Rust After Just One Week

My last post caught me up to my experience just before I left on a trip with my family. Apparently a little time off needs to be considered before you jump back in to the fight. Rust must be shaken off.

My very first encounter demonstrated this. Fortunately I was not able to catch up to an LP bot, but an actual gamer. Christopher Joseph Souder in his Incursus slid into the complex I settled in to defend. We started at a distance to my advantage, but that did not stop me from clicking on the button to orbit him. The problem: he was over my orbit range, which means I just ordered my ship to go directly at him. With Christopher steaming at me, I just created the opportunity for him to close the distance with me faster, as my Tristan will slow to adjust course to orbit while the Incursus drives in without interruption to his velocity. That equates to scram distance, and thus death time for me.

As the distance ticks quickly decrease, I realize my mistake and perform some sloppy combo of manual flight order, and then orbit order. Within these commands, he was able to scram and web me. Fortunately, however, the accelerated momentum I had built carried me out of his range, and allowed me to establish a nice orbiting distance for my drones to go to work.

Oh, but the slop did not end. I got too complacent at a point. Perhaps I attempted to manage my capacitor unnecessarily, but I decide to shut off my micro warp drive at some point. He drifts past my warp scrambler range, which could have been better managed by me overheating the scrambler as I notice his distance extend further than I want. I was more concerned about re-establishing my point on him than managing my approach vector. He turns back to me, effectively sling-shotting me, and gets in my face. Now it is just a race to see which of us pops first.

38th kill

We exchange “gf” in local. He adds that he botched up several things in our fight, and I reassure him that I did as well. It was just an ugly dance altogether. Something that did go right was the Coreli A-Type 1MN Afterburner module the loot fairy granted. Nice welcome back gift.

XQ0023 was acquiring a number of kill marks. Despite the lack of skill development I displayed in the last encounter, I was wondering if XQ0023 was going to break the kill mark record. While I considered this and roamed looking for the next fight, a message in Militia chat caught my eye.

Militia Chat – Communication or Baiting?

As I said before, I am new to this faction warfare thing. I am learning many things that are not necessarily obvious to anyone entering this game, and learning by additional research – via articles and YouTube vids. For example, I learned the etiquette of donating a percentage of our LP gains to the system hub to support the larger effort. I do abide by this, since I want to be a community member. Although I have not had much luck in responding to requests made through the Militia channel, (believe me I know the risks involved), I figured, “What the hell.” My goal is to combat my risk averse nature, and I have never been involved with this sort of action. Hikkoken was only two system away from my location. I set course, and fly.

XQ0023 Kill Mail

It was not necessarily a set up. Other ships were involved, bigger ships. I joined this faction effort in my little frigate, with my little drones. I was not too surprised to see the vultures, (pirates), gathering around the effort as well. All about 100km away, circling, looking for opportunities to sneak into distance for easy targets and establish locks. I was such a target.

Caldari Hub Attack Effort

It was interesting to see how much damage is needed to take on these hubs. With the force we had, the progress was slow. An annoying things about being taken out in such an effort is there is little chance someone is going to pod you. I remained for a bit hoping someone would take me out, but considering the extreme efforts they have to go to just to establish locks on a target or two, my pod was a very low priority target. I had to pod race it back home to jump into another ship.

I was intrigued by this effort, and wanted to know more. My paranoid side wondered if this was just a ruse to draw in random pilots to gather kills, but that did not stop me from jumping into XQ0024 to sail off to get back into this hub attack. Rust alert: I did not insure my ship.

XQ0024 Kill Mail

Oh joy! Rogue Caldari Union showed up to join in on the easy pickings. Big surprise!

Anyway, I was not as quick to kill this time as I was last time. There were several attempts to slowly sneak into range and establish lock on me, only to have me warp off to a nearby celestial. I warp back in to rejoin the effort, and the process would repeat. At least one of their cruisers was lost to the effort, which helps to reassure me that the attack effort may have been legitimate. I wish I could take some responsibility in the kill, (other than performing beautifully as bait), but my drones were not sufficient for such an action. My strategy was to orbit close to the hub, so I could dock my drones quickly when I would have to warp off. As you can see from the kill mail, they eventually had to coordinate effort for several ships to approach and attack before I could fly off.

I was not able to see the hub go down, nor do I know if this attack to regain Gallente control of the system was eventually successful. I did not want to make another trek back to the contested system after my two pod drives back home. I wanted to keep it close, and see what other mischief I could find. XQ0025 away, and again rust alert: no insurance!

I fly into a system, and see an Imicus on d-scan. There is only one other pilot in system, so I spend a few moments attempting to locate where the Imicus may be. Through narrowed d-scanning, I see he is just outside a station. I get excited about the idea of attacking something, and warp to the station. Now it is important to note here that the pilot was a neutral, not involved in faction warfare. I see him just sitting there outside of the station. I approach manually, deploy drones, lock him, and finally when in range hit him with my warp disruptor. Remember kids, warp disruptors and scramblers “hit” your target, and therefore considered a hostile attack.

The screech alerting me to my shields stripping away reminded me of those things called station guns. Man, how rusty can I get in a week!!! I pop under those guns, as my “victimized” pilot states matter-of-factly in local, “You shouldn’t do that.” He should think about renaming his pilot to “Captain Obvious”.

XQ0025 – in lieu of kill mail

No kill mail provided here, since I did not receive one. Zkillboard does not show the loss, nor does my loss activities within my character sheet. I find this strange, since the losses I incurred during the newbie quests I completed in the beginning all show. So stations guns do not count? Whatever, I am counting it as a loss. For the record, XQ0025 went boom as a result of pilot going full stupid. I will not allow the lack of evidence to hide an accurate record.

XQ0026 away! Roll the LP bot Butcher’s Bill:

39th kill
40th kill
41st kill
44th kill

For the 42nd kill, I almost included her as an LP bot, but I decided not to. Gaganya Cobon-Han may just be a new player. At first I was confused, since I have not met an LP bot that used a Tristan. If I slide into a complex with a Tristan, I can usually count on a fight. If the Tristan warps off, it is because an active player is looking for easy LP. I know, that is a thin line in difference, but there is a difference. Anway, Gaganya also has a fit that is much more expensive than an LP bot. What confused me, and almost caused me to almost count her an an LP bot, was the fact that there was just no fight from her.

42nd kill

There was enough doubt in my head at the time of combat that I called out “gf” in local. Later, I ran into Gaganya again. She flew in 70km from a complex, as I warped in on it. As I began to fly toward her, she flew off. I feel there is enough evidence here for me to consider Gaganya a real player.

The night after my little victory over Gaganya, I logged in to find something in the same system that I believe is too unusual, a real faction warfare pilot attacking a complex – Urza Warrior. I undock, and see he is in a Cormorant, and locate his location. I am still a bit intimidated by destroyers. It is important to respect the heavy damage they can spit out, but I think my hesitation is mostly rooted in the fact that a destroyer is a larger, or at least more advanced, class of ship than a frigate. There is just some dis-proportionality hang up thing with me on this. Cruisers, for example, just seem unobtainable as a single frigate pilot, although I have heard the success stories of other pilots. I did not pay attention to the details of such stories, but I would not be surprised to learn the frigates were better than T1. I could be wrong though.

I sucked up my insecurities, and warp to 10km off the gate to the complex. I prep my micro warp drive to over heat, and slide into the complex. I believed my first priority is to hit the micro warp drive to gain the distance that I want, so when I finally land that is exactly what I do. Massive damage hits my shields has I fly off, deploying my drones, and hitting him with my warp disruptor. It is not until I am able to settle into an orbit and gain some transversal velocity that I begin to mitigate the incoming damage.

43rd kill

From the kill mail, I see that the 150mm Prototype Gauss Guns kept him in the battle even at the distance I preferred. If I did not keep moving, he would have shredded me, even at my distance. I wish him “gf” in local as he flew off in his pod, and think the rust is starting to fall off.

XQ0026 Kill Mail

Ah gate camps… They keep us humble. Not much to say here. They insta-locked, and made short work of XQ0026. That is all that can be said.

Record: 73 ships ready to fly: 43 kills.

Back After Some Pay Back

Excuse the delay in between posts. My family and I were able to take advantage of a last minute get away after Christmas, and it was quality time with the family. No regrets! Well, other than cutting into what I thought would be significant gaming time opportunities. But family time! That takes priority… right?

Before I left, I had some events that led to some nice booms in game. Starting with a bot.

32nd kill

Then leading to my explosion.

XQ0022 kill mail

Dravinol caught up to me in a complex as I struggled to manage my manual piloting. As mentioned before, if I do not pull enough distance from my opponent – I will just die.

No problem though, more Tristans where that came from. I hop into another ship, insure it, and head out on another roam. Growing a bit bored in my travels, I settle into a nice little novice complex that already had a few minutes knocked off of it. I did not remember at the time, but I was about to encounter a couple of old friends looking to blow me up again.

Lauralite Anne Brezia slid into my complex in her own Tristan. Fortunately for me, I was at a nice distance, and began to work to maintain it. I used several Warrior IIs to hamper her ability to shoot up my drones, in case this would work out to be a drone battle. My drones began to pound into her armor quickly, and she was not actively attacking my drones. Seeing the damage she was applying to me was minimal, I decided to keep my focus on her Tristan. Good thing too, since I picked up an Incursus on short d-scan.

Sterling Blades slid into my complex, and began to burn toward me. I made a quick decision as he broke into my “anything closer than 20km” comfort zone, and I engaged him as the primary target for my keep at 20km activity. I figured the more he attempted to close in, the worst that will happen is that he would drive us away from the Tristan. Good thing I made this decision as soon as I did, since Sterling actually caught me within 10km at this early point of our encounter before I was able to break past his web and scram range. Praise be to my overheated micro warp drive!

Meanwhile, I kept my drones attention on the Tristan, as Lauralite was now well into structure. I am so glad I invested skill points into control distance of my drones, as they eventually popped the Tristan and raced back to me to focus on my next opponent.

33rd kill

At this point, I keep Sterling at a nice, comfortable distance while my drones go to work. I have to order a few back into my bay, as he began to target them. No worries, fresh ones were waiting to replace my recalled drones. In this battle I also noticed that if I effectively manage my drones, I can waste a lot of my opponents energy and ammo. Unless they are actively tracking the targeted drone’s range, they will continue to shoot even after the drone passes beyond their optimal range on the way back to the drone bay. Cool for me, as the drone stops taking damage, and this equates to nice moments wasted before your opponent realizes he needs to change target.

I was amazed as Sterling continued to melt, and finally went boom.

34th kill

After I scooped up the loot, (including replacement drones – yay), I docked, and conducted my little reflection research on the fight. That is when I noticed that these two victimized me in the past. XQ0017 went boom as they teamed up on my approach to novice complex. Only that time, Sterling first engaged me, later to be joined in by Lauralite. To be fair, in that fight Sterling pretty much just bested me, but I am just not a fan of the whole gang up thing. I felt SO GOOD taking them out in their effort to 2v1 me!!!

That was the highlight to my pre-vacation roam. The follow up efforts are just a sad line of confused LP bots.

35th kill
36th kill
37th kill

XQ0023 was proving to be a productive little ship. I gathered so many LPs flying with her, and she continued to rack up the kill marks. Granted a few more quality than the majority, but kills just the same.

Although I spent some time in game when I returned from vacation, I will end this post here. I will continue the tale for a near future post, which will hopefully catch me up. I sometimes worry that I make these posts too long, and hope the few readers I gathered enjoy the efforts. I attempt to provide reflections in these posts, along with the narrative accounts, (to the best of my memory), of each notable battle. I am always open to suggestions to improve the content, if anyone would like to offer any.

It is good to be back, but I hate returning to work. Today was tiring, but I wanted to be sure to get this post out.

Record: 78 ships waiting for their day: 37 kills.

Disillusion & Awareness

A lot of flying lately, but few and far between battles. The down time lulls you into moods that are not favorable preparation for the clashes that may be stumbled upon.

This post may go out of time line sequence. It starts out as more of a routine up to date post, but it does get better.

First, I present the LP bot Butcher’s Bill:

25th kill
26th kill
27th kill
28th kill
29th kill
30th kill

I feel like the above kill mails should have had some sort of slow, sad music to create more of a mood as you scroll down. Then again, they were just bots.

Which brings me to my first observation, Zkill board padding. Not to say I, or other pilots, are doing this on purpose, but many of my kills are almost an embarrassment to count as kills. I note this, because in the past my industrialist/explorer spent a lot of time researching pilots in system. There were some times I may have been able to proceed with activities if I saw then what I can see now. I have a better understanding that many of these kills do not necessarily indicate quality of fighter pilot. As evidenced by too many pilots that have encountered that have run away from a fight with me.

Yep, that is right! There have been a large number of pilots in low sec that I start to engage with, (or enter a complex with me in it), but then run away. Those that initiate the fight, I kick myself over, since I need to get better at overheating my warp disruptor to extend range. The others however, I think many of them are out to literally pad their kill boards. I am so disillusioned!

I also realized another false positive to Zkill board padding, as I ran into a bunch of strangeness in a very active system. I engaged an Incursus outside of a gate leading to a complex. I was winning the fight, but it was taking some time. A gang of five ships fly in, all blinking criminal as they were running around engaging in all kinds of mischief. The Incursus and I were at some distance off from the gate by now, but a Federation Navy Comet was able to catch up, and he takes out the Incursus – stealing my kill. I did not know it at the time, since I thought I killed the Incursus and that this gang was following up on a trap. I later found out that I did not get credit for the Incursus kill, in game, but did on Zkill board. Since I did not get credit in game, I am not counting the Incursus as a kill for this blog.

Anyway, I targeted the Federation Navy Comet that was burning to me. I begin to apply damage, and keep him a range. I know this is the end for this Tristan, but I think I can squeeze another kill out before his buddies catch me. Then his buddies leave. This is strange… I continue to fight the Comet, and another gang of four ships pop on to the gate. I have no idea what is going on at this point. The Comet slips out of my warp disruptor range, as my confusion successfully distracts me, and three of the other ships zip off as well. Damage is starting to be applied to my Tristan, and I see that the cruiser that remained is firing on me. Just as I am about to manually order my Tristan to approach, I see my micro warp drive has burned out. Thoroughly confused, I warp off to repair.

Later, I noticed on Zkill board that I killed a Federation Navy Comet. Curious. I do not remember getting drunk while playing Eve. How could I have blacked out? I clicked on the entry, and see that I was included on the kill for the Federation Navy Comet that escaped me earlier. What?!?

I do not understand how the calculation is considered for such kills. Am I considered an active combatant until the ship docks? Was damage applied due to overheating from our battle the determining factor in my participation into the ship’s explosion? Whatever the case, it is another factor that I was not aware of before, and a realization that continues to demystify my initial analysis of a pilot’s combat history as I research them.

Now for my losses, with some description.

XQ0019 kill mail

I was so pissed at myself over this one. I was defending a complex when saw the Federation Navy Comet approach. As he entered the complex ready for a fight, I was excited, not intimidated. He entered a nice distance to my advantage, but that is when I decided to go full stupid. For some reason, I did not believe I needed to micro warp drive to pull distance. Maybe a combination of the dull that set in my brain between quality fights or a beer induced tired, (no not drunk), but Kriat Kadarwell closed the distance and began to melt my face with his blasters. Oh well.

XQ0020 kill mail

Okay, so this one really pissed me off. I had chased off a LP bot from a complex within a crowded system. I figured I would stay a while to see if anyone would accept my invitation to fight. I was ready to blow up, and get some experience. Horse Hugen, (to be known as Zamira’s little toady or alt from here on out), comes into the complex in his Punisher. I did everything right in this battle, and saw that my drones were working away at his active tank well.

Then I see the Republic Fleet Firetail on short d-scan about to enter our complex. I have to make a quick decision now, and decide to go for the Punisher kill. Hindsight reflection: should have focused my damage and distance pull on the Firetail. This would have most likely taken the Punisher completely out of the equation, but maybe a more valuable kill and control of the 2v1 combat that this became.

I have to admit that I had hoped that this was just going to turn out to be a brawl with the Firetail flying in to take us both out, but when I saw Zamira pass by the Punisher and b-line it to me I knew this was just a trap. Later, Zkill board research confirmed my suspicion. Zamira Roman, (as I now continue to witness as I fly through systems), hangs out in neighboring systems waiting for her little toady to engage in a fight. Yep, Zamira is an elite PvPer, alright!

What I am proud of is resisting my initial inspiration, to write an in game mail to Zamira telling her to just challenge me to a fight next time. I had the mail written, but then thought better of it and deleted it. This is Eve. All is fair. This 7 mil. lesson is cheap tuition compared to the other hulls she victimized to this scheme.

XQ0021 kill mail

Once again I am victimized by the Triglavian tech with this little Damavik. This was a fun fight though. I flew to a novice complex that was out of d-scan range, as I believed the LP bot in system was there. Faruzen ed Divalone was on the gate. Not sure if he was attempting to hunt the bot, or just fish for pilots like me. Whatever the case, I flew in at a comfortable distance from him, and we target each other.

I was able to pull range well, and deploy my drones. I saw that he deployed three Acolytes on me. At this point I decided to continue to work the Damavik’s hull. My drones chew into his armor pretty quickly, and I see that he is active armor tanked. Then I see all of my drones take damage, about three of them have no shields left! I think, “What the hell?!?” Not being familiar with Triglavian weapons, I wonder if this is a feature with one of their weapon types. I then rethink my drone deployment. Now I wonder if this is going to be a lengthy fight, and if so I should target his drones. Redirecting my drones onto his, I begin to take them out. His weapon continues to pound away at me, which again surprises me – considering I have successfully kept him at about 20km. I really need to learn about these weapons!

Smart Bombing Damavik

After my Tristan goes boom, we exchange “gf” in local, and later converse by mail. Faruzen informs me that he believes I would have taken him if I continued to focus on his ship. He did not want to share his fit with me, but later asked me how effective his smart bombs were against my drones. I informed him of the damage, but added that the damage they applied is what led to my decision to redirect my drones to his. In hindsight, not sure how effective those smart bombs are, (considering cap drain and such), for this ship. Later, I was able to find his fit on Zkill board. Seeing this also makes me a little sad, since it would have been such an awesome trophy on my kill list. Next time!

My final addition to this entry was another interesting encounter, as I was on the LP bot hunt. There were two LP bots in system, I flew to a novice complex that was out of d-scan range. A Daredevil was sitting on the gate. As I come out of warp, I notice that I have the shakes. This is something that does not happen as frequently as it did when I first started this challenge, but my first Daredevil battle is enough to inspire it again apparently. I land, we target each other, and I begin to pull distance – nice! Things are going to plan! Then he turns, speeds out of range, and warps off. Sigh…

Not detecting a bot in the complex, I warp to a gate of a medium complex. I know that at least one of these bots recently entered system, so it takes them some time to find a safe spot and scan for ANY threat. After sitting on gate for a moment, I warp off to another novice complex. The Daredevil is there, (side note: I am getting a little sloppy with using d-scan). Now I am not as shaky, as I begin to mentally create a checklist of what I need to do to make this fight work, keep the pilot engaged, and get a nice kill.

I land closer to him than I like, but click on my overheat prepped micro warp drive. Half way through the warp drive cycle, I see he has me disrupted. Not scrammed?!? Also, he did not apply a web on me. I had pulled enough distance that I think I would have had a chance to pull out of scram range, even if he had one. A web however, would have cooked me.

With my range established and drones applied, now I just had to wait. I shut off the overheating on my micro warp drive, and began to focus prepping my warp disruptor for overheating to extend its range when applicable. I click this on and off a few times during our battle, and keep him engaged in our fight. Finally…

31st kill

My most expensive kill to date!!! We exchanged “gf” in local, and I scoop up the loot. Unfortunately the loot fairy said no to the Federation Navy Stasis Webifier. Now that I see his fit, I think I got a bit lucky in this fight. Again, the webifier would have made more of difference than the disruptor. Anyway, there was more loot in his cargo hold that was not pictured in the screenshot. This was a good kill.

It is important to add here, that I have learned other details since my last post. I have taken to watching, or re-watching, Eve PvP videos, and some subtleties have popped up. Such as using shift-click to turn overheating modules on/off. Funny how these details are lost when I watched before, but now I catch them as I am actually practicing the activity that I was curious about.

Advice to any curious reader – get a ship, fly, fight, and blow up. Just get started, and a new experience and awareness will open up. There is still more for me to learn and get used to, but this has re-inspired my engagement with Eve. I wish I did this earlier.

Record: 79 ships ready for action: 31 kills.

We Talkin’ ‘Bout Practice

After my last post, I took a break for an hour or so before heading out again.  Not really interested in defensive plexing, but not really on full attack mode either.  I just wandered here and there.  I am frustrated, but I do not want to give up.

I land in Loes, and there are two enemies in system.  I guess I am tilting a bit at this point, because I just warp to the first novice complex I see on the scanner.  Nothing.  Warp to the next… nothing.  Very strange.  I look into the pilots now, and see that they are not LP farmers/bots.  I begin using my d-scan with narrow angle, but I can not find them in system.

Then I notice something that was in my face all along.

FW Missions Welcome Everyone to the Party

Someone is running a mission.  Despite my years of PvE, I am not familiar the mission “A Wolf in the Fold”, but I can see that a Tristan is still in the complex.  This should be interesting.  I warp to the gate, and begin to speculate on what sort of NPCs I may have to run up against as well. 

I gate into the plex, and the Tristan is still there.  Five warrior IIs deployed.  The Tristan is over 40 kms away, so I begin to zoom forward.  There are no NPCs in this pocket, (just a bunch of wrecks), so at least that is not a thing I need to worry about.  As I approach, the Tristan suddenly warps off.  He left all of his drones.  

I scoop up the drones, and loot the wrecks left behind.  I do not know if anything I looted was mission critical, but I do not think so.  Looting the field just fulfills my greedy side, and it helps make me feel victorious somehow.

As I loot more enemy pilots enter system, blinking in local.  I dock to unload the cheap loot I acquired, (more convinced now that I really inspect it that nothing is mission critical), and head back out.  I scan a ship in a novice complex, warp in, and watch him fly off.  I play this game a few more times, and begin to do something I normally do not do – smack talk in local.

Me, Smack Talking

As I circle the button in the complex I decide to nest in, it does not take me long to realize that there will not be any takers to my challenge.  Not that I really was expecting any.  Very frustrating.  I scan, but detect nothing in system.  I am at a complete loss as to where these four enemy pilots are.  

Then, more from curiosity than anything else, I scan the mission complex.  There really is no reason a pilot would be in there, since he finished the mission.  ‘Lo and behold, the Tristan is in there.  I figure, “What the hell.”  Falling for a trap is better than this slow death of zooming all around a system hunting cowards.  Away I go.

As I warp in to the complex, the Tristan is still there, and a Heron appears – right on top of me.  From my experience with Alice P Liddel, I already know this Heron is not an explorer fit.  The Heron and I lock each other, and the Tristan scurries off – seems he will not even chance his safety as an observer on the field.  Not much to this battle, since I started at such a disadvantage.

XQ0014 Kill Mail

The only lesson I can pull from this combat is the lesson I knew flying into it, “If it looks too good to be true, it is.”  I would not fall into this trap if I was being selective, but this challenge is to help me cope with loss.  It is a bitter pill to swallow though.

Heron PvP Fit

The Heron pilot, Roxanne Valentine, ends up being cool though.  According to the Eve Mails we exchange, she was attempting to hunt LP farmers, came across this complex, and was disconnected.  When she reconnected the Tristan was off at a distance, and I was the closest target.  Normally I would not believe such a coincidence, but like I said she was helpful.  I also like Stay Frosty corporation.  They are fun to have around.  She shared the Heron fit.  

In further conversation, as I asked for advice, she also shared two Tristan fits for me to try out.  One of the fits I knew about, but the neut fit Tristan is something I have heard of.  It will be interesting to fly around and try out.  My commitment to my current fit is set for the next several Tristans, however, as I have already fitted them out in preparation of many more booms.

I asked Roxanne to put in a good word for me with Stay Frosty, and we part ways.  I may look into moving into this corporation eventually.  Unless things change with FW, I just do not see myself staying with this side of Eve.  I like the LP gains, sort of.  I would prefer more value to kills.  Also, the current state of the Gallente/Caldari war is completely dominated by Gallente.  We will see, I still have a while to go with this current challenge.

The next day after work, I hop on, and take to roaming.  After traveling a few systems, I come across an LP farmer/bot, and fly to the complex.  He zips off as I land, and I take to circling the button for a while.  There are several people in system, but I spin around for about five minutes with no takers.  Lynx Artrald enters the system, and I see a Republic Fleet Firetail heading my way on d-scan.  I know these suckers are fast, so I make sure my orbit is at 28 km hoping he lands at a distance.

The Firetail lands at about 10 km from me – good enough.  I had my micro warp drive prepped to overheat, so I target Lynx and hit orbit.  I begin to pull distance as my drones go to work.  Damage is getting through, and I am happy with the progress through the fight.  Then I turn idiot.  I attempt to shut off the overheat on my micro warp drive.  I want the unit to continue to run, but I do not want to burn it out.  The result was me turning off the entire unit.  A detail I did not become aware of, until I saw the Firetail close the distance quickly.  He scrams, neuts, and blasts me in the face now, and runs through my shield quick.

At some point, as I attempt to pointlessly figure out how pull distance without my micro warp drive, I notice that it has become a bit of a race.  Granted it is a race that does not favor me, considering my shields are tankiest part of my ship.  However, the Firetail is in structure, and my drones continue to hammer away.  Pop goes my Tristan.

XQ0015 Kill Mail

We exchange good fight in local, and Lynx offers to pod me home.  Accepting his invite, I load up into XQ0016, and away I go again.

Although I fly out into Lowsec space immediately, I am not hunting at this point.  I find a vacant system, and fly to a station with a repair facility.  It really pissed me off shutting down my micro warp drive in that battle.  I feel I could have taken that Firetail out with enough time at a distance.  Even if that is debatable, what is not is the fact that once he scrammed me, my battle was done.

Middle Button to Shut Down Overheating!!!!

I make some runs away from station running the micro warp drive, over heating it, and shutting it down.  The thin green bar above the micro warp drive is fine to prep, when that click has my full attention.  Once in battle, clicking becomes less exact.  I determine clicking the middle, double dash line button just to the right of the capacitor is the way to go.  It is called the overload rack.  If I click on the button, ( it turns green), then click again, (blinking green fades away), it will shut down the overheating only.  I need to keep that micro warp drive on!  I practice this a few times, dock up, repair my damaged modules, and head out to hunt.

Standard scene set up again, I enter system, chase off LP farmer/bot, and begin orbiting the button.  A few pilots enter system as the bot runs off.  A pilot from Stay Frosty and one from the Caldari State pilot draw my attention.  I begin spamming d-scan, waiting for one of these pilots, (my money was on Stay Frosty), to approach.  Time goes by.  The Caldari State pilot leaves system, and then I see a Federation Navy Comet approaching.  I did not notice Triakis Semifasciata enter, but he was looking for a fight.  I know Navy Comets are tough, so I brace myself.  Orbiting at 28 km around the button and prepped my micro warp drive with overheating.

Triakis enters at a distance to my advantage.  I lock him, and click to orbit at 20 km.  Almost all Navy Comets I have seen on ZKillboard were blaster fit, so I believed distance was necessary for my survival.  Once distance was set and my drones were going to work on him, I shut overheating off – as I practiced. 

I wish I could say things went smooth from here on out.  In this battle, I struggled to control range.  I looked up, and he started closing in on me.  I overheat micro warp drive to extend distance, shut it off, and see that he was beyond my warp disruptor’s range.  I begin to manage the few modules I have, overheating micro warp drive and/or disruptor, to gain speed and/or extend the distance to lock him.  I began to get more panicked each time I lost lock, as I started to see a real opportunity to win the fight.

Through this flurry of attention distractions, I catch a glimpse of red, and see that Triakis has begun to beat up on my drones.  I recall one, deploy two, and so on from there.  Each time looking at my distance to keep point established on him.

14th Kill

We exchange “gf” in local.  It was a good fight, but I am not sure I fought it as smooth as it might have been fought.  Triakis tells me in local that he is new to this, and just trying to get used to PvP.  I confess I am as well.  I also complimented him on staying in the fight.  There were several opportunities for him to warp off to save his ship.  He was committed to stay in the fight though!

I scoop up the loot, and head back to my home station to drop off, and to repair and replace drones.  Nothing like a win to heal a wounded ego.  There is still so much for me to learn, and I still need to accept loss.  It is inevitable, but I will go down fighting.

Record: 85 ships remain: 14 kills. 

Now This, …This is What I Expected

I have been in a slump.  Defensive plexing just does not gather the action I believed.  Maybe it depends on the time of day.  However, I do believe I have been too conservative in my approach.  Thus, slightly drifting away from my goal to explode through 100 ships.  Of course I do want to gain experience, but when I am flying around things are just too slow.

This weekend I had the opportunity to play for a few hours.  Starting with defensive plexing, I again hit a slow period.  I decided to roam and look for attack opportunities.  Within the first few systems I entered, I was lingering at gate as an Amarr Crusader warped in.  

Lately, I have read several articles and posts of people complaining about bots infesting our FW systems.  As I looked into the experience of the pilot, I saw what I have come to expect from an LP farmer – very limited time logged under experience.  After hesitating on gate for longer than I should, I decided to head to the novice complex, since I was willing to bet that would be where he flew.  When I landed I was about to use the gate to warp into the complex, but then on my overview I saw an Atron warping to my location.  I deployed drones, clicked to target, and prepped my warp disruptor.  When the Atron completed warp, I locked and attacked.

10th Kill

Another LP farmer off the grid.  This time I did not pod, since I’ve determined that just allows him to get into a ship faster to continue his money grind.  Notice the 19 loyalty points for me though!  Fortunately with my drone fit, I am not wasting money on these kills.  I have learned not to overhead with these encounters either, again just a waste of ISK for repairs.

This encounter causes me concern about the botting accusations I read about.  I do see the same pilots resorting to these tactics, and I see the same patterns.  I do not know how to program such bots, but I have to imagine the AI may have some limitations.  As I fly into a complex, the pilot leaves.  They stay in system for a moment, fly back to the gate to the novice complex I now occupy, and remain there for several moments.  This pattern is not from all pilots I have run off, but the majority of these cheap Atron fits do follow the pattern.  It almost seems to me the pilot returns to the complex gate in an attempt to run me off.  Sort of like an anti-bot, LP farming bot.

Anyway, giving a big “Whatever,” to that issue, I continued my hunt.  I end up in Heydieles system, and see that there are a number of pilots – a Caldari militia member among them.  The novice complex is out of reach for my narrow d-scan attempt, but at this point I’m willing to just commit and fly to the complex.  As I approach, an Atron is on scan, so I figure all is running according to my “shoo away LP farmer” plan.  I enter complex, but the Atron is not able to fly off before I establish lock and point.  I lock him, deploy drones, and… begin taking damage???

XQ0007 kill mail

Burntime is not a Caldari Militia pilot obviously.  Good farming for fights strategy here!  He was on top of the complex button, and as an Atron was able to lock me up quickly for his guns to go to work on my shields.  His warp scrambler would not allow me to pull any distance.  I am happy to say that I was not too shaken by this surprise.  My drones got out according to plan, and I established point from my disruptor.  It was a close fight, with his Atron bleeding into hull damage before I exploded. 

This fight also liberated me from another nag in the back of my head – implants.  Burntime podded me, as he locked and scrammed me very quickly.    Not that I hesitated in grid for very long, but apparently body hunting is important to Burntime.  I was podded before being able to respond to his “gf” in local.  

When Quin Fidel was created, I roamed a bit to defensive plex, but as I said in one of my first posts I was not committed to the idea of combat and loss – running from engagements.  I put Quin on a shelf for over a year.  Before doing so, I did stick several cheap implants into his head.  I did not want to give up on the idea of making him my FW character, and I figured he could use the boost to skill training time.  It was a good use of the down time, and I got a lot of use out of the implants.  They are gone now.  The nagging worry of losing them is now gone too.  I think this may have been a factor in my decisions for roaming.  I did not want to stray too far from my home base, due to pod travel time.

XQ0008 away!  I continue to roam.  Immediately chasing off three LP farmers from their complexes, but no kills.  The final farmer, gets me to settle into the complex to work off the time he collected.  He was less than a minute from securing the complex.  I needed to review a few industry orders on my alt’s screen, so I could just spin in the complex, (I was the only pilot in system), and keep an eye on local for any possible threats entering system.

As I focused back on Quin, since he had less than a minute to secure this complex, I noticed a call for help in the militia channel.  Someone asked for support in Nennamaila.  I probably could have asked for more details, but I do not really trust this channel too much.  I figured this could be a trap, or I could be a really nice guy to attempt support.  Anyway the complex secures, and I head off to Nennamaila – just two jumps off.

I jump into system, and there is a whole lot of blinking from several in local.  There are several members of the Rogue Caldari Union alliance in system, and they are generally the flashy pilots.  They are not Faction Warfare, but seem to have fun at FW militia members’ expense.  I know this, as I encountered three of them at the gate leading to the novice complex.

XQ0008 Kill Mail

Not much to write about here.  The Stiletto gained a quick lock on me, and the Garmur and Magus just went to town.  I have to say that I was not too surprised to see this at the gate.  I was expecting a trap of some kind, just not out outside of the gate.  What I learned was that once point is established on my ship, I cannot access the gate into the complex.  Do not fret, I tried to use the complex gate not in an attempt to run away – necessarily.  I was actually hoping the Garmur would jump into the complex to balance out the odds a bit.  Anyway, I am glad I learned this detail, for in the future it will be a detail that will serve well.  I am curious if this is the case for both scrambler and disruptor.  I could have sworn I locked and pointed a few LP farmers outside of a complex, and yet they were able to fly off.  If anyone reading knows details, I would appreciate clarification – as well as any advice in general to offer me in any of my experiences.

A part of me wonders if this crew is simply fishing for LP farmers.  It would be an interesting little trap.  After checking their record on ZKillboard I see that they are just accumulating kills through this gang roam strategy.  Minus the roam, since their strategy seems to be to farm one system for any and all gank opportunities.  I’m podded here, jump into XQ0009, and I’m off again.

The last attempt to run in and hero the day inspires me to to level up my aggression.  I just do not feel like defensive plexing today.  I access the FW map, locate a system controlled by the Caldari, set destination, and warp there as fast as I can.  I head into Ishomilken, and see that it is busy.  Several Caldari pilots are in system.  In an attempt to control any possible fight, I fly into a novice complex.  More time goes by than I expected before I see any possible threat on d-scan – a Dramiel.  All other pilots are flying shiney T2 frigates or larger ships.

Using d-scan to identify the Dramiel is most likely is heading to my complex, I switch out a few of my Hobgoblin drones for Warriors to exploit what I believed may be his ship’s lowest resistance, explosive damage.  My later investigation into the Dramiel proved this was the right move.  Although I was orbiting the button at 19 km, Dauros warped right on top of me – as he, I’m sure, was pleased to see.  Despite my attempt to distance myself, the ensuing brawl favored him.  I was not able to put a lot of attention into velocity and other such details.  I was too busy attempting to pull distance.  I believe I got him into structure, however, before XQ0009 went boom from under me.  It seems once the distance war is won and my ship is warp scrambled, the battle is just finished for me.

XQ0009 Kill Mail

We exchange “gf” in local, and he pods me back to my home station.  XQ0010 online, and away.

Some time during the previous events, another message comes over the militia channel, we are about to lose Hikkoken.  I set course, and rush in to help.  

Once again, I see a large number of pilots, and not many are militia.  My d-scan again shows a large number of T2 frigates and larger running around.  I see a novice complex, narrow d-scan, determine there are no surprises waiting, and warp to 10 km.  I deploy my drones, and begin to orbit the button – killing the faction NPC spawns as they pop up.  

The system is swarming with blingy, expensive ships.  Through d-scan, I can tell my presence is gaining interest.  I notice this system is also being camped by the Rogue Caldari Union alliance, as some members are excitedly zooming here and there, and some accidental slips in chatter appear in local.  Such as, “Is the Tristan in the novice plex?”  

Smooth crew there.

I see a Tristan approach my complex.  And prep for what I believe will soon be a gang of gankers invading my plex to add to their kill board.  To my surprise TWAN Casaille is not apart of the gankers.  His active armor fit Tristan was also armed with a nosferatu.  Once again, he pops in right on top of me.  He does not have a warp scrambler, so I am able to use my micro warp drive to pull some distance.  He has a micro warp drive as well, and we begin to dance this way as I try to find a balance of pulling distance, keeping my signature radius down, and capacitor economy under the strain the nosferatu depletion.

Hindsight note here, I should have went to work on his drones early on.  Learning the same lesson here as some of my past opponents.  He was not engaged in drone management, and I think I may have taken him – maybe – if I immediately took out some of his drones.

XQ0010 Kill Mail

A review of ZKillboard shows the TWAN normally flies with an Ishkur, but must have hopped into his Tristan just to pay me a visit.  Awww!

While conducting my ZKillboard reflection, I also notice a kill credit under my name.  Seems TWAN could not escape the Rogue Caldari Union swarm that was so excited to add another notch on their ZKillboard record.  I notice that TWAN did not have any cap boosters in his inventory.  His dual armor repairer fit must chew through capacitor.  I’ll take some credit for going through those.  

For the record, I am not counting TWAN as a kill.

I have boarded XQ0011, but not launched yet.  I have to log and re-group my mind.  This last chain of losses has sort of tweaked my ego a bit.  I know it is silly, but for years I believed I just suck at PvP.  Rationally I know it is something that takes practice to get better at, and yet something about this game brings out the worst in my loss averse nature.  Ego maybe?  The kills are inspirational.  I don’t know.  I like the fact that I’m committing to this, but hope the sting of loss does decline.  I need to be less focused on kill to loss ration, and just keep focused on gaining experience over anything else.

Record: 90 ships in dock waiting; 10 kills recorded.

All’s Quiet On the FW Front

I have been away at a conference.  I would like to say that I have been away at a conference since my last post, but no.  I have managed to get in some playing time as well.  Although I brought a computer with me to the conference, each night after the conference business the wireless connection I had access to was just too laggy to play.  Disappointing.  I really could have used boom-boom time to distract from the tedium of the days.

The nights I have been able log on and roam have been disappointing.  I have been true to my word – ready to fight.  At first I attempted to stay in novice and small complexes.  I have enjoyed the opportunities to the 1v1 fights I have encountered so far.  Diving into defending complexes have been the most successful to gaining fights.  Chasing LP farmer, not so much.  

Brand new, shiney Exoplanets paint-job

Not finding anyone to take me up on my defensive position, I moved to medium and large complexes.  Still no takers.  On d-scan I see opportunities, but the inhabitants of low sec just do not seem interested in a fight, or even a kill for that matter.  As I circled around the button for a large complex, I d-scan watched a Tengu sit outside an NPC station.  I bolstered myself to keep to my pledge and not run should he fly in, but alas he eventually flew out of the system.  

The most excitement I encountered within the nights of roaming and plexing would be at a novice complex.  I flew into a crowded system, (when I say crowded I mean about 12 pilots in system), and I immediately identify two Caldari State pilot in system.  I note that the names sounded unimaginative/non-descript and there was an Atron on d-scan, so I immediately bolt to the novice complex in system – thinking there has to be an LP farmer here that I might catch.  At this point, I don’t even care to narrow my d-scan to confirm the Atron is in the small complex.  I just want action.  As I fly to the complex, I am able to confirm the Atron pilot is sitting in the complex.

As I warp onto the gate leading to the complex, a Caldari Navy Hookbill, piloted by one of the Caldari State pilots, warps in just after I land.  I get excited!  Screw the Atron, here’s the fight.  For a split second I think this may have been some sort of trap, but I do not care – just fight.  I deploy drones, and click to orbit the gate before the Hookbill has the chance to completely land.  I plan to click and orbit his ship as soon as I can establish lock.  The Hookbill comes out of warp, I target, begin to orbit, and just as I am about to command the drones to attack as lock is established – the Hookbill warps off…  What?!?

Now I kind of kick myself for not clicking the warp disruptor.  Kind of.  I do need to get in that habit.  However, in this case I thought this pilot was looking for a fight.  I thought I would have a few moments before I needed to get that disruptor action going.  I chose unwisely.  I narrowed my d-scan width to detect within the complex, and, of course, the Atron pilot flew off.

Tonight I hit over 200,000 LPs.  I did not really track how many LPs my current Tristan is responsible for earning, but I think it is safe to say that it has more than paid for itself.  My minimum LP gain for defensive plexing has been over 3,000 LPs for a novice complex.  My experience in the past has established that at least 2,000 ISK can be earned per LP, so using the above approximate numbers it is safe to say that defensively completing one novice complex is worth 6,000,000 ISK.  That is a conservative figure, in my opinion.

Tens of thousands of LPs of work wear on paint-job.  Alas, no kill marks.

In a future post, I’ll review the cost to acquire a Tristan and outfit it for FW.  Just in case anyone feels inspired to take such a challenge.  I will offer strategies to keep the cost low.  If action, or inaction, such as the last several nights continues to be uneventful, the future blog post may be the next one.  

Considering my motivation to take on this challenge, I am not disappointed.  I actually enjoy the fact that I was getting excited for the opportunity of a fight.  I have not even gone through ten ships, and already I have grown as a player.  I do kick myself for not doing something like this earlier – much earlier.  My assumption was that I would be ganked by roaming gangs more often than not, or crash into several gate camps.  Previously piloting through systems in FW space, I assumed the Caldari and Amar faction pilots in system were the most ballsy pilots around, not to be taken lightly.  Those assumptions are fading.  

Coincidentally, I have read several articles bemoaning the lack of pilots in Low Sec space, and/or criticizing FW.  There is concern over the number of bots, and call to revamp the current FW system in place.  Although it is too early for me to make such calls, the only thing I will chime in on is the incentive, or lack of, to destroy enemy faction ships.  If PvP is to be encouraged, then there needs to be more incentives to fight.  I have destroyed several LP farmer Atrons, and my LP reward for any one of them has not broken 100 LPs.  I realize these ships were not expensive, and the reward is based on ship value.  But… damn!  If you consider the opportunity cost to their strategy,  the LP farmer is justified with their spin and run tactic.

Record: 94 ships still waiting to go, 9 kills.

Surprising Start

As I stated at the start, my time can be limited.  This has often held me back from joining large corporations/alliances.  I have always been very straight forward with my time commitment obstacles when joining a corporation, regardless if I initiated the request or another corp recruited me.  Each time I am promised, “Yeah dude, we all know life happens.  Just join in when you can.”  Yet, inevitably, one day I log in to find I’ve been kicked from the same “relaxed” corporation to make room for more active players.  Always nice mails sent to explain, but still something burns from reneging on a deal. 

Anyway, distracted off topic rant over, I have not spent the time since my last post  mourning over my first loss – crying, on the floor, in the fetal position.  I haven’t!  I have managed to log in, and fly around here and there.  I jet into a plex, orbit the button, and wait.  I have to admit, I do take a few jumps to find systems that are not crowded.  I would like to gain experience with PvP, so I am attempting to locate systems that will increase my chances at 1v1 combat.

Just to establish how much I’ve been out in attempt to blow up:

The LP count for Federal Defense Union (FDU) has been accumulated by 3-4k increments at a time.  Each plex 10-15 minutes to complete, remaining in novice and small complexes.  I have yet to complete anything larger, reference my previous post.  Maybe that should be the key to blowing up more, making myself an easier target.  And yet, many of the past up opportunities to take me on are from frigates!  Also, I have yet to encounter a faction warfare pilot that is interested in a fight.  I have come across many opposing faction pilots in system, and even attempted to fly into their plex.  Each time they just fly off, or pass through the system.

I guess I’m going to have to get more aggressive with my plan.

There is exciting news to share though!  My first kill!!!!

Watson Crick is the man!  I was plexing a small room, and Watson flew right in.  I spotted him on d-scan, and deployed my drones.  I was better at prepping my micro warp drive to overheat as Watson flew in – but the story on that does not stop there.  I was already orbiting the button at 20km, so I liked my defensive preparation.  As soon as Watson dropped from warp, we targeted each other.  I clicked him to orbit at 20km, and hit my micro warp drive to maintain the orbit.  Little did I know, or care at this point, that this distance helped his fit as well.  At least my orbiting maneuver disrupted his turret tracking a bit, which as it turns out I needed any and all advantage to win this fight.

A little after we engaged, (about the same time I noticed I was warp disrupted), I realized I needed to click on my own warp disruption to lock him.  I attempted to keep an eye on transversal velocity, but found that my eyes kept jumping to his target icon.  Watching the slow damage progress to his shields, I calculated that he too was shield fit.  Seeing no recovery from the shield damage, I also guessed he was most likely passive fit as well.  This was going to be a race to the end, and it was turning out to be close.  Suddenly I heard the startling sounds of warning from my shield indicator, alerting me I was low.  My eyes dart back to transversal, then back to his target icon.  Quickly followed by the shocking shriek indicating my armor was low.  That sound came on me a little faster than I expected!  That’s when I realized I forgot to shut off my micro warp drive, and it burned out.  Nice move noobie-me!

Both of us in structure, (and my ship moving much slower), I notice he’s at 22km.  Now I’m not sure if he was attempting to pull range.  This is another detail I’ll need to gain a eye for as this game, hopefully, slows down for me.  I hit the button to fly to him in an attempt to maintain the 24km range of my warp disruptor.  In hind sight, if Watson wanted to get away, I’m sure he could have easily done it.  A better move for me here would be to decrease orbital range.  Moving toward him simply took away my transversal advantage.  Considering both of our ships were well into structure, (mine less than 25% structure left at the end), I’m sure Watson was just as interested in seeing this combat through to the end as I.  That was a great fight, from a great pilot!

Personal note: considering this was my first kill, I really appreciate the loot fairy honoring me with the fireworks drop.  It’s just poetic.  Also, I placed the Tristan kill mark as the featured image to this post.  I am enjoying it while it lasts.  As tempting as it is to save, this ship must seek its destruction.

I have been able to fly around a bit more than usual lately, since I have enjoyed some time off from work.  I do have some work to complete over this weekend, so we’ll see how much of this I can continue.  Even when I return to work, I’ll be able to post an hour or so of fly time most nights.  I will see this challenge through.

Current record: 99 Tristans in dock, 1 kill.