28 Oct 2009

Frigate roam and the need for faster points.

Getting back into the saddle is important for all pirates and last night I took out a small frigate gang for a wonder. Pickings were slim that night, with Jmarr snagging a thrasher in his incursus (great kill there mate!) with Persephone in support and us losing Maltrox's rifter to an alpha-striking absolution on a gate.

We did discover a strategic cruiser running a mission and we duly dropped probes for it but the pilot was alert and spotting the probes, exited the mission area and cloaked up. The system he was in had no stations so our conclusions were sound. Not wanting to waste time we moved quickly through - the roam was only going to be for a couple of hours and mid-way through; we had a change in personnel. We lost two and gained through - all pilots slotting into allocated positions smoothly.

A disappointment was not pointing a flashy zealot on a gate. I jumped last, to ensure that we had everyone through and when I got my bearings, there was a flashy (i.e. criminal) zealot. No-one had shouted 'POINT!' and as I ordered some pilots to point it, the zealot accelerated away and warped. We chased after it and lost it. In these circumstances, pilot's initiative should have kicked in and points and webs slapped onto the zealot as soon as we all appeared. Granted am only talking less than seven seconds but instincts should have been sharper if we are to capitalise on these opportunities. So sad panda.

Am running more T1 gangs at the moment to assist the newer pilots into integrating with each other's fleets. I am also using it as an opportunity to evaluate them under moderately high-pressure conditions. We have a three-month probation period after a recruit has been accepted. During these three months they will be accessed by their peers and a decision made on their continued inclusion by a majority vote.

The month of October has seen us hit over 1B isk in ransoms already. This time without the benefit of a single Kronos ransom for 500M isk. Well done chaps, well done. Also, loot sale and split is due to distribution to the interested parties - I have sold about 3.6B isk of loot in the last eight weeks and will be splitting them up between all the pirates. Due to a couple of weeks where I was away from the game, this transaction is now running later than I would like it.

Recruitment is going very well and I have been lax in keeping recruitment statistics up to date on the forum. My recruitment officers have been doing a fine job, I do miss the fun of working with applicants, or rejecting them out of hand (!) and I trust that my guys are doing a fine job. So I just want to thank them. Also, I have not done a pirate speed-linking or participated in a blog banter in a while. CK my friend, I am sorry! However, barring any other international humanitarian disaster - I should be slowly getting back on top of these little, but vital functions.

Finally, I have just got a replacement lachesis. I love this ship, who wouldn't love the ability to point something over 50KM away? Very tempted to get some more faction scramblers and disruptors on this puppy and I would be interested in seeing some ship setups if some of my readers care to share?

24 Oct 2009

The Party

Party time tonight at Evati with The Hellcats.

There will be the full release of the video 'Celebrity Death Match #16' - the trailer is here and make sure you vote for the results.

Hope to see you all there.

21 Oct 2009

Stealth Bomber roam and party

First things first: Hellcats party; this weekend. Join in and be merry!

I hope to be there but work calls; however last night was a stealth bomber and recon roam that did not end very well. It was a quiet run for the first hour and as we headed back for the home straight we spied a M34N absolution loitering around the gates. We were clearly interested as our stealth bombers were itching to fire their missiles at *something*; however this was clearly bait. We left behind a scout between Ingunn and Gusandall just to be sure.

Most of the stealth bombers were in Gultratren when the absolution was pointed and pushed through from Ingunn by z0de. It was then promptly pointed, webbed and dps poured on. The stealth bombers are designed to go after bigger ships but the abso would do!

It had a huge tank and as soon as we decloaked and tackled it, our scout informed us that a similiar sized gang was on their way towards the obvious bait. We had to drop the absolution fast and with all five target painters on it; the signature radius of the absolution was that of a small moon. Even if it was designed as a bait; we killed it before its support could arrive. We then cloaked up and warped out. Congratulating each other on a well-executed kill. To be honest, we should have left it at that and grabbed the loot and went home.

However, the M34N gang jumped in and orbited the gate. A mixture of ship types: hurricane, crusader, brutix, rook etc. A bit too much for our stealth bomber gang but we decided to have a go anyway. It was a poor decision and M34N made us pay; their crusader pilot was down to hull but did a sterling job in scrambling z0de's arazu; shutting off his mwd and thus making it vulnerable to the M34N brutix that powered into him. We also lost maltrox in his rapier and Inko in his hound. We failed to kill any of the M34N ships; apart from the triple-repped, tri-marked absolution and left local licking our wounds. M34N offered us bait, we took it, killed it and got away...only for us to come back and get a kicking anyway from M34N.

19 Oct 2009

Da Boot

Some house keeping is essential and I have had the unpleasant job of releasing some inactive pirates from The Bastards. It is one of the reasons why I was elected as CEO. Our recruitment officers are doing a fine job fielding new candidates and I leave them to it now but we have to make room for the newer recruits in this organisation. I have drawn an initial list of seven candidates that fulfil the following categories:

1. Been inactive from corp for over 3 months (i.e. haven't logged in) or more.
2. No forum activity in the last 3 months or more.
3. No email, evemail or post stating their unavailability to anyone.
4. No activity on kill board.
5. No activity on the ransom board.
6. No activity on the EVE-O forums.

Real life is more important and The Bastards is as much of a community as a well as an in-game corporation but it is time to prune and remove some dead wood.

Their roles have been removed from corporation now and some have already been transferred over to a rather innocent organisation going by the name of 'Garoun Investment Bank'. Hope the new-found corp mates are friendly. As ever, as these pilots get transferred, I leave them an explanatory note with an offer to re-apply if the urge for piracy returns.

I would be greatly interested to find out from some of my readers how they handle such inactive pilots. Should they be retained? Kicked sooner?

18 Oct 2009


Just wanted to give a shout out for 'Hulkageddon' - a wonderful idea where a bunch of pirates get together to blow up as many Hulks and other mining ships as possible. Details are here and The Bastards were asked to sign up and we found ourselves organised along with those fine chaps at the Python Cartel, Tuskers to name two. It is the brain-child of that sexy little pirate going by the name of Helicity Boson, also of Python Cartel.
Of course, we get to pick up the loot to ensure a positive isk outcome and each pirate organisation works in their own allocated areas to ensure that there isn't any 'collateral' damage. Most of the ship types are destroyers (catalyst or thrasher hull) fit for close and intense damage with a few coercers and cruisers thrown in. These ships are very cheap and in a group of four to five; can do enough alpha damage to destroy a hulk before CONCORD arrives to fulfil their vengence filled role.

At this time of writing, The Python Cartel is leading in points with The Bastards in second and I.M.M. in third; of course - The Bastards have several members with them who are in the current recruitment cycle and have parked themselves into NPC corps; so the actual Bastards' score is probably higher. However, who is bothered? I am not - instead I am chuckling at the antics of the entire session and following my chaps process on the killboard.

When are we going to stop? Hulkageddon was meant to be a 23 hour kill-fest for the 17th October (saturday) only but it looks like it has been extended to cover this weekend and may go on until everyone becomes sick of it. This does remind me of the 'Jihad' that Goonswarm carried out on the very same ship types and what the Broski's have been doing.

Anyway, keep it coming!

14 Oct 2009

Frigate roam

Everyone loves frigates and there has been much discussion within our ranks of going back out using these small, nimble and cheap ships for maximum mayhem and damage. I never left them but we've had an influx of new pilots join our ranks and the ship mixes in the fleets have been a bit too haphazard for my liking so the 'senior management' have decided on trying to fix this.

Using the frigate as an example, we decided to maximise its strengths of speed, tackling ability and cheapness with a scattering of frigate based ECM. Quite straight-forward in anyone's books but it was useful just to go back to basics. The aim was also just to get some of the newer pilots used to flying with us. A date was marked in the calendar and we started talking internally on what would be the ideal fleet setup(s). Operation D-Day was the 13th October, 19:30 EVE Standard Time.

A quick roll-call and we set-up a fleet with an emphasis on speed, DPS, tackle and cheapness. We're pirates and need to maximise our isk flow; most of us don't have the luxury of GTC selling or alt mission running.

The fleet was as follows:



The taranis and stabber were the odd ones but they proved to be excellent additions. However, the operation didn't kick off as swiftly as I would have liked but no matter. With a route in mind, the fleet roared out of undock, startling the dozens or so of sleepy haulers lumbering out of the station. With two scouts racing ahead we tried to zip through systems as quickly as able but one jump from Evati we were already rumbled. Under the various Minmatar republic intelligence channels, our fleet was announced system-wide.

We ignored it and led by our scouts we soon made good progress.

It was Platinum who called a pause in the movement.

"I have a blinky brutix here. It is a Mean Coalition ship. Locking him." Platinum was in his taranis, he had no other frigate hulls available and opted to go expensive with the taranis, a close-range face melter. The brutix didn't immediately fire on the taranis and Platinum wisely didn't engage it - doing so would have given the Brutix time to activate the star gate and jump through. Excess energy from any weapons discharge would take at least 30 seconds or so to entirely dissipate before the star gate can safely engage its own drives. Such are the mechanics and rules of conflict around star gates.

Anyway, the Mean pilot, Kashmyta, like many of her colleagues are far from stupid. They are skilled operators having years of experience in low-sec. He didn't immediately engage but warped to another gate. Platinum followed but was joined by Coochie and Maltrox. The latter coming in from our home base in his stabber.

"Maltrox - engage the brutix and force him to jump." I said, still with the rest of the frigate fleet two jumps out.

"Roger." The communications channel went hazy as Maltrox spun up his auto-canons. "Engaging."

"Coochie here. Engaging as well." Coochie was in his incursus, a ship he had perfected into a T1 killing machine. I moved the fleet closer.

"Frigate fleet jump into Sotrenzur, warp to the Ingunn gate and hold." I repeated the order two more times to ensure it was understood. "Execute, execute, execute."

The frigate and destroyer fleet whipped into warp space and raced towards the gate, meanwhile Coochie was giving us a running count-down and the Brutix had eventually decided to fire back. He had drawn aggression and until he stopped firing, he could not activate the gate. He was also pointed. Cue Platinum to join-in.

We held and waited but only for a few minutes as an intelligence source informed me that Mean corp had mobilised and dispatched a dominix class battleship to assist the beleaguered Brutix. It was only seconds from activating the gate.

"Frigate fleet: jump, jump, jump." With a flash, our fleet disappeared from normal space and were thrown millions of kilometers to the Ingunn solar system. We raced towards the engagement, our ships dropping out of warp, together like a deadly swarm. The Brutix was held tightly and attempting to fend off the other three ships; now joined by a dozen more.

"Primary is Brutix. Primary is Brutix. Watch out for his drones."

The rest of the fleet responded and poured fire onto the battle cruiser. The star gate flashed and I checked local. Right on cue: there was a pilot from the same alliance as Kahmyta. It was Serenator and my intelligence source was correct, dominix-class battle ship.

"Primary is Brutix. Secondary is Dominix." Like a well-oiled machine, the fleet re-adjusted itself to confront this new threat. There was a blinding series of flashes and Jellyworm cried out:

"Smart bombs! The domi has smart bombs!" These weapons are deadly to anything smaller than a destroyer and it was a mild 'surprise' that this ship came in one of the few weapons systems to really hurt us. However, the smart bombs went off too soon and didn't catch anyone.

"Fleet: orbit the domi at 9KM and maintain point and focus on primary and secondary." The brutix eventually caught fire and was badly hulled. At this time, we lost a frigate and our DPS dipped slightly.

"Drones are on me. Bugging out!" Said Platinum, his taranis spurting fuel and atmosphere as he turned and raced to safety.

"Watch out for the domi's drones!" I said to no-one in particular. The brutix was entering structure and I ordered Cpn Planet to drop his point on the hull and prepare to snag the pod. He was in an incursus and shouldn't have any problems.

I was buffeted by the sudden appearance of an armageddon, flown by 'General LaoTse'. He wasn't aligned to Mean Coalition so we kept a wary eye on him. He jumped through, no doubt calculating on the odds of his survival if he engaged. Oddly, Mean didn't scramble anyone else to assist, their HQ was only 2-3 jumps and we knew they had ships out and about. Maybe the Domi pilot didn't feel like calling for help? Either way, our DPS wasn't high enough to my liking though the Domi was dropping through structure.

The brutix finally exploded in a bright flash and Cpn Planet attempted to snag the pod but Kashmyta knew her stuff and her pod slipped into warp in a blink of an eye. The Domi was aligning to the gate, it may have been her attention to race for the gate - who knows? There was the flash of incoming gate fire and we were engaged by a Mean Coalition maller-class cruiser; it's distinctive slab sided, 'long-chin' appearance already flashing with impacts from our own ordnance.

"Primary is Dominix, secondary is maller." I said as I increased my orbit to get out from potential neut range and put some distance between me and the new hostile. We lost another frigate and a destroyer by the time the dominix finally exploded. However, a thorax had dropped in, the armageddon from a few minutes ago (found a pair finally) and a phobos flown by my good friend, Muhaar. The fact that he immediately locked me didn't distract me from waving at him.

The thorax and 'geddon were friendly with each other and no doubt with the Mean Coalition but seeing the odds and that we've had our pound of flesh, I ordered a withdrawal and everyone smoothly disengaged. I was already on fire from multiple hits and couldn't hold the ship together and popped as I entered warp. No matter; we had done well in this engagement though disappointingly, we didn't pick up any of the dropped loot!


Altogether, a successful engagement with some worthy adversaries.

The fleet was on its way back much buoyed up due to the fight. We had some pilots leave and new ones join the fleet for part 2: a roam into null sec. We came close to hi-jacking a mining operation inside a null-sec system but were a fraction too late to point anyone. We did lose two frigates to an enterprising destroyer pilot.

Part 3 was a run down to Amamake, FC'ed by Cooch and a fourth roam had z0de as FC. I had, by this time already retired from the field. Still, great to be back with a fine bunch of lads and lasses.


OOC: got from the mess that is the Philippines, I had the misfortune of experiencing the second super-typhoon (Parma or local name: Ondoy) over the weekend of the 6/7th October.

Some places will remain flooded until christmas!

380,000 people have been displaced and in shelters and there's another depression forming with a high risk of a third typhoon. There was an earthquake in Pedang, Indonesia and we sent some of our guys there. We were too stretched to go to Samoa.

Thank you all for the words of support and emails. Am back now, catching up with things and started to organise roams. Last night we went out on a successful roam of which I will happily recount and regale to you all in the next post.