So I'm off again! The Navy has shipped me out on my 3rd deployment. I have been gone now for about 7 weeks and am writing this from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In order to keep the Blog going I have asked a few buddies to send me these guest posts and I will post them when I hit port-of-calls along the way. W/O further rambling from myself, here is the first of (hopefully!) many entries by Forgotten Heathen.
What follows is an account of what can happen when you do not scan in wormholes as much as you possibly can. Hopefully you will hit the scan button at least once more after reading this. If one more button gets pressed, I'll have done my job, and made Eve a slightly less lethal place to live.....
Who am I kidding? Eve is always going to be the game where you can be as bad as you want to be. It's the haven for MMO's Halo kids. People that just want to ruin your day, and get their fun out of it.
So, in knowing that, you have to work within those parameters.
I am a miner by trade, an industrialist. A CAREBEAR. I have recently, meaning within the last three months, plunged into the darkness that are Wormholes. My motivations are primarily the same as "most" people, barring pure griefers: I'm in it for the isk. So mining Arkonor, Bistot and Crokite in sheer huge quantities has a certain appeal to me. If you can work within those parameters of knowing you WILL lose ships, and you WILL get podded, then you can deal with the inherant dangers of living in a wormhole.
So at the moment, my corp, which consists of me and only two other corpmates, are living in three wormholes, soon to be four. We'll be giving up our two class 1s for two class 2s, one of which is already in our hands. But I digress.
You're reading this to hear how much I got blowed up. Alright, I'll get on with it.
At the time of the "Incident" as I call it, since "The Event" would get me sued, we were in what we call our "low sec hole", as it has a low sec static. Our other C1 has a high sec static. Between I and my two corpmates, we have nine active accounts. Some of these accounts can fly Hulks and do Planetary Interaction, and that's it. Our "mains", of course, can do more, like fly HACs, and even carriers. But all of that means nothing when you're also at the controls of a Hulk alongside a fleet of them.
In my corp, my title is Hulk Fleet Commandant for a reason. I have access to seven accounts total, and have developed the skills to run all seven at once on my one computer between two screens. At the time of "The Incident", cue ominous music, I had four Hulks, one Covetor, a Myrmidon, and a Impel V, out and about running different jobs. All controlled by me. At the time I didn't really have a pattern for when to hit the Directional Scan button, and it was mostly when I remembered.
Those of you who know how long it takes you to combat probe down a fleet of this size, please quit snickering.
A good scanner can get these lazy targets scanned in TWO scans. That's roughly 20 seconds. How does one get that fast? Number one, practice. Moving probes around and sizing them down are two of the most tedious and time consuming tasks when you're trying to pin down that annoying guy in a Probe you know is going to shortly try to log off in your wormhole, to appear later when you're off to let in the entire Worldwide Russian Wrestling Federation into your wormhole to run the 30 combat sites you've been letting build up.
Number two: Astrometrics 4, Astrometrics Rangefinding 4, Cov Ops 4, Racial Frigate 5, Sisters Probe Launcher, Sisters Combat Probes, and a PPG Prospector scanning strength implant. All of that gets you the scanning strength of God Almighty, and you can put your finger on a ship in less time than someone gets to re-align for warp.
Think someone can't sneak in between your scans? You bet they can. And that's if you're hitting that button religiously. Now of course, most people in wormhole space are flying throwaway Magnates with three day old characters, and they have nowhere near these skills. Neither of the toons I podded in the last week did, that's for sure. But the Russians who caught me with my pants down sure did.
So on to the ship destruction. I am normally pretty good about watching my directional. At the time I had the bright idea to swap out my Orca trained pilot from a Hulk to a Myrmidon with the cycle time reduction boost going. Now, this is a great idea, it cut my cycle time on all my mining lasers by 41 seconds. That's 13 strip miners that are cycling 41 seconds, then dumping their sparkling loads of ore into my waiting Itty V. Do the math. It was a good idea.
But it was mistake number one. NEVER fiddle with ship loadouts, websites, porn, ANYTHING, unless you have someone else watching that directional.
Mistake number two is one that is largely related to those of us who run multiple accounts. ALWAYS leave the Squad Commander in the field with the ships he is boosting or even mining alongside! Here's why. Read on.
I left the Myrmidon Squad Commander at the POS to boost, and was fiddling with his loadout while also running the Iteron back and forth to the field, grabbing cans. Out of the corner of my eye, something moved on one of my overviews. Something moving on the overview means something is MOVING closer to your ship. And it was colored yellow.
About then I started panicking. I screamed something incoherantly, realizing someone was jumping in on me.
Mistake number three. I started trying to warp out every ship I had. I switched screens and hit warp, warp warp. One Hulk, A Covetor, and the Itty made it away. Three Hulks and a Covetor got caught by a multi-point Arazu, and a Broadsword and Drake took my fleet apart one by one.
What was mistake number three? Every single one of my ships was armed with Acolyte IIs. I had a support Mymridon with Infiltrator IIs, Medium Remote Armor reppers, and lots of extra cap, waiting at the POS, and I could have jumped him into the fight. I panicked and didn't think through.
Yeah, sure, I might have lost more ships, but I might have at least gotten one of them, and my Hulks were shield tanked, not great, but to the point it would have been somewhat annoying. Instead, I let them die, one by one. And since I wasn't actively monitoring every screen, I wasn't able to get any of the pods away from the warp bubble from the HIC. One by one my Hulks bit the dust, at 150 mil a ship. Thanks for the Pend insurance.
Then they decided to open communications with me. They wanted me to make them a ransom offer on the pods, which I hadn't bothered trying to get away from the interdiction field, mostly because I just didn't know any better. I asked what they wanted, really expecting something stupid, I was pretty set on not paying anything since they were going to probably torch all the pods anyhow, I do read Crime and Punishment, you know.
Too late, they said and killed one. Give us the bookmark to the low sec exit.
That one kind of threw me. I hadn't scanned down the day's low sec, preferring to leave it so it didn't spawn. That got me the rest of the pods killed, since they could "do it themselves". I watched in my Anathema as they sent my last clone off, then proceeded to destroy all the ship wrecks, then the ore cans!
K, seriously, at this point, can we all agree these guys are dicks?
So they go about scanning. I furiously scan looking for their wormhole and my low sec exit. How the hell did they know I had a low sec exit anyway? But I managed to find where they came from, a freaking empty class 5. My corpmate got on at this point, as I had told him I'd just gotten two of his characters podkilled. *sigh*
I give him the bookmark to the low sec hole, he hops in a Purifier stealth bomber and proceeds to grief a Drake and a Gallente shuttle who was trying to give the Drake something in a container, we assume it was a bookmark. We'll never know. My corpmate continuously destroyed the can and warped off. In the meantime, I had assembled some lolz-proof Retrievers.
Retrievers are the Class 1 wormhole closer ship of choice. At 20 mil mass, they are the max amount of mass one can pass through a Class 1. It makes calculations easier, and means less ships have to go through to either crit or make it collapse. I put two warp core stabs and a shield booster, making them mostly immune from a class 1 capable camp.
So I managed to drive the Retrievers through a few times before they became wise, and sent the Drake to deal with the Retrievers. I then jumped into my Zealot and I and the corpmate chased him out into low sec while I finished in critting the hole. The hole closed after I brought my last Retriever through, who also have offline probe launchers, just in case.
The last thing we saw of them was one of them making a penis in local since we had closed the way back home for them. You stay classy San Diego. And go play some Halo.
So we closed the low sec hole and took stock.
Three Hulks at 150 mil a pop, 450 million total. Covetor is 20 million. One character had a set of Standard Implants, about 200 mil there. One of my main characters was killed, with standards, and a 3% mining implant, say 25 mil. On top of that were at least 30 Mining Drone 2s, 100k a piece, so 3 mil there. I won't even include the ore that was destroyed. And the fittings on the ships. And the pickles. And the pickles.
So roughly, a ONE BILLION ISK loss.
And it all stemmed from not hitting the scan button.
Sure, they could have been bad ass scanners from Mars, and it wouldn't have mattered. I could have seen the Combat Probes and got everyone out in time. Or I could have hit Fleet Warp and got everyone out. So many things to second guess. The only thing I'm sure of is what I have to replace.
So, I've decided to switch to Covetors only for now, and to fit seriously large shield tanks on the remaining Hulks I still have. My boosting ship is going to stay in the field, and I've also taken to using a Zealot as a guard when I know the static hole is open. When it's not, I'm relying on hitting that scan button.
I have three scan screens open at all times now. One for each of my chars that I can see easily. My first has it's arranged by Type, Z first. the second has it arranged by Type, A first, and the third has Active Overview checked so I can see strange ships quickly if they don't have probes out yet. I've also learned to watch and see if your scanner scroll bar moves at all when you scan. If it does, it means something has changed on your scan. It could be you pulled in some drones, or dropped a new can.
Or it could mean the entire Worldwide Russian Wrestling Federation is about to drop on you.
In the end, you learn from your mistakes and suck it up in wormholes. You pay dearly for every mistake in here, but at least if you're a good player, you learn from them. If you don't, well you're dead.
Also, if you happen to come across me in a wormhole, and you're scanning for sites, I no longer try to chat with my visitors. I go straight for the pod. You're in my home, trying to find my refrigerator. You cannot have my leftovers, and you sure as hell aint getting my beer! So if you want to live, better talk in local before I get there.
Or try to self-destruct like the last guy. He didn't make it.