The Athanor Drop Fight

Screenshot by Hun Tra
So yesterday I got a message on Discord and several in-game mails that an Athanor had been dropped in Ouelletta by a group called Galaxy Lords Holding. The weird thing was the Athanor wasn't anchored on a Moon but rather about 1,500k from the High Sec gate. A little digging and it was obvious that this was really an Intergalactic Space Hobos operation. Most likely a content generation ploy.

So we spent the day mobilizing the Alliance on Discord and waiting for the timer to pop up around 22:30 Eve time. I decided to spend the time leading up to the operation working the Diplomatic channels and see if I could find us some back-up in case things went all Hot-Drop O'clock on us. And also to camp the in gates to try and keep supplies and support from coming in. Mostly the gate camps were employed to keep the fleet busy, I've learned over the years that the hours leading up to ops can get boring - best to give people something to do. And it's fun.

Luckily this was a Saturday even though it was late for our EU players, we still managed to get around 30 pilots in fleet. As usual the numbers fluctuated a bit, but 30 is a good average. Not counting alt scouts, and other support pilots. We did manage to catch a Celestis coming into local and also a Hobos' Dominix as well. So it was time well spent.

Once the timer got close enough we switched out to one of our Home Defense Doctrines, this one based around the Brutix. We like this doctrine because a lot of our pilots can fly the ship, the rails give us good damage and range flexibility, and the Brutix is just a boss. I got into my AT Astarte which is a survivor of our last Tournament matches to provide links. And the rest of the fleet filled up with Guardians and other dps, support, as needed. And we started burning down the Athanor.

Scout reports came in from Hobos home system of a bunch of Lokis gathering around a Blops, but we weren't sure that was intended for us. We expected a cyno to pop up any second. Instead they did a log-on inside Ouelletta and about 13 of them logged into system. The Athanor was well passed half structure by the time the Loki gang landed and we started shooting them. We kept our drones on the Athanor so that it would stay in timer, which was a good call from our FC Watson. The Loki gang was no match for our combined damage and they started popping one by one. That's when the Minokawa landed to start repping them. You can see in this Loki killmail just how much dps it took to take one down under Minokawa reps.

That's when our friends in Shadow Cartel showed up with a handful of Bhaalgorns and started neuting the Minokawa. We cleared the field or they withdrew and for a while it was just us shooting the FAX and trying to bring it down. We briefly considered undocking Carriers or Dreads, but I felt it would be a mistake to escalate the fight into Caps at this point. Once it was apparent we didn't have enough dps to kill the Minokawa we switched back to the Athanor.

That's when they dropped 7 Carriers, 2 Revelations and yet another FAX on us. So the escalation decision was the right call. The fleet was anchored on me so I started moving away from the Caps to the other side of the Athanor, as we kept pounding at its structure. As you can see from the screenshot it finally exploded.

Then we started shooting Fighters, especially those annoying Siren IIs with the long points! At this point the field was lost and everyone pretty much decided to break things up. Good fights were given in local and our pilots started looting the field.

That was truly an epic fight and ABA stood our ground against overwhelming odds. You can see the Battle Report here or below.


I'd like to thank everyone involved for a great fight. If the point of the Athanor was to generate content then it worked as planned, all of us in A Band Apart appreciated the content. Special thanks to our friends in Shadow Cartel for showing up to help, I know the timezone was challenging for them as well - but we appreciate the support. And to others who joined in the fight without officially sanctioned support, thank you as well. You know who you are.

It has truly been a non-stop couple of months.

Onward & upward.






Eve Coloring Book Project

Eve Coloring Book
Some of my newer readers might not be aware of the Eve Coloring Book Project and the NEW pages that I just added. Today I added an Ashimmu and Kikimora page to the project, which contains print quality hi-res images that can be easily downloaded and printed on any black and white printer. There are also several activity pages such as a maze and a connect the dots page! These make great activities for kids, cousins, nephews and nieces. Get those young ones involved in Eve early!

Enjoy!



The Uncertainty Principle


Eve's greatest strength lies in uncertainty. The sheer amount of variables involved, which only seem to increase as the game goes on, make knowing anything for certain extremely unlikely. That next jump could be your last. The new ship you are so proud of could be gone in an instant. Your pod is not safe. Your destiny is unknown and largely unknowable. Darkness is everywhere you turn. Can this ship defeat that ship? Who knows for sure. It is a game of odds stacked against a wall of unknown heights. At the core of Eve lies a black heart.

And, for many of us, that uncertainty is what makes Eve unlike anything else. It drives us, challenges us, and makes us strive for mastery. This is fundamentally why Eve can never be for everyone. Why it should never be for everyone. It cannot lose that darkness.

My role inside this darkness is as an agent of chaos. I am the wolf that lurks outside the warm glow of the campfire. I, and others like me, serve as the danger that keeps uncertainty in the minds of other players. When someone needs more firewood, they may never come back again. This keeps everyone around the fire watchful, wary, and in touch with the realistic nature of their existence. The world is a dangerous place. You could get eaten by a wolf.

In the context of Eve I, and others like me, serve as a measure of other players success. A tangible measure against which they can achieve greatness. Lose your ship? Well then you need to learn, work harder, train more, seek revenge, come back someday and try to do better. When I lose a ship I don't get angry at the wolf, I get angry at myself for falling to the wolf. Why didn't I bring a gun? What can I do to get better at killing wolves? (Metaphorically speaking, not the actual Wolf Assault Frigate)

I added this to my in-game bio today in response to the many players that continue to question me about my activities inside of Eve:

Why Did You Lose Your Ship?
The core of Eve's gameplay is based on uncertainty. Your next jump could be your last, you could lose your ship, your pod, at any given moment. Your fate is unknown. I am the Wolf outside the glow of the campfire, the danger, risk, the agent of chaos. Without me there is no uncertainty, no risk, no unknown danger. I represent the darkness so that you can measure your successes against something tangible. Losing your ship means you have much yet to learn and more skills yet to master. Escaping or defeating me represents an achievement in that journey. If you lost your ship then I have done you a favor. A favor that is done to me from time to time. Learn from it, seek revenge, train hard, and someday return that favor. I look forward to it. And so should you.  - Rixx Javix

This is the role that I play inside of Eve. I find it infinitely fascinating, challenging, difficult, and highly rewarding. It is a personal test each and every time I undock to face the darkness, the unknown, the uncertainty. Because I have wolves, just like everyone else. I never know what might be outside the glow of my own campfire. And that is what keeps me coming back to this insane, stupid, crazy game.

As players we must understand that uncertainty needs to be treasured, protected, and actively engaged with regularly. For Eve to succeed we must embrace that uncertainty and help to spread it to all corners of New Eden. Build your campfires, but don't forget to venture out beyond the warm glow of safety from time to time. It is only there that you will face the darkness and find your own destiny.




Milestone: 7,000 Kills


Yesterday I exploded three ships and a pod to finally reach my 7,000th kill in Eve Online!

1 - A Vexor that Angor and I found inside a Medium Plex
2 - And his pod, which was empty sadly
3 - An Algos I managed to solo with my Comet, good fight, was very close
4 - And a Catalyst I found on the way home

The Catalyst pilot will be getting a brand-new fully fitted Catalyst from me in honor of being my 7,000th victim. He would have gotten it yesterday but I mistakenly contracted the ship inside our main Citadel and he can't dock there. So I'll get that sorted today at some point.


My ultimate goal has always been to try and reach 10,000 kills, so I have 3,000 more to go before I reach that. (Math is easy!) At my current rate based on the past year this will take me about four and a half years to accomplish. I suspect it will be more like five years or more given that I (hopefully) won't be unemployed or working from home forever.

And let me be clear here. No I do not play for killboard stats. This is simply another milestone along the journey that I am celebrating. Like an anniversary or other milestone. Having said that I do play to hone my craft, and my craft happens to be combat in Eve Online. It would be kind of weird if I had been playing Eve for as long as I have been playing Eve and I sucked at being a Pirate. I don't suck at being a Pirate because I work hard at being good at my job. And so, yes, I do take some measure of pride at these milestones when they come along. I'm not going to apologize or pretend they don't happen.

And yes many players have more kills than I do. Many of the pilots in Stay Frosty have more kills than I do. That's great! I do the best I can with the time I have. And I choose to play Eve in the hardest, most difficult, and most challenging way possible. That is a choice I made a long time ago and I stick by it every day. I only play on one character. Rixx does everything for me. (I do have a HS alt that transports for me) I don't have scout alts, or probing alts, or other support alts other than the HS transport alt. Which I have to have because I play at -10, which is yet another hard choice. It would be smarter to keep my sec status up, then I wouldn't get caught on gates or stations. My life would be easier in-game. But I choose not to do that. I've been -10 for the past eight years straight and that is not going to change. On top of that I am Rixx Javix and I fly around with a huge target on me at all times. People love to challenge me, kill me, test me, belittle me, threaten me, mock me... the list goes on and on. I love it. I love when Local empties out when I arrive. I love that people come at me to prove themselves. I love the boasting people do in local against me. Bring it on. Personally I find it incredibly challenging to just be me in New Eden. It's awesome.

If I cared about killboard stats I wouldn't play this way. I care about the challenge. The hard mode choices were made to make Eve as hard as humanly possible for me for a reason. Because I thrive under that kind of pressure. I enjoy it. It helps to make Eve incredibly difficult for me personally. Eve is hard. My Eve is insanely hard.

And posts like this only serve to make it worse.

Here's to the next 3,000 exploded ships and pods over the next few years. If it happens to be your ship or your pod please know there is no malice involved. Eve is a game that I play for the challenge, the adventure, and the friendships.

And the explosions.



Eve Comic #89


The very first panel of this on-going strip appeared on Eveoganda on March 9th, 2010 believe it or not. That means that in a little more than three months I will have been doing this strip for ten years! Good grief. I had no idea it would go on this long and I sincerely apologize. The things I've put you through over the years! I have a lot to answer for. God knows.

Seriously though, I hope you enjoy them!



Cloaky Camping: An Effective Response to HighSec War Decs


NOTE: The following is based on a recent war that was declared on our Alliance A Band Apart and was primarily written by Stay Frosty FC Watson Crick. This response was developed by Watson as a trial response to measure how effective it would be in changing the activity level of the group that had declared war against us. This is an individual incident and while we believe the results are extremely positive and warrant further trials in the future, please keep this in mind. I hope to have exact data to add to this report in the near future, but I didn't want to wait any longer to bring this to your attention. - Rixx

________________________

While the majority of ABA members spend their time in low security space, we do have several corporations that operate in high security space. While not a lethal threat, high sec wars remain an annoyance to our members. It even has an impact on those of us in Stay Frosty.

High Sec War Declarations have been the subject of infinite scorn and debates for as long as Eve has existed. Its victims usually only have two unpleasant options:
• Business as usual which results in expensive loss-mails and more war-decs.
• Fight. Not all Alliances have an effective PVP wing, and giving war-deccers fights can lead to, yes, more war-decs.

Consequently the most common response has been to turtle up and stop all activities in high-sec.

The most significant recent change to this mechanic has been the war HQ. This was meant as a way for the defender to have an opportunity to shut down a war early. Unfortunately, this option was not available to us when we were war-decced recently by a fairly young alliance named Hell Dawn. The war HQ was a Raitaru that had already lost its shield and armor, but its structural timer would expire in 8 days... after the war had ended.

Technically, this left docking up as our only remaining option, but the kill-board of our aggressor gave me an idea. Between October and November (51 days) Hell Dawn killed 502 billion isk in shipping, mostly in the pipe system of Sivala. That’s an average of 9.8 billion isk per day. I also remembered from my days as a high-sec mercenary that they, like null-sec ratters, don’t like having unknown war targets in system.

The 24 hrs lead time before a war-dec becomes active leaves very little time for intelligence gathering, developing a strategy, communicating said strategy to your alliance mates and, especially, moving ships, alts and jump clones into position. And let’s not forget that some of us need to visit the nearest CONCORD office with fistfuls of cash and clone tags (RIP my -10 security status).

The mood was set for the first evening of the war. A dozen ABA pilots were cloaked in system and our opponent had gathered a similar number. They might have been hoping for a fight but, since they could not tell what we were fielding, they remained docked and raged in Local. Our pilots never responded. However on our own comms we were having a wonderful time. It was working, NO ships were ganked in Sivala that day!

On day two, we had to demonstrate that this was not some toothless blockade with cloaky alts. T3Cs and Recons were added to the initial wave of bombers and we waited for somebody to run out of patience. They got a few kills but nothing that compares with their usual numbers. I managed to interrupt a gank attempt on a Rapier in Uedama. After we interrupted their gank on a Rapier, they regrouped in the Mini-Luv citadel in Uedama and then gradually undocked in a very good fleet: Drekavac, 2 Cynabals, 2 Oneiros, a boosher, a Lachesis and another ship.

They could have parked that fleet on the Uedama-Sivala gate and camped all night long. We never had the time to bring anything that could deal with that. At that moment, we had 12 in local but only 3 bombers and a Falcon were active.

But they didn’t know that. They saw my bomber and nothing else. Only the Logi and Cynabals jumped through and moved on to Jita. The others turned back, re-docked and their pilots rejoined Sivala in shuttles. After some Local chat PVP some of them ran away to Jita but then returned when they saw more ABA pilots in local. 8 of them hunkered down in a Raitaru surrounded by 12 ABA pilots in local. They undocked a couple of Thrashers to try to catch our very fast Slasher. Which didn't work.

On the morning of the third day, a couple of them tried gate camping again. They engaged an Ashimmu with a Gnosis and a Hurricane Fleet Issue. Only three of us were active at the time. Fortunately I had upgraded my ship to a very tanky Tengu so I warped to the gate and engaged the Gnosis. I also brought in my alt in a Nemesis because tanky Tengu = crappy DPS. The HFI ran away and, while my Rapid Lights were reloading, the Gnosis jumped through the gate with 5-10% structure left. At least now they knew our cloaky campers had teeth.

After that Sivala was ours. They moved on to faster ships (Hecate) and to other systems around Jita. But some of them still had their ships in Sivala, and we were able to catch and destroy a Tornado as it tried to rejoin its comrades. Our plan was to follow them, wherever they went. Unfortunately, PIRAT noticed our increased presence in the area and decided to bless us with yet another war-dec.

In conclusion, we believe that cloaky camping is a valid alternative to not playing EVE during a war-dec. A dozen ABA characters, flown by half as many pilots, were able to force a high-sec war-deccing alliance to leave their favorite hunting ground. Most of these alliances commonly war-dec dozens or even hundreds of alliances at a time. If these would contribute a small number of pilots and alts to cloaky camp pipe and trade systems, it would seriously impair the ability of high-sec war-deccers to use local to collect intel and feel safe while gate camping and hunting around high-sec.

We will continue to work on refining and testing the response in the future and I will report back on any additional findings as they become available.

- Watson Crick, Stay Frosty FC






Rixx Vs The Phoenix



Enjoy this video from yesterday. I undocked my Archon to try and tease some idiots in local into attacking me. Little did I realize that they would undock a Phoenix just a day after they lost a Moros in the same system! Awesome.

Here is the Phoenix killmail.

Special thanks to Shadow Cartel for being ready to jump in and bring the hammer! And to FireSequence for shooting the entire encounter.


The Power of Frigates

Stay Frosty Wallpaper
Click to embiggen
In May 2020 Stay Frosty will be seven years old. Seven years of hard-fought survival amongst the ruthless and unforgiving darkness of Low Security space. Seven years of being hunted, threatened, war-decced, hell camped, and much, much worse. If I had a billion isk for every time someone promised to destroy us over those seven years I could easily afford a Titan. Fully faction fit. But I can't, because - after all - I'm just a poor Pirate Lord.

And yet, despite all the challenges that come with being a successful and annoying Pirate Corporation in New Eden's PvP playground, Stay Frosty endures. How is that possible?

There is one secret that forms the basis for our success that has long-term consequences that help ensure our survival - and that is our relentless belief in our Code. Thing is, other people have codes and goals and dreams and visions and yet they don't survive for seven months - not to mention seven years. Why is that? Part of that reason is the buy-in we have from our members, both long-term and newly arrived. Our group believes in the Code and in our Mission and they all work hard to ensure that everyone in our Corporation plays by the rules. This level of commitment ensures that anyone that doesn't gets identified, talked to, encouraged, and ultimately kicked if need be. It is far too easy for Corporations or Alliances to get destroyed by cancer from inside their own ranks. Our players ensure that this cannot happen. No exceptions. And that no exceptions part is the second reason the system works.

Far too often in other Corporations or Alliances exceptions will be made for exceptional players, or those that bring content, or FCs, or someone's cousin, or friend, or whatever. I know, I've seen it in action many times over the years. This is yet another form of cancer that can eat away at your player's confidence in your commitment to the Code or Mission. Our players know that I mean business and will not tolerate exceptions from anyone. No matter who they happen to be. I've proven that time and time again over the years. I mean what I say.

Consistent leadership is also key. I wrote the Code myself based on the Pirate Code that KaJolo wrote years and years ago when he founded the Tuskers. Having consistent and engaged leadership is crucial to the long-term success of any organization and an Eve Corp is no exception. That is critical.

But beyond that there is yet another reason why we continue to thrive while our enemies have all tended to fade into history. A crucial and often overlooked part of our success comes from the fact that we mainly fly Frigates. Yes, the little ships of Eve are a crucial and important cornerstone of our success over the years. But how does that matter?

Over the years we often get pulled in many directions. From time to time various players will suggest that we should consider taking Sov in Null Sec, or that we need to form larger doctrines to defend ourselves, and that we should build Caps, or any number of other schemes designed to elevate us amongst the other players in New Eden. And while those desires are often tempting, as well as potentially exciting, we always resist the urge. Of course, the wisdom of time has taught me an important lesson when it comes to these urges - let the players play. So we've taken Sov before, we have larger doctrines that we sometimes fly when needed, we have Caps (You might not know this but at one point Stay Frosty had several Titans), and we encourage our players to have bigger ships on stand-by. You never know when you might need them.

But the important part is our reliance on Frigates. Frigates are hard to gate camp, station camp, or stop in any way. Once destroyed they are easily replaced. And you can have a lot of them on hand for next to nothing. Frigate combat also teaches players the best about PvP especially when you fly them over and over and over and over again. Master the Frigate first is our mantra and it works. Individually our pilots are among the best in the game. Because we work hard at our mission. Experience counts.

If you look at our All-Time Stats on zKill you'll see that you have to scroll down to #15 to find the first dessie, the Thrasher, on the ships used list. And #20 before you hit another one. And #26 before you hit the first Cruiser. Everything above that is Frigates.

Ultimately our continued success comes from our players. Over the years we've been fortunate to attract and maintain the very best pilots who have a innate desire to prove themselves, test their individual mettle, and stand strong against overwhelming odds to prove themselves worthy of being a Stay Frosty Pirate. This is what it is all about.

If you have that desire. If you would like to test yourself among the stars, fly whatever you want, test the limits of your abilities whenever you log in - then you should consider joining us. We are always on the look out for the next great Pirate. Come, fly with the Pirate Lord of Low Sec and help build Stay Frosty for the next seven years. Join our in-game channel EVEOGANDA and talk to someone about becoming a member.

Otherwise we'll just have to explode your ship.

Stay Frosty my friend.



November's Results


Another month is history as November 2019 fades into memory. Being unemployed and working from home has certainly given me more time to play Eve than I normally get. Although not as much as you might think, as I'm also trying to get a new business off the ground while also looking for new employment - both of which take up a lot of time and effort. Even so, more than normal Eve time. Which resulted in one of my best months in a long time. 160 kills is the most I've had since Feb 2016 when I logged 163 kills, 225 kills remains my highest monthly total and that was from January 2014.

160 still wasn't enough to secure my second month Hicks Award however, as both Watson and Lufax ended the month with more kills than I did. With 254 and 228 respectively, which means Watson managed to bring home the monthly Top Killer Award. Congratulations to the retired man!! Grumble grumble.

24 different ships registered kills for me during the month. The Astero led the way with 64 kills and I ended November #3 in Astero kills in all of New Eden. Although, as far as Solo kills go I was #1, not many people out there are using the ship for Solo roaming. It seems mostly the Astero is being used for probing ships down, which is what it is primarily intended. I was podded three times but two of those were empty Null Sec clones during our weekly Crow Gangs down in Null. The other one was due to a "friend" taking advantage of a server glitch to send me home on the PodExpress. Which happens.

My most valuable kills for the month were the two Orcas that Brrc Flynn found for us in Amoderia. (Orca one and Orca two) A House of Boom Deimos which was killed during a WH battle along with two Dreks, Drek One and Drek Two. And then the Praxis we bushwacked in Murethand. I had a lot of good Solo fights in November and it is difficult to go back and find them all, but here are some highlights:

2v1 - Two Caracals against my Drek. Caracal One and Caracal Two.
Solo Caracal with my Astero
Firetail with my Astero
Slicer with my Astero
Eris with my Astero
Vexor with my Astero

I'll add this Raven kill as another highlight of the month since it was the first time I used a Leshak in combat. All credit to the Raven pilot, he left the Large plex safely and then came back to fight. So that took some guts considering how quickly his Raven died.

I started October wanting to update the Astero and play around with it to see if I could make it a worthy PvP ship in the new meta. Back in 2013/14 Stay Frosty pioneered using the new ship in Low Sec PvP but a lot has changed since then. Since then I've registered 113 kills with 5 generations of the ship, mostly solo, so I think the experiment was a success. And while no ship is perfect and I still value my variety, the Astero has returned as a valid roaming choice.

I think I'll pick another ship to try here in December, but I'm not sure yet which one it will be. So stay tuned.

Until then, Stay Frosty my friends.