Friday, 9 March 2012

The latest Wormhole Adventures

Guillotine Therapy have a new blog here.

The battle reports there include a nice RP touch from Kirsa, who is settling into the GT lifestyle. She'll be regularly keeping you apprised of the latest action in the depths of unknown space.

Some of the recent battles include the largest capital fight to date in wormhole space and a battle with Adhocracy, a video of which from their POV has been uploaded by the always awesome Asayanami.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Notes on Clarion Call 3

First of all, thank you for the response to Clarion Call 3. It is more than we could have expected and we're genuinely touched by the number of people who have spoken of re-subscribing after watching. In the end of course, events like those covered are happening all over Eve across many systems and regions. The adventures never end.

I must admit, unexpectedly finding an Eve pvp video in Steam News while browsing for Sam 3 news, was a pleasant surprise :)*

Some notes:

1. Closing Send-Off/future of wormhole space
2. Representation of Campaign
3. Magnetar Exploit bans/punishments

1. Closing Send-off/future of wormhole space

We do regret not including the excellent groups Adhocracy and Aquila in the closing speech, which lists the different entities who will likely heavily factor in the future of wormhole space.

2. Representation of Campaign

Accuracy is very important to us.

AHARM response has been very friendly to the video, with their pilots generally describing it as an even handed and fair account of events.

Their leadership have recently made the suggestion, however, that they'd have liked more skirmishes to be included that went their way and thus that the 'truth is out there'. In fact, the truth can quickly and easily be empirically established.

Both killboards show the campaigns heavily in favour of Rooks and Kings, so if we listed more fights, the proportion in favour of RnK would in fact be greater than presently represented.

- For example, in the time since the final battle to the release of the video, AHARM have killed one vessel, a Devoter, for the loss of 4 Lokis, a Bhaalgorn, a Proteus, a Navy Geddon, and more, for an efficiency of less than three percent.

And so on..

But covering ganks like this in a video would not be very exciting. For the same reason that we haven't included their ganks and skirmishes, we haven't included our ganks and skirmishes. Since we have more of them, CC3 is in fact more generous to AHARM than the actual events.

- In this time period, AHARM also attempted an attack on RnK using a coalition of wormhole alliances. This failed and led to several AHARM capitals self-destructing or being sold to RNK. This was not included in Clarion Call 3.

As a result, we feel that CC3 is very fair to Aperture Harmonics and even rather generous.

3. Magnetar Exploit bans/punishments

There has been debate about how much AHARM were fined, whether some members were banned and so on.

We have no opinion on this or particular desire to investigate. Our original request was, as mentioned in the video, to engage AHARM on their own terms, infini-gun versus infini-gun. For obvious reasons, we could not do this without first announcing our intent and requesting permission both in the eyes of the community and CCP. That permission, understandably, never arrived.

But we have never requested for AHARM to be banned, since - frankly - wormhole space would be a lot less interesting without them.

Since GMs do not comment publically on bans/punishment and the only source would be the affected party, this is likely a moot point and as far as RnK are concerned was simply an event in a campaign.

*We're still hoping for Sasha Grey's twitter, though. 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Clarion Call 3

Update: Link to Clarion Call 3 Here  (with an MKV version available here)

Granted, you all probably get your RnK news elsewhere these days. I must confess that I'd forgotten of this blog's existence amid the plethora of sites where we publish battle reports and the like.

However, on the night before Clarion Call 3, I've got round to an update and hopefully will manage to keep this dusty place keyed in for the future, too.

Here's a shot from Clarion Call 3:

And here are a selection of battle reports from 2011:

Carriers Versus Supercarriers
- Two Archons Tanking 4 Motherships, 2 dreads, 2 carriers and support
- An absurd series of events across two hours.

Battle Report: Kuvakei's Spikes and Gallente Steel - Dinner for Three
- Being jumped during an Incursion fight
- Switching fire between hostiles and the Sansha mothership's bombers
- One of the few times you'll hear an FC shout "PVP Overview! Ok, now PVE overview! Back to PVP!"

Clash in Outer Ring
-  A memorable clash with Goonswarm
- Fighting against a combination of max alpha and supercapitals with battleships and Guardians
- Kaboose Guardians, the Tiger Tank of Guardians.

Battle in Ostingele
- Dropping and being counter-counter dropped
- A Bhaalgorn neuting a titan to stop it firing
- Seesaw battle

Freighters and other past times
- Triage carriers versus multiple supercaps, titan
- a Dek Coalition max alpha fleet

Old Stomping Grounds
- Logistics against max alpha
- Battles of Attrition

We need a bigger boat
- Escalating between Guardians and triage
- Battling Dek Coalition

Breaking the lines
- Attacking a supercap fleet with a similar number of Battleships
- Kaboose Guardians

Also, check out Episode 2 of our new Video Battle Report series:

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Triage, Pantheon and a Prismatic Dragon

It's been rather a long while since I updated this blog, so I'll try and make this a bigger entry. Hopefully you've caught our battle reports on various forums and sites. Aside from the usual bit of CAODing, this included PL's (then) new site BattleDB, who kindly gifted us a prize of a carrier in a competition, and the ever excellent SHC forum, the latest report (from the weekend) on which is here.

The era of the Apocrypha expansion is now over, having given way to Dominion (and perhaps in a few months, Tyrannis). The tactics behind our exploits in Apocrypha are shown in our video, Clarion Call 2: Pantheon. I've not had a chance to respond to all the people who've commented on the Eve-O, youtube, SHC and other forums, or who have written evemails, so let me take the opportunity to thank people for indulging us with their time.

It's been nice to see how triage use has taken off in Eve. The market spotlight reproduced below from the Eve Quarterly Economic Report shows how the sales of the triage module have grown from October 2008, when the first triage video came out (Equinox, followed by Clarion 1 in December of that year). Not to say, of course, that Eve players will do whatever some video says. But perhaps it - and all the battle reports of that preceeding year's ops - played a role in showing how much fun it can be to rep your friends in this fashion:

Of course, every protagonist must eventually face his own tactic. Clarion Call 1's finale involved us using the then-signature tactic of baiting with a triage carrier and battleships, which hold the middle of the field like a ferocious porcupine, to force the enemy to either retreat with losses or escalate with a capfleet. At which point, the good guys drop an even bigger capfleet at their optimal range.

So for sequel's finale. I picked a fight where someone did exactly that to us, i.e. bait with a triage carrier and battleships, wait for us to drop some caps - and then drop a lot more caps on our head. That's really the heart of the narrative: with no counter-counter-drop coming for our side, can the ambushed ships on the field stand and deliver?

That's what Pantheon is about.

And in many ways, that's also what the alliance is about. Throughout Apocrypha, we dropped Pantheon (and also our triage setup, of course) on a lot of different groups with much success. There's a narrative there, usually involving low sec moons, which were very valuable pre-Dominion and epitomised hit-and-run cap fighting in 2009. But to some degree, I find the narrative of the evolving tactical battles even more interesting. It's very interesting developing, refining and popularising something - and then having to fight it yourself.

In the original Prince of Persia - yes, I'm showing my age - you beat your shadow by putting away your sword. Admittedly, Eve being Eve, the Pantheon solution was a little less pacifist.

As for Dominion, the topic of the moment is certainly that much despised beast: lag. People have asked me regularly how much our approach to the game is affected by lag and whether it's more difficult in Dominion.

To some degree, we're shielded from the worst of it since Rooks and Kings fights tend to be in the 50-200 range for Local count, which is still (usually) functioning in Dominion. However, sometimes there's no way of avoiding a monster battle and, certainly, the lag issues at the beginning of Dominion are much worse than in Apocrypha.

However, there is still the sense of taking part in a cutting edge MMO experience. It's not just that people bring numbers because they don't want to lose (granted that's a big part) - it's also that there's something addictive about having an engine/server that's creaking and groaning under the strain of what you're asking it to perform. It's the natural urge to push things to the limit, in this case in numerical spectacle.

Sitting on a hushed Teamspeak at 4am, waiting for a cyno, is a little like being hunkered down in a trench waiting to go Over The Top when the whistle sounds. You might get a great fight and some fraps to show your grandchildren, who relunctantly indulge your war stories, or you might get a black screen and never load grid. But then, to be bleak about it, someone going 'over the top' might just instantly get a bullet in the head.

Having said that, it's certainly a shame that numbers which were sustainable in Apocrypha no longer seem viable for a smooth fight in Dominion (a problem which is added to by Titans having become anti-capital vessels rather than steamrolling hundreds of support at once). Judging by devblogs, CCP are on the issue. In the meantime, yes, it does make life harder for people fighting outnumbered and planning to do so with complex, lag-sensitive plans or micromangement. But I have no doubt the issues will be solved and to some extent it's the price we pay for the cutting edge.

In Everquest 1, the Sleeper (Kerafyrm) was a creature originally thought to be unkillable within the mechanics.

Yes, the small person under his belly is a player.

Eventually, a few hundred players from different guilds got together to kill Kerafyrm. Things started well, despite an enormous amount of XP lost from countless player deaths. Then, at 27% health, Kerafyrm disappeared. He'd been despawned by Sony's GM's, unsure of what exactly was transpiring (later attributed to a bug).

But a few days on, the people returned and tried the whole thing again. This time they succeeded. Despite all of the problems, it became one of the most noted events in Everquest lore and one of the very examples of the players making a mark on the world they inhabit.

The point being, despite all the setbacks, people still prefer an experience that tests the limits and boundaries of their (virtual) word over a plastic, pre-packaged experience.

Perhaps saying "people still prefer.." is a little dangerous with many instanced, formulaic MMOs selling rather well. So let's say, people remember. People remember Kerafyrm being killed. People remember Lord British being killed in Ultima. And Eve is just filled to the brim with this stuff. Life goes by so fast that in so many real life events, 2007 seems like almost yesterday. But in Eve, 2007 seems an eternity ago, hidden from us by a long winding path of narratives and ever changing tactics.

It seems we grow up quickly in Space.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Stand and Deliver - Plucking Five from the Middle of Summer

It’s been a busy summer with a lot of fights, to the point where it’s been a little tricky to find time to update.

Writing about ganks or even equal-odds fleet battles would be a little dull, so here’s a selection of fights where we have fought outnumbered on capitals and won. In all cases other than the 1st August fight, where we chose to hotdrop outnumbered, the enemy chose to drop us with what they deemed would be overwhelming odds.

During the period covered here we lost only three capitals, despite using them often several times a day – two in a drop during one of the innumerable tower-reinforcing ops (the other five sieging extracted successfully) and one in the 10th July fight, in a winning cause.

During the period there were many capital ganks – we are like anyone else and if we have a dozen dreads waiting to drop on a tackled hostile carrier, we’re not above doing so.

The time since my last update has also been a period where there were many fights which might seem to merit inclusion on an ‘outnumbered’ list but don’t. For example, our triage carrier + small BS group were dropped by a larger gang from New Eden Retail and two of their carriers (one triage, one support).

Luckily, their triage carrier didn’t immediately go into triage mode so we had time to kill/drive off their support. Once he did, though, quite a lot of additional support filtered in to break his excellent tank. Although the battle comparison only shows some of their fleet (since we took no losses), fraps shows that we definitely had more by the end, so not an outnumbered fight.

Another example would be a 39-man Huzzah CS/BC/Hac/Logi gang who jumped into 11 BS and a triage carrier.

We lost only a Brutix alt (warped in accidentally from an SS) but since we had a capital on the field and they didn’t, we weren’t really outnumbered and many aspects favoured us from the get-go (their gang jumping into us, for example, meaning their logistics couldn’t get clear of Shani's Paladin and double faction webs).

3 caps vs 4 caps (1st August 09.)

We jumped bait into Ami to engage a BS group from Scum alliance. To keep our ships up we jumped in two triage carriers (Davinci and myself), whereupon Scum immediately warped in two carriers of their own and two Moros.

(We then jumped in Princess in a carrier, to make up the 3 caps listed in the title).

Unable to break the triage tanks or anything being triage-repped, they decided to try and kill off Eldareth’s Dominix, who had the pleasure of being primed by a fleet that included two sieged & gank-fit Blaster Moros at optimal range (shooting a stationary cyno-battleship). Nonetheless, he lived :)

In the end they chose to self-destruct their four capitals. Two of them made it to S/D and two of them were killed outright by the BS.

No losses.

(Luckily we also killed a Redeemer on the way home to justify this being the ‘Black Ops’ op that it was originally called as, in alliance mail).

10 caps vs. 15 caps (4th July 09)

This was a great fight. We jumped a BLOC carrier outside the shield in Maseera and AAA/Red Overlord dropped 15 carriers onto our nine carriers.

Luckily we had a Pantheon group (more in the next video). We both tucked into each other’s support, though we managed to keep some BS up and smartbomb with them, while driving enemy BS from the field.

Towards the end we thought we’d finally kill one of their Chimera – but alas he made it back into the shield. We tried to drag them out of the shield by dropping in a Revelation and putting it in siege (to cap coast) in the hope they’d spread out while coming to neut it. But after an hour-long stalemate there was no prospect of a change anyway. Thereafter we tracked to the sun, AAA/R.O. held their tower, everyone had fun and we all went home.

10 caps vs 26 caps (10th July 09)

With our support outnumbered, too.

Sons of Tangra baited us with a triage carrier + BS support. We dropped some carriers – so they dropped the kitchen sink. But the sink lost.

Battle report.

3 caps vs 9 caps (30th July 09)

In this case the enemy had nine capitals in dock range of their home station. Cap fights in dock range aren’t as much fun but to get a fight we were willing to take the bigger risk: we dropped a triage carrier and some battleships on them (and then bringing in two combat carriers to give us some more dps). Now, triage mode means you can’t dock and most of their carriers were neut-fit along with some of their support (such as this 8-neut apoc).

This situation got them to aggress and we killed six of their support before the rest docked. Since none of their capitals chose to siege or triage (and a couple of their Moros were fit with neuts) they were able to dock before we could get a capital kill.

We took no losses.

1 cap vs 6 caps (9th August 09)

As we finished off a battle against a 20+ IDC fleet, bs-heavy, with 15 of our own BS and a triage carrier, eXe hotdropped us with 6 carriers.

Battle Report.

And now we’re finally going to do a HAC gang. Honest.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Teetering on the Shield Edge

Much of the past weeks since the last update have focused on the South of the region. Good logistics there have proved a double-edged sword: fights with no losses sap the enemy's motivation to fight and thus makes it harder to find the good scraps.

But on Sunday we got to fight Ombil & friends again in the North - the first large engagement with them since my last report. One of their towers was coming out of reinforced.

We formed up a gang of 30-odd and went to the target system in Hoseen. Hostile scouts along the way tried to conjure a fittingly moribund atmosphere during the ride :)

[ 2009.06.21 16:55:55 ] Big Jobs > one day, your all gonna die
[ 2009.06.21 16:56:10 ] Big Jobs > some of you in a lot of pain
[ 2009.06.21 16:56:19 ] Big Jobs > cancer... 15% of you
[ 2009.06.21 16:56:39 ] Big Jobs > 5% of you will be s***ing your nappy in a care home

We're obviously making a good impression.

Once we arrived in Hoseen we were pleasantly surprised to find 100 in local including our numbers, with the rest all hostile. This looked promising for a fight, with most of their fleet (mixed battleships and support) waiting inside the tower.

After jumping in two carriers, we warped to the tower and started hitting it with battleships. A few minutes in, their tacklers rushed out of the shield to get points on the carriers, and a cyno went down at another hostile tower in system. Ten capitals then warped to the tower: an assorted mix of Hellstrome Alliance, Sons of Tangra and Ombil Coalition capitals.

Surprisingly most of their caps warped to the tower at zero, landing inside the shields. A single Phoenix dropped outside. Bait? Mistyped password? Who knows. At any rate, we killed half a dozen tacklers, a Malestrom and a hell-for-leather Drake who'd obviously been tasked with a do-or-die mission to get a point on something big.

With nothing scrammed, our two caps jumped out and we warped off. That might have been the end of it but both the hostiles and indeed my own fleet felt that on recent record these were odds we should take.

I wasn't entirely sold (given the numbers against us) but thought it might be worth waiting for an opportunity nonetheless, since the hunger for a fight was there. An opportunity duly provided itself - some of the hostile caps jumped out (presumably frustrated at the failure of the pos fleet to land a point on something) and the five or so that remained were split between being outside and inside the shield (making an initial spider difficult).

To their surprise we warped back in our battleships, with a single carrier in the form of a soon overworked Davinci (shield repping an armour gang, to add to the madness) and tackled one of their Thanatos outside the shield. The other caps quickly came out of the shield to help him, along with their support fleet. Of course, this presented new opportunities to tackle carriers with outward momentum, even though our original target had made it back in with low armour.

A decent ruckus ensued, though messier than the average HARK fight due to the mixed tanking.

Tapin's mega gets a good bump on one of the carriers. Moments later Gunny gets a good one on him too.

We start primarying support whilst trying to keep webs on capitals

To add some madness to the mix, a blue takes an oblique view of his smartbombing role. Relentless, even. Now you see a lot of friendly drones.

Now you don't :)

One of the carriers who made it back in.

And one of those who didn't.

The final tally for the fight, including two Free Worlds (blue) losses, was 40-9 in our favour and we held the (mine) field.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

21 Days Later

Twenty-one days of campaigning here has certainly produced some nice fights.

Placed a little ostentatiously in the middle of Aridia, we've been fighting both North and South factions (the Ombil Coalition and the Russians, respectively), sometimes on opposite sides of the same gate.

The first weekend was probably the most hectic, with virtually constant fighting. We'd hit BSOD & Blind Octopus (the South faction) a few times with triage gangs already, and knocked a tower of theirs into reinforced. They'd also lost some dreads in an attempt to kill a triage carrier shortly before the weekend. But they hadn't yet had a chance to form up properly and come at us.

After some nice fights on the Saturday, when the tower came out on Sunday morning we found that they had formed a fleet of 40-odd, battleship-heavy, and were waiting close to their RF tower system for our dozen or so pilots.

So we started out by killing a tower in Edilkam, in the North, and putting our own tower up. A game of cat and mouse then ensued with the bigger fleet in the South and we ended up cross-jumping them. This left us free to continue pushing further South towards the BSOD/Blind Octopus tower, with their fleet in pursuit.

The North then decided that this would be a great time to hit our still undefended tower in Edilkam (only two scrams online, no guns) - after all, we were trapped on the far side of a bigger, mutually-hostile Russian fleet that separated us from the tower we had just anchored.

But they miscalculated - as did the fleet chasing us, who jumped in and found themselves very much in a fight. Some nice triage action ensued and with the help of two carriers, we'd beaten a fleet three times our size, without taking a loss (again). Helpfully they'd jumped into us, allowing us to get stuck into their five Scorpions before they could blunt our dps.

Whilst scooping loot we realised that the North were attacking our new tower - and with their fleet defeated, the BSOD tower could wait. So we raced back north to try and kill two BS before they incapped the scrams. We weren't sure if they'd fight or if it was just a matter of getting a battleship kill before the last scram went incapped - after all, with their coverts they'd seen us fight the gang in the South.

To their credit though, the Ombil Coalition guys had prepped their cap fleet and fitted to counter the triage stunt we'd pulled against the Russians.

With a fairly equal number of battleships on the field (we gained a few while passing back North through our home system), they dropped 7 capitals and, for symmetry, we did the same. Fun ensued.

Once they were dead too, it was back South to kill the BSOD tower.

The fights have generally ebbed and flowed in this manner. I've even got round to flying a triage carrier again myself, on occasion. One of my favourite - if small - scraps was one that demonstrated a rather flattering, if unjustified, faith in my repping ability and overclocked hardware.

Shani was busy 'baiting' (read: killing) a gang in his Paladin, with yours truly on triage backup.

Me: Let me know if you need triage.
Shani: Will do.
Me: Cool.
Shani (as calm as ever): Actually I do need triage, I'm entering structure.
Me: Wh-
Shani (still unfazed): Half hull now.

Anubis claims I swore though I'm sure I didn't. Still, it left: alt-tab to cyno, drop cyno, alt-tab back, click jump on Watchlist; load grid; triage mode on; lock Shani; both reppers on; 1.9s cycle time.

At least it kept them aggro'd, that's what I tell my doctor.

Today involved similar kind of action. First we tried to gank a BSOD BS gang - but they de-aggro'd, spidered well and made it back to the gate, with no losses on either side. Whilst we still sat on the gate lamenting the missed killmails, an old fashioned nano-HAC gang turned up out of nowhere and started engaging our BS. I say 'old fashioned' because they reminded me of the classic nano era, where many a good time in Foundati0n was spent remote repping whilst using a Bhaalgorn or triage-tanked, remote-ECCM'd Huginn to grab the nano-HACs swooping in and out. Old fashioned now, young whippersnappers then.

This fight lasted about 40 minutes, with us - in true frugal nano-fashion - killing only a Curse, Oneiros and a couple others, for no losses. In the middle of it all, though, BSOD re-appeared for a cameo with a battleship gang. They primaried a Scorpion of Bw8, who stayed up (albeit with a brush of structure damage). We killed a Hurricane of theirs who'd drifted from their RR-range, and they then de-aggro'd and jumped out again.

Once the nano-gang had left, BSOD decided it was third time lucky and formed up about 17 BS + support. We jumped in just as they arrived on the gate. Cue postcard moment where one guy puts a scram on one BS and everyone is pondering on which side of the gate the chips with fall. BSOD open up, a lone capital jumps in (we were outnumbered 2-1, so doesn't seem excessive) and they went straight for it. It didn't work, and we won without losses. BSOD put up a good show of RR, but there was enough dps to punch through. Once their fourth or fifth BS was down they had started to de-aggro - one of their Dominix jumped in structure but alas, had so little hull left that the gate guns had their way with him on the other side, giving us a pleasingly morbid surprise after we'd looted and jumped out to head home.

A development of the last few weeks is that a good deal of this carnage involves the work of Guillotine Therapy, a new corp under which many of our existing French players have re-organised (though will run in parallel with BLT). At the time of writing they are taking an RL holiday so I hope sandcastles across europe's beaches are well stronted.

Finally, some special mentions for the month for those not named already: Link and Davinci for their good work in all of the above, Rinse putting pressure on the enemy at all hours, and hunting and killing relentlessly (with Theyu often at his side), Zuld leading gangs when I'm not (I was a good boy the past few weeks though and led what's mentioned here), Gunny for a great debut & Jack's solo-roaming (and Arbitrator of Doom).