31 Jan 2011

Fireball Rifter Squadron (part I)

Five Glorious Rifters named Fireball. Five hastily put together dual-repping Rifters made up from the most part, bits of spare loot and reconditioned parts-bin modules that some second-rate repair man has soldered back together with his magic plasma soldering wand. Five platinum insurance deals to make for one happy insurance broker.

I fully expect these Rifters to die a glorious death, each and every one of them will be ripped into fragments of rust and heat, warped metal that would no longer resemble the ship it once was. I just hope that I can drag a few ships down into the junk yard with me as we go kicking and screaming, hulls on fire. No holds barred.

I had hoped that this experiment wouldn't take too long, I wanted to undock, get into fights and then write about my adventures and failings. It didn't quite work out that way and I will be splitting the stories into 5 separate posts. For the most part of two hours I sat in asteroid belts, watched as people warped in at range and then warped off. I chased down targets in belts that ran off and basically got quite frustrated at the lack of action I had in the hours I was out in space.

A tasty looking Thrasher and a Rifter that were still with their original owners names plastered across their hulls encouraged me to pop a Standard Exile as I warped in head first, reppers overheated, guns warming nicely ready for the onslaught. On landing at the belt the two ships were already in warp out of there, I caught a glance of them heading off to the high-sec out-gate. No fun to be had here and as I regained my senses from the sudden rush of the booster that I had just injected into my brain, I realised that I had took a tracking penalty for my troubles, lame.

Over in Gulmorogod I chanced upon a Jaguar pilot ratting in one of the belts, there were a good five or six in local but I decided on blasting on in and introducing myself in the only way I knew how - pleased to meet you sir, here's a 200mm autocannon, take that- bam (the rush from the booster had hazed my thoughts somewhat). I landed right on top of the Jaguar and began taking chunks out of his shield. I say chunks, but really I mean little nibbles - like a mouse nibbling on a block of cheese that was a bit too big for it perhaps.

I was trying to keep some range the best I could, after all this tracking penalty wasn't ideal. It seemed like my own shields disappeared in an instant as my overheated dual reppers kicked into life as hot as hell nano-assemblers raced to patch up the holes that were fast appearing in my ships armour. Slowly bits of shield from the Jaguar began to weaken, very slowly, but the incoming damage was being tanked quite well. As my capacitor reserves dropped to almost empty I fired up my capacitor booster and injected some much needed life into the heart of my ship and then I began the rep cycles again, the reppers now in full flow with not much time in between to rest. I was now confident that careful capacitor, range and overheat management would bring this Jaguar to its knees. I was wrong . . . . .

Right on top of me landed an Enyo, a mate of the Jaguar pilot perhaps? Most certainly a party pooper! The Enyo took a dislike to my frigate and as blaster fire rained in on the now damaged hull my reppers just couldn't cope with the multiple damage and it was a quick death for Fireball 1. A last glance at the Jaguar saw it just enter armour, if it wasn't for the Enyo I was pretty sure it would have resulted in a victory.  It would have been a close call, for sure.

In the ensuing mayhem my escape systems decided to freeze and my low-grade snake powered clone was fried to a pulp in the harsh blackness of space. As I woke in the medical centre in Molden Heath I swilled on the cup of water by the side of my cloning table, jumped up, shrugged and made my way over to my lockers where I had a new pair of black aviator shades waiting for me.


Number of Ships Killed - 0
Number of pills popped - 1
Penalties from drug use - 1 (tracking)
Headaches Induced - 1
Number of ships that ran away - Lost count.
Expensive clones lost - 1
Ship Lifespan - approx 2 hours.
Number of Exotic Dancers Killed - 1
Number of Exotic Dancers Escaped - 1 (missing in action)
Tins of Long-Limb Roes Lost - Epic proportions, the wealthy elite express anger and outrage at the waste.

Here's hoping for more luck in part II. Stay tuned.


29 Jan 2011

Bloodstained Claw

Hadozeko Solar System.
Tiat Constellation.

The routine journey back to Molden Heath was interrupted as a Catalyst destroyer briefly blipped onto the directional scanner before disappearing out of sight. I had just enough time to notice that the ship had indeed not been renamed and was displaying the name of its pilot for all to see. As I engaged my warp thrusters and made my way to the centre of the system I ran a quick check through the local solar system data.

Three pilots all belonging to the same corporation, the destroyer pilot was only a couple of weeks into his life as a capsuleer - the other two, not so young. I ran another directional scan and my attention was diverted to a nearby asteroid belt.

Catalyst - Stabber - Cyclone at 5 degrees.

The adrenaline flow that comes before every fight seemed to kick into overdrive right about now, the data in my head that I was streaming, sifting, sorting, flowed into my veins and mixed with the endorphins coursing through me. The buzz was present more so than any other recent fight I could remember and it hadn't even started yet!

As my warp engines powered down and I landed in the asteroids I immediately locked up the Catalyst and began to take damage from the Cyclone and the Stabber as I manoeuvred my nimble frigate into a comfortable range. The Catalyst went down without much fight and I switched my attention to the Stabber. The cruiser was buckling as my autocannons ripped into its shields and armour, at the same time it became clear that I too was now taking some heavy damage. Alarms began shrieking loudly as bits of interceptor hull began to melt and fold under the weight of the incoming fire and the flight of drones that I was desperately trying to shake off.

I burnt away to re-assess the situation, streaking away in the blue-grey skies like a dart, still spitting ammunition at the Stabber which was now also in hull, hoping that it would give up the fight. Then the drones came again and I made the decision to get out, my overheated guns straining under the pressure of the injected heat flow to them, the coolant desperately trying to hold back an impending module failure.

As my ship kicked into life and left the field my whole body shook with intensity as the hormones began to settle again and I took a deep mouthful of pod fluid that went straight down into my lungs. My ship was on fire as I sat in a safe spot with my GCC.


Evaluating the engagement whilst docked up for repairs it is clear that the killmail generated perhaps does not tell the true story of the fight. The adrenaline flow was intense, evading drone fire and trying to finish off the Stabber before my own ship exploded all the time trying to carefully manage range and over-heated modules. Great fights like this don't come along all too often and when you do get them it is best to saviour the moment.



26 Jan 2011

The Solo Combat Pilot's Guide to Good Roaming #1

Over the next few months I will be writing a series of roaming guides which are loosely based on my solo roams in and around the many different regions of New Eden. There's not many places on the starmap that I haven't visited and I hope that these guides will inspire you to follow in my footsteps! Some of the guides will be epic roams that span hundreds of systems and some will contain only a few 'pocket' systems. It will be a nice mixed bag of goodies.

The guides are geared towards the solo combat pilot, of course, there's nothing to stop you forming up a small gang and pillaging the space-lanes as a blood-thirsty group, should you wish.

Frigates are always the preferred space vessel unless stated otherwise. It is also worth noting that as a combat pilot with a security status of -10, it might not be to your tastes if you have a fear of that place called 'low-sec'. On the contrary, I hope these guides encourage new players to break out of the shackles of high-security space and explore the vastness of New Eden's wild-lands.


First up. . . .

Amamake Town & District.

This is a short roam, a total of eight low-sec systems to explore and includes one high-security bridging system, therefore frigates or a nano-cruiser are advised for the route.

System 1 - Bosboger 0.3
Bosboger is three high-sec jumps from Rens - the main market hub of the Heimatar region. With that in mind, this is a great starting place for the novice Rifter (or any other frigate for that matter) pilot who is about to embark on his/hers first low-sec adventures.

Jumping into Bosboger from Dammalin should be relatively risk free, it is rarely a camped gate. However, it has been known in the past to have the lone opportunist battlecruiser ready to gank the odd hauler who fancies his chance of a short dash to re-stock the local markets, you should be safe enough in your nimble frigate.

There are twenty-six asteroid belts to explore, Bosboger is quite a large system and the first cluster you should scan as you sit cloaked on the gate is the VI cluster. If you are lucky and something pops up on scan you can be in warp and landing on top of your target before he even knows what day it is. After the VI cluster it is time to warp to the central cluster, initiate warp to the star and make a bookmark before you land. Warp to your bookmark and scan . . . (sorry, you obviously knew that already, right?)

From your star safe you will pick up the I, III, IV and V clusters and normally any faction warfare facilities that are active will usually be in this central cluster, scan these too for juicy prey. It is worth noting that you will pick up a lot of ships that permanently reside in the moon bases in here. You should memorise these ship names and ignore them, kind of difficult at first but once you visit the system a few times you will remember them.

Next up you can warp to the VII cluster where there are nine belts and then on towards the VIII and X belts, only two belts here but you never know what is lurking in these outer belts.

I find that Bosboger can sometimes be a very good hunting system. It is attractive to ratters straying in from the safety of high-sec for the low-sec bounties and I've even had plenty of mining barges fall to my auto-cannons in this system. The number of pilots in system can vary from just two or three to an average of about seven and can peak at around fifteen in the busier periods of the day. It rarely gets any busier than that and if you do see a higher total it could well mean a gang is active in the system.

There are two stations in Bosboger. The Republic Security Services Assembly Plant and a Quafe Company Factory. Both have repair facilities, neither have medical bays. Market facilities are minimal, you may find the ammunition you need is in stock but other than that I wouldn't hope for much.

System 2 - Lulm 0.3

Lulm is a small system and once you jump in from Bosboger you should know from scanning cloaked at the gate whether or not you may be able to get a fight. There are six asteroid belts situated in two clusters and there is also an Angel Creo-Corp Mining 2/10 site that attracts the attention of frigates like a blue-light does flies. If you get lucky warp on in and zap away.

Of the three stations in the system, The Quafe Company Factory has repair facilities and both the Tribal Liberation Force Logistic Support and the Poteque Pharmaceuticals Biotech Production have medical facilities, however the Poteque base does not have a repair facility. The market in here is generally stagnant, again maybe ammo and drones at a push.

The system rarely peaks above five or six members. With this we move on towards our next sytem . . .

System 3 - Gulmorogod 0.4

Gulmorogod is a system that I generally find to be quiet at most times of the day and rarely do I get fights in here on a regular basis, you might get lucky though, concentrate on scans from the IV cluster and X cluster. The chances of finding a fight can also be heightened at the Abandoned Battlefield and the Abandoned Mining Colony which are both in scan range from the star.

The four stations in the system offer up a good mix of services including repair and medical bays, the market in here is sometimes surprisingly quite good, I sometimes find everything but for a few parts needed for fitting a Rifter in here.

Moving on . . . .

System 4 - Amamake 0.4

What can be said about Amamake? Possibly one of the most famous pirate haunts of New Eden, home to many a man in hiding, men seeking their fortune, the brave, the stupid, the blobs, the cloakies . . . they all reside or pass in here. Just nine asteroid belts, but one of them - asteroid belt III-I is infamous for its ability to garner a fight by just sitting in there for any period of time. Be warned though, I wouldn't recommend it when numbers are high, that guy in his Thrasher usually has his Falcon or Rapier buddies cloaked nearby - that odd looking battlecruiser usually has a fleet hiding behind a gate, you get the picture.

There are lots and lots of stations in Amamake. Pator Tech School is often camped and should be on your avoidance list. The top station is also worth avoiding for obvious reasons, it is home to the local pirate community. If you have to dock up then have a look for one with minimal facilities. The market in Amamake can be good at times and you should be able to fit up a ship as a last resort. However, it is best not to linger in the stations for too long.

Numbers in here can vary wildly. Some say the best time to hunt in Amamake is when local is steady at around 10-15 pilots with just a few frigates on scan. This is rare and usually happens just after downtime. It makes for a good small frigate arena though, if you get lucky and find yourself active during an Amamake 'slow' period make the most of it, hunt down your prey and have fun. However, when it is busy, and it does get busy - sometimes 50+ to 80+ members or more can make for a scary place, stargates can become a hazard and just a quick blip on the 360 degree scan can reveal a frightening amount of ships. If that's the case it is time to move on . . . .

System 5 - Siseide 0.3

Siseide is usually a system that people just pass through on their way to bigger and better places, it is a junction to the various faction warfare systems nearby but that shouldn't put you off hunting in here. I find that it is occasionally a very good place to find a 1 v 1 with another frigate pilot, usually idling in the top belt or hopping between the belts in the VII cluster can be fruitful. Chance your arm and get lucky!

The three stations in here offer a good mix of repair and medical facilities but the market is pretty much basic. After having a play in here it is time to move on . . . .

System 6 - Egghelende 0.4

Egghelende is one of my favourite hunting systems. Depending on the time of day sometimes you can find around five people in here and on the busy periods anything up to thirty and above . . . 

It is sometimes frequented by mission runners so a probing alt might be useful, but what makes this system come alive is the amount of novice ratters who find they are drawn to its asteroid belts. It is one of the most frequented low-sec ratting systems and it is no surprise that it is also home to some pretty evil looking pirate corporations. Don't let that put you off though as they aren't always home/active. I've had plenty of kill streaks in here when it seems like ratters are throwing their ships at me. Enjoy but be alert for probes if you are using safes often to hunt, you might easily become the hunted!

The system is split into two main scanning clusters. A scan from somewhere around planet IV will reveal a good scope for all of the belts in the first half of the system, including the fabled top belt. The next scanning spot should be around the VII cluster, quick warps between the two should get you some nice kills over time.

There are five stations in Egghelende with good services, the University station is a good low-sec shopping stop-off for skill books, it can sometimes be camped, as you might expect. The market is pretty decent for some commodities but there aren't many ships available in here.

Sometimes the high-sec out-gates are heavily camped but that shouldn't be of any concern unless you go poking your nose into their business. Which I wouldn't advise you do.

System 7 - Aliette 0.4

Aliette is a backwater system that rarely attracts the crowds of Egghelende, numbers rarely exceed the ten mark and in fact you are more likely to find yourself alone more often than not. However, there are times when you will find somebody who has got too accustomed to the quietness of this system and if you sneak up on them just right you should be able to ruin their day quite easily.

The two stations offer repair facilities but there are no medical bays and the market is poor.

If there are people active in system and you can't find them in one of the eleven asteroid belts then use your system scanner to check for targets in the Serpentis hubs that often show up in here.

Moving on. . .

System 8 - Stegette 0.5 *HIGH-SECURITY*

This is the system where if you are flashy you don't want to see a gang of interceptors waiting for you upon jumping in. Blast through the system and make your way to . . .

System 9 - Fasse 0.4

The final system on the route is a system with no stations, if you see pilots in local in here the chances of them being active in space are pretty much high, unless they are in a pos, in which case, try and draw them out for a fight. Warp around, scan or just hit the belts in random fashion with all guns blazing - if you've made it this far without even a single fight to count then I'd suggest you were very unlucky.

I usually find this is a quiet system and is usually nice to chill in after your roam, wait for the ratters to come to you if you wish, you'll be surprised how many people randomly warp to top belt. Eager for more? You could repeat back on yourself or you could head on out into The Bleak Lands and beyond . . . but that's for another guide.

Happy hunting!


24 Jan 2011

Jaguar 199

The Jaguar has an exceptionally powerful bite, even relative to other big cats. This allows it to pierce the shells of armoured reptiles and to employ a rather unusual killing method: it bites directly through the skull of prey between the ears to deliver a fatal bite to the brain.

As of writing, this rather mirthful looking Thorax became kill number 199 whilst at the controls of the Jaguar assault frigate, by far the most piloted ship in my arsenal. I'm hoping that kill number 200 might be something a little more challenging, but whatever pops up on the overview next time I'm prowling the space-lanes in my big cat I sure won't deny her the feed.

In other news, just about to go hit the showers and then onto the station's bar district after standing down from a neat shield battlecruiser fleet in which there were plenty of kills on the roam: in particular this engagement standing out as the best.

I am really enjoying my new surroundings here in Molden Heath, it is great for solo roaming, as a base for roams further down the pipe, has good access to populated null-sec and is excellent for roving bc gangs and bigger, should you wish.

Here's hoping for more of the same in the near future.


22 Jan 2011


With the impending departure of Blackwater USA (the founding corporation) from Random Violence alliance and the feeling that things had gone quite stagnant recently, I decided to have a serious think about my immediate future. About the same time, Wensley, a good friend of mine, decided it was time to tap me up and enquire as to when and not if I was going to join the ranks at Gunpoint Diplomacy [RANSM]. I was immediately sold on the idea of flying with good mates and in a close-knit group of good pilots.

This was two or three days ago and after clearing out my stuff from Syndicate and tying up some loose ends, I made my way over to Molden Heath and hit the apply button.

And I was in . . .

I am now a Redshirt, a proud one at that. I can now call on Wensley, Lt Graham, Sard Caid, Ariartus, Avan Sercedos and a few others that I will get to know better over the coming weeks, as my new wing-mates. Exciting times lie ahead!

I had only just stitched my [RANSM] patches onto my fatigues and plugged into new communication systems when the call came that hostiles were engaged with Wensley in a nearby system. I jumped into a Hurricane and was pleased that my first 30 minutes in my new corporation had resulted in a neat couple of fights in which we despatched a Hurricane, Harbinger and another Hurricane. 

_ _ _ _ _ 

I would also like to put on public record my thanks and appreciation to all the guys in The Hull Miners Union who made my last two months such an enjoyable one. It was a great chapter in my career. Here's to another great one!


17 Jan 2011

New Art

One hobby of mine outside of flying spaceships, shooting up combat boosters and murdering people is collecting pieces of fine art. The banner above this very blog is a piece I acquired from the collection of famed spaceship drawder, Sassy B.

I commissioned a new piece before Christmas from Kishin Hattori, a pilot with the Tuskers pirate corporation who also shares a fondness for good art. Outside of his pirate day-job he works closely with another skilled artist who goes by the name of Bonni3. We got talking about designs and how I wanted something new and funky for my killboard, something that portrayed the ships that I regularly flew. I wanted something distinct and at the same time slightly comedic in nature.

If you take a quick peek at my killboard I hope you will agree that Kishin and Bonni3 succeeded in the goal I had set them. I would like to publicly thank them for their work and recommend them to anybody else out there who might share the same love of good art that I do.

Team Miura.

14 Jan 2011

Wasted Wednesdays

I was going to write a report on last nights nano-cane roam with the Rifter Drifter crowd but my good friend Wensley has already made an excellent post which you can read by clicking this link right here.

Wensley's Wasted Wednesdays are neat and fun roams and I'd urge anybody interested to come and tag along. It is a relaxed atmosphere where new faces are always welcome, there is good banter and we don't take everything too seriously and more often than not you will always end up in a fight somewhere along the course of the evening. Also, Wensley won't admit it but he is a damned fine fleet commander who knows most null-sec regions like the back of his hand.

If you think it sounds like your cup of tea (yes, I mentioned cup of tea in my blog, cross that one off the list) then you should join the in-game channel Rifter Drifter and say hello or you can join the direct mailing list Wensley's Wasted Wednesdays.

See you in space.


11 Jan 2011

Tremor, Jams and Cynabal Streams

I talked about this ship set-up on occasions at the Republic Military School back in my student days with some steel-eyed veterans who claimed the Artillery Thrasher could wipe out an Amarrian in one swoop from 50 clicks. I never really put it into practice, often favouring the Autocannon clad Thrasher instead. However, whilst sorting through some gear and loot that I had stashed away I managed to cobble together one of my own and I headed off for a few nights of sniping in the asteroid belts of Amamake and the surrounding cesspit.

First to meet a sticky end was this unfortunate Rifter pilot who probably didn't have quite enough time to even wonder what the hell was happening as her ships internal structure imploded around her as a hot volley of Tremor projectile shells smashed the ship apart.

Next to taste the concoction of a one shot of Tremor syrup was this Merlin pilot who might perhaps like to have a word with his mechanical crew about fitting him some modules in his low slots next time he ventures out.

This was getting fun.

But then this happened. Under the murky green backdrop of the Amamake solar system I thought I'd try against another Thrasher in the hope he was cannon fit, unfortunately he too was Artillery fit and we began slugging it out from distance. Things went rather downhill when the hero Thrasher pilot was aided by a Falcon buddy that decloaked and then the arrival of another buddy in a Griffin to add more cowardice to the attack. I warped my pod out in amusement and took some abuse for berating the good fight that was offered up in local.

It went something like this.

Thrasher Pilot > Phew, gf man, that was close.

Miura Bull > Lol, gf I guess. Did you really need the Falcon and Griff though?

Falcon Pilot > You are stupid, who warps to a belt solo? You fag.

Miura Bull > Fuck you. Have a nice day o/

I then got some further abuse just before I jumped out and some of the local blobbers piped up about pirate tears etc, etc, yawn, yawn. I wasn't bitter, I was just being rude. Also, what puzzled me was the reply about 'who warps to a belt solo'.  Come on please, some people must enjoy playing the game with somebody holding their hand. That's not really my play-style and I think I'll keep warping to belts solo when the opportunity arises. I'd also like to think the majority of good pvpers I come across would think the same. No?

Anyway, a bit back I decided to spend some of the Bull family inheritance on something fruity and found myself roaming SOLO in my newly purchased Cynabal - which I pimped out like it was 1999. No scout needed here. Balls out flying, engage whatever comes onto the field type of combat. Well, almost.

Fruity Cynabal will eat your soul for lunch as part of his 5-a-day.

I found myself roaming the pipe from Sinq Laison down to Verge Vendor and back and first up for Cynabal feeding was this Catalyst that melted rapidly. Then on the way back I was sat in a belt counting the rocks (as you do) when a Rifter landed right on top of me, I quickly despatched him to the underworlds when another Rifter landed, he too met his maker. Right about the same time, I noticed one hell of a jump in the local comm systems and as I warped off into the distance noticed a nice looking fleet landing behind me. An eclectic mix of interceptors, cruisers, heavy cruisers and even bigger. Nice time to escape and dock up one might say.