Monday, April 2, 2012

Brawler Canes

Your primary goals as a brawler hurricane pilot is as follows:

I) DPS the primary
II) Spread tackle to potential secondaries/expensive ships
III) Stay alive.

1). When the primary is called get within 10km as quickly as possible. Reduce transversal by turning off your Mwd but continue moving. I hit "orbit at 500". Make sure you are shooting the right damage type. Typically this means EM/Thermal against Drakes and any shield ships, Fusion against armor tankers and T2 Minmatar.

2). If someone calls "tackle on the primary" your next job is to spread your tackle to another likely target.

Excellent examples:

A nano HAC (Vagabond/Cynabal) burns within 10km of you. Overheat your scram (don't forget to take heat off), turn on mwd, tackle/neut him and make sure you stay approaching him/monitor your cap usage. In this situation calling "XXXX Tackled" would be a good idea. Only call "tackled" if you are going to be able to hold the target for sure. If he gets away, it's on you.

High DPS/Fast ships. T3 Battlecruisers (Tornados, etc). Brawler canes rely on everything clumping together. Tackle glass cannons before they get away and crush us.

Expensive ships: Anything that would potentially be a juicy kill mail should be tackled especially if we will likely win the fight. T2, Faction ships especially.

Fast tackle that will quickly die: If an interceptor, dramiel, light dictor, or anything that you can basically 2 shot comes within neut/scram range and you aren't tackling more important things, go ahead and neut/scram kill them.

3). If you are not approaching a target, align out. If you are primary immediately overheat your MWD/Invuln and align out. Check for tackle. If you are not scrammed, webbed, GTFO. If you are tackled, overheat your guns (if you die it won't matter if they burn out) and do as much damage as you can before you go down. Do not flood comms with "immmm dyinggggg!!! immm in armorrrr!!! neeeddd reps!!! Finally, if the fleet is shooting something you have tackled but you are about to go down, call for secondary tackle.

Broadcast for reps. If you do not hit "need shields" on the bottom of the fleet window you will not receive shields.

These fleets work by tackling enemy gangs close together and applying high amounts of DPS.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Skill in Eve? (Part I)

My concept of PvP in Eve has changed. Our loss on "Pearl Harbor" was a crippling blow in the short term to our corp but it did serve to separate the boys from the men. It also set me thinking about what parts of eve I was really drawn to.

I have come across many approaches to Eve game play; specifically that which involves PvP.

The central question seems to be this: What is the definition of a good PvPer?

Or to be more precise: What constitutes skill in PvP?

When I first looked at the mechanics to eve there did not appear to be much "skill" other than set orbit, fire guns, etc. The skill appeared to be based in who had the most encyclopedia-like knowledge of every ship/mod and could put themselves in situations that they would win. That being said, there are certainly players I want on my side rather than against me. If any monkey could PvP in eve, why do certain players stand out for consistently terrible play and others for the opposite?

After spending time can flipping I started to see how there is very much a psychological aspect to eve. Skill with can flipping is a measure of judging your target's actions to determine if they are best coaxed into aggression via acting weak, intimidating, trolling, etc. Once a target has committed, you can minimize risk by looking them up on battleclinic, watching local, and flying well. Knowledge of high sec aggro rules is essential as well as patience and creativity. 0,0 bro's might scoff at can flipping, but some of my most satisfying kills have come out of it.

Highsec wardecs are another ball game. A common trend seems to involve one large fight at the beginning of the weak where corps measure each other up. Nine times out of ten, one corp will be overwhelmingly superior and the rest of the week it will hunt down careless members of the lesser corp. Skill in the first battle involves masking forces, especially neutral remote reps, and winning a decisive victory. Wardecs are measured predominantly on kill board isk ratios. To a lesser extent, it is a measure of which corp can maintain "space superiority" and force the opposing corporation's members to stay docked up, and likely logged off for the duration of the week. Scouting, intel, and baiting are all incredibly important here.

My criticism of wardecs is that it encourages conservative play style.

When we were previously in the Gank Bears corporation (8-10 Active players) war decced by the 200 man Devils Warrior Alliance we resorted to gorilla warfare. The pinnacle of this play style can be seen when they were baiting with a Bhaalgorn and Navy Domi off our station in Grinacanne. I undocked in a typhoon with a proteus as back up, we scouted a jump in each direction but didn't seen any of them. I noticed the Navy Domi was approaching me so I burned off station. When he got 8ish Km off the station, we undocked a gank BS fleet behind him and scrammed/webbed him. We blew him up and warped away as their 20+ man gang landed (it had been waiting 2 jumps out). We had a fun couple of minutes smack talking then all logged off to play some other game because we couldn't possibly fight them. The rest of the week we didn't want to fly anything expensive and risk losing our kill board lead.

Worm hole PvP is one of my personal favorites. It requires a good deal of work finding good targets, but the unique game play dynamics of worm holes makes it all worth it. A kill in a worm hole is all the more satisfying because you know that it is possible to restrict enemy supply lines. Kill enough of the enemy and prevent them from moving new ships in, and soon the worm hole will become untenable for them. I imagine this is how Sov 0,0 leaders feel but on a more manageable scale. The skill of the hunt is one major aspect, but the fights can be just as varied and intense as 0,0 without gates, stations, or local to hide behind. You never know when a pair of carriers is going to emerge from that carebear POS you have under siege.

Next up:

Recent experiences in NPC 0.0, the answer to what skill in eve is, and limited battle reports on three engagements.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Day Which Will Live in Infamy

December 7th, 2011.

Let's start off with the bright side. Over 30 players logged into our vent server for the fight. We pulled off a logistical feat moving over 20 combat ships into a c2 worm hole with under 24 hours notice. We coordinated with pilots spread over 10 hours of time zone differences and managed to engage in a the largest fleet fight eHarmony has ever been a part of.

On to the the down side: Over 4 billion Isk lost between eHarmony and allies for only 400 million killed. Our bait POS was destroyed and we have been kicked out of the worm hole.

So what went wrong?

A super committee has been established to investigate the evidence and the report can be found here:

The December 7th Commission Findings:

12/06 T-21:00:

Bait POS was put into reinforce and unlike in the previous bait POS operation, eHarmony high command effectively timed the strontium and a date was established. Once against Pollychrest misread the time and the mail that went out called for action at 0200 EVE when the POS in fact was scheduled to emerge from reinforce at 300 EVE. Can someone please buy him a watch?

It turns out this was actually a brilliant move by Pollychrest as it allowed him to work a logistical miracle to get the majority of our forces into the POS before the targets were able to restrict movement.

At this a plan was formulated by eHarmony high command to counter the fleet that initially put our bait POS into reinforce. This fleet numbered 20+ with the majority of DPS and reps being Amarr based. The call went out for close range gank BS, scorpions with amarr/caldari jams, and armor reps of our own.

12/07 T-9:00 Hours:

The logistical operation began with some pilots (notably Meri Saissore) jumping as many as 70 jumps to get their ships into J103716 ahead of time.

At this point the full gravity of the situation became apparent when an SRS. pilot mentioned that it was the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. eHarmony command acted quickly to rename our POS “Pearl Harbor.” Large secure containers were named “Hospital Point, Dry Dock No. 1, Ford Island Air Field, Etc.” All battleships, battle cruisers, logistical ships, etc. were named after the closest corresponding equivalent to the real Pearl Harbor vessels. Battleship Row was meticulously aligned and pods named after the captains of their corresponding ships approached the “Troop Bunker” secure container.

Admittedly, we may have been better off choosing the Japanese side considering the Kamikaze attack that would follow.

12/07 T-1:00 Hours:

Enemy activity picked up and it became clear that they would repeat their previous strategy of placing a HIC on the stage III high security hole. A significant portion of our forces were stuck in known space and began a wild goose chase of attempting to get to the next hole before it could be put into stage III by SRS. and friends.

12/07 T-15 Minutes:

The decision was made to attack the SRS. forces based on their previous, skittish behavior. We did not coordinate 30 people, with many setting alarms to wake up, just to protect a worthless POS. We wanted a fight.

Scout Marysol Cwidda lost a Helios after incorrectly judging the 3 minute timer and even worse, apparently failed to make the Highsec entrance a corp bookmark.

12/07 T-10 Minutes:

Even though the high sec side of our forces was locked out, the order was given to log in and proceed to the warp in points. Even though the warp in points were repeated multiple time over comms, and X'd in fleet, this proved to be a major flaw in the battle plan. Players who logged in at the second rally point were not able to join fleet fast enough to see the X's and based on the sheer number of players involved this was an inefficient method of moving the fleet as a unit.

Upon landing the primary was given and it quickly became apparent that the ship selection was poor on eHarmony's side. Initially anticipating a smaller scale fight, close range gank battleships were selected. Upon reviewing the video evidence, The December 7th Commission has determined that the majority of our DPS hit the HIC bubble and landed 22-30 Km's from the initial targets.

Targets were sorted alphabetically and the first Abaddon died quickly enough once friendly DPS got into range. 30 seconds into the fight, our primary FC was jammed out and the second FC chose a target that was closer to some of our forces. Unfortunately, the fight had spread out over 60 Km's by this time and many ships were nearly 50 Km's from the new primary.

There were also several reports of difficulty finding the non-alphabetically selected primary.

It became apparent that it was a lost cause and the order was given to get out. Only those lucky, or... cowardly enough to have approached the worm hole before the order was given were able to escape.

Lessons learned:

In increasingly large scale battles such as this one, complicated maneuvers immediately prior to the fight are a recipe for disaster. It is more efficient not only attack as a single unit, but take control out of the hands of the many, and into commanders who can warp squad/fleet.

In large scale fleet fights, ships that can project DPS out to range are more efficient than traditional high DPS ships that do not have said range. Footage reveals how spread out our fleet was by the end. Any primary that was called would have been out of range of a good deal of our fleet.

The primaries themselves need to be easier to find. Sorting alphabetically has advantages but does not necessarily lead to the best call. Picking a single name based on range/target type out of a list of ships can lead to confusion and difficulty. In future large scale engagements, FC's will broadcast targets and fleet members will target them directly from the broadcast history.

Moving Forward:

While this was a painful loss, it has taught many lessons that can only be learned with experience. Our lead FC's now have more hands on experience with this kind of fight. From a strategic level the corporation now has new fleet doctrines to train for.

We have demonstrated the ability to generate fights such as this one and now we need to demonstrate the ability to win them.

We will begin running more dedicated fleet types on roams to various areas. We will be running operations in NPC 0,0 to give some newer members the training and experience necessary to live out there.

Plans are in motion. Like our historical counterparts, eHarmony is the sleeping giant that has been awoken. We will match all our members on 29 dimensions whether they like it or not.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Snake Pit

Approx. 22:00 EVE eHarmony High Command

Shortly after dispatching the first scouts from Grinacanne, high command received an encrypted message from pilot RonPaul Rox. While observing a recent incursion into Gallente space by Sansha slavers in Mattere, he had discovered a group of capsuleers camping a worm hole.

A Rattlesnake class battle ship flanked by Myrmidon and Drake class battle cruisers had taken up intercept position with several mobile interdiction spheres to catch unwary travelers. A response fleet was scrambled and began to form in Adreland, one jump out of Mattere. Ron Paul was recalled to ship up into a Drake while Marysol Cwidda assumed the role of alt scout.

22:06 EVE J231545

Scout Marysol reported that there was no longer a single Rattlesnake on the hole, but now a total of no less than 5 Rattlesnakes, a Myrmidon and Drake with drones out 20 Km off the entrance to the worm hole. This would be no ordinary gank.

eHarmony High Command sounded DEFCON 3 and soon a sizable fleet was forming in Adreland. At this point eHarmony scout identified J231545 as a C3 Pulsar which gives a 55% buff to deflector shield capacity and 22% resist penalties to armor across the board. It doesn't take EFT to see that the odds were stacked against our armor fleet.

22:25 EVE Adreland

Morale was low. An additional two Rattlesnakes had been identified at a Large Caldari POS off scan from the worm hole and they were piloted. It seemed they had an unlimited supply. We could not match their numbers, much less the firepower they were capable of fielding.

No risk, No reward.

A call for volunteers was given and surprisingly not a single pilot opted out. With grim determination the order was given to update clones and insure ships. The fleet was prepared to fight to the death for the chance to exterminate a Snake or two.

22:38 EVE J231545

Scout Marysol sent a frantic message out that the Snakes were heading back to their pit. Our fleet of pilots were ready to meet death, not head home empty handed. The fleet was ordered to warp to the hole and hold. As the last snake warped off, Pollychrest maneuvered his Typhoon class battleship The Black Key II into the wormhole and prepared to act as bait.

22:40 EVE J231545

A lone Manticore uncloaked and engaged the The Black Key II. After exchanging blows at point blank range, the Manticore pilot soon found himself in a pod, heading back to his POS.

eHarmony's electronic warfare support was ordered to jump into the worm hole, cloak, and move into position 50 Km's off of the hole.

22:50 EVE J231545

The snake pit had been disturbed and it was only a matter of time before they came back for revenge.

Short range scanners detected first one Rattlesnake at 14 AU range, then two, then too many to count. Pollychrest patted his navigation officer on the back and maneuvered his ship to the edge of the bubble, in line with the warp in of the enemy forces. As soon as the first of the Snakes landed on grid, the fleet was ordered to jump into certain, outnumbered and outgunned death.

The enemy fleet landed 20km off the worm hole and committed fully by approaching The Black Key II inside of the influence of the warp disruption spheres. The primary was called and soon torpedoes, neutron blaster fire and Ogre II's were exchanged between the opposing fleets.

The Black Key II melted under the onslaught and soon Pollychrest was burning his capsule out of the cross fire. Only when he was safely in warp did he consider the unfortunate need to find a new navigation officer.

Comms stayed disciplined but the stress in FC Fangedterror's voice was evident. The first rattlesnake was going down but not fast enough. Falcon pilot LTTommyg was forced to warp out by enemy drones. Soon the second Falcon piloted by Kirila was forced off the field in a similar fashion, escaping in armor.

Voice chatter soon revealed that our suicide fleet had successfully eliminated a Rattlesnake but any consolation for Pollychrest's typhoon loss was soon wiped away when Fangedterror switched primary to a Machariel which arrived late to the battle. Apparently the snake pit had more than just snakes crawling out of it.

Primaries continued to be called but the order was given to regroup around the worm hole, surely a sign that whatever last stragglers we had were going to have to initiate a fighting retreat. Hurricane pilot Puregno grimly reported that he too had lost his ship.

It was time to make a mad break for the worm hole exit while there will still ships to serve as a distraction. Pollychrest warped to the worm hole knowing full well the bubble would catch him and it would be a desperate 20km dash to escape with his implants intact.

As he landed, only a single Rattlesnake remained. A quick check of the overview revealed that the bulk of the suicide fleets forces remained (only missing a Typhoon and Hurricane), while the last of the enemy ships which had not warped off, crumpled under eHarmony fire.

The cheers of eHarmony pilots were a mix of victory and surprise that they would be flying intact ships out of J21545
A combat salvaging operation resulted in over 1.6 Billion ISK in loot.

The logs revealed a total of 4 Rattlesnakes and a Machariel had been destroyed. Many of them containing Faction modules or T2 rigs.

500 EVE J231545

A victory like that only leaves the desire for more. “The Snake Pit” is the name given to the Caldari Large POS home of our adversaries and it holds true to it's name. Mad 4 Games was last seen moving at least 2 fresh Rattlesnakes into J231545.

eHarmony can not let a pest problem of this magnitude go unchecked. In a lightning raid we have successfully established a beachhead POS in the system as well as reinforced a small POS owned by Mad 4 Gaming's friends The Cult of The Knights of Ishtar before they had a chance to remove anything from their mobile labs.

The Mongoose and Rattlesnake must face off again.

J132721 Round 2

Originally posted by Fangedterror:

Location: J132721, Operation Winnebago II (AKA Bait POS)


Ahh thanksgiving, a day for family, turkey, and perhaps some football…And I’m talking American football you limey British bastards. Regardless of what you decide to do on thanksgiving, I think we can all be thankful for the Blazing Angels Alliance who decided to start attacking our bait pos with a handful of Tech-III ships and a smart bombing drake.

The Meat

Sometime before I started eating turkey:

Our wormhole will always have a high sec connection, but every once in a while it will also connect to a class 4 wormhole. And every so often these class 4 WH’s contain corporations or alliances that will use your class 3 WH as a route to high sec. This is precisely what happened with the Blazing Angels Alliance. After the WH connection was made, they locked down our high sec exit with heavy interdictor and a few Tengus.
It was only a matter of time before they found our POS in 66% shields from the assault just a day and a half before, completely defenseless. Not surprisingly they decided to engage.

Sometime after I started eating turkey:

After my thanksgiving meal I returned to the computer when I heard reports that some of the directors were getting mails that the POS was indeed under attack. I determined that the best course of action would be to take a shower. So I did.

Sometime after taking a shower:

Logging into eve, I popped open scan while warping back to the POS. Scan showed 4 Manitcores at the pos. Upon landing in my hurricane, I hit the MWD and started out because today murder is spelled F-A-N-G…Killing 3 in just a few seconds, the 4th one ran. With in a few minutes a larger support fleet had arrived at the POS consisting of: 1 Drake, 2 Lokis, 2 Tengus, and 1 Proteous... The bait pos had worked again.

Now the only problem was we needed to get the system that the High sec hole connected to, because it had changed in the past 4 hours. After scanning for a few mins we found it, but we also found their other fleet, well it was more of a…squad or duo…let’s go with duo. We found a Devoter (Amarr hictor) and a stealth bomber camping the hole.

So let me paint this picture for you, we got a fleet consisting of the above mentioned ships shooting our pos, while a Devoter and stealth bomber guard the hole. We will not be able to simply jump in and warp to the pos and smash the fleet.

“One does not simply jump into J132721”
-Boromir -- The Lord of the rings.

They will be warned and likely warp off before we could kill/force the Hic to jump. So I devised a marvelous plan…And yes I will be taking full credit for this plan, because I want to prove to everyone that I’m a much better tactician then Calrissian Lando, while he is brilliant at tactics and warfare, he lives in my shadows because I am the Zen master so to speak.

The Plan

The plan was simple enough. The outside fleet would be waiting one jump away on the gate ready to come in when the signal was given. When the fleet was all assembled I would warp from the pos to the hole and get caught in the Hictors bubble 20km off the Hole. While I was in warp our fleet would jump in, and warp to the Hole and hold. Once I landed on the Hictors bubble, I would immediately start engaging. The fleet that was attacking our POS would naturally warp to the hole to gank me. But because of the Hictor they too would end up 20 km away from the Hole. I had my D-Scan on 7.5 AU. Once I picked them up on scan, Our fleet would jump in and align to planet XI (the planet that our pos is at) they would burn to the edge of the bubble and intercept the Tech-III fleet, using their own Warp bubble to catch them 20km off the hole.

The Main event:

Once the fleet was assembled the mission was a GO. I started warp and the friendly support fleet came into to the high sec system that the WH was in, and initiated warp to the WH. I landed 20km off the hole on the edge of the Hics bubble. And then the friendly fleet landed on the other side of the WH. The only problem was there was and enemy Tengu on the high sec side of the hole, we were spotted. But no matter I picked up a Loki on scan and ordered our fleet to jump in and burn towards planet XI. Because of the warning, a few enemy ships were able to land and then warp or blitz to the hole, but we were able to lock down a loki and keep him in place. This was largely thanks to a super bump by titan, and massive webs from ADM’s Loki.




21:29 EVE eHarmony High Command

We receive our first report that our star base in the J13271 worm hole is under attack. Shortly after, a forward scout by the name of Fangedterror sent out a distress signal informing us that four Nagashima Heavy Industry and Shipping warships were in siege formation and POS shields were at 88% and falling rapidly.

21:33 EVE Grinacanne Solar System

An expeditionary force was quickly mustered consisting primarily of Battle cruisers. The fleet was instructed to rally on the Yuzier gate in Tanoo.

21:38 EVE J132721

In a surprising turn of events, our forward scout reported that an unaffiliated fleet engaged the Nagashima warships 10 Km off of our POS and destroyed two Dominix class battleships. Pilot Fangedterror honorably whored himself on to the kill mails:

The mysterious third fleet, then picked up where their victims had left off and POS shields were soon rapidly falling once more.

21:45 EVE Tanoo Solar System

Our fleet was assembled and the order was given to warp to Hehegabo, proceed into the worm hole and warp to Fangedterror at 30kms. Unfortunately, pilot Bel Geron was unable or unwilling to follow orders and warped to Fangedterror at 0 costing us the element of surprise. Fucking Bel. In spite of Bel's poor performance, we managed to drive off the enemy fleet and take up defensive positions.

23:46 Eve J132721

A distress signal was once more sent out. Nagashima Heavy Industries had returned to their previous position and shields were once more falling rapidly. A Phobos piloted by Calrissian Lando was dispatched to intercept the Nagashima fleet, as soon as he emerged from the POS shield he deployed his interdiction sphere and the trap was sprung. 5 Battle Cruisers performed the "Logoffski" maneuver made famous by Russian Admira Vasilli Logoffski and soon began to overwhelm the assaulting force.

Unfortunately, Nagashima had a trick up it's sleeve. A Thanatos class carrier emerged from warp and deployed fighters driving our fleet back within the POS bubble. This presented both an incredible challenge and oppurtunity. The call went out and within 15 minutes, over 25 pilots were fleeted and on comms. headed towards the new rally point at the Aband Solar System.

Pilot ADM Pentaclegram was assigned the mission of harassing enemy drones in his Legion Class advanced cruiser Hope of Salvation. Upon emerging from the protection of the POS deflector shield, his vessel promptly came under a barrage of heavy fire, energy neutralizing, and stasis webification. Through sheer willpower, Penta urged his ship back to safety, escaping with 7% hull integrity remaining.

23:58 J132721

The Nagashima fleet bolstered by their Thanatos class flagship managed to put our station into reinforce mode before the support fleet could arrive. Due to an error by eHarmony high command, the Strontium level was poorly managed and is currently due to come out of reinforce at 1700 GMT on 11/24.

As the fleet began to align away it seemed our effort would be for nothing. Pilot Calrissian Lando would not let them escape so easily. He led a desperate delaying action in his Phobos Class Heavy Interdictor, catching the Nagashima battleship fleet after their Flagship had escaped. Supported by the electronic warfare of Falcon Pilot Lafawnda Shenaynay, the eHarmony expeditionary force bought valuable time for the support fleet that was building strength one jump outside of Abandan. Pilot Pollychrest escaped with his Hurricane in structure in the first of several close calls of the day.

After a desperate fight, the Nagashima fleet returned to their POS. eHarmony High Command quickly set up a trap on the worm hole which now exited to Abandan. The Nagashima Battleship gang received a warp in from a Covert Ops Scout avoiding our bubble, but soon fell for the bait and engaged. Scout Hehegabo informed the eager support fleet that the Nagashima Thanatos was aligned to the worm hole. In a pitched fight the Battle cruisers of eHarmony trapped an Armageddon class battleship off the hole and proceeded to punch deep holes through it's armor. Of special note, Bel Geron redeemed himself by risking life and to ram his Hurricane into the enemy Armageddon, disrupting it's flight pattern and pushing it out of the gravitational radius of the worm hole. Pollychrest used his dual stasis webifiers to hold the Armageddon in place until he became the primary target of the enemy forces. As his ship melted around him, he heroically ordered his navigation officer to overheat the microwarpdrive and burned out all secondary slots to escape in 2% structure. The ship was so badly damaged in the assault that it was unable to make it back to the logistics of the support fleet in one jump, and had to limp across 40 AU to receive repairs.

Pilot Lafawnda Shenaynay uncloaked his Falcon too close to the enemy fleet and was promptly melted by laser fire and a second Falcon piloted by Demented Saint escaped in half armor.

As the battle raged it became clear that the Nagashima Flagship sensed danger and it soon became clear that it would not engage. The support fleet was called in and the survivors were mopped up including one Dominix class battle ship.

Plans have been set in motion to once against ensnare the Nagashima flagship. Whether it be Thanksgiving day, or 36 hours after, it must burn.