Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Hunters Theatre

TLDR: I babble on about how tricking, hunting, shooting players is OK, because not too would breed weaker/dumber players. 

Wspace to me is a microcosm of society and nature. Some of the same behaviors that are observed in  nature could be analogized into Wspace. The behavior I want to talk about today is what I like to call Hunters Theatre!

Humans have been practicing theatre or story telling since before we could even speak. It was and still is, a way of communicating to an audience through actions, speech and symbolism. 

Animals in the wild do the same thing. Some birds will often try flapping around on the ground to  lure a predator away from vulnerable offspring. They are creating theatre for predators to benefit the prey. 

Predators are no different in their attempts to deceive. Sometimes a crafty predators will  wiggle an evolutionary adaptation appendage, that resembles a common food source to lure in prey to a hungry waiting mouth.

Well, EVE is no different in the predator and prey relationship.

Isogen 5 practices the play style of being hunters of players. We kill without mercy because it is what we do. We respect our prey, because without them, our play style wouldn’t exist. 

We aren’t the apex predator in the pond of W-space, in fact we are small time in comparison to other hunters. We frequently become the prey for larger more fierce predators ourselves, but we do our best to not get eaten, just like our prey. 

Players often confuse malice for other players as our driving force, it’s not. The driving force or challenge of our actions is what draws us in. The desire to be the best hunters in the game. Not the biggest, but best, in proportion to our size.

Since we don’t have size on our side, we need to rely on our wits. Enter Hunter Theatre!

Everyone knows the term “Bait”. That’s just the simple term for theatre, but it doesn't describe the activity to the degree that's needed. It’s like saying a 4th grade school play is the same as a Broadway production. The crafty hunter must attempt to put on a show, that removes all reasonable doubt from the prey’s mind. That show must convince the prey, that something, some activity is exactly as it seems. We need to fool or bring a level of illusion to the prey’s minds just long enough to strike.  The goal isn’t to be 100% convincing, it’s to be 100% plausible.


The drake. The drake is the actor, his activities the plot, the stage is the class of wormhole. If the drake is to convince his audience, that is isn’t totally out of place, he needs to follow the plot and be on the correct stage.

A drake sitting still on a C6 wormhole is as convincing to the audience as Hamlet driving a car. Though the actor may be correct, his stage and activities are wrong.

A drake with drones out, in a C2 site, creating sleeper wrecks is a probable situation. This isn’t a 100% convincing scenario, but it’s a 100% probable or plausible scenario.

A skilled player or someone paying attention to detail can see through the ruse. They could check his kill board history and see that this actor has used this seemingly PVE drake two other times that week, with 8 other ships, to kill a fooled target. The lazy/foolish/inexperienced get caught, the suspicious/intelligent live.

Eventually if the bait is used too often or too frequently word gets around, that nearly all drakes doing c2 sites with drones out are in fact bait. The interesting thing is, not all drakes are bait and not all bait are drakes. So even if the prey doesn’t adapt, he may not encounter the same situation twice. This is to the benefit of all players who both bite bait and legitimate drakes who aren’t baiting.

In w-space the stage is always changing, the plot doesn’t always work for the audience and the actor is frequently questionable. Making a plausible theatre scenario, is what separates a crafty hunter from a sloppy one. This in turn keeps hunter corps at a minimum and doesn't totally extinguish the food supply. Its a delicate balance that has ways of self correcting.


The paladin. The paladin is the actor, his activities are ratting/traveling and the stage is an occupied C4 with pilots ships on scan. Now its plausible that a paladin can be in a C4, and its plausible that the paladin could be traveling from one hole to another or even site running, but in an occupied C4? No one with that level of ISK is going to be solo in a C4 with piloted ships on scan. People who make those choices don’t keep paladins long. Theatre unconvincing. The only way for the theatre to be convincing is to act like someone who has that ship and doesn’t want to lose it.

The problem is, if the people we are baiting aren’t 100% on the ball, they will miss the bait, which is how people keep ships like that. 

The actor could warp from one hole to another and try and get out of danger as quickly as possible. I’ve done it, some of you have done it.. This makes it plausible. What if the paladin sits 20 off the hole? Have you done that before? Never when my intention was to keep my paladin intact. That one little factoid could shatter an illusion.

What’s worse is, when Isogen5 did this very tactic… the prey/targets had no real interest in biting the bait in the first place. My dad would say, “that’s why they call it fishing and not catching, now shut up and get me a beer before I dress you like your sister again”.

One of the really great things about EVE and theatre is, what I (Spear) find convincing or plausible isn’t what others may find convincing or plausible. That’s what makes this process so enticing for both predators and prey. 

Now do you see why we do what we do? The pure challenge of it. Not because we had a hard day at work and want to beat up on some newbies with our T3’s.

We aren't chasing people out of EVE (as suggested in some after action conversations I have had in the past), we are adding the danger of consequence to every plausible situation.

The T3’s are the teeth and they are efficient as hell on chewing up poor hapless newbies. But the theatre… the hunt.. .the out witting of your fellow man… That’s something...

Monday, December 29, 2014

Typical weekend for Isogen 5

A good weekend for our small W-space pvp corp. mining corp. Special thank you to Foedus Latro for being one of the best W-space FC's in the game! Awesome content generator with his creative shenanigans and his ability to withstand my level of trolling/bullshit. We are recruiting experienced W-space pvpers, miners, send convos/mails to Foedus Latro. Or join "Isogen5" channel in game.

TLDR: I give a weekend battle report for some wormhole based activities, videos, kills, tactics and story telling from the perspective of a grunt in an active W-space PVP corp. 

I'm sorry for the length of this post, I know some people feel that blogs are for just five paragraph essay based ramblings. Usually they are... but I was on a roll, so FU.

For the Newbies--- 

I know we have a bunch of newbies in EVE recently and I don’t think many of them know about this type of play style. With that in mind, I’m going to try and describe the ins and outs of being a w-space PVP gang.  

Bob(w-hole god of destiny) and his glorious randomness shined on Isogen 5  this weekend. Billions were destroyed in fight after fight, I’ll do my best to recall the details of each one but the point of this post is to show you that W-space small gang warfare is alive and well.

Well the below post made while I was a little inebriated right before I went to sleep. It is what it is.


Iso5's goal is to seek out targets in W-space and sometimes null. When we find people in our scouting travels, we try our best to interact with them in some way, even if they outnumber us. Even if it seems like a lost cause. Our play style is totally dependent on players interacting with us.

How we accomplish this, is by rolling (intentionally closing) our hole connection to create a new exit. Once the new connection is found less than a minute after the old connection was closed. We then send out scouts in all directions possible to try and find targets. Once we get about 3 connections away from our home, we return and do it again.

Well on Friday, one of our scouts came across a crit wormhole(significant mass/ships have used this connection to reduce the integrity of the connection) connected to a C5.

A few things that make this find significant. First, why is it crit? Second, are the people who made it crit, still around? Wormholes don’t just crit themselves so someone clearly interacted with this connection within the past 18 hours. As a scout, you look for these types of traces to find your prey.

The most common reason why a hole would be crit is a defensive tactic used by wormhole groups to limit the amount of ships that could possibly use it to attack them.

The main downside for us to finding a crit connection is; the pure amount of ships/firepower we can use to attack people is very limited. 200 million mass or less.

So our scout jumps in and finds sleeper wrecks on scan. Wrecks on scan means potential targets have interacted with sleeper NPC’s within an hour or less. Not only that, but they will most likely be salvaging  the wrecks soon due to how much work it is to create them and their NPC loot.

Well we can’t really kill the people who made the wrecks because of the crit hole, so we decide to try and steal or destroy the wrecks themselves.


We start by moving into the crit hole and forming up on one of the players who is salvaging the precious NPC loot. -- Catalyst destroyer fit for salvaging. -- Mobile tractor unit #1

Right around that time we noticed a hostile Rapier on scan and then cloak up. This Tech 2 cruiser is designed for removing frigates/bombers from the universe, if it was so inclined. Lucky for us the owners of these wrecks don't shoot at anything other than red crosses.

Now before you start to feel bad for the poor C5 residents. That we just exploded and took their stuff. I would like to point out, we are there with frigate ships only. They are paper thin and our entire fleet could have been chased off/destroyed by a single Tech 1 Cruiser. That solo rapier would have ended us... instead it hid in some force field.

The thing is, the residents of this C5 have become so pvp risk adverse, even attempting fights grossly in their favor are off the table for them. That’s their play style. That’s OK, but we won’t sit around and wait for them to conform to our play style.

Now if you recall I said I had been drinking. Well when Foedus our FC tells us to go to the next MTU to destroy it, and explicitly says the correct one… well I wasn’t paying enough attention.   

My little bomber exploded because of sleeper NPCs. I then spent the remainder of my time trying to bump hostile ships with my pod, then Foedus tells me to leave or face his punishment.

We got one more MTU. --- Mobile Tractor unit #2 – notice the pod.

I returned back to our home system and got into my own salvaging destroyer. 

I then flew back to the C5 with the intention of salvaging some remaining sleeper wrecks to recoup my loss of a bomber. 40 million isk was salvaged and this more than covered the cost of my bomber.  

Net result + 10 million some ISK and a funny story.


The annual W-space battleship roam, lead by Lazerhawks!

Lazerhawks has been doing this for a few years now, with different levels of success. Iso5 was invited to bring some battle ships and have some fun. To sum up the activity; We waited an hour to jump 2 times and get blobbed by 3x our numbers. Op success!

 Here are some kills I was a part of. -- My Megathron.. I don’t have skills for most T2 large long range weapons because I live in W-space and most situations don’t call for it.

I bought full insurance for the ship and had every intention of losing it. After insurance costs/Mods/Rigs.. the ship might have cost me about 100m isk.

Later that afternoon…

I was headed back from K-space into the warm embrace of W-space and I was reminded again of how dangerous high sec can be.

It seemed like some dastardly criminals in catalysts were attempting to take out a Bowhead. So, I did what all decent person should when surrounded by criminals, shoot at them.

When I finally made it back into our home, we had a direct connection to Curse (0.0 Null Sec) that required our inspection.

Thankfull,y some null sec folk in this area liked to fight too!

They liked to fight so much that they found our wormhole, jumped in and started shooting one of our towers.

Not many k-space folk do that. We responded in such a way, that we showed them exactly why, not many do that.

They ran all the way back to their Null sec, and we followed them with bigger ships!

We found ourselves sitting on a null sec gate attempting to get the enemy fleet to commit to our side of the gate. I jumped through the gate just to see what was on D-scan. Sure enough and their entire fleet was 1 AU from the gate waiting for us to jump on an Absolution bait ship they put out. I bubbled their side of the gate and jumped through to kill the bait Absolution. Good thing I put up that bubble there because the escalation fleet was forced to burn through the bubble while we burned down the absolution.

The resulting fight was EPIC! We didn’t totally kill their fleet because we were slightly outnumbered but we did get a few notable kills before one of the archons arrived.

When the archon finally showed.. the FC told us to GTFO. At just the last moment I was pointed/webbed/scrammed and exploded. -- My Cerberus.. O well

Just when we thought the fight was over, the Null sec guys warped archons x2 and a fleet to our Null sec hole.  We shipped up again, bringing 3 guardians, Nag and T3’s. No fight was had, the null guys left. 

I'm not making that up. From a later conversation with one of the null sec guys, they said we out shipped them with guardians. So we responded "Should we have brought two archons instead?"

Good on them for bringing the fight to us! You guys are making inroads to becoming actual people. 

This wasn’t the end of our Saturday fun.

Remember those guys on Friday we stole the sleeper loot from? Well we just happened to have a scout in that hole from the previous night, and they were back at it. They even used the exact same tactic of critting the hole. We mustered the troops from both Iso5 and Skyfighters and build an epic bomber wing!

We seriously thought we could take down a Moros with a bunch of well-placed bombs and persistent torpedoes. We had 17 brave bombers to shove through that crit hole to try and murder those risk adverse site runners.

As it so happened while we were waiting for the perfect time to strike, an entirely different group of people had been prepping a log in trap for the site runners.

Not wanting to be left out, we 3rd party'ed and chaos ensues. The video tells the tail better than I ever could, but I’ll attempt to summarize the events.

Our bombers were equipped with range damps and target lock damps. The log in trap fleet had minimal logi support, and the support it did have, were spread way out. What made it worse for them was they attacked in the middle of an escalation wave. The sleepers did most of the heavy lifting for us and the site running defenders. Bombs were launched and wrecks, ships and pods were destroyed.

Watch the video and you will see chaos.. o and me learning to not get stuck on POCO’s with my bomber.

Here are some of the kills I was on. -- Some dudes pod.. that was stuck on a poco with me. -- And of course .. their mobile tractor units.. lol

I stopped the recording mid-way because I thought the fighting was over, turns out Foedus scanned out the log off attackers, log off spot. We tried to kill 2 bhaalgorns and a guardian with some bombers. It didn’t work out well for us, but it was one hell of a fight!


Well Sunday started out slow, so Andrew was like “Hey lets bubble a gate, in our Null sec connection and see what happens”. My normal view on gate camping isn’t a positive one, but we were that bored and our chain was being scanned by some other guys at the moment. Since it was directly connected to our home, what could go wrong?

To put it plainly, I’m not good at gate camping, I’m not very good at EVE either, so when a solo Phantasm approached me to break up my camp, I should have run.

Lucky for me, Andrew uncloaked his Rapier at just the right time(after I died) and picked up where I left off. Since our direct connection was to our home, some other guys came in to sort out the Phantasm menace.

This pilot was angry that we would dishonor him so much by using a falcon so he called us names and left. Seriously, null sec residents are filthy honor-less animals, so fairs fair imo.

We sat there a while longer, till our Phantasm pilot came back in another ship.

Which we promptly killed.

I’m guessing he didn’t notify his intel channel we were camping that gate, because a dominix jumped into, and died.

I had gotten another ship from my stash… and then lost it. -- Crow – didn’t want that ship anyway. O well.. Dominix dead.. op success.

I’m guessing that dominix pilot didn’t want to save his null sec buddies the experience of being killed, because a second dominix jumped from the same system one minute later… and died.

It was raining domi’s … so when we saw +1 more in local chat and gate fire, we thought .. “Another dominix?” Nope. The previous 3 pilots killed by us in the exact same spot, wasn’t enough for us to be put onto their intel network. … and a Thanatos decided to test the water – and died.

And again.. I died -- Tristan.. – I was running out of better tackle ships or I was getting tired of trying to save them.. who knows.. but shit exploded and I was happy.

After all that excitement, the day wasn’t over yet!

Foedus managed to trap out his Orca, while rolling the hole and was forced to come back in through our new connection. This worked to our favor because the people who lived in our static thought the orca was alone… and vulnerable. It wasn’t, it was bait.

Foedus later said he felt bad for ganking those guys. Which is crazy to me, because if our “Orca Rescue Response Fleet” ORRF for short wasn’t there, he would have lost an Orca. We were going to use that Orca to haul our mined Isogen. We are a mining corp after all.