It will come as no surprise to anyone that as aggressive salvagers, Ironfleet gets a lot of flak from people who just somehow think it’s wrong for us to play the game our way. They want to use open space for ore storage, and under their morals, which they think universal, that means that nobody should come along to clean up the mess they are making, because, *gasp!*, in the real world, that would be stealing! ZOMG!

This game has seen extreme cases where people have even confused in-game loss with real world crime.

So I was amused, that an errant Google search brought me to this:

So I play this silly Dragon Cave game online, where you collect and breed dragons. And in the forum for the site, people come up with all kinds of topics to discuss. The latest one, that really blew my mind, was about whether or not it bothers you to inbreed your dragons, and whether you’ll keep a dragon that someone else bred if it’s inbred. What stunned me was how many people were completely and militantly against it.

There isn’t any kind of “genetic coding” in the game, for crying out loud. The only coding of any kind in the breeding is that the offspring will always be the color of one of its parents, and “rare” types won’t breed together. Everything else (gender, for instance) is totally random, except in the 2 colors of dragons that are always female (pink & purple, in case anyone wondered).

And these are imaginary pixel pets! Not real animals. Not people. Just drawings, for crying out loud. But more than one person in that forum thread seemed offended and disgusted that people would even dream of inbreeding their dragons. One person went so far as to say that morals have to be absolute, and that you should never do anything online or in a game that you wouldn’t do in real life, and that if they had their way it would be impossible to inbreed the dragons on that site. WTF?!

That last sentence, does it sound familiar to anyone? Because, these people, we have them in EVE.

Last night I returned to Caldari space, only to discover that Jim Bridger had made Ironfleet some fine new friends at GunSlingerSquad Corp.

I came back because my skill training for the Prowler (a blockade runner like my beloved Crane, but having a second high slot to fit the newly-available-to-this-shipclass Covert Ops Cloak) had finally completed. I had a Prowler in the hangar and ready to fit, and I was eager to tinker with the new setup.

It turns out the Prowler is lower on mid slots and CPU than my beloved Crane, making it a challenge to fit up for the combat role I use these ships in. Not impossible, just tricky and expensive, so I was back and forth to Jita several times last night looking for mods that would fit.

By the time I was done, it was very late. I went out into the belts for a maiden voyage, and encountered SPJR mining into a jet can. Of course, I relieved him of his ore. While hauling the first of two shipments home, he wrote the following in local:

SPJR > you better bring that shit back right now

This made me fall off my chair laughing. Oh, really? Or else, what?

On the other hand Jim’s been riding these boys fairly hard, so I stayed quiet in local. Others did not:

Ranger Miriya > what happen sp
SPJR > Some dick just looted my 20k of ore
Ranger Miriya > what he in
SPJR > transport ship
SPJR > his names marlenus
Ranger Renlea > thats a bunch of crap. put a bounty on his head and we go hunting
SPJR > how i do that dude im new to this shit
SPJR > i have to be docked dont i?
Ranger Renlea > go into a station that has a bounty office and place bounty

I’m thinking “Good luck with that” but I hold my peace. They’ll learn the bounty rules in due time.

I do have to say, though, that I don’t comprehend the foul language. It seems like every time in this game that I’m considering lightening up on somebody because they are new, they come across all potty-mouth, which only convinces me they need extra pounding until they learn some humility or at least some politeness. Do they think it’s intimidating? Do they think it’s persuasive? Do they think it makes them look tougher if they talk tougher? I’ve never understood the theory of victory that underlies vulgar smack (except of course in the situation where you want to goad your enemy into fighting harder or stupider).

So. That was last night.

This morning, I took my shiny new (and as yet, unblooded) Prowler out for a prowl. Guess who I found?

Yup, SPJR. Destroyer mining into two Giant Secure Cans. Ah hah! Progress! They’ve finally abandoned the jet can!

Unfortunately, whoever gave them that tip didn’t tell them about anchoring. :(

So, as I’m looking at these two juicy GSCs that need plucking, despairing at my new friends from Gunslinger Squad and wondering how many expensive lessons they will need, what do you suppose appeared in local chat?

You guessed it: vulgar smacktalk. And not just any old vulgar smack; this was the best kind: premature, unjustifiably triumphalist vulgar smack!

SPJR > cant steal now can you? fuck head

You know Ironfleet. You know me. You know what happened next.

I couldn’t scoop both cans into the Prowler, so I scooped one of them, then took ore from the other to fill up my nooks and crannies. Now I’m flashing red to SPJR in his mining destroyer, but he seems reluctant to shoot. Fine, I’ll take his marbles and go home.

While warping home, I had to opine in local:

Marlenus > There are nuances to the use of Giant Secure Containers that you have not yet discovered.

And then, of course, I had to go back for the other can.

SPJR was still there, the can was still there, I scooped it. Then I began aligning for home. Anybody want to play shooty shooty? I was in no hurry.

At this point, MasterGladiator drops out of warp in his Badger II. Fine, maybe he was trying to save his GCS. No, wait, what’s this? He’s locking me! In the Badger! And it’s shooting! And I’m warp scrambled!

Cool!

Damned if he didn’t engage me in a very creditable BattleBadger. His damage was decent for his age and skills, he had some anti-gunnery ECM fitted (which didn’t affect my missile launcher), and he came with a tackle and the blood lust to try and use it. After the haplessnesses that Jim encountered, I was impressed.

So, after I locked him back, scrambled him, and started shooting heavy missiles at him, I said so in local:

Marlenus > A creditable battle badger, good work!

I also noticed that SPJR in the mining destroyer had left the field — a surprise, as I expected them to double-team me. I guess he went home to refit for combat.

The Badger II went down slowly but surely. His damage never got through my shields, but he certainly was denting them. Just before he went pop, SPJR reappeared on the grid, this time in a Merlin.

As the Merlin was locking me, I finished the Badger:

2008.12.08 18:43:00

Victim: MasterGladiator
Corp: GunSlingerSquad Corp
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Badger Mark II
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 4820

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Prowler
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 4820

Destroyed items:

Warp Disruptor II
ECCM Projector I
Medium C5-L Emergency Shield Overload I

Dropped items:

280mm Gallium I Cannon
M51 Iterative Shield Regenerator
Medium Azeotropic Ward Salubrity I
Proton S, Qty: 4952 (Cargo)

Now it’s Merlin time!

Wait, can I even hit a Merlin with heavy missiles these days?

The answer, it turns out is “yes, but not very hard.” I’d have to say our damage output seemed roughly equal. But of course, my shields were much bigger than his. He was warp scrambling me hard, and hitting me with ECM that might have helped if I was shooting guns, but he was having trouble doing enough damage to hurt me. He clearly had the speed advantage, though, so he could have escaped at any time. To his credit, he didn’t; I figured he was trying to hold me until the Badger pilot could come back in another ship.

Which, indeed, happened. MasterGladiator showed up in another Cormorant destroyer. By now the Merlin is in deep armor, and my shields are pretty much gone. If the Cormie had been fit for serious damage, this could start to hurt.

So, I decided to turn on my shield booster, and went back to finishing the Merlin:

2008.12.08 18:47:00

Victim: SPJR
Corp: GunSlingerSquad Corp
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Merlin
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 1420

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Prowler
Weapon: Caldari Navy Havoc Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 1420

Destroyed items:

Gremlin Rocket, Qty: 3119 (Cargo)
Power Diagnostic System I
Small ‘Knave’ I Energy Drain, Qty: 2
Gremlin Rocket, Qty: 32
Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters

Dropped items:

‘Malkuth’ Rocket Launcher I, Qty: 2
Tracking Speed Disruption
Phalanx Rocket, Qty: 3499 (Cargo)
Gremlin Rocket, Qty: 32
Warp Disruptor I
DDO Photometry I Targeting Interference
Warp Core Stabilizer I

MasterGladiator had time to get a fair few licks in before the Merlin went pop, but nothing my shields weren’t handling. I turned off the shield booster so he wouldn’t get discouraged, scrambled him, and got to work. It went pretty fast (the old saw about Destroyers and heavy missiles not mixing remains true). And this one looked to be a mining fit, not a fighting fit:

2008.12.08 18:52:00

Victim: MasterGladiator
Corp: GunSlingerSquad Corp
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Cormorant
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 3877

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Prowler
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 3877

Destroyed items:

Tungsten Charge S, Qty: 2190 (Cargo)
125mm Railgun I (Cargo)
Medium Shield Booster I
Miner II
Small Shield Extender I
Rocket Launcher I
Light Ion Blaster I
Tungsten Charge S, Qty: 72
Phalanx Rocket
Pyroxeres, Qty: 65 (Cargo)

Dropped items:

Uranium Charge S, Qty: 55 (Cargo)
Phalanx Rocket, Qty: 244 (Cargo)
Iron Charge S, Qty: 100 (Cargo)
150mm Railgun I
125mm Compressed Coil Gun I (Cargo)
Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters
Small Shield Extender I
Tungsten Charge S, Qty: 120
125mm Compressed Coil Gun I

By now, however, I was genuinely impressed by the creativity and sheer combat spunk these guys were showing me; they were outclassed, but they weren’t giving up. So I complimented them again in local:

Marlenus > Thanks guys, that was a lot of fun. With that kind of combat determination you’ll go far in EVE, I mean this as serious praise

Sad to say, they aren’t such good sports off the field as they are on it.

SPJR > Yeah thats fucked up though pickin on some newbies
Marlenus > Er, you attacked me, remember? There was no “picking on”
SPJR > well you stole from us what you expect us to do just watch
Marlenus > That’s just business. I expect you to defend yourself, which you did quite well, actually
Marlenus > But you might want to reconsider the arrogant smack in local *before* anything has happened to you

No response. Any bets on whether they were receptive to the advice?

I honestly do think these guys (if indeed there are two of them) have a future in EVE. They are right on the steep part of the learning and earning curve right now, but they do learn from their mistakes, they do adapt their tactics, and they have plenty of aggressiveness. Now, if they can only learn not to pointlessly antagonize people, or even (dare I hope?) to remember it’s all just a game, they could go far.

Jim here again. (Marlenus still appears to be off farting around with the TEARS boys in Gallente space.)

Is there a whole crop of new players who don’t yet know about the hazards of jet can mining?

I ask only because, right now, there sure seem to be a lot of barge pilots out there right now with dreams of bloodlust.

Right after my latest encounter with SPJR, I stumbled over a Retriever pilot, mining into a transfer jet-can (placeholder: 1 unit of Veldspar) and thence into a Badger II. A perfectly sensible mining method, if you can calmly accept that sometimes you’ll lose your unit of Veldspar.

When I took that one unit of Veldspar from ScarletMint (a pretty face in Star Caliber [SCAL.], member of the 25-corporation OWN Alliance [OWN]) she apparently flipped out. Why else would a Retriever pilot launch two Warrior Is and a Hammerhead I, and then sic them on a Rifter?

Result predictable:

008.12.07 19:56:00

Victim: ScarletMint
Corp: Star Caliber
Alliance: OWN Alliance
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Retriever
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 2167

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Rifter
Weapon: 250mm Light Artillery Cannon II
Damage Done: 1973

Name: Guristas Saboteur / Guristas
Damage Done: 194

Destroyed items:

Strip Miner I, Qty: 2
Veldspar, Qty: 11530 (Cargo)

Dropped items:

Warrior I (Drone Bay)

Note it was a completely unfitted Retriever. I think that’s the worst loot drop I’ve ever seen from a player wreck.

There’s a corp in that alliance called Pleasure and Pain. If there’s justice in the world, OWN will send them after me.

Jim Bridger here, again.

Remember SPJR, who lost a Cormorant to my Rifter yesterday, then suicided a Caracal under the sentry guns in a vain attempt at revenge?

Today during my routine sweep of the belts, I found him mining … in another Caracal. Which is a terrible abuse of a fine missile boat in my unsolicited opinion.

So I hastened to clean up his drifting hazards to navigation. And he commenced to trying to kill me, again.

It went badly for him, although at least this time he did get into my armor:

2008.12.07 19:16:00

Victim: SPJR
Corp: GunSlingerSquad Corp
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Caracal
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 8111

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Rifter
Weapon: 250mm Light Artillery Cannon II
Damage Done: 7974

Name: Guristas Imputor / Guristas
Damage Done: 137

Destroyed items:

J5 Prototype Warp Disruptor I
Medium Shield Extender I
Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 86
Power Diagnostic System I
Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 3271 (Cargo)
Warp Core Stabilizer I (Cargo)
Dual Diode Mining Laser I, Qty: 2
‘Malkuth’ Assault Missile Launcher I, Qty: 2
Small Energy Neutralizer I (Cargo)
Supplemental Screen Generator I
FZ-3 Subversive Spatial Destabilizer ECM (Cargo)

Dropped items:

Tracking Disruptor I (Cargo)
Ballistic Control System I
‘Malkuth’ Assault Missile Launcher I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Medium Shield Extender I
Bloodclaw Light Missile, Qty: 43
Medium Clarity Ward Booster I
Murky Energy Transmitter I (Cargo)
‘Malkuth’ Assault Missile Launcher I
Shield Recharger I (Cargo)

Given some of the fitted items, like the warp disruptor, I think we are looking at a young EVE player aggressively groping toward a bait-and-gank fitting. If so, congratulations!

As I was scooping the ore in my hauler, his CEO was seen in a Merlin, but didn’t engage.

Hey, everybody, Jim Bridger here again. The fun I’ve been having in my little Rifter!

Today I happened upon a guy mining in a Cormorant destroyer. Being a destroyer guy myself, I’ve had trouble convincing myself to take them on in a frigate; but a miner-dessie shouldn’t, as a rule, have the guns and tracking to pose a problem.

So I sidled up to this guy and rectified the hazard to navigation his jetcan was posing. (As I’ve explained before, Ironfleet jetcans use the latest beacon technology; once we get abandoned ore safely stowed in OUR cans, we feel much safer.)

He didn’t seem to notice, so I looted and salvaged some wrecks he’s got laying about. (Yes, I have a salvager fitted on my Rifter. You wanna make something of it? Take it up with Marlenus, I just work here. I can hear him now, all sarcastic: “A pretty fine salvager you’ll make, with no salvager fitted on your ship. Mark my words, some day you’re going to come upon a dying dreadnaught, and you with no salvager. How stupid will you feel then?” Trust me, it’s not worth it.)

So anyway, today’s winner of the “I got salvaged by Ironfleet and all I got was this stupid shirt” prize finally noticed the flashy red frigate, and decided (need I even need to keep saying “unwisely”?) to shoot at me.

He got a few hits in as I was setting up my orbit, but then his guns began to miss very reliably. Whereupon, I blew him up:

2008.12.06 23:59:00

Victim: SPJR
Corp: GunSlingerSquad Corp
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Cormorant
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 2270

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Rifter
Weapon: 250mm Light Artillery Cannon II
Damage Done: 2270

Destroyed items:

75mm Compressed Coil Gun I
Miner I, Qty: 2
Plutonium Charge S, Qty: 166
Dual Diode Mining Laser I
Pyroxeres, Qty: 586 (Cargo)

Dropped items:

75mm Compressed Coil Gun I, Qty: 2
Plutonium Charge S, Qty: 82
Dual Diode Mining Laser I
Overdrive Injector System I

Just about then, I was called away from my computer by events beyond New Eden’s event horizon (girlfriend with food, helpless to resist) for about half an hour.

When I came back, I realized I never hauled the ore, and there was, like, half a jet can full. So I jumped in my rust-bucket Wreathe and undocked to go and check on it.

First thing that caught my eye was my new best friend SPJR, in a Caracal cruiser. Right next to him is his corpmate and CEO, MasterGladiator, in a Badger.

I am taking this in, when SPJR begins to target me. While I am still mentally wondering WTF his deal is, he begins hitting me with light missiles, as I’m reading this go by:

(notify) SPJR, Criminals are not welcome here. Leave now or be destroyed.
(notify) SPJR: You have foolishly engaged in criminal activity within sight of sentry guns and must suffer the consequences.

And kaboom! There was a brand new Caracal wreck to loot and salvage. (Nothing too exciting there, perhaps a couple of low-meta T1 launchers.) Note, his CEO was present in a hauler, but either did not try to loot his stuff, or was too slow.

At this point I’m beginning to suspect GunSlingerSquad Corp of being a non-stop parade of fail, so I paused to look at their corporate info. I nearly laughed up a lung when I saw the corporate description:

GunSlingerSquad: -=GSS=-

The GunslingerSquad Smaller than most Corps
The GunslingerSquad Military Training and honor
The GunSlingerSquad moto team work fight hard

BEWARE!

Mess With The Best-Die Like The Rest!

Being new, I have a lot of sympathy with. Being new and arrogant? Not so much sympathy.

Seeing as how the CEO had a hauler, I assumed that the Ironfleet jetcan would be long gone, but hey, it never hurts to look; so I proceeded to my can bookmark to check. Hey, whaddya know, it was still there! So I hauled it in a couple of trips (I really need to upgrade my hauling skills if I’m going to keep working for this outfit) by which time, I had MasterGladiator attempting (more fail) to have a menacing conversation in private chat:

MasterGladiator > i figure u owe me 670.000
Jim Bridger > Really?
MasterGladiator > yea
MasterGladiator > really
Jim Bridger > On what theory of obligation?
MasterGladiator > my cargo containers you took
Jim Bridger > Are you someone’s alt? I don’t remember you
MasterGladiator > SPJR corp
Jim Bridger > You said “my” like you were talking about something of yours?
MasterGladiator > it’s ok if you don’t fill like you have to pay..it will all work out…
Jim Bridger > I’m still confused what you are on about
MasterGladiator > it was mine..he was mining for me
Jim Bridger > “He” being who?
MasterGladiator > you took cargo containers that did not belong to you..
Jim Bridger > You didn’t answer my question
MasterGladiator > my clan member
Jim Bridger > Eve doesn’t have clans?
MasterGladiator > no problem big guy..it will work out..you will see

And then he was gone from chat, before we could have a conversation about why I am supposed to owe him money.

And that would have been the end of this episode of hilarity, but for a conversation that got started in local after MasterGladiator decided to try his case in the court of public opinion. He managed to troll up a bored mission runner who wanted to make, but was unwilling or unable to defend, a variety of snide remarks and false aspersions about Ironfleet’s line of business:

MasterGladiator > hey dude.. u need to bring my ore back…
MasterGladiator > so jim..you steal stuff all the time?
MasterGladiator > just started with eve…but every dog has his day…
Jim Bridger > Ironfleet prefers to call it “salvage”
Takatii > Pretty good gig…if anyone fights back, they sic the mercs in their alliance on you.
Jim Bridger > It’s a living. Worked pretty well when it was just Ironfleet, to be honest; the alliance has more salvagers (Suddenly Ninjas et al) than it does combat pilots.
Takatii > lol…yeah, just as long as you don’t piss any real corps or alliance off.
Takatii > gotta love the baby pirates
Jim Bridger > I leave the politics to my Alliance betters, but the word from on high is that we welcome all war decs. Me, I just work here.
Jim Bridger > So far as I know we don’t have any actual pirates in the Alliance, but I could easily be wrong
Takatii > lol… you sure you’re not a diplo? You have the verbage
im Bridger > Meh, I used to read too many books on long salvage trips
Jim Bridger > My CEO, now, THERE’s a talker!
Takatii > Talker, as in word count, or vocabulary?
Jim Bridger > Word count, vocabulary, arguments per hour, pretty much any way you want to measure it. Inebriated by the exhuberance of his own verbosity? You name it, he’ll talk it to death.
Takatii > Most politicians can talk for hours and not say a damn thing
Jim Bridger > I think he may have been a lawyer before he took up an honorable salvage profession and started working for a living.
Takatii > lol…lawyer…that figures
Takatii > a true pirate
Takatii > Well, I guess missions DO get boring after awhile… and pirates usually can’t hack 0.0, so it’s back to hassling miners and hoobs
Takatii > But, as you say, it’s a living
Jim Bridger > Oh, you were aiming that at me? I’m no pirate, that’s for sure
Jim Bridger > You should check out the Ironfleet blog at ironfleet.com, it will give you a better idea what we do for fun
Takatii > Oh, I know what you guys do for fun…. been on the butt end of it myself
Jim Bridger > I don’t think Ironfleet has ever ransomed anybody, I’d think that was the irreducible minimum for calling somebody a pirate
Jim Bridger > We just like to haul stuff, and sometimes that means prying it loose first.
Takatii > Hahahaha…. You DO love the semantics game, don’t you?
Jim Bridger > I guess my boss has rubbed off on me a little bit
Takatii > Thanks for reminding me why I love Empire life so much
Jim Bridger > Just one of the many services Ironfleet Towing And Salvage is happy to provide!
Takatii > LOL
Takatii > Just for laughts, how much do you charge to hauls someone’s ore?
Jim Bridger > We haul ore for free. Unfortunately, your selection of destinations is very limited.
Takatii > I’ll bet
Takatii > And how much to get the ore BACK?
Jim Bridger > Meh, I have no idea; my CEO does something with all the ore, not my department.
Takatii > Wait, let me guess….that’s not an option
Takatii > Ahhh… I see
Takatii > Well, good luck in your ‘noble’ endeavor
Jim Bridger > Who are you quoting? I don’t remember seeing “noble” in our corporate recruitment literature.
Takatii > lol…the emphesis is my own.
Jim Bridger > Quotation marks are not a good choice for emphasis as a rule, that’s why I didn’t understand you were trying to emphasize your own adjective
Takatii > If I were quoting, I’d have used ” “, not ‘ ‘
Jim Bridger > Since when is a pair of misplaced apostrophes supposed to be emphatic?
Takatii > never mind…. I can see you can’t survive without playing the semantics game. And it’s getting boring. good evening

So Jim was out on a long patrol in his new Rifter when he passed through a system a couple of jumps from me and noted a four-month-old character (Gmachaine) from an NPC corp, mining in a Cormorant destroyer.

Into a giant secure container … that wasn’t anchored. It couldn’t be anchored, not in a .8 system.

So, he called me.

I headed over in my trusty Crane and scooped the container. Gmachaine immediately began targetting me.

Remember, now, that scooping a container never generates agro.

Then I heard the sound of weapons firing. Concord incoming?

Nope — he’s shooting at his asteroid, because he hasn’t switched target focus. Don’t laugh, I did it myself when I was a noob. It’s embarrassing.

Just then my mail icon flashes. EveMail from Gmachaine: “Did you just steal my cargo?”

He shoots at the asteroid for almost thirty seconds, then stops. Then, a pause … presumably he tried to shoot at me but got deterred by the Concord warning.

Now he’s asking for a conversation; I minimize the window, since I usually prefer not to talk to my salvagees until our transactions are complete.

I wait. Will he shoot me, out of blind faith that his cause is just and he can explain to the cops when they show up?

Apparently, no. I give him about thirty seconds, but he just sits there.

He’s got a rat wreck right there … maybe he’d shoot me if I went flashy?

I looted the wreck.

He begins shooting. Mistake. I warp scramble him and begin shooting heavy missiles. Destroyers and heavy missiles do not mix. He goes kaboom.

Now I feel a tiny bit bad. Four months and he’s still using a Basic Miner and shooting at me with Civilian Gatling Railguns?

2008.12.05 19:32:00

Victim: gmachaine
Corp: State War Academy
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Cormorant
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.8
Damage Taken: 2141

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 2141

Destroyed items:

EP-S Gaussian I Excavation Pulse
Civilian Gatling Railgun

Dropped items:

Basic Miner
Dual Diode Mining Laser I
EP-S Gaussian I Excavation Pulse
Civilian Gatling Railgun, Qty: 2

Sorry about the rough language, but it seems I met a Covetor pilot who knew my mother. :(

Jim Bridger here, again.

As a young pod pilot, I developed an unholy fascination with destroyers. One result of this is that I don’t have much experience with my native Minmatar frigates.

Another result is that I’ve got hella gunnery skills. ;-)

The recent technical changes that have made tiny ships a little harder to catch and kill throughout New Eden has given me a new interest in playing with them; hence, the Bantam Of Doom project, from earlier.

The main idea there, of course, was that military experts agree: the Bantam is a useless helpless harmless ship. Making it irresistible, as bait.

Just now, though, I decided to play with a Rifter. This may be the single-most respected T1 frigate in the game; it’s got a reputation as a serious PVP platform, although I think modern tech advances have mostly relegated it to the nostalgic past. But I was concerned, nonetheless, that a Rifter wouldn’t seem harmless enough for my purposes.

Still, I wanted to play with a fitting, so I fitted one out.

On its very first outing, I set up my gun stacking while in warp, and the guns were reloading when I dropped into the first belt. And what to my wondering eye did appear but a big fat Covetor mining barge, and five tiny reindeer. (No, wait, those were Hammerhead drones.)

CCP said they rebalanced medium drones to make them less effective against small targets; I wonder how true that is?

My friendly local Covetor pilot (name of Sideshow Pete, member of Geniality hop [GENIA]) had a jet can out, which I always hate to see; such a hazard to navigation, doncha know?

So I sidled up to the can and flipped it into an Ironfleet can (we have better safety beacons, the ore is much safer now), then commenced to orbit the barge at a handy range.

He targeted me. I returned the courtesy.

His drones began shooting at me. Again, I returned the courtesy, turning on my lovingly-polished artillery pieces.

I also hit the warp scrambler and the afterburner, noting as I did so that his medium drones were MISSING, horribly and completely. (Well, not quite completely; his five drones scored a total of eight hits during the fight, according to the logs.)

The next thing I noticed was that Republic Fleet EMP ammo makes awful short work of a Covetor’s shields. Damn barge melted like snow on a hot skillet. It was almost sad, after all the years I’ve spent watching Marlenus pry those bad boys open the hard way, with a single missile launcher, a hot screwdriver, and a lot of patience.

So my new best friend Sideshow Pete went kaboomski almost before I knew what was happening:

2008.12.05 03:32:00

Victim: Sideshow Pete
Corp: Geniality hop
Alliance: NONE
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Covetor
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 4729

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Rifter
Weapon: 250mm Light Artillery Cannon II
Damage Done: 4729

Destroyed items:

Veldspar Mining Crystal I, Qty: 2 (Cargo)
Survey Scanner I
Plagioclase Mining Crystal I, Qty: 2
Modulated Strip Miner II, Qty: 2
Hammerhead I (Drone Bay)

Dropped items:

Mining Laser Upgrade I, Qty: 2
Plagioclase Mining Crystal I
Modulated Strip Miner II
Plagioclase, Qty: 9461 (Cargo)

The one strip miner is a several million ISK loot item, so that’s the whole ship and most of the modules paid for on the maiden voyage. I can live with that!

Mind you, between the ore I flipped and the ore he dropped, I still had more than half a jetcan to haul home. Normally I’d just whistle for Marlenus and a Bustard, but he’s still down Kaimon way. But I have a dirty little secret, which is that you can’t really stay in Ironfleet if you can’t fly a hauler. So, much as it pains me to admit, I had to jump in a rusty old Wreathe and make about three trips to get the ore home.

Somewhere in all this, I noticed that Sideshow Pete had posted something in local:

Sideshow Pete: “come on”

So I answered, as seemed only polite:

Jim Bridger: “Yes?”

Sideshow Pete: “son of a filthy whore”

I was tempted to respond “Dad? Is that you?” But, I didn’t.

Having espied a Hulk mining into a jet can, I came rumbling out of warp only to find the Hulk newly accompanied by an Orca — the first I’ve spied so far.

OK, so the jetcan is gonna be empty. But hey, what’s my downside? I’d pay good money to put a missile into a flashy red Orca, even though it would be completely futile.

1 unit of Veldspar, as expected.

I took it, just on general principles and to see whether any entertainment might ensue.

Nope, nothing. I went on my merry way.

Then, in local, the Hulk pilot, one Chani Ewans: “Tough luck, shithead.”

I’ve long believed that he who curses first, loses. Did I really “win” by salvaging one unit of Veldspar?

Jim Bridger, reporting in.

The Bantam, as most Caldari know, is a perfectly fine little frigate, good for zipping out to the belts in starter systems and bringing home … well, as much ore as you can reasonably mine in a frigate. Against high sec belt rats, it’s got enough combat power to get the job done, if you work at it. Barely.

In all my time in EVE, I can’t remember hearing anybody seriously talk about fitting it for combat, or using it in combat. Which means that anybody who sees one in space reflexively thinks “newbie!”

Making it [he said with an evil laugh] perfect for my purposes.

I’m a small ships guy. My whole career in EVE, I’ve spent training combat skills for fighting in small ships, destroyer and below. Not that I’ve done much combat … but that’s where my skills are.

So I decided to see what kind of teeth I could put into a Bantam.

There I was, flying through the asteroid belts in my artillery-fitted Bantam. And here’s a dude in an Exequror cruiser, with mining laser beams out and shining. I admire the Exequror hull, I truly do; it’s a large and handsome cruiser with some excellent support capabilities. This guy (one Hesselich, in the Academy of Decadence [ACADE], of the Hereticus Aegis Communis [HAC] alliance) was mining into a Giant Secure Container, but he did have some rat wrecks littered about. He also was flying three mining drones.

My tactic was as simple and ancient as they come. I relieved both of his wrecks of their goods, so that I was flashy red to him. I instructed my ship to orbit him at my optimal. I targeted him.

He targeted me and commenced firing, with what turned out to be a single laser. Presumably, he was thinking the German language equivalent of “Newb in Bantam stealing my schnitzels! Hopeless fool, I’ll teach him a lesson he won’t soon forget! Shnell!

I hit my afterburners. I turned on my warp scrambler. I commenced launching artillery shells at him.

From there on in, it was a nailbiter, especially at first. Our shields went down at about the same pace. I was hitting him solidly, he was mostly missing, but the hits he landed were hurting.

Once we got through our respective shields, my damage improved against his armor. And I think perhaps he had a run of bad luck, as his hits became fewer.

Once he got into hull, it was over quickly:

008.12.04 18:14:00

Victim: Hesselich
Corp: Academy of Decadence
Alliance: Hereticus Aegis Communis
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Exequror
System: [redacted]
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 3368

Involved parties:

Name: Jim Bridger (laid the final blow)
Security: 0.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Bantam
Weapon: 250mm Light Artillery Cannon II
Damage Done: 3368

Destroyed items:

Expanded Cargohold II
Small Hull Repairer I
Radio S
Miner II, Qty: 2

Dropped items:

Residual Survey Scanner I
Expanded Cargohold II, Qty: 2
Miner II
Concentrated Veldspar, Qty: 5530 (Cargo)
Cold-Gas I Arcjet Thrusters
Dual Anode Light Particle Stream I

The salvage was perfectly respectable — several TII modules — but the part that’s got me wondering is in the destroyed items. Was he really running a Small Hull Repairer?

A couple hours after the Hulk escaped me, I came upon an Osprey cruiser, mining in a Kaimon belt. Pilot was Dysje, member of Otakus Society [OTK], in the Revolution Alliance [REV]. He had multiple lasers lit and a jet can out, but no visible drones.

When my Crane came rumbling out of warp, his miners were off. His can had just a smidge of ore inside it (less than a Crane load) and I began to fear a trap. But I took it.

Negative response, Captain. He’s not targetting.

Sometimes stronger measures are required. I approached a rat wreck that he owned.

He begins targeting me. I begin targeting him back.

He shoots me with a Flameburst light missile, and the game is ON!

And on, and on, and on. I’m hitting him for triple digits with every heavy missile, but it’s making just tiny little dents in his shield. They aren’t regenerating visibly, though, so maybe he has a big passive tank? On a mining cruiser? It’s possible, but I’ve never seen it.

After most of a launcher full of my default ammo, his shield is maybe one-third gone. And by this stage in the proceedings, I’m starting to worry, as I always do with these corped-up guys, about the retribution fleet that might be inbound.

It’s time to reload with better ammo. Which, I pause and do.

Right about now a Gurista rat appears and begins shooting him. Hey, I’ll take all the help I can get.

The new missiles are doing thirty percent more damage, and his shield drops below his peak recharge and starts falling fast. He decides (far too late!) to pull out a pair of T1 combat drones. They buzz around with paint guns or BB guns or something, but they aren’t doing appreciable damage to my shields.

And then, finally, it’s over. Kaboom!

Is it just me, or did CCP tweak the explosion graphic for more oomph while I was away?

And, can this really be my first kill mail in 100 days? I have been SLACKING!

2008.12.02 22:41:00

Victim: dysje
Corp: Otakus Society
Alliance: Revolution Alliance
Faction: NONE
Destroyed: Osprey
System: Kaimon
Security: 0.7
Damage Taken: 12260

Involved parties:

Name: Marlenus (laid the final blow)
Security: 1.2
Corp: Ironfleet Towing And Salvage
Alliance: Tear Extraction And Reclamation Service
Faction: NONE
Ship: Crane
Weapon: Caldari Navy Thunderbolt Heavy Missile
Damage Done: 11537

Name: Guristas Invader / Guristas
Damage Done: 723

Destroyed items:

Miner II
Large Subordinate Screen Stabilizer I
Standard Missile Launcher I
Large Shield Extender I

Dropped items:

Flameburst Light Missile, Qty: 229 (Cargo)
Flameburst Light Missile, Qty: 24
Miner II, Qty: 2
Quantum Co-Processor I, Qty: 2
Expanded Cargohold I
Solid Pyroxeres, Qty: 1888 (Cargo)
Large Shield Extender I

The killmail explains the crunch — our boy had three large shield extenders fitted. No wonder it took so long!

The pair of Miner IIs isn’t the multi-million ISK bonus it used to be, but it’s still good loot and worth the ammo expenditure. Not a bad afternoon’s salvage work if I say so myself.