Saturday, September 12, 2015

Philosophy, Fun & Falcon Tips

PvP in Highsec is something unique in EVE. It's not like in Lowsec, Nullsec or WH space. In order to reach PvP, Highsec residents have to go through certain mechanics: Wardecs, duels, suicide ganking, attacking criminals/outlaws, killright activations and all sorts of other player-generated possibilities.

In my opinion, an important element that keep Highsec entertaining is the following triangle: miners, gankers and anti-gankers. Each of these three elements need the other two for a maximum level of fun, because each of them creates content for the other two. It's a triangle of content. Any significant nerf to one of them will make Highsec less entertaining. And no, suicide ganking is not bullying. It's just part of the sandbox, just another way of having fun in Highsec and/or reaching certain objectives. As an anti-ganker, I recently ganked a few gank-scouts/spotters to annoy and disrupt their operations, and I had fun doing it.

"Anti-gankers are good for the game."
          -John E Normus 

Most gankers actually enjoy seeing any sort of counter-ganking opposition that cause trouble to their operations. Some fail regularly, others adapt by fitting ECCM, purchasing Ganking Permits, aborting their ganks or just ganking elsewhere. After all, the more content we have in Highsec, the better. 

Instead of complaining to CCP, seeking in-game solutions to in-game problems is what more people should consider achieving.

"In the end, NOTHING can be wrong with players undocking to solve a "problem" themselves and find a way to do it, starting from nothing. It's always, as I'm sure the more honest amongst us will agree, better than going to CCP and begging for mechanics changes and nerfs."
        -Herzog Wolfhammer

During my Anti-ganking career in Highsec, I've made observations on how gankers reacted upon being disrupted by me and other Anti-gankers. My conclusion from these observations is: "Hell yes, Anti-ganking is good for the game." 

Of course, ganker tears will always flow here and there, that's part of the game and it's a good thing too. But in many cases, I observed fun, refreshment and entertainment that comes from the sudden, emergent fight between gankers and anti-gankers. 

Kill Report

Ganker Zopiclone's operation was ruined when the art of GankerJamming emerged in Aidart. While the targeted miner Soulist Peck raced with CONCORD's overall DPS, Armand Patrouette successfully jammed the Catalyst long before CONCORD's arrival and saved the miner after waiting very patiently for the Catalyst. Like in most cases, CONCORD wasn't even needed to save the miner.

[…] I think his secret was that he was just as dedicated as we are. He wasn't thinking about the isk/hr he was losing by sitting in his Falcon for hours. He didn't start watching youtube videos just because there wasn't any action for 10min. And above all, I think he did it because it was fun […]" 
-Malcolm Shinhwa

Because neither the miner, nor Armand was AFK. They knew what they were doing.

[01:14:07] Armand Patrouette > You need a ganking permit Zopiclone . Tsk!

Upon ruining Zopiclone's gank, Armand delivered the brief summary: Zopiclone definitely needed a Ganking Permit!

[01:14:29] Zopiclone > :) Nah I am doing just fine.
[01:14:30] Zopiclone > :D
[01:14:37] Zopiclone > But good thing you two arent afk
[01:14:44] Zopiclone > Thats what its all about
[01:15:59] Zopiclone > I dont mind smart miners.
[01:16:02] Zopiclone > Good on you
[01:16:40] Armand Patrouette > o7
[01:16:46] Soulist Peck > :-)
[01:16:56] Armand Patrouette > Yeah . . . the ones that go off and watch TV and AFK mine irk me, too.

Just like most of the genuine Anti-gankers, Armand also dislikes the stupid full-time-AFK miners. Why would anyone like an always-AFK player anyway?

[01:17:30] Zopiclone > Good stuff! :D I love to see progress
[01:28:56] Zopiclone > THAT JAM though was nice
[01:29:39] Zopiclone > That was so refreshing I think Ill finish up for the day! Wow I am so happy right now

The ganker was full of joy after being jammed. His monotonous ganking routine was suddenly enlightened by the emergent, dazzling and refreshing intervention of Armand's Falcon. As the strong waves of ionized particles penetrated the unsuspecting Catalyst, the art of GankerJamming successfully stopped the gank while also making the game more interesting for all sides. Content was generated, fun was had.

[01:30:25] Learza Thiesant > Ermmm ok? Wow you guys made an agent happy?! WTF is the world coming to.

Chat logs source: Armand Patrouette

Gankers have fascinating names. Take Gaylord Fappington for example. At first sight, no one would expect that his ruthless Catalyst can be permajammed by a mining ship. 

Kill Report

But it happens, especially when the Skiff is in good hands. The gank was stopped successfully.

[ 2013.11.07 12:15:07 ] Azov Rassau > Gaylord Fappington: you have foolishly engaged in gankological activity within sight of our Skiff and must suffer the electronic consequences. :)
[ 2013.11.07 12:15:38 ] Gaylord Fappington > Azov Rassau Well played
[ 2013.11.07 12:15:42 ] Gaylord Fappington > I tip my hat
[ 2013.11.07 12:16:09 ] Gaylord Fappington > I like the cut of your jib

Our humble ECM Skiff is one of the most loved and respected ships in Highsec since 2013. Considering the many fun moments I've had with it, it's quite normal I guess. My Skiff was now Gaylord's nightmare. As a result, I had to do something different to defeat his gank again. I like to make traps and surprises for gankers: 2 days after the above engagement, I was once again at the same ice belt…

…with the Falcon this time, watching over the ice miners. While waiting for another possible attack from Mr. Fappington's ruthless Catalyst, I was wondering if Mr. Fappington was going to improve his tactics after my Skiff's victory against his Catalyst. After all, I was in Local again, that should have been an important sign to him. Maybe he was going to bring a triple-ECCM Thorax/Brutix to show that he stands up against me? 

Kill Report

No.  Mr. Fappington failed again. It was the same boring Catalyst, not a real challenge for our Falcon.

[ 2013.11.09 12:51:01 ] Gaylord Fappington > A Falcon, I am impressed Piekura

Once again, Mr. Fappington was impressed by this unexpected Highsec PvP situation. What he experienced is known as "GankerJamming". Action, Reaction. Emergent.

Now that Falcon Jammington has defeated Gaylord Fappington, allow me to share some important tips for anyone interested in protecting their mining ops or simply engaging with Anti-ganking thanks to the Falcon. Most of the advices that I've already shared for Griffin and the ECM Skiff actually apply to the Falcon as well, so I'll keep it relatively short. The most important ones are as follows:

1) Place your jammers so that you can activate them with F1, F2 etc. This is especially useful when there are multiple gankers. You don't want to waste time with clicking one by one. The utmost goal is to reduce their DPS as quickly as possible within a frame of about 15-20 seconds so that their target survives.

2) The amount of jammers in med slots depends on your decision. I personally fit as many jammers as possible with a single sensor booster. This also allows me stop Orca ganks.

3) Overload everything. Pay attention to your optimal ranges. Check D-Scan all the time. Get ready do decloak earlier when Catalyst(s) appear on D-Scan.

4) If you have time, always check the kill boards and look for ganking signs in your mining op's system. Tracking with and adding known ganking groups like CODE. etc. with terrible standings is also useful. This lets you notice them easily whenever they enter Local. Click on the Local chat window and separate it from other channels. You want to see Local at all times. I don't want to hear pathetic things like "When I lost my Hulk I was chatting in another channel so I couldn't see Local!!1!!"

5) Make you sure you have a dedicated overview tab that does NOT show Mining Barges, Exhumers, Veers, Industrial Command ships and Freighters. This is especially important when you protect a crowded ice field.

In the above examples with Zopiclone and Gaylord Fappington, there was only one ganker, but the Falcon also works effectively when multiple gankers are present. Take our Uemisaisen gank prevention as an example:

"The falcon has a very good jam strength, easily up to 15, which is enough to have over 100% jam chance on every destroyer without ECCM fitted. Combined with room for 5 jammers and some quick locking, you can potensially silence up to 5 gankers. Managing this many jammers quickly can be a challenge, but if you pull it off, you can disrupt quite large ganks.
When activating jammers, a general rule is to always spread them on as many gankers as possible. However, sometimes you want to activate one jammer, see if it jammed successfully or not, and from that decide if you should activate another jammer on the same target or switch target. You should also always prioritize activating gallente jammers (magnetometric) on gallente ships (catalyst/thorax/brutix,etc) and minmatar jammers (ladar) on minmatar ships (thrasher/tornado/etc)."

Another cool example happened during a Falcon patrol of mine, again in Piekura. I had managed to shut down the DPS of 3 Catalysts immediately after they started shooting their target, thus preventing the gank. While the "gf"s echoed through Piekura local, everybody enjoyed the moment: Their target, myself and the gankers.

[ 2013.10.28 21:21:05 ] Fieldgrey Fox > haha
[ 2013.10.28 21:21:06 ] Fieldgrey Fox > gf
[ 2013.10.28 21:21:13 ] Fieldgrey Fox > *applauds
[ 2013.10.28 21:21:27 ] Azov Rassau > gf
[ 2013.10.28 21:21:33 ] Stimfisk Lennelluc > gf
[ 2013.10.28 21:21:37 ] Liho Beny > dahell :D
[ 2013.10.28 21:21:38 ] Zelnor Smith > lol gf
[ 2013.10.28 21:21:48 ] Durimar Khema > bdsm style
[ 2013.10.28 21:22:56 ] Liho Beny > 3 killrights
[ 2013.10.28 21:23:09 ] Stimfisk Lennelluc > like a bawse
[ 2013.10.28 21:23:35 ] Liho Beny > btw
[ 2013.10.28 21:23:37 ] Liho Beny > i´m sad
[ 2013.10.28 21:23:41 ] Shiro Kusoni > at least 3 catalyst didnt killed u
[ 2013.10.28 21:23:52 ] Liho Beny > that´s the point!
[ 2013.10.28 21:24:10 ] Liho Beny > i was waiting for that... for 6 hours...
[ 2013.10.28 21:24:47 ] Stimfisk Lennelluc > nice job azov, ruinin his fun
[ 2013.10.28 21:24:50 ] Stimfisk Lennelluc > :P
[ 2013.10.28 21:25:12 ] Duy Sotken > whuat?
[ 2013.10.28 21:25:49 ] Stimfisk Lennelluc > whuts
[ 2013.10.28 21:25:55 ] Liho Beny > you know that you HAVE TO come back again?
[ 2013.10.28 21:26:09 ] Stimfisk Lennelluc > well not if theres a falcon
[ 2013.10.28 21:26:29 ] Stimfisk Lennelluc > :<
[ 2013.10.28 21:26:35 ] Liho Beny > i didn´t even see the falcon, was too focused at you guys
[ 2013.10.28 21:26:55 ] Stimfisk Lennelluc > lol

For a two letter abbreviation, that simple statement conveys a lot of information. We fought, one of us won, and I am not butthurt. Good fight. It’s a salute to an opponent, a respectful nod to their skill and attitude, and in some cases an ironic reference to the one-sided nature of an engagement; such as popping cyno noobships or dunking on TEST. I kid, I kid.

SKIFF Bonus:

Highsec PVE Content generator Daopa's Skiff was recently targeted by a bunch of clueless gankers. Just like BigGreyMouse, the Catalyst pilots thought that they can easily gank Daopa's properly tanked Skiff-class exhumer. I am pretty sure you can guess how it ended up for them!

Comrade Daopa describes the scene as follows: "3 Catalyst showed up attempting to gank my skiff which ended up really bad for the gankers. They didn't even do much damage on shield at all. Culprits are TJ Tamil, Lex Iconis Delorean, Rodrigo Kane from Unsettled Alliance. Thanks for the 8 million in loot drops and 2 kill mails!"

One does not simply gank a Skiff. Well done Daopa. This is what I call "Mining like a boss".

Triple Advanced Machariel Maintenance Bonus!

As some of you know, bumper ganking is a good way of punishing those robot-like freighter bumpers. Some bumpers get ganked only once, because they learn how the defend themselves and stop going AFK. However…

Kill Report

Kill Report

Kill Report

Kill Report

Kill Report

…bumper Dibbes is a slightly more problematic case.

"Justice was swift and painless. 
 Rest assured, Dibbes didn't feel, or witness, a thing.  We are told that his new clone did wake up with a terrible headache and nagging sense of self-doubt and loathing."
          -Thomas Chasteaux 

Purchasing an appropriate Bumping Permit can maybe solve this hopeless case. My compliments go to the people who have accomplished these ganks: big bud skunkafella, Alexander Kaan, Pepe Mota, Jennifer en Marland, Ma'qeth, zaqq, ScummyB, JackknifedII, Molech, Samuel Vokan, Tynakuh and Jagtor as well as the Highsec Militia for their willingness to incite more people into bumper ganking.

Starting this blog was probably the best decision I've made in EVE. What makes it better is that I have received "Keep it up!" messages from Gankers, Anti-gankers and Miners. Not every blogger receives that from all these three different groups. This not only made me smile, but also made me understand that people enjoy this type of Highsec content. I will update this website whenever I have time to do so.  o7

"Sandbox, players adapting, emergent gameplay - it's all there, in highsec. No more 'having to go to null after 2 years of skilling and grinding' for PVP."
          -Herzog Wolfhammer

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Stacmon Patrol is a website that provides valuable information regarding active gankers. 

"This is probably the best site for keeping track of gankers."
           -BeBopAReBop RhubarbPie 

Created by Anti-Ganker Pulttl, it provides a list of recent ganks and active gankers. During another patrol with my Griffin pilot in Highsec, I wanted to take another look at the data provided by the site. 

One of the results was showing that a Retriever was down in Stacmon system after a ganker named Gervasius the Handsome attacked it. I decided to pay a visit to that system to enlighten and disrupt the ganker's operation with my ECM Griffin. 

18 jumps were made when I was finally 1 jump away from Stacmon. Just before jumping, I quickly recapitulated what I was planning to achieve. Firstly, by using D-Scan, I had to find miners with a high chance of being attacked by the ganker (Hulks, Covetors, Retrievers, Mackinaws.) Secondly, I had to guess and predict which one will be attacked and thirdly (and most importantly), I had to be there with my Griffin before the ganker arrives. Motivated by these thoughts and my goal, I jumped to Stacmon.

The first thing I saw was a scandalous example of robot-aspirancy. In Local chat, the ganker was busy answering the residents of Stacmon with the same repetitive statements like a programmed robot. It was as if a computer had taken control of his words and the algorithm was resulting in random phrase formulations about the same thing over and over again.

While local chat was being bombarded with robotic statements, I found a Retriever at an asteroid belt and quickly warped to it.

I positioned my cloaky Griffin within the optimal range of my jammers and then I waited patiently. About 30 minutes passed.
"A counter-ganking sits around for an indefinite period of time hoping that gankers will eventually come and be foiled by him. He has to be paying attention continuously, for his ward could probably be killed in the time it takes him to go to the bathroom." 
          -Voyager Arran

All of a sudden, a Proteus affiliated with the ganker landed at the belt. She directly started approaching the Retriever. 

First, Kaely bumped the miner for a while.

A few minutes later, she was already right on top of the Retriever. This meant one thing to me: a warp-in was about to be provided to the ganker.

At that moment, I was literally spamming the "Scan" button of Directional scanner, waiting for the Catalyst. I also became more and more convinced that this Retriever pilot was probably AFK. I don't like AFK miners. "Then why do you protect them?" one might ask. Well because I enjoy doing Anti-Ganking and creating content for both myself and the gankers (and even the miners!)

Yes! Here we go. A few seconds later, Gervasius the Handsome's Catalyst appeared on D-Scan. 

The ganker landed, became criminal by initiating the gank on the Retriever and got jammed immediately and heavily by three magnetometric jammers of my Griffin which was now enlightening the ganker with its strong projection of ionized particles designed to disrupt the Catalyst's targeting system. Of course, the camera crew on board my Griffin recorded my ECM ambush.

The gank was prevented, fun was had, 'Good Fight's were expressed, content was generated. What followed was a mostly enjoyable conversation about Highsec.

As I always do, I injected some relevant humor to local chat. 

Meanwhile, the first reactions from the Proteus pilot were hasty expressions with prejudice and delusion. Her reaction was almost the same as an AFK miner's reaction to a gank. ("real fight", "what you do isn't real PvP", "this is unfair", "honor") Both Ganking and Anti-Ganking are particular, unique types of real, emergent Highsec PvP. It's a joke whenever someone denies that fact. I didn't even answer Kaely right away.

Like I said earlier in this post, I don't like people who haul and mine AFK, simply because it's just not normal. If you play a game, you should be actively engaging with it. I'm sure most of the genuine Anti-gankers agree with that. If I protect a miner, it's because I enjoy doing it, not because I "really" want to protect and reward his lazy AFKness. But of course, there are also miners who stay at keyboard and play the game, and those ones earn my respect.

I have distant memories from the mining fleet which I was a member of on July 2013. Judging from their silence in Fleet chat and the way their ships looked, I could easily distinguish an AFK miner from a non-AFK miner, and I used to ram into the AFK ones with my afterburner-fit Skiff just for the hell of it. It was hilarious.

After ruining the gank, I also kept my fellow miners and other Anti-Gankers updated about the successful engagement by informing them on the Gank intel channel.

One of them responded by saying that my look was similar to the ganker's look. Sharing similar looks with a brain-washed gank-bot isn't a compliment in my book, which is why I should probably update my character's look soon.

Alright thanks.

And then Meyer Wolfsheim broke in by declaring that the ganker is my twin. Holy **** guys. Okay, I will update my portrait. Happy?  

After these statements from Darth and Meyer, I ended up having a quick look at both portraits, just to see what they were talking about.


Holy crap. I think they're right. The resemblance is strong and scary. This isn't good.  *laughs*

[ 2015.09.08 19:09:58 ] Kaely Tanniss > you awake now  Marco Sasen ?

Meanwhile, Kaely was busy delivering additional bumps to the miner who really seemed to be AFK. To be honest, I don't mind when an AFK miner gets bumped. They deserve it.

And then came the classic "CONCORD KM whoring" argument.

At this point I didn't express myself clearly enough, I also don't know why Kaely was talking about known details like the ganker's security status and my timing of engagement (which had a small effect on my gameplay, that gank was going to be ruined anyway). Regardless, I hereby want to bring additional clarifications regarding the "CONCORD KM whoring" accusations. 

"people say you are 'concord whoring', because you are tagging onto km's but not actually preventing the gank target from being destroyed. 
-Beatrix Dacella

Most people agree that whoring on CONCORD killmails is a derogatory/negative term defining a situation where a player just shoots a criminal a bit before CONCORD's arrival without preventing the gank. This is the most accepted definition of this term. As you can see, it isn't what happened in Stacmon that day.

"I'm not sure what this real damage crap is about, or why people say "you're concord whoring" the point is to make the gank harder, for real km you join r v b or fw." 
-Ozzie Udan

We're not summoning CONCORD so that we can appear on their killmails. I often feel like CONCORD is the one who whores on my gank preventions. (I often don't even need them to stop a Catalyst). There is a blatant difference between useless CONCORD KM whoring and a successful gank prevention. These two things cannot be put into the same basket. Like Kaely said, the ganker in Stacmon wasn't an outlaw yet (he was above -5), so I could only engage him once he turned criminal, but that doesn't change my point. As I said many times before, I personally find it pointless and stupid to engage a ganker if you can't prevent the gank. I find it especially toxic when some AG-wannabe posts a Catalyst killmail where he did %1 damage on it while the ganker successfully killed the miner at that moment. Just like all the genuine Anti-gankers, I don't like these things.

"People often say 'miner lived' after posting ECM kills, or they're posted by people who I know wouldn't do so if the miner wasn't saved, in which case it's a victory. But I have seen people post kills where they got like 3% damage on a ganker using drones and clearly didn't really make a contribution - I certainly don't agree with celebrating those kills (I might sometimes say 'gj' to be polite!)"
         -Jennifer en Marland 

We engage them the moment they go criminal (or during the pre-gank period in case they're outlaws), long before CONCORD arrival, and use the in-game methods to ruin the ganks. That is pretty much how counter-ganking should be done, and yes, it requires lots of dedication and patience.

"Any defense has to be purely reactionary, but also able to respond effectively within a window of ~15 seconds. To put it succinctly, that sucks."
       -Voyager Arran

Meyer Wolfsheim this time joined the Local chat by posting a link to a purely ISK-related link. There's nothing wrong if a player enjoys mining & building things. However, if it's only for ISK, and not for fun, then it's quite unfortunate.

[ 2015.09.08 19:39:19 ] (None) Marco Sasen is inviting you to a conversation.

Blimey, soon after leaving Stacmon, I received a convo request from the Retriever pilot that I saved. "Heh, he's finally back to his keyboard" I thought as I accepted the convo.

The miner was thankful. This is quite refreshing because most of the miners that I've saved in the past were so AFK that they couldn't realize what was going on. In some cases, I even had to explain to the miner why his shields were half damaged when he returned to keyboard and how I had saved him. Marco kindly expressed his appreciation and asked if he can do anything in return. Most of the time, a simple "Thank you" like this can be enough, for it's an excellent reward. 

Anti-ganking is also about informing and guiding miners about vigilance and ship choice. Since I'm passionate about the Skiff family (and Skiffology in general), I advised him to check out the Procurer first.

Apparently, the Proteus pilot Kaely was also in convo with him and she was pretending to be "anti-gank". Interesting.

They say "never judge a book by the look of its cover." The reason behind Marco's silence during the entire period at the belt was now clear. When I had started to believe that he was just another lazy AFK miner, he was actually experiencing issues with his computer. That is understandable. As a user of EVE's Mac "client", I do know what it's like to see the game frozen. I have experienced game crashes and other client issues in the middle of fleet fights and I fully understand how annoying it can be.

The cause of his computer's lock up was probably a technical issue that occurred when he returned to EVE window from Reddit. This once again brings us to the point I made above: if you're playing a game, you should be actively engaging with it. Do not let out-of-game things like Reddit distract you and endanger your safety in space. You can always dock up for doing those things more effectively.

Then I shared my personal opinion about ganking with Marco. Miners, gankers, anti-gankers, war deccers etc. are all keeping Highsec alive and entertaining. They bring content, fun stories and activity to EVE in general. I wish more people would realize this.

"If nothing happens in EVE, then EVE becomes boring." 
-Tora Bushido

Considering how easy it is to avoid a gank, I reminded him once again of the fact that spatial awareness is the most important type of tank. Marco was learning fast, he saw the arrival of a battleship in his asteroid belt and became suspicious about it, which is a good thing. At that moment, I was thinking that maybe Kaely was now using a battleship to provide warp-in to the ganker? That wouldn't be surprising, especially after seeing Weaselior using an Orca as a warp-in for his ganks back in 2013.


One thing that amazes me about EVE is that a single, small action can lead to a larger, emergent and entertaining set of situations. The Stacmon Patrol was one of them. That day, my simple decision to check led to this excellent example of player-generated content. I enjoyed every second of it. 

Good fight, ganker. Hope to see you again...