20 Aug 2009

Sillyness and all that

[OOC] Silly me, I posted this blog entry under 'drafts' and didn't realise that this and one other entry were languishing in the no-man's land for a week. Sorry!

Back from a refreshing break and I had a full inbox and to-do list to work through. Operation Pew Pew is going well, this is our own worm hole project led by The Hellcats Mynxee and The Bastards's very own Ard and z0de. It was a decision made through consensus as interests in New Eden ebbs and wanes like the tides. A little change up in pace and location is just the tonic for us pirates. With no real logistical problems yet encountered, we're set up and doing 'business'. Of course, not all pirates are involved. While the alliance is quite small, we have just enough to keep up normal pirate operations as well as running the POS and working in worm hole space too. We have a set of objectives and an exit plan and whichever one is achieved first will decide on the next step for our worm hole adventures.

I for one, am not as involved in the worm hole venture due to the need to have someone, hold the fort and to guide operations for those pirates who also, can not find the time to join our brothers and sisters.

The loot we have acquired since the last money split needs a lot of love and I have tasked myself with the job of working through the entire inventory. Not for the faint-of-heart I can tell you.

I received an interesting offer from someone that I have heard who has been challenging pilots (mainly bloggers) to a 'celebrity death match'. I checked my time table and decided that this would be fun but insisted on a typical 'Bastard' condition. It would be a cruiser hull with battleship-sized weapon(s). You had to fit at least one but I am asking myself how it would be possible to even mount the thing let alone fly it.

Anyway, his blog is here. I would be very interested in hearing comments on possible ship set-ups that I can use.

13 Aug 2009

Just away for a ten-days and more on the RansomBoard

Just out for a week - taking in the beautiful Emerald Isle for a week. Peace to everyone, have set some long skill and the corp will be managed expertly by z0de and Ard. Ronin and Silvestrys occasionally have a look in too.

Back around the 26th August.

However, I wish to delight everyone's senses by showing you the latest update to our ransom board available here. The interface is clean and easy to look at though the work is still in progress. Currently, we've made just under 500million isk in ransoms and August is only 50% complete! Happy San, the designed of the ransom board, is leading the way with nine ransoms.

Of course, if you click on one of the ransoms, it drills down to show you exactly which pilots were involved. Here's an example of a ransom for Ulysses Meta in his Pilgrim. Happy and Bandy (ex-Bastard x2) managed to net a 100million isk ransom. It took some patience by Bandy and Happy to track Ulysses down as he is a tricky customer and wily. So much satisfaction was had when he was finally pointed.

Want more information? Click on the 'Stats' link and it jumps you to a more detailed breakdown for the month of August 2009. Like I said, it has been a good month so far, lucrative for those involved in The Bastards. A total of 13 ransoms, with an average of 36.57million isk paid for release. Since we derive much of our income from ransoms, it is a point of honour and honesty that we keep our word and let people go if they pay promptly. Our ransom demands are perfectly reasonable.

Now the all-time stats, makes for some very interesting reading with our previous CEO (RoninData) leading the way with an all-time high of 46 ransoms and he is, not surprisingly, the all-time isk earner with 1.46Billion isk earned through ransoms. The biggest single ransom we ever hard was 1billion (x2); I think that was a freighter for one and a mistake by the other?

Anyway, I ask my readers (all three of you) to check out and use the board. We need feedback as it is an active project. Areas we are working on include:

1. A one-page public ransom policy. For the benefit of the public and will deal with how we do it, what we expect from people and what happens if we break said ransom. Basically, it will boil down to:
All bastards must honour ransoms, if they don't they are kicked from corp. The ransom conditions should be confirmed before isk changes hands. If there is a problem evemail the ceo or a director.
Click here for a list of successful ransoms (links to ransom board)
Click here for more details.
2. We have an innovative loot split / share policy and the payouts can be quite substantial. This particular loot split, made up of items we have collected from the wrecks of our victims, came to 4.5billion isk. The next payout will be even higher. The regular payouts, coupled with ransoms does ensure that our pirates should be able to keep themselves in ships. It is our intention to add this total to this board to give everyone a more complete picture of the isk flow from piracy.

3. There is no intention to release this board out in it's current form to the New Eden population, after all, The Bastards hold IPR on this and we want to give ourselves something unique to our organisation in order to distinquish ourselves from amongst the plethora of bigger and more (in)famous groups like VETO, The Tuskers, Python Cartel (MK2) to name three. More importantly, we're keen to get this board just right before we even consider making it available to others as a service, so people please bear with us. To get this right, we need comments so send them in via evemail (to Flashfresh of Happy San), or comment on this blog. There is a shared ransonboard resource run by The Python Cartel; it's a free beta and well worth a look if you want something right now.

4. Same goes for our loot programme; I will put more details about how it works and what one gets out of it at a later date but the programme is still not ready (if ever) to be shared out to anyone at this moment in time. Once again, The Bastards own the IPR on it and we're keen to maintain the organisations unique selling points. Once again, we're keen to get it right, indeed, get it perfect before we consider anything more widespread.

5. On the theme of isk earned through piracy, I blogged about if too much isk was a problem to piracy and the comments I recieved were interesting. At the risk of linking my older posts to new one (an easy way to recycle content!) I wanted to publish something that Raelyf posted. Rather than summarise it, I will repost verbatim:

Raelyf said:

I think you're absolutely right Flash. I've come to a point in my life where free time is at a much higher premium than money, and I've considered going the GTC route. It makes sense - I could stop worrying about what I fly and the isk I might lose and just enjoy what play time I can get. Still, I haven't because even though it would grant me more freedom, I think it would take the fun and feeling of risk out of piracy.. losses would become meaningless, and it would cheapen the excitement of ransoms and loot.
When I started piracy last December, I had my vaga, 50m isk and only about half a clue. The vaga quickly died, of course, and I've since spent the last 7 or 8 months building up my hangar and my wallet. Piracy is my exclusive source of income, and I now have a respectable hanger including hundreds of frigs, dozens of cruisers, a handful of battlecruisers and BS, 5 or 6 t2 frigs and a few t2 cruisers. I have fittings for everything, and hundreds of spare t2 mods since I never sell anything I collect solo. My wallet is up to 450m. It's been the hardest isk I've ever made, but the most fun, and I'm PROUD of what I've accomplished.*

Still, while losses aren't so troubling I still cringe when I lose even a t2 fitted rifter. It's not that significant, but I still have goals from which I'm a long way from achieving - snakes, a carrier, blackops, marauder, a second line of racial t2 cruisers, ect. There's plenty of room to grow and plenty of motivation for aggressively pursuing ransoms - I won't cheapen what I've accomplished and what I've set out to do by buying a shortcut through it all.

@BillyBob - Piracy is absolutely viable! My own experiences and those of my corp mates, like Flash, have proven that beyond doubt. It is, however, quite possibly the most difficult way of earning a living. Unlike most professions, like mining, mission running or 0.0 ratting, isk/hour in piracy is completely dependent on pilot skill and, perhaps more importantly, Motivation. It takes dedication, commitment and, most of all, team work to make piracy viable.
For piracy, it's something like isk/hr = motivation * pilot skill + Luck
*I added the emphasis myself.

I am very confident that with our ransom board, and continous improvement in our loot handling and sales; that we can show New Eden's population that piracy is viable, not as a side-job but as a full time career.

Anyway, a long ramble and I need to pack for Ireland. I can't wait.

See you all later.


11 Aug 2009


After putting together our newsletter, available to pilots of The Bastards alliance, I sat back and reviewed my work. It is the third of such newsletter and it has the aim of bringing everyone up to speed with the latest goings on at The Bastards; though I might approach Mynxee and put together a joint news letter that includes the Hellcats as well. Am sure that Mynxee would consider this an interesting project.

By the way, the picture on the left has nothing to do with this post, I just found it on my hard drive and decided that I wanted to post it up. Just check out her sword, is it a ninjata? Who cares...

Anway, this monday night was a sanctioned corp operation day: that is; an organised event with full support of the corporation hierarchy. We tend to have two to three such events per week.

Tonight's operation was to focus on scan probing, a vital skill for all us pirates. After all, we're trying to find pilots who don't want to be found so a sprinkling of combat scan probes into a target area is a vital step in locating these potentially, juicy morsels. One needs to be able to use scan probes to locate worm holes as well. The objective was to practise and share information about scanning between all the participants. Some of the participants had a lot of experience, while others less so.

To increase the participation and fun, the operation was to take the form of a treasure hunt. Where the pilots will be challenged to locate a secured can, somewhere in space. If they find it, they get to keep the loot inside it. I made sure that there was some nice items available; just to give a competitive edge to it all. Also, each can had either a ticket that was worth either 5 or 10 million isk.

Requirements for the operation:
- A probing ship: can be covert-ops, recon or whatever. One needs to install a combat probe launcher however.
- Patience.
- You should also combat fit your ships; just in case you get a mission runner.

- n00bish made a point that to level the playing field, experienced probers with better equipment might sweep everything before them. I agree but can't think of a fair method; except to let the newer probers start probing earlier or give them one or two 'free' probes before the experienced probers can commence.

- To make probing easier; there will be a drone left alongside each GSC. The GSC will be anchored and password protected. Password will be the same and given to all participants on the evening.

- Each GSC will have either a tech2 item, a faction item or a bookmark that says either: 5M isk or 10M isk.

1. Bookmark worth 5Million isk + Dread Guristas XL and Med Shield Booster
2. Bookmark worth 5Million isk + Dread Guristas CPU ship upgrade
3. Bookmark worth 5Million isk + Dread Gurista Covert Ops
4. Bookmark worth 5Million isk + Warp Scrambler II + Domination Overdrives
5. Bookmark worth 5Million isk + Gisti B Type 1MN AB
6. Bookmark worth 10Million isk + 10MN AB II+ SAR II, DCU II
7. Bookmark worth 10Million isk + 1MN AB II + x5 Warrior II drones
8. Bookmark worth 10Million isk + Spirits + x5 Warrior II drones + x5 Hammerhead II
9. Bookmark worth 10Million isk + Corpses
10. Bookmark worth 10Million isk + x5 Warrior II drones + x5 Hammerhead II

So all to play for!

Of course, one can not scan down a secured can (of any size) under the current probing system so I had to drop a drone around each can in order to give the probers something to aim for. The first two attempts were even easier: it was me in my probe orbiting the can. All they had to do was probe down my frigate and therefore, find the can.

Randgris actually had a proteus (a strategic tech 3 cruiser) rigged and fitted to be a scanning vehicle of the highest order while Jaxxon decided to go hard core and just do it with his humble probe-class frigate. Others came in a variety of covert-ops vessels. Alia Xi was going to use the force to scan as he got all the hardware in place but forgot to train up the required skills! Noobish was quietly confident in his covert-ops; me0de was eager to participant fully in his buzzard. Rhi was the lone Hellcat representative.

FishBrain and Jirat joined the group as well and the operation was started off with the pirates all streaming out of the station, hooting and hollering.

The next couple of hours was fun and challenging. Of the ten cans probed out, here were the highlights and results:

+ N00bish and his fiendishly fast scanning kung fu
+ Rhi's equally fast scanning and sekret techniques
+ LOL at Fenneck who probed out a can but typed in the wrong password and Randgris ninja'ed in!
+ Alia Xi...who got all the tools ready; but not the skill!
+ Rand's scanning proteus.

n00bish = five cans
Rhi = three cans
Randgris = two cans
Fenneck = very close to one can but his fingers forgot how to type as Randgris bore down on him...

Great fun and I thank all the participants. I also noticed that Persephone then FC'ed a roam down to Siside later on in the evening so it was a good night. It is good to be a pirate.

5 Aug 2009

Pirate raid into null-sec and our probing kung-fu

I found myself some 48 jumps from my home system recently. The reason for such a detour was a stealth bomber and covert cloaked ship roam into syndicate led by z0de. In fact, we were headed for a system called, 'Pain', the official head quarters of The Bastards. Am sure this was for tax purposes only.

However, I had to return through 48jumps through low-security space and the journey was fun; with some have-a-go heroes chasing me and trying in vain to find and pop me in my hound.

Once back in Evati, it was time to go again and already a fleet of blood hungry pilots had already gathered. As I was getting ready for the fleet; n00bish and Alaki had already spotted some Minmatar militia members securing a military bunker.

"Flash, I have a rifter, vexor, thrasher and vengance on scan towards the military bunker." Replied n00bish, already out in his vengance. Jmaar also confirmed this and he was cloaked and close enough to the militia ships to spit on them.

"OK chaps - time to pay them a visit. Everyone undock and form up on Flash please."

The ships rumbled out, cruisers, frigates and one destroyer and we warped as a group towards the, as-yet-oblivious militia ships. As the warp tunnel dropped out around us, we landed approximately 80KM from the military bunker. N00bish, already ahead of us had raced towards the bunker and engaged all four protaganists in an effort to keep them in one place; ready for us.

I started to call primaries.

"Primary is Seraphine Keratus. Primary is Seraphine Keratus. Secondary is Sasawong. Secondary is Sasawong. Tiertiary is Kesi Rae. Confirm points. Confirm points."

The fleet pilots answered back with points and scramble and I grunted in satisfaction as I saw the vexor slowly bleed into armour. It took a bit longer than expected so it must have been plated. No matter, we had more than enough to kill it. Most FW pilots tended to travel in larger groups than these chaps and I was mindful of an incoming fleet, racing to their rescue.

I was also aware that most FW pilots fit their ships very cheaply: ship loss is a fact of life in the militia and thus, we decided to ransom only the pilots. If we could catch their pods. The vexor went down after a brieft spell of holding out from the hammering it was recieving and we turned to the thrasher who also went down, guns firing. The vengance was last as the rifter managed to sneak out and save his ship. He actually came back and finished the plex too - good on him.

We then went on a null-sec roam but it was not too lucrative; we missed out on three opportunities of isk and ransoms as the null-sec locals (a jittery bunch) evaded from us. We all came back in one piece though disappointed. Me0de who dropped out of the null-sec raid was busy probing down a worm hole and he eventually found a POS tower, with modules and no shields. He promptly requested for some help, in which The Bastards all responded to and they started the long job of taking the POS down. Unfortunately, the ransoms didn't go as planned and the POS owner, who logged on later to discover the attack was most upset and didn't feel like negotiating. Oh well. His POS tower went pop.

All in a days work I suppose.