Thursday, 28 May 2015

Target Painting in Fleet fights

Signature this, signature that. If you follow discussions of fleet doctrines that's all you hear - sig tanking sig tanking yadda yadda.

There's a specialist type of ewar that blooms other people's signature. And virtually no one uses it.

Target painting can substantially increase the signature on another ship. Let's do the maths on what a couple of ewar-linked Hyenas can do:

6 modules with stacking penalties = 2.8578

A meta 4 or T2 paint run by a maxxed out character on a Hyena = 56.3%

There are no rigs for paint effectiveness.

A Command Ship with T2 link and mindlink implant gives 34.5% boost.

That means maximum sig bloom is about +216.4% (or a little higher with Faction paints). A standard 125 sig cruiser is bloated up to 395.5, very close to a standard unmodified battleship. On a sig tanking ship like a Tengu this makes it much more effective to apply damage from a number of weapons (ie any weapon whose damage would normally be reduced by the Tengu's sig radius, particularly but not exclusively battleships).

Why don't FCs like Paints?

Blooming sig radius does 2 things - it means ships lock up the target faster and it causes many weapons to do more damage.

It's the first one that concerns FCs. By making it so the other side's logistics can lock up the target quicker it means reps land faster, saving many primary targets.

This is received wisdom and because of this we rarely see Vigils and such ships called for in Null doctrines.

That's a simplistic one size fits all approach that is not correct in every situation and which can be improved upon with good play and good communication.

Let's look at how fleets kill ships:

- tackle may land, FC will call "kill dictors and inties." Often no enemy logi is on the field yet. This is a perfect time for paints against these tiny sig radius tackle ships.

- fleets square off and start exchanging primaries. FC has several options here to get kills:

1. Alpha. Volley damage to instantly kill an enemy. Totally paint friendly.

2. Primarying and sustaining. Fleet will start shooting a target pushing it down into low shield and then reps will start, It will then either slowly creep back up or continue creeping back down. In situations where the logi have clearly already locked the target up it may be worth applying paints to a target they're struggling to keep up as the extra damage will kill it.

3. Fast target switching. Tricksy FC hops between multiple targets to confuse enemy logi. Paints definitely not wanted.

4. Disengaging. Enemy fleet is trying to escape, logi have either already left or just aren't that worried about rep broadcasts. Paints are great.

And the availability of paints adds a new one:

5. Sustained damage - if we're not quite doing enough to break a target without paints we could paint it up and see if the extra damage is enough to break it.

This is some pretty high level ewar piloting - it's not suitable for the 3 day old newbie in the Vigil without intensive training. Your paint pilot is now making a flurry of decisions, receiving commands from FC and logi anchor, following both offensive target broadcasts and friendly shield broadcasts.  Ideally your painter will be able to read a fight like a FC so he will know whether to paint or not without waiting to be asked.

There's also the possibility of defensive painting. If paints are bad surely then painting our own guys is good? Well the painter pilot could follow shield broadcasts from friendly ships (or better still spy on their fleet) and paint up the primaries for our logi to lock them up quickly. This would be especially useful against cruiser doctrines that are not doing significantly reduced damage due to sig. And in any event you would only run one cycle of paints - enough to help logi lock him up quick but not maintained to keep enemy dps high.

Here's some graphs showing the effectiveness of sig when a standard nullsec tengu is shooting a target:

Spike M ammo

 First something huge as a baseline to see how the ship would apply its damage to a very large target where sig is pretty much a non issue.

Next against a same sig target (double shield extender tengu):

Now against a standard cruiser:

Now against a speeding interceptor:

Let's now look at the graphs for Caldari Navy Thorium:

Huge thing (baseline):

Next against a same sig target (double shield extender tengu):

Now against a standard cruiser:

Now against a speeding interceptor:

Finally we'll look at CN Antimatter.

 Huge thing (baseline):

 Next against a same sig target (double shield extender tengu):

 Now against a standard cruiser:

 Now against a speeding interceptor:

We can draw some quite interesting conclusions from these graphs:

- with Spike M target should almost always be painted even if it helps their logi, the tracking penalty on the ammo type really hurts.

- against small fast stuff always paint, it's hopeless trying to hit them otherwise.

- with Faction ammo right at the edge of optimal paints add very little to these medium rails against cruiser sized hulls (other than helping enemy logi).

- with Faction ammo at under 20km always paint.

It should be possible to beat an enemy tengu fleet that isn't painting by coming in under its guns, eg orbit their anchor at 15km and primary the furthest tengu, painting it up for better damage application.

Shout out to the wonderful Eve application pyfa for its fitting tool.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Angel Sound: The Angel's epic arc.

I decided to do the Angels epic arc so that I will be able to run missions in Fountain. In Fountain our local rats are Serpentis. Shooting Serpentis makes them dislike you. However it's possible to run Angels missions while still being free to shoot enough Serpentis to make them utterly despise you which is quite a good way of doing it.

This unlocks the following range of PvE options:

- Serpentis Forsaken Hubs, Havens and Sanctums (the best anomalies, found in sov space mostly as they can be forced to spawn with ihub upgrades).

- Cosmic signature combat sites. These usually contain Serpentis rats in our area.

- Angels missions. These pay Loyalty Points which can be cashed out for nice equipment including special faction ammo, Halo implants (a full set is a 19.6% reduction in sig radius), and pirate faction ships the Dramiel, the Cynabal and the Machariel.

There are worse things to spend LPs on.

- Circadian Seekers/Drifter Battleships

- wormhole pve

Clearly there's enough that the missions aren't really needed but it's nice to have it there as an extra option.

I advertised it on /r/bravenewbies and got 6 people in fleet but none of them had the standings to run the mission series. Advice on raising standings with factions is here - for us the simplest way is to run missions locally in Fountain where we live. Every 16 ordinary missions gives you a special storyline mission (probably from WY-) and it's those special missions that raise your faction standing. Faction 3.0 is needed (unless you're super brave and do your missions with the Dominion Angels in Fountain Core's staging system. I'll talk more about running missions out of hostile stations safely in another post.

The upshot of my formup was that I was the only person doing the mission so I burned off to Molden Heath in a travel fit interceptor to talk to the agent.

Here's a couple of good walkthroughs.

It was Sunday night Eu time, one of Eve's busiest times. While eastern Fountain and Cloud Ring were pretty quiet and high sec poses little threat to a travelceptor Curse was heavily camped. Molden Heath and Great Wildlands were quiet too but once I got to Curse there were people on every other gate. I managed to get through in a sub 2 second align ceptor but a standard pvp ceptor would have been killed. At one point I even got pointed on an undock under in 2 seconds but luckily I was able to dock back up in half structure. I was relieved to find no one on the undock when I came back after half an hour and burned myself an instaundock.

Most of the missions were go there, click this, again perfect for the travelceptor. Here's how I did the chain.

Starting agent: Aton Hordner works for Republic Security Services in Egbinger

Mission 2, go there get the update warp off

Mission 3: I picked Serpentis Fill-In. Take the box to the cargo container, drop it in.

Mission 4:  Fairly easy with long range artys.

Mission 5: Very easy with long range artys.

Mission 6: This was really nasty. I added a small amour repper to my travelceptor and it wasnt enough. First I picked off the henchmen with long range ammo and arty. I couldn't break the main guy even with close range ammo so I went shopping and got some autocannons. Still couldn't win because he was pushing me down faster than I was killing him so I swapped to cap rigs so I could run a cap stable repper. Still couldn't win because he controlled range so I swapped in a web. Finally killed him.

Shopping in Curse is an epic mission in its own right.

After doing this one I read that I could have killed a large collidable Remote Reps Station that was helping him to make the fight much easier. Doh!

Got a Faction Target Painter which I left in the station.

Mission 7: Talk to someone

Mission 8: The guide says "Choose Situation Normal and rejoice in your easy mission" Who am I to argue with that?

Mission 9: Fairly easy with long range Artys. I had to run the repper but didn't have to warp out.

Mission 10. I used my autocannon, cap stable rep fit with web. The rat webbed me and held me 7.5km off. I considered going to get some mid range ammo that would have been more effective but I was winning using Hail in deep falloff so I just waited it out. Naturally I forgot to loot him and had to warp back to collect the tag.

Got a Cynabal bpc.

Now that's a nice mission reward.

I also got a massive standings boost which was my main reason for doing it. I went from -9.something to +0.08 with really good Social skills. Missions also paid quite a lot of cash: 6-7 million isk per mission for 8 missions. Overall it probably took me about 4 hours but that includes shopping etc.

Advice for others/myself next time I go:

- shop in advance. Shopping in Curse is horrible

- take a friend. It's hard to break the tanks alone. I'm just about ok but most of my skills are Vs.

- don't do it on Sunday night when the gates and undocks are heavily camped.

Close range autocannon fit with cap stable repper:

[Claw, close range]

Damage Control II
Small Armor Repairer II
Gyrostabilizer II
Gyrostabilizer II

X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Cap Recharger II

200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S
200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S
200mm AutoCannon II, Hail S
[Empty High slot]

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I

Long range fit

[Claw, long range]

Damage Control II
Inertial Stabilizers II
Inertial Stabilizers II
Gyrostabilizer II

Limited 1MN Microwarpdrive I
Cap Recharger II

280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor S
280mm Howitzer Artillery II, Tremor S
[Empty High slot]

Small Capacitor Control Circuit I
Small Capacitor Control Circuit I

Add an istab for the Gyro to get under 2 second align.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Antibomber doctrine

In Brave we don't have a great cheap antibomber doctrine and it would be useful to have one.

To kill bombers you have to do one of two things - hold them on grid or alpha them. The bombers will operate by decloaking, launching the bomb, and then hitting warp. It takes a second or so for the bomb to clear the tube so they never instantly warp and can be caught.

So two things are needed:

- high scan res
- either high alpha damage, instantly applied or a point.

Missiles don't cut it because they don't apply their damage instantly. Rails and Beam lasers are high dps but not great alpha. Short range weapon systems on small ships don't really have the range. So that leaves Artillery as the best weapon system.

The Thrasher is a great ship for this role. All 3 of its ship bonuses (damage, optimal range and tracking) are useful.

Here's the high skill version:

[Thrasher, Antibomber T2]

Damage Control II
Gyrostabilizer II

F-90 Positional Sensor Subroutines, Scan Resolution Script
F-90 Positional Sensor Subroutines, Scan Resolution Script
F-90 Positional Sensor Subroutines, Scan Resolution Script

280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium S
[Empty High slot]

Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I
Small Targeting System Subcontroller I
Small Targeting System Subcontroller I

With all 5s scan res is 2424mm (locks a frigate in 0.9 secs), volley damage is 1121, range is 21.6km + 10.9km. Alternatively you can do 700 volley damage at 34.5km +10.9km. It takes 5 bonused Scorch bombs to kill which gives you a chance to warp off if you're aligned and you go the moment you start taking bomb damage.

I also have a fit made using a character with newbro skills except CPU Management 4, Power Grid Management 4 and Weapon Upgrades 4:

[Thrasher, Newbro antibomber]

Emergency Damage Control I
Pneumatic Stabilization Actuator I

Alumel-Wired Sensor Augmentation, Scan Resolution Script
Alumel-Wired Sensor Augmentation, Scan Resolution Script
Alumel-Wired Sensor Augmentation, Scan Resolution Script

250mm Light Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Carbonized Lead S
250mm Light Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Carbonized Lead S
250mm Light Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Carbonized Lead S
250mm Light Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Carbonized Lead S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Carbonized Lead S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Carbonized Lead S
280mm Prototype Siege Cannon, Republic Fleet Carbonized Lead S
[Empty High slot]

Small Targeting System Subcontroller I
Small Ionic Field Projector I
Small Projectile Collision Accelerator I

With most skills set to zero this has 1826mm scan res (locks a frigate in 1.2 secs), volleys for 325 damage with 22.2km + 8.75km range on the light guns, 27.6km + 8.75km range on the bigger ones. Not fantastic but may help finish a bomber if we have a mixed bunch of veterans and newbros wanting to do this. It takes 4 bombs to kill which gives you a chance to warp off if you're in the middle of the bombs exploding.

Another great option is a Keres, whose job is to hold points so the thrashers and indeed the regular fleet can shoot bombers that are pinned on grid:

[Keres, antibomber]

Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II
400mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Warp Disruptor II
Warp Disruptor II
Warp Disruptor II
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script

[Empty High slot]
[Empty High slot]

Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Trimark Armor Pump I

This has 3 points with 50.4km overheated range before links. With 4 remote sensor links it has 3177mm scan res (locks a frigate in 0.7 seconds). It will take cat like reflexes to lock and separately point 3 of them before they can warp off but that's pretty useful. Without the remote sensor links it has 1674mm scan res (locks a frigate in 1.3 secs).

It takes 9 bonused Scorch bombs to kill which is handy as bombs usually come in waves of 8.

And here's the booster, I've made it Tech 2 but Tech 1 meta modules are only a tiny bit worse:

[Maulus, antibomber]

400mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I
Damage Control II
Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane II

Remote Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Remote Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Remote Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script
Remote Sensor Booster II, Scan Resolution Script

Salvager II
Salvager II

Small Ancillary Current Router I
Small Anti-Explosive Pump I
Small Trimark Armor Pump I

This thing just orbits the Keres and runs its Remote Boosts on it. It takes 9 bonused bombs to kill this which is a nice number because bombs usually come 8 at a time at most.

Antibomber ships orbit the main fleet anchor at about 15-20km. When bombers decloak at 40km and glide forward about 5km before warping off some of the antibombers may be on that side and able to get shots off, some will be too far away. The Keres should nearly always be able to reach the bombers. Once you see where the bombers are coming in from you can position the antibombers on that side.

Antibombers sit there with their bomber overview on, guns or points hot, poised to control click on targets on the overview. Any bomber killed before its bomb explodes nullifies that explosion. It's important that antibombers don't get warped off if the FC decides to warp to save his fleet - flag exempt or use a separate wing.

A typical bomber is an untanked Hound so it has 2.36k ehp and is slightly weaker to kinetic and explosive. So 2 T2 Thrashers and a newbro Thrasher will alpha one. So for decent coverage you probably want about 20 ships in your antibomber wing.

If people can't fly Thrashers Cormorants are not a bad option as long as there's at least one Keres. While the Corms won't alpha bombers they will finish off pointed bombers fast.

How to report Intel

  • Drag and drop the system name from the top left.
  • Drag and drop the player name from Local
  • Put +X if there are more neuts/hostiles in Local.
  • Put nv if you don't know ship types or brief ship types
  • Example: D4KU Caprisun+6 Hacs/cruisers

D scan instructions.
  • switch to an overview that has ships and not much else on.
  • check the Use Overview Preset box.
  • Reduce D scan range and angle to just catch the enemy fleet.
  • Scan
  • control-A and Control-C the scan text.
  • open
  • control-v to paste
  • control a, control c the url to copy it so you can link it in chats.
You can also copy and paste Local into the tool to provide an analysis by corp/alliance.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Brave dojo: how (not) to gas mine

I spotted this awesome AAR and felt it deserved a wider audience:

AAR Dojo Gas mining

Started Gas mining in Fountain (opsex). Hadrian wanted to test a newbro friendly solo venture fit. He asked Ahoda for advice, it was downhill from there already. He went afk, died. refit it. more folks wanted to try, golieman wanted to join, came, and died too. Larra Croft wanted in on the iskies, too many harvesters on one cloud, he died, Hadrian warped out in 2% structure. Sybil came in, you know how this goes by now. EVERYONE refit, came back in started harvesting (after salvaging old wrecks), Goon prospect came in started harvesting fast, boom boom. so far we have lost like 7 ventures, 4 in clouds. We tried bringing in a Burst for logi, but bubblecamp on the way. Dicas has died 3 times so far, twice on clouds and once on bubblecamp. MasterFounder comes in, cant get to location because (opsex). Finally Wailee Arcada volunteers l337 scanning skills so everyone can have their own effing cloud and not kill each other. Things are finally going well, one per cloud. Last site being scanned down, Anathema warps to 0 to see how many clouds, theres a blue there huffing already and JUST AT THAT FRIGGING MOMENT, gas cloud explodes killing the only scanner we have.....As of now we're still mining with what we have, losing ships the moment we bump close to each other or mis-time the harvesters. We also hate each other. Master Founder went afk, we're currently bumping him towards the Goon miner and the cloud so he dies in gas explosions
Just another day in Brave Dojo
UPDATE: Master Founder came back, warped out just as he's about to die. we can't even get our own killed
UPDATE 2: it appears Master Founder only went off to dump his cargo, he's back now. we're waiting for him to go afk again so we can resume bumping
UPDATE 3: apparently we lolfail at things when we blow up. He's too tanked, so we're warping him to a gate with rats on it. We'll tell him rats spawned after we finished the site
Update 4: we have been here for 3 hours, no one has bothered to save the site, we lose it each time we warp off for our shenanigans
EDITS: updating it as things happen

Friday, 24 April 2015

A tactical and strategic analysis of the Entosis system

Fozziesov, as it's called, the system of sovereignty based on activating a specialised module will replace the current system of hit point grind on (probably) June 2nd. Rarely has an upcoming feature been discussed in so half-arsed a manner. Newbie alliances with large memberships talk about "winning Eve" as if the game will be handed to them all wrapped up in a bow. Other people spot the withdrawal from soon-to-be vulnerable nullsec of formerly major powers and predict the end of sov as we know it, as if vast swathes of space are about to be left abandoned and desolate as no one will be able to bear living there.

Let's start by getting the second point out of the way - what it means that certain alliances are withdrawing from sov ownership.

NC. are dropping their sov and have deployed to low sec to launch a campaign against Providence. (Possibly to spite Imperium who have announced that they intend to harass Provi in June).

PL dropped most of their sov and handed their renter empire over to XDeath for a tidy sum of cash. They then made more cash on top being hired to go back to defend it and, at the rate Triumvirate are going may be hired once again by XDeath in the near future. They are currently on contract to attack Nulli who immediately caved and thus are conquering Esoteria unopposed. Elements have already popped up in Provi as the movement of superpowers against the last game preserve in Sov Null becomes a stampede.

Nulli have announced they will move to Curse.

FA have collapsed.

Kadeshi have collapsed.

Darkness. have been pushed out of Delve by the CFC/Imperium.

Imperium are mopping up in Delve and then will retreat 3 full regions giving up Delve Fountain and Cloud Ring.

So is this disaster, is the sky fallling? No.

With the change to an occupancy based sov system people who won't fight for the sov they live in are no longer viable sov holders. So distant landlords like NC. can no longer own vast almost unattended empires. Nor are renters viable, the renter system does occasionally throw up a half decent kitchen sink pvp fleet but any well organised alliance will cut through them like butter.

Instead we are about to see a vast influx into null of alliances that previously would have been too weak to get a foothold. 1000 man alliances, finding their feet and working stuff out as fast as they can, patching deals where they can. Null sec will fill with small weaker powers clinging to a small corner of space and fighting as hard as they can for it. They will from time to time be utterly stomped on by superpowers like PL but those powers always move on, allowing the survivors to crawl out from the ashes and re-establish. Many of these small balkanised alliances will be former renters going it alone.

The dominant quality of entosis sov will be persistence.

This has been pioneered already in nullsec by -A-. When -A- is doing well they control Catch and look beyond its borders to make trouble for other people. When they're not doing well they turtle up in Stain and run missions until the heat dies down. Then they come creeping back into Catch. They've done this for almost a decade, a tide coming in and going out.

The North West corner of the map will belong to The Imperium, the last superpower standing in sov null. By drawing back they've increased the density of their players relative to their sov - all of it will be occupied. If they have weaknesses they can move more players to that spot. They will also hugely benefit from the tendency of everyone in null sec to seek out someone weaker than themselves as targets - why hit The Imperium when you can pick on Phoebe Freeport Republic or DIP?

The future of Brave - unless we start getting a lot stronger - is to be one of these Balkan ministates, Croatia or something. And that's planned for - our new home will be YZ- in NPC Fountain, a base that allows for and expects total sov loss.

The future of other alliances is a function of their playing styles. Alliances where most people rat, mine or run sites, breaking every now and then for pvp will be absolutely dominant. There are a lot of such alliances - almost all The Imperium works like this, Nulli, Brave, Test. Alliances that just want to be industrial and not pvp won't hold sov, they'll have to merge in with pvpers. No one will want to put out 5 fires a day in someone else's space, it's entirely too tedious. Alliances where everyone's a pvper and no one rats like PL and BL will have to develop leverage over the others so that they get paid - kingmaking wars, extorting tribute or whatever. In the long run I think the game will be gradually designed away from that playstyle but at first they will get paid over and over by people who just want to not have their space taken.

PL and BL at heart are Eve aristocracy. With PL approximately 100 real people multiboxed to victory against 1500 BRAVE formups, which would have been pretty close to 1500 real people. There's no way these Eve patricians want to play tug of war for half an hour at the time with grubby little scrubs in Moas over who gets to set off a timer, these guys simply don't play like that. One of the distinguishing features of Fozzie sov is that it's a time sink and a competitive time sink at that. If the other guy's willing to put in 3 hours a day every day for years you match it or you lose. It doesn't matter if you have a bigger ship, if he's there and you're not, he wins.

Hey Guys, let's move to Cloud Ring!

Let's now turn to the tactical side.

There's been a lot of rubbish written about trollceptors etc but the dev blog states:

The result of all these design features is that the best method to exert control over a structure with the Entosis Link is to establish effective military control over the grid around the target structure.

Trollceptors are an idea intended to subvert that goal but let's just suppose the goal is achieved without being subverted. I think this is by far the most likely outcome. And if I'm wrong whatever exploit will be fixed until it works as intended.

So it's all about grid control, otherwise known as winning fights.

And here's the thing - pretty much the same things will win fights in Fozziesov as win them now.

There are some tactical differences and they all favour the attacker. The attacker gets to choose whether to attrit the ships or try to capture all the sites. The defender has to be prepared to repulse either type of attack.

Let's suppose I have 50 guys and I want to attack an alliance that gets 100 in fleets. We make some timers and 2 days later we go back and the defender is positioning to defend command node anomalies all over their space. Let's say they split into 5 20 man fleets led by rookie FCs. My best move might be to defeat a 20 man fleet in detail while using dictor bubbles to delay reinforcement. As the attacker I don't need to win the event, hitting them over and over and winning many small victories is likely to demoralise them and reduce their numbers. If my opponent concentrates his forces in one large fleet I can split my guys, having them in fast ships that escape easily attacking multiple command nodes all over his space, again using dictors to slow my opponent's ability to re-position.

The best way to defend then is likely to be much more aggressive approaches to intruders, particularly in the time zone vulnerability window, with home defence fleets forming quickly and chasing down roaming gangs. If you dither on defence then all your stuff gets reinforced, your stations become freeports and command node crises burn out your guys.

It so favours the attacker that I think we will see more defensive buffs coming later in the year.

What it does mean is a huge demand for fast agile gangs, not so much to defend the command node events but to prevent them ever happening. We'll see more gate camps, more ambush tactics and other methods of hurting intruders.

In Fozzie sov everyone has to fight, the ability to ignore attackers and patch things up after they've gone is hugely reduced.

I think we'll see a lot of use of the T2 entosis links which cost 80 million isk or so rather than the T1. The shorter cycle time and long range of the T2 may help it survive contested fights as the Entosis ship is the obvious primary and can't receive reps. We are also likely to see variants of very tanky solo pvp fits, like triple rep Myrmidons, used as Entosis ships. A small ship could simply be blapped off the field by a dozen talwars even if protected by a substantial fleet. PL's arty Claw doctrine may see wider use for entosis defence. Warp in, blap it, warp out. Doesn't matter if they have 100 guys, if you can kill it in 5 goes you'll defend.

I think there's some confusion over the time it takes to entosify (or whatever) a structure. It takes an initial cycle plus base 10 minutes which can be improved for the defender by ratting and mining indices. In situations where both sides are killing the other side's entosis ships, each second their ship is dead and ours is working is +1 second to us, until enough time has accrued to capture or defend the node.

Example: Pizza decide to troll Goons and take a small gang of thrashers up to entosis the VFK station. They have a few ships with T2 entosis links. They start running one of them at 11.09. At 11.11 the first cycle is finished and a warning flashes throughout the system. Except for a few idiots who decide to take a look by themselves and get blapped by the Thrashers Goons are rather slow forming and the timer is now ticking up for real uncontested. At 11.15 Goons land on grid and start using a T1 Entosis link. This does nothing until it has finished its first cycle so time is still accruing to the attackers. For some reason no one rats or mines in VFK these days so there's no sov bonus. At 11.20 the Goon link starts working. The Pizza link ran uninterrupted from 11.11 to 11.20 so 9 minutes has accrued. At 11.23 Pizza manage to catch and kill the Goon defensive entosis ship. At 11.24 another minute has accrued (the next Goon supposed to run a link forgot his stront) and the station enters reinforced mode and becomes a freeport. Goons will have a nervous 48 hours before they run a major defensive op to regain control. If Pizza bring in allies to contest that op then the capture event could potentially last hours if closely contested and while it will start in Goons's 4 hour preferred timezone window it could run way past that opening up content opportunities for other timezones. This means AU timezone is relevant even where alliances set for US timezone if the event lasts for several hours spilling into the next time zone.

This is how I think it works, I may be in error on some of the details. The example shows how important it is to have some progress on the indices made by ratters and miners, in other words to actually use the space.

My alliance, BRAVE, typically takes 10-20 minutes to form up. Fozziesov is going to be .....interesting.

One of the interesting aspects of this is the metagame. We have a new system that was developed after extensive consultation with the CSM, a body that's always tended to have very strong CFC representation. We have a new null paradigm that has caused the CFC to be the last null superpower standing with their opponents giving up and leaving. Now the way this has been done is not by deceit or bribes or anything so crude, it's by that deadliest of political weapons - the reasonable argument. All the points that Goons have pushed are reasonable, make complete sense, are better than any of the advertised alternatives and suit Goons more than anyone else. And that's a level of metagame that almost none of their rivals even seem to comprehend, let alone contest. Gevlon, Cassandra-like, has been yelling about this all along.

Now don't get me wrong, the new sov system suits me down to the ground, will be tremendous fun for me as a Skirmish FC and will in general make Eve a better game. I'm just a little wry about how it came to pass. (And I flew with the CFC for a year, helping them dominate).

Now let's talk about time zones. There's been a lot of concern about lack of content for people outside the main time zone. If Brave sets all its timers to late US I'll rarely see a strat op. However there's still tons of stuff to do. I can reff pocos, reff towers, gate camp, attack other people's space where it's in a more convenient time zone and entosis links can be run on some structures including station services. So I can hellcamp someone's station while easily turning off all their services if I have grid control. And of course if I can win in my timezone I can make a case for putting timers to my timezone, especially if the US aren't doing well. Coalitions may split timers too to provide content fairly to all their members. There is a class of player who only likes strat ops, those guys will be a bit boned if they are outside their alliance's main time but for the rest of us there will be no shortage of things to do.

Regarding ships I think the ship to watch for will be the Jackdaw. I said earlier that the same things that win fights now will win fights (and therefore control grids) after Fozziesov comes in. Of course the Jackdaw itself is a change to the ship combat meta. I described how fast gangs with great disengagement potential will be key to contesting command nodes. Currently that meta is dominated by the Svipul and next week's nerf isn't going to be enough to dethrone it. The Jackdaw with T2 rigs can reach a range of 114km, both targeting range and missile flight range. The other T3 destroyers don't really project anything past 50km. This superior projection should be enough to see Jackdaw gangs completely dominate these grids, disengaging easily from anything able to fight them. There are a couple of small ships that shoot nearly that far. A cormorant can but it's absolutely tankless. A harpy can and retains a bit of tank so we may see The Imperium's massive harpy fleets doing pretty well. Within this meta it's hard to "quality up." You could use Zealots or Nagas as superior snipers but the Jackdaws or Harpies can just leave and hit an alternative site. People who don't theorycraft this may find that they're unable to cope with 50 man Jackdaw gangs that can hit them anywhere they want.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Value Fleet

Value Fleet is a fleet doctrine concept aimed at getting high combat effectiveness out of fairly cheap ships. It combines high damage brawling with damps. If they come close we win because they're brawling with web scram blaster boats if they stay far they're taken out of the fight by damps.

I have some organisational constraints to work within. One is a "budget" of 10 million isk maximum srp for self-invented doctrines that our new FC programme allows to FCs of my rank within Brave Collective.

I'm taking liberties with the budget by deliberately going over it and expecting line members to pay the difference. Not everyone will so the doctrine also allows cheap disposable mauluses.

The cruisers I have listed cost about 26 million fitted at Jita which after import costs will mean they cost about 35 million at our new home in Fountain. However offset against that is the 10 million isk of alliance money that I can authorise and approx 7 million isk gained from platinum insurance. So it costs a line fleet member about 18 million each time they lose one.

Is that good value?

Well first point I don't think we'll lose them all that often, as long as we pick our engagements with care. We may also get a chance to kill very shiny ships. Most people will cheerfully exchange 18 million in game isk for a billion isk orthrus adorning their killboard. The doctrine, FCed correctly is highly disengageable - so you're either killing stuff or you can warp most of the fleet out.

Next is that these are potentially amazing. If we can apply damage on our terms we do the very high close range damage in a game meta where most people rely on anaemic long range weapons. For instance our standard Moa fit does a little over 200 dps at its most comfortable engagement range. The Value Vexor, fully skilled, does over 600. Nor do we depend on point blank range - without the guns the fit still does 373 dps out to 30 km.

Next once an opponent engages with us it's likely we will have considerable control over the terms of disengagement. If they rely on an handful of long range tackle and kite us we burn away, damp the lachesis and keres and warp off. If they rely on interceptors and frigates then to disengage we web and kill those. To get away from us on the other hand an opponent would have to kill every vexor that has a scram on something.

Value Fleet is a shield doctrine, privately composed by a Junior FC for the use of the Brave Collective. And of course any of my readers who would like to try it.

This is the fleet composition in order of priority:

Booster ship(s). Skirmish links utterly transform this ship from something moderately dangerous to a full on catastrophe for enemies. MWD speed bonus is the most useful link. Then tackle range. Shield links are also a strong force multiplier.

1-2 Dictors (if fighting in nullsec)

3-5 Value Celestis. (This ship does a very important job dictating the range of the fight but we don't need too many).

20% Standard Brave Scythe afterburner logi. Eg a fleet of 50 needs 10 Scythes.

1-2 scouts. Frigates, interceptors, cov ops are all good choices.

as many Value Vexors as possible. The heart of value fleet is a swarm of Vexors doing very high dps.

any newbros/broke people in tackle frigates or mauluses. Any fit is fine.

Fleet roles:

Value Celestis: 

Your job is to pull the enemy in to us. Use both damps with targeting scripts on the same target so that he loses about 70% of his locking range. Unless otherwise instructed pick your first target by sorting by range and damping someone far away. Coordinate with the other dampers so you don't damp the same person. You need to assess the fight for high value damp targets. In priority order high value damp targets are:

1) Bluemajere or Makalu Zarya.
2) enemy FC
3) enemy logi if the logi is more than 20km away from what it will need to rep.

If the enemy chooses to fight us point blank and their logi are in close switch to scan res damps on the logi.

Unless it's a huge laggy fight Show All Brackets, zoom out, turn your Tactical Overlay on and assess the fight to figure out how you can be most effective. You can coordinate with other damp boats by using a subchannel on Mumble and using your Whisper keys to talk to each other.

Your light missiles should be used against interceptors and tackle frigates as they apply dps very well to these small fast targets. Usually the effect will be not to kill them but to force them to burn away from you which is great because with just the most casual effort from your tertiary weapon system you're chasing an opponent out of the fight. You can call missile primaries in your subchannel if you like.

Your drones are for the main primary, they do a significant amount of dps. If we're expecting a very frigate heavy engagement use 2 flights of Warriors instead.


You are the squishy underbelly of our fleet but so long as you survive you make us incredibly powerful. There are a few aspects working in your favour.

1) The Vexors will be chasing the enemy. Most FCs primary things that are close. That means they'll usually shoot the Vexors.

2) It's really important to have a logi anchor and logi channel in game and in mumble. If no one else is willing to step up please consider doing so. A good logi anchor who pulls you back to distance makes a massive distance in the effectiveness of this doctrine and it keeps you from being blown up. To anchor is pretty simply - you just tell the others to orbit you and drive back away from the enemy so you're about 50km from our guys at the front. Normally 50km from the FC - and you should always have the FC locked - is fine. (There are refinements - like manual piloting and maintaining traversal velocity to the enemy but that can all come later - the key thing is to step up and do it).

3) Logi in this doctrine should move independently for engagements. For example we jump into a gate camp. Vexors break cloak and burn to get tackles. Logi count to 5 then all burn straight down to get away from the fight, then anchor up. Example 2 we are warping in at zero to bad guys. All logi mash control space. FC fleet warps to zero and logi all cancel the warp. Then when the FC lands you can all warp at 50km and anchor up.

The takeaway is that it's ok to delay putting reps on for a few seconds if it means logi are better positioned.


You have 2 jobs.

1) Don't die.

2) Assess quickly and give verbal reports using this structure: [what] [where] [what are they doing]
Eg 4 svipuls and a sabre in YZ- on the 75F gate sitting still 10km off the gate.

If you get blown up or called away by real life tell the FC and make sure he's heard you then reship and come back soon as you can.

Flying down to whore on kills is really really bad scouting. If you can see that we've won the fight you should first assess where other threats might come from. If we're fighting on a gate what's on the other side of that gate? If you're sure that something isn't going to suddenly develop then ok sure, warp down at the end of the fight and point something.

Value Vexors.

 OK you get to have a super fun role. Burn right at the bad guys, drop sentries, web, scram, turn mwd off, orbit 1000 and turn guns on. Overheat everything for the first 20 seconds of a fight.Melt things. See people whine when they can't get away. You're faster than a sniper mode mwd svipul even without overheat and you'll surprise a lot of people by how quickly you catch them. You follow primaries as follows:

1) if you have something webbed and scrammed that is your focus. Hold it there, keep killing it, broadcast for reps as needed and don't let go until either it's dead or you're dead. You're a bulldog. Your Gardes however should be shooting the dps primary.

"Web scram tree, FC."

2) after the initial burst out to grab tackles some people will have stuff tackled and held in place and probably some of the enemy fleet will have burned off to range to snipe at us. At this point the FC should reign you in and tell you to work through the tackled targets. Please don't just latch on to the nearest target, you're very quick, if you're free burn to the correct target and help kill it. Always be alert for potential tackle targets though, if some straggler warps into the fight at zero grab him and hold him.

There's one finesse aspect to this rather brutal role - when you drop your Gardes. Now one of the strengths of this particular doctrine is that we create a zone of death with our Gardes that is very hard for the FCs to allow for correctly. What you should do is drop the Gardes about 5-10km from where we decloak/warp in. This creates a zone with Gardes a little spread out over it so they're hard to smartbomb. It's also hard for a FC to assess. You see with a big pile of enemy drones the FC knows that's where the damage is coming from but when there's just drones randomly all over he'll find it hard to position his fleet away from them. So even if he likes to fight at 60km, well outside Garde range if I move my fleet 40km behind the Circle of Death, he'll come closer to me to be 60km away which is a convenient 20km away from where you dropped your Gardes.

Value Fleet shoots things that fight at long range by looping round behind its Gardes.

The Circle of Death is also pretty brutal for small fast ships like interceptors if they go through it because they will have very low transversal velocity to some of the Gardes at certain times.

So this is a web scram blaster boat with a secret long range tactical element. Pretty nifty, eh?


Join the damps subchannel in mumble, anchor on the logi, never be still, align to a celestial once your logi anchor pulls you out to a decent range and warp off and back if you get shot at.

Tackle frigs. 

If you have a point change your fit. Your one job is to chase something too fast for a vexor to catch and scram/web it so a vexor can get secondary tackle then escape before you die. So chase a fast thing like a svipul by clicking space a little to the side of it until you can get close enough to web/scram him then orbit him 500 and switch to your friendlies overview sorted by range. When there's a vexor within 5km of you warp off then back to the fight and look for another target that you can hold for a vexor.

The fits:

[Vexor, Value Vexor]

Overdrive Injector System II
Damage Control II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II

Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
X5 Prototype Engine Enervator
Large Shield Extender II
J5b Phased Prototype Warp Scrambler I

Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M
Modal Neutron Particle Accelerator I, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge M

Medium Auxiliary Thrusters I
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Garde II x3
Warrior II x5
Hobgoblin II x5

Cargo: 1000 CN Medium Antimatter
(if requested) 10000 regular Antimatter
add Paste only for long roams with no chance to dock. Where we live and where many fights are likely to happen we can just dock up and repair in stations.

[Celestis, Value Celestis]

Damage Control II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II
Power Diagnostic System II

Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Large Shield Extender II
Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script
Large Shield Extender II
Remote Sensor Dampener II, Targeting Range Dampening Script

Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile
Rapid Light Missile Launcher II, Caldari Navy Inferno Light Missile

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

Hammerhead II x5

Cargo: 1000 CN Inferno Light Missiles
600 CN Mjolnir Light Missiles
600 CN Nova Light Missiles
2 Scan Resolution Dampening scripts

Our Fountain Core enemies love to fly svipuls and sabres which are weakest against thermal damage so normally Inferno missiles will be the best to load

Other fits: 

Standard doctrine fits as per our wiki.

FCing Value Fleet.

The trick is to get close to them, especially if what you're fighting is faster. Jumping into gate camps is pretty effective, station games are pretty effective, sending a couple of Vexors in as bait can work.

Always have your Value Vexors preheat mwd scram and web. Give 2 cycles of overheated mwd then tell them to turn heat off. What you've caught in those 20 seconds is what you probably will be killing, consider the rest of it to have effectively escaped. Kill what you have tackled then get out.

To spread tackle have your Vexors pick on someone near their name alphabetically. So if Brian, Susan and Thomas jump in and have 3 targets: Clarice, Marcel and Xavier Brian will get Clarice, Susan will get Marcel and Thomas will get Xavier.

The 30 seconds after you have tackled your targets are critical. Are you breaking them?

The problem is that with, say, 10 targets tackled and 30 Value Vexors you could have 3 Vexors on each tacklee which would make killing rather slow.

If they are dying then every time one of them dies more of your Value Vexors are free to concentrate on so your dps gets more focused and each successive target will get easier to kill.

If they're not dying then tell people to drop tackle and focus on one high value target. These Vexors are so cheap that if we lose 10 of them but kill a battleship we've probably won on isk value.

You have to balance greed for kills against focusing fires.

It's really important to be able to rapidly assess which enemy is in the most trouble and primary those off first. Eg kill the guy tackled by 5 Vexors before you kill the guy tackled by one Vexor.

You'll need to protect your logi and ewar. Do this by showing the enemy the Vexors first. Eg if you decloak in a gate camp tell the logi to stay cloaked for 5 seconds longer. If you undock into an enemy have your logi wait 5 seconds. If you warp to zero on a strong force have your logi spam control-space then warp to you at 50 after you land.

Value fleet works with small numbers. In fact it's fine even with 1 fleet member - it's a decent solo build although not quite as strong for soloing as a well designed actively tanked build.

They're vulnerable to bombs. A good bombing run of 8 bombs is enough to kill anything in value fleet. Don't be afraid to tell them to put mwd on and burn out of the bomb blast radius as if they don't use the mwd they're dead anyway.

Never sit in place against people shooting you from range unless you are actively killing things. When you run out of things to kill either perch or get safe.

You can have the Vexors drop a gun and add a medium neut against capacitor sensitive targets like capitals.

Tactical roles:

- roaming

- station games. Send out one Vexor to get some fool to agress, then undock all the others when he does.

- busting up gate camps.

- structure shooting. This is a point blank doctrine so you can't kill any structure with a force field. They're great though for shooting pocos, sbus, etc.

- ratting. Pretty decent ratting fleet. Forsaken Hubs are primary.

- soloing.

- home defence fleet. High damage and tackle utility make these ships very useful in our kitchen sink defence fleets.