28 Dec 2011

For Mike! Rolling around low-sec; the BCs still rule & Christmas is only days away!

Tornado, love it.
With the introduction of the new tier-3 beasties; the battle cruiser class ships has definitely been given a boost. There are rumours that the tier-3 are all over-powered but we've killed a fair few already so I don't think they are over-powered - yet. I have undocked in my tornado a few times and loved it but never had a chance to fly it out in a fleet. I am also busy thinking up of a counter-fleet for these beasties and armour hac gangs comes to mind. Of course, I am happy for my idea to be challenged but would be interested in hearing from other pilots what their thoughts are on countering these beauties (apart from an even bigger fleet - am interested in the rock, paper, scissors approach).

However, it doesn't mean that all the tier-1 and tier-2 battle cruiser ships are now relegated to a secondary role. Oh heavens no. Due to the much higher cost of the tier-3, one can still get 2-3 tier-2 battle cruisers, rigged and fitted for the same price of the tier-3. A fair trade in my opinion.

As a pirate, being isk-efficient is paramount to long-term survival and The Bastards still fly with the tier-2 battle cruisers as our main ship-of-the-line.

Still, I cannot ignore that Crucible has been a magnificient expansion with little tweaks and fixes here and there as well as some wholesale changes. Hell, CCP even decided to give us some christmas presents! I decided on the CA-2 implant but then realised that I never did pick up the CA-1 implant! (doh)

The Last Four Weeks - FOR MIKE!

So, what has been going on in the world of The Bastards? A busy period for us for sure; the month of November and December have been especially active and this has coincided with our decision to work more closely with our erstwhile rivals, 'Los Chupacabras' who live in the station opposite us. Now, like all good pirates we've been tussling for space and loot since their appearance about two years ago and would occasionally work together when the circumstances required it, I mean when a carrier is tackled you just have to put aside your differences and pile in don't you?  In fact, there was an embryonic relationship between The Bastards, Los Chupacabras and Mean Coalition already forming as a response to a concentrated (albeit brief and unsuccesful) effort by a bunch of anti-pirates in cleaning up Heimatar and Metropolis earlier this year. Since then, Mean Coalition has wandered off into null-sec and hold some space somewhere in Vale.

Anyway, I have had the pleasure of leading our new composite fleets the last month or so and I must say, the results are immensely satisfying. One of our outings was into Helgatid after a scout of ours (love having them in the opposition camp!) reported back that Shades of Gray alliance were business demolishing a Customs Office and putting up one of their own. Even better, they had a few of the tier-3 battle cruisers out and smattering of cruisers and support ships.

We rumbled our ships across to the Helgatid gate and held as I waited a few more seconds for the fleet to assemble. Then I gave the order to jump and warp straight to the Custom Office in question. The sudden jump in local now doubt was noted; I didn't have any heavy tackle with me - but I did have MaxUrsa in his Stiletto! We arrived and the Shades of Gray pilots were already aligning but we wanted to grab the bigger ships: the tornado, the talos and some battle ships. I called my targets and proceeded to fire on them. With tracking disruptors fitted, the large calibre weapons on the talos and tornado could not hit much of anything. All the Shades of Gray smaller ships fled the field, leaving the larger ships to fend for themselves. I think this was a mistake; their cruisers should have stayed and kept some of us pointed. Anyway, now we had to be quick as this was the home system of Shades of Gray and no doubt, we expected them to ship up and to come straight back out. Local was also in their favour as I counted about 30 other pilots. Ordering the fleet to overload our weapons we popped the enemy ships sequentially with no loss of ships on our side. We didn't even have logistical support but we held to our motto of 'Overwhelming DPS, then GTFO!' Grabbing all the tasty loot we expected a counter attack and I started to align the fleet out.We didn't want to get caught with a cargohold full of loot now did we? We had families to feed.

The fleet battle summary is here.

Oddly, no counter-attack came. It looks like most of the pilots in local were away or decided that discretion was the better part of valor and stayed put. No problem, a wise decision especially if one isn't organised. We saluted the Shades of Gray pilots and left local, eager to divvy up the loot. Oh, this unfortunate Stiletto was caught by Max and Marco. I don't think it was part of the Shades of Gray but it was caught anyways. Actually, Shades did come back out this time with BCs and BS class ships to continue the destruction of the Custom Office. We thought it was a trap but maybe I should have ordered our ships back in?

Another fleet, a week later was just as much fun but involving the Eve University. Our fleet was actually split up across multiple systems but Marco, King, Nicho and Beauty found themselves in the Hagilur pocket. Eve University were around and they couldn't resist taking a bite out of Marco and co. They jumped him while I listened in on communications. It seemed quite even but a scout (spy) told us that Eve University had dozens of active pilots in the system next door and were already undocking battle ships and blackbirds to assist in Marco's take down.

So we moved in, my timing was a bit off however as we arrived on top of Marco and his assailants before their Eve Uni help could assist. Nonetheless we took them all down, failing to catch their frigates that had warped in as well as losing point on their blackbird and (to my disappointment) one of their battle ships that wisely came in at range, turned tail and fled.

Well done to the Unistas for disengaging smoothly.

A day or so later, another combined fleet engaged some of the most fun-loving pirates in New Eden - 'The Defenders of Pen Island' in Arnher. I wasn't there but I was told it was a fun, and rather one-sided affair. However, we're all pirates and not knights of old, no hard feelings. We want loot and isk and the ability to hold the field so that we can also salvage. Nothing more. It's all about the isk. Am sure the Pen Island chaps understand this fully. There are two battle summaries from our side: The Bastards and Los Chupabras. Ernie, from Los Chupas also made a video but he has been roundly lambasted for having a terrible overview and having no music!

Once again, salutations to our fellow pirates of Flashy Red for a good tussle.

With christmas festivities on the horizon, it was time for the annual pre-christmas roam for The Bastards. What do you mean you don't celebrate christmas in New Eden? Bah - humbug. Yet more Eve university fun as I led another fleet out; this time with Penelope Star of Eve-tribune fame in tow. We also invited Mike Azaria (check his blog out here) to the fleet who was going to bring a sacrificial tornado to add to the fun but he had to drop out. We promised to lose the tornado and fight 'For Mike!'. Alas, we fought but the tornado stubbornly stayed alive. Next time Mike, next time.

Anyway, we found some Unistas and promptly overwhelmed them on the Dudreda gate. Nothing gallant about it, we just battered them. No idea why they were camping the gate - I never realised that they had pirate tendencies? Ironically, we weren't even after the Unistas - they were in our way as we were en route to ambush another fleet thanks to a tip-off by a friend in the nearby system of Arifsdald. These chaps, Obsidian Front were busy bashing a Customs Office and while they are over 130 AUs from our ingate, we were assured by a friend that they were not aligned.

So we piled in and groaned as we entered into warp towards our targets 133 AUs away. It seemed to take forever and already, our friend had told us that our target ships were aligning to get out. We landed and threw points onto the tier-3 battle cruisers (our 'kill-as-many-tier-3-battle-cruiser' competition is still running!) and grabbed four of their ships. A carrier also landed but without enough neutralisers or a heavy interdictor we couldn't pin it down long enough to kill it. Bumping by us just plain failed. A pity. Still, loot was gathered and no losses so success in my books.

Right after this engagement we rested just off a gate when we spotted a Vigil sitting about 230km from us. Now, I am not paranoid or anything but this chap shouted 'SCOUT!' and I did not want to get dropped by anyone. We had a cloaked ship sneak up to the vigil pilot and then I sent that crazy Dutchman, Dil'e Mahn to do the deed. He locked, pointed and killed the hapless frigate.

Of course, locking the pod and killing him with everyone on the killmail was a requirement but the chat in local was a bonus.

Theseus kingslayer > where did you all go?
Theseus kingslayer > i brought back a noob ship for you to shoot at this time
Dil'e Mahn > excellent
Theseus kingslayer > you bunch of bored idiots
Dil'e Mahn > we'll see if we can fit you into our busy schedules
Theseus kingslayer > a vigil for all that effort..
Theseus kingslayer > i don't know...
Dil'e Mahn > a man's gotta eat, a wise man once said
Nichonostra > I lack of anything else
Nichonostra > ur vigil was AWESOME
stockin > a spine?
Dil'e Mahn > check, I have one
Theseus kingslayer > there wasn't much in there you know
Dil'e Mahn > it was there
Dil'e Mahn > it was cluttering up my overview
Dil'e Mahn > it just had to go
Dil'e Mahn > nothing personal, sir
Dil'e Mahn > just keeping space a safe and clean environment for everyone.
Theseus kingslayer > but you are the danger to space.. i was a neutral
Dil'e Mahn > all a matter of perspective, I'd say
Dil'e Mahn > what if a new player was flying around and accidentally ran into your vigil?
Shizraak > we aren't a danger to space
Shizraak > just the ships in it....
Dil'e Mahn > consider the material damages, trauma...
Theseus kingslayer > space is very big.. the possibility is almost 0
Theseus kingslayer > more like .00000000000000000000000000000000000000000001
Dil'e Mahn > still
Dil'e Mahn > that's more than "not at all"
Dil'e Mahn > I can understand your annoyance, but you have to understand that you cannot just go and park ships all over the place
ogf > all of the lag :/
Theseus kingslayer > so you all feeding your kids with scrap metal tonight from the vigil kill eh?
Dil'e Mahn > no, we were thinking of using the corpse for that
Shizraak > omnomnom
Theseus kingslayer > yeah, thanks for lagging out my computer by all getting in on a pod kill
ReBeLSKuLL > yummy tummy corspy in my tummy
ReBeLSKuLL > np, here, a souvenir for you! http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=22817
Dyrius Okel > YARR!!!!
Theseus kingslayer > only 17??
Theseus kingslayer > there were 20 of you
Dil'e Mahn > we tried to get more people on
Nichonostra > CARRRRRRRR
Theseus kingslayer > someone pulled the trigger too fast
Dil'e Mahn > yes
Dil'e Mahn > there's always one, isn't there
Nichonostra > It wasnt me
ReBeLSKuLL > sorry guys, i blew it
Dil'e Mahn > *sigh*
Dil'e Mahn > we discussed this, rebel
Dil'e Mahn > well, good day, sir
Dil'e Mahn > fly safe now
ReBeLSKuLL > good day, merry xmas :P
Theseus kingslayer > never
Dil'e Mahn > and remember: parking at a station is <b>free</b>.
Theseus kingslayer > alwasy fly dangerously

A day or so later; yet another fleet and we battered through Eve University; again our battle cruisers simply smashing through the out-matched students in their mixed cruiser / battle cruiser / interceptor fleet with no losses on our side. The report is here. It was only even in numbers as they were caught on a gate and couldn't use their better mobility and speed to exit the fight. Bad luck chaps. We're not singling out the Unistas, honest! However, it does look like low-sec roaming is part of their current school curriculum and long may this continue but please fit better mods so that we can loot it!

A student being dragged off...somewhere

KING and NICHO - the deadly duo.
After a 12 month absence, where they came close to being released from The Bastards, these two deadly pirates came back into our orbit and the first thing they both said was, 'what can I kill?' In any organisation and in all fleets, you need some pilots who are willing to engage almost crazy odds. Where fear isn't a word they recognise (or common sense!) and they go literally, balls to the wall. Pilots like these galvanise the rest of the organisation and inspire people to get active and to join in. I love these guys and they are HUNGRY and aggressive. Do not take your eyes off them for a second and like salvering, starving wolves, they can be forced (by their very nature) to go after prey in the most difficult (silly) circumstances as illustrated below.

King, in his Dramiel spotted an Ibis sitting on a station, minding his own business. Now in low-sec, of course you have to take care and one cannot rely on the station and gate guns to protect you. However, when you're being buzzed by a dramiel, it is unlikely that an any aggressive action will occur right? Especially for an expensive Dramiel for a lowly Ibis?

No. King, decided to fire on the Ibis and pop it.

In a dramiel, right under the noses of the automated sentry guns? Surely not? King is a good pilot and was already aligned and full speed but well, something didn't work out. 


Still, these two guys are invaluable members of the team and if you see either of these two in local, beware and looking at the killboards I can see that they continue to be busy even in the christmas break!

Future plans

We are continuing to recruit pirates and will welcome more in 2012. Our recruitment thread is here. If you want to experience the pirate life, play Eve in 'super hard mode', then look no further.

There will be a drunk roam organised, I thought it would be very unwise for me to organise one this side of the festitivies as I doubt very much my liver can handle it. However, there should be one organised in January 2012 and I will have one of our drinking captains (Shizraak) be the secondary fleet commander, God help you all.

However, to all my friends, enemies and customers - I wish you all a merry christmas and a peaceful and restful new year. The Bastards will be back in 2012, reloaded and rebooted and rested. I cannot wait.

Of course, a christmas greeting from The Bastards needs a jolly white fat man with a beard dressed in red and trimmed with white fur, so here it is: