Episode 3: Solo Shot First

It’s finally happened. The cast is assembled, the line is rolling, and another High Drag Eve Podcast is hot off of the Audio Press. This Episode we introduce the cohosts of High Drag Eve, and I have to say, with the knowledge of these two, it makes my job hosting and running this little experiment pretty damn easy.

In this episode:

  • Zao Amadues and Random McNally have joined the team
  • Retribution is discussed at length
  • Zao Amadues leads a discussion about solo PvP
  • Music (Fortunate Son by CCR, 40 Ounces to Freedom by Sublime, How Far We’ve Come by Cold Play, and What I Got by Sublime)
  • Link to Random McNallys Fan Fiction

We hope you have as much fun listening to this episode as we had making it. If not. Drink more.

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They Call Me, The Fat Man

Last night, I spent quite a bit of time in the Nomaa system with darthkalo and Jack Sixx. Nomaa, to the non RvBers, is our Free For All and solo system. We go there when the prospect of fleeting up is zero, when we don’t want to hunt, or as in the case of the post, when we wish to test our latest crazy mad scientist fitting. Last night, I decided to test out my Reactive Armor Hardener Tristan.

I started to play with the Reactive Armor Hardener (RAH) a few days ago, right after the release of Retribution, and the results were somewhat disappointing. On Cruisers, it made more sense to fit an Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane; for frigates, not only does the module have a considerable CPU cost (26) but it drains the cap rather quickly (-6.3 with Phased Armor Resistance V). I just could not justify using the RAH. It. Just. Wouldn’t. Work. That is until I started to pair it with a damage control II.

For some reason, my brain had been programmed to use a DC II or a RAH, and never together. It simply should not be, but like bacon and chocolate, or bacon and… well… anything, the DC II and the RAH are meant to be together. Before I go on, take a gander at the Tristan fit below.

[Tristan, Reactive Armor Hardener]

200mm Reinforced Rolled Tungsten Plates I

Damage Control II

Reactive Armor Hardener

1MN Afterburner II

Warp Scrambler II

Cap Recharger II

Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

Light Neutron Blaster II, Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge S

[empty high slot]

Small Trimark Armor Pump I

Small Trimark Armor Pump I

Small Trimark Armor Pump I

Hobgoblin II x5

Quickly, and a bit of a disclaimer, I don’t want to go into too much gory number detail (EFT nerds like me, will plug in the data to confirm my ramblings anyway), so I will just spit out the basics. EHP 6,436 with Armor Phasing (YEAH!) it is cap stable, and the DPS with faction antimatter is a whopping 175 (76 turret, 99 drone). Not bad for a T1 frigate.

The armor phasing in this ship is key… and it serves 2 purposes. First, it will plug the considerable explosive hole if we go up against anything that is dishing out explosive damage. Secondly, when the armor phases, it gets the opponent to commit… and to think he or she has a chance at winning. As the fight starts, any opponent of the RAH Fat Man will see the shield melt, and see the armor tank begin to crumble, however, once the RAH cycles about 3 times (15 seconds) the fight becomes a tractor pull. The more the armor phases, the harder it becomes to actually break.

I have only found two real weaknesses, or rather, darthkalo and myself found them. 1) The ship is slow, 839 m/s slow to be exact. 2) 3 types of damage will give us a run for our money (Think of an Incursus, blaster fit, with a warrior drone). The RAH reacts less quickly when it has to split damage 3 ways. Still though, there is not a 1V1 T1 frig fight that is not unwinnable by this Tristan; just need a little space ship maneuvering and a plan.

This brings us to fighting with this ship. Of course, in EVE as in life, there are multiple ways to go at anything. Here are 4 rules that work for me:

Rule #1: Engage with drones at the lock range of 50km. Drones will apply DPS to kiters (that the Tristan cannot catch) and will apply damage to anything that fights within web and scram range as they try and close the distance. Sure the smart pilots will warp out… but we will do well to remember that not everyone is gifted with an over abundance of education.

Rule #2: Against close range brawlers using faction ammo (not null), Merlin and Incursus, Move in close, and get the highest angular velocity you can (orbiting at 500 has worked for me). The reason for this: The Tristan gets a tracking bonus and will still hit the target well, in addition to the drone damage that is still constant. What we will gain in return, is reduced damage due to our *cough* speed tank combined with our phased armor. The exception to this rule, is the dual rep Incursus (just avoid this ship, for it will outlast you, or just blow up your drones).

Rule #3: Ships that fight in warp scram range: Keep up the scram on them, and keep up the transversal at all costs. The phased armor will endure, and the drones will out DPS the hard to track null ammunition.

Rule #4: Upon engagement, overheat the Reactive Armor Hardener.

That about sums it up. I would love to hear some feedback and debate about the merits of the Tristan and the Reactive Armor hardener. Remember though, the RAH alone is useless, but paired with a DC II, wonderful things will happen.

o/

The Case for the Reactive Armor Hardener

I never was a fat kid. Growing up, I was always moderately fast, somewhat slim, and slightly flexible; in EVE terms, that means I was somewhat shield tanked my entire life. I have to confess, though, that I have recently gained a great amount of empathy for my rotund childhood friends, because in Eve Online, I only fly armor tanked boats. In Eve Online, I’m a fat kid.

In small gang PVP, the shield tank rules the field. Generally faster and able to dish out more DPS due to vacant low slots where armor mods would be, the shield tanked boat could do it all. On the other hand, the armor tanked boat, with either useless lasers or short ranged blasters, found itself in a perpetual game of catch up in just about every, single, small gang scenario. Relegated to watching the cool kids everlastingly get the kill, we armor boats would sit on the side lines, or at a maximum, waddle over to the action only to find that our subsequent kill-mail whorage was left wanting.

The Reactive Armor Hardener was supposed to change all of that. First introduced in the Inferno expansion, the Reactive Armor Hardener (RAH) was going to give armor tanks a serious advantage over their faster, more agile brethren. This little marvel would activate with 15% resists in all 4 damage types and adjust the resistances based on incoming damage. In theory, an armor tanked boat would be able to drop a Damage Control Module and not worry about plugging an explosive gap (if that is your thing) as long as a RAH was utilized. It was going to be fantastic… and viable. Via-tastic. Of course, in all things EVE related, there were problems.

The RAH module was slow to react. Originally tested at a 1% reaction rate every 10 seconds, the module caused many fat kids to drop out of the race early… usually accompanied by a large fireball. Through the Inferno expansion, and onto Retribution, the module had a few tweaks. The next tweak brought the reaction rate to 3% and added a skill that reduced the module cycle time by 10 percent per level. Still, the fat armored ships were not reacting quick enough to incoming damage. To make matters worse, the high Gigajoule cost for activation coupled with the skilled reduction in cycle time made the module non-viable for anything smaller than a Battlecruiser.

With the release of Retribution, the module has been tweaked once again, and once again, it has several issues. The module received a buff to resistance reaction time; the original 3% resistance reaction per cycle jumped up to 6%. In addition, the accompanying skill: Armor Resistance Phasing, tacked on a %5 reduction in activation cost per cycle.

On paper, the module looks to be more promising based on the cap reduction, but the same legacy problems carry over from the previous iterations. The current run of the RAH has a modest fitting requirement of 1 MW and 24 tf. With level 5 of the Armor Resistance Phasing skill, and a single type of incoming damage, the module takes approximately 40 seconds to fully adjust to a single, 60%, resistance. The way this works, is that the module will take 2% per cycle from the 3 unused damage types and apply it to the resistance that is taking damage. The trouble here, is that a single damage type is rarely used. When the fitted ship is pounded by 2 types of incoming damage, the module will take 3% from the 2 unused resistances and will split the resistance between the 2 incoming damage types; we end up with 30% resistance in one type, and 30% in the other. With level 5 skills, this will take 15 seconds to fully phase. When 3 types of damage (Think blaster boat with warrior drones) are incoming, the module phases resistance based on the percentage of the incoming damage. After testing though, it seems that that module will end up with a single phased resistance even though we are taking damage from 3 different types. The easiest way to think of this, is that the module is smart and might be looking out for your best interest… that is… until you find yourself in a fleet fight where all damage types are now bombarding your boat. When this happens, the module attempts to “omni” tank your ship by plugging any resistance holes in your fitting. Lastly, if the module is shut off (manually, accidentally, or because of energy neutralization), all phased resistances are lost (including the original 15% omni resistances). Once the RAH is reactivated, armor phasing must start over.

So the delta. I happen to agree with the Kil2 assessment, in that the module can be replaced with an Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane which will give nearly the same omni tank despite the ~30 GJ activation cost. Although currently heartbreaking, I believe the potential is still there. Namely, in the module’s ability to eliminate the usual fitting requirement for armor tanked boats (example: DC, EANM, and/or explosive plating or armor rig) and allowing 1 or more damage modules to be fit alongside the RAH. 1V1, and certain select small gang fights, this might work… any large fleet engagements and we should just self destruct after being scrammed. Though I can see this module being more viable with a pool of 75-80 resistance; I just want the RAH to work so damn bad. I grew up watching Angus after all, and once, just this once, I want to see the Eve fat kids be themselves.

Episode 2: Waggro

Podcasting is a blast. Not only am I learning to speak like an adult, and not some urine soaked street urchin, but I have actually convinced my wife to fire up a trial account in EVE Online. I thought I would never see the day, and yet, here we are.

In this episode:

  • Guest Hosts are Trisha Yanowski and Funkydil (Matt) Mikakkia
  • We delve deep into the bowels of Wife / Husband Agrro (Waggro and Haggro)
  • Jafa wins the 100 million for bringing us all back to reality
  • Music (Roll away your stone by Mumford and Sons, Yesterday by The Street Dogs, Death Valley Queen by Flogging Molly,  and Irish Laddie Soldier by The Porters)

I hope you have as much fun listening to this episode as we had making it. If not. Drink more.

(Download Episode 2)

Learning How to Talk All Over Again

Pre-production is finished on the first episode of High Drag. Other than the minor annoyance of hearing your own voice for the first time (Must. Learn. to talk more gud), everything is going swimmingly and I couldn’t be happier with the response I am getting from the community. Through e-mail, EVE mail, and forum posts, we have over 200 stories from Capsuleers across the world (male and female. Wimmin folk in EVE?). Some of these stories are just… fantastic (and familiar). You will just have to wait and see. In the mean time, Ronix Aideron found the comic below on The Oat Meal . Giving that we are tackling a similar topic this week in High Drag, it seemed appropriate to repost it here. Enjoy.  o/

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The Angry Wife

It is no secret that EVE has a demographic that is slightly older (thank gawd) than the usual MMO. More refined is a term I hear often.  Outside of fanfest, player meetings, or the tavern, our society is comprised of a bunch of (mostly) married with children type upstanding citizens. But, even upstanding citizens run into issues when balancing internet spaceships with their loved ones…

Pre-production for the next podcast has started, and I need stories about your significant other and their hatred (or love) of your pew pew or mining habits. Funny, long winded, violent… Anything will do. Your story will be read out loud on the pod waves by an honest to goodness spouse.

So send an in-game mail to kyle yanowski or an e-mail to keepitlikeitwas@gmail.com .

UPDATE: I am now giving away 100 million ISK to the best story or tip submitted. Keep the stories coming in!

angry-wifeJPG

A Stroll Down Drake Lane

In EVE, I have gotten rather good at tucking my tail and scurrying through a gate when I have blasters equipped and see rails or arty pointed at my lone Ishkur. Running is a requirement for internet spaceship preservation, and it’s also a valuable skill to adopt when scouting for any small gang. It’s only natural that my EVE life has bled over into my personal one. It seems that I have developed a rather bad real world road running habit.

Now I should mention that I have developed a bit of a routine in EVE online as well. I am under the impression that I think my routine is not all that dissimilar from everyone else that has been touched by the curse of this game. Now and then, Eve can get boring. I hear it all of the time, “where is everyone?” or “Why can’t I get any fights?” This morning on my routine run, I learned something pretty damn valuable that can be applied in EVE Online. The lesson is simple. Don’t let it get boring. Yeah, it IS that easy. I came upon this wisdom when I took a detour from my usual running route by happening upon a sign for “Drake Lane”.

drake lane

I took Drake lane because my run was getting boring, and, well, I had never been down drake lane. I took it, ran faster than I ever have. I discovered a new trail, was almost shot by a blind hunter (true story. Wear orange on those trails, children). I Attempted to sneak up on a white tail deer; I also stumbled upon a hidden grave from 1864 (Anyone know a CAPT John R. Haley?). But most of all, I managed to forget (for just a little bit) how boring my running habit had actually become and how much fun it can be.

photo

Grinning the whole way home, I finally got to my house and promptly logged into Eve Online. I was still grinning, high from the running detour, when I brought up the Eve Market. I made my way to the Battle Cruiser section, still smiling, and clicked on the “Buy” button for a shiny new Caldari Drake. Stuck in a routine of flying nothing but Gallente boats my entire EVE career, I decided to take another, this time more virtual, detour. After fitting, and still smiling, I undocked my new boat and warped to a destination unknown. The next time you are feeling bored in EVE, consider veering off of the self beaten path and taking a stroll down your own Drake lane. You won’t be sorry.