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.

All’s Quiet On the FW Front

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

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

Brand new, shiney Exoplanets paint-job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adjustments to Get Me Wrecked

I’m back to work, so my playing time is once again limited.  One of my purposes with this blog is to provide me more incentive to just get out there and stick it out.  Commit to blowing things up, and/or getting blown up.  

I have to admit, there are times I just don’t feel like I’m in the mood.  Not that I don’t want to fly, but the risk of losing does weigh heavy on my mind.  Really, this risk averse thing is not just a gimmick.  The embarrassment of losing or making the mistake that cost you the combat has a way of just hovering over you, a specter of doubt that hinders you from undocking.  

My objective is to move past that, and improve.

XQ0006 kill mail

Ungh, this combat…  I was so bad.  

In my continuous pursuit to combine work and Eve, I have taken to spinning in a faction warfare complex in vacant systems.  It’s sort of like fishing.  When a pilot pops into system, I direct my attention to checking out the pilot’s history, and spamming d-scan.

An interesting point of note here, I have reconfigured the windows to my screen.  In other words I have moved my overview down, and the ship movement quick buttons closer to the bottom of the screen in an attempt to minimize mouse movement.  I am also attempting to get used to the keyboard button controls when possible.  All this needs time and experience to become familiar with the set up, and develop the muscle memory.

Another key component to my change is radial velocity.  I have added the column to my overview.  In an attempt to analyze my losses, I have determined that I spend too much time obsessing over the distance marker just below the target circle.  Radial velocity gives me a faster report when the target is gaining on my, by indicating a negative number.  A positive number, of course, indicates the target is moving away.  I recalled this column in my previous reading and viewings of PvP combat, and after some refresh research added it to my overview.

I think it was my fixated attention to this overview that distracted me from other key points that I have been getting better at, and in fact I was in control of in this combat.  I had the Hookbill at a good distance, drones chomping away.  As he pulled away, I adjusted, and then quickly corrected to maintain an extreme distance.  He was obviously passive shield tanked, so once I got through 80% of his shields I directed my attention to overview a little more often.  Wrong!

My overview set up accurately communicated that he was gaining on me… quickly.  I went to click the MWD, but it was burned out.  Ah, I forgot to turn the damn thing off from overheating.  Thought I had that down!  Then the color red caught my attention, and I realized he had already destroyed two of my drones, and working on the third.  Gah, just when I thought drone control was an actual strength of mine!  Recall the damaged drone… nope.  Destroyed three of my drones.  Deploy my reserves, and begin putting my whole focus into drone management.  

The good news with him only 1200 meters away from my face, my drones zip into the hanger much faster.  Little by little, after a long time, he kills all of my drones.  He had to completely focus his efforts on targeting and shooting.  Each time he attempted to aim his guns at me, the drones pierced his hull deeper.  In the end, I got him down to 19% hull, but I have NOTHING to hurt him with.  Just a sphere in space serving as target practice.

XQ0006 goes boom, my pod flies away, and we exchange “gf” in local.  Edward Brody is kind enough to offer advice, and really compliments me on the fight.  It was a good fight.  I think this highlights how important it is to have these experiences.  Never fixate on one detail, and never feel like you have the fight in hand.  I need more experience to get these procedures down, and prevent such mistakes.

Fortunately, I have 94 more Tristans, and 9 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.

Struggling on the Offense

As I said before, I’m over 100,000 LP orbiting the button with defensive complexes for faction warfare.  I feel this is a good way to make ISK, although I haven’t looked into this side of things yet.  I have to say, plexing sites is probably more tedious than mining.  Mining can be a task that runs in the background with just a tenth of your attention.  Spinning around the button demands more attention, much more.  Boring, just boring.  Maybe more accurately, I have to be in the right frame of mind for this.

I have been attempting to mix it up, and roam around looking for targets.  This allows me to practice my pin pointing with d-scan skills, and just run into strange things in low sec here and there.  Mostly I’m chasing off LP farmers.  Atrons seem to be their ship of choice.

Entering these sites to attack has brought new subtle skills to my attention.  I haven’t figured out a procedure for engagement with this yet.  A major disadvantage is I’m potentially entering on the hunted’s terms, as I have used to my advantage in the recent past.  As a kiter, I need to pull distance.  If I’m going against a brawler, as soon as they scram me – I’m done.  Any advice as to how to combat this will be much appreciated.

Just hanging out at the gate

Entering Brarel system, I popped this pod at the gate.  I was pretty sure I would be safe from the gate guns, since we are at war.  I have to say I’m glad my belief was confirmed as I attacked.  At least this was a calculated risk, and not just me getting all excited with blood lust.  Owidasi was one of two Amar pilots in system.  After she went boom, I flew to a planet beyond d-scan range in an attempt to locate the other.

Found an Incursus at a novice site.  He was warping through the complex gate as I approached.  Hindsight, the fact that I d-scanned him at the sight, warped to him, and he then just started to warp into the complex should have set off some alarms in my head.  Although the whole point to this challenge would not have stopped me if alarms did go off, but I do need to develop this sixth sense.  At the time, I thought this was an interesting coincidence.  The fact that this was an Incursus got my hopes up for a combat.  I still held some doubts, since the Incursus’ ship was named [pilot’s name]’s Incursus.  LP farmer’s ship name of choice is the default ship name.  I can’t remember the LP farmer’s name, since my attention was soon interrupted.

XQ0004 goes Boom!

After the LP farmer flew off, I was turning off my overheated modules.  The little sucker got a late start on his warp off – just as I was about to lock.  The moments I took to look over the damage from overheating and to think about docking for repair, I pinged this Heron flying into the complex.  “Alice P Liddell’s Heron” as it appeared on d-scan in fact.  Good news here, pinging d-scan has almost become habitual for me.  Bad news, I did not assume a defensive position while I was thinking – should have hit orbit at 20 km.  I was scrammed immediately.

As soon as I saw Alice flying in, after the Incursus warped off, I felt like a mouse that had just sprung a trap.  My industrialist character roams around this area a lot, and I’m familiar with many of the frequent fliers in these parts – faces and names not necessarily activities.  Alice is a regular in Brarel.  By regular I mean when she is in Brarel, she is there for hours!  The fact that she doesn’t even name her ship, and just happens to be in a Heron set up for PvP… Too much of a coincidence for me.  Checking her kill board shows a similar pattern.  She victimizes faction warriors and explorers.  Although she is not confined to Brarel, that system is definitely her default.

For any and all PvP enthusiasts following my blog, first thank you, and second I hope you can see an opportunity here!

Anyway, Alice’s Heron was an active shield tank.  I attempted to move away from Alice after she pounced.  Double clicking into space, I attempted to create an escape vector to allow an increase in transversal and distance, but I just didn’t have the speed.  I believe my drones surprised her, since they eventually worked past her shields and chewed into her structure.  It was close.  I’m not going to take too much pride in this, since Heron’s are not combat ships.  I’m sure Alice’s  five year old character skills, (as well as a creative combat fit), carried the victory home for her.  

If my suspicion is correct, Alice has a fairly ingenious little system, or trap, here.  Farm LP with her Amar militia alt in a system that is predominantly Gallente, (good income), and occasionally gank  anyone looking for a fight.  Originally I suspected she may have been cloaked up outside of the gate.  This caused me to dive deeper into her Zkillboard history.  Thanks to a Wingspan delivery agent, Sroak Enaka, we have the fit.

Creative bait/trap fit

Wonder how many Navy Cap Booster charges she had left after our little dance?  The fight did go on for some time.  By the by, the Cap Booster in my inventory was just some loot I picked up along my travels.  I’ve been making some spare ISK cleaning up while attempting to find boom boom opportunities.

XQ0005 away!

I returned to the hunt.  I chased off too many Atron pilot LP farmers from their complexes like waving wasps off your BBQ dinner.  I decided to settle in and defend for a while.  May as well make some profit.  

As I was about to complete my third complex, a retribution pilot decided to pay me a visit in my small complex.

This is just the start of the story.

I saw him hovering a long time close to the complex, as I pinged away tracking him.  You could almost see the smoke escaping his ship from his thought process.  He finally committed, and entered.  As per my procedure, I prepped to overload my micro warp drive, and had my drones out.  I locked him, warp disrupted, and hit the micro warp drive to establish a good distance – 22 km.  I knew this might get rough, so I extended my distance out.  I prepared to really track our distance throughout the fight.  I didn’t want him to escape if it went well.

I was getting worried at the beginning.  He burned toward me, and my drones did not seem to be really doing any damage to him.  I know they were on the attack, since I was notified that I took a security hit for initiating the attack, (something I’ll need to work to improve by the way now that I’m negative security status).  I think my trouble doing damage has something to do with the Assault Damage Controll II module.  I do not know much about how this works, just the theory as I read from it’s description.

Finally, as I kept my distance, my drones started to chew through his shields.  He then turned his aggression at my drones.  I began to recall and deploy as they were damaged.  Some did not make it back, but a few had some time to sit in my drone bay to recover shields as its replacement filled in.  During this drone management task, I saw that he was pulling distance away.  I overheated my warp disruptor, and hit the approach key to close some distance.  Recalled drone, deployed drone, and then hit orbit again.  I noticed that I accidentally shut off my disruptor within this time.  I must have accidentally did this in my attempt to stop overheating.  I was able to click it back on before he escaped.  Slowly, working through structure, and finally Boom went the Retribution.

I was AMAZED!  I have to admit, I was also quite pleased with my management of throughout the fight.  The drones went through a battle.

Started with 8 drones, (lost two Hobgoblin IIs)

We exchanged “gf” in local.  Then there was some frustration expressed by Balzaque, and another in system joined in the conversation.

Balzaque hung out in system for a while.  I am not one to smack talk, and I do not like to crow over my wins.  This fight was tough, and I was happy.  After this conversation, I began to feel a little bad that I posted the Kill Mail in local.  I didn’t want Balzaque to feel humiliated.  I also empathized with his pain.  He just lost 55 mil. ISK assault frigate to a t1 Tristan.  I have felt this helpless in previous attempts to dive into PvP – hence my current self tasked challenge.

As I flew back to my home station with my newly acquired loot, I wondered if there was any advice I could offer Balzaque.  Not that I now consider myself an expert, but maybe I could start a conversation to review this fight.  I looked him up on Zkillboard, as I thought about what I might offer him.  No character found.  Strange…

I accessed his name through my Zkillboard report of the fight.  This fight was his only entry.  I then looked up his character in game…

How many skill injectors does it take to get to the center of an assault frigate?

One ferking day old character!!!!  Piloting a Retribution!!!!  Balzaque, that “makes no sense.”  Hate the player, not the game.

Record: 96 Tristans in dock ready to go, 5 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.