Friday, April 30, 2010

Map: NC and aggressors

Another sov map edit, this time highlighting the NC and relevant enemy alliances.

Green: NC
Pink: SC

Sorry about the pink; I tried to avoid it, but contrast and readability are much better this way.

Cult of War and AAA are deploying north to attack us and have been colored accordingly. Pets who are defending IT space were colored along with IT because with PL attacking that area they are relevant to the larger war. Also, 'citizens' type alliances were colored along with their masters because presumably they support the war effort with rent or industrial activities.

I don't have a complete list of who rents from whom so a number of probable AAA and Atlas renters were left gray. The drone lands coalition were left gray as well because although they have been intermittently involved on the side of the enemy they haven't deployed in significant force.

Credit goes to the people who made the coalition map, of course.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

In which IT loses more caps

I was actually hoping to get some sleep last night but siren song of jabber called me once more into the breach. A post-downtime fleet was fighting hostiles somewhere and they had brought capitals including at least one triage carrier, so we were forming up some of our own in hopes of getting some pew pew. The first thing that I thought was it must be a trap considering we had ganked their carriers with a hastily-formed capital group earlier, but that turned out to be not the case.

While the FC was arranging cynos and regaling us with tales of hostile supercapitals to be killed I hastily refit my naglfar with citadel cruise missiles -- something I neglected to do before killing the carriers earlier. Word on teamspeak at this point was that IT was also calling for capitals so it might turn into a real fight.

We lit cyno on a hot grid and dropped everything we had on them. In terms of world-crushing capital fleets numbers were rather small, with only about 100 in our fleet, but both sides kept jumping in more pilots -- on our side I saw 5 titans when I loaded grid and 10 a few minutes later.

After fifteen or twenty minutes it became apparently that we were utterly owning the hostiles and they went siege red and jumped out. Killboards are still syncing but as of now IT killboard is showing 45 capital losses to 5 kills, and somebody on forums reported 6 ROL carriers down as well, which aren't showing on IT killboard yet.

Going down like

Killboard link

After the battle we had something like 10 hostile towers coming out of reinforced over 60 minutes, and word on teamspeak is that IT will be spending tomorrow in delve as a bunch of their towers there are coming out of reinforced as well.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ganking an IT carrier group

So I heard the lovely 'bing' of pidgin announcing a hey-guys-get-online and saw that it was for capitals. I logged in and found command types calling for supercaps > caps to gank an enemy carrier group in ROIR. We rolled out a few minutes later, landed on grid and started shooting. The hostiles were about 20 carriers, mostly IT and ROL, and with superior numbers the field was cleared in a matter of minutes. We killed a total of about 15 carriers, which isn't a bad day's work. Additionally I discovered that although goons may not have any stations left they are still active in the war, with a moderate subcapital and capital presence in this fight.

The fight
Killboard link

Ishtar vs guristas part 2: Shield tanking

In response to my earlier post about plexing ishtars I've received several comments about shield tanking fits and decided it was high time to do an amateurish comparison. On the surface shield-tanked ishtars have much better tanking numbers, but we also need to take into account the peculiarities of missile damage.

When missile damage is calculated, two important things beyond damage and resists are taken into account: Explosion velocity and explosion radius. The calculation is too complicated for me but fortunately EFT exists so we don't have to do the math. Generally, when missile explosion velocity is less than ship velocity, damage is reduced; and when missile explosion radius is larger than ship signature radius, damage is reduced. Or something like that.

The basic issue with passive shield tanks when used against missiles is that shield extenders and shield rigs increase the signature radius of the ship, which increases incoming damage. Additionally, an afterburner uses a mid slot which otherwise would be used to greatly increase shield recharge so one must pick between speed and a higher DPS tank. An armor tank, by comparison, tanks less raw DPS but the signature radius never goes above the base value and an afterburner does not affect the tanked DPS number.

To compare armor and shield tanks I used a ratting raven and ratting drake with the BCS removed to make damage graphs against a shield and an armor tanked ishtar. Armor and shield tanked ishtar have pretty similar resist numbers, so I called them even and set the resist option on the DPS graph to "not used" because that gives numbers which are easier to compare. It does not give realistic DPS values for incoming damage from rats, but should return a reasonable ratio of how much damage would come in from missiles when armor vs shield tanking.

The damage dealers

Ignoring the neut issue, let's compare tanks. Using 16% therm and 86% kinetic damage incoming, a shield tanked ishtar resists 1839 raw DPS while an armor tank does 1244. As the shield tank resists 47% more raw DPS, if it receives less than 47% more incoming damage from missiles it is better at tanking.

Shield and armor ishtar setups

Damage graphs:

Red: drake vs shield ishtar (105 DPS)
Green: drake vs armor ishtar (28 DPS)
Dark blue: raven vs shield ishtar (39 DPS)
Light blue: Raven vs armor ishtar (9 DPS)

Oops! The shield tank is receiving 3.75 times as much damage from heavy assault missiles and 4.3 times as much from torpedoes.

One way we could reduce damage input significantly is by adding an afterburner and using two shield hardeners:

Shield ishtar (version 2)

Damage graphs

This reduces incoming damage to 37 and 13 respectively, only 32% and 44% more than the armor ishtar receives; but keeping this build cap stable means raw tanked DPS is reduced to 1160 - lower than the armor tank - and depending on the afterburner means it, too is vulnerable to neuts.

In conclusion: Although a shield ishtar would work just fine in lower damage situations, the armor build is better at tanking.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

IT vs NC: Minor happenings

Over the last few weeks there has been zip in terms of earth-shattering events which will change the game forever. There are a few minor points to hit on however.

A few days back Atlas suicided a small capital fleet into us. Good on them for bringing the big toys out... I guess they're as bored as we are.

A couple weeks ago we apparently lost about 20 capitals on a pos somewhere. Says something about the war so far that it's even worth reporting, but there will be more capital fights eventually.

On the Cloud Ring front, goons are apparently dead. At least, their space has all been reclaimed by Ev0ke. Sad to see them in this state; one hopes they'll get it together at some point, but it looks as though they're going the way of Red Alliance -- members split, space lost, a formerly-great power now vastly reduced. Never thought I'd see the day.

Finally, Pandemic Legion are apparently moving to IT territory to stir up some havoc while the masters are away. Rumor has it that the NC paid them to move down there, and judging by the bob-pet titan they killed, I'd say it was worth it.

PL are a funny bunch. They stay together despite losing all their space; they fight the NC, occasionally even with capitals, but they're broadly on the same side of the great war; and there's no denying they are an honest-to-god elite pvp alliance, a distinction that I'd only consider giving to one or two others in the game.

Friday, April 9, 2010

IT vs NC: General update and CO2 aeon down

Not a whole lot happening on the war front. There have been countless small battles and a few large ones, but nothing major in terms of strategic objectives. We've continued to stonewall Atlas in the east, where after failing to achieve positive isk ratios with medium hull fleets they switched to battleships and got steamrolled. They took a two-day break after that, then jumped a smaller battleship fleet into a camped gate, which didn't really work out for them. One hopes they will tire of being cannon fodder for IT eventually; if we can shut down one front it will have a huge impact on the war.

On the IT front there have been a bunch of small ( < 500) battles and a handful of larger ones, which to my knowledge haven't achieved anything for us in the way of ~strategic objectives~ or even positive isk ratios for the most part, though I've only made it to a few. I believe we've continued to lose technetium moons at a steady pace, which is the only thing IT has shown interest in so far.

To date nobody has used significant numbers of capitals. We had a few false alarms about Atlas forming up, but those didn't pan out.

Finally, as per the title CO2 lost an aeon. For those who don't know, CO2 are one of the indigenous alliances living in and around our space, who take advantage of any opportunities to try and kill the NC. I know there have been battles against CO2 recently, but I don't know which front they're on of if they're just doing their shooting-moons-in-venal thing again. The aeon was lost to Rebellion alliance, who I'm not familiar with; by standings they're neutral to us.

Monday, April 5, 2010

IT vs NC day 4: War on three fronts

There has been lots of shiny pew pew against Atlas on the eastern front, with a fairly pitched (node-destroying) battle in p3 yesterday. Atlas and co. were heavily outnumbered (note that many people are on both sides, so numbers aren't actually accurate) and lost a bunch of medium hulls as well as their POS in the system. In amusing news, apparently Molle claimed on teamspeak that Atlas had taken an NC station....

On the IT front, later in the in the evening we formed up to go to the x-7 area where a pair of towers of ours were coming out of reinforced and I got to take my logistics ship into a real fight for the first time.

Just as we jumped into the destination system the enemy bridged in to a snipe spot above the gate and we were bubbled by dictors. This set the tone for most of the rest of the fight, with us warping to them, them warping off and bubbling us. We spent some time playing at the gate and at a friendly pos which was coming out of reinforced. Some friendly carriers cynoed to the pos to rep, and fortunately gave us some too.

I think I can say with complete accuracy that NC dictors are terrible; they tend to bubble us when we land 30 km off an enemy fleet, any time a red appears on grid, or just at random. Hopefully we'll get better over the course of the war.

In any case, eventually we got a good warpin and trapped a significant portion of the enemy fleet. With them in our optimals we stayed on the field. As a logi I was desparately trying to rep people who were broadcasting for armor, but when something gets called primary by a fleet like that they die. In retrospect, with primaries dying before my armor rep cycle could complete it would have been better to pick somebody with armor damage who wasn't primary and rep them fully before switching to a new target.

After a few minutes of fighting they started targeting our logistics and I got podded home. Our fleet left the system soon after, and from what is showing on the killboards so far it looks like a moderate loss for us isk-wise and we lost the towers, but the carriers appear to have survived. GF IT.

Flying logi was interesting; not being able to save people is frustrating, but it's a completely different game than the whole shooting people thing. I learned some things, and I'll have to play with it a bit more before I decide if it's something I'd like to do full time.

NC being hilariously terrible on the pos

In which there are not enough reps

Brackets on before getting podded

On the Cloud Ring front, Cry Havoc killed a titan. The pilot shows neutral to me, so I don't know how or if this will affect the war. Still -- titan kill.

Early monday morning EVE time a fleet headed down to Cloud Ring to help our Goonie friends out a bit. We titan bridged to near a goon station which looks to have been reinforced and a small enemy fleet in system buggered out. We burned two jumps to where Goons had engaged the enemy on the stargate, jumped in and dropped a triage carrier. Although a smaller fight, the battle went very well, with the carrier giving us a strong advantage and the enemy not warping off until a significant portion had died.


As a final note, a black ops mercenary gang has been hanging out in our staging system pretty much nonstop for the last several days. I suppose this is the same sort of thing that Molle said would be operating in the Branch area. The mercs obviously have a lot of isk to throw around, with reports of multiple cloaking nightmares and machariels ready to gank people.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Flying logistics ships

For a while I've wanted to try flying a logistics ship, and over the last several days I've finally gotten the skill training and some ships fitted.

Logistics ships exist for the sole purpose of repairing others in the fleet. They're rather good at it, with the ability to fit and run nonstop multiple large remote repair modules, as well as a 71 km remote repair range. A single guardian can have a per-second armor repair speed nearly comparable to a capital remote armor repairer.

In a fleet, logistics which also have cap transfer bonuses typiaclly set up a network of capacitor transfer so nobody ever runs out (bonuses to cap transfer modules mean that the transfer target receives much more energy than it costs to activate the module). This also means that every guardian or basilisk has two others locked, and will repair them if they start taking damage. The logistics then watch for armor and shield request broadcasts in the fleet window and try to keep people alive. The oneiros and scimitar on the other hand, which I am skilled for, are independntly cap stable but the oneiros only fits three reppers compared to the guardian's four.

In a previous, dramatic example of logistics win a 140 v 100 (our favor) medium-hull fight against PL a few weeks ago, in which they had about 7 logis and we had a dozen, resulted in a situation in which we shot each other for a good ten or fifteen minutes without either side killing anything larger than a destroyer hull. Combined with moderate module lag, each fleet's logistics were so strong that even with more than 100 people shooting the primary target we weren't able to get them down. We eventually managed to alpha their logistics by locking them all (so they couldn't tell who would be called primary next) and having everybody fire at the same time so the target would die before reps could be applied.

Something interesting that I've noticed about flying logistics is that ALL subcapital fleets need them. In fact, all subcap fleets need logistics more than anything else. This means that if you train logistics, you don't need to train any combat ships. No battleships, t2 large weapons or any weapon skills at all. If you have long term training goals that don't involve guns, that could save you a lot of time.

In a logi my windows and overview are very different from what they would be with a combat ship.

Note the following components:

OVERVIEW: No ships, either friendly or hostile. Used only for aligning, warping, using jump bridges, etc.

TARGETS, BROADCASTS AND WATCH LIST: Clustered for quick target management. Target and capacitor broadcasts have been disabled. Targets are aligned vertically because it makes them easier to click and the layout is much better that way. The watch list is filled with other logi; if there's spare room I add the fleet commanders, ewar (when flying shield logi) and corpmates, in that order.

BRACKETS: That screenshot actually has all brackets on because it wasn't slow, but normally I would have only fleet member brackets so I can center myself on the fleet, or all brackets off.

DRONES: I probably won't use these. In theory I could use armor maintenance bots since the oneiros gets a bonus for them, but in a fight you lose almost as many drones as you launch -- not really useful.

SMALL RAILGUN: For killmail whoring expensive stuff. The oneiros can't fit four reppers without sacrificing some EHP, so I have a spare high slot.

PLAYER LIST AT BOTTOM RIGHT: People in the area who I want to kill.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

IT vs NC day 3: Battles and situation update

I didn't make it to the fights in x-7 today (my work hours seem to be when most euro time ops go down) but by the time I logged on we had already killed some 17 hostile capitals in x-7 and lost a bunch of battleships and two technetium moons in another system. Apparently we had some hostile supercapitals tackled at some point, including Molle's titan alt Shrike, but they were able to escape.

Aftermath in x-7, stolen from CAOD

The eastern front has gotten busy in the last two days, with Atlas reinforcing towers and incapping jump bridges in systems close to their lowsec staging point and us reinforcing their staging towers. Most of the fighting over there is being taken care of by the eastern NC alliances (Majesta and RAGE), whose staging system is in that area. There have been a number of subcapital fights there which I haven't been involved in.

Apparently goons are also being attacked by someone, which makes a third front out of the supposed five. I don't have any reliable intel about this area (or whether goons are fail cascading or not), but according to some forum posts the attackers reinforced 8 highends and took 5, with goons repping 3.

Friday, April 2, 2010

IT vs NC day 2: Situation update and speculation

An uneventul day today. We locked down x-7 with about 700 pilots and basically spent the rest of the day looking for something to do. In terms of kills and losses there was practically nothing, with us killing three capitals, a pair of T3 ships and a pos, and losing a number of battleships to bombers. As far as strategic objectives go, we repped a technetium mining pos in x-7.

Also, we used 200 battleships and 3 titans to break up a small gate camp in ec-.

I have to admit, the war so far is not what I had expected. My impression was that it was supposed to be a massive, coordinated attack designed to steamroll the NC, but instead things are starting off very slowly. Our ability to lock down x-7 means that the enemy needs the situation to evolve, which it will. Molle is reluctant to commit capitals to a fight due to the lag issues and will therefore be having capital pilots switch to battleships, which might get them enough numbers to put up a fight. In addition, Atlas and Cult of War are now deploying to the east and will be opening a front there so IT can at least undock while we're busy with that.

And now, speculation. There's been a lot of hurf durf on the forums by armchair analysts about how numbers, morale or home field advantate will result in one side or the other Winning For Certain. Out in the real internet spaceship world though, the most critical issue by far is Dominion lag, and since that can affect either side the outcome of the war is very much uncertain.

Remember y-2? PL lost hundreds of billions of isk worth of capitals and supercapitals, and after that the war was over. As long as it's possible to annihilate an enemy capital fleet while taking essentially no losses, the war will come down to whoever lags out less. If we manage to y-2 enemy cap fleets repeatedly we're almost certain to win. On the other hand, if we're on the receiving end more than a few times, well....

Thursday, April 1, 2010

IT vs NC day 1: Wyvern down

Over the last couple days, with real combat operations yet to start our focus has basically been on thwarting, intercepting subcap (and cap, in the one case) trains, reinforcing and destroying IT & pet staging towers and ganking incautious capitals (14 as of last night). It's not that this sort of thing will, you know, change anything - the amounts of isk involved are trivial - but after the war with Tri et. al we're ready to rock, and it's good to start a war with a proactive stance.

Today we formed up for a supercap > cap > everything else op, but our subcapital fleet engaging theirs caused widespread lag with "nodes crashing everywhere" per report. With capitals unsuitable to use under those conditions, those of us in the cap fleet returned to base and reshipped to subcapitals. IT moved all their pilots to X-7, where the subcapital fight was going down, and the system was apparently capped at 1000 players.

The repurposed capital fleet made it into X-7 4 hours after the original formup, at which point local was 840. There was an extended engagement on the station with a sizable enemy capital and supercapital fleet on the field, though we were for the most part only killing subcaps. The enemy warped titans to zero on us repeatedly to bump, and I'm certain we took a lot of losses but it was one of the best fights I've been in.

We bounced around the system, having a number of running engagements and ganking targets that had been scanned down, and eventually the IT fleet disengaged. A fairly large number of subcapitals had been killed in addition to, since I had joined the fleet, 4 carriers, a dread and, to top it off, an IT Wyvern that had somehow wandered outside the pos shield.

Wyvern kill

EDIT: Adding killboard link for the day. 48 billion killed for 20 billion lost, with killmails still coming in at the time of writing.

Titans bumping us

Brackets on after IT left the station

Killing a revelation with IT camped inside their pos

Killing the wyvern