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.

No Game Achievements, Only Wrecks, and I’m Good with That

After finishing my last, long overdue post, I undocked and headed out to the neighboring system, which is now enemy territory. The system was crowded, and I immediately pinged an Executioner within a small plex. Already I can tell I just need to dive in again, since just the thought of mixing it up was giving me the shakes. So strange how this game inspires such real physical manifestations of anxiety.

Going on the defensive would have probably been the calmer move, but then again that’s not what this blog is about. I go on the attack! I fly in, and get even more excited, (thus shakier), as I realize that the pilot, COOLCHICK Rova, is not a bot that will go on the run. She gets a good amount of damage in on my shields, as I weave my way through the full stupid mode that I have slipped into. What I did right: prepped my micro warp drive to overheat… and that’s about it. The many details that I had previously organized slipped away. I didn’t even really have a good camera angle to allow me to maneuver through these details. Where I would manually click into space past my opponent to microwarp drive past before establishing orbit, I just panic and default to orbit button. Oh yeah, then I target her, and oh damn… deploy drones. Then I realized that I separated my Hobgoblins from my Warriors, (as I would in my PvE experience), so now there are two groups that I need to command. Like I said, I went full stupid.

Anyway, I finally get to the orbit I want, and my drones begin to do there job. They chew through COOLCHICK Rova’s shields quick, and get well into armor. To no surprise, I see massive armor repairs go into action on her active tanked ship. I also notice that she’s slipping away from my warp disruption range. That’s when I remember camera angle and position, and how I have not been managing this. I attempt a quick adjust, and I overheat my warp disruptor to extend the range. That’s when I noticed my micro warp drive has burned out. Nice. I’m back to the basics now.

The combat continues as I now slowly orbit at a good distance, but my hopes with winning have severely declined. COOLCHICK Rova is keeping up with her armor repairs, and her lasers continue to work away at me. This combat has gone on too long considering the number of errors I made. I guess COOLCHICK Rova senses this too, as she extends distance on me, and then flies away. This leaves me gliding slowly through this plex, mouth hanging open a bit in shock. What? No other ships on d-scan, so she could not think help was on the way. Maybe her Ancillary Armor Repairer ran out of paste? This is just a guess based on the significant damage repair she displayed. I don’t know. I just thought for sure I was a sitting duck for her.

Not much for PvP, but check out that fashion!

After the combat I looked at her profile, which just escalated my confusion. RvB, if I remember correct, is a PvP alliance. I quickly fly into a player station, make repairs, and now head out to the next system she traveled. This is my attempt to go round two. I figure she may have docked to restock, and would be willing to dance again. Nope. I chase her through at least three systems. I head to plexes and d-scan away, but she eventually exits the system I enter. Since I did everything short of trash talk, (which I really attempt not to indulge in), I am now confident she does not want to fight. Which again makes me question her selection in corporation and alliance. Oh well.

I settle into a plex to defend. I am curious how much LP will be earned from attacking a novice site while the Gallente militia is in Tier 1 status. Spoiler alert: about the same, if not lower, than defending with a high Tier rank. At least it takes more time to complete with all the npc spawns that you have to kill. Yes, sarcasm. I shouldn’t get too down on this. When the Gallente militia tiers up, I’m hoping to be surprised at the LP value. At least that’s my hope.

A familiar face pops into system, and welcomes me back in local – Daniel Alpena. You know him from the boom: XQ0016! There’s another pilot in system, and we chat in local for a bit. The other pilot seems to be giving Daniel crap about his -9.8 status not being -10, and references some bombing kills of multiple targets Daniel recently conducted. Personally I’m not sure if the other pilot was a little angry or having some fun, but the incident that was discussed assures me that Daniel Alpena has a lot of fun in a variety of ways in low sec.

I ask Daniel what he is flying, and he tells me a Tristan carrying a load of corpses. So, I remind him I’m a viable target, and moments later he arrives in my plex. The dance begins. I keep distance on him, which is always much easier while defending. We begin to work on each others’ drones. Daniel has guns, so he hits harder, but I successfully recalled and deployed as he damaged. I lose one while taking out his, and then I focus drone fire on his Tristan.

49th kill

Throughout the fight, I could have been better at maintaining lock on him. There were several times I drifted past my disruptor’s range. We exchange “gf” in local, and chat a little more. Apparently the Tristan I just wrecked had 47 kill marks on it. Daniel also joked that I should have fun with the 20 corpses that dropped as loot. The above kill mail does not extend far enough to show that, but yep 20 corpses! Daniel has been busy destroying bots. I recognized several of the names now in my cargo hold. I finish off the plex, and drop off the loot. I am one of those morbid pilots that have a cargo can to store corpses. Sort of a morgue freezer I guess. I have been with this game for years, and I keep thinking there may be more to these items than just morbid trophies. Even if that is not the case, morbid trophies still draws me in.

Not willing to log out yet, I make another small roam. Four blinking pilots in Loes, but I can only identify the location of one. Arderic Kion is running a mission – Demolition – in a Merlin. I think it’s probably a trap, but what the hell. Using the gate, I warp in about 50 km away. He’s finishing off the last rat, and does not appear to attempt to align away. I spam d-scan, but no ships yet. We lock each other simultaneously, and I easily establish an orbit at 17 km around him. Strange thing, as we engage each other the other three Caldari pilots leave system. The Merlin just melts under my drone fire.

50th kill
Guilt or justification payment?

I wish him a “gf” in local, and destroy his pod. After collecting the loot, I dock to look over my haul and kill mail. That’s when I realize this kill was cheaper than the bots I’ve killed. I see the Civilian Gatling Railgun in his cargo bay, and now I just feel bad. You see, along with my risk averse nature I have a high guilt factor that nags at me. Of course I do not know for sure, this is a new player, and I feel bad beating up on a three day old pilot. I send him an Eve mail and some money to help alleviate my guild. As I type this mail though, I do realize that he entered into faction warfare, so these kills can’t be too much of a surprise for him. Acknowledging the fact that he’s fair game in this war seems legit, but I still throw some cash at him to encourage him to continue to play. Funny fact about my stupid conscious, after I log off I fret the amount I sent him was too stingy. The next day I send him 5,000,000 ISK more.

But hey! Ding! I reached 50 kills! No achievement unlocked in Eve space though. Just cold reality. Another thing I love about the game. If you don’t get value from your own intrinsic reward system, you will not enjoy the game. Then again… there are the frozen corpses to scoop up.

This was my reward following the Merlin kill.

XQ0031 kill mail

The next day I log in and attack a plex. Xander Dayne flew in with his Tristan, and we battled for a while. I immediately went to work on his drones, which took more attention from me than I preferred. As I later stated to Xander, I love flying Tristans, but I hate fighting them. While I was commanding drones to kill drones, my attention drew away from the orbit distance. Xander was not recalling his drones, but kept his attention to driving forward to close the distance. Again, time away has made me sloppy. I was too sparing with my micro warp drive. Because I had prepped it to overload and burned it out previously, my micro warp drive unwisely became the object I needed to protect. Again, I need to get used to overheating it to establish the orbit I want, then turning off the overheat – not the whole module. The drive should remain on until I identify that much speed is not necessary for the fight. What makes my concern even more unfortunate is that Daniel had a neut, so when I realized how close he was I think I was able to get one pulse from the drive out before my capacitor was sucked dry.

After shooting out three of his drones and my cap running dry, I focused my drone fire to Xander’s Tristan. Now it was a straight out race. Soon after I focused my fire on his ship, Xander realized that he needed to deploy more drones. Now we had a race as drones pounded went to work on each of our ships. My hope to win sinks when I see he is active tanked. Each time his armor zips up with white, my hope slips more. I go boom, while Xander enjoyed his victory with 6% of his hull left. Xander and I chat it up for a while in local. He gave me some great tips, and I offered my newb insight for him as well. Good lessons were learned, and, much like Daniel earlier, Xander will be an opponent I will enjoy running into again. Daniel also dropped 50 million into my account for the encounter. Not necessary, but appreciated. This too most likely caused me to rethink my earlier gesture to Arderic, and led me to throw more money his way.

XQ0032 powers up, and away I go. To improve my attack, I roam looking for targets already in a plex. No luck, so I settle in to a plex and start my orbit. A Succubus comes in to system, slides into my plex, and just destroys me.

XQ0032 kill mail

Land 780 just swarmed me, and then without a word podded me. That’s fine. At least the loot fairy gave him the big middle finger from my wreck.

Thanks for the info Diana – whoever you are!

I was a little irritated by this, since I wasn’t sure how to process this encounter. Upon reflection, this Succubus seemed to really have trouble maintaining a comfortable distance. Considering the damage that was applied to my Tristan at such extreme distances, Land 780 had to be beam laser fit. My drones also seemed to really struggle keeping up with the ship, as very little damage was applied. I went on zKillboard to do a little research. Land 780 has racked up tons of kills, but most of them are among gangs. He has not lost a Succubus, so this is frustrating. I dig a little deeper into zKillboard, and found the fit pictured here. Of course this is just speculation, but considering the speed and other modules that were applied at various ties in the fight – I figure this is probably close to what I was up against. The bling modules are also my guess, but I don’t get the impression Land 780 is someone who enters into fights unless he feels he guaranteed a kill. Such pilots invest highly to glean every ounce of advantage.

If I sound a little bitter about Land 780’s victory, it’s probably more about me being spoiled by the other pilots I’ve encountered taking time to talk in some way. I too have podded other pilots, but I attempt to throw a “gf” up in local at least. The encounter with Land 780 was all business, which ultimately is fine. Doesn’t mean I have to like that style.

Butcher’s Bill: 67 Tristans waiting for their destruction; 50 kills.

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.

A New Personal Best, but Still so Much to Learn

As work dragged on toward holiday break, (in the process almost breaking me), I was able to squeeze in a few hours here and there to play. The night began with me setting course to a highly contested system. A few jumps into my trek, I decided to just defend a complex, and see what fate brought me.

Ha te later entered system, and he seemed to want to play. He slid into my complex at just over 30km from me. I clicked my orbit button, and quickly followed up with a desire to slap myself. At that moment I realized my orbit button will simply direct my ship straight toward this Incursus. Once the auto distance program detected that my desired distance had been reached, my ship would bank away to begin orbit. While my ship is banking, my velocity would slow as Ha te could continue to steam ahead, and close the distance more. Maybe even enough for him to pin me down with his warp scrambler.

I quickly work the camera view on my combat grid to position my view to center my ship with the incoming Incursus. I double click off to the right to create more of an angle to my approach, and repeat this a few times until I close enough distance to begin to orbit. I had my micro warp drive overheating this entire time. Once I settled into a orbit, and shut down my micro warp drive to see how this speed versus the Incursus’ speed treats our distance separation. Meanwhile, my drones were going to work on him.

My frustration chatter

Ha te banks away during one of my off warp drive cycles, and warps off before I have the chance to overheat my warp disruptor in order to extend the range. My reaction in local reflects my disappointment. I mean, come on! I only have a limited time to play, and after all he attacked me.

As I finish my local chatter, I notice my Medium Shield Extender II has burned out. I am a bit confused on how that happened, but take the opportunity to dock up for repairs.

Quickly, I pay the repair bill, and head back to the novice complex. Hey, what do you know, Ha te is waiting for me at the gate! Considering I was landing right on his position, I decided it is my turn to scoot out. I wait for the warp engines to shut down, then immediately slide into the complex. As soon as I land out of warp in the complex, I hit my micro warp drive. I was not concerned about establishing an orbit or anything, I just wanted to pull some distance. As Ha te flew in right behind me, he was able to lock and warp scramble me for just a moment. Fortunately my velocity was already high enough to coast me past his scramble range. I establish a nice orbit of 20km around him to watch my drones go to work.

This time I am attempting to be more aware of our distance, since I did not want him escaping again. While I go through this mental check list during combat, I discovered something unfortunate. Here’s a not-so-pro-tip for any would be PvPers out there: when you repair a module that has been burned out, you must online the module before you undock. Imagine my shock as I learn that most of my shield strength is not online. Well, all the better that I was able to keep my distance.

19th kill

Double armor rep Incursus. Look at the damage I needed to apply – over 8000!!! Nice fit.

I felt that I was making too many errors, since I was tired. Considering my shield status, I just scooped up the loot, and docked up for the night. I was not even up for completing the defense of the complex.

The next night, I log in to see a flashy in local. I undock and see a Coercer on d-scan. My first reaction is intimidation. I have identified the complex he was attacking, but I never fought a destroyer, and destroyers have so much more dps than a frigate. Keeping to the tenants of my challenge, (to take on all fights), I set course, and slide into the complex. Pablo Emirio is waiting for me, as I jumped in too close to him for my comfort. As I slow down out of warp, I just begin to click on my micro warp drive. My plan is to get at least a cycle to run in order to increase my velocity and pull some distance – in case he has a warp scrambler fitted. As I fly into my 20km range and deploy drones, I see that he has a disruptor – that’s good for me!

My Tristan orbits him from a nice distance, as his pulse lasers fire away ineffectively. The Coercer goes boom, and I am amazed! I “gf” Pablo in local, but he is silent. This is, to date, my largest FW kill.

20th kill

Not much action after that. Seems the night started on a high, but whimpered out. I was not able to log in for a few nights. Work was just awful.

Saturday night, and I am free to roam. I set course for a contested system, and head out to look for mischief. Oh look, an LP bot.

21st kill

With these kills, there really is not much to write about, other than identifying a kill. This one, however, was a little funny. There were actually two bots in system. Bino Koraka here was at the gate leading to the novice complex, which was already occupied by the other LP bot. He did not attempt to fly away, nor use the jump gate to slide into the complex. I get the impression his program was stuck, “Caldari Atron in complex… I’m a Caldari Atron… does not compute…” Fortunately I come in to put him out of his misery. I did not pod him, and his pod stayed there for such a long time. The pod’s inactivity is what convinced me the program was stuck.

The little sucker that was in there was able to fly out as I came in. Oh well. I defended the complex, dumped off the loot I collected, and continued along the set course.

Frarie had a few LP bots in system. I chased them off, and decided to sit in and defend a complex. The system had a decent contested percentage. HUNZY 0511 and Arien Licinius jump into system. I see that they belong to the same alliance, and since one of them is in Stay Frosty I know this will be a fight if they are in a ship that will fit in this complex. I just hoped it was only one that would be able to take me on.

HUNZY slides into my complex in his Tristan. His distance was a little further than my comfortable orbit, so I manually move toward him, maximizing transversal, before settling into an orbit. Within this time I order my drones to pound away on him. I click on my “drone” overview tab, but no drones are present. Strange. I watch his shields melt, and significant damage applied to his armor. About the time I see that he is active armor tanked, I see Hobgoblins deployed. I decide not to work on his drones when I see they are tech I, but I commit to myself to monitor the situation. If he started to attack my drones, his will die.

Soon after this as HUNZY and I are dancing and working well into his armor, Arien slides into my complex in his Incursus. HUNZY and I have made our way out a little ways beyond the complex, so Arien has some distance to fly to catch up. This gives my drones enough time to make the enemy Tristan go boom!

22nd kill

I spend a moment or two sorting things out. I had HUNZY’s drones targeted in preparation for my change in plan, and I thought I had the Incursus targeted as well. I was wrong. Although I was monitoring Arien’s distance, I targeted him – again, and manually piloted into position to orbit at 20km. Again, drones going to work on the Incursus. He too was active armor tanked. His blasters were ineffective at my distance. HUNZY hung out in his pod watching his wing man get whittled away until he finally went boom as well.

23rd kill

We all exchange “gf” in local. I was very happy, and just stunned if I’m honest. As soon as I saw the Incursus land, I could have sworn that was the end to XQ0018. I scooped up the loot from both wrecks, and dock to repair and drop off the cargo. I also take a screen shot of the kills marks, since XQ0018 is now the record holder.

6 kill marks – sweet!

It is always tempting to put ships like this away for a bit, to try and build up these marks, but that leads to sloppy play style. Take a picture, and move on. I finish defending the complex, and decide to take my loot back to my home station to continue my profit effort.

After I take care of some in game house keeping, I am feeling pretty good about myself, and decide to continue to roam effort. I noticed too many LP bots in systems as I passed through to my home station, so I set off to do a little policing.

Agoze is fairly busy with pilots, but I manage to nail an LP bot.

24th kill

As I scoop up the loot from this Atron, I pick up two ships on short d-scan: a Tristan and an Imperial Navy Slicer. I set orbit distance around the button, as I see that these two pilots are sitting out at the gate. Obviously they are coordinating their efforts to gang up on me. Both ships slide into my complex at a distance to my advantage. I decide to primary the Slicer. I know that this Slicer is the ship that will push my distance requirements to the limit, and if I have any chance at winning it may be as a result of out pacing/distancing the Tristan as we battle it out. I also know that the Tristan’s drones will be an issue. Essentially there is going to be just too many targets on the field against me.

The fight does not go on too long. Maybe longer than my opponents expected. My drones were able to work into the Slicer’s armor throughout the fight, but he was active armor tanked. He had to rep constantly throughout the entire battle. To my surprise the Tristan’s drones were not much of a factor. The Slicer was the threat, as I speculated.

No response from them in local after the fight. I will have to keep an eye out for their corporation and alliance. My brief research into each of these pilots confirms my impression of them, they are gang pilots. Not too many, if any, solo kills cataloged by them.

Anyway, for the record, XQ0018 holds the record at 7 kill marks! Obviously I was not able to capture this fact with a screen shot, but that does not diminish the accomplishment. This was a great streak.

Record: 82 ships ready to explode: 24 kills recorded.

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.