Tag Archives: Raven

A Feast for Ravens

Down in Queirious, we seemed to be starting off weekend on the back foot.  As I mentioned in a previous post, the Reavers had been driven back to our one staging system by Darkness and their allies, our gains made during the Delve conquest retaken.

Foothold in Querious

Foothold in Querious

And as I logged in for the op the other night, things looked somewhat grim.  Darkness had our staging system SBU’d, our main POS was reinforced, and we were there to try and hold them off as the timer ticked down.

Timer on Education

Timer on Education Friday night

That we were not able to hold the region was no real surprise.  Reavers are not a large group.  Operations are often just 20-30 pilots flying away from where the enemy is to hit them where they are not, shooting their SBUs, dropping our own, reinforcing towers, dropping siphons, and generally being pests that fade away when confronted.

But we are in a time of transition.  Alliances and coalitions in null sec are shifting about, often hunkering down, in anticipation of the sovereignty changes coming this summer.  The Imperium is inwardly focused, setting up the Seven Regions to be defensible under the coming new reality.  As such, there isn’t a lot of combat ops going on, and there certainly isn’t any large deployment of campaign of conquest to take part in.

In this situation, the Reavers were still hanging out down south.  Our leader, Asher Elias, said that if we could get better numbers, we could start getting into fights with Darkness, as their numbers were not all that huge.  So a new round of Reavers recruiting went out, this time with the promise of doing something more that just shooting structures.  Even The Mittani was out pinging on Jabber about Reavers getting fights that were big enough to be interesting, but small enough to not bring on time dilation.

We also end up getting some support down south thanks to convenient wormholes allowing fleets from Deklein to pop in for an evening.  And so it was that even as we seemed to be on the brink, with our system vulnerable, we were able to take the fight to the enemy.  Basically, that first evening, we got numbers early and were able to go camp the undock of their station in I1Y-IU.

Reavers on the move

Reavers on the move

On their undock we were able to hold our own and convince them to give up after a couple of brief exchanges. (Battle report, which I got from today’s null sec update) I even got my recently reactivated alt out and into an Ishtar, where he got a few kills thanks to the ongoing magic of drone assist.  I assigned his drones to assist Asher, anchored him up, and then went back to flying Wilhelm in his Basilisk.  Suddenly my alt, who I had trained up for combat at one point, had some kills.

We were then able to head back to ED-L9T and rep out POS, shoot the hostile SBU, and then cover the dropping of our own to secure the system.

Fun times.  But Asher had a further treat in store for us.  He announced a new Reavers doctrine.  In addition to Ishtars and Vexors and Crucifiers, we would also be flying Ravens.

This was the fleet doctrine I had been waiting for.  I had all those Raven and cruise missile skills trained up way back in 2008.  Now I would get to use them.  I even had a couple of Raven hulls sitting around in Amarr space, left over from level 4 missions way back in the day, ready to be re-purposed.  I got the fit, loaded them up, and set out for our staging system Wilhelm and my alt each flying one.

Ravens arriving in ED-L9T

Ravens arriving in ED-L9T

And while demand for Ravens was high… contracts for them kept selling out almost immediately… our logistical team was able to keep importing them so that we were able to form up our first Raven fleet.  The operation was a moment of opportunity, as Darkness was away.  Pizza had baited them to another system some jumps away and then put up bubbles on every gate on the route back home, so Darkness was mired for some time.

This allowed us to SBU their staging system and reinforce their station, setting the shield timer.

That was great fun, but I think most of the time was spent being great big nerds and talking about our new toys.  Watching the smoke trails of missiles hitting the station or the simply unfamiliar shape of and old school battleship was the highlight of the evening.

Missile exhaust trails

Missile exhaust trails. That big white ship is a Nestor.

The only opposition we faced was a bomber pilot who tried to hit us a couple of times.  That let us try out the smart bombs we all had fit, as used correctly those can kill incoming bombs.

Smart bombs active

Smart bombs activated

We missed the first bomb, but intercepted the second one.  Unfortunately, we also managed to kill a couple of our own frigates that were standing in close to the battleships, which was hilarious at the time.

Once we set the shield timer, killed the repair and fitting services, and discovered that there was no infrastructure hub in the system to shoot, Asher sent the small ships off to the gate for home, then had the battleships align to the gate.  We were going to land 100km off the gate, at which point Asher told us to activate our micro jump drives. (Lore behind MJDs) This would lets us experience another aspect of the doctrine.  As we landed, we activated the drives.

MJDs lighting up

MJDs lighting up

However, as we landed, some ships started bumping each other, changing their alignment.  This cascaded until the moment the drives were about to engage.

All that jump energy distorting space

All that jump energy distorting space

Micro jump drives jump you through space in the direction you are pointed when they go off.  So rather than all of us jumping straight to the gate, we all went off in a variety of directions in something of a MJD star burst pattern.  About three of us actually landed on the gate.  My alt was one of those who hit the gate, primarily because his skill level was so low, so his activated later than most.  I realized he couldn’t use MJDs just as we were about to undock, so bought the skill and started training it as we headed out.  I don’t think he had the skill up to 2 by the time we did the test.

We collected ourselves back on the gate and jumped through, headed for home. op success, as we certainly had a good time.

Getting the Ravens into combat though, that is going to be a more difficult nut to crack.  Occasionally we run into people who just don’t know what to think of us, like this Imperial Navy Slicer that we locked up at about 80km range and who thought he would just burn away from us.  With my skills, I can lock out to 150km and my missiles keep going to 220km.  He wasn’t pointed or webbed and a few volleys of cruise missiles caught him before he could out range them.  Again, hilarious.

Our fight with a Darkness T3 fleet however did not go so well.  They came to hit us while we were reinforcing a tower they had set up in our staging system.  When they arrived there was a period of warping around trying to gain advantage, but in the end when we got into engagement range, we had trouble breaking their tanks while they were able to whittle down a couple of our ships with every clash, often because somebody was slow aligning and didn’t get out when the rest of our fleet warped.

We eventually reshipped to Ishtars, at which point I jumped into a Basilisk and joined the logi force trying to keep people alive.  Then there was a report of a Darkness triage carrier in the system and we swapped back to Ravens again to hit that, though I stuck in with the Basi as we seemed to need as much logi as we could get.

I had some problems in the logi role when it came to the Ravens though.  At one point the Ravens lit their MJDs to jump into range of the enemy, which sort of left the Basilisks hanging in space by themselves, well out of rep range.  We were told to light our microwarp drives and overheat them to catch up.

Here is where I ran into problems, where I always seem to run into to problems.  I don’t know if it is me or the UI, but I cannot seem to reliably turn off the overheat option.  I clicked on the UI element to overheat my mid-slots, boosting my speed considerably, and I got the glowy green outlines on the modules indicating they were overheating, and I saw them taking damage.  But then I couldn’t seem to turn off the overheat options.  I clicked on the UI element again, and it seemed to take.  But then the modules were all glowing green again.  So I clicked it again.  And again. And then, soon enough, all of my mid-slot modules were burned out and I was a slow, easy target, my hardeners having all gone with the MWD.

This is not the first time this has happened happened to me.

And I felt all the more stupid because Arrendis, the logi anchor, said on coms not 30 seconds before this happened, “Don’t burn out your prop mods!”  So when he was asking why I was lagging behind I had to say that I burned out my prop mod because I am just that bad at EVE Online.  Oh the ignominy!

So I fell out of range as I tried to keep up my part of the cap chain and rep people as I went.  I just go lucky nobody targeted me.  As I fell too far back, I dropped out of the cap chain and warped to the station for a quick repair, but by the time I was able to undock again the fight was over and we were headed back to the station.  The battle clearly did not go our way, with us losing about seven times as much shipping when measured in ISK, with us losing a little over 8 billion ISK to their 1.5 billion ISK loss. (battle report, also a write up over at TMC)

Of course, over 40% of our loss value was tied up in three stupid-expensive ships; Arrendis’ Nestor, christmascaveman’s Barghest, and WhiteHalo117’s Raven Navy Issue were the high value targets of the evening.  (And, thanks to smart bombs, I got on the Raven Navy Issue kill.)

Still, we clearly need to work on that.  But even with the loss people were still excited about Ravens.  After ages with Ishtars, flying an old school battleship and using missiles is new and different.

Some more screen shots from the weekend.

Three Generations of the Caldari Navy Issue Raven

With the Crucible Expansion, nebulae were not the only things to get graphic updates.  The trusty Raven, and its navy issue counterpart, both got cosmetic makeovers.

EVE Online history goes back to 2003.

This will be the third “look” for the Raven since I started playing the game.

Way back before the Trinity expansion, when premium graphics were introduced, the Caldari Raven Navy Issue looked like this.

Raven Navy Issue - Classic Graphics

Then with the Trinity expansion Premium graphics became an option, with classic graphics going away completely with the Apocrypha expansion.  At that point the Caldari Raven Navy Issue looked like this.

Raven Navy Issue - Premium Graphics

Now with the Crucible expansion, there is again a new look for the Caldari Raven Navy Issue.

Raven Navy Issue - Crucible Graphics

I think all three of those pictures were taken in the same station, though probably on different computers with different graphic settings.  But they are all the same ship, since I have had only one Raven Navy Issue.

Now the question is, which one looks best?

The original looks a bit awkward to me.  But a lot of the classic graphics models… especially the early ones… have that awkward feel to them.

I like the middle version, though I am not sure how practical what looks to be a jungle camo pattern really is in space.

And then there is the new, Crucible version.  The camo pattern is certainly more space themed, but it doesn’t seem to do the ship many favors when it comes to beauty.

Which do you like?

Farewell Classic Graphics

Just fifteen month back, according to Kirith Kodachi’s EVE Tribune article “Growing and Growing,” the Trinity expansion to EVE Online introduced the premium graphics option to the game.

At the time I was not impressed.

Of course I was flying some ships that were newer in the game than most, so their forms did not change much in the jump from classic to premium, and others that looked pretty good as they were designed.  Drakes, Cormorants, Merlins, mining barges, Mammoths, and even Badgers did not change dramatically in the jump to premium, so it seemed like a big yawn to me.

Then I built a Raven.

Now there was a ship that was seriously improved by the premium graphics option.

As a reminder of how much of an improvement there was, I set my machine to classic graphics mode and took one last picture in the old art style for comparison.  The subject: My Raven Navy Issue.

Raven Navy Issue safe in its hanger

Raven Navy Issue - Premium Graphics

Raven Navy Issue - Classic Graphics

Raven Navy Issue - Classic Graphics

With Apocrypha the classic graphics are gone.  Now, if you want to boost performance, you can alter your settings to show lower resolution versions of the premium models.

But it is always good to remind ourselves once in a while where things once stood.

Raven Upgrade

Potshot, Gaff, and I got to spend some time running level IV missions over the weekend.

Not that they were a huge challenge.  All three of us have second accounts so when we bring all our resources to bear, we have three Drakes, two Ravens, and a Rokh, which adds up to some firepower.  We’ll have to bring that to bear on Worlds Collide some time.

As we finished up the mission, we were chatting about fittings and upgrades when Gaff asked what a Navy Issue Raven would cost, both in skills and price.

Skills are not a problem, but the price can be.  Or used to be.

Some months back I went through the exercise of comparing the Raven, the Raven Navy Issue (CNR), and the Caldari Marauder class battleship, the Golem, to see if it was worth upgrading.

The Golem turned out to be very expensive, both in price and in skills required.

The Raven Navy Issue was easy when it came to skills, but was still too much for me, running in the 400-500 million ISK range.

That was all back in July of last year though, so I decided to check prices on Raven Navy Issue contracts.  It seems that prices have come down.

There were half a dozen Raven Navy Issue battleships available via contract in Jita for 263 million ISK.  You could probably trade a PLEX for one pretty easily.

Since July my fortunes have risen.  263 million ISK still seems pricey, though after the Charon I could handle it.

So, with cash in my pocket, I hopped in a shuttle and headed to traffic control central, Jita, to buy me a new ship.  And after a moment or two of confusion and panic (263 million gone, no ship in hanger, have I been scammed?) I figured out how to claim an item from a contract and flew my new toy back home.

Raven Navy Issue safe in its hanger

Raven Navy Issue safe in its hanger

I stripped my old raven for fittings, added one more cruise missile launcher I had sitting around, gathered together salvage for three capacitor control circuit rigs, and I was set.

I will go back and refit my old raven over time to keep as a backup.  I hate to think of losing my new ship, but this is EVE.

Now I just have to try it out on a mission to see how much of a difference the extra shields and additional launcher make.

Battlecruiser Alt

Suddenly my mining alt became a combat stud.

After I had max’d out all the mining related skills on my alt, I wasn’t sure what else to do with him.

I started him on shield skills, figuring that those are always useful for a Caldari, while I considered where else to go.

I thought for a while about letting him go up the assault ship path to a heavy interdictor just to try something new.  I thought it would be an interesting change.  But then I decided that was probably more ISK than I wanted to spend on an alt.

At that point my main, Wilhelm, was driving for battleship skills, which meant that I would have a perfectly good Drake sitting around, fully fitted and ready for action.  So I set my alt on the path to fly that thinking that the extra firepower against smaller ships would be helpful on level IV missions.

Eventually Wilhelm was flying a Raven and my alt was about ready for the Drake.

The extra firepower certainly helped, especially for swatting annoying little frigates that were hardly worth wasting a cruise missile on.

I kept his skills rolling, with missile and shield skills being the priority.

Then on one mission I accidentally sent my alt through a gate first.  This was on a mission which had proven challenging to tank in the past with my Raven.  Ooops.

Well, I figured he would grab the aggro and take the heat for a while, then I could warp him out and let the Raven, the battleship, the big guy, take up his role as the main target.  I didn’t expect much.

But my alt and the mighty Drake tank ended up surviving through the entire mission.  It seemed that his skills, which included all of the shield compensation skills up to at least level 4, and level 5 for EM and thermal, had been a good investment.  Furthermore, being a passive setup, I did not have to baby sit the shield booster and capacitor.

I got a little nervous when the Drake’s shields dipped down to close to 20% remaining.  I aligned him for the nearest station and got ready to send him off.  But by that point I had whittled down the incoming fire enough that the shields only went up from there.  By the end of the battle they were above 90%.

altdrake

I knew the Drake had great shields, but this was beyond my expectations.

Not that the shields are better than the Raven.  I know with a careful eye on the capacitor and shield booster, along with some luck with the nosfaratu, that my Raven can deal with a lot more damage for a lot longer.

My alt is now working on the skill Battlecruisers V, which will give his shield resistances another little boost.  And after that I have some missile skills he can train up to level V.  Then I have to decide what else he should work on.  Perhaps I should put him on the path to research agents?

How Much is That in ISK?

You may have seen the ad at the EVE Online logon for the new EVE Battleship models.

You can get realistic (whatever that means when we’re talking about a virtual universe) scale models of the mainstay battleships of each of the four EVE Online factions.  They are:

They sound like they are quality items from the description at the EVE Online store:

The EVE Online Battleship Models are constructed from a solid resin foundation and are mounted, ready for display, on a base emblazoned with the associated faction logo. The meticulous reproduction of EVE Online’s ships is achieved through a combination of plastic detailing, cast metal components, and hand painted accents. The end result is a striking replica of the very ships soaring through space in New Eden.

The catch is, of course, that they are $124.99 each. (Or all four for only $499.96!  If I have that much to spend on toys, I’m buying this instead.)

And while I like the game a lot, and the models look good, with shipping the cost is more than subscribing to EVE for a year.

Which lead Gaff to ask the logical question, “How much is that in ISK?”

I’m sure somebody could do that calculation give the current time card rate of exchange.

Worlds Collide… With Me

The EVE Online mission “Worlds Collide” and I have a history.

Almost two years ago, when I first started playing EVE Online, I was given “Worlds Collide” as a mission.

After running the old tutorial I was sent to my first agent, Purkkoken Honuken, located at the Caldari Navy Assembly Plant orbiting moon 4 of Jita IV. The very first mission Purkkoken gave me to run in my Ibis was the level 1 version of “Worlds Collide.”

That did not go well.

I ran at it more than a few times, but it just wasn’t going to happen. That was about enough to make me quit EVE, being faced with a mission that is pretty much impossible in an Ibis. The mission expired eventually. I buckled down and worked on getting a better ship by mining. Eventually I felt ready for another mission. I drew the first of many, many runs through “Avenge a Fallen Comrade.”

I ran across “Worlds Collide” a few more times. By the time I saw it again though, I was flying a destroyer and, while it still was not easy, it was manageable.

Then I started running level 2 then level 3 missions. “Worlds Collide” is only available as level 1 or level 4, so I did not see it again.

And even when I began running level 4 missions, I never seemed to draw it… until the weekend before last, which lead to last week’s “Vacation Cliffhanger” post.

The simple answer to the questions posed last week are:

  • Will I align and warp out in time? No.
  • Did I remember to insure the ship? No.
  • How did I get in this position in the first place? Poor reading comprehension and being in a hurry.

Things went well to start with. I got on, accepted the mission, flew out, and cleaned out the first pocket of both factions. I even flew back to base, got out my salvage Cormorant and cleaned up the first pocket.

All that took more time than I thought it would. Things in MMOs always take more time than you think they will. So I checked the mission outline to see if there were any shortcuts I could take. The entry on EVE-Survival said the following for pocket 2 of the mission:

(Angel Base): Kill or ignore the two Angel Spy frigates & Angel Sentry Guns. Fly directly to the gate and activate gate.

“Cool,” I thought, “I can just scoot right through the second stage!”

And so I flew my Raven back out, took the gate to the Sansha Base, and tried to blaze on through to the warp gate.

The Sansha Base is a little tougher than the Angel Base. That would be my guess.

By the time everything in the pocket was aggro and attacking me, it was a bit too late to get away.

I busily tried to take down the frigates that were webbing and warp scrambling me. The ship went boom and I sat there in my pod feeling really dumb. Somebody commented on the other post about taking the time out for a screen shot. Screen shots only take a second. The agony of that death took a good minute.

2008.08.09 23:44:00

Victim: Wilhelm Arcturus
Corp: Twilight Cadre
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Raven
Damage Taken: 57651

Involved parties:

Name: Centus Overlord / Unknown (laid the final blow)
Damage Done: 57651

At least you get a booby prize for uninsured ships. I got a 45 million ISK pay out for an uninsured Raven. Who says EVE is hard core?

Now I had to get back there and pull out what fittings I could, salvage the ship, then start in on the painful process of fitting out a new Raven.

Time to compound my problems!

I got my trusty old Drake, fully insured still, out of the hanger and thought, if only I could sneak in there with the tractor beam and pull the Raven wreckage out, I would at least get something back.

This is where I discovered what sets the whole room on aggro. If you get within a certain range of the warp gate to the next pocket, the whole room lights up.

I got into the second pocket, pulled in the Raven, looted and salvaged it without a problem. A pile of my tech II fittings came through intact! All I had to do was warp out and things would be fine. I had actually knocked off a couple of the insta-aggro Sansha ships with the Raven, so things were going smoothly. they were going so smoothly, I thought I might as well salvage and loot the other wrecks as well. I just had to travel a little bit to get them in tractor range…

And then the pocket lit up on me again.

This time I really didn’t have time for a screen shot.

2008.08.10 00:16:00

Victim: Wilhelm Arcturus
Corp: Twilight Cadre
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Drake
Damage Taken: 41884

Involved parties:

Name: Centus Overlord / Unknown (laid the final blow)
Damage Done: 41884

Well crap. Down two ships.

Time to regroup and refit.

I found a Raven for under market price only a jump away. I found most of the fittings I needed close by as well. I had the salvage parts to make two Capacitor Control rigs. And I had a tractor beam sitting in storage. I put it all together and headed out again.

This time I grabbed the Drake wreckage, hauled it in, looted it, and got out with my missing tech II fittings. That put me back to about 90% of the capability of my old Raven.

Then I went back in and did the mission by the book, carefully peeling off each group, keeping them at maximum range to minimize the damage they could inflict, and generally doing things the way they should be done when you’re not in a rush. It took time, but dying took even more time.

I got to the third pocket, fought the one aggro group, rescued the crew from the damaged Heron, and headed home.

With the mission payout, with time bonus, the bounties, and the insurance payouts, my bank account ended up with about as much ISK in it as when I started out. I was just short a fully fitted Drake.

Later that evening I went back to the agent looking for another mission. And wouldn’t you know it, I drew “Worlds Collide” again.