Thursday, December 30, 2010

NC vs PL: 8 titans (and one supercarrier) down in Y-W supercapital skullfuck

-imperian being totally cool and professional about it

EDIT: Numbers are still uncertain 12 hours after the fight and it appears that at least one supercapital from each side failed to generate a killmail. NC report losing 2 titans (1 killmail generated) and PL report losing 6 titans (5 killmails generated) and 2 motherships (1 killmail generated). I have reason to believe that the second mothership survived but no way to confirm this.

So today we formed up to go reinforce PL towers in h-pa for the umpteenth time. PL formed up to fight us but nothing much came of it as we reinforced a tech pos or two and repped our staging pos in h-p. We moved capitals home and stayed formed up in case PL dropped our subcapitals, which they did, bridging ahax on top of our fotm shield alpha BS fleet as they passed through y-w1q3. The BS were apparently doing pretty well on their own, but we jumped our caps and supers to help our subcapitals, or just to whore on killmails.

PL lit a cyno and dropped approximately 40 supers on us and it was on. I don't know how many supers we had on field at the start of the fight, but we had had 30 in h-p earlier. Jabber broadcasts went out, we went siege green and went on their titans as they went on ours. Both sides lost a titan in the initial doomsday volley.

First PL titan going down

At this point I crashed and couldn't log back in until it was over.

By the time I got back on teamspeak - like two minutes - PL supers were trying to jump out and their titans were dying like flies while we slowly lost a second titan. As of the time of writing initial reports indicate 7 PL and 2 NC titans down, plus one PL supercarrier. And boy is it fantastic to see PL finally overreach and get their comeuppance.

Battlefield at the end of the fight
Almost all the red brackets here are blues -- common bug

Battlereport. Will take time to sync.

"who are winning pl or nc eve 2010"

This was a search which brought somebody here, and it's a long answer question.

Before answering that, one would have to define what winning means. The conflict between PL and the NC cannot be described as a pitched war as PL are categorically unable to take our stations or kill our CSAA; this means that they are not an existential threat.

In terms of objectives the conflict focuses on technetium moons in venal. PL have taken some number of tech moons (I don't know how many, numbers on the street range between 16 and 90) and we try to take them back.

This has not been very successful for us. PL is small and agile; they never fail to time pos for US time, which is a weak time zone for us and their strongest. The typical fight in US time involves us bringing about 150 subcapitals to h-pa, PL's staging system and the location of several tech pos. PL also have 150 in system, but because of their higher level of skill and because they can log 20 titans on at a moment's notice - more supers than we can get in US time - we always lose.

Now, this isn't the complete story. It's not accurate to say that we can't get numbers or supers in US time. Without trying hard we can pull 600 people during euro time and more capitals/supers than PL can get members online during their prime time. Our euro time players aren't usually online during US time, but with a red pen CTA and a few days advance notice they could be induced to be on,especially if the op was on a weekend. We haven't been doing this type of op.

The NC+DC is engaged in two major wars right now, against IT+pets and the drone lands federation, two of the three other major powers in eve. PL and venal represent a comparatively low priority third front, with DC much more interested in bitchslapping IT and the NC proper placing a high priority on protecting geminate from the DRF invasion.

We're winning the two major fronts, with DC et. al unexpectedly continuing to destroy IT fleets on a daily basis and the DRF losing all major engagements and several supercapitals on the eastern front. The most charitable way to describe the PL front, on the other hand, would be "stagnant."

So, who is winning? I guess PL are, since they are protecting their moons and killing our fleets. Again though, they don't qualify as an existential threat.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Playing eve for free

"play eve free" was a search which brought several people to my previous post and I thought, hey, post idea.

The basics:

People can buy game time codes with real money (two months for 37 dollars/euros IIRC). These time codes can then be converted into in-game items called PLEX. You get two of them for each time code you convert, each of which adds one month of time to the account of the person who uses it. Plex are commonly sold on the market by people who want to exchange real-life money for game money, and they cost around 360 million isk right now. This means that if you can earn 360 million isk in one month, you can play eve for free.

There is an efficiency issue, which is that in most first-world countries people earn enough per hour that it is more time-efficient to pay for the subscription. As an example, someone earning 30m/hour missioning would take 12 hours to afford a PLEX, while earning 5 dollars (or euros) per hour in real life it would only take three hours to pay for a one-month subscription. Of course not everybody can find a job in this economy, much less one which actually pays the bills and where they can change their workload on a whim, so plex are pretty popular.

So: In order to play eve for free, you need to earn enough isk each month to buy one plex per account. Since you are working for the ability to play, there is a strong incentive to maximize your isk/hour. For this purpose I will cover the earning potential of some basic careers and passive income methods, as well as suggestions for some advanced careers.

In highsec the two entry-level occupations are mining and running missions. Mining in highsec on a single account is said to be worth 7.5m/hour, meaning it would take 48 hours of work to earn one PLEX. Missions earn 20-40m/hour, at which rate it would take 9 to 18 hours to buy a plex.

There are other things to do in highsec, of course, but they are harder to get into and may require a significant initial investment. Trade and manufacturing are big ones, supposedly worth billions per month for those who know how to make it happen. Another thing to look at might be invention, but I am even less than familiar with this.

EDIT 2011-10-20: Incursions in highsec make 50-100m/h plus LP, and they aren't especially hard to get into.

Moving out to 0.0 the numbers get bigger. Manufacturing can still be done, and although the margins are a lot higher the volume is generally quite small. Belt ratting in 0.0 is worth 30-40m/h and running anomalies in a carrier or golem should be worth an easy 45m/h not counting faction spawns or escalations. At 45m/h one plex will take 8 hours of work.

With the recent spike in megacyte prices mining in 0.0 is now almost worthwhile again. A solo hulk mining arkonor in 0.0 makes about 25m/h, while a properly bonused hulk with a hauler alt makes twice that, meaning earning 2 plex would take 15 hours in either case. With two hulks and one hauler three plex would take 12 hours.

One thing which is worth a lot more in 0.0 than other places is exploration, which is what I do. An accomplished carebear doing exploration on 2 characters can usually make a minimum of 100m/h (8 hours for 2 plex again), but a single lucky drop can be worth a billion isk and an exceptionally good day can pay for months of play time.

Passive income can be used to supplement primary income, or at higher levels could actually pay for one or more plex per month. For mission runners datacores from research agents can earn an extra 70-ish million per month, and planetary interaction can be worth more depending on where you do it. Kirith I believe makes around 300m/month doing PI in a wormhole, and has written about that a bit. You can even make extra characters on one account for the purpose of passive income -- three characters each earning 70m/month from datacores and/or 300 from PI would surely help things along, though there is a skill point investment which would have to be made.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Longpost: A detailed discussion of my personal financial plan, past and present

(seriously, you don't want to read this.
The nobody cares tag exists for a reason)

Eve is playable with widely variable amounts of in-game wealth. I've speculated that players could be stratified into different wealth classes, but the idea never really goes anywhere because it's boring. At the extremes though, there are people get excited when a kill drops T2 loot because it means they can now afford to replace their rifter; and on the other end there are the super rich, people with trillions of isk in their wallet who will never have to worry about being able to replace their ship, even if that ship is a titan.

A discussion about people's attitudes toward isk-making would probably be more interesting, where they fall somewhere on a spectrum between those who only make isk so they can afford their next pvp ship and the hardcore carebears whose only goal is to accrue ever-increasing amounts of isk. I don't know very many people though, so this won't be the subject of a future post either.


Personally I'm about two steps below the super rich on the first measure and pretty far toward the carebear end of the spectrum on the other. There is a critical difference between me and the hardcore carebears though, which is that I consider isk a means rather than an end. I want to fly expensive ships, and isk lets me do that.

(of course, then I need to be able to afford to replace that expensive ship...)

One year ago I had accrued 13 billion isk in cash and was planning to get a supercarrier, stop carebearing and have some fun; after all, I would never be able to afford a titan or anything. Things changed, though: Flying a supercarrier stopped being practical (temporarily); I invested my excess isk in capital blueprints in order to turn money into even more money; my earning potential increased; and nyx BPC prices went through the roof.

The ridiculous prices nyx bpc were pulling made it possible to make money, real money, copying blueprints and I decided to invest further in this area. Affording a nyx BPO takes a fair amount of work though, so I resolved to stop as soon as I had enough blueprint income to afford everything I would ever want. The number that I arrived at was 4 billion isk per month, and I started carebearing intensively toward this goal.

Four billion isk per month is a lot of money. Invest the first 40 billion in two more supercarrier BPC, to sell when you need to replace a titan, and you're home free. You can buy all the plex you need to play eve for free forever and have enough left over that you'll never have to fly anything but T3 ships and machariels.

Six months ago, earning 4 billion per month from blueprint copying would have required four nyx plus a few carrier or freighter blueprints. This would have been doable, running around 80 billion isk -- about equal to my total assets today.

Unfortunately for me, nyx BPC prices have fallen significantly and today this would require eight nyx BPO. Trying to earn that sort of isk is not practical for me in the medium term, and I suspect BPC prices will continue to fall as everybody able to build supercapitals buys and researches their own BPO for manufacturing.

My plan for retiring on blueprint income is no longer practical, so it's time for a new plan.


1. Income. I will continue to earn isk the old fashioned way. Since there is no longer a finish line, this will happen at a somewhat more relaxed pace.
2. Expenses. Instead of rushing to get nyx BPO isk will be used to buy whatever is needed, with an emphasis on fun. Machariels will be avoided because they are not cost effective, but T3 are in.
3. Blueprints. Spare isk will still be invested in blueprints. Since supercarriers no longer have a significantly higher MMPB (monthly income, in millions, per billion isk invested) compared to carriers I would start by filling my research slots with carriers, then trading up to blueprints with a higher monthly income though possibly lower MMPB. This goes: Carrier (31m/mo, 32 MMPB), rorqual (76m/mo, 23 MMPB), supercarrier (584m/mo, 35 MMPB (decreasing)), titan (1180m/mo, 18 MMPB).
4. Supercapitals come first. Blueprints are to be liquidated as necessary in order to buy or replace supers. Everything else is cheap and can be covered by normal income, passive income or even petty cash from bounties.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Running sanctums with the NC

It's pretty common for people to accuse the NC of blobbing in pvp, but what not everybody realizes is that we do a lot of other things the same way. Most of the time I earn isk plexing with just me and my alt but today I got in on an op running anomalies, where I took the below screenshot:


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Coalition map update

May 2010 update.

Borders have stabilized (for the moment) so it's time for another map. Major changes are initiative colored with IT, AAA/ROL retaking feythabolis and impass, and cloud ring now controlled by NC. Also, I'm not coloring providence again until somebody gets around to kicking out all those puppets.

Credit goes to influence map people, as always.

Blue: IT et aliae
Green: Northern coalition and deklein coalition
Pink: Drone russians and some other russians

Monday, December 13, 2010

:NC: vs PL (or, in which I nearly lose my nyx)

In a shocking display of competence in extremis, Hinata has bailed the NC capfleet out, an eventuality which we had not planned for! Alas, our ~goodfites~ will have to wait for the planned 00:45 evetime formup.

-the mittani

As you may have heard if you pay any attention to 0.0 at all, the NC redeployed back to tribute a few weeks back. Since then things have been pretty slow. It's seemed as though leadership was testing PL and trying to find a fleet composition that worked against them. We've reinforced small numbers of towers and only brought subcapital fleets to kill them, which have all been annihilated.

PL members are mostly high-SP pvpers and thus are multispecced, and with the spy and timer situation they have the luxury of switching fleet compositions based on what we bring. We bring battleships, they bring ahax and we die. We bring drakes, they bring pulse abaddons and we die. We almost standardized on ahax, but then PL developed some sort of anti-ahax battleships and killed a fleet of those.

So herpitty derp derp, we have to kill them by blobbing. Today we formed up 200 capitals and went out and reinforced a couple of dozen tech pos. They were in more than one or two systems, too, so my guess is that leadership types are actually serious about taking them at this point.

Flying a supercarrier is nice because of lol-ehp, but actually using it is sort of dull. There aren't any damage notifications, and since bombers can't hit the tower you're on mod incap duty.

SC pos bashing


We ended up in h-pa, PL's staging system, where our subcapitals were camping them in to the station. Euro people were logging off, dreads went home briefly to refuel and subcapitals went back to umi to reform, but we tried to keep system control. This did not work out very well for us.

We got our capital fleet tackled on a PL pos. It took a while for them to really start logging in supers though, which allowed us to get most of our capitals safe. Just as we were trying escape a bunch of people lost their teamspeak connection (there have been accusations of Hijinks) and I didn't get the order to jump, and got tackled in my nyx.

I started getting hit by PL supers and would have been screwed if razor's famous nano apoc fleet hadn't warped in to nuke the dictors. I jumped out with 17% armor, having learned an important lesson about self-preservation.

EDIT: I learned later that there were multiple doomsdays running on me as I jumped out, which would have killed me if they had landed.


Oh snap

Battle report

EDIT: A nyx loss appears on that battle report. This happened in a later fleet when a PL spy lit a cyno in h-pa and our FC was conveniently disconnected from teamspeak between saying "jump" and what the destination was.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Installing eve on linux

So, it came time for me to install a newer version of linux. I had been using ubuntu 8.something and its' support cycle ended a while ago. Security updates stopped at some point, and more recently the software repositories were taken offline. The system still worked, of course, but upgrading at some point was inevitable and I finally got around to it this weekend.

The most recent ubuntu version is 10.10, but I went with 10.04 because it's a "long term support" version and is actually supported for a year past the end of 10.10's lifecycle. I hate upgrading.

It's come a long way in the past few years. Nonfunctional alpha-quality tools from old version now Just Work. .config files I had mastered writing have been replaced by graphical tools. The UI is extremely responsive, which had been a problem in a few older releases. In mplayer subtitle errors have been fixed, and running the 64-bit version means CPU use is lower. Flash now works, even on 64-bit, without video stuttering. It isn't installed by default due to being non-free, but can be installed via the ubuntu software installer ('non-free' refers to software which is not open source).

Oh, and my frame rate in eve tripled.

The biggest issue I encountered was the astonishingly ugly default splash screen and theme, but this was easily fixed.

How to install eve on linux:

Computer which can run eve
NVIDIA graphics card
(apparently ATI actually works now, but I can't guarantee that)

Step 1:
Install linux. This is ridiculously easy: Download a disk image, burn it to a CD, boot from the CD and click through the fisher-price graphical installer. You can use a distro other than ubuntu of course, but this guide is partly distro-specific.

Step 2:
After booting into your new system you will need to enable the non-free nvidia driver. There will be a little icon at upper right with a circuit board and a padlock. Click it, select install drivers and activate the recommended driver. A restart will be required.

Step 3:
Download the eve installer.

Step 4:
Install wine by running 'sudo apt-get install wine' in a terminal (applications->utilities->terminal I think). Many of the steps here which use terminal commands can be accomplished with clicky stuff too, but it's easier for me this way.

Note: Pasting text into the terminal may require you to use ctrl-shift-v rather than ctrl-v.

Step 5:
Run winecfg. Go to graphics and set it to run in a virtual desktop. You wouldn't want to run eve in fullscreen mode, would you? Would you? Why do you hate everything that is good in the world?

You actually might, in which case knock yourself out, but windowed mode is safer -- linux has a sketchy history when it comes to switching resolutions and using fullscreen graphics acceleration, and at some point in the distant past alt-tabbing away from fullscreen eve caused it to crash.

Note that the client can change the size of the virtual desktop by switching the resolution in the client's graphic settings.

Step 6:
Run the eve installer. You'll have to right click, go to properties->permissions and set it as executable before it will run.

Step 7:
The eve installer doesn't work, unless you downloaded the offline installer, in which case the patching tool doesn't work. The repair tool, however, does work and will happily construct an up-to-date client from whatever it starts with. Let it do its thing.

Step 8:
Eve is missing its' fonts. They are actually present in a default 10.04 installation, but are not in wine's fonts folder. Run "cp /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts/* ~/.wine/drive_c/windows/Fonts/"

Step 9:
Disable the new jukebox service, as it is said to cause crashes. Run "mv ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/CCP/EVE/res/audio/Jukebox/ ~/.wine/drive_c/Program\ Files/CCP/EVE/res/audio/_Jukebox". The splash screen music will still work, but in-game music won't. If you want the eve music you can open the jukebox folder and drag the songs to your music player of choice. You can use ctrl+h to reveal the .wine folder in your home directory.

Step 10:
Run eve from the desktop icon or applications->wine->programs.

Step 11 (optional):
Anti-aliasing cannot be enabled by default. It can be made enableable if you like, but cannot be used at the same time as either HDR or bloom. If you wish to enable it, open ~/.wine/user.reg and paste the below registry entry at the bottom:


Once this is done restart the client, disable HRD and bloom and anti-aliasing will be useable.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

An assessment of the 0.0 political situation

Aka hurfitty hurf durf internet spaceship words.

First, Providence. Because it doesn't really affect anything else. With AAA gone CVA started making progress against the alliances AAA had installed there. Then Ev0ke and Tri (ncdot) decided to invade. As the only real pvp alliances in the area I rather anticipate they will steamroll anything that gets in their way. I'll be glad to see the place finally cleared out and inhabited by an alliance which is competent to hold space. For the first time, like, ever.

The part of 0.0 which is not providence has formed into what may turn out to be a beautiful chain reaction in which every 0.0 entity will become engaged in an active conflict.

First, some background.

Apparently, at some point in the distant past AAA was a pvp alliance. I started playing in late 2007, and this was before my time. In my memory AAA have done a total of three things: Betray goons to join bob, kill CVA with the help of dominion lag and every other alliance in the south, and show up two months late to MAX 2, lose 5 supers and immediately go home.

That's everything. In the space of three years.

A few months ago various forces decided that it was time for AAA to die and invaded them. AAA folded like a cheap deck of cards, lost all their space to Initiative and lost half their members, but did not disband. Stagnant alliances faced with adversity either fail or become pvp alliances, and AAA appears to fall into the latter category. They moved in with stainwagon (I'm looking forward to drawing my next coalition map just so I can call it 'stainwaaagon') and began a counterattack.

CO2 and DT had been installed between Init and Stainwaaagon as meatshields. Init failed to support them and they died without a fuss. Stainwaaagon have now turned their attention to Initiative, and this is where things get interesting.

Initiative is an ally of IT. IT's only ally, in fact, other than pets. Apparently IT have finally realized the value of allies (there's a first time for everything) because they have just announced a full deployment to defend init against AAA.

This moves their forces a couple regions counter-clockwise, leaving only shitty pets in fountain. DC (Deklein coalition) would be remiss to not take this opportunity to attack Fountain, especially since tri and evoke are in providence instead of farming pure blind and cloud ring. I sincerely hope razor joins in if this happens; I've never invaded the southwest before, and apparently IT pets have a lot of really terrible supercap pilots.

If fountain gets into trouble it's likely that IT will go home to defend it, leaving Init to the ravages of Stainwaaagon. If Stainwaaagon win it's possible that they might even open a southern front against IT. If things go well enough we (NC/DC) could even end up working with AAA. This is not an outcome I would have predicted at any point in the past. Ever.

Now, if the NC deploys to the west it could open our eastern front to attack by dronelanders. This isn't a huge deal though, since DRF have an even weaker US time zone then the SC did; the eastern NC alliances may well be able to hold them off without assistance. Even in a worst case scenario we have 4 days' warning for station saves, so we could easily do round trip fleets from west to east.

At least, this is what I would like to see happen in the next few months. I would also like a pony.

Friday, December 3, 2010

First blood

I just got into coalition supercap channels yesterday, and today there was a hastily-arranged supercarrier fleet. Dronelanders are working on retaking the stations we took, and we're fighting them at least a bit. Apparently a subcapital fleet had gotten some supers tackled, and we burned in that direction but they escaped. We did catch a single archon though, which became my first kill in my SC.

Mail. Nice combat fit.

(Yes, by the way, that dictor did bubble all our supercarriers. We ARE that bad at bubbling)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

That eve character appraiser thing

EDIT: Since people are still arriving here via google, I would encourage you to check the comments. Some of my criticisms are technical limitations, one was a design decision and one actual bug was fixed.

Also, this thing is years out of date and using it doesn't make sense any more oh my god please stop whining.

A couple people have linked to an automatic character value appraisal tool recently. I gave it a try (14b, since I'm sure you care) and it's an interesting tool, but I sure hope it's still under development since most of what I noticed about it were the errors.

Starting at the top, it noted under 'character specials' that I can fly t2 amarr and gallente cruisers, but failed to note that I can also fly caldari freighters, caldari, minmatar and gallente carriers and supercarriers (including bombers) and caldari and minmatar dreadnaughts. I really think there should be price modifiers for those, or at least one for each class of capitals a character can fly.

Under the implants section it noticed my slave alpha through epsilon implants, but failed to recognize slave omega, CC8 or ZET5000 (combined value 1.25 billion).

Lastly, looking through the skill categories it seems to have imported all level 4 capital-related skills as level 3, including capital ships, fighter bombers, tactical weapon reconfiguration, capital projectile turret, minmatar carrier, minmatar dreadnaught and gallente carrier.

So, maybe some room for improvement.

Finding a better carebear ship

For the purpose of making isk I run plexes with two characters, one in a scout/scan/tank tengu and the second in a maelstrom to do damage. I've been using this setup for a while and have made a pretty decent amount of isk off it, but have now finished pvp training on the alt on my damage dealer's account and have some time to invest in my carebear. I have long suspected that the damage dealer was the weak part of my pve setup, since the maelstrom was selected purely on the basis of what my damage dealer, a repurposed pvp character, could fly. My purpose with this post is to find a better pve ship, which I will then train for. No amarr ships can be evaluated because of their damage types, which is unfortunate.

When it comes to carebearing, two things are important: Income per unit of time, and effort. Finding a balance is important; the maze is the most profitable guristas plex, but with my ships and skills it takes a lot of effort. For this reason I don't run it. An example of low profit, low effort would be running plexes or anomalies in an ishtar, which requires practically no interaction with the game but takes forever. Belt mining is an example of low profit, high effort as you have to watch local every second, move to new roids, haul ore, etc. Personally I'm in a higher profit bracket with a somewhat low effort, running every guristas plex except the maze quickly (mostly) and easily.

In evaluating ships I have arrived at four values which will be most useful in evaluating a ship:

Some guristas battleships orbit at 52 km. The DPS the ship is calculated to do to one of these is the first field.

Some battleships orbit at 32 km. The second field is the DPS done to these ships.

Elite cruisers orbit at 17.5 km. The third field will only shows the EFT damage. For turrets this is very low because of tracking, though in practice there are tricks to reduce their angular velocity so that turrets can hit for near full damage. With a little luck, a maelstrom can kill an elite cruiser in 2 volleys.

Finally, there is price. This is a rough estimate of how much it would cost to buy and fit the ship.

Artillery maelstrom:
DPS at to battleship at 52 KM: 630
DPS at to battleship at 32 KM: 620
DPS to elite cruiser: 117
Price: 150 million

This is the ship I'm using right now. It's pretty nice and I like the volley damage, but I'm hoping there is something better out there.

Similar ships which I have considered and rejected include: Arty+cruise tempest, arty+cruise typhoon, rokh, megathron and hyperion.

DPS to battleship at 52 KM: 673
DPS to battleship at 32 KM: 697
DPS to elite cruiser: 165
Price: 150m

The dominix is interesting. With railguns in addition to sentry drones it does slightly more damage at range than the maelstrom. Using light drones instead of sentries it still does 551 dps, and it has slightly higher tracking as well. Unfortunately it has to be stationary to use sentry drones, and this adds a level of complexity above the maelstrom. In terms of hitting elite cruisers, the same tricks can be used.

Verdict: I'll pass. Does not represent a meaningful improvement over the maelstrom.

Autocannon machariel:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM: 728
DPS to battleship at 32 KM: 877
DPS to elite cruiser: 707
Price: 1000 million

The autocannon machariel does great damage at long range, and with autocannon tracking it will eat elite cruisers alive. There are two problems though, which are the price -- way too high for a ship without a real pve tank -- and ammo consumption. With a rate of fire around 4 times faster than an artillery fit ship, finding ammo (in tenal, where the market is dead) and having to go back to station to restock would become annoying. There's also the killboard issue if something unfortunate were to happen: People expect failfit ravens, but machariels are a whole different level of horrible.

Verdict: A major improvement over the maelstrom, but too exotic for pve use.

Artillery machariel:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM: 787
DPS to battleship at 32 KM: 760
DPS to elite cruiser: 114
Price: 1000m

Improved peak dps but with the same tracking issues as the maelstrom plus the fail issues of the autocannon mach.

Verdict: No.

The vindicator is a similar ship which I considered and rejected.

Javelin torp raven:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM (javelin): 569
DPS to battleship at 32 KM (T1): 892
DPS to elite cruiser (T1): 392
Price: 150m

Torpedo ravens do a whole lot of damage, but have very short range. I'm lazy and so absolutely will not chase pve targets around, but using javelin torpedoes combined with missile range rigs and good skills it is possibly to get the maximum torpedo range up above 52 km. Because target painters fall off at 45 km the damage at that range is actually slightly lower than the maelstrom, but relatively few guristas battleships actually orbit that far out. At close ranges the raven does significantly more damage than the maelstrom, as well as decent and much more consistent damage to elite cruisers.

In addition to the damage bonus missiles mean never having to worry about falloff or tracking, which represents a very significant decrease in the amount of effort involved in plexing. The downside is that smaller ships will be hit for less than maximum damage, though based on the DPS to elite cruiser EFT doesn't think this will be a major issue.

There is the challenge of getting javelin torps out to tenal, but the number which can be hauled back after taking loot to jita is practically limitless.

Verdict: Definitely worth looking into.

Torp golem:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM (javelin): 697
DPS to battleship at 32 KM (rage): 1138
DPS to elite cruiser (javelin): 543
Price: 650m

With a target painting bonus and 1/3 more base DPS, the golem does more damage at long range than the maelstrom, hilarious damage at close range and hits elite cruisers for nearly as much as the maelstrom's peak damage. It also represents a very significant improvement over the raven.

Verdict: I hate missiles with a burning passion and would never use them in subcapital combat, but principles are less important than money.

So, that's that. The golem is much better then every other ship I had even suspected might be worth checking. My plan was originally to test the torp raven first, but the difference in training time is only a week.

EDIT: Torp Rattlesnake:
DPS to battleship at 52 KM (javelin): 568
DPS to battleship at 32 KM (T1): 738
DPS to elite cruiser (T1): 585
Price: 650m

By popular demand!

You'd think with the number of rattlesnake BPC I find that I would have at least bothered to check it, but I didn't. It looks pretty similar to a dominix that uses missiles, and I was surprised to learn that it has a torpedo range bonus.

Between the 52 and 32 km battleship ranges it averages the same DPS as the dominix. An interesting feature is that it does the most damage to elite cruisers of any ship other than the autocannon machariel, though this number does depend on switching out to heavy drones.

Verdict: Arguably superior to the dominix, but suffers the same issues as a result of reliance on drones. The golem is a superior damage dealer, which is what I am looking for and thus remains my choice.