April 30, 2013

By their 5s shall you know them

So I've run into Eve sayings along the lines of "what distinguishes pilot skills are their 5s".  In other words, what skills are you willing to climb up that skill-point curve to get that last 5%?  As I come up on my one-year anniversary of joining Eve I'm looking at what I need to get into the next range of opportunities, and what I might want to focus on.  So, what's worth taking to 5?

General Philosophy

I'm looking back at things and looking this way in general:
  • If it was interesting enough to want to play with, you want Level 3 just to start (and it's cheap)
  • If it is something you want to be decent at, you want Level 4
  • If it is something that you're going to do under competitive pressure, you want Level 5
  • And of course there are many things you have to run to 4 or 5 just to unlock another tier.

So what do I want to do: I'm primarily Gallente, branching out now to other races starting with Minmatar.  I'm currently on Int/Mem mapping, probably shifting to a more balanced mapping soon.  Things I want to do include:

  • Try out flying shield tanked Minmatar Frigates and Destroyers
  • Try out entry level Gallente logistics (armor)
  • Try out entry level Gallente ewar (damps)
  • Wormhole ready - Strategic cruiser, stealth bomber, probing skills

The Fives

Drones: Drones, Scout Drone Operation
  Arguably I really should have Combat Drone Operation to 5 here too (6d ish)
Electronics: Electronics, Electronics Upgrades
  Probably will want Cloaking 5 if I head for bombers and the like
Engineering: Engineering, Energy Management, Energy Systems Operation, Shield Operation
  I should probably get Energy Grid Upgrades (6d ish) for the fitting
  Shield Management is tougher to call at 10d - am I going to seriously fly shield tank ships or not?
Gunnery: Gunnery, Controlled Bursts, Surgical Strike, Weapon Upgrades, Small Hybrid, Small Projectile, Medium Hybrid
  I should probably get Motion Prediction, Rapid Firing, Sharpshooter, Trajectory Analysis to 5 as a turret user.
Mechanics: Mechanics, Hull Upgrades, Repair Systems
Navigation: Navigation
  I'll need Evasive Manuevering 5 to get into an Interceptor
Science: none
  Astrometrics, Hacking, Archaeology 5 is for their T2 modules, but I'm not seeing that need quite yet
Spaceship Command: Spaceship Command, Gallente Frigate, Gallente Cruiser, Destroyers, Battlecruisers
  Yes, ready for tiericide.  Not feeling it for Gallente Battleship 5
  However, CovOps 5 and Assault Ships 5 are tempting.
  Racial Frigate 5 (All).  Oops, I bought some non-Gallente ships that require this.
Subsystems: When I finally get into a Proteus I expect to have the subsystems to 5, though they aren't there now.

The Fours (selected)

Everything I called out above as on the brink of 5 I have at four currently.
Drones: Drone Sharpshooting at 4, probably should also have Drone Durability and Drone Interfacing to 4.  I don't have access to Sentries at this point, if I get back to missions I probably should.
Electronics: Any ewar I want to use should go to 4 to use T2 modules.
  I haven't really found a need for Targeting 5 and the Multitasking stuff yet.  I'm guessing that's more of a Logi or Capital thing.  Nowadays I suppose any racial Sensor Compensation should be to 4 if you are PVPing.
Engineering: All non-Compensation shield skills are to 4 and may stay there for now.
Gunnery: AWU 4, Weapon Spec skills are to 4 or should be on my plan
Mechanics: Rigging skills for rigs I use (Armor, Hybrid, JuryRig, Projectile), Armor Compensation skills, Armor Honeycombing.  Remote Armor Repair for frigate logistics.
  Hmm, I guess I need Frequency Modulation 3/4 and Sensor Linking 3/4 if I use certificates as a guide
Missing Launcher Operation: I have none to 4, but I'll need to go if I want to play with bombers.  Then a mixture of support skills replicating my gunnery support skills. Is it worth it?  I'm not sure.  As a side bonus I'd have a shorter path to Caldari and Minmatar missile ships.
Navigation: Is there any non-Jump Drive skill that's not worth taking to 4 - I don't see any.
Science: Astrometrics, Astrometric Acquisition/Pinpointing/Rangefinding - all to four or in the plan to get to 4.  I might wimp out on Rangefinding - Rank 8 Ouch!
Spaceship Command: If I want to fly a ship I figure it should be to 4, with the exception of the Gallente Industrial (just moving stuff) the ORE Industrial (Noctis, if I ever use it again), and the Mining Frigate (which was entirely for the Ganked Fleet LOLs)

Lesser skills

Leadership: only Leadership 3 - don't see a need yet
Social: Connections, Negotiation, Security Connections, Social to 3 - I'd do more if I was going to get back into missions I suppose.
Trade: A smattering, nothing higher than 3 other than Trade itself (4).

April 21, 2013

RVB - join corp, get fight

The other night, after squaring away some stuff on my industrial alt I logged into Jakob and hit "Accept" on joining Red Federation (RVB).  Immediately on corp chat I see that a "T1 cruiser and down" fleet is forming up.  The only thing I have fit up in Otela is the Thorax that I had been roaming with, so that's going to be it.  A few minutes of waiting for form-up (during when I download the RVB overview settings) then we're into battle.

Our 12-man fleet only had a few cruisers, so I fully expected that my Thorax hull would be primaried early due to its ganktastic reputation and since as a brawler I'd be getting right up next to targets.  Amazingly not, so I got to contribute to a number of kills before I went down.

Yes, it's a pretty standard high-gank Thorax.  Sadly, I didn't manage to get top damage or final blow on any targets, which makes me think I was doing something wrong.  Something I finally managed to rectify by Sunday night.

In the meantime was Ganked Fleet 66 - an (almost) all Venture fleet.  We chased an cyno and got smacked around, then roamed around a bit until we had a negotiated battle with Brave Newbies.  Lots of death and destruction.  After losing ships I fit up the only thing I could find parts for - a Rifter whose primary purpose was to use a target painter to help my fleet out.

Sunday was mostly running around being chased by a Blue Republic fleet with superior numbers and class of ships.  I lost a lot of ships just trying to get involved there, which is a new experience for me since I'm not used to have war targets camping me into stations or on gates.  After supper the numbers dropped (must be a lot of EU TZ people in Blue) and it was more a matter of 3-5 man gangs and solo fights (thus the fights linked before)

To balance the wins, you may notice that I've lost 6 Incursi, a Thorax, a Rifter, a Thrasher - oh, and two Ventures - all since joining RVB.  It's a shame that the corporation killboard can't distinguish only the kills and losses I've made since joining the corp.

Lessons Learned

As usual, you veterans will groan at these I'm sure

Overheat on your way in.  Finally I managed to put into practice that you can pre-overheat your modules.  On my Thorax of the fit listed above that means guns, scram, and one web.  This in particular pushes out the ranges of the scram and web (10km, 13km) which is critical since I want to lock a fast target down before he realizes I'm there so I can apply the Thorax's 500+ dps (my skills, near optimal with faction AM).  Overheating the MWD I'm not as confident on unless I'm in a chase scenario - I'm worried about blowing past them, perhaps too worried.
Manual Piloting.  I need to work on this.  In a frigate duel I really noticed that i was falling into a chase position on an opponent Tristan I was closing on as he went perpendicular.  I think this helped his drones fall in right behind me and toast me up.

I think the piloting part of things is going to be my next big hurdle to get to the next level of PVP skill.

The downside is that I'm burning through the ships I bought for RVB pretty fast, and I blew most of my ISK in buying those ships.  Once those ships are gone then I'll need to either leave RVB and try to make ISK (missioning will also repair that sec status that is droping after Ganked) or buy some PLEX.  This is the downside compared to FW, of course, which running plexes can make good money, though at the cost of opposite-side faction standing.

April 12, 2013

Upcoming PVP Events

So I keep meaning to post on these, so let's get this in quick: Tusker's FrigFest 3 and the RVB 1v1 frigate tournament are coming up soon.  Yes, I'm sure that some hardcore PVPs will sneer that they don't need an organized event to pew pew, but even they hopefully can just get out and have some fun at these.

Tusker's FrigFest 3

Saturday, 11th May from 18:00 to 24:00 Evetime. Only Tech 1 Frigate hulls are allowed until 21:00, after which time any Frigate or Destroyer hull is allowed. See the rest of the rules and details at the official Tusker's forum post.

RVB: I Demand Satisfaction

June 1st and 2nd.  Time TBD.  This is going to use the new dueling mechanics, which will certainly help put them to the test.  There are going to be two brackets: one for 90-day old or less characters, and one for all others.  T1 frigate hulls only (no faction hulls) but you can fit anything you want onto that T1 hull.  The original announcement on the RVB forums says that more details will be posted to Mangala's blog.  

April 4, 2013

Thorax vs Hawk

I've been spending way too much time with the indy alt on my account.  Perhaps I got turned off by the flying for hours without finding a fight.  In any case, I was glad to get back to flying Jakob and find a fight and amazing enough even emerge triumphant.  So on to the details.

Single Account Alts and Training

I think a lot of people in Eve assume an "alt" is on a second account, or maybe I don't quite have the right lingo yet.  My friends have been talking about buying characters or starting second accounts or just starting another alt on their account.  I'm not willing to put more money into Eve right now though, so that's not for me.  If I get to that magical place where I can PLEX one, sure.

So that means that when I want to get my Indy alt up to doing more T2 module production I shut down Jakob's skill tree and switch over.  The theory was that I'd do a lot of PVP around with him since there would be no penalty to losing a pricey clone.  If I had just let my alt skill that would have worked but I had to get all interested in using those new skills as soon as they rolled off the queue and that then sucked away my time.

I think even when I switch Jakob back to learning I'm going to keep PVPing him though.

Thorax vs. Hawk

So I started in Usi with my armor Thorax and figured I'd set a course for Bosena through lowsec and see if I could find any of the THC2 folks from Sugar Kyle's blog.  My plan evolved to jump into each system and do the following:
* Is there anyone on the gate?
* Is there is an Asteroid Belt in D-scan range of the gate - is anyone in it?
* Are there any FW Medium Strongholds?
* If all of the above are "No", warp to next gate, dropping a bookmark on the way

No luck with any belts, not too surprisingly.  I spotted a Kestrel in a medium plex, which surprised me, but as soon as I was inbound he warped.  But then in Oinasiken I scanned a Hawk in a Medium plex and as soon as I came in he started locking me. The fight was on.

My plan was boringly simple.  Run target down on MWD, expect to lose it when scrammed, but by then I'll be on them and dual-webbing them while providing the loving attention of my neutron blaster.  And overheat this time!

The first step of plan failed.  The Hawk ran to keep distance and I couldn't overtake him.  He slapped a disruptor on me and I was kept at 13-17km or so.  I engaged my 5 Hammerheads on him but they didn't appear to be doing anything to him.  My shield was down and armor buffer was dropping.  Bummer, sucks.  So I turned away from him, recalled my drones, and aimed for a celestial, hoping to open up enough range to slip the disruptor and warp.  The disruptor dropped but I wasn't spamming warp and I didn't get away before he was back on me.  (I heard later from the other pilot that he was overheating his AB to catch me).  So I hoped he was committed and I could yo-yo him, so I swung around and hit Approach, still with the MWD running.

Range dropped fast.  Scram on him, double web on him, relaunch drones.  Overheated heavy neutron blasters.  I hear the capacitor out warning and my MWD cuts out.  My armor is dropping hard, but suddenly his shield is half gone but his armor underneath that is more like two-thirds gone.  Boom.  Turn back, recall drones, loot his ship and hit warp before any buddies show up.

We exchanged GFs and he said something along the lines of "what happened?"  He thought I was about to blow when suddenly he blew up instead.  He was a dual ASB fit and apparently he was tanking my drones fine with one ASB until suddenly I was on top of him and punched through the single ASB.  Brutal, clumsy, no finesse - but perhaps that's what the Thorax is all about.

It was nice chatting with IHoriyoshi after the fight - I'd be glad to find him again for a rematch.  I think the Hawk vs. Thorax in general may have been a good match - I see the killboard shows his ship value as pretty much what my Thorax is.  His fit may not have been ideal for me, since he was shoring up his EM resist while my damage was all Therm/Kinetic, but his speed nearly killed me.

Lessons Learned

More Overheat! Yes, I remembered to overheat my guns this time, but I probably should have overheated my MWD on the way in and when I was trying to escape.  Probably should have overheated the webs too as soon as I got on him.

MWDs and Cap management.  I was running the MWD nonstop while I tried to figure out what was going on.  Of course if I had been AB fit I never would have caught him at all and he would have killed me from disruptor range.  I probably could have done more pulsing it, but that might be beyond what I can keep in my head right now.  I looked in EFT and what it would take to put a booster in, but that would probably mean dropping down the blasters a category.

Piloting.  Manual piloting might be another thing too much to think of right now, but when I turned back on him I really should have gone for Orbit 500m rather than approach just so I didn't whip past him and lose him.

Good fun.  Good heart-thumping PVP thrills.  This is also helping form my ideas for future plans about whether to join RVB for a bit this month, or go FW, or what.