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

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