Monday, August 31, 2009

Victory Day!

War with Do It Right For Once came to an end last night. Our best guess, and a good one at that, is that we were causing for more damage than we were receiving.

They lost over 3/4 billion in isk, mostly a handful of battleships.
We lost a frigate, a battlecruiser, and I think we nearly lost a scorpion as well.

For one day, another corp declared war on us as well, and teamed up with Do It Right, by camping outside our station and setting up a login trap. We never fell for it, and that war expired as well.

Either way, we had a lot of fun popping their battleships. We'll be seeing you in lowsec guys! Haha.

Now with war out of the way, I'm back to exploring again. I've already recouped my minor losses from the war (plus I have a stockpile of faction resists and implants to sell yet), so my wallet is sitting pretty. Sure, I lost one bc to the war, but I have 3 new replacements ready to go at a moments notice.

I even tried my hand at some exploring in lowsec yesterday, which was very interesting. I ran a Gurista Scout Outpost, which is the same as in hisec really, and I also found a Gurista Outpost.
This was a bit different affair, and I ended up overheating the hardeners on my poor drake to get through this one.

It's two rooms, mostly battlecruisers, cruisers, and frigates. Some of the frigs warp scramble.
Once the first room is cleared, you can proceed to the second.

I still had several rats to kill when the Dread Gurista cruiser spawned, perhaps this was triggered by approaching the gurista control center that was behind the asteroid. I also got an escalation as well. Unfortunately I didn't get the final escalation, but I wasn't ready to go into 0.0 so I happily walked away with the low-grade crystal implant.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

War Report Part 3

Not everyone posts there killmails, but some things are nice to see.

For instance, on Battleclinic, the corp Do It Right For Once, has taken 1.7 billion isk in damage in its lifetime. Half of this was done by our corp Frontier United. And out of that, nearly 3/4 of the loss falls under their CEO, PrimaryIS. What started out as boring station games is! We're starting to worry that he might back out soon, or worse, move away from his (and our) Hq. We might just have to do a bit of wardeccing ourselves.

Which brings up a rather sage piece of advice, don't S*** where you eat. Or, more recently, THIS IS GAME!!!!!!

Also they're dropping a lot of nice loot. The other day we couldn't be bothered to even collect the remaining 800 cap boosters left behind, and the can sat for quite some time in front of the station.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Guristas Vigil

Site normally found anywhere in hisec, with new scan dynamics its challenging to scan down, even with a ship with scanning bonuses.

First room: Gate in first room may require Guristas Silver or Guristas Gold tag. First room may contain some rats, but no triggers I've found so far. I usually just ignore them.

Second room: kill the stasis towers first to regain mobility. You will need to kill all the rats. As you do this, I recommend afterburning to the dust cloud just behind and to the left of the 'space stonehenge' structure. This is near where all respawns will be. I'd also recommend taking a couple potshots at both gurista transmitters, they may or may not be triggers, but I've found that after I've killed all the rats, the respawn usually occurrs after I've hit them.

The last spawn usually generates a dread gurista cruiser, with a chance at dropping some decent faction loot or a t2 implant, and possibly escalate.

A final note, there is another gate in this room, but for me, it's always gone no where.

Escalation: Something about kidnappers?

There will be around 3 simple escalation sites that you can pretty much ignore all the rats and take out the faction spawn to continue. The final escalation will be in lowsec.

Final Escalation: in lowsec, you will go to a station surrounded by rats. Kill the rats, and attack the station. It will spawn more rats as you attack it, usually in two waves. The final wave with the overseer spawn will not appear until the station is in its last 5% structure. Sometimes, not at all.

The station has a massive amount of EHP. You will be there for quite a while hitting it, even longer if you are being hunted by pirates, or warping to safespots. Best bet is to take something like a drake with a big load of t2 missiles (the faster you bring the station down the faster you get out), and a cloak. Keep your eyes on local, and watch directional for probes. Once those rats are killed at least you can cloak if there's trouble in system.

Loot varies, tbh it's been a mixed bag for me. Once I got a pithi a-type small shield booster, but I've also gotten Worm blueprints, and last time, as though some kind of an insult, 15 civilians. I can't remember why I didn't jettision them (oh the irony!). I've heard rumours that people have gotten blueprints for faction cruisers as well but that's unconfirmed.

The War Report Part 2

Last night saw a much better fighting session with our war targets. What started off as a repeat of the previous days station games became a skirmish at the gate to funtown.

2 Armageddon's vs a drake, a scorp, and a frig, apparently not all at once. The three of us just couldn't co-ordinate our actions fast enough, and by the looks of things we got chewed up one at a time (I think the scorp made it back to base in structure). I tried to stall one of them on the other side of the gate in funtown, but he went back through to the isi side to rep his ceo, and I had to burn a lot of cap to close the 60km distance back to the gate. By the time I made it back through, it was too late, and my corpmates were finished, and I was out of cap. It was a good fight, and I look forward to having more like that, while hopefully being on the winning side.

Looks like I missed the final battle of the evening, where the enemy CEO lost his tempest, probably the same that had my tengu, the Frklator, fully neuted before I managed to escape.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Haven't been on much lately as I've been moving, but when I finally got logged back in, I hadn't missed all that much.

The new changes to the scanning interface are a big improvement. The War is still on, although the other side's ceo forgot to pay the bill and had to re-declare war again. My corpmates have been camping the station that ceo is docked in. I haven't been too concerned, but for the most part my tengu is usually ready for pvp encounters anyways.

As CCP has been changing some of the dynamics of exploration, I have been changing my tactics as well. Many have noticed it is now harder to find the combat exploration sites, and it seems only a small percentage are now either escalating or dropping any faction loot of value.

Thus lately I have also been changing the way I approach combat sites. For both Guristas Watch, and Gurista's Vigil, I now make sure to have both Guristas Silver and Gold tags in my cargo, so that I can completely bypass the first room.

Not only does this save time, as there is now a good chance you won't get anything or even an escalation, but you've left a distraction behind if someone else finds the site. You could be nearly finished the second room before they figure out the gate is unlocked, or get through the rats in the first room.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The War Report Part 1

Well, with the preparation all done, we were all pretty excited to see what our war with 'Do it Right For Once' or whatever, would bring.

On the first day of the war the aggressing CEO camped in front of one of our home stations in a Harby, so two or three of my corpmates and I undocked to exchange a few missiles. Only a few shots got off before he warped off.

He docked and came back in a tempest, and it wasn't long before I found myself fully neuted, and his drones approaching. Still, I had power for dc2, and I was hardly taking any shield damage (even with the hardeners off the tengu has nice resists!). I guess I had some time between his neut cycles because I didn't have any problem firing up my mwd and getting out of his guns and drone range. I can imagine this pissed him off to no end. Sweet tengu kill right in his grasp....and then gone.

We played the station games a few more times, he would undock, we'd hit him, he'd dock, and once my corpmates nearly got him as he was down to about 20 percent structure. Still, no kills on either side, and I don't think we saw any of his corpmates until today.

I do remember though that he brought several outlaws in, possibly to remote rep him, or tempt us into firing on them, but we didn't fall for it.

So I went back to exploring for the next couple of days, and finally today we see an enemy corpmate logged in, 21 jumps away. What the hell, a few of us decided to go and say hello.
We got 2 jumps away when he then logged off. Surprise surprise. Still, we had some fun, and saw a few big battles occur in some lowsec systems. We even engaged a couple pirates at a gate before we were overwhelmed by a rather large pirate fleet.

There were probably eight or nine reds, in everything from battlecruisers to carriers, and me and a corpmate ended up losing a couple drakes. Not before we popped one of their harbingers though.

So, whereas 'Do it Right for Once' or whatever did not manifest itself for battle, the folks at Black Souls and V O O D O O definitely did stick around for a good fight :)

Some pvp experience can be invaluable to a serious explorer. Even moreso if you ever plan on doing exploration in lowsec, which I will get around to eventually (not just escalations). If I learned one valuable lesson today, it was, don't hug the gate if you are engaging a target. Try to get as far as possible without losing scram on your target. That way, when all his buddies get to the gate, you have some distance to buy you time.

And less likely a need to clean your shorts.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Exploring, in a State of War...

Had one last night of exploring before hunkering down into logistics mode for an upcoming wardec.

I shifted a stockpile of faction mods to the sinkhole of Eve known as Jita, and was a bit surprised to see the pithum c-type medium shield booster sold in under 2 hours. I'd put it up at about 10 million less than the lowest selling price.

So for now, the Tengu gets docked. It would not be reasonable to risk such an expensive pve ship on a wardec. I revert to my backup exploration ship, a reasonably well rounded drake, the Red Febtober.

As an explorer, I actually still use this ship fairly frequently. I will switch to it nearly every time I get an escalation, and I use it exclusively in lowsec for the final escalations of both Guristas Watch and Gurista's Vigil. It has a strong tank, and can fit a cloak.

I am expecting that this will still be a different bag of beans than just exploring in lowsec, because now there is a group of people who are actively out to find and hunt you down.

All the usual tricks still apply though, so there are a few safeguards an explorer can exploit.

That almost all combat exploration sites use gates is the biggest one. Every time I pass through a gate, I drop a missile in a can as soon as my ship stops. This way, if someone tries to come in cloaked, I have a chance to see them and engage, or GTFO.

I suppose this tactic could be used for missioners as well.

Keep a small supply of Gurista gold and silver tags. For Gurista Vigil, this will allow you to skip the entire first room, which will buy you some necessary time if some other explorer finds the site.

Its too bad that this doesn't work with Guristas Watch, but there is another tactic I've used there.

In the first room of Guristas Watch you are vulnerable as you warp in right ontop of the next gate (so does everyone else who follows you), and you really want to remain at the gate until you can get into the next room. One time, at Gurista's Watch Camp, there was this other drake who figured he'd do the site for me. I said no, and proceeded to shoot at all the officer ships in rapid succession. This caused the entire room's NPC's to spawn all at once. My Tengu's shields could tank it. The drake could not, and it warped out. I suppose in a desperate situation, if a war target jumped in here, you could use the same tactic and hope that the extra npc fire helps.

Next post, Gurista's Watch and Gurista's Vigil in depth (including escalations)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gurista Scout Outpost, or Tale of the Blind Battlecruiser

As I've mentioned before, I can be a bit of a bastard when it comes to exploring. I feel I can now relate, on some levels, to the popular Ninja Salvagers.

A few nights ago I happened on a Gurista Scout Outpost (4/10) in highsec.

Gurista Scout Outpost:

Room 1: burn to other gate, kill all rats to proceed. Kill officer rat first and obtain tier 7 overseer effects.

Room 2: The main target is always the satellite dish, but take out the officer ship first so that his wreck belongs to you. Sometimes he has faction gear. Destroy the satellite as soon as you've reduced incoming dps to manageable level. Make sure you are right beside it when it blows, so that you can loot it fast. You will usually get faction shield resists, 8th tier overseer effects, and occasionally, a pithum c-type medium shield booster (cha-ching!)

So, back to the story, I entered the first room, and hm, there were no rats. And no wrecks, which is odd, unless someone is slowboating and salvaging as they go. I warp to the second room.

The explosion of the satellite can be seen in the distance. I am probably too late. Rats are buzzing around it like flies. I notice local blinking like crazy. I check, and its' full of smack "How dare you I'm already working this site!" yada yada yada. "Whore!" That got my attention. "Who you callin' whore?" I respond back. I realized later he was not smack-talking at me, but at someone else.

I can see Mr. Offended's battlecruiser and drones way off in the distance. Then I see something else at the can where the station was, just before it goes to warp. No way, it can't be...some ballsy player waltzed right up to the loot in a RETRIEVER and took his loot! "I just came for the plag" he says, while I am killing myself laughing.


I started exploration about two months back when I got tired of level 4 missions. Some of them take a long time, and if I do not have time to complete them I did not like the standing hits. I found exploration to be much more RL-friendly, so I decided that this would be my new eve profession.

I'm certain there's thousands of better explorers out there than me. Some people have scanning alts, covops ships, all kinds of wonderful stuff. Me? I have no alts. I can't afford another account, so my main character is it. At the time, I was only around 7 or so million sp, so I was pretty much limited to t1 ships as well. So I started with a drake equipped with a core probe launcher.

I fit my exploration drake as well I could, considering that an afterburner is a must, and I also wanted a warp disruptor.

Just what kind of explorer needs a point on their exploration ship? The bastard kind. Now I haven't had anyone fast enough to get to the faction loot before me yet, but when it does happen, they're going nowhere except in a pod. The disruptor will also be handy for the times when I loot from someone elses faction wreck, which lately has been happening more frequently. Oddly, no one wants to engage a tengu solo.

In my next few posts, I'll detail some of the more common high-sec combat exploration missions, as well as some of the bizaar things that have happened within them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Moar Afterburner!

My exploration ship dropped out of warp, and landed at the first gate. There, floating just a few clicks away, is a buzzard. Interesting, I thought.

Someone else had found this 'Guristas Watch' already. This could be fun. I entered the first gate.
The first room was littered with wrecks, and it was clear whoever was here had moved on. I warped through the second gate.

Warped right ontop of a hurricane, taking its sweet time with the rats! I took a fast scan of the area and noted that the main structure hadn't been attacked yet, so I had a chance!

The Frklator fired its heavy missiles at the structure as it burned towards the building at top speed. Instantly, the overseer and his goons spawned, and I switched targets to the overseer.

I got jammed, and waited with my heart pumping like crazy for 20 seconds to pass. I checked to see what my compadre in the hurricane was doing, and I can tell you he wasn't moving or shooting the overseer, because moments later it popped to my missiles, as did the dread gurista ship that arrived moments afterwards. As I had burned my way to the manufacturing plant I was already in looting range. Score!

To be honest, there wasn't anything of significant value in this haul, but my friend the hurricane didn't know that. Moments later, and additional Cerberus class cruiser warped in, and I found myself targeted.

Of course I had the upper hand, I had range, a decent tank, and a few other surprises up my sleeve as well. More importantly, I hadn't technically stolen anything, so the best they could hope for is a suicide ganking if they wanted to bring the wrath of CONCORD on them. They chose wisely, and backed off.

I have one lesson for you guys: Moar afterburner. Time and time again I find myself warping into these combat sites, and find myself able to race to the target faster, and grab the loot faster. I'm not even using a tractor beam FFS!

So this is the first short story I will blog about here, and it is my hope to share some stories of my experiences in the field of Exploration. Besides the statistical information, I'll also share strategy, and tactics that have helped me earn billions in loot.

And as my adventures as an explorer are not just limited to solo work, you can expect that I will often digress on tales with my corpmates, the Frontier United Corp Klan.