30 Sept 2011

The Solo Combat Pilot's Guide to Good Roaming #7

Hagilur Pocket

This low-sec pocket of space in the Metropolis region lies only 3 high-security jumps from the busy trade hub of Hek. A popular short-cut and smuggling run to to Jita lies behind the Thelan gate in Hagilur for those brave enough and wishing to risk the hazardous and often deathly run.

The pocket itself has a varied amount of pvp opportunities available to the solo and small gang combat pilot, from duelling frigates and ganking mission runners, to evading gatecamps and hijacking plex dwellers. A visit to the Hagilur pocket usually does not disappoint.

Hagilur 0.4

Hagilur, in the constellation of Barvigrard, is a traditional low-sec Minmatar mining and factory system that offers the visitor five working stations which all boast the latest facilities for tourists and broken spacecraft. It should be noted however that none of the stations in Hagilur offer a medical facility at the time of writing this guide.

The market is usually dictated by supply and demand and is rarely well stocked but for the basic ammunitions and equipment. The occasional reconditioned frigate or cruiser hull can be picked up from time to time, but these don't sell anywhere near as much as the local Spirits, the workforce in the area renowned for their thirst of the imported fire liquids.

Six asteroid belts that can attract brave mining crews seeking a quick cargohold and a next pay packet can often yield results for the discerning hunter killer, it is not uncommon to spot a newly registered mining barge or other modified hull performing this task in Hagilur. Planet 4 and planet 5 being the main clusters of activity as far as the rocks go. The asteroid belts can also be alive with frigate fighters, out looking for a good fight. Do be aware that bait tactics are sometimes used, with gank squads waiting behind the high-ecurity gate. But by all means, a good bait ship is a dead bait ship so chancing your arm shouldn't be turned away from.

The entry points from high-sec can sometimes be camped, the main campers in Hagilur are often set up to take down passing transport and industrial ships so a frigate hull should be able to pass relatively unscathed.

Numbers in Hagilur can vary, sometimes only a handful of pilots will be active, at busy periods it can peak to around the 30 number. This fluctuates as gangs move on, and a good stay in Hagilur should get you the fights you crave.

1v1 ?

Ragnarg 0.4

Moving into the dead-end system of Ragnarg, which offers five stations with basic repair facilities and little else in the way of creature comforts. The main attraction of this mostly quiet system other than the three asteroid belts is the Angel Cartel Creo-Corp Mining 2/10 plex, if somebody is in system here there is a good chance that he is running the plex or perhaps waiting on the gate looking for a fight. A Minmatar Contracted Bio-Farm (1/10) also provides an avenue for combat, but this is a rarely visited site.

Hagilur 0.4

Doubling back on ourselves we blip our 360 degree scanner for targets as we cross warp the system onto our next gate.

Dudreda 0.3

A high ranking low-security Minmatar system that plays host to the Republic Military School and the Parliament Bureau amongst others in its six stations. Remarkably, 4 out of the 6 stations offer cloning services. As expected the other facilities on offer are of a high standard. The market is average in comparison to everything else on offer in Dudreda.

Nine asteroid belts provide the backdrop for hunting opportunities.

Hakisalki 0.2

Hakisalki is another system with high corporate military academies and presidential bureaus, three clone capable stations and great repair facilities. The main attraction here for the hunter is the 19 asteroid belts which will hopefully harbour your next fight.

Arwa 0.1

The deeper into the pocket we go the lower the security of the system, this makes for ideal ratting territory. Attracted by the spawns of battleship rats offering close to the bounties that are more common in null-security space, your next target is hopefully trying to crack one of the rats as you hunt him down and enjoy the feast of your find. It will be rare, but it does happen and those with the patience and cunning will often reap the results.

Arwa has 10 asteroid belts and a Ruined Minmatar Outpost, three stations offer only the very basic of facilities, and only one station - the Republic Fleet Assembly Plant at Moon 3 of Planet X offers a ship repair service.

Arifsdald 0.1

Again the main opportunity for combat as we move fast and further down towards the bottom rung of the pocket is the hope of finding a lone ratter. Arifsdald is a large system that has 20 asteroid belts to hunt in and its 4 stations offer a good mix of services, including one medical bay over at the Krusual tribe Bureau.

Ansen 0.1

Ansen lies at the bottom of the pocket and with only two very basic stations and only two asteroid belts it is usually quickly bypassed as we begin to head back up to Hagilur.

Krirald 0.2

Krirald is another parliament system, the services on offer are good and cloning is available at the Republic Parliament Bureau. 10 asteroid belts give the chance of finding a stray ratter a boost and the top belt is a stunning Glare Crust ice belt, sometimes mined by local starbase operators on the lookout for cheap fuel material. You never know when you might get lucky, although it must be said that these types are usually sharp when it comes to keeping an eye on local.

Republic Parliament Bureau - Krirald

Moving back towards Hagilur in the hope that targets have refreshed and new faces are in local we pass back through ....

Dudreda 0.3

and then we are back in Hagilur 0.4

This is a good little pocket to hunt in and  I would recommend the area as a good place to base a ship stash ready and loaded for combat. I more often than not find that Hagilur reaps the most in terms of combat but I will always do the pocket roam from time to time as you never know what you might find along the route. I regularly visit Ragnarg too to check local count and visit the 2/10.

Happy Hunting!


25 Sept 2011

High-Security Assassination Unit

War is a state of organized, armed and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties, typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality.

The Black Rebels in the heaving, sweaty bar tonight didn't care about the risks of War. War for them was just some rules and procedures that had been laid down by CONCORD so that they could go about their sinister deeds with no reprimand. The music was loud, brash, but their focus wasn't on the music it was focused on the list of targets in front of them. One of them took his drink, over half-full and downed it in one.
Most of the Rebels had a bad security status, a lust for murder and the way of the gun had led them down this path and they didn't care. But for those who looked after their security status and for those who watched carefully over aggression and the what we can and what we can not engage in the battle field, war was their time, their time for murder without sanction.
The list of targets was long, a blue screen from a small digital tablet shone in the corner of the bar and shimmied up the wall, creeping through the darkness as the Rebels talked tactics over the music and debauchery sizzling around them. These pilots who took to this way of life, the chosen few were tonight like frenzied warrior ants. War was on the horizon, months of bloodshed was a few bill payments away.

Like some savage mercenary army the pilots would be ready for the cold killing, no mercy, all bullets and no diplomacy, no rest for the wicked as they say. They would kill and would be killed, they won't stop though, clone insurance paid up to date, medical supplies not a problem, firearms and bootleg spirits aplenty. Ships and supplies stacked, throw-away frigates to pristine high-tier tech III cruisers. They don't care much for stats as long as they are getting their kicks, the showmanship and the camaraderie is uplifting. Kitted out in all black combat suits, black masks and dirty leather, these few looked the part too, slick, scary, well-polished looking criminals.

This appears to be the start of a sustained campaign of terror aimed specifically at those who deem themselves safe in the walled comfort of high-security space. This is the making of a menace, there will be no end to this.


22 Sept 2011

Meet the Rebels - Saftsuze

The story so far .....

We've been jumping into the mind of New Eden's criminal combat pilots. The Black Rebel Rifter Club decided to distribute into the public domain a series of standardised press interviews that were conducted at various locations across the cluster. The following short transcripts are in the words of the journalist who conducted the meetings and their identities have been hidden by request.



Saftsuze's invite to his personal quarters took me by surprise somewhat, what would it be like inside? Trashy decor, messy, caked in grease, empty bottles and general carnage was something I would have expected from a Black Rebel gang boss. To my surprise I was greeted to the pleasant smell of a clean apartment, furniture polish and a faint twang of some exotic spicy cologne wafting through the air.

In fact Saftsuze is getting quite a reputation in the Rebel circle as a man of fine grooming and a legendary moustache that glistens like a quivering scorch beam underneath a moonlit sky. Saftsuze is the operator of a public channel called The Overheated Hot Tub that claims to cleanse dirty pirate types once they jump in for a chat. The only rules are that you must bring a towel. I nod in agreement, almost expecting an invite to this room of pirate loins.

As we sit down on the finest leather chairs and begin the interview I notice a small round tub of 'Gallente Extra-Firm Brand 47 Moustache Wax' on the coffee table in front of me ...... by the side of me is a life-size golden statue of Saftsuze, complete with running waterfall (erm) feature that splashes gently on the hero's golden feet.



What is a Black Rebel?

I can only speak for myself: I am a free man shooting stuff I think I might be able to kill. And no, we are not pirates. We might do acts of crime, but as my corp mate put it: Do you see a fucking parrot on my shoulder?

Is it true you need a tattoo to be considered for entry?

No, just make sure your moustache is smaller and less sexy than mine.

The Rifter, tell me more?

It should be smoking. There is nothing like the smell from a burning Rifter with a thawing corpse in the cargohold!

Tell us a little bit about your background in New Eden.

To make a long and boring story short: As a last effort to make me some sort of political force, my parents got me into the Gallente Capsuleer Program. They wanted me to become a Gallente hero. Well, after running a few missions for some dull and annoying agents in high security space, my corp was declared war upon several times by some bad ass corp with just a few pilots. After being hunted for a while, I finally got my head together and started studying the art of hunting other capsuleers and I got hooked on making stuff explode.

So you once were a law abiding citizen in high sec preyed upon by the more unlawful elements?

Yeah, for a few months. I am however eternally grateful to Soronova and her corp, for kicking me out of the false feeling of safety in high security space. One day I will have to challenge that bitch for a Rifter duel.

How did you become a Black Rebel?

Now that is a long story. It starts with me running from our very scary Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Miura Bull, in the unsecure space lanes of Obalyu and Parts. He was in his sturdy Jaguar and I was in my fragile, but very fast, little Incursus. I swear I could smell the cigar smoke from his Jag, that’s how close he was! But he didn’t get me.

So after running away from this Soronova in high sec you “advanced” to running away from Miura Bull and the likes in low sec?

Yeah, I’ve always been a coward, and I guess that running away that many times from Mr. Bull earned me just enough respect that he cared to answer my questions about the life of crime. After that, I was randomly in contact with him whenever I bumped into him, and we hung out in the same communication channels. I would have teamed up with him earlier if it wasn’t for my inability to use voice communications in fleets.... Ehm.. You see, I have a bit of social anxiety. I am best when I am flying solo. So, instead I started my own corp named after my personal style of decision making: Overheated Hotheads. It was a great success with two members - including me!

Two members - you call that a great success?

Hell, yeah! I got Tomba as a member, a fine capsuleer that almost killed Kane Rizzel once! And we almost got Sobczynski as a member, a very entertaining bureaucrat of Pator Tech School. Sadly he has now retired to some backwater planet somewhere. I hope he one day will reactivate his clone - or activate a new one - and come back to the asteroid belts of low security space.

So he was “almost” a member...

I guess what I am trying to say, despite the low numbers, we had a good atmosphere going in our public channel The Overheated Hot Tub and I started enjoying my own solo roams a lot more. Overheated Hotheads helped me define my flying style and it inspired me as a criminal pilot. And I have a feeling Miura got a bit inspired as well from that cesspool of scumbag germs, because, not long after, he decided to revive his old rebel corp - and me and Tomba jumped out of the hot tub and into the hot new club.

Are all Black Rebels unwashed scumbags whose only goal in life is to terrorize those they tag as 'the enemy'?

Excuse me! I am certainly not unwashed! I spend quite a lot of time on personal hygiene and in front of the mirror. I hear some of the capsuleers are not happy with the new upgraded Captains Quarters, but I guess that has something to do with what they see in that lovely mirror. Well, for some of us, these refurbished quarters certainly has added value to New Eden life. But scumbag? Yeah, that’s spot on.

What about your corpmates?

Now, THEY might very well be unwashed! I read your interview with Taranfel. I guess you remember him by the smell? And I bet I wouldn’t be wrong when I assume it is me he is referring to as a “pretty boy”. Well, Taranfel, here is a message for you: It is a proven fact that 10 out of 10 women would prefer a trimmed moustache over sunglasses, untidy hair and pod goo breath.

[The sound file has some mumbling recorded at this point and Saftsuze is saying something like this: “Pretty boy? Huh? I’ll show him “pretty boy” next time he shows up in the hot tub” but this can not be confirmed 100 percent]

Describe a typical day in the life of a Rebel.

I always start with careful grooming of my moustache. Being good in battle has a lot to do with how good I feel about myself. It’s all about confidence. But, of course, sometimes I’m just too sexy for my ship - and it explodes. But I digress. After getting ready for the pod, I undock and start scanning for targets. Then I find something to shoot, and then, depending on the outcome of the last engagement, I find something else to shoot or go get another ship. That’s it, basically. I have made arrangements for associates to do my ship logistics, selling of loot and generally manage my ISK.

End of transcript////

21 Sept 2011

What makes a good fight?

The killmail is the token prize once the dust of combat settles; the trophy, the deal breaker, the ornament, the bragging rights. But what makes a good fight?

Generally speaking this could be a difficult question to answer, everybody has posted up the obligatory gfgf in local after a battle, each and every one of you has a different opinion on what is a good fight. When posting up the gf in local we don't always mean it in its true form, but to myself and many others it is the obligatory gentlemen's nod, the handshake after the fight. For example every single time I run into one of those annoying as hell insta-locking camps, if I have the chance before I am podded, I will offer up a gf in local. I definitely don't mean it in this instance, in fact what I am actually thinking is far more sinister but I enjoy the fact that your lame camp has not fazed me in any way, not made me angry, I will simply take the punishment of being -10 and go about my business somewhere else, acknowledging the 'effort' put into the 'fight' against me.

This isn't to say I don't fight back of course, I will always go guns blazing with the thermodynamics whacked up to 11 when it's a Thrasher camp I can't escape from, sometimes you can take one of them down with you. Which partly defeats the object of their fantasies somewhat, if only a little.

Speaking on a personal level, a good fight for me is when the odds are stacked against me and I am outnumbered in the manner that I will get a good fight but not so much that I'm blobbed into oblivion. Getting the balance right can be very rewarding. There are not many better feelings in combat than when you are on your own in an assault frigate or interceptor and there is a fight happening with three or four hostile frigates, all hell bent on screwing you over. Carefully managing range, target selection, overheating, angle of attack, capacitor and everything else whilst the damage is incoming can be an exhilarating experience. These fights really do get the heart thumping for me.

A recent engagement that springs to mind happened in Hagilur a few nights ago, sitting in an asteroid belt in my Wolf class Assault Frigate admiring the sun glistening off the rocks I was tackled by an Incursus. With other ships on scan it was obvious something else was going to come on in and start dancing along the barrels of my autocannons. In good time a Punisher and Rifter were on top of me. This was good, just what the doctor ordered, if you could bottle the adrenaline from these types of fights I think you could become a rich man. Not knowing if the other larger ships on scan were about to enter the field or if anything cloaky was about to announce itself really does keep you on the edge, especially as your armor starts disappearing into the blackness of space.

I also enjoy the more risky engagements, in particular I like to test the limits of the Rifter, whether that be in small gangs or whilst flying solo. Last night I was out flying in tandem with corpmate Kaeda Maxwell. I followed a Wolf to a plex and announced tackle, fully expecting a good fight and perhaps the Wolf to at the very least take one of us if not both of us down. The Wolf was hitting me heavy but I was able to rep up the damage with some mad bursts on the repper, the end result was the death of the Wolf and Kaeda announcing that she had only just got off a few volleys in the end after landing outside of an ideal range. Never underestimate the Rifter is the lesson learned here.

Another avenue that always engineers a good fight (well, unless broken, obviously) is the arranged 1v1. This particular engagement was an assault frigate duel that ended in my favour, I've had plenty that I have lost, plenty have been won, this one is the most recent I can remember and I remember it being a close fight, always the best type.

If I have a ship to hand and know that you're good for your word and I'm not doing something else I will always be up for a 1v1. Especially if you are in Metropolis or Heimatar where I have a ship stash that really needs burning I must admit. My corp members will also oblige to give you a good fight if you so wish, just ask nicely as some of them can bite.

It seems that the above ethics towards good fights run deep right through the Black Rebel Rifter Club. Sure, there will be times when we gank people, times when someone brings an ecm boat or other foul deed but the majority of the fights I see spring up on the killboard look like good honest fights to me. Not to put down the above kills, I like kills like that as much as any, we're all cutthroats after all.

Some that have caught the eye recently include some rather well known eve names. This fight and this one spring to mind, as well as this one. Zodiac Black is a young Rebel pilot who is ruthless when at the control of his Rifter, this Crow kill rewarding him with a nice pay packet from the loot.

It is also nice to see a few Dramiels showing up on the killboard too, whether it be one of ours scoring a kill or somebody else's that we have blown out of the sky. We're not really that fussy and neither were Saftsuze and Darkstar and Gul'Gotha when scoring these Dram notches to their kill count.

So in summary, the good fights are there for the taking, it is just how you apply your mindset towards pvp that shapes what good fights you engineer. You won't learn that much by being a cog in a machine of 50 others, so broaden your horizons a little bit and catch the solo/small gang bug. It might just be the best decision you ever made!


1 Sept 2011

Bloody Noses and Bellicoses

The neighbouring high-security systems had been braced for invasion for a few days now, reports were circulating in the media of suicide squads of Thrashers operating in the area and seedy looking scout ships that lurk in the shadows of the asteroid belts. Relaying intel and picking out the next feast for the hungry maniacal gang that had been sighted over the last few weeks, their apparent disregard for the well being of their crews and ships clearly evident.

Fear had gripped the border systems and a group of approximately eight capsuleers and their crews were known to be present in the low-security system of Auner. Local security forces and sentry gun operators were placed on standby as capsuleer and crew activity in the docking bays of the Thukker Mix Factory was being reported.

One by one the Rebels undocked into space, their intentions as yet unclear. Dong, Kaeda, Judge, Lhorenzho, MB, Joe, Lao and Rocanegra rolled out off the docking ramp in uniform intervals, all blasting their warp engines in the same direction. Oddly the Rebels had ditched their usual nimble frigates and were showing up on directional radar as being in command of either a Bellicose or a Scythe. Weird. The gunnery crews stood down from their positions, much to their amusement.


This was the end scene of what had been an optional month of tomfoolery and experimentation for the Rebels, a competition of sorts culminating in one final in-house brawl - The Bellicose/Scythe Bash. The rules were simple, over the course of the month points would be awarded for kills made whilst piloting either the Bellicose or the Scythe class Minmatar cruiser hulls.

50 points for a kill in a Scythe.

25 points for a Bellicose.

The month ticked along and some interesting killmails appeared, as well as some lossmails too, which was absolutely expected and encouraged. But now the attention was fixed to a quiet safe spot in Auner where eight cruiser hulls more accustomed to a life of doddering around in asteroid fields were about to become entangled in a final thrust for points and glory.

Engines fizzed and popped as the Rebels sat idle in a stand-off before the hostilities began, a variety of weapon systems were seen charging and running heat ready for the start; lasers, autocannons, artillery, missile launchers and rockets were ready to unleash venom upon their foe.

The call was given and the fight was on, the sluggish cruisers sparking into life, shots echoed across the system, bullets ripped towards their targets, drones attacked and smoke began appearing from stricken hulls.

First down was Miura and his artillery clad Scythe oddball that had unwillingly chosen to land right next to three other kill-hungry Rebels, it was a quick death for the Rebel leader but one that was fully expected giving the banter that had been bandied around beforehand by the participants that had proclaimed the tag line 'Primary is Miura'.


Following Miura out of the action a minute later was Judge Sarn, unable to repel the damage that was battering on the door of his autocannon fitted armor Scythe it soon shattered into multiple pieces, spitting Judge's whiskey filled capsule into the arena.

A couple of minutes later the fight was really brewing into an epic battle, Lao Mah and her shield Bellicose succumbing to heavy firepower.

It was now time for another Scythe to join the list of casualties, Joe Struck and his autocannon clad cruiser buckling under the strain of incoming damage from all corners


Now down to the final four - three Bellicose hulls and a Scythe remained on the field. Some four minutes passed before the next explosion. Rocanegra's shield buffer Bellicose turning into wreckage and it was now down to the final three.


Kaeda, Lhorenzho and Dong were the remaining pilots, the Rebel intercom systems were alive with chatter as this live fire exercise hotted up and shouts of ECM filled hatred filled the airwaves. Lhorenzho's Bellicose was now doomed and exploded in a bright orange light show as armor plating ripped through the remaining structure of the ship.


It was now down to Kaeda Maxwell in her Bellicose and Dong in his Scythe. Dong was unable to do much as he was being kited by the Bellicose and was also jammed out of the fight, his only lifeline being his tank that was proving to be very stubborn, however, nearly twenty minutes after the brawl had started it was now over - Dong's impressive looking Scythe crumpled under the weight of one final wrecking blow and the winner of the brawl was declared. A quick glance at the killmail revealing the mighty Scythe had taken a heavy battering with 35,293 registered damage points taken.

Kaeda Maxwell basked in the glory of her victory, light-hearted whistles and jeers could be heard on the comms system as she looted the field. Dong Orson making a promise that her pod was fair game at some undistinguished point in the future, turns out he doesn't like ECM that much.

The winning fit.

[Bellicose, Kiting Faggotry Bellicose]

Damage Control II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

ECM – Phase Inverter II
ECM – Phase Inverter II
ECM – Phase Inverter II
Y-T8 Overcharged Hydrocarbon I Microwarpdrive

720mm Gallium I Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium M
720mm Gallium I Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium M
720mm Gallium I Cannon, Republic Fleet Depleted Uranium M
Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Gremlin Rocket
Rocket Launcher II, Caldari Navy Gremlin Rocket

Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Ionic Field Projector I

Hobgoblin SD-300 x4
Hornet EC-300 x4

It was a great battle and a thoroughly enjoyable event. Afterwards we tried to suicide gank a Hulk with a bunch of Scythe hulls but sadly it didn't quite go pop, a few slithers of hull remained as the last Rebel cruiser succumbed to CONCORD's wrath.

Overall, after Black Rebel Command had finished totting up the kill count and points tally it was Kooba Kaundur who emerged as the winner of the competition. Kooba had taken to the art of baiting with her Scythe hull to the extreme with a flurry of killmails and even had the luxury of missing the final event and still beating off the competition. Well done Kooba. Second place was Kaeda Maxwell and there was a tie for third between Dong Orson and Lao Mah.

Prizes were contracted to the winners and the Rebels went off to raid Judge's whiskey stash.

Thanks to all who took part.


R1FTA Blog Pack

It seems that the Black Rebel Rifter Club has attracted its fair share of bloggers, and whilst I did try to keep up with them all with a tab to the side of the page it has now become that long a list that it became too much to keep track of!

It's a good job then that fellow Rebel pilot Gul'gotha Derv'ash has catalogued all the Black Rebel blogs in a google reader pack, well worth subscribing to, if I do say so myself.

>>>>> subscribe here <<<<<