30 Apr 2013

Keeping in touch and all that....

Just another funny cat picture....

I am not hiding from monsters but it sometimes feel like I am. This is the longest break from EVE-ONLINE ever and it has turned out to be quite healthy actually. The reasons for the enforced break has been discussed before but my wife is still without a permanent job, my own roles have been cut back and job prospects are looking a little bleaker each month. We both agreed to cut back on 'stuff' in order to save money. Dropping from a double-income to a single one - with the outgoings still being the same was a jolt, I can tell you! We're not pleading poverty but wanted to see if we had the will and discipline to do it when things were hard but not impossible, before circumstances deteriorated to the point where we would be having trouble servicing the mortgage and the weekly shopping becomes an exercise in pain. So, sort of dipping one's toe in the water before the full cold-water submersion.

Why was EVE-ONLINE on the chopping block? Well, EVE isn't a game, it is a lifestyle, an obsession and a very fickle mistress. I have played EVE longer than I have known my wife and since she had more time now at home, it was only right that she wanted to spend it with me and I with her. I mean, she's my wife! Also, just having a conversation over a cup of tea with the cats bouncing around us is nice. I have learnt to say 'yes, dear' a lot of late!

It wasn't just EVE that was on the chopping block but also the cable TV subscription, regular outings to restaurants (though I love to cook at home - which I am doing more of, hurray!) and cinema outings to name a few.

My subscription is still active however, I paid for it with my credit card and it has a couple of months left. I left a long training session running so nothing lost I hope. I do feel a bit guilty when I try to log in, however, as the temptation to play is still there but I there's plenty to do around the house and garden and I still need to help my wife with job hunting. So, each time my mouse hovers over the login button - something else pulls me away.

My client has been regularly patched and I see some excitement from the FanFest in the form of blogs and videos. Also, the special edition - CCP please take my money! Looks delicious and I am due a small bonus so why not? Split it with the wife - she get's a manicure and a massage and I get the special edition DVD on pre-order AND may be some blag from the store too - I love the starmap t-shirt and the Gurista bag too.
Keeping in touch with friends and foes alike.
So, a keeping in touch post to friends and foes alike. I know when I do get back, a lot of things will have changed but that fills me with excitement. Just hope my missus gets successful in her job hunt!

Fingers crossed.

23 Nov 2012

Hi all just an update

This is my morning mantra
Hi all,

You know, I always chuckled at the 'I am not dead yet' blog posts thinking that even if I cut back on my play time, that I would still be involved enough to say something noteworthy. Alas, the last two months has seen nothing of the sort. Complete break from most of, well, everthing.

My free time has been spent reading on my kindle, spending more quality time with my wife and friends and family.

The three-month storm from August to October appears to have finally blown past me. It involved the Olympics, Paralympics, death of a friend, notification of a terminal illness of another, two of my guys being headhunted and leaving the business and the straw that broken the camel's back: the death of my beloved cat.

My wife took it the hardest but I am happy to say that we went to a rescue centre and had our hearts stolen by not one, but two kittens who were simply adorable. It was wonderful to see my wife smile again though we do miss our cat and nothing can replace her. Now with two kittens, we just get distracted!

The two on the left from a family of four kittens.
Also, I have decided on accepting a challenge and run a marathon in early 2013! I normally run 10 km and cross-country so a marathon is a big deal for me. In fact, if there are any keen runners out there I would be very interested in tips and hints on training plans, equipment and diet suitable for a person of my build and fitness (medium build, regular exercise, regular football and running)?

Now, back to New Eden - what about it? I see that the countdown to Retribution is ticking down. Looking at my calendar, the day it hits the server is most likely the day that I log back in. Been so busy with stuff that I need to plan ahead for game time but the 4th Dec is but weeks away. What am I to expect?
A fix to Bounty Hunting?  - looks interesting and I might even consider improving my sec status...
Crimewatch? - hmmm, I like the kill-rights idea but the flags look a bit confusing
New destroyers? - yes please.
New Tactical GUI update? - oh, really like the tooltips idea but a good pilot should already know the most pertinent facts about their weapons! However, thumbs up for some awesome looking changes

See you all very soon. I can't wait. I just hope I can remember where the undock button is and you know what, I am very excited about it. Almost recapturing the thrill of the first time I logged into Eve, almost 7 years ago...

I will be there when it comes out!

Edit: Realised I used the wrong screen grab!

19 Oct 2012

Sad (OOC)

I better not walk off a cliff...
I had a post already made up for today but I deleted it and replaced it with this one that follows. My original post had me updating people on my enforced absence with a plethora of events taking up my time and what I intended to do on my imminent return etc. However, it was scrapped and I re-wrote it as it seemed like a brain dump.

So many things took hold of my precious time these last three months:

Stress, I think

Olympics, Paralympics, a holiday-break-forced by wife and my own work with two of my team leaving the business, one death of a friend, terminal cancer for another friend, some of my friends now going through the dreaded mid-life crisis (including two divorces, one affair and one chap trying to 're-invent' himself in most hilarious fashion) - all assaulting my time.

Anyway, life certainly takes funny turns for me - the last three months therefore has had more events, good and bad than the last three years combined.

To top it all, my beloved cat died this a couple of days ago and this has hit me the hardest.

She was hit by a car and left on the road and was found by wife while I was at work. The cat, a surrogate child for us both was stiff and bloody and really, my wife shouldn't have been the one to find her, to bag her up and carry the small body back home. It should have been my job.

I couldn't make any initial sense of my wife blubbering at me, but managed to catch enough to realise something was wrong but after a few more calls; it all became chillingly clear. The silly cat who we had raised from kitten to cat is no longer with us. Last thing I remember was her dozing on top of the settee last night after sneaking around the house looking for 'things'. It's the memory that I am adamant will keep. Just wish I ended the night with a cat-hug as it would have been the last hug ever.

So why is losing this cat taken all the wind out of my sails?

I guess I will miss her walking over my keyboard when I am about to hit F1 (and she steps onto F8 and sets off a smartbomb instead...); I will also miss her crying out for food each morning as well as trying to smother me when my wife and I are in bed, fast asleep. So, a hard hit and I need to be there for my wife who is absolutely devastated. I think we're both going through the familiar and agonising ritual of second guessing ourselves on what we could have done, should we have kept her in that night? Checked on her earlier in the morning? Gave her an even bigger, reflective collar?

So many questions and you know what, spaceships and flying them isn't one of them.

Give me a couple of weeks people, was so looking forward to coming back but right now, the real world is important.

Bye bye sweetie. Missing you already.

My baby girl when we first saw her two years ago...

13 Sept 2012

End of Olympics and RIP VR

My first post in about a two-month's of inactivity starts off with my deepest and sincerest condolences to the family of Sean Smith (aka Vile Rat) - the story has been reported in numerous organs around the world. A senseless loss of life that included the US Ambassador, three US consular staff and local staff. All over a film, or so we're told. The attack didn't seem spontaneous.

Vile Rat has indeed played a long-term and very strategic role in the crazy world of New Eden. On a personal note, I understand 100% the work he does, the commitment he had to make and the dangers he has been facing. I have on many an occasion worked in similar environments and countries; though my role differ from Sean's. I work for a NGO, he was contracted to the US Government. We're both in IT and no doubt, would have had stories to swap about some of the crazy shit one had to do to get internet access.  Situations can suddenly balloon out of what looked like insignificant sparks into a fatal firestorm of injury and death. A friend of mine was caught up in the Marriott Hotel bombing in Pakistan two years ago, another was in Libya before the Gaddaffi over-through, yet another was in Kabul UN compound when it was stormed by the Taliban last year. I was nearly caught up in friendly fire in Pakistan last year. Yet more reasons why I need to rethink my own position. My wife certainly wants me home more often that's for sure.

Once again as a fellow New Eden resident and as a human being, my thoughts with his family and friends.

My sad theme continues however, I was away from the game initially due to the start of the London 2012 Olympics; what a set of games! However, a friend of mine, fighting cancer finally lost the battle, at 42. He was diagnosed about five years ago and it was in remission after his first fight back. We all thought he was in the clear and then all of sudden, it came back with a vengeance and killed him.

His funeral was just after the Olympics had ended. So a bitter sweet event for sure, after Team GB's superb showing. My friend was a keen sportsman himself and would have loved all the events.

So along came the London 2012 Paralympics, I was again involved in a support capacity and what an event! Loved it and cheered myself hoarse when I could attend the events. Was there to see the Paralympic flame get passed on.

Then came more news: another friend had to retire early at 39; due to cancer. He hasn't got long and decided to spend as much time with his two young kids and wife. The shock hasn't yet receded from anyone.

Before anyone asks me, no - in our youth, we did not grow up or play anywhere near a nuclear facility nor subject ourselves to unnecessary x-rays. However, at my age it is getting more likely that diseases and illnesses like this starts to afflict my peers (though late 30s is scary for me). Not to mention divorce, parenthood and mid-life crisis.

So, my planned return (I had no intention of dropping out of New Eden by the way) was delayed and then delayed again by real life. Right now, I am in a location that prevents me from using the Eve client (and anything useful for that matter), though I am going to sneakily install a VPN client and tunnel my out to at least enable me to download an update to the client!

Good karma to everyone, RIP to Vile Rat, RIP to my mate, MS and peace and good will to everyone.

31 Jul 2012

Olympic Fever means less pew-pew

Sorry chaps but with the chance to watch Olympics and being sucked into some sports that I had very little exposure too (for e.g. handball and water polo); I have been glued to the television (and BBC iplayer and my wife's iPad) watching as much of the olympics as I can. Having been involved in the olympics, though not the security or the ticketing I hasten to add; I feel that the London games have been brilliant. Pity that our medal haul is still in single figures but come on Team GB.

So, this has had the unfortunate effect of seriously curtailing online space ship time but have no fear, I will be back and there's a number of changes that I am going to carry out (and announce) when I do get back.

So come on TEAM GB!

9 Jul 2012

Incursus - thank you

Alliance Tournament
Am sure many of us have been watching the AT X tournament with interest; great job by everyone involved. Some odd matches for sure but all enjoyable nonetheless. Love the dual tank Machs and nearly everyone seems to be running around with the ancillary shield boosters. I think I am going to slap one on a rifter and see how this puppy reacts!

Alliance Tournament has been great, right down to the view of the commentator-in-a-basement video mode...
I have been cheering on some of the more piratical bent alliances so shout outs and waves to Space P0lice and Shadow Cartel to name two. Oh by the way, Kil2, you're brilliant and the best of the bunch.

Action in low-sec, what else? 
Before the regular fleet was official out on a roam, some of the fleet members were already tussling with some of the locals; in one fight - killing x2 stealth bombers that netted a total of approximately 400m isk drop in survived modules drop here and here. However, in terms of numbers; The Bastards came off worse with z0de losing his megathron to x2 100MN tengus amongst others. A ship set-up that we couldn't figure out (quickly enough) on how to deal with. Still, one always learns and that's why I love New Eden so much.

Racing around low-sec faction warfare space has been great fun, especially in a sensor booster artillery fitted thrasher. A lot of action with viable targets within a short jump range and enough kills to keep most pilots.  Last night was a case in point, a mixed fleet of destroyers around the Bleak Lands; various militia gangs moving around. We raced into Roushzar as z0de called us in on a tackle on a stabber fleet issue. When we arrived, another militia fleet was there piling on the damage. We failed to get the pod though z0de got on the kill mail. We did have a neutral pilot with us who, since he wasn't militia flagged was instantly locked and popped by the other fleet. Oops, I think he will not be joining us in any more fleets now or in the future! z0de tried to save him by explaining to the friendly militia fleet that he was a neutral war photographer but all it got was guffaws. Well, we tried!

The fleet continued and Mal in his navy slicer warned us that there was a flashy (actually WT) merlin, enyo and retribution hanging about the Kourmonen / Auga gate. Cool, we landed and jumped to the other side and engaged. No messing.

Unfortunately, I landed within blaster range of the enyo. Now this thrasher of mine is for quick-locking and long range bombardment. Not close up work. I called the Merlin primary despite of being within the tender embrace of the enyo (which was pointed) and decided to trade shots. The merlin went down and despite my attempts to get away; the enyo melted me as the rest of the fleet shot the Gallente assault frigate to scrap. The retribution was the last and was dispatched.
So I love the thrasher - Even if the price of ships has shot up but the insurance pay-out takes the sting out somewhat.

A shout out to FloppyM who kindly donated five incursus hulls to me! I think he wants me to cause some trouble with it so my good sir, I will do just that! They will all be named 'FloppyM made me do it'. 
When I searched for 'FloppyM' - this is what I got.....

Oops, purple-on-purple

After shooting a fleet mate, make sure you say sorry and bring flowers....

A couple of nights ago was my first blue-on-blue (or purple-on-purple) incident. I blame myself, was in a fleet of 40+, in my thrasher when a rifter got closer and closer to me. At 500m, it opened up with it's weapons, webs and scrambler. My thrasher is an arty fit one and my first instinct should have been to to match the guys speed and direction (to cut down the transversal) and then hit him. However, I tried to convo him as I was convinced he had 'mis-targetted' me (is that a word?) - but my thrasher for the night was paper thin and by the time I realised that, no he was shooting and intended to separate the pod from my vessel; it was too late. I fired two volleys. The first one missed, the second took him into half armour and then I went pop. Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet suddenly realised what was going on and local exploded with many an expletive. The offender was caught, webbed, scrambled, popped AND podded.

Meanwhile, yet another fleet member cheekily grabbed my loot (which included the mods from another fleet member who died earlier and I was keeping his mods for him), left the fleet and raced off to wherever he called home! Ignoring all calls to bring the stuff back.

I have to laugh though - what goes around, comes around. The Bastards are pirates and right now, we're having a fun time with the Minmatar militia as er, privateers for the summer. However, the Minnie militia certainly has it's fair share of criminals, brigands and thieves too so we do feel at ease and at home.

So it is now surprise, that I have been convo'ed a few times in the last two weeks that some corporations are leaving us red; despite both now being in the same militia. They will shoot us regardless. This should be interesting and will make combined fleets an exercise in restraint. Well, at least they have the courtesy to tell me. That night, I think was just a mashed up overview by a capsuleer noob, so no biggie. However, if someone could sell me a couple of thrasher hulls cheaply - that would be great too! Having lost our jump freighter ability for the time being, I am somewhat constrained with ship moves.

Without even realising it, I had some er, Loyalty Points for my actions at shooting someone. Yes, I was paid LPs to shoot someone. What a change in events. Anyway, these LPs were cashed in for some BPs and implants. Should I sell them or use them myself? I always wanted to fly a stabber fleet issue! Either way, some more isk, can't say no

29 Jun 2012

Faction Warfare, EVE uni Q&A and hot damn, love that thrasher!

Recently, I was asked to sit in on a Pirate Q&A panel for Eve University. This was organised by extraordinary pirate Sard Caid from the pirate's side. Joining Sard were two other illustrious and infamous characters: Suleiman Shouaa (Tuskers) and Wowbagger (Shadow Cartel) - of course, a few other chaps were missing but this was through no fault of Sard or Eve Uni.

Our Q&A panel was more honest than this lot....
Still, it was an honour to be present with these guys and despite some initial issues with my mumble account (we use vent, ts and eve-voice); I finally managed to get my head around it and hopefully contributed fruitfully to the discussion. 

The session was two hours long but it went by quick - the listeners were very attentive and fired at us some excellent questions which I hope we, collectively answered as well as we could. Our different cultures and styles as pirates did come through too, every pilot is different even more so when talking about pirates. At the end of the session, I hope that the listeners (both live and those who listen to the recording) will find that low-sec piracy (and living there) an attractive alternative to either high-sec or null-sec. 

Faction Warfare
After numerous chats with corp mates and our flying companions; The Chupacabras - we discussed the possibility of The Bastards signing up for Faction Warfare. With the summer looming, there would be the inevitable drop in activity so why not jump onto FW and see what it can offer for this summer? Certainly, we had a chance now to tackle hostile pilots on gates and stations without a war-dec and no sentry fire! Am up for anything so decided to sign up with the Minmatar republic since our home station is in Minmatar space, if we picked Amarr or Caldari factions - we would certainly be locked out of our own hangars! After the sign-up was processed we went straight for it - taking a fleet of destroyers down to the front line. Now, the struggle between the Minmatar and Amarr is as an old one. We're probably going to add just a bit more death and destruction to it. We checked the operations board: the Minmatar has grabbed a massive chunk of real-estate early on but it looks like this was partly due to the influence of certain Goons, if stories are to be believed. Having the Amarr now come back and grab  their lost systems back means more interesting fights. We found some contested systems and set course. 

When the roam had finished, we ended up killing x2 thrashers, x1 catalyst, x1 drake, x1 stabber, x2 rupture and x1 rifter on the night for the loss of x2 vigils and x1 punisher. We could have killed half that number again if we had any long points. We grabbed nearly all the loot, so jangling all the way home. Not bad for the first outing as an organised group. I even gained some loyalty points. No idea what to do with them though.

Maybe use the LP to get a better prosthetic? 
Now, I think the term for us is now privateers. Should be fun and profitable but so long as activity continues, then we will keep flying. Of course, am going to organise a drunk roam (once my liver heals) and we will be roaming around low-sec too. Just no shooting our new purple tagged friends. 

Coinciding with this summer move of ours, I have seen the return of some of old faces: DJ Akula, Wikkid One, Zemledock, Ard Unjiigo and others. Very happy to see some of these veterans, they'll be rusty no doubt but one should rediscover their killing touch soon enough. 

Just want to say, since the buff - this little spiky ships has turned nasty, really nasty. I have to train up Gallente Frigate to V methinks! Thanks to all those who sent in incursus fits to me. I hope to have a few deployed in the coming weeks. There's this dual SAR II fit that I want to try out.

My friends tell me that his is a nasty little bugger...

This is what I would like to fly:

[Incursus, Solo active]

Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Adaptive Nano Plating II
200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Limited 1MN MicroWarpdrive I
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I

Hobgoblin II x1

[Incursus, PVP Frig]

Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Tracking Enhancer II
Adaptive Nano Plating II

1MN Afterburner II
Faint Epsilon Warp Scrambler I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator

Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S
Light Neutron Blaster II, Null S

Small Processor Overclocking Unit I
Small Hybrid Burst Aerator I
[Empty Rig slot]

Hobgoblin II x1

15 Jun 2012

Summer time, RR roll-out and stealth bomber magic.

The last couple of roams we have been going out with Stealth Bombers - partly inspired by Rixx's excellent article on Stealth Bombers and that their new make-over is SEX has meant that us pirates have been screaming around low-sec in these little beasties. I am flying a hound but I have to say, the Nemesis looks sweet. Might need to get me one of those. However the pickings have been slim so we decided that it was time for a change. Stealth Bombers are ninja for sure but I think I need Rixx to give us some pointers! I will continue to fly them for sure but a little bit of luck would have been welcome.

We have the ships now....

So time to ship up to the venerable battle-ship class ships and with six pilots & hulls available, we decided that the remote repping set-up would give us the most bang per buck. Thrown in a force recon and we were good to go.

Our fleet: 

With the recent revamp of Faction Warfare we have definitely seen an increase in numbers in all systems but most pilots have been flying around in smaller ships classes: frigates and destroyers so not too useful against the larger (and slower) battle ship hulls we were piloting. With a scout ahead of us, we rolled around low-sec until we ended up in Molden Heath when the fleet scattered a little in order to cover more ground. This proved to be a fatal mistake but at the time it wasn't obvious.

Our scout reported that a neutral dominix was tackled one jump away from our current position in Oddelulf (we were headed to Bosena but our other scout reported negative targets) - our megathron suddenly lost connection two jumps away while the rest of use leapt into action. Timing was horrible as the megathron was our main source of DPS but we were committed to the action so away we rumble into fire and destruction!
I promise you that is what I said!

Landing at the gate we saw a megathron, stabber, blackbird, typhoon and a tempest. We set primary to be the tempest while sending our drones onto the blackbird. They counter attacked by going after Dil'e Mahn's Dominix having dispatched the neutral Dominix easily. Any remote repair work requires timing and organisation and quick reactions. We fired off our reppers and kept Dil'e alive while we got to work on the megathron, the ship we assumed would be the main damage dealer. Our DPS was low however, relative to the fleet hulls we were flying. The megathron was going down slowly but without the punching power of our own megathron, it was going to be tight. The blackbird came back at range and then, an Archon appeared.

Game over for us as it quickly slapped armour repairers onto the megathron completely negating our incoming damage.  In addition to the archon, it was joined by an abaddon and an armageddon to add to our woes and we were surrounded.


Our own repairing efforts was too little to counter the incoming damage. Edney went down, guns blazing and then it was Dil'e followed by Mal. I was left to last (thanks guys!) and whipped my pod back home along with the rapier and megathron. A sobering experience for sure - I really should scrape some cash together to get a carrier for myself!

(oh, for some insane reason I now have Minnie Dread and Minnie Cap Projectile at V) - why, I ask myself? I must have wanted a long skill training when I went on leave all those weeks ago and never checked back. 

However, I have now looked at the price of ships (from frigates all the way up to capital class) and all I can say is this: DAMN. Most ships have increased by at least 35% if not more; luckily I have a bunch of ruptures but I feat that this will mean we will need to fly even smarter. I suspect that (at least for us poor pirates) - we will be flying the T1 express more!

Have no fear, my rupture of doom will be taking to the skies this week. I am going to see if I can fit a ship for just a few million in terms of fittings and still be effective? Absolutely. Stay tuned.

This is my ship of choice and there should be no other....

24 May 2012

A roll through towards Eifer and INFERNO, oh yes.

Empty space
Ever since Kane Rizzel announced that he had reset M34N corporation, I have rarely seen this low-sec pirate institution around Metropolis / Heimatar. Feels a bit odd wandering into the Eifer/Gusandall region of space and not see them. However, nature abhors a vacuum and I have seen a number of corporations and alliances seemingly step into the gap left by M34N.

I might have some targets for you to whack...
We had a call from an acquaintance that there were targets to be had in Eifer so I duly led out a fleet of four drakes and one hurricane towards the area. With the new missile updates, I was highly distracted following (almost mesmerised) the exhaust of trails of torpedoes, rockets and missiles as they vomited forth from their launchers. Yes, the Inferno upgrade has made me highly jealous now of my missile-oriented companions as all my focus and skill was towards projectiles and auto canons I think a refocus is needed. However, being distracted isn't ideal when you have a small fleet with you.

Anyway, the short journey was led by Marco Drack who jumped into Eifer and immediately tackled another drake. Obvious bait, as local shot up and we jumped into the inevitable fire. Still we opened up on the drake and the sentry guns spoke back. Being in the hurricane, I was the primary. Knowing this I had already pushed my micro warp drive and attempted to get some distance from the gate....yet, I was not moving. No scramblers or webs on me either. I was moving (according to the read out) around 1350 m/s yet was still only 500m from the in-gate. Rather perturbed I tried to pulse the drive but to no avail. I seemed to be stuck. So, the fighting started as soon as the last ship in our fleet opened fire, the enemy fleet landed and I discovered the engaging fleet was from The Obsidian Front.

The Bastards/Chupas

The Obsidian Front and Friends
Minmatar Sentry Gun (sorry had to put this one in!)

Unfortunately for me, they primaried my arse. I went down pretty quick: unable to take advantage of the hurricane's speed and maneuverability as I was still apparently, 500m from the gate and still going at 1350 m/s. Got volleyed down to hull and then into scrap soon thereafter. Marco took over but he had already bailed and was on his way back as the Obsidian chaps got to work on us. The butcher's bill was too high as we lost all our ships, destroying one of their drakes, one of their zealot and their rupture. Sometimes, engagements just don't work out the way you hope it would be.

Flash's hurricane down again!

As we raced back to re-ship I definitely noticed that there were more people in most of the 'usual' systems; preparation for the new Faction Warfare revamp perhaps? Am looking at all this quite keenly to see where we, as pirates can mostly benefit. Heck, we may even consider joining in, somehow. Getting paid for PvP, surely not?!

The rest of the night was full of near misses which was frustrating but this is New Eden, what do you expect - victims to come marching to you?


My thoughts on Inferno is that it adds some lovely little features in the form of missiles. They are now soooo cooool that I am tempted to do my piracy in a stealth bomber! I need time to get used to the inventory window however. Can be a bit confusing for a human pilot but I read with some interest that it has also affected the botters and their automated programs. Quite funny, I wonder if CCP had this planned? Doubt it but a useful spin-off result nonetheless.

What else? Of course, the new Stealth bombers are lush. I love all of them and will be flying them more  next time I log on. I also thank Rixx Javix for an excellent series of posts on using Stealth Bombers in Low Sec. Everyone even remotely interested in using SBs in low sec should head over to Mr Javixx's excellent site.

Oh, here's the teaser trailer for inferno.

Now, there's a lot more that I want to explore: Merc contract place and the being able to assist in war declaration. Wonderful! Just head over to the notes here and get more information.

More stuff
Things are very busy for me in real life, New Eden is a harsh and demanding mistress and there's no 'casual' mode that satisfies. One needs to manage but there's no adrenaline rush akin to the instant before  combat ensues. I love it and it makes it worthwhile; however I am sneakily playing Mass Effect 2 when I can (or dual boxing on my laptop) and if only Incarna becomes something similar to Mass Effect? If Dust514 is successful, then one can only hope?

Thanks for the comments on the last post about the Kill of the Month awards; I did also state that low-sec piracy was Eve in hard mode (I point to Kane Rizzel) but I got a lot of interesting responses.

15 May 2012

The Bastards just love the Kill of the Month.

We love the solo kill (or gank)

This is what we want to do each night....

Like any organisation, we all see a dip in numbers and activity. New Eden is a demanding mistress: but sometimes, the pull on everyone's time cannot be dealt with equitably. As a consequence many pilots take a break from the game and try something else. This is fine - after all, we all PAY to fly these shiny ships so why can't we just step away from the game when something else more attractive comes along?

Shhh, I just discovered Mass Effect 1 and love it. I hear that there's Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. Wonderful, if only walking in stations looked as cool! 

As a consequence, The Bastards can and frequently operate as solo or duo gangs through necessity. I mean, why not? Nothing worse then spinning ships in your hangar and seeing an empty Corp Chat for example. However, it is even worse when one decides that there is nothing to do, you simply can't be bothered and simply disconnect from GalNet, unplug yourself from the pod and wander around to seek other pleasures.  Boredom and lack of companions (in the manly sense) means Sad Pirate and safe care bears.

My only advise is not to biomass your clone in a fit of depression.

Lately we've been bolstered by our Italian pirate companions, Los Chupacabras. No, they're not Mexicans but definitely Italian and props goes to their newly minted CEO, Mal Iss - we love his smooth Italian accented English.

The Order of the Peregrine

A simple by shiny medal
So, it is with great pleasure and satisfaction that I can see some Bastards frequently go out, solo and 'just do it'. Yes, EVE-Online is an environment that needs the cooperation of all your pilots as it is not a single player environment as some would like it to be. However, it is difficult to cooperate when you're on your own most of the time; especially for a small corporation like ourselves. The Bastards recognise this and we celebrate the solo kill within the corporation with a medal - the 'Order of the Peregrine' and the reward of a T2 frigate hull of the winners choice. This was set up over three years ago and it is going strong. I might have to rethink the T2 frigate hull prize though: the solo kill was mainly for those who flew frigate class vessels but there's a few kills in other ship types now.

The prize is a small gesture of thanks and an acknowledgement that this particular pilot is playing Eve in 'hard mode'. Solo in low-sec and as a criminal - is there nothing harder to master?

Unlike our fellow pirates, The Tuskers; The Bastards do not operate solo as often as I would like it but those Bastards that do, do it well. Am tempted to re-organise our regular fleets into much smaller entities (i.e. have a MAXIMUM fleet size) before undocking for example. Am sure other fellow pirates from Gunpoint Diplomacy and Shadow Cartel Alliance have their own views on fleet number and compositions. Am eager to hear them on how much longer are the small gangs and solo work viable in light of what I see as bigger and more organised fleets?

Of course, the master of solo piracy is my long time friend and fellow pirate, Kane Rizzel. If only I had him with us, he could teach some of the younger pirates a thing or two. I think I need to clone Mr Rizzel; now where did I leave his body? Even so, there are changes even in moribund low-sec space but Kane is adapting with his usual aplomb.

So let's look at the latest winner of The Bastards Order of the Peregrine: he is the unusually named pirate: 'Dynamically Reconfigured' who has been leading a one-man crusade in low-sec space; mainly in the Heimatar/Metropolis region but other areas too. Certainly, in terms of volume he has been hammering them in. Johnny Twelvebore and Layla (a newly minted Meatshield) is also getting the solo kills in.
Sometimes, you can't be picky when it comes to solo work....

Dynamic joins a long list of illustrious Bastards, past and present.

As I reviewed the kill of the months, highlights include
  • There's a number of pirates who has had the award twice but never three times.
  • The main ship type used for solo work is frigate and then cruiser class. There's no battle ship class in the list. Am still waiting for someone to use an electronic attack ship or an industrial ship! 
  • The Vexor has featured twice when the main cruisers we fly tend to be Ruptures.
  • Biggest disparity in class size was interceptor versus battle ship and stealth bomber versus battle ship.
  • The most popular solo interceptor is the Taranis.
  • A few anomalies including Tibbs infamous ten hulk killing and a bellicose killing a pre-nerfed dramiel.
  • None of the 1 v 1 are consensual. Arranged 1 v 1 are fun and cool (recall Nashh's CDM run of posts) but they are not solo kills in the 'piratey' sense.  

An honourable mention to TFS Tibbs and BracerKirk for their infamous kill of a CCP Dev and his cockroach. The killmail is here and the full post and comments are here. If either Tibbs or Bracer managed to get it solo, it would have been the kill of the year (a new award?) - but both helped each other out.

Finally, I want to say a big thank you to Marco Drack who organises the thread and post each month for the Kill of the Month on The Bastards, having taken it other from the much-missed Persephone Astrid.

Any old Bastards, if the kills bring back warm memories of smack and fun, well - we will always welcome back good pirates and pilots. To any readers out there; if you have some solo kills you are particularly proud of, drop me a line.

Past recipients of the Order of the Peregrine (there was a previous medal of the same that was removed - for artistic reasons...)

Ard Unjiigo: Oct 2009
Arrihidaeus: April 2010, May 2010
Coochie: July 2009
Deltsbeta: August 2011
Dynamically Reconfigured: April 2012
Fish Brain: April 2009
Fitz: Sep 2011
Hera: Jan 2009
Jirat: Nov 2009
JManza: September 2010
Kingzolo: Dec 2011
Max Ursa: Nov 2011, May 2011
Mr Frog: Jan 2010
Muckalt: August 2010
Nova: May 2009
P'XEL: June 2009
Persephone Astrid: July 2010
Raelyf: June 2011, January 2011
Ravenesa: Feb 2012
Rodneystar: March 2009
TFS Tibbs: October 2011, July 2011
z0de: Sept 2009, Feb 2010

The Months

May 2012

April 2012
Dynamically Reconfigured v x2 Battle cruisers, x1 Battle ship and x1 rifter
Killmail: http://thebastards.eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=13027504

March 2012
No clear winner. Votes tied between:
Deltsbeta's hookbill versus x2 thrashers
Killmails: http://thebastards.eve-kill.net/?a=kill_related&kll_id=12822636


Dynamically Reconfigured's Rupture versus a Drake
Killmail: http://thebastards.eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=12791289

February 2012
Ravenesa's Dramiel versus x2 rifters and x1 thrasher
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_related&kll_id=23393

January 2012
No Votes

December 2011
Kingzolo in a his wolf versus a dramiel
Killmail: http://www.the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=22821

November 2011
Max Ursa sabre versus hurricane
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=22461

October 2011
TFS Tibbs hurricane and x10 (yes 10) Hulks and x10 Pods. Ok they didn't fight back but what the hell.
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_related&kll_id=22386

September 2011
Fitz's jaguar versus x4 rifters and he prevails.
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_related&kll_id=22206

August 2011
Deltsbeta versus five frigates, killing 3 and driving off the other 2.
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_related&kll_id=21698

July 2011
TFS Tibbs' drake dominating a Tengu
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=21235

June 2011
Raelyf bellicose (?) killing a dramiel (pre-nerf)
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20877

May 2011
MaxUrsa's thrasher killing a rapier.
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=20202

April 2011
No votes

March 2011
No votes

February 2011
No votes

January 2011
Raelyf's vexor versus five takedown.
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_related&kll_id=18280

December 2010
No votes

November 2012
No votes

October 2010
No votes

September 2010
JManza dramiel takes down a hurricane
Killmail: http://www.the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=17570

August 2010
Muckalt's hound versus a raven
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb//?a=kill_detail&kll_id=17127

July 2010
Persephone's Crow kill in her Tristan
Thread: http://www.the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5353

June 2010

May 2010
Arrhidaeus slicer v 4 frigs
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_related&kll_id=16099
Thread: http://www.the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5206

April 2010
Arrihidaeus crusader v Zealot
Killmail: http://www.the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=16011
Thread: http://www.the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5133

March 2010
Raelyf's rifter kills a cynabal
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=15451
Thread: http://www.the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5000

February 2010
z0de's prober on prober action
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=15263
Thread: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4952

January 2010
Mr Frog catches a vaga in his vexor
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=14808
Thread: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4781&start=0

December 2009
Killmail: Unknown
Thread: Unknown

November 2009
Jirat's solo kill of a proteus in his Cyclone (WTF?)
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=13447

October 2009
Ard's super Vigil v Coercer
Killmail: http://www.the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=12583
Post: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4129

September 2009
z0de's taranis versus Typhoon
Post: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3958

August 2009
Did not run.

July 2009
Coochie in Thorax vs Harbinger
Killmail: http://www.the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=11566
Post: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3643

June 2009
P'XEL in Ishkur pops Arazu while under fire from Broadsword and Sac
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=10727
Post: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3528

May 2009
Nova in his Rapier and his 4 cruiser kills
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_related&kll_id=8700
Post: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3244

April 2009
Fish Brain in Wolf - 5 Frigs
[color=#FF0000]CAN'T FIND KILLMAIL LINK[/color]
Post: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=3044

March 2009
Rodneystar in Rifter vs rep fleet firetail
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=7161
Post: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2834

February 2009

January 2009
Hera in taranis killing a vagabond
Killmail: http://the-bastards.com/kb/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=5825
Post: http://the-bastards.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2447

So keep the solo work going guys - you chaps are all brilliant and I salute you!

10 May 2012

Skyward Sphere and Solo Tackling on Gates

Is that a hamster?

This is very cool: http://www.ccpgames.com/skywardsphere and well done CCP!

Roam and solo-tackling on gates

Last night we had a little fleet going and just one jump out of Evati, we tangled with Eve Uni. They had ranged out from their low-sec campus in Dudreda and it was too tempting to pass up. The Unistas were smart, hanging around the gates and not initiating any aggression. So they left that last bit to us. We raced in and tried to grab as many of them as possible. However, they all managed to not fire back and jump through. Well, not all of them - one made the mistake of shooting z0de (who wouldn't want to shoot z0de? - joke) and he was promptly tackled, webbed and pummeled into flaming scrap. We lost no-one but had the gate guns hammering away at us. Tsk tsk.

We then turned round and killed an Unista Osprey again on the gate and under sentry gun fire. Yes, we're bullies but what the hell and besides, sentry guns hurt and the global criminal countdown is ANNOYING AS HELL. 

Then it was off towards Kane Rizzel's home in Gusandall and Eifer. We noticed a battle cruiser gang there of x3 hurricanes and x1 harbinger. Cpt Nessaja, an old hand at piracy was also around and we greeted the wily bastard. There were others but z0de volunteered to go in ahead and bait them but we failed to get to z0de when hostilities started and z0de died and we caught nothing. Pity.

We then switched over to a frigate gang and continued racing around low-sec, we shipped down from battle cruisers as we wanted a change. Love the frigate, still nothing like 'em for the cost and versatility. I was in a rifter (of course) and there were a few other rifters, a punisher and Dil'e taranis of doom. I have to say that Dil'e had no fear tackling non-criminals at gates in the speedy little ship; incurring the wrath of the sentry guns and surviving is no easy feat. Guys have balls of steel.

We love pew-pew

An honorable mention to Johnny Twelvebore in his punisher: the infamous 'bleeder' set-up. He too tackled people on gates and suffered sentry fire...and survived. Of course, Johnny's confidence got the better of him and he decided to solo tackle a drake. Or was he himself tackled by a drake at a station? Either way, the plucky little ship exploded in a spectacular fashion.

We also managed to kill an afk kestrel sitting on a gate in low-sec - even podding the poor fool too. It was a target too tempting to pass up!

The night ended with the pirates heading home; not too much loot but plenty of fun was had. Layla and Aaron were both caught and killed by some Sansha ships as part of their incursions: those guys are nasty.

26 Apr 2012

Balkans and Unistas, all in a night of Bastage

The Bastards and friends undock....
Time for another Bastards' fleet - so this time round, I had a fleet of x5 drakes, x2 hurricanes, x2 arazus, x1 sliepnir and x2 taranis. Not a bad mustering for a small alliance like ourselves. Pity we can't run like this every days and across all time zones. However, we're working on some activities that will promote more solo-work; though we're doing ok already on that front thanks to some stalwart individuals.

So as ever, The Bastards & friends left Evati local and headed out, since I was in Molden Heath and assisting some Gunpoint Diplomancy and friends on their bhaalgorn tackle. I took the opportunity to reacquaint The Bastards with Molden Heath, a fine region of Minmatar space I might add.

We rolled relatively quickly through the system, with Dil'e and z0de racing ahead in their taranis (pl. tarani?) of doom we found ourselves in Molden Heath with no incident. This was actually disappointing for some of the pilots, but you can't please everyone all of the time!

The Pirate Channel!
At this time, we had a friend update from some Gunpoint chaps via the pirate only Molden Heath intel channel that there was a hostile entity close by, who had recently moved in and might be rolling a fleet out. I think he was referring to some Balkan Express chaps. At this time, one of my scouts spotted a fast moving, belt hopping hurricane, piloted by someone from the above mentioned corporation. I ordered the tackle to be made and then sent in some heavier reinforcements. Then it escalated (surprise, surprise) and I then sent in the rest of the fleet and away we went. Balkan Express had seven battle cruisers and three guardians while we had 12 ships, 8 of them battle cruisers and forming the main damage platform. Their bait eventually died as is the fate of all live bait but I was set as primary and was content to sit and tank, being close to a gate I could jump if the incoming damage was too much. We managed to force a neutral falcon off the field, it didn't carry the BALEX corp ticker but we weren't going to take the chance.

Fair well my dear ship...
We were already under sentry gun fire already due to existing criminal countdowns (we were naughty and killed an iteron..) but figured that the damage would be spread evenly among us. We certainly could do with a more permanent logistics support wing! I didn't fire back and pulsed my shield boost while calling targets. Even so, the management of my capacitor, shield booster and keeping myself on top of the target calling was taxing. Then to my horror, one of my drakes (no names but I am looking at YOU) rammed into my and sent me flying away from the gate. By the time I managed to fire up the thrusters to arrest my unannounced departure I was 6 Km from the gate. I tried to race back and twitched my micro warp drive; knowing full well that my signature would balloon to that of a small moon and significantly increase the incoming damage. It was a foolish decision, I died under the hail of missile fire, laser beams, autocannon shells and drone damage. At least most of my mods survived.

The secondary FC took over and smoothly re-positioned the fleet before holding the field. We could have grabbed more but I was content with the result. The secondary FC then moved the fleet off the gate, after looting it and got into a safe just as more BALEX came into the field, this time upshipping to battle ship class vessels (abaddon, armageddon with guardian support) - since they now appear to have a base in Atlar, it was no surprise. The FC decided that we had our pound of flesh and disengaged. We also warned the local Molden Heath pirates of the fight and two joined the fleet: Cpt Nessaja and CraftyCroc. Both arrived as the fight was ending but they agreed to stay with the fleet and look for more targets.

Some Unistas
Meanwhile I raced home to get a new ship as well as picking up two more pilots. The fleet was growing organically. The short hop back to Metropolis for the fleet and I was asked to resume fleet command, this time I was in a cyclone. Some pilots left the group, others joined up and we were aware that an Eve-University pilot was observing us. Sure enough, our intel channel squawked that there was a large Eve-Uni fleet, mainly destroyers and frigates inbound from their low-sec training ground of Dudreda. We were BC heavy.

Sure enough, the unistas came in and were spoiling for a fight. We met them on the gate but they crossed jumped us and tried to catch some of our stragglers. Ships that I deliberately asked to get tackled in order to initiate a fight. This went on for a bit as the Unistas wisely did not bite until we got to the Ingunn system. This time, the bulk of the fleet was through a gate, Marco was left on the other side (in is hurricane) and we fired on the Unistas on the out gate, they then jumped back and all pounced on Marco.

Game on.

We jumped back and then proceeded to work through the Unistas fleet. Marco, bravely tried to tank them but with approximately 18 (?) frigates and destroyers (and the sentry guns) all pounding away at the passive tank, Marco's much loved hurricane exploded. He made sure that he had a piece of most of the Unistas. Meanwhile, we proceeded to slowly work through their ship list and eventually managed to take down 12 of the 17/18 ships for the loss of Marco's hurricane. The recovery of a Gistii A-Type micro warp drive from Capricamper Shore's Navy Hookbill more than paid for Marco's lost hull.

By this time, I called a halt to the proceedings and took the fleet home via a secondary route allowing Cpt Nessaja and CraftyCroc to nip home as well. An excellent and fun night. Shout outs to Los Chupas, Gunpoint and other pirates and helpers.