Pod and Planet: Stop touching my stuff!

25th November 2014 – 5.26 pm

I wake up in my Proteus strategic cruiser on the outskirts of our home system. First things first, I cloak. Now to update my directional scanner as I check to see who else is around. I see my glorious leader is on-line, and although Fin really is glorious I doubt that even she can pilot two strategic cruisers in a single pod. Still, that's what d-scan is trying to say, showing me a pair of Tengus and a mobile tractor unit. My intuition is sound, though, as Fin tells me that we have guests. I like her euphemism. What we really have are intruders.

Fin's been watching our visitors for a little while, as they've worked their way through a couple of the anomalies in our system, popping Sleepers and collecting our loot. I bet they're not going to give it to us, which is what any decent capsuleer would do, and are probably trying to blatantly steal it away. What can we do about that? Not much, really, not with an MTU sucking in all the wrecks and looting them automatically. Even if we wait for a salvager to appear and pop that, the MTU will grab the salvager's wreck and loot that quicker than we'll be able to, denying us our rightful plunder. Then we'd be reduced to a rather dreary minor structure bash to crack open the MTU.

Two Tengus that are not us

Watching the two strategic cruisers, easily found in a home anomaly, sees them move on. They leave the MTU to continue pulling in the remaining distant wrecks, and we watch as our loot is tidied away in an annoying little container that we cannot access normally. 'Shall we kill it now while they are out of range?' It's true, our system is a decent size, and the Tengus have moved from this anomaly back to the centre of the system, a sufficient distance for them to be outside of d-scan's range. That means we are not visible on their d-scanners too, and they cannot see what we are doing. Sure, why not pop open the MTU.

Cracking open the offensive mobile tractor unit

We both warp close to the MTU stealing our loot, having already set up good perches in the anomaly, and decloak our covert ships. A few seconds of sensor recalibration delay later and we are venting our frustration on the MTU. If only it were a Noctis salvager, or anything with a capsuleer inside, both wanting to get away from the explosions and dreading what that would actually mean. Even so, it is quite pleasing to have two ships plugging away at the MTU, as its structure doesn't last terribly long to a combined assault. The MTU explodes and, a little greedily, I grab the thirty million ISK in loot that survives.

Reload, cloak. I wait in the site, a few kilometres from the remaining cluster of wrecks, in case a salvager unwittingly turns up. Fin warps away to see what the Tengu pilots are up to. Shooting more Sleepers, it seems. Dammit, stop touching my stuff! Clearly no salvager is forthcoming, and again I join Fin in shadowing the intruders. With a bit of time on our hands, as the Sleepers fall slowly to the Tengus, I interrogate the capsuleers' public information. That's interesting. One pilot is seven years in to his capsuleer career, but the other of the pair is only six months old. Six months old and already sitting in a strategic cruiser. I wonder how much he really is just sitting in it, rather than competently piloting it.

It's got to be worth a crack at the young capsuleer's skill training. How much can you train for a strategic cruiser in such a short time period, and how much can be offset with expensive modules? Quite a bit, I imagine, or he could be more relying on his experienced partner's abilities. I must be tempted to test the Tengu's integrity, as I am already warped in close to the two strategic cruisers, now in a site empty of Sleepers, as the older pilot warps clear. The youngling stays. This looks too good to be true, but we can think about that later, perhaps in a clone vat.

I'm not in an ideal position to catch the Tengu, as it is moving in what seems like an arbitrary direction, and easily outpacing my cloaked ship. But looking more closely I see that the Tengu is aimed directly for the MTU in this site. Knowing his vector makes his movement so much easier to predict, and a quick bounce off my perch and back in to the site gets me nicely within weapon range of the Tengu. I decloak, burn towards our target, and get a positive lock on the combat ship.

The Tengu is 'our' target, as Fin and I have been communicating all this time. Naturally, my glorious leader is up for a scrap somewhat more engaging than plinking away at an MTU, and seeing me snare the Tengu has her Loki strategic cruiser decloaking a few kilometres from the MTU the Tengu was heading towards. She pulses her drive and heads upwards to get closer, as I start ripping in to the Tengu's shields. Well, 'ripping' is not entirely accurate. I think I see a sliver of red occasionally, but it's swallowed within a handful of seconds by what must be a rather capable shield repair module.

Taking a shot at the young Tengu pilot

I shoot, Fin shoots, the Tengu reps back to 100% shields. I think it's safe to say this ship is pimped. His buddy is back too. Should we bail out? 'Bail out.' Okay, then. I align back to my perch, but in a fit on uncharacteristic behaviour I don't warp immediately. I am generally a little too quick to save my own ship, and I realise this as much as I realise that Fin is targeted by the Tengu. As long as she can get clear, I should be fine, and I shouldn't just warp away assuming that my colleague is able to do so. Fin warps clear, and seeing that she does I too warp clear, still just yellow-boxed by the Tengus and not under the direct attention that a red box would indicate.

We're clear, we're safe, and more ships are turning up. The intruders are bringing friends in to the system, maybe to scare us away, probably to try to kill us. It's just not cricket. A Proteus appears and cloaks, a Loki does the same, and a Legion nicely rounds off their collection of strategic cruisers. I know this because Fin knows this. Fin knows this because she has scanned our system and found the wormhole our unwanted guests are spewing from, a K162 from class 5 w-space. Fin's carefully monitoring transits now that we have revealed ourselves.

Maybe it's good that we didn't pause to swap one of us in to our energy-neutralising Legion. It could have drained the target Tengu's capacitor dry, forcing its shields to stop replenishing, but had we done so we'd have stayed in the fight for long enough for the reinforcements to appear. We'd almost certainly have lost one of our ships, if not both. As it is, we reclaimed some of our loot, ambushed the intruders, and, huh. They're not stopping.

I would have thought an overtly hostile presence would curtail the intruders' antics with our indigenous Sleepers, but apparently not. I suppose the fleet behind them is encouraging them to continue, try to flush us out. I'm insulted. We're not that green. They're also stealing more stuff, which is more than a bit cheeky. It's a good thing that I am too. With Fin on their wormhole reporting movements, and the two Tengus engaged in another anomaly, I warp to our tower, make a quick swap to a Cormorant destroyer, and warp to the edge of our system. Not just any edge of our system, but the one still holding the bundle of Sleeper wrecks waiting to be salvaged.

Wait no more, Sleeper wrecks. Your salvager is here. Ignore the corporate ticker of my ship not matching that of the wrecks, we're all friends here. I dive the Cormorant headfirst in the cluster, target all wrecks, and start salvaging. Then I target even more all wrecks, with the destroyer's system maxing out at a measly seven and there being at least twice that, and I continue salvaging. Whether any of the intruder ships noticed my ship swap or not, they don't twig what I'm up to and I clear up the cluster of wrecks, plus the few that the MTU sadly never got around to grabbing, and warp back to our tower with another forty million ISK in loot. None of the Sleepers in this operation were harmed by our ships.

There are more wrecks out there, in the site of the failed Tengu ambush. However, that site is within d-scan range of all the hostile ships, visible or cloaked, and I am in a puny, defenceless destroyer. But who cares, right? I spin the Cormorant around, warp to the relatively empty site, and start locking on to this new cluster of wrecks. I start salvaging, and watch as one of the Tengus warps in to the site to join me. Fine, whatever. I bounce. As I enter warp, I see the Tengu leaves too, apparently a little flustered at seeing my threatening ship. I take that as an invitation to return, so I do, bouncing off my perch at a safe distance in the anomaly from the wrecks, so that I can eyeball the situation before getting close.

Tengu warps in to see my Cormorant salvaging

All is clear, and I warp back to the wrecks and start salvaging. Knowing that this time I am under pressure, being quite visible and already spotted, I try to salvage smarter. I target the Sleeper battleship wrecks first, sweeping four of them in to my hold before a Loki decloaks off my starboard bow. Thirty metres off my starboard bow. Time to go. I align back to my perch and, erk, get yellow-boxed by the Loki. Thankfully, I see that the moment I enter warp, the yellow not turning red this time. I'm safe, and with another ten million ISK of our loot in my hold. But now what to do?

Bumping in to a hostile Loki as I attempt more salvaging

I can't salvage the wrecks. We can't shoot the ships. I feel like I'm missing a permutation here. Oh, I know, let's shoot the wrecks! I have just the ship for that too. Back at our tower, I swap my Cormorant for a Manticore, and take the stealth bomber back to the anomaly where the Loki lies waiting. I bounce off my perch and warp at range to the cluster of wrecks, where I am sure the cloaked ship lurks. I doubt he will catch me, even if he suspects what I'm about to do, which is to deny these intruders even more of their ill-gotten gains. I back off a little, manoeuvring to get an approach vector in line with a distant planet, and align towards the wrecks. All looks good, commence with the bombing run.

Bombing run on some wrecks

I decloak at thirty kilometres and launch a bomb. As I do, a Cheetah appears. I am as surprised to see the covert operations boat as it seems to be at seeing me. I think he's rather more panicked, though, looking somewhat desperate to evade the bomb I just lobbed in his direction. I leave again, entering warp almost instantly towards the distant planet, relying on my instruments to show me the damage report. I hit everything. The Cheetah takes a chunk of damage, the Loki more but relatively less overall, and all of the wrecks are caught in the explosion. I return, cloaked, to my perch to see the Cheetah survived, sadly. The wrecks are all obliterated, though. Mission accomplished!

Obliterating the wrecks

The only bad news is that the intruders already scooped their MTU and the loot inside that. Even so, plenty has either made its way in to our pockets or gone to waste. On top of that, they've had enough of our shenanigans. The MTU in the bait site they are clearing is scooped, leaving four Sleeper wrecks tens of kilometres away, all in different directions. One is a battleship wreck, the blue loot the Sleepers hold in such a ship worth ten million ISK by itself. I'm having that. I warp to the wreck, a long, safe distance from any of the ships, and brazenly loot it in front of the intruders. I cloak and bounce back to my perch once done, and am immediately put off from trying that with the smaller wrecks as a Malediction interceptor is brought in to the site.

Malediction protects the Noctis from me

The interceptor buzzes around, not really close to the wrecks but without any real need to be close to them. He can cover the tens of kilometres required in seconds, either normally or in warp, if he gets too far away. What little ISK is left to recover is not worth either the potential loss of ISK of my ship, or the gain in morale the intruders would get from my being caught. I'm content to watch them be forced to protect a Noctis just so they can take some petty cash home with them, perhaps to cover the costs of the lost MTU and all the ammunition used during combat. Conversely, we are up ninety million ISK, all gained whilst pissing off and inconveniencing a small fleet of pilots. They will think twice before touching our stuff again.

  1. 11 Responses to “Pod and Planet: Stop touching my stuff!”

  2. Great to see a new blog post \o/

    By Kooba Kaundur on Nov 26, 2014

  3. back in business? :)

    By Zosius on Nov 26, 2014

  4. Just a one-off to support the Pod and Planet writing contest.

    By pjharvey on Nov 26, 2014

  5. I felt like I was right there in the action :) Now I'm ready for Holiday play time!

    By RageRifter on Nov 26, 2014

  6. Just like the good old days! Nice story!

    By Jack Dancer on Dec 12, 2014

  7. Doesn't have to be daily posts or nothing. You could just share interesting stories when they happen.

    Just a thought, because your style is very engaging and something is better than nothing.

    By Gwydion Voleur on Dec 13, 2014

  8. o7 Ms Penny... The 'verse is more colorful, vibrant and alive just knowing yer out there somewhere... =]

    By TurAmarth on Dec 17, 2014

  9. Please come back to EVE / blogging, ok?

    By pba on Feb 12, 2015

  10. Is Tiger Ears kill? :(

    By Someone on Mar 12, 2015

  11. I'm afraid so. Where once I survived, now I merely exist, and it's not enough.

    Planet gooers can collect their goo without needing to check for new wormholes, or optimising their ship's fitting, or wondering if anyone's watching. They can escape, or just pay the pocket money for a new ship. Transporting goods to market or fuel to the tower barely requires logistics any more, with the new deep transport ships.

    Gas harvesters are now passively shown new wormholes long before even a skilled hunter could possibly drop probes over their position, and even if they are startled they have new ships that let them warp clear and evade most attackers in moments.

    Fleets clearing Sleepers don't even have to worry about bringing back their loot. Even with the same passive protection of seeing new wormholes open, the mobile tractor units bring the loot to the fleet as they fight, with no need to bring in a vulnerable salvager, and no need to make the decision to sit around protecting it or hoping no one is watching.

    W-space used to be menacing. It used to possible danger lurking anywhere at any time. But cultivated skills and tenacious techniques have been thwarted by iterations to the environment. I don't care to farm Sleepers merely to keep a tower fuelled so that I can farm more Sleepers, and scanning through the now-labyrinthine wormholes only leads to more wormholes. I no longer care to log in to update my skill queue.

    I liked having to survive. I hate merely existing.

    By pjharvey on Mar 21, 2015

  12. Ahhh, the circle of life. A beginner advances and become mediocre, then focuses on one facet of Eve Online. They focus completely on that until they master it. CCP, knowing that stratification of the player base and stagnation means the death of a game, changes mechanics. Entrenched players become bittervets and either idle or uninstall. A new wave of players installs. It's a beautiful thing. Bittervet status is clearly indicated by the superior attitude.
    "You came into my WH, I blew you up, I win."
    "You came into my WH, I couldn't blow you up, I annoyed you, I win."

    By Bittervet on Mar 26, 2015

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