Monday, May 21, 2012

I Think I'm Getting Worse

After Saturday's less than superb performance, I was ready to start Sunday anew. I toss my shield Rupture over my shoulder and head into our neighbors' pocket to see what they're up to.

I was welcomed by a lone Wolf Assault Frigate whom I greeted with bullets. All I did was burn toward a celestial with an overheated MWD; he chased me at low transversal but quickly reversed when I ripped through his armor. He wasn't too keen on being kited and managed to escape (at 3200 m/s) when in deep structure. Too bad--that kill would have really lifted my spirits.

I went farther into the pocket, passing a small camp on one of the gates. They tried chasing me around system for a bit and then gave up. A Vagabond came out to pursue (and keep tabs on me), but I gave him the run around, and darted back to the entry system.

When the initial gang stopped chasing me, I figured they'd be waiting to gank me at my only exit. But after an hour or so of being a pest, I also assumed they'd get bored and either roam or dock up. Not so.

I was at the edge of the HIC bubble and chanced a getaway. I waited until the Stilettos orbited away and made a break for it. I was too busy spamming warp and hoping to fall off out of disruptor range that I didn't even think to shoot the Stilettos. One of the interceptor pilots was the Wolf from earlier, and he likely would have flown right at me again. I could have potentially killed both Stilettos and warped out!

I need to think of these things before I die.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Busy Day

I lost three Battlecruisers yesterday.

A Hookbill was poking around right when I logged in. I undocked in a Cyclone, and was gonna fight it once I knew if he had friends or not. Then one of my brethren came outside in a Drake, and the Hookbill warped off.

The Drake warped to the gate, following the interloper, jumped through, and reported a Hookbill and Sabre. I was fairly sure there were more, but decided to fight anyway. When I jumped through, the frigate and interdictor were dancing around us, at about 30-60 km, and I couldn't catch them.

Plus one in system. A Hurricane shows up on scan. If that's all they have, then this shouldn't be too terrible. Hurricane lands right in front of me, and I open fire.

Some points on the video:

  • I managed my capacitor fairly well during the fight; one my in injects was completely neuted away before I used it, but other than that, I think my timing was good.
  • I burnt my guns out because I was too busy watching my cap/shields. I died shortly afterwards, but it still shouldn't have happened.
  • I should have called the Hurricane primary from the beginning. Because if I had, it would have died, and I likely would have lived. For whatever reason, my Drake fleetmate decided to shoot the Sabre until I explicitly said otherwise. The Hurricane didn't die either: he launched ECM drones and managed to warp off when he was in deep structure. I was the only casualty.

My Drake friend logged, so I went out alone in a shield Hurricane. And of course along my route I get caught by a Stiletto interceptor. He doesn't shoot me at all, so he is just pinning me down until his fleet arrives. I try a few times to slingshot him into neut range, but it doesn't happen. I jump back home with the Stiletto very close behind.

Eventually his fleet shows themselves: the Hookbill from earlier, a Drake, and a Stabber Fleet Issue. They are sitting at our station, and I undock in a kiting Rupture to see if I can take out the Stiletto or Hookbill from afar. I warp around system a bit, but when I get good positioning on the frigates, the Stiletto is well-piloted. He approaches me at an angle, and too fast for my guns. So before I get tackled I warp back to station; doesn't look like I'll get to pick any of them off.

(It is possible that the Stiletto would simply hold at range with a point while the Hookbill came close at a very low-transversal vector, letting me blast it into debris. But once again I was afraid of the SFI, and once again we will see that it is not the kind of fit that makes the SFI really shine. I should just assume that enemy SFIs are fit like baby Vagabonds, and not a real threat.)

I tell them in local that it is just me here (everyone else is AFK). They aren't interested in station games, so they leave.

But then some people wake up. We get a little fleet together, composed of me in an armor Hurricane, a Drake, and a Rupture.

We quickly pursue them to the out-gate, isolating their Drake. We are too slow to hold tackle on it, so he warps off. But they know we are looking for a fight now.

We jump into them on the other side of the gate and start shooting. Our Drake was tanking for some time before we could follow him, but we manage to kill a Brutix, his juicy pod, and that SFI.

You can hear me at the end of the video excitedly shooting their Talos. I burnt out one of my webs and MWD, so he pulls range, and blows me up. "damnit."

I think I did well in that fight, other than burning out my modules. If I had the second web and my MWD, could I have kept the Talos pinned down such that his guns would have trouble tracking me? I have no idea.

A while later, Eebsy and I go out in armor battlecruisers to christen his new boat, and die to a gang because we had no maneuverability and no fast tackle. We tried to catch the Curse that came through first, but it was too fast even when I had use of my MWD. A few minutes later, the rest of the fleet finished us off.

Even though I lost 150mil+ ISK in ships and modules, it still was good fun, and I had some good fights.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Destroyer Denouement

Now that I am in a fresh Thrasher (part 1), Eebsy and I depart toward a different section of Syndicate.

When we get there, we find a Tengu and a Legion: both Tech3 Strategic Cruisers, both completely out of our engagement envelope.

We double back, and I ask, "How badly do you want a fight? Do you want to blow up?" Eebs exclaims positively, and I know exactly where to go.

Syndicate is split into halves by a single system that also connects to the only high-sec entrance. It is camped 90% of the time and is always active. Even if it is not, lower Syndicate is very busy during the US timezones. We march south.

The system right before FD- has two pilots in local that have belonged to NPC corps for several years. It is very likely that they are cloaked, scouting alts for whatever is on the other side of the gate.

I tell Eebs to hold as I jump in.

"Sabre, Enyo, Rifter, Thrasher, Stiletto." That fleet that is actually not terrible for us to engage.

My initial plan was to reapproach the gate, hopefully getting a few to shoot at me. Then, depending on who shot, didn't shoot, or jumped, I'd tell Eebs to come through or I'd jump back to him. I didn't notice right away that they were 265 km from the gate, but they soon warp directly to it.

The Rifter jumped out (possibly on accident), and a Retribution Assault Frigate on Eebs' side lands and begins to scram him. I tell Eebs to jump and call the Sabre as primary target.

We kill the Sabre right before Eebs blows up, and I quickly switch to the Thrasher--I know how thin they can be, and there is no way I could catch that Stiletto nor kill the Enyo before I die.
Your group of 200mm AutoCannon II is well aimed at Melissa Blick (Thrasher) 'Stallman Collapses!' <AGONY>, inflicting 440.4 damage.
My final shot takes away half of the Thrasher's armor. If I got off another two or three, then the destroyer would have been space rubble.

I wish Agony "gf", and we take the Pod Express home. Killing a Sabre Interdictor for two destroyers is nice trade (73 mil vs. 30 mil).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tackling a Talos

The Star Map displays vacant and derelict systems in upper Syndicate (a common, unfortunate state for the past few weeks); only one or two dabs of activity. I glance through my hangar, pondering what ship to use in tonight's high jinks.

I initially thought I would go out alone, but my friend and corpmate expresses interest in spaceship violence. I undock in a Thrasher, and he, in a Coercer--both cheap tech 1 destroyers.

I've been favoring Destroyers over Assault Frigates for my roams lately. The destroyer isn't quite as tiny (signature) nor as nimble as an AF, and it lacks the nice tech 2 shield/armor/structure resistances, but it can do as much if not more damage than an AF at 30% of the ISK cost.

Eebsy and I set out toward our destination and find the system seemingly empty. There are a few people docked up, and some wrecks at an asteroid belt. As I am leaving, I sight a Hound stealth bomber on my scanner, and thus suspect he is ratting in it. We feign ignorance and wait in the empty system next door. After a few minutes, we decide to go back for the Hound.

Local chat displays one fewer pilot in system when we return, which leads me to believe that the Hound moved on. I warp to the only other gate.

To my surprise, I see a Talos on scan. I narrow him to a belt and tell my friend to be ready for when I get tackle. I warp to the belt, and the battlecruiser is already 90 km from me. I begin to fly in his direction, minding my transversal velocity. He doesn't run, but instead locks me and begins firing. A Talos is a glass cannon--they are fast for battlecruisers, but also lacking in hitpoints; they fit battleship-size guns (one class up), and thus can be very devastating. I adjust my vector to fly at about a 45 degree angle to his, to keep my transversal velocity high (to evade his shots).
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle hits you, doing 1834.7 damage.
Well it worked for awhile.
That one lucky shot eliminated all my shields--my primary defense. I'm still about 45 km from him. We are moving at nearly the same pace: ~1800 m/s. He slows down to about 1500 m/s, which leads me to believe he's turned off the overheat on his MWD. I turn on mine to close distance.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle misses you completely.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle barely scratches you, causing 184.8 damage.
Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle barely scratches you, causing 365.5 damage.

He's starting to get some glancing blows against my armor, but he's dropped to 200 m/s, likely burnt out his MWD.
You have started trying to warp scramble Skrunkle (Talos)
I land a scram on him, but he wasn't trying to get away to begin with. His tactic was to kite me in hopes that I flew directly at him with 0 transversal, allowing his guns to do full damage. With him tackled, I call in Eebsy.

But then: sadness.

Neutron Blaster Cannon II belonging to Skrunkle barely scratches you, causing 568.4 damage.
Ship stopping.
I sling past him briefly in an elliptical orbit since my MWD was still on. He gets another lucky shot that blasts through my hull completely.

We offer 'gf' to each other in local, and I warp my pod away. Eebs had entered system when I requested, and is in warp toward my wreck. Without a MWD, the Talos pilot is likely concerned with my cohort, so he leaves the belt. Eebs examines the wreck and surprisingly finds most of my modules intact! We head home so that I can fit up another Thrasher with all my damaged goods.

The night is still young.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DVIG Recruitment

My Corporation, Deep Void Industrial Group, has begun a recruitment drive for industrial/mining pilots. As you may know, we are based in EF-F36 in Syndicate. This is an entry system to a very quiet constellation. Our alliance, TABOO, is allied with another alliance in the pocket, AL3XANDER. Between all the corporations in the coalition, we have 23/7 occupation of the area.

Deep Void in particular is a US TZ corp (00:00 to 04:00 Eve time), but will also satisfy early morning AUS players.

If you are a miner that wants to get into some juicier ores, or wants to begin PvPing all that we ask is that:
  • You can fly mining barges (at least Retriever).
  • You can watch intel channels and avoid silly losses.

We take in new PvP pilots regularly and have support/mentoring available. We try to promote a friendly and family environment. We have a good laugh about very silly mistakes (like lighting a cyno 600 km from a station), but we are much more interested in positive criticism and crafting good players. We run Newbie Training events.

Currently we have a few players doing industry for the whole coalition and are nowhere close to meeting demand. We have a wide selection of Cruisers and Battlecruisers that we manufacture and which are quickly purchased. Right now our bottleneck is mineral supply, and the corp will gladly purchase ore that you mine. We even organize mining fleets with the appropriate support vessels. We have plans to do Invention for common T2 modules, but one step at a time :)

If Industry isn't your thing, we are always looking for combat pilots interested in solo or small gang PvP. We have very light requirements:
  • 2.5 million Skill Points.
  • Willingness to lose ships.
  • TeamSpeak 3. 
As general newbie training advice: Aim for T2 guns on the cruiser or battlecruiser of your choice.

Please contact Phox Jorkarzul, Hasugo Numani, or Arorcyn Garnak with questions or applications. Join Deep Void Public in-game channel if you want to chat.

DVIG's killboard, if you are curious.

(If you looking to start your Eve career, I can offer you an extended 21-day trial.)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Tactical Error

Several players were itching for a fight last night, so we mustered up a rag-tag fleet of two Hurricanes, an Armageddon, Thrasher, Brutix, Nemesis stealth bomber, Falcon, and a Blackbird. The FC heard dated reports of a couple people running a complex about six jumps from our home system. I reported that the Star Map shows no activity in the system or adjacent ones, but the FC insisted we go after them.

While we were heading toward our destination, there was an enemy fleet of Drakes and Harbingers near us. The FC decided to ignore them and press on.

When our scout got into the system and reported it as empty (surprise), I gave some new possible destinations to the Fleet Commander. For those wondering, the Star Map can display a myriad of statistics, one of which is Average Pilots in Space in the last 30 Minutes.

Our scout found three people in our target system running a complex. We didn't have probes to scan them down, so we paused hoping for a chance to gank them. Unfortunately for one pilot, he jumped into us with a cargo full of Deadspace modules while we were waiting on the gate.

Our marauding band of pirates moved on, looking for more fights. It is a bit late at this point, and a few people drop, leaving us with 2 'canes, 'geddon, Brutix, Falcon, and Blackbird. Our scout informs us that the Drake/Harbinger gang we found earlier is in our next system; and they have more people.

Eventually they warp to the gate and begin to jump into us. I consciously make a terrible decision, opting to load close range ammo in my Hurricane and stay relatively near the gate in order to maximize my damage. This is bad because I'm supposed to be a kiting ship. I have shields, but they wouldn't win any awards.

One of the Harbingers spawns 8500 meters from me, locks me up and puts web/scram on me. I am unable to use my MWD to pull range and thus quickly die.

They have 4 Drakes, 3 Harbingers, and a Falcon; easily dispatching the rest of our fleet. GFs in local, and we head home. Luckily our Falcon pilot made it out alive.

Lessons learned:

  • Do not willingly opt for a brawl when you are a skirmish/kiting ship. Derp.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Smothering Urge to Run Away

I'm at bit pissed at myself.

I was a mere three jumps into my first solo roam in a Cyclone battlecruiser, and I run into a tiny little gang on a gate: Vagabond, Stabber Fleet Issue, Jaguar, and Stiletto.

The overwhelming thought in my mind was to GTFO. I should have been thinking about killing them. I was mostly worried about the SFI, as I know they can kill Cyclones solo.

As I am burning back to the gate, the Vagabond rams right into me to bump me away. The Vagabond. A ship that should never get within 10 km of me. Right then and there I should have scrammed him and smoked him; they are paper-thin. Instead I leave my MWD overheat on, desperately trying to get to the gate.

Photo from Corelin at Mad Haberdashers
When I jump through, I'm followed by the SFI who appears 24 km from me. "Great," I think, "I should be able to warp off since the SFI only has a Warp Scrambler (max range ~10 km)." As I am aligning, I get pointed. "wtf? He has a Warp Disruptor?" That signaled to me that the SFI is not fit as a close-range armor fun-machine, but instead a poorly-fit baby-Vagabond. Meaning: shields and wants to kite me.

This part is a little blurry as I am managing the overheat on my MWD, two cap boosters, and a shield booster. But I think I went for the SFI, trying to scram him, and then I mismanage modules, doubt myself, and head back to the gate.

More ships keep coming in. A Talos. I jump again. Now a Tengu. Somewhere in there I burnt out my MWD.

My calvary finally gets into system, but without a MWD, I'm a sitting duck. I hold my jumpcloak as long as possible, but it wears off, and I go down. Looking at the killmail, I forgot I had ECM drones too. /facepalm

There are only about three rescue pilots (they aren't fleeted...), and when they see all the additional ships that have arrived to kill me, my friends decide to go home. The invaders follow them.

I ask about a fleet and fighting them, but no one seems interested. Instead we undock two carriers and scare them off. My buddy manages to kill a Daredevil, which is a pretty nice trade.

I'm less-than-impressed with my alliance's show of force rather than camping the out-gate and fighting these interlopers. After a few minutes, I grab a Thrasher and head out alone again, but don't find anything to shoot at.

Lessons learned:

  • When camped, take a moment. 
  • Look for opportunities to fight; not all hope is lost.
  • I need to set autoreload on my cap boosters.
  • Remember what my ship is supposed to do and supposed to fight. In this case, I am looking to kill kiting ships that get into my scrambler range, which is exactly what happened multiple times, and I did not capitalize on it.
  • Lock things even if I can't fight them right away.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mining Party Crasher

I'm alone in a shield Rupture, looking for some fun in the sun. I dispatch a Thrasher without issue and find a ratting Myrmidon that I try to catch about six times before he's fed up and logs off.

The star map shows a bit of activity in a dead-end constellation about 10 jumps from me. When I get there, there is some chatter in local about missioning and salvaging, and I suspect these guys were doing an exploration site or mission, and I just missed them (not that I would be able to scan them down anyway).

Directional scan shows about four Hulks, a Retriever, Mammoth, and Drake. "Definitely at a POS tower," I resolve. I point d-scan at the belts anyway, and to my complete surprise they are at a belt! Holy crap a mining operation!

I warp to the asteroid belt to land about 40 km away from the closest Hulk. I dodge some rocks, lock and point the mining Exhumer, and kill it as the Drake starts to fire at me. The rest of them warp off, but I wouldn't be able to tank the Drake anyway.

I burn away, scanning the stations to see how safe they are. I notice a Hulk at one of the stations and warp there. He is sitting outside, but I dock up quick to repair my shields. When I undock, the Hulk is right next to me. I switch ammo and overheat my guns; this guy should enter station when he starts taking damage. But he seems to be AFK, so I get another Hulk kill.

The Drake comes to the station too late to save his friend, and I dock when my aggression timer finishes. I'm feeling pretty good right about now, and think, "If these guys are dumb enough to mine in Syndicate and not dock up when a neutral enters system, then I doubt this Drake pilot is that much of a threat."

I let him shoot me a few times just to see how much damage he is packing--it is quite a lot. Shield Ruptures are not that tanky, but I figured the cruiser definitely had a good run, and podding myself would be an easy way home. I open fire on the Drake, and we have a good brawl, but I expectantly blow up.

Since this Drake seems to be their only active defense, I grab my Stabber Fleet Issue and head back to their system. The SFI has an extraordinarily small signature radius which lets it dodge damage from cruiser-or-larger guns. It is typically fit with an active armor tank to maintain its small signature and speed. It has enough mid-slots to fit both a Microwarp Drive (MWD) and Afterburner (AB), AKA "dual-prop[ulsion]". The MWD provides a 500% velocity bonus at the cost of increased signature. It is used to get in close to the target. Once there, an AB can provide a noticeable increase of velocity at no signature penalty. ABs are very good at mitigating missile damage--the damage of the Drake.

When I get back to VLGD-R, they are all docked up. The Drake pilot eventually undocks in a Raven battleship which I am excited about because I should have no trouble tanking the even large missiles of the Raven. I tried to pull him away from the station so that his friends don't undock once I engage, but he doesn't seem interested.

Slowly more battleships and battlecruisers dock and redock at the station. Their final composition is two Drakes, a Myrmidon, and a Megathon. My plan to to warp around and get them separated enough that I could kill one before the others got too close. I'm looking to isolate one between 60km and 140km. After 150km, they can warp to their fleetmate.

I warp back and forth between the sun and the station, but other than slowly fly out to try to intercept me, they aren't that interested in chasing. I call them out in local, and that seems to work. They follow me to the sun, but either some of them don't warp, or they all warp to the same distance--I can't get them into the position I want.

There is some more warping back and forth, and they eventually get the idea to anchor a bubble between the station and sun. I easily avoid it, and even try to shoot it down, but the Myrmidon was guarding it, and I was afraid he'd point me when I got too close. They all go back to the station or a distant bookmark about 250km from it.

At this point another pilot undocks in a Thrasher. He doesn't seem to be aware of this dance that is going on, and he goes to the bubble and sits there. So I intentionally warp to it, kill him, and warp away before they all land on me.

I warp back to my bookmark above the station to see what they are doing. There is a Drake sitting on the Thrasher wreck, and the rest are at the undock or the 250km bookmark.

I'm going to attempt to use the bubble against them. I warp to the wreck and burn away from the other ships, putting the bubble between them and me. The Drake webs and scrams me, and my overheated AB is pulling range, but here is where I messed up. I think my scram fell off the Drake, so he can use his MWD to catch back up. When I saw him gaining range again, I gave up, and thought I couldn't pull range. I took my drugs and turned on my guns.

Everyone else was caught in the bubble and slowly making their way toward us. There was some minor mismanagement of my cap booster, but I nearly took out all the Drake's shields before I went down. Without shields, the Drake would have died quickly, and then I would have put my attention on the Myrmidon. I like to think that I was really close to killing all four of them :)

We danced around in system for about an hour before the final showdown. It was a lot of fun for me, definitely learned some things. Afterwards, I receive a convo request:

Hasugo Numani > hey
Moridin Nae'blis > I salute you sir
Moridin Nae'blis > thats a pretty tough ship you had there
Hasugo Numani > yeah, i was trying to split you guys up
Hasugo Numani > tiny sig, battleships don't hurt it :)
Moridin Nae'blis > frustrated the shit outta me i tell ya lol
Hasugo Numani > haha
Moridin Nae'blis > well GF, im off to bed
Hasugo Numani > gn
Hasugo Numani > gf
Moridin Nae'blis > o7