Thursday, 29 December 2011

Change of Address

At some point within the next few days, The Altruist will be moving to it's very own brand new url. Following the change, you'll be able to find the blog at:

It's likely that the site will be unavailable at some point during this change, and as a result I'll be holding off on any updates until it's complete.

I'll be forwarding the current address to the new one once the move is complete, however any links to specific articles will probably need to be updated.

If you're having trouble accessing the site at either address, the original blogger address ( should forward to whatever the correct location is.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Truth About Signature Resolution

One of the comments on my previous post raised quite an interesting question regarding signature resolution. The comment was this:

Include a graphic showing how the shots randomly hit within the signature resolution then compare it to the ships signature radius.

This refers to a method of describing how signature resolution works, and it's a method I've used in the past when explaining it to people. The fact is, unfortunately, that it is wrong. Since I may partly be to blame for giving people this impression, I thought that it was only right I set the record straight.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Video - Tracking and Spiralling

(Updated Jan 7th 2012)

For those of you who are familiar with Agony's public PVP classes, you'll know our PVP-Basic class covers a shedload of theory. A lot of it many of the students already know, and at around 5 hours it takes up a huge chunk of time which could be spent more productively by actually PVPing.

For this reason, we're currently undergoing a project to convert the whole theory portion of that class into a series of high quality video lectures, which students can watch in their own time. These will be publicly available, meaning anyone can watch them - even people who have no interest on coming on our classes.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Know Your Enemy - Pirate Cruisers

Unlike the navy faction cruisers which lie somewhere between their t1 and t2 counterparts, the pirate faction cruisers are the true alpha males of the cruiser line. Pirate cruisers tend to be fairly front-loaded, with high damage outputs, good range dictation abilities and moderate tanks. Like the pirate frigates their abilities vary quite significantly, incorporating features of both of their chosen races (for the most part, they have the same bonuses and general characterstics as their frigate and battleship counterparts). While navy cruisers tended to be simply powered up versions of existing ships, some of the pirate cruisers offer unusual bonuses and exotic combinations of tank and weaponry that aren't really found elsewhere.

At the time of writing, most of these ships are quite rare in PVP (and in PVE for that matter), with the exception of the cynabal which tends to be very popular.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Back Home

And after three weeks of upside-down antics, I've now returned safely (if slightly reluctantly) to the cold, damp and dark of the North. I had a great time, and I strongly recommend the trip down under to anyone who gets the chance - it's a long way from almost anywhere, so I know such opportunities don't come often or to everyone.

I've been on complete comms-blackout since I left (partly out of practicality since most of my destinations were fairly remote, and partly out of choice) so to those who left comments, questions or offers to meet up while I've been away - sorry for not responding.

Anyway, enough about me - you're probably here to read about spaceships, and this post is severely lacking in those! Thankfully you shouldn't have to wait long - as I mentioned before I left, I have a few new articles ready to go live in the imminent future. In the meantime, forgive me as I take a little while to adjust to timezone and temperature!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Azual Down Under

It's a long time since I had a holiday - too long. By the time this post goes live, I will hopefully have landed somewhere on the other side of the world, in the mysterious land they call Australia.

I'll be away for three weeks, returning on 20th November. I have a few more articles in varying stages of completion (including the next part of the faction cruisers series covering the pirate cruisers), however none of these are really polished enough to go live just yet, so expect no more blog updates until I get back.

To keep you going in the meantime, I do have a little alternative reading for you!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Know Your Enemy - Navy Cruisers

Faction cruisers may be t1 in name and skill requirements, but they are far stronger than their t1 counterparts in terms of performance. As with the faction frigates, there is a clear divide between the navy cruisers (belonging to the four empire factions) and pirate cruisers (belonging to the npc pirate factions). To begin with, we're going to look at the navy cruisers.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

New Battlecruisers and Balance Changes

It seems that the preliminary stats for the four new racial battlecruiser have found their way into the singularity cache files. There's also an unverified (but plausible looking) list of stat changes which surfaced about the same time. Obviously assuming these are genuine, they're still very early drafts and subject to change. That said, they give you an idea of where CCP is heading with the winter expansion.

Edit: Looks like the stats are confirmed as genuine, but as expected are an early build and by no means final.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Know Your Enemy - Logistics

The Logistics ships are the ultimate force multipliers; there is no other cruiser (except for perhaps the falcon) which provides a greater boost to a gang's effectiveness. These ships are the healers of eve, providing your active tank so that you don't have to and doing it well. While a local active tank might tank a solo opponent or with a bit of bling maybe even a small gang, a pair of logistics ships can keep you alive indefinitely in the face of otherwise overwhelming firepower.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Rifters are Red, Merlins are Blue - What's RvB and is it for you?

My recent post about the RvB gang night reminded me of an article I've been meaning to write for some time. Those of you who have been following the blog for some time will remember I took a brief break from Agony to try out some of Eve's other PVP opportunities. It ended up being much briefer than anticipated, such that I only ended up trying one of the avenues that I'd been hoping to delve into, and even that for less time than I'd hoped. That avenue was RvB.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Know Your Enemy - HICs

As their name suggests, Heavy Interdictors (also known as HICs) are the larger cousins of the Interdictor class. Where the light interdictors were fast and fragile, the HICs are slow and tough. Where dictors typically had bonuses providing additional damage output (although they weren't always fit to use it), HICs are designed far more with tanking on mind, with offensive power usually being an afterthought. However, it isn't simply the hulls which have changed - the way in which each class provides its interdiction capability is also very different.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Quick Tips - Dock Bookmarks

This is a fairly basic one, but it might be of use to some of you. You know occasionally when you warp to station and have to power a little way before you can dock? Usually it's only a few seconds so it's no big deal, but what if there are hostiles on station and you're in something especially slow or fragile? Ah, that could be more of a problem.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Threat Assessment - My Answers

Earlier this week I pubished an article about Threat Assessment. At the end of that article I gave a few examples of opposing and friendly gang compositions, and asked for suggestions as to how you might tackle them. Quite a few of you have given your thoughts (either through the blog or via other means), and as promised here are mine.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Getting Ganked with RvB

I'd just like to give a quick shout out to Red vs Blue, and in particular their new gankednights hosted by Mangala Solaris (who incidentally, recently started a blog).

These follow a very similar format to the ganknights of scrapheap challenge (and later failheap challenge) fame, and are a lot of fun (Mangala's blog explains the genesis of the idea and its relation to the srapheap events). The roams are open to anyone, and typically involve a few hours of roaming through nullsec in a themed fleet (rifter hulls, thorax hulls, and alpha thrashers have all been done so far) and killing as much as possible before everyone dies in a fire. Comms are relaxed, drinking is encouraged, and satisfation is guaranteed.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Threat Assessment - What Makes a Good Primary?

I've talked a lot recently about which ships make good or bad primary targets, so it's probably about time I explained why - what process do we go through to decide whether a particular ship should be taken down as a priority or left for later? We call this process Threat Assessment, and it can be broken down into two key questions: How much threat does a particular target present to me gang, and how quickly can I remove that threat.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Know Your Enemy - Recon Ships

Recon ships serve as both the t2 variant of the t1 electronic warfare cruisers, but also as the natural progression from both Covert Ops frigates and Electronic Attack frigates. In addition to the electronic warfare bonuses of their t1 counterparts, recon ships also receive bonuses to their secondary racial EWAR type in the same way as the EAFs. Recon ships are quite clearly divided into two sub-classes; Force Recon ships (rapier, arazu, falcon and pilgrim) and Combat Recon ships (huginn, lachesis, rook and curse).

Monday, 12 September 2011

Guest Article: FCing - The Soft Side

The following article was written by Christina Bamar, CEO of Agony Unleashed. It was originally written as an internal Agony article, but in the spirit of sharing knowledge we've decided to make it available to the public.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Know Your Enemy - Battlecruisers

Battlecruisers are among the most versatile ship classes in Eve, and one of my personal favourites. Much like their real life counterparts, the battlecruiser is essentially a beefed up cruiser with substantially improved firepower and resilience, while remaining below the level of a battleship. In exchange for these advantages, battlecruisers are quite a bit slower than t1 cruisers and have significantly larger signature radii making them easier to hit (although bear in mind they still use medium weapons, and so are just as capable of tracking their targets as a cruiser is).

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

General Updates

Due to the article-like nature of my blog posts, there isn't really much room to talk about the little things you might find in other blogs - updates on what I'm doing, plugs for other bloggers, and stuff like that.

And so, this post is dedicated to exactly that!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Ship Spotlight - The Merlin

Note: Due to rebalancing, the information in this article is now out of date.

I know I've already talked broadly about many different ship types, but today I'd like to spend a little more time on one ship in particular. The thing is, I've seen a lot of new players recently asking how they should start get involved in PVP - almost every one of them was quickly told to train minmatar and fly the rifter. This advice probably won't steer them wrong, but a PVP environment where everyone flies the same ship is more than a little boring, and more importantly in my opinion, does not do some of the other combat frigates the justice they deserve.

Don't get me wrong, the rifter is a really good ship - it's fast, it's flexible, and it packs a punch. It's also a ship that I'm personally very fond of - I've had some of my most memorable kills in a rifter, as well as some equally memorable losses. I just resent the idea that it's the only viable option, and that somehow by flying any of the other t1 combat frigates, you're doing it wrong.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Know Your Enemy - Heavy Assault Ships

Commonly known as HACs (short for Heavy Assault Cruisers, their more common if unofficial name), Heavy Assault Ships are the primary damage dealers of the t2 cruiser lineup. Despite their reputation as the warhorses of elite PVP, HACs are actually outperformed by their cheaper rivals the t1 battlecruisers in terms of damage output and tank. What HACs do offer is significantly better speed and range, and it is these properties they are generally used for (it's interesting to note that HACs are generally slightly faster than their t1 equivalent, unlike AFs which are usually slower than their t1 counterpart). HACs also offer increased resists, which makes them very effective in gangs employing t2 logistics ships.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Quick Tips - Undock Punting

I'm sure you're familiar with the following situation - your gang is docked in station, and there's a hostile camp on the undock. Maybe you don't all have undock bookmarks, or maybe the other guys just have fast lockers and you're not confident you'll be able to slip their grasp. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to get your whole fleet out, risk free?

Well, I have some good news for you: There is!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Know Your Enemy - T1 Cruisers (Part 2)

Note: This article is now out of date. Head over to the Article Index page to see the updated list.

In the last article we began looking at t1 cruisers, covering both the minmatar and gallente lines. This post will continue where that one left off, by looking at the caldari and amarr equivalents.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Know Your Enemy - T1 Cruisers (Part 1)

Note: This article is now out of date. Head over to the Article Index page to see the updated list.

T1 cruisers are then next true 'all rounder' class after t1 frigates, and thanks to their very reasonable price tag they offer a good next step for those looking to move towards larger-ship PVP. As with t1 frigates, some of these ships are obviously designed for combat, while others are not - that isn't to say they can't be used for it of course! In fact, you can often get a real advantage by PVPing in one of the less popular t1 cruisers, since PVPers typically associate them with newbies who don't know what they're doing. With a decent fit and a bit of common sense, you can prove them oh so wrong!

Due to the number of ships within the cruiser class, this article will be published in two halves. This first half will cover both minmatar and gallente ships, while caldari and amarr cruisers will follow.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Know Your Enemy - Dessys & Dictors

Note: This article is now out of date. Head over to the Article Index page to see the updated list.

(Updated for Crucible, winter 2011) 

Falling somewhere between frigates and cruisers in size and performance, destroyers (and their t2 cousins interdictors) are powerful yet fragile ships. Whereas frigates and cruisers are both fairly general classes (both at t1, and to a lesser extent at t2), destroyers and 'dictors are both specialised classes. While the two classes serve very different purposes in regular use, they do share some obvious similarities and so it makes sense to cover the two classes together.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Know Your Enemy - Faction Frigates

While faction frigates are t1 in name and in terms of skills required (and resists, incidentally!), they offer performance on par with or even exceeding t2. The capabilities of faction frigates vary wildly, from pseudo-interceptors like the dramiel and imperial navy slicer to the more assault-frigate like worm and caldari navy hookbill.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Know Your Enemy - T2 Frigates (Part 2)

Understanding the capabilities of different ships is a great advantage in eve pvp. This is a valuable skill for anyone, but especially useful for FCs, scouts, and anyone engaging in solo or small gang pvp.

Last time we started looking at the t2 frigate line, and this article will continue where that one left off. We've already covered assault ships, which are probably the more rounded of the t2 frigates. Now we're going to start looking at some of the slightly more specialised t2 frigate classes.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

As It Was, So It Shall Be

Eve politics is an interesting thing. It seems that events have a way of just picking up momentum by themselves, and before you know it you're already looking back from a place that can be quite definitively labelled as 'not what I had in mind', wondering where exactly the turning point was.

That's how the North felt to us. When we originally moved to Venal we did so looking for good fights with a bit of strategy on the side. The DRF were only just beginning their attack on Geminate, and as far as we were concerned it was just Agony moving into an npc region to mess with the locals - par for the course. As the situation developed and the Northern War ran its course, we somehow found ourselves part of the biggest offensive coalition in eve, flying as grunts in the war against the NC. Even now, I couldn't honestly tell you how that happened.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Know Your Enemy - T2 Frigates (Part 1)

This post is now out of date. For the updated version, see Know Your Enemy - Assault Frigates

Understanding the capabilities of different ships is a great advantage in eve pvp. This is a valuable skill for anyone, but especially useful for FCs, scouts, and anyone engaging in solo or small gang pvp.

In part two of this series, we're going to begin taking a look at the t2 frigate lineup. For me, this is where things become really interesting. T1 ships tend to be all-rounders; while some are better than others in a certain respect, none of them are particularly specialised. In t2 however, ships begin to fit into more of a defined role. While this makes them very effective at what they do, it also gives them weaknesses which can potentially be exploited.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Know Your Enemy - T1 Frigates

Note: This article is now out of date. Head over to the Article Index page to see the updated list.

Understanding the capabilities of different ships is a great advantage in eve pvp. This is a valuable skill for anyone, but especially useful for FCs, scouts, and anyone engaging in solo or small gang pvp.

If you're like me, you've probably already spent hours poring over ship attribute tabs, talking to pilots, or EFTing fits for anything and everything just to see what they're capable of. If you're not... well... this article might just come in useful to you!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Break Break FC - Fleet Comms in PVP

When you're out PVPing with other people, being able to communicate effectively is really important. This doesn't necessarily mean being strict on comms - some people will have their own preferences regarding comms discipline - however there are a few simple guidelines which will make your life much easier.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Career Break - Exploring Eve PVP

As many of you know, I've been running Agony's PVP University for about the last year and a half, and been with the corp in some fashion or other since well before that. In that time, a lot has changed - both in terms of Agony and in terms of Eve itself, and being part of that journey so far has been a blast.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Hydra Principle - Frigate Fleet Tactics

Frigate fleets are an excellent way to get started as an FC, as well as a great low-stress environment for newer pvpers to join in on the fun. Not only are they incredibly cheap, but even those players with no pvp experience whatsoever are likely to already have the skills necessary to take part. The downside of course is effectiveness - t1 frigates are notoriously fragile, and while against one or two opponents it's fairly easy to simple get under your target's guns, this is not so simple when facing a group of opponents. Getting the most from your frigate fleet then, requires some thought.

Anyone who has taken an Agony BASIC class will already be familiar with what we call the Hydra Principle. Despite the fancy name, this is actually a fairly simple way of setting up your fleet which is specifically designed to work with fleets of small, fragile ships. It's designed mainly around frigate-centric gangs, and aims to counter some of their main weaknesses while taking advantage of their strengths. I doubt it's something that's unique to Agony, nor is it something that's particularly groundbreaking once you've been playing the game for a while. However, it's simple and it's easy, and I hope it inspires some newer players to take up the FC reins!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Azual Fails at Bicycles

Well, I managed to come off my bike and it's been confirmed that I've fractured my 5th metacarpal (the bone in your hand leading to the little finger). Long story short, I may not be typing for a little while!

I have an article on frigate fleet tactics that's almost finished, so expect that to appear soon (once I've been able to make the finishing touches with my remaining good hand!). Otherwise, posts may be a bit shorter/less frequent over next few weeks.

Until next time!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Quick Tips - Cap Dumping

You enter a system in 0.0 where you have no bookmarks. The gate you want to warp to is off scan range from any celestial, and there are hostiles in local. How do you get within scan range of the gate without warping to it (and potentially straight into a camped bubble)?

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Bookmarks and You

Bookmarks in PVP

Continuing on our theme of PVP tools, I'd like to spend some time talking about bookmarks.

Bookmarks are incredibly useful, especially in hostile space such as 0.0 or lowsec. With them, you're about to quickly reach positions that without bookmarks it could be very difficult to reach safely. In this article, I'll discuss some of the common types of bookmarks, how to create and how to use them, as well as some thoughts on naming and organising your bookmarks.

Sunday, 10 April 2011


What began as an april fools joke, escalated into a roam which has decimated a... well some ships.

Last night, myself and a group of intrepid Agony alumni formed up in our trusty drakes (or dreaks if you prefer) and took to the skies of new eden to wreak havoc in the name of the missile gods.

This post is intended as both an AAR of the gang, and an exploration of the tactics involved in running a kiting battlecruiser gang.

Monday, 4 April 2011

The Directional Scanner in PVP

Things have been pretty busy offline recently, so unfortunately writing about internet spaceships has fallen by the wayside over the last month or so. However, I think I remember promising somebody I'd write an article about directional scanning, so here it is!

I don't think I can really overstate how useful the directional scanner is in PVP. Other than the mysteriously omniscient local chat, it is by far the most powerful intelligence tool in your arsenal. At a very basic level, it tells you everything in space around you up to its maximum range of 14.3au. Used well, it can also tell you where they are, and even give you an idea what they might be doing!

Friday, 25 February 2011

5 Common Myths About PVP

As you probably know, I spend a lot of time talking to people who aren't very experienced in PVP. Along the way I hear a lot of the same misconceptions, and I'd like to take a moment to set a few of them straight (or at least, post lots of words about them in the hope that it helps somebody out!)

I originally had a list of about 10 of these, but rather than terrifying you with a wall of text I've narrowed it down to 5. Hopefully anyone who has taken a class with me already knows most of these, but for those who haven't, hopefully there's something in here for you.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Nullsec Regions - Curse

Today, I'd like to take a break from my regular theme to talk about something slightly different.

Agony spent the last couple of months living in Curse. Having been around the block a bit as far as 0.0 regions go, I found it interesting how the geography of the region affected the pvp to be had there.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Skirmish Interceptors Part 2 - Creating Kills

In any PVP situation, you'll find two kinds of people: kill participants and kill creators. If you want to know which you are, think of the last few kills you've been on and ask yourself whether those kills would still have happened if you hadn't been there. If the answer if no, then contratulations - you're a kill creator.

Skirmishing is absolutely a kill-creating position. There are very few other roles in the fleet where you're so directly responsible for the gang's success (the obvious one being the FC). What's more you're usually acting alone, so when you get the gang a kill, it's you and you alone who created that kill. That's a pretty great thing to be able to say, don't you think?

We talked last time about the kind of ship you'll want for a skirmishing role. If you haven't read that post already, I recommend you do so before reading on. What I'd like to talk about now, is how you actually go about getting those kills.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Skirmish Interceptors Part 1 - One Man and his Inty

With the first run of Agony's long awaited Skirmishing class coming up, I think it's probably worth a post on the topic. When I joined Agony I spent my first year or so flying this role almost exclusively, and I can absolutely recommend it to anyone who doesn't want to be just another gun.

First of all, I should probably explain what a Skirmisher is. In Agony, a Skirmisher is a pilot who operates independently from the main fleet whose main role is to locate and tackle targets. This may be in a +1 or -1 position (that is, one system ahead of or behind the main fleet) or it may be further afield. Skirmishers also double as scouts, providing early warning of hostile gangs in the area.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Intelligence & Counter-Intelligence, Part 2 - Would You Kindly

Last entry we spoke about how important it is to know stuff. Of course, any opponent worth their subscription is likely to be trying very hard to know stuff too.

Believe it or not, most people are opposed to the idea of throwing themselves into a situation where they are likely to lose. Add a bunch of their friends into the mix, and many FCs will err on the side of caution and only take fights where they have a reasonable expectation of winning. There are a a fair number of noteable exceptions to this rule, many of whom I have a great deal of respect for as a result, but for the most part it holds true.

So here's our problem - our gang finds an opposing gang which we'd rather like to make explode. If we've both been watching carefully the chances are both gangs know what the opposing gang has, and quite often one side will look better than the other. Depending on the disposition of each FC, one or more may decide that actually, the other gang is too much for them to handle and bug out. Assuming our gang is capable of beating the other, how do we convince them to go into a fight they have a good possibility of losing?

The Altruist is the Eve Online blog of Azual Skoll, PVP instructor and small gang PVPer.

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