Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Life on the Test Server

Over the past few weeks, this blog has been innundated with rapid fire updates on all things Burners.  I tried my best to keep a live feed rolling of things I was seeing on SISI as the new content was revealed and tested.

But I have a confession to make ... in general I'm not much of a test server kind of guy.  New content only gets added so often; I'd rather experience it on the live server, and savor it, and make it last.

One thing that helped kill my WoW experience was all the datamining that goes on.  New content is sliced and diced, deconstructed, debated ad nauseam.  By the time the content goes live, it's "old news" and the data miners are on to the next.

The term "spoilers" is overused, but it applies here, and is still a somewhat inadequate descriptor.  New content to me is like an expensive steak dinner - I want to sit down in my fancy duds, order a glass of wine, get an appetizer, and take the time to make a memorable experience of it all.  The entire process of consumption is part of the enjoyment.  The temptation is to snort down the new content like it's a trip through the Hardee's drive through for a greasy burger and overcooked fries.

And then there's the really annoying habit of devs to change stuff as soon as you get it figured out.  Test servers are a volatile place; while you're trying to get a sense of how to tackle the new bad guys, the bad guys are also learning how to tackle you.  That means a lot of starting over from scratch, resets, wipes, and the need to question every result (good or bad) with the question "okay, what just happened, and was X the same as yesterday?"

And for those two reasons, I generally don't beta test games that I'm actively playing.

In the case of the BC burner content, I felt a sense of responsibility to get in and understand the new challenges so that I can help all y'all complete the missions.  I also felt like I could help CCP flesh out the content and maybe therefore get better content down the road.  I don't fancy myself an expert, but I do feel like one of the champions of CCP investment in the lvl4 system - I'd whined and ranted about this stuff for awhile, the least I could do was show up and test it.

So, I did the testing on my own terms, threw away a lot of badly fit hulls, and something surprising happened - I had a good time.

The sense of duty became a sense of fun.  How unexpected.

Tweaking fits real time (for free) while sitting in a station is far better than using Pyfa.  Jumping into the pocket to test the results real time instead of theorycrafting was pretty powerful.  I tried ships I'd never flown, and fits I'd only read about, and came away (I think) smarter about EVE and mid-sized ships. And the quick turnaround from the first appearance on SISI to Mosaic launch meant that I'm not tired of the new content before it goes live.

Anyway, I doubt I'll become a permanent resident of SISI, but it's been fun to visit there the past few weeks.  Now it's time to make some isk.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Anomic Base

Mosaic launches tomorrow!  (golf clap).  Time to get in for some last minute testing on SISI.

Short version:  I've run both of the new missions using the previous fits and think I'm about as ready as I can get for these to hit the live server.

I could milk this and make it into two separate posts, but meh -- I'll just make you click through to get the rest.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sunday, Quiet Sunday

It's Sunday.  The inlaws have left, three acres are now mowed, and I even got the Corvette out for a Sunday drive.  I'm pretty beat.

I was on travel (again!) through late Thursday.  Against my better judgement I went to work on Friday instead of calling off dead, and then we played host to the inlaws beginning yesterday.  Visit with them was fun, but tiring, and I've had near zero PC time since this time a week ago.

I should login to SISI and kick the doors in on some BC Burners, but instead I'm sitting here stretched out on the couch with the laptop across my legs and a 17 year old cat laying across my belly and arms, happily purring.

Interstellar just started on blue-ray.  I think we'll be movie buddies for the remainder of my Sunday evening.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Serp and Blood BC Burners Live Next Tuesday

The first two BC-sized burner missions are slated for the April 28th release (Mosaic) according to the new updates page.

Burner Missions: Serpentis and Blood Raiders 
Put your cruiser skills to the test as you face off against some of the most powerful pirates in New Eden. One faction famed for their extensive connections and the other for their thirst for blood. Dominate and destroy, or end up another "donor" to their illicit cause.

Based on the picture, the Blood Raider Proph got some much needed background flair for the mission.  I've been away from the keyboard the past few days, so haven't run him lately to know if this is relfected on SISI or not.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nerd Fall

Item #1 - As faithful readers know, I'm going to EVE Vegas this year, and I'm pretty excited about it.

Item #2 - We're now also going to attend Blizzcon. I'm excited about that too.

Item #3 - These two events are separated by barely 10 days.  My wallet is not excited about this, but the rest of me is ok with it.

For those that don't follow WoW/Diablo/Blizzard nerd lore, Blizzcon is Blizzard's version of Fanfest.  It takes place in Anaheim CA and is attended by 25,000 folks.  It sells out almost instantly, despite annual price increases that bring a tear to your eye.

I'm not really playing any Blizzard games.  I dabble in D3 a week or two every few months.  I didn't buy the latest WoW expansion.  I'm approaching the age when I'll be slow and old to be any good at Overwatch (the new shooter / Team Fortress clone).

So here's the backstory:  Mrs. Durden expressed some interest in going to Blizzcon this year.  It was a passing thing that kept popping up, like "hey can you take out the trash, and by the way wouldn't it be cool to go to Blizzcon?"

Interest perked up after I bought tickets for EVE Vegas.  If EVE Vegas would be "my" trip, then "her" trip would be Blizzcon.    We're not doing any big trips this year, so a couple of west coast weekend trips fit our budget.

We went to Blizzcon in 2007 and 2008 and then bought virtual tickets via DirecTV the next few years.  In 2007, getting tickets was easy and we kind of blundered into it.  In 2008, there were server meltdowns and lots of drama, but somehow one of my orders managed to go through and we went to Anaheim.  After that, we were kind of "over" the fuss of getting tickets ... we tried (not very hard) to get tickets in some of the intervening years, but staying home and inviting friends over to munch popcorn and watch nerdTV from the virtual ticket was kind of fun in its own way.

Anyway, the first batch of Blizzcon tickets went on sale at 10pm last Wednesday.  We had decided that we were serious about going.  We were both woodpeckering F5 in our browsers as the clock wound down.  As 10pm struck, I managed to click through first and thought I got stomped by a laggy javascript checkout button, but somehow landed in the full legit checkout while Mrs. Durden got sent to the waiting room.

Still not believing I was "really buying" tickets, I skeptically walked through the checkout.  "Can't be happening," I kept thinking.  But it was.  A few minutes later I got the email from eventbrite to prove it.

So, in late October we'll be heading west to Vegas for EVE stuff.  We'll come home on a Monday, maybe Tuesday.  About 1.5 weeks later, we'll get back on a jet and fly to Anaheim for Blizzcon, a day at Disneyland, and maybe a road trip somewhere outside the LA basin.  I'm perhaps more excited for EVE Vegas, but Blizzcon is familiar territory and I'm excited to go there in a different kind of way.

I hope there are good shirts for sale at EVE Vegas.  In 2007, I went to Blizzcon attired in a swanky Guristas logo shirt, and drew comments from Blizzard staffers about CCP and EVE during the first day.  Good times.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Random Bits of Burner

I posted my "official" feedback yesterday to the feedback thread.  If you saw my earlier post here, you saw the bulk of it.

I did notice that the Prophecy now pays out 15M isk bounty instead of 5M.  The Talos was 3x5M so it makes sense that the Prophecy should pay 1x15M.

The Prophecy has evolved a little bit since my earlier posts.  He now seems to orbit at 8500m or so instead of 12-14km.  This puts you more at risk for his Nos (although whether he uses it is still hit or miss) but as a trade he is also in range of non-faction webs.   This could make for some more interesting fits and perhaps better application of dps.

I will be tied up for the next few days, so won't have a chance to poke around on SISI.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Another Prophecy Killer

Funny enough, I've not successfully used a BC to kill any of the new BC burners.

Here's another option I came up with.  It's maybe a little bit slower than the Gila, but if you're more into missiles than drones, it seems to work just as well.

I've got two runs in it - first I used HMLs and for the second I switched to HAMs.  I finished the fight at about 50% shields both times.  It's a little hard to gauge because in the first fight the Proph went after my drones and killed 3, meaning I took less damage (had a short amount of time for shields to recharge while the drone sacrificed himself honorably for me) but my overall dps was lower at the end.

Fight is very similar to the Gila, though for HAMs I set my orbit distance to 29km instead of 35km (I have 30km overall HAM range with this fit).  Like the Gila, he will run you down and web/scram/nos, so the orbit setting is just a way of keeping yourself moving.

No Fleet/links involved, though I did overheat launchers to ~60% damage both times.

[Orthrus, Abavus Durden's Prophecy Killer]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II
Shield Power Relay II 
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
EM Ward Amplifier II
EM Ward Amplifier II
Thermic Dissipation Amplifier II 
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II
Heavy Assault Missile Launcher II 
Medium Core Defense Field Extender I
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I

Hobgoblin II x5
Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Assault Missile
The Gila and the Orthrus are relatively slow fights; I'll keep looking for other options.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Gila Fit for Burner Prophecy

I've run the Proph a few more times now; this is where my fit currently sits:

[Gila, Gila - Prophecy Kill]
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Drone Damage Amplifier II
Shield Power Relay II
10MN Afterburner II
Large Shield Extender II
Large Shield Extender II
Thermic Dissipation Amplifier II
EM Ward Amplifier II
EM Ward Amplifier II 
Heavy Missile Launcher II
Heavy Missile Launcher II
Heavy Missile Launcher II
Heavy Missile Launcher II 
Medium Warhead Calefaction Catalyst II
Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I

Hammerhead II x10
Caldari Navy Scourge Heavy Missile
There's still maybe some tweaking that can be done by folks that are better at Pyfa than me.  But this version finishes the encounter at 50-60% shields with my skills.

With my skills, I show 812 dps from this setup, 634 of that from drones.

Fight works like this:
- Warp to pocket
- Set yourself to orbit the Proph at 35km or so, activate AB and lock all 3 targets.
- Once all 3 are locked, kick the drones out the door and nuke the two frigates, it won't take long with only drones.
- While the drones work over the frigates, put your HMLs on the Proph.  Move the drones over when the frigs die and go make a sandwich.

The Prophecy will eventually run you down and apply web.  Until he does, you will be semi-kiting him and mitigating a little bit of damage.  I leave the AB running while webbed just to try to keep some speed throughout the fight.

The previous version was an active tank with a medium shield repper, but in one of my runs the Nos stayed with me the entire fight and I almost lost the ship.  I managed to hold out for the victory, but I was very deep in armor and it wasn't pretty.  I immediately flew back and pieced together this passive shield tank version.

Edit:  I should also note that the current version of the Proph seems to be less likely to kill your drones (although he still does) and more inclined to drain you crap to zero with his Nos.  Previously the Nos seemed to be very random; was perhaps bugged or something, I guess.

There are no doubt other ways to kill the Prophecy.  For now, this is how I'm doing it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Post: Burning, Bikes, and Beer

Lately this place has been Burner grand central, and I've stayed pretty EVE-centric in general over the past few months (other than a rant or two about airline travel...).

Today is Friday, and I'm debating on whether to fire up the EVE client at all.  The weather is outstanding, and it's one of those rare spring days we get around here where it's low-wind, sunny, without bugs, pollen, or other nasties.

Burning:  The RL kind.  I was off work today, and spent the morning on the phone trying to line up a contractor to tackle a new pole barn.  We own 10 acres, and the main project for this year is to expand the outbuildings by one.  The spot we intend to put the barn is presently in the center of a many-acre woods, and that means clearing trees and brush and thorny things so that the contractor can get his equipment in and out and put up the barn.  I could pay him to do it, but I enjoy this kind of work, and it's far cheaper to do it myself.

A few weeks back I cut down 8-10 mediums sized Ash, chunked it into fireplace sized logs, and left the tops where they lay.  Today was a perfect day for burning -- so after I had a PBJ sandwich, I went out and built a monster bonfire.

People talk about bonfires with a party atmosphere.  To me, they're a helluva lot of work.  I spent the early afternoon dragging, hauling, cussing, and tossing branches.  I lit off the fire and prayed it would stay lit (I avoid using nasty accelerants like oil; whatever doesn't burn goes straight in my well water).  Once the fire caught, I spent the next several hours feeding it.  Feed the fire fast enough that it stays going strong but not so fast that it flares up and gets away from me.

Finally, I sat in a lawn chair and watched the fire burn down to nothing so that I could safely douse it and come inside.  But I was pooped, tired, exhausted.

I'd have had a much easier day if I'd gone to work, but getting the brush cleared is satisfying.

Bikes:  I haven't posted much about triathlons or biking.  I am signed up for one race this season in early June.  Last season I suffered a lower back injury and thought maybe I'd never ride again.  I got back on the bike by Fall but was nowhere near where I wanted to be in terms of stamina or speed.  I stumbled through the rest of the season and then took many weeks off this winter.

After the first of the year, I started back on the spin bike at the gym.  I downloaded several workout videos to my phone and did interval sprints and hill climbs.  I don't have many real-road miles thanks to the weather, but have been on the bike at the gym 2x per week for the past 4 months (unless I was traveling) and I feel stronger in the bike seat now than I have in a long long time.  I'm really interested to see what I can do on the open road, and have high hopes to knock off some bucket-list achievements this season.

Swimming, likewise, has come along.  We swim 1x per week and I've basically been doing the same interval workout for the past 4ish years.  When I started the workout I could barely finish, but over the past year I peaked and started coasting.  It took me awhile to realize it, and about 6 weeks ago I changed up my routine.  The difference is dramatic - I feel stronger during my weekly sessions than I ever have and have increased the distance another 20% for each session (now swim 2000 yards per session).

Beer:  I don't drink much alcohol these days.  Partially because of my diet and trying to keep weight off, and partially because it just generally disagrees with me.  But I do like dark, creamy beers (Guinness, when I can find it), and from time to time I miss having one.  It's Friday and I worked my butt off today.  So I'm opening a bottle of St. Peter's Cream Stout, which I picked up last weekend and have never tried before.

It has a cool bottle, and the St. Peter's stuff I've tried has been good.

<Pause for Effect> The taste is good, but would be better if I had a large steak in front of me.

Anyway, I'm going to stop typing and finish my beer.  And after that, I may take a nap.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BC Burner Thoughts

This will eventually become a post to the official forums.  For now I'll keep it here and maybe edit it as l go.

Thoughts so far:

Serpentis Talos:

  1. Overall, I like the Talos encounter.  The matrix of sentry guns is pretty impressive upon warp-in.  I like shooting at the Talos, it is a good looking hull.  Overall the mission feels special/impressive enough to be included with the other existing burner missions.
  2. The Guristas Worm is my favorite frigate burner, and I really like a "big" burner that has the same kind of brawling feel.  Any excuse to use blasters and hot antimatter....
  3. I don't like the far distances of the Talos mission... the distance, combined with damps, forces you to fly from A to B to C and burn up extra time.  It could be just a little bit smaller and not lose any of its overall feel.
  4. I wish the Talos ships flew a bit quicker, or perhaps varied speed. All three are the same in terms of mechanics and could/should act differently or each have its own flavor. The first is the hardest because of overall DMG inbound and the remainders feel more like cleanup.
  5. I wish the sentry matrix in the Talos encounter did more.  They look cool but are generally ignorable.
Blood Raider Prophecy:
  1. It's an interesting problem to solve - big tank, lots of tracking disruption, web, scram, and nos up close.  However, the initial version I tested didn't have the same "whoa" factor like the Talos sentry matrix.    There needs to be some items in the pocket or something neat to look at.  It doesn't feel as "epic" (forgive the overused term) as the Talos.
  2. I like that the Prophecy seems to adjust its speed.  This is new behavior for a highsec mission and helps keep you on your toes.
  3. Other than variable speed, the mission isn't that much different than Duo of Death or other existing vanilla lvl4's, except with a restricted ship list.  I'm afraid it won't hold up well as it ages unless some adjustments are made.
  4. Increasing the (relatively low) damage could make this much more challenging.
  5. Extending the Nos range could make this mission a real, real bastard.
  6. If you want it to be interesting, change one of the frigs to a hictor/dictor and put a warp bubble at your land-in.  Something you can navigate out of and still escape, vs. some unfair perma-scram.
That's all I have from the dentist's office. Time to get my gums scraped.

Triple Talos with Links

The Deimos is a mean little ship, and is the only way I've been successful with the Triple Talos as a solo fight.  I pulled the Talos tonight on SISI and decided to grab the link ship and see what might be possible.

Since the BC Burners were announced, I've tried and tried to get a Sacri into the fight.  It's my favorite HAC, and it's a tough little bird.  Thank goodness SISI hulls are cheap, because I've thrown quite a few away over the past week or so.

I tweaked my last fit and got stats as close as I could to the Deimos in terms of armor HP repaired per second, resists, and dps.  All stats were lower, but not horribly lower.

With the link ship running (3x Armor links, 1x AB speed, and 1x sig radius), the fight was surprisingly similar to the Deimos.  I still needed to watch transversal, especially while killing the first target.  DPS was a touch lower, so the killing spree took longer, but the speed under AB was a touch faster so overall the undock to redock time was a bit lower.

Would the fight have been better/easier/faster with Links and a Deimos instead?  Sure.  But that wasn't the point.  The Sacri got to come out to play and I didn't send another hull to a premature scrapping.

Oh, and I've officially jinx'd myself.  Two of the 3 Talos dropped faction mods, which no doubt perpetually curses me to never see Serpentis faction mods once the missions are live.

Btw, the Talosi did target my light drones once, but didn't kill any.  The new AI seems to favor focusing damage on you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Blood Raider BC Burner is Bested

The first incarnation of the Blood Raider Prophecy is on SISI.

After a lot of trial and error (as I said, I'm no fit wizard), I finally beat him using a Gila.  It wasn't an elegant fight, nor was it a short fight, but I emerged the victor.  I'll post the fit after I've run him some more; there's some room for improvement.

The crux of this fight is dealing a lot of damage and dealing with turret disruption.

- The Proph has a healthy active tank and travels at between 800 and 1200m/s or so.
- Initial distances are about 50km.
- He orbits you at 12-14km, or outside web range.
- He's got two Corpii buddies (frigates) that apply the turret disruptors.
- Proph applies web out to about 14km, and scram to about 22km.
- There is some initial Nos that comes and goes, and seems to happen under 10km.  So if you let him orbit you at his preferred distance, Nos isn't an issue.
- Total bounties of 5.547M isk (I killed the two frigs).

Compared to the Serp mission, there's a lot less going on.  No matrix of turrets, no monster damp ranges, and no teeth smashing crits from 250km away.

And on the plus side, the damage isn't that horrible compared to the Talos encounter.  All of my fits quickly swapped to a single repper.  During testing, I could break contact if I could do about 1400m/s and get out of scram range for a warp out and refit.

The trick is doing credible damage against a relatively fast target while having your eyeballs full of turret disruption.

Solo, you've got a lot of constraints.  With faction webs and a link ship running to boost web range, I think this fight would be a TON easier.

This is the first iteration; I'd expect CCP to adjust as we get further into testing.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Blood Raider Battlecruiser Burners Now on SISI

Happy Monday!

CCP Lebowski announced the following today:
Thanks for all the reports and feedback so far! I've updated the known issues in the op and I'm enabling the blood raiders mission now. Enjoy!

So that makes a Serpentis and Blood Raider.  I suppose that means that Sansha, Angel, and Guristas will follow.  I was kind of hoping for a Drifter Burner before this was all done with.  Maybe the agent should say something like "Abavus Durden! Hurry!  Our officers just entered battle with one of the mysterious Drifter ships.  They were destroyed in the encounter but reported that their target was damaged during the battle. If you hurry, you might catch him.  I'm making this mission optional, but we desperately want to get our hands on that Drifter technology before our competitors do, and I'll pay handsomely for your efforts."

The SISI mission system appears to be bugged, I'm flying to another lvl4 agent to see if I can get ANY offers (appear to be locked out at the moment) ... and yes I'm killing the time by typing.

Oh, and if you haven't seen it, the successful Serp mission battle report somehow got put below my Friday notes in the post list.  Not sure what blogger is doing, but it insisted that's where the post belonged.  Scroll down a bit if you want to see how I tackled the Serp Triple Talos.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Friday Talos Burner Notes

EDIT:  Editing on Sunday for things revealed via the forums and correcting my generalist observations with more precise answers.

More time on SISI last night. Learned a few things and got closer to actually bringing down the evil Taloseses (Talosi?).

Notes in no particular order:

- Best tank seems to be speed tank. I didn't spend a ton of time on it, but any slow tanky fit I threw at it melted quickly.
- Damps are still present. I seemed to burn through at about 45km.
- There are still three Taloses, each worth 5.5M.
- Starting ranges are still very far (175 to 199km). One target will be straight ahead of you. His friends will be 90 deg on left and right.
- No frigate targets anymore. Just the 3 BCs.
- Scram at 24 km from a Talos.
- Sentries still don't seem to do much.
- I was able to approach carefully in an AB fit Phantasm but not deal damage.
- Best runs of the night were in a 100mn AB Gila, but I still managed to only kill one Talos. His friends killed me as I let transversal drop while switching targets. Spiral in carefully or fiery death awaits.
- As before, I was running T2 fits and no link/fleet buffs. I may break that rule next session to see where the edges of the encounter really are.
- Talos targets move very slowly at about 75km.

I still feel rubbish at fitting a big variety of ships. What I know, I know pretty well, but many of the hulls I grabbed I have not flown significantly.

Triple Test Talos Terminated Triumphantly

The official forum feedback thread is seeing a little bit of traffic, and based on suggestions there I've now beaten the Triple Talos encounter with a Deimos.  I'm glad I suffered with other ships first, as it gave me the background to be able to use the Deimos effectively (or maybe this is just me trying to convince myself that the past few sessions weren't wasted, hah).

Here's my fit.  I DO NOT claim this to be optimized at all, but it is what I took on grid and had success with.  Now the tweaking can begin.
[Deimos, Abavus Durden's Talos Hunter]
Medium Armor Repairer II
Medium Armor Repairer II
Energized Kinetic Membrane II
Energized Thermic Membrane II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II
Magnetic Field Stabilizer II 
10MN Afterburner II
Medium Capacitor Booster II
Cap Recharger II
Cap Recharger II 
Heavy Ion Blaster II
Heavy Ion Blaster II
Heavy Ion Blaster II
Heavy Ion Blaster II
Heavy Ion Blaster II 
Medium Auxiliary Nano Pump II
Medium Anti-Thermic Pump II

Hobgoblin II x5
Hornet EC-300 x5
Federation Navy Antimatter Charge M
Navy Cap Booster 400
This fit has passive resists of 88% Thermic and 92% Kinetic, with my skills.  I rep for 607 armor every 4.5 seconds.  The blasters do 538.2 dps, plus another 99 for the Hobs.

A few comments about the fit before I talk about strategy.

1. I debated using a MWD.  However, after playing the last couple of sessions with speed-tanks, I wanted to see if the slower AB version was survivable.  The MWD would speed up the fight (holy crap, the distances) at the cost of being a cap monster and signature bloom. Now that I've completed the mission, big tweaks will include the MWD.
2. Alternately, if I keep the AB, then the Cap Rechargers are redundant.  I needed to boost cap periodically but it was nothing too horrid.  With the AB, the mission took ~15 minutes to complete, most of it just flying through space and farming transversal; I'd like to speed up the fight.  However, if the final version of the encounter speeds up the Talos, we will probably need a web to be successful, so I don't mind having a midslot to sacrifice to 'future changes' at the moment.  (The initial version of the encounter had the Talos traveling wicked fast, but the current test version has them bumbling along at around 75 m/s; CCP hasn't said if they intend to revert the design or not).
3. I tried a single armor rep version and didn't seem like I was keeping up.  The dual rep works very well for those times when you get big hits from all 3 Talos and you're suddenly at 50% armor from full.

As I said ... more tweaking to do.


A. Start your active modules and enter the pocket.  Per previous guidance, put the armor reps out of phase (activate 1, wait until it's 50% cycled and start the second).
B. Enter pocket, immediately fly straight up and activate AB.  Gain some speed/transversal.
C. Pick a target.  I wouldn't go for the center (straight ahead) target, as it puts you at equal distance from both Mr. Left and Mr. Right.  I typically go for Mr. Right first, which puts you furthest from Mr. Left and hopefully taking less damage from him.  I tried to 'approach' the target and immediately took heavy damage; a spiral approach using the orbit buttons made the damage more manageable.  Initially you will be too far away to orbit.  Simply fly at him (double click in space) and a little off-axis (not directly in - keep some yummy transversal).  Once the orbit button lights up on the UI, orbit at 35km.  You will come in VERY slowly but should be able to tank the whole thing.  Once at around 45km, start halving your orbit distance - 20km, then 10km.
D. Once at about 10-12km, kick your drones out of the bay, click approach, and get on with business.  For the first target I used EC-300s to lock down the active target and mitigate some damage while you are close in.   Note:  You will be almost stationary while you fight the first goon, so reducing some damage taken via EW drones may help.  The other two will be wailing on you harshly as you dps.  (Next time I will try it without EC-300s, but was being conservative the first time through).
E. Once the target dies, double click to start moving, recall your drones.  At the moment you can WARP to the various turrets in the pockets if they are far enough away.  I picked one near Mr. Left and warped across the field and repeated my orbit/spiral approach pattern. If you warp to zero, you will take some damage from the turret - I right clicked and warped in at 10km.  For targets #2 and #3 I let the Hob2's loose to speed up the fight.  For the last target I simply approached and ate his face.

As fits continue to improve, all this business about spiraling in and EC-300s may become unnecessary.  

Like any PVE, once the secrets are out, the encounter becomes a lot more straightforward.  The fits I had been trying were either "Impossible" (Navy Drake) or "Difficult" (Gila).  Then along comes the Deimos and now it's probably "Easy."  So here I am talking about all these secrets and talking about optimizing a fit to shave more time off the encounter.  There's some irony in here somewhere, I'm sure.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Battlecruiser Burner Feedback Thread

CCP Lebowski started the official feedback thread for Battlecruiser Burners over on the offical forums.  He's got some news that Serpentis Talos is first, though a Blood Raider flavor is on the way.

I'll try to post stuff in both places but the longer version will of course be here (and with pics, if applicable).

Some good news, no more chain declining on SISI:
As of today we'll be disabling all missions except for the Serpentis Burner to allow for easier testing (The Blood Raiders mission is still undergoing some balance tweaks and will likely be available early next week). These missions will be available from any level 4 agent, though other missions may initially be offered.

SISI appears to be down at the moment, so I'll head over to Tranquility and try not to blow up ships like they're free. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

One Was Enough

There was a small SISI patch today, and upon warping in I had not one, not two... but THREE Talos Burners waiting for me.

I died very promptly.  It wasn't until after I was sitting in my pod that I noticed the other two.

The field of sentries is now multi-layered, as well.  It looks cool, but didn't make it into them for them to even matter.

Refit, died. Refit, died.  Figured that the triple Talos was a bug of some sort and returned to agent and declined the mission.  Chain-declined a few more missions and got another Serp Talos offer.

Refit... and still a triple Burner.

I'll hold tight a bit, right now this doesn't feel right.

Battlecruiser Burner Tests, Round 1 - Sacri vs. Talos

I was lucky to pull the Burner Talos today from one of my old agents on SISI:

Ignore the low LP payout, they will self-adjust upwards once live.

Bad news first:  The Talos hits very hard. He starts about 245km from you.  He orbits you at 120km at between 1600 and 2000m/s.  His armor rep can regain about 50% of his armor in one gulp.  He has two frigate friends (tristan hull) that damp you, so kiting is out.  There is a field of sentries that seem to aggro you around 30-45km.  And he's a jerk, and he smells funny.

Good news (what there is of it):  He doesn't scram you immediately, that seems to happen at around 30km, give or take.  But he hates drones and will swap targets to them -- so, with drones out, you can probably abort a run if you are paying attention.  This generally isn't possible with Frigate burners and thinner hulls. (With an AF fit costing 20-50M or a HAC/BC running 250-750M, some hope of getting out of a botched run is a good thing).

Also, the Tristans either can't keep up with a mwd or don't chase you.  For my brawler fits, they really didn't seem to play into the fight.

NOTE:  All testing was done w/o a link ship, no significant implants, and no Fleet buffs. 

To me, this feels a lot like the Burner Worm encounter.  Get in tight under his barrage of fire, web his butt to the floor, and have at it.

This is SISI, the realm of fantasy fits, and the notion that you can try stuff you've never been able/willing to afford before and throwing it away for giggles.  But I was time limited tonight and wanted some structure around how I went about testing the new content.

So, I decided that first I should go with a hull that I had a lot of experience with so that I could compare the damage to what I normally see in lvl4s.  I wanted something fast, fairly tanky, cap stable without cap boosters, and an armor tank.  I can complete most lvl4s in a Sacri these days, and wanted to see how one of my favorite fits (modified slightly) would hold up under the new challenge.

Attempt #1 - Took damage early (like at 180km), panicked, and overheated the reppers to keep up.  Launched bait drones and got my armor repped up, but got my reppers out of synch when I de-heated and ended up popping.  My fault.

Attempt #2 - Fit Heavy Missiles, Hornet EC-300s for bait, and Hob2's for dps.  Launched the EC-300s upon landing and made the dash to the target.  I had a Sebo fit for combat range but couldn't nail him down enough to deal dps with the launchers.  Barely got through his shields but drones were dying in fiery death.  I wasn't scram'd so I aborted to refit.

Attempt #3 - Fit HAMs and changed the sebo for a web.  Approached, launched EC-300s, and closed the distance.  EC-300s did their thing and I was able to get within 10km to web him down without taking much damage.  As he killed EC-300s, I launched Hobgoblins to replace and damage initially looked really good.  I had him nearly into structure but my Hobs started dying, but then magically his armor went almost back to full.  I weighed my options and aborted. 

I only have shields because the Talos hates my drones.

Things I learned:
a) No, Command Ships are NOT allowed.  I tried to get a Sleip in and was declined.
b) Yes, Navy BCs ARE allowed (I hopped in briefly with a naked fit Navy Brutix).
c) A t2 fit Sacri is still too thin (not enough buffer, and not enough reps) to sustain heavy fire without bait drones to distract the target.
d) Sacri + HAMS alone wasn't enough to break the Talos tank.  

I'm torn. I could eek some more dps out of this fit if I refit for cap boosters and dps rigs.  Or I could look at an actual BC hull.  Will rub my chin some more and try again soon.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Battlecruiser Burner Tests, Round 0

Per previous post, Battlecruiser Burners are up on SISI.

I created a fresh SISI client this morning and logged in but was unable to draw one of the new missions.  I did a pretty good job of trashing my normal agent's standing via chain declining before trying Caldari Navy (and angering them too) and am a little afraid to press further fishing for a mission without some clarification.

I'm leaving for Easter Dinner with the inlaws anyway, so I won't be very productive today.

I thought about editing the previous entry but will just re-summarize here for clarity.  Here's what we know so far:

  1. Battlecruisers and smaller past gate.
  2. No tech3 battlecruisers.
  3. NEW:  Faction/Navy BCs appear to count as "Attack Battlecruisers" and therefore SHOULD be allowed in, tho I intend to verify.
  4. NEW:  I don't see Command Ship listed on the allowed ships list posted to reddit, meaning t2 battlecruisers are also verboten, and I'll verify.
  5. NEW:  The BC burner appears to have a 5.5M isk bounty at this time.
  6. NEW:  No word on LP payout, though anything on the test server now would not take into account adjustments from the dynamic payout system.
I've asked Sugar to try to get some guidance from CCP on what the test environment is like - which agents provide the missions or whether all factions are available at this time.  She says in her CSMX weekly post that she's asked.

In the mean time, if anyone draws a mission on SISI, please drop me a line and let me know a) how you got it and b) how the results came out. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Battlecruiser Burners Up on SISI

Found this reddit thread while looking for some answers on the Jaguar losses.  I had to blink a few times, but it appears that Battlecruiser sized Burners are up on SISI.

Engagement rules are thus:

  • BC and smaller allowed past the gate
  • No tech3 ships
At first I thought it was a troll post, but here's the youtube feed:

I sense more insurance payouts and lost ships in my future. :)

Help Me Diagnose Fiery Jaguar Death

So, last night I lost a pair of Jaguars to the Single Blood Raider Cruor.

I hadn't pulled the Cruor in a few months.  But, my Minmatar/Projectile skills had come around and decided to try him without my link ship.  I used my previous fit, previous ammo (RF Fusion S).  The only change from my previous run was upgrading the tech1 Burst Aerator rig up to tech2.

I jumped into pocket, did the same strat as previous many attempts.  Normally my shield would fall rapidly but then slow down around 50% and finally settle around 40% about the time the burner was going down.

This time I fell straight through 50%, continued to 30% about the time the target was at half armor.  I was hopeful that it would stabilize there.  But after a brief reprieve, it continued to drop and Jaguar #1 popped.  I wasn't mad, just more of a "huh, well that's interesting."

I cloned the setup from the local market, grabbed the link alt and zipped back in for what I thought would be a dirt simple fight.  The target had repped up shields but was at maybe 20% armor and a smidge of structure gone.  By the time I stripped shields off the target, Jaguar #2 was dead.  That made me blink.  I soaked far less damage, despite having Fleet buffs and links running; it was almost like my tank wasn't working even though I was fit the same way.

I sighed, returned in the Wolf and killed the stupid Cruor without much fuss.

I asked Sugar if she knew of any nerfs to the Jaguar but she (and others in the channel) came away empty.  We recalled some changes to projectiles/ammo, but not sure how they would apply or if they're relevant.

This morning I'm going back through the kills as I'm still really confused why the 2nd Jaguar died so quickly.  I don't recall committing any gross pilot errors (ship was moving, web was applied, and guns were running).

So I ask, kind readers, to please tear my fits apart.  Am I using the wrong ammo?  Bad fit?  Or was the 2nd attempt just a result of a 12 year old combat system showing its age?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Change and Happy Fridays

I've been away all week on business.  Unlike last time, the airlines actually cooperated and we got there and back again with very little fuss.  I did have an early wake-up this morning, and my subconscious mind worries about missing my alarm, I started my day at 2:30 am this morning.  After pacing the hotel room a bit, I spent a couple of hours trying to sleep, followed (of course) by a blaring alarm at 4:30 just after I finally drifted off again.

The payoff was an on-time arrival at home (vs. sleeping in for a later flight at the risk of getting caught in the Final-Four, Spring Break, Easter Weekend, foul weather air traffic snarls).  This yielded effectively a 1/2 day off work after the past week's worth of 16 hour days doing presentations and after-meetings with customers.

On the downside, I think I'm getting a head cold, just as I predicted to Sugar.

The blog here was in robo-mode, posting things for me that I wrote over last weekend.  I had my cell phone on me to watch for big EVE drama, but otherwise no recreational internet activity since Sunday night.  I'm looking forward to getting in game and killing some Sansha, but I haven't completely cleared my mind from all the events of this week.

And as I get home and start checking out the blogosphere, I see an article by Sugar about the inevitability of change and another one by Talvorian Dax about changing corporations IRL as well as in game.

The timing of these articles is good and will help me process some office politics that erupted (yet again) while we were at the meeting this week.   I could write about it, but won't - good grief, it's Friday.  All that crud can wait until Monday.  I'm turning off the cell phone and am going to go find some cold medicine and a pile of pillows on the couch.

Happy Friday everyone.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

D3 Season 2

I posted a few days ago that Diablo3 Season 2 was coming to an end, and it was going to be tight to make it to the level cap at our casual pace.

Thanks to an anniversary buff that gave bonus XP and bonus gold, we kicked over our lvl70 characters on Sunday.  Me, as a Wizard and Mrs. Durden as a Crusader.  We both went with aoe builds and our ability to clear rooms was astounding.  I would stand in back and lob meteors while she did the spiral hammer thingy.

I have no idea what I'll play for Season 3, but will probably run it again.  D3 is a game that I can't play constantly, but has enough replay value in the campaign that I don't mind running through it a few times a year.  And playing with the Mrs. a few hours a week has been a good way to goof around.  We used to play EVE together, and then WoW together. Our game interests have diverged significantly in the past 3 years or so.

We got a bonus level near the end that put us into the land of rainbows and unicorns.  The entire texture set looks like it's drawn with crayons and water color, and all the mobs are turned into carebears, flowers, and pink unicorns.  It's a great easter egg, and was the best way to wrap up our campaign.  I tried to take a screenshot, but it eluded me and then I died horrendously to a particularly mean pink bear, so I quit screwing around.

Alpha State

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."  That's one of my favorite quotes from the Matrix 2.  It has to do with the ...