Now This, …This is What I Expected

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

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

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

10th Kill

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

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

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

XQ0007 kill mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

XQ0008 Kill Mail

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

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

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

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

XQ0009 Kill Mail

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

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

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

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

Smooth crew there.

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

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

XQ0010 Kill Mail

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

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

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

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

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

Bad Day for LP Farmers

I don’t know why, but I really got annoyed by the ISK farmers today.  Maybe it was when I realized most of them are probably controlled by just a few players multi-boxing.  I do not believe they are bots, since I was able to catch up with a few.  This indicates, to me at least, the player’s attention may have been drawn away.  In a few cases, there was reaction within the fight, (mostly desperate attempts to run), but this encourages me to keep making their experience with farming difficult.  

6th kill

I’m sort of becoming infamous in a few systems, as LP farmers will simply fly out of system when I fly in.  Again, another positive indication that their is human control behind these farmers.

7th kill

Easy kills here, simply because they really don’t fight.  As I’m involved in the fight, I just making sure they stay within my disruptor range.  What’s the harm, right?  There were also some pod kills that either went along with these pilots, or an odd pod that I ran into.  I’m probably doing the farmer a favor by podding.  But, again, it amuses me.

I do wonder how much LP these farmers collect.  I identified at least six of the Atrons zipping from station to station, landing on any novice complex they can find.  I know I chased many of them off their game, but I have to think they are probably just laughing at my futile efforts – laughing all the way to the bank.  Sick contrast to the 45 to 70 LP points I collect for each of the kills.  Sad really.

Engaging in these battles really didn’t do anything to improve my PvP skills either.  However, I think I’ve already come a long way to feeling comfortable in this hostile environment.  Maybe too comfortable.  I chased off one of these Atrons from a complex, as I detected with d-scan.  I did not have to fly into the complex, but instead chose to loot several wrecks that were present at the gate.  I did believe this to be strange, so I continued to ping d-scan as scooped up the loot.  Lo’ and behold and Atron comes zooming in to the location.  I was confused by this.  At first I thought, “Did this guy make a mistake?”  Then I Looked at the the employment history of the only other pilot in system, and quickly prepped my micro warp drive (MWD) to pull away from the gate.

8th kill.

The Atron surprised me, and came at me hard.  I was able to pull away to 20 km, and let my drones go to town on him.  In the middle of the battle, Jorrien turns around and increases distance.  I thought I was going to lose him, and he was fast.  I closed the distance, which I believe he anticipated.  He turned and closed distance very quickly.  I clicked on my MWD pulled more distance, as Jorrien began to go to work on my drones.  

I don’t know if I was just surprised, or if this fight was faster than others.  I never felt in control at all throughout the entire thing.  Jorrien had me working with so many systems, it sort of got overwhelming.  As I managed my drones, he caught up to me again.  At this point he was well into structure, but his armor repairer was significantly performing its job.  Two of drones were down, but Jorrien now in my face focused his fire on my ship.  All I could do was attempt to find a way to pull more distance, and hope my drones could finish him off.  Fortunately they did.

I was shaken up by this battle.  I had to mail Jorrien my “gf”, which I neglected to do immediately after in local.  Jorrien was very gracious, and sort of chastised himself for not going to work on my drones earlier in the battle.  That would have changed things for sure.  His guns were powerful.  He also mentioned that the ship had 14 kill marks.

Speaking of kill marks, XQ0005 has the new record – 4!

XQ0005 – 4 kill marks.  Personal best.

But then, nothing lasts forever.  Boom time!

XQ0005 Kill Mail

On the way back to one of my home stations, I reflected on my previous actions versus my intent.  How much risk have I actually been taking?  I have been looking for any and all targets when I enter a system.  The only real available targets have been those ISK farming Atrons.  Am I getting more confident, and just reshaping my risk averse nature?

I really wasn’t impressed with my performance in the last battle with Jorrien.  I parked in a random station, dropped the loot, and immediately headed to a complex.  After completing one, I moved to a small complex.  Anonymous BTard came in to the system blinking red, fresh off a battle.  It did not take him long to find me in the complex.  I deployed drones, pulled distance, and locked him when he flew in.  

I did not perform well in this fight either.  I am beginning to doubt myself I guess.  He was fast!  In my effort to manage my MWD and our distance from each other, I shut off the MWD instead of shutting off the overheat option.  I think I caught it soon after, but that small amount of time is all he needed to get in my face and shred me to pieces.  A part of my distraction was from frustration at how little damage my drones were doing to his shields.  I do not understand this impatience that has been coming over me.

Anonymous BTard is a great pilot, and the fit is solid – and expensive.  Essentially he’s flying a 40-50 million ISK T1.  I have to add, he definitely knows how to fly it.

XQ0006, anchors away!

Immediately, we catch another LP farmer in a complex.

9th kill

My self concerns aside, at least this destruction is good for the economy.

Record: 95 Tristans ready to take flight, 9 kills.

Here Comes the Boom!!!

Third kill mark earned!  I wish it was more exciting, but not really.

3rd kill

I caught one of the Atron farmers, but not the major gnat flying around.  We’ll see if Konst is actually a runner, or merely AFK when I entered his complex.  I didn’t see much activity from him after a locked him, so I’m uncertain of how active he is.  I do know that his Zkillboard demonstrates numerous such losses.    Maybe he’s a non-running variety of farmer that has calculated opportunity cost to develop an efficient LP gathering scheme without wasting the time of running.  Who knows.  I received a very small amount of LP to mark my first Faction Warfare kill.  Also, the kill mark added to my ship as a result sure was pretty while it lasted.

Goodbye XQ0002.  She holds my kill mark record at 3!

I have never encountered, nor flown, a Kikimora before.  This little sucker, piloted by a pirate named Wild Haze, was quick, and hit hard.  I have to admit that my attention to detail was often distracted in this fight.  When I was about to gain my bearings in the fight, my attention was drawn to the damage my ship took with each hit.  I’m also unsure how she was able to get in my face so fast.  She hit me with a war scrambler fairly early into the combat, which shut off my micro warp drive.  A detail I had to remember as I spent several moments clicking my micro warp drive, and becoming frustrated as I knew I had turned it on and overheated it.

Anyway, I’ll have to research these little ships, and that weapon more.  It’s a shame that I couldn’t keep distance.  I was getting damage applied well for the start of the combat.  It would have been a large ISK loss to her if I was able to take it out.

On to XQ0003.  A short lived experience, but good reminder.  I decided to roam more, and plex less in my pursuit to go boom.  I saw an Ibis on d-scan, and believed the pilot in system was about to light a cyno.  I don’t know what this says about me, but now that I’m getting into this PvP activity I’m getting blood thirsty.  In my defense, I would never take out such a target in the past.  Not because it’s against my moral code or anything, but because I always felt the pilot would have support.  Again, this is risk averse thinking!  With that in mind, I went in for the attack.

4th kill

I’m proud to state that I have always known that I cannot attack others at the gate, (at least not in a frigate), or die from the gate guns fire.  I learned this from viewing the odd YouTube video on low sec PvP.  I guess I never really put this together though.

XQ0003, short lived – but destroyed with a kill mark!

Stations have guns too.

Now I’m in XQ0004, and wiser for the wear.  Or am I?

I came across this pod as I warped into Ostingele.  Immediately I thought, “Easy target,” but then thought better of it.  No, it wasn’t the gate guns that dissuaded me, I was really debating why I should or should not attack a non faction warfare pod.  Finally I thought any pod that was just hanging out at the gate must be looking for what Eve pilots call “the pod express” back home.  In other words, I destroy the pod, and the pilot returns to her home station.  I thought to myself, “I’ll just do her this favor.”  The fact that there were also 22 other pilots in system seemed to promise more action if this was some sort of trap.

As I destroyed the pod, I was reminded of the lesson I thought I had already learned.  Fortunately I escaped with 27% hull left.  Now, wiser for the wear?

This kill also helps me establish a rule for my activities in this blog.  I am not counting pod kills in my record keeping.  In fact this pod kill is my second.  My first was the LP farmer in the Atron.  Pod kills just don’t seem worthy of tracking as “pilot kills”.  

Record: 97 Tristans at the ready, 4 kills.