NPC Triglavians 7 Me 1

The Orca pilot and his Bot like fleet of Covetors and the Miasmos pilots seem to be randomly and singularly logging in and out for short periods of time with enough regularity to notice them. I wonder if that is an automated process, or if the pilot behind them is actively organising them. I was not the only local who noticed them.

I was again undocked today collecting skill points, at a time I am generally not active in game. I had gone through a couple of my pilots when I noticed three Triglavian Recon ships appear on D-Scan. That seems to change the entire feel I normally have for Hi-Sec.

I do not specifically AFK play – but being married with children, I am regularly interrupted during my game sessions. I might have to turn away from my screen while someone is talking to me; or walk away for 30 seconds to see someone off at the door; or spend a couple minutes finding someone’s lost sporting gear. Those short moments were relatively safe to stay undocked in Hi-Sec. That is no longer the case.

So far, my encounters or attempted encounters with the Triglavians have come down to:

1 Random Belt Encounter – Had to run
2 Attempts to Engage using D-Scan – Failed
2 Attempts to Engage cycling through or waiting in Asteroid Belts – Failed
1 Attempt to Engage using Probes – Success but had to run
1 Attempt to Engage using Probes – Failed

That accounts for my 7 – 0 total in my last post. I was able to home in on the Rats using D-Scan and Probes, but they almost always had moved before I landed.

As my new post title suggests, I finally had some success today.

After seeing my Triglavian nemesis on D-Scan, I continued collecting my daily skill points on the next couple pilots. I took a lot of extra caution as I warped through the belts. When I got to the last pilot – again my main – I decided to use the Anti Triglavian Gnosis.

I collected my required kill – and with the Rats still on D-Scan, I simply sat in the belt and waited.

Shortly after they warped in. Two Recon Damavik and one Renewing Recon Damavik.

The battle was on.

Now I made two mistakes – I should have been using shorter range ammo (I had loaded longer range to snipe an NPC earlier), and I wasted almost 10 seconds not attacking the Renewing Recon first. It did not change the outcome – but it could have.

I would likely have max skills for my Gnosis fit. For this experiment I was using 5 Quad Light Beam Laser II’s and 5 Hammerhead II drones. I was doing approximately 376 Raw DPS (against 0 resistances), and 570 Raw DPS if I had the right crystals loaded.

The Gnosis was configured to have a buffer tank with mild repairing capabilities. It had 20,000 Raw Hit points (44,400 Effective), and repaired 47 Armor per second (113 Effective).

So my excuses aside, this is how it played out from my logs.

I aligned to station and started to lock the Triglavians.

At 0 seconds they started to apply damage to me.

At 8 seconds my Lasers started to apply damage to them.

At 30 seconds my Drones started to land damage. I had taken a total of 4,476 Damage by the time I was applying full damage.

At 1 minute and 50 seconds I killed the first Renewing Recon. I had taken 12,538 points of damage and dealt 5,127.

At 3 minutes and 3 seconds I had killed the second Recon. I had taken 19,403 Damage and dealt 9,585 points.

At 3 minutes and 37 seconds I had killed the third and final Recon. I had taken a total of 21,491 Damage and dealt 13,968 points.

I had dropped to around 20% armor with my repairer not able to keep on top of the damage from even just one rat.  At around that point I overheated the repairer to see if that would hold against the damage. It was borderline.

Without any repairing – I would have had to of warped out or died. They did more raw damage than I had total raw hit points.

You get no loot, no bounty and I suspect from the lack of messages, no standing change. I did salvage the 3 frigates which the client suggested was worth 8M ISK

Good money for Hi-Sec, although I presume the value will quickly drop.

As I salvaged the wrecks, I hit D-Scan, and 4 new Recon Triglavians were shown. These things seem to be there always.

My Gnosis fit is gimped by fitting the Expanded Probe Launcher. Taking lessons from this encounter I will be changing it and trying again.  I need too. Against 4 or 5 Recon frigates, my Gnosis fit would have failed.  I need more of everything – DPS, Buffer and Repairing.  Given the Probe Launcher doesn’t appear effective, I will have to look at all the hull options across the Battlecruiser Range.  I am also going to have to tank for and do damage specific to those Rats.  I had read it was best to apply and tank Thermal and Explosive – I will have to double check that.

Once I get the right balance between tank and DPS I would be able to farm these relatively safely. But..

I am seeing and hearing some dismissive comments about how dangerous these things are.

I think those damage figures from 3 Hi-Sec frigates is scary.

To me they truly change the nature of Hi-Sec. If they remain as is – they would be close to insurmountable to younger casual players, and they likely make belt mining for those same players unsustainable.  You would certainly have to really consider if you used a Covetor or Retriever.  If they are visiting a POCO – then that too might be too risky without access to a Deep Space Transport.

It is not even like people can band together in local and clear them out. They are back instantly.

That might be another change to consider with them.  If you clear the fleet, give the system an hour of peace (+/- a random amount) before they spawn again.

Now you can just stay out of belts.  You can find asteroids to mine in Missions and Anomalies.  You can run Anomalies or missions instead of ratting in belts.  You can make sure your PI ship turns and warps quick and has a bit of a tank, and only ever sit on a POCO for a few moments to load and unload.  You can band together with multiple new friends and go (carefully) farm them.  There are options – but if you are encountering these things in Hi-Sec belts, they will likely have impacted the game you were used to playing.

Chaos indeed.

Edit… I should have paid more attention to the logs.  The Triglavians were hitting me with an unspecified weapon (I presume Entropic Disintegrators) and Majorana Light Missile’s.  The Disintegrators do Explosive and Thermal damage, the Missiles do EM and Kinetic Damage.  You can’t leave a hole in your resistance..

 

NPC Triglavians 7 Me 0

In part two of my Roaming Triglavian Frigate hunt I spent time in Pyfa coming up with a Gnosis fit to probe them down. The fit centred around the very resource costly Expanded Probe Launcher, and the result was not something I was terribly happy with.

Still, I had something I thought was at least worth testing, so I set my destination to Jita 4-4 (where I had a bunch of Gnosis). When I undocked to start my journey, I found a gaggle of ships milling about outside the station – 5 Covetors, a Miasmos (an Ore Carrying Industrial) and an Orca.

A quick glance at them showed all but the Orca pilot were 6 hours old and in NPC corporations. The Orca pilot was 50 days old, having spent time in a couple Corporations in the same Chinese Alliance, but was now also in an NPC Corp. All had very non-descript names (although one had a mis-matched name to their gender), with the 6-hour old pilots ships all called 666 or 6666.

Someone had spent a bit of ISK there.

I watched them warp off in an oddly regimented way one after another and flagged them as contacts.

Maybe an hour later I returned from Jita, and immediately put my Gnosis into use, launching Combat Probes. There were my now 7-hour old friends together in a belt, and 3 NPCs on scan.

The system is large, but I would get the general area the NPCs were in with a 16AU scan, close in with a 4 AU scan, and sometimes get to a 1 AU scan and an 80% hit before they would move again. Their description would change from NPC to Invading Precursor Entities to Roaming Triglavians the stronger my hits got. I never got a 100% hit before they would move – which they were doing constantly and quickly. I had to give up.

I wondered how my mining friends would go against them, so I docked up and swapped to a Cloaky ship. A couple cycles of D-Scan and I had the belt they were in and I warped over to them.

I watched them for quite some time while they strip mined a couple belts. The Orca sat at 0 on the warp in using command bursts. The Covetors spread out in a fan pattern from the Orca in each belt. In one belt they all dropped cans at exactly the same time which they mined into. The Miasmos would tractor beam in about half the cans before warping back to the station, dock, undock, slow to 0, then warp back to the belt. It did this constantly without interruption the entire time I watched.

Each time an NPC flew into the Belt the Orca would deploy drones, and half the Covetors closest to the NPC would do the same. This swam of drones would make mince meat of the NPCs, including the three Roaming Triglavians. The drones would then all be recalled at the same time.

It seems the Roaming Triglavians might only be a hassle to the solo or very inattentive pilots.

As Asteroids were exhausted the Covetors would seemingly pause before new cycles would start in clumps all together. As each Covetor ran out of rocks to chew it sat idle until the other Covetors cleared every last asteroid. The fleet then moved one at a time in its regimented way and started on the next belt. This time the cans were jettisoned in a staggered pattern but seemed to occur as soon as their can timer had run down.

After watching them over a couple of hours I felt confident enough it wasn’t just some diligent Chinese person running 7 clients with macro keys. Human players always get distracted and would not be able to maintain the same pattern of moves for so long. Human players also need to be more linear – they can’t manage to action so many commands on so many clients all at the same time.

My Roaming Triglavian hunt was another fail, but I did end up reporting all but the Orca (which I couldn’t be sure on) as possible Bots. I don’t think I’ve done that for a long time – both report Bots, or seen a fleet like that operating in my area of Hi-Sec.

I wonder if other people who report bots spend so much time watching them to ensure they more likely than not get the report right?

After a 7-hour sleep break I returned to try to hunt down those pesky Triglavians again. This time there were 5 of them on D-Scan. The probing again failed to pinpoint them before they moved on; sitting in a belt waiting for them failed to have them turn up; warping through every belt failed to happen across them. Are they reacting to the Gnosis on scan?

Interestingly I noticed only 3 of the 16 belts had been stripped in the system, with a 4th belt half stripped and full of 21 cans floating in space. These were owned by my various now 15-hour old friends.

Looking at Dotlan it showed 9 ship kills in the previous few hours. This is unheard of in my home system. Only one of them showed up on zkillboard. A pilot I recognised as a regular local had killed and podded the Miasmos pilot.

During my morning play session I had noticed the Orca pilot logging in and out of the system, some of the other pilots moving about in pods, and another local keep going suspect.

Had the locals been far more productive in dissuading the mining fleet from making themselves at home?

I noted the fleet of now 5 roaming Triglavians included a logistics ship. Maybe they had managed to kill lots of the Covetors after all?

Either the local had managed to get the Miasmos pilot to go suspect (by can swapping) or had nabbed him after he went suspect opening can’s from Covetor pilots no longer in fleet.

I guess I could have just asked – but that would not be very hermit like, and the truth might not have been that interesting.

Unexpected Challenge 2

The most recent monthly EVE patch had this innocuous little comment:

. Triglavian Recon vessels have been sighted outside of Invasion zones

I ran across them for the first-time last night.

I had completed the Kills for Skills event for 5 of the 6 pilots I was cycling through. I was on the last pilot – Elmis, who is my main. He had to kill 5 Rats for 25,000 skill points. With no Cosmic Anomalies in system I was just warping from belt to belt in my Kikimora (the Triglavian Destroyer).

I really do like the Kikimora. It is a fun ship to fly. I am still using the fit I posted here a while back – with 7K EHP, 84 EHP/s active armor tank, and doing 270 – 675 DPS.

I landed in one belt and saw 5 NPC rats nearby, a mix of Recon Damavik, Blinding Recon Damavik and Starving Recon Damavik. Knowing a Damavik can hit hard, I immediately aligned to my home station.

I have deliberately not killed a Triglavian up until this point. I had been wondered if standings made a difference. If you did not kill them, would they leave you alone? The Triglavian Recon ships immediately locked me up and started shooting. That answered that question.

I locked one of the Rats – but my shields were immediately wiped. I started to fire but I was quickly halfway through armor and it was obvious my overheated repairer wasn’t going to come close to mitigating the incoming damage. I warped out as my Armor disappeared, not having killed any of the NPCs.

Any slight delay and I would have lost my 170M ISK Kikimora. That seemed unexpectedly nasty for Hi-Sec.

I docked and quickly looked over what ships I had in station. I didn’t really have anything especially tanky – I’m in Hi-Sec after all, so I settled on using my Cerberus, a Heavy Assault Cruiser. This has 34K EHP, a 240 EHP/s active shield tank, and does 450 DPS.

I warped back to the same belt at distance, but the Triglavians had moved on. I warped to 50km from belt to belt but did not see them again. I did manage to kill off my required 5 NPCs for my skill points.

I mentioned the brutality of the encounter in one of the chat channels I frequent. I was told you could see these NPCs on the direction scanner or probe them down, and that they moved through belts and to POCO. So, I set about using D-Scan to hunt them.

I’m no expert, but I was able to setup an appropriate filter and 5-degree scan and pinpoint the Triglavians across the 16 belts and 9 POCO in system, but whenever I warped in, they would be gone. I am not sure if they were just moving too quickly, or if they were in fact sometimes in random spots in space.

I docked up and grabbed my Stratios. This was the only ship I had at hand which carried combat probes. I offlined the Salvager and Analyzers to squeeze the Expanded Probe Launcher on and undocked. I soon had a hit and warped in at a distance. They were back in the original belt.

My Stratios had 21K EHPS, a 155 EHP/s active shield tank, and does 450 DPS. The Triglavians immediately locked me up and started to fire. I aligned to station, deployed drones and started shooting. Once again it quickly became obvious this ship would not be able to tank the incoming damage, so I had to recall drones and warp out, again damaged into Armor, and again not killing any of them.

I ended up grabbing my Nestor and undocking. I had the same issue however that I had with the Cerberus – I just couldn’t catch up with them using D-Scan.

So, NPC Triglavians 4, me 0.

I am going to have to set up some new hull specifically for killing these – probably a Battle Cruiser. A Probe using Gnosis is my immediate thought.

Now – this is all interesting and chaotic and has given me something new and a bit of a challenge to try. I will have to find a suitable ship to kill them with and will have to be extra careful in aligning my Mining ships.

However – just what is CCP thinking?

I have 100B ISK in the bank, a fleet of ships, and 277M SP to play around with. These are surprisingly dangerous but overall add something positive to my game.

During this Kills for Skills event I have been piloting low SP alts with PVE Frigates and Destroyers. The pilots are lucky to have rank 2 or 3 in the various skills, and while properly fitted, their ships are cheap and devoid of T2 modules.

Killing a Hi-Sec rat is a very different ball game with them. Two can’t use anything but the easiest combat anomaly to collect their kills as they can’t safely tackle NPC Destroyers.

These Recon fleets will rip those pilots to shreds, plausibly even if they are aligned to warp out but need to build up speed. An almost unavoidable loss to a random NPC does not sound like fun, especially if your bank balance is tiny.

A newer player paying attention, aligned and clear of obstacles should be able to get a Retriever or Covetor out of a belt safely, but Frigates and Destroyers and some Haulers could be killed even if the player was ready to flee. Have anything go wrong, bump into an object, one mis-click, and their hull could be lost.

Like I remarked in a recent comment – I really don’t mind the concepts behind most of CCP’s recent changes. This one makes the game more interesting for me. I can also see how these roaming fleets will punish those who are AFK mining. I just don’t think they have been executed as well as they need too be.

I believe you can come across between 1 and 5 of these Recons, so I was probably a little unlucky. Maybe CCP needs to give these Recon NPCs a delay before they start shooting? Let them maneuver but wait 10 seconds before they start applying damage. That might give an attentive newer player enough time to almost always avoid death – even if they warp into the group in a belt and have to turn around and warp out again. If the player attacks, or maybe even locks them, any remaining time is removed, and the Triglavians open fire straight away.

I’m not saying that is a workable solution – I did not put much thought into it. I just think this new mechanism could be no fun at all for a group of Hi-Sec players, and with some smart adjustments, that could be alleviated.

Of course this might be all deliberate.  CCP has the belief if they can just get their players used to unavoidable loss, they will become long term paying customers.

I don’t know.  I do know I seem to be constantly complaining of late..

Unexpected Challenge 1

EVE does not always need to be about the big things.

The other day I noticed a Limited Mining Expedition site in local. This is the smallest of the Resource War sites. Resource Wars are time limited Co-op PVE sites that require a mix of Mining and killing NPCs.

https://support.eveonline.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005389709-Resource-Wars

I have never really looked at these things closely before. CCP touted them as a way to bring new players together and encourage them to move into Co-Op play. The execution of the idea seemed dimwitted and early feedback was that the rewards were (really) not worth the effort. As such I had always ignored them.

On this day I had just finished killing an NPC for Skill points using my least trained Alt. I had some time to spare, so I thought I might give the site a go with that pilot.

Up until recently the Alt had only been able to fly a Covert Ops and somewhat use probes. It was one of my scouts. When the Kill for Skills event started, I had scrounged around and using some of their unallocated SP, managed to get them into a Tristian with some rudimentary drone skills. That had been working OK for getting my 1 to 10 NPC kills each day in Hi-Sec.

Now I put together a Venture fit, burning through most of the Alt’s remaining unallocated SP. They could fit Miner II’s, but that was about it. This diversion and shopping trip consumed 40 minutes or so.

The premise of the site is easy enough. You need to mine a specialised ore and place it into a nearby NPC hauler while fighting / killing off NPCs.

It would be fair to describe the first attempt to run the site as an abject failure.

On warping in I found I had forgotten to load combat drones – so I had to immediately warp out which cost me a couple of minutes of the sites 10-minute window.

I then wasted the first couple mining cycles in a less than optimum way as I hadn’t realised each asteroid only took 30 seconds for one Miner II to clear. Even after all of this, it looked like I would still be able to get the Ore in time.

The NPCs in the site however were hitting hard and my Alt wasn’t able to speed tank them. I thought if I could just kill off one of the NPCs I might be OK, but for some reason my drones kept dropping agro and I wasn’t noticing straight away.

It was neck and neck – would I lose my Venture or kill that NPC? In the end I had to warp out with barely a sliver of structure left, leaving my T1 drones behind. The Ore disappeared from my hold and the site despawned.

Feeling somewhat challenged I thought I would try again. CCP’s support page said you could find the Resource War Sites via the Agency, but I looked through it and that no longer seemed to be the case. I checked some of the nearby systems, but they were empty of the sites. I have since kept an eye on local, but none have popped up since.  Always the way.

Hopefully I will be more successful the second time around.

Stuttering

The deluge of Cyno nerf related commentary continues.

I wonder what CCP sees in the feedback.

Do they just see the happy people – an echo chamber reinforcing their own biases?

Do they just see the unhappy people – is it a worry or just a bunch of whiners?

Do they find the very rare thoughtful comment and consider modifying their plans?

Or do they just see the Chaos they feel is so important?

I see toxicity.

I’ve remarked before that if CCP’s changes are polarizing – with those very much for or very much against, then CCP have probably got it wrong. Their best changes are those that leave no one particularly happy, and everyone looking at the multiple choices they have in how best to adjust.

In this case we have some very happy players – and in amongst those seem to be plenty who go out of their way to goad, troll and enrage other players to quit the game. The comments across blogs, forums and social media are full of them. Emboldened, and seemingly supported by CCP’s communication strategies.

As I said – toxic.

One of the things I was working on recently was to again own Capital ships. I thought I might try to take down a low sec custom office with a Dread or try again to set up a base in Low Sec and use a Carrier to move ships and supplies in and out.

This was an option available to me as a solo player that I’ve made use of many times before.

The new requirement to use a 200M+ Ship to open a 10-minute Cyno is effectively out of my budget. I only play casually and currently would not make enough ISK in a month to replace one Cyno ship loss.

CCP seems to really be disconnected from all the different sorts of players it has and their average incomes.

One of the things I completed today towards my goal of trying to get out of High Sec more was a PC Hardware upgrade. It was in the works before learning about the Cyno changes. The issue I have which keeps me out of dangerous space is a long black screen I get when undocking from stations. It leaves me visible, lockable and attackable for 10+ seconds before I see anything on my screen.

In addition, over this year various Windows and EVE Client Updates seem to have perceivably degraded the performance while running two EVE Clients at the same time, with the unfocused client often stuttering.

I would need a solution to both before advancing my plans.

The PC is heading towards two years old but is still a reasonable spec with an i7-8700K CPU and 32Gb RAM. The CPU is a 6 core 8th gen running at 3.7GHz (turbo to 4.7Ghz). The OS and EVE clients run off an M.2 drive and everything else off SDD’s.

The slowest component were the dual GTX 1060 6GB Graphic Cards. They were getting on a little, but were still well above CCP’s minimum system requirements, and equal to their recommended configuration. They did seem the logical area to update.

So today I swapped one of my GTX 1060 for an RTX 2060 SUPER. I plugged my two 4K monitors that I run my EVE clients on into the new card, and it stopped all the stuttering and related performance issues I was getting.

It did not however help the black screen undock in the slightest.

I also went to Display Port connections on all 4 of my screens. Windows 10 still doesn’t like mixed resolutions (2x4K, 2xFHD), but it was made worse when my screens sometimes came online in different order. I’m hoping this will be a little better now.

So I continue to amuse myself, while trying to ignore the growing doubt that CCP is getting all this Chaos right.

How blinkered will CCP’s Chaos be?

The next Chaos related change (coming in September) has been announced. The standard Cynosural Field Generators are being restricted to Force Recon Ships (the ones that use Covert Ops Cloaks and are harder to tank) and Black Ops Battleships.

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/chaos-era-continues-cyno-update/182197

Cynos were called an oppressive activity with limited options to disrupt.

Considering the obvious impact to logistics, to offset this change CCP will allow Jump Freighters to use Covert Cynos. These can be fitted to cheaper hulls, such as the Prospect, Stealth Bombers and Covert Ops.

Oddly each time CCP has talked about Chaos, they have proposed changes which please the very same sort of players, are most easily circumvented or moderated by the largest and most organised in game and seem to be the most negatively impactful on the solo and smaller groups of players who prefer being self-sufficient.

You would assume this change is about disrupting the capital umbrellas the Superpowers can wield. Catch a Rorqual in a belt? It won’t be able to light a Cyno by itself and call in the cavalry. More kills for the unsated. Having fun in a battle? It won’t be as easy for a side to safely escalate with more Capitals. All good – except the larger groups and richer players will be able to adjust and get around this imposition. It might even result in less fights, as it seems to help the more organised defender.

A (cynical) bonus for CCP is that it means players will need to invest more time and ISK into their Cyno chain.

I have used Capitals in Null Sec, NPC Space, and Low Sec – primarily to move ships and supplies in and out of areas. I have done this mostly solo. It means I have been able to live and operate in quiet areas of dangerous space that I might not have been able to if needing to rely on moving those supplies though choke pointed gates or waiting for suitable wormholes to open. This sort of logistics is much more dangerous for the solo player as we usually don’t have access to Intel channels or friends nearby. I can still do the same now – but it will be at the high risk of Hundreds of Millions of ISK every time I try.

Ironically this change is oppressive for my game style with limited options for me to counter it.

How many interesting things could they have done here – instead of or in conjunction with their change?

. Have a cyno module that has a much shorter cycle – 1 or 2 minutes, but that only allows one ship to jump through?

. If you jump through a cyno, have a session change timer that stops you opening a cyno of your own for 5 minutes or more.

. Require Cyno ships to use fuel to open the cyno, and then additional fuel for each ship that jumps through.

. Adjust the time a Cyno ship is locked in space based on the number and / or size of ships that pass through, and / or the longest distance the jumping ships have travelled from.

If I have to risk so much ISK every time I open a Cyno to jump my Solo Carrier or Dread through, give me options CCP.  Give me something that is not predictable.

Hunting for skill points

Skilling

I have been playing Kills for Skills each day on 6 of my 7 pilots.  It works OK if there is an anomaly I can cycle each of my pilots through, otherwise it can be annoying trying to find enough NPC’s in the asteroid belts.  On a small number of occasions I’ve done something more during a session and extended my time in game thanks to being logged on anyway.

On July 17 I mentioned I had started training Fighters V – a 44 day process.  Between all the skill point handouts, I completed that training on August 7th, a saving of 21 days.  I am now working on Tactical Logistics Reconfiguration V, a 33 day skill.

A Porpoise and Retriever working together