Friday, July 13, 2012

It All Happened So Quickly

When people claim Eve's combat is slow paced, they are speaking out of ignorance. Maybe they've seen a video on youtube or even played the trial for awhile. But everyone I know who has experienced PvP combat in Eve never says it is slow, dull, or easy.

I should note that PvP is Eve is not fair. And the fights that I am talking about are when the odds are against you.

Information pours in faster than you can process it, often paralyzing unseasoned pilots. Every After Action Review I conduct typically has me pointing out some obvious choice I should have made, but I was too overwhelmed at the time to identify and make it.

Some times I choose the wrong strategy: fleeing instead of fighting.

Other times there are tactical errors: like in this recent fight

I had the gang split on a gate with the Stabber and the Vengeance on my side. I pulled range from the gate, but fearing that the Stabber wouldn't follow me, I didn't overheat my MWD. 

ERROR: If the Stabber didn't want to fight, he would have jumped through the gate. Not maximizing my speed allowed him to catch and scram me quickly.

I finished off the Stabber, but then the rest of the gang showed up. I did not think they had as many as they did, but the majority of the incoming damage came from the Stabber, Vengeance, an Ishtar, and a Manticore.

ERROR: I failed to spot, lock, and shoot the Manticore immediately. His torpedo damage was immense, and all I had to do was sic my drones on the fragile frigate. Instead, I was shooting the Vengeance.

Removing the Manticore would have eliminated a significant portion of DPS. Would my Hurricane have survived? Doubtful. Even if I managed to kill the Vengeance after the Manticore, the other Assault Frigates would have likely caught up with me. But I would have had a better fight!

I was flying a shield Hurricane (low tank, but speedy) with big guns that have low tracking; this means I need to minimize transversal by flying directly away from my targets, hoping they chase after me in a straight line. 

I'm going to enumerate some of the decisions I had to make.

  • Jumped into system with Isktar activating gate. Stabber and Vengeance waiting to jump. I had at most 20 seconds to decide how to proceed. Do I go back through the gate? Do I start kiting and fight? Do I try warping?
  • Choosing to fight, I have to decide the direction to fly. What is my position relative to the enemies, the gate, and possible warp destinations?
  • What is my primary target?
  • Choosing to shoot the Stabber and burn toward a moon, do I activate my MWD? Do I overheat?
  • Turn on Damage Control. 
  • Lock the Stabber.
  • Overheat and turn on guns.
  • I have 2 energy neutralizers. Do I active them? On whom?
  • Launch drones. Engage which target?
  • Pay attention to my distance and transversal. Adjust accordingly.
  • What is my next target? (Based on ship class, potential threat, distance, etc.)
  • Could I warp? (i.e. Am I pointed? Could I kill the ships that are disrupting my warp drives?)
  • Am I scrammed? (Could I activate my MWD to pull range?)

There is too much to discern and decide. This is why it is folly for a pilot to spend his or her early Eve career running missions to accumulate wealth. The pilot learns nothing about actual Eve combat and gets frustrated when they lose expensive ships regularly. 

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