27 June 2011

First Solo Kill

Starwalker headed out into the great unknown looking for adventure. The Rifter entered Arnon, banked smoothly and warped to an asteroid belt; lots of secure cargo containers but nothing of interest. The next belt had a Retriever in it and three rats were moving towards it with murder in mind. The Retriever deployed three warriors and engaged. A quick check on Show Info showed a new character and so Starwalker moved in to loot any rat wrecks and give the Retriever an opportunity to fire on him.

Suddenly the belt seemed to get busy as both a Caracal and a Thorax arrived. It was not clear whether they were co-operating or not but it seemed a little suspicious, however, no guts no glory. So Starwalker looted the next wreck then headed towards another wreck. The Thorax targeted and then fired from only about 3.5km away - the fight had started. Starwalker ignored the wreck and immediately burnt towards the Thorax with the afterburner fired up and targeting it. Starwalker’s heart was pounding as the autocannons burst into life and the Rifter entered orbit at 1000m and scrambled the Thorax. The scramble was applied a little late but the fight was really on and someone was going to die very soon.

The Retriever and Caracal decided that they wanted no part of the fight and left, leaving the Rifter and Thorax to bludgeon each other. Starwalker wasn’t taking much damage but turned on the Damage Control anyway, to avoid any accidents via a wrecking shot. The guns and rockets were blazing away hitting solidly for around 150 and 33 damage respectively. A quick check of the log showed that the Thorax was missing far more than hitting. Starwalker watched mesmerised as the red lines went through shields and then armor and then structure. It was over – Starwalker’s first solo kill (http://r1fta.killmail.org/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=10011205) and above class too.

The adrenalin rush was great and Starwalker was so pleased at the achievement of killing a Thorax solo that ded Mitrich’s pod got away. Even sweeter was the 5 medium blasters that dropped, providing an overall cash injection of about 14m ISK, very nice indeed. Given this fight occurred in hisec, after Starwalker got a GCC from stealing loot, there was no impact to security status.
When Starwalker checked the killmail it was a little disappointing that a rat had ninja’d a slot on the kill but then surely 1% damage doesn’t count :-).

26 June 2011

Hunter becomes Hunted

The Rifter slid smoothly into high speed and banked sharply towards an asteroid belt to get out of the main traffic highways between stargates. Starwalker checked the flight controls and handling, the cargo bay was reassuringly full of ammunition. Local showed only 8 other pilots and the Rifter moved on towards the next planet to look for targets on the directional scanner.

Starwalker ignored the battlecruiser but saw a Noctis that might be interesting. The scanning narrowed and only two hits came up - an Augorer Navy Issue and Noctis. So they might be together and if so would likely be too much for the Rifter but if nothing else finding them would be good practice in using the directional scanner to hunt for targets. The hunt was on.
Finding them was easier said than done and the hunt highlighted Starwalker’s lack of practice with the scanner. Starwalker warped to a belt at 70km – still no sign of the Augoror or Noctis. Four rats at the belt targeted Starwalker but given the low threat level and distance Starwalker went back to the directional scanner. These ships did not appear to be near celestial objects (planets, belts, moons, custom offices...) perhaps the right tool for the task was a combat scanner and probes. Two of the four rats were actually now in range and Starwalker decided to despatch them as the other two closed in. A few controlled bursts and they both exploded just as the other two arrived on the scene but they were not the only arrivals.
Starwalker’s overview flashed yellow as a Dramiel piloted by Anzoxe Hitorii (security level -4.3) arrived on grid. It must have warped into zero and was now 80km away but closing distance fast, so probably micro warp drive fit. Starwalker had no intention of waiting and warped away immediately – the hunter was now the hunted. As Starwalker approached his escape point he looked for the next immediate warp point and started to warp again immediately, which was just as well as the Dramiel correctly guessed the warp point and was now only 4km away. Too close, far too close, but Starwalker was already warping away before a lock could be established.
Two more fast warps and Starwalker felt a little safer but also up for a little bit of cat and mouse. Of course being the mouse is a little dangerous but it would be fun. So Starwalker returned to the scene of the crime and where the two rats along with the wrecks were still around. He quickly despatched the remaining two rats and collected the loot confident that the Dramiel would be back. The suspicion was correct and the Dramiel appeared but Starwalker disappeared again in a flash.
Starwalker arrived at the stargate after some bouncing around and decided to burn away from the gate rather than warp again. Luck shined on Starwalker as just as he reached around 100km another Dramiel piloted by Spot Finder (security level -6.8) arrived and then shot past, clearly warping to the next gate. Shortly afterwards, 5 Drakes and a Myrmidon jumped into system and all bright red. The place was getting too hot, not only were these pilots all sporting low security levels but they had bigger or better ships. Time to leave before being podded and so Starwalker quickly escaped back to hisec.
No kills but an eventful and fun roam.

25 June 2011

Accidental Salvager

Whilst Jita was suffering a mass protest Starwalker was scanning down mission runners to have a go at Ninja Salvaging. The intent was simple enough:
·         Take the Probe and scan down a battleship class ship
·         Bookmark the scanned ship
·         Warp to the bookmark in the Probe and apply cloak if needed
·         Observe mission runner and decide when to enter with the Vigil salvager fit
Of course the master plan failed miserably as Starwalker took nearly 30 minutes to find and then scan down a battleship. It looked easier on YouTube. The key problems were:
1.    Finding no decent scan targets
2.    Finding a scan target, which is then lost on subsequent scan
3.    Reducing the scan radius resulting in loss of target
However, a Raven battleship was finally bookmarked and Starwalker warped in... only to find blue wrecks. So much for ninja salvaging the Raven had gone and left behind the dregs. Starwalker wondered if it was worth collecting the remaining loot and salvaging the wrecks and decided that the only way to know for sure was to do it. So, he went about this task and in the process became an accidental salvager, not exactly the master plan.

The only good news was that the Vigil made short work of salvaging the wrecks and the proceeds were collected and sold at market for a grand total of about 4m ISK. Most of that 4m ISK came from the salvage but it was simply not worth the hour spent getting it, from the first scan to items sold on market. Unless desperate.
This view is based on the income from level 4 mission running. Dependent on the level 4 mission, Starwalker had previously seen the mission value including salvage total somewhere between 20m-30m ISK on average. This was when using a battlecruiser (Drake) rather than a battleship and did not include missions like an Angel Extravaganza.
The 4m ISK haul was clearly disappointing and also a reflection that this is simply what the mission runner left behind. Well, time to get into a Rifter and seek some fun.

24 June 2011

Completed Move to New Base

It was painful and laborious but Starwalker has now moved to a new base for operations, with a selection of ships acquired for use in fireball cocktails:

The move from Kador, Citadel and Forge required lots of round trips in the specially trained Mammoth and involved 238 jumps. Starwalker was not happy. Suggestions to use the Red Frog freight service were looked at but with Starwalker’s modest wallet and big ambitions it was an easy decision to accept the pain and get on with it.
There are a total of 31 Rifters that will find their way into service and they will all become fireballs, destroyed in a blaze of glory. Lick and a Promise will be the first Rifter in the queue. A few other ships are also around to play with and try experimental fits: Thrasher and Rupture. The Thrasher proved a deadly opponent and so it is worth taking a closer look at what it can do, so the appropriate artillery skill training is in progress. Of course, Starwalker already has small autocannon specialisation so no need to train that. The Rupture is a cruiser class ship that Starwalker is not fully trained for yet but it too will taste action in time. This will be the next step up before getting into Assault Frigates and Battlecruisers.
The Probe and Vigil have a different purpose in mind and Starwalker will see if he likes to Ninja Salvage: maybe, maybe not. However, it should help replenish some of the ISK that has gone on buying a small selection of fittings.
Now, Starwalker is ready to move out into the surrounding systems looking for adventure and danger.

20 June 2011

Selecting a Base for Operations

Starwalker needs to select a base for operations before his negative security status impacts his ability to travel in empire space. The key issue is to consider the longer term, to avoid selecting a location based on immediate need without considering the future.
What Starwalker wants from a base for operations is:
·         Current high security (hisec) location that is close to a future low security (lowsec) location
·         Close to a trade hub, at least whilst able to travel in hisec. After that, a hauler alt will be used to buy and move items
·         Short distance (jumps) to interesting roaming locations, where lowsec has a focus on solo and small gang PvP
·         Close to other corporation members for small gangs
·         Lowsec is populated with relatively newer pilots that are less than a year old, Starwalker is only 4 months old
·         Station has clone facility and repair shop along with the usual services like market and insurance
Quite some time has gone into thinking about where to relocate and a very useful tool to perform this type of research is Dotlan EVE maps (http://evemaps.dotlan.net/). It is brilliant to see not only the regional map but also the map of each region and to quickly do things like:
·         See the system security status
·         Travel relationship to other systems
·         Number of kills: ship, pod, NPC over the last 1 hour or 24 hours
·         Stations, owners and services
After some research Starwalker had two regional areas as the favourites:
1.    Heimatar and Metropolis, in Minmatar space
2.    Essence and Placid, in Gallente space
Starwalker has chosen two relocation systems that are only two jumps from each other, allowing a quick transition from hisec to lowsec. The only problem with this research is that it is theoretical and practical experience is better, however, the choice is made. The move to lowsec will also trigger the creation of a Hauler Alt to buy ships and stuff and be based in hisec. Next job – start to move. The bad news, Starwalker’s current stuff is still spread around The Forge, The Citadel and Kador. There is also the need to consider what to do with the employed Kaalakiota level 4 Research Agent, unfortunately there is not a similar agent in lowsec.

19 June 2011

Negative Security Status

There are many ways to legitimately kill other ships such as when
·         At war either via a war declaration or faction warfare
·         Flagged from stealing from you or your corporation.
·         Flagged for aggression towards everyone, i.e. committed an unlawful act and under a Global Criminal Countdown (GCC).
o   Shooting a player that is not flagged, a war target or an outlaw
o   Stealing property
o   Shooting a non war target starbase or player owned structure
o   Assisting an outlaw or someone under a GCC
·         An outlaw with a security standing at -5.0 or lower
·         On your Kill Rights
·         You are in nullsec
However, attacking or killing a ship illegally and especially a capsule will result in a loss of security status and eventually into a negative security status. Various criminal offences:
·         Attacking or destroying a law enforcement ship
·         Attacking or destroying civilian ships
·         Capsule or pod killing civilians
Starwalker achieved the first negative security status milestone with the First R1FTA Kill. It was the capsule kill in particular that moved the status from 0.45 to -1.15. The loss of standing is calculated by using your current status and -10 and then reducing it by a percentage. The percentage reduction can be seen in the Neocom, security status:
1.    Aggression or attacking is about 0.5%
2.    Destroying a ship is about 2.0%
3.    Killing a capsule is about 12.5%
The impact of a negative security status is to restrict movement within empire space when faction police will attack on entry or sentry guns at stations:
·         Players with -2.0 or worse will be attacked in 1.0 systems
·         Players with -2.5 or worse will be attacked in 0.9 systems
·         Players with -3.0 or worse will be attacked in 0.8 systems
·         Players with -3.5 or worse will be attacked in 0.7 systems
·         Players with -4.0 or worse will be attacked in 0.6 systems
·         Players with -4.5 or worse will be attacked in 0.5 systems
So now that Starwalker has entered negative security status it is more urgent to consider a base for operations as Empire space will gradually become off limits.

18 June 2011

First R1FTA Kill

Starwalker moved out again in his Rifter looking around Luse for a fight with the war targets from Xenophabai, however, as before there was no one out and about. The only war target that was even in one of the local systems was safely docked up with no intention of getting into any danger. After wandering around aimlessly a little more some Rebels in Siseide (Heimatar) noted there was some action going down.
First R1FTA Kill
A few other Rebels also decided to get in on the action and very quickly there were five in a small fleet. One rebel acted as bait as the others waited on the other side of a gate but the first few engagements amounted to nothing as people eyed the bait and moved on. Miura Bull found a Moa (cruiser) and an Atron (frigate class ship) - in a nearby asteroid belt and quickly engaged and pointed them. Within seconds the rebels had surrounded the Moa and Atron and it was all over for the pilots: Abernancke. (http://r1fta.killmail.org/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=9954762) and GBURed Adoubel (http://r1fta.killmail.org/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=9954758).
First Capsule Kill
Whilst Starwalker was too late to get in on the Atron kill the Moa kill was sweet, the first R1FTA kill. For whatever reason the Atron pilot: GBURed Adoubel was slow to warp out and Starwalker took the opportunity to point the capsule and get his first capsule kill too. (http://r1fta.killmail.org/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=9954783).
Really sweet.

17 June 2011

A Shifting Base for Operations

Even within the few short months that Starwalker has been wandering in the EVE Universe he has had multiple homes or a base of operation. Primarily these related to:
1.    Starter location and drop off points for loot
2.    Mission location based on agent or mission (EPIC Arc, Level 1, 2, 3 and 4)
3.    Corporation location based on the headquarters or one of the offices
4.    Trade hub location based on selling loot
In each case Starwalker has moved on and had to transfer lots of stuff because he is tidy and does not like to see multiple assets strewn across multiple stations, solar systems and regions. It is a problem because it creates a shifting base for operations leaving one of the following choices:
·         Moving stuff yourself, which is painful unless you either enjoy hauling or the pain
·         Paying someone else to move it such as Red Frog, assuming you trust them and wish to pay
·         Having hauler friends move it
·         Relocating as part of a (free) service with a new corporation and they move it
·         Leave it where it is and track it via the Asset listing
So far, Starwalker has moved himself but he has accumulated more stuff, especially Rifters and it is now more difficult to move it all in the rather inadequate Badger Mark I. Now, as part of R1FTA it is time to consider a new base of operation but why move again? Because Starwalker is tidy or wants to be near other Rebels?!
However, before deciding a new location it is worth considering previous locations and why they were only temporary. It can be summed up easily – they were chosen for the immediate need and did not consider the longer term. For example, mission agents and hubs for each level may be in completely different locations or using a particular trade hub more often because of its prices or location and so moving closer to it and then moving to a new hub for its prices or location.
Any new base of operations will need to last more than a few weeks...

15 June 2011

War Declaration Xenophabai

R1FTA declared war against Xenophabai, primarily located in Luse and surrounding systems in Verge Vendor. Starwalker moved two Rifters and assorted fittings to Essence as a nearby location to the war targets.

Tuesday night had no game time as the DDoS attack by LulzSec on the EVE Online login servers prompted CCP to take down the Tranquility Server for hours as a safety precaution. Consequently, Wednesday became the first opportunity for Starwalker to roam looking for a fight.

The roam started and meandered through Luse and surrounding systems but the only two war targets spotted docked up immediately or were already docked up. Despite hanging around for a while it was clear no one was willing to come out and play as one of those two war targets logged off.

Resigned to heading back to base Starwalker set off still looking for a fight but not finding anyone. The only excitement, if that is the right word, on the return journey was being kicked out of EVE by what looked suspiciously like another DDoS attack. If it was a DDoS attack then that is simply becoming tiresome and the fools perpetuating this should stop.

13 June 2011

Losing a Medical Clone

Starwalker had a very anxious time following the loss of his second pod – the medical clone was not insured. The first clone was insured and Starwalker ETA level clone (6.1 million skill points) woke in the clone vat in Inaro with his nearly 5 million skill points intact. However, in the excitement to return to Bille in another Rifter Starwalker made a mistake – this second medical clone was not insured or upgraded. Consequently, when the second pod was killed Starwalker was returned to the clone vat in an Alpha level clone (0.9 million skill points).
The effect of this is to lose 5% of the gained skill points; Starwalker (randomly) lost his level 5 Standard Missiles training and went from just under 5 million SP to about 4.75 million. (http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/What_happens_when_my_character_dies)
The anxiety was not from discovering this loss – that was actually a relief - but the period immediately before it when EVE client stated that Starwalker had zero skills and zero skill points. That was truly horrifying and the assumption now is that the client was having some problem that seems to have gone away. Starwalker has lost 5% of his skill points but that is considerably better than 100%.

Postscript: Miura Bull confirmed that the behaviour seen above - EVE client reporting zero skills and skill points - is a bug that occurs when you are podded twice within a short time period.

War Declaration RvB Blue Corporation

The war declaration was effective and after roaming around for a while it was clear that RvB Blue Corporation was ready for action and formed up into larger gangs. Outnumbered the Rebels got split up evacuating the area and Starwalker was alone in a system with around 20 other reds, it was not looking good. Fortunately, another Rebel scouted out a safe route back to Bille and on return Starwalker found there was a RvB Thrasher sneaking around.
First Engagement
Without thought for the consequences Starwalker immediately engaged but it seemed that the 280mm Howitzer Artillery II fit Thrasher had been designed to counter close combat Rifters. It was all over within seconds. Starwalker started to give chase with afterburners blazing away and then the Thrasher turned around at about 20km and sped back past the Rifter, firing all the time. As the Thrasher came closer the autocannons burst into life and tracked the Thrasher as it quickly gained distance again. The autocannons were simply ineffective against the Thrasher given the range... and then it was all over. It seemed like a wrecking shot just simply took the Rifter out; one moment the shields were at around 20% damage and then Starwalker was in his pod. The surprise was so complete that Starwalker waited for the Thrasher pilot: xTulak Hordx to kill the pod too. (http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=9896212)
Second Engagement
The medical clone was back in Inaro and so the trek back to Bille began but just before getting there Starwalker had the second encounter in Bereye. Just at the stargate a Merlin was spotted and was immediately engaged – to no effect. The e-war was completely effective and the Rifter was simply unable to target the Merlin but the Merlin pilot: Deckren Reading could certainly hit the Rifter. The fight continued with the Rifter sustaining some damage but nothing very threatening. Then the stargate flashed and a Thrasher entered the fight, piloted by – xTulak Hordx. This was clearly not going to end well and Starwalker started to make a run for it but it was too late. The second Rifter went up in a fireball (http://eve-kill.net/?a=kill_detail&kll_id=9896209). This time Starwalker tried to get his pod out and despite spamming warp was caught in what seemed to be a lag filled time period, consequently the second clone was lost as well.
Lessons learnt
Ship losses are inevitable in EVE and the first rule of EVE is very true: do not fly what you cannot afford to lose. These Rifters were expendable, however, no one wants to throw ships away and so it is useful to record any lessons whilst they are fresh:
·         Target selection: engaging the Thrasher alone was not sensible as given the war declaration it was very likely to be fit for PvP. More than that it was likely to be using an anti-Rifter fit just because it was engaging a Rebel from the Black Rebel Rifter Club
·         Ammunition: carrying too much ammunition given that the fights were short, although ammunition loads can be a tricky thing if the fight goes on or there are multiple engagements before being able to reload from a base station
·         Disruptor: did not use the warp disruptor because too busy firing guns and tracking the enemy. Need to focus on using the ship effectively

12 June 2011

Black Rebel Rifter Club

The search for a potential corporation started and finished quickly. Finding a player corporation to join can be done either in game or via the EVE Online forum (recruitment channel) but Starwalker found his new corporation through following a blog. Some favourites include:
·         Brutor Bullfighter: (http://brutorbullfighter.blogspot.com/)
·         Flight of dragons: (http://flight-of-dragons.blogspot.com/)
·         Rifter Drifter: (http://www.rifterdrifter.com/)
·         The Altruist: (http://altruist.azual.co.uk/)
The author of Brutor Bullfighter: Miura Bull noted that he was restarting the Black Rebel Rifter Club (R1FTA) so on 05Jun11 – Starwalker joined. The reason for joining R1FTA was simple – it was focused on solo and small gang PvP. In addition, it also welcomed new players as opposed to requiring a killboard or 10+ million skill points.
The master plan now is to:
1.    Finish training for the Rifter, including Autocannon II
2.    Earn some more ISK whilst training to create an ISK cushion for the inevitable ship losses
3.    Identify a location for base of PvP solo operations
However, the plan was interrupted by R1FTA declaring war on RvB Blue Corporation in Everyshore. With the war about to start Starwalker began to investigate Rifter fits for his skill level. It was fun to investigate various different Rifter builds in EFT (EVE Fitting Tool) and then making a selection for the campaign, as shown below. This was followed by spending lots of ISK in Jita to fit out up to five Rifters:

This shield tanked Rifter has sacrificed a stasis webifier to fit a medium shield extender. The light scout autocannons are necessary as Starwalker does not have the skills for Autocannon II. Simiarly, with the fitting skills, a small ancillary current router is also necessary. Despite what EFT states the price for each Rifter is around six million ISK, with another couple of million or so spent on faction ammunition.
Now, it’s time to head to Everyshore.

3 Month Review

Starwalker started clone life with the intent to PvP and the initial plan was to:
  1. Train skills - to maximise effectiveness
  2. Earn ISK - to fit and replace a supply of ships
  3. Join corporation - to fly solo or in small gangs and learn flying and combat skills
Ambivalence provided the first corporate home for around three months and a low tax environment but PvP was not their forte. Over that time PvE mission running was the main focus and it became incredibly boring - to warp in and then kite the NPCs to death. Combat in PvE is no substitute for combat in PvP. So, with around 4 million skilll points and an array of poorly focused skills it was time to reconsider priorities and find a new corporation.

Looking back over the last 3 months it is clear that this period should have been approached differently:
  • Start skill training with a particular objective in mind, for example, the set of skills needed to fly a particular ship and to fit it out. Complete that training before starting the next training objective. Ensure that you are always training something
  • Select a corporation with the end in mind. What do you want to do and where do you want to do it? It is best to stay with the starter corporation until you have a better idea or you are happy to hop between corporations
  • Making ISK becomes a high priority very quickly after completing the tutorial missions but it is very easy to become distracted by the multitude of options. You can make money from mission running, mining, trading, hauling, research and invention and many others. Choose one based on what you enjoyed doing in the tutorial and stay with it. Otherwise the temptation is to start and stop quickly with multiple things, wasting time and ISK
  • EVE has so much depth that it becomes overwhelming very quickly. Start small and then add to that foundation. Use the many resources available within EVE and the community to set a series of small objectives. Start with two: what (frigate) ship do you want to fly and how do you want to make ISK?
The beauty and bane of EVE is that there are so many choices but also that no choice is final. If you want to change your mind and do something different then it is easy to change. Its unique learning system allows any number of paths to be followed and consequently it is useful to be aware of some the learning resources available to help makes those choices. Some useful EVE learning resources:

·         EVE tutorial missions, a useful start to understanding the game and mechanics
·         The ISK Guide: (http://www.isktheguide.com/)
·         EVE Online forum and guides, including its sister site EVElopedia
·         EVE University hold a wealth of materials, including audio classes
·         YouTube for its various videos that explain or show EVE in action

So where will Starwalker go now?

10 June 2011

Starwalker Shikkoken

The purpose of this diary is to simply record the progress of Starwalker Shikkoken who started life in EVE on the 20 February 2011, a cloned consciousness who knew nothing and had no skills. Now, after more than three months in the EVE universe Starwalker knows... a little bit, and as time goes on he will know a little bit more.

The master plan is for Starwalker to adventure across all of New Eden, to engage in mortal combat and to seek his own way in the Universe. This diary will record the education and adventures of Starwalker Shikkoken.