Enjoying Time Off and Doing My Part for the Game Economy

Since I have a few days off before starting my new job, I am enjoying more time in game. It really is amazing how free I feel now that I have released myself from the toxic environment. Anyway, enough of that, and on to more important matters.

My last few losses demonstrated a dire need to re-familiarize myself with the process of going on the attack. Sliding into plexes with an opponent waiting to defend has proven a challenge – one that used to not be as intimidating. The only solution is to put myself out there more, which is the whole point to my quest with this blog.

Eventually I jump into a system, and d-scan a merlin in a plex. I can’t identify the pilot, but I don’t see any other Gallente milita members around. Whoever is in there will be a viable target. Warping in at 10 km from the gate, I prep my micro warp drive to overheat, and in my mind I begin forming the steps I need to take when I come out of warp after jumping into the plex. A deep breath, click, slide… I come out of warp and double click a location below and past my opponent. Then I attempt to click on my prepped micro warp drive, but Junge Junge has me scrammed and double webbed by this point.

XQ0033 Kill Mail
Junge Junge’s Merlin Fit

Post battle reflection: double click out into space and hit F1, (which is why I situated the module on that button in the first place). Basically, the fight is over before it began. A brawler in my face successfully establishing warp scramble lock and double web just puts this whole fight on his terms, and I’m not sure if any tactic I take within this Tristan fit would have succeeded on such terms.

As we exchange “gf” in local, I remember the detail of the F1 button. The F1 button is much faster than moving the cursor to the screen button. Those moments make all the difference. If I could have gotten just one pulse out of the micro warp drive, maybe, I could have pulled out of scram and web range – big maybe. Junge Junge positioned himself well in the plex, and played his hand like a pro. Well done!

At this point I have to apologize. I have been diving into the game, and I have not been as detailed at keeping notes after each battle. So, there will be some points, as in the case with this next battle, where I can not recall how the fight was initiated.

I believe I was attacking a plex. After flying around, I was getting frustrated by several pilots just flying off as I slide into their plex. B’aldrick Aivoras from EVE University, (Junge Junge’s corp mate), decides to have a go at me with his Kestrel. He slides in, but defending these plexes just allows me to establish the fight on my terms. Keeping him at about 17 km is just too far for his rockets to reach. B’aldrick Aivoras made a pretty good go at my drones, however. I actually like this, when I’m on my game, as I can begin to recall the drone that is being attacked. As the drone is flying back to dock in my Tristan, almost all of these short ranged pilots do not realize that they are focusing fire on a drone that is also far out of its range. Many seconds of fire are now wasted, and the other four continue to work on the ship’s defenses. I think many drone pilots recall all drones, when one is fired on. Years of PvE play has actually prepared me well for this little detail.

51st kill

As you can see with his fit, if he caught up to my Tristan, double web scram would have been lights out for me. If I were in his place, considering my earlier observation of attacking my drones, I believe webbing the drone being attacked would not only serve the purpose of creating a slower target, but also serve as a visual marker to demonstrate when the drone flies out of range. When the web shuts off, that should indicate to change drone targets.

Please make no mistake about my attempt to reflect on B’aldrick Aivoras’s combat. As far as I’m concerned, I would have also lost this fight if I were in his shoes. I am just attempting to reflect on strategies to take with other ships and situations. I do not plan to fly Tristans forever and always. I figure it may be wise to start thinking beyond my current strategy.

My victory over B’aldrick Aivoras also gives me a little revenge from my last loss with Junge Junge. Eve University is another good corporation that I can depend on for getting good fights. I believe PvP is just one aspect of their corporation, but they are a great group of players for anyone to join up and gain great experience from Eve.

Again, if I recall correctly, Christopher Joseph Souder took me on while attacking a plex. I saw the heron on my short range d-scan, and I just knew this was going to be a long fight. As he posted himself outside the gate, I rolled my camera view away from the plex beacon, and double clicked away from it. I shut off the overheat prep on my micro warp drive, and just cruised a bit away from the beacon. Eventually the heron slides in and comes out of warp. I situate my camera angle to center on the heron, and double click in between the edge of my right side screen and the heron. I click and turn off one pulse of the micro warp drive, establish lock, and eventually set my drones to attack. Now I just maintain distance and my warp disruptor lock, and wait for the dance to end.

52nd kill

As I predicted, this was a long fight. The double fit shield boosters is just a beast to break through. The big challenge for me was managing my drones as they took damage, and maintaining disruptor lock as Christopher Joseph Souder continued to increase range and fast approach again. Not sure what eventually went wrong for him, as I see many cap boosters were left among the kill mail drops. The damage applied to him never really seemed to go to extreme, so I don’t believe the shield boosters burned out or anything. My guess is that eventually it came down to the Heron’s capacitor management.

As I rely on my memory to write about these fights, I am getting more frustrated with myself. I want to be sure to do justice to the details. Managing this blog to recount these details is another factor with which I have to establish a routine. I’m enjoying the blog experience. The communications with readers is something I enjoy and encourage. My point: it’s another detail that I have to form habits to be successful.

The next encounter, again if memory serves, was my attempt to go on the attack. An aspect of the fleet warfare experience I am enjoying with the Caldari controlling most of these systems is the fact that any of the few systems controlled by Gallente draws Caldari pilots; like rotting apples attract fruit flies.

I see an Imperial Navy Slicer in a plex, and I slide in to take the challenge. I have prepped the overheat and my mental list of things to do. However, Sunde in his Slicer is just too fast for me.

XQ0034 Kill Mail

It really is difficult to kite a fast ship that has the additional advantage of optimal range bonuses to its turrets. I do a little investigation on zKillboard, and I find find Sunde’s fit from a recent loss. Uploading the fit, I simulate to see just how much that bonus affects the optimal range. Normally a small Focused Pulse Laser II has an optimal range of 6300 m. With the Navy Slicer’s bonus, these module’s optimal range extend, (according to the simulation), to 15 km. Combine that range with the fact that this Slicer’s fit is just faster than the Tristan – over 1,000 m/s faster – the Imperial Navy Slicer just outperforms my ship. Although I have not practiced the strategy know as “speed tanking”, I think this fit serves as a good example for that strategy.

I don’t remember the combat really going to my advantage in any way. As I reflect, I wonder if the drones also struggled to damage Sunde’s Slicer, as I’m sure the drones struggled to keep up with it’s speed and just hit such a fast target as well. This was a good fight in the fact that I think I learned some good details.

Sunde pods me, and I return to my home station jump into XQ0035. Eventually I return to Agoze, and smile as I’m greeted by a system of blinking opponent. D-scan directs me to a plex with a Worm. I warp, and slide into the plex. As I prep, I mentally prepare myself of another loss. I have heard so much about how tough worms are. In the past, I have often seen many LP farming pilots name their atrons “Worm”. This little tactic to confuse pilots always brings me a little, sincere amusement. I see this as a form of camouflage.

My Tristan comes out of warp, and I double click in to space, pressing F1, past my opponent. When I do this, I aim for a spot well above or below if my opponent is in front of the direction my ship is facing. After all, bumping into the ship sort of defeats the point of attempting to gain velocity! We lock each other, and I establish my disruptor point on the Worm. As I take out my drones, I’m watching my distance from the Worm. Miro Robin has me webbed, so I’m now just relying on hope to extend beyond web and scrambler range. My Tristan succeeds! As I look to click on my micro warp drive again to establish a comfortable orbit, I notice it is still on, which means she never scrammed me. That was a lucky strike for me.

The battle takes a while, as my drones wear down miro Robin’s shields. As the shields break, I continue to hit d-scan, and just hope no one is coming in to help her. My attention is mostly on maintaining drones and orbit. I am very happy with how well I am managing a comfortable orbit by turning the micro warp drive on and off, and thereby managing the capacitor.

53rd kill

When I dock to drop off the scooped up loot, reflect on the fight, and look over the kill mail, I’m surprised to see no warp scrambler on the fit. Looking on zKillboard, miro Robin is active in PvP, but she is mostly involved in gang fights. As I write this, two days later, she has already racked up 12 kills with her gang in just one day. This Worm fit seems to be her LP farming fit. A fit that is seriously overkill for defense against the Gallente rats that spawn in these plexes.

I wonder if I would have been successful in this combat if she had flown a Worm with a more standard PvP fit? I do not get the impression miro Robin was just an LP farmer, as I did not get the sense she attempted to run away initially. She was a respectfully active opponent throughout the combat. For the record, I do not really look down on 1v1 opponents that escape when the fight turns south. It may be a little frustrating on my part, but I completely understand it. Especially when opponents are flying the more expensive fits. Ultimately it is also a valid strategy, which I may also take once my risk averse nature is under control. I’m not sure it will ever truly be conquered.

Suggested Worm Fit Change

Miro Robin is a 55 day old character, (which really does not mean that much in this Eve age of Skill Injectors), but I’m wondering if this impacted her ability to enhance her fit with the modules that may have turned this combat more in her favor. I used the simulator with her fit, and made some changes that may work better for what she is trying to do. My disclaimer, I’m not growing a big head now and attempt to suggest I an expert. This is just an exercise to help me develop insights into ship fits and module interactions that I believe will improve my skills. I welcome any reader’s insights.

I still question the rig choices, since the shield defense is just overkill for the rats within the plexes she’s flying, but I’ll assume there is a method to her choice. I think a Core Defense Field Extender could replace at least one of the Anti-Thermals. The main point: the Worm needs a Warp Scrambler. The change to Tier II Webifier, (which removing the Kinetic Deflection Amplifier II allows), would have slowed down my ship just that much more, improving her chances of keeping me range.

This next fight I encountered after I settled in to attack a plex. After roaming for a bit, I had no luck in finding targets to attack. I completed a few plexes, and received some LP. On the third plex, Roxane Barviainen pays me a visit. Since I saw her approach on short d-scan, I prepared. I knew her Republic Fleet Firetail would be speedy, so I cruised away from the beacon to ensure I could establish a nice orbit.

I made a few mistakes after she slid into the plex. I immediately hit the orbit button, and didn’t realize my error until she almost closed the distance on me. Once again, the orbit button had my Tristan veer directly toward the Firetail, since I started the fight beyond the 17 km orbit distance established on my button. I was able to hit the micro warp drive in time to pull enough distance to allow my drones to go to work. I love how squishy these Firetail’s are proving to be.

54th kill

We exchange “gf” in local. A zKillboard investigation of Roxane Barviainen shows that she hasn’t had a lot of luck with this fit – losing six of these Firetails in solo fights within one day. She did start the day off with an Algos kill, so maybe this just indicates growing pains. One thing that confuses me about the fit however, (and maybe a reader can respond with the rationale), what’s with the Rocket Launcher? Or rather, what’s with the artillery? The medium slots establish the mission of the Firetail to get close range, but artillery is best at range. I wonder if the thinking is to severely slow down the opponent at close range, which will allow the tracking on the artillery to exact more damage than autocannons. Autocannons would have been my go to with establishing this fit. If any reader responds, I would appreciate a description of how to best pilot this fit in a fight as well.

Before I wrap up this post, the Eve industrialist in me has to point out something interesting. According to zKillboard the total financial loss I have incurred within these last six fights is 13.234 million ISK, but the amount I destroyed is 125.016 million ISK. The last six ships fighting against averaged a cost of 26.693 million ISK, just over four times the value of my current Tristan fit. I have also gained a greater appreciation for the modules and fits PvP pilots go for, and identified trends that may affect the market and create financial opportunities for those able to exploit them.

The cost of PvP was one of the intimidating factors for me entering into this aspect of the game. Not so much having the money to get started, but rather the belief that I could not keep up with pilots willing to dump millions into fits to overwhelm me in fights. I did not want to lose millions, but also I did not want to have the millions at the disposal of my opponents constantly rubbed in my face. A lot of financial risk concern, but if I’m to be honest – some threat on my ego as well.

Although I think the values on zKillboard may be a little inflated, what it demonstrates is that the ratio between the total value of ships I have destroyed versus the total value of ships I have lost is about 3.5 to 1. At the very least, my decision to get into PvP has been good for the economy.

Butcher’s Bill: 65 ships waiting to be destroyed; 54 kills.

Time for the Manual… Piloting

XQ0016 broke my losing streak, and picked up my spirits. It surprises me how much of an emotional roller coaster the PvP component to this game can be. Win or lose, it is good to have an idea of what goes wrong, and develop ideas on how to play.

Before I head out for another roam, I take a lap in front of a station practicing overheating, and shutting it down without shutting off the micro warp drive. I practice with the overload rack, and I practice with the green bar on top of the module button. I think I am getting a better handle on how these function, so I head out.

Eventually I settle in for defensive complex. I have not earned many LPs with my latest antics, so I have some nagging issues about money. My goal is for each ship to earn at least 3000 LPs to be considered pulling its weight, financially. As I write this, however, I realize how unjustified my concern really is, since I have gone through 15 Tristans and currently have over 300,000 LPs earned over the various down complex defending with those ships. Again, financials will be a topic in a later post.

In a defensive complex I spin. Obelisk Camel and his Republic Fleet Firetail enter system, and he quickly finds me. He warps in just over 10 km away, I hit orbit supported by my overheated micro warp drive to pull distance. My drones go to work, and his shields immediately wear down. My disruptor is off, and I notice that Obelisk is burning away from me – out of range. My drones are still applying damage, but that has slowed as they too struggle to keep up.

I click to approach, and then after a moment click the orbit button again. As my Tristan shifts directions to follow the approach command, I can see that Obelisk has adjusted course to burn straight to me. Although I am new, I know this is the sling shot maneuver, and it is effective to get kiters, (like me), in close to scram. Fortunately, I already put in the command to orbit at a distance again with my micro warp drive on, and continue to keep him at a distance. My drones have taken his slow down in velocity as an opportunity, and take more bites out of his shields.

Again, Obelisk steams away from me, and this time I notice I can not keep up. Damn! My micro warp drive has burned out. I did not forget to shut it down, I clicked the overheating rack, as I practiced. I do not know what happened. Despite my own drop in velocity Obelisk continues to move further away. It is not long before he is moving past 60 km. I figure he lost interest in the fight, so I collect my drones, (which still does not spur him to approach me), and fly to the nearest station for repairs.

As soon as repairs are made, I undock, and fly back to the novice complex where we recently battled. I am kind of surprised to see Obelisk is still interested in fighting. I believe he went off for repairs as well. This was turning out to be a strange fight. He enters, and we begin again – exactly the way it started. This time, I place more attention to the overheating rack clicks. There seems to be some sort of lag with my clicks here. Frustrating, but whatever. I am able to shut down the micro warp drive from overheating, and begin to manage the module and the disruptor. Turning modules on and off, and overheating each to keep distance. Again, Obelisk is sling shotting me, but I manage to not commit too much to keep him at a distance. On one of his final attempts, I commit to approach a little longer than I meant to, and he is able to get in my face quickly. However, it is too late. My drones have worked on him throughout this fight, and his Firetail explodes.

15th Kill Mail

I am amazed, and this Firetail kill seems redeeming from the past Firetail fight. We exchange “gf” in local. He asks me to pod him, so I oblige. This fight took a while to fight. I finish the last minute left on the complex I was defending, collect my LPs, and stop in a station to drop off loot and repair.

As I said, I knew about sling shotting a kiter, but this is the first time, (at least that I noticed), I have had it applied to me. I see that it can be effective, and I am not sure I efficiently countered it with Obelisk.

I move to another system, and fly to the novice complex. Just as I start my little routine after warping into the complex, a familiar face, Tofi Jirgori, appears in the system – LP farmer/bot. I decide to try a little strategy hypothesis I mulled over during off hours, and warp to another, non-novice complex in the system. Considering the time it takes me to fly to the complex, I set course back to the gate of the novice complex. I land, and just a moment later in comes Tofi’s Incursus. What I theorized is these bot program scan for threats in the complex, (never mind the pilot that has killed her in the past is currently flying within the same system). The program simply detects no other pilot in the complex, so it sets course and warps.

I lock target, and begin to go to work. As this is happening, I notice Daniel Alpena appear in local. I have seen this pilot around, and I know he is going to head into this fight.

Daniel’s Federation Navy Comet lands on the gate as my drones apply the final hits on the Incursus to make it go boom! Tofi Jirgori has the honor of a milestone within my journey – first pilot I have killed twice!!!

I am not able to celebrate too much, as I know I have more work to do. I lock Daniel up, overheat my micro warp drive, and begin to orbit. At this point, I think it is appropriate to say I believe Daniel waited for me to finish off the Incursus. He warped in at a bit of a distance from the battle, but he did not lock me until the combat was done. Respect to Daniel.

I am able to pull distance from Daniel, and I see a familiar site – he begins to burn away from me. At this point I decide to attempt something I have seen done by kiters in videos, and manually pilot my Tristan. I have some issues with camera angle. I have to develop an eye for how this can be done most effectively, or at least how I prefer to view as I pilot. The trick here is not to burn straight toward Daniel, but double click into space to approach at an angle. This optimizes transversal, and creates a better position for my ship to resume orbit when he corrects course toward me.

To both of our surprise, I am a little better at doing this than I thought. My drones continue to chomp away at him. Daniel is very good at these 1v1s, and does not give up at any point. He keeps me on my toes and demands I place so much attention in maintaining distance that I run my micro warp drive more than I should, and my capacitor begins to run dry. Now that I am managing capacitor and attempting to manually pilot, I eventually make a mistake, and Daniel capitalizes on it to jump into my face.

From there he neuts and blasts away, now it is a race to see who pops first. He is into structure, but he has worked past my shields. Finally…

XQ0016 Kill Mail

After our fight, Daniel and I have a bit of a dialogue, and my loss is redeemed by his words. It is this sort of interaction that I have not experienced these years in PvE play, and this sort of interaction show cases the valuable community this game has to offer.

I have seen Daniel often enter into fights with other pilots in these systems, so I know he is experienced. If I can give him a run for his money in a T1 against his faction frigate, it reassures me that maybe I am improving. At least I can be viewed as a threat, instead of an easy mark.

I have more work to do, and more to practice. This manual piloting thing though… that is just going to take experience. Maybe I can figure out some way to practice on some rats, but that really is not the same thing. Rats are not actively trying to out think and out maneuver, but I may be able to get used to a camera angle that will be helpful. Food for thought.

Back in station, I load up XQ0017 and insure it. Anchors away. I set course for a distant system with high contest percentage.

I enter a system with an LP farmer/bot. Immediately warp to the novice complex, and engage the gate. The little sucker gets caught before he can warp off.

17th Kill

I lock Lomineresti’s pod, and stay with her a bit. I call out in local that if she says anything, I will release her to go on her way. I even express my belief she is a bot. Just silence. I am about ready to just call these pilots LP bots from here on out.

Eventually Lomineresti slow boats it beyond my range, as I resume my orbit to defensive plex. Finishing up with one novice complex, I head over to the next. At the gate to this complex, I meet Sterling Blades in his Maulus Navy Issue. We lock each other, and I am able to pull distance to kite him. Although I do not believe he commits to sling shotting me, he does engage in dancing in and out from my disruptor range. This causes me to manage the capacitor use from my warp drive and overheating my disruptor to extend the range. My drones continue to work on him, as his on me. His drones are not damaging me at the same rate mine are damaging him.

If you are wondering why I did not start working on his drones, I did think about it. However, I had seen Sterling tooling around systems in my travel to the system we engaged each other. I knew he was traveling with another pilot. My concern was confirmed as our fight continued. I figured that my drones were not under threat from him, so I would attempt to work on his ship as fast as possible in an attempt to end the fight before he called in help.

Sterling had an active tank, and my drones seem to keep him busy managing his armor. I make an error with manual piloting, and he is able to catch me. His partner, Lauralite, comes on scene.

XQ0017 Kill Mail

Although Lauralite did not perform any damage to me, she must have done something naughty to deprive Sterling of a “Solo” tag to this kill mail. Her arrival is one of the factors that threw me off my manual piloting game. The additional flashy object on screen caused me to double click in one direction, then in the other before I realized there were two flashy objects on grid.

Anyway, Sterling had some compliments for me following our “gf” exchanges. He was also encouraging that I would only get better from here. Another quality player in our community. Again, I am reassured that I am turning into a challenge. I just need more experience.

XQ0018 online and insured. Head out to look for just a little more trouble before bed. I will end with a bitter sweet note. An LP bot.

18th Kill

I guess the bots are turning to Incursuses instead of Atrons. Perhaps this is why I have had luck with locking them more often, before they fly off.

Record: 83 ships waiting to wreck: 18 kills.

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.