Saturday, October 30, 2010

NC vs Dronelanders: LXQ2-T: 3100 in local, station captured

I missed a major fight on wednesday-ish, during which we took out the LXQ ihub and put the station in its' second reinforced cycle. We made out pretty well in that fight, killing 600 ships and losing 300.

Today the LXQ station finished its' final reinforced timer. Anticipating a big fight and for hostiles to try to get in system around downtime, we got in system 8 hours before the station came out, three hours before downtime, and local was already 600, mostly blue. Intel reported the hostiles had 98 supercapitals logged off in system, 74 supercarriers and 24 titans, while we were subcapitals only. We were hoping to get some super kills, since with so many inexperienced super pilots in one place a few are bound to make mistakes, but they never logged in. Numbers climbed slowly as we waited, reaching 1900 in local and mostly blue just before the station came out of reinforced. At that point the hostiles jumped in about a thousand guys and the node got a bit slow.

Pilots in space

We started out on a grid where several battleship fleets had titan bridged in. Lag was at the level where you expect the node to crash, but it hung on and local eventually broke 3100. I'm not certain how many we killed there, but it's highly unlikely that anything entering system would ever load. Based on a lack of armor broadcasts in my fleet I don't think we lost anybody, but there were probably 5 blue fleets on grid. Enemy bombers did a run, but their bombs decided not to move and blew up in their faces.

Brackets at the first fight

After approximately four hours that grid had been cleared and we warped to a second spot where hostiles had bridged in a battleship fleet. None of the ships moved as we killed them, indicating that none had loaded system.

These guys look blackscreened

Then we warped to a gate where blues were engaging an enemy drake fleet. These ones were actually in system and fighting, but that didn't do much to stop the multiple blue fleets on grid killing them. Local finally fell below 2000 at this point.

First drake fleet

When this was finished we warped to a different gate, where an IRC drake fleet had clearly blackscreened jumping in, and killed them too.

Blackscreened drake fleet

Eventually local got down to 1500, the fighting was over and lag disappeared. We're hitting the station now, and I'm logging off after 14 hours in fleet. I didn't get any kills except for a tower and some mods early in the morning, but it's all good.

EDIT: I actually got on one kill from the fight itself.

Hitting station


To say the dronelanders' strategy during this fight was questionable would be an understatement. Jumping your fleet into a system with 1900 already in local is a futile gesture and hurts morale; strategy in a scenario like this should revolve around gaining system control during your prime time and keeping it until objectives can be completed.

According to rumor CCP moved the jita node to LXQ, which may be why the node didn't crash outright. Multiple CCP employees were present in local, and an ISD guy showed up as well.

Also, we killed god.

Victim: CCP Atlas
Corp: C C P
Alliance: C C P Alliance
Faction: Unknown
Destroyed: BH Mega Cargo Ship
System: LXQ2-T
Security: 0.0

EDIT: CCP used this fight to gather data for lag fixing purposes and we are now looking forward to a possible devblog. Their reporting software showed a peak of 3242 players in system. Also one of the things CCP Atlas was carrying when we killed him was actually a data gathering tool... oops :)

Some information here.

MORE EDIT: CCP Atlas' corpse was apparently sold for 5 billion isk.

Friday, October 29, 2010

In which I nearly participate in a banter blog

This month topic is brought to us by L’Dene Bean of Nitpickin’s who asks: Why, and how did you pick your corporation? Is your loyalty solid or just until a better placed organization “recruits” you. The shorter version: Who holds your unshakable fealty and why?

In his posts on the nature of alliance failure cascades, Mittani observed that they occur when the organization that corporations or players identify with ceases to be the alliance. People don't like to believe they are bad at the game so when an alliance starts losing, corporations may decided it is the rest of the alliance which is fail and leave. Similarly a player may decided that their alliance or corporation is fail and leave or stop participating.

When WI lost all their space my corporation left the alliance and I left my corporation, but the organization I identify with never changed. I found a new corporation by checking with all the corporations in the alliances I was interested in, eventually finding a place in razor.

While my corporation are a fine bunch of folks, and while my alliance is the most competent I have been in, they are just the place I live. The organization to which I am most loyal is the northern coalition as a whole, for the reason that I actually believe the leadership has the best interests of the coalition at heart. I can be confident of this because they have spent years building the coalition into the uniquely successful organization it is today, cultivating a highly resilient cooperative model rather than the cult of personality which has failed so many alliances recently.

tl;dr nc rules atlas drools yes I'm bitter

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Coalition map update

December 2010 update here.

Since the southern coalition died hilariously in a fire it's time for a new coalition map. Accuracy not guaranteed. Credit goes to the people who do the sov map.

Blue: IT and pets
Brownish-gray: Ev0ke and co.
Green: NC and brosephs
Orange: Stainwagon
Pink: Drone russians and some other russians
Red: The new south
Yellow: Providence. Not a power block.

The south is a bloody mess as always. Sys-k is an IT pet but fighting stainwagon with the new south alliances, Init is closely allied with IT, IT aren't fighting stainwagon, CO2 and DT are allied with init against stainwagon and god only knows what CO2 and DT's standings toward IT are.

Providence is a shitfest. The region is as complex politically as the entire rest of the map and I'm not going to touch it.

Another general update

Over the last week the NC have been RFing Dronelander towers and incapping jump bridges to try to provoke fights, without much success. Since the last fight in N-RAEL there has been one big fight, over an ihub, which came out about even on killboards but we took the system. Today a second ihub came out, and since the Russians didn't show up to defend it we reinforced a station.

More NC entities have been deploying east to joing the campaign. I particularly noted the presence of FCON -- there was some skepticism when they joined the coalition (because, you know, :providence: ) so it's nice to see them throwing their weight around.

Out west in cloud ring it sounds like ev0ke space is continuing to be taken by the Deklein coalition, a new political bloc headed by Goons which includes TEST and a number of other alliances. The difference between them and the NC will be academic to an outsider, since we are blue to each other.

Finally, rumors have PL moving moving to NPC geminate. If true the timing of this is interesting, since it and the recently announced IT campaign correlate with rumors that IT+PL+dronelanders will be attacking the NC.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

NC vs Dronelanders: Lag-free fights

Alex Rembrandt > we're probably fighting the B team right now though
Karmic Enigma > our first fight was the D team, the second was perhaps a C+ Team

The first two hostile pos that we reinforced in drone regions came out after downtime today. We put together about 80 armor hacs with 10ish logistics, a second, larger shield BC fleet and bombers. We were expecting stiff resistance, these being the first strategic objective of the war, and intel reported 250 hostiles.

Our ahax were orbiting the lowsec gate when local spiked to 300. The hostiles, in shield BC, landed on us at zero and logistics were ordered to jump through if we were taking damage. They primaried the logistics, and though most managed to jump out we did lose a couple, including myself.

Oh snap, drakes at zero

It turns out that the strength of drakes against ahax is partly in their range, and things went rather well for us as I was reshipping. By the time I got back in system the hostiles were on the back foot, and they warped out and safed up in a pos. We defanged it while waiting for the second tower to come out of reinforced.

Aftermath on the lowsec gate

Before the second tower came out a red reinforcement fleet of about 80 came and we engaged them on their in-gate. This time they didn't primary the logistics, and for the most part weren't able to get kills either.

Hostile reinforcements jumping in

Toward the end of the second fight


It is worthy of note that the fight was totally lag-free. The system was reinforced, of course, but with 300 people fighting on the same grid such a smooth fight is noteworthy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Don't be this person (part 2)

I'm all for making isk faster, but please use caution.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New campaign

Here we go again. Last week we were fixing to go out on a winter deployment to cloud ring, but it was canceled just hours before we were to ship out. The story, apparently, is that we got solid intel that the russians were planning an attack and decided to pre-empt them. So far it doesn't look like a full coalition effort, but multiple NC alliances are involved including rzr and MM. Somebody has apparently already taken an RA station in drone regions.

Since the russians have one of the largest supercap fleet in the game, and since we won't have all the coalition capitals available, there's the possibility of things going very wrong. Could be interesting.

At the same time IT has just announced a campaign in the immediate future. The timing makes me speculate they may be planning to coordinate with the russians, either in the east to stack supercapitals or in the west to split our forces. On the other hand, IT haven't gone after any difficult targets since max 2; maybe it's still too soon.

Friday, October 15, 2010

New ship: Thanatos


I'll start by saying it: Gallente ships are the ugliest damn things in space. Amarr ships look okay, caldari are nice in the right light and I love the minmatar design aesthetic, but except for the nyx gallente is all shit, all the time. I've said that I can't tell the front of a moros from the back because the entire thing looks like ass.

The thanatos, in addition to being ugly, is a shitty carrier. The damage bonus is worthless for a carrier's role, amarr has a better tank and minmatar get a remote rep bonus. The thanatos' damage bonus makes it good at one thing though, which is carebearing.

I've been using a chimera for pve. By comparison the thanatos does 25% more damage, locks faster and is cap stable. As an armor tank it's also better against the EM torpedo in DG fleet staging, although amusingly the first fit I tried had trouble tanking the normal ships in the site when fit for the torpedo. Capital armor reppers are incredibly slow.

New fleet staging fit -- defence is shown for EM

Fitting for guristas it's a little weaker than the chimera - 5k dps tank instead of 7k - but this probably is not a big deal.

Guristas fit

You might note the smartbomb and neut in these fits. All PVE fits should have these: Some plex spawn large numbers of close-range tacklers which the smartbomb can kill quickly should a neutral show up, the neut will save you from getting tackled by a single interceptor like an idiot, and nobody should waste time training advanced drone interfacing past level 3 since it's only used for carebearing.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A brief discussion of carrier functionality, with a focus on minmatar

EDIT 2012-8-19: This guide is out of date and does not reflect modern fitting strategies and tactics.


Although carriers have a little damage in the form of drones they are very much support ships, sporting a hard-to-manage combination of neuts, smartbombs, tackle and both local and remote repair. Their primary function is repairing things, usually structures but also each other, supercapitals or even subcapitals on rare occasions. There are two primary fittings for carriers, one for general combat and one which is cap stable in triage mode for rapid repair.



An interesting feature of the carrier is the reconfiguration capability, which works thusly: When the pilot of a carrier enables reconfiguration mode, and when there are fewer than 10 ships within 5000 metres of the carrier, those ships within 5000 metres can change their fittings just as though they were docked in a station (except that T3 ships cannot switch subsystems). Reconfiguration mode is disabled by docking or jumping, so a carrier pilot must re-enable it each time. This is accomplished by right clicking the capacitor, selecting configure ship and checking the box.

The carrier's corporate hangar gives the pilot 10,000 m^3 of extra storage space, which is enough to carry as many as two spare capital modules (4000 m^3 each). Between this and the reconfiguration capability, a carrier is able to swap between its' roles while in the field. In my opinion the combat fit my alliance uses for the nidhoggur is faulty: If one swaps a neutralizer for the triage module, one can carry both a shield and an armor repper in the corporate hangar, allowing the pilot to reconfigure to full armor or shield rep as needed while still being able to triage.

Generally one will prefer to fit for combat, then reconfigure to triage when needed. Refitting from the combat to the triage fits pictured above means carrying the following unfitted modules:

1x Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
3x Capacitor Power Relay II
2x Cap Recharger II
1x Triage Module I (unless you take my advice and keep it fitted)

Faction modules:

Since a fully fitted carrier will run around a billion isk, you may as well look into faction module variations. In particular, faction EANM (energized adaptive nano membrane) will give you a handy resist bonus for around 30 million each. My alliance also recommends domination or true sansha warp disruptors, but these cost 100m which I don't think is worth it. Smartbomb range can also be increased with T2 or faction variants, but this doesn't appear to increase their utility in a meaningful way.


The carrier's fuel bay holds 20,000 units of fuel, and if you carry 2 capital modules in the corporate hangars the remaining space will hold 13,333 units, which together will be enough for most ops. I can't use triage mode, but if you can it would be good to carry a fairly large number of strontium cycles, probably 10 or more. At that point it would probably only be possible to carry one capital module in the corporate hangar. If you use my idea of keeping the triage module on the combat fit, the one capital module in the corporate hangar should be a shield rep, if repping towers, or an armor rep for combat or for repairing a station -- most capitals and supercapitals are armor tanked, and station shields only need to be repped to 50% before it will go back into reinforced mode if attacked, whereas armor does not recharge and should be repped fully.

Note that only the nidhoggur and thanatos have range bonuses to both shield and armor repair. The chimera and archon will probably just carry two of the same type of repair module. They also have an energy transfer range bonus, but refitting to be cap stable would probably be easier than trying to sort out a cap chain.

Triage mode:

I am not personally familiar with triage mode, having never trained logistics 5. Triage mode halves the cycle time of capital remote repair modules and doubles the rep amount, for a total of 4x the repping ability. It also gives a massive scan res bonus, removing the need for a sensor booster. Triage mode lasts 5 minutes, and at level 4 should burn 150 strontium per cycle. Carriers in triage mode cannot use drones, and I am unclear as to whether they can use other offensive modules such as neuts and smartbombs.


Most of a carrier's damage comes from fighters. A decently skilled carrier will do upward of 1000 dps, which would be decent for turrets but fighters are slow, and unreliable in lag. You will most likely want to use minmatar fighters as they have the highest speed.


A carrier's drone bay is generally large enough to carry around 16-20 fighters, which are 5000 m^3 each. You'll want to leave out one fighter in order to carry normal drones in addition. It's tempting to try and carry multiple flights of each damage type and category of drone in both T1 and T2 but this quickly gets ridiculous and expensive, and you rarely use them anyway. A barebones drone selection is as follows:
  • Multiple flights of T2 light drones (warrior are fastest)
  • At least one set of T2 sentries of each type (sentry drones have different ranges and carriers have a drone control range bonus which allows you to use even the longest-range sentries out to their falloff distance)
  • Heavy shield and armor repair drones
  • Heavy ECM drones (wasp EC-900 I believe)
Once this is done you can fill things in as desired. I can't really imagine a situation in which you would use medium drones instead of light or heavy, but heavy drones can be used instead of fighters to save them from bombs; ten fighters will run you 120 to 150 million. I'd recommend adding a bunch of T1 sentries, light and heavy drones.


Most boosters aren't relevant to carriers, but blue drop and exile increase local shield and armor repair amount respectively. You can see my previous post for a discussion of booster side effects; the short version is that they carry a small chance of reducing your maximum shield or armor hitpoints respectively, so you may want to consider waiting until your shield or armor is below the amount of HP the side effect would reduce you to, which is different depending on the strength of the booster.


As mentioned in my previous post, platinum capital insurance isn't worth it. Unless you're planning to suicide-triage or otherwise have a very good reason to believe you will die, I recommend basic insurance. Half a carrier's value is in fighters and modules anyway, so even platinum will only return about 50% of the value.

Monday, October 4, 2010

A very brief note on preparing the naglfar for combat

EDIT 2012-8-19: This guide is out of date and does not reflect modern fitting strategies and tactics.

As the most expensive ship most players would ever consider flying, and the sub-supercapital the combat abilities of which are most affected by the contents of the cargo, dreadnaughts are uniquely worth fine-tuning. I've been tooling around in one for a couple years now, and having finally found a cargo loadout I'm happy with thought it was time to impart some wisdom. This was originally going to be about dreadnaught cargo in general but turned into a detailed naglfar guide because it's more complicated than the rest.



Dreads use long range weapons, period. Theoretically there could be a place for gank-dreads, but really? No. Jump a decent capital fleet to a cyno and the bump will spread your fleet over a diameter of a hundred k.

EDIT 4/7/2011: This is no longer true. Today, supers are the only thing worth flying and dreads are disposable. Gank (close-range) dreads may be used for nyncing, ninja sieging and suicide ganks on e.g. enemy supers which are being tackled.

There are two points on which I don't really agree with my alliance fitting.

First, the capacitor power relays. Flux coils have faster recharge for fast jumping, and also don't reduce shield boost. I think they use relays because the cap lasts longer, but realistically you will never cap out. Lag often means the booster doesn't cycle, and in any real fight incoming damage will kill you long before the two minutes it would take to cap out anyway.

The second point is the dual sensor boosters. A single SB will give you a targeting range of 185 km, and I have only once been further than that from enemy capitals -- which were specifically sniper fit, and we waited for the siege cycle to end and warped to 0 on them. This fit has a serious resist hole in EM, and swapping an invuln for a thermal mod wouldn't hurt either. Most people fly rev and moros, so it's bad to have low resists in em/therm.


Unless you have good reason to believe that you will lose your dread, get basic insurance. Basic runs around 50 mil while platinum is 280, and a capital is a fairly durable investment. I've spent a lot more on insurance than I have on replacing them, maybe even more than I've spent on hulls, and recently switched to basic insurance. Any decent 0.0 alliance should have a capital replacement program, so replacing a capital shouldn't be a major financial burden.

Fig. 1: Naglfar cargo


Although fuel requirements will vary depending on what sort of range you deploy to, dreadnaughts can never have enough fuel or strontium. Containers, which have more storage space then their volume, give you a little more cargo space to work with. The nag can fit a giant and a medium container, which I keep extra fuel in.

Generally you want to carry a minimum of 5 cycles of strontium. Six is better, and with the fuel requirements in our fleets 7 means having a cycle left when almost everybody else is out. Ops staging out of tribute typically call for between 20k and 30k isotopes. I like to carry 6 cycles of strontium, which gives me 33k fuel; although I could fit 7 cycles for most ops, I find that having extra isotopes is useful as proof against minor fuel requirement mistakes, plus the spare can be given to the inevitable person who finds out he's a little short for the return trip.

Ammo (combat):

720 rounds (18 reloads) of faction artillery ammo is enough to fire continuously unlagged for almost 1.7 hours. Ammo is chosen for damage types -- carbonized lead (long range) and depleted uranium (medium range) spread damage types the most in their ranges, while at close range EMP and fusion allow us to choose damage types for shield and armor tankers respectively. Although this gives us twice as much short range than medium range ammo, and althogh capital fights usually occur at medium range, 720 rounds is far more than I anticipate ever using in a fight.

Combat missiles have the same damage type considerations, so I have selected thunar (EMP) and catastrophe (explosive) for shield and armor tankers. 360 missiles will last slightly longer than the 720 rounds of artillery ammo. Missiles have only one range and there are no faction citadel cruise missiles, so our missile selection is simple compared to projectile ammo.

Ammo (loaded):

Faction explosive ammo is loaded at all times when not actually bashing a structure. You do NOT want to try to reload after jumping or undocking into a laggy fight.

Ammo (structure bashing):

This always happens at close range, and it's not worth switching ammo types to try and find the resists. Because I spend a lot more ammo on a typical structure shooting op than in a typical capital fight, I carry twice as much non-faction close range ammo as I carry of each type of combat ammo. This number is used because it is more than will ever be needed, plus it makes balancing pos bashing missiles easy. I don't actually anticipate structure bashing at long or medium range, but carry a few units of medium and long range non-faction ammo anyway because we have a little discretionary space for unexpected situations.

With missiles, I use thermal or kinetic. This is so that I don't use combat ammo to shoot a pos and find myself out of the correct damage type during a fight. Like projectile ammo, twice as many pos bashing missiles are carried as each type of combat missile.


A word on side effects -- standard boosters have a 20% chance of causing one of their four possible side effects. With nanite control 4 this decreases to a 16% chance. At most one of the side effects per booster will be meaningfully detrimental (i.e. decrease maximum hit points) so you actually have a 4% chance of getting a bad side effect.

Blue pill: Increases shield boost amount. One of the side effects is reduction in maximum shield capacity; however, one suspects this would work like a gang booster leaving, so if you have more than 20% shield damage it would not remove any existing shield HP.
Drop: Increases tracking speed. Has a chance of reducing shield capacity, so it should ONLY be used when you are confident there are not enough enemy capitals around to kill you. Generally this will be used for shooting subcapitals.
Frentix: Increases optimal range. This has a side effect of shield BOOST penalty, which between lag and the high incoming damage will rarely significant in a capital fight.

Drones (not pictured):

I carry one flight of sentries, one of light ewar drones for idiot-proofing and the rest light combat drones. The nag has 225 m^3 of drone space, so unfortunately a spare flight of sentries is impossible. Drone control range is around 60 km with decent skills, and enemy capitals are rarely under this range, so I recommend using sentries with an optimal around 50 km.

Best practices:

Make it a habit to refuel and reload immediately after returning from an op. Check all your storage spaces - fuel, cargo, containers, drone bay - to make sure that nothing is missing. And for the love of god, make sure that your siege module is set to auto-repeat OFF. The truly cautious will split their strontium into stacks of less than one cycle so the module fails when accidentally triggered. I don't do this because I'm lazy.