Thursday 27 December 2012

Tuskers Frigate FFA - Part Deux

Hey there space friends! While I spent the last few weeks falling down mountains with plastic strapped to my feet, the rest of the Tuskers have been busy organising you a belated holiday gift. On Saturday 5th January from 1800 - 2400 eve time, we will be hosting the second round of our infamous Frigate FFA.

If you didn't hear about the last one the Tusker Frigate FFA is a huge frigate brawl, last time lasting featuring over two thousand kills with upwards of 150 participants at any given time. Not only do you get hours of non-stop combat, but thanks to a generous donation from former Tusker I Legionnaire, we also have billions of isk worth of prizes to hand out! Check out the prize haul from last round to give you an idea.

The format for this round will remain roughly the same, except for a few small changes. Firstly, we're extending the event from four to a whole six hours of frigate mayhem! We're also extending the event to include destroyers from 2100 onwards, giving you a chance to put some of Retribution's new murderboats through their paces. You can find the full details of the event here.

The choice of system for this round will be announced 48 hours before the event begins. Don't fear though, the Tuskers will be offering a courier service for anyone who needs ships and modules moved into place, and will also have plenty of fitted ships available to those who need them.

See you there!

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Retribution Ship Balancing Review - Part 2

Retribution has arrived, and with it a fairly large chunk of my Know Your Enemy articles have become outdated. It's going to be a while before I can write the updated versions - while I can EFT warrior to my heart's content, until the meta has stabilized a little bit I can't really say for sure how they're all going to be fit (I can have a reasonable guess, but I've never been a fan of going off theory alone).

However, I can give you a quick run-down based on my initial observations. This post follows on from part 1, which covered the new frigates and destroyers, and will instead be focusing on the newly balanced cruisers as well as the (technically) non-combat ships that I missed out before - the exploration and mining frigates.

Retribution Ship Balancing Review - Part 1

Retribution has arrived, and with it a fairly large chunk of my Know Your Enemy articles have become outdated. It's going to be a while before I can write the updated versions - while I can EFT warrior to my heart's content, until the meta has stabilized a little bit I can't really say for sure how they're all going to be fit (I can have a reasonable guess, but I've never been a fan of going off theory alone).

However, I can give you a quick run-down based on my initial observations. This post will cover the updated frigates and destroyers - expect cruisers to follow shortly.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Welcome to Lowsec

Being a PVPer in Eve (especially a well known PVPer) comes with certain implicit expectations. In particular, there seems to be an assumption that you're some kind of ruthless cold-blooded badass, and by admitting that 'honestly I'm actually quite a friendly guy and you know what why can't we all just get along' you might risk losing your credibility as a ferocious internet spaceship warrior.

I've made no secret of the fact that, on the whole, I tend to be unusually altruistic towards other players. It says so in big letters right at the top of the page, so hopefully it won't come as a huge surprise to any of you. Still, I admit that I wasn't completely sure whether to write this post or not; I have a reputation to keep after all! With that in mind, before reading this post go ahead and ask yourself whether your opinion of me would be significantly downgraded following the realisation that I probably wouldn't murder you in real life if we were to meet, and if the answer is yes simply substitute the contents of this post with the word 'yarr' and variety of stabbing noises, and we'll continue as we were.

Monday 19 November 2012

Overview Setup for PVP

In a game laden with spreadsheets, your overview window is truly the One Spreadsheet to Rule Them All. This window is the one of the most important parts of your UI - it tells you what's going on in the area of space immediately around you, and is also your primary method of interacting with the ships and objects in space. While you could in theory fly without it, do so in any real PVP situation and you're going to have a bad time.

There's a lot of information that this window could potentially show you, and depending on the situation that you're in you're likely to have different priorities. Thankfully the overview window is heavily customisable and can be tweaked to only provide the information that you feel is important for the task at hand. This means that those of us who don't feel a strong desire to view every piece of detritus listed individually can remain blissfully unaware of their presence as we cruise through the spacelanes, while those dedicated sightseers who thrive on such information can create themselves a setup to cover all of their dirt-watching needs.

This article will focus mainly on the Why of overview setup more than the How. For a basic walk-through of how to set up your overview for general PVP, I recommend this guide on the Eve University wiki. For similar discussions to this one, you may also want to read my entry on the directional scanner and the rest of my client setup series. Since my background is mainly in small gang and solo PVP, I'd recommend applying some common sense if your typical PVP is on a different scale - I've tried to point out where things might be different for large scale fights, but I'm happy to defer to the experts on that one.

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Tusker Frigate FFA - Prizes

While I wasn't able to make it myself, the Tuskers Frigate FFA last weekend appears to have been an incredible success. With over two thousand kills in four hours and over 150 particpants in local at any given time, most of the people who I've spoken to have called it one of the best, if not the best, PVP experiences that they've ever had.

As promised, we've now announced the lucky winners of our fairly extensive range of prizes. What's more, these aren't just limited to participants - some of our 'guests' have also received prizes just for coming along and making the event what it was, so go ahead and check out the prize list to see if your name is on it.

Prizes are below, or you can find the the original list here. Prizes will be contracted from Jita 4/4 in almost all cases.

And my wolf pack... it grew by oneNewest Tusker to join inWolf5Jude Lloyd
I think I like how this web works….First person to fly a DaredevilVigilant1CPTBUDDMANIAC
Looks like they had some spares…..Most Thrasher killsThrasher 20Yamoto Grotto
Thrasher 20Saidra Whitewolf
Thrasher 10Radgette
I don't need no stinking tank…..Flew Atron with least tankTaranis2Yamoto Grotto
Versatility is the name of the game….Flew all 4 races worth of shipsSFI5Russel Owen
Hand in hand with FalconFlew an ECM boatSabre1space chikun
Move swiftRifter with most speed modsFiretail20Bayan Merkid
All talk, no actionMost disappointing participationPhantasm1Poetic Stanziel
The capacitor is empty is a lie…..Gankiest ExecutionerOmen Navy1Redamok Houssa
I like the feel of this….Top damage on Legionnaire's MegaNavy Mega1Gothmog VanMorgoth
Missiles and speed go hand in hand…..Condor with most damage & speedMalediction2Morticia Sable
Slice 'n' Dice - BushidoMost Dramiel killsSlicer25Redamok Houssa
Imagine the potential…..Most ASBs on KestrelHawk5FinalKnight
Look how tanky I am…..Tankiest MerlinHarpy5Jessica Danikov
Drones are the name of the gameMost Ishkur killsGila1Rouge the Bat
Need backup, overMost FN Comet lossesFN Comet5Bogdan Yassavi
En-your-face!Most Enyo kills in a blaster boatEnyo5Naoru Kozan
Runs far, runs fastLooted the PLEX and got away with itDramiel5Ouoman
Born to be wildMost lossesDaredevil5Eli Green
There's always one…..Only person to lose a unique frigateCynabal1Janos Audronn
Honour is strong in this oneMost ECM killsCoercer50Siuil A'run
So many mids……..First Helios killHookbill20Edward Tivruskii
Continue with the operation;
you may fire when ready.
Most kills in a Laser boatNavy Geddon1Redamok Houssa
Early Bird Catches the Worm!First blood!Worm5Renai Buren
Luck of the drawRaffleNavy Vexor

Sunday 28 October 2012

What To Fit - Slasher and Condor

A request that I get a lot regarding my Know Your Enemy articles is to include specific fits for each ship. Rather than make those already long articles even longer (which I'd really have to do to do it justice), I've decided to start a separate series looking at how to fit various ships. This post is the first in that new series, provisionally titled 'What To Fit' (WTF)* and we'll kick off by looking at two new, and very similar, ships - the Minmatar Slasher and the Caldari Condor.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

The Tuskers Present: Frigate FFA

When: 27th October from 2000 - 2400 Eve Time
Where:  Jovainnon, Verge Vendor
What: Frigate Free-For-All
Why: Awesome prizes!

Thursday 11 October 2012

Quick Plug: Kiting and Counter-Kiting Guide

So the new private PVP training I've been offering has proved very popular. So popular in fact that of the last seven days, I spent five of them training various different groups and individuals (leading to some rather late nights and one very early morning)!

The offshoot of this is that the posts I currently have almost ready to go have remained almost ready to go for the last week and I haven't had a chance to finish them. I should be able to change that now that I have some free time again, but for those of you who've been hungering for something to read I do have a couple of links that might interest you.

Petrus Blackshell over at Accidentally the Whole Frigate recently published two very interesting guides: one on how to kite, and one on how to counter kiting. The main focus of these posts is on kiting frigate combat, so whether you've been wondering how to do it or just wishing you had some way of finally catching that annoying Navy Slicer, I recommend you give them a read.

Friday 28 September 2012

Know Your Enemy - Attack Frigates

Tech 1 Frigates are one of the first ships that a new player learns to fly, and their value combined with their low skill requirements make them an excellent choice for someone embarking on a career in PVP. In fact the pure enjoyment and versatility provided by these ships leads many PVPers to fly them as their solo PVP vessel of choice long after they're capable of flying larger or more expensive ships.

Attack Frigates trade survivability for speed, and excel at dictating the terms of a fight.

The Attack Frigates are designed for speed and tackling capability. All ships in this class receive a bonus significantly reducing the capacitor need of tackle modules. Combined with their high speed and strong capacitor regeneration, this makes the Attack Frigates an excellent choice for both long range and close range tackle. Attack Frigates are significantly more fragile than the beefier Combat Frigates, however their damage outputs remain similar to their more resilient cousins leaving them very effective if they're able to dictate the terms of an engagement and avoid taking damage themselves. Combined with their high speed (allowing them excellent range dictation) the Attack Frigates can make very effective solo vessels, and flown correctly they can be every bit as dangerous as their Combat counterparts.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Know Your Enemy - Combat Frigates

Tech 1 Frigates are one of the first ships that a new player learns to fly, and their value combined with their low skill requirements make them an excellent choice for someone embarking on a career in PVP. In fact the pure enjoyment and versatility provided by these ships leads many PVPers to fly them as their solo PVP vessel of choice long after they're capable of flying larger or more expensive ships.

The Combat Frigates range from heavily tanked brawlers like the Merlin and Punisher
to flexible kiters such as the Breacher and Tristan.

The Combat Frigates are the most numerous of the frigate sub-classes, with each race receiving two ships targeted towards slightly different aspects of that race's combat style. These are the front-line warships of the frigate class, with strong offensive and defensive capabilities giving them plenty of staying power compared to the other T1 frigates. Their brawling ability makes these ships an excellent choice for solo PVP, as well as for small frigate gangs. Their relative resilience makes them strong close range tacklers, however they lack the speed of their nimbler relatives the Attack Frigates which tend to overshadow them in any fast tackle role.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

New: Private PVP Training

Today, I finally launched something that I've been wanting to do for a while. Since I started teaching classes back in Agony, I've had requests from people to come over and run some PVP training for their corp, their friends, or in some cases just for them as an individual. I actually went ahead with it a few times, and for the most part the classes were very successful. The main problem I had was the need to balance running our own public classes with the demand for private training on the side, and given that we never had many instructors this was a battle I could rarely win.

Since I stepped down from Agony, it's always been something that I wanted to revisit. I think there are a lot of people out there who could benefit from having access to this kind of tuition, but right now outside of dedicated training corps there isn't really anyone that I know of who offers such a service. As of today... There is!

Friday 31 August 2012

Newbie Tackling Guide

With the release of the new t1 attack frigates, I thought it would make sense to write an article on tackling. I expect most of my regular readers are already pretty familiar with the topic, but given how often a new PVPer is told to grab a t1 frigate and start tackling things, I figure we all know someone who might benefit from the knowledge. So go ahead and link this guide anywhere you think it might be useful, and let's start some more newbies on the path to PVP greatness.

I should probably preface this article by stating that this is just my way of doing things, and it's naturally going to be biased towards the kind of PVP that I do. Most of the information in here should be applicable across the board, but particularly when it comes to fitting and module suggestions this doesn't necessarily represent the only way to do things, or even necessarily the best - just mine.

Friday 17 August 2012

Faction Warfare - A Logical Outcome

When I made my post about Faction Warfare and the LP Metagame a while back, I missed one fairly crucial element:

You still get LP for plexing on behalf of your allied militia.

Thursday 16 August 2012

A New Home

While I enjoyed my brief holiday in Faction Warfare, it was never intended as a permanent home. For that, I already had a reasonable idea of where I wanted to end up. There'll probably be a couple more FW-related articles to come for those who're interested, but that's not what this post is about.

As of today, I'm now a member of The Tuskers - one of New Eden's premier low sec piracy corporations, and some of the best small gang PVPers that I've met.


Monday 6 August 2012

Know Your Enemy - Pirate Battleships

There comes a point in the life of an eve player when you decide that you simply have too much money, or maybe that you just have a real desire to compensate for something. At this time the traditional remedy is to splash out on one of the true kings of subcapital combat, the pirate battleships. After all, nothing says 'elite PVP' quite so much as a billion isk worth of battleship hull decked out in all the faction finery that money can buy, single-handedly tearing apart a small gang of lesser ships. Like the pirate cruisers and frigates that we looked at previously, the five pirate battleships vary quite considerably from one to the next. The pirate battleships share much the same mix of traits that we saw on their smaller counterparts with common themes of strong damage output, higher than normal speed, and plenty of webbing and neuting for good measure. Due to the price tag associated with these ships, most pirate battleships spend their lives shooting red crosses as a high end PVE machine. In the hands of an individual with both the funds and the temperament to take one into PVP however, they can have a far more exciting existance.

Friday 6 July 2012

Weapon Systems in PVP

Weapons are a fairly fundamental part of PVP - indeed making other people's ships explode (which is traditionally considered to be a fundamental part of any serious PVP endeavour) is noticeably more difficult if you don't have them. Despite this, there's a surprising amount of misinformation available when it comes to the different weapon systems of Eve. In this article, we're going to look at how each weapon system really performs, and why we might choose one over another.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Turret and Launcher Reference Chart

Edit: An updated version of this chart has been published!

It's useful to be able to recognise the weapons on a ship simply by looking at it - it lets you figure out roughly what someone's fit might be before you actually engage them, and can help you decide the best way to proceed in a fight. Recognising the difference between blasters and railguns, or medium and small guns on a cruiser, is likely to have a significant difference on the range you want to engage at or even whether you want to take the fight at all. Even different calibre guns within the same class can give you an idea of what other modules your opponent might be fitting (for example a rupture with 425mm autocannons will almost always be shield fit, while dual 180mm autocannons suggests a heavy armour tank).

To help with identifying weapons visually, I put together a chart of all the subcapital turret and launcher models. Have a browse through it, and then try looking at a few ships in space and see if you can figure out what they're fitting!

Update: Some people have asked about printing it to put on the wall. If you want to try it, here's a high resolution version which should look much better in print.

Friday 22 June 2012

Faction Warfare - First Impressions

As some of you might be aware (or at the very least might have guessed based on some of my recent posts), I've spent the last couple of weeks trying out Faction Warfare. I'm not done with it by any means, but I feel like I've seen enough to at least post my initial thoughts.

Based on the current state of play I decided to join the Amarr; I figured that joining the underdogs was likely to present both the greater challenge and a larger number of targets, and so far that's proving to be correct. I also decided to go into FW solo, signing up under my own corp rather than joining one of the established groups - obviously this is going to change my FW experience considerably, but I expect it'll be a better baseline for a new PVPer signing up to FW.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Faction Warfare, LP, and the Metagame

There's an interesting post over at @Gamerchick42 regarding the metagame of FW. While I recommend reading that whole post, I can summarise it with a few basic facts:

  • You do not gain any LP for defending a system in FW.
  • You do gain LP for capturing a system in FW.
  • Purely from an LP perspective, it actually makes sense to allow your opponent to conquer a system rather than defending it (which you receive no LP for) and then capture it again once it's taken (which you do receive LP for), providing you're confident that you can take it back.
  • A faction which currently has high warzone control will gain far more isk for a given amount of LP - and thus, a given number of systems taken - than a faction which has lower warzone control.

Susan's conclusion is that it's in the interests of the minmatar militia (which currently has tier four warzone control out of a maximum five) to allow the amarr (who have tier one warzone control) to take systems from them and then to take them back later - this generates large amounts of LP for the minmatar, and while it also gives LP to the amarr their lower warzone control score means that the resulting income is far lower.

On the surface this might read like a reformulation of the old 'we didn't want those systems anyway' argument (and given Susan's recent move towards propaganda-heavy posting I'm sure that's partly the intention), however the logic is sound - if LP is your primary concern, then this strategy would maximise your income.

Let's look at a few possible applications of this. Please bear in mind that I don't personally endorse any of these behaviours, since I believe they would make FW less fun for all involved parties. I do however think they make for an interesting discussion.

Friday 8 June 2012

Know Your Enemy - Assault Frigates

Assault Ships (more commonly referred to as Assault Frigates to avoid confusion with their larger relatives) are the real heavyweights of the t2 frigate line. In terms of sheer staying power, no other frigate even comes close to this class - with full t2 racial resists and significantly buffed HP, it's not unusual for an assault frigate to tank twice the amount that its t1 counterpart would be able to. This defensive capability is backed up by some of the most impressive damage outputs to be found among all of the frigate classes, making assault ships some of the most challenging smaller ships to fight.

Friday 25 May 2012

Key Bindings and Module Layouts for the Discerning Gentleman

In my recent post on screen layouts, I talked about some of the ways in which you can arrange your user interface in order to can speed up your interaction with the eve client in the heat of battle. Particularly when fighting solo, being able to react quickly to a situation can be the difference between victory and defeat. With that in mind, there are couple more things that we can do to reduce the time it takes to issue commands.

Monday 21 May 2012

How Long Has It Been

It has, it's safe to say, been too long since my last confession. A combination of activities both in game and out has left me with little time to blog over the past few weeks, and a number of work in progress articles have been sitting in my drafts folder for some time. That's something I hope to fix soon.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Funding Your PVP Habit

PVP can be an expensive activity, particularly when you're starting out. For many people, this is one of the major worries preventing them from getting involved in a life of PVP. In this post we're going to look at some of the popular methods for making isk as a PVPer, as well as how we can manage our costs to maximise the time we're able to spend PVPing.

Before we begin, a few quick disclaimers - firstly, this isn't intended to be a comprehensive guide to isk-making in Eve, nor am I trying to say anything about the relative merits of each activity in of itself. For the purposes of this article, we're looking at each of these activities purely as something you do 'on the side' to support your PVP, and how it complements (or doesn't) that lifestyle. Additionally, this is all based on my own opinions - I'm far from an expert when it comes to PVE, so take these as general guidelines rather than hard truths.

Friday 27 April 2012

Screen Layouts for PVP

One thing I'm sure you've noticed about Eve is that space (as in room on your screen, rather than the empty black thing that has stars in it) is at a premium. There are a lot of windows that you'll probably want to have visible, and unless you're fortunate enough to play on a very large monitor you're probably going to struggle to fit it all on.

The default screen layout is, it's fair to say, pretty impractical for PVP. Most people make some basic changes until they find it bearable, others go for a more radical approach and reorganise the whole thing for maximum efficiency. Take a look at a few screenshots and videos of experienced players in PVP, and you'll find a whole range of different layouts built to suit the user's needs.

I'd like to take a moment to talk through the layout I'm currently using, as well as why I chose to set it up this way. Remember that there's no right or wrong here, it's all based on preference.

Sunday 22 April 2012

AAR - Ferox vs Interceptors

We're going to take a break from our regular programming to discuss a particular fight. I'm not planning to turn this blog into a journal and document every fight that I have, but this one was quite interesting from a tactical perspective, and I think some of you might find it useful. If I'd had FRAPS running I could have done this as a commentary video, but unfortunately I didn't so this will have to do. If you want to see more of this kind of stuff, let me know in the comments.

Thursday 12 April 2012


Risk vs Reward is one of the great mantras of the eve playerbase - that a greater risk of loss should mean a more substantial reward for success. In most cases this is brought up from a purely financial standpoint, usually to justify or question why one way of making isk is more profitable than another. In my opinion though, it goes much deeper than that.

Most eve PVPers are risk averse, myself included. Nobody likes to lose, and when we're offered the choice between taking a risk and making a relatively small change which would eliminate that risk, it's only natural that most people choose the latter. How many times have you seen someone wait until they had overwhelming numbers before taking a fight that they could have won anyway, or reship from something comparable to their opponent into something larger or more powerful? We rationalise it as common sense - why would we risk losing when we could win? Fighting fair is, after all, not what eve is about.

However in my experience, some of the best fights come when we put ourselves in a high risk situation and come out ahead. By avoiding fights where there is a risk of losing, are we in fact cheating ourselves out of our own enjoyment?

Friday 6 April 2012

How to Move a Capital Ship

This may seem like a fairly bland topic (and unlike most things on this blog, isn't directly PVP related), but from my own experience I know it's something that many newer players don't really understand. Given the potential consequences should you get it wrong, I think it probably deserves an explanation. Before I tell you how to do it right however, let me tell you a story about doing it wrong.

Back when I was relatively new to Eve, I was part of a small hisec carebear alliance. Our corp had some pretensions to PVP and lowsec, but realistically none of us really knew much outside of hisec missioning to the point where your faithful narrator, having been on the receiving end of a few uneventful hisec wars and with a whole 2 killmails under my belt, was the corp's leading expert on the subject.

I remember one of the other corps in our alliance recruited someone who owned a carrier, and they wanted to move it closer to our base of operations. Having never dealt with capitals before, we just found a quiet lowsec system and lit our cyno at a safespot to bring the carrier in, before having it warp to station and dock up. Looking back, this was a pretty dangerous thing to do - had anyone chosen to warp to our cyno it wouldn't have been hard for them to tackle our carrier, or at the very least kill our solitary cyno rapier. By blind luck nobody did so, and it wasn't until some time later that I realised just how bad an idea that had been. So how should we have done it?

Note that this article deals simply with moving capital ships in a non-combat sense. This is not a guide to hotdropping or using a capital ship in combat.

Sunday 1 April 2012

Know Your Enemy - Rookie Ships

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

The Secure Commerce Commission obviously got a good bulk deal on these ships, because they seem to hand them out at every possible opportunity - if you're like me, I expect you have a whole fleet of such ships distributed across the Eve universe, each of them secretly joyous that you didn't just trash them like all those other guys.

When something is as common, and as...well... free as a rookie ship, it's easy to brush them off as worthless. However, could there be more to these ships than simply a container for that free unit of tritanium? In this article, we'll look at just how effective these often underrated platforms can be in PVP.

Thursday 29 March 2012

The Dark Art of Dictoring

There are many paths that you can take in Eve PVP, but few so esoteric as that of a dictor pilot. While most of us can jump in a dictor and pop bubbles on command, a good dictor pilot (along with an FC who knows how to utilise them effectively) can be hard to come by. Flown right, a dictor is a powerful tool for shaping the battlefield in nullsec - it can catch targets, delay the progress of an opposing force, or even split apart larger gangs in a way that allows you to engage and defeat them. Flown wrong, it can wipe out your entire fleet. Thus is the lot of the dictor pilot!

This following assumes that you have already read my article on Bubble Mechanics. If you haven't then I recommend reading that first.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Turning Pages

Yesterday, I finally stepped down as the director of Agony's PVP University. I've flown with Agony for over three years, and run PVP-U for two thirds of that. During this time I've had some great experiences and flown with some incredible people - Agony was my first true PVP corp, and I couldn't have asked for a better home.

However three years is a long time to do one thing, and I feel like it's time for a change. Over recent months I've started getting back into solo and very small gang PVP (that is, 2 or 3 people), and I've been having a lot of fun with that. I've never felt like a great solo pilot and have spent most of my Eve life flying with gangs or around 5-30, so really getting to grips with solo again is the first goal I'm setting myself.

Aside from that, I have no concrete plans. Agony's RoE has always precluded (or at the very least, dissuaded) lowsec PVP, so I plan to take advantage of my new found freedom in that area and see just what all the fuss is about. In many ways I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of what Eve has to offer, and that's something I mean to address. For the most part, I plan to just see where the wind takes me - I'm open to recommendations!

In addition to my own PVP, there are a couple of projects that I'd like to devote a little more time to. The first, of course, is this blog - I don't necessarily plan to write more (although we can always hope), but I intend to use my game time a little more to back up the topics I'm writing about. The second project I'd like to develop is PVP instructing - obviously I've been doing this for a while, but rather than the large scale introductory classes that I ran with Agony, I'd like to begin offering my services as a private PVP instructor both to corporations and individuals. More details on this one when I've decided exactly how I'm going to approach it!

So that's where I'm at right now. I'll have a few more articles going up over the coming days (I have quite a backlog written up, but I've so far been quite lax with actually posting them)!

See you in space!

Friday 23 March 2012

Introducing the TWEED gang

Long time readers of this blog may remember one of my earliest posts which discussed the rising popularity of armourHACs - a gang concept featuring low signature radius afterburning HACs - which proved particularly effective against battleship fleets of superior numbers. While armourHACs enjoyed a brief period of seeming invincibility, existing fleet concepts gradually adapted to counter them and even by the time I wrote my original article, their use was on the decline.

With the hybrid weapons buff and the subsequent trend for 'going green', a number of parties have developed (apparently independently) a gallente-centric concept which puts a new spin on the armourHAC gang type. Rather than large battleship fleets, this new concept was designed specifically to counter the kiting battlecruiser gangs which are so prevalent in medium scale warfare (which I define here as gangs in the 15-30 range). In Agony, we call this concept 'TWEED' (TWin EnginE Deimos) - a nod to the common misconception of Agony as a training corp, as well as an inside joke with one of my fellow directors.

I'm not claiming that Agony invented this first (I'm sure we didn't), nor that this is necessarily anything new or special - some groups have used similar gang types in the past. However with recent changes I believe it's a particularly effective gang type for the Eve of today, and I hope some of you find this writeup useful.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Nullsec Survival - Bubble Avoidance

In the first article of my bubbles series, I talked about how bubbles work. Bubbles are a major aspect of nullsec life, and one of the things that often worry empire dwellers when heading into the great beyond. However, understanding the mechanics is only only half the battle; in this article, I'm going to explain how best to actually avoid them.

We're going to start off with the relatively simple task of avoiding drag and catch bubbles. After that, we'll look at how to escape from bubble-equipped gatecamps.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Know Your Enemy - Crucible Updates

New articles coming up shortly, but first some corrections which are long overdue.

First of all, I've updated destroyers to reflect that they are now awesome - the thrasher is one of my favourite solo ships right now, and the crucible changes have really make the whole class very powerful. (For those who don't remember, they removed the 25% rate of fire penalty resulting in a large dps buff, increased HP across the board and decreased signature radius to make them only slightly larger than frigates, although they're still much slower). Dictors (which are in same article) have also been updated slightly to reflect their new comparison to destroyers.

The dramiel got some small revisions too, mainly updating some stats and changing references to 'really awesome' to just 'very good'. The dram is still a powerful ship, it's just no longer the win incarnate that it was previously (this is of course further cemented by the assault frig buff). The deimos got a very small update too, on account of its increased speed - it wasn't a huge buff, but it's enough that an armour buffer deimos can now chase down and gank kiting battlecruisers which is pretty significant. It's not the only gallente ship which received that kind of buff, but it's the one which was most affected given how much it relies on speed to apply its damage.

Finally, I've completely rewritten the oneiros entry to take account of its updated slot layout and new usage. I still feel like it's quite early days to say how oneiroses are 'normally' fit and used, especially since they're still quite rare, but based on what I've seen and what I expect to see I hope it's a fairly accurate assessment.

In other news, I've just finished writing parts 2 and 3 of my bubble mechanics series, covering avoiding bubble camps and interdictor tactics respectively. Those should be going up in the very near future, once I've had a chance to give them a proofread and add in some pretty pictures. Know Your Enemy for t3 cruisers is also underway, although I may put it on hold and work on assault frigs first, since I'm aware a lot of people have been asking after that one.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

CSM Endorsement

Well, it's that time of year again and CSM elections dominate the headlines around the blogosphere. To those who tried to persuade me to run, thanks, but it's not really something I'm interested in doing right now. To those who continued to organise and promote an entirely fictional CSM campaign on my behalf (Mangala I'm looking at you), you'll be happy to know that even some of my corpmates are still under the impression that I'm running - clearly there is no hope!

Anyway, CSM voting is now open, and I've yet to formally endorse anyone. Better late than never I suppose!

Thursday 1 March 2012

Bubble Mechanics

When it comes to venturing into nullsec for the first time, you'll no doubt hear a lot of talk about bubbles. To a nullsec resident bubbles are a fundamental part of PVP, while to the daytripper they're often a confusing and deadly phenomenon that's best avoided at all costs.

While bubble are indeed a fairly complex subject, the mechanics behind them are fairly simple once you get your head around it. In this post I'm going to explain the basics of how bubbles work, as well as some of the ways they you might use them. This article will focus on bubbles in general; I'm also working on an article specific to interdictors, which will cover some of the ways in which you can use these bubbles to your advantage.

Saturday 25 February 2012

Video - Introduction to the Directional Scanner

While we're on the subject of plugging videos, I'm happy to unveil the second of Agony's instructional videos, this one by written and presented by Greygal.

The directional scanner is a really important tool to master and is one that I've written about before. Greygal's video goes into a fairly high level of detail and I strongly recommend a viewing for anyone interested in scouting and skirmishing. It's a long one at 22 mins, so make sure you've got a little time before you sit down to watch it!

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Video - This is Syndicate

Temprial of Agony Unleashed recently put together the following video, and I'm really impressed by what he's done with it. This isn't your average PVP video - you'll see no UI, no zoomed out white squares at 150% speed, no killcounters or commentary. This is something a lot more cinematic, more about the beauty and feel of Eve rather than trying to capture a particular fight or any mad skillz.

While some of the shots were staged, the majority of the video was taken during actual PVP while roaming around Syndicate, all within a fairly short timeframe (how Temp managed to fight effectively while constantly turning his UI off is anyone's guess). You'll probably notice a few shots from the recent Syndicate Tournament too!

It starts off pretty slow, but I like that about it. For those of you who prefer some action, the second half will be a little more up your street.

Oh, and don't watch it on the blog - go to the actual youtube link and watch it big. It deserves it.

Edit: You can also find it on eve files here (also fixes the music change at the beginning).

Monday 20 February 2012

Damage Types in PVP

If you've ever done PVE in Eve (which let's face it, you probably have), you'll have learned early on which damage types are put out by which rats. When you have an idea of which opponents you'll be facing, this can be incredibly useful in ensuring that your tank is up to scratch. In PVP things tend to much less predictable, however there are still occasions when you might be going into a fight with a reasonable idea of what your opponent will be bringing (or at the very least, you'll know once you encounter them and will need to make a quick decision as to whether an engagement is a good idea or not). For this, understanding which damage types you're likely to face when engaging a particular player ship can be very useful knowledge.

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

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