Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roam Scouting - Part 1 (Initial Assessments)

I am still a n00b PvP'er. Let's get that straight up front. But, in the interest of sharing learnings to date, here are some observations about being an effective scout when you are a part of small (or large) roaming gang out looking for a fight in NullSec.

If you are a lead scout, your FC (Fleet Commander) is going to have a plan to move you along an ever-advancing tide that is your gang. Your role can mostly be summarized by the following responsibilities:
  1. Initial Assessment: Report hostile counts and ship types as soon as possible upon entering into the "next" system.
  2. Risk Assessment: Evaluate pilot traffic in a system containing hostiles to ascertain whether there is a hostile fleet enroute to intercept or otherwise compromise your own fleet
  3. Target Acquisition: Locate possible targets of opportunity and create a warp-in point for fleet action, when applicable
In this first post, I am going to focus on the initial assessment.

This basically consists of a combination of evaluating local and using DScan to identify probable ship types.

The Local part is easy. If you are NBSI (Not blue shoot it) then you take a quick count of all pilots that are neutral or worse and quickly report the count to your FC.

In parallel, you are performing a Dscan at 360 degrees with max range to get a first look at ship types in-system and reporting them to the FC. In larger systems (e.g. systems where distance between your location and the farthest celestials is greater than 14AU), this may mean flying to other parts of the system to effectively canvas the system with DScan.

In systems where there are no Player-owned-stations (POS), this is much easier, as the only ships flying about are occupied and active. In cases with one or more POS's, you can run into a situation where more ships appear in Dscan than there are in Local, as there are ships left unpiloted within the warm confines of the POS bubble that still appear in DScan. Obviously, cloaked hostiles are not shown in DScan either, so the quick, initial assessment is either a confident: "4 Hostiles: 2 Vaga, a Muni and Caracal" or soft: "4 Hostiles: shiptypes unknown, possible targets on dscan include..."

If you have more time (edging upon target acquisition here), you can quickly identify POS locations, warp to 100km and identify unoccupied ships and mentally remove them from the DScan tally.

Typically, immediately upon entering a new system and while getting to a safe location (or cloaking), I will do a max DScan and give an initial report on total (Local) hostiles count and probable shiptypes, then quickly perform a directed DScan (30 degree or less) at the gates within the system to quickly see if there are any ships at the gates, which typically sounds something like: "4 Hostiles, probable 2x Vaga, Muni, Caracal" then about 10-15 seconds later: "2 Vaga on xxx gate, 1 on yyy gate".

The initial assessment needs to be fast and as accurate as possible - remember the FC is going to make fast decisions on fleet movement based on your reports - it could be the difference between a good kill or a substantial fleet loss if you get it wrong...

I will post about risk assessment in the next post.

Fly Safe (or not...)

SIR Recruiting opens in September

Whether you have spent months or years in NullSec or are thinking about trying out Null for the first time, there is a good opportunity to join a fun crew in the heart of Providence when our recruitment re-opens in September.

An early Corp post is here, but I wanted to mention a few personal observations about life in H-K. First off, I will refer back to my post on one of my toons finally getting started in PvP - I have the taste for it now, and let me tell you, it sticks. All I ever seem to want to do now is set up a camp or participate in a roam or protect the H-K pocket against hostiles.

Now that I have been to NullSec, it is actually hard to see myself ever returning to Concord space. I really enjoyed past years in LowSec and profited greatly from WSpace, but getting involved in NullSec was one of the best moves I have made.

I have a vested interest in growing our US Timezone membership (I am west coast/Seattle), so if you have any questions or have an interest, feel free to EveMail or convo LightTraveler or Star Defender.

T3 and Logistics-capable pilots are likely going to get a preferred look, based on the fact that the bulk of the corp ISK will be made in Class 4+ Wormhole daytrips, so if you are growing weary of WSpace colonization but enjoy the rewards of WSpace, you will enjoy taking down REAL sleepers in these higher-class sleeper territories...

However, that may not be a critical requirement - final details on recruitment and minimum skills will unfold when we officially open recruitment.

My favorite new ship - Blackbird. Scripted to permajam from 120km, I am loving this ship. It is arguably the ugliest damn ship in Eve, but it continues to be effective in camps and saving my bacon.

Fly Safe (or not...)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer in EVE

This time last year I was just renewing my excitement and activity level in EVE and was just a couple of months into WSpace. I had just found out that the Apocrypha release was everything I had hoped for, and more. I was posting to the blog almost daily, and was raking in the ISK and enjoying T3 production along with building up from a small POS to a Large, well-defended POS.

What a difference a year makes!

Like may, the time in Wspace, specifically the daily need to check on everything, led to a need to take a break from WSpace, which also allowed me to reflect on why I grew tired of the demands of WSpace, which soon became a trend and ultimately planted the seed for my move to Provi.

This summer, although I have been pretty happy in Provi and with my new corpmates, I have found that my EVE time has dropped precipitously. Based on what I can see from fellow corpies and other corps, this is fairly common in the summer.

The problem is that it is a sort of compounding function. For those times where I am amped up about getting online, I login only to find that there is nothing happening - no roams/camps/fleets of any kind, at least in my (US) timezone. Same goes for a lot of other pilots in other corps, at least generally speaking. I am guessing the larger corps and alliances maintain momentum all through the summer.

However, skill training continues and I am quickly draining my skill queue lists for various efforts, from PvP to Cap-ship training. Both my main and alt toons are nearing the 35M SP level, and the compliment of ships I can now fly is growing exponentially.

There was a good post by my fellow corp member Agatir on Provi, so no need to replicate.

My favorite activity of late is to use my near-perfect skilled EWAR jamming setup in small fleets - I really enjoy these outings and enjoy massive range, especially with range scripts. That, and continuing to act as forward or rear scout on roams. In between these (for now, rare) corp ops, I am running Sansha anoms, typically Havens and Sanctums.

Fly Safe! (or not...)