Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Blog Banter #56: Last refuge

Blog Banter 56

With Kornos and the upcoming industry changes following 6 weeks behind it, things are set for a vast upheaval in the coming months. Before he packed his bags and left Mord Fiddle asked some interesting questions:

The common wisdom in EVE Online is that, beyond the odd high-value moon or Faction Warfare scam, there's little in low sec or NPC null sec to the attract ongoing attention of the big-dogs of null sec, with their large fleets and super cap doctrines. It's assumed that NPC space simply isn't worth the bother of controlling even if one could control it.
Is this about to change?
The shift in industrial inefficiencies from high sec to NPC low sec/null sec has begun, adding value to NPC space outside of high sec. In the recent B0TLRD accords CFC claimed two NPC null sec regions, Venal and Syndicate, as part of the CFC sphere of influence.
What is the future of low sec and NPC null sec as the economic center of gravity shifts from high sec toward null sec?

Also, you can take this banter as a chance to discuss the ramifications of the style of play in low sec and NPC null sec if it does happen that major industry shifts there.


It's hard for me to write about low-sec.

Null-sec is relatively easy, as it generally comes down to politics and resource management. Hi-sec as well, since it's static and is the eternal anvil New Eden's industry hammers on. Wormholes have enough mysteries to keep the most prolific poets happy.

But Low-sec defies purpose and easy definition. And it is the only place for a capsuleer such as me.

First, lets discuss the wealth of Low-sec, or at least the income available there:
  • Unique belt rats (Tags/New Mordu's Legion)
  • Exploration sites
  • Randomly placed high end ores (new)
  • Faction warfare loyalty store
The one common theme for all these income sources is lack of stability, and predictability. Even the militia pilot bent on farming loyalty points will find themselves hunted down by pirates and opposing militia forces. Valuable belt rats rarely appear in the same place twice. Exploration sites are, well, random by nature.

This hints to low-sec's true purpose, whether by design or happy accident. Let me explain.

Every other sector of space has one common theme: stability.

Regardless of their outward personas, every action in null, high and even wormholes is towards this goal. They all have a deep desire to make their space more safe, more stable, and more predictable. Wormholers may claim otherwise, but in the next breath they will discuss the best way to collapse a wormhole. Warp bubbles, CONCORD, and intelligence channels all serve the same purpose: make my space safer, and more predictable.

Most attempts to stabilize low-sec have failed. The Empires themselves send their militias and navies to lay claim to this lawless part of space, and have become locked in an eternal struggle with only mercenaries and pirates profiting from it.

Most low-sec residents rebel against authority. It is in this space, almost exclusively, where you will find the independent fighter. The ones who dare to fly solo, without 15-ship 'micro-gangs', as they do in Null-sec. There is no certainty when you fly alone. Every encounter is different, as everyone with a ship is likely to test you.

Low-sec is a place where you never know what you're going to get. The next jump could bring fortune or death, or both. It is the unknown, and nothing you can build will alter that. There is adventure to be had, even with something as monotonous as mining.

It is not for people who expect to see steady growth of income. It is not for people looking to raise flags. It is not somewhere you can develop for farming. Null-sec entities cannot put up their walls, plow their ratting fields and hoist their standards.

To answer that question: Null-sec alliances can't use low-sec because it is NOT about economics. It never has been.

It is for people who value experience over income. For whom the white hot thrill of discovery is more important than the comfort of the every day. For whom curiosity is a compulsion that can't be ignored.

The pilot that barrels his Rifter into a dog-fight, for the one-in-a-million chance he may succeed. The miner who toys with pirates and dances in their scanners to claim her ores. The smuggler, sneaking wares past gate camps and opportunist hunters, in nothing more than an industrial ship. These are the residents of low-sec.

So what will happen to low-sec with the upcoming changes? Not much. The industrial changes do little to alleviate the chaotic nature of low-sec. The kind of capsuleer that makes his way here will still be the same; the adventurous and bold.

It is the last refuge of adventure.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

From the writer: If you don't hear from me...

I don't usually like to break character. This blog is Behnid's, and New Eden is his world, and I try not to negatively impact that life in the same way as I don't let in-game frustrations spill over into the real world.

But, obviously, real world events can have significant impacts on virtual ones.

I'm an expat living in Vietnam. Right now, things are tense between my adopted country and China over an oil rig in the South China Sea. If you're not sure why, open up any international news. It's being fairly well covered (and I try to keep my links on this site to useful Eve things). Whilst we're not in the middle of it, the resulting riots in 'Nam are worryingly close to home.

I don't want to get into a mud slinging match about which country is in the right, or stir up any nationalistic feelings. As Behnid, I'd probably hop into a frigate, and go hunt some miners, then lament the fact I won't let myself get relatively easy kill-mails. As me, I'd rather everyone just drop the whole matter, so we can all go back to making money.

Don't let online personas fool you. We're all PvE care bears at heart.

This is just an FYI post that my updates may be erratic in the future. This situation has bumped up plans for me to get my family back to my home country. That basically means a lot of flying back and forth with stacks of forms to fill in. Which means I won't have as much time to fly spaceships, let alone write about them.

And frankly that's infuriating, since it's only recently that I've been getting a lot of traffic to my blog, and I've only just got my ship-to-ship combat eye back in. That and I might not even be able to keep up my trading well enough to keep the account running.


Thanks so much to the other bloggers and community members who've linked to this unfocused collection of words and sentences I call of blog. And more importantly, thanks to you the readers. Those page views are more motivating than you'll ever realize. Also, massive thanks to the followers of this blog. You guys are awesome!

I doubt the spat between Vietnam and China will get more serious. Everyone has way to much to lose, and hopefully people will be looking at their wallet balances more than their kill boards. Even so, seems like a good time to get moving on. Anyone who's tried Vietnamese food will know what a wrench leaving this place will be, but, well... better to fit that Tech 2 Damage Control Unit than lament the few extra hit points you didn't have.

Back full time in a month or two. I'm not done with Behnid, New Eden, or EVE in general. Not by a long shot. 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Good Prospects

I love frigates.

I occasionally fly bigger ships, but I get frustrated at their slow speed. I appreciate the bigger armour and higher damage output of cruisers and such, but nothing compares to the ducking, weaving hurly-burly of frigate combat.

I was very happy when the Venture came out. I spent much of my youth stuck in a mining barge, slowly chewing asteroids into money. I don't regret that time. It was peaceful, and gave me some start up money for my later endeavors. But with the Venture, it became possible to zip around asteroids, and duck in and out low-sec for better rocks.

It made mining a little more exciting, and prompted me to go back to my roots and zap rocks for a few hours. Most diverting. But not that profitable. Eventually the militias called me back, and I was shooting Matari/Amarr scum for Freedom/God.

And now, the Prospect, along with all it's glorious low-sec mining changes.

A stealthy T2 variant of the Venture, designed to sneak in, gather valuable rocks and run again. And it has a spiffy paint job!

Never before has the idea of a ninja-miner been more possible. The co-vops cloak will allow it to collect it's ore, and pass through unseen to sell its pay dirt at a the highest price. Low-sec now contains rocks which are worth coming to low-sec for.

More importantly, the new materials brings with it new industrial possibilities. You won't need to ship so much raw material from trade hubs to your production zone. In fact, if you set your prices close enough to hub prices (i.e. keep them fair), miners will simply deliver to you rather than ship all the way to  Jita.

Of course, low-sec is still low-sec, and it carries the stigma of being a hive of scum and villainy. Completely untrue, but fear of the other has been a human trait for as long as there's been humans. As such, most miners, who look to reliability of income more than anything else, may be discouraged from coming to the grey areas of space.

This leads us to what may be the biggest problem of the Prospect: can you earn enough whilst mining in low-sec?

Well, what is enough?

At a guess, to be comparable to other forms of mining, 1 PLEX a month plus ship losses. At the very least, it should be enough to replace 1 ship a week, plus profit.

The PLEX for a single capsuleer's work may be a little too much. Most dedicated miners have an Orca flying in tandem, which allows them to generate enough profit. So at a guess, a single Prospect should be able to bring in about half a PLEX a month, plus ship losses or profit.

Current PLEX price: 790million ISK
Half PLEX: 395 million ISK
Income/ day: 13 million ISK

That's the bare minimum, not including ship losses or any profit on top. We'll stick with that. Actually, that seems fairly reasonable. I was earning about 10 million with a 30 min hunt for rats in the Great Wildlands, using a Stealth bomber. That's arguably the closest analogue.

So... can the Prospect manage that?

The Devblog mentions Jaspet being one of the more profitable ores, so lets use that as an example.

Prospect Ore hold = 10,000m^3
Jaspet = 2m^3

Prospect can carry 5000 units of Jaspet. Rough market price of Jaspet is 400ISK.

Prospect hold = 5000*400 = 2,000,000 ISK.

Not a bad haul! That means to make the target ISK, the Prospect will only have to make 6.5 runs to the belts a day.

Is that good? I'd actually argue no... which is annoying, because I wanted to be optimistic about this.

A rough estimate of mining times puts the Prospect at filling its hold in at about 17 mins.

Prospect effective mining lasers = 6
Yield/laser/minute = 93.75 (roughly! my maths is not checked on this!)
Prospect yield/minute = 6*93.75 = 562.5m^3
Time to fill hold = 10,000/562.5 = 17 minutes.

Then also factor in flying time, and avoiding pirates. An anomaly on Probe scan and a Prospect on D-scan is going to be easy to find.

And also the problem of what to do with the rocks once you have them. Again, we come to the problem I faced in the Great Wildlands; carting the loot to market. You've braved pirates, gate camps and beaten off the competition, only to have a 20 jump trip back to Hek to actually make a profit.

Ok, it won't be that bad. Savvy miners will start creating ore caches in fringe systems, and pick up their haul in an indy later. Even smarter traders should already be setting up in these fringe stations. But you can  bet these entry points will be heavily camped. And it's a lot of work for 2 million profit

I'll admit, my numbers are extremely inaccurate. But the results I have now aren't all that promising.

I initially started writing this as a cautiously optimistic rebuttal to Noizy's own predictions. But now the numbers are crunched, I find myself agreeing with him. I don't think the Prospect, despite its spiffy paint job, is quite up to the task of low-sec mining.

And that's a shame. I really wanted this to be the ship to be the backbone of low-sec industry. I just don't see it having a strong enough ISK incentive for miners to go out and use it.

That said, we'll see... my own maths is hardly water-tight, and predictions on a stable economy are nearly always wrong. There are also more regular sightings of higher end ores, which should supplement income quite nicely.

Needless to say, I'll be training up Mining Frigate 5 so I can see how viable this is for the solo capsuleer. Happily, my market partner keeps my wasteful activities well funded, even though I endure his ever-rolling eyes.

Also, it has a spiffy paint job.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

War Record: Cop killer

You know what's frustrating? Patrolling for Crusaders, but finding only Tribal Liberation Forces saturating the contested zones.

Fantastic news for the Republic, and I'm sure a multitude of slaves are embracing freedom for the hundredth time in the never-ending spat between Empires, but for the lowly dog-of-war looking to capture space and take Amarr bounties, it's fairly frustrating.

Still, there are still pockets of Crusade resistance. I eased into system, and warped off to capture a novice complex. I was flying the Agkulis Condor. I don't usually like to capture complexes, least of all in a brawler, but with nothing but allies around, I couldn't think of anything more productive to do.

Quick tip: If you find yourself with nothing to do, think of some way to earn a little bit of extra cash. There's an opportunity cost argument in there somewhere, but basically you should keep yourself doing something. Avoid ship spinning at all costs.

I jumped in, and Scourge rockets popped the Amarr Crusader lackey with ease. I reloaded, starting orbiting the beacon at 500m, and warmed up the weapon systems.

The timer ticked down, and it really looked like I was going to capture the point without incident. For a change, I started orbiting the complex itself rather than the warp-in beacon.

A TLF capsuleer in system commented on my ship's name, but that was the extent of interaction. Not that my ship's name was offensive or even interesting... but that was literally the only thing someone could talk about in system.

Until the police showed up...

Well, the Police Comet.

Piloted by a pirate.

I didn't have time to think about the irony of that, since it jumped straight into my complex and started shooting. Didn't even read me my rights first.

I don't know much about Comet's beyond them being Gallente, and Gallente generally means Blasters. I leapt towards my opponent, starting in a tight orbit, and widening out to the limit of my rocket range(~8km). I intended to fight in the blasters' fall-off.

Rockets flew and little pulse of light erupted from the Comet's guns. My shields took a beating, but just a few pulses of the booster brought them back up.

I took a closer look at the guns, and noticed they weren't blasters at all! He had fit rails! I re-adjusted my orbit to point blank range (500m), and damage to my shields dropped the a trickle.

My neutraliser came into play, and soon it was dead in the water, rockets hammering on its hull, rending great holes in the metal, exposing the soft innards to hard vacuum!

And soon, it was little more than a rapidly expanding cloud of debris!

Victory was mine, and 'gf's were exchanged in local. Remember your post-fight etiquette.

At which point the TLF member who commented on my ship name warped in to the complex. He inquired what 'gf' meant, and I replied 'good fight'. He then made a coarse comment, and that was it for our little interaction. His character was revealed by waiting around the complex to leech the Loyalty Points for capture.

I didn't really care. The LP is a nice bonus, but the loot the Police Comet dropped covered the price of my Condor. The thrill of bringing down a faction frigate in a T1 hull is nothing compared to a few thousand LP, and a solo kill mail is a treasure beyond that of monetary gain. And I picked up some drones too!

Wait, where did the drones come from?



I was a little lucky. The Comet was fit for kiting, and was clearly expecting a kiting Condor to match. However, had my reaction of getting into a tight orbit and hitting the scram and web on fast meant he had little chance to escape. There may be something in orbiting the complex as opposed to the warp in spot.

It was good that I checked his weapons early on in the fight. If I had remained out at scram range, eventually his higher firepower (and drones) would have carried the day. I'm pleased that I was able to adapt my strategy mid-fight.

The neutralizer worked out great as a engagement shorten-er. I doubt it was the defining victory module, but I'm reasonably confident it helped speed things up. Against laser ships it'll certainly prove more useful, but in this fight it shut down his armour repairer.

Apparently, the Comet has a complement of drones. I did not realize this, and as such, did not have my drone overview settings open. I didn't even find out about them until after the engagement, when I scooped them into cargo. The oversight here was lack of knowledge. Hardly a fatal error, but something that should be considered for future fights.

About the rather rude TLF member, well, that's an issue I had in the Crusade as well. Nothing much you can do about it. When you're a dog working with other dogs, you can't be surprised if a few of them are mangy or ridden with fleas. Just remember to take a bath regularly and don't hang around the vermin. You might catch their fleas.

Action Plan

Study Gallente ships a little more thoroughly.
Take a bath.

Overall, I'm very happy with this fight. It stands as a shining example of how good planning, and prior knowledge (with a healthy dose of luck!) can give you victory. Even if you fly a T1 attack ship against a faction frigate.

For records of other engagements click here.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The New Worm

I don't really like to speculate on ships before they're released from ship yards, but with the Mordu's Legion ships only releasing their designs and the barest information, I can't help but think of other ships I can progress into.

My switch to a missile focus actually gives a great deal of choice in terms of T2 frigates and cruisers. To put that in perspective, the entire Khanid Innovations line up falls into that bracket, giving a variety of kiters brawlers, and even more specialized ships.

The pirate ships part of that progression is getting a significant boost from the Mordu's Legion ships, and a re-design of the Gurista's fleet.

Today, we'll look at the Worm, which was actually the first pirate ship I encountered in New Eden. A friend of mine received one from a mission agent, back in the days when agents gave out ships such as this for rewards. I was flying Matari ships at the time, and he had his heart set on a Raven so we sold it. For the high price of 5 million ISK. It was a different time...

Image from


Gallente Frigate Bonus:
10% bonus to kinetic and thermal missile damage (was 5m3 Drone Bay Capacity per level)

Caldari Frigate Bonus:
4% bonus to all shield resistances

Role Bonus:
300% bonus to light combat drone damage and hitpoints (was 50% bonus to Rocket and Light Missile velocity)

Slot layout: 3H, 4M, 3L; 0 turrets, 2 launchers
Fittings: 40 PWG(+5), 180 CPU(+20)
Defense (shields / armor / hull) : 830(+33) / 500(-82) / 620(-3)
Capacitor (amount / recharge / cap per second) : 380(+30) / 212000 (-22375) / 1.79 (+.29)
Mobility (max velocity / agility / mass / align time): 320(+33) / 3.8(+.31) / 965000 / 5.17s(+.42)
Drones (bandwidth / bay): 10(-15) / 25
Targeting (max targeting range / Scan Resolution / Max Locked targets): 30km / 650 / 5
Sensor strength: 15
Signature radius: 40

First a little introduction to the Guristas themselves. They are pirates, and rather peculiar for most of the non-capsuleer pirates in New Eden, are pretty much just that. They attack ships for booty, run drugs and develop shanty towns as docking ports in dead space areas. They also have a lot more invested in the politics of the rest of the cluster than the other pirate factions (who tend to be religious/political/narcissistic nut jobs). They are the quintessential pirates.

They were created by two former Caldari pilots (Fatal and the Rabbit), giving them both their badge and their naming conventions. Caldari ships follow bird names, whereas Guristas ships follow reptile names. The Worm is no different. Even the name Guristas is a fusion of Calari words for 'naughty people'.

The Worm lizard is similar to a snake in that it has no limbs. This probably refers to earlier designs of the ship. Until relatively recently, all missile launchers in New Eden were internal, meaning that there were no turrets visible on missile ships. In effect, the Worm appeared limbless. A nice little word-play, and one we'd expect from the less-serious Gursitas!

Although the ship is bonused for missiles, it would be a mistake to imagine that being its focus. The latest iteration of the ship (assuming max skills) will have an effective launcher count of 3. However, with it's role bonus, it will have an effective drone count of 8 light drones! That is a significant bang for only two real drones on the field, and even these two will be extremely tough to knock out.

Before the Worm used to be slow and well shielded, relying on great damage projection from missiles and drones to do damage. This has changed. It's base speed, whilst still not that close to that of Matari ships, is now at least comparable to armour vessels. In practice it may be faster. Thick shield resistances means that low slots can be used for propulsion upgrades, similar to how the Breacher tends to be faster on the field than the Rifter.

It's slot layout is similar to that of the Firetail, giving great flexibility in terms of fitting. 4 mids make for full tackle plus shield tank, and the lows give a lot of options in terms of both a light armour tank or hull modification. This is all topped off by a utility high slot.

Predicted tactics

Expect everything.

This ship is a fearsome brawler, with a great passive shield tanking bonus. Even blaster boats are going to find it difficult to punch holes in this little frigate. It's cap-less weaponry and utility high for a neutralizer means that anything that does get close is likely to be dead in the water. Attempts to kite this frigate will still have to deal with it's drones, the real source of firepower.

It can be a very tough, if slow kiter. Similar to a kiting Tristan, the majority of the damage will be coming from it's drones, with maybe some Light missile fire. A competent brawler should be able to close the distance easily, but again, those high resist shields will still cause problems.

And to further illustrate how tough this ship will be: it has the highest sensor strength and longest target lock range of the pirate frigates. It'll be a little harder to ECM or Sensor damp this ship effectively than others.


Usual counters apply to either kiting or brawling vessels. It's a tough ship, but it's conventionally tough, meaning there won't be any nasty surprises as with the new Succubus or Cruor.

It's mobility is it's weakness. To get decent kiting speeds it will have to sacrifice damage or toughness, and even if brawling, it will have a tough time catching kiting vessels outside of its warp disruption range. This means that disengagement should be relatively easy for kiters (and even some brawlers!). Don't wait too long to disengage, as the Worm still packs a punch.

I don't recommend shooting its drones. Each one will be as tough as shooting down 4 regular drones, and they'll have at least 2 more in reserve. However, this would be a good time to find out if Tracking disruptors worked on drones. Even a single disrupted drone would drastically reduce the firepower of the worm.

Ultra-fast ships with low signatures (i.e. Interceptors) and long range should be able to whittle it down, and speed tank both drone and missile damage. This is risky... I recommend bringing an active tank, as you will take damage.

Training ship

If you're looking to learn drones, missiles and shield tanking, the best learning ship is not Caldari or Galente. In terms of spirit, the Minmatar Breacher shares more in common with the Worm. Both ships have shield tank and missile bonuses, and a drone complement. Both have flexible kiting and brawling fits, and they even share a slot layout!

A close second would be the Tristan. Whilst the Tristan does have similar flexibility to the Worm, and has much more drone focus than the Breacher, it's generally armour tanked, and tends to work best with hybrids.

Final thoughts

This is an incredibly flexible vessel, and definitely worth the space in your hangar. Like I said, it's conventionally good, and doesn't need to rely on any special tricks to be successful. If you're looking for a solid reliable ship, which ca re-fit easily into different strategies, this is your ship!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Breaking news: Evidence of Caldari theft of Imperial designs!

Patent clerics of the Amarr Imperial navy went into full swing today, as evidence of the new Moa designs were released to the general public:

"I don't know how they dare to show this to people!" said Speis Tur'ki, Senior Ship-designer of Imperial Armaments, "Even a basic look at the blue-prints reveals the core of our Prophecy battle-cruiser!"

Placed side-by-side, the resemblance is striking. Engineers and manufacturers for Imperial Armaments have confirmed that, if the armour and extensive drone bays were stripped from the Prophecy-class battle-cruiser hull, the internal structure looks near identical to the proposed Moa designs.

"Everything, from the engine housing to the nacelle turret placement has been stolen by those [censored]!" says Tur'ki, grandson of the original designer of the Prophecy.

He went on to explain the story of where his grandfather got the inspiration for the long-serving battle-cruiser. He recounts the tale of a family holiday to a farm turned tragic after a savage attack from one of the livestock.

A spokesman from the sub-contracted corporation involved in the Moa redesign admits there are similarities, and calls it a homage to the iconic Amarr warbird, but was also determined to remind people of the significant differences between the two ships.

"For a start, the Moa isn't quite so fat!" the spokesman said in an emergency press conference, "But the real differences lie in the engineering and electronic systems. The shield emitters are so far in advance of the dated Prophecy, they're incomparable. And the wingy bits move! I'd like to see Amarr engineers manage that!"

If the allegations are true, it is unclear how the Caldari obtained such detailed information of the Prophecy. Some claim Khanid involvement. It's well documented that Khanid Innovations have been given license to develop the Prophecy hull, culminating in the Damnation command ship.

Khanid Innovations has declined comment on this subject, but their collaboration with Caldari ship designers is well known.

This argument is unlikely to have a resolution. Imperial bureaucracy moves notoriously slowly, and Caldari corporate lawyers are renowned in the cluster for delaying many investigations for decades.

The new Moa designs are likely to go into full production, despite these cries of fowl play.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Strategikon: Agkulis Condor

I've never liked Caldari ships.

Too many hard lines, and all sense of elegance thrown out the window for practicality and cost efficiency. That's not to say they aren't good ships... I doubt anyone on the wrong end of a Drake's missile tubes would say that. But I do like a bit of style to my ships.

And also speed has been a consideration. Caldari have some of the slowest ships in the universe, and no thick bulkheads to make up for it, instead relying on shields. Fair enough, but flying without a few dozen meters of metal between me and hard vacuum isn't what I call peace of mind.

That said, with Mordu's Legion releasing their own designs, I find myself in need of learning how a Caldari fights. And for that, we'll start at the beginning: The Condor.

This may be a popular ship soon because it's being re-designed. I think I prefer the current design, but can't complain about the new one!

This is an attack frigate, and like all attack frigates is designed to be completely cap stable with tackle and propulsion running. It's also a missile boat, so despite having a definite range limit and lower on paper firepower, you'll be able to put out that damage much more reliably and consistently within your range.

Unusually for a Caldari vessel, it also comes with a utility high-slot, and in fact shares a slot layout with the Slasher. 4-highs and 4-mids make for some interesting choices when it comes to electronic warfare, but 2-lows limits the amount of hull customization you can make.

It's a natural shield tanker (as given by the 4-mids), but there are some inventive armour brawling set-ups out there too. The Condor is actually incredibly versatile, quite a departure from the usual Caldari philosophy of specialization. That said, its bonus only works on Kinetic missiles, so you are restricted in what damage you can apply efficiently.

Without further ado, here's the ship fitting for my Caldari training.


[High Slots]
Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Scourge Rocket
5W Infectious Power System Malfunction

[Med Slots]
1MN Afterburner II
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I
Medium Ancillary Shield Booster, Navy Cap Booster 50

[Low Slots]
Damage Control II
Ballistic Control System II

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Auxiliary Thrusters I
Small Auxiliary Thrusters I

This is a rocket brawler, and the fitting is terribly tight. Similar to most Slasher set-ups, it's designed to get right next to most ship hulls, and gently stab them to death underneath the tracking of their guns. The Condor can do this a little more reliably that it's Matari counterpart, thanks to the use of rockets.

This really is a rather standard flexible brawler. Standard tackle trinity (Afterburner/Webifier/Scrambler) gives you range control, some speed tanking and, of course, the snare to keep people from warping off.

The majority of the tank is in the Medium Ancilliary shield booster. This provides a massive shield repair, if only for a while. It's not designed to be maintained full-time, and once your charges run out, so does your tank. A lot of your survival will come from where you position yourself in a fight. A note on charges: Navy capacitor charges are smaller than common ones, and so you can fit more into your Ancillary booster. They cost a bit more, but if you have access to the militia LP store, they won't hurt too much.

I said that this is a flexible ship, and that your position will keep you alive. Similar to the Rifter, come in close against ships with poor tracking (e.g. lasers), and widen your orbit against those with poor range (e.g. blasters). Rockets will hit reliably out to (nearly!) their maximum range, and will do the same damage at all ranges.

A note on using rockets: Transversal velocity does not affect them, but it will keep you alive against turreted ships. Rockets will do more damage the more you can slow down your opponents. You can rig or implant for better rocket damage (which we'll discuss later), but slowing your opponent down is the only way you can do so in a fight. So land the web/scram first. Then fire rockets.

There's a neutralizer in the utility high. This will drain your opponents capacitor, and leave them more or less helpless. I haven't used this extensively, but it's been done to me a many times before. It can cripple a laser boat, but even has use against other ships. Drain the cap on the enemy well enough, and they won't be able to keep their warp disruption on you. This gives you control over the engagement, in that you can run when you like to.

Procedural Plan

Preferred orbit 
  • Start at 500m. 
  • Widen to 8km if needed.

Pre-activated modules 

DCU2, AB2, Overheat all

Combat activation order
  1. Lock
  2. Orbit
  3. Webifier
  4. Scrambler
  5. Rockets
  6. Neutralizer
  7. Manage heat (Turn off heat on tackle modules first)
  8. Shield booster (Re-heat module after deactivating)

Final thoughts

This is very similar to how you fly the Kontarion Breacher. What you lose in firepower and defenses, you gain in lowered signature radius and speed. You also swap out the drones for a neutralizer.

Hard to say which one is better for newer pilots, but I'm more inclined to say Breacher. The drones help you to apply damage at all ranges, while you learn to slingshot kiters, and the greater tank will let you react to changes in fights more comfortably.

I'm also acutely aware that the Mordu's Legion ships, with their warp disruption bonus, are more likely to be suited to kiting. However, as shameful as it is for a Khanid to admit, I'm still learning how to use light missiles.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Legion of dogs

Well... I saw these:
Images stolen from Eve News 24, The, and respectively 

I am in love!

Their utilitarian yet elegantly designed hulls matched with agility and missiles makes my Khanid heart sing for joy! Of course, the possibility that they are well tanked as well is low, but if Mordu's Legion were producing heavily tanked missile boats, Khanid Innovations would be out of a job!

Rhavas of the Interstellar Privateer already beat me to the explanation of the naming conventions (and as he is far wiser in the lore of New Eden than me, is able to draw better conclusions). But lets dig a little deeper, and see if there are more connections to draw.


Whilst it is referred to as a hell hound, that's not all Garmr from the mythology is. His primary function is to guard the gates of Hel, or the underworld. It also should be said that Garmr is not really a hell hound. His actual description is similar to that of Sleipnir, the best of steeds. Garm is the best of dogs.

Hel in this case can be seen as Null-sec. Mordu's Legion will be moving into Low-sec, which can be seen as the buffer zone between the Empires and the capsuleer sovereign alliances. Mordu's Legion might be hired by the Empire's to protect them from the null-sec capsuleers.

A little more worryingly, Garmr is also linked to Ragnarok, or the end of days. It is said he will be let lose and that they will be the slayer of Tyr. This god reference could mean Mordu's Legion are out to slay Angels, or capsuleers. Remember, you are Immortal, my fellow pod jockeys.

A little further digging for the truly paranoid, a little line from the Poetic Edda:

"The Völva states that a crowing "sooty-red cock from the halls of Hel" is one of three cocks that will signal one of the beginning events of Ragnarök.

Mordu's Legion were based in Null-sec. And notice the colour of their ships? And finally, I'll leave their badge here. I thought it was eagle, but I'm not so sure.

Naming convention here is Minmatar.


The brother of Cerberus (but with only two heads), this particular namesake is meant to be guarding a herd of red-cattle on the 'sunset' isle. He is eventually slain by Herakles.

Now, our sunset isle could mean low-sec. It is between two opposites of hi- and null-. Not much more to report on this front, however, when we start myth mixing, it becomes a little more interesting.

Orthrus, is said to belong to a giant, and they herd the red cattle together. Again, from the above Poetic Edda, we find mention of another red-cock crowing the start of Ragnarok, this time from Jotunheim:

"He sat on the mound and plucked his harp
the herdsman of the giantess, cheerful Eggther
a rooster crowed in Gallows-wood
that bright-red cockerel who is called Fialar"

Two giants, two herds, one dog and one rooster.

Naming convention here is Gallente.


So now we come to the battleship, and this is where most of my digging dries up. It's said to appear at funerals of notable people, and is a shape shifter. Other than it being a dog, I have found no real connection between that and the Ragnarok roosters.

It is linked to other black dog mythologies, and they attack lonely travelers on roads. This is kind of fitting with their role.

The naming conventions all fall down here too. Barghest is a Germanic, or Anglo-Saxon derivation, with is hardly representative of any New Eden culture. It would have most links to Caldari naming conventions, however, as they have a tendency to name ships after mythical creatures.


So, there you have it. A little more connections made. They are named for dogs, as fitting for a mercenary group. Their naming conventions are quite eclectic, as Mordu's Legion have been known to take members from all races. At least two have tenuous links to the re-shaping of the world, and one has a link to funerals and death.

Does any of this matter much? Not really, and most of it is probably far fetched in connection building. However, should another ship, or connection to the third rooster in Valhalla be announced, then the theory will be correct.

It wouldn't surprise me though. In a month's time, the way industry in New Eden is done will be entirely changed, and we already have signs that the cluster is going through large changes. Although we only have our two cockerels, Ragnarok may indeed be at hand.

But the important thing to me is that these will be missile ships, and as the naming convention suggests, most likely Caldari/Gallente based. That means I'll be needing to train up Caldari ships. As a fellow dog-of-war currently working for the Republic, I find their ships most suitable for me!

A Great Resource

I've never claimed to be an authority on all things Faction Warfare. I'm not even the best at capsuleer combat, which is why I write about and study fighting. I have to do a lot of reading.

So I have a lot of reference material:

The above is a fantastic website for budding Faction Warriors. It endeavors to have up-to-date news about the dramatic and dynamic landscape of the FW arenas.

It also has amazingly high quality writers publishing regular columns and opinion pieces. How do I know this?

I'm one of them.

Take a look!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

War Record: A lesson in planning

Well, I lost another Rifter.

As a solo pilot, you take the fights you can get, and these are rarely in your favour. New Eden is full of small gangs, and big fleets. The majority of pilots, rather wisely, fly together to avoid becoming a kill mail and frozen corpse drifting gently through space. This is smart, and only a fool would choose to go alone out into the cosmic wilderness.

That said, when you do triumph against the odds, it is a victory all of your own! Whether by luck or design, you challenged fate, and won against reason and logic! The cost of that is a fleet of lost ships. Personally, I think the losses are a fair trade for that white-hot moment when the stars align, and you bring down that impossible target.

But losses do happen. What's important is that we learn from our mistakes, and critically examine what went wrong, and what went well. Which brings me back to my latest Rifter loss.

The fight

I was out patrolling for a fight in my Rifter. In my current job as mercenary for the Tribal Liberation Force, the majority of my targets are Amarr militia capsuleers, and these have been a little hard to find lately. Every system I enter, I seem to find four or five Republic warriors and pirates, and very few Crusaders.

However, I saw a Dragoon on D-scan, loitering around a small plex. Usually fighting a destroyer is suicide for a frigate, especially if it's one-on-one. But... sometimes you can take them. And maybe, just maybe, this will be one of those times.

This was not one of those times.

I had my close range ammo fitted, Republic Fusion, with the intention of out-damaging the destroyer before it could kill me. It's not that unreasonable a plan. Destroyers are on the fragile side of high-damage ships, and the lower signature radius of a frigate plays a part in avoiding fire at close range.

Or at least it would if I WAS at close range. I messed up my orbit, and was sitting quite neatly at 8km out, my capacitor drained to nothing by the Dragoon's neutralizers, and it's drones nipping at my armour like excited slaver hounds with a new chew toy. With no cap, I could not use my afterburner to close the distance, and with the short range ammo, I was only tickling their shields.

Why did I set my orbit that far out? Simple negligence.


This is a common failure I've had with the Rifter. I make mistakes which, if I had thought about it a little more carefully, shouldn't have happened. With all of my other ships flown, I have a short procedural plan for the fights. Pretty much as soon as I've hammered out the plan I start getting kills.

Having a procedural plan is important to pilots of all types. As soon as the locks go on, the adrenaline hits, and most of your thought processing get replaced by the primal urge for survival. In capsuleer combat, this can be fatal. Having a procedural plan to check in the middle of a fight will help you to keep a cool head, and to avoid bad decisions.

Something I'll also need to do for the Rifter is setting up an engagement checklist. Unlike the ships I've flown before, the Rifter needs to adapt itself to the engagement. A lot of the adaptation needs to take place before going in to fight (ammo selection, orbit selection, running strategy etc.)

In the above fight, I adjusted my ammunition, and decided on a strategy. However, I neglected to remember to adjust my orbit, meaning a huge drop in damage against the target. Whilst manual piloting is best for positioning, having a default orbit set to your optimal firing conditions means you have less to think about once you're actually in range.

The checklist will help me to remember to adjust my default orbit path. I had set it to the upper limit of warp scramble range, the common operating distance of the Rifter. This was a mistake in this fight, as I should have adjusted it to be point blank.

Action plan

  • Make a procedural flight plan
  • Make a pre-combat checklist

The above is an example of the old saying: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Solo frigate combat is difficult, and the margins for error very thin. So plan well. The more you've thought about before you un-dock your ship, the more likely you to re-dock that ship with a string of kill mails.

For records of other engagements click here.

Friday, 2 May 2014

War Record: Rifter vs. Everyone

I dislike the notion of usurping one of my favourite bloggers, but Jack Dancer, fellow Rifter Pilot, has fallen silent over the past few months. Whilst he rests, I'm more than happy to wave the Rifter banner, high and proud.

I love the Rifter.

It's not my most efficient frigate - by far, that honour goes to the Breacher, which I simply cannot find fault with. Great damage projection, and a secondary drone weapon set extending to any range gives it punch against kiters and brawlers alike. It's also faster than a Rifter, and with an ancillary shield booster can completely cancel another frigates damage for a good while.

But despite all these virtues, I still come back to the Rifter. That flawed, mess of a ship, which is designed to be so adaptable it's near unfocused. Call it romantic notions against my better judgement, but I'd rather ride a Rifter into a fireball than any other ship to an assured victory.

Ahem. Poetry aside...

The Rifter, as I've discussed before, is an ambush ship. This is largely the same for most Matari vessels. Unlike Amarr ships, which are spear and shield disciplined-yet-unimaginative warriors, or Gallente ships, which are all about the romantic notion of weathering fire to come to a dramatic and decisive point-blank axe-blow, Minmatar vessels are about hurting your opponent from a position where they cannot hurt you.

Well, I thought I was done with poetry...

The Rifter, as it is now, is a warp scramble range kiter. For preference, your warp scrambler should be overheated, and you should be engaging blaster-fit opponents at about 9km, perhaps closing for a kill once you're sure their active tank has been exhausted, or the guns burnt out.

However, as discussed previously, you're better off engaging laser fit frigates and point blank range, where your superior tracking can carry the day. A Rifter in a fast, tight orbit and avoid much of the damage. This is most clearly exemplified in the following battle.

I caught a Punisher on D-scan. He had allies in system, but he was isolated in a novice plex, whilst the majority were engaged in capturing a medium plex.

A Punisher is designed to withstand damage. I noted this rather useful tactic on the part of the opposing gang leader. He had his higher damage, but less tough ships grouped together, with two fairly tough Punishers capturing other plexes. If the main group was caught, their combined firepower would be enough to dispatch the aggressor. If the Punishers were caught, they could withstand the attacker until help arrived.

Very clever.

My curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to see this trap in action. As Jack says, I turned up all modules to 11 (i.e. overheated them), and jumped to the gate. I loaded up Rep Fusion rounds, as per my suggestions against Amarr ships.

Just as I was warping off the acceleration gate, a pirate Slicer warped in right on top of me.

In retrospect I should have cancelled the warp. The Slicer, whilst being quite tough, is still a kiting ship and he had landed in scram range. Its MWD would have been useless. Would have been a nice kill for my Rifter, but oh well.

I got into the plex, and locked up the Punisher. I went point blank, and started unloading round after rocket after round into him. The Slicer came in, and began adding his own fire.

Needless to say, it was destroyed.

Immediately, the Slicer and I went at it. Temporary allies against the Punisher, now mortal enemies, we managed a few volleys at each other before the Punisher's friends arrived - a trio of blaster boats.

Needless to say, I was destroyed.

The Slicer escaped destruction for  while, but was too, destroyed.


Whilst the Punisher clearly had the Slicer locked down with a scrambler, as seen on the kill mail, there was a good twenty or so seconds before it arrived where it simply couldn't hit my more nimble Rifter in close orbit. A few reasons for this:

  • Pulse lasers have poor tracking
  • He fit Scorch, further exacerbating the tracking issue.
  • The low quality fitting of the Punisher hints at a low-trained pilot.

So yes, the Rifter should get into close range of laser fit ships.At the very least you buy yourself a few seconds of no fire as the opposing pilot switches crystals. It might be worth considering leaping out beyond 5km at that point, forcing them to switch crystals again. Watch for the change in beam colour.

  • Purple = fly closer
  • White = fly out

The trap was well executed by the opposing gang. However, I think the Punisher would have gone down even without the Slicer's help before the cavalry arrived. I would have had time to escape if I didn't spend time fighting with the Slicer. It comes down to a philosophical choice: which is more important to you, curiosity or safety.

Overall, I was pleased with the Rifter's performance in this fight. I look forward to more in the future!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Accelerated schedule

... and the problems it brings.

Put simply, my hunting in NPC null-sec has been lucrative beyond my expectations. I was imagining spending at least a month getting used to null-sec pirate patterns, and refining both ratting and capsuleer avoidance techniques.

But, after two weeks of about 10 minutes hunting a day, I've earned enough to start the next phase of my plan, and also filed my depots with enough loot to fill an industrial ship... well before I have the capacity to haul it.

I'm not ready to begin the move, and find that it's not worth my time to hang around.

And I ran out of ammo. That's a significant problem.

I'm still deciding between getting Benh, my market partner, to train up advanced hauler sills, or asking his wife stationed in Amarr to begin learning. She only has the basic capsuleer pilot training, as we all expected her to be tied to a desk to support region trading. However, if I skill her up as a dedicated hauler, she'll be able to transport my region traded goods as well, saving me about 10 million a week. That's a whole Rifter!

So, I have a few weeks of vacation time whilst I decide what to do.

I've decided to finish off my Rifter ammunition experiments. I did a few disastrous runs in the past few days, and discovered my capsuleer combat skills atrophied to the point of embarrassment. Whilst I experiment with Rifters, I'll try to get my skills back up to at least an acceptable level. So, I've bought a stack of Rifters, and will work my way through them, until I'm getting confirmed kills again.

It wasn't all bad though, which is something I'll talk about in the next post.

In case you were wondering... I got my loot out of the Wildlands by fitting up a Wreathe with a few Warp core stabilizers. I went in when no one was looking, and got out with everything in tact. I did get caught by a bubble, but there was no pilot patrolling it, meaning it presented only a mildly annoying speed bump.

Needless to say, taking an uncloaked industrial to Null-sec via Low-sec was an incredible risk which you should never do. Let me repeat that: DO NOT TAKE AN UNCLOAKED INDUSTRIAL TO NULL-SEC VIA LOW-SEC. However, the Wildlands are very thinly populated. I only felt concerned zipping through Molden Heath.

Of course, that does give you an idea of the level of security Null-sec gives you. Even Benh was attacked on his trade route. Single incident, but my bomber spent most of its time in the Wildlands quite alone.