Back from Break

Wow, how quickly six months go by… and yet not really. Apologies to my readers for the long delay between posts. To be straight forward, my real life work got the best of me. I fell into a funk, (as I felt stuck in my job), and my focus went into keeping my head down and just continue forward with what had to be done. The good news, I found another job! Although I’m staying in my career field, (which I considered leaving), I decided to give it another go – just try a different setting with another community. I’m hoping for the best, but honestly I’m just happy to leave the toxic environment that I felt was sucking out my soul.

Needless to say, my time was taken up with long hours and searching for other opportunities, in between trying to participate positively with my family. This takes up a lot of energy, as well as time. Although I have had some time to play Eve, I did not want to progress with Quin. Not that I did not want undock and seek destruction. I knew I was behind on my postings, and did not want to get too far ahead of my blog. As it is, I fear that my memory of the last events back in January will be rough. I hope you will forgive any lack of clear details that will follow, but I am committed to this task – regardless of how long it will take.

A long, long overdue thank you is due to Lt Lunar Lazair. One of the times I logged in to check on a few things, I noticed more ISK in the wallet than before. At first I was excited to think that many of the items on the market sold, but the sales did not add up to reflect the 500 million increase. Then I read my Eve mail, and noticed his message encouraging me to keep up the blog. He generously transferred the funds to me in support of my efforts. Although this was not asked for and of course not necessary, I really do appreciate the gift and support. Lt Lunar Lazair embodies the player that keeps me coming back to Eve, and I would encourage any reader that is interested in getting into PvP to reach out to him and his corporation – Proioxis Assault Force [PROIX].

Now it’s time to roll up my sleeves, squint really hard, and force out the memories of my last boom, boom adventures.

Some time after my last little kill of plex bot, I was flying circles around the button of plex, when I detected a Succubus pop up on my short scan. I began to prepare – pulling even more distance than normal, and the fight started in my favor. The pilot, Thoradain Greelich, could not close the distance fast enough, and started to pull away. I clicked the approach button and over heated my warp disruptor. I did not want to lose lock on him. However, he was able to whittle away at me, and at times in our dance he managed to close the distance and exact more damage than I preferred. The fight was long, and each of us had moments of over confidence followed by panic. The result was my Tristan not holding up to the stress.

XQ0027 Kill Mail

Thoradain Greelich and I conversed a bit by Eve mail. He complimented me on the fight, as he admitted that he thought his, as he stated, “blinged out” Succubus fit would melt my Tristan. He did not want to share his fit with me, but from his compliment I could tell this would have been a glorious kill if I won. At least I was responsible for reminding him, as he noted, underestimating Tristans can be a very bad mistake.

I follow this up with a bot kill.

45th Kill

I remember this was a crazy time, as many pilots were active in low sec during my online time. Many gate camps were popping up, and gangs were roaming. This brings me to my next encounter. Again, I’m minding my own business in a plex, when I see this gang pop into system. I know it is only a matter of time before I’m jumped, but I stay put determined to give a good fight. A Federation Navy Comet finds my plex, and we begin to dance. His buddies take a bit of time coming, and I know he’s most likely howling at them for help as my drones tear away at him. He can’t reach me from the distance I have on him. The first of his crew, Panty Raider, is flying a Republic Fleet Firetail, and she is so fast, (and the Comet pilot is actively flying away to the plex center), that I have no choice but to focus on Panty Raider. I make her the focus to my stay at 20 km distance button, and from my experience with Firetails I know she’s squishier than the Comet. I also know that I have to commit to this since three other ships, a Worm, Daredevil, and a Caldari Navy Hookbill, have joined in on the party in this plex. These ships have a combo of speed and long range weapons, but I’m already making plans on my next target after the Firetail pops.

46th kill

I now order my damaged drones to zap away at the Daredevil. The Comet pilot never really joins in the fight, which is disappointing since I would have loved to continue with the work I started on him earlier. This whole time I’m completely micromanaging the drones and maintaining distance with ships as they attempt to close the distance with me. I put a good scare on the Daredevil pilot before this gang finishes off my drones and I go boom.

XQ0028 Kill Mail

My goal was at least two kills from this gang, but that might have been ambitious. I was pleased it took a lot of time for them to kill my Tristan. I think when I get jumped by a small gang of this size and make up, my best chance is extending the time out to allow for wild cards to possibly enter the fray. Alas, that was not to be the case here.

My next kills are not exciting. Two more bots.

47th Kill
48th Kill

My next encounter irritated me. Not the pilot, Shiitake LC, but rather my continued issues with maintaining a favorable distance from my opponent. Shiitake LC’s Breacher was able to close distance with me to allow his rockets to go to town. This was not immediate however. Initially the combat was going well, but this Breacher’s shield repair was just crazy!!! This too frustrated me through the combat. The result was my ship go boom.

XQ0029 Kill Mail

Shiitake LC and I exchange “gf” by Eve mail. I was able to acquire his frustrating fit.

He flew the ship well, which I mean to say he managed the shield repair very well. I remember believing he was flying a shield fit, but I got very excited when I saw how deeply my drones ripped into his armor. That’s when Shiitake LC let loose with his cap boosters. This frigate must not have any cargo space leaving port. That is another little hang up I have to overcome. I like loot. I have a really difficult time with fits that are straight out combat oriented. This makes me just worry that I’m going to come across some juicy scavenge material, but cannot load it in between all the cap boosters occupying my cargo hold. Anyway, that’s another issue to get over some other day.

My next encounter is interesting in the fact that there really is not much to tell. Ciba Lelulu flew into my plex with his Wolf, destroyed me, then flew away like I wasn’t even an after thought.

XQ0030 Kill Mail

Pulling distance was not a factor, since his howitzers just shredded me. I think he was also fit for speed, as my drones seemed to have trouble tracking him. I even had the warriors out! I don’t really know what else I could have done facing off with a Wolf here. This just may be the check mate fit against this Tristan fit. If/when I encounter another Wolf, I’ll attempt different approaches. Maybe I’ll be able to glean some helpful details in future encounters.

That now brings me up to date. I can now return to flying and blowing up. Interesting detail since my last roam date, the Caldari are dominating the fleet war, and most of my near systems are under Caldari control. This will be an added dynamic to my fleet warfare experience. We’ll see how the LP pay out is for going on the offensive.

Again, thank you for hanging in there with me during my break. These things happen, and the fact that so many of us return after such breaks is a testament to how good our game is. Though I do not believe any skills I had developed have held up as good. Oh well, let the lessons continue.

Record: 69 Tristans ready to be dusted off: 48 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.

Oops, I Did It Again!

I am now over 100,000 LPs, as I have expanded into medium and large complexes.  I am still defending for my faction.  I have taken to aggressive defense as well.  I have chased off many Caldari and Amar militia from their complexes, and even spent some time hunting after them as they ran to other systems.  My hunting skills need to improved.  I am still amazed at how many people run off. 

Yes, I am a hypocrite!  For a time I engaged in the same strategy.  At least I have come to realize I have a problem, and that is the first step to recovery.  Right?

That little Atron pilot is just a gnat that needs to be swatted.  She just runs, and runs.  Stays in the area, never engages, but I’m sure she’s making a killing with LPs.  A small victory was entering a system, locating her complex, entering, and watching her run.  I saw the button marker had just seconds left!  That explains why she stayed as long as she did.  I was just a moment away from locking her!

After I chased her off that complex, I remained for 10 minutes.  I had an appointment I needed to keep, and only had 10 minutes before I had to log.  I worked off the time she accumulated to capture the complex, but I was not able to capture the complex for LP rewards.  Why did I do that?  Because it makes me feel better making her farming effort a little more difficult.

Simona needs to be swatted!

Anyway, one thing I forgot to mention in my last victory is that I also began to switch up my drone deployment.  I have looked into the types of ships that fly in the area, and I have determined that the warrior drones need to be deployed with two of the hobgoblins.  The explosive damage they spit out serves well against the vulnerabilities of many of the ship types flying through the systems.  I have become pretty good working with drones, with the years of piloting a Dominix through Level 4 missions.  Although PvP stretches my attention thin monitoring the many details in each combat, checking on drones when I’m under attack comes pretty naturally to me.  Also, I’m usually solid about remember to scoop them up again before I fly off.  Usually.

Which brings me to my next victory, and believe me – I’m so surprised by this.

2nd Kill

Gibsen flew into system just after I completed a large complex.  I was orbiting within a small complex at the time, and pinged his Hookbill.  I can’t stress this enough, I was sure this was going to be explosion number two for me.  My drones were deployed, and I prepped my micro warp drive to overheat.  Gibsen is a pirate, with -10 security status and all.  His kill board is filled with victories over militia pilots from all factions.  To his credit, he seems to hunt for 1v1 combat opportunities – I respect this so much.  I believe I am just getting very lucky with these 1v1 fights.

The reason I mention the large complex versus the small is I believe this was my key to winning this fight.  Not only did I have extra moments to prepare as he navigated through the gate, (which the large complex does not have), but I was able to pull significant distance away from his entry point.  Although the warp in point for the large is also defined, the extra moments allowed me to mentally prepare and predict his fit.  I have played this game for a while, but ship fits and abilities do not come naturally to me.  Unless I have flown the ship for a good amount of time, I have to recall from knowledge gained throughout my leisure reading and viewing experience.

Gibsen flew in, we locked each other, and I immediately hit my overheating micro warp drive to orbit at 20 km.  Positive note, I clicked the warp disruptor as the lock was being established.  So, I’m improving there.

I kept 20-22 km distance from Gibsen throughout the combat.  The killmail reassured me that I made the right decision.  If Gibsen got on top of me, his two webifiers would have slowed my Tristan to a crawl, and his rockets would have melted my shields and armor.  Webifiers have a range of 10 km, (I believe 13 km if overheated), so I didn’t want anything to do with that.

From his kill report, I see that Gibsen loaded Scourge Rage Rockets, which deal kinetic damage.  Assuming I do not have any boosts to the Tristan’s weak points, I would have expected Nova Rage Rockets – dealing explosive damage.  Deal damage to known weakness sort of thinking here.  Not that I would have known this at the time, (and it will take me some time and effort to be able to recall this information instantaneously in game).  I had to look up this detail after the fact, as I analyzed the combat.  I’m just wondering what led to his decision to use Scourge over Nova, especially since he carried a good selection of all damage types.  Gibsen has so much more experience at combat than I, so I’m sure there was some thought process.

Another positive note, I was able to shut down my micro warp drive from overheating before it burned out this time.  When I realized the battle was going extremely well for me, I prioritized monitoring our distance from one another.  My shields showed insignificant amount of damage versus his shields were almost finished as my drones continuing to pound away. 

When Gibsen realized he was not going to be able to close the distance, (and probably realized I had no guns mounted), he began to attack my drones.  I saw this early, and I was prepared to begin some drone management here.  Unfortunately, this is where my lack of PvP experience did me wrong.  I recalled one of my warriors a little later than I should, and Gibsen killed it off on it’s return route.  PvP damage is just so much faster than PvE.  No problem for me though, I just deployed a spare hobgoblin, and ordered it to attack.  

Somewhere at this point I believe Gibsen decided that he may want to run off.  I could be wrong, since I am relying on ship distance numbers to tell me that story.  I have the battle field expanded out far, so details like ship orientation forward or away is lost on me at this point.  I know there are ship’s orientation arrows on the expanded field, but again – I’m new to these visuals.  Have patience with me.  Anyway, I was monitoring the distanced between 20-22 km and watching the health status of my drones.  Suddenly I saw Gibsen pulled out to 24 km. 

I clicked to close the distance, and popped on my micro warp drive.  I felt comfortable with this hasty move, since he was well into structure.  I barely had any damage on my shields.  At this point, I’m just concerned about keeping him on the field for the kill.  I lost point on Gibsen just as my drones dealt the final damage, blowing him up.  Hindsight note here: I should have overheated my warp disruptor.  This would have extended the range of the established point, and provided me with more time to close the distance in a controlled, safe manner.

We exchanged “gf” in local, and I scooped up the loot.  I was happy to see the Republic Fleet medium shield extender fall in the loot drop.  Later, I looked on Zkillboard, and was amazed by Gibsen’s experience with PvP.  Truly impressive.  This is where I would like to get more involved in our community.  I just don’t communicate with other pilots as much as I would like.  This is one of my ambitions for this blog.  If any reader would care to provide me comments, advice, or ask questions, I welcome the communication.  I hope to hear from you.

Main carry away for me from this interaction with a Hookbill, my goal to blow up allowed me to follow through with this fight.  If I allowed myself to be selective, I would have ran from any Navy Faction ship – believing  a T1 frigate had no chance.  Already I’m beginning to see how the right circumstances can lead to favorable outcomes.

Record: 99 Tristans in dock; 2 kills.