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.

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

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