Current State of Play

Thursday, 22 October 2009
When I moved into the Class 2 WH a few weeks ago, I was severely hampered by the types of signatures that my skills allowed me to clear. Only ladar and gravimetric sites were viable targets.
A few weeks on and I've been able to run more and more sites with relative ease. So below I've written a reflection on where I find myself, and where I hope to focus my skill plan to enable a better farming of a Cl2 WH:

Ladar: as per Class 1 WHs, these are very easy to clear of any sleepers, and require few skills to do so. Of course, this impacts on profitability, making these one of the least valuable of sites to run. Further down the line, I'd like to follow the example of Star Defender and actually process the gas rather than just sell the raw harvest. This in turn requires better production skills, a larger POS, and a higher ISK turnover to meet the fuel bill. As such, setting up a polymer reaction production line is very much a longer-term plan.

Gravimetric: As with the ladars, these are very easy to clear of any sleepers and are usually very abundant. However, I'd rank my mining skills as intermediate at best. At the moment I only have the skills to fly a retriever. In the not too distant future I'd like to train the skills needed for a coveter or hulk, as well as the skills needed to use T2 ABC crystals and the associated refining skills. Until then, the profits I get from the grav sites are a fair bit lower than from the other signatures.

Magnetometric / Radar: Only since I learnt BS skills a week or so ago have I been able to clear these sites. However, my skills in this department are still fairly short of where they need to be to run these sites with any great degree of consistency - all too often I need to warp out several times, usually due to poor capacitor-related or tracking skills. In the short term I hope to work on the support skills needed to clear these sites efficiently and regularly.

Combat Sites: these are the bread-and-butter for me at the moment - with the exception of 1 or 2 sites, I can now run these sites in my Harbinger with regularity and speed. Most sites usually drop around 5 or so melted ribbons, making these signatures the most profitable.

So a loose skill-training plan is as follows: in the short term I need to continue to work on the support-skills such as those relating to capacitor-regulation. Hopefully with this will come greater ease with which I can clear the anomolies or mag/ladar sites. In the intermediate term I intend to work on the mining skills. Although I doubt it will get to the stage where running grav sites will be the most lucrative of all the signatures, I do enjoy mining on an ad-hoc occasional basis. Relating to this, I need to think hard about whether to introduce a second account, primarily for hauling and trading. Finally, it will be pleasing if at some point even further down the line I can enter the T3 production line, such as polymer reacting, rather than just haul the raw materials back to k-space.

Finally, thanks to the 'Anom' poster - I'll always be a bigger geek than you realise :)

Words, not Guns

Wednesday, 14 October 2009
When I started living in a WH some time in the distant past, my initial response to any intrusions into the home system was to systematically attempt to scan down any visitors and dispose of them if at all possible. Small scanning frigs, or mining barges, all fell victim to my aggressive policy of shoot first, ask later.

However, as time has gone on I have began to adopt a difference response to any intrusions. Following the suggestions of another blogger, I now attempt to engage in conversation with any intruders through Local. Similarly, if i enter another WH and note the presence of any stations or probes I'll throw out a Hi in local to see if there's anyone there to communicate with. Any lack of response and I'll then assume that the other person is a hostile.

The results to this shift in policy has had interesting and positive results - generally speaking I'll get a response back. Usually the hostile turns out to have good intents, or can impart good advice or intelligence. One such occasion was the other night when I began to scout out the static Class 2. A large POS was present in the system, so I started talking to the owner through Local. As it transpired, the capsuleer - General Sarge - had only installed the POS very recently, and had not begun to clear the many sites in the system. We were able to share intel regarding the exits in our systems, and the signatures in the system. I wish General Sarge all the best in his WH, and with his newly formed blog :)

Odds and Ends

Monday, 12 October 2009
RL work commitments have limited my on-line activities over the past week, so progress has been slow.

BS training is almost complete - I'm hoping to fly one into Candide within the next couple of days. A couple of radar and magnetometric sites have spawned in the system over the past few days, so I'm hoping to start clearing these soon.

The harbinger is able to complete a couple of the easier combat sites such as Perimeter hangar, although a few warp-outs are usually necessary along the way.

Ladar sites have been the main focus for me recently, leading to a large stockpile of gas that struggles to sell. Ultimately I'd been keen to enter upon the T3 production line, but this is very much a long-term plan. Until then, I'll be hauling all raw materials to Empire. Another future plan is to have a second character skilled for hauling and trading, but I guess this will be a couple of months away at least.

Finally, I've had a couple of friendly people contact me either through this blog or online inviting me to join their WH corp. It's nice to be wanted, and it's even nicer to know people are reading this blog, but at this moment in time I have no desire to join another corp. My play-style and time-constraints makes it better for me to remain in a 1-man corp for the foreseeable future. It's a little paradoxical I guess to run a 1-man corp in an MMO, but it works for me at the moment. Good luck to all other WH corps though :)

Hangars from Heaven

Wednesday, 7 October 2009
It's been a quiet few days in Candide - very few visitors has allowed me to focus on grav and gas mining whilst training up my BS skills. Of the 10 or so Class 2 static WHs that have spawned over the past week, the majority have been unoccupied and ripe for harvesting. However, my inability to run most combat sites, and the radar sites, has largely limited my activities to mining.

Yesterday morning I ventured into the new static Class 2 system that had spawned overnight. A cursory scan of the scan revealed habitation of the system - 1 large control tower and 1 small tower. However, only 1 force field was showing up on the scan. Curious, I investigated further and discovered that the small tower had belonged to a small Polish Corp, that had presumably been forced out of the system at some point by the larger American based Corp that owned the large POS.

What I couldn't understand was why the abandoned station, complete with anchored defences, still retained a ship array and hangar array. 5 minutes later I had returned in my harbinger and swiftly disposed of the 2 arrays. Many jet cans spilt into space. Scrambling for my industrial, I quickly looted all the cans, and counted the spoils - in total around 200M isk, including several arrays, T2 mods and skill books. The ship array had yielded a harbinger, several cov-op ships and a couple of cruisers. Not bad for 5 minutes work!

I'm not sure why the American corp hadn't bothered with the offline POS - perhaps I had been extremely lucky with the timing? Or perhaps they hadn't realised what could be gained by destroying the hangars?

Relocation, Relocation, Relocation

Thursday, 1 October 2009
My desperation was beginning to peak at the start of the week, as I began to feel that I would perhaps have to settle for a sub-standard wormhole to move into.

On Wednesday morning however, I succeeded in finding a class-2 within another class-2 that was unoccupied. The mass and time limits were fine, and the only discernible exits were a low-sec exit (which subsequently popped and instantly respawned, confirming it as a static exit) and 2 class-2 WHs (including the one I had came through). Whilst I was unable to confirm either of these as a regular connection, I figured that it was worth taking a chance that at least one of these would be static, thus providing a daily fresh hunting ground.

Moving all the gear and ships into my new home (christened 'Pangloss') was a lot easier than my previous move into the class 1, owing to the higher mass limits. Onlining all the defences for the shiny new medium tower took quite a while, but I guess this was to be expected.

1 day in, and my early impressions thus far are quite pleasing. The system wasn't overflowing with signatures, but hopefully the static class 2 can provide a source of income for the times that Pangloss runs dry. My biggest problem at the moment is a lack of skills and ships to tackle even the combat sites, never mind the radar or magnetometric sites. I'm only a week away from bringing in an Apocalypse, so I'll be giving my gas-harvester and mining barge a run-out over the next few days. The Harbinger may well have met its match with the class 2 sleepers.

On a final happy note, I received a message in the Local Channel from a lost pilot that had apparently been offline for a few weeks, and had logged on this evening only to find that his last corp had moved their POS out of the WH. Said pilot was still in his retriever with no scanner, so he invited me to either blow his capsule or take his barge for free. Sensing a trap, I left him to it and refused to take his bait. 20 minutes later though his barge was still on scan, as was his corpse. 5 minutes later I became the proud owner of a rusty but functional mining barge!

""It is proved...that things cannot be other than they are, for since everything was made for a purpose, it follows that everything is made for the best purpose.""
— Voltaire (Pangloss)

No room in the inn (yet...)

Friday, 25 September 2009
Since vacating my first WH home about a week go, I began the process of collecting all my ships, gear and a shiny new medium POS in preparation of finding a bigger, meaner place to hang my head.

However, after several days of running a hi-sec scanning route around my base of operations I have so far been unable to find a new system that fits the Goldilocks criteria that I have set. Many WHs have been found, and many more inside those WHs also. However, the findings so far are pessimistic.

The main problem is that of existing occupancy within the WHs. Whilst I was expecting the majority of systems to be occupied, I am still startled by just how many are populated already. I was hoping that the deeper WHs, with perhaps no regular k-space exit, are less popular but the reverse seems to be the case. The likelihood of finding a vacant WH seems to be slim, so the prospect of finding a sub-system devoid of activity would therefore be even slimmer. This doesn't even take into account mass and time limits on the holes.

Perhaps the problem lies with my chosen base of operations, which is safely within the constraints of hi-sec. I recall reading the accounts of others that suggest that WHs found within low-sec systems are more likely to be unpopulated. This is certainly food for thought, though I don't warm to the thought of hauling all my worldly possessions into low-sec just yet.

To be fair, I've only been house-hunting for a short while so I guess I shouldn't get too despondent. I'll launch the probes some more over the next few days and cross my fingers that I can find a new home.

Winds of Change

Monday, 21 September 2009
With the Class 1 empty, save for a lone gravimetric site, I came to the decision that it was time to up sticks and find a new home. Also, I felt that a Class 1 no longer offered the challenges that I crave, not to mention the fact that the mass limits prohibited the ships that I could field. So last night I packed up the station, and hauled everything back to hi-sec in readiness for a move to a new home.

My time in the Class 1 taught a few valuable lessons that I will be putting to use in future ventures. Firstly, I will not be content with a 'shallow' WH, due to the traffic that a regular hi-sec exit entails. In an ideal world, I will be hunting for a deep Class 2 WH with a regular Class 2 exit.

The second change that I will be making is the upgrade in POS, from a small to a medium. Following the discussions on Star Defender's blog, I shall be setting up this POS, only on-lining the refining array when needed, temporarily switching off a couple of guns to meet the power-grid requirements.

Skill wise, I have been working on my gunnery skills, and plan to work on the BS side of things in the near future.

RL work commitments might limit the time I have this week to search for a new home, but I hope to have found a new home to report on my next post.