Life in Eve: Home a-Roam 3

I'd intended to just pop in and check a few bits of to-do, but a quick greeting in comms leads to an invite into an ongoing fleet lead by several pilots I don't know, but flown in by several I do.

"Who's the new guy in my channel?" asks the FC. "Try?"

"It's Ty," one of the other pilots replies, before I can speak up. "He's got his own corp, but he flies with us a lot. He's good."


And that was that.

Not bad.

The doctrine for the fleet was "cruisers, with some fast tackle support." Normally, I'd bring tackle in that situation, but I was informed we already had plenty before I'd even proposed it, which left me looking over my cruiser options of which I had only a few, handy.

The problem with cruisers right now (at least for me) is that they're all going to get quite good in a little more than a month, so unless I know the ship in question is already about as good as it's going to get, I'm loathe to fly it right now. I don't mind losing ships (at all), but it bothers me to lose them simply because they aren't currently good and would have survived if I'd just waited a few weeks. All those kinds of ships are waiting for me (and December) in a market system hangar.

The only ships immediately handy include a Rupture and two Stabber Fleet Issues. The Rupture is currently set up for a weird remote-rep fit that I've somehow managed not to lose (and which is useless for the current roam), so I discount that. The SFI's are another story, as they are both (a) good ships and (b) not getting tweaked next month. The first of the two is a soloing-fit that wouldn't fare well against the damage a decent sized fleet would attract, so I settle on the second ship, much slower, but heavily tanked and ideal for survival in the face of withering incoming fire.

We wander the war zone for a while, but pickings are slim and what few ships we do snag are far too fast for my sleek, aerodynamic brick to chase down.

Finally (and, again, just like the previous two outings), we find ourselves near home, where most of the action has been happening lately. Scouts report a few ships locally, but in a complex too small to admit our cruisers. The FC glumly advises people to reship and hurry back. I speak up.

"I have lots of destroyers right here in system."

"How many?"

"At... least six."

"With guns?"

"Of course."

"... okay! New plan! Everyone send Ty some money and dock up at his station. We're going to steal his shit and kill some ships."

A few ISK transfers later and we're in warp to the complex in a fleet of Thrashers with suspiciously similar names. The targets warp away as we enter, and our rear guard reports enemies landing back at the entrance gate to the complex.

We can't warp directly back to the gate (one of the 'features' of a complex), so the FC orders us to 'bounce' out to an orbit around the sun, then back to the complex entrance. Imagine our surprise when we land on the sun and see an entirely different fleet waiting for us. They aren't war targets, but they seem perfectly willing to engage anyway, so let's call them nascent pirates.

This fight goes well -- we take out all their fleet, but the war targets that had been at the complex warp in and complicate matters, turning the whole thing into a grand melee. Pretty much everyone loses their shiny new destroyers, but the fight was a good one all around, and a fine way to end the evening.


Life in Eve: Home a-Roam 2

Friday's a strangely quiet night in the war zone, so I spent some time working out some new fittings for Caldari assault ships and interceptors. I don't get too far into this this, though, because some of the pilots I know are roaming around the zone and invite me along. I don't know what I should bring, exactly, so I settle on the condor I'd cobbled together the night before.

As before, we really didn't need to travel far to find trouble. I'd only just reshipped and got on comms when word came of war targets right next door. A bit more recon showed us two destroyers in a major Minmatar complex, backed up by a shiny Vigilant-class cruiser, rare enough in the faction warfare scene that most of our pilots (many of whom are fairly new) were unfamiliar with the ship's advantages in camping a warp-in gate.

Despite the Vigilant, our FC (who, though he has faults, doesn't number timidity among them) decided he wanted to go after the fight anyway, figuring to storm the complex and trust to our many tech1 frigates to blot out the proverbial sun... or at least overwhelm the Vigilant's target system.

"He can't lock down all of us."

Our arrival was spotted, and all the ships bugged out as we entered the complex, but we waited, hoping they'd calm down and come back once they realized we weren't the vanguard of a larger force.

They did, and at least initially didn't hit us with any more ridiculously superior ships than they already had (those came later): the same two destroyers dropped back in with two more destroyer allies and the Vigilant.

"Not Almity," I called out on comms, before the FC could designate targets, remembering the mistakes made in the last week, calling him primary. "Anyone but Almity."

The FC took it in stride, called other targets, and had everyone hit the Vigilant with tracking disruptors and hope for the best.

The fight was nasty, brutish, and relatively short -- common for frigate brawls -- two of the destroyers went down, then our own frigates started to pay the price of facing far superior firepower. Despite the disruptors, the Vigilant was nearly one-shotting our ships, and the pilots we'd already unhorsed had warped off and were already returning... this time in an SFI and Cynabal cruiser. Time to leave.

No arguments from me, as a single shot from the Vigilant stripped my shields, armor, and melted half the ship's structure. I left the field trailing fire and smoke but (again) basically functional.

We couldn't have been said to have come out ahead for the fight, but to be honest the engagement was so fun no one really seemed to care. Since we'd barely left our home system, reshipping and repair for those pilots willing to stick around took little time, and before long our somewhat smaller fleet was back in space and poking around, which led in a fairly short order to another engagement with the surviving two destroyers from the previous tussle, this time without the support of a couple quarter-million-isk pirate cruisers.

It went about how you'd expect, and brought my unlikely Condor up to an unprecedented three-battle survival rate.


Life in Eve: Home a-Roam

These days, we hardly need to go anywhere to find a fight. Immediately next door, we have a long-established I.LAW Amarr corporation that seems (at least to me - not everyone agrees) predisposed to relatively even fights. One more jump and you're into the home staging system for Fweddit, which... has a lot of pilots. The same distance in the opposite direction (figuratively as well as literally) you'll find the Agony Unleashed, full of pilots for whom I have tremendous respect, and if all else fails there's notorious Amamake, filled to overflowing with pirate gangs.

None of that's to say that you'll always find the fight you're looking for -- it's currently kind of rough running around solo, because the half-complete changes to complexes discourage pilots from clearing them on their own -- but if you can find the pitch that the war zone is tuned to at the moment, things can be pretty cool.

Don't get me wrong - it can also be kind of brutal.

Thursday, JR ran up a flag for pilots interested in a remote-repair armor gang -- a concept that's only marginally workable at present but likely to be very effective in December -- the ship's are cheap(ish) so it's good training for when the tactic becomes (much) more effective.

We ran around for a very short roam (all of two system gates, I think) before JR got word of a nearby allied fleet trying to scare up a fight with Fweddit nearby. It seemed likely that either of our groups would be outmanned or outshipped by our opponents, but together...

We reformed as a single fleet and... well, all I'll say is that we got a fight. Not convinced it was the fight we wanted, exactly, but it was certainly a fight. In short, the other side outnumbered and outshipped us, despite our Voltron maneuver. Also, there is a regrettable tendency to call the most recognizable enemy fleet commanders primary. I've made the same mistake, which is why I spotted it now, and the fact that some of those pilots recognize this and play to it by making themselves particularly easy-to-reach targets in particularly hard-to-kill ships.

So we kind of wasted a whole lot of time killing one or two guys who were set up to take the pounding, while the other guys took us apart at their leisure.

Once this fight was done (my ship survived -- not sure how that happened), there was a long delay while JR and the other fleet's commander talked, and by the time it was done, most everyone was done waiting around and had taken off for the night. One pilot had tracked a group of war targets who were banging around in frigates and looking for a fight, however. We had five or six pilots still willing to fly, and dropped on them in orbit around a planet in similarly-sized ships.

Both sides were looking for a good fight, but the game itself was set to deny us -- something was seriously wrong with the local 'grid' -- it was so small that my Condor was actually running off grid from my target by simply orbiting him. Neither side could accomplish anything, so we disengaged and retreated.

By this point, however, all sides were feeling a little denied, so we basically agreed on a place to meet up and conclude our fight. This went pretty well for us, as we were able to take out all five of their ships, with two of ours still on the field (mine included, albeit ever-so-slightly on fire). Good fights all around, and we called it a night.


Life in Eve: Shake Shake Shake

It will surprise no one when I say that I'm not happy with the way some of the features in Faction Warfare in Eve work, and I'm looking forward to fixes proposed for December.


Most of dissatisfaction stems from the ways in which the system can be gamed for the sole purpose of making ISK.

Now, I don't have any problem with people making ISK. I don't have a problem with someone playing smart, or avoiding a senseless fight. I do have a problem with people who are clearly subverting a system. Take a new-player-friendly theater of activity called "faction warfare", set in "war zones", and tell me that the most common "new" players involved are ignoring all fights and fitting their ships to avoid all consequences of any activity they undertake in that theater, and I'll call those people bad names.

They're not being innovative or 'emergent' any more than a lamprey is an "outside the box thinker". They're just parasites, dragging down another fish.

Yes, I've tried to kill such pilots when I can. This also should surprise no one. As a rule, people don't view tapeworms as a life-enhancing feature.

So I was thrilled to find out that some of the Faction Warfare changes proposed for the December expansion were going to be implemented immediately, in an effort to kill off the worst of the demonstrably game-breaking behavior. If nothing else, it closed a hemorrhaging ISK faucet six weeks early, and that alone is worth it.

But there were other benefits.

Although not all the changes are in place, enough things changed in terms of system control and defensive and offensive "plexing" that it shook things up around the war zone. There were a lot more pilots flying around, a lot more fights happening, a lot more investment. I spotted the first Infrastructure Hub bashing fleet I've seen in, literally, months. Then another. Then response fleets. Then pirate fleets looking to start a fight with those fleets. It's easily the busiest I've seen the war zone in weeks, and that's with one of the largest enemy corporations in the area temporarily out of the action while they repaint Amarr logos over top the Caldari flare on their ships.

There's something to be said for changes to a system that alter the rules about what's good/bad, useful/useless behavior in a given theatre of activity in the game. The changes get people whining, but it also promotes a heightening level of participation and activity as people figure things out, take initial advantage, figure out optimal behaviors, implement them, and adapt to the meta-game shifting as a result.

It's a good argument for regular in-game events that shake things up simply for the sake of the shaking. Something as simple as Incursions actually spawning inside the war zone would throw a deep wrinkle into things, as would adding (or destroying) routes through the war zones.

I'm not saying change stuff just to change it, but if you can come up with cool reasons for tweaking the equations of success from time to time, it wakes people up.

Keep things moving to keep people interested.

I do a bit of defensive plexing at the start of the evening, to (a) get a sense of how the new loyalty point rewards for this activity will stack up in vulnerable systems (answer: well) and (b) try to move some vulnerable systems back toward stability before the Amarr can flip them to slaver-sovereignty.

JR is doing a "cheapfleet" roam of frigates and destroyers, and I hop into a Thrasher to join in, since (at least initially) I don't much feel like being an important cog in the machine -- mine will be the way of support and heavier DPS, not scouting and (thus) nigh second-in-command.

As he's done in the past, JR splits the fleet into two squads and two separate but linked voice comms channels, so we can roam independently in smaller, less-threatening groups, but call for backup if needed. He then puts newer pilots in as squad commands and eases himself into the back seat to let the training-by-fire commence.

My body is ready.

Squad 2 (of which I am a member) wanders somewhat, our FC seeming a bit a sea and unmotivated. The upside: Fel is with us (since I dragged him along) and getting some scouting practice, as he's in the fastest ship in our squad -- a speedy Atron attack frigate.

Our roam takes us by secondary routes to the system of Sahtogas. We send in Fel to scout and wait at the entry gate, directing him toward any open complexes, hoping to attract the attention of the fairly numerous war targets in system (who are often more inclined to doze inside stations until prodded).

Meanwhile, a war target drops on our gate and most of us open fire. I don't, because I suspect he's going to jump through the gate if things look serious. They do, and he does. I follow.

... and appear in the midst of a significantly larger fleet than my own, all war targets and all heading through the same gate but in the other direction to go after our guys. They apparently slipped down to the gate after Fel warped away. I try to give warning, but it comes too late for some and we lose a couple ships.

Meanwhile, Squad One is coming at Sahtogas from another direction, and tries to bait the same group of war targets into attacking. This works, but (again) the enemy fleet proves too strong for only half our group to manage, and we trade ships at a slightly disappointing 2:1 ratio.

With several pilots reshipping, the rest of us scattered, and our squad commander unaccountably silent, I announce I'm heading back to our original mustering system, where it will be easier for our returning pilots to link up. This initiative puts me in the lead and scouting ahead for the rest of the squad.

One jump short of our muster point (but conveniently near my home station) I spot a Naga battlecruiser in one of our local complexes. A quick reconnoiter puts him 190 klicks off the complex entry and (annoyingly) still able to shoot me, so I switch out of my Thrasher and into a Taranis interceptor to see if I can snag him.

No joy, as he runs when I start to close in, but our activity attracts the attention of a small gang of pirates from nearby, notorious Amamake. Again, I switch ships, this time to a Stabber Fleet Issue -- the Minmatar Navy's justifiably well-regarded "SFI" cruiser.

The pirates, having taken out one of our frigates, retreat to Amamake, but a scout locates them near planet six and I warp to their location, clearly looking for payback for the loss of our frigate (rageface). They seem inclined to take the fight, as their three assault frigates (two Wolves, one Hawk) look to be more than enough for the job I represent. The Hawk gets in too close to me, however, and with two webifiers and a warp scrambler on him, he's not going to be able to correct that error. I call the rest of the fleet in and the Hawk dies fairly quickly, while his allies scatter.

We try for one of the Wolves, but our chosen target it too fast -- only one ship (Fel's Atron) can keep up with him, and can't slow the Wolf down enough for anyone else to catch up -- he finally manages to slingshot Fel and slip away.

JR is... shall we say... nonplussed by the fact that only one of our small ships has bothered to fit a microwarpdrive, even though he specifically said everyone should have one.

I try to pull another fight in Amamake while the rest of the fleet slips back to neighboring systems, but the pirates jump in after them before anything else develops. This works out, as we're able to snag and kill the Wolf who had previously escaped.

I drop back to repair the SFI, and scouts report another group on the gate in Amamake, so I head back in to try to make something happen. I can't track them down, but that proves to be wasted effort: I drop on them accidentally after giving up my search and warping back to the out-gate. Pirate pilots in an Atron frigate, Jaguar assault frigate, Rupture cruiser, and Zealot heavy assault cruiser circle me, but none seem eager to engage, since it will mean that the mean, nasty pirates will be targeted by the stargate's defensive sentries for attacking a squeaky-clean citizen like myself.

With my backup ready, I start things off by popping the Atron, then we all turn attention to the Rupture, who tears away and leads us well off the gate before we pull him down and take out the ship. The kill takes some time, however, and by then he has backup inbound. They manage to catch me as the Rupture... ruptures, and my heroic SFI goes down while the rest of the fleet escapes. (Luckily, I have a dozen replacements at the ready, and more reasons than ever to fly them. Great ship.)

The fleet swaps around ships a bit, and Matt calls us into an enemy-held system nearby, where we miss a Firetail frigate but catch and kill yet another Wolf, trading a Taranis to a Cynabal cruiser in the process, at which point JR takes off for the night, and I follow suit.

A good night, if a bit directionless and disorganized at the start -- it felt good to head out into the war zone and actually find pilots looking for a fight.


Life in Eve: For the Tears?

Forgive me, Gor, but this one was too good to leave in e-mail.
Wait... so choosing be smart in Eve and only engage in fights that you can win or walk away from is a bad thing? Eve PVP is so much about the tears.... If all these Eve players want less risk adverse behavior, decrease the (ship) death penalty.  Oh but then PVP wouldn't be so much fun, cause I didn't ruin the other guys day.

I don't mind someone being careful, but when you get together to spend an evening shooting other people and the guy in charge won't take a fight -- ANY fight -- because it doesn't look like a sure win? That guy just wasted my night, because I want to shoot something -- that's what I set aside my night to do. I wouldn't have undocked if I didn't accept some risk, and if I didn't want the risk, I'd play Wizard101.

The guys that piss me off in the war zone are the guys who are ostensibly part of faction warfare, but who fly around in frigates with no guns on and a ship optimized to make money and ignore the actual war. That bugs the crap out of me, and I make it a hobby to blow them up when I can.

It's really not about the tears.

I can't speak for everyone, but I don't do it for the tears -- I very much doubt there are any, because that guy probably make 4 or 5 billion isk in the last week -- I do it because these guys are crapping all over the area of the game I'm playing in, and I have the means to kick some sand in their face, which I want to do because this particular activity in Eve -- for which I have sacrificed time, ISK, and the companionship of good friends who'd rather not join me -- is being ruined by these greedy little stains.

Do I do this to miners in high-sec? Or industrialists? Or traders? Of course not! They're doing what they do; they're not subverting anything. That guy in the hookbill is turning an arena for a certain kind of play into a lame money-dispenser -- paved the park and put up a Qwik-e-mart -- and I look on it the same way I look on guys who can-flip and ninja-salvage in high-sec: I'll kill 'em if I can.

This is tangential, but I don't think they should decrease the death penalty to allay risk adverse behavior, because honestly the main thing that makes EvE fights exciting (they aren't, normally) is the risk to your OWN ship). These guys that pussyfoot around, trying for a perfect 100-0 record... it just seems to me that they miss the point. The whole thing is more fun if you have some skin in the game.

No, I don't care about causing tears, but I do care about caring about the fight. If four guys want to use some ECM so their four frigates can take on a Cynabal and have a chance of winning, fine. I can even stand to be one of those guys, because I don't see that we've negated risk and made the whole fight pointless. If fourteen guys bring two Falcons on every roam and only take on groups of 8 or fewer pilots so they can guarantee none of their opponents can fight back... yeah. No. I get why they're playing, but that's no more "my" version of Eve than 1% margin trading in Jita.

I just can't see how it's fun.

I'm not going to suicide into a fight for no purpose -- but (for example) I stayed in the fight a few nights ago because I thought we could pull out a win, or at least a draw, and that (plus the adrenaline) was worth it.

An hour after I killed that Hookbill pilot, this happened -- and I was just as happy about it, because I actually found someone in a complex who wanted to fight.

These days, that's like finding the only other guy at a gaming convention who actually came to play.


Life in Eve: Education

Last night, our little two-man faction warfare corporation tripled in size, and I led a small roam/introductory tour into the wilds of the war zone. Four pilots (myself, Em, Shan, and newly-recruited Fel) flying the very best in cheap and disposable combat spacecraft (an Incursus, Atron, and two Slashers).

Preparatory documents, FAQs, links, and useful maps had all been assembled and then sent out. Shopping had been done (including a splurge on a pile of inexplicably under-priced frigates that netted use close to two-hundred slashers). Questions had been asked and answered.

Nothing left to do but head out and learn to explode.

I had a path in mind, and sent us at best speed through Sinq Laison to Audaerne and, from there, into the Eugidi constellation, which is a kind of rat's nest of systems well behind the front lines, popular with risk-adverse war targets and (by contrast) conflict-hungry pirates looking for a fight. All in all, it's a pretty good group of systems to visit if you want to familiarize yourself with the 'plex mechanics, possibly catch a fleeing enemy, and maybe even get something like an viable fight.

Emphasis on maybe. As it turned out, once we chased off a few timid Merlin frigates with Cynabal backup, the only action to be found lay with a trio of pirates I'd run into in the past. They decided to meet our four frigates with three destroyers (and more backup lurking in the wings); we decided the fight wasn't for us. In leaving the constellation, we managed to draw one far enough away from his friends to cost him any nearby backup, but he remained wary enough to escape through a gate jump without losing his Thrasher. Ahh well.

From there, we headed south toward Dal, pausing here and there to check out likely-looking complexes for enemies, but arrived at our destination without anything exciting coming of it and docked up for a few minutes to rub our eyes and repair a bit of damage from overheated afterburners.

I returned after the brief break feeling more than a little restless. It's been well over a week since I've had a proper fight (the last roam I was on had me sitting in a support cruiser, which is fun but doesn't involve much in the way of direct violence), and after two hours of cat-and-mouse work with no payout, I just wanted a face to shoot.

"We're going to jump over to Siseide," I said, naming a neighboring system with a lot of violent activity showing on the map, and a known home system for a few Amarr loyalists. "See if we can't stir something up."

The system's population was a weird mix of Minmatar and Amarr forces when we arrived, but as I split us into smaller groups to scout around (as I had been doing all night, to give everyone a turn at hanging their ass out in the wind to get shot at), most of our nominal allies departed toward Auga.

Em headed for one of the open Amarr complexes, I went for the minor one on the far side of the system, and landed nearly on top of a Slasher like my own, who immediately jumped the gate into the complex and invited me to follow him in. I called my fleet mates to me and charged in, but he saw my backup arriving and beat a retreat.

Once the other three had arrived, I had Shan start capturing the complex. This wasn't a wholly empty activity; Siseide was the first system we'd entered all night that was actually held by the Amarr, so it was our first chance to actually capture an enemy complex, as opposed to defend our own, and I wanted them to get a sense of what that was like.

In any case, we didn't stick with that for long, as it was clear the locals (all veteran members of a long-running faction warfare corporation) were putting together a response to our intrusion. The first to land on the gate and jump in was a Thrasher, but his friends seemed further behind, and I thought the odds were good that if we hit him hard when he entered, we could take his ship before the rest arrived.

My nebulous plan solidified when I realized the lead pilot it was Almity, one of the better known fleet commanders for the Amarr.

Things seemed to be going well, despite Em and Shan calling out enemy ships closing in: the enemy thrasher's shields were dropping with comforting speed, and the heavy hitting but traditionally thinly-tanked ship looked close to death.

Then we punched through to the ship's armor, and all progress just... stopped.

"Armor tanked?" I wondered aloud. "Who armor tanks a Thrasher?"

The answer, apparently, is "Well-known enemy fleet commanders who expect to be called primary and use that tendency to act as effective bait."

Four other Amarr pilots landed on us while we tried to take the Thrasher out. I should have called an evacuation (I was the only one held at that point), but I wanted at least one kill, even leavened with our own ship losses, and kept us in the fight long enough for Almity's companions to catch hold of both Shan and Em as well.

All in all it was a fine, tasty bait they set for us, and I bit with everything I had. Lesson learned, and well-played by the Amarr pilots. Hats off.

"I missed the whole thing!" moaned one of the Amarr pilots in local comms.

"Don't worry, I'm sure you'll get another chance," I quipped.

"I hope so, man," he replied. "They say you were actually fit for PvP and willing to fight. Good show!"

We retreated and reshipped (I've got several dozen appropriate ships scattered around the the area), but by then it was getting more than a little late, so we called it for the night, with plans for more shenanigans in the days to come.

Maybe not the auspicious beginning I might have hoped for (not helped by the fact that my decision-making was colored my just wanting any kind of fight -- the whole thing left me happy with the results even though we lost), but a start nonetheless and with lots of things to learn from the engagement.

Early this morning, Agony pilots came swarming through the system while I fiddled with a few ships in the hangar, and one of their pilots (whom I know from various roams and training classes) tossed me a greeting.

"I heard you decided to put up a decent fight last night, instead of running," she said. "Very cool."

"Thanks," I said, and meant it -- enemies they may be, but it's nice to earn a little recognition, even if it's for blowing up. Funny, though, that the news of an inconsequential frigate brawl spread even that far.

How sad is it that the simple act of taking a fight with no gimmicks and no bullshit is cause for comment, compliment, and small celebration (twice!) by your opponents, though you sit in the midst of zone focused on war, and a game focused on PvP? It makes me understand Rote Kapelle's current goal.

Life in Eve: Prep

"Alright, Fel, if you feel like you understand the risks, and you're still interested, I'm glad to have you." I punched the virtual ACCEPT? button on my terminal and sat back in the chair in my quarters.

There was no reply from the overhead speakers to which I'd routed the caller's voice.

I waited, then: "Fel?"

"Umm. Yes. Sorry. I'm here." I could almost hear the other pilot shake himself. "I just... well, not to raise too many alarm bells or anything, but I'm a bit surprised you accepted me so soo -- umm. Quickly."

"Ahh." I thought about that a moment, letting my eyes drop to my hands, resting in my lap. "You know what CB said when I told him about your original message asking to join?"

"The first one? That was months ago."

"Yup." I cleared my throat, wanting to get the phrasing right. "He said: 'If he wants in the wormhole, fuck no. If he wants in the war zone, fuck it.'" More comms silence. "Don't take that personally..."

Fel's laughter came with a rush. "Are you kidding? I'm from a wormhole too -- paranoia, I understand; I practically tell the new pilots to fly in front of me when we go on ops."

I chuckled along with him, nodding. "Well, that's half of it, then. The other half... " I shrugged. "There's maybe three hundred million isk worth of ships and ship modules in our shared hangars. I only keep enough liquid ISK around to ensure that the station rental bills are paid automatically --" I cleared my throat -- "after a little mishap a few months back."

"Sure --"

"Point is," I interrupted, "you really can't do much harm down here in known space, because this corp's got no real assets to steal. Hell, even if you awox one of us for fun, we're only going to be out a cheap clone and a cheaper frigate. And frankly we could use another couple good pilots. Paranoia is fine, but new blood helps keep people awake."

"Well... okay then."

"Okay then," I repeated, letting a small smile creep into place. "Get some rack time. Odds are we'll be roaming tomorrow night, either with friends in cheap ships or acquaintances in expensive ones. Welcome to the asylum."

"Glad to be here," he replied, then cut comms.

I stared at the overhead speaker for a few seconds, my thoughts drifting, then popped up to a standing position, stretching one arm across my chest and rolling my neck on my shoulders as I walked out to the balcony overlooking the hangars. "No breaks today." I blinked. "Tonight. Whatever." My eyes itched, and I rubbed at them while I tapped the commands that would swing the Malediction into the launch bay. "Little more scouting to do before everyone gets here."

I'd been out of a ship for almost a week -- visiting the University of Caille to talk about, of all things, my writing -- apparently, as a combat pilot, I made a decent journalist. Since I'd gotten back, I'd done little more than scout new safes throughout the war zone and write a half-dozen briefings on the key systems and hot spots that a new pilot -- or at least a pilot unfamiliar with the War -- would want to know about.

I was itching for some actual combat, even a frustrating loss, but war targets would go unmolested tonight, at least by me; we had new pilots coming to join us, and I wanted everything as smooth as I could get it for the transition.

New pilots for the war. Old friends for the fleet.

"Aura, set course for Avenod. Let's map out some safes in the Eugidi cluster."

... before everyone gets here.

My voice sounded tired, even to me, but I could feel that same small smile creep back onto my face.
I practically jogged to the piloting pod.



Life in Eve: the Pants-on-Head Offensive #eveonline

While I've been playing just as much as ever, and writing about the new stuff coming in the expansion, I haven't felt compelled to write about actual events in game for a little while, simply because it's been pretty typical and straightforward shenanigans: small gang stuff every few nights, random solo stuff the rest of the time. Faction Warfare is a very interesting and sometimes frustrating environment; on one hand I feel as though I'd get more out of it if I were connected to some of the big established groups, but on the other hand there's direct evidence that Sturgeon's Revelation applies just as much to people as it does to anything else1, and I'm not sure I need to expose myself to that any more than I already am.2

Case in Point:

I went on a small gang roam last night, run by one of the really good guys I've run into -- someone who's a real pleasure to fly with and who always seems to have a fun fleet idea to try out.

Flying with him: a couple of his corp mates, and a cage of shit-flinging spider monkeys.

WTF am I hearing?

Now, normally, it's not that bad. The fleet members list was about the same as usual, but for whatever reason -- full moon, hormone imbalance, Ritalin shortage -- this ancillary group of pilots (from a corp unaffiliated with the FC) have been particularly sub-functional lately.

But I grit my teeth and bear it, because I want to try out this new idea the FC has. The last few roams, he's been asking for armor-tanked cruisers supported by a couple tech1 logistics ships (the exequror, which is currently a hairsbreadth above a joke setup, but receives a major facelift in a few months), and specifically asked if I could bring one of the support cruisers, which is a class of ship I'm well-skilled for and never really get a chance to fly.

Anyway: the evening didn't offer up a lot of viable opportunities. The nature of the ships we were flying (support cruisers with poor attributes, combat cruisers press-ganged into remote-repair setups) and our numbers (ranging from 6 to, at best, 10 or so) meant that our window of viable targets was a bit narrow -- potential opponents either warped away before we could get there, or seriously outnumbered us.

Still, we preserved, roaming around the war zone, looking for anything that would give us a good run.

(Side note: the tunnel vision that overcomes "healers" in any group activity is just as present in EvE as it is in any other MMO, at least in my experience. I couldn't name one system we flew through last night, aside from where we started and where we ended.)

After a slow hour or so, people were justifiably itching for a fight, and everyone was pretty happy when a scout (one of our spider-monkeys) excitedly announced he had a war target tackled. The current fleet commander called for jump and we warped to the fight.

Imagine my bemusement when the overview loaded, and all I saw were two different shades of purple on the list of nearby pilots: the purple of my fleetmates, and the purple of fellow members of my militia.

The scout (also a militia member) was shooting one of the pilots in that second group.

We're going to war!

Apparently, the spider monkeys had had some kind of friendly fire incident a few days earlier, resulting in a pilot from some other militia corporation losing a ship. Reparations were made, but in the end, the two corps decided to use the in-game system to declare war on each other, thus making each other valid war targets.

Let me repeat that (because I for damn sure needed it explained twice when I first heard it): faced with two different enemy militia to fight (whose pilot memberships collectively numbers a bit over fifteen thousand), these two groups within the same militia decided to start shooting each other over a 10 second friendly fire incident, some name-calling, and the loss of a single frigate.

I really don't think that is how one successfully conducts a war.

Please note the remarkable lack of SHOOTING EACH OTHER in the above photo.

Faced with this situation, I did what I'm supposed to do in a support ship, surrounded by friendly pilots taking fire: I locked up every ally I could and started repping anyone getting shot.

Yes, everyone.

Yes, the "other guys" too.

I figure we were already well into the realm of Pants-on-Head idiocy, so adding a little more ridiculous behavior could hardly hurt.3

Eventually, someone decided to shoot me. I'm honestly not sure which side. Maybe both.

Upside: I got a lot of good practice flying support, and the ship loss was amusingly cheap.

And, not for nothing, having an excuse to drop fleet afterwards (when the FC called it a night) was something of a blessed release.

1 - There's also a disturbing trend wherein the forces behind Gabriel's Greater Internet Dickwad Theory manifest at such a high concentration in EvE that intelligent, well-spoken people who seem immune to this phenomena (while on Reddit, for example) turn into mouth-breathing frat boys the moment they log into the game and join a fleet. I'm embarrassed on their behalf.

2 - One of the nice things about wormholes? You are generally insulated from the 90%, except in small doses. Call that a plus. In faction warfare, I keep my local channel set so I only see who's in the system (not anything anyone's actually saying), and make liberal use of the 'block' chat function make other channels marginally useful.

3 - It's easy to poke fun, but you must be careful when casting stones; stuff easily as stupid happens with head-shaking frequency throughout the game. Usually, the result is a lot more costly (which either makes it more or less funny, depending on who you ask.)


Life in Eve: A Tour of the Bringing Solo Back Interview with CCP Fozzie #eveonline

I'm often on voice comms while playing Eve, and a lot of the discussion lately has been about the changes coming in the winter expansion.

One of the things I often bring up is the interview that CCP Fozzie did on the Bringing Solo Back podcast (Kil2 and Kovorix), but that gets kind of frustrating. I'll quote something interesting that Fozzie said, then someone says "where did you hear that?", I mention the podcast, and no one knows about it.

SO: if you are interested, you can find the podcast over here , but as it's fairly long (~90 minutes), I've provided a bit of a road map to the bits I thought were particularly informative.

DISCLAIMER: I don't have anything to do with the BSB podcast (other than as a devoted listener) -- I'm just doing this to spread the word, because I think it's hugely helpful in providing context about the changes coming in the winter expansion.


8:25 - The "training path" of the new support ships, leading to Logistics ships.
10:23 - A bit more on the process of ship revisions.
14:53 - The "flavors" of each race's ships -- "individuality" balanced against "every ship should be useful for something."
15:55 - "Some of the old 'racial flavor' things... kind of suck."
17:10 - "'Good fits' are often kind of similar." Some talk about differentiating ships in Eve by finding new niches for them, and where that's still a problem with redundancy (HACs versus tier3 BCs).


22:51 - The last three combat frigates: kestrel, tristan, breacher.
27:00 - Ewar frigates. (potential change to ECM coming in the expansion)
29:07 - Support (logistics) frigates.


37:35 - Small tweaks to current destroyers.
39:15 - The history of random silly numbers in various ship stats.
40:00 - The four new destroyers.

40:45 - DRONES
(really sort of a destroyer tangent that went crazy and became its own topic)

40:45 - Some discussion of drones as secondary weapon systems for Gallente and Amarr.
43:05 - The issue with putting missiles - especially short-range missile systems - on slow, heavily armored ships.
44:00 - Relevant Tangent: "Making active armor-tanking not be so slow."
46:00 - More on drones.

There is SOME implication (46:10 - he doesn't say it outright - I am INFERRING) that while the Amarr will use drones almost as much as Gallente for secondary damage, and have roomy drone bays, they won't have the BANDWIDTH of Gallente ships, who will be able to field beefier flights of drones. "I don't see us pushing heavy drones to Amarr hulls." Basically it sounds like "Light fast drones go with slow heavy Amarr ships, and bigger heavier drones with the (eventually) faster Gallente ships that can get in close and THEN release drones."

46:45 - Why drone speed bonuses are a problem.

49:10 - CRUISERS

50:20 - "We really want tech1 ships to be viable and used a lot."
50:50 - How the relationship between new tech1 frigates and tech2 frigates demonstrates the kind of relationship and 'gap' CCP wants to see between all tech1 and tech2 versions of a ship.
52:14 - Attack Cruisers' new speeds (roughly a 20% increase in speed to the attack cruisers) & what will make Combat Cruisers attractive?


55:05 - "The places Amarr does well right now [...] is the battleships, so a lot of those kind of archetypes are the kind of things you'll see drop down [to smaller ships]."
58:00 - Adjusting beam weapons.


1:00:40 - "ASBs are definitely a balance issue, right now."
1:02:00 - "Greyscale is a champion for active-tanking (in PvP)."
1:02:50 - "Increasing the kinds of decisions that people can make [in Pvp] is a good thing."
1:05:25 - Back to ASB discussion.


1:07:00 - "Hitting [off-grid] boosting with a GIANT baseball bat."
1:08:15 - "What's wrong with links, by your evaluation?"
1:10:20 - "The idea with tech3s was always that they should be good generalists; they do a number of those things at the same time, but they shouldn't be as good as tech2 [ships]. The area where you see that working really well is EWAR. [...] That's where we would like see them when it comes to links."

1:11:26 - ECM




Life in Eve: Retribution is Coming #eveonline

So last night, I actually found myself online at the same time as Em, and we had time to talk about the changes coming up with "Retribution" -- the winter expansion. The upshot of that conversation was that a lot of the stuff that I'd categorized as "everybody know this is coming" was stuff that Em hadn't heard about yet.

So I figured I'd list out pretty much everything I'm aware of that's coming with Retribution. A few caveats:

  • I'm not going to talk about Crime Watch and the new Bounty system, because not much has been posted about it yet.

  • I'm going to be briefly summarize the changes, but this is still going to be a monster of a post. Can't be helped: there's a TON of stuff coming in this expansion.

Now then, let's get started:

Faction Warfare

  • WAR ZONE CONTROL - War zone control does not currently encourage players to hold space, only to upgrade Infrastructure-hubs when they need to buy stuff from the LP store (upgraded warzone control gives truly massive store discounts for the limited time the upgrade is in place). The upcoming change removes the  discounts, and modifies the amount of loyalty points you earn doing FW stuff instead.They're also going to make it harder to upgrade and downgrade the control in individual systems within the war zone, which should make whatever tier you're at more 'sticky'.There are a number of things they're putting in to make this happen, but basically offensively taking out offensive complexes won't 'bleed' the stability of a system's upgrades quite as hard (though it will still pay as well), defensively plexing in a contested system will actually reward you something other than standing, and guys can't just farm some system that's been stripped down to a totally vulnerable state for days on end -- vulnerable systems will give offensive plex-runners no payout at all.Opinion: Greed is a good motivator. This should encourage factions to actually keep and maintain desirable levels of zone control for the  LP bonus rather than just push to the max level for 40 minutes every couple weeks to 'cash out'. More zone control effort = more fights. The changes to the loyalty point payouts for offensive, defensive, and vulnerable-system plexing are very good -- see the other FW Complex Changes, below.

  • NEW SYSTEM UPGRADES - Current benefits from upgrading a system are a bit lame, especially in systems with no stations. The new iteration will, per level of upgrade in a system, add:

    • More manufacturing, copy, research, and invention slots in stations

    • Reduction in ship repair costs

    • Reduction in market taxes

    • Reduction in manufacturing times (this one is a pretty huge deal)

    • Reduction to starbase fuel cost (only happens twice, at tiers 3 and 5)

    • Able to anchor Cyno Jammer (only at tier 5 control of the system) to prevent getting an enemy capital ship fleet dropped on you. This is a special item and basically takes about 5 or 10 minutes to spool up, and lasts an hour.

  • FW COMPLEX CHANGES - there's a whole lot of changes to make it harder or outright impossible to ignore PvP in plexes. CCP wants these locations to be a good hot point for fights (anything to change things so every single fight isn't on a gate or a station is a good thing, in my opinion), and they're doing a lot of good stuff to make that happen.

    • The 'capture' beacon will be moved a lot closer to the entrance to the complex, so attackers don't have to first traverse 60 to 100 kilometers of empty space to get within range of their target.

    • All beacon capture ranges will be normalized to 30km.

    • Any hostile pilots or hostile NPCs inside the complex will prevent the capture timer from counting down, so if an enemy shows up, you need to kill 'em or drive them off.

    • They're adding a frigate-only complex, and reorganizing which ships can get into each of the four types of complexes, focusing on restrictions based strictly on size, not tech level of the ships.

    • Since complexes can't be captured if there are enemy NPCs active in the complex, you need to be able to kill them, though there will be fewer (only one active a time), so you can legitimately do this technically PvE activity with PvP-fit ships. (Also, they don't spawn if there's any PvP happening.) Also, the NPCs will be active-tanked to a level appropriate to their ships size, which means that there shouldn't be any more situations where a frigate is soloing a battlecruiser-class complex.Opinion: All in all, good changes; a hard counter to the no-gun, warp-away, risk-adverse, plex-farming bullshit going on right now.

Mission NPCs (including Faction Warfare NPCs)

All mission NPCs will get upgraded to the "sleeper AI", modified somewhat. That means that NPCs in all missions will switch targets based on threat (instead of just aggroing the first guy who warps into the site and sticking to him until killed). They will target drones less than Sleepers do and will, if possible, target ships of roughly the same class as themselves, provided such targets exist.

Opinion: The fact that supposedly hardcore EvE players are whining about NPCs finally obeying "threat" code that's been standard in MMOs for ten years makes me laugh. Harden the fuck up.

Many Ship Changes are Coming

Well over 40 ships are either being revamped, tweaked, or simply created from scratch. Starting from the smallest and working our way up...

Tech1 Exploration Frigates

These ships are, today, basically used as disposable ships for lighting Cynos, and that's about it. CCP wants to see them in their intended role: solo running of high-sec exploration sites throughout New Eden -- a great occupation for newer players -- or to support more advanced ships in low-sec, null-sec, or wormhole space. They're all getting bonuses to hacking, archaeology, and salvaging so you can use them to both probe and run the "mini-profession" sites. Their combat ability has been directed at drones (3 or 4 unbonused light drones) instead of weak weapon bonuses -- enough to kill the rats in high-sec sites (although a combat frig will clear them faster) -- fit a light active tank, drop drones, and kite.

Opinion: The only downside to these changes is that it makes all four the ships feel sort of... the same. That said, they should be good at what they're intended to do, and a good way for a new pilot to practice scanning and make some money. Now, if they'd just change the hull for the Imicus -- god that's a stupid-looking ship...

Tech1 EWar Frigates

Since these were formerly "low-tier" frigates, they're getting pretty significant buffs to make them 'as good as other frigates', while focusing on their given role. CCP's goal is to see these ships become commonly used by newer players to take useful roles in fleets of many different sizes. CCP has also said they expect to release them alongside some tweaks to certain ewar mechanics themselves (for instance, the Griffin getting another mid-slot for yet more ECM, but apparently ECM's getting tweaked so that it's going to balance out).

The Crucifier (Amarr) and Vigil (Minmatar) are being bonused towards longer-range disruption, while the Griffin (Caldari) and Maulus (Gallente) are more medium range oriented.  CCP has also said that some EWar was over-nerfed in the past (hello, Gallente) and will be looked at.

Tech1 Support Frigates -- Your first "healer" ship

One of the coolest things CCP is doing with this expansion is establish better 'training' paths for certain classes of ships -- you want to be the support/repair/buff guy? Well, you don't have to wait two months to finally fly a viable ship! You can start with Support Frigates, move to Support Cruisers, and then to the tech2 Logistics Cruisers that we all know.

Each race will be getting a tech one support frigate, bonused in remote repairing. (10% bonus to repair amount per level, 10% reduction in capacitor draw for reppers per level, and a flat 500% bonus to remote repair module ranges). They're also giving them more scan resolution across the board, cutting the cycle time of small remote armor and shield reps in half so that these ships can respond more quickly to the fast pace of frigate combat, and reducing the fitting requirements of these modules. These ships have a max rep range of 28.8km with Tech2 rep modules and are generally among the slowest of the tech one frigates.

The Support Frigates are generally created from the 'mining' frigates that no one ever uses for anything, ever. This is perhaps the trickiest part of the winter frigate rebalance, since CCP is creating an entirely new role for frigates in a fleet, and hopefully shaking up frigate and other small-gang combat quite a bit.

These ships are, by design, weaker for their size than Tech2 Logistics Ships. This reflects both the lower cost and Skill investment and the design goal that they add to current frigate warfare without eclipsing all the other ships in the lineup.

More Tech1 Combat Frigates

We've already seen the changes to the Merlin, Incursus, Rifter (not much change), Punisher, and Tormentor (the mini-Armageddon -- a design philosophy in which CCP acknowledges that the Amarr battleships are the best the Amarr has for PvP, so let's copy those designs in miniature). These last three round out the Combat Frigate lines to 8 ships, two for each race. All three tend to favor long-range combat.

The Kestrel, in contrast to the heavier-tanked, gun-toting Merlin, is the start of the Caldari training path for pure missile damage. It's going to do good damage with any type of missiles you can fit on it, with great range. It's also going to be quite a bit more fragile than the new Merlin, though tougher than the older version of itself. It's also getting a bit faster.

The Tristan is moving away from being a mix of missiles and guns, to being a mix of guns and drones. It will be able to field a full flight of light drones, with almost a full second flight of replacements or utility. It's guns are bonused for tracking, to deal with the fact that it will probably fit railguns over blasters (it has a nice bonus to targeting range). It's about as slow and tough as you remember. It's going to be a hell of a fun ship to bring on frigate roams.

Finally, the Breacher is another missile-boat. It gets an agnostic missile damage bonus, like the Kestrel, but (and I like this) it's second bonus is to shield repair amounts, making it a tiny, missile-tossing Cyclone. I approve.

New ORE Mining Frigate (Please name it the Chribba.)

Designed as an entry-level mining ship, this will replace the old mining frigates in the Industry Career Path tutorials. It has an outstanding mining output, capacitor, and mobility, with an astounding (for a frigate) ore hold of 5000 cubic meters. Its purpose is to be a fast hull capable of mining in hostile space (even if the current value of high-sec ore defeats this goal quite a bit). It also serves as an AMAZING gas harvester. With its inherent +2 warp core strength bonus, it should stand a fair chance of doing its job without being instantly tackled and killed.

With it's bonuses, the ship can do with two mining lasers what it would take any other ship five lasers to accomplish. This means that when gas harvesting, it's output as good as any gas-harvesting battlecruiser you care you name, with almost twice as much 'ore' cargo capacity for that gas.  Even without a propulsion mod, it can be built to be practically unscannable, cruise around at close to 500 meters per second, and align-to-warp in 2.5 seconds.

Oh, and it gets a flight of three light drones.

I will buy these things by the six-pack.

Existing Destroyers Rebalanced

CCP sees destroyers trading resilience and mobility for firepower. Existing destroyers are mostly fine as they are right now, but they are getting a few tweaks, notably the Coercer, which is in sad shape.

The Coercer is getting a second medium slot (finally!), losing a low in the process. It also got more CPU and Powergrid, so it can squeeze on the largest small lasers (once those weapon's fitting requirements are changed, see below).

The Cormorant swaps one medium out for a new low slot. Capacitor, agility, and signature radius were inconsistent with other Caldari ships and were adjusted.

The Thrasher and Catalyst were barely touched.

Four New Destroyers

The new destroyers keep the same role as existing hulls - anti-frigate platforms. However they use alternate weapon systems to reach that goal, which means drones and missiles. Next to the existing destroyers, they have slightly less mobility, more signature radius, less capacitor, but are a bit tougher, with better damage projection due to the weapon types they use. Price will be roughly the same as existing destroyers.

Amarr: The Amarr destroyer is designed to take down opposition through indirect means. It gets bonuses to drone damage and hit points, and 20% range bonus to energy vampire and neutralizer modules (which will take up some or all of its six turrets with small neuts that reach out to about 13 kilometers). It's basically sort of a mini-Curse. The damage is nothing special, but energy disruption ability plus drone control makes it, potentially, a real game changer in smaller fights. Like the Arbitrator, it has large bay of drones (able to field flights of five light drones at a time), giving it many options and utility choices.

Caldari: Missiles, missiles, missiles, missiles, that's what this hull is all about. It spams missiles from eight launchers at quite a long range, and boasts improved explosion velocity to catch those pesky annoying little orbiting frigates.

GallenteCombines both turret and drone damage. Will probably have five turrets bonused for tracking (railguns), with a single utility high slot. Damage is lower than a Catalyst, but much better damage projection (two full flights of lights in its drone bay) -- especially with drone damage amplifier changes.

Minmatar: This ship is unique among all Destroyers as it has a bonus that improves survivability - it is designed to zip around in the battlefield at high velocities (it gets a bonus that reduces its signature size when using a Microwarpdrive) while spewing missiles from its seven launchers. As a downside, it's less efficient at hitting fast moving targets at greater ranges, like the Caldari hull.

Weapon and Module Changes

There have been a bunch, and I'm going to summarize a lot, and probably forget many things. This is the stuff that seems to be attracting the most attention.


Light missiles and rockets got buffed. All larger short-range missile systems got buffed either directly, indirectly, or both. Heavy Missile Launchers got 'nerfed' so that they perform more in line with long-range weapon system -- compared to those weapon systems, they'll be second highest in DPS and volley damage once the changes go in. Several types of missile launchers got easier to fit. Tech2 missiles generally got buffed, though a few became less useful.


Smalls and medium lasers got easier to fit, and several got renamed to be less stupid. (No more small lasers named "medium" something.)


Medium artillery cannons got easier to fit, and some ships (Hurricane) got their powergrid adjusted down to compensate. (As I mentioned yesterday, this 'hurricane nerf' isn't much of one, though there may still be more changes coming.)

Drone Damage Amplifiers got easier to fit.

Ancillary Shield Boosters got nerfed down a bit, because they needed it. Basically, they have the same repair capacity, but they can't keep it going for nearly as long before they have to reload (and then die).

Ewar Cruisers

These are the Disruption cruisers, inexpensive ewar platforms. CCP is revamping the tech1 Ewar cruisers with similar goals to the Tech1 ewar frigates. Two are focused on pure ewar with range bonuses (Blackbird and Celestis) and two are more hybrid ewar/brawlers for small gangs (Arbitrator and Bellicose).

Arbitrator: Bonus to tracking disruptors and drone damage/hit points. Not many changes, as CCP sees this as a really good ship already. In general it got a bit tougher and the capacitor got buffed. It's got better weapon options now as well -- rather than trying to squeeze on unbonused energy neutralizers in an effort to be a poor-man's Pilgrim, the Arb pilot can run with two lasers and two missile launchers in its highs, if he wants to.

Blackbird: Bonus to ECM jam strength, optimal range, and falloff. Slightly better tank and capacitor. Now has a small drone bay. Ridiculous base targeting range (85km).

Celestis: Bonus to Sensor Damp effectiveness and optimal range. Big drone bay (two full flights of lights, or a flight of mediums) with the bandwidth to match. With the added drones and two(!) more low slots, it's even better at ignoring its intended role to triple-web-kill frigates.

Bellicose: Bonus to Target Painter effectiveness and Missile Launcher rate of fire (with four launchers). Complimentary bonuses! Amazing! Way more CPU for fitting. Better shields. Faster. I'll be having these.

Tech1 Support Cruisers

These are the tech1 remote repair ships designed to operate alongside or instead of Tech2 Logistics ships.
These ships continue the 'upgrade path' started with Support Frigates, which new players can follow all the way into T2 Logistics ships (or even carriers). These ships are weaker (both in reps and tank) than Tech2 versions, but they are designed to be capable in a mixed Tech1/Tech2 fleet, when what counts most is participation.

CCP Fozzie:
"If we've done our job right, then when a newer player shows up to your Armor fleet saying "I've got an Augoror, how can I help?" the FC will respond with "Join our logistics channel, the guys in there will get you set up with the cap chain and anchor", rather than "LOLN00B come back with a real ship."

These ships are very close to their Tech2 counterparts in range, speed, agility, cap chain ability, and cap stability. They should be able to hang out with a Logistics crew and do their thing, albeit at reduced effectiveness. They also rely more strongly on role bonuses than skill bonuses, so that they will continue to be viable even when your pilot doesn't have Cruiser 5. (Their repair range and cap chain ability remains basically the same no matter who's flying the ship.)

Also, as with the the Logi frigate balance pass, CCP adjusted the repair modules at the same time, reducing some fitting requirements significantly.
The downside for their cheapness and low skill requirements will mainly be rep amount (at best, two-thirds of a Tech2 Logistics ship), signature radius, sensor strength, and tank.

Basically, all four ships got:

  • A 15% bonus to either either Remote Armor Repair amount or Remote Shield boost, per level.

  • A 5% reduction in the capacitor use of the appropriate module (remote shield or armor reppers), per level.

  • A flat 1000% bonus to the range of the appropriate module (and to Energy Transfers, for the Augoror and Osprey).

In addition, the Osprey and Augoror get a flat 200% bonus to Energy Transfer Array transfer amount (welcome to the cap chain), while the Exequror and Scythe get a bonus to the repair amount of Logistics drones.

They all get a few more fitting slots, improved power grid or CPU (or both), buffed tank, buffed capacitor, and increased drone capacity. (The Exequror tops the charts on this, as it can field a full flight of bonused medium logi drones, while the Scythe has the weird bandwidth and drone bay values that Scimitar pilots should find familiar.)

Attack Cruisers

Somewhat more anticipated cruisers than Ewar and Support Cruisers. "Attack" cruisers are the faster and lighter of the fighting cruisers.

The gap between Attack and Combat cruisers mirror the gap in the frigate lines, although for cruisers the divide isn't as sharp. These ships do have less EHP than the Combat cruisers, but can still be tanked pretty well if you sacrifice some of your firepower.

These ships (the Omen, Caracal, Thorax, and Stabber) saw quite a bit of adjustment, though the really lame ones got more love.

Omen: Speaking of lame, boy did this guy get some love. Double-bonuses laser turrets. Another low slot. Improved powergrid and CPU. Roughly a 20% increase in mobility. Much better drone capacity.

Caracal: Excellent missile platform. Improved tank. Two more low slots. Much better powergrid and CPU. A nice fat boost to base speed.

Thorax: Probably adjusted the least of the group. Slight weaker tank, but a big boost to base speed, leaving it second only to the Stabber. A bit more CPU for fitting, another medium fitting slot, and that's about it.

Stabber: Poor stabber, how you've been mistreated all these years. How can we make it up to you? How about being the fastest attack cruiser by almost 20%? Bonused turrets with a falloff buff for better kiting? Another low and mid slot? Better tank?

Can't decide? Then you can have all of the above!

You still only get that one little light drone, though. No luck there. Sorry.

Combat Cruisers

Last but not least, the Combat Cruisers are designed as front line warships with both solid damage and good staying power. These ships got less dramatic changes than the others. The average tank of the set is only 2% higher than the average tank of the old "Tier 3" cruisers. Their main advantages over the other t1 cruisers are in tanking and a more robust capacitor.

Maller: No longer the useless, over-tanked, under-gunned bait ship! The maller gets a bonus to damage on its five laser turrets and a bonus to armor resists (rather than raw hit points, like the old version) (oops: got this confused with the Navy Augoror). A nice fat boost to powergrid should make fitting the medium turrets a lot easier, too. It picked up a chuck of base armor hit points, and also got about 25% faster.

Moa: Basically the shield version of the Maller, with a bonus to hybrid turrets and shield resistances. Doesn't look like much else changed on this ship, but I never got the sense that it was that weak -- just unspeakably ugly.

Vexor: If it ain't broke, dont' fix it. The vexor gets a bonus to both medium hybrid turret damage and drone hitpoints and damage. It loses the utility high slot, but gains both a mid-slot and low-slot, making it very versatile. The extra powergrid may even mean it can fit right-sized guns! Very solid tank (tons of structure hit points, because Gallente) and improved speed.

Rupture: If anything the Rupture was tweaked even less than the Vexor. One less high slot (why even bother making launchers an option), one more mid-slot (yay flexibility!). As with all minmatar, it's faster than the other ships in its class, and remains a great option.

... and I'm spent.


Life in Eve: Quick Post on the Hurricane Nerf #eveonline

Quoting CCP Fozzie:

Since we plan to reduce the powergrid needs of all medium artillery by 10% across the board, we are also planning to subtract 225 Power Grid from the Hurricane.

The upshot is that [...] fitting a standard shield autocannon cane with neutralizers and a Large Shield Extender will require dropping a few guns down to 220mm.

Lots of people are freaking out about this. This is a bit ridiculous for two reasons.

1. The hurricane deserves this adjustment. Like the Drake, it's too good: better than most any other battlecruiser class in the game.

2. No one actually went and looked at what they could do with a Hurricane with the new powergrid totals.

[Hurricane, Post-PG-nerf 425s Shieldtank w Neuts]
Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Experimental 10MN MicroWarpdrive I
Warp Scrambler II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II

425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
425mm AutoCannon II, Republic Fleet Phased Plasma M
Medium Unstable Power Fluctuator I
Medium Unstable Power Fluctuator I

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Warrior II x5
Light Armor Maintenance Bot I x1

So the current 'cane has a powergrid of 1687 with perfect skills. Subtract 225 powergrid, and you have 1462.5 powergrid.

This fit:

  • Requires 1461.35 powergrid.

  • Rolls out at 1552 m/s.

  • Does a whopping 698 DPS.

  • Still has a solid shield tank.

  • Still has two medium-sized neutralizers, just like it always does.

In short, with good skills, this really doesn't change much.

With less-than-perfect skills, you still don't have to drop down to 220mm autocannons -- you just put in a couple Meta3- or Meta4-level 425s to squeeze everything in.

(And even if you do switch to 220s, the damage is quite close to 425s, with better tracking -- if anything, this change will make hurricanes even more dangerous as anti-support ships.)

I won't even talk about the Drake changes -- it's been a long time coming, and if anything I don't think it goes far enough.