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:

7 Dec 2011

Kill the new battle cruisers!!

What do points make? PRIZES!
Red Vegas should be proud. With the new tier-3 battle cruisers hitting the markets, Vegas wanted to inject some fun and excitement into the month and he came up with an idea. Here's his post from our forums (shameless content padding I know!!):

Fellow Pirates and Bastards!
I have a contest for you this December to break in the Crucible Winter Expansion. After talking with Flash I have kept the contest sweet and simple.

Kill as many Tier 3 Battlecruisers as you can get your turrets on. You must be involved in the most solo/fleet killmails of the new Tier 3 Battlecruisers. That's it, your prize will be a Tier 3 Battlecruiser of your choice

Oracle [http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Oracle]
Naga [http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Naga]
Talos [http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Talos]
Tornado [http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Tornado]

One hull of any race!

You will also receive a medal for your hard work and dedication from The Bastards corporation.

VEGAS' Winter Challenge
End of 2011

Marco drack = 4
TFS Tibbs = 3
z0de = 3
Harlon Mathuin = 2
Dil'e Mahn = 2
flashfresh = 2
Nichonostra = 1
Max Ursa = 1

Now, I actually took receipt of a new Tornado class battle cruiser a few days ago and fitted it with T2 800mm repeating artillery pieces but am a tad worried about losing it. I saw how these things can melt oh-so quickly under concentrated fire. In any fleet we come up, these things will be primary. Other fleets we meet up will probably do the same thing. I wonder if one can make a bait tier-3 battle cruiser?

Anyway, we had a tremendous amount of fun last night bagging another two more such battle cruisers along with a handful of battle ships. Give and take during the evening for sure but that is the fun of New Eden right now, the new upgrades certainly have given pilots a shot in the arm. Am in the process of writing it up last night's fun and will update the blog soon with new content.

2 Dec 2011

Winter Expansion, the fury of a Tornado and the Oracle speaks....

So the winter expansion is here and I love it: ships, fonts, nebulae to name three. However, I will leave the analysis of this most wonderful of expansions to another time; let's talk about piracy!

Seeing Tibbs fly the Tornado within hours of the BPO being made available was a great. I was honoured to see this brute fly and destroy a poor unsuspecting Vexor. It didn't survive a concentrated double volley from this monster.

Of course, being pirates we had to come up with something relating to killing and it was Vegas who offered up a competition: the most kills of the new tier-3 battle cruisers would get their choice of any tier-3 battle cruiser (Naga, Tornado, Oracle or Talos) - what a prize!
The evening kicked off with a few kills by our mixed fleet: a raven, a drake etc but then we had reports of at least one, maybe two tier-3 battle cruisers! They were in Todifrauan and we just had to pay them a visit! z0de went off ahead with his megathron, determined to get a piece of the action; as he approached - he gave us an update:

"Two oracles!" Oh sweetness I said, surely a worthy target for us. The z0de added: "You do know it is bait and we're running straight into a trap?"

"Hell yes!" Chorused The Bastards, completely undaunted by death.

A pause and then z0de added:

"A Tornado, a hurricane, 'rax and some support." I glanced at our fleet: a typhoon, four hurricanes and a drake. That would do. We warped to the ingate though there was no call from z0de for us to jump in. The excitement started to build up.

"Ok, more are coming in. I think they want a fight!" shouted z0de as his weapons went active. We jumped and my overview filled up with targets. We were outnumbered at least 2 to 1. However, we had one target: any one of the three new battle cruisers. Scared? hell no.

z0de called the targets as we got range on the Oracle. Our guns barked and shells, rounds, missiles and drones streaked out. The enemy, mainly from the Shades of Grey Alliance answered back with equal fury. Without logistical support, we could only rely on local buffer tanks and speed, completely inadequate but no, we had our target and nothing, not even our fiery deaths would stop it. Raelyf, was the first to go down, the calm pirate merely muttering 'Raelyf, down,' as his hurricane was torn to shreds, the fate of being set to primary.

To my port side, and slightly below was the battle cruiser of TFS Tibbs, one of the best solo pirates that The Bastards have. He had at least five ships surrounding him and he was trading furious broadsides with them all. However, once his shield generators burnt out, it was only a matter of seconds before terminal hull breach.

"We're burning up!"

A screaming missile buried itself deep inside the drake's superstructure before detonating.

"Tibbs is down." Two pirates down.

"More incoming, shit a Loki and a Talos and Dramiel. Kill the Dram, kill it! I am scrammed." It sounded like z0de or Marco but it was difficult to hear due to the sub-space distortions from the many weapon system types all firing. From my position, I could see Red Vegas in his hurricane started to drift sideways as his engines were blown out from behind him. He and his crew continued to fire, even when they had time to punch out.

"Steady lads! We can kill them!"

A caracal swept past my hurricane, I ordered my gun crews to target it as well as a thorax that was within optimal range. I opened up with my howitzers just as Red Vegas' hurricane disappeared in a flash of light and debris. My hurricane rocked as the shockwave washed over me. I hit the micro warp drive to get some range as I was being yellow boxed.

"Vegas is down." The voice was garbled and I just caught sight of a battered capsule racing off. There was little sign of any crew escape launches however - most must have been caught up in the conflaguration and were atomised.

Three pirates down.

The Oracle battle cruiser wasn't  going down, whatever was installed for it's shield tank was not dying. Fair play to the engineers who had fitted this beast together. z0de switched primary to the Tornado and he started to give chase in his megathron! Marco in his typhoon followed, his engines glowing white hot as it pushed the venerable Minnie battle ship ahead and after both the Tornado and z0de's megathron.

Meanwhile, we had scored a kill on an enemy Hurricane, thorax and a caracal but no Oracle or Tornado! So a poor trade. The battle space was thick and crowded. Bits of flaming space junk spinning away.

Edney, also in a hurricane tried to get out of range of the fire from the Loki, Oracle and Talos but he was hopelessly outgunned and couldn't return adequate fire. Warp scrambled and blind, Edney tried to ram the nearest enemy ship, ploughing through the remains of Tibbs' drake wreckage and determined to go down while taking something with him. Alas, it was futile and he and his crew blasted out in their capsules and escape pods as the hurricane exploded.

"Edney down."

Four pirates down. It was looking grim for The Bastards.

"Shit, there's still more of the them." Muttered Marco as he surveyed the enemy ships around him and a couple warped in. Already, his capacitor was dangerously low and he had little left to fight back but he kept up the pursuit along with z0de.

Red klaxons flashed as I was warp scrambled by a dramiel (are they still viable?) and taking fire from one of the two Oracle, the Tornado, vagabond and few others. I tried to drop below the plane and ordered my drones onto the dramiel. Speed and some nifty flying might get me out of this. Meanwhile, z0de and Marco, still in pursuit of the Tornado had the enemy battle cruiser down to structure but it was too late: z0de's megathron was on fire in at least six places and half of his guns burnt out and useless. Ploughing ahead, z0de didn't give up.

I watched helplessly as battle ship calibre weapons zeroed in me and battered my hurricane to pieces. Without any logistic support or a local active tank, I was doomed. My micro warp drive was offline thanks to the dramiel and I was being battered. I whipped out my pod but could see z0de and Marco (both ships now on fire and shedding molten metal) still in hot pursuit of the Tornado.

"Flash is down. Good luck gentleman, die well!"

With a roar, both z0de and Marco overloaded their engines in a last ditch attempt to close the gap and make our first kill of the new class of battle cruiser. It was a brave but foolish attempt as the last two Bastards attracted the full attention of the enemy fleet and they were atomised.

The report ends with success: a fleet from Black Soul Industries (I think) piled into EM and Shades soon after our demise and managed to kill off the Tornado amongst other ships types. .

The butcher's bill:

The Bastards
Megathron (lost)
Typhoon (lost)
Hurricane (lost)
Hurricane (lost)
Hurricane (lost)
Hurricane (lost)
Drake (lost)

Shades of Grey/Electus Matari

God, being a pirate - love it.