Forest, Trees, Burn

Hey Hex fans! Great news! Cory and the team at Crypto know how disappointed all you PvE cats are that its been nearly two years and you still can’t create a character, equip them with a bunch of gear, level them up, and take on dungeons with your friends like they promised.

So they are going to make it up to you! Yes, to make the hurt go away, they are going to allow your free PvP draft tickets to stay active another six months. They can’t imagine why you haven’t used them in the last two years, and they want to give you a nice present.

“Seriously, ha ha, have you tried out PvP drafts they are *SO* much fun, go ahead and head over there, you have lots more time.


Okay, okay, 18 more months! 18 more months, ha ha, there ya go. We are generous and magnanimous in our graciousness.”


I can’t remember the last time I was rooting for Wizards of the Coast this hard. Either they win the lawsuit, Hex gets hammered, and the thick-headed PvP guys who absolutely gloat over the failure to provide PvE will be tasting a dose of their own medicine. Or, Hex manages to finally implement PvE to make the trial an open and shut loss for WotC.

Either way its better than the purgatory we are in right now.

#hextcg, #broken promises, #pve, #pvp, #wotc, #lawsuit, #mmotcg. #fail

Officially HoF Material

Well, I crossed the 1000 battle mark in Warplanes last night, and so now its official. I am a Hall of Fame caliber player.

hall of fame

Of course, there is no guarantee I will stay there, as I continue to progress up the tiers, and as the player base gets larger and larger. And there are many categories to be conquered beyond Win Rate. But its the only one of two stats in the overall category that it is possible to make without a significantly larger number of battles (the other is Average Experience, which is not dependent on battles but is dependent on tier – high tiers make more base XP). Mostly its just a fun feather in my cap. I have not done this well in a PvP game since Star Wars Battlefront II, where I cracked the top 900 on Xbox Live – not as high a ranking, but against a significantly larger player base!

Also this week, I have been able to knock down three of the top 100 pilots. They are really, really good, and that is not guarantee I will beat them again the next time we face off, but it does let me know I have a fighting chance against anyone I meet in this game.

And because of that, I feel like I can take a breath now. I have spent the last month anxious to prove myself and trying to train myself to be as sharp as possible in every battle. And don’t get me wrong – that was fun for me! But now I think it will be fun to unbutton a little, try some new things, and see what the new update brings (1.2, rumored to be along shortly).


Time Capsule:

Highest Tier: 6
Favorite at that Tier: P-51A Mustang
Favorite Premium: Type 224 (tier 3)
Plane Most Excited About Getting Next: Yak-1M
Current KDR: 2.89
Current SR: 43%

If you want to join me in the friendly skies, I have codes for you to start off with something other than empty coffers, and I’m more than happy to give you a flight lesson for free to go along with it. The game needs more players, stat, and who knows – the next Hall of Famer could be you.

Does Winning Matter?

Warning: this is a long post. If you want the TL;DR version, skipped to the bolded text at the end.

So this isn’t one of my originally scheduled posts, but I have been pondering this for awhile, and something came up today that kind of tied it all together.

A player in the “ask a developer” thread for World of Tanks, asked it was really necessary in keeping count of statistics, to track player’s winrates. SerB, aka the head honcho/big cheese of WoT, had a response for him in his typical trolling fashion (h/t FTR):

A: “I will meditate on that… no, I don’t even know what to say, I have no words. Young man, understand that winrate is just the amount of your victories, divided by the amount of your battles in general and multiplied by 100. To remove this indicator is possible only if we reset the battle count to zero (and in your case, use the free time to train your mental abilities).”

This is not a shocking answer, given that SerB and WG staff in general have always been clear that they feel that overall win rate is the only real indicator of a player’s skill. The argument is that though you may encounter a bad team (ie, be surrounded by assholes), if you are good, your contributions will occasionally tip the scales in your team’s favor, and that over the course of thousands of battles, this means a better winrate.

Of course, there are problems with this, but still, its generally accepted to be one of the big indicators of skill. As I posted a few days ago, my winrate in Warplanes hovers around 63-64%, which is considered great, but not elite (its easier to “carry” a bad team in warplanes, and grouped players can have significant impact on an outcome). In tanks, my win rate is closing in on 53%, which is above good but not great.

But the funny thing is, in the PvP games I do play, win rate is really only a big deal in the WG titles. In Battlefield, its more about your Kill/Death ratio. While Win/Loss is tracked, its not talked about a lot. Meanwhile, whether through the fact that they are a floundering title that appears to have no idea what they are doing, or because they are just on some anti-stat crusade, Mechwarrior Online doesn’t bother charting any of your stats. (The really skill-intensive clans have to play some matches with applicants and observe them in combat – which probably isn’t a bad thing). EVE Online seems to be about how many kill mails you get on, though there is some secondary thought to how many ships/pods you lose (and how you lose them).

So I wonder about getting hung up on win rate. I certainly do. I have been very careful about how and when I play and who I play with and what planes I play with. I want to maintain that win rate (and in the case of tanks, grow it). I get grumpy if I log off at night and I’ve lost more than I’ve won.

As with all things in life, I think balance is the key. So I’ve been spending some nights away from my PvP endeavors, enjoying some other ventures. TERA is still fun, and I’ve been working through a couple of nostalgia titles in my Steam library. There has to be a place in there some where that winning feels good but losing doesn’t feel bad. Where you can play a game for the fun of the game and not be constantly setting goals and achievements for yourself.

And here comes the TL;DR of it all: I really don’t think I’ve found that in an online game yet. Everything is about leveling up, or winning, or gathering, or achieving. In other words – its all about progress. And in some ways, I kinda find that sad.

The closest I can come to finding this has, I think, been in Star Trek Online. I got on last week to play the Season 8 Featured Episode, originally for the cool ship that came with it. But I got sucked in by the storytelling and really had a good time. I could only do that though, because I was at level cap. In fact, I made a point of capping both my KDF and STF characters and only now am I going back and doing the storyline missions. I’m not worried about if my gear is good enough, or if I have the right ship, and the difficulty that scales to your level is just enough to make it interesting.

What if there were an MMO that was not about progress or gear. Just about making the character you wanted and taking them on adventures. Maybe one day, we can hope, winning won’t matter in some games, some of the time. That would be enough for me. Because the rest of the time, in planes and tanks and on battlefields…you’re going down.

Shocker Alert: I’m Not Supporting Camelot Unchained

I know, I’m taking another day off from the Twenty Days.  But this is a time sensitive topic.   In just under one day’s time, we will know if Camelot Unchained will success in its $2 million Kickstarter campaign.   In truth, its already a done deal.  Not raising the final $150,000 would be shocking given how much its pulled down even in the last two days.   I bring this up first so that it tempers the reaction I get here.   Your precious is safe, and there is nothing I can do to stop it from succeeding at this point.


But I will not be supporting it.  I have heard lots of impassioned pleas in blogs and on Twitter.    Wilhelm says we should do it to promote the genre (and to support a niche sub game).   Doc says it will support the industry.   Psychochild says we should do it to shake free funding for other MMO’s.   But I’m afraid I just don’t understand any of those arguments.


There are plenty of niche subscription based MMO’s around.   And plenty of F2P niche MMO’s around.  And most of them are PvP based.  Please don’t tell me that one more (by the same guy who has built two of them already) will somehow improve the genre any.   And if the genre is MMORPG – I think we have made plenty of progress in the PvP and RvR areas of gameplay.  We need to stretch the genre in other ways.


What about the industry itself?   Will this be good for it?   Will it promote positive change?  Sure I guess.   Did Ouya change the console market by getting nearly ten times is almost one million dollar goal?   Did Kingdom Death: Monster change the board game market when it dragged in nearly thirty times its goal, making north of two million dollars?  Maybe its too early to tell,  but aren’t we overselling the reach of a Kickstarter campaign here?   Will its success or failure really promote  the industry to a game-changing level?


What about funding for MMO’s?  Did the failure of TOR-tanic forever put a scare in potential investors?   You bet it did.  Will CU somehow erase that bad taste from their mouth?   Nope.  Will it sell them on smaller MMO’s?  Given the proliferation of (especially smaller) MMO’s – I can’t believe we are hurting all that much for funding for them.   And if we are…isn’t that what Kickstarter is there for?  To fill that void?


What about Mark Jacobs and his crew?   They are skilled, they are industry veterans!  Shouldn’t we toss them a bone?   Not if they are not creating the kind of game that I would want to play, no.   In fact, the only leverage I have is *not* supporting their game.   If I’m not a fan of niche sub-based PvP MMO’s, I can’t do anything to help the market innovate something new if I continue to let it do what its been doing for the last dozen years.


Clearly I’m in the minority here.  And I’m okay with that.   If this is where the industry is headed, there is nothing I can do to stop it.   I’ll keep supporting the games and ideas I like.    And if you are supporting it, good for you.   It looks like you are getting what you wanted – the CU Kickstarter gained another $30,000 just in the time it took me to write this post.

The PvE Sandbox; or how PvP is ruining my MMO’s one by one.

Does it exist?  And if so where can I find it?  That mythical game with no PvP.


I am reading over at The Ancient Gaming Noob about how Rift is now traveling invariably down the same path that crashed Warhammer and Fallen Earth.  That is, turning your MMORPG into an a  competitive 3rd person whack-a-skill-watch-the-dps-meter-and-create-some-macros paradise.  Granted, Rift is not there yet, because they haven’t, say…changed their entire damage and armor mechanic because it wasn’t good for PvP, or scaled their XP progression primarily around how many matches it would take to cap level.  But its the beginnings of those paths.


I’m beginning to wonder if its a foregone conclusion for any MMO that decides to saddle itself with the burden of PvP.  Its like a cancer that eats away at the heart of the game.  I wonder how many developer hours are wasted on balancing and fine tuning classes/skills/macros/3rd party support that could instead be used to generate new content.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-PvP, or World of Tanks would not loom large in my life.  Nor would I have spent as long as I did in EVE.  But the games I play for PvE content always seemed to be subjugated for some bizarre PvP dominance, as it that were the lifeblood of the games players.   And perhaps it is, which leads me, for yet another reason, to ask the question about the PvE sandbox.  Even TOR does not seem immune to its effects, as the earliest indications of patch 1.1.2 indicate.


Just for once, I’d like to see some PvP players crying a developer said “no” to their desired changes on the reasoning that it would disrupt the rest of the game world who are playing (::gasp::) an MMO.

First Blood

I’ve learned something in EVE about PvP that I never knew before.  When the chips are down and the lasers start blasting, sometimes its not the best pilot who wins.  Sometimes its just about whichever pilot panics less.

I’ve seen that in our limited engagements, skirmishes and our one war.  I read it in other blogs.  Something happens unexpected, someone tries to run, you aim for the wrong target, you make poor decisions, and then like that ::snap:: …its over.

Well the one PvP game I play where I have yet to get a kill isn’t actually EVE, its The Reincarnation (TR).  Granted, action is more strategic in TR, and it can take days of protracted seiges and dueling to take someone down.  And in theory, the killing blow is no more valuable than the strikes that brought them to their knees.  But this time I got to finish off the opponent, and had the satisfaction of knowing I put him there.

This war has drug on all set for us.  I voted to end it a few weeks ago, but was on the losing side of that battle.  And truth be told, once the end of the set hits, and all the safety nets are lifted in the last 24 hours of play, they are going to beat us black and blue, despite the fact that we have probably a dozen or more kills this set.  They got crafty and all reincarnated at once rather than one at a time, and we couldn’t handle the volume of targets.  Enough got by without us culling them and managed to rank up higher than us in power, so we’ve been on the defensive the last two weeks or so.

Two nights ago, one of those who came back for more, Makubex, decided to lay me out.  He’s kinda been my nemesis on the other side. We’re both playing black (Nether) mages and have similar styles in terms of how we stack our armies and handle opponents.  I logged in one last time before bed, having been up later than normal, just to see if I needed to make any adjustments before they started hitting us (the bulk of their guild takes their turns in the early morning).   I saw that he had seiged me and failed, so I did something, came back to the main screen and saw the note of his seige still hanging their, but this time with a loss of land for me.  I checked the clock on it and realized that he was hitting me at that moment!

The standard tactic when you catch someone online is to “snipe” them with an enchantment – a damage dealing spell that ticks with each turn they take. Enchantments tear up the buildings, income and population of a mage, softening them up, though they can kill them if run for long enough without being dispelled.  I had plenty of turns to burn and this was a rare opportunity, so I cast it several times in a row without waiting.  The risk was that he might be doing the same thing, but since I hadn’t moved while he was hitting me, he probably didn’t know I was online, and he was focused on attacking.   It worked.  I got one of the castings through his barriers (magic defense rating basically) and he ran it for four turns (two more attacks on me).  I can’t imagine the devastation.  Running it one turn can, depending on the spell level of the mage, wreck 5-7% of your infrastructure.

The smart move at that point would be to just stop.  He can wait and come  back later when I’m not online, dispel, and rebuild.  But he panicked instead.  Maybe he was worried that someone else would come along and fill out more enchantments, thus “locking” him down until a friendly green (Verdant) mage could give him a Serenity spell (the only “dispel other” option in the game).  Their guild doesn’t coordinate those very well usually though, so he took matters into his own hands.  He obviously thought he had damaged me enough with his attacks that he had the upper hand.  He dispelled and set up a series of attacks, much the way I had my spell going.

But I was one step ahead of him.  I saw the warning that he had dispelled and I immediately did the same thing I did before – a enchantment on repeat several times till it got through.  He launched a series of five attacks.  Ten turns.  Ten turns he ran my enchantment, on top of the four earlier ones.  Do the math with the numbers above.  His barriers were cut in half, his forts were cut by a third, and he probably didn’t have the income generating to handle his army, which put it into a spiral of disbanding/deserting.

He panicked again, and dispelled again.  And I hit him again.  This time though, he had the good sense to stay put.  He had taken about a third of my land, so I was hurting too.  In TR, if you lose a certain percentage of your net power in a day, you go into Damaged mode, much like the Reinforce mode of a space station in EVE Online.  The only way around that is with the enchantments, the one direct damage spell (only available to Red mages, and then with high mana cost), or if you have Machine Counters.  Everytime someone hits you/spellls you succesfully, the game basically gives you a token, good for 24 hours, that allows you to attack the opponent, even if they are outside your combat range (ie, of much lower power/level than you) or are damaged.  At this point Makubex was both.

I called for my guild to help.  Overnight, they locked him down for me.   The next morning, with the few turns I had left, I began the process of mopping up, using the 7 counters he had handed me on a golden platter the night before.  His army was in dissarray, he didn’t have his defensive bonuses from a strong percentage of forts, and his mana was shot from dispelling so he wasn’t set to cast any defensive spells in the battles.  It was over shortly thereafter:

So long, and thanks for all the fish.

I Died…

Yeah, its like the opposite of winning.  I’ve mentioned before my favorite free, browser-based game, The Reincarnation  (aka Archmage).  And how much regard I hold for the guild I am in there, The White Raven, the best run in any online game I’ve encountered.

Well in The Reincarnation (TR), the server resets every couple of months and people being the process of building their kingdoms again.  The  top ten at the end of each set is recorded at the time of the reset.  I play, aptly enough, on the guild server, which is set against the backdrop of guild wars and conflicts (as opposed to say, the solo server, with no guilds and a style encouraging a “you vs. the world” mentality). 

While guilds always provide a defensive protection against over-targeting from other players (attacking any one mage more than once in 24 hours is considered a faux pas), part of the fun is the offensive nature of guilds as well.  We regularly challenge other guilds to rise not just individually, but in the guild rankings as well.

The last two sets, our guild has issued severe beat downs.  Two sets ago we challenged a guild three spots higher than us in the rankings and soundly beat them.  Last set, we suffered through an internal coup that led to us joining a allience guild war that encompassed probably half the server.  We took down the betrayer and more than one of his sidekicks as icing on the cake.

So in some ways, we were due for a defeat.  A new guild arrived made up of some veteran players.  Rather than war with a guild higher than them in the rankings, the picked on one lower in the rankings – us.  Rather than issue a challenge though, they just started laying into us, and then war dec’d us.  All the more frustrating internally as we were trying to train a few new players that we had picked up to replaces the previous sets betrayal.   And by new players, I mean “had not played before.”  The game does give you an apprentice phase to get on your feet, but they timed their ambush to hit us right as those new players exited that phase.  They were the first to die, unfortunately.

Verdancy - for healer types and elf lovers.

Next a few of our veterans went.  I almost went down in the first two days.  I missed logging in for a day, and it happened to be the day it started.  I came in to chaos.  Fortunately, I was playing a Verdant (Green) Mage this set, good for its defensive abilities, so I managed to escape their offensive spells and sieges.  And then again a few days later.  And again.  The war has been going on three weeks now and I had ducked everything they threw at me.  Green mages are usually the first do get hit because we have access to spells that “heal” – dispel enemy enchantments and the like.

Finally, after recruiting some veteran independent players, they managed to lock me down with every offensive enchantment in the game, and drain me of all my mana.  But I got out with a little help from the Gods – a donation to one of them got me, of all things, a complete dispel.  But not before most of my land, troops, and money was gone.   I managed to get my fortresses back up (your “hit points” in the game) and even my mana to cast whatever dispels I would need…but I ran out of turns before I could build up any magic barriers.   Somewhere between 2am and 5am, they managed to relock every spell on me.  And hour later, I was seiged to death.

Its the first time I’ve ever died in the game – and I’ve played probably, 15-20 sets over the years, so that was disappointing.  But I take some comfort in knowing that it took some underhanded deeds by a more powerful guild to bring us down.  Not that we are completely gone yet.  We’re waiting to hear back from another guild, if they might be willing to aid us in the conflict.  And we still have 12 mages up and running, though we will lose another 3-4 in the next day if the other guild doesn’t step in. 

Intense times.  I think I may go back to playing a more offensive color though.  While I was good at dodging and helping our people stay alive, it was frustrating not being able to effectively take it to them on the other end of things.  If you want to give the game a try, let me know.  We could use more people, and hopefully, since their ambush of us has not been favorably received socially by the other guilds, you won’t die as quickly as this most recent batch of recruits did.  And yes, that is a challenge to you.

If you see this instead of your status screen, its all over...

Double Cross

First off, an apology.  I didn’t get a single screenshot last night.  In my defense, I was too busy getting absolutely pummeled.  Basically, this is how last night went:


Basically, everything they did this week thus far was a lie, to get us to go to sleep so that they could issue a full fledged beat down.

We had a Sleipnir and Taranis off station, the usual camping duo, and had been working on fits to take them down.  We had it down on paper when they both logged.  We told them we were ready, but they demurred in the face of wife aggro (so they said).  We took the ships out, and our one T2 pilot brought his Sleipnir out and we tried out our tactics.  We were wrapping up and docking up for the night when the Taranis pilot reappeared.

She was impressed at how quickly we were adapting, and hovered just outside our range on station, so we knew she was calling in the troops.  We stayed close by to see what they would bring, eyes on the gate into system.  Sure enough, another Sleipnir appeared.  We all docked up except our newest pilot, in his brand new Hurricane, who somehow, and I’m still not clear how, got himself  aced and limped back in his pod (I *think* he had warped off and was trying to warp in at 100 to catch the Taranis, without telling us what he was doing, and arrived, unfortunately, about the same time the Sleipnir did).  That blew our setup to hell and we had to go back to the drawing board, all with them doing their usual friendly but still irritating smack talk.  Our new pilot (as in, less than a month old) asked if he could collect his loot.  Up until now this had not been a problem with them, but suddenly it was.  In addition, a Scimitar had shown up, and they were complaining it was five to three.   Our corp leader, being diplomatic and contining the friendly banter we had been engaged in all week, offered to fight 3v3 if they let our rookie have his gear back.  They dumped his gear just outside the dock and we took a minute to finalize our plan before we undocked in unison.

It was their Sleipnir, Scimitar, and Taranis vs. our Sleipnir, Megathron, and Prophecy.  I was going to bring my Apoc, but the truth is my skill set now lets me squeeze more DPS out of the Prophecy.  The strat was simple – the Sleipnir was fitted with its usual autocannon compliment – and three heavy neuters.  The Mega had its usual rails – and a hold full of ECM drones.  The Prophet had its usual pulse lasers – and  a tracking disruptor.

It worked like a charm.  The Taranis went down in a blaze of glory within 60 seconds.  She got enough of the ECM drones before she popped to allow the Sleip to lock onto me and start pounding.  We shifted to the Sleipnir, and his shields started dropping fast.  My Prophecy was in armor, but he was so locked down that he wasnt able to shoot at me again.  And thats when all hell broke loose.

An Ishkur undocked from the station, flown by one of their pilots, who apparently had docked it there beforehand when none of us were on, and he was waiting in a neutral alt for the signal.   He crapped all over the ECM drones in no time flat, and the double cross was on in force.  I called my brother out but their wasnt much the Rifter could do other than draw fire.  With the ECM off, the Sleipnir started pounding me again and I didn’t last long.  I docked up in a hurry, not certain how far the double cross was going to go (we had refrained from podding during the war by mutual agreement).  I was pissed as hell though, and the Apoc was undocking 30 seconds later, about the same time a T2 fitted Thorax from their corp joined the fray.  We pounded the Ishkur down, but we knew it was a lost cause and decided to bail.   The Mega went down finally and I couldnt quite finish off  the Ishkur before I died.  I tried to warp off, because we apparently had either confused or damaged their only remaining tackle device, but somehow I had drifted into the station itself, and battleships do not unstick easily.  I tried to dock but I was scrammed and webbed and for some reason, when I hit the docking button it gave me the “your being squeezed out, it will be another 30 seconds before you can dock again” – (thats twice now this week and EVE glitch cost me a ship).  It didn’t take long for my pod to go.

Just when we thought that maybe theiy weren’t griefers after all, just a corp that liked PvP, they taught us another invaluable lesson.  I’d warn you off, but even putting their name here would be too good for them.  Local chat was…difficult.  With griefers, if you complain too much, they get off on it, and then we get another week of war dec status.  If you say nothing, they get pissed, and you get another week of war dec status.  So we tried to be proud and gracious and not too sore about it.  But it was hard.

There were some bright spots though.  When I undocked the Apoc, I became the new primary, and so our corp leader’s Sleipnir managed to escape.  And both my ships were insured.  Don’t get me wrong though, it hurt.

My Apoc, Dead by Sunrise, was fully rigged, and no insurance payout will cover that.  And since I don’t have a JC, there went my +3 implants, all five of them.  But, we fought hard, and we did the best we could with what we had, and we made sure they understood that, because that will probably be the only thing that keeps us from getting griefed again.

The good thing about EVE though, is that unlike other PvP games I’ve played – trying to “be a hero” does have its rewards.  I didn’t have to undock with my pride and joy, and I was the only guy who lost two ships and got podded.  I went all in and laid it all out there for my corpmates, and they are saying thank you – the corp leader is building me a new Prophecy in return for saving his beloved command ship, and my buddy is giving me a spare set of +3’s that he had acquired from storyline missions, since he has a JC and uses +4’s these days in his non combat clone.

I’m still not sure what to make of the evening though, both tactically and just in terms of my feelings.  Alot of that may have to do with the fact that I laid it all out in another sense too – I’ve only had three and half hours of sleep.  So perspective may not be soon in coming, at least not until I get a chance to sack out.  On the bright side, I don’t really need to log in the next two nights until the war dec is (hopefully) over.   ‘Cuz I don’t really have any more ships to lose!

Mid War Update

Well I’d like to tell you about the glorious battles and all, but we haven’t had any you see.  Where to begin…

First of all, while some of the people in the corp may be griefers, the truth is we’ve gotten along well with a number of them, chatting in local and exchanging good fights and so on.  It became apparent on the first evening what a mismatch had been set up.  Your talking about a guild with 42 on its rolls  to our 15 (good rule of thumb I’ve learned for EVE – divide corp membership by two to determine how many active pilots are really there).  In addition, pretty much all of the one’s who have been blockading us in our home station can fly and equip T2 pvp craft.  That list for our corp includes two, and one of those is me, and while I can fly them,  I can’t (for the most part) fit T2 weaponry on them, so…

Been seeing alot of these lately?  Chances are, you're at WAR!
Been seeing alot of these lately? Chances are, you're at WAR!

So the first night, about 8 of them sat outside our station, complete with command ship, interceptor, and several battlecruisers and ECM type ships.   We fed them a few frigates and at least two battlecruisers, but it was clear how one sided it was.  Later that night though, my brother and I caught the interceptor pilot napping alone outside our station.  We undocked at the same time, side by side Rifter and Punisher to see what we could do, but I wigged out and redocked.  Why?  When I hit F1 for guns, nothing happened.  And when I looked bottom right on my screen…they werent there.  I panicked and docked, thinking I must not have put them back on from when I was playing with fits earlier and cursing myself for the mistake.  But they were on!  For some reason, the icon for the guns was buried on the second row of icons, three deep into it.  Shift-F3 basically.  I got back out just as my brother’s Rifter went out in a blaze of glory.  The interceptor pilot, seeing me emerge again, warped out.  Leaving his two T2 drones behind.  I had just finished dusting the second when he returned.  To his credit, he didn’t run but still went toe to toe with me.  To my credit, I had him to about 10% of his structure left when I popped.  I was webbed and scrammed next right next to the station though, and I docked my pod before he could complete the kill.

GF’s were exchanged in local, and I haven’t seen that pilot since.  I think he was thinking the same thing my brother and I were…if I hadn’t had a bizarred EVE malfunction, he would be dead, and we would had had some bragging rights for bagging him.

Since then, the station camping has been sporadic, and often in chatting with them, they will back off their T2 behemoths and fit out T1 frigates, cruisers, and battlecruisers, and we will go out and have 1v1 or 2v2 battles.  They’ve won more often than we have, but the experience for our corp, well, I’m not sure you can put a price tag on it, because it has been invaluable for us to begin to get live-fire pvp training. 

All of this has led me to a conclusion though – I badly need a jump clone if I wish to continue doing this.  I have +3 implants all around, which aren’t too bad to lose, but enough to make me wince.  My standings the current NPC corp we mission for hover around 5, and my next in game goal is to get them to 8 and get myself JC capable.  This is interesting for me because really its the first in game goal I’ve set for myself that didn’t involve money or flying a new ship.  That’s a refreshing change of pace…I like it.

Three Way Showdown

A few nights ago, someone in our little crew had a brilliant suggestion.  With my brother trying to be a Rifter loving pirate, we should loadout some frigates and do some pvp for real.   So we finally carved out some time.  And I had the best time I’ve had in awhile.

Of course, being the trouble maker I was, I knew I wouldn’t bring a Rifter.  And my buddy caught on quick and showed up in his Dramiel.   That might seem unfair, but my brother, with his focused training regimen, has quickly ascended to fitting some t2 gear to his Rifter.  With Gallente Frigate 5 and now Amarr Frigate 5 under my belt, I had a choice.  But I decided to stay true to my new Amarr love and fit a Punisher. 

And I won.  Again…and again…and again.  the only time I lost was when my buddy had switched out to his repping Domi and was repping bth my brother and I at the same time.  He stopped finally, but my brother had just reloaded, and I had only a few rounds left.  So I had to stop and reload and he didn’t.   Granted, against the t2 autocannons it was very, very close.   And I’m not sure my buddy quite has his Dramiel fit perfected yet, but still, it was something to be proud of.

And it made me wonder.   Everybody I’ve heard of always lauds the virtues of the Rifter as the best T1 combat frigate (I’ve seen some minority arguments for the Tristan though).   Why not the Punisher?  Is it the lack of the third mid slot?  I can see where that would be problematic against other pvpers who would try to disengage  if they fell behind.

It also gave me a solid “Eureka!” moment.  I didn’t realize that I had all the preqs done for Assault Ships.  I mean I think I knew but I didn’t quite know.  You know?  Anyway, I need to train my gunnery skills a bit more for t2 weapons, but…well it was so fun, I gotta get me one. 

But which one?  With two maxed out frigate skills…do I go:

Enyo?  Ishkur?  Retribution?  Vengeance?

I’m leaning towards the Ishkur (I had solid drone skills) but I love the look of the Vengeance and the armor resist bonus (also what I love about the Punisher).

Taking your input….nnnooow.  Ding.