About Me

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I started playing EVE in 2009, and tried to jump straight to nullsec. I quickly figured out that there was a better way to progress, and joined EUNI. Since then, I've spent a little bit of time with Star Fraction in low and nullsec, and quite a bit of time with Adhocracy Incorporated in W-space.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

On Fuel Blocks

For once, I shall have a timely blog. On the patch. Specifically, on fuel blocks. For those not in the know, CCP has deemed it necessary to make it so that instead of placing a series of arbitrary quantities of goods that "have no real use" to the everyman (most of them are used in T2 production or for capital jumping), one merely has to place a certain number of fuel blocks in the fuel bay of a player owned starbase (POS), and these will be used instead, at a rate of 10/20/40 per hour for small/medium/large towers.

Now, this in and of itself is good. But I'm not convinced it will be all that and a bag of chips. Why? Because CCP just took a tedious process, and made it so that in order to do the same process, there is an additional step inside of it. Now, I realize that most people don't think of it this way, because most people will likely just choose to buy the fuel blocks instead of buying the raw materials for one, but then there is a mysterious industrialist doing something in the middle of the process... and making money because of it.

Anything that changes a good from one form to another that people are actually willing to spend time on it is known as a value adding process (VAP). These are good, because they allow more opportunities for money to change hands. But, they also increase the cost of goods. Why? Because people won't do them if they don't add value to the goods that they purchased. So while some people will be perfectly happy to collect all the materials for fuel blocks and make them for others, they will be charging some margin for this.

So what does this mean for the average POS owner? This means that instead of spending (numbers fictional, margin reasonable) 100M to fuel your POS for a month, and needing to buy X Robotics, Y coolant, Z Oxygen, etc. etc., you'll only need to buy yourself 240*30 fuel blocks, and stick those in there. But it also means that those fuel blocks will likely run you 105-108M.

Perhaps indsutrialists will take to this quick enough that the margin is cut down to near-nothing. Perhaps. If this happens, though, it could have a larger effect on EVE's economy. The materials used for these fuel blocks are used for a wide array of T2 production, so these prices could be holistically raised by the change in POS fueling mechanics.

As it is, it seems like there are enough changes in the market that making such predictions might be premature, but I'll say one thing: if there ever was a time to be an industrialist or a trader, this might be it.


TL;DR: Because CCP is adding a value adding process to the middle of the POS fuel system, prices there will go up, and might have a larger effect on the market as a whole.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

E-UNI Class Notes

I gave a lecture to EVE University this week.
I promised I would post my notes on this lecture. They are found below.
Points that I marked with "..." were points that I planned to elaborate on. These notes don't give near the experience of the full class, and these are my personal notes, so weren't changed much for readability (as I didn't desire to transcribe 3 hours of talking) but as I said I would post them, here they are.
This class should show up in the E-UNI class library at some point.

As a blog-note, I have about 4 posts that I've been working through in parallel, so some of these might show up in rapid succession.


Let's talk about why you are here...

When in doubt, quote people smarter than you.
Sun Tzu is a pretty smart fellow:
"The art of war is of vital importance to the State.
What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations."

Let's talk about me, ingame...
Let's talk about me, IRL...
Let's talk about you, and the assumptions that I have to make about you...

Let's talk about how you should take this class:
4 windows:
Paper & Pencil, if you like.

If I stop talking, if I completely DC...


Starting Question: call the primary:
Hookbill, Drake x 3, Curse, Huginn x 2, Manticore x 3

Trick question: If you don't know what your fleet has, then you can't call a primary.

Sun Tzu:
"It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle."

Useful Trick:
Step 1: Run
Step 2: Know what the enemy is all about

Now, you have:
Vindicator, Proteus x 3, Onieros, Ishkur, Taranis, Daredevil x 3

Expectations about the enemy fleet...
The best way to use the fleet you have...
What you might optimally bring to take care of this setup...

AT IX Battle

Sadly, I can't talk about "general" small PvP, because the lay of the land makes a huge difference.
Sun Tzu:
For this reason one who does not know the plans of feudal lords cannot forge preparatory alliances. One who does not know the topography of mountains and forests ... cannot maneuver the army. One who does not employ local guides will not secure advantages of terrain. 

PvP in EVE almost always happens at focal points: gates, sites.
So, I'm going to talk about wormhole PvP specifically. Here is the quick lay of the land:
Major players know their way around, interlopers do not.
No Local.

Bombs OK.
Bubbles OK.
The fight is joined within the first 5 minutes of battle.

No Timers.
No gate guns.

Wormhole Effects.
Omni-tanked, omni-DPS rats.

Now that we have laid the ground, let us begin properly.
PvP is fairly scalable, but there are certain "resonance points" that make a big difference. One to two pilots makes a very big difference. Two to three, not so much. You are now in small gang territory. This holds out until you start to reach the point where alpha-ing ships off the field is possible. Then you have reached large-scale warfare.

Small gang rocks. What is our goal in small gang?
Answer: Win.
Great, how do we do this?

The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

So how do we do this preparation?
Create a balanced fleet. You'll learn what this means.
Scout, Scout, Scout.
- Composition
- View->Fittings
- How fast are they moving?
- Ship Synergy

Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.

Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy's fate.

Doing damage:
You need damage dealers. You need damage dealers that can do damage to all size of targets...
Avoiding damage: 
EWAR. Very important, in all forms...

The capacitor war: win the capacitor war, win the battle.

Strategy: The more you know, the better off you are. Build your strategy to attack the enemy's strategy. Hide your strategy.

All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.

Jumping into the fight process itself,

The importance of intel...
Ship selection...
Module selection...
The mixing of roles...
Fleet structure...

Voice comms bandwidth...
Chat vs. voicecomms...
The importance of EWAR...
The importance of cap warfare...
Meta-roles... The Dscanner, The Mapper, The Scout, The Killboarder, The Corp Researcher, The EFT Warrior
Escape techniques...
Splitting the FC Task...

The killmails...
The AAR...

How to improve these skills without directly practicing them...

Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.

The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.

Fleet Comms:
If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame.

Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.

The expert in battle seeks his victory from strategic advantage and does not demand it from his men.
The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Expected Value

There's one saying that has always bothered me in EVE.
"You've lost your ship as soon as you undock in it"

There's another thing that bothers me in EVE.
People claiming that they are making 100M ISK/hr. Not that I don't believe it's possible, it's more that I don't believe that they are actually doing the math to _really_ figure this out over the long run. We'll come back to this later.

While strictly believing the first statement seems like it might be in line with my "usual" line of "assume the worst case", I feel like it doesn't fully consider all of the factors involved.

Survivability: An Example
Here's what I mean. You just undocked in Nullsec, and let's assume you have zero support. You get out into the system at large, and start travelling toward hisec. Now, consider this situation in two cases:

- One, you're flying an armor-tanked Armageddon with a full flight of heavy drones (filling up your drone bay). Cost: ~110M
- The other, you are flying a Rapier, with a covops cloak. Cost: ~170M

I hope that you'd come to the conclusion that the first is a worse idea than the second. Why? Because it has significantly less survivability, if something bad were to happen, than the first. A single interceptor could make your day very, very bad by holding you down while he rallies support from his nearby allies.

The rapier doesn't have this problem. There are some things that could potentially kill the Rapier that couldn't kill the Armageddon as easily (Battlecruiser class ships come to mind, as do certain HACs) in open combat, but the Rapier has an advantage that the Armageddon doesn't have: evasive cloakiness.

So why should you consider both of those ships equally lost when you undock? My answer is that this is a very good question to ask, and that the "saying" doesn't cover the whole picture. By the logic of the saying, the Rapier is a worse idea to undock in, because it's more expensive, but this doesn't line up with the reality of the situation at all.
Yes, you can lose your ship anytime you undock, but you can also have a reasonable expectation of survivability in a lot of situations, if you are flying smart. So, to this end, I go to some light math.

The Math
Let us assume that you have the option of buying two ships, and are interested in a money-making opportunity that requires one of those ships. Ratting, missioning, this doesn't matter. The figures are also fictionally low, just used here to illustrate.

The first ship costs you 150M, and earns you 10M an hour, with a 5% chance of dying every given hour.
The second ship costs you 200M, earns you 5M an hour, and has a 1% chance of dying every given hour.

Over a large number of trials, ship 1 will earn you on average 50M profit per hull (200M gross - hull cost). Ship 2 will earn you 300M profit per hull (500M gross - hull cost)

The first hull is expected to last 20 hours, while the second is expected to last 100 hours.
Ship 1 then earns you approximately 2.5M per hour.
Ship 2 then earns you approximately 3M per hour.

So ship 2 is a better idea, given that all of these numbers are correct, even though you "earn twice as much while you are working" with the first ship, and even though the second ship represents a bigger possible loss. Those losses hurt, big time, and reducing the chance of them helps a lot. Survivability is key.

"But I'm in Highsec!"
Now, there are certain times where you might say that the chance of losing your ship is "zero" (highsec missioning, etc.), but this is never strictly true. If enough players get together and decide to gank you, no amount of tank will help. This, perhaps, is the reason behind the saying mentioned at the top, but in reality, this is just something to consider in the math above. Instead of 0 chance of loss, maybe that goes to .001% per hour.

If you can figure out those three numbers, you can figure out the relative profit of any money-making opportunity you can come up with... so let me break it down.

Raw ISK/hr = ISK/hr not considering ship death.
Hull_and_fitting_cost = how much lighter your wallet would be after fully replacing the ship you are using.
Chance of death = a percentage, expressed between zero and one, of how likely it is that your ship will be destroyed during an average hour of whatever it is that you are doing for the Raw ISK/hr.

Actual ISK/time = ( (Raw ISK/hr)/chance of death - Hull_and_fitting_cost ) * chance of death

If you don't know one of these numbers, guess! Estimations are better than nothing, as long as you are realistic about them. You might be surprised about how some of your favorite ISK-making activities might stack up here.

Other Considerations
It's worth noting that ISK isn't everything, and that constantly doing this math can make some activities that you like to do seem less fun, so don't forget to factor fun into the equation. If you are making marginally less ISK, but are having tons more fun, that's well worth it. EVE is a game, after all, even if it is ridiculously in-depth.

Also, I use this as an example for PvE, but you can do similar calculations on PvP to figure out how many hours you can expect out of your favorite ships, to figure out which ones really are "budget" ships, and which ones are the expensive ones (losing a 5M T1 cruiser every day in PvP might be more expensive than flying a 100M T2 cruiser that is more survivable). Again, though, take this with a grain of salt.

As one closing note, however, this works mostly for active combat-type activities; things that might be limited by "passive time", like industry, planetary interaction, or the like, get more complicated to look at, but for those in short: if you have a slot for something, figure out how to use it. More on this later.

[Future Link to Industry for non-Industrials]

Every ship that you undock in can be destroyed, but that doesn't mean it will be. Each ship has a chance to be destroyed in a given situation, and this differs from ship to ship or loadout to loadout.
This chance of destruction affects how expensive flying that ship or loadout is over a long period of time, and these numbers might work out differently than you would think.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Industry for Non-Industrials: T2 Ammo

The thing I hear a lot when I'm talking to people about my industry habits is "oh, but I don't like those spreadsheet thingies". And this shocks me. Not because they don't like the spreadsheets, because that's perfectly normal. But because they assume that the spreadsheets are entirely necessary for anything that you might do in an industrial setting, and this just isn't the case.
And no, you don't need a POS, either. Not for what I'm about to suggest.

There are possibilities out there for very stress-free moneymaking, if you're willing to take a little read over this. Before we start, though, I should address one question that gets asked a lot when I talk about this stuff-- "Why are you telling me this? Doesn't it cut into your profits?"

The Why
And the answer to that is very obvious. Whatever you choose to make becomes inherently cheaper (supply, demand, and all that), which makes my isk go further. And yes, if you choose to produce the same product as I, then I'll lose a bit of profit, sure. But I can always produce something else, or I can take the reduced value, if everything is cheaper.

The Skills
So, how can you go from not using your industrial slots at all to putting them to very good use?
Unfortunately, the first part involves training skills.
Production Efficiency V is necessary in order for you to be able to compete with the bigger industrial types, and opens a lot of doors that would otherwise be shut. At PE III, you make it almost impossible to make any profit on most items. At PE IV, your margins are slim. At PE V, which you train once and have forever, then suddenly your production slots become an ISK-producing tree of awesomeness, which we all want in our backyard.

The other part of the one good idea that I am going to give you here involves the science skills, which are a bit spendy (you also need the associated racial decryption methods skill, look at an ammo BPO to find out which one). Trust me, though, it will be worth it once you get your industrial machine rolling. Plus, they do double-time, as they also help you out with datacore farming, which is another way of saying free money.

[Future Datacore-Farming link here]

So, yes, in order to start this you have to straight up sacrifice 25M, and 20ish days of training time. Yeah, that sucks. But bear with me.
In order to take _full_ advantage of this, you also need to train up Mass Production. I recommend training it to IV for starters, and later to Advanced Mass Production III or IV (which requires MP V, and another 20M ISK).
Laboratory Operation, likewise, you could use LO IV, but ALO III or IV would be helpful to maximize your profitability. If you go to advanced with both of those skills, that's another 40M down the drain, I fully realize.

However, this is where it gets good.
Choose your favorite station near your home base, preferably in high sec, preferably close to a trade hub, and set up base there. Ideally you would have a laboratory and a factory in the same station, but this isn't strictly necessary. Buy a couple of BPOs for the Tech I versions of some kind of Tech II ammo that you think is cool for whatever reason. You can figure this out by sorting through the Tech I BPO's and looking at the invention tab. Once you have these, throw them into the copying lab (max runs, max number of them) with as many slots as you have. You'll want to build up a buffer at first. Later, then, you'll figure out how many slots to devote to copying, and how many to invention.

Grab a hauler, and grab a load of two things:
- The datacores you need to invent.
- The materials for the T2 production of the product.
Remember that you can get ganked in this kind of situation, so keep the sums small for now. Don't put more than about 100 million into a T1 hauler, and don't autopilot. Trust me, again, this will be all worth it.
Grab as many datacores as you can afford, and enough materials to make 5 times the number of datacore-runs you've bought (if you bought 200 datacores of each type, and it takes 2 per run, you want enough material for 500 runs of finished product).

Start inventing.

As the T2 BPC's come available, throw them into the manufacturing cooker. They will take a _week_ to cook. This is where you can start to sit back a little bit. Your copying runs will take 10 days+ to run. Your production will take a week. When you're playing a lot, you can throw in lots of invention runs. When you aren't, you can throw in lots of copying runs.

Once your T2 ammo starts coming hot off of the presses, haul it back to the trade hub of choice to sell whenever you are picking up more materials for invention or production. Then sell it, and profit!

The reasons this will work for you:
It is low maintenance, so you really only have to actively "do" things every week, to change over jobs. The more isk you are willing to have sitting around in raw materials, the less often you have to haul. I now haul approximately once a month (disclaimer, I do have the ability to freighter things around, but then again, so do you via Red Frog for a fee).

You can definitely do this on your main, even if you operate in Lowsec (or potentially Null, if you have access to a lab and a factory), as long as you take the proper scouting precautions (or just hop/jump clone to high sec to change your jobs every week...), but at the same point in time, you could pause training on your main for a month (*gasp*, I know...), and put the skills onto an alt. Yes, you'd be spending skill points on "not-your-main", but if those 2-3M of industry SP is easier to use on an alt, it's a better idea in the long run.

The reason that this "always works" is that people always want to shoot tech II ammo, but the production of this ammo is limited by the amount of slots that are dedicated to producing it. The same can't be said for T2 ships or T2 modules, as the limiting factor there is more often than not the manufacturing time. The long production time in ammo makes it so that the supply is the bottleneck, and thus is "always" profitable. Of course there are cases where this might not hold, but I haven't seen them yet, and I've been running the numbers on a lot of ammo for quite a while. Another final disclaimer, if you choose a T2 ammo that no one wants to shoot, it won't sell. This is obvious, but worth pointing out.

So, what kind of returns can you expect on this sort of thing? Well, I'll tell you right now that it won't be a windfall, but it will be profitable for the effort you put into it. Let's say that you only want to put in 1 set of manufacturing jobs per week. Let's also do this "per slot" and then we can multiply from there. Now, let's take something that "everyone" shoots, like Barrage M. You make 50,000 units per week. These sell for ~500 a round, which makes that 25,000,000 a week in gross. Take away the cost for making 10 runs of it (11,905,200), call it 12M, and you're looking at 13M without considering the datacores. Now, the datacores, you need "about" 2 runs of them, at about 1M per run (2 datacores of each type, and they run ~300k and ~200k), which leaves you with about:

11 Million ISK in profit, per slot, per week.

Not too shabby. Risk, next to zero. Profit: Almost half. If the market were to tank to where Barrage M sold for 250 ISK apiece (about the breakeven point), then.... well, I hope you fly Minmatar, because you'll have a field day!

Let's say that you have 10 manufacturing slots that you use, this makes it about 110M ISK/week for "ever", for 20 days of training time, and 1 day of hauling a week, which if you set up in the right spot is only a few jumps. You don't even have to deal with the sell orders, really, because you can probably fire-and-forget those sell orders, they'll sell eventually... or sell to buy orders, and give the traders something to do.

Obviously this is expandable to different products (but you have to monkey with them more often) or selling to outlying mission hubs (but then you have to haul), but doing just the vanilla version of T2 ammo production is still way more wildly profitable than most people seem to think. And way less risky.

But Industry is Hard!
Those things you hear about it being hard, and needing decryptors, and needing one of the item you're turning into tech II, and needing a POS in lowsec to mine moon goo, or investing 3 billion ISK in and coming out with nothing, or any of the other things you hear for horror stories about Tech II... they just aren't that true. You can do minimalist invention to make some pretty sweet profits.
I don't like spreadsheets for a game. I honestly don't. I can do a little math here and there, but I don't want to have to be constantly updating something just to verify that, yes, whatever I'm doing is going to be profitable. This is why I like T2 ammo production, because it almost always is.
Tech II ammo production is a very safe and carefree way to get into an ISK-faucet, if you're looking for one. Think about it. You can spend a half hour a week running around with industry so that you can get a T2 cruiser blown up and not feel the impact. That's nice.

If you are really an industry noob, then I'll just point you to the EUNI class library, and you can listen about production there. Also, google is your friend, as there has been more than one guide written about "how to". This isn't a how-to article. This is a why-to. And why you should is simply because it's free ISK that you're refusing right now.

T2 ammo production is a lot less time intensive than any other T2 production. You have to handle less than 10 commodities to make it happen, and monkey with production jobs once a week. You can make padding for yourself (in the form of T2 BPC's to manufacture) when you play more, and use this padding when you are playing less. You can make ~110M ISK/week in profit, without trying very hard.


Next up: I'm working on a few posts right now...
- Skill training, and why support skills rock
- Why I don't buy into "If you undock in it, it's already lost"
- Trading styles, from station to region-wide
- A look at the Ishtar

And I'm always taking requests.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

K's Fleet Comms Guidelines

The nice thing about being FC is that you get to set whatever rules you want, and as long as they get good results (and aren't unnecessarily antagonistic), you are more or less good to go.
Knowing this, I've come up with a simple set of rules that I FC by. It's a bit of a wall-o-text, but trust me, it's well worth the read. These are the rules that I run every fleet that I FC by, but your FC may run things a bit differently. Hopefully, as a fleet member, this gives you an idea of the things your FC might like or not like, and even moreso, as a potential FC in the future, I hope it gives you an idea of what to tell your fleet as far as ground rules.
Just be sure to set them up front; trying to change expectations in the middle of a fleet is insanely hard.

This is based on a very simple principle: Murphy's Law - anything that can go wrong, will.

Always have an FC.
Always have a #2, as the FC will die.
In any fleet that is split, either for camping reasons, DPS reasons, at least one person charged with a leadership role should be with each group.
A person appointed a scout should act as their own FC, subject to orders by the FC.
Never say "I", use your character's name instead.

Requests made by the FC should be filled as quickly and efficiently as possible. When the FC asks for a volunteer, one should be present and selected within 5 seconds. If two people step up to volunteer, they should work out who will be the volunteer in a quick and orderly manner. A good way to do this is to actively step off of volunteering. (IE if K'endro and Jimmy both speak up to volunteer, K'endro would do well to say "Jimmy will do it")

Information should be relayed in a quick, efficient manner, taking as little time as possible to relay the pertinent information. This becomes more important as more information needs to be delivered (IE things are happening faster, or an engagement is taking place).
To relay information efficiently, say the following, in this order.
<Your name>
<Your Current System>
<Your Current Location in System>
<The intel you wanted to provide>
IE: "K'endro, Kor-Azor, Amarr Gate; we have 2 manticores on scan"
If, after a reasonable period of waiting you have not received a response from your FC (5 seconds or so should do), and if your intel is sufficiently important, consider three courses of action: Repeat your intel, put it in fleet chat, or recommend a course of action. DO NOT issue a command or something that sounds like a command unless you are an FC or otherwise in the command structure.
IE: "K'endro; FC, I recommend we bug out".
In K-space, the intel that you should provide upon jumping into a new system should very likely go in this order:
Number of People in Local
Ships on Grid
Ships on Scan
Other information

To avoid confusion, certain words and lingo should be avoided, and others should be standardized.
"Jump" is a protected word, to be used by the FC only.
"Scramble" can either mean the fleet should scramble to planets, or that you have warp scrambled the enemy. Clarification is advised.
Classifications of other pilots are as follows (color coded by their usual color on your overview).
Neg-Sec (0 or lower security standing)
Outlaw (-5 or lower security standing)
GCC'd (Global Criminal Flagged)
Neg-Ten(Negative standing to the corp, denoted by the red "-" flag in the overview)

The words "Red" and "Flashy" do not convey information that is standardized, as people have their overviews set up differently. Some people have war targets set up as red flashies, while some have them as a static teal. Some people have neutrals set up to flash, some don't. Be very specific.

Three levels of voice-communication restrictions exist (at least):
Casual Comms- "Normal, casual conversation, light coordination, may be social in nature". Usually carried out in the Social channel, but might be carried out in the combat channel while gearing up. You, as the FC, should make it clear if this is allowed, or not.
Fleet Comms- "Seriousness appreciated. Matters not pertaining to the current operation should be directed to text chat" Usual operational status.
Battle Comms- "No speaking unless delivering intel or issuing orders" During combat, or near-combat situations.
Which state the fleet is in should be clarified by the FC periodically.

When calling targets, an FC should try to provide as much of the following as possible:
Primary Target Full Name
Primary Target Ship Type
Primary Target First Three Letters
Secondary Target Full Name, Shiptype
EWAR targets, in general or specific (Call as a primary, or call "EWAR on Logistics")
Point targets, in general or specific (Call as a primary, or call "Spread Points", or "Point Battleships").

Other words that an FC might use to describe combat tactics:
Hydra - Spread the action out to targets as the individual members of the fleet see fit. AKA "spread".
Alphabetical - Do the action to someone in the opposing fleet whose name begins with a letter like yours. IE K'endro would tackle Kryptonite as opposed to Saint George.
Closest - Do the action to the closest target, or one suitably in range.

An FC will typically be talking like an auctioneer over the course of an entire battle, relaying as much pertinent information as possible. Silence is death, especially to the pilots that have yet to land on grid.
IE, an FC might call:
"Saint George is Primary, in an Onyx. SAI. Secondary is Joseph Stragg, J. ECM: hostile Logistics, spread points. Hydra TD's. If the Onyx is out of range, damage closest.
Saint George Primary, Onyx, SAI. Secondary Joseph Stragg. More ECM on those logistics. Call points on primary"
(Fleet responds "Point!" "Point Saing!""Point SG!""Point!")
FC Continues "Jimmy, maintain point on primary. Others, re-spread points. Broadcast for Reps. Saint George almost down, new primary Joseph Stragg -- scratch, new primary Snake Oil, in a buzzard, SNA. Secondary Kryptonite, Curse, KRY."
&c. &c.
HOPEFULLY from that type of communication, even though you have no idea what happened in this theoretical fleet battle that just happened in K'endro's mind, you know exactly what you would have to do if you are flying any particular kind of ship. Some things go unsaid, like "guardians, rep broadcasts", because these things are uniform across all engagements.

The letter announcement is very important; Kryptonite can be KRY, CRY, CRI, KRI. Vowels can be even worse. Uystra, for example. UYS, OIS, EUS, and AUI are all reasonably valid things for your fleet to think you are trying to call, and every second they spend sorting through the enemy list to find it is a second they aren't DPSing the target. Remember that EVE is one of those games that you are likely to be fleeting with people that have different accents than you have, and different interpretations of names than you. Thus, letters are best. If you know your phoenetic alphabet, you can even use that, if you like, though it might be slower than letters.

Fleet comms are important to be kept clear. During a combat situation, no one cares if you are taking damage, just went into structure, want to swear about something that happened, got blown up, were targeted by someone, looked at funny, or are otherwise concerned.

It doesn't matter, as far as the engagement goes. You need to relay the information that other people need to know, and only that.

This changes based on the size of the engagement, and based on the ship you are flying. Sometimes, who the single target is pointing is important. Other times, everyone is tackled by the opposing gang in a 15-a-side fight, so it just flat out doesn't matter if you are. If you are the sole logistics, it matters a lot more if you are jammed than if you are one of 20. Think first about whether the other people in the fleet need to hear what you are going to say, or if you are just saying it for your own personal gratification. If it is the latter, don't say it.

Fleet comms are limited by time. This means that in situations where you are in combat, or comms need to happen quickly, you get the info that other people need to hear the most through in the shortest amount of time. This is very important. This will turn a close fight into a victory. Not doing this will turn ships into twisted metal very quickly.

Engaging on gates in lowsec should be done very carefully, as the following concepts almost always apply.
Gangs of reasonably comparable size will generally not engage on gates for full fleet/fleet combat. GCC/Gate guns hurt, putting one side at a distinct disadvantage.
Gangs will take stragglers/single travelers, and point/pop them before scrambling to random safe locations. Thus, staying with the pack and moving as one creates safety.
Once you GCC (take hostile action on a non-outlaw), any bystanders will engage you to get on the killmail. Even if fleet A engages only fleet B, fleet C standing by will probably also engage fleet A, as they are now likely criminally flagged.

Game mechanics:
When you agress a non-outlaw, or non-GCC'd other, you have GCC'd. For 15 minutes, gate and station guns will shoot you. To avoid this, dock up, or keep bouncing between safe spots. Anyone can engage and kill you with no penalty.
Any gun that shoots you has it's own 15 minute timer. IE, if you GCC on a gate, and then warp to a station to dock up, your criminal flag will wear off, but your aggression timer on the faction of the hosting station will still be there for an additional 2-3 minutes. So if you undock after your GCC runs out, but before your yellow timer runs out, you will get shot again, and the yellow aggression timer will be reset to 15 minutes. This is a point of much confusion.
After you agress, you have a 60 second timer during which you cannot dock, nor jump through gates. This counts down from the last aggressive action you took (EWAR, shoot, drones shooting something, etc). If you are trying to deagress, deactivate all agressive modules, and recall your drones entirely. This does NOT prevent you from warping off, so if you are stuck on gate, under gate fire, you can warp off instead of waiting out your aggression timer.
If you jump into Hisec while GCC'd, you will be immediately Concordokken'd.

There is none. Read it. It'll save your fleetmate's life one day.

And now for deciding what I will write about "next time". I think it's about time that I delve a little bit into the industrial side of things, which is where I think I might lose anyone that has even read this far :-). Stick around, though! Industry is a really good source of passive income. So... I guess the next post will have to be "Industry for Non-Industrialists". I like it.
See you then.


The Joy of SB Ratting

[Recommended Fittings]

Belt ratting in a stealth bomber is honestly one of the things that I enjoy the most in EVE. Ever since I discovered it about 15 months ago, it is always what I go and do whenever I am bored with what I am doing in EVE at the time, and oftentimes it is what I go and do other times as well.
There are many, many benefits to ratting this way, and it's not as hard as you might think to get started.

You are in one of the smallest, stealthiest ships out there. You can warp cloaked.
It takes some determination for another player to catch you, either in the form of hunting you cloaked, gatecamping for you, or probing you down. In most of these cases, that player successfully catching you is due to you making at least one mistake, as well.
In my time SB ratting, I've honestly lost more bombers to rats than I have to players. And this, again, is a case where I made mistakes, either biting off more than I could chew, or not properly doing my homework. You're here, so you have the K'-Notes on it, which should save you a few SB's.
PS, even when I was newly figuring out how to do this, I was still bringing in more ISK than I was losing, by a pretty significant margin.

So, the reason why the choice of stealth bomber is made is due to a few factors. You have an extremely small sig radius, which helps mitigate incoming damage. You have the ability to dish out a lot of raw damage to large ships, which is the ideal for making lots of isk; the large ships have the higher bounties.
You do lack the ability to clear smaller ships off of the field, but there are a few solutions for this problem. And flying a small ship, dodging the fire of the bigger ships that you are hunting is rather fun.


Do and Don't:
DO fit a Medium Shield Extender.
DO fit an afterburner.
DO NOT fit a microwarp drive.
DO fit web or target painter, if possible.
DO fit a probe launcher, even if it has to be offline.
DO NOT fit a bomb launcher.
DO fit as many damage mods as possible.
DO NOT get cutesy with your flying.

Let's go through these one by one:
The medium shield extender does increase your sig, but not by too much. It gives the necessary tank for you to be able to take down battleship rats even in the presence of smaller ships that are better at hitting you.
The afterburner is to keep your speed up, give you more mobility, and assists in keeping your transversal up on rats as well as potentially helping you get through player gatecamps.
The target painter makes it easier for you to take down cruiser and battlecruiser sized rats, which can be very helpful in clearing suboptimal spawns.
The probe launcher can have a couple of uses: wormholes to escape a truly horrendously camped situation, signatures to make off-planetary-lines bookmarks, and if you can fit an expanded one on, allows you to offline your offensive capabilities for the ability to scan a gate you want to warp in to for potential problems (helpful sometimes in busy crossroads systems)
The lack of bomb launcher is simply because a single bomb has negligible usefulness. Using bombs on rats is far to expensive and doesn't add that much to your ability to take them down. Using bombs on players won't get you out of a bad situation, unless the other player makes a huge mistake (lighting an MWD on a frigate, for example). This is just one of those things that will be valuable only in certain corner-case situations.
Damage mods are clearly for damage, which not only helps your isk/hr, but also your survivability; the less time you have to spend on each spawn, the less your shield gets hit, the better off you are. Gank is tank.
Cutesy flying can include a lot of different things.
- trying to directly approach a large ship, so that "then you can get your transversal higher"; you don't have to take zero damage to succeed, you just have to survive. Orbiting BS's at 20km is good enough to do this, you don't have to get to point blank range.
- continuing ratting after a clearly dangerous ship appears on dscan. Interceptor, interdictor, recon, all of these count. Get into another system, or cloak up and make a sandwich.
- trying to weave between asteroids; this always turns out badly.
- sticking in on a target after your shield alarm goes off. The first rule of SB ratting is that when that alarm goes off, you align and warp out. No exceptions (Your shield is far larger than either of your other bars in an SB, so it's a really bad idea to stick in past this).

[Recommended Fittings]

So, let's step through the things that you need to be considering at each level, from closest to furthest.


The Process:

Dealing with the rats
The goal here is simple. For each engagement, which are easily separated, because they happen at different belts, your goal is to kill all of the battleship rats, while not taking any armor damage.
Warp time gives your shield ample time to recharge between engagements. If you take larger damage on a particular engagement, then choose to make a larger warp.
To take the least possible damage, light your AB when you land, and choose a path that will make your transversal big, quick. Try to work your way to where you are about 15-20k from each battleship, but remember you can still hit them from as far as 60km, and can be shooting while you are burning closer. Don't put yourself in a situation where you can get caught on an asteroid.
If you see an elite frigate, warp out, cloak up, and look it up. If it has scramming ability, never go back to that belt. If it does something more harmless (TP, for example), then you can potentially farm that spawn.

System Level
- Write down the locations of the larger spawns. You will want to come back to those in about 20-25 minutes, to harvest the battleships again. Likewise, write down the locations of dangerous spawns. You don't want to go back there.
- Be aware of local.
- Keep an eye on D-scan. As someone enters local, you can "reasonably" assume that they will be in the same ship they entered local in, unless that ship entirely disappears. IE, if you see a dominix on D-scan as a new person enters local, and then suddenly there is no dominix, but he's still in local, it's much safer to assume that he shipped into a Rapier or similar to kill you than to assume he's in a cloaky dominix.
- Which brings me to my next point, assume the worst. Someone jumping in system is there to kill you. If you don't catch them on D-scan, then they are in a ship that is specifically designed to kill you. If you do spot them on D-scan, then they have the best possible fitting for that ship to kill you.

Region Level
The most dangerous point in this whole operation is jumping from system to system, but if you are in a quiet enough branch of nullsec, this presents little problem, itself. It also behooves you to take particularly quiet times (if you are going to be regularly in the same region of nullsec) and making offgate bookmarks to be able to warp to. Remember, you will have the ability to cloak whenever you are in an SB, so you don't have to be offgrid, just off-warp-line. [Future link to Nullsec Travelling post]
The map also provides many tools [Future link to map post] that you can use to make your travelling safer.


Making it bigger:
The temptation here would be to add more stealth bombers for additional DPS. This is a reasonable idea, but in a funny instance of math, you actually get more of a DPS increase by adding a single Rapier to your squad than adding a second bomber. This additionally leads to the ability to clear out spawns with pesky smaller ships, as the rapier's weapon systems, paired with the long webs and TP bonus, allow it to melt those frigates (and cruisers melt under Rapier web/TP and SB fire).
Beyond this single rapier, you can add multiple stealth bombers to increase potential DPS/system coverage, with an operational limit of (I would guess) about 4 SBs per Rapier.
This can lead to a very interesting roaming gang, largely set up for PvE, but able to take on particularly ignorant nullsec ratters with relative ease. You're looking at putting out about 2000 DPS per 5 man platoon, with the ability to hold a target motionless, and the only risk really being medium turrets to your stealth bombers, which could be somewhat overcome by SB's using their TP slots (opened by the Rapier having TPs) on things like turret disruptors or sensor dampeners.


What SB should I use?
Always match torpedoes with the damage bonus on the stealth bomber. Always. Then use the stealth bomber that is appropriate for the region you want to go out and rat in. Stain? Use a Purifier. Syndicate? Use a Nemesis.

Where should I go?
There's a lot of good options. Pretty much anywhere in nullsec (outside of drone space) is a reasonable choice. The more active a piece of space is, the more dangerous it is to you to rat there. The lower the true security status, the more profitable it is. My initial instincts said that the best reward-to-danger-ratio, but in trying to find a source to verify this, I've gotten some mixed messages. Something else to look into! For the moment, I'll just point you in the general direction of Ombey's Eve Maps, and tell you that it's a good resource for planning a space to go hunt in. This may be the topic of a future post.

What do you do about the loots?
A few ways you can handle this; leave them, drop them off at a station, or somehow get a secure can into a safespot. Each of these has their problems: leave them, you lose the ISK. Drop them off, you just put yourself in a station, needing to undock, which is the most dangerous spot in nullsec. The secure can requires that you had a hauler to drop it, and a hauler to pick up the loot afterward. It's also something that brings you to the same place multiple times, which is always unsafe.

Aren't Torpedos too big to carry many of them?
Sort of. But if you daytrip, I guarantee your full cargohold will last longer than you will.
If you plan on sticking around for longer than that, then you have a couple of options;
-buy a lot and haul them in
-bring BPC's and make them yourself from reprocessed minerals
-In your travel fit, you can use expanded cargoholds in your lows, stuff more torpedos in your hold, and store them in a nullsec system nearby.

Should I live in 0.0 to do this?
SB's are slippery enough that it's not a horrendous idea to base your jumpclone (if you decide to place one) out of a lowsec system and make the low->null jump every time you want to go ratting. I tend to prefer this over having to undock into an unknown situation every time; I think even if you jump into a gatecamp you can burn back to the gate often enough that it's worth it.

What is most dangerous to you?
Gate camps suck, obviously.
As far as the dangers in the actual belt-ratting itself, you _must_ watch out for elite frigates. If there is one on grid when you land, warp out straightaway and google it. Sometimes they do something harmless, like target paint. Sometimes they scramble you. And then you are dead.
Other than elite frigates, the only thing that poses a danger to you is your own pride. Never fly close to asteroids (just don't do it). You might get caught on a warpout. Never stay in after your shield alarm goes off (just don't do it). You will get popped surprisingly fast after that.

But you are in 0.0 without a point!
Yes. Stealth bombers are limiting enough with their slot layouts that you don't want to try to do more than you can. On the stealth bombers that have 3 mid slots, you really need to use all of them: AB/MSE/TP. With the fourth, you could use the spare for a point if you really wanted to, but I've found that the second TP (or a web) to be way more useful. Sometimes you just have to clear out a cruiser spawn, and these modules make it much easier to do this. You can definitely take these fits and throw a point on them if you wanted to go SB hunting rather than SB ratting, but that's a different topic altogether!

Why the expanded probe launcher?
To me, having the ability to use combat probes can be a lifesaver if you are travelling through uncharted nullsec. Dropping a quick set of probes onto a target gate lets you know if there is a camp there, even if it is off d-scan. This proves helpful in station systems where people could be docked or in space. Core probes are nice, yes, and you can usually have these offline, but to me if you are at the point of using combat probes, you can afford to offline your offensive modules, because you are looking to get out of there, not to kill something.


If you've never considered it before and you are close to being able to fly one, think about ratting in 0.0 belts in a stealth bomber. Throw on an MSE and AB, and go somewhere where you can shoot bonused torpedos for the best damage. Shoot at BS and BC rats, and run away from Elite Frigates.
Fun and reasonable profit await!


SB Ratting: Fittings

Fittings for [this post].

General comments (for all four):
- Be aware of your native resists, and what rat you are fighting. Angels shoot explosive, so you might not have to boost your 50% native resist. Sansha shoot EM, so you might want to boost your 0% native resist. Play it safe, first, and then move to maximizing your damage output. Small rigs are cheap.
- Rigs are customizable. If you have a rough time staying in long enough to kill all the rats in a spawn, then you can rig for more resists, or more speed. If you are doing fine, then rig for more damage to move faster.
- AB/MSE are required. Other mids can potentially be colored to taste.
- Lows are as many BCUs as possible, with fitting mods where required.
- T1 launchers are far easier to fit than T2. You can fit T2, but I can't endorse this yet, as I haven't tried it, and I'd bet that the cost or penalties associated with them would be hazardous to your stealth bomber's health.
- Your SB does have the ability to fit a turret, and this is not a terrible option if you don't want to carry probes. It probably won't save you against elite frigates, though.
- All of these fits are handily cap-stable.
- Green modules are flat out required to make this strategy work, as outlined in the other post.


[Manticore, KIN RAT]
Ballistic Control System II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Medium Shield Extender II
1MN Afterburner II
Target Painter II
Target Painter II

'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Juggernaut Torpedo
'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Juggernaut Torpedo
'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Juggernaut Torpedo
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I /OFFLINE
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Bay Loading Accelerator I

431 DPS
732 m/s


[Hound, EXP RAT]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Medium Shield Extender II
1MN Afterburner II
Target Painter II

'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Bane Torpedo
'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Bane Torpedo
'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Bane Torpedo
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I /OFFLINE
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Auxiliary Thrusters I
Small Auxiliary Thrusters I

50% Native Explosive Resist (Good against Angels)
433 DPS
953 m/s


[Nemesis, THERM RAT]
Ballistic Control System II
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

Medium Shield Extender II
1MN Afterburner II
'Anointed' I EM Ward Reinforcement
Target Painter II

'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Inferno Torpedo
'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Inferno Torpedo
'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Inferno Torpedo
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I /OFFLINE
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Bay Loading Accelerator I

431 DPS
765 m/s
Shield Hardener can be swapped for a TP, passive shield resist module (Magnetic Scattering Amplifier II), Tech II Hardener (Photon Scattering Field II), or Small Shield Extender II, depending on what you are fighting and how you customize your rigs.


[Purifier, EM RAT]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II

Medium Shield Extender II
1MN Afterburner II
Target Painter II

'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Mjolnir Torpedo
'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Mjolnir Torpedo
'Arbalest' Siege Missile Launcher, Mjolnir Torpedo
Expanded Probe Launcher I, Core Scanner Probe I /OFFLINE
Covert Ops Cloaking Device II

Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Small Bay Loading Accelerator I

460 DPS
837 m/s