable gas clouds have been found in the Pegasus constellation. To mine gas you need to scan down the sigs, kill any rats then huff away in a Venture or Prospect or other gas mining ship. The gas is Celadon Cytoserin used to make Exile booster and currently quite valuable (before Brave kills it).

Moon mining: The incomplete listing on Dotlan has 59 R64 moons which is a hell of a lot for a region. Also lots of lesser minerals. Fountain Core is particularly rich and we may see conflict over these moons with the locals.

Exploration: High end combat sites can drop Vindicator bpcs. The usual null sec distribution of data and relic sites and wormholes to other places. If Fountain's too farmed there are several adjoining null sec regions to explore.

Angel and Serpentis missions: (NOTE: VERY HIGH RISK). The locals in Fountain Core will be very agitated if Brave members start running missions out of Fountain Core as it's been their private monopoly and a very lucrative one. Lots of special pirate goodies in these stores, they're two of the best pirate LP stores in the game and it's great to have both in the same spot. The ships offered are Dramiel/Cynabal/Machariel and Daredevil/Vigliant/Vindicator which quite simply are 6 of the most fun ships in the game. Expect wrecks as Brave mission runners clash with the locals.

Manufacturing. Best done in the yellow stations - Brave always has a strong consumption of ships etc.

Imports. May become less of a thing as null sec manufacturing develops and our industry corps get really productive but it's an easy trip from high sec so we should see plenty of importers making lots of isk on a busy market.

Planetary interaction: Should be fine, there's tons of every type of planet, including plasma.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Goons win Eve, part 2.

(7:49:02 PM)

In preparation for tomorrow's SotC announcement, we are for a finite length of time mutually setting +1.1 standings with the Imperium (formerly known as the CFC) starting in 10 minutes, at 1900 server. Standings fuckery might happen due to propagation, not everyone setting at the same moment. Report to diplos if you're getting shot, and don't shoot them after 1900 even if you don't see them light blue yet.


##### SENT BY: June Ting (Of Sound Mind); TO: online.hero; WHEN: 2015-04-16 18:48:51 #####

OK, what's all this about then?

Well at the moment we don't know for sure. Tomorrow we are going to be told about what happens next in HERO coalition's journey through Eve.

What is interesting is that it involves some deal with the CFC, now The Imperium.

Generally speaking once you start dealing with the Goons they win. You might also win which is what makes their diplomacy so effective but by securing a deal with HERO Goons now have pretty much everyone either neutralised or negotiated with. (Except for Gevlon's valiant NPC Null hold-outs).

Tuesday 14 April 2015

Goons win Eve.

via Reddit:

TLDR: we basically won eve online again as long as we don't fuck it up and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at the last moment, hi5s boys
~~~ This was a broadcast from the_mittani to all at 2015-04-13 18:10:03.494206 EVE ~~~

OK, so what's going on?

Well here's another ping that explains it:

(8:08:06 PM) directorbot: SQUAD BROKEN: NCdot is leaving Querious (and sov itself). Darkness SCSAAs are reinforced because some idiot thought building supercaps in Delve during the Fountain invasion was a great idea. Fraternity is disbanding. Nulli is evaccing from PL to a system called (you can't make this up) 3-BADZ. Black Legion is resetting their N3 comrades because even they are fed up with them.
I broadcast yesterday that I was waiting on the CEO Update to see some of the above variable settle out, and it seems they've settled out into what may be the first coalition-level failure cascade in the history of Eve. We've seen it happen to allainces, but a whole coalition in the space of four days? God damn.
NOW IS THE TIME FOR BOLD ACTION - We will be redeploying and assaulting the enemy EVEN HARDER as they break and run. We will not wait and give them pause and a chance to regroup. They break, we chase and cut them down. Announcement will come with the CEO Update which I now have no excuse to not get off my ass and write. Titans to abort in Delve, Vee's Cruror to rescue (for realsies this time), regions to duckwalk out of after giving our enemies the finger, the whole shebang.
~~~ This was a broadcast from the_mittani to all

In terms of Nullsec power Eve now looks like this:

CFC: approx 40k pilots, mostly older, more supers and titans than anyone else. They live in the NW of the map.

PL: have abandoned holding sov and now live as mercs.

BL: abandoned holding sov a couple of years ago, live as mercs.

N3: failcascading or evaccing to Empire.

BRAVE: evacced to Empire.

Russians: Mostly fighting each other, traditionally avoided by the English-speaking blocs.

Good game CFC, good game.

Saturday 11 April 2015

BRAVE: counter coup succeeds, all hail King Lychton

Just when it seemed BRAVE couldn't escalate the drama any higher a dramatic last minute coup happened shortly before a scheduled handover of leadership.

On Tuesday a group of disgruntled players persuaded corp CEOs in the BRAVE alliance to switch their vote for alliance leader from Lychton Kondur to Malanek while Lychton was asleep.

This morning many of these CEOs were quietly approached by a DAMN PATRIOT, Ceo of Dropbears, and persuaded to change their votes back. Patriot coordinated the switch and as soon as Lychton regained alliance control a bunch of corporations including executor corp Nerd Panic, were summarily kicked out of the alliance.

Lychton is now in full control and gave a charismatic and pretty awesome speech.

Anna Niedostepny has been named as the bad guy and is in the process of being kicked out of the alliance.

Malanek is considered a patsy and is likely to be allowed to continue with the alliance if he chooses to do so.

Lquid is considered a bad guy but probably worth saving. His status is complicated by the fact he owns our IT hardware and runs our services. In addition he was in possession of alliance in game assets. He was ordered to immediately return 100 billion isk of alliance assets which he has done.

In Lychton's words "if you come at the King you better not fucking miss."

BRAVE: The 1DH plan

I've written two previous plans for a home for BRAVE alliance and such friends as want to accompany us: one, probably impractical, plan for Thera and a plan for Tasti in Caldari low sec that was well received.

This plan is for 1DH in NPC Nullsec in the Delve region.

Let's assess this place in terms of the three most important criteria: who we fight, is the station viable? and line member income.

Currently Delve is being invaded by the full force of the CFC and scary armadas of 1000 experienced players, huge gangs of harpies and bombers are roaming the region. I'm going to predict that DARKNESS and The Kadeshi are going to crumble before this onslaught and that within 4-6 weeks the last great Dominion sov war will be over with a pet or a renter installed in the region.

I don't think we could contemplate a move until the CFC undeploys but that fits in with our agenda - Lychton stated we're not moving any time soon.

So that would see the neighbourhood of 1DH containing some second tier CFC alliance/renter, Pizza who base from next door at PR-, various independent Russian mission runners, and - if they manage to hang on to it - NC. and their renters in Querious. There's also the BRAVE effect - anywhere we are predators are drawn to get fights ganks and kills.

So I think enough content during times when NC. and CFC are not at all out war.

When they are actively fighting BRAVE should be ok. There's too much of NPC Delve for anyone to lock it down, if they camp us people can operate out of neighbouring stations. We would be ideally situated to service mercenary contracts for either side. And we'd have non-stop action and the biggest fights right on our doorstep.

So basically fine for content as long as we don't try to move the entire alliance while CFC is deployed to Delve.

In the longer term if we stay there we will eventually be able to push out and take nearby sov and then get pushed back. It's actually quite a good base for an independent entity that will sometimes be strong enough to take sov and sometimes not. We also have opportunities to deal with nullsec superpowers for sov should we wish - CFC has already offered us Delve in the past and NC. has given us sov before.

Unlike our Catch adventure being based in 1DH means that we can't be pushed into a disorderly evac by sov conquest - we just get pushed back to NPC Null.

How's the station?

It's a non-kickout  has cloning, repair and 50% refinery. It does kinda look like a kickout but it isn't I just tested it in an inty. You stay 0m from the station for ages. It has two level 1 mission agents so even if we were hellcamped in we could run missions in inties, warping to instaundocks while saying pffft as we go past. Of course there are higher level and much more lucrative mission agents all across the two constellations of NPC Delve. There's factory and research stations in other NPC stations nearby. No school systems so most skillbooks have to be imported.

How's line member income?

Blood raider missions. Nearby Empire missions in Aridia if people prefer those. Fabulous exploration with 6 pipes out of NPC Delve.

It may also be possible to rat and mine in other people's systems. We would be surrounded by renters and nullbears.

There's a gas cloud constellation a little to the south, OK-FEM.

Importing is much more viable than it was in Delve. It's 2 jumps from high sec to 1DH by jump freighter with a wide variety of mids to choose from for greater security.

Blood raider LP is not paying well at the moment. However I have a cunning plan.

Anyone who heard episode 5 of EN24's excellent new podcast will have been intrigued by Jeffraider's comments. He claimed that if he with BRAVE's numbers he could have killed PL's whole super fleet using an innovative idea that he could express in a single word. He didn't reveal what the word was.

So I will: neuts.

The power of neuts, in fact the power specifically of Bhaalgorns, against caps is shown in the famous and excellent Eve video Clarion Call 3. In this video a Bhaalgorn is used to neut out key ships from the hostile fleet allowing a win while outnumbered. It's particularly fun seeing helpless capped out Moros just sat there waiting to die.

No one has ever massed Bhaalgorns into a major part of a nullsec alliance fleet doctrine. Traditionally they were simply too expensive. However now they're about the same price as a TFI.

Let me explain a complicated virtuous circle of why using Bhaalgorns would be so strong for us as an organisation.

First as you see in Clarion Call 3 they're really good. If that's not enough here's another Bhaalgorn enthusiast. PL's TFI doctrine uses Bhaalgorns to web and neut targets for the battleships to shoot - in addition to enough neut power to completely cap out any battleship in one alpha neut the two of them can web out to about 30km.

So if BRAVE started using large numbers of Bhaalgorns as part of a battleship doctrine it suddenly becomes very chancy to use Archon triage, to drop supers against us. Sure, some forces, such as a 1000 strong CFC armada spearheaded by 60 Titans are too much for us without help but there's no shame in not being able to fight the entire force of the CFC head on.

So what happens when an alliance uses faction battleships. Well if it loses a lot of them and hey, we are BRAVE, the limited supply of them means that the price very quickly goes up. This would be incredibly lucrative for Blood Raider mission runners and people who explore combat sites in Blood Raider space. That would be us.

Even better because we know in advance that we're going to cause this price spike we can prepare for this by buying masses of Bhaalgorns at bargain basement prices before we launch the strategy. This is a 100% safe speculation for our alliance leadership. In fact we could buy up Bhaalgorns, announce a doctrine, sell to speculators as the price spikes, then cancel the doctrine proposal leaving those random market dudes high and dry

All in all this plan would put us at the heart of Eve politics, in a place where we never have to run from and can't really be hellcamped for any sustainable length of time, where newbros can make decent isk and where we will get very cheap Cruors, Ashimmus and Bhaalgorns which are all pretty fun ships. We could take sov and retreat from sov elegantly and sustainably according to the ebb and flow of local power politics.

Another aspect of this is that it would be very easy to implement. We're currently deployed to Defsunun in Aridia. Moving 7 jumps to 1DH will be cheap and relatively easy for subcaps and it's an acceptable one mid route by Jump Freighter. Imports from Empire are relatively easy, much easier than they were in Catch.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Friday 3 April 2015

HERO: The Tasti Plan

HERO coalition is currently stumbling back into Empire, Badgers stuffed with people's worldly possessions brave gate camps as we flee the collapse of Catch. (Except that guy. That guy's still ratting away in his VNI watching movies and not realising anything is happening. Don't be that guy.)

It's time for a new direction and I'd like to give an example of a direction that could work out well for us in the longer term.

The idea is this: The forever home. A place from which we won't have to move. Ever.

That rules out sov. In the long term everyone loses -  5 years ago Goons were homeless bums crashing on Tau Ceti Federation's couch.

I think it rules out NPC Null. If someone really wants to make life hard in NPC Null they can. Last year there was a hell camp of 5ZXX-K where MOA live that lasted weeks - 24/7 camp with many bubbles and a fleet of carriers permanently on the undock. MOA waited it and they eventually got bored out but BRAVE would feed them constant kills which would keep them there.

Wormholes are an option offered by many BRAVE and HERO corps and I think that's the right level - an option if people want to but not something everyone in BRAVE has to do. It's quite hard to live somewhere where there's no automatic way out - you have to scan it or find someone else who had scanned it.

So that means low sec.

However we still want to haze null and we like being involved with the drama and the sweet mercenary contracts that desperate null empires may offer.

So low sec near a strategically critical part of null where we can impact events there.

Have a look at Tasti.

Tasty doughnuts

It's in a low sec pocket in The Forge region not too far from Jita. Logistics are super easy. There are 3 null sec entrances within 4 jumps and they're strategically very interesting.

LXQ2-T is the gateway to the Dronelands, a key system with 10 regions depending on it as their way out to Empire. It is consistently one of the most violent systems in null sec.

BWF-ZZ is the home of Legion of xXDeathXx. xXDeathXx (the name refers to both the person and the alliance) is a Russian with wide links in the Eve community - he's a friend of The Mittani for instance and PL also get on with him very well. However he is an independent and as such they face a lot of conflict - they're currently in a war against TRI and SOLAR. This is also one of the consistently violent systems in null sec.

EOA-ZC however is a quiet back entrance to null sec, leading to Goon renter space and XDeath ratters - great for a hunting fleet.

What's more in the long term whoever owns the space there will always be high conflict potential here because these are gateway systems to large swathes of nullsec. They're naturally violent.

What else is to do in Tasti?

Well we have clone soldier tags and exploration and mordus rats and all the standard low sec content provided anywhere in low sec.

In addition we have faction war space nearby. 3 jumps away is Todifraun, an entrance to the entire Amarr v Minmatar conflict - it's at the top right of this map. So BRAVE could put itself into faction war which would be another very newbie friendly source of line member income as well as extra content because those guys run fleets open to all militia member. The ships given out are very nice too - Firetail, Stabber Fleet Issue and Tempest Fleet Issue for Minmatar; Slicer, Navy Omen and Navy Apoc for Amarr. (Plus some other infrequently used ship rewards).

We have missions available. There are plenty of security mining and distribution missions nearby including two level 5 security mission agents within 4 jumps and a system with 2 level 4 security mission agents (making it easier to drop undesirable missions). There's a level 4 Sisters of Eve agent at nearby high sec Osmon for people who want to earn themselves Asteros and Stratios. It's a much better base for running the very obscure CONCORD storyline missions which can have great rewards.

The station I'm thinking of is Tasti V - Moon 1 - Science and Trade Institute School. Unusually for Empire this is a station with everything - repair, cloning, 50% refinery, factory. It's non-kickout. It's even a school station so skillbooks are seeded on the market automatically. This is very helpful for newbros. In addition gaining faction with the School is very easy so people could grind out important standings to make their lives more easy and more profitable. (eg at standing 6.7 you no longer pay taxes on reprocessing, market fees are reduced by corporation and faction standing, at standing 8.0 you can install jump clones).

Defensively living there would put us in a much better position. It's normally considered dumb to use titans in lowsec where doomsdays don't work (EDIT: I'm told they do work in low sec now but even so most of this stands - it's very high risk to commit titans so close to other large titan owning powers) so we defang PL and other bullies to some extent. We can't suffer from having our station services shot. We can't be bombed or bubbled. It's also much riskier to casually drop supers in out of time zone small operations the way PL has been doing in Catch. There are many people around who can certainly murder supers - someone can only use supers really if they're prepared to escalate all the way up to another Asakai.

How is it for industrialists? Well here's the big big thing - NOT MOVING. I imagine I've already won most of you over!

In addition there are lots of factories, you can either use Tasti or go to a nearby system for lower costs. You can mine the asteroid belts and random anom spawns. There are 28 belts in Tasti and Caldari ice in nearby Fuskunen (1 ice anom) and Osmon (3 ice anoms). You can coordinate with mission runners to use their sites and mine the rocks there after they run their missions. And you can also venture into nearby nullsec to mine using the bigger toy - the Rorqual if you're a devotee of the BUZ flavour of dangerzone mining. As the political wheels turn we may find that our neighbours become blue to us and you can go into their space in nearby nullsec relatively safely. (Although I don't think BRAVE should ever again hold sov itself).

Alternatively you can import easily from nearby Jita.

At the alliance level of income there's the prospect of taking low sec and null sec money moons and setting up POCOs for our members PI. All low sec systems can have money moons and we're in a pocket of low sec that we would probably dominate. If PL or someone stage against us to take moons we can just lose them without impacting the line members much then re-conquer when they go away.

As for PI, low tax friendly POCOs and low sec extraction rates are pretty good. Not quite as good as null but moving PI really sucks. There's also the option of setting up PI with one of HERO's wormhole groups.

The alliance may also be able to make money from Faction War if we become involved with that. TEST did this - they set up an alliance cashout programme and people knew that when they cashed out their LP they got a good price and also helped the alliance. I'm sure our friends in TEST would be happy to walk us through the details if needed. (FW cashout inefficiency is a huge source of trading profits - traders like Gevlon and Moxnix have raked in trillions from underpriced LP cashouts by FW players).

Moving to Tasti would put us very near both RvB and Eve Uni. That opens up a number of possibilities. Arranged fights would be easier - so would non-consensual fights if we wanted to wardec them. I'd also like our diplomats to see if it's possible to develop some sort of mutual defence pact. While we're normally frenemies if PL or someone come down and monster Eve Uni, BRAVE and RvB would be there to help them fight.

For complete beginners Tasti is a much more newbie friendly option than GE- was. It's nearer to where a lot of beginners start, you're not cut off once you fly out. and so on.

Let's analyse the Tasti Plan by department:

MILITARY: content content everywhere. We can run a campaign to secure pocos and money moons, even into nullsec regions. We have an active war to third party on currently raging in Etherium Reach. We will become a beast when entosis links come in, threatening N3 renters, XDeath renters and CFC renters. We could enter faction war and lead a campaign to hit level 5. It's also more satisfying to conquer, say, a R64 and know that the coalition isn't going to move off and abandon it. We will from time to time get dominated as major forces deploy to this corner of the universe but we can't be shut down by bubbles. And when they go we get "our" money moons back because this is our area and they're just tourists.

Another nice thing is that Battleship doctrines become much more viable because much of the time we're not in bombable areas. Battleships are fun.

Because of the relatively short distances in AU it's possible to blops around hitting a wide range of targets.

DIPLO: Continuity is vital for diplomacy and we can develop long term relations with local low sec entities and null sec powers. We can build a string of batphones so if we do tackle a super we have like 12 neutral alliances to call to help kill it (most people will rush to get a non-friendly super kill). We are a pivotal force in nullsec and very much worth hiring as mercs. Let's take the current Delve war as an example. If NC. hired us to help in the delve war what could we do from Tasti? Well what we wouldn't do is deploy to Sakht. Instead we could invade Vale and start SBUing Goon renter space. That would force the CFC to pull alliances out of the front line and send back, say, The Bastion and Razor to contain us. If they sent enough to dominate us then that would seriously weaken the front line. Of course the CFC could get ahead of that by making us a better offer and having us invade N3 space forcing NC. to send elements of their armada over to deal with us. It would create a bidding war. Additionally lots of small relatively weak alliances try to carve space out here - we would be a huge asset as mercs to any of them. The Phoebe Freeport Republic started out trying to take space in Etherium Reach - if only they'd had HERO to hire then poor Coelomate wouldn't have ended up so bitter.

In addition I'd love to see a mutual defence pact between Eve's 3 great newbro organisations. RvB already do this - Red fights Blue but when someone picks on them they combine into a defence force they call Purple (cos it's Red + Blue, geddit?)

INDUSTRY: Continuity, multiple alternative markets, great logistics, many explosions, mining opportunities in low sec and, depending on the local level of nullsec violence, sometimes in nullsec. The Thukker Assembly Array makes it possible to make Capitals competitively.

CAPITALS: Much better place to get aggressive with caps, it's really hard for enemies to look at a bunch of HERO dreads and have any idea how much escalation we've got up our sleeves. Escalating on us is super risky because it means your supers are committed in what will almost certainly become 10% tidi. The tidi means if our infinipoint hics can hold a hostile super in place for 6 minutes a batphoned fleet has an hour to get here, say, from the CFC super staging system in Deklein or Black Legion's home in Venal or PL's home in Amamake. Our ability to tidi systems is an amazing defence against escalation!

A JDC 5 carrier can hit a lot of systems in lowsec and Geminate from our base making single jump offence and defence possible. If the cap fleet takes gates into nearby nullsec then jumping all over Etherium Reach/Kalevala Expanse or Geminate/Vale becomes possible.

DOJO: handy access to skillbooks, access to pretty much every style of gameplay in Eve, attractively near where most people begin so easy to run over and recruit, great logistics, continuity - not having to move!, and perhaps the possibility of joint ops with RvB and Eve Uni. I think this base will work well for DOJO.

PROPAGANDA - with deployable billboards coming soon a great base to broadcast our messages to Eve's most heavily populated region. The interesting politics of the area is likely to keep the alliance relevant and a factor in any great war.

RECON - much easier to recon from a stable base - for instance you don't need to re-do basics like moon scans because we moved. There's a level 4 locator agent in nearby Maila. Local hotspots are very predictable - BWF and LXQ.

LEADERSHIP - I think with a secure base the alliance will be more drama-free, will need less time to be spent dealing with logistics headaches and will simply become more fun to run. We will always have options - in the extremely unlikely event we're short on content we can always invade XDeath or Etherium Reach or wardec RvB.

Thursday 2 April 2015

AAR Evac Fleets

Kira Tsukimoto is a machine. Fleet after fleet, saving newbro after newbro, the hero we probably don't deserve but let's not let her know that.

However even she was beginning to flag earlier today after running fleets all evening and way into the small hours.

I suggested she could rest for a bit and I could run a few fleets. She somewhat reluctantly assented, a mother hen handing over her chicks to some random prospect FC.

Still - it's just flying some industrials a few jumps - what could possibly go wrong?

Pretty much everything.

Murphy first struck in the form of 4 bombers who decloaked on our undock and bombed us while we were aligning. We lost a badger full of shinies, rip.

Not wanting to stay there I warped to the safe pos. I mean, that should be safe, it's got the word "safe" in it, what could go wrong with that?

Well it turns out that the "safety" advertised does not apply to neutral frieghters, one of which was in the fleet. He was on the pos shields being shot by guns and wasnt too happy about it. I didn't want to send him to Kebz gate as I didn't have intel yet so I told him to warp to station. He made it out in structure amidst a clamour of space important people yelling at each other to turn the pos guns off.

I put my combat ships there on the undock,  left my industrials in the pos and had him dock up and repair.

OK we're set, should be good now. I had him undock.

At this point some random enthusiast in a frigate not in my fleet spotted a large fat neut on the undock and promptly pointed it and started shooting. I told my fleet to lock him up. This lit a massive drama cyno and loads of people shouted don't lock him up other people shouted them down for shouting down the fc and got shouted back at. Kira resolved it by convo and no blues were awoxed.

"Hey, sis, don't worry I got this."

(3 disasters so far and we still hadn't left the undock).

Still things had to start running smoothly sometime and we managed to get underway. PIRAT had some small stuff in Lansez but we shot them up a bit and they bugged out. We got the first convoy through to Agil.

We went back without much trouble and picked up a new group of evaccers and hero bodyguards for round 2.

This time we got to Lansez and PIRAT had a 15 man T3 strat cruiser fleet. 8 Proteuses 7 legions. I jumped us in, we had about 30 kitchen sink dps, and we had a go at one of the legions. It's armour didn't even budge - some of them were logi T3s. Still the main purpose of engaging was not for the kills but to get them to start calling primaries and focusing us and then surprise warping off the industrials after they had engaged. That worked but the price our hero bodyguards paid was high.

We got everyone surviving docked and unloaded and reshipped (amidst a couple of protests) to shuttles. We yoloed the shuttles through the bad guys and got people back to HED.

I was feeling a bit drained so I watched the 07 show. Featuring Kira ... way to guilt trip me as I slacked off.

So I get back on comms after the show and get busy. HED is looking super nasty but Ruutark smooth talks a cerberus fleet into simply going away creating a window for me to get another fleet out.

I run them up to Parses in an incident-free evac. How novel.

Meanwhile I've been contacted by a pilot stuck in Agil. She has a critical delivery to make to help our alliance - the market is dry of cynos and she wants to bring in a wagonload. So I ask the guys to mostly ship into combat ships with a few exceptions for important evacs. We leave with a small handful of industrials and about 20 frigs dessies and about 8 cruisers.

My scouts have been doing amazing work checking both pipes, watching the main threat in Agil etc.

Agil station is camped. Nastily camped with instalockers and Nestors, a Bhaalgon, an Ashimmu - just nasty. We docked easy enough, but how the hell was I going to get them back out? So I split the fleet, one of my scouts gets to an insta, I warp the frigs and dessies out and we bounce round the system looking engagable. Doesn't work the camp aint moving. I bounce back to a tac and assess from range. That griffin looks a bit lonely. Yup definitely too far away from his friends. And conveniently near that anchored depot. Warp, blap, warp out quick.

I want them to think they're in a fight so they won't notice a large crew of cruisers and industrials undocking into their instalock station camp and moonwalking out. So I coordinate the frigs warping in, blowing up a pod, the cruisers undocking and instawarping, the vital industrial undocking and instawarping a few staggered seconds later.

So that highly precision manouvre goes like clockwork - we even got the pod, no losses taken. Must have been because no one important was watching. Because naturally when the important people are looking I couldn't even get us from HED station to Kebz gate. I think at that point Blue Ice even dropped fleet because he was laughing too much. Sigh. #suckstobeaprospect.

We head back without further incident, more contracts and vital supplies safely out, vital cynos stocked on the HED market.

Big thanks to everyone who came and was very patient during some quite tricky moments.

Sorry to everyone who lost a ship over the course of the runs, at least we saved more than we lost.