Battlecruiser Operational

I have a Battlecruiser.

I appear to have skipped Cruisers entirely. I’m sure this is a bad thing and I’m missing out of far too many skills that I need, but whatever. A highly skilled player in an Ishkur can likely tear my shiny new Battlecruiser to shreds. Actually I know this is true since I open up my certificates planner and see an ocean of red Xs all over certain categories. I have been trying to restrict my skills to increase my core competency but other stuff always seems to sneak in there, taking up my time and my skill points.

Oh, I’m running missions. A couple of points in Social wouldn’t hurt. Oh hey look, a Connections Skill, that will help with my standings so I can finally start running L3s. Oh hey look, a Security Connections skill, now I just need to train Leadership to 3…

Before I know it, I’ve queued up a couple of days worth of skills that weren’t even anywhere near my skill plan in EVEmon.

Anyway, back to my Battlecruiser. Its a Gnosis. Stop laughing, its a good ship, even though she looks like a folksy wicker art project. It also neatly bypasses all my problems with skills that I mention above, at least in terms of requirements to fly the damn thing. I’m actually almost at the point where I consider this cheating since the thing only requires Spaceship Command I, and gives full weapon bonuses with no skill requirements.

If nothing else, the Gnosis is ridiculously flexible. Six Highs, Mids and Lows, 5 Turrets, 5 Launchers, Damage Bonuses to all weapon types and a huge bonus to Scan Probe Strength. It also turns on a dime and has a decent drone bay. Problems? Its slow as hell and its shield recharge rate is just awful.

My major issue with it is that technically it kinda breaks Rule #1 for me, as in “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.” Its a 70+ million ISK ship. That’s like 50 Destroyers. I’m not super rich from my Reddit donations anymore since I spent most of that ISK on PLEX (Free EVE, yay).

I love flying the Gnosis because I can actually kill stuff without having to sink days into Gallente Battlecruiser V or whatever and its flexibility lets me try lots of new things that I wouldn’t normally, but I’m terrified of screwing up and losing it. This is not the way EVE should be played.

I’m going to ask you guys a question, somewhat in light of the big argument in the comments of my nullsec roam post where people were either deriding or supporting Gallente ships. Until this point I’ve flown almost exclusively Gallente but the Gnosis has opened my eyes up to a lot more than just Hybrid Turrets and Hobgoblins.

I’m thinking of moving towards a Raven, or a Hurricane for a while. Flying the Gnosis (first ship with launchers) has given me a love of missiles and in general a more visceral combat approach. The drones boats I frequently fly are effective but they remind me of why I don’t play pet based classes in MMOs – I prefer a more active role other than supporting my minions. The Raven seems to be a strong, popular PvE ship and the Hurricane a strong PvP contender. What would you guys recommend?

Industrial PvP

“Everything in EVE is PvP.

One of my corp mates says this; I don’t recall who. There is much truth to this statement when you analyze it. Competition in markets, competition in salvage, competition in vying for new blood in your corporation. Scammers in Jita, Dixie, Rens and Amarr. Enormous fleets clashing in Fountain. Gankers in Besgerin. The Mittani playing his metagame. Everything in EVE is PvP.

This leads me to the point of my second post tonight. This time with screenshots in glorious technicolor.

Anyway, so I’m part of a industrial corp – Deep Space Logistics. I’ve mentioned this before, but obviously as an Indy the corp does a lot of mining for materials. I tag along when I can and Kurt gives me a full share for my trouble, even though I’m not flying a Mining Barge; I’m still flying DPSLG: Rising Star (my trusty kinda Tech 2 fit Venture).

Do I have a huge yield? No. Do I have a huge ore hold? No, but that doesn’t matter because Kurt has DPSLG: Eclipse, his Orca.  I can happily mine a few jetcans full of ore but I’m also utilized as a scout and for the odd supply run.

This weekend we’re mining a region currently experiencing an incursion. This is great for a couple of reasons. Firstly, stuff looks really cool during an incursion.

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This is DPSLG, doing what we do. Wrecking rocks.

Anyway, the other reasons are simple – other miners tend to keep away during incursions so there are both tons of ore deposit anomalies we can find and more importantly, no player interference.

So we have a very crass and outspoken Englishman (even more so than me for sure) in our corp by the name of Lo. Lo kindly does some scouting for us and makes a big list of ore anomalies within the incursion region. Then, the corp just hits them one after another, boom-boom-boom.

There are a few of us working these fields along with me in my Venture (or Little Guy as I am affectionately referred to by some in the corp). We’re tearing through Hedbergite, Kernite, Golden Omber, Pristine Jaspet and all kinds of stuff. Then we have guys in the corp with freighter contracts pulling it away from where Kurt and the Orca dumps it so they can do perfect refines. Its awesome and we’re pulling hundreds of millions of ISK in materials.

So, I hear you ask, why did you entitle this “Industrial PvP”?

Well, its because miners are fucking mean, that’s why.

First reason: Now, rats are not usually a problem when mining. A bunch of Mackinaws and an Orca with a full complement of drones can actually pack quite a punch, more than enough for your usual frigate rats in a belt. During an incursion though, that’s not the case because you have named Sanshas in frigates and even cruisers spawning in the anomalies. This becomes a problem for us because these guys show up, Neut or Nos you and then fuck you up hard. Fortunately I could usually hide amidst my big brothers or warp out of the belt, but it reaches the point where the whole fleet has to bug out a couple of times. So we bring in a couple others in the corp to provide top cover in exchange for a share of the loot. Now we look much more intimidating, half the time with an Armageddon covering us, the other have with a Drake.

Meanwhile we have a couple of solo miners in the belt with us, in a Covetor and a Venture like me. These guys see what we’re doing with the rats (especially when we have the Drake and I take a quick trip to Amarr to pick up some Mjolnir EM Missiles for him) so whenever rats spawn, the solo miners hightail it over to us. There is muttering and grumbling about this on Teamspeak so Kurt has an idea…

The rats seem to love to kill our drones; they like anything weak. So the next time a cruiser spawns, instead of Kurt having us hit it with drones while our Drake pounds it with missiles…we do nothing. The Drake holds fire and we all pull our drones into the bays. I’ve warped out and back in at 90km so I can watch the action from a distance.

The result is hilarious – The solo miners run to our fleet for cover but find nothing – the Venture is almost instantly popped and the Covetor starts trying to tank the Cruiser and fight with drones but then aligns and warps out of there real fast. It doesn’t come back. Our competition is wiped out through our actions, without us firing a shot. Industrial PvP.

We finish up on Saturday and agree to come back in the morning for more ore.

Day 2 is a clusterfuck. It starts well with us hitting a ton of ore but after an hour or two someone has the utter audacity to actually end the incursion which causes the fun to drop like a stone. Miners start coming out of the woodwork all over and as I’m scouting the fields are being bled dry before the fleet can even arrive. For those we are hitting, competition is crazy fierce and gives rise to the second example of industrial PvP. Teamspeak is hot with chatter when we have our fleet competing with another fleet for the same ore. Lo is scanning the rocks and reporting back cubic meter figures, Kurt is actively calling rock targets so we can strip and steal the high value ore from the other fleet. We’re actively targeting the same rocks as they are and calculating timing to short cycle our lasers so we can maximize efficiency on rocks that are about to pop. Our top cover is bullying the other fleet with bumps and aggressive behavior. Mining like this is actually exciting, even though nobody is shooting at each other.

Someone suggests we should try and get one of the major EVE news sites to do a podcast or something on indys, because what we’re doing is just as exciting as regular PvP.

I don’t think I can go that far. Mining is a relaxing way to play EvE most of the time, and while its not as adrenaline-pumping as true combat PvP, its fun and my ship looks damn good while I’m doing it…

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Thank you for flying Air Lei Harper

“Lei, you wanna see a really big ship?”

This sounds vaguely dirty, and is a question posed to me by Steelfist; one of my corp mates.

So Steel asks this question early in the week, during a time I actually found time to play (sorry about the lack of updates this week – real life aggro). I find out that Steel wants to move one of his capital ships and he wants my help. I am to take a piece of crap ship and fit it with expensive hardware, which I am to then take into the depths of lowsec in order to light a cynosural field for him to jump to with his capital. This field shall be precisely 5 km from a station, so that he may jump and then immediately dock so as not to get ganked, or his paint scratched or whatnot.

I laugh at the question and check my skills, to see what it actually entails to generate a cyno. I tell Steelfist “I can help you in 3 days, 19 hours and 44 minutes.” expecting him to laugh and find someone else in the corp to help. Instead, he simply says “OK” and we agree to make this happen at the weekend.

Fast forward, oh, about four days. I learn my requisite skill to a rank of 2 (and, I might add, the skillbook cost me the better part of 10 million ISK) and outfit an Imicus with a cynosural field generator and 400 units of liquid ozone (again, not cheap). By this point I am slightly annoyed and I’m hoping Steel is going to pay me for my trouble and expense here. My CEO Kurt pays for the ship so I don’t feel too bad, and I get to flying out to the ass-end of lowsec in order to help Steel move his ship.

My trip was pretty uneventful though once at my destination I have a slightly hilarious moment where a couple of Tengus are blatantly following me in and out of the station. Steel assures me that they don’t give a crap about me…they know what I’m here for and want to see what I bring through. So we get set up and I decide on positioning to light my cyno.

By this point it has been drilled into me to pick a good spot and use the tactical overlay to ensure a 5km placement of the cyno field next to the station. So I pick what I feel is a good spot, count down over TS so that Steel can undock and get ready to jump, and light my cyno.

Steel jumps into the system and immediately cracks up laughing. You know how some stations have that ‘bay’ region that you undock out of? Well, that’s where I placed my cyno…close enough to be safe but not close enough that Steel hits the station and gets bounced 50 clicks away. His ship literally appears inside the bay and I am immediately christened a “Natural Cyno” due to my perfect placement.

Now I get to sit here for 10 minutes like an idiot. As predicted by my corp, a bunch of people show up to see what the cyno is doing here (too late, already gone) and eventually one person realizes that whatever is going to happen, has happened already, so they take their frustrations out on me. I get insta-popped, and then podded. Honestly, I don’t care too much because this was a cheap ship and I was using a jump clone, and I marvel at how little my character’s death affects me nowadays.

So, this time I squeeze everything onto the ship I get dumped back into, which of course with me being Gallente, is a Velator. Steel needs to do two more jumps so I don’t want to waste money.

The next two jumps go off completely without a hitch. My placement is perfect, my Velator survives, and Steel is so thrilled that he decides he wants to move another capital. So, we do it again. Again, without a hitch. By this time word has gotten out to the alliance that I’m helping people move and Ambedrake (my FC from my nullsec roam) asks me to help him too. So I go even deeper into lowsec and put Ambe’s carrier perfectly onto a small Amarr docking ring.

Everyone is very pleased and I’m happy that I’ve found something I’m good at. Even if its being a goddamn taxi driver. Still, the corp has a good internal policy: “Always tip your taxi drivers, and always tip your cynos.”. So, I walk away with about 50 million ISK and another 50 million in skillbooks that Steel found sitting in his capital.

Incidentally, I don’t get killed at all in the Velator. I come close one time with Ambe, but he decided to undock a HAC he had with him to protect me while I waited for the cyno timer, and the ships that show up quickly leave when they see a Tech 2 Cruiser orbiting me at 500. Nice. I decide to keep the Velator, and name her “Shamrock”…luck of the Irish.

As we’re wrapping up, Steel (the excitable fellow that he is) is asking me how awesome it was for me to see all these capitals up close, since I’m so used to frigates and destroyers. I tell him that it was so awesome and amazing, because I don’t have the heart to say what I really feel, that being that when you’re zoomed out to 50km on the tactical grid, constantly looking for interlopers, even a Rorqual looks kinda tiny.

Travel, Nullsec, Roaming, and Goons

I hate autopilot.

If there was a module or rig that cut the distance the autopilot comes out of warp to a stargate, I would buy it even if it was a billion isk. Sometimes I just want to get somewhere fast and I’d like to go make myself a coffee or something while I’m flying through high security space. This is my pet peeve with EVE right now and I’ve shared that or something similar with every pay-to-play MMO I’ve ever played. The concept of the time-sink…something to keep you busy so you don’t tear through content. Travelling always seems to be a big part of this…spending large amounts of time getting somewhere.

I hate not having some form of fast travel. Of course, I completely understand it with EVE given the nature of the PVP game but I just wish autopilot didn’t take so much longer than manually jumping from gate to gate to gate.

Rant over. Let me tell you where this stemmed from.

So I have “Stuff” all over and I spend some time consolidating. This involves me flying around in an Iteron Mk III until most everything I own is either in Jita or my preferred home of Dodixie. I spend far too much time clicking on “Warp to 0” and “Jump” when I wish the autopilot would do it for me. Yes, I am lazy. After an exceedingly long time doing this, I finally finish and bring one of my ships from Dodixie to Jita in order to complete a fit and actually do something fun.

“Hey Lei, wanna come fly Rifters with us?”

This question comes from Ambedrake. Ambe is part of the Aperture Reach corporation, and he loves to kill stuff like the rest of the Aperture Reach guys. We’re all good buds, us in Deep Space Logistics and Aperture Reach. We provide industry, they provide muscle. Its a good relationship. Ambe has extended a couple invitations to me over the last week to fly with the AR guys. There is the odd joke that he is trying to steal me away from Deep Space Logistics. I don’t think that would bother me too much. One of the AR guys is named Mando, and he was the one who originally invited me to fleet and got me hooked up with DPSLG in the first place.

I tell Ambe I’d love to, but I can’t fly a Rifter. I’m pretty much a Gallente-only pilot right now and while I could train Minmatar Frigate really fast, I’d be no good with autocannons and I’d lose all my ship bonuses if I fitted it with hybrids. I ask Ambe if I could bring a Tristan instead, he tells me that anything with guns is fine; he just has like 100 spare Rifters right now.

Then Ambe has a better idea; “We should fly Comets!” he says. He offers to give me a Comet and we look up some fits online. Then I get a shopping list; Ambe provides the ships and I have to provide the equipment. Its not a cheap fit but that’s OK, I’m getting a free Comet out of the deal so I don’t mind.

I look up the Navy Comet. Looks pretty cool. Description says its a Tristan with an extra slot, more armor and shields. Even better! I love the Tristan so this should be ideal. I find out where Ambe’s staging point is and of course, its over 20 jumps away again. Its actually not that far from Dodixie which makes me alternately rage and laugh because I had just flown from there and back like three times already. So tired of traveling!

I get all the gear, barely pack it into my frigate and meet up with the other AR guys on the edge of lowsec NW of Gallente space. Ambe says we’re going roaming so I express my desire to not overly damage my security standing. I’m at -0.1 for a fairly recent act of piracy (another story) and I actually like flying around Council space.

“OK.” says Ambe. “Then we’ll go to Null.”

This is new to me. I’m excited. Secretly I hope we’ll stumble across some huge CFC vs TEST fleet action or something. Bombs, missiles and beams flying. Time dilation. Capital ship explosions. Delicious tears. “Gudfights” or so they say. Mostly I just hope we don’t get killed before we even reach nullsec.

We saddle up and head out. This is my first real taste of operating within a fleet fitted for combat. Small fleet, 5-6 of us in a variety of frigates. I look around and laugh as I notice that Ambedrake’s Comet is named “Panty Raider Sr.” I laugh even harder when I notice that my Comet is named “Panty Raider Jr.”

For the majority of the time, roaming involves doing absolutely whatever Ambe tells us to do, quickly. There are multiple noobs on this roam so I try and follow my FC’s directions without getting lost, lagging behind (too much) or accidentally jumping through a gate before our scout has cleared it. I only majorly fuck that up one time which is when I accidentally hit “Jump” instead of “Orbit” on a gate we were holding at. Fortunately I held cloak at the destination with no issues and the fleet joined me seconds later. Oops. My bad, Ambe.

I learn to dscan better. I learn how best to avoid warp bubbles. I learn how to work with a fleet traveling in a ‘rolling safety’. Ambe gives us tips and pointers as we travel on ways to not get killed, and keeps us safe. Hold and orbit at 500 on outbound gate. Jump, jump, jump. Hold cloak. Align on destination. Warp, hold and orbit at 500.

As time passes we move deeper into Null. Our scout, Jieirn, is doing a fine job of keeping us safe and navigating us around warp bubbles, which are also new to me. We look for loners and stragglers, finding a couple that we can never manage to pin down. We find a small fleet of Exequrors at one gate and both fleets initially seem to ignore one another, but they briefly chase us as we high-tail it through systems. We’re faster than them; they quit after a couple of jumps.

Deeper we go. Dscan. Check local.1 extra person in local. 2 extra in local…no wait, they warped out. Everyone watches for gate flash. Mando scouts ahead and tries to get a point with his Warp Disruptor  on a loner, but no dice. This roam is becoming uneventful, and not terribly exciting.

We finally get towards our destination system and then Jieirn stops us cold. He’s jumped ahead and seen a Cyno field. There are hundreds of contacts in local. We jump in, clear the gate to a few hundred km distance and investigate.

A couple hundred ships surround a player owned structure. Jieirn almost accidentally drops right onto it orbiting the second planet of the system and the vets start taking a look to figure out who the heck this all belongs to. It takes but a mere moment.

“Its a CFC structure.”

Well shit, I guess I get my wish. A Goon fleet is forming up here. Jieirn starts listing off ship classes, large and small. Nothing enormous (shame, I wanted to see a really big ship for once) but and impressive collection nonetheless.

Someone laughs in local about Jieirn’s rifter showing up near the station then turning tail and running but there seems to be no concerted effort to run him down. We feel that its likely they aren’t aware we’re here. We decide to see if we can bait anyone to come after us so we can gank them.

We decide to park near the sun and spread out with Mando left as bait, looking all sad and alone by a cargo container CFC have set up as a marker to warp to. There is a republic Firetail prowling around and Mando plays a little cat-and-mouse with him, trying to reel him in. He hangs out around 150 km though and doesn’t bite, sadly for us. Ambe warps out to one of the other planets and suddenly finds a Nemesis, which he promptly smacks down.

We check the affiliation of the Nemesis and its not CFC. Some of the more diplomatic members of the Corp start probing their contacts and get into channels with some reps from this other alliance, trying to gauge intentions. The diplomacy is pretty successful and Ambe feels we may have a chance of working with these guys in the near future since our mutual goals overlap right now (Kill Goons).

I am fascinated by how connected vets in this game seem to be to others. The data and intel at their disposal is immense and folks quickly scan through lists of names and corporate affiliations, looking for people they know, old corp mates, corps they used to be part of. Wheeling, dealing and leveraging relationships to get an edge. It never occured to me before that spending the better part of a decade in this game exposes you to so many people, and that you build so much personal history with them.

Anyway, its getting late and some of us are getting twitchy. We decide that death is far more preferable than just going home and CFC seems to be out looking for us in force now, with ships and probes all over. Jieirn pulls out a Hurricane and re-engages with the Firetail so with glee with all decide to throw caution to the wind and try to bust some heads.

The fleet warps to Jieirn and as the Comet blurs back into normal space there are lasers and autocannon fire streaking past my hull. A cloud of drones envelopes Jieirn’s ship about 80km away and I kick the MWD into gear to give him support.

I pan the camera to the left and the hulking spindle of the CFC station comes into my view for the first time. Brackets of player ships everywhere, ranges closing. Weapon fire streaks past again. Something explodes and my overview is filled with purple, yellow and red. This is what I’m talking about! Ambe orders us to start clearing drones off of Jieirn and I quickly lock a pair of Hobgoblins and start cycling my hybrid turrets. Missiles slam into the side of my Comet and I track back see the long, deadly shape of the Hurricane launching its broadside against me. I don’t care, I lock it and order my drones to engage just for the hell of it. Warning sirens are sounding and my ship is getting ready to pop.

Fleet TS is terse chatter. A couple of us are dead already and I’m almost there. Ambe decided it would be fun to warp into the heart of the fleet and take down the Cyno and with much hilarity he is successful. Of course, Panty Raider Sr dies shortly thereafter – Panty Raider Jr is equally unsuccessful and I’m ejected into my pod in short order. To my utter amazement I’m not podded and make it out to the gate, breathless and giggling to the point where my dog is staring at me like i”m insane.

Those of us who survive make the trek home to the staging area. The trip back is amazingly uneventful and it’s pointed out that we’re back in Highsec before our PVP timers have even expired. Unbelievable. Fleet chatter is happy and tired. This wasn’t exactly what we were planning but welping a bunch of frigates against a Goon fleet was still a lot of fun. Mando is upset that he didn’t get any kills. Nor did I, but that’s OK. Ambe wonders aloud if that Cyno was important. We laugh.

I thank them for a fun time and hope we can do it again sometime. Ambe tells me I have a standing invitation to any Aperture Rift roam, so maybe I’ll do this again soon and this time I might kick some tail instead of vice-versa.

I land at Dodixie, and call it a night.

The Wormhole, Part II

Part I is here: https://leiharper.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/the-wormhole-part-1-and-a-question-for-my-readers/

I have taken up exploring which seems logical with the release of Odyssey. I am…not proficient at this time; as I stated in Part One I have the barest rudiments of the required skills. Pretty much enough to fit whatever Frigate I have handy with some kind of analyzer and a probe launcher, as well as some guns, rigs and the most obscenely expensive armor repairer. (I’m sorry, please don’t hate me)

I’ve gotten braver over the last few days. Lowsec no longer fills me with (as much) dread as it did before and I’ve successfully navigated a 20-man Gate Camp more than once now, so the days of me frantically navigating a Venture to mine Jaspet while making a ton of noob mistakes appear to be over. I am certain that I am still making a ton of noob mistakes, just ones that are more subtle, and possibly more deadly.

I still have a great deal of respect for the Tristan class frigate; mostly because of its ability to haul around eight small drones which I personally think gives it fantastic versatility. I currently have Drones 4 trained so I love the fact I can give the Tristan 4 Hobgoblins as well as a couple of mining drones and a couple of salvage drones. All of this translates to the ability to let me make some additional ISK on the side and nicely complement the fact that this ship is fitted for exploration. The combat drones are a necessity I feel, since the Tristan’s paltry two turrets make it just as effective at raw DPS as my Venture without the drones.

Anyway; the wormhole. What I wrote in Part 1 is exactly what happened, so allow me to pick up there.

My Corp certainly feels I’m going to die but they do offer me good advice. Bookmark my location right now, and also bookmark as soon as I come out into wherever it is that this Wormhole leads. Don’t stay anywhere for any length of time. Directional Scan everywhere. They tell me that this Wormhole could go anywhere, letting me out in Highsec, Lowsec, Nullsec or W-Space. I pull in my drones and make a decision. Its getting late, and I want to go to bed. But this won’t be here tomorrow.

I’ll just look around a little and then leave. Then I can go to bed.

I jump.

W-Space. Security level in this system is -1.0. It goes into negatives now? How dangerous is somewhere that it has a negative security level?

I drift a while and look at the scenery. Pretty clouds of gas, some of the angles look like real skies which is very interesting to look at. A whole list of anomalies and three low-percentage signature scans. I’ve read about Sleepers and other nasty things in W-Space…most of the anomalies are Combat Sites so I make a mental note to leave them be. Quick Dscans show nothing.

“Lei, make sure you move away from the Wormhole and get out towards a celestial.”

Idiot. Here I am like a sitting duck, admiring one of the most dangerous types of places in the game. I pick a celestial and warp over to it, then decide to launch some probes and try to scan down a Relic site or something, looking for loot.

15 minutes pass and I’m getting bored with no hits on relics, so I go check out one of the Ore anomalies. Annoyingly on this particular trip I am loaded 4/4 with Hobgoblins and Salvage drones so I can’t mine, but I admire the interesting “Stonehenge in Space” rock formations. I find a rock of Onyx Ochre. It’s the rarest asteroid I’ve ever seen, and I can’t do a blessed thing with it. I just shake my head and complain on teamspeak.

Should I go home now? I can’t leave empty handed. Maybe one more thing. I notice a Combat Anomaly called “The Line” and decide to see what its all about, at the safe distance of 100km.

“Long-range scanning reveals a chaotic line of asteroids and debris, stretching out endlessly as it twists onwards into the darkness. Upon arrival, it seems as if the place is empty and has been for quite some time. There is the sense however, that it was not always this way. Huge amounts of data are passing through the area, as if there was once a receiver for it somewhere nearby. The already dim sunlight barely manages to pierce the clouds as they drift effortlessly through a tangled promenade of scarred and broken rock. Every few seconds, the ship’s sensors simulate the sound of another small explosion nearby; one more camera drone that couldn’t spot the debris.”

Yeah, that’s a bunch of crap. All I see when I emerge from warp is a cluster of red at 100km. Sleepers. Lots of Sleepers. The 100km range starts ticking down and they begin to approach. I align to a celestial and consider my options. It’s going to be more than Camera Drones exploding in the next 30 seconds if I don’t act.

Run, or Fight?

My Tristan is fitted with Railguns and a collection of charges that have pretty good range, and my drones are…Okay. I notice one sleeper is far ahead of the others so I lock target and start cycling the railguns. I set the Tristan to try and keep my optimum range of about 20km and start tearing shields off the Sleeper. I feel pretty good about this situation until the other Sleepers start catching up and Matriarch starts taking heavy fire. The first Sleeper goes down (finally) but I already know I’m probably outclassed. Though, I have damage control running along with my obscenely expensive armor repairer and its keeping up reasonably well.

Then everything stops. My cap has drained, and I wasn’t even paying attention.

Fuck. Now armor is vaporizing off my hull alarmingly fast and by the time I’ve aligned and built up enough cap to Warp, I’m looking at maybe 20% of my hull and nothing else. I head for a celestial to lick my wounds, then realize that I left all my Hobgoblin drones behind. Fuck again. Now not only am I critically damaged, I have my major source of DPS sitting behind a wall of Sleepers.

I decide to bug out and call it a night. I look at the local system map.

I forgot to set a bookmark on the Wormhole.

Fuck.

Now I’m really not happy. I hit push-to-talk on teamspeak and address my corporation in my saddest newbie voice.

“Ummm, guys? If I forgot to set a bookmark on the Wormhole, how can I get back?”

The collective groan is as loud as it is embarrassing.

Quickly. A rescue operation is organized. The term “noob” is used a lot, though probably not excessively. Ships are fit and dispatched. My Corporation CEO (Kurt) snags a shuttle and begins to travel to my location. Everyone is about 20 jumps away. Advice starts to come quickly, urgently.

Don’t stay in one place. Keep moving. When I lived in a Wormhole, I could scan down a Frigate in less than 30 seconds. Keep Moving. Do you know how to create a safe place? Warp somewhere and while you’re in warp, drop a bookmark in the empty space. Then you can warp there and be away from any celestials.

I start moving, and trying to scan the Wormhole back down with my probes. More than 30 minutes pass. Move, drag probes, change ranges, throw mouse at wall, curse Gods. I just can’t lock it down! I curse up a storm with utter frustration when I get it to 95%, and no matter how I move my probes it won’t ever go up further.

Fuck.

Far out, I take a break and start directional scanning at max range. I find several other players and wonder if they’re hunting for me, as I’m hunting my way out.

It feels like an age has passed. My Corp arrives where I entered the wormhole and rapidly scans it down. I am annoyed, at my lack of skill and inability to get out by myself, but mostly at myself for attempting this and not listening to them about the damn bookmark.

“The wormhole is critically unstable. Any large amount of mass and it will collapse. Then we’ll really be screwed.”

Great. So none of my better armed Corp-mates can come through to help me. Kurt is in his shuttle with a head full of implants that we really don’t want to lose. But its a shuttle.

“A shuttle is tiny. We have to use it. The chance of something with a mass that small collapsing the wormhole is practically zero.”

So, I’m ready. I have my finger hovering over the fleet window, ready to warp to Kurt. He jumps through the Wormhole.

The Wormhole collapses.

Fuck. Fuck. Now we’re trapped here.

Corp chat is mostly quiet. I feel the need to apologize for likely condemning our CEO to death. They are…gracious, as is he. Someone points out the humor in the situation. Options are discussed. Words like “Self Destruct” are thrown around.

We have to find another Wormhole.

Its the only way. Its late, my eyes hurt, and I need to go to bed. But I can’t leave now. I’m the only ship with probes. I send them out to a random area below the system plane.

Red. I get a signature at about 2%. I move the probes and contract the radius.

35%, Amber. Its a goddamn Wormhole. What are the chances? I tell the Corp. I don’t think initially that they believe me. I move the probes and contract the radius one more time.

100%, Green. Ready to warp. Seriously? Why the hell couldn’t this have happened last time? I scan this one down with only three scans?

Its a miracle. I warp in at 100km to assess. Dscan shows nothing. Overview shows nothing. We both approach, and Kurt jumps ahead to scout out.

“Its deeper into W-Space. Its camped. There’s an Arbitrator here.”

Fuck.
My heart sinks. What a cluster. For a minute, I drift near the Wormhole, unsure of what the hell we can do. I decide to follow Kurt, but its far too late. I’m target locked. My Warp Drive gets locked down with Scramblers. I see my target and get a lock myself. I have no idea if the ship came from here or through the Wormhole, but I can at least try and put a hole in it. My guns do nothing. Lazy streams of energy link my Frigate with my enemy, and I see my cap is inextricably empty.

Neuts. Or Nos. I don’t know the difference. I remove my hands from the keyboard and mouse, and rub my eyes. Again I am helpless. The drones and blasts come forth, and I merely wait for death.

Hey look, new death animation again. White light. Dodixie comes into view. Hello, new clone. Hello, insurance payout. I’d feel better but my CEO is still stuck two wormholes deep with no possibility of return. Fuck.

Corp Teamspeak has now regained some of its humor and the absurdity of our situation is now actually quite funny in many ways. I offer to reimburse Kurt the cost of his implants and we consider self-destruction again. Then, a couple of us have an idea. I ask:

“Does local chat work in W-Space?”

Apparently yes, but you can’t see if anyone is actually listening. I tell Kurt that he should ask the local residents of the Wormhole if they’d be so kind as to help him out. The idea is met with much derision, and that they’d provide Kurt a means of escape via his medical clone. I am insistent, though. After all, what does he have to lose? If he’s going to self destruct anyway, why not use every option to escape?

One of my Corp mates sums it up nicely. “Well Kurt, do you want to get killed or die on your own terms?”

As I go to bed, he decides to raise his voice in Local. At the time of this writing, I have no idea what has happened, nor how much ISK I probably owe my CEO. The suspense is killing me, but I call it a night.

The Wormhole (Part 1), and a Question for my Readers

Lei Harper. June 10, YC115.

Today I am flying “Matriarch”, my Tristan class exploration vessel. New equipment on my ship pleases me immensely, and my eyes have been opened to so much more than just ablating layers of slag from ancient hunks of rock. I will earn my riches in another manner; I just need to find one that suits me. Today I am toying with probes, skirting the fringes of Council Space where traffic is lighter and I have less chance of being disturbed. Over the last few days I’ve learned the rudiments of Astrometrics as well as some other useful tricks, but I still have far less command of these tools than I do my Drones or my Mining Equipment. No matter. My scanning is crude but effective, and with a little patience and a light touch on deploying the probes I’ve been able to make a tidy bundle of ISK so far.

The signature I’m tracking down today seems different, and troublesome to triangulate. After 25 minutes and through sheer luck, I somehow drop a probe practically on top of it and the signal intensity spikes, holding at a vibrant green. I read the anaylsis, condensed to a singular word…Wormhole. I purse my lips and consider the possibilities, the risks, the potential. A gate to another region of space. Who knows where? It is worth a look at least, so I command Matriarch to warp to the location of the signal, giving myself a good 100 kilometer buffer in case there are any undesirables nearby.

Matriarch drops out of warp with a brief lurch that I find extremely disconcerting. The region of space ahead of me is twisted and distorted; light being pulled into a bizarre spiral like water being sucked down a drain. I instinctive recalibrate Matriarch’s station keeping thrusters to account for the gravitational fluctuations, and my sensors begin to lose scan resolution. Damn Gallente Gravimetric sensor array doesn’t appear to play nicely with anomalies like this. I compensate, which is when I notice the Gnosis moving nearby.

This system still has a CONCORD presence so I am not overly concerned about my safety. More, I feel a little annoyance that this other capsuleer has found something I worked so damn hard to scan down. I watch the Gnosis as it approaches the Wormhole. It holds station for a short time in front of the event horizon, then abruptly the pilot appears to reconsider his course of action – the Gnosis swings about, aligns to the nearby stargate and drops into warp. I watch it vanish into the void.

Fine, More loot for me.

Half of my Corporation live in a wormhole, so they tell me. If you ask me, that seems a little anti-social but they do spend a lot of time poring over Blueprints and other such things best done in solitude, so whatever works for them is fine I suppose. I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting but I’m certain they will have advice for me.

“Guys, I just scanned down a Wormhole. Do you think I should go through?”

A brief crackle of dead air, then a crisp reply.

“Lei, if you do that I’d say there is a 50% chance that you’re going to die. Though given the luck we’ve had recently I’d say that’s more like 99% at this point.”

I smile and command my Frigate to approach the Wormhole.

“I like those odds. Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose, right?”

They laugh. I realize that today, I am not afraid.

“You’re learning, Lei. You’re learning.”

————————————————————————————————————————–

A brief interlude before I continue. I am writing this entry after a lull of a few days, and I have other things to write afterwards so the chronology will be wrong – but I have to write about last night because of the clusterfuck of hilarious proportions that ensued.

First I have a question for you, dear reader. That which I write above (in italics) is told not from the perspective of me, the player, but from the perspective of Lei Harper, the character. It is of course, filled with more lore-appropriate detail within but does not include my comments on the metagame as the player.

Which would you prefer to read? My experiences as the player (the style of my original blog posts), or my character’s experiences through the filter of my writing? Or a mixture of the two? I enjoy writing these accounts in both styles but I am curious as to what those who follow this blog would prefer to see so I respectfully request your feedback on this. I will continue my story of the Wormhole on the edge of Gallente space in a new post.