Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fly Stupid or Die Trying!

I've died so often I lost count. And while I certainly had my share of lost GFs a lot of my losses were self inflicted. I'll list the most common for your amusement and my embaressment:

  1. Gate or Station Guns. Oh let's see what's so interesting at the Siseide Gate ... warp to 100km. Hmm, a stabber targeting me? Shouldn't be much of a problem. Engage!
  2. Sleeping on a safe spot. In Amamake or Egghelende it's very likely someone is probing your ship right now to jump in with a few Dramiels and Cynabals. Are you aligned?
  3. Sleeping at a gate. Let's quickly check this interesting mail while I'm still cloaked!
  4. AFK undock maneuver. Undocking takes so much time and hey, I haven't seen any unfriendlies around when I docked earlier. Let me ALT-TAB to my browser to check out this nice ... video enthusiast web page a colleague recommended yesterday.
  5. Not adjusting orbit range after changing ships. Well let's just orbit this assault frigate with my Artillery Rupture. And yes, I've flown my AC Rifter earlier, why do you ask?
  6. Looting cheap shit in a dangerous place (like Amamake 3-1). Well that's a nice pile of wrecks!
  7. Biting the bait. I'll quickly finish this Comet while his corp buddies are AFK at a safe spot.
  8. Trying to be smart in a dangerous place (Amamake 3-1 maybe?). No good targets on scan? M'kay then I'll play with those faction frigates at the top belt. Nothing happens there ever, right?
  9. Messing with gangs. Let's just try to pull that interceptor from that amarr FW gang. The others are so far away they can't possibly ... Why is my overview all red?

It seems there are only few truly distinct loss patterns in this list: Most deaths are caused by the Attention Deficit Pattern, which includes all those pathetic I forgot [my sec status | GCC | where I am] errors. Secondly there's a pattern I want to name Amamake Top Belt Suicide Pattern which by the way is not restricted to Amamake. It generally describes stupidly dangerous actions in a very busy and extremely unfriendly environment.

These are obviously my personal low sec flashy scum death patterns. I'm sure I find some new once I'll venture into 0.0 space more regularly.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Last wednesday minmatar scientists were able to measure a few deceased Rifter pilots' immortal souls: The diameter was 280 millimeters.
Minmatar News Network

Kitchen Rifter
Ah, the Rifter. It's the ten dollar hooker of New Eden's Low Security space: You find one at every other gate and if you're nice it will follow you to a belt. But sometimes it doesn't. And sometimes it has friends waiting there to take your wallet. And sometimes it is not fit the way you expected and sometimes ... ah well ... I had the feeling this hooker analogy would take us nowhere. Let's start all over again.

Ah, the Rifter. It's New Eden's apple pie. Everybody loves it. It's superior to any other fruit cake. And sometimes it will bludgeon you over the head and take your wallet. See? This analogy is much better, it's always worth the time to think about a brilliant introduction. You heard me: BRILLIANT!

The Fit
I want to share with you my favourite Rifter fit, the 280mm Artillery Rifter. I know for the savvy Rifter addicts of you all this will be pretty obvious, but bear with me. I like this fit so much I simply have to blog about it. I've been using it excessively in the past and I had lots of fun with it. Also I may have lost more than a hundred of these so decide for yourself if my advice can be trusted.

Yeah, that's right: 280mm.
[Disconnection Notice]
Damage Control II
Local Hull Conversion Overdrive Injector I
Micro Auxiliary Power Core I

1MN Afterburner II
J5 Prototype Warp Disruptor I
'Langour' Drive Disruptor I

3x280mm Howitzer Artillery II, RF EMP/Fusion S

Small Projectile Burst Aerator I
Small Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

I've tried some variations: First I had a Gyrostabilizer II in the lows instead of the Damage Control which I changed at one point when I realized that the tank without DC wasn't always up to the task to get my sorry ass out of the opponents range. Another thing I tried was a tracking disruptor (cap!) or something similar instead of the web in the mids. But thats way too dangerous. The web is imperative! Also speed and agility are very important hence the rig selection, the AB II and the (cheap) overdrive. This fit's total costs are less than 5 million ISK.

OK, What's so Damn Good About It?
With the range (7.5km + 11km) and speed (~1300m/s) of this fit you will lose very few (fair) frigate fights if you're careful-you can almost always disengage. And the alpha is just great, here's my favourite sample:
[ 2010.11.10 22:15:32 ] (combat) Your group of 280mm Howitzer Artillery II places an excellent hit on pilot 'pilot'(Rupture), inflicting 1121.0 damage. 
What's the Catch?
Well, the DPS is bad, with less than 100dps (RF Fusion S or EMP S) it can take some time to take a Punisher's armor tank down. In some cases you can increase your damage by carefully lowering traversal (keeping range instead of orbiting). Having no tank is bad, very few good volleys from a cruiser sized vessel will put you in a pod. So will most frigates at close range.

The Artillery Rifter is not shy about exploding.
Storm Warning
Avoid anything faster than you, i.e. any frig with MWD. You have no scram, only web, and you have very bad tracking. Avoid anything that can hit hard at your preferred range, like faction frigs with range bonus, frigs with 200mm and barrage loaded. Avoid drone ships. Also be careful engaging multiple targets at once. It can be quite a task to keep a comfortable range from two ships at the same time without losing point or getting too close to one or the other.

Flying Technique
Carry at least EMP and Fusion and load what's best for your customer. In many cases he'll be eager to fight, so just kite him a little without your AB until he gets in range. Your standard opponent will be an armor fit AB Rifter which does about 1000m/s which will make you much faster as soon as your afterburner kicks in.

In case your opponent is not conveniently coming to you, avoid direct approach and try to fly a tangent of your preferred 13 km orbit. Otherwise you might overshoot and get too close. Never get closer than 10 kilometers! Now overheat your guns and your web, as soon as he is at about 15km disrupt him and then let them guns do their shit. You know, like shooting stuff. At 13 kms range start orbiting the enemy and keep an eye one the range and incoming damage. As soon as he gets closer: web. As soon as he tries to get out just overheat the AB and disruptor and go after him. Do this until the other ship explodes which can take a while. Also keep an eye on incoming damage. If it's too much just increase your orbit until you get out of his point range and GTFO safely.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rifter Tactics 101: Megathron Mission Runner Massacre

Welcome to another installment of Rifter Tactics 101.
A frequent topic of discussion in our corporate cafeteria is: Can a Rifter take on a Megathron battleship? And how? Let's find out! (Ok, that part with the cafeteria is totally made up. I just read Eveoganda's Friday Fight the other day and thought I might share a believable real life example.)

A few months ago I probed a mission runner in a Megathron battleship. Not because I was looking for one, it's just that battleships are so easy to probe and I was bored by minding my own business. For my convenience the pilot hadn't bothered to rename his ship, so I knew who was flying the damn thing: A pilot much younger than me! In a battleship! Imaginary crew to battle stations!

Fig. A: Approaching the Prey
Be assured that the following maneuvers have been tried by me and reviewed by the Pator Tech School Flight Patterns & Post Flight Analysis Group, so it's safe for you too (and your kids) to try at home. Now the instructions:
  1. It's best to approach such a beast as the Megathron in a slightly modified bumble bee pattern (see figure A).
  2. Overheat the guns and engage the enemy when you reach position 2 in the picture I drew. (still figure A!)
  3. Rain bullets on him like there's no tomorrow for like ten minutes:
    [ 2010.11.20 14:21:39 ] (combat) Your group of 280mm Howitzer Artillery II hits Customer 'Customer's Megathron'(Megathron), doing 391.5 damage.
    The Megathron should explode now. Just kidding. But maybe you can take out one of its wind shield wipers.
  4. Fig. B: The Heimlich Maneuver
  5. When the Megathron pilot starts noticing you a lot of error messages will likely pop up within a very short amount of time. Like this one:
    [ 2010.11.20 14:31:44 ] (combat) Hobgoblin II belonging to Customer heavily hits you, inflicting a lot of damage.
     You can safely ignore them for now …
  6. … but not for long: When you see smoke coming out of your Rifter's propulsion thing it's time for the Heimlich Maneuver. I know it's frowned upon by so called "pros" but I like to use it now and then (see Figure B). Especially in situations like this.
  7. I won't go into much detail about the Heimlich Maneuver as it's part of every pilot's training. Just make sure to fly it according to the book and align and warp out safely somewhere at position 5 in figure B.
  8. Start smacking in local! Do it!

I think if the other pilot had slept a little longer and I had fleeted with some nearby friends in battleships the fight could have easily gone the other way!

And one other thing: I need a bigger ship with embiggened gun implants!

Friday, January 7, 2011

PTS Customer Satisfaction Strategy 2011

Starting with Q1 2011 PTS will ramp up the new Customer Satisfaction Strategy as part of our corporate excellence initiative:

Customer Satisfaction Forecast
In your Face, Competitors!
At Pator Tech School (PTS), we believe that complaint resolution is important, and it is crucial for our corporate strategy to respond to complaints promptly, accurately and with the utmost courtesy. We will provide our customers with accessible means with which to communicate their complaint, and will employ our best efforts to respond and resolve where possible. All complaints and personal information collected, whether written or oral, must be handled in a timely, professional and confidential manner. Our clients are entitled to no less.
I for one am fully aligned to the board's game changing strategy and I will support them with all my passion.

Now, if you have complaints about me as a PTS pilot please let me know. Convo me in game or leave a comment here. Later I might even post a complaint report template here for your convenience.