Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Not all mobile tractor units were created equal

After our adventures with drunk Russians, me and Trey left for high-sec. You know when sometimes there's a voice that speaks to you? I haven't been in the empire for a long time and it usually is just for a short time. This particular time, there was a deep urge to do something in high-sec. Anything. Might have something to do with nostalgia to my past shenanigans. Without thinking much I've opened the zkillboard and searched for mtu kills. I don't know why, I just did it. It didn't take long for me to notice a pattern. A certain individual had unexplained hard-on for mtu kills.

Almost daily, like clockwork, he would kill mtus left and right. Ship of choice? Non other than a Machariel. While most people use a t1 cruiser or a t3 destroyer, this guy was using a faction battleship. No messing around, His prime-time matched ours and I just knew this was it. I suggested Trey we try and bait this guy. After all, I know a thing or two about this kind. We went to the nearest hub, bought a new shiny mobile tractor unit and proceeded to the system. The plan was simple. Find the guy in the system, drop mtu, park cloaked Proteus 5km away and wait for the Machariel to appear. I do just that.

We theorized a little bit what would happen if the guy actually had a lot of neutral alts or other corps supporting him. A not unusual thing for the high-sec baiters, but the killboard intel did not show anything to be concerned about. I drop an mtu, keep eyes on the station with probes ready to get Machariel's ship signature once he undocks. There are also other combat probes present in the system and I am confident those are the probes of our target, since narrowing down d-scan I saw them towards my mobile tractor unit.

After waiting several minutes. the Machariel undocks. Without wasting any time he warps to the mobile tractor unit and I follow. I land 5km away, just in time to see the faction battleship charge in with guns blazing against the defenseless structure. The velocity concerned me as it was almost twice as fast as my Proteus, but he did not see the need to orbit the mobile tractor unit. Big mistake. I decloak, activate sensor booster and lock the battleship in just seconds.


Once tackled, I order the fleet, sitting next door, to jump in and warp at best speed. Fight is not over yet. I can get neuted and lose the scrambler and it would take one mwd pulse for the Machariel to create distance. But thanks to Nestors fast align time and an extra warp speed rig, the fleet lands before Machariel can do anything. Ship goes down and oh boy:


If you were looking for a proper fit against mtus, look no further. The loot fairy generously drops most of the faction loot. I have had a straight forward, according the plan, baits before, but this probably takes the cake. It would be quite difficult to be more predictable. I am surprised this guy haven't lost a ship in such a long time, but I was happy to remind him high-sec is not as safe place and you can't relax, even while shooting the defenseless mobile tractor units. 

Few days later, I receive a follow up email.


What a surprise, the day following the kill, there were no mtu kills. After I explained, that this was purely an opportunistic bait kill, with no grudges involved from anyone, Gandsky was back to his old habits. Good for him that there's nobody else to take the advantage of his predictability. Wink, wink.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Fun wormhole life. Encounters with drunk Russians, Wingspan, Mass Collapse and The Last Chancers

It's been awhile since my last post, but hold to your chair and grab a cold one, because here comes the story of my and Trey's recent wormhole adventures.

I meet many different people in EVE. Well, actually that's not really true. Most of the time I don't meet shit since I sit cloaked in a wormhole, isolated from everyone. We have moved to a new c4 occupied by a bunch of Russians. The wormhole was springing with life. System was absent of any anomalies and locals were active. Very active. From swapping ships and flying between stations.


To rolling wormholes looking for sites to farm.


Me and Trey were sitting tight. Our killboard intel showed locals are not afraid to use Marauders for farming. Last week, there was a shiny Golem loss. I sure hope they had time to bring in a replacement. We watched and waited. Locals would roll the static connection constantly, but never satisfied. We did not want to gank the rolling battleships. We were after a shiny. Only problem was, every time we logged in, system was always cleaned out. No anomalies spawned during our time which means no opportunities to gank anything.

A few days go by and our duo decides we need to take action. We are pretty sure we have been spotted at one point or another. Locals seem to use scouts on their active connections and with their constant docking and undocking, it's impossible our probes, or even ships, were not spotted, thanks to auto d-scan (grrr CCP). It was time to make a move and it so happened, locals were busy with logistics.


Our interest was up. We would see ships go back and forth to a c3 static. Are they shipping stuff out or are they bringing stuff back in? Whatever it was, a fleet of 5 transport ships warps to the wormhole and jumps out. The system became empty. It was time to make a move. We slowly log in our fleet and scan the system. Trey logs in the hictor. Our plan is to ambush the fleet on the way back. All would be great, except just as soon as a Devoter appears on d-scan, a wormhole flash. One transport ship appears on the overview and warps to the station. Wormhole jump sounds continue. Fuck. The fleet is back so soon and the Devoter is on d-scan in all it's glory. Thank's to auto-dscan after jump, we know we have been spotted. Unless these guys are blind, a heavy dictor on d-scan surely will make them dockup and do nothing. More transport ships decloak. It was again time for one of those split second decisions. We grab what we can or we wait with low chance of anything happening for the rest of the day. Since we have already been here for a few days with no opportunities, me and Trey decide to risk it. I decloak the Proteus and Trey warps in the Devoter.


I manage to hold two transport ships from warping off and with dictor on grid, their fate is sealed. But locals do not give up. Pilots that managed to make it back, quickly reshiped and warped back to save their friends. A Drake landed followed by a Raven. It felt more of a bonus rather than a rescue fleet. We went back to our safe and continued the hunt, still hoping to see that mythical Golem.

Wingspan


While we didn't see any marauders, we did see other ships. Locals were busy warping between stations and tower, just like ants moving around their colony. There was only one anomaly signature in the system and that was an ore site. We find a lone Retriever mining in it. Exciting. What's so exciting about a mining retriever? Nothing by itself, however, this time we had guests in the system - a Wingspan. Awhile back we saw their scout go in, but not go out. Probably keenly watching that Orca warping between stations, hoping it would fly to the wormhole at some point.


We knew the shit was about to go down. Question was, did we want to do anything about it. The Wingspan pilots do not fly alone. A retriever was a potential target for a passing bomber or a cloaky sister's ship that we could counter gank. But with Orca and other ships warping between stations, a Wingspan scout probably was screaming in their intel channel with big excitement about potential targets. Finally they get tired of waiting and make a move on a Retriever. Trey keeps reporting never stopping jumps. We don't rule out an option to attack the Wingspan, but without scout on the other side, we have no idea what numbers we are facing. New ships constantly appear on the overview. A Stratios, a Stratios, a Stratios, several more Statios, a Falcon, a Tempest. What the fuck. What kind of resistance do these guys expect? Locals are quick to assemble a response fleet - a Tempest, which bravely warps on a suicide mission.


He get's joined by a friend in a Stratios which happens to be nearby. Me and Trey decide not to join in on this questionable fight. Wingspan does not take lightly the new Tempest threat and calls in reinforcements. A several bombers decloak to assist.


Boy was I happy we did not make a move. A Retriever in an ore site or a Carrier in an anomaly. Doesn't matter, You've always got Wingspan's full attention. Unlike us, locals don't seem amused.


Another day


Another day was looking promising. We finally had a few anomalies spawn in the system. Locals did not waste any time and were quick to act.


Ah, another Rattlesnake. A ship of choice to do c4 sites. I guess it's better isk/hour once you account for losses. While it's no Golem, it's surely a worthy target for us. We patiently wait for the Rattlesnake to kill most of the sleepers and grab it by the balls.




Fully faction fit with shield extenders and rechargers. Too bad they cost shit, but we still end up with a kill over 1bil mark. Quick and dirty, that's the way I like it. 

Mass Collapse


We safe up and go afk, but before the sleeper wrecks can despawn, we get a new high class connection. A Mass Collapse just rolled into our home. Obviously having checked out the killboard and recent kills they get a genius idea - setting up a bait. Now what would one use to bait a bunch of Nestors? Why, a mining ship, of course. Not just any mining ship, but a Procurer. A cheap t1 mining barge that often is used as a bait. When one Procurer does not do it, bring in more crappy mining ships. I often consider these half-ass baiting attempts as an insult. It's like someone trying to score big while not willing to put in any amount of work. Me and Trey let them mine the ore site in peace. Visitors finally figures out that Nestors won't be leaving their cave and gives up.


Where did all the creativity go? What about a wormhole rolling Orca or a shiny Marauder doing sites? If you want to catch a shiny, you have to put a shiny on the line.

The Last Chancers


We continue stalking the locals. By now they got acquainted to us and we got acquainted to them. We know each other's schedules, ships, doctrines. They know we use Nestors and we know they don't give a fuck and will continue carrying on with their business while we are in the system. With all the action lately, there are more than a few anomalies in the system. It's like a bad itch for the locals. They just must do them as if their life depended on it. Sometimes even disregarding for basic safety procedures such as putting scouts on active connections or rolling them. We find a Rattlesnake doing sites, but we are in no hurry to act. You see, today we got yet another visitors - The Last Chancers. Instead, I grab an imaginary popcorn, a real beer and enjoy the show.


The Rattlesnake doesn't get much work done. Soon a Heretic lands on him which is followed by a fleet. I must say I was interested how The Last Chancers will fare against a site full of sleepers.


The gank lasts a short time, but it takes awhile for The Last Chancers to take their fleet out in one piece. I must admit I was cheering for the sleepers, but to my disappointment everyone manages to get away. Though they did lose the interdictor to the Rattle/Sleeper fleet.


A farewell gift


This c4 has been packed with action lately. More than several sites were present in the system. With all the disturbance, locals have been buying new Rattlesnakes instead of farming.  You say they only lost a couple of Rattlesnakes? Not quite. They have been losing them left and right, even without our help. Like losing a Rattlesnake to a high-sec wardec:


Or losing two Rattlesnakes while traveling through low-sec:


But as much as we like active systems, it was getting a bit too active for my and Trey's liking. It has become too time consuming to keep an eye on these guys because there's always something going on with them. We agree on one last gank and, since the system is now abundant of sites, we do not have to wait long.


Two Rattlesnakes busy shooting sleepers while me and Trey patiently wait. Once there are only few sleepers left, we make our move. I tackle both Rattlesnakes and we warp in the fleet. The pilots don't panic and drop a mobile micro jump unit. One of the Rattles jumps out and warps away before we can put a scram on him. We finish off his friend.


It's always a shame to let someone escape, but one out of two is not all that bad. We warp back to safe to wait out the timer and start scouting the chain all while keeping eyes on the locals. It's time to find a new home, but we still need to keep tabs on our friends even if we do not expect them to do any sites. But locals are from Russia and as they said themselves, they like to drink and don't care about anything. Out of the blue, Trey reports that Rattlesnake just undocked. It entered warp to what looked like direction of a c3 static, which we conveniently are scanning. Once I saw the ship appear on short range scan, I ordered the fleet to warp. With some twisted logic, the Rattlesnake pilot decided it was safe to do a trip in just half an hour after the gank. The battleship jumps in and gets caught on the other side.


I hope he was on his way to high-sec, because that's where he end up once we were done with him.


If you paid close attention, that's a different pilot and was not the one who escaped initial gank. Why would a corpmate not warn his friends that he was just ganked and that hostiles are present in the system? Probably because when we tried to convo our gank targets, they were logged off. Probably in a rush to get another drink, because that's what I would have done.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Greeting a miner

After managing to catch a rare ship - a wormhole rolling Orca, we move to a c4 next door. As usual, I do not expect for anything to happen for the rest of the day and as usual, nobody can predict Bob's will as he sends a Rattlesnake our way.
ggnoreTT > rattle
ggnoreTT > on c3
Trey Udan > did he jump back?
ggnoreTT > X4N4X
Jy Tian > see him
ggnoreTT > in warp c4d
ggnoreTT > lets get him


We were lucky to have eyes on the wormhole the Rattle came from and thanks to faster warp speed of smaller ships the Rattlesnake gets caught in transit, tackled by the Proteus then a Devoter and gets a dozen of scrams from the Nestor fleet.


A pvp fit Rattlesnake for a change. Too bad the fight was one sided, but the pilot doesn't seem to mind much.
X4N4X > gf
X4N4X > nasty fleet
ggnoreTT > gf
Jo Edier > gf
It's been awhile since I got a gf in local. It's always nice to meet a fellow capsuleer with a good sportsmanship.

While scouting, we spot some activity. There are couple of people docking and undocking ships in the system. Notably a Gila and an Onyx. Behaviour is quite strange. The Onyx warps to a perch near the station and launches a bubble while the Gila sits at the undock.


What's up with that? To make things even stranger, when checking out the system, we find a mining ship. Not just any mining ship, but an expensive one.


If I didn't know any better I would say it's some sort of bait. But that would be a weird choice for a bait. I would expect a Procurer. A Mackinaw is not exactly known for tank and is rather expensive. We do a background check of the locals and find red to be the most dominant color in the killboard. I scratch my head, but not whether to attack or not, but how to squeeze out most of this opportunity. We prepare a plan. While our Nestor fleet holds on the wormhole, we decide only to engage with my Proteus, which has 37.5 dps, and Trey's Devoter, that only has a set of light drones. It will be a slow death. Our goal is to provoke locals in coming to miner's aid and kill whatever shows up. We do just that. I tackle the mining ship and we slowly chip at his defenses. It takes awhile, but locals finally organize a defense "fleet". A Gila warps to an ore site. Unfortunately, it does not get dragged by a bubble and lands 100km off. What luck to have the anomaly signature at the wrong angle. The Mackinaw pops and the Gila warps off. Oh well, it was worth the shot. Plan worked, but we did not account for the warp in angle from a station.


As soon as we start packing, another ships shows up on grid. This time a Vexor Navy Issue. A pilot was kind enough to warp directly to his dying teammate and in return received a warm welcome from our fleet. We are always happy to bring excitement to miners and their friends.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The invisible neighbours

I sometimes feel like a bogey man from the closet when watching someone in w-space. We moved to a new c4, waiting for locals to make a move and clear some sites. I warp to the tower and see a Buzzard on scan. Not exactly a rare sight. All that means is that someone is in the system. I keep refreshing d-scan, but the Buzzard never disappears. It doesn't look to be at any of the sigs. He is way too close to a celestial. Feels more like a safe spot of some sorts. I decide it's time to launch the combat probes and see what this little bugger is doing. I warp off range, launch probes, get the position of the Buzzard and scan him out. I warp to 30 because I am very confused and don't know what to expect.


Here he is. Just sitting there, in the middle of nowhere. I take my time to slowboat and once in range I unleash the wrath of the tackle Proteus with two small smartbombs and a light neutron blaster. Guy must be afk as he shows no life signs whatsoever . Pilot is one of the locals too, but I'm sure they won't think about me twice. Just a random tourist passing by.

While waiting for targets, sometimes other opportunities present themselves.  After all, a wormhole can be a transit system too. Locals had too some interesting ships at the tower.


Being a c4 class wormhole, I doubt these battleships are up for a task. I watch Hyperion warp to an empty space. It could be a signature. I warp to a closest celestial and pinpoint him with d-scan.


He launches a mobile warp disruptor. My interested goes up. They must bubble up their connections to be safe from ganks. A tactic I've seen at least several times. It won't help them against me though, as I am already inside. I eagerly wait for the locals to finish preparations and start farming. Time goes by, but Hyperion just stays at the same spot. Do they bubble and then role the wormhole? Makes no sense. Now a Dominix is also here. I have no idea what they are doing as I don't have the wormhole scanned. I patiently wait while all of a sudden an Orca appears on d-scan. 


Now this sign I can't ignore. If in some twisted way they anchored a bubble and started rolling the wormhole, this Orca must have landed in it, which means, I have time to make my move. Luckily, I am well prepared having probes already out. I take a snap decision to scan the Orca. No messing around. I get a positive result and warp to 0.


I land just in time to tackle the Orca. Bubble is here, but it's not anchored. The Orca gets within 5km and jumps out while Dominix and Hyperion jumps back in. I follow the Orca with my Proteus while the Nestor fleet stays behind and picks up a fight with the returning battleships. Meanwhile, the Orca on the other side cloaks ups. I guess I will have to manage this gank on both sides. I burn with the Proteus to the direction of the Orca in hopes of decloaking it. When I fail, I try not to go too far away and remain at a similar position. Once the Nestors finish off the Dominix and the Hyperion, I will use the swarm of drones to find that Orca. But doesn't come to that as the industrial ship tries to make a run for it. Failing to do so, pod ejects and warps off. 


Holy crap, a free Orca. But it's not like I can do anything about it. I don't have the chain scanned and as far as I can tell, an empire might be at least few jumps out. I finish the job. Ejecting from a ship might save a pod, but won't prevent a loss.


I thought wormhole rolling Orcas have been extinct. I haven't seen one since the old days when you always ended up 2.5km off the wormhole after jumping and such thing as higgs rigs did not exist. Back then, wormhole rolling Orcas were an actual thing. Having done the deed, I get a convo request.


Wonder what will it be. I'm always excited to hear what my gank victims have to say.


Alprazolam was quite surprised and confused about the whole situation. He wanted some answers.


He would check the killboard of his home system and see my name on several kills, but wormhole was absent of any foreign towers and stations. How could this be? I try to clear up all the mystery thing. I offer to leave the system alone for 500mil, but end up dropping it to 200mil. To my surprise I get paid and as a man of my word, I leave the system. It's nice to see players take upon the challenge and live in wormholes, however, I kindly suggest him to find a proper corp to learn the ropes first. As much as I enjoy juicy kills, going solo into a c4 wormhole while being new to the concept is just not the way to go.

Monday, September 26, 2016

When stars align in your favor

Some people find pvp very thrilling. I don't argue with that. A lot of pvp engagements do bring a lot of excitement, but there's another part that I would argue is also not any lesser experience. It's the hunt itself.

It all started with me casually orbiting one of the wormholes until I heard a jump sound. I quickly focused the window and saw an Occator warp to a c1 which had a high-sec static. Not long after an Iteron does the same. I can only assume there's some sort of logistics going on. It's hard to ambush a deep transport ship all by myself, even with a pure tackle focused Proteus. I ping Trey about the recent find.
Zosius: c5 connection is doing logistics
Zosius: we could ambush them
Trey: Ok, Going to computer
One of the big advantages of having an extra guy stalking with me is an extra pair of eyes and a heavy interdictor which is perfect for these kind of opportunities. No amount of warp core stabilizers will help against a bubble. Trey logs in and we start working on a plan. First order of business is to put scouts in every system. I got eyes on c5 connection so Trey puts one scout in a c1 and another warps to a c5. But with our luck, his Astero lands on the wormhole when our targets jump from the other side. What a terrible coincidence. He jumps in as quickly as he can, but it's safe to assume we have been spotted. We don't know if the pilot managed to get the name, but at least they know they are not alone. However, hope is not all lost. There are plenty of Asteros flying around and scouting. It's a common sight and they don't look all that threatening. The transport ship continues on his path while we keep our scout in the c5.

I logged in my trading alt and found the Occator pilot was sitting at the station. I set a negative standing to the corp, filter my overview to filter out neutrals and orbit the station. It's my usual strategy to ship and cargo scan my target. Knowledge is key and I will know what's inside the ship and how it's fitted before engaging. Meanwhile, in our c4 a Falcon jumps in. It only confirms that our Astero has been spotted, but it also means that our targets don't plan to stop their logistics which is great news. We start the waiting game. The Occator does not move anywhere from Amarr station, but an Iteron now jumps to our system for a second run. We pretend the system is empty and let it pass. The Iteron has a different destination from one of Occator as I do not see him show up in the hub. Instead, Trey reports an activation and we see him come back. We hold our cloak. The t1 transport ship goes home and the Falcon follows. Our system is now clear once again.

We discuss what's the best ambush for the expected Occator. We decide to park it on a c1 exit. If the Occator manages to burn back, our Nestors can still follow it with a plate turned off. We want to avoid parking on a c5 due to higher risk of getting exposed. Once the heavy dictor is in position, the waiting begins. The Occator pilot takes it's time but finally undocks. I try to lock him up and scan the ship, but the guy warps to insta undock safe. That's unexpected. If fitted properly, there's no risk for the deep transport ship to be sniped off, but it's obvious they don't want strangers peeking in their cargohold. I make a snap judgement and warp to a next system on the way back to the wormhole. The plan is to scan him on the gate. I wait and wait and wait, but the Occator does not come. I know it's not the most fastest ship, but he should be here by now. I jump back, but the pilot is absent in local. Fucking autopilot showed me a different route. At least I hope that's the reason and the Occator is not going through some other way that we know nothing about.

The Falcon once again jumps to our system and warps to a c1 which probably means the Occator is on his way. We pray to Bob our dictor orbiting the wormhole does not get decloaked. We have the gank carefully planned to tiny detail. It's not just wait for the ship and kill it once it comes. Trey's fleet is in safe spot, but within d-scan range of both c1 and c5. Mine is out of range. We must be careful not to reveal our fleet too early. Once he jumps to our system, I will initiate warp with the Nestors, bubble will go up and then Trey will join me soon after. An activation in a c1 and the Occator appears. He is on his way to our c4. I decloak and align my Nestor fleet and as soon jump is confirmed I warp them in. Bubble goes up and we patiently wait for our prey to decloak. He waits until the very last moment, but finally the ship appears on the overview. We get to work. His waiting allowed us to set assist mode to our drones which made instant DPS possible. And while the Occator did his best to burn back and his Falcon alt to jam us out, they both went down very quick.


Both eager, we quickly burned to the industrial wreck to see what kind of loot was our prey carrying that he did not want anyone to see? The killboard value says the ship was worth 2.5 billion.


The hull itself is just over 200mil worth. So what was driving the value up?


Our target was transporting only a couple of items. Two skill injectors and a Vargur. Me and the loot fairy have had our fair share of differences, but sometimes not even her can overlook the effort and patience that goes into the hunt as this time she let us keep everything. As always, we are grateful to Bob for providing us such a great opportunity. Universe was aligned that time in our favor. I'm happy to inform, that Vargur and Injectors were safely moved back to the empire and sold at the market.