The Defense of Phoenix

On 12 February, The Bastards alliance declared war on our alliance, A Band Apart. Initially, the the focus of the war seemed to be Stay Frosty’s base in Ishomilken, but on 8 March they invaded our home in wormhole space. This is a collection of thoughts from my perspective as a director in SUPREME MATHEMATICS and a participant in the war.

The war declaration was a bit of a head-scratcher for many in the alliance, since The Bastards and Stay Frosty shoot each other all the time without the benefit of a declared war. As such, the rest of the alliance took it as an invitation to descend on the area, spend some time fighting each other around The Bastards’ home, and have some fun. I originally planned on joining in this lowsec segment of the war, but was never able to make the in-game time to do so. Reportedly, the enemy turnout was fairly disappointing and the alliance members did not stay long in the area.

A few weeks later, while doing my usual evening activities out of game, I had a few minutes to check our alliance Slack and found out that Bastard scouts had been spotted in Phoenix. I then began keeping a closer tab on events, and soon the report came in that a tower had been put up. In w-space, an uninvited tower in your home system can mean only one thing: intent to evict.

From that point, I found it hard to focus on out of game responsibilities, and began constantly checking Slack for more updates. As an alliance we’ve endured two previous eviction attempts: one successful and a second one unsuccessful. I was determined that we’d respond better to this one than we had in the past. To be clear, I have full confidence that had we been removed, we’d be set up in a new home in short order. But, it would have entailed a defeat, a setback and a fair bit of annoyance. We might have lost some members and others may have become hyper-paranoid.

Soon, my amazing wife took over the remaining household duties so I could log in and help in whatever way I could. A fleet had been formed and, to my surprise, we were using another alliance’s Teamspeak, led by an FC who I wasn’t familiar with. I quickly acquired a sense of comfort with this FC, though, because he clearly knew what he was doing. As it turned out, the enemy left the field before any fleet fight could took place, but we did put their staging tower into reinforced mode.

I later found out that the allied fleet was present because one of our members asked some friends in their previous corporation for some advice on how to respond to the scouts. These friends of our member happened to have some time available and immediately asked if we would like some help. Now, when there is an existential threat to your corporation’s home system, as this was, there is no reason not to pull the gloves off and use whatever means you have available to defend your turf. The idea that someone would deliberately pull punches to give an enemy a fair and even chance at sending your wormhole corporations back to highsec, short a few billion in assets, just to entertain the aggressor and give good fights, is ludicrous. So of course we accepted the help.

With the lack of enemy action on this first night, we started to move high value and nonessential items out to k-space. During this op, I had plenty of time to think on the situation. The invasion represented a pretty hefty escalation in the war. Up till now it had appeared to be about good fights, but invading someone’s w-space system with intent to evict is not in the same class. It involves a fair amount of structure grinding and other, not exactly fun, activities. It also involves a pretty specialized set of skills, such as scouting and hole control/rolling that are not much like lowsec PvP at all. It involves a high level of commitment that people undertake for one of two reasons: the challenge of coordinating the operation and succeeding, or good old-fashioned Eve hate.

[Sidebar: to be clear, by “Eve hate” I mean two entities who really, personally, don’t like each other in game. No one has ever, as far as I know, taken it out of game, though they might not necessarily choose to have a beer with someone on the other side.]

I was involved in the BoB vs. Goons conflict, the so-called Second Great War, which ended with a BoB sov drop and Goon victory in Delve. That war, and the run-up to it, aided by the very different cultures between those two entities and a history of forum and in-game chest beating, created bona fide Eve hate. Now, hate is bad, kids, don’t hate. But Eve hate is one of those things that makes Eve unique. It’s fairly rare in gaming to find a context in which two entities can both have a real rivalry and have the means to take or destroy the other side’s things and push them out of their geographic (or astrographic) area. While not pleasant to undergo, it does give the player a sense of real and tangible threat without having to go through a real life crisis.

It did not seem likely that The Bastards had suddenly decided to become a wormhole eviction entity, so – assuming they even understood what they were undertaking – this seemed motivated by good old Eve hate. There had been some Twitter sparring during the lowsec phase of the war that culminated in some RL insults. An apology was later given, but the original version was barely an apology. So there did seem to be some evidence for this explanation of the escalation they’d undertaken.

In any event, the timer for the tower we reinforced was set to end two days later. It so happened that I had already planned to work from home that day, and my work schedule is flexible such that I can occasionally be unavailable for an hour or two during a work day. So I planned to be there.

On the day the tower exited reinforced, our allies were on hand. When I logged on they were carefully rolling holes and establishing hole control. No significant numbers of enemies were seemingly around, so we started shooting the tower. We had a scout in the one wormhole that remained open. We had just got the tower into structure, when the scout said, “Ummm… there is a big fleet here.. a really big fleet. Ishtars, about thirty of them. Fuck. It’s Shadow Cartel.”

This scout no doubt saved our bacon, as while we had similar numbers, they had Ishtars and lots of them and were very familiar with their use. We scooted back into friendly tower shields to regroup and decide how to counter them. It was then that I really understood the reality of “Ishtars Online” as the enemy fleet warped up to our tower, began moving laterally, and pooped out a swarm of sentry drones that literally blotted out the sun.

By now a quick survey in fleet was showing that a lot of people had bombers available, so we decided to try to whittle down their sentry numbers to see if we could weaken them enough to gain an advantage. I reshipped to a bomber and after some setup, we started our bombing runs. We apparently bagged a good number of drones (over 100) on the first run, but shortly after they began to get smarter about pulling their drones back in. We managed to get a few kills, but Shadow Cartel and the 2-3 Bastards present retained their ability to hold a grid, which despite our bomb runs, we were not quite able to do. This implied that they would be able to control the wormholes out and resupply as needed, while we, on the other hand, were severely limited in ability to reship, since we had more than one alliance and only ABA’s now-reduced cache of ships and fittings. Another factor was that the FC believed (and it turned out he was right) that Shadow Cartel had no interest in burning us out of our system, but rather was just there for fights. So, we exchanged gf’s in local and logged off or left, as each person could manage.

The rest of the day saw a few ships shoot our main tower but only incapacitate a few guns. I logged off until my usual late night time, whereupon we gathered up a fleet big enough to go finish off the tower we had started earlier in the day. We didn’t, however, have enough firepower to reinforce the second tower the enemy had set up after we reinforced their first one, so we fell back to repping ours.

From the next day on, things proceeded pretty quickly. We had some negotiations on and off with The Bastards. On our side, if we could secure the system without fighting, it obviously removed a certain amount of risk. On their side, they risked an embarrassing defeat if they couldn’t repeat the trick of bringing Shadow Cartel or another elite PvP group along. Even if we didn’t have allied support, ABA is large relative to The Bastards, so we had a good chance of gaining the advantage in this scenario. We had shipped out most of our high-isk items early in the war, so we were ready to fight till the bitter end, and if it came to an eviction, we’d take the lump and re-establish. But, of course, avoiding that outcome would be best for us.

As a result of the negotiations, we struck an agreement to sacrifice our main tower (stripped of anything of value, of course) so that The Bastards could gain a killboard victory. In exchange, they would tear down and leave system and end the war. This went according to plan and the war is now over.

An AAR from their side is posted on their blog, but I don’t know exactly how to take it. It seems to equivocate between the invasion being serious business and being just for the fights. It seems to take mild offense that we would involve allies, but as I mentioned, eviction threats are valid justification to use whatever means are available. But it does say some good things about our alliance – both about particular people and also grudging acknowledgement of our tactics. So overall it’s not an unfair assessment. Also, the tone is not entirely consistent with the Eve hate hypothesis, so I’m no longer sure that’s the case either.

For my part, I feel like we gained some valuable experience and a reality check, and lost a few assets and a battle or two. Overall it was not without positives, but not something I’d like to make a regular occurrence, at least in our own backyard.

That time the Falcon saved my Stratios

This is a story from days past, where one of my corpmates saved my ass, so that we could be serenaded in local with the sounds of nullbear tears. Hope you all enjoy – Sanders.


The night started quietly, with just a few of us on. The chain was quiet, and Doug wanted to go huff some gas. Everyone agreed it sounded like a good time, so we shipped up in Ventures and headed to our static C3, where there was a plethora of gas sites.

We ninja huff our way through all the sites, then once the Sleepers spawn in all the sites, we swing back by the tower, change into combat ships, and wipe them out. Easy op so far.

It was about the time we got back with the Ventures that our scout the next hole down the chain reported a Stratios on scan, and about ten minutes later he reported it had jumped through into the C3.

It is decided that we are going to spring a trap on the Stratios. We quickly had the guys in our Venture fleet who could fly cloaky combat ships go reship into them, leaving three Ventures in the gas site to act as bait. We got a handful of cloakies in, and then we waited.

After about fifteen minutes, our Ventures started to report they were almost full of gas, so we decided to escalate the bait even more. We had one of our freshly logged-on members grab an Epithal (or whatever the ore hauler is) and bait fit it (stabs and shield buffer), and warp into the gas site to pick up the gas.

That did the trick. As soon as he arrived and started tractoring in the first can, the Stratios decloaked and tried to point him. The fight was on. We decloaked our fleet.

The good news was that the Epithal was stabbed out enough to avoid getting pointed, and he got away. The bad news was that the Stratios was really on the ball, and managed to burn away and dive back down the chain. Real exciting thirty seconds, but no killmail.

We continue our huffing op, and after another fifteen minutes or so our scout shouts that the Stratios guy was back. Our cloakies are still waiting, and sure enough the Stratios decloaks just as our scout starts shouting about a fleet from the same corp landing on the hole.

I decide to go for the Stratios and try to burn him down before his fleet could land, but again he burns out faster than I can chase him, and I warp off, leaving my drones behind. His fleet lands on grid just as I warp off, and after a minute one of our cloakies still in-site reports they warped back to the hole. Our other scouts says they jumped off the back side and away.

Naturally, I don’t want to leave my drones here, so I warp back to the site cloaked (at zero, that’s important later), find the Stratios is still there, but 150km out. I decloak, reconnect to my drones, and recall them to the drone bay. While they are burning back to me, the Stratios starts moving, and all of a sudden he’s on top of me and I’m webbed and scrammed. Word comes down that the enemy fleet has reappeared on DScan.

I’m pretty screwed right now, then all of a sudden a Falcon decloaks on grid – Trekan Kion, a friendly! Suddenly I’m not webbed or scrammed, and I turn and warp off to the wormhole home, just as (once again) the enemy fleet lands on grid. I jump and get back to the POS with no issues, and thirty seconds later the Falcon landed back at the POS too. Perfect extraction.

Fast-forward five minutes. Our scout on the wormhole reports a bunch of hole fires and the enemy fleet decloaks. They provide massive entertainment by filling local with such butthurt as we’ve rarely seen.

Massive props to Trekan for scouting with the best EWAR platform in the game, and I still owe him a ship or a save because of it.

AAR: The Defense of Vengeance

This post is a direct pull from our forums for an operation that we ran a while ago in defense of Voodoo Children, another corporation in ABA. It has been edited for /opsec/ and entertainment value. Be prepared, as it is written in the first person by myself.

The Defense of Vengeance

I logged onto EVE and Teamspeak, and was informed that a something was “happening status: its” in the VDC (Voodoo Children, a sister corporation in A Band Apart) wormhole. Steel Society corporation had anchored a Caldari Control Tower, and were in the process of fuelling it up. (By the way, we haven’t heard if VDC have a name for their wormhole, so SM.RB has taken the liberty of naming it “Vengeance” until such time as VDC corrects us)

Freyers, VDC’s recently appointed Wormhole Director, had already begun forming a home defense fleet and had people from every corp in the Alliance en route to their hi-sec static when I got on. I immediately dove out of the wormhole and started burning that way. By the time I got there, we had about 30 people in various ships, ranging from T3s to Destroyers, but mostly Tier 3 Battlecruisers (Oracles and Taloses), in various stages of the trip to staging. At this point, our most excellent [VDC FC] asked to hand command to someone with experience in wormhole operations, and I volunteered to lead the op. ({sarcasm} After all, my extensive experience with POS bashing up to this point (see: 1 small POS and 1 aborted attack during The Winfield War) made me the natural choice for the position {/sarcasm})

While we waited, some intel was gathered on what was going on with Steel Society. It turns out that they had been deploying the POS with a Tayra that was guarded with a single Thorax. After the first run to deploy the stick and a bit of fuel, they had gotten hit and podded by Awakened Ones, which was why they were not trying to get anything else into the hole ( and, it gave us enough time to assemble and smash.

After a majority of our fleet had assembled, we rolled out and warped to the enemy POS. The shields started at 80% as they hadn’t yet fully charged. Bash ensues. Everyone applies DPS, shields go down. Essentially nothing happens. We start a betting pool based on whether they stronted the tower or not; 5 million ISK each, to keep it sweet.

After a while, I decide to convo the CEO of Steel Society to see if he wants to ransom the tower. After a truly hilarious conversation where I simultaneously try to extort, stall, blackmail, and legitimately try to help the guy, all while alternating between the first person and third person perspectives so I could appear to be the good guy all while actually being the bad guy, it eventually comes to nothing as Steel Society “doesn’t negotiate with terrorists” or some such. The conversation eventually ends when the tower goes into RF for a measly twelve hours, and the op ends. [somehow, exactly half of the bets had been “stronted” and half “not”]

After a lot of people have departed, either by logging off in the POS or by returning to hisec, a Tengu from Awakened Ones was spotted in local in the hisec, and we jump him as he enters the hole (we can only assume he is looking for more Steel Society pilots. We drive him off and I need to log, so I do as the remaining pilots proceed to roll the hole to make sure no one else from Steel Society or Awakened Ones can get in.

The next morning, I get up and go to work, and after a while I check the KB and the SM.RB contingent who had stayed in the hole after rolling it (with assistance from two SF pilots and one person who I do not know from “Merry dancers in the sky” popped the POS. Op success, danger passed, Op Success.

The next day I log in, still in Vengeance in my scanner-less Talos, and ask for a way out. The hole that I was pointed to had collapsed and the VDC guy who had tried to help me out couldn’t scan the new one, so I decided to wait. I tabbed out and started doing ‘something important’ until alarms started screaming from my EVE client – as usual, I had accidentally started my ship slowboating away, and had gone straight out of the bubble.

I find the loss absolutely hilarious, but the VDC guys were apparently mortified, as four separate guys from VDC sent me the ISK value of my lossmail (I returned all, because I done goofed most entertainingly). I pod myself out and tell them to export my corpse and contract it back to me when they get a chance. Can’t let Sanders Schmittlaub’s Frozen Corpses become a common thing. Word on the street is that the corpse had despawned before anyone got to it, but based on idle chat and forum bidding, it may have quietly been sold for close to 50 million ISK by whoever grabbed it.

CSM Minutes

The minutes of the CSM’s winter summit have been released (already). All four are linked below.

Of special interest is day two, which contains the wormhole discussions. The whole thing is worth a read for dedicated wormholers, but the highlights are:

  • Activity is up since Hyperion, both jumps and kills – NPC and player
  • Wormholes closing due to maximum mass has decreased. I would interpret this as the feasibility of rage-rolling being decreased since the Hyperion changes. Presumably this is what CCP wanted though it remains controversial. In SM.RB we don’t do a lot of rolling holes, and what we do is defensive (not rage-rolling for content) at this point. So it doesn’t affect us very much one way or the other.
  • Assembling T3 cruisers in wormholes (i.e. in a POS) was discussed but it’s not immediately on the table
  • “When asked about the storyline, all CCP Fozzie would say is there is more to come.” My interpretation is that there may be more incremental changes for wormholes, in the same vein as adding Thera and the shattered wormholes. I’ll be interested to see if it’s as “big” or just some small stuff.

Overall it seems like good news for wormholes, especially now that we have a sort-of oblique peek at the numbers that CCP Fozzie mentioned that he had gathered after Hyperion, but did not release publically. These numbers would be the final judgment whether the Hyperion changes were healthy, and it seems like the answer, at least so far, is yes.


A Podcast Apart, Episode 1

A Band Apart now has a podcast, A Podcast Apart. It will include different people from around the alliance each episode, talking about their particular focus area in New Eden. The first episode is now available.

Well here it is, the Podcast we’ve all been waiting for. This episode we talk about A Band Apart Alliance and its corporations, the New Player Experience, some lore stuff, the new release cycle, the New Eden Trailer competition, then conclude with story time!
Brenn Derrington
Mr Veda
Sanders Schmittlaub
Listen via one of the below methods:

Now Introducing: Piranhafleet

Here at Supreme Mathematics, we pride ourselves in our ability to do stupid things very, very well. A few weeks ago I read a forum post on the EVE forums (credit: whoever the hell wrote it, I don’t remember) about running capital class wormholes using nothing but T1 Destroyers and Logistics. Naturally, just like you, I looked at it and started shouting “This is crazy! It couldn’t possibly work!” as I ran off to PYFA to see if it could possibly work.

Well, as it turns out, not only is it possible, but its hilarious and profitable.

The entire premise of Piranhafleet is based on the idea that certain wormholes have different effects on Capsuleer ships, based on the type of star the system has (the full list of system effects is available here: . If you look closely, you will notice that Wolf-Rayet stars provide absolutely massive bonuses to Frigates and Destroyers in the form of massively increased damage, increases in armor hitpoints, a decrease in the signature radius of your ship, and a relatively irrelevant decrease in shield resistances. In a C5 Wormhole, where this fleet really begins to excel, the bonuses are:

+86% armor HP
-43% shield resists
+172% Small Weapon Damage
-43% Signature Radius

Using these modifications, we decided to try the fleet with Coercers. Coercers have one of the highest raw armor HP of any destroyer, and their bonuses to energy weapons means that ammunition isn’t an issue. Meta fit, our Coercers run about 5 million ISK each, take less than two days to train into, and in a C5, they hit with the strength of a Battleship, have the signature radius of a Shuttle, and tank like a Cruiser. They are hilarious little ships. (My coercer does 600 DPS, with 16k tank, and a sig radius of 17)

“But what about repairs?” you ask? We use Augorors. They have a small sig radius initially, and when combined with a much more sizeable tank and the ability to breed capacitor like no other, gives us the perfect logistics platform for the Piranhafleet (the hull bonus to remote cap transmitter amounts also helps our Coercers, who can’t even pretend to be cap stable). Our Augorors, also meta fit, run about 20 million ISK each.

So, using the data I gleaned from the forum post, and the information from PYFA, I decided to rope the rest of SM.RB in and give the fleet a try. I imported three Augorors and ten Coercers into Pheonix (our wormhole), costing myself 110 million ISK, and we started looking for a capital-class Wolf-Rayet to run.

The very next day, we’re working on both sides of our chain after the holes roll, and I hear “Bingo!” ring out over comms. We’d found one. I gave the call to form up, and after about ten minutes, the Piranhafleet warped off to its maiden fight, three Augorors and four Coercers strong (80 million ISK).

We arrive, and warp into the easiest combat site. One of the Coercers arrives on grid first. It almost gets alpha’d by the Sleepers. The rest of the fleet lands, our logistics get their cap chain up, but just as reps start landing, it dies. I start to get worried. Aggro swaps onto the next Coercer as they get their Microwarpdrives on and start burning towards the target. The first hits land, and… immediately get repped up by our Augorors. The next volley lands. Same thing. “Reps are holding!” rings out on comms.

Seconds later, the sleeper frigates close the distance, and lasers start lashing out from our Coercers. Every frigate dies. In seconds. The Coercers race past the wrecks, start orbiting the cruisers, and eat them alive. Same thing with the Battleships. I tell the pilot who got killed to go get another Coercer from the tower. He gets back as the third wave spawns. We slaughter it too.

At the next site, we warp the logistics in first. They tank the entire first wave until the Coercers arrive. The Coercers kill everything. At that point, we realized we were on to something magical. Every site in that wormhole got ran before we were finished. We ended up losing four Coercers in total. We netted a little over two billion ISK in two hours, split between the corp and seven guys. That’s billion, with a B. Not bad for 20 million ISK worth of Coercers.

Piranhafleet is an absolute blast to run. As wormholers, we’re used to the absolute pressure of flying ships worth hundreds of millions of ISK into combat, where a single foul-up can wreck your entire night (and your ship). Piranhafleet provides the same rush of adrenaline, except instead of the terror of losing something so valuable, you don’t care one bit. We just enjoy the thrill of flying undersized and overgunned ships into some of the most dangerous PvE content EVE has to offer, and winning (almost) every time.

The fleet has one additional advantage: Supreme Mathematics is a new-player friendly corporation, which means we welcome new players and teach them how to wormhole. Our newest member was little more than a month in-game at the time he ran his first Piranhafleet. Piranhafleet is perfect for teaching new players the intricacies of fleet work with none of the pressure. We also have (I would argue) the best theater for training fleet commanders and logistics pilots in the game, as we toss them right into the middle of a brawl with a combined total of upwards of 10,000 DPS flying back and forth. This provides a level of training experience unmatched anywhere in Eve.

In addition to the absolute lack of risk/reward ratio, Piranhafleet has one other thing going for it. When we run it, we roll into a Wolf-Rayet, heads held high with trumpets blaring, announcing our presence in local as if we were the heroes of old, venturing forth to slay the monsters once more. Both on the way to the Wolf-Rayet, and when we get there, we invite every single person we see to come run sites with us. We hand out our comms information. We offer to provide ships. The response we get is a combination of incredulity at our brazen actions and terror that we’re trying to spring a trap. The reality is that the incredulity is well-founded and the terror is not. Very rarely do we get people who come and fly with us, which is a shame.

Once we finish our first site of the night, the amount of loot and salvage we recover from the Sleeper wrecks far eclipses the total value of our fleet, so even if we get whelped in the next site we’ve made a profit for the night. This gives us the ability to take any fight that comes our way for the rest of the night, which leads to some very interesting situations.

We had some local guys drop cruisers on the Piranhafleet a few weeks ago, and we ate their faction cruisers alive at the cost of a few Destroyers (that fight escalated spectacularly, eventually ending in a draw after almost two billion ISK had been destroyed. Killboards say we lost, but we had an absolute blast, so who cares). What did we do after the fight ended? We invited them to comms, split loot and salvage, then they grabbed some logi ships and supported our Destroyers while we wiped out the rest of the sites in the system. We split the loot, which paid for all of the losses on both sides of the fight, with some profit left over for everyone. It was a blast, and thanks to the fine gentlemen of “The Idle Spire” corporation for bringing the fight!

So, when Supreme Mathematics comes knocking, don’t worry about hiding in your POS while our Piranhafleet runs all the sites next door! We’ll dump a big pile of ships at the sun for you to borrow, lob our comms info your way, and fleet up with you!

Also, as your local SM.RB recruiter, I’m obligated to attempt to recruit everyone who reads this at least once a post. So without further ado, [clears throat] “Have YOU heard the word of Bob? Join today!”

Combat Recons and the Proteus release

I wanted to share few thoughts about the ability, new with the Proteus release, of combat recon ships to be immune to the onboard directional scanner (d-scan). My perspective is wormhole space, of course, specifically with reference to solo or duo cloaky stalking. I’ll also touch on possibilities in PvE.

First I want to say that I’m pretty excited for these changes. They amount to a new kind of cloaky gameplay that we haven’t seen before. In the past, we’ve had two kinds (leaving aside gate/wormhole jump cloaking): stationary (cannot warp cloaked) and covert ops (can warp cloaked). D-scan immunity, at least in wormhole space where no one can see you in local, means that you are effectively cloaked if not on grid with another player.

An important aspect of this feature in sneaky PvP is avoiding the d-scan “blips” that occur when traditional cloaky ships enter a system through a wormhole. An alert site runner or Epithal pilot who is refreshing d-scan frequently can see a traditionally cloaked ship at this time, because there is a 2-3 second period between the ship shedding its session-change cloak and engaging its covert ops cloaking device. This might be the last time they see the cloaked ship before it warps in on them and attacks, but now they’re on guard and may safe up or warp back to a tower.

With combat recon ships, the target doesn’t even get this small warning. A wormhole dweller would need a scout on the particular wormhole by which the recon pilot enters to know that someone just entered the system with them. This is a fairly heavy requirement for anyone not doing significant activity and likely isn’t worth doing for someone just running their PI, for example.

If you, as the recon pilot, are in a safe spot, you can be scanned down if the person knows that someone is out there and has combat probes. But if they don’t know you are there, you can “watch” their activities via d-scan and they can’t watch you. Further, there is nothing stopping you from fitting a normal cloaking device to go entirely invisible at your safe spot, though this takes a high slot and hits you with a scan resolution penalty. Scan resolution affects locking time, which is paramount when trying to catch someone in a site, at a planet, or other point of interest. The only way to avoid this is to drop a mobile depot (which is NOT d-scan immune) and unfit the cloaking device before attacking.

So far, it sounds pretty good, but there are downsides, especially when the recon is solo. The recon’s only tools for locating prey are their own d-scan and combat scanner probes, if they have them. Combat probes are – again – not d-scan immune, so they give away that there is someone about and can spook the target. D-scan is often good for finding people, but if they are in a cosmic signature site (as opposed to an anomaly) the signature would itself need to be scanned down for the recon to warp to it, and again, the probes would tip the attacker’s hand. Even if the target is in an anomaly, where the recon lands could be any distance from the target and it might not be close enough to tackle them before they warp off.

So we see that recons have their own issues, distinct from those of a traditional covert ops hunter, as a solo hunting platform in w-space. However, I do think that they have some great potential for duo work. A partner in a traditionally cloaked ship can get close enough to provide a warp-in on a target, and the recon can come in and get tackle while the cloaked ship waits out its cloaking device’s calibration delay. The target will not know they are being stalked before the recon lands in range. Of course, this method does concede the d-scan blip issue.

Recons may have a role in PvE as well. I haven’t run numbers, but it’s possible they could solo lower class sites (C1 or C2) and it’s also possible they could run more challenging sites in groups. The only way an attacker would know they are in the sites would be to d-scan for wrecks, but then they have to deduce which site they are in, since there may be wrecks in more than one. They also have to deal with the possibility of there being more enemy recons than they expected upon arrival. Another sneaky trick could be to place a mobile d-scan inhibitor in a safespot or site and then run a different one. Attackers will almost certainly scan down and go for the inhibitor first, thinking it’s hiding some juicy activity. This would give time for the PvE fleet to get away. As an optional bonus, a single interdictor or heavy interdictor hidden there could hold down the attacking fleet for a counter-drop.

All the above are the reasons that I’m excited for this new kind of gameplay. In the interest of space, I haven’t even gone into every possibility. There is much more potential for creative ideas, both offensive and defensive. Things just got a little more interesting in New Eden.