Fight club


Don’t ask about the name

So last night was the first of the fight club series organised by Bei and the team, I think it was a big success due in no small part to the fact that the organisation was spot on and the matches came thick and fast. It is no easy job to organise so many pilots in a pretty high stress atmosphere so well done lads.

Johnny and Sons Fencing Specialists are our team comprised of about half Tuskers and half friends. Spax put it all together and everyone has been working their arses off in testing, only two of the team have ever flown in a tournament before but everyone assumes this is a team in the same mould as the pretty damn good Tusker AT team so the pressure was on.

We were fairly happy with our testing (although you always wish you had tried one more thing) and in the first match we had a bit of a hiccup as we boundaried and therefore lost the match just as it was getting going. The guy who flew out was pretty pissed off with himself but the truth is that everyone does that once but usually in practice, he hadn’t had time to make that mistake yet so unfortunately did it in a match. Bummer but never mind, move on and learn from it. The only good point is that you never make that mistake twice..

The second match went very well and was a 5-0 clean sweep so things could have been worse and it’s good to get the derps out early.

Props to all the guys who put in so much hard work.

Command Destroyers


Bifrost love

If you ever played Left for dead 2 you will remember the jockey, a crazy little zombie that jumps on your back and steers you into a huge pile of other zombies while you are incapable of doing much until someone comes and shoots him off you.

This is what a command dessie is, we took a roam out to null last night and included one in our group – it turned out to be completely hilarious. During one evening it jumped station huggers off stations to be murdered and link ships away from POSes. It stopped ships crashing gates and helped us close distance to people at pounces. The thing is absolutely invaluable and I’m sure more uses will be developed as time goes on.

I’m training Warfare link specialist now..

WTS Silver magnate..



So day one of the Amarr champs done and we won both our matches.

Ithica is the guy who applied for the comp and when he got accepted had to go round and find a team having not planned out this bit in advance, I said “ah why not” and so did Jaxley, another Tusker. Bei Artjay who flies for KICK  is the mastermind behind some epic nullsec raids (plus a member of last years Tusker AT team) and had already said yes.

The first one was T1 frigs so we were pretty confident, this being our bread and butter and my ship was the punisher which is the ship I cut my teeth on when I was a newbie pirate so I was well chuffed to be flying it. They brought a very similar setup and we went at them hard (by the way the top damage ammo is BLOODY expensive).

We primaried their ewar and they primaried our logi which went down but then made the mistake of primarying me which turned out to be a mistake, I tanked like a boss, flew my arse off to minimise damage and the balance slowly tipped our way to bring off the win, I think it was 4-1 but not sure.

I got told off for looting the field which is a bit harsh but we are pirates after all – what’s the point of exploding stuff if you don’t steal the goodies?

The captain of the enemy team convoed me to find out my fit to which I gave the standard reply ” you have to kill it” we will be meeting after the competition to give him a chance of doing so.

Round two was against the PL team. We had done precisely zero prep for this having concentrated solely on match one so after the first win we had three hours or so to sort something out. Off to Sisi and grab a few friends to practice and of course there is a PL alt in local watching. We tend not to bother about this stuff, if they want to spy let them and PL are known for being able to bring hard counters due to having good intel. Pirates however are known for being able to fly their arses off when necessary.

As soon as we landed on grid and saw them I said “Arse, that’s a hard counter”. They had watched our practice and come up with a pretty solid counter comp. We went Prophecy, Maller, Arby and Aug so they brought Navy Harb, Maller, Aug and an Arby fitted with smartbombs to deal with the drones from our two drone ships.

“Stick to the plan boys and smash that Harby’s face in” so we went at it hammer and tongs. Somehow the Beam Harb managed to get himself tackled which was mistake number one and the dps ships got under his guns with the help of a few jams on the way in (the commentators couldn’t work out where our jams were coming from and I’m not going to divulge that information here).

Our logi got tackled but the last minute decision to go AB fit really helped, Bei flew a blinder and mitigated damage as best he could while topping up our tanks, I headed over to the maller but the best I could do was nos it and eventually Bei went down but not before we had the Harby into hull. The maller then went for me but I broke tackle and got free as the Harby went down, at this point we basically had it. We smashed the Arby in record time due to the same solid jamming that got us the the previous kill and then went to work on the maller which didn’t last long either. Finishing off the Aug took ages for some reason.

Final result: Lowsec pirates 4, Nullsec giants 1.

Who wants to buy a silver magnate?

New pilot pvp training programme.


For a long time I have wanted to start a newbie pvp training programme, I spent a year training up new guys in my old corp and we had one superb success and a number of very good ones.

I constantly moan about new players looking for the magic bullet to pvp success and harp on about how it is achieved slowly by hard work not by some magic fit or single technique, now it’s time to put my money where my mouth is and do something about it.

My intention is to recruit over the next few weeks five to ten keen new players who want to improve at pvp and bring them in alongside Tusker gangs in small numbers to learn how to survive in lowsec and get a foot on the piracy ladder.

The details are yet to be sorted out but if this sounds like you then I want to hear your story, hopefully I will get a few interested parties and here is a list of what I am and am not looking for:

The following are not a factor:

  1. SP, it is irrelevant.

  2. ISK, likewise.

  3. Previous loyalties, I don’t care who you flew with before – you will be one of us for the duration.

What I am looking for:

  1. Enthusiasm and a desire to learn and improve.

  2. Resilience, you are going to make a lot of mistakes (we all did) and you need to pick yourself up and try again.

  3. Independence, we are not going to hold your hand but you will get some solid advice from good pilots (and some completely lethal ones).

  4. Personality, we want easy going guys who are fun to have on comms.

If selected you will:

  1. Firstly get some solid advice on logistics, overview setup and the basics.

  2. Fly in Tusker gangs with us one or two at a time.

  3. If I or others have time we will take you out in 2-5 man gangs.

  4. Learn how to FC from day one.

  5. Hopefully learn a lot and laugh while doing it.

This is going to be a trial run, we may fall flat on our face or be a roaring success but probably somewhere between these two. I would add that my playtime is not great at the moment so for much of the time you will be given ideas and goals to go and achieve on your own, we are not going to babysit you – a big part of this is teaching you how to create your own content.

So if that sounded good then send an ingame mail to Johnny Twelvebore telling me why you think you’d benefit from this and I will contact you to have a chat on comms.

It goes without saying that if you join us your sec status is going to drop quickly, be prepared to give up highsec – it’s shit anyway.

Fly fast,


All this talk about PvE..


EVE is not about carebearing.

There is a lot of talk at the moment about updating PvE and in essence I’m not dead set against it but this is a game about power struggles and uncompromising violence. Some choose to do that through markets and some at the strategic level pushing minions about the map to secure income. I choose to do it alongside two or three well trained friends normally against the odds and for no strategic goals at all, simply for the love of fighting and winning. Tuskers own no sov and hardly any caps but we love the AT, EVE NT series and two of us will be fighting in the Amarr championships.

Every day you will see a new post on reddit or the forums along the lines of “I’m scared to pvp, how do I ensure success?” and every year the game gets more risk averse driving people to ridiculous desperation which manifests in falcon alts, cynos on standby and other nonsense – luckily this is normally easy to spot and we know the regular offenders so can come prepared.

Here’s a secret for all the guys in that position including the eve-uni guy who keeps pestering us for fits convinced that simply flying what we fly will guarantee victory (for the record it won’t, we fly odd stuff). There is no easy way to become good – every one of us with the rare exception of the genius savants who just got it had to go through a baptism of fire. You fight, you lose, you learn, that’s it and in the next fight you are slightly better. Repeat until good, personally I lost a metric fucktonne of ships before I got a single victory but I stuck at it and now am reasonably confident in a scrap.

Shiny mods and expensive hulls coupled with a lack of experience simply fund my loot hangar, to this day I still fly T2 fitted ships and on the very rare occasion I fit a faction mod it is one I have removed from the smoking remains of an enemy.

I’m not sure this is ever likely to happen but the game needs more gung-ho newbs who are prepared to go out and learn, I want a challenge and Tuskers are constantly on the lookout for promising new talent to nurture and help grow into someone who will later bring that rarest of commodities, the fabled good fight.

Public roams are good start but are normally quite large and fall into the “cat-herding” mentality where you learn little about actual flying, for that you need a small group (2-5 is perfect) in cheap ships with reships nearby and just go out and engage stuff, the sense of achievement is huge when you win your first fight but the most important skill is resilience, when you get smacked down just get up and try again.

It is possible to make enough money from pvp to buy more ships to pvp again, very easy at frigate level but harder as you fly more expensive hulls so let’s stop perpetuating the myth that you need a pve alt to fund your fun, it puts off the new guys.

Johnny’s back..


Been away for a bit playing Blood bowl because everyone needs a break once in a while, when the game feels more like a job than a hobby. I am also working my arse off trying to get a boat ready for next year so have a lot less time for internet spaceships. For the record Bloodbowl is a great laugh and we have a Tusker league going at the moment which I am nearly dead bottom of but never mind.

The last few days though I have been back in Eve and enjoying it like the old days, chasing shiny stuff out of sites and harassing the locals, feels good to be back.

We have the Amarr championships coming soon so standby to hear how that went on..

Everyone loves shiny kills


Our new home system is close to Eve Uni’s and we regularly have dust ups. I was sat in a plex yesterday in their system and shouted up in local if anyone would like a 1v1, I have had one before with them and the guy honoured it saying that was their policy.

One guy piped up so I told him what I was in (a comet) and so he brought a daredevil, ah well never mind I’ll give it a go I thought and clobbered him pretty hard, without doing any damage to me he hit the mwd and bailed claiming he had made a mistake.

“Have you got anything less scary” I was asked in local which is a bit rich from the guy who brought a daredevil to a comet but he proposed a merlin fight so I went off and fitted a terrible armour dual web rails version hoping he would bring blasters, he didn’t and I lost.

He proposed one more so thinking T1 frigs was the thing now I went and got a breacher, and just in case he brought something over the top I packed a pill. In warps a succubus. Bloody hell this guy has not much idea of a fair scrap here but ah well, lets go for it (pops pill). We hammered at each other and were pretty equal but I noticed he didn’t have a web and was repping huge chunks so figured it was an oversized repper. If I can outlast his charges I might win this – half way through local pops up with “I don’t suppose you want to spare my ship” which obviously went unanswered and finally with my mods all glowing hot he pops. I am thinking of shiny loot when his buddy in a hookbill warps in so I leave. It was only when I saw the killmail I realised I should just have killed the hookbill too.

I didn’t make a fuss and I’m not going to but claiming you have a corp policy of honouring 1v1s and then not respecting it is very low. He claimed the other guy was “only there for the loot” and then convoed me to pester me for my fit.

To be honest I have no idea if Uni do have such a policy, I know we do but we are very much a minority.

Either way it was a fun fight and I went off and blapped an Enyo in the same ship ten minutes later, while it was dying his mates turned up but luckily so did mine and we rinsed the entire gang.

It’s good being a pirate..

New player retention


The big flavour-of-the-month topic is new players and how to avoid them trying the game for a few weeks then giving up because it seems boring. This is a problem and is backed up by CCP’s own stats for the simple reason that the game is boring, EVE played alone with the slim content that the game provides is very limited and only gets interesting when you engage with other players; whether that be the traditional route of an overloaded rack of blasters or more subtle means such as markets, spying, and various collaborative efforts like mining. The stats bear this out, you are much more likely to stay on in the game if you find a corp to teach you all this stuff because quite frankly only a twisted savant could learn this game without help.

The various proposals on the table at the moment include increasing starting SP, removing attributes, and accelerated learning for newer players.

The first of those I think there is a solid case for, as a newb you are always trying to balance training those irritating core skills with getting a shiny new ship or T2 guns for it and for the first year or so you end up chasing your tail skills wise, if you haven’t made any enormous mistakes it levels out a bit after that and by 20M SP or so you should be able to fly a decent selection of ships well. This is not an insignificant period of time however and when you are new you don’t listen to the experienced guys saying “just get your frigate skills up” because you are convinced that HACs are the key to success.

Perhaps the extra SP needs to be unlocked somehow through the tutorials because I know if I were starting off now with a pile of free SP I would spam it all into something unsuitable and probably waste half of it. The old system had specialisation, you would pick a bit of history for your character and this would affect his skills, bringing back aspects of that but putting it into the tutorials so you could specialise into combat or mining or whatever might be worthwhile.

Removing attributes is a thorny one, CCP have said they are interested in this but the LP markets for implants are well established and many people depend on them for income, there is also a great deal of ISK tied up in these items so taking them out of the game would have far reaching consequences.

I don’t think that making all attributes equal is a forward step since you can do that already by allocating your points evenly amongst your stats so there would need to be a completely new system and something to go into the 1 to 5 slots in your head – perhaps some implants along the lines of the genolution sets which affect ship stats rather than learning?

Accelerated learning for new players already exists in the form of an implant which lasts (I think) one month and boosts your stats greatly for that duration, making more of these available through tutorials could be an option but another is giving more respecs to younger characters.

In the first few months your training will bounce around all over the place and the ability to respec once a month for instance would help a lot – of course this depends on grasping the concept of attributes and planning your skills a bit but this rewards those who have taken the time to learn rather than spoonfeeding the SP, this is EVE after all – we don’t want it to be too easy. The frequency of respecs could decrease over time and remain at one year for all the bittervets who don’t know what to train anyway.

Last of all and possibly most importantly, this game has always been driven by the players. Quit whining about what CCP can do to help newbs and leverage the most effective force in the game – the players.

If I come across a clueless newb in lowsec I will normally scram him and ask for a ransom, not ISK because he has none but a song, joke or haiku. This will often be the first time he has interacted with another player and it goes one of two ways. The most common response is “sod off” optionally followed by some threats of what the player will do to me, my mother, or my property. These guys get podded back to highsec and learn nothing.

Those that engage, find it cool and interesting when some dude appears out of nowhere and tackles them then demands they sing their national anthem on comms get loads of free advice, often ISK and of course fly their ship away in one piece. I have a watchlist of people that I have helped out and convo them occasionally to see how they are doing and stop doing so when they have joined a decent player corp – at that point hopefully someone else will be looking after them. Very occasionally if I meet a super keen guy, I’ll take him under my wing for a few hours and teach him slingshotting, dscan, and a few other tricks to help keep him in one piece.

Of course for every one player who is prepared to do this there are 99 who would prefer to explode or scam the poor guy but even if one percent of the active players did this once in a while we would definitely see the difference in the game.

In conclusion then, CCP have their part to play but every single player can arguably make more of a difference simply by giving a leg up to a random newbie every once in a while. Try it, you’ll make someone’s day.

AT first weekend highlights


Well the first weekend is over without any major surprises amongst the top teams, here are my highlights:

First of all Tuskers are through with a couple of solid 100 – nil wins which makes us all happy, our first match was comfortable but CVA are a solid team and we took it very seriously, coming out fine in the end.

Props to Pheobe for taking out Clockwork and then Brave to stay in the winners bracket, I know nothing about the team (and perhaps they drafted in some ringers) but I love the underdogs and will continue to cheer for them.

Shadow were the last match of the weekend and showed everyone how bombers should be used, we have faced that comp in practice and it is not much fun, you should definitely watch the replay of Shadow v NC.

I have to mention Bastards who despite losing the first one came back with a solid 100 – nil against Affirmative which cheered me up no end, they are a pretty low sp bunch and did well, their next match is not too tricky either so fingers crossed for them to push on a bit further.

Drop the Hammer was another entertaining match vs 404 and executed an MJD rush rather well to get in the face of their opponents and start melting shit at a good rate, again worth a watch on replay.

Tuskers have Warlords next so fingers crossed but Evebet has Warlords to win by about 2:1, might be worth putting some money on us as we don’t intend to roll over that easily..

AT time

I haven’t been playing much due to:

a) Boats and parties

b) AT practice

c) World of warships

Today however is D day with our first match which everyone is really pumped for, the main subject of conversation now is which tunes to play pre game and my top secret hype tune is the lego movie tune which is unbelievably sad but I just love it:)

Watch the stream here

Good luck and may the best men win.