Monday, 11 October 2010

Run and Gun

I'm going to take a break from my posts about my older experiences to report on my experiences from yesterday.

I logged in at around 1400 EVE time, loading Ventrilo as I do so. As I'm completing my ewarp back to the POS I logged off in I'm instructed to get in something cloaky and disappear. Grabbing my falcon I warped off to a celestial and hit my cloak as soon as I was clear of the shields.

It turns out that a corp from another C5 had come into our system and were currently in the C3 linking to our hole. We had eyes on a Falcon, Sleipnir, Cerberus and Vengeance, while we had a Falcon, Rapier, Purifier, Arazu and Cheetah. We were very low on DPS, but decided to try ambushing them and picking off the Cerberus.

Things went quite badly for us. I started by jamming the Sleipnir to reduce the incoming dps substantially while we started on the Cerb, at this point I made the mistake of jamming the Cerb instead of waiting for the Falcon to appear. When the Falcon appeared on overview I hit him with my second Caldari jammer, unfortunately my jam didn't stick and I had no jammer in reserve to catch him before he got a jam on me.

With me taken out of the fight I was soon pointed and being shot at by the Sleipnir. I managed to get another jam on him later in the fight, but by that point I was on 20% armour and about to go down. Spamming warp as I went pop I managed to get my pod back to the POS and reshipped into a Cane. Sadly I wasn't the only one to die, our Rapier pilot appeared back at the POS in his pod, he too jumped in a Cane. We warped back to the hole and were able to drive the Falcon off while hammering at the sleipnir, he jumped through the the C3 along with the Cerb. We gave chase, but they were able to warp off the hole before we could get to them. We chased them to the lowsec system, but they had gone to ground. so we headed back to the C5 to regroup, the hole reducing behind us as we jumped. Our KMs

At this point we decided to try getting them with a bit more dps. Our Arazu pilot swapped out into an Abaddon, while myself and the former Rapier pilot stayed in our Canes. The enemy was still in the lowsec system, and were showing no immediate signs of coming back, after 15 or so minutes I decided to go grab a destroyer to salvage the two recon wrecks that were on the C3 hole, just as I warped out our scout calls out that they're landing on the other side of the hole, so I quickly headed back for the C3 in my Cane.

What happened next could have gone VERY badly for us. As I landed on the hole the Sleipnir and Cerberus were decloaking, we immediately started hitting the Sleipnir. Just as we locked them up their reinforcements landed on us.  A Drake, Phantasm, Sacrilege and the Falcon again. We stuck with the Sleipnir, putting him into armour and forcing him to jump back through. We immediately followed the Sleip into the C3, with the hole going crit behind us. I uncloaked as soon as I landed and was able to point the Sleipnir on the hole. With nowhere to go he was pinned there while the Abaddon and I shot him to pieces, Sadly our other Cane pilot had had to jump through earlier in the fight and so was on a celestial when we killed the Sleipnir.

The remaining enemy ships decided against coming through the crit hole and so we headed off to the lowsec for repairs. Just as we finished repairing our scout reported that they had jumped a drake through and back and had collapsed the wormhole, leaving the Falcon and Sac still on the former site of the wormhole. Deciding to take the initiative he moved his stealth bomber into range and pointed the Sac with us warping in on top of him.

I immediately pointed and webbed the Sac and started to let rip on him. Sadly in the ensuing fight we weren't able to save the Purifier, but the Sac kill was worth the trade. With our route back home gone we headed out to highsec to reship and wait for a route back in. At this point I decided to log off and make some lunch.

Friday, 8 October 2010

First Blood

This wasn't technically my first kill in a WH, that honour goes to an unpiloted Hulk that had bounced 300km out of someone's POS, that story however, is boring. This is the story of my first real combat kill in my new home.

Myself and another corpmate were opening and closing wormholes trying to find a C3 system with some activity in it, it's a fairly laborious process when there's only a couple of you but the rewards make it worthwhile. After a few goes we found a system that had a 3 caps, 3 haulers and a POS on scan from the entry hole.

My corpmate was inside with his probing alt having a look around. It turned out that only 2 of the haulers were at the POS, so he started having a look around the system trying to find him. The hauler ended up dropping a bubble in some empty space, we assume there was a wormhole there. The hauler ended up going back to the POS, so we weren't able to jump him.

At this point corpy decided to start scanning out the sigs in the hole, finding the static lowsec exit in the process, it seems the hauler bubbled a different hole. The hauler pilot then swapped out of his ship into a Loki. The new Loki warps off, drops some core probes and cloaks up. He looks to be scanning down the sigs in system.

While this is going on, I've been in our C5 on the C3 hole zipping around in my new Cynabal. I'd decided I wanted a nice fast and agile ship that could deal with the different ships I'd encounter in a C3. As a ship the Cynabal is lovely, it aligns like a frigate but hits like a HAC, with an extra utility mid over a Vagabond, I'd put a Tracking Disruptor in mine. On the hole with me is my corpmate's main in a curse.

Back in the C3 the Loki's probes are starting to zero in on the new lowsec hole, our prober had moved to the hole and was cloaked up near it. As he saw the probes getting closer and closer on D-Scan, he tells me to get ready. The probes are pulled and next thing the Loki turns up on the lowsec hole. Figuring he'll pop out to find out where the hole goes we jump our ships into the C3 and hold cloak to see what he does. Sure enough, he jumps through the hole into lowsec, we immediately warp to the covops and start orbiting the hole.

Wormholes don't have aggression timers, however they do have a mechanic all their own. Once you jump through a wormhole you are unable to jump through that hole in the same direction for 4 minutes. This means that if you jump through a hole and then back again you either have to warp off somewhere else or wait while the timer expires. EVE helpfully doesn't tell you how long you have left of your timer unless you try to jump.

Having been on the hole for a 30 seconds or so we see it activate, indicating that the loki had jumped in. He saw us waiting for him when he jumped in and initially held his cloak. Deciding to make his move he moved off the hole and hit cloak, thankfully my corpmate had hit approach and MWD in the time he was on overview and by a stroke of luck decloaked him.

I still don't understand why the Loki didn't warp off while he was cloaked, he had the right sub systems and he had a Covert Ops cloak fitted. maybe he was too secure in his ability to hide on the hole.

He was decloaked about 25k from me, my shiny 30km point made short work of keeping him pinned down however. I started orbiting him at 15km while pulsing my MWD to keep the transversal up, I'd also hit him with the Tracking Disruptor so there was very little dange now. My 425mm's made short work of his shields and he started dropping rapidly. Figuring he was toast anyway he'd started firing on the Anathema trying to pop it but the covops was able to jump out before he hit armour.

After a fairly short fight the Loki went pop and we looted his wreck. Shiny, a Sister's Expanded Probe Launcher had dropped, that was worth a nice 50m or so. We weren't able to catch his pod so we decided to head home and call it a night.

My first fight in a wormhole, I was hooked.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Finding a New Home

Following on from my first post about life in wormhole space, this post continues to chronicle my progress I've made in the last three weeks. 

Having come to the conclusion that further wormhole exploration was going to require the support of a dedicated WH corp, I set about reading the forums looking for recruitment adverts to see what wormhole corps were out there and what their aims were.

I was looking for a corp that offered a mix of both PvP and PvE, the mixture is important because, while I enjoy PvP immensely, it has to be paid for somehow. Many of the corps I found were mainly interested in PvE, which wouldn't really sate my desire to shoot stuff. After a bit of searching I found a corp that suited my aims quite nicely and popped into their recruitment channel for a chat.

Following a conversation with one of their directors I popped in an application on their forums. Later that evening I spoke to their CEO and another director, following that conversation I put in a corp application and was accepted into Black Viper Nomads.

Here the logistical fun of getting my ships into the C5, that I was now to call home, began. It is almost impossible to find your way into a given wormhole due to the statistical nightmare of finding the correct connecting systems. The procedure therefore involves someone inside the destination hole finding a decent connection out to highsec and bringing your ships in via that entrance. 

The corp asks that the first ships you bring in are a probing ship and a pvp ship, my choices for this were a Buzzard and a Hurricane. I would later bring in a Tengu for PvE and some more advanced PvP ships.

The wormhole in which I now live is a C5 with a static C3, what this means is that no matter what there will always be an available connection to a Class 3 wormhole in the system. Every time the hole collapses, either through reaching its mass limit or expiration time, a new signature will appear in the system which will be the new C3 hole. There is no guarantee which C3 system the hole will connect to and therefore no way to know what you'll find on the other side until you go for a look.

There will hopefully be one or two more posts following this to take us up to the present day, after which I will start blogging on a more regular schedule about life down the rabbit hole.

The Story Begins

There has been one area of EVE that I have yet to explore and area is wormholes. I have been a denizen of EVE for a number of years now, from running missions in highsec through to the Alliance politics of 0.0. Wormholes offered a unique gameplay experience, an place where small gang warfare is the order of the day, where great rewards can be found at great risk to yourself.

I got myself started out by fitting out my ships for . Nothing remotely special, just a passive fit Drake to deal with C2 anomalies and sites with the Buzzard fit up to deal with scanning and hacking/analysing/salvaging. With the ships fit and in position I started scanning for sigs in lowsec systems.

My first experience with scanning was amusing to say the least, involving a lot of swearing early on, gradually moving into something more like competence after I watched a couple of videos. After finding a hole, which would usually be a C2, I would fly in with my Buzzard and make a catalogue of the sites in there. With a couple of Radar site bookmarked I headed back to the station and grabbed my Drake.

I've never really been a fan of the Drake for PvE, its lacklustre dps output always put be off, however I was not confidant about risking my Tengu in a WH just yet. I'd fit my Drake with two BCS modules instead of the usual one + SPRs and that first radar site hurt, the triple BS spawns really hit hard and I'd normally have to warp out after killing the first one to allow my shields to recharge before heading back in. With the site cleared I'd swap back to my Buzzard to hack the containers and salvage anything that I hadn't already done with my Drake.

I kept doing this for a few days, it was then that I had my first experience of the dangers of WH space. While bimbling along through my Radar site a Drake warps onto grid with me. He was about 35k away from me, and not really being fit for a fight I immediately aligned and warped back to the hole. Once out I swapped back to my Buzzard and went to investigate what was going on in the site.

As I warped back in I found two Drakes, a CovOps and a Thrasher sitting inside the completed site, along with a can called "Thanks for the Radar, LOL". I managed to find one hacking container that was about 30k away from the drake and thrasher and decided I was going to loot it. Creeping in under cloak, avoiding wrecks as I went I manage to get in range of the can, decloaked and activated my codebreaker. Luckily I got the unlock on the first try, emptied the can and warped off, leaving my thanks in local.

After this experience I decided that if I was going to do any WH exploitation I would realistically need to live inside one with a POS. Sadly my current corp (at the time), despite the best intentions just didn't have the numbers necessary to pull off what we wanted to do, especially as none of us really had any experience in the area to go on. So with heavy heart I decided to look for a new Corp to continue my wormhole adventures.