2011-10-03

Life in a Wormhole: Orcas Require Liquid(ation) #eveonline

We've tried a couple different ways to handle the costs of living in a wormhole. Our first was probably the most 'big corporation' method, and involved putting anywhere from 75% to 50% of our gross profits from any given sleeper run into the corporate wallet, until we got said wallet up to a nice fat number, and then paying for all fuel and other expenses (ship replacements, et cetera) out of that pile. That actually worked pretty well; individually, we made a less, but we also covered all the big expenses out of a shared wallet.

Since moving to the new home system, where we share the space with two other active towers, we adopted a different method that benefits from simplicity, although it does require more hat-passing before major purchases. Put simply, the new method is "you keep what you kill", and it is probably the best solution when you have a half dozen pilots from three different corps in a fleet, killing Sleepers. In a situation like that, once all the loot is collected, it's split up into even piles and distributed to everyone participating, regardless of whether you were shooting sleepers, hiding in a covert ops ship and watching d-scan for enemies, or following behind everyone else in a salvager. The reason for the even split is quite simple: everyone can potentially get jumped and blown up, so everyone gets paid the same. If you think you should get more because of the fancy ship you're risking, then don't risk the fancy ship. (Be honest: you're 'risking' it because deep down you WANT to fly that thing.)

(It's worth noting that the players who run more than one pilot at a time decided awhile back that they only get a single share of group loot, which is an opinion I happen to share, so I suppose it's accurate to say each player gets a share, not each pilot. I know that different groups handle that differently.)

This arrangement, while relatively easy to manage, fairly straightforward, and simple to scale up and down from '10-man fleet' to 'one guy harvesting gas', can become a bit of a problem when someone like Berke loses something like an Orca. What do you do?

First off, obviously, the Orca is damned expensive. With typical fittings, it'll easily run a half-billion isk.

Secondly, Berke isn't the sort of guy who's going out and making money directly -- he really doesn't fly much besides the Orca; can't, in point of fact. Yes, he is sometimes directly involved in ops, and he certainly puts his ship at risk for the benefit of the home system (too many examples to link to too), but what kind of 'cut' do you allocate for system-wide leadership buffs shared from his command ship, mobile ship refitting, swapping, and repair, or fuel hauling done in a ship with five times the capacity of a typical industrial hauler?

How much does a guy get paid when he throws his ship back and forth through a wormhole to collapse it, hoping that the math is right and when the thing collapses, he's on the right side?

Every corp has to answer that question for themselves, but in our case, the answer is "you replace his damned ship, and you do it as soon as possible."

At the moment the Mammoth exploded, any of our individual corp members could probably have brought a new Orca outright, though it would have left any particular individual tapped out. Certainly we could have spread the fiscal damage out by passing the hat, but given that we're resourceful EVE pilots, we decide that we're going to see how fast we can pay for an Orca with out spending any of the ISK we already have.

Bre's solution is fairly straightforward. She recently won a Tengu-class strategic cruiser hull as part of a one-off lottery that was run amongst the pilots who participated in the alliance-wide POS-bash a few weeks ago. On the upside: Yay, winning. On the downside: Bre doesn't have the skills for (or interest in) piloting a Tengu -- even if she put her entire training queue on hold, it would be almost two months before she could fly it well enough to risk it.

So she's taking her Iteron IV hauler out to the station it's in, picking it up, hauling it to the the system with the best buy-order she can find, and liquidating it.

"You sure you want to do that?"

"Are you kidding? If it sell it, I don't have to train for it or worry I'll lose it. This is a relief."

Ty is taking a more direct route. A few months ago, he had the chance to run the Gurista "Epic Mission Arc" in the nullsec areas controlled by that NPC faction (sent in as an undercover agent of the Gallente Federation, who think he's the bees knees). It was fun, it was an interesting and entertaining storyline very evocative of the group it concerned itself with, and the end result was a very nice fitting that sold for a nice sum, and a one-shot blueprint for a Gila-class cruiser -- a ship I've already expressed my admiration for on several occasions -- as a PvE ship, it's hard to beat.

He can't re-run the Gurista arc for awhile yet, but in the meantime, there is another epic arc that takes place in the NPC Nullsec region held by the Angels. Specifically, it takes place in Curse, which is an area I'm fairly familiar with thanks to my time with OUCH. Like the Gurista's arc, the major rewards for completion are a nice 'bling' fitting that he can sell, and a blueprint for a Cynabal-class cruiser, which is to PvP was the Gila is to PvE. Frankly, it doesn't matter if I make the ship and sell it, or simply sell the blueprint; the profit would be nearly the same.

Why aren't we just staying in the wormhole and shooting sleepers to make money?

That's the irony. Sleeper sites would be the best way to handle this, but in order to really push through and make a good chunk of change in a short period of time, we need to cycle our wormhole connection aggressively to find good systems full of anomalies, then crash them when we're done to move onto the next, and to do that, we need...

Yeah. An orca.

So, without further ado, Bre and Ty head out of the wormhole, then take off in opposite directions; she in her Iteron and 37 jumps to the system where her Tengu hull is stashed, and he toward lowsec Minmatar space, where he will find the agent who will send him (undercover again) to meet with the Angels.

I'm not going to say a lot about the Angel Epic Arc except to suggest that Gurista arc is better, for a couple of different reasons:

  1. Story. The Gurista Arc has one. It's creepy and tragic and backstabby and piratey and just generally good EVE. The Angel "story arc" is just a baker's dozen worth of missions where you go shoot some guys. That's it. No story. Bleh. The only comparable bit is that both of the arcs basically require that you run them in an assault frigate or interceptor. For the Guristas, I used a Ishkur drone boat that basically melted the opposition. This time I'm using a Jaguar-class assault frigate that isn't quite as perfect for the mission-running, but which can perhaps fair a bit better if someone jumps me.

  2. Location. The Gurista arc takes place in the fairly quiet Venal region. There are lots of different ways to get around, so it's easier to avoid ambushes and gate games. Conversely, Curse is basically one long pipe. With only one way through the system, Ty often found himself cloaked up in a safe spot for hours while massive roaming blobs swept up and down the pipe looking for ships to pop, or stuck inside (or outside) a station he needed to dock at while some Sabre interdictor pilot camped the undock ring. Super fun.



Still, eventually Ty wrapped the story up, and I had a chance to drop in and say hi to some familiar names in OUCH (while I dodged their gate camp), which left me about five jumps inside Curse, with a couple very expensive items in my hold.

The question was: sell them in Curse for a lesser profit, or risk them in the haul out to highsec for a bit more isk?

I opt to sell them, because I can't easily 'travel fit' my Jaguar in the system I'm in, so I don't love my odds of getting through the hellishly overcamped Doril system nexus.

Turns out that was a pretty good decision.

I've been on the ball throughout my run of the Angel arc, using pretty much everything I ever learned in OUCH and everything I've subsequently taught myself in wormholes, and I've successfully avoided a couple of gate camps, station camps, and guys looking to gank a mission runner.

The warning signs are there, if you pay attention.


My doom comes, as it always does in Curse, in the form of an Interdictor. God I hate those ships.

On my last jump before the Doril-Sendaya gate that will take me out of Curse, I spend more than a half hour watching traffic through the gate I plan to use, sitting cloaked and at a safe distance. This gate is frequently camped, and the kill reports for Doril are depressingly high right now. However, what I'm seeing on this gate seems to indicate that this isn't where all the fights are taking place -- there are a lot of ships coming and going, many of them roughly in the same size category as my tough little Jaguar, so I finally decide to take a chance.

The interdictor's warp disruption bubble blows up all around me as soon as I land on the other side of the gate. Of course.

Some warnings come a little bit too late.


Still, there's a chance: I align to the nearest celestial, tap my cloak and pulse my propulsion, then change alignment to a different celestial as soon as I cloak. I know the interdictor spotted me in the split second before the cloak kicked in, but hopefully he'll be fooled into thinking I went the other direction, and won't get close enough to decloak me before I can get out of the bubble and warp away.

It almost, almost works. I'd go so far as to say that I think I might have been outside the bubble when the Sabre-class interdictor (deadliest of the breed) gets within 2 kilometers of my ship and disrupts my cloak -- it's hard to tell, because the bubble itself visually fluctuates. I initiate warp, and can't; pulse my propulsion, try to initiate again, and I can!

But then the Sabre gets a warp scrambler on me, and I'm stuck. The only way out now is to try take the Sabre down first, so that's exactly what I do.

Tactical advice via guynumberthree on Reddit.


Amazingly, the Jaguar is holding up under the Sabre's fire (he seems to be missing a fair amount, thanks to overheated propulsion pushing me in a fast orbit of his ship), and I'm actually making a dent in his shields (thanks to overheated guns) -- for a second, I let myself dream that I'll get the ship to flee or explode, and get out.

That's about when the Vagabond-class heavy assault cruiser, Scimatar-class logistics cruiser, and Falcon-class force recon land on our position and save their Sabre buddy from my deadly Jaguar. I warp away from the explosion with a heartfelt salute to the little ship -- he did me proud, and I'll be happy to build one exactly like it when I get out of here.

As a matter of fact, that's actually not a bad idea: in addition to the two pieces of loot from the Angel mission arc, I also got paid a fair amount of isk for the missions themselves. 35 million isk, give or take, which is almost exactly enough to replace and refit the ship in Rens and head back home neither a penny up or a penny down. A little frustrating, but I'll take it.

Between Ty and Bre, it's not quite enough to buy the reasonably-priced Orca that Berke's located, but that's only true until he checks his mail.


Hey, just wanted to say thanks for all the work you and your guys are doing to help us protect the system and all the heavy lifting you've shouldered lately. I promise I'll be risking my own ships in the future, but in the meantime, I hope this helps you replace that Orca as soon as you can.

Cheers,
Cabbage


And that wallet flash signals all the rest of the money we'll need to buy and fit a brand new ship. With that, Berke hops into a shuttle and flies back to the Essence region.

One hour, lots of very careful shopping, and only 435 million isk later, the Deliberate is ready for service.

Total elapsed time: less than 24 hours.
Bank balances: all intact.

Now to pay back Cabbage...
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