Sunday, March 30, 2014

E1/Sohkar: Getting the FULL Story in 3.5 Hours + Final Thoughts (Unless something else happens)

I owed it to the victim to understand his story. He lived through it. The least you can do is understand what he was put through... for more than two hours. -Ripard Teg, who never actually spoke to the victim, even when the victim tried to speak to him.
I'm leading off today's post with that very ironic quote. Since no one else has bothered to get in contact with either Erotica 1 or his victim sohkar to get both sides of the story, I decided to take it upon myself to gather as many people involved either directly or peripherally in the bonus room incident that has everyone in such a twist this past week.

I've seen a lot of angry posting on forums this week. Other bloggers and podcasters have covered the issue. Cap Stable had Ripard Teg over for a chat to talk about Erotica 1 and the horrible things that happened to sohkar. They talked to Ripard, sohkar's champion, but they did not bother to reach out to sohkar and ask him how he felt, nor did they bother to talk to anyone involved in the dubious bonus room to gain context on what happened. How much CCP has been involved in the past, what CCP may or may not have been aware of, and what they have let slide thus far were also not part of the discussion.

I firmly believe that in the court of public opinion, even the worst of us deserve to be able to tell their side of the story. I certainly believe the victims in such cases should have their own voices heard, not just their causes championed by others who have never even talked to them. I personally believe that in dire cases where opinions and judgements must be passed on people, we owe it to ourselves to get the story from those involved, and not just from a 3rd party with an agenda, with his/her opinions and views already coloring what transpired.

For the history of the incident that lead up to this, I will refer you to my last posting on the matter. If you have not read that yet, you should because I don't plan to waste time here re-hashing the incident, and it will save you from listening to the first 45 minutes of the recording.

For Ripard Teg's take, you can read his blog posting on the matter. For further information on the agenda he's trying to push, I'll refer you to Eve Compared to D&D in the early 80's and A World Without Sin.

On with the Show

In the wake of Erotica 1's ban Friday morning, upon getting home from work I put out a call for anyone directly involved with Erotica 1, sohkar, and the bonus room to please help me contact them and invite them on the show. Several of E1's escrow agents stepped forward, but unfortunately no one knew how to contact him outside game. Even James 315 was at a loss. We started the show at Midnight Eve Time with the regular crew, and slowly added people involved with the issue as time went on and we were able to find them.

Ripard Teg was invited, but did not respond. During a skype conversation among podcasters during the show, he gave his reasons for declining to be interviewed by someone else. His stance makes sense. At this point he's won, and has nothing to gain by having to defend his assertions.

The entire recording is nearly 3 1/2 hours, so I will forgive those of you with little patience for such things if you do not listen to everything. I'll give a synopsis with times below so you might be able to skip around to the parts you would find most interesting.

You may DOWNLOAD the entire broadcast here.

It Begins
Background of the issue with our standard crew of co-hosts: Bajran Bali, Charlie Firpol, Zeratha, Elijah Ghost, Doc Nielsen. We talked about the incident, tried to get the timeline together, and a lot of us had a lot to say about what happened.

Joined by Jaschar Verge, the the CEO of Dark Aether Operations. He tells us the story about how he heard the Bonus Room recording back when it was covered by James 315 in February on Minerbumping, and decided to take sohkar under his wing. sohkar was in his corp for nearly 3 weeks until being removed for his own protection. sohkar is free to rejoin whenever he thinks he'll be safe again in a player corp.

Once Jaschar tells his story, we get back to the time line, now we're at last week. Ripard's blog was brought up, and this bit of skype conversation was mentioned, pasted so that we can get a little more insight into Ripard's motives.

Interlude while we switched to TS3 to accommodate some of Erotica 1's Escrow Agents. CCP's HTFU song.

Joined by several of Erotica 1's escrow agents. I asked a lot of questions about their involvement in the bonus room, how the bonus room works, it's history, and some examples of other bonus rooms that have taken place. The losers, and the very few winners were discussed. One winner was actually paid out, others were not paid, but were then invited in on the con after where many made their money back.

Average time of a bonus room was 5 hours long. (!!) The longest was 12 hours. (!!!) sohkar's reaction in the bonus room, they claimed, was by far the worst they had ever seen. They state that maybe 1 in 15 bonus room players have actually gotten to the point of rage, most figure the scam out and simply quit.

To understand the bonus room, and it's history, this is a good section to listen to, but keep in mind the story is told by the people who were part of the con.

The discussion shifts from the bonus room, to Ripard Teg's crusade against not only the bonus room, but all forms of naughty behavior in Eve.

I read a statement from sohkar.

Westboro Baptist Church is brought up as an extreme example of how people can be some of the biggest dicks on the planet, but still be within the bounds of rules and law.

Back to Eve. Allegedly CCP has known about the bonus room since at least November. sohkar's bonus room was well publicized on a month ago, was not a secret. The victim says he was over it, and got on with his life. 1 month later, CCP suddenly "gives fucks" when Ripard Teg whips less than 500 people into a frenzy on a threadnought on Eve-O.

I address CCP directly. What have you opened up with this action of banning a player for out of game actions? I talk about some of the things people have done outside of game in relation to The FunkyBacon Show. The difference between us and the bonus room? We pay out at the end for what we say will, and most of the things people do are their own ideas. It is suggested at one point that someone should make a thread somewhere of the worst things people have done outside of Eve. Maybe it would make Ripard Teg pee his pants to learn some of the things that have happened outside of Eve that were in some way tied to the game.

Joined by an operator who was IN the bonus room with sohkar. The question is asked "Do you feel that based on Erotica 1's ban, you also deserve to be banned?" All Bonus Room escrow agents present declare unanimously that if Erotica 1 has been banned because of his involvement in the Bonus Room, then they ALL deserve to be banned, no question.

Erotica 1 was apparently located on another TS server at this point, people head off to fetch him.

Erotica 1 is finally located and joins us. I ask a lot of questions, some similar to the round done at 1:12. He confirms his ban, tells us bits about the bonus room his associates could not. Tells his side of the story.

Erotica 1 gives a story where he had been blackmailed outside of game by another player petitioned but was told by CCP GMs that they could do nothing with evidence supplied from outside the game.

Sohkar joins us. If you listen to no other part of this recording, listen to this part moving forward. As far as I'm concerned, the opinions of the person on the receiving end of this scam which was apparently the reason for CCP to step into the metagame, should count most, even over the voices of those who claim to be "defending" him.

Interesting things were said. Sohkar was never contacted by Ripard Teg who claimed to owe it to the victim to understand his story. Sohkar states that Ripard's coverage of his bonus room has done more harm to him than good in the game. He never petitioned Erotica 1, does not believe Erotica 1 should be banned, and comes out and says that he should technically be banned for the things he said himself while raging at E1 and his associates if the recording is considered legit evidence for TOS violations.

Sohkar rejects the claims that he was tortured. He got angry. He points out that after Ripard's blog post, he tried to reach out and talk to Ripard and sent him an eve-mail. Ripard has still not responded to him after several days. It's thought at this point that Ripard Teg doesn't care about the victim at all, and is simply trying to push his anti scamming agenda with inflamatory language and rhetoric, and trying to put out the worst examples he can with no regard to how this will affect even the victims involved.

Former CSM member and current podcaster Aleks joins us. CSM, and political implications are discussed.

Final thoughts from everyone involved.

Afterthoughts, and my CSM9 Campaign

As the days move on, my stance on this is becoming less and less about this specific case, but where I see this snowball headed as it continues to roll down hill. I've been asked a lot of questions about this in my campaign thread on Eve-O, as well as on twitter, reddit, and even Facebook.

Unless something else earth shattering happens, this will be the last time I address this specific incident on this blog. Voting for CSM starts next week, and I have a lot of ground to cover for my friends living in lowsec, many of whom probably don't give nearly as many fucks about this as they do about fixing lowsec.

I'll leave with you with a response I made on Eve-O to a question posed to me by current CSM member, Mynnna:

This keeps going back to E1 specifically, and that's one of the problems I have here Mynnna. My stance here has little do do with E1, and everything to do with the next step after this, and the next step after that. If this is where it stops, and the line is CLEARLY drawn here, that's CCPs prerogative. I'm not doing a "Free E1 campaign". He's banned, there's no reversal coming nor would I ask for one.

For 11 years CCP has not acted against any player when CCP logs have shown no wrong doing. That has now changed.

Let me toss you a loaded question. Let's say we're chatting in Eve, and I say "Hey Mynnna, my hands are getting tired. Let's pop over to my TS3 server and talk about this."

I'm in there with you, maybe a couple other people. I make a recording of it, and then put it up on soundcloud. People listen to it and are outraged at you for what transpired, I blog about it, a threadnought appears.

But here's the rub: You come out on the forums in the threadnought afterwards and claim you were framed. "That's not me," you say. Other people claiming to be on the server at the time say it WAS you. They were there. Eve logs show us chatting amicably, and me suggesting we move to TS3. CCP has no way to confirm that the TS3 conversation on soundcloud is the one that happened at that time. They can't confirm I didn't doctor the recording. But it sounds like you. You didn't think to record the session yourself, so you have nothing but your word that you didn't do whatever it is we say you did.

Now, you're part of Goonswarm, so I would imagine your friends would have your back in this, and the counter smear could get ugly and result in nothing more than a locked thread, some warnings are given and nothing more comes of it. Maybe I get DDOSed a few times, obviously by one of your fellows, but I can't prove who it was so nothing happens there either.

Suppose for a minute though that you don't have many friends in Eve. Everyone has already made up their mind that you're guilty. Your supporters in that threadnought are few and far between. What then?

THAT is where I'm afraid we're going here, and ANY steps taken in that general direction are what I'm opposed to.
-DJ FunkyBacon

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Bonus Room Revisited LP

NOTE: I'm going to apologize in advance. This blog post turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated. It might rival some writings by James315 in length, so for the TLDR guys, I'm sorry. I've gone over this a couple of times, cut out some of the fat, but what remains I feel needs to be said in order to clear some of the confused air from my last posting, and clarify a couple of points that have come up since. 

Grab yourself a light snack and a beer, we're going to be here for a bit.

I made a posting last night to talk about Ripard Teg and his silly crusade to rid Eve of Evil. A lot of people read it. The posting itself was aimed more directly at Ripard, but has raised some questions about what my views are with regards to Erotica 1 and Sohkar. Since I think we're all aware by now how I feel about Ripard's moral crusade vilifying the Eve community based on a few sordid individuals, let me clarify (in no uncertain terms) my views on The Bonus Room itself, the actions of those involved (including the victim) and what CCP can, should, or should not do in this case. I'm running for CSM9 after all, and people seem to think this stuff is important.

The Bonus Room

I'll start with the incident in question: The Bonus Room. I'm not sure how many of you listened to the full 2 hours of the recording, but I'm guessing not many people made it all the way front to back. Well, it was bad... actually it was beyond bad.

In essence, what we have here, at least in the beginning, is the Eve equivalent to the long con. Scams in Eve are usually fairly quick and dirty. Get in, get what you want, get out, and move on to the next mark. In this case, Sohkar was lured in with the old ISK doubling game. It started small, and his isk was doubled time and again to the point where he put a billion ISK into play. Erotica 1, smelling someone who is either A: not too bright, or B: entirely too trusting, went for the home run. He doubled the guy's ISK and then invited him along for the bonus round on his 3rd party TS3 server.

Now, the average Eve player of even middling intelligence probably would never have gotten to the billion ISK mark. I've played Sohkar's end of the ISK doubling game myself, with the knowledge that the scam works better if a few people are paid out and claim legitimacy in local. The most I've ever given someone to double is 10 million ISK. I'm happy to report that I've turned a small profit playing the game, but give an ISK doubler a billion? Surely you jest! Please feel free to respond in the comments if (before you heard anything about the bonus room) you would have given Erotica 1 a billion of your isk to double, assuming you have that much.

Even if you were to get to the billion point, the next part of this con should have sent warning alarms screaming all over your brain. In the Bonus Room, Sohkar was convinced to not only give over his full API key, he was required to contract ALL of his assets, NEX store clothing, ISK, liquidate LP, I mean the WORKS. Even if you are space rich and would have risked the billion, now I would like a show of hands of how many of you would trust ANYONE (outside of maybe immediate family) in Eve with every last shred of e-wealth you have in your name.

No, really, don't be shy, I'd honestly like to know.

As the great Sherlock Holmes used to say: "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth." We have effectively eliminated a high degree of intelligence from the equation at this point, and possibly a middle degree of it as well. Common sense is also out the window. That leaves me with Stupid, or Drunk.

Some of you at this point will be fuming mad at my words. I'm victim bashing you might say (Someone on Failheap Challenge actually called me a cunt for this). Well, the sad truth of the matter is that up to this point in the con (Phase 1) I didn't feel even a shred of pity for Sohkar. There was positively nothing wrong with the con yet. Everything was perfectly allowable under the rule of law in Eve, and nothing that had happened in game at that point would ever be successfully petitioned against. This is also the point where the overwhelming majority of Eve's scammers would cut and run with their ill gotten gains, leaving a very angry Sohkar with the realization that everything, even the shirt off his back, has been stolen. Had Erotica 1 stopped here, a very large portion of Eve's community would give him a round of applause for a masterful heist.

Unfortunately, Erotica 1 did not stop at the end of Phase 1. He and his friends, already in possession of every last thing Sohkar owned in Eve, then proceeded to see how far they could push him until he snapped. I'll spare you the gory details, but it took quite a while (almost an hour and a half) before the wheels finally came off. This was where Erotica 1 and friends took a brilliant scam, and turned it into a sadistic game.

I like tears as much as the next guy, but this went way WAY too far. You've got the guys stuff, tell him he's been scammed, let him rage for a few minutes, maybe teach him a valuable lesson about not trusting strangers, and move on.

The last half hour or so of the recording involves Sohkar completely losing his shit. That part really made me sad. Here you had this guy that had been strung along for an hour and a half, who should have gone to bed quite some time before so he could get up in the morning and "Control Planes," finally come to the realization that he'd been scammed out of everything he owns in Eve. He swore gratuitously, threatened E1 and friends, and at some points I was fairly certain he was crying. His wife came on, first pleaded with the scammers to give her husband his stuff back, and then began to lose it herself.

Look, I don't care who you are in Eve, or on planet Earth. I don't think anyone deserves to be treated the way Erotica 1 and his friends treated Sohkar. It was entirely uncalled for. If Sohkar is mentally handicapped in some way (and I certainly hope not if he's really an air traffic controller) then what Erotica 1 and his friends did was nigh unforgivable.

Why CCP Can't Act?

Here's the rub though: Regardless of what you or I think should be done about this, there isn't a damn thing CCP can do here without getting into some VERY muddy water. I know some people are calling bullshit on this, so I'm going to have to explain in some detail here what the implications are.

As I mentioned earlier, everything up through Phase 1 of this con was Grade A acceptable under current Eve scamming establishment. From Phase 2 onward, Eve ceased to be the medium of play for this "game". Did it happen on Eve Voice? An in game chat channel? At fanfest? On the official Eve Forums? On any server maintained by CCP? I'm afraid not. It happened on Teamspeak, and we can split hairs all day about "But they were clearly in game at the time" but it doesn't matter. The logs don't show a damn thing. Unless Erotica 1 or one of his buddies went onto Eve-O after they were done recording and splashed the link around bragging about what they did there is NOTHING, not one damn thing, that CCP can or should do about this....

Well there is one thing actually. If any laws were broken in the process of the commission of this heinous act, and CCP became aware of it, I suppose they, or one of us who listened to it, would have some responsibility to contact law enforcement officials. Now I'm no lawyer, but as far as my meager understanding of law in the USA works, no laws were broken here. If the people involved were children, there MIGHT be some local cyber bully provisions to fall back on, but these were all grown men (a fact I'm kind of ashamed to admit, being one myself) so really, there's nothing.

I hate to be cliché here, but this is a can of worms CCP would do well to stay out of. But let me play the devil's advocate. Let's say that the people on the internet screaming for blood get their wish, and CCP comes down on those involved hard, and I mean HARD. Bans are thrown out... PERMA bans! Asset siezures! Sohkar gets all his stuff back! All based off of a TS3 recording someone put up on the internet.

Think about that for a minute... Still don't see a flaw?

Well, CCP would be in the business of not only policing their game and their own servers, but every form of communication related to them. Say something offensive and harassing to another player on Failheap Challenge? Enjoy your vacation from Eve! I could be on Gal Mil TS tomorrow in fleet, and the FC could call me out offensively for doing something stupid, like jumping a gate early. Now I'm pissed and I have the recording. Let me just file this petition because I was obviously harassed and called nasty names. I talked about posting porn out of game in 3rd party comms. Peace out bro.

The worst fear I have? My fellow broadcasters and podcasters can back me up on this and tell you how child's play easy it is to doctor up a voice recording. I could take a conversation you and I had, and in minutes turn it into something you wouldn't even recognize yourself saying. We do it all the time in a benign fashion for interviews, cutting out gaps of silence, and sometimes entire chunks of irrelevant conversation. This interview I did with Tyrant Scorn for Legacy of a Capsuleer was originally over 2 hours before he cut it down. I'd challenge any of you to find all the cuts and splices in there, but don't bother because you won't. Hell, that recording is even how I remember that interview going at this point.

Right now, everything you can get petitioned against in eve has some sort of server log to back up the evidence. If we were to go down this road, your only defense against something like this would be to record all of your TS3, mumble, etc. conversations, and who wants to waste hard drive space on that? If someone who knows what they're doing really has it out for you, they could take bits of things you said yesterday, last week, and 2 months ago, slap it together in a perfectly plausible recording, and petition your ass right out the door. All they really need is you saying the name of a dev like Mintchip, and then talking some shit about someone else. You could deny it of course, but suppose they had a bunch of other people who also don't like you to back them up? Game over man, game over.

Can you begin to see why this precedent would be an incredibly bad thing for any of us in Eve? Never mind for a minute the additional strain it would put on CCPs GM staff who already have a back log of IN GAME petitions as it is. Now they would have to not only have to determine if harassment occurred, but they would also have to determine if the evidence is legit. Who the hell wants THAT on their plate? I'm thinking the answer is 'no one.'

Oh, and that thing about Cyber Bullying

This one came up on Twitter. I have made assertions in the past about Cyber Bullying and how it relates strictly to children, and does not carry over into the law of adult life between grown men. Many states in the USA have actual Cyber Bully laws on the books. They are important laws because they protect children, and you will never hear or read an utterance from me against them. Ever.

If a kid is picked on at school, in their neighborhood, online, or anyplace, I feel horrible. Adults that get involved with it are the lowest of the low. If there's something I can do to stop it, or make things better, you're damn right I will!

There comes a point though, where it's not my job to protect and stand up for you anymore. That point is when you become a grown man (or woman). At that point, you should have the ability to stick up for yourself if someone is picking on you, making fun of you, ridiculing you, whatever. One would hope that as responsible adults we'd behave like decent human beings to each other, but this is the internet.

There comes a point in your life where you have to take responsibility for yourself, and your own well being. Someone may get mad at you and say some vulgar things. If they break the law, or put you in danger, you call the police.

When I was growing up, we used to have a saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." At some point in the last 10 or 15 years, that seems to have been forgotten. Now I hear the term Cyber Bully thrown out with wanton abandon. Really? You're 30 years old and crying on the internet because another dude picked on you? Online? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

When I was in college, if I came home one summer downtrodden and told my dad I was being bullied at school he'd have laughed my ass right out of the house. If I told him it happened on the internet, I'm quite sure I'd have been bitch slapped. That wasn't all that long ago. At what point did people start to lose their backbones?

I will never defend the actions of a guy like Erotica 1. Never. If he breaks the law and I bear witness to it, I will happily testify in court against him, no hesitation. If someone's life or limb is in danger because of something someone did to them on the internet, let's call the authorities and get them involved. If an Eve player is harassed by someone in game, go right ahead and ban that mofo.

But grown men who believe other grown men deserve the same protections afforded to 12 year old school boys need to have their heads examined. Grow up, grow a spine, stick up for yourself, and stop trying to make it the responsibility of others to stick up for you.

While I'll never defend a guy like Erotica 1 and his friends, don't expect me to come to your rescue if you get yourself caught up in his con either.

In the eternal words of CCP Guard: "Harden the fuck up"

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Eve-il Online and the Incredibly Silly Mr. Teg

This entry might make me a bit unpopular in some circles, but so be it. Never let it be said that I was afraid to go on record about something that people might not agree with.

If you look in the right hand margin of my blog here you'll see a roll of blogs I tend to read, all at least partially deal with Eve, most entirely deal with Eve. Some of them link back here, some of them don't. It's not something I concern myself with as I don't promote that list to get cross promotion. I also don't necessarily see eye to eye with all of the authors on that list. For example, I find Gevlon to be bat spit crazy most of the time, but I will read some of his entries because in between all the crazy, there's actually some interesting things to sift out of it. In the case of Ripard Teg... well from one fad to the next with him, you never really know what to expect from the guy.

I've been reading a lot of Ripard's blog lately, and shaking my head sadly at his current campaign to rid the game I love of it's seedier sort of player. My old friends at Massively have wasted no time playing the Cyber Bully card in reference to Ripard's Bonus Room posting. Of course, with the recent budget cuts and layoffs over at Massively, I guess I'm not surprised they couldn't afford to write more than a handful of words of their own, and not actually have someone write the piece that knows Ripard doesn't write for EN24 so much as just gives them permission to repost his blog entries.

Let's talk about the Bonus Room for a minute then. It's not actually Fight Club, so this shouldn't be against the rules. First, I want to make plain that I don't agree with the things Erotica 1 does to people. It's not really my thing, and I do believe it takes a "special" type of person to get off on the shit he pulls. He's a bad man, maybe a real life villain, but he's also not my problem. He's not CCP's problem either.

Erotica 1 might be Sohkar and his wife's problem. But Sohkar is a grown man (though maybe not a smart man) an adult, and presumably so is his wife. He's not a child. I listened to the majority of the Bonus Room recording, and when I was done I had two very clear thoughts. First, Erotica 1 and his buddies really should be ashamed to take advantage of such a weak minded individual. Second, I hope to God Sohkar isn't really an air traffic controller. I think that possibility scares me more than anything else about this situation.

Ripard's assertion that what Sohkar went through was akin to torture is laughable at best. It actually boils my blood a little bit, and suggests that Ripard actually knows very little about torture. Sohkar will likely recover fully once he figures out that just about everything said in Jita local is a scam, or that Eve is probably a game he shouldn't be playing. People who actually go through real torture are often scarred for life. Let's not pretend that Sohkar was strapped down to a table and forced to do anything. There was nothing forcing him to stay in that teamspeak channel except his own greed, and the hopes he didn't just get scammed (though he seems to suspect that's exactly the case fairly early on).

Torture is about forcing your will on another person that has no choice but to endure it, breaking them where they have no way out. No one forced Sohkar to give Erotica and his friends every last shred of his Eve possessions. He was tricked. Conned. No one water boarded him to get him to read James315's code. No one attached electrodes to his nipples to get him to sing the Gummi Bear song. Hope and greed is what kept him blinded and in the game for as long as he remained. It wasn't until grim reality finally caught up with him and lifted the blindness from his eyes that he snapped. Surely he was mad at Erotica and company, but he was also likely mad at himself for falling for their trick.

The next thing to pour off of Ripard's fingers that really got under my skin was this little gem:

If you -- for even a single moment! -- would think to defend what is happening here or if you think it is "funny", I invite you to share this recording with your mother or your aunt or your grandmother or your sister. Tell them that this is something that happens in the video game that you play. Tell them the "funny" tale of a few friends in EVE Online having a few laughs. Play her the recording. Let her judge this recording from outside the bubble that you're living in.
Ok, was the Bonus Room recording funny? I don't think so. But if Ripard thinks this is so bad and horrible, why don't we take this to the police and tell them about how this poor man was tortured out of every possession he had in an online video game? He won't, and none of us will because it would induce one of those horrible uncomfortable silences where no one is really sure if you're just joking or if you've completely lost your mind. The woman relative bit blows my mind as well. I should think any human being that doesn't play Eve would have a similar reaction ("Why the fuck am I listening to this dumb shit, let's go do something else.") but perhaps Ripard just thinks that women in general are especially not able to grasp the concept behind Eve and scammers... Therein leads us to my next point, because regardless of how I or anyone else personally feels about what happened in this case...

It's not CCPs problem.

But, but, this happened in Eve! - Not Exactly a Ripard Teg quote.
As far as I can tell, none of the Bonus Room conversation happened in Eve Online. It happened on a 3rd party teamspeak server. The goods in Eve were transferred through the client, but up to and through that point, this was just another scam. regardless of what happened after that, this is a VERY slippery slope Ripard is asking CCP to climb on here. Granted, this is a pretty extreme situation. While I reserve the term Cyber Bullying to be between school children, not grown men, this is still not a very nice thing to do to someone.

If CCP can step outside of Eve and punish people for what they say and do OUTSIDE the game, where does it end? Posting porn in game will get you warnings and bans... if one of my alliance mates posts pornographic images that offend my sensibilities in our teamspeak channel while we play Eve can I petition him and have him banned? If another alliance in Eve DDOSs our voice comms just before we're about to fight them can we petition CCP to replace our ships because they prevented us from being able to fight back effectively? I think we all know the answer here; it's that Ripard Teg is a silly man, and we should be happy he's not actually running the show at CCP (though we know he'd love to).

Yes, I am aware that The Mittani got a ban for doing something very dumb while drunk at fanfest. However one can make the argument that since Fanfest is an official CCP sponsored Event, and The Mittani was speaking at an official CCP sponsored panel, broadcast live on official CCP sponsored EveTV, we can maybe see where this line lies.

For things outside of Eve, one must rely on the rule of law, and in that we must ask ourselves, were any laws broken here? Can we call and report this to the Police and expect anything to come of it? Sadly, unless we're taking into account the threats made on the lives of the people running the scam in this case, I don't see anything here to report. If this had been done to a child... maybe, but between grown men this one is closer to yelling at your neighbor because his dog took a shit on your lawn than fisticuffs outside the local night club.

Frankly, I'm getting a little tired of Ripard's constant calls for CCP to clamp down on Eve's scammers and bad guys. Current policies are fine. If you think CCP condones threats of attack on people in game, ask Ginger Magician when his ban will be over. Hell, a guy jokingly threatened to kill himself in Jita a couple weeks back and CCP called interpol who sent a pair of RCMP to the guy's house within 6 hours!

I know that Ripard is advocating his crusade from a place of goodness in his heart, though part of me also thinks he just likes the attention it's getting him. If you want to actually read something sensible about how the "news" relates to Eve, Drakarn over at Sand Cider and Spaceships wrote an absolutely brilliant piece giving a parallel to Eve's press and what aliens might think of Earth if they only judged us by the headlines in our own real life news. With that in mind, maybe our little problem with a very select few individuals in Eve Online is more a symptom of a bigger problem with the human race in general rather than us being... "That Game"

Sunday, March 23, 2014

CSM9 Platform: Why No One Mines in Lowsec

Move over PVP, time to violence some rocks!
An important part of my CSM9 platform is bringing more PVEers to lowsec. I firmly believe that if we can show that there is a reward worth the risk of coming out into Eve's back alleys and bad neighborhoods, there will be some that brave the risks to reap those rewards. This will have the benefit of not only giving people who dwell on our borders in high sec a reason to come out and make more money, but it will also provide more content for our resident PVPers and pirate groups (and income for those who are good at hunting their prey).

Today I decided to head out into the belts and figure out why no one mines in lowsec. Admittedly, I haven't mined since about 2004 on my previous main character that was sold that year. Fortunately, mining is like riding a bike, and one does not simply forget how to do it. Also as a bonus, when  I was running high sec Incursions some 3 years ago, I trained up for an Orca so I could get my multiple incursion ships transported around Eve a little easier. A few industry skills came with that.

While I have Mining Barges to lvl 5 thanks to that Orca training a few years ago, getting a mining barge into lowsec is a tricky business... more so if you're a blinky pirate like myself since I am told they take forever to align, meaning Concord would likely dice me up assuming some players didn't take the opportunity for themselves. As luck would have it, I did have the skills to fly a Venture and equip it with T2 mining lasers, so that seemed like a good enough idea.

Mind you, before starting this venture today I had a pretty good idea why no one comes to lowsec to mine, it was really just a question of how bad the mining out here really is. I started working the belts in my home system of Nennamaila, a 0.3 system in Black Rise. I hit several belts with a survey scanner and came up with all fairly common stuff, obviously Veldspar, Scordite, Plagioclase, Pyroxeres, and Kernite as well as some fancier sounding versions of those ores. I mined a variety of stuff, and my 5000 m3 ore hold picked up around 950k ISK worth of ore with some of the fancier stuff, 850k ISK with the Scordite, and 666k ISK with the Veldspar.

Pristine Jaspet? Don't mind if I do!
While mining, a fellow in a Stabber stopped in my belt a couple of times, but despite my being blinky red, he did not engage me... I must not have been the pirate he was looking for. Aside from him, no other players stopped by to say hello or to kill me, and belt rat activity was nothing my pair of Hobgoblin IIs couldn't handle.

Overall, I wasn't very satisfied with my mining sample in a 0.3 system, so I headed out to the most "dangerous" of dangerous lowsec space (0.1 Security Status) to see if the pickings were any better. Of course I put quotes around "dangerous" because in reality the average person is FAR less safe mining in a place like Nennamaila than they are in some hole in the wall 0.1 system in the middle of nowhere. That's one of the problems with lowsec, where the supposed value of content is regulated by the security status of a system, only taking into account the risk involved against the local NPCs, not the players.

Once I hit a belt in 0.1 space I was almost immediately excited. Omber and Jaspet began appearing on scans, so I burned over to those rocks and began violencing them while my hobgoblins took care of a couple of NPC destroyers. 15 minutes later with my hold full, I headed back for home. While en route, I moused over my sparkly stack of Pristine Jaspet ore to find it was worth... less than 1 million ISK.

While I was out filling my venture at 4 million isk
per hour, these alliance mates were busy getting lap
dances from the loot fairy in 2 million ISK derp frigs.
Well, I think I have my answer as to why no one mines in lowsec. Realizing my mining skills are rather sparse, I figure someone with decent skills could fill a venture in 10 minutes instead of my 15, which would put isk/hour anywhere from 3-5 million. This is in an area of space where one needs to be aware of their surroundings, keeping an eye on local and scans to stay safe from would-be predators. Lowsec is not someplace where one can pull up into a belt, drop drones, and go of to watch funny videos on YouTube to pass the time while their ore hold fills up, yet it pays only 10% better than mining Scordite in highsec?

On top of this, who would dream of bringing in a gang of Mining Barges or dare I say Exhumers to actually work on extracting large amounts of ore? While I see some value in using Skiffs or Procurers as baiting ships, this is no place for such things without some very serious protection, and protection can't be justified or paid for with a bare 10% increased income over relatively risk free highsec.

To put this in perspective, a member of the Gallente Militia right now can spend 10 minutes running a novice plex in a stabbed frigate and pull in 10,000 LP which can be cashed out for around 20 million ISK. That's 20 million ISK in the same (or less) time it would take that player to fill a Venture's hold with ore in lowsec for less than 1 million. While it can be said that belt mining right now might be less risky than running a FW complex, it's certainly not 20 times more risky.

Possible Solutions:

I do see a couple of fixes here. The most obvious one is some seriously more valuable ores to make lowsec a far more profitable place to mine. Profitable enough so that pilot in a Venture could hire someone to scout, provide protection for them, and still turn a better profit than they could in highsec. The reward should reflect the risk involved to the player from other PLAYERS, not NPCs.

A second  idea I have, though I would certainly like to solicit some feedback before pressing this towards CCP, would be allowing Mining Barges and Exhumers to make use of Black Ops jump bridging capabilities, allowing them to be dropped directly into a belt in lowsec (or nullsec). They could then be extracted back out by jumping to a lowsec border system where they could warp to a highsec gate with their spoils and get out. There would certainly still be risk involved, but not the sort resulting from 20 seconds of align time at every star gate they come across.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Enaluri Offensive (Node) Crashes to a Halt

Enaluri is a normally Caldari held system sandwiched between two Gallente Capital systems, Hallanen and Nennamaila. It's a fairly important system for them because it has not one, but two State Protectorate stations in it providing double missions for Caldari FW mission runners.

As one can imagine, every time we've taken the system, it's usually been taken back. It's a little out of the way for us to use as a staging system, and while it is in jump range of the entire warzone which would be a boon to our capital pilots, so is Nennamaila and Hallanen.

Beginning a couple weeks ago, a few Caldari groups began building up arms in the system. We watched, we waited. Last weekend we got the word from an intercepted eve-mail to Russian Caldari Alliance, Old Man Gang, they were making a push for the weaker of our capital systems, Hallanen, on Monday (yesterday).

We've fought these guys before, and they're pretty good. They don't have overwhelming numbers, but they make up for it with great piloting and heavy use of off grid boosters. We have 2 counters for this, "Soviet Offense" using hoards of small, cheap, and fast ships to overwhelm them, or bring boosts of our own. During our counter offensive against Enaluri that started yesterday, we brought both.

The day was exciting. Since I'm on vacation this week, I was able to fly with the fleet for most of the day. We lost a lot of ships, we killed a bunch as well. Slow times were filled with jokes and stories over comms, and punctuated with several short fierce fights.

After a lot of hard work, and several shifts, the system was pushed up just past 23% contested. Then at 01:26 GMT the node went down, our entire fleet was unceremoniously kicked from Eve, and when we were able to get back in Enaluri's contested % was reset back to 0.

Queue rage on comms.

After a petition attempt, it appears that fixing this contested counter is beyond the abilities of the GMs, and an appeal was made on Twitter. Erlendur has tagged CCP Veritas, so we'll see if there's anything that CCP can do.

In the mean time, this event seems to have steeled the resolve of the Gallente offensive. AUTZ is typically our weakest time, but after hearing about what happened, pilots began appearing out of nowhere, pulling late nights, early mornings, and getting in fleet when they might otherwise be off roaming or soloing. The result was that they managed to push the system back to 19% by the time the EU folks started logging in, when we fully expected the Caldari to be able to push the system back down to stable. As of 1500 the system is almost back to where it was before the node crash and still climbing.

I think this calls for some propaganda.

Monday, March 17, 2014

FW Fits: The Little Tristan that Could (Kill a Dramiel)

The T1 frigate is a staple in Factional Warfare operations. Fast, nimble, versatile, and most importantly, able to enter any type of complex. The downside to frigate piloting is two fold.

1: People assume frigates are for noobs, and many veteran pilots will steer clear of them 'less their ePeens shrivel and die.
2: There isn't much room for mistakes in a frigate. A general lack of EHP, and lower DPS than most ship classes means a good screw up usually leads to your ship exploding.

With Rubicon 1.3 delivered, the Tristan received a pretty serious graphical update, so it seems a good time to give it a good old fashioned FunkyBacon PVP fit update as well. Before I get into my chosen fit for this little beast, I'd like to first point out 2 observations:

1: The transformer-like plate animation on entering and exiting warp is superbadass.
2: One of the Tristan's hard points was moved to just behind and between it's "legs". When a turret is equipped in this slot, it gives the appearance that the ship is getting a stiffy upon exiting warp. I refuse to believe this is an accident by the art department. Surely they know, right?! A small blaster looks laughably tiny, but go ahead and slap a Gatling pulse laser under there and watch that beast exit warp.

Alright, with that out of the way, let's take a look at some plex frigate PVP basics. I am of 2 philosophies when it comes to plex fighting. Fast and kitey, or in your face tanky. Much like the Algos Fit I talked about last week, this Tristan is of the in your face variety. I notice a lot of people in the war zone go with a kite version of the ship, preferring to let their drones do the talking while they burn out at range and keep their ship out of harm's way. That's also what people expect when warping into you at a plex, and one way to really screw with a PVPer is to do something he doesn't expect you to do.

So here's our fitting. It'll run you just shy of 9 million ISK. The graphic takes gun heat into account as well as afterburner heat. Like the algos, you won't need a ton of speed on this thing as you'll be expecting people to warp to you for the most part. One of the great things about heat and afterburners, is that they don't take much damage when compared to a MWD. The cycle times are also longer, and they have no cap penalty. If you do not have good fitting skills and the Genolution CA-1/CA-2 implants, it should fit if you downgrade the guns to Electrons. That'll shorten your range a little, and you'll take a little bit of a hit to your DPS, but rate of fire and tracking will also increase, so there's some give for the takeaway.

Oh... the salvager? Yeah, not much grid left, and...

Tactics wise, there are two main ones. Against something small like another frigate, approach and overheat everything. Against anything larger, tight orbit, afterburner on, and hope you can out-track their guns with a high transversal velocity. One special note: have a slightly wider orbit against missile ships, as your top speed is what mitigates incoming damage from missiles, not your transversal. You'll still need to be careful about remaining within your own gun range to the target.

Of course I would not recommend a fit to you guys without some field tests, and I'm pleased to say, this one performed admirably, especially against bad piloting. The first check is how the ship will perform against other T1 frigates.

Tristan vs Merlin

Merlins are fairly common plex fighters in the war zone. They have nice base resists if your Caldari frigate skill is high, and can put out some decent, though not really earth shattering DPS. I entered the plex with a Merlin already in it. It happened in our home system so I figured he was there to fight. I landed about 20k off of him, and he warped off when I started to burn for him. There were only about 30 seconds left on the timer, so I figured he'd be pissed and want his plex back. He'd been sitting there for a good 19 1/2 minutes for no gain.

About 2 minutes later, the same merlin showed up on short scans, and 30 seconds after that, he was back in the plex with me. We fought. His fit was meant for mid range, likely around 6-8k, and he was never able to get more than 2k away. He also made the mistake of going for my drones early on, but couldn't track them because Null is a long range blaster ammo and gives turrets a hefty tracking penalty. He would have done better using his navy AM ammo. the result was that I still had 88% armor when he went down.

Had the merlin been packing void ammo and blasting me at point blank, the fight would have been a lot closer, but with an extra 50DPS advantage on my side, I should have won the fight in low armor.

Speaking of people making mistakes though, there was this Dramiel...

Tristan vs Dramiel

I was sitting in a medium complex in Pavanakka, hoping for a decent fight to really put my tristan to the test. I was not to be disappointed. After about 10 minutes, a Dramiel rolled up on short scans. I didn't really like my chances, and 9 times out of 10, a Dramiel should be able to beat a Tristan. The pilot of this Dramiel must have been thinking his chances were more 10 out of 10, and he decided to pay me a visit.

Ok, so let's talk about what happened here. Remember what I said before about most Tristans in the warzone being fit to be kitey? That's likely what this fellow was expecting, and had I been fit for kite, I'd have been D-E-D dead. Unfortunately for him, I wasn't, but he still didn't have to die.

With a dual prop, he should have been able to fly circles around me. He should have had barrage ammo at least on standby. Instead, he almost hardly moved, used EMP ammo against an armor ship, and ran out of cap about halfway through the fight which is why I'm assuming his tackle started to fail and his reps trickled down to almost nothing. At that point, he didn't have enough cap left to even activate his afterburner, he went into structure, and it was too late. The 10 million ISK bounty I got more than paid for my ship. I finished the fight at 23% armor.

Had he had the presence of mind to burn away with his Afterburner, he should have easily been able to get out of my point range and get away at least. Had he had barrage ammo loaded, he could have negated almost half my DPS by maintaining a mid range. We'll chalk this one up to pilot error. I shouldn't have won the fight, but there's always a chance, and BNANA's Fly Fearless mentality dictated I take the fight. In this case, the Tristan came out on top, and I've got a funny kill on my killboard to show for it.

Tristan vs Coercer

This one doesn't have all that happy of an ending I'm afraid. After killing the Dramiel and hauling his loot back to station, I repaired and returned to Pavanakka. I wanted my 25,000 LP. 8 minutes left on the timer and a Coercer shows up on short. I figured since I had just killed a Dramiel, my chances were probably pretty good against a Coercer. Small pulse lasers, even with a 50% tracking bonus, still don't track AB frigates well at extreme close range, so that was my plan. Unfortunately, I also made the mistake of loading void ammo instead of navy. Like null, void has a tracking penalty. Against a cruiser, no problem, but a destroyer is a bit harder to hit. Hindsight being 20/20, I should have loaded navy.

The Coercer landed in the plex, and managed to get off 3 hits that wrecked my face before I was able to establish a tight orbit. Once I got in tight, he was missing me about half the time, and things were more manageable. He had a good head start on me though, and as tough as my 400mm plate was, he had more HP to chew through. The fight ended with me in a pod, and him with 20% structure. Still a decent showing, and I wasn't ashamed.

With a GF in local I began my warp to nowhere before heading to the gate to jump out. The Coercer pilot gave me a GF as well and linked a pair of AF kills he'd just gotten with his ship. He was surprised our fight was so close as he'd taken those guys on 2v1 and come out with 7% structure at the end. Given that information, I felt the Tristan held up extremely well. Had he landed a little closer to me, and I could have established a tight orbit before getting wrecked 3 times, I might have even won.


Overall, I'd say this Tristan fit is pretty solid. Providing you can get in tackle range (which is most of the time when plex fighting) it's got the balls to hang with just about any frigate, and possibly even a destroyer. With a tight orbit, it should even give some cruisers a hard time. Finally, given that most of the Tristans you'll see in FW lowsec are kite fit, should your enemy be expecting to fight a kite he'll be in for a nasty surprise.

Update March 17, 17:00 Eve Time
Tristan vs Coercer & Condor

 A few minutes ago, I set out with my Tristan for another field test. I'm pleased to say that it's loss against that coercer yesterday has been avenged.

This is what happens when you don't read FunkyBacon's blog.
I was running a small complex in null sec border system Mantenault when a Coercer showed up on short. I made sure to load navy rounds this time. As he landed, I heated my afterburner and bullrushed him, hitting orbit 500 just as I got in range. I think he was expecting a kitey Tristan and doesn't read my blog, because he had nothing but T2 ammo loaded that kills the already abysmal tracking of pulse lasers.

As he was hitting low armor, his friend in a MWD condor landed right on top of us. I took a gamble and removed tackle from the coercer that was about to die and went straight for the condor before he could pull range and kite me to death. The gamble paid off, got them both with 2% armor remaining.

I'm officially labeling this Tristan a Badass fit. My only regret is these guys were both able to get their pods out. The only thing that would have made victory sweeter would have been pointing a pod and salvaging his wreck before popping it, especially after I gave them a GF in local and got "no" as a response. Sore losers.

Oh well, maybe next time. The day is young.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Tags4Sec Plus Gatecamp Payback

This week finds me on vacation, so I may have a little extra time for writing and playing Eve. I'm pretty pumped.

Yesterday found me starting my Eve day with a little PVE. Since I'm running for CSM9 as a lowsec representative, not just FW, I figured I should sample one of our more recent and vaunted special PVE activities, Tags4Sec. I've linked the dev blog there, so if you're not familiar with how this works, I encourage you to read it.

What the dev blog doesn't really mention is how the tags are spread out. The tags to get you from -10 to -8 are only dropped from Clone rats in 0.4 systems, with -8 to -5 in 0.3 systems. As one might guess, these tags are not worth very much to sell. Most people like myself who have gone down past -5 don't really care about being able to go into high sec unfettered, or we'd not have gone that low in the 1st place. You might expect to sell these tags for 2-3 million ISK if you're lucky. The NPCs will also grant a modest amount of sec status gain for killing them akin to what you might get for killing an NPC battleship, however these guys are a bit more dangerous.

-5 to -2 and -2 to 0.0 Clone rats can be found in 0.2 and 0.1 systems respectively. The tags they drop are in a bit more demand, and one can expect to sell them between 20 and 30 million each in today's market. The sec status gain for killing them can also grant you up to 3x the sec status gain you would get from killing an NPC battleship.

My preferred Clone Rat Hunter
First thing I will say about this, is that this activity is not exactly newbie friendly. If you are in their range, these clone soldier rats will murder a T1 frigate or destroyer. I've found fighting them in cruisers and recon ships, even with the better resist profiles, to be a little close for comfort as well. Best ship I've found to engage these with? The stealth bomber.

JonnyPew put out a great video some time ago about engaging them. My method is quite similar, except that I use a nemesis. Like Jonny, I use double target painters (absolutely necessary for engaging cruiser sized targets) and missile range rigs. I find I'm able to get a bit more DPS out of the nemesis thanks to the differences in grid, and not needing to waste a low slot on a power grid mod.

The NPC rats that use missiles have a 65-70k range, and you DO NOT want to be in range without a very solid tank. You also need to be in a ship that can slip through the various cockbag camps and frigate gangs common in low sec that will guarantee anything cruiser sized and up simply will not make it far without being ganked to hell.

I spent about 2 hours trolling around 0.2 and 0.1 systems in the western part of our warzone, and managed to find 3 spawns. I was also stopping to whack any NPC battleship spawns I found along the way. All told, I got about 20 million in bounties, and 75 million in tags. Doing the math, as far as ISK per hour goes, L4 missions in high sec pay better. The benefits to sec status were fairly decent though as I went from -8.3 to -7.7. During my entire 2 hour run, I did not encounter a single other pilot in any belt I visited. That might be good news for some, and bad for others.

Thankfully, this story has an exciting ending. With my hold full of loot and tags, I was making my way back to Nennamaila and passed through a cockbag (insta lock alpha thrasher) camp with a tornado supporting about 70k off. I'd have been screwed in anything non-cloaky, but my stealth bomber blew through easily enough.

As I was traversing through system, I was pinged by fellow Gal Mil pilot Dopified who had just lost a derptron to these guys and was back in a nemesis of his own. It was time for a little payback, was I in? I looked at all the pretty tags in my hold I would very much like to sell, and said "fuck yeah, let's do it!" Worst that could happen is I'd lose just over 100m between ship and loot, why not? Not enough people PVP in lowsec with bombers anyway.

So we snuck up on the far side of the Nado, Dopified decloaked and pointed him, I decloaked and slapped my target painters on the guy, and he didn't even last 2 volleys.


I'm not really sure if the guy was paying attention or what, but we also snagged his pod while his thrasher friends were warping off as fast as they could align.

That might have hurt the wallet a tad.

The 2 kills (as they were Caldari Militia) added almost 28,000 LP to my rake for my stealth bomber adventure, and will translate into another 75 million ISK when I cash it out later on. It kind of makes me wonder why someone would spend 2 hours hunting clone rats for the same money.

My adventure for the day did not end here, but this entry has gotten a bit long, so we'll stop for now. Stay tuned next time for the Little Tristan that Could (kill a dramiel) among other lowsec PVP stories.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Algos Humble Pie

When it comes to PVP I sometimes think I'm pretty clever. Yesterday I posted an Algos fit that I'm quite proud of. It's got some drawbacks, but for a plex fighter I feel it's top notch. Most of the guys in our Newbie corp, Noob Mercs don't have the skills and implants to fly something like that though, so their Director of Newbro Integration, Charlie Firpol cobbled something together they COULD conceivably fly. At first look it's a comedy fit, but I can think of at least a couple pilots who are not laughing right now.

Click the picture, I'll wait while you read it.

I know what you're thinking, it's hull tanked. It's only got 1 T2 mod on it. It's bad? You've heard the old saying in eve right?
Real men tank hull.
Well, I guess this one just validated Charlie's man card. To be fair, Charlie is one of the veteran pilots in Noob Mercs that helps teach the newbros how to PVP, so he's not really a newbie himself. He excels at coming up with stupidly cheap and effective ship fittings that any bobblehead with 1.5 million SP can fly effectively, and teaching said bobbleheads how to fly it. This one prices out at just shy of 3 million ISK, and missing from the window are a pair of tech 1 Hammerheads and 3 T1 Hobgoblin drones. This is considerably cheaper than the Algos fit I posted yesterday that will likely run you around 16 million ISK.

I didn't EFT this fit, and I can't tell you exactly how much DPS it puts out, but my guess is that it probably hurts a bit, and it's still not very fast.

Charlie likes to field test his stuff before he puts his fits up into his corp's fittings, so he threw this thing together and parked it in a plex next door to us in Hikkoken hoping someone would bite. A few minutes later, I got the message that he fixed my Algos fit for me.

Well... shit. I can't even look at the Vengeance fit and say it's that bad. Must be some pilot error or something... Obviously...

But Charlie wasn't done. He looted, returned to station and rolled to another plex, this time in Rakapas. He pulled up to a small complex, and saw a daredevil was already inside. Normally, this is not a situation you would send the algos into. If he's a kitey daredevil (aren't they all?) you'll just get torn to pieces bit by bit while he dances around you like a sadistic fairy. Charlie knows a thing or two about Flying Fearless though, he practically wrote the book on it. Even if he lost his hull tanked algos at this point, he'd still be running better than 90% ISK efficient for the afternoon, so, you know, he activated the gate and...


DEFINITELY pilot error. There's no way, I mean, I don't even...

Ok, I'm done. CCP, please don't nerf!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

FW Fits: The Plex Brawler Algos

Greetings space friends! I haven't given up the goods on any of my favorite fits in a while, so here's one I've been having a lot of fun with lately: The Plex Brawler Algos.

The Majestic Algos: Lion in the Tall Grass.
First, what she's not; fast. In fact, I can only think of 1 or 2 battleship fits I fly sometimes that have a lower max speed than this thing (593 cold, 751 with heat, and I have a 3% overall speed implant along with a 5% AB/MWD speed implant). The guns can't hit past 6700m, and if you get neuted out, just hope your drones can finish the job.

As a fleet support ship she's terribad. You've got some damage projection with drones, but the vast majority of her abilities are wasted on a spread out fight. What if you knew exactly where your target was going to land out of warp though? What if you didn't need to chase someone down? Welcome to Factional Warfare plexing, where as long as you get in first, your enemy will be landing right on top of you!

This Algos puts out a staggering amount of DPS, surpassing some cruisers. When the heat is on, 447 DPS out of a ship this small is no joke. Even an afterburner fit frigate will seldom live long enough to burn away, and the Amarr god help him if he's got a MWD, it'll be over before it began. Face melting damage coupled with an 8k buffer tank means that she'll outlast almost any other destroyer, and you'll have a fighting chance against even some cruisers.

Click Image for full readable size.
Here's how she's kitted out (Disclaimer: I fly with Genolution CA-1 and CA-2 implants, they are cheap and worth the price. without them some things may need to be tweaked on this fit):

-High Slots: 5x Ion Blaster IIs (no trouble tracking fast frigates in range, even with Void)
-Mid: Tech 2 AB and Web, Meta Scram in this pic. with the genolutions, you should be able to fit a t2 scram, not sure why I didn't.)
-Low: T2 DCU and Drone Damage. 400mm Rolled Tungsten plate.
-Rigs: 2x Small Trimark Armor rigs, 1x Small Ancilary Current Router (or the 400mm plate won't fit)

-Drones: 2 Flights:
--Light: 5x Warrior IIs Good for chasing off faster kitey ships. With the algos's drone speed bonus, they do over 7k/s
--Tiger Wing: 2x Hammerhead II, 3x Hobgoblin II.

Don't get too excited, that's a belt rat raven exploding.
I've taken her 2v1 against other brawling ships and come out clean, if a little on fire and in need of nanite paste. As a solo boat she works extremely well if you can understand your weaknesses and those of your enemy. In small groups, anyone dumb enough to warp into you will never know what hit them.

If you're actually in FW, and know some DUST people, it might even pay to pack a few rounds or orbital ammo for some light crop dusting and bonus LP. She'll do a little less damage on the ground than a Catalyst on account of 5 turrets instead of 8, but that's another situation in FW where 9 times out of 10 your enemy lands right on top of you expecting a stabbed LP farmer, not a lion waiting in the tall grass.

Overall, in her niche role, she's a superstar and definitely worthy of consideration.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rattlesnake Down - A Story of Tough Love

For those not overly familiar with us, Monkeys with Guns. is a privateer alliance. The difference between a pirate and a privateer is a bit of a fine line. In the old days, governments would issue letters of marque to privately owned ships to seize and destroy the assets of another nation they were at war with. So an English privateer might have a letter of marque to attack French shipping and assets at sea. If his ship was seized and crew taken prisoner, they were entitled to treatment as prisoners of war (as what they were doing was legal in the eyes of law) and couldn't be hanged as pirates. However, should a fat ass Dutch merchantman happen to be sailing by, that same English privateer, just might hoist the Jolly Roger for a bit and take that too... That COULD get one hanged.

Like olde time Privateering, Eve's factional warfare works much the same way, and while we seize and destroy our fair share of enemy assets, we often feel the need to get our yarr on for fun and profit, leaving about 70% of our active membership either blinky red, or well on their way to it.

One corp in our alliance, HEY-H sticks to the legal side of things a little more stringently than most of us. They're small, only 3 active members, and when low sec is slow they enjoy destroying enemy ships attempting to slip through Gallente high sec (surprisingly easy since you can't cloak in enemy high sec). A couple days ago I got this mail from their CEO:

I have been scouting a one man corp tolar biggs Corporation in hi sec. He has two pocos and i watched him bring out a dual tanked 4 stabbed rattlesnake to defend the pocos when out of reinforce after he was war decked by a small corp. He also continued to mine ice in his mack while war decked. Unless anyone has any objections, I would like to pay for the war dec and rid new eden of this dual tanked stabbed obscenity that he is flying, kill his pocos, kill his miner and hear the lamentation of his women.
My first reaction was, "Surely you jest," but then I remembered that this is Eve, and people abuse normally majestic and capable ships with poor fits all the time. Bosknard is also a potent diplomat. He knows that the best way to get a FW privateer seeing the red of rage is to mention the need to kill a ship stabbed up to it's gills. Alliance leadership met for about 3 seconds, and the wardec was approved.

I didn't hold out much hope for an op success. Surely tolar biggs would do a little research, see the size of our alliance, maybe not realize we were mostly pirate and either dock up for the week, or hire some high sec mercs to defend his assets. If that happened, while the alliance itself would remain quite safe (high sec mercs don't seem to like visiting us in our own space for some reason) the 3-man HEY-H corp would likely not accomplish their mission either. I should have remembered one of Eve's oldest sayings:

Never overestimate a dude flying a quadruple stabbed, dual tanked Rattlesnake.

Bosknard and his boys laid their trap, tolar biggs is a creature of habit, and one atrociously fit rattlesnake was successfully euthanized. While it's certainly no 44 billion ISK Navy Raven the work that Bosknard, his corp, and others like them do is no less important. Sometimes a little tough love in Eve can be the most effective teacher.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

On the (Campaign) Trail

So here we are a couple weeks into my run for CSM9. Initial responses to my announcement were positive... in fact, nothing negative came my way. I imagine that may change over time, but for now, the challenge has been one of getting the message out.

While far more people know me as FunkyBacon than as Mirana Niranne, unless you're a devout follower of the show, you may not know exactly why I'm running or what my platform is. Any candidate list that someone might peruse looking for who to put on their voting list has Name, Corp/Alliance. In short, DJ FunkyBacon, Eve Radio Corporation, No Alliance doesn't say much.

I'm going to have to take a look at a few more ways to get the word out and get some exposure for this campaign. any ideas would be appreciated. I've started the rounds, guesting on Podcasts with an appearance on Legacy of a Capsuleer and Podside #183. I've also got an interview scheduled tonight with Cap Stable.

Since my Eve experience runs pretty far back, most of the shows I've been guesting on have a lot more to talk about than just my CSM9 candidacy, and they're tending to run fairly long. Plus I have the ability to talk... a lot... about just about anything Eve related. I haven't decided yet if this is an advantage or a disadvantage over other candidates who don't have much else to talk about besides their CSM campaign and can get everything in in a half hour.

I've also been watching Sugar Kyle's campaign with a lot of interest. She's the only other serious looking lowsec candidate at this point, and if the election runs similar to how it was run last year, I think there may be a window for us to be able to get 2 solid lowsec voices on the CSM if we can fire up our fellow lowsec dwellers and really get the vote out.